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1.

THIRD DIVISION
[ A.C. No. 10372, July 30, 2014 ]
AURORA R. LADIM, ANGELITO A. ARDIENTE, AND DANILO S. DE LA CRUZ V. ATTY. PERLA D.
RAMIREZ.
Sirs/Mesdames:
Please take notice that the Court, Third Division, issued a Resolution dated July 30, 2014, which reads as
follows:
"A.C. No. 10372 (Aurora R. Ladim, Angelito A. Ardiente, and Danilo S. de la Cruz v. Atty. Perla D. Ramirez). On March 23, 2007, a verified complaint [1] for disbarment was filed against Atty. Perla D. Ramirez by
Aurora R. Ladim, Angelito A. Ardiente, and Danilo S. de la Cruz, who were all employees of Lirio Apartments
Condominium in Makati City, where Atty. Ramirez resides. [2]
The complaint stemmed from various incidents from 1990 to 2007 involving complainants, other
employees, lessees, and unit owners of Lirio Apartments Condominium and Atty. Ramirez.[3] The tenants
alleged that Atty. Ramirez kept asking "impertinent personal questions,"[4] knocking on their doors, and
using offensive language.[5] Another tenant complained that Atty. Ramirez kept entering units undergoing
repairs " because of her fear that people [were] damaging the building."[6] The "keys hanging [on] the
door"[7] of one unit were lost the day she entered the unit.[8]
The latest incident involved Atty. Ramirez shouting at the condominium employees and using offensive
language.[9] She accused the maintenance personnel of destroying the building and the security guards of
trying to destroy her car.[10] She also started shouting that the condominium residents were prostitutes.
[11] The condominium employees tried to pacify her, even calling her brother, Dr. Nicholas Ramirez, to
intervene.[12] "Dr. Ramirez assured [them] that he will get in touch"[13] with Atty. Ramirez's friend, Malou
Jacob, since Malou was the only one who could pacify her.[14]
Since 2004, Atty. Ramirez has refused to pay any of her association dues. [15] She claimed that no one has
been leasing her unit [16] and argued that the association dues should be paid only by those who lease
their units. [17]
Atty. Ramirez, on the other hand, filed several cases before the Office of the City Prosecutor against the
condominium employees, accusing them of malicious mischief, grave oral defamation, slander, and
threats. [18] All the cases were dismissed for lack of merit. [19]
In her position paper [20] before the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP), Atty. Ramirez did not admit or
deny the allegations in her complaint but stated her long years of service as a government lawyer. [21]
She also expressed that:
I do not believe that the three complainants are my equal, therefore, for reasons above stated, [sic] I move
for the outright dismissal of the complaints charge [sic] against me. [22]
In his report and recommendation, [23] the Integrated Bar of the Philippines Investigating Commissioner
Eldrid C. Antiquiera found Atty. Ramirez guilty of violating Rule 7.03, Canon 7 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility and recommended the penalty of reprimand. [24]
Commissioner Antiquiera found that "respondent's language and choice of words [show] her lack of
respect and decorum in her dealings with other people."[25] He also found that Atty. Ramirez "largely
relied on her legal expertise and experience to demand respect from others but she never [gave] them a
fair treatment."[26]
The Commissioner, however, took note of the "forgetful, suspicious, and fearful attitude"[27] of Atty.
Ramirez and complainants' belief that "something must be wrong with her mentally."[28] He concluded
that her mental issues may explain her actions and "she may not [have] deliberately intend[ed] to injure
other people."[29]
The Integrated Bar of the Philippines Board of Governors, in its Resolution No. XX-2013-848, [30] dated
June 22, 2013, adopted and approved the report and recommendation of the Commissioner.

While we adopt the findings of fact of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, we do not believe that a mere
reprimand is enough to punish Atty. Ramirez for her actions.
As this court stated in Bernardo v. Atty. Mejia:[31]
[T]he practice of law is a privilege burdened with conditions. Adherence to the rigid standards of mental
fitness, maintenance of the highest degree of morality and faithful compliance with the rules of the legal
profession are the continuing requirements for enjoying the privilege to practice law. [32]

A lawyer may be suspended or disbarred from the practice of law for gross misconduct. Rule 138, Section
27 of the Rules of Court provides:
Sec. 27. Disbarment or suspension of attorneys by Supreme Court, grounds therefore. A member of the
bar may be disbarred or suspended from his office as attorney by the Supreme Court for any deceit,
malpractice, or other gross misconduct in such office, grossly immoral conduct, or by reason of his
conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude, or for any violation of the oath which he is required to take
before the admission to practice, or for a willful disobedience appearing as an attorney for a party to a
case without authority so to do. The practice of soliciting cases at law for the purpose of gain, either
personally or through paid agents or brokers, constitutes malpractice.
Lawyers should treat everyone with kindness and respect, whether they are colleagues, members of the
court, or the public in general. Anything less would be conduct unbecoming of one in the legal profession.
In Tapucar v. Atty. Tapucar: [33]
As this Court often reminds members of the Bar, they must live up to the standards and norms expected of
the legal profession, by upholding the ideals and tenets embodied in the Code of Professional
Responsibility always. Lawyers must maintain a high standard of legal proficiency, as well as morality
including honesty, integrity and fair dealing. For they are at all times subject to the scrutinizing eye of
public opinion and community approbation. Needless to state, those whose conduct both public and
private fails this scrutiny would have to be disciplined and, after appropriate proceedings, penalized
accordingly. [34] (Emphasis supplied)
As a lawyer, Atty. Ramirez is sworn to uphold not only her oath but also the provisions of the Code of
Professional Responsibility. Rule 7.03 of Canon 7 states:
CANON 7 - A LAWYER SHALL AT ALL TIMES UPHOLD THE INTEGRITY AND DIGNITY OF THE LEGAL
PROFESSION AND SUPPORT THE ACTIVITIES OF THE INTEGRATED BAR.
Rule 7.03 - A lawyer shall not engage in conduct that adversely reflects on his fitness to practice law, nor
shall he, whether in public or private life, behave in a scandalous manner to the discredit of the legal
profession.
Instead of answering the allegations concerning her rude and disrespectful attitude, Atty. Ramirez
haughtily asked the Integrated Bar of the Philippines to dismiss the complaint because complainants were
not her equal, referring to them as "clerk, janitor, and maintenance man,"[35] respectively. Worse, she
flaunted her credentials, [36] believing that being a former government lawyer allows her to disregard the
tenets of her profession.
Her arrogance manifests her lack of moral fitness to practice law. Her disrespect toward her neighbors and
toward complainants shows a blatant disregard to the dignity and integrity of the legal profession. Atty.
Ramirez's actions do her profession a disservice and, as such, a penalty higher than a reprimand is in
order.
"The rule is settled that a lawyer may be suspended or disbarred for any misconduct, even if it pertains to
his private activities, as long as it shows him to be wanting in moral character, honesty, probity or good
demeanor."[37] Taking into account her advanced age and her "alleged mental issues,"[38] we find that
the appropriate penalty is suspension for six (6) months from the practice of law.

WHEREFORE, Atty. Perla D. Ramirez, having been found in violation of Canon 7.03 of the Code of
Professional Responsibility, is SUSPENDED from the practice of law for six (6) months, with a stern warning
that a repetition of the same or similar acts shall be dealt with more severely.
Let a copy of this resolution be furnished to the Office of the Bar Confidant to be entered into respondent's
records as attorney. Copies shall likewise be furnished to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines and the
Office of the Court Administrator for circulation to all courts concerned. (Villarama, Jr., J., designated Acting
Member in view of the vacancy in the Third Division per Special Order No. 1691 dated May 22, 2014.)
SO ORDERED."

5. EN BANC
A.C. No. 6470, July 8, 2014
MERCEDITA DE JESUS, Complainant, vs. ATTY. JUVY MELL SANCHEZMALIT, Respondent.
RESOLUTION
SERENO, CJ:
before the Court is a disbarment complaint filed by Mercedita De Jesus (De Jesus) against respondent Atty.
Juvy Mell Sanchez-Malit (Sanchez-Malit) on the following grounds: grave misconduct, dishonesty,
malpractices, and unworthiness to become an officer of the Court.
THE FACTS OF THE CASE
In the Affidavit-Complaint1 filed by complainant before the Office of the Bar Confidant on 23 June 2004,
she alleged that on 1 March 2002, respondent had drafted and notarized a Real Estate Mortgage of a
public market stall that falsely named the former as its absolute and registered owner. As a result, the
mortgagee sued complainant for perjury and for collection of sum of money. She claimed that respondent
was a consultant of the local government unit of Dinalupihan, Bataan, and was therefore aware that the
market stall was government-owned. Prior thereto, respondent had also notarized two contracts that
caused complainant legal and financial problems. One contract was a lease agreement notarized by
respondent sometime in September 1999 without the signature of the lessees. However, complainant only
found out that the agreement had not been signed by the lessees when she lost her copy and she asked
for another copy from respondent. The other contract was a sale agreement over a property covered by a
Certificate of Land Ownership Award (CLOA) which complainant entered into with a certain Nicomedes Tala
(Tala) on 17 February 1998. Respondent drafted and notarized said agreement, but did not advise
complainant that the property was still covered by the period within which it could not be alienated.
In addition to the documents attached to her complaint, complainant subsequently submitted three Special
Powers of Attorney (SPAs) notarized by respondent and an Affidavit of Irene Tolentino (Tolentino),
complainants secretary/treasurer. The SPAs were not signed by the principals named therein and bore only
the signature of the named attorney in-fact, Florina B. Limpioso (Limpioso). Tolentinos Affidavit
corroborated complainants allegations against respondent.2
On 4 August 2004, the Second Division of the Supreme Court issued a Resolution requiring respondent to
submit her comment on the Complaint within ten (10) days from receipt of notice.3
In her Comment,4 respondent explained that the mortgage contract was prepared in the presence of
complainant and that the latter had read it before affixing her signature. However, complainant urgently
needed the loan proceeds so the contract was hastily done. It was only copied from a similar file in
respondents computer, and the phrase "absolute and registered owner" was inadvertently left unedited.
Still, it should not be a cause for disciplinary action, because complainant constructed the subject public

market stall under a "Build Operate and Transfer" contract with the local government unit and, technically,
she could be considered its owner. Besides, there had been a prior mortgage contract over the same
property in which complainant was represented as the propertys absolute owner, but she did not
complain. Moreover, the cause of the perjury charge against complainant was not the representation of
herself as owner of the mortgaged property, but her guarantee that it was free from all liens and
encumbrances. The perjury charge was even dismissed, because the prosecutor found that complainant
and her spouse had, indeed, paid the debt secured with the previous mortgage contract over the same
market stall.
With respect to the lease agreement, respondent countered that the document attached to the AffidavitComplaint was actually new. She gave the courts copy of the agreement to complainant to accommodate
the latters request for an extra copy. Thus, respondent prepared and notarized a new one, relying on
complainants assurance that the lessees would sign it and that it would be returned in lieu of the original
copy for the court. Complainant, however, reneged on her promise.
As regards the purchase agreement of a property covered by a CLOA, respondent claimed that
complainant was an experienced realty broker and, therefore, needed no advice on the repercussions of
that transaction. Actually, when the purchase agreement was notarized, complainant did not present the
CLOA, and so the agreement mentioned nothing about it. Rather, the agreement expressly stated that the
property was the subject of a case pending before the Department of Agrarian Reform Adjudication Board
(DARAB); complainant was thus notified of the status of the subject property. Finally, respondent
maintained that the SPAs submitted by complainant as additional evidence were properly notarized. It can
be easily gleaned from the documents that the attorney-in-fact personally appeared before respondent;
hence, the notarization was limited to the formers participation in the execution of the document.
Moreover, the acknowledgment clearly stated that the document must be notarized in the principals place
of residence.
An exchange of pleadings ensued after respondent submitted her Comment. After her rejoinder,
complainant filed an Urgent Ex-ParteMotion for Submission of Additional Evidence.5 Attached thereto were
copies of documents notarized by respondent, including the following: (1) an Extra Judicial Deed of
Partition which referred to the SPAs naming Limpioso as attorney-in-fact; (2) five SPAs that lacked the
signatures of either the principal or the attorney-in-fact; (3) two deeds of sale with incomplete signatures
of the parties thereto; (4) an unsigned Sworn Statement; (5) a lease contract that lacked the signature of
the lessor; (6) five unsigned Affidavits; (7) an unsigned insurance claim form (Annual Declaration by the
Heirs); (8) an unsigned Invitation Letter toa potential investor in Japan; (9) an unsigned Bank Certification;
and (10)an unsigned Consent to Adoption.
After the mandatory conference and hearing, the parties submitted their respective Position Papers.6
Notably, respondents Position Paper did not tackle the additional documents attached to complainants
Urgent Ex ParteMotion.
THE FINDINGS OF THE IBP
In his 15 February 2008 Report, IBP Investigating Commissioner Leland R. Villadolid, Jr. recommended the
immediate revocation of the Notarial Commission of respondent and her disqualification as notary public
for two years for her violation of her oath as such by notarizing documents without the signatures of the
parties who had purportedly appeared before her. He accepted respondents explanations with respect to
the lease agreement, sale contract, and the three SPAs pertaining to Limpioso. However, he found that the
inaccurate crafting of the real estate mortgage contract was a sufficient basis to hold respondent liable for
violation of Canon 187 and Rule 18.038 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. Thus, he also
recommended that she be suspended from the practice of law for six months.9
The IBP Board of Governors, in its Resolution No. XVIII-2008-245 dated 22 May 2008, unanimously adopted
and approved the Report and Recommendation of the Investigating Commissioner, with the modification
that respondent be suspended from the practice of law for one year.10
Respondent filed her first Motion for Reconsideration11 and Second Motion for Reconsideration.12 She
maintained that the additional documents submitted by complainant were inadmissible, as they were
obtained without observing the procedural requisites under Section 4, Rule VI of Adm. No. 02-08-13 SC
(2004 Rules on Notarial Practice).13 Moreover, the Urgent Ex ParteMotion of complainant was actually a

supplemental pleading, which was prohibited under the rules of procedure of the Committee on Bar
Discipline; besides, she was not the proper party to question those documents. Hence, the investigating
commissioner should have expunged the documents from the records, instead of giving them due course.
Respondent also prayed that mitigating circumstances be considered, specifically the following: absence of
prior disciplinary record; absence of dishonest or selfish motive; personal and emotional problems; timely
good faith effort to make restitution or to rectify the consequences of her misconduct; full and free
disclosure to the disciplinary board or cooperative attitude toward the proceedings; character or
reputation; remorse; and remoteness of prior offenses.
The IBP Board of Governors, in its Resolution No. XX-2012-119 dated 10 March 2012, denied respondents
motion for reconsideration for lack of substantial reason to justify a reversal of the IBPs findings.14
Pursuant to Rule 139-B of the Rules of Court, Director for Bar Discipline Pura Angelica Y. Santiago through
a letter addressed to then acting Chief Justice Antonio T. Carpio transmitted the documents pertaining to
the disbarment Complaint against respondent.15
THE COURTS RULING
After carefully reviewing the merits of the complaint against respondent and the parties submissions in
this case, the Court hereby modifies the findings of the IBP.
Before going into the substance of the charges against respondent, the Court shall first dispose of some
procedural matters raised by respondent.
Respondent argues that the additional documents submitted in evidence by complainant are inadmissible
for having been obtained in violation of Section 4, Rule VI of the 2004 Rules on Notarial Practice. A
comparable argument was raised in Tolentino v. Mendoza,16 in which the respondent therein opposed the
admission of the birth certificates of his illegitimate children as evidence of his grossly immoral conduct,
because those documents were obtained in violation Rule 24, Administrative Order No. 1, Series of
1993.17 Rejecting his argument, the Court reasoned as follows:

Section 3, Rule 128 of the Revised Rules on Evidence provides that "evidence is admissible when it is
relevant to the issue and is not excluded by the law or these rules." There could be no dispute that the
subject birth certificates are relevant to the issue. The only question, therefore, is whether the law or the
rules provide for the inadmissibility of said birth certificates allegedly for having been obtained in violation
of Rule 24, Administrative Order No. 1, series of 1993.
Note that Rule 24, Administrative Order No. 1, series of 1993 only provides for sanctions against persons
violating the rule on confidentiality of birth records, but nowhere does it state that procurement of birth
records in violation of said rule would render said records inadmissible in evidence. On the other hand, the
Revised Rules of Evidence only provides for the exclusion of evidence if it is obtained as a result of illegal
searches and seizures. It should be emphasized, however, that said rule against unreasonable searches
and seizures is meant only to protect a person from interference by the government or the state. In People
vs. Hipol, we explained that: The Constitutional proscription enshrined in the Bill of Rights does not
concern itself with the relation between a private individual and another individual. It governs the
relationship between the individual and the State and its agents. The Bill of Rights only tempers
governmental power and protects the individual against any aggression and unwarranted interference by
any department of government and its agencies. Accordingly, it cannot be extended to the acts
complained of in this case. The alleged "warrantless search" made by Roque, a co-employee of appellant
at the treasurer's office, can hardly fall within the ambit of the constitutional proscription on unwarranted
searches and seizures.
Consequently, in this case where complainants, as private individuals, obtained the subject birth records
as evidence against respondent, the protection against unreasonable searches and seizures does not
apply.
Since both Rule 24, Administrative Order No. 1, series of 1993 and the Revised Rules on Evidence do not
provide for the exclusion from evidence of the birth certificates in question, said public documents are,

therefore, admissible and should be properly taken into consideration in the resolution of this
administrative case against respondent.18
Similarly, the 2004 Rules on Notarial Law contain no provision declaring the inadmissibility of documents
obtained in violation thereof. Thus, the IBP correctly considered in evidence the other notarized documents
submitted by complainant as additional evidence.
Respondents argument that the Urgent Ex-ParteMotion of complainant constitutes a supplemental
pleading must fail as well. As its very name denotes, a supplemental pleading only serves to bolster or
adds something to the primary pleading. Its usual office is to set up new facts which justify, enlarge or
change the kind of relief with respect to the same subject matter as the controversy referred to in the
original complaint.19 Accordingly, it cannot be said that the Urgent Ex-Parte Motion filed by complainant
was a supplemental pleading. One of her charges against respondent is that the latter notarized
incomplete documents, as shown by the SPAs and lease agreement attached to the Affidavit-Complaint.
Complainant is not legally barred from submitting additional evidence to strengthen the basis of her
complaint.
Going now into the substance of the charges against respondent, the Court finds that she committed
misconduct and grievously violated her oath as a notary public.
The important role a notary public performs cannot be overemphasized. The Court has repeatedly stressed
that notarization is not an empty, meaningless routinary act, but one invested with substantive public
interest. Notarization converts a private document into a public document, making it admissible in
evidence without further proof of its authenticity. Thus, a notarized document is, by law, entitled to full
faith and credit upon its face. It is for this reason that a notary public must observe with utmost care the
basic requirements in the performance of his notarial duties; otherwise, the public's confidence in the
integrity of a notarized document would be undermined.20
Where the notary public admittedly has personal knowledge of a false statement or information contained
in the instrument to be notarized, yet proceeds to affix the notarial seal on it, the Court must not hesitate
to discipline the notary public accordingly as the circumstances of the case may dictate. Otherwise, the
integrity and sanctity of the notarization process may be undermined, and public confidence in notarial
documents diminished.21 In this case, respondent fully knew that complainant was not the owner of the
mortgaged market stall. That complainant comprehended the provisions of the real estate mortgage
contract does not make respondent any less guilty. If at all, it only heightens the latters liability for
tolerating a wrongful act. Clearly, respondents conduct amounted to a breach of Canon 122 and Rules
1.0123 and 1.0224 of the Code of Professional Responsibility.
Respondents explanation about the unsigned lease agreement executed by complainant sometime in
September 199925 is incredulous. If, indeed, her file copy of the agreement bore the lessees signatures,
she could have given complainant a certified photocopy thereof. It even appears that said lease agreement
is not a rarity in respondents practice as a notary public. Records show that on various occasions from
2002 to 2004, respondent has notarized 22 documents that were either unsigned or lacking signatures of
the parties. Technically, each document maybe a ground for disciplinary action, for it is the duty of a
notarial officer to demand that a document be signed in his or her presence.26
A notary public should not notarize a document unless the persons who signed it are the very same ones
who executed it and who personally appeared before the said notary public to attest to the contents and
truth of what are stated therein.27 Thus, in acknowledging that the parties personally came and appeared
before her, respondent also violated Rule 10.0128 of the Code of Professional Responsibility and her oath
as a lawyer that she shall do no falsehood.29 Certainly, respondent is unfit to continue enjoying the
solemn office of a notary public. In several instances, the Court did not hesitate to disbar lawyers who were
found to be utterly oblivious to the solemnity of their oath as notaries public.30 Even so, the rule is that
disbarment is meted out only in clear cases of misconduct that seriously affect the standing and character
of the lawyer as an officer of the court and the Court will not disbar a lawyer where a lesser penalty will
suffice to accomplish the desired end.31 The blatant disregard by respondent of her basic duties as a
notary public warrants the less severe punishment of suspension from the practice of law and perpetual
disqualification to be commissioned as a notary public.

WHEREFORE, respondent Atty. Juvy Mell Sanchez-Malit is found guilty of violating Canon 1 and Rules 1.01,
1.02, and 10.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility as well as her oath as notary public. Hence, she
is SUSPENDED from the practice of law for ONE YEAR effective immediately. Her notarial commission, if still
existing, is IMMEDIATELY REVOKED and she is hereby PERPETUALLY DISQUALIFIED from being
commissioned as a notary public.
Let copies of this Resolution be entered into the personal records of respondent as a member of the bar
and furnished to the Bar Confidant, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, and the Court Administrator for
circulation to all courts of the country for their information and guidance.
No costs.
SO ORDERED
7. THIRD DIVISION
[ A.C. No. 10276, July 02, 2014]
SOCORRO T. GUSTILLO VS. ATTY. ROSELLER B. AMAZONA.
Sirs/Mesdames:
Please take notice that the Court, Third Division, issued a Resolution dated July 2, 2014, which reads as
follows:
"A.C. No. 10276 (Socorro T. Gustillo vs. Atty. Roseller B. Amazona). - This involves a disciplinary complaint
filed with the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) by complainant Socorro T. Gustillo against respondent
Atty. Roseller B. Amazona.
In her complaint, Gustillo charged respondent with "conduct unbecoming of a lawyer and gross
dishonesty."[1] She alleged that in 2004, respondent asked her to rediscount three (3) checks which were
subsequently dishonored for the reason "ACCOUNT CLOSED."[2] Each of these checks amounted to
P60,000, thus totaling to P180,000. Complainant added that respondent had failed to "make good [on the
checks] and to settle his obligation"[3] despite having executed promissory notes and written undertakings
to make such settlement. [4]
Respondent failed to file an answer to the complaint.
In a report and recommendation dated March 15, 2013, IBP Investigating Commissioner Oliver A.
Cachapero found respondent liable and recommended that the latter be suspended from the practice of
law for six (6) months.
In a resolution dated April 16, 2013, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines' Board of Governors (IBP-BOG)
adopted and approved with modification the report and recommendation of Investigating Commissioner
Cachapero. The IBP-BOG modified the report and recommendation by adding: (1) an order for respondent
to restitute to complainant the amount of P180,000 within thirty (30) days from receipt of notice; and (2) a
warning that respondent's repetition of similar acts shall be dealt with more severely.
Neither party has filed a motion for reconsideration.
After a careful examination of the records, the court agrees with the conclusions of Investigating
Commissioner Cachapero and the IBP-BOG. As noted by Investigating Commissioner Cachapero,
complainant failed to indicate if there was an attorney-client relationship between her and respondent.
However, this court has long settled that the lack of an attorney-client relationship is not a bar to
disciplinary sanction where a lawyer acts in an unprofessional manner, thereby placing serious doubt on
his/her moral character and his/her fitness to be a lawyer. As explained in Lizaso v. Amante: [5]
As early, as 1923, however, the Court laid down in in Re Vicente Pelaez the principle that it can exercise its
power to discipline lawyers for causes which do not involve the relationship of an attorney and client. . ..
[6]

Thus, unprofessional conduct or misconduct, as manifested in financial dealings with others, has served as
ample ground for the disciplining of lawyers. In Lizaso v. Amante, a lawyer was indefinitely suspended from
the practice of law for failing to account for and return funds received for investment. [7]
In this case, the annexes attached to the complaint indicate that respondent did issue checks, which were
dishonored for the reason "ACCOUNT CLOSED." These annexes also show that respondent executed written
undertakings and promissory notes to settle his obligations to complainant. Despite these, he failed to
make such settlement.
This court has repeatedly emphasized that the practice of law is imbued with public interest and that "a
lawyer . . . takes part in one of the most important functions of the State - the administration of justice - as
an officer of the court."[8] Thus, "[l]awyers are bound to maintain not only a high standard of legal
proficiency, but also of morality, honesty, integrity and fair dealing."[9]
Respondent has fallen short of the high standard of morality, honesty, integrity, and fair dealing required
of lawyers. He took advantage of complainant to secure undue gains for himself and inflicted serious
damage on the latter. It is therefore proper to suspend respondent from the practice of law.
However, in the strict context of the present case being an administrative (i.e., disciplinary) proceeding,
we find improper the IBP-BOG's inclusion of an order for respondent to restitute to the complainant the
amount of P180,000 within thirty (30) days from receipt of notice.
Administrative cases to discipline lawyers are distinct from civil cases, which involve private disputes
between persons. While the latter affords the plaintiff an opportunity to demand the fulfilment of a duty
and/or compensation for a harm done, the former does not. As this court explained in Pimente v. Llorente:
[10]
Disbarment proceedings are undertaken solely for public welfare. The sole question for determination is
whether a member of the bar is fit to be allowed the privileges as such or not. The complainant or the
person who called the attention of the Court to the attorney's alleged misconduct is in no sense a party,
and generally has no interest in the outcome except as all good citizens may have in the proper
administration of justice. [11] [Emphasis supplied]
WHEREFORE, respondent ATTY. ROSELLER B. AMAZONA, is SUSPENDED from the practice of law for six (6)
months. He is likewise WARNED that a repetition of similar acts shall be dealt with more severely.
Let copies of this resolution be served on the Office of the Bar Confidant, the Integrated Bar of the
Philippines, and all courts in the country for their information and guidance. Let a copy of this resolution be
attached to respondent's personal record as attorney. (Villarama, Jr., J., designated Acting Member in view
of the vacancy in the Third Division per Special Order No. 1691 dated May 22, 2014.)
SO ORDERED."
9. EN BANC
A.C. No. 7766, August 5, 2014
JOSE ALLAN TAN, Complainant, vs. PEDRO S. DIAMANTE, Respondent.
DECISION
PER CURIAM:
For the Court's resolution is an administrative Complaint1 for disbarment dated February 1, 2008 filed by
complainant Jose Allan Tan (complainant) against respondent Pedro S. Diamante (respondent), charging
him of violating the Code of Professional Responsibility (CPR) and the lawyers oath for fabricating and
using a spurious court order, and for failing to keep his client informed of the status of the case.

The Facts

On April 2, 2003, complainant, claiming to be a recognized illegitimate son of the late Luis Tan, secured the
services of respondent in order to pursue a case for partition of property against the heirs of the late
spouses Luis and Natividad Valencia-Tan.2 After accepting the engagement, respondent filed the
corresponding complaint3 before the Regional Trial Court of Bacolod City, Branch 46 (RTC), docketed as
Civil Case No. 03-11947. The complaint was eventually dismissed by the RTC in an Order4 dated July 25,
2007 for lack of cause of action and insufficiency of evidence.5 While respondent was notified of such
dismissal as early as August 14, 2007,6 complainant learned of the same only on August 24, 2007 when he
visited the formers office.7 On such occasion, respondent allegedly asked for the amount of P10,000.00
for the payment of appeal fees and other costs, but since complainant could not produce the said amount
at that time, respondent, instead, asked and was given the amount of P500.00 purportedly as payment of
the reservation fee for the filing of a notice of appeal before the RTC.8 On September 12, 2007, Tan handed
the amount of P10,000.00 to respondent, who on even date, filed a notice of appeal9 before the RTC.10
In an Order11 dated September 18, 2007, the RTC dismissed complainants appeal for having been filed
beyond the reglementary period provided for by law. Respondent, however, did not disclose such fact and,
instead, showed complainant an Order12 dated November 9, 2007 purportedly issued by the RTC
(November 9, 2007 Order) directing the submission of the results of a DNA testing to prove his filiation to
the late Luis Tan, within 15 days from receipt of the notice. Considering the technical requirements for such
kind of testing, complainant proceeded to the RTC and requested for an extension of the deadline for its
submission. It was then that he discovered that the November 9, 2007 Order was spurious, as certified by
the RTCs Clerk of Court.13 Complainant also found out that, contrary to the representations of respondent,
his appeal had long been dismissed.14 Aggrieved, he filed the instant administrative complaint for
disbarment against respondent.
In his Comments/Compliance15 dated September 4, 2009, respondent alleged that it was complainants
failure to timely produce the amount of 1,400.00 to pay for the appeal fees that resulted in the late filing of
his appeal. According to him, he informed complainant of the lapse of the reglementary period to appeal,
but the latter insisted in pursuing the same. He also claimed to have assisted complainant "not for money
or malice" but being a desperate litigant, he was blamed for the courts unfavorable decision.16
The IBPs Report and Recommendation
In a Report and Recommendation17 dated September 21, 2010, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP)
Investigating Commissioner found respondent administratively liable, and accordingly recommended that
the penalty of suspension for a period of one (1) year be meted out against him.18
The Investigating Commissioner found complainants imputations against respondent to be well-founded,
observing that instead of meeting complainants allegations squarely, particularly, the issue of the
nondisclosure of the dismissal of the partition case, respondent sidestepped and delved on arguments that
hardly had an effect on the issues at hand.19
Moreover, the Investigating Commissioner did not find credence in respondents accusation that the
spurious November 9, 2007 Order originated from complainant, ratiocinating that it was respondent who
was motivated to fabricate the same to cover up his lapses that brought about the dismissal of
complainants appeal and make it appear that there is still an available relief left for Tan.20
In a Resolution dated April 16, 2013, the IBP Board of Governors unanimously adopted and approved the
aforesaid report and recommendation.21
The Issue Before the Court
The essential issue in this case is whether or not respondent should be held administratively liable for
violating the CPR.
The Courts Ruling
After a judicious perusal of the records, the Court concurs with the IBPs findings, subject to the
modification of the recommended penalty to be imposed upon respondent.
Under Rule 18.04, Canon 18 of the CPR, it is the lawyers duty to keep his client constantly updated on the
developments of his case as it is crucial in maintaining the latters confidence, to wit:

CANON 18 A LAWYER SHALL SERVE HIS CLIENT WITH COMPETENCE AND DILIGENCE.

Rule 18.04 A lawyer shall keep the client informed of the status of his case and shall respond within a
reasonable time to clients request for information.
As an officer of the court, it is the duty of an attorney to inform his client of whatever important
information he may have acquired affecting his clients case. He should notify his client of any adverse
decision to enable his client to decide whether to seek an appellate review thereof. Keeping the client
informed of the developments of the case will minimize misunderstanding and loss of trust and confidence
in the attorney. The lawyer should not leave the client in the dark on how the lawyer is defending the
clients interests.22 In this connection, the lawyer must constantly keep in mind that his actions,
omissions, or nonfeasance would be binding upon his client. Concomitantly, the lawyer is expected to be
acquainted with the rudiments of law and legal procedure, and a client who deals with him has the right to
expect not just a good amount of professional learning and competence but also a whole-hearted fealty to
the clients cause.23
In the case at bar, records reveal that as of August 14, 2007, respondent already knew of the dismissal of
complainants partition case before the RTC. Despite this fact, he never bothered to inform complainant of
such dismissal as the latter only knew of the same on August 24, 2007 when he visited the formers office.
To add insult to injury, respondent was inexcusably negligent in filing complainants appeal only on
September 12, 2007, or way beyond the reglementary period therefor, thus resulting in its outright
dismissal. Clearly, respondent failed to exercise such skill, care, and diligence as men of the legal
profession commonly possess and exercise in such matters of professional employment.24
Worse, respondent attempted to conceal the dismissal of complainants appeal by fabricating the
November 9, 2007 Order which purportedly required a DNA testing to make it appear that complainants
appeal had been given due course, when in truth, the same had long been denied. In so doing, respondent
engaged in an unlawful, dishonest, and deceitful conduct that caused undue prejudice and unnecessary
expenses on the part of complainant. Accordingly, respondent clearly violated Rule 1.01, Canon 1 of the
CPR, which provides:
CANON 1 A lawyer shall uphold the constitution, obey the laws of the land and promote respect for law
and legal processes.
Rule 1.01 A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct.
As officers of the court, lawyers are bound to maintain not only a high standard of legal proficiency, but
also of morality, honesty, integrity, and fair dealing,25 failing in which whether in his personal or private
capacity, he becomes unworthy to continue his practice of law.26 A lawyers inexcusable neglect to serve
his clients interests with utmost diligence and competence as well as his engaging in unlawful, dishonest,
and deceitful conduct in order to conceal such neglect should never be countenanced, and thus,
administratively sanctioned.
In view of the foregoing, respondents conduct of employing a crooked and deceitful scheme to keep
complainant in the dark and conceal his cases true status through the use of a falsified court order
evidently constitutes Gross Misconduct.27 His acts should not just be deemed as unacceptable practices
that are disgraceful and dishonorable; they reveal a basic moral flaw that makes him unfit to practice
law.28 In this regard, the Courts pronouncement in Sebastian v. Calis29 is instructive, viz.:
Deception and other fraudulent acts by a lawyer are disgraceful and dishonorable. They reveal moral flaws
in a lawyer.1wphi1 They are unacceptable practices. A lawyers relationship with others should be
characterized by the highest degree of good faith, fairness and candor. This is the essence of the lawyers
oath. The lawyers oath is not mere facile words, drift and hollow, but a sacred trust that must be upheld
and keep inviolable. The nature of the office of an attorney requires that he should be a person of good
moral character. This requisite is not only a condition precedent to the admission to the practice of law, its
continued possession is also essential for remaining in the practice of law. We have sternly warned that
any gross misconduct of a lawyer, whether in his professional or private capacity, puts his moral character
in serious doubt as a member of the Bar, and renders him unfit to continue in the practice of law.30
(Emphases and underscoring supplied)

Jurisprudence reveals that in analogous cases where lawyers failed to inform their clients of the status of
their respective cases, the Court suspended them for a period of six (6) months. In Mejares v. Romana,31
the Court suspended the lawyer for the same period for his failure to timely and adequately inform his
clients of the dismissal of their petition. In the same vein, in Penilla v. Alcid, Jr.,32 the same penalty was
imposed on the lawyer who consistently failed to update his client of the status of his cases,
notwithstanding several follow-ups.
However, in cases where lawyers engaged in unlawful, dishonest, and deceitful conduct by falsifying
documents, the Court found them guilty of Gross Misconduct and disbarred them. In Brennisen v.
Contawi,33 the Court disbarred the lawyer who falsified a special power of attorney in order to mortgage
and sell his clients property. Also, in Embido v. Pe,34 the penalty of disbarment was meted out against the
lawyer who falsified an in existent court decision for a fee.
As already discussed, respondent committed acts of falsification in order to misrepresent to his client, i.e.,
complainant, that he still had an available remedy in his case, when in reality, his case had long been
dismissed for failure to timely file an appeal, thus, causing undue prejudice to the latter. To the Court,
respondents acts are so reprehensible, and his violations of the CPR are so flagrant, exhibiting his moral
unfitness and inability to discharge his duties as a member of the bar. His actions erode rather than
enhance the public perception of the legal profession. Therefore, in view of the totality of his violations, as
well as the damage and prejudice caused to his client, respondent deserves the ultimate punishment of
disbarment.
WHEREFORE, respondent Pedro S. Diamante is hereby DISBARRED for Gross Misconduct and violations of
Rule 1.01, Canon 1, and Rule 18.04, Canon 18 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, and his name is
ordered STRICKEN OFF from the roll of attorneys.
Let a copy of this Decision be attached to respondent Pedro S. Diamante's record in this Court. Further, let
copies of this Decision be furnished to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines and the Office of the Court
Administrator, which is directed to circulate them to all the courts in the country for their information and
guidance.
SO ORDERED.
10. THIRD DIVISION
[ A.C. No. 7958, March 03, 2014]
SPOUSES CARLITO AND LEONIDA LISING V. ATTY. GLICERIO A. SAMPANA.
Sirs/Mesdames:
Please take notice that the Court, Third Division, issued a Resolution dated March 3, 2014, which reads as
follows:
"A.C. No. 7958 (Spouses Carlito and Leonida Lising v. Atty. Glicerio A. Sampana). - Complainant spouses,
Carlito and Leonida Lising, (complainants) alleged that in May 1997, Atty. Glicerio Sampana (Atty.
Sampana) sold to them a parcel of land covered by Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No. T-119277 and
situated at Lot 4, Block 2, Phase 7-C, Rocka Village II, Tabang Plaridel, Bulacan for P355,600.00. Despite
complainants' substantial payment of the amount of P312,000.00 as of June 2, 2000, Atty. Sampana never
executed a contract to sell in their favor notwithstanding several demands from them.
When a case was filed against Atty. Sampana before the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB)
for unsound business practices, specific performance, violation of Presidential Decree (PD) No. 957, and
damages, complainants were caught by surprise when a document purporting to be their contract to sell
was produced by Atty. Sampana. A closer examination of the said contract to sell disclosed that it was
signed by one Alexander Dacayan (Dacayan), their alleged attorney-in-fact, the brother-in-law of
complainant Leonida Lising, who was never authorized to represent them. As per declaration of Dacayan,
he was forced to sign the said contract to sell.
Complainants further alleged that Atty. Sampana sold the same lot to spouses Orlando Miranda and
Amelita D. Payuyo. They averred that Atty. Sampana employed fraud and deceit, took advantage of his

superior knowledge of the law to unlawfully deprive them of the lot, and unjustly enriched himself at their
expense and prejudice.
In his comment, Atty. Sampana denied the allegations and claimed that on June 3, 2000, complainants,
represented by Dacayan, entered into a contract to sell over the subject lot under a 1995 Joint Venture
Agreement with his client, Remegio Q. Sampana, the lot owner; and Rocka Villa Realty, the project
developer, and that it was agreed that the balance in the amount of P185,000.00, shall be paid by
complainants within 3 months from date of contract. After their initial payment of P50,000.00 in December
2000, complainants failed to pay the remaining balance. More than 3 years had lapsed, but the
complainants never tried to communicate with the owners. They did not reply either to a final demand
letter sent to them and to Dacayan. Consequently, the owner decided to sell the lot to a third party. When
complainants found out about the sale, they protested. The owner, however, asked them to pay their
outstanding obligation within one week in return for the lot. Complainants, however, never came back to
pay.
In its Report and Recommendation, [1] the Investigating Commissioner found Atty. Sampana guilty of
unethical, unlawful and illegal acts relative to the double sale of the parcel of land covered by TCT No.
119277 and recommended that he be suspended from the practice of law for a period of one (1) year with
a warning that a repetition of the same or similar offense in the future shall be dealt with more severely.
In its Resolution, [2] dated May 15, 2011, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) Board of Governors
adopted and approved the recommendation of the Investigating Commissioner. The IBP Resolution is
hereby quoted as follows:
RESOLUTION NO. XIX-2011-295
Adm. Case No. 7958
Sps. Carlito & Leonida Lising vs.
Atty. Glicerio A. Sampana
RESOLVED to ADOPT and APPROVE, as is hereby unanimously ADOPTED and APPROVED, with modification,
the Report and Recommendation of the Investigating Commissioner in the above-entitled case, herein
made part of this Resolution as Annex "A" and finding the recommendation fully supported by the evidence
on record and the applicable laws and rules, and considering Respondent's guilty of illegal and unethical
acts as evidenced by the decision of the HLURB, Atty. Glicerio A. Sampana is hereby SUSPENDED from the
practice of law for one (1) year with stern Warning that repetition of the similar act shall be dealt with more
severely. Furthermore, Respondent is Ordered to Return the amount received from complainant otherwise
his Suspension shall continue.
RUDOLFO G. URBIZTONDO
Acting Secretary for the Meeting
Atty. Sampana filed a motion for reconsideration but it was denied in a resolution, [3] dated June 21, 2013.
The Court agrees with the recommendation of the IBP except with respect to the last sentence which has
the effect of making his suspension conditional and indefinite.
Atty. Sampana violated Canon 1 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, which provides that:
CANON 1 A lawyer shall uphold the constitution, obey the laws of the land and promote respect for law
and for legal processes.
Rule 1.01 A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct.
Rule 1.02 A lawyer shall not counsel or abet activities aimed at defiance of the law or at lessening
confidence in the legal system.
A lawyer shall at all times uphold the integrity and dignity of the legal profession. The trust and confidence
necessarily reposed by clients on their attorney requires in him a high standard and appreciation of his
duty to his clients, his profession, the courts, and the public. The Bar must maintain a high standard of

legal proficiency as well as of honesty and fair dealing. A lawyer can do honor to the legal profession by
faithfully performing his duties to society, to the Bar, to the courts, and to his clients. To this end, members
of the legal fraternity can do nothing that might tend to lessen in any degree the confidence of the public
in the fidelity, honesty and integrity of the profession. [4]
By his unethical conduct, the respondent deserves the penalty of suspension for one (1) year imposed
upon him by the IBP. The Court, however, deletes the last sentence of the resolution of the IBP Board of
Governors ordering the respondent "to return the amount received otherwise his suspension shall
continue." This imposition, as earlier stated, has the effect of making his suspension conditional and
indefinite. Moreover, the policy of the Court is to let a complainant claim and collect the amount due from
a respondent in an independent action, civil or criminal. Nevertheless, the Court will look with disfavour at
the non-payment by the respondent of his due and demandable obligation.
WHEREFORE, the June 21, 2013 Resolution of the IBP denying Atty. Glicerio A. Sampana's motion for
reconsideration and affirming its May 15, 2012 decision suspending him from the practice of law for one
(1) year is hereby MODIFIED in that the order to return the amounts received from complainants is
DELETED. This decision is immediately executory and is without prejudice to the filing of any civil or
criminal action against the respondent.
Let a copy of this resolution be furnished the Bar Confidant to be included in the records of the respondent;
the Integrated Bar of the Philippines for distribution to all its chapters; and the Office of the Court
Administrator for dissemination to all courts throughout the country. (Abad, J., on official leave, Bersamin J.,
designated Acting Member, per Special Order No. 1640 dated February 19, 2014)
SO ORDERED."