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Joseph Samala v.

Antonuitti Palana

respondent also failed to appear when the case was set for hearing. Respondent was

April 15, 2005

found to have violated Rule 7. 03 of Canon 7.

Facts:
Complainant Joseph Samala was looking for a company where he could
invest his dollar savings. He was introduced to Taino, a trader-employee of First
Imperial Resources. Taino introduced him to the FIRI manager Agustin, the chief

Ruling:

trader, and to Palana, the company's legal officer.

Lawyer guilty. The Code of Professional Responsibility mandates that a

Respondent assured the complainant that FIRI would be directly putting his

lawyer shall at all times uphold the integrity and dignity of the legal profession.[3] To

investment with Eastern Vanguard Forex Limited, a company based in the Virgin

this end, nothing should be done by any member of the legal fraternity which might

Islands.

tend to lessen in any degree the confidence of the public in the fidelity, honesty and

Complainant was convinced by the respondent and other officers of the

company to invest his dollar savings with FIRI. Subsequently, complainant decided to

integrity of the profession.

pull out his investments.

In this case, respondent assured complainant that by investing his dollar

Complainant went to the office of Thomas Yiu of Eastern Vanguard. The

savings with FIRI, his investment was in a stable company, even if, as it was later

latter was surprised when he saw the documents involving complainant's investment.

discovered, the by-laws of FIRI prohibited it from engaging in investment or foreign

Agustin delivered a check to the complainant but the same was dishonored as it was

exchange business and its primary purpose is to act as consultant in providing

drawn against insufficient funds.

professional expertise and reliable data analysis related to partnership and so on.

Complainant informed respondent of the dishonor of the check. Respondent

It is clear that the representations of respondent as legal officer of FIRI caused

assured the complainant that the check would be replaced. Later on, the respondent

material damage to complainant. In so doing, respondent failed to uphold the integrity

gave the complainant 250 thousand in cash and a check in the amounting of 329, 045.

and dignity of the legal profession and lessened the confidence of the public in the

09. The check was also dishonored. The check was signed by FIRI's president,

honesty and integrity of the same.

Desiderio.
Complainant charged Desiderio of Estafa and violation of BP 22. The MTC

-------------------------

of Makati issued a warrant of arrest against Paul Desiderio. It was discovered that the

Rosa Yap-Paras v. Atty. Justo Paras

address in FIRI's documents of Desiderio's address was fake. Complainant alleged

February 14, 2005

that respondents act of representing himself to be the legal officer of FIRI and his
assurance that the check he personally delivered to him was signed in his presence

Facts:

by FIRI Officer Paul Desiderio, when no such person appears to exist, is clearly

complainant alleged that the children of Ledesma de Jesus-Paras executed a SPA

fraudulent and violative of the Canons of Professional Ethics.

prepared by respondent to sell parcels of land located in Matobato, Bindoy, Negros

The Director for Bar Discipline required respondent to submit his answer to

Oriental giving authority to their mother to sell the subject real properties previously

the complaint filed by Samala but respondent did not submit an answer. The

registered in the name of the heirs of Vicente Paras wherein respondent was one of
the signatories therein.

Complainant alleged that on the basis of the SPA, Ledesma sold the property to

properties in issue despite his knowledge that the same had already been sold by his

Aurora Dy-Yap which was with respondent's full knowledge since he was residing at

mother to complainants sister. This fact, respondent even admitted in the comment

the house of Soledad Dy-Yap at that time and from that time.

that he filed before this Court when he alleged that the said properties were public

Complainant alleged that sometime in 1998 (sale was made on 1966), a free patent

land under the Forestal Zone when the mother of the respondent ceded to Aurora Yap

title to the aforesaid property was issued in respondents name. It is alleged that the

some portions of entire occupancy of the Parases. Moreover, respondent committed

application was made without the complainant's knowledge and consent. Complainant

deceit and falsehood in his application for free patent over the said properties when he

alleged that respondent surreptitiously obtained a free patent title over real properties

manifested under oath that he had been in the actual possession and occupation of

which had been previously sold by his own mother to Aurora D. Yap and now still

the said lands despite the fact that these were continuously in the possession and

under the control and possession of complainants natural family

occupation of complainants family, as evidenced no less by respondents own

Respondent alleged that the complainant was not the owner of the properties and that

statements in the pleadings filed before the IBP.

the free patent was applied for during their marital union and prior to its breakage.

Anent his argument questioning the status of complainant and her family as natural

Thus complainant was likewise an owner thereof and was also complaining against

born citizens, this Court holds that the instant case is not the proper forum to address

herself.

such issue. Furthermore, as correctly held by the Investigating Commissioner, [i]t is

Respondent averred that the land was declared into public agricultural land by the

immaterial as to who instituted the complaint for as long as there was a violation of the

BOL and the latter made a public announcement that the land was available for private

Code of Professional Responsibility. Likewise, any other action which the parties

ownership to native settlers or natural born Filipinos.

may make against each other has no material bearing in this case. For, it must be

Respondent alleged that none of the Yaps, including complainant was a native or

remembered that administrative cases against lawyers belong to a class of their own.

natural born Filipino as they were already American citizens. After due hearing, the

They are distinct from and may proceed independently of civil and criminal cases.

Investigating Commissioner made a recommendation wherein the respondent was

At this juncture, we take note that on 18 October 2000, in our Decision in A.C. No.

found guilty of committing deceit and falsehood in having applied for free patent of a

5333 formerly A.C. No. CBD-371, entitled Rosa Yap Paras v. Atty. Justo de Jesus

land over which he had no actual physical possession being aware that the same was

Paras, respondent was previously meted with suspension from the practice of law for

transferred in the name of Aurora Yap. The IBP Board of Governors adopted the

six (6) months on the charge of falsifying his wifes signature in bank documents and

recommendation.

other related loan instruments, and for one (1) year from the practice of law on the
charges of immorality and abandonment of his own family.

Ruling:

Considering the serious nature of the instant offense and in light of respondents prior

Lawyer guilty. In the instant case, it is clear to the Court that respondent violated his

misdemeanors for which he was penalized with a six (6) month and one (1) year

lawyers oath as well as the Code of Professional Responsibility which mandates upon

suspension from the practice of law, his deplorable behavior in the present case which

each lawyer, as his duty to society and to the courts, the obligation to obey the laws of

grossly degrades the legal profession warrants the imposition of a much graver

the land and to do no falsehood nor consent to the doing of any in court. Respondent

penalty.

has been deplorably lacking in the candor required of him as a member of the Bar and
an officer of the court in his acts of applying for the issuance of a free patent over the

Penalty: 1 yr suspension

----------------

practice of law as KDC Legal Services, Law Officers and Associates which included
KDC as law partners in violation of the Rules on the practice of law with non-lawyers.

Plus Builders v. Anastacio Revilla

The RTC of Imus quashed the earlier issued TRO and dismissed the case for being

September 13, 2006

res judicata.
At a hearing scheduled by the commissioner of the IBP-CBD, the commiss. found the

Facts:

respondent guilty of violation the A. oath and CPR.

Complainant Plus Builders filed a case before the DAR/PARAD of Cavite against De

Allegedly, respondent had maliciously concealed the defeat of his clients in the case

Guzman etc (herein called tenants/farmers). The PARAD rendered a decision in favor

before the PARAD of Cavite and the higher courts, in order to secure a temporary

of complainant. The farmers filed several verified pleadings alleging that they were

restraining order from the RTC of Imus, Cavite. As a result, he was able to delay the

"Magsasakang Namumuwisan" of the subject properties, acknowledging the rights of

execution of the provincial adjudicators Decision. Moreover, Commissioner Espina

the registered owners at that time. Counsel for the farmers, Atty. Damian Vellaseca,

opined that the charge that respondent had been engaged in the unlawful practice of

filed a pro-forma Motion for Recon and Manifestation. PARAD did not give due course

law was neither satisfactorily explained nor specifically denied by the latter.

to the same.

failure of respondent to do so led to the presumption that the allegation was true.

The

Another counsel, Willy Roxas, who represented himself as counself for the farmers,
filed a manifestation stating that he is representing the farmers and alleged that they

Ruling:

were bona fide members of the Kalayaan Development Cooperative. Thereafter, he

Lawyer guilty. In the present case, respondent claims good faith in pursuing the cause

filed a Notice of Appeal.

of his clients.

The respondent, knowing that there was a monetary judgment by way of Disturbance

obviously a stratagem. It was meant to delay unduly the execution of the provincial

Compensation granted to the farmers filed a Motion to allow correction of caption and

adjudicators Decision. It must be noted that when the Court of Appeals and this Court

amendment of judgment with prayer to include the name of Kalayaan Development

upheld that Decision, respondent resorted to a different forum to pursue his clients

Corp. representing the respondents in the caption of the pleading. A contract of

lost cause.

retainership was also attached to the motion to make KDC represented by the

tenants and acknowledged that complainants were the owners of the subject land. In

respondent. His motion failed to give him beneficial monetary gain so he filed a

the action to quiet title, however, he conveniently repudiated his previous admission by

Petition for Preliminary Injunction with prayer for issuance of a TRO and to quash alias

falsely alleging that his clients were adverse possessors claiming bona fide ownership.

writ of execution with demolition plus damages was filed by respondent before the

Consequently, he was able to obtain a temporary restraining order preventing the

DARAB central office. A TRO was issued by the DARAB. By way of a Pet for certiorari

execution of the provincial adjudicators Decision.

filed by the petitioners, the CA declared the DARAB order as null and void for having

Moreover, we agree with the finding of IBP Commissioner Espina that the silence or

been issued without jurisdiction. The respondent elevated the case to the SC, but said

failure of respondent to challenge the allegation that he allowed non-lawyers to

petition was dismissed with finality.

engage in the unauthorized practice of law may be deemed an admission of the truth

Respondent filed a verified "Action to Quiet Title" before the RTC of Imus. The

of the accusation. We note that complainants successfully substantiated their claim

respondent signed his pleading under a group of non-lawyers joining him in the

that respondent, who held himself out as a law partner of the KDC Legal Services,

The records show, however, that his course of legal action was

In the disturbance compensation case, he represented his clients as

Law Offices and Associates, was rendering legal services together with persons not
licensed to practice law. His silence on this accusation is deemed an admission,
especially because he had every chance to deny it. (See Canon 9)
Penalty: Suspended for 2 yrs.
---------------------MANUEL G. VILLATUYA v. ATTY. BEDE S. TABALINGCOS A.C. No. 6622, July 10,
2012 Case Digest
FACTS:
Complainant, Manuel G. Villatuya filed a Complaint for Disbarment on December 06,
2004 against respondent, Atty. Bede S. Tabalingcos. In a resolution, the court required
the respondent to file a comment, which the respondent did. The complaint was then
referred to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines for investigation.
In a mandatory conference called for by the Commission on Bar Discipline of the IBP,
complainant and his counsel, and the respondent appeared and submitted issues for
resolution. The commission ordered the parties to submit their verified position papers.
In the position paper submitted by the complainant on August 1, 2005, he averred that
he was employed by the respondent as financial consultant to assist the respondent in
a number of corporate rehabilitation cases. Complainant claimed that they had a
verbal agreement whereby he would be entitled to 50,000 for every Stay Order
issued by the court in the cases they would handle, in addition to ten percent (10%) of
the fees paid by their clients. Notwithstanding, 18 Stay Orders that was issued by the
courts as a result of his work and the respondent being able to rake in millions from
the cases that they were working on together, the latter did not pay the amount due to
him. He also alleged that respondent engaged in unlawful solicitation of cases by
setting up two financial consultancy firms as fronts for his legal services. On the third
charge of gross immorality, complainant accused respondent of committing two counts
of bigamy for having married two other women while his first marriage was subsisting.
In his defense, respondent denied charges against him and asserted that the
complainant was not an employee of his law firm but rather an employee of Jesi and
Jane Management, Inc., one of the financial consultancy firms. Respondent alleged
that complainant was unprofessional and incompetent in performing his job and that
there was no verbal agreement between them regarding the payment of fees and the
sharing of professional fees paid by his clients. He proffered documents showing that
the salary of complainant had been paid. Respondent also denied committing any

unlawful solicitation. To support his contention, respondent attached a Joint Venture


Agreement and an affidavit executed by the Vice-President for operations of Jesi and
Jane Management, Inc. On the charge of gross immorality, respondent assailed the
Affidavit of a dismissed messenger of Jesi and Jane Management, Inc., as having no
probative value, since it had been retracted by the affiant himself. Respondent did not
specifically address the allegations regarding his alleged bigamous marriages with two
other women
On January 9, 2006, complainant filed a Motion to Admit Copies of 3 Marriage
Contracts of respondent wherein he attached the certified true copies of the Marriage
Contracts referred to in the Certification issued by the NSO.
On January 16, 2006, respondent submitted his Opposition to the Motion to Admit filed
by complainant, claiming that he was not given the opportunity to controvert them. He
disclosed that criminal cases for bigamy were filed against him by the complainant
before the Office of the City Prosecutor of Manila. He also informed the Commission
that he filed Petition for Declaration of Nullity of the first two marriage contracts. In
both petitions, he claimed that he had recently discovered that there were Marriage
Contracts in the records of the NSO bearing his name and allegedly executed with
Rowena Pion and Pilar Lozano on different occasions.
The Commission scheduled a clarificatory hearing on 20 November 2007. Respondent
moved for the suspension of the resolution of the administrative case against him,
pending outcome of petition for nullification he filed with RTC, but was denied. The
Commission resolved that the administrative case against him be submitted for
resolution.
On February 27, 2008, the Commission promulgated its Report and Recommendation
addressing the specific charges against respondent. The first charge, for dishonesty
for the nonpayment of certain shares in the fees, was dismissed for lack of merit. On
the second charge, the Commission found respondent to have violated the rule on the
solicitation of client for having advertised his legal services and unlawfully solicited
cases. It recommended that he be reprimanded for the violation. As for the third
charge, the Commission found respondent to be guilty of gross immorality for violating
Rules 1.01 and 7.03 of the Code of Professional Responsibility and Section 27 of Rule
138 of the Rules of Court. Due to the gravity of the acts of respondent, the
Commission recommended that he be disbarred, and that his name be stricken off the
roll of attorneys.
On April 15, 2008, the IBP Board of Governors, through its Resolution No. XVIII-2008154, adopted and approved the Report and Recommendation of the Investigating
Commissioner.
On August 1, 2008, respondent filed a Motion for Reconsideration, arguing that the
recommendation to disbar him was premature.

On June 26, 2011, the IBP Board of Governors denied the Motions for
Reconsideration and affirmed their Resolution dated April 15, 2008 recommending
respondents disbarment.
ISSUES:
1. Whether respondent violated the Code of Professional Responsibility by
nonpayment of fees to complainant;
2. Whether respondent violated the rule against unlawful solicitation; and

vehicle used by respondent as a means to


procure professional employment; specifically for corporate rehabilitation cases.
Rule 15.08 of the Code mandates that the lawyer is mandated to inform the client
whether the former is acting as a lawyer or in another capacity. This duty is a must in
those occupations related to the practice of law. In this case, it is confusing for the
client if it is not clear whether respondent is offering consultancy or legal services.
Considering, however, that complainant has not proven the degree of prevalence of
this practice by respondent, the Supreme Court affirm the recommendation to
reprimand the latter for violating Rules 2.03 and 15.08 of the Code.

3. Whether respondent is guilty of gross immoral conduct for having married thrice.
Third charge: Bigamy.
RULING:
First charge: Dishonesty for non-payments of share in the fees.
Supreme Court affirmed the IBPs dismissal of the first charge against respondent, but
did not concur with the rationale behind it. The first charge, if proven to be true is
based on an agreement that is violative of Rule 9.02 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility. A lawyer is proscribed by the Code to divide or agree to divide the fees
for legal services rende-red with a person not licensed to practice law. In the case of
Tan Tek Beng v. David, Supreme Court held that an agreement between a lawyer and
a layperson to share the fees collected from clients secured by the layperson is null
and void, and that the lawyer involved may be disciplined for unethical conduct.
Considering that complainants allegations in this case had not been proven, the IBP
correctly dismissed the charge against respondent on this matter.
Second charge: Unlawful solicitation of clients.
In its Report, the IBP established the truth of these allegations and ruled that
respondent had violated the rule on the solicitation of clients, but it failed to point out
the specific provision that was breached. Based on the facts of the case, he violated
Rule 2.03 of the Code, which prohibits lawyers from soliciting cases for the purpose of
profit.
A lawyer is not prohibited from engaging in business or other lawful occupation.
Impropriety arises, though, when the business is of such a nature or is conducted in
such a manner as to be inconsistent with the lawyers duties as a member of the bar.
This inconsistency arises when the business is one that can readily lend itself to the
procurement of professional employment for the lawyer; or that can be used as a
cloak for indirect solicitation on the lawyers behalf; or is of a nature that, if handled by
a lawyer, would be regarded as the practice of law.
It is clear from the documentary evidence submitted by complainant that Jesi & Jane
Management, Inc., which purports to be a financial and legal consultant, was indeed a

The Supreme Court have consistently held that a disbarment case is sui generis. Its
focus is on the qualification and fitness of a lawyer to continue membership in the bar
and not the procedural technicalities in filing the case. Thus, in Garrido v. Garrido:
Laws dealing with double jeopardy or with procedure such as the verification of
pleadings and prejudicial questions, or in this case, prescription of offenses or the
filing of affidavits of desistance by the complainant do not apply in the
determination of a lawyer's qualifications and fitness for membership in the Bar. We
have so ruled in the past and we see no reason to depart from this ruling. First,
admission to the practice of law is a component of the administration of justice and is
a matter of public interest because it involves service to the public. The admission
qualifications are also qualifications for the continued enjoyment of the privilege to
practice law. Second, lack of qualifications or the violation of the standards for the
practice of law, like criminal cases, is a matter of public concern that the State may
inquire into through this Court.
In disbarment proceedings, the burden of proof rests upon the complainant. In this
case, complainant submitted NSO-certified true copies to prove that respondent
entered into two marriages while the latters first marriage was still subsisting. While
respondent denied entering into the second and the third marriages, he resorted to
vague assertions tantamount to a negative pregnant.
What has been clearly established here is the fact that respondent entered into
marriage twice while his first marriage was still subsisting. In Bustamante-Alejandro v.
Alejandro, 56 we held thus:
[W]e have in a number of cases disciplined members of the Bar whom we found guilty
of misconduct which demonstrated a lack of that good moral character required of
them not only as a condition precedent for their admission to the Bar but, likewise, for
their continued membership therein. No distinction has been made as to whether the
misconduct was committed in the lawyers professional capacity or in his private life.
This is because a lawyer may not divide his personality so as to be an attorney at one
time and a mere citizen at another. He is expected to be competent, honorable and
reliable at all times since he who cannot apply and abide by the laws in his private

affairs, can hardly be expected to do so in his professional dealings nor lead others in
doing so. Professional honesty and honor are not to be expected as the
accompaniment of dishonesty and dishonor in other relations. The administration of
justice, in which the lawyer plays an important role being an officer of the court,
demands a high degree of intellectual and moral competency on his part so that the
courts and clients may rightly repose confidence in him.
Respondent exhibited a deplorable lack of that degree of morality required of him as a
member of the bar. He made a mockery of marriage, a sacred institution demanding
respect and dignity.57 His acts of committing bigamy twice constituted grossly immoral
conduct and are grounds for disbarment under Section 27, Rule 138 of the Revised
Rules of Court.58
The Supreme Court adopted the recommendation of the IBP to disbar respondent and
ordered that his name be stricken from the Roll of Attorneys.