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PART IV ADMISSION TO PRACTICE

20 CASE DIGESTS
IN RE: VICTORIO LANUEVO (former Bar
confidant)

Lift Restraining Order" on the ground that respondent


court has no appellate jurisdiction over BOI Case No.
92-005, the same being exclusively vested with the
Supreme Court pursuant to Article 82 of the Omnibus
Investments Code of 1987.

FACTS:

Motion to dismiss was denied.

Administrative proceeding against Victorio Lanuevo


for disbarment.
1. Admitted
having
brought
the
five
examination notebooks of Ramon E. Galang
back to the respective examiners for reevalution or re-checking.
2. The five examiners admitted having reevaluated or re-checked the notebook to
him by the Bar Confidant, stating that he
has the authority to do the same and that
the examinee concerned failed only in his
particular subject and was on the borderline
of passing.
3. Ramon galang was able to pass the 1971
bar exam because of Lanuevos move but
the exam results bears that he failed in 5
subjects
namely
in
(Political,
Civil,
Mercantile, Criminal & Remedial).
4. Galang on the otherhand, denied of having
charged of Slight Physical Injuries on
Eufrosino de Vera, a law student of MLQU.

Filed certiorari.

RULING:
The court disbarred Lanuevo has no authority to
request the examiners to re-evaluate grades of
examinees w/o prior authority from Supreme Court.
He does not possess any discretion with respect to
the matter of admission of examinees to the bar. He
does not a have any business evaluating the answers
of the examinees.
Consequently, Galang was also disbarred Sec. 2 of
Rule 138 of the Revised Rules of Curt of 1964,
candidates for admission to the bar must be of good
moral character. Galang has a pending criminal
cases of Physical Injuries, he committed perjury when
he declared under oath that he had no pending
criminal case this resulted him to revoked his license.
FIRST LEPANTO CERAMICS, INC., petitioner, vs.
THE COURT OF APPEALS and MARIWASA
MANUFACTURING, INC., respondents.
FACTS: BOI granted petitioner First Lepanto
Ceramics, Inc.'s application to amend its BOI
certificate of registration by changing the scope of its
registered product from "glazed floor tiles" to
"ceramic tiles." Eventually, oppositor Mariwasa filed a
motion for reconsideration of the said BOI decision
while oppositor Fil-Hispano Ceramics, Inc. did not
move to reconsider the same nor appeal therefrom.
Soon rebuffed in its bid for reconsideration, Mariwasa
filed a petition for review with respondent Court of
Appeals pursuant to Circular 1-91.
Respondent court required the BOI and petitioner to
comment on Mariwasa's petition and to show cause
why no injunction should issue
Petitioner filed a "Motion to Dismiss Petition and to

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PETITIONER: argues that the Judiciary Reorganization


Act of 1980 or Batas Pambansa Bilang 129 and
Circular 1-91, "Prescribing the Rules Governing
Appeals to the Court of Appeals from a Final Order or
Decision of the Court of Tax Appeals and QuasiJudicial Agencies" cannot be the basis of Mariwasa's
appeal to respondent court because the procedure
for appeal laid down therein runs contrary to Article
82 of E.O. 226, which provides that appeals from
decisions or orders of the BOI shall be filed directly
with this Court
PRIVATE RESPONDENT: maintains that whatever
"obvious
inconsistency"
or
"irreconcilable
repugnancy" there may have been between B.P. 129
and Article 82 of E.O. 226 on the question of venue
for appeal has already been resolved by Circular 1-91
of the Supreme Court, which was promulgated on
February 27, 1991 or four (4) years after E.O. 226
was enacted.
RULING:
It may be called that Section 9(3) of B.P. 129 vests
appellate jurisdiction over all final judgments,
decisions, resolutions, orders or awards of quasijudicial agencies on the Court of Appeals
Clearly evident in the aforequoted provision of B.P.
129 is the laudable objective of providing a uniform
procedure of appeal from decisions of all quasijudicial agencies for the benefit of the bench and the
bar. Equally laudable is the twin objective of B.P. 129
of unclogging the docket of this Court to enable it to
attend to more important tasks
Less concerned with the decisions of cases that begin
and end with the transient rights and obligations of
particular individuals but is more intertwined with the
direction of national policies, momentous economic
and
social
problems,
the
delimitation
of
governmental authority and its impact upon
fundamental rights.
The question of where and in what manner appeals
from decisions of the BOI should be brought pertains
only to procedure or the method of enforcing the
substantive right to appeal granted by E.O. 226. In
other words, the right to appeal from decisions or
final orders of the BOI under E.O. 226 remains and
continues to be respected. Circular 1-91 simply
transferred the venue of appeals from decisions of
this agency to respondent Court of Appeals and
provided a different period of appeal, i.e., fifteen (15)
days from notice. It did not make an incursion into
the substantive right to appeal.
Circular 1-91 effectively repealed or superseded
Article 82 of E.O. 226 insofar as the manner and

method of enforcing the right to appeal from


decisions of the BOI are concerned. Appeals from
decisions of the BOI, which by statute was previously
allowed to be filed directly with the Supreme Court,
should now be brought to the Court of Appeals.
Dismissed.
IN RE CUNANAN
94 PHIL. 534
FACTS:
Congress passed Rep. Act No. 972, or what is known
as the Bar Flunkers Act, in 1952. The title of the law
was, An Act to Fix the Passing Marks for Bar
Examinations from 1946 up to and including 1955.
Section 1 provided the following passing marks:
1946-195170%
1952 .71%
1953..72%
1954..73%
1955..74%
Provided however, that the examinee shall have no
grade lower than 50%.
Section 2 of the Act provided that A bar candidate
who obtained a grade of 75% in any subject shall be
deemed to have already passed that subject and the
grade/grades shall be included in the computation of
the
general
average
in
subsequent
bar
examinations.
ISSUE:
Whether of not, R.A. No. 972 is constitutional.
RULING:
Section 2 was declared unconstitutional due to the
fatal defect of not being embraced in the title of the
Act. As per its title, the Act should affect only the bar
flunkers of 1946 to 1955 Bar examinations. Section2
establishes a permanent system for an indefinite
time. It was also struck down for allowing partial
passing, thus failing to take account of the fact that
laws and jurisprudence are not stationary.
As to Section1, the portion for 1946-1951 was
declared unconstitutional, while that for 1953 to
1955 was declared in force and effect. The portion
that was stricken down was based under the
following reasons:
1.

2.
3.

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The law itself admits that the candidates for


admission who flunked the bar from 1946 to
1952 had inadequate preparation due to the
fact that this was very close to the end of
World War II;
The law is, in effect, a judgment revoking
the resolution of the court on the petitions
of the said candidates;
The law is an encroachment on the Courts
primary prerogative to determine who may
be admitted to practice of law and,
therefore, in excess of legislative power to
repeal, alter and supplement the Rules of
Court. The rules laid down by Congress
under this power are only minimum norms,
not designed to substitute the judgment of

4.

the court on who can practice law; and


The pretended classification is arbitrary and
amounts to class legislation.

As to the portion declared in force and effect, the


Court could not muster enough votes to declare it
void. Moreover, the law was passed in 1952, to take
effect in 1953. Hence, it will not revoke existing
Supreme Court resolutions denying admission to the
bar of an petitioner. The same may also rationally
fall within the power to Congress to alter, supplement
or modify rules of admission to the practice of law.
It will be noted that the Constitution has not
conferred on Congress and this Tribunal equal
responsibilities concerning the admission to the
practice of law. the primary power and responsibility
which the Constitution recognizes continue to reside
in this Court. Had Congress found that this Court has
not promulgated any rule on the matter, it would
have nothing over which to exercise the power
granted to it. Congress may repeal, alter and
supplement the rules promulgated by this Court, but
the authority and responsibility over the admission,
suspension, disbarment and reinstatement of
attorneys at law and their supervision remain vested
in the Supreme Court. The power to repeal, alter and
supplement the rules does not signify nor permit that
Congress substitute or take the place of this Tribunal
in the exercise of its primary power on the matter.
The Constitution does not say nor mean that
Congress may admit, suspend, disbar or reinstate
directly attorneys at law, or a determinate group of
individuals to the practice of law. Its power is limited
to repeal, modify or supplement the existing rules on
the matter, if according to its judgment the need for
a better service of the legal profession requires it.
But this power does not relieve this Court of its
responsibility to admit, suspend, disbar and reinstate
attorneys at law and supervise the practice of the
legal profession.
Being coordinate and independent branches, the
power to promulgate and enforce rules for the
admission to the practice of law and the concurrent
power to repeal, alter and supplement them may and
should be exercised with the respect that each owes
to the other, giving careful consideration to the
responsibility which the nature of each department
requires. These powers have existed together for
centuries without diminution on each part; the
harmonious delimitation being found in that the
legislature may and should examine if the existing
rules on the admission to the Bar respond to the
demands which public interest requires of a Bar
endowed with high virtues, culture, training and
responsibility. The legislature may, by means of
appeal, amendment or supplemental rules, fill up any
deficiency that it may find, and the judicial power,
which has the inherent responsibility for a good and
efficient administration of justice and the supervision
of the practice of the legal profession, should
consider these reforms as the minimum standards for
the elevation of the profession, and see to it that with
these reforms the lofty objective that is desired in the
exercise of its traditional duty of admitting,
suspending, disbarring and reinstating attorneys at
law is realized.

They are powers which, exercise within their proper


constitutional limits, are not repugnant, but rather
complementary to each other in attaining the
establishment of a Bar that would respond to the
increasing
and
exacting
necessities
of
the
administration of justice.
It is obvious, therefore, that the ultimate power to
grant license for the practice of law belongs
exclusively to this Court, and the law passed by
Congress on the matter is of permissive character, or
as other authorities say, merely to fix the minimum
conditions for the license.
Pursuant to the law in question, those who, without a
grade below 50 per cent in any subject, have
obtained a general average of 69.5 per cent in the
bar examinations in 1946 to 1951, 70.5 per cent in
1952, 71.5 per cent in 1953, and those will obtain
72.5 per cent in 1954, and 73.5 per cent in 1955, will
be permitted to take and subscribe the corresponding
oath
of office
as
members
of
the Bar,
notwithstanding that the rules require a minimum
general average of 75 per cent, which has been
invariably followed since 1950. Is there any motive of
the nature indicated by the abovementioned
authorities, for this classification ? If there is none,
and none has been given, then the classification is
fatally defective.
Kuroda vs. Jalandoni
G.R. L-2662, March 26, 1949
Ponente: Moran, C.J.
Facts:
1. Petitioner Sheginori Kuroda was the former Lt.
General of the Japanese Army and commanding
general of the Japanese forces during the occupation
(WWII) in the country. He was tried before the
Philippine Military Commission for War Crimes and
other atrocities committed against military and
civilians. The military commission was establish
under Executive Order 68.
2. Petitioner assails the validity of EO 68 arguing it is
unconstitutional and hence the military commission
did not have the jurisdiction to try him on the
following grounds:
-

That the Philippines is not a signatory to the


Hague Convention (War Crimes)
That the participation in the prosecution of
the case against petitioner before the
Commission in behalf of the United State of
America of attorneys Melville Hussey and
Robert Port who are not attorneys
authorized by the Supreme Court to practice
law in the Philippines is a diminution of our
personality as an independent state and
their appointment as prosecutor are a
violation of our Constitution for the reason
that they are not qualified to practice law in
the Philippines.
That Attorneys Hussey and Port have no
personality as prosecution the United State
not being a party in interest in the case.

3. Petitioner likewise assails that the US is not a party


of interest in the case hence the 2 US prosecutors

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cannot practice law in the Philippines.


Executive Order No. 68, establishing a National War
Crimes Office prescribing rule and regulation
governing the trial of accused war criminals, was
issued by the President of the Philippines on the 29th
days of July, 1947 This Court holds that this order is
valid and constitutional.
Petitioner challenges the participation of two
American attorneys namely Melville S. Hussey and
Robert Port in the prosecution of his case on the
ground that said attorney's are not qualified to
practice law in Philippines in accordance with our
Rules of court and the appointment of said attorneys
as prosecutors is violative of our national sovereignty.
Issue: Whether or not EO 68 is constitutional thus
the military tribunal jurisdiction is valid
HELD:
EO 68 is constitutional hence the tribunal has
jurisdiction to try Kuroda. EO 68 was enacted by the
President and was in accordance with Sec. 3, Art. 2 of
Constitution which renounces war as an instrument
of national policy. Hence it is in accordance with
generally accepted principles of international law
including the Hague Convention and Geneva
Convention, and other international jurisprudence
established by the UN, including the principle that all
persons (military or civilian) guilty of plan, preparing,
waging a war of aggression and other offenses in
violation of laws and customs of war. The Philippines
may not be a signatory to the 2 conventions at that
time but the rules and regulations of both are wholly
based on the generally accepted principles of
international law. They were accepted even by the 2
belligerent nations (US and Japan)
In the first place respondent Military Commission is a
special military tribunal governed by a special law
and not by the Rules of court which govern ordinary
civil court. It has already been shown that Executive
Order No. 68 which provides for the organization of
such military commission is a valid and constitutional
law. There is nothing in said executive order which
requires that counsel appearing before said
commission must be attorneys qualified to practice
law in the Philippines in accordance with the Rules of
Court. In facts it is common in military tribunals that
counsel for the parties are usually military personnel
who are neither attorneys nor even possessed of
legal training.
Secondly the appointment of the two American
attorneys is not violative of our nation sovereignty. It
is only fair and proper that United States, which has
submitted the vindication of crimes against her
government and her people to a tribunal of our
nation should be allowed representation in the trial of
those very crimes. If there has been any
relinquishment of sovereignty it has not been by our
government but by the United State Government
which has yielded to us the trial and punishment of
her enemies. The least that we could do in the spirit
of comity is to allow them representation in said
trials.
Alleging that the United State is not a party in

interest in the case petitioner challenges the


personality of attorneys Hussey and Port as
prosecutors. It is of common knowledge that the
United State and its people have been equally if not
more greatly aggrieved by the crimes with which
petitioner stands charged before the Military
Commission. It can be considered a privilege for our
Republic that a leader nation should submit the
vindication of the honor of its citizens and its
government to a military tribunal of our country.
The Military Commission having been convened by
virtue of a valid law with jurisdiction over the crimes
charged which fall under the provisions of Executive
Order No. 68, and having said petitioner in its
custody, this Court will not interfere with the due
process of such Military commission.
OMICO MINING AND INDUSTRIAL CORPORATION
and FREDERICK G. WEBBER, petitioners,
vs.
JUDGE AMADOR T. VALLEJOS, in his capacity as
Judge of the Court of First Instance of Cavite,
ALFREDO CATOLICO, and LEONARDO ALCID, in
his capacity as City Sheriff of Manila,
respondents.
FACTS:
Alfredo Catolico (herein private respondent), then a
judge of the Court of First Instance of Cavite, filed
with said court a complaint, docketed as Civil Case
No. N-1963 and assigned to Branch II presided by
respondent Judge Amador T. Vallejos, against Omico
Mining and Industrial Corporation and Frederick G.
Webber, the latter in his personal capacity and as
President and Chairman of the Board of Directors of
said corporation, alleging two (2) causes of action
The first, for the return of ten (10) certificates of
stock of the corporation borrowed from him by the
defendants, and the second, for the payment of his
services as legal counsel for the corporation
Under the second cause of action, plaintiff after
reproducing the pertinent averments in the first
cause of action, among which is the averment that
he is a judge of the Court of First Instance of Cavite,
further alleged that on October 13, 1968, both
defendants entered into a contract of personal and
professional services with him under the terms of
which he was to head defendant corporation's legal
department with the condition that he should render
such services only after his office hours, "even into
the dead wee hours of the night and wherever such
services would not run in conflict with his duties as
Judge"; that in consideration of such services, the
defendants undertook to pay him a yearly salary of
P35,000.00 from the date of the contract, but where
a case shall have been settled in and out of court,
and defendants shall have won or saved money
because of such settlement, he shall be paid by way
of commission ten percent (10%) of the amount
involved in the litigation and/or settlement; that,
pursuant to said contract, he has rendered legal
services as head of the legal department of
defendant Omico
Filed a motion to dismiss

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1.
2.

Improper venue
Lack of cause of action. It was agreed that
the plaintiff shall head the legal department
of defendant Omico Mining & Industrial
Corporation, the same is illegal, void and
unenforceable, plaintiff being a judge of the
Court of First Instance who is prohibited by
Section 35 of Rule 138 of the Revised Rules
of Court from engaging in private practice
as a member of the Bar

While the motion to dismiss was pending resolution


by the court because defendants had not yet
presented to the court the required proof of service,
filed a petition to declare the defendants in default
and to allow him to present his evidence ex parte
While defendants' motion for reconsideration was still
pending before the court because the defendants
had not filed yet their reply to the opposition as they
had not received a copy thereof, plaintiff Catolico
filed a motion for immediate execution of judgment,
alleging, among other things, that said judgment had
already become final and executory because the
defendants failed to have the order of default lifted
Denied
The court appointed the City Sheriff of Manila, herein
respondent Leonardo Alcid, to execute said writ of
execution.
Acting Executive Sheriff Dominador Q. Cacpal served
a notice of garnishment to the defendants, together
with a writ of execution issued by the respondent
Judge.
Because of the impending execution of the judgment
by default which they believe to be illegal,
defendants, on July 25, 1974, filed with this Court the
instant petition praying, among other things, that
respondent Judge be restrained from commanding
the City Sheriff of Manila, or his duly authorized
representative, to execute the decision
Private respondent filed a motion to dismiss said
petition on the ground that the remedy of certiorari
and prohibition is no longer available to the herein
petitioners, inasmuch as they had already perfected
their appeal.
ISSUE: whether the respondent Judge acted without
or in excess of jurisdiction or with grave abuse of
discretion in declaring the defendants in default, in
receiving plaintiff's evidence ex parte and in
rendering judgment thereon.
RULING:
To Our mind, what is decisive here is that plaintiff had
sufficient notice of the time and place of the hearing
of the motion to dismiss.
We notice the ambivalence with which the
respondent Judge applied the rules. Thus, while he
was unduly strict regarding the requirements of
notice of hearing to the defendants, he was, at the
same time, unduly liberal with respect to the plaintiff.
For instance, plaintiff's Motion for Reconsideration did

not contain any notice of hearing, or proof of service


thereof, or even the address of the plaintiff who
signed personally said motion. Notwithstanding the
absence of these data, respondent Judge readily
granted the motion. Then there is plaintiff's motion
for immediate execution of judgment pending
appeal.

complaint, taking into account Our foregoing opinion.


The temporary restraining order is made permanent,
with costs against private respondent.

There is, moreover, the consideration that the


challenged judgment seeks to enforce a contract
which is patently void because it is contrary to law
and public policy. The contract of professional
services entered into between private respondent
and the petitioners, while the former was still a judge
of the Court of First Instance, constituted private
practice of law and in contravention of the express
provision of Section 35 of Rule 138 of the Revised
Rules of Court. The aforecited Rule was promulgated
by this Court, pursuant to its constitutional power to
regulate the practice of law. It is based on sound
reasons of public policy, for there is no question that
the rights, duties, privileges and functions of the
office of an attorney-at-law are so inherently
incompatible with the high official functions, duties,
powers, discretions and privileges of a judge of the
Court of First Instance.
This inhibitory rule makes it obligatory upon the
judicial officers concerned to give their full time and
attention to their judicial duties, prevent them from
extending special favors to their own private
interests and assure the public of their impartiality in
the performance of their functions. These objectives
are dictated by a sense of moral decency and the
desire to promote the public interest.

FACTS:
Simplicio Villanueva was charged with the Crime of
Malicious Mischief before the Justice of the Peace
Court of Alaminos, Laguna. The complainant in the
same case was represented by City Attorney Ariston
Fule of San Pablo City, having entered his
appearance as private prosecutor, after securing the
permission of the Secretary of Justice. The condition
of his appearance as such, was that every time he
would appear at the trial of the case, he would be
considered on official leave of absence, and that he
would not receive any payment for his services. The
appearance of City Attorney Fule as private
prosecutor was questioned by the counsel for the
accused invoking Section 32 of Rule 127 (now Sec.
35, Rule 138, Revised Rules), which provides that "no
judge or other official or employee of the superior
courts or of the office of the Solicitor General, shall
engage in private practice as a member of the bar or
give professional advice to clients."

Private respondent should have known or ought to


know, that when he was elevated to the Bench of the
Court of First Instance as a judge thereof, his right to
practice law as an attorney was suspended and
continued to be suspended as long as he occupied
the judicial position.
It is evident, therefore, that the aforesaid contract is
void because a contract, whose cause, object or
purpose is contrary to law, morals, good customs,
public order or public policy, is considered inexistent
and void from the beginning.
RE: REMEDY

The remedy provided for in the above-quoted rule is


properly, though not exclusively, available to a
defendant who has been validly declared in default. It
does not preclude a defendant who has been illegally
declared in default from pursuing a more speedy and
efficacious remedy, like a petition for certiorari to
have the judgment by default set aside as a nullity.
It should be emphasized that a defendant who is
properly declared in default is differently situated
from one who is improvidently declared in default.
The former irreparably loses his right to participate in
the trial, while the latter retains such a right and may
exercise the same after having the order of default
and the subsequent judgment by default annulled
and the case remanded to the court of origin.
WHEREFORE, certiorari is granted and the default
order, judgment and writ of execution rendered by
the respondent Judge in Civil Case No. N-1963 are
hereby set aside, and the respondent Judge is
ordered to hear and decide the motion to dismiss the

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People v. Simplicio Villanueva


G.R. No. L-19450 May 27, 1965
PAREDES, J.:

ISSUE: WON City Attorney Fule was engaging in


private law practice.
HELD:
NO. The Court believes that the isolated appearance
of City Attorney Fule did not constitute private
practice within the meaning and contemplation of the
Rules. Practice is more than an isolated appearance,
for it consists in frequent or customary actions, a
succession of acts of the same kind. In other words, it
is frequent habitual exercise. Practice of law to fall
within the prohibition of statute has been interpreted
as customarily or habitually holding one's self out to
the public, as customarily and demanding payment
for such services. The appearance as counsel on one
occasion is not conclusive as determinative of
engagement in the private practice of law.
Essentially, the word private practice of law implies
that one must have presented himself to be in the
active and continued practice of the legal profession
and that his professional services are available to the
public for a compensation, as a source of his
livelihood or in consideration of his said services.
Sec. 31, Rule 127 of the Rules of Court provides that
in the court of a justice of the peace a party may
conduct his litigation in person, with the aid of an
agent or friend appointed by him for that purpose, or
with the aid of an attorney. Assistant City Attorney
Fule appeared in the Justice of the Peace Court as an
agent or friend of the offended party. It does not
appear that he was being paid for his services or that
his appearance was in a professional capacity.
For one thing, it has never been refuted that City
Attorney Fule had been given permission by his
immediate superior, the Secretary of Justice, to
represent the complainant in the case at bar, who is
a relative.

CONCEPCION DIA-AONUEVO v. MUN. JUDGE


BONIFACIO B. BERCACIO OF TABACO, ALBAY
A.M. No. 177-MJ November 27, 1975
MUOZ PALMA, J.
FACTS:
Respondent, incumbent Municipal Judge of Tabaco,
Albay, faces this administrative complaint for
conduct unbecoming a judge on two counts: (1)
engaging in the practice of law, and (2) failure to
return promptly to complainant, Concepcion DiaAonuevo, the money deposited with him.
Complainant, Dia-Aonuevo, claims to be a co-owner
of an undivided interest of a certain parcel of
riceland. This property was the object of a deed of
sale executed by the other co-owners owning only
one-third undivided portion of the property and
acknowledged before the respondent, Municipal
Judge Bonifacio Bercacio, as ex-officio notary public.
Judge Bercacio advised the complainant to redeem or
repurchase the property from the vendee, Alfredo
Ong. Complainant then requested the judge to
intercede in their behalf with the vendee to allow
them to redeem the property and for that purpose
she gave respondent the amount of P3,500.00 to be
used to pay the vendee. Respondent agreed and
received the amount of P3,500.00 for which he
issued a receipt. Respondent sent a letter to Alfredo
Ong but the latter did not answer. A complaint was
filed for the annulment of sale of real property and
redemption with damages. This complaint was
prepared by "Eligio R. Berango & B.B. Bercacio &
Ass." as counsel for the plaintiffs, with Eligio R.
Berango signing the complaint.
During the pendency of the civil case, complainant,
in need of money, asked respondent judge to allow
her to withdraw P1,500.00 from the P3,500.00 she
had deposited with him but no action was taken by
respondent. The verbal request was followed by
several letters advising Judge Bercacio that
complainant was withdrawing the amount of
P3,500.00. Eliciting no response, filed the present
complaint.
ISSUE: WON respondent engaged in the practice of
law.
HELD:
Respondents actuations fall within the definition of
practice of law. The active interest he took in the
case of Mrs. Aonuevo manifested as follows: (a) He
gave Mrs. Aonuevo legal advice on the remedy
available to her and her co-owners with regards to
the property sold to Alfredo Ong; (b) He accepted
from Mrs. Aonuevo the sum of P3,500.00 for
purposes of redeeming the property from the
vendee, plus P100.00 for incidental expenses; (c) He
wrote to Alfredo Ong for and in behalf of Mrs.
Aonuevo and her co-owners offering to redeem the
land in question; (d) When his attempts at an out-of
court settlement failed, he caused the filing of the
complaint in Civil Case No. 4591, for which he was
issued a receipt for docket and legal research fees;

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(e) He was present together with Atty. Berango at the


pre-trial.
The practice of law is not limited to the conduct of
cases in court or participation in court proceedings
but also includes preparation of pleadings or papers
in anticipation of a litigation, giving of legal advice to
clients or persons needing the same, etc.
Hence, respondent violated the Circular issued by the
Secretary of Justice in relation to Section 77 of the
Judiciary Act of 1948, as amended, which provides
that no Municipal Judge shall engage in private
practice as a member of the bar or give professional
advice to clients.
Respondent Judge Bonifacio B. Bercacio guilty as
charged, and hereby suspend him from office for a
period of six (6) months effective immediately upon
finality of this decision, with the warning that
commission of other acts unbecoming of a Judge will
warrant a more severe penalty from the Court.
ALEJANDRO DE GUZMAN v. VISAYAN RAPID
TRANSIT CO., INC., NEGROS TRANSPORTATION
CO., INC., and NICOLAS CONCEPCION
G.R. No. 46396 September 30, 1939
LAUREL, J.
FACTS:
Respondents, operating automobile lines, engaged
the professional services of the petitioner, who was
then a law practitioner in the City of Manila. The
employment was for the purpose of obtaining the
suppression, reduction and refund of certain toll rates
on various bridges along the line operated by the
respondent transportation companies. Petitioner took
steps to obtain first the suppression, and later the
reduction of toll rates on said bridges and also the
refund of P50,000 of toll charges already collected by
the Province of Occidental Negros. After various
conferences, the provincial board, with the
conformity of respondents president, adopted a
resolution reducing the tolls. The provincial board
also refunded P50,000 as bridge tolls illegally
collected from the Visayan Rapid Transit Company,
Inc., and the Negros Transportation Company, Inc.,
said amount to be applied to future payments for
tolls by said companies. As a result of this reduction
of tolls, the respondents have been benefited with an
economy of P78,448 for every eighteen months.
ISSUE:
WON acts performed
practice of law.

by

petitioner

constitutes

HELD:
Yes. We have noted in the beginning that the services
here were rendered in a case of an administrative
nature. But that does not alter the application of the
proper rule professional services, to prepare and
advocate just claims for compensation, are as
legitimate as services rendered in court in arguing a
cause to convince a court or jury that the claim
presented or the defense set up against a claim
presented by the other party ought to be allowed or
rejected. Parties in such cases require advocates; and
the legal profession must have a right to accept such

employment and to receive compensation for their


services; nor can courts of justice adjudge such
contracts illegal, if they are free from any taint of
fraud, misrepresentation, or unfairness. Although the
professional services rendered by the petitioner are
purely administrative and did not require a high
degree of professional skill and experience, the fact
remains that these services were rendered and were
productive of substantial beneficial results to his
clients. It is clear that for these services the
petitioner is entitled to compensation, and the only
question is the reasonable amount to which he is
entitled.
Facts and circumstances considered, we are of the
opinion that the reasonable compensation of the
petitioner is P7,000, deducting therefrom, however,
the sum of P1,280 which the petitioner had already
received.
RENATO CAYETANO v. CHRISTIAN MONSOD
G.R. No. 100113 September 3, 1991
PARAS, J.
FACTS:
Respondent Christian Monsod was nominated by
President Aquino to the position of Chairman of the
COMELEC.
Petitioner
Cayetano
opposed
the
nomination because allegedly Monsod does not
possess the required qualification of having been
engaged in the practice of law for at least ten years.
Challenging the validity of the confirmation by the
Commission
on
Appointments
of
Monsod's
nomination, petitioner as a citizen and taxpayer, filed
the instant petition for certiorari and Prohibition
praying that said confirmation and the consequent
appointment of Monsod as Chairman of the
Commission on Elections be declared null and void.
It was established that after graduating from College
of Law (UP) and having hurdled the bar (1960),
respondent has worked in the following:
1. Law office of his father;
2. World Bank group as Operations Officer
for about 2 years, which involved
getting acquainted with the laws of
member-countries, negotiating loans
and coordinating legal, economic, and
project work of the Bank (1963-1970);
3. Meralco group as Chief Executive
Officer of an investment bank loans and
coordinating legal, economic, and
project work of the Bank (Upon
returning to the Philippines in 1970);
4. Services to various companies as a
legal and economic consultant or chief
executive officer (since 1986);
5. NAMFREL As Secretary-General (1986)
and later National Chairman (1987);
6. He also claimed to have worked with
the underprivileged sectors, and was
also a member of the Davide
Commission
as
well
as
the
Constitutional Commission.
ISSUE:
WON respondent possess the requirement of 10
years practice of law.

PALE

HELD:
Yes. Practice of law means any activity, in or out of
court, which requires the application of law, legal
procedure, knowledge, training and experience. "To
engage in the practice of law is to perform those acts
which are characteristics of the profession. Generally,
to practice law is to give notice or render any kind of
service, which device or service requires the use in
any degree of legal knowledge or skill."
Practice of law under modern conditions consists in
no small part of work performed outside of any court
and having no immediate relation to proceedings in
court. It embraces conveyancing, the giving of legal
advice on a large variety of subjects, and the
preparation and execution of legal instruments
covering an extensive field of business and trust
relations and other affairs. Although these
transactions may have no direct connection with
court proceedings, they are always subject to
become involved in litigation. They require in many
aspects a high degree of legal skill, a wide
experience with men and affairs, and great capacity
for adaptation to difficult and complex situations. No
valid distinction, so far as concerns the question set
forth in the order, can be drawn between that part of
the work of the lawyer which involves appearance in
court and that part which involves advice and
drafting of instruments in his office.
The test that defines law practice by looking to
traditional areas of law practice is essentially
tautologous, unhelpful defining the practice of law as
that which lawyers do. The practice of law is defined
as the performance of any acts . . . in or out of court,
commonly understood to be the practice of law.
In the course of a working day the average general
practitioner wig engage in a number of legal tasks,
each involving different legal doctrines, legal skills,
legal processes, legal institutions, clients, and other
interested parties. Even the increasing numbers of
lawyers in specialized practice wig usually perform at
least some legal services outside their specialty. And
even within a narrow specialty such as tax practice, a
lawyer will shift from one legal task or role such as
advice-giving to an importantly different one such as
representing a client before an administrative
agency.
By no means will most of this work involve litigation,
unless the lawyer is one of the relatively rare types
a litigator who specializes in this work to the
exclusion of much else. Instead, the work will require
the lawyer to have mastered the full range of
traditional lawyer skills of client counselling, advicegiving, document drafting, and negotiation. And
increasingly lawyers find that the new skills of
evaluation and mediation are both effective for many
clients and a source of employment.
Regarding the skills to apply by the corporate
counsel, three factors are apropos:
1. First System Dynamics. The field of systems
dynamics has been found an effective tool
for new managerial thinking regarding both
planning and pressing immediate problems

2.

Second Decision Analysis. This enables


users to make better decisions involving
complexity and uncertainty.
Third Modeling for Negotiation Management.
Computer-based models can be used
directly by parties and mediators in all lands
of negotiations.

recommending to the Court the removal of the name


of the respondent from its Roll of Attorneys for
"stubborn refusal to pay his membership dues" to the
IBP since the latter's constitution notwithstanding
due notice. The said Resolution was pursuant to
paragraph 2, Section 24, Article III of the By-Laws of
the IBP, which reads:

The organization and management of the legal


function,
concern
three
pointed
areas
of
consideration, thus:
1. Preventive Lawyering.
2. Managerial Jurisprudence.
3. Organization and Functioning of the
Corporate Counsel's Office.

.... Should the delinquency further continue until the


following June 29, the Board shall promptly inquire
into the cause or causes of the continued
delinquency and take whatever action it shall deem
appropriate, including a recommendation to the
Supreme Court for the removal of the delinquent
member's name from the Roll of Attorneys. Notice of
the action taken shall be sent by registered mail to
the member and to the Secretary of the Chapter
concerned.

3.

Interpreted in the light of the various definitions of


the term Practice of law". particularly the modern
concept of law practice, and taking into consideration
the liberal construction intended by the framers of
the
Constitution,
Atty.
Monsod's
past
work
experiences as a lawyer-economist, a lawyermanager, a lawyer-entrepreneur of industry, a
lawyer-negotiator of contracts, and a lawyerlegislator of both the rich and the poor verily more
than satisfy the constitutional requirement that he
has been engaged in the practice of law for at least
ten years.
The Commission on the basis of evidence submitted
doling the public hearings on Monsod's confirmation,
implicitly determined that he possessed the
necessary qualifications as required by law. The
judgment rendered by the Commission in the
exercise of such an acknowledged power is beyond
judicial interference except only upon a clear
showing of a grave abuse of discretion amounting to
lack or excess of jurisdiction.
When Samson (his long hair cut by Delilah) was
captured, the procurator placed an iron rod burning
white-hot two or three inches away from in front of
Samson's eyes. This blinded the man. Upon hearing
of what had happened to her beloved, Delilah was
beside herself with anger, and fuming with righteous
fury, accused the procurator of reneging on his word.
The procurator calmly replied: "Did any blade touch
his skin? Did any blood flow from his veins?" The
procurator was clearly relying on the letter, not the
spirit of the agreement.
Petition dismissed.
In the Matter of the IBP Membership Dues
Delinquency of Atty. MARCIAL A. EDILION (IBP
Administrative Case No. MDD-1)
A.M. No. 1928 August 3, 1978
CASTRO, C.J.

The authority of the Court to issue the order applied


for is found in Section 10 of the Court Rule, which
reads:
SEC. 10. Effect of non-payment of dues.
Subject to the provisions of Section 12 of
this Rule, default in the payment of annual
dues for six months shall warrant
suspension of membership in the Integrated
Bar, and default in such payment for one
year shall be a ground for the removal of the
name of the delinquent member from the
Roll of Attorneys.
The obligation to pay membership dues is couched in
the following words of the Court Rule:
SEC. 9. Membership dues. Every member of
the Integrated Bar shall pay such annual
dues as the Board of Governors shall
determine with the approval of the Supreme
Court.
The core of the respondent's arguments is that the
above provisions constitute an invasion of his
constitutional rights in the sense that he is being
compelled, as a pre-condition to maintaining his
status as a lawyer in good standing, to be a member
of the IBP and to pay the corresponding dues, and
that as a consequence of this compelled financial
support of the said organization to which he is
admittedly personally antagonistic, he is being
deprived of the rights to liberty and property
guaranteed to him by the Constitution. Hence, the
respondent concludes, the above provisions of the
Court Rule and of the IBP By-Laws are void and of no
legal force and effect.
ISSUE:
WON mandatory membership in the IBP is violative of
a lawyers constitutional right.

FACTS:
The respondent Marcial A. Edillon is a duly licensed
practicing attorney in the Philippines.
On November 29, 1975, the Integrated Bar of the
Philippines Board of Governors unanimously adopted
Resolution No. 75-65 in Administrative Case No.
MDD-1 (In the Matter of the Membership Dues
Delinquency
of
Atty.
Marcial
A.
Edillon)

PALE

HELD:
To compel a lawyer to be a member of the Integrated
Bar is not violative of his constitutional freedom to
associate.
Integration does not make a lawyer a member of any
group of which he is not already a member. He

became a member of the Bar when he passed the


Bar examinations. 7 All that integration actually does
is to provide an official national organization for the
well-defined but unorganized and incohesive group of
which every lawyer is a ready a member.
Bar integration does not compel the lawyer to
associate with anyone. He is free to attend or not
attend the meetings of his Integrated Bar Chapter or
vote or refuse to vote in its elections as he chooses.
The only compulsion to which he is subjected is the
payment of annual dues. The Supreme Court, in
order to further the State's legitimate interest in
elevating the quality of professional legal services,
may require that the cost of improving the profession
in this fashion be shared by the subjects and
beneficiaries of the regulatory program the
lawyers.
Assuming that the questioned provision does in a
sense compel a lawyer to be a member of the
Integrated Bar, such compulsion is justified as an
exercise of the police power of the State.
The practice of law is not a property right but a mere
privilege, and as such must bow to the inherent
regulatory power of the Court to exact compliance
with the lawyer's public responsibilities. All legislation
directing the integration of the Bar have been
uniformly and universally sustained as a valid
exercise of the police power over an important
profession. The practice of law is not a vested right
but a privilege, a privilege moreover clothed with
public interest because a lawyer owes substantial
duties not only to his client, but also to his brethren
in the profession, to the courts, and to the nation,
and takes part in one of the most important functions
of the State the administration of justice as an
officer of the court. 4 The practice of law being
clothed with public interest, the holder of this
privilege must submit to a degree of control for the
common good, to the extent of the interest he has
created. As the U. S. Supreme Court through Mr.
Justice Roberts explained, the expression "affected
with a public interest" is the equivalent of "subject to
the exercise of the police power."
The provisions of Rule of Court 139-A and of the ByLaws of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines
complained of are neither unconstitutional nor illegal.
The respondent Marcial A. Edillon should be as he is
hereby disbarred, and his name is hereby ordered
stricken from the Roll of Attorneys of the Court
ALFREDO C. TAJAN, petitioner,
vs.
HON. VICENTE N. CUSI, JR., Judge, Court of First
Instance of Davao, respondent.
FACTS:
Alfredo C. Tajan challenges the authority of
respondent Judge of the Court of First Instance of
Davao to hear Administrative Case No. 59 of said
court involving a disciplinary action initiated against
petitioner as a member of the Philippine Bar.
A petition in court containing factual averments

PALE

which petitioner knew were false, to wit:


The records and the transcript of stenographic notes
of Misc. Case No. 2968 of this Court show that you
prepared and/or caused to be prepared a verified
petition for issuance of a new owner's duplicate copy
of Transfer Certificate of Title No. T-7312 in favor of
Vicente Calongo, alleging therein as grounds
therefor, "That the aforesaid Transfer Certificate was
lost by the herein petitioner in his house in Mati,
Davao; That in spite of the diligent search of the
aforesaid title, the same could not be found and is
therefore now presumed to be lost
Petitioner denying the material averments of
respondent Judge's letter and explaining the
circumstances under which he prepared the
aforementioned petition.
Respondent Judge had his letter filed and docketed
as Adm. Case
Respondent Judge proceeded to hear the evidence
against petitioner.
Petitioner's thesis is that respondent Judge has no
authority on his own motion to hear and determine
proceedings for disbarment or suspension of
attorneys because jurisdiction thereon is vested
exclusively and originally in the Supreme Court and
not in courts of first instance. Petitioner also
contends that assuming arguendo that courts of first
instance have such authority, the procedure outlined
in Rule 139 of the Revised Rules of Court should
govern the filing and investigation of the complaint.
RULING: We find petitioner's contentions without
merit.
The power to exclude unfit and unworthy members of
the legal profession stems from the inherent power of
the Supreme Court to regulate the practice of law
and the admission of persons to engage in that
practice. It is a necessary incident to the proper
administration of justice. An attorney-at-law is an
officer of the court in the administration of justice
and as such he is continually accountable to the
Court for the manner in which he exercises the
privilege which has been granted to him. His
admission to the practice of law is upon the implied
condition that his continued enjoyment of the right
conferred, is dependent upon his remaining a fit and
safe person to exercise it. When it appears by acts of
misconduct, that he has become unfit to continue
with the trust reposed upon him, his right to continue
in the enjoyment of that trust and for the enjoyment
of the professional privilege accorded to him may
and ought to be forfeited. The law accords to the
Court of Appeals and the Court of First Instance the
power to investigate and suspend members of the
bar.
It should be observed that proceedings for the
disbarment of members of the bar are not in any
sense a civil action where there is a plaintiff and the
respondent is a defendant. Disciplinary proceedings
involve no private interest and afford no redress for
private grievance. They are undertaken and
prosecuted solely for the public welfare. They are
undertaken for the purpose of preserving courts of

justice from the official ministration of persons unfit


to practice in them. The attorney is called to answer
to the court for his conduct as an officer of the court.
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 has generally
no interest in the outcome except as all good citizens
may have in the proper administration of justice. The
court may therefore act upon its own motion and
thus be the initiator of the proceedings, because,
obviously the court may investigate into the conduct
of its own officers.
Indeed it is not only the right but the duty of the
Court to institute upon its own motion, proper
proceedings for the suspension or the disbarment of
an attorney, when from information submitted to it or
of its own knowledge it appears that any attorney
has so conducted himself in a case pending before
said court as to show that he is wanting in the proper
measure of respect for the court of which he is an
officer, or is lacking in the good character essential to
his continuance as an attorney. This is for the
protection of the general public and to promote the
purity of the administration of justice.
Sections 3 to 6 of Rule 139 are not applicable to the
investigation of complaints against attorneys in the
Court of Appeals and in Courts of First Instance. The
investigation by the Solicitor General in Section 3 of
Rule 139 refers to complaints referred to said office
by this Court and not to investigations in suspension
proceedings before the Court of Appeals or Courts of
First Instance, because Sections 28 to 30 of Rule 138
authorize said courts and confer upon them the
power to conduct the investigation themselves,
subject to another and final investigation by the
Supreme Court in the event of suspension of the
lawyer
JOSE ALCALA and AVELINA IMPERIAL, petitioners,
vs.
HONESTO DE VERA, respondent.
FACTS:
Jose Alcala (now deceased) and his wife, Avelina
Imperial, filed this present petition for disbarment
against respondent Honesto de Vera, a practicing
attorney of Locsin, Albay, who was retained by them
as their counsel in civil case
Complainants charge Atty. Honesto de Vera with
gross negligence and malpractice: 1) for having
maliciously and deliberately omitted to notify them of
the decision in civil case 2478 resulting in the
deprivation of their right to appeal from the adverse
judgment rendered against them; and 2) for
respondent's indifference, disloyalty and lack of
interest in petitioners' cause resulting to their
damage and prejudice.
RESPONDENT: asserted that he notified his clients of
the decision in question and that he defended
complainants' case to the best of his ability as
demanded by the circumstances and that he never
showed indifference, lack of interest or disloyalty to
their cause

PALE

The trial court rendered judgment rescinding the


contract of sale, on the ground that the vendee
Semenchuk was not able to take material possession
of lot 1880 it being in the possession of a certain
Ruperto Ludovice and his brothers who have been
occupying the land for a number of years.
Respondent Atty. de Vera received a copy of the
decision but he failed to inform his clients of the
judgment against them.
A sheriff came to complainants' house to serve a writ
of execution issued in said case. Totally caught by
surprise, Jose Alcala immediately wrote to the trial
court and inquired for the status of case
Spouses Alcala instituted civil case 2723 for damages
against Atty. Honesto de Vera for having failed to
inform them of the decision in case 2478 as a result
of which they lost their right to appeal from said
decision.
Not content with having filed case 2723,
complainants instituted this complaint for disbarment
against their former counsel.
ISSUE: whether or not respondent notified his
clients, the complainants herein, about the decision
in case 2478
RULING:
We agree with the Solicitor General that there is
sufficient evidence on hand to prove that respondent
neglected to acquaint his clients of the decision in
case 2478.
The evidence shows that when he was told about the
sheriff's visit, Jose Alcala immediately inquired from
the trial Court the reason for the writ of execution
and it was only then that he was informed that a
decision had been rendered, that his lawyer received
a copy thereof since April 19, 1963, and because no
appeal was taken the judgment became final and
executory
The second issue that has to be passed upon by the
Court is neither the plaintiffs are entitled to damages.
On this issue, the Court finds that the plaintiffs
cannot recover damages from defendant Atty.
Honesto de Vera. No evidence has been presented
that they sustained damages of the decision. Neither
it has been shown that the decision is not supported
by the facts and the law applicable to the case.
Consequently, the plaintiffs are not entitled to
damages because of the failure of Atty. Honesto de
Vera to inform them of the decision.
An attorney is not bound to exercise extraordinary
diligence, but only a reasonable degree of care and
skill, having reference to the character of the
business he undertakes to do. Fallible like any other
human being, he is answerable to every error or
mistake, and will be protected as long as he acts
honestly and in good faith to the best of his skill and
knowledge. Moreover, a party seeking damages
resulting from a judgment adverse to him which
became final by reason of the alleged fault or
negligence of his lawyer must prove his loss due to
the injustice of the decision. He cannot base his

10

action on the unsubstantiated and


supposition of the injustice of the decision

arbitrary

True it is that petitioners do not appear to have


suffered any material or pecuniary damage by the
failure of respondent Atty. De Vera to notify them of
the decision in Civil Case No. 2478. It is no less true,
however, that in failing to inform his clients, the
petitioners, of the decision in said civil case,
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"
The relationship of lawyer-client being one of
confidence, there is ever present the need for the
client's being adequately and fully informed and
should not be left in the dark as to the mode and
manner in which his interests are being defended. It
is only thus that their faith in counsel may remain
unimpaired (Oparel, Sr. vs. Aberia Adm. Case No.
595, July 30, 1971). As it happened in this case,
because of respondent's failure to notify petitioners
of the decision in Civil Case No. 2478, the latter were
entirely caught by surprise, resulting in shock and
mental and emotional disturbance to them, when the
sheriff suddenly showed up in their home with a writ
of execution of a judgment that they never knew had
been rendered in the case, since their lawyer, the
respondent, had totally failed to inform them about
the same.
We concur with the above-quoted observations and
add that the correctness of the decision in case 2478
is no ground for exonerating respondent of the
charge but at most will serve only to mitigate his
liability. While there is no finding of malice, deceit, or
deliberate intent to cause damage to his clients,
there
is,
nonetheless, proof
of negligence,
inattention, and carelessness on the part of
respondent in his failure to give timely notice of the
decision in question.
Fortunately for respondent, his negligence did not
result in any material or pecuniary damage to the
herein complainants and for this reason We are not
disposed to impose upon him what may be
considered in a lawyer's career as the extreme
penalty of disbarment.
Although respondent's negligence does not warrant
disbarment or suspension under the circumstances of
the case, nonetheless it cannot escape a rebuke from
Us as we hereby rebuke and censure him,
considering that his failure to notify his clients of the
decision in question manifests a lack of total
dedication or devotion to their interest expected of
him under his lawyer's oath and the Canons of
Professional Ethics. Respondent's inaction merits a
severe censure from the Court.
SEVERELY CENSURE.
ROMULO CANTIMBUHAN, NELSON B. MALANA,
and ROBERT V. LUCILA, petitioners,
vs.
HON. NICANOR J. CRUZ, JR., Presiding Judge of
the Municipal Court of Paraaque, Metro

PALE

Manila, and FISCAL LEODEGARIO C. QUILATAN,


respondents.
FACTS:
Petitioner Romulo Cantimbuhan filed separate
criminal complaints against Patrolmen Danilo San
Antonio and Rodolfo Diaz for less serious physical
injuries
Appeal from the Order, dated August 16, 1979, of
respondent Judge Nicanor J. Cruz, Jr., of the then
Municipal Court of Paraaque, Metro Manila,
disallowing the appearances of petitioners Nelson B.
Malana and Robert V. Lucila as private prosecutors in
Criminal Cases Nos. 58549 and 58550, both for less
serious physical injuries, filed against Pat. Danilo San
Antonio and Pat. Rodolfo Diaz, respectively, as well
as the Order, dated September 4, 1979, denying the
motion for reconsideration holding, among others,
that "the fiscal's claim that appearances of friends of
party-litigants should be allowed only in places where
there is a scarcity of legal practitioner, to be well
founded. For, if we are to allow non-members of the
bar to appear in court and prosecute cases or defend
litigants in the guise of being friends of the litigants,
then the requirement of membership in the
Integrated Bar of the Philippines and the additional
requirement of paying professional taxes for a lawyer
to appear in court, would be put to naught. "
RULING:
We find merit in the petition. Section 34, Rule 138 of
the Rules of Court, clearly provides that in the
municipal court a party may conduct his litigation in
person with the aid of an agent appointed by him for
the purpose
Thus, a non-member of the Philippine Bar a party
to an action is authorized to appear in court and
conduct his own case; and, in the inferior courts, the
litigant may be aided by a friend or agent or by an
attorney. However, in the Courts of First Instance,
now Regional Trial Courts, he can be aided only by an
attorney.
On the other hand, it is the submission of the
respondents that pursuant to Sections 4 and 15, Rule
110 of the Rules of Court, it is the fiscal who is
empowered to determine who shall be the private
prosecutor as was done by respondent fiscal when he
objected to the appearances of petitioners Malana
and Lucila. Sections 4 and 15, Rule 110 of the Rules
of Court
It is accordingly our view that error was committed in
the municipal court in not allowing Crispiniano V.
Laput to act as an agent or friend of Catalino Salas to
aid the latter in conducting his defense.
The permission of the fiscal is not necessary for one
to enter his appearance as private prosecutor. In the
first place, the law does not impose this condition.
What the fiscal can do, if he wants to handle the case
personally is to disallow the private prosecutor's
participation, whether he be a lawyer or not, in the
trial of the case.

11

On the other hand, if the fiscal desires the active


participation of the private prosecutor, he can just
manifest to the court that the private prosecutor,
with its approval, will conduct the prosecution of the
case under his supervision and control. Further, We
may add that if a non-lawyer can appear as defense
counsel or as friend of the accused in a case before
the municipal trial court, with more reason should he
be allowed to appear as private prosecutor under the
supervision and control of the trial fiscal.
In the two criminal cases filed before the Municipal
Court of Paraaque, petitioner Cantimbuhan, as the
offended party, did not expressly waive the civil
action nor reserve his right to institute it separately
and, therefore, the civil action is deemed impliedly
instituted in said criminal cases. Thus, said
complainant Romulo Cantimbuhan has personal
interest in the success of the civil action and, in the
prosecution of the same, he cannot be deprived of
his right to be assisted by a friend who is not a
lawyer.
ORDER THAT DISALLOWED THE APPEARANCES IS SET
ASIDE.
HYDRO RESOURCES CONTRACTORS
CORPORATION, petitioner,
vs.
LABOR ARBITER ADRIAN N. PAGALILAUAN and
the NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION,
public respondents, and ROGELIO A. ABAN,
private respondent.
Facts:
Petitioner corporation hired the private respondent
Aban as its "Legal Assistant and received basic
monthly salary of Pl,500.00 plus an initial living
allowance of P50.00 which gradually increased to
P320.00. On September 4, 1980, Aban received a
letter from the corporation informing him that he
would be considered terminated effective October 4,
1980 because of his alleged failure to perform his
duties well.
Aban filed a complaint against the petitioner for
illegal dismissal. The labor arbiter ruled that Aban
was illegally dismissed. This ruling was affirmed by
the NLRC on appeal. Hence, this present petition.
Issue:
Whether or not there was an employer-employee
relationship between the petitioner corporation and
Aban.
Held:
The Supreme Court dismissed the petition for lack of
merit, and reinstate Aban to his former or a similar
position without loss of seniority rights and to pay
three (3) years backwages without qualification or
deduction and P5,000.00 in attorney's fees. Should
reinstatement not be feasible, the petitioner shall
pay the private respondent termination benefits in
addition to the above stated three years backpay and
P5,000.00 attorney's fees.

PALE

A lawyer, like any other professional, may very well


be an employee of a private corporation or even of
the government. This Court has consistently ruled
that the determination of whether or not there is an
employer-employee relation depends upon four
standards: (1) the manner of selection and
engagement of the putative employee; (2) the mode
of payment of wages; (3) the presence or absence of
a power of dismissal; and (4) the presence or
absence of a power to control the putative
employee's conduct. Of the four, the right-of-control
test has been held to be the decisive factor.
In this case, Aban received basic salary plus living
allowance, worked solely for the petitioner, dealt only
with legal matters involving the said corporation and
its employees and also assisted the Personnel Officer
in processing appointment papers of employees
which is not act of a lawyer in the exercise of his
profession. These facts showed that petitioner has
the power to hire and fire the respondent employee
and more important, exercised control over Aban by
defining the duties and functions of his work which
met the four standards in determining whether or not
there is an employee-employer relationship.
Ramos vs. Rada [A.M No. 202 July 22, 1975]
Facts: Moises R. Rada is a messenger in the Court of
First Instance of Camarines, Norte
He was charged with violation of Section 12 of Civil
Service Rule XVIII, which provides as follows:
Sec.12. No officer or employee shall engage directly
in any private business, vocation, or profession or be
connected with any commercial, credit, agricultural
or industrial undertaking without a written permission
from the head of Department: Provided, that this
prohibition will be absolute in the case of those
officers
and
employees
whose
duties
and
responsibilities require that their entire time be at the
disposal of the government
Respondent Rada was extended appointment by the
Avesco Marketing Corporation on December 15, 1972
as representative to manage and supervise real
properties situated in Camarines Norte which were
foreclosed by the corporation.
His acceptance of such appointment was the basis of
the administrative complaint against Rada which was
filed with the Department of Justice on October 3,
1973.
Later, on October 27, 1973, Rada
permission to accept appointment.

requested

It was not indicated that his acceptance and


discharge of the duties as administrator has at all
impaired his efficiency as messenger, nor has it been
shown that he did not observe regular office hours.
Issue: Whether respondent Rada is guilty of violation
of sec.12 of Civil Service Rule XVIII
Held: Rada was adjudged guilty of technical violation
(lack of prior permission) of Sec 12 of Civil Service
Rule XVIII and meted a penalty of reprimand.

12

The duties of messenger Rada are generally


ministerial which do not require that his entire day of
24 hours be at the disposal of the government. Such
being his situation, it would be to stifle his willingness
to apply himself to a productive endeavor to
augment his income, and to award premium for
slothfulness if he were to be banned from engaging
in or being connected with a private undertaking
outside of office hours and without forseeable
detriment to the Government service.

1981, Complainant Jorge Uy died and herein


respondent submitted a verified Notice and Motion
with the Honorable Supreme Court on April 27, 1981;
notifying the Court of this fact with a prayer that
herein respondent be allowed to take his Oath as
Member of the Bar.

His connection with Avesco Marketing Corporation


need not be terminated, but he must secure a written
permission from proper government authority.

He was again assessed by the IBP for his 1981-1982


membership due and other assessment for which he
also paid. Abad also had a Certificate of Membership
in the IBP as well as a Certificate of Membership of
Good Standing with the Quezon City Chapter of the
IBP.

REPRIMANDED

Issue:

ATTY. PROCOPIO S. BELTRAN, JR., vs ELMO S.


ABAD
Abad Santos, J.:
Facts:
Charged by Atty. Procopio S. Beltran, Jr.,
president of the Philippine Trial Lawyers Association,
Inc., of practicing law without having been previously
admitted to the Philippine Bar, Mr. Elmo S. Abad
could not deny and had to admit the practice. On
July 23, 1979, Prior to his taking the Oath of Office as
a member of the bar, he paid his Bar Admission Fee,
Certification Fee and also his Membership Dues for
the year 1979-80 to the Integrated Bar of the
Philippines.
Respondent was included as among
those taking the Oath of Office as Member of the Bar.
While waiting for his turn to take his Oath as
a member of the Bar, he was made to sign his
Lawyer's Oath by one of the Clerk in the Office of the
Bar Confidant and while waiting there, Atty. Romeo
Mendoza (Clerk of Court SC), told him that Chief
Justice, the Hon. Enrique M. Fernando wants to talk to
him about the Reply of Mr. Jorge Uy (Deceased) to his
Answer to Uy's Complaint. The Honorable Chief
Justice told him that he had to answer the Reply and
for which reason the taking of his Lawyer's Oath was
further suspended.
Believing that with his signing of the
Lawyer's Oath on July 26, 1979 and his Reply to Mr.
Jorge Uy's (Deceased) Answer, the Supreme Court
did not order for the striking of his name in the Roll of
Attorneys with the Integrated Bar of the Philippines
and therefore a Member in Good Standing, he paid
his membership due and other assessments to the
Integrated Bar of the Philippines.
Respondent was included as a Qualified
Voter for the election of officers and directors for the
year 1981-1982. Respondent's belief and good faith
was further enhanced by the fact that on January 8,

PALE

WON practiced law without being previously


admitted to the bar
Held:
Yes. Respondent Abad should know that the
circumstances which he has narrated do not
constitute his admission to the Philippine Bar and the
right to practice law thereafter. He should know that
two essential requisites for becoming a lawyer still
had to be performed, namely: his lawyer's oath to be
administered by this Court and his signature in the
Roll of Attorneys.
The proven charge against
respondent Abad constitutes contempt of court.
Penalty: Fine= 500 payable within 10 days; In case of
failure to pay= 25 days imprisonment.
CARMEN E. BACARRO vs RUBEN M. PINATACAN
Guerrero, J.:
FACTS:
This is an administrative complaint charging
Ruben M. Pinatacan, with moral turpitude and
depravity, and lack of proper character required of a
member of the Bar.
Complainant Bacarro averred that she and
respondent fell in love and became engaged while
they were studying at the Liceo de Cagayan in
Cagayan de Oro City; that when she became
pregnant as a result of their relationship, respondent
abandoned her and never fulfilled his promise to
marry her
Pinatacan denied that: 1.) he was the father
of the child, 2.) he promised to marry her; and that
3.) he cohabited with her. He claimed that his
relationship with complainant cooled down when he
applied for a direct commission with the Philippine
Constabulary on January 1971. He returned to Manila
and stayed there for the greater part of March, 1971,
for his physical examination. He returned to Cagayan
de Oro City, but in June of 1971, he left for his
hometown, Jimenez, Misamis Occidental, and never
again returned to Cagayan de Oro City.

13

The case was referred


to the Judicial
Investigator but upon Bacarro's request, she was
allowed to present evidence. The respondent failed
to attend the hearings by the City Fiscal.
In a nutshell, the evidence for the
complainant tends to establish the following facts:
After about a year of courtship, she and respondent
became sweethearts on March 17, 1967 while they
were students at the Liceo de Cagayan in Cagayan
de Oro City. They had their first sexual intercourse on
March 21, 1971, after respondent made promises of
marriage, and they eloped to Cebu City where they
stayed for about a week. They returned to Cagayan
de Oro and respondent left complainant allegedly to
see his parents in his hometown and make the
necessary arrangements for their intended marriage.
Respondent came back in May, 1971, but only to
inform complainant that they could not get married
because
of
his
parents'
objections.
When
complainant told respondent that she was pregnant,
he told her to have an abortion. Complainant refused
and they had a quarrel Thereafter, she did not see or
hear from respondent until after the birth of their
baby girl named Maria Rochie Bacarro Pinatacan on
December 4, 1971. Complainant had no other
boyfriend or sweetheart during the time that she had
a relationship with respondent. In July, 1973, she
brought the child with her to see respondent in
Cavite City and the latter promised to support the
child. However, respondent did not make good his
promise of support so complainant went to see him
again, and once more respondent made several
promises, all of which were never fulfilled, until he
finished his law course and married a singer by the
name of Annie Sarabillo.
The SC required respondent, "as proof of his
sincerity and good faith, to acknowledge and
recognize in a public document duly notarized and
registered in the local civil registrar's office his
paternity over the child Maria Rochie." Respondent
complied.
Respondent argued that based on the evidence
adduced by complainant and even assuming her
averments to be true, no case had been made out to
bar him from taking the lawyer's oath. The Court's
Investigator, Atty. Victor Sevilla, agreed with
respondent.

ISSUE:
WON respondent is entitled to take the
lawyers oath
HELD:
Yes, the court allowed Ruben to take the
lawyers oath. Considering that respondent has legally
recognized and acknowledged complainant's child

PALE

Maria Rochie Bacarro Pinatacan as his own, and has


undertaken to give financial support to the said child,
the SC held that he has realized the wrongfulness of
his past conduct and is now prepared to turn over a
new leaf. But he must be admonished that his
admission to and continued membership in the Bar
are dependent, among others, on his compliance
with his moral and legal obligations as the father of
Maria Rochie Bacarro Pinatacan.
We hold that herein respondent Pinatacan had failed
to live up to the high moral standard demanded for
membership in the Bar. He had seduced complainant
into physically submitting herself to him by promises
of marriage. He even eloped with her and brought
her to another place. He got her pregnant and then
told her to have an abortion When complainant
refused, he deserted her. Complainant had to track
him down to ask him to help support their child born
out of wedlock, and during the few times that she
was able to see him, respondent merely made
promises which he apparently did not intend to keep.
On top of all these, respondent had the audacity and
impudence to deny before this Court in a sworn
Affidavit the paternity of his child by complaint.
These acts taken together certainly do not speak well
of respondent's character and are indicative of his
moral delinquency. All the years that he has been
denied the privilege of being a lawyer were truly
well-deserved. Nevertheless, eight (8) years could be
punishment and retribution enough
IN RE: DISBARMENT OF TELESFORO A. DIAO vs
SEVERINO G. MARTINEZ
Bengzon, C.J.:
FACTS:
Martinez charged Diao with having falsely
represented in his application for the Bar
examination, that he had the requisite academic
qualifications.
The matter was referred to the
Solicitor General who caused the charge to be
investigated; and later he submitted a report
recommending that Diao's name be erased from the
roll of attorneys, because contrary to the allegations
in his petition for examination in this Court, he (Diao)
had not completed, before taking up law subjects,
the required pre-legal education, namely:
a.) High School Training; and
b.) Diao never attended Quisumbing College, and
never obtained his A.A. diploma therefrom which
contradicts the credentials he had submitted in
support of his application for examination, and of his
allegation therein of successful completion of the
"required pre-legal education".
Diao admitted the first charge but he claimed that
although he left high school in his 3rd year, he
entered the US Army service and passed the General
Classification Test which (according to him) is
equivalent to a high school diploma. As to the 2nd

14

charge, he claimed that he obtained his A.A. title


from the Arellano University in April, 1949, he says
he was erroneously certified, due to confusion, as a
graduate of Quisumbing College, in his school
records.
Issue:

foundation was established for RAUL CAMALIGAN, the


hazing victim.
On September 26, 1995, SC required Atty.
Gilbert Camaligan, father of Raul, to comment on
petitioner's prayer. Atty. Camaligan stated that:
a.

WON Diao is qualified to be a member of the


bar
HELD:
No. This explanation is not acceptable, for
the reason that the "error" or "confusion" was
obviously of his own making. Had his application
disclosed his having obtained A.A. from Arellano
University, it would also have disclosed that he got it
in April, 1949, thereby showing that he began his law
studies (2nd semester of 1948-1949) six months
before obtaining his Associate in Arts degree. And
then he would not have been permitted to take the
bar tests, because our Rules provide, and the
applicant for the Bar examination must affirm under
oath, "That previous to the study of law, he had
successfully and satisfactorily completed the
required pre-legal education(A.A.) as prescribed by
the Department of Private Education.
The fact that he hurdled the Bar examinations is
immaterial. Passing such examinations is not the only
qualification to become an attorney-at-law; taking
the prescribed courses of legal study in the regular
manner is equally essential.

b.

c.

Penalty: Strike name from the roll of attorneys, and


return of his lawyer's diploma.
RE: PETITION OF AL ARGOSINO TO TAKE THE
LAWYERS OATH
Padilla, J.:

d.

FACTS:
Petitioner Al Caparros Argosino passed the
bar examinations held in 1993. The Court however
deferred his oath-taking due to his previous
conviction for Reckless Imprudence Resulting In
Homicide. He was one of the eight accused in the
death of a neophyte during fraternity initiation rites.
The 8 pleaded guilty to reckless imprudence resulting
in homicide.
On June 18, 1993, Argosino was granted
probation.
On April 11, 1994, discharged from
probation. On April 14, 1994, filed a petition to be
allowed to take the lawyer's oath. On July 13, 1995,
SC issued a resolution requiring Argosino to submit
evidence that he may now be regarded as complying
with the requirement of good moral character. In
compliace
therewith,
Argosino
submitted
15
certifications/letters executed by 2 senators, 5 trial
court judges, 6 members of religious orders.
Argosino also submitted that a scholarship

PALE

He still believes that the infliction of


severe physical injuries which led to the
death of his son was deliberate rather
than accidental. The offense therefore
was not only homicide but murder since
the accused took advantage of the
neophyte's helplessness implying abuse
of confidence, taking advantage of
superior strength and treachery.
He consented to the accused's plea of
guilt to the lesser offense of reckless
imprudence resulting in homicide only
out of pity for the mothers of the
accused and a pregnant wife of one of
the accused who went to their house on
Christmas day 1991 and Maundy
Thursday 1992, literally on their knees,
crying and begging for forgiveness and
compassion. They also told him that the
father of one of the accused had died of
a heart attack upon learning of his son's
involvement in the incident.
As a Christian, he has forgiven
petitioner and his co-accused for the
death of his son. However, as a loving
father who had lost a son whom he had
hoped would succeed him in his law
practice, he still feels the pain of an
untimely demise and the stigma of the
gruesome manner of his death.
He is not in a position to say whether
petitioner is now morally fit for
admission to the bar. He therefore
submits the matter to the sound
discretion of the Court.

ISSUE:
WON Argosino may be allowed to take his
lawyer's oath.
HELD:
YES. In allowing Mr. Argosino to take the
lawyer's oath, the Court recognizes that Mr. Argosino
is not inherently of bad moral fiber. On the contrary,
the various certifications show that he is a devout
Catholic with a genuine concern for civic duties and
public service. The Court is persuaded that Mr.
Argosino has exerted all efforts to atone for the death
of Raul Camaligan. We are prepared to give him the
benefit of the doubt, taking judicial notice of the
general tendency of youth to be rash, temerarious
and uncalculating. We stress to Mr. Argosino that the
lawyer's oath is NOT a mere ceremony or formality
for practicing law. Every lawyer should at ALL TIMES

15

weigh his actions according to the sworn promises he


makes when taking the lawyer's oath.
Fernando Collantes vs Vicente Renomeron
PER CURIAM:
Facts:
This complaint for disbarment is relative to
the administrative case filed by Atty.
Collantes,
house counsel for V& G Better Homes Subdivision,
Inc. (V&G), against Atty. Renomeron, Register of
Deeds of Tacloban City, for the latters irregular
actuations with regard to the application of V&G for
registration of 163 pro forma Deed of Absolute Sale
with Assignment (in favor of GSIS) of lots in its
subdivision.
Although V&G complied with the desired
requirements, respondent suspended the registration
of the documents with certain special conditions
between them, which was that V&G should provide
him with weekly round trip ticket from Tacloban to
Manila plus P2,000.00 as pocket money per trip, or,
in lieu thereof, the sale of respondents Quezon City
house and lot by V&G or GSIS representatives.
Eventually, respondent formally denied the
registration of the documents. He himself elevated
the question on the registrability of the said
documents to Administrator Bonifacio of the National
Land Titles and Deeds Registration Administration
(now the Land Registration Authority). The
Administrator then resolved in favor of the
registrability of the documents. Despite the
resolution of the Administrator, the respondent still
refused the registration thereof but demanded from
the parties interested the submission of additional
requirements not adverted in his previous denial.

The acts of dishonesty and oppression which


Attorney Renomeron committed as a public official
have demonstrated his unfitness to practice the high
and noble calling of the law.
A person takes an oath when he is admitted to the
Bar which is designed to impress upon him his
responsibilities. He thereby becomes an "officer of
the court" on whose shoulders rests the grave
responsibility of assisting the courts in the proper.
fair, speedy, and efficient administration of justice.
As an officer of the court he is subject to a rigid
discipline that demands that in his every exertion the
only criterion he that truth and justice triumph. This
discipline is what as given the law profession its
nobility, its prestige, its exalted place. From a lawyer,
to paraphrase Justice Felix Frankfurter, are expected
those qualities of truth-speaking, a high sense of
honor, full candor, intellectual honesty, and the
strictest observance of fiduciary responsibility all of
which, throughout the centuries, have been
compendiously described as moral character.
Membership in the Bar is in the category of a
mandate to public service of the highest order. A
lawyer is an oath-bound servant of society whose
conduct is clearly circumscribed by inflexible norms
of law and ethics, and whose primary duty is the
advancement of the quest of truth and justice, for
which he has sworn to be a fearless crusader.
Penalty: DISBARRED

Issues:
WON the respondent, as a lawyer, may also
be disciplined by the Court for his malfeasance as a
public official
Held:
Yes, a lawyers misconduct as a public
official also constitutes a violation of his oath as a
lawyer. The lawyers oath imposes upon every lawyer
the duty to delay no man for money or malice. The
lawyers oath is a source of obligations and its
violation is a ground for his suspension, disbarment
or other disciplinary action.
The Code of Professional Responsibility applies to
government service in the discharge of their official
tasks (Canon 6). The Code forbids a lawyer to engage
in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct
(Rule 1.01, Code of Professional Responsibility), or
delay any mans cause for any corrupt motive or
interest (Rule 1.03).

PALE

16

PART V LAWYERS DUTIES TO SOCIETY


10 CASE DIGESTS

G.R. No. L-36800 October 21, 1974


JORGE MONTECILLO and QUIRICO DEL
MAR, petitioners,
vs.
FRANCISCO M. GICA, MAGNO S. GATMAITAN,
JOSE N. LEUTERIO, and RAMON G. GAVIOLA,
Justices of the Court of Appeals, respondents.
In Re Quirico del Mar, For Disciplinary action as
member of the Philippine Bar, respondent.
ESGUERRA, J.:

FACTS: Petitioner Atty. Quirico del Mar of is a


respondent in contempt proceedings both in the
Court of Appeals and in this Court.
As a result of an alleged slander committed by Jorge
Montecillo on Francisco M. Gica (the former allegedly
calling the latter "stupid" or a "fool'), Mr. Gica filed a
criminal complaint for oral defamation against
Montecillo and a case for damages arising from the
same incident. Montecillo was acquitted and the
Cebu City Court found that Montecillo did not call
Gica "stupid". Finding the counter-claim of Montecillo
meritorious, the City Court rendered judgment
against Gica for him to pay Montecillo P500 as moral
damages, P200 as compensatory damages and P300
as attorney's fees, plus costs.
Francisco Gica appealed to the CFI of Cebu, presided
by Hon. Santiago O. Taada, which upheld the
decision of the City Court. The case was then
elevated to the CA.
CA reversed the decision of the CFI of Cebu and ruled
in favor of petitioner Gica
It is from this point that trouble began for respondent
Atty. Quirico del Mar when, as counsel for Montecillo,
he moved for a reconsideration of CAs decision with
a veiled threat by mentioning the provisions of the
RPC on "Knowingly rendering unjust judgment" and
"judgment rendered through negligence", and the
innuendo that CA allowed itself to be deceived. CA
denied the MR and it observed that the motion
insinuated that it rendered an unjust judgment, that
it abetted a falsification and it permitted itself to be
deceived. It admonished Atty. del Mar to
remember that threats and abusive language
cannot compel any court of justice to grant

PALE

reconsideration. Respondent del Mar persisted and


in his second MR, filed without leave of court, made
another threat by stating that "with almost all penal
violations placed under the jurisdiction of the
President of the Philippines, particularly Articles 171,
204 and 205 of the Revised Penal Code, as
Commander in Chief of the AFP, by virtue of the
proclamation of martial law, the next appeal that will
he interposed, will be to His Excellency, the President
of the Philippines."
CA noticed that notwithstanding its admonition Atty.
Del Mar reiterated his threats, and that CA, impelled
to assert its authority, ordered respondent del Mar to
explain within 10 days why he should not be
punished for contempt of court.
On December 5, 1972, respondent del Mar made a
written explanation wherein he said that CA could not
be threatened and he was not making any threat but
only informing CA of the course of action he would
follow.
CA fittingly concluded that "counsel del Mar is
found guilty of contempt and condemned to
pay a fine of P200.00 and ordered suspended
from the practice of law and pursuant to Sec. 9
of Rule 139. SC upheld the resolution and that the
Judicial Consultant of SC was directed to circularize
all courts about the order of CA suspending Atty.
Quirico del Mar from the practice of law.
Not satisfied with the wrong that he had already
done against Associate Justices Magno S. Gatmaitan,
Jose N. Leuterio and Ramon Gaviola, Jr., respondent
del Mar sued the three Justices for damages, trying to
hold them liable for their decision. This is the
undeniable indication that respondent del Mar did not
only threaten the three Justices of the Appellate
Court but he actually carried out his threat, although
he did not succeed in making them change their
minds in the case they decided in accordance with
the exercise of their judicial discretion emanating
from pure conviction.
Respondent del Mar's ire at the Appellate Court,
fanned by the wind of frustration, turned against Us
when We denied on May 14, 1973, his petition for
review on certiorari of the decision of the Appellate
Court, G. R. No. L-36800, for on May 25, 1973, he
filed his motion for reconsideration and wrote a letter
addressed to the Clerk of this Court requesting the
names of the Justices of this Court who supported the
resolution denying his petition, together with the
names of the Justices favoring his motion for
reconsideration. This motion for reconsideration We
denied for lack of merit in Our resolution dated June
15, 1973. He, then, filed a manifestation dated July 1,
1973, before Us, stating brazenly, among other
things, "I can at this time reveal to you that, had your
Clerk of Court furnished me with certified true copies
of the last two Resolutions of the Supreme Court
confirming the decision of the Court of Appeals in the
case entitled Francisco M. Gica vs. Jorge Montecillo, I
would have filed against the Justices supporting the
same, civil and criminal suit as I did to the Justices of

17

the Court of Appeals who, rewarding the abhorent


falsification committed by Mr. Gica, reversed for him
the decisions of the City Court and the Court of First
Instance of Cebu, not with a view to obtaining a
favorable judgment therein but for the purpose of
exposing to the people the corroding evils extant in
our Government, so that they may well know them
and work for their extermination"
The crucial issue in the case of oral defamation filed
by Francisco M. Gica against Jorge Montecillo is as to
what was the statement really uttered by Montecillo
on the occasion in question "binuang man gud na"
(That act is senseless or done without thinking) or
"buang man gud na siya" (He is foolish or stupid). If
the statement uttered was the former, Montecillo
should be exonerated; if the latter, he would be
liable. The Appellate Court on evaluating the
evidence ruled that the preponderance thereof
favored Gica "on the principle that the positive
evidence must prevail over the negative" and,
therefore, what was really uttered by Montecillo on
that occasion was "buang man gud na siya" (He is
foolish or stupid), thus making him liable for oral
defamation. When We denied in G. R. No. L-36800
the petition for review on certiorari of the Appellate
Court's decision in CA-G. R. No. 46504-R, We did so
because We could find no reason for disturbing the
Appellate Court's finding and conclusion on the
aforementioned lone question of fact which would
warrant overturning its decision.
On July 13, 1973, Our resolution of May 14, 1973,
denying the petition for review on certiorari of the
decision of the Appellate Court in CA-G. R. No. 46504R, became final and executory and the Court of
Appeals was so informed.
To Our resolution of July 16, 1973, requiring
respondent del Mar to show cause why he should not
be disciplined for his statements contained in his
manifestation of July 1, 1973, he submitted an
explanation dated August 1, 1973, wherein he stated
that "..., he is attaching hereto the criminal case he
filed with the President of the Philippines (copy
marked as Annex "A") and the civil case he instituted
in the Court of First Instance of Cebu (copy marked
as Annex "B") against Justices Magno S. Gatmaitan,
Jose N. Leuterio and Ramon G. Gaviola, Jr., which
embody the corroding evils he complained of as
extant in the Government needing correction. He
would have followed suit were it not for the fact that
he is firmly convinced that human efforts in this
direction will be fruitless. As manifested, he,
therefore, decided to retire from a life of militancy to
a life of seclusion leaving to God the filling-up of
human deficiencies" (Emphasis supplied).
This so-called explanation is more, in its tenor,
of a defiant justification of his contemptuous
statements contained in the manifestation of
July 1, 1973. Its contents reveal a continued
veiled threat against the Justices of this Court
who voted to deny del Mar's petition for review
on certiorari of the decision of the Court of
Court Appeals in CA-G R. No. 46504-R.

PALE

Our resolution of September 4, 1973, required


respondent Atty. Quirico del Mar to appear personally
at the hearing of his explanation on November 5,
1973. On September 26, 1973, respondent filed an
additional explanation with this Court, wherein he
stated, among other things: "Graft, corruption and
injustice are rampant in and outside of the
Government. It is this state of things that convinced
me that all human efforts to correct and/or reform
the said evils will be fruitless and, as stated in my
manifestation to you, I have already decided to retire
from a life of militancy to a life of seclusion, leaving
to God the filling-up of human deficiencies."
Respondent is utilizing what exists in his mind as
state of graft, corruption and injustice allegedly
rampant in and outside of the government as
justification for his contemptuous statements. In
other words, he already assumed by his own
contemptuous utterances that because there is an
alleged existence of rampant corruption, graft, and
injustice in and out of the government, We, by Our
act in G. R. No. L-36800, are among the corrupt, the
grafters and those allegedly committing injustice. We
are at a complete loss to follow respondent del Mar's
logic and We certainly should, with understanding
condescension, commiserate in the pitiable state of
mind of a brother in the legal profession who seems
to have his reasoning and sense of proportion blurred
or warped by an all-consuming obsession emanating
from a one-track mind that only his views are
absolutely correct and those of others are all wrong.
When this Court in the resolution dated November
19, 1973, directed the Judicial Consultant to
circularize to all courts concerning the order of the
Court of Appeals suspending Atty. Quirico del Mar
from the practice of law, respondent del Mar filed a
motion for reconsideration on December 12, 1973,
requesting Us to reconsider said directive. In Our
resolution dated December 17, 1973, respondent del
Mar, after he had been interpellated by the Court,
was given a period of five days to submit a
memorandum in support of his explanation. In view
of respondent's manifestation that there was no need
for further investigation of the facts involved, in
accordance with Section 29 of Rule 138, We resolved
that the matter be deemed submitted for decision.
In the memorandum entitled "Explanation" dated
December 20, 1973, respondent del Mar stated that
he suffered repeated strokes of high blood pressure
which rendered him dizzy and unstable mentally and
physically; that his sight is blurred and his reasoning
is faulty; he easily forgets things and cannot readily
correlate them; that for any and all mistakes he
might have committed he asked for forgiveness; he
reiterated that "blunders" were committed by the
Court of Appeals in its decision and that the Justices
thereof knowingly rendered the same in violation of
Article 204 of the Penal Code; he persisted in his view
that the Court of Appeals committed an error in its
decision; justified his act of invoking Article 204 of
the Penal Code in trying to make the Appellate
Justices liable; that he was high in his academic and
scholastic standing during his school days; that "with
all the confusion prevailing nowadays, the

18

undersigned has decided for reasons of sickness and


old age to retire from the practice of law. He hopes
and expects that, with the approval thereof by the
Supreme Court, he could have himself released from
the obligation he has contracted with his clients as
regards all his pending cases."

and serve nothing but to discredit the judge


presiding the court in an attempt to secure his
disqualification. Statements of that nature
have no place in a court pleading and if uttered
by a member of the bar, constitute a serious
disrespect. We said:

It is Our observation that the tenor of this


explanation although pleading mental and physical
ailment as a mitigation of the contemptuous acts, is
still that of arrogant justification for respondent's
previous statements.

As an officer of the court, it is his sworn and


moral
duty
to
help
build and not
destroy unnecessarily the high esteem and
regard towards the court so essential to the
proper administration of justice.

ISSUE: Whether the acts of Atty. Del Mar are


unbecoming of a member of the legal profession.

It is manifest that respondent del Mar has scant


respect for the two highest Courts of the land when
on the flimsy ground of alleged error in deciding a
case, he proceeded to challenge the integrity of both
Courts by claiming that they knowingly rendered
unjust judgment. In short, his allegation is that they
acted with intent and malice, if not with gross
ignorance of the law, in disposing of the case of his
client.

HELD: With full realization that a practicing


lawyer and officer of the court facing contempt
proceedings cannot just be allowed to
voluntarily retire from the practice of law, an
act which would negate the inherent power of
the court to punish him for contempt in
defense of its integrity and honor, We resolve,
by resolution of January 10, 1974, to deny said
prayer of Atty. del Mar without prejudice to his
making arrangement directly with his clients.
To aged brethren of the bar it may appear belated to
remind them that second only to the duty of
maintaining allegiance to the Republic of the
Philippines and to support the Constitution and obey
the laws of the Philippines, is the duty of all attorneys
to observe and maintain the respect due to the
courts of justice and judicial officers (Sec. 20 (b) Rule
138, Rules of Court). But We do remind them of said
duty to emphasize to their younger brethren its
paramount importance. A lawyer must always
remember that he is an officer of the court exercising
a high privilege and serving in the noble mission of
administering justice.
It is the duty of the lawyer to maintain towards
the courts a respectful attitude. As an officer of
the court, it is his duty to uphold the dignity
and authority of the court to which he owes
fidelity, according to the oath he has taken.
Respect for the courts guarantees the stability
of our democratic institutions which, without
such respect, would be resting on a very shaky
foundation.
Criminal contempt has been defined as a conduct
that is directed against the dignity and authority of
the court or a judge acting judicially. It is an act
obstructing the administration of justice which tends
to bring the court into disrepute or disrespect.
We have held that statements contained in a motion
to disqualify a judge, imputing to the latter
conspiracy or connivance with the prosecutors or
concocting a plan with a view to securing the
conviction of the accused, and implicating said judge
in a supposed attempt to extort money from the
accused on a promise or assurance of the latter's
acquittal, all without basis, were highly derogatory

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His pretense cannot but tend to erode the people's


faith in the integrity of the courts of justice and in the
administration of justice. He repeatedly invoked his
supposed quest for law and justice as justification for
his contemptuous statements without realizing that,
in seeking both abstract elusive terms, he is merely
pursuing his own personal concept of law and justice.
He seems not to comprehend that what to him may
be lawful or just may not be so in the minds of
others. He could not accept that what to him may
appear to be right or correct may be wrong or
erroneous from the viewpoint of another. We
understand that respondent's mind delves into the
absolute without considering the universal law of
change. It is with deep concern that We view such a
state of mind of a practicing lawyer since what We
expect as a paramount qualification for those in the
practice of law is broadmindedness and tolerance,
coupled with keen perception and a sound sense of
proportion in evaluating events and circumstances.
For a lawyer in the twilight of his life, with supposed
physical and mental ailments at that, who dares to
challenge the integrity and honor of both the
Supreme Court and Court of Appeals, We have
nothing but commiseration and sympathy for his
choosing to close the book of his long years of law
practice not by voluntary retirement with honor but
in disciplinary action with ignominy and dishonor. To
those who are in the practice of law and those who in
the future will choose to enter this profession, We
wish to point to this case as a reminder for them to
imprint in their hearts and minds that an attorney
owes it to himself to respect the courts of justice and
its officers as a fealty for the stability of our
democratic institutions.
WHEREFORE, the resolution of the Court of
Appeals in CA-G.R. No. 46504-R, dated March
5, 1973, suspending Atty. Quirico del Mar from
the practice of law, as implemented by Our
resolution of November 19, 1973, is hereby
affirmed.

19

Respondent Atty. Quirico del Mar for his


misconduct towards the Supreme Court, shall
be, as he is hereby, suspended from the
practice of law until further orders of this
Court,
such
suspension
to
take
effect
immediately.
The Judicial Consultant of this Court is directed to
circularize all courts and the Integrated Bar of the
Philippines regarding the indefinite suspension of
Atty. Quirico del Mar from the practice of law.
SO ORDERED.
A.M. No. L-363

July 31, 1962

IN RE: DISBARMENT PROCEEDINGS AGAINST


ATTY. DIOSDADO Q. GUTIERREZ, respondent.
MAKALINTAL, J.:

FACTS: Respondent Diosdado Q. Gutierrez is a


member of the Philippine Bar, admitted to it on
October 5, 1945. In criminal case No. R-793 of the
Court of First Instance of Oriental Mindoro he was
convicted of the murder of Filemon Samaco,
former municipal mayor of Calapan, and together
with his co-conspirators was sentenced to the
penalty of death. Upon review by this Court the
judgment of conviction was affirmed, but the penalty
was changed to reclusion perpetua. After serving a
portion of the sentence respondent was granted a
conditional pardon by the President on August 19,
1958. The unexecuted portion of the prison term was
remitted "on condition that he shall not again violate
any of the penal laws of the Philippines."
On October 9, 1958 the widow of the deceased
Filemon Samaco, victim in the murder case, filed a
verified complaint before this Court praying that
respondent be removed from the roll of
lawyers pursuant to Rule 127, section 5.
Respondent presented his answer in due time,
admitting the facts alleged by complainant regarding
pardon in defense.
ISSUE: Whether Gutierrez should be disbarred.
Whether the conditional pardon extended to
respondent places him beyond the scope of the rule
on disbarment
HELD: Under section 5 of Rule 127, a member
of the bar may be removed or suspended from
his office as attorney by the Supreme Court by
reason of his conviction of a crime involving
moral turpitude. Murder is, without doubt, such a
crime. The term "moral turpitude" includes
everything which is done contrary to justice, honesty,
modesty or good morals. As used in disbarment
statutes, it means an act of baseness, vileness,
or depravity in the private and social duties
which a man owes to his fellowmen or to

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society in general, contrary to the accepted


rule of right and duty between man and man.
The respondent relied on the Lontok case wherein
the defendant was convicted of bigamy and
thereafter pardoned by the Governor-General. SC
decided in his favor and held: "When proceedings to
strike an attorney's name from the rolls the fact of a
conviction for a felony ground for disbarment, it has
been held that a pardon operates to wipe out the
conviction and is a bar to any proceeding for the
disbarment of the attorney after the pardon has been
granted."
It is our view that the ruling does not govern the
question now before us. In making it the Court
proceeded on the assumption that the pardon
granted to respondent Lontok was absolute. Thus
in Scott vs. State the court said:
We are of opinion that after received an
unconditional pardon the record of the
felony conviction could no longer be used as
a basis for the proceeding provided for in
article 226. The record, when offered in
evidence, was met with an unconditional
pardon, and could not, therefore, properly
be said to afford "proof of a conviction of
any felony." Having been thus cancelled, all
its force as a felony conviction was taken
away. A pardon falling short of this would
not be a pardon, according to the judicial
construction which that act of executive
grace was received.
And the portion of the decision in Ex parte Garland
quoted with approval in the Lontok case is as follows:
A pardon reaches both the punishment
prescribed for the offense and the guilt of
the offender; and when the pardon is full, it
releases the punishment and blots out the
existence of guilt, so that in the eye of the
law the offender is as innocent as if he had
never committed the offense. If granted
before conviction, it prevents any of the
penalties and disabilities, consequent upon
conviction, from attaching; if granted after
conviction, it removes the penalties and
disabilities, and restores him to all his civil
rights it makes him, as it were, a new man,
and gives him a new credit and capacity.
The pardon granted to respondent here is not
absolute but conditional, and merely remitted
the unexecuted portion of his term. It does not
reach the offense itself, unlike that in Ex
parte Garland, which was "a full pardon and amnesty
for all offense by him committed in connection with
rebellion (civil war) against government of the United
States."
The foregoing considerations rendered In re Lontok
are inapplicable here. Respondent Gutierrez must
be judged upon the fact of his conviction for

20

murder without regard to the pardon he


invokes in defense. The crime was qualified by
treachery and aggravated by its having been
committed in hand, by taking advantage of his
official position (respondent being municipal
mayor at the time) and with the use of motor
vehicle. The degree of moral turpitude involved
is such as to justify his being purged from the
profession.
The practice of law is a privilege accorded only to
those who measure up to certain rigid standards of
mental and moral fitness. For the admission of a
candidate to the bar the Rules of Court not only
prescribe a test of academic preparation but require
satisfactory testimonials of good moral character.
These standards are neither dispensed with nor
lowered after admission: the lawyer must continue to
adhere to them or else incur the risk of suspension or
removal. As stated in Ex parte Wall, 107 U.S. 263, 27
Law ed., 552, 556: "Of all classes and professions,
the lawyer is most sacredly bound to uphold the
laws. He is their sworn servant; and for him, of all
men in the world, to repudiate and override the laws,
to trample them under foot and to ignore the very
bonds of society, argues recreancy to his position
and office and sets a pernicious example to the
insubordinate and dangerous elements of the body
politic.
Gutierrez is DISBARRED.
G.R. No. 125766 October 19, 1998
FELICIDAD L. ORONCE and ROSITA L.
FLAMINIANO, petitioners,
vs.
HON. COURT OF APPEALS and PRICILIANO B.
GONZALES DEVELOPMENT
CORPORATION, respondent.
ROMERO, J.:

FACTS: Private respondent Priciliano B. Gonzales


Development Corporation was the registered owner
of a parcel of land with an area of 2,000 square
meters. The land with improvements, covered by TCT
No. RT-54556 (383917), is situated at No. 52 Gilmore
Street, New Manila, Quezon City.
In June 1988, private respondent obtained a
P4,000,000.00 loan from the China Banking
Corporation. To guarantee payment of the loan,
private respondent mortgaged the Gilmore property
and all its improvements to said bank. Due to
irregular payment of amortization, interests and
penalties on the loan accumulated through the years.
On April 13, 1992, private respondent, through its
president, Antonio B. Gonzales, signed and executed
a Deed of Sale with Assumption of Mortgage
covering the Gilmore property and its improvements,

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in favor of petitioners Rosita Flaminiano and Felicidad


L. Oronce. 2 The deed, which states that the sale was
in
consideration
of
the
sum
of
P5,400,000.00, 3 provided inter alia that
the VENDOR (PBGDC) also guarantees the
right of the VENDEES (petitioners) to the
possession of the property subject of this
contract without the need of judicial action;
and possession of said premises shall be
delivered to the VENDEES by the VENDOR at
the expiration of one (1) year from the date
of the signing and execution of this Deed of
Sale with Assumption of Mortgage.
On the other hand, petitioners bound
themselves to pay private respondent's
indebtedness
with
China
Banking
Corporation.
In fulfillment of the terms and conditions embodied in
the Deed of Sale with Assumption of Mortgage,
petitioners paid private respondent's indebtedness
with the bank. However, private respondent
reneged on its obligation to deliver possession
of the premises to petitioners upon the
expiration of the one-year period from April 13,
1992. Almost six months later since the execution of
the instrument or on October 2, 1992, petitioners
caused the registration of the Deed of Sale with
Assumption of Mortgage with the Register of Deeds.
Simultaneously, they obtained a new title, TCT No.
67990, consistent with the fact that they are the new
owners of the property. 4Sometime in July 1993, they
paid the real estate taxes on the property.
On November 12, 1993, petitioners sent private
respondent a demand letter asking it to vacate the
premises. Said letter, just like three other
consecutive notices sent through the Quezon City
post office, was unclaimed. Hence, on April 11, 1994,
petitioners filed before the MTC of Quezon City, a
complaint for unlawful detainer against private
respondent. Petitioners alleged that by virtue of the
Deed of Sale with Assumption of Mortgage, they
acquired from private respondent the Gilmore
property and its improvements, for which reason they
were issued TCT No. 67990. However, they added, in
violation of the terms of that document, specifically
Sec. 3 (c) thereof, private respondent refused to
surrender possession of the premises. Consequently,
they demanded that private respondent vacate the
premises through notices sent by registered mail that
were, however, returned to them unclaimed.
In its answer to the complaint, private respondent
raised the issue of ownership over the property. It
impugned petitioners' right to eject, alleging that
petitioners had no cause of action against it because
it was merely a mortgagee of the property. It argued
that when the parties executed the Deed of Sale with
Assumption of Mortgage, its real intention was to
forge an equitable mortgage and not a sale.
On March 24, 1995, the MTC 7 decided the case in
favor of petitioners. It ruled that petitioners are

21

the owners of the Gilmore property. The MTC further


held that private respondent's possession of the
premises was merely tolerated by petitioners and
because it refused to vacate the premises despite
demand to do so, then its possession of the same
premises had become illegal.
On April 25, 1995, private respondent interposed an
appeal to RTC of Quezon City. Private respondent filed
a motion questioning the jurisdiction of the RTC to
entertain its appeal. On the other hand, petitioners
filed a motion for the immediate execution of the
appealed decision. The RTC granted the motion on
September 21, 1995 and the corresponding writ of
execution was issued on September 25, 1995. The
following day, the sheriff served upon private
respondent the writ of execution and a notice to
vacate the premises within five (5) days from receipt
thereof.
Meanwhile, during the pendency of its appeal,
private respondent filed an action for reformation of
instrument with the RTC.
In a resolution dated December 7, 1995, RTC Branch
219 asserted jurisdiction over the appeal. It ruled
that the issue of whether or not an action for
reformation of a deed of sale and an unlawful
detainer case can proceed independently of each
other has been resolved by this Court in Judith v.
Abragan. 9 In said case, this Court held that the fact
that defendants had previously filed a separate
action for the reformation of a deed of absolute sale
into one ofpacto de retro sale or equitable mortgage
in the same Court of First Instance is not a valid
reason to frustrate the summary remedy of
ejectment afforded by law to the plaintiff.
On December 12, 1995, private respondent filed in
the Court of Appeals a petition for certiorari with
prayer for a temporary restraining order and writ of
preliminary injunction against petitioners and RTC
Branch 219. It assailed the September 21, 1995 order
granting the issuance of a writ of execution pending
appeal, the writ of execution and the notice to vacate
served upon private respondent (CA-G.R. SP-39227).
On December 13, 1995, RTC Branch 219 10 rendered
the decision affirming in toto that of the MTC. Stating
that in ejectment proceedings, the only issue for
resolution is who is entitled to physical or material
possession of the premises involved.
On that same date, December 13, 1995, the CA
issued a TRO enjoining RTC from enforcing the writ of
execution and the notice to vacate the premises and
on January 15, 1996, the same court granted private
respondent's application for a writ of preliminary
injunction.
Around six months later, RTC Branch 227 12 issued an
order declaring private respondent non-suited
for failure to appear at the pre-trial and,
therefore,
dismissing
the
action
for
reformation of instrument. Private respondent,

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not having sought reconsideration of said order, the


same court issued a resolution on August 15, 1996
directing the entry of judgment in the case. 13 The
Clerk of Court accordingly issued the final entry of
judgment thereon. 14
In the meantime, on July 24, 1996, the CA rendered
the herein questioned Decision. 15 It set aside the
December 13, 1995 decision of RTC Branch 219 and
declared as null and void for want of jurisdiction, the
March 24, 1995 decision of the Metropolitan Trial
Court of Quezon City, Branch 41. It made permanent
the writ of preliminary injunction enjoining
petitioners from implementing the decision of RTC
Branch 219, the writ of execution and the notice to
vacate.
ISSUE: Whether MTCs may resolve the issue of
ownership of the property involved in an unlawful
detainer case.
HELD: The question of ownership may be considered
only if necessary for the determination of the issue
as to who of the parties shall have the right to
possess the property in litigation. Inferior courts shall
not lose jurisdiction over ejectment cases solely
because the issue of ownership is interwoven with
the issue of possession. In other words, even if there
is a need to resolve the issue of ownership, such fact
will not deprive the inferior courts of jurisdiction over
ejectment cases 24 that shall be tried summarily.
In the case at bar, petitioners clearly intended
recovery of possession over the Gilmore property.
They alleged in their complaint for unlawful detainer
that their claim for possession is buttressed by the
execution of the Deed of Sale with Assumption of
Mortgage and by the issuance of TCT No. 67990 that
evidenced the transfer of ownership over the
property. 27 Because metropolitan trial courts are
authorized to look into the ownership of the property
in controversy in ejectment cases, it behooved MTC
Branch 41 to examine the bases for petitioners' claim
of ownership that entailed interpretation of the Deed
of Sale with Assumption of Mortgage.
However, while it quoted paragraph (c) of the Deed
of Sale with Assumption of Mortgage that embodies
the agreement of the parties that possession of the
Gilmore property and its improvements shall remain
with the vendor that was obliged to transfer
possession only after the expiration of one
year, 28 MTC Branch 41 apparently did not examine
the terms of the deed of sale. Instead, it erroneously
held that the issue of whether or not the document
was in fact an equitable mortgage "should not be
properly raised in this case." Had it examined the
terms of the deed of sale, which, after all is
considered part of the allegations of the complaint
having been annexed thereto, that court would have
found that, even on its face, the document was
actually one of equitable mortgage and not of sale.
The inferior court appears to have forgotten
that all documents attached to a complaint, the
due execution and genuineness of which are
not denied under oath by the defendant, must

22

be considered as part of the complaint without


need of introducing evidence thereon. 29
Art. 1602 of the Civil Code provides that a contract
shall be presumed to be an equitable mortgage by
the presence of any of the following:
(1) When the price of a sale with right to
repurchase is unusually inadequate;
(2) When the vendor remains in possession
as lessee or otherwise;
(3) When upon or after the expiration of the
right to repurchase another instrument
extending the period of redemption or
granting a new period is executed;
(4) When the purchaser retains for himself a
part of the purchase price;
(5) When the vendor binds himself to pay
the taxes on the thing sold;
(6) In any other case where it may be fairly
inferred that the real intention of the parties
is that the transaction shall secure the
payment of a debt or the performance of
any other obligation.
Art. 1604 of the same Code provides that the
provisions of Article 1602 "shall also apply to a
contract purporting to be an absolute sale." The
presence of even one of the circumstances in Article
1602 is sufficient basis to declare a contract as one
of equitable mortgage.
Under the agreement the private respondent as
vendor shall remain in possession of the property for
only one year, did not detract from the fact that
possession of the property, an indicium of ownership,
was retained by private respondent as the alleged
vendor. That period of time may be deemed as
actually the time allotted to private respondent for
fulfilling its part of the agreement by paying its
indebtedness to petitioners. This may be gleaned
from paragraph (f) that states that "full title and
possession" of the property "shall vest upon the
VENDEES upon the full compliance by them with all
the terms and conditions herein set forth.
Paragraph (f) of the contract also evidences the fact
that the agreed "purchase price" of fourteen million
pesos (P14,000,000.00) was not handed over by
petitioners to private respondent upon the execution
of the agreement. Only P5,400,000.00 was given by
petitioners to private respondent, as the balance
thereof was to be dependent upon the private
respondent's satisfaction of its mortgage obligation
to China Banking Corporation. Notably, the MTC
found that petitioners gave private respondent the
amount of P8,500,000.00 that should be paid to the
bank to cover the latter's obligation, thereby leaving
the amount of P100,000.00 (P5,400,000.00 +

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P8,500,000.00 = P13,900,000.00) of the "purchase


price" still unpaid and in the hands of petitioners, the
alleged "vendees."
Hence, two of the circumstances enumerated in
Article 1602 are manifest in the Deed of Sale with
Assumption of Mortgage, namely: (a) the vendor
would remain in possession of the property (no. 2),
and (b) the vendees retained a part of the purchase
price (no. 4). On its face, therefore, the document
subject of controversy, is actually a contract of
equitable mortgage.
The denomination of the contract as a deed of sale is
not binding as to its nature. The decisive factor in
evaluating such an agreement is the intention of the
parties, as shown, not necessarily by the terminology
used in the contract, but by their conduct, words,
actions and deeds prior to, during and immediately
after
executing
the
agreement. 32 Private
respondent's possession over the property was not
denied by petitioners as in fact it was the basis for
their complaint for unlawful detainer.
Neither does the issuance of a new transfer
certificate of title in petitioners' favor import
conclusive evidence of ownership or that the
agreement between the parties was one of sale. 33
A closer look into the allegations of the complaint
would therefore show that petitioners failed to make
out a case for unlawful detainer. By the allegations in
the complaint, private respondent as a mortgagor
had the right to posses the property. A mortgage is a
real right constituted to secure an obligation upon
real property or rights therein to satisfy with the
proceeds of the sale thereof such obligation when the
same becomes due and has not been paid or
fulfilled. 35 The
mortgagor
generally
retains
possession of the mortgaged property 36 because by
mortgaging a piece of property, a debtor merely
subjects it to a lien but ownership thereof is not
parted with. 37 In case of the debtor's nonpayment of
the debt secured by the mortgage, the only right of
the mortgagee is to foreclose the mortgage and have
the encumbered property sold to satisfy the
outstanding indebtedness. The mortgagor's default
does not operate to vest in the mortgagee the
ownership of the encumbered property, for any such
effect is against public policy. 38 Even if the property
is sold at a foreclosure sale, only upon expiration of
the redemption period, without the judgment debtor
having made use of his right of redemption, does
ownership of the land sold become consolidated in
the purchaser. 39
Petitioners' tenuous claim for possession of the
Gilmore property was emasculated further by private
respondent's answer to their complaint. The latter
claimed ownership of the property, alleging that the
agreement was one of mortgage and not of sale.
Private respondent alleged therein that in March
1993 (sic), it borrowed money from petitioner
Felicidad Oronce alone to redeem the subject
property from China Banking Corporation. She agreed
to lend it the amount on condition that the Gilmore

23

property should be mortgaged to her to guarantee


payment of the loan. However, petitioner Flaminiano
took the money from petitioner Oronce and paid the
mortgage obligation of private respondent to the
China Banking Corporation while claiming that 50%
of the amount was hers. Petitioner Flaminiano's
husband, Atty. Eduardo Flaminiano, forthwith
prepared the Deed of Sale with Assumption of
Mortgage
and,
without
private
respondent's
knowledge, had it registered for which reason a new
certificate of title was issued to petitioners. In
claiming that the agreement was one of mortgage,
private respondent alleged in its answer, inter alia,
that the actual total value of the property was thirty
million pesos (P30,000,000.00); that while it had
possession of the property, petitioners did not then
attempt to repossess the same, notwithstanding the
lapse of one year from the execution of the
document; that petitioners did not pay the real
estate taxes even after the transfer of title in their
favor, and that petitioners did not deliver to private
respondent the alleged purchase price.
Considering
these
claims
of
private
respondent, MTC Branch 41 should have
passed upon the issues raised on the
ownership of the Gilmore property for the
purpose of determining who had the right to
possess the same. As it turned out, it simply
accepted the allegations of petitioners without
examining the supporting documents. Had it
closely analyzed the documents, it would have
concluded that petitioners could not have
validly ousted private respondent from the
property since the basis for its claim of
ownership, the Deed of Sale with Assumption
of Mortgage, was actually a document
evidencing an equitable mortgage. It would
have accordingly dismissed the complaint for
lack of cause of action.
In fine, had the MTC exercised its bounden
duty to study the complaint, it would have
dismissed the same for lack of cause of action
upon a provisional ruling on the issue of
ownership based on the allegations and
annexes of the complaint. Or, exercising
caution in handling the case, considering
petitioners' bare allegations of ownership, it
should have required the filing of an answer to
the complaint and, having been alerted by the
adverse claim of ownership over the same
property, summarily looked into the issue of
ownership over the property.
Had the MTC made a provisional ruling on the issue
of ownership, the parties would have availed of other
remedies in law early on to thresh out their
conflicting claims.
Private respondent's action for reformation of
instrument was in fact a step in the right direction.
However, its failure to pursue that action 41 did not
imply that private respondent had no other remedy
under the law as regards the issue of ownership over
the Gilmore property. Hence, although the Court of
Appeals resolved the appeal under the misconception

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that the action for reformation of instrument was still


viable, it correctly held that the controversy between
the parties was beyond the ordinary issues in an
ejectment case. Because of the opposing claims of
the parties as to the true agreement between them,
the issue of ownership was in a sense a prejudicial
question that needed determination before the
ejectment case should have been filed. To reiterate, a
decision reached in the ejectment case in favor of
any of the parties would have nonetheless spawned
litigation on the issue of ownership. At any rate,
proceedings would have been facilitated had the
inferior courts made even a provisional ruling on
such issue.
The contentious circumstances surrounding the case
were demonstrated by an occurrence during the
pendency of this petition that cries out for the
resolution of the issue of ownership over the Gilmore
property.
After the parties had filed their respective
memoranda before this Court, private respondent
filed an urgent motion to cite petitioner Rosita L.
Flaminiano and her husband, Atty. Eduardo B.
Flaminiano, in contempt of court. 43 The motion
was founded on an affidavit of Dr. Tadeo Gonzales
who resided at the contested property, deriving his
right to do so from private respondent corporation
that is owned by his family. Gonzales alleged that on
September 20, 1997, petitioner Flaminiano and her
husband entered the property through craftiness and
intimidation. At around 5:30 p.m. on that day, two (2)
men knocked at the gate. When the houseboy, Luis
R. Fernandez, opened the gate for pedestrians
tentatively, the two men told him that they would like
to visit Gonzales' mother who was ailing.
Once inside, the two men identified themselves as
policemen and opened the gate for twenty (20) men,
two (2) trucks and an L-300 van to enter. When
Gonzales went outside the house, he saw thirty (30)
to forty (40) men and two (2) trucks entering the
driveway. The person he asked regarding the
presence of those people inside the property turned
out to be the brother of petitioner Flaminiano. That
person said, "Kami ang may-ari dito. Matagal na
kaming nagtitiis, kayo ang dapat sa labas." After
Gonzales had told him that the property was still
under litigation before this Court, the man said,
"Walang Supreme Court Supreme Court." When
Gonzales asked petitioner Flaminiano, who was
inside the premises, to order the people to leave, she
said, "Papapasukin namin ito dahil sa amin ito.
Maglalagay ako ng tao diyan sa loob, sa harap, sa
likod. Wala ng pakiusap." When a power generator
was brought inside the property and Gonzales
pleaded that it be taken out because the noise it
would create would disturb his ailing mother,
Emiliana Gonzales, petitioner Flaminiano said,
"Walang awa-awa sa akin." Atty. Flaminiano butted in
and, referring to Gonzales' mother, said, "Ialis mo na,
matanda na pala." When Gonzales prevented the
switching on of some lights in the house due to faulty
wiring, Atty. Flaminiano suggested, "Bakit hindi mo
ipasunog ito? May insurance pa kayo 5 million,
madali lang 'yan. Short circuit." Since the

24

Flaminianos and their crew were not about to leave


the property, Gonzales called up his brother, Atty.
Antonio Gonzales, and informed him of what
happened. However, instead of confining themselves
in the driveway, the Flaminianos and their group
entered the terrace, bringing in food.
Gonzales was all the while concerned about his 81year-old mother who had just been discharged from
the hospital. However, the Flaminianos stayed until
the next day, September 22, 1997, using the kitchen,
furniture and other fixtures in the house. Gonzales
took pictures of Flaminiano and his companions.
When Atty. Flaminiano arrived, he confronted
Gonzales and told him, "Hindi ako natatakot kahit
kanino ka pa mag-report, kahit pa sa Supreme Court,
gusto ko nga mag-reklamo kayo para matapos ang
kaso. Sa September 25, may shooting dito, gagawin
ko ang gusto ko dito." 44
The affidavits of Renato C. Mola, driver of Atty.
Antonio Gonzales, and that of Luis R. Fernandez,
houseboy of Dr. Tadeo Gonzales, as well as the xerox
copy of the sworn statement dated September 21,
1997 of Pria B. Gonzales before the Philippine
National Police in Camp Crame where she filed a
complaint against Atty. Flaminiano for the illegal
entry into teir house, support the affidavit of Dr.
Gonzales.
Thereafter, private respondent filed an urgent motion
for the issuance of a TRO and/or writ of preliminary
injunction with this Court to enjoin petitioners, Atty.
Flaminiano and their representatives and agents from
preventing private respondent, its agents and
representatives from entering the property and to
cease and desist from occupying the property or from
committing further acts of dispossession of the
property. 47 On October 13, 1997, this Court issued
the TRO. In the motion it filed on October 21,
1997, 49private respondent informed the Court that
the TRO could not be served upon petitioners
immediately because, Atty. Flaminiano, their counsel
of record, had changed address without informing the
Court. It was served upon said counsel only on
October 15, 1997. However, instead of complying
with this Court's order, petitioners continued
occupying the property. On October 16, 1997, after
receiving a copy of the TRO, petitioners put up a
huge billboard in front of the property stating that it
is the national headquarters of the People's Alliance
for National Reconciliation and Unity for Peace and
Progress (PANRUPP).
In their comment on the motion for contempt,
petitioners reasserted its claim of ownership over the
property as evidenced by TCT No. 67990. They
alleged that they had mortgaged the property to the
Far East Bank and Trust Company in the amount of
thirty million pesos (P30,000,000.00) for which they
are paying a monthly interest of around P675,000.00
"without enjoying the material possession of the
subject property which has been unlawfully and
unjustly detained by private respondent for the last
four (4) years as it was used as the residence of the
members of the family of its President ANTONIO B.
GONZALES without the said private respondent

PALE

paying rentals thereon for the period from January


1995 up to October 5, 1997 when the said property
was voluntarily vacated by the members of the
President (sic) of respondent corporation, ANTONIO
B. GONZALES, who has since then been a fugitive
from justice having been convicted by final judgment
of the crime of estafa through falsification of public
document and has succeeded in evading his
sentence."
They averred that Tadeo Gonzales erroneously
claimed that the rights of ownership and possession
over the property are still under litigation because
"the issue of ownership is no longer involved in this
litigation when the complaint for reformation of
instrument with annulment of sale and title filed by
private respondent" was dismissed with finality by
reason of non-suit. Hence, they claimed that they
"now stand to be the unquestionable registered and
lawful owners of the property subject of controversy"
and that the July 24, 1996 Decision of the Court of
Appeals "has already lost its virtuality and legal
efficacy with the occurrence of a 'supervening event'
which is a superior cause superseding the basis of
the judgment" in CA-G.R. No. 39227 of respondent
court.
They informed the Court that they are now leasing
the property to PANRUPP from October 1, 1997 to
September 30, 1998.
Petitioners questioned the issuance by this Court of
the TRO on October 13, 1997, asserting that when it
was issued, there were "no more acts to restrain the
illegal occupants of the subject property (as they)
had already peacefully vacated the premises on
October 5, 1997 or more than a week after the said
TRO was issued by the Third Division" of this Court.
They prayed that the motion for contempt be denied
for lack of merit and that the TRO issued be lifted and
set aside "for the act or acts sought to be restrained
have already been done and have become a fait
accompli before the issuance of the TEMPORARY
RESTRAINING ORDER on October 13, 1997."50
The conduct of petitioner Flaminiano in taking
possession over the property as alleged by private
respondent through Tadeo Gonzales is deplorably
high-handed. On an erroneous assumption that she
had been legally vested with ownership of the
properly, she took steps prior to the present
proceedings by illegally taking control and possession
of the same property in litigation. Her act of entering
the property in defiance of the writ of preliminary
injunction issued by the Court of Appeals constituted
indirect contempt under Section 3, Rule 71 of the
Rules of Court that should be dealt with accordingly.
Be that as it may, what is disturbing to the
Court is the conduct of her husband, Eduardo
Flaminiano, a lawyer 51whose actuations as an
officer of the court should be beyond reproach.
His contumacious acts of entering the Gilmore
property without the consent of its occupants
and in contravention of the existing writ or
preliminary injunction issued by the Court of

25

Appeals and making utterances showing


disrespect for the law and this Court, are
certainly unbecoming of a member of the
Philippine Bar. To be sure, he asserted in his
comment on the motion for contempt that
petitioners "peacefully" took over the property.
Nonetheless, such "peaceful" take-over cannot
justify defiance of the writ of preliminary
injunction that he knew was still in force.
Notably, he did not comment on nor
categorically deny that he committed the
contumacious
acts
alleged
by
private
respondent. Through his acts, Atty. Flaminiano
has flouted his duties as a member of the legal
profession. Under the Code of Professional
Responsibility, he is prohibited from counseling
or abetting "activities aimed at defiance of the
law or at lessening confidence in the legal
system." 52
WHEREFORE, the instant petition for review
on certiorari is hereby DENIED and the questioned
Decision of the Court of Appeals AFFIRMED without
prejudice to the filing by either party of an action
regarding the ownership of the property involved.
The temporary restraining order issued on October
13, 1997 is hereby made permanent. Petitioners and
their agents are directed to turn over possession of
the property to private respondent.
Petitioner Rosita Flaminiano is hereby held guilty of
contempt of court for disobeying the writ of
injunction issued by the Court of Appeals and
accordingly fined P20,000.00 therefor. Her counsel
and husband, Atty. Eduardo B. Flaminiano, is
ordered to pay a fine of P25,000.00 for
committing contumacious acts unbecoming of
a member of the Philippine Bar with a stern
warning that a repetition of the same acts shall
be dealt with more severely. Let a copy of this
Decision be attached to his record at the Office
of the Bar Confidant.
G.R. No. 104599 March 11, 1994
JON DE YSASI III, petitioner,
vs.
NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION
(FOURTH DIVISION), CEBU CITY, and JON DE
YSASI,respondents.
REGALADO, J.:
FACTS: Petitioner was employed by his father, herein
private respondent, as farm administrator of
Hacienda Manucao in Hinigaran, Negros Occidental
sometime in April, 1980. Prior thereto, he was
successively employed as sales manager of Triumph
International (Phil.), Inc. and later as operations
manager of Top Form Manufacturing (Phil.), Inc. His
employment as farm administrator was on a fixed
salary, with other allowances covering housing, food,
light, power, telephone, gasoline, medical and dental
expenses.

PALE

As farm administrator, petitioner was responsible for


the supervision of daily activities and operations of
the sugarcane farm. For this purpose, he lived on the
farm, occupying the upper floor of the house there.
Following his marriage on June 6, 1982, petitioner
moved to Bacolod City with his wife and commuted
to work daily. He suffered various ailments and was
hospitalized on two separate occasions. In
November, 1982, he underwent fistulectomy, or the
surgical removal of the fistula, a deep sinuous ulcer.
During his recuperation which lasted over four
months, he was under the care of Dr. Patricio Tan. In
June, 1983, he was confined for acute gastroenteritis
and, thereafter, for infectious hepatitis from
December, 1983 to January, 1984.
During the entire periods of petitioner's illnesses,
private respondent took care of his medical expenses
and petitioner continued to receive compensation.
However, in April, 1984, without due notice, private
respondent ceased to pay the latter's salary.
Petitioner made oral and written demands for an
explanation for the sudden withholding of his salary
from Atty. Apolonio Sumbingco, private respondent's
auditor and legal adviser, as well as for the
remittance of his salary. Both demands, however,
were not acted upon.
Petitioner then filed an action with the NLRC RAB No.
VI, Bacolod City, on October 17, 1984, against private
respondent for illegal dismissal with prayer for
reinstatement without loss of seniority rights and
payment of full back wages, thirteenth month pay for
1983, consequential, moral and exemplary damages,
as well as attorney's fees.
On July 31, 1991, said complaint for illegal dismissal
was dismissed by the NLRC, 1 holding that petitioner
abandoned his work and that the termination of his
employment was for a valid cause. On appeal to the
Fourth Division of the NLRC, Cebu City, said decision
was affirmed in toto. 3
His MR of said decision having been denied for lack
of merit.
ISSUES: (1) Whether the petitioner was illegally
dismissed;
(2)
whether
he
is
entitled
to
reinstatement, payment of back wages, thirteenth
month pay and other benefits; and (3) whether he is
entitled to payment of moral and exemplary
damages and attorney's fees because of illegal
dismissal.
Before proceeding with a discussion of the issues, the
observation of the labor arbiter is worth noting:
This case is truly unique. What makes this
case unique is the fact that because of the
special relationship of the parties and the
nature of the action involved, this case
could very well go down (in) the annals of
the Commission as perhaps the first of its
kind. For this case is an action filed by an

26

only son, his father's namesake, the only


child and therefore the only heir against his
own father. 9
HELD: (1) We are constrained to heed the
underlying policy in the Labor Code relaxing
the application of technical rules of procedure
in labor cases in the interest of due process,
ever mindful of the long-standing legal precept
that rules of procedure must be interpreted to
help secure, not defeat, justice. For this
reason, we cannot indulge private respondent
in
his
tendency
to
nitpick
on
trivial
technicalities to boost his arguments. The
strength of one's position cannot be hinged on
mere procedural niceties but on solid bases in
law and jurisprudence.
The fundamental guarantees of security of tenure
and due process dictate that no worker shall be
dismissed except for just and authorized cause
provided by law and after due process. 14 Article 282
of the Labor Code enumerates the causes for which
an employer may validly terminate an employment,
to
wit:
(a) serious misconduct or willful disobedience by the
employee of the lawful orders of his employer or
representative in connection with his work; (b) gross
and habitual neglect by the employee of his duties;
(c) fraud or willful breach by the employee of the
trust reposed in him by his employer or duly
authorized representative; (d) commission of a crime
or offense by the employee against the person of his
employer or any immediate member of his family or
his duly authorized representative; and (e) other
causes analogous to the foregoing.
After a careful review of the records of this
case, NLRC gravely erred in affirming the
decision of the executive labor arbiter holding
that petitioner abandoned his employment and
was
not
illegally
dismissed
from
such
employment. It is clear, deliberate and unjustified
refusal to resume employment and not mere absence
that is required to constitute abandonment as a valid
ground for termination of employment. 22
To stress what was earlier mentioned, in order that a
finding of abandonment may justly be made there
must be a concurrence of two elements, viz.: (1) the
failure to report for work or absence without valid or
justifiable reason, and (2) a clear intention to sever
the employer-employee relationship, with the second
element as the more determinative factor and being
manifested by some overt acts. Such intent we find
dismally wanting in this case.
IIt is also significant that the special power of
attorney 32 executed by private respondent on June
26, 1980 in favor of petitioner, specifically stating
That I have named, appointed and
constituted
as
by
these
presents
I HEREBY NAME, APPOINT AND CONSTITUTE
as my true and lawful ATTORNEY-IN-FACT

PALE

JON de YSASI III


whose specimen signature is hereunder
affixed, TO GET FOR ME and in my name,
place
and
stead,
my
check/checks
aforementioned, said ATTORNEY-IN-FACT
being herein given the power and authority
to sign for me and in my name, place and
stead, the receipt or receipts or payroll for
the
said
check/checks.
PROVIDED,
HOWEVER, that my said ATTORNEY-IN-FACT
cannot cash the said check/checks, but to
turn the same over to me for my proper
disposition.
That I HEREBY RATIFY AND CONFIRM the
acts
of
my
Attorney-in-Fact
in
getting
the
said
check/checks and signing the receipts
therefor.
That I further request that my said
check/checks be made a "CROSSED CHECK".
remained in force even after petitioner's employment
was supposed to have been terminated by reason of
abandonment. Furthermore, petitioner's numerous
requests for an explanation regarding the stoppage
of his salaries and benefits, 33 the issuance of
withholding tax reports, 34 as well as correspondence
reporting his full recovery and readiness to go back
to work, 35 and, specifically, his filing of the complaint
for illegal dismissal are hardly the acts of one who
has abandoned his work.
Neither can we subscribe to private respondent's
theory that petitioner's alleged abandonment was
converted into an implied voluntary resignation on
account of the father's agreement to support his son
after the latter abandoned his work.
On procedural considerations, petitioner posits that
there was a violation by private respondent of the
due process requirements under the Labor Code for
want of notice and hearing.
Petitioner was denied his right to due process since
he was never given any notice about his impending
dismissal and the grounds therefor, much less a
chance to be heard. Even as private respondent
controverts the applicability of the mandatory twin
requirements of procedural due process in this
particular case, he in effect admits that no notice was
served by him on petitioner.
(2) Both the Constitution and the Labor Code
enunciate in no uncertain terms the right of every
worker to security of tenure. 44 To give teeth to this
constitutional and statutory mandates, the Labor
Code spells out the relief available to an employee in
case of its denial:
Clearly, therefore, an employee is entitled to
reinstatement with full back wages in the absence of

27

just cause for dismissal. 45 The Court, however, on


numerous occasions has tempered the rigid
application of said provision of the Labor Code,
recognizing that in some cases certain events may
have transpired as would militate against the
practicability of granting the relief thereunder
provided, and declares that where there are
strained relations between the employer and
the employee, payment of back wages and
severance pay may be awarded instead of
reinstatement, 46 and more particularly when
managerial employees are concerned. 47 Thus,
where reinstatement is no longer possible, it is
therefore appropriate that the dismissed
employee be given his fair and just share of
what the law accords him. 48
In the present case, it is submitted that
petitioner should not be reinstated as farm
administrator of Hacienda Manucao. The
present relationship of petitioner and private
respondent (is) so strained that a harmonious
and peaceful employee-employer relationship
is hardly possible. 49
(3) Finally, petitioner insists on an award of moral
damages,
arguing
that
his
dismissal
from
employment was attended by bad faith or fraud, or
constituted oppression, or was contrary to morals,
good customs or public policy. He further prays for
exemplary damages to serve as a deterrent against
similar acts of unjust dismissal by other employers.
We are well aware of the Court's rulings in a number
of cases in the past allowing recovery of moral
damages where the dismissal of the employee was
attended by bad faith or fraud, or constituted an act
oppressive to labor, or was done in a manner
contrary to morals, good customs or public
policy, 52 and of exemplary damages if the dismissal
was effected in a wanton, oppressive or malevolent
manner. 53 We do not feel, however, that an
award of the damages prayed for in this
petition would be proper even if, seemingly,
the facts of the case justify their allowance. In
the aforestated cases of illegal dismissal where
moral and exemplary damages were awarded,
the dismissed employees were genuinely
without fault and were undoubtedly victims of
the erring employers' capricious exercise of
power.
In the present case, we find that both
petitioner and private respondent can equally
be faulted for fanning the flames which gave
rise to and ultimately aggravated this
controversy, instead of sincerely negotiating a
peaceful settlement of their disparate claims.
The records reveal how their actuations seethed with
mutual antagonism and the undeniable enmity
between them negates the likelihood that either of
them acted in good faith. It is apparent that each one
has a cause for damages against the other. For this
reason, we hold that no moral or exemplary damages
can rightfully be awarded

PALE

PALE: The conduct of the respective counsel of the


parties, as revealed by the records, sorely
disappoints the Court and invites reproof. Both
counsel may well be reminded that their ethical duty
as lawyers to represent their clients with
zeal 55 goes beyond merely presenting their clients'
respective causes in court. It is just as much their
responsibility, if not more importantly, to exert all
reasonable efforts to smooth over legal conflicts,
preferably out of court and especially in
consideration
of
the direct
and
immediate
consanguineous ties between their clients. Once
again, we reiterate that the useful function of a
lawyer is not only to conduct litigation but to avoid it
whenever possible by advising settlement or
withholding suit. He is often called upon less for
dramatic forensic exploits than for wise counsel in
every phase of life. He should be a mediator for
concord and a conciliator for compromise, rather
than a virtuoso of technicality in the conduct of
litigation. 56
Rule 1.04 of the Code of Professional Responsibility
explicitly provides that "(a) lawyer shall encourage
his client to avoid, end or settle the controversy if it
will admit of a fair settlement." On this point, we find
that both counsel herein fell short of what was
expected of them, despite their avowed duties as
officers of the court. The records do not show that
they took pains to initiate steps geared toward
effecting a rapprochement between their clients. On
the contrary, their acerbic and protracted exchanges
could not but have exacerbated the situation even as
they may have found favor in the equally hostile eyes
of their respective clients.
In the same manner, we find that the labor arbiter
who handled this regrettable case has been less than
faithful to the letter and spirit of the Labor Code
mandating that a labor arbiter "shall exert all efforts
towards the amicable settlement of a labor dispute
within his jurisdiction." 57 If he ever did so, or at least
entertained the thought, the copious records of the
proceedings in this controversy are barren of any
reflection of the same.
One final word. This is one decision we do not
particularly relish having been obliged to make. The
task of resolving cases involving disputes among
members of a family leaves a bad taste in the mouth
and an aversion in the mind, for no truly meaningful
and enduring resolution is really achieved in such
situations. While we are convinced that we have
adjudicated the legal issues herein squarely on the
bases of law and jurisprudence, sans sentimentality,
we are saddened by the thought that we may have
failed to bring about the reconciliation of the father
and son who figured as parties to this dispute, and
that our adherence here to law and duty may
unwittingly contribute to the breaking, instead of the
strengthening, of familial bonds. In fine, neither of
the parties herein actually emerges victorious. It is
the Court's earnest hope, therefore, that with the
impartial exposition and extended explanation of
their respective rights in this decision, the parties
may eventually see their way clear to an ultimate

28

resolution of their differences on more convivial


terms.
NLRC Decision is SET ASIDE. Private respondent is
ORDERED to pay petitioner back wages for a period
not exceeding three (3) years, without qualification
or deduction, 58 and, in lieu of reinstatement,
separation pay equivalent to one (1) month for every
year of service, a fraction of six (6) months being
considered as one (1) whole year.
GLORIA PAJARES, petitioner-appellant,
vs.
JUDGE ESTRELLA ABAD SANTOS, MUNICIPAL
COURT OF MANILA and UDHARAM BAZAR CO.,
respondents-appellees.
FACTS:
Appellant Pajares was engaged in the business of
buying and selling merchandise at her stall and
appelle Udharam Bazar & Co. was one of her
creditors from whom she used to buy on credit readymade goods for resale.
Consequently, the company sued Pajares for the
recovery of a certain sum of money for the goods
delivered to her in good condition (the same having
been sold), but did not make the full payment.
Pajares, however, moved for a bill of particulars,
alleging that without which she would not be able to
meet the issues raised in the complaint. Such having
been denied, appellant moved for a motion for
reconsideration. The same was also denied and
clogged the court for seven years.
Issue:
Whether or not there has been a faithful adherence
(on the part of Pajares lawyer) to Rule 7, section 5 of
the Rules of Court.
Held:
No, there was no faithful adhererence.
Clearly, there must be faithful adherence to Rule 7,
section 5 of the Rules of Court which provides that
the signature of an attorney constitutes a certificate
by him that he has read the pleading and that to the
best of his knowledge, information and belief, there is
good ground to support it; and that it is not
interposed for delay and expressly admonishes that
for a willful violation of this rule an attorney may be
subjected to disciplinary action.
Had appellant been but prudently advised by her
counsel to confess judgment and ask from her
creditor the reasonable time she needed to discharge
her lawful indebtedness, the expenses of litigation
that she has incurred would have been more than
sufficient to pay off her just debt to appelle.
It is plain and clear that no error of law, much less
any grave abuse of discretion, was committed by
respondent judge in denying appellant's motion for a
bill of particulars in the collection case instituted in
the Municipal Court of Manila by private respondentappellee for the recovery of her indebtedness of
P354.85 representing the overdue balance of her
account for ready-made goods ordered by and
delivered to her in 1961. Appellee's complaint

PALE

precisely and concisely informed appellant of the


ultimate or essential facts constituting the cause of
action against her, in accordance with the
requirements of the Rules of Court.
Since appellant admittedly was engaged in the
business of buying and selling merchandise at her
stall at the Sta. Mesa Market, Quezon City, and
appellee was one of her creditors from whom she
used to buy on credit ready made goods for resale,
appellant had no need of the evidentiary particulars
sought by her to enable her to prepare her answer to
the complaint or to prepare for trial. These
particulars were just as much within her knowledge
as appellee's. She could not logically pretend
ignorance as to the same, for all she had to do was to
check and verify her own records of her outstanding
account with appellee and state in her answer
whether from her records the outstanding balance of
her indebtedness was in the sum of P354.85, as
claimed by appellee, or in a lesser amount.
No error was therefore committed by the lower court
in summarily dismissing appellant's petition for
certiorari against respondent judge's order denying
her motion for a bill of particulars, as pretended by
appellant in her lone assignment of error.
"The circumstances surrounding this litigation
definitely prove that appeal is frivolous and a plain
trick to delay payment and prolong litigation
unnecessarily. Such attitude deserves condemnation,
wasting as it does, the time that the courts could well
devote to meritorious cases."
The order appealed from is affirmed, and petitionerappellant's counsel shall pay treble costs in all
instances. This decision shall be noted in the
personal record of the attorney for petitionerappellant in this Court for future reference. So
ordered.
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiffappellee, vs. ANTONIO ROSQUETA, JR., EUGENIO
ROSQUETA and CITONG BRINGAS, defendantsappellants; ATTY. GREGORIO B. ESTACIO,
respondent.
FACTS: There was a case before the Supreme Court
against Antonio Rosqueta, Jr., Eugenio Rosqueta and
Citong Bringas. Atty. Gregorio Estacio was their
counsel. The Court required Estacio to file a brief for
appellants but he failed to do so. He was then
required by the Court to show cause why disciplinary
action should not be taken against him. However, he
failed to explain as required. So, the Supreme court
issued a resolution suspending him from the practice
of law except for the purpose of filing the brief. He
then filed a motion for reconsideration explaining
that he did actually prepare an explanation the same
being left with Rosqueta Sr (father of accused) for the
latter to mail it. But then Rosqueta Sr.s house burned
down together with the explanation. He only came to
know of this fact when he was preparing for the
Motion for Reconsideration. He explained to the Court

29

that both Antonio Rosqueta, Sr. and Salvador


Labariento, father-in-law of the third appellant,
Citong Bringas, informed him they would withdraw
the appeal as they could not raise the money needed
for pursuing it. . He had a supplement to such motion
for reconsideration filed on October 25, 1973 wherein
he stated that he could not secure the affidavits of
appellants themselves as two of them were in the
Penal Colony in Davao and the third in the Iwahig
Penal Colony in Palawan. The Court required
appellants to comment on a motion for
reconsideration of respondent concerning specifically
their alleged desire to withdraw appeal. The
respondent submitted two affidavits from his clients
confirming that they were withdrawing their appeal.
ISSUE: Whether or not Atty. Estacio is guilty of
negligence in the performance of his duty as a
counsel
HELD: Yes. Respondent's liability is thus mitigated
but he cannot be absolved from the irresponsible
conduct of which he is guilty. Respondent's (Atty.
Gregorio Estacio) conduct yields an impression that
he was responsible. He should be aware that in the
pursuance of the duty owed this Court as well as to a
client, he cannot be too casual and unconcerned
about the filing of pleadings. It is not enough that he
prepares them; he must see to it that they are duly
mailed. Such inattention as shown in this case is
inexcusable. At any rate, the suspension meted on
him under the circumstances is more than justified. It
seems, however, that well-nigh five months had
elapsed. That would suffice to atone for his misdeed.
WHEREFORE, the suspension of Atty. Gregorio B.
Estacio is lifted.
FELIZA P. DE ROY and VIRGILIO RAMOS,
petitioners, vs. COURT OF APPEALS and LUIS
BERNAL, SR., GLENIA BERNAL, LUIS BERNAL,
JR., HEIRS OF MARISSA BERNAL, namely,
GLICERIA DELA CRUZ BERNAL and LUIS
BERNAL, SR., respondents.
FACTS: This special civil action for certiorari seeks to
declare null and void two (2) resolutions of the Court
of Appeals in the case of Luis Bernal, Sr., et al. v.
Felisa Perdosa De Roy, et al.. The first resolution
denied petitioners' motion for extension of time to
file a motion for reconsideration and directed entry of
judgment since the decision in said case had become
final; and the second Resolution denied petitioners'
motion for reconsideration for having been filed out
of time.
In the case Luis Bernal, Sr. vs. Felisa Perdosa De Roy,
et al., the facts are:
The firewall of a burned-out building owned by
petitioners collapsed and destroyed the tailoring
shop occupied by the family of private respondents,
resulting in injuries to private respondents and the
death of Marissa Bernal, a daughter. Private
respondents had been warned by petitioners to
vacate their shop in view of its proximity to the

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weakened wall but the former failed to do so. On the


basis of the foregoing facts, the RTC rendered
judgment finding petitioners guilty of gross
negligence and awarding damages to private
respondents. On appeal, the decision of the trial
court was affirmed in toto by the Court of Appeals in
a decision promulgated on August 17, 1987, a copy
of which was received by petitioners on August 25,
1987. On September 9, 1987, the last day of the
fifteen-day period to file an appeal, petitioners filed a
motion for extension of time to file a motion for
reconsideration, which was eventually denied by the
appellate court. According to the SC, CA correctly
applied the rule laid down in Habaluyas Enterprises,
Inc. vs. Japzon that the 15-day period for appealing
or for filing a motion for reconsideration cannot be
extended.
Petitioners contend that the rule enunciated in the
Habaluyas case should not be made to apply to the
case at bar owing to the non-publication of the
Habaluyas decision in the Official Gazette as of the
time the subject decision of the Court of Appeals was
promulgated.
ISSUE: Whether or not petitioners contention is
meritorious
HELD: NO. Contrary to petitioners' view, there is no
law requiring the publication of Supreme Court
decisions in the Official Gazette before they can be
binding and as a condition to their becoming
effective. It is the bounden duty of counsel as lawyer
in active law practice to keep abreast of decisions of
the Supreme Court particularly where issues have
been clarified, consistently reiterated, and published
in the advance reports of Supreme Court decisions
(G. R. s) and in such publications as the Supreme
Court Reports Annotated (SCRA) and law journals.
G.R. No. 130068 October 1, 1998
FAR EASTERN SHIPPING COMPANY, petitioner, vs.
COURT OF APPEALS and PHILIPPINE PORTS
AUTHORITY, respondents.
G.R. No. 130150 October, 1998
MANILA PILOTS ASSOCIATION, petitioner, vs.
PHILIPPINE PORTS AUTHORITY and FAR
EASTERN SHIPPING COMPANY, respondents.
FACTS: There are two cases which were consolidated
in this case. The facts of the two cases are:
The M/V PAVLODAR owned and operated by the Far
Eastern Shipping Company (FESC), arrived at the Port
of Manila. The vessel was assigned Berth 4 of the
Manila International Port, as its berthing space.
Captain Roberto Abellana was tasked by the
Philippine Port Authority to supervise the berthing of
the vessel. Appellant Senen Gavino was assigned by
the Appellant Manila Pilots' Association (MPA) to
conduct docking maneuvers for the safe berthing of
the vessel to Berth No. 4.

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Gavino boarded the vessel at the quarantine


anchorage with the master of the vessel, Victor
Kavankov, beside him. When the vessel reached the
landmark (the big church by the Tondo North Harbor),
Gavino ordered the engine stopped and the anchor
dropped. Kavankov relayed the orders to the crew of
the vessel on the bow. The left anchor were dropped.
However, the anchor did not take hold as expected.
The speed of the vessel did not slacken. A
commotion ensued between the crew members and
Kavankov. When Gavino inquired what was all the
commotion about, Kavankov assured Gavino that
there was nothing to it.

After Gavino noticed that the anchor did not take


hold, he ordered the engines half-astern. Abellana,
who was then on the pier apron, noticed that the
vessel was approaching the pier fast. Kavankov
likewise noticed that the anchor did not take hold.
Gavino thereafter gave the "full-astern" code. Before
the right anchor and additional shackles could be
dropped, the bow of the vessel rammed into the
apron of the pier causing considerable damage to the
pier. The vessel sustained damage too. Kavankov
filed his sea protest. Gavino and Abellanasu bmitted
his report to the Chief Pilot.

The Philippine Ports Authority (PPA), through the


Solicitor General, filed before the RTC Manila, a
complaint for a sum of money against Far Eastern
Shipping Co., Capt. Senen C. Gavino and the Manila
Pilots' Association, praying that the defendants
therein be held jointly and severally liable to pay
the plaintiff actual and exemplary damages plus
costs of suit. RTC decided in favor of complainant.The
defendants appealed to the CA but the CA affirmed
the decision of the court a quo
Neither Far Eastern Shipping Co. nor MPA was happy
with the decision of the Court of Appeals and both of
them elevated their respective plaints to us via
separate petitions for review on certiorari. Upon
motion by FESC the said cases were consolidated.
The records show that the law firm of Del Rosario and
Del Rosario through its associate, Atty. Herbert A.
Tria, is the counsel of record for FESC in both G.R. No.
130068 and G.R. No. 130150. G.R. No. 130068
commenced with the filing by FESC of a verified
motion for extension of time to file its petition for 30
days. Said motion contained a certification against
forum shopping signed by Atty. Herbert Tria. This
motion having been granted, FESC subsequently filed
its petition on September 26, 1997, this time bearing
a "verification and certification against forumshopping" executed by one Teodoro P. Lopez. The
Court found that the petition filed by MPA in G.R. No.
130150 then pending with the Third Division was
duly filed on August 29, 1997 with a copy thereof
furnished on the same date by registered mail to
counsel for FESC. Counsel of record for MPA. Atty.
Jesus P. Amparo, in his verification accompanying
said petition dutifully revealed to the Court that but
to the best of his knowledge, there is an action or
proceeding pending in this Honorable Court, entitled
Far Eastern Shipping Co., Petitioner, vs. Philippine

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Ports Authority and Court of Appeals with a Motion


for Extension of time to file Petition For Review by
Certiorari filed sometime on August 18, 1987.
ISSUE: Whether or not the Solicitor General and the
counsel for FESC is guilty of unprofessional tendency
of taking the Rules for granted.
HELD: Yes.
As to COUNSEL FOR FESC
Inasmuch as MPA's petition in G.R. No. 130150 was
posted by registered mail on August 29, 1997 and
taking judicial notice of the average period of time it
takes local mail to reach its destination, by
reasonable estimation it would be fair to conclude
that when FESC filed its petition in G.R. No. 130068
on September 26, 1997, it would already have
received a copy of the former and would then have
knowledge of the pendency of the other petition
initially filed with the First Division. It was therefore
incumbent upon FESC to inform the Court of that fact
through its certification against forum shopping. For
failure to make such disclosure, it would appear that
the aforequoted certification accompanying the
petition in G.R. No. 130068 is defective and could
have been a ground for dismissal thereof. It cannot
feign non-knowledge of the existence of such other
petition because FESC itself filed the motion for
consolidation in G.R. No. 130150 of these two cases
on April 24, 1998. As
between the lawyer and the courts, a lawyer owes
candor, fairness and good faith to the court. He is an
officer of the court exercising a privilege which is
indispensable in the administration of justice.
Candidness, especially towards the courts, is
essential for the expeditious administration of justice.
Courts are entitled to expect only complete honesty
from lawyers appearing and pleading before them.
Candor in all dealings is the very essence of
honorable membership in the legal profession. More
specifically, a lawyer is obliged to observe the rules
of procedure and not to misuse them to defeat the
ends of justice. It behooves a lawyer, therefore, to
exert every effort and consider it his duty to assist in
the speedy and efficient administration of justice.
Being an officer of the court, a lawyer has a
responsibility in the proper administration of justice.
Like the court itself, he is an instrument to advance
its ends the speedy, efficient, impartial, correct
and inexpensive adjudication of cases and the
prompt satisfaction of final judgments. A lawyer
should not only help attain these objectives but
should likewise avoid any unethical or improper
practices that impede, obstruct or prevent their
realization, charged as he is with the primary task of
assisting in the speedy and efficient administration of
justice.
As to OSG
The Court found here a lackadaisical attitude and
complacency on the part of the OSG in the handling
of its cases and an almost reflexive propensity to
move for countless extensions, as if to test the

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patience of the Court, before favoring it with the


timely submission of required pleadings.
It must be emphasized that the Court can resolve
cases only as fast as the respective parties in a case
file the necessary pleadings. The OSG, by needlessly
extending the pendency of these cases through its
numerous motions for extension, came very close to
exhausting this Court's forbearance and has
regrettably fallen short of its duties as the People's
Tribune.
The OSG is reminded that just like other members of
the Bar, the canons under the Code of Professional
Responsibility apply with equal force on lawyers in
government service in the discharge of their official
tasks. These ethical duties are rendered even more
exacting as to them because, as government
counsel, they have the added duty to abide by the
policy of the State to promote a high standard of
ethics in public service. Furthermore, it is incumbent
upon the OSG, as part of the government
bureaucracy, to perform and discharge its duties with
the highest degree of professionalism, intelligence
and skill and to extend prompt, courteous and
adequate service to the public.
LORENZO JOSE, petitioner, vs. THE COURT OF
APPEALS and THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES,
respondents.
FACTS: Petitioner Lorenzo Jose who was convicted of
illegal possession of explosives (handgrenade) and
sentenced to suffer imprisonment of five years, seeks
a new trial which was denied him by the Court of First
Instance of Pampanga, and by respondent Court of
Appeals. On February 8, 1968, at the poblacion of
Floridablanca, Pampanga, petitioner Jose was
arrested by the local police leading to the filing with
the Court of First Instance of Pampanga, Branch III of
several criminal cases against him to wit: illegal
discharge of firearm, robbery and illegal possession
of explosives. These three cases were jointly tried
after which the trial judge acquitted accused Lorenzo
Jose of illegal discharge of firearm and robbery, but
convicted him for illegal possession of the
handgrenade that was found on his person at the
time of his arrest. Nine days thereafter or more
particularly on January 24, 1970, petitioner filed a
motion praying that the case be reopened to permit
him to present, pursuant to a reservation he had
made in the course of the trial, a permit to possess
the handgrenade in question. The trial court in its
order of January 30, 1970 denied the motion mainly
on the ground that it had lost jurisdiction over the
case in view of the perfection of the appeal by the
accused on the very date the decision was
promulgated. A second motion for reconsideration
9
and/or new trial was filed by Lorenzo Jose
but this
was also denied by the appellate court. Appellant
Jose assisted by counsel, Atty. Francisco Carreon filed
with the SC this petition for review which the SC
denied outright the question raised being factual and
for insufficient showing that the finding of facts by
respondent court are unsupported by substantial
evidence, and for lack of merit.

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A motion for reconsideration was filed by petitioner


stressing, among others, that petitioners's plight is of
compelling human and legal interest, and his being
imprisoned for five (5) years when there is
indubitable exculpatory evidence on hand is a result
so harsh that the Honorable Court may well
undertake a review of the case just to satisfy itself of
the justice and inevitability of such a result.
The Solicitor General opposed the granting of the
foregoing motion for reconsideration claiming that
there was neither a denial of "substantial justice nor
error of any sort on the part of respondent Court of
Appeals, affirming the judgment of convinction," and
that it being admitted by petitioner that the evidence
sought to be introduced by him at the new trial is not
newly discovered evidence. However, Solicitor
General subsequently submitted a Manifestation
informing the Court that in the interest of justice, he
was constrained to make pertinent inquiries from the
PC Chief, Gen. Fidel V. Ramos and that the latter
confirmed that Mr. Lorenzo Jose was appointed PC
Agent in Pampanga and that the firearms and other
equipments were provided by the Headquarters as
deemed necessary for your personal protection on
the need basis which will be covered by separate
written authority.
ISSUE: Whether or not the Solicitor General was
correct
HELD: Yes. This is a situation where a rigid
application of rules of procedure must bow to the
overriding goal of courts of justice to render justice
where justice is due to secure to every individual all
possible legal means to prove his innocence of a
crime of which he is charged. The Solicitor General
embodies the principle that a prosecuting officer, as
the representative of a sovereignty whose obligation
and interest in a criminal prosecution is not that it
shall win a case but that justice shall be done, has
the solemn responsibility to assure the public that
while guilt shall not escape, innocence shall not
suffer. The recommendation by the Solicitor General
in this case acknowledges that the interests of justice
will best be served by remanding this case to the
court of origin for a new trial.
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner, vs.
HONORABLE JUDGE HERNANDO PINEDA of the
Court of First Instance of Lanao del Norte; and
TOMAS NARBASA, TAMBAC ALINDO and RUFINO
BORRES, respondents.
FACTS: Respondents Tomas Narbasa, Tambac Alindo
and Rufino Borres stand indicted before the Court of
First Instance of Lanao del Norte, as principals, in five
(5) separate cases, four for murder and one for
frustrated murder. Two of the three defendants in the
five criminal cases heretofore listed Tomas
Narbasa and Tambak Alindo moved for a
consolidation thereof "into one (1) criminal case."
Their plea is that "said cases arose out of the same
incident and motivated by one impulse." The
respondent judge directed the City Fiscal to unify all
the five criminal cases, and to file one single
information and was ordered that the other four

32

cases be dropped from the docket. The City Fiscal


balked at the foregoing order, sought reconsideration
thereof, upon the ground that "more than one gun
was used, more than one shot was fired and more
than one victim was killed." The respondent Judge
denied the motion to reconsider. He took the position
that the acts complained of "stemmed out of a series
of continuing acts on the part of the accused, not by
different and separate sets of shots, moved by one
impulse and should therefore be treated as one crime
though the series of shots killed more than one
victim;" and that only one information for multiple
murder should be filed, to obviate the necessity of
trying five cases instead of one." People filed a
petition for certiorari with a prayer for a write of
preliminary injunction, and for other reliefs, in the
Supreme Court to annul the respondent judges
orders.
ISSUE: Whether or not there is grave abuse of
discretion in filing separate cases instead of a single
case for a complex crime

charge is one addressed to the sound discretion of


the investigating Fiscal. The information he lodges in
court must have to be supported by facts brought
about by an inquiry made by him. It stands to reason
then to say that in a clash of views between the
judge who did not investigate and the fiscal who did,
or between the fiscal and the offended party or the
defendant, those of the Fiscal's should normally
prevail. In this regard, he cannot ordinarily be subject
to dictation. We are not to be understood as saying
that criminal prosecution may not be blocked in
exceptional cases. A relief in equity "may be availed
of to stop it purported enforcement of a criminal law
where it is necessary (a) for the orderly
administration of justice; (b) to prevent the use of the
strong arm of the law in an oppressive and vindictive
manner; (c) to avoid multiplicity of actions; (d) to
afford adequate protection to constitutional rights;
and (e) in proper cases, because the statute relied
upon is unconstitutional or was 'held invalid.' Upon
the record as it stands, the writ of certiorari prayed
for is was granted and the orders of respondent
Judge were set and declared null and void.

HELD: No. The impact of respondent Judge's orders


is that his judgment is to be substituted for that of
the prosecutor's on the matter of what crime is to be
filed in court. The question of instituting a criminal

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33