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VITRIOLO V.

DASIG
A. C No. 4984 April 1, 2003
Facts:
Atty. Julito Vitriolo and other high ranking officials of CHED filed a disbarment
case against Atty. Felina Dasig, OIC of Legal Affairs Service of CHED. The
former alleged that the latter demanded money from some individuals for
the facilitation of their applications for correction of name. The Court
required the respondent to file a comment on charges but to no avail. The
complaint was referred to the IBP Commission on Bar Discipline and the
latter resolve the same finding the respondent committed a violation of her
oath as a government official and was suspended from the practice of law for
the maximum period of 3 years.
Issue:
WON respondent Atty. Felina Dasig may be disciplined by the Court (SC)
considering that he holds a government office
Ruling:
Generally, a lawyer who holds a government office may NOT be disciplined
as a member of the bar for misconduct in the discharge of his duties as a
government official. However, if said misconduct as a government official
also constitutes a VIOLATION OF HIS OATH AS A LAWYER, then he may
be disciplined by this court as a member of the Bar. In the case at bar, the
respondent, on various occasions, attempted to extort money from some
individuals and such act as a lawyer affects her qualification as a member of
the Bar, for as a lawyer, she ought to have known that it was patently
unethical and illegal for her to demand sums of money as consideration for
the approval of applications and requests awaiting action by her office. The
Attorneys Oath is the source of the obligations and duties of every lawyer
and any violation thereof is a ground for DISBARMENT, SUSPENSION, and
other disciplinary action. A member of the bar who assumes public office
DOES NOT shed his professional obligations. Hence, the Code of
Professional Responsibility was not meant to govern the conduct of
private practitioners alone, but of ALL lawyers including those in
government service. Respondent Atty. Felina S. Dasig is found liable for
GROSS MISCONDUCT and DISHONESTY in violation of the Attorneys Oath
as well as the Code of Professional Responsibility and was ordered
DISBARRED.

DACIAS V. BALAUITAN
A.C No. 7280 November 16, 2006
Facts:
Respondent Atty. Balauitan owns a parcel of land located in Tuguegarao City
and entered into agreement, for the purchase thereof on installment basis,
with herein petitioner Dacias. The latter paid the down payment and the
installments thereafter until the amount paid by Dacias reached up to
P300,000.00. Dacias asked the copy of the title upon learning about the
mortgage the respondent constituted over his property. The respondents
inability to produce the desired title impelled her not to complete payment
anymore and to request the return of the amount she had already paid the
respondent and further request from the IBP any assistance but proved futile.
Unfortunately, the bank foreclosed the mortgage of the said property.
Respondent admitted that he enters into an agreement with Dacias but
stressed the private nature of the transaction between them but he
describes the complainants demand for delivery of title as premature as the
aforementioned agreement was not consummated for complainants failure
the full purchase price of the said property. The IBP Commission on Bar
Discipline adjudged Atty. Balauitan guilty of dishonesty and grave
misconduct and meted the penalty of suspension from the practice of law.
Issues:
WON Atty. Balauitan may be disciplined by the Court for Gross Misconduct
Ruling:
The Code of Professional Responsibility enjoins a lawyer from engaging in
unlawful, dishonest or deceitful conduct. Furthermore, the Rules of Court
provides that a member of the bar may be suspended or even removed from
office as an attorney for any deceit, malpractice, or misconduct in office, and
when the code or the Rules speaks of conduct or misconduct the
reference is not confined to ones behavior exhibited in connection with the
performance of the lawyers professional duties, but also covers any
misconduct which, albeit unrelated to the actual practice of his profession,

would show him to be unfit for the office and unworthy of the privileges
which his license and the law invest him with. In the case at bar, respondent
had shown, through his dealing with the complainant involving a tiny parcel
of land, a want of professional honesty. Such misdeed reflects on the moral
stuff which he is made of. His fitness to continue in the advocacy of law and
manage the legal affairs of others is thus put in serious doubt. Therefore,
respondent Atty. Balauitan is found guilty of GROSS MISCONDUCT and
DISHONESTY and ordered SUSPENDED from the practice of law for a
period of one year.
GUEVARRA V. EALA
A.C No. 7136 August 1, 2007
Facts:
Joselano Guevarra filed a complaint for Disbarment before the IBP Committee
on Bar Discipline against Noli Eala for grossly immoral conduct and
unmitigated violation of the Lawyers Oath. Complainant notice that his wife
Irene had been receiving phone calls and I love you messages from
respondent Eala, who is married to Mary Ann Tantoco. Guevarra also saw
respondents car and that of Irene constantly parked somewhere in Manila,
where the complainant alleged such place as their love nest. The illicit
relationship of Irene and Eala resulted to the formers pregnancy. The child
was born and herein respondent was attached in the birth certificate as the
father. Respondent claimed in his answer that their (with Irene) relationship
was low profile and known only to the immediate members of their
respective families and the same cannot be considered as gross moral
depravity thereby making him unfit to keep his membership in the bar as
such relationship was not under scandalous circumstances. The IBP Board of
Governors annulled the case for lack of merit.
Issues:
WON respondent Atty. Eala is guilty of grossly immoral conduct
Ruling:
The answer made by respondent Eala constitutes admission that there is
indeed a special relationship between him and complainants wife, Irene,
taken together with the birth certificate of the child Samantha Louise Irene
Moje sufficiently prove that there was indeed an illicit relationship. The case
at bar involves a relationship between a married lawyer and a married

woman who is not his wife. It is immaterial whether the affair was carried out
discreetly. While it has been held in disbarment cases that the mere fact of
sexual relationship between two unmarried adults is not sufficient to warrant
administrative sanction for such illicit behavior, it is not so with under penal
law, sexual relations outside marriage is considered disgraceful and immoral
as it manifests deliberate disregard of the sanctity of marriage and marital
vows protected by the CONSTITUTION and affirmed by our laws. Hence, Atty.
Emmanuel Eala is disbarred for grossly immoral conduct, violation of
his Oath of office, and violation of the Code of Professional
Responsibility.

MORTERA V. PAGATPATAN
A.C No. 4562 June 15, 2005
Facts:
Complainants sued their mother, Renato Aguilar and Philip Bradfield for the
rescission of a contract of sale. They (complainants) secured judgment under
which Aguilar was to pay them P155,000.00 for the property. Respondent
accepted P150,000.00 from Aguilar under a secret agreement as a partial
payment of the judgment sum. Respondent deposited the same in his
personal bank account without the knowledge of complainants. Respondent
adamantly refuses to surrender the money to herein the complainants
(Morteras) despite successive orders of the RTC and CA. respondent, in his
comment, admits his secret agreement and receipt of money with Aguilar
but interposed a defense that the complainants and their mother owed him
the money he appropriated for services previously rendered. The IBP Board
of Governors resolved to suspend the respondent for I year.
Issue:
WON the 1 year suspension imposed against the respondent is sufficient
Ruling:
No.
One year suspension seems too lenient for a number of reasons:

First, the respondent has been a practicing lawyer since 1974 and even runs
his own firm. For all his vast experience, however, he claims that he has
done nothing wrong by concealing and withholding his clients money from
them. This act is inexcusable. Second, the respondent had other means of
recovering his fees, having filed a case for that purpose which was, to
recover his fees, he sought to subvert both law and proper procedure by
holding on the money. Clearly, the actuations were thoroughly tainted with
bad faith, deceit and utter contempt of his own sworn duty as a lawyer.
Hence, respondent Atty. Renato Pagatpatan is hereby suspended for 2 years
from the practice of law.

MACARIO FESTIN et. al V. JORY F. FADERANGA et. al


GR NO. L-57351 January 16, 1982
Facts:
This is a quo warranto suit filed by the petitioner after the SC had rendered a
decision in the case of Faderanga v. COMELEC. As expressly admitted by
petitioners, a decision in favor of the respondents (Faderanga) was
promulgated on June 26, 1981 and received by herein petitioners of the
same day.
The case arose from a petition by private respondents seeking for the
disqualification of petitioners from being candidates respectively for mayor,
vice mayor and members of the SB of Banton, Romblon. While the petition
was undecided, petitioners won in the election and were proclaimed duly
elected respectively as mayor, vice mayor and members of the SB. Herein
petitioners were informed by the COMELEC to suspend the proclamation,
however such information came late, and it came to the knowledge of the
petitioners only after the proclamation. When the petition for disqualification
was resolved, for lack of sufficient evidence, the Registrar of Banton,
Romblon advised petitioners that all winning candidates would be proclaimed
anew, thus for the second time petitioners were proclaimed. Respondents
filed a motion for reconsideration but the petitioners opposed contending

that no new issues, grounds or facts were raised therein. The COMELEC after
hearing the MFR reversed itself. Despite the pronouncement of the SC on its
decision, the petitioners opted chose not to avail with the remedy afforded
to them. Instead, upon the advice of Atty. Fabella, they instituted this quo
warranto proceeding alleging that there was culpable violation of the
Constitution. Atty. Fabella stated in his petition that WE WOULD BE
CREATING AN ELECTIVE OFFICERS OF A MUNICIPALITY WHO ARE
ABOVE THE LAW BY JUDICIAL FIAT. This statement is deemed offensive
because of lack of respect to the Court.
Ruling:
The petition must fail. The SC reminded the members of the bar of becoming
modesty, being a desirable trait in lower court judges. It applies as well to
practitioners, especially so when the litigations entrusted to them may tax
their ability to the utmost. While the circumstances of counsel for petitioner
Atty. Fabella being new in the profession may be mitigating, it cannot entirely
exculpate him. Hence, Atty. Fabella is hereby admonished to be more careful
in his choice of language and to devote greater time, attention, and effort in
the preparation of pleadings for submission to this Court.

People of the Philippines v. Atty. Raul Sesbreno


GR NO. L-62449 July 16, 1984
Facts:
An information was filed by the City Fiscals Office against accused Atty.
Sesbreno for the crime of libel based on alleged defamatory statements
found in his pleading. The alleged libelous statements imputes Atty. Ceniza
is an irresponsible person, cannot be trusted, like Judas, a liar and
irresponsible childish prankster are contained in a pleading filed in court
and, therefore, covered by the Doctrine of Absolutely Privileged
Communications, hence, no liability can arise therefrom.
Issue:
WON the alleged libelous statement in the pleading is covered by the
doctrine of Absolute Privilege Communications
Ruling:

The Doctrine of Privileged Communications that utterances made in the


course of judicial proceedings, including all kinds of pleadings, petitions and
motions, belong to the class of communications that are absolutely
privileged has been expressed in long line of cases. This doctrine rests upon
public policy, which looks to the free and unfettered administration of justice,
though, as an incidental result it may in some instances afford immunity to
the evil disposed and malignant slanderer. However, this doctrine is not
without qualification. Statements made in the course of judicial proceedings
are absolutely privilegedthat is, privileged regardless of defamatory tenor
and of the presence of maliceif the same are relevant, pertinent, or
material to the cause in hand or subject of inquiry. A pleading must meet the
test of relevancy to avoid being considered libelous. In the case at bar, the
Court find appellees alleged slanderous statement PERTINENT to the
motion to cite appellant Ceniza in contempt. Albeit, the language is strong,
such remark is deemed absolutely privileged and cannot be the basis for
libel. However, lawyers must owe respect not only to the courts and their
clients, but also to other members of the bar. A lawyers language should
likewise be dignified. Greater care and circumspection must be exercised in
the preparation of their pleadings and to refrain from using abrasive and
offensive language. Hence, Atty. Sesbreno is reprimanded and
admonished to refrain from employing language unbecoming of a member
of the Bar and to extend courtesy and respect to his brothers in the
profession.

Miguel Tolentino v. Cirilo Baylosis


Gr. No. L-15742
Facts:
This case arose from Civil Case entitled Ruiz et al v. Cirilo Baylosis for the
annulment of certificates of title and recovery of damages, herein appellant
Atty. Tolentino appeared as counsel for plaintiff. Atty. Baylosis made the
following allegations in his pleading:
a. The cause of death of the plaintiff may be due to the will of God, or
due to the heavy expenses which they may have suffered from their
leader and counsel

b. Atty. Tolentino must be certainly not of his usual mind, otherwise


with his old age, and long practice of law, he would not have dared
to make such fictitious and malicious claim, and knowingly that this
Honorable Court is not the place for every exaggerated and
unreasonable demand in order to give trouble and worries to
defendant
c. Atty. Tolentino cannot be adjudged as a prominent attorney or a
bright attorney for his several failures in the bar and his several
losses of his cases are not in his favor
Urging that the aforequoted are libelous and derogatory to his character and
reputation, Atty. Tolentino initiated this proceeding and seeks to recover from
Atty. Baylosis the sum of P100,000.00 as actual and moral damages.
Issue:
WON the allegations in the pleading of Atty. Baylosis constitutes are
governed by the Doctrine of Privilege Communication
Ruling:
It is the generally accepted rule that counsel, parties, or witnesses are
exempted from liability in libel or slander for words otherwise defamatory
published in the course of judicial proceedings, provided that the statements
are connected with, or relevant, pertinent or material to, the cause in hand
or subject of inquiry. In the case at bar, the alleged defamatory remarks
cannot be the basis of an action for damages. Although the language used
by the appellee was undoubtedly strong, it was made in legitimate defense
of his own and his clients interests. However, the averments in paragraph
(a) and (b) of the afore-stated pleading of Atty. Baylosis were evidently
conjectures that had no place in the pleading. It appears however; that the
appellant herein was libeled bay way of retaliation and that Atty. Tolentino
personally attacked Atty. Baylosis. Therefore, the appellant did not come to
the court with clean hands and is not entitled to the claim of damages
against Atty. Baylosis.

PROBLEM AREAS IN LEGAL ETHICS


DIGESTED CASES:
1. VITRIOLO V. DASIG
A. C No. 4984 April 1, 2003

2. DACIAS V. BALAUITAN
A.C No. 7280 November 16, 2006
3. GUEVARRA V. EALA
A.C No. 7136 August 1, 2007
4. MORTERA V. PAGATPATAN
A.C No. 4562 June 15, 2005
5. MACARIO FESTIN et. al V. JORY F. FADERANGA et. al
GR NO. L-57351 January 16, 1982
6. People of the Philippines v. Atty. Raul Sesbreno
GR NO. L-62449 July 16, 1984
7. Miguel Tolentino v. Cirilo Baylosis
Gr. No. L-15742

Submitted to:
Atty. Gemma Betonio

Submitted by:
Daniel Besina Jr.

December 2014