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1. LIM V.

Lim filed a complaint against respondent for allegedly representing the opposing clients after he
has withdrawn from a client with whom the present issue of the former arises. The cases were
directly and indirectly involved with the same clients that conflicting interest cannot be denied.
Although the court, indeed, approved the withdrawal of the respondent from the previous case,
the respondent failed to ask for consent of his client or to at least provide a copy of the court
approved withdrawal. Other than that, it was said that the respondent w
[1] W/N there exist conflict of interest in the cases represented and handled by the respondent?
[2] W/N respondent properly withdrew his services as counsel to former client?
[1] Yes, it cannot be denied that there exist conflict of interests between the previous and present
clients. For one issue wherein respondent positioned himself against the interest of PRC (his
former clients company), and the other wherein he represented or has been part of a party
opposing PRC in a collection case.
Canon 15 of the Code of Professional Responsibility (CPR) highlights the need for candor,
fairness and loyalty in all the dealings of lawyers with their clients. Rule 15.03 of the CPR aptly
Rule 15.03 A lawyer shall not represent conflicting interests except by written consent of all
concerned given after a full disclosure of the facts.;
Note: The rule on conflict of interests covers not only cases in which confidential
communications have been confided but also those in which no confidence has been bestowed or
will be used.[33]
The rule prohibits a lawyer from representing new clients whose interests oppose those of a
former client in any manner, whether or not they are parties in the same action or in totally
unrelated cases.
[2] No. The rule on termination of attorney-client relations may be summarized as follows:
The relation of attorney and client may be terminated by the client, by the lawyer or by the court,
or by reason of circumstances beyond the control of the client or the lawyer. The termination of
the attorney-client relationship entails certain duties on the part of the client and his lawyer.[40]
Accordingly, it has been held that the right of an attorney to withdraw or terminate the relation
other than for sufficient cause is considerably restricted. Canon 22 of the CPR reads:

Canon 22 A lawyer shall withdraw his services only for good cause and upon notice appropriate
in the circumstances.
An attorney may only retire from a case either by written consent of his client or by permission
of the court after due notice and hearing, in which event the attorney should see to it that the
name of the new lawyer is recorded in the case.[41] A lawyer who desires to retire from an
action without the written consent of his client must file a petition for withdrawal in court.
[42] He must serve a copy of his petition upon his client and the adverse party at least three days
before the date set for hearing, otherwise the court may treat the application as a mere scrap of
In this case, it was alleged that the court approved the respondents withdrawal thru an order
dated 1999 as he did not appear in any hearings thereof and was supposedly or impliedly
replaced by another counsel.
RULING: WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, respondent Atty. Nicanor V. Villarosa is
hereby found GUILTY of violating Canon 15 and Canon 22 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility and is SUSPENDED from the practice of law for one (1) year, effective upon
receipt of this decision, with a STERN WARNING that a repetition of the same or similar
acts will be dealt with more severely.