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PARAS; September 3, 1991 NARVASA [concur]
- concur only in the result
Petition to review decision of Commission on Appointments


- April 25, 1991 – Atty. Christian Monsod was appointed by Pres. - Practice refers to actual performance of application of
Aquino as Chairman of COMELEC knowledge as distinguished from mere possession of knowledge;
- Rene Cayetano opposed such appointment as citizen and it connotes active, habitual, repeated or customary action TF
taxpayer because Monsod allegedly does not possess the lawyer employed as business executive or corporate manager,
required qualification of having been engaged in the practice of other than head of Legal Department cannot be said to be in the
law for at least 10 years practice of law
- June 18, 1991 – Monsod took his oath of office - People v Villanueva
- Monsod’s credentials > Practice is more than an isolated appearance for it consists in
> member of Philippine Bar since 1960 frequent or customary actions, a succession of acts of the same
> after bar, worked in law office of his father kind
> 1963-1970 – in World Bank Group as operations officer in - Commission on Appointments memorandum
Costa Rica and Panama involves getting acquainted with laws of > practice of law requires habituality, compensation, application
member-countries, negotiating loans and coordinating legal, of law, legal principle, practice or procedure, and attorney-client
economic and project work relationship
> 1970 – in Meralco Group as CEO of investment bank
> since 1986 – rendered service to various companiesas legal CRUZ [dissent]
and economic consultant or CEO - sweeping definition of practice of law as to render the
> 1986-1987 – secretary-general and national chairman of qualification practically toothless
NAMFREL (election law) - there is hardly any activity that is not affected by some law or
> co-chairman of Bishop’s Businessmen’s Conference for Human government regulation the businessman must know about and
Development observe
> 1990 - Davide Commission – quasi-judicial body - “performance of any acts… in or out of court, commonly
> 1986-1987 – member of Constitutional Commission as understood to be the practice of law” which tells us absolutely
Chairman on Accountability of Public Officers nothing
- AIX-C Sec1(1) - … Commission on Elections chairman shall be
members of the Philippine Bar who have been engaged in the GUTIERREZ [dissent]
practice of law for at least 10 years - practice is envisioned as active and regular, not isolated,
- no jurisprudence on what constitutes the practice of law occasional, accidental, intermittent, incidental, seasonal or
ISSUE - nothing in the bio-data even remotely indicates Monsod has
WON Monsod is qualified as Chairman of COMELEC in fulfilling given the law enough attention or a certain degree of
the requirement engaged in the practice of law for at least ten commitment and participation
years - difficult if not impossible to lay down a formula or definition of
what constitutes the practice of law
HELD - Monsod was asked if he ever prepared contracts for parties in
YES. Practice of Law means any activity, in or out of court real-estate transaction; he answered very seldom
which requires the application of law, legal procedure, - Monsod may have profited from his legal knowledge, the use of
knowledge, training and experience. Monsod as lawyer- such is incidental and consists of isolated activities which do not
economist, lawyer-manager, lawyer-entrepreneur, lawyer- fall under the denominations of practice of law
negotiator, and lawyer-negotiator is proof he is engaged in
practice of law for more than 1- years
- Black’s Law Dictionary
> Rendition of service requiring the knowledge and application CORONA; January 17, 2005
of legal principles and technique to serve the interest of another
with his consent NATURE
> not limited to appearing in court, or advising and assisting in Administrative case in SC for Serious Misconduct and Dishonesty
the conduct of litigation, but embraces the preparation of
pleadings, and other papers incident to actions and special FACTS
proceedings, conveyancing, the preparation of legal instruments - Petitioners Benjamin Santuyo and Editha Santuyo accused
of all kinds, and giving all legal advice to clients respondent Atty. Edwin Hidalgo of serious misconduct and
- Land Title Abstract and Trust Co v Dworken dishonesty for breach of his lawyer’s oath and notarial law
> one who in representative capacity engages in business of - In Dec 1991, couple purchased parcel of land covered by deed
advising clients as to their rights under law, or while so engaged of sale
performs any act or acts either in court or outside of court - It was allegedly notarized by Hidalgo and entered in his notarial
- UP Law Center register
> advocacy, counseling, public service - Six years later, couple had dispute with Danilo German over
- Alexander SyCip ownership of said land; German presented an affidavit executed
> appearance of lawyer in litigation is most publicly familiar role by Hidalgo denying authenticity of his signature on deed of sale
of lawyers as well as an uncommon role for the average lawyer Petitioners' Claim
> more legal work is transacted in law offices that in the - Hidalgo overlooked the fact that deed of sale contained ALL the
courtrooms legal formalities of a duly notarized document (including
> business counseling than trying cases; as planner, impression of his notarial dry seal)
diagnostician, trial lawyer, surgeon - Santuyos could not have forged the signature, not being
- article on Business Star learned in technicalities surrounding notarial act
> emerging trends in corporate law - They had no access to his notarial seal and notarial register,
and they could not have made any imprint of his seal or
Respondents' Comments Goco. The check was received and cashed by the the latter by
- He denied having notarized any deed of sale for disputed virtue of the SPA notarized by Ariola.
property. Respondents' Comments
- He once worked as junior lawyer at Carpio General and Jacob - Respondent explained that as early as May 12, 2000, Benitez
Law Office; and admitted that he notarized several documents in had already signed the SPA. He claimed that due to
that office. inadvertence, it was only on January 4, 2001 that he was able to
- As a matter of procedure, documents were scrutinized by notarize it. Nevertheless, the SPA notarized by him on January 4,
senior lawyers, and only with their approval could notarization 2001 was not at all necessary because Benitez had signed a
be done. similar SPA in favor of Goco sometime before his death, on May
- In some occasions, secretaries (by themselves) would affix dry 12, 2000. Therefore, the SPA was cancelled the same day he
seal of junior associates on documents relating to cases handled notarized it.
by the law firm. - Moreover, the suit should be dismissed for forum shopping
- He normally required parties to exhibit community tax since similar charges had been filed with the Civil Service
certificates and to personally acknowledge documents before Commission and the Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for Luzon.
him as notary public. Which complaints were dismissed because the assailed act
- He knew Editha, but only met Benjamin in Nov 1997 (Meeting referred to violation of the IRR of the Commission on Audit.
was arranged by Editha so as to personally acknowledge another - The Court, in its resolution dated March 12, 2003, referred the
document) complaint to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines for
- His alleged signature on deed of sale was forged (strokes of a investigation, report and recommendation. The IBP
lady) recommended that respondent's notarial commission be revoked
- At time it was supposedly notarized, he was on vacation. and that he be suspended from the practice of law for one year.

1. WON the signature of respondent on the deed of sale was WON acts of respondent amounted to a violation of the Code of
forged Professional Responsibility.
2. WON respondent is guilty of negligence
HELD Ratio The act was a serious breach of the sacred obligation
1. Yes. imposed by the Code of Professional Responsibility, specifically
Ratio The alleged forged signature was different from Hidalgo’s Rule 1.01 of Canon 1, which prohibits engaging in unlawful,
signatures in other documents submitted during the dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct..
investigation. Reasoning The undisputed facts show that Benitez died on
Reasoning Santuyos did not state that they personally October 25, 2000. The notarial acknowledgment of respondent
appeared before respondent. They were also not sure if he declared that Benitez “appeared before him and acknowledged
signed the document; only that his signature appeared on it. that the instrument was his clear and voluntary act.” Clearly
They had no personal knowledge as to who actually affixed the respondent lied and intentionally perpetuated an untruthful
signature. statement.
2. Yes. - Neither will respondent's defense that the SPA in question was
Ratio He was negligent for having wholly entrusted the superfluous and unnecessary, and prejudiced no one, exonerate
preparation and other mechanics of the document for him of accountability. His assertion of falsehood in a public
notarization to the office secretaries, including safekeeping of document contravened one of the most cherished tenets of the
dry seal and making entries in notarial register. legal profession and potentially cast suspicion on the
Reasoning Responsibility attached to a notary public is truthfulness of every notarial act.
sensitive, and respondent should have been more discreet and Disposition WHEREFORE, respondent Atty. Gregorio E. Ariola,
cautious. Jr., is found guilty of gross misconduct and is hereby DISBARRED
Disposition Atty. Hidalgo is suspended from his commission as from the practice of law. Let copies of this Resolution be
notary public for two (2) years for negligence in the performance furnished the Office of the Bar Confidant and entered in the
of duties as notary public. records of respondent, and brought to the immediate attention
of the Ombudsman.
DE LEON; June 8, 2000
Administrative case in the Supreme Court. Violation of the Code NATURE
of Professional Responsibility Administrative matter in the Supreme Court. Disbarment.

- In an affidavit-complaint, complainat Arturo Sicat, a Board Mrs. Ui filed an administrative complaint for disbarment against
Member of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Rizal, charged Atty. Bonifacio on the ground of immorality, for allegedly
respondent Atty. Gregorio Ariola, the Municipal Administrator of carrying on an illicit relationship with her husband Mr. Ui. In the
Cainta, Rizal with violation of the Code of Professional proceeding before the IBP Commission on Bar Discipline, Atty.
Responsibility by committing fraud, deceit and falsehood in his Bonifacio attached a photocopy of a marriage certificate that
dealings, particularly the notarization of a Special Power of said that she and Mr. Ui got married in 1985, but according to
Attorney(SPA) purportedly executed by one Juanito C. Benitez the certificate of marriage obtained from the Hawaii State
According to complainant, respondent made it appear that Department of Health, they were married in 1987. She claims
Benitez executed the said document on January 4, 2001 when in that she entered the relationship with Mr. Ui in good faith and
fact the latter had already died on October 25, 2000. that her conduct cannot be considered as willful, flagrant, or
- He alleged that prior to notarization, the Municipality of Cainta shameless, nor can it suggest moral indifference. She fell in love
had entered into a contract with J.C. Benitez Architect and with Mr. Ui whom she believed to be single, and, that upon her
Technical Management, represented by Benitez, for the discovery of his true civil status, she parted ways with him.
construction of low-cost houses(project worth=11M). For the
services of the consultants, the Municipality of Cainta issued a ISSUE
check dated January 10, 2001 in the amount of 3.7M, payable to WON Atty. Bonifacio conducted herself in an immoral manner for
J.C. Benitez Architects and Technical Management and/or Cesar which she deserves to be barred from the practice of law
HELD WON the facts constitute gross immorality warranting the
- No. The practice of law is a privilege. A bar candidate does not permanent exclusion of Barranco from the legal profession
have the right to enjoy the practice of the legal profession simply
by passing the bar examinations. It is a privilege that can be HELD
revoked, subject to the mandate of due process, once a lawyer No. To justify suspension or disbarment, the act complained of
violates his oath and the dictates of legal ethics. One of the must not only be immoral, but grossly immoral. A grossly
conditions prior to the admission to the bar is that an applicant immoral act is one that is so corrupt and false as to constitute a
must possess good moral character. More importantly, criminal act or so unprincipled or disgraceful as to be
possession of good character must be continuous as a reprehensible to a high degree. It is a willful, flagrant, or
requirement to the enjoyment of the privilege of law practice. shameless acts which shows a moral indifference to the opinion
Otherwise, the loss thereof is a ground for the revocation of such of respectable members of the community.
privilege. - Barranco’s engaging in premarital sexual relations with
- A lawyer may be disbarred for grossly immoral conduct, which Figueroa and promises to marry suggest a doubtful moral
has been defined as the conduct which is willful, flagrant, or character on his part but it does not constitute grossly immoral
shameless, and which shows a moral indifference to the opinion conduct.
of the good and respectable members of the community. - Barranco and Figueroa were sweethearts whose sexual
Lawyers, as keepers of the public faith, are burdened with a relations were evidently consensual.
higher degree of social responsibility and thus must handle their - Respondent, at the time of this decision, is already 62.
affairs with great caution. Atty. Bonifacio was imprudent in Disposition Petition is dismissed. Simeon Barranco, Jr. is
managing her personal affairs. However, the fact remains that allowed to take his oath as a lawyer upon payment of proper
her relationship with Mr. Ui, clothed as it was with what she fees.
believed was a valid marriage, cannot be considered immoral.
Immorality connotes conduct that shows indifference to the BARRIOS V MARTINEZ
moral norms of society. Moreover, for such conduct to warrant
PER CURIAM; November 12, 2004
disciplinary action, the same must be “grossly immoral,” that is,
it must be so corrupt and false as to constitute a criminal act or
so unprincipled as to be reprehensible to a high degree.
- Atty. Martinez was convicted of a violation of BP 22
- A member of the bar and an officer of the court is not only
- Complainant submitted Resolution dated March 13, 1996, and
required to refrain from adulterous relationships but must also
the Entry of judgment dated March 20, 1996 in an action for
behave himself so as to avoid scandalizing the public by creating
disbarment against Martinez
the belief that he is flouting those moral standards. Atty.
- July 3, 1996 – the Court required respondent to comment on
Bonifacio’s act of immediately distancing herself from Mr. Ui
said petition within 10 days from notice
upon discovering his true civil status belies just that alleged
- February 17, 1997 – a second resolution was issued requiring
moral indifference and proves that she fad no intention of
respondent to show cause why no disciplinary action should be
flaunting the law and the high moral standard of the legal
imposed on him for failure to comply with the earlier Resolution
profession. On the matter of the falsified certificate of marriage,
and to submit Comment
it is contrary to human experience and highly improbable that
- July 7, 1997 – the Court imposed a fine of P1000 for
she did not know the year of her marriage or that she failed to
respondent’s failure to comply with previous resolution within 10
check that the information in the document which she attached
to her Answer were correct. Lawyers are called upon to
- April 27, 1998 – the Court fined the respondent an additional
safeguard the integrity of the bar, free from misdeeds and acts
P2000 and required him to comply with the resolution under pain
of malpractice.
of imprisonment and arrest for a period of 5 days or until his
FIGUEROA V BARRANCO, JR. - February 3, 1999 – the Court declared respondent Martinez
ROMERO; July 31, 1997 guilty of Contempt under Rule 71, Sec 3(b) of the 1997 Rules on
Civil Procedure and ordered his imprisonment until he complied
FACTS with the aforesaid resolution
- In 1971, Patricia Figueroa petitioned that Simeon Barranco, Jr. - April 5, 1999 – NBI reported that respondent was arrested in
be denied admission to the legal profession. Barranco passed Tacloban City on March 26, 1999 but was subsequently released
the 1970 bar exams on the fourth attempt. after having shown proof of compliance with the resolutions of
- Figueroa avers that she and Barranco had been sweethearts, February 17, 1997 and April 27, 1998 by remitting the amount of
that a child was born to them out of wedlock and that P2000 and submitting his overdue Comment:
respondent did not fulfill his repeated promises to marry her. 1. He failed to respond to the Resolution dated
- Figueroa and Barranco were townmates in Janiuay, Iloilo and February 17, 1997 as he was at that time undergoing
were steadies since 1953. Figueroa first acceded to sexual medical treatment at Camp Ruperto Kangleon in Palo,
congress in 1960. A son, Rafael Barranco, was born on Dec 11, Leyte
1964. Barranco promised to marry Figueroa after he passes the 2. Complainant passed away sometime in June 1997
bar exams. Their relationship continued, with more than 20 or 30 3. Said administrative complaint is an offshoot of a
promises of marriage. Barranco gave only P10 for the child on civil case which was decided in respondent’s favor.
Rafael’s birthdays. In 1971, Figueroa learned Barranco married Respondent avers that as a result of his moving for the
another woman. execution of judgment in his favor and the eviction of the
- From 1972 to 1988, several motions to dismiss and comments family of complainant, the latter filed the present
were filed. administrative case
- On Sept 29, 1988, the Court resolved to dismiss the complaint - September 11, 1997 – Robert Visbal of the Provincial
for failure of complainant to prosecute the case for an Prosecution Office of Tacloban City submitted a letter to the First
unreasonable period of time and to allow Simeon Barranco, Jr. to Division Clerk of Court alleging that respondent Martinez also
take the lawyer’s oath. stood charged in another estafa case before the RTC of Tacloban
- Nov 17, 1988, the Court, in response to Figueroa’s opposition, City, as well as a civil case involving the victims of the Dona Paz
resolved to cancel Barranco’s scheduled oath-taking. tragedy in 1987 for which the RTC of Basey, Samar rendered a
- June 1, 1993, the Court referred the case to the IBP. On May decision against him, his appeal thereto having been dismissed
17, 1997, IBP recommended the dismissal of the case and that by the CA.
respondent be allowed to take the lawyer’s oath - June 16, 1999 – the Court referred the present case to the IBP
for investigation, report, and recommendation
- The report of IBP stated: Administrative Matter. Disbarment
1. Respondent filed a motion for the dismissal of the
case on the ground that the complainant died and that FACTS
dismissal is warranted because the case filed by him does - Senator Aquilino Pimentel filed this disbarment case against
not survive due to his demise as a matter of fact, it is Attys. Antonio Llorente (election officer of COMELEC and
extinguished upon his death. The IBP disagrees, pursuant chairman of the Board) and Ligaya Salayon (ex officio vice-
to Section 1 Rule 139-B of the Revised Rules of Court, the chairman) for gross misconduct, serious breach of trust
SC or the IBP may initiate the proceedings when they and violation of the lawyer’s oath in connection with the
perceive acts of lawyers which deserve sanctions or when discharge of their duties as members of the Pasig City Board of
their attention is called by any one and a probable cause Canvassers in the May 8, 1995 elections.
exists that an act has been perpetrated by a lawyer which - Pimentel alleges that respondents:
requires disciplinary sanctions. • Respondents tampered with the votes he
2. Propensity to disregard orders of the SC, as shown received
by respondent, is an utter lack of good moral character • Statement of votes show that other candidates
3. Respondent’s conviction of a crime of moral were credited with votes which were above the number of
turpitude clearly shows his unfitness to protect the votes they actually received and his votes were reduced
administration of justice and therefore justifies the (dagdag-bawas =p)
imposition of sanctions against him • In 101 precints, Enrile’s votes were in excess
4. It is recommended that respondent be disbarred of the total number of voters who actually voted therein
and his name stricken out from the Roll of Attorneys • The votes from 22 precints were twice
immediately recorded in 18 statements of votes.
- September 27, 2003 – the IBP Board of Governors passed a - PIMENTEL: The respondents committed a serious breach of
Resolution adopting and approving the report and public trust and of their lawyers’ oath by signing the statements
recommendation of its Investigating Commissioner of votes (SoVs) despite their knowledge that some of the entries
- December 3, 2003 – Atty. Martinez filed a Motion for were false.
Reconsideration and/or Reinvestigation - RESPONDENTS: The errors pointed out by complainant could be
- January 14, 2004 – the Court required the complainant to file a attributed to honest mistake, oversight and /or fatigue.
comment within 10 days - IBP recommended the dismissal of the complaint for lack of
- February 16, 2004 – complainant’s daughter sent a merit.
Manifestation and Motion alleging they have not been furnished - Pimentel also filed criminal charges against the two before the
with a copy of respondent’s Motion COMELEC which dismissed said charges for insufficiency of
ISSUE - The SC, upon Pimentel’s petition for certiorari, directed the
WON the crime respondent was convicted of is one involving COMELEC to file appropriate charges against respondents.
moral turpitude
HELD 1. WON a motion for reconsideration is a prohibited pleading
Yes. Moral turpitude includes everything which is done contrary under Rule 139 –B, section 12 C (within 15 day period) since the
to justice, honesty, modesty, or good morals. It involves an act petition was filed late
of baseness, vileness, or depravity in the private duties which a 2. WON the respondents are guilty of misconduct
man owes his fellow men, or to society in general, contrary to
the accepted and customary rule of right and duty between man HELD
and woman, or conduct contrary to justice, honesty, modesty, or 1. NO
good morals. Reasoning
- The argument of respondent that to disbar him now is - In Halimao v. Villanueva: Although Rule 139-B, sec 12(c)
tantamount to a deprivation of property without due process of makes no mention of a motion for reconsideration, nothing in its
law is also untenable. The practice of law is a privilege. The text or in its history suggests that such motion is prohibited.
purpose of a proceeding for disbarment is to protect the - It appears that the petition was filed on time because a copy of
administration of justice by requiring that those who exercise the resolution personally served on the Office of the Bar
this important function shall be competent, honorable and Confidant of the SC was received. It is the burden of the
reliable; men in whom courts and clients may repose confidence. respondent to show that the complainant filed the petition was
- Disciplinary proceedings involve no private interest and afford filed beyond the 15-day period for filing it.
no redress for private grievance. They are undertaken and - Even if Pimentel received the IBP resolution in question was
prosecuted solely for the public welfare, and for the purpose of filed 2 days late, the delay may be overlooked.
preserving courts of justice from the official ministrations of - Disbarment proceedings are undertaken solely for public
persons unfit to practice them. welfare. The sole question for determination is whether a
- The court is also disinclined to take respondent’s old age and member of the bar is fit to be allowed the privileges as such or
the fact that he served in the judiciary in various capacities in his not.
favor. If at all, the respondent was held to a higher standard for - The complainant or the person who called the attention of the
it, for a judge should be the embodiment of competence, Court to the attorney’s alleged misconduct is in no sense a
integrity, and independence, and his conduct should be above party, and generally has no interest, in the outcome except as all
reproach. citizens may have in the proper administration of justice. For this
- The Court based the determination of the penalty from reason, laws dealing with double jeopardy or prescription or with
previously decided cases, holding that disbarment is the procedure like verification of pleadings and prejudicial questions
appropriate penalty for conviction by final judgment for a crime have no application to disbarment proceedings.
of moral turpitude. 2. YES
Disposition Respondent was disbarred and his name stricken Reasoning
from the Roll of Attorneys. - In disciplinary proceedings against members of the bar, only
clearly preponderance of evidence is required to establish
MENDOZA; August 29, 2000 - SC: What is involved here is not just a case of mathematical
(edel cruz) error in the tabulation of votes per precinct as reflected in the
election returns and the subsequent entry of erroneous figures in
NATURE or two statements of votes but a systematic scheme to pad
the votes of certain senatorial candidates at the expense - Fely G. Holgado was herself married and left her own husband
of the petitioner in complete disregard of the tabulation and children to stay with respondent. Respondent Cordova and
in the election returns. Fely G. Holgado lived together in Bislig as husband and wife,
- Despite the fact that these discrepancies were apparent on the with respondent Cordova introducing Fely to the public as his
face of these documents and that the variation involves wife, using the name Fely Cordova.
substantial number of votes, respondents nevertheless certified - Respondent Cordova gave Fely Holgado funds with which to
the SoVs as true and correct. This constitutes misconduct. establish a sari-sari store in the public market at Bislig, while
- Only the respondents had access to the SoVs and the CoC and failing to support his legitimate family.
thus had the opportunity to compare them and detect the - On 6 April 1986, respondent Cordova and his complainant wife
discrepancies therein so it is irrelevant that the canvassing was had an apparent reconciliation. Respondent promised that he
open to the public and observed by numerous individuals. would separate from Fely Holgado and brought his legitimate
- A lawyer who holds a government position may not be family to Bislig
disciplined as a member of the bar for misconduct in the - Respondent would, however, frequently come home from
discharged of his duties as a government official. However, if the beerhouses or cabarets, drunk, and continued to neglect the
misconduct also constitutes a violation of the Code of support of his legitimate family.
Professional Responsibility or the lawyer’s oath or is of such - In February 1987, complainant found, upon returning from a
character as to affect his qualification as a lawyer or shows trip to Manila that respondent Cordova was no longer living with
moral delinquency on his part, such individual may be disciplined her children in their conjugal home; that respondent Cordova
as a member of the bar for such misconduct. was living with another mistress, Luisita Magallanes, and had
- By certifying as true and correct the SoVs in question, the taken his younger daughter along with him
respondents committed a breach of Rule 1.01 of the Code, which - Respondent and his new mistress hid Melanie from the
stipulates that a lawyer shall not engage in “unlawful, dishonest, complainants, compelling complainant to go to court and to take
immoral or deceitful conduct.” By lawyers express provision of back her daughter by habeas corpus. The RTC of Bislig, gave her
Canon 6, this is made applicable to lawyers in the government custody of their children.
service. In addition, they likewise violated their oath of office as - Notwithstanding respondent's promise to reform, he continued
to “do no falsehood.” to live with Luisita Magallanes as her husband and continued to
- As lawyers in the government service, respondents were under fail to give support to his legitimate family.
greater obligation to observe the basic tenet of the profession
(to behave at all times in a manner consistent with truth and ISSUE
honor) because a public office is a public trust. WON the recent reconciliation of the Cordovas and the failure of
Disposition Respondents’ participation in the irregularities the complainant to pursue the case have dismissed the case.
reflects on the legal profession. This merits a suspension but
since this is their first transgression, a fine is sufficient. HELD
Fine of 10,000 Php for each for misconduct. The most recent reconciliation between complainant and
respondent, assuming the same to be real, does not excuse and
CORDOVA V CORDOVA wipe away the misconduct and immoral behavior of the
respondent earn carried out in public, and necessarily adversely
PER CURIAM; November 29, 1989
reflecting upon him as a member of the Bar and upon the
(giulia pineda) Philippine Bar itself.
NATURE - An applicant for admission to membership in the bar is required
Administrative case in the SC for Immorality of a member of the to show that he possessed of good moral character. That
Bar requirement is not exhausted and dispensed with upon
admission to membership of the bar.
FACTS - The lack of moral character that we here refer to as essential is
- Savacion Delizo Cordova sent an unsworn letter-complaint to not limited to good moral character relating to the discharge of
then CJ Teehankee charging her husband Atty. Laurence the duties and responsibilities of an attorney at law. The moral
Cordova with immorality and acts unbecoming of a member of delinquency that affects the fitness of a member of the bar to
the Bar. The complaint was forwarded to the IBP, Commission on continue as such includes conduct that outrages the generally
Bar Discipline for investigation, report and investigation. accepted moral standards of the community.
- The Commission required the complainant to submit a verified Disposition WHEREFORE, the Court Resolved to SUSPEND
complain to which she complied and submitted on Sept 27, 1988 respondent from the practice of law indefinitely and until further
a revised and verified version of her long and detailed complaint orders from this Court. The Court will consider lifting his
against her husband. suspension when respondent Cordova submits proof satisfactory
- On Dec 16, she was required to submit before the Commission to the Commission and this Court that he has and continues to
her evidence ex parte. She requested for the rescheduling provide for the support of his legitimate family and that he has
several times. The hearings never took place as she failed to given up the immoral course of conduct that he has clung to.
- The respondent never moved to set aside the order of default,
even though notices were sent to him.
- In a telegraphic message dated Apr 6, the complainant PER CURIAM; January 25, 2006
informed the commission that she and her husband have already (romy ramirez)
- In an order dated Apr 17, 1989, the Commission required the NATURE
parties to appear before it for the confirmation and explanation Administrative case for disbarment
of the telegraphic message and to file formal motion to dismiss
the complaint. Neither responded and nothing was heard from FACTS
either party since then. - Respondent, Atty. Manuel Dizon, was convicted by final
The findings of the IBP Board of Governors: judgment by the RTC of Baguio City for frustrated murder. He
- Complainant and respondent Cordova were married on 6 June applied and was granted probation by the said court based on
1976 and out of this marriage, two (2) children were born. several conditions which included among others the satisfaction
- In 1985, respondent Cordova left his family as well as his job as of the civil liabilities imposed in favor of the offended party,
Branch Clerk of RTC of Cabarroguis, Quirino Province, and went Roberto Soriano, the taxi driver who was rendered paralyzed on
to Mangagoy, Bislig, Surigao del Sur with one Fely G. Holgado. the left side of the body as a result of his being shot by the
- The defendant despite the condition that he pay the civil complainant’s son. Since then, the respondent became a close
liabilities imposed on him as a condition for the probation, family friend.
appealed said civil liability to the Court of Appeals. -On January 7, 1994, the complainant and the respondent got
- From the records of the trial court, it appears that defendant married in a civil wedding, with all the essential and formal
was drunk at the time of the incident and that the case arose out requisites present.
of the apparent resentment of the defendant from having been -On the afternoon of their wedding day, the respondent fetched
overtaken by the victim who was then driving a taxi. From the the complainant from her house in QC to stay in the
testimony of a witness, it further appears that the taxi driver was respondent’s condo unit. There was a phone call and when the
merely defending himself and that defendant was the aggressor complainant answered, a woman was on the other end of the
during said incident. line offending the complainant with insulting remarks. The
- Upon the complaint for the disbarment filed by Soriano against complainant confronted the respondent about the caller and the
Dizon, the Commission on Bar Discipline of the Integrated Bar of confrontation ended up in a heated exchange of words, to the
the Philippines rendered its report and recommendation which point where the respondent said to the complainant, “Ayaw ko
was adopted and approved by the IBP Board of Governors. The nang ganyan! Ang gusto ko sa babae, 'yong sumusunod sa
Commssion recommended the disbarment of the defendant for bawa't gusto ko'. Get that marriage contract and have it
having been convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude and burned." With that, the complainant left the respondent and
for exhibiting an obvious lack of good moral character. after that, they never contacted each other again.
-Several months after, in a bible study session, the complainant
ISSUES learned from Manila RTC Judge Ramon Makasiar, a member of
1. WON Dizon’s crime of frustrated murder involves moral the bible group, that he (Judge Makasiar) solemnized the
turpitude and that his guilt warrants disbarment marriage between the respondent and a certain Lydia Geraldez.
After hearing that, on June 6, 1995 the complainant filed the
HELD instant Complaint for Disbarment against him (Exh. "A").
Ratio -On August 7, 1995, when complainant discovered that the
- The totality of the facts of the case unmistakably bears the respondent falsified his marriage contract (Exh C.) dated May 10,
earmarks of moral turpitude. Given that membership in the legal 1994 by stating that he is “single”, the complainant executed
profession demands a high degree of good moral character not against respondent her "Supplemental Complaint Affidavit for
only as a condition to admission but also a continuing Falsification" (Exhs. "D" and "D-1"). The complainant also
requirement for the practice of law, the defendant has shown in presented the Marriage Contract between her and respondent
all his actuations that he lacks the fitness to remain in the law (Exh. "B"), the Order declaring her first husband, Primitivo
profession. Mijares, presumptively dead (Exh. "E"); and Affidavit of Judge
Reasoning Myrna Lim Verano, who solemnized the marriage between her
- Not all cases involving homicide involves moral turpitude. The (complainant) and respondent (Exhs. "F" and "F-1").
question as to what may be a crime involving moral turpitude Respondent’s claim The respondent claimed that he only
would depend on the individual facts surrounding the case and voluntarily signed the Marriage Contract bet. Him and the
the surrounding circumstances. complainant in an effort to help the complainant in the
- In the case at bar, it was shown that Dizon was the aggressor administrative case for immorality filed against her by her legal
as he pursued and shot complainant when the latter least researcher in 1993 and that their marriage was just a “sham
expected it. The actuations of the victim in this case can be marriage”
considered as reasonable actions clearly intended to fend off the -Also, he claims that when he got married to the complainant,
attack of Dizon. his first marriage with Librada Peña was still subsisting because
- The defendant’s use of an unlicensed firearm and his refusal to the decision declaring its annulment had not yet become final
satisfy his civil liability to the victim is a serious transgression of and executory (required publication not yet done), as certified by
Canon 1 of the code of Professional Responsibility. Mrs. Nelia B. Rosario, Acting Branch Clerk of Court of Branch 37
- Defendant has continuously display his dishonest and of the Regional Trial Court of Manila (Exh. "4").
duplicitous behavior by first seeking to arrive at an out of court
settlement with the family and when the same failed, making it ISSUE
appear that it was the family would sought a conference with WON the respondent is guilty of gross immorality and grave
him. He also lied to the court by claiming that he incident was misconduct?
the result of the mauling he got at the hands of the victim and
two other persons. This story was belied by the physical HELD
evidence as testified to by no less than three doctors. YES, respondent is undeniably guilty of deceit and grossly
Disposition Manuel Dizon is disbarred and his name is stricken immoral conduct.
from the roll of attorneys. Ratio The nature of the office of an attorney at law requires that
he shall be a person of good moral character. This qualification is
CASTILLO VDA. DE MIJARES V VILLALUZ not only a condition precedent for admission to the practice of
REGALADO; June 19, 1997 law; its continued possession is also essential for remaining in
(cha mendoza) the practice of law
Reasoning The respondent made a mockery of marriage which
NATURE is a sacred institution demanding respect and dignity. A former
Petition for the disbarment on the grounds of grossly immoral Judge of the Circuit Criminal Court, and, thereafter, a Justice of
and grave misconduct the Court of Appeals is surely conversant with the legal maxim
that a wrong cannot be righted by another wrong, if granted that
FACTS he was just helping the complainant in the administrative case
-Complainant is the presiding judge of Branch 108 of the RTC of filed against her.
Pasay City while respondent is a consultant at the Presidential -The respondent gave his voluntary consent to the marriage, and
Anti Crime Commission, and a retired justice of the Court of with all the legal requisites for the marriage present, he should
Appeals have known that his marriage with the complainant was valid.
-Complainant was widowed by the presumption of death of her -the respondent stated under oath that his marriage with Librada
1st husband, upon a decree of presumption of death after 16- Peña had been annulled by a decree of annulment, when he
year absence (respondent) took Lydia Geraldez as his wife by third marriage,
-Complainant and respondent met sometime in 1977when and therefore, he is precluded, by the principle of estoppel, from
respondent was the presiding judge of the Criminal Circuit Court claiming that when he took herein complainant as his wife by
in Pasig for the murder case involving the death of the
second marriage, his first marriage with Librada Peña was those who have been privileged by it to practice law in the
subsisting and unannulled. Philippines.
Disposition WHEREFORE, finding herein respondent, former -The attention of Atty. Paguia has also been called to the
Justice Onofre A. Villaluz, GUILTY of immoral conduct in violation mandate of Rule 13.02 of the Code of Professional Responsibility
of the Code of Professional Responsibility, he is hereby prohibiting a member of the bar from making such public
SUSPENDED from the practice of law for a period of two (2) years statements on a case that may tend to arouse public opinion for
effective upon notice hereof, with the specific WARNING that a or against a party. Regrettably, Atty. Paguia has persisted in
more severe penalty shall be imposed should he commit the ignoring the Court’s well-meant admonition. The Court has
same or a similar offense hereafter. already warned Atty. Paguia, on pain of disciplinary sanction, to
SO ORDERED. become mindful of his grave responsibilities as a lawyer and as
an officer of the Court. Apparently, he has chosen not to at all
Disposition Atty Paguia indefinitely suspended from the
PER CURIAM; November 25, 2003
practice of law
(boots tirol)
RESOLUTION of the Petition for Certiorari under Rule 65 of the PER CURIAM; October 7, 1988
Rules of Court (joey capones)
-Joseph Estrada, through Atty Alan Paguia, filed a Petition for Petition to review the decision of the Sandiganbayan
Certiorari under the Rules of Court against Sandiganbayan,
which prayed – “1. That Chief Justice Davide and the rest of the FACTS
members of the Honorable Court disqualify themselves from Enrique A. Zaldivar had a pending case for graft and corruption
hearing and deciding the petition; 2. That the assailed in the Sandiganbayan initiated by Tanodbayan Gonzalez.
resolutions of the Sandiganbayan be vacated and set aside; and Zaldivar filed a petition in the SC alleging that Gonzalez, as
3.That Criminal Cases No. 26558, No. 26565 and No. 26905 Tanodbayan and under the provisions of the 1987 Constitution,
pending before the Sandiganbayan be dismissed for lack of was no longer vested with power and authority independently to
jurisdiction. investigate and to institute criminal cases for graft and
corruption against public officials and employees, and hence the
-Atty Paguia, speaking for Estrada, asserted that the inhibition of information filed in his criminal cases were all null and void. The
the members of the SC from hearing the petition is called for SC issued a temporary restraining order. Petitioner later filed
under Rule 5.10 of the Code of Judicial Conduct prohibiting another petition because Gonzalez filed additional criminal
justices or judges from participating in any partisan political charges against petitioner and five other individuals. Gonzalez
activity which proscription, according to him, the justices have instituted another criminal case in the Sandiganbayan. Four days
violated by attending the ‘EDSA 2 Rally’ and by authorizing the later, the SC issued another TRO. Zaldivar then filed a petition to
assumption of Vice-President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to the cite in contempt Special Prosecutor Gonzalez for filing new
Presidency in violation of the 1987 Constitution. Petitioner information before the Sandiganbayan and for making
contended that the justices have thereby prejudged a case that contemptuous statements to the media. In a news art in the Phil
would assail the legality of the act taken by President Arroyo. Daily Globe, Gonzalez made the ff. statements: (1) while the rich
The subsequent decision of the Court in Estrada v. Arroyo is, and influential persons get favorable actions from the SC, it’s
according to petitioner, a patent mockery of justice and due difficult for an ordinary litigant to get his petition to be given due
process. course, (2) while Pres. Aquino had been prodding him to
-The SC dismissed the petition for lack of merit (Sandiganbayan prosecute graft cases even if they involve the high and mighty,
committed no grave abuse of discretion) and the SC warned Atty the SC had been restraining him, (3) while he doesn’t wish to
Paguia of his conduct -- his attacks on the Court and making discuss the merits of the Zaldivar petition before the SC, He was
public statements on the case (violating Rule 13.02 of the Code disturbed that the order can aggravate the thinking of some
of Professional Responsibility). He was given 10 days SHOW people that affluent persons can prevent the progress of a trial.
CAUSE why he should not be sanctioned for conduct unbecoming The SC ordered the nullification of the criminal cases and for
a lawyer and an officer of the Court. Gonzalez to cease and desist from further acting on Zaldivar’s
- On 10 October 2003, Atty. Paguia submitted his compliance case In the motion for reconsideration, Gonzales claimed that 3
with the show-cause order. In a three-page pleading, Atty. handwritten notes, sent by some members of the SC interceding
Paguia, in an obstinate display of defiance, repeated his earlier for cases pending before his office, were in his possession. He
claim of political partisanship against the members of the Court said that he doubts whether the judges will remain impartial to
(for discussion on political partisanship please see original case), him, there being at least 4 members who definitely won’t, and
and continued to make public statements about Estrada’s case. prayed that these 4 inhibit themselves in the deliberation. When
ISSUES this was denied, he filed a motion to transfer administrative
WON Atty Paguia should be suspended from the practice of law proceedings to the IBP. He also released statements to the
press saying, in effect, that the SC deliberately rendered an
HELD erroneous decision, that members of the SC have improperly
YES. pressured him to render decisions favorable to their friends and
-Canon 11 of the Code of Professional Responsibility mandates colleagues, and that the Sc dismisses judges without rhyme or
that the lawyer should observe and maintain the respect due to reason and disbars lawyers without due process. Gonzalez didn’t
the courts and judicial officers and, indeed, should insist on deny he said/wrote those statements. His defense is that he was
similar conduct by others. In liberally imputing sinister and just exercising his freedom of speech.
devious motives and questioning the impartiality, integrity, and
authority of the members of the Court, Atty. Paguia has only ISSUES
succeeded in seeking to impede, obstruct and pervert the 1. WON the SC should punish Gonzalez for contempt of court and
dispensation of justice. give administrative sanctions
-The Supreme Court does not claim infallibility; it will not 2. WON Gonzales is not liable because he was just using his
denounce criticism made by anyone against the Court for, if well- constitutional right of freedom of speech.
founded, can truly have constructive effects in the task of the
Court, but it will not countenance any wrongdoing nor allow the HELD
erosion of the people’s faith in the judicial system, let alone, by 1. YES
Ratio Statements which constitute gross disrespect of the Court, disciplinary action against him and conduct warranting
and degrade the SC and the entire system of justice are clearly application of the contempt power.
contemptuous. The SC should exercise its disciplinary authority Disposition Atty. Raul M. Gonzales was found guilty of
over the source. contempt of court in facie curiae and of gross misconduct as an
Reasoning The SC cited several cases wherein the Court held officer of the court and member of the Bar. He was suspended
that the statements were contemptuous and warranting the from the practice of law indefinitely.
exercise of the court’s authority. These are:
(1). Monteciollo v. Gica – Atty del Mar moved to reconsider a CASTANEDA V AGO
decision of the CA with a veiled threat that he should interpose
CASTRO; July 30, 1975
his next appeal to the President. He said the court knowingly
rendered an unjust judgment thru negotiations. He was (glaisa po)
convicted of contempt of court.
(2) Surigao Mineral Reservation Board v. Cloribel – counsel asked NATURE
CJ Concepcion and J Castro to inhibit themselves from judging - Petition for review of the decision of the Court of Appeals
the case since the brother of Castro was the VP of favored party
and CJ’s son was the Secretary of the Board of Investments. He FACTS
even threatened that if he didn’t get a favorable decision, he’d - 1955 – Castaneda and Henson filed a replevin suit against Ago
bring the case to the World Court and invoke the Hickenlooper in the CFI of Manila to recover certain machineries.
Amendment requiring the cutting off of all aid to the Philippines. -1957 – judgment in favor of Castaneda and Henson
3. In re Almacen – the SC committed a great unjust to his client; - 1961 – SC affirmed the judgment; trial court issued writ of
justice administered by the SC wasn’t only blind, but also deaf execution; Ago’s motion denied, levy was made on Ago’s house
and dumb; he’ll argue the cause of his client in the people’s and lots; sheriff advertised the sale, Ago moved to stop the
forum (published in Manilla Times). Almacen was suspended auction; CA dismissed the petition; SC affirmed dismissal
from the practice of law because he exceeded the boundaries of - Ago thrice attempted to obtain writ of preliminary injunction to
fair criticism. restrain sheriff from enforcing the writ of execution; his motions
4. Paragas v. Cruz – counsel alleged that the SC violated the were denied
Constitution, which was a ground for impeachment; hoped that - 1963 – sheriff sold the house and lots to Castaneda and
an incident wherein 2 SC employees were killed wouldn’t happen Henson; Ago failed to redeem
again (covert threat upon the members of the Court) - 1964 – sheriff executed final deed of sale; CFI issued writ of
5. In re Sotto – a newspaper reporter refused to divulge his possession to the properties
source and was sent to jail. Atty. Sotto published in a newspaper - 1964 – Ago filed a complaint upon the judgment rendered
that the SC erroneously interpreted the law, they’re narrow- against him in the replevin suit saying it was his personal
minded, and that the members of the SC should be changed. He obligation and that his wife ½ share in their conjugal house could
was held in contempt of Court. not legally be reached by the levy made; CFI of QC issued writ of
6. Salcedo v. Hernandez – Atty Francisco: the Court’s resolution preliminary injunction restraining Castaneda the Registed of
is erroneous and is a mockery of the popular will expressed at Deeds and the sheriff from registering the final deed of sale; the
the polls. battle on the matter of lifting and restoring the restraining order
2. NO continued
Ratio A lawyer’s right of free expression may have to be more - 1966 – Agos filed a petition for certiorari and prohibition to
limited than that of a layman. enjoin sheriff from enforcing writ of possession; SC dismissed it;
Reasoning The freedom of speech and of expression, like all Agos filed a similar petition with the CA which also dismissed the
constitutional freedoms, is not absolute and that the freedom of petition; Agos appealed to SC which dismissed the petition
expression needs on occasion to be adjusted and accommodated - Agos filed another petition for certiorari and prohibition with
with the requirements of equally important public interests. One the CA which gave due course to the petition and granted
of the fundamental public interests is the maintenance of the preliminary injunction.
integrity and orderly functioning of the administration of justice.
The lawyer’s duty to render respectful subordination to the ISSUE
courts is essential to the orderly administration of justice. WON the Agos’ lawyer, encourage his clients to avoid
[Discussion on the SC’s power to discipline its lawyers] controversy
The SC, as the regulator and guardian of the legal profession,
has plenary disciplinary auth over attorneys. This stems from HELD
the Court’s Constitutional mandate to regulate admission to the - No. Despite the pendency in the trial court of the complaint for
practice of law, which includes as well authority to regulate the the annulment of the sheriff’s sale, justice demands that the
practice itself. This is an inherent power incidental to the proper petitioners, long denied the fruits of their victory in the replevin
administration of justice and essential to an orderly discharge of suit, must now enjoy them, for, the respondents Agos abetted by
judicial functions. It also has inherent power to punish for their lawyer Atty. Luison, have misused legal remedies and
contempt, to control in the furtherance of justice the conduct of prostituted the judicial process to thwart the satisfaction of the
ministerial officers of the court including lawyers and all other judgment, to the extended prejudice of the petitioners.
persons connected in any manner with a case before the Court. - Forgetting his sacred mission as a sworn public servant and his
This is necessary for its own protection against improper exalted position as an officer of the court, Atty. Luison has
interference with the due administration of justice and not allowed himself to become an instigator of controversy and a
dependent upon the complaint of the litigant. There are two predator of conflict instead of a mediator for concord and a
related powers here: (1) Court’s inherent power to discipline conciliator for compromise, a virtuoso of technicality in the
attorneys – broader than contempt power; lawyer doesn’t need conduct of litigation instead of a true exponent of the primacy of
to be in contempt of court to be punished under this; (2) truth and moral justice.
contempt power - may be committed by both lawyers and non- - A counsel’s assertiveness in espousing with candor and
lawyers, in and out of court; if this is done by a lawyer, it’s honesty his client’s cause must be encouraged and is to be
usually accompanied with professional misconduct. commended; what the SC does not and cannot countenance is a
A lawyer is not just a professional but also an officer of the court lawyer’s insistence despite the patent futility of his client’s
and as such, is called upon to share in the task and responsibility position.
of dispensing justice and resolving disputes in society. Any act It is the duty of the counsel to advice his client on the merit or
which tends to obstruct the administration of justice constitutes lack of his case. If he finds his client’s cause as defenseless,
both professional misconduct calling for the exercise of then he is his duty to advice the latter to acquiesce and submit
rather than traverse the incontrovertible. A lawyer must resist
the whims and caprices of his client, and temper his client’s notary public (he can execute deed of sales, etc). He also admits
propensity to litigate. that he wrote a letter to a lieutenant of his barrio asking him to
inform the people in any town meetings that despite his election
LEDESMA V CLIMACO as member of the Board, he will still exercise his profession as a
lawyer and notary public, even adding that he will only charge
FERNANDO; June 28, 1974
three pesos for registration of their land titles.
(mini bernardo)
NATURE 1. WON Tagorda is guilty of malpractice for soliciting
Original action in the SC, Certiorari employment
2. WON Tagorda should be disbarred
Petitioner Ledesma was assigned as counsel de parte for an HELD
accused in a case pending in the sala of the respondent judge. 1. YES.
On October 13, 1964, Ledesma was appointed Election Registrar Sec 21 of the Code of Civil Procedure (as amended by Act 2828)
for the Municipality of Cadiz, Negros Occidental. He commenced states that "The practice of soliciting cases at law for the
discharging his duties, and filed a motion to withdraw from his purpose of gain, either personally, or through paid agents or
position as counsel de parte. The respondent Judge denied him brokers, constitutes malpractice." Canons 27 and 28 of the Code
and also appointed him as counsel de oficio for the two of Ethics provide:
defendants. On November 6, Ledesma filed a motion to be 27- The publication or circulation of ordinary simple business
allowed to withdraw as counsel de oficio, because the Comelec cards, being a matter of personal taste or local custom, and
requires full time service which could prevent him from handling sometimes of convenience, is not per se improper. But
adequately the defense. Judge denied the motion. So Ledesma solicitation of business by circulars or advertisements, or by
instituted this certiorari proceeding. personal communications or interviews not warranted by
personal relations, is unprofessional... Indirect advertisement for
ISSUE business by furnishing or inspiring newspaper comments
WON a member of the bar may withdraw as counsel de oficio concerning the manner of their conduct, the magnitude of the
due to appointment as Election Registrar interests involved, the importance of the lawyer's position, and
all other like self-laudation, defy the traditions and lower the
HELD tone of our high calling, and are intolerable.
No. 28 -It is unprofessional for a lawyer to volunteer advice to bring
1. The ends of justice would be served by requiring Ledesma to a lawsuit, except in rare cases where ties of blood, relationship
continue as counsel de oficio because: the case has been or trust make it his duty to do so. Stirring up strife and litigation
postponed at least 8 times at the defense's instance; there was is not only unprofessional, but it is indictable at common law. It
no incompatibility between duty of petitioner to defend the is disreputable to hunt up defects in titles or other causes of
accused, and his task as an election registrar. action and inform thereof in order to be employed to bring suit,
2. Ledesma's withdrawal would be an an act showing his lack of or to breed litigation by seeking out those with claims for
fidelity to the duty rqeuired of the legal profession. He ought to personal injuries or those having any other grounds of action in
have known that membership in the bar is burdened with order to secure them as clients… A duty to the public and to the
conditions. The legal profession is dedicated to the ideal of profession devolves upon every member of the bar having
service, and is not a mere trade. A lawyer may be required to act knowledge of such practices upon the part of any practitioner
as counsel de oficio to aid in the performance of the immediately to inform thereof to the end that the offender may
administration of justice. The fact that such services are be disbarred.
rendered without pay should not diminish the lawyer's zeal. - The law is a profession and not a business. The lawyer may not
3. The Constitution provides that the accused shall enjoy the seek or obtain employment by himself or through others for to
right to be heard by himself and counsel. "Any person under do so would be unprofessional.
investigation for the commission of an offense shall have the - With the admitted facts, the respondent stands convicted of
right to remain silent and to counsel..." ---manifest the having solicited cases in defiance of the law and those canons.
indispensable role of a member of the Bar in the defense of an 2. NO. The commission of offenses of this nature would amply
accused. The right to be assisted by counsel is so important that justify permanent elimination from the bar. But as mitigating
it is not enough for the Court to apprise the accused of his right circumstances working in favor of the respondent there are: first,
to an atty, but is essential that the court assign on de oficio for his intimation that he was unaware of the impropriety of his acts,
him if he desires/ is poor. second, his youth and inexperience at the bar, and third, his
Thus, Ledesma should exert himself sufficiently, if not with zeal, promise not to commit a similar mistake in the future.
if only to erase doubts as to his fitness to remain a member of
the profession in good standing.
Disposition Petition for certiorari dismissed.
REGALADO; June 17, 1993
(dahls salamat)
- Petitioner prays that respondent cease and desist from issuing
ads similar to annexes A and B and to prohibit them from making
ads pertaining to the exercise of the law professions other than
those allowed by law
- Annex A
P560 for a valid marriage
MALCOLM; March 23, 1929
(boots tirol) THE LEGAL CLINIC, INC.
Pls call: 5210767, 5217232, 5222041
FACTS 8:30am-6pm
Luis Tagorda, a practicing lawyer and a member of the Provincial 7F Victoria Bldg, UN Ave, Mla
Board of Isabela admits that the previous election he used a card - Annex B
which states what he can do for the people as a lawyer and a GUAM DIVORCE
DON PARKINSON - lawyers, who like drs, are specialists in various fields and can
An Atty in Guam, is giving FREE BKS on Guam Divorce thru the take care of it (taxation, crim law, medico-leg probs, labor,
Leg Clinic beg Mon-Fri during office hours litigation, fam law)
Guam divorce. Annulment of Marriage. Immigration Probs, Visa - backed up by paralegals, counselors and attys
ext. Quota/Non-quota Res and Special Retiree’s Visa. - caters to clients who can’t afford big firms
Declaration of Absence. Remarriage to Filipina Fiancees. - can prepare a simple deed of sale or affidavit of loss and also
Adoption. Investment in the Phil. US/Foreign Visa for Filipina those w/ more extensive treatment
Sp/Shil. Call Marivic
THE LEGAL CLINIC, etc -The fact that they employ paralegals to carry out its services
Petitioner’s Claim: doesn’t matter; what’s important is that it’s engaged in the
-Ads are unethical and demeaning of the law profession and practice of law ‘cause of the nature of the services it renders,
destructive of the confidence of the community in the integrity which brings it within the statutory prohibitions against ads
of the members of the bar. only a person duly admitted as a member of the bar and who’s
-As a member of the legal profession, he is ashamed and in good and regular standing is entitled to the practice of law
offended by the ads - public policy requires that the practice of law be limited to
Respondent’s Comment: those individuals found duly qualified in education and character
-They are not engaged in the practice of law but in the rendering to protect the public, court, client and bar from
of leg support services thru paralegals with the use of modern incompetence/dishonesty of those unlicensed to the practice and
computers and electronic machines not subject to the discipline of court
- Even if they are leg services, the act of advertising them should
be allowed under Bates v. State bar of Arizona 2.No. The Code of Professional Responsibility provides that a
lawyer, in making known his legal services, shall use only true,
ISSUES honest, fair, dignified and objective info/statement of facts
1. WON the services offered by The Legal Clinic constitutes - not supposed to use any false, fraudulent, misleading,
practice of law? deceptive, undignified, self-laudatory or unfair statement re his
2. WON their services can be advertised? qualifications/legal services
- not supposed to pay representatives of the mass media in
HELD return for publicity to attract legal business
1. Yes. The Practice of law involves any activity, in or out of the
court, which requires the application of law, legal procedures, Canons of professional Ethics (before CPR) provides that lawyers
knowledge, training and expertise shouldn’t resort to indirect ads for professional employment like
- To engage in the practice is to perform those acts which are furnishing newspaper comments, publishing his pictures with
characteristic of the profession; to give advice or render any kind causes the lawyer’s been engaged in, importance of his position
of service that involves legal knowledge/skill and other self-laudation
- Not limited to the conduct of cases in court; includes legal Stands of legal profession condemn lawyer’s advertisement of
advice and counsel and preparation of legal instruments and his talents like a merchant does of his goods because of the fact
contracts by which legal rights are secured regardless of WON that law is a profession.
they’re pending in court The canons of profession tell us that the best advertising
3 types of legal profession activity: possible for a lawyer is a well-merited reputation for professional
1. legal advice and instructions to clients to inform them of their capacity and fidelity to trust which must be earned as the
rights and obligations outcome of character and conduct
2. preparation for clients of documents requiring knowledge of Good and efficient service to a client and the community has a
legal principles not possessed by ordinary layman way of publicizing itself and catching public attention; this
3. appearance for clients before public tribunals which possess shouldn’t be done thru propaganda
power and authority to determine rights of life, liberty and
property according to law, in order to assist in proper inter and EXCEPTIONS:
enforcement of law 1. expressly allowed – publication in reputable law lists of
informative data that’s not misleading and may include only:
Respondent’s description of its services shows it falls within the name, professional assoc, adds, nos, branches of law practiced,
practice of law: date and place of birth and admission to the bar, schools
Giving info by paralegals to laymen and lawyers thru the use of attended w/ dates of grad, degrees , public offices, posts of
comps and modern info tech honor, legal authorships, legal teaching positions, membership
- computerized legal research, document search, evidence and offices in bar association, legal and scientific societies and
gathering, locating parties/witnesses to a case, fact finding legal fraternities, listings in other reputable law lists, names and
investigations, assistance to laymen in need of services from adds of references with written consent and clients regularly
agencies like birth, marriage, prop, bus registrations, etc. represented
*even if some of the services offered merely involve mechanical - can’t be mere supplemental feature of paper, magazine, trade
and technical know how like installing computer system for law journal or periodical that’s published for other purposes
offices, this doesn’t make it an exception to the general rule - never in a law list that are calculated or likely to deceive/injure
- gives out leg info to laymen and lawyersnot non-advisory and the public/the bar or lower the dignity/standing of the profession
non-diagnostic - ordinary simple professional card allowed – name, law firm,
ex. foreign laws on marriage, divorce and adoption – have to add, no and special branch of law practiced
explain to client the intricacies of the law and advise him on the - publication of simple announcement of the opening of a law
proper course of action firm or change in partnership, assoc, firm name or office add, for
- what its ads represent and what it will be paid for the convenience of the profession
- It doesn’t matter that they don’t represent clients in court since - have name listed in phone directory but not under designation
practice of law isn’t limited to ct appearances but also leg of special branch of law
research, leg advice and drafting contracts 2. necessarily implied from the restrictions

Phil Star Art – Rx for Leg Probs, int by proprietor Atty Nogales: Bates v. State Bar of Arizona: allowed lawyer to publish a
- Takes care of probs as complicated as the Cuneta-Concepcion statement of leg fees for an initial consultation or give, upon
domestic sit request, a written schedule of fees or estimate for spec servicess
as an exception to the prohibition against advertisements by
- none expressly/impliedly provided for in the Canons of - Rule 3.01 - A lawyer shall not use or permit the use of any
Professional Ethics or Code of Professional Responsibility false, fraudulent, misleading, deceptive, undignified, self-
*survey conducted by the American Bar Assoc on the attitude of laudatory or unfair statement or claim regarding his
the public about lawyers after viewing TC commercials – pub qualifications or legal services.
opinion dropped significantly: - Rule 138, Sec 27 of the Rules of Court states: Disbarment and
Trustworthy – 71-14% suspension of attorneys by Supreme Court, grounds therefore.—
Professional – 71-14% A member of the bar may be disbarred or suspended from his
Honest – 65-14% office as attorney by the Supreme Court for any deceit,
Dignified – 45-14% malpractice, or other gross misconduct in such office, grossly
immoral conduct or by reason of his conviction of a crime
With the present situation of our legal and judicial system, to involving moral turpitude, or for any violation of the oath which
allow the publication of like advertisements would aggravate he is required to take before the admission to practice, or for a
what’s already a deteriorating pub of the legal profession whose willful disobedience appearing as attorney for a party without
integrity’s been under attack by media and the community in authority to do so.
general - The following elements distinguish legal profession from
- all efforts should be made to regain the high esteem formerly business:
accorded to the leg profession 1. A duty of public service
Atty Nograles (prime incorporator, major stockholder and 2. A relation as an “officer of the court” to the
proprietor of the Leg Clinic) is REPRIMANDED w/ a warning that a administration of justice involving thorough sincerity,
repetition will be dealt w/ more severely for misbehavior in integrity and reliability
advertising his servIces and aid a layman in the unauthorized 3. A relation to clients in the highest degree of
practice of law fiduciary
4. A relation to colleagues at the bar
KHAN, JR. V SIMBILLO characterized by candor, fairness, and unwillingness to
resort to current business methods of advertising and
YNARES-SANTIAGO; August 19, 2003
encroachment on their practice, or dealing directly with
(apple maramba) their clients.
- Respondent advertised himself as an “Annulment Specialist,”
NATURE and by this he undermined the stability and sanctity of marriage
ADMINISTRATIVE MATTER in the Supreme Court and SPECIAL —encouraging people who might have otherwise been
CIVIL ACTION in the Supreme Court. Certiorari. disinclined and would have refrained form dissolving their
marriage bonds, to do so.
FACTS - Solicitation of legal business sis not altogether proscribed,
- Atty. Rizalino Simbillo publicized his legal services in the July 5, however, for solicitation to be proper, it must be compatible with
2000 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer via a paid the dignity of the legal profession.
advertisement which read: “Annulment of Marriage Specialist
- A staff member of the Public Information Office of the Supreme
Court took notice and called the number posing as an interested AQUINO; May 10, 1985
party. She spoke to Mrs. Simbillo, who said that her husband was (ice baguilat)
an expert in handling annulment cases and can guarantee a
court decree within four to six months, and that the fee was NATURE
P48,000. Administrative Case
- Further research by the Office of the Court Administrator and
the Public Information Office revealed that similar ads were FACTS
published in the August 2 and 6, 2000 issues of the Manila Dacanay seeks to enjoin Torres and 9 other lawyers from
Bulletin and August 5, 2000 issue of the Philippine Star. practicing law under Baker & McKenzie (a law firm organized in
- Atty. Ismael Khan, Jr., in his capacity as Assistant Court Illinois, USA). Torres used the letterhead of Baker & McKenzie on
Administrator and Chief of the Public Information Office filed an a letter to Rosie Clurman that asks her to release 87 shares of
administrative complaint against Atty. Simbillo for improper Cathay Products Int’l. Inc. to HE Gabriel (a client). Dacanay
advertising and solicitation in violation of Rule 2.03 and Rule denied any liability of Clurman and asked whether she is being
3.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility and Rule 138, represented by Baker & McKenzie as counsel as well as the
Section 27 of the Rules of Court. purpose of the letterhead. No reply coming from Clurman thus
- The case was referred to the IBP for investigation, report and this Administrative Case.
- IBP found respondent guilty ISSUE
- Respondent filed an Urgent Motion for Reconsideration, which WON the lawyers should be enjoined from practicing law under
was denied Baker & McKenzie
- Hence, this petition for certiorari
ISSUE Yes, they should be enjoined. Baker & McKenzie is an alien law
WON Atty. Rizalino Simbillo is guilty of violating Rule 2.03 and firm and cannot practice law in the country. Using the name
Rule 3.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility and Rule constitutes representation of being associated with the firm
138, Section 27 of the Rules of Court which is deemed to be unethical. Respondents are enjoined from
practicing law under the firm name Baker & McKenzie.
Yes. Petitioner was suspended from the practice of law for one SAMONTE V GATDULA
year and was sternly warned that a repetition of the same or
GONZAGA-REYES; February 26, 1999
similar offense will be dealt with more severely.
Ratio The practice of law is not a business. It is a profession in (athe odi)
which duty to public service, not money is the primary
consideration. NATURE
Reasoning Administrative matter. Grave Misconduct.
- Rule 2.03 - A lawyer shall not do or permit to be done any act
designed primarily to solicit legal business. FACTS
- The complainant, Julieta Borromeo Samonte charged Rolando Salva
R. Gatdula with grave misconduct consisting in the alleged 3. WON Salva conducted the investigation property
engaging in the private practice of law which is in conflict with
his official functions as Branch Clerk of Court. HELD
- The complainant represents her sister as plaintiff in a civil case 1. Yes.
for ejectment. Contrary to their expectation that execution will - SC believed Salva that it was Cruz who personally reqested to
proceed, they instead received a temporary restraining order. allow him to appear at the investigation.
Santos contends that the order was hasty and irregular as she - Normally, when a criminal case handled by fiscal is tried and
was never notified of the application for preliminary injunction. decided and appealed to a higher court, functions of fiscal have
- Gatdula, when asked by the complainant of the reason of the terminated. However, Salva has justified his reinvestigation bec
decision, blamed Santos’ lawyer for writing the address in the in the orig case, one of the defendants (Salvador Realista y de
complaint for ejectment and told her that if she wanted the Guzman) was not included in the trial.
execution to proceed, she should change her lawyer and retain - The duty of a prosecuting attorney is not only to prosecute and
the law office of respondent, at the same time giving his calling secure conviction of the guilty but also to protect the innocent.
card with the name “Baligod, Gatdula, Tacardon, Dimailig and - Writ of preliminary injunction dissolved. Investigation may
Celera.” continue.
- The decision of the Court continued not to be favorable to - Petition for certiorari and prohibition granted in part, denied in
Samonte, which cause her to file administrative complaint part.
against Gatdula. 2. No
- Under the law, Cruz had right to be present at the
ISSUE investigation but he need not be present. His presence is more
WON Gatdula is guilty of infraction of a right than a legal obligation.
3. No
HELD - Salva shld have done investigation privately in his office and
Yes. The inclusion/retention of his name in the professional card not publicly in the session hall of Municipal Court of Pasay where
constitutes an act of solicitation which violates Section 7, sub- microphones were installed and media people were present. He
par. (b)(2) of RA 6713 (Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards should also not have made the media people ask questions. SC
for Public Officials and Employees) which declares it unlawful for was disturbed and annoyed by such publicity.
a public official or employees to, among others: - Salva is publicly reprehended and censured.
“(2) Engage in the private practice of their profession
unless authorized by the Constituion or law, provided that such
practice will not conflict with official functions.”
Disposition Respondent is reprimanded for engaging in the
private practice of law. He is further ordered to cause the
exclusion of his name in the firm name of any office engaged in COLLANTES V RENOMERON
the private practice of law.
PER CURIAM; August 16, 1991
CRUZ V SALVA (aida villanueva)
(chris capul) - A complaint of disbarment is filed with a related administrative
case against Renomeron of the Registrar of Deeds in Tacloban.
NATURE - Collantes was the house counsel for V & G Better Homes
Original action in the Supreme Court. Certiorari and Prohibition Subdivision and filed the case with regard to the application of V
with Preliminary Injunction. & G for registration of 163 pro forma Deeds of Absolute Sale with
Assignment of lots in its subdivision in Jan 1987.
FACTS - Feb 16, 1987 – no action was made by Renomeron despite
- A certain Manuel Monroy was murdered. CFI Pasay found follow-ups made by Collantes. Renomeron requested Collantes
Castelo, de Jesus, Bonifacio, Mendoza, Berdugo et al. guilty of to submit additional requirements which Collantes complied
murder. They all appealed and Castelo sought new trial. with.
Castelo was again found guilty. - Renomeron suspended the registration of the documents
- Pres Magsaysay ordered reinvestigation. Philippine pending compliance of V&G with certain special agreement
Constabulary questioned people and got confessions pointing to between then that V&G would provide Renomeron with a weekly
persons other than those convicted. Tacloban-Manil round trip ticket with P2,000 pocket money. He
- Castelo et al wrote to Fiscal Salva to conduct reinvestigation said he would act favorably on their application if that
on basis of new confessions. Fiscal conferred w/ SolGen and the agreement would be fulfilled.
Justice Sec decided to have the results of investigation made - Collantes sent plane fare (P800) to Renomeron through his
available to counsel for appellants. niece. But pocket money was not given.
- Chief of Phil Constabulary furnished Fiscal Salva copies of the - Renomeron then imposed additional requirements which
affidavits and confessions. Salva organized a committee for angered Collantes, leading the latter to challenge Renomeron to
reinvestigation and subpoenaed Timoteo Cruz, who was act on the 163 pending applications by V&G within 24 hours.
implicated as instigator and mastermind in the new affidavits - May 22, 1987 – Renomeron denied the application for
and confessions. Cruz’ counsel questioned jurisdiction of the ambiguity of the subject matter.
committee and of Salva to conduct preliminary investigation bec - Collantes appealed for a reconsideration and elevated the
the case was pending appeal in the SC. Counsel filed this matter to the Administrator of the National Land Titles and
present petition. Deeds Registration Administration.
- Salva said he subpoenaed Cruz bec of Cruz’ oral and personal - The NLTDRA ruled that the documents were registrable.
request to allow him to appear at the investigation. - The NLTDRA recommended Renomeron’s case to the DOJ and
- SC issued writ of preliminary injunction stopping the prelim the Secretary of Justice found him guilty. The president then
investigation. dismissed Renomeron from public service.
- A disbarment case was then filed by Collantes against
ISSUES Renomeron.
1. WON Salva and his committee can push through with the
investigation ISSUE
2. WON Cruz can be compelled to appear and testify before
WON the disbarment case against Renomeron would prosper thereof, or that the evidence at hand points to a different
given the administrative case conclusion. This is not to discount the possibility of the
commission of abuses on the part of the prosecutor. But we
HELD must have to recognize that a prosecuting attorney should not
- Yes, the administrative complaint has to do with his position in be unduly compelled to work against his conviction. In case of
public service. The disbarment case has to do with his status as doubt, we should give him the benefit thereof. A contrary rule
member of the Integrated Bar. may result in our courts being unnecessarily swamped with
- Renomeron violated the lawyer’s oath. unmeritorious cases. Worse still, a criminal suspect's right to due
- The Code of Professional Responsibility 1.01 forbids a lawyer process — the sporting idea of fair play — may be transgressed.
from engaging in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful So it is, that in People vs. Sope, the Court made the
conduct. pronouncement that "it is very logical that the prosecuting
attorney, being the one charged with the prosecution of
PEOPLE V PINEDA offenses, should determine the information to be filed and
cannot be controlled by the off ended party."
SANCHEZ; July 21, 1967
- The impact of respondent Judge's orders is that his judgment is
(jojo mendoza) 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
FACTS criminal charge is one addressed to the sound discretion of the
- On the night of July 29, 1965, the occupants of the home of the investigating Fiscal. The information he lodges in court must
spouses Teofilo Mendoza and Valeriana Bontilao de Mendoza in have to be supported by facts brought about by an inquiry made
Pugaan City of Iligan, were asleep. It was then that guns (rifle, by him. It stands to reason then to say that in a clash of views
caliber 22) and paliuntod (homemade gun) were fired in rapid between the judge who did not investigate and the fiscal who
succession from outside the house. Teofilo Mendoza fell dead. did, or between the fiscal and the offended party or the
Thereafter, defendants below destroyed the door of the house, defendant, those of the Fiscal's should normally prevail. In this
entered therein, and let loose several shots killing Neceforo regard, he cannot ordinarily be subject to dictation. We are not
Mendoza, — all minor children of the couple — and wounding to be understood as saying that criminal prosecution may not be
Valeriana Bontilao de Mendoza. blocked in exceptional cases. A relief in equity "may be availed
- Tomas Narbasa, Tambac Alindo and Rufino Borres were of to stop it purported enforcement of a criminal law where it is
indicted before the CFI of Lanao del Norte, as principals, in five necessary (a) for the orderly administration of justice; (b) to
(5) separate cases for murder. The five informations were based prevent the use of the strong arm of the law in an oppressive
on facts gathered by the prosecuting attorney from his and vindictive manner; (c) to avoid multiplicity of actions; (d) to
investigation. afford adequate protection to constitutional rights; and (e) in
- Two of the three defendants in the five criminal cases (Tomas proper cases, because the statute relied upon is unconstitutional
Narbasa and Tambak Alindo) moved for a consolidation thereof or was held invalid." Nothing in the record would as much as
into one (1) criminal case. Their plea is that said cases arose out intimate that the present case fits into any of the situations just
of the same incident and motivated by one impulse. The recited.
respondent Judge approved the motion and directed the City Disposition The writ of certiorari is granted.
Fiscal to unify all the five criminal cases, and to file one single
information and drop the other four cases. The City Fiscal
sought reconsideration thereof. The respondent Judge denied the
motion to reconsider. He took the position that the acts FERNANDO; August 31, 1976
complained of stemmed out of a series of continuing acts on the (bry san juan)
part of the accused, not by different and separate sets of shots,
moved by one impulse and should therefore be treated as one FACTS
crime though the series of shots killed more than one victim; and - It certainly fails to reflect credit on a captain. in the Metro
that only one information for multiple murder should be filed, to Manila Police force and a member of the bar, respondent Miguel
obviate the necessity of trying five cases instead of one. A. San Juan, to be charged with being the legal representative of
Hence, this appeal to the Court on certiorari with a prayer for a certain establishments allegedly owned by Filipinos of Chinese
writ of preliminary injunction, and for other reliefs. descent and, what is worse, with coercing an employee,
complainant Jose Misamin to agree to drop the charges filed by
ISSUE him against his employer Tan Hua, owner of New Cesar's Bakery,
WON the City Fiscal shall file only one information for the violation of the Minimum Wage Law. There was a denial
on the part of respondent. The matter was referred to the Office
HELD of the Solicitor-General for investigation, report and
- YES, ruling Article 48 provides for two classes of crimes where recommendation. Thereafter, it would seem there was a change
a single penalty is to be imposed: first, where a single act of heart on the part of complainant. That could very well be the
constitutes two or more grave or less grave felonies (delito explanation for the non-appearance of the lawyer employed by
compuesto); and, second, when an offense is a necessary means him at the scheduled hearings. The efforts of the Solicitor
for committing the other (delito complejo). It is to be borne in General to get at the bottom of things were thus set at naught.
mind, at this point, that apply the first half of Article 48, there - Under the circumstances, the outcome of such referral was to
must be singularity of criminal act; singularity of criminal be expected. For the law is rather exacting in its requirement
impulse is not written into the law. that there be competent and adequate proof to make out a case
The respondent Judge reasons out that consolidation of the five for malpractice. Necessarily, the recommendation was one of the
cases into one would have the salutary effect of obviating the complaints being dismissed. This is one of those instances then
necessity of trying five cases instead of one. To save time, where this Court is left with hardly any choice. Respondent
indeed, is laudable. Nonetheless, the statute confers upon the cannot be found guilty of malpractice. Respondent, as noted in
trial judge the power to try these cases jointly, such that the fear the Report of the Solicitor-General, "admits having appeared as
entertained by respondent Judge could easily be remedied. counsel for the New Cesar's Bakery in the proceeding before the
Upon the facts and the law, we hold that the City Fiscal of Iligan NLRC while he held office as captain in the Manila Metropolitan
City correctly presented the five separate informations — four Police. However, he contends that the law did not prohibit him
for murder and one for frustrated murder. A rule of presumption from such isolated exercise of his profession. He contends that
long familiar is that official duty has been regularly performed. A his appearance as counsel, while holding a government position,
prosecuting attorney, by the nature of his office, is under no is not among the grounds provided by the Rules of Court for the
compulsion to file a particular criminal information where he is suspension or removal of attorneys. The respondent also denies
not convinced that he has evidence to prop up the averments having conspired with the complainant Misamin's attorney in the
NLRC proceeding in order to trick the complainant into signing subparagraph b (22), Section 36 of Presidential Decree No. 807,
an admission that he had been paid his separation pay. Likewise, for her willful failure to pay just debts owing to “Borela Tire
the respondent denies giving illegal protection to members of Supply” and “Nova’s Lining Brake & Clutch” as evidenced by the
the Chinese community in Sta. Cruz, Manila." dishonored checks she issued, the complaint sheet, and the
subpoena issued to respondent.
ISSUE - Complainants also allege that respondent instigated the
WON a lawyer-public officer may represent a private client commission of a crime against complainant Celedonia R.
during his tenure Coronacion and Rodrigo Coronacion, Jr., when she encouraged
and ordered her son, Jonathan Dasig, a guard of the Bureau of
HELD Jail Management and Penology, to draw his gun and shoot the
NO, but since evidence is lacking to discipline Atty. Miguel San Coronacions on the evening of May 14, 1997. As a result of this
Juan, the case is dismissed. The Court noted that the Report of incident, a complaint for grave threats against the respondent
the Solicitor-General did not take into account respondent's and her son, was lodged
practice of his profession notwithstanding his being a police - Complainants allege that respondent authored and sent to then
official, as "this is not embraced in Section 27, Rule 138 of the President Joseph Estrada a libelous and unfair report, which
Revised Rules of Court which provides the grounds for the maligned the good names and reputation of no less than eleven
suspension or removal of an attorney. (11) CHED Directors calculated to justify her ill motive of
- The conclusion arrived at by the Solicitor-General that the preventing their re-appointment and with the end view of
complaint cannot prosper is in accordance with the settled law. securing an appointment for herself.
As far back as in re Tionko, decided in 1922, the authoritative - The IBP Commission on Bar Discipline concluded that
doctrine was set forth by Justice Malcolm in this wise: "The respondent unlawfully used her public office in order to
serious consequences of disbarment or suspension should follow secure financial spoils to the detriment of the dignity and
only where there is a clear preponderance of evidence against reputation of the Commission on Higher Education. It was
the respondent. The presumption is that the attorney is innocent recommended that respondent be suspended from the
of the charges preferred and has performed his duty as an practice of law for the maximum period allowable of three
officer of the court in accordance with his oath." The Tionko (3) years with a further warning that similar action in the
doctrine has been subsequently adhered to. future will be a ground for disbarment of respondent.
- This resolution does not in any wise take into consideration - The IBP Board of Governors passed Resolution No. XV-
whatever violations there might have been of the Civil Service 2002-393, adopting and approving the Report and
Law in view of respondent practicing his profession while holding Recommendation of the Investigating Commissioner and
his position of Captain in the Metro Manila police force. That is a Respondent was SUSPENDED from the practice of law for
matter to be decided in the administrative proceeding as noted three (3) years.
in the recommendation of the Solicitor-General. Nonetheless,
while the charges have to be dismissed, still it would not be ISSUE
inappropriate for respondent member of the bar to avoid all WON respondent attorney-at-law, as Officer-in-Charge (OIC) of
appearances of impropriety. Certainly, the fact that the suspicion Legal Services, CHED, may be disciplined by this Court for her
could be entertained that far from living true to the concept of a malfeasance, considering that her position, at the time of filing
public office being a public trust, he did make use, not so much of the complaint, was “Chief Education Program Specialist,
of whatever legal knowledge he possessed, but the influence Standards Development Division, Office of Programs and
that laymen could assume was inherent in the office held not Standards, CHED.”
only to frustrate the beneficent statutory scheme that labor be
justly compensated but also to be at the beck and call of what HELD
the complainant called alien interest, is a matter that should not YES.
pass unnoticed. Respondent, in his future actuations as a Ratio Generally speaking, a lawyer who holds a government
member of the bar. should refrain from laying himself open to office may not be disciplined as a member of the Bar for
such doubts and misgivings as to his fitness not only for the misconduct in the discharge of his duties as a government
position occupied by him but also for membership in the bar. He official. However, if said misconduct as a government official
is not worthy of membership in an honorable profession who also constitutes a violation of his oath as a lawyer, then he may
does not even take care that his honor remains unsullied be disciplined by this Court as a member of the Bar.
The Attorney’s Oath is the source of the obligations and duties of
VITRIOLO V DASIG every lawyer and any violation thereof is a ground for
disbarment, suspension, or other disciplinary action. The
PER CURIAM; April 1, 2003
Attorney’s Oath imposes upon every member of the bar the duty
(lora alamin) to delay no man for money or malice. Said duty is further
stressed in Rule 1.03 of the Code of Professional Responsibility.
NATURE Reasoning Respondent’s misconduct as a lawyer of the CHED is
Administrative case for disbarment filed against Atty. Felina S. of such a character as to affect her qualification as a member of
Dasig, an official of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED). 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
FACTS as consideration for the approval of applications and requests
- Almost all complainants are high-ranking officers of the CHED. awaiting action by her office.
They allege that while respondent was OIC of Legal Affairs - Respondent’s demands for sums of money to facilitate the
Service, CHED, committed acts that are grounds for disbarment processing of pending applications or requests before her office
under Section 27, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court violates such duty, and runs afoul of the oath she took when
- During her tenure as OIC, Legal Services, CHED, attempted to admitted to the Bar. Such actions likewise run contrary to Rule
extort from Betty C. Mangohon, Rosalie B. Dela Torre, Rocella G. 1.03 of the Code of Professional Responsibility.
Eje, and Jacqueline N. Ng sums of money as consideration for her - A member of the Bar who assumes public office does not shed
favorable action on their pending applications or requests before his professional obligations. Hence, the Code of Professional
her office Responsibility, was not meant to govern the conduct of private
- Complainants likewise aver that respondent violated her practitioners alone, but of all lawyers including those in
oath as attorney-at-law by filing eleven (11) baseless, government service. This is clear from Canon 6 of said Code.
groundless, and unfounded suits before the Office of the - Respondent’s attempts to extort money from persons with
City Prosecutor of Quezon City, which were subsequently applications or requests pending before her office are violative of
dismissed. Rule 1.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, which
- Complainants charge respondent of transgressing
prohibits members of the Bar from engaging or participating in
any unlawful, dishonest, or deceitful acts. Moreover, said acts
constitute a breach of Rule 6.02 of the Code which bars lawyers
in government service from promoting their private interests. KEY ISSUE
Promotion of private interests includes soliciting gifts or anything WON Rule 6.03 of the CPR applies to Atty. Mendoza.
of monetary value in any transaction requiring the approval of
his office or which may be affected by the functions of his office. Rule 6.03: A lawyer shall not, after leaving government service,
Respondent’s conduct in office falls short of the integrity and accept engagement or employment in connection with any
good moral character required from all lawyers, specially from matter in which he had intervened while in the said service.
one occupying a high public office. For a lawyer in public office is
expected not only to refrain from any act or omission which Obiter
might tend to lessen the trust and confidence of the citizenry in The History of Rule 6.03
government, she must also uphold the dignity of the legal -17th and 18th centuries: ethical standards for lawyers were
profession at all times and observe a high standard of honesty pervasive in England and other parts of Europe; the principal
and fair dealing. thrust of the standards was directed towards the litigation
Disposition Respondent was found liable for gross misconduct conduct of lawyers. It underscored the central duty of truth and
and dishonesty in violation of the Attorney’s Oath as well as the fairness in litigation as superior to any obligation to the client.
Code of Professional Responsibility, and was ordered -colonial and early post-revolutionary America: The forms of
DISBARRED. lawyer regulation did not differ markedly from those in England.
Only three of the traditional core duties can be fairly
PCGG V SANDIGANBAYAN characterized as pervasive in the formal, positive law of the
colonial and post-revolutionary period: the duties of litigation
PUNO; April 12, 2005
fairness, competency and reasonable fees.
(marge alias) -19th century: the “dark ages” of legal ethics in the United
NATURE -mid 19th century: American legal reformers were filling the void
Special civil action in the SC. Certiorari and prohibition. in two ways: (1) David Dudley Field, the drafter of the highly
influential New York “Field Code,” introduced a new set of
FACTS uniform standards of conduct for lawyers; (2) legal educators,
-1976: General Bank and Trust Co. (Genbank) encountered such as David Hoffman and George Sharswood, and many other
financial difficulties, prompting the Central Bank to extend to it lawyers were working to flesh out the broad outline of a lawyer's
emergency loans reaching a total of P310 million. Despite this, duties.
Genbank failed to recover and the following year Central Bank -As in the colonial and early post-revolutionary periods, these
had to issue a resolution declaring Genbank insolvent and standards were isolated and did not provide a comprehensive
ordering its liquidation. A public bidding of Genbank’s assets was statement of a lawyer's duties.
held; Lucio Tan Group submitted the winning bid. -end of 19th century, a new form of ethical standards began to
-Former Solicitor General Estelito P. Mendoza field a petition with guide lawyers in their practice — the bar association code of
CFI praying for the court’s assistance and supervision in the legal ethics. The bar codes were detailed ethical standards
liquidation as mandated by RA 265, section 29. formulated by lawyers for lawyers. 2 primary sources of ethical
-After EDSA I, Pres. Aquino established the PCGG to recover the guidance: academic discourses & the bar association codes
alleged ill-gotten wealth of Marcos, his family and his cronies. -1887: Alabama - the 1st state with a comprehensive bar
Pursuant to this mandate, PCGG filed a complaint for reversion, association code of ethics. 1887 Alabama Code of Ethics was the
reconveyance, restitution, accounting, and damages against model for several states’ codes, and it was the foundation for the
respondents Lucio Tan Group and the Marcos family. This was American Bar Association's (ABA) 1908 Canons of Ethics.
docketed as Civil Case No. 0005 of the 2nd division of the -1917: Philippine Bar Association adopted as its own, Canons 1
Sandiganbayan (SB). In connection with this, PCGG issued to 32 of the ABA Canons of Professional Ethics.
several writs of sequestration on the properties of the Lucio Tan -1924: some ABA members start to question the form and
Group. function of the canons. Among their concerns was the “revolving
-Lucio Tan Group questioned the writs through petitions for door” or “the process by which lawyers and others temporarily
certiorari, prohibition, and injunction with the SC. The latter enter government service from private life and then leave it for
referred the cases to the SB for proper disposition. In these large fees in private practice, where they can exploit
cases docketed as Civil Case Nos. 0096-0099 Lucio Tan Group information, contacts, and influence garnered in government
was represented by their counsel, former SolGen Estelito service.”
Mendoza who has then resumed private practice. (a) Adverse-interest conflicts - exist where the matter in which
-05 Feb 1991: PCGG, invoking Rule 6.03 of the Code of the former government lawyer represents a client in private
Professional Responsibility (CPR), filed motions to disqualify Atty. practice is substantially related to a matter that the lawyer
Mendoza as counsel for respondents in Civil Case Nos. 0005 & dealt with while employed by the government and the
0096-0099. The motions allege that Atty. Mendoza “intervened” interests of the current and former are adverse.
in the acquisition of Genbank by the Lucio Tan Group when, in (b) Congruent-interest representation conflicts are unique to
his capacity as then SolGen, he advised the Central Bank’s government lawyers and apply primarily to former
officials on the procedure to bring about Genbank’s liquidation& government lawyers.
appeared as counsel for the central Bank in connection with its -ABA attempted to correct and update the canons through new
petition for assistance in the liquidation. canons, individual amendments and interpretative opinions. To
-22 April 1991: SB denied the motion to disqualify Atty. Mendoza deal with problems peculiar to former government lawyers,
in Civil Case No. 0005 for PCGG’s failure to prove the existence Canon 36 was minted to disqualify such lawyers both for
of an inconsistency between Mendoza’s former function as “adverse-interest conflicts” and “congruent-interest
SolGen and his present employment as counsel of the Lucio Tan representation conflicts.”
group; it also ruled that Mendoza’s appearance as counsel for Canon 36. Retirement from judicial position or public
respondents Tan, et al. was beyond the one-year prohibited employment
period under Section 7(b) of Republic Act No. 6713 since he A lawyer should not accept employment as an advocate in any
ceased to be Solicitor General in the year 1986. PCGG did not file matter upon the merits of which he has previously acted in a
a MFR. judicial capacity.
-When Civil Case Nos. 0096-0099 were transferred from the SB’s A lawyer, having once held public office or having been in the
2nd Division to the 5th Division, the latter also denied the motion public employ should not, after his retirement, accept
to disqualify. PCGG’s MFR was denied. Hence this petition.
employment in connection with any matter he has “intervention.” The intervention cannot be insubstantial and
investigated or passed upon while in such office or employ. insignificant.
-1946: the Philippine Bar Association again adopted as its own Reasoning 2 interpretations of the “intervene” (basis:
Canons 33 to 47 of the ABA Canons of Professional Ethics. Webster):
-mid 20th century: growing consensus that the ABA Canons (a) “intervene” includes participation in a proceeding even if the
needed more meaningful revision. 1964: ABA President-elect intervention is irrelevant or has no effect or little influence.
Lewis Powell asked for the creation of a committee to study the (b) “intervene” only includes an act of a person who has the
“adequacy and effectiveness” of the ABA Canons. The unfairness power to influence the subject proceedings.
of Canon 36 compelled ABA to replace it with Canon 9 in the -The petition in the special proceedings is an initiatory pleading,
1969 ABA Model Code of Professional Responsibility. Canon 9 hence, it has to be signed by Atty. Mendoza as the then sitting
states: “A lawyer should avoid even the appearance of Solicitor General. The record is arid as to the actual participation
professional impropriety.” of respondent Mendoza in the subsequent proceedings.
-The drafting committee reformulated the canons into the Model -The principal role of the court in this proceeding for dissolution
Code of Professional Responsibility which was approved by the is to assist the Central Bank in determining claims of creditors
ABA House of Delegates in August 1969. Canon 9 was against the Genbank. The role of the court is not strictly as a
supplemented by Disciplinary Rule 9-101(b): “A lawyer shall not court of justice but as an agent to assist the Central Bank in
accept private employment in a matter in which he had determining the claims of creditors. In such a proceeding, the
substantial responsibility while he was a public employee. participation of the Office of the Solicitor General is not that of
-Despite these amendments, legal practitioners remained the usual court litigator protecting the interest of government.
unsatisfied with the results and indefinite standards.
-August 1983: ABA adopted new Model Rules of Professional Obiter
Responsibility, doing away with Canon 9, citing the hopeless Balancing Policy Considerations
dependence of the concept of impropriety on the subjective -CPR Rule 6.03 represents a commendable effort on the part of
views of anxious clients as well as the norm’s indefinite nature. the IBP to upgrade the ethics of lawyers in the government
-1980: Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) adopted a proposed service. It should not be interpreted to cause a chilling effect on
Code of Professional Responsibility which it submitted to SC for government recruitment of able legal talent.
approval. The Code was drafted to reflect the local customs, -At present, it is already difficult for government to match
traditions, and practices of the bar and to conform with new compensation offered by the private sector and it is unlikely that
realities. government will be able to reverse that situation. It is true that
-21 June 1988: SC promulgated the Code of Professional the only card that the government may play to recruit lawyers is
Responsibility. CPR Rule 6.03 which deals particularly with have them defer present income in return for the experience and
former government lawyers retained the general structure of contacts that can later be exchanged for higher income in
paragraph 2, Canon 36 of the Canons of Professional Ethics but private practice. “To make government service more difficult to
replaced the expansive phrase “investigated and passed upon” exit can only make it less appealing to enter.”
with the word “intervened.” It is, therefore, properly applicable -In interpreting Rule 6.03, the Court also cast a harsh eye on its
to both “adverse-interest conflicts” and “congruent-interest use as a litigation tactic to harass opposing counsel as well as
conflicts.” deprive his client of competent legal representation. The danger
that the rule will be misused to bludgeon an opposing counsel is
SUB-ISSUES not a mere guesswork.
1. WON this case involves the “adverse interest” aspect of Rule -Similarly, the Court in interpreting Rule 6.03 was not
6.03 unconcerned with the prejudice to the client which will be
2. WON there exists a “congruent-interest conflict” sufficient to caused by its misapplication. It cannot be doubted that granting
disqualify respondent Mendoza from representing the Lucio Tan a disqualification motion causes the client to lose not only the
Group. law firm of choice, but probably an individual lawyer in whom the
2a. WON Atty. Mendoza’s act of advising the Central Bank on client has confidence.
the legal procedure to liquidate Genbank is included within the -The Court has to consider also the possible adverse effect of a
concept of “matter” under Rule 6.03 truncated reading of the rule on the official independence of
2b. WON the intervention of Atty. Mendoza in the liquidation of lawyers in the government service.
Genbank is significant and substantial -No less significant a consideration is the deprivation of the
former government lawyer of the freedom to exercise his
HELD profession. Given the current state of our law, the
2a. NO. Ratio American Bar Association Formal Opinion 342’s disqualification of a former government lawyer may extend to all
definition of “matter” : any discrete, isolatable act as well as members of his law firm.
identifiable transaction or conduct involving a particular situation -As well observed, the accuracy of gauging public perceptions is
and specific party, and not merely an act of drafting, enforcing a highly speculative exercise at best which can lead to untoward
or interpreting government or agency procedures, regulations or results. Notably, the appearance of impropriety theory has been
laws, or briefing abstract principles of law. rejected in the 1983 ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct.
Reasoning Based on PCGG’s case for disqualification, the -Also the “switching sides” concern does not cast a shadow in
“matter” or the act of Atty. Mendoza as Solicitor General the case at bar. The danger that confidential official information
involved here is “advising the Central Bank, on how to proceed might be divulged is nil, if not inexistent. There are no
with the said bank’s liquidation and even filing the petition for its inconsistent “sides” to be bothered about in the case at bar. In
liquidation with the CFI of Manila.” lawyering for the Lucio Tan Group, Atty. Mendoza is indirectly
-The procedure of liquidation is given in black and white in defending the validity of the action of Central Bank in liquidating
Republic Act No. 265, sec. 29. Said legal provision provides for Genbank and selling it later to Allied Bank. Their interests
the role of the SolGen in proceedings upon insolvency. coincide instead of colliding.
-Also, CPR Rule 6.03 cannot apply to respondent Mendoza Disposition Petition denied. No costs.
because his alleged intervention while a SolGen in Sp. Proc. No.
107812 (liquidation of Genbank) is an intervention on a matter SEPARATE OPINION
different from the matter involved in Civil Case No. 0096
(sequestration of the stocks in Allied Bank, the successor of
Genbank, on the ground that they are ill-gotten). PANGANIBAN [dismiss]
2b. NO. Ratio in light of the history of CPR Rule 6.03, the 2nd -The petition should be dismissed on two grounds: (1) res
meaning is more appropriate to give to the word judicata, specifically, conclusiveness of judgment; and (2)
-The material issue in the present controversy is whether Atty. -While financial considerations are important, they are not the
Mendoza may still be barred from representing these sole factor affecting recruitment of lawyers to the government
respondents despite (1) a final Order in another case resolving sector. I would like to think that serving in government is its own
the very same ground for disqualification involving the same reward. One needs only to look at all of us members of this Court
parties and the same subject matter as the present case; and (2) to know that money is not everything. All of us have, at one
the passage of a sufficient period of time from the date he point in our legal careers, been tempted by the promise of
ceased to be solicitor general to the date when the supposed financial success that private practice usually brings. But in the
disqualification (for violation of the CPR) was raised. end, we decided to take the road less traveled and serve in
-There is no need to delve into the question of whether Rule 6.03 government. And I would like to believe that each and everyone
has been transgressed; there is no need to discuss the merits of of us has made a difference. There is more to this mortal coil
the questioned Sandiganbayan Resolutions allowing Atty. than the pursuit of material wealth.
Mendoza to represent private respondents in Civil Case Nos.
0096-0099. After all, a Resolution issued by the same court CALLEJO, SR. [partially grant]
resolving the very same issue on the “disqualification” of Atty. -The Code of Professional Responsibility is not designed for
Mendoza in a case involving the same parties and the same Holmes’ proverbial “bad man” who wants to know just how
subject matter has already become final and immutable. It can many corners he may cut, how close to the line he may play,
no longer be altered or changed. without running into trouble with the law. Rather, it is drawn for
-CPR Rule 6.03 does not expressly specify the period of its the “good man” as a beacon to assist him in navigating an
applicability or enforceability. But it cannot be inferred that the ethical course through the sometimes murky waters of
prohibition is absolute, perpetual and permanent. All civil actions professional conduct. (General Motors Corp. v City of New York)
have a prescriptive period. Unless a law makes an action -CPR establishes the norms of conduct and ethical standards in
imprescriptible or lays down no other period, the action is the legal profession and the Court must not shirk from its duty to
subject to a bar by prescription five years after the right of ensure that all lawyers live up to its provisions. The Court must
action accrued. (Arts. 1140-1149, Civil Code; Tolentino v CA) not tolerate any departure from the “straight and narrow” path
demanded by the ethics of the legal profession.
SANDOVAL-GUTTIERREZ [dismiss] -The Resolution denying PCGG’s similar motion to disqualify
-In evaluating motions to disqualify a lawyer, our minds are not Mendoza was an interlocutory order as it did not terminate or
bound by stringent rules. There is room for consideration of the finally dispose of the said case. It merely settled an incidental or
combined effect of a party’s right to counsel of his own choice, collateral matter arising therein. As such, it cannot operate to
an attorney’s interest in representing a client, the financial bar the filing of another motion to disqualify Atty. Mendoza in
burden on a client of replacing disqualified counsel, and any the other cases.
tactical abuse underlying a disqualification proceeding. -Atty. Mendoza’s present engagement as counsel for Lucio Tan
-An order denying a motion to disqualify counsel is final and, Group in Civil Case No. 0096 violates the ethical precept
therefore, appealable. The issue of whether or not Atty. Mendoza embodied in Rule 6.03.
should be disqualified from representing Tan et al. is separable -The subject matter in Civil Case No. 0096 is connected with or
from, independent of and collateral to the main issues in Civil related to a “matter,” i.e. the liquidation of Genbank, in which
Cases Nos. 0096-0099. In short, it is separable from the Atty. Mendoza had intervened as the Solicitor General
merits. Clearly, the present petition for certiorari is dismissible. -Rule 6.03 applies even if Atty. Mendoza did not “switch sides” or
-The Resolution dated April 22, 1991 in Civil Case No. 0005 did not take inconsistent sides. Rule 6.03 applies even if no
constitutes a bar to similar motions to disqualify Atty. Mendoza conflict of interest exists between Atty. Mendoza’s former
under the doctrine of res judicata. The PCGG may not relitigate government client (Central Bank) and his present private
such issue of disqualification as it was actually litigated and practice clients (respondents Tan, et al.)
finally decided in G.R. Nos. 112707-09. -Rule 6.03 purposely does not contain an explicit temporal
-Atty. Mendoza’s participation in the liquidation of GENBANK limitation since cases have to be resolved based on their
does not constitute intervention. CPR Rule 6.03 cannot apply to peculiar circumstances. The peculiar circumstances of this case
Atty. Mendoza because his alleged intervention while a Solicitor justify the strict application of said rule.
General in Special Proceedings No. 107812 is an intervention in
a matter different from the matter involved in Civil Case No.
TINGA [partially grant]
-Section 6.03 cannot be made applicable in the present case to
Atty. Mendoza, as to do so would be violative of his right to due
CARPIO-MORALES [grant] process. Whether it be at the time then Solicitor General
-The doctrine of conclusiveness of judgment does not apply since Mendoza participated in the process of the dissolution of General
in the case at bar, the question of whether the motion to Bank in 1977, or at sometime in 1987 when he agreed to
disqualify Atty. Mendoza should be granted is undoubtedly a represent the respondents, the Code of Professional
legal question. Also, this is the first time that the issue to Responsibility had not yet been promulgated.
disqualify Atty. Mendoza has been elevated before the SC. -The Code of Professional Responsibility was promulgated by the
-We cannot characterize the denial of PCGG’s motion to Supreme Court on 21 June 1988. Prior to its official adoption,
disqualify Atty. Mendoza as a final order. It is only interlocutory there was no similar official body of rules or guidelines enacted
since it does not finally dispose of the case. by the Supreme Court other than the provisions on Legal Ethics
-the prohibition in Rule 6.03 is perpetual. It does not prescribe in in the Rules of Court.
5 yrs. -Atty. Mendoza may have violated Canon 36 of the Canons of
-Atty. Mendoza’s lack of participation in the decision of the Professional Ethics, which some authorities deemed as a source
Central Bank to liquidate GENBANK is immaterial. What is of legal ethics prior to the Code of Professional Responsibility.
material is his role in facilitating the liquidation of GENBANK But the prohibition under Canon 36 was not prescribed by this
through his legal expertise. In advising the Central Bank, Atty. Court or by statute as a norm until the enactment of the Code of
Mendoza did not just mechanically point to section 29 of Professional Responsibility in 21 June 1988. Accordingly, when
Republic 265. As then Solicitor General, and as a lawyer known Atty. Mendoza agreed to represent the respondents, there was
for his keen legal acumen, Atty. Mendoza synthesized facts, no definitive binding rule proscribing him from such engagement
which by reason of his position he was privy to, and law with a or penalizing him for such representation.
view to successfully liquidate the bank.
-While it is desirable to recruit competent lawyers into
government service, this does not justify the disturbance of our
mores. The canons and rules of the Code of Professional CARPIO; March 31, 2006
Responsibility must be strictly construed. (maia reiza)
taking of the IBP officers=elect and to inquire into the veracity of
NATURE the reports.
Disbarment case
FACTS - June 3, 1989, the election of the national officers of the
- Ruthie Lim-Santiago is the daughter and administratrix of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) was held at the Philippine
property of Alfonso Lim, the former president of Taggat International Convention Center (PICC).The newly elected
Industries. After his death, Lim-Santiago took over the officers were set to take their oath of office on July 4, 1989,
management of the company. Respondent Carlos Sagucio was before the Supreme Court. However, because of widespread
the former Personnel Manager and Retained Counsel of Taggat reports about the intensive electioneering and overspending by
Industries, until he was appointed Assistant Provincial Prosecutor the candidates, the Supreme Court resolved to suspend the
of Tuguegarao, Cagayan in 1992. oath-taking of the IBP officers-elect to investigate.
- Some employees of Taggat filed a criminal complaint against - the elections were led by the main candidates for the office of
Lim-Santiago for withholding payment of their salaries and IBP President, namely Attorneys Nereo Paculdo, Ramon Nisce,
wages without valid cause for 1 year and 3 months (1 April 1996 and Violeta C. Drilon.
to 15 July 1997). Sagucio, as the asst. Prov. Prosecutor, was - Among the allegations were the use of government planes, and
assigned to conduct the preliminary investigation. He the officious intervention of certain public officials to influence
recommended the filing of 651 Informations for violation of the voting, all of which were done in violation of the IBP By-Laws.
Art288 of the labor code of the Philippines. (“poured heart, soul, money and influence to win over the 120
- Lim-Santiago alleges that Sagucio is guilty of representing IBP delegates.”)
conflicting interests, a violation of Rule 15.03 of the Code of - Emil Jurado (Manila Standard) reported that there was rampant
Professional Responsibility (CPR), and of engaging in the private vote-buying by some members of the U.P. Sigma Rho Fraternity
practice of law while working as a government prosecutor, which as well as by some lawyers of ACCRA, and that government
is expressly prohibited in RA6713. positions were promised to others by the office of the Labor
Sagucio defends himself by saying that he accepted payment Secretary.
from Taggat even after his appointment as government - There was also the billeting of out-of-town delegates in plush
prosecutor but said that such payments were not for hotels where they were reportedly “wined and dined
representation but for consultancy services. Also, he contends continuously, womened, and subjected to endless haggling over
that 5 years have passed since he was connected with the the price of their votes xxx which ranged from P15K to P20K, and
company, thus there was no conflict of interest. on election day, to as much as P50K.
- In a resolution calling for investigations, the Court “called to
ISSUES mind that a basic postulate of the IBP xxx is that the IBP shall be
1. WON there are conflicting interests in this case non-political in character and that there shall be no lobbying nor
2. WON the “private practice of law” includes consultancy campaigning in the choice of members of the Board of
services Governors and of the House of Delegates and of the IBP officers.
3. WON disbarment is the appropriate penalty - Article I, Section 4 of IBP By-Laws emphasizes the “strictly non-
political” character of the IBP:
HELD SEC. 4. Non-political Bar. – the IBP is strictly non-political,
- There are no conflicting interests. Sagucio is not guilty of and every activity tending to impair this basic feature is strictly
representing conflicting interests as prohibited in Rule 15.03 of prohibited and shall be penalized accordingly. No lawyer holding
CPR. He left Taggat in 1992, and the non-payment of wages an elective, judicial, quasi-judicial, or prosecutory office in the
occurred in 1996-1997, years after the relation to Taggat has government xxx shall be eligible for election or appointment to
been terminated. In a charge for representing conflicting any position in the IBP or any chapter thereof.
interests, evidence must be presented to prove that respondent - Section 14 of By-Laws enumerates the prohibited acts
used against the former client any CONFIDENTIAL information relative to IBP elections:
acquired through his previous employment. Although a lawyer o Distribution of election campaign material;
owes a former client to maintain inviolate of the client’s o Distribution of campaign material other that a
confidence, this responsibility does not cover transactions that statement of the biodata of candidate not more than
occurred beyond the lawyer’s employment with the client. That one page of legal paper;
he was a former personnel manager and the case is labor- o Campaigning for or against any candidate, whle
related is not sufficient basis to charge Sagucio of representing holding an elective, judicial, quasi-judicial, prosecutory
conflicting interests. office in Gov’t;
- The payment for consultancy services conducted by Sagucio o Formation of tickets, single slates, or combinations
falls under the “private practice of law” which is specifically of candidates, as well as the advertisement thereof;
prohibited by RA6713 (the court applies the liberal definition of o For purpose of influencing a member, by payment
the practice of law as given in Cayetano v Monson). However, of dues or other indebtedness of the member; giving of
Sagucio cannot be punished for this violation under the CPR, for food, drink, entertainment, transpo, any article of value;
such violations are not subject to disciplinary action under the making a promise or causing an expenditure to be
CPR. On the other hand, this violation is also a violation of Rule made.
1.01 of Canon 1 (a lawyer shall not engage in unlawful … - Section 12(d) of the By-Laws prescribes the sanctions:
conduct), thus he can be punished for violating canon 1. o “Violation of the by-laws of the IBP shall be a
The penalty is a suspension of 6 months and 1 day to 1 year ground for the disqualification of a candidate or his
(basis is the Civil Service Law and Rules). removal from office if elected, without prejudice to the
imposition of sanctions upon any erring member xxx”
RE: 1989 ELECTIONS OF THE INTEGRATED BAR - Atty. Paculdo admitted having spent some P250K during his
OF THE PHILIPPINES three weeks of campaigning; Atty. Nisce’s hotel bills at the Hyatt
PER CURIAM; October 6, 1989 amounted to P216K ++, not including previous expenses for his
campaign; Atty . Drilon’s campaign rang up over P600K in hotel
(anton arcilla) bills (Westin).
An inquiry into the 1989 Elections of the integrated bar of the WON the candidates are guilty of massive electioneering,
Philippines. The Supreme Court, en banc, exercising its power of inappropriate use of government resources, and vote-buying
supervision over the Integrated Bar, resolvd to suspend the oath- during the IBP national elections.
Ratio 1.RA 7432 exempts him only from payment of taxes but not
- IBP elections should be as they are annulled. from payment of his association dues such as IBP dues. Since he
- The provisions of the IBP By-Laws for direct election by the openly admitted that he was still engaged in the practice of law
House Delegates of officers, IBP President, and exec. VP be eventhough his practice is already limited he is still subject to
repealed. the payment of IBP dues and failure to do so would warrant his
- Former sstem of IBP President and Exec. VP elected by Board of suspension under Sec 10 of Rule 139-A. He can only engage in
Governors from among themselves should be restored. the practice of law by paying his dues and it doesn’t matter if his
- At the end of President’s 2-year term, the EVP shall practice is limited.
automatically succeed to the office of the president. The 2.By Indicationg IBP Rizal 259060 in his pleadings, he is guilty of
incoming board of governors shall elect an EVP from among misrepresenting to the public and the courts that he has paid his
themselves. dues to IBP Rizal Chapter and of violating Code of Professional
Reasoning Responsibility which provides:
- It is evident that the manner in which the principal candidates Rule 1.01-A lawyer shall not engage in
for the national positions in the Integrated Bar conducted their unlawful,dishonest,immoral or deceitful conduct.
campaign preparatory to the elections violated Sec. 14 of the IBP CANON 7 – A lawyer shall at all times uphold the integrity and
By-laws and made a travesty of the idea of a “strictly non- dignity of the legal profession,and support the activities of the
political” IBP shrined in Sec. 4. Integrated Bar.
- The candidates and many of the participants in that election CANON 10 – A Lawyer owes candor,fairness nd goodfaith to the
not only violated the By-Laws of the IBP but also the ethics of the court.
legal profession which imposes on all lawyers, as a corollary of Rule 10.01- A lawyer shall not do any falsehood,nor consent to
their obligation to: the doing of an court;nor shall he mislead or allow the court to
- Obey and uphold the constitutionand the laws; be misled by any artifice.
- Duty to promote respect for law and legal processes; Disposition Because of his old age, respondent was only
- Abstain from activities aimed at defiance of law or at suspended from practice of law for one year or until he pays his
lessening confidence in the legal system. dues.
- It is speculated that the IBP ticket to the Judicial and Bar
Council as provided in Art. VIII Sec. 8 may be the reason why the RE: 2003 BAR EXAMINATIONS
position of IBP president has attracted so much interest among
PER CURIAM; February 4, 2004
the lawyers.
- The decision is meant to impress upon participant the (chris lao)
seriousness of their misconduct, and to restore the non-political
character of the IBP. NATURE
ADMINISTRATIVE MATTER in the Supreme Court. Bar Scandal.
MENDOZA; January 20, 2000 - On September 22, 2003, the day following the bar examination
(dahls salamat) in Mercantile Law, Justice Jose C. Vitug, Chairman of the 2003
Bar Examinations Committee, was apprised of a rumored
FACTS leakage in the examination on the subject. He then reported to
Petitioner’s Claim: Chief Justice Hilario Davide, Jr. and to the other members of the
-Llamas has not indicated proper PTR and IBP OR No and data in Court, recommending that the examination on the subject be
his pleadings, he merely indicates IBP Rizal 259060 as his PTS nullified and that an investigation be conducted forthwith.
and IBP OR No for 3 years as shown in various court pleadings. - On September 2003, the Court adopted the recommendation of
-Llamas’ last payment of IBP dues, as certified by IBP pres, was Justice Vitug and resolved to nullify the examination in
in 1991 Mercantile Law and to hold another exam on the said subject
--in the context of Rule 138 section 1 that only a duly admitted against which petitions were filed. The petitions voiced out the
member of the bar “who is in good and regular stnding is support to nullifying the exam on the said subject and not to
entitled to practice law” and Rule 139-A,Section 10 which take another exam due to the emotional, physical and financial
provides that “default in the payment of annual dues for six burdens it will cause the barristers. Alternative proposals were
months shall warrant suspension of membership in the submitted to the Court. The Court moved to nullify and to spread
integrated bar,and default in such payment for one year shall be out the weight of the Mercantile Law among the remaining seven
a ground for the removal of the name of the delinquent member bar subjects.
from the Roll of Attorneys - The Court resolved also to create a Committee composed of
-respondent’s track record shows that he was once dismissed as three retired members of the Court that would conduct a
Pasay City Judge, and was convicted of estafa. thorough investigation of the incident subject of the September
Respondent’s Comment: 23, 2003 resolution. The Investigating Committee found that the
-SC has already dismissed the case for his dismissal as well as leaked test questions in Mercantile Law were the questions
the criminal case, and he was in fact promoted as RTC Judge, which the examinee, Atty. Balgos had prepared and submitted to
-Respondent is engaged only in a limited practice of law,his Justice Jose Vitug. His questions constituted 82% of the questions
principal occupation being a farmer asked in the examination in Mercantile Law in the morning of
-Being a senior citizen he is exempt from payment of taxes,and September 21, 2003, Sunday, in some cases with slight changes
he honestly believes that his dues with the IBP is covered by which were not substantial and in other cases exactly as Atty.
such exemption Balgos, 71 years old, proposed.
-in fact he does not exercise his rights to vote as an IBP member - The circumstances that the leaked test questions consisted
-he is willing to pay his dues should he be in fact not exempt entirely of test questions prepared by Atty. Balgos proves
from payment thereof conclusively that the leakage originated from his office, not from
the Office of Justice Vitug. Atty. Balgos claimed that the leaked
ISSUES test questions were prepared by him on his computer. Without
1.WON RA 7432 (Senior Citizen) exempts respondent from any doubt, the source of the leaked test questions was Atty.
payment of his dues with the IBP Balgos’ computer. The culprit who stole or downloaded them
2.WON respondent is guilty of misleading the court of his from Atty. Balgos’ computer without the latter’s knowledge and
standing with the IBP for using the same IBP OR number for at consent, and who faxed them to other persons, was Atty. Balgos’
least six years legal assistant, Atty. Danilo De Guzman, who voluntarily
confessed the deed to the Investigating Committee. De Guzman was in the Civil Service and when working abroad, entitles him to
revealed that he faxed the test questions, with the help of his exemption from payment of IBP dues.
secretary Villasis to his frat brods in Beta Sigma Lambda
Fraternity, namely, Garvida, Arlan, and Erwin Tan. In turn, HELD
Garvida faxed the test questions to Iñigo and Bugain. Iñigo Ratio No.
passed a copy or copies to other Betan Guiapal who gave a copy Reasoning
to the MLQU-Beta Sigma’s Most Illustrious Brother, Ronald - The integration of the Philippine Bar means the official
Collado who ordered the printing and distribution of 30 copies to unification of the entire law population. This requires
the MLQU’s 30 bar candidates. membership and financial support of every attorney as condition
- Atty De Guzman’s act of downloading Balgos’ test questions in sine qua non to the practice of law and the retention of his name
mercantile law from the latter’s computer, without his in the Roll of Attorneys of the SC. This is toward defraying the
knowledge and permission, was a criminal act of larceny. It was expenses of regulation of the profession to which they
theft of intellectual property. themselves belong.
- Besides theft, De Guzman also committed an unlawful - Membership in the bar is a privilege (as opposed to a property
infraction of Balgos’ right to privacy of communication and to right) burdened with conditions, one of which is the payment of
security of his papers and effects against unauthorized search membership dues. Failure to abide by any of them entails the
and seizure—rights zealously protected by the Bill of Rights of loss of such privilege if the gravity thereof warrants.
our Constitution. He transgressed the very first canon of the Disposition Wherefore, petitioner’s request for exemption from
lawyers’ Code of Professional Responsibility which provides that payment of IBP dues for the years 1977-2005 is Denied within 10
a lawyer shall uphold the Constitution, obey the laws of the land, days from receipt of this decision, failure to do so will merit
and promote respect for law and legal processes. suspension from the practice of law.
- De Guzman also violated rule 1.01 of Canon 1, as well as Canon
7 of the Code of Professional Responsibility for members of the ZAGUIRRE V CASTILLO
Bar, which provide:
Rule 1.01—A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest,
immoral or deceitful conduct. (sarah Cabrera)
Canon 7—A lawyer shall at all times uphold the integrity and
dignity of the legal profession and support the activities of the NATURE
Integrated Bar. Petition for Disbarment on the ground of Gross Immoral Conduct
- He is guilty of grave misconduct unbecoming a member of the (Adulterous Relationship).
Bar. Also, the Investigating committee does not believe that he
acted alone. Palma, secretary of Atty. Balgos and Atienza knew FACTS
of the password. Certain brods should also be investigated. The - Complainant and respondent met while working in the NBI.
committee does not believe De Guzman did this out of love for Respondent courted complainant and promised to marry her
the fraternity. There must have been an ulterior material while representing himself to be single. Soon they had an
consideration for his breaking the law and tearing the shroud of intimate relationship that started sometime in 1996 and lasted
secrecy that, he very well knows, covers the bar examinations. until 1997. During their affair, respondent was preparing
- Atty. Balgos is also negligent.He could have just used the for the bar examinations which he passed. On May 10,
typewriter considering his lack of adeptness with the computer. 1997, he was admitted as a member of the Philippine Bar.
- It was only around the first week of May 1997 that complainant
ISSUE first learned that respondent was already married when his wife
WON Danilo De Guzman should be disbarred went to her office and confronted her about her relationship with
HELD - On September 10, 1997, executed an affidavit, admitting his
YES. He should be disbarred plus he ought to make a public relationship with the complainant and recognizing the unborn
apology and pay damages to the Supreme Court child she was carrying as his.
- Atty. Balgos should be reprimanded by the Court and make a - On December 09, 1997, complainant gave birth to a baby girl,
written apology as a result of his negligence. He is not entitled to Aletha Jessa. By this time however, respondent had started to
receive any honorarium as examiner for that subject. refuse recognizing the child and giving her any form of support.
- Further examination of the others should be held to show - Respondent claims that: he never courted the complainant;
accountability and also to find out how De Guzman was able to what transpired between them was nothing but mutual lust and
secure a copy of the Supreme Court’s CALR database without desire; he never represented himself as single since it was
the court’s permission. known in the NBI that he was already married and with children.;
complainant is almost 10 years older than him and knew
beforehand that he is already married; the child borne by
complainant is not his, because the complainant was seeing
REQUESTING EXEMPTION FROM PAYMENT OF other men at the time they were having an affair. He admits that
IBP DUES he signed the affidavit dated September 10, 1997 but explains
CHICO-NAZARIO; May 9, 2005 that he only did so to save complainant from embarrassment.
Also, he did not know at the time that complainant was seeing
(keefe dela cruz)
other men.
- The IBP Commission on Bar Discipline found Atty. Castillo
guilty of gross immoral conduct and recommends that he be
Bar Matter in the Supreme Court. Request for Exemption from
meted the penalty of indefinite suspension from the practice of
Payment of IBP Dues.
- Petitioner, Atty. Cecilio Y. Arevalo, Jr., is being assessed
1. WON respondent is guilty of gross immoral conduct
P12,035 in IBP dues for the years 1977-2005
2. WON it is relevant to this case if the complainant knew he was
- After admittance to the Philippine Bar in 1961, he became part
of the Phil Civil Service from 1962 to 1986, then migrated to, and
3. WON the respondent should be disbarred
worked in, the US from 1986 to his retirement in 2003.
1. YES
WON Petitioner’s inactivity in the practice of law that is, when he
- The Court agrees with the findings and recommendation of the
IBP. children in Mindoro. As of now, the Court does not perceive this
The Code of Professional Responsibility: fact as an indication of respondent’s effort to mend his ways or
“Rule 1.01 - A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, that he recognizes the impact of his offense on the noble
dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct. profession of law. Nevertheless, the Court deems it more
“CANON 7 - A lawyer shall at all times uphold the integrity appropriate under the circumstances that indefinite
and dignity of the legal profession, and support the suspension should be meted out than disbarment. The
activities of the Integrated Bar.” suspension shall last until such time that respondent is able to
“Rule 7.03 - A lawyer shall not engage in conduct that show, to the full satisfaction of the Court, that he had instilled in
adversely reflects on his fitness to practice law, nor himself a firm conviction of maintaining moral integrity and
should he, whether in public or private life, behave in uprightness required of every member of the profession.
a scandalous manner to the discredit of the legal The rule is settled that a lawyer may be suspended or
profession.” disbarred for any misconduct, even if it pertains to his private
Immoral conduct has been defined as: activities, as long as it shows him to be wanting in moral
“xxx that conduct which is so willful, flagrant, or character, honesty, probity or good demeanor.
shameless as to show indifference to the opinion of Disposition Court finds respondent GUILTY of Gross Immoral
good and respectable members of the community. Conduct and ordered to suffer INDEFINITE SUSPENSION from the
Furthermore, such conduct must not only be immoral, practice of law.
but grossly immoral. That is, it must be so corrupt as
to constitute a criminal act or so unprincipled as to be TAN V SABANDAL
reprehensible to a high degree or committed under
MELENCIO-HERRERA; February 24, 1992
such scandalous or revolting circumstances as to
shock the common sense of decency.” (jat tabamo)
*Siring a child with a woman other than his wife is a
conduct way below the standards of morality required of FACTS
every lawyer. Moreover, the attempt of respondent to renege - Nov. 29, 1983 - Court sustained charge of unauthorized
on his notarized statement recognizing and undertaking to practice of law filed against respondent Sabandal and denied the
support his child by Carmelita demonstrates a certain latter’s petition to be allowed to take oath as member of the Phil.
unscrupulousness on his part which is highly censurable, Bar and to sign the roll of attorneys.
unbecoming a member of a noble profession, tantamount to self- - From 1984-1988 - Sabandal filed motions for reconsideration all
stultification. of which either denied or noted without action.
- This Court has repeatedly held: “as officers of the court, - Feb. 10, 1989 – Court finally allowed Sabandal to take the
lawyers must not only in fact be of good moral character but lawyer’s oath after consideration of his plea for mercy and
must also be seen to be of good moral character and leading forgiveness, willingness to reform and several testimonies
lives in accordance with the highest moral standards of the attesting to his good moral character and civic consciousness.
community. More specifically, a member of the Bar and officer of However, before a date could be set for Sabandal’s oath taking,
the court is not only required to refrain from adulterous complainants Dagpin, Tan and Boquia each filed motions for
relationships or the keeping of mistresses but must also so reconsideration of the Resolution of Feb, 10, 1989.
behave himself as to avoid scandalizing the public by creating - Complainant Tan contests the testimonial of IBP Zamboanga
the belief that he is flouting those moral standards.” Del Norte Chapter (ZDN) certifying that respondent was acting
*Complainant he seeks understanding from the Court, pointing with morality and has been careful in his actuations in the
out that “men by nature are polygamous, and that what community. Tan claims that said testimonial was signed only by
happened between them was “nothing but mutual lust and the then President of that IBP chapter, without authorization
desire.” The Court is not convinced. In fact, it is appalled at the from its Board of Officers. Attached to her motion was a
reprehensible, amoral attitude of the respondent. certification signed by the current IBP ZDN Chapter President
2. NO Atty. Nuevas, stating that the present Board of Officers had not
*That complainant entered into a relationship with him knowing issued any testimonial attesting to the good moral character and
full well his marital status does not absolve him of gross civic consciousness of Sabandal. Tan later on desisted and
immorality for what is in question in a case like this is informed the Court that her relationship with Sabandal “has
respondent’s fitness to be a member of the legal profession. It already been restored,” as he had asked her forgiveness and
is not dependent whether or not the other party that she finds no necessity in pursuing her case against him,
knowingly engaged in an immoral relationship with him. even recommending his admission to the legal profession.
In Mortel vs. Aspiras: “In a disbarment proceeding, it is - Complainants Boquia and Dagpin submitted their own
immaterial that the complainant is in pari delicto comments vehemently contesting the Court’s Resolution setting
because this is not a proceeding to grant relief to the the date for respondent’s oath-taking and filed a separate
complainant, but one to purge the law profession of comment as regards complainant Tan’s personal disposition,
unworthy members, to protect the public and the courts.” questioning whether personal forgiveness is enough basis to
*The illicit relationship with Carmelita took place while exculpate and obliterate their cases
respondent was preparing to take the bar examinations. - The Executive Judge of ZBN RTC, Judge Pelagio Lachica, in a
Thus, it cannot be said that it is unknown to him that an separate comment stated that he is not well acquainted
applicant for admission to membership in the bar must personally with the respondent and unaware of any acts
show that he is possessed of good moral character, a committed by him so as to disqualify him from admission to the
requirement which is not dispensed with upon admission to Bar. Said Judge also mentioned that there is a Civil Case, Rep. of
membership of the bar. This qualification is not only a the Phil. v. Sabandal which was pending in the Supreme Court.
condition precedent to admission to the legal The IBP ZBN chapter also submitted a certification that Sabandal
profession, but its continued possession is essential has not been convicted of any crime and that there is no
to maintain one’s good standing in the profession. pending criminal case against him, therefore finding no reason
3. NO to disqualify him from admission to the Bar.
Clearly therefore, respondent violated the standards of morality - The Court then deferred setting the date of the oath-taking of
required of the legal profession and should be disciplined respondent Sabandal and required Judge Lachica to inform the
accordingly. Court of the outcome of the case Republic v. Sabandal. Judge
*As consistently held by this Court, disbarment shall not be Pacifico Garcia, who succeeded Judge Lachica, informed the
meted out if a lesser punishment could be given. Records Court on Dec. 12, 1990, that Sabandal’s case was already
show that from the time he took his oath in 1997, he has considered closed and terminated, and that the principal parties
severed his ties with complainant and now lives with his wife and have reached an amicable settlement approved by the trial
court. Judge Garcia’s letter was noted in the Resolution of Jan.
29, 1991, where complainants Tan, Boquia and Dagpin were recalled and his prayer to be allowed to take the lawyer’s oath is
required to comment on said Judge’s letter. denied.
- On Dec. 20, 1990, a certification was sent by Exec. Judge Jesus
Angeles of RTC of ZDN upon request of Sabandal, certifying that TAPUCAR V TAPUCAR
he has no pending case with his Court and that he has no cause
PER CURIAM; July 30, 1998
to object to his admission to the Bar.
- Meanwhile, Sabandal reiterated his prayer to be allowed to take (terry ridon)
the lawyer’s oath in a motion dated June 8, 1991. The Court
again deferred action on the motion pending the complainants’ FACTS
compliance with the Jan. 29, 1991 resolution. - Complainant Remedios Tapucar seeks the disbarment of
- Only complainant Tan complied, and stated in a comment husband, Atty. Lauro Tapucar, on the ground of continuing
dated Aug. 29, 1991, that the termination of Sabandal’s civil grossly immoral conduct for cohabiting with Elena Pena under
case is proof of his sincere reformation, and repentance. scandalous circumstances.
- Finally, in a Manifestation, dated Dec. 6, 1991, Sabandal - Prior to complaint, he has already been charged four times for
reiterated his plea to be allowed to take the lawyer’s oath. conduct unbecoming of an officer, and has already been
suspended, and dismissed from being a CFI judge
ISSUE - The suspension and dismissal on immorality did not stop him
WON Respondent Sabandal should be allowed to take the from continue living with Elena and leaving Remedios and her 11
lawyer’s oath children. He and Elena even moved back to Antipolo from
GenSan, where they got married despite the subsistence of a
HELD previous marriage
Ratio The practice of law is not a matter of right. It is a - His lawyer-daughter filed the disbarment proceedings,
privilege bestowed upon individuals who are not only learned in represented her mother, from which the IBP recommended his
the law but who are also known to possess good moral disbarment
character. Although the term “good moral character” admits of
broad dimensions, it has been defined as “including at least ISSUE
common honesty.” It has also been held that no moral WON the recommendation for disbarment is justified
qualification for bar membership is more important than
truthfulness or candor. HELD
No. The Resolution of Feb. 10, 1989, allowing Sabandal to take - The recommendation by the IBP is sufficient to justify his
the oath 10 years after passing the Bar, was prior to the Court disbarment as a good moral character is not only a condition
receiving the objections by complainants, and before it had precedent for admission to the legal profession but must remain
become aware of the gravity of the civil case against him. intact in order to maintain good standing in the profession. It is
- As it turned out, the case of Republic v. Sabandal was brought essential that we have a high-toned sense of morality
about when Sabandal, by way of his employment as Land - CPR Rule 7.03 is clear – that a lawyer shall not engage in
Investigator at the Bureau of Lands procured a certificate of free conduct that adversely reflects on his fitness to practice law, nor
patent over a parcel of land belonging to public domain (which should he, whether in public of private life behave in a
he could not but have known to be public land), which he used scandalous manner to the discredit of the legal profession
as security for mortgage in order to obtain a loan. The Case was - Lawyers must maintain a high standard of legal proficiency and
eventually settled when respondent surrendered the bogus morality, especially Tapucar as he was once a member of the
certificate of title to the government and paid-off the mortgagor. bench who must be free from impropriety; like judges, lawyers
The Solicitor General did not object to the approval of the are invested with public trust, that faith and confidence by the
settlement and even stated that, “the amicable settlement may public to the law is ensured
amount to a confession by the defendant.” The Court found it - As such, the court may disbar or suspend a lawyer for
manipulative on his part to take advantage of his employment to misconduct whether in his professional or personal capacity, but
facilitate such an act and a manifestation of gross dishonesty this is only exercised if there is a clear case of misconduct
while in the public service, which cannot be cannot be erased by - In case at bar, despite the previous sanctions, he still persisted
termination of his case where no determination of his guilt or in his illicit relations and arrogant even, in the face of charges
innocence was made because the suit had been compromised. against him. All of these are violative of the lawyer’s oath and in
- The Court also noted that at the time the case was instituted, great disregard of the law
Sabandal had already been filing motions for reconsideration
alleging his good moral character without mentioning the
pendency of the civil case against him. His failure to reveal to
this Court the pendency of the civil case for Reversion filed
against him during the period that he was submitting several
motions for reconsideration reveals his lack of candor and BUGARING V ESPANOL
truthfulness. DE LEON; January 19, 2001
- As to the testimonials attesting to his good moral character,
(ricky cantre)
they were confined to lack of knowledge of the pendency of any
criminal case against him and were obviously made without
awareness of the facts and circumstances surrounding the case
Petition for review on certiorari of the Decision dated March 6,
instituted by the Government against him. Those testimonials
1998 of the Court of Appeals affirming the decision of the
can not, therefore, outweigh nor smother his acts of dishonesty
Regional Trial Court of Cavite, Branch 90, Imus, Cavite, declaring
and lack of good moral character.
petitioner Rexie Efren A. Bugaring guilty in direct contempt of
- That complainants, namely, Boquia and Dagpin have not
submitted any opposition to his motion to take the oath, is of no
moment. They have already expressed their objections in their
earlier comments. That complainant Tan has withdrawn her
- The incident subject of the petition occurred during a hearing
objection to his taking the oath can neither tilt the balance in his
held on December 5, 1996 of Royal Becthel Builders, Inc. vs.
favor, the basis of her complaint treating as it does of another
Spouses Luis Alvaran and Beatriz Alvaran, et al., for Annulment
subject matter.
of Sale and Certificates of Title, Specific Performance and
Disposition Respondent Sabandal found to be unfit to become
Damages with Prayer for Preliminary Injunction and/or
a member of the BAR, Court’s Resolution of Feb. 10, 1989 is
Temporary Restraining Order in the sala of respondent judge
Dolores S. Español of the RTC of Cavite, Branch 90, Imus, Cavite.
- Pursuant to a motion filed by the previous counsel of Royal ATTY. BARZAGA: Yes, your Honor, I will just review the records.
Bechtel Builders, Inc., the trial court issued an order on February ATTY. BUGARING: Anyway your Honor please, I will not yet
27, 1996 directing the Register of Deeds of the Province of present my witness but I will just mark our documentary
Cavite to annotate at the back of certain certificates of title a exhibits which are part of the record of the case and
notice of lis pendens. Before the Register of Deeds of the thereafter your Honor please….
Province of Cavite could comply with said order, the defendant COURT: You wait for a minute counsel because there is a
Spouses Alvaran on April 15, 1996, filed a motion to cancel lis preparation being done by newly appointed counsel of the
pendens. On July 19, 1996, petitioner, the newly appointed respondent, Atty. Barzaga is considered as the privately
counsel of Royal Bechtel Builders, Inc., filed an opposition to the hired counsel of the register of deeds and the respondent of
motion to cancel lis pendens. On August 16, 1996, the motion to this contempt proceedings. How much time do you need to
cancel lis pendens was granted by the court. Petitioner filed a go over the record of this case so that we can call the other
motion for reconsideration, which was opposed by the case in the meanwhile.
defendants. On November 5, 1996, petitioner filed an Urgent ATTY. BARZAGA: Second call, your Honor.
Motion to Resolve, and on November 6, 1996, filed a Rejoinder ------------------
to Opposition and a Motion for Contempt of Court. COURT: Are you ready Atty. Barzaga?
- During the hearing of the motion for contempt of court held on ATTY. BARZAGA: Yes, your Honor. Well actually your Honor,
December 5, 1996, the following incident transpired (pls see after reviewing the record of the case your Honor, I
case for full stenographic record of incident): noticed… [quite a long manifestation followed but
[discussing Deputy Reg of Deed’s manifestation that the irrelevant to this case]
receiving clerk did not inform him of the court order] ATTY. BUGARING: Your Honor please, may we proceed your
ATTY. BUGARING: Yes your Honor please, we know that but Honor, will first mark our documentary evidence.
we want to be specific because we will be [filing] a case COURT: You wait until the Court allows you to do what you want
against this receiving clerk who did not [inform] him your to do, okay. The counsel has just made manifestation, he
Honor please, with this manifestation of the Deputy of the has not prayed for anything. So let us wait until he is
Register of Deeds that is irregularity in the performance of finished and then wait for the direction of this Court what to
the official duty of the clerk not to inform the parties do to have an orderly proceedings in this case.
concerned. ATTY. BARZAGA: Considering your Honor, that the issues appear
COURT: Counsel, the Court would like to find out who this fellow to be a little bit complicated… [continued manifestation…
who is taking the video recording at this proceedings. There Judge Español making intermittent comments]
is no permission from this Court that such proceedings ATTY. BUGARING: Your Honor please, it is the position of this
should be taken. representation your Honor please, that we will be marking
ATTY. BUGARING: Your Honor, my Assistant. I did not advise him first our documentary evidence because this is set for
to take a video he just accompanied me this morning. hearing for today, your Honor please.
COURT: Right, but the video recording is prepared process and COURT: If you are going to mark your evidence and they do not
you should secure the permission of this Court. have their comment yet what are we going to receive as
ATTY. BUGARING: Actually, I did not instruct him to take some evidence.
video tape. ATTY. BUGARING: If your Honor please…
COURT: Why would he be bringing camera if you did not give COURT: Will you listen to the Court and just do whatever you
him the go signal that shots should be done. have to do after the submission of the comment.
ATTY. BUGARING: This Court should not presume that, your ATTY. BUGARING: I am listening, your Honor please, but the
Honor please, we just came from an occasion last night and record will show that the motion for contempt was copy
I am not yet come home, your Honor please. I could prove furnished with the Register of Deeds and Diosdado
your Honor please, that the contents of that tape is other Concepcion.
matters your Honor please. I was just surprised why he COURT: Precisely, if you are listening then you will get what the
took video tape your Honor please, that we ask the apology Court would want to do. This should be an orderly
of this Court if that offend this Court your Honor please. proceedings and considering that this is a Court of record
COURT: It is not offending because this is a public proceedings the comment has to be in first then in your reply you can
but the necessary authority or permission should be submit your evidence to rebut the argument that is going to
secured. be put up by the respondent and so we will be able to hear
ATTY. BUGARING: In fact I instructed him to go out, your Honor. the case smoothly.
COURT: After the court have noticed that he is taking a video ATTY. BUGARING: My point here your Honor please, is that the
tape. respondent had been long time furnished of this contempt
ATTY. BUGARING: Yes, your Honor, in fact that is not my proceedings. With a copy of the motion they should have
personal problem your Honor please, that is personal to that filed it in due time in accordance with the rules and because
guy your Honor please if this representation is being …. it is scheduled for trial, we are ready to mark our evidence
COURT: That is very shallow, don’t give that alibi. and present to this Court, your Honor.
ATTY. BUGARING: At any rate, your Honor please, we are going COURT: (Banging the gavel) Will you listen!
to mark our documentary evidence as part of our motion for ATTY. BUGARING: I am listening, your Honor.
contempt, your Honor please. COURT: And this Court declares that you are out of order.
COURT: What has the Register of Deeds got to say with this ATTY. BUGARING: Well, if that is the contention of the Court your
matter? Honor please, we are all officers of the Court, your Honor,
ATTY. CONCEPCION (Deputy Reg of Deeds): Well as I have said please, we have also ---- and we know also our procedure,
before, I have not received any motion regarding this your Honor.
contempt you are talking. I am willing now to testify. COURT: If you know your procedure then you follow the
ATTY. BUGARING: Your Honor I am still of the prosecution stage, procedure of the Court first and then do whatever you want.
it is not yet the defense. This is a criminal proceedings, ATTY. BUGARING: Yes, your Honor please, because we could feel
contempt proceedings is a criminal. the antagonistic approach of the Court to this representation
ATTY. CONCEPCION: Your Honor please, may I ask for the ever since I appeared your Honor please and I put on record
assistance from the Fiscal. that I will be filing an inhibition to this Hon. Court.
COURT: If this is going to proceed, we need the presence of a COURT: Do that right away. (Banging the gavel)
Fiscal or a counsel for the Register of Deeds. ATTY. BUGARING: Because we could not find any sort of justice
.................... in town.
ATTY. CONCEPCION: As a matter of fact I have a lawyer here, COURT: Do that right away.
Atty. Barzaga if he is willing ATTY. BUGARING: We are ready to present our witness and we
are deprive to present our witness. Canon 11 of the Code of Professional Responsibility which
COURT: You have presented a witness and it was an adverse enjoins lawyers from attributing to a judge “motives not
witness that was presented. supported by the record or have no materiality to the case”.
ATTY. BUGARING: I did not. 3. Behaving without due regard to the trial court’s order to
COURT: With respect to this, the procedure of the Court is for the maintain order in the proceedings is in utter disregard to Canon
respondent to file his comment. 1 of the Canons of Professional Ethics which makes it a lawyer’s
ATTY. BUGARING: Well your Honor please, at this point in time I duty to “maintain towards the courts (1) respectful attitude” in
don’t want to comment on anything but I reserve my right to order to maintain its importance in the administration of justice,
inhibit this Honorable Court before trying this case. and Canon 11 of the Code of Professional Responsibility which
COURT: You can do whatever you want. mandates lawyers to “observe and maintain the respect due to
ATTY. BUGARING: Yes, your Honor, that is our prerogative your the Courts and to judicial officers and should insist on similar
Honor. conduct by others”.
COURT: As far as this Court is concerned it is going to follow the 4. Behaving without due regard or deference to his fellow
rules. counsel who at the time he was making representations in behalf
ATTY. BUGARING: Yes, your Honor, we know all the rules. of the other party, was rudely interrupted by the petitioner and
COURT: Yes, you know your rules that’s why you are putting the was not allowed to further put a word in edgewise is violative of
cart ahead of the horse. Canon 8 of the Code of Professional Responsibility and Canon 22
ATTY. BUGARING: No your Honor, I’ve been challenged by this of the Canons of Professional Ethics which obliges a lawyer to
Court that I know better than this Court. Modestly (sic) conduct himself with courtesy, fairness and candor toward his
aside your Honor please, I’ve been winning in many professional colleagues, and
certiorari cases, your Honor. 5. The refusal of the petitioner to allow the Registrar of Deeds of
COURT: Okay, okay, do that, do that. I am going to cite you for the Province of Cavite, through counsel, to exercise his right to
contempt of Court. (Banging the gavel) You call the police be heard is against Section 1 of Article III, 1997 Constitution on
and I am going to send this lawyer in jail. (Turning to the the right to due process of law, Canon 18 of the Canons of
Sheriff) Professional Ethics which mandates a lawyer to always treat an
ATTY. BUGARING: I am just manifesting and arguing in favor of adverse witness “with fairness and due consideration,” and
my client your Honor please. Canon 12 of Code of Professional Responsibility which insists on
COURT: You have been given enough time and you have been a lawyer to “exert every effort and consider it his duty to assist
abusing the discretion of this Court. in the speedy and efficient administration of justice.”
ATTY. BUGARING: I am very sorry your Honor, if that is the The Court cannot therefore help but notice the sarcasm in the
appreciation of the Court but this is one way I am protecting petitioner’s use of the phrase “your honor please.” For, after
my client, your Honor. using said phrase he manifested utter disrespect to the court in
COURT: That is not the way to protect your client that is an his subsequent utterances. Surely this behavior from an officer
abuse of the discretion of this Court. (Turning to the Sheriff) of the Court cannot and should not be countenanced, if proper
“Will you see to it that this guy is put in jail.” decorum is to be observed and maintained during court
- Pursuant to said Order, the petitioner served his three (3) day proceedings.
sentence and paid the fine of P3,000. The CA found that it was A lawyer should not be carried away in espousing his client’s
obvious that the petitioner was indeed arrogant, at times cause. He should not forget that he is an officer of the court,
impertinent too argumentative to the extent of being bound to exert every effort and placed under duty, to assist in
disrespectful, annoying and sarcastic towards the court. It the speedy and efficient administration of justice pursuant to
affirmed the order of the respondent judge, but found that the Canon 12, Canons of Professional Responsibility. He should not,
fine of P3,000 exceeded the limit of P2,000 prescribed by the therefore, misuse the rules of procedure to defeat the ends of
ROC and ordered the excess of P1,000 returned to petitioner. justice per Rule 10.03, Canon 10 of the Canons of Professional
Responsibility, or unduly delay a case, impede the execution of a
ISSUE judgment or misuse court processes, in accordance with Rule
WON the contempt order by Judge Español had factual basis 12.04, Canon 12 of the same Canons. Lawyers should be
reminded that their primary duty is to assist the courts in the
HELD administration of justice. Any conduct which tends to delay,
Yes impede or obstruct the administration of justice contravenes
Ratio The power to punish for contempt is inherent in all courts such lawyer’s duty.
and is essential to the preservation of order in judicial Disposition Decision of the CA affirmed. RTC ordered to
proceedings and to the enforcement of judgments, orders, and return to the petitioner, Rexie Efren A. Bugaring, the sum of
mandates of the court, and consequently, to the due P1,000 out of the original fine of P3,000.
administration of justice. Direct contempt is committed in the
presence of or so near a court or judge and can be punished CAMACHO V PANGULAYAN
summarily without hearing.
VITUG; March 22, 2000
Reasoning Petitioner cannot claim that there was irregularity in
the actuation of respondent judge in issuing the contempt order (kiyo miura)
inside her chamber without giving the petitioner the opportunity
to defend himself or make an immediate reconsideration. The NATURE
records show that petitioner was cited in contempt of court ADMINISTRATIVE MATTER in the Supreme Court. Violation of the
during the hearing in the sala of respondent judge, and he even Code of Professional Ethics
filed a motion for reconsideration of the contempt order on the
same day. Petitioner’s alleged deference to the trial court in FACTS
consistently addressing the respondent judge as “your Honor - 9 students from the AMA Computer College (AMACC), all
please” throughout the proceedings is belied by his behavior members of the Editorial Board of DATALINE, allegedly published
therein: certain objectionable features
1. The veiled threat to file a petition for certiorari against the - the Student Disciplinary Tribunal found them guilty and the
trial court is contrary to Rule 11.03, Canon 11 of the Code of students were expelled
Professional Responsibility which mandates that “a lawyer shall - the 9 students appealed but were denied by the AMACC
abstain from scandalous, offensive or menacing language or President giving rise to a civil case calling for the Issuance of a
behavior before the Courts”. Writ of Preliminary Mandatory Injunction with Camacho as their
2. The hurled uncalled for accusation that the respondent judge counsel and Pangulayan and associates representing the
was partial in favor of the other party is against Rule 11.04, defendant, AMACC
- while the case was pending, letters of apology and re- - On May 21, 2001, one day before respondent Edwin Rana
admission agreements were separately executed by and/or in participated the oath-taking of successful bar examinees as
behalf of the students by their parents member of the Philippine bar, complainant Donna Marie Aguirre
- following this, the Pangulayan Law Offices filed a Manifestation filed against respondent a Petition for Denial of Admission to the
stating, among other things, that 4 of the students had Bar on the ground of unauthorized practice of law, grave
acknowledged their guilt and agreed to terminate all misconduct, violation of law, and grave misrepresentation.
proceedings - The Court allowed respondent to take the oath, but did not
- apparently, Pangulayan procured and effected the re-admission allow him to sign the Roll of Attorneys.
agreements through negotiations with said students and their - The complainant charges him with unauthorized practice of law
parents without communicating with Camacho and grave misconduct since she claims that he already appeared
as counsel for and in behalf of Vice Mayoralty Candidate of
ISSUE Mandaon, Masbate, George Bunan before the Municipal Board of
WON Pangulayan is guilty of disregarding professional ethics Canvassers. She also claims that he signed the pleading dated
19 May 2001 entitled Formal Objection to the Inclusion in the
HELD Canvassing of Votes in Some Precincts for the Office of Vice-
YES, this action violates Canon 9 of the Code of Professional Mayor as counsel for the said candidate.
Ethics which states: - On the charge of violation of law, complainant claims that the
“A lawyer should not in anyway communicate upon the subject respondent is a municipal government employee and as such, he
of controversy with a party represented by counsel, much less is not allowed by law to act as counsel for a client in any court or
should he undertake to negotiate or compromise the matter with administrative body.
him, but should only deal with his counsel. It is incumbent upon - On the charge of grave misconduct and misrepresentation,
the lawyer most particularly to avoid everything that may tend complainant accuses respondent of acting as counsel George
to mislead a party not represented by counsel and he should not Bunan without the latter engaging respondent’s services.
undertake to advise him as to law.” Complainant claims that respondent filed the pleading as a ploy
- respondent violated professional ethics and disregarded a duty to prevent the proclamation of the winning vice mayoralty
owing to his colleague candidate.
- the Board of Governors of the IBP passed a resolution - Respondent claims though George Bunan sought his specific
suspending Pangulayan for 6 months and dismissed the case assistance, “he decided to assist and advice Bunan, not as a
against the other respondents since they took no part in it lawyer but as a person who knows the law.” He also admitted
- the court concurred with IBP’s findings but reduced the signing the pleading, but not as a lawyer.
suspension to 3 months - In reply to the charge of violation of law, he claims that he
already resigned from the said government post May 11, 2001.
SUAREZ V SALAZAR He further claims that the complaint is politically charged since
the complainant is the daughter of the losing candidate for
RESOLUTION; September 29, 1999
mayor of Mandaon, Masbate.
(rean balisi) - In the complainant’s reply to the respondent’s comments, she
further alleges that on May 19, Emily Estipona-Hao filed a
NATURE petition for proclamation as the winning candidate for mayor
Motion to Expunge All Pleading Filed by Atty. Filemon A. wherein the respondent signed as counsel for her.
Manangan with Motion to Hold Him in Contempt of Court or to - On July 17, the Court referred the case to the Office of the Bar
Dismiss Petion Confident (OBC). The OBC found that the respondent indeed
appeared before the MBEC as counsel for Bunan, as seen in the
FACTS minutes of the MBEC proceedings. The OBC also believes that
At the hearing on the same date, Atty. Filemon A. Manangan respondent’s unauthorized practice of law is a ground to deny
admitted that he is not a lawyer entitled to practice law in the his admission to the practice of law.
Philippines. He is also the same “Filemon A. Manangan” who was
found by the Court in Filemon Manangan v. CFI Nueva Vizcaya, ISSUE
Br.28, decided on August 30, 1999, to be in reality Andres WON the respondent should be denied admission to the
Culanag who is not a member of the Philippine Bar. Philippine Bar

WON Filemon Manangan / Andres Culanag should be held in Yes. Records show that he indeed appeared as lawyer for Bunan.
indirect contempt of the Court He also signed the pleading as his lawyer. In the first paragraph
of the same pleading respondent stated that he was the
HELD “(U)ndersigned Counsel for, and in behalf of Vice
Yes. Despite the facts as found by the Court, he has continued to Mayoralty Candidate, GEORGE T. BUNAN.” Bunan himself
misrepresent himself to be an attorney-at-law and has appeared also wrote to the MBEC that he had “authorized Atty. Edwin L.
as counsel for petitioners in this case. Atty. Filemon A. Rana as his counsel to represent him” before the MBEC and
Manangan, who is in reality Andres Culanag, is hereby declared similar bodies.
in indirect contempt of this Court. Wherefore, he is hereby - Emily Estipona-Hao also wrote to the MBEC that the respondent
sentenced to 3 months imprisonment to be served at the will be the legal counsel for her party. The respondent also
Headquarters of the National Bureau of Investigation, Taft Ave., signed the pleading as their lawyer.
Manila, until further orders of this Court. - All these happened before he took his lawyer’s oath. It is clear
that he engaged in the practice of law.
AGUIRRE V RANA - It is also irrelevant the respondent has already passed the bar
CARPIO; June 10, 2003 and taken his oath, for it is the signing in the Roll of Attorneys
which makes one a full-fledged lawyer.
(monch bacani) - As for the charge of violation of law, it is clear that the
respondent has already resigned from the said position before
appearing as counsel.
Administrative matter on unauthorized practice of law, grave
- On the charge of grave misconduct and misrepresentation,
misconduct, violation of law and grave misrepresentation
evidence shows that Bunan indeed authorized respondent to
represent him as his counsel before the MBEC and similar
bodies. While there was no misrepresentation, respondent respondent is assigned is not the head of the Department
nonetheless had no authority to practice law. contemplated by law.
Disposition Respondent is denied admission to the Philippine Disposition Respondent is REPRIMANDED with a stern warning
Bar that any repetition of such act would be dealt with more
KAPUNAN; January 26, 2001 MAKASIAR; April 30, 1985
(jonas azura) (eva sison)

This is an administrative matter in the Supreme Court. - initial cases involve disputes regarding claims for overtime of
Respondent is charged under Sec. 7(b)(2) of the Code of Conduct more than 500 bus drivers and conductors of Halili Transit;
and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees which litigation initially commenced with the filing of a complaint for
prohibits civil servants from engaging in the practice of their the overtime with the defunct CIR on August 1958; disputes
profession. were eventually settled when the contending parties reached an
agreement on Dec. 1974
FACTS - under the agreement: the Administratrix would transfer to the
Respondent Atty. Misael M. Ladaga, Branch Clerk of Court of the employees title to the tract of land containing an area of 33,952
RTC of Makati, represented his cousin Narcisa Naldoza Ladaga as sq.m. in San Bartolome, Caloocan and pay in addition the cash
pro bono counsel in a criminal case for falsification of public amount of P25,000 in full and final satisfaction of all the claims
document. The Court denied respondent’s request for and causes of action of all of the employees against the estate of
authorization to appear as counsel and directed the Office of the Fortunato Halili; the union shall withdraw and dismiss the case;
Court Administrator to file formal charges against him for the transfer of title and the cash release and quitclaim Halili
appearing in court without the required authorization. In his Enterprises, Halili Transit, Fortunato Halili, his estate, his heirs
Comment, respondent explained that he and Ms. Ladaga are and successors
“close blood cousins” who belong to a “powerless family” from - a Deed of Conveyance of Real Property was executed
an impoverished town in Surigao del Norte. Ms. Ladaga had - on Aug. 1982, the Union, through Atty. Pineda, filed an urgent
supported and guided respondent from childhood until he motion with the Ministry of Labor and Employment requesting for
finished his law degree. Because of their close relationship, Ms. authority to sell and dispose of the property—motion was
Ladaga sought respondent’s help and advice when she was granted
charged in a criminal case by Lisa Payoyo Andres. Respondent - prospective buyer, Manila Memorial Park Cemetery, however,
claims that Ms. Andres’ only purpose in filing the case was to had apprehensions regarding the authority of the Union to sell.
“seek vengeance” on Ms. Ladaga. He explains that the discord So, Atty. Pineda filed a motion with the SC on Dec. 1982
between his cousin and Ms. Andres started when the latter’s - but, in an order dated Feb. 1983 Labor Arbiter Raymundo
husband, SPO4 Pedro Andres, left the conjugal home to cohabit Valenzuela granted the motion; so the sale was consummated
with Ms. Ladaga. During the course of their illicit affair, SPO4 on June 1983 and the purchase price was deposited with the
Andres and Ms. Ladaga begot 3 children. The birth certificate of Manila Bank-Cubao
their eldest child is the subject of the falsification charge against - When Atty. Jose Espinas, the principal counsel, learned of the
Ms. Ladaga. Respondent stated that he felt it was his duty to sale and apportionment of the proceeds, he requested Labor
accept Ms. Ladaga’s plea to be her counsel as she could not pay Arbiter Valenzuela to allow him to look into the records. He was
for the services of a lawyer and he was the only lawyer in the told, however, that the records were missing; it was located for
family. Respondent also pointed out that in 7 years of him by Director Pascual Reyes of the NLRC
government service he had performed his duties with honesty - Atty. Espinas filed the urgent motion with prayer for a
and integrity and it was only in this particular case that he had temporary mandatory restraining order on August 1983—
been administratively charged for helping a close relative by questions the legality of the orders dated Sept. 1982 and Feb.
giving free legal assistance for a “humanitarian purpose”. He 1983 issued by Labor Arbiter Valenzuela which authorized the
never took advantage of his position as branch clerk of court sale of the awarded property and the distribution of the
since the questioned appearances were made in the MTC of proceeds
Quezon City and not in Makati where he is holding office. - Movants Union and Espinas prayed for the court to: require
Respondent also stressed that during his court appearances, he Atty. Pineda to deposit with NLRC the amount paid to him
was on leave as shown by his approved leave applications. representing 35% attorney’s fees; require the Halili Drivers and
Conductors Union through Domingo Cabading or any of his reps
ISSUES to deposit with the NLRC the 6% union expenses paid to them;
1. WON respondent violated the Code of Conduct and Ethical implead the Manila Bank-Cubao to require it to prevent further
Standards for Public Officials and Employees by appearing as withdrawals of amount deposited in the name of Pineda and the
counsel Union; that the order of Valenzuela be nullified insofar as it
2. WON respondent obtained written permission from the head allows Pineda 35% attorney’s fees; NLRC to equitably dispose
of the department as required by Sec. 12, Rule XVIII of the 20% as fees to all lawyers who participated and any excess
Revised Civil Service Rules amounts to be distributed to the workers
- Aug. 1983 Espinas filed a supplement to urgent motion praying
HELD for the nullification of Valenzuela’s order
1. No. “Private practice” of a profession, specifically the law - the court issued a temporary mandatory restraining order:
profession, does not refer to an isolated court appearance. It enjoined Pineda to deposit with NLRC the amount representing
contemplates a succession of acts of the same nature habitually 35% attorney’s fees (P712,992); directed the Union to deposit
or customarily holding one’s self to the public as a lawyer. The with the NLRC 6% union expenses; ordered NLRC and Manila
isolated instances when respondent appeared as pro bono Bank not to allow withdrawals
counsel for his cousin does not constitute the “private practice” -Union, through Pineda said that the subject matter sought to be
of the law profession as contemplated by law. enjoined or mandated by the restraining order is moot and
2. No. It is true that respondent filed leave applications academic
corresponding to the dates he appeared in court, which were - Espinas filed a manifestation and motion to require Atty. Pineda
approved. However, the presiding judge of the court to which and the union to comply with the temporary mandatory
restraining order
- Solicitor General filed his comment with the recommendations - the act of Pineda of filing a motion in the SC for authority to sell
that the orders of Valenzuela be nullified, that the case must be property in question was by itself an admission on his part that
remanded to the NLRC, and that the TRO issued by the court on he did not possess the authority to sell the property and that the
Sept.1983 be maintained pending final resolution by NLRC SC was the proper body which had the power to grant such
- on the mandatory restraining order, Pineda claims that as of authority
Oct. 1983 he had a balance of P2,000 in his account with Manila - he did not wait for such valid authority but instead previously
Bank obtained the same from the labor arbiter whom he knew was not
- resolution of court dated Oct. 1983, the court set aside as null empowered to so authorize
and void the orders of Valenzuela, directed the Manila Bank, - the 45% attorney’s lien on award of those union members who
Pineda and the Union to comply with the temporary mandatory were no longer working and the 30% lien on the benefits of
restraining order issued on Sept. 1983, and remanded cases to those who were still working as provided for in the retainer’s
NLRC contract are very exorbitant and unconscionable (under sec.11
- Oct. 1983 motion was filed to cite Pineda, Union and Bank in rule VIII of Book III, attorney’s fees should not exceed 10% of the
contempt amount awarded)
- Dec. 1983- rejoinder reiterating plea to declare Pineda and - the pleadings show a deceitful pattern on the part of Pineda
Capuno of the union in contempt of court and to mere out the - contempt of court is a defiance of the authority, justice or
proper penalty dignity of the court; such conduct as tends to bring the authority
- crucial facts which have surfaced: and admin of the law into disrespect or to interfere with or
> then Union President Amado Lopez informed JC Espinas and prejudice parties litigant or their witnesses during litigation
Associates that the general membership of the said Union had - the power to punish for contempt is inherent in all courts
authorized a 20% contingent fee for the law firm - exercise of this power has a twofold aspect: the proper
> Espinas, the original counsel, established the award of 897 punishment of the guilty party for his disrespect to the court or
workers’ claim—notice of judgment in 1968 was served on JC its order, and to compel his performance of some act or duty
Espinas & Associates; and a notice of judgment in 1970 was sent required of him by the court which he refuses to perform---> due
to Atty. BC Pineda and Associates under the same address as the to this twofold aspect, contempts are classified as civil or
Espinas firm criminal
> when Pineda appeared for the Union, still an associate of the - civil: failure to do something ordered to be done by a court or a
law firm, his appearance carried the firm name “BC Pineda and judge for the benefit of the opposing party
Associates”, giving the impression that he was the principal -criminal: conduct directed against the authority and dignity of a
lawyer in the cases court or of a judge, as in lawfully assailing or discrediting the
> Pineda did not reveal to his partners that he had a retainer’s authority or dignity of a court or of a judge, or in doing a duly
contract entered into on Jan. 1967; he did not divulge, only the forbidden act
Union officers knew of the contract - where the punishment imposed is wholly or primarily to protect
> the retainer’s contract between Pineda and the Union appears or vindicate the dignity and power of the court, either by fine or
anomalous and even illegal: only 14% of the total membership by imprisonment or both, it is deemed a judgment in a criminal
was represented which is a violation of Art.242 of the Labor case
Code; contingent fees worked to the prejudice of those who were - if made before final decree, contempt judgment will be treated
no longer working (Pineda knew that all the workers would be as in the nature of an interlocutory order; if made after the final
out of work because Halili Transit had already stopped decree, as remedial in nature, and may be reviewed only on
operations in Metro Manila); contract was not notarized appeal from the final decree
> the decision of Manila Memorial Park cemetery to stop - whether civil or criminal does not affect the power of a court to
questioning the Union’s authority to sell and the expeditious punish it
manner by which Valenzuela granted motion for such authority - On Disbarment
make the entire transaction dubious and irregular sec.27 of Rule 138 of the Revised Rules of Court: attorneys may
be removed or suspended for any deceit, malpractice, or other
ISSUE gross misconduct in such office, for any violation of the lawyer’s
WON Atty. Benjamin Pineda, Ricardo Capuno and Manila Bank- oath, for a willful disobedience of a lawful order of a superior
Cubao should be cited in contempt for the alleged failure to court...
comply with the temporary mandatory order and the resolution - a lawyer may be criminally liable for breach of professional
issued by the SC duty, and under the Anti-Graft Act for knowingly inducing a
public official to commit an offense
HELD b. – the bank had transmitted to the NLRC the remaining balance
Ratio which was a sufficient compliance
a. Atty. Pineda: Atty. Pineda should be cited for indirect c. Mr. Capuno clarified that with regard to attorney’s fees, Pineda
contempt. Disobedience of or resistance to a lawful order of a made the Union officers believe that he would be the one to pay
court, any abuse of or any interference with the proceedings of a the fees of Espinas and Lopez for which reason the 35%
court, and any improper conduct tending to impede, obstruct, or increased fees was approved by the Union’s board in good faith
degrade the administration of justice shall be punished as - Union was aware that Espinas was the principal counsel
indirect contempts in order to preserve order in judicial - they knew of the original contract for 20% attorney’s fees
proceedings and to enforce judgments, orders and mandates of Disposition Atty. Pineda is found guilty of INDIRECT CONTEMPT
the court. of court. He is sentenced to imprisonment until the orders of the
Atty. Pineda should likewise be subject to disbarment court are complied with. He is also directed to show cause why
proceedings. The Court may suspend or debar a lawyer whose he should not be disbarred.
acts show his unfitness to continue as a member of the Bar.
b. Manila Banking Corporation: Manila Banking Corporation is not TING-DUMALI V TORRES
liable for contempt. When there is a sufficient compliance with
PER CURIAM; April 14, 2004
the court’s order, a party can no longer be liable for contempt of
court. (eva sison)
c. The Union and its officers are dropped from the within
contempt charge. NATURE
Reasoning Administrative matter in the Supreme Court. Presentation of
a. –the court already nullified the orders of the labor arbiter as false testimony, participation in, consent to, and failure to
violative of the due process clause adduce against, the forgery of complainant’s signature, and
gross misrepresentation.
- complainant-affidavit filed on Oct. 22, 1999 where complainant 1. WON respondent has sufficiently demonstrated that he is
Isidra Ting-Dumali charges respondent Atty. Rolando Torres with morally and legally unfit to remain in the exclusive and
presentation of false testimony, participation in, consent to, and honorable fraternity of the legal profession
failure to advise against, the forgery of complainant’s signature 2. WON disbarment is the imposable disciplinary sanction
in a purported Deed of Extrajudicial Settlement, and gross
misrepresentation in court for the purpose of profiting from it,
thereby violating his oath as a lawyer and the canons of legal
and judicial ethics. HELD
- complainant is one of six children of late spouses Julita 1. Yes, respondent has sufficiently demonstrated that he is
Reynante and Vicente Ting. morally and legally unfit to remain in the exclusive and
- siblings involved are Miriam Saria, Marcelina Rivera and honorable fraternity of the legal profession. A lawyer is a servant
Felicisima Torres who is married to respondent of the law and belongs to a profession to which society has
- parents died intestate, leaving 3 parcels of land entrusted the administration of law and the dispensation of
Complainant’s Claim justice. Thus, he should make himself more an exemplar for
- respondent took advantage of his relationship with her and her others to emulate and he should not engage in unlawful,
brothers and used his profession to deprive them of what was dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct.
lawfully due them Reasoning
- Felicisima and Miriam executed a Deed of Extrajudicial – the lawyers’ oath is a sacred trust that lawyers must uphold
Settlement of Estate where they made it appear that they were and keep inviolable at all times
the sole heirs; respondent participated in, consented to and - the oath is reflected in CPR (Canon 1, 7, 10); they underscore
failed to advise against this act; he presented said document to the role of a lawyer as a vanguard of our legal system—in this
the Register of Deeds for the transfer of the title in the names of covenant, respondent miserably failed
his wife and Miriam (involving lot 1586) - respondent knew of his wife’s siblings, yet he presented the
- complainant’s signature was forged in another Deed of document stating that his wife and Miriam are the only children
Extrajudicial Settlement involving a different lot to enable to the Register of Deeds
Felicisima and Miriam to transfer the title in their names, thus - the falsification of complainant’s signature in the document
enabling them to sell the land (which they did, to Antel Holdings, which contains a waiver by the complainant of her right over the
Inc); respondent, again, consented to and participated in this act property, a matter consulted to respondent, is tantamount to
(involving lot 1603) falsification of a public document; he presented such document,
- respondent made gross misrepresentation and offered false therefore, he himself may also be held liable for knowingly using
testimony to the effect that Marcelina and Felicisima are the only a falsified document to the damage of the complainant
children and legal heirs of deceased spouses in the petition for - respondent did not advise his wife from doing acts which are
Judicial Reconstitution of the Original Copy of a title covering the contrary to law; he must have kept in mind that it is his duty to
last parcel of land (lot 1605) uphold the Consti and obey the laws of the land
- made gross and false misrepresentations for the purpose of - regarding respondent’s argument that the non-declaration of
profiting therefrom when he requested the buyer of the last other siblings was an oversight does not deserve credence
parcel of land to release the full payment under the pretense because the petition clearly names only Felicisima and Marcelina
that the order of reconstitution would be released within a as the petitioners and because during the hearing when
month when he knew that it would be impossible because he respondent asked Marcelina WON she has bros and sis, latter
presented evidence in the reconstitution case only on August said none
1997 (he said this to buyer on Nov. 1996) - he allowed Marcelina to commit a crime by giving false
Respondent’s Comment testimony in court and he himself may be punished as guilty of
- denies the allegations false testimony
- lot 1586: his wife and Miriam were not motivated by any desire - under canon 10, lawyer owes candor, fairness and good faith to
to solely profit the sale; he had no part in the execution of the the court; this was openly violated by respondent
document; he believed in good faith that the Ting sisters had - respondent’s acts or omissions reveal his moral flaws and
already agreed on how to dispose of the lot; if ever doubtless bring intolerable dishonor to the legal profession
complainant’s signature was affixed on that document, it was 2. The supreme penalty of disbarment is meted out only in clear
done in good faith cases of misconduct that seriously affect the standing and
- admits he was counsel in the reconstitution case; the false character of the lawyer as an officer of the court and member of
testimony of Marcelina could not be faulted on him because it the bar.
was a clear oversight
- regarding gross and false misrepresentation that the
reconstitution order would be released within a month, Reasoning
assurance was made by the Clerk of Court - In the determination of the imposable disciplinary sanction
-believes the complainant intends to harass him against an erring lawyer, we take into account the primary
Complainant’s Reply purpose of disciplinary proceedings, which is to protect the
-denies the presence of toka or verbal will allegedly made by her administration of justice by requiring that those who exercise
mother because her mom met a sudden death, when she died this important function shall be competent, honorable, and
four siblings were still minors, and on Feb 2000 Eliseo wrote his reliable men in whom courts and clients may repose confidence.
siblings, denying the existence of a toka - given the peculiar factual circumstances prevailing in this case,
Commission on Bar Discipline of the IBP it is found that respondent’s gross misconduct calls for the
- on june 2000, SC referred the case to IBP for investigation, severance of his privilege to practice law for life
report, and recommendation or decision Disposition We find respondent guilty of gross misconduct and
- on Jan 2003, Investigating Commissioner Milagros San Juan of violation of the lawyer’s oath, as well as Canons 1 and 10 of the
the Commission on Bar Discipline found the actuations of the CPR, thereby rendering him unworthy of continuing membership
respondent to be violative of Rules 1.01 and 1.02 of Canon 1 and in the legal profession. He is ordered DISBARRED from the
Rule 10.1 of Canon 10 of the Code of Professional Responsibility practice of law.
- recommended the disbarment of respondent
- in its resolution, the Board of Governors of the IBP approved MASINSIN V ALBANO
and adopted San Juan’s report, but reduced the penalty to a 6-
VITUG; May 31, 1994
year suspension
(javi bautista)
Petition for certiorari and prohibition.
FACTS (owen ricalde)
This case emerged from an ejectment suit filed by Vicente
Caneda against Miguel and Thelma Masinsin. As a result of the NATURE
case, the trial court ordered the spouses to vacate the premises Administrative matter in the Supreme Court. Disbarment.
and to remove their house/apartment an surrender possession of
the subject land; to pay the sum of P100 a month from January FACTS
1987 as compensation for the use of the premises until the land - On December 29, 2000, Atty. Walter T. Young, private
is actually vacated. No appeal having been taken therefrom, the prosecutor in “People of the Philippines versus Crisanto Arana,
judgment became final and executory. On August 22 1985, the Jr.”, pending in RTC Manila, filed a Verified Affidavit-Complaint
Masinsins filed a petition for certiorari before the RTC of Manila for disbarment against Attys. Ceasar G. Batuegas, Miguelito
seeking the annulment of the decision of the ejectment case and Nazareno V. Llantino for allegedly committing deliberate
to set aside the order of its execution. Petition was dismissed. falsehood in court and violating the lawyer’s oath.
On October 7 1985, petitioners filed a complaint for “Annulment - On December 13, 2000, Batuegas and Llantino, as counsel for
of the judgment, Lease Contract and Damages” was filed by the accused, filed a Manifestation with Motion for Bail, alleging that
Masinsins asking for the nullification of the judgment in the the “accused has voluntarily surrendered to a person in
ejectment case. The complaint was dismissed due to res authority. As such, he is now under detention.” Upon personal
judicata. Petitioners appealed to the CA but the CA affirmed the verification with the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) where
decision of the trial court. When petitioners refused to remove accused Arana allegedly surrendered, Young learned that he
their house, a demolition order was issued. But before the surrendered only on December 14, 2000, as shown by the
completion of the demolition, a restraining order was issued by Certificate of Detention
the RTC following a petition for certiorari, with preliminary - Susa, the Branch Clerk of Court of RTC of Manila, calendared
injunction and for declaratory relief. Petition again was denied. the motion on December 15, 2000 despite the foregoing
Petitioners again filed the same suit before a different branch of irregularity and other formal defects, namely
the Manila RTC. Petition was ultimately dismissed on August 23 > lack of notice of hearing to the private complainant
1990. > violation of the three-day notice rule
In this present petition, petitioners contend that the MTC of > failure to attach the Certificate of Detention
Manila has lost jurisdiction to enforce its decision in the - According to respondents on December 13, 2000, upon
ejectment suit, when the property in question was proclaimed an learning that a warrant of arrest was issued against their client,
area for priority development by the National Housing Authority they immediately fetched the accused in Cavite and brought him
on December 1 1987 by authority of PD 2016. to the NBI to voluntarily surrender but due to heavy traffic, they
arrived at the NBI at 2:00 a.m. the next day; hence, the
ISSUE certificate of detention indicated that the accused surrendered
WON MTC of Manila lost its jurisdiction to enforce its decision in on December 14, 2000 TF there was neither unethical conduct
the ejectment suit due to PD 2016 nor falsehood in the subject pleading as their client has
voluntarily surrendered and was detained at the NBI.
HELD - WRT the lack of notice of hearing, they contend that Young was
No. according to a report by manager of the Metro Manila Project not entitled to any notice. Nevertheless, they furnished the
Department of the National Housing Authority, pursuant to PD State and City prosecutors copies of the motion with notice of
No. 1967 (which after amendments became PD No. 2016), the hearing thereof. Moreover, the hearing of a motion on shorter
disputed lot is not for acquisition by the NHA. It is located notice is allowed under Rule 15, Sec. 4(2) of the Rules of Court.
outside of the NHA projects under the Zonal Improvement - In August 13, 2001, referred to IBP for investigation, report and
Project. The NHA is definitely not acquiring the said land and recommendation or decision.
therefore is not part of PD 2016. Thus the MTC of Manila has - On December 7, 2001, the Investigating Commissioner
jurisdiction to enforce its decision in the ejectment case. Villanueva-Maala submitted a report and recommended Atty.
- What immediately catches one’s attention to this case is the Ceasar G. Batuegas and Atty. Miguelito Nazareno V. Llantino be
evident predilection of petitioners, through different counsel, to suspended from the practice of their profession as a
file pleadings, one after another, from which not even this court lawyer/member of the Bar for a period of six (6) months
has been spared. The utter lack of merit of the complainants and
petitions simply evinces the deliberate intent of petitioners to ISSUE
prolong and delay the inevitable execution of a decision that has WON Batuegas and Llantino are guilty of deliberate falsehood
long become final and executory. The petitioners through
different counsels tried to nullify the same MTC decision before HELD
different branches of the court. The lawyer’s oath is a sacred YES.
trust that must be upheld and kept inviolable. The pertinent part Ratio To knowingly allege an untrue statement of fact in the
of the lawyer’s oath involved in this case: pleading is a contemptuous conduct that we strongly condemn.
I will not wittingly or willingly promote or sue any groundless, They violated their oath when they resorted to deception.
false or unlawful suit nor give aid nor consent to the same; I will Reasoning
not delay any man’s cause for money or malice and will conduct - Anticipating that their Motion for Bail will be denied by the
myself as a lawyer according to the best of my knowledge and court if it found that it had no jurisdiction over the person of the
discretion with all good fidelity as well to the courts as to my accused, they craftily concealed the truth by alleging that
clients and I impose upon myself this obligation voluntary, accused had voluntarily surrendered to a person in authority and
without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion. was under detention. Obviously, such artifice was a deliberate
In no uncertain terms that any act on the part of a lawyer, an ruse to mislead the court and thereby contribute to injustice.
officer of the court, which visibly tends to obstruct, pervert, - A lawyer must be a disciple of truth. He swore upon his
impede and degrade the administration of justice is admission to the Bar that he will “do no falsehood nor consent to
contumacious calling for both an exercise of disciplinary action the doing of any in court” and he shall “conduct himself as a
and warranting application of the contempt power. lawyer according to the best of his knowledge and discretion
Disposition Petition is dismissed. Petitioner’s counsel of record with all good fidelity as well to the courts as to his clients.”
is strongly CENSURED and WARNED that a similar infraction of - a lawyer should bear in mind that as an officer of the court his
the lawyer’s oath in the future will be dealt with mot severely. high vocation is to correctly inform the court upon the law and
the facts of the case and to aid it in doing justice and arriving at
correct conclusion
- courts, on the other hand, are entitled to expect only complete - May 21, 1958 – Companies through the Acting Manager Olbes
honesty from lawyers appearing and pleading before them sent to each of the strikers a letter specifying incentives should
- while a lawyer has the solemn duty to defend his client’s rights they decide to go back to work
and is expected to display the utmost zeal in defense of his - Garcia and Abella (Chief of Personnel Records Section) tried to
client’s cause, his conduct must never be at the expense of penetrate the picket lines. When Garcia approached the picket
truth. line, he engaged into a fight with one of the strikers and both of
- Court may disbar or suspend a lawyer for misconduct, whether them suffered injuries.
in his professional or private capacity, which shows him to be - Companies organized 3 bus-loads of employees, including a
wanting in moral character, in honesty, probity, and good photographer who succeeded in penetrating the picket lines
demeanor, thus proving unworthy to continue as an officer of the causing injuries to picketers.
court. - Alleging that some non-strikers were injured, the Companies
- In Comia vs. Antona, we held: filed criminal charges against strikers and they also filed a
It is of no moment that the accused eventually surrendered to petition for injunction.
the police authorities on the same date “tentatively” scheduled - May 31, 1958 – CFI Mla granted injunction. Companies sent
for the hearing of the application for bail. To our mind, such individually to the strikers another letter which states “If you are
supervening event is of no bearing and immaterial; it does not still interested in continuing in the employ of the Group
absolve respondent judge from administrative liability Companies, and if there are no criminal charges against you, we
considering that he should not have accorded recognition to the are giving you until June 2 to report for work at the home office.
application for bail filed on behalf of persons who, at that point, Otherwise, we may be forced to obtain your replacement.”
were devoid of personality to ask such specific affirmative relief - All of the more than 120 crim charges, except for 3, were
from the court. dismissed. But employees decided to call of the strike and to
- In the case at bar, the prosecution was served with notice of report back to work on June 2.
hearing of the motion for bail two days prior to the scheduled - Before readmitting, Companies required them to secure
date. Although a motion may be heard on short notice, clearances from the City Fiscal’s Office and to be screened by a
respondents failed to show any good cause to justify the non- management committee
observance of the three-day notice rule. Verily, as lawyers, they - July 29, 1958 – CIR prosecutor filed a complaint for unfair labor
are obliged to observe the rules of procedure and not to misuse practice
them to defeat the ends of justice. - Aug 17, 1965 – CIR dismissed the complaint
Disposition Attys. Ceasar G. Batuegas, Miguelito Nazareno V. Relevant to the assigned topic (read pages 277-280!)
Llantino are found guilty of committing deliberate falsehood. - Martinez, the Presiding Judge of the CIR, misquoted a SC
Accordingly, they are SUSPENDED from the practice of law for a decision in the case of Lopez Sr v. Chronicle Publication
period of six (6) months with a warning that a repetition of the Employees Ass’n:
same or similar act will be dealt with more severely. (1) 60 words of the paragraph quoted by Martinez do NOT
appear in the original;
THE INSULAR LIFE ASSURANCE CO., LTD., (2) Martinez used “For it is settled that...”; the original reads,
“For it must be remembered...”
(3) Last sentence in the quoted paragraph of Martinez is actually
INSULAR LIFE ASSURANCE CO. LTD. part of the immediately succeeding paragraph in the SC
CASTRO; January 30, 1971 decision.
(rach mayuga) - In the respondents’ brief, counsels for respondents quoted the
CIR’s decision
Appeal by certiorari to review a decision and resolution of the ISSUES
Court of Industrial Relations dismissing the Unions’ complaint 1. WON the Companies are guilty of unfair labor practice -
a) In sending out letters individually directed to the
FACTS strikers
- The following UNIONS (Insular Life Assurance Co. Ltd, b) For discriminating against the striking members of the
Employees Ass’n-NATU; FGU Insurance Group Workers and Unions in the matter of readmitting employees after the
Employees Ass’n-NATU; Insular Life Bldg Employees Ass’n-NATU) strike
while still members of the Federation of Free Workers, entered c) For dismissing officials and members of the Unions
into separate collective bargaining agreements with these without giving them the benefit of investigation and the
COMPANIES (Insular Life Assurance Co. Ltd; FGU Insurance opportunity to present their side
Group) 2. WON the officials and members of the Unions are to be
- Lawyers of the Unions include Enaje and Garcia (Sec-treasurer reinstated with full back wages, from June 2, 1958 to date of
of FFW). When they left FFW, the Companies then hired them actual reinstatement
and Garcia became Asst. Corporate Sec and Legal Asst in the 3. WON Presiding Judge Martinez and counsels of respondents
Legal Dept, and Enaje became personnel manager of the are to be cited for contempt for misquoting a Supreme Court
Companies. He was also made chairman of the negotiating panel decision
for the Co. in the CBA with the Unions.
- Sept 16, 1957 – Unions jointly submitted proposals for a HELD
modified renewal of their respective CBA contracts w/c were due 1.a) YES.
to expire on 9/30 Ratio It is an unfair labor practice for an employer operating
- Sept/Oct 1957 - negotiations were conducted but snagged by under a collective bargaining agreement to negotiate with his
deadlock on issue of union shop; Unions then filed on 01/27/1958 employees individually, in connection with the changes in the
notice of strike for ”deadlock on collective bargaining” agreement. Although the union is on strike, the employer is still
- April 15, 1958 – Unions dropped their demands regarding under the obligation to bargain with the union as the employees’
security but the Companies still refused to negotiate bargaining representative.
- Apr 25 to May 6 – They tried negotiating but with no Reasoning It is an act of interference for the employer to send
satisfactory results a letter to all employees notifying them to return to work at a
- May 15, 1958 – Unions voted to declare a strike in protest specific time, otherwise new employees would be engaged to
against what they considered as unfair labor practices perform their jobs. The first letter contains promises of benefits
- May 20, 1958 – Unions went on strike and picketed the offices to employees; the second letter contains threats to obtain
of Insular Life Bldg replacements. Free speech protection under the Constitution is
inapplicable where the expression of opinion by the employer or is because “only the decisions of this Honorable Court establish
his agent contains a promise of benefit, or threats or reprisal. jurisprudence or doctrines in this jurisdiction.” (Miiranda v.
- The circumstance that strikers later decided to return to work Imperial)
on account of injunction cannot alter the intrinsic quality of the - Ever present is the danger that if not faithfully and exactly
letters which tended to interfere with the employees’ right to quoted, the decisions and rulings of SC may lose their proper
engage in lawful concerted activity in the form of strike. and correct meaning, to the detriment of other courts, lawyers
- Totality of Conduct Doctrine: Expressions of opinion by an and the public who may thereby be misled. Also, appellate
employer, though innocent in themselves, were held to be courts will be precluded from acting on misinformation, and be
culpable because of the circumstances under which they were saved precious time in finding out whether citations are correct.
uttered. (1) Before Unions’ submission of proposals for renewal Disposition Decision of the CIR is reversed and set aside.
of CBAs, respondents hired former legal counsels of petitioners; Respondents are ordered to reinstate the dismissed members of
(2) After notice to strike was served on the Companies, they the petitioning Unions to their former or comparatively similar
reclassified 87 employees as supervisors, compelling them to positions with back wages.
resign from unions; (3) During negotiations in Dept of Labor,
they refused to answer the Unions’ demands en toto; (4) Strikers IN RE SOTTO
were individually sent letters inducing them to return to work
FERIA; January 21, 1949
with promises of special privileges; (5) Three truckloads of non-
strikers crashed through the picket line, which resulted in (bri bauza)
injuries on the part of picketers; (6) Criminal charges were
brought upon picketers; (7) An injunction was obtained from CFI; NATURE
(8) Another letter was sent individually and by registered special Original action in Supreme Court. Contempt
delivery mail threatening them with dismissal if they didn’t
report for work on June 2; (9) When they did report for work, a FACTS
screening committee refused to admit 63 members of the - On December 7, 1948, Respondent Atty. Vicente Sotto was
Unions on ground of pending criminal charges; (10) When almost required by this Court to show cause why he should not be
all were cleared by fiscal’s office, they were still refused punished for contempt of court for having issued a written
admission; but all non-strikers were readmitted immediately. It is statement in connection with the decision of this Court in In re
clear that the main reason for the strike was “when it became Angel Parazo for contempt of court, which statement, as
clear that management will not negotiate in good faith.” published in the Manila Times and other daily newspapers of the
1.b) YES. locality, reads as follows:
Ratio The companies are guilty of discrimination in their process “As author of the Press Freedom Law (RA 53), interpreted by
of rehiring. They refused to readmit strikers with pending the Supreme Court in the case of Angel Parazo, reporter of a
criminal charges, even after these employees have secured the local daily, who has now to suffer 30 days imprisonment, for his
required clearances. At the same time, the Companies readily refusal to divulge the souce of a news published in his paper, I
readmitted non-strikers who also had criminal charges, without regret to say that our High Tribunal has not only erroneously
requiring clearances. They even separated active from the less interpreted said law, but that it is once more putting in evidence
active unionists on the basis of their militancy, or lack of it, on the incompetency or narrow mindedness of the majority of its
the picket lines. members. In the wake of so many blunders and injustices
Reasoning There are 3 conditions for readmission of the deliberately committed during these last years, I believe that the
strikers: (1) he must be interested in continuing his work with only remedy to put an end to so much evil, is to change the
the companies; (2) no criminal charges against him; (3) report members of the Supreme Court. To this effect, I announce that
for work on June 2, 1958, otherwise he would be replaced. All one of the first measures, which I will introduce in the coming
employees are considered to have complied with first and third congressional sessions, will have as its object the complete
condition. reorganization of the Supreme Court. As it is now constituted,
- In an anticipatory effort to exculpate themselves from charges the Supreme Court of today constituted a constant peril to
of discrimination in rehiring, they even delegated the power to liberty and democracy. It need be said loudly, very loudly, so
readmit to a committee composed of Abella and Garcia. Both that even the deaf may hear: the Supreme Court of today is a
were involved in unpleasant incidents with the picketers during far cry from the impregnable bulwark of Justice of those
the strike, and the mere act of placing the power of memorable times of Cayetano Arellano, Victorino Mapa, Manuel
reinstatement in their hands is a form of discrimination. Araullo and other learned jurists who were the honor and glory
1.c) YES. of the Philippine Judiciary.”
Ratio The Companies refused to take the employees back on - Respondent does not deny having published the above quoted
account of their “acts of misconduct” even if all, except three, threat and intimidation as well as false and calumnious charges
were able to secure the required clearances. Record shows that against this Supreme Court. But he contends that under section
not a single dismissed striker was given the opportunity to 13, Article VIII of the Constitution, which confers upon this
defend himself against the supposed charges. Supreme Court the power to promulgate rules concerning
2. YES. pleading, practice and procedure, “this Court has no power to
Ratio The members and officials of the Unions went on strike impose correctional penalties upon the citizens, and that the
because of the unfair labor practices committed by the Supreme Court can only impose fines and imprisonment by
Companies. They are now entitled to reinstatement with back virtue of a law, and a law has to be promulgated by Congress
pay because when they reported back for work, upon the with the approval of the Chief Executive.”
invitation of their employers, they were discriminatorily - He also alleges in his answer that “in the exercise of the
dismissed. freedom of speech guaranteed by the Constitution, the
3. NO. respondent made his statement in the press with the utmost
Ratio The misquotation is more a result of clerical ineptitude good faith and with no intention of offending any of the majority
than a deliberate attempt on the part of the respondent Judge to of the members of this high Tribunal, who, in his opinion,
mislead. Counsels of respondents have the prima facie right to erroneously decided the Parazo case; but he has not attacked,
rely on the quotation as it appears in the Judge’s decision, to nor intended to attack the honesty or integrity of anyone.”
copy it verbatim and to incorporate it in their brief. Import of
sentences in the quotation is substantially the same as the cited ISSUES
decision. WON the Supreme Court may hold respondent guilty for
Impt: In citing SC’s decisions and rulings, it is the bounden duty contempt of court.
of courts, judges and lawyers to reproduce or copy the same
word-for-word and punctuation mark-for-punctuation mark. This
Ratio Any publication; pending a suit, reflecting upon the court, GUERRERO V VILLAMOR
the parties, the officers of the court, the counsel, etc., with
reference to the suit, or tending to influence the decision of the
controversy, is contempt of court and is punishable. The power (jaja estoy)
to punish for contempt is inherent in all courts. The summary
power to commit and punish for contempt tending to obstruct or NATURE
degrade the administration of justice, as inherent in courts as Petition for certiorari to review the order of the Regional Trial
essential to the execution of their powers and to the Court of Subprovince of Biliran, Leyte, Br. 16.
maintenance of their authority is a part of the law of the land. (In
re Kelly) FACTS
Reasoning In re Kelly lays down the doctrine of the power of - Consequent to the dismissal of five criminal cases for qualified
courts to hold contempt proceedings. theft against Naval by respondent Judge Villamor, the offended
- Mere criticism or comment on the correctness or wrongness, party, petitioner Carlos, through his lawyer and co-petitioner
soundness or unsoundness of the decision of the court in a Guerrero filed before the RTC Br. 21 of Cebu City an action for
pending case made in good faith may be tolerated; because if damages against respondent Judge for knowingly rendering an
well founded it may enlighten the court. But in his above-quoted unjust judgment in the aforesaid consolidated criminal cases.
statement, he not only intends to intimidate the members of this Consequently, respondent Judge issued in Criminal Cases Nos. N-
Court with a presentation of a bill in the next congressional 0989-0993 an Order of Direct Contempt of Court against
session, reorganizing the Supreme Court and reducing the petitioners, finding them guilty beyond reasonable doubt of
number of Justices from eleven to seven, so as to change the direct contempt and sentencing them both to imprisonment of
members of this Court which decided the Parazo case, who five days and a fine of P500 for degrading the respect and
according to his statement, are incompetent and narrow-minded, dignity of the court through the use of derogatory and
in order to influence the final decision of said case by this Court, contemptuous language before the court.
and thus embarrass or obstruct the administration of justice. But - The derogatory and contemptuous language adverted to by
the respondent also attacks the honesty and integrity of this respondent judge are the allegations in the complaint in Civil
Court for the apparent purpose of bringing the Justices of this Case No. CEB-6478 reading:
Court into the disrepute and degrading the administration of "12. That the dismissal of criminal cases Nos. 0989, 0990,
justice. 0991, 0992 and 0993 for qualified theft was arrived at certainly
- The Supreme Court of the Philippines is, under the Constitution, without circumspection-without any moral or legal basis-a case
the last bulwark to which the Filipino people may repair to obtain of knowingly rendering unjust judgment since the dismissal was
relief for their grievances or protection of their rights when these tantamount to acquittal of the accused Gloria P. Naval who is
are trampled upon, and if the people lose their confidence in the now beyond the reach of criminal and civil liability-all because
honesty and integrity of the members of this Court and believe the defendant Hon. Adriano R. Villamor was bent backwards with
that they cannot expect justice therefrom, they might be driven his eyes and mind wilfully closed under these circumstances
to take the law in their own hands, and disorder and perhaps which demanded the scrutiny of the judicial mind and discretion
chaos may be the result. free from bias x x x;"
- As a member of the bar and an officer of the courts Atty. "xxx xxx xxx
Vicente Sotto, like any other, is in duty bound to uphold the "14. By the standard of a public official and a private person the
dignity and authority of this Court, to which he owes fidelity conduct of defendant Honorable Judge-not only shocking, but
according to the oath he has taken as such attorney, and not to appalling-in giving the plaintiff before his court the run-around is
promote distrust in the administration of justice. at the very least distasteful, distressing and mortifying and
- As Justice Holmes very appropriately said in U.S. v Sullens: moral damages therefore would warrant on this kind of
“The administration of justice and freedom of the press, though reprehensible behaviour x x x
separate and distinct, are equally sacred, and neither should be "15. That the aforecited manifestly malicious actuations,
violated by the other. The press and courts have correlative defendant judge should also visit upon him x x x for reducing
rights and duties and should cooperate to uphold the plaintiff his agonizing victim of his disdain and contempt for the
constitution and laws, form which the former receives its former who not only torn asunder and spurned but also
prerogative and the latter its jurisdiction… This Court must be humiliated and spitefully scorned.”
permitted to proceed with the disposition of its business in an - Petitioners assert that no direct contempt could have been
orderly manner free from outside interference obstructive of its committed against respondent Judge in the complaint for
constitutional functions. This right will be insisted upon as vital damages in Civil Case No. 6478 because whatever was
to an impartial court, and, as a last resort, as an individual mentioned therein was not made "before" respondent Judge
exercises the right of self-defense, it will act to preserve its while in session or in recess from judicial proceedings or in any
existence as an unprejudiced tribunal.” matter involving the exercise of judicial function of the Court
Disposition In view of all the foregoing, we find the respondent while it is at work on a case before it. Furthermore, petitioners
Atty. Vicente Sotto guilty of contempt of this Court by virtue of contend that the words used in the subject complaint were
the above-quoted publication, and he is hereby sentenced to
pay, within the period of fifteen days from the promulgation of ISSUE
this judgment, a fine P1000, with subsidiary imprisonment in WON petitioners committed direct contempt of court through the
case of insolvency. use of derogatory and contemptuous language before the court
The respondent is also hereby required to appear, within the justifying the award of damages being sought
same period, and show cause to this Court why he should not be
disbarred from practicing as an attorney-at-law in any of the HELD
courts of this Republic, for said publication and the following 1. No. Direct contempt could not have been committed against
statements made by him during the pendency of the case respondent Judge in the complaint for damages because
against Angel Parazo for contempt of Court. whatever was mentioned therein was not made before
The respondent misrepresents to the public the cause of the respondent judge while in session or in recess from judicial
charge against him for contempt of court. He says that the cause proceedings or in any matter involving the exercise of judicial
for criticizing the decision of this Court in said Parazo case in function of the court while it is at work on a case before it.
defense of the freedom of the press, when in truth and in fact he Furthermore, the words they used In the subject complaint were
is charged with intending to interfere and influence the final merely words descriptive of the plaintiff’s cause of action based
disposition of said case through intimidation and false on his reaction and remorse and the willful infliction of injury on
accusations against this Supreme Court. him and that the same are all privileged communications made
in the course of judicial proceedings because they are relevant
to the issue and therefore cannot be contemptuous. Strong denied both motions. To prove that he did serve on the adverse
words were used to lay stress on the gravity and degree of moral party a copy of his first motion for reconsideration, Atty.
anguish suffered by petitioner as a result of the dismissal of the Almacen filed on August 17, 1966 a second motion for
subject criminal merely words descriptive of plaintiffs cause of reconsideration to which he attached the required registry return
action based on his reaction and remorse and the wilfull infliction card. This second motion for reconsideration, however, was
of the injury on him and that the same are all privileged ordered withdrawn by the trial court on August 30, 1966, upon
communications made in the course of judicial proceedings verbal motion of Atty. Almacen himself, who, on August 22,
because they are relevant to the issue and therefore cannot be 1966, had already perfected the appeal. Because the plaintiff
contemptuous. interposed no objection to the record on appeal and appeal
- In his Comment, respondent Judge maintains that petitioners bond, the trial court elevated the case to the Court of Appeals.
harp too much on the fact that the five criminal cases are closed - CA, citing Manila Surety and Fidelity Co., Inc. vs. Batu
cases and therefore the language or words employed to Construction & Co. dismissed the appeal, “for the reason that
describe, opine, criticize or condemn the dismissal of said the motion for reconsideration dated July 5, 1966 does not
criminal cases in no way obstruct or hamper, ruin or disturb the contain a notice of time and place of hearing thereof and is,
dignity and authority of the court presided over by respondent therefore, a useless piece of paper (Manila Surety & Fidelity Co.
judge, as said court was no longer functioning as such in the Inc. vs. Bain Construction At Co.), which did not interrupt the
dispensation of justice. This, according to respondent Judge, is a running of the period to appeal, and, consequently, the appeal
very dangerous perception for then the court becomes was perfected out of time."
vulnerable to all forms of verbal assaults, which would shake the - Atty. Almacen moved to reconsider this resolution, urging that
foundation of judicial authority and even of democratic stability, Manila Surety & Fidelity Co. is not decisive. At the same time he
so that the absence of such proceedings should not be made a filed a pleading entitled "Latest decision of the Supreme Court in
shield to sully the court's prestige. Support of Motion for Reconsideration," citing Republic of the
- The Court sustains petitioner’s contention that the alleged Philippines vs. Gregorio A. Venturanza, as the applicable case.
derogatory language employed in the complaint in the civil case Again, the Court of Appeals denied the motion for
did not constitute direct contempt but may only, if at all, reconsideration.
constitute indirect contempt subject to defenses that may be - Atty. Almacen then appealed to the SC by certiorari. SC refused
raised by said petitioners in the proper proceedings. Stress must to take the case, and by minute resolution denied the appeal.
be placed on the fact that the subject pleading was not Denied shortly thereafter was his motion for reconsideration as
submitted to respondent Judge nor in the criminal cases from well as his petition for leave to file a second motion for
which the contempt order was issued but was filed in another reconsideration and for extension of time. Entry of judgment was
court presided by another judge and involving a separate action: made on September 8, 1967. Hence, the second motion for
the civil case for damages against respondent Judge. Although reconsideration filed by him after the said date was ordered
the allegations in the complaint for damages criticized the expunged from the records.
wisdom of respondent Judge’s act of dismissing the criminal - Atty. Almacen then filed his "Petition to Surrender Lawyer's
cases, such criticism was directed to him when he was no longer Certificate of Title," a pleading that is interspersed from
in the process of performing judicial functions in connection with beginning to end with insolent, contemptuous, grossly
the subject criminal cases so as to constitute such criticisms as disrespectful and derogatory remarks, against the Court as well
direct contempt of court. as its individual members, a behavior that is as unprecedented
- The power to punish for contempt should be used sparingly, so as it is unprofessional. The petition was filed on September 25,
much so that judges should always bear in mind that the power 1967, in protest against what he asserts is "a great injustice
of the court to punish for contempt should be exercised for committed against his client by this Supreme Court." He indicts
purposes that are impersonal, the power being intended as a the Court, in his own phrase, as a tribunal "people by men who
safeguard not for the judges as persons but for the functions are calloused to our pleas for justice, who ignore without reasons
that they exercise. Any abuse of the contempt citation powers their own applicable decisions and commit culpable violation of
will therefore be curtailed and corrected. the Constitution with impunity." His client, he continues, who
- Be that as it may, lawyers, on the other hand, should bear in was deeply aggrieved by this Court's "unjust judgment," has
mind their basic duty "to observe and maintain the respect due become "one of the sacrificial victims before the' altar of
to the courts of justice and judicial officers and x x x (to) insist hypocrisy.'' In the same breath that he alludes to the classic
on similar conduct by others." This respectful attitude towards symbol of justice, he ridicules the members of the Court, saying
the court is to be observed, "not for the sake of the temporary "that justice as administered by the present members, of the
incumbent of the judicial office, but for the maintenance of its Supreme Court is not only blind, but also deaf and dumb." He
supreme importance." And it is "through a scrupulous preference then vows to argue the cause of his client "in the people's
for respectful language that a lawyer best demonstrates his forum," so that "the people may know of the silent injustices
observance of the respect due to the courts and judicial officers committed by this Court," and that "whatever mistakes, wrongs
x x x." and injustices that were committed must never be repeated." He
ends his petition with a prayer that ". . . . a resolution issue
IN RE ALMACEN ordering the Clerk of Court to receive the certificate of the
undersigned attorney and counsellor-at-law IN TRUST with
RUIZ CASTRO; Feb 18, 1970
reservation that at any time in the future and in the event we
(kooky talon) regain our faith and confidence, we may retrieve our title to
assume the practice of the noblest profession."
NATURE - Sept 28, 1967, SC resolved to withhold action on his petition
Proceedings For Disciplinary Action Against Atty. Vicente Raul until he shall have actually surrendered his certificate. When
Almacen nothing came from him, Atty. Almacen was reminded to turn
over his certificate so that the Court could act on his petition.
FACTS - To said reminder Atty. Almacen manifested "that he has no
- Atty. Almacen was counsel for the defendant in the civil case pending petition in connection with Calero vs. Yaptinchay, said
entitled Virginia Y. Yaptinchay vs. Antonio H. Calero. The trial case is now final and executory"; that this Court's September 28,
court tendered judgment against his client. On June 15, 1966 1967 resolution did not require him to do either a positive or
Atty. Almacen received a copy of the decision, and on July 5, negative act; and that since his offer was not accepted, he
1966, he moved for its reconsideration. He served on the "chose to 'pursue the negative act’."
adverse counsel a copy of the motion, but did not notify the - Nov 17, 1967 SC resolved to require Atty. Almacen to show
latter of the time and place of hearing on said motion. cause "why no disciplinary action should be taken against him."
Meanwhile, on July 18, 1966, the plaintiff moved for execution of Denying the charges contained in the Nov 17 resolution, Atty.
the judgment. For "lack of proof of service," the trial court
Almacen asked for permission to give reasons and cause in an - NOTE: disciplinary proceedings like the present are Sui generis.
open and public hearing. The Court required Atty. Almacen to Neither purely civil nor purely criminal, this proceeding is not -
state his reasons for such request, to which he manifested that and does not involve - a trial of an action or a suit, but is rather
since the Court is "the complainant, prosecutor and Judge," he an investigation by the Court into the conduct of one of its
preferred to be heard and to answer questions "in person and in officers. Not being intended to inflict punishment, it is in no
an open and public hearing" so that the Court could observe his sense a criminal prosecution. It may be initiated by the Court
sincerity and candor. He also asked for leave to file a written motu proptio. Public interest is its primary objective, and the real
explanation "in the event this Court has no, time to hear him in question for determination is whether or not the attorney is still
person." He was allowed to file a written explanation and a fit person to be allowed the privileges as such. Hence, in the
thereafter was heard in oral argument. exercise of its disciplinary powers, the Court merely calls upon a
- Atty. Almacen’s written answer offered no apology. Far from member of the Bar to account for his actuations as an officer of
being contrite, Atty. Almacen unremittingly repeated his the Court with the end in view of preserving the purity of the
jeremiad of lamentations, abundant with sarcasm and innuendo1. legal profession and proper and honest administration of justice
by purging the profession of members who by their misconduct
ISSUE have proved themselves no longer worthy to be entrusted with
WON the utterances and actuations of Atty. Almacen here in duties and responsibilities pertaining to the office of an attorney.
question are properly the object of disciplinary sanctions Disposition Accordingly, it is the sense of the Court that Atty.
Vicente Raul Almacen be, as he is hereby, suspended from the
HELD practice of law until further orders, the suspension to take effect
- Post-litigation utterances or publications, made by lawyers, immediately.
critical of the courts and their judicial actuations, whether
amounting to a crime or not, which transcend the permissible SORIANO V COURT OF APPEALS
bounds of fair comment and legitimate criticism and thereby
PARDO; August 28, 2001
tend to bring them into disrepute or to subvert public confidence
in their integrity and in the orderly administration of justice, (yella bautista)
constitute grave professional misconduct which may be visited
with disbarment or other lesser appropriate disciplinary FACTS
sanctions by the Supreme Court in the exercise of the - Deogracias and Rosalina Reyes pleaded that they were
prerogatives inherent in it as the duly constituted guardian of employed by Socorro as manager and administrative
the morals and ethics of the legal fraternity. assistant of her property and real estate in 1968.
- CA had fully and correctly considered the dismissal of Atty. - As payment for their services, in 1973, Socorro gave
Almacen’s appeal in light of the law and applicable decisions of them one apartment unit to use as their dwelling for the
the SC. As a law practitioner who was admitted to the Bar as far duration of their lifetime and a token monthly rental on
back as 1941, Atty. Almacen knew - or ought to have known - P150 was imposed.
that for a motion for reconsideration to stay the running of the - In the same building, another unit was occupied by the
period of appeal, the movant must not only serve a copy of the spouses which was improved and converted by them
motion upon the adverse party (which he did), but also notify the into a pub and restaurant. For the use of the premises,
adverse party of the time and place of hearing (which admittedly the token amount of P1500 monthly was imposed.
he did not). Atty. Almacen’s own negligence caused the - On October 17, 1988, Socorro gave Deogracias and
forfeiture of the remedy of appeal, which, incidentally, is not a Rosalina notice to vacate the said two units
matter of right. There is no justification for his scurrilous and - Deogracias and Rosalina owned two commercial lots
scandalous outbursts. with improvements. On May 28, 1968, they became
- Every citizen has the right to comment upon and criticize the indebted to Socorro in the amount of P638,635.36. The
actuations of public officers. This right is not diminished by the parties agreed to pay for the debt by selling the two lots
fact that the criticism is aimed at a judicial authority, or that it is for P2.5M. While looking for a buyer, Deogracias and
articulated by a lawyer. Such right is especially recognized Rosalina conveyed the property to Socorro by way of
where the criticism concerns a concluded litigation, because first mortgage. A deed of absolute sale was executed in
then the court's actuations are thrown open to public place of a real estate mortgage.
consumption. - Action was initiated by the spouses but the court
- As citizen and officer of the court, every lawyer is expected not released the two lots in favor of Socorro having
only to exercise the right, but also to consider it his duty to presented the deed of absolute sale in her name.
expose the shortcomings and indiscretions of courts and judges. - On October 28, 1988, the spouses paid the filing fee
It is his right to criticize in properly respectful terms and through and legal research.
legitimate channels the acts of courts and judges. - On November 29, 1988, Socorro filed a motion to
- By constitutional mandate, it is the SC’s solemn duty, amongst dismiss the complaint on two grounds:
others, to determine the rules for admission to the practice of 1. the first cause of action was barred by the
law. Inherent in this prerogative is the corresponding authority to pendency of an ejectment case between the same
discipline and exclude from the practice of law those who have parties over the same parties
proved themselves unworthy of continued membership in the 2. the second cause of action was premature
Bar. - On December 8, 1988, the Carmelite Sisters on behalf
- A critique of the Court must be intelligent and discriminating, of their benefactress filed with the trial court an urgent
fitting to its high function as the court of last resort. And more ex-parte motion for restraining order. They talked to
than this, valid and healthy criticism is by no means synonymous respondent judge Naval in his chambers and requested
to obloquy, and requires detachment and disinterestedness, real him to immediately act on Socorro’s urgent ex-parte
qualities approached only through constant striving to attain motion for a restraining order. On December 16, 1988,
them. The virulence so blatantly evident in Atty. Almacen's the TC denied the motion.
petition, answer and oral argumentation far transcend the - On January 16, 1989, Socorro through counsel Atty.
permissible bounds of legitimate criticism. Padilla filed a motion to inhibit Judge Naval
1. while still a law practitioner and politician, he was a
1 frequent customer of the restaurant of the spouses
Refer to the case for Atty. Almacen’s written answer. The way he addressed the
and was a good friend of his
Court and how he laid down his points should be a matter of interest. As the court
said, this is a matter “unprecedented and unprofessional”. One paragraph reads: “Now 2. he was also a good friend of the attorney of the
that your respondent has the guts to tell the members of the Court that spouses
notwithstanding the violation of the Constitution, you remained unpunished, this Court - TC denied motion to inhibit
in the reverse order of natural things, is now in the attempt to inflict punishment on
your respondent for acts he said in good faith.”
- On April 17, 1989, Deogracias and Rosalina filed a has been executor, administrator, guardian, trustee or
motion to admit attached supplemental complaint counsel, or in which he has presided in any inferior
which pleaded that they have already paid their debt to court when his ruling or decision is the subject of
Socorro but the latter refused to accept said payment review, without the written consent of all parties in
without just cause thus was a clear move on her part to interest signed by them and entered upon the record.
let the 3 year period provided in their MOA elapse A judge may, in his exercise of his sound discretion,
- TC admitted the supplemental complaint disqualify himself from sitting in a case, for just or valid
- Socorro moved to dismiss supplemental complaint reasons other than those mentioned above.
- TC denied motion to dismiss supplemental complaint 4. Yes. The supplemental complaint contains matters
- TC ordered Deogracias and Rosalina to pay a deficiency directly different from and even contrary to the cause of
in the docket fees action stated in the original complaint. The rule
- Socorro moved for an extension to file a responsive allowing amendments to a pleading is subject to the
pleading to the supplemental complaint and to reset general limitation that the cause of action shall not be
pre-trial substantially changed or that the theory of the case
- Deogracias and Rosalina complied with the order and shall not be altered.
paid additional filing fees 5. The CA erred when it stated that a certiorari proceeding
- TC granted Socorro’s motion for an extension
assailing the judgment of direct contempt was not
- Socorro again moved for another extension and
proper as Atty. Padilla may have appealed therefrom.
resetting of the pre-trial
Rule 71, Section 2 of the Revised Rules of Court
- The TC granted the second motion
provides: A person adjudged in direct contempt by any
- Socorro again moved for another extension on which
court may not appeal therefrom, but may avail himself
the TC did not act upon
of the remedies of certiorari or prohibition. The court
- Socorro’s counsel Atty. Padilla filed an omnibus motion
also erred when it affirmed the trial court’s finding of
for reconsideration of various orders of the respondent
direct contempt of court against Atty. Padilla (see
comments made by Atty. Padilla in the original text of
- Deogracias and Rosalina filed an opposition
the case) Atty. Padilla’s innuendoes are not necessarily
- The TC denied Socorro’s motion
disrespectful to the court. The salutary rule is that the
- The TC directed Atty. Padilla to show cause whey he
power to punish for contempt must be exercised on the
should not be cited for contempt of court. He
preservative, not vindictive principle and on the
consequently failed to do so and the court declared
corrective and not retaliatory idea of punishment.
Socorro in default and Atty. Padilla was sentenced to 5
days imprisonment with a P100 fine for direct contempt
- Socorro and Atty. Padilla filed with the CA a petition for NOCON; April 22, 1993
certiorari and mandamus with temporary restraining (edel cruz)
order assailing the orders of Judge Naval.
ISSUES Petition for Certiorari of the order of the ombudsman
1. WON the TC gravely abused its discretion in refusing to
restrain or to remedy the forcible seizure by the FACTS
plaintiffs of the property subject of the litigation - This is a prayer for preliminary mandatory injunction and/or
2. WON the TC gravely abused its discretion in refusing to restraining order for the Office of the Ombudsman to stop it from
order the payment of the correct fling fee upon failure entertaining a criminal complaint regarding the alleged
to pay the same, to dismiss the case falsification of a judge’s certification submitted to the SC.
3. WON the TC gravely abused its discretion in refusing to - Petitioner Judge Maceda was accused of falsification of
inhibit Certificate of Service, and now seeks to review orders of the
4. WON the TC gravely abused its discretion in admitting Ombudsman
the supplemental complaint with a theory directly - Napoleon Abiera of PAO alleged that the petitioner had falsified
contrary to the original complaint and in not dismissing his Certificate of Service by certifying that all civil and criminal
it upon motion of defendant. cases which have been submitted for decisions have been
5. WON the TC gravely abused its discretion and acted in determined and decided on or before Jan 31 1989 when in truth
excess of jurisdiction in finding Atty. Padilla, Jr. guilty of 15 cases were still to be determined. (Abiera alleges Maceda lied
direct contempt that he finished the cases but he hasn’t yet.)
6. WON the CA acted with grave abuse of discretion in
sanctioning the orders of the TC except the Order ISSUES
admitting the supplemental complaint 1. WON Ombudsman has jurisdiction over the case despite the
Court’s ruling in Orap v. Sandiganbayan
HELD 2. WON the investigation of the Ombudsman constitutes an
1. No. The issue has already become moot and academic encroachment into the SC’s constitutional duty of supervision
since the parties had already entered the premises in over all the inferior courts
2. No. There was no intention on the part of Deogracias HELD
and Rosalina to degraud the government. They were in 1. NO. There is nothing in Orap that would restrict it only to
good faith and relied on the assessment of the Clerk of offenses committed by a judge unrelated to his official duties. A
Court. judge who falsifies his certificate of Service is administratively
3. No. Rule 137, Section 1 of the Revised Rules of Court liable to the SC for serious misconduct and inefficiency. And
provides only the following grounds for the criminally liable to the state under the RPC for his felonious act.
disqualification of judges- No judge or judicial officer 2. YES. In the absence of any administrative action taken
shall sit in any case in which he, or his wife or child, is against him by this Court with regard to his certificates of
pecuniarily interested as heir, legatee, creditor or service, the investigation of the Ombudsman encroaches into
otherwise, or in which he is related to either party the Court’s power of administrative supervision over all courts
within the sixth degree of consanguinity or affinity, or and its personnel, in violation of the doctrine of separation of
to counsel within the fourth degree, computed powers.
according to the rules of the civil law, or in which he
- ART VIII, sec 6 of the Constitution exclusively vests on the SC - February 26, 2001, respondent filed an Opposition to the
administrative supervision over all courts and court personnel. Compromise Agreement submitted by the lot owners and NPC
The Ombudsman cannot justify its investigation of petitioner on for court approval.
the powers granted to it by the Constitution for such a Because of the actions taken by the respondent, the execution
justification not only runs counter to the specific mandate of the of the decision approving the compromise agreement between
Constitution granting supervisory powers to the SC. the lot owners and the NPC was delayed
- The Ombudsman should first refer the matter of petitioner’s - June 6, 2001 - a complaint for disbarment was filed before the
certificates of service to the SC for determination of whether IBP. Julian Malonso claimed that Atty Principe, without authority
said certificates reflected the true status of his pending case entered his appearance as Malonso’s counsel in the
load. (SO admin case first before criminal.) expropriation proceedings initiated by Napocor. After illegally
Disposition Petition granted. Ombudsman is directed to representing him, Pincipe claimed 40% of the selling price of his
dismiss the complaint filed by the public respondent.2 land by way of attorney’s fees and in a Motion to Intervene,
claimed to be a co-owner of Malonso’s property.
MALONSO V PRINCIPE - In the respondet’s anawer, he claims that the services of his
law office was engaged by Samahan ng mga Dadaanan at
TINGA; December 16, 2004
Maapektuhan ng NAPOCOR (SANDAMA) through its president,
(giulia pineda) Danilo Elfa, as embodied in the Contract of Legal Services
executed on April 1, 19973. Respondent claims that Malonso is a
NATURE member of SANDAMA and that the said member executed an
Administrative case in the Supreme Court. Disbarment. SPA in favor of Elfa which served as Elfa’s authority to act in
behalf of Malonso
FACTS - In Malonso’s reply, he claimed that he did not authorize Elfa as
In the early part of 1997, Napocor instituted expropriation the SPA was executed after the Contract of Legal Services. He
proceedings against several lot owners in Bulacan including the also claims that he also had his own lawyer, Atty. Benjamin
complainant in this case. Mendoza.
- April 1, 1997, a “Contract of Legal Services” was entered into - Principe counters this argument saying that the agreement is a
between the law firm “Principe Villano and Clemente Law continuing one, hence Malonso was within the coverage of the
Offices” and SANDAMA, Inc. represented by its President Danilo contract.
V. Elfa. SANDAMA is the organization of lot owners affected by - According to the findings of the IBP investigator, the Contract of
the expropriation proceedings. Complainant is a member of this Legal Services is between SANDAMA as a corporate being and
organization. the respondent’s law firm. SANDAMA is not a party in all of the
- November 27, 1997, complainant executed a “Kasulatan ng expropriation proceedings instituted by Napocor, neither does it
Pagbibigay Kapangyarihan” in favor of Danilo Elfa appointing the claim co-ownership of the properties being expropriated. It was
latter as the attorney-in-fact of the complainant on the matter of also found that the SPA was executed by Malonso in favor of Elfa
negotiation with the NPC. after the Contract of Legal Services, and the right of co-
- December 21, 1999, NPC’s Board of Directors approved the ownership cannot be derived from the said documents. A
amicable settlement of the expropriation cases by paying all the contract of legal services between a lawyer and his client is
lot owners the total of One Hundred Three Million Four personal and cannot be performed through intermediaries. From
Hundred Thirteen Thousand Two Hundred Pesos the evidence presented by both parties, the Investigating
(P103,413,200.00). Commissioner found Principe guilty of misrepresentation. He was
- More that two (2) years after the expropriation cases were found to have violated Canon3, Rule 10, Rule 10.01 and Rule
instituted and while complainant was represented therein by 12.04. the report recommended the penalty of a 2 year
Atty. Benjamin Mendoza, or on January 18, 2000, respondent suspension.
filed an “Ex-Parte Motion to Separate Legal Fees From Selling - October 25, 2003 Resolution of the IBP Board of Governors
Price Between Plaintiffs and Defendants.” suspended him for 1 year
- About ten days after respondent filed his motion to separate - In his Appeal Memorandum, respondent claims that the
legal fees, respondent filed his “Notice of Entry of Appearance” Resolution has no factual and legal basis, the complaint having
(dated January 28, 2000) claiming that respondent is the legal been motivated by pure selfishness and greed, and the
counsel of the complainant, a defendant in said case. Resolution itself invalid for having failed to comply with Rule
- February 12, 2000, (69) lot owners including the complainant 139-B of the RoC. According to the respondent, the Investigating
wrote a letter to NPC informing the latter that they have never Commissioner continued to investigate the instant case despite
authorized Mr. Danilo Elfa to hire the services of the the lapse of three months provided under Section 8 of Rule 139-
respondent’s law firm to represent them in the expropriation B, without any extension granted by the SC. Moreover, in the
cases. subsequent review made by the IBP Board of Governors, no
- February 17, 2000, complainant filed an “Opposition” to actual voting took place but a mere consensus, and the required
respondent’s entry of appearance and motion to separate legal number of votes provided by the Rules was not secured
- March 7, 2000, respondent filed a “Notice of Attorney’s Lien” 3
The Contract states in part:
claiming 40% of the selling price of the properties being The parties mutually agree one with the other as follows:
expropriated by NPC. I. SECOND PARTY engages the services of the FIRST PARTY as their
- April 10, 2000, respondent filed a “Notice of Adverse Claim” lawyer of the collection, claim, and/ or payment of just
compensation of its members with the NAPOCOR;
before the Register of Deeds of Bulacan claiming 40% of the II. FIRST PARTY accepts the engagement; both parties further agree on
rights, title and interest of the lot owners over their lots being the following conditions:
expropriated including that of complainant. A. Scope of Work - negotiation, legal documentation, attendance to court
proceedings and other related activities;
- November 20, 2000, respondent herein filed a Motion for Leave B. Payment of Fees is on contingent basis. No acceptance fees,
to Intervene in the expropriation case claiming to be a co-owner appearance and liaison fees;
of the property being expropriated. C. The legal fees or payment to FIRST PARTY:
1. Forty (40%) Percent of the selling price between
NAPOCOR and the SANDAMA members; this forty (40%)
[percent] is the maximum rate and may be negotiated
depending on the volume of work involved;
2. Legal Fees as stated above shall cover:
2 i.) Attorney’s Fees of FIRST PARTY;
NOTE: Lawyer has a duty to defend a judge from unfounded criticism or groundless ii.) His representation expenses and
personal attack, irrespective of whether he loses or wins a case in a judge’s sala. But a commitment expenses;
lawyer can file admin complaints against erring judges. iii.) Miscellaneous Expenses, etc.
SC- ADMIN CASES (THROUGH COURT ADMINISTRATOR) D. Both parties agree to exert their best efforts to increase or secure the
considering that there were only five (5) governors present. NAPOCOR. Aware that it might take a long time before the said
Respondent opines that the actions of the IBP Board were aimed appeal is finally resolved, and in view of the delay in the
at preventing him from pursuing his known intention to run for adjudication of the case, the landowners and NAPOCOR
IBP National President. negotiated for a compromise agreement. To assist them, the
landowners, through SANDAMA and its president, Danilo Elfa,
ISSUES engaged the services of a lawyer in the person of respondent. It
1. WON Atty. Principe’s suspension in the practice of law is clear that respondent was hired precisely for the negotiation
properly arrived at phase of the case.
2. WON Principe illegally represented the petitioners - As a legal entity, a corporation has a personality distinct and
separate from its individual stockholders or members and from
HELD that of its officers who manage and run its affairs. The rule is
1. Ratio that obligations incurred by the corporation, acting through its
Before a lawyer may be suspended from the practice of law by directors, officers and employees, are its sole liabilities. Thus,
the IBP, there should be (1) a review of the investigator’s report; property belonging to a corporation cannot be attached to
(2) a formal voting; and (3) a vote of at least five (5) members of satisfy the debt of a stockholder and vice versa, the latter having
the Board. The rationale for this rule is simple: a decision only an indirect interest in the assets and business of the former.
reached by the Board in compliance with the procedure is the Thus, as summed by the IBP investigator, respondent is the
official decision of the Board as a body and not merely as the lawyer of SANDAMA, but SANDAMA is not a party litigant in all of
collective view of the individual members thereof. Without a vote the expropriation cases; thus respondent had no basis to
having been taken, the Resolution is void and has no effect. interfere in the court proceedings involving the members. But
- Normally, non-compliance with the procedural rules would things are not as simple as that.
result in the remand of the case. However, the Court, in the - A review of the records reveals that respondent had grounds to
public interest and the expeditious administration of justice, has believe that he can intervene and claim from the individual
resolved actions on the merits instead of remanding them for landowners. For one, the incorporation of the landowners into
further proceedings, such as where the ends of justice would not SANDAMA was made and initiated by respondent’s firm so as to
be subserved by the remand of the case, or when public interest make negotiations with NAPOCOR easier and more organized.
demands an early disposition of the case, or where the trial court SANDAMA was a non-stock, non-profit corporation aimed
had already received all the evidence of the parties. In view of towards the promotion of the landowners’ common interest. It
the delay in resolving the instant complaint against the presented a unified front which was far easier to manage and
respondent, the Court opts to resolve the same based on the represent than the individual owners. In effect, respondent still
records before it. dealt with the members, albeit in a collective manner.
2. Ratio - Second, respondent relied on the representation of Danilo Elfa,
- The duty of the courts is not alone to see that lawyers act in a former SANDAMA president and attorney-in-fact of the members,
proper and lawful manner; it is also their duty to see that with whom he entered into a contract for legal services.
lawyers are paid their just and lawful fees. Respondent could not have doubted the authority of Elfa to
- It is the duty of the Supreme Court to see to it that a lawyer contract his firm’s services. After all, Elfa was armed with a
accounts for his behavior towards the court, his client, his peers Board Resolution from SANDAMA, and more importantly,
in the profession and the public. However, the duty of the Court individual grants of authority from the SANDAMA members,
is not limited to disciplining those guilty of misconduct, but also including Malonso.
to protecting the reputation of those wrongfully charged, much - Third, the contract for legal services clearly indicated a
more, those wrongfully found guilty. contingent fee of forty percent (40%) of the selling price of the
- On the other hand, the IBP is aimed towards the elevation of lands to be expropriated, the same amount which was reflected
the standards of the law profession, the improvement of the in the deed of assignment made by the individual members of
administration of justice, and the enabling of the Bar to SANDAMA. Respondent could have easily and naturally assumed
discharge its public responsibility more effectively. Despite its that the same figure assigned to SANDAMA was the same
duty to police the ranks, the IBP is not exempt from the duty to amount earmarked for its legal services as indicated in their
“promote respect for the law and legal processes” and “to service contract. Being a non-stock, non-profit corporation,
abstain from activities aimed at defiance of the law or at where else would SANDAMA get the funds to pay for the legal
lessening confidence in the legal system. Respect for law is fees due to respondent and his firm but from the contribution of
gravely eroded when lawyers themselves, who are supposed to its members.
be minions of the law, engage in unlawful practices and - Lastly, respondent’s legal services were disengaged by
cavalierly brush aside the very rules formulated for their SANDAMA’s new President Yolanda Bautista around the same
observance. time when the SANDAMA members abandoned and
Reasoning disauthorized former SANDAMA president Elfa, just when the
- There are two stages in every action for expropriation. The first negotiations bore fruit. With all these circumstances,
is concerned with the determination by the courts of the respondent, rightly or wrongly, perceived that he was also about
authority of the plaintiff to exercise the power of eminent to be deprived of his lawful compensation for the services he and
domain and the propriety of its exercise in the context of the his firm rendered to SANDAMA and its members. With the
facts involved in the suit. The second phase is concerned with prevailing attitude of the SANDAMA officers and members,
the determination by the court of the just compensation for the respondent saw the immediate need to protect his interests in
property sought to be taken which relates to the valuation the individual properties of the landowners.
thereof. But as it frequently happens, the public purpose - The Court cannot hold respondent guilty of censurable conduct
dimension is not as fiercely contested. Moreover, in their quest or practice justifying the penalty recommended. While filing the
to secure what they believe to be the fair compensation of their claim for attorney’s fees against the individual members may
property, the owners seek inroads to the leverages of executive not be the proper remedy for respondent, the Court believes that
power where compensation compromises are commenced and he instituted the same out of his honest belief that it was the
given imprimatur. In this dimension, the services of lawyers best way to protect his interests. After all, SANDAMA procured
different from the ordinary litigator may prove to be handy or his firm’s services and was led to believe that he would be paid
even necessary. Negotiations are mostly out of court and reliant for the same. There is evidence which tend to show that
on the sagacity, persuasion, patience, persistence and respondent and his firm rendered legal and even extra-legal
resourcefulness of the negotiator. services in order to assist the landowners get a favorable
- In the instant case, the trial court had already ruled on the valuation of their properties. They facilitated the incorporation
valuation of the properties subject of the expropriation, the of the landowners to expedite the negotiations between the
same order which is subject of the appeal filed by the owners, the appraisers, and NAPOCOR. They sought the
assistance of several political personalities to get some leverage - On August 1, 1930, PNB instituted another court action for the
in their bargaining with NAPOCOR. Suddenly, just after recover of the balance of the judgment amounting to P11,574.38
concluding the compromise price with NAPOCOR and before the with interest at seven percent per annum.
presentation of the compromise agreement for the court’s - The defendant claimed that in exchange for his waiver of his
approval, SANDAMA disengaged the services of respondent’s law right to redeem the first property resold by PNB, the bank would
firm. not collect from him the balance of the judgment.
- With the validity of its contract for services and its authority - The CFI ruled that there was in fact a condonation made by the
disputed, and having rendered legal service for years without bank through one of its officer, a certain Mr. Pecson.
having received anything in return, and with the prospect of not - Hence this appeal
getting any compensation for all the services it has rendered to
SANDAMA and its members, respondent and his law firm ISSUES
auspiciously moved to protect their interests. They may have 1. WON PNB condoned the balance of the judgment
been mistaken in the remedy they sought, but the mistake was 2. WON a lawyer can appear as both counsel and witness in the
made in good faith. Indeed, while the practice of law is not a same case
business venture, a lawyer nevertheless is entitled to be duly
compensated for professional services rendered. It is but natural HELD
that he protects his interest, most especially when his fee is on a 1. No. There was no evidence presented except the uncertain
contingent basis. testimony of the defendant, that the bank did in fact agree to
- Respondent was disengaged by SANDAMA after a compromise the condonation. Even if the SC grants that Mr. Pecson did agree
agreement was entered into by the lot owners and NAPOCOR. Its to the condonation, there is not evidence presented that Mr.
motions for separate legal fees as well as for intervention were Pecson was authorized by the bank through its board of directors
dismissed by the trial court. Presiding from the ultimate outcome or persons authorized by the said board to bind the bank to the
of an independent action to recover attorney’s fees, the Court agreement.
does not see any obstacle to respondent filing such action 2. Yes (No). The SC held that the appearance of a lawyer as both
against SANDAMA or any of its members. counsel and witness in a trial is not strictly prohibited. The SC
- The fact that the contract stipulates a maximum of forty however stated that it would be preferable if the lawyer in this
percent (40%) contingent fees does not make the contract illegal case can appear only as one or the other. In other words, if they
or unacceptable. Contingent fees are not per se prohibited by are to testify as required by the case, they should withdraw from
law. Its validity depends, in large measure, upon the the active management of the case. This is embodied in Canon
reasonableness of the amount fixed as contingent fee under the 19 of the Code of Legal Ethics.
circumstances of the case. Nevertheless, when it is shown that a Disposition The decision of the CFI is reversed and the
contract for a contingent fee was obtained by undue influence defendant is ordered to pay PNB the sum of P11,574.38 with
exercised by the attorney upon his client or by any fraud or interest thereon at the rate of seven percent per annum to be
imposition, or that the compensation is clearly excessive, the reckoned from August 1, 1930. Costs for the defendant.
Court must, and will protect the aggrieved party.
considered CLOSED. The Integrated Bar of the Philippines is
enjoined to comply with the procedure outlined in Rule 139-B in
all cases involving the disbarment and discipline of attorneys. (cha mendoza)

- During the period July 8-10, 1987, members of the respondent
labor unions (Union of Filipino Employees and Kimberly
Independent Labor Union for Solidarity, Activism and
VICKERS; 1932 Nationalism-Olalia) intensified the intermittent pickets they had
(romy ramirez) been conducting since June 17, 1987 in front of the Padre Faura
gate of the Supreme Court building. They set up pickets'
NATURE quarters on the pavement in front of the Supreme Court
APPEAL from a judgment of the Court of First Instance of Manila building, at times obstructing access to and egress from the
Court's premises and offices of justices, officials and employees.
FACTS They constructed provisional shelters along the sidewalks, set up
- Defendant-appellant, Uy Teng Piao, was sued by PNB for non a kitchen and littered the place with food containers and trash in
payment of obligations at the CFI of Manila and said court utter disregard of proper hygiene and sanitation. They waved
rendered judgment in favor of PNB on September 9, 1934 for the their red streamers and placards with slogans, and took turns
sum of P17,232.42 with interest of seven percent per annum haranguing the court all day long with the use of loudspeakers.
from June 1, 1924. The court ordered the defendant appellant to - These acts were done even after their leaders had been
deposit the money due with the clerk of the court within three received by Justices Pedro L. Yap and Marcelo B. Fenian as
months from the date of judgment. In case of failure to pay, the Chairmen of the Divisions where their cases are pending, and
mortgage properties should be sold at auction in accordance Atty. Jose C. Espinas, counsel of the Union of Filipro Employees,
with law and the proceeds to be applied to the payment of the had been called in order that the pickets might be informed that
judgment. the demonstration must cease immediately for the same
- The defendant failed to comply with the payment order and the constitutes direct contempt of court and that the Court would
properties were auctioned by the sheriff of Manila for a total of not entertain their petitions for as long as the pickets were
P1,300 with PNB as the buyer. maintained. Thus, on July 10, 1987, the Court en banc issued a
- On February 11, 1925, PNB secured from defendant a waiver of resolution giving the said unions the opportunity to withdraw
the latter’s right to redeem one of the properties described as graciously and requiring the leaders of the respondent union
TCT no. 8274 and thereafter sold the same to one Mariano leaders to appear before the Court on July 14, 1987 at 10:30
Santos for P8,600. A.M. and then and there to SHOW CAUSE why they should not be
- The other property, TCT No. 7264 was likewise resold and the held in contempt of court. Atty. Jose C. Espinas was further
proceeds was credited to the account of Uy. The total amount required to SHOW CAUSE why he should not be administratively
generated with the resale of the lots amonted to P 11, 300. dealt with.
- On the appointed date and time, the above-named individuals (joey capones)
appeared before the Court, represented by Atty. Jose C. Espinas,
apologizing for their actions described and assuring that the acts NATURE
would not be repeated. Atty. Espinas likewise manifested to the Administrative case for disqualification
Court that he had explained to the picketers why their actions
were wrong and that the cited persons were willing to suffer FACTS
such penalty as may be warranted under the circumstances. He, The election for the 16th IBP Board of Governors was set on April
however, prayed for the Court's leniency considering that the 26, 2003, a month prior to the IBP National Convention
picket was actually spearheaded by the leaders of the scheduled on May 22-24, 2003 in compliance with IBP by laws.
"Pagkakaisa ng Mang. gagawa as Timog Katagalogan" Later on, the outgoing IBP Board reset the elections to May 31,
(PAMANTIK), an unregistered loose alliance of about seventy-five 2003, or after the IBP National Convention. Respondent De Vera,
(75) unions in the Southern Tagalog area, and not by either the a member of the Board of Directors of the Agusan del Sur IBP
Union of Filipro Employees or the Kimberly Independent Labor Chapter in Eastern Mindanao, along with Atty. P. Angelica Y.
union. Santiago, President of the IBP Rizal Chapter, sent a
- Atty. Espinas further stated that he had explained to the letterrequesting the IBP Board to reconsider its Resolution. Their
picketers that any delay in the resolution of their cam is usually Motion was anchored on two grounds viz. (1) IBP By Laws require
for causes beyond the control of the Court and that the Supreme the holding of the election of Regional Governors at least one
Court has always remained steadfast in its role as the guardian month prior to the national convention of the IBP to prevent it
of the Constitution. from being politicized since post-convention elections may
- To confirm for the record that the person cited for contempt otherwise lure the candidates into engaging in unacceptable
fully understood the reason for the citation and that they win political practices, and; (2) holding the election on May 31, 2003
abide by their promise that said incident will not be repeated, will render it impossible for the outgoing IBP Board from
the Court required the respondents to submit a written resolving protests in the election for governors not later than
manifestation to this effect, which respondents complied with on May 31, 2003, as expressed in the IBP By Laws. Motion was
July 17, 1987 denied. After the IBP national convention had been adjourned,
Attys. Oliver Owen L. Garcia, Emmanuel Ravanera and Tony
ISSUE Velez filed a Petition before the IBP Board seeking (1) the
WON the respondents and Atty. Espinas should be held in direct postponement of the election for Regional Governors to the
contempt of Court second or third week of June 2003; and (2) the disqualification of
respondent De Vera “from being elected Regional Governor for
HELD Eastern Mindanao Region.” IBP denied petition stating that there
NO. Contempt charges dismissed. was no compelling justification for the postponement of the
Ratio The respondents who are nonlawyers are not elections and that the petition for disqualification was
knowledgeable in her intricacies of substantive and adjective premature. Petitioners filed the present Petition before this
laws. They are not aware that even as the rights of free speech Court, seeking the same reliefs as those sought in their Petition
and of assembly are protected by the Constitution, any attempt before the IBP. The SC issued a TRO, directing the IBP Board, its
to pressure or influence courts of justice through the exercise of agents, representatives or persons acting in their place and
either right amounts to an abuse thereof, is no longer within the stead to cease and desist from proceeding with the election for
ambit of constitutional protection, nor did they realize that any the IBP Regional Governor in Eastern Mindanao.
such efforts to influence the course of justice constitutes Petitioner’s Claim
contempt of court. The duty and responsibility of advising them,  De Vera had transferred his IBP membership from the Pasay,
therefore, rest primarily and heavily upon the shoulders of their Paranaque, Las Pinas and Muntinlupa (PPLM) Chapter to
counsel of record. Atty. Jose C. Espinas, when his attention was Agusan del Sur Chapter because he coveted the IBP
called by this Court, did his best to demonstrate to the pickets presidency. [Following the rotation rule, whoever will be
the untenability of their acts and posture. It is their duty as elected Regional Governor for Eastern Mindanao Region in
officers of the court to properly apprise their clients on matters the 16th Regional Governors elections will automatically
of decorum and proper attitude toward courts of justice, and to become the EVP. The EVP will automatically succeed the
labor leaders of the importance of a continuing educational President in the next term]
program for their members.
Reasoning The Court will not hesitate in future similar  De Vera lacks the requisite moral aptitude. He was
situations to apply the full force of the law and punish for sanctioned by the Supreme Court for irresponsibly attacking
contempt those who attempt to pressure the Court into acting the integrity of the SC Justices during the deliberations on
one way or the other in any case pending before it. Grievances, the aconstitutionality of the plunder law. He also could have
if any, must be ventilated through the proper channels, i.e., been disbarred in the United States for misappropriating his
through appropriate petitions, motions or other pleadings in client’s funds had he not surrendered his California license
keeping with the respect due to the Courts as impartial to practice law.
administrators of justice entitled to "proceed to the disposition of  De Vera actively campaigned for the position of Eastern
its business in an orderly manner, free from outside interference Mindanao Governor during the IBP National Convention, a
obstructive of its functions and tending to embarrass the prohibited act under the IBP By-Laws
administration of justice. Respondent’s Comments
- courts and juries, in the decision of issues of fact and law  Court has no jurisdiction over the present controversy:
should be immune from every extraneous influence; that facts the election of the Officers of the IBP, including the
should be decided upon evidence produced in court; and that determination of the qualification of those who want to serve
the determination of such facts should be uninfluenced by bias, the organization, is purely an internal matter
prejudice or sympathies.  Petitioners have no legal standing because there is no
Disposition WHEREFORE, the contempt charges against herein disqualification in the by laws. Only election protests are
respondents are DISMISSED. Henceforth, no demonstrations or provided for but only qualified nominees can file protest.
pickets intended to pressure or influence courts of justice into Petitioners are not among qualified nominees.
acting one way or the other on pending cases shall be allowed in
the vicinity and/or within the premises of any and all courts.  An IBP member is entitled to select, change or transfer
SO ORDERED. his chapter membership. It was upon the invitation of the
officers and members of the Agusan del Sur IBP Chapter that
he transferred his IBP membership. It is unfair and unkind
for the petitioners to state that his membership transfer was
TINGA; December 11, 2003
done for convenience and as a mere subterfuge to qualify 4. Ratio As long as an aspiring member meets the basic
him for the Eastern Mindanao governorship requirements provided in the IBP By-Laws, he cannot be barred.
 He denies exhibiting disrespect to the Court or to any Reasoning The basic qualifications for one who wishes to be
of its members during its deliberations on the elected governor for a particular region are: (1) he is a member
constitutionality of the plunder law in good standing of the IBP, 2) he is included in the voter’s list of
 As for the administrative complaint filed against him by his chapter or he is not disqualified by the Integration Rule, by
one of his clients when he was practicing law in California, the By-Laws of the Integrated Bar, or by the By-Laws of the
which in turn compelled him to surrender his California Chapter to which he belongs, (3) he does not belong to a chapter
license to practice law, he maintains that it cannot serve as from which a regional governor has already been elected, unless
basis for determining his moral qualification to run for the the election is the start of a new season or cycle, and (4) he is
position as there is no final judgment finding him guilty of not in the government service. With regards to his transfer of
the administrative charge membership the same is valid having been made 17 months
 On the alleged politicking he committed during the IBP prior election, The only condition required under the rules is that
National Convention, he states that it is baseless to assume the transfer must be made not less than three months prior to
that he was campaigning simply because he declared that the election of officers in the chapter to which the lawyer wishes
he had 10 votes to support his candidacy for governorship in to transfer. There is nothing in the By-Laws which explicitly
the Eastern Mindanao Region and that the petitioners did provides that one must be morally fit before he can run for IBP
not present any evidence to substantiate their claim that he governorship. For one, this is so because the determination of
or his handlers had billeted the delegates from his region at moral fitness of a candidate lies in the individual judgment of the
the Century Park Hotel members of the House of Delegates. For another, basically the
disqualification of a candidate involving lack of moral fitness
ISSUES should emanate from his disbarment or suspension from the
1. WON this Court has jurisdiction over the present controversy practice of law by this Court, or conviction by final judgment of
2. WON petitioners have a cause of action against respondent De an offense which involves moral turpitude. The contempt ruling
Vera, the determination of which in turn requires the resolution cannot serve as a basis to consider respondent De Vera immoral.
of two sub-issues, namely: The act for which he was found guilty of indirect contempt does
a. WON the petition to disqualify respondent De Vera is the not involve moral turpitude (“an act of baseness, vileness or
proper remedy under the IBP By-Laws depravity in the private and social duties which a man owes his
b. WON the petitioners are the proper parties to bring this fellow men, or to society in general, contrary to the accepted
suit; and customary rule of right and duty between man and man, or
3. WON the present Petition is premature conduct contrary to justice, honesty, modesty or good morals.”)
4. Assuming that petitioners have a cause of action and that the On the administrative complaint in California, no final judgment
present petition is not premature, WON respondent De Vera is was rendered by the California Supreme Court finding him guilty
qualified to run for Governor of the IBP Eastern Mindanao Region of the charge. On the allegation that respondent de Vera or his
handlers had housed the delegates from Eastern Mindanao in
HELD the Century Park Hotel to get their support for his candidacy,
1. Ratio As there exists a clear constitutional grant of power to again petitioners did not present any proof to substantiate the
the SC to promulgate rules affecting the IBP, the SC has same. It must be emphasized that bare allegations,
jurisdiction over the present controversy. unsubstantiated by evidence, are not equivalent to proof under
Reasoning Sec. 5, Art. 8 of the 1987 Constitution confers power our Rules of Court
to SC to supervise all activities of the IBP. The IBP by-laws also Disposition Petition to disqualify respondent Atty. Leonard De
recognize the full range of the power of supervision of the SC Vera to run for the position of IBP Governor for Eastern Mindanao
over the IBP. in the 16th election of the IBP Board of Governors is hereby
2A. Ratio Since the IBP By-laws do not provide for DISMISSED. The Temporary Restraining Order issued by this
disqualification of candidates for IBP governor, petition to Court on 30 May 2003 which enjoined the conduct of the election
disqualify is not the proper remedy. for the IBP Regional Governor in Eastern Mindanao is hereby
Reasoning Petition has no firm ground to stand on. Changes LIFTED.
previously adopted by the Court simplified the election process
and made it less controversial. The grounds for disqualification PEREZ V ESTRADA
were thus removed in the present by-laws. VITUG; June 29, 2001
2B. Ratio With the applicability of Section 40 of the IBP By-
(glaisa po)
Laws to the present petition, petitioners are not the proper
parties to bring the suit.
Reasoning As provided in the aforesaid section, only nominees
- KBP, an association representing duly franchised and
can file with the President of the IBP a written protest setting
authorized television and radio networks throughout the country,
forth the grounds therefore. only IBP members from Agusan del
sent a letter requesting this Court to allow live media coverage
Sur and Surigao del Norte are qualified to be nominated and
of the anticipated trial of the plunder and other criminal cases
elected at the election for the 16th Regional Governor of Eastern
filed against former President Joseph E. Estrada before the
Mindanao. This is pursuant to the rotation rule enunciated in the
Sandiganbayan in order "to assure the public of full transparency
aforequoted Sections 37 and 38 of the IBP By-Laws. Petitioner
in the proceedings of an unprecedented case in our history."
Garcia is from Bukidnon IBP Chapter while the other petitioners,
- The request was seconded by Mr. Cesar N. Sarino in his letter
Ravanera and Velez, are from the Misamis Oriental IBP Chapter.
to the Chief Justice and, still later, by Senator Renato Cayetano
Consequently, the petitioners are not even qualified to be
and Attorney Ricardo Romulo.
nominated at the forthcoming election.
- The Honorable Secretary of Justice Hernando Perez formally
3. Ratio Petition to seek disqualification of a person is
filed the instant petition; public interest, the petition further
premature when the person has not yet even been nominated.
averred, should be evident bearing in mind the right of the
Reasoning Before a member is elected governor, he has to be
public to vital information affecting the nation.
nominated first for the post. In this case, respondent De Vera
- In effect, the petition seeks a re-examination of the 23rd
has not been nominated for the post. In fact, no nomination of
October 1991 resolution of this Court in a case for libel filed by
candidates has been made yet by the members of the House of
then President Corazon C. Aquino: “Accordingly, in order to
Delegates from Eastern Mindanao. Conceivably too, assuming
protect the parties' right to due process, to prevent the
that respondent De Vera gets nominated, he can always opt to
distraction of the participants in the proceedings and in the last
decline the nomination.
analysis, to avoid miscarriage of justice, the Court resolved to
PROHlBIT live radio and television coverage of court
proceedings. Video footage of court hearings for news purposes (boots tirol)
shall be limited and restricted as above indicated."
ISSUE Resolution of the Petition for Certiorari to review the decision of
WON live radio and television coverage of the trial of the plunder the San Carlos City Court
and other criminal cases filed against Pres. Estrada should be
allowed FACTS
- a petition for certiorari entitled "Khalyxto Perez Maglasang vs.
HELD People of the Philippines, Presiding Judge, Ernesto B. Templado
- NO. The propriety of granting or denying the instant petition (San Carlos City Court) Negros Occidental," was filed by
involve the weighing out of the constitutional guarantees of registered mail with the SC. Due to noncompliance with the
freedom of the press and the right to public information, on the requirements, specifically the nonpayment of the legal fees and
one hand, and the fundamental rights of the accused, on the the non-attachment of the duplicate originals or duly certified
other hand, along with the constitutional power of a court to true copies of the questioned decision and orders of the
control its proceedings in ensuring a fair and impartial trial. respondent judge, the SC dismissed the petition.
- Due process guarantees the accused a presumption of -On September 9, 1989, Atty. Marceliano L. Castellano, as
innocence until the contrary is proved in a trial that is not lifted counsel of the petitioner, moved for a reconsideration of the
above its individual settings nor made an object of public's resolution dismissing the petition. This time, the amount of
attention and where the conclusions reached are induced not by P316.50 was remitted and the Court was furnished with a
any outside force or influence10 but only by evidence and duplicate copy of the respondent judge's decision, and also the
argument given in open court, where fitting dignity and calm IBP O.R. No. and the date of the payment of his membership
ambiance is demanded. dues. The motion for reconsideration did not contain the
- An accused has a right to a public trial but it is a right that duplicate original or certified true copies of the assailed orders.
belongs to him, more than anyone else, where his life or liberty Thus, in a Resolution dated October 18, 1989, the motion for
can be held critically in balance. A public trial aims to ensure reconsideration was denied with finality.
that he is fairly dealt with and would not be unjustly condemned - On January 22, 1990 the Court received from Atty. Castellano a
and that his rights are not compromised in secrete conclaves of copy of a strongly-worded complaint filed with the Office of the
long ago. President of the Philippines whereby Khalyxto Perez Maglasang,
- A public trial is not synonymous with publicized trial; it only through his lawyer, Atty. Castellano, as complainant, accused all
implies that the court doors must be open to those who wish to the five Justices of the Court's Second Division with "biases
come, sit in the available seats, conduct themselves with and/or ignorance of the law or knowingly rendering unjust
decorum and observe the trial process. judgments or resolution."
- The courts recognize the constitutionally embodied freedom of - Atty. Castellano was required to show cause why he should not
the press and the right to public information. It also approves of be punished for contempt or administratively dealt with for
media's exalted power to provide the most accurate and improper conduct by reason of the strong and intemperate
comprehensive means of conveying the proceedings to the language of the complaint and its improper filing with the Office
public and in acquainting the public with the judicial process in of the President, which has no jurisdiction to discipline, much
action; nevertheless, within the courthouse, the overriding more, remove, Justices of the Supreme Court.
consideration is still the paramount right of the accused to due -On March 21, 1990, Atty. Castellano filed his "Opposition." In his
process17 which must never be allowed to suffer diminution in its "Opposition", Atty. Castellano claimed that the complaint "was a
constitutional proportions. constructive criticism intended to correct in good faith the
- The Integrated Bar of the Philippines, in its Resolution of 16 erroneous and very strict practices of the Justices concerned.
Apri1 2001, expressed its own concern on the live television and Atty. Castellano further disputed the authority and jurisdiction of
radio coverage of the criminal trials of Mr. Estrada; to the Court in issuing the Resolution requiring him to show cause
paraphrase: Live television and radio coverage can negate the inasmuch as "they are Respondents in this particular case and
rule on exclusion of witnesses during the hearings intended to no longer as Justices and as such they have no more jurisdiction
assure a fair trial; at stake in the criminal trial is not only the life to give such order." Thus, according to him, "the most they
and liberty of the accused but the very credibility of the (Justices) can do by the mandate of the law and procedure (sic)
Philippine criminal justice system, and live television and radio is to answer the complaint satisfactorily so that they will not be
coverage of the trial could allow the "hooting throng" to arrogate punished in accordance with the law just like a common tao."
unto themselves the task of judging the guilt of the accused,
such that the verdict of the court will be acceptable only if ISSUE
popular; and live television and radio coverage of the trial will WON Atty Castellano is guilty of improper conduct and be
not subserve the ends of justice but will only pander to the punished for contempt
desire for publicity of a few grandstanding lawyers.
- Parenthetically, the United States Supreme Court and other HELD
federal courts do not allow live television and radio coverage of YES.
their proceedings. In filing the "complaint" against the justices of the Court's
- The sad reality is that the criminal cases presently involved are Second Division with the Office of the President, even the most
of great dimensions so involving as they do a former President of basic tenet of our government system-the separation of powers
the Republic. It is undeniable that these cases have twice between the judiciary, the executive, and the legislative
become the nation's focal points in the two conflicting branches-has been lost on Atty. Castellano. The Supreme Court
phenomena of EDSA II and EDSA III where the magnitude of the is supreme-the third great department of government entrusted
events has left a still divided nation. exclusively with the judicial power to adjudicate with finality all
- The transcendental events in our midst do not allow us to turn justiciable disputes, public and private. No other department or
a blind eye to yet another possible extraordinary case of mass agency may pass upon its judgments or declare them 'unjust.'
action being allowed to now creep into even the business of the Not even the President of the Philippines as Chief Executive may
courts in the dispensation of justice under a rule of law. At the pass judgment on any of the Court's acts.
very least, a change in the standing rule of the court contained -Atty. Castellano's assertion that the complaint "was a
in its resolution of 23 October 1991 may not appear to be constructive criticism intended to correct in good faith the
propitious. erroneous and very strict practices of the Justices" is but an
effort to sanitize his clearly unfounded and irresponsible
MAGLASANG V PEOPLE accusation. The arrogance displayed by counsel in insisting that
PER CURIAM; November 4, 1990 the Court has no jurisdiction to question his act of having
complained before the Office of the President, and in claiming 1. WON in behalf of one client, it is the lawyer’s duty to
that a contempt order is used as a weapon by judges and fight for a issue or claim, but it is his duty to oppose it
justices against practicing lawyers, however, reveals all too for another client.
plainly that he was not honestly motivated in his criticism. Atty. 2. Whether the acceptance of a new relation will prevent
Castellano's complaint is a vilification of the honor and integrity an attorney from the full discharge of his duty of
of the Justices of the Second Division of the Court and an undivided fidelity and loyalty to his client or invite
impeachment of their capacity to render justice according to law. suspicion of unfaithfulness or double dealing in the
Disposition Atty. Castellano found guilty of improper conduct performance thereof.
and contempt of court and fined P1,000.00 and suspended from Derivative suit: Where corporate directors have committed a
the practice of law for a period of six (6) months breach of trust either by their frauds, ultra vires acts, or
negligence, and the corporation is unable or unwilling to institute
HORNILLA V SALUNAT suit to remedy the wrong, a stockholder may sue on behalf of
himself and other stockholders and for the benefit of the
SANTIAGO; July 1, 2003
corporation and indirectly to the stockholders.
(dahls salamat) -Respondent was found guilty of representing conflicting
interests and was ADMONISHED to observe higher degree of
FACTS fidelity in the practice of his profession.
-Complainant : Benedicto Hornilla, Atty. FedericoRicafort
(members of PPSTA)
-Respondent : Atty. Erneto Salunat (member of ASSA Law Firm->
Retained counsel of Philippine Public School Teachers CARPIO MORALES; December 14, 2005
Association) (apple maramba)
-Complainants filed an intracorpoate case against members of
the Board of Directors for terms 1992-1995 and 1995-1997 for NATURE
unlawful spending and undervalued sale of real property of the Petition for review on certiorari of a resolution of the Integrated
PPSTA. Bar of the Philippines Board of Governors
-Respondent appeared as counsel for PPSTA Board Members in
the said case. FACTS
-Respondent in PPSTS v 1992-1995 Board of Directors of PPSTA, On July 15, 1991, Potenciano Ilusorio, engaged the services of
appeared as counsel for respondent despite being part of ASSA the law office of Liwanag Raval Pilando Suplico and Lokin to
Law Firm the retained counsel of PPSTA represent him in the Sandiganbayan Civil Case No. 0009, of
which Ilusorio was one of the defendants
-In that civil case, the Republic was claiming shareholdings in
Petitioner’s Claim Philippine Overseas Telecommunications Corporation (POTC) and
-respondent is guilty of conflict of interest because he was Philippine Communications Satellite Corporation (PHILCOMSAT)
engaged by PPSTA and was being paid out of its corporate funds 99% of the shares of which appeared to be owned by POTC. Atty
to which they have contributed. Luis Lokin, Jr., together with Attorneys Demaree Raval and
-respondent violated rule 15.06 of the code of professional Salvador Hizon, actively handled the case for Ilusorio
responsibility when he assured PPSTA Board Members in a -While the case was pending, Ilusorio, with the assistance of the
meeting that he will win the PPSTA case law firm of Raval and Lokin (successor to Liwanag Raval Pilando
Respondent’s Comment Suplico and Lokin), entered into a Compromise Agreement with
-He entered his appearance as counsel or the PPSTA Board the Republic, where it was settled that the Republic was to get
members for and in behalf of ASSA Law and Associates. 4,727 POTC shares while Ilusorio was to get 673 POTC shares.
-His relationship with Aurelio Salunat is immaterial -During the special stockholders’ meeting of PHILCOMSAT held
-He denies assuring victory of the PPSTA Board in the case but on August 27, 1998, which was supposed to be a mere informal
merely assured them the truth will come out. gathering to introduce the newly appointed government
-Averred by way of Special and Affirmative Defenses, respondent nominees for PHILCOMSAT to the private stockholders of
averred that Atty. Ricafort himself was guilty of gross violation of POTC, the gathering, through the “high-handed and deceitful
his oath amounting to gross misconduct ,malpractice and maneuvers” of respondent, was suddenly and without notice
unethical conduct for filing trumped up charges against him, and transformed into a Special Stockholders Meeting at which
prayed that the complaint against him be dismissed and directors and officers of PHILCOMSAT were elected.
complainant be disciplined or disbarred. -Ilusorio then contested the validity of the meeting by filing
IBP Commission on Bar and Discipline recommended that before the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) a
respondent be suspended from the practice of law for six complaint, against Manuel Nieto, et al. who were purportedly
months. Board of Governors approved the report and elected directors and officers of PHILCOMSAT, in which SEC case
recommendation. respondent Lokin, Jr. appeared as the counsel of Nieto, et al.,
contrary to his oath not to represent conflicting interests.
ISSUE -However, on account of the death of Ilusorio and the failure of
WON a lawyer engaged by a corporation can defend members of his children, namely, Maximo Ilusorio, Sylvia Ilusorio, and Erlinda
the board of the same corporation in a derivative suit K. Ilusorio-Bildner (herein petitioner), to establish their
qualification to substitute for him, his complaint was dismissed
HELD -Petitioner filed a new complaint against respondent
No. A Lawyer engaged as counsel for a corporation cannot -After hearing both parties, IBP Investigating Commissioner San
represent members of the same corporation’s board of directors Juan found merit in petitioner’s complaint and recommended
in a derivative suit brought against them. To do so would be that respondent be suspended for three months.
tantamount to representing conflicting interests which is -The IBP Board of Governors set aside the recommendation of
prohibited by the Code of Professional Responsibility. Commissioner San Juan and dismissed the complaint
-Pertinent rule of the CPR: Rule 15.03. A lawyer shall not -No copy of the notice of resolution was served upon petitioner.
represent conflicting interests except by written consent of all Petitioner, nonetheless, learned about the recommendation of
concerned given after a full disclosure of the facts. Commissioner San Juan and the setting aside thereof by the
-There is conflict of interest when a lawyer represents Board of Governors
inconsistent interests of two or more opposing parties. - On March 10, 2004 petitioner wrote a letter to the Board in her
-TESTS FOR CONFLICT OF INTEREST: own name requesting “that the Board take up the matter once
more” and asking for “the remanding of the case against Atty.
Luis Lokin to the Board of Governors.”
- By letter of April 16, 2004, the Board of Governors said that it 3. Section 1, Rule 139-B states:
“constrained to deny [petitioner’s] request for a remanding or a SECTION 1. How instituted. – Proceedings for disbarment,
reconsideration of the case” as there was no provision for a suspension or discipline of attorneys may be taken by the
reconsideration of any such case either in Rule 139-B of the Supreme Court motu proprio, or by the Integrated Bar of the
Rules of Court or in the Rules of Procedure of the Commission on Philippines (IBP) upon the verified complaint of any person.
Bar Discipline. The complaint shall state clearly and concisely the facts
-Counsel for petitioner, Atty. Samuel Divina, then wrote a letter complained of and shall be supported by affidavits of persons
of July 19, 2004 to Atty. Jose Anselmo Cadiz, Chairman of the IBP having personal knowledge of the facts therein alleged and/or by
Board of Governors and concurrently National President of the such documents as may substantiate said facts.
IBP, informing him that petitioner had not been notified of any -Personal knowledge is not a requisite for filing a disbarment
final action on her complaint complaint. Clearly, personal knowledge is required, not of the
- Replying, the Board Chairman, by letter dated August 11, 2004, complainant, but of her witnesses, if there are any.
stated that the Board could no longer act on petitioner’s July 19, Substantive
2004 letter, otherwise it would, in effect, be considering the Reasoning
letter as a motion for reconsideration which is not provided for Respondent denies representing conflicting interests on the
by the rules of procedure for cases of the kind. ground that SB Case No. 009 and SEC Case No. 09-98-6086 are
- Petitioner thus filed the present petition on September 2, 2004 totally distinct from each other
-Nowhere is the conflict of interest clearer than in respondent’s
ISSUES Memorandum dated September 28, 1998 filed with the SEC
Procedural wherein he argued in behalf of Nieto, et al. as follows:
1. WON the petition was filed within the 15-day reglamentary “A continued exercise of jurisdiction and a subsequent
period disposition of the instant Petition by this Honorable Commission
2. WON the case should be dismissed for being inappropriate would pre-empt the resolution by the Sandiganbayan of the
and improper, it being based not on a resolution of the IBP Board disputed shares. It would in fact affirm the ownership by the
3. WON personal knowledge of the petitioner of the facts alleged Petitioners of the said shares subject of the Sandiganbayan case.
in the complaint is required to pursue the complaint This Petition is a premature action to enforce the
Substantive Compromise Agreement entered into by Mr. Ilusorio.
WON the respondent is guilty of violating Rule 15.03 of the Code Clearly, this is beyond the jurisdiction of this Honorable
of Professional Responsibility Commission. Any right to be derived from the Compromise
Agreement is clearly inchoate at this point in time.”
HELD -Plainly, when respondent represented Nieto, et al. in the SEC,
Procedural he was advocating an interest hostile to the implementation of
Reasoning the same Compromise Agreement that he had priorly negotiated
1. Respondent contends that the petition was filed beyond the for Ilusorio
15-day reglementary period, as petitioner should be deemed to Disposition The Resolution of the IBP Board of Governors
have received notice of the challenged IBP resolution, not on dated February 27, 2004 is SET ASIDE. Respondent Luis K.
August 17, 2004 when her counsel received the August 11, 2004 Lokin, Jr. is found guilty of violating Rule 15.03 of the Code of
letter of the IBP Board Chairman, but on March 10, 2004 when Professional Responsibility and is hereby SUSPENDED from the
she wrote the Board admitting having acquired knowledge of practice of law for a period of Three (3) Months, with WARNING
the reversal of Commissioner San Juan’s recommendation. that a repetition of the same or similar offense shall be dealt
Hence, respondent claims, petitioner had only until March 25, with more severely.
2004 to file a petition for review.
- Section 12 of Rule 139-B of the Rules of Court which states: GONZALES V CABUCANA, JR.
(c) If the respondent is exonerated by the Board or the
disciplinary sanction imposed by it is less than suspension or
disbarment (such as admonition, reprimand, or fine) it shall issue (ice baguilat)
a decision exonerating respondent or imposing such sanction.
The case shall be deemed terminated unless upon petition of the NATURE
complaint or other interested party filed with the Supreme Court Administrative Case
within fifteen (15) days from notice of the Board’s resolution, the
Supreme Court orders otherwise. FACTS
- The notice of resolution referred to in said paragraph (c) refers Gonzales being counseled by the law firm Cabucana, Cabucana,
not to an unofficial information that may be gathered by the De Guzman and Cabucana Law Office, filed a civil case that was
parties, nor to any letter from the IBP Board Chairman or even of awarded to them in a judicial ruling and asked Gatcheco to
the Board, but to the official notice of resolution that is supposed execute such however Gatcheco failed to do so and Gonzales
to be issued by the Board, copy of which is given to all parties filed a complaint. Gatcheco harassed Gonzales and subsequently
and transmitted to this Court. Gonzales filed a criminal case. Atty. Marcelino Cabucana, Jr.,
- Respondent IBP admits that no such notice has been sent to represented Gatcheco. Gonzales filed an administrative case
petitioner saying that Cabucana violated the lawyer-client relationship due
- Since no notice has been sent to petitioner, at least at the time to conflict of interest.
this petition was filed, as the August 11, 2004 letter from the IBP
Board Chairman cannot be deemed a notice of resolution, the ISSUE
present petition has been timely filed. WON there is a violation of the Code of Professional
2. While, generally, a party who desires to appeal from the IBP’s Responsibility for conflict of interest
dismissal of a disciplinary case should await the notice of
resolution, it bears noting in this instance that the Board, despite HELD
issuing a resolution on the subject complaint on February 27, Yes, the rule is that the lawyer is barred from representing
2004, failed to send a notice of resolution to petitioner. conflicting interests except by written consent of all concerned
-The IBP has given no reason for the delay other than the given after a full disclosure of the facts. Even the fact of
nebulous explanation that records were still being completed. appearing to be treacherous and double-dealing is discouraged
-In view thereof, petitioner, who had already confirmed that her because people are expected to entrust their secrets to their
complaint was dismissed through a letter coming from the IBP lawyers. Acceptance of a new relation would prevent the full
Board Chairman, cannot be faulted for appealing to this Court discharge of the lawyer’s duty of undivided fidelity and loyalty to
notwithstanding the absence of an official notice of resolution the client or invite suspicion of unfaithfulness or double-dealing
in the performance of that duty.
Although the firm was the one who represented the civil case the circumstances. In this case, ACCRA lawyers acted as nominees-
person is still in representation of the firm. It at the least invite stockholders of said corps involved in sequestration proceedings.
suspicion of double-dealing. - PCGG filed Third Amended Complaint w/c excluded pvt
It is however mitigated by the fact that the case was done in respondent Raul Roco bec he promised to reveal identity of
good faith and with no malice as supported by the findings of IBP principal/s for whom he acted as nominee-stockholder
Commissioner Reyes and Gonzales move of withdrawing the - ACCRA lawyers said it was in furtherance of legit lawyering and
case. they became holders of shares of stock only as incorporating or
Disposition Respondent fined and given a stern warning acquiring stockholders, and as such, they do not claim any
proprietary interest in said shares.
DE GUZMAN V DE DIOS - Petitioner Paraja Hayudini, who separated fr ACCRA, filed a
separate answer.
PARDO; January 26, 2001
- ACCRA lawyers filed a counter-motion that PCGG also exclude
(athe odi) them as parties-defendant as it did to Roco. PCGG set
conditions for exclusion of the petitioners:
NATURE - disclosure of identity of clients
Complaint for Disbarment against Atty. De Dios on the ground of - submission of docs substantiating lawyer-client
violation of Canon 15, Rule 15.03 of the Code of Professional relationship
Responsibility for representing conflicting interests. - submission of deeds of assignments petitioners executed
in favor of its clients covering their respective
FACTS shareholdings.
- De Guzman sought the assistance of Atty De Dios in forming a - PCGG presented supposed proof to substantiate compliance by
corporation engaged in hotel and restaurant business. They Roco of the said conditions.
were able to have Suzuki Beach Hotel Incorporated (SBHI) - Sandiganbayan denied exclusion of petitioners fr the PCGG
registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Atty. case. That denial is now being questioned.
De Dios was retained by De Guzman.
- De Guzman was the majority stockholder. She subscribed to ISSUES
29,800 shares, she paid up P745,000.00 during the stage of 1. WON lawyer-client confidentiality applies in this case
incorporation. However, the remaining 22,250 shares 2. WON Roco and the ACCRA lawyers are similarly situated,
amounting to P2,235,000.00 was left unpaid. thus, making the denial of the ACCRA lawyers’ exclusion from
- The corporation, upon the advice of Atty. De Dios required De the PCGG case a violation of equal protection clause.
Guzman to pay the unliquidated shares. Later, they were
auctioned and acquired by Ramon del Rosario, one of the HELD
incorporators of SBHI. Because of this, De Guzman was ousted 1. Yes
from the corporation completely. While Atty. De Dios rose to be - PCGG is not really after the petitioners but the “bigger fish”.
the president of the corporation. This is clear fr the PCGG’s willingness to cut a deal w/ petitioners
- In defense, Atty. De Dios argued that she represents the – the names of clients in exchange for exclusion fr complaint.
corporation, not De Guzman in her personal capacity. Moreover, - Lawyer-client relationship is based on contract of lease of svcs
what she did was for the best interest of the corporation, which and contract of agency. But it is more than relationship of
was on the verge of bankruptcy then. principal-agent and lessor-lessee. An atty possesses special
powers of trust given by client. He also occupies quasi-judicial
ISSUE ofc since he is an officer of the court.
WON Atty. De Dios is guilty of representing conflicting interest. - Old Code of Civil Procedure forbids counsel w/o authority of
client to reveal communication or advise given in course of
HELD professional employment. This was passed on into the Rules of
Yes. Court.
Reasoning - Canon 17 of Code of Professional Responsibility says that a
1. Granting that the sale of her delinquent shares was valid, De lawyer owes fidelity to cause of his client. Canon 15 of the
Guzman still has original shares of P745,00.00, enough for her Canons of Professional Ethics also speaks of the devotion of a
not to be ousted from the corporation. lawyer to the interest of the client.
2. There was an atty-client relationship between De Dios and De - The right to counsel of an accused is also involved in this
Guzman. The latter was the one who retained her as counsel issue. If client were made to choose bet legal representation w/o
not the corporation. effective communication and disclosure and legal representation
3. There was evidence of collusion between the board of w/ all his secrets revealed then he might be compelled to stay
directors and respondent. De Dios became the president – a away fr judicial system or lose right to counsel.
clear case of conflict of interest of the respondent. - GENERAL RULE:
Disposition Atty. De Dios was SUSPENDED for 6 months. - Court has right to know that client whose privileged info is
sought to be protected is flesh and blood.
REGALA V SANDIGANBAYAN - Privilege exists only after atty-client relationship has been
KAPUNAN; September 20, 1996 established. It does not attach until there is a client.
- Privilege generally pertains to subject matter of the
(chris capul)
- Due process requires that the opposing party should, as a
general rule, know his adversary.
Petition for certiorari
- Client identity is privileged where a strong probability
- This is an offshoot of the complaint before the Sandiganbayan
exists that revealing client’s name would implicate that
through the PCGG against Eduardo Cojuangco Jr. for recovery of
client in the very activity for w/c he sought the lawyer’s
alleged ill-gotten wealth including shares of stocks in certain
- It is also privileged where disclosure would open the client
- ACCRA Law Firm performs legal svcs incl. organization and
to civil liability.
acquisition of business associations/orgs. Sometimes, members
- It is also privileged when govt’s lawyers have no case
of the firm act as incorporators or stockholders. They acquire
against an atty’s client unless, by revealing the client’s
info relative to assets of clients and their personal/biz
name, the said name would furnish the only link that would
be necessary to convict an individual of a crime. (aida villanueva)
- Apart fr the exceptions above, other situations could qualify as
exceptions. Info relating to the identity of client may fall w/in NATURE
privilege when client’s name itself has independent significance Special civil action in the SC
such that disclosure would reveal client confidence.
disclosure would lead to establish the client’s connection w/ the - The annulment of a resolution of the Sandiganbayan is being
very fact in issue. Also, the link bet the offense and the legal sought, with the Sandiganbayan denying the motion to utilize
advice/svc was duly established by no less than the PCGG itself. Atty. Sansaet as state witness.
Petitioners have a legitimate fear that identifying their clients - Honrada was a clerk of court in a municipality in Agusan del
would implicate them. Revelation of the name would provide Sur. Paredes was the provincial attorney of Agusan del Sur who
the link for prosecution to build its case, where none otherwise later became governor and congressman.
exists. - Sansaet was a lawyer who served as counsel for Parades in
- It is diff when the client consults atty for illicit purposes, several instances petinent to the criminal charges involved in
seeking advice on how to around the law. In this case, a client the present recourse.
thinks he might have previously committed something illegal - 1976 – Paredes applied for a free patent over a piece of land.
and consults atty abt it. His application was approved and a title was issued to him.
- Court is trying to avoid fishing expedition by the prosecution. - 1985 – Director of Lands cancelled the patent of Paredes,
After all, there are alternative sources of info available to saying that the land had already been designated and reserved
prosecutor w/c does not depend on utilizing a defendant’s as a school site.
counsel as convenient and readily available source of info. - It was also discovered that Paredes got the lot through
- Lawyer-client confidentiality and loyalty exists not only during fraudulent means.
relationship but even after termination of the relationship. - An information for perjury was filed against Paredes. Another
2. Yes allegation was that he had used his position to get what he
- Respondents failed to show that Roco actually revealed the wanted. Sansaet was still Paredes’ counsel.
identity of his clients. PCGG shld show that Roco was treated as - Gelacio, a taxpayer, wrote the Ombudsman and asked for the
a species apart fr the ACCRA lawyers on basis of classification investigation of Sansaet, Honrada and Paredes. According to
w/c made substantial distinctions based on real differences. No him, he conspired with the other two.
such substantial distinctions exist.
SET ASIDE. 1. WON projected testimony of Sansaet is barred by the atty-
client relationship
SEPARATE OPINION 2. WON Sansaet qualified as particeps criminis (accomplice to
the crime) for discharge from the criminal prosecution in order to
testify for the State
- I find it unreasonable for Sandiganbayan to compel petitioners HELD
to breach the trust reposed on them and succumb to a thinly 1. NO
disguised threat of incrimination. Ratio If a client seeks his lawyers’ advice with respect to a
crime he committed, it is given the virtual confessional seal.
DAVIDE [dissent] This does not apply to a crime which a client intends to commit.
- The prerogative to determine who shall be made defendants in Reasoning A distinction must be made between confidential
a civil case is initially vested in plaintiff (PCGG in this case). communications relating to past crimes already crimes and
There has been an agreement/compromise settlement bet PCGG future crimes intended to be committed.
and Roco. If Roco’s revelation violated confidentiality of lawyer- - The period is the date when the privileged communication was
client, he would be solely answerable to his principals/clients and made by the client to the attorney.
probably to the Court. - Paredes was planning to commit the crime of falsification.
- For ACCRA lawyers to be excluded, they must perform certain - But for the application of the attorney-client privilege, however,
obligations as Roco did. the period to be considered is the date when the privileged
- Confidentiality is not a cause to exclude a party. It is merely a communication was made by the client to the attorney in
ground for disqualification of a witness and may be invoked at relation to either a crime committed in the past or with respect
an appropriate time. None of the lawyers in this case is being to a crime intended to be committed in the future.
required to testify. - The testimony sought to be elicited from Sansaet as state
- State has right to recover properties unlawfully acquired by witness are the communications made to him by physical acts
public officials/employees, from them or from their nominees or and/or accompanying words of Parades at the time he and
transferees. Honrada, either with the active or passive participation of
- Rules of Court requires that complaint be against all persons Sansaet, were about to falsify, or in the process of falsifying, the
who appear to be responsible. documents which were later filed in the Tanodbayan by Sansaet
- Privilege does not extend to further criminal conduct. and culminated in the criminal charges now pending in
- Disclosure of client’s identity is necessary proof of existence of respondent Sandiganbayan
lawyer-client relationship and is not privileged info. - Sansaet himself was a conspirator and it is settled that for the
atty-client privilege to apply in communication, it must be for a
PUNO [dissent] lawful purpose. The existence of an unlawful purpose prevents
- Person claiming atty-client privilege must present underlying the attachment of the privilege.
facts. Without proofs, Court has no factual basis to determine 2. YES
whether petitioners fall w/in exception to the general rule. Ratio Despite his involvement in the crime, Sansaet fulfills all
the requirements needed for his discharge as state witness.
Reasoning Sansaet was a conspirator in the crime of
falsification and in a conspiracy the act of one is the act of all.
One of the requirements for state witness is that he does not
appear to be the most guilty (not that he is the least guilty as to
what has been erroneously interpreted in some instances).
REGALADO; July 16, 1997
- It is the identity of the mens rea which is considered the - Similar to the petitioners in Regala, petitioner is not a mere
predominant consideration and warrants an imposition of the witness. He is a co-principal in the case for recovery of ill-gotten
same penalty. wealth. He has made his position clear from the very beginning
- In the case of People v Ocemar: “And by ‘most guilty’ we mean that he is not willing to testify and he cannot be compelled to
the highest degree of culpability in terms of participation in the testify in view of his constitutional right against self-incrimination
commission of the offense and not necessarily the severity of and of his fundamental legal right to maintain inviolate the
the penalty imposed. While all the accused may be given the privilege of attorney-client confidentiality.
same penalty by reason of conspiracy, yet one may be - Since the doctrine of adherence to judicial precedents or stare
considered least guilty if We take into account his degree of decisis is provided in Art. 8 of the Civil Code, Sandiganbayan is
participation in the perpetration of the offense. ordered to exclude petitioner Gregorio Castillo as party
- The other requisites for the discharge of Sansaet as state defendant in the case RP v Enriquez.
witness are present.
- Sansaet is the only cooperative witness to the actual
commission of the crime of falsification. DALISAY V MAURICIO
- There is absolute necessity for Sansaet’s testimony
SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ; January 23, 2006
because the prosecution has no direct evidence available.
- He does not appear to be the most guilty. (bry san juan)
- His testimony can be corroborated by reputable witnesses.
- Sansaet has not been convicted of any crime involving NATURE
moral turpitude. Motion for reconsideration of our Decision dated April 22, 2005
finding Atty. Melanio “Batas” Mauricio, Jr., respondent, guilty of
malpractice and gross misconduct and imposing upon him the
penalty of suspension from the practice of law for a period of six
BUENA; February 21, 2002 (6) months.
(jojo mendoza)
NATURE - On October 13, 2001, Valeriana U. Dalisay, complainant,
Petition for certiorari, seeking to annul the resolutions of the engaged respondent’s services as counsel in Civil Case No. 00-
Sandiganbayan. 044, entitled “Lucio De Guzman, etc., complainants, v. Dalisay
U. Valeriana, respondent,” pending before the Municipal Trial
FACTS Court, Branch 1, Binangonan, Rizal. Notwithstanding his receipt
On July 23, 1987, the Republic of the Philipines Filed with the of documents and attorney’s fees in the total amount of
Sandiganbayan a complaint for reconveyance, reversion, P56,000.00 from complainant, respondent never rendered legal
accounting, restitution and damages against several persons, services for her. As a result, she terminated the attorney-client
one of which is petitioner. The complaint alleges that- defendant relationship and demanded the return of her money and
Gregorio Castilo acted as dummy, nominee and/or agent of documents, but respondent refused.
defendants Ferdinand Marcos, Imelda Marcos, et al in - On January 13, 2004, Investigating Commissioner Lydia A.
establishing Hotel Properties, Inc. in order to acquire beneficial Navarro of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP)
interest and control, and conceal ownership, of Silahis Hotel; Commission on Bar Discipline, found that “for the amount of
defendant Gregorio Castillo signed all pertinent documents as P56,000.00 paid by the complainant x x x, no action had been
attorney-in-fact of the defendants Enriquezes and Panlilio. taken nor any pleadings prepared by the respondent.” She
- On October 1992, petitioner died. recommended that respondent be required to refund the amount
- On October 15, 1996, petitioner, represented by his heirs, filed of P56,000.00 to the complainant, and surprisingly, that the
a Motion to Dismiss on the ground that the complaint against complaint be dismissed. On February 27, 2004, the IBP Board of
him is violative of the lawyer-client confidentiality privilege and Governors passed Resolution No. XVI-2004-121, adopting and
must be dismissed pursuant to the Supreme Court’s decision in approving in toto Commissioner Navarro’s Report and
Regala v Sandiganbayan. Recommendation. On April 22, 2005, we rendered the assailed
- On November 26, 1998, the Sandiganbayan denied the motion Decision. Incidentally, upon learning of our Decision, respondent
to dismiss. Respondent contends that the ruling in Regala does went to the MTC, Branch I, Binangonan, Rizal to verify the status
not apply to the present case, because in said case, there was a of Civil Case No. 00-044. There, he learned of the trial court’s
clear finding that the ACCRA lawyers were impleaded by the Decision dated December 6, 2001 holding that “the tax
PCGG as co-defendants to force them to disclose the identity of declarations and title” submitted by complainant “are not official
their clients as shown by PCGG’s willingness to cut a deal with records of the Municipal Assessor and the Registry of Deed.”
the ACCRA lawyers – the names of their clients in exchange for Thereupon, respondent filed a Sworn Affidavit Complaint against
exclusion from the complaint. In this case, the petitioner is being complainant charging her with violations of Article 171 and 172
sued as a principal defendant for being in conspiracy with other and/or Article 182 of the Revised Penal Code. He alleged that
defendants in the commission of the acts complained of and he complainant offered tampered evidence.
is not being required to name his clients. - In this motion for reconsideration, respondent raises the
following arguments. First, complainant did not engage his
ISSUE services as counsel in Civil Case No. 00-044. She hired him for
WON petitioner’s inclusion in the complaint violates the lawyer- the purpose of filing two new petitions, a petition for declaration
client confidentiality privilege of nullity of title and a petition for review of a decree. Second,
Civil Case No. 00-044 was “considered submitted for decision”
HELD as early as August 6, 2001, or more than two months prior to
YES. While it is true that unlike in Regala, petitioner in not being October 13, 2001, the date he was engaged as counsel, hence,
required to name his clients, the case of Regala is still applicable “he could not have done anything anymore” about it. Third,
in the present case because the two cases are the same in more complainant refused to provide him with documents related to
important aspects. the case, preventing him from doing his job. And fourth,
- The fact of the lawyer-client relationship between petitioner complainant offered tampered evidence in Civil Case No. 00-
and defendants Enriquezes and Panlilios was immediately raised 004, prompting him to file falsification cases against her.
by petitioner as one of his affirmative defenses. In the same - In her opposition to the motion, complainant contends that::
vein, in Regala, the professional relationship was raised merely (1) respondent violated the principle of confidentiality between
as a defense by defendant lawyers and was not yet proven a lawyer and his client when he filed falsification charges against
during the trial. This not withstanding, the court struck out the her; (2) respondent should have returned her money; (3)
complaint against the lawyers. respondent should have verified the authenticity of her
documents earlier if he really believed that they are falsified; - Finally, in an ironic twist of fate, respondent became the
and (4) his refusal to return her money despite this Court’s accuser of complainant. In his fourth argument, respondent
directive constitutes contempt. accuses her of offering falsified documentary evidence in Civil
Case No. 00-004, prompting him to file falsification cases against
ISSUE her. He thus justifies his inability to render legal services to
WON respondent lawyer should be disciplined for failing to complainant. Assuming that complainant indeed offered falsified
render services despite payment of his client documentary evidence in Civil Case No. 00-044, will it be
sufficient to exonerate respondent? We believe not. First,
HELD Canon 19 outlines the procedure in dealing with clients who
YES. It is axiomatic that no lawyer is obliged to act either perpetrated fraud in the course of a legal proceeding.
as adviser or advocate for every person who may wish to Consistent with its mandate that a lawyer shall represent his
become his client. He has the right to decline employment. But client with zeal and only within the bounds of the law, Rule 19.02
once he accepts money from a client, an attorney-client of the same Canon specifically provides:
relationship is established, giving rise to the duty of fidelity to Rule 19.02 – A lawyer who has received
the client’s cause. From then on, he is expected to be mindful of information that his clients has, in the
the trust and confidence reposed in him. He must serve the course of the representation, perpetrated a
client with competence and diligence, and champion the latter’s fraud upon a person or tribunal, shall
cause with wholehearted devotion. promptly call upon the client to rectify
- Respondent assumed such obligations when he received the the same, and failing which he shall
amount of P56,000.00 from complainant and agreed to handle terminate the relationship with such
Civil Case No. 00-044. Unfortunately, he had been remiss in client in accordance with the Rules of
the performance of his duties. As we have ruled earlier, Court.
“there is nothing in the records to show that he - As a lawyer, respondent is expected to know this Rule. Instead
(respondent) entered his appearance as counsel of of inaction, he should have confronted complainant and ask her
record for complainant in Civil Case No. 00-044.” Neither to rectify her fraudulent representation. If complainant refuses,
is there any evidence nor pleading submitted to show that then he should terminate his relationship with her.
he initiated new petitions. Understandably, respondent failed to follow the above-cited
- Undoubtedly, respondent’s present version is a flagrant Rule. This is because there is no truth to his claim that he did not
departure from his previous pleadings. This cannot be render legal service to complainant because she falsified the
countenanced. A party should decide early what version he is documentary evidence in Civil Case No.00-044. This brings us
going to advance. A change of theory in the latter stage of the to the second reason why we cannot sustain his fourth
proceedings is objectionable, not due to the strict application of argument. The pleadings show that he learned of the alleged
procedural rules, but because it is contrary to the rules of fair falsification long after complainant had terminated their
play, justice and due process. The present administrative case attorney-client relationship. It was a result of his active search
was resolved by the IBP on the basis of respondent’s previous for a justification of his negligence in Civil Case No. 00-044.
admission that complainant engaged his legal services in Civil In fine, let it be stressed that the authority of an attorney begins
Case No. 00-044. He cannot now unbind himself from such with his or her retainer. It gives rise to a relationship between
admission and its consequences. In fact, if anything at all has an attorney and a client that is highly fiduciary in nature and of a
been achieved by respondent’s inconsistent assertions, it is his very delicate, exacting, and confidential character, requiring a
dishonesty to this Court. high degree of fidelity and good faith. If much is demanded
- At any rate, assuming arguendo that complainant indeed from an attorney, it is because the entrusted privilege to
engaged respondent’s services in filing the two (2) new practice law carries with it the correlative duties not only to the
petitions, instead of Civil Case No. 00-044, still, his liability is client but also to the court, to the bar, and to the public.
unmistakable. There is nothing in the records to show that he
filed any petition. The ethics of the profession demands that, in DEE V COURT OF APPEALS
such a case, he should immediately return the filing fees to
REGALADO; August 24, 1983
complainant. In Pariñas v. Paguinto,[10] we held that “a
lawyer shall account for all money or property collected (lora alamin)
from the client. Money entrusted to a lawyer for a
specific purpose, such as for filing fee, but not used for NATURE
failure to file the case must immediately be returned to Petition for a writ of certiorari to overturn Court of Appeals’
the client on demand.” Per records, complainant made resolution, dated February 12, 1987, reinstating the decision of
repeated demands, but respondent is yet to return the money. May 9, 1986.
- Neither do we find merit in respondent’s second argument.
The fact that Civil Case No. 00-044 was already “submitted for FACTS
decision” does not justify his inaction. After agreeing to handle - Petitioner and his father went to the residence of private
Civil Case No. 00-044, his duty is, first and foremost, to enter his respondent, accompanied by the latter's cousin, to seek his
appearance. Sadly, he failed to do this simple task. He should advice regarding the problem of the alleged indebtedness of
have returned complainant’s money. Surely, he cannot petitioner's brother, Dewey Dee, to Caesar's Palace, a well-
expect to be paid for doing nothing. known gambling casino at Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.A.
- In his third argument, respondent attempts to evade Petitioner's father was apprehensive over the safety of his
responsibility by shifting the blame to complainant. He claims son, Dewey, having heard of a link between the mafia and
that she refused to provide him with documents vital to the Caesar's Palace and the possibility that his son may be
case. This is preposterous. When a lawyer accepts a case, his harmed at the instance of the latter.
acceptance is an implied representation that he possesses the - Private respondent assured petitioner and his father that he
requisite academic learning, skill and ability to handle the case. would inquire into the matter, after which his services were
As a lawyer, respondent knew where to obtain copies of the reportedly contracted for P100,000.00. From his residence,
certificates of title. As a matter of fact, he admitted that his Law private respondent called up Caesar's Palace and,
Office, on its own, managed to verify the authenticity of thereafter, several long distance telephone calls and two
complainant’s title. It bears reiterating that respondent did not trips to Las Vegas by him elicited the information that
take any action on the case despite having been paid for his Dewey Dee's outstanding account was around
services. This is tantamount to abandonment of his duties as a $1,000,000.00. Further investigations, however, revealed
lawyer and taking undue advantage of his client. that said account had actually been incurred by Ramon Sy,
with Dewey Dee merely signing for the chits.
- In June, 1981, private respondent personally talked with the HELD
president of Caesar's Palace at Las Vegas, Nevada. He YES. Both the lower court and the appellate court concur in their
advised the president that for the sake and in the interest of findings that there was a lawyer-client relationship between
the casino it would be better to make Ramon Sy answer for petitioner and private respondent Mutuc. The Court found no
the indebtedness. The president told him that if he could reason to interfere with the factual finding. There may be
convince Ramon Sy to acknowledge the obligation, Dewey instances when there is doubt as to whether an attorney-client
Dee would be exculpated from liability for the account. Upon relationship has been created. The issue may be raised in the
private respondent's return to Manila, he conferred with trial court, but once the trial court and the Court of Appeals have
Ramon Sy and the latter was convinced to acknowledge the found that there was such a relationship the Supreme Court
indebtedness. cannot disturb such finding of fact, absent cogent reasons
- In August, 1981, private respondent brought to Caesar's therefor.
Palace the letter of Ramon Sy owning the debt and asking Ratio The absence of a written contract will not preclude the
for a discount. Thereafter, the account of Dewey Dee was finding that there was a professional relationship which merits
cleared and the casino never bothered him. attorney's fees for professional services rendered. Documentary
- Having thus settled the account of petitioner's brother, private formalism is not an essential element in the employment of an
respondent sent several demand letters to petitioner attorney; the contract may be express or implied. To establish
demanding the balance of P50,000.00 as attorney's fees. the relation, it is sufficient that the advice and assistance of an
Petitioner, however, ignored said letters. Private respondent attorney is sought and received in any matter pertinent to his
filed a complaint against petitioner for the collection of profession. An acceptance of the relation is implied on the part
attorney's fees and refund of transport fare and other of the attorney from his acting on behalf of his client in
expenses. pursuance of a request from the latter.
- Private respondent claimed that petitioner formally engaged Reasoning There is no question that professional services were
his services for a fee of P100,000.00 and that the services actually rendered by private respondent to petitioner and his
he rendered were professional services which a lawyer family. Through his efforts, the account of petitioner's brother,
renders to a client. Dewey Dee, with Caesars Palace was assumed by Ramon Sy and
- Petitioner, however, denied the existence of any professional petitioner and his family were further freed from the
relationship of attorney and client between him and private apprehension that Dewey might be harmed or even killed by the
respondent. He admits that he and his father visited private so-called mafia. For such services, respondent Mutuc is
respondent for advice on the matter of Dewey Dee's indubitably entitled to receive a reasonable compensation and
gambling account. However, he insists that such visit was this right cannot be occluded by petitioner's pretension that at
merely an informal one and that private respondent had not the time private respondent rendered such services to petitioner
been specifically contracted to handle the problem. On the and his family, the former was also the Philippine consultant of
contrary, respondent Mutuc had allegedly volunteered his Caesar's Palace.
services "as a friend of defendant's family" to see what he - On the first aspect, the evidence of record shows that the
could do about the situation. As for the P50,000.00 services of respondent Mutuc were engaged by the petitioner for
inceptively given to private respondent, petitioner claims the purposes hereinbefore discussed. The previous partial
that it was not in the nature of attorney's fees but merely payments totaling P50,000.00 made by petitioner to respondent
"pocket money" solicited by the former for his trips to Las Mutuc and the tenor of the demand letters sent by said private
Vegas and the said amount of P50,000.00 was already respondent to petitioner, the receipt thereof being
sufficient remuneraion for his strictly voluntary services. acknowledged by petitioner, ineluctably prove three facts, viz:
- After trial, the court a quo rendered judgment ordering herein that petitioner hired the services of private respondent Mutuc;
petitioner to pay private respondent the sum of P50,000.00 that there was a prior agreement as to the amount of attorney's
with interest thereon. fees to be given to the latter; and there was still a balance due
- On appeal, said judgment was affirmed by the then and payable on said fees.
Intermediate Appellate Court on May 9, 1986. - On the second objection, aside from the facts stated in the
- Petitioner, filed a motion for reconsideration contending that resolution of respondent Court of Appeals, it is also not
the Appellate Court overlooked two important and decisive completely accurate to judge private respondent's position by
factors, to wit: (1) At the time private respondent was petitioner's assumption that the interests of Caesar's Palace
ostensibly rendering services to petitioner and his father, he were adverse to those of Dewey Dee. True, the casino was a
was actually working "in the interest" and "to the creditor but that fact was not contested or opposed by Dewey
advantage" of Caesar's Palace of which he was an agent and Dee, since the latter, as verifications revealed, was not the
a consultant, hence the interests of the casino and private debtor. Hence, private respondent's representations in behalf of
respondent were united in their objective to collect from the petitioner were not in resistance to the casino's claim but were
debtor; and (2) Private respondent is not justified in claiming actually geared toward proving that fact by establishing the
that he rendered legal services to petitioner and his father liability of the true debtor, Ramon Sy, from whom payment was
in view of the conflicting interests involved. ultimately and correctly exacted.
- In its resolution of July 31, 1986, respondent court - Even assuming that the imputed conflict of interests obtained,
reconsidered its decision and held that the sum of private respondent's role therein was not ethically or legally
P50,000.00 already paid by petitioner to private respondent indefensible. Generally, an attorney is prohibited from
was commensurate to the services he rendered, considering representing parties with contending positions. However,
that at the time he was acting as counsel for petitioner he at a certain stage of the controversy before it reaches
was also acting as the collecting agent and consultant of, the court, a lawyer may represent conflicting interests
and receiving compensation from, Caesar's Palace. with the consent of the parties. A common
- However, upon a motion for reconsideration thereafter filed by representation may work to the advantage of said parties
private respondent, the present respondent Court of since a mutual lawyer, with honest motivations and
Appeals issued another resolution, dated February 12, 1987, impartially cognizant of the parties' disparate positions,
reinstating the aforesaid decision of May 9, 1986. may well be better situated to work out an acceptable
settlement of their differences, being free of partisan
ISSUE inclinations and acting with the cooperation and
WON there was a lawyer-client relationship between petitioner confidence of said parties.
and private respondent - Even indulging petitioner in his theory that private respondent
was during the period in question an agent of Caesar's Palace,
petitioner was not unaware thereof, hence he actually consented
to and cannot now decry the dual representation that he
postulates. A lawyer is entitled to have and receive the just and said loans for the purchase and renovation of the property he
reasonable compensation for services rendered at the special claimed for himself. It is clear that the information available to
instance and request of his client and as long as he is honestly the accounting firm as to how these two loans should be treated
and in good faith trying to serve and represent the interests of could have only come from Atty. Valdes himself as the said loans
his client, the latter is bound to pay his just feeds. were in his name.
Disposition The resolution of respondent Court of Appeals, 3. Resignation from law firm not supported by any documentary
dated February 12, 1987, reinstating its original decision of May proof
9, 1986 was AFFIRMED, with costs against petitioner. 4. Resignation from accounting firm in 1972 and 1974 is proven.
But when Atty. Valdes transferred the Moran property to his
NAKPIL V VALDES corporation, the intestate proceedings was still pending in court.
He could not have been totally ignorant of the proceedings in the
PUNO; March 4, 1998
intestate case.
(marge alias)
NATURE 1. WON Atty, Valdes violated the Code of Professional
-Administrative case in the SC. Misconduct. Responsibility
-This case involves the disbarment of a CPA-lawyer for his 2. WON Atty. Valdes is guilty of representing conflicting interests
demeanor in his accounting profession and law practice in 3. WON Atty. Valdes can be administratively charged before SC
connection with the property of his client. given that his alleged “misconduct” pertains to his accounting
-1965: Jose Nakpil became interested in purchasing a summer HELD
residence in Moran Street, Baguio City. For lack of funds, he 1. YES. When he subordinated the interest of his client to his
requested long time friend (family business consultant, lawyer own pecuniary gain, he clearly violated CPR Canon 17 which
and accountant) Atty. Carlos J. Valdes to purchase the Moran provides that a lawyer owes fidelity to his client’s cause and
property for him. They agreed that Atty. Valdes would keep the enjoins him to be mindful of the trust and confidence reposed on
property in trust for the Nakpils until the latter could buy it back. him.
Pursuant to their agreement, respondent obtained 2 loans from a -A lawyer is not barred from dealing with his client but the
bank amounting to P140k which he used to purchase and business transaction must be characterized with utmost honesty
renovate the property. Title was issued in Atty. Valdes’ name but and good faith. No presumption of innocence or improbability of
it was the Nakpils who occupied the Moran summer house. wrongdoing is considered in an attorney’s favor. Atty. Valdes’
-When Jose Nakpil died, Atty. Valdes acted as the legal counsel misuse of his legal expertise to deprive his client of the Moran
and accountant of his widow Imelda Nakpil whom the Court property is clearly unethical.
appointed as the estate administratix. Respondent’s law firm, 2. YES. There is clearly a conflict between the interest of the
Carlos J. Valdes & Associates, handled the proceeding for the estate which stands as the debtor, and that of the two claimants
settlement of Jose’s estate. (Angel Nakpil and ENORN, Inc) who are creditors of the estate.
-The ownership of the Moran property became an issue in the -The proscription against representation of conflicting interests
intestate proceedings when Atty. Valdes excluded the Moran finds application where the conflicting interests arise with
property from the inventory. He even transferred his title to the respect to the same general matter and is applicable however
Moran property to his company, the Caval Realty Corporation. slight such adverse interest may be. Representation of
-March 29, 1979: Imelda sought to recover the Moran property conflicting interests may be allowed only after full disclosure of
by filing with the Baguio City CFI an action for reconveyance with facts and informed consent of the clients. There is nothing in the
damages against Atty. Valdes (&his corporation) who claimed records to show that Atty. Valdes or his law firm explained the
absolute ownership over the property and denied that a trust legal situation and its consequences to Imelda.
was created over it. -When a creditor files a claim against an estate, his interest is
-During the pendency of the action for reconveyance, Imelda per se adverse to the estate. The relationship of the claimants to
filed this administrative case to disbar the respondent. the late Nakpil does not negate the conflict of interest.
Petitioner’s Claim -The test to determine whether there is a conflict of interest in
Atty. Valdes violated professional ethics when he: the representation is probability, not certainty of conflict. It was
1. assigned to his family corporation the Moran property which respondent’s duty to inhibit either of his firms from said
belonged to the estate he was settling as its lawyer and auditor. proceedings to avoid the probability of conflict of interest.
2. excluded the Moran property from the inventory of real estate 3. YES. A lawyer may be suspended or disbarred for ANY
properties he prepared for a client-estate and, at the same time, misconduct, even if it pertains to his private activities, as long as
charged the loan secured to purchase the said excluded it shows him to be wanting in moral character, honesty, probity
property as a liability of the estate, all for the purpose of or good demeanor.
transferring the title to the said property to his family -Possession of good moral character is not only a prerequisite to
corporation. admission to the bar but also a continuing requirement to the
3. prepared & defended monetary claims against the estate that practice of law. Respondent exhibited less than full fidelity to his
retained him as its counsel and auditor. duty to observe candor, fairness and loyalty in his
Preliminaries dealings/transactions with his clients.
- CFI dismissed the action for reconveyance. CA reversed. Disposition Atty. Carlos J. Valdes found guilty of misconduct
- OSG relying on CA decision recommended dismissal of admin and suspended from the practice of law for one year with a
charge. warning that a similar infraction shall be dealt with more
- CA decision in reconveyance case has been reversed by SC. severely in the future.
Factual Issues (as settled in the reconveyance case)
1. Ownership of the Moran property: Atty. Valdes and the late
Jose Nakpil agreed that the former would purchase the Moran
property and keep it in trust for the latter. In violation of the DAVIDE; August 25, 2005
trust agreement, respondent claimed absolute ownership over (maia rieza)
the property and refused to sell the property to complainant
after the death of Jose Nakpil. To place the property beyond the NATURE
reach of Imelda and the intestate court, Atty. Valdes later RESOLUTION on administrative case for disbarment
transferred it to his corporation.
2. Loan of P140k: Atty. Valdes, through his accounting firm, FACTS
charged the two loans as liability of the estate, after obtaining
Felicitas Quiambao used to be the president of Allied interest, an important criterion is probability, not certainty, of
Investigation Bureau, Inc. (AIB), a family-owned security and conflict. Loyalty to AIB becomes dubious with his interest as the
investigation agency. She procured the services of respondent president in another security agency.
Atty. Nestor Bamba for the corporate affairs of AIB, but also used - The nature of a lawyer-client relationship is one of trust and
his services for a personal case (an ejectment case wherein confidence of the highest degree. It requires lawyers to remain
respondent is the counsel of record). After, Quiambao resigned inviolate of the client’s confidence and to avoid the appearance
as president. Six months later, AIB, through Bamba, filed a of treachery and double-dealing.
complaint for replevin and damages against Quiambao to - Rule 15.03, Canon 5 of the Code of Professional Responsibility
recover a car assigned to Quiambao as a service vehicle by AIB. provides: “A lawyer shall not represent conflicting interests
Bamba filed this latter complaint without withdrawing as counsel except by written consent of all concerned given after a full
in the ejectment case, which was still pending. Quiambao then disclosure of the facts.”
filed for disbarment and charged Bamba with acts of disloyalty Disposition Guilty for violation of Rule 15.03 of Canon 15.
and double-dealing. Suspended for 1 year.
Complainant’s arguments
-that she resigned as president because Bamba proposed that
she organize her own security agency, and that he will assist in
its organization.
-that such security agency was organized and Bamba was a
“silent partner”
-that while serving as a silent partner, Bamba convinced
Quiambao’s brother to organize another security agency (yes,
hobby nilang gumawa ng security agencies) where respondent BERBANO V BARCELONA
served as incorporator, stockholder, and president.
PER CURIAM; September 23, 2003
Respondent’s arguments
-although he admits representing Quiambao in the ejectment (anton arcilla)
case, he claims that he was made to believe that it was part of
his function as counsel for AIB to handle even the “personal NATURE
cases” of its officers Administrative matter in the Supreme Court re: Disbarment.
-that the ejectment case and replevin case were unrelated
cases, thus privileged information that may have been gathered FACTS
from one case would have no use in the other - A case was pending regarding a 244-hectare lot situated at
-that he was never a silent partner in the security agency Alabang, Muntinlupa, owned by Rufino Estaban Hilapo. Petitioner
organized by Quiambao Felicitas Berbano is one of the heirs of REH, and the heirs chose
-that he serves AIB and the agency organized with Quiambao’s Atty. Porfiro Daen as their attorney-in-fact.
brother in different capacities: in AIB, as legal counsel, while in - January 26, 1999: Mr. Daen was arrested by Muntinlupa police,
the latter, as president and subsequently detained at Muntinlupa City Jail until his
release on February 18, 1999.
ISSUE - Mr. Daen needed the assistance of a lawyer for his release. The
WON respondent is guilty of misconduct for representing heirs (including petitioner) approached Atty. Wenceslao
conflicting interests (WON there was representation of Barcelona to assist them. Mr. Daen has engaged the services of
conflicting interests) Atty. Barcelona to facilitate Daen’s release.
- Barcelona asked for P50K to cause the release of Daen from
HELD prison the following day. Barcelona declared that he was going
Yes, respondent is guilty to see a justice from the Supreme Court who could help the
Ratio Lawyers are deemed to represent conflicting interests release of Daen.
when, in behalf of one client, it is their duty to contend for - At a meeting in Max’s restaurant, Barcelona reported that he
something which duty to another client requires them to oppose. just came from the Supreme Court where he “fixed” the case of
There are various tests in determining conflicting interests, few Daen, but did not show any documents supporting the claim.
of which are: - Barcelona continued to asked for money on several occasions.
 whether a lawyer is duty-bound to fight for an issue or claim Petitioner gave him P10K and P15K on different times. Petitioner
in behalf of one client and, at the same time, to oppose that also gave Barcelona P1000 for gasoline.
claim for the other client - February 18, 1999 petitioner and Barcelona met at Putatan,
 whether the acceptance of a new relation would prevent the Muntinlupa. There Barcelona promised that he will return entire
full discharge of the lawyer’s duty of undivided fidelity and amount of P64 on February 18, 1999. Petitioner never saw
loyalty to the client or invite suspicion of unfaithfulness or Barcelona since then.
double-dealing in the performance of that duty - Commission on Bar Discipline of the IBP required respondent to
submit his answer to the complaint, but despite due notice
 whether the lawyer would be called upon in the new relation
respondent fail to file his answer. Upon a motion to declare
to use against a former client any confidential information
respondent in default, Investigating Commissioner again
acquired through their connection or previous employment
required respondent to answer. Barcelona failed to appear
- While the respondent may assert that the complainant
despite due receipt of notice.
expressly consented to his continued representation in the
- IBP Board of Governors found Barcelona guilty of malpractice
ejectment case, the respondent failed to show that he fully
and serious breach of the Code of Professional responsibility, but
disclosed the facts to both his clients and he failed to present
reduced the penalty to suspension from practice of law for 6
any written consent of the complainant and AIB as required
under Rule 15.03, Canon 15.
- That the representation of conflicting interest is in good faith
and with honest intention on the part of the lawyer does not
WON Barcelona should be disbarred or merely suspended
make the prohibition inoperative. Moreover, lawyers are not
obliged to act either as an adviser or advocate for every person
who may wish to become their client. They have the right to
Ratio Wenceslao C. Barcelona is barred from the practice of law
decline such employment.
for gross misconduct.
- That he served in different capacities in two competing
Reasoning The object of a disbarment proceeding is not so
agencies does not justify the involvement in conflicting interests.
much to punish the individual attorney himself, as to safeguard
In the process of determining whether there is a conflict of
the administration of justice by protecting the court and the
public from the misconduct of officers of the court, and to feelings and social humiliation arising from the unfounded
remove from the profession persons unfit to continue administrative case filed against her since as borne out by the
discharging the trust reposed in them. records, she had been paying her obligation religiously to the
- Disciplinary proceedings against lawyers are neither purely civil lawyer of Licuanan
nor purely criminal. - It was only when Atty. Ponciano B. Jacinto, the new counsel
- Respondent is guilty of culpable violations of the following retained by complainant, wrote respondent a letter on May 4,
Canons: 1981, advising him to surrender the money to complainant, that
he accounted for it
• CANON 1—a lawyer shall xxx promote respect for law
-Respondent admitted having received the payment of rentals
and for legal processes. from complainant's tenant, but explained that he kept this
• CANON 7—a lawyer shall at all times uphold the matter from the complainant for the purpose of surprising her
integrity and dignity of the legal profession. with his success in collecting the rentals
• CANON 11—a lawyer shall observe and maintain the ISSUE
respect due to the courts and to judicial officers xxx. WON the respondent is guilty of violating paragraph 11 of the
• CANON 16—a lawyer shall hold in trust all moneys and Canons of Professional Ethics and breaching the Lawyer’s Oath
properties of his client that ma come into his
possession. HELD
• Rule 16.01—a lawyer shall account for all money or The actuations of respondent in retaining for his personal benefit
property collected or received fro or from the client. over a one-year period, the amount of P5,220.00 received by
- Barcelona was previously charged with and found guilty of him on behalf of his client, the complainant herein, depriving her
conduct unbecoming a lawyer, when he misrepresented to the of its use, and withholding information on the same despite
complainant that eh could secure the restructuring of the inquiries made by her, is glaringly a breach of the Lawyer's Oath
complainant’s loan with PNB through his connection with a to which he swore observance, and an evident transgression of
certain Mericullo (who did not really exist). the Canons of Professional Ethics particularly:
- In addition, the Judiciary has been besieged enough with “11. DEALING WITH TRUST PROPERTY
accusations of corruption and malpractice. A member of the The lawyer should refrain from any action whereby for his
legal profession who invites mistrust on the judicial system with personal benefit or gain he abuses or takes advantage of the
irresponsible representations is reprehensible and cannot be confidence reposed in him by his client
tolerated. Money the client or collected for the client of other trust property
coming into the possession of the lawyer should be reported and
accounted for promptly, and should not under any circumstance
LICUANAN V MELO be commingled with his own or be used by him. “
PER CURIAM; February 9, 1989 - By his professional misconduct, respondent has breached the
trust reposed in him by his client. He has shown himself unfit for
(apple maramba) the confidence and trust which should characterize an attorney-
client relationship and the practice of law. By reason thereof
NATURE complainant was compelled to file a groundless suit against her
Administrative matter in the Supreme Court. Disbarment. tenant for non-payment of rentals thereby exposing her to
jeopardy by becoming a defendant in a damage suit filed by said
FACTS tenant against her by force of circumstances, complainant was
Melo (respondent) was hired as counsel by Licuanan (petitioner) further compelled to engage the services of another counsel in
in an ejectment case filed against her tenant, Aida Pineda order to recover the amount rightfully due her but which
-On August 8, 1979, respondent, as Licuanan's attorney, respondent withheld from her.
obtained judgment in Licuanan's favor against Pineda whereby - The court is constrained to find him guilty of deceit,
the latter was directed by the City Court of Manila to pay malpractice and gross misconduct in office. He has displayed
Licuanan all her monthly rentals from October, 1978 and lack of honesty and good moral character. He has violated his
succeeding months thereafter. oath not to delay any man for money or malice, besmirched the
- When several months had elapsed without them hearing a name of an honorable profession and has proven himself
word from Pineda, respondent decided to send her a letter unworthy of the trust reposed in him by law as an officer of the
demanding that she pay the monthly rental of her apartment Court. He deserves the severest punishment.
otherwise he will be constrained to take the necessary legal Disposition Consistent with the crying need to maintain the
action against her to protect the interest of his client high traditions and standards of the legal profession and to
- Pineda yielded to the demand of Melo. She went to preserve undiminished public faith in attorneys-at-law, the Court
respondent's office and paid him P3,060.00 for rental payments Resolved to DISBAR respondent, Atty. Manuel L. Melo, from the
for October, 1978 to February, 1980 at the rate of P180.00 per practice of law. His name is hereby ordered stricken from the
month. Roll of Attorneys.
-Pineda continued paying her obligations religiously to Melo, (Paragraph 11 of the Canons of Professional Ethics referred to is
covering the period between March 1980-January 1981. reiterated in Rules 16.01. 16.02 and 16.03 of the Code of
-During the entire twelve-month period that respondent had Professional Responsibility promulgated by the Supreme Court
been receiving the said rental payments of Pineda, he did not on 21 June 1988).
bother to inform or report to complainant about the said
payments and instead unnecessarily retained the money
-On April 27, 1981, complainant, not knowing that respondent
had been receiving the rental payments of Pineda, instituted an PER CURIAM; January 31, 2005
administrative case against her (Aida Pineda) before the Chief of (chris lao)
the Philippine Tuberculosis Society accusing her of "moral
turpitude" arising from her alleged failure to pay the rent of her NATURE
apartment as ordered by the City Court of Manila in Civil Case Resolution of the verified letter-complaint for disbarment against
No. 037276 and claiming that she has ignored and refused to Atty. Jose C. Go dated June 23, 1975 filed by Nazaria S.
pay her just obligation Hernandez (now deceased)
-Pineda brought an action against Licuanan for damages before
the then Court of First Instance of Manila, for she allegedly FACTS
suffered mental anguish, besmirched reputation, wounded - Both parties are from Zamboanga City.
- The allegations in the letter-complaint are: - The foregoing legal activities and operations of the respondent
Sometime in 1961, complainant’s husband abandoned her and in addition to his having discussed, advised and gave solutions
her son, Luciano S. Hernandez, Jr. Shortly thereafter, her to complainant’s legal problems and liabilities to her creditors
husband’s numerous creditors demanded payments of his loans. and even requested her creditors for extension of time to pay
Fearful that the various mortgage contracts involving her complainant’s accounts constitute practice of law as legal
properties will be foreclosed and aware of impending suits for counsel for consultation aside from representing complainant in
sums of money against her, complainant engaged the legal other cases; a mute proof of a lawyer-client relations between
services of Atty. Jose C. Go, herein respondent. them, a fact also admitted by the respondent.
- Respondent instilled in complainant a feeling of helplessness, - It is incumbent upon the respondent to have rendered a
fear, embarrassment, and social humiliation. He advised her to detailed report to the complainant on how he paid complainant’s
give him her land titles covering Lots 848-A, 849-Q, and 849-P at creditors without selling her properties. Instead of selling to
Zamboanga City so he could sell them to enable her to pay her buyers at higher price, he paid them out of his own funds; then
creditors. He then persuaded her to execute deeds of sale in his later on admitted that he was one of the purchasers of
favor without any monetary or valuable consideration. complainant’s properties in utter disregard of their agreement
Complainant agreed on condition that he would sell the lots and and no evidence was submitted by the respondent concerning
from the proceeds pay her creditors. the value of the said sale of complainant’s properties.
- Complainant also owned Lots 2118, 2139, and 1141-A, likewise - As such, respondent did not adhere faithfully and honestly in
located in Zamboanga City, which were mortgaged to her his obligation and duty as complainant’s legal adviser and
creditors. When the mortgages fell due, respondent redeemed counsel when he took advantage of the trust and confidence
the lots. Again, he convinced her to execute deeds of sale reposed in him by the complainant in ultimately putting
involving those lots in his favor. As a result, respondent became complainant’s properties in his name and possession in violation
the registered owner of all the lots belonging to complainant. of Canon 17 of the Code of Professional Responsibility.
- Sometime in 1974, complainant came to know that respondent WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the undersigned
did not sell her lots as agreed upon. Instead, he paid her respectfully recommends that respondent Atty. Jose C. Go be
creditors with his own funds and had her land titles registered in suspended from the practice of law for a period of six (6) months
his name, depriving her of her real properties worth millions. from receipt hereof and the IBP Chapter where he is a registered
- In our Resolution dated September 24, 1975, respondent was member be furnished a copy of the same for implementation
required to file his comment on the complaint. hereof, subject to the approval of the Honorable Members of the
- Instead of filing his comment, respondent submitted a motion Board of Governors.”
to dismiss on the ground that the complaint is premature since - On July 30, 2004, the IBP Board of Governors passed Resolution
there is pending before the then Court of First Instance of No. XVI-2004-39 adopting and approving the Report of
Zamboanga City Civil Case No. 1781 for recovery of ownership Commissioner Navarro with modification in the sense that the
and declaration of nullity of deeds of sale filed by complainant recommended penalty of suspension from the practice of law
against him involving the subject lots. was increased from six (6) months to three (3) years.
- On November 14, 1975, we issued a Resolution denying
respondent’s motion and requiring him to submit his answer. ISSUE
- In his answer dated December 19, 1975, respondent denied the WON the Resolution of the IBP Board of Governors finding that
allegations in the instant complaint. He averred that he sold, in respondent violated the Code of Professional Responsibility be
good faith, complainant’s lots to various buyers, including sustained
himself, for valuable consideration. On several occasions, he
extended financial assistance to complainant and even invited HELD
her to live with his family. His children used to call her “Lola” Yes. However, we have to modify its recommended penalty.
due to her frequent visits to his residence. He prayed that the - Canon 16 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, the
complaint be dismissed for failure to state a cause of action. principal source of ethical rules for lawyers in this jurisdiction,
- On January 17, 1977, we referred the case to the Office of the provides:
Solicitor General (OSG) for investigation, report, and “A lawyer shall hold in trust all moneys and properties of
recommendation. his client that may come into his possession.”
- It was only on March 13, 1990 or after 13 years, 1 month and - Respondent breached this Canon. His acts of acquiring for
26 days that the OSG filed a motion to refer the instant case to himself complainant’s lots entrusted to him are, by any
the IBP for the retaking of the testimonies of complainant’s standard, acts constituting gross misconduct, a grievous wrong,
witnesses and the submission of its report and recommendation. a forbidden act, a dereliction in duty, willful in character, and
- On April 4, 1990, we issued a Resolution referring the case to implies a wrongful intent and not mere error in judgment. Such
the IBP for investigation, report, and recommendation. conduct on the part of respondent degrades not only himself but
- The Report and Recommendation dated June 15, 2004 of Atty. also the name and honor of the legal profession. He violated this
Lydia A. Navarro, Commissioner of the IBP Commission on Bar Court’s mandate that lawyers must at all times conduct
Discipline, is quoted as follows: themselves, especially in their dealing with their clients and the
“A careful examination and evaluation of the evidence submitted public at large, with honesty and integrity in a manner beyond
by the parties showed that all the properties of the complainant reproach.
are presently owned by the respondent by virtue of several - Canon 17 of the same Code states:
deeds of sale executed by the complainant in favor of the “A lawyer owes fidelity to the cause of his client and he
respondent without monetary consideration except Lot 849-D shall be mindful of the trust and confidence reposed in
situated in Tomas Claudio which was returned by the respondent him.”
to the complainant on September 5, 1974. - The records show that complainant reposed such high degree
- It is evident from the records that respondent was the one who of trust and confidence in herein respondent, that when she
notarized the documents involving the said properties redeemed engaged his services, she entrusted to him her land titles and
or repurchased by the complainant from her creditors which allowed him to sell her lots, believing that the proceeds thereof
ended up in respondent’s name like in the deed of sale executed would be used to pay her creditors. Respondent, however,
by Victoriano Dejerano in favor of Nazaria Hernandez over Lots abused her trust and confidence when he did not sell her
1141-A-3-A and 1141-A-3-B; deed of sale executed by Antonio properties to others but to himself and spent his own money to
Masrahon on September 3, 1961regarding Lot No. 1141-A; deed pay her obligations. As correctly observed by Investigating IBP
of absolute sale executed by Francisco Esperat over the Curuan Commissioner Lydia Navarro, respondent is duty-bound to
properties on November 9, 1971 and the cancellation of the render a detailed report to the complainant on how much he sold
mortgage executed by Alfonso Enriquez on July 18, 1964 over the latter’s lots and the amounts paid to her creditors.
the Tomas Claudio properties. Obviously, had he sold the lots to other buyers, complainant
could have earned more. Records show that she did not receive - Code of Professional Responsibility
any amount from respondent. Clearly, respondent did not - Rule 1.01 of Canon 1 - A lawyer shall not engage in
adhere faithfully and honestly in his duty as complainant’s unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct.
counsel. - Canon 16 – A lawyer shall hold in trust all moneys and
- Section 27, Rule 138 of the Revised Rules of Court mandates properties of his client that may come into his
that a lawyer may be disbarred or suspended by this Court for possession
any of the following acts: (1) deceit; (2) malpractice; (3) gross - Canon 11 - Respect due to courts
misconduct in office; (4) grossly immoral conduct; (5) respondent chose to forget that by swearing the lawyer's oath,
conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude; (6) violation of he became a guardian of truth and the rule of law, and an
the lawyer’s oath; (7) willful disobedience of any lawful order of indispensable instrument in the fair an impartial administration
a superior court; and (8) willfully appearing as an attorney for a of justice — a vital function of democracy a failure of which is
party without authority to do so. disastrous to society. Any departure from the path which a
- In Rayos-Ombac vs. Rayos, we ordered the disbarment of lawyer must follow as demanded by the virtues of his profession
lawyer when he deceived his 85-year old aunt into entrusting shall not be tolerated by this Court as the disciplining authority.
him with all her money and later refused to return the same Reasoning Respondent's transgressions caused dishonor, not
despite demand. In Navarro vs. Meneses III, we disbarred a merely to respondent, but to the noble profession to which he
member of the Bar for his refusal or failure to account for the belongs, for it cannot be denied that the respect of litigants for
P50,000.00 he received from a client to settle a case. In the profession is inexorably diminished whenever a member of
Docena vs. Limson, we expelled from the brotherhood of the Bar betrays their trust and confidence.
lawyers, an attorney who extorted money from his client through Disposition Consistent with the urgent need to maintain the
deceit and misrepresentation. In Busiños vs. Ricafort, an esteemed traditions and high standards of the legal profession
attorney was stripped of his license to practice law for and to preserve undiminished public faith in the members of the
misappropriating his client’s money. Philippine Bar, the Court resolves to DISBAR respondent ATTY.
- Considering the depravity of respondent’s offense, we find the FRANCISCO RICAFORT from the practice of law. His name is
penalty recommended by the IBP too light. It bears reiterating hereby stricken from the Roll of Attorneys.
that a lawyer who takes advantage of his client’s financial plight
to acquire the latter’s properties for his own benefit is QUILBAN V ROBINOL
destructive of the confidence of the public in the fidelity,
PER CURIAM; April 10, 1989
honesty, and integrity of the legal profession. Thus, for violation
of Canon 16 and Canon 17 of the Code of Professional (sarah cabrera)
Responsibility, which constitutes gross misconduct, and
consistent with the need to maintain the high standards of the NATURE
Bar and thus preserve the faith of the public in the legal ADMINISTRATIVE CASES in the Supreme Court. Disbarment.
profession, respondent deserves the ultimate penalty, that of
expulsion from the esteemed brotherhood of lawyers. FACTS
Disposition Respondent JOSE S. GO is found guilty of gross - The Colegio de San Jose, through its administrator, Father
misconduct and is DISBARRED from the practice of law. His Federico Escaler, sold a land to the Quezon City Government as
name is ordered STRICKEN from the Roll of Attorneys EFFECTIVE the site for the Quezon City General Hospital but reserved an
IMMEDIATELY. area of 2,743 square meters as a possible development site.
Squatters, however, settled in the area since 1965 or 1966. In
1970, the Colegio, through Father Escaler gave permission to
Congressman Luis R. Taruc to build on the reserved site a house
PER CURIAM; December 22, 1997 for his residence and a training center for the Christian Social
(keefe dela cruz) Movement. Seeing the crowded shanties of squatters,
Congressman Taruc suggested to Father Escaler the idea of
NATURE donating or selling the land cheap to the squatters.
Complaint for disbarment against Atty. Francisco Ricafort Congressman Taruc then advised the squatters to form an
organization and choose a leader authorized to negotiate with
FACTS Father Escaler. Following that advice, the squatters formed the
- Respondent Atty. Ricafort was entrusted P30,000 by "Samahang Pagkakaisa ng Barrio Bathala", with Bernabe Martin
complainant Businos to deposit in the bank account of as President.
complainant’s husband, which amount respondent used for - But instead of working for the welfare of the Samahan, Martin
himself and delayed in payment. went to one Maximo Rivera, a realtor, with whom he connived to
- Respondent required a bond of P2,000 from Businos obtain the sale to the exclusion of the other Samaban members.
supposedly for one of her Civil Cases when no such bond was The land was ultimately sold to Rivera at a cheap price of PI5 per
required. square meter or a total consideration of P41,961.65. The
- Hence, Businos filed a complaint for disbarment against prevailing price of the land in the vicinity then was P1 00 to P1
Ricafort 20 per square meter. Father Escaler had been made to believe
- The court required respondent to comment on the complaint that Rivera represented the squatters on the property.
time and again. But respondent failed to comply. As such, the - In 1972, thirty-two heads of families of the Samahan filed the
court considered his right waived, and referred the complaint to case against Rivera, et. al. The CFI, however, dismissed the case.
the Office of the Bar Confidant. - To prosecute the appea in the CAl, the Samahan members
- The Office ordered respondent suspended for 1 year. hired as their counsel Atty. Santiago R. Robinol for which the
latter was paid P2,000.00 as attorney's fees on. Atty. Robinol
ISSUE was also to be given by the members a part of the land, subject
WON the 1-year suspension is commensurate sanction for the matter of the case, equal to the portion that would pertain to
offenses committed by respondent Atty. Ricafort each of them. What was initially a verbal commitment on the
land sharing was confirmed in writing.
HELD - On 14 November 1978, the Court of Appeals reversed the CFI
NO. Decision and ruled in favor of the plaintiffs.
Ratio - To raise the amount of P41,961.65 ordered paid by the Court of
With dishonesty, grave misconduct, grossly unethical behavior, Appeals, plus expenses for ejectment of the non-plaintiffs
and palpable disregard of: occupying the property, conveyance, documentation, transfer of
- Section 25 of Rule 138 of the Rules of Court - unlawful title etc., the five officers of the Samahan collected, little by
retention of client’s funds
little, P2,500.00 from each head of family. The Treasurer, Luis continue in the practice of the profession. After the CA had
Agawan, issued the proper receipts prepared by Atty. Robinol. rendered a Decision favorable to his clients and he had received
- On 18 May 1979, the sum of P68,970.00 was turned over to the latter's funds, suddenly, he had a change of mind and
Atty. Robinol by the officers; on 31 May 1979 the amounts of decided to convert the payment of his fees from a portion of land
P1,030.00 and P2,500.00 respectively; and on 2 June 1979, the equivalent to that of each of the plaintiffs to P50,000.00, which
sum of P2,500.00, or a total of P75,000.00. he alleges to be the monetary value of that area. Certainly, Atty.
- After almost a year, the five officers discovered that no Robinol had no right to unilaterally appropriate his clients'
payment had been made to Rivers. When queried, Atty. Robinol money not only because he is bound by a written agreement but
replied that there was an intervention filed in the civil case and also because, under the circumstances, it was highly unjust for
that a Writ of Execution bad not yet been issued by the CFI of him to have done so. His clients were mere squatters who could
Quezon City. However, it turned out that the motion for barely eke out an existence. They had painstakingly raised their
intervention had already been dismissed. After confronting Atty. respective quotas of P2,500.00 per family with which to pay for
Robinol with that fact, the latter gave other excuses, which the the land only to be deprived of the same by one who, after
officers discovered to have no basis at all. having seen the color of money, heartlessly took advantage of
- On 6 March 1980, 21 out of 32 plaintiffs arrived at a "first them.
consensus" to change their counsel, Atty. Robinol. The officers of - Atty. Robinol has no basis to claim that since he was unjustly
the Samahan thereafter approached Atty. AnacIeto R. dismissed by his clients he had the legal right to retain the
Montemayor, who agreed to be their counsel, after he was money in his possession. Firstly, there was justifiable ground for
shown the document containing the consensus of the Samahan his discharge as counsel. His clients had lost confidence in him
members to change Atty. Robinol as their lawyer. Upon Atty. for he had obviously engaged in dilatory tactics to the detriment
Montemayor's advice, the officers sent Atty. Robinol a letter of their interests, which he was duty-bound to pro. tect.
informing the latter of their decision to terminate his services Secondly, even if there were no valid ground, he is bereft of any
and demanding the return of the P75,000.00 deposited with him. legal right to retain his clients' funds intended for a specific
Atty. Robinol turned deaf ears to the demand. A subsequent purpose-the purchase of land. He stands obliged to return the
letter of the same tenor was similarly disregarded by Atty. money immediately to their rightful owners.
Robinol. - The Court agrees with the Solicitor General that complainants'
- On 20 March 1980, Atty. Montemayor formally entered his evidence on this is the more credible. And that he had, in fact,
appearance in a civil case as counsel for the plaintiffs, vice Atty. received the total sum of P75,000-00. Inevitable, therefore, is
Robinol, on the strength of the authority given him by plaintiffs the conclusion that Atty. Robinol has rendered himself unfit to
in said civil case through the five officers. Atty. Montemayor then continue in the practice of law. He has not only violated his
filed on 20 March 1980 a Motion for Execution praying that the oath not to delay any man for money and to conduct
defendants and/or the Clerk of Court be directed to execute a himself with all good fidelity to his clients. He has also
deed of conveyance in favor of the plaintiffs. At the hearing of brought the profession into disrepute with people who had
the Motion for Execution, Atty. Robinol manifested that he had reposed in it full faith and reliance for the fulfillment of a life-
no objection to the appearance of and his substitution by Atty. time ambition to acquire a homelot they could call their own.
Montemayor. 2. NO
- Because Atty. Robinol, however, still questioned the first Reasoning In so far as Atty. Montemayor is concerned, we
consensus, another document labelled the a second consensus" agree with the findings of the Solicitor General that he has not
was signed by 21 plaintiffs during a meeting held for the purpose exposed himself to any plausible charge of unethical conduct in
on 24 November 1980 to the effect that they had decided to the exercise of his profession when he agreed to serve as
change Atty. Robinol as their counsel because he had delayed counsel for the plaintiffs.There is no doubt that clients are free to
paying for their land notwithstanding the Decision of the Court of change their counsel in a pending case at any time (Section 26,
Appeals in their favor. Rule 138, Rules of Court) and thereafter employ another lawyer
- Administrative Case No. 2144: On 15 April 1980 the who may then enter his appearance. In this case, the plaintiffs in
Samahan officers filed this Administrative Complaint before this the civil suit below decided to change their lawyer, Atty. Robinol,
Court requesting the investigation of Atty. Robinol for refusal for loss of trust and confidence. That act was well within their
to return the P75,000.00 and praying that the Court exercise its prerogative. In so far as the complaint for disbarment filed by
power of discipline over members of the Bar unworthy to Atty. Robinol against Atty. Montemayor is concerned, therefore,
practice law. the same is absolutely without merit.
- Administrative Case No. 2180: Atty. Robinol filed a Disposition
complaint for Disbarment against Atty. Anacleto R. - Atty. Santiago R. Robinol is hereby DISBARRED for having
Montemayor for alleged gross unethical conduct unbecoming violated his lawyer's oath to delay no man for money, broken the
of a lawyer in that Atty. Montemayor readily accepted the case fiduciary relation between lawyer and client, and proven himself
without his (Robinol's) formal withdrawal and conformity and unworthy to continue in the practice of law. By reason of his
knowing fully well that there was no consensus of all the unethical actuations, he is hereby declared to have forfeited his
plaintiffs to discharge him as their counsel. rights to attorney's fees and is ordered to return the amount of
- Court referred administrative cases to the Sol. Gen. who P75,000.00 to the plaintiffs.
recommended: 1. That Atty. Santiago R. Robinol be suspended - Administrative Case No. 2180 against Atty. Anacleto R.
for three months for refusing to deliver the funds of the plaintiffs Montemayor for disbarment is hereby DISMISSED for lack of
in his possession, with the warning that a more severe penalty merit.
will be imposed for a repetition of the same or similar act, and
that he be ordered to return to the plaintiffs, the sum of BARNACHEA V QUIOCHO
P75,000.00. 2. That the case against Atty. Anacleto R.
CALLEJO; March 11, 2003
Montemayor, be dismissed, since he has not committed any
misconduct imputed to him by Atty. Robinol. (jat tabamo)

1. WON Atty. Robinol should be suspended Administrative matter. Breach of Lawyer-Client Relations
2. WON Atty. Montemayor should be disbarred
HELD - Complainant Ruby Barnachea sought the services of
1. YES respondent Atty. Edwin Quiocho, a lawyer who has stopped
Reasoning Atty. Robinol has, in fact, been guilty of ethical practicing for some time and was only in the second month of
infractions and grave misconduct that make him unworthy to resuming practice, to cause the transfer under her name the
title over a property previously owned by her sister. She paid P
41, 280 for the expenses for said transfer and for respondent’s have written her a letter informing her that the original copy of
legal services. TCT No. 324411 in the custody of the Register of Deeds was
- Respondent failed to cause the transfer and consequently, burned when the Quezon City Hall was gutted by fire and that
complainant demanded that she be refunded and that the there was a need for the reconstitution of said title. Neither did
documents she entrusted to respondent to cause the transfer be respondent adduce evidence that he had been sick with diabetes
returned to her. Respondent failed to comply with the demands. and had lost his sight in his right eye. Respondent simply
- On Nov. 1, 2001, Respondent wrote complainant a letter saying refused to adduce evidence to prove his allegations in his
he failed and that he would return the documents and the title Answer to the complaint.
entrusted to him as well as refund the P 41, 280 through a Ratio 2: A lawyer is obliged to hold in trust money or property
personal check. He however failed to fund the check despite the of his client that may come to his possession. He is a trustee to
demands of complainant. said funds and property. He is to keep the funds of his client
- In his answer to the complaint, respondent: separate and apart from his own and those of others kept by
1. Denied that complainant contracted his legal services. him. Money entrusted to a lawyer for a specific purpose such as
Received the P 41, 280 payment but claimed they were for for the registration of a deed with the Register of Deeds and for
actual and incidental expenses and not for legal services expenses and fees for the transfer of title over real property
2. Asserted that he acted in good faith as shown by the fact that under the name of his client if not utilized, must be returned
he returned the documents with an explanatory letter and immediately to his client upon demand therefor.
refunded complainant by issuing a personal check. Reasoning The lawyer’s failure to return the money of his client
3. Alleged that his failure was caused by his difficulty in making upon demand gives rise to a presumption that he has
good the claimed amount, along with the fact that he was misappropriated said money in violation of the trust reposed on
afflicted with diabetes and loss of sight of his right eye. him. The conversion by a lawyer of funds entrusted to him by his
4. Claimed that he only agreed to help complainant with the client is a gross violation of professional ethics and a betrayal of
condition that his task was merely to go through the regular public confidence in the legal profession.
process of presenting available documents, paying taxes and Ratio 3: The relation of attorney and client is highly fiduciary in
fees, and following up on the transfer, a task that a non-lawyer nature and is of a very delicate, exacting and confidential
familiar with the procedure can perform. 5. Claimed to have character. A lawyer is duty-bound to observe candor, fairness
discovered that the original copy of the transfer certificate of and loyalty in all his dealings and transactions with his clients.
title had been burned and that complainant’s copy therefore The profession, therefore, demands of an attorney an absolute
needed to be reconstituted before it can be cancelled and abdication of every personal advantage conflicting in any way,
transferred. During this time, communication between both directly or indirectly, with the interest of his client.
parties broke down, as respondent’s mobile phone was stolen, Reasoning In this case, respondent miserably failed to measure
he has no home phone and that phone calls between him and up to the exacting standard expected of him. Although the Court
complainant at his work place had been cute due to souring is led to believe that respondent’s failure to cause the transfer of
relationship with his co-workers. the title of the property under the name of complainant was due
- A formal investigation was conducted by IBP thereafter and it to a financial problem that beset him shortly after he received
found that the complainant engaged the legal services of the the checks from complainant. It can easily be inferred from
respondent as admitted by respondent himself in his letter to respondent’s letter that he used complainant’s money to
the complainant; that respondent was not able to meet his alleviate if not solve his financial woes. What compounded
financial obligations due to financial difficulties and that he was respondent’s unethical conduct was his drawing of a personal
in good faith in his failure. The IBP Investigation Commissioner check and delivering the same to complainant without sufficient
also recommended that he be ordered to repay his client within funds in his bank account to cover the check. Even as he
90 days from receipt of notice and warned that a repetition promised to fund his account with the drawee bank, respondent
would be dealt with more severely. failed to do so when the check became due. In this case,
- The IBP Board of Governors adopted and approved the respondent intransigently refused to return to the complainant
Investigating Commissioner’s recommendations with an the amount of P 41,280 which he received for the expenses for
additional sanction of reprimand. the transfer to her of the title of the property and for his
professional fees. His dishonest conduct was compounded by
ISSUE his interjection of flimsy excuses for his obstinate refusal to
WON the penalty recommended by the Board of Governors refund the amount to complainant
corresponds to the gravity of the wrong committed by Disposition Respondent Atty. Quiocho is found guilty of
respondent violating Canons 15 and 16 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility. He is suspended from the practice of law for 1
HELD year with a warning that a repetition of the same shall be dealt
No. The Court finds that the penalty recommended by the Board with more severely. He is also directed to restitute the
of Governors is not commensurate to the gravity of the wrong complainant the full amount of 41,280 within 10 days from
committed by respondent. notice.
Ratio 1: Respondent’s claim that complainant did not retain his - If respondent fails to restitute the said amount within the
legal services flies in the face of his letter to complainant. Even aforesaid period, he shall be meted an additional suspension of 3
if it were true that no attorney-client relationship existed months for every month or fraction thereof of delay until he shall
between them, case law has it that an attorney may be removed have paid the said amount in full. In case a subsidiary penalty of
or otherwise disciplined not only for malpractice and dishonesty suspension for his failure to restitute the said amount shall be
in the profession but also for gross misconduct not connected necessary, respondent shall serve successively the penalty of his
with his professional duties one year suspension and the subsidiary penalty.
Reasoning In this case, respondent failed to comply with his
undertaking for almost two months. Worse, despite demands of RUBIAS V BATILLER
complainant, he failed to refund the amount of P 41, 280 and to
TEEHANKEE; May 29, 1973
return to complainant the deed of absolute sale and title over
the property. Respondent’s claim that complainant could not
contact him because he did not have any landline at his
- On August 31, 1964, plaintiff Domingo D. Rubias, a lawyer, filed
residence and that his mobile phone was stolen in October 2001,
a suit to recover the ownership and possession of certain
is hard to believe. He failed to adduce a morsel of evidence to
portions of lot located in Barotac Viejo, Iloilo which he bought
prove that his telephone at the business center was cut or that
from his father-in-law, Francisco Militante in 1956 against its
his mobile phone had been stolen. Even then, respondent could
present occupant defendant, Isaias Batiller, who illegally entered
have easily contacted the complainant at her residence or could
said portions of the lot on two occasions — in 1945 and in 1959.
In his answer with counter-claim defendant claims that he and > ART. 1491. The following persons cannot acquire any
his predecessors-in-interest have always been in actual, open purchase, even at a public auction, either in person of
and continuous possession since time immemorial under claim of through the mediation of another: .
ownership of the portions of the lot in question. Unfortunately, + (5) Justices, judges, prosecuting attorneys, clerks of
his title superior and inferior courts, and other officers and
- Francisco Militante claimed ownership of a parcel of land employees connected with the administration of justice,
located in the Barrio of General Luna, municipality of Barotac the property and rights of in litigation or levied upon an
Viejo province of Iloilo, which he caused to be surveyed on July execution before the court within whose jurisdiction or
18-31, 1934 territory they exercise their respective functions; this
- Before WWII, Francisco Militante filed with the Court of First prohibition includes the act of acquiring an assignment
Instance of Iloilo an application for the registration of the title of and shall apply to lawyers, with respect to the property
the land but was opposed by the Director of Lands, the Director and rights which may be the object of any litigation in
of Forestry and other oppositors. During WWII, the record of the which they may take part by virtue of their profession.
case was lost. After the war, Francisco Militante petitioned this - Defendant claims that plaintiff could not have acquired any
court to reconstitute the record of the case but in the end, the interest in the property in dispute as the contract he (plaintiff)
registration was denied. had with Francisco Militante was inexistent and void. (See pp.
- He appealed but pending the decision (which was denied in the 22-31, Record on Appeal). Plaintiff strongly opposed defendant's
end), Francisco Militante sold to the plaintiff, Domingo Rubias motion to dismiss claiming that defendant can not invoke
the land, and was registered in the Registry of Deeds Articles 1409 and 1491 of the Civil Code as Article 1422 of the
- Soon after, both Rubias and Militante were declaring the land same Code provides that 'The defense of illegality of contracts is
for taxation purposes not available to third persons whose interests are not directly
- On April 22, 1960, the plaintiff filed forcible Entry and Detainer affected' (See pp. 32-35 Record on Appeal).
case against Isaias Batiller in the Justice of the Peace Court of - On October 18, 1965, the lower court issued an order
Barotac Viejo Province of Iloilo disclaiming plaintiffs complaint (pp. 42-49, Record on Appeal.) In
- During the trial of this case on the merit, the plaintiff will prove the aforesaid order of dismissal the lower court practically
by competent evidence the following: agreed with defendant's contention that the contract (Exh. A)
> That the land he purchased from Francisco Militante between plaintiff and Francism Militante was null and void.
under Exh. "A" was formerly owned and possessed by
Liberato Demontaño but that on September 6, 1919 the land ISSUES
was sold at public auction by virtue of a judgment in a Civil WON the contract of sale between appellant and his father-in-
Case entitled "Edw J. Pflieder plaintiff vs. Liberato law, the late Francisco Militante over the property subject of Plan
Demontaño Francisco Balladeros and Gregorio Yulo, Psu-99791 was void because it was made when plaintiff was
defendants", of which Yap Pongco was the purchaser (Exh. counsel of his father-in-law in a land registration case involving
"1-3"). The sale was registered in the Office of the Register the property in dispute
of Deeds of Iloilo on August 4, 1920, under Primary Entry
No. 69 (Exh. "1"), and a definite Deed of Sale was executed HELD
by Constantino A. Canto, provincial Sheriff of Iloilo, on Jan. YES.
19, 1934 in favor of Yap Pongco (Exh. "I"), the sale having - The purchase by a lawyer of the property in litigation from his
been registered in the Office of the Register of Deeds of client is categorically prohibited by Article 1491 paragraph (5) of
Iloilo on February 10, 1934 (Exh. "1-1"). the Philippine Civil Code, reproduced supra; 6 and that
> On September 22, 1934, Yap Pongco sold this land to consequently, plaintiff's purchase of the property in litigation
Francisco Militante as evidenced by a notarial deed (Exh. "J") from his client (assuming that his client could sell the same since
which was registered in the Registry of Deeds on May 13, as already shown above, his client's claim to the property was
1940 (Exh. "J-1"). defeated and rejected) was void and could produce no legal
- Defendants, on the other hand will prove by competent effect, by virtue of Article 1409, paragraph (7) of our Civil Code
evidence during the trial of this case the following facts: which provides that contracts "expressly prohibited or declared
> That lot No. 2 of the Psu-1552 it (Exh. '5') was originally void by law' are "inexistent and that "(T)hese contracts cannot
owned and possessed by Felipe Batiller, grandfather of the be ratified. Neither can the right to set up the defense of
defendant Basilio Batiller, on the death of the former in illegality be waived."
1920, as his sole heir. Isaias Batiller succeeded his father , - In a case, the Court ordered the issuance of a writ of
Basilio Batiller, in the ownership and possession of the land possession for the return of the land by the lawyer to the
in the year 1930, and since then up to the present, the land adverse parties without reimbursement of the price paid by him
remains in the possession of the defendant, his possession and other expenses, and ruled that counsel is a lawyer and is
being actual, open, public, peaceful and continuous in the presumed to know the law. He must, therefore, from the
concept of an owner, exclusive of any other rights and beginning, have been well aware of the defect in his title and is,
adverse to all other claimants. consequently, a possessor in bad faith."
> That the alleged predecessors in interest of the plaintiff - Article 1491 of our Civil Code (like Article 1459 of the Spanish
have never been in the actual possession of the land and Civil Code) prohibits in its six paragraphs certain persons, by
that they never had any title thereto. reason of the relation of trust or their peculiar control over the
> That Lot No. 2, Psu 155241, the subject of Free Patent property, from acquiring such property in their trust or control
application of the defendant has been approved. either directly or indirectly and "even at a public or judicial
- On August 17, 1965, defendant's counsel manifested in open auction," as follows: (1) guardians; (2) agents; (3)
court that before any trial on the merit of the case could proceed administrators; (4) public officers and employees; judicial
he would file a motion to dismiss plaintiff's complaint which he officers and employees, prosecuting attorneys, and lawyers; and
did, alleging that plaintiff does not have cause of action against (6) others especially disqualified by law.
him because the property in dispute which he (plaintiff) allegedly - New Civil Code recognizes absolute nullity of contracts "whose
bought from his father-in-law, Francisco Militante was the subject cause, object, or purpose is contrary to law, morals, good
matter of LRC No. 695 filed in the CFI of Iloilo, which case was customs, public order or public policy" or which are "expressly
brought on appeal to this Court and docketed as CA-G.R. No. prohibited or declared void by law" and declares such contracts
13497-R in which aforesaid case plaintiff was the counsel on "inexistent and void from the beginning."
record of his father-in-law, Francisco Militante. - nullity of such prohibited contracts is definite and permanent
- Invoking Arts. 1409 and 1491 of the Civil Code which reads: and cannot be cured by ratification. The public interest and
> Art. 1409. The following contracts are inexistent and void public policy remain paramount and do not permit of
from the beginning: (7) Those expressly prohibited by law. compromise or ratification. In his aspect, the permanent
disqualification of public and judicial officers and lawyers P1,000 which they immediately gave to Potenciano. Later
grounded on public policy differs from the first three cases of Potenciano informed Cantiller and her sister that he could not
guardians, agents and administrators (Article 1491, Civil Code), locate the judge who would issue the restraining order. The
as to whose transactions it had been opined that they may be parties, then, instead went to the Max's Restaurant where
"ratified" by means of and in "the form of a new contact, in Potenciano ordered some food-including two plastic bags of food
which cases its validity shall be determined only by the allegedly to be given to the judge who would issue the
circumstances at the time the execution of such new contract. restraining order. At this juncture, Potenciano asked for the
The causes of nullity which have ceased to exist cannot impair remaining balance of the P2,000 which he earlier demanded.
the validity of the new contract. Thus, the object which was Cantiller gave her last money-a ten dollar ($10.00) bill.
illegal at the time of the first contract, may have already become - Sometime after the filing of Civil Case No. 55118, Potenciano
lawful at the time of the ratification or second contract; or the informed complainant and Peregrina that there was a need to
service which was impossible may have become possible; or the file another case with the RTC to enable them to retain
intention which could not be ascertained may have been clarified possession of the apartment. For this purpose, Potenciano told
by the parties. The ratification or second contract would then be complainant to prepare the amount of P10,000.00 allegedly to
valid from its execution; however, it does not retroact to the be deposited with the Treasurer's Office of Pasig as purchase
date of the first contract." price of the apartment and another P1,000 to cover the
- As applied to the case at bar, the lower court therefore properly expenses of the suit. Potenciano stressed to the complainant the
acted upon defendant-appellant's motion to dismiss on the need and urgency of filing the new complaint. Complainant and
ground of nullity of plaintiff's alleged purchase of the land, since Peregrina raised the said amounts through the kindness of some
its juridical effects and plaintiff's alleged cause of action founded friends and relatives. On October 26, 1987, the money was
thereon were being asserted against defendant-appellant. handed over to the respondent.
- At the hearing of the preliminary injunction in Civil Case No.
55118 on October 30, 1987, Potenciano, contrary to his promise
that he would secure a restraining order, withdrew his
PER CURIAM; December 18, 1989 appearance as counsel for complainant. Complainant was not
(ricky cantre) able to get another lawyer as replacement. Thus, no restraining
order or preliminary injunction was obtained. As a consequence,
NATURE the order to vacate was eventually enforced and executed.
Administrative complaint versus Atty. Humberto V. Potenciano. - Sometime thereafter, it came to complainant's knowledge that
there was really no need to make a deposit of P10,000 relative
FACTS to Civil Case No. 55210. After another inquiry, she found out that
- Subject of this administrative complaint is Humberto V. in fact there was no such deposit made. Thus, on December 23,
Potenciano, a practicing lawyer and a member of the Philippine 1987, complainant sent a demand letter to Potenciano asking for
Bar under Roll No. 21862. He is charged with deceit, fraud, and the return of the total amount of P11,000 which the former
misrepresentation, and also with gross misconduct, malpractice earlier gave to the latter. However, this letter was never
and of acts unbecoming of an officer of the court. answered and the money was never returned. Hence,
- Complainant is the sister of Peregrina Cantiller, defendant in an complainant lodged this administrative complaint against herein
action for "ejectment" before the MTC of Manila, Branch 57, San respondent.
Juan, Metro Manila. Another action, likewise involving Peregrina - Potenciano in his answer contends that the filing of Civil Cases
but this time as plaintiff, was then pending before the RTC, Nos. 55118 and 55210 was done in good faith and that the
Branch 168, Pasig, Metro Manila for "reconveyance with allegations of complainant relative to the administrative charge
damages." Both actions involve the apartment unit being rented against him are all lies, product of one's imagination and only
by Cantiller and her sister. When the two cases were concluded, intended to harrass him.
Peregrina came out the losing party. The civil case for
reconveyance was ordered dismissed by the RTC on June 9, ISSUE
1987 while the civil case for ejectment was decided by the MTC WON Potenciano is guilty if the charges against him
against her.
- On October 8, 1987 pursuant to the writ of execution issued in HELD
the civil case for ejectment, Cantiller and Peregrina were served Yes.
a notice to vacate the rented premises within four (4) days from Ratio When a lawyer takes a clients cause, he thereby
receipt of notice. Desperate and at a loss on what to do, they covenants that he will exert all effort for its prosecution until its
consulted a certain Sheriff Pagalunan on the matter. Pagalunan, final conclusion. The failure to exercise due diligence or the
in turn, introduced them to Potenciano. After such introduction, abandonment of a client's cause makes such lawyer unworthy of
the parties "impliedly agreed" that Potenciano would handle the trust which the client had reposed on him. Reasoning The
their case. acts of Potenciano in this case violate the most elementary
- A petition entitled "Annulment of Judgment, Annulment of Sale principles of professional ethics. Public interest requires that an
and Damages with prayer for Preliminary Injunction and/or attorney exert his best efforts and ability in the prosecution or
Status Quo Order, etc." was prepared by Potenciano to forestall defense of his client's cause. A lawyer who performs that duty
the execution of the order to vacate. In the afternoon of October with diligence and candor not only protects the interests of his
9, 1987, Cantiller was made to sign by Potenciano what she client; he also serves the ends of justice, does honor to the bar
described as a "[h]astily prepared, poorly conceived, and and helps maintain the respect of the community to the legal
haphazardly composed" petition for annulment of judgment. profession. This is so because the entrusted privilege to practice
Cantiller alleges that Potenciano promised her that the law carries with it the correlative duties not only to the client but
necessary restraining order would be secured if only because the also to the court, to the bar or to the public. That circumstance
judge who would hear the matter was his "katsukaran" (close explains the public concern for the maintenance of an
friend). Potenciano demanded from Cantiller P1,000 as untarnished standard of conduct by every attorney towards his
attorney's fee which the latter paid that same afternoon. client. The Court finds that Potenciano failed to exercise due
However, when the case was raffled and assigned to Branch 153, diligence in protecting his client's interests. Potenciano had
the presiding judge asked Potenciano to withdraw as counsel in knowledge beforehand that he would be asked by the presiding
the case on the ground of their friendship. judge in Civil Case No. 55118 to withdraw his appearance as
- On October 11, 1987, Potenciano went to the house of Cantiller counsel by reason of their friendship. Despite such prior
and asked her to be ready with P2,000 to be given to another knowledge, Potenciano took no steps to find a replacement nor
judge who will issue the restraining order in the ejectment case. did he inform complainant of this fact. Even assuming that
Cantiller and her sister were only able to raise the amount of Potenciano had no previous knowledge that he would be asked
to withdraw, the record is quite clear that four (4) days prior to - Jalandoon claims he only discovered his previous professional
the hearing of the preliminary injunction in Civil Case No. 55118 relationship with Sales during the pre-trial on Oct. 6, 1972
Potenciano already filed a motion therein withdrawing as
complainant's counsel interposing as reason therefore his ISSUE
frequent attacks of pain due to hemorrhoids. Despite this void, WON Jalandoon is guilty of non-disclosure to client of adverse or
Potenciano failed to find a replacement. He did not even ask conflicting interest
complainant to hire another lawyer in his stead. This Court
agrees that the petitions in Civil Cases Nos. 55118 and 55210
appear to be poorly prepared and written. Having represented
himself capable of picking up the cudgels for the apparently lost
cause of complainant Potenciano should have carefully prepared HELD
the pleadings if only to establish the justness of his - YES because:
representation. The little time involved is no excuse. 1. Before filing the complaint, he had several interviews w/ Ramon
Complainant reposed full faith in him. His first duty was to file and Norberto re: CC No. 4963
the best pleading within his capability. Apparently Potenciano 2. He must have done research on the court records of CC No. 4963
was more interested in getting the most out of the complainant 3. For CC No. 9559, he had to inform himself of the personal
who was in a hopeless situation. He bragged about his closeness circumstances of defendant Sales
to the judge concerned in one case and talked about the need to -w/ this knowledge, he should have declined employment by
"buy" the restraining order in the other. Worse still he got Alisbo due to conflict of interest
P10,000.00 as alleged deposit in court which he never deposited. - The actuations of respondent attorney violated Paragraphs 1
Instead he pocketed the same. The pattern to milk the and 2, No. 6 of the Canons of Professional Ethics which provide:
complainant dry is obvious. The allegation of Potenciano that the 6. ADVERSE INFLUENCE AND CONFLICTING INTEREST
P10,000 was given to him as fee for his services, is simply It is the duty of a lawyer at the time of retainer to disclose to the
incredible. Indeed, such amount is grossly disproportionate with client all the circumstances of his relations to the parties, and
the service he actually rendered. And his failure to return even a any interest in or connection with the controversy, which might
portion of the amount upon demand of complainant all the more influence the client in the selection of counsel.
bolsters the protestation of complainant that Potenciano does It is unprofessional to represent conflicting interests, except by
not deserve to remain as an officer of the court. express consent of all concerned given after a full disclosure of
Disposition Court finds Atty. Humberto V. Potenciano be guilty the facts. Within the meaning of this canon, a lawyer represents
of the charges against him and hereby SUSPENDS him from the conflicting interests when, in behalf of one client, it is his duty to
practice of law for an indefinite period until such time he can contend for that which duty to another client requires him to
demonstrate that he has rehabilitated himself as to deserve to oppose. (pp. 14-15, Solicitor General's Report.)
resume the practice of law. Respondent is ordered to return to -Jalandoon had delayed the filing of CC No. 9559, instead asking
complainant herein the sum of P11,000 with legal interest from the court to resolve the pending incidents in CC No. 4963. The
the date of this resolution until it is actually returned. first complaint w/ Ramon and his brothers was only partially
defective due to Ramon’s insanity; by making Ramon the sole
ALISBO V JALINDOON plaintiff in the second complaint, it was rendered wholly
defective and ineffectual in stopping the prescriptive period
GRINO-AQUINO; July 18, 1991
- Jalandoon alleges to have only found out about Ramon’s
(kiyo miura) incapacity on July 17, 1971, he only amended the complaint
impleading his guardian as plaintiff 5 months . later when it had
FACTS prescribed
- 3/16/70: Ramon Alisbo engaged respondent Atty. Jalandoon as Disposition It was more than simple negligence; the Court
his counsel in an action to recover his share of the estate of the found respondent guilty of serious misconduct and infidelity and
deceased sps Catalina Sales and Restituto Gozuma w/c had been was suspended for a period of 2 years.
adjudicated to him under the judgment of CC No. 4963 because
Alisbo failed to file a motion for execution of judgment in his
favor w/in the reglementary 5-year period. The salient provisions
of the Contract for Professional Services (Exhibit A) between PER CURIAM; February 7, 1991
Alisbo and Attorney Jalandoon were the following: (rean balisi)
1. That respondent will decide whether or not to file a suit for
the recovery of Ramon Alisbo's share NATURE
2. That respondent will shoulder all expenses of litigation; and ADMINISTRATIVE CASE in the Supreme Court. Violation of
3. As attorney's fees, respondent will be paid 50% of the value subparagraphs (e) and (f) of Section 20, Rule 138 of the Rules of
of the property recovered. Court
- 4/18/70: respondent prepared a complaint w/ Ramon, Teotimo,
and Pacifico Alisbo as plaintiffs and Carlito Sales as defendant FACTS
signed by him alone (CC No. 9559); on the same day, he - Respondent, Atty. Faustino Tugade, had been complainants’
withdrew it and replaced it with a complaint w/ Ramon as sole (Fulgencio, Tomasa and Bella Aurora Ngayan) counsel for a
plaintiff and Teotimo and Pacifico impleaded as defendants w/c number of cases prior to this complaint. Complainants asked
respondent and Atty. Pablo signed as counsel Atty. Tugade to prepare an affidavit to be used as basis for a
- 12/8/71: an amended complaint was filed w/ Ramon, his judicial complaint to be filed against Mrs. Rowena Soriano and Robert
guardian Norberto, and eight others as plaintiffs, signed by Atty. Leonido as a consequence of the latter's unauthorized entry into
Pablo alone (10 years after final judgment) complainants' dwelling. Without thoroughly reading the same,
- 8/21/73: defendant Sales filed a motion to dismiss on the Mrs. Tomasa A. Ngayan allegedly signed it because she was
ground that the action had prescribed rushed to do the same. After signing, Mrs. Ngayan noted a
- 10/3/73: the CFI of Negros Occidental dismissed the case on paragraph which did not mention Leonido was with Soriano when
the ground of prescription both suddenly barged into complainants' residence. Mrs. Ngayan
(though Ramon filed the complaint w/in the ten-year prescriptive allegedly told respondent about his omission and in front of her,
period, it was null and void since Ramon was insane and hence Atty Tugade crossed out the paragraph she complained about
w/o capacity to sue) and promised to make another affidavit. Respondent was
- 1/2/74: complainants charged Jalandoon w/ having deliberately subsequently discharged by complainants as counsel. After
caused the dismissal of CC No. 9559 and concealing the fact that discharging respondent they found out that the name of Robert
he had been the former legal counsel of Sales Leonido was not included in the charge. This omission was
however remedied by their new counsel. When the adverse
parties Soriano and Leonido filed a motion for reinvestigation of - The Superior Court of Guam suspended Atty. Mosquera from
their case against herein complainants, Soriano and Leonido the practice of law for 2 years as he acquired his client’s
presented Ngayans’ first affidavit which contained herein property as payment for his legal services, then sold it and as a
respondent’s omission. This was allegedly made by Atty. Apolo consequence obtained an unreasonably high fee for handling his
P. Gaminda, a former classmate of respondent. It appears then client’s case. It was in violation of Rules 1.5 and 1.8(a) of the
that Atty. Tugade submitted an affidavit to the Court favorable Model Rules of Professional Conduct in Guam.
to the cause of Soriano and Leonido. Further, it was found out - The IBP on the other hand, concluded that although the said
that herein respondent attorney was also a lawyer of the brother court found Maquera liable for misconduct, “there is no evidence
of Robert Leonido in an insurance company. to establish that he committed a breach of ethics in the
Philippines.” However, they suspended him indefinitely for
failure to pay his annual dues as a member of the IBP.

WON Maquera’s acts in Guam constitute as grounds for
suspension in the Philippines
WON Atty. Tugade violation of subparagraphs (e) and (f) of HELD
Section 20, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court.4 Simply put, whether Yes.
he failed to uphold the trust and confidence conferred to him by - Section 27, Rule 138 of the Revised Rules of Court provides:
his clients “The disbarment or suspension of a member of the Philippine
Bar by a competent court or other disciplinatory agency in a
HELD foreign jurisdiction where he has also been admitted as an
YES. [a] Respondent's act of executing and submitting an attorney is a ground for his disbarment or suspension if the basis
affidavit as exhibit for Robert Leonido and Rowena Soriano of such action includes any of the acts hereinabove enumerated.
advancing facts prejudicial to the case of his former clients The judgment, resolution or order of the foreign court or
demonstrates clearly an act of offensive personality against disciplinary agency shall be prima facie evidence of the ground
complainants, violative of the first part of paragraph (f), Section for disbarment or suspension”
20, Rate 138, Rules of Court. Likewise, respondent's act of - The Superior Court of Guam found that Maquera acquired his
joining the adverse parties in celebrating their victory over the client’s property by exercising the right of redemption previously
dismissal of the case against them shows not only his bias assigned to him by the client in payment of his legal services.
against the complainants but also constitutes a degrading act on Such transaction falls squarely under Article 1492 in relation to
the part of a lawyer. It was meant only to titillate the anger of Article 1491, paragraph 5 of the Civil Code of the Philippines.
complainants. Paragraph 5 of Article 1491 prohibits the lawyer’s acquisition by
[b] Respondent's failure to answer the complaint against him assignment of the client’s property which is the subject of the
and his failure to appear at the investigation are evidence of his litigation handled by the lawyer. Under Article 1492, the
flouting resistance to lawful order, of the court and illustrate his prohibition extends to sales in legal redemption.
despiciency for his oath of office in violation of Section 3, Rule - The prohibition ordained in paragraph 5 of Article 1491 and
138, Rules of Court. Article 1492 is founded on public policy because, by virtue of his
office, an attorney may easily take advantage of the credulity
IN RE: SUSPENSION FROM THE PRACTICE OF and ignorance of his client and unduly enrich himself at the
expense of his client.
- Mosquera’s acts are violative of a lawyer’s sworn duty to act
TINGA; July 30, 2004 with fidelity toward his clients. They are also violative of the
(monch bacani) Code of Professional Responsibility, specifically, Canon 17 and
Rule 1.01.
FACTS Disposition Atty. Mosquera is required to show cause within 15
- On August 6, 1987, Edward Benavente, the creditor of a certain days why he should not be suspended or disbarred. For the
Castro, obtained a judgment against Castro in a civil case. meantime, he is suspended from the practice of law for 1 year or
Maquera served as Castro’s counsel in said case. Castro’s until he shall have paid his membership dues, whichever comes
property subject of the case, a parcel of land, was to be sold at a later.
public auction in satisfaction of his obligation to Benavente.
Castro, however, retained the right of redemption over the SOLATAN V INOCENTES
property for one year. The right of redemption could be
TINGA; August 9, 2005
exercised by paying the amount of the judgment debt within the
aforesaid period. (jonas azura)
- At the auction sale, Benavente purchased Castro’s property for
$500.00, the amount which Castro was adjudged to pay him. NATURE
- On December 21, 1987, Castro, in consideration of Maquera’s ADMINISTRATIVE CASE in the Supreme Court
legal services in the civil case involving Benavente, entered into
an oral agreement with Maquera and assigned his right of FACTS
redemption in favor of the latter. - Atty. Jose A. Camano was an associate in the firm of Atty. Oscar
- On January 8, 1988, Maquera exercised Castro’s right of Inocentes. The Oscar Inocentes and Associates Law Office was
redemption by paying Benavente $525.00 in satisfaction of the retained by spouses Genito, owners of an apartment complex
judgment debt. Thereafter, Maquera had the title to the when the Genito Apartments were placed under sequestration
property transferred in his name. by the PCGG. They represented the spouses Genito before the
- On December 31, 1988, Maquera sold the property to C.S. PCGG and the Sandiganbayan and in ejectment cases against
Chang and C.C. Chang for $320,000.00 non-paying tenants occupying the Genito Apartments.
- Complainant’s sister was a tenant of the Genito Apartments. It
4 appears that she left for the States and her apartment was used
Section 20, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court provides: "(e) To maintain inviolate the
by members of her family. A complaint for ejectment for non-
confidence, and at every peril to himself, to preserve the secrets of his client, and to
accept no compensation in connection with his client's business except from him or payment of rentals was filed against her and a decision was
with his knowledge and approval; rendered in a judgment by default ordering her to vacate the
"(f) To abstain from all offensive personality and to advance no fact prejudicial to the premises.
honor or reputation of a party or witnesses, unless required by the justice of the cause
with which he is charged" - Complainant was occupying said apartment when he learned of
the judgment. He informed Atty. Inocentes of his desire to
arrange the execution of a new lease contract by virtue of which LEGARDA V COURT OF APPEALS
he would be the new lessee of the apartment. Atty. Inocentes
PER CURIAM; June 10, 1992
referred him to Atty. Camano, the attorney in charge of
ejectment cases against tenants of the Genito Apartments. (ajang pineda)
During the meeting with Atty. Camano, an verbal agreement
was made in which complainant agreed to pay the entire FACTS
judgment debt of his sister, including awarded attorney’s fees - Victoria Legarda was the defendant in a complaint for a
and costs of suit. Complainant issued a check in the name of specific performance with damages filed by private
Atty. Camano representing half of the attorney’s fees. respondent New Cathay House Inc (NCHI). The
- Complainant failed to make any other payment. The sheriff in complaint is aimed at compelling Victoria Legarda to
coordination with Atty. Camano enforced the writ of execution sign a lease contract involving her house and lot which
and levied the properties found in the subject apartment. Cathay House Inc. intended to use in operating a
Complainant renegotiated and Atty. Camano agreed to release restaurant. As prayed for in the complaint, the lower
the levied properties and allow complainant to remain at the court issued a TRO enjoining Victoria Legarda and her
apartment. Acting on Atty. Camano’s advice, complainant agents from stopping the renovation of the property.
presented an affidavit of ownership to the sheriff who released - Thereafter, Antonio Coronel of the Coronel Law office
the levied items. However, a gas stove was not returned to the entered his appearance as counsel for Legarda.
complainant but was kept by Atty. Camano in the unit of the - He filed an urgent motion for extension of 10 days
Genito Apartments where he was temporarily staying. which was granted by the court. However, Legarda was
- complainant filed the instant administrative case for not able to file her answer within the 10 days given so
disbarment against Atty. Camano and Atty. Inocentes. The IBP she was declared in default, thereby paving way for the
Board of Governors resolved to suspend Atty. Camano from the presentation of evidence ex parte
practice of law for 1 year and to reprimand Atty. Inocentes for - The lower court then rendered a decision by default
exercising command responsibility. leaving Legarda on the losing end. Upon appeal, the CA
found the petition unmeritorious and dismissed it. It
ISSUES said, “It is our belief that this case is one of pure and
1. WON Atty. Camano violated the Code of Professional simple negligence on the part of the defendant’s
Responsibility counsel, who simply failed to file the answer in behalf of
2. WON Atty. Inocentes violated the Code of Professional the defendant.”
Responsibility - But inspite of the CA’s tirade on his professional
competence, Atty. Coronel did not lift a finger to file a
motion for reconsideration, neither did he initiate
moves towards an appeal on the decision which was
adverse and prejudicial to his client. Thus the CA
HELD decision became final.
1. YES - Victoria Legarda then got a new lawyer and won the
Ratio An attorney has no right to act as counsel or legal case.
representative for a person without being retained. No - The court then required Atty. Coronel to show cause
employment relation was offered or accepted in the instant case. w/in 10 days from notice why he should not be held
Reasoning Canon 15 of the Code of Professional Responsibility administratively liable for his acts and omissions w/c
requires all lawyers to observe loyalty in all transactions and resulted in grave injustice to petitioner.
dealings with their clients. Unquestionably, an attorney giving - He filed for another 30-day extension. Then another
legal advice to a party with an interest conflicting with that of his 30-day extension. Not filed in time, the 2nd motion was
client may be held guilty of disloyalty. However, the advice given denied
by Atty. Camano in the context where the complainant was the
rightful owner of the incorrectly levied properties was in ISSUE
consonance with his duty as an officer of the court. It should not WON Atty. Colorado was negligent thus violating Canon 18 of the
be construed as being in conflict with the interest of the spouses Professional Code of Responsibility
Genito as they have no interest over the properties. The act of
informing complainant that his properties would be returned HELD
upon showing proof of his ownership may hint at infidelity to his Yes.
clients but lacks the essence of double dealing and betrayal. - Atty. Colorado violated Canon 18 which states that “A
2. YES lawyer shall serve his client w/ competence and
Ratio His failure to exercise certain responsibilities over diligence” specifically Canon 18.03, “a lawyer shall not
matters under the charge of his law firm is a blameworthy neglect a legal matter entrusted to him and his
shortcoming. As name practitioner of the law office, Atty. negligence in connection therewith shall render him
Inocentes is tasked with the responsibility to make reasonable liable.”
efforts to ensure that all lawyers in the firm should act in - This is not the only case wherein in dealing w/ the
conformity to the Code of Professional Responsibility. court’s orders, Atty. Coronel appears to exhibit a
Reasoning Atty. Inocentes received periodic reports from Atty. pattern of negligence, inattention to his obligations as
Camano on the latter’s dealings with complainant. This is the counsel, sloppiness and superciliousness. In Imelda
linchpin of his supervisory capacity over Atty. Camano and Marcos vs PCGG, the court imposed a fine on him after
liability by virtue thereof. Partners and practitioners who hold he was found guilty of negligence
supervisory capacities are legally responsible to exert ordinary Ratio
diligence in apprising themselves of the comings and goings of
the cases handled by persons over which they are exercising - Lawyers are indispensable part of the whole system of
supervisory authority and in exerting necessary efforts to administering justice in this jurisdiction. At a time when
foreclose violations of the Code of Professional Responsibility by strong disturbing criticisms are being hurled at the legal
persons under their charge. profession, strict compliance w/ one’s oath of office and
Disposition Petition granted. Sanction on Atty. Camano is the canons of professional ethics is an imperative.
affirmed. Atty. Inocentes is admonished with the warning that - Lawyers should be fair, honest, respectable, above
repetition of the same or similar omission will be dealt with more suspicion and beyond reproach in dealing w/ their
severely. clients. The profession is not synonymous w. an
ordinary business proposition. It is a matter of public
did not bother to inform the MCTC of his resolution in
ENDAYA V OCA mockery of the authority of the court
TINGA; September 3, 2003 - Respondent’s stubborn and uncaring demeanor
(ajang pineda) surfaced again when he did not file a rejoinder to
complainant’s reply
A complaint filed by Artemio Andaya against Atty. Wilfredo Oca - The lawyer’s oath embodies the fundamental principles
for violation of the lawer’s oath and for professional delinquency that guide every member of the legal fraternity. From it
or infidelity springs the lawyer’s duties and responsibilities that any
infringement thereof can cause his disbarment,
FACTS suspension or other preliminary action
- Nov. 7, 1991 - a complaint for unlawful detainer was - Canon 18: A lawyer shall serve his client w/ competence
filed against Endaya and his spouse, Patrosenia Endaya. and diligence
The complaint was filed by Apolonia Hornilla, Pedro - Much is demanded from those who engage in the
Hernandez and Dominador Hernandez practice of law because they have a duty not only to
- Dec. 13, 1991 – the Endaya couple filed their answer their clients but also to the court, to the bar and to the
which was prepared by a certain Isaias Ramirez. A public. The lawyer’s diligence and dedication to his
preliminary conference was conducted w/c the couple work and profession not only promote the interest of his
attended w/o counsel. During the conference, client, it likewise help attain the ends of justice by
complainant categorically admitted that plaintiffs were contributing to the proper and speedy administration of
the declared owners for taxation purposes of the land cases, maintain respect to the legal profession.
involved in the case - The facts and circumstances in this case indubitably
- Thereafter, the complainant couple sought services of show respondent’s failure to live up to his duties as a
the public attorney’s office in Batangas City wherein the lawyer
respondent attorney was assigned to handle the case
- At the continuation of the preliminary conference,
respondent appeared as counsel; he also moved for the
amendment of the answer previously filed by the BENGZON; September 5, 1967
couple, but his motion was denied (javi bautista)
- the court thereafter ordered the parties to submit their
affidavits and position papers w/in 10 days from receipt NATURE
of order – but the respondent failed to do so. Original Proceeding in the Supreme Court. Disciplinary action.
Nonetheless, the court dismissed the complaint on the
ground that the plaintiffs were not the real parties in FACTS
interest - On April, 1955, Atty. Arcangel volunteered to help them in their
- The plaintiffs appealed the decision. The RTC directed respective pension claims in connection with the death of their
the parties to file their memoranda. Once again, the husbands, both P.C. soldiers. They handed Arcangel pertinent
respondent failed to do so. The courts original decision documents and also affixed their signatures on blank papers.
was reversed and set aside. After which, they noticed that respondent lost interest and no
Petitioners' Claim progress was made. After 6 years they finally asked respondent
- Having lost the case, the complainant filed this to return the said documents but the latter refused. Upon
administrative issue for professional delinquency questioning by Fiscal Rana to whom the case was referred by the
consisting of his failure to file the required pleadings. Solicitor General respondent admitted having received the
The complainants contend that due to respondent’s documents but explained that it was for photostating purposes
inaction, he lost the opportunity to present his cause only. His failure to immediately return them was due to
and ultimately, the case itself complainants’ refusal to hand him money to pay for the
Respondents' Comments photostating costs which prevented him from withdrawing the
- respondent denies this and stresses that he was not the documents. Anyway, he had already advanced the expenses
original counsel of the couple himself and turned over the documents to the fiscal.
- he avers that when he agreed to represent complainant - Fiscal found respondents explanation satisfactory and
at the continuation of the preliminary conference in the recommended the respondents exoneration. However, Sol Gen
main case, it was for the sole purpose of asking leave of feels that respondent deserves at least a severe reprimand
court to file an amended answer bec, he was made to considering 1) his failure to attend to complainants pension
believe that it was made by a non-lawyer. When found claims for 6 years; 2) his failure to immediately return the
out that it was actually made by lawyer, he asked the documents despite repeated demands upon him, and 3) his
court to relieve him as the couple’s counsel, but he was failure to return to complainant Pasion, allegedly all of her
denied. documents.
- He also asserts that he purposely did not file a rejoinder
believing in good faith that it wasn’t anymore necessary ISSUE
WON Atty. Arcangel is guilty of professional non-feasance
WON Atty. Oca (respondent) violated the lawyer’s oath through HELD
his professional deliquency No. Respondent’s explanation for the delay in filing the claims in
returning the documents has not been controverted by
HELD complainants. On the contrary, they admitted that respondent
Yes. asked them to shoulder the photostating expenses but they did
- His failure to file the affidavits did not prejudice his not give him any money. Hence, complainants are partly to
blame. Moreover, the documents and their photostats were
clients for the court nevertheless rendered a decision
actually returned by respondent during the fiscal’s investigation
favorable to them. But failure to do so per se is a
with him paying for the photostating costs himself. As for the
violation of Rule 18.03
alleged failure of the respondent to all her documents to
- The respondent did not submit the affidavits and complainant Pasion, the former denies this. the affidavit of Mrs.
position paper when required by the MCTC. With his Blanza pardoning respondent cannot prejudice complainant
resolution not to file the pleadings already firmed up, he Pasion because res inter alios acta alteri nocere non debet.
Complainant Pasion had another opportunity to substantiate her was to file appropriate complaints, he allowed the period to
charges in a hearing but she let it go. Neither she nor her submit NIT’s Appellant’s Brief to lapse
counsel of record appeared. Thus, the Curt refused to take 4. although NIT did not pay his legal fees or reimburse him
disciplinary action against respondent due to lack of clear for his expenses, he still faithfully performed his duty during
preponderance of evidence substantiating the accusations the entire time he served as its counsel
against him. - April 24, 2003 – IBP Report by San Juan found respondent guilty
of violating the Code of Professional Responsibility because:
1. not able to justify his failure to file the brief.
- Nevertheless the Court also stated that “we cannot but counsel > if respondent actually believed it was futile to pursue the
against his actuations as a member of the bar. A lawyer has a appeal, why did he request from CA numerous extensions of
more dynamic and positive role in the community than merely time to file
complying with the minimal technicalities of the statute. As a 2. Montesino admits that after he advised NIT and herein
man of law, he is necessarily a leader of the community looked complainant on the futility of pursuing the appeal, the latter
up to as a model citizen. His conduct must, perforce, be par expressed the wish to continue the appeal
excellence, especially so when, as in this case, he volunteers his > should have given due importance to the decision of his
professional services. Respondent here has not lived up to that client to avail of a legal remedy available to it under the
ideal standard. It was unnecessary to have complainants wait legal system
and hope, for 6 long years in their pension claims. Upon their 3. recommended suspension from the practice of law for a
refusal to co-operate, he should have terminated their period of six months, with a warning that a harsher penalty
professional relationship rather than keep them hanging. And would be meted out for a similar infraction in the future
although we voted that he not be reprimanded, in a legal sense,
let this be a reminder to Atty. Arcangel of what the high ISSUE
standards of his chosen profession require of him.” WON pursuing methods not according to the client’s wish and
consent deserves sanction
PANGANIBAN; December 4, 2003
YES and SC agrees with the findings and recommendation of the
Original Proceeding in the Supreme Court. Disciplinary action.
- The legal profession is invested with public trust. Its goal is to
render public service and secure justice for those who seek its
aid. They must perform their four-fold duty to society, the legal
- June 21, 2002 - Eduardo T. Abay charges Atty. Raul T.
profession, the courts and their clients in accordance with the
Montesino with gross negligence, gross incompetence and
values and norms of the legal profession, as embodied in the
evident bad faith, in violation of his oath as a member of the
Code of Professional Responsibility. Any conduct found wanting
Philippine bar
in these considerations, whether in their professional or private
- Negros Institute of Technology (NIT), of which Abay is a
capacity, shall subject them to disciplinary action.
stockholder, hired Montesino as counsel in an action for
Failure of respondent to file the appellant’s brief was a clear
“Cancellation of Title of Ownership, Recovery of Ownership and
violation of his professional duty to his client
Possession and Damages with Preliminary Injunction” against
- The Code of Professional Responsibility mandates lawyers to
the estate of Vicente T. Galo
serve their clients with competence and diligence. Rules 18.03
- April 27, 1995 - RTC dismissed the civil case.
and 18.04 specifically provide:
- November 3, 1995 - Motion for Reconsideration of the
Rule 18.03 - A lawyer shall not neglect a legal matter
judgment of dismissal was denied by the trial court
entrusted to him and his negligence in connection therewith
- Although Montesino filed a Notice of Appeal with CA, he failed
shall render him liable.
to submit an appellant’s brief and in March 19, 1999, CA
Rule 18.04 – A lawyer shall keep the client informed of the
dismissed the appeal with the following admonition:
status of his case and shall respond within a reasonable
“We made a warning in our Resolution dated as early as
time to the client’s request for information.
October 20, 1998 that no further extension will be
- Client and lawyer disagreed on the legal course to be taken
entertained. Precisely because of non-submission of the
regarding the appealed case. The lawyer advised the client to
Brief, we directed, on January 8, 1998, the dismissal of the
abandon the appeal and to consider the other available
appeal. This is not to mention the fact that a total of 120
remedies but the client wanted to pursue it. Feeling that he was
days extension, over and above the 45-day reglementary
“unjustly adamant” in wanting to do so, the lawyer contrary to
period, had already been granted …We cannot see any
the desire of the client deemed it wise to abandon the appeal
reason why the court’s admonishing for a limited time to do
without informing his client and not filing an appellant’s brief is
compliance does not apply to this case now before Us.”
prejudicial because such failure could result in the dismissal of
- Abay attributes the failure of Montesino to submit the brief to
the appeal.
the latter’s gross negligence and evident bad faith
- The conduct of shows that he failed to exercise due diligence,
- Montesino allegedly abandoned the appeal without the
and that he had a cavalier attitude towards the cause of his
knowledge and consent of the NIT and supposedly never told NIT
client. The abandonment by the former of the latter’s cause
that its appeal had already been dismissed thus the complaint
made him unworthy of the trust that his client reposed in him.
- Montesino answered (October 29, 2002) that
Even if respondent was “honestly and sincerely” protecting the
1. pending appeal, he discovered that the property that it
interests of complainant, the former still had no right to waive
was seeking to recover had been the subject of another
the appeal without the latter’s knowledge and consent.
case which was a result of the overlapping transfers of
- If indeed respondent felt unable or unwilling to continue his
rights effected by the heirs of Vicente Galo
retainership, he should have properly withdrawn his appearance
2. he felt that to pursue the appeal would be “dilatory,
and allowed the client to appoint another lawyer.
expensive, frivolous and taxing to the precious time of the
- Moreover, the appellate court noted that respondent failed to
CA and it was wise to advise the stockholders of the NIT to
file the appellant’s brief despite being granted several
abandon the appeal and instead file appropriate Complaints
extensions of time to file it. He therefore violated Rule 12.03 of
against Grandea, et al to recover NIT’s claimed properties
the Code of Professional Responsibility, which mandates that
3. complainant was unjustly adamant in his demand to
lawyer shall not, after obtaining extensions of time to file
continue with the appeal despite legal advice and since he
pleadings, memoranda or briefs, let the period lapse without
sincerely felt that the best way to protect the rights of NIT
submitting the same or offering an explanation for his Ratio An attorney's fee cannot be determined until after the
failure to do so main litigation has been decided and the subject of recovery is
- We emphasize that all lawyers owe fidelity to their client’s at the disposition of the court. The issue over attorney's fee only
cause. Regardless of their personal views, they must present arises when something has been recovered from which the fee is
every remedy or defense within the authority of the law in to be paid.
support of that cause. Reasoning Since the main case from which the petitioner's
Disposition Atty. Raul T. Montesino is found guilty of claims for their fees may arise has not yet become final, the
negligence and is hereby SUSPENDED from the practice of law determination of the propriety and amount of attorney’s fees
for six months, effective upon receipt of this Decision. He is should be held in abeyance. This is especially true given the
WARNED that a repetition of the same or a similar act will be subsequent developments in the civil case against Guerrero and
dealt with more severely. PHILAMGEN: On May 21, 1987, the SC rendered judgment
setting aside the May 1983 decision of IAC.
- Also, the supposed contract alleged by petitioners as the basis
for their fees provides that the recovery of the amounts claimed
COURT is subject to certain contingencies.
REGALADO; January 31, 1989 Obiter Counsel's claim for attorney's fees may be asserted
either in the very action in which the services in question have
NATURE been rendered, or in a separate action. If the first alternative is
Appeal by certiorari to review the judgment of the IAC chosen, the Court may pass upon said claim, even if its amount
were less than the minimum prescribed by law for the
FACTS jurisdiction of said court, upon the theory that the right to
- Atty. John QUIRANTE is the counsel of Dr. Indalecio CASASOLA recover attorney's fees is but an incident of the case in which
in a case involving a contract with a building contractor named the services of counsel have been rendered. Also, there is the
Norman GUERRERO, who failed to perform his part of the assumption that the court trying the case is to a certain degree
contract within the period specified. Dr. Casasola also sued already familiar with the nature and extent of the lawyer's
PHILAMGEN, (The Philippine American General Insurance Co. services.
Inc.) which acted as bondsman for Guerrero. - However, what is being claimed here as attorney's fees by
- Oct 16, 1981 – RTC Manila ruled in favor of CASASOLA by petitioners is different from attorney's fees as an item of
rescinding the contract. It ordered Guerrero and Philamgen to damages provided for under Article 2208 of the Civil Code,
pay actual damages, moral damages, exemplary damages, wherein the award is made in favor of the litigant, not of his
liquidated damages, amount of surety bond, and attorney’s fees counsel, and the litigant, not his counsel, is the judgment
(P30T). It also denied MFR filed by Philamgen on Nov 4, 1982. creditor who may enforce the judgment for attorney's fees by
(During this period, Dr. CASASOLA died, leaving his widow and execution. Here, the petitioner's claims are based on an alleged
several children as survivors.) contract for professional services, with them as the creditors and
- Philamgen brought the case to the appellate court, and the IAC, the private respondents as the debtors.
on May 4, 1983, dismissed petition for quashal of the writ of - In filing the motion for confirmation of attorney's fees,
execution. The case was then elevated to SC and is now still petitioners chose to assert their claims in the same action. This
pending. is also a proper remedy under our jurisprudence.
- June 18, 1983 – QUIRANTE filed a motion for the confirmation 2. NO
of his attorney’s fees, which was granted by the RTC. RTC also Reasoning This decision is also pre-emptive of factual and
denied MFR filed by the opposing party. But the IAC reversed the evidentiary matters that may be presented for consideration by
decision of RTC (IAC granted petition for certiorari filed the trial court. “The orderly administration of justice dictates that
CASASOLA heirs.) Hence, QUIRANTE filed this appeal by such issue be likewise determined by the trial court inasmuch as
certiorari in the SC. it also necessarily involves the same contingencies in
Petitioners’ Claims determining the propriety and assessing the extent of recovery
- There was an oral agreement between him and the late Dr. of attorney's fees.”
Casasola with regard to his attorney's fees, which agreement Disposition Decision of IAC is affirmed except for the portion
was allegedly confirmed in writing by the widow, Asuncion Vda. which holds that the alleged confirmation to attorney's fees
de Casasola, and the two daughters of the deceased, Mely should not adversely affect the non-signatories thereto.
Garcia and Virginia Nazareno.
- The attorney's fees would then be computed as follows: TANHUECO V DE DUMO
(A). In case of recovery of the P120,000.00 surety bond, the
PER CURIAM; April 25, 1989
attorney's fees of the undersigned counsel (Atty. Quirante) shall
be P30,000.00.
(B). In case the Honorable Court awards damages in excess of
Administrative case in the Supreme Court. Disbarment.
the P120,000.00 bond, it shall be divided equally between the
Heirs of I. Casasola, Atty. John C. Quirante and Atty. Dante Cruz.
IAC’s ruling
- On February 24, 1975, complainant Hilaria Tanhueco filed
- “Firstly, there is still pending in the Supreme Court a petition
before the Court a petition for Disbarment against respondent
which may or may not ultimately result in the granting to the
Justininao G. de Dumo for having violated the Canons of
Casasola family of the total amount of damages given by RTC.
Professional Ethics by his a0 refusal to remit her money
Hence the award of damages may be premature. Secondly,
collected by him from debtors of the complainant; and b) refusal
assuming that the grant of damages to the family is eventually
to return documents entrusted to him as counsel of complainant
ratified, the alleged confirmation of attorney's fees will not and
in certain collection cases.
should not adversely affect the non-signatories thereto.”
Evidence for Complainant
- Complainant secured the legal services of respondent to collect
1. WON confirmation of attorney’s fees is premature
indebtedness from her different debtors. Although she offered to
2. WON IAC correctly ruled that the alleged confirmation of
execute a document evidencing their lawyer-client relationship,
attorney's fees would not be binding on all heirs
respondent told her that it was not necessary. She nonetheless
offered to give him 15% of what he may be able to collect from
the debtors.
1. YES
- Complainant also declared that respondent borrowed from her
P2,000.00, P1,300.00 and P3,000.00 on three separate
occasions, but she could not remember when she gave those duty to promptly account for the moneys received; his failure to
amounts. Respondent did not pay those loans. do so constitutes professional misconduct.
- Respondent filed cases against her debtors and that one of In the present case, what respondent could have properly done
them, Constancia Manosca, paid P12,500.00 to respondent. was to make an accounting with his client, the complainant,
Informed of such payment by Manosca herself, complainant deduct his attorney’s fees due in respect of the amount actually
confronted respondent but the latter denied having received collected by him, and turn over the remaining balance to the
payment from any of her debtors. Complainant then brought the complainant.
matter to the attention of Malacanang which referred her to 2) Ratio Contingent fees are not per se prohibited by law. But
Camp Crame. Notwithstanding subsequent demands of when it is shown that a contract for a contingent fee was
complainant for the money, respondent had refused to give her obtained by undue influence exercised by the attorney upon his
the amount. client or by any fraud or imposition, or that the compensation is
Evidence for Respondent clearly excessive, the Court must and will protect the aggrieved
- Complainant indeed secured services of respondent to collect party.
from her debtors, with the agreement that he gets 50% of what Reasoning Respondent claimed that he charged complainant,
he may be able to collect. He thus filed cases against Tipace, his client, a contingent fee of 1) 50% of the sum of principal and
Manosca, Morena, Jr., and others, and was able to obtain interest collected from different debtors; and 2) attorney’s fees
favorable judgment in the cases against Manosca, Tipace and charged to the defendant and “not to be included in the
Leonila Mendoza. The initial payments made by these judgment- computation.”
debtors were all given to complainant. With respect to Manosca, Under this scheme, respondent was actually collecting as
respondent obtained a judgment for P19,000.00 although the attorney’s fees more than half of the total amount due from
debt was only P12,000.00. defendant debtors. The contingent fee here is grossly excessive.
- Respondent also declared that complainant was influenced by And there is reason to believe that fraud was committed –
her debtors, who were also her friends, into distrusting him. complainant was an old and sickly woman and, in respondent’s
Ultimately, because comlainant filed a complaint against him, he words, “penniless.” She was already 76 yrs. old when she filed
terminated his relationship with complainant and demanded his the complaint. In her circumstance, and given her desire to
attorney’s fees equivalent to 50% of what he had collected. realize debts owed to her before death took over, she would
Complainant refused to pay him, hence, he did not also turn over easily succumb to the demands of respondent attorney
to her the P12,000.00 initial payment of Manosca, which he regarding his attorney’s fees.
considered, or applied, as part payment of his attorney’s fee. In Mambulao Lumber Company v PNB, it was explained that the
Respondent estimated his attorney’s fee due from complainant principle that courts should reduce stipulated attorney’s fees
in the amount of P17,000.00 whenever it is found under the circumstances of the case that
- Respondent denied having borrowed the amounts of P2,000.00, the same is unreasonable is deeply rooted in this jurisdiction.
P1,300.00, P3,000.00 and P1,000.00, pointing out that A lawyer is primarily a court officer charged with the duty of
complainant did not even have money to pay him so that he assisting the court in administering impartial justice between the
handled the cases for her on contingent basis. He also denied parties, and hence, the fees should be subject to judicial control.
having received documentary evidence from the complainant. Disposition WHEREFORE, the Court Resolved that:
What evidence he had were all gathered by him on his initiative. 1. respondent is guilty of violation of the attorneys’
Findings and Recommendation oath and of serious professional misconduct and shall be
- Both respondent and complainant admit of an attorney-client SUSPENDED from the practice of law for six months and
relationship between them. WARNED that repetition of the same or similar offense will
- Respondent also admitted having received P12,000.00 from be more severely dealt with;
judgment-debtor Constancia Manosca, without turning over the 2. the attorney’s fees that respondent is entitled to in
amount to his client, complainant herein, and applying it instead respect of collection cases here involved shall be an amount
as part of his attorney’s fees. equivalent to fifteen percent of the total amount collected
- Undoubtedly, respondent’s failure to account for the by respondent from the debtors in those cases;
P12,000.00, representing payment of the judgment-debt of 3. respondent shall return forthwith to the estate of
Manosca constitutes unprofessional conduct and subjects him to complainant Hilaria Tanhueco, the P12,000.00 respondent
disciplinary action. received on behalf of his client less attorney’s fees due to
- As regards the charges that respondent received documents him in respect of that amount (P12,000.00 less fifteen
evidencing the debts to complainant and had refused to return percent thereof) or a net amount of P10,200.00; and
them to the latter, and that respondent also borrowed some 4. respondent shall return to the estate of
amounts from her, there is no competent, conclusive evidence to complainant Hilaria Tanhueco any documents and papers
support them. Perforce, such allegations have no factual basis. received by him from the deceased complainant in
- It is recommended that respondent be severely reprimanded connection with the collection cases for which he was
and admonished that repetition of the same or similar offense retained. If he has in fact made any other collections from
will be dealt with more severely. (To this recommendation, the deceased complainant’s debtors, he shall promptly account
Court does not agree) therefore to complainant’s estate and shall be entitled to
receive in respect thereof the fifteen percent attorney’s fees
ISSUES provided for herein.
1. WON respondent violated Canon 11 (now Canon 16) regarding Let a copy of this Resolution be furnished each to the Bar
trust of client’s moneys Confidant and spread on the personal record of respondent
2. WON respondent violated Canon 13 (now Canon 20) regarding attorney, and to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines.
attorney’s fees.
1) Ratio Moneys collected by an attorney on a judgment
rendered in favor of his client, constitute trust funds and must be
immediately paid over to the client.
Original Action in the Supreme Court. Disbarment.
Reasoning When respondent withheld and refused to deliver
the money received by him for his client, the deceased
complainant Hilaria Tanhueco, he breached the trust reposed
Coloma was the counsel of Albano and his mother during the
upon him. The fact that a lawyer ahs a lien for fees on moneys in
Japanese occupation. Albano alleged that after liberation and
his hands collected for his client, does not relieve him from his
long after the courts had been reorganized Coloma failed to
expedite the hearing and termination of their civil case, as a
result of which they had themselves represented by another Sec 37, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court, equivalent to 25% of the
lawyer. He also claimed that Coloma intervened in the case to actual and current market values of the litigated properties, as
collect her attorney’s fees. Coloma denied that she did nothing attorney’s fees.
to expedite the hearing and termination of the civil case as the - Alejandro et al filed a motion to dismiss their complaints, which
record would show that she filed “more than 20 papers and lower court granted.
pleadings; went to trial for several days and, with the assistance - May 28, 1984, private respondent filed motion to fix its
of her sister who was also a lawyer, obtained a favorable attorney’s fees, based on quantum meruit. Metrobank
judgment in the Court of First Instance for the petitioner and his manifested it had fully paid private respondent. Private
co-plaintiffs; and filed with the Court of Appeals a 35-page brief, respondent, however, countered that the P50,000 given by
finished after careful, conscientious, and exhaustive study and petitioner could not be considered as full payment but merely a
preparation.” She likewise denied that she could have been cash advance, including P14000 paid on Dec 15, 1980. It also
removed for her failure to comply with the obligations as counsel appears that private respondent attempted to arrange a
as she served “faithfully, efficiently, continuously, and to the compromise with Metrobank in order to avoid suit, offering a
best of her knowledge and capacity.” Her dismissal then, compromise amount of P600,000 but negotiations were
according to her, was made without just cause and without her unsuccessful.
consent and only when she had already won the case for them in - Oct 15, 1984, RTC issued an order granting payment of
the Court of First Instance and in the Court of Appeals. attorney’s fees, P936,000, to private respondent. Respondent CA
affirmed trial court’s order.
WON Coloma may recover attorney’s fees ISSUES
1. WON private respondent is entitled to the enforcement of its
HELD charging lien for payment of its attorney’s fees.
Yes. Any counsel who is worthy of his hire is entitled to be fully 2. WON a separate civil suit is necessary for the enforcement of
recompensated for his services. With his capital consisting solely such lien
of his brains and with his skill, acquired at tremendous cost not 3. WON private respondent is entitled to 25% of the actual and
only in money but in the expenditure of time and energy, he is current market values of the litigated properties on a quantum
entitled to the protection of any judicial tribunal against any meruit basis.
attempt on the part of a client to escape payment of his fees. It
is indeed ironic if after putting forth the best that is in him to HELD
secure justice for the party he represents, he himself would not 1. NO. A charging lien to be enforceable as security for the
get his due. Such an eventuality this Court is determined to payment of attorney’s fees requires as a condition sine qua non
avoid. It views with disapproval any and every effort of those a judgment for money and execution in pursuance of such
benefited by counsel’s services to deprive him of his hard- judgment secured in the main action by the attorney in favor of
earned honorarium. Such an attitude deserves condemnation. his client.
- in this case, the dismissal order neither provided for any money
METROBANK V CA judgment nor made any monetary award to any litigant, much
less in favor of petitioner. Private respondent’s supposed
REGALADO; January 23, 1990
charging lien is thus without legal basis.
- an attorney may acquire a lien for his compensation upon
money due his client form the adverse party in nay action or
Petition for review on certiorari impugning the decision of CA
proceeding in which the attorney is employed, but such lien does
affirming order of RTC, fixing attorney’s fees and directing
not extend to land which is the subject matter of the litigation.
petitioner Metropolitan Bank and Trust Company (Metrobank) to
An attorney merely defeating recovery against his client as e
pay its attorneys, private respondent Arturo Alafriz and
defendant is not entitled to a lien on the property involved in
Associates, the amount of P936,000 as attorney’s fees on a
litigation for fees and the court has no power to fix the fee of an
quantum meruit5 basis.
attorney defending the client’s title to property already in the
client’s possession.
2. NO. A lawyer may enforce his right to fees by filing the
- Private respondent handled civil cases for the declaration of
necessary petition as an incident in the main action in which his
nullity of certain deeds of sale, with damages, in behalf of
services were rendered when something is due his client in the
Metrobank from March 1974 to September 1983.
action from which the fee is to be paid.
- Celedenio Javier bought 7 parcels of land owned by Eustaquio
- an enforceable charging lien, duly recorded, is within the
Alejandro, et al. These were mortgaged by Javier with Metrobank
jurisdiction of the court trying the main case and this jurisdiction
to secure a loan obligation of Felix Angelo Bautista and/or
subsists until the lien is settled. This, however, applies only
International Hotel Corporation. Obligors defaulted and
where the charging lien is valid and enforceable.
Metrobank foreclosed the mortgages.
3. The Court refrained from resolving the third issue so as not to
- Alejandro brought suit against Javier and included Metrobank
preempt or interfere with the authority and adjudicative facility
as defendant, alleging deceit, fraud and misrepresentation
of the proper court to hear and decide the controversy in a
committed against him by Javier.
proper proceeding which may be brought by private respondent.
- it was during the pendency of these suits that the lands were
NOTE: in fixing a reasonable compensation for the services
sold by Metrobank to its sister corporation, Service Leasing
rendered by a lawyer on the basis of quantum meruit, the
Corporation, for P600,000. On same day, properties were resold
elements to be considered are generally (1) the importance of
to Herby Commercial and Construction Corporation for P2.5M.
the subject matter in controversy (2) extent of services rendered
Herby then mortgaged the same properties to Banco de Oro for
(3) professional standing of lawyer .
P9.2M. Private respondent did not have knowledge of such
Disposition Petition for review is granted, decision of CA is
reversed and set aside, without prejudice to appropriate
- Aug 16, 1983 private respondent then filed a motion to enter
proceedings as may be brought by private respondent to
the charging lien6 in the records of the civil cases, pursuant to
establish its right to attorney’s fees and the amount thereof.
quantum meruit - (lit. “so much as he deserved”) cause of action for reasonable
value of services rendered, or occasionally of goods or materials provided, under
circumstances in which there was no enforceable contract to pay for them but it would
be unfair to leave plaintiff uncompensated. ROXAS V DE ZUZUARREGUI, JR.
Charging lien or attorney’s lien – a lien on money, papers, and property of a client in
the hands of an attorney, or a lien that an attorney may request from a court on a
fund or judgment obtained for the client by the attorney’s efforts, to secure payment of attorney’s fees.
CHICO-NAZARIO: January 31, 2006 1. Yes. A contract is a meeting of the minds between two
persons whereby one binds himself, with respect to the other, to
FACTS give something or to render some service. The Zuzuarreguis, in
- 1977, the National Housing Authority (NHA) filed expropriation entering into the Letter-Agreement, fully gave their consent
proceedings against the Zuzuarreguis for parcels of land thereto. In fact, it was them who sent the said letter to Attys.
belonging to them situated in Antipolo, Rizal with a total land Roxas and Pastor, for the purpose of confirming all matters
area of 1, 790, 570.36 which they had agreed upon previously. There is absolutely no
- The Zuzuarreguis engaged the legal services of Attys. Romeo evidence to show that anybody was forced into entering into the
G. Roxas and Santiago N. Pastor Letter-Agreement. It is basic that a contract is the law between
- They executed a Letter-Agreement dated April 22, 1983 which the parties.
indicated that the contingent fees that the lawyers will receive at 2. No. Under the contract in question, Attys. Roxas and Pastor
P11 or more per square meter is thirty percent of the just are to receive contingent fees for their professional services.
compensation Canon 13 of the Canons of Professional Ethics states: a
- The appropriate proceedings thereafter ensued and on October contract for contingent fee, where sanctioned by law, should
29, 1984, a Partial Decision was rendered fixing the just be reasonable under all the circumstances of the case
compensation to be paid to the Zuzuarreguis at P30 per square including the risk and uncertainty of the compensation, but
meter should always be subject t o the supervision of a court, as to
- The NHA filed a Motion for Reconsideration for the lowering of its reasonableness
the amount of just compensation in accordance with applicable Canon 20, Rule 20.01 of the Code of Professional
laws Responsibility states the guidelines by which a lawyer
- Pending the resolution of the MFR filed by the NHA, a joint should determine his fees (see original)
special power of attorney was executed by the Zuzuarreguis in - Indubitably entwined with the lawyer’s duty to charge only
favor of Attys. Roxas and Pastor reasonable fees is the power of this Court to reduce the amount
- On December 10, 1985, a Letter-Agreement was executed by of attorney’s fees if the same is excessive and unconscionable
and between the Zuzuarreguis and Attys. Roxas and Pastor (Section 24, Rule 138, Rules of Court). Attorney’s fees are
which fixed the just compensation due the Zuzuarreguis at P17, unconscionable if they affront one’s sense of justice, decency or
and anything in excess of that shall be the contingent fees of reasonableness. Therefore, the power to determine the
Attys. Roxas and Pastor for their legal services reasonableness of attorney’s fees stipulated by the parties is a
- Resolution No. 1174 dated December 16, 1985, issued by the matter falling within the regulatory prerogative of the courts.
NHA, stated that the property would be acquired at a cost of - In the instant case, Attys. Roxas and Pastor received an
P19.50 per square meter and that it will be paid in NHA Bonds amount which is equal to 44% of the just compensation paid by
which the yield would be based on the Central Bank rate at the the NHA to the Zuzuarreguis. Considering that there was no full
time of the payment blown hearing in the expropriation case, ending as it did in a
- As a result of the NHA Resolution, a Compromise Agreement Compromise Agreement, the 44% is undeniably excessive. In
was executed and it was approved by the Court in a Decision the opinion of the Court, 87.17% of the yields of the bond should
dated December 20, 1985. go to the Zuzuarreguis computing from the amounts stipulated
- Computed at P19.50 per square meter, the property of the in the Letter-Agreement. The remaining amount is what is due to
Zuzuarreguis was expropriated at a total price of P34, 916, 122. Attys. Roxas and Pastor. The SC affirms the decision of CA with
The total amount released by the NHA was P54, 500, 00. The modification in the computation of the attorneys’ contingent
difference of P19, 583, 878 is, undoubtedly, the yield of the fees.
- The amount turned over to the Zuzuarreguis by Atty. Roxas URBAN BANK, INC. V ATTY. MAGDALENO M.
amounted to P30, 520, 000 in NHA bonds PEÑA
- On August 25, 1987, a letter was sent by the Zuzuarreguis’ new
PUNO; September 7, 2001
counsel to Attys. Roxas and Pastor demanding that the latter
deliver to the Zuzuarreguis the yield corresponding to bonds
paid by the NHA within a period of 10 days from receipt, under
Administrative Matter. Disbarment
pain of administrative, civil and/or criminal action
- Attys. Roxas and Pastor answered stating that the amount that
they go seems huge from the surface but it just actually passed
- Complainant charges that respondent is guilty of deceit,
their hands.
malpractice and gross misconduct in violation of Section 27, Rule
- On September 29, 1987, a letter was again sent to Attys. Roxas
138, of the Revised Rules of Court.
and Pastor formally terminating their services
- 1 December 1994, Complainant bought a parcel of land located
- The Zuzuarreguis then filed a civil action for Sum of Money and
along Roxas Boulevard from the Isabela Sugar Company (“ISC”
Damages, they demanded that the yield on the NHA bonds be
for brevity).
turned over to them
- One of the conditions of the sale was for ISC to cause the
- The RTC dismissed the complaint
eviction of all the occupants found in said property. This
- The Zuzuarreguis filed a Notice of Appeal
condition was incorporated in the Contract to Sell and adopted in
- The Court of Appeals ordered Attys. Roxas and Pastor to return
the subsequent Deed of Absolute Sale executed by and between
to the plaintiffs the amount of P12, 596, 425, already deducting
ISC and Complainant.
the reasonable attorney’s fees in the amount of P4,4 76,426.275
- ISC hired Atty. Magdaleno M. Peña. He proceeded to take the
- Attys. Roxas and Pastor filed a MFR
necessary steps to evict the occupants of the property subject of
- The Zuzuarreguis also filed a MFR
the sale.
- The NHA and Pedrosa also filed a MFR
- During the eviction process, Complainant was informed by ISC
- All MFRs were denied for lack of merit
and Peña about the necessity of a letter of authority in favor of
- Attys. Roxas and Pastor then filed a petition for certiorari
the latter, granting him the authority to represent the bank in
maintaining possession of the aforesaid property and to
represent the bank in any court action that may be instituted in
1. WON the letter-agreement executed by the parties should
connection with the exercise of said duty.
stand as law between them
- Complainant acceded to the request and issued a letter-
2. WON the contingent fees were reasonable
authority dated 15 December 1994, but only after making it very
clear to Peña. that it was ISC which contracted his services and
not Complainant.
- Peña then requested for a modification of said letter of
authority by furnishing Complainant with a draft containing the - Indeed, respondent, with or without the letter, could have
desired wordings (including the date, i.e., 19 December 1994) instituted a suit against the complainant. There is no gainsaying
and asking Complainant to modify the previous letter by issuing that a verbal engagement is sufficient to create an attorney-
a new one similarly worded as his draft. client relationship.
- If only to expedite and facilitate matters, Complainant willingly - Respondent can hardly be faulted and accused of deceit,
obliged and re-issued a new letter of authority to Respondent, malpractice and gross misconduct for invoking the aid of the
this time incorporating some of Peña’ s suggestions. court in recovering recompense for legal services which he
- Eventually, the eviction of the occupants of the property in claims he undertook for the complainant, and which the latter
question was successfully carried out. does not deny to have benefited from. Indeed, what he did was
- After the lapse of more than thirteen (13) months, Peña filed a a lawful exercise of a right.
collection suit against herein Complainant and its senior officers Disposition The disbarment complaint against respondent Atty.
“for recovery of agent’s compensation and expenses, damages Magdaleno M. Peña is hereby DISMISSED for lack of merit
and attorney’s fees” on the basis of the letter given to him for
the purposes of evicting the occupants. CORPUZ V CA
- According to Complainant: Peña, knowing fully well the
DAVIDE; January 26, 1998
circumstances surrounding the issuance of said letter of
authority, constitutes deceit, malpractice and gross misconduct
under Section 27, Rule 138 of the Revised Rules of Court. Said
Petition to set aside the decision of CA which reversed the
provision enumerates the grounds for the suspension and
resolution of the Civil Service Commission (CSC), the latter
disbarment of lawyers, namely:
declaring that petitioner’s separation from the service as Atty V
Sec. 27. Attorneys removed or suspended by Supreme
in the MTRCB was not in order and directed that he be
Court, on what grounds, - A member of the bar may be
automatically restored to his position.
removed or suspended from his office as attorney by the
Supreme Court for any deceit, malpractice or other gross
misconduct in such office, grossly immoral conduct or
- Atty Corpuz was appointed MTRCB’s legal counsel – Prosecutor
by reason of his conviction of a crime involving moral
and Investigation Services (Supervising Legal Staff Officer). The
turpitude, or for any violation of the oath of which he
appointment was approved by the Asst Regional Director of the
is required to take before admission to practice, or for willful
CSC-NCR. Subsequently, he was designated Attorney V under
disobedience of any lawful order of a superior court or
the Salary Standardization Law.
for corruptly or wilfully appearing as an attorney for a party
- August 1991, the MTRCB passed MTRCB Resolution No. 8-1-91
to a case without any authority to do so. The practice
5 entitled "An Act To Declare The Appointments Of The
of soliciting cases at law for the purpose of gain, either
Administrative And Subordinate Employees Of This Board As Null
personally or through paid agents or brokers, constitutes
And Void." This undated resolution noted that the past and
malpractice. (Emphasis supplied)”
present Chairmen of the MTRCB had failed to submit for
- Peña denied all the allegations and moved to dismiss the
approval the appointments of administrative and subordinate
employees to the MTRCB before forwarding them to the CSC, in
- He added that there was no reason for him to deceive
violation of Section 5 of P.D. No. 876-A, and later, P.D. No. 1986.
complainant into writing a letter of authority because he knew
- CORPUZ was unaware of the promulgation of Resolution No. 8-
very well that the verbal agreement was sufficient to constitute
1-91 as he was then on leave. The Resolution was likewise kept
an attorney-client relationship.
secret and it was only on 12 March 1993 that an announcement
- We referred the matter to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines
8 of its contents was posted by an Ad Hoc Committee on the
(IBP) for investigation.
MTRCB bulletin board. This announcement invited the
- The IBP decided in favor of Peña and recommended that the
submission of any information concerning the appointments
complaint be dismissed for lack of merit.
involved therein to the Committee. It appears, however, that
nothing was immediately done to implement Resolution No. 8-1-
WON Peña should be disbarred on the ground of deceit,
- At the MTRCB meeting of 19 January 1993, MTRCB Chair
malpractice and gross misconduct
Mendez was informed about Resolution No. 8-1-91. An Ad Hoc
Committee composed of MTRCB members was then constituted
to look into the appointments extended by former Chairman
Morato, as well as the qualifications of the appointees.
- The Committee resolved to recommend to the MTRCB the
***Disbarment proceedings are matters of public interest,
approval of the appointments, except that of Corpuz and seven
undertaken for public welfare and for the purpose of preserving
courts of justice from the official ministration of the persons
- On 27 July 1993, Corpuz and one Larry Rigor filed a complaint
unfit to practice them.
with the CSC requesting a formal investigation and hearing. In
- Complainant has not proferred any proof tending to show that
her comment to the complaint, Mendez stated that she
respondent really induced it, through machination or other
discovered that the appointments extended by Morato were not
deceitful means, to issue the December 19 letter of authority
submitted to the MTRCB for approval pursuant to Section 5(c) of
ostensibly for the purpose of evicting illegal occupants, then
P.D. No. 1986; hence to cure the defect, she submitted the
using the very same letter for demanding agent’s
appointments to the MTRCB.
- On 31 August 1993, the CSC promulgated Resolution No. 93-
- No evidence in respect of the supposed deceit, malpractice or
3509 granting the MTRCB authority to fill up positions vacated in
gross misconduct was adduced by the complainant. It is one
the agency due to appointments, which were not submitted to
thing to allege deceit, malpractice and gross misconduct, and
the MTRCB for approval. In the Resolution of the CSC dated
another to demonstrate by evidence the specific acts
December 23, 1993, they ruled that: The appointment of Atty.
constituting the same.
Corpuz, if defective, could have been the subject of a direct
- The letter, from respondent’s own admission, just served to
action for revocation or recall which may be brought to the
officially confirm a done deal. It was, hence, utilized solely as
Commission within a reasonable period of time after its approval.
documentary evidence to buttress respondent’s assertion
. . Since no such action was filed with the Commission, we can
regarding the existence of the agency agreement. (Respondent
safely state that Corpuz had already acquired security of tenure
here is not suing by virtue of the letter of authority as what the
in the said position. Hence, the Commission can not allow the
Complainant is saying, but grounded on the oral contract of
current Board's disapproval of the said appointment to produce
agency the two purportedly entered into.
any effect. Atty. Corpuz can no longer be separated from the
service except for cause and after observing the requirements of advised her that her case cannot prosper on the basis of what
due process. was told him by her.
- The MTRCB filed with us a special civil action for certiorari, - In any case, Hilado brought to his office documents related to
which we referred to the CA in view of Republic Act No. 7902. In the case. Francisco claims that these documents were received
its decision, the CA declared null and void Resolution No. 93- by his assistant. Atty Agrava. When advised of the same, he
5964 of the CSC, ruling that since the appointment of Corpuz instructed Atty. Agrava to return the documents as the firm will
was not approved by the MTRCB, the appointment was invalid not handle her case against Assad.
and he could not invoke security of tenure. The record shows - Atty Agrava thought that in returning the documents a proper
that the appointment of Corpuz was not approved by the Board, explanation be made as to why the firm is not taking her case.
as mandated by PD 1986 Sec16. As such, he cannot invoke the Atty. Francisco signed the letter to Hilado without reading the
security of tenure, even if he has rendered service for a number same.
of years. - On January 28, 1946, Atty Francisco entered his appearance as
- Corpuz filed a motion for reconsideration, which was denied. He attorney of record for Assad in the case instituted by Hilado.
then filed an instant petition under Rule 45 RoC and asked the - On May 29, 1946, the lawyers of Hilado wrote Francisco urging
Court to reverse the decision of CA on the ground that: “THE him to discontinue representing Assad on the grounds that he
COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN RULING THAT THE APPOINTMENT was consulted by Hilado with regard to her case. and that during
OF PETITIONER ATTY. DAVID B. CORPUZ DID NOT HAVE THE the consultation, certain documents were turned over to him.
APPROVAL OF THE MTRCB BOARD WHICH IF NOT CORRECTED, IS - When Francisco did not reply, Hilado’s lawyers, on her behalf,
- In his memorandum, he declared that he is no longer seeking ISSUE
reinstatement but for the continuity of his government service WON Francisco should be disqualified from representing his
from the time he was illegally dismissed up to the time he was clients against Hilado
permanently employed with the Office of the Ombudsman.
WON Corpuz can invoke security of tenure Ratio
- Yes. Based on the facts, a relationship of attorney and client
HELD between Francisco and Hilado ensued when he issued the
Ratio written opinion to Hilado. The letter binds and estops him in
No, he cannot invoke security of tenure. acting for others against Hilado.
Reasoning Reasoning
- There are two stages in the process of appointing MTRCB - The SC noted that it is in the interest in the administration of
personnel, other than its Secretary, namely: (a) recommendation justice that lawyers are viewed without reproach in their
by the Chairman which is accomplished by the signing of the actuations. Hence, even if it were true that what was given to
appointment paper, which is among his powers under Section Francisco were facts that were already public knowledge, there
5(d); and (b) approval or disapproval by the MTRCB of the is no way of knowing if this was in fact the case.
appointment. - In citing jurisprudence on the matter, the court held that a
- It is long settled in the law of public offices and officers that lawyer is engaged professionally when he is just in fact listening
where the power of appointment is absolute, and the appointee to a client’s preliminary statement of his case or when he is
has been determined upon, no further consent or approval is giving advice thereon. That formality is not the essence of
necessary, and the formal evidence of the appointment, the employment.
commission, may issue at once. Where, however, the assent or - The fact that the action against Francisco was brought four
confirmation of some other officer or body is required, the months after he filed in appearing in the case does not operate
commission can issue or the appointment may be complete only as a waiver of Hilado’s right to ask for his disqualification. The
when such assent or confirmation is obtained. In either case, the confidence once reposed cannot be divested by expiration of
appointment becomes complete when the last act required of professional employment. The Court also stated that in matters
the appointing power is performed. Until the process is of the practice of law the jurisdiction of the court is pervasive.
completed, the appointee can claim no vested right in the office This flows from the fact that lawyers are officers of the court
nor invoke security of tenure. where they practice, forming a part of the machinery of the law
- A public official or employee who assumed office under an for the administration of justice and as such are subject to the
incomplete appointment is merely a de facto officer for the disciplinary authority of the court.
duration of his occupancy of the office for the reason that he - The Court then expounded on the nature of the “retaining fee”
assumed office under color of a known appointment which is as a means of compensating the lawyer who was asked to give
void by reason of some defect or irregularity in its exercise. professional advise to the detriment of the lawyer not being able
Undeniably, under the facts here, CORPUZ was such a de facto to act as counsel for the other side, even if he has declined to
officer. perform the services required by the original client. The fee is
Disposition WHEREFORE, the instant petition is DENIED and separate from the fee that a client is obligated to pay the lawyer
the assailed decision of 13 October 1995 of the Court of Appeals for the services which he was retained to perform.
in CA-G.R. SP-No. 37694 is AFFIRMED.
HILADO V DAVID PUNO, July 14, 2003
NATURE Complaint for disbarment
Original action. Certiorari
FACTS Complainant’s Side
- Blandina Gamboa Hilado brought an action Against Selim Jacob - July 1992, respondent allegedly asked the complainant if he
Assad to annul the sale of several houses and lot executed by could rent a small office space in complainant’s building in
her now deceased husband during the Japanese occupation. Quezon City for his law practice. Complainant acceded and
- In the course of the case, Hilado consulted respondent Vicente introduced respondent to Atty. Benjamin Dacanay, complainant’s
J. Francisco with regard the case filed against Assad despite the retained lawyer, who accommodated respondent in the building
fact that she had previously retained a different set of lawyers to and made him handle some of complainant’s cases.
act on her behalf. Francisco claims that at the time, he already
- Respondent borrowed two hundred thousand pesos January 29, 1993, before paying the next amortization on the
(P200,000.00) from complainant which he intended to use as car, he asked complainant to execute a deed of sale transferring
down payment for the purchase of a new car. In return, ownership of the car to him. Complainant refused and insisted
respondent issued to complainant a postdated check in the that he would transfer ownership of the car only after the
amount of P176,528.00 to answer for the six (6) months interest termination of his criminal case which respondent was handling
on the loan. He likewise mortgaged to complainant his house as his defense lawyer. Consequently, respondent stopped
and lot in Quezon City but did not surrender its title claiming that paying the amortization on the car. Respondent also alleged that
it was the subject of reconstitution proceedings before the he filed a perjury case against complainant who, in turn, filed a
Quezon City Register of Deeds. complaint for libel against him.
- The respondent bought the car but the document of sale was - October 27, 1993: the Court referred the administrative case to
issued in the complainant’s name and financed through City the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) for investigation,
Trust Company. report and recommendation.
- January 1993: respondent introduced to complainant a certain - August 3, 2002, the Board of Governors of the IBP approved the
Emmanuel Romero who wanted to borrow money from report of the investigating commissioner finding the respondent
complainant. Complainant lent Romero the money and, from guilty as charged and recommending his suspension from the
this transaction, respondent earned commission in the amount practice of law for one (1) year.
of P52,289.90. Complainant used the commission to pay
respondent’s arrears with the car financing firm. ISSUES
- Subsequently, respondent failed to pay the amortization on the 1. WON the court has the jurisdiction to sanction respondent for
car and the financing firm sent demand letters to complainant. his issuance of the bouncing check
Complainant tried to encash respondent’s postdated check with 2. WON the respondent committed a breach of trust and
the drawee bank but it was dishonored as respondent’s account confidence by imputing to complainant illegal practices and
therein was already closed. disclosing complainant’s alleged intention to bribe government
- Respondent failed to heed complainant’s repeated demands for officials in connection with a pending case, and thus would be
payment. Complainant then filed a criminal case against sanctioned
respondent for violation of Batas Pambansa Blg. 22 and a civil
case for judicial foreclosure of real estate mortgage. HELD
- In the foreclosure case, the respondent alleged that the 1. NO, it is not for the Court to sanction respondent for his
complainant is engaged in buy and sell of deficiency taxed issuance of a bouncing check, which would be determined by the
imported cars, shark loans and shady deals, and has many cases trial court.
pending in court, which the complainant denied, adding that the Ratio We shall not delve into the merits of the various criminal
allegations were libelous and were irrelevant to the foreclosure and civil cases pending between the parties. It is for the trial
case. A particular allegation states that in one case, the courts handling these cases to ascertain the truth or falsity of
complainant would only give the respondent the document of the allegations made therein.
sale of the car if the latter would bribe the review committee of 2. YES, respondent’s allegations and disclosures in the
the DOJ for a case of the complainant. According to the foreclosure case amount to a breach of fidelity sufficient to
complainant, the allegation was, aside from being false, warrant the imposition of disciplinary sanction against him.
immaterial to the foreclosure case and maliciously designed to Ratio A lawyer must conduct himself, especially in his dealings
defame him, the respondent was also guilty of breaking their with his clients, with integrity in a manner that is beyond
confidential lawyer-client relationship and should be held reproach. His relationship with his clients should be
administratively liable. characterized by the highest degree of good faith and fairness.
- the complainant then filed this complaint for disbarment, Reasoning Canon 17 of the Code of Professional Responsibility
praying also that an administrative sanction be meted against provides that a lawyer owes fidelity to the cause of his client and
respondent for his issuance of a bouncing check shall be mindful of the trust and confidence reposed on him. The
Respondent’s Side long-established rule is that an attorney is not permitted to
- It was complainant who offered him an office space in his disclose communications made to him in his professional
building and retained him as counsel as the latter was impressed character by a client, unless the latter consents.
with the way he handled a B.P. 22 case filed against -The obligation to preserve the confidences and secrets of a
complainant. client arises at the inception of their relationship. The protection
- There was nothing libelous in his imputations of dishonest given to the client is perpetual and does not cease with the
business practices to complainant and his revelation of termination of the litigation, nor is it affected by the party’s
complainant’s desire to bribe government officials in relation to ceasing to employ the attorney and retaining another, or by any
his pending criminal case. He claimed to have made these other change of relation between them. It even survives the
statements in the course of judicial proceedings to defend his death of the client.
case and discredit complainant’s credibility by establishing his -However, the privilege against disclosure of confidential
criminal propensity to commit fraud, tell lies and violate laws. communications or information is limited only to
He argued that he is not guilty of breaking his confidential communications which are legitimately and properly within the
lawyer-client relationship with complainant as he made the scope of a lawful employment of a lawyer. It does not extend to
disclosure in defense of his honor and reputation. those made in contemplation of a crime or perpetration of a
- Respondent asserted that he executed the real estate fraud. If the unlawful purpose is avowed, as in this case, the
mortgage in favor of complainant without consideration and only complainant’s alleged intention to bribe government officials in
as a “formal requirement” so he could obtain the P200,000.00 relation to his case, the communication is not covered by the
loan and for this reason, he did not surrender his title over the privilege as the client does not consult the lawyer
mortgaged property to complainant. professionally. It is not within the profession of a lawyer to
- Respondent claimed that he issued the postdated check, not advise a client as to how he may commit a crime as a lawyer is
for account or for value, but only: (a) to serve as “some kind of not a gun for hire. Thus, the attorney-client privilege does not
acknowledgment” that he already received in advance a portion attach, there being no professional employment in the strict
of his attorney’s fees from the complainant for the legal services sense.
he rendered, and (b) as a form of assurance that he will not -The disclosures were not indispensable to protect his rights as
abandon the cases he was handling for complainant. they were not pertinent to the foreclosure case. It was improper
- Respondent denied that he received a P52,289.90 commission for the respondent to use it against the complainant in the
from Romero’s loan which he allegedly helped facilitate, alleging foreclosure case as it was not the subject matter of litigation
that the amount paid to him was for attorney’s fees. He used this therein and respondent’s professional competence and legal
amount to pay his arrears with the car financing firm. On advice were not being attacked in said case.
Disposition IN VIEW WHEREOF, respondent Atty. Essex L. Jr., so that even after latter’s removal, the former remains to be
Silapan is ordered suspended from the practice of law for a counsel of estate. No withdrawal as counsel or petition for
period of six (6) months effective upon receipt of this Decision. change of counsel was filed in accordance with the Rules of
Let a copy of this Decision be furnished the Office of the Bar Court. Notice and copy of the CA's decision were duly served by
Confidant and the Integrated Bar of the Philippines. The Court registered mail on the estate's counsel of record at his address
Administrator is directed to circulate this order of suspension to of record in accordance with Rule 13, section 8 of the Rules of
all courts in the country. Court. And in accordance with said Rule, service by registered
SO ORDERED. mail of the appellate court's decision upon the petitioner's
counsel of record was deemed completed and effected upon the
DOMINGO V AQUINO addressee's failure to claim his mail on the fifth day after the
first notice of the postmaster. The present administratrix gives
TEEHANKEE; April 29, 1971
no satisfactory explanation as to her failure to substitute herself
vice Luis Domingo, Jr., since the latter's removal or to then
engage new counsel vice Atty. Unson in the appellate court.
An original action for certiorari challenging a judgment of the
Disposition Petition dismissed; petitioner’s counsel shall pay
Court of Appeals as null and void for having been allegedly
treble costs for falsely representing to the SC that the CA had
entered in excess of jurisdiction and/or with grave abuse of
granted “new and further relief” to Aquino when, in fact, he had
duly prayed for the relief awarded and for filing unmeritorious
cases that clog the court dockets; writ of preliminary injunction
issued on Nov. 7, 1967 is dissolved.
Asuncion Domingo Sta. Maria and Atty. Luis Domingo, Jr. were
appointed co-special administrators of the estate of Luis
Domingo, Sr. Pedro Aquino filed a money claim on the estate. CFI MONTANO V IBP
approved the money claim of Aquino. Both parties appealed to KAPUNAN, May 21, 2001
the CA. CA affirmed CFI judgment with modifications in favor of
Aquino (allowed compounded interest). The estate's counsel in FACTS
the CA, Atty. Jose A. Unson, did not receive the notice and copy - Montano hired the services of Atty. Dealca as his
of the judgment sent to him by registered mail; but the estate's counsel in collaboration with Atty. Gerona in a case pending
attorneys in the intestate proceedings pending in the lower before the Court of Appeals wherein the complainant was the
court, Attys. Primicias, Del Castillo and Macaraeg, were verbally plaintiff-appellant.
informed by respondent's counsel of the judgment. Consuelo - The parties agreed upon attorney’s fees in the amount
Domingo de Lopez filed on March 9, 1967, with the CA an of P15,000, 50% of which was payable upon acceptance of the
"Appearance with Motions for Substitution and to be served with case and the remaining balance upon the termination of the
a copy of the Judgment," stating that Asuncion Domingo Sta. case. Accordingly, complainant paid respondent the amount
Maria had long resigned as special administratrix with the of P7,500
permission of the intestate court, that Atty. Luis Domingo, Jr. - Even before Atty. Dealca had prepared the appellant’s
(who had caused the prosecution of the appeal) was removed brief and contrary to their agreement that the remaining
from his trust by the intestate court, for having squandered cash balance be payable after the termination of the case, Atty.
funds of the estate, that, as a consequence, she was appointed Dealca demanded an additional payment from complainant.
judicial administratrix and has since been administering the - Complainant obliged by paying the amount of P4,000.
estate alone; that as judicial administratrix, she wished to file a - Prior to the filing of the appellant’s brief, Atty. Dealca
motion for reconsideration and that the clerk of court be directed again demand payment of the remaining balance of 3,500.
to serve copy of said judgment on her counsel instead of on Atty. - When complainant was unable to do so, lawyer
Unson and praying that as present judicial administratrix, she be withdrew his appearance as complainant’s counsel without his
substituted in lieu of the former joint administrators and that her prior knowledge and/or conformity.
counsel be served with copy of the CA’s decision. CA denied
motion for reconsideration. After almost 5 mos. and after
- Montano claimed that such conduct exceeded the
ethical standards of the law profession and prays that the
respondent had filed in the intestate court a motion for
latter be sternly dealt with administratively. Complainant later
execution of the judgment, petitioner filed this petition alleging
on filed motions praying for the imposition of the maximum
that CA decision was entered in excess of jurisdiction and/or with
penalty of disbarment.
grave abuse of discretion. This was opposed by Aquino on the
- IBP conducted investigation, report and
ground of finality.
recommendation. It found respondent counsel guilty of
unprofessional conduct and recommended that he be
“severely reprimanded.”
WON CA’s decision has become final
- IBP Board of Governors resolved that the penalty be
amended to 3 months suspension from the practice of law.
- Atty. Dealca sought reconsideration saying:
> Complainant went to him just to prepare and submit
Ratio CA decision has become final and executory in
complainant’s appellant’s brief on time at the agreed
accordance with the Rules of Court and since no appeal was
fee of P15,000.00, 50% down and 50% upon its
Reasoning Motion for reconsideration was filed out of time and
> He was able to finish the appellant’s brief ahead of its
delay was without legal basis. Petitioner’s motion for substitution
deadline, so he advised the complainant about its
filed with the appellate court after its decision recognized the
completion with the request that the remaining balance
fact that the appellate court had already duly handed down its
of P7,500.00 be paid.
adverse decision and petitioner merely expressed her wish to
> Complainant paid P4,000.00 only, promising to pay
belatedly file a motion for reconsideration on behalf of the
the P3,500.00 “tomorrow” or on “later particular date.”
petitioner estate. She was apparently resigned to the futility of
This promise-non-payment cycle went on repeatedly
filing any such motion, in view of the finality of the appellate
until the last day of the filing of the brief.
court's decision — for such motion was never filed. She cannot
> Even without being paid completely, he, of his own
use as an excuse the substitution of administrators/counsels.
free will and accord, filed complainant’s brief on time;
The records at bar amply show that Atty. Jose A. Unson was the
Such P3,500.00 remains unpaid until now
counsel on record of the petitioner estate in the appellate court
and never filed any withdrawal as such counsel. He was
representing the estate and not the administrator, Luis Domingo,
WON Atty. Dealca’s conduct just and proper - that the probate of the Will had not been decided on
the merits did not change the fact that the probate
HELD court had removed Petitioner Obando as co-
No. We find Atty. Dealca’s conduct unbecoming of a member of administrator.
the legal profession. Petitioners' Claim
- Under Canon 22 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, -Assignment of Errors:
lawyer shall withdraw his services only for good cause and Simply stated, the following issues are raised by the petitioners:
upon notice appropriate in the circumstances. (1) whether the trial court could act on a motion filed by a lawyer
- Although he may withdraw his services when the client who was allegedly no longer Eduardo's counsel of record; (2)
whether a motion to dismiss filed after the responsive pleadings
deliberately fails to pay the fees for the services, under the
were already made can still be granted; (3) whether the
circumstances of the present case, Atty. Dealca’s withdrawal
conviction of Petitioner Obando for estafa through falsification
was unjustified as complainant did not deliberately fail to pay
and the revocation of his appointment as administrator, both of
him the attorney’s fees. In fact, complainant exerted honest
which are on appeal, constitute sufficient grounds to dismiss the
efforts to fulfill his obligation.
civil case; and (4) whether there was a conflict between the
- Rule 20.4 of Canon 20, mandates that a lawyer shall avoid
Order dismissing the civil case and the previous actions of the
controversies with clients concerning his compensation and
trial court.
shall resort to judicial action only to prevent imposition,
injustice or fraud.
- Only in a clear case of misconduct that seriously affects the
1. WON the trial court could act on a motion filed by a lawyer
standing and character of the lawyer as an officer of the Court
who was allegedly no longer Eduardo's counsel of record
and member of the bar will disbarment be imposed as a
2. WON a motion to dismiss filed after the responsive pleadings
penalty. It should never be decreed where a lesser penalty,
were already made can still be granted
such as temporary suspension, would accomplish the end
3. WON that it was premature for the trial court to dismiss the
desired. Reprimand is deemed sufficient.
civil case because Obando's conviction for estafa through
falsification was still on appeal
OBANDO V FIGUERAS 4. WON trial court whimsically and capriciously departed from its
NARVASA; 1990 previous rulings when, in its Resolution dated February 11, 1993,
it granted Eduardo's later Motion to Dismiss
Petition for Review under Rule 45 of the RoC, seeking to annul a
Decision of the CA which affirmed dismissal, without prejudice, HELD
of Petitioner Felizardo Obando’s action for annulment of contract 1. the lawyer was still Eduardo’s counsel of record.
and reconveyance earlier ordered by the RTC of QC. Ratio Representation continues until the court dispenses with
the services of counsel in accordance with Section 26, Rule 138
FACTS of RoC. Counsel may be substituted only with the ff requisites:
- 1964: Alegria Figueras and her stepsons Eduardo and Francisco (1) new counsel files a written application for Substitution; (2)
filed a Petition for settlement of the intestate estate of her the client’s written consent is obtained; (3) the written consent
deceased husband Jose Figueras. of the lawyer to be substituted is secured
- pending settlement of the estate, Alegria died. Eduardo Reasoning Eduardo did not dismiss his Atty (Yuseco). The
assumed administration of the joint estates of Jose and Alegria. Motion to Dismiss was beneficial to respondent Eduardo, he had
- Eduardo was served a Petition for Probate of what purported to no reason to complain. At the discretion of the court, an atty.
be Alegria’s Last Will and Testament, filed by Felizardo Obando, who has been dismissed by a client is allowed to intervene in a
Alegria’s nephew (herein petitioner) case in order to protect the client’s rights. In this case, any
- the alleged Will bequeathed to Obando properties left by the irregularity should have been raised by respondent Eduardo, and
Figueras couple, including 2 parcels of land in Quezon City. not the petitioners.
- Probate case was consolidated with the intestate proceedings, 2. YES
and Obando was appointed as Eduardo’s co-administrator of the Ratio if the plaintiff loses his capacity to sue during the
joint estates. pendency of the case, as in the present controversy, the
- upon investigation, the NBI found the Will was a forgery, which defendant should be allowed to file a motion to dismiss, even
led to the conviction of Obando for estafa through falsification of after the lapse of the reglementary period for filing a responsive
a public document pleading.
- 1990: probate court denied Eduardo’s Motion for authority to Reasoning The period to file a motion to dismiss depends upon
sell the parcels of land. Despite denial, he sold the lots to Amigo the circumstances of the case. Section 1 of Rule 16 of the Rules
Realty Corporation, on the strength of an Order issued by the of Court requires that, in general, a motion to dismiss should be
probate court in 1991. New titles were issued in the name of filed within the reglementary period for filing a responsive
Amigo Realty. pleading.
- 1992: Petitioner Obando, as co-administrator and universal heir However, even after an answer has been filed, the Court has
of Alegria, filed Complaint against Eduardo and Amigo Realty allowed a defendant to file a motion to dismiss on the following
(respondents), for the nullification of the sale. grounds: (1) lack of jurisdiction,22 (2) litis pendentia,23 (3) lack of
- 1997: the probate court removed Obando from his office as co- cause of action,24 and (4) discovery during trial of evidence that
administrator. would constitute a ground for dismissal.25 Except for lack of
- Consequently, respondents filed Motion to Dismiss, based on cause of action or lack of jurisdiction, the grounds under Section
Obando’s loss of his legal standing to pursue the case. 1 of Rule 16 may be waived. If a particular ground for dismissal
- 1993: Trial Court granted the Motion and dismissed the civil is not raised or if no motion to dismiss is filed at all within the
case reglementary period, it is generally considered waived under
- Petitioner Obando filed a Motion for Reconsideration. Denied. Section 1, Rule 9 of the Rules.26
- CA dismissed Obando’s Petition for Certiorari and Mandamus - the respondents did not waive their right to move for the
- rejected Obando’s contention: that he did not lose his legal dismissal of the civil case based Petitioner Obando's lack of legal
personality to prosecute the civil case, since there was no capacity. It was only after he had been convicted of estafa
categorical statement that the purported will was a forgery, through falsification that the probate court divested him of his
and its probate was still pending representation of the Figueras estates. It was only then that this
- affirmed the dismissal of the action because the probate ground became available to the respondents. Hence, it could not
court’s Order alluded to the fact that the Will was a forgery. be said that they waived it by raising it in a Motion to Dismiss
filed after their Answer was submitted. Verily, if the plaintiff
loses his capacity to sue during the pendency of the case, as in
the present controversy, the defendant should be allowed to file
a motion to dismiss, even after the lapse of the reglementary
period for filing a responsive pleading.
3. NO.
Ratio When an appointment as co-administrator of an estate is
revoked by a probate court, a final conviction in a criminal case
has nothing to do with such revocation.
Reasoning This argument has no bearing at all on the
dismissal of the civil case. Petitioner Obando derived his power
to represent the estate of the deceased couple from his
appointment as co-administrator.27 When the probate court
removed him from office, he lost that authority. Since he lacked
the legal capacity to sue on behalf of the Figueras estates, he
could not continue prosecuting the civil case.28 Thus the trial
court properly granted the Motion to Dismiss on this ground.29
Whether a final conviction for a crime involving moral turpitude
is necessary to remove him from his administration is not a
proper issue in this Petition. He should raise the matter in his
appeal of the Decision removing him from administration of the
Figueras estates.
4. NO. There is no conflict between these court rulings.
Reasoning they were based on different grounds. The first
Motion to Dismiss was denied because, at the time, Petitioner
Obando still had legal capacity to sue as co-administrator of the
Figueras estates. The second Motion was granted because the
probate court had already removed him from his office as co-
administrator. The change in his legal capacity accounts for the
difference in the adjudication of the trial court.
Disposition the Petition is hereby DENIED and the assailed
Resolution AFFIRMED. Costs against petitioners.