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This petition stemmed from a pending disbarment case before the Integrated Bar of the Philippines.

Petitioner Tomas G. Tan (petitioner Tan), stockholder and director of co-petitioner CST Enterprises, Inc. (CST), discovered that two parcels of land owned by the
corporation were used to obtain loans from Philippine Business Bank (PBB), with the real estate mortgage annotated at the back of the titles covering the properties.
Upon verification, he learned that a certain John Dennis Chua, representing CST, mortgaged the properties. Chua was purportedly authorized by the Board of
Directors of the corporation as shown by the Corporate Secretarys Certificate dated 04 April 2001 signed by Atty. Jaime N. Soriano (respondent).

ADMIN CASE. Petitioner Tan filed in his personal capacity and as minority stockholder of CST under a derivative action, a letter-complaint with the IBP charging
respondent of deceit, malpractice, falsification of public documents, gross misconduct and violation of oath of office. [if !supportFootnotes][1][endif] According to petitioners,
respondent has never been elected as corporate secretary nor acted as such for CST, and in fact no board meeting was held on 30 March 2001 to so authorize John
Dennis Chua because on the said date two of three directors, petitioner Tan and Felipe Chua, were out of the country. Furthermore, John Dennis Chua has never
been connected in any capacity with CST, petitioners aver

CIVIL CASE. Petitioners also filed with the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Makati a civil case docketed as Civil Case No. 02-299 and captioned as one for Declaration
of Unenforceability of Promissory Notes and Mortgage, Nullity of Secretarys Certificate, Injunction, Damages, etc. with Prayer for Issuance of TRO/ Preliminary
Injunction, against respondent, Atty. Stephen Z. Taala and PBB, along with other persons

In the course of the proceedings in the said civil case, petitioners claim to have gathered more information and seen the extent of the plot or machinations of
respondent and the participation of other individuals, including Atty. Taala who was the Assistant Vice President for Legal Services of PBB.[if !supportFootnotes][4][endif] Atty.
Taala had testified in Civil Case No. 02-299 that Felipe Chua personally delivered to him CSTs titles to the mortgaged lots and that Felipe Chua assured him that
respondent is the Corporate Secretary of CST.[if !supportFootnotes][5][endif] Thus, CSTs loan application was recommended for favorable consideration.

Petitioners filed with the IBP, Commission on Bar Discipline a Motion to Amend/Supplement the Complaint w/ Motion to Admit Amended/Supplemental Complaint
claiming that respondent and Atty. Taala had facilitated and recommended the approval of the allegedly spurious loans and mortgage entered into by John Dennis
Chua. > denied; MR was likewise denied

Assailing the denial of the motion for the admission of the Amended/Supplemental Complaint, petitioners filed before this Court a petition for certiorari under Rule
65, wherein they impute grave abuse of discretion on the part of the Commission. Petitioners submit that respondent and Atty. Taala through false testimonies
intend to bind CST to the spurious loans and real estate mortgage to its damage and prejudice. [if !supportFootnotes][9][endif] They claim that the denial to admit the
Amended/Supplemental Complaint would have the effect of preventing petitioners from filing a new complaint against respondent along with Atty. Taala for their
conspiratorial illegal acts involving the same loan transactions, as any judgment of the Commission on the original complaint may serve as res judicata to bar
judgment on the other acts complained of in the Amended/Supplemental Complaint. [if !supportFootnotes][10][endif] Likewise, limiting the facts and issues to those defined in
the original complaint would make respondent answerable only for the less serious charges subject of the original complaint but not for the graver charges in the
Amended/Supplemental Complaint regarding respondents untruthful allegations. [if !supportFootnotes][11]

Finally, petitioners aver that the proceeds of the spurious loans amounting to P91.1 Million Pesos covered by the real estate mortgage on CSTs real estate properties
were funneled to the Mabuhay Sugar Central, Inc., a corporation where respondent is the incorporator, stockholder and President.

Petitioners thus pray of this Court to set aside the Commissions order denying admission of the Amended/Supplemental Complaint, or in the alternative, allow
petitioner to file a new complaint against respondent and Atty. Taala based on the same loan transactions
COMMENT. respondent claims that petitioners breached the rule that proceedings against attorneys should be kept private and confidential, when the latter disclosed
in Civil Case No. 02-299 the contents of his Verified Answer filed before the Commission, quoting almost verbatim said contents. This had the effect of announcing
to the whole world the pending disbarment case, respondent stresses, and is meant to harass and vex him, as well as to damage his reputation even before a final
verdict is reached by the Commission. Respondent questions petitioners motive in not filing a separate case before the IBP against Atty. Taala and accordingly
having him tried separately. Finally, respondent posits that the Commission did not commit grave abuse of discretion in denying petitioners motion to amend its
complaint since the nullity or regularity of the mortgage loan in CSTs name is not an issue in the administrative case against him.

ISSUE: whether the Commission committed grave abuse of discretion when it denied petitioners Amended/Supplemental Complaint.


The Commission did not. The petition must be dismissed.

Petitioners have filed Civil Case No. 02-299, seeking the declaration of unenforceability of promissory notes and mortgage, nullity of secretarys certificate, injunction,
damages, and the issuance of a temporary restraining order or preliminary injunction. In the said case, petitioners allege that the loans contracted by CST from PBB
were not sanctioned nor ratified by the CST Board of Directors and/ or stockholders, but were only facilitated by respondent and Atty. Taala, as well as by other
persons through the use of the spurious Secretarys Certificate. Likewise pending is another case against respondent and John Dennis Chua, et al. for estafa through
falsification of public documents, docketed as Criminal Case No. 04-3776 of the RTC of Makati which appears to involve the same allegedly unauthorized mortgage.

The Court notes that petitioners are seeking similar, if not identical, reliefs from the regular courts and the Commission. Thus, in addition to the prayer
to disbar respondent and Atty. Taala, petitioners implore the Commission to make a finding that respondent lawyers be found liable for using untruthful statements
under oath, conspiracy to commit estafa, employing deceit and other manipulative acts as well as fraud, and falsification of public documents charges which are
included in his allegations in the civil and criminal cases.

Obviously, the Commission is not empowered to resolve matters which are pending resolution by the regular courts to which jurisdiction properly pertains.
The IBP, particularly the Commission on Bar Discipline, is merely tasked to investigate and make recommendations on complaints for disbarment, suspension and
discipline of lawyers. It is not a regular court and thus is not endowed with the power to investigate and resolve judicial matters pending before the regular courts.
To cite a specific vital aspect. In the proposed Amended/Supplemental Complaint, petitioners seek to hold respondent administratively liable for his
untruthful and perjurious statements in his Verified Answer in the administrative case. Precisely, however, the truth or falsity of said statements are still to be
litigated in the civil case.

SUI GENERIS PROCEEDINGS. Disbarment proceedings are sui generis, they belong to a class of their own, and are distinct from that of civil or criminal
actions.[if !supportFootnotes][18][endif] To be sure, a finding of liability in a civil case or a conviction in a criminal case is not necessary for finding a member of the bar guilty
in an administrative proceeding. However, in the instant case, the civil and criminal cases involving the acts referred to in the proposed amended/supplemental
complaint are still pending adjudication before the regular courts. Prudence dictates that the action of the Commission related to the proposed amended/supplemental
complaint in the administrative case be sustained in order to avoid contradictory findings in that case and in the court cases.

The call for judiciousness stems from the need to ensure the smooth and orderly disposition of the related cases pending before the courts and the
Commission and avert conflict in the rulings in the bar discipline case and in the judicial cases. Preemption of the regular courts by an administrative case is a
worrisome spectacle.

Now we turn to a significant sidelight.


Respondent charges petitioners with divulging what is essentially confidential information, which is a violation of Section 18, [if !supportFootnotes][20][endif] Rule 139-B of the
Rules of Court. He alleges that petitioners even made the basis of his amended complaint in the civil case the allegations contained in respondents Verified Answer
before the Commission.

A review of the records disclose that petitioners lifted and cited most of the amendatory averments in respondents Verified Answer in the administrative case as the
core of their Amended Complaint in the civil case. In fact, petitioners even identified the Verified Answer and the disbarment proceedings itself as the sources of
the averments in the Amended Complaint before the trial court, thus:

47. On May 28, 2002, disbarment/disciplinary proceedings were filed with the Commission on Bar Discipline of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines against
Defendant Soriano for having executed such null and void secretarys certificate, among others. This disbarment case was docketed as CBD Case No. 02-967.

48. The averments of Defendant Soriano in his Verified Answer (Soriano Verified Answer for brevity) dated September 27, 2002 filed in said disbarment case,
as well as the pertinent papers and earlier testimonies in this case and the results of the ongoing investigation and inquiries of Plaintiff Tan, further reveal..

Disciplinary proceedings against a lawyer are private and confidential until its final determination. [if !supportFootnotes][22][endif] The confidential nature of the proceedings
has a three-fold purpose, to wit: (i) to enable the court and the investigator to make the investigation free from any extraneous influence or interference; (ii) to
protect the personal and professional reputation of attorneys from baseless charges of disgruntled, vindictive and irresponsible persons or clients by prohibiting the
publication of such charges pending their resolution; and (iii) to deter the press from publishing the charges or proceedings based thereon

Petitioners had in effect announced to the world the pending disbarment case against respondent. Not only did they disclose the ongoing proceedings, they also
divulged most, if not all of the contents of respondents Verified Answer. Clearly, petitioners acts impinged on the confidential nature of the disbarment proceedings
against Atty. Soriano.

RULING: PETITION DISMISSED; Petitioners are REMINDED to preserve the confidentiality of the administrative proceedings. The IBP is ordered to resume its

Calo v. De Gamo
A.C. 516, June 27, 1967

Facts: On 2 March 1962, Tranquilino O. Calo Jr., filed a disbarment case against respondent, Esteban Degamo on the grounds that the latter committed perjury in
connection with his appointment as Chief of Police of Carmen, Agusan. On 17 January 1959, respondent Esteban Degamo, as an applicant to the position of Chief
of Police of Carmen, Agusan, subscribed and swore to a filled-out "Information Sheet" before Mayor Jose Malimit of the same municipality. The sheet called for
answers about name, personal circumstances, educational attainment, civil service eligibility and so forth. One item required to be filled out reads:

Criminal or police record, if any, including those which did not reach the Court. (State the details of case and the final outcome.)" to which respondent answered,

Having accomplished the form, the respondent was appointed by the mayor to the position applied for. However, on the day the respondent swore to the information
sheet, there was pending against him, and two (2) other co-accused, a criminal case in the Court of First Instance of Bohol (No. 2646) for illegal possession of
explosive powder.
Respondents Defense:

Petitioner's letter-complaint was filed on 2 March 1962 while the act of the respondent complained of was committed on 17 January 1959. Without explaining
how and upon what authority, respondent invokes the defense of prescription.


Whether or not prescription may be used as a defense in a disbarment proceeding.


No. The ordinary statutes of limitation have no application to disbarment proceedings, nor does the circumstance that the facts set up as a ground for disbarment
constitute a crime, prosecution for which in a criminal proceeding is barred by limitation, affect the disbarment proceeding (5 Am. Jur. 434).

He deliberately concealed the information in order to secure an appointment in his own favor. He, therefore, failed to maintain that high degree of morality expected
and required of a member of the bar and he has violated his oath as a lawyer to "do no falsehood". It needs no reiteration that the ethical standards applicable to
a member of the bar, who thereby automatically becomes a court officer, must necessarily be one higher than that of the market place.

Respondent Esteban Degamo is hereby disbarred, and his name ordered stricken from the roll of attorneys

NATURE and CHARACTERISTICS: It May Be Initiated Motu Propio

Heirs of the Late Faustina Borres vs. Hon. Julius L. Abela

GR No. 131023, July 17, 2007
Ynares-Santiago, J.:

FACTS: Lot No. 3376 of the Cadastral Survey of Panay, Capiz, was awarded in favor of Faustina, Segundina, Felisa, Micaela, Maria, and Sixto, all surnamed

Faustina died before World War II, leaving as heirs her children: Jose, Juan, Concepcion, and Dolores, all surnamed Villareiz. Herein respondent Victoria Villareiz-
Radjaie (Mrs. Radjaie) is the daughter of the late Jose Villareiz who claims sole ownership over the subject property. Meanwhile, the Borres heirs assert their
rights over the property as heirs of Faustina, Segundina, Felisa, Micaela, Maria, and Sixto, and as co-heirs of Mrs. Radjaie.

It appears that Faustina and her siblings mortgaged the subject property in favor of Navitas Fishing Company but failed to redeem the same. Mrs. Radjaie claims
that Jose personally redeemed the property and had it exclusively titled in his name
A TCT was issued in the name of Mrs. Radjaie. She claims sole ownership over the property which she allegedly inherited from her father. However, the Borres
heirs allege that Jose fraudulently caused the reconstitution and issuance of the title exclusively in his name.

The Borres heirs, represented by Atty. Alberto Villarruz, filed a complaint for partition against Mrs. Radjaie. The action also sought the declaration of the property
as commonly owned by Mrs. Radjaie and the Borres heirs. The case was raffled to Presiding Judge of Branch 17 Jose Alovera.

Mrs. Radjaie was declared in default. The Borres heirs presented their evidence ex-parte. A January 30, 1995 Decision (referred to as Decision) was rendered
declaring the property commonly owned of Mrs Radjaie and The Borres. On January 31, 1995, Judge Alovera retired from the judiciary having reached the
mandatory age of retirement.

Petition for Relief: Mrs. Radjaie filed a petition for relief assailing the Decision for the following reasons:
She was never served with summons, hence trial court did not acquire jurisdiction over her person
Proceedings are null and void as it was penned by Judge Alovera after his retirement and was never entered in the book of judgments

Judge Abela was appointed as the new Presiding Judge of Branch 17. He issued a resolution nullifying the Decision and later issued a Resolution granting the
petition for relief from order.

**Judge Abela likewise issued an ORDER directed Atty. Villarruz to explain why he should not be suspended from the practice of law for deceit, malpractice and/or
gross misconduct, for making it appear that a hearing was conducted when in fact no such hearing took place, and for making it appear that his pleading entitled
"Offer of Exhibits" was filed with the court when no such pleading was actually filed.

Another ORDER was issued where Judge Abela required Judge Alovera to explain why he should not be suspended from the practice of law for making it appear
that he issued an Orderadmitting Atty. Villarruzs "Offer of Exhibits" when no such order could have been issued prior to his retirement and for submitting the
Decision when he was already retired and no longer had the authority to decide cases.

Atty. Villarruz and Judge Alovera did not submit the required explanations. This led for Judge Abela to issue an order suspending Attys. Alberto Villarruz and Jose
O. Alovera from the practice of law. (No period mentioned) Consequently, Atty. Villarruz and Judge Alovera filed their respective petitions before this Court
assailing the order of suspension.

Atty. Villarruz and Judge Alovera alleged that they were denied due process, and that Judge Abela has no authority to suspend them from the practice of law.

1. Whether Judge Abela committed grave abuse of discretion in suspending petitioners Atty. Villarruz and Judge Alovera from the practice of law.

2. Whether Judge Abela committed grave abuse of discretion in granting the petition for relief and setting aside the Decision.
1. NO. We find that Judge Abela did not gravely abuse his discretion in issuing the Order suspending Atty. Villarruz and Judge Alovera from the practice of law.
Judge Abela acted pursuant to Section 28 of Rule 138 and Section 16, Rule 139-B of the Rules of Court which provide that the Court of Appeals or a Regional Trial
Court may suspend an attorney from practice for any deceit, malpractice, or other gross misconduct in such office, grossly immoral conduct, or by reason of his
conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude, or for any violation of the lawyers oath, or for a willful disobedience of any lawful order of a superior court, or for
corruptly or willfully appearing as an attorney for a party to a case without authority to do so. The suspended attorney shall not practice his profession until
further action of the Supreme Court.

Atty. Villarruz and Judge Alovera claim that they were denied due process as there was no verified complaint filed against them before the trial court. Likewise,
Atty. Villarruz argues that the trial court did not lawfully acquire jurisdiction over him as he was not included as one of the respondents in the petition for relief.

It should be observed that proceedings for the disbarment of members of the bar are not in any sense a civil action where there is a plaintiff and the respondent
is a defendant. Disciplinary proceedings involve no private interest and afford no redress for private grievance. They are undertaken and prosecuted solely for the
public welfare. They are undertaken for the purpose of preserving courts of justice from the official ministration of persons unfit to practice in them. The attorney
is called to answer to the court for his conduct as an officer of the court. The complainant or the person who called the attention of the court to the attorneys
alleged misconduct is in no sense a party, and has generally no interest in the outcome except as all good citizens may have in the proper administration of
justice. The court may therefore act upon its own motion and thus be the initiator of the proceedings, because, obviously the court may investigate into the
conduct of its own officers. Indeed it is not only the right but the duty of the Court to institute upon its own motion, proper proceedings for the suspension or
disbarment of an attorney, when from information submitted to it or of its own knowledge it appears that any attorney has so conducted himself in a case pending
before said court as to show that he is wanting in the proper measure of respect for the court of which he is an officer, or is lacking in the good character
essential to his continuance as an attorney. This is for the protection of the general public and to promote the purity of the administration of justice. (Tajan v.
Cusi, Jr.)

In Re: Agripino A. Brillantes, disciplinary proceedings for the suspension of an attorney originated from an unverified motion. The Court, citing Tajan v. Cusi, Jr.,
ruled that there is no substantive justifying purpose to be served by adhering to the prescription that a complaint against a lawyer be under oath. It was held that
there is substantial compliance with the requirement where the motion was filed as an offshoot of a preliminary investigation which was conducted on the basis of
sworn complaints.

In this case, Mrs. Radjaie sought an investigation on the alleged anomalies in the proceedings. Such constitutes sufficient ground for Judge Abela to conduct an
inquiry into the matter. Further, it must be emphasized that Atty. Villarruz and Judge Alovera were duly notified of the charges against them in the Orders of
Judge Abela twice. They were given ten days within which to explain why they should not be suspended from practice. Thereafter, they were again duly notified
that hearings relative to the aforementioned orders would be conducted. During the two hearings held on they were given the opportunity to answer the charges
against them and to produce witnesses in their own behalf. However, they ignored the orders as well as the scheduled hearings and instead filed their respective
petitions for certiorari directly before this Court.

It is well-settled that the essence of due process is that a party is given a reasonable opportunity to be heard and submit any evidence one may have in support
of ones defense. Where the opportunity to be heard, either through verbal arguments or pleadings, is accorded and the party can present its side or defend its
interest in due course, there is no denial of due process. Indeed, where a party was afforded an opportunity to participate in the proceedings but failed to do so,
he cannot complain of deprivation of due process.
2. NO. Here, the Borres heirs claim that the Decision has long become final and executory. They argue that Judge Abela gravely abused his discretion in giving
due course to the petition for relief and setting aside the same.

It was ruled that the said Decision could never attain finality for being void. It was penned by Judge Alovera after his retirement when he no longer had the
authority to decide cases. We take judicial notice of this Courts Decision in Administrative Case No. 4748 where the Court en banc disbarred Judge Alovera for
gross misconduct, violation of the lawyers oath and the Code of Professional Responsibility. It was in the said administrative case where it was proved that the
Decision was penned by Judge Alovera after he retired; and the decision was never entered in the book of judgments as mandated in the rules. Thus, petitioners
contention that the decision has become final and executory lacks merit.

Under the circumstances, the Borres heirs cannot claim rights under the decision nor can they insist on its binding character. A decision penned by a judge after
his retirement cannot be validly promulgated; it cannot acquire a binding effect as it is null and void. Qoud ab initio non valet, in tractu temporis non convalescit.

In like manner, a decision penned by a judge during his incumbency cannot be validly promulgated after his retirement. When a judge retired all his authority to
decide any case, i.e., to write, sign and promulgate the decision thereon also "retired" with him. In other words, he had lost entirely his power and authority to act
on all cases assigned to him prior to his retirement. A void judgment never acquires finality.

Thus, a void judgment is no judgment at all. It cannot be the source of any right nor of any obligation. All acts performed pursuant to it and all claims emanating
from it have no legal effect. Hence, it can never become final and any writ of execution based on it is void: "x x x it may be said to be a lawless thing which can be
treated as an outlaw and slain at sight, or ignored wherever and whenever it exhibits its head."

No rights can be obtained or divested from a void judgment. Being worthless in itself, all proceedings founded upon it are equally worthless. It neither binds nor
bars any one. All acts performed under it and all claims flowing out of it are void.

The Borres heirs claim that the petition for relief was filed out of time. However, we likewise held that where a judgment is on its face void ab initio, the limited
periods for relief from judgment in Rule 38 are inapplicable. That judgment is vulnerable to attack in any way and at any time, even when no appeal has been taken.
So it is in this case where the decision cannot be said to have any force and effect. The decision is null and void as it was rendered in the complete absence of
authority on the part of Judge Alovera. Accordingly, it is as if no decision was rendered at all.

A.C. No. 4515. July 14, 2008.*

CECILIA A. AGNO, complainant, vs. ATTY. MARCIANO J. CAGATAN, respondent.
Facts: Atty. Marciano Cagatan is the President of International Services Recruitment Coporation (ISRC). The companys recruitment license was cancelled by DOLE
for violating labor laws. On August 9, 1988, ISRC was forever banned from participating in overseas recruitment.

Atty. Cagatan appealed the cancellation of its license with the OP. It was resolved in his favor on March 30, 1993. However, ISRCs license expired on Sept. 17,
1989. Thus, it filed an application of for renewal of its recruitment license on April 12, 1994.

During the pendency of the appeal with the OP, on August 9, 1992, Atty. Cagatan entered into a MOA with UAE National Mr. Khalifa Juma, husband of Cecilia
Agno. The MOA provided that Khalifa and Atty. Cagatan shall jointly own ISRC on a 50-50 basis, and share in profits using the same proportion.

More than 3 years after the MOA, Cecilia Agno filed a complaint for disbarment alleging that Atty. Cagatan used fraud, deceit and misrepresentation in enticing
Khalifa to join ISRC in the amount of P500,000. Atty. Cagatan failed to comply with the MOA, by not changing the Board of Directors, corporate officers and the
like (i.e. Cecilia as Treasurer).

Cecilia claims that Atty. Cagatan used the P500,000 for his own benefit. When asked to be reimbursed, Atty. Cagatan issued a check, which was later dishonored
for being drawn on a closed account. Cecilia then filed BP 22 against respondent.

Meanwhile, Atty. Cagatan denies the charges. He said Khalifa offered to buy shares of stocks and agreed to finance the OP appeal. While there were still legal
procedures to be observed, Khalifa was in a hurry to start the business, so he sold and assigned his own shareholdings in ISRC for P500,000. He then issued a
guarantee check, which Khalifa should keep if the appeal was and unfavorable and return if the appeal is resolved in favor of ISRC.

The IBP Commissioner found that Atty. Cagatan did not fully reveal the true condition of the corporation during the existence of the MOA. His issuance of a check
drawn on a close account shows he had no desire to return the money entrusted to him. Thus, the IBP Commissioner recommended that he be suspended in the
maximum period prescribed by law.

The IBP BOG adopted the findings, but modified the suspension up to two years. Hence, this appeal, where Atty. Cagatan also assails Cecilias legal standing to
file the case.


1. Whether or not Cecilia Agno has legal standing to file the case
2. Did Atty. Cagatan violate the code?


1. Yes. The argument of respondent that complainant has no legal personality to sue him is unavailing. Section 1, Rule 139-B of the Rules of Court provides
that proceedings for the disbarment, suspension or discipline of attorneys may be taken by the Supreme Court motu proprio or by the Integrated Bar of
the Philippines (IBP) upon the verified complaint of any person. The right to institute a disbarment proceeding is not confined to clients nor is it necessary
that the person complaining suffered injury from the alleged wrongdoing. Disbarment proceedings are matters of public interest and the only basis for
judgment is the proof or failure of proof of the charges. The evidence submitted by complainant before the Commission on Bar Discipline sufficed to
sustain its resolution and recommended sanctions.

[The] rule is premised on the nature of disciplinary proceedings. A proceeding for suspension or disbarment is not in any sense a civil action where the
complainant is a plaintiff and the respondent lawyer is a defendant. Disciplinary proceedings involve no private interest and afford no redress for private
grievance. They are undertaken and prosecuted solely for the public welfare. They are undertaken for the purpose of preserving courts of justice from the
official ministration of persons unfit to practice in them. The attorney is called to answer to the court for his conduct as an officer of the court. The
complainant or the person who called the attention of the court.

2. Yes. He violated the following:

Canon 1. A lawyer shall uphold the constitution, obey the laws of the land and promote respect for law and legal processes.

Rule 1.01. A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct.

Canon 7. A lawyer shall at all times uphold the integrity and dignity of the legal profession and support the activities of the Integrated Bar.

Rule 7.03. A lawyer shall not engage in conduct that adversely reflects on his fitness to practice law, nor shall he, whether in public or private life, behave
in a scandalous manner to the discredit of the legal profession.

The aforecited canons emphasize the high standard of honesty and fairness expected of a lawyer not only in the practice of the legal profession but in his
personal dealings as well.

A lawyer must conduct himself with great propriety, and his behavior should be beyond reproach anywhere and at all times.37 For, as officers of the
courts and keepers of the publics faith, they are burdened with the highest degree of social responsibility and are thus mandated to behave at all times in
a manner consistent with truth and honor.

Respondents act of issuing a guarantee check for P500,000.00, when he was presumably aware that at the time of his issuance thereof his bank account
against which the check was drawn was already closed.


OLIVIA LAUREL, Court Stenographer III, DIANA RAMOS, Utility Worker, and HERMINIA JAVIER, Clerk III, RTC-Office of the Clerk of Court, Bian, Laguna, and
ALBERTO R. NOFUENTE, 3rd Assistant Provincial Prosecutor of Laguna, Complainants, vs. JUDGE PABLO B. FRANCISCO, Presiding Judge, RTC, Branch 26, Sta.
Cruz, Laguna, Respondent

A.M. No. RTJ-06-1992; July 6, 2010

*only the pertinent facts related to contempt are cited herein


This Resolution involves 11 consolidated administrative cases 9 were filed by Judge Francisco against several officers and court personnel of RTC Branches 24 and
25 of Bian, Laguna, while the 2 others were filed against Judge Francisco.

NOTE: You may opt to go directly to the narration under A.M. No. RTJ-06-1992. The following is just the basis of the charges filed by Judge Francisco i.e. the
letter-affidavit sent by the petitioners and other court personnel to the Court Administrator requesting that Judge Francisco be detailed back to his former sala at
Sta. Cruz, Laguna. But the letter also serves as a summary of all the charges included in this Resolution.
Judge Francisco was originally assigned as the Presiding Judge of RTC-Branch 26 of Sta. Cruz, Laguna. After encountering a disconcerting problem in an election
case, Judge Francisco requested that he be detailed elsewhere. He was thereafter detailed as the acting Presiding Judge of RTC-Branch 25 of Bian, Laguna from
January 1996 to January 1998, and then of RTC-Branch 24, also of Bian, Laguna, from February 1998 to September 1998.

At first, the relations between Judge Francisco and the personnel of the RTC of Bian, Laguna, were friendly and harmonious, but animosity crept in after some

In a letter dated August 3, 1998 to Court Administrator Alfredo L. Benipayo (Benipayo), several court officers and personnel, including the petitioners above-
mentioned expressed their sentiments against Judge Francisco, and demanded that said judge be relieved of his detail at the RTC of Bian, Laguna and be ordered
to return to his permanent post at the RTC of Sta. Cruz, Laguna. The court personnel wrote:

We, the undersigned court personnels of Regional Trial Court, Branches XXIV and XXV and Office of the Clerk of Court, Bian, Laguna respectfully communicate and
convey unto your Honorable Office our sentiments toward temporary Presiding Judge, HON. PABLO B. FRANCISCO of Branch XXIV, RTC-Bian, Laguna.

It is the wish of the overwhelming court personnels to have a good and harmonious relationship with their judges so they can have a pleasant working condition to
ensure a prompt and efficient performance of their duties and responsibilities. Unfortunately, this wish is now difficult and probably impossible to achieve in the
Regional Trial Court, Bian, Laguna during the incumbency of HON. PABLO B. FRANCISCO in RTC-Branch XXIV.

It all began when Judge Francisco was ordered by your Office to vacate Branch XXV and assume his temporary assignment in Branch XXIV. From them on, we never
had an occasion to have an ideal mood and nice atmosphere to perform efficiently our assigned tasks in the judiciary. Four (4) of the staff in Branch XXIV were
charged administratively for inexistent and imaginary reasons solely to show his might to those who go against him even on personal matters.

Two (2) employees in Branch XXV and one (1) from the Office of the Clerk of Court and even the Assistant Provincial Public Prosecutor were likewise victims of his
suspicious mind when he cited them in direct contempt based on concocted ideas which could have cost their liberties for a period of nine (9) days if not for the
timely temporary restraining order issued by the Honorable Court of Appeals.

Two (2) deputy sheriffs [of] the Court were obliged by HON. PABLO B. FRANCISCO to contribute Two Thousand Pesos (P2,000.00) each to defray the "salary" of
his personal bodyguard which amount is a big imposition on their meager salary. Out of fear, the two (2) sheriffs were constrained to shoulder that burden even
though it is against their will.

Court employees had to bear insults even in open Court for slightest mistakes. He always gives bad interpretation to laughters and smiles. He always interpreted
glances to mean making faces to ridicule him. He is also fond of delivering speeches in open Court and even after court sessions practically accusing all court
personnel in RTC-Bian, Laguna, are engaged in graft and corruption. Demoralizing remarks to humiliate and downgrade reputation and morals as public servants
of employees are more often than not the order of the day. This uncalled behavior already caused the untimely resignation of his Branch Clerk of Court and utility
aide and probably we will end up the same if his continued stay in Branch XXIV will be allowed by your Honorable Office.

Lately, he announced that he will prevent any retirement benefits available to those future retirees as he is decided to file administrative cases against each and
every one of the Court personnel.

We, the undersigned Court employees of Branches XXIV and XXV of the Regional Trial Court are now totally demoralized, scared and afraid of the vindictive mind
and future moves of HON. PABLO B. FRANCISCO. Fears now engulfed our minds as simple glances on him might cost our liberties if not our positions.

Thus, we are respectfully appealing unto your Honorable Office to give due course to this petition of ours to forestall a total demoralization if not complete destruction
of this component part of the judiciary.
Furthermore, we understand that Hon. RTC-Judge Pablo B. Francisco has a pending request to extend his stay as Presiding Judge in Branch XXIV up to October 1,
1998. As things stand now in our Court, we respectfully appeal to you that the said request of Hon. Pablo B. Francisco be turned down and instead he be ordered
to return soonest to his original and legitimate sala at Branch XXVI RTC-Sta. Cruz, Laguna. xxx

We earnestly appeal that HON. PABLO B. FRANCISCO be ordered to return to his legitimate station in Branch XXVI of Regional Trial Court, Sta. Cruz, Laguna, where
he belongs or somewhere else but not in Bian, Laguna. xxx

Aware of the open animosity exhibited between Judge Francisco and several personnel of the RTC of Bian, Laguna, and its damaging effect on the administration
of justice, some members of IBP practicing their profession in Bian, Laguna, sent a letter dated August 19, 1998 to then Court Administrator Benipayo, likewise
requesting the return of Judge Francisco to his original court of assignment at RTC-Branch 26 of Sta. Cruz, Laguna.

After consideration of the two letters, we issued Administrative Order No. 113-98 on August 27, 1998 revoking the designation of Judge Francisco as acting Presiding
Judge of RTC-Branch 24 of Bian, Laguna.

Despite Judge Franciscos return to the RTC of Sta. Cruz, Laguna, the administrative charges and counter-charges between Judge Francisco and the personnel of
RTC of Bian, Laguna, still subsist and await our resolution.

In a Resolution the Court En Banc accepted the resignation of Judge Francisco upon the recommendation of the Office of the Court Administrator without prejudice
to the continuation and outcome of the proceedings of the administrative complaints filed against him .
A.M. No. RTJ-06-1992 Direct Contempt Charge filed by Judge Francisco against Laurel, Ramos, Javier, and Prosec Nofuente

As the acting Presiding Judge of RTC-Branch 24 of Bian, Laguna, Judge Francisco issued an Order dated holding Javier, Laurel, Ramos, and Pros. Nofuente guilty
of Direct Contempt, for supposedly disrupting the court proceedings in Sp. Proc. No. B-2433 (case for Confinement/Rehab case of William Martinez) held on July
14, 1998, and sentencing them to 9 days imprisonment at the Bian Municipal Jail.

Javier, Laurel, Ramos and Pros. Nofuente filed before the Court of Appeals a Petition for Certiorari and Prohibition with a prayer for the issuance of a Writ of
Preliminary Injunction. In its Resolution the CA issued a TRO against the implementation of Judge Franciscos Order. Subsequently, the appellate court promulgated
its Decision dated aside the assailed Direct Contempt Order for having been issued by Judge Francisco with grave abuse of discretion. Judge Franciscos appeal of
the Court of Appeals judgment was denied by this Court.

Judge Franciscos issuance of the Order also led to the filing by Javier, Laurel, Ramos, and Pros. Nofuente of a Complaint for Gross Ignorance of the Law and
Incompetence against Judge Francisco. According to the Complaint, Judge Franciscos Direct Contempt Order was issued in violation of due process and Rule 71,
Section 1 of the Rules of Court.


Pros. Nofuente narrated that around 10:00 a.m. on said date, he was with Zenaida Manansala (Manansala), a complainant in one of the cases he was handling at
the RTC-Branch 25 of Bian, Laguna, to request Process Server Sevilla to subpoena the next witness in Manansalas case. Pros. Nofuente maintained that his voice
was in the ordinary conversational volume which could not have disrupted the court proceedings, if there was any at all. He was just one or two meters away from
the courtroom and, at that time, Judge Francisco was not wearing his robe and was seated at the lawyers table. Pros. Nofuente denied he was conversing with
Laurel and Ramos for the latter two were inside the staff room, busily doing their assigned tasks. They were all within the sight of Judge Francisco, but they were
not aware that Judge Francisco was already throwing dagger looks at them. When Pros. Nofuente left, Judge Francisco shouted "Mga tarantado kayo." Three days
after the incident, Judge Francisco released the Order declaring, not only Laurel, Ramos, and Pros. Nofuente, but also Javier, guilty of Direct Contempt.
Laurel and Ramos also denied that they disrupted the court proceedings in Sp. Proc. No. B-2433 on July 14, 1998. Both of them could not remember talking to each
other or to anybody or making noise at that time. Judge Francisco did not call their attention for the supposed disruption although his sala was just one or two
meters away from their office.

Javier, for her part, argued that she was cited of direct contempt in absencia. She was not within the court premises at 10:00 a.m. of July 14, 1998, as she was in
Landbank, Calamba, Laguna to encash her check. She presented her Daily Time Record (DTR) for the month of July, showing that on July 14, 1998, she reported
for work only for half a day, particularly, from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. Javier also asserted that she had not even once disrupted court proceedings by boisterous
conversation or laughter or by making any noise within the court premises.


Judge Francisco explained that his Direct Contempt Order was not the result of a single disrespectful act, but the culmination of a series of discourteous acts of
Javier, Laurel, Ramos, and Pros. Nofuente, which impeded the administration of justice, particularly, causing the disruption of the court proceedings in Sp. Proc. No.
B-2433 on July 14, 1998. Judge Francisco recounted that:

For several months now, after the undersigned Presiding Judge vacated Branch 25 of this Court, a group of persons composed of Assistant Public Prosecutor Alberto
R. Nofuente, and Olivia Laurel, Diana Ramos and Herminia Javier, court employees, has subjected the undersigned to spite and ridicule. Prosecutor Nofuente, in
more than a dozen times, while within the court premises and upon sensing the presence of the Presiding Judge anywhere near him, would evidently blurt unsavory
remarks aimed at the Presiding Judge although most of the time he would make them appear to be directed at Mayet, the food caterer of court employees. At one
time, Prosecutor Nofuente even spit on the floor to show his ill will for the Presiding Judge who was passing by. The group also would frequently engage themselves
even during office hours in raucous laughter within the presence and hearing of the Presiding Judge with nothing funny to laugh about. At one time, the Presiding
Judge caught Diana Ramos acting like a cheerleader, egging on Prosecutor Nofuente, Olivia Laurel and Herminia Javier to laugh harder simultaneously, which
prompted the Presiding Judge to call the attention of Olivia Laurel about her groups uncanny behavior.

Even during court sessions of Branch 24, Olivia Laurel and Herminia Javier would throw sharp glances and make faces at the Presiding Judge. Almost every member
of this group has an axe to grind against the Presiding Judge for events which transpired during his incumbency in Branch 25. Olivia Laurel was eased out of [her]
position as OIC-Branch Clerk of Court after the undersigned recommended a lawyer, a qualified one, in her place.

The Presiding Judge had refused to drop charges against a relative of Herminia Javier arising out of the implementation of a search warrant. Of course, Herminias
unwavering loyalty to her group knows no bounds. Prosecutor Nofuente had on several occasions asked from the undersigned for the dismissal of certain criminal
cases but which request were all refused on the ground that the evidence of guilt was strong. The prosecutor was also criticized severely by the Presiding Judge in
several court decisions for filing about twenty (20) faulty informations in incestuous rape cases which absolved the accused from the death penalty.

Lately, the group has been disrupting proceedings in Branch 24 by creating noise through boisterous conversations punctuated by laughters inside the court premises.

Judge Francisco presented as evidence the transcript of stenographic notes (TSN) of the hearing of Sp. Proc. No. B-2433 on July 14, 1998, taken down by Lopez,
to prove what actually transpired during the proceedings:


Of stenographic notes taken down by the undersigned Court Stenographer (Lopez) during the hearing of the above-entitled case on July 14, 1998 at 10:30 oclock
in the morning. Presided over by the Hon. PABLO B. FRANCISCO, Presiding Judge.
COURT: What kind of drug or drugs are you taking in?
W. MARTINEZ: Shabu, Your Honor.
COURT: Since when have you been taking shabu? (At this juncture, the presiding judge appears to be irritated by the loud voice of Fiscal Nofuente) .
W. MARTINEZ: For a year, Your Honor.
COURT: Were you examined by Dr. Melinda Fernando?

W. MARTINEZ: Yes, Your Honor.

COURT: And what was the result of the examination. Is this the record? (Examining the record) (At this juncture, the Presiding Judge stood up to confront the
person creating noise.)

W. MARTINEZ: Yes, Your Honor.

COURT: Your father wants you to be rehabilitated, are you willing to be sent to a rehabilitation center?

W. MARTINEZ: Yes, Your Honor.

COURT: Are you willing to comply with the rules and regulations set by any of the rehabilitation centers of your choice?

W. MARTINEZ: Yes, Your Honor

(At this juncture, the Presiding Judge was advised by the stenographer to rest because his face was becoming reddish.)

COURT: Please place on record that the proceedings was disturbed because of the loud voice coming from Provincial Prosecutor Alberto Nofuente who was laughing
and discussing in a very loud voice a certain matter with the employees of Branch 25 and the Presiding Judge has called the attention of those concerned, especially
employees of Branch 25 about disturbing the hearing of this case. Let it be recorded further that this is not the first time that Provincial Prosecutor Alberto Nofuente
has caused such disturbance while proceedings at Branch 24 is going on.

As a result of his investigation of the 11 admin cases, Justice Barrios recommended, among others that A.M. No. RTJ-06-1992 be dismissed and thatJ udge Pablo
Francisco be found GUILTY of Gross Ignorance of the Law and FINED the amount of P30,000.00, taking into account that he has since resigned.

ISSUE: Whether the Direct Contempt Order by Judge Francisco against Laurel, Ramos, Javier and Prosec Nofuente, proper?

NO. Contempt of court is defined as "some act or conduct which tends to interfere with the business of the court, by a refusa l to obey some lawful order of the
court, or some act of disrespect to the dignity of the court which in some way tends to interfere with or hamper the orderly proceedings of the court and thus
lessens the general efficiency of the same." It has also been described as "a defiance of the authority, justice or dignity of the court; such conduct as tends to bring
the authority and administration of the law into disrespect or to interfere with or prejudice parties litigants or their witnesses during litigation." Simply put, it is
despising of the authority, justice, or dignity of the court.
Direct contempt is one done "in the presence of or so near the court or judge as to obstruct the administration of justice." It is a contumacious act done facie curiae
and may be punished summarily without hearing. In other words, one may be summarily adjudged in direct contempt at the very moment or at the very instance
of the commission of the act of contumely. It is governed by Rule 71, Section 1 of the Rules of Court, as amended by Administrative Circular No. 22-95.

As previously mentioned, the Court of Appeals, in CA-G.R. SP No. 48356, granted the Petition for Certiorari of Javier, Laurel, Ramos, and Pros. Nofuente, and set
aside Judge Franciscos Direct Contempt Order for having been issued in grave abuse of discretion. The Court of Appeals adjudged that:

Considering that the acts alluded to as the basis by which the Respondent [Judge Francisco] declared the petitioners [Javier, Laurel, Ramos, and Pros. Nofuente] in
contempt of court, are neither constitutive of direct or indirect contempt, this Court is of the opinion that the Order of Respondent declaring petitioners in contempt
and imposing a penalty of nine (9) days imprisonment is a GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION. WHEREFORE, the assailed order dated July 14, 1998 is SET ASIDE for
having been issued in grave abuse of discretion.

The CA already settled in the aforementioned certiorari proceedings that Judge Franciscos issuance of the Direct Contempt Order was in grave abuse of his discretion.
We are now called upon to determine in the present administrative proceedings whether the same act constitutes an administrative offense by Judge Francisco. A
review of the records of the case leads us to rule affirmatively.

Judge Franciscos issuance of the Direct Contempt Order is completely baseless and unjustified. There is utter lack of evidence that Javier, Laurel, Ramos, and Pros.
Nofuente committed any contemptuous act.

Other than his own allegations, Judge Franciscos only evidence to prove that Pros. Nofuente disrupted the hearing of Sp. Proc. No. B-2433 on July 14, 1998 was
the TSN for said proceedings, taken down by Lopez. However, serious doubts as to the truthfulness of the said TSN arose after Lopez herself assailed the transcript.
According to Lopez, she included the lines alluding to the disruption of the proceedings by Pros. Nofuente into the TSN upon Judge Franciscos order. Lopez explained
that she complied out of fear that she might be subjected to a suit just as the other employees of the RTC of Bian, Laguna. This testimony of Lopez was corroborated
by Sevilla.

The testimonies of Lopez and Sevilla prove that although distracted by the outside noise, Judge Francisco was still able to proceed with and finish the hearing of
Spec. Proc. No. B-2433 on July 14, 1998. Moreover, during and immediately after said hearing, Judge Francisco was unaware of who made the noise, so he could
not have summarily cited anyone for direct contempt.

The lack of basis for the issuance by Judge Francisco of the Direct Contempt Order is even more evident when it comes to Javier, Laurel, and Ramos, who were not
mentioned at all in the TSN of the hearing of Spec. Proc. No. B-2433 on July 14, 1988. By Judge Franciscos own allegations in his Complaint, the purportedly
contemptuous acts of the three court personnel were not particularly committed on July 14, 1998 nor the cause of the disruption of the proceedings at RTC-Branch
24 of Bian, Laguna, on said date. Furthermore, Judge Franciscos averments that Pros. Nofuentes group, which included Javier, Laurel, and Ramos, engaged in
raucous laughter in the judges presence even "with nothing funny to laugh about," threw sharp glances and made faces at Judge Francisco, and engaged in
boisterous conversation punctuated by laughter inside the court premises, are insufficient to constitute contumacious behavior. Contempt of court presupposes a
contumacious attitude, a flouting or arrogant belligerence, a defiance of the court, something that is not evident in this case. There is absolute lack of proof that
the laughter, conversations, and glances of Pros. Nofuentes group were about or directed at Judge Francisco and they disrupted or obstructed proceedings before
the judge.
We believe that in issuing this baseless and erroneous contempt order, Judge Francisco was prevailed upon by his personal animosity against Pros. Nofuente and
his group. This can be easily fathomed from Judge Franciscos inclusion of Javier, who is Pros. Nofuentes friend, in the Direct Contempt Order when Javier was not
even within court premises at the time of the hearing of Spec. Proc. No. B-2433 on July 14, 1998.
It is well-settled that the power to punish a person in contempt of court is inherent in all courts to preserve order in judicial proceedings and to uphold the orderly
administration of justice. However, judges are enjoined to exercise the power judiciously and sparingly, with utmost restraint, and with the end in view of utilizing
the same for correction and preservation of the dignity of the court, and not for retaliation or vindictiveness. It bears stressing that the power to declare for contempt
must be exercised on the preservative, not vindictive principle, and on the corrective and not retaliatory idea of punishment.

A judge, as a public servant, should not be so thin-skinned or sensitive as to feel hurt or offended if a citizen expresses an honest opinion about him which may not
altogether be flattering to him. After all, what matters is that a judge performs his duties in accordance with the dictates of his conscience and the light that God
has given him. A judge should never allow himself to be moved by pride, prejudice, passion, or pettiness in the performance of his duties. He should always bear in
mind that the power of the court to punish for contempt should be exercised for purposes that are impersonal, because that power is intended as a safeguard not
for the judges as persons but for the functions that they exercise.

Nevertheless, we find that in issuing the Direct Contempt Order without legal basis, Judge Francisco is more appropriately guilty of the administrative offense of
grave abuse of authority, rather than gross ignorance of the law and incompetence.

The integrity of the judiciary rests not only upon the fact that it is able to administer justice but also upon the perception and confidence of the community that the
people who run the system have done justice. The assumption of office by a judge places upon him duties and restrictions peculiar to his exalted position. He is the
visible representation of law and justice. He must be perceived, not as a repository of arbitrary power, but as one who dispenses justice under the sanction of the
rule of law. The behavior and conduct of judges must reaffirm the peoples faith in the integrity of the judiciary. Justice must not merely be done but must also be
seen to be done.

We cannot simply shrug off respondent Judges failure to exercise that degree of care and temperance required of a judge in the correct and prompt administration
of justice; more so in this case where the exercise of the power of contempt resulted in complainants detention and deprivation of liberty. Respondent Judges
conduct amounts to grave abuse of authority.

We note that in the matter before us that Judge Francisco was previously found guilty in Gragera v. Francisco of violating the Code of Judicial Conduct for the
unauthorized practice of law, for which he was fined P12,000.00 with a warning that the commission of a similar or other infractions shall be dealt with severely.
Despite this warning, we yet again find Judge Francisco committing another administrative offense, i.e., grave abuse of authority.

WHEREFORE, premises considered, we DISMISS all charges xxx; while we DECLARE Judge Pablo B. Francisco GUILTY in A.M. No. RTJ-06-1992 for Abuse of Authority
in issuing the Direct Contempt Order dated July 14, 1998 and IMPOSE upon him a FINE in the total amount for P25,000.00, to be deducted from whatever benefits
may be due him in view of his resignation as Presiding Judge of Regional Trial Court, Branch 26, Sta. Cruz, Laguna.


In Re Quirico del Mar, For Disciplinary action as member of the Philippine Bar, respondent.
G.R. No. L-36800 October 21, 1974


BACKGROUND: As a result of an alleged slander committed by Montecillo on Gica (the former allegedly calling the latter "stupid" or a "fool'), Gica filed 1)a
criminal complaint for oral defamation and 2)a civil case for damages against Montecillo. Montecillo was acquitted in Criminal Case and in the Civil Case the court
found that Montecillo did not call Gica "stupid". CFI affirmed said deision. On appeal, the Fourth Division of the CA in a decision penned by the Hon. Gatmaitan
and concurred in by Associate Justices Leuterio and Gaviola, Jr. reversed the decision of the CFI and ruled in favor of Gica.
In the Court of Appeals:

Atty. Quirico del Mar, as counsel for Montecillo, filed an MR of the CAs decision with a veiled threat by mentioning the provisions of the RPC on
"Knowingly rendering unjust judgment" and "judgment rendered through negligence", and the innuendo that the CA allowed itself to be deceived. When
the CA denied the motion for reconsideration, it admonished Atty. del Mar to remember that threats and abusive language cannot compel any court of
justice to grant reconsideration.
Respondent del Mar persisted and in his second MR, filed without leave of court, made another threat by stating that "with almost all penal violations
placed under the jurisdiction of the President of the Philippines, particularly Articles 171, 204 and 205 of the Revised Penal Code, as Commander in Chief
of the AFP, by virtue of the proclamation of martial law, the next appeal that will he interposed, will be to His Excellency, the President of the Philippines."

The CA in its resolution ordered del Mar to explain within 10 days (and to appear on January 10, 1973) why he should not be punished for contempt of court.

On December 5, 1972 del Mar sent a letter to the Justices of the 4th Division of the CA informing them that he sent a letter to the President, furnishing
them a copy thereof, and requesting the Justices to take into consideration the contents of said letter.
On December 8, 1972, del Mar sent another letter to the same Justices of the Court of Appeals wherein he reminded them of a civil case he instituted
against Justices of the Supreme Court for damages in the amount of P200,000 for a decision rendered not in accordance with law and justice, stating that
he would not like to do it again but would do so if provoked.

We pause here to observe that respondent del Mar seems to be of that frame of mind whereby he considers as in accordance with law and justice whatever he
believes to be right in his own opinion and as contrary to law and justice whatever does not accord with his views. In other words, he would like to assume the
role of this Court, personally and individually, in the interpretation and construction of the laws, evaluation of evidence and determination of what is in accordance
with law and justice.

The CA concluded that del Mar is found guilty of contempt and condemned to pay a fine of P200.00 and ordered suspended from the practice of law.

Not satisfied with the wrong that he had already done against Associate Justices, del Mar sued the three Justices for damages trying to hold them liable
for their decision ruling in favor of Gica. Such case was terminated by compromise agreement after Mr. del Mar himself moved for the dismissal of his
complaint apologized to the Court of Appeals and the Justices concerned, and agreed to pay nominal moral damages in favor of the defendants-justices.

In the SC:

To add insult to injury, del Mar had the temerity to file his motion, before the SC, asking that his suspension from the practice of law imposed by the CA
be ignored because of the amicable settlement reached in civil case he filed against the Justices.

Del Mar's ire at the CA, fanned by the wind of frustration, turned against the SC when it denied his petition for review on certiorari of the decision of the
CA, for he filed his MR and wrote a letter addressed to the Clerk of this Court requesting the names of the Justices of the SC who supported the resolution
denying his petition, together with the names of the Justices favoring his motion for reconsideration. The MR was denied.

He, then, filed a manifestation, before the SC, stating brazenly, among other things, "I can at this time reveal to you that, had your Clerk of Court
furnished me with certified true copies of the last two Resolutions of the Supreme Court confirming the decision of the Court of Appeals in the case
entitled Francisco M. Gica vs. Jorge Montecillo, I would have filed against the Justices supporting the same, civil and criminal suit as I did to the Justices of
the Court of Appeals who, rewarding the abhorent falsification committed by Mr. Gica , reversed for him the decisions of the City Court and the Court of
First Instance of Cebu, not with a view to obtaining a favorable judgment therein but for the purpose of exposing to the people the corroding evils extant
in our Government, so that they may well know them and work for their extermination"

SC required respondent del Mar to show cause why disciplinary action should not be taken against him for the contemptuous statements contained in his

He submitted an explanation wherein he stated that "..., he is attaching hereto the criminal case he filed with the President of the Philippines and the civil
case he instituted in the Court of First Instance of Cebu against Justices Gatmaitan, Leuterio and Gaviola, Jr., which embody the corroding evils he
complained of as extant in the Government needing correction. He would have followed suit were it not for the fact that he is firmly convinced that human
efforts in this direction will be fruitless. As manifested, he, therefore, decided to retire from a life of militancy to a life of seclusion leaving to God the
filling-up of human deficiencies"

When the SC directed the Judicial Consultant to circularize the order of CA suspending Atty. Quirico del Mar from the practice of law, respondent del Mar filed a
MR requesting the SC to reconsider said directive. He was given a period of five days to submit a memorandum in support of his explanation.

In his "Explanation", del Mar stated that he suffered repeated strokes of high blood pressure which rendered him dizzy and unstable mentally and
physically; that his sight is blurred and his reasoning is faulty; he easily forgets things and cannot readily correlate them; that for any and all mistakes he
might have committed he asked for forgiveness; he reiterated that "blunders" were committed by the Court of Appeals in its decision and that the Justices
thereof knowingly rendered the same in violation of Article 204 of the Penal Code; he persisted in his view that the Court of Appeals committed an error in
its decision; justified his act of invoking Article 204 of the Penal Code in trying to make the Appellate Justices liable; that he was high in his academic and
scholastic standing during his school days; that "with all the confusion prevailing nowadays, the undersigned has decided for reasons of sickness and old
age to retire from the practice of law. He hopes and expects that, with the approval thereof by the Supreme Court, he could have himself released from
the obligation he has contracted with his clients as regards all his pending cases."

ISSUE: Whether or not Atty. Del Mar should be admonished for his acts.


While still persistently justifying his contemptuous statements and at the same time pleading that his physical and mental ailment be
considered so that the Court may forgive him he shrewdly stated at the end of his explanation that he has decided for reasons of sickness and
old age to retire from the practice of law, in practical anticipation of whatever penalty the Court may decide to impose on him and thus making
it appear that he has voluntarily done so with honor and in complete evasion of whatever this Court may decide to do in this case.

With full realization that a practicing lawyer and officer of the court facing contempt proceedings cannot just be allowed to voluntarily retire
from the practice of law, an act which would negate the inherent power of the court to punish him for contempt in defense of its integrity and
honor, We resolve, by resolution of January 10, 1974, to deny said prayer of Atty. del Mar without prejudice to his making arrangement
directly with his clients.

To aged brethren of the bar it may appear belated to remind them that second only to the duty of maintaining allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines and to
support the Constitution and obey the laws of the Philippines, is the duty of all attorneys to observe and maintain the respect due to the courts of justice and
judicial officers (Sec. 20 (b) Rule 138, Rules of Court). But We do remind them of said duty to emphasize to their younger brethren its paramount importance. A
lawyer must always remember that he is an officer of the court exercising a high privilege and serving in the noble mission of administering justice.
It is the duty of the lawyer to maintain towards the courts a respectful. As an officer of the court, it is his duty to uphold the dignity and authority of the court to
which he owes fidelity, according to the oath he has taken. Respect for the courts guarantees the stability of our democratic institutions which, without such
respect, would be resting on a very shaky foundation.

As We stated before: We concede that a lawyer may think highly of his intellectual endowment. That is his privilege. And, he may suffer frustration at what he
feels is others' lack of it. This is his misfortune. Some such frame of mind, however, should not be allowed to harden into a belief that he may attack a court's
decision in words calculated to jettison the time-honored aphorism that courts are the temples of right. He should give due allowance to the fact that judges are
but men; and men are encompassed by error, fettered by fallibility. ... To be sure, lawyers may come up with various methods, perhaps much more effective, in
calling the Court's attention to the issues involved. The language vehicle does not run short of expressions, emphatic but respectful, convincing but not
derogatory, illuminating but not offensive (Rheem of the Philippines vs. Ferrer G. R. No. L-22979, June 26, 1967; 20 SCRA 441, 444-445)

Criminal contempt has been defined as a conduct that is directed against the dignity and authority of the court or a judge acting judicially. It is an act obstructing
the administration of justice which tends to bring the court into disrepute or disrespect (17 C. J. S. 7).

We have held that statements contained in a motion to disqualify a judge, imputing to the latter conspiracy or connivance with the prosecutors or concocting a
plan with a view to securing the conviction of the accused, and implicating said judge in a supposed attempt to extort money from the accused on a promise or
assurance of the latter's acquittal, all without basis, were highly derogatory and serve nothing but to discredit the judge presiding the court in an attempt to
secure his disqualification. Statements of that nature have no place in a court pleading and if uttered by a member of the bar, constitute a serious disrespect. We

As an officer of the court, it is his sworn and moral duty to help build and not destroy unnecessarily the high esteem and regard
towards the court so essential to the prawoper administration of justice (Emphasis supplied).

The intemperate and imprudent act of respondent del Mar in resorting to veiled threats to make both Courts reconsider their respective stand in the decision and
the resolution that spelled disaster for his client cannot be anything but pure contumely for said tribunals.

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

We note with wonder and amazement the brazen effrontery of respondent in assuming that his personal knowledge of the law and his concept of justice are
superior to that of both the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals. His pretense cannot but tend to erode the people's faith in the integrity of the courts of
justice and in the administration of justice. He repeatedly invoked his supposed quest for law and justice as justification for his contemptuous statements without
realizing that, in seeking both abstract elusive terms, he is merely pursuing his own personal concept of law and justice. He seems not to comprehend that what
to him may be lawful or just may not be so in the minds of others. He could not accept that what to him may appear to be right or correct may be wrong or
erroneous from the viewpoint of another. We understand that respondent's mind delves into the absolute without considering the universal law of change. It is
with deep concern that We view such a state of mind of a practicing lawyer since what We expect as a paramount qualification for those in the practice of law is
broadmindedness and tolerance, coupled with keen perception and a sound sense of proportion in evaluating events and circumstances.

For a lawyer in the twilight of his life, with supposed physical and mental ailments at that, who dares to challenge the integrity and honor of both the Supreme
Court and Court of Appeals, We have nothing but commiseration and sympathy for his choosing to close the book of his long years of law practice not by
voluntary retirement with honor but in disciplinary action with ignominy and dishonor. To those who are in the practice of law and those who in the
future will choose to enter this profession, We wish to point to this case as a reminder for them to imprint in their hearts and minds that an
attorney owes it to himself to respect the courts of justice and its officers as a fealty for the stability of our democratic institutions.

Respondent Atty. Quirico del Mar for his misconduct towards the Supreme Court, shall be, as he is hereby, suspended (indefinitely) from the practice of law
until further orders of this Court, such suspension to take effect immediately.


A.M. No. R-225-RTJ January 26, 1989

FACTS: For citing him in direct contempt of court and having him suffer imprisonment for five (5) days, Atty. Himiniano D. Silva of Dumaguete City commenced a
formal administrative complaint against respondent Judge German G. Lee, Jr. of the Regional Trial Court of Negros Oriental for oppression conduct prejudicial to
the best interest of the judiciary, violation of the anti-graft law and ignorance of the law.

This administrative case stemmed from Civil Case No. 8338 before the sala of the respondent Judge and where the complainant Atty. Himiniano D. Silva was
counsel for the plaintiffs. Defendants filed a Motion to Dismiss the case. Judge Lee set the same for hearing on April 13, 1984, notice of which was duly received
by Atty. Silva as counsel.

On April 9, 1984, Atty. Silva filed a Motion for Inhibition, stating that he could not appear before the court because of the following reason:
a) By reason of complainant's radio broadcast over DYRM of Dumaguete City not long ago the Presiding Judge of the Court allegedly felt
strongly alluded to, got so hurt about it and even revealed his adverse reactions to the President of the IBP of Negros Oriental and the Executive
Judge of the Regional Trial Court Of Negros Oriental, and
b) A previous unwholesome atmosphere between the Presiding Judge of the Court and the complainant triggered by the alleged uncalled for,
unjustified, and unnecessary threat by the former to hold the latter in contempt of Court prejudices the Plaintiffs' interests in the case. (pp. 2-3,
Memorandum for Respondent)

He therein prayed that the respondent Judge inhibit himself from trying the case or "in the alternative, should this motion not be granted, that the undersigned be
relieved as counsel."

On April 10, 1984, Judge Lee denied the motion for inhibition, after finding the same "to be unfounded and patently unmeritorious, there being no valid and legal
reason for his disqualification to try the case pursuant to Rule 137 of the Rules of Court. However, Atty. Himiniano D. Silva may, in the exercise of his sound
discretion, file his formal withdrawal with the conformity of his clients to enable the latter to engage the services of new counsel."

At the scheduled hearing of the Motion to Dismiss on April 13, 1984, Atty. Silva did not appear. This prompted Judge Lee to dictate in open court an order citing
Atty. Silva for direct contempt of court, ordering his arrest and sentencing him to five (5) days imprisonment Atty. Silva was arrested and jailed that same
afternoon. He was in jail for five (5) days.

With his Motion to Quash the Warrant of Arrest denied and his Motion for Reconsideration similarly denied, Atty. Silva filed the instant administrative case,
resolution of which would depend on whether or not the non-appearance of Atty. Silva at the hearing on April 13, 1984 could be considered a contumacious act
and if so, was it direct or indirect contempt of court.

ISSUE: Whether such behavior be considered a direct contempt which would warrant an outright order to immediately arrest and jail complainant?
HELD: Direct contempt is conduct directed against or assailing the authority and dignity of the court or a judge, or in the doing of a forbidden act, while indirect
contempt is the failure to do something ordered done by the court or judge, such as failure to appear at a hearing or in the use of disrespectful language in a
pleading. A direct contempt may be punished summarily while an indirect contempt can be punished only after charge and hearing.

Clearly, the acts of complainant do not constitute direct contempt.

Be that as it may, the mistake of respondent Judge Lee in the appreciation of his prerogative to charge and punish for contempt does not make out a case of
oppression, conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the judiciary, violation of the anti-graft law and ignorance of the law. Considering the circumstances of this
case the complainant aired a vehement broadcast unduly critical of the RTC judge in Dumaguete City, filed a Motion for Inhibition intemperately written stating
that he cannot appear in the hearing if respondent judge will not inhibit himself, his subsequent expected non-appearance respondent Judge might have
equated complainant's actuations with an orchestrated assault against the authority and dignity of the court.

WHEREFORE, for having ordered the arrest and imprisonment of complainant without affording him the requisite notice and hearing (under the above-mentioned
circumstances) respondent Judge Lee is ordered REPRIMANDED with warning that a repetition of this mistake would draw sterner disciplinary action.

In re: Atty. Tranquilino Rovero.

Tranquilino Rovero in his own behalf.
A.C. No. 126 October 24, 1952

The Solicitor General has filed the present complaint for disbarment against Atty. Tranquilino Rovero, on the grounds that on March 31, 1947, "respondent
Tranquilino Rovero, having been found in a final decision rendered by then Insular Collector of Customs to have violated the customs law by fraudulently
concealing a dutiable importation, was fined in an amount equal to three times the customs duty due on a piece of jewelry which he omitted to declare and which
was subsequently found to be concealed in his wallet", and that on October 28, 1948, "respondent Tranquilino Rovero was convicted of smuggling by final
decision of the Court of Appeals in Criminal Case No. CA-G.R. No. 2214-R, affirming a judgment of the Court of First Instance of Manila sentencing him to pay a
fine of P2,500 with subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency, said case involving a fraudulent practice against customs revenue, as defined and penalized by
Section 2703 of the Revised Administrative Code." The respondents admits the existence of the of the decision of the Collector of Customs, and his conviction by
the Court of Appeals, but sets up the defense that they are not sufficient to disqualify him from the practice of law, especially because the acts of which he was
found guilty, while at most merely discreditable, had been committed by him as an individual and not in pursuance or in the exercise of his legal profession.

Under section 25, Rule 127, of the Rules of court, a member of the bar may be removed or suspended from his office as attorney for a conviction of a crime
involving moral turpitude, and this ground is apart from any deceit, malpractice or other gross misconduct in office as lawyer. Moral turpitude includes any act
done contrary to justice, honesty, modesty or good morals. (In re Basa, 41 Phil., 275.)

Respondent's conviction of smuggling by final decision of the Court of Appeals certainly involves an act done contrary at least to honesty or good morals. The
ground invoked by the Solicitor General is aggravated by the fact that the respondent sought to defraud, not merely a private person, but the Government.

Wherefore, the respondent Tranquilino Rovero is hereby disbarred from the practice of law, and he is hereby directed to surrender to this Court his lawyer's
certificate within 10 days after this resolution shall have become final.

So ordered.
A.C. No. 7472 March 30, 2010


Complainant alleged that she filed a criminal case against Hiroshi Miyata, a Japanese national, before the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Olongapo City, for violation
of Presidential Decree No. 603. The accused was represented by Atty. De Dios even though he had an outstanding suspension order from the Supreme Court
since 2001. The following are the cases that De Dios allegedly appeared in while under suspension:

1. People v Miyata - from April 9, 2003

2. Civil Case No. 355-0-2006 - from October 10, 2005

3. Sp. Proc. No. M-6153 - from September 26, 2005

4. Lorenzo v Pullido - from December 14, 2001

5. Pagaduan v Pagaduan - from May 17, 2001

6.Filmixco v Ramos - from May 18, 2001

7. Notarizarions: May 16 - 17, 2001

In her Comment, Atty. De Dios admitted the pending cases but denied that she was under suspension when she appeared as his counsel in the cases. She alleged
that she was under suspension from May 16, 2001 up to November 16, 2001, but in a manifestation filed on October 19, 2001, respondent formally informed the
Court that she was resuming her practice on November 17, 2001. However, Judge Josefina Farrales, Acting Executive Judge of the RTC, Olongapo City,
erroneously issued a directive on March 15, 2007, ordering respondent to desist from practicing law and revoking her notarial commission for the years 2007 and
2008. Upon clarification with the SC, the court deemed her to have served the 6 month-suspension.

Office of the Bar Confidant - recommended that the Court adopt a uniform policy on the matter of the lifting of the order of suspension of a lawyer from the
practice of law.

ISSUE: Was De Dios considered still suspended during the relevant periods?


It must be remembered that the practice of law is not a right but a mere privilege and, as such, must bow to the inherent regulatory power of the Supreme Court
to exact compliance with the lawyers public responsibilities.3 Whenever it is made to appear that an attorney is no longer worthy of the trust and confidence of
his clients and of the public, it becomes not only the right but also the duty of the Supreme Court, which made him one of its officers and gave him the privilege
of ministering within its Bar, to withdraw that privilege.4However, as much as the Court will not hesitate to discipline an erring lawyer, it should, at the same time,
also ensure that a lawyer may not be deprived of the freedom and right to exercise his profession unreasonably.

IN LIGHT OF THE FOREGOING, it is hereby RESOLVED that the following guidelines be observed in the matter of the lifting of an order suspending a lawyer from
the practice of law:
1) After a finding that respondent lawyer must be suspended from the practice of law, the Court shall render a decision imposing the penalty;

2) Unless the Court explicitly states that the decision is immediately executory upon receipt thereof, respondent has 15 days within which to file a motion for
reconsideration thereof. The denial of said motion shall render the decision final and executory;

3) Upon the expiration of the period of suspension, respondent shall file a Sworn Statement with the Court, through the Office of the Bar Confidant, stating
therein that he or she has desisted from the practice of law and has not appeared in any court during the period of his or her suspension;

4) Copies of the Sworn Statement shall be furnished to the Local Chapter of the IBP and to the Executive Judge of the courts where respondent has pending cases
handled by him or her, and/or where he or she has appeared as counsel;

5) The Sworn Statement shall be considered as proof of respondents compliance with the order of suspension;

6) Any finding or report contrary to the statements made by the lawyer under oath shall be a ground for the imposition of a more severe punishment, or
disbarment, as may be warranted.



This is a proving in quo warranto originally filed in the Court of First Instance of Cebu. The office in contention is that of Administrator of the Hospicio de San Jose
de Barili. Judgment was rendered on 27 April 1961 in favor of the plaintiff, Jesus Ma. Cui, and appealed to us by the defendant, Antonio Ma. Cui, and by the
intervenor, Romulo Cui.

The Hospicio is a charitable institution established by the spouses Don Pedro Cui and Doa Benigna Cui, now deceased, "for the care and support, free of charge,
of indigent invalids, and incapacitated and helpless persons." It acquired corporate existence by legislation (Act No. 3239 of the Philippine Legislature passed 27
November 1925) and endowed with extensive properties by the said spouses through a series of donations, principally the deed of donation executed

Don Pedro Cui died in 1926, and his widow continued to administer the Hospicio until her death in 1929. Thereupon the administration passed to Mauricio Cui and
Dionisio Jakosalem. The first died on 8 May 1931 and the second on 1 July 1931. On 2 July 1931 Dr. Teodoro Cui, only son of Mauricio Cui, became the administrator.
Thereafter, beginning in 1932, a series of controversies and court litigations ensued concerning the position of administrator, to which, in so far as they are pertinent
to the present case, reference will be made later in this decision.

Plaintiff Jesus Ma. Cui and defendant Antonio Ma. Cui are brothers, being the sons of Mariano Cui, one of the nephews of the spouses Don Pedro Cui and Doa
Benigna Cui. On 27 February 1960 the then incumbent administrator, Dr. Teodoro Cui, resigned in favor of Antonio Ma. Cui pursuant to a "convenio" entered into
between them and embodied in a notarial document. The next day, 28 February, Antonio Ma. Cui took his oath of office. Jesus Ma. Cui, however, had no prior notice
of either the "convenio" or of his brother's assumption of the position.

COMPLAINT. Dr. Teodoro Cui died on 27 August 1960; on 5 September 1960 the plaintiff wrote a letter to the defendant demanding that the office be turned over
to him; and on 13 September 1960, the demand not having been complied with the plaintiff filed the complaint in this case. Romulo Cui later on intervened, claiming
a right to the same office, being a grandson of Vicente Cui, another one of the nephews mentioned by the founders of the Hospicio in their deed of donation.
As between Jesus and Antonio the main issue turns upon their respective qualifications to the position of administrator. Jesus is the older of the two and therefore
under equal circumstances would be preferred pursuant to section 2 of the deed of donation. However, before the test of age may be, applied the deed gives
preference to the one, among the legitimate descendants of the nephews therein named, "que posea titulo de abogado, o medico, o ingeniero civil, o
farmaceutico, o a falta de estos titulos el que pague al estado mayor impuesto o contribucion."

The specific point in dispute is the mealing of the term "titulo de abogado." Jesus Ma. Cui holds the degree of Bachelor of Laws from the University of Santo Tomas
(Class 1926) but is not a member of the Bar, not having passed the examinations to qualify him as one. Antonio Ma. Cui, on the other hand, is a member of the Bar
and although disbarred by this Court on 29 March 1957 (administrative case No. 141), was reinstated by resolution promulgated on 10 February 1960, about two
weeks before he assumed the position of administrator of the Hospicio de Barili.

ISSUE: Who between plaintiff Jesus Ma. Cui and defendant Antonio Ma. Cui is eligible/qualified to hold the office of administrator?


We are of the opinion, that whether taken alone or in context the term "titulo de abogado" means not mere possession of the academic degree of Bachelor of
Laws but membership in the Bar after due admission thereto, qualifying one for the practice of law. In Spanish the word "titulo" is defined as "testimonies o
instrumento dado para ejercer un empleo, dignidad o profesion" (Diccionario de la Lengua Espaola, Real Academia Espanola, 1947 ed., p. 1224) and the word
"abogado," as follows: "Perito en el derecho positivo que se dedica a defender en juicio, por escrito o de palabra, los derechos o intereses de los litigantes, y tambien
a dar dictmen sobre las cuestiones o puntos legales que se le consultan ( Id., p.5) A Bachelor's degree alone, conferred by a law school upon completion of certain
academic requirements, does not entitle its holder to exercise the legal profession. The English equivalent of "abogado" is lawyer or attorney-at-law. This term has
a fixed and general signification, and has reference to that class of persons who are by license officers of the courts, empowered to appear, prosecute and defend,
and upon whom peculiar duties, responsibilities and liabilities are devolved by law as a consequence.

In this jurisdiction admission to the Bar and to the practice of law is under the authority of the Supreme Court. According to Rule 138 such admission requires
passing the Bar examinations, taking the lawyer's oath and receiving a certificate from the Clerk of Court, this certificate being his license to practice the profession.
The academic degree of Bachelor of Laws in itself has little to do with admission to the Bar, except as evidence of compliance with the requirements that an applicant
to the examinations has "successfully completed all the prescribed courses, in a law school or university, officially approved by the Secretary of Education." For this
purpose, however, possession of the degree itself is not indispensable: completion of the prescribed courses may be shown in some other way. Indeed there are
instances, particularly under the former Code of Civil Procedure, where persons who had not gone through any formal legal education in college were allowed to
take the Bar examinations and to qualify as lawyers. (Section 14 of that code required possession of "the necessary qualifications of learning ability.") Yet certainly
it would be incorrect to say that such persons do not possess the "titulo de abogado" because they lack the academic degree of Bachelor of Laws from some law
school or university.

IN THE CASE AT BAR: The founders of the Hospicio de San Jose de Barili must have established the foregoing test advisely, and provided in the deed of donation
that if not a lawyer, the administrator should be a doctor or a civil engineer or a pharmacist, in that order; or failing all these, should be the one who
pays the highest taxes among those otherwise qualified. A lawyer, first of all, because under Act No. 3239 the managers or trustees of the Hospicio shall "make
regulations for the government of said institution (Sec. 3, b); shall "prescribe the conditions subject to which invalids and incapacitated and destitute persons may
be admitted to the institute" (Sec. 3, d); shall see to it that the rules and conditions promulgated for admission are not in conflict with the provisions of the Act; and
shall administer properties of considerable value for all of which work, it is to be presumed, a working knowledge of the law and a license to practice the profession
would be a distinct asset.

SC: Under this particular criterion we hold that the plaintiff is not entitled, as against the defendant, to the office of administrator.
PLAINTIFFS ARGUMENT: that although the latter (defendant) is a member of the Bar he is nevertheless disqualified by virtue of paragraph 3 of the deed of
donation, which provides that the administrator may be removed on the ground, among others, of ineptitude in the discharge of his office or lack of evident sound
moral character. Reference is made to the fact that the defendant was disbarred by this Court on 29 March 1957 for immorality and unprofessional conduct. It is
also a fact, however, that he was reinstated on 10 February 1960, before he assumed the office of administrator. His reinstatement is a recognition of his
moral rehabilitation, upon proof no less than that required for his admission to the Bar in the first place.

ON REINSTATEMENT. As far as moral character is concerned, the standard required of one seeking reinstatement to the office of attorney cannot
be less exacting than that implied in paragraph 3 of the deed of donation as a requisite for the office which is disputed in this case. When the
defendant was restored to the roll of lawyers the restrictions and disabilities resulting from his previous disbarment were wiped out.

SC: This action must fail on one other ground: it is already barred by lapse of time amounting the prescription or laches. Under Section 16 of Rule 66 (formerly sec.
16, Rule 68, taken from section 216 of Act 190), this kind of action must be filed within one (1) year after the right of plaintiff to hold the office arose.

Plaintiff Jesus Ma. Cui believed himself entitled to the office in question as long ago as 1932. On January 26 of that year he filed a complaint in quo warranto against
Dr. Teodoro Cui, who assumed the administration of the Hospicio on 2 July 1931. Mariano Cui, the plaintiff's father and Antonio Ma. Cui came in as intervenors. The
case was dismissed by the Court of First Instance upon a demurrer by the defendant there to the complaint and complaint in intervention. Upon appeal to the
Supreme Court from the order of dismissal, the case was remanded for further proceedings (Cui v. Cui, 60 Phil. 37, 48). The plaintiff, however, did not prosecute
the case as indicated in the decision of this Court, but acceded to an arrangement whereby Teodoro Cui continued as administrator, Mariano Cui was named "legal
adviser" and plaintiff Jesus Ma. Cui accepted a position as assistant administrator.

Subsequently the plaintiff tried to get the position by a series of extra-judicial maneuvers. First he informed the Social Welfare Commissioner, by letter dated 1
February 1950, that as of the previous 1 January he had "made clear" his intention of occupying the office of administrator o f the Hospicio." He followed that up
with another letter dated 4 February, announcing that he had taken over the administration as of 1 January 1950. Actually, however, he took his oath of office
before a notary public only on 4 March 1950, after receiving a reply of acknowledgment, dated 2 March, from the Social Welfare Commissioner, who thought that
he had already assumed the position as stated in his communication of 4 February 1950. The rather muddled situation was referred by the Commissioner to the
Secretary of Justice, who, in an opinion dated 3 April 1950 (op. No. 45, S. 1950), correcting another opinion previously given, in effect ruled that the plaintiff, not
being a lawyer, was not entitled to the administration of the Hospicio.

Meanwhile, the question again became the subject of a court controversy. On 4 March 1950, the Hospicio commenced an action against the Philippine National Bank
in the Court of First Instance of Cebu because the Bank had frozen the Hospicio's deposits therein On 19 October 1950, having been deprived of recognition by the
opinion of the Secretary of Justice he moved to dismiss the third-party complaint on the ground that he was relinquishing "temporarily" his claim to the administration
of the Hospicio. At that time the incumbent administrator was Dr. Teodoro Cui, but no action in quo warranto was filed against him by plaintiff Jesus Ma. Cui as
indicated in the aforesaid motion for dismissal.

On 10 February 1960, defendant Antonio Ma. Cui was reinstated by this Court as member of the Bar, and on the following 27 February Dr. Teodoro Cui resigned as
administrator in his favor, pursuant to the "convenio" between them executed on the same date. The next day Antonio Ma. Cui took his oath of office.

QUO WARRANTO BARRED. The failure of the plaintiff to prosecute his claim judicially after this Court decided the first case of Cui v. Cui in 1934 (60 Phil. 3769),
remanding it to the trial court for further proceedings; his acceptance instead of the position of assistant administrator, allowing Dr. Teodoro Cui to continue as
administrator and his failure to file an action in quo warranto against said Dr. Cui after 31 July 1956, when the appeal in Civil Case No. R-1216 of the Cebu Court
was dismissed upon motion of the parties precisely so that the conflicting claims of the parties could be ventilated in such an action all these circumstances
militate against the plaintiff's present claim in view of the rule that an action in quo warranto must be filed within one year after the right of the plaintiff to hold the
office arose.
The excuse that the plaintiff did not file an action against Dr. Teodoro Cui after 31 July 1956 because of the latter's illness did not interrupt the running of the
statutory period. And the fact that this action was filed within one year of the defendant's assumption of office in September 1960 does not mak e the plaintiff's
position any better, for the basis of the action is his own right to the office and it is from the time such right arose that the one-year limitation must be counted, not
from the date the incumbent began to discharge the duties of said office.

Now for the claim of intervenor and appellant Romulo Cui. This party is also a lawyer, grandson of Vicente Cui, one of the nephews of the founders of the Hospicio
mentioned by them in the deed of donation. He is further, in the line of succession, than defendant Antonio Ma. Cui, who is a son of Mariano Cui, another one of
the said nephews. The deed of donation provides: "a la muerte o incapacidad de estos administradores (those appointed in the deed itself) pasara a una sola
persona que sera el varon, mayor de edad, que descienda legitimamente de cualquiera de nuestros sobrinos legitimos Mariano Cui, Mauricio Cui, Vicente Cui, Victor
Cui, y que posea titulo de abogado ... En igualdad de circumstancias, sera preferido el varon de mas edad descendiente de quien tenia ultimamente la administration."
Besides being a nearer descendant than Romulo Cui, Antonio Ma. Cui is older than he and therefore is preferred when the circumstances are otherwise equal. The
intervenor contends that the intention of the founders was to confer the administration by line and successively to the descendants of the nephews named in the
deed, in the order they are named. Thus, he argues, since the last administrator was Dr. Teodoro Cui, who belonged to the Mauricio Cui line, the next administrator
must come from the line of Vicente Cui, to whom the intervenor belongs. This interpretation, however, is not justified by the terms of the deed of donation.


MCLE Bar Matter 850

Arnado v. Adaza
A.C. No. 9834, August 26, 2015

Atty. Samuel Arnado called the attention of the Court to the practice of Atty. Homobono Adaza (respondent) of indicating MCLE application for exemption under
process in his pleadings filed in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 201, and MCLE Application for Exemption for Reconsideration in a pleading filed in 2012. When he inquired
from the MCLE office, he learned that respondent did not comply with the requirements of Bar Matter No. 850 for the First (2001-2004), Second (2004-2007), and
Third (2007-2010) Compliance Periods. When the case was referred to the MCLE Committee for evaluation, report and recommendation, the Committee came out
with its findings: respondent applied for exemption for the First and Second Compliance Periods, on the ground of expertise in law. The MCLE Governing Board
denied the request on January 14, 2009. He also did not apply for exemption nor complied with the Third Compliance Period. The Court then required the
respondent to file his comment. In his comment, he alleged that he did not receive a copy of the letter of the complainant, who belongs to the Romualdo and
Arnaldo Law Office, the law office of his political opponent, the Romualdo family. He then enumerated his achievements as a lawyer and claimed that he had been
practicing law for about 50 years. His achievements ranged from appearing as counsels to several poetical personalities, writing books, becoming a public servant,
and even refusing to be appointed a Supreme Court justice.

In its report and recommendation, the Office of the Bar Confidant found that respondent had been remiss in his responsibilities as a lawyer. The OBC stated that
respondents failure to comply with the MCLE requirements jeopardized the causes of his clients because the pleadings he filed could be stricken off from the records
and considered invalid.

The OBC recommended that respondent be declared a delinquent member of the Bar and guilty of non-compliance with the MCLE requirements. The OBC further
recommended respondents suspension from the practice of law for six months with a stern warning that a repetition of the same or similar act in the future will be
dealt with more severely. The OBC also recommended that respondent be directed to comply with the requirements set forth by the MCLE Governing Board.

Whether or not Atty. Adaza should be held administratively liable for failure to comply with MCLE requirements.



Bar Matter No. 850 requires members of the IBP to undergo continuing legal education to ensure that throughout their career, they keep abreast with the law and
jurisprudence, maintain the ethics of the profession and enhance the standards of the practice of law. Arnados letter covered Adazas pleadings filed in 2009-2012,
which means he failed to comply with the MCLE requirements for the Fourth Compliance Period (April 15, 2010 to April 14, 2013). According to the MCLE Governing
Board, Adazas application for exemption covered the First and Second Compliance Periods, but did not apply for exemption for the Third Compliance Period. The
application for exemption was denied on January 2009. However, the MCLE Office failed to convey the denial of the application for exemption of Adaza, and only
informed him in its letter dated October 1, 2012 when it received inquiring from complainants. Clearly, Adaza had been remised in his responsibilities for failing to
comply with Bar Matter No. 850. But the MCLE Office is not without fault in this case. While it acted on Adazas application for exemption on January 14, 2009, it
took the office 3 years to inform Adaza of the denial of his application. Hence, during the period when respondent indicated MCLE application for exemption under
process in his pleadings, he was not aware of the action of the MCLE Governing Board on his application. However, after he had been informed of the denial, it still
took Adaza one year to file a motion for reconsideration. After the denial of his MR, Adaza is still taking his time to satisfy the requirement of MCLE. In addition,
when Adaza indicated that MCLE Application for Exemption for Reconsideration in a pleading, he had not filed any MR before the MCLE Office. Adazas failure to
comply with the MCLE requirement and disregard of the direction of the MCLE Office warrant his declaration as delinquent member of the IBP.


The Court REMIND the Mandatory Continuing Legal Education Office to promptly act on matters that require its immediate attention, such as but not limited to
applications for exemptions, and to communicate its action to the interested parties within a reasonable period.

DECLARE Atty. Homobono A. Adaza as a delinquent member of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines and SUSPEND him from the practice of law for SIX MONTHS,
or until he has fully complied with the MCLE requirements for the First, Second, Third, and Fourth Compliance Periods, whichever is later, and he has fully paid the
required non-compliance and reinstatement fees


A.C. No. 10185 March 12, 2014


FACTS: Complainant Licerio Dizon (complainant) filed a petition against Atty. Marcelino Cabucana, Jr. (Atty. Cabucana), before the IBP praying for the disbarment
of the latter for falsification of public document.

Complainant Dizon alleged that he was one of the would-be-buyers of a parcel of land owned by the heirs of the late Florentino Callangan who were parties in
Civil Casefiled before the MTCC; that on November 6, 2003, a compromise agreement was executed by the parties in the said case and notarized before Atty.
Cabucana on the same date it was signed at the MTCC; that at the hearing conducted on December 11, 2003 regarding the due execution and the veracity of the
compromise agreement, the signatories therein testified that they signed the instrument in the court room of MTCC but not in the presence of
Atty. Cabucana as Notary Public; that because of the irregularity in the due execution of the Compromise Agreement, there was undue delay in the
resolution/decision of Civil Case No. 1-689 which caused damage and injury to complainant; that Atty. Cabucana violated the Notarial Law in notarizing the
document in the absence of most of the signatories/affiants; and that he should be sanctioned in accordance with Rule 138, Section 27 of the Rules of Code and
Code of Professional Responsibility. Complainant further alleged that Atty. Cabucana uttered grave threats against him on July 20, 2004 after the hearing of the
said case in MTCC.

In his Answer, Atty. Cabucana averred that the complaint was intended to harass him because he was the private prosecutor in a criminal case filed against
complainant before the MTCC; that complainant had no cause of action as his right was not violated because he was just a "would be" buyer and not a party to
the compromise agreement; and that complainant would not suffer any damage by the pendency of the case or by any defects obtaining in the notarization of the
compromise agreement.

Investigating Commissioner found that Atty. Cabucana violated Rule 1.01, Canon 1 of the Code of Professional Responsibility when he notarized the compromise
agreement without the presence of all the parties, and recommended that he be suspended as Notary Public for a period of two (2) years and from the practice of
law for six (6) months.

IBP Board of Governors adopted and approved the Report and Recommendation of the Investigating Commissioner with modification that Atty. Cabucana be
suspended for only six (6) months for violation of his obligation as Notary Public.

On the MR, the IBP Board of Governors, modified its earlier resolution and suspended Atty. Cabucana from the practice of law for one (1) month and disqualified
him from re-appointment as notary public for one (1) year.

ISSUE: Whether or not Atty Cabucana violated the Notarial law when he notarized the compromise agreemenr without the presence of all the parties.

HELD: YES. Section 1, Public Act No. 2103, otherwise known as the Notarial Law states:

The acknowledgment shall be before a notary public or an officer duly authorized by law of the country to take acknowledgments of instruments or documents in
the place where the act is done. The notary public or the officer taking the acknowledgment shall certify that the person acknowledging the instrument or
document is known to him and that he is the same person who executed it, acknowledged that the same is his free act and deed. The certificate shall be made
under the official seal, if he is required by law to keep a seal, and if not, his certificate shall so state.

The requirement of affiant's personal appearance was further emphasized in Section 2 (b) of Rule IV of the Rules on Notarial Practice of 2004 which provides that:

A person shall not perform a notarial act if the person involved as signatory to the instrument or document

(1) is not in the notary's presence personally at the time of the notarization; and

(2) is not personally known to the notary public or otherwise identified by the notary public through competent evidence of identity as defined by these
As a notary public, Atty. Cabucana should not notarize a document unless the person who signs it is the same person executing it and personally appearing before
him to attest to the truth of its contents. This is to enable him to verify the genuineness of the signature of the acknowledging party and to ascertain that the
document is the party's free and voluntary act and deed.

WHEREFORE, the Court finds respondent Atty. Marcelino Cabucana, Jr. GUILTY of violating Rule 1.01, Canon l of the Code of Professional
Responsibility.1wphi1 Accordingly, the Court SUSPENDS him from the practice of law for three (3) months, REVOKES his incumbent notarial commission, if any,
and PROHIBITS him from being commissioned as a notary public for two (2) years, effective immediately, with a stern WARNING that a repetition of the same or
similar offense shall be dealt with more severely.

A.C. No. 6470. July 8, 2014.*


Facts: Atty. Juvy Malit had drafted and notarized a Real Estate Mortgage of a public market stall that falsely named Mercedita de Jesus as its absolute and
registered owner, despite Malits knowledge as a consultant of the Bataan LGU. Because of this, the mortagee sued Mercedita for perjury and collection of sum of

Malit was also alleged to notarize a lease agreement without the signature of the lessees, and a Certificate of Land Ownership Award (CLOA) which was still
covered by the period within which it could not be alienated.

Malit filed her comment. After the rejoinder, Mercedita filed an urgent ex-parte motion for submission of additional evidence which contained 10 files which
showed more violations on Malits end.

The IBP Commissioner recommended the revocation of Malits notarial commission for two years. The IBP Board of Governors adopted and approved this, but
modified the suspension to one year. Malit filed two MRs and maintained that the additional documents were inadmissible for violating sec. 4, Rule VI of Adm. No.
02-08-13 (2004 Rules on Notarial Practice).

Issue: Whether or not Atty. Malit is guilty of violating the CPR

Held: Yes.

Notary Public; Where the notary public admittedly has personal knowledge of a false statement or information contained in the instrument to be notarized, yet
proceeds to affix the notarial seal on it, the Supreme Court (SC) must not hesitate to discipline the notary public accordingly as the circumstances of the case may
dictate.Where the notary public admittedly has personal knowledge of a false statement or information contained in the instrument to be notarized, yet
proceeds to affix the notarial seal on it, the Court must not hesitate to discipline the notary public accordingly as the circumstances of the case may dictate.
Otherwise, the integrity and sanctity of the notarization process may be undermined, and public confidence in notarial documents diminished. In this case,
respondent fully knew that complainant was not the owner of the mortgaged market stall. That complainant comprehended the provisions of the real estate
mortgage contract does not make respondent any less guilty. If at all, it only heightens the latters liability for tolerating a wrongful act. Clearly, respondents
conduct amounted to a breach of Canon 1 and Rules 1.01 and 1.02 of the Code of Professional Responsibility.
Same; A notary public should not notarize a document unless the persons who signed it are the very same ones who executed it and who personally appeared
before the said notary public to attest to the contents and truth of what are stated therein.A notary public should not notarize a document unless the persons
who signed it are the very same ones who executed it and who personally appeared before the said notary public to attest to the contents and truth of what are
stated therein.

Notarized Documents; Notarization converts a private document into a public document, making it admissible in evidence with The important role a notary public
performs cannot be overemphasized. The Court has repeatedly stressed that notarization is not an empty, meaningless routinary act, but one invested with
substantive public interest. Notarization converts a private document into a public document, making it admissible in evidence without further proof of its
authenticity. Thus, a notarized document is, by law, entitled to full faith and credit upon its face. It is for this reason that a notary public must observe with
utmost care the basic requirements in the performance of his notarial duties; otherwise, the publics confidence in the integrity of a notarized document would be

Respondent Atty. Juvy Mell Sanchez-Malit suspended from practice of law for one (1) year for violating Canon 1 and Rules 1.01, 1.02, and 10.01 of Code of
Professional Responsibility as well as her oath as notary public. Her notarial commission, if still existing, is immediately revoked and is perpetually disqualified from
being commissioned as a notary public.

A.C. No. 7184; September 17, 2014
Complainant Felipe B. Almazan, Sr. (also a lawyer) charged respondent, previously of the Public Attorney's Office, for malpractice and gross negligence in the
performance of his duty as a notary public and/or lawyer, alleging that the latter, despite not having been registered as a notary public for the City of Marikina,
notarized the acknowledgment of the document entitled "Extra judicial Settlement of the Estate of the Deceased Juliana P. Vda. De Nieva" dated "25th day of 1999",
stating that he is a "notary public for and in the City of Marikina."

To prove his claim, complainant attached a Certification issued by the Office of the Clerk of Court of the RTC of Marikina City, certifying that per the courts record,
respondent is not a commissioned notary public for the City of Marikina from March 30, 1994 to the date of issuance.

DEFENSE: Respondent admitted that he indeed notarized the acknowledgment of the subject document but denied that he was not commissioned as a notary
public at that time. To prove his defense, he attached a Certification issued by the Office of the Clerk of Court of the RTC of Pasig City, certifying the fact of his
appointment as notary public for the City of Pasig and in the Municipalities of Taguig, Pateros, San Juan, and Mandaluyong for the years 1998-1999
under Appointment No. 98. Further, respondent, thru the comment, incorporated his own administrative complaint against complainant for malpractice and
harassment of a fellow lawyer in view of the filing of the instant administrative case against him.

In response, complainant filed a Reply dated asserting that he has the legitimate right to file the administrative complaint against respondent for his unlawful act of
notarization, which is not an act of harassment as respondent claims. He also draws attention to the fact that the subject document was incompletely dated and yet
notarized by respondent. In a Resolution, the Court,inter alia, referred the case to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) for investigation, report, and

IBP-CBD: Found respondent guilty for violating the Notarial Law and the lawyers oath, reasoning that he could not notarize the acknowledgment of the subject
document in Marikina City as it was outside the territorial limits of his jurisdiction. Suspension from the practice of law for 2 years.
IBP-BOG: Adopted and approved the Report and Recommendation of the Investigating Commissioner with modification, decreasing the penalty of suspension to
one (1) year, with immediate revocation of notarial commission if presently commissioned, and disqualification from being commissioned as a notary public for two
(2) years.

MR to IBP: Penalty of reprimand with warning, and disqualification from being commissioned as a notary public for the decreased period of one (1) year.

ISSUE: Whether the respondent should be held administratively liable.

YES. Court concurs with the findings of the IBP except as to the penalty.

As the Investigating Commissioner correctly observed, respondent, who himself admitted that he was commissioned as notary public only in the City of Pasig and
the Municipalities of Taguig, Pateros, San Juan, and Mandaluyong for the years 1998-1999, could not notarize the subject documents acknowledgment in the City
of Marikina, as said notarial act is beyond the jurisdiction of the commissioning court, i.e.,the RTC of Pasig. The territorial limitation of a notary publics jurisdiction
is crystal clear from Section 11, Rule III of the 2004 Rules on Notarial Practice:
Sec. 11. Jurisdiction and Term A person commissioned as notary public may perform notarial acts in any place within the territorial jurisdiction of the commissioning
courtfor a period of two (2) years commencing the first day of January of the year in which the commissioning court is made, unless either revoked or the notary
public has resigned under these Rules and the Rules of Court.

Said principle is equally echoed in the Notarial Law found in Chapter 12, Book V, Volume I of the Revised Administrative Code of 1917, as amended, of which Section
240, Article II states:

Sec. 240. Territorial jurisdiction. The jurisdiction of a notary public in a province shall be co-extensive with the province. The jurisdiction of a notary public in the
City of Manila shall be co-extensive with said city. No notary shall possess authority to doany notarial act beyond the limits of his jurisdiction.

For misrepresenting in the said acknowledgment that he was a notary public for and in the City of Marikina, when it is apparent and, in fact, uncontroverted that he
was not, respondent further committed a form of falsehood which is undoubtedly anathemato the lawyers oath. Perceptibly, said transgression also runs afoul of
Rule 1.01, Canon 1 of the Code of Professional Responsibility which provides that "[a] lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct."

While seemingly appearing to be a harmless incident, respondents act of notarizing documents in a place outside of or beyond the authority granted by his notarial
commission, partakes of malpractice of law and falsification.

It cannot be over-emphasized that notarization is not an empty, meaningless, routinary act. Notarization is invested with substantive public interest, such that only
those who are qualified or authorized may act as notaries public. Hence, the requirements for the issuance of a commission as notary public are treated with a
formality definitely more than casual.

With respondents liability herein established, and considering further the attendant circumstances of this case, take for instance, that he is a first time offender and
that he had already acknowledged his wrongdoings, the Court finds that suspension for a period of six (6) months from the practice of law would suffice as a
penalty. In addition, he is disqualified from being commissioned as a notary public for a period of one (1) year and, his notarial commission, if currently existing, is
hereby revoked.

WHEREFORE, respondent Atty. Marcelo B. Suerte-Felipe is found GUILTY of malpractice as a notary public, and violating the lawyers oath as well as Rule 1.01,
Canon 1 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. Accordingly, he is SUSPENDED from the practice of law for a period of six (6) months, effective upon his receipt
of this Resolution, with a STERN WARNING that a repetition of the same orsimilar acts will be dealt with more severely. He is likewise DISQUALIFIED from being
commissioned as a notary public for a period of one (1) year and his notarial commission, if currently existing, is hereby REVOKED.