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G.R. No. 100643 October 30, 1992 4. . . .

in the preparation of the petition, he told me, as he is wont to do


whenever he prepares a petition, to copy the particular pages in the
ADEZ REALTY, INCORPORATED, petitioner, decision of the Court of Appeals, in CA-G.R. SP No. 23773 entitled "Adez
vs. Realty, Inc., petitioner versus The Hon. Judge of the Regional Trial Court
HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS, PRESIDING JUDGE, RTC, BR. 79, Morong, Rizal, of Morong, Rizal, Branch 79 (not 89 as stated is the Affidavit), et al.,
PROVINCIAL SHERIFF OF RIZAL, Morong, Rizal, REGISTER OF DEEDS, Quezon City, and respondents";
AGUENDO EUGENIO, respondents.
5. . . . when I copied the particular pages of the decision of the Court of
RESOLUTION Appeals as instructed by Atty. Benjamin M. Dacanay, I did as instructed,
but it was only after our office received the copy of the decision of the
Supreme Court in G.R. No. 100643 . . . that Atty. Dacanay confronted me
PER CURIAM :
and asked me where I got that portion which was added to the particular
paragraph noted by the Supreme Court; that it was only then that I
In Our Resolution of 14 August 1992, We directed ATTY. BENJAMIN M. DACANAY, counsel realized the mistake I committed;
for petitioner Adez Realty, Inc., to "SHOW CAUSE within five (5) days from notice why he
should not be disciplinary dealt with for intercalating a material fact in the judgment of the
xxx xxx xxx
court a quo 1 thereby altering and modifying its factual findings with the apparent purpose
of misleading this Court in order to obtain a favorable judgment, and thus failing to live up
to the standards expected of a member of the Bar. 7. . . . I surmise that the error could have been due to the fact that ADEZ
REALTY, Inc. has so many cases being handled by the law office that I
presume I could have copied or my intention was distracted by other
In his EXPLANATION of 1 September 1992, Atty. Benjamin M. Dacanay "humbly prostrates
pleadings atop my table at the time.
himself before the Honorable Court and throws himself at its mercy," and explains that —

Upon receipt of the EXPLANATION of counsel, the First Division referred his case en
. . . whenever he prepares petitioners either for the Court of Appeals or
consulta to the Court En Banc which accepted and took cognizance of it in view of the
the Supreme Court, he dictates to his secretary and if portions of the
possible sanction that may be imposed on a member of the Bar.
decision or order to be appealed from have to be quoted, he simply
instructs his said secretary to copy the particular pages of the said
decision or order. After due deliberation, the Court En Banc brushed off as simply unsatisfactory and incredible
counsel's explanation that it was his secretary who committed the mistake. This "passing-
the-buck" stance of counsel was already aptly treated in Adaza v. Barinaga, 4 where the
In the case at bar, he did instruct his secretary to copy the corresponding
Court observed thus —
pages in the decision of the Court of Appeals. Somehow, however, some
words were intercalated on a particular paragraph noted by the
Honorable Court he regrettably is at a loss to explain. He remembers, Making the law office secretary, clerk or messenger the scapegoat or
however, that at the time he was preparing the petition at bar there patsy for the delay in filing of pleading, motion and other paper and for
were other pleadings necessitating equal if not preferential attention the lawyer's dereliction of duty is a common alibi of practicing lawyer.
from him which could perhaps be the reason why his secretary Like the alibi of the accused in criminal cases, counsel's shifting of the
committed a very grievous mistake, Such mistake though he does not blame to his office employee is usually a concoction utilized to cover up
condone and he feel upset at the turn of events. 2 his own negligence, incompetence, indolence and ineptitude.

Attached to his EXPLANATION as Annex "A" is an Affidavit 3 of Alicia A. Castro, purportedly The case of petitioner is no better; it can be worse. For, how could the secretary have
his Secretary, stating among others that — divined the phrase "without notice to the actual occupants of the property, Adez Realty,"
without counsel dictating it word for word? Could it have been a providential mistake of the
secretary as it was very material, and on which could have hinged the fate of a litigant's
3. . . . in the preparation of the petition for review on certiorari filed with
cause? Whatever be the truth in this regard, counsel cannot elude administrative
the Supreme Court, it was Atty. Benjamin M. Dacanay who dictated to
responsibility which borders on falsification of a judicial record to which, by his inveigling, he
me the contents of said petition;
unfortunately drags his secretary. Indeed, by no means can he evade responsibility for the
vicious intercalation as he admittedly dictated and signed the petition.
It is the bounden duty of lawyers to check, review and recheck the allegation in their unprofessional mischief by laying the blame on his hapless secretary whose duty is was
pleadings, more particularly the quoted portions, and ensure that the statements therein simply to obey him.
are accurate and the reproductions faithful, down to the last word and even punctuation
mark. The legal profession demands that lawyers thoroughly go over pleadings, motions It is well to repeat, perhaps to the point of satiety, what We have already said —
and other documents dictated or prepared by them, type or transcribed by their secretaries
or clerks, before filing them with the court. If a client is bound by the acts of his counsel,
. . . that the practice of law is not a right but a privilege bestowed by the
with more reason should counsel be bound the acts of his secretary who merely follow his
State on those who show that they possess, and continue to possess, the
orders. 5
qualifications required by law for the conferment of such privilege. On of
those requirement is the observance of honesty and candor. It cannot be
The instant case originate from a petition for reconstitution of title over a parcel of land. gainsaid that candidness, especially towards the courts, is essential for
Section 13 of R.A. 26, in relation to Sec. 12 of the same statute, on which petitioner bases the expeditious administration of justice . . . A lawyer, on the other hand,
one of his causes of action, provides among others that notice should be given to the has the fundamental duty to satisfy that expectation. Otherwise, the
occupants or persons in possession of the property. Compliance therewith is a material administration of justice would gravely suffer . . . It is essential that
requirement for granting a petition for reconstitution of title. The inserted phase "without lawyers bear in mind at all times that their duty is not to their clients but
notice to the actual occupants of the property, Adez Realty," was just the right phrase rather to the courts, that they are above all . . . sworn to assist the courts
intercalated at the right place, making it highly improbable to be unintentionally, much less in rendering justice to all and sundry, and only secondarily are they
innocently, committed; and by the secretary a that. All circumstances herein simply but advocates of the exclusive interest of their clients. For this reason, he is
strongly sustain Our belief. Certainly, making it appear that respondent Court of Appeals required to swear to do no falsehood, nor consent to the doing of any in
found that no notice was given to the occupants of subject property –– when in fact it did court. 9
not make such a finding –– is a clear indication not merely of carelessness in lifting a portion
of the assailed decision but a malicious attempt to gain undue advantage in the sporting
WHEREFORE, We find ATTY. BENJAMIN M. DACANAY, counsel for petitioner, guilty of
arena of fairplay and, more importantly, to deceive and misguide this Court, which is the
intercalating a material fact in a judicial Decision elevated to Us on certiorari, thereby
final arbiter of litigations.
altering its factual findings with the apparent purpose, and no other, of misleading the
Court in order to obtain a favorable judgment, and thus miserably failing to live up to the
Well-entrenched in our jurisprudence is the rule that, save in certain instances, factual standards expected of him as a members of the Philippines Bar.
findings of the Court of Appeals are binding upon this Court. 6 The distortion of facts Consequently, ATTY. BENJAMIN M. DACANAY is hereby DISBARRED effective immediately
committed by counsel, with the willing assistance of his secretary, is a grave offense and from the practice of law.
should not be treated lightly, not only because it may set a dangerous precedent by, rather,
because it is a clear and serious violation of one's oath as member of the Bar. Rule 10.02,
Let copies of this Resolution be served personally on Atty. Benjamin M. Dacanay at his given
Canon 10, Chapter III, of the Code of Professional Responsibility directs that "[a] lawyer shall
address at Mezzanine Floor, WIL-VIC Building, 125 Kamias Road, Quezon City, entered upon
not knowingly misquote or misrepresent the contents of a paper, the language or the
his personal records, and furnished the Integrated Bar of the Philippines and all the courts
argument of opposing counsel, or the text of a decision or authority, or knowingly cite as a
throughout the country.
law a provision already rendered inoperative by repeal or amendment, or assert as a fact
that which has not been proved" (Emphasis supplied).
SO ORDERED.
Misquoting or intercalating phrases in the text of a court decision constitutes willful
disregard of the lawyer's solemn duty to act at all times in manner consistent with the truth.
A lawyer should never venture to mislead the court by false statements or quotations of
facts or laws. Thus, in Bautista v. Gonzales, 7 We suspended respondent for six (6) months
for, among other submitting to the lower court falsified documents, representing them to
the true copies. In Chavez v. Viola, 8 We suspend respondent counsel for five (5) months
after he filed an Amended Application for Original Registration of Title which contained false
statements.

The case at bar, although akin to the aforementioned cases, has more serious and far-
reaching repercussions. Those who attempt to misguide this Court, the last forum for
appeal, should be dealt with more severely lest We be made unwilling instruments of
inequity and injustice. Indeed, counsel has demonstrated his wanton disregard for truth and
fairplay even before the Highest Court of the land. Worse, he compounded his