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(Case Digest #7)

MACARRUBO as represented by their Mother/Guardian, FLORENCE TEVES MACARRUBO, complainant
A.C. No. 6148
February 27, 2004


In 1982, Edmundo Macarrubo married Helen Esparza. In 1986, he began his career as a lawyer. However in 1991,
Macarrubo married Florence Teves while his marriage with Esparza was subsisting. In June 2000, Teves filed a
complaint for disbarment against Macarrubo. Teves alleged that Macarrubo made her believe that his marriage with
Esparza was void; that Macarubbo lived with her as her husband but later on left her and then Macarrubo
subsequently married another woman named Josephine Constantino whom he subsequently abandoned. Teves
presented as evidence documents proving Macarubbo’s marriages as well as photos of him and his wife as a family.
Macarrubo was initially declared in default for failing to appear multiple times but was subsequently given the
opportunity to defend himself. In his defense, Macarrubo avers that he was only coerced to marry Teves in order to save
her face because at that time she was already pregnant; that Teves sent some strangers to pick Macarrubo up wherever
he goes. He presented a judicial declaration of the nullity of his marriage with Teves; that the marriage was void for
being a sham. He also averred that the ruling in the said case serves as res judicata on the disbarment case because
Teves failed to appear in the annulment case. He also avers that his third marriage, with Constantino, is currently being
annulled due to similar circumstances.

The Investigating Commissioner, perhaps finding that Macarrubo was never remiss in supporting Teves and the two
kids he fathered with her and that his marriage with her is void, recommended a penalty of three months suspension
from the practice of law for grave misconduct.


Whether or not a second marriage entered into by a lawyer while his first one is subsisting shall be a ground for
disciplinary action if such second marriage is subsequently declared void.

Yes. Macarubbo is disbarred. Even though his second marriage is declared void, it is still undeniable that he contracted
it while his first one is subsisting. Further, since the second marriage is void, he is then liable for concubinage for living
with another woman while his first marriage is subsisting. The Supreme Court cannot give credit to his defense that
both second and third marriages are shot gun marriages. He is a lawyer and is unlikely to be coerced. One incident of a
“shotgun marriage” is believable, but two such in succession would tax one’s credulity. Macarrubo’s actions show a
blatant disregard to the institution of marriage and family. His acts, import moral turpitude and is a public assault
upon the basic social institution of marriage.

As officers of the court, lawyers must not only in fact be of good moral character but must also be perceived to be of
good moral character and must lead a life in accordance with the highest moral standards of the community. The moral
delinquency that affects the fitness of a member of the bar to continue as such, including that which makes a mockery
of the inviolable social institution of marriage, outrages the generally accepted moral standards of the community.
Macarrubo violated the following provisions of the Code of Professional Responsibility:

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.

Anent the issue of res judicata, it has been long ruled that disbarment cases are sui generis cases. A disbarment case is
neither purely civil nor purely criminal but is rather an investigation by the Court into the conduct of its officers. Thus,
if the acquittal of a lawyer in a criminal action is not determinative of an administrative case against him, or if an
affidavit of withdrawal of a disbarment case does not affect its course. In this case, the annulment of Macarrubo’s
second marriage will not work to remove such second marriage as a ground for disbarment.