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PALE (PART 4) it, then everything may be expedited.

” In any case,
respondent continues, the drafted release order was not
JIMENEZ AND VIZCONDE VS ATTY VERANO signed by the Secretary and therefore remained “a mere
FACTS: The complainants in Administrative Case (A.C.) scrap of paper with no effect at all.”
No. 8108 are Dante La Jimenez and Lauro G. Vizconde,
while complainant in Adm. Case No. 10299 is Atty. The Investigating Commissioner noted that both
Oliver O. Lozano. At the time of the filing of the complaints remained unsubstantiated, while the letter-
complaints, respondent Atty. Verano was representing his complaint of Jimenez and Vizconde had not been verified.
clients Richard S. Brodett and Joseph R. Tecson. Therefore, no evidence was adduced to prove the charges.
However, by his own admissions in paragraphs 11 and 12
Brodett and Tecson (identified in media reports of his Comment, respondent drafted the release order
attached to the Complaint as the “Alabang Boys”) were specifically for the signature of the DOJ Secretary. This
the accused in cases filed by PDEA for the illegal sale and act of “feeding” the draft order to the latter was found
use of dangerous drugs. In a Joint Inquest Resolution, the to be highly irregular, as it tended to influence a public
charges were dropped for lack of probable cause. official. Hence, Commissioner Abelita found respondent
guilty of violating Canon 13 of the Code of Professional
Because of the failure of Prosecutor John R. Responsibility and recommended that he be issued a
Resado to ask clarificatory questions during the warning not to repeat the same or any similar action.
evaluation of the case, several media outlets reported
on incidents of bribery and “cover-up” allegedly ISSUE:
prevalent in investigations of the drug trade. This
prompted the House Committee on Illegal Drugs to HELD: Atty. Felisberto L. Verano, Jr. is
conduct its own congressional hearings. It was revealed found guilty of violating Rules 1.02 and 15.07, in relation
during one such hearing that respondent had to Canon 13 of the Code of Professional Responsibility,
prepared the release order for his three clients using for which he is SUSPENDED FROM THE
the letterhead of the Department of Justice (DOJ) and PRACTICE OF LAW FOR SIX (6) MONTHS.
the stationery of then Secretary Raul Gonzales.
Jimenez and Vizconde, in their capacity as founders The Court may conduct its own investigation into
of Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC), charges against members of the bar, irrespective of the
sent a letter of complaint to Chief Justice Reynato S. form of initiatory complaints brought before it. Thus,
Puno. They stated that respondent had admitted to a complainant in a disbarment case is not a direct
drafting the release order, and had thereby committed a party to the case, but a witness who brought the matter
highly irregular and unethical act. He had no authority to to the attention of the Court. By now, it is basic that
use the DOJ letterhead and should be penalized for acts there is neither a plaintiff nor a prosecutor in
unbecoming a member of the bar. disciplinary proceedings against lawyers. The real
question for determination in these proceedings is
For his part, Atty. Lozano anchored his Complaint on whether or not the attorney is still a fit person to be
respondent’s alleged violation of Canon 1 of the Code of allowed the privileges of a member of the bar.
Professional Responsibility, which states that a lawyer
shall uphold the Constitution, obey the laws of the land, The affidavit of withdrawal of the disbarment case
and promote respect for legal processes. Atty. Lozano allegedly executed by complainant does not, in any way,
contended that respondent showed disrespect for the law exonerate the respondent. A case of suspension or
and legal processes in drafting the said order and sending disbarment may proceed regardless of interest or lack of
it to a high-ranking public official, even though the latter interest of the complainant. What matters is whether, on
was not a government prosecutor. the basis of the facts borne out by the record, the charge
of deceit and grossly immoral conduct has been duly
Atty. Lozano withdrew his Complaint on the proven x x x. The complainant or the person who called
ground that a similar action had been filed by Dante the attention of the court to the attorney’s alleged
Jimenez. misconduct is in no sense a party, and has generally no
interest in the outcome except as all good citizens may
DEFENSE: Sheer faith in the innocence of his clients have in the proper administration of justice. Hence, if the
and fidelity to their cause prompted him to prepare and evidence on record warrants, the respondent may be
draft the release order. Respondent admits that perhaps he suspended or disbarred despite the desistance of
was overzealous; yet, “if the Secretary of Justice approves complainant or his withdrawal of the charges.

1
Canon 13 states that “a lawyer shall rely upon the earlier judgments rendered in favor of Veneracion.
merits of his cause and refrain from any impropriety Veneracion’s counsel filed a Motion for Reconsideration
which tends to influence, or gives the appearance of that uses sardonic, strident and hard-striking adjectives.
influencing the court.” We believe that other
provisions in the Code of Professional Responsibility
likewise prohibit acts of influence-peddling not limited Issue: Whether the respondents use of sardonic, strident
to the regular courts, but even in all other venues in and hard-striking adjectives is in violation of the Code of
the justice sector, where respect for the rule of law is Professional Responsibility?
at all times demanded from a member of the bar.
Held: Yes, Well-recognized is the right of a lawyer, both
During the mandatory hearing, the following as an officer of the court and as a citizen, to criticize in
statements were established as respondent’s admission properly respectful terms and through legitimate channels
that 1) he personally approached the DOJ Secretary the acts of courts and judges. However, even the most
despite the fact that the case was still pending before the hardened judge would be scarred by the scurrilous attack
latter; and 2) respondent caused the preparation of the made by the 30 July 2001 motion on Judge Lacurom’s
draft release order on official DOJ stationery despite Resolution. On its face, the Resolution presented the facts
being unauthorized to do so, with the end in view of correctly and decided the case according to supporting
“expediting the case.” The way respondent conducted law and jurisprudence. Though a lawyer’s language may
himself manifested a clear intent to gain special treatment be forceful and emphatic, it should always be dignified
and consideration from a government agency. This is and respectful, befitting the dignity of the
precisely the type of improper behavior sought to be legal profession.46 The use of unnecessary language is
regulated by the codified norms for the bar. proscribed if we are to promote high esteem in the courts
and trust in judicial administration. In maintaining the
The primary duty of lawyers is not to their clients respect due to the courts, a lawyer is not merely enjoined
but to the administration of justice. To that end, their to use dignified language but also to pursue the client’s
clients’ success is wholly subordinate. The conduct of a cause through fair and honest means
member of the bar ought to and must always be
scrupulously observant of the law and ethics. Any means,
not honorable, fair and honest which is resorted to by the
lawyer, even in the pursuit of his devotion to his client’s
cause, is condemnable and unethical. Zeal and
persistence in advancing a client’s cause must always be HON MANAHAN VS ATTY FLORES
within the bounds of the law. FACTS
1) Respondent Atty. Rodolto Flores (Atty. Flores)
Rule 1.02 states: “A lawyer shall not counsel or abet was counsel for the defendant in Civil Case No.
activities aimed at defiance of the law or at lessening 1863 captioned as Marsha Aranas plaintiff versus
confidence in the legal system.” Further, according to Arnold Balmores defendant a suit for damages
Rule 15.06, “a lawyer shall not state or imply that he is filed before the Municipal Trial Court of San
able to influence any public official, tribunal or legislative Mateo, Rizal and presided by herein complainant
body.” The succeeding rule, Rule 15.07, mandates a Judge Maribeth Rodriguez-Manahan (Judge
lawyer “to impress upon his client compliance with the Manahan). During the proceedings in Civil Case
laws and the principles of fairness.” No. 1863, Judge Manahan issued an Order1 dated
January 12, 2011, whereby she voluntarily
inhibited from hearing Civil Case No. 1863. The
said Order reads in part, viz:
JUDGE LACUROM VS ATTY JACOBA
More than mere contempt do his (Atty. Flores)
Fact: The Jacoba-Velasco-Jacoba Law Firm is counsel unethical actuations, his traits of dishonesty and
for plaintiff Alejandro R. Veneracion in a civil case for discourtesy not only to his own brethren in the
unlawful detainer against defendant Federico Barrientos. legal profession, but also to the bench and judges,
The MTC of Cabanatuan City rendered judgment in favor would amount to grave misconduct, if not a
of Veneracion but Barrientos appealed to the RTC. The malpractice of law, a serious ground for
case was raffled where Judge Lacurom was sitting as disciplinary action of a member of the bar
pairing judge who issued a Resolution reversing the pursuant to Rules 139 a & b.
2
IN VIEW WHEREOF, furnish a copy of this are being truthful, just and fair by serving
Order to the Bar Discipline Committee, a cheater?
Integrated Bar of the Philippines, to the Supreme 5. Ignorance of the law excuses no one
Court en banc, for appropriate investigation and for which reason even Erap was
sanction.2 convicted by the
Sandiganbayan.1âwphi1 But even worse
• Upon receipt of the copy of the above Order, the is a lawyer who violates the law.
Office of the Bar Confidant (OBC) deemed the 6. Last but not the least, God said Thou
pronouncements of Judge Manahan as a formal shall not lie. Again the Philippine
administrative Complaint against Atty. Flores. Constitution commands: Give every
Docketed as A.C. No. 8954, the case was referred Filipino his due. The act of refusal by the
to the Executive Judge of the Regional Trial plaintiff is violative of the foregoing
Court of Rizal for investigation, report and divine and human laws.
recommendation.3 xxxx
• In her Investigation, Report and • Respondent Atty. Flores later filed his Pre-Trial
Recommendation,4 Investigating Judge Brief bearing an MCLE number which was
Josephine Zarate Fernandez (Investigating Judge) merely superimposed without indicating the date
narrated the antecedents of the case as follows: and place of compliance. During the preliminary
conference on November 24, 2010, respondent
A complaint for Damages was filed before the Atty. Flores manifested that he will submit proof
Municipal Trial Court (MTC) of San Mateo, of compliance of his MCLE on the following day.
Rizal docketed as Civil Case No. 1863, entitled On December 1, 2010, respondent Atty. Flores
Marsha Aranas vs. Arnold Balmores. The Public again failed to appear and to submit the said
Attorney’s Office (PAO) thru Atty. Ferdinand P. promised proof of MCLE compliance. In its
Censon represented the complainant while Atty. stead, respondent Atty. Flores filed a Letter of
Rodolfo Flores appeared as counsel for the even date stating as follows:
defendant.
x x x During the Preliminary Conference x x x, If only to give your Honor another chance to
respondent Atty. Flores entered his appearance prove your pro plaintiff sentiment, I am hereby
and was given time to file a Pre-Trial Brief. x x x filing the attached Motion which you may once
On May 24, 2010, respondent Atty. Flores filed more assign to the waste basket of nonchalance.
his Pre-Trial Brief but without proof of MCLE
compliance hence it was expunged from the With the small respect that still remains, I have
records without prejudice to the filing of another asked the defendant to look for another lawyer to
Pre-Trial Brief containing the required MCLE represent him for I am no longer interested in this
compliance. x x x Atty. Flores asked for ten (10) case because I feel I cannot do anything right in
days to submit proof. your sala.5
The preliminary conference was reset several • The Investigating Judge found Atty. Flores to
times (August 11, September 8) for failure of have failed to give due respect to the court by
respondent Atty. Flores to appear and submit his failing to obey court orders, by failing to submit
Pre-Trial Brief indicating thereon his MCLE proof of his compliance with the Mandatory
compliance. The court a quo likewise issued Continuing Legal Education (MCLE)
Orders dated September 15 and October 20, 2010 requirement, and for using intemperate language
giving respondent Atty. Flores a last chance to in his pleadings. The Investigating Judge
submit his Pre-Trial Brief with stern warning that recommended that Atty. Flores be suspended
failure to do so shall be considered a waiver on from the practice of law for one year.6
his part. • The OBC adopted the findings and
• Meanwhile, respondent Atty. Flores filed a recommendation of the Investigating Judge.
Manifestation in Court dated September 14, 2010
stating among others, the following allegations: ISSUE:
xxxx
4. When you took your oath as member
of the Bar, you promised to serve truth,
justice and fair play. Do you think you
3
DECISION of law for half a century.10 Thus, he is already in
YES his twilight years. Considering the foregoing, we
• There is no doubt that Atty. Flores failed to obey deem it proper to fine respondent in the amount
the trial court’s order to submit proof of his of P5,000.00 and to remind him to be more
MCLE compliance notwithstanding the several circumspect in his acts and to obey and respect
opportunities given him. "Court orders are to be court processes.
respected not because the judges who issue them
should be respected, but because of the respect
and consideration that should be extended to the IN RE SC RESOLUTION DATED APRIL 28 2003
judicial branch of the Government. This is
absolutely essential if our Government is to be a See full
government of laws and not of men. Respect must
be had not because of the incumbents to the
positions, but because of the authority that vests
BANSIG VS CELERA
in them. Disrespect to judicial incumbents is
disrespect to that branc the Government to which
they belong, as well as to the State which has Facts:
instituted the judicial system."8
• Atty. Flores also employed intemperate language Bansig, sister of bunagan narrated that, respondent and
in his pleadings. As an officer of the court, Atty. Gracemarie R. Bunagan, entered into a contract of
Flores is expected to be circumspect in his marriage. However, notwithstanding respondent’s
language. Rule 11.03, Canon 11 of the Code of marriage with Bunagan, respondent contracted another
Professional Responsibility enjoins all attorneys marriage with a certain Ma. Cielo Paz Torres Alba, as
to abstain from scandalous, offensive or evidenced by a certified xerox copy of the certificate of
menacing language or behavior before the marriage Bansig stressed that the marriage between
Courts. Atty. Flores failed in this respect. respondent and Bunagan was still valid and in full legal
• At this juncture, it is well to remind respondent existence when he contracted his second marriage with
that: Alba, and that the first marriage had never been annulled
or rendered void by any lawful authority.
While a lawyer owes absolute fidelity to the cause
of his client full devotion to his client's genuine Bansig alleged that respondent’s act of contracting
interest and warm zeal in the maintenance and
marriage with Alba, while his marriage is still subsisting,
defense of his client's rights, as well as the constitutes grossly immoral and conduct unbecoming of a
exertion of his utmost learning and ability, he member of the Bar, which renders him unfit to continue
must do so only within the bounds of law. A
his membership in the Bar.
lawyer is entitled to voice his c1iticism within the
context of the constitutional guarantee of freedom
of speech which must be exercised responsibly. Issue:
After all, every right carries with it the
corresponding obligation. Freedom is not W/N respondent is still fit to continue to be an officer of
freedom from responsibility, but freedom with the court in the dispensation of justice
responsibility. The lawyer's fidelity to his client
must not be pursued at the expense of truth and
orderly administration of justice. It must be done Ruling: For purposes of this disbarment proceeding, these
within the confines of reason and common sense.9 Marriage Certificates bearing the name of respondent are
competent and convincing evidence to prove that he
• However, we find the recommended penalty too committed bigamy, which renders him unfit to continue
harsh and not commensurate with the infractions as a member of the Bar
committed by the respondent. It appears that this
is the first infraction committed by respondent. The Code of Professional Responsibility provides:
Also, we are not prepared to impose on the
respondent the penalty of one-year suspension for
Rule 1.01- A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful,
humanitarian reasons. Respondent manifested
dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct.
before this Court that he has been in the practice
4
Canon 7- A lawyer shall at all times uphold the integrity ISSUE: W/N respondent committed misconduct and
and dignity of the legal profession, and support the violated provisions of the CPR?
activities of the Integrated Bar.
HELD:
Rule 7.03- A lawyer shall not engage in conduct that Yes. The Court finds respondent’s conduct unbecoming
adversely reflects on his fitness to practice law, nor should of a member of the legal profession. Under Canon 22 of
he, whether in public or private life, behave in a the Code of Professional Responsibility, a lawyer shall
scandalous manner to the discredit of the legal profession. withdraw his services only for good cause and upon notice
appropriate in the circumstances. Although he may
Respondent exhibited a deplorable lack of that degree of withdraw his services when the client deliberately fails to
morality required of him as a member of the Bar. He made pay the fees for the services, under the circumstances of
a mockery of marriage, a sacred institution demanding the present case, Atty. Dealca’s withdrawal was
respect and dignity. His act of contracting a second unjustified as complainant did not deliberately fail to pay
marriage while his first marriage is subsisting constituted him the attorney’s fees. In fact, complainant exerted
grossly immoral conduct and are grounds for disbarment
honest efforts to fulfill his obligation. Respondent’s
under Section 27, Rule 138 of the Revised Rules of Court.
contemptuous conduct does not speak well of a member
of the bar considering that the amount owing to him was
only P3,500.00. rule 20.4 of Canon 20, mandates that a
PRESIDING JUDGE VS DAELCA lawyer shall avoid controversies with clients concerning
his compensation and shall resort to judicial action only
FACTS: to prevent imposition, injustice or fraud. Sadly, for not so
large a sum owed to him by complainant, respondent
The complainant hired the services of Atty. Juan S.
lawyer failed to act in accordance with the demands of the
Dealca as his counsel in collaboration with Atty. Ronando
Code.
L. Gerona in a case pending before the Court of Appeals
docketed wherein the complainant was the plaintiff- The Court, however, does not agree with complainant’s
appellant. contention that the maximum penalty of disbarment
should be imposed on respondent lawyer. In the present
The parties agreed upon attorney’s fees in the amount of
case, reprimand is deemed sufficient.
P15,000.00 fifty percent (50%) of which was payable
upon acceptance of the case and the remaining balance Respondent was REPRIMANDED.
upon the termination of the case. Accordingly,
complainant paid respondent the amount of P7,500.00
representing 50% of the attorney’s fee. CAMPOS VS ATTY CAMPOS
Thereafter, even before respondent counsel had prepared Before this Court is a complaint for disbarment[1] on
the appellant’s brief and contrary to their agreement that grounds of serious misconduct, immorality and
the remaining balance be payable after the termination of dishonesty filed against Atty. Eliseo M. Campos (Eliseo),
the case, Atty. Dealca demanded an additional payment former presiding judge of the Municipal Trial Court of
from complainant obliged by paying the amount of Bayugan, Agusan del Sur. The complainants herein are
P4,000.00. his wife, Aida R. Campos (Aida), and their children,
Alistair R. Campos (Alistair) and Charmaine R. Campos
Prior to the filing of the appellant’s brief, respondent (Charmaine).
counsel again demanded payment of the remaining
balance of P3,500.00. When complainant was unable to
do so, respondent lawyer withdrw his appearance as Antecedents
complainant’s counsel without his prior knowledge
and/or conformity. Eliseo and Aida were married in 1981. Alistair was born
in 1982, and Charmaine, in 1986.
Thus this complaint charging respondent with misconduct
and praying that he be “sternly dealt with In 1999, Eliseo purchased by installment a 936-square
administratively.” meter lot (the property) in Bayugan, Agusan del Sur from

5
a certain Renato Alimpoos. Eliseo thereafter applied for offered to my wife as a settlement to have our properties
the issuance of a title in Alistair's name. Alistair was then settled[.] [O]ne of [these properties] is this lot, which I
a student without an income and a capacity to buy the asked to be sold and its proceeds be divided between us. I
property. In 2006, Original Certificate of Title (OCT) No. have learned that my wife refused to have that property
P-28258 covering the property was issued in Alistair's sold claiming that I could not sell the house and lot as it
name. Meanwhile, Alistair got married and his wife and is [in] the name of our son[,] herein complainant Alistair
child likewise resided in Eliseo's house until 2008.[2] R. Campos;

On July 16, 2008, Eliseo filed with the Regional Trial x x x x


Court (RTC) of Bayugan, Agusan del Sur, Branch 7, a
Petition[3] for the Declaration of Nullity of Marriage. He That my son's statement in his complaint affidavit that the
alleged that both he and Aida are psychologically Owner[']s Duplicate of the Title of the Lot has long been
incapacitated to comply with essential marital in his actual, physical and personal possession, is utterly
obligations. He claimed that during the first few days of false, as the title was previously in our possession in our
their marriage, he realized that he finds no gratification in files as the property is undersigned[']s own exclusive
engaging in sexual intercourse with his wife. He alleged property. x x x
that he is a homosexual. He also averred that Aida
experienced severe pain when she delivered That when I learned that together with my wife[,] he is
Alistair. Consequently, Aida no longer wanted to bear going to apply for a loan making the title of the lot as
children. He likewise ascribed acts of infidelity to Aida. collateral, I decided to file a petition for cancellation of
the title under my son's name Alistair R. Campos, and
On September 10, 2008, Eliseo executed an Affidavit of asked Mrs. Azucena A. Ortiz, to get a certified copy of
Loss[4] wherein he represented himself as the owner of the the title from the Register of Deeds to be used in the filing
property covered by OCT No. P-28258. He declared that of a petition for cancellation of the title in my son's name;
he unknowingly lost the owner's certificate of title which
used to be in his files. On September 15, 2008, he caused That I was told by Mrs. Ortiz, that she was told by the
the annotation[5] of the said affidavit in the the copy of Register of Deeds, that I have to execute an affidavit of
OCT No. P-28258 kept in the Register of Deeds of loss so that I can be given a certified copy. Since the title
Bayugan, Agusan del Sur. In the Affidavit of No is not in my possession after I left my residence and I
Loss[6] executed on October 21, 2008 and likewise cannot find it from my files, I let Mrs. Ortiz prepare an
inscribed[7] in the certificate of title, Alistair refuted affidavit of loss and I signed it. I have also instructed her
Eliseo's representations. to [cause the annotation of the affidavit on the certificate
of title] to protect my interest as the real owner of the lot,
On November 26, 2008, Alistair filed before the Office of to counter or stop my wife and son from using the titles as
the Provincial Prosecutor of Bayugan, Agusan del Sur a collateral of a loan;
complaint for perjury[8]against Eliseo. Alistair stated that
the owner's copy of OCT No. P-28258 was in his x x x x.[10]
possession. Eliseo was aware of such fact, but he still
deliberately and maliciously asserted a falsehood. Subsequently, the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor of
Agusan del Sur dismissed for lack of probable cause
In Eliseo's Counter-Affidavit,[9] he insisted that he is the Alistair's complaint for perjury against Eliseo.[11] The
sole owner of the property covered by OCT No. P- resolution, which dismissed the complaint, in part, reads:
28258. Eliseo continued:

That when I applied for titling of said lot[,] I caused it to "[W]hen [Eliseo] found [out] that the [t]itle of the lot he
be registered in the name of [Alistair], who was still bought was missing and could not be found in his files, he
single, as I have some other properties (land) under my did the proper actions to protect his rights thereto by
name; executing an Affidavit of Loss.
That I never intended to give it to [Alistair] as he [still has x x x [W]hen [Eliseo] sensed that his wife is about to
a] sister; obtain a loan using the [t]itle as collateral without his
That when the title was released[,] it was kept in our files; consent and to protect his right as owner of the property,
That when I filed an annulment case against my wife he went to the Register of Deeds to cancel his son's
which is now pending before the [RTC] of Bayugan, I ownership over the lot in question with the intent to revert
6
back its ownership in his name. However, when asked to On June 4, 2010, Aida, Alistair and Charmaine filed the
produce a copy of its duplicate original, [Eliseo] could not instant complaint for disbarment[17] against Eliseo. They
present the same as it was already lost and could not be alleged that Eliseo committed acts of dishonesty,
retrieved from his files. To prove its loss, an Affidavit of immorality and serious misconduct in (a) causing the
Loss was executed by [Eliseo] attesting to the fact of its issuance of OCT No. P-28258 in Alistair's name; (b)
unavailability. subsequently misrepresenting himself as the real owner of
the lot covered by OCT No. P-28258; (c) falsely
x x x [I]t can be deduced that the act of [Eliseo] was done declaring under oath in the Affidavit of Loss executed on
in good faith. x x x [T]he intent of [Eliseo] in executing September 10, 2008 that the owner's copy of OCT No. P-
the Affidavit is not tainted with [a] corrupt assertion of 28258 is missing despite his knowledge that the said title
falsehood since there was [a] firm belief that indeed[,] the is with Alistair; (d) stating in his Petition for Declaration
[t]itle is not anymore found in his files. It could not be of Nullity of Marriage that he is a homosexual albeit
located and the [t]itle is kept by [Alistair] who took side[s] admitting to his children that he has an intimate relation
with [Aida] who has plans to enjoy [the] benefits from the with another woman; and (e) choking and boxing his
[t]itle using it as [a] collateral in obtaining [a] loan from children on September 14, 2009.
the lot covered by [the] said [t]itle. [Had Alistair been
truthful to Eliseo, the former could have informed the After Eliseo's submission of his comment,[18] the Court
latter of the] whereabouts of the [t]itle [and could] have referred the complaint to the Integrated Bar of the
sought permission from his father when he took [the] copy Philippines (IBP) for investigation, report and
of the [t]itle from [Eliseo's] files. By not informing recommendation.[19]
[Eliseo], [he] could not be faulted for executing such
Affidavit and neither can he be found guilty of perjury as In Eliseo's Position Paper[20] filed with the IBP's
there was no malice on his part to do the same. x x Commission on Bar Discipline (CBD), he interposed the
x."[12] (Citation omitted) following defenses: (a) the complainants are engaged in
forum shopping in view of pending administrative and
civil cases in all of which the issues of immorality and
On February 11, 2009, Aida filed a Complaint[13] for homosexuality have already been raised;[21] (b) the
Legal Separation, Support and Separation of Conjugal complaint is instituted merely to harass him as a
Properties against Eliseo. Aida alleged that Eliseo consequence of his refusal to provide a monthly support
confessed under oath that he is a homosexual. However, of Php60,000.00 to his wife and children;[22] (c) he has no
Eliseo, in effect, contradicted the said confession when he extra-marital relation but he once told Alistair and
admitted to Alistair and Charmaine that he was then Charmaine in jest that due to Aida's infidelity, he intends
intimately involved with another woman. Aida likewise to live separately with another woman who may be more
claimed that Eliseo is temperamental and had stopped caring and loving than his wife;[23] and (d) to protect his
giving support to their family. rights and prevent the complainants from using as a
collateral for a loan the house and lot covered by OCT No.
On April 6, 2009, Aida, Alistair and Charmaine filed P-28258, he executed the Affidavit of Loss on September
before the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) an 10, 2008 as a pre-requisite to his filing of an action in
administrative complaint[14]for serious misconduct, court for the registration of the property in his
immorality and dishonesty against Eliseo. Formal name.[24] Further, Eliseo refuted Alistair and Charmaine's
investigation was thereafter conducted. claims relative to the scuffle which occurred on
September 14, 2009 inside the chamber of the judge
Pending the resolution of the above-mentioned hearing the Petition for Declaration of Nullity of
administrative complaint against Eliseo, he resigned from Marriage. Eliseo insists that if Alistair and Charmaine's
his judicial post on July 1, 2009.[15] claims were true, they could have presented independent
witnesses to corroborate their version of the incident, and
On September 14, 2009, after the conclusion of a hearing medical certificates to prove that they indeed sustained
on Eliseo's Petition for Declaration of Nullity of Marriage injuries. What follows is Eliseo's account of what had
before the RTC of Bayugan, Agusan del Sur, Judge transpired:
Eduardo Casals (Judge Casals) called the parties for a
conference in his chamber. A scuffle ensued inside the
chamber. The police blotter filed promptly after the [A]fter adjournment of the hearing of the annulment case,
incident indicated that Eliseo choked Charmaine and the judge called the parties to his chamber for a
attempted to box but failed to hit Alistair.[16] conference. [Aida] however was reluctant to go unless

7
her children would join her. The judge then called all of Marriage caused the downfall of the former's political
them to the chamber. Once there, the Judge inquired career.[29]
about [Eliseo's] proposal for settlement. While [Eliseo]
was explaining to the judge, [Charmaine] reacted by
raising her voice uttering unprintable words to The Report and Recommendation of the CBD
[Eliseo]. [Eliseo] requested her to calm down reminding
her that they were still in court. But she continued her On June 11, 2012, CBD Commissioner Romualdo A. Din,
tirade at [Eliseo] with greater intensity even calling him a Jr. (Commissioner Din, Jr.) submitted his Report and
bad father, and that she despised him. x x x Charmaine Recommendation[30] to the IBP Board of
had already been ejected by the judge out of the court for Governors. Commissioner Din, Jr. recommended the
lack of decorum and respect. The order for her removal dismissal of the instant disbarment complaint against
arose after she interrupted the court several times by Eliseo for lack of evidence. Commissioner Din, Jr.
shouting at [Eliseo]. When she was already outside the ratiocinated that:
court premises, she was even heard by a certain Samuel
Pasagdan saying that [Eliseo] should watch out after the
hearing as she was going to attack him. The prior incident The main issue in the case at bar is whether or not [Eliseo]
(where she was thrown out of court) made her angrier in committed serious misconduct sufficient to cause his
the chamber. So when she continued with her unpleasant disbarment. The determination of [Eliseo's] culpability is
and scandalous utterances by again interrupting [Eliseo] dependent on the following: 1. whether or not [Eliseo]
who was asked by the judge to talk about his proposal for was dishonest with regards to the statements he made in
settlement, [Eliseo] walked to her and held her by her his Petition for Annulment. [Corollarily] whether or not
shoulder to put some sense to her that she really had to [Eliseo] is guilty of immoral conduct; 2. Whether or not
calm down out of respect [for] the judge. There was no the statements raised in the Affidavit of Loss concerning
choking of Charmaine. But, this sight of holding the certificate of title of the Campos' property were
Charmaine by the shoulder was viewed differently by untrue; and 3. Whether or not [Eliseo] choked his
[Alistair] who flung with force and recklessness a bag daughter, Charmaine, during the amicable settlement of
containing an unknown hard object to [Eliseo]. [Eliseo] the annulment case in the (sic) Judge Casal's (sic)
was hit and in pain. At this point, Charmaine suddenly chambers.
held [Eliseo] from behind so he could not defend himself
from the onslaught of Alistaire (sic) who was poised to The Commission finds in the negative. Gross or serious
attack him. [Eliseo] was forced to elbow Charmaine to misconduct has been defined as "any inexcusable,
break free from her hold. There was a brief exchange of shameful and flagrant unlawful conduct on the part of the
punches between Alistair and [Eliseo] before the person concerned in the administration of justice which is
Presiding Judge broke the fray. This incident could not prejudicial to the rights of the parties or to the right
have happened if not for Charmaine's own misdemeanor determination of a cause, a conduct that is generally
and initial provocation.[25] motivated by a predetermined, obstinate or intentional
purpose (Yumol[,] Jr. vs. Ferrer[,] Sr.[,] 456 SCRA 457).
Aida, Alistair and Charmaine did not attend the hearing As a consequence of finding of gross misconduct has been
held on March 18, 2011, but Atty. Gener Sansaet came to held to be "a ground for the imposition of the penalty of
represent them. Eliseo appeared on his own behalf, with suspension or disbarment because good character is an
Atty. Alex Bacarro as collaborating counsel. essential qualification for the admission to the practice of
law and for the continuance of such privilege." (Cham v.
During the hearing, Eliseo insisted that the allegations Atty. Paita-Moya[,] A.C. No. 7494, June 27, 2008).
against him of (a) immorality and psychological
incapacity in having extra-marital affairs; and (b) serious In the same vein, the Supreme Court has likewise held
misconduct in the execution of the Affidavit of Loss need that: "A lawyer may be suspended or disbarred for any
not be resolved anymore in the instant disbarment misconduct, even if it pertains to his private activities, as
complaint since they are already the subjects of other long as it shows him to be wanting in moral character,
pending cases.[26] He also expressed his doubt that honesty, probity or good demeanor. Possession of good
Alistair is his biological son.[27] He also alleged that Aida, moral character is not only a good condition precedent to
who had served for three terms as a Provincial Board the practice of law but also a good qualification for all
Member, had a lover, who was likewise a political members of the bar (Manaois v. Deciembre[,] A.M. Case
figure.[28] Aida harbored the impression that Eliseo's No. 5564, August 20, 2008).
filing of his Petition for the Declaration of Nullity of
8
of Alistair[,] his son, and which was in the latter's
In the case at bar, the complainants' averments of possession, substantiated with annexes and affidavits. The
[Eliseo's] alleged transgressions[,] i.e. the incongruence same holds true for the alleged choking incident in the
of his homosexuality and the extramarital relation of Judge's chamber which was caused to be blottered, Annex
[Eliseo] as grounds for annulment compared with the "G". [Eliseo] also admitted his infidelity albeit he
complainants' allegation that [Eliseo] admitted that he has postulated the defense of homosexuality. All these, taken
a mistress; the alleged choking of [Charmaine]; and the together, fall short of the ethical standards set forth for
execution of the Affidavit of Loss despite knowledge of lawyers in the Code of Professional Responsibility.[32]
the fact that the certificate of title was with [Alistair] who
is the registered owner of the subject property taken on
their own is a valid ground to find [Eliseo] guilty of gross Issues
misconduct.
Whether or not Eliseo committed acts of dishonesty,
However, [Eliseo] has succinctly rebutted each and every immorality and serious misconduct in:
single allegation of the complainants making the case at
fore a battle of opposing narration of facts.
I. Causing the issuance of OCT No. P-28258 in Alistair's
More importantly, the pieces of evidence presented by the name;
complainants are insufficient to prove their claim beyond
the degree of evidence required of them by law to satisfy
and overcome. II.Subsequently misrepresenting himself as the real owner
of the lot covered by OCT No. P-28258;

Basic and fundamental is the rule that "the burden of proof


is upon the complainant and the Court will exercise the III.Falsely declaring under oath in the Affidavit of Loss
disciplinary power only if the former establishes the case executed on September 10, 2008 that the owner's copy of
by clear, convincing and satisfactory evidence." OCT No. P-28258 is missing despite his knowledge that
the said title is with Alistair;
x x x x

In the case at bar, [apart] from the allegations in the IV.Stating in his Petition for Declaration of Nullity of
complaint, no other evidence was presented by the Marriage that he is a homosexual albeit admitting to his
complainants to bolster their claims. Aside from the children that he has an intimate relation with another
statements made in the complaint, no other corroborative woman; and
or collaborating evidence documentary or testimonial
from independent, third person was presented to convince
this Commission by clear, convincing and satisfactory V.Choking and boxing his children on September 14,
proof that [Eliseo] is guilty of the allegations contained 2009.
therein.[31] (Citation omitted)

This Court's Ruling


The Resolution of the IBP Board of Governors
Of the five issues raised herein, only the allegation of
The IBP Board of Governors, however, reversed the
Eliseo's engagement in the scuffle inside the chamber of
findings of Commissioner Din, Jr. In the Extended
Judge Casals on September 14, 2009 shall be
Resolution issued on March 20, 2013, the Board
resolved. Anent the foregoing, this Court is compelled to
suspended Eliseo from the practice of law for two years.
once again impose a fine upon Eliseo for violating Rule
Thus:
7.03, Canon 7 of the Code of Professional Responsibility
when he conducted himself in a manner not befitting a
member of the bar.
[T]he Board, upon a thorough perusal of the records, finds
sufficient evidence to sustain misconduct on the part of
[Eliseo] as a lawyer, specifically his filing an Affidavit of
Loss of Title to Real Property which Title was in the name
9
This Court affirms the findings of the IBP Board of disciplinary action of members of the Bar for violation of
Governors that Eliseo deserves to be sanctioned for his the Lawyer's Oath, the Code of Professional
unbecoming behavior. Responsibility, and the Canons of Professional Ethics, or
for such other forms of breaches of conduct that have been
In recommending the imposition upon Eliseo of a penalty traditionally recognized as grounds for the discipline of
of two years of suspension from the practice of law, the lawyers.
IBP Board of Governors considered all the three charges
of immorality, dishonesty and misconduct against the In any of the foregoing instances, the administrative case
former. shall also be considered a disciplinary action against the
respondent justice, judge or court official concerned as a
However, this Court, on February 8, 2012, in A.M. No. member of the Bar. x x x. Judgment in both respects may
MTJ-10-1761, had already imposed upon Eliseo a fine of be incorporated in one decision or resolution."
Php20,000.00 for simple misconduct in causing the
issuance of OCT No. P-28258 in Alistair's name when the xxxx
subject property actually belongs to the former. The
charges of (a) immorality in engaging in extra-marital Under the same rule, a respondent "may forthwith be
affairs; and (b) dishonesty in executing the Affidavit of required to comment on the complaint and show cause
Loss on September 10, 2008, were, on the other hand, why he should not also be suspended, disbarred or
dismissed by the Court after finding either the evidence of otherwise disciplinary sanctioned as member of the Bar."
the complainants as insufficient or the issues raised being xxx In other words, an order to comment on the complaint
already the subjects of Eliseo's pending Petition for the is an order to give an explanation on why he should not
Declaration of Nullity of Marriage. be held administratively liable not only as a member of
the bench but also as a member of the bar. This is the fair
It is worth emphasizing that the instant disbarment and reasonable meaning of "automatic conversion" of
complaint and A.M. No. MTJ-10-1761 are anchored upon administrative cases against justices and judges to
almost the same set of facts, except that in the former, the disciplinary proceedings against them as lawyers. This
issue of occurence of the scuffle on September 14, 2009 will also serve the purpose of A.M. No. 02-9-02-SC to
is raised as well. This Court does not intend to punish avoid the duplication or unnecessary replication of
Eliseo twice for the same acts especially since they pertain actions by treating an administrative complaint filed
to his private life and were not actually committed in against a member of the bench also as a disciplinary
connection with the performance of his functions as a proceeding against him as a lawyer by mere operation of
magistrate before. the rule. Thus, a disciplinary proceeding as a member of
the bar is impliedly instituted with the filing of an
In Samson v. Caballero,[33] the Court emphasized what administrative case against a justice of the
"automatic conversion of administrative cases against Sandiganbayan, Court of Appeals and Court of Tax
justices and judges to disciplinary proceedings against Appeals or a judge of a first- or second-level
them as lawyers" means, viz: court.[34] (Citations and emphasis omitted)

The above-cited case suggests the superfluity of


This administrative case against respondent shall also be instituting a disbarment complaint against a lawyer when
considered as a disciplinary proceeding against him as a an administrative case had been previously filed against
member of the Bar, in accordance with AM. No. 02-9-02- him or her as a magistrate. Ideally therefore, the instant
SC. This resolution, entitled "Re: Automatic Conversion disbarment complaint should have been consolidated with
of Some Administrative Cases Against Justices of the A.M. No. MTJ-10-1761. However, it is well to note
Court of Appeals and the Sandiganbayan; Judges of that Samson v. Caballero[35] was promulgated by the
Regular and Special Courts; and Court Officials Who are Court on August 5, 2009 subsequent to the filing of the
Lawyers as Disciplinary Proceedings Against Them Both instant disbarment complaint on April 6, 2009. Further,
as Such Officials and as Members of the Philippine Bar," while all the allegations in A.M. No. MTJ-10-1761 are
provides: replicated in the instant disbarment complaint, the last
issue of engagement in the scuffle is an addition to the
"Some administrative cases against Justices of the Court latter. Hence, this Court shall now resolve the said issue
of Appeals and the Sandiganbayan; judges of regular and to write finis to the parties' bickerings.
special courts; and the court officials who are lawyers are
based on grounds which are likewise grounds for the In the instant disbarment complaint, tirades and bare
10
accusations were exchanged. It bears stressing that not presumably aware that ascribing illegitimacy to Alistair
one of the parties had presented even one independent in a proceeding not instituted for that specific purpose is
witness to prove what transpired inside the chamber of nothing short of defamation.
Judge Casals on September 14, 2009. That a scuffle took
place is a fact, but the question of who started what cannot All told, Eliseo violated Rule 7.03, Canon 7 of the Code
be determined with much certainty. While admitting his of Professional Responsibility when he conducted himself
engagement in the scuffle, Eliseo vigorously attempts to
in a manner not befitting a member of the bar by engaging
justify his conduct as self-defense on his part.[36]
in the scuffle with his own children in the chamber of
While this Court finds credence and logic in Eliseo's Judge Casals on September 14, 2009 and recklessly
narration of the incident, and understands that the expressing his doubt anent the legitimacy of his son
successive acts of the parties during the tussle were Alistair during the hearing before the CBD.
committed at a time when passions ran high, he shall not
be excused for comporting himself in such an undignified WHEREFORE, this Court finds that respondent Eliseo
manner. M. Campos violated Rule 7.03, Canon 7 of the Code of
Professional Responsibility. A FINE of Five Thousand
Rule 7.03, Canon 7[37] of the Code of Professional Pesos (Php5,000.00) is hereby imposed upon him, with
Responsibility explicitly proscribes a lawyer from a STERN WARNING that a repetition of similar acts
engaging in conduct that "adversely reflects on his fitness shall be dealt with more severely.
to practice law, nor shall he, whether in public or private
life, behave in a scandalous manner to the discredit of the
legal profession." SO ORDERED.

The case of Jamsani-Rodriguez v. Ong,[38] on the other


hand, is instructive anent what constitutes unbecoming
conduct, viz:

Unbecoming conduct "applies to a broader range of


transgressions of rules not only of social behavior but of
ethical practice or logical procedure or prescribed
method."[39]

Sans any descriptive sophistry, what Eliseo did was to


engage in a brawl with no less than his own children
inside the chamber of a judge. This Court shall not
countenance crude social behavior. Besides, the
courtroom is looked upon by people with high respect and
is regarded as a sacred place where litigants are heard,
rights and conflicts settled, and justice solemnly
dispensed.[40] Misbehavior within or around the vicinity
diminishes its sanctity and dignity.[41] Although Alistair
and Charmaine were not entirely faultless, a higher level
of decorum and restraint was then expected from Eliseo,
whose conduct failed to show due respect for the court
and lend credit to the nobility of the practitioners of the
legal profession.

Further, albeit not raised as an issue, this Court views with


disfavor Eliseo's statement during the hearing conducted
by the CBD on March 18, 2011 that he doubts Alistair to
be his biologiocal son.[42] As a lawyer, Eliseo is
11