You are on page 1of 4

CASES ON PROBLEM AREAS ON LEGAL ETHICS A.C. No.

502 February 18, 2005

Marcial Abiero, complainant vs. Atty. Bernardo Juanino, respondent


YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.: FACTS: Complainant engaged the services of respondent as counsel where Labor Arbiter ruled in favor of complainant. On appeal, NLRC reversed the arbiters decision and dismissed the case for lack of basis. Complainant follow-up the status of the case personally or through his designated agents but respondent advise to call him on a later date at which time he may have some news of any development with the case. Thereafter, respondent filed with the Court of appeals a motion for extension to file a petition for review and paid the corresponding docket fee. However, when complainant verified the status of the case with the CA, he found out that respondent never filed a petition for review of his labor case. Consequently, NLRC decision became final and executory. Thus, complainant filed an administrative complainant against respondent. ISSUE: Whether or not respondent violated Canons 17 and 18 of the CPR? RULING: Yes, it was held that once a lawyer consents to defend the cause of his client, he owes fidelity to such cause and must at all times be mindful of the trust and confidence reposed in him. He is bound to protect his clients interest to the best of his ability and perform his duties to his client with utmost diligence. Nothing less can be expected from a Philippine Bar. For having neglected a legal matter entrusted to him by his client, respondent did not serve his client with diligence and competence. His inexcusable negligence on such matter renders him liable for violation of Canons 17 and 18 of the Code of Professional Responsibility.

A.C. No. 6632

August 2, 2005

Northwestern University Inc. and Ben A. Nicolas, Complainant vs. Atty. Macario Arquillo, respondent PANGANIBAN, J. FACTS: Herein complainants filed a letter complaint with the IBP-CBD charging respondent of engaging in conflicting interest in a case before the NLRC. Complainant materially averred that, in a NLRC consolidated cases respondent appeared and acted as counsels for complainants. In the very same consolidated case, respondent was also a counsel of one of the respondents, Jose G. Castro. As evidence to the same, complainant submitted the Motion to Dismiss filed by Jose Castro represented by Atty. Arquillo. On the other hand, despite several notices sent by the IBP-CBD, respondent failed to answer to the complaint and appear in any of the scheduled hearings. Consequently, his right to participate in the proceedings has deemed waived. Thereafter, complainants were ordered to submit their verified position paper with supporting documents for decision. In their manifestation, complainant said that they would no longer file a position paper. Hence, said letter-complaint is the basis for decision. IBP in its report, found respondent guilty of violating the conflict of interests rule under the Code of CPR. ISSUE: Whether or not respondent is guilty of misconduct for violating the conflict of interests rule under the Code of CPR? RULING: Yes, the Code of CPR requires lawyers to observe candor, fairness and loyalty in all their dealings and transactions with their clients. Corollary to this duty, lawyers should not represent conflicting interests except with all the concerned clients written consent, given after a full disclosure of the facts.

A.C. No. 3532

January 17, 2005

Rasmus Anderson Jr., petitioner vs. Atty. Reynaldo A. Cardeno, respondent AZCUNA, J.: FACTS: This is an administrative case filed by petitioner against respondent charging for malpractice and neglect of duty from alleged neglect or deliberate mishandling of a case resulting to the latters prejudice. Petitioner specifically alleged that respondent failed to file an opposition and did not appear at the formal hearing set considering the merits of the demurrer. Furthermore, respondent did not file a Motion for Reconsideration after the trial court issued an order finding the respondents demurrer to evidence meritorious. Moreover, respondent insisted to represent the complainant despite verbal withdrawing the case as his counsel. On the other hand, respondent concluded that complainant cannot accuse him of deliberately causing their defeat in the case, when in fact, he did his best with such little information, support and cooperation by the complainant and the latters friends. It was his friends who chose to take another path to deal with the case and proposed to employ acts to corrupt the judge. IBP Commissioner, found respondent guilty of neglect of duty which was affirmed by the IBP Board of Governors. ISSUE: Whether or not respondent violate Canon 18 of the Code of CPR? RULING: The court sustains the findings and recommendations of the IBP Board of Governors. Hence, it was held that a lawyer should never neglect a legal matter entrusted to him, otherwise his negligence in fulfilling his duty subjects him to disciplinary action. Respondent is reminded that the practice of law is a special privilege bestowed only upon those who are competent intellectually, academically and morally. This court has been exacting in its expectations for the members of the Bar always to uphold the integrity and dignity of the legal profession and refrain from any act or omission which might lessen the trust and confidence of the public. A.C. No. 5485 March 16, 2005

Elmer Canoy, complainant vs. Atty. Jose Max Ortiz, respondent TINGA, J.: FACTS: Complainant alleged that respondent appear as his counsel in a labor case, for illegal dismissal of his former employer filed with the NLRC. In 1998, Labor Arbiter hearing the complaint, ordered the parties to submit their respective position papers. Complainant then submitted all the necessary documents and records to respondent so that he can prepare of the position paper. Thereafter, he made several follow-up of the case but all was unfruitful. Until he learned from the NLRC when he follow-up the case, that it was dismissed for respondents failure to submit position papers. Respondent did not even communicate to him about the status of the case. On the other hand, respondents comment averred that he is confident that the case could be resolved by way of compromise. That he prepared position paper of the complainant but before he could submit, the Labor Arbiter dismissed the case. Respondent admitted that his failure to submit position paper to the fact that he was preoccupied with both his functions as an elected official and as a practicing lawyer. His desire to help was beyond physical limitations and he withdrew from his other cases and his free legal services. IBP find the case with merit. ISSUE: Whether or not respondent failed to exercise that degree of competence and diligence required of him in prosecuting his clients claim?

RULING: Yes, it was held that once he agrees to take up the cause of a client, a lawyer owes fidelity to such cause and must always be mindful of the trust and confidence reposed in him. He must serve the client with competence and diligence and champion the latters cause with wholehearted fidelity, care and devotion. Elsewise stated, he owes entire devotion to the interest of the client, warm zeal in the maintenance and defense of his clients rights and the exertion of his utmost learning and ability to the end that nothing be taken or withheld from his client, save by the rules of law legally applied. A.C. No. 6708 August 25, 2005

Felicitas S. Quiambao, Complainant vs. Atty. Nestor A. Bamba, Respondent DAVIDE, JR., C.J.: FACTS: Complainant averred that she procured the legal services of respondent not only for the corporate affairs of AIB (Allied Investigation Bureau Inc.) but also for her personal case. That respondent acted as her counsel of record in an ejectment case which she paid attorneys fees in that case. Six months after her resignation as AIB President, respondent filed on behalf of AIB a complaint for replevin and damages against her without withdrawing as counsel in the ejectment case which was then still pending. Furthermore, respondent proposed to organize a new security agency under complainants name (QRMSI) where he was a silent partner represented by his former law partner. Further stated that, respondent convinced her brother to organize another security agency (SESSI) and divert the funds of AIB to SESSI. On the other hand, respondent admitted that he was the counsel of the aforementioned ejectment case and later represented AIB in the replevin case against her. However, contend that ejectment case and the replevin case are unrelated cases involving different issues and parties. Respondent also denies that he agreed to be a silent partner of QRMSI instead suggests that his former law partner assume his place. Moreover, he denies diverting funds from AIB to SESSI and organizing another security agency under her brother management. It was to complement the business of AIB which was then in ruin, that SESSI was established. IBP Commissioner suspend respondent for one year but IBP Board of Governors reduced it to reprimand. ISSUE: Whether or not respondent guilty of serious misconduct for representing conflicting interests? RULING: Yes, Rule 15.03, Canon 5 of the Code of CPR provides: a lawyer shall not represent conflicting interests except by written consent of all concerned given after a full disclosure of the facts. This prohibition is founded on principles of public policy and good taste. In the course of a lawyer-client relationship, the lawyer learns all the facts connected with the clients case, including the weak and strong points of the case. The nature of that relationship is, therefore, one of trust and confidence of the highest degree. It behooves lawyers not only to keep inviolate the clients confidence, but also to avoid the appearance of treachery and double-dealing for only then can litigants be encouraged to entrust their secrets to their lawyers, which is of paramount importance in the administration of justice.