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RBCI v FLORIDO FACTS: Rural Bank of Calape, Inc. filed a complaint for disbarment against respondent.

RBCI alleged that respondent violated his oath and the Code of Professional Responsibility. According to RBCI, respondent and his clients, Nazareno-Relampagos group, through force and intimidation, forcibly took over the management and the premises of RBCI. They also forcibly evicted Cirilo A. Garay, the bank manager, destroyed the banks vault, and installed their own staff to run the bank. Respondent added that the criminal complaint for malicious mischief filed against him by RBCI was already dismissed; while the complaint for grave coercion was ordered suspended because of the existence of a prejudicial question. Respondent said that the disbarment complaint was filed against him in retaliation for the administrative cases he filed against RBCIs counsel and the trial court judges of Bohol. Moreover, respondent claimed that RBCI failed to present any evidence to prove their allegations. Respondent added that the affidavits attached to the complaint were never identified, affirmed, or confirmed by the affiants and that none of the documentary exhibits were originals or certified true copies. ISSUE: Whether or not respondent violated his oath and the CPR Canon 19. HELD: The Court held that respondent was guilty as charged and suspended for a year. The first and foremost duty of a lawyer is to maintain allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines, uphold the Constitution and obey the laws of the land. It is the lawyers duty to promote respect for the law and legal processes and to abstain from activities aimed at defiance of the law or lessening confidence in the legal system. Canon 19 of the Code provides that a lawyer shall represent his client with zeal within the bounds of the law. It is his duty to counsel his clients to use peaceful and lawful methods in seeking justice and refrain from doing an intentional wrong to their adversaries. A lawyers duty is not to his client but to the administration of justice. To that end, his clients success is wholly subordinate. His conduct 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 clients cause, is condemnable and unethical.

VALENTIN C. MIRANDA v. ATTY. MACARIO D. CARPIO FACTS: Complainant Valentin C. Miranda is one of the owners of a parcel of land located at Barangay Lupang Uno, Las Pias, Metro Manila. Complainant initiated Land Registration Commission (LRC) Case for the registration of the property. During the course of the proceedings, complainant engaged the services of respondent Atty. Carpio as counsel in the said case when his original counsel, Atty. Samuel Marquez, figured in a vehicular accident. In complainant's Affidavit, complainant and respondent agreed that complainant was to pay P20,000.00 as acceptance fee and P2,000.00 as appearance fee. Complainant paid respondent the amounts due him, as evidenced by receipts duly signed by the latter. During the last hearing of the case, respondent demanded the additional P10,000.00 for the preparation of a memorandum, which he said would further strengthen complainant's position in the case, plus 20% of the total area of the subject property as additional fees for his services Complainant did not accede to respondent's demand for it was contrary to their agreement. Moreover, complainant co-owned the subject property with his siblings, and he could not have agreed to the amount being demanded by respondent without the knowledge and approval of his co-heirs. As a result of complainant's refusal to satisfy respondent's demands, the latter became furious and their relationship became sore. A Decision was rendered, granting the petition for registration, which Decision was declared final and executory. The Land Registration Authority (LRA) sent complainant a copy of the letter addressed to the Register of Deeds (RD) of Las Pias City, which transmitted the decree of registration and the original and owner's duplicate of the title of the property. Complainant went to the RD to get the owner's duplicate of the Original Certificate of Title (OCT). He was surprised to discover that the same had already been claimed by and released to respondent on. Complainant talked to respondent on the phone and asked him to turn over the owner's duplicate of the OCT, which he had claimed without complainant's knowledge, consent and authority. Respondent insisted that complainant first pay him the PhP10,000.00 and the 20% share in the property in exchange for which, respondent would deliver the owner's duplicate of the OCT. Once again, complainant refused the demand, for not having been agreed upon. ISSUE: Whether or not Atty. Carpio violated Canon 20 HELD: Yes. Respondent's claim for his unpaid professional fees that would legally give him the right to retain the property of his client until he receives what is allegedly due him has been paid has no basis and, thus, is invalid. In collecting from complainant exorbitant fees, respondent violated Canon 20 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, which mandates that a lawyer shall charge only fair and reasonable fees. It is highly improper for a lawyer to impose additional professional fees upon his client which were never mentioned nor agreed upon at the time of the engagement of his services. handling the case and not towards the near conclusion of the case. At the outset, respondent should have informed the complainant of all the fees or possible fees that he would charge before This is essential in order for the complainant to determine if he has the financial capacity to pay respondent before engaging his services. Respondent's further submission that he is entitled to the payment of additional professional fees on the basis of the principle of quantum meruit has no merit. "Quantum meruit, meaning `as much as he deserved' is used as a basis for determining the lawyer's professional fees in the absence of a contract but recoverable by him from his client." The principle of quantum meruit applies if a lawyer is employed without a price agreed upon for his services. In such a case, he would be entitled to receive what he In the present case, the parties had already merits for his services, as much as he has earned.[13]

entered into an agreement as to the attorney's fees of the respondent, and thus, the principle of quantum meruit does not fully find application because the respondent is already compensated by such agreement. Respondent's inexcusable act of withholding the property belonging to his client and imposing unwarranted fees in exchange for the release of said title deserve the imposition of disciplinary sanction. Atty. Macario D. Carpio is SUSPENDED from the practice of law for a period of six (6) months, effective upon receipt of this Decision. He is ordered to RETURN to the complainant the owner's duplicate of OCT No. 0-94 immediately upon receipt of this decision. He is WARNED that a repetition of the same or similar act shall be dealt with more severely.

CUETO v JIMENEZ FACTS: Engr. Alex Cueto engaged the services of Atty. Jose Jimenez Jr. as notary public, being the father of the building of the Construction Agreement to be notarized. After notarizing the agreement, Jimenez demanded P50,000 as notarial fee. Alex Cueto paid P30,000 in cash and issued a check of P20,000. However, Cueto requested Jimenez not to deposit the check for lack of sufficient funds. Cueto also informed Jimenez that his son had not yet paid his services as general contractor.- Jimenez still deposited the check, and of course, the check bounced and the check issued by Jimenez' son was also dishonored for having been drawn against a closed account.- Atty. Jimenez filed a BP 22 case against Cueto. In return, Cueto filed his own administrative complaint against Jimenez and alleged that he violated Code of Prof Responsibility and Canons of Prof Ethics when he filed BP22 so that Jimenez can recover the balance of his notarial fee. ISSUE: WoN Jimenez can be held administratively liable? HELD: YES. Atty. Jimenez is severely reprimanded.RATIO:1. It is highly improper for Jimenez in filing a criminal case for violation of BP 22 against Cueto when the check representing the balance of his notarial fee was dishonored because "A LAWYER SHALL AVOID CONTROVERSIES WITHCLIENTS CONCERNING HIS COMPENSATION AND SHALL RESORT TO JUDICIAL ACTION ONLY TO PREVENY IMPOSITION,INJUSTICE or FRAUD". In the case at bar, there was clearly no imposition, injustice or fraud... 1) Cueto already paid more than half of the fee 2) In all probablity, the reason why Cueto lacked funds was because of Jimenez' son failure to pay (so dapat mas lenient si Jimenez sa delay ng payment sa kanya ng balance)2. AS to the contention that P50,000 was exorbitant--> IBP and SC held that is is reasonable recompense (1% of the5,000,000 of the contract price sought to be notarized.) and also Cueto should have inquired first about the reasonableness. ALso, facts show that they agreed on the amount.

Atty. Carmen Leonor M. Alcantara, Vicente P Mercado, Severino Mercado and Spouses Jesus and Rosario Mercado v. De Vera FACTS: The respondent is a member of the Bar and was the former counsel of Rosario P. Mercado in a civil case filed in 1984 with the Regional Trial Court of Davao City and an administrative case filed before the Securities and Exchange Commission, Davao City Extension Office. Pursuant to a favorable decision, a writ of execution pending appeal was issued in favor of Rosario P. Mercado. Herein respondent, as her legal counsel, garnished the bank deposits of the defendant, but did not turn over the proceeds to Rosario. Rosario demanded that the respondent turn over the proceeds of the garnishment, but the latter refused claiming that he had paid part of the money to the judge while the balance was his, as attorneys fees. administrative case for disbarment against the respondent. The IBP Board of Governors promulgated a Resolution holding the respondent guilty of infidelity in the custody and handling of clients funds and recommending to the Court his one-year suspension from the practice of law. Following the release of the aforesaid IBP Resolution, the respondent filed a series of lawsuits against the Mercado family except George Mercado. Complainants allege that the respondent committed barratry, forum shopping, exploitation of family problems, and use of intemperate language when he filed several frivolous and unwarranted lawsuits against the complainants and their family members, their lawyers, and the family corporation. against the respondent. They maintain that the primary purpose of the cases is to harass and to exact revenge for the one-year suspension from the practice of law meted out by the IBP Thus, they pray that the respondent be disbarred for malpractice and gross misconduct under Section 27,[7] Rule 138 of the Rules of Court. In his defense the respondent basically offers a denial of the charges against him. He denies he has committed barratry by instigating or stirring up George Mercado to file lawsuits against the complainants. He insists that the lawsuits that he and George filed against the complainants were not harassment suits but were in fact filed in good faith and were based on strong facts. Also, the respondent denies that he has engaged in forum shopping. He argues that he was merely exhausting the remedies allowed by law and that he was merely constrained to seek relief elsewhere by reason of the denial of the trial court to reopen the civil case so he could justify his attorneys fees. Further, he denies that he had exploited the problems of his clients family. He argues that the case that he and George Finally, the Mercado filed against the complainants arose from their perception of unlawful transgressions committed by the latter for which they must be held accountable for the public interest. respondent denies using any intemperate, vulgar, or unprofessional language. of extorting from Rosario shocking and unconscionable attorneys fees. ISSUE: Whether or not respondent is guilty of infidelity in the custody and handling of clients funds HELD: It is worth stressing that the practice of law is not a right but a privilege bestowed by the State upon those who show that they possess, and continue to possess, the qualifications required by law for the conferment of such privilege. Membership in the bar is a privilege burdened with conditions. A lawyer has the privilege and right to practice law only during good behavior and can only be deprived of it for misconduct ascertained and declared by judgment of the court after opportunity to be heard has been afforded him. Without invading any constitutional privilege or right, an attorneys right to practice law may be resolved by a proceeding to suspend or disbar him, based on conduct rendering him unfit to hold a license or to exercise the duties and responsibilities of an attorney. In the present case, the respondent committed professional malpractice and gross misconduct particularly in his acts against his former clients after the issuance of the IBP Resolution suspending him from the practice of law for one year. A lawyer is part of the machinery in the administration of justice. Like the court itself, he is an instrument to advance its ends the speedy, efficient, impartial, correct and inexpensive adjudication of cases and the prompt satisfaction of final judgments. A lawyer should not only help attain these objectives but should likewise avoid any unethical or improper practices that impede, obstruct or prevent their realization, charged as he is with the primary task of assisting in the speedy and efficient On the contrary, he Such refusal prompted Rosario to file an

asserts that it was the complainants who resorted to intemperate and vulgar language in accusing him

administration of justice. Canon 12 of the Code of Professional Responsibility promulgated on 21 June 1988 is very explicit that lawyers must exert every effort and consider it their duty to assist in the speedy and efficient administration of justice. Further, the respondent not only filed frivolous and unfounded lawsuits that violated his duties as an officer of the court in aiding in the proper administration of justice, but he did so against a former client to whom he owes loyalty and fidelity. Canon 21 and Rule 21.02 of the Code of Professional Responsibility[19] provides: CANON 21 - A lawyer shall preserve the confidence and secrets of his client even after the attorneyclient relation is terminated. Rule 21.02 A lawyer shall not, to the disadvantage of his client, use information acquired in the course of employment, nor shall he use the same to his own advantage or that of a third person, unless the client with full knowledge of the circumstances consents thereto. The cases filed by the respondent against his former client involved matters and information acquired by the respondent during the time when he was still Rosarios counsel. Information as to the structure and operations of the family corporation, private documents, and other pertinent facts and figures used as basis or in support of the cases filed by the respondent in pursuit of his malicious motives were all acquired through the attorney-client relationship with herein complainants. Such act is in direct violation of the Canons and will not be tolerated by the Court. Respondent Atty. Eduardo C. De Vera is hereby DISBARRED from the practice of law effective immediately upon his receipt of this Resolution.

UY v. GONZALES FACTS: William S. Uy engaged the services of Atty. Fermin L. Gonzales for violation of the confidentiality of their lawyer-client relationship. The complainant alleges: to prepare and file a petition for the issuance of a new certificate of title. After confiding with respondent the circumstances surrounding the lost title and discussing the fees and costs, respondent prepared, finalized and submitted to him a petition to be filed before the Regional Trial Court of Tayug, Pangasinan. When the petition was about to be filed, respondent went to his (complainants) office at Virra Mall, Greenhills and demanded a certain amount from him other than what they had previously agreed upon. Respondent left his office after reasoning with him. Expecting that said petition would be filed, he was shocked to find out later that instead of filing the petition for the issuance of a new certificate of title, respondent filed a letter-complaint dated July 26, 1999 against him with the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor of Tayug, Pangasinan for Falsification of Public Documents. The letter-complaint contained facts and circumstances pertaining to the transfer certificate of title that was the subject matter of the petition which respondent was supposed to have filed. Portions of said letter-complaint read: The undersigned complainant accuses WILLIAM S. UY, of legal age, Filipino, married and a resident of 132-A Gilmore Street corner 9th Street, New Manila, Quezon City, Michael Angelo T. UY, CRISTINA EARL T. UY, minors and residents of the aforesaid address, Luviminda G. Tomagos, of legal age, married, Filipino and a resident of Carmay East, Rosales, Pangasinan, and F. Madayag, with office address at A12, 2/F Vira Mall Shopping Complex, Greenhills, San Juan, Metro Manila, for ESTAFA THRU FALSIFICATION OF PUBLIC DOCUMENTS, committed as follows: That on March 15, 1996, William S. Uy acquired by purchase a parcel of land consisting of 4.001 ha. for the amount of P100,000.00, Philippine Currency, situated at Brgy. Gonzales, Umingan, Pangasinan, from FERMIN C. GONZALES, as evidenced by a Deed of Sale executed by the latter in favor of the former; that in the said date, William S. Uy received the Transfer Certificate of Title No. T-33122, covering the said land; That instead of registering said Deed of Sale and Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No. T-33122, in the Register of Deeds for the purpose of transferring the same in his name, William S. Uy executed a Deed of Voluntary Land Transfer of the aforesaid land in favor of his children, namely, Michael Angelo T. Uy and Cristina Earl T. Uy, wherein William S. Uy made it appear that his said children are of legal age, and residents of Brgy. Gonzales, Umingan, Pangasinan, when in fact and in truth, they are minors and residents of Metro Manila, to qualify them as farmers/beneficiaries, thus placing the said property within the coverage of the Land Reform Program; That the above-named accused, conspiring together and helping one another procured the falsified documents which they used as supporting papers so that they can secure from the Office of the Register of Deeds of Tayug, Pangasinan, TCT No. T-5165 (Certificate of Land Ownership Award No. 004 32930) in favor of his above-named children. Some of these Falsified documents are purported Affidavit of Seller/Transferor and Affidavit of Non-Tenancy, both dated August 20, 1996, without the signature of affiant, Fermin C. Gonzales, and that on that said date, Fermin C. Gonzales was already dead ; That on December 17, 1998, William S. Uy with deceit and evident intent to defraud undersigned, still accepted the amount of P340,000.00, from Atty. Fermin L. Gonzales, P300,000.00, in PNB Check No. 0000606, and P40,000.00, in cash, as full payment of the redemption of TCT No. 33122knowing fully well that at that time the said TCT cannot be redeemed anymore because the same was already transferred in the name of his children; That William S. Uy has appropriated the amount covered by the aforesaid check, as evidenced by the said check which was encashed by him; That inspite of repeated demands, both oral and in writing, William S. Uy refused and continue to refuse to deliver to him a TCT in the name of the undersigned or to return and repay the said P340,000.00, to the damage and prejudice of the undersigned.[2]

With the execution of the letter-complaint, respondent violated his oath as a lawyer and grossly disregarded his duty to preserve the secrets of his client. Respondent unceremoniously turned against him just because he refused to grant respondents request for additional compensation. Respondents act tarnished his reputation and social standing.[3] In compliance with this Courts Resolution dated July 31, 2000,[4] respondent filed his Comment narrating his version, as follows:

On December 17, 1998, he offered to redeem from complainant a 4.9 hectare-property situated in Brgy. Gonzales, Umingan, Pangasinan covered by TCT No. T-33122 which the latter acquired by purchase from his (respondents) son, the late Fermin C. Gonzales, Jr.. On the same date, he paid complainant P340,000.00 and demanded the delivery of TCT No. T-33122 as well as the execution of the Deed of Redemption. Upon request, he gave complainant additional time to locate said title or until after Christmas to deliver the same and execute the Deed of Redemption. After the said period, he went to complainants office and demanded the delivery of the title and the execution of the Deed of Redemption. Instead, complainant gave him photocopies of TCT No. T-33122 and TCT No. T-5165. Complainant explained that he had already transferred the title of the property, covered by TCT No.T-5165 to his children Michael and Cristina Uy and that TCT No. T-5165 was misplaced and cannot be located despite efforts to locate it. Wanting to protect his interest over the property coupled with his desire to get hold of TCT No. T-5165 the earliest possible time, he offered his assistance pro bono to prepare a petition for lost title provided that all necessary expenses incident thereto including expenses for transportation and others, estimated at P20,000.00, will be shouldered by complainant. To these, complainant agreed. On April 9, 1999, he submitted to complainant a draft of the petition for the lost title ready for signing and notarization. On April 14, 1999, he went to complainants office informing him that the petition is ready for filing and needs funds for expenses. Complainant who was with a client asked him to wait at the anteroom where he waited for almost two hours until he found out that complainant had already left without leaving any instructions nor funds for the filing of the petition. Complainants conduct infuriated him which prompted him to give a handwritten letter telling complainant that he is withdrawing the petition he prepared and that complainant should get another lawyer to file the petition. Respondent maintains that the lawyer-client relationship between him and complainant was terminated when he gave the handwritten letter to complainant; that there was no longer any professional relationship between the two of them when he filed the letter-complaint for falsification of public document; that the facts and allegations contained in the letter-complaint for falsification were culled from public documents procured from the Office of the Register of Deeds in Tayug, Pangasinan. Held: Practice of law embraces any activity, in or out of court, which requires the application of law, as well as legal principles, practice or procedure and calls for legal knowledge, training and experience. While it is true that a lawyer may be disbarred or suspended for any misconduct, whether in his professional or private capacity, which shows him to be wanting in moral character, in honesty, probity and good demeanor or unworthy to continue as an officer of the court, complainant failed to prove any of the circumstances enumerated above that would warrant the disbarment or suspension of herein respondent. Notwithstanding respondents own perception on the matter, a scrutiny of the records reveals that the relationship between complainant and respondent stemmed from a personal transaction or dealings between them rather than the practice of law by respondent. Respondent dealt with complainant only because he redeemed a property which complainant had earlier purchased from his (complainants) son. It is not refuted that respondent paid complainant P340,000.00 and gave him ample time to produce its title and execute the Deed of Redemption. However, despite the period given to him, complainant failed to fulfill his end of the bargain because of the alleged loss of the title which he had admitted to respondent as having prematurely transferred to his children, thus prompting respondent to offer his assistance so as to secure the issuance of a new title to the property, in lieu of the lost one, with complainant assuming the expenses therefor. As a rule, an attorney-client relationship is said to exist when a lawyer voluntarily permits or acquiesces with the consultation of a person, who in respect to a business or trouble of any kind, consults a lawyer with a view of obtaining professional advice or assistance. It is not essential that the client should have employed the attorney on any previous occasion or that any retainer should have been paid, promised or charged for, neither is it material that the attorney consulted did not afterward undertake the case about which the consultation was had, for as long as the advice and assistance of the attorney is sought and received, in matters pertinent to his profession. Considering the attendant peculiar circumstances, said rule cannot apply to the present case. Evidently, the facts alleged in the complaint for Estafa Through Falsification of Public Documents filed by respondent against complainant were obtained by respondent due to his personal dealings with complainant. Respondent volunteered his service to hasten the issuance of the certificate of title of the land he has redeemed from complainant. Respondents immediate objective was to secure the title of the property that complainant had earlier bought from his son. Clearly, there was no attorney-client relationship between respondent and complainant. The preparation and the proposed filing of the petition was only incidental to their personal transaction. Canon 21 of the Code of Professional Responsibility reads:

Canon 21 A LAWYER SHALL PRESERVE THE CONFIDENCE AND SECRETS OF HIS CLIENT EVEN AFTER THE ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATION IS TERMINATED. Rule 21.01 A lawyer shall not reveal the confidences or secrets of his client except: a) b) c) action. When authorized by the client after acquainting him of the consequences of the disclosure; When required by law; When necessary to collect his fees or to defend himself, his employees or associates or by judicial

The alleged secrets of complainant were not specified by him in his affidavit-complaint. Whatever facts alleged by respondent against complainant were not obtained by respondent in his professional capacity but as a redemptioner of a property originally owned by his deceased son and therefore, when respondent filed the complaint for estafa against herein complainant, which necessarily involved alleging facts that would constitute estafa, respondent was not, in any way, violating Canon 21. There is no way we can equate the filing of the affidavit-complaint against herein complainant to a misconduct that is wanting in moral character, in honesty, probity and good demeanor or that renders him unworthy to continue as an officer of the court. To hold otherwise would be precluding any lawyer from instituting a case against anyone to protect his personal or proprietary interests. The administrative case filed against Atty. Fermin L. Gonzales is DISMISSED for lack of merit.

MERCADO v. VITRIOLO Facts: Rosa Mercado is seeking for the disbarment of Atty. Julito Vitriolo as he allegedly maliciously filed a criminal case for falsification of public documents against her thereby violating the attoyrney client privilege. It appears that Vitriolo filed a case against complainant as she apparently made false entries in the certificate of live birth of her children. More specifically she allegedly indicated that she is married to a certain Ferdinand Fernandez when in fact her real husband is Ruben Mercado. Mercado claims that by filing the complaint the attorney client privilege has been violated. Mercado filed a case for Vitriolos disbarment. Issue: Whether or not the respondent violated the rule on privileged communication between attorneyclient when he filed the criminal case for falsification Held: No. The evidence on record fails to substantiate complainants allegations. Complainant did not even specify the alleged communication disclosed by the respondents. All her claims were couched in general terms and lacked specificity. Indeed the complaint failed to attend the hearings at the IBP. Without any testimony from the complainant as to the specific confidential information allegedly divulged by respondent without her consent, it would be difficult if not impossible to determine if there was any violation of the rule on privileged communication. Such information is a crucial link in establishing a breach of the rule on privileged communication between attorney and client. It is not enough to merely assert the attorney client privilege. The burden of proving that the privilege applies is placed upon the party asserting the privilege.

PALM v. ILEDAN, JR. FACTS: The case is a disbarment proceeding filed by Rebecca J. Palm (complainant) against Atty. Felipe Iledan, Jr. (respondent) for revealing information obtained in the course of an attorney-client relationship and for representing an interest which conflicted with that of his former client, Comtech Worldwide Solutions Philippines, Inc. (Comtech). Complainant is the President of Comtech, a corporation engaged in the business of computer software development. From February 2003 to November 2003, respondent served as Comtechs retained corporate counsel for the amount of P6,000 per month as retainer fee. From September to October 2003, complainant personally met with respondent to review corporate matters, including potential amendments to the corporate by-laws. In a meeting held on 1 October 2003, respondent suggested that Comtech amend its corporate by-laws to allow participation during board meetings, through teleconference, of members of the Board of Directors who were outside the Philippines. Prior to the completion of the amendments of the corporate by-laws, complainant became uncomfortable with the close relationship between respondent and Elda Soledad (Soledad), a former officer and director of Comtech, who resigned and who was suspected of releasing unauthorized disbursements of corporate funds. Thus, Comtech decided to terminate its retainer agreement with respondent effective November 2003. In a stockholders meeting held on 10 January 2004, respondent attended as proxy for Gary Harrison (Harrison). Steven C. Palm (Steven) and Deanna L. Palm, members of the Board of Directors, were present through teleconference. When the meeting was called to order, respondent objected to the meeting for lack of quorum. Respondent asserted that Steven and Deanna Palm could not participate in the meeting because the corporate by-laws had not yet been amended to allow teleconferencing. Comtechs new counsel sent a demand letter to Soledad to return or account for the amount of P90,466.10 representing her unauthorized disbursements when she was the Corporate Treasurer of Comtech. On 22 April 2004, Comtech received Soledads reply, signed by respondent. In July 2004, due to Soledads failure to comply with Comtech's written demands, Comtech filed a complaint for Estafa against Soledad before the Makati Prosecutors Office. In the proceedings before the City Prosecution Office of Makati, respondent appeared as Soledads counsel. ISSUE: Whether or not respondent violated the Confidentiality of Lawyer-Client Relationship HELD: No. Violation of the Confidentiality of Lawyer-Client Relationship Canon 21 of the Code of Professional Responsibility provides: Canon 21. A lawyer shall preserve the confidence and secrets of his client even after the attorney-client relationship is terminated. (Emphasis supplied) We agree with the IBP that in the course of complainants consultations, respondent obtained the information about the need to amend the corporate by-laws to allow board members outside the Philippines to participate in board meetings through teleconferencing. Respondent himself admitted this in his Answer. However, what transpired on 10 January 2004 was not a board meeting but a stockholders meeting. Respondent attended the meeting as proxy for Harrison. The physical presence of a stockholder is not necessary in a stockholders meeting because a member may vote by proxy unless otherwise provided in the articles of incorporation or by-laws. Hence, there was no need for Steven and Deanna Palm to participate through teleconferencing as they could just have sent their proxies to the meeting. In addition, although the information about the necessity to amend the corporate by-laws may have been given to respondent, it could not be considered a confidential information. The amendment, repeal or adoption of new by-laws may be effected by "the board of directors or trustees, by a majority vote thereof, and the owners of at least a majority of the outstanding capital stock, or at least a majority of members of a non-stock corporation."9 It means the stockholders are aware of the proposed amendments to the by-laws. While the power may be delegated to the board of directors or trustees, there is nothing in the records to show that a delegation was made in the present case. Further, whenever any amendment or adoption of new by-laws is made, copies of the amendments or the new by-laws are filed with the

Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and attached to the original articles of incorporation and by-laws.10 The documents are public records and could not be considered confidential.1avvphi1 It is settled that the mere relation of attorney and client does not raise a presumption of confidentiality.11 The client must intend the communication to be confidential.12 Since the proposed amendments must be approved by at least a majority of the stockholders, and copies of the amended bylaws must be filed with the SEC, the information could not have been intended to be confidential. Thus, the disclosure made by respondent during the stockholders meeting could not be considered a violation of his clients secrets and confidence within the contemplation of Canon 21 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. WHEREFORE, we DISMISS the complaint against Atty. Felipe Iledan, Jr. for lack of merit.

ANGELITA C. ORCINO vs. ATTY. GASPAR Facts: Orcino engaged the services of Atty. Gaspar to prosecute a criminal case she intended to file against several suspects in the slaying of her husband. Complainant paid respondent his fees as stipulated. Forthwith, respondent entered into his duties and performed them religiously from the preliminary investigation with the office of the prosecutor until the case was thereafter filed with the RTC of Baloc, Sto. Domingo, Nueva Ecija. Respondent however failed to attend the bail hearing scheduled in August 1991. It was at this nearing that the court, over complainant's objections, granted bail to all the accused. After the hearing, complainant immediately went to respondent's residence and confronted him with his absence. Respondent explained that he did not receive formal notice of the hearing. Complainant became belligerent and started accusing him of jeopardizing the case by his absence. Respondent said that her suspicions were based on rumors and intrigues fed to her by her relatives. Complainant, however, continued accusing him belligerently. She asked for the records of the case saying that she could refer them to another lawyer. Stung by her words, respondent gave her the records. Subsequently, respondent filed before the trial court a "Motion to Withdraw as Counsel" but it did not bear the consent of complainant. The court issued an order directing respondent to secure complainant's consent to the motion "and his appearance as private prosecutor shall continue until he has secured this consent." Complainant refused to sign her conformity to respondent's withdrawal. Meanwhile, the hearings in the criminal case continued. Respondent did not appear at the hearings nor did he contact complainant. Complainant was thus compelled to engage the services of another lawyer. Hence, this complaint. Issue: Whether or not a lawyer is excused from his duty to represent his client if said client refuses to give his consent to the lawyers motion to withdraw his appearance. Held: No. A lawyer may retire at any time from any action or special proceeding with the written consent of his client filed in court and copy thereof served upon the adverse party. Should the client refuse to give his consent, the lawyer must file an application with the court. The court, on notice to the client and adverse party, shall determine whether he ought to be allowed to retire. The application for withdrawal must be based on a good cause. In the instant case, respondent did not file an application with the court for it to determine whether he should be allowed to withdraw. Corollary issue: Granting that the Motion to withdraw appearance filed by respondent is sufficient as to form, is it based upon a good cause? No. Rule 22.01 of Canon 22 of the Code of Professional Responsibility provides: A lawyer may withdraw his services from his client only in the following instances: (a) when a client insists upon an unjust or immoral conduct of his case; (b) when the client insists that the lawyer pursue conduct violative of the Code of Professional Responsibility; (c) when the client has two or more retained lawyers and the lawyers could not get along to the detriment of the case; (d) when the mental or physical condition of the lawyer makes him incapable of handling the case effectively; (e) when the client deliberately fails to pay the attorney's fees agreed upon; (f) when the lawyer is elected or appointed to public office; (g) other similar cases. Respondent's withdrawal was made on the ground that "there no longer exist[ed] the . . . confidence" between them and that there had been "serious differences between them relating to the manner of private prosecution." This circumstance is neither one of the foregoing instances nor can it be said that it is analogous thereof.

ROGELIO H. VILLANUEVA vs. ATTY. AMADO B. DELORIA FACTS: A Complaint for Disbarment was filed against Atty. Deloria, a former full-time Commissioner of the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB), appeared as counsel for the spouses De Gracia. Villanueva avers that a decision in that case was rendered by Housing and Land Use Arbiter,2 Atty. Teresita R. Alferez, requiring the Estate of Jaime Gonzales to, among other things, refund to the spouses De Gracia the amount of P69,000.00 plus interest at the prevailing commercial interest rates. The case was eventually assigned to Villanueva upon the latters designation as Arbiter. It appears that Atty. Deloria filed a Motion for Issuance of Substitute Judgment and for Consignation claiming that the Estate of Jaime Gonzales does not want to pay interest based on commercial interest rates. Villanueva asserts, however, that Atty. Delorias allegation is belied by two motions filed by counsel for the Estate of Jaime Gonzales which merely seek to clarify the precise interest rate applicable to the case in order for it to fully comply with the decision. Atty. Delorias misrepresentation is allegedly a violation of the Code of Professional Responsibility (Code), particularly Canons 1, 410, 5 126 and 197 thereof, the Attorneys Oath of Office and Art. 19 of the Civil Code. Atty. Deloria also allegedly violated Canon 118 of the Code because he sought the substitution of a decision which he knew had already become final and partially executed. Villanueva notes that Atty. Deloria enclosed with his motion a check in the amount of P69,000.00 payable to the order of the Estate of Jaime Gonzales and Corazon Gonzales, representing the principal refunded to the spouses De Gracia in compliance with the decision. Villanueva states that the check was drawn against Atty. Delorias personal checking account in violation of Canon 169 of the Code. Moreover, according to Villanueva, Atty. Deloria offered him 50% of the recoverable amount in the case if he resolves the latters motion favorably.10 Atty. Delorias conduct allegedly violates the previously cited canons of the Code, Canon 13,11 Rule 15.06,12 Canon 15 of the Code, Art. 212 of the Revised Penal Code, the Attorneys Oath of Office and Art. 19 of the Civil Code. Villanueva also alleges that Atty. Deloria used his influence as former Commissioner of the HLURB to persuade Atty. Alferez to impose interest based on commercial rates instead of the interest rate fixed which provide a uniform rate of interest in decisions involving refunds. Atty. Deloria also allegedly used his connections in the HLURB to prevent Villanueva from releasing an Order denying the formers motion and to prevail upon the agencys Legal Services Group to interpret the term "commercial rate of interest" in a way that is favorable to his clients case, again in violation of the Code. Further, Villanueva claims that Atty. Deloria assisted his client in filing an unfounded criminal case against him before the Office of the Ombudsman with the purpose of getting even with Villanueva for denying their motion. When his client pursued this course of action, Atty. Deloria allegedly should have withdrawn his services in accordance with Rule 22.01,16 Canon 22 of the Code. Atty. Deloria denies any wrongdoing and sought the dismissal of the Complaint for lack of merit. He avers that the refusal of the Estate of Jaime Gonzales to pay the interest stipulated in the decision is evident from the various motions it has filed. On the alleged commingling of his funds with those of his clients, Atty. Deloria claims that the spouses De Gracia requested him to advance the amount intended for consignation as they were then on vacation in the United States. He also maintains that he did not exert any influence on the HLURB to rule in his clients favor, adding that the draft order which he filed in the case is required under the rules of the agency. HELD: Investigating Commissioner Renato G. Cunanan submitted a Report20 dated September 29, 2005, finding merit in the Complaint and recommending that Atty. Deloria be suspended from the practice of law for two (2) years and/or be fined in the amount of P20,000.00. This recommendation was annulled and set aside by the IBP in its Resolution No. XVII-2006-279 dated May 26, 2006. The case was instead dismissed for lack of merit. The report and recommendation of the Investigating Commissioner appears to be based solely on the Rollo of the case which the Court sent to the IBP pursuant to the Resolution dated February 19, 2001. The Investigating Commissioner did not conduct any hearing to determine the veracity of the allegations in Villanuevas Complaint and the truthfulness of Atty. Delorias answers thereto. A formal investigation is a mandatory requirement which may not be dispensed with except for valid and compelling reasons.21 In Baldomar v. Paras,22 we held:

Complaints against lawyers for misconduct are normally addressed to the Court. If, at the outset, the Court finds a complaint to be clearly wanting in merit, it outrightly dismisses the case. If, however, the Court deems it necessary that further inquiry should be made, such as when the matter could not be resolved by merely evaluating the pleadings submitted, a referral is made to the IBP for a formal investigation of the case during which the parties are accorded an opportunity to be heard. An ex-parte investigation may only be conducted when respondent fails to appear despite reasonable notice. x x x Rule 139-B of the Rules of Court provides the procedure for investigation in disbarment and disciplinary proceedings against attorneys before the IBP, thus: Sec. 8. Investigation.Upon joinder of issues or upon failure of the respondent to answer, the Investigator shall, with deliberate speed, proceed with the investigation of the case. He shall have the power to issue subpoenas and administer oaths. The respondent shall be given full opportunity to defend himself, to present witnesses on his behalf, and be heard by himself and counsel. However, if upon reasonable notice, the respondent fails to appear, the investigation shall proceed ex-parte. The Investigator shall terminate the investigation within three (3) months from the date of its commencement, unless extended for good cause by the Board of Governors upon prior application. Willful failure or refusal to obey a subpoena or any other lawful order issued by the Investigator shall be dealt with as for indirect contempt of court. The corresponding charge shall be filed by the Investigator before the IBP Board of Governors which shall require the alleged contemnor to show cause within ten (10) days from notice. The IBP Board of Governors may thereafter conduct hearings, if necessary, in accordance with the procedure set forth in this Rule for hearings before the Investigator. Such hearing shall as far as practicable be terminated within fifteen (15) days from its commencement. Thereafter, the IBP Baord of Governors shall within a like period of fifteen (15) days issue a resolution setting forth its findings and recommendations, which shall forthwith be transmitted to the Supreme Court for final action and if warranted, the imposition of penalty. We find that due observance of the foregoing rules is necessary for the proper resolution of this case. WHEREFORE, the instant administrative case is REMANDED to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines for further proceedings. The IBP is also directed to act on this referral with deliberate dispatch.

Maria Earl Beverly C. Ceniza vs. Atty. Vivian G. Rubia Facts: On May 3, 2002, Maria Earl Beverly C. Ceniza, complainant, sought the legal services of the Atty. Vivian G. Rubia, respondent, in regard to the share of her mother-in-law in the estate of her husband Carlos Ceniza. As she had no money to pay for attorney's fees since her mother-in-law would arrive from the United States only in June 2002, respondent made her sign a promissory note for P32,000.00, which amount was lent by Domingo Natavio. After her mother-in-law arrived and paid the loan, respondent furnished them a copy of the complaint for partition and recovery of ownership/possession representing legitime but with no docket number on it. They kept on following up the progress of the complaint. However, three months lapsed before respondent informed them that it was already filed in court. It was then that they received a copy of the complaint with "Civil Case No. 4198" and a rubber stamped "RECEIVED" thereon. However, when complainant verified the status of the case with the Clerk of Court of the Regional Trial Court of Davao del Sur, she was informed that no case with said title and docket number was filed. Further, complainant alleged that respondent was guilty of gross ignorance of the law for intending to file the complaint in Davao del Sur when the properties to be recovered were located in Koronadal, South Cotabato and Malungon, Sarangani Province, in violation of the rule on venue that real actions shall be filed in the place where the property is situated. Complainant also alleged that respondent forged the signature of her husband, Carlito C. Ceniza, in the Affidavit of Loss attached to a petition for the issuance of a new owner's duplicate certificate of title filed with the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Digos City, Branch 20, in Misc. Case No. 114-2202. On July 25, 2003 filed with the Office of the Bar Confidant, Maria Earl Beverly C. Ceniza charged Atty. Vivian G. Rubia with grave misconduct, gross ignorance of the law and falsification of public documents. Issue: Whether or not the respondent violated Canon 18 and Canon 22 of the Code of Professional Responsibility.

Held: Yes. In accusing respondent of falsification of public document, complainant alleged that respondent misrepresented to her that the complaint was already filed in court, when in fact, upon verification with the Regional Trial Court Clerk of Court, it was not. Such misrepresentation is shown by the copy of the complaint with a stamped "RECEIVED" and docket number thereon. Apart from said allegations, complainant has not proferred any proof tending to show that respondent deliberately falsified a public document. A perusal of the records shows that complainant's evidence consists solely of her AffidavitComplaint and the annexes attached therewith. She did not appear in all the mandatory conferences set by the investigating commissioner in order to give respondent the chance to test the veracity of her assertions. It is one thing to allege gross misconduct, ignorance of the law or falsification of public document and another to demonstrate by evidence the specific acts constituting the same. Indeed, complainant has no way of knowing the surrounding circumstances behind the filing of the complaint by respondent's staff because she was not present when the same was filed with the trial court. Complainant failed to disprove by preponderant evidence respondent's claim that the case was not filed but was in fact withdrawn after it was stamped with "RECEIVED" and assigned with a docket number. The Supreme Court find this explanation satisfactory and plausible considering that the stamp did not bear the signature of the receiving court personnel, which is normally done when pleadings are received by the court. Further, the certification of the RTC Clerk of Court that the complaint was not filed and that "CIVIL CASE NO. 4198" pertained to another case, did not diminish the truthfulness of respondent's claim, but even tended to bolster it. Necessarily, as the complaint was not filed, docket number "4198" indicated in the copy of the complaint was assigned to another case thereafter filed in court. Thus, for lack of preponderant evidence, the investigating commissioner's ruling that respondent was guilty of falsification of public document, as adopted by the IBP Board of Governors, has no factual basis to stand on. However, the Supreme Court finds that respondent committed some acts for which she should be disciplined or administratively sanctioned. The Supreme Court found nothing illegal or reprehensible in respondent's act of charging an acceptance fee of P32,000.00, which amount appears to be reasonable under the circumstances. The impropriety lies in the fact that she suggested that complainant borrow money from Domingo Natavio for the payment thereof. This act impresses upon the Court that respondent would do nothing to the cause of complainant's mother-in-law unless payment of the acceptance fee is made. Her duty to render legal services to her client with competence and diligence should not depend

on the payment of acceptance fee, which was in this case promised to be paid upon the arrival of complainant's mother-in-law in June 2002, or barely a month after respondent accepted the case. Respondent's transgression is compounded further when she severed the lawyer-client relationship due to overwhelming workload demanded by her new employer Nakayama Group of Companies, which constrained her to return the money received as well as the records of the case, thereby leaving her client with no representation. Standing alone, heavy workload is not sufficient reason for the withdrawal of her services. Moreover, respondent failed to maintain an open line of communication with her client regarding the status of their complaint. Clearly, respondent violated the Lawyer's Oath which imposes upon every member of the bar the duty to delay no man for money or malice, Rules 18.03 and 18.04 of Canon 18, and Canon 22 of the Code of Professional Responsibility.

MONTANO v. IBP FACTS: The complainant hired the services of Atty. Juan S. Dealca as his counsel in collaboration with Atty. Ronando L. Gerona in a case pending before the Court of Appeals wherein the complainant was the plaintiff-appellant. The parties agreed upon attorneys fees in the amount of P15,000.00, fifty percent (50%) of which was payable upon acceptance of the case and the remaining balance upon the termination of the case. Accordingly, complainant paid respondent the amount of P7,500.00 representing 50% of the attorneys fee. Thereafter, even before the respondent counsel had prepared the appellants brief and contrary to their agreement that the remaining balance be payable after the termination of the case, Atty. Dealca demanded an additional payment from complainant. Complainant obliged by paying the amount of P4,000.00. Prior to the filing of the appellants brief, respondent counsel again demand payment of the remaining balance of 3,500.00. When complainant was unable to do so, respondent lawyer withdrew his appearance as complainants counsel without his prior knowledge and/or conformity. Returning the case folder to the complainant, respondent counsel attached a Note dated February 28, 1993, stating: 28 February 1994 Pepe and Del Montano, For breaking your promise, since you do not want to fulfill your end of the bargain, heres your reward: Henceforth, you lawyer for yourselves. Here are your papers. Johnny Complainant claimed that such conduct by respondent counsel exceeded the ethical standards of the law profession and prays that the latter be sternly dealt with administratively. Complainant later on filed motions praying for the imposition of the maximum penalty of disbarment. After respondent counsel filed his comment on the complaint, the Court in the Resolution of August 1, 1994, referred the case to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) for investigation, report and recommendation.

HELD: Atty. Dealcas conduct was found unbecoming of a member of the legal profession. Under Canon 22 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, lawyer shall withdraw his services only for good cause and upon notice appropriate in the circumstances. Although he may withdraw his services when the client deliberately fails to pay the fees for the services, under the circumstances of the present case, Atty. Dealcas withdrawal was unjustified as complainant did not deliberately fail to pay him the attorneys fees. In fact, complainant exerted honest efforts to fulfill his obligation. Respondents 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 lawyer shall avoid controversies with clients concerning his compensation and shall resort to judicial action only to prevent imposition, injustice or fraud. Sadly, for not so large a sum owed to him by complainant, respondent lawyer failed to act in accordance with the demands of the Code. The Court, however, does not agree with complainants contention that the maximum penalty of disbarment should be imposed on respondent lawyer. The power to disbar must be exercised with great caution. Only in a clear case of misconduct that seriously affects the standing and character of the lawyer as an officer of the Court and member of the bar will disbarment be imposed as a penalty. It should never be decreed where a lesser penalty, such as temporary suspension, would accomplish the end desired. In the present case, reprimand is deemed sufficient. Respondent Atty. Juan S. Dealca is REPRIMANDED with a warning that repetition of the same act will be dealt with more severely.