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UNIVERSITY OF CEBU

COLLEGE OF LAW
LEGAL AND JUDICIAL ETHICS CASES
January 2014 January 2015
Submitted by:
1. ABING, PATRICK LLB-3
2. ALABASTRO, MARK VINCENT JD-2
3. BALANAG, JUSTINE MARIE JD-3
4. CAPUTOL, DANICA PATRICIA LLB-3
5. DIONGZON, LORRAINE JD-2
6. GULBIN, LOU ANN LLB-3
7. LERIO, EARL CHRISTIAN JD-3
8. LUSPO, ARGELYN LLB-4
9. MAGDOZA, BREGETTE LLB-3
10. MAGLASANG, LAARNI LLB-3
11. MAHUSAY, MARIANNE AUDREY LLB-3
12. SANTOS, CHRISTINA JD-3
13. SAORNIDO, FERDINAND III LLB-3
14. TIRADO, ADRIANNE LLB-3
15. TOMONGLAY, NOEL LLB-3
16. URSAL, APRIL LYNN LLB-3
Submitted to:
ATTY. STEPHEN L. YU, CPA
TAXATION II CLASS (A.Y. 2014-2015)

JANUARY 2014
1. A.C. No. 5581
January 14, 2014
ROSE BUNAGAN-BANSIG, Complainant, vs. ATTY. ROGELIO JUAN A. CELERA,
Respondent.
Legal Ethics: Rule 1.01, Canon 7; Rule 7.03
FACTS:
Rose Bunagan-Bansig filed a complaint against respondent Atty. Rogelio Juan A. Celera for
Gross Immoral Conduct.
On May 8, 1997, Atty. Celera and Gracemarie R. Bunagan (Bunagan), entered into a contract
of marriage, as evidenced by a certified xerox copy of the certificate of marriage issued by
the City Civil Registry of Manila. Bansig is the sister of Gracemarie, legal wife of respondent.
However, Atty. Celera contracted another marriage on January 8, 1998 with a certain Ma.
Cielo Paz Torres Alba, as evidenced by a certified xerox copy of the certificate of marriage
issued by the City Registration Officer of San Juan, Manila.
Bansig stressed that the marriage between Atty. Celera and Bunagan was still valid and in
full legal existence when he contracted his second marriage with Alba, and that the first
marriage had never been annulled or rendered void by any lawful authority.
Despite repeated summons and resolutions issued by the Court, Atty. Celera failed to
properly answer the complaint. The complaint dragged on for over a decade.
ISSUE:
Whether or not Atty. Celera is guilty of grossly immoral conduct and willful disobedience of
lawful orders.
RULING:
Yes. In the instant case, there is a preponderance of evidence that respondent contracted a
second marriage despite the existence of his first marriage.
The certified xerox copies of the marriage contracts, issued by a public officer in custody
thereof, are admissible as the best evidence of their contents, as provided for under Section
7 of Rule 130 of the Rules of Court.
For purposes of this disbarment proceeding, these Marriage Certificates bearing the name
of respondent are competent and convincing evidence to prove that he committed bigamy,
which renders him unfit to continue as a member of the Bar.
TAXATION II CLASS (A.Y. 2014-2015)

The Code of Professional Responsibility provides:


Rule 1.01- A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful
conduct.
Canon 7- A lawyer shall at all times uphold the integrity and dignity of the legal
profession, and support the activities of the Integrated Bar.
Rule 7.03- A lawyer shall not engage in conduct that adversely reflects on his fitness
to practice law, nor should he, whether in public or private life, behave in a
scandalous manner to the discredit of the legal profession.
Respondent exhibited a deplorable lack of that degree of morality required of him as a
member of the Bar. He made a mockery of marriage, a sacred institution demanding
respect and dignity. His act of contracting a second marriage while his first marriage is
subsisting constituted grossly immoral conduct and are grounds for disbarment under
Section 27, Rule 138 of the Revised Rules of Court.
This case cannot be fully resolved, however, without addressing rather respondents
defiant stance against the Court as demonstrated by his repetitive disregard of its
Resolution requiring him to file his comment on the complaint. This case has dragged on
since 2002. In the span of more than 10 years, the Court has issued numerous directives for
respondent's compliance, but respondent seemed to have pre-selected only those he will
take notice of and the rest he will just ignore. The Court has issued several resolutions
directing respondent to comment on the complaint against him, yet, to this day, he has not
submitted any answer thereto. He claimed to have not received a copy of the complaint,
thus, his failure to comment on the complaint against him. Ironically, however, whenever it
is a show cause order, none of them have escaped respondent's attention. Even assuming
that indeed the copies of the complaint had not reached him, he cannot, however, feign
ignorance that there is a complaint against him that is pending before this Court which he
could have easily obtained a copy had he wanted to.
Clearly, respondent's acts constitute willful disobedience of the lawful orders of this Court,
which under Section 27, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court is in itself alone a sufficient cause
for suspension or disbarment. Respondents cavalier attitude in repeatedly ignoring the
orders of the Supreme Court constitutes utter disrespect to the judicial institution.
Respondents conduct indicates a high degree of irresponsibility. We have repeatedly held
that a Courts Resolution is "not to be construed as a mere request, nor should it be
complied with partially, inadequately, or selectively." Respondents obstinate refusal to
comply with the Courts orders "not only betrays a recalcitrant flaw in his character; it also
underscores his disrespect of the Court's lawful orders which is only too deserving of
reproof."
Considering respondent's propensity to disregard not only the laws of the land but also the
lawful orders of the Court, it only shows him to be wanting in moral character, honesty,
probity and good demeanor. He is, thus, unworthy to continue as an officer of the court.
TAXATION II CLASS (A.Y. 2014-2015)

The respondent ATTY. ROGELIO JUAN A. CELERA is guilty of grossly immoral conduct and
willful disobedience of lawful orders rendering him unworthy of continuing membership in
the legal profession. He is thus ordered DISBARRED from the practice of law and his name
stricken of the Roll of Attorneys, effective immediately.
2. A.C. No. 10135 January 15, 2014
EDGARDO AREOLA, Complainant, vs. ATTY. MARIA VILMA MENDOZA, Respondent.
Legal Ethics: Rule 1.02 and Rule 15.07
FACTS:
Edgardo D. Areola a.k.a. Muhammad Khadafy filed an administrative complaint against
Atty. Maria Vilma Mendoza, from the Public Attorneys Office for violation of her attorneys
oath of office, deceit, malpractice or other gross misconduct in office under Section 27, Rule
138 of the Revised Rules of Court, and for violation of the Code of Professional
Responsibility.
Areola stated that he was filing the complaint in behalf of his co-detainees Allan Seronda,
Aaron Arca, Joselito Mirador, Spouses Danilo Perez and Elizabeth Perez. He alleged that on
October 23, 2006, during Prisoners Week, Atty. Mendoza, visited the Antipolo City Jail and
called all detainees with pending cases before the RTC, Branch 73, Antipolo City where she
was assigned, to attend her speech/lecture. Areola claimed that Atty. Mendoza stated the
following during her speech:
"O kayong may mga kasong drugs na may pangpiyansa o pang- areglo ay maging
praktikal sana kayo kung gusto ninyong makalaya agad. Upang makatiyak kayo na
hindi masasayang ang pera ninyo ay sa akin ninyo ibigay o ng kamag-anak ninyo ang
pera at ako na ang bahalang maglagay kay Judge Martin at Fiscal Banqui; at kayong
mga detenidong mga babae na no bail ang kaso sa drugs, iyak-iyakan lang ninyo si
Judge Martin at palalayain na kayo. Malambot ang puso noon."
ISSUE:
Whether or not Atty. Mendoza is giving improper advice to her clients in violation of Rule
1.02 and Rule 15.07 of the Code of Professional Responsibility.
RULING:
The Court agrees with the IBP Board of Governors that Atty. Mendoza made irresponsible
advices to her clients in violation of Rule 1.02 and Rule 15.07 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility. It is the mandate of Rule 1.02 that "a lawyer shall not counsel or abet
activities aimed at defiance of the law or at lessening confidence in the legal system." Rule
15.07 states that "a lawyer shall impress upon his client compliance with the laws and the
principles of fairness."
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Atty. Mendozas improper advice only lessens the confidence of the public in our legal
system. Judges must be free to judge, without pressure or influence from external forces or
factors according to the merits of a case. Atty. Mendozas careless remark is uncalled for.
In spite of the foregoing, the Court deems the penalty of suspension for two months as
excessive and not commensurate to Atty. Mendozas infraction. Disbarment and suspension
of a lawyer, being the most severe forms of disciplinary sanction, should be imposed with
great caution and only in those cases where the misconduct of the lawyer as an officer of
the court and a member of the bar is established by clear, convincing and satisfactory
proof. The Court notes that when Atty. Mendoza made the remark "Iyak-iyakan lang ninyo
si Judge Martin at palalayain na kayo. Malambot ang puso noon", she was not compelled by
bad faith or malice. While her remark was inappropriate and unbecoming, her comment is
not disparaging and reproachful so as to cause dishonor and disgrace to the Judiciary.
In several administrative cases, the Court has refrained from imposing the actual penalties
in the presence of mitigating factors. Factors such as the respondents length of service, the
respondents acknowledgement of his or her infractions and feeling of remorse, family
circumstances, humanitarian and equitable considerations, respondents advanced age,
among other things, have had varying significance in the Courts determination of the
imposable penalty. The Court takes note of Atty. Mendozas lack of ill-motive in the present
case and her being a PAO lawyer as her main source of livelihood. Furthermore, the
complaint filed by Areola is clearly baseless and the only reason why this was ever given
consideration was due to Atty. Mendozas own admission. For these reasons, the Court
deems it just to modify and reduce the penalty recommended by the IBP Board of
Governors.
Accordingly, the Court finds Atty. Maria Vilma Mendoza GUILTY of giving improper advice
to her clients in violation of Rule 1.02 and Rule 15.07 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility and is accordingly meted out the penalty of REPRIMAND, with the STERN
WARNING that a repetition of the same or similar act will be dealt with more severely.
3. A.C. No. 8644
January 22, 2014
AIDA R. CAMPOS, ALISTAIR R. CAMPOS and CHARMAINE R. CAMPOS, Complainant, vs.
ATTY. ELISEO M. CAMPOS, Respondent.
Legal Ethics: Rule 7.03, Canon 7; Rule 7.03, Canon 737
FACTS:
A complaint for disbarment on grounds of serious misconduct, immorality and dishonesty
is filed against Atty. Eliseo M. Campos, former presiding judge of the Municipal Trial Court
of Bayugan, Agusan del Sur. The complainants herein are his wife, Aida R. Campos, and
their children, Alistair R. Campos and Charmaine R. Campos.

TAXATION II CLASS (A.Y. 2014-2015)

Eliseo and Aida were married in 1981. Alistair was born in 1982, and Charmaine, in 1986.
In 1999, Eliseo purchased by installment a 936-square meter lot in Bayugan. Eliseo
thereafter applied for the issuance of a title in Alistairs name. Alistair was then a student
without an income and a capacity to buy the property. In 2006, Original Certificate of Title
covering the property was issued in Alistairs name.
In 2008, Eliseo filed a Petition for the Declaration of Nullity of Marriage. He alleged that
both he and Aida are psychologically incapacitated to comply with essential marital
obligations. He claimed that during the first few days of their marriage, he realized that he
finds no gratification in engaging in sexual intercourse with his wife. He alleged that he is a
homosexual. He likewise ascribed acts of infidelity to Aida.
In Sept. 2008, Eliseo executed an Affidavit of Loss wherein he represented himself as the
owner of the property covered by OCT No. P-28258. He declared that he unknowingly lost
the owners certificate of title which used to be in his files. Alistair refuted Eliseos
representations.
In Nov. 2008, Alistair filed a complaint for perjury against Eliseo. Alistair stated that the
owners copy of OCT No. P-28258 was in his possession. Eliseo was aware of such fact, but
he still deliberately and maliciously asserted a falsehood.
In 2009, Aida filed a Complaint for Legal Separation, Support and Separation of Conjugal
Properties against Eliseo. Aida alleged that Eliseo confessed under oath that he is a
homosexual. However, Eliseo, in effect, contradicted the said confession when he admitted
to Alistair and Charmaine that he was then intimately involved with another woman. Aida
likewise claimed that Eliseo is temperamental and had stopped giving support to their
family.
In April 2009, Aida, Alistair and Charmaine filed before the Office of the Court
Administrator an administrative complaint for serious misconduct, immorality and
dishonesty against Eliseo. Formal investigation was thereafter conducted. Pending the
resolution of the above-mentioned administrative complaint, Eliseo resigned from his
judicial post on July 1, 2009.
After the conclusion of a hearing on Eliseos Petition for Declaration of Nullity of Marriage,
Judge Eduardo Casals called the parties for a conference in his chamber. A scuffle ensued
inside the chamber. The police blotter filed promptly after the incident indicated that Eliseo
choked Charmaine and attempted to box but failed to hit Alistair.
In June 2010, Aida, Alistair and Charmaine filed the instant complaint for disbarment
against Eliseo. They alleged that Eliseo committed acts of dishonesty, immorality and
serious misconduct in.

TAXATION II CLASS (A.Y. 2014-2015)

ISSUES:
Whether or not Eliseo committed acts of dishonesty, immorality and serious misconduct in:
(1) causing the issuance of OCT No. P-28258 in Alistairs name;
(2) subsequently misrepresenting himself as the real owner of the lot covered by OCT No.
P-28258;
(3) falsely declaring under oath in the Affidavit of Loss that the owner's copy of OCT No. P28258 is missing despite his knowledge that the said title is with Alistair;
(4) stating in his Petition for Declaration of Nullity of Marriage that he is a homosexual
albeit admitting to his children that he has an intimate relation with another woman; and
(5) choking and boxing his children.
RULING:
Of the five issues raised herein, only the allegation of Eliseos engagement in the scuffle
inside the chamber of Judge Casals shall be resolved.
The Court, on February 8, 2012, had already imposed upon Eliseo a fine of Php20,000 for
simple misconduct in causing the issuance of OCT No. P-28258 in Alistairs name when the
subject property actually belongs to the former. The charges of (a) immorality in engaging
in extra-marital affairs; and (b) dishonesty in executing the Affidavit of Loss, were, on the
other hand, dismissed by the Court after finding either the evidence of the complainants as
insufficient or the issues raised being already the subjects of Eliseos pending Petition for
the Declaration of Nullity of Marriage.
It is worth emphasizing that the instant disbarment complaint and A.M. No. MTJ-10-1761
are anchored upon almost the same set of facts, except that in the former, the issue of
occurrence of the scuffle is raised as well. The Court does not intend to punish Eliseo twice
for the same acts especially since they pertain to his private life and were not actually
committed in connection with the performance of his functions as a magistrate before.
In the instant disbarment complaint, tirades and bare accusations were exchanged. It bears
stressing that not one of the parties had presented even one independent witness to prove
what transpired inside the chamber of Judge Casals on September 14, 2009. That a scuffle
took place is a fact, but the question of who started what cannot be determined with much
certainty.
While admitting his engagement in the scuffle, Eliseo vigorously attempts to justify his
conduct as self-defense on his part. While the Court finds credence and logic in Eliseos
narration of the incident, and understands that the successive acts of the parties during the
tussle were committed at a time when passions ran high, he shall not be excused for
comporting himself in such an undignified manner.
Rule 7.03, Canon 737 of the Code of Professional Responsibility explicitly proscribes a
lawyer from engaging in conduct that "adversely reflects on his fitness to practice law, nor
TAXATION II CLASS (A.Y. 2014-2015)

shall he, whether in public or private life, behave in a scandalous manner to the discredit of
the legal profession."
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. The 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. Misbehavior within or around the vicinity diminishes its sanctity and
dignity. 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.
The respondent Eliseo M. Campos violated Rule 7.03, Canon 7 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility. A FINE of Five Thousand Pesos is hereby imposed upon him, with a STERN
WARNING that a repetition of similar acts shall be dealt with more severely.
4. A.C. No. 9872 January 28, 2014
NATIVIDAD P. NAVARRO and HILDA S. PRESBITERO, Complainants, vs. ATTY. IVAN M.
SOLIDUM, JR., Respondent.
Legal Ethics: Rule 1.01; Canon 16 Rule 16.01; Rule 16.04
FACTS:
A complaint for disbarment, dated 26 May 2008, is filed by Natividad P. Navarro and Hilda
S. Presbitero against Atty. Ivan M. Solidum, Jr. before the Integrated Bar of the Philippines
Commission on Bar Discipline.
In April 2006, respondent signed a retainer agreement with Presbitero to follow up the
release of the payment for the latters 2.7-hectare property located in Bacolod which was
the subject of a Voluntary Offer to Sell to the Department of Agrarian Reform.
Respondent and Presbitero agreed to an attorneys fee of 10% of the proceeds from the
VOS or the sale of the property, with the expenses to be advanced by Presbitero but
deductible from respondents fees. Respondent received P50,000 from Presbitero,
supposedly for the expenses of the case, but nothing came out of it.
In May 2006, Presbiteros daughter, Ma. Theresa P. Yulo, also engaged respondents
services to handle the registration of her lot. Yulo convinced her sister, Navarro, to finance
the expenses for the registration of the property. Respondent undertook to register the
property in consideration of 30% of the value of the property once it is registered.
Respondent obtained P200,000 from Navarro for the registration expenses. Navarro later
learned that the registration decree over the property was already issued in the name of
TAXATION II CLASS (A.Y. 2014-2015)

one Teodoro Yulo. Navarro alleged that she would not have spent for the registration of the
property if respondent only apprised her of the real situation of the property.
On 25 May 2006, respondent obtained a loan of P1,000,000 from Navarro to finance his
sugar trading business. Respondent and Navarro executed a Memorandum of Agreement
and agreed that the loan (a) shall be for a period of one year; (b) shall earn interest at the
rate of 10% per month; and (c) shall be secured by a real estate mortgage over a property.
They also agreed that respondent shall issue postdated checks to cover the principal
amount of the loan as well as the interest thereon. Respondent delivered the checks to
Navarro, drawn against an account in Metrobank, Bacolod City Branch, and signed them in
the presence of Navarro.
In June 2006, respondent obtained an additional loan of P1,000,000 from Navarro, covered
by a second MOA with the same terms and conditions as the first MOA. Respondent sent
Navarro, through a messenger, postdated checks drawn against an account in Bank of
Commerce, Bacolod City Branch. Respondent likewise discussed with Navarro about
securing a "Tolling Agreement" with Victorias Milling Company, Inc. but no agreement was
signed.
At the same time, respondent obtained a loan of P1,000,000 from Presbitero covered by a
third MOA, except that the real estate mortgage was over property located in Barangay
Taculing, Bacolod City. Respondent sent Presbitero postdated checks drawn against an
account in Metrobank, Bacolod City Branch.
Presbitero was dissatisfied with the value of the property mortgaged under the third MOA,
and respondent promised to execute a real estate mortgage over a 1,000-square-meter
parcel of land adjacent to the 4,000-square-meter property he mortgaged to Navarro.
However, respondent did not execute a deed for the additional security.
Respondent paid the loan interest for the first few months. He was able to pay
complainants a total of P900,000. Thereafter, he failed to pay either the principal amount
or the interest thereon. In September 2006, the checks issued by respondent to
complainants could no longer be negotiated because the accounts against which they were
drawn were already closed. When complainants called respondents attention, he promised
to pay the agreed interest for September and October 2006 but asked for a reduction of the
interest to 7% for the succeeding months.
A supplemental complaint was filed charging respondent with accepting cases while under
suspension. In response, respondent alleged that he accepted Presbiteros case in February
2006 and learned of his suspension only in May 2006.
ISSUES:
Whether or not the respondent is liable for the following acts:
(1) signing drawn checks against the account of his son as if they were from his own
account;
TAXATION II CLASS (A.Y. 2014-2015)

(2) misrepresenting to Navarro the identity of the lot he mortgaged to her;


(3) misrepresenting to Presbitero the true value of the 263-square-meter lot he mortgaged
to her;
(4) conspiring with Yulo to obtain the loans from complainants;
(5) agreeing or promising to pay 10% interest on his loans although he knew that it was
exorbitant; and
(6) failing to pay his loans because the checks he issued were dishonored as the accounts
were already closed.
RULING:
The records show that respondent violated at least four provisions of the Code of
Professional Responsibility.
Rule 1.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility provides that a lawyer shall not engage
in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct.
With respect to his client, Presbitero, it was established that respondent agreed to pay a
high interest rate on the loan he obtained from her. He drafted the MOA. Yet, when he could
no longer pay his loan, he sought to nullify the same MOA he drafted on the ground that the
interest rate was unconscionable. It was also established that respondent mortgaged a 263square-meter property to Presbitero for P1,000,000 but he later sold the property for only
P150,000, showing that he deceived his client as to the real value of the mortgaged
property. Respondents allegation that the sale was eventually rescinded did not distract
from the fact that he did not apprise Presbitero as to the real value of the property.
Respondent failed to refute that the checks he issued to his client Presbitero and to Navarro
belonged to his son, Ivan Garcia Solidum III whose name is similar to his name. The court is
inclined to agree with the IBP-CBDs finding that he made complainants believe that the
account belonged to him. In fact, respondent signed in the presence of Navarro the first
batch of checks he issued to Navarro. Respondent sent the second batch of checks to
Navarro and the third batch of checks to Presbitero through a messenger, and
complainants believed that the checks belonged to accounts in respondents name.
It is clear that respondent violated Rule 1.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. The
Court has ruled that conduct, as used in the Rule, is not confined to the performance of a
lawyers professional duties. A lawyer may be disciplined for misconduct committed either
in his professional or private capacity. The test is whether his conduct shows him to be
wanting in moral character, honesty, probity, and good demeanor, or whether it renders
him unworthy to continue as an officer of the court.
In the instant case, the loan agreements with Navarro were done in respondents private
capacity. Although Navarro financed the registration of Yulos lot, respondent and Navarro
had no lawyer-client relationship. However, respondent was Presbiteros counsel at the
time she granted him a loan. It was established that respondent misled Presbitero on the
value of the property he mortgaged as a collateral for his loan from her. To appease
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Presbitero, respondent even made a Deed of Undertaking that he would give her another
1,000-square-meter lot as additional collateral but he failed to do so.
Respondent is guilty of engaging in dishonest and deceitful conduct, both in his
professional capacity with respect to his client, Presbitero, and in his private capacity with
respect to complainant Navarro. Both Presbitero and Navarro allowed respondent to draft
the terms of the loan agreements. Respondent drafted the MOAs knowing that the interest
rates were exorbitant. Later, using his knowledge of the law, he assailed the validity of the
same MOAs he prepared. He issued checks that were drawn from his sons account whose
name was similar to his without informing complainants. Further, there is nothing in the
records that will show that respondent paid or undertook to pay the loans he obtained
from complainants.
Canon 16 and Rule 16.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility provides: A LAWYER
SHALL HOLD IN TRUST ALL MONEYS AND PROPERTIES OF HIS CLIENT THAT MAY COME
INTO HIS POSSESSION.
Rule 16.01 A lawyer shall account for all money or property collected or received
for or from the client.
The fiduciary nature of the relationship between the counsel and his client imposes on the
lawyer the duty to account for the money or property collected or received for or from his
client. The Court agrees with the IBP-CBD that respondent failed to fulfill this duty. In this
case, the IBP-CBD pointed out that respondent received various amounts from
complainants but he could not account for all of them. The respondent had been less than
diligent in accounting for the funds he received from Navarro for the registration of Yulos
property.
As regards Presbitero, it was established that the respondent had been negligent in
properly accounting for the money he received from his client, Presbitero. Indeed, his
failure to return the excess money in his possession gives rise to the presumption that he
has misappropriated it for his own use to the prejudice of, and in violation of the trust
reposed in him by the client.
Rule 16.04 of the Code of Professional Responsibility provides:
A lawyer shall not borrow money from his client unless the clients interests are
fully protected by the nature of the case or by independent advice. Neither shall a
lawyer lend money to a client except, when in the interest of justice, he has to
advance necessary expenses in a legal matter he is handling for the client.
Here, respondent does not deny that he borrowed P1,000,000 from his client Presbitero. At
the time he secured the loan, respondent was already the retained counsel of Presbitero.
Respondent violated Rule 16.04 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, which presumes
that the client is disadvantaged by the lawyers ability to use all the legal maneuverings to
renege on his obligation. In his dealings with his client Presbitero, respondent took
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advantage of his knowledge of the law as well as the trust and confidence reposed in him
by his client.
Accordingly, the Court finds Atty. Ivan M. Solidum, Jr. GUILTY of violating Rule 1.01, Canon
16, Rule 16.01, and Rule 16.04 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. The Court
DISBARS him from the practice of law effective immediately upon his receipt of this
Decision.
Furthermore, Atty. Solidum is ORDERED to return the advances he received from Hilda S.
Presbitero, amounting to P50,000, and to submit to the Office of the Bar Confidant his
compliance with this order within thirty days from finality of this Decision.
FEBRUARY 2014
1. A.C. No. 4545
February 5, 2014
CARLITO ANG, Complainant, vs. ATTY. JAMES JOSEPH GUPANA, Respondent.
Legal Ethics: Rule 9.01, Canon 7; Rule 9.01, Canon 9
FACTS:
The case stemmed from an affidavit-complaint filed by complainant Carlito Ang against
respondent. Ang alleged that he and the other heirs of the late Candelaria Magpayo, namely
Purificacion Diamante and William Magpayo, executed an Extra-judicial Declaration of
Heirs and Partition involving a land which was covered by Transfer Certificate of Title No.
(T-22409)-6433. He was given his share of 2,003 square meters designated as Lot No.
2066-B-2-B-4, together with all the improvements thereon.
However, when he tried to secure a TCT in his name, he found out that said TCT number
had already been cancelled and in lieu thereof, new TCTs had been issued in the names of
William Magpayo, Antonio Diamante, Patricia Diamante, Lolita D. Canque, Gregorio
Diamante, Jr. and Fe D. Montero.
Ang alleged that there is reasonable ground to believe that respondent had a direct
participation in the commission of forgeries and falsifications because he was the one who
prepared and notarized the Affidavit of Loss and Deed of Absolute Sale that led to the
transfer and issuance of the new TCTs. Ang pointed out that the Deed of Absolute Sale
which was allegedly executed by Candelaria Magpayo on April 17, 1989, was antedated and
Candelaria Magpayos signature was forged as clearly shown by the Certification issued by
the Office of the Clerk of Court of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Cebu since the Notarial
Report indubitably showed that the document executed was an affidavit, not a Deed of
Absolute Sale.

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As to the Affidavit of Loss, which was allegedly executed by the late Candelaria Magpayo on
April 29, 1994, it could not have been executed by her as she Died three years prior to the
execution of the said affidavit of loss.
Ang further alleged that respondent made himself the attorney-in-fact and executed a Deed
of Sale selling the lot to Lim Kim So Mecantile Co even though a civil case was pending
before the RTC of Mandaue City, Cebu.
Respondent denied any wrongdoing. According to the respondent, in the pending civil case
Ang anchored his claim on the Extra-judicial Declaration of Heirs and Partition and sought
to annul the deed of sale and prayed for reconveyance of the subject parcel of land.
However, because of Angs admission that he is not an heir of late Candelaria Magpayo, the
notice of lis pendens annotated in the title of land were ordered cancelled and the land
became available for disposition. Respondent surmised that these developments in Civil
Case No. Man-2202 meant that Ang would lose his case so Ang resorted to the filing of the
present administrative complaint. Thus, respondent prayed for the dismissal of the case for
being devoid of any factual or legal basis, or in the alternative, holding resolution of the
instant case in abeyance pending resolution of civil case.
Investigating Commissioner Navarro of the IBP Commission on Bar Discipline found that
respondent is administratively liable. She recommended that respondent be suspended
from the practice of law for three months. She held that respondent committed an
unethical act when he allowed himself to be an instrument in the disposal of the subject
property through a deed of sale executed between him as attorney-in-fact of his client and
Lim Kim So Mercantile Co. despite his knowledge that said property is the subject of a
pending litigation before the RTC of Mandaue City, Cebu.
The Investigating Commissioner additionally found that respondent "delegated the notarial
functions to the clerical staff of their office before being brought to him for his signature."
This, according to the commissioner, "must have been the reason for the forged signatures
of the parties in the questioned documentas well as the erroneous entry in his notarial
register. Respondent should not delegate to any unqualified person the performance of any
task which by law may only be performed by a member of the bar in accordance with Rule
9.0117 of the Code of Professional Responsibility.
ISSUE:
WON the respondent is administratively liable for violating the notarial law and the Code of
Professional Responsibility.
RULING:
The Court finds respondent administratively liable for violation of his notarial duties when
he failed to require the personal presence of Candelaria Magpayo. it is clear that the party
acknowledging must appear before the notary public or any other person authorized to
take acknowledgments of instruments or documents.23 In the case at bar, the jurat of the
TAXATION II CLASS (A.Y. 2014-2015)

Affidavit of Loss stated that Candelaria subscribed to the affidavit before respondent on
April 29, 1994, at Mandaue City. Candelaria, however, was already dead since March 26,
1991. Hence, it is clear that the jurat was made in violation of the notarial law.
As a lawyer commissioned as notary public, respondent is mandated to subscribe to the
sacred duties appertaining to his office, such duties being dictated by public policy
impressed with public interest. Faithful observance and utmost respect of the legal
solemnity of the oath in an acknowledgment or jurat is sacrosanct. The Code of
Professional Responsibility also commands him not to engage in unlawful, dishonest,
immoral or deceitful conduct and to uphold at all times the integrity and dignity of the legal
profession.
Respondent likewise violated Rule 9.01, Canon 9, of the Code of Professional Responsibility
which provides that "[a] lawyer shall not delegate to any unqualified person the
performance of any task which by law may only be performed by a member of the Bar in
good standing."
in notarizing an affidavit executed by a dead person, respondent is liable for misconduct.
Under the facts and circumstances of the case, the revocation of his notarial commission,
disqualification from being commissioned as a notary public for a period of two years and
suspension from the practice of law for one year are in order.
2. A.C. No. 8761
February 12, 2014
WILBERTO C. TALISIC, Complainant, vs. ATTY. PRIMO R. RINEN, Respondent.
Legal Ethics: Rules on Notarial Practice
FACTS:
An administrative case filed by complainant Wilberto C. Talisic (Wilberto) against Atty.
Primo R. Rinen1 (Atty. Rinen), charging the latter with falsification of an Extra Judicial
Partition with Sale which allowed the transfer to spouses Benjamin Durante and Eleonor
Lavifia (Spouses Durante) of a parcel of land formerly owned by Wilberto's mother, Aurora
Corpuz (Aurora). Court referred the case to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP),
Commission on Bar Discipline, for investigation, report and recommendation.
Wilberto claimed that his mother died and left behind as heirs her spouse, Celedonio
Talisic, and their three children, namely: Arlene, Wilberto and Alvin. It was only after his
fathers death on November 2, 2000 that Wilberto and his siblings knew of the transfer of
the subject parcel via the subject deed. While Wilberto believed that his fathers signature
on the deed was authentic, his and his siblings supposed signatures were merely forged.
Atty. Rinen denied the charge and explained that it was only on April 7, 1994 that he came
to know of the transaction between the Spouses Durante and the Talisics, when they
approached him in his office as the then Presiding Judge of the Municipal.
TAXATION II CLASS (A.Y. 2014-2015)

After due proceedings, Investigating Commissioner Felimon C. Abelita III (Commissioner


Abelita) issued the Report and Recommendation dated November 20, 2012 for the
cancellation of Atty. Rinens notarial commission and his suspension from notarial practice
for a period of one year.
The report indicated that per Atty. Rinens admission, the subject deed was prepared in his
office and acknowledged before him. Although there was no evidence of forgery on his part,
he was negligent in not requiring from the parties to the deed their presentation of
documents as proof of identity. Atty. Rinens failure to properly satisfy his duties as a
notary public was also shown by the inconsistencies in the dates that appear on the deed,
to wit: "1994 as to the execution; 1995 when notarized; [and] entered as Series of 1992 in
the notarial book x x x."
ISSUE:
Whether or not Atty. Rinen committed violations of his notarial duties.
RULING:
It must then be stressed that, "a notary publics function should not be trivialized and a
notary public must discharge his powers and duties which are impressed with public
interest, with accuracy and fidelity." Towards this end, the Court emphasized that "[a]
notary public should not notarize a document unless the persons who signed the same are
the very same persons who executed and personally appeared before him to attest to the
contents and truth of what are stated therein. The presence of the parties to the deed will
enable the notary public to verify the genuineness of the signature of the affiant."
In the present case, Atty. Rinen did not deny his failure to personally verify the identity of
all parties who purportedly signed the subject document and whom, as he claimed,
appeared before him on April 7, 1994. Such failure was further shown by the fact that the
pertinent details of the community tax certificates of Wilberto and his sister, as proof of
their identity, remained unspecified in the subject deeds acknowledgment portion. Clearly,
there was a failure on the part of Atty. Rinen to exercise the due diligence that was required
of him as a notary public ex-officio. The lapses he committed in relation to such function
then justified the recommendations presented by the IBP.
"Notarization is not an empty, meaningless, routinary act. It is invested with substantive
public interest, such that only those who are qualified or authorized may act as notaries
public." Thus, "notaries public must observe with utmost care the basic requirements in the
performance of their duties." Otherwise, the confidence of the public in the integrity of
public instruments would be undermined. The notarial commission of Atty. Rinen was
revoked for one year.

TAXATION II CLASS (A.Y. 2014-2015)

MARCH 2014
1. A.C. No. 10179
March 04, 2014
BENJAMIN Q. ONG, Complainant, vs. ATTY. WILLIAM F. DELOS SANTOS, Respondent.
Legal Ethics: Canon 1, Rule 1.01; Canon 7, Rule 7.03
FACTS:
Complainant Benjamin Ong was introduced to respondent Atty. William F. Delos Santos by
Sheriff Fernando Mercado of the Metropolitan Trial Court of Manila. In time, according to
Ong, Atty. Delos Santos asked him to encash his postdated check inasmuch as he was in dire
need of cash. Ong handed to Atty. Delos Santos on January 29, 2008 the amount of
P100,000.00 in exchange for the latters Metrobank Check No. 0110268 postdated
February 29, 2008.
However, the check was dishonored upon presentment because the account was closed.
Ong relayed the matter of the dishonor to Atty. Delos Santos, and demanded immediate
payment, but the latter just ignored him. When efforts to collect remained futile, Ong
brought a criminal complaint for estafa and for violation of Batas Pambansa Blg. 22 against
Atty. Delos Santos. Ong also brought this disbarment complaint against Atty. Delos Santos
in the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP), which docketed the complaint.
IBP Bar Commissioner Dela Rama stated that Ong had sufficiently established the existence
of the dishonored check; and that Atty. Delos Santos did not file his answer despite notice,
and did not also present contrary evidence. He recommended that Atty. Delos Santos be
held liable for violating Canon 1, Rule 1.01 and Canon 7, Rule 7.03 of the Code of
Professional Responsibility and that the penalty of suspension from the practice of law for
three years, plus the return of the amount of P100,000.00 to the complainant. The IBP
Board of Governors issued Resolution adopting the Commissioners recommendation.
ISSUE:
WON Atty. Delos Santos violated the Code of Professional Responsibility.
RULING:
We agree with the findings of the IBP but modify the recommended penalty. The Court
unwaveringly demands of him to remain a competent, honorable, and reliable individual in
whom the public may repose confidence. Any gross misconduct that puts his moral
character in serious doubt renders him unfit to continue in the practice of law.
His issuance of the unfunded check involved herein knowingly violated Batas Pambansa
Blg. 22, and exhibited his indifference towards the pernicious effect of his illegal act to
public interest and public order.16 He thereby swept aside his Lawyers Oath that enjoined
TAXATION II CLASS (A.Y. 2014-2015)

him to support the Constitution and obey the laws. He also took for granted the express
commands of the Code of Professional Responsibility, specifically Canon 1, Rule 1.01 and
Canon 7, Rule 7.03, to wit:
CANON 1 A LAWYER SHALL UPHOLD THE CONSTITUTION, OBEY THE LAWS OF
THE LAND AND PROMOTE RESPECT FOR THE LAW AND LEGAL PROCESSES.
Rule 1.01 A Lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful
conduct.
CANON 7 A LAWYER SHALL AT ALL TIMES UPHOLD THE INTEGRITY AND
DIGNITY OF THE LEGAL PROFESSION AND SUPPORT THE ACTIVITIES OF THE
INTEGRATED BAR.
Rule 7.03 A lawyer shall not engage in conduct that adversely reflects on his
fitness to practice law, nor shall he, whether in public or private life, behave in a
scandalous manner to the discredit of the legal profession.
These canons required of him as a lawyer an enduring high sense of responsibility and
good fidelity in all his dealings. His assuring Ong that he was in good financial standing
because of his lucrative law practice when the contrary was true manifested his intent to
mislead the latter into giving a substantial amount in exchange for his worthless post
dated check. Such actuation did not speak well of him as a member of the Bar.
Accordingly, Atty. Delos Santos was guilty of serious misconduct, warranting appropriate
administrative sanction. Noting that the criminal complaint charging him with the violation
of Batas Pambansa Blg. 22 was already dismissed, and that he already repaid to Ong the full
amount of P100,000.00,23 both of which are treated as mitigating circumstances in his
favor, we find the recommendation of the IBP Board of Governors to suspend him from the
practice of law for a period of three years harsh. Thus, we reduce the penalty to suspension
from the practice of law to six months.
2. A.C. No. 5359
March 10, 2014
ERMELINDA LAD VOA. DE DOMINGUEZ, Complainant, vs. ATTY. ARNULFO M.
AGLERON, SR., Respondent.
Legal Ethics: Rule 18.03
FACTS:
Complainant Ermelinda Dominguez (complainant) was the widow of the late Felipe
Domiguez who died in a vehicular accident in Caraga, Davao Oriental, on October 18, 1995,
involving a dump truck owned by the Municipality of Caraga. Aggrieved, complainant
decided to file charges against the Municipality of Caraga and engaged the services of
respondent Atty. Arnulfo M. Agleron, Sr. On three (3) occasions, Atty. Agleron requested
TAXATION II CLASS (A.Y. 2014-2015)

and received from complainant the following amounts for the payment of filing fees and
sheriffs fees, to wit: (1) June 3, 1996 - P3,000.00; (2) June 7, 1996 - P1,800.00; and
September 2, 1996 - P5,250.00 or a total of P10,050.00. After the lapse of four (4) years,
however, no complaint was filed by Atty. Agleron against the Municipality of Caraga.1cralla
Atty. Agleron admitted that complainant engaged his professional service and received the
amount of P10,050.00. He, however, explained that their agreement was that would pay
30% of the agreed attorneys fees of P100,000, aside from the filing fees. Atty. Agleron
averred that since the complaint could not be filed in court, the amount of P10,050.00 was
deposited in a bank while awaiting the payment of the balance of the filing fee and
attorneys fee.
Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) Board of Governors adopted and approved the
report and recommendation of the Investigating Commissioner stating that respondent
was guilty of violating the Code of Professional Responsibility when he neglected a legal
matter entrusted to him, with modification that Atty. Agleron be suspended from the
practice of law for a period of only one (1) month, instead of four months.
ISSUE:
WON Atty. Agleron is guilty of violating the Code of Professional Responsibility.
RULING:
Atty. Agleron violated Rule 18.03 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, which provides
that:
Rule 18.03-A lawyer shall not neglect a legal matter entrusted to him, and his
negligence in connection therewith shall render him liable.
Once a lawyer takes up the cause of his client, he is duty bound to serve his client with
competence, and to attend to his clients cause with diligence, care and devotion regardless
of whether he accepts it for a fee or for free. He owes fidelity to such cause and must always
be mindful of the trust and confidence reposed on him.
In the present case, Atty. Agleron admitted his failure to file the complaint against the
Municipality of Caraga, Davao Oriental, despite the fact that it was already prepared and
signed. He attributed his non-filing of the appropriate charges on the failure of complainant
to remit the full payment of the filing fee and pay the 30% of the attorneys fee. Such
justification, however, is not a valid excuse that would exonerate him from liability. He
should have found a way to speak to his client and inform him about the insufficiency of the
filing fee so he could file the complaint. Atty. Agleron obviously lacked professionalism in
dealing with complainant and showed incompetence when he failed to file the appropriate
charges. In this case, the Court finds the suspension of Atty. Agleron from the practice of
law for a period of three (3) months sufficient.

TAXATION II CLASS (A.Y. 2014-2015)

3. A.C. No. 10164


March 10, 2014
STEPHAN BRUNET and VIRGINIA ROMANILLOS BRUNET, Complainants, vs. ATTY.
RONALD L. GUAREN, Respondent.
Legal Ethics; Canon 17 and 18
FACTS:
Complainant spouses filed a case against Atty. Guaren for failure to comply with his
obligation in filing the case for the titling of complainants lot. The spouses gave P7,000 in
advance for the said service however 5 years had elapsed yet no title was issued. Moreover,
complainants alleged that despite the existence of an attorney client relationship between
them, Atty. Guaren made a special appearance against them in a case pending before the
MTCC. Atty. Guaren admitted that he charged P10,000 as acceptance fee but denied that the
amount was inclusive of expenses for the titling of the lot and that he did not commit
betrayal of trust and confidence when he participated in a case filed against the
complainants explaining that his appearance was for and in behalf of Atty. Estandante, the
counsel of record who failed to appear on the said hearing.
ISSUE:
Whether or not Atty. Guaren violated the Code of Professional Responsibility.
RULING:
Yes. The practice of law is not a business. Lawyering is not primarily meant to be a
moneymaking venture and law advocacy is not a capital that necessarily yields profits.
Canon 17 and 18 of the Code of Professional responsibility provides that a lwayer owes
fidelity to the cause of his client and that a lawyer shall serve his client with competence
and diligence, respectively. In the present case, Atty. Guaren breached his duty to serve his
client with competence and diligence when he neglected to perform his obligation to file
the case for the titling of the complainants lot despite the lapse of 5 years. Atty. Guaren is
suspended from practice of law for 6 months.
4. A.C. No. 9116
March 12, 2014
NESTOR B. FIGUERAS and BIENVENIDO VICTORIA, JR., Complainants, vs. ATTY.
DIOSDADO B. JIMENEZ, Respondent.
Legal Ethics; Canon 12 Rule 12.04; Canon 17, Canon 18 Rule 18.03
FACTS:
Sps. Federico and Victoria Santander filed a suit for damages against the Congressional
Village Homeowners Association Inc. and Ely Mabanag for building a concrete wall which
abutted their property and denied their right of way. The association was represented by
TAXATION II CLASS (A.Y. 2014-2015)

Atty. Jimenez. RTC rendered a decision in favor of the Spouses. The Associations appeal
was denied by CA on the ground that the original period to file the appellants brief had
expired 95 days before the first motion for extension was filed. Eight years later, herein
petitioners filed a complaint for disbarment against respondent for his negligence in
handling the appeal and willful violation of his duties as an officer of the court.
ISSUE:
Whether or not Atty. Jimenez can be administratively liable.
RULING:
Yes. The Court finds that respondent had been remiss in the performance of his duties as
counsel for the Association. Canon 12 of the Code of Professional Responsibility exhorts
every member of the Bar not to unduly delay a case. Canon 18 also states that a lawyer
shall serve his client with competence and diligence. His allegation that he was merely the
supervising lawyer and the fault lies with the handling lawyer is belied by the records
particularly in the Urgent Motion for Extension which he himself signed on behalf of the
law firm. Thus, it is clear that respondent was personally in charge of the case. A failure to
file brief for his client certainly constitutes inexcusable negligence on his part. Atty. Jimenez
is suspended from practice of law for 1 month.
5. A.C. No. 10185
March 12, 2014
LICERIO DIZON, Complainant, vs. ATTY. MARCELINO CABUCANA, JR., Respondent.
Legal Ethics; Canon 1 and Notarial Law
FACTS:
Complainant Dizon filed a case for disbarment against Atty. Cabucana on the ground of
falsification of public document. Dizon was one of the would be buyers of a parcel of land
subject of a litigation. A compromise agreement was entered into by the parties in the said
case and notarized before Atty. Cabucana. At the hearing, signatories testified that they
signed the instrument in the court room but not in the presence of Atty. Cabucana. Because
of the irregularity in the execution of the agreement, there was undue delay which caused
damage and injury to the complainant.
ISSUE:
Whether or not Atty. Cabucana violated the Notarial Law and Canon 1 of the Code of
Professional Responsibility when he notarized that compromise agreement without the
presence of all the parties.

TAXATION II CLASS (A.Y. 2014-2015)

RULING:
Yes. The affiants personal appearance is required under the Notarial Law and the Rules on
Notarial Practice of 2004. As a notary public, Atty. Cabucana should not notarize a
document unless the person who signs it is the same person executing it and personally
appearing before him to attest the truth of its contents. Atty. Cabucana is suspended for 3
months and his incumbent notarial commission revoked and hereby prohibited from being
commissioned as a notary public for 2 years.
6. A.C. No. 5329
March 18, 2014
HEINZ R. HECK, Complainant, vs. CITY PROSECUTOR CASIANO A. GAMOTIN, JR.,
Respondent.
Legal Ethics
FACTS:
Heinz Heck filed a complaint for disbarment against then City Prosecutor Gamotin on the
ground of faulty, highly improper, suspicious, anomalous and unlawful practice by
respondent who had obstructed justice by delaying cases and disregarding court
procedures, and displayed favor towards Atty. Adazam his business partners and friends.
The following acts allegedly committed by City Prosecutor Gamotin are as follows:
1. Pending complaints against a certain Cabrera filed by Heck were dismissed by the
OCP several times;
2. City Prosecutor held a private meeting with Atty. Adaza, the counsel for Hecks
opponent;
3. At one time, he acted furiously by kicking the chair holding the door to his office
open and slamming the door, almost hitting the face of Hecks friend;
4. For entertaining Atty. Adaza who was suspended from practice by the Supreme
Court; and,
5. For arrogantly claiming and screaming at Heck that he is the Authority and the Law.
ISSUE:
Whether or not City Prosecutor Gamotin could be disbarred for the aforementioned
conduct.
RULING:
No. Disbarment is the most severe form of disciplinary sanction against a misbehaving
member of the Bar which is only imposed for the most imperative reasons and in cases of
clear misconduct affecting the standing and moral character of the lawyer. A lawyer like the
respondent is not to be sanctioned for every perceived misconduct or wrong actuation. It is
the burden of proof of the complainant to properly show that the assailed conduct or
actuation constituted a breach of norms of professional conduct and legal ethics which, in
TAXATION II CLASS (A.Y. 2014-2015)

this case, was not sufficiently established. The private meeting between the Prosecutor and
Atty. Adaza did not by itself indicate any illegal or corrupt activity. Moreover, the
Prosecutors angry reactions is but a natural response to Hecks disrespectful remark
against the Philippine authorities in general. Gamotins actuations were not shown to be
impelled by any bad motive, or had amounted to any breach of any canon of professional
conduct or legal ethics. Complaint for disbarment is dismissed.
7. A.C. No. 3405
March 18, 2014
JULIETA B. NARAG, Complainant, vs. ATTY. DOMINADOR M. NARAG, Respondent.
Legal Ethics: Readmission to the Bar
FACTS:
On November 13, 1989, Julieta B. Narag filed an administrative complaint for disbarment
against her husband, herein respondent, whom she accused of having violated Rule 1.01 in
relation to Canons 1 and 6 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. She claimed that the
respondent, who was then a college instructor in St. Louis College of Tuguegarao and a
member of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Cagayan, maintained an amorous relationship
with a certain Gina Espita, a 17year old first year college student. Julieta further claimed
that the respondent had already abandoned her and their children to live with Gina. The
respondent denied the charge against him, claiming that the allegations set forth by Julieta
were mere fabrications; that Julieta was just extremely jealous, which made her concoct
stories against him.
On June 29, 1998, the Court rendered a Decision, which directed the disbarment of the
respondent. Court pointed out that the respondent had breached the high and exacting
moral standards set for members of the legal profession.
A Motion for the Reopening of the Administrative Investigation, or in the Alternative,
Reconsideration of the Decision was filed by the respondent. Finding no substantial
arguments to warrant the reversal of the questioned decision, the Court denied the motion
with finality.
On November 29, 2013, the respondent filed the instant petition for reinstatement to the
Bar. The respondent alleged that he has expressed extreme repentance and remorse to his
wife and their children for his misgivings. He claimed that his wife Julieta and their children
had already forgiven him on June 10, 2010. The respondent presented an undated affidavit
prepared by his son, Dominador, Jr., purportedly attesting to the truth of the respondents
claim.
ISSUE:
Whether or not the applicant should be reinstated.
TAXATION II CLASS (A.Y. 2014-2015)

RULING:
"Whether the applicant shall be reinstated in the Roll of Attorneys rests to a great extent on
the sound discretion of the Court. The action will depend on whether or not the Court
decides that the public interest in the orderly and impartial administration of justice will
continue to be preserved even with the applicants reentry as a counselor at law. The
applicant must, like a candidate for admission to the bar, satisfy the Court that he is a
person of good moral character, a fit and proper person to practice law. The Court will take
into consideration the applicants character and standing prior to the disbarment, the
nature and character of the charge/s for which he was disbarred, his conduct subsequent
to the disbarment, and the time that has elapsed between the disbarment and the
application for reinstatement.
The respondents pleas are mere words that are hollow and bereft of any substance. The
Court, in deciding whether the respondent should indeed be readmitted to the practice of
law, must be convinced that he had indeed been reformed; that he had already rid himself
of any grossly immoral act which would make him inept for the practice of law. However, it
appears that the respondent, while still legally married to Julieta, is still living with his
paramour the woman for whose sake he abandoned his family. This only proves to show
that the respondent has not yet learned from his prior misgivings.
That he was supposedly forgiven by his wife and their children would likewise not be
sufficient ground to grant respondents plea. It is noted that only his son, Dominador, Jr.,
signed the affidavit which was supposed to evidence the forgiveness bestowed upon the
respondent. Thus, with regard to Julieta and the six other children of the respondent, the
claim that they had likewise forgiven the respondent is hearsay. In any case, that the family
of the respondent had forgiven him does not discount the fact that he is still committing a
grossly immoral conduct; he is still living with a woman other than his wife.
Likewise, that the respondent executed a holographic will wherein he bequeaths all his
properties to his wife and their children is quite immaterial and would not be
demonstrative that he had indeed changed his ways. Verily, nothing would stop the
respondent from later on executing another last will and testament of a different tenor
once he had been readmitted to the legal profession.
In fine, the Court is not convinced that the respondent had shown remorse over his
transgressions and that he had already changed his ways as would merit his reinstatement
to the legal profession. Time and again the Court has stressed that the practice of law is not
a right but a privilege. It is enjoyed only by those who continue to display unassailable
character.

TAXATION II CLASS (A.Y. 2014-2015)

8. A.C. No. 9896


March 19, 2014
MA. ELENA CARLOS NEBREJA, Petitioner, vs. ATTY. BENJAMIN REONAL, Respondent.
Legal Ethics Rule 18.03, Canon 18 of the Code of Professional Responsibility
FACTS:
On June 26, 2006, complainant filed before the Commission on Bar Discipline (CBP) of the
Integrated Bar of the Philippines against respondent. Complainant alleged that she engaged
respondent's services to file her petition for annulment. After paying respondent, however,
complainant did not receive any word from him as to the status of her petition for
annulment. She was told that her petition was dismissed for lack of evidence. He then
again asked for sums of money.
Complainant again, despite respondents receipt of sums of money, failed to receive any
update from respondent. Complainant met with respondent to secure copies of her
annulment case file. Respondent merely handed to her photocopies of her marriage
contract and her childrens birth certificates. When she asked for copies of her case files, he
just told her that his law office could not let her use the pleadings of the case.
Complainant checked her records and found respondents demand letter bearing the
address of his claimed law office, "18/f Century Towers Building, Legaspi St. corner de la
Rosa, Makati." When complainant tried to look for the said office, she discovered that there
was no such building. She also found respondents calling card bearing the address, "86
Magat Salamat Street, Project 4, Quezon City," which, complainant found out, was
respondents residential address. These and other circumstances made complainant
suspect that he did not file any petition for annulment at all.
In his answer and position paper, respondent denied having been engaged by complainant
to handle her petition for annulment and having been paid therefor. Respondent averred
that complainant did not engage him to be her lawyer because she was unemployed and
could not afford his legal services.
CBD found that respondent was liable for inexcusable negligence for failing to file her
petition for annulment, found that indeed, respondent used a fictitious office address to
deceive complainant and recommended his suspension from the practice of law and
ordered him to return the amounts taken from the complainant.
ISSUE:
Whether or not respondent is liable.
RULING:
Yes. Despite the engagement of his services, respondent did not file the contracted petition.
His conduct, as held in Vda. De Enriquez v. San Jose, 7 amounted to inexcusable negligence.
This was found to be contrary to the mandate prescribed in Rule 18.03, Canon 18 of the
TAXATION II CLASS (A.Y. 2014-2015)

Code of Professional Responsibility, which enjoined a lawyer not to neglect a legal matter
entrusted to him.
Rule 18.03, Canon 18 of the Code of Professional Responsibility provides for the rule on
negligence and states:
Rule 18.03 - A lawyer shall not neglect a legal matter entrusted to him and his
negligence in connection therewith shall render him liable.
This Court has consistently held, in construing this Rule, that the mere failure of the lawyer
to perform the obligations due to the client is considered per se a violation. 8 Thus, a lawyer
was held to be negligent when he failed to do anything to protect his client's interest after
receiving his acceptance fee.9 In another case,10 this Court has penalized a lawyer for failing
to inform the client of the status of the case, among other matters. In another instance, for
failure to take the appropriate actions in connection with his client's case, the lawyer was
suspended from the practice of law for a period of six months and was required to render
accounting of all the sums he received from his client.
In this case, respondent clearly received his acceptance fee, among others, and then
completely neglected his clients cause. Moreover, he failed to inform complainant of the
true status of the petition. His act of receiving money as acceptance fee for legal services in
handling the complainant's case and, subsequently, failing to render the services, was a
clear violation of Canon 18 of the Code of Professional Responsibility.
9. A.C. No. 7961
March 19, 2014
ATTY. CLODUALDO C. DE JESUS, Complainant, vs. ATTY. ALICIA A. RISOS
VIDAL, Respondent.
Legal Ethics: Rule 138 Section 27, Rules of Court
FACTS:
The present administrative case stemmed from Civil Case where De Jesus acted as counsel
for the defendant Susan F. Torres. Regional Trial Court issued a decision approving the
compromise agreement of the parties in the civil case. De Jesus filed an omnibus motion to
compel Torres to pay his success fees and to sell some of Torres properties, the certificates
of title of which were still with De Jesus. Torres filed an administrative complaint against
De Jesus before the IBPCBD, alleging that De Jesus refused to return her certificates of title
despite already paying attorneys fees.
In the meantime, RisosVidal became the new counsel of Torres in the civil case and she
filed a comment to De Jesus motion. The comment stated that De Jesus already received
more than what he was entitled as attorneys fees, and still he refused to return Torres
certificates of title despite the termination of his services. De Jesus filed his
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manifestation/compliance in the civil case, attaching Torres certificates of title and


conditioning their release upon the payment of his success fees.
In compliance with the order of RisosVidal, De Jesus filed his answer . In his answer, De
Jesus alleged that the subject matter of the complaint was sub judice because of the civil
case, and RisosVidal took advantage of her position as Director of the IBPCBD by actually
preparing the complaint against him and by issuing an order the next day. Torres filed her
reply alleging that Atty. Solomon L. Condenuevo prepared her complaint against De Jesus,
and not RisosVidal. Atty. Anthony L. Po and Atty. Jose Paolo C. Armas entered their
appearances as counsels for Torres in the complaint against De Jesus before the IBPCBD.
De Jesus filed this present administrative complaint before the Court accusing RisosVidal
of gross misconduct, dishonesty and gross unethical behavior under Rule 138, Section 27 of
the Rules of Court. In this present administrative complaint, De Jesus alleged that Risos
Vidal actually prepared the following: (1) Torres complaint against him; (2) reply; and (3)
the supplemental and/or amended complaint, which were then filed before her IBPCBD
office. RisosVidal allegedly converted the issue in the civil case into an administrative
complaint against him, and used Po and Armas in filing the supplemental and/or amended
complaint. According to De Jesus, RisosVidal used her position as Director of IBPCBD to
enhance her private practice.
In a comment, RisosVidal denied any participation in the complaint filed against De Jesus.
RisosVidal alleged that De Jesus failed to present evidence to support his accusations,
while she attached Torres affidavit stating that: (1) Condenuevo prepared her complaint
against De Jesus; (2) even before retaining RisosVidals services to defend her in the civil
case, she already retained Condenuevo to file her complaint against De Jesus; and (3) when
she could no longer contact Condenuevo, she asked Po, her previous lawyer, to assist her in
preparing her supplemental and/or amended complaint.
In a reply, De Jesus alleged that there were similarities in contents, style and computer
used between the pleadings submitted by Torres with the IBPCBD and those filed by
RisosVidal in the civil case. In a Resolution the Court, through the First Division, referred
this case to the IBP for investigation, report and recommendation.
IBP Commissioner Salvador B. Hababag stated that both De Jesus and RisosVidal appeared
during the mandatory conference. They agreed that admissions and stipulations shall be
limited to the pleadings already filed.
In a Report and Recommendation dated 6 July 2009, Commissioner Hababag recommended
that the administrative complaint against RisosVidal be dismissed for lack of merit. He
found that De Jesus had not only failed to show sufficient proof in support of his claim, but
RisosVidal also rebutted his accusation with preponderant evidence.
In a Resolution IBP Board of Governors adopted and approved Commissioner Hababags
report and recommendation dismissing the case.
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N. B. CBD Director Alicia A. RisosVidal stepped out of the room and took no part on the
discussion of this case considering that she is the respondent in this case.
IBP Board of Governors likewise denied the motion for reconsideration filed by De Jesus
since the Board found no cogent reason to reverse its initial findings.
Hence, De Jesus filed this petition.
ISSUE:
Whether or not IBP Board of Governors erred in adopting and approving Hababags report
and recommendation dismissing the case.
RULING:
We sustain the findings and recommendations of the IBP Board of Governors.
As a rule, an attorney enjoys the legal presumption that he is innocent of the charges
against him until the contrary is proved. The burden of proof in disbarment and suspension
proceedings always rests on the complainant. Considering the serious consequence of
disbarment or suspension of a member of the Bar, this Court has consistently held that
clear preponderant evidence is necessary to justify the imposition of administrative
penalty. Preponderance of evidence means that the evidence adduced by one side is, as a
whole, superior to or has greater weight than that of the other. Thus, not only does the
burden of proof that the respondent committed the act complained of rests on complainant,
but the burden is not satisfied when complainant relies on mere assumptions and
suspicions as evidence.
In the present case, we find that De Jesus failed to discharge the burden of proving Risos
Vidals administrative liability by clear preponderance of evidence. Except for his
allegations, De Jesus did not present any proof to substantiate his claim that RisosVidal
used her position as Director of the IBPCBD to enhance her law practice.
Under the Rules of the IBPCBD, within two (2) days from receipt of the verified complaint,
the IBPCBD shall issue the required summons, stating that the respondent has fifteen (15)
days from receipt within which to file his answer. As Director of the IBPCBD, RisosVidal
merely complied with the rules when after the IBPCBD received the complaint against De
Jesus, she ordered him to answer the complaint. RisosVidal issued the order to De Jesus in
a ministerial capacity, with no discretion, and even before she became the new counsel of
Torres in the civil case.
The Rules of the IBPCBD further provide that after receiving the answer of the
respondent, the case shall be assigned by raffle to an Investigating Commissioner. The
Investigating Commissioner shall then set a mandatory conference, direct the submission
of position papers, conduct clarification questioning, and submit his report and
recommendation to the IBP Board of Governors. Every case heard by the Investigating
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Commissioner shall thereafter be reviewed by the IBP Board of Governors.In the present
case, the Investigating Commissioner assigned to the complaint against De Jesus was not
RisosVidal, but Commissioner Eduardo V. De Mesa.
Thus, RisosVidal could not have used her position as Director of IBPCBD against De Jesus.
The Rules further provide that it is the IBP Board of Governors, by majority vote of its total
membership, which determines whether respondent should be recommended for
suspension from the practice of law or for disbarment.
On the other hand, De Jesus insisted that RisosVidal acted as Torres counsel in the
complaint filed against him because the pleadings filed by RisosVidal in the civil case are
similar in contents, style, and computer used with the complaint against him. Clearly, De
Jesus claims are anchored on mere assumptions and suspicions, and not backed by clear
preponderant evidence necessary to justify the imposition of administrative penalty on
RisosVidal.
De Jesus cannot likewise shift the burden of proof to RisosVidal by asking her to present
the testimonies of Condenuevo, Po and Armas. It is axiomatic that he who alleges an act has
the onus of proving it.
Considering that De Jesus failed to discharge the burden of proof to justify the imposition of
administrative penalty against RisosVidal, we dismiss this complaint.
APRIL 2014
-xxxMAY 2014
-xxxJUNE 2014
1. A.C. No. 9317
June 04, 2014
ADELIA V. QUIACHON, Complainant, vs. ATTY. JOSEPH ADOR A. RAMOS, Respondent.
Legal Ethics: Canon Rules 18.03 and 18.04 of the Code of Professional Responsibility
FACTS:
The respondent represented complainant, who was then the plaintiff in a labor case filed
before the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) and in a special proceeding case
filed before the Regional Trial Court (RTC). Complainant charges respondent with gross
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negligence and deceit in violation of Canon Rules 18.03 and 18.04 of the Code of
Professional Responsibility.
The respondent on several occasions failed to update the complainant of the status of the
case preventing the client from exercising her options as the decision of the cases had
become final and Entry of Judgment of the decision were already made.
In his Comment, respondent averred that complainant was informed of the status of the
case. He claimed that he had told complainant that he cannot cite any error of law or abuse
of discretion on the part of the Court of Appeals decision that necessitates a Petition for
Review with the Supreme Court; thus, he supposedly advised her to respect the decision
of the Court of Appeals. Respondent prayed that a Decision be rendered dismissing the
instant disbarment Complaint for lack of merit.
In a Resolution the Court referred the case to the IBP for investigation, report, and
recommendation. During the pendency of the proceedings, complainant filed a Motion to
Withdraw Complaint.
In his Report and Recommendation, IBP Commissioner Hector B. Almeyda declared:
True enough, it seems clear that respondent had been remiss in failing to update
complainant in what had happened to the cases being handled by respondent in
behalf of complainant. There was a failure to inform complainant (the client) of the
status of the cases that thereafter prevented the client from exercising her options.
There was neglect in that regard.
However, in spite of finding neglect on respondents part, he recommended the dismissal of
the case against him, stating that with the decision to withdraw the complaint, there does
not appear basis to go ahead with the proceedings since without the complaint, there will
be no basis to make any finding of liability.
Resolution was passed by the Board of Governors of the IBP resolving to adopt and
approve the Report and Recommendation of Almeydato dismiss the case with a warning
that a repetition of the same act shall be dealt with more severely.
ISSUE:
Whether or not the IBP Board of Directors erred in supporting the stance of Almeyda.
RULING:
Yes. This Court finds this to be an opportune time to remind the investigating
commissioners and the members of the Board of Governors of the IBP that the withdrawal
of a disbarment case against a lawyer does not terminate or abate the jurisdiction of the
IBP and of this Court to continue an administrative proceeding against a lawyerrespondent as a member of the Philippine Bar.
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The IBP Board of Governors should not have supported Almeydas stance.
The complainant in a disbarment case is not a direct party to the case, but a witness who
brought the matter to the attention of the Court. There is neither a plaintiff nor a
prosecutor in disciplinary proceedings against lawyers. The real question for
determination in these proceedings is whether or not the attorney is still a fit person to be
allowed the privileges of a member of the bar. Public interest is the primary objective.
In this case, the IBP found that respondent violated Canon Rules 18.03 and 18.04 of the
Code of Professional Responsibility. Thus, it should have imposed the appropriate penalty
despite the desistance of complainant or the withdrawal of the charges.
The failure of respondent to file an appeal without any justifiable reason deserves sanction.
Lawyers who disagree with the pursuit of an appeal should properly withdraw their
appearance and allow their client to retain another counsel.
In the present case, respondent failed not only to keep the client informed of the status of
the case, but also to avail of the proper legal remedy that would promote the clients cause.
It is clear that respondent neglected the case entrusted to him.
All lawyers owe fidelity to their client's cause. Regardless of their personal views, they
must present every remedy or defense within the authority of the law in support of that
cause. Whenever lawyers take on their clients cause/s, they covenant that they will
exercise due diligence in protecting the clients rights; their failure to exercise that degree
of vigilance and attention expected of a good father of a family makes them unworthy of the
trust reposed in them by their client/s and make them answerable to the client, the courts
and society.
Respondent is found guilty of negligence and is suspended for a period of 6 months.
2. A.C. No. 9881
June 4, 2014
ATTY. ALAN F. PAGUIA, Petitioner, vs. ATTY. MANUEL T. MOLINA, Respondent.
Legal Ethics; Canon 15; Rule 15.05
FACTS:
The case involves a conflict between neighbors in a four-unit compound named "Times
Square" at Times Street, Quezon City. The Mr. And Mrs. Wilson Lim, clients of Atty. Molina,
entered into a contract covered by a document titled "Times Square Preamble," establishes
a set of internal rules for the neighbors on matters such as the use of the common right of
way to the exit gate, assignment of parking areas, and security with the other unit owners.
Mr. Abreu, the client of complainant, Atty. Paguia, was not a party to the contract since the
former did not agree with the terms concerning the parking arrangements.
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On 4 February 2010, Atty. Paguia filed a Complaint for Dishonesty with the IBP Commission
on Bar Discipline against Atty. Molina for allegedly giving legal advice to the latters clients
to the effect that the Times Square Preamble was binding on Mr. Abreu, who was never a
party to the contract. In his Answer, Atty. Molina downplayed the case as a petty quarrel
among neighbors. He maintained that the Times Square Preamble was entered into for
purposes of maintaining order in the residential compound. All homeowners, except Mr.
Abreu, signed the document.
On 3 August 2010, Investigating Commissioner Victor C. Fernandez recommended
dismissal for lack of merit, based on the following grounds: 1) the complaint consisted only
of bare allegations; and 2) even assuming that respondent Molina gave an erroneous legal
advice, he could not be held accountable in the absence of proof of malice or bad faith.
On 14 May 2011, the IBP Board of Governors passed a Resolution adopting and approving
the Report and Recommendation of the Investigating Commissioner. Atty. Paguia filed a
Motion for Reconsideration dated 2 August 2011, but was denied by the IBP Board of
Governors on 29 December 2012.
ISSUE:
WON Atty. Molina should be administratively dismissed for dishonesty.
RULING:
The Supreme Court in dismissing the complaint held that when it comes to administrative
cases against lawyers, two things are to be considered: quantum of proof, which requires
clearly preponderant evidence; and burden of proof, which is on the complainant. Here, the
complaint was without factual basis. The allegation of giving legal advice was not
substantiated in this case, either in the complaint or in the corresponding hearings. Bare
allegations are not proof. Even if Atty. Molina did provide his clients legal advice, he still
cannot be held administratively liable without any showing that his act was attended with
bad faith or malice. The default rule is presumption of good faith.
3. A.C. No. 10378
June 9, 2014
JOSE FRANCISCO T. BAENS, Complainant, vs. ATTY. JONATHAN T. SEMPIO,
Respondent.
Legal Ethics; Canons 15, 17, 18; Rule 18.03
FACTS:
The complainant engaged the services of the respondent to represent him and file a case
for Declaration of Nullity of Marriage against his wife, Lourdes V. Mendiola-Baens. In his
complaint-affidavit, the complainant alleged, among others, that the respondent: (1)
despite receiving the amount to cover for the expenses in the said case, failed to file the
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corresponding petition;(2) even with the complainant furnishing him a copy of the
Summons belatedly filed an Answer and was able to file it only after the 15-day period
stated in the Summons; (3) failed to make an objection on the petition on the ground of
improper venue as neither the complainant nor his wife were and are residents of
Dasmarias, Cavite; (4) never bothered to check the status of the case and thus failed to
discover and attend all the hearings set for the case; and (5) as a result, the case was
decided on October 27, 2009 without the complainant being able to present his evidence.
In his Answer, the respondent denied the allegations in the complaint. In the mandatory
conference held before the IBP-CBD only the complainant appeared; thus, the respondent
was declared as having waived his right to further participate in the IBP proceedings.
The Investigating Commissioner finds that the respondent is guilty of violation of the Code
and recommended that the respondent be suspended for six (6) months from the practice
of law. Specifically, the Investigating Commissioner found that the respondent failed to
diligently attend to the case and was grossly negligent in discharging his responsibilities
considering the fact that he has already been fully compensated.
On June 22, 2013, the IBP Board of Governors resolved to adopt and approve the
Investigating Commissioners report but deemed it proper to increase the recommended
period of suspension from six (6) months to one (1) year.14 On February 14, 2014, the IBPCBD transmitted the notice of the resolution and the case records to the Court for final
action pursuant to Rule 139-B of the Rules of Court.15
ISSUE:
WON Atty. Sempio should be suspended from the practice of law.
RULING:
The relationship between a lawyer and his client is one imbued with utmost trust and
confidence. In this regard, clients are led to expect that lawyers would be ever-mindful of
their cause and accordingly exercise the required degree of diligence in handling their
affairs. For his part, the lawyer is expected to maintain at all times a high standard of legal
proficiency, and to devote his full attention, skill, and competence to the case, regardless of
its importance and whether he accepts it for a fee or for free. Lawyering is not a business; it
is a profession in which duty of public service, not money, is the primary consideration.
Evidently, the acts of the respondent plainly demonstrated his lack of candor, fairness, and
loyalty to his client as embodied in Canon 15 of the Code. A lawyer who performs his duty
with diligence and candor not only protects the interest of his client; he also serves the
ends of justice, does honor to the bar, and helps maintain the respect of the community to
the legal profession.
Clearly, it cannot be doubted that the respondent violated Canon 17, and Rule 18.03 of
Canon 18 of the Code which states that "a lawyer owes fidelity to the cause of his client and
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he shall be mindful of the trust and confidence reposed in him." It further mandates that "a
lawyer shall serve his client with competence and diligence," and that "a lawyer shall not
neglect a legal matter entrusted to him, and his negligence in connection therewith shall
render him liable." Thus, for the respondents negligence and inadequacies in handling his
clients case, the recommendation of the IBP to suspend the respondent from the practice
of law is well-taken. While the IBP Board of Governors increased the period of suspension
to one year, the Court finds the period of six months as recommended by the Investigating
Commissioner commensurate to the facts of the case.
ACCORDINGLY, the Court AFFIRMS with MODIFICATION the Resolution dated June 22,
2013 of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines Board of Governors in CBD Case No. 10-2673.
The Court hereby SUSPENDS Atty. Jonathan T. Sempio from the practice of law for SIX (6)
MONTHS.
4. A.C. No. 7676
June 10, 2014
AMADO T. DIZON, Complainant, vs. ATTY. NORLITA DE TAZA, Respondent.
Legal Ethics; Canon 16; Rule 16.01
FACTS:
Amado Dizon alleged that he, along with his siblings, engaged the services of Romero De
Taza Cruz and Associates to represent them in a case. The complainant claimed that Atty.
De Taza demanded the sum of Seventy-Five Thousand Pesos (P75,000.00) from him to
expedite the proceedings before the Court. This amount was over and above the parties
stipulated retainer fee as evidenced by a contract.
According to the complainant, unknown to him at that time was that, a month earlier, Atty.
De Taza had already demanded and received a total of Eight Hundred Thousand Pesos
(P800,000.00) from his sibling Aurora Dizon, for the same reason that Atty. De Taza
proffered to him, which was to expedite the proceedings of their case before the Court.
Handwritten receipts signed by one Atty. Norlita De Taza were submitted by the
complainant.
In 2007, the complainant went to this Court in Padre Faura, Manila and learned that the
Court had already denied the petition on November 20, 2006, contrary to Atty. De Tazas
representations that the case was still pending. He tried to communicate with Atty. De
Taza, but she could no longer be found. Thereafter, the complainant instituted a complaint
for disbarment against Atty. De Taza. He also attached several affidavits and documents
from other individuals who attested that Atty. De Taza issued bouncing checks and/or
failed to pay off her debts to them.
In its Report and Recommendation dated January 4,2011, the IBP Commission on Bar
Discipline recommended that Atty. De Taza be suspended for a period of two years from
the practice of law. The IBP Board of Governors modified the Commission on Bar
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Disciplines recommendation in a Resolution in which Atty. Norlita De Taza is SUSPENDED


from the practice of law for one (1) year.
ISSUE:
WON Atty. De Taza should be held administratively liable for issuing bouncing checks and
demanding and/or receiving money from her clients under the guise of having the
proceedings before the court expedited.
RULING:
"In administrative proceedings, only substantial evidence is required." Based on the
documentary evidence submitted by the complainant, it appears that Atty. De Taza
manifested a propensity for borrowing money, issuing bouncing checks and incurring
debts which she left unpaid without any reason. Such conduct, while already off-putting
when attributed to an ordinary person, is much more abhorrent when the same is
exhibited by a member of the Bar. As a lawyer, Atty. De Taza must remember that she is not
only a symbol but also an instrument of justice, equity and fairness. It was held that the
issuance of checks which were later dishonored for having been drawn against a closed
account indicates a lawyers unfitness for the trust and confidence reposed on her. It shows
a lack of personal honesty and good moral character as to render her unworthy of public
confidence.
Atty. De Tazas actuations towards the complainant and his siblings were even worse as she
had the gall to make it appear to the complainant that the proceedings before the Court can
be expedited and ruled in their favor in exchange for an exorbitant amount of money. Said
scheme was employed by Atty. De Taza just to milk more money from her clients. Without a
doubt, Atty. De Tazas actions are reprehensible and her greed more than apparent when
she even used the name of the Court to defraud her client.
When a lawyer receives money from the client for a particular purpose, the lawyer is bound
to render an accounting to the client showing that the money was spent for that particular
purpose. And if he does not use the money for the intended purpose, the lawyer must
immediately return the money to his client. In this case, the purpose for which Atty. De
Taza demanded money is baseless and non-existent. Thus, her demand should not have
even been made in the first place.
Section 27, Rule 138 of the Revised Rules of Court provides for the disbarment or
suspension of a lawyer for any of the following: (1) deceit; (2) malpractice; (3) gross
misconduct in office; (4) grossly immoral conduct; (5) conviction of a crime involving
moral turpitude; (6) violation of the lawyers oath; (7) willful disobedience of any lawful
order of a superior court; and (8) willfully appearing as an attorney for a party without
authority to do so.

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All told, the Court holds that there is no reason to deviate from the report and
recommendation of the IBP Commission on Bar Discipline which is to suspend Atty. De
Taza from the practice of law for two years.
5. A.C. No. 6677
JUNE 10, 2014
EUPROCINA I. CRISOSTOMO, MARILYN L. SOLIS, EVELYN MARQUIZO, ROSEMARIE
BALATUCAN, MILDRED BATANG, MARILEN MINERALES, and MELINDA D. SIOTING,
Complainants, vs. ATTY. PHILIP z. A. NAZARENO, Respondent.
Legal Ethics; Canon 1; Rule 1.01; Canon 10
FACTS:
Sometime in 2001, complainants individually purchased housing units from Rudex
International Development Corp. (Rudex). In view of several inadequacies and construction
defects in the housing units and the subdivision itself, complainants sought the rescission
of their respective contracts to sell before the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board
(HLURB), seeking the refund of the monthly amortizations they had paid. Rudex was
represented by Atty. Nazareno. Judgments of default were eventually rendered against
Rudex in the first batch of rescission cases. Sometime in August 2003, Rudex filed three (3)
petitions for review before the HLURB assailing the same. In the certifications against
forum shopping attached to the said petitions, Rudex, through its President Ruben P. Baes,
and legal counsel Atty. Nazareno, stated that it has not commenced or has knowledge of
any similar action or proceeding involving the same issues pending before any court,
tribunal or agency this, notwithstanding the fact that Rudex, under the representation of
Atty. Nazareno, previously filed an ejectment case on September 9, 2002 against Sioting
and her husband, Rodrigo Sioting (Sps. Sioting).On January 29, 2004, Rudex, again
represented by Atty. Nazareno, filed another complaint against Sps. Sioting before the
HLURB for the rescission of their contract to sell and the latters ejectment, similar to its
pending September 9, 2002 ejectment complaint. Yet, in the certification against forum
shopping attached thereto Rudex declared that it has not commenced or is not aware of
any action or proceeding involving the same issues pending before any court, tribunal or
agency. The said certification was notarized by Atty. Nazareno himself.
On April 1, 2004, six (6) similar complaints for rescission of contracts to sell and ejectment,
plus damages for non-payment of amortizations due, were filed by Atty. Nazareno, on
behalf of Rudex, against the other complainants before the HLURB. The certifications
against forum shopping attached thereto likewise stated that Rudex has not commenced or
has any knowledge of any similar pending action before any court, tribunal or agency. On
February 21, 2005, complainants jointly filed the present administrative complaint for
disbarment against Atty. Nazareno, claiming that in the certifications against forum
shopping attached to the complaints for rescission and ejectment of Rudex filed while Atty.
Nazareno was its counsel, the latter made false declarations therein that no similar actions
or proceedings have been commenced by Rudex or remained pending before any other
court, tribunal or agency when, in fact, similar actions or proceedings for rescission had
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been filed by herein complainants before the HLURB against Rudex and Atty. Nazareno, and
an ejectment complaint was filed by Rudex, represented by Atty. Nazareno, against Sps.
Sioting. In addition, complainants asserted that Atty. Nazareno committed malpractice as a
notary public since he only assigned one (1) document number (i.e., Doc. No. 1968) in all
the certifications against forum shopping that were separately attached to the six (6) April
1, 2004 complaints for rescission and ejectment. Despite notice, Atty. Nazareno failed to file
his comment and refute the administrative charges against him.
In the interim, the HLURB, in the Resolutions dated April 14, 200524 and May 12, 2005,25
dismissed Rudexs complaints for rescission and ejectment on the ground that its
statements in the certifications against forum shopping attached thereto were false due to
the existence of similar pending cases in violation of Section 5, Rule 7 of the Rules of Court.
The IBPs Investigating Commissioner recommended the suspension of Atty. Nazareno for a
period of six (6) months for his administrative violations. The Investigating Commissioner
found, among others, that there were unassailable proofs that the certification against
forum shopping attached to Rudexs ejectment complaint against Sps. Sioting had been
erroneously declared. Investigating Commissioner observed that Atty. Nazareno cannot
claim innocence of his omission since he was not only Rudexs counsel but the notarizing
officer as well. Having knowingly made false entries in the subject certifications against
forum shopping, the Investigating Commissioner recommended that Atty. Nazareno be
held administratively liable and thereby penalized with six (6) months suspension.
In a Resolution30 dated April 15, 2013, the IBP Board of Governors adopted and approved
the Investigating Commissioners Report and Recommendation, but modified the
recommended penalty from a suspension of six (6) months to only one (1) month.
ISSUE:
WON Atty. Nazareno should be held administratively liable and accordingly suspended for
a period of one (1) month.
RULING:
The Court affirms the IBPs findings with modification as to the penalty imposed. Under
Section 5, Rule 7 of the Rules of Court, the submission of false entries in a certification
against forum shopping constitutes indirect or direct contempt of court, and subjects the
erring counsel to the corresponding administrative and criminal actions.
In the realm of legal ethics, said infraction may be considered as a violation of Rule 1.01,
Canon 1 and Rule 10.01, Canon 10 of the Code of Professional Responsibility.
In this case, it has been established that Atty. Nazareno made false declarations in the
certifications against forum shopping attached to Rudexs pleadings, for which he should be
held administratively liable. Considering that Atty. Nazareno did not even bother to refute
the charges against him despite due notice, the Court finds no cogent reason to deviate
from the IBPs resolution on his administrative liability. However, as for the penalty to be
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imposed, the Court deems it proper to modify the IBPs finding on this score and suspends
him from the practice of law for a period of one (1) year. Separately, the Court further finds
Atty. Nazareno guilty of malpractice as a notary public, considering that he assigned only
one document number (i.e., Doc. No. 1968) to the certifications against forum shopping
attached to the six (6) April 1, 2004 complaints for rescission and ejectment despite the
fact that each of them should have been treated as a separate notarial act. It is a standing
rule that for every notarial act, the notary shall record in the notarial register at the time of
the notarization, among others, the entry and page number of the document notarized, and
that he shall give to each instrument or document executed, sworn to, or acknowledged
before him a number corresponding to the one in his register.
Evidently, Atty. Nazareno did not comply with the foregoing rule. Worse, Atty. Nazareno
notarized the certifications against forum shopping attached to all the aforementioned
complaints, fully aware that they identically asserted a material falsehood. The
administrative liability of an erring notary public in this respect was clearly delineated as a
violation of Rule 1.01, Canon 1.
In said case, the lawyer who knowingly notarized a document containing false statements
had his notarial commission revoked and was disqualified from being commissioned as
such for a period of one (1) year. Thus, for his malpractice as a notary public, the Court is
wont to additionally impose the same penalties of such nature against him. However, due
to the multiplicity of his infractions on this front, coupled with his willful malfeasance in
discharging the office, the Court deems it proper to revoke his existing commission and
permanently disqualify him from being commissioned as a notary public.
WHEREFORE, respondent Atty. Philip Z. A. Nazareno is found GUILTY of making false
declarations in the certifications against forum shopping subject of this case, as well as
malpractice as a notary public. Accordingly, he is SUSPENDED from the practice of law for a
period of one ( 1) year, effective upon his receipt of this Decision, with a STERN WARNING
that a repetition of the same or similar acts will be dealt with more severely. Further, he is
PERMANENTLY DISQUALIFIED from being commissioned as a notary public and, his
notarial commission, if currently existing, is hereby REVOKED.
6. A.C. No. 3452
June 23, 2014
HENRY SAMONTE, Petitioner, vs. ATTY. GINES ABELLANA, Respondent
Legal Ethics: Rule 10.01, 11.02, 18.04 of the Code of Professional Responsibility
FACTS:
On February 16, 1990, complainant Henry E. Samonte brought this administrative
complaint against respondent Atty. Gines N. Abellana who had represented him as the
plaintiff in a civil case. In the administrative complaint, Samonte enumerated the serious
acts of professional misconduct by Atty. Abellana, to wit:
TAXATION II CLASS (A.Y. 2014-2015)

1. Falsification of documents, when Atty. Abellana made it appear that he had filed
Civil Case No. CEB-6970 on June 10, 1988, conformably with their agreement,
although the complaint was actually filed on June 14, 1988;
2. Dereliction of duty, when Atty. Abellana failed to: (a) file the reply vis--vis the
answer with counterclaim, with his omission having delayed the pre-trial of the
case; (b) inform the trial court beforehand that Samonte could not be available on a
scheduled hearing, thereby incurring for the plaintiffs side an unexplained absence
detrimental to Samonte as the plaintiff; and (c) submit an exhibit required by the
trial judge, only to eventually submit it three months later;
3. Gross negligence and tardiness in attending the scheduled hearings; and
4. Dishonesty for not issuing official receipts for every cash payments made by
Samonte for his court appearances and his acceptance of the case.
In his comment dated April 6, 1990, Atty. Abellana denied the charge of falsification of
documents, clarifying that the actual filing of the complaint could be made only on June 14,
1988 instead of on June 10, 1988 because Samonte had not given enough money to cover
the filing fees and other charges totaling P5,027.76; and that Samonte shelled out
only P5,000.00, contrary to their agreement in April 1988 on paying to him P10,000.00 as
the acceptance fee in addition to the filing fees. He asserted that the charge of dereliction of
duty was baseless, because he had filed the reply on December 2, 1988 after receiving the
answer with counterclaim of the defendants on August 2, 1988, anent his nonattendance at
the hearings in Civil Case No. CEB-6970, he explained that although he had informed the
RTC of his having been either stranded in another province, or having attended the
arraignment of another client in another court, the presiding judge had opted not to await
his arrival in the courtroom. He blamed Samonte for his inability to submit the formal offer
of exhibits on time, pointing out that Samonte had failed to give the duplicate originals of
the documentary exhibits despite his request because of the latters absence from the
country. He countered that it was Samonte who had been dishonest, because Samonte had
given only the filing fees plus at least P2,000.00 in contravention of their agreement on the
amount of P10,000.00 being his acceptance fees in addition to the filing fees; that the filing
fees paid were covered by receipts issued by the Clerk of Court; that no receipts were
issued for the P200.00/appearance fee conformably with the practice of most lawyers; and
that Samonte had not also demanded any receipts.
Atty. Abellana branded as unethical Samontes submission of a motion to change
counsel, stating that the latter did not thereby exhibit the courtesy of informing him
beforehand on the intention of not meeting his obligation to him as the counsel; that
Samonte had been forced to issue to him a check after the Branch Clerk of Court had told
him that his motion to change counsel would not be acted upon unless it carried Atty.
Abellanas conformity as the counsel; and that he had duly acknowledged the check.

TAXATION II CLASS (A.Y. 2014-2015)

ISSUE:
WON Atty. Abellana was in contravention of his duties as a lawyer.
RULING:
Yes. By the Lawyers Oath is every lawyer enjoined not only to obey the laws of the land but
also to refrain from doing any falsehood in or out of court or from consenting to the doing
of any in court, and to conduct himself according to the best of his knowledge and
discretion with all good fidelity as well to the courts as to his clients. Every lawyer is a
servant of the Law, and has to observe and maintain the rule of law as well as be an
exemplar worthy of emulation by others. It is by no means a coincidence, therefore, that
honesty, integrity and trustworthiness are emphatically reiterated by the Code of
Professional Responsibility, to wit:
Rule 10.01 - A lawyer shall not do any falsehood, nor consent to the doing of any in
Court; nor shall he mislead, or allow the Court to be misled by any artifice.
Rule 11.02 - A lawyer shall punctually appear at court hearings.
Rule 18.04 - A lawyer shall keep the client informed of the status of his case and
shall respond within a reasonable time to clients request for information.
Atty. Abellana abjectly failed the expectations of honesty, integrity and trustworthiness in
his dealings with Samonte as the client, and with the RTC as the trial court. He resorted to
outright falsification by superimposing "0" on "4" in order to mislead Samonte into
believing that he had already filed the complaint in court on June 10,1988 as promised,
instead of on June 14, 1988, the date when he had actually done so. His explanation that
Samonte was himself the cause of the belated filing on account of his inability to remit the
correct amount of filing fees and his acceptance fees by June 10, 1988, as agreed upon, did
not excuse the falsification, because his falsification was not rendered less dishonest and
less corrupt by whatever reasons for filing at the later date. He ought to remember that
honesty and integrity were of far greater value for him as a member of the Law Profession
than his transactions with his client.
The finding on Atty. Abellanas neglect in the handling of Samontes case was entirely
warranted. He admitted being tardy in attending the hearings of the civil case. He filed the
formal offer of evidence in behalf of his client way beyond the period to do so, a fact that he
could not deny because the RTC Judge had himself expressly noted the belated filing in the
order issued in the case. Atty. Abellana was fortunate that the RTC Judge exhibited some
tolerance and liberality by still admitting the belated offer of evidence in the interest of
justice.
Disciplinary proceedings against lawyers are designed to ensure that whoever is granted
the privilege to practice law in this country should remain faithful to the Lawyers Oath.
Only thereby can lawyers preserve their fitness to remain as members of the Law
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Profession. Any resort to falsehood or deception, including adopting artifices to cover up


ones misdeeds committed against clients and the rest of the trusting public, evinces an
unworthiness to continue enjoying the privilege to practice law and highlights the unfitness
to remain a member of the Law Profession. It deserves for the guilty lawyer stern
disciplinary sanctions.
For Atty. Abellana, therefore, suspension from the practice of law for six months with
warning of a more severe sanction upon a repetition suffices.
7. A.C. No. 9976
June 25, 2014
ALMIRA C. FORONDA, Complainant, vs. ATTY. JOSE L. ALVAREZ, JR., Respondent
Legal Ethics: Canons 15, 17, Rule 1.01, 18.04, 16.04 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility
FACTS:
The complainant is an overseas Filipino worker in Dubai. In May 2008, she returned to the
Philippines to institute a case for the nullification of her marriage. The respondent was
referred to her and the complainant agreed to engage his services for a fee of P195,000.00
to be paid as follows: 50% or P100,000.00 upon the signing of the contract; 25%
or P50,000.00 on or before June 10, 2008; and 25% or P45,000.00 before the filing of the
case. The complainant paid the amounts as agreed. The amount of P45,000.00 was even
paid on June 10, 2008, after being informed by the respondent that the petition for the
annulment of marriage was ready for filing.
The complainant averred that the respondent promised to file the petition after he received
the full payment of his attorneys fee, or on June 11, 2008. In September 2008, the
complainant inquired about the status of her case and was allegedly told by the respondent
that her petition was pending in court; and in another time, she was told that a decision by
the court was already forthcoming. However, when she came back to the country in May
2009, the respondent told her that her petition was still pending in court and apologized
for the delay. Eventually, the complainant was able to get a copy of her petition and found
out that it was filed only on July 16, 2009.
The complainant further alleged in her complaint that the week after she signed the
contract of service with the respondent, the latter requested for a meeting. Thinking that
they were going to discuss her case, she agreed. But during the meeting, the respondent
invited her to be an investor in the lending business allegedly ran by the respondents
sister-in-law. The respondent encouraged her to invest P200,000.00 which he said can earn
five percent (5%) interest per month.
The complainant finally agreed on the condition that the respondent shall issue personal
and post-dated checks in her favor. But according to the complainant, upon presentment of
TAXATION II CLASS (A.Y. 2014-2015)

these checks, the drawee-bank honored the first two (2) checks, but the rest were
dishonored for being drawn against a closed account.
In his Answer, the respondent admitted that he filed the petition for annulment only in July
2009 but this was not due to his own fault. The delay was caused by the complainant
herself who allegedly instructed him to hold the filing of the said petition as she and her
husband were discussing a possible reconciliation. He further claimed that he filed the
petition on July 16, 2009 after negotiations with the complainants husband apparently
failed.
The respondent also admitted that he invited the complainant to be a partner in a lending
business and clarified that the said business was being managed by a friend. He further
stated that he was also involved in the said business as a partner.
The respondent admitted that only the first two (2) of the checks he issued were honored
by the drawee-bank. He stated that prior to the presentment and dishonor of the rest of the
checks, he advised the complainant that the third check should not be deposited just yet
due to losses in their lending business caused by the failure of some borrowers to settle
their obligations.
ISSUE:
WON Atty. Alvarez was remiss of his duties as a lawyer.
RULING:
Yes. It was established that the complainant engaged the professional services of the
respondent. She expected the immediate filing of the petition for the nullity of her marriage
after the full payment of attorneys fees on June 10, 2008. However, the respondent filed
the said petition only on July 16, 2009. The respondent gave out different reasons for the
delay in an attempt to exculpate himself. At the end, the respondent admitted the delay and
apologized for it. It cannot be gainsaid that the complainant through her agent was diligent
in following up the petition. The different excuses proffered by the respondent also show
his lack of candor in his dealings with the complainant.
"Once a lawyer agrees to take up the cause of a client, the lawyer owes fidelity to such
cause and must always be mindful of the trust and confidence reposed in him." "[H]e is
required by the Canons of Professional Responsibility to undertake the task with zeal, care
and utmost devotion." "A lawyer who performs his duty with diligence and candor not only
protects the interest of his client, he also serves the ends of justice, does honor to the bar,
and helps maintain the respect of the community to the legal profession."
The respondents act of issuing worthless checks is a violation of Rule 1.01 of the Code of
Professional Responsibility which requires that "a lawyer shall not engage in unlawful,
dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct." "[T]he issuance of checks which were later
dishonored for having been drawn against a closed account indicates a lawyers unfitness
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for the trust and confidence reposed on him, shows such lack of personal honesty and good
moral character as to render him unworthy of public confidence, and constitutes a ground
for disciplinary action."
It cannot be denied that the respondents unfulfilled promise to settle his obligation and the
issuance of worthless checks have seriously breached the complainants trust. She went so
far as to file multiple criminal cases for violation of B.P. Blg. 22 against him. "The
relationship of an attorney to his client is highly fiduciary. Canon 15 of the Code of
Professional Responsibility provides that a lawyer shall observe candor, fairness and
loyalty in all his dealings and transactions with his client. Necessity and public interest
enjoin lawyers to be honest and truthful when dealing with his client."
All told, this Court finds that the respondent is liable for violation of Canons 15, 17, Rule
18.04, and Rule 16.04 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. Likewise, he is also liable
under Rule 1.01 thereof pursuant to our ruling in Co v. Atty. Bernardino.
In light of the foregoing and the Court's rulings in the cases mentioned above, the Court
finds that the penalty of six months suspension from the practice of law is commensurate,
with a stem warning that a repetition of any of the infractions attributed to him in this case,
or any similar act, shall merit a heavier penalty.
8. A.C. No. 5377
June 30, 2014
VICTOR C. LINGAN, Complainant, vs. ATTYS. ROMEO CALUBAQUIB and JIMMY P.
BALIGA, Respondents.
Legal Ethics: Section 27, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court
FACTS:
In the resolution dated June 15, 2006, this court found Attys. Romeo I. Calubaquib and
Jimmy P. Baliga guilty of violating Rule 1.01, Canon 1 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility and of the Lawyer's Oath. Respondents allowed their secretaries to notarize
documents in their stead, in violation of Sections 245 and 246 of the Notarial Law. This
court suspended respondents from the practice of law for one year, revoked their notarial
commissions, and disqualified them from reappointment as notaries public for two years.
After this court had suspended Atty. Baliga from the practice of law, the Commission on
Human Rights En Banc issued the resolution dated January 16, 2007, suspending him from
his position as Director/Attorney VI of the. Commission on Human Rights Regional Office
for Region II. According to the Commission on Human Rights En Banc, Atty. Baliga's
suspension from the practice of law "prevented him from assuming his post [as Regional
Director] for want of eligibility in the meantime that his authority to practice law is
suspended."

TAXATION II CLASS (A.Y. 2014-2015)

Atty. Baliga argued that he cannot be suspended for acts not connected with his functions
as Commission on Human Rights Regional Director. According to Atty. Baliga, his
suspension from the practice of law did not include his suspension from public office. He
prayed for clarification of this court's resolution dated June 15, 2006 "to prevent further
injury and prejudice to [his] rights."
On Atty. Baliga's motion, the omission reconsidered Atty. Baliga's suspension and instead
admonished him for "[violating] the conditions of his commission as a notary public."
On the claim that the Commission on Human Rights allowed Atty. Baliga to perform his
functions as Regional Director during the period of suspension, the Office of the Bar
Confidant said that the Commission "deliberate[ly] disregard[ed]" this court's order of
suspension. According to the Office of the Bar Confidant, the Commission on Human Rights
had no power to "[alter, modify, or set aside any of this court's resolutions] which [have]
become final and executory."
ISSUE:
WON a suspended lawyer may still hold a position requiring the practice of law.
RULING:
No. This court has the exclusive jurisdiction to regulate the practice of law. When this court
orders a lawyer suspended from the practice of law, the lawyer must desist from
performing all functions requiring the application of legal knowledge within the period of
suspension. This includes desisting from holding a position in government requiring the
authority to practice law.
Practice of law is "any activity, in or out of court, which requires the application of law,
legal procedure, knowledge, training and experience." It includes "[performing] acts which
are characteristics of the [legal] profession" or "[rendering any kind of] service [which]
requires the use in any degree of legal knowledge or skill."
Work in government that requires the use of legal knowledge is considered practice of law.
In Cayetano v. Monsod, this court cited the deliberations of the 1986 Constitutional
Commission and agreed that work rendered by lawyers in the Commission on Audit
requiring "[the use of] legal knowledge or legal talent" is practice of law.
The exercise of the powers and functions of a Commission on Human Rights Regional
Director constitutes practice of law. Thus, the Regional Director must be an attorney - a
member of the bar in good standing and authorized to practice law. When the Regional
Director loses this authority, such as when he or she is disbarred or suspended from the
practice of law, the Regional Director loses a necessary qualification to the position he or
she is holding. The disbarred or suspended lawyer must desist from holding the position of
Regional Director.
TAXATION II CLASS (A.Y. 2014-2015)

Under Section 27, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court, willful disobedience to any lawful order of
a superior court is a ground for disbarment or suspension from the practice of law:
SEC. 27. Disbarment or suspension of attorneys by Supreme Court; grounds
therefor. - A member of the bar may be disbarred or suspended from his office as
attorney by the Supreme Court for any deceit, malpractice, or other gross
misconduct in such office, grossly immoral conduct, or by reason of his conviction of
a crime involving moral turpitude, or for any violation of the oath which he is
required to take before admission to practice, or for a willful disobedience of any
lawful order of a superior court, or for corruptly or willfully appearing as an
attorney for a party to a case without authority so to do. The practice of soliciting
cases at law for the purpose of gain, either personally or through paid agents or
brokers, constitutes malpractice.
We find that Atty. Baliga violated this court's order of suspension. We, therefore, suspend
him further from the practice of law for six months.
JULY 2014
1. A.C. No. 6470
MERCEDITA DE
Respondent.

July 8, 2014
JESUS, Complainant, vs.

ATTY.

JUVY

MELL SANCHEZ-MALIT,

Legal Ethics: Canon 1 and Rules 1.01, 1.02, and 10.01 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility as well as her oath as notary public.
FACTS:
Complainant alleged that on 1 March 2002, respondent had drafted and notarized a Real
Estate Mortgage of a public market stall that falsely named the former as its absolute and
registered owner. As a result, the mortgagee sued complainant for perjury and for
collection of sum of money. She claimed that respondent was a consultant of the local
government unit of Dinalupihan, Bataan, and was therefore aware that the market stall was
government-owned. Prior thereto, respondent had also notarized two contracts that
caused complainant legal and financial problems. One contract was a lease agreement
notarized by respondent sometime in September 1999 without the signature of the lessees.
However, complainant only found out that the agreement had not been signed by the
lessees when she lost her copy and she asked for another copy from respondent.
Respondent drafted and notarized said agreement, but did not advise complainant that the
property was still covered by the period within which it could not be alienated. The other
contract was a sale agreement over a property covered by a Certificate of Land Ownership
Award (CLOA) which complainant entered into with a certain Nicomedes Tala (Tala) on 17
February 1998. Respondent drafted and notarized said agreement, but did not advise
TAXATION II CLASS (A.Y. 2014-2015)

complainant that the property was still covered by the period within which it could not be
alienated.
In her Comment, respondent explained that the mortgage contract was prepared in the
presence of complainant and that the latter had read it before affixing her signature.
However, complainant urgently needed the loan proceeds so the contract was hastily done.
It was only copied from a similar file in respondents computer, and the phrase "absolute
and registered owner" was inadvertently left unedited. Still, it should not be a cause for
disciplinary action, because complainant constructed the subject public market stall under
a "Build Operate and Transfer" contract with the local government unit and, technically,
she could be considered its owner. Besides, there had been a prior mortgage contract over
the same property in which complainant was represented as the propertys absolute
owner, but she did not complain. Moreover, the cause of the perjury charge against
complainant was not the representation of herself as owner of the mortgaged property, but
her guarantee that it was free from all liens and encumbrances. The perjury charge was
even dismissed, because the prosecutor found that complainant and her spouse had,
indeed, paid the debt secured with the previous mortgage contract over the same market
stall.
With respect to the lease agreement, respondent countered that the document attached to
the Affidavit-Complaint was actually new. She gave the courts copy of the agreement to
complainant to accommodate the latters request for an extra copy. Thus, respondent
prepared and notarized a new one, relying on complainants assurance that the lessees
would sign it and that it would be returned in lieu of the original copy for the court.
Complainant, however, reneged on her promise.
As regards the purchase agreement of a property covered by a CLOA, respondent claimed
that complainant was an experienced realty broker and, therefore, needed no advice on the
repercussions of that transaction. Actually, when the purchase agreement was notarized,
complainant did not present the CLOA, and so the agreement mentioned nothing about it.
Rather, the agreement expressly stated that the property was the subject of a case pending
before the Department of Agrarian Reform Adjudication Board (DARAB); complainant was
thus notified of the status of the subject property. Finally, respondent maintained that the
SPAs submitted by complainant as additional evidence were properly notarized. It can be
easily gleaned from the documents that the attorney-in-fact personally appeared before
respondent; hence, the notarization was limited to the formers participation in the
execution of the document. Moreover, the acknowledgment clearly stated that the
document must be notarized in the principals place of residence.
ISSUE:
WON the respondent failed to perform her duty as a notary public.

TAXATION II CLASS (A.Y. 2014-2015)

RULING:
Yes. The Court finds that she committed misconduct and grievously violated her oath as a
notary public.
The important role a notary public performs cannot be overemphasized. The Court has
repeatedly stressed that notarization is not an empty, meaningless routinary act, but one
invested with substantive public interest. Notarization converts a private document into a
public document, making it admissible in evidence without further proof of its authenticity.
Thus, a notarized document is, by law, entitled to full faith and credit upon its face. It is for
this reason that a notary public must observe with utmost care the basic requirements in
the performance of his notarial duties; otherwise, the public's confidence in the integrity of
a notarized document would be undermined.
Where the notary public admittedly has personal knowledge of a false statement or
information contained in the instrument to be notarized, yet proceeds to affix the notarial
seal on it, the Court must not hesitate to discipline the notary public accordingly as the
circumstances of the case may dictate. Otherwise, the integrity and sanctity of the
notarization process may be undermined, and public confidence in notarial documents
diminished. In this case, respondent fully knew that complainant was not the owner of the
mortgaged market stall. That complainant comprehended the provisions of the real estate
mortgage contract does not make respondent any less guilty. If at all, it only heightens the
latters liability for tolerating a wrongful act. Clearly, respondents conduct amounted to a
breach of Canon 1 and Rules 1.01 and 1.02 of the Code of Professional Responsibility.
Respondents explanation about the unsigned lease agreement executed by complainant
sometime in September 1999 is incredulous. If, indeed, her file copy of the agreement bore
the lessees signatures, she could have given complainant a certified photocopy thereof. It
even appears that said lease agreement is not a rarity in respondents practice as a notary
public. Records show that on various occasions from 2002 to 2004, respondent has
notarized 22 documents that were either unsigned or lacking signatures of the parties.
Technically, each document maybe a ground for disciplinary action, for it is the duty of a
notarial officer to demand that a document be signed in his or her presence.
A notary public should not notarize a document unless the persons who signed it are the
very same ones who executed it and who personally appeared before the said notary public
to attest to the contents and truth of what are stated therein. Thus, in acknowledging that
the parties personally came and appeared before her, respondent also violated Rule
10.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility and her oath as a lawyer that she shall do
no falsehood. Certainly, respondent is unfit to continue enjoying the solemn office of a
notary public. In several instances, the Court did not hesitate to disbar lawyers who were
found to be utterly oblivious to the solemnity of their oath as notaries public. Even so, the
rule is that disbarment is meted out only in clear cases of misconduct that seriously affect
the standing and character of the lawyer as an officer of the court and the Court will not
disbar a lawyer where a lesser penalty will suffice to accomplish the desired end. The
blatant disregard by respondent of her basic duties as a notary public warrants the less
TAXATION II CLASS (A.Y. 2014-2015)

severe punishment of suspension from the practice of law and perpetual disqualification to
be commissioned as a notary public.
Hence, she is SUSPENDED from the practice of law for ONE YEAR effective immediately.
Her notarial commission, if still existing, is IMMEDIATELY REVOKED and she is hereby
PERPETUALLY DISQUALIFIED from being commissioned as a notary public.
2. A.C. No. 8108
July 15, 2014
DANTE LA JIMENEZ & LAURO G. VIZCONDE, Complainants, vs. ATTY. FELISBERTO L.
VERANO, JR., Respondent.
Legal Ethics; Canon 13 of the Code of Professional Responsibility
FACTS:
Jimenez and Vizconde, in their capacity as founders of Volunteers Against Crime and
Corruption (VACC), sent a letter of complaint to Chief Justice Reynato S. Puno. They stated
that respondent had admitted to drafting the release order, and had thereby committed a
highly irregular and unethical act. They argued that respondent had no authority to use the
DOJ letterhead and should be penalized for acts unbecoming a member of the bar.
For his part, Atty. Lozano anchored his Complaint on respondents alleged violation of
Canon 1 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, which states that a lawyer shall uphold
the Constitution, obey the laws of the land, and promote respect for legal processes. Atty.
Lozano contended that respondent showed disrespect for the law and legal processes in
drafting the said order and sending it to a high-ranking public official, even though the
latter was not a government prosecutor. Atty. Lozanos verified Complaint-Affidavit was
filed with the Committee on Bar Discipline of the IBP. However, Atty. Lozano withdrew his
Complaint on the ground that a similar action had been filed by Dante Jimenez.
FINDINGS OF THE INVESTIGATING COMMISSIONER:
Found respondent guilty of violating Canon 13 of the Code of Professional Responsibility
and recommended that he be issued a warning not to repeat the same or any similar action
due to his own admissions that he drafted the release order specifically for the signature of
the DOJ Secretary. This act of feeding the draft order to the latter was found to be highly
irregular, as it tended to influence a public official.
ISSUE:
Whether or not respondent can be held liable for violating Canon 13 of the Code of
Professional Responsibility.

TAXATION II CLASS (A.Y. 2014-2015)

RULING:
The affidavit of withdrawal of the disbarment case allegedly executed by complainant does
not, in any way, exonerate the respondent. A case of suspension or disbarment may
proceed regardless of interest or lack of interest of the complainant. Hence, if the evidence
on record warrants, the respondent may be suspended or disbarred despite the desistance
of complainant or his withdrawal of the charges.
Respondent is administratively liable. Canon 13, the provision applied by the Investigating
Commissioner, states that a lawyer shall rely upon the merits of his cause and refrain from
any impropriety which tends to influence, or gives the appearance of influencing the court.
We believe that other provisions in the Code of Professional Responsibility likewise
prohibit acts of influence-peddling not limited to the regular courts, but even in all other
venues in the justice sector, where respect for the rule of law is at all times demanded from
a member of the bar.
These statements and others made during the hearing establish respondents admission
that 1) he personally approached the DOJ Secretary despite the fact that the case was still
pending before the latter; and 2) respondent caused the preparation of the draft release
order on official DOJ stationery despite being unauthorized to do so, with the end in view of
expediting the case.
The way respondent conducted himself manifested a clear intent to gain special treatment
and consideration from a government agency. This is precisely the type of improper
behavior sought to be regulated by the codified norms for the bar. Respondent is dutybound to actively avoid any act that tends to influence, or may be seen to influence, the
outcome of an ongoing case, lest the peoples faith in the judicial process is diluted.
The primary duty of lawyers is not to their clients but to the administration of justice. To
that end, their clients success is wholly subordinate. The conduct of a 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 clients cause, is condemnable and unethical.
Rule 1.02 states: "A lawyer shall not counsel or abet activities aimed at defiance of the law
or at lessening confidence in the legal system." Further, according to Rule 15.06, "a lawyer
shall not state or imply that he is able to influence any public official, tribunal or legislative
body. The succeeding rule, Rule 15.07, mandates a lawyer to impress upon his client
compliance with the laws and the principles of fairness.
Zeal and persistence in advancing a clients cause must always be within the bounds of the
law. A self-respecting independence in the exercise of the profession is expected if an
attorney is to remain a member of the bar.

TAXATION II CLASS (A.Y. 2014-2015)

WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, Atty. Felisberto L. Verano, Jr. is found GUILTY of
violating Rules 1.02 and 15.07, in relation to Canon 13 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility, for which he is SUSPENDED from the practice of law for six (6) months.
3. A.C. No. 10031 July 23, 2014
RAUL M. FRANCIA, Complainant, vs. ATTY. REYNALDO V. ABDON, Respondent.
Legal Ethics; Lawyers Oath and Canon 7 of the Code of Professional Responsibility
FACTS:
In a verified complaint dated December 4, 2007 filed before the Integrated Bar of the
Philippines, Committee on Bar Discipline (IBP-CBD), Raul M. Francia (complainant) prayed
for the disbarment and imposition of other disciplinary sanctions on Labor Arbiter (LA)
Reynaldo V. Abdon (respondent) for violation of the lawyer's oath and the Code of
Professional Responsibility.
In November 2006, he had a meeting with the respondent at the Makati Cinema Square to
seek his assistance with respect to a pending case in the Court of Appeals (CA) involving
the labor union of Nueva Ecija III Electric Cooperative (NEECO III). The respondent, who is
a Labor Arbiter at the National Labor Relations Commission, San Fernando, Pampanga, told
the complainant that he can facilitate, expedite and ensure the release of a favorable
decision, particularly the award of assets and management of NEECO III to the union. To
bolster his representation, he told him that the same regional office where he was assigned
had earlier rendered a decision in favor of the labor union and against the National
Electrification Administration. With the respondents assurance, the complainant yielded.
Furthermore, respondent even assured him that a favorable ruling will be rendered by the
CA in no time before the year ends.
Resultantly, the promised favorable decision before the end of that year was not issued by
the CA, with no explanation from the respondent.
On January 4, 2007, the union was advised by their counsel that the CA has already
rendered a decision on their case and the same was adverse to them.
The respondent promised to return the money but asked for a few weeks to do so. After
two weeks, the respondent turned over the amount of P100,000.00, representing the
unspent portion of the money given to him and promised to pay the balance of P250,000.00
as soon as possible. The respondent, however, reneged on his promise and would not even
advise the complainant of the reason for his failure to return the money. Thus, the
complainant was constrained to give his car to the union to settle the remaining balance
which the respondent failed to return and thereafter filed a complaint with the IBP.

TAXATION II CLASS (A.Y. 2014-2015)

In the Report and Recommendation of the IBP-CBD dated September 30, 2008, the
Investigating Commissioner recommended for the dismissal of the complaint, holding that
there is no proof that the respondent received money from the complainant.
Upon review of the case, the IBP Board of Governors issued a resolution reversing the
recommendation of the Investigating Commissioner and APPROVE the SUSPENSION from
the practice of law for one (1) year of Atty. Reynaldo V. Abdon and to Return the Amount of
Two Hundred Fifty Thousand Pesos ([P]250,000.00) within thirty (30) days from receipt of
notice.
ISSUE:
Whether or not respondent can be held liable for violating Canon 7 of the Code of
Professional Responsibility.
RULING:
"It is well to remember that in disbarment proceedings, the burden of proof rests upon the
complainant. For the Court to exercise its disciplinary powers, the case against the
respondent must be established by convincing and satisfactory proof."
Considering the serious consequences of the disbarment or suspension of a member of the
Bar, the Court has consistently held that clearly preponderant evidence is necessary to
justify the imposition of administrative penalty on a member of the Bar.
In the absence of preponderant evidence, the presumption of innocence of the lawyer
subsists and the complaint against him must be dismissed.
After a careful review of the facts and circumstances of the case, the Court finds that the
evidence submitted by the complainant fell short of the required quantum of proof. Aside
from bare allegations, no evidence was presented to convincingly establish that the
respondent engaged in unlawful and dishonest conduct, particularly in extortion and
influence-peddling.
The transcript of the alleged exchange of text messages between the complainant and the
respondent cannot be admitted in evidence since the same was not authenticated in
accordance with A.M. No. 01-7-01-SC, pertaining to the Rules on Electronic Evidence.
Without proper authentication, the text messages presented by the complainant have no
evidentiary value.
The complainant miserably failed to substantiate his claims with preponderant evidence.
Surely, he cannot prove the respondents culpability by merely presenting equivocal
statements of some individuals or relying on plain gestures that are capable of stirring the
imagination. Considering the lasting effect of the imposition of the penalty of suspension or
disbarment on a lawyers professional standing, this Court cannot allow that the
respondent be held liable for misconduct on the basis of surmises and imagined
TAXATION II CLASS (A.Y. 2014-2015)

possibilities. A mere suspicion cannot substitute for the convincing and satisfactory proof
required to justify the suspension or disbarment of a lawyer.
The respondent, however, is not entirely faultless. The records bearout that the
complainant, at the outset, made clear his intention to seek the respondents assistance in
following up the unions case in the CA. The respondent, however, instead of promptly
declining the favor sought in order to avoid any appearance of impropriety, even
volunteered to introduce the complainant to Vistan, a former client who allegedly won a
case in the CA in August 2006. It later turned out that Vistan represented to the
complainant that he has the capacity to facilitate the favorable resolution of cases and does
this for a fee. Thus, while the respondent may not have received money from the
complainant, the fact is that he has made himself instrumental to Vistans illegal activity. In
doing so, he has exposed the legal profession to undeserved condemnation and invited
suspicion on the integrity of the judiciary for which he must be imposed with a disciplinary
sanction.
Canon 7 of the Code of Professional Responsibility mandates that a "lawyer shall at all
times uphold the integrity and dignity of the legal profession." For, the strength of the legal
profession lies in the dignity and integrity of its members. It is every lawyers duty to
maintain the high regard to the profession by staying true to his oath and keeping his
actions beyond reproach.
Also, the respondent, as a member of the legal profession, has a further responsibility to
safeguard the dignity of the courts which the public perceives as the bastion of justice. He
must at all times keep its good name untarnished and not be instrumental to its disrepute.
WHEREFORE, for having committed an act which compromised the publics trust in the
justice system, Atty. Reynaldo V. Abdon is hereby SUSPENDED from the practice of law for
a period of ONE (1) MONTH effective upon receipt of this Decision, with a STERN
WARNING that a repetition of the same or similar act in the future shall be dealt with
severely.
4. A.C. No. 10450 July 30, 2014
EMERITA B. MAHILUM, Complainant, vs. ATTY. SAMUEL SM. LEZAMA, Respondent.
Legal Ethics; Canon 1 of the Code of Professional Responsibility and Notarial Law
FACTS:
This administrative complaint1 filed by Emerita B. Mahilum (complainant) seeks the
disbarment of Atty. Samuel SM. Lezama (respondent), a commissioned notary public and
practicing lawyer in San Carlos City, Negros Occidental, for notarizing a 'Deed of Donation'
in the absence of the affiants Rodolfo Mahilum and Jennifer Mahilum-Sorenson on May 24,
2006.
TAXATION II CLASS (A.Y. 2014-2015)

According to the complainant, she has personal knowledge that Jennifer could not have
personally appeared before the respondent on May 24, 2006 because during those dates,
she was in the United States of America (USA) working at the State Fund Office in California
and submitted a Certification5 from the Bureau of Immigration showing Jennifer did not
enter the Philippines in the year 2006. Her travel records closest to that year showed that
she arrived in the Philippines on June 25, 2004 but departed a month later or on July 22,
2004. She again arrived in the Philippines onJune 24, 2007 and left on July 20, 2007.
ISSUE:
Whether or not respondent violated Canon 1 of the Code of Professional Responsibility and
Notarial Law.
RULING:
The Court agrees with and sustains the IBPs finding that the official record from the
Bureau of Immigration showing that Jennifer never traveled to the Philippines in the year
2006 substantially established that indeed she could not have personally appeared before
the respondent when he notarized the deed of donation on May 24, 2006. Certainly, the
conclusive import of the contents of such certification cannot be overcome by the
respondents mere counter-allegations unsupported by any corroborative proof.
Section 1 of Public Act No. 2103, or the Notarial Law mandates that affiants must
personally appear to the notary public.
The physical presence of the affiants enables the notary public to verify the genuineness of
the signatures of the acknowledging parties and to ascertain that the document is the
parties free act and deed which constitutes the very main purpose of the existence of this
Rule.
The respondent is, without doubt, familiar with the above rules and duties, having been a
notary public for 35 years. But he, nonetheless, failed to observe them.
A holistic examination of the records illustrates that the respondent has actually met
Jennifer when she went home to visit the ailing Rodolfo. But this was before and definitely
not during the notarization of deed of donation because based on her travel records, she
did not come to the Philippines in 2006. The respondent accommodated the notarization of
the deed sans Jennifers physical appearance before him on May 24, 2006 since he was
personally acquainted with Rodolfo. Hence, he took the latters representation that Jennifer
voluntarily executed the deed as reliable and faithful. Even if we were to uphold such
representation, however, the truth remains that Jennifer was not personally present to
attest to the truthfulness of her acceptance of the donation as donee during notarization.
Carelessness implies that the affiant was actually personally present and the notary public
just forgot to verify her identity or that she was not personally known to her. Here,
however, the affiant was not physically present during the notarization but the notary
TAXATION II CLASS (A.Y. 2014-2015)

public nevertheless affixed his seal and signature attesting that the affiant "personally
appeared" before him when in truth and in fact, she did not.
An act which contravenes the foregoing guidelines is in violation of Rule 1.01, Canon 1 of
the Code of Professional Responsibility and the Notarial Law, which the respondent
culpably committed when he notarized the Deed of Donation in the absence of one of the
affiants.
WHEREFORE, the Court hereby finds Atty. Samuel SM. Lezama GUILTY of violating the
Notarial Law and the Code of Professional Responsibility. Accordingly, his incumbent
notarial commission is REVOKED and he is DISQUALIFIED from being commissioned as a
notary public for ONE (1) YEAR, effective immediately.
AUGUST 2014
1. A.C. No. 7766
August 05, 2014
JOSE ALLAN TAN, Complainant, vs. PEDRO S. DIAMANTE, Respondent.
Legal Ethics; Canon 1 and 18 of the Code of Professional Responsibility
FACTS:
Complainant hired the services of the respondent. After accepting the engagement,
respondent filed the corresponding complaint before the Regional Trial Court of Bacolod
City. The complaint was eventually dismissed by the RTC for lack of cause of action and
insufficiency of evidence. While respondent was notified of such dismissal as early as
August 14, 2007, complainant learned of the same only on August 24, 2007 when he visited
the formers office. On such occasion, respondent allegedly asked for the amount of
P10,000.00 for the payment of appeal fees and other costs, but since complainant could not
produce the said amount at that time, respondent, instead, asked and was given the amount
of P500.00 purportedly as payment of the reservation fee for the filing of a notice of appeal
before the RTC. On September 12, 2007, Tan handed the amount of P10,000.00 to
respondent, who on even date, filed a notice of appeal before the RTC.
In an Order dated September 18, 2007, the RTC dismissed complainants appeal for having
been filed beyond the reglementary period provided for by law. Respondent, however, did
not disclose such fact and, instead, showed complainant an Order dated November 9, 2007
purportedly issued by the RTC (November 9, 2007 Order) directing the submission of the
results of a DNA testing to prove his filiation to the late Luis Tan, within 15 days from
receipt of the notice. Considering the technical requirements for such kind of testing,
complainant proceeded to the RTC and requested for an extension of the deadline for its
submission. It was then that he discovered that the November 9, 2007 Order was spurious,
as certified by the RTCs Clerk of Court. Complainant also found out that, contrary to the
TAXATION II CLASS (A.Y. 2014-2015)

representations of respondent, his appeal had long been dismissed. Aggrieved, he filed the
instant administrative complaint for disbarment against respondent.
ISSUE:
Whether or not respondent can be held liable for violating Canon 1 and 18 of the Code of
Professional Responsibility.
RULING:
Under Rule 18.04, Canon 18 of the CPR, it is the lawyers duty to keep his client constantly
updated on the developments of his case as it is crucial in maintaining the latters
confidence.
In the case at bar, records reveal that as of August 14, 2007, respondent already knew of
the dismissal of complainants partition case before the RTC. Despite this fact, he never
bothered to inform complainant of such dismissal as the latter only knew of the same on
August 24, 2007 when he visited the formers office. To add insult to injury, respondent
was inexcusably negligent in filing complainants appeal only on September 12, 2007, or
way beyond the reglementary period therefor, thus resulting in its outright dismissal.
Clearly, respondent failed to exercise such skill, care, and diligence as men of the legal
profession commonly possess and exercise in such matters of professional employment.
Worse, respondent attempted to conceal the dismissal of complainants appeal by
fabricating the November 9, 2007 Order which purportedly required a DNA testing to make
it appear that complainants appeal had been given due course, when in truth, the same had
long been denied. In so doing, respondent engaged in an unlawful, dishonest, and deceitful
conduct that caused undue prejudice and unnecessary expenses on the part of complainant.
Accordingly, respondent clearly violated Rule 1.01, Canon 1 of the CPR, which provides:
CANON 1 A lawyer shall uphold the constitution, obey the laws of the land and
promote respect for law and legal processes.
Rule 1.01 A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful
conduct.
Deception and other fraudulent acts by a lawyer are disgraceful and dishonorable. They
reveal moral flaws in a lawyer. They are unacceptable practices. A lawyers relationship
with others should be characterized by the highest degree of good faith, fairness and
candor. This is the essence of the lawyers oath. Any gross misconduct of a lawyer, whether
in his professional or private capacity, puts his moral character in serious doubt as a
member of the Bar, and renders him unfit to continue in the practice of law.
WHEREFORE, respondent Pedro S. Diamante is hereby DISBARRED for Gross Misconduct
and violations of Rule 1.01, Canon 1, and Rule 18.04, Canon 18 of the Code of Professional
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Responsibility, and his name is ordered STRICKEN OFF from the roll of attorneys.
2. A.C. No. 8000
August 5, 2014
CHAMELYN A. AGOT, Complainant, vs. ATTY. LUIS P. RIVERA, Respondent.
Legal Ethics; Canon 1, Rule 1.01; Canon 18, Rule 18.03; Canon 16, Rule 16.01
FACTS:
Respondent undertook to facilitate and secure the release of a US immigrant visa in
complainants favor prior to the scheduled wedding. In consideration therefor, complainant
paid respondent the amount of P350,000.00 as downpayment and undertook to pay the
balance of P350,000.00 after the issuance of the US visa. The parties likewise stipulated
that should complainants visa application be denied for any reason other than her absence
on the day of the interview and/or for records of criminal conviction and/or any courtissued hold departure order, respondent is obligated to return the said downpayment.
However, respondent failed to perform his undertaking within the agreed period. Worse,
complainant was not even scheduled for interview in the US Embassy. As the demand for
refund of the down payment was not heeded, complainant filed a criminal complaint for
estafa and the instant administrative complaint against respondent.
The Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) Investigating Commissioner found respondent
administratively liable, and accordingly, recommended that he be meted the penalty of
suspension for a period of four (4) months, with a warning that a repetition of the same
would invite a stiffer penalty.
The Investigating Commissioner found respondent guilty of engaging in deceitful conduct
for: (a) misrepresenting himself as an immigration lawyer; (b) failing to deliver the
services he contracted; and (c) being remiss in returning complainants downpayment of
P350,000.00.
ISSUE:
Should respondent be held administratively liable for violating the Code of Professional
Responsibility?
RULING:
Yes. As officers of the court, lawyers are bound to maintain not only a high standard of legal
proficiency, but also of morality, honesty, integrity, and fair dealing. In this regard, Rule
1.01, Canon 1 of the CPR, provides:
CANON 1 A LAWYER SHALL UPHOLD THE CONSTITUTION, OBEY THE LAWS OF
THE LANDAND PROMOTE RESPECT FOR LAW AND LEGAL PROCESSES.
TAXATION II CLASS (A.Y. 2014-2015)

Rule 1.01 A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful
conduct.
In the instant case, respondent misrepresented himself as an immigration lawyer, which
resulted to complainant seeking his assistance to facilitate the issuance of her US visa and
paying him the amount of P350,000.00 as downpayment for his legal services.
CANON 18 A LAWYER SHALL SERVE HIS CLIENT WITH COMPETENCE AND
DILIGENCE. Rule 18.03 A lawyer shall not neglecta legal matter entrusted to him,
and his negligence in connection therewith shall render him liable.
Under Rule 18.03, Canon 18 of the CPR, once a lawyer takes up the cause of his client, he is
duty-bound to serve the latter with competence, and to attend to such clients cause with
diligence, care, and devotion whether he accepts it for a fee or for free. He owes fidelity to
such cause and must always be mindful of the trust and confidence reposed upon him.
Therefore, a lawyers neglect of a legal matter entrusted to him by his client constitutes
inexcusable negligence for which he must be held administratively liable, as in this case.
CANON 16 A LAWYER SHALL HOLD IN TRUST ALL MONEYS AND PROPERTIES OF
HIS CLIENTTHAT MAY COME INTO HIS POSSESSION.
Rule 16.01 A lawyer shall account for all money or property collected or received
for or from the client.
Rule 16.03 A lawyer shall deliver the funds and property of his client when due or
upon demand.
Verily, the relationship between a lawyer and his client is highly fiduciary and prescribes
on a lawyer a great fidelity and good faith. The highly fiduciary nature of this relationship
imposes upon the lawyer the duty to account for the money or property collected or
received for or from his client.
Thus, a lawyers failure to return upon demand the funds held by him on behalf of his
client, as in this case, gives rise to the presumption that he has appropriated the same for
his own use in violation of the trust reposed in him by his client. Such act is a gross
violation of general morality as well as of professional ethics.

TAXATION II CLASS (A.Y. 2014-2015)

SEPTEMBER 2014
1. A.C. No. 7474
September 9, 2014
PRESIDING JUDGE JOSE L. MADRID, REGIONAL TRIAL COURT, BRANCH 51, SORSOGON
CITY, Complainant, vs. ATTY. JUAN S. DEALCA, Respondent.
Legal Ethics; Canon 1, Rule 1.03; Canon 11, Rule 11. 04
FACTS:
Complainant Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Court has had enough of the respondent,
a law practitioner, who had engaged in the unethical practice of filing frivolous
administrative cases against judges and personnel of the courts because the latter filed a
motion to inhibit the complainant from hearing a pending case. Hence, the complainant has
initiated this complaint for the disbarment of respondent on the ground of gross
misconduct and gross violation of the Code of Professional Responsibility.
IBP Commissioner Salvador B. Hababag ultimately submitted his Report and
Recommendation finding respondent Atty. Dealca guilty of violating the Lawyers Oath and
the Code of Professional Responsibility by filing frivolous administrative and criminal
complaints; and recommending that Atty. Dealca be suspended from the practice of law for
one year because his motion to inhibit Judge Madrid was devoid of factual or legal basis,
and was grounded on purely personal whims.
Atty. Dealca insists on the propriety of the administrative and criminal cases he filed
against judges and court personnel, including Judge Madrid. He argues that as a vigilant
lawyer, he was duty bound to bring and prosecute cases against unscrupulous and corrupt
judges and court personnel.
ISSUE:
Did Atty. Dealca file frivolous administrative and criminal complaints against judges and
court personnel in violation of the Lawyers Oath and the Code of Professional
Responsibility?
RULING:
We see no merit in Atty. Dealcas arguments.
Although the Court always admires members of the Bar who are imbued with a high sense
of vigilance to weed out from the Judiciary the undesirable judges and inefficient or
undeserving court personnel, any acts taken in that direction should be unsullied by any
taint of insincerity or self interest. The noble cause of cleansing the ranks of the Judiciary is
not advanced otherwise. It is for that reason that Atty. Dealcas complaint against Judge
Madrid has failed our judicious scrutiny, for the Court cannot find any trace of idealism or
TAXATION II CLASS (A.Y. 2014-2015)

altruism in the motivations for initiating it. Instead, Atty. Dealca exhibited his proclivity for
vindictiveness and penchant for harassment, considering that, as IBP Commissioner
Hababag pointed out, his bringing of charges against judges, court personnel and even his
colleagues in the Law Profession had all stemmed from decisions or rulings being adverse
to his clients or his side. He well knew, therefore, that he was thereby crossing the line of
propriety, because neither vindictiveness nor harassment could be a substitute for
resorting tothe appropriate legal remedies. He should now be reminded that the aim of
every lawsuit should be to render justice to the parties according to law, not to harass
them.
As a lawyer, therefore, Atty. Dealca was aware of his duty under his Lawyers Oath not to
initiate groundless, false or unlawful suits. The duty has also been expressly embodied
inRule 1.03, Canon 1 of the Code of Professional Responsibility thuswise:
Rule 1.03 A lawyer shall not, for any corrupt motive or interest, encourage any suit
or proceeding or delay any mans cause.
His being an officer of the court should have impelled him to see to it that the orderly
administration of justice must not be unduly impeded. Indeed, as he must resist the whims
and caprices of his clients and temper his clients propensities to litigate, so must he
equally guard himself against his own impulses of initiating unfounded suits. While it is the
Courts duty to investigate and uncover the truth behind charges against judges and
lawyers, it is equally its duty to shield them from unfounded suits that are intended to vex
and harass them, among other things.
Lawyers are licensed officers of the courts empowered to appear, prosecute and defend the
legal causes for their clients. As a consequence, peculiar duties, responsibilities and
liabilities are devolved upon them by law. Verily, their membership in the Bar imposes
certain obligations upon them.
In this regard, Canon 11 and Rule 11.04 of the Code of Professional Responsibility
pertinently state:
Canon 11 A lawyer shall observe and maintain the respect due to the courts and
to the judicial officers and should insist on similar conduct by others.
Rule 11.04 A lawyer shall not attribute to a Judge motives not supported by the
record or haveno materiality to the case.
In light of the foregoing canons, all lawyers are bound to uphold the dignity and authority
of the courts, and to promote confidence in the fair administration of justice. It is the
respect for the courts that guarantees the stability of the judicial institution; elsewise, the
institution would be resting on a very shaky foundation

TAXATION II CLASS (A.Y. 2014-2015)

2. A.C. No. 10196 September 9, 2014


MELODY R. NERY, Complainant, vs. ATTY. GLICERIO A. SAMPANA, Respondent.
Legal Ethics; Canon 15; Canon 16; Rule 16.03; Canon 17; Canon 18; Rule 18.03
FACTS:
Nery alleged that in June 2008, she engaged the services of Sampana for the annulment of
her marriage and for her adoption by an alien adopter. The petition for annulment was
eventually granted, and Nery paid P200,000.00 to Sampana. As for the adoption, Sampana
asked Nery if she had an aunt, whom they could represent as the wife of her alien adopter.
Sampana then gave Nery a blurred copy of a marriage contract, which they would use for
her adoption. Thereafter, Nery paid Sampana P100,000.00, in installment: (a) P10,000.00
on 10 September 2008; (b) P50,000.00 on 2 October 2008; and (c) P40,000.00 on 17
November 2008. Nery no longer asked for receipts since she trusted Sampana. Sampana
admitted that he received "one package fee" for both cases of annulment and adoption.
Despite receiving this fee, he unjustifiably failed to file the petition for adoption and fell
short of his duty of due diligence and candor to his client. Sampanas proffered excuse of
waiting for the certification before filing the petition for adoption is disingenuous and
flimsy. Inhis position paper, he suggested to Nery that if the alien adopter would be
married to her close relative, the intended adoption could be possible. Under the Domestic
Adoption Act provision, which Sampana suggested, the alien adopter can jointly adopt a
relative within the fourth degree of consanguinity or affinity of his/her Filipino spouse, and
the certification of the aliens qualification to adopt is waived.
Having no valid reason not to file the petition for adoption, Sampana misinformed Nery of
the status of the petition. He then conceded that the annulment case overshadowed the
petition for adoption. Verily, Sampana neglected the legal matter entrusted tohim. He even
kept the money given him.
Commissioner Antiquiera found Sampana guilty of malpractice for making Nery believe
that he already filed the petition for adoption and for failing to file the petition despite
receiving his legal fees. Thus, Commissioner Antiquiera recommended a penalty of three
(3) months suspension from the practice of law.
ISSUE:
Should respondent be held administratively liable for violating the Code of Professional
Responsibility?
RULING:
Yes. Acceptance of money from a client establishes an attorney-client relationship and
gives rise to the dutyof fidelity to the clients cause. Every case accepted by a lawyer
deserves full attention, diligence, skill and competence, regardless of importance. A lawyer
TAXATION II CLASS (A.Y. 2014-2015)

also owes it to the court, their clients, and other lawyers to be candid and fair. Thus, the
Code of Professional Responsibility clearly states:
CANON 15 - A lawyer shall observe candor, fairness and loyalty in all his dealings
and transactions with his client.
CANON 16 - A lawyer shall hold in trust all moneys and properties of his client
thatmay come into his possession.
Rule 16.03 - A lawyer shall deliver the funds and property of his client when due or
upon demand. x x x.
CANON 17 - A lawyer owes fidelity to the cause of his client and he shall be mindful
of the trust and confidence reposed in him.
CANON 18 - A lawyer shall serve his client with competence and diligence.
Rule 18.03 - A lawyer shall not neglect a legal matter entrusted to him and his
negligence in connection therewith shall render him liable.
Respondent even kept the money given him, in violation of the Codes mandate to deliver
the clients funds upon demand. A lawyers failure to return upon demand the funds held by
him gives rise to the presumption that he has appropriated the same for his own use, in
violation of the trust reposed in him by his client and of the public confidence in the legal
profession.
3. A.C. No. 8637
September 15, 2014
IMELDA CATO GADDI, Complainant, vs. ATTY. LOPE M. VELASCO, JR. Respondent.
Legal Ethics; Rule IV, Section 2(b) and Rule VI, Section 3 of the 2004 Rules on Notarial
Practice; Canon 1; Rule 1.01
FACTS:
This is an administrative complaint filed by Imelda Cato Gaddi (Gaddi) against Atty. Lope
M. Velasco (Velasco) for violation of the 2004 Rules on Notarial Practice.
According to Gaddi, she was the Operations and Accounting Manager of the Bert Lozada
Swimming School (BLSS) when she broached the idea of opening a branch of BLSS in
Solano, Nueva Vizcaya (BLSS in Solano) to Angelo Lozada (Angelo), the Chief Operations
Officer of BLSS. Believing that Angelo agreed, Gaddi opened a BLSS in Solano. However, in
April 2010, Angelo informed the management that he did not authorize a BLSS in Solano.
Upon Angelo's complaint, the police officers apprehended the swimming instructors of
BLSS in Solano, namely: Jonathan Lagamzon Lozare, Katherine Agatha Gaddi Ancheta, who
is Gaddi' s niece, and Lorenz Ocampo Gaddi, who is Gaddi' s grandson.
TAXATION II CLASS (A.Y. 2014-2015)

At past 10:00 a.m. of 22 April 2010, while inside the BLSS main office in Sta. Ana, Manila,
Gaddi was informed of the apprehension of the swimming instructors. Worried, Gaddi
pleaded with Angelos wife, Kristina Marie, and the BLSS Programs Manager Aleza Garcia
for permission to leave the office and proceed to Nueva Vizcaya. Instead ofacceding to her
plea, they commanded Gaddi tomake a handwritten admission that the BLSS in Solano was
unauthorized. They warned Gaddi that she cannot leave the office without the handwritten
admission. Thus, Gaddi conceded in doing the handwritten admission and left the office
before 1:00 p.m. of the same day. Subsequently, Gaddi found out that Angelo filed a
complaint against her regarding the BLSS in Solano using her handwritten admission,
which was already notarized by Velasco.
Thus, Gaddi filed the present complaint against Velasco for violation of the 2004 Rules on
Notarial Practice, specifically Rule IV, Section 2 (b) and Rule VI, Section 3. Gaddi denied that
she personally appeared before Velasco to have her handwritten admission notarized. She
alleged that she did not consent to its notarization nor did she personally know him, give
any competent evidence of identity or sign the notarial register.
Investigating Commissioner Pablo S. Castillo (Investigating Commissioner) found the
complaint impressed with merit, and recommended a penalty of fine of P5,000.00 on
Velasco for violation of Rule IV, Section 2(b) and Rule VI, Section 3 of the 2004 Rules on
Notarial Practice.
ISSUE:
Is Atty. Lope M. Velasco liable for violation of the 2004 Rules on Notarial Practice?
RULING:
Yes. Time and again, we have reminded lawyers commissioned as notaries public that
notarization is not an empty, meaningless, and routinary act. Notarization converts a
private document to a public document, making it admissible in evidence without further
proof of its authenticity. A notarial document is, by law, entitled to full faith and credit upon
its face; for this reason, notaries public must observe with utmost care the basic
requirements in the performance of their duties.
The 2004 Rules on Notarial Practice provides that a notary public should not notarize a
document unlessthe signatory to the document is in the notarys presence personally atthe
time of the notarization, and personally known to the notary public or otherwise identified
through competent evidence of identity. At the time of notarization, the signatory shall
sign or affix with a thumb or mark the notary publics notarial register. The purpose of
these requirements is to enablethe notary public to verify the genuineness of the signature
and to ascertain that the document is the signatorys free act and deed. If the signatory is
not acting of his or her own free will, a notary public is mandated to refuse to perform a
notarial act. A notary public is also prohibited from affixing an official signature or seal on a
notarial certificate that is incomplete.
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For notarizing a document without ascertaining the identity and voluntariness of the
signatory to the document, for affixing his signature in an incomplete otarial certificate, and
for dishonesty in his pleadings, Velasco failed to discharge his duties as notary public and
breached Canon 1 and Rule 1.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. Considering
these findings and our previous rulings, Velasco should not only be disqualified for two
years as a notary public, he must also be suspended from the practice of law for one year.
4. A.C. No. 9925
September 17, 2014
MARIANO R. CRISTOBAL, Complainant, vs. ATTY. RONALDO E. RENTA, Respondent.
Legal Ethics; Canon 18, Rule 18.03
FACTS:
This is a complaint for disbarment filed by Mariano R. Cristobal against Atty. Ronaldo E.
Renta.
Complainant engaged the services of Renta Pe & Associates Law Office for the filing of a
"petition for recognition for the minors Codie Darnell Green and Matthew Darnell Green"
before the Bureau of Immigration. Respondent as the managing partner signed the "Special
Contract of Legal Services" in behalf of said law office. Respondent also received from
complainant the "full and package price" of P 160,000 for the filing of the petition for
recognition. No such petition, however, was filed. Thus, the instant complaint was filed
against respondent for the latter's failure to file the petition for recognition and return the
amount of P160,000 despite demand.
In his comment, respondent explained that the petition for recognition was not filed
because Anneth Tan, the one supposed to file the petition, misplaced it and did not inform
him of such fact. He also claimed that he begged complainant to forgive him and assured
him that he will return the money. However, respondent failed to refund the money on
time for he was "hard up in funds." Eventually, he was able to save enough and refunded
the money to complainant. Respondent likewise begs forgiveness from the Court and
promises not to repeat his mistake. In addition, respondent submitted complainants
Affidavit of Desistance. In the said affidavit, complainant said that respondent cried for
forgiveness and that he has forgiven him. Complainant confirmed that respondent had
already refunded the amount he paid.
In complainants reply, he confirmed the contents of his affidavit of desistance, the refund
made by respondent and his act of forgiving the respondent for the latters misdeeds.
ISSUE:
Whether or not respondent violated Canon 18 and Rule 18.03 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility and should therefore be disbarred.
TAXATION II CLASS (A.Y. 2014-2015)

RULING:
Yes, Atty. Ronaldo E. Renta was liable for violation of Canon 18 and Rule 18.03 of the Code
of Professional Responsibility. However, he was REPRIMANDED with a stern warning that
a repetition of the same or similar act would be dealt with more severely.
On complainants affidavit of desistance, we hold that its execution cannot have the effect of
abating the instant proceedings against respondent in view of the public service character
of the practice of law and the nature of disbarment proceedings as a public interest
concern. A case of suspension or disbarment is sui generis and not meant to grant relief to a
complainant as in a civil case, but is intended to cleanse the ranks of the legal profession of
its undesirable members in order to protect the public and the courts. A disbarment case is
not an investigation into the acts of respondent but on his conduct as an officer of the court
and his fitness to continue as a member of the Bar.
Canon 18 of the Code of Professional Responsibility reads:
CANON 18 A LAWYER SHALL SERVE HIS CLIENT WITH COMPETENCE AND
DILIGENCE.
Rule 18.03 A lawyer shall not neglect a legal matter entrusted to him, and his
negligence in connection therewith shall render him liable.
We have held that once a lawyer agrees to handle a case, it is that lawyer's duty to serve the
client with competence and diligence. Here, it is beyond doubt that respondent breached
his duty to serve complainant with diligence and neglected a legal matter entrusted to him.
He himself admits that the petition for recognition was not filed, seeks forgiveness from the
Court and promises not to repeat his mistake. Complainant also submitted official letters
from the Bureau of Immigration that indeed no such petition was filed. That Anneth Tan
supposedly lost the petition for recognition and failed to inform respondent cannot absolve
him of liability for it was his duty not to neglect complainant's case and handle it with
diligence.
We note that while respondent failed to refund immediately the amount paid by
complainant, he nevertheless exerted earnest efforts that he eventually was able to fully
repay complainant and begged complainant's forgiveness.

TAXATION II CLASS (A.Y. 2014-2015)

5. A.C. No. 7184


September 17, 2014
FELIPE B. ALMAZAN, SR., Complainant, vs. ATTY. MARCELO B. SUERTE-FELIPE,
Respondent.
Legal Ethics; Canon 1, Rule 1.01
FACTS:
On April 27, 2006, Complainant Felipe B. Almazan, Sr. charged respondent, previously of
the Public Attorney's Office, for malpractice and gross negligence in the performance of his
duty as a notary public and/or lawyer, alleging that the latter, despite not having been
registered as a notary public for the City of Marikina, notarized the acknowledgment of the
document entitled "Extra judicial Settlement of the Estate of the Deceased Juliana P. Vda. De
Nieva" dated "25th day of 1999" (subject document), stating that he is a "notary public for
and in the City of Marikina." Said document was one of the attachments to the Amended
Complaint dated August 14, 2003 filed in Civil Case entitled "Esperanza Nieva Dela Cruz[(as
represented by respondent)] v. Brita T. Llantada[(as represented by complainant)]." To
prove his claim, complainant attached a Certification dated May 26, 2005 issued by the
Office of the Clerk of Court of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Marikina City, certifying that
per the courts record, respondent is not a commissioned notary public for the Cityof
Marikina from March 30, 1994 to the date of issuance. In a Resolution dated July 5, 2006,
the Court required respondent to file his Comment which he eventually submitted on
February 13, 2007 after proper service. In said pleading, respondent admitted that he
indeed notarized the acknowledgment of the subject document but denied that he was not
commissioned as a notary public at that time. To prove his defense, he attached a
Certification dated August 23, 2006 issued by the Office of the Clerk of Court of the RTC of
Pasig City, certifying the fact of his appointment as notary public for the City of Pasig and in
the Municipalities of Taguig, Pateros, San Juan, and Mandaluyong for the years 1998-1999
under Appointment No. 98. Further, respondent, thru the comment, incorporated his own
administrative complaint against complainant for malpractice and harassment of a fellow
lawyer in view of the filing of the instant administrative case against him.
In response, complainant filed a Reply dated April 26, 2007 asserting that he has the
legitimate right to file the administrative complaint against respondent for his unlawful act
of notarization, which is not an act of harassment as respondent claims. He also draws
attention to the fact that the subject document was incompletely dated and yet notarized
by respondent. In a Resolution dated July 11, 2007, the Court, inter alia, referred the case to
the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) for investigation, report, and recommendation.
Eventually, both parties appeared during the mandatory conference held on April 30, 2008.
IBP recommended that respondent be suspended for a period of two (2) years from the
practice of law. However, since it does not appear that he was still commissioned as a
notary public, the Investigating Commissioner did not recommend that he be disqualified
as such.

TAXATION II CLASS (A.Y. 2014-2015)

In a Resolution dated October 9, 2008, the IBP Board of Governors adopted and approved
the Report and Recommendation of the Investigating Commissioner with modification,
decreasing the penalty of suspension to one (1) year, with immediate revocation of notarial
commission if presently commissioned, and disqualification from being commissioned as a
notary public for two (2) years.
On reconsideration, the IBP Board of Governors, in a Resolution22 dated March 8, 2014,
modified the penalty stated in its previous resolution, imposing, instead, the penalty of
reprimand with warning, and disqualification from being commissioned as a notary public
for the decreased period of one (1) year.
ISSUE:
Whether or not respondent should be held administratively liable;
RULING:
Yes, the Court concurs with the findings of the IBP except as to the penalty.
As the Investigating Commissioner correctly observed, respondent, who himself admitted
that he was commissioned as notary public only in the City of Pasig and the Municipalities
of Taguig, Pateros, San Juan, and Mandaluyong for the years 1998-1999, could not notarize
the subject documents acknowledgment in the City of Marikina, as said notarial act is
beyond the jurisdiction of the commissioning court, i.e., the RTC of Pasig. The territorial
limitation of a notary publics jurisdiction is crystal clear from Section 11, Rule III of the
2004 Rules on Notarial Practice: Sec. 11. Jurisdiction and Term A person commissioned as
notary public may perform notarial acts in any place within the territorial jurisdiction of the
commissioning courtfor a period of two (2) years commencing the first day of January of the
year in which the commissioning court is made, unless either revoked or the notary public has
resigned under these Rules and the Rules of Court. (Emphasis supplied)
Said principle is equally echoed in the Notarial Law found in Chapter 12, Book V, Volume I
of the Revised Administrative Code of 1917, as amended, 24 of which Section 240, Article II
states: Sec. 240. Territorial jurisdiction. The jurisdiction of a notary public in a province
shall be co-extensive with the province. The jurisdiction of a notary public in the City of Manila
shall be co-extensive with said city. No notary shall possess authority to do any notarial act
beyond the limits of his jurisdiction. (Emphases supplied)
For misrepresenting in the said acknowledgment that he was a notary public for and in the
City of Marikina, when it is apparent and, in fact, uncontroverted that he was not,
respondent further committed a form of falsehood which is undoubtedly anathema to the
lawyers oath. Perceptibly, said transgression also runs afoul of Rule 1.01, Canon 1 of the
Code of Professional Responsibility which provides that "[a] lawyer shall not engage in
unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct.

TAXATION II CLASS (A.Y. 2014-2015)

It cannot be over-emphasized that notarization is not an empty, meaningless, routinary act.


Notarization is invested with substantive public interest, such that only those who are
qualified or authorized may act as notaries public. Hence, the requirements for the issuance
of a commission as notary public are treated with a formality definitely more than casual.
(Emphases supplied)
With respondents liability herein established, and considering further the attendant
circumstances of this case, take for instance, that he is a first time offender and that he had
already acknowledged his wrongdoings, the Court finds that suspension for a period of six
(6) months from the practice of law would suffice as a penalty. In addition, he is
disqualified from being commissioned as a notary public for a period of one (1) year and,
his notarial commission, if currently existing, is hereby revoked.
WHEREFORE, respondent Atty. Marcelo B. Suerte-Felipe is found GUILTY of malpractice as
a notary public, and violating the lawyers oath as well as Rule 1.01, Canon 1 of the Code of
Professional Responsibility. Accordingly, he is SUSPENDED from the practice of law for a
period of six (6) months, effective upon his receipt of this Resolution, with a STERN
WARNING that a repetition of the same or similar acts will be dealt with more severely. He
is likewise DISQUALIFIED from being commissioned as a notary public for a period of one
(1) year and his notarial commission, if currently existing, is hereby REVOKED.
6. A.C. No. 9115
September 17, 2014
REBECCA MARIE UY YUPANGCO-NAKPIL, Complainant, vs. ATTY. ROBERTO L. UY,
Respondent.
Legal Ethics; Canon 1; Rule 1.01
FACTS:
This is an administrative case against respondent Atty. Roberto L. Uy (respondent) for
unprofessional and unethical conduct, stemming from a complaint filed by private
complainant Rebecca Marie Uy Yupangco-Nakpil (Rebecca), represented by her attorneyin-fact, Bella Asuncion Pollo (Bella).
Rebecca is the natural niece and adopted daughter of the late Dra. Pacita Uy y Lim (Pacita).
She was adjudged as the sole and exclusive legal heir of Paci ta by virtue of an Order issued
by the Regional Trial Court of Manila. At the time of her death, Pacita was a stockholder in
several corporations primarily engaged in acquiring, developing, and leasing real
properties, namely, Uy Realty Company, Inc. (URCI), Jespajo Realty Corporation, Roberto L.
Uy Realty and Development Corporation, Jesus Uy Realty Corporation, Distelleria La
Jarolina, Inc., and Pacita Lim Uy Realty, Inc.
In her Complaint filed on May 9, 2005, Rebecca, through her attorney-in fact, Bella, averred
that respondent, her alleged illegitimate half cousin, continuously failed and refused to
comply with the court order in declaring her as the successor-in-interest to all of Pacitas
TAXATION II CLASS (A.Y. 2014-2015)

properties, as well as her requests for the accounting and delivery of the dividends and
other proceeds or benefits coming from Pacitas stockholdings in the aforementioned
corporations. She added that respondent mortgaged a commercial property in favor of
Philippine Savings Bank in the total amount of 54,000,000.00, despite an existing Trust
Agreement executed on October 15, 1993 (subject Trust Agreement) wherein respondent,
in his capacity as President of URCI, already recognized her to be the true and beneficial
owner of the same. Accordingly, she demanded that respondent return the said property by
executing the corresponding deed of conveyance in her favor together with an inventory
and accounting of all the proceeds therefrom, but to no avail.11 In this relation, Rebecca
claimed that it was only on September 2, 2005 or after she had already instituted various
legal actions and remedies that respondent and URCI agreed to transfer the subject
property to her pursuant to a compromise agreement.
In his Answer with Compulsory Counterclaim, respondent denied Rebeccas allegations and
raised the affirmative defenses of forum shopping and prescription. He pointed out that
Rebecca had filed several cases raising the single issue on the correct interpretation of the
subject trust agreement. He also contended that the parties transactions in this case were
made way back in 1993 and 1995 without a complaint having been filed until Bella came
into the picture and instituted various suits covering the same issue. As such, he sought the
dismissal of the complaint, and further prayed for the payment of moral damages and
attorneys fees by way of counterclaim.
On September 8, 2005, Rebecca filed a Motion to Withdraw Complaint for the reason that
"the facts surrounding the same arose out of a misunderstanding and misapprehension of
the real facts surrounding their dispute."
However, on October 6, 2005, Bella filed a Manifestation with Leave of Court to File Motion
for Intervention, praying that the investigation of the charges against respondent continue
in order to weed out erring members of the legal profession.
On October 8, 2007, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) Investigating Commissioner
issued his Report and Recommendation, finding respondent guilty of serious misconduct in
violation of Rule 1.01, Canon 1 of the Code of Professional Responsibility (Code), and, thus,
recommended the penalty of suspension for a period of six (6) months.
ISSUE:
Whether or not respondent should be held administratively liable;
RULING:
Yes, respondent Atty. Roberto L. Uy is found GUILTY of violating Rule 1.01, Canon 1 of the
Code of Professional Responsibility. Accordingly, he is ordered to pay a FINE of P15,000.00
within ten (10) days from receipt of this Resolution. Further, he is STERNLY WARNED that
a repetition of the same or similar acts will be dealt with more severely.
TAXATION II CLASS (A.Y. 2014-2015)

Rule 1.01, Canon 1 of the Code, as its applied to the members of the legal profession,
engraves an overriding prohibition against any form of misconduct, viz.:
CANON 1 - A LAWYER SHALL UPHOLD THE CONSTITUTION, OBEY THE LAWS OF
THE LAND AND PROMOTE RESPECT FOR LAW AND LEGAL PROCESSES.
Rule 1.01 - A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful
conduct.
The gravity of the misconduct determinative as it is of the errant lawyers penalty
depends on the factual circumstances of each case.
Here, the Court observes that the squabble which gave rise to the present administrative
case largely constitutes an internal affair, which had already been laid to rest by the parties.
This is clearly exhibited by Rebeccas motion to withdraw filed in this case as well as the
compromise agreement forged in Civil Case which involves the subject propertys alleged
disposition in violation of the subject trust agreement. As the Court sees it, his failure to
comply with the demands of Rebecca which she takes as an invocation of her rights under
the subject trust agreement as well as respondents acts of mortgaging the subject
property without the formers consent, sprung from his own assertion of the rights he
believed he had over the subject property. The propriety of said courses of action eludes
the Courts determination, for that matter had never been resolved on its merits in view of
the aforementioned settlement. Rebecca even states in her motion to withdraw that the
allegations she had previously made arose out of a "misapprehension of the real facts
surrounding their dispute" and even adds that respondent "had fully explained to [her] the
real nature and extent of her inheritance x x x toher entire satisfaction," leading her to state
that she is "now fully convinced that [her] complaint has no basis in fact and in law."
Accordingly, with the admitted misstatement of facts, the observations of the Investigating
Commissioner, as adopted by the IBP, hardly hold water so as to support the finding of
"serious misconduct" which would warrant its recommended penalty.
Be that as it may, the Court, nonetheless, finds that respondent committed some form of
misconduct by, as admitted, mortgaging the subject property, notwithstanding the
apparent dispute over the same. Regardless of the merits of his own claim, respondent
should have exhibited prudent restraint becoming of a legal exemplar. He should not have
exposed himself even to the slightest risk of committing a property violation nor any action
which would endanger the Bar's reputation. Verily, members of the Bar are expected at all
times to uphold the integrity and dignity of the legal profession and refrain from any act or
omission which might lessen the trust and confidence reposed by the public in the fidelity,
honesty, and integrity of the legal profession. By no insignificant measure, respondent
blemished not only his integrity as a member of the Bar, but also that of the legal
profession. In other words, his conduct fell short of the exacting standards expected of him
as a guardian of law and justice. Although to a lesser extent as compared to what has been
ascribed by the IBP, the Court still holds respondent guilty of violating Rule 1. 01, Canon 1
of the Code. Considering that this is his first offense as well as the peculiar circumstances of
this case, the Court believes that a fine of P15,000.00 would suffice.
TAXATION II CLASS (A.Y. 2014-2015)

7. A.C. No. 10438 September 23, 2014


CF SHARP CREW MANAGEMENT INCORPORATED, Complainant, vs. NICOLAS C.
TORRES, Respondent.
Legal Ethics; Rules 16.01 and 16.03; Canon 16
FACTS:
Complainant hired respondent, a medical doctor and a lawyer by profession, as its Legal
and Claims Manager who was tasked to serve as its legal counsel and to oversee the
administration and management of legal cases and medical-related claims instituted by
seafarers against complainants various principals. Among the cases respondent handled in
his capacity as Legal and Claims Manager were the claims of seafarers Bernardo R. Mangi
(Mangi), Rodelio J. Sampani (Sampani), Joseph C. Delgado (Delgado), and Edmundo M. Chua
(Chua).
In its administrative complaint, it was alleged that per respondents request, complainant
issued checks as settlement of the respective claims of Mangi, Sampani, Delgado, and Chua.
However, complainant later discovered that, save for a check issued to Delgado, respondent
never gave the checks to the seafarers and instead, had them deposited at International
Exchange Bank.
On October 30, 2008, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) Commission on Bar
Discipline directly received the instant complaint and on even date, issued an Order7
requiring respondent to file an answer, but the latter failed to do so. Neither did
respondent appear in the mandatory conference scheduled on March 20, 2009 nor did he
file his position paper.
Upon investigation by the IBP Investigating Commissioner it was found that respondent
was administratively liable for violating the CPR and recommended that he be meted the
penalty of suspension from the practice of law for one (1) year.
The IBP Board of Governors unanimously adopted and approved the aforesaid report and
recommendation with modification, increasing the recommended period of suspension
from the practice of law to two (2) years, and ordering respondent to return the full
amount of money he received from complainant which is legally due to the seafarers, with
legal interest, within thirty (30) days from receipt of notice.
Aggrieved, respondent filed a Motion for Reconsideration which was denied in a
Resolution.
ISSUE:
Whether or not respondent should be held administratively liable for violating the CPR?

TAXATION II CLASS (A.Y. 2014-2015)

RULING:
Yes. It is fundamental that the relationship between a lawyer and his client is highly
fiduciary and ascribes to a lawyer a great degree of fidelity and good faith. The highly
fiduciary nature of this relationship imposes upon the lawyer the duty to account for the
money or property collected or received for or from his client. This is the standard laid
down by Rules 16.01 and 16.03, Canon 16 of the CPR, which read:
CANON 16 A LAWYER SHALL HOLD IN TRUST ALL MONEYS AND PROPERTIES OF
HIS CLIENT THAT MAY COME INTO HIS POSSESSION.
Rule 16.01 A lawyer shall account for all money or property collected or received
for or from the client.
Rule 16.03 A lawyer shall deliver the funds and property of his client when due or
upon demand. x x x.
In the foregoing light, it has been held that a lawyers failure to return upon demand the
funds held by him on behalf of his client gives rise to the presumption that he has
appropriated the same for his own use in violation of the trust reposed in him by his client.
Such act is a gross violation of general morality as well as of professional ethics.
Clearly, respondents acts of misappropriation constitute dishonesty, abuse of trust and
confidence reposed in him by the complainant, and betrayal of his clients interests which
he is duty-bound to protect. They are contrary to the mandate of Rule 1.01, Canon 1 of the
CPR which provides that [a] lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral, or
deceitful conduct. Such malfeasance is not only unacceptable, disgraceful, and
dishonorable to the legal profession; it also reveals a basic moral flaw that makes him unfit
to practice law.
As already discussed, respondents conduct of misappropriating complainants money has
made him unfit to remain in the legal profession. He has definitely fallen below the moral
bar when he engaged in deceitful, dishonest, unlawful, and grossly immoral acts. As a
member of the Bar, he is expected at all times to uphold the integrity and dignity of the
legal profession and refrain from any act or omission which might lessen the trust and
confidence reposed in him by the public in the fidelity, honesty, and integrity of the legal
profession. Membership in the legal profession is a privilege, and whenever it is made to
appear that an attorney is no longer worthy of the trust and confidence of his clients and
the public, it becomes not only the right but also the duty of the Court to withdraw the
same, as in this case. In view of the foregoing, respondent deserves the ultimate penalty of
disbarment from the practice of law.
WHEREFORE, respondent is hereby DISBARRED from the practice of law and his name
ordered STRICKEN OFF from the roll of attorneys.

TAXATION II CLASS (A.Y. 2014-2015)

8. A.C. No. 7337


September 29, 2014
ROLANDO VIRAY, Complainant, vs. ATTY. EUGENIO T. SANICAS, Respondent.
Legal Ethics; Rule 16.01 and Rule 16.03
FACTS:
Complainant alleges that he engaged the services of respondent relative to a labor case he
filed against Ester Lopez and Teodoro Lopez III (spouses Lopez). On February 26, 2001,
the Labor Arbiter ruled in favor of complainant and awarded a total amount of One
Hundred Eighty Nine Thousand Four Hundred Ninety One Pesos (P189,491.60).
Subsequently, an Alias Writ of Execution was issued relative to aforesaid decision. During
the implementation of said writ, however, complainant discovered that respondent had
already collected the total amount of P95,000.00 from spouses Lopez.
Complainant also discovered that respondent misrepresented to spouses Lopez that he is
authorized to receive payments on his behalf, when in truth and in fact he is not.
Consequently, complainant made several verbal demands to the respondent to remit to him
the amount of P95,000.00, less his attorneys fees of P20,000.00. But respondent did not
budge.
In his Comment, respondent admits that he received P95,000.00 from spouses Lopez on
installments, but denies that he was not authorized to accept it. He explains that
complainant agreed to pay him additional attorneys fees equivalent to 25% of the total
monetary award, on top of the attorneys fees that may be awarded by the labor tribunal,
and to refund all expenses respondent incurred relative to the case.
The IBP Investigating Commissioner recommended that respondent be meted the penalty
of two (2) years suspension and ordered to return in restitution all the amounts in his
possession which are due to complainant, less his rightful attorneys fees.
ISSUE:
Whether or not the respondent is guilty of gross misconduct for his failure to promptly
account to his client the funds received in the course of his professional engagement and
return the same upon demand.
RULING:
Yes. The Code of Professional Responsibility demands the utmost degree of fidelity and
good faith in dealing with the moneys entrusted to lawyers because of their fiduciary
relationship. Specifically, Rule 16.01 of the Code imposes upon the lawyer the duty to
account for all money or property collected or received for or from the client. Rule 16.03
thereof, on the other hand, mandates that [a] lawyer shall deliver the funds x x x of his
client when due or upon demand.
TAXATION II CLASS (A.Y. 2014-2015)

As aptly observed by the Investigating Commissioner, other than his self-serving


statements, there is nothing in the records which would support respondents claim that he
was authorized to receive the payments. Neither is there proof that complainant agreed to
pay him additional 25% attorneys fees and reimburse him for all expenses he allegedly
incurred in connection with the case. Respondent did not present any document, retainers
agreement, or itemized breakdown of the amount to be reimbursed to support his claim. In
any event, even assuming that respondent was authorized to receive payments, the same
does not exempt him from his duty of promptly informing his client of the amounts he
received in the course of his professional employment. The fiduciary nature of the
relationship between counsel and client imposes on a lawyer the duty to account for the
money or property collected or received for or from the client. He is obliged to render a
prompt accounting of all the property and money he has collected for his client. The fact
that a lawyer has a lien for his attorneys fees on the money in his hands collected for his
client does not relieve him from the obligation to make a prompt accounting. Moreover, a
lawyer has no right to unilaterally appropriate his clients money for himself by the mere
fact alone that the client owes him attorneys fees.
In sum, [r]espondents failure to immediately account for and return the money when due
and upon demand violated the trust reposed in him, demonstrated his lack of integrity and
moral soundness, and warrants the imposition of disciplinary action.
The Penalty: The penalty for gross misconduct consisting in the failure or refusal despite
demand of a lawyer to account for and to return money or property belonging to a client
has been suspension from the practice of law for two years. Thus, the IBP Board of
Governors did not err in recommending the imposable penalty. Considering, however, that
this is respondents first offense and he is already a nonagenarian, the Court, in the exercise
of its compassionate judicial discretion, finds that a penalty of one year suspension is
sufficient.
WHEREFORE, the Court finds respondent GUILTY of gross misconduct and accordingly
SUSPENDS him from the practice of law for one (1) year upon the finality of this Resolution,
with a warning that a repetition of the same or similar act or offense shall be dealt with
more severely.

TAXATION II CLASS (A.Y. 2014-2015)

OCTOBER 2014
1. A.C. No. 7919
October 08, 2014
DOMADO DISOMIMBA SULTAN, Complainant, vs. ATTY. CASAN MACABANDING,
Respondent.
Legal Ethics; Notarial Practice
FACTS:
According to the complainant, he ran for the position of Mayor. He filed his Certificate of
Candidacy (COC) with the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) for the May 14, 2007
elections.
Thereafter, an Affidavit of Withdrawal of Certificate of Candidacy for Municipal Mayor
(Affidavit of Withdrawal) was notarized and submitted by the respondent to the COMELEC,
withdrawing the complainants candidacy without the latters knowledge or authorization.
When the complainant learned of this, he wrote a letter and submitted an Affidavit to
Acting Election Officer of the COMELEC. The complainant alleged that he neither executed
the Affidavit of Withdrawal nor authorized anybody to prepare a document to withdraw
his COC. He asked that the withdrawal be ignored and that his name be retained on the list
of candidates.
The complainant also filed a criminal complaint on May 17, 2007 with the Prosecutors
Office for Falsification of Public Documents. Information was thereby filed against the
respondent.
Investigations were made on the authenticity of the signatures by handwriting experts and
it was found out that the said signatures were forged.
ISSUE:
Whether or not the respondent is administratively liable for notarizing a forged document.
RULING:
Yes. The complainant adduced preponderant evidence that his signature was indeed forged
in an affidavit which the respondent notarized and submitted to the COMELEC.
Consequently, the respondent should be held administratively liable for his action. Where
the notary public is a lawyer, a graver responsibility is placed upon his shoulder by reason
of his solemn oath to obey the laws and to do no falsehood or consent to the doing of any.
The Code of Professional Responsibility also commands him not to engage in unlawful,
dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct and to uphold at all times the integrity and dignity
of the legal profession. It should be noted that a notary publics function should not be
trivialized and a notary public must discharge his powers and duties which are impressed
TAXATION II CLASS (A.Y. 2014-2015)

with public interest, with accuracy and fidelity. A notary public exercises duties calling for
carefulness and faithfulness. Notaries must inform themselves of the facts they certify to;
most importantly, they should not take part or allow themselves to be part of illegal
transactions.30 In fact, the respondent admitted that the affidavit was notarized in his
office without the presence of the complainant.31cralawlawlibrary
Based on prevailing jurisprudence, the penalties meted out against a lawyer commissioned
as a notary public who fails to discharge his duties as such are: the revocation of notarial
commission, disqualification from being commissioned as a notary public for a period of
two years, and suspension from the practice of law for one year.
WHEREFORE is found administratively liable for misconduct and is SUSPENDED from the
practice of law for one (1) year. Further, his notarial commission, if any, is REVOKED and
he is DISQUALIFIED from reappointment as Notary Public for a period of two (2) years,
with a stern warning that repetition of the same or similar conduct in the future will be
dealt with more severely. He is DIRECTED to report to this Court the date of his receipt of
this Decision to enable it to determine when the revocation of his notarial commission and
his disqualification from being commissioned as notary public shall take effect.
NOVEMBER 2014
1. A.C. No. 7054
November 11, 2014
CONRADO N. QUE, Complainant, vs. ATTY. ANASTACIO E. REVILLA, JR., Respondent.
Legal Ethics; Lawyers Oath; Canon 8; Rules 10.01 and 10.03, Canon 10; Rules 12.02
and 12.04, Canon 12; Rule 19.01, Canon 19 of the Code of Professional Responsibility;
and Sections 20(d), 21 and 27 of Rule 138 of the Rules of Court
FACTS:
Conrado Que (Que) filed a disbarment case before the Integrated Bar of the Philippines,
case against Atty. Anastacio Revilla of committing the following violations of the Code of
Professional Responsibility and Rule 138 of the Rules of Court:
(1) The respondents abuse of court remedies and processes by filing a petition for
certiorari before the Court of Appeals (CA), two petitions for annulment of title
before the Regional Trial Court (RTC), a petition for annulment of judgment before
the RTC and lastly, a petition for declaratory relief before the RTC (collectively,
subject cases) to assail and overturn the final judgments of the Metropolitan Trial
Court (MeTC) and RTC in the unlawful detainer case rendered against the
respondents clients. The respondent in this regard, repeatedly raised the issue of
lack of jurisdiction by the MeTC and RTC knowing fully well that these courts have
jurisdiction over the unlawful detainer case. The respondent also repeatedly
TAXATION II CLASS (A.Y. 2014-2015)

attacked the complainants and his siblings titles over the property subject of the
unlawful detainer case;
(2) The respondents commission of forum-shopping by filing the subject cases in order
to impede, obstruct, and frustrate the efficient administration of justice for his own
personal gain and to defeat the right of the complainant and his siblings to execute
the MeTC and RTC judgments in the unlawful detainer case;
(3) The respondents lack of candor and respect towards his adversary and the courts
by resorting to falsehood and deception to misguide, obstruct and impede the due
administration of justice. The respondent asserted falsehood in the motion for
reconsideration of the dismissal of the petition for annulment of judgment by
fabricating an imaginary order issued by the presiding judge in open court which
allegedly denied the motion to dismiss filed by the respondents in the said case. The
complainant alleged that the respondent did this to cover up his lack of preparation;
the respondent also deceived his clients (who were all squatters) in supporting the
above falsehood.
(4) The respondents willful and revolting falsehood that unjustly maligned and
defamed the good name and reputation of the late Atty. Alfredo Catolico (Atty.
Catolico), the previous counsel of the respondents clients.
(5) The respondents deliberate, fraudulent and unauthorized appearances in court in
the petition for annulment of judgment for 15 litigants, three of whom are already
deceased;
(6) The respondents willful and fraudulent appearance in the second petition for
annulment of title as counsel for the Republic of the Philippines without being
authorized to do so.
Additionally, the complainant further alleged that the respondent of representing fifty-two
(52) litigants in a civil case when no such authority was ever given to him.
ISSUE:
Whether the respondent can be held liable for the imputed unethical infractions and
professional misconduct, and the penalty these transgressions should carry.
RULING:
Yes, the respondent can be held liable for the imputed unethical infractions and
professional misconduct, and the penalty these transgressions should carry.
Under the circumstances, the respondents repeated attempts go beyond the legitimate
means allowed by professional ethical rules in defending the interests of his client. These
are already uncalled for measures to avoid the enforcement of final judgments of the
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MeTC and RTC. In these attempts, the respondent violated Rule 10.03, Canon 10 of the Code
of Professional Responsibility which makes it obligatory for a lawyer to observe the rules
of procedure and not to misuse them to defeat the ends of justice. By his actions, the
respondent used procedural rules to thwart and obstruct the speedy and efficient
administration of justice, resulting in prejudice to the winning parties in that case.
The respondent likewise violated Rule 12.02 and Rule 12.04, Canon 12 of the Code of
Professional Responsibility, as well as the rule against forum shopping, both of which are
directed against the filing of multiple actions to attain the same objective. Both violations
constitute abuse of court processes; they tend to degrade the administration of justice;
wreak havoc on orderly judicial procedure; and add to the congestion of the heavily
burdened dockets of the courts.
For these acts, we find the respondent liable under Rule 10.01 of Canon 10 the Code of
Professional Responsibility for violating the lawyers duty to observe candor and fairness
in his dealings with the court. This provision states:
CANON 10 A LAWYER OWES CANDOR, FAIRNESS AND GOOD FAITH TO THE
COURT
Rule 10.01 A lawyer shall not do any falsehood, nor consent to the doing of
any in Court, nor shall he mislead or allow the Court to be mislead by an
artifice.
Likewise, the respondent violated his duty as an attorney and his oath as a lawyer never to
mislead the judge or any judicial officer by an artifice or false statement of fact or law. The
respondent failed to remember that his duty as an officer of the court makes him an
indispensable participant in the administration of justice, and that he is expected to act
candidly, fairly and truthfully in his work. His duty as a lawyer obligates him not to conceal
the truth from the court, or to mislead the court in any manner, no matter how demanding
his duties to his clients may be. In case of conflict, his duties to his client yield to his duty to
deal candidly with the court.
In defending his clients interest, the respondent also failed to observe Rule 19.01, Canon
19 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, which reads:
CANON 19 A LAWYER SHALL REPRESENT HIS CLIENT WITH ZEAL WITHIN
THE BOUNDS OF LAW
Rule 19.01 A lawyer shall employ only fair and honest means to attain the
lawful objectives of his clients x xx
This Canon obligates a lawyer, in defending his client, to employ only such means as are
consistent with truth and honor. He should not prosecute patently frivolous and meritless
appeals or institute clearly groundless actions. The recital of what the respondent did to
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prevent the execution of the judgment against his clients shows that he actually committed
what the above rule expressly prohibits.
To support the charge of extrinsic fraud in his petition for annulment of judgment, the
respondent attacked (as quoted above) the name and reputation of the late Atty. Catolico
and accused him of deliberate neglect, corrupt motives and connivance with the counsel for
the adverse party.
Under these circumstances, we believe that the respondent has been less than fair in his
professional relationship with Atty. Catolico and is thus liable for violating Canon 8 of the
Code of Professional Responsibility, which obligates a lawyer to conduct himself with
courtesy, fairness, and candor toward his professional colleagues. He was unfair because
he imputed wrongdoing to Atty. Catolico without showing any factual basis therefor; he
effectively maligned Atty. Catolico, who is now dead and unable to defend himself.
The respondent violated Sections 21 and 27, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court when he
undertook the unauthorized appearances. The settled rule is that a lawyer may not
represent a litigant without authority from the latter or from the latters representative or,
in the absence thereof, without leave of court. The willful unauthorized appearance by a
lawyer for a party in a given case constitutes contumacious conduct and also warrants
disciplinary measures against the erring lawyer for professional misconduct.
Good faith connotes an honest intention to abstain from taking unconscientious advantage
of another. Accordingly, in University of the East v. Jader we said that "good faith connotes
an honest intention to abstain from taking undue advantage of another, even though the
forms and technicalities of law, together with the absence of all information or belief of
facts, would render the transaction unconscientious." Bad faith, on the other hand, is a state
of mind affirmatively operating with furtive design or with some motive of self-interest, ill
will or for an ulterior purpose. As both concepts are states of mind, they may be deduced
from the attendant circumstances and, more particularly, from the acts and statements of
the person whose state of mind is the subject of inquiry.
In this case, we find that the respondent acted in bad faith in defending the interests of his
clients. We draw this conclusion from the misrepresentations and the dubious recourses he
made, all obviously geared towards forestalling the execution of the final judgments of the
MeTC and RTC. That he took advantage of his legal knowledge and experience and misread
the Rules immeasurably strengthen the presence of bad faith.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, we hereby AFFIRM Resolution No. XVII-2005-164
dated December 17, 2005 and Resolution No. XVII-2008-657 dated December 11, 2008 of
the Board of Governors of the IBP Committee on Bar Discipline insofar as respondent Atty.
Anastacio Revilla, Jr. is found liable for professional misconduct for violations of the
Lawyers Oath; Canon 8; Rules 10.01 and 10.03, Canon 10; Rules 12.02 and 12.04, Canon
12; Rule 19.01, Canon 19 of the Code of Professional Responsibility; and Sections 20(d), 21
and 27 of Rule 138 of the Rules of Court. However, we modify the penalty the IBP imposed,
and hold that the respondent should be DISBARRED from the practice of law.
TAXATION II CLASS (A.Y. 2014-2015)

2. A.C. No. 9395


November 12, 2014
DARIA O. DAGING, Complainant, vs. ATTY. RIZ TINGALON L. DAVIS, Respondent.
Legal Ethics; Canon 15, Rule 15.03
FACTS:
Complainant was the owner and operator of Nashville Country Music Lounge. She leased
from Benjie Pinlac (Pinlac) a building space where she operated the bar.
Meanwhile, complainant received a Retainer Proposal from Davis &Sabling Law Office
signed by respondent and his partner Atty. Amos Saganib Sabling (Atty. Sabling). This
eventually resulted in the signing by the complainant,, the respondent and Atty. Sabling of a
Retainer Agreement dated March 7, 2005.
Because complainant was delinquent in paying the monthly rentals, Pinlac terminated the
lease. Together with Novie Balageo (Balageo) and respondent, Pinlac went to complainant's
music bar, inventoried all the equipment therein, and informed her that Balageo would
take over the operation of the bar.
Complainant likewise alleged that she filed an ejectment case against Pinlac and Balageo
before the Municipal Trial Court in Cities (MTCC), Branch 1, Baguio City. At that time, Davis
& Sabling Law Office was still her counsel as their Retainer Agreement remained subsisting
and in force. However, respondent appeared as counsel for Balageo in that ejectment case
and filed, on behalf of the latter, an Answer with Opposition to the Prayer for the Issuance
of a Writ of Preliminary Injunction.
Respondent denied participation in the takeover or acting as a business partner of Balageo
in the operation of the bar. Respondent further alleged that it was not him who handled the
complainants case, but his partner, Atty. Sabling.
ISSUE:
Whether the Respondent should be held administratively liable based on the allegations in
the complaint.
RULING:
Yes, as provided by Rule 15.03 of Canon 15 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, A
lawyer shall not represent conflicting interests except by written consent of all concerned
given after a full disclosure of the facts.
"A lawyer may not, without being guilty of professional misconduct, act as counsel for a
person whose interest conflicts with that of his present or former client." The prohibition
against representing conflicting interests is absolute and the rule applies even if the lawyer
has acted in good faith and with no intention to represent conflicting interests. In
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Quiambao v. Atty. Bamba, this Court emphasized that lawyers are expected not only to keep
inviolate the client's confidence, but also to avoid the appearance of treachery and doubledealing for only then can litigants be encouraged to entrust their secrets to their lawyers,
which is of paramount importance in the administration of justice.
Moreover, In Hiladov. David, reiterated in Gonzales v. Atty. Cabucana, Jr., this Court held
that a lawyer who takes up the cause of the adversary of the party who has engaged the
services of his law firm brings the law profession into public disrepute and suspicion and
undermines the integrity of justice. Thus, respondent's argument that he never took
advantage of any information acquired by his law firm in the course of its professional
dealings with the complainant, even assuming it to be true, is of no moment. Undeniably
aware of the fact that complainant is a client of his law firm, respondent should have
immediately informed both the complainant and Balageo that he, as well as the other
members of his law firm, cannot represent any of them in their legal tussle; otherwise, they
would be representing conflicting interests and violate the Code of Professional
Responsibility. Indeed, respondent could have simply advised both complainant and
Balageo to instead engage the services of another lawyer.
The penalty for representing conflicting interests may either be reprimand or suspension
from the practice of law ranging from six months to two years.
3. A.C. No. 10240 November 25, 2014
ESTRELLA R. SANCHEZ, Complainant, vs. ATTY. NICOLAS C. TORRES, M.D.,
Respondent.
Legal Ethics; Canon 1, Rule 1.01
FACTS:
Sanchez filed this administrative suit against the respondent, Atty. Torres due to a check
issued by the latter that had bounced. She claimed that the respondent had asked the
complainant to lend him money in the amount of P 2,200,000.00, and that he will pay
within a period of one month, plus interest. The complainant was persuaded by the
respondent and agreed to the latters terms.
Atty. Torres issued two (2) Allied Bank checks. However one month later, he failed to pay
his obligation as promised. The complainant called the respondent over the phone, she was
told that she could again deposit the check and assured her that the checks will be honored
upon presentment for payment. When the said checks were deposited to her account, they
were returned due to amount closed.
Complainant made repeated demands for three years, yet respondent failed to pay his
obligation. Thus, this petition

TAXATION II CLASS (A.Y. 2014-2015)

ISSUE:
Whether the Respondent should be held administratively liable based on the allegations in
the complaint.
RULING:
Yes, Atty. Torres is guilty of willful dishonesty and unethical conduct for failure to pay just
debt and for issuing checks without sufficient funds.
In Barrientos v. Atty. Libiran-Meteoro, we held that, x xx [the] deliberate failure to pay just
debts and the issuance of worthless checks constitute gross misconduct, for which a lawyer
may be sanctioned with suspension from the practice of law. Lawyers are instruments for
the administration of justice and vanguards of our legal system. They are expected to
maintain not only legal proficiency but also a high standard of morality, honesty, integrity
and fair dealing so that the peoples faith and confidence in the judicial system is ensured.
They must at all times faithfully perform their duties to society, to the bar, the courts and to
their clients, which include prompt payment of financial obligations. They must conduct
themselves in a manner that reflects the values and norms of the legal profession as
embodied in the Code of Professional Responsibility. Canon 1 and Rule 1.01 explicitly states
Canon 1 A lawyer shall uphold the constitution, obey the laws of the land and
promote respect for law and for legal processes.
Rule 1.01A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful
conduct.
4. A.C. No. 4697
November 25, 2014
FLORENCIO A. SALADAGA, Complainant, vs. ATTY. ARTURO B. ASTORGA, Respondent.
Legal Ethics; Canon 1; Rule 1.01of the Code of Professional Responsibility
FACTS:
Complainant Saldaga and respondent Astorga entered into a deed of sale with right to
repurchase on December 2, 1981. Respondent sold to the complainant a parcel of coconut
land located in Baybay, Leyte for 15,000.00. Under the deed, respondent represented that it
has the perfect right to dispose as owner in fee simple the subject property, and that the
property is free from all liens and encumbrances. The deed also provided that
respondent, as vendor a retro, had two years within which to repurchase the property, and
if not repurchased, the parties shall renew the instrument or agreement.
Respondent failed to exercise his right to repurchase within the period stipulated in the
deed, and no renewal contract was made when complainant made a final demand.
Complainant remained in peaceful possession of the property until December 1989, he
TAXATION II CLASS (A.Y. 2014-2015)

received letters from Rural Bank of Albuera (Leyte) informing him that the property is
mortgaged by respondent to it. That the bank had foreclosed the property and complainant
should vacate the property. Complainant was dispossessed of the property, so it filed a case
of estafa against the respondent. The complainant likewise instituted an administrative
case which was then referred to the IBP for investigation, report and recommendation,
where it found the respondent guilty of Bad Faith when he dealt with the complainant
misrepresenting him that the property was covered with TCT No. T-662 when the said TCT
was already cancelled earlier and transferred to her wifes name without informing the
complainant. It likewise held that the respondent shall be suspending from the practice of
law for 2 years and ordered to return the sum of 15,000 with interest.
ISSUE:
Whether or not the investigating commissioner correctly ruled that the respondent be
suspended from the practice of law for 2 years and pay the corresponding amount?
RULING:
The Supreme Court ruled on the affirmative. That when the respondent was admitted to
the legal profession, he took an oath to obey the laws, do no falsehood and uphold the
constitution, as well as to conduct himself as a lawyer according to the best of his
knowledge and discretion. This, in which he gravely violated his oath, when it caused the
ambiguity or vagueness in the Deed of Sale with Right to Repurchase as he was the one who
drafted or prepared such document. Respondent could have simply denominated the
instrument as a deed of mortgage and refer himself and the complainant as mortgagor
and mortgagee, rather than vendor a retro and vendee a retro, then the controversy
could have been avoided. His imprecise and misleading wording of the said deed on its face
betrayed the lack of legal competence on his part. He thereby fell short of his oath, to
conduct himself as a lawyer according to the best of his knowledge and discretion.
Indeed respondent had the right to mortgage the property but as a lawyer, he should have
seen to it that the agreement faithfully, clearly and expressly embody or reflect the
intention of the parties. Otherwise, it will open the door to legal disputes which in the case
at bar was caused by respondents poor formulation of the Deed of Sale with Right to
Repurchase. Which played a significant factor in the controversy.
Likewise, the respondent dealt with the complainant with Bad Faith, Deceit and Fraud
when he made it appear that property was covered with TCT-662 when it was in fact
cancelled 9 years earlier. Canon 1 and Rule 1.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility
provide:
CANON 1 A lawyer shall uphold the constitution, obey the laws of the land and
promote respect for law and legal processes.
Rule 1.01 A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful
conduct.
TAXATION II CLASS (A.Y. 2014-2015)

Under Canon 1, a lawyer is not only mandated to personally obey the laws and the legal
processes, he is moreover expected to inspire respect and obedience thereto. On the other
hand, Rule 1.01 states the norm of conduct that is expected of all lawyers.Any act or
omission that is contrary to, prohibited or unauthorized by, in defiance of, disobedient to,
or disregards the law is unlawful. Unlawful conduct does not necessarily imply the
element of criminality although the concept is broad enough to include such element. The
actions of respondent in connection with the execution of the Deed of Sale with Right to
Repurchase clearly fall within the concept of unlawful, dishonest, and deceitful conduct.
They also reflect bad faith, dishonesty, and deceit on respondents part. Thus, respondent
deserves to be sanctioned.
5. A.C. No. 10134 November 26, 2014
PHILIPPINE ASSOCIATION OF COURT EMPLOYEES (PACE), REPRESENTED BY ITS
PRESIDENT, ATTY. VIRGINIA C. RAFAEL, Complainant, vs. ATTY. EDNA M.
ALIBUTDAN-DIAZ, Respondent.
Legal Ethics; Canon 1; Rule 1.01of the Code of Professional Responsibility
FACTS:
This case is involves the complaint for suspension or disbarment of the respondent. PACE
is the umbrella association of 1st and 2nd level court employees held in a convention
seminar in Davao City in 2005. Respondent is the National Treasurer of PACE, in which she
was trusted with all money matters of PACE.
That the liquidation for the 11th national PACE convention was submitted only on March
2007 during the 12th PACE national convention in Iloilo City. That when Diaz run for the
election for national treasurer, she was not elected, that on the last day of the convention, it
passed board resolution appropriating the amount of 30,000 as term-end bonus for each
PACE official qualified thereto. That Diaz did not submit a liquidation as to the 12 th PACE
national convention and that there was no turnover of monies belonging to the association
as a matter of procedure, despite a letter of demand sent to her. That a board resolution
was passed directing her to explain why they failed to liquidate the past finances for the
PACE of Davao and Iloilo conventions.
In her defense, she said that she filed a statement of liquidation for the 11 th national PACE
convention and that the proceeds were fully accounted. That she also filed a liquidation for
the 12th PACE convention, that the report, cash and receipts were fully accounted for and
received by former PACE officers. That the term end bonus did not rest on her solely, rather
it was approved by previous board of directors, and that she never sponsored the bonus.

TAXATION II CLASS (A.Y. 2014-2015)

ISSUE:
Whether or not Atty. Diaz violated Chapter 1, Canon 1, Rule 1.01 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility (CPR), which reads: "A lawyer should not engage in an unlawful, dishonest,
immoral or deceitful conduct.
RULING:
Everyone should keep in mind that the practice of law is only a privilege. It is definitely not
a right. In order to enjoy this privilege, one must show that he possesses, and continues to
possess, the qualifications required by law for the conferment of such privilege. One of
those requirements is observance of honestly and candor. Candor in all their dealings is the
very essence of a practitioners honorable membership in the legal profession. Lawyers are
required to act with the highest standard of truthfulness, fair play and nobility in the
conduct of litigation and in their relations with their clients, opposing parties, the other
counsels, and the courts. Time and again, the Court has held that the practice of law is
granted only to those of good moral character. The Bar maintains a high standard of
honesty and fair dealing. Thus, lawyers must conduct themselves beyond reproach at all
times, whether they are dealing with their clients or the public at large, and a violation of
the high moral standards of the legal profession justifies the imposition of the appropriate
penalty, including suspension and disbarment.
It is worthwhile to note that Atty. Diaz is a servant of the law and belongs to that profession
which entrusts the administration of law and dispensation of justice. For this, she is an
exemplar to others. She is likewise, expected to uphold the integrity and dignity of the legal
profession and refrain from any act or omission which might lessen the trust and
confidence reposed by the public in the fidelity, honesty and integrity of this noble
profession. Therefore, her delay in the liquidation of the finances of PACE, running for reelection and her involvement in the approval of the term-end bonus were definitely not the
candor the court speaks of. For this reason, the court held Atty. Diaz guilty of violating
Chapter 1, Canon 1, Rule 1.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility and suspended
from the practice of law for 3 months.

TAXATION II CLASS (A.Y. 2014-2015)

DECEMBER 2014
1. A.C. No. 8085
December 01, 2014
FELIPE LAYOS, Complainant, v. ATTY. MARLITO I. VILLANUEVA, Respondent.
Legal Ethics; Canon 17 & 18; Rules 18.03 & 18.04 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility
FACTS:
This case sprouted from a Sumbong filed by complainant charging the respondent Atty.
Villanueva for violating the Code of Professional Responsibility and the lawyers oath for
neglecting the interests of his client.
In the sumbong, it was alleged that respondent constantly fails to appear in the court
hearings which resulted in the RTCs issuance of an order waiving the defenses right to
cross-examine a prosecution witness. Despite issuance of the order, respondent remained
absent in which complainant was only able to move for reconsideration which was denied
four years later. Aggrieved complainant thru respondent filed a petition for certiorari
before the Court of Appeals which dismissed the case and chastised the respondent for his
lack of candidness and fervor on his part to champion the cause of his client. That it never
bothered to know the outcome of the hearings of which he was absent and for taking a long
time before moving to reconsider the RTCs order.
In its comment, it denied being remiss in its duty. That during the hearing the criminal case
supposed to be amicably settled, that his car broke down and that he was unable to attend
the hearing. That when the car was fixed, he contacted his secretary to know the outcome
and that he was unable to contact the complainant and never heard from him for a long
time, as well as he did not receive any notices from the RTC. Thus he assumed that the
amicable settlement pushed through. That he had a hard time locating the complainant
who was not at his home address and staying at his workplace at Cavite, which caused him
advance filing fees and expenses, not to mention the complainant failed to pay attorneys
fees and appearance fees due to him.
The IBP found him to be administratively liable and suspended him from the practice of
law for a period of 6 months, that he failed in his duty to serve the complainants interest
with competence and diligence by neglecting the latters criminal case pending before the
RTC.
ISSUE:
Whether the respondent should be administratively liable for the acts complained of.

TAXATION II CLASS (A.Y. 2014-2015)

RULING:
The Supreme Court concurs with the IBPs findings that under Canon 17 and 18 of the Code
of Professional Responsibility. It is the lawyers duty to serve his clients duty with zeal,
candor and diligence. As such, he must keep abreast with the developments of his clients
case and should inform the latter of the same as it is crucial in maintaining the latters
confidence.
As an officer of the court, it is his duty to inform his client of whatever important
information he may have acquired affecting his clients case. He should notify his client of
any adverse decision to enable his client to decide whether to seek an appellate review
thereof. The lawyer should not leave the client in the dark on how the lawyer is defending
the clients interests. In this connection, the lawyer must constantly keep in mind that his
actions, omissions, or nonfeasance would be binding upon his client. As such, the lawyer is
expected to be acquainted with the rudiments of law and legal procedure, and a clientwho
deals with him has the right to expect not just a good amount of professional learning and
competence but also a whole-hearted fealty to the clients cause.
In the case at hand, since the car trouble, respondent no longer kept track of complainants
criminal case and assumed that it was amicable settled and terminated. Thereafter the
respondent knew that the case was still on-going, which he attended and discovered the
RTCs issuance of an order which is prejudicial to his clients cause. Despite it, respondent
did not immediately seek any remedy to further the interest of his client. Instead he merely
relied on the courts employees to send him a copy of the order. Worse, when he received
the order, it took him a year to move to reconsider. Which Naturally the RTC and the CA
denied the motion for being filed way beyond the reglementary period. Clearly respondent
failed to exercise such skill, care, diligence as men of the legal profession commonly
possess and exercise in matters of professional employment. The penalty was however
modified to a suspension from 6 months to 3 months, with a stern warning that repetition
of similar act will be dealt with more severely.
2. A.C. No. 7687
December 03, 2014
RAUL C. LANUZA AND REYNALDO C. RASING, Complainants, vs. ATTYS. FRANKIE O.
MAGSALIN III AND PABLO R. CRUZ, Respondents.
Legal Ethics; Code of Professional Responsibility
FACTS:
A.C. No. 7688: On March 23, 2007, the CA rendered a decision in CA-G.R. SP No. 92642,
favoring Lanuza and directing PHI to reinstate him with full backwages.
According to Lanuza, his legal counsel, Atty. Solon R. Garcia (Atty. Garcia), received the
Notice of Judgment and their copy of the CA Decision on March 28, 2007 at his law office
located in Quezon City. Subsequently, Atty. Garcia received by registered mail the
TAXATION II CLASS (A.Y. 2014-2015)

Compliance and Motion for Reconsideration, both dated April 12, 2007, filed by PHI and
signed by Atty. Magsalin. In the said pleadings, PHI stated that it received Notice of
Judgment with a copy of the CA decision on April 10, 2007. This information caused Atty.
Garcia to wonder why the postman would belatedly deliver the said Notice of Judgment
and the CA decision to the PRC Law Office, which was also located in Quezon City, thirteen
(13) days after he received his own copies.
Atty. Garcia requested the Quezon City Central Post Office (QCCPO) for a certification as to
the date of the actual receipt of the Notice of Judgment with the CA decision by the PRC Law
Office. In the October 31, 2007 Certification, issued by Llewelyn F. Fallarme (Fallarme),
Chief of the Records Section, QCCPO, it was stated that the Registered Letter No. S-1582
addressed to Atty. Magsalin was delivered by Postman Rosendo Pecante (Postman Pecante)
and duly received by Teresita Calucag on March 29, 2007, supposedly based on the logbook
of Postman Pecante.
With the October 31, 2007 Certification as basis, the complainants lodged the disbarment
complaint against Attys. Magsalin, Go and Cruz, which was docketed as A.C. No. 7688.
A.C. No. 7687: On July 10, 2007, Atty. Garcia received by registered mail the Notice of
Resolution from the CA. Thereafter, Atty. Garcia received by registered mail the
Compliance,7 dated July 26, 2007, filed by PHI, through the PRC Law Office. In the said
Compliance, it was stated that the Notice of Resolution was received on July 23, 2007 based
on the Registry Return Receipt8 (2nd return receipt) sent back to the CA.
Atty. Garcia requested the QCCPO to issue a certification as to the date of the actual receipt
of the said Notice of Resolution by the PRC Law Office. In the October 25, 2007 Certification
issued by the QCCPO, Chief of the Records Section Fallarme, stated that the Registered
Letter No. S-114 addressed to Atty. Magsalin was delivered by Postman Pecante and duly
received by Calucag on July 16, 2007, based on the logbook of Postman Pecante.
The October 25, 2007 Certification became the basis of the other disbarment complaint
against Attys. Magsalin and Cruz docketed as A.C. No. 7687.
In its April 2, 2008 and June 16, 2008 Resolutions, the Court referred the said
administrative cases to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) for investigation, report
and recommendation.
In both cases, the Commissioner dismissed the case for lack of merit and was duly adopted
by the IBP-BOG.
ISSUE:
Whether Attys. Magsalin, Cruz and Go should be held administratively liable based on the
allegations in the complaints.

TAXATION II CLASS (A.Y. 2014-2015)

RULING:
The petitions lack merit.
The burden of proof in disbarment and suspension proceedings always rests on the
complainant. The Court exercises its disciplinary power only if the complainant establishes
the complaint by clearly preponderant evidence that warrants the imposition of the harsh
penalty. In the cases at bench, the Court finds the evidentiary records to be inconclusive,
thus, insufficient to hold the respondents liable for the acts alleged in the complaint.
Though there is a variance between the QCCPO Certifications and the Registry Return
Receipts as to the dates of the CA receipt of the notices, decision and resolution by the
respondents, there is no clear and convincing evidence to prove that the respondents
intentionally and maliciously made it appear that they received the CA notices, decision
and resolution later than the dates stated in the QCCPO Certifications. The complainants
would like to impress upon the Court that the only logical explanation as to the discrepancy
on the dates between the QCCPO Certifications and the Registry Return Receipts was that
the respondents must have induced Calucag to alter the true date of receipt by the CA for
the purpose of extending the period to file, the otherwise time-barred, motion for
reconsideration.
3. A.C. No. 8103
December 03, 2014
ATTY. AURELIO C. ANGELES, JR., PROVINCIAL LEGAL OFFICER, BATAAN CAPITOL,
BALANGA CITY, BATAAN, Complainant, vs. ATTY. RENATO C. BAGAY, Respondent.
Legal Ethics; Canon 7; Canon 9
FACTS:
This case stemmed from the letter, dated June 11, 2008, submitted by Atty. Aurelio C.
Angeles, Jr. (Atty. Angeles, Jr.), the Provincial Legal Officer of Bataan, to Hon. Remigio M.
Escalada, Jr. (Executive Judge), Executive Judge of the Regional Trial Court of Bataan against
Atty. Renato C. Bagay (respondent), for his alleged notarization of 18 documents at the time
he was out of the country from March 13, 2008 to April 8, 2008.
These documents were endorsed to the Provincial Legal Office by the Provincial Treasurer
who had information that they were notarized while respondent was outside the country
attending the Prayer and Life Workshop in Mexico. The letter contained the affidavits of the
persons who caused the documents to be notarized which showed a common statement
that they did not see respondent sign the documents himself and it was either the secretary
who signed them or the documents came out of the office already signed. Upon verification
with the Bureau of Immigration, it was found out that a certain Renato C. Bagay departed
from the country on March 13, 2008 and returned on April 8, 2008. The copy of the
Certification issued by the Bureau of Immigration was also attached to the letter.
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The Report and Recommendation of Atty. Felimon C. Abelita III (Atty. Abelita III) as
Investigating Commissioner found that the letter of Atty. Angeles, Jr., dated June 11, 2008,
was not verified, that most of the attachments were not authenticated photocopies and that
the comment of respondent was likewise not verified. Atty. Abelita III, however, observed
that respondents signature on his comment appeared to be strikingly similar to the
signatures in most of the attached documents which he admitted were notarized in his
absence by his office secretary. He admitted the fact that there were documents that were
notarized while he was abroad and his signature was affixed by his office secretary who
was not aware of the import of the act. Thus, by his own admission, it was established that
by his negligence in employing an office secretary who had access to his office, his notarial
seal and records especially pertaining to his notarial documents without the proper
training, respondent failed to live up to the standard required by the Rules on Notarial
Practice.
Finding respondent guilty of negligence in the performance of his notarial duty which gave
his office secretary the opportunity to abuse his prerogative authority as notary public, the
Investigating Commissioner recommended the immediate revocation of respondents
commission as notary public and his disqualification to be commissioned as such for a
period of two (2) years.
The IBP Board of Governors adopted and approved the said recommendation in its
Resolution, dated September 28, 2013.
ISSUE:
Whether the notarization of documents by the secretary of respondent while he was out of
the country constituted negligence.
RULING:
The Court answers in the affirmative.
Respondent admitted in his comment and motion for reconsideration that the 18
documents were notarized under his notarial seal by his office secretary while he was out
of the country. This clearly constitutes negligence considering that respondent is
responsible for the acts of his secretary. Section 9 of the 2004 Rules on Notarial Practice
provides that a Notary Public refers to any person commissioned to perform official acts
under these Rules. A notary publics secretary is obviously not commissioned to perform
the official acts of a notary public.
Respondent must fully bear the consequence of his negligence. A person who is
commissioned as a notary public takes full responsibility for all the entries in his notarial
register. He cannot relieve himself of this responsibility by passing the buck to his
secretary.

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Respondent violated Canon 9 of the CPR which requires lawyers not to directly or
indirectly assist in the unauthorized practice of law. Due to his negligence that allowed his
secretary to sign on his behalf as notary public, he allowed an unauthorized person to
practice law. By leaving his office open despite his absence in the country and with his
secretary in charge, he virtually allowed his secretary to notarize documents without any
restraint.
Respondent also violated his obligation under Canon 7 of the CPR, which directs every
lawyer to uphold at all times the integrity and dignity of the legal profession. The people,
who came into his office while he was away, were clueless as to the illegality of the activity
being conducted therein. They expected that their documents would be converted into
public documents. Instead, they later found out that the notarization of their documents
was a mere sham and without any force and effect. By prejudicing the persons whose
documents were notarized by an unauthorized person, their faith in the integrity and
dignity of the legal profession was eroded.
4. A.C. No. 10579 December 10, 2014
ERLINDA FOSTER, Complainant, vs. ATTY. JAIME V. AGTANG, Respondent.
Legal Ethics; Canon 1, Rule 1.0; Canon 15, Rule 15.03; Canon 16, Rule 16.04
FACTS:
Complainant was referred to respondent in connection with her legal problem regarding a
deed of absolute sale she entered into with Tierra Realty, which respondent had notarized.
After their discussion, complainant agreed to engage his legal services for the filing of the
appropriate case in court, for which they signed a contract. Complainant paid respondent
P20, 000.00 as acceptance fee and P5,000.00 for incidental expenses
Respondent ATTY. AGTANG wrote a letter to Tropical Villas Subdivision in relation to the
legal problem referred by complainant FOSTER. He then visited the latter in her home and
asked for a loan of P100, 000.00, payable in sixty (60) days, for the repair of his car. A
promissory note evidenced the loan.
Complainant became aware that Tierra Realty was attempting to transfer to its name a lot
she had previously purchased. She referred the matter to respondent who recommended
the immediate filing of a case for reformation of contract with damages. On November 8,
2009, respondent requested and thereafter received from complainant the amount of
P150,000.00, as filing fee. When asked about the exorbitant amount, respondent cited the
high value of the land and the sheriffs travel expenses and accommodations in Manila, for
the service of the summons to the defendant corporation. During a conversation with the
Registrar of Deeds, complainant also discovered that respondent was the one who
notarized the document being questioned in the civil case she filed. The respondent wrote
to complainant, requesting that the latter extend to him the amount of P70, 000.00 or P50,
TAXATION II CLASS (A.Y. 2014-2015)

000.00 in the moment of urgency or emergency. Complainant obliged the request and
gave respondent the sum of P22, 000.00.
On August 31, 2010, respondent came to complainants house and demanded the sum of
P50, 000.00, purportedly to be given to the judge in exchange for a favorable ruling.
Complainant expressed her misgivings on this proposition but she eventually gave the
amount of P25, 000.00 which was covered by a receipt, stating that it is understood that
the balance of P25, 000.00 shall be paid later after favorable judgment for plaintiff Erlinda
Foster. Respondent insisted that the remaining amount be given by complainant prior to
the next hearing of the case, because the judge was allegedly asking for the balance. Yet
again, complainant handed to respondent the amount of P25, 000.00
Complainants case was dismissed. Not having been notified by respondent, complainant
learned of the dismissal when she personally checked the status of the case with the court.
She went to the office of respondent, but he was not there. Instead, one of the office staff
gave her a copy of the order of dismissal. The respondent visited complainant and gave her
a copy of the motion for reconsideration. Respondents driver delivered to complainant a
copy of the reply with a message from him that the matters she requested to be included
were mentioned therein. Upon reading the same, however, complainant discovered that
these matters were not so included. On the same occasion, the driver also asked for
P2,500.00 on respondents directive for the reimbursement of the value of a bottle of wine
given to the judge as a present.
Eventually complainant decided to terminate the services of respondent as her counsel and
wrote him a letter of termination, after her friend gave her copies of documents showing
that respondent had been acquainted with Tierra Realty since December 2007.
Subsequently, complainant wrote to respondent, requesting him to pay her the amounts he
received from her less the contract fee and the actual cost of the filing fees. Respondent
never replied.
The IBP, thru its Commission on Bar Discipline (CBD), received a complaint, filed by Erlinda
Foster (complainant) against respondent for unlawful, dishonest, immoral and
deceitful3 acts as a lawyer. The Investigating Commissioner found respondent guilty of
ethical impropriety and recommended his suspension from the practice of law for one (1)
year.
In its September 28, 2013 Resolution, the IBP-BOG adopted and approved with
modification the recommendation of suspension by the Investigating Commissioner and
ordered respondent to return to complainant: 1) his loan of P122,000.00; and 2) the
balance of the filing fee amounting to P127,590.00. Respondent filed a motion for
reconsideration. Complainant filed her opposition thereto, informing the IBP-BOG that an
information charging respondent for estafa had already been filed in court and that a
corresponding order for his arrest had been issued. The IBP-BOG denied respondents
motion for reconsideration but modified the penalty of his suspension from the practice of
law by reducing it from 1 year to 3 months. Respondent was likewise ordered to return the
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balance of the filing fee received from complainant amounting to P127,590.00.


ISSUE:
Whether respondent violated the Code of Professional Responsibility (CPR)?
RULING:
Yes.
1. Rule 1.0, Canon 1 of the CPR, provides that [a] lawyer shall not engage in unlawful,
dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct. In this case, respondent is guilty of engaging in
dishonest and deceitful conduct, both in his professional and private capacity. As a lawyer,
he clearly misled complainant into believing that the filing fees for her case were worth
more than the prescribed amount in the rules, due to feigned reasons such as the high value
of the land involved and the extra expenses to be incurred by court employees. It is highly
improbable that complainant, who was then plagued with the rigors of litigation, would
propose such amount that would further burden her financial resources. Assuming that the
complainant was more than willing to shell out an exorbitant amount just to initiate her
complaint with the trial court, still, respondent should not have accepted the excessive
amount. As a lawyer, he is not only expected to be knowledgeable in the matter of filing
fees, but he is likewise duty-bound to disclose to his client the actual amount due,
consistent with the values of honesty and good faith expected of all members of the legal
profession.
Moreover, the fiduciary nature of the relationship between the counsel and his client
imposes on the lawyer the duty to account for the money or property collected or received
for or from his client.Money entrusted to a lawyer for a specific purpose but not used for
the purpose should be immediately returned. A lawyers failure to return upon demand the
funds held by him on behalf of his client gives rise to the presumption that he has
appropriated the same for his own use in violation of the trust reposed in him by his client.
2. Records reveal that he likewise violated Rule 16.04, Canon 16 of the CPR, which states
that [a] lawyer shall not borrow money from his client unless the clients interests are fully
protected by the nature of the case or by independent advice. Neither shall a lawyer lend
money to a client except, when in the interest of justice; he has to advance necessary
expenses in a legal matter he is handling for the client.
In his private capacity, he requested from his client, not just one, but two loans of
considerable amounts. The first time, he visited his client in her home and borrowed
P100,000.00 for the repair of his car; and the next time, he implored her to extend to him a
loan of P70,000.00 or P50,000.00 in the moment of urgency or emergency but was only
given P22,000.00 by complainant. These transactions were evidenced by promissory notes
and receipts, the authenticity of which was never questioned by respondent. These acts
were committed by respondent in his private capacity, seemingly unrelated to his
relationship with complainant, but were indubitably acquiesced to by complainant because
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of the trust and confidence reposed in him as a lawyer. Nowhere in the records, particularly
in the defenses raised by respondent, was it implied that these loans fell within the
exceptions provided by the rules. The loans of P100,000.00 and P22,000.00 were surely not
protected by the nature of the case or by independent advice.
3. Rule 15.03, Canon 15 of the CPR, provides that [a] lawyer shall not represent conflicting
interest except by written consent of all concerned given after a full disclosure of the facts.
The relationship between a lawyer and his/her client should ideally be imbued with the
highest level of trust and confidence. This is the standard of confidentiality that must
prevail to promote a full disclosure of the clients most confidential information to his/her
lawyer for an unhampered exchange of information between them. Thus, even if lucrative
fees offered by prospective clients are at stake, a lawyer must decline professional
employment if the same would trigger the violation of the prohibition against conflict of
interest. The only exception provided in the rules is a written consent from all the parties
after full disclosure.
There is substantial evidence to hold respondent liable for representing conflicting
interests in handling the case of complainant against Tierra Realty, a corporation to which
he had rendered services in the past. The Court cannot ignore the fact that respondent
admitted to having notarized the deed of sale, which was the very document being
questioned in complainants case.
It is apparent that respondent was retained by clients who had close dealings with each
other. More significantly, there is no record of any written consent from any of the parties
involved.
Penalty
For taking advantage of the unfortunate situation of the complainant, for engaging in
dishonest and deceitful conduct, for maligning the judge and the Judiciary, for undermining
the trust and faith of the public in the legal profession and the entire judiciary, and for
representing conflicting interests, respondent deserves no less than the penalty of
disbarment. Respondent, Atty. Jaime V. Agtang, GUILTY of gross misconduct in violation of
the Code of Professional Responsibility, the Court hereby DISBARS him from the practice
of law and ORDERS him to pay the complainant, Erlinda Foster, the amounts of
P127,590.00, P50,000.00 and P2,500.00.

TAXATION II CLASS (A.Y. 2014-2015)

JANUARY 2015
1. A.C. No. 10568 January 13, 2015
MARILEN G. SOLIMAN, Complainant, vs. ATTY. DITAS LERIOS-AMBOY, Respondent.
Legal Ethics; Code of Professional Responsibility; Canon 1, 15 and 21.
FACTS:
Mark Jimenez filed a complaint for estafa against the complainant, his common law partner.
In support of Jimenezs complaint, respondent executed an affidavit reiterating its factual
averments. Complainant felt betrayed when she read the affidavit of the respondent, on
whom she relied as her personal lawyer. This prompted her to file a disciplinary case
against respondent for representing conflicting interest. In his answer, respondent argued
that he violated neither the rule on disclosures of privileged communication nor the
proscription against representing conflicting interests, on the ground that complainant was
not his client. He was the lawyer of Jimenez and the legal counsel of Clarion, but never to
the complainant. The Commission on Bar Discipline (CBD) found respondent to have
violated Canon 1 of the CPR for simulating a loan and undervalued the consideration of the
effected sale of the Forbes property, which displayed his unlawful, dishonest, immoral and
deceitful conduct. He was also found to have violated Canons 15 and 21 of the CPR when he
executed an affidavit containing allegations against the interest of Clarion and complainant.
The IBP-BG adopted and approved in toto the findings and recommendation of the CBD
against respondent. Respondent filed MR but denied.
ISSUE:
Whether or not respondent has violated the CPR.
RULING:
Yes.
Atty. Francisco clearly violated the canons and his sworn duty. He is guilty of engaging in
dishonest and deceitful conduct when he admitted to having allowed his corporate client,
Clarion, to actively misrepresent to the SEC. He has clearly violated his duties as a lawyer
embodied in the CPR, namely, to avoid dishonest and deceitful conduct (Rule 1.01, Canon
1) and to act with candor, fairness and good faith (Rule 10.01, Canon 10). Also he
desecrated his solemn oath not to do any falsehood nor consent to the doing of the same.

TAXATION II CLASS (A.Y. 2014-2015)

2. A.C. No. 10568 January 13, 2015


MARILEN G. SOLIMAN, Complainant, vs. ATTY. DITAS LERIOS-AMBOY, Respondent.
Legal Ethics; Code of Professional Responsibility; Canons 17 and 18.
FACTS:
Complainant claimed that she engaged the services of respondent in connection with a
partition case. She agreed to pay the respondent P50,000 as acceptance fee. Later on,
respondent advised the complainant to no longer institute a partition case since the other
co-owners of the property were amenable to the partition thereof. Respondent then told
complainant that some from the RD can help expedite the issuance of the titles for a fee of
P50,000. Complainant then deposited the amount of P8,900 to respondents bank account
as payment for the real property tax and the amount of P50,000 as payment for the latters
contact with the RD. Respondent failed to deliver the certificates of tile. Complainant filed
an administrative case against respondent for violation of the CPR. The Commission on Bar
Discipline of the IBP found respondent to have violated the CPR by failing to observe due
diligence in dealing with the complainant and recommended the suspension of respondent
from the practice of law for six (6) months. The IBP Board of Governors adopted and
approved the CBDs recommendation, albeit with a modification that the period of
suspension was increased to two (2) years and that she was ordered to return the entire
amount she received from the complainant.
ISSUE:
Whether or not Atty. Amboy violated the CPR.
RULING:
Yes.
The CPR clearly states that a lawyer owes fidelity to the cause of his client and that he
should be mindful of the trust and confidence reposed in him. A lawyer is mandated to
serve his client with competence and diligence; to never neglect a legal matter entrusted to
him; and to keep his client informed of the status of his case and respond within a
reasonable time to the clients request for information.
The circumstances of this case clearly show that Atty. Amboy, after receiving payment for
her professional services, failed to submit material documents relative to the issuance of
separate certificates of title to the individual owners of the property. It was her negligence
which caused the delay in the issuance of the certificates of title. To make matters worse,
Atty. Amboy abetted the commission of an illegal act when she asked from Soliman the
amount of P50,000.00 to be paid to her contact inside the office of the RD in order to
facilitate the release of the said certificates of title. Further, notwithstanding the payment
of P50,000.00, Atty. Amboy still failed to obtain issuance of the said certificates of title. In
not returning the money to Soliman after a demand therefor was made following her
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failure to procure the issuance of the certificates of title, Atty. Amboy violated Canon 16 of
the Code of Professional Responsibility, particularly Rule 16.03 thereof, which requires that
a lawyer shall deliver the funds and property of his client upon demand. It is settled that
the unjustified withholding of money belonging to a client warrants the imposition of
disciplinary action.
3. A.C. No. 8235
January 27, 2015
JOSELITO F. TEJANO, Complainant, vs. ATTY. BENJAMIN F. BATERINA, Respondent.
Legal Ethics; Code of Professional Responsibility; Canon 18.
FACTS:
Complainant filed a civil case against the Province of Ilocos Sur for recovery of possession
of a strip of land. The lot was wholly owned by Tejanos family but the Province of Ilocos
Sur constructed an access road without instituting the proper expropriation proceedings.
The case was raffled off to Branch 21 of RTC Vigan in 1988. Judge Arquelada was one of the
trial prosecutors assigned to Branch 21 representing the Province of Ilocos Sur. In 2001, he
became the branchs presiding judge. The civil case was later on dismissed.
In his affidavit-complaint, complainant accused Judge Arquelada of colluding with the
formers own counsel, the herein respondent, in Judge Arqueladas bid to take possession of
the property.
The CBD found that respondent manifestly failed to properly inform the RTC that his failure
to appear in representation of his client was due to his two-year suspension from the
practice of law. The CBD recommended that respondent be suspended from the practice of
law for two years, and be fined in the amount of P50,000, considering that this is his second
disciplinary action. The IBP-B adopted and approved CBDs recommendation with
modification (deleted the fine).
ISSUE:
Whether or not Atty. Baterina violated the CPR.
RULING:
Yes.
The Code of Professional Responsibility governing the conduct of lawyers states:
CANON 18 - A LAWYER SHALL SERVE HIS CLIENT WITH COMPETENCE AND
DILIGENCE.

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RULE 18.03 -A lawyer shall not neglect a legal matter entrusted to him, and
negligence in connection therewith shall render him liable.
RULE 18.04 -A lawyer shall keep the client informed of the status of his case and
shall respond within a reasonable time to the client's request for information.
Lawyers have a fourfold duty to society, the legal profession, the courts and their clients,
and must act in accordance with the values and norms of the legal profession as embodied
in the CPR.
Atty. Baterina's duty to his clients did not automatically cease with his suspension. At the
very least, such suspension gave him a concomitant responsibility to inform his clients that
he would be unable to attend to their case and advise them to retain another counsel.
A lawyer -even one suspended from practicing the profession -owes it to his client to not
"sit idly by and leave the rights of his client in a state of uncertainty." The client "should
never be left groping in the dark" and instead must be "adequately and fully informed
about the developments in his case.
The Court notes that in 2001, Atty. Baterina was also suspended for two years after being
found guilty of gross misconduct. In that case, Araceli Sipin-Nabor filed a complaint against
Atty. Baterina for failing to file her Answer with Counterclaim in a case for quieting of title
and recovery of possession where she and her siblings were defendants. Because of such
failure, Sipin-Nabor was declared by the trial court to be in default and unable to present
her evidence, and which, in turn, resulted in a decision adverse to her.
Atty. Baterina was also found to have "converted the money of his client to his own
personal use without her consent" and "deceived the complainant into giving him the
amount of P2,000.00 purportedly to be used for filing an answer with counterclaim," which
he never did.
The Court likewise noted in that case Atty. Baterina's "repeated failure to comply with the
resolutions of the Court requiring him to comment on the complaint [which] indicates a
high degree of irresponsibility tantamount to willful disobedience to the lawful orders of
the Supreme Court.
These two disciplinary cases against Atty. Baterina show a pattern of neglecting his duty to
his clients, as well as a propensity for disrespecting the authority of the courts. Such
incorrigible behavior is unacceptable and will not be tolerated among members of the Bar.
For this reason, the Court deems it proper to impose on Atty. Baterina a longer suspension
period of five (5) years.

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