You are on page 1of 28

1

A.M. No. 1334 November 28, 1989


ROSARIO DELOS REYES, complainant, vs.ATTY. JOSE B.
AZNAR, respondent.
RESOLUTION
PER CURIAM:
This is a complaint for disbarment filed against respondent on
the ground of gross immorality.
Complainant, a second year medical student of the
Southwestern University (Cebu), alleged in her verified
complaint that respondent Atty. Jose B. Aznar, then chairman
of said university, had carnal knowledge of her for several
times under threat that she would fail in her Pathology subject
if she would not submit to respondent's lustful desires.
Complainant further alleged that when she became pregnant,
respondent, through a certain Dr. Gil Ramas, had her undergo
forced abortion.
In compliance with the Resolution of the Court dated July 9,
1974, respondent filed his Answer denying any personal
knowledge of complainant as well as all the allegations
contained in the complaint and by way of special defense,
averred that complainant is a woman of loose morality.
On September 2, 1974, the Court Resolved to refer the case to
the Solicitor General for investigation, report and
recommendation.
The findings of the Solicitor General is summarized as follows:
EVIDENCE FOR THE COMPLAINANT
Complainant Rosario delos Reyes testified
that:
1) she was a second year medical student of the
Southwestern University, the Chairman of the
Board of which was respondent Jose B. Aznar
(pp. 11, 15, tsn, June 6, 1975);
2) she however failed in her Pathology subject
which prompted her to approach respondent in
the latter's house who assured her that she
would pass the said subject (pp. 15,16, 26, 33,
tsn, June 6, 1975);
3) despite this assurance, however, she failed (p.
33, tsn, June 6, 1975);
4) sometime in February, 1973, respondent told
her that she should go with him to Manila,
otherwise, she would flunk in all her subjects
(pp. 42, 50, tsn, June 6, 1975); ... ... ... ;
5) on February 12, 1973, both respondent and
complainant boarded the same plane (Exh. "A")
for Manila; from the Manila Domestic Airport,
they proceeded to Room 905, 9th Floor of the
Ambassador Hotel where they stayed for three

days (Exhs. "K", "K-1" to "K-6"; p. 55, tsn, June


6, 1 975);
6) after arriving at the Ambassador Hotel, they
dined at a Spanish restaurant at San Marcelino,
Malate, Manila for around three hours (pp 5657, tsn, June 6, 1975);
7) they returned to the hotel at around twelve
o'clock midnight, where respondent had carnal
knowledge of her twice and then thrice the next
morning (p. 59, tsn, June 6, 1975; pp. 154, 155
& 157, tsn, July 18, 1975);
8) complainant consented to the sexual desires
of respondent because for her, she would
sacrifice her personal honor rather than fail in
her subjects (p.6l, tsn, June 6, 1975); ... ... ...;
9) sometime in March, 1973, complainant told
respondent that she was suspecting pregnancy
because she missed her menstruation (p. 76,
tsn, July 17, 1975); ... ... ...;
10) later, she was informed by Dr. Monsanto (an
instructor in the college of medicine) that
respondent wanted that an abortion be
performed upon her (p.82, tsn, July l7,
1975); ... ... ... ;
11) thereafter, Ruben Cruz, a confidant of
respondent, and Dr. Monsato fetched her at her
boarding house on the pretext that she would be
examined by Dr. Gil Ramas (pp. 87-88, tsn, July
17, 1975);
12) upon reaching the clinic of Dr. Ramas she
was given an injection and an inhalation mask
was placed on her mouth and nose (pp. 88-90,
tsn, July 17, 1 975);
13) as a result, she lost consciousness and when
she woke up, an abortion had already been
performed upon her and she was weak,
bleeding and felt pain all over her body (pp. 9091, tsn, July 17, 1975); ... ... ... (Rollo, pp. 38-40)
Monica Gutierrez Tan testified that she met
complainant and a man whom complainant
introduced as Atty. Aznar in front of the
Ambassador Hotel (pp. 183-184, tsn, Sept. 10,
1975; Rollo, p. 41).
Dr. Rebecca Gucor and Dr. Artemio Ingco,
witnesses for the complainant, testified that
abdominal examinations and x-ray examination
of the lumbro-sacral region of complainant
showed no signs of abnormality (Rollo, p. 42).
The evidence for the respondent as reported by
the Solicitor General is summarized as follows:
Edilberto Caban testified that:

2
1. In December, 1972, respondent Atty. Aznar
stayed at Ambassador Hotel with his wife and
children; respondent never came to Manila
except in December, 1972; (pp. 8-9,. tsn, Nov.
24, 1977);
2. He usually slept with respondent everytime the
latter comes to Manila (p. 13, tsn, Nov. 24,
1977; Rollo, pp. 42-43).
Oscar Salangsang, another witness for the
respondent stated that:
1. In February, 1973, he went to Ambassador
Hotel to meet respondent; the latter had male
companions at the hotel but he did not see any
woman companion of respondent Aznar;
2. He usually slept with respondent at the
Ambassador Hotel and ate with him outside the
hotel together with Caban (pp. 8-9, 13-15, tsn,
Jan. 13, 1978; Rollo, p. 43).
The Court notes that throughout the period of the
investigation conducted by the Solicitor General,
respondent Aznar was never presented to refute
the allegations made against him.
In his Answer, respondent Aznar alleges that he does not have
any knowledge of the allegations in the complaint. As special
defense, respondent further alleged that the charge levelled
against him is in furtherance of complainant's vow to wreck
vengeance against respondent by reason of the latter's
approval of the recommendation of the Board of Trustees
barring complainant from enrollment for the school year 19731974 because she failed in most of her subjects. It is likewise
contended that the defense did not bother to present
respondent in the investigation conducted by the Solicitor
General because nothing has been shown in the hearing to
prove that respondent had carnal knowledge of the
complainant.
Contrary to respondent's averments, the Solicitor General
made a categorical finding to the effect that respondent had
carnal knowledge of complainant, to wit:
From the foregoing, it is clear that
complainant was compelled to go to Manila
with respondent upon the threat of
respondent that if she failed to do so, she
would flunk in all her subjects and she would
never become a medical intern (pp. 42, 50,
tsn, June 6, 1975). As respondent was
Chairman of the College of Medicine,
complainant had every reason to believe
him.
It has been established also that
complainant was brought by respondent to
Ambassador Hotel in Manila for three days
where he repeatedly had carnal knowledge
of her upon the threat that if she would not
give in to his lustful desires, she would fail in
her Pathology subject (Exhs. "A", "K", "K-1"

to "K-6" pp. 51, 52, 55-59, tsn, June 6,


1975);
xxx xxx xxx
On the other hand, respondent did not
bother to appear during the hearing. It is true
that he presented Edilberto Caban and
Oscar Salangsang who testified that
respondent usually slept with them every
time the latter came to Manila, but their
testimony (sic) is not much of help. None of
them mentioned during the hearing that they
stayed and slept with respondent on
February 12 to February 14, 1973 at
Ambassador Hotel. ... ... ... Besides,
Edilberto Caban testified that respondent
stayed at Ambassador Hotel with his wife
and children in December, 1972. The dates
in question, however, are February 12 to 14,
1973, inclusive. His (Caban's) testimony,
therefore, is immaterial to the present case"
(Rollo, pp. 43-44).
In effect, the Solicitor General found that the charge of
immorality against respondent Aznar has been substantiated
by sufficient evidence both testimonial and documentary; while
finding insufficient and uncorroborated the accusation of
intentional abortion. The Solicitor General then recommends
the suspension of respondent from the practice of law for a
period of not less than three (3) years.
On March 16, 1989, the Court Resolved to require the parties
to Move in the premises to determine whether any intervening
event occurred which would render the case moot and
academic (Rollo, p. 69).
On April 12, 1989, the Solicitor General filed a manifestation
and motion praying that the case at bar be considered
submitted for decision on the bases of the report and
recommendation previously submitted together with the record
of the case and the evidence adduced (Rollo, p. 75).
After a thorough review of the records, the Court agrees with
the finding of the Solicitor General that respondent Aznar,
under the facts as stated in the Report of the investigation
conducted in the case, is guilty of "grossly immoral conduct"
and may therefore be removed or suspended by the Supreme
Court for conduct unbecoming a member of the Bar (Sec. 27,
Rule 138, Rules of Court).
Respondent failed to adduce evidence sufficient to engender
doubt as to his culpability of the offense imputed upon him.
With the exception of the self-serving testimonies of two
witnesses presented on respondent's behalf, the records are
bereft of evidence to exonerate respondent of the act
complained of, much less contradict, on material points, the
testimonies of complainant herself.
While respondent denied having taken complainant to the
Ambassador Hotel and there had sexual intercourse with the
latter, he did not present any evidence to show where he was
at that date. While this is not a criminal proceeding, respondent
would have done more than keep his silence if he really felt
unjustly traduced.

3
It is the duty of a lawyer, whenever his moral character is put in
issue, to satisfy this Court that he is a fit and proper person to
enjoy continued membership in the Bar. He cannot dispense
with nor downgrade the high and exacting moral standards of
the law profession (Go v. Candoy, 21 SCRA 439 [1967]). As
once pronounced by the Court:
When his integrity is challenged by evidence,
it is not enough that he denies the charges
against him; he must meet the issue and
overcome the evidence for the relator (Legal
and Judicial Ethics, by Malcolm, p. 93) and
show proofs that he still maintains the
highest degree of morality and integrity,
which at all times is expected of him. ... In
the case of United States v. Tria, 17 Phil.
303, Justice Moreland, speaking for the
Court, said:
An accused person sometimes owes a duty
to himself if not to the State. If he does not
perform that duty, he may not always expect
the State to perform it for him. If he fails to
meet the obligation which he owes to
himself, when to meet it is the easiest of
easy things, he is hardy indeed if he demand
and expect that same full and wide
consideration which the State voluntarily
gives to those who by reasonable effort seek
to help themselves. This is particularly so
when he not only declines to help himself but
actively conceals from the State the very
means by which it may assist him (Quingwa
SCRA 439 [1967]).
The Solicitor General recommends that since the complainant
is partly to blame for having gone with respondent to Manila
knowing fully well that respondent is a married man ,with
children, respondent should merely be suspended from the
practice of law for not less than three (3) years (Rollo, p. 47).
On the other hand, respondent in his manifestation and motion
dated April 18, 1989 alleges that since a period of about ten
(10) years had already elapsed from the time the Solicitor
General made his recommendation for a three (3) years
suspension and respondent is not practicing his profession as
a lawyer, the court may now consider the respondent as having
been suspended during the said period and the case
dismissed for being moot and academic.
We disagree.
Complainant filed the instant case for disbarment not because
respondent reneged on a promise to marry (Quingwa v.
Puno, supra). More importantly. complainant's knowledge of of
respondent's marital status is not at issue in the case at bar.
Complainant submitted to respondent's solicitation for sexual
intercourse not because of a desire for sexual gratification but
because of respondent's moral ascendancy over her and fear
that if she would not accede, she would flunk in her subjects.
As chairman of the college of medicine where complainant was
enrolled, the latter had every reason to believe that respondent
could make good his threats. Moreover, as counsel for
respondent would deem it "worthwhile to inform the the Court
that the respondent is a scion of a rich family and a very rich

man in his own right and in fact is not practicing his profession
before the court" (Rollo, p. 70), mere suspension for a limited
period, per se, would therefore serve no redeeming purpose.
The fact that he is a rich man and does not practice his
profession as a lawyer, does not render respondent a person
of good moral character. Evidence of good moral character
precedes admission to bar (Sec.2, Rule 138, Rules of Court)
and such requirement is not dispensed with upon admission
thereto. Good moral character is a continuing qualification
necessary to entitle one to continue in the practice of law. The
ancient and learned profession of law exacts from its members
the highest standard of morality (Quingwa v. Puno, supra).
Under Section 27, Rule 138, "(a) member of the bar may be
removed 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, ... " In Arciga v. Maniwang (106 SCRA
591, [1981]), this Court had occasion to define the concept of
immoral conduct, as follows:
A lawyer may be disbarred for grossly
immoral conduct, or by reason of his
conviction of a crime involving moral
turpitude. A member of the bar should have
moral integrity in addition to professional
probity.
It is difficult to state with precision and to fix
an inflexible standard as to what is grossly
immoral conduct or to specify the moral
delinquency and obliquity which render a
lawyer unworthy of continuing as a member
of the bar. The rule implies that what appears
to be unconventional behavior to the
straight-laced may not be the immoral
conduct that warrants disbarment.
Immoral conduct has been defined as 'that
which is willful, flagrant, or shameless, and
which shows a moral indifference to the
opinion of the good and respectable
members of the community' (7 C.J.S. 959).
Where an unmarried female dwarf
possessing the intellect of a child became
pregnant by reason of intimacy with a
married lawyer who was the father of six
children, disbarment of the attorney on the
ground of immoral conduct was justified (In
re Hicks 20 Pac. 2nd 896).
In the present case, it was highly immoral of respondent, a
married man with children, to have taken advantage of his
position as chairman of the college of medicine in asking
complainant, a student in said college, to go with him to Manila
where he had carnal knowledge of her under the threat that
she would flunk in all her subjects in case she refused.
WHEREFORE, respondent Jose B. Aznar is hereby
DISBARRED and his name is ordered stricken off from the Roll
of Attorneys.

4
SO ORDERED.

window, he again shouted,Ukinnam nga babai! (Vulva of your


mother, you woman!)[5]
SECOND DIVISION

ROSALIE
CASTRO,
25, 2005

DALLONG-GALICINAO
A.C. No. 6396

v.

ATTY.

VIRGIL R.
October

RESOLUTION
TINGA, J.:
This administrative case concerns a lawyer who hurled
invectives at a Clerk of Court. Members of the bar decorum
must at all times comfort themselves in a manner befitting their
noble profession.
Complainant Atty. Rosalie Dallong-Galicinao is the
Clerk of Court of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Bambang,
Nueva Vizcaya. On 8 May 2003, she filed with the Commission
on Bar Discipline (CBD) of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines
(IBP)
a Complaint-Affidavit[1] with
supporting
documents[2] against respondent Atty. Virgil R. Castro for
Unprofessional Conduct, specifically violation of Canon 7, Rule
7.03, Canon 8 and Rule 8.02 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility.[3] The charge in the complaint is summed up as
follows:
Respondent Atty. Castro was a private practitioner and VicePresident of IBP-Nueva Vizcaya Chapter. On 5 May 2003,
respondent went to complainants office to inquire whether the
complete records of Civil Case No. 784, entitled Sps. Crispino
Castillano v. Sps. Federico S. Castillano and Felicidad
Aberin, had already been remanded to the court of origin,
MCTC Dupax del Norte, Alfonso Castaned, Nueva Vizcaya. It
must be noted that respondent was not the counsel of record
of either party in Civil Case No. 784.
Complainant informed respondent that the record had
not yet been transmitted since a certified true copy of the
decision of the Court of Appeals should first be presented to
serve as basis for the transmittal of the records to the court of
origin. To this respondent retorted scornfully, Who will certify
the Court of Appeals Decision, the Court of Appeals? You
mean to say, I would still have to go to Manila to get a certified
true copy? Surprised at this outburst, complainant replied, Sir,
its in the Rules but you could show us the copy sent to the
party you claim to be representing. Respondent then replied,
Then you should have notified me of the said requirement.
That was two weeks ago and I have been frequenting your
office since then, but you never bothered to notify me.
Complainant replied, It is not our duty, Sir, to notify you of the
said requirement.
Respondent then answered, You mean to say it is not
your duty to remand the record of the case? Complainant
responded, No, Sir, I mean, its not our duty to notify you that
you have to submit a copy of the Court of Appeals decision.
Respondent angrily declared in Ilocano, Kayat mo nga saw-en,
awan pakialam yon? Kasdiay? (You mean to say you dont care
anymore? Is that the way it is?) He then turned and left the
office, banging the door on his way out to show his anger. The
banging of the door was so loud it was heard by the people at
the adjacent RTC, Branch 30 where a hearing was taking
place.[4]
After a few minutes, respondent returned to the office, still
enraged, and pointed his finger at complainant and
shouted, Ukinnan, no adda ti unget mo iti kilientek haan mo
nga ibales kaniak ah!(Vulva of your mother! If you are
harboring ill feelings against my client, dont turn your ire on
me!) Complainant was shocked at respondents words but still
managed to reply, I dont even know your client, Sir.
Respondent left the office and as he passed by complainants

Complainant suffered acute embarrassment at the incident, as


it happened in her office of which she was, and still is, the head
and in front of her staff. She felt that her credibility had been
tarnished and diminished, eliciting doubt on her ability to
command full respect from her staff.[6]
The Complaint-Affidavit, filed three days after the incident, was
supported by an Affidavit[7] signed by employees of RTCBambang, Nueva Vizcaya who witnessed the incident.
The Affidavit narrated the same incident as witnessed by the
said
employees.
A Motion
to
File
Additional
Affidavit/Documentary Evidence was filed by complainant on
25 September 2003.[8]
On 26 May 2003, the CBD-IBP issued an Order[9] requiring
respondent to submit his answer to the complaint. Respondent
submitted his Compliance[10] dated 18 June 2003. Respondent
explained that he was counsel for the plaintiffs in Civil Case
No. 847, entitled Sps. Federico Castillano, et al. v. Sps. Crispin
Castillano, et al., filed with the RTC of Nueva Vizcaya, Branch
30.He learned of the finality of the decision of the Court of
Appeals in CA-G.R. No. 64962 with respect to Civil Case No.
847 before the lower court. Prior to the incident, he went to the
office of the complainant to request for the transmittal of the
records of the case to the MCTC and the complainant
reassured him of the same.
Respondent admits having inquired about the status
of the transmittal of the records on 5 May 2003. However, he
has no explanation as to what transpired on that day. Instead,
he narrates that on 25 May 2003, twelve days after the
incident, the records had not yet been transmitted, and he
subsequently learned that these records were returned to the
court of origin.
The hearing for the administrative complaint before
the CBD was set on 25 September 2003 by the Investigating
Commissioner Milagros V. San Juan. However, on said date,
only complainant appeared. The latter also moved that the
case be submitted for resolution.[11] Respondent later on filed
a Manifestation stating that the reason for his non-appearance
was because he was still recuperating from physical injuries
and that he was not mentally fit to prepare the required
pleadings as his vehicle was rained with bullets on 19 August
2003. He also expressed his public apology to the complainant
in the same Manifestation.[12]
Complainant filed a Manifestation expressing her
desire not to appear on the next hearing date in view of
respondents public apology, adding that respondent personally
and humbly asked for forgiveness which she accepted.[13]
The Investigating Commissioner recommended that
respondent be reprimanded and warned that any other
complaint for breach of his professional duties shall be dealt
with more severely.[14]The IBP submitted to this Court a Notice
of Resolution adopting and approving the recommendation of
the Investigating Commissioner.[15]
At the onset, it should be noted that respondent was
not the counsel of record of Civil Case No. 784. Had he been
counsel of record, it would have been easy for him to present
the required certified true copy of the decision of the Court of
Appeals. He need not have gone to Manila to procure a
certified true copy of the decision since the Court of Appeals
furnishes the parties and their counsel of record a duplicate
original or certified true copy of its decision.

His explanation that he will enter his appearance in


the case when its records were already transmitted to the

5
MCTC is unacceptable. Not being the counsel of record and
there being no authorization from either the parties to
represent them, respondent had no right to impose his will on
the clerk of court.
Rule 8.02 of the Code of Professional Responsibility
states:
Rule 8.02A lawyer shall not, directly
or indirectly, encroach upon the professional
employment of another lawyer; however, it is
the right of any lawyer, without fear or favor,
to give proper advice and assistance to
those seeking relief against unfaithful or
neglectful counsel.
Through his acts of constantly checking the
transmittal of the records of Civil Case No. 784, respondent
deliberately encroached upon the legal functions of the counsel
of record of that case. It does not matter whether he did so in
good faith.
Moreover, in the course of his questionable activities
relating to Civil Case No. 784, respondent acted rudely
towards an officer of the court. He raised his voice at the clerk
of court and uttered at her the most vulgar of invectives. Not
only was it ill-mannered but also unbecoming considering that
he did all these to a woman and in front of her subordinates.
As held in Alcantara v. Atty. Pefianco,[16] respondent
ought to have realized that this sort of public behavior can only
bring down the legal profession in the public estimation and
erode public respect for it.[17] These acts violate Rule 7.03,
Canon 8 and Rule 8.01, to wit:
Rule 7.03 A lawyer shall not
engage in conduct that adversely reflect on
his fitness to practice law, now shall he,
whether in public or private life behave in
scandalous manner to the discredit of the
legal profession.
Canon 8 A lawyer shall conduct
himself with courtesy, fairness and candor
toward his professional colleagues, and shall
avoid harassing tactics against opposing
counsel.
Rule 8.01 A lawyer shall not, in his
professional dealings, use language which is
abusive, offensive or otherwise improper.
Moreover, Canon 8 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility demands that lawyers conduct themselves with
courtesy, fairness and candor toward their fellow lawyers.
Lawyers are duty bound to uphold the dignity of the legal
profession. They must act honorably, fairly and candidly
towards each other and otherwise conduct themselves without
reproach at all times.[18]
As correctly evaluated by the Investigating
Commissioner, respondent did not categorically deny the
charges in the complaint. Instead, he gave a lengthy narration
of the prefatory facts of the case as well as of the incident on 5
May 2003.
Complainant also alleged in her ComplaintAffidavit that respondents uncharacteristic behavior was not an
isolated incident. He has supposedly done the same to Attys.
Abraham Johnny G. Asuncion and Temmy Lambino, the latter
having filed a case against respondent pending before this
Court.[19] We, however, cannot acknowledge such allegation
absent any evidence showing the veracity of such claim. No
affidavits to that effect were submitted by either Atty. Asuncion
or Atty. Lambino.

Nonetheless, the penalty to be imposed should be


tempered owing to the fact that respondent had apologized to
the complainant and the latter had accepted it. This is not to
say, however, that respondent should be absolved from his
actuations. People are accountable for the consequences of
the things they say and do even if they repent afterwards. The
fact remains that things done cannot be undone and words
uttered cannot be taken back. Hence, he should bear the
consequences of his actions.
The highest reward that can be bestowed on lawyers
is the esteem of their brethren. This esteem cannot be
purchased, perfunctorily created, or gained by artifice or
contrivance. It is born of sharp contexts and thrives despite
conflicting interest. It emanates solely from integrity, character,
brains and skills in the honorable performance of professional
duty.[20]
WHEREFORE, premises considered, respondent is hereby
FINED in the amount of TEN THOUSAND (P10,000.00)
PESOS with a warning that any similar infraction with be dealt
with more severely. Let a copy of this Decision be furnished the
Bar Confidant for appropriate annotation in the record of the
respondent.
SO ORDERED.
THIRD DIVISION
[A.C. No. 4807. March 22, 2000]
MANUEL N. CAMACHO, complainant, vs. ATTYS. LUIS
MEINRADO C. PANGULAYAN, REGINA D. BALMORES,
CATHERINE V. LAUREL and HUBERT JOAQUIN P.
BUSTOS of PANGULAYAN AND ASSOCIATES LAW
OFFICES, respondents.
D E C I S IO N
VITUG, J.: JVITUG
Respondent lawyers stand indicted for a violation of the Code
of Professional Ethics, specifically Canon 9 thereof, viz:
"A lawyer should not in any way
communicate upon the subject of
controversy with a party represented by
counsel, much less should he undertake to
negotiate or compromise the matter with
him, but should only deal with his counsel. It
is incumbent upon the lawyer most
particularly to avoid everything that may tend
to mislead a party not represented by
counsel and he should not undertake to
advise him as to law." barth
Atty. Manuel N. Camacho filed a complaint against the lawyers
comprising the Pangulayan and Associates Law Offices,
namely, Attorneys Luis Meinrado C. Pangulayan, Regina D.
Balmores, Catherine V. Laurel, and Herbert Joaquin P. Bustos.
Complainant, the hired counsel of some expelled students from
the AMA Computer College ("AMACC"), in an action for the
Issuance of a Writ of Preliminary Mandatory Injunction and for
Damages, docketed Civil Case No. Q-97-30549 of the
Regional Trial Court, Branch 78, of Quezon City, charged that
respondents, then counsel for the defendants, procured and
effected on separate occasions, without his knowledge,

6
compromise agreements ("Re-Admission Agreements") with
four of his clients in the aforementioned civil case which, in
effect, required them to waive all kinds of claims they might
have had against AMACC, the principal defendant, and to
terminate all civil, criminal and administrative proceedings filed
against it. Complainant averred that such an act of
respondents was unbecoming of any member of the legal
profession warranting either disbarment or suspension from
the practice of law.
In his comment, Attorney Pangulayan acknowledged that not
one of his co-respondents had taken part in the negotiation,
discussion, formulation, or execution of the various ReAdmission Agreements complained of and were, in fact, no
longer connected at the time with the Pangulayan and
Associates Law Offices. The Re-Admission Agreements, he
claimed, had nothing to do with the dismissal of Civil Case Q97-30549 and were executed for the sole purpose of effecting
the settlement of an administrative case involving nine
students of AMACC who were expelled therefrom upon the
recommendation of the Student Disciplinary Tribunal. The
students, namely, Ian Dexter Marquez, Almira O. Basalo, Neil
Jason R. Salcedo, Melissa F. Domondon, Melyda B. De Leon,
Leila D. Joven, Signorelli A. Santiago, Michael Ejercito, and
Cleo B. Villareiz,, were all members of the Editorial Board of
DATALINE, who apparently had caused to be published some
objectionable features or articles in the paper. The 3-member
Student Disciplinary Tribunal was immediately convened, and
after a series of hearings, it found the students guilty of the use
of indecent language and unauthorized use of the student
publication funds. The body recommended the penalty of
expulsion against the erring students. Jksm
The denial of the appeal made by the students to Dr. Amable
R. Aguiluz V, AMACC President, gave rise to the
commencement of Civil Case No. Q-97-30549 on 14th March
1997 before the Regional Trial Court, Branch 78, of Quezon
City. While the civil case was still pending, letters of apology
and Re-Admission Agreements were separately executed by
and/or in behalf of some of the expelled students, to wit: Letter
of Apology, dated 27 May 1997, of Neil Jason Salcedo,
assisted by his mother, and Re-Admission Agreement of 22
June 1997 with the AMACC President; letter of apology, dated
31 March 1997, of Mrs. Veronica B. De Leon for her daughter
Melyda B. De Leon and Re-Admission Agreement of 09 May
1997 with the AMACC President; letter of apology, dated 22
May 1997, of Leila Joven, assisted by her mother, and ReAdmission Agreement of 22 May 1997 with the AMACC
President; letter of apology, dated 22 September 1997, of Cleo
Villareiz and Re-Admission Agreement of 10 October 1997 with
the AMACC President; and letter of apology, dated 20 January
1997, of Michael Ejercito, assisted by his parents, and ReAdmission Agreement of 23 January 1997 with the AMACC
President.
Following the execution of the letters of apology and ReAdmission Agreements, a Manifestation, dated 06 June 1997,
was filed with the trial court where the civil case was pending
by Attorney Regina D. Balmores of the Pangulayan and
Associates Law Offices for defendant AMACC. A copy of the
manifestation was furnished complainant. In his Resolution,
dated 14 June 1997, Judge Lopez of the Quezon City Regional
Trial Court thereupon dismissed Civil Case No. Q-97-30549.

On 19 June 1999, the Board of Governors of the Integrated


Bar of the Philippines ("IBP") passed Resolution No. XIII-99163, thus:
"RESOLVED to ADOPT and APPROVE, as it
is hereby ADOPTED and APPROVED, the
Report and Recommendation of the
Investigating Commissioner in the aboveentitled case, herein made part of this
Resolution/Decision as Annex 'A,' and,
finding the recommendation fully supported
by the evidence on record and the applicable
laws and rules, with an amendment Atty.
Meinrado Pangulayan is suspended from the
practice of law for SIX (6) MONTHS for
being remiss in his duty and DISMISSAL of
the case against the other Respondents for
they did not take part in the negotiation of
the case." Chief
It would appear that when the individual letters of apology and
Re-Admission Agreements were formalized, complainant was
by then already the retained counsel for plaintiff students in the
civil case. Respondent Pangulayan had full knowledge of this
fact. Although aware that the students were represented by
counsel, respondent attorney proceeded, nonetheless, to
negotiate with them and their parents without at the very least
communicating the matter to their lawyer, herein complainant,
who was counsel of record in Civil Case No. Q-97-30549. This
failure of respondent, whether by design or because of
oversight, is an inexcusable violation of the canons of
professional ethics and in utter disregard of a duty owing to a
colleague. Respondent fell short of the demands required of
him as a lawyer and as a member of the Bar.
The allegation that the context of the Re-Admission
Agreements centers only on the administrative aspect of the
controversy is belied by the Manifestation[1] which, among
other things, explicitly contained the following stipulation; viz:
"1.......Among the nine (9) signatories to the
complaint, four (4) of whom assisted by their
parents/guardian already executed a ReAdmission Agreement with AMACC
President, AMABLE R. AGUILUZ V
acknowledging guilt for violating the AMA
COMPUTER COLLEGE MANUAL FOR
DISCIPLINARY ACTIONS and agreed
among others to terminate all civil, criminal
and administrative proceedings which they
may have against the AMACC arising from
their previous dismissal. Esm
"x x x......x x x......x x x
"3. Consequently, as soon as possible, an
Urgent Motion to Withdraw from Civil Case
No. Q-97-30549 will by filed them."
The Court can only thus concur with the IBP Investigating
Commission and the IBP Board of Governors in their findings;
nevertheless, the recommended six-month suspension would
appear to be somewhat too harsh a penalty given the
circumstances and the explanation of respondent.

7
WHEREFORE, respondent Atty. Luis Meinrado C. Pangulayan
is ordered SUSPENDED from the practice of law for a period
of THREE (3) MONTHS effective immediately upon his receipt
of this decision. The case against the other respondents is
DISMISSED for insufficiency of evidence.
Let a copy of this decision be entered in the personal record of
respondent as an attorney and as a member of the Bar, and
furnished the Bar Confidant, the Integrated Bar of the
Philippines and the Court Administrator for circulation to all
courts in the country.
SO ORDERED.
ATTY. IRENEO L. TORRES and MRS. NATIVIDAD CELESTINO,
Complainants, v. ATTY. JOSE CONCEPCION JAVIER,
Respondent. Adm. Case No. 5910 September 21, 2005
DECISION
CARPIO MORALES, J.:
By complaint[1] dated November 26, 2002, Atty. Ireneo L. Torres
and Mrs. Natividad Celestino (complainants) charge Atty. Jose
Concepcion Javier (respondent) for malpractice, gross
misconduct in office as an attorney and/or violation of the
lawyers oath.
The charges stemmed from the statements/remarks made by
respondent in the pleadings he filed in a petition for audit of all
funds of the University of the East Faculty Association (UEFA),
as counsel for the therein petitioners UEFA then Treasurer
Rosamarie Laman, and his wife-former UEFA President
Eleonor Javier, before the Bureau of Labor Relations (BLR),
Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) against herein
complainants, docketed as NCR-OD-0105-004-LRD (audit
case),[2] and from the pleadings filed by respondent in another
labor case as counsel for the one hundred seventy six (176)
faculty members of the University of the East complainants
against herein complainant Atty. Ireneo L. Torres, et al.,
[3]
docketed as NCR-0D-0201-0005-LRD (attorneys fees case).
[4]

The complaint sets forth three (3) causes of action against


respondent.
The first cause of action is based on respondents Urgent
Motion to Expedite with Manifestation and Reiteration of
Position (Motion to Expedite) filed in the audit case which
complainants allege contained statements which are absolutely
false, unsubstantiated, and with malicious imputation of crimes
of robbery, theft of UEFFAs funds, destruction or concealment
of UEFAs documents and some other acts tending to cause
dishonor, discredit or contempt upon their persons.[5] Portions
of the questioned motion read:
Undersigned attorney would like to manifest
just so it can not be said later on that he kept
mum on the matter that when individual
respondents-appellants realized that an audit
of Union funds was looming, it appears that
they decided to destroy or conceal
documents as demonstrated by an Incident
Report Re Robbery dated May 6, 2002 (a
copy just recently secured by the
undersigned), attached hereto as Annex A,
where the police investigator stated that no
forcible entry was noted by him but that air
condition on the respective rooms were (sic)
slightly move (sic) to mislead that suspect as
the same as their point of entry.[] The police
officers stated that no cash of (sic) money
were stolen but instead claimed that still
undetermined documents/important papers
were stolen by the suspects.

This brings to mind the United States case


against Andersen officials who
shredded
documents related to the Enron scandal when
they thought nobody was looking. As in
the Andersen/Enron case,
the individual
respondents-appellants in the instant case
knew that the law was going to come
knocking at their door, asking a lot [of]
questions about financial matters.
From the undersigneds standpoint, the
alleged robbery of still undetermined
documents/papers was an inside job as
investigation has shown that there is no
evidence of forced entry. Besides, it would be
a cinch to establish a motive by individual
respondents-appellants Torres and Celestino
to destroy documents related to the audit
ordered by Regional Director Alex E. Maraan.
In any event, the undersigned thinks that the
legal process should go on. Lumang gimmick
na yang robbery ng mga evidensya. They
may try to cover up the looting of union funds,
but there is such a thing as secondary
evidence, not to mention the power of this
Honorable Office to issue subpoenas even to
the unions depositary banks.[6](Underscoring
supplied)
Complainants aver that respondent violated the
attorneys oath that he obey the laws and do no falsehood, the
Code of Professional Responsibility particularly Rule 10.01
thereof, and Rule 138, specifically paragraph 20 (f) of the
Rules of Court for directly pointing to them as the persons who
intentionally committed the robbery at the UEFA office, and for
citing the Andersen/Enron case which is irrelevant, impertinent,
and immaterial to the subject of quasi-judicial inquiry.[7]
As second cause of action, complainants allege that in the
attorneys fees case, respondent, in his Reply to Respondents
(Torres and Marquez) Answer/Comment filed before the DOLE,
used language that was clearly abusive, offensive, and
improper,[8] inconsistent with the character of an attorney as a
quasi-judicial officer.[9]
As third/last cause of action, complainants quote respondents
statement in the aforesaid Reply, to wit:
It is not uncommon for us trial lawyers to hear
notaries public asking their sons, wives,
girlfriends, nephews, etc. to operate a notarial
office and sign for them. These girlfriends,
nephews, etc. take affidavits, administer
oaths and certify documents. x x x,[10]
and allege that the statement is demeaning to the integrity of
the legal profession, uncalled for and deserve[s] censure, [as]
the same might shrink the degree of confidence and trust
reposed by the public in the fidelity, honesty and integrity of the
legal profession and the solemnity of a notarial document.[11]
By his Comment, respondent candidly professes that
he was angry[12] while he was preparing his Motion to Expedite
in the audit case, it having come to his knowledge that the
UEFA office had been burglarized and complainant Atty. Torres
had been spreading reports and rumors implicating his clients
including his wife to the burglary. [13]
Respondent stresses that he felt that it was his duty to
inform the BLR of the loss of the vital documents so that the
resolution of the pending motion for reconsideration filed by
complainants would be expedited;[14] and that the information
regarding the burglary and his use of the Andersen/Enron case
as a figure of speech were relevant in drawing a link between
the burglary and the audit the burglary having rendered the
complete implementation of the audit unattainable.[15]

8
With respect to the attorneys fees case, respondent
claims that Atty. Torres did not in his Answer confront the issues
thereof but instead mock[ed] his wife and fabricat[ed] and
distort[ed] realities[16] by including malicious, libelous and
impertinent statements and accusations against his wife which
exasperated him.[17] A portion of Atty. Torres Answer in the
attorneys fees case reads:

x x x in her incumbency as President of the


UEFA for 12 years (1987-1999) she got only
about P2.00/hr CBA increase which took
effect only [in] 1994, with no other substantial
improvements of the teachers benefits, and
yet she spent for more than half a million
negotiation expenses from the UEFAs funds.
Her 1994-1999 CBA was only a carbon copy
of her old 1989-1994 CBA with no substantial
improvements, with uncertain amount of her
expenses, because she removed/concealed
all the financial records of the UEFA during
her term. . . I and the other lawyers/teachers
denounced her unlawful deduction of 10%
attorneys fees from the small backwages
received by the teachers on April 28, 1993
although there was actually no lawyer who
worked for itand there was no Board nor
General Membership Assembly Resolutions
passedthe assembly [Nov. 24, 2001] was
apparently irked to Mrs. Eleanor Javier when
she was booed while talking on the floor, like
a confused gabble (sic)[18]
Not wanting to allow his wife to be maligned by Atty.
Torres, respondent admits having responded with a counterattack in his Reply to Respondents (Torres and Marquez)
Answer/Comment[19] wherein he stated:
What kind of a lawyer is this Atty. Torres? The
undersigned feels that Atty. Torres just cannot
kick the habit of injecting immaterial,
irrelevant, and impertinent matters in his
pleadings. More than that, he lies through his
teeth. The undersigned thinks that if he has
any common sense at all he should shut up
about his accusation that Prof. Javier spent
more than half a million pesos for negotiation
expensesshe obtained only P2-increase in
union members salary, etc. because of the
pendency of the damage suit against him on
this score. He easily forgets the sad chapter
of his life as a practitioner when he lost out to
Prof. Javier in the petition for audit (Case No.
NCR-OD-M-9401-004) which he filed to gain
pogi points prior to the UEFA election in 1994.
[20]

xxx
To repeat, if respondent Atty. Torres has any
common sense at all, he should stop making
irrelevant, libelous and impertinent allegations
in his pleadings. This means changing his
standard tactic of skirting the main issues by
injecting a web or a maze of sham,
immaterial,
impertinent
or
scandalous
matters.[21] (Underscoring supplied)
Respondent adds that he merely wanted to bring to the
BLRs attention that Atty. Torres had the habit of hurling baseless
accusations against his wife to embarrass her, including one for
unjust vexation and another for collection and damages both of
which were dismissed after trial on the merits, thus prompting

him to state that these dismissed cases indubitably indicate Atty.


Torres pattern of mental dishonesty.[22]
Respondent further claims that in his Answer in the
same attorneys fees case, Atty. Torres accused his client, Prof.
Maguigad, of forging the signature of a notary public and of
deliberately us[ing] a falsified/expired Community Tax Certificate
in order to justify the dismissal of the case against him (Atty.
Torres);[23] and that Atty. Torres continued harassing his clients
including his wife by filing baseless complaints for falsification of
public document.[24] Hence, in defense of his clients, the
following statements in his Reply:
Respondent further concluded that lead
petitioner Prof. Maguigad falsified the said
petition by causing it to appear that he
participated in the falsification when he did
not in truth and in fact participate thereat . . .
obviously oblivious of the obvious that it is
highly improbable for Prof. Maguigad to have
forged the signature of the notary public. If he
intended to forge it, what was the big idea of
doing so? To save Fifty Pesos (P50.00) for
notarial fee? Needless to say, the allegation
that lead (sic) petitioner Maguigad used a
falsified Com. Tax Cert. is patently unfounded
and malicious.
But that is not all. Respondents went further
and charged Profs. Mendoza, Espiritu,
Ramirez and Javier with the same crime of
falsification of public document . . . by causing
it to appear that Rogelio Maguigad had
indeed
participated
in
the
act
of
verifying/subscribing and swearing the
subject petition before notary public Atty.
Jorge M. Ventayen, when in truth and in fact
he did not participate thereat.
To the mind of the undersigned, this is the
height of irresponsibility, coming as it does
from a member of the Philippine Bar.There is
no evidence to charge them with falsification
of public document, i.e. the verification
appended to the present petition. They did not
even sign it. The crime imputed is clearly
bereft of merit. Frankly, the undersigned
thinks that even a dim-witted first-year law
student would not oblige with such a very
serious charge.
It is not uncommon for us trial
lawyer[s] to hear notaries public asking their
sons, wives, girlfriends, nephews, etc. to
operate a notarial office and sign for them.
These girlfriends, nephews, etc. take
affidavits, administer oaths, and certify
documents. Believing that the said veification
was signed by an impostor-relative of the
notary public [Atty. Jorge M. Ventayan]
through no fault of his client, Prof. Maguigad,
the undersigned sought the assistance of the
National Bureau of Investigation (NBI). On
May 2, 2002, an NBI agent called up the
undersigned to inform him that he arrested in
the area near UE one Tancredo E. Ventayen
whom he caught in flagrante delicto notarizing
an affidavit of loss and feigning to be Atty.
Jorge M. Ventayen, supposedly his uncle.[25]
xxx
Petitioners devoted so much space
in their answer/comment vainly trying to prove
that Profs. Maguigad, Mendoza, Espiritu,
Ramirez, and Javier committed the crime of

9
falsification of public document reasoning out
that they made untruthful statements in the
narration of facts in the basic petition.
Respondent Torres is a member of
the Philippine Bar. But what law books is he
reading?
He should know or ought to know
that the allegations in petitioners pleading are
absolutely privileged because the said
allegations or statements are relevant to the
issues.[26] (Underscoring supplied)
The Investigating Commissioner of the Integrated Bar of the
Philippines (IBP) found respondent guilty of violating the Code
of Professional Responsibility for using inappropriate and
offensive remarks in his pleadings.
The pertinent portions of the Investigating Commissioners
Report and Recommendation read:
Respondent admits that he was
angry when he wrote the Manifestationand
alleges that Complainant implicated his wife
in a burglary. Moreover, Respondent alleges
that Complainant has been engaged in
intimidating and harassing his wife.
It appears that herein Complainant and herein
Respondents wife have had a series of
charges and counter-charges filed against
each other. Both parties being protagonists in
the intramurals within the University of the
East Faculty Association (UEFA). Herein
Complainant is the President of the UEFA
whereas Respondents wife was the former
President of UEFA. Nevertheless, we shall
treat this matter of charges and countercharges filed, which involved the UEFA, as
extraneous, peripheral, if not outright
irrelevant to the issue at hand.
xxx
Clearly, [r]espondents primordial
reason for the offensive remark stated in his
pleadings was his emotional reaction in view
of the fact that herein Complainant was in a
legal dispute with his wife. This excuse
cannot be sustained. Indeed, the remarks
quoted above are offensive and inappropriate.
That the Respondent is representing his wife
is not at all an excuse.[27] (Underscoring
supplied)
Accordingly, the Investigating Commissioner recommended that
respondent be reprimanded.
The Board of Governors of the Integrated Bar of the
Philippines (IBP), by Resolution[28] of October 7, 2004, adopted
and approved the Report and Recommendation of the
Investigating Commissioner.
The Report of the IBP faulting respondent is welltaken but not its recommendation to reprimand him.
It is well entrenched in Philippine jurisprudence that for
reasons of public policy, utterances made in the course of
judicial proceedings, including all kinds of pleadings, petitions
and motions, are absolutely privileged so long as they
are pertinent and relevant to the subject inquiry, however false
or malicious they may be.[29]

The requirements of materiality and relevancy are imposed so


that the protection given to individuals in the interest of an
efficient administration of justice may not be abused as a cloak
from beneath which private malice may be gratified. [30] If the
pleader goes beyond the requirements of the statute and
alleges an irrelevant matter which is libelous, he loses his
privilege.[31]
A matter, however, to which the privilege does not extend must
be so palpably wanting in relation to the subject matter of the
controversy that no reasonable man can doubt its irrelevancy
or impropriety.[32] That matter alleged in a pleading need not be
in every case material to the issues presented by the
pleadings. It must, however, be legitimatelyrelated thereto, or
so pertinent to the subject of the controversy that it may
become the subject of inquiry in the course of the trial.[33]
The first cause of action of complainants is based on
respondents allegation in his Motion to Expedite that a burglary
of the UEFA office took place, and his imputation to
complainants of a plausible motive for carrying out the burglary
the concealment and destruction of vital documents relating to
the audit. The imputation may be false but it could indeed
possibly prompt the BLR to speed up the resolution of the audit
case. In that light, this Court finds that the first cause of action
may not lie.
As regards the second cause of action, it appears that
respondent was irked by Atty. Torres Answer to the complaint in
the attorneys fees case wherein he criticized his (respondents)
wifes performance as past President of UEFA.
This Court does not countenance Atty. Torres
incorporating in his Answer in the attorneys fees case
statements such as the assembly . . . was apparently irked by
Mrs. Eleonor Javier when she was booed while talking on the
floor like a confused gabble (sic). But neither does it
countenance respondents retaliating statements like what kind
of lawyer is Atty. Torres?, he lies through his teeth, if he has any
common sense at all he should shut up, and Atty. Torres forgets
the sad chapter of his life as a practitioner when he lost out to
Prof. Javier in the petition for audit which he filed to
gain pogi points. Nor respondents emphasis that Atty. Torres is
of the habit of hurling baseless accusations against his wife by
stating that the dismissal of the cases against his wife, of which
Atty. Torres was the complainant, indubitably indicate Atty.
Torres pattern of mental dishonesty.
The issue in the attorneys fees case was whether the
10% attorneys fees checked off from the initial
backwages/salaries of UEFA members is legal. Clearly, the
above-quoted statements of respondent in the immediately
preceding paragraph cannot be said to be relevant or pertinent
to the issue. That Atty. Torres may have conducted himself
improperly is not a justification for respondent to be relieved
from observing professional conduct in his relations with Atty.
Torres.
Clients, not lawyers, are the litigants, so whatever may be the
ill-feeling existing between clients should not be allowed to
influence counsel in their conduct toward each other or toward
suitors in the case.[34]
In the attorneys fees case, Atty. Torres was acting as counsel
for himself as respondent and complainant was acting as
counsel for his wife as complainant. Although it is
understandable, if not justifiable, that in the defense of ones
clients - especially of ones wife or of ones self, the zeal in so
doing may be carried out to the point of undue skepticism and
doubts as to the motives of opposing counsel, the spectacle
presented by two members of the bar engaged in bickering and
recrimination is far from edifying, and detract from the dignity of
the legal profession.[35]
Moreover, in arguing against the dismissal of the
attorneys fees case on the basis of the alleged forgery of the
notary publics signature, respondent did not only endeavor to

10
point out that Atty. Torres erred in advancing such an
argument, but personally attacked Atty. Torres mental fitness
by stating that the undersigned thinks that even a dim-witted
first-year law student would not oblige with such a very serious
charge, and [r]espondent Torres is a member of the bar [b]ut
what law books is he reading.

FIRST DIVISION
PEDRO L. LINSANGAN, A.C. No. 6672
Complainant,
P
resent:

In keeping with the dignity of the legal profession, a


lawyers language must be dignified and choice of language is
important in the preparation of pleadings.[36] In the assertion of
his clients rights, a lawyer even one gifted with superior
intellect is enjoined to rein up his temper[37]
As reflected above, the inclusion of the derogatory
statements by respondent was actuated by his giving vent to
his ill-feelings towards Atty. Torres, a purpose to which the
mantle of absolute immunity does not extend. Personal
colloquies between counsel which cause delay and promote
unseemly wrangling should be carefully avoided.[38]

ATTY. NICOMEDES TOLENTINO,


Respondent. Promulgated:
Sep
tem
ber
4,
200
9
RESOLUTION
CORONA, J.:

If indeed Atty. Torres filed criminal complaints for falsification of


public documents against respondents clients as a scheme to
harass them, they are not without adequate recourse in law, for
if they plead for a righteous cause, the course of justice will
surely tilt in their favor, the courts being ever vigilant in the
protection of a partys rights.[39]
Canon 8 of the Code of Professional Responsibility which
provides:
CANON
8
A LAWYER
SHALL
CONDUCT HIMSELF WITH COURTESY,
FAIRNESSS AND CANDOR TOWARD
HIS PROFESSIONAL COLLEAGUES,
AND SHALL AVOID HARASSING
TACTICS
AGAINST
OPPOSING
COUNSEL.
Rule 8.01. A lawyer shall not, in
professional dealings, use language
which is abusive, offensive or otherwise
improper.
instructs that respondents arguments in his pleadings should
be gracious to both the court and opposing counsel and be of
such words as may be properly addressed by one gentleman
to another.[40] The language vehicle does not run short of
expressions which are emphatic but respectful, convincing but
not derogatory, illuminating but not offensive.[41]
As to the reference by respondent to the unfortunate and
contemptible practice of notaries public basis of the last cause
of action, while it may detract from the dignity that should
characterize the legal profession and the solemnity of a
notarial document, respondent, who justifies the same as
legitimate defense of his client who was being accused by Atty.
Torres of forgery, may, given the relevance of the statement to
the subject matter of the pleading, be given the benefit of the
doubt.
Respecting the verified complaint Annex EJ-A[42] to the
Comment of respondent filed by his wife, Prof. Eleonor R.
Javier, against complainant Atty. Torres, the same cannot be
consolidated with the present administrative case since the
parties and causes of action of such complaint are completely
different from those of the present complaint.
WHEREFORE, for employing offensive and improper language
in his pleadings, respondent Atty. Jose C. Javier is
hereby SUSPENDED from the practice of law for One (1)
Month, effective upon receipt of this Decision, and isSTERNLY
WARNED that any future infraction of a similar nature shall be
dealt with more severely.
Let copies of this Decision be furnished the Office of the Bar
Confidant, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, and all courts
in the country for their information and guidance. SO
ORDERED.

This is a complaint for disbarment[1] filed by Pedro Linsangan


of the Linsangan Linsangan & Linsangan Law Office against
Atty. Nicomedes Tolentino for solicitation of clients and
encroachment of professional services.Complainant alleged
that respondent, with the help of paralegal Fe Marie Labiano,
convinced his clients[2] to transfer legal representation.
Respondent promised them financial assistance[3] and
expeditious collection on their claims.[4] To induce them to hire
his services, he persistently called them and sent them text
messages.
To support his allegations, complainant presented the sworn
affidavit[5] of James Gregorio attesting that Labiano tried to
prevail upon him to sever his lawyer-client relations with
complainant and utilize respondents services instead, in
exchange for a loan of P50,000. Complainant also attached
respondents calling card:[6]
Front
NICOMEDES TOLENTINO
LAW OFFFICE
CONSULTANCY & MARITIME SERVICES
W/ FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE
Fe Marie L. Labiano
Paralegal
1st MIJI Mansion, 2nd Flr. Rm. M-01 Tel: 362-7820
6th Ave., cor M.H. Del Pilar Fax: (632) 362-7821
Grace Park, Caloocan City Cel.: (0926) 2701719

Back
SERVICES OFFERED:
CONSULTATION AND ASSISTANCE
TO OVERSEAS SEAMEN
REPATRIATED DUE TO ACCIDENT,
INJURY, ILLNESS, SICKNESS, DEATH
AND INSURANCE BENEFIT CLAIMS
ABROAD.
(emphasis supplied)
Hence, this complaint.Respondent, in his defense, denied
knowing Labiano and authorizing the printing and circulation of
the said calling card.[7]
The complaint was referred to the Commission on Bar
Discipline (CBD) of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP)
for investigation,report and recommendation.[8]Based on
testimonial and documentary evidence, the CBD, in its report
and recommendation,[9]found that respondent had encroached
on the professional practice of complainant, violating Rule
8.02[10] and other canons[11] of the Code of Professional
Responsibility (CPR). Moreover, he contravened the rule
against soliciting cases for gain, personally or through paid
agents or brokers as stated in Section 27, Rule 138 [12] of the
Rules of Court. Hence, the CBD recommended that

11
respondent be reprimanded with a stern warning that any
repetition would merit a heavier penalty.
We adopt the findings of the IBP on the unethical conduct of
respondent but we modify the recommended penalty.
The complaint before us is rooted on the alleged intrusion by
respondent into complainants professional practice in violation
of Rule 8.02 of the CPR. And the means employed by
respondent in furtherance of the said misconduct themselves
constituted distinct violations of ethical rules.
Canons of the CPR are rules of conduct all lawyers must
adhere to, including the manner by which a lawyers services
are to be made known. Thus, Canon 3 of the CPR provides:
CANON 3 - A LAWYER IN MAKING KNOWN
HIS LEGAL SERVICES SHALL USE ONLY
TRUE, HONEST, FAIR, DIGNIFIED AND
OBJECTIVE
INFORMATION
OR
STATEMENT OF FACTS.
Time and time again, lawyers are reminded that the practice of
law is a profession and not a business; lawyers should not
advertise their talents as merchants advertise their wares. [13] To
allow a lawyer to advertise his talent or skill is to commercialize
the practice of law, degrade the profession in the publics
estimation and impair its ability to efficiently render that high
character of service to which every member of the bar is
called.[14]
Rule 2.03 of the CPR provides:
RULE 2.03. A LAWYER SHALL NOT DO OR
PERMIT TO BE DONE ANY ACT
DESIGNED PRIMARILY TO SOLICIT
LEGAL BUSINESS.
Hence, lawyers are prohibited from soliciting cases for the
purpose of gain, either personally or through paid agents or
brokers.[15] Such actuation constitutes malpractice, a ground for
disbarment.[16]
Rule 2.03 should be read in connection with Rule 1.03
of the CPR which provides:
RULE 1.03. A LAWYER SHALL NOT, FOR
ANY CORRUPT MOTIVE OR INTEREST,
ENCOURAGE
ANY
SUIT
OR
PROCEEDING OR DELAY ANY MANS
CAUSE.
This rule proscribes ambulance chasing (the solicitation of
almost any kind of legal business by an attorney, personally or
through an agent in order to gain employment) [17] as a measure
to protect the community from barratry and champerty.[18]
Complainant presented substantial evidence[19] (consisting of
the sworn statements of the very same persons coaxed by
Labiano and referred to respondents office) to prove that
respondent indeed solicited legal business as well as profited
from referrals suits.
Although respondent initially denied knowing Labiano
in his answer, he later admitted it during the mandatory
hearing.
Through Labianos actions, respondents law practice
was benefited. Hapless seamen were enticed to transfer
representation on the strength of Labianos word that
respondent could produce a more favorable result.
Based on the foregoing, respondent clearly solicited
employment violating Rule 2.03, and Rule 1.03 and Canon 3 of
the CPR and Section 27, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court.
With regard to respondents violation of Rule 8.02 of the CPR,
settled is the rule that a lawyer should not steal another
lawyers client nor induce the latter to retain him by a promise
of better service, good result or reduced fees for his services.
[20]
Again the Court notes that respondent never denied having
these seafarers in his client list nor receiving benefits from

Labianos referrals. Furthermore, he never denied Labianos


connection to his office.[21] Respondent committed an unethical,
predatory overstep into anothers legal practice. He cannot
escape liability under Rule 8.02 of the CPR.
Moreover, by engaging in a money-lending venture with his
clients as borrowers, respondent violated Rule 16.04:
Rule 16.04 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.
The rule is that a lawyer shall not lend money to his
client. The only exception is, when in the interest of justice, he
has to advance necessary expenses (such as filing fees,
stenographers fees for transcript of stenographic notes, cash
bond or premium for surety bond, etc.) for a matter that he is
handling for the client.
The rule is intended to safeguard the lawyers
independence of mind so that the free exercise of his judgment
may not be adversely affected.[22] It seeks to ensure his
undivided attention to the case he is handling as well as his
entire devotion and fidelity to the clients cause. If the lawyer
lends money to the client in connection with the clients case,
the lawyer in effect acquires an interest in the subject matter of
the case or an additional stake in its outcome.[23] Either of these
circumstances may lead the lawyer to consider his own
recovery rather than that of his client, or to accept a settlement
which may take care of his interest in the verdict to the
prejudice of the client in violation of his duty of undivided
fidelity to the clients cause.[24]
As previously mentioned, any act of solicitation constitutes
malpractice[25] which calls for the exercise of the Courts
disciplinary powers. Violation of anti-solicitation statutes
warrants serious sanctions for initiating contact with a
prospective client for the purpose of obtaining employment.
[26]
Thus, in this jurisdiction, we adhere to the rule to protect the
public from the Machiavellian machinations of unscrupulous
lawyers and to uphold the nobility of the legal profession.
Considering the myriad infractions of respondent
(including violation of the prohibition on lending money to
clients), the sanction recommended by the IBP, a mere
reprimand, is a wimpy slap on the wrist. The proposed penalty
is grossly incommensurate to its findings.
A final word regarding the calling card presented in evidence
by petitioner. A lawyers best advertisement is a well-merited
reputation for professional capacity and fidelity to trust based
on his character and conduct.[27] For this reason, lawyers are
only allowed to announce their services by publication in
reputable law lists or use of simple professional cards.
Professional calling cards may only contain the following
details:
(a)
lawyers name;
(b)
name of the law firm with which he is
connected;
(c)
address;
(d)
telephone number and
(e)
special branch of law practiced.[28]
Labianos calling card contained the phrase with
financial assistance. The phrase was clearly used to entice
clients (who already had representation) to change counsels
with a promise of loans to finance their legal actions. Money
was dangled to lure clients away from their original lawyers,
thereby taking advantage of their financial distress and
emotional vulnerability. This crass commercialism degraded
the integrity of the bar and deserved no place in the legal
profession. However, in the absence of substantial evidence to

12
prove his culpability, the Court is not prepared to rule that
respondent was personally and directly responsible for the
printing and distribution of Labianos calling cards.
WHEREFORE, respondent Atty. Nicomedes Tolentino for
violating Rules 1.03, 2.03, 8.02 and 16.04 and Canon 3 of the
Code of Professional Responsibility and Section 27, Rule 138
of the Rules of Court is hereby SUSPENDED from the
practice of law for a period of one year effective immediately
from receipt of this resolution. He is STERNLY WARNED that
a repetition of the same or similar acts in the future shall be
dealt with more severely.
Let a copy of this Resolution be made part of his records in the
Office of the Bar Confidant, Supreme Court of the Philippines,
and be furnished to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines and
the Office of the Court Administrator to be circulated to all
courts.
SO ORDERED.
SECOND DIVISION

assigned inCamarines Norte. The latter was


not even a signatory to the document.

3. On December 19, 2000, at the


courtroom
of Municipal
Trial
Court
(MTC) Daet before the start of hearing,
Atty. Ferrer, evidently drunk, threatened
Atty. Barandon saying, Laban kung laban, pa
tayankung patayan, kasama ang lahat ng pa
milya. Wala na palang magaling na abogado
sa CamarinesNorte, ang abogado na rito ay
mga taga-Camarines Sur, umuwi na kayo sa
Camarines Sur, hindi kayotaga-rito.

4. Atty. Ferrer made his accusation


of falsification of public document without
bothering to check the copy with the Office of
the Clerk of Court and, with gross ignorance
of the law, failed to consider that a notarized
document is presumed to be genuine and
authentic until proven otherwise.

ATTY. BONIFACIO T. BARANDON, JR., A.C. No. 5768


Complainant,
ATTY. EDWIN Z. FERRER, SR.,
Respondent. Promulgated:

March 26, 2010


DECISION
ABAD, J.:
This administrative case concerns a lawyer who is
claimed to have hurled invectives upon another lawyer and
filed a baseless suit against him.
The Facts and the Case
On January 11, 2001 complainant Atty. Bonifacio T. Barandon,
Jr. filed a complaint-affidavit[1] with the Integrated Bar of the
Philippines Commission on Bar Discipline (IBP-CBD) seeking
the disbarment, suspension from the practice of law, or
imposition of appropriate disciplinary action against respondent
Atty. Edwin Z. Ferrer, Sr. for the following offenses:

1. On
November
22,
2000
Atty. Ferrer, as plaintiffs counsel in Civil
Case 7040, filed a reply with opposition to
motion to dismiss that contained abusive,
offensive, and improper language which
insinuated that Atty. Barandon presented a
falsified document in court.

2. Atty. Ferrer filed a fabricated


charge against Atty. Barandon in Civil Case
7040 for alleged falsification of public
document when the document allegedly
falsified was a notarized document executed
on February 23, 1994, at a date when
Atty. Barandon was not yet a lawyer nor was

5. The
Court
had
warned
Atty. Ferrer in his first disbarment case
against repeating his unethical act; yet he
faces a disbarment charge for sexual
harassment of an office secretary of the IBP
Chapter inCamarines Norte; a related
criminal case for acts of lasciviousness; and
criminal cases for libel and grave threats that
Atty. Barandon filed against him. In October
2000, Atty. Ferrer asked Atty. Barandon to
falsify the daily time record of his son who
worked with the Commission on Settlement
of
Land
Problems,
Department
of
Justice. When
Atty. Barandon declined,
Atty. Ferrer repeatedly harassed him with
inflammatory language.

Atty. Ferrer raised the following defenses in his answer with


motion to dismiss:

1. Instead of having the alleged


forged document submitted for examination,
Atty. Barandon filed charges of libel and
grave threats against him. These charges
came about because Atty. Ferrers clients
filed a case for falsification of public
document against Atty. Barandon.

2. The offended party in the


falsification
case,
Imelda Palatolon,
vouchsafed that her thumbmark in the waiver
document had been falsified.

3. At the time Atty. Ferrer allegedly


uttered the threatening remarks against
Atty. Barandon, the MTC Daet was already in
session. It was improbable that the court did
not take steps to stop, admonish, or cite
Atty. Ferrer in direct contempt for his
behavior.

13

4. Atty. Barandon presented


no
evidence in support of his allegations that
Atty. Ferrer was drunk on December 19,
2000 and that he degraded the law
profession. The latter had received various
citations that speak well of his character.

5. The cases of libel and grave


threats that Atty. Barandon filed against
Atty. Ferrer were still pending. Their mere
filing did not make the latter guilty of the
charges. Atty. Barandon was forum shopping
when he filed this disbarment case since it
referred to the same libel and grave threats
subject of the criminal cases.

the case to the IBP for resolution of Atty. Ferrers motion for
reconsideration.[8] On May 22, 2008 the IBP Board of
Governors adopted and approved the Report and
Recommendation[9] of the Investigating Commissioner that
denied Atty. Ferrers motion for reconsideration.[10]

On February 17, 2009, Atty. Ferrer filed a Comment on Board


of Governors IBP Notice of Resolution No. XVIII-2008.[11] On
August
12,
2009
the
Court
resolved
to
treat
Atty. Ferrers comment as a petition for review under Rule 139
of the Revised Rules of Court. Atty. Barandon filed his
comment,[12] reiterating his arguments before the IBP. Further,
he presented certified copies of orders issued by courts
in Camarines Norte that warned Atty. Ferrer against appearing
in court drunk.[13]

The Issues Presented


In his reply affidavit,[2] Atty. Barandon brought up a sixth ground
for disbarment. He alleged that on December 29, 2000 at
about 1:30 p.m., while Atty. Ferrer was on board his sons taxi,
it figured in a collision with a tricycle, resulting in serious
injuries
to
the
tricycles
passengers.[3] But
neither
Atty. Ferrer nor any of his co-passengers helped the victims
and, during the police investigation, he denied knowing the taxi
driver and blamed the tricycle driver for being drunk.
Atty. Ferrer also prevented an eyewitness from reporting the
accident to the authorities.[4]

Atty. Barandon claimed that the falsification case against him


had already been dismissed. He belittled the citations
Atty. Ferrer allegedly received. On the contrary, in its
Resolution 00-1,[5] the IBP-Camarines Norte Chapter opposed
his application to serve as judge of the MTC of
Mercedes, Camarines Sur, on the ground that he did not have
the qualifications, integrity, intelligence, industry and character
of a trial judge and that he was facing a criminal charge for
acts of lasciviousness and a disbarment case filed by an
employee of the same IBP chapter.

On October 10, 2001 Investigating Commissioner Milagros V.


San Juan of the IBP-CBD submitted to this Court a Report,
recommending the suspension for two years of
Atty. Ferrer. The Investigating Commissioner found enough
evidence on record to prove Atty. Ferrers violation of Canons
8.01 and 7.03 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. He
attributed to Atty. Barandon, as counsel in Civil Case 7040, the
falsification of the plaintiffs affidavit despite the absence of
evidence that the document had in fact been falsified and that
Atty. Barandon was a party to it. The Investigating
Commissioner also found that Atty. Ferrer uttered the
threatening remarks imputed to him in the presence of other
counsels, court personnel, and litigants before the start of
hearing.

On June 29, 2002 the IBP Board of Governors passed


Resolution XV-2002-225,[6] adopting and approving the
Investigating Commissioners recommendation but reduced the
penalty of suspension to only one year.

Atty. Ferrer filed a motion for reconsideration but the


Board denied it in its Resolution[7] of October 19, 2002 on the
ground that it had already endorsed the matter to the Supreme
Court. On February 5, 2003, however, the Court referred back

The issues presented in this case are:

1. Whether or not the IBP Board of Governors and the


IBP Investigating Commissioner erred in finding respondent
Atty. Ferrer guilty of the charges against him; and

2. If in the affirmative, whether or not the penalty


imposed on him is justified.

The Courts Ruling

We have examined the records of this case and find no reason


to disagree with the findings and recommendation of the IBP
Board of Governors and the Investigating Commissioner.

The practice of law is a privilege given to lawyers who meet the


high standards of legal proficiency and morality. Any violation
of these standards exposes the lawyer to administrative
liability.[14]

Canon 8 of the Code of Professional Responsibility commands


all lawyers to conduct themselves with courtesy, fairness and
candor towards their fellow lawyers and avoid harassing tactics
against opposing counsel. Specifically, in Rule 8.01, the Code
provides:

Rule 8.01. A lawyer shall not, in


his professional dealings, use language
which is abusive, offensive or otherwise
improper.

Atty. Ferrers actions do not measure up to this Canon. The


evidence shows that he imputed to Atty. Barandon the
falsification of the Salaysay Affidavit of the plaintiff in Civil Case
7040. He made this imputation with pure malice for he had no
evidence that the affidavit had been falsified and that
Atty. Barandon authored the same.

14

Moreover, Atty. Ferrer could have aired his charge of


falsification in a proper forum and without using offensive and
abusive language against a fellow lawyer. To quote portions of
what he said in his reply with motion to dismiss:

1. That the answer is fraught with


grave and culpable misrepresentation
and FALSIFICATION of documents,
committed to mislead this Honorable
Court, but with concomitant grave
responsibility of counsel for Defendants,
for
distortion
and
serious
misrepresentation to the court, for
presenting
a
grossly
FALSIFIED
document, in violation of his oath of
office as a government employee and as
member of the Bar, for the reason, that,
Plaintiff, IMELDA PALATOLON, has never
executed the SALAYSAY AFFIDAVIT,
wherein her fingerprint has been falsified,
in view whereof, hereby DENY the same
including the affirmative defenses, there
being no knowledge or information to
form a belief as to the truth of the same,
from pars. (1) to par. (15) which are all lies
and mere fabrications, sufficient ground
for DISBARMENT of the one responsible
for said falsification and distortions.[15]

The Court has constantly reminded lawyers to use


dignified language in their pleadings despite the adversarial
nature of our legal system.[16]

Atty. Ferrer had likewise violated Canon 7 of the Code of


Professional Responsibility which enjoins lawyers to uphold the
dignity and integrity of the legal profession at all times. Rule
7.03 of the Code provides:

Rule 7.03. A lawyer shall not engage in


conduct that adversely reflect on his
fitness to practice law, nor shall he,
whether in public or private life behave in
scandalous manner to the discredit of the
legal profession.

Several disinterested persons confirmed Atty. Ferrers drunken


invectives at Atty. Barandon shortly before the start of a court
hearing. Atty. Ferrer did not present convincing evidence to
support his denial of this particular charge. He merely
presented a certification from the police that its blotter for the
day
did
not
report
the
threat
he
supposedly
made. Atty. Barandon presented, however, the police blotter on
a subsequent date that recorded his complaint against
Atty. Ferrer.

the start of hearing in court. These language is unbecoming a


member of the legal profession. The Court cannot
countenance it.

Though a lawyers language may be forceful and


emphatic, it should always be dignified and respectful, befitting
the dignity of the legal profession. The use of intemperate
language and unkind ascriptions has no place in the dignity of
judicial forum.[17] Atty. Ferrer ought to have realized that this
sort of public behavior can only bring down the legal profession
in the public estimation and erode public respect for it.
Whatever moral righteousness Atty.Ferrer had was negated by
the way he chose to express his indignation.
Contrary to Atty. Ferrers allegation, the Court finds that he has
been accorded due process. The essence of due process is to
be found in the reasonable opportunity to be heard and submit
any evidence one may have in support of ones defense. [18] So
long as the parties are given the opportunity to explain their
side, the requirements of due process are satisfactorily
complied with.[19] Here, the IBP Investigating Commissioner
gave Atty. Ferrer all the opportunities to file countless
pleadings and refute all the allegations of Atty. Barandon.

All lawyers should take heed that they are licensed officers of
the courts who are mandated to maintain the dignity of the
legal profession, hence they must conduct themselves
honorably and fairly.[20] Atty. Ferrers display of improper
attitude, arrogance, misbehavior, and misconduct in the
performance of his duties both as a lawyer and officer of the
court, before the public and the court, was a patent
transgression of the very ethics that lawyers are sworn to
uphold.

ACCORDINGLY, the Court AFFIRMS the May 22, 2008


Resolution of the IBP Board of Governors in CBD Case 01-809
and ORDERS the suspension of Atty. Edwin Z. Ferrer, Sr. from
the practice of law for one year effective upon his receipt of this
Decision.

Let a copy of this Decision be entered in


Atty. Ferrers personal record as an attorney with the Office of
the Bar Confidant and a copy of the same be served to the IBP
and to the Office of the Court Administrator for circulation to all
the courts in the land.
SO ORDERED.
ANA MARIE CAMBALIZA,
Adm. Case No. 6290
Versus ATTY. ANA LUZ B. CRISTAL-TENORIO,
Respondent. July 14, 2004

RESOLUTION
DAVIDE, JR., C.J.:

Atty. Ferrer said, Laban kung laban, patayan kung patayan, ka


sama ang lahat ng pamilya. Wala na palangmagaling na abog
ado sa Camarines Norte, ang abogado na rito ay mga tagaCamarines Sur, umuwi na kayo saCamarines Sur, hindi kayo t
aga-rito. Evidently, he uttered these with intent to annoy,
humiliate, incriminate, and discredit Atty. Barandon in the
presence of lawyers, court personnel, and litigants waiting for

In a verified complaint for disbarment filed with the


Committee on Bar Discipline of the Integrated Bar of the
Philippines (IBP) on 30 May 2000, complainant Ana Marie
Cambaliza, a former employee of respondent Atty. Ana Luz B.
Cristal-Tenorio in her law office, charged the latter with deceit,
grossly immoral conduct, and malpractice or other gross
misconduct in office.

15

On deceit, the complainant alleged that the


respondent has been falsely representing herself to be married
to Felicisimo R. Tenorio, Jr., who has a prior and subsisting
marriage with another woman. However, through spurious
means, the respondent and Felicisimo R. Tenorio, Jr., were
able to obtain a false marriage contract,[1] which states that
they
were
married
on
10
February
1980
in
Manila. Certifications from the Civil Registry of Manila[2] and the
National Statistics Office (NSO)[3] prove that no record of
marriage exists between them. The false date and place of
marriage between the two are stated in the birth certificates of
their two children, Donnabel Tenorio[4] and Felicisimo Tenorio
III.[5] But in the birth certificates of their two other children,
Oliver Tenorio[6] and John Cedric Tenorio,[7] another date and
place of marriage are indicated, namely, 12 February 1980 in
Malaybalay, Bukidnon.

As to grossly immoral conduct, the complainant


alleged that the respondent caused the dissemination to the
public of a libelous affidavit derogatory to Makati City Councilor
Divina Alora Jacome. The respondent would often openly and
sarcastically declare to the complainant and her co-employees
the alleged immorality of Councilor Jacome.

On malpractice or other gross misconduct in office,


the complainant alleged that the respondent (1) cooperated in
the illegal practice of law by her husband, who is not a member
of the Philippine Bar; (2) converted her clients money to her
own use and benefit, which led to the filing of an estafa case
against her; and (3) threatened the complainant and her family
on 24 January 2000 with the statement Isang bala ka lang to
deter them from divulging respondents illegal activities and
transactions.

In her answer, the respondent denied all the


allegations against her. As to the charge of deceit, she
declared that she is legally married to Felicisimo R. Tenorio, Jr.
They were married on 12 February 1980 as shown by their
Certificate of Marriage, Registry No. 2000-9108 of the Civil
Registry of Quezon City.[8] Her husband has no prior and
subsisting marriage with another woman.

As to the charge of grossly immoral conduct, the


respondent denied that she caused the dissemination of a
libelous and defamatory affidavit against Councilor Jacome.
On the contrary, it was Councilor Jacome who caused the
execution of said document. Additionally, the complainant and
her cohorts are the rumormongers who went around the city of
Makati on the pretext of conducting a survey but did so to
besmirch respondents good name and reputation.

The charge of malpractice or other gross misconduct


in office was likewise denied by the respondent. She claimed
that her Cristal-Tenorio Law Office is registered with the
Department of Trade and Industry as a single proprietorship,
as shown by its Certificate of Registration of Business Name.
[9]
Hence, she has no partners in her law office. As to the estafa
case, the same had already been dropped pursuant to the
Order of 14 June 1996 issued by Branch 103 of the Regional
Trial Court of Quezon City.[10] The respondent likewise denied
that she threatened the complainant with the words Isang bala
ka lang on 24 January 2000.

Further, the respondent averred that this disbarment


complaint was filed by the complainant to get even with
her. She terminated complainants employment after receiving
numerous complaints that the complainant extorted money
from different people with the promise of processing their
passports and marriages to foreigners, but she reneged on her
promise. Likewise, this disbarment complaint is politically
motivated: some politicians offered to re-hire the complainant
and her cohorts should they initiate this complaint, which they
did and for which they were re-hired. The respondent also
flaunted the fact that she had received numerous awards and
citations for civic works and exemplary service to the
community. She then prayed for the dismissal of the
disbarment case for being baseless.

The IBP referred this case


Commissioner Atty. Kenny H. Tantuico.

to

Investigating

During the hearing on 30 August 2000, the parties


agreed that the complainant would submit a Reply to
respondents Answer, while the respondent would submit a
Rejoinder to the Reply. The parties also agreed that the
Complaint, Answer, and the attached affidavits would constitute
as the respective direct testimonies of the parties and the
affiants.[11]

In her Reply, the complainant bolstered her claim that


the respondent cooperated in the illegal practice of law by her
husband by submitting (1) the letterhead of Cristal-Tenorio Law
Office[12] where the name of Felicisimo R. Tenorio, Jr., is listed
as a senior partner; and (2) a Sagip Communication Radio
Group identification card[13] signed by the respondent as
Chairperson where her husband is identified as Atty. Felicisimo
R. Tenorio, Jr. She added that respondents husband even
appeared in court hearings.

In her Rejoinder, respondent averred that she neither


formed a law partnership with her husband nor allowed her
husband to appear in court on her behalf. If there was an
instance that her husband appeared in court, he did so as a
representative of her law firm. The letterhead submitted by the
complainant was a false reproduction to show that her
husband is one of her law partners. But upon crossexamination, when confronted with the letterhead of CristalTenorio Law Office bearing her signature, she admitted that
Felicisimo R. Tenorio, Jr., is not a lawyer, but he and a certain
Gerardo A. Panghulan, who is also not a lawyer, are named as
senior partners because they have investments in her law
office.[14]

The respondent further declared that she married


Felicisimo R. Tenorio, Jr., on 12 February 1980 in Quezon City,
but when she later discovered that their marriage contract was
not registered she applied for late registration on 5 April
2000. She then presented as evidence a certified copy of the
marriage contract issued by the Office of the Civil Registrar
General and authenticated by the NSO. The erroneous entries
in the birth certificates of her children as to the place and date
of her marriage were merely an oversight.[15]

Sometime after the parties submitted their respective


Offer of Evidence and Memoranda, the complainant filed a
Motion to Withdraw Complaint on 13 November 2002 after
allegedly realizing that this disbarment complaint arose out of a

16
misunderstanding and misappreciation of facts. Thus, she is no
longer interested in pursuing the case. This motion was not
acted upon by the IBP.

In her Report and Recommendation dated 30


September 2003, IBP Commissioner on Bar Discipline
Milagros V. San Juan found that the complainant failed to
substantiate the charges of deceit and grossly immoral
conduct.However, she found the respondent guilty of the
charge of cooperating in the illegal practice of law by Felicisimo
R. Tenorio, Jr., in violation of Canon 9 and Rule 9.01 of the
Code of Professional Responsibility based on the following
evidence: (1) the letterhead of Cristal-Tenorio Law Office,
which lists Felicisimo R. Tenorio, Jr., as a senior partner; (2)
the Sagip Communication Radio Group identification card of
Atty. Felicisimo R. Tenorio, Jr., signed by respondent as
Chairperson; (3) and the Order dated 18 June 1997 issued by
the Metropolitan Trial Court in Criminal Cases Nos. 20729
20734, wherein Felicisimo R. Tenorio, Jr., entered his
appearance as counsel and even moved for the provisional
dismissal of the cases for failure of the private complainants to
appear and for lack of interest to prosecute the said
cases. Thus, Commissioner San Juan recommended that the
respondent be reprimanded.

In its Resolution No. XVI-2003-228 dated 25 October


2003, the IBP Board of Governors adopted and approved with
modification
the
Report
and
Recommendation
of
Commissioner San Juan. The modification consisted in
increasing the penalty from reprimand to suspension from the
practice of law for six months with a warning that a similar
offense in the future would be dealt with more severely.

We agree with the findings and conclusion of


Commissioner San Juan as approved and adopted with
modification by the Board of Governors of the IBP.

At the outset, we find that the IBP was correct in not


acting on the Motion to Withdraw Complaint filed by
complainant Cambaliza. In Rayos-Ombac vs. Rayos,[16] we
declared:

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. What matters is whether,
on the basis of the facts borne out by the
record, the charge of deceit and grossly
immoral
conduct
has
been
duly
proven. This rule is premised on the nature
of disciplinary proceedings. A proceeding
for suspension or disbarment is not in any
sense a civil action where the complainant
is a plaintiff and the respondent lawyer is a
defendant. Disciplinary
proceedings
involve no private interest and afford no
redress for private grievance. They are
undertaken and prosecuted solely for the
public welfare. They are undertaken for the
purpose of preserving courts of justice from
the official ministration of persons unfit to
practice in them. The attorney is called to
answer to the court for his conduct as an

officer of the court. The complainant or the


person who called the attention of the court
to the attorney's alleged misconduct is in
no sense a party, and has generally no
interest in the outcome except as all good
citizens may have in the proper
administration of justice. 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.

Hence, notwithstanding the Motion to Withdraw Complaint,


this disbarment case should proceed accordingly.

The IBP correctly found that the charges of deceit and


grossly immoral conduct were not substantiated. In disbarment
proceedings, the complainant has the burden of proving his
case by convincing evidence.[17] With respect to the estafa case
which is the basis for the charge of malpractice or other gross
misconduct in office, the respondent is not yet convicted
thereof. In Gerona vs. Datingaling,[18] we held that when the
criminal prosecution based on the same act charged is still
pending in court, any administrative disciplinary proceedings
for the same act must await the outcome of the criminal case
to avoid contradictory findings.

We, however, affirm the IBPs finding that the respondent is


guilty of assisting in the unauthorized practice of law. A lawyer
who allows a non-member of the Bar to misrepresent himself
as a lawyer and to practice law is guilty of violating Canon 9
and Rule 9.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility,
which read as follows:

Canon 9 A lawyer shall not directly or


indirectly assist in the unauthorized
practice of law.

Rule 9.01 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.

The term practice of law implies customarily or


habitually holding oneself out to the public as a lawyer for
compensation as a source of livelihood or in consideration of
his services. Holding ones self out as a lawyer may be shown
by acts indicative of that purpose like identifying oneself as
attorney, appearing in court in representation of a client, or
associating oneself as a partner of a law office for the general
practice of law.[19] Such acts constitute unauthorized practice of
law.

In this case, Felicisimo R. Tenorio, Jr., is not a lawyer,


but he holds himself out as one. His wife, the respondent
herein, abetted and aided him in the unauthorized practice of
the legal profession.

17
At the hearing, the respondent admitted that the
letterhead of Cristal-Tenorio Law Office listed Felicisimo R.
Tenorio, Jr., Gerardo A. Panghulan, and Maricris D. Battung as
senior partners. She admitted that the first two are not lawyers
but paralegals. They are listed in the letterhead of her law
office as senior partners because they have investments in her
law office.[20] That is a blatant misrepresentation.

law is a privilege bestowed only on the morally fit. A bar


candidate who is morally unfit cannot practice law even if he
passes the bar examinations.
The Facts
Respondent Edwin L. Rana (respondent) was among
those who passed the 2000 Bar Examinations.

The Sagip Communication Radio Group identification


card is another proof that the respondent assisted Felicisimo
R. Tenorio, Jr., in misrepresenting to the public that he is a
lawyer. Notably, the identification card stating that he is Atty.
Felicisimo Tenorio, Jr., bears the signature of the respondent
as Chairperson of the Group.

The lawyers duty to prevent, or at the very least not to


assist in, the unauthorized practice of law is founded on public
interest and policy. Public policy requires that the practice of
law be limited to those individuals found duly qualified in
education and character. The permissive right conferred on the
lawyer is an individual and limited privilege subject to
withdrawal if he fails to maintain proper standards of moral and
professional conduct. The purpose is to protect the public, the
court, the client, and the bar from the incompetence or
dishonesty of those unlicensed to practice law and not subject
to the disciplinary control of the Court. It devolves upon a
lawyer to see that this purpose is attained. Thus, the canons
and ethics of the profession enjoin him not to permit his
professional services or his name to be used in aid of, or to
make possible the unauthorized practice of law by, any agency,
personal or corporate. And, the law makes it a misbehavior on
his part, subject to disciplinary action, to aid a layman in the
unauthorized practice of law.[21]

WHEREFORE, for culpable violation of Canon 9 and


Rule 9.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility,
respondent
Atty.
Ana
Luz
B.
Cristal-Tenorio
is
hereby SUSPENDED from the practice of law for a period of
six (6) months effective immediately, with a warning that a
repetition of the same or similar act in the future will be dealt
with more severely.

Let copies of this Resolution be attached to


respondent Cristal-Tenorios record as attorney in this Court
and furnished to the IBP and the Office of the Court
Administrator for circulation to all courts.
SO ORDERED.
EN BANC[B. M. No. 1036. June 10, 2003]
DONNA MARIE S. AGUIRRE, complainant, vs. EDWIN L.
RANA, respondent.
DECISION
CARPIO, J.:

On 21 May 2001, one day before the scheduled mass


oath-taking of successful bar examinees as members of the
Philippine Bar, complainant Donna Marie Aguirre (complainant)
filed against respondent a Petition for Denial of Admission to
the Bar. Complainant charged respondent with unauthorized
practice of law, grave misconduct, violation of law, and grave
misrepresentation.
The Court allowed respondent to take his oath as a
member of the Bar during the scheduled oath-taking on 22
May 2001 at the Philippine International Convention
Center. However, the Court ruled that respondent could not
sign the Roll of Attorneys pending the resolution of the charge
against him. Thus, respondent took the lawyers oath on the
scheduled date but has not signed the Roll of Attorneys up to
now.
Complainant charges respondent for unauthorized
practice of law and grave misconduct. Complainant alleges
that respondent, while not yet a lawyer, appeared as counsel
for a candidate in the May 2001 elections before the Municipal
Board of Election Canvassers (MBEC) of Mandaon,
Masbate. Complainant further alleges that respondent filed
with the MBEC a pleading dated 19 May 2001 entitled Formal
Objection to the Inclusion in the Canvassing of Votes in Some
Precincts for the Office of Vice-Mayor. In this pleading,
respondent represented himself as counsel for and in behalf of
Vice Mayoralty Candidate, George Bunan, and signed the
pleading as counsel for George Bunan (Bunan).
On the charge of violation of law, complainant claims that
respondent is a municipal government employee, being a
secretary of the Sangguniang Bayan of Mandaon, Masbate. As
such, respondent is not allowed by law to act as counsel for a
client in any court or administrative body.
On
the
charge
of
grave
misconduct
and
misrepresentation, complainant accuses respondent of acting
as counsel for vice mayoralty candidate George Bunan
(Bunan)
without
the
latter
engaging
respondents
services. Complainant claims that respondent filed thepleading
as a ploy to prevent the proclamation of the winning vice
mayoralty candidate.
On 22 May 2001, the Court issued a resolution allowing
respondent to take the lawyers oath but disallowed him from
signing the Roll of Attorneys until he is cleared of the charges
against him. In the same resolution, the Court required
respondent to comment on the complaint against him.

The Case
Before one is admitted to the Philippine Bar, he must
possess the requisite moral integrity for membership in the
legal profession. Possession of moral integrity is of greater
importance than possession of legal learning. The practice of

In his Comment, respondent admits that Bunan sought


his specific assistance to represent him before the MBEC.
Respondent claims that he decided to assist and advice
Bunan, not as a lawyer but as a person who knows the
law. Respondent admits signing the 19 May 2001 pleading that

18
objected to the inclusion of certain votes in the canvassing. He
explains, however, that he did not sign the pleading as a
lawyer or represented himself as an attorney in the pleading.

We agree with the findings and conclusions of the OBC


that respondent engaged in the unauthorized practice of law
and thus does not deserve admission to the Philippine Bar.

On his employment as secretary of the Sangguniang


Bayan, respondent claims that he submitted his resignation on
11 May 2001 which was allegedly accepted on the same date.
He submitted a copy of the Certification of Receipt of
Revocable Resignation dated 28 May 2001 signed by ViceMayor Napoleon Relox. Respondent further claims that the
complaint is politically motivated considering that complainant
is the daughter of Silvestre Aguirre, the losing candidate for
mayor of Mandaon, Masbate. Respondent prays that the
complaint be dismissed for lack of merit and that he be allowed
to sign the Roll of Attorneys.

Respondent took his oath as lawyer on 22 May 2001.


However, the records show that respondent appeared as
counsel for Bunan prior to 22 May 2001, before respondent
took the lawyers oath. In the pleading entitled Formal
Objection to the Inclusion in the Canvassing of Votes in Some
Precincts for the Office of Vice-Mayor dated 19 May 2001,
respondent signed as counsel for George Bunan. In the first
paragraph of the same pleading respondent stated that he was
the (U)ndersigned Counsel for, and in behalf of Vice
Mayoralty Candidate, GEORGE T. BUNAN. Bunan himself
wrote the MBEC on 14 May 2001 that he had authorized Atty.
Edwin L. Rana as his counsel to represent him before the
MBEC and similar bodies.

On 22 June 2001, complainant filed her Reply to


respondents Comment and refuted the claim of respondent
that his appearance before the MBEC was only to extend
specific assistance to Bunan. Complainant alleges that on 19
May 2001 Emily Estipona-Hao (Estipona-Hao) filed a petition
for proclamation as the winning candidate for mayor.
Respondent signed as counsel for Estipona-Hao in this
petition. When respondent appeared as counsel before the
MBEC, complainant questioned his appearance on two
grounds: (1) respondent had not taken his oath as a lawyer;
and (2) he was an employee of the government.
Respondent filed a Reply (Re: Reply to Respondents
Comment) reiterating his claim that the instant administrative
case is motivated mainly by political vendetta.
On 17 July 2001, the Court referred the case to the Office
of the Bar Confidant (OBC) for evaluation, report and
recommendation.

On 14 May 2001, mayoralty candidate Emily EstiponaHao also retained respondent as her counsel. On the same
date, 14 May 2001, Erly D. Hao informed the MBEC that Atty.
Edwin L. Rana has been authorized by REFORMA LM-PPC as
the legal counsel of the party and the candidate of the said
party. Respondent himself wrote the MBEC on 14 May 2001
that he was entering his appearance as counsel for
Mayoralty Candidate Emily Estipona-Hao and for the
REFORMA LM-PPC. On 19 May 2001, respondent signed as
counsel for Estipona-Hao in the petition filed before the MBEC
praying for the proclamation of Estipona-Hao as the winning
candidate for mayor of Mandaon, Masbate.
All these happened even before respondent took the
lawyers oath. Clearly, respondent engaged in the practice of
law without being a member of the Philippine Bar.
In Philippine Lawyers Association v. Agrava, [1] the Court
elucidated that:

OBCs Report and Recommendation


The OBC found that respondent indeed appeared before
the MBEC as counsel for Bunan in the May 2001 elections.
The minutes of the MBEC proceedings show that respondent
actively participated in the proceedings. The OBC likewise
found that respondent appeared in the MBEC proceedings
even before he took the lawyers oath on 22 May 2001. The
OBC believes that respondents misconduct casts a serious
doubt on his moral fitness to be a member of the Bar. The OBC
also believes that respondents unauthorized practice of law is
a ground to deny his admission to the practice of law. The OBC
therefore recommends that respondent be denied admission to
the Philippine Bar.
On the other charges, OBC stated that complainant failed
to cite a law which respondent allegedly violated when he
appeared as counsel for Bunan while he was a government
employee. Respondent resigned as secretary and his
resignation was accepted. Likewise, respondent was
authorized by Bunan to represent him before the MBEC.
The Courts Ruling

The practice of law is not limited to the conduct of cases


or litigation in court; it embraces the preparation of pleadings
and other papers incident to actions and special proceedings,
the management of such actions and proceedings on behalf of
clients before judges and courts, and in addition,
conveyancing. In general, all advice to clients, and all action
taken for them in matters connected with the law,incorporation
services, assessment and condemnation services
contemplating an appearance before a judicial body, the
foreclosure of a mortgage, enforcement of a creditor's claim in
bankruptcy and insolvency proceedings, and conducting
proceedings in attachment, and in matters of estate and
guardianship have been held to constitute law practice, as do
the preparation and drafting of legal instruments, where the
work done involves the determination by the trained legal mind
of the legal effect of facts and conditions. (5 Am. Jur. p. 262,
263). (Italics supplied) x x x
In Cayetano v. Monsod,[2] the Court held that practice of
law means any activity, in or out of court, which requires the
application of law, legal procedure, knowledge, training and
experience. To engage in the practice of law is to perform acts
which are usually performed by members of the legal
profession. Generally, to practice law is to render any kind of
service which requires the use of legal knowledge or skill.

19
Verily, respondent was engaged in the practice of law
when he appeared in the proceedings before the MBEC and
filed various pleadings, without license to do so. Evidence
clearly supports the charge of unauthorized practice of law.
Respondent called himself counsel knowing fully well that he
was not a member of the Bar. Having held himself out as
counsel knowing that he had no authority to practice law,
respondent has shown moral unfitness to be a member of the
Philippine Bar.[3]
The right to practice law is not a natural or constitutional
right but is a privilege. It is limited to persons of good moral
character with special qualifications duly ascertained and
certified. The exercise of this privilege presupposes
possession of integrity, legal knowledge, educational
attainment, and even public trust[4] since a lawyer is an officer
of the court. A bar candidate does not acquire the right to
practice law simply by passing the bar examinations. The
practice of law is a privilege that can be withheld even from
one who has passed the bar examinations, if the person
seeking admission had practiced law without a license.[5]
The regulation of the practice of law is unquestionably
strict. In Beltran, Jr. v. Abad,[6] a candidate passed the bar
examinations but had not taken his oath and signed the Roll of
Attorneys. He was held in contempt of court for practicing law
even before his admission to the Bar. Under Section 3 (e) of
Rule 71 of the Rules of Court, a person who engages in the
unauthorized practice of law is liable for indirect contempt of
court.[7]
True, respondent here passed the 2000 Bar
Examinations and took the lawyers oath. However, it is the
signing in the Roll of Attorneys that finally makes one a fullfledged lawyer. The fact that respondent passed the bar
examinations is immaterial. Passing the bar is not the only
qualification to become an attorney-at-law.[8] Respondent
should know that two essential requisites for becoming a
lawyer still had to be performed, namely: his lawyers oath to be
administered by this Court and his signature in the Roll of
Attorneys.[9]
On the charge of violation of law, complainant contends
that the law does not allow respondent to act as counsel for a
private client in any court or administrative body since
respondent is the secretary of the Sangguniang Bayan.
Respondent tendered his resignation as secretary of the
Sangguniang Bayan prior to the acts complained of as
constituting unauthorized practice of law. In his letter dated 11
May 2001 addressed to Napoleon Relox, vice- mayor and
presiding officer of the Sangguniang Bayan, respondent stated
that he was resigning effective upon your acceptance.[10] ViceMayor Relox accepted respondents resignation effective 11
May 2001.[11] Thus, the evidence does not support the charge
that respondent acted as counsel for a client while serving as
secretary of the Sangguniang Bayan.
On
the
charge
of
grave
misconduct
and
misrepresentation, evidence shows that Bunan indeed
authorized respondent to represent him as his counsel before
the MBEC and similar bodies. While there was no
misrepresentation, respondent nonetheless had no authority to
practice law.

WHEREFORE, respondent Edwin L. Rana is DENIED


admission to the Philippine Bar.
SO ORDERED.
G.R. No. L-23467

March 27, 1968

AMALGAMATED LABORERS' ASSOCIATION and/or


FELISBERTO M. JAVIER for himself and as General
President,
ATTY. JOSEUR. CARBONELL, ET AL., petitioners,
vs.
HON. COURT OF INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS AND ATTY.
LEONARDO C. FERNANDEZ, respondents.
Jose Ur. Carbonell for and in his own behalf as petitioner.
Leonardo C. Fernandez for and in his own behalf as
respondent.
SANCHEZ, J.:
Controversy over attorneys' fees for legal services
rendered in CIR Case No. 70-ULP-Cebu.
The background facts are as follows:
On May 30, 1956, Florentino Arceo and 47 others
together with their union, Amalgamated Laborers' Association,
and/or Felisberto Javier, general president of said union,
lodged a complaint 1 in the Court of Industrial Relations (CIR),
for unfair labor practices specified in Sec. 4(a) 1, 2, 3 and 4 of
the Industrial Peace Act. Made respondents were their former
employer, Binalbagan Sugar Central Company, Inc. (Biscom),
Rafael Jalandoni, its president and general manager; Gonzalo
Guillen, its chief engineer and general factory superintendent;
and Fraternal Labor Organization and/or Roberto Poli, its
president.
Failing in their attempts to dismiss the complaint
(motions to dismiss dated June 30, 1956 and July 6,
1956), 2 respondents Biscom, Jalandoni, and Guillen, on July 9,
1957, answered and counterclaimed. Respondents Fraternal
Labor Union and Poli also filed their answer dated July 12,
1957.
With the issues joined, the case on the merits was heard
before a trial commissioner.
At the hearings, only ten of the forty-eight complainant
laborers appeared and testified. Two of these ten were
permanent (regular) employees of respondent company; the
remaining eight were seasonal workers. The regular
employees were Arsenio Reyes and Fidel Magtubo. Seasonal
workers were Catalino Bangoy, Juan Fernandez, Jose Garlitos,
Dionisio Pido, Santiago Talagtag, Dominador Tangente,
Felimon Villaluna and Brigido Casas.
On November 13, 1962, CIR, thru Associate Judge
Arsenio I. Martinez, rendered judgment, which provides,inter
alia, that the two regular employees (Reyes and Magtubo) be
reinstated "to their former positions, without loss of seniority
and other benefits which should have accrued to them had
they not been illegally dismissed, with full back wages from the
time of their said dismissals up to the time of their actual

20
reinstatements, minus what they have earned elsewhere in the
meantime" and that the eight seasonal workers "be readmitted
to their positions as seasonal workers of respondent company
(Biscom), with back wages as seasonal workers from the time
they were not rehired at the start of the 1955-1956 milling
season on October 1, 1955 up to the time they are actually
reinstated, less the amount earned elsewhere during the
period of their lay-off."
Respondents Biscom, Jalandoni and Guillen appealed
direct to this Court. 3 On March 28, 1963, this Court dismissed
the appeal, without costs. Ground: Petitioners therein did not
seek reconsideration of CIR's decision of November 13, 1962.
The judgment became final.
Upon the ten complainants' motion to name an official
computer to determine the actual money due them, CIR, on
June 4, 1963, directed the Chief Examiner of its Examining
Division to go to the premises of Biscom and compute the back
wages due the ten complainants.
On August 9, 1963, the Chief Examiner reported that the
total net back wages due the ten complainants were
P79,755.22. Biscom and the complainants moved for
reconsideration: Biscom on August 17, 1963; complainants on
September 24, 1963.
In the interim, Atty. Leonardo C. Fernandez (a
respondent herein) filed on July 15, 1963 in the same case
CIR Case No. 70-ULP-Cebu a "Notice of Attorney's Lien."
He alleged therein that he had been the attorney of record for
the laborers in CIR Case No. 70-ULP-Cebu "since the
inception of the preliminary hearings of said case up to the
Supreme Court on appeal, as chief counsel thereof"; that he
"had actually rendered legal services to the laborers who are
subject of this present litigation [CIR Case No. 70-ULP-Cebu]
since the year 1956, more or less"; that the laborers "have
voluntarily agreed to give [him], representing his attorney's fees
on contingent basis such amounts equivalent to 25% thereof
which agreement is evidenced by a Note"; and that the 25%
attorney's fee so contracted is "reasonable and proper taking
into consideration the length of services he rendered and the
nature of the work actually performed by him."
On September 25, 1963, Atty. Fernandez filed an
"Amended Notice of Attorney's Lien," which in part reads:
3. That the laborers, subject of this present litigation,
sometime on February 3, 1956, had initially voluntarily
agreed to give Undersigned Counsel herein,
representing his Attorney's fees on contingent basis,
such amounts as equivalent to Thirty Per Cent (30%)
of whatever money claims that may be adjudicated by
this Honorable Court, copy of said Agreement, in the
local Visayan dialect and a translation of the same in
the English language are hereto attached as annexes
"A" "A-1" hereof;
4. That subsequently thereafter, when the aboveentitled Case was already decided in their favor,
Arsenio Reyes, in behalf of his co-laborers who are
also Complainants in this Case begged from the
Undersigned Counsel herein that he reduce his
attorney's fees to Twenty-Five Per Cent (25%) only for
the reason that they have to share and satisfy also

Atty. Jose Ur. Carbonell in the equivalent amount of


Five Per Cent (5%) although the latter's actual
services rendered was so insignificant thereof;
5. That because of the pleadings of said Arsenio
Reyes, who is the President of said Union, the
Undersigned Counsel herein finally agreed and
consented that his attorney's fees be reduced to only
Twenty-Five Per Cent (25%) instead of Thirty Per
Cent (30%) as originally agreed upon in 1956.
On October 7, 1963, Atty. Jose Ur. Carbonell (a
petitioner herein) filed in court a document labelled "Discharge"
informing CIR of the discharge, release and dismissal thru a
union board resolution (attached thereto as Annex A thereof)
of Atty. Leonardo C. Fernandez as one of the lawyers of the
complainants in CIR Case No. 70-ULP-Cebu, effective
February 28, 1963.
On October 14, 1963, Atty. Fernandez replied. He
averred that the grounds for his discharge specified in the
board resolution were "malicious and motivated by greed and
ungratefulness" and that the unjustifiable discharge did not
affect the already stipulated contract for attorneys' fees.
On March 19, 1964, CIR Judge Arsenio I. Martinez
resolved Biscom's and complainants' motions for
resonsideration objecting to the Chief Examiner's Report and
also respondent Fernandez' Amended Notice of Attorney's
Lien. Judge Martinez' order reads in part:
(b) Respondent company is further directed to
deposit the amount representing 25% of P79,755.22
with the Cashier of this Court, as attorney's fees;
xxx

xxx

xxx

(d) The amount representing attorney's fees to


be deposited by the respondent company is hereby
awarded and granted to Atty. Leonardo C. Fernandez,
and he may collect the same from the Cashier of the
Court upon the finality of this order, subject to existing
auditing procedures; ....
Biscom complied with the order of deposit. 4
On April 10, 1964, Atty. Carbonell moved to reconsider
the March 19, 1964 order with respect to the award of
attorneys' fees. Amongst his grounds are that CIR has no
jurisdiction to determine the matter in question, and that the
award of 25% as attorneys' fees to Atty. Fernandez is
excessive, unfair and illegal. This motion was denied on April
28, 1964 by CIR en banc.
On June 9, 1964, a motion for reconsideration of the
April 28, 1964 resolution was filed by Atty. Carbonell. This was
amplified by a similar motion filed on June 11, 1964.
On June 25, 1964, two things happened: First. CIR en
banc denied the motion of June 11, 1964. Second. On Atty.
Fernandez' motion, Judge Martinez authorized the Cashier of
the court to disburse to Fernandez the amount of P19,938.81
representing attorneys' fees and deducting therefrom all legal
fees incident to such deposit.

21
Petitioners herein, Atty. Carbonell, Amalgamated
Laborers' Association, and the ten employees, appealed from
the June 25, 1964 resolution of CIR, direct to this Court.
1. Petitioners press upon this Court the view that CIR is
bereft of authority to adjudicate contractual disputes over
attorneys' fees. Their reasons: (1) a dispute arising from
contracts for attorneys' fees is not a labor dispute and is not
one among the cases ruled to be within CIR's authority; and (2)
to consider such a dispute to be a mere incident to a case over
which CIR may validly assume jurisdiction is to disregard the
special and limited nature of said court's jurisdiction.
These arguments are devoid of merit.
The present controversy over attorneys' fees is but an
epilogue or a tail-end feature of the main case, CIR No. 70ULP-Cebu, which undoubtedly is within CIR's jurisdiction. And,
it has been held that "once the Court of Industrial Relations has
acquired jurisdiction over a case under the law of its creation, it
retains that jurisdiction until the case is completely
decided, including all the incidents related
thereto." 5 Expressive of the rule on this point is this
4. It is well settled that:
A grant of jurisdiction implies the
necessary and usual incidental powers
essential to effectuate it, and every regularly
constituted court has power to do all things
reasonably necessary for the administration
of justice within the scope of its jurisdiction,
and for the enforcement of its judgments and
mandates, even though the court may thus
be called upon to decide matters which
would not be within its cognizance as
original causes of action.
While a court may be expressly
granted the incidental powers necessary to
effectuate its jurisdiction, a grant of
jurisdiction, in the absence of prohibitive
legislation, implies the necessary and usual
incidental powers essential to effectuate it (In
re Stinger's Estate, 201 P. 693), and, subject
to existing laws and constitutional provisions,
every regularly constituted court has power
to do all things that are reasonably
necessary for the administration of justice
within the scope of its jurisdiction, and for the
enforcement of its judgments and
mandates. So demands, matters, or
questions ancillary or incidental to, or
growing out of, the main action, and coming
within the above principles, may be taken
cognizance of by the court and determined,
since such jurisdiction is in aid of its authority
over the principal matter, even though the
Court may thus be, called on to consider and
decide matters, which as original causes of
action, would not be within its
cognizance (Bartholomew vs. Shipe, 251
S.W. 1031), (21 C.J.S. pp. 136-138.)

Thus, in Gomez vs. North Camarines Lumber


Co., L-11945, August 18, 1958, and Serrano vs.
Serrano, L-19562, May 23, 1964, we held that the
court having jurisdiction over the main cause of
action, may grant the relief incidental thereto, even if
they would otherwise, be outside its competence. 6
To direct that the present dispute be lodged in another
court as petitioners advocate would only result in multiplicity of
suits, 7 a situation abhorred by the rules. Thus it is, that usually
the application to fix the attorneys' fees is made before the
court which renders the judgment. 8 And, it has been observed
that "[a]n approved procedure, where a charging lien has
attached to a judgment or where money has been paid into
court, is for the attorney to file an intervening petition and have
the amount and extent of his lien judicially
determined." 9Appropriately to be recalled at this point, is the
recent ruling in Martinez vs. Union de Maquinistas, 1967A
Phild. 142, 144, January 30, 1967, where, speaking thru Mr.
Justice Arsenio P. Dizon, explicit pronouncement was made by
this Court that: "We are of the opinion that since the Court of
Industrial Relations obviously had jurisdiction over the main
cases, ... it likewise had full jurisdiction to consider and decide
all matters collateral thereto, such as claims for attorney's
fees made by the members of the bar who appeared
therein." 10
2. The parties herein join hands in one point - the ten
(10) successful complainants in C.I.R Case No. 70-ULP-Cebu
should pay as attorneys' fees 30% of the amount adjudicated
by the court in the latter's favor (P79,755.22).
They are at odds, however, on how to split the fees.
Respondent Atty. Fernandez claims twenty-five per cent
(25%) of the 30% attorneys' fees. He explains that upon the
plea of Arsenio Reyes, union president and one of the 10
successful complainants, he had to reduce his fees to 25%
since "they have to share and satisfy also Atty. Jose Ur.
Carbonell in the equivalent amount of Five Per Cent (5%)."
Atty. Fernandez exhibited a contract purportedly dated
February 3, 1956 before the 48 employees have even filed
their complaint in CIR. The stipulated fee is 30% of whatever
amount the ten might recover. Strange enough, this contract
was signed only by 8 of the 10 winning claimants. What
happened to the others? Why did not the union intervene in the
signing of this contract? Petitioners dispute said contract. They
say that Atty. Fernandez required the ten to sign the contract
only after the receipt of the decision.
Petitioners, on the other hand, contend that the verbal
agreement entered into by the union and its officers thru its
President Javier and said two lawyers, Atty. Carbonell and Atty.
Fernandez, is that the 30% attorneys' fees, shall be divided
equally ("share and share alike") amongst Atty. Carbonell, Atty.
Fernandez and Felisberto Javier, the union president.
After hearing, CIR Associate Judge Arsenio I. Martinez
awarded 25% attorneys' fees to respondent Atty. Fernandez.
CIR noted that "the active conduct and prosecution of the
above-entitled case was done by Atty. Fernandez up to the
appeal in the Supreme Court," and that petitioner Atty.
Carbonell manifested that "Atty. Leonardo C. Fernandez was
the counsel mainly responsible for the conduct of the case." It

22
noted, too, that petitioner Atty. Carbonell did not file any notice
of Attorney's Lien.
3. We strike down the alleged oral agreement that the
union president should share in the attorneys' fees. Canon 34
of Legal Ethics condemns this arrangement in terms clear and
explicit. It says: "No division of fees for legal services is proper,
except with another lawyer, based upon a division of service or
responsibility." The union president is not the attorney for the
laborers. He may seek compensation only as such president.
An agreement whereby a union president is allowed to share in
attorneys' fees is immoral. Such a contract we emphatically
reject. It cannot be justified.
4. A contingent fee contract specifying the percentage of
recovery an attorney is to receive in a suit "should be
reasonable under all the circumstances of the case, including
the risk and uncertainty of the compensation, but should
always be subject to the supervision of a court, as to its
reasonableness." 11
Lately, we said: 12
The principle that courts should reduce
stipulated attorney's fees whenever it is found under
the circumstances of the case that the same is
unreasonable, is now deeply rooted in this
jurisdiction....
xxx

xxx

xxx

Since then this Court has invariably fixed


counsel fees on a quantum meruit basis whenever the
fees stipulated appear excessive, unconscionable, or
unreasonable, because a lawyer is primarily a court
officer charged with the duty of assisting the court in
administering impartial justice between the parties,
and hence, the fees should be subject to judicial
control. Nor should it be ignored that sound public
policy demands that courts disregard stipulations for
counsel fees, whenever they appear to be a source of
speculative profit at the expense of the debtor or
mortgagor. See, Gorospe, et al. v. Gochangco, L12735, October 30, 1959. And it is not material that
the present action is between the debtor and the
creditor, and not between attorney and client. As
courts have power to fix the fee as between attorney
and client, it must necessarily have the right to say
whether a stipulation like this, inserted in a mortgage
contract, is valid.Bachrach v. Golingco, 39 Phil. 138.
In the instant case, the stipulated 30% attorneys' fee is
excessive and unconscionable. With the exception of Arsenio
Reyes who receives a monthly salary of P175, the other
successful complainants were mere wage earners paid a daily
rate of P4.20 to P5.00. 13 Considering the long period of time
that they were illegally and arbitrarily deprived of their just pay,
these laborers looked up to the favorable money judgment as a
serum to their pitiful economic malaise. A thirty per cent (30%)
slice therefrom immensely dilutes the palliative ingredient of
this judicial antidote.
The ten complainants involved herein are mere laborers.
It is not far-fetched to assume that they have not reached an
educational attainment comparable to that of petitioner

Carbonell or respondent Fernandez who, on the other hand,


are lawyers. Because of the inequality of the situation between
laborers and lawyers, courts should go slow in awarding huge
sums by way of attorneys' fees based solely on
contracts. 14 For, as in the present case, the real objective of
the CIR judgment in CIR Case No. 70-ULP-Cebu is to benefit
the complaint laborers who were unjustifiedly dismissed from
the service. While it is true that laborers should not be allowed
to develop that atavistic proclivity to bite the hands that fed
them, still lawyers should not be permitted to get a lion's share
of the benefits due by reason of a worker's labor. What is to be
paid to the laborers is not windfall but a product of the sweat of
their brow. Contracts for legal services between laborer and
attorney should then be zealously scrutinized to the end that a
fair share of the benefits be not denied the former.
5. An examination of the record of the case will readily
show that an award of twenty-five per cent (25%) attorneys'
fees reasonably compensates the whole of the legal services
rendered in CIR Case No. 70-ULP-Cebu. This fee must be
shared by petitioner Atty. Carbonell and respondent Atty.
Fernandez. For, after all, they are the counsel of record of the
complainants. Respondent Atty. Fernandez cannot deny this
fact. The pleadings filed even at the early stages of the
proceedings reveal the existence of an association between
said attorneys. The pleadings were filed under the name of
"Fernandez & Carbonell." This imports a common effort of the
two. It cannot be denied though that most of those pleadings
up to judgment were signed for Fernandez & Carbonell by
respondent Fernandez.
We note that a break-up in the professional tie-up
between Attorneys Fernandez and Carbonell began when
petitioner Atty. Carbonell, on November 26, 1962, complained
to CIR that respondent Atty. Fernandez "failed to communicate
with him nor to inform him about the incidents of this case." He
there requested that he be furnished "separately copies of the
decision of the court and other pleadings and subsequent
orders as well as motions in connection with the case."
Subsequent pleadings filed in the case unmistakably
show the widening rift in their professional relationship. Thus,
on May 23, 1963, a "Motion to Name and Authorize Official
Computer" was filed with CIR. On the same day, a "Motion to
Issue Writ of Execution" was also registered in the same court.
Although filed under the name of "Carbonell & Fernandez,"
these pleadings were signed solely by petitioner Atty.
Carbonell.
On September 16, 1963, an "Opposition to respondent
Biscom's Motion for Reconsideration" was filed by petitioner
Atty. Carbonell. On September 24, 1963, he filed a "Motion for
Clarification" of the November 13, 1962 judgment of CIR
regarding the basic pay of Arsenio Reyes and Fidel Magtubo.
On September 24, 1963, he also filed a "Motion to Reconsider
Report of Chief Examiner." These, and other pleadings that
were filed later were signed solely by petitioner Atty. Carbonell,
not in the name of "Carbonell & Fernandez." While it was
correctly observed by CIR that a good portion of the court
battle was fought by respondent Atty. Fernandez, yet CIR
cannot close its eyes to the legal services also rendered by
Atty. Carbonell. For, important and numerous, too, were his
services. And, they are not negligible. The conclusion is
inevitable that petitioner Atty. Carbonell must have a share in

23
the twenty-five per cent (25%) attorneys' fees awarded herein.
As to how much, this is a function pertaining to CIR.
6. We note that CIR's cashier was authorized on June
25, 1964 to disburse to Atty. Leonardo C. Fernandez the sum
of P19,938.81 which is 25% of the amount recovered. In the
event payment actually was made, he should be required to
return whatever is in excess of the amount to which he is
entitled in line with the opinion expressed herein. 15
IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the award of twenty five
per cent (25%) attorneys' fees solely to respondent Atty.
Fernandez contained in CIR's order of March 19, 1964 and
affirmed by said court's en banc resolutions of April 28, 1964
and June 25, 1964, is hereby set aside; and the case is hereby
remanded to the Court of Industrial Relations with instructions
to conduct a hearing on, and determine, the respective shares
of Attorney Leonardo C. Fernandez and Attorney Jose Ur.
Carbonell in the amount of P19,938.81 herein awarded as
attorneys' fees or both. No costs. So ordered.
A.C. No. 9881
June 4, 2014
(Formerly CBD 10-2607)
ATTY. ALAN F. PAGUIA, Petitioner,
vs.
ATTY. MANUEL T. MOLINA, Respondent.
RESOLUTION
SERENO, CJ:
For resolution by this Court is the dismissal by the Integrated
Bar of the Philippines (IBP) Board of Governors of the
administrative Complaint for DISHONESTY against
respondent, Atty. Manuel Molina. Atty. Molina allegedly advised
his clients to enforce a contract on the complainant's client who
had never been a party to the agreement.
The facts are as follows:
The case involves a conflict between neighbors in a four-unit
compound named "Times Square" at Times Street, Quezon
City. The neighbors are the following: 1) Mr. And Mrs. Gregorio
M. Abreu, clients of Atty. Paguia; 2) Mr. And Mrs. Wilson Lim,
clients of respondent Molina; 3) Dr. and Mrs. Eduardo Yap; and
Dr. Belinda San Juan.
The clients of Atty. Molina entered into a contract with the other
unit owners save for Mr. Abreu. The agreement, 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. 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.
On 4 February 2010, Atty. Paguia filed a Complaint for
Dishonesty1 with the IBP Commission on Bar Discipline against
Atty. Molina2 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,3 Atty. Molina downplayed the case as a petty


quarrel among neighbors. He maintained that the Times
Square Preamble4 was entered into for purposes of
maintaining order in the residential compound. All
homeowners, except Mr. Abreu, signed the document.5
Respondent further stated in his Answer that Mr. and Mrs.
Gregorio Abreu filed two cases against his clients, Mr. And Mrs.
William Lim, on the belief that Mr. Abreu was not bound by the
Times Square Preamble. The first case, was filed with the
Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB), which was
an action to declare the Times Square Preamble invalid. The
second suit was an action for declaratory relief. Both cases,
according to respondent, were dismissed.6
Respondent further claimed that another case had been filed in
court, this time by his client, the Lims. They were prompted to
file a suit since Mr. Abreu had allegedly taken matters into his
own hands by placing two vehicles directly in front of the gate
of the Lims, thus blocking the latters egress to Times Street.
The Lims filed with the Regional Trial Court, Branch 96,
Quezon City, a Complaint for Injunction and Damages, coupled
with a prayer for the immediate issuance of a Temporary
Restraining Order and/or Preliminary Injunction, which was
docketed as Civil Case No. Q-08-63579. According to
respondent, the RTC granted the relief prayed for in an Order
dated 12 December 2008.7
Atty. Molina concluded that the above facts sufficiently served
as his answer to the Complaint.
On 3 August 2010, Investigating Commissioner Victor C.
Fernandez rendered a Report and Recommendation. He
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.8
On 14 May 2011, the IBP Board of Governors passed
Resolution No. XIX-2011-210, adopting and approving the
Report and Recommendation of the Investigating
Commissioner.9
Atty. Paguia filed a Motion for Reconsideration dated 2 August
2011, but was denied by the IBP Board of Governors on 29
December 2012.10 Notices of the denial were received by the
parties on 21 March 2013.11
No petition for review has been filed with this Court.
It is worth noting that a case is deemed terminated if the
complainant does not file a petition with the Supreme Court
within fifteen (15) days from notice of the Boards resolution.
This rule is derived from Section 12(c) of Rule 139-B, which
states:
(c) If the respondent is exonerated by the Board or the
disciplinary sanction imposed by it is less than suspension or
disbarment (such as admonition, reprimand, or fine) it shall
issue a decision exonerating respondent or imposing such
sanction. The case shall be deemed terminated unless upon
petition of the complainant or other interested party filed with
the Supreme Court within fifteen (15) days from notice of the

24
Boards resolution, the Supreme Court orders otherwise.
(Underscoring supplied)
In this case, Atty. Paguia received notice of the Boards
resolution on 21 March 2013, as evidenced by a registry return
receipt. To this date, this Court has yet to receive a petition for
review from Atty. Paguia. Thus, for his failure to file a petition
for review with the Court within 15 days, this case is deemed
terminated pursuant to the above mentioned Section 12(c).
Nevertheless, we have gone over the records but we have no
reason to deviate from the findings of the IBP Board of
Governors.
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.12
In the present case, we find that the Complaint is without
factual basis. Complainant Atty. Paguia charges Atty. Molina
with providing legal advice to the latters clients to the effect
that the Times Square Preamble is binding on complainants
client, Mr. Abreu, who was not a signatory to the agreement.
The allegation of giving legal advice, however, was not
substantiated in this case, either in the complaint or in the
corresponding hearings. Nowhere do the records state that
Atty. Paguia saw respondent giving the legal advice to the
clients of the latter. Bare allegations are not proof.13
Even if we assume that 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 rule on mistakes committed by lawyers in the exercise of
their profession is as follows:
An attorney-at-law is not expected to know all the law. For an
honest mistake or error, an attorney is not liable. Chief Justice
Abbott said that, no attorney is bound to know all the law; God
forbid that it should be imagined that an attorney or a counsel,
or even a judge, is bound to know all the law. x x x.14
The default rule is presumption of good faith. On the other
hand, bad faith is never presumed.1wphi1 It is a conclusion to
be drawn from facts. Its determination is thus a question of fact
and is evidentiary.15 There is no evidence, though, to show that
the legal advice, assuming it was indeed given, was coupled
with bad faith, malice, or ill-will. The presumption of good faith,
therefore, stands in this case.
The foregoing considered, complainant failed to prove his case
by clear preponderance of evidence.
WHEREFORE, the Resolution of the IBP Board of Governors
adopting and approving the Decision of the Investigating
Commissioner is hereby AFFIRMED.
SO ORDERED.
FIRST DIVISION
A.C. No. 10628, July 01, 2015

MAXIMINO NOBLE III, Complainant, v. ATTY. ORLANDO O.


AILES, Respondent.
RESOLUTION
PERLAS-BERNABE, J.:
This instant administrative case arose from a verified
Complaint1 for disbarment dated April 16, 2012 filed by
complainant Maximino Noble III (Maximino) against respondent
Atty. Orlando O. Ailes (Orlando) before the Integrated Bar of
the Philippines (IBP).
The Facts
Maximino alleged that on August 18, 2010, Orlando, a lawyer,
filed a complaint2 for damages against his own brother,
Marcelo O. Ailes, Jr. (Marcelo), whom Maximino represented,
together with other defendants, therein. In the said complaint,
Orlando stated the following data: "IBP-774058-12/07/09-QC x
x x MCLE Compliance No. II-00086893/Issued on March 10,
2008."4 Maximino claimed that at the time of the filing of the
said complaint, Orlando's IBP O.R. number should have
already reflected payment of his IBP annual dues for the year
2010, not 2009, and that he should have finished his third
Mandatory Continuing Legal Education (MCLE) Compliance,
not just the second.
Sometime in December 2011, Maximino learned from Marcelo
that the latter had filed a separate case for grave threats
and estafa5 against Orlando. When Maximino was furnished a
copy of the complaint, he discovered that, through text
messages, Orlando had been maligning him and dissuading
Marcelo from retaining his services as counsel, claiming that
he was incompetent and that he charged exorbitant fees,
saying, among others: "x x x Better dismiss [your] hi-track
lawyer who will impoverish [you] with his unconscionable
[professional] fee. Max Noble, as shown in court records, never
appeared even once, that's why you lost in the pre-trial stage, x
x x get rid of [Noble] as [your] lawyer. He is out to squeeze a lot
of money from [you], x x x daig mo nga mismong abogado
mong polpol."6 Records show that Orlando even prepared a
Notice to Terminate Services of Counsel7 in the complaint for
damages, which stated that Maximino "x x x has never done
anything to protect the interests of the defendants in a manner
not befitting his representation as a seasoned law practitioner
and, aside from charging enormous amount of professional
fees and questionable expenses, said counsel's contracted
services reached as far only in preparing and filing uncalled for
motions to dismiss x x x" as well as a Compromise
Agreement,8 both of which he sent to Marcelo for his signature.
Affronted, Maximino filed the instant complaint charging
Orlando with violation of Rule 7.03 of Canon 7, the entire
Canon 8 of the Code of Professional Responsibility (CPR), Bar
Matter (BM) Nos. 8509 and 192210, and prayed for the
disbarment of respondent as well as the award of damages.
In his defense,11 Orlando denied the charges against him and
claimed that his late submission of the third MCLE compliance
is not a ground for disbarment and that the Notice to Terminate
Services of Counsel and Compromise Agreement were all
made upon the request of Marcelo when the latter was
declared in default in the aforementioned civil case. Moreover,
he insisted that the allegedly offensive language in his text
messages sent to Marcelo was used in a "brother-to-brother
communication" and were uttered in good
faith.12ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
Meanwhile, the criminal case for grave threats and estafa filed
by Marcelo against Orlando was downgraded to unjust
vexation13 and, on June 19, 2012, after voluntarily entering a
plea of guilty, Orlando was convicted of the crime of unjust
vexation, consisting in his act of vexing or annoying Marcelo by
"texting insulting, threatening and persuading words to drop his
lawyer over a case x x x."14ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary

25
IBP Report and Recommendation
In a Report and Recommendation15 dated April 30, 2013, the
IBP Commissioner recommended the dismissal of the case
against Orlando, finding that a transgression of the MCLE
compliance requirement is not a ground for disbarment as in
fact, failure to disclose the required information would merely
cause the dismissal of the case and the expunction of the
pleadings from the records. Neither did the IBP Commissioner
find any violation of the CPR so gross or grave as to warrant
any administrative liability on the part of Orlando, considering
that the communication between Orlando and Marcelo, who
are brothers, was done privately and not directly addressed to
Maximino nor intended to be published and known by third
persons.
In a Resolution16 dated May 11, 2013, the IBP Board of
Governors adopted and approved the IBP Commissioner's
Report and Recommendation and dismissed the case against
Orlando, warning him to be more circumspect in his dealings.
Maximino moved for reconsideration17 which was however
denied in a Resolution18 dated May 3, 2014 with modification
deleting the warning.
Aggrieved, Maximino filed the present petition for review
on certioranri.19ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
The Issue Before the Court
The issue for the Court's resolution is whether or not the IBP
correctly dismissed the complaint against Orlando.
The Court's Ruling
The petition is partly meritorious.

maligned his integrity. Similarly, the hurling of insulting


language to describe the opposing counsel is considered
conduct unbecoming of the legal
profession.25ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary
In this case, the IBP found the text messages that Orlando
sent to his brother Marcelo as casual communications
considering that they were conveyed privately. To the Court's
mind, however, the tenor of the messages cannot be treated
lightly. The text messages were clearly intended to malign and
annoy Maximino, as evident from the use of the word "polpol"
(stupid). Likewise, Orlando's insistence that Marcelo
immediately terminate the services of Maximino indicates
Orlando's offensive conduct against his colleague, in violation
of the above-quoted rules. Moreover, Orlando's voluntary plea
of guilty to the crime of unjust vexation in the criminal case filed
against him by Marcelo was, for all intents and purposes, an
admission that he spoke ill, insulted, and disrespected
Maximino - a departure from the judicial decorum which
exposes the lawyer to administrative liability.
On this score, it must be emphasized that membership in the
bar is a privilege burdened with conditions such that a lawyer's
words and actions directly affect the public's opinion of the
legal profession. Lawyers are expected to observe such
conduct of nobility and uprightness which should remain with
them, whether in their public or private lives, and may be
disciplined in the event their conduct falls short of the
standards imposed upon them.26 Thus, in this case, it is
inconsequential that the statements were merely relayed to
Orlando's brother in private. As a member of the bar, Orlando
should have been more circumspect in his words, being fully
aware that they pertain to another lawyer to whom fairness as
well as candor is owed. It was highly improper for Orlando to
interfere and insult Maximino to his client.

The practice of law is a privilege bestowed on lawyers who


meet high standards of legal proficiency and morality.20 It is a
special privilege burdened with conditions before the legal
profession, the courts, their clients and the society such that a
lawyer has the duty to comport himself in a manner as to
uphold integrity and promote the public's faith in the
profession.21 Consequently, a lawyer mustat all times, whether
in public or private life, act in a manner beyond reproach
especially when dealing with fellow
lawyers.22ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary

Indulging in offensive personalities in the course of judicial


proceedings, as in this case, constitutes unprofessional
conduct which subjects a lawyer to disciplinary action.27 While
a lawyer is entitled to present his case with vigor and courage,
such enthusiasm does not justify the use of offensive and
abusive language.28 The Court has consistently reminded the
members of the bar to abstain from all offensive personality
and to advance no fact prejudicial to the honor and reputation
of a party. Considering the circumstances, it is glaringly clear
how Orlando transgressed the CPR when he maligned
Maximino to his client.29ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary

In this relation, Rule 7.03 of Canon 7 as well as Canon 8 of the


CPR provides:
chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
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.
chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary

With regard to Orlando's alleged violation of BM No. 1922, the


Court agrees with the IBP that his failure to disclose the
required information for MCLE compliance in the complaint for
damages he had filed against his brother Marcelo is not a
ground for disbarment. At most, his violation shall only be
cause for the dismissal of the complaint as well as the
expunction thereof from the
records.30ChanRoblesVirtualawlibrary

Canon 8 A lawyer shall conduct himself with courtesy,


fairness and candor toward his professional colleagues, and
shall avoid harassing tactics against opposing counsel.
Rule 8.01 - A lawyer shall not, in his professional dealings, use
language which is abusive, offensive or otherwise improper.
Rule 8.02 - A lawyer shall not, directly or indirectly, encroach
upon the professional employment of another lawyer; however,
it is the right of any lawyer, without fear or favor, to give proper
advice and assistance to those seeking relief against unfaithful
or neglectful counsel.
chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
Though a lawyer's language may be forceful and emphatic, it
should always be dignified and respectful, befitting the dignity
of the legal profession. The use of intemperate language and
unkind ascriptions has no place in the dignity of the judicial
forum.23 In Buatis Jr. v. People,24 the Court treated a lawyer's
use of the words "lousy," "inutile," "carabao English,"
"stupidity," and "satan" in a letter addressed to another
colleague as defamatory and injurious which effectively

WHEREFORE, the Court finds respondent Atty. Orlando O.


Ailes GUILTY of violating Rule 7.03 of Canon 7 as well as the
entire Canon 8 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. He
is herebyADMONISHED to be more circumspect in dealing
with his professional colleagues and STERNLY WARNED that
a commission of the same or similar acts in the future shall be
dealt with more severely.
SO ORDERED.cralawlawlibrary
A.C. No. 9604 : March 20, 2013
RODRIGO E. TAPAY and ANTHONY J.
RUSTIA, Complainants, v. ATTY. CHARLIE L. BANCOLO and
ATTY. JANUS T. JARDER, Respondents.
DECISION

26
CARPIO, J.:
The Case
This administrative case arose from a Complaint tiled by
Rodrigo E. Tapay (Tapay) and Anthony J. Rustia (Rustia), both
employees of the Sugar Regulatory Administration, against
Atty. Charlie L. Bancolo (Atty. Bancolo) and Atty. Janus T.
larder (Atty. Jarder) for violation of the Canons of Ethics and
Professionalism, Falsification of Public Document, Gross
Dishonesty, and Harassment.
The Facts
Sometime in October 2004, Tapay and Rustia received an
Order dated 14 October 2004 from the Office of the
Ombudsman-Visayas requiring them to file a counter-affidavit
to a complaint for usurpation of authority, falsification of public
document, and graft and corrupt practices filed against them by
Nehimias Divinagracia, Jr. (Divinagracia), a co-employee in the
Sugar Regulatory Administration. The Complaint1 dated 31
August 2004 was allegedly signed on behalf of Divinagracia by
one Atty. Charlie L. Bancolo of the Jarder Bancolo Law Office
based in Bacolod City, Negros Occidental.
When Atty. Bancolo and Rustia accidentally chanced upon
each other, the latter informed Atty. Bancolo of the case filed
against them before the Office of the Ombudsman. Atty.
Bancolo denied that he represented Divinagracia since he had
yet to meet Divinagracia in person. When Rustia showed him
the Complaint, Atty. Bancolo declared that the signature
appearing above his name as counsel for Divinagracia was not
his. Thus, Rustia convinced Atty. Bancolo to sign an affidavit to
attest to such fact. On 9 December 2004, Atty. Bancolo signed
an affidavit denying his supposed signature appearing on the
Complaint filed with the Office of the Ombudsman and
submitted six specimen signatures for comparison. Using Atty.
Bancolo's affidavit and other documentary evidence, Tapay
and Rustia filed a counter-affidavit accusing Divinagracia of
falsifying the signature of his alleged counsel, Atty. Bancolo.
In a Resolution dated 28 March 2005, the Office of the
Ombudsman provisionally dismissed the Complaint since the
falsification of the counsel's signature posed a prejudicial
question to the Complaint's validity. Also, the Office of the
Ombudsman ordered that separate cases for Falsification of
Public Document2 and Dishonesty3 be filed against
Divinagracia, with Rustia and Atty. Bancolo as complainants.
Thereafter, Divinagracia filed his Counter-Affidavit dated 1
August 2005 denying that he falsified the signature of his
former lawyer, Atty. Bancolo. Divinagracia presented as
evidence an affidavit dated 1 August 2005 by Richard A.
Cordero, the legal assistant of Atty. Bancolo, that the Jarder
Bancolo Law Office accepted Divinagracia's case and that the
Complaint filed with the Office of the Ombudsman was signed
by the office secretary per Atty. Bancolo's instructions.
Divinagracia asked that the Office of the Ombudsman dismiss
the cases for falsification of public document and dishonesty
filed against him by Rustia and Atty. Bancolo and to revive the
original Complaint for various offenses that he filed against
Tapay and Rustia.
In a Resolution dated 19 September 2005, the Office of the
Ombudsman dismissed the criminal case for falsification of

public document (OMB-V-C-05-0207-E) for insufficiency of


evidence. The dispositive portion
states:chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
WHEREFORE, the instant case is hereby DISMISSED for
insufficiency of evidence, without prejudice to the re-filing by
Divinagracia, Jr. of a proper complaint for violation of RA 3019
and other offenses against Rustia and Tapay.
SO ORDERED.4chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
The administrative case for dishonesty (OMB-V-A-05-0219-E)
was also dismissed for lack of substantial evidence in a
Decision dated 19 September 2005.
On 29 November 2005, Tapay and Rustia filed with the
Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) a complaint5 to disbar
Atty. Bancolo and Atty. Jarder, Atty. Bancolo's law partner. The
complainants alleged that they were subjected to a harassment
Complaint filed before the Office of the Ombudsman with the
forged signature of Atty. Bancolo. Complainants stated further
that the signature of Atty. Bancolo in the Complaint was not the
only one that was forged. Complainants attached a
Report6 dated 1 July 2005 by the Philippine National Police
Crime Laboratory 6 which examined three other lettercomplaints signed by Atty. Bancolo for other clients, allegedly
close friends of Atty. Jarder. The report concluded that the
questioned signatures in the letter-complaints and the
submitted standard signatures of Atty. Bancolo were not written
by one and the same person. Thus, complainants maintained
that not only were respondents engaging in unprofessional and
unethical practices, they were also involved in falsification of
documents used to harass and persecute innocent people.
On 9 January 2006, complainants filed a Supplement to the
Disbarment Complaint Due to Additional Information. They
alleged that a certain Mary Jane Gentugao, the secretary of
the Jarder Bancolo Law Office, forged the signature of Atty.
Bancolo.
In their Answer dated 26 January 2006 to the disbarment
complaint, respondents admitted that the criminal and
administrative cases filed by Divinagracia against complainants
before the Office of the Ombudsman were accepted by the
Jarder Bancolo Law Office. The cases were assigned to Atty.
Bancolo. Atty. Bancolo alleged that after being informed of the
assignment of the cases, he ordered his staff to prepare and
draft all the necessary pleadings and documents. However,
due to some minor lapses, Atty. Bancolo permitted that the
pleadings and communications be signed in his name by the
secretary of the law office. Respondents added that
complainants filed the disbarment complaint to retaliate against
them since the cases filed before the Office of the Ombudsman
were meritorious and strongly supported by testimonial and
documentary evidence. Respondents also denied that Mary
Jane Gentugao was employed as secretary of their law office.
Tapay and Rustia filed a Reply to the Answer dated 2 March
2006. Thereafter, the parties were directed by the Commission
on Bar Discipline to attend a mandatory conference scheduled
on 5 May 2006. The conference was reset to 10 August 2006.
On the said date, complainants were present but respondents
failed to appear. The conference was reset to 25 September
2006 for the last time. Again, respondents failed to appear
despite receiving notice of the conference. Complainants

27
manifested that they were submitting their disbarment
complaint based on the documents submitted to the IBP.
Respondents were also deemed to have waived their right to
participate in the mandatory conference. Further, both parties
were directed to submit their respective position papers. On 27
October 2006, the IBP received complainants' position paper
dated 18 October 2006 and respondents' position paper dated
23 October 2006.
The IBP's Report and Recommendation
On 11 April 2007, Atty. Lolita A. Quisumbing, the Investigating
Commissioner of the Commission on Bar Discipline of the IBP,
submitted her Report. Atty. Quisumbing found that Atty.
Bancolo violated Rule 9.01 of Canon 9 of the Code of
Professional Responsibility while Atty. Jarder violated Rule
1.01 of Canon 1 of the same Code. The Investigating
Commissioner recommended that Atty. Bancolo be suspended
for two years from the practice of law and Atty. Jarder be
admonished for his failure to exercise certain responsibilities in
their law firm.
In her Report and Recommendation, the Investigating
Commissioner opined:chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
x x x. In his answer, respondent Atty. Charlie L. Bancolo
admitted that his signature appearing in the complaint filed
against complainants' Rodrigo E. Tapay and Anthony J. Rustia
with the Ombudsman were signed by the secretary. He did not
refute the findings that his signatures appearing in the various
documents released from his office were found not to be his.
Such pattern of malpratice by respondent clearly breached his
obligation under Rule 9.01 of Canon 9, for a lawyer who allows
a non-member to represent him is guilty of violating the
aforementioned Canon. The fact that respondent was busy
cannot serve as an excuse for him from signing personally.
After all respondent is a member of a law firm composed of not
just one (1) lawyer. The Supreme Court has ruled that this
practice constitute negligence and undersigned finds the act a
sign of indolence and ineptitude. Moreover, respondents
ignored the notices sent by undersigned. That showed patent
lack of respect to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines'
Commission on Bar Discipline and its proceedings. It betrays
lack of courtesy and irresponsibility as lawyers.
On the other hand, Atty. Janus T. Jarder, a senior partner of the
law firm Jarder Bancolo and Associates Law Office, failed to
exercise certain responsibilities over matters under the charge
of his law firm. As a senior partner[,] he failed to abide to the
principle of "command responsibility". x x x.
xxx
Respondent Atty. Janus Jarder after all is a seasoned
practitioner, having passed the bar in 1995 and practicing law
up to the present. He holds himself out to the public as a law
firm designated as Jarder Bancolo and Associates Law Office.
It behooves Atty. Janus T. Jarder to exert ordinary diligence to
find out what is going on in his law firm, to ensure that all
lawyers in his firm act in conformity to the Code of Professional
Responsibility. As a partner, it is his responsibility to provide
efficacious control of court pleadings and other documents that
carry the name of the law firm. Had he done that, he could
have known the unethical practice of his law partner Atty.

Charlie L. Bancolo. Respondent Atty. Janus T. Jarder failed to


perform this task and is administratively liable under Canon 1,
Rule 1.01 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility.7chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
On 19 September 2007, in Resolution No. XVIII-2007-97, the
Board of Governors of the IBP approved with modification the
Report and Recommendation of the Investigating
Commissioner. The Resolution
states:chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
RESOLVED to ADOPT and APPROVE, as it is hereby
ADOPTED and APPROVED, with modification, the Report and
Recommendation of the Investigating Commissioner of the
above-entitled case, herein made part of this Resolution as
Annex "A"; and, finding the recommendation fully supported by
the evidence on record and the applicable laws and rules, and
considering Respondent Atty. Bancolo's violation of Rule 9.01,
Canon 9 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, Atty.
Charlie L. Bancolo is hereby SUSPENDED from the practice of
law for one (1) year.
However, with regard to the charge against Atty. Janus T.
Jarder, the Board of Governors RESOLVED as it is hereby
RESOLVED to AMEND, as it is hereby AMENDED the
Recommendation of the Investigating Commissioner, and
APPROVE the DISMISSAL of the case for lack of
merit.8chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
Tapay and Rustia filed a Motion for Reconsideration. Likewise,
Atty. Bancolo filed his Motion for Reconsideration dated 22
December 2007. Thereafter, Atty. Jarder filed his separate
Consolidated Comment/Reply to Complainants' Motion for
Reconsideration and Comment Filed by Complainants dated
29 January 2008.
In Resolution No. XX-2012-175 dated 9 June 2012, the IBP
Board of Governors denied both complainants' and Atty.
Bancolo's motions for reconsideration. The IBP Board found no
cogent reason to reverse the findings of the Investigating
Commissioner and affirmed Resolution No. XVIII-2007-97
dated 19 September 2007.
The Court's Ruling
After a careful review of the records of the case, we agree with
the findings and recommendation of the IBP Board and find
reasonable grounds to hold respondent Atty. Bancolo
administratively liable.
Atty. Bancolo admitted that the Complaint he filed for a former
client before the Office of the Ombudsman was signed in his
name by a secretary of his law office. Clearly, this is a violation
of Rule 9.01 of Canon 9 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility, which provides:chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
CANON 9
A LAWYER SHALL NOT, DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY,
ASSIST IN THE UNAUTHORIZED PRACTICE OF LAW.
Rule 9.01 - 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.

28
This rule was clearly explained in the case of Cambaliza v.
Cristal-Tenorio,9 where we held:chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
The lawyer's duty to prevent, or at the very least not to assist
in, the unauthorized practice of law is founded on public
interest and policy. Public policy requires that the practice of
law be limited to those individuals found duly qualified in
education and character. The permissive right conferred on the
lawyer is an individual and limited privilege subject to
withdrawal if he fails to maintain proper standards of moral and
professional conduct. The purpose is to protect the public, the
court, the client, and the bar from the incompetence or
dishonesty of those unlicensed to practice law and not subject
to the disciplinary control of the Court. It devolves upon a
lawyer to see that this purpose is attained. Thus, the canons
and ethics of the profession enjoin him not to permit his
professional services or his name to be used in aid of, or to
make possible the unauthorized practice of law by, any agency,
personal or corporate. And, the law makes it a misbehavior on
his part, subject to disciplinary action, to aid a layman in the
unauthorized practice of law.
In Republic v. Kenrick Development Corporation,10 we held that
the preparation and signing of a pleading constitute legal work
involving the practice of law which is reserved exclusively for
members of the legal profession. Atty. Bancolo's authority and
duty to sign a pleading are personal to him. Although he may
delegate the signing of a pleading to another lawyer, he may
not delegate it to a non-lawyer. Further, under the Rules of
Court, counsel's signature serves as a certification that (1) he
has read the pleading; (2) to the best of his knowledge,
information and belief there is good ground to support it; and
(3) it is not interposed for delay.11 Thus, by affixing one's
signature to a pleading, it is counsel alone who has the
responsibility to certify to these matters and give legal effect to
the document.
In his Motion for Reconsideration dated 22 December 2007,
Atty. Bancolo wants us to believe that he was a victim of
circumstances or of manipulated events because of his
unconditional trust and confidence in his former law partner,
Atty. Jarder. However, Atty. Bancolo did not take any steps to
rectify the situation, save for the affidavit he gave to Rustia
denying his signature to the Complaint filed before the Office of
the Ombudsman. Atty. Bancolo had an opportunity to maintain
his innocence when he filed with the IBP his Joint Answer (with
Atty. Jarder) dated 26 January 2006. Atty. Bancolo, however,

admitted that prior to the preparation of the Joint Answer, Atty.


Jarder threatened to file a disbarment case against him if he
did not cooperate. Thus, he was constrained to allow Atty.
Jarder to prepare the Joint Answer. Atty. Bancolo simply signed
the verification without seeing the contents of the Joint Answer.
In the Answer, Atty. Bancolo categorically stated that because
of some minor lapses, the communications and pleadings filed
against Tapay and Rustia were signed by his secretary, albeit
with his tolerance. Undoubtedly, Atty. Bancolo violated the
Code of Professional Responsibility by allowing a non-lawyer
to affix his signature to a pleading. This violation Is an act of
falsehood which IS a ground for disciplinary action.
The complainants did not present any evidence that Atty.
Jarder was directly involved, had knowledge of, or even
participated in the wrongful practice of Atty. Bancolo in allowing
or tolerating his secretary to sign pleadings for him. Thus, we
agree with the finding of the IBP Board that Atty. Jarder is not
administratively liable.
In sum, we find that the suspension of Atty. Bancolo from the
practice of law for one year is warranted. We also find proper
the dismissal of the case against Atty. larder.
WHEREFORE, we DISMISS the complaint against Atty. Janus
T. larder for lack of merit.
We find respondent Atty. Charlie L. Bancolo administratively
liable for violating Rule 9.01 of Canon 9 of the Code of
Professional Responsibility. He is hereby SUSPENDED from
the practice of law for one year effective upon finality of this
Decision. He is warned that a repetition of the same or similar
acts in the future shall be dealt with more severely.
Let a copy of this Decision be attached to respondent Atty.
Charlie L. Bancolo's record in this Court as attorney. Further,
let copies of this Decision be furnished to the Integrated Bar of
the Philippines and the Office of the Court Administrator, which
is directed to circulate them to all the courts in the country for
their information and guidance.
SO ORDERED