SPECIAL SECOND DIVISION [A.C. No. 8158 : July 21, 2010] ELMER C. SOLIDON, COMPLAINANT VS. ATTY. RAMIL E. MACALALAD, RESPONDENT.

Sirs/Mesdames: Please take notice that the Court, Second Division, issued a Resolution dated 21 July 2010 which reads as follows: A.C. No. 8158 - ELMER C. SOLIDON, complainant -versus- ATTY. RAMIL E. MACALALAD,respondent. For resolution is the Motion for Reconsideration filed by Atty. Ramil E. Macalalad of our February 24, 2010 Decision, the decretal portion of which reads: WHEREFORE, premises considered, we hereby AFFIRM WITH MODIFICATIONResolution No. XVIII2008-336 dated July 17, 2008 of the Board of Governors of the IBP Commission on Bar Discipline. We impose on Atty. Ramil E. Macalalad the penalty of SIX (6) MONTHS SUSPENSION from the practice of law for violations of Rule 16.03 and Rule 18.03 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, effective upon finality of this Decision. Atty. Macalalad is STERNLY WARNED that a repetition of the same or similar acts will be dealt with more severely. Atty. Macalalad is also ORDERED to RETURN to Atty. Elmer C. Solidon the amount of Fifty Thousand Pesos (P 50,000.00) with interest of twelve percent (12%) per annumfrom the date of promulgation of this Decision until the full amount is returned. Let copies of this Decision be furnished the Office of the Bar Confidant and noted in Atty. Macalalad's record as a member of the Bar. SO ORDERED. While Atty. Macalalad admits the breach he committed in handling his client's case, he moves for the mitigation of the penalty we imposed, arguing that: first, Resolution No. XVIII-2008-336 dated July 17, 2008 of the Board of Governors of the IBP Commission on Bar Discipline was already final and executory per Resolution, dated March 25, 2009, of this Court; and second, the penalty of six (6) months suspension was too harsh considering the contributory neglectful acts of his clients and the fact that he never intended to commit the lapses in handling the case. We find that Atty. Macalalad's arguments lack merit. Our action in our Resolution of March 25, 2009 was merely to note Resolution No. XVIII-2008-336 (dated July 17, 2008) of the Board of Governors of the IBP Commission on Bar Discipline. The term "noted" simply means that the Court took cognizance of the resolution without passing upon its merits;[1] "noting" does not imply agreement or approval of the recommended action.[2] The Board of Governors of the IBP Commission on Bar Discipline exercises only recommendatory powers in issuing its findings and recommended penalties, as the final authority and action on the admission to the practice of law, including the discipline and imposition of penalties on members of the Bar, belong to the Court; this was the authority we exercised in issuing the assailed Decision.[3] Thus, there was no IBP Board of Governors' action on the present case that became final; the authority to rule on the case and to impose the penalty all along rested with this Court. Necessarily, this means that the time to serve the penalty imposed does not depend on Atty. Macalalad's belief or choice. The penalty can only be, and must be, served after the finality of the ruling on the case. We have duly considered the contributory fault of Atty. Macalalad's clients in arriving at our Decision. We find no compelling reason under the circumstances to deviate from our earlier conclusion. Lastly, we also find no sufficient reason to reduce the penalty imposed on Atty. Macalalad who has failed to show any justifiable grounds to warrant a mitigation of the penalty. We reiterate that the penalty imposed is just and reasonable under the circumstances, and is fully in accord with existing jurisprudence. ACCORDINGLY, premises considered, we DENY the Motion for Reconsideration of the Decision, dated February 24, 2010, for lack of merit.

SO ORDERED. Very truly yours, (Sgd.) MA. LUISA L. LAUREA Clerk of Court Endnotes:

[1] Cojuangco, Jr. v. Palma, A.C. No. 2474, June 30, 2005, 462 SCRA 310, 321. [2] Ibid. [3] Section 12(b), Rule 139-B of the Rules of Court; Cojuangco, Jr. v. Palma, supra note 1, at 321; Northwestern University, Inc. v. Arquillo, A.C. No. 6632, August 2, 2005, 465 SCRA 513, 516; Santos v. Llamas, A.C. No. 4749, January 20, 2000, 322 SCRA 529, 534.

Disbarment? SPECIAL THIRD DIVISION
ROSA YAP-PARAS, Petitioner, A.C. No. 4947 Present: SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ, J., Chairperson, CORONA, CARPIO MORALES, CHICO-NAZARIO, and GARCIA, JJ. Promulgated: ATTY. JUSTO PARAS, Respondent. June 7, 2007

- versus -

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RESOLUTION GARCIA, J.:
For resolution is this Motion for Contempt and/or Disbarment[1] dated April 11, 2005, filed by herein petitioner-movant Rosa Yap Paras against respondent Atty. Justo Paras, for the latter’s alleged violation of a suspension order earlier meted upon him by the Court. The motion alleges:
4. That the respondent in this case admits that he has continued his practice of law and in fact filed pleadings in court after the receipt of suspension on the ground that the alleged filing of his motion for reconsideration suspends or interrupt (sic) the running of the period to appeal,

and prays that for his violation of the suspension order, the respondent be declared in contempt of court and be disbarred.

Briefly, the facts may be stated as follows: On September 9, 1998, herein petitioner-movant filed a verified Petition[2] praying for the disbarment of her estranged husband respondent Atty. Justo J. Paras alleging acts of deceit, malpractice, grave misconduct, grossly immoral conduct and violation of oath as a lawyer committed by the latter. On February 14, 2005, the Court issued a Resolution[3] finding Atty. Paras guilty of committing a falsehood in violation of his lawyer’s oath and of the Code of Professional Responsibility. Thus, the Court resolved to suspend Atty. Paras from the practice of law for a period of one (1) year, with a warning that commission of the same or similar offense in the future will result in the imposition of a more severe penalty. Per records, the aforesaid Resolution was received by Atty. Paras on March 18, 2005. Thereafter, he filed a Motion for Reconsideration dated March 28, 2005.[4] During the pendency of Atty. Paras’ motion for reconsideration, complainant-movant filed with the Court the instant Motion for Contempt and/or Disbarment, alleging thereunder, inter alia, that Atty. Paras violated the suspension order earlier issued by the Court with his continued practice of law. In time, the Court issued a Resolution dated July 18, 2005,[5] denying for lack of merit Atty. Paras’ motion for reconsideration, to wit:
Administrative Case No. 4947 (Rosa Yap Paras vs. Atty. Justo Paras) – Acting on the respondent’s motion for reconsideration dated March 28, 2005 of the resolution of February 14, 2005 which suspended him from the practice of law for a period of one (1) year, the Court Resolves to DENY the motion for lack of merit. The Court further Resolves to NOTE: (a) the complainant’s opposition dated April 11, 2005 to the said motion for reconsideration with leave of Court;

Paras failed to file a comment on the Motion for Contempt and/or Disbarment. nor undermine or put to naught or violate any of the pertinent causes enumerated in Section 3. and the complainant’s motion for contempt and/or disbarment dated April 11. 2005. Consequently. the Court required Atty. praying that respondent be declared in contempt of court and ordered disbarred and toREQUIRE the respondent to COMMENT thereon. the day after he received the denial resolution on his motion for reconsideration. obstruct. within ten (10) days from notice. Rule 71 of the Revised Rules of Court. 2005 for immediate resolution of the motion for reconsideration. Paras denying all the allegations in petitioner-movant’s Motion for Contempt and/or Disbarment. or on September 12. Paras to show cause why he should not be held in contempt of court for such failure and to comply with the said resolution within ten (10) days from receipt.(b) the respondent’s motion dated May 6. to August 24. 2006 Atty. It appearing that Atty. or degrade the administration of justice. stating that he had completely and faithfully served his one (1) year suspension from the practice of law from August 25. we are called upon to impose on Atty. to impede. Paras the highest punishment to an erring lawyer – disbarment – or to hold him in contempt for his failure to comply with this Court’s resolutions. directly or indirectly. . the Court issued another Resolution dated November 27. Paras to comment on petitioner-movant’s Motion for Contempt and/or Disbarment. Paras filed with the Court a Manifestation[6]. Here. (c) In the same resolution. After more than a year. He likewise claimed that he had never done nor made any conduct tending. 2005. 2006. 2006requiring Atty. a Comment on Motion for Contempt and Explanation on Failure to Timely File Required Comment[7] was filed by Atty.

obey and comply with the specific Order of the Honorable Supreme Court contained in Its Resolution dated July 18. We find no sufficient basis to support petitioner-movant’s allegation that Atty. Despite errors which one may impute on the orders of the Court. Paras himself took the initiative to inform the lower courts of his one. however. Paras admitted that he had been less than prudent.In a number of cases. Given the above. to avoid further squabbles and unnecessary filing of administrative cases against each other. An examination of . these must be respected.[8] we have repeatedly explained and stressed that the purpose of disbarment is not meant as a punishment to deprive an attorney of a means of livelihood but is rather intended to protect the courts and the public from members of the bar who have become unfit and unworthy to be part of the esteemed and noble profession. inadequately or selectively. what with the fact that Atty. This is absolutely essential if our government is to be a government of laws and not of men. but because of the respect and consideration that should be extended to the judicial branch of the government.year suspension from law practice. as well petitioner-movant’s counsels.[10] Court orders are to be respected not because the justices or judges who issue them should be respected. Paras violated the Court’s suspension order. He likewise expressed his profound and immeasurable sorrowness amidst regrets for his delayed compliance with the Court’s order. and indeed fell short. especially by the bar or the lawyers who are themselves officers of the courts. as much as judges. nor should it be complied with partially. that all lawyers are expected to recognize the authority of the Supreme Court and obey its lawful processes and orders. are responsible for the orderly administration of justice. 2005 due to his deteriorating health condition which required him to undergo a coronary angiogram and bypass graft[12]. the Court takes this opportunity to remind the parties in the instant case.[11] Here. of his obligation to follow.[9] It is clear. Atty. Likewise. the purpose of the exercise of the power to cite for contempt is to safeguard the functions of the court to assure respect for court orders by attorneys who. It is well to emphasize again that a resolution of the Supreme Court is not be construed as a mere request.

It is well to stress that mutual bickerings and unjustified recriminations between attorneys detract from the dignity of the legal profession and will not receive sympathy from this Court. the Motion for Contempt and/or Disbarment is DENIED. CANCIO C. However.the records reveals a pervasive atmosphere of animosity between Atty. the Court deems a reprimand with warning as a sufficient sanction for Atty Paras’ failure to promptly comply with its directives.[13] Lawyers should treat each other with courtesy.[15] ACCORDINGLY. Atty. fairness. The imposition of this sanction in the present case would be more consistent with the avowed purpose of a disciplinary case.[14] All told. with WARNING that a more drastic punishment will be imposed upon him for a repetition of the same act. candor and civility. which is not so much to punish the individual attorney as to protect the dispensation of justice by sheltering the judiciary and the public from the misconduct or inefficiency of officers of the court. Justo Paras is hereby REPRIMANDED for his failure to observe the respect due the Court in not promptly complying with this Court’s resolution. GARCIA Associate Justice WE CONCUR: ANGELINA SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ Associate Justice Chairperson . Paras and petitioner’s counsels as evidenced by the number of administrative cases between them. SO ORDERED.

January 16. CHICO-NAZARIO Associate Justice [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11] [12] [13] [14] [15] Rollo. 2033 and 2148.RENATO C. April 30. 1975. 1139-1141. A. Marino. Torres. August 25. Id. Adm. Code of Professional Responsibility. 1165-1173. Rollo. 393 SCRA 591. 141 SCRA 46 and Daroy. Id. Grijaldo.R. 1166. 4763. .M. 2003. G. 1000-1009. 1986. Navarro. p. Siy v. No. July 25. 1136. Luis N. Rollo. Castillo. at pp. Deray.Case No. 1062-1065. 185 SCRA 230. Rollo. 2006. August 31. December 10. Geeslin v. Vol. Id. National Labor Relations Commission and Elena Embang. 2003. pp.. Case No. 2002. at pp. Ong v. citing Diaz v. 402 SCRA 1 and Guerrero v. p. I at pp. 6501. at pp. MTJ-02-1466. 500 SCRA 309. March 20. Adm. et al. 3-9. Adm. 2439. Adm. 1132. Canon 8. Id. No. 2005. Case No. Jr. 99 Phil 462. CORONA Associate Justice CONCHITA CARPIO MORALES Associate Justice MINITA V. 4724. Gamilla v. Adm. Joey Y. at p. Adm. Case No. Case No. 1990. at pp. Legaspi. Gerong. Id. De Leon v. Asa vs. 1021-1028. 65 SCRA 304 andMariano Y. 468 SCRA 154. 936. May 9. Case No. 158971. v. 399 SCRA 308.

C. 1990. 2285 Maria Tiania claims in her verified complaint that respondent Amado Ocampo who has been her "retaining (sic) counsel" in all her legal problems and court cases as early as 1966. by Section 27. Case No. and by Spouses Felicidad Angel and Alfonso Angel (hereinafter referred to as the Angel Spouses). report. Cases Nos. respectively. Hence.C. 1981. ATTY. 2302 August 12. PER CURIAM:p These disbarment proceedings against Attorney Amado Ocampo were filed by Maria Tiania. No. The complaints in Adm. Ocampo filed his comment. 1 It was only on April 25. docketed as Administrative Case No. the administrative complaint for disbarment in both cases was filed. more than eight years later. 2302 were filed on July 14. On January 27. ATTY. 1991 FELICIDAD LLANOS ANGEL and ALFONSO ANGEL. Both cases were consolidated upon the instance of Atty. 2285 August 12. AMADO OCAMPO. Amado Ocampo who. vs. Case No. then. and recommendation as provided. A. 2285. vs. 1991 MARIA TIANIA complainant. Rule 138 of the Rules of Court. that the Office of the Solicitor General returned the entire records of Adm. complainants. No. after Atty. AMADO OCAMPO. . docketed as Administrative Case No. the Court referred the case to the Solicitor General for investigation. respondent. 2285 and 2302 with the accompanying complaint for disbarment. in his answer. 2302. 1981 and August 10.Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila EN BANC A. has always had her unqualified faith and confidence. ADMINISTRATIVE CASE NO. 1982. 2285 and Adm. respondent. denied the imputations.

8 Ocampo said that the overdue filing of a complaint against a lawyer should already create a suspicion about the motives of the complainant or the merit of the complaint. Citing Arboleda v. No. Ocampo then insisted that he appeared on behalf of Mrs. Tiania was shocked when she received an order to vacate 4 the property in question. He never saw or talked to Tiania from the time the said civil case was filed up to the pre-trial and as such could not have discussed with her the complaint. and the Angel spouses. after going over the document. 9 both in favor of Blaylock. in Civil Case No.00). over the property in question. Gatchalian. 5 Ocampo denied the charges in detail. She moreover made the situation worse by selling the contested property to a third party even after an alias writ of execution had ordered the transfer of the possession of the disputed property to Blaylock. expressed his doubts about it authenticity. Again. Ocampo (the same respondent Atty. Concepcion Blaylock in A. 2302. TS-308. Tiania showed to him a document which supported her claim. . Ocampo prepared the Deed of Sale which was signed by the vendor. as the vendees. Tiania confronted Ocampo about this but the latter reassured Tiania that he will take care of everything and that there was no need for Tiania to hire a new lawyer since he is still Tiania's lawyer. To hold off her ejectment for another two years. Tiania had also engaged the services of various counsel to represent her in several criminal and civil cases. allege that sometime in 1972. (P70. Ocampo. Although he handled some legal problems and executed some notarial deeds for Tiania from 1966-1971. acted as their counsel and prepared the Deed of Sale of a Residential House and Waiver of Rights Over a Lot. they sold their house in favor of Blaylock (the same Mrs. He admitted that during the pretrial of the said case. 7 Significantly. the hiring of another lawyer. Those two (2) documents later turned out to be a Real Estate Mortgage of the same property purchased from Laura Dalanan and a Promissory Note. Ocampo allegedly made the Angel spouses sign two (2) more documents which. No. involving violations of municipal ordinances and estafa. were made parts of the sale transaction. Concepcion Blaylock sued Tiania for ejectment 2 from a parcel of land described as "Lot 4131. he could not be the complainant's "retaining counsel" in all her legal problems and court cases.In 1972. Then Ocampo made Tiania sign a Compromise Agreement 3 which the latter signed without reading.C. 2285) for the amount of seventy thousand pesos. 1104-0. Amado Ocampo). Blaylock.000. Two years from the submission of the Compromise Agreement. Thus.C." Ocampo appeared for Tiania and also for Blaylock. Ocampo prepared the answer in the said ejectment case. In addition. which Tiania signed. accordingly. 6 But Tiania never fulfilled any of her obligations. Ocampo advised Tiania to pay him a certain amount for the sheriff. a certain Laura Dalanan. one Mrs. ADMINISTRATIVE CASE NO. the Angel spouses bought another parcel of land. With the money paid by Blaylock. 2302 The Angel spouses. and not as counsel of Tiania. and more so the preparation of the answer in the said case. This convinced Tiania to sign a Compromise Agreement and to pay the acquisition cost to Blaylock over a period of six (6) months. the petition was filed five years after Tiania allegedly suffered "terrible shock" upon receiving the Notice to Vacate. complainants in A.

the Angel spouses never paid any of it despite repeated demands from Blaylock. Ocampo learned that the amount of twenty thousand pesos (P20. In turn.075.00) to purchase from Laura Dalanan another property located at #66 Kessing Street. which the Angel spouses had originally owned.000.000. These acts. Angel upon the execution of the final documents between the Angel spouses and Dalanan.00) pesos. Concepcion Blaylock. When the monthly amortizations became due. Ocampo presented an elaborate explanation. which was mortgaged in favor of a certain Salud Jimenez. a Notice to Vacate. they suggested to Blaylock that they would need an additional loan of forty thousand pesos (P40. They lost their property as a result of the respondent's fraudulent manipulation.00) pesos was then delivered to Mrs. who introduced to him the Angel spouses in 1972. Ocampo himself facilitated the transfer by delivering to the complainants the P20. The balance of eighteen thousand (P18. the Angel spouses should sell the same to Blaylock. Blaylock wanted Ocampo to check the background of the Angel spouses in connection with the loan they were seeking from Blaylock. Angel. was served on them.00 for the repurchase of the Fendler property. taking advantage of his expertise in law against his own unsuspecting and trusting clients.00) pesos from Blaylock in payment of the mortgage debt of Dalanan. The Angel spouses added that Ocampo reassured them that there was no need for them to engage the services of a new lawyer since he will take care of everything.000. However. In his interview with Mrs. 13 Since the sale of the Fendler property would render the Angel spouses homeless.00) was received by Mrs. As in the first case. Olongapo City. Ocampo alleged that it was his client.The Angel spouses never realized the nature of the said documents until they received a complaint naming them as defendants in a collection suit 10 filed by Ocampo on behalf of the plaintiff. Although only forty thousand (P40. in 1978. a firm headed by Blaylock. Angel and Dalanan. To expedite the transfer of the Kessing property from Dalanan to the Angel spouses. Olongapo City. the difference between seventy-four thousand seventy five pesos and forty thousand pesos represented the interests in advance over a period of five years in which the loan would be paid. Ocampo himself delivered to Salud Jimenez twenty two thousand (P22. Ocampo even appeared as counsel for the Angel spouses in a civil case 11 they filed sometime in 1976.000. Blaylock assigned the promissory note to the Commercial Credit Corporation which later on filed a civil case against the Angel spouses. violate the ethics of the legal profession.00) to be loaned to the Angel spouses from Blaylock would be used to repurchase the property at 39 Fendler Street.000. Commercial Corporation of Olongapo.000. Mrs. This in turn was sold to Blaylock. 14 Ocampo explained that simultaneously he executed a Real Estate Mortgage over the Kessing property and a Promissory Note for the Angel spouses in favor of Blaylock for the amount of seventy-four thousand seventy five (P74. 12 on the basis of the two (2) documents they signed in 1972. . the complainants charge.

These explanations notwithstanding." Was the respondent guilty of representing conflicting interests? The specific law applicable in both administrative cases is Rule 15. Angel. but only because he had his client Blaylock's interest foremost in his mind. Angel in favor of Mrs. Hermogeno leased out the same premises to Mrs. Blaylock. also acted as counsel of the complainant Mrs. 1458. Amado Ocampo with malpractice and gross misconduct punishable under Section 27 of Rule 138 of the Rules of Court of the Philippines and violation of his oath of office as an attorney for the following acts: a) Administrative Case No.000. But before the institution of the ejectment case. gave advice and warnings to the defendant which paved the way for an amicable settlement and which may have prejudiced the defendant's rights. 1976. Angel on June 14. Angel when he prepared the Deed of Sale of a Residential House and Waiver of Rights Over a Lot for Mrs. Angel when he proceeded to Cavite and paid Salud Jimenez the sum of twenty two thousand pesos (P22. Angel and the Real Estate Mortgage for the same property to be signed by Mrs. regained possession of the leased premises.03 of the Code of Professional Responsibility which provides: A lawyer shall not represent conflicting interest except by written consent of all concerned given after a full disclosure of the facts. 2020-0. 11 04-0. the Kessing property was levied on and sold at public auction followed by a Notice to Vacate. in filing a complaint against Hermogeno on behalf of Blaylock. (3) Respondent was representing conflicting interests when he simultaneously prepared the Deed of Sale of the Kessing property in favor of Mrs. the Solicitor General charged the respondent Atty. b) Administrative Case No. Ocampo. Hermogeno without the knowledge and consent of Mrs. the respondent appeared as counsel for the plaintiff and while appearing for the same. Thus. Concepcion Blaylock and her Commercial Credit Corporation. . Blaylock. Angel by pretending to protect her interest as his client in Civil Case No. Blaylock and her Commercial Credit Corporation. daughter of Concepcion Blaylock. also acted as counsel of Mrs. Angel. was also doing so for Mrs. through Ocampo.00) for Dalanan's Kessing Property. when admittedly he was only "forced to help and assist Mrs. filed July 26. had sued one Benedicto Hermogeno a lessee of Blaylock's property. 2302 (1) Respondent while acting as counsel for Mrs. Upon execution. 2285 At the pre-trial of Civil Case No. Angel in favor of Zenaida Blaylock. Concepcion Blaylock and her Commercial Credit Corporation. Ocampo admits appearing for the Angel spouses in Civil Case No. (4) Respondent used Mrs. (2) Respondent. Four days later. 1976. while acting as counsel for Mrs. Angel in said case to protect the property of Mrs.The Angel spouses never filed an answer and were declared in default. in an ejectment case.

6 Handwritten letter addressed to Atty.18. March 27. 1975. However.1990. WHEREFORE. Let this Decision be spread upon the personal records of the respondent and copies thereof furnished to all courts and to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines. Compromise Agreement. we find no cogent reason to disturb the findings of the Solicitor General upholding the complaints against the respondent." CFI (Olongapo. Melencio-Herrera. September 1. August 4. plaintiff. Maria Tiania. but also because of the principles of public policy and good taste. 4-5. Concepcion Blaylock. and once again representing Blaylock and her interest while handling the legal documents of another opposing party as in the second case. Cruz. 1104-0. Gancayco. the entire profession suffers. 1972. and at the same time advising Tiania. 1975. 1975. Civil Case No. 1975. Gutierrez. on her own behalf and on behalf of her husband as defendants. April 2. Deed of Absolute Sale. . Zambales). 1975.J. whether the said actions were related or totally unrelated.. we hereby SUSPEND him from the practice of law for a period of one (1) year. Feliciano. concur. 7 Alias Writ of Execution. taking into consideration the advanced age of the respondent. et al. Notice to Vacate. Last Promise. Fernan. JJ.. C. 5 Report and Recommendation of the Solicitor General. the opposing party. executed June 8. finding the respondent Atty. Definite Last Promise September 9. Medialdea. Bidin. March 27. Jr. August 20. 15 The test of the conflict of interest in disciplinary cases against a lawyer is whether or not the acceptance of a new relation will prevent an attorney from the full discharge of his duty of undivided fidelity and loyalty to his client or invite suspicion of unfaithfulness or double-dealing in the performance thereof. 1990. Padilla. Blaylock v. who would have reached seventy three (73) years. Regalado and Davide. 16 Considering this criterion and applying it to the present administrative cases. 4 Civil Case No.. Once this confidence is abused. Amado Ocampo. issued February 24. 1104-0 filed on November 6. and by Atty. Narvasa. Ocampo from Maria Tiania August 1. as in the first administrative case. Sarmiento. 1104-0. constitute serious misconduct. signed by Maria Tiania. 1975. nonetheless appreciates the advance years of the respondent in his favor. They are improper to the respondent's office as attorney. Amado Ocampo guilty of malpractice and gross misconduct in violation of the Code of Professional Responsibility. Indeed. as of this date.We prohibit the representation of conflicting interests not only because the relation of attorney and client is one of trust and confidence of the highest degree. Griño-Aquino. Paras. the Court. 2 "Concepcion F.. the aforementioned acts of the respondent in representing Blaylock. Jr. 3 Civil Case No. 1974. Footnotes 1 Report and Recommendation of the Office of the Solicitor General. 1973. Promise to pay the obligation. while uncompromisingly firm in its stand against erring lawyers. as attorney-in-fact and counsel of Mrs. An attorney has the duty to deserve the fullest confidence of his client and represent him with undivided loyalty..

. David. 1332-0. 14 Deed of Sale of a House and Waiver of Rights over a Lot signed by Dalanan as vendor and Felicidad Angel as vendee. 15 Hilado v. March 15. 10 Civil Case No.8 Administrative Case No. 1972. 27 Phil. 2020-0. 1974. 510. 16 In re Dela Rosa. 1973. 1978. filed on July 30. Laranja. July 23. on September 20. October 17. 576-579. 1972. 58 SCRA 64. 1332-0. Notice to Vacate. 9 Both the Real Estate Mortgage and the Promissory Note are dated October 17. 1034. 13 Deed of Sale of a Residential House and Waiver of Rights over a lot was executed by the Angel Spouses in favor of Zenaida Blaylock. filed on October 23. 84 Phil. 265-266. 1976. 21 Phil. 12 Civil Case No. 1972. US v. 11 Civil Case No.

1977 of a complaint for disbarment against respondent Atty. No. vs. respondents. Director. At the time of the filing of the disbarment proceedings. Manaloto. who caused great damage and prejudice which will be related hereunder. said spouses Edward J. J. 1992 ERLINDA L. owned forty three percent (43%) of the stockholdings of L'NOR Marine Services. The pertinent portions of the complaint are reproduced below: xxx xxx xxx 10. Secretary. together with Zenaida T. Norma Y. COURT OF APPEALS. President/General Manager. (L'NOR).S. The present case stemmed from the filing before the Supreme Court on October 3. petitioner Ponce. About July. Inc. and Zenaida T. there occurred certain fraudulent manipulations. Porter.R. LEGASPI and THE HON. 1976. Inc. Valentino Legaspi by petitioner Erlinda Ponce.Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila THIRD DIVISION G. Forty eight percent (48%) of L'NOR's stocks was owned by the spouses Edward and Norma Porter who were then serving as President/General Manager and Secretary respectively.: This controversy calls for the balancing of two conflicting interests: the petitioner's right to litigate versus the respondent's right to be protected from malicious prosecution. Porter. F. incorporated the Yrasport Drydocks.. During the time or period while respondent is the legal counsel of the aforecited corporation. anomalous management and prejudicial operations by certain officers of said corporation. 79184 May 6. She was then Treasurer and director of the Board of Directors of L'NOR while her husband was a director.. Farolan & Associates Law Offices for petitioner. GUTIERREZ. namely: Edward J. Manaloto. Porter and Norma Y. facilitated. VALENTINO L. xxx xxx xxx 14. JR. PONCE. petitioner. hereinafter designated YRASPORT. together with her husband Manuel. Porter. which they control with the following stockholdings: . assisted and aided by herein respondent Legaspi (Annexes "B" and "B-1" herewith).

Porter and the office of the City Fiscal handed down a resolution to prosecute him in court. namely: his wife Norma Y. other physical facilities. Porter 180 shares Eriberto F. Porter misrepresented facts regarding the acquisition cost of said skaagit winch with its cables to the effect that the same was sold by ISECOR at the cost of P20. palpable frauds and estafa committed by said President-General Manager Edward J. Porter.00 in favor of ISECOR. illicit schemes. That as a matter of fact attempts were made to secure one of L'NOR jobs in favor of YRASPORT. On account of the aforecited flagrant fraud. L'NOR as a competitor. was launched without the knowledge of the minority stockholders owning 43% of L'NOR.000. In view of the aforesaid illegal manipulations. 1975. that on November 18. On account of the refusal of said corporate attorney of L'NOR.000. but the latter. xxx xxx xxx 21. on or about October 18. without any valid excuse whatsoever. 25.00 purchase price in favor of ISECOR. YRASPORT. 17. that he collected the sum from L'NOR for direct payment to ISECOR allegedly to liquidate in full the obligation of P20. 1974 said Edward J. if not eliminate. President-General Manager of L'NOR. respondent Legaspi appeared as legal counsel and attorney of Edward J. and that the latter corporation then assumed the agreed obligation covering the P10.00. 15. copy of pertinent exhibits herewith marked as Annexes "C". a charge of Estafa was filed against Edward J. Porter 180 shares Norma Y.00 and not more. said President-General Manager Edward J.000. 1974 one skaagit winch with its cables for P10.000. the obligation is only P10. Edward J. and was really designed to compete.00. personnel. in confabulation and conspiracy with the other officers of the corporation. "C-1". although he is still collecting his monthly retainer. Porter. Manaloto. like Yrasport Enterprises. Maceda 8 shares Andres A. and goodwill of L'NOR while competing at the same time against and causing the latter great damage and irreparable injury. Manaloto 8 shares Roman M.000. "C-4" and "C-5". when. and that. Nombrado 8 shares and whose line of business is in direct competition with L'NOR. 16. Subsequently. YRASPORT likewise availed of and used the office space. Porter assigned the purchase of said skaagit winch with its cables in favor of L'NOR at the price of P10. in opposition to the same. 22. respondent Legaspi. Porter and his confederates. copy herewith marked Annex "D".000.00. herein complainant requested respondent Valentino Legaspi to take and pursue appropriate local steps and seasonable actions in order to protect the paramount interest of L'NOR of which he is the legal counsel by retainer. complainant was forced to retain the services of another counsel to prosecute the appropriate derivative suit in the Court of First Instance of Cebu. which fraudulent scheme was however frustrated only by the timely opposition of herein complainant. purchased from ISECOR (Industrial Supply Corporation) on November 3. "C-2". funds. "C-3". 24. refused to do so. 23. Porter and Zenaida T.Edward J. . Yrastorza 16 shares Zenaida T. in truth and in fact. equipment. copy of exhibits marked Annex "D-1" herewith.

respondent Legaspi likewise appeared as counsel for respondent Porter despite the fact that he is the legal counsel of L'NOR which is the prejudiced party and for whose benefit the criminal case was really being prosecuted. in truth and in fact. Third Specification: That respondent Valentino Legaspi committed grossly corrupt or dishonest conduct while under retainer and acting as attorney of L'NOR Marine Services. "E-1". 28. als. aided or otherwise abetted the illegal manipulations. "E-4". Second Specification: That respondent Valentino Legaspi. on the contrary. assisted. Inc. while acting as legal counsel of L'NOR under continuing monthly retainer. at the expense of and to which the business and transactions of L'NOR are being diverted or otherwise appropriated. we most respectfully prefer against respondent Valentino Legaspi the following charges: First Specification: That respondent Valentino Legaspi has committed gross misconduct in office as a practicing lawyer and member of the Philippine Bar. Porter and his confederates who are officers of L'NOR against the interest of the latter and to further the malicious competitive sabotage of YRASPORT alleged heretofore.00 from L'NOR as payment for his illicit legal services in defending the Porters and Manaloto against the very interest of the corporation paying him monthly retainer. when he facilitated. and 30. who have committed anomalous acts.26. Yrasport Drydocks. and that he committed grave malpractice that is in flagrant violation of the recognized canons of legal ethics. marked as Annex "C-6" herewith. 27. that he therefore represented professionally conflicting interest. he violated his duty to and the trust of his client. That.000.. anomalous management and fraudulent operations against the interest of L'NOR. "E-6". facilitated. because. and for his appearance for Edward J. he collected the sum of P2. Porter. That. "E-2". in the derivative suit. Inc. including the pirating of skilled personnel and also facilities.. Said Edward J. and that respondent Legaspi was duly adviced verbally and also in writing by complainant to take the necessary action in his capacity as legal counsel of L'NOR to protect zealously the interest of the latter. and that respondent committed the . prejudicial manipulations and grave frauds against his client L'NOR Marine services. in which he is also the lawyer and corporate Secretary. and grossly neglected and flagrantly violated his duties as legal counsel up to the present time. Up to the present time respondent is still collecting his monthly retainer. L'NOR Marine Services. et. 29. whom he is professionally duty bound to represent with entire devotion faithfully as such attorney. Inc.. Porter. as legal counsel. but that. in their respective capacity as such officers of L'NOR. copy of letter of respondent. upon the foregoing. aided or otherwise abetted the organization. Porter for Estafa (Annex "C" supra). illicit schemes. but respondent Legaspi has done absolutely nothing. fraudulent operations and grave frauds committed by said Edward J. pertinent exhibits herewith marked as Annexes "E". als. registration and operation of another competing entity. and at the same time acting in his capacity as corporate secretary of YRASPORT. et. he did not do so. In the Criminal Case filed against Edward J. and whose paramount interest he should protect in all good faith with absolute fidelity.. Porter and his confederates. has acted at the same time as lawyer of Edward J. "E-5".. assisted. respondent Legaspi in his dual capacity as legal counsel of L'NOR and YRASPORT. continue and persist in perpetrating malicious acts. Inc.

(Rollo. judgment is hereby rendered in favor of the plaintiff and against the defendant Erlinda L. On May 26. 115) The petitioner appealed to the Court of Appeals. –– Considering the complaint for disbarment against Atty.000. Valentino L. plaintiff herein. 1987. 24.00 as moral damages and P25. He qualifiedly admitted the allegations in paragraphs 14 and 15.same with evident bad faith and absolute lack of fidelity to his client L'NOR. that granting without admitting that the appellee has suffered certain adverse effects in his reputation because of the disbarment case. the Court of Appeals reasoned: Defendant-appellant contends that plaintiff-appellee's action for damages is purely retaliatory in character and stems from an alleged feeling of wounded pride or amor proprio. 22. 1819 (Erlinda L. the Court of Appeals affirmed the lower court's judgment. the Court issued a resolution dismissing the disbarment complaint against Legaspi. Legaspi as well as said respondent's comment thereon. it does not constitute malicious prosecution as would otherwise perhaps render the . Legaspi declared that he has no sufficient knowledge to form a belief as to the truth or falsity of the statements contained therein. P50. 1819. 91) The petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration which was denied by the Court on March 31. (Records. Ponce v. pp. Administrative Case No. He added that there is nothing in the law nor contract which prohibits a stockholder from competing with the business of the corporation. 413) In his comment. The petitioner filed a motion to dismiss which was denied by the trial court. p. 21. Legaspi filed before the Court of First Instance (now Regional Trial Court of Cebu) a complaint for damages against the petitioner. In affirming the appealed decision. the amount of P1. the lower court rendered judgment the dispositive portion of which reads as follows: WHEREFORE. Legaspi). (Records. stating that Yrasport was not organized to compete directly with L'NOR. Legaspi admitted the allegations in paragraphs 26 and 27 that he appeared for Edward Porter in the estafa case filet against the latter.00 as actual damages. the Court Resolved to DISMISS the complaint for lack of merit.00 as exemplary damages and to pay the costs. reasoning that his appearances were direct orders of management and that it was not improper for counsel to represent both the corporate officers when they are being sued at the same time. Atty. Ponce ordering the defendant to pay Valentino L. On July 18. Atty. On February 10. this court being satisfied that the material allegations of the complaint have been proved and remained uncontradicted with the testimonial and documentary evidence introduced and admitted by the court. 1978.000. integrity and honor of the profession. 1983. Atty. 29 and 30. The resolution is quoted hereunder: Administrative Case No. Atty. Legaspi denied the allegations in paragraphs 10. 1978.000. Administrative Case No. On January 23. thereby degrading the good esteem. Legaspi. 28. He averred that L'NOR could not cope up with the business and Yrasport was formed for the purpose of complementing L'NOR's business. As to the allegations in paragraphs 16 and 17. 1978. Valentino L. 1819 p. 23.

On this issue. that appellee committed a breach of his professional duties as a lawyer. Article III of the 1986 Constitution). belong to the class of communications that are absolutely privileged. the uncontroverted evidence before the court belie these allegations because there are antecedent incidents between plaintiff and defendant that speak otherwise. The ultimate test is that of bona fides. The privileged character of her complaint filed with the Supreme Court must have been what defendant had in mind when she invokes her right to free access to the courts. plaintiff's refusal to give her advice without authority from the Board of Directors. that she filed this disbarment complaint against plaintiff with malice aforethought. that the facts on record indubitably show that the appellant was merely exercising her right of access to courts for redress of legitimate grievances when she filed the disbarment case believing then as she still does. Vailoces. I-1. 111 Phil. that she wanted to dissolve the L'Nor Corporation in order to repossess the premises leased to the former upon the corporation's dissolution and Porter's ouster which was thwarted by plaintiff's advice as counsel for L'Nor. In refutation. (Sison v. J) asking plaintiff to desist from defending the corporation and its officers. for a disbarment proceeding is not a criminal action. This conclusion is founded on the fact that defendant was embittered against him for failing to obtain a compromise against Eduardo Coronel before the military due to plaintiff's defense of his client. Such excessive scrutiny would defeat the protection which the law throws over privileged communications. 957). appellee alleges that appellant belittles this action for damages as "purely retaliatory in character and stems from an alleged feeling of wounded pride or amor proprio". The case at bar cannot be considered as one for recovery of damages arising from malicious prosecution. and I-2). However. Article IV of the 1973 Constitution (now Section 11. Jr. her insistence to have the surplus profits declared as cash dividend which likewise failed due to plaintiff's advice. one cannot claim to be protected under such freedom when he is being held liable for the libel he commits.. it does not give unbridled license to file any case. including all kinds of pleadings. 110 Phil. 569. that by such statement. we should not lose sight of the fact that utterances made in the course of judicial proceedings. (1 SCRA 71). Aragona. However. the trial court found: Yet. numerous cases filed with the Security and Exchange Commission which were all dismissed and with the Court of First Instance and Circuit Criminal Court which plaintiff ably defended causing their eventual dismissal and other acts against plaintiff which demonstrated palpably defendant's hatred for the plaintiff acts clearly evidencing malice contrary to her averments in the Answer. 27 SCRA 633. falsehoods and deceit in trying to destroy the professional standing of a humble practitioner just because he did better than the other. 1 SCRA 60. Whoever files a case shall be responsible for the consequences thereof whenever his act of filing infringes upon the rights of others. not counter-signing plaintiff's check (Exhibits I. appellant has unmasked herself as to how little regard she has for the feelings of others and how she clings to the law if only to secure her purpose.appellant liable for damages. . petitions and motions. whatever the motives are. 1 SCRA 954. David. plaintiff's letter (Exhibit "H") that she was not authorized to use the title of Chairman of the Board. It has also been held that a privileged communication should not be subjected to microscopic examination to discover grounds of malice or falsity. While free access to the courts is guaranteed under Section 9. 71 citing authorities) and no civil action for libel or slander may arise therefrom unless the contents of the petition are irrelevant to the subject matter thereof. (De Jesus-Paras v. her letter (Exh. that what is being sought by appellee is compensation for appellee's malice. (Deles v. In the same way that although freedom of speech is guaranteed. 642). defendant's actuations before and after the filing of administrative complaint with the Supreme Court disprove her bona fides. 662.

in the exercise of his rights and in the performance of his duties. though they may not constitute a criminal offense. personality. privacy and peace of mind of his neighbors and other persons. Appellant claims that the finding of the lower court that appellant disseminated information regarding the filing of her complaint for disbarment and caused a copy of the same to be furnished appellee's clients is totally unsupported by any evidence on record. 45-48) The petitioner's motion for reconsideration was denied by the respondent Court in its resolution dated July 7. 26. The foregoing acts committed by the defendant violate the conduct that she should have observed in her relation to plaintiff. give everyone his due. (3) Intriguing to cause another to be alienated from his friends.To top it all. 20. 19. (2) Meddling with or disturbing the private life or family relations of another. to wit: Art. Every person who. this petition. Finally. (Rollo. From the foregoing. Furthermore. The petitioner assigns the following errors: I THE RESPONDENT COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN AFFIRMING THE DECISION OF THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT OF CEBU. notwithstanding her evident support and advice by counsel. shall indemnify the latter for the same. Talisay. she cleverly hid the identity of said counsel prosecuting all her acts of vilification and harassment in her own name.. Lawaan. June 3. Hence. prevention and other relief. Art. (4) Vexing or humiliating another on account of his religious beliefs. malice is evident. Art. the testimony of plaintiff that she distributed copies of her complaint for disbarment against plaintiff to his clients remain uncontradicted. pp. The following and similar acts. 1987. or other personal condition. contrary to law. t. and observe honesty and good faith. BRANCH XXI. WHICH FOUND THE HEREIN PETITIONER GUILTY OF BAD FAITH IN INSTITUTING A COMPLAINT FOR DISBARMENT AGAINST THE PRIVATE RESPONDENT. 1983). (p. (1) Prying into the privacy of another's residence.s. Every person must. shall produce a cause of action for damages. The contention is untenable. physical defect.n. II . instead of coming to court in good faith she instead moved from her residence at Seaview Heights. place of birth. Every person shall respect the dignity. lowly station in life. Cebu without informing the court nor her counsel and has not been heard from. 8. wilfully or negligently causes damage to another. as provided in the following provisions of the Civil Code of the Philippines. act with justice. Plaintiff declared that he came to know of the complaint against him even before the Supreme Court required him to comment because two or three of his clients told him that they had a copy given to them.

A perusal of the allegations in Atty. Legaspi is not one arising from malicious prosecution because "a disbarment proceeding is not a criminal action. 2217 and 2219 [8] of the New Civil Code. (De Jesus-Paras v. pp.THE RESPONDENT COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN ORDERING THE PETITIONER TO PAY THE PRIVATE RESPONDENT ACTUAL. 199 SCRA 58 [1991]. 11. Though incapable of pecuniary computation. Under these Articles: Art. MORAL AND EXEMPLARY DAMAGES TO PAY THE COSTS. particularly paragraphs 10. moral shock. 212 [1932]). Tsunehachi Kakimoto. supra: "Malice is essential to the maintenance of an action for malicious prosecution and not merely to the recovery of exemplary . This is not correct. the plaintiff must prove: (1) the fact of the prosecution and the further fact that the defendant was himself the prosecutor. In order. Rudman. Legaspi's complaint for damages. 1 SCRA 954 [1961]). judicial in character. (Lao v. Both the Court of Appeals and the petitioner are of the belief that the suit for damages filed by Atty. Intermediate Appellate Court. without doubt.Y. Viuda. (Lorber v. 23 P. Shigeru Hayashida v. (2) that in bringing the action. Kohl. fright. 2219. 21) Before proceeding with the merits of the case. good customs or public policy shall compensate the latter for damages. Any person who wilfully causes loss or injury to another in a manner that is contrary to morals. 4 SCRA 535 [1962]. 56-59) shows that his main cause of action was predicated on injury resulting from the institution of the disbarment case against him. that is by improper or sinister motive. and that the action finally terminated with an acquittal. Court of Appeals. Graves v. 2d 513 [1937]. Art." The obvious inference is that only an unsuccessful criminal action may subsequently give rise to a claim for damages based on malicious prosecution. Art. 21. 70 P. 363 [1915]). Rehabilitation Finance Corporation v. 2217. p. malicious prosecution refers to unfounded criminal actions and has been expanded to include unfounded civil suits just to vex and humiliate the defendant despite the absence of a cause of action or probable cause (Equitable Banking Corporation v. Viuda de Esteban. the scope of an action for damages arising from malicious prosecution needs to be clarified. as further held in the aforecited case ofBuchanan v. however. and (3) that the prosecutor was actuated or impelled by legal malice. Storrow. Moral damages include physical suffering. 257 N. we find that the suit filed by the respondent lawyer makes out a case of damages for malicious prosecution. judicial in character and therefore may be the basis for a subsequent action for malicious prosecution. 12 and 15 thereof (Rollo.S. 32 Phil. serious anxiety. Vailoces. social humiliation and similar injury. wounded feelings. 133 SCRA 138 [1984]) the foundation of an action for malicious prosecution is an original proceeding. besmirched reputation. While generally. de Esteban. 2d 311 [1933]. (Rollo. This being the case. Buchanan v. Thus. for the malicious prosecution suit to prosper. An action for damages arising from malicious prosecution is anchored on the provisions of Article 21. mental anguish. moral damages may be recovered if they are the proximate result of the defendant's wrongful act or omission. the prosecutor acted without probable cause. A disbarment proceeding is. Moral damages may be recovered in the following and analogous cases: xxx xxx xxx (8) Malicious prosecution. The foregoing requisites are necessary safeguards to preserve a person's right to litigate which may otherwise be emasculated by the undue filing of malicious prosecution cases.

To her mind. who had allegedly swindled L'NOR. harassing and injuring his adversary. constituted grave misconduct and gross malpractice. p. the interest of which he was duty bound to protect by virtue of the retainer contract. Koh. at the time of her filing of the administrative complaint against the respondent. the act of the respondent in appearing as counsel for Porter. Respondent did not deny that he represented Porter during the preliminary investigation and trial of the criminal case. 64) It is of no moment now that Porter was acquitted of the estafa charge. Since the petitioner. however. 69) The circumstances of the case do not depict a simple case of formation of competitive corporations. he justified his action by saying that they were "direct orders of management" and that there is "nothing improper for counsel to represent both the corporation and corporate officers at the same time they are being sued. emphasis supplied) The petitioner. Apparently. 1819. petitioner Ponce saw a conflict of interest situation. We take exception to the respondent's comment that." (Records. 1819. the wrongdoing) for which he was prosecuted. Administrative Case No." (Records. In other words. where probable cause is shown. Viuda de Esteban.damages. In other words. v. held substantial stockholdings in L'NOR. see also Rehabilitation Finance Corp. YRASPORT was organized to complement L'NOR'S business and not to compete with the latter's undertakings. But malice alone does not make one liable for malicious prosecution. . upon appeal. assuming the petitioner's accusation to be true." (Emphasis supplied. both of which are engaged in the same line of business. malice and want of probable causemust both exist in order to justify the action. (Id. Atty. acting on the facts within the knowledge of the prosecutor. Legaspi did not deny that he aided the Porters in facilitating the incorporation of YRASPORT and that he himself was its corporate secretary. a suit will lie only in cases where a legal prosecution has been carried on without probable cause. supra) The general rule is well settled that one cannot be held liable in damages for maliciously instituting a prosecution where he acted with probable cause. was of the honest perception that YRASPORT was actually organized to appropriate for itself some of L'NOR's business. He emphasized. Edward Porter. (See Buchanan v. in a reasonable mind. p. that the person charged was guilty of the crime (or in this case. She believed that L'NOR was defrauded by its President/General Manager.supra) Probable cause is the existence of such facts and circumstances as would excite the belief. In his comment in the disbarment complaint against him. though. "there is nothing in Philippine law which considers as unethical the formation of competitive corporations and neither can it be considered with evident bad faith and absolute lack of fidelity. Administrative Case No. was acquitted by the appellate court. at that time. What the petitioner objects to is the fact that both the respondent lawyer and Porter are fiduciaries of L'NOr and are at the same time fiduciaries of YRASPORT. that due to L'NOR'S limited capitalization. then we find that she had probable cause to file the disbarment suit.. Porter was convicted by the trial court but. even where it appears that the suit was brought for the mere purpose of vexing. and filed a complaint for estafa against the latter.

Facts and circumstances existed which excited belief in Mrs. he must account to the latter for all such profits by refunding the same. When a director. The above discussion should not be construed as a re-opening of the disbarment proceeding against Atty. acting as fiduciary. the Corporation Law did not prohibit a director or any other person occupying a fiduciary position in the corporate hierarchy from engaging in a venture which competed with that of the corporation. And had Atty. Corporations. trustees or officers. 31. any interest adverse to the corporation in respect of any matter which has been reposed in him in confidence. . the only issue being whether or not the petitioner had probable cause in filing the complaint. This provision shall be applicable. these acts are nevertheless circumscribed upon ethical and moral considerations. this lapse in the old Corporation Law is now cured by sections 31 and 34 of the Corporation Code which provide: Sec. to take advantage of an opportunity when the interest of the corporation justly calls for protection. by virtue of his office. Atty. we need not anymore ascertain whether or not the petitioner acted with malice in filing the complaint. regardless of considerations of malice. Liability of directors. wielded a persuasive influence on our law on corporations. N. thereby obtaining profits to the prejudice of such corporation. Ponce's mind that the respondent indeed committed unethical acts which warranted the imposition of administrative sanctions. — Where a director. its stockholders or members and other persons. But as a lawyer. Disloyalty of a director. Legaspi should have known that while some acts may appear to be permitted through sheer lack of statutory prohibition. at that time. in violation of his duty. (See Ballantine. From the foregoing discussion. 204. notwithstanding the fact that the director risked his own funds in the venture. Whether or not the petitioner's perception of these facts and circumstances is actually correct is irrelevant to our inquiry.. Since we adjudge that petitioner Ponce was moved by probable cause. Sec. is sufficient to defeat the charge of malicious prosecution. we have sufficient basis to declare that the petitioner had probable cause in filing the administrative case against Atty. acquires for himself a business opportunity which should belong to the corporation. — Directors or trustees who willfully and knowingly vote for or assent to patently unlawful acts of the corporation or who are guilty of gross negligence or bad faith in directing the affairs of the corporation or acquire any personal or pecuniary interest in conflict with their duty as such directors or trustees shall he liable jointly and severally for all damages resulting therefrom suffered by the corporation. [1946]) Parenthetically. Legaspi turned to American jurisprudence which then. The existence of probable cause alone.True. he would have known that it was unfair for him or for Porter. Y. unless his act has been ratified by a vote of the stockholders owning or representing at least two-thirds (2/3) of the outstanding capital stock. Legaspi. trustee or officer attempts to acquire or acquires. Callaghan & Co. he shall be liable as a trustee for the corporation and must account for the profits which otherwise have accrued to the corporation. as now. 34. as to which equity imposes a disability upon him to deal in his own behalf. References to the complaint for disbarment and the respondent's comment thereto are made only for the purpose of determining the existence of probable cause. The Court finds it unnecessary to discuss all the other charges imputed to the respondent lawyer in the disbarment complaint. Legaspi.

Court of Tax Appeals. citing Barreto v. the test to break through the protective barrier of an absolutely privileged communication is not "bona fides" but relevance. If damage results from a person's exercising his legal rights. it would have traced the "bona fides" test to the case of U. citing Auyong Hian v. it is damnum absque injuria. v. Bidin and Romero. Arevalo. Salao. It should be noted that Atty.The respondent court treated Atty. the Court was referring to a qualified privileged communication when it formulated the "bona fides" test. Bustos. One who exercises his rights does no injury. Court of Appeals. The decision of the respondent Court of Appeals is SET ASIDE and REVERSED. 70 SCRA 65 [1976] and Ramos v. concur. In the latter case.] WHEREFORE. Legaspi may have suffered injury as a consequence of the disbarment proceedings. The Lawphil Project . Atty. SO ORDERED. 189 SCRA 50 [1990]. This is incorrect. We disagree with the findings of the two lower courts that it was the petitioner who distributed copies of the complaint for disbarment to Atty.S. took no part. [Id. Court of Appeals. In the present case. then the petitioner may not be pinpointed as the sole and indisputable source of the copies received by the respondent's clients. (Saba v. Aragona (27 SCRA 633 [1969]). 141 SCRA 488 [1986]. J. But the adverse result of an action does not per se make the action wrongful and subject the actor to make payment of damages for the law could not have meant to impose a penalty on the right to litigate (Saba v. citing the case of Deles v. see also Salao v. 99 Phil. Jr. citing Rubio v. 731 [1918]). Ramos... the petition is hereby GRANTED. Legaspi's complaint as one for damages arising from libel and applied the test of bona fides. allegations and averments in pleadings are absolutely privileged as long as they are relevant or pertinent to the issues (See Montenegro v. The test of good faith applies only to a qualified privileged communication. Moreover. Considering that a complaint for disbarment becomes of public record once it is filed with the Court. Thus. JJ. Legaspi's complaint nowhere alleged that the statements made by the petitioner were irrelevant. 61 SCRA 284 [1974]. 771 [1956]). 73 Phil. Atty.. Had the respondent court studied the Deles case more closely. supra. 59 SCRA 110 [1974]). In the first place. Medina. Feliciano. Legaspi did not even present these alleged clients in court to testify to the source of these copies. Legaspi's clients. 602 [1942]). (37 Phil.Arellano Law Foundation . Court of Appeals. Davide. we find that the petitioner's complaint for disbarment is still covered by the privilege and may not be the basis of a damage suit arising from libel.

2012 x. VENANCIO B.... A.. Respondent........ Complainant. Chairperson.. June 20. No...versus SERENO..Republic of the Philippines Supreme Court Manila SECOND DIVISION EMILIA R.....C... HERNANDEZ...... JJ.. PEREZ.. J. and REYES........... 05-1562) Present: CARPIO..... BRION... PADILLA... 9387 (Formerly CBD Case No.x . .. Promulgated: ATTY....

Venancio B. Complainant further claims that she asked respondent “several times” about the status of the appeal. and that the latter pay the complainant therein. The records disclose that complainant and her husband were the respondents in an ejectment case filed against them with the Regional Trial Court of Manila (RTC). the RTC ordered that the Deed of Sale executed in favor of complainant be cancelled. because respondent never informed them of the adverse decision.: This is a disbarment case filed by Emilia Hernandez (complainant) against her lawyer. Duigan filed a Motion to Dismiss the Appeal. penned by Judge Rosmari D. Thereafter. Complainant and her husband filed their Notice of Appeal with the RTC. The CA granted the Motion in a Resolution[2] dated 16 December 2003. J. Elisa Duigan (Duigan). he acted with “deceit. for his alleged negligence in the handling of her case. Complainant claims that because respondent ignored the Resolution. Atty. the Court of Appeals (CA) ordered them to file their Appellants’ Brief.RESOLUTION SERENO. Carandang (Judge Carandang). In a Decision[1] dated 28 June 2002. On their behalf. he filed a Memorandum on Appeal instead of an Appellants’ Brief.[4] . They chose respondent to represent them in the case.”[3] Complainant and her husband failed to file an appeal. but “despite inquiries he deliberately withheld response *sic+. attorney’s fees and moral damages. No Motion for Reconsideration (MR) of the Resolution dismissing the appeal was filed by the couple.” to the damage and prejudice of the spouses. unfaithfulness amounting to malpractice of law. Thus. Padilla (respondent) of Padilla Padilla Bautista Law Offices.

When respondent received an Order from the CA requiring him to file a comment on the Motion to Dismiss filed by Duigan.”[11] Thus. he “instructed his office staff to contact Mr.[7] respondent prayed for the outright dismissal of the Complaint. Through an Order[6] dated 12 September 2005. The lawyer exclaimed.”[9] Before filing the Memorandum. Vinluan ordered respondent to submit an answer to the Complaint. but to no avail. the husband “despondently pleaded to me to prepare a Memorandum on Appeal because according to him the period given by the CA was to lapse within two or three days. He averred that prior to the mandatory conference set by the IBP on 13 December 2005.The Resolution became final and executory on 8 January 2004. According to respondent. respondent never saw or heard from him again and thus assumed that the husband heeded his advice and settled the case. complainant filed an Affidavit of Complaint[5] with the Committee on Bar Discipline of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP). respondent was just as surprised. malpractice. seeking the disbarment of respondent on the following grounds: deceit. when complainant’s husband went to the office of respondent to tell the latter that the Sheriff of the RTC had informed complainant of the CA’s Resolution dismissing the case. Director of Bar Discipline Rogelio A. respondent claims that he filed a Memorandum on Appeal because he honestly believed that “it is this pleading which was required. “KALA KO BA NAKIPAG AREGLO NA KAYO.000.”[10] After the husband of complainant picked up the Memorandum for filing. when the Sheriff of the RTC came to her house and informed her of the Resolution. Hernandez thru available means of communication. The latter allegedly “gestured approval of the advice. and grave misconduct. he had never met complainant. Complainant was informed of the Resolution sometime in July 2005. Respondent explained that he was not the lawyer of complainant. On 9 September 2005. respondent advised complainant’s husband to settle the case.”[8] Thus. because it was her husband who had personally transacted with him.”[12] . In his Counter-Affidavit/Answer. Complainant prays for moral damages in the amount of ₱350.

B. He recommended that respondent be suspended from practicing law from 3 to 6 months.In his 5 January 2009 Report. XX-2012-17[15] partly granting his Motion and reducing the penalty imposed to one-month suspension from the practice of law. and 18 of the Code of Professional Responsibility (the Code). Funa. Respondent insists that he had never met complainant prior to the mandatory conference set for the disbarment Complaint she filed against him. We adopt the factual findings of the board of governors of the IBP. unto this Honorable Court submit the Memorandum and further allege that: x x x. This Court. We thus affirm the six-month suspension the Board originally imposed in its 28 August 2010 Resolution. Jr. Respondent filed a Motion for Reconsideration. Pursuant to Rule 139-B of the Rules of Court. XIX-2010-452 on 28 August 2010. including complainant and her husband. transmitted the documents pertaining to the disbarment Complaint against respondent.[17] The pleading starts with the following sentence: “DEFENDANT*S+-APPELLANTS.[13] IBP Investigating Commissioner Leland R. Therein. Corona. acting Director for Bar Discipline Dennis A. However. a perusal of the Memorandum of Appeal filed in the appellate court revealed that he had signed as counsel for the defendant-appellants therein. Villadolid. Respondent was suspended from the practice of law for six months. On 14 January 2012. 17. the IBP board of governors passed Resolution No.”[18]Nowhere does the document say that it was filed only on behalf of complainant’s husband. however. disagrees with its Decision to reduce the penalty to one-month suspension. they resolved to adopt and approve the Report and Recommendation of the Investigating Commissioner. through a letter[16] addressed to then Chief Justice Renato C.[14] He prayed for the relaxation of the application of the Canons of the Code. The board of governors of the IBP issued Resolution No. . found that respondent violated Canons 5. by counsel.

The IBP Investigating Commissioner’s observation on this matter. in the 5 January 2009 Report.[20] Complainant pointed out in her Reply[21] that respondent was her lawyer. Regardless of the particular pleading his client may have believed to be necessary. “*C+ontrary to the complainant’s claim that he charged ₱7.It is further claimed by respondent that the relation created between him and complainant’s husband cannot be treated as a “client-lawyer” relationship. According to respondent. viz: It is no more than a client needing a legal document and had it prepared by a lawyer for a fee. it is that lawyer’s duty to serve the client with competence and diligence. is correct. however. this behavior was “very unusual if he really believed that he engaged” the former’s services. it could not be said that a client entrusted to a lawyer handling and prosecution of his case that calls for the strict application of the Code. he also alleges that complainant’s husband never contacted him after the filing of the Memorandum of Appeal. According to respondent.” “the fee was only for the preparation of the pleading which is even low for a Memorandum of Appeal: x x x.”[22] Acceptance of money from a client establishes an attorney-client relationship and gives rise to the duty of fidelity to the client’s cause. because he accepted her case and an acceptance fee in the amount of ₱7. Under the factual milieu and circumstances. x x x [19] As proof that none of them ever intended to enter into a lawyer-client relationship.[24] Respondent has failed to fulfill this duty. Respondent also claims that he filed a Memorandum of Appeal. According to respondent. viz: . based on what complainant’s husband said. he merely drafted the pleading that complainant’s husband asked from him.[23] Once a lawyer agrees to handle a case.000 as acceptance fee. because he “honestly believed” that this was the pleading required. it was respondent’s duty to know the proper pleading to be filed in appeals from RTC decisions.000.

The obligations of lawyers as a consequence of their Canon 5 duty have been expounded in Dulalia. what should apply is the rule on ordinary appealed cases or Rule 44 of the Rules on Civil Procedure. participate in continuing legal education programs.Having seen the Decision dated 18 June 2002 of the trial court. they may become susceptible to committing mistakes. In his MR. Respondent. recent enactments and jurisprudence. v. was expected to know this procedure. Jr. Respondent’s plea for leniency should not have been granted. Worse. Consequently. .[26] to wit: It must be emphasized that the primary duty of lawyers is to obey the laws of the land and promote respect for the law and legal processes. Unless they faithfully comply with such duty. In all such cases.[25] When the RTC ruled against complainant and her husband. they may not be able to discharge competently and diligently their obligations as members of the bar. This duty carries with it the obligation to be well-informed of the existing laws and to keep abreast with legal developments. They are expected to be in the forefront in the observance and maintenance of the rule of law. It is imperative that they be conversant with basic legal principles. they filed a Notice of Appeal. as a litigator. Canon 5 of the Code reads: CANON 5 — A lawyer shall keep abreast of legal developments. respondent begged for the consideration of the IBP. claiming that the reason for his failure to file the proper pleading was that he “did not have enough time to acquaint himself thoroughly with the factual milieu of the case. support efforts to achieve high standards in law schools as well as in the practical training of law students and assist in disseminating information regarding the law and jurisprudence. Cruz. Rule 44 of the said Rules applies. respondent should have known that the mode of appeal to the Court of Appeals for said Decision is by ordinary appeal under Section 2(a) Rule 41 of the1997 Revised Rules of Civil Procedure.” The IBP reconsidered and thereafter significantly reduced the penalty originally imposed. Rule 44 requires that the appellant’s brief be filed after the records of the case have been elevated to the CA.

He claims that he was under the presumption that complainant and her husband had already settled the case. If it were true that all attempts to contact his client proved futile. His failure to do so amounted to a violation of Rule 18.04 of the Code. respondent. While it is true that respondent was not complainant’s lawyer from the trial to the appellate court stage. This explanation does not excuse respondent’s actions. However. which reads: 18. this fact did not excuse him from his duty to diligently study a case he had agreed to handle. Second. respondent should have filed a motion for extension of time to file the proper pleading instead of whatever pleading he could come up with. respondent does not deny that he was given notice of the fact that he filed the wrong pleading. he chose to sit on the case and do nothing. just to “beat the deadline set by the Court of Appeals. Rule 18. First of all. If he felt he did not have enough time to study the pertinent matters involved.02 of the Code provides that a lawyer shall not handle any legal matter without adequate preparation.”[27] Moreover.04 . there were several remedies that respondent could have availed himself of. as counsel. instead of explaining his side by filing a comment. as ordered by the appellate court. had the duty to inform his clients of the status of their case.The supposed lack of time given to respondent to acquaint him with the facts of the case does not excuse his negligence. he chose to ignore the CA’s Order.A lawyer shall keep the client informed of the status of his case and shall respond within a reasonable time to the client’s request for information. because he had not heard from the husband since the filing of the latter’s Memorandum of Appeal. from the moment he received the Notice from the CA to the moment he received the disbarment Complaint filed against him. But because of his negligence. the least respondent could have done was to inform the CA by filing a Notice of . as he was approached by complainant’s husband only two days before the expiration of the period for filing the Appellant’s Brief.

He could have thus explained why he was no longer the counsel of complainant and her husband in the case and informed the court that he could no longer contact them.Withdrawal of Appearance as counsel. a lawyer is liable for negligence in handling the client’s case. the Integrated Bar of the Philippines. 18. viz: Rule 18.03 of the Code.[28] His failure to take this measure proves his negligence. otherwise their negligence in fulfilling their duty would render them liable for disciplinary action. Venancio Padilla is found guilty of violating Rules 18. as well as Canon 5 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. 18.03 . the failure of respondent to file the proper pleading and a comment on Duigan’s Motion to Dismiss is negligence on his part.03. Let copies of this Resolution be entered into the personal records of respondent as a member of the bar and furnished to the Bar Confidant. he is SUSPENDED from the practice of law for SIX (6) MONTHS and STERNLY WARNED that a repetition of the same or a similar offense will be dealt with more severely. .[30] WHEREFORE. respondent Atty. Under 18.02. Lastly. and the Court Administrator for circulation to all courts of the country for their information and guidance. No costs.04. and his negligence in connection therewith shall render him liable.[29] Respondent has failed to live up to his duties as a lawyer. Lawyers should not neglect legal matters entrusted to them. he engages in unethical and unprofessional conduct for which he should be held accountable. When a lawyer violates his duties to his client.A lawyer shall not neglect a legal matter entrusted to him. Hence.

A. CARPIO Associate Justice Chairperson ARTURO D.SO ORDERED. SERENO Associate Justice WE CONCUR: ANTONIO T. BRION JOSE PORTUGAL PEREZ . MARIA LOURDES P.

Vol. [14] Id. 94. No. Canon 18. Rafanan. II. Vol. [17] See rollo. p. 18. 6252. 14-24. [3] Id. 483 Phil. 18. 463 Phil. Atty. [21] Rollo. at 45. 76-77. Vol. pp. Vol. [19] Rollo. [25] Rollo.C. at 43-44. Vol. 105(2004). 9-10 [26] A. Vol. [24] CODE OF PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY. [23] Fernandez v. at 1. Id. REYES Associate Justice [1] [2] Rollo. 18. 522 SCRA 244. [11] Id. I. 255 citing Santiago v. 39. at 25. [7] Id. p. [12] Id. at 16-20.Associate Justice Associate Justice BIENVENIDO L. II. 2-15. p. II. pp. I. [8] Id at 53. pp. II. [9] Id at 54. Vol. [5] Id. 27 April 2007. 6854. at. [16] Id.C. [20] Id at 19. [6] Id. pp. Cabrera. No. [10] Id. at 1-2. Vol. . Vol. [22] Rollo. II (page not indicated). [4] Id. A. [13] Rollo. 352 (2003). [15] Rollo. II. [27] Rollo. I. [18] Id. at 52-56. p.

[28] . Rule 138. Sec. 447 Phil. Change of attorneys. by the written consent of his client filed in court. . the name of the attorney newly employed shall be entered on the docket of the court in place of the former one. supra note 23. In case of substitution.An attorney may retire at any time from any action or special proceeding.“Sec. Almadro. determine that he ought to be allowed to retire. should the court. Atty. 26) [29] Perea v. without the consent of his client. He may also retire at any time from an action or special proceeding. and written notice of the change shall be given to the adverse party. and on hearing. [30] Fernandez. on notice to the client and attorney. 26.” (Rules of Court. 434 (2003).

J. Obmina was counsel for Carandang in Civil Case No. LEONARDO-DE CASTRO.” Carandang brought suit for Atty.x DECISION CARPIO. Obmina). . CARANDANG.: The Case This is a complaint filed by Carlito P. CARPIO. 7813 Present: PUNO. C. Obmina’s failure to inform Carandang of the adverse decision in Civil Case No. CORONA. Carandang (Carandang) against Atty. Promulgated: Respondent.FIRST DIVISION CARLITO P. Atty. B-5109 and for failure to appeal the decision. Carandang and Carlito Carandang v. Gilbert S. B-5109 entitled “Sps. GILBERT S. OBMINA. A. April 21. and BERSAMIN. 2009 x-------------------------------------------------. Complainant. Emilia A. No. Chairperson.versus - ATTY.. Obmina (Atty. Ernesto Alzona. J. JJ. .C.

OBMINA at aking tinanong “BAKIT DI MO SINABI SA AKIN NA TAPOS NA ANG KASO?” At ang sagot niya sa akin “AY WALA KANG IBABAYAD SA ABOGADO DAHIL WALA KANG PERA PANG-APILA” dahil sa sagot sa akin ay para akong nawalan [ng] pag-asa sa kaso. Halang Biñan. sa madali’t sabi kami ay natalo ng hindi ko man lang nalalaman at huli na ang lahat ng malaman ko dahil hindi na kami pwedeng umapila. tubong Quezon at bilang kababayan ako ay nagtiwala sa kanyang kakayahan upang maipagtanggol sa naturang kaso. may asawa’t mga anak. B-5109. at nakatira sa 5450 Alberto Apt. ALSONA tungkol sa aming bahay at lupa. 06-1869 in the Report and Recommendation of the Commission on Bar Discipline of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) read as follows: Complainant’s Sworn Statement is hereto reproduced as follows: SWORN STATEMENT Ako si CARLITO P. Na ako ay may kasong isinampa kay ERNESTO T. Laguna. CARANDANG. nasa wastong gulang. at isinampa sa BIÑAN RTC BRANCH 25.. sa RTC ay binati at tinatanong kung saan kayo nakatira at ang sagot [ng] aking anak BAKIT? At ang sagot naman [ng] taga RTC. Na nalaman ko lang na may desisyon na pala ang korte pagkatapos ng anim na buwan. Ang aking anak na si ROSEMARIE ay nagpunta sa BIÑAN. GILBERT S. Na ang naturang kaso ay natapos at nadisisyunan noong Enero 28. Tapos na daw yung kaso [ng] ating bahay at ako ay pumunta sa opisina ni ATTY.The Facts The facts of CBD Case No. 2000 at ako ay natalo sa naturang kaso. Francis Homes. . ngunit taliwas sa aking pananalig sa kanya ang nasabing kaso ay napabayaan hanggang sa magkaroon ng desisyon ang korte na kunin ang aking lupa’t bahay. Nang marinig yon ay umuwi na siya at sinabi agad sa akin. CIVIL CASE NO. OBMINA. HINDI MO BA ALAM NA ANG INYONG KASO AY TAPOS NA. St. Na ang aking naging abogado ay si ATTY.

within fifteen (15) days from receipt of the Order. at nang mabasa ang sulat ay sinabi sa akin na doon sa SAN PABLO ang hearing. duly verified. Jr. CARLITO P. That on February 20. this Commission was in receipt of a Manifestation dated December 11. 2006. OBMINA at tinanong ko sa sekretarya niya kung nasaan si ATTY. 21185732 Issued on March 7. and furnish the complainant with a copy thereof. .Lumapit ako sa Malacañang at binigay yung sulat pero doon ay aking nakausap yung isang abogado at ako’y kanyang pinakinggan at aking inabot ang papeles at aking pinakita at ang sabi ay hindi na pwede dahil anim na buwan na [nang] lumipas ang kaso. ng Malacañang na hindi sinabi sa akin agad ni ATTY. 2007. Allegedly. On December 12. Laguna On November 16. 2006.] scheduled the Mandatory Conference/Hearing of the case on March 20. ObminaMuaña. 2006 filed by a certain Atty. Carmencita C.m. through Rogelio A. undersigned Commissioner [Jose I. Obmina. OBMINA ang sagot sa akin ay nasa AMERICA NA! Kaya’t aking tinanong kung sinong pwede magbigay sa akin ng attorney’s withdrawal at ang sabi ay yung anak nya na si CARMELITSA OBMINA.” kaya inutusan ako na kunin ang ATTORNEY’S WITHDRAWAL at agad akong nagpunta sa opisina ni ATTY. pero hindi na ako nakabalik sa IBP dahil noong araw na iyon ay hindi ko na kayang maglakad. the then Director for Bar Discipline (now the incumbent Executive Vice President of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines). in six (6) copies. De La Rama. Kaya aking sinabi sa ATTY. 2006 At Biñan. at tinanong ako kung nasaan ang ATTORNEY’S WITHDRAWAL NYO? Ang sagot ko ay “WALA HO. Gilbert S. OBMINA na may order na pala ang kaso. 2007 at 9:30 a. CARANDANG Affiant CTC No. the Commission on Bar Discipline. Bumalik ako noong araw ng Biyernes at aking nakuha. She further alleged that [her] father is already a permanent resident of the United States of America since March 2001 and had already retired from the practice of law. kaya hindi na natuloy ang hearing sa SAN PABLO. she is the daughter of respondent Atty. Obmina to submit his Answer. Kaya ang ginawang paraan ay binigyan ako ng sulat para ibigay sa IBP. Gilbert S. issued an Order directing respondent Atty. Vinluan. Ma.

Carlito Carandang who is the complainant against Atty. On June 22. Likewise presented was Mr. Thereafter. 2007. 2007. Gilbert Obmina. Atty. stipulations and some clarificatory matters. On June 29.On March 19. Muaña was likewise directed to appear before this Office on June 22. Atty.m. 2007. in the supposed Mandatory Conference. 2007. complainant Carlito P. 2007. On July 3. That an Order dated May 18. the case will be submitted on report and recommendation. Carandang. during the Mandatory Conference. Obmina-Muaña filed a Manifestation and Motion reiterating her earlier Manifestation that the respondent. Muaña was given a period of ten (10) days within which to file a verified answer. Muaña appeared in behalf of [her] father. 2007 at 2:00 p. 2007. Muaña again filed a Manifestation and Motion informing this Honorable Commission that she cannot possibly appear for the reason that she is the legal counsel of a candidate in Muntinlupa City and that the canvassing of the election results is not yet finished.m. She likewise submitted copies of her father’s Passport and US Permanent Residence Card. Atty. Obmina. Atty. The undersigned Commissioner directed Atty. Gilbert S. 2007. 2007 at 3:00 o’clock in the afternoon. Carmelita Muaña to appear before this Commission on May 18. Carmencita Obmina Muaña appeared. Atty. Atty. and to bring with her the alleged withdrawal of appearance filed by her father and to bring proof that her father is now really a permanent resident of the United States of America. That on May 18. 2007 at 2:00 p. . The Mandatory Conference was set on August 3. On August 3. Carandang appeared. Gilbert S. Carmencita C. she reiterated her request that summons be served on her father thru extraterritorial service. Ma. the parties were directed to submit their verified position papers within ten (10) days. 2007. On the scheduled Mandatory Conference on March 20. Atty. 2007 was issued by the undersigned Commissioner granting the aforesaid Manifestation and Motion. Muaña likewise requested the cancellation of the mandatory conference and resetting of the same on April 10. That with respect [to] the Withdrawal of Appearance. complainant Carlito Carandang appeared. After making some admissions. Muaña alleged that copies of the same were all given to complainant Carlito P. Atty. Atty. Obmina is already a permanent resident of the United States for the last six (6) years and likewise. Muaña filed a Motion for Extension of Time to file Answer. this Commission is in receipt of the verified Answer filed by respondent Atty. In the interest of justice. Atty.

On August 10. The Supreme Court held that “clients should maintain contact with their counsel from time to time and inform themselves of the progress of their case. Obmina and to inform himself of the progress of his case. IBP Commissioner for Bar Discipline Jose I. by himself. Obmina notified complainant in any manner about the decision. Atty. thereby exercising that standard of care which an ordinary prudent man bestows upon his business (Leonardo vs. S. 2007.T. Jr. Muaña. Best. complainant. filed a Motion for Extension of Time to File Position Paper on August 13. On September 12. Likewise.[1] The IBP’s Report and Recommendation In a Report[2] dated 2 October 2007. 2007. Gilbert S. Carmencita ObminaMuaña manifested in Court that her father has been living in the United States of America since 2001. filed an Urgent Motion for Extension of Time to File Position Paper. 2007. this Commission received copy of complainant’s Position Paper. Obmina to notify his client as to what happened to his case. 422 SCRA 347) .. through Atty. Inc. Obmina. respondent. Obmina received the Decision dated 28 January 2000 on 1 March 2000. Thus: One cannot escape the fact that the complainant himself failed to communicate with his counsel for quite sometime. (Commissioner De La Rama) found that Atty. Although Commissioner De La Rama observed that complainant is partly to blame for his loss for failure to maintain contact with Atty. Complainant is partly to blame for his loss and it should not be attributed solely to the respondent. There is nothing on record that will show that Atty. De La Rama. There is nothing in the complainant’s Sworn Statement that would show that he regularly visited the office of the respondent. On September 3. the Commission on Bar Discipline received copy of the Respondent’s Memorandum. Atty. 2007. Atty. Obmina was still counsel of record for complainant at the time the decision was rendered and up to the time of the issuance of the writ of execution. Commissioner De La Rama nonetheless underscored the duty of Atty.

in view of the foregoing. it is respectfully recommended that Atty.However. under Rule 18.03 of Canon 18. Gilbert S. it is the duty of an attorney to inform his client of whatever information he may have acquired which it is important that the client should have knowledge of. the IBP Board of Governors adopted and approved the Report and Recommendation of Commissioner De La Rama. In the case of Mijares vs. WHEREFORE. Carandang as to what happened to his case. the Supreme Court held that “as an officer of the court. should have exerted efforts to even notify Mr. the latter lost the case leading to his eviction. and his negligence in connection therewith shall render him liable.[3] (Emphasis in the original) In a Resolution[4] dated 19 October 2007.” Further under Rule 18. Although the said respondent is reportedly in the United States of America and accordingly retired from the practice of law. respondent is duty bound to notify the clients pursuant to Canon 18 of the Code of Professional Ethics which provides that “a lawyer shall serve his client with competence and diligence. Agravante. this Commission will not close its eyes on the negligence that he has committed while in the active practice.” In another case.04. Obmina be suspended from the practice of law for a period of one (1) year.” Lastly. “a lawyer shall keep the client informed of the status of his case and shall respond within a reasonable time to client’s request for information. Romana 425 SCRA 577. with head bowed in sadness. The Ruling of the Court . the Supreme Court held that “respondent’s failure to perfect an appeal within the prescribed period constitutes negligence and malpractice proscribed by the Code of Professional Responsibility” (Cheng vs.” That as a result of the respondent’s failure to notify the complainant. SO ORDERED. The Office of the Bar Confidant received the notice of the Resolution and the records of the case on 14 March 2008. “a lawyer shall not neglect a legal matter entrusted to him. Whether the decision is adverse [to] or in favor of his client. the respondent who has in his possession the complete files and address of the complainant. 426 SCRA 42).

B-5109 because Carandang did not tell him that there was a Compromise Agreement executed prior to Atty. Obmina Failed to Serve Complainant with Competence and Diligence Canon 18 states that “[a] lawyer shall serve his client with competence and diligence. Respondent gave complainant the case file.We sustain the findings of the IBP and adopt its recommendations. He was fuming mad and was blaming respondent for having lost his case. Atty. Carandang engaged the services of Atty. Carandang shall pay Atty. Obmina 40% of the sale proceeds of the property subject matter of the case. Obmina made him believe that they would win the case. Obmina again put Carandang at fault for failure to advance the appeal fee. Atty. Obmina’s version of Carandang’s confrontation with him was limited to this narrative: Sometime in the year 2000. In fact. Atty. Edgardo Salandanan.[5] . Complainant did not return to pursue the appeal or at least had given an appeal fee to be paid to Court in order to perfect the appeal. Obmina took the initiative to notify Carandang of the trial court’s adverse decision. there is no evidence on record that Atty.” Rules 18.” In his Memorandum. Obmina admitted that he was counsel for Carandang in Civil Case No. Obmina’s promise. B-5109. he will refer the case to a certain Atty. Atty. B-5109. Obmina blamed Carandang for the adverse decision in Civil Case No.04 provide that “[a] lawyer shall not neglect a legal matter entrusted to him. Obmina violated Canon 18. Atty. He asked for the records of the case because according to him. Obmina on a contingent basis.03 and 18. and his negligence in connection therewith shall render him liable” and “[a] lawyer shall keep the client informed of the status of his case and shall respond within a reasonable time to the client’s request for information. on the other hand. and Rules 18. stated that Atty. Atty. complainant went to respondent’s law office. Obmina promised to notify Carandang as soon as the decision of the court was given.04 of the Code of Professional Responsibility.03 and 18. Carandang. Contrary to Atty. Obmina’s filing of the complaint in Civil Case No. Atty.

B-5109. Mangapit. Obmina’s advanced age. Considering Atty. Macapagal. In the cases of Credito v. Obmina’s futile efforts of shifting the blame on Carandang only serve to emphasize his failure to notify Carandang that the trial court already promulgated a decision in Civil Case No. Instead of letting Carandang know of the adverse decision himself. it is the duty of an attorney to inform her client of whatever information she may have acquired which it is important that the client should have knowledge of. the Court AFFIRMS the resolution of the IBP Board of Governors approving and adopting the report and recommendation of the .[6] The relationship of lawyer-client being one of confidence.[7] The Court finds well-taken the recommendation of the IBP to suspend Atty. B-5109 that was adverse to Carandang’s interests. Atty. In Tolentino v. The lawyer should not leave the client in the dark on how the lawyer is defending the client’s interests. Notwithstanding Atty. Atty. Keeping the client informed of the developments of the case will minimize misunderstanding and [loss] of trust and confidence in the attorney. WHEREFORE. but through a chance visit to the trial court. explained the decision to him.[9] we imposed the same penalty upon attorneys who failed to update their clients on the status of their cases. Obmina himself.Atty. such penalty serves the purpose of protecting the interest of the public and legal profession. She should notify her client of any adverse decision to enable her client to decide whether to seek an appellate review thereof. Obmina’s inaction. Obmina’s subsequent withdrawal as Carandang’s lawyer. Atty. Obmina was still counsel of record at the time the trial court promulgated the decision in Civil Case No. we stated that: As an officer of the court. It is obvious that Carandang lost his right to file an appeal because of Atty. Obmina from the practice of law for one year. and advised them on further steps that could be taken. Obmina cannot overlook the fact that Carandang learned about the promulgation of the decision not through Atty. Gilbert S. there is ever present the need for the lawyer to inform timely and adequately the client of important developments affecting the client’s case. Sabio[8] and Pineda v. Obmina should have immediately contacted Carandang.

to be appended to respondent’s personal record as attorney. Atty. CORONA TERESITA J.Investigating Commissioner. Gilbert S. and WARNS him that a repetition of the same or similar offense will be dealt with more severely. SO ORDERED. copies shall be furnished the Integrated Bar of the Philippines and all courts in the country for their information and guidance. LEONARDO-DE . Obmina from the practice of law for one year. PUNO Chief Justice Chairperson RENATO CASTRO C. The Court SUSPENDS Atty. ANTONIO T. Likewise. CARPIO Associate Justice WE CONCUR: REYNATO S. Obmina is found GUILTY of violation of Canon 18 and of Rules 18. Gilbert S.04 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. Accordingly. Let copies of this Decision be furnished the Office of the Bar Confidant.03 and 18.

Associate Justice Justice Associate LUCAS P. Id. BERSAMIN Associate Justice [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] Rollo. . Mejares v. 611 (1983). 19 October 2005. Id. 607. at 125-135. Id. at 133-135. 473 SCRA 301. Id. pp. 4920.C. 619 (2004). at 124. 469 Phil. A. Romana. 209 Phil. 125-129. No. at 49. Atty.

. 6026. No. 476 SCRA 292.[9] A.C. 29 November 2005.

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