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Canon 6: CANNONS APPLY TO LAWYERS IN GOVERNMENT SERVICE R.A.

6713, Section 4 Prepared by: Michael Joseph Nogoy, JD 1 CASE No. 31 [A.C. No. 3056 August 16, 1991] FERNANDO T. COLLANTES, complainant, RENOMERON respondent. PONENTE: PER CURIAM: FACTS: Nature of the Complaint: Disbarment against Atty. Renomeron, Register of Deeds of Tacloban City This is in relation to the administrative case filed by Atty. Collantes, counsel for V& G Better Homes Subdivision, Inc. (V&G), against Atty. Renomeron, for the latters irregular actuations with regard to the application of V&G for registration of 163 pro forma Deed of Absolute Sale with Assignment (in favor of GSIS) of lots in its subdivision. Although V&G complied with the desired requirements, Renomeron suspended the registration of the documents with certain special conditions between them, which was that V&G should provide him with weekly round trip ticket from Tacloban to Manila plus P2,000.00 as pocket money per trip, or, in lieu thereof, the sale of respondents Quezon City house and lot by V&G or GSIS representatives. Eventually, Renomeron formally denied the registration of the documents. He himself elevated the question on the registrability of the said documents to Administrator Bonifacio (of the National Land Titles and Deeds Registration Administration-NLTDRA). The Administrator then resolved in favor of the registrability of the documents. Despite the resolution of the Administrator, Renomeron still refused the registration thereof but demanded from the parties interested the submission of additional requirements not adverted in his previous denial. ISSUES: Whether or not Atty. Renomeron, as a lawyer, may also be disciplined by the Court for his malfeasance as a public official.

Whether or not the Code of Professional Responsibility applies to government service in the discharge of official tasks.

HELD: Yes to both issues. RATIO DECIDENDI: On Issue No. 1 A lawyers misconduct as a public official also constitutes a violation of his oath as a lawyer. The lawyers oath imposes upon every lawyer the duty to delay no man for money or malice. The lawyers oath is a source of obligations and its violation is a ground for his suspension, disbarment or other disciplinary action. On Issue No. 2 The Code of Professional Responsibility applies to government service in the discharge of their official tasks (Canon 6). The Code forbids a lawyer to engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct (Rule 1.01, Code of Professional Responsibility), or delay any mans cause for any corrupt motive or interest (Rule 1.03). RULING: Attorney Vicente C. Renomeron is disbarred from the practice of law in the Philippines, and his name is stricken off the Roll of Attorneys.

vs.

ATTY.

VICENTE

C.

Canon 6: CANNONS APPLY TO LAWYERS IN GOVERNMENT SERVICE R.A. 6713, Section 4 Prepared by: Michael Joseph Nogoy, JD 1 CASE No. 32 [A. C. No. 6788, August 23, 2007 ] DIANA RAMOS, complainant, vs. ATTY. JOSE R. IMBANG respondent. PONENTE: PER CURIAM: FACTS: Nature of the Complaint: Disbarment or Suspension against Atty. Jose R. Imbang for multiple violations of the Code of Professional Responsibility. 1992, Ramos sought the assistance of Atty. Imbang in filing civil and criminal actions against the spouses Roque and Elenita Jovellanos. o She gave Imbang P8,500 as attorney's fees but the latter issued a receipt for P5,000 only. o Ramos tried to attend the scheduled hearings of her cases against the Jovellanoses. Imbang never allowed her to enter the courtroom and always told her to wait outside. He would then come out after several hours to inform her that the hearing had been cancelled and rescheduled. This happened six times and for each appearance in court, respondent charged her P350. (*Ito yung sinasabing case ni Atty. Canlas na nagdedelay ng case, lagging suspend ) o Ramos was shocked to learn that Imbang never filed any case against the Jovellanoses and that he was in fact employed in the Public Attorney's Office (PAO). (*Utak ni Imbang!) IMBANGs CONTENTIONS: o Ramos knew that he was in the government service from the very start. In fact, he first met the complainant when he was still a district attorney in the Citizen's Legal Assistance Office (predecessor of PAO) of Bian, Laguna and was assigned as counsel for Ramos' daughter. o In 1992, Ramos requested him to help her file an action for damages against the Jovellanoses. Because he was with the PAO and aware that Ramos was not an indigent, he declined. (*Alibi) o Nevertheless, he advised Ramos to consult Atty. Tim Ungson, a relative who was a private practitioner. Atty. Ungson, however, did not accept the case as she was unable to come up with the acceptance fee agreed upon.

Notwithstanding Atty. Ungson's refusal, Ramos allegedly remained adamant. She insisted on suing the Jovellanoses. Afraid that she might spend the cash on hand, Ramos asked Imbang to keep the P5,000 while she raised the balance of Atty. Ungson's acceptance fee. (*Utak talaga! Galing mag-alibi!) o On April 15, 1994, Imbang resigned from the PAO. A few months later or in September 1994, Ramos again asked Imbang to assist her in suing the Jovellanoses. Inasmuch as he was now a private practitioner, Imbang agreed to prepare the complaint. However, he was unable to finalize it as he lost contact with Ramos. IBP findings (CBD): o The CBD concluded that respondent violated the following provisions of the Code of Professional Responsibility: Rule 1.01. A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct. Rule 16.01. A lawyer shall account for all money or property collected or received for or from a client. Rule 18.01. A lawyer should not undertake a legal service which he knows or should know that he is not qualified to render. However, he may render such service if, with the consent of his client, he can obtain as collaborating counsel a lawyer who is competent on the matter. o CBD Recommendations: Suspension from the practice of law for three years and ordered him to immediately return to the complainant the amount of P5,000 which was substantiated by the receipt. o Board of Governors: adopted and approved the findings of the CBD, however, modified the CBD's recommendation with regard to the restitution ofP5,000 by imposing interest at the legal rate, reckoned from 1995 or, in case of Imbangs failure to return the total amount, an additional suspension of six months.

ISSUE: Whether or not Atty. Imbang should be disbarred. HELD: YES, as per SCs decision. RATIO DECIDENDI: Lawyers are expected to conduct themselves with honesty and integrity. More specifically, lawyers in government service are expected to be more conscientious of their actuations as they are subject to public scrutiny. They are not

only members of the bar but also public servants who owe utmost fidelity to public service. The SC supported this with three explanations: 1. Code of Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees Section 7(b)(2) of the Code of Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees provides: o Section 7. Prohibited Acts and Transactions. -- In addition to acts and omissions of public officials and employees now prescribed in the Constitution and existing laws, the following constitute prohibited acts and transactions of any public official and employee and are hereby declared unlawful: o (b) Outside employment and other activities related thereto, public officials and employees during their incumbency shall not: o (1) Engage in the private practice of profession unless authorized by the Constitution or law, provided that such practice will not conflict with their official function. In this instance, Imbang received P5,000 from the complainant and issued a receipt on July 15, 1992 while he was still connected with the PAO. Acceptance of money from a client establishes an attorney-client relationship. 2. Revised Administrative Code Section 14(3), Chapter 5, Title III, Book V of the Revised Administrative Code provides: o The PAO shall be the principal law office of the Government in extending free legal assistance to indigent persons in criminal, civil, labor, administrative and other quasi-judicial cases. As a PAO lawyer, Imbang should not have accepted attorney's fees from the complainant as this was inconsistent with the office's mission. 3. Code of Professional Responsibility Canon 1 of the Code of Professional Responsibility provides: o CANON 1. A LAWYER SHALL UPHOLD THE CONSTITUTION, OBEY THE LAWS OF THE LAND AND PROMOTE RESPECT FOR THE LAW AND LEGAL PROCESSES. Every lawyer is obligated to uphold the law. This undertaking includes the observance of the above-mentioned prohibitions blatantly violated by Imbang

when he accepted the complainant's cases and received attorney's fees in consideration of his legal services. Consequently, Imbang's acceptance of the cases was also a breach of Rule 18.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility because the prohibition on the private practice of profession disqualified him from acting as Ramos' counsel.