You are on page 1of 15

FLORES VS. CHUA 306 SCRA 465 FACTS: The complainant seeks the disbarment of respondent Atty.

Chua, a practicing lawyer and a notary public, for various offenses amounting to malpractice, gross misconduct, violation of his lawyers oath, the CPR as well as the provisions of the laws of the Philippines, to wit: (a) Fraud through falsification and forgery of public document; (b) foisting falsehood and fabricated public document to molest and harass parties; and (c) libel, misrepresentation and unlawful advertisement. ISSUE: Whether or not the charges against Atty. Chua sufficient to warrant disciplinary action against him. HELD: Yes. When a notary public is a lawyer, a graver responsibility is placed upon his shoulder by reason of his solemn oath to obey the laws and to do no falsehood or consent to the doing of any. The Code of Professional Responsibility also commands him not to engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct and to uphold at all times the integrity and dignity of legal profession. The bar should maintain a high standard of legal proficiency as well as honesty and fair dealing. A lawyer brings honor to the legal profession by faithfully performing his duties to society, to the bar, to the courts, and to his clients. RAMOS VS. Atty. DAJOYAG February 28, 2002 FACTS: This is a complaint filed by Ernesto M. Ramos against Atty. Mariano A. Dajoyag Jr. for negligence in failing to appeal a ruling of the NLRC, which affirmed the dismissal by the Labor Arbiter of a complaint for legal dismissal. It appears that Ramos was terminated from work for failure of his lawyer, Atty. Dajoyag, to file on time the petition for certiorari, when the Supreme Court dismissed it with finality. From the records, it can be gleaned that Atty. Dajoyag moved for an extension to file which was granted but the Resolution granting the 1st extension contained a warning that no further extension would be given. Atty. Dajoyag, on the other hand, explained that he was not aware of this because when he filed his motion for last extension for only 20 days, he had not yet received the copy of said resolution. He further explained that he relied on good faith that his

Motion for 1st Extension of 30 days would be granted without the warning as this was only a first extension; and also that he requested for a second and last extension of 20 days for which he complied with the filing of the Petition for Certiorari on the last day of the supposed extended period. ISSUE: Whether or not Atty. Ramos is guilty of negligence. HELD: Yes. Rule 12.03 of the Code of Professional Responsibility provides: A lawyer shall not, after obtaining extensions of time to file pleadings, memoranda or briefs, let the period lapse without submitting the same or offering an explanation for his failure to do so ". Motions for extension are not granted as a matter of right but in the sound discretion of the court, and lawyers should never presume that their motions for extension or postponement will be granted or that they will be granted the length of time they pray for. Due diligence requires that they should conduct a timely inquiry with the division clerks of court of the action on their motions and, the lack of notice thereof will not make them any less accountable for their omission. SPOUSES LIRIO U. RABANAL AND CAYETANO D. RABANAL VS. ATTY. FAUSTINO F. TUGADE A.C. NO. 1372. JUNE 27, 2002 Facts: This is an administrative complaint filed by complainant spouses Cayetano and Lirio Rabanal against Atty. Faustino F. Tugade. It is alleged that respondent, as counsel for complainant Cayetano Rabanal, did not file the appellants brief in the Court of Appeals despite having been granted by the appellate court an extension of time to file the same, as a result of which the appeal filed by Cayetano was dismissed and the decision of the then Circuit Criminal Court of Tuguegarao, Cagayan became final and executory. Respondent claims however that he was not the counsel of complainant Cayetano Rabanal prior to the filing of a motion for reconsideration before the Court of Appeals and he could not be held responsible for the dismissal of complainants appeal for failure of counsel to file the appellants brief. Issue: Whether or not the lawyer should be disciplined

Held: Yes. The absence of a written contract does not preclude a finding that there was a professional relationship which merits attorneys fees for professional services rendered. A written contract is not an essential element in the employment of an attorney; the contract may be express or implied. To establish the relation, it is sufficient that the advice and assistance of an attorney is sought and received in any matter pertinent to his profession. In this case, complainant sought and received legal advice from respondent Tugade, who admitted that he agreed to sign the appellants brief to be filed and that he received P600.00 from complainant spouses. It is therefore clear that a lawyer-client relationship existed between the two. He thus violated the Code of Professional Responsibility which provides: RULE 12.03. A lawyer shall not, after obtaining extensions of time to file pleadings, memoranda or briefs, let the period lapse without submitting the same or offering an explanation for his failure to do so. RULE 18.03. A lawyer shall not neglect a legal matter entrusted to him, and his negligence in connection therewith shall render him liable. ARRIETA VS. LLOSA A.C. No. 4369 [1997[ 282 SCRA 248 FACTS: Arrieta filed a petition for disbarment upon the ground that Atty. Llosa notarized an Absolute Deed of Sale knowing that some who were parties to it were dead. The vendors in the instant deed were dead when Llosa affixed his signature on the notarized document. Later on, complainant moved to dismiss the complaint as a product of his misapprehension of the facts. The Investigating Commissioner of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) followed by the Board of the Governors of the IBP recommended the dismissal of the case finding no compelling reason to continue with the disbarment proceedings. The Court did not agree however. Llosa contends that he merely notarized the sale for expediency because it was urgent. ISSUE: Whether or not Llosa should be disbarred on account of violation of his lawyers oath by notarizing a document knowing that the vendors of the Absolute Deed of Sale at that time when he notarized it were dead. HELD:

Being his first Administrative offense, he was only suspended for six months. The act of a notary public is impressed with public interest. Notarized documents are ascribed with full confidence by the Courts and the general public. To countenance these irregular acts would endanger the full faith and credit given upon its face and would undermine the evidentiary weight given to it by the Courts to assure the public of its authenticity. DE GUZMAN VS. DE DIOS 350 SCRA 320 [2001] FACTS: Diana De Guzman filed a disbarment complaint against Atty. De Dios for representing conflicting interests. Complainant averred that she engaged the services of respondent in 1995 as counsel in order to form a hotel and restaurant corporation. With the assistance of respondent, said corporation was registered with the SEC. Respondent also represented complainant in one case involving a property of the corporation. Respondent however averred that since the action involved a property of the corporation, she represented complainant to protect the interests of the corporation, she being its legal counsel. Complainant also averred that while respondent rose to become president of the corporation, she lost all her investments when her delinquent shares were sold by the corporation in a public auction upon the advise of respondent. The IBP dismissed the complaint on the ground that there was no attorney client relationship. ISSUE: Whether there was attorney client relationship which may justify holding respondent guilty of representing conflicting interests. HELD: Yes. It was complainant who retained respondent to form a corporation. She appeared as counsel in behalf of the complainant. There was also evidence of collusion between the board of directors and respondent. Indeed, the board of directors now included respondent as the president. It was also upon her advice that the delinquent shares of complainant were sold at public auction. The present situation shows a clear case of conflict of interests of the respondent. DOMINADOR P. BURBE VS. ATTY. ALBERTO

C. MAGULTA AC NO. 99-634. JUNE 10, 2002 Facts: Petitioner engaged the services of the respondent to help him recover a claim of money against a creditor. Respondent prepared demand letters for the petitioner, which were not successful and so the former intimated that a case should already be filed. As a result, petitioner paid the lawyer his fees and included also amounts for the filing of the case. A couple of months passed but the petitioner has not yet received any feedback as to the status of his case. Petitioner made several follow-ups in the lawyers office but to no avail. The lawyer, to prove that the case has already been filed even invited petitioner to come with him to the Justice Hall to verify the status of the case. Petitioner was made to wait for hours in the prosecutors office while the lawyer allegedly went to the Clerk of Court to inquire about the case. The lawyer went back to the petitioner with the news that the Clerk of Court was absent that day. Suspicious of the acts of the lawyer, petitioner personally went to the office of the clerk of court to see for himself the status of his case. Petitioner found out that no such case has been filed. Petitioner confronted Atty. Magulta where he continued to lie to with the excuse that the delay was being caused by the court personnel, and only when shown the certification did he admit that he has not at all filed the complaint because he had spent the money for the filing fee for his own purpose; and to appease petitioners feelings, he offered to reimburse him by issuing two (2) checks, postdated June 1 and June 5, 1999, in the amounts of P12,000.00 and P8,000.00, respectively. Issue: Whether or not the lawyer should be disbarred. Held: Yes. The Supreme Court upheld the decision of the Commission on Bar Discipline of the IBP as follows: It is evident that the P25,000 deposited by complainant with the Respicio Law Office was for the filing fees of the Regwill complaint. With complainants deposit of the filing fees for the Regwill complaint, a corresponding obligation on the part of respondent was created and that was to file the Regwill complaint within the time frame contemplated by his client. The failure of respondent to fulfill this obligation due to his misuse of the filing fees deposited by complainant, and his attempts to cover up this misuse of funds of the client, which caused complainant additional damage and prejudice, constitutes highly dishonest conduct on his part,

unbecoming a member of the law profession. The subsequent reimbursement by the respondent of part of the money deposited by complainant for filing fees, does not exculpate the respondent for his misappropriation of said funds. ALITAGTAG VS. Atty. GARCIA February 6, 2002 FACTS: This is a petition for disbarment against respondent Atty. Virgilio R. Garcia for the falsification of a deed of donation and notarizing the same. It appears that Atty. Garcia notarized the Deed of Donation covering a parcel of land. When said document was examined by the PNP Laboratory upon complaint of Violeta Flores Alitagtag, it certified that the questioned signature in the Deed of Donation and the standard signatures of the deceased donor, Caesar B. Flores, WERE NOT WRITTEN BY ONE AND THE SAME PERSON. Hence, the Deed of Donation was declared falsified and thus, null and void by the lower court. As a result of such findings, the IBP recommended the suspension of Atty. Garcia from the practice of law for two (2) years. ISSUE: Whether or not there is reasonable ground to believe that Atty. Garcia be disbarred. HELD: YES. Article 2103, Sec.1(4) provides that a notary public shall certify that the person acknowledging the instrument or document is known to him and that he is the same person who executed it, and acknowledged that the Deed of Donation is authentic. He assisted his father-in-law, the donor, in executing the same. By notarizing the document, he likewise acknowledged that the signature therein is the donors true signature. Where the notary public is a lawyer, a graver responsibility is placed upon his shoulder by reason of his solemn oath to obey the laws and to do no falsehood or consent to the doing of any. A notary who acknowledged a document that was a forgery destroys the integrity and dignity of the legal profession. He does not deserve to continue as member of the bar. LINDA M. SACMAR vs. JUDGE AGNES REYES-CARPIO A.M. No. RTJ-03-1766 March 28, 2008 YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.:

FACTS: In the case filed by complainant Sacmar against Zoren Legaspi in the MTC of Pasig City, the latter was convicted for grave threats and was sentenced to arresto mayor and and to pay complainant moral damages of twenty thousand pesos (P20,000.00). Upon appeal by Legaspi, RTC Judge Reyes-Carpio (herein respondent) modified the decision, finding the accused guilty only of Other Light Threats under Article 265 of the RPC, reducing the penalty to arresto menor and to pay moral damages of ten thousand pesos (P10,000). Complainant claims that respondent judge wittingly afforded unwarranted benefits to the accused which caused undue injury to her as private complainant in the case. She likewise avers that respondent judge exhibited manifest partiality towards the accused when she disregarded the evidence on record in modifying the decision of the MTC by downgrading the conviction of Legaspi from Grave Threats to Other Light Threats thereby reducing the criminal and civil liabilities of Legaspi. Respondent vehemently denied all the charges, claiming that she "rendered her decision in good faith, without malice, and without any conscious and deliberate intent to favor a movie actor whom she does not even know. In her Reply, complainant pointed out that respondent judge, in her Comment, failed to explain why she unilaterally downgraded the conviction of accused Legaspi. In effect, respondent judge has impliedly admitted the charges against her when she failed to specifically challenge these charges. Complainant assailed the claim of respondent judge that the downgrading of the offense was rendered in good faith and without malice. ISSUE: Whether or not Respondent Judge rendered an unjust judgment pursuant to Art. 204, RPC and for violation of Section 3(e) of RA 3019, the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act. HELD: Case dismissed for lack of merit. As a rule, the acts of a judge which pertain to his judicial functions are not subject to disciplinary power unless they are committed with fraud, dishonesty, corruption or bad faith. To hold otherwise would be to render judicial office untenable, for no one called upon to try the facts or interpret the law in

the process of administering justice can be infallible in his judgment. A perusal of the records, particularly the assailed decision of respondent judge, hardly show that respondent judge has indeed knowingly and deliberately rendered an unjust judgment. Complainant failed to satisfactorily show that respondent judge acted in bad faith, with malice or in willful disregard of her right as a litigant. For a charge of knowingly rendering an unjust judgment to prosper, it must be shown that the judgment was unjust, and not that the judge merely committed an error of judgment or took the unpopular side of a controversial point of law. He must have known that his judgment was indeed unjust. The failure of a judge to correctly interpret the law or to properly appreciate the evidence presented does not necessarily render him administratively liable. The ruling of the Court in Basa Air Base Savings & Loans Association, Inc. v. Judge Gregorio G. Pimentel, Jr. is instructive: A charge of knowingly rendering an unjust judgment constitutes a criminal offense. The keyword in said offense is "knowingly." Thus, the complainant must not only prove beyond reasonable doubt that the judgment is patently contrary to law or not supported by the evidence but that it was also made with deliberate intent to perpetrate an injustice. A judges mere error in the interpretation or application of the law per se will not warrant the imposition of an administrative sanction against him for no one is infallible. Good faith and absence of malice, corrupt motives or improper consideration are sufficient defenses that will protect a judicial officer from the charge of rendering an unjust decision. At any rate, complainant is not left without any remedy to question the soundness of the decision of respondent judge. Unfortunately, the records of this case do not reveal that complainant has utilized such avenues to seek a review of the penalty imposed by respondent judge. Only accused Zoren Legaspi elevated the matter before the Court of Appeals. The filing of this administrative case would not have the effect of setting aside or modifying the penalty imposed on accused Zoren Legaspi in the assailed judgment. In Nelson Rodriguez and Ricardo Camacho v. Judge Rodolfo Gatdula, we had occasion to reiterate the

ruling enunciated in In Re: Joaquin T. Borromeo, to wit: An administrative complaint against a judge cannot be pursued simultaneously with the judicial remedies accorded to parties aggrieved by his erroneous order or judgment. Administrative remedies are neither alternative nor cumulative to judicial review where such review is available to the aggrieved parties and the same has not yet been resolved with finality. For until there is a final declaration by the appellate court that the challenged order or judgment is manifestly erroneous, there will be no basis to conclude whether respondent judge is administratively liable. METROBANK VS. COURT OF APPEALS G.R. No. 86100-03 [1990] FACTS: Petitioner Metrobank filed a petition for review on certiorari as appellate court affirms the decision of the trial court expressing its view that petitioner should pay the charging lien on the civil case filed against them which result into a dismissal. Based upon subsequent dismissal of the said case, private respondents filed a motion to fix its attorneys fees based on quantum meruit, resulting to an exchange between the parties. Petitioners aver that they have paid services of its lawyers in full but the latter contends that partial amounts forwarded to them did not consist of payment. To avoid adverse confrontation, petitioners offered to pay P600,000 in which case respondents refused. Both trial court and appellate court commanded petitioner to pay the amount of P936,000 based on the charging liens of the dismissed civil case against them. ISSUES: (1) Whether or not private respondent is entitled to the enforcement of its charging lien to satisfy attorneys fees; (2) Whether or not a separate civil suit is necessary for the enforcement of such lien; (3) Whether or not private respondent is entitled to twenty-five percent (25%) of the actual and current market values of the litigated properties on a quantum meruit basis. HELD: Court holds that respondent cannot charge a lien due to the dismissal of the civil case. Such enforceability is only applicable to money claims and only to dismissed judgments if there is an applicable law or pre-existing agreement between the parties (7A CJS 756). In addition, the fixing of attorneys fees are

determined in a separate civl action. Accordingly, in fixing compensation based on quantum meruit, three conditions are to be considered: (1) the importance of the subject matter in controversy, (2) the extent of the services rendered, and (3) the professional standing of the lawyer. Likewise, the Court reiterates the legal professions manifest mandate for public service instead of capital gain. Its aim is to uphold public interest and not profiteering. Court grants petition on a review for certiorari and reverses the decision of inferior courts. Appropriate proceedings may be commenced by respondent to establish attorneys fees. switycake (June 7, 2007; J. Garcia, Ponente; Special Third Division) Facts: By reason of a verified Petition (alleging acts of deceit, malpractice, grave misconduct, grossly immoral conduct and violation of oath as a lawyer) by his estranged wife, Atty. Justo J. Paras was suspended 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. During the pendency of Atty. Paras motion for reconsideration, complainant-movant filed with the SC a 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 a resolution, the SC denied Atty. Paras motion for reconsideration of his suspension, and, at the same time, directed him to file his comment on the motion for contempt and/or disbarment. He failed to file a comment. Issue: Whether or not Atty. Paras should be disbarred for violating the one-year suspension order? Ruling: There is no sufficient basis to support petitionermovants allegation that Atty. Paras violated the Courts suspension order, what with the fact that Atty. Paras himself took the initiative to inform the lower courts of his one-year suspension from law practice. 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. 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, as much as judges, are responsible for the orderly administration of justice. However, for his failure to comply with the specific Order of the SC (for him to file his comment), Atty. Paras was reprimanded, with a warning that a more drastic punishment will be imposed upon him for a repetition of the same act. All lawyers are expected to recognize the authority of the Supreme Court and obey its lawful processes and orders. Despite errors which one may impute on the orders of the Court, these must be respected, especially by the bar or the lawyers who are themselves officers of the courts. It is well to emphasize again that a resolution of the Supreme Court is not be construed as a mere request, nor should it be complied with partially, inadequately or selectively. Court orders are to be respected not because the justices or judges who issue them should be respected, but because of the respect and consideration that should be extended to the judicial branch of the government. This is absolutely essential if our government is to be a government of laws and not of men. The imposition of this sanction in the present case would be more consistent with the avowed purpose of a disciplinary case, 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. OFFICE OF THE COURT ADMINISTRATOR VS. LADAGA 350 SCRA 326 [2001] FACTS: Atty. Ladaga, an RTC Branch Clerk of Court, acted as pro bono counsel for a relative in a criminal case, without the previous authority from the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court as required by the Administrative Code. An administrative complaint was filed against Atty. Ladaga for practicing law without permission from the Department Head (CJ) as required by law. Atty. Ladaga justified his appearance as he merely gave a free legal assistance to a relative and that he was on an approved leave of absence during his appearances as such counsel. Moreover, the presiding judge of the court to which he is assigned knew his appearances as such counsel. ISSUE:

Whether Atty. Ladagas appearances as a pro bono counsel for a relative constitutes practice of law as prohibited by the Administrative Code. HELD: No. Practice of law to fall within the prohibition of the statute should be customarily or habitually holding ones self to the public as a lawyer and demanding payment for such services. It does not pertain to isolated court appearances as in this case. Nevertheless, for his failure to obtain a prior permission from the head of the Department (CJ) as required by law, respondent was reprimanded. SOLEDAD NUEZ VS. ATTY. ROMULO RICAFORT A.C. NO. 5054. MAY 29, 2002 Facts: Sometime in October 1982 petitioner authorized respondent attorney to sell her two parcels of land located in Legazpi City for P40,000. She agreed to give respondent 10 percent of the price as commission. Respondent succeeded in selling the lots, but despite complainants repeated demands, he did not turn over to her the proceeds of the sale. This forced complainant to file against respondent and his wife an action for a sum of money before the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City. Respondent was declared in default and judgment was rendered in favor of petitioner. Respondent appealed said decision to the Court of Appeals but the same was dismissed for failure to pay the docket fee within the required period. A writ of execution was issued, it appeared however that only a partial amount has been paid by the lawyer. Four postdated checks were subsequently issued to cover the balance. Said checks however, upon presentment were dishonored because the account against which they were drawn was closed. Demands to make good the checks were to no avail so a case for violation of BP 22 was filed by petitioner. The lawyer denied the allegations and filed several motions for extension of time to file comment. Complainant filed a motion to cite lawyer for contempt for his alleged delaying tactics unbecoming of a lawyer and a law dean. Issue: What is the liability of the lawyer? Held: Atty. Romulo Ricafort is guilty of grave misconduct in his dealings with complainant. Rule 1:01 of Canon

1 of the Code of Professional Responsibility which provides that A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest and immoral or deceitful conduct. Respondent had no intention to honor the money judgment against him in as can be gleaned from his (1) issuance of postdated checks; (2) closing of the account against which said checks were drawn; and (3) continued failure to make good the amounts of the checks. PENTICOSTES VS. IBANEZ 304 SCRA 281 FACTS: The sister-in-law of Atty. Penticostes was sued for non- remittance of SSS payments. The respondent, Pros. Ibanez was given by the sister-in-law of Penticostes P1,804 as payment of her SSS contribution arrears but said respondent did not remit the amount to the system. Complainant filed with the RTC a complaint for professional misconduct against Ibanez due to the latters failure to remit to the SSS her contribution and for respondents misappropriation of the amount. ISSUE: Whether or not respondents act amounted to violation of his oath as a lawyer. HELD: Yes. Non-remittance by a public prosecutor for over one year of funds entrusted to him constitutes conduct in gross violation of Rule 1.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility which provides that a lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral, or deceitful conduct. Lawyers are bound to promptly account for money or property received by them on behalf of their clients and failure to do so constitutes professional misconduct. NUNGA VS. VIRAY 306 SCRA 487 FACTS: Victor Nunga, president of the Masantol Rural Bank filed a complaint for disbarment against Atty. Viray on the ground of gross and serious misconduct for notarizing documents when he was not commissioned to do so at the time the said documents were executed. ISSUE: Whether or not the respondents act is a valid ground for disbarment. HELD:

Yes. Where the notarization of a document is done by a member of the Philippine Bar at a time when he has no authorization or commission to do so, the offender may be subjected to disciplinary action. For one, performing a notarial without such commission is a violation of the lawyers oath to obey the laws, more specifically, the Notarial Law. A notarial document is by law entitled to full faith and credit upon its face. For this reason, notaries public must observe with utmost care the basic requirements in the performance of their duties. GALEN VS. PAGUIRIGAN March 21, 2002 FACTS: This is a complaint for disbarment and damages filed by spouses Lolita and Romy Galen, spouses Enriqueta and Tomas Rasdas, and spouses Esperanza and Ernesto Villa against Atty. Antonio B. Paguirigan. It appears that Atty. Paguirigan failed to file the Appellees Brief for the complainants due to his mistaken belief that the trial courts decision would be affirmed. To make matters worse, after being granted a 30-day extension of the time to file a petition for review of the decision of the Court of Appeals, he again lost through default the benefit of the extension granted as he failed to file his petition for review within the extended period granted. He faults the Supreme Court in not acting on his motion until close to the end of the 30-day period he was asking for. ISSUE: Whether Atty. Paguirigan is guilty of gross negligence in the performance of his duty. HELD: Yes. While the failure to file the appellees brief in a case is not a ground for an adverse ruling against the appellee, unlike the failure to file the appellants brief which may result in the dismissal of an appeal, nonetheless, the importance of filing an appellees brief cannot be gainsaid. As has been pointed out repeatedly, Upon appeal, the appellate court, not being in position to hear firsthand the testimony of parties, can only place great reliance on the briefs and memoranda of the parties. The failure to submit these pleadings could very well be fatal to the cause of the client. Worse, respondent failed to file his petition for review within the extended period granted and even faulting the SC for his failure. It only succeeds in showing his ignorance of two basic principles: first, that a party cannot presume that his motion will be

granted, and, second, that any extension granted is always counted from the last day of the reglementary period or the last period of extension previously sought and/ or granted. The last rule is important because unless the extension from the last day of the reglementary period or the day of last extension is granted, this period would become inextendible. Respondent is thus guilty of violation of Rule 12.03 0f the Code of Professional responsibility which provides that A lawyer shall not, after obtaining extensions of time to file pleadings, memoranda, or briefs, let the period lapse without submitting the same or offering an explanation for hi failure to do so. VILLAFLOR VS. SARITA 308 SCRA 129 FACTS: Complainant filed a case for disbarment against respondent before the IBP Commission on Bar Discipline. The Commissioner assigned to investigate the case issued an order directing respondent to file his answer or comment to the complaint. The period of time alloted to answer the complaint lapsed without respondent submitting his comment. An order was issued requiring the parties to attend the hearing of the case but the respondent failed to appear. A notice of hearing was sent to respondent but again he failed to attend the proceeding. After giving the respondent enough opportunity to face the charges against him, which the latter did not avail, the case was submitted for resolution. ISSUE: Whether or not failure to obey notices from the IBP investigators constitutes an unethical act. HELD: Yes. As an officer of the court, it is the duty of a lawyer to uphold the dignity and authority of the court to which he owes fidelity, according to the oath he has taken. It is his foremost responsibility to observe and maintain the respect due to the courts of justice and judicial officers. The highest form of respect to the judicial authority is shown by a lawyers obedience to court orders and processes. ERLINDA ABRAGAN ET.AL. VS. ATTY MAXIMO RODRIGUEZ A.C. NO. 4346. APRIL 3, 2002 Facts: Sometime in 1986, complainants hired the services of the respondent to represent in a case before the MTCC of Cagayan de Oro City. The case was won

by the complainants. Subsequently, when the lawyer allegedly surreptitiously dealt with the subject property with other persons, the petitioner severed the lawyer client relationship. On August 1991, complainants filed a case of indirect contempt against Sheriff Fernando Loncion et al. Much to their surprise, respondent represented the sheriff. Since the counsel employed by the complainants was a former student of respondent, said counsel, egged by the suggestions of respondent withdrew the case without the petitioners consent. That as a result of such withdrawal, subsequent events occurred to the prejudice of the complainants. Issue: Whether or not Atty. Rodriguez should be disbarred. Held: Yes. In the present case, respondent clearly violated Rule 15.03 of Canon 15 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, which provides that a lawyer shall not represent conflicting interests except by written consent of all concerned given after full disclosure of the facts. LOLITA ARTEZUELA VS. ATTY. RICARTE B. MADERAZO A.C. NO. 4354. APRIL 22, 2002 Facts: Artezuela filed before the Supreme Court a verified complaint for disbarment against the respondent. She alleged that respondent grossly neglected his duties her lawyer in a damage suit and failed to represent her interests with zeal and enthusiasm. According to her, when her case was scheduled for pre-trial conference, respondent asked for its postponement although all the parties were present. Notwithstanding complainants persistent and repeated follow-up, respondent did not do anything to keep the case moving. He withdrew as counsel without obtaining complainants consent. Complainant also claimed that respondent engaged in activities inimical to her interests. While acting as her counsel, respondent prepared Echavias Answer to the Amended Complaint. The said document was even printed in respondents office. Complainant further averred that it was respondent who sought the dismissal of the case, misleading the trial court into thinking that the dismissal was with her consent. Issue: Whether or not the lawyer should be disbarred. Held:

Yes. He is guilty of representing conflicting interests prohibited by Rule 15.03 of Canon 15 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. To be guilty of representing conflicting interests, a counsel-of-record of one party need not also be counsel-of-record of the adverse party. He does not have to publicly hold himself as the counsel of the adverse party, nor make his efforts to advance the adverse partys conflicting interests of record--although these circumstances are the most obvious and satisfactory proof of the charge. It is enough that the counsel of one party had a hand in the preparation of the pleading of the other party, claiming adverse and conflicting interests with that of his original client. To require that he also be counsel-of-record of the adverse party would punish only the most obvious form of deceit and reward, with impunity, the highest form of disloyalty.

accused manifested that since his client had already pleaded guilty he would no longer present any evidence. He only invoked the mitigating circumstances of plea of guilty. ISSUE: Whether or not the counsel de officio of the accused acted properly as defense counsel. HELD: No. Canon 18 of the Code of Professional Responsibility requires every lawyer to serve his client with utmost dedication, competence and diligence. He must not neglect a legal matters entrusted to him, and his negligence in this regard renders him administratively liable. In the instant case, the defense lawyer did not protect, much less uphold the fundamental rights of the accused. Instead, they haphazardly performed their function as counsel de officio to the detriment and prejudice of the accused.

REONTOY VS. IBADLIT A.C. CBD No. 190 Feb. 4, 1999 302 SCRA 604 FACTS: An adverse decision was rendered by the trial court against the client of Atty. Ibadlit. He did not appeal the decision because of his opinion that to appeal would be futile. An administrative complaint was later filed by Atty. Ibadlits client against him for failure to file an appeal within the reglementary period. ISSUE: Whether a lawyer may refuse to file an appeal on behalf of his client when in his opinion to make an appeal would be futile. HELD: No. It was highly improper for him to have adopted such opinion since a lawyer is without authority to waive his clients right to appeal and his failure to appeal within the prescribed period constituted negligence and malpractice. Under Rule 18.03, Canon 18 0f the CPR a lawyer shall not neglect a legal matter entrusted to him and his negligence in connection therewith shall render him liable. PEOPLE VS. SEVILLENO 305 SCRA 519 FACTS: The accused was charged with the crime of rape with homicide committed against a 9 year old minor. He entered the plea of guilty for the crime charged. When the prosecution rested its case, Atty. Saldavia of the PAO appointed as counsel de oficio for the

ONG VS. UNTO February 6, 2002 FACTS: This is a disbarment case filed by Alex Ong against Atty. Elpidio D. Unto, for malpractice of law and conduct unbecoming of a lawyer. It is evident from the records that he tried to coerce the complainant to comply with his letter-demand by threatening to file various charges against the latter. When the complainant did not heed his warning, he made good his threat and filed a string of criminal and administrative cases against the complainant. They, however, did not have any bearing or connection to the cause of his client, The records show that the respondent offered monetary rewards to anyone who could provide him any information against the complainant just so he would have leverage in his actions against the latter.

ISSUE: Whether or not Atty. Untos acts constitute malpractice. HELD: Yes. Canon 19 of the Code of Professional Responsibility mandates lawyers to represent their clients with zeal but within the bounds of the law. Rule 19.01 further commands that a lawyer shall employ only fair and honest means to attain the lawful objectives of his client and shall not present, participate, or threaten to present unfounded criminal

charges to obtain an improper advantage in any case or proceeding. EMILIANO COURT TOWNHOUSES HOMEOWNERS ASSOCIATION VS. Atty. MICHAEL DIONEDA ADM. CASE No. 5162; MARCH 20, 2003. FACTS: In 1997, complainant ETCHA and respondent entered into a Retainers Agreement wherein respondent lawyer agreed to handle the case of the complainant against LVF Realty, Mr. Tinsay and BPI Family Savings Bank by way of filing a complaint in intervention. ETCHA alleged that after respondent received the amount of Php 20, 000, he did nothing for the development of the case and to update the complaint-in-intervention. ETCHA then demanded the return of the amount received by respondent since he did nothing to protect the interest of the complainant. Respondent promised to return the amount but after deducting therefrom a reasonable fee for the efforts exerted by him. He averred that the agreement also included an earlier case with the HLURB where he was able to obtain a favorable judgment for the complainant. It appears however that respondent, for one reason or another, failed to attend any hearing with the IBP Commission on Bar Discipline tasked to hear this administrative complaint. ISSUE: Whether or not respondent is entitled to compensation based on the Retainers Agreement? If not, is he entitled to compensation based on quantum meruit? HELD: He is not entitled to compensation neither based on the Retainers Agreement nor on quantum meruit. Generally, a valid written agreement fixing attorneys fees is conclusive as between the parties. And when both parties are deemed to have impliedly repudiated the contract and placed themselves in the position as though there was no express stipulation as to the attorneys fees, the lawyers compensation shall be determined on the basis of quantum meruit. Here, the Supreme Court considered the demand of ETCHA for the refund of the entire amount received as attorneys fees and the counter proposal of respondent to deduct reasonable fees for the efforts exerted by him as implied repudiation of the contract by both parties. However, to deserve compensation based on quantum

meruit the lawyer must prove by substantial evidence that he is entitled to a reasonable fee for his efforts in pursuing his clients case with the court taking into account certain factors in fixing the amount of his fees. It is noteworthy to point out respondents failure to attend any hearing of his disbarment case before the IBP without presenting any reason. Respondents lamentable attitude towards his clients case is clearly evident from his apparent disinterest in his own case for disbarment. Therefore, for having missed the opportunities to present evidence in his favor without any satisfactory explanation as to his non-appearance, he should be denied compensation based on quantum meruit due to the lack of any factual basis to determine the value of his work as complainants counsel.

DBP VS. CA 302 SCRA 362 FACTS: The DBP filed with the office of the sheriff of Malolos an application for extra-judicial foreclosure of real and personal properties involving several real and or chattel mortgage executed by the Continental Cement Corporation (CCC). The CCC filed a complaint with the RTC to principally sought to enjoin the DPB and sheriff of Malolos, Bulacan from commencing the foreclosure proceedings on CCCs mortgage. A hearing was scheduled for the sole purpose of examining three of CCCs witnesses but their counsels were not present. Counsels justified their absence due to the failure of the former counsel to turn over the records of the case despite several demands. ISSUE: Whether or not the absences of counsels are justified under the circumstances. HELD: No. The withdrawal of previous counsel in the thick of the proceedings would be a reasonable ground to seek postponement of the hearing. However, such reason necessitates a duty and obligation, on the part of the new counsel to prepare himself for the next scheduled hearing. The excuse that it was due to the former counsels failure to turn over the records of the case shows the negligence of the new counsel to actively recover the records of the case. More demands are not sufficient. Counsel should have taken adequate steps to fully protect the interest of his

client, rather than pass the blame on the previous counsel. A new counsel who appears in a case in midstream is presumed obliged to acquaint himself with all the antecedent process and proceedings that have transferred prior to his takeover.

ANGELITA C. ORCINO vs. ATTY. GASPAR A.C. No. 3773 , September 24, 1997 Facts: Orcino engaged the services of Atty. Gaspar to prosecute a criminal case she intended to file against several suspects in the slaying of her husband. Complainant paid respondent his fees as stipulated. Forthwith, respondent entered into his duties and performed them religiously from the preliminary investigation with the office of the prosecutor until the case was thereafter filed with the RTC of Baloc, Sto. Domingo, Nueva Ecija. Respondent however failed to attend the bail hearing scheduled in August 1991. It was at this nearing that the court, over complainant's objections, granted bail to all the accused. After the hearing, complainant immediately went to respondent's residence and confronted him with his absence. Respondent explained that he did not receive formal notice of the hearing. Complainant became belligerent and started accusing him of jeopardizing the case by his absence. Respondent said that her suspicions were based on rumors and intrigues fed to her by her relatives. Complainant, however, continued accusing him belligerently. She asked for the records of the case saying that she could refer them to another lawyer. Stung by her words, respondent gave her the records. Subsequently, respondent filed before the trial court a "Motion to Withdraw as Counsel" but it did not bear the consent of complainant. The court issued an order directing respondent to secure complainant's consent to the motion "and his appearance as private prosecutor shall continue until he has secured this consent." Complainant refused to sign her conformity to respondent's withdrawal. Meanwhile, the hearings in the criminal case continued. Respondent did not appear at the hearings nor did he contact complainant. Complainant was thus compelled to engage the services of another lawyer. Hence, this complaint. Issue: Whether or not a lawyer is excused from his duty to represent his client if said client refuses to give his consent to the lawyers motion to withdraw his appearance. Held: No. A lawyer may retire at any time from any action

or special proceeding with the written consent of his client filed in court and copy thereof served upon the adverse party. Should the client refuse to give his consent, the lawyer must file an application with the court. The court, on notice to the client and adverse party, shall determine whether he ought to be allowed to retire. The application for withdrawal must be based on a good cause. In the instant case, respondent did not file an application with the court for it to determine whether he should be allowed to withdraw. Corollary issue: Granting that the Motion to withdraw appearance filed by respondent is sufficient as to form, is it based upon a good cause? No. Rule 22.01 of Canon 22 of the Code of Professional Responsibility provides: A lawyer may withdraw his services from his client only in the following instances: (a) when a client insists upon an unjust or immoral conduct of his case; (b) when the client insists that the lawyer pursue conduct violative of the Code of Professional Responsibility; (c) when the client has two or more retained lawyers and the lawyers could not get along to the detriment of the case; (d) when the mental or physical condition of the lawyer makes him incapable of handling the case effectively; (e) when the client deliberately fails to pay the attorney's fees agreed upon; (f) when the lawyer is elected or appointed to public office; (g) other similar cases. Respondent's withdrawal was made on the ground that "there no longer exist[ed] the . . . confidence" between them and that there had been "serious differences between them relating to the manner of private prosecution." This circumstance is neither one of the foregoing instances nor can it be said that it is analogous thereof.

ATTY. DANIEL O. OSUMO VS. JUDGE RODOLFO M. SERRANO A.M. NO. RTJ-00-1607. APRIL 3, 2002 Facts: A complaint was filed against respondent judge in connection with a criminal case for Murder with Multiple Frustrated Murder pending in his sala. Complainant is the private prosecutor in the abovementioned criminal case. He alleged that respondent judge, after denying the accuseds demurrer to evidence without prior leave of court, set the continuation of the hearing for the reception of defense evidence, in disregard of Rule 119, Section 15 of the Rules of Court. Complainant contends that the demurrer to evidence without prior leave of court

amounted to a waiver of the right to present evidence upon denial thereof. Thus, the prosecution filed a motion to submit the case for judgment, which was however denied. Moreover, respondent judge failed to resolve the prosecutions formal offer of evidence. Respondent judge filed his Comment, arguing that while a demurrer to evidence without prior leave of court amounted to a waiver of the right to present evidence, the accused in Criminal Case No. 2693 was charged with the heinous crime of Murder with Multiple Frustrated Murder. Hence, procedural rules should not prevail over the right of the accused to be heard. Issue: Is the judge liable for gross ignorance of law?

Held: Yes. Observance of the law which he is bound to know and swore to uphold is required of every judge. When the law is sufficiently basic, a judge owes it to his office to simply apply it; anything less than that would be constitutive of gross ignorance of the law. In short, when the law is so elementary, not to be aware of it constitutes gross ignorance of the law. The filing of the demurrer to evidence without leave of court and its subsequent denial results in the submission of the case for judgment on the basis of the evidence on record. Considering that the governing rules on demurrer to evidence is a fundamental component of criminal procedure, respondent judge had the obligation to observe the same, regardless of the gravity of the offense charged. It is not for him to grant concessions to the accused who failed to obtain prior leave of court. The rule is clear that upon the denial of the demurrer to evidence in this case, the accused, who failed to ask for leave of court, shall waive the right to present evidence in his behalf. EUGENIA MENDOZA vs. ATTY. VICTOR V. DECIEMBRE A.C. No. 5338 February 23, 2009 (en banc) **Any departure from the path which a lawyer must follow as demanded by the virtues of his profession shall not be tolerated by this Court as the disciplining authority for there is perhaps no profession after that of the sacred ministry in which a high-toned morality is more imperative than that of law.

Complainant Augenia Mendoza, a mail sorter at the Central Post Office Manila, borrowed from Rodela Loans, Inc., through respondent Atty. Victor Deciembre, the amount of P20,000.00 payable in six months at 20% interest, secured by 12 blank checks, with numbers 47253, 47256 to 47266, drawn against the Postal Bank. Although she was unable to faithfully pay her obligations on their due dates, she made remittances, however, to respondent's Metrobank account from November 11, 1998 to March 15, 1999 in the total sum of P12,910.00. Claiming that the amounts remitted were not enough to cover the penalties, interests and other charges, respondent warned complainant that he would deposit Postal Check No. 47253 filled up by him on March 30, 1999 in the amount of P16,000.00. Afraid that respondent might sue her in court, complainant made good said check and respondent was able to encash the same on March 30, 1999. Thereafter, complainant made subsequent payments to the Metrobank account of respondent from April 13, 1999 to October 15, 1999, thereby paying respondent the total sum of P35,690.00. Respondent filled up two of the postal checks she issued in blank, Check Nos. 47261 and 47262 with the amount of P50,000.00 each and with the dates January 15, 2000 and January 20, 2000 respectively, which respondent claims was in exchange for the P100,000.00 cash that complainant received on November 15, 1999. Complainant insisted however that she never borrowed P100,000.00 from respondent and that it was unlikely that respondent would lend her such amount. Complainant also claimed that respondent victimized other employees of the Postal Office by filling up, without authorization, blank checks issued to him as condition for loans. Respondent averred that his dealings with complainant were done in his private capacity and not as a lawyer, and that when he filed a complaint for violation of Batas Pambansa Blg. (B.P. Blg.) 22 against complainant, he was only vindicating his rights as a private citizen. He alleged further that: it was complainant who deliberately deceived him by not honoring her commitment to their November 15, 1999 transaction involving P100,000.00 and covered by two checks which bounced for the reason account closed; the October 13, 1999 transaction was a separate and distinct transaction; complainant filed the disbarment case against him to get even with him for filing the estafa and B.P. Blg. 22 case against the former; complainant's claim that respondent filled up the blank checks issued by complainant is a

FACTS:

complete lie; the truth was that the checks referred to were already filled up when complainant affixed her signature thereto; it was unbelievable that complainant would issue blank checks, and that she was a mere low-salaried employee, since she was able to maintain several checking accounts; and if he really intended to defraud complainant, he would have written a higher amount on the checks instead of only P50,000.00.

CANON 7 A lawyer shall at all times uphold the integrity and dignity of the legal profession and support the activities of the integrated bar. Rule 7.03. A lawyer shall not engage in conduct that adversely reflects on his fitness to practice law, nor should he, whether in public or private life, behave in a scandalous manner to the discredit of the legal profession.

ISSUE: whether or not Atty. Victor Deciembre is guilty of gross misconduct and violation of the Code of Professional Responsibility, and should therefore be disbarred from the practice of law.

HELD: The practice of law is not a right but merely a privilege bestowed by the State upon those who show that they possess, and continue to possess, the qualifications required by law for the conferment of such privilege. A high sense of morality, honesty and fair dealing is expected and required of members of the bar. They must conduct themselves with great propriety, and their behavior must be beyond reproach anywhere and at all times. The fact that there is no attorney-client relationship in this case and the transactions entered into by respondent were done in his private capacity cannot shield respondent, as a lawyer, from liability. A lawyer may be disciplined for acts committed even in his private capacity for acts which tend to bring reproach on the legal profession or to injure it in the favorable opinion of the public. Indeed, there is no distinction as to whether the transgression is committed in a lawyer's private life or in his professional capacity, for a lawyer may not divide his personality as an attorney at one time and a mere citizen at another. In this case, evidence abounds that respondent has failed to live up to the standards required of members of the legal profession. Specifically, respondent has transgressed provisions of the Code of Professional Responsibility, to wit: * CANON 1 A lawyer shall uphold the constitution, obey the laws of the land and promote respect for law and legal processes. Rule 1.01. - A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct.

As manifested [in the Olbes and Acosta] cases, respondent's offenses are manifold. First, he demands excessive payments from his borrowers; then he fills up his borrowers' blank checks with fictitious amounts, falsifying commercial documents for his material gain; and then he uses said checks as bases for filing unfounded criminal suits against his borrowers in order to harass them. Such acts manifest respondent's perversity of character, meriting his severance from the legal profession. While the power to disbar is exercised with great caution and is withheld whenever a lesser penalty could accomplish the end desired, the seriousness of respondent's offense compels the Court to wield its supreme power of disbarment. Indeed, the Court will not hestitate to remove an erring attorney from the esteemed brotherhood of lawyers where the evidence calls for it. This is because in the exercise of its disciplinary powers, the Court merely calls upon a member of the Bar to account for his actuations as an officer of the Court, with the end in view of preserving the purity of the legal profession and the proper and honest administration of justice by purging the profession of members who by their misconduct have proved themselves no longer worthy to be entrusted with the duties and responsibilities pertaining to the office of an attorney. As respondent's misconduct brings intolerable dishonor to the legal profession, the severance of his privilege to practice law for life is in order. MARIA ANGALAN, et al. vs. ATTY. LEONIDO C. DELANTE AC No. 7181 February 6, 2009 (en banc)

FACTS:

In April 1971, herein complainants mortgaged 8.102

hectares of their property to the Eustaquio espouses in consideration of a loan in the amount of P15,000. The Eustaquios prepared a document and sked the complainants to sign it; but because complainants were illiterates, they affixed their marks instead. It turned out that the document was a deed of absolute sale and not a real estate mortgage. Hence, TCT No. 9926 was issued in the name of Navarro Eustaquio. Complainants engaged the services of respondent Atty. Leonido Delante in November 1971 as shown in the receipt by respondent of P12,000 representing full payment of his professional fees from the complainants. Thereafter, an amicable settlement was entered into between complainants and the Eustaquios which stipulated that the complainants would repurchase the lot at P30,000. But since the complainants did not have the money, Atty. Delante advanced the money to complainants, possessed the property and gathered its produce. When the complainants tried to repay the money and recover the property, Atty. Delante refused. Complainants learned that Delante transferred the title of the property to his name as evidenced by TCT No. T-57932. On April 30, 2004, complainants filed with the RTC of Davao a complaint for (1) nullification of the deed of absolute sale, and (2) nullification of TCT No. T57932; and on December 28, 2005 charged respondent with gross violation of the Code Professional Responsibilty. In April 2007, complainants filed with the Court a motion to withdraw the complaint for disbarment and an affidavit of desistance.

disbarment and an affidavit of desistance is immaterial. Section 5, Rule 139-B of the Rules of Court states that, No investigation shall be interrupted or terminated by reason of the desistance, settlement, compromise, restitution, withdrawal of charges, or failure of the complainant to prosecute the same. 2. Respondent violated Canons 16 and 17 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. Canon 16 states that lawyers shall hold in trust all properties of their clients that may come into their possession. Respondent should have held in trust TCT No. T9926 and returned the property to complainants upon demand. Instead of holding in trust the property of complainants, respondent (1) transferred the title of the property to his name, (2) refused to return the property to complainants, and (3) referred to complainants charges as malicious and untruthful. Canon 17 states that lawyers shall be mindful of the trust and confidence reposed in them. Respondent should have been mindful of the trust and confidence complainants reposed in him. Complainants allege that they are illiterate and that the Spouses Eustaquio took advantage of them. Complainants engaged the services of respondent in the hope that he would help them recover their property. Instead of protecting the interests of complainants, respondent took advantage of complainants and transferred the title of the property to his name. Considering the depravity of respondents offense, the Court finds the recommended penalty too light. Violation of Canons 16 and 17 constitutes gross misconduct. Section 27, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court states that a member of the bar may be disbarred or suspended from his office as attorney by the Court for gross misconduct. A person who takes the 8.102-hectare property of his illiterate clients and who is incapable of telling the truth is unfit to be a lawyer. The Court finds Atty. Leonido C. Delante GUILTY of violating Canons 16 and 17 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. Accordingly, the Court DISBARS him from the practice of law and

ISSUES: (1.) whether or not a motion to withdraw the complaint for disbarment and an affidavit of desistance terminates the disbarment proceeding; (2.) whether or not respondent committed grave violation of the Code of Professional Responsibility when he bought the property of his clients without their consent and against their will.

HELD: 1. A motion to withdraw the complaint for

ORDERS that his name be stricken from the Roll of Attorneys.