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Montecillo vs Del Mar 60 SCRA 234 – Legal Ethics – Lawyer’s Duty to the Courts – Contemptuous Language Jorge Montecillo

was accused by Francisco Gica of slander. Atty. Quirico del Mar represented Montecillo and he successfully defended Monteceillo in the lower court. Del Mar was even able to win their counterclaim thus the lower court ordered Gica to pay Montecillo the adjudged moral damages. Gica appealed the award of damages to the Court of Appeals where the latter court reversed the same. Atty. Del Mar then filed a motion for reconsideration where he made a veiled threat against the Court of Appeals judges intimating that he thinks the CA justices “knowingly rendered an unjust decision” and “judgment has been rendered through negligence” and that the CA allowed itself to be deceived. The CA denied the MFR and it admonished Atty. Del Mar from using such tone with the court. Del Mar then filed a second MFR where he again made threats. The CA then ordered del Mar to show cause as to why he should not be punished for contempt. Thereafter, del Mar sent the three CA justices a copy of a letter which he sent to the President of the Philippines asking the said justices to consider the CA judgment. But the CA did not reverse its judgment. Del Mar then filed a civil case against the three justices of the CA before a Cebu lower court but the civil case was eventually dismissed by reason of a compromise agreementwhere del Mar agreed to pay damages to the justices. Eventually, the CA suspended Atty. Del Mar from practice. The issue reached the Supreme Court. Del Mar asked the SC to reverse his suspension as well as the CA decision as to the Montecillo case. The SC denied both and this earned the ire of del Mar as he demanded from the Clerk of the Supreme Court as to who were the judges who voted against him. The Supreme Court then directed del Mar to submit an explanation as to why he should not be disciplined. Del Mar in his explanation instead tried to justify his actions even stating that had he not been “convinced that human efforts in [pursuing the case] will be fruitless” he would have continued with the civil case against the CA justices. In his explanation, del Mar also intimated that even the Supreme Court is part among “the corrupt, the grafters and those allegedly committing injustice”. Del Mar even filed a civil case against some Supreme Court justices but the judge who handled the case dismissed the same. ISSUE: Whether or not Atty. Del Mar should be suspended. HELD: Yes. Atty. Del Mar, by his contemptuous acts is in violation of his duties to the courts. As an officer of the court, it is his sworn and moral duty to help build and not destroy unnecessarily the high esteem and regard towards the court so essential to the proper administration of justice. It is manifest that del Mar has scant respect for the two highest Courts of the land when on the flimsy ground of alleged error in deciding a case, he proceeded to challenge the integrity of both Courts by claiming that they knowingly rendered unjust judgment. In short, his allegation is that they acted with intent and malice, if not with gross ignorance of the law, in disposing of the case of his client. Del Mar was then suspended indefinitely. Rochelle P. Lacsina 3-B Clarita J. Samala vs. Atty. Luciano D. Valencia A.C. No. 5439; January 22, 2007 Austria-Martinez, J. Facts: Clarita J. Samala (complainant) filed a complaint against Atty. Luciano D. Valencia (respondent) for Disbarment on the following grounds:

(a) serving on two separate occasions as counsel for contending parties; (b) knowingly misleading the court by submitting false documentary evidence; (c) initiating numerous cases in exchange for non-payment of rental fees; and (d) having a reputation of being immoral by siring illegitimate children. After respondent filed his Comment, the Court referred the case to the IBP for investigation, report, and recommendation. After a series of hearings, the parties filed their respective memoranda and the case was deemed submitted for resolution. The Commissioner found respondent guilty of violating Canons 15 and 21 of the Code of Professional Responsibility and recommended the penalty of suspension for six months. The IBP Board of Governors adopted and approved the report and recommendation of Commissioner Reyes but increased the penalty of suspension from six months to one year. Issue: Whether or not the respondent violated Canons 15 and 21 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. Held: This Court adopts the report of the IBP Board of Governors except as to the issue on immorality and as to the recommended penalty. (a) On serving as counsel for contending parties. Respondent, while being the counsel for defendant Valdez, also acted as counsel for the tenants Lagmay, Valencia, Bustamante and Bayuga by filing an Explanation and Compliance before the RTC. The Presiding Judge warned respondent to refrain from repeating the act of being counsel of record of both parties in Civil Case No. 95-105MK. Rule 15.03, Canon 15 of the Code of Professional Responsibility provides that a lawyer shall not represent conflicting interests except by written consent of all concerned given after a full disclosure of the facts. A lawyer may not, without being guilty of professional misconduct, act as counsel for a person whose interest conflicts with that of his present or former client. He may not also undertake to discharge conflicting duties any more than he may represent antagonistic interests. This stern rule is founded on the principles of public policy and good taste. It springs from the relation of attorney and client which is one of trust and confidence. Lawyers are expected not only to keep inviolate the client's confidence, but also to avoid the appearance of treachery and double-dealing for only then can litigants be encouraged to entrust their secrets to their lawyers, which is of paramount importance in the administration of justice. One of the tests of inconsistency of interests is whether the acceptance of a new relation would prevent the full discharge of the lawyer's duty of undivided fidelity and loyalty to the client or invite suspicion of unfaithfulness or double-dealing in the performance of that duty. (b) On knowingly misleading the court by submitting false documentary evidence. Complainant alleges that in Civil Case No. 00-7137 filed before MTC, Branch 75 for ejectment, respondent submitted TCT No. 273020 as evidence of Valdez's ownership despite the fact that a new TCT No. 275500 was already issued in the name of Alba on February 2, 1995.

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TCT No. However. Respondent further admitted that Lagmay was staying in one of the apartments being claimed by complainant. claimed that all allegations are falsely given because he allegedly exercised his duties as Notary Public with due care and with due regards to the provision of existing law and had complied with elementary formalities in the performance of his duties and that the complaint was filed simply to harass him based on the result of a criminal case against him in the Ombudsman that did not prosper.S. Branch 75. Murder. It matters not that the trial court was not misled by respondent's submission of TCT No. Lee. 00-4439 and 01-036162 both entitled "Valencia v. a lawyer shall not engage in unlawful. and his own interest. 2008 Facts: Complainant. for purposes of disciplining a lawyer. on the other. He was released on the condition that he shall not commit any crime. Respondent further avers that Valdez did not tell him the truth and things were revealed to him only when the case for rescission was filed in 2002. Subsequently. immoral conduct has been defined as that "conduct which is willful. Respondent failed to comply with Canon 10 of the Code of Professional Responsibility which provides that a lawyer shall not do any falsehood. yet. the decedent.S. so that when the court dismissed the complaint. he married Lagmay in 1998. Rule 138 of the Rules of Court. As payment for his services. He also admitted that he has eight children by his first wife. ACCORDINGLY. that was the time that he came to know that the title was already in the name of Alba. Article 806 of the Civil Code and provision of the Notarial Law. Branch 272. respectively.01nof the Code of Professional Responsibility. In addition. Tambago is guilty of professional misconduct as he violated the Lawyer's Oath. he was granted a conditional pardon by the President. In addition to such. Canon 1 and Rule 1. No. is without a doubt. he was allowed to occupy the property for free and utilize the same as his office pursuant to their retainer agreement. immoral or deceitful conduct. The Court finds respondent liable for being immoral by siring illegitimate children. he does not consider his affair with Lagmay as a relationship and does not consider the latter as his second family. the court referred the case to the IBP and the decision of which was affirmed with modification against the respondent and in favor of the complainant. Complainant claims that the two criminal cases were filed in retaliation for the cases she filed against Lagmay docketed as I.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. (d) On having a reputation for being immoral by siring illegitimate children. the contested will was executed and acknowledged before respondent on June 30. and (iii) I. charged respondent. In 1958. Valdez entered into a retainer agreement with respondent. 273020 despite the fact that said title was already cancelled and a new one. which was never submitted for filing to the Archives Division of the Records Management and Archives Office of the National Commission for Culture and Arts (NCAA). and two other witnesses. 544 SCRA 393. Issue: Did Atty. Atty. The filing of an administrative case against respondent for protecting the interest of his client and his own right would be putting a burden on a practicing lawyer who is obligated to defend and prosecute the right of his client. Valencia GUILTY of misconduct and violation of Canons 21. respondent avers that when the Answer was filed in the said case. Nos. During the hearing. nor consent to the doing of any in court. Rule 1. 10 and 1 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. effective immediately upon receipt of herein Resolution. 1965 but bears a Residence Certificate by the Testator dated January 5. which were also questioned for the unnotated Residence Certificates that are known to be a copy of their respective voter's affidavit. Manuel L. Atty. on the other hand. Respondent. (c) On initiating numerous cases in exchange for nonpayment of rental fees. Tambago committed a violation in Notarial Law and the Ethics of Legal Profession for notarizing a spurious last will and testament? Held: Yes. Regino B. (ii) Civil Case No. Complainant alleged that respondent filed the following cases: (i) Civil Case No. Tambago is suspended from the practice of law for one year and his Notarial commission revoked. He reasoned that he was not staying with Lagmay because he has two houses. he is perpetually disqualified from reappointments as a Notary Public. Regino B. while his first wife was still alive. He was sentenced to the penalty of reclusionperpetua. 2 . he did not do anything anymore. 273020 in the name of Valdez. and after his wife died in 1997. In re: Gutierrez Legal Ethics – 5 SCRA 661 – Conditional Pardon will not bar disbarment Attorney Gutierrez was convicted for the murder of one Filemon Samaco in 1956. the youngest of whom is over 20 years of age.S. 2000-657-MK at the RTC. and which shows a moral indifference to the opinion of respectable members of the community. cannot be made the basis of an administrative charge unless it can be clearly shown that the same was being done to abuse judicial processes to commit injustice. the widow of Samaco filed a disbarment case against Gutierrez by reason of the latter’s conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude. 2002 dismissing the complaint for ejectment. Samala" for estafa and grave coercion. As per Supreme Court. as shown by its decision dated January 8. nor shall he mislead. In resolution. 00-4318 against Alvin Valencia (son of respondent) for trespass to dwelling. with violation of Notarial Law and the Ethics of the legal profession for notarizing a will that is alleged to be spurious in nature in containing forged signatures of his father. 00-4306 for estafa and I. He is SUSPENDED from the practice of law for three (3) years. on one hand. Lee vs Tambago. No. Tambago. he did not deny the contention of non-filing a copy to the Archives Division of NCAA. 275500. The Court finds the charge to be without sufficient basis. It may be difficult to specify the degree of moral delinquency that may qualify an act as immoral. However. after serving a portion of the penalty. Regino B. Vicente Lee Sr. Luciano D. Thus. the Court finds respondent Atty.During the hearing before Commissioner Raval. flagrant. dishonest. or shameless. was already issued in the name of Alba. before the Marikina City Prosecutor. because he has not lived up to the trustworthiness expected of him as a notary public and as an officer of the court. Under Canon 1. one in Muntinlupa and another in Marikina. 00-7137 at the MTC. Atty. such a crime. As culled from the records. The act of respondent of filing the aforecited cases to protect the interest of his client. respondent admitted that he sired three children by Teresita Lagmay who are all over 20 years of age. 1962. What is decisive in this case is respondent's intent in trying to mislead the court by presenting TCT No. February 12. or allow the Court to be misled by any artifice.

petitioner. It merely remitted his sentence. The crime was actually qualified by treachery and aggravated by its having been committed in hand. Flaminiano’s acts of entering the property without the consent of its occupants & in contravention of the existing writ or preliminary injunction & making utterances showing disrespect for the law & this Court. and JON DE YSASI. or the surgical removal of the fistula. etc. On the contrary. And secondly. He suffered various ailments and was hospitalized on two separate occasions in June and August. et al. The pardon granted to Gutierrez is not absolute but conditional. For this case is an action filed by an only son.04 of the Code of Professional Responsibility explicitly provides that "(a) lawyer shall encourage his client to avoid. The records do not show that they took pains to initiate steps geared toward effecting a rapprochement between their clients. Apolonio Sumbingco. private respondent's auditor and legal adviser. if not more importantly. He is often called upon less for dramatic forensic exploits than for wise counsel in every phase of life. sorely disappoints the Court and invites reproof. in lieu of reinstatement. Petitioner made oral and written demands for an explanation for the sudden withholding of his salary from Atty. petitioner moved to Bacolod City with his wife and commuted to work daily. Flaminiano illegally took possession of the property in litigation using abusive methods. It does not reach the offense itself. most of the complaints that petitioner and private respondent had with each other. respondents. 3 . we find that both counsels herein fell short of what was expected of them. Two (2) observations were noted that may justify why this labor case deserves special considerations. the only child and therefore the only heir against his own father. as well as for the remittance of his salary. 1984. CEBU CITY. if any of the complaints pertain to their work. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION (FOURTH DIVISION). Once again. despite their avowed duties as officers of the court. for infectious hepatitis from December. 1982. (298 SCRA 133) Gross Misconduct Facts: During a dispute over land. The degree ofmoral turpitude involved is such as to justify his being purged from the profession. In any event. as revealed by the records. HELD: Yes. they allow their personal relationship to come in the way. however. end or settle the controversy if it will admit of a fair settlement. 1982.” During the entire periods of petitioner's illnesses. Petitioner then filed an action with the NLRC. 1984. are unbecoming of a member of the Bar. a deep sinuous ulcer. Through his acts. and his duties include supervision of daily activities and operations of the sugarcane farm such as land preparation. he underwent fistulectomy. His employment as farm administrator was on a fixed salary. a lawyer. thereafter. Negros Occidental sometime in April. JON DE YSASI III. private respondent took care of his medical expenses and petitioner continued to receive compensation. separation pay equivalent to one (1) month for every year of service. Bacolod City. 1982. such “peaceful” take-over cannot justify defiance of the writ of preliminary injunction that he knew was still in force. Rule 1. Facts: Petitioner Jon de Ysasi III was employed by his father Jon de Ysasi and private respondent in this case. without due notice. and.ISSUE: Whether or not Gutierrez may be disbarred considering the fact that he was granted pardon. he was confined for acute gastroenteritis and. to exert all reasonable efforts to smooth over legal conflicts. In June. their acerbic and protracted exchanges could not but have exacerbated the situation even as they may have found favor in the equally hostile eyes of their respective clients. NLRC dismissed the case and the subsequent MR filed by the petitioner was denied. without qualification or deduction. It is just as much their responsibility. Regional Arbitration Branch No. were personal matters affecting father and son relationship. In November. This case is truly unique. such absence does not warrant outright dismissal without notice and hearing. as farm administrator of Hacienda Manucao in Hinigaran. Court of Appeals." On this point. First. VI. Both demands. we find that the labor arbiter who handled this regrettable case has been less than faithful to the letter and spirit of the Labor Code mandating that a labor arbiter "shall exert all efforts towards the amicable settlement of a labor dispute within his jurisdiction. he has flouted his duties as a member of the legal profession. al. Dispositive portion: Private respondent is ORDERED to pay petitioner back wages for a period not exceeding three (3) years. She was aided by her husband. vs. et." Note: Petitioner was illegally dismissed. He should be a mediator for concord and a conciliator for compromise. Both counsels may well be reminded that their ethical duty as lawyers to represent their clients with zeal goes beyond merely presenting their clients' respective causes in court. 1983 to January. Gutierrez must be judged upon the fact of his conviction for murder without regard to the pardon (which he invoked in defense). In the same manner. Case Digest on Felicidad L. Held: Atty. Under the Code of Professional Responsibility. he is prohibited from counseling or abetting “activities aimed at defiance of the law or at lessening confidence in the legal system. his father's namesake. The SolGen opined that the petitioner's illness and strained family relation with respondent Jon de Ysasi II may be considered as justifiable reason for petitioner Jon de Ysasi III's absence from work during the period of October 1982 to December 1982. we reiterate that the useful function of a lawyer is not only to conduct litigation but to avoid it whenever possible by advising settlement or withholding suit. He lived on the farm. The illegal entry took place while the case was pending in the CA & while a writ of preliminary injunction was in force. rather than a virtuoso of technicality in the conduct of litigation. private respondent ceased to pay the latter's salary. v. ISSUE (relevant to the subject PALE): Was the conduct of the lawyers in this case in violation of the Code of Professional Responsibility? Ruling: The conduct of the respective counsel of the parties. were not acted upon. in April. 1983. a fraction of six (6) months being considered as one (1) whole year. for illegal dismissal against private respondent. Although he says that they “peacefully” took over the property. However. Following his marriage on June 6. preferably out of court and especially in consideration of the direct and immediate consanguineous ties between their clients. planting. Oronce. occupying the upper floor of the house there. 1980. by taking advantage of his official position (Gutierrez being municipal mayor at the time) and with the use of motor vehicle.

00 "within a short time. through her counsel. On January 12. Lawyers are instruments for the administration of justice and vanguards of our legal system. the respective dates they were taken and by whom they were received as well as their purchase prices. 8391 November 23.C. The lower court dismissed the petition also a motion for reconsideration 8. Gutierrez failed to pay and in a text message he asked for an extension of time to pay. Udharam Bazar & Co. IBP-CBD found Gutierrez guilty of non-payment of just debts and ordered him to return the amount of P90. Gutierrez attempted to borrow money from Yuhico again. this time. at all times. They must. Yuhico refused to lend Gutierrez any amount of money. faithfully perform their duties to society. Gutierrez failed to make the payment. GUTIERREZ A. Gutierrez should not have 4 . RULING: Atty. but did not make the full payment up to the present time. They are expected to maintain not only legal proficiency. ISSUE: Are the allegations of the complaint sufficient to appraise Gloria Pajares of the nature of the cause of action against her? HELD: It is plain and clear that no error of law. 4. In the instant case. His admission of the loan he contracted and his failure to pay the same leaves no room for interpretation.|” These particulars sought all concerned evidentiary matters and do not come within the scope of Rule 12. in the amount of P60. Gutierrez then sent another text message to Yuhico and requested him to give him another week to pay his debts. but also a high standard of morality.000. for which a lawyer may be sanctioned with suspension from the practice of law. specifying therein in detail the goods represented by the alleged amount of P 354.” MANUEL C. sued Gloria Pajares before the Municipal Court of Manila for recovery of a certain sum of money. since he was expecting to collect his attorney's fees from a Japanese client. denied the motion for a bill of particulars.85 representing the overdue balance of her account for ready-made goods ordered by and delivered to her in 1961.000. FRED L. The complaint averred that defendant ordered from the plaintiff quantities of ready made goods and delivered to her in good condition and same were already sold. Hence this appeal. Gutierrez then claimed that he needed money to pay for the medical expenses of his mother who was seriously ill.appellee for the recovery of her indebtedness of P 354." Yuhico asked Gutierrez to pay his loans. Gutierrez assured him that he will pay all his debts within a month.00.85) 2. the amount due on each such invoice and by whom they were received. 3. but to no avail. No. Yuhico immediately handed the money. Gutierrez is guilty of GROSS MISCONDUCT. They must conduct themselves in a manner that reflects the values and norms of the legal profession as embodied in the Code of Professional Responsibility. Section 1 of the Rules of Court which permits a party “to move for a definite statement or for a bill of particulars of any matter which is not averred with sufficient definiteness or particularity to enable him to prepare his responsive pleading or to prepare for trial. giving the dates and invoice numbers on which they were delivered to the defendant.. He is ordered to pay the amount of P90. ISSUE: Whether or not Gutierrez guilty of non-payment of just debts and likewise guilty of gross misconduct. In a Resolution. integrity and fair dealing so that the people¶s faith and confidence in the judicial system is ensured. honesty. Deliberate failure to pay just debts constitutes gross misconduct. Appellee’s complaint precisely and concisely informed appellant of the ultimate or essential facts constituting the cause of action against her. 5.00 to pay the fees required to take the licensure examination in the U. 2010 FACTS: Atty. Instead of answering the complaint.00 to the Yuhico with interest. to the bar.00 from Manuel Yuhico. In turn. However. Gutierrez again asked Yuhico for a loan. It was therefore improper for appellant.000. there is no question as to Gutierrez's guilt. was committed by respondent judge in denying appellant's motion for a bill of particulars in the collection case instituted in the Municipal Court of Manila by private respondent. in accordance with the requirement of the Rules of Court. alleging that without this bill she would not be able to meet the issues raised in the complaint. Yuhico filed the instant complaint against Gutierrez before the Integrated Bar of the Philippines-Commission on Bar Discipline (IBP-CBD). Gloria filed a petition for certiorari in the CFI of Manila alleging that respondent Judge acted in grave abuse of discretion in denying her motion for a bill of particulars 6. vs. to insist on her motion that appellee as plaintiff “submit a bill of particulars. Neither can he justify his act of non-payment of debt by his dire financial condition. 7.85. Medical Board. Fred Gutierrez asked for a cash loan of P30. with interest until full payment. ATTY.000.000.S. ABAD SANTOS 30 SCRA 748 FACTS: 1. through Judge Estrella Abad Santos. 2006. much less any grave abuse of discretion. the courts and to their clients.PAJARES VS. Again. The court . Later. (Php 354. Yuhico's counsel sent a demand letter to Gutierrez to pay his debts. Udharam Bazar filed a motion to dismiss the petition for the reasons that the allegations of the complaint are clear. Thus.00. he demanded from Gutierrez the payment of his debts. which include prompt payment of financial obligations. allegedly to pay the medical expenses of his wife who was also hospitalized.000. specific and sufficiently appraise the defendant of the nature of the case of action against her and that the things asked for in the motion for a bill of particulars are evidentiary matters which are beyond the pale of such bill. Yuhico readily issued to Gutierrez a check amounting to P60. the IBP-CBD directed Gutierrez to submit his Answer on the complaint against him. Gutierrez promised to pay the loan very soon. Gutierrez claimed that his daughter needed P70.000. Gloria moved for a bill of particulars praying that Udharam Bazar itemize the kinds of goods which she supposedly purchased from the said company. Instead. thru a text message. Gutierrez promised to pay his two loans totalling to P90. Again. When her motion for reconsideration was denied. YUHICO.00 to Yuhico.

Subsequently. Atty.00 net for the owner.00.: This is an administrative complaint for disbarment filed by complainant Nelia P.120. as Mario Blanco was a U. the Court had already disbarred Gutierrez from the practice of law for gross misconduct due to non-payment of just debts and issuance of bouncing checks. he asked Mario Blanco if the former could use the amount for a real estate venture whose profit.100. In a Resolution dated 9 December 2002.000.130. dishonesty and gross misconduct. Funa arrived at the following findings: It appears from the records that the two lots were sold by Respondent Nelia Pasumbal de Chavez-Blanco vs Atty. J. respondent denied the charge of falsification.00 (P278. adopt its recommendation to disbar Gutierrez for the second time. remanded the case to the IBP in view of its findings that no formal hearing/investigation was conducted. Jaime Lumasag. Records show Gutierrez's pattern of habitually making promises of paying his debts. The payment for the other lot was withheld. respondent claimed that he had only transacted with the former and never with complainant. in the course of selling them. the case was re-assigned to IBP Commissioner Dennis A. through a Special Power of Attorney.900. while the court agrees with the findings of the IBP.00 for taxes and 5 .[3] In a letter dated 20 March 1990.B. for deceit. complainant. respondent has since not remitted the amount equivalent to P838. they could not have acknowledged the document before a notary. which he immediately remitted to Mario Blanco.B. He claimed that complainant and her spouse.[5] Complainant also averred that the Special Power of Attorney dated 16 January 1989. Atty.00 for the first parcel of land and P560. Likewise. Muñoz sent a demand letter to respondent directing him to remit and turn over to her the entire proceeds of the sale of the properties. each with an area of 400 square meters. however. In a document dated 20 November 1989. had in fact signed the Special Power of Attorney. Dennis A. Mario Blanco had requested him to look for a buyer of the properties and. The venture.00 and therefrom he deducted P38. per complainant’s instructions. Soon thereafter. covered by Transfer Certificates of Title (TCT) Nos. did not push through. In addition. dishonesty and gross misconduct. while simultaneously giving excuses without actually making good of his promises. The series of text messages he sent to Yuhico promising to pay his loans. Gutierrez. in May 1999.[9] Respondent strongly maintained that the two (2) lots had been sold for only P563.000.[10] Finally. In December 1998.000. but it was only notarized later. yet repeatedly failing to deliver.[4] In 1995. allegedly. Jaime Lumasag. it cannot. de Chavez-Blanco against respondent Atty. Upon remand to the IBP.00 to a certain Belen Johnnes. it cannot be overlooked Gutierrez's propensity of employing deceit and misrepresentations for the purpose of obtaining debts without the intention of paying them.. he would share with the latter.S. Mario Blanco allegedly did not think twice and consented to the proposal.contracted loans which are beyond his financial capacity to pay. pending the relocation of the squatters who had been occupying the premises. however. which had to be titled in complainant’s name. Mario Blanco. 22162 and 22163 registered in her name. he remitted the remaining balance of P281. Funa and hearings were accordingly held thereafter. She also stated that she owned two (2) adjacent parcels of land in Quezon City. Jr.000. Thus.00 for the second). to sell said lots. Indeed. however.00. commissions.000. RESOLUTION TINGA. through Atty. respondent vehemently denied all the accusations of deceit. if successful. Neither do it have a law mandating a minimum 5year requirement for readmission. as they were not in the Philippines at the time.[6] For his part.[1] the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) Commissioner Milagros San Juan found respondent guilty of the charges and recommended the penalty of disbarment. Muñoz. the Court. as the IBP pointed out. complainant was informed by respondent that the other lot remained unsold due to the presence of squatters on the property. the IBP Board of Governors reduced the penalty to a five (5)-year suspension in its Resolution XV2002-229 dated 29 June 2001. Jr. Atty. is clearly reprehensible. respondent reported that he had sold only one lot for the price of P320. In view of the foregoing. for a price of not less thanP250. the court does not have double or multiple disbarments in its laws or jurisprudence. only one lot was initially paid in the amount of P281. Thus. his acts demonstrate lack of moral character to satisfy the responsibilities and duties imposed on lawyers as professionals and as officers of the court. complainant alleged in her Complaint[2] that she was a resident of theUnited States of America together with her husband. court cannot disbar him anew. respondent admitted the sale of the properties and his receipt of its proceeds. who were her husband’s first cousin. And. And when respondent had finally collected the proceeds of the second lot more than three (3) years after. and that new titles had been issued to the transferees. Through her attorney-in-fact. as the signature therein were not the real signatures of complainant and her spouse. Respondent averred that he had been authorized in November 1989 to sell the property. Supreme Court also noted that in Huyssen v.[7] Respondent countered that Mario Blanco was the true owner of the properties. considering that Gutierrez had already been previously disbarred. she authorized respondent. while Gutierrez's infraction calls for the penalty of disbarment. Mario Blanco discovered that in truth.960.00. Mario Blanco. Undoubtedly. Eugenia J.[11] In his Report and Recommendation dated 4 December 2006. citizen. Despite repeated and continued demands. but the latter disregarded the same. the two (2) lots had been sold on 11 March 1990 to the spouses Celso and Consolacion Martinez for the price of P1.[8] Respondent also alleged that the deed of absolute sale if the two (2) lots had been executed on 19 March 1990 but. but he never tendered or offered to tender the same to complainant. as cited by the IBP. Mario Blanco confronted respondent with these facts in a letter.980. which respondent had used to sell the lots is a forgery and a falsified document. In a Report and Recommendation dated 11 December 2001.

000. if the first lot was sold for P320. xxx x x x Instead of representing that two lots had been sold for P560. This Deed of Absolute Sale was notarized on March 19.00. we shall uphold and apply the amount stated in the Deed of Absolute Sale. as the computation stated: “400 sq.000. however. as complainant and her spouse could not have given the same. he acknowledged that he already received P320. 1990.00 which is the real Deed of Sale. then the second lot must have been sold for P240. Other acceptable documents such as a certification from the Bureau of Immigration would have been appropriate but which. And despite repeated demands.000. Respondent in his Comment stated that the two lots were sold by him for P563.120. Later in the hearing.00.00. Moreover. Respondent was not forthcoming towards the Blanco spouses. taking advantage of the absence of complainant and her spouse from the Philippines and their complete trust in him.000. the respondent is under no obligation to prove his exception or defense.000. On 31 May 2007. their absence in the country has not been satisfactorily established since mere xerox copies of their passports.000.00 and pocketing the balance of P240. wherein the signatures of the Blanco spouses appear in the SPA when they were not in the Philippines on January 16. Respondent.00 was only for 400 sq. It can be reasonably deduced from the exchanges between the parties that the proceeds of the first lot had been transmitted to complainant and her spouse.01 thereof provides: Rule 1. Canon 1 of the Code of Professional Responsibility commands all lawyers to uphold at all times the dignity and integrity of the legal profession. There is no need to stretch one’s imagination to arrive at an inevitable conclusion that respondent committed dishonesty and abused the confidence reposed in him by the complainant and her spouse. In any case.01—A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful. Specifically. In any case. As to the charge of falsification. although noted by a notary public. During the hearing. in view of the fact that respondent was already 72 years old. not disbarment as had been prayed for and not 5 year-suspension as had been earlier resolved by the IBP Board of Governors.” Therefore. dishonest and immoral or deceitful conduct. However.00 of Complainant.000. there is no showing that the outstanding amount has been paid.000. meters being sold forP560. 1990 “informing” the Blanco spouses that he had sold only one of the two parcels of land for P320.000. however. the IBP Commissioner recommended that respondent be ordered to deliver to Complainant the amount of P240. the burden of proof that the respondent committed the acts complained of rests on the complainant. that he had been authorized to retain the proceeds of the second is specious.00.000.120. In fact. 1990 which shows that the two lots composing 800 sq.000.for P560. In Respondent’s letter dated March 20.00 plus the legal interest rate of 6% per annum computed from March 1990.00.00. Thus. x 800p/sqm=P320. if the complainant. the IBP Board of Governors passed Resolution No. the IBP Commissioner recommended that.[15] Mere allegation is not evidence and is not equivalent to proof. not P1. Respondent denies the charge of falsification. he be meted out the penalty of suspension of one (1)year suspension. having been left in the dark as regards its sale. Respondent only represented that he sold only one lot forP320. Rule 1. There appears to be no documentary basis for the claimed amount of P1.00. As for the alleged falsification of a Special Power of Attorney dated January 16. deceitfully informed them in a letter dated 20 March 1990 that he had sold only one. upon whom rests the burden of proving his cause of action.m. 1990. the computation shows that the P320. Respondent claims that the Deed of Sale referred to above is a fake.[12] (Citations omitted) [Emphasis supplied] Accordingly. 1990. Settled is the rule that. to date. respondent’s deceitful conduct warrants disciplinary sanction and a directive for the remittance of the remaining proceeds is in order. Moreover. in his professional or private capacity. 1989 but were allegedly in the United States. Respondent’s contention. XVII-2007-222 adopting and approving the Report and Recommendation of the IBP Commissioner. had not been presented. Records show that two lots had been sold by respondent as evidenced by the Deed of Absolute Sale of 11 March 1990.000. that renders him unfit to continue to be an officer of the court.[13] The Court agrees with the findings and conclusion of the IBP. a Deed of Absolute Sale was executed by him selling the two lots for P560. in administrative proceedings. or 9 days before he wrote the letter. The basis is the Deed of Absolute Sale dated March 11. following the dictum that the appropriate penalty for an errant lawyer depends on the exercise of sound judicial discretion based on the surrounding facts.000. though.000. Respondent admitted that the Deed of Sale covered two lots.00. This is belied by the fact that on March 11. Clearly.m.000 x x x x x x there was clear deception on the part of Respondent when he wrote the letter dated March 20.[14] A lawyer may be disciplined for any conduct. Respondent retracted his statement claiming he was merely confused.00.00 as the “total value of one lot”. no such Deed of Sale has been presented by Respondent and no such Deed of Sale appears in the records. the Court agrees with the IBP that the same appears to be unsubstantiated.960.00 as alleged by Complainant. fails to show in a satisfactory manner the facts upon which he bases his claim.000. cannot duly establish their absence in the country on that date. and that there is a Deed of Sale showing a selling price of P320. xxx During the course of hearing. but a reduction of the recommended penalty is called for.[16] 6 . However. 1989.

by the way.Respondent’s actions erode the public perception of the legal profession. or by reason of his conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude. is not primarily intended as punishment. 27. Complainant asks that respondent be disbarred. following Section 27. but as a means to protect the public and the legal profession. 7 . respondent is ordered to deliver to complainant the amount of P240. considering his advanced age. respondent Atty. in view of the foregoing. Let notice of this Resolution be spread in respondent’s record as an attorney in this Court. which provides: Sec. Further. malpractice.000. and notice thereof be served on the Integrated Bar of the Philippines and on the Office of the Court Administrator for circulation to all the courts concerned.[17] WHEREFORE. Rule 138 of the Rules of Court. or for a willful disobedience appearing as attorney for a party to a case without authority to so do. The Court believes that a suspension of six (6) months is sufficient. where the evidence calls for it.— A member of the bar may be disbarred or suspended from his office as attorney by the Supreme Court for any deceit. that suspension from the practice of law is sufficient to discipline respondent. with a warning that a repetition of the same or a similar act will be dealt with more severely. is SUSPENDED from the practice of law for a period of SIX (6) MONTHS. The supreme penalty of disbarment is meted out only in clear cases of misconduct that seriously affect the standing and character of the lawyer as an officer of the court and member of the bar. or other gross misconduct in such office. Disbarment or suspension of attorneys by Supreme Court. The Court finds. the Court finds the recommended penalty of suspension of two (2) years for respondent to be too severe. however. In this case. or for any violation of the oath which he is required to take before the admission to practice. While the Court will not hesitate to remove an erring attorney from the esteemed brotherhood of lawyers. Suspension. grossly immoral conduct. They constitute gross misconduct for which he may be suspended. Jaime Lumasag. grounds therefor. SO ORDERED.00 plus legal interest rate of 6% per annum computed from March 1990. effective immediately. the Court will also not disbar him where a lesser penalty will suffice to accomplish the desired end. Jr.