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A.C. No.


May 2, 2006

EDGAR O. PEREA, Complainant, vs. ATTY. RUBEN L. ALMADRO, Respondent. RESOLUTION AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ, J.: This refers to an offshoot incident in the disbarment case1 filed by Edgar O. Perea against Atty. Ruben L. Almadro. Atty. Ruben L. Almadro engaged the services of the Sua & Alambra Law Offices to represent him in this disbarment case. In their Entry of Appearance with Motion/Manifestation dated November 20, 2000, signed by Atty. Alan Andres B. Alambra, he stated that respondent has yet to receive a copy of the complaint and thus prayed that a copy of the said complaint be furnished him so he can file an answer. Complainant Edgar O. Perea filed a Manifestation dated November 29, 2000, asseverating that he had furnished respondent copies of the complaint through facsimile machine. In the Resolution dated March 20, 2003, the Court sustained the Integrated Bar of the Philippines order requiring Atty. Kenton Sua and Atty. Alambra to show cause for their deliberate falsehood and misrepresentation in the preparation of the answer for respondent, and accordingly remanded the case to the IBP for further action on the contempt proceedings. Before the Court now is the Resolution No. XVII-2005-162 dated December 17, 2005 of the Board of Governors of the IBP finding that Atty. Sua and Atty. Alambra were less than honest and forthright in their representation before the Court and imposing a fine of P2,000.00 each with warning that any further unprofessional conduct will be dealt with more severely. Let it be emphasized that the subject contumacious act was committed before the Court; thus, the following disposition. In their Explanation dated September 10, 2002,2 Atty. Sua and Atty. Alambra avered that: Atty. Sua, a partner in the Sua & Alambra Law Offices, was not and is not, the partner assigned to handle the case for Atty. Almadro and had no participation whatsoever in the case other than to notarize the Affidavit of Service for Atty. Almadros Answer; Atty. Alambra acted in good faith upon the express instructions and advise of Atty. Almadro that he never received a copy of the complaint up to the time that he referred the case to their Law Office. To bolster their claim of good faith, they attached a photocopy of the letter of Atty. Almadro dated November 9, 20003 stating that he had not actually received a copy of the complaint of Mr. Perea. The Court is not fully convinced. A perusal of the aforesaid letter of Atty. Almadro reveals that indeed stated that he had not received a copy of the complaint. However, in Atty. Almadros three Motions for Extension of Time to Comment4 which he filed before the Court before engaging the services of the law office, there was no mention that he had not received a copy of the complaint. In fact, in the second paragraph of the second motion for extension, Atty. Almadro stated that: He is in the process of reviewing an initial draft of said comment and will need said period of ten (10) days to complete and finalize the draft. Said statement shows very clearly that Atty. Almadro has received a copy of the complaint. For how can he prepare a draft of his comment if it were not so? This should have alerted Atty. Alambra to verify the veracity of the claim of Atty. Almadro. Atty. Alambra should not have relied on the statement given by Atty. Almadro. Their being

classmates in the law school is not a reason to be less cautious in his dealings with the Court. He is an officer of the court, and as such, he owes candor, fairness and good faith to the Court.5 As explicitly stated in Rule 10.01, Canon 10 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, to wit: A lawyer shall not do any falsehood, nor consent to the doing of any in Court; nor shall he misled, or allow the Court to be misled by any Considering the admission made by Atty. Alambra regarding the non-participation of Atty. Sua, the latter should be absolved of any liability. WHEREFORE, finding Atty. Alan Andres B. Alambra guilty of contempt of Court and neglect of his duties as a lawyer as embodied in Canon 10, Rule 10.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, he is FINED in the amount of Two Thousand Pesos (P2,000.00) with a WARNING that any similar act will be dealt with more severely. Atty. Kenton Sua is absolved of any liability. SO ORDERED.

G.R. No. 115932 January 25, 1995 THE SPOUSES JOSE B. TIONGCO and LETICIA M. TIONGCO, petitioners, vs. HON. SEVERIANO C. AGUILAR, Judge, RTC, Branch 35, Iloilo City, and the Spouses WILFREDO and LORENA AGUIRRE, respondents. RESOLUTION

DAVIDE, J.: In the resolution of 26 September 1994, this Court required ATTY. JOSE B. TIONGCO, as counsel for the petitioners, to show cause why he should not be dealt with administratively for the violation of Canon 11 of the Code of Professional Responsibility considering:
. . . the insinuation of counsel for the petitioners that this Court did not read the petition as borne out by the following statement: ". . . Truly, it is hard to imagine that this Honorable Court had read the petition and the annexes attached thereto and hold that the same has "failed to sufficiently show that the respondent Court had committed a grave abuse of discretion in rendering the questioned judgment". . . which, as earlier noted, is unfounded and malicious, and considering further his use of intemperate language in the petition, as exemplified by his characterization of the decision of the respondent Judge as having been "crafted in order to fool the winning party"; as a "hypocritical judgment in plaintiffs' favor"; one "you could have sworn it was the Devil who dictated it"; or one with "perfidious character," although the petitioners as plaintiffs therein and who were the prevailing party in the decision did not appeal therefrom; and by his charge that the respondent Judge was "a bit confused with that confusion which is the natural product of having been born, nurtured and brought up

amongst the crowded surroundings of the non-propertied class; In fact, His Honor, Respondent Judge, the Honorable Severino O. Aguilar had not owned any real property until March 5, 1974 when his Honor was already either Public-Prosecutor or RTC Judge; in one scale of the balance, a 311 square meter lot, 6 houses from the Provincial Road, about 6 kilometers from the Iloilo City Hall of Justice, and, in the other scale, His Honor's brand-new car, impeccable attire, and dignified "mien"; and his charge that the respondent Judge has "joined the defendants and their counsel in a scheme to unlawfully deprive petitioners of the possession and fruits of their property for the duration of appeal"; and with respect to the Order of 30 May 1994, by describing the respondent Judge as a "liar," "perjurer," or "blasphemer."

In his 2-page Compliance, dated 11 October 1994, he alleges that:

If the undersigned has called anyone a "liar" "thief" "perfidious" and "blasphemer" it is because he is in fact a liar, thief, perfidious and blasphemer; "this Honorable [ sic] First Division, however, forget, that the undersigned alsp [sic] called him a "robber" (Petition, pp. 13 bottom; 14 bottom), a "rotten manipulator" (Petition, p. 11 line 26) and "abetter" of graft and shady deals (Petition, p. 12 bottom, p. 13 top); On the other hand, if the undersigned called anybody "cross-eyed," it must be because he is indeed cross-eyed particularly when he sees but five (5) letters in an eight (8) letter-word; Indeed, it must be a lousy Code of Professional Responsibility and therefore stands in dire need of amendment which punishes lawyer who truthfully expose incompetent and corrupt judges before this Honorable Supreme Court; It is therefore, respectfully submitted, that for all his pains, the undersigned does not deserve or is entitled to the honors of being dealt with administratively or otherwise.

and prays:
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, the undersigned respectfully prays of this Honorable Supreme Court, that it forebear from turning the undersigned into a martyr to his principles.

Yet, he added the following:


It must at once be noted that Atty. Tiongco did not at all show cause why he should not be dealt with administratively for violation of Canon 11 of the Code of Professional Responsibility in view of his unfounded and malicious insinuation that this Court did not at all read the petition in this case before it concluded that the petition failed to sufficiently show that the respondent court had committed a grave abuse of discretion. Moreover, while he tried to justify as true his descriptions of the respondent judge as a "liar," "thief." perfidious," and "blasphemer" he did not offer any excuse for his use of the rest of the intemperate words enumerated in the resolution. Worse, feeling obviously frustrated at the incompleteness of the Court's enumeration of the intemperate words or phrases, he volunteered to point out that in addition to those so enumerated, he also called the respondent judge a "robber," "rotten manipulator," "abettor" of graft and corruption, and "cross-eyed."

Atty. Tiongco's Compliance is unsatisfactory and is entirely unacceptable for the following reasons: first, he impliedly admitted the falsity of his insinuation that this Court did not read the petition' second, except as to the words "liar," "thief," "perfidious'" and "blasphemer," he failed to address squarely the other intemperate words and phrases enumerated in the resolution of 26 September 1994, which failure amounts to an admission of their intemperateness; third, he did not indicate the circumstances upon which his defense of truth lies; and, fourth, he miserably failed to show the relevance of the harsh words and phrase to his petition. We do not then hesitate to rule that by falsely and maliciously insinuating that this Court did not at all read the petition in this case, Atty. Tiongco not only exhibited his gross disrespect to and contempt for this Court and exposed his plot to discredit the Members of the First Division of the Court and put them to public contempt or ridicule; he, as well, charged them with the violation of their solemn duty to render justice, thereby creating or promoting distrust in judicial administration which could have the effect of "encouraging discontent which, in many cases, is the source of disorder, thus undermining the foundation on which rests the bulwark called judicial power to which those who are aggrieved turn for protection and relief" (Salcedo vs. Hernandez, 61 Phil. 724 [1953]). In using in the petition in this case intemperate and scurrilous words and phrases against the respondent judge which are obviously uncalled for and entirely irrelevant to the petition and whose glaring falsity is easily demonstrated by the respondent judge's decision if favor of Atty. Tiongco and his wife in their case for recovery of possession and damages, and by the dismissal of the instant petition for failure of the petitioners to sufficiently show that the respondent judge committed grave abuse of discretion, Atty. Tiongco has equally shown his disrespect to and contempt for the respondent judge, thereby diminishing public confidence in the latter and eventually, in the judiciary, or sowing mistrust in the administration of justice. Consequently, Atty. Tiongco has made a strong case for a serious violation of Canon 11 of the Code of Professional Responsibility which reads as follows:

This duty is closely entwined with his vow in the lawyer's oath "to conduct himself as a lawyer with all good fidelity to the courts"; his duty under Section 20 (b), Rule 138 of the Rules of Court "[t]o observe and maintain the respect due to the courts of justice and judicial officers"; and his duty under the first canon of the Canons Professional Ethics "to maintain towards the courts a respectful attitude, not for the sake of the temporary incumbent of the judicial office, but for the maintenance of its incumbent of the judicial office, but for the maintenance of its supreme importance." In Rheem of the Philippines vs. Ferrer (20 SCRA 441, 444 [1967]), this Court said:

By now, a lawyer's duties to the Court had become commonplace. Really, there could hardly be any valid excuse for lapses in the observance thereof. Section 20(b), Rule 138 of the Rules of Court, in categorical terms, spells out one such duty: "To observe and maintain the respect due to the courts of justice and judicial officers." As explicit is the first canon of legal ethics which pronounces that "[i]t is the duty of the lawyer to maintain towards the Courts a respectful attitude, not for the sake of the temporary incumbent of the judicial office, but for the maintenance of its supreme importance." That same canon, as a corollary, makes it peculiarly incumbent upon lawyers to support the courts against "unjust criticism and clamor." And more. The attorney's oath solemnly binds him to conduct that should be "with all good fidelity . . . to the courts." Worth remembering is that the duty of an attorney to the courts "can only be maintained by rendering no service involving any disrespect to the judicial office which he is bound to uphold." [Lualhati vs. Albert, 57 Phil. 86, 92]. We concede that a lawyer may think highly of his intellectual endowment. That is his privilege. And, he may suffer frustration at what he feels is others' lack of it. That is his misfortune. Some such frame of mind, however, should not be allowed to harden into a belief that he may attack court's decision in words calculated to jettison the time-honored aphorism that courts are the temples of right. He should give due allowance to the fact that judges are but men; and men are encompassed by error, fettered by fallibility.

Expounding further on the lawyer's duty to the courts, this Court, in Surigao Mineral Reservation Board vs. Cloribel (31 SCRA 1, 16-17 [1970]), stated:
A lawyer is an officer of the courts; he is, "like the court itself, an instrument or agency to advance the ends of justice." [People ex rel. Karlin vs. Culkin, 60 A.L.R. 851, 855]. His duty is to uphold the dignity and the authority of the courts to which he owes fidelity, "not to promote distrust in the administration in the administration of justice." [In re Sotto, 82 Phil. 595, 602]. faith in the courts a lawyer should seek to preserve. For, to undermine the judicial edifice "is disastrous to the continuity of the government and to the attainment of the liberties of the people." [Malcolm legal and Judicial Ethics, 1949 ed., p. 160]. Thus has it been said of a lawyer that "[a]s an officer of the court, it is his sworn and moral duty to help build and not destroy unnecessarily that high esteem and regard towards the courts so essential to the proper administration of justice." [People vs. Carillo, 77 Phil. 572, 580]. (See also In re: Rafael C. Climaco, 55 SCRA 107 [1974]).

It does not, however, follow that just because a lawyer is an officer of the court, he cannot criticize the courts. That is his right as a citizen, and it is even his duty as an officer of the court to avail of such right. Thus, In Re: Almacen (31 SCRA 562, 579-580 [1970]), this Court explicitly declared:
Hence, as a citizen and as an officer of the court, a lawyer is expected not only to exercise the right, but also to consider it his duty to avail of such right. No law may abridge this right. Nor is he "professionally answerable for a scrutiny into the official conduct of the judge, which would not expose him to legal animadversion as a citizen." (Case of Austin, 28 Am dec. 657, 665). "Above all others, the members of the bar have the best opportunity to become conversant with the character and efficiency of out judges. No class is less likely to abuse the privilege, or no other class has as great an interest in the preservation of an able and upright bench." (State Board of Examiners in Law vs. Hart, 116 N.W. 212, 216).

To curtail the right of a lawyer to be critical of the foibles of courts and judges is to seal the lips of those in the best position to give advice and who might consider it their duty to speak disparagingly. "Under such a rule," so far as the bar is concerned, "the merits of a sitting judge may be rehearsed, but as to his demerits there must be profound silence. (State vs. Circuit Court (72 N.W. 196)).

Nevertheless, such a right is not without limit. For, as this Court warned in Almacen:
But it is a cardinal condition of all such criticism that it shall be bona fide, and shall not spill over the walls of decency and propriety. A wide chasm exists between fair criticism, on the one hand, and abuse and slander of courts and the judges thereof, on the other. Intemperate and unfair criticism is a gross violation of the duty of respect to courts. It is such a misconduct that subjects a lawyer to disciplinary action. xxx xxx xxx The lawyer's duty to render respectful subordination to the courts is essential to the orderly administration of justice. hence, in the assertion of their client's rights, lawyers even those gifted with superior intellect are enjoined to rein up their tempers.

Elsewise stated, the right to criticize, which is guaranteed by the freedom of speech and of expression in the Bill of Rights of the Constitution, must be exercised responsibly, for every right carries with it a corresponding obligation. Freedom is not freedom from responsibility, but freedom with responsibility. In Zaldivar vs. Gonzales (166 SCRA 316, 353-354 [1988]), it was held:
Respondent Gonzales is entitled to the constitutional guarantee of free spe ech. No one seeks to deny him that right, least of all this Court. What respondent seems unaware of is that freedom of speech and of expression, like all constitutional freedoms, is not absolute and that freedom of expression needs an occasion to be adjusted to and accommodated with the requirements of equally important public interests. One of these fundamental public interests is the maintenance of the integrity and orderly functioning of the administration justice. There is no antimony between free expression and the integrity of the system of administering justice. For the protection and maintenance of freedom of expression itself can be secured only within the context of a functioning and orderly system of dispensing justice, within the context, in other words, of viable independent institutions for delivery of justice which are accepted by the general community.

Proscribed then are, inter alia, the use of unnecessary language which jeopardizes high esteem in courts, creates or promotes distrust in judicial administration ( Rheem, supra), or tends necessarily to undermine the confidence of the people in the integrity of the members of this Court and to degrade the administration of justice by this Court ( In re: Sotto, 82 Phil. 595 [1949]); or of offensive and abusive language ( In re: Rafael Climaco, 55 SCRA 107 [1974]); or abrasive and offensive language (Yangson vs. Salandanan, 68 SCRA 42 [1975]); or of disrespectful, offensive, manifestly baseless, and malicious statements in pleadings or in a letter addressed to the judge (Baja vs. Macando, 158 SCRA 391 [1988], citing the resolution of 19 January 1988 in Phil. Public Schools Teachers Association vs. Quisumbing, G.R. No. 76180, and Ceniza vs. Sebastian, 130 SCRA 295 [1984]); or of disparaging, intemperate, and uncalled-for remarks (Sangalang vs. Intermediate Appellate Court, 177 SCRA 87 [1989]).

That Atty. Tiongco had exceeded the bounds of decency and propriety in making the false and malicious insinuation against this Court, particularly the Members of the First Division, and the scurrilous characterizations of the respondent judge is, indeed, all too obvious. Such could only come from anger, if not hate, after he was not given what he wanted. Anger or hate could only come from one who "seems to be of that frame of mind whereby he considers as in accordance with law and justice whatever he believes to be right in his own opinion and as contrary to law and justice whatever does not accord with his views" (Montecillo vs. Gica, 60 SCRA 234, 238 [1974]). When such anger or hate is coupled with haughtiness or arrogance as when he even pointed out other intemperate words in his petition which this Court failed to incorporate in the resolution of 26 September 1994, and with seething sarcasm as when he prays that this Court "forebear[s] from turning . . . [him] into a martyr to his principles" and ends up his Compliance with the "RESPECTFUL APOLOGIES AND UNDYING LOVE" (Constitution Preamble, 66th word), "nothing more can extenuate his liability for gross violation of Canon 11 of the Code of professional Responsibility and his other duties entwined therewith as earlier adverted to. WHEREFORE, for such violation, ATTY. JOSE B. TIONGCO is hereby ordered to pay a Fine of FIVE THOUSAND PESOS (P5,000.00) and WARNED that the commission of the same or similar acts in the future shall be dealt with more money. Let a copy of this resolution be attached to the record of Atty. Jose B. Tiongco in this Court. G.R. No. 90083 October 4, 1990 KHALYXTO PEREZ MAGLASANG, accused-petitioner, vs. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Presiding Judge ERNESTO B. TEMPLADO (San Carlos City Court), Negros Occidental, respondents. Marceliano L. Castellano for petitioner. RESOLUTION PER CURIAM: On June 22, 1989, a petition for certiorari 1 entitled "Khalyxto Perez Maglasang vs. People of the Philippines, Presiding Judge, Ernesto B. Templado (San Carlos City Court) Negros Occidental," was filed by registered mail with the Court. Due to noncompliance with the requirements of Circular No. 1-88 of the Court, specifically the nonpayment of P316.50 for the legal fees and the non-attachment of the duplicate originals or duly certified true copies of the questioned decision and orders of the respondent judge denying the motion for reconsideration, the Court dismissed the petition on July 26, 1989. 2

On September 9, 1989, Atty. Marceliano L. Castellano, as counsel of the petitioner, moved for a reconsideration of the resolution dismissing the petition. 3 This time, the amount of P316.50 was remitted and the Court was furnished with a duplicate copy of the respondent judge's decision, and also the IBP O.R. No. and the date of the payment of his membership dues. The motion for reconsideration did not contain the duplicate original or certified true copies of the assailed orders. Thus, in a Resolution dated October 18, 1989, the motion for reconsideration was denied "with FINALITY." 4 Three months later, or on January 22, 1990 to be exact, the Court received from Atty. Castellano a copy of a complaint dated December 19, 1989, filed with the Office of the President of the Philippines whereby Khalyxto Perez Maglasang, through his lawyer, Atty. Castellano, as complainant, accused all the five Justices of the Court's Second Division with "biases and/or ignorance of the law or knowingly rendering unjust judgments or resolution." 5 The complaint was signed by Atty. Castellano "for the complainant" with the conformity of one Calixto B. Maglasang, allegedly the father of accused-complainant Khalyxto. 6 By reason of the strong and intemperate language of the complaint and its improper filing with the Office of the President, which, as he should know as a lawyer, has no jurisdiction to discipline, much more, remove, Justices of the Supreme Court, on February 7, 1990, Atty. Castellano was required to show cause why he should not be punished for contempt or administratively dealt with for improper conduct. 7 On March 21, 1990, Atty. Castellano filed by registered mail his "Opposition To Cite For Contempt Or Administratively Dealt With For An Improper Conduct ( sic)." 8 In his "Opposition", Atty. Castellano claimed that the complaint "was a constructive criticism intended to correct in good faith the erroneous and very strict practices of the Justices concerned, as Respondents (sic). 9 Atty. Castellano further disputed the authority and jurisdiction of the Court in issuing the Resolution requiring him to show cause inasmuch as "they are Respondents in this particular case and no longer as Justices and as such they have no more jurisdiction to give such order." 10 Thus, according to him, "the most they (Justices) can do by the mandate of the law and procedure (sic) is to answer the complaint satisfactorily so that they will not be punished in accordance with the law just like a common tao." 11 Notwithstanding his claim that the complaint was a "constructive criticism," the Court finds the various statements made by Atty. Castellano in the complaint he lodged with the Office of the President of the Philippines and in his "Opposition" filed with the Court portions of which read as follows:
VI That with all these injustices of the 2nd Division, as assigned to that most Honorable Supreme Court, the complainant was legally constrained to file this Administrative Complaint to our Motherly President who is firm and determined to phase-out all the scalawags (Marcos Appointees and Loyalists) still in your administration without bloodshed but by honest and just investigations, which the accused-complainant concurs to such procedure and principle, or otherwise, he could have by now a rebel with the undersigned with a cause for being maliciously deprived or unjustly denied of Equal

Justice to be heard by our Justices designated to the Highest and most Honorable Court of the Land (Supreme Court); 12 (Emphasis ours.) VII That the Honorable Supreme Court as a Court has no fault at all for being Constitutionally created, but the Justices assigned therein are fallables (sic), being bias (sic), playing ignorance of the law and knowingly rendering unjust Resolutions the reason observed by the undersigned and believed by him in good faith, is that they are may be Marcosappointees, whose common intention is to sabotage the Aquino Administration and to rob from innocent Filipino people the genuine Justice and Democracy, so that they will be left in confusion and turmoil to their advantage and to the prejudice of our beloved President's honest, firm and determined Decision to bring back the real Justice in all our Courts, for the happiness, contentment and progress of your people and the only country which God has given us. PHILIPPINES. 13 (Emphasis ours.) VIII That all respondents know the law and the pure and simple meaning of Justice, yet they refused to grant to the poor and innocent accused-complainant, so to save their brethren in rank and office (Judiciary) Judge Ernesto B. Templado, . . . 14 IX . . . If such circulars were not known to the undersigned, it's the fault of the Justices of the Honorable Supreme Court, the dismissal of the petition was based more of money reasons. . . . This is so for said Equal Justice is our very Breath of Life to every Filipino, who is brave to face the malicious acts of the Justices of the Second Division, Supreme Court. By reason of fear for the truth Respondents ignore the equal right of the poor and innocent-accused (complainant) to be heard against the rich and high-ranking person in our Judiciary to be heard in equal justice in our Honorable Court, for the respondents is too expensive and can't be reached by an ordinary man for the Justices therein are inconsiderate, extremely strict and meticulous to the common tao and hereby grossly violate their Oath of Office and our Constitution "to give all possible help and means to give equal Justice to any man, regardless of ranks and status in life" 15 (Emphasis ours.) xxx xxx xxx 5. That the undersigned had instantly without delay filed a Motion for Reconsideration to the Resolution which carries with it a final denial of his appeal by complying ( sic) all the requirements needed for a valid appeal yet the respondents denied just the same which legally hurt the undersigned in the name of Justice, for the Respondents-Justices, were so strict or inhumane and so inconsiderate that there despensation (sic) of genuine justice was too far and beyond the reach of the Accused-Appellant, as a common tao, as proved by records of both cases mentioned above. 16 xxx xxx xxx D. That by nature a contempt order is a one sided weapon commonly abused by Judges and Justices, against practicing lawyers, party-litigants and all Filipino people in general for no Judges or Justices since the beginning of our Court Records were cited for contempt by any presiding Judge. That this weapon if maliciously applied is a cruel means to silence a righteous and innocent complainant and to favor any person with close relation. 17

scurrilous and contumacious. His allegations that the Court in dismissing his petition did so "to save their brethren in rank and office (Judiciary) Judge Ernesto B. Templado," and that the dismissal was "based more for ( sic) money reasons;" and his insinuation that the Court maintains a double standard in dispensing justice one set for the rich and another for the poor went beyond the bounds of "constructive criticism." They are not relevant to the cause of his client. On the contrary, they cast aspersion on the Court's integrity as a neutral and final arbiter of all justiciable controversies brought before it. Atty. Castellano should know that the Court in resolving complaints yields only to the records before it and not to any extraneous influence as he disparagingly intimates. It bears stress that the petition was dismissed initially by the Court for the counsel's failure to fully comply with the requirements laid down in Circular No. 1-88, a circular on expeditious disposition of cases, adopted by the Court on November 8, 1988, but effective January 1, 1989, after due publication. It is true that Atty. Castellano later filed on behalf of his client a motion for reconsideration and remitted the necessary legal fees, 18 furnished the Court with a duplicate original copy of the assailed trial court's decision, 19 and indicated his IBP O.R. No. and the date he paid his dues. 20 But he still fell short in complying fully with the requirements of Circular No. 1-88. He failed to furnish the Court with duplicate original or duty certified true copies of the other questioned orders issued by the respondent trial court judge. At any rate, the explanation given by Atty. Castellano did not render his earlier negligence excusable. Thus, as indicated in our Resolution dated October 18, 1989 which denied with finality his motion for reconsideration, "no valid or compelling reason (having been) adduced to warrant the reconsideration sought." Precisely, under paragraph 5 of Circular No. 1-88 it is provided that "(S)ubsequent compliance with the above requirements will not warrant reconsideration of the order of dismissal unless it be shown that such non-compliance was due to compelling reasons." It is clear that the case was lost not by the alleged injustices Atty. Castellano irresponsibly ascribed to the members of the Court's Second Division, but simply because of his inexcusable negligence and incompetence. Atty. Castellano, however, seeks to pass on the blame for his deficiencies to the Court, in the hope of salvaging his reputation before his client. Unfortunately, the means by which Atty. Castellano hoped to pass the buck so to speak, are grossly improper. As an officer of the Court, he should have known better than to smear the honor and integrity of the Court just to keep the confidence of his client. Time and again we have emphasized that a "lawyer's duty is not to his client but to the administration of justice; to that end, his client's success is wholly subordinate; and his conduct ought to and must always be scrupulously observant of law and ethics." 21 Thus, "while a lawyer must advocate his client's cause in utmost earnest and with the maximum skill he can marshal, he is not at liberty to resort to arrogance, intimidation, and innuendo." 22 To be sure, the Court does not pretend to be immune from criticisms. After all, it is through the criticism of its actions that the Court, composed of fallible mortals, hopes to correct whatever mistake it may have unwittingly committed. But then again, "[i]t is the

cardinal condition of all such criticism that it shall be bona fide and shall not spill over the walls of decency and propriety. A wide chasm exists between fair criticism, on the one hand, and abuse and slander of courts and the judges thereof, on the other. Intemperate and unfair criticism is a gross violation of the duty of respect to courts." 23 In this regard, it is precisely provided under Canon 11 of the Code of Professional Responsibility that:
CANON 11-A LAWYER SHALL OBSERVE AND MAINTAIN THE RESPECT DUE TO THE COURTS AND TO JUDICIAL OFFICERS AND SHOULD INSIST ON SIMILAR CONDUCT BY OTHERS. xxx xxx xxx RULE 11.03 A lawyer shall abstain from scandalous, offensive or menancing language or behavior before the courts. RULE 11.04 A lawyer should not attribute to a judge motives not supported by the record or have materiality to the case. xxx xxx xxx

We further note that in filing the "complaint" against the justices of the Court's Second Division, even the most basic tenet of our government system the separation of powers between the judiciary, the executive, and the legislative branches has been lost on Atty. Castellano. We therefore take this occasion to once again remind all and sundry that "the Supreme Court is supreme the third great department of government entrusted exclusively with the judicial power to adjudicate with finality all justiciable disputes, public and private. No other department or agency may pass upon its judgments or declare them 'unjust.'" 24 Consequently, and owing to the foregoing, not even the President of the Philippines as Chief Executive may pass judgment on any of the Court's acts. Finally, Atty. Castellano's assertion that the complaint "was a constructive criticism intended to correct in good faith the erroneous and very strict practices of the Justices, concerned as Respondents (sic)" is but a last minute effort to sanitize his clearly unfounded and irresponsible accusation. The arrogance displayed by counsel in insisting that the Court has no jurisdiction to question his act of having complained before the Office of the President, and in claiming that a contempt order is used as a weapon by judges and justices against practicing lawyers, however, reveals all too plainly that he was not honestly motivated in his criticism. Rather, Atty. Castellano's complaint is a vilification of the honor and integrity of the Justices of the Second Division of the Court and an impeachment of their capacity to render justice according to law. WHEREFORE, Atty. Marceliano L. Castellano is found guilty of CONTEMPT OF COURT and IMPROPER CONDUCT as a member of the Bar and an officer of the Court, and is hereby ordered to PAY within fifteen (15) days from and after the finality of this Resolution a fine of One Thousand (P1,000.00) Pesos, or SUFFER ten (10) days imprisonment in the municipal jail of Calatrava, Negros Occidental in case he fails to

pay the fine seasonably, and SUSPENDED from the practice of law throughout the Philippines for six (6) months as soon as this Resolution becomes final, with a WARNING that a repetition of any misconduct on his part will be dealt with more severely. Let notice of this Resolution be entered in Atty. Castellano's record, and be served on the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, the Court of Appeals, and the Executive Judges of the Regional Trial Courts and other Courts of the country, for their information and guidance. SO ORDERED. A.C. No. 6986 March 6, 2006

JULIUS V. AGUSTIN, Complainant, vs. ATTY. ENRIQUE S. EMPLEO, Respondent. RESOLUTION GARCIA, J.: This is a complaint for disbarment1 filed by complainant Julius V. Agustin against respondent Atty. Enrique S. Empleo for the latters failure to comply with a court order while acting as the formers counsel, thereby resulting in the outright dismissal of a case and the complainants counterclaim therein. Records reveal that complainant was the defendant in Civil Case No. B-259 for Forcible Entry with Preliminary Mandatory Injunction and Damages then pending before the 2nd Municipal Circuit Trial Court (MCTC), Bindoy, Negros Oriental, in which respondent was his counsel. In the course of the proceedings in that case, the MCTC issued an Order on September 25, 1998,2 giving the parties to the case a period of fifteen (15) days from receipt thereof within which to submit their compromise agreement or amicable settlement for the approval of the court. With no compromise agreement having been submitted by the parties within the period thus given or thereafter, the MCTC, some four (4) years later, or on August 5, 2002, issued an Order3 dismissing Civil Case No. B-259 and the counterclaim therein for failure of the parties to prosecute. Blaming his counsel for the dismissal of the case and his counterclaim therein, complainant filed on October 18, 2004, an administrative complaint against respondent with the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP), thereat docketed as CBD Case No. 04-1344. Acting on the complaint, the IBP Director for Bar Discipline, Atty. Rogelio A. Vinluan, required respondent to submit his answer thereto, otherwise he will be considered as in default and the case heard ex-parte.4

In his answer,5 respondent admits having been complainants counsel in Civil Case No. B-259 and the dismissal of that case by the MCTC for the parties failure to submit a compromise agreement. He explained, however, that the non-submission of the compromise agreement was due to complainants own fault in not contacting him for the purpose of providing the details of said agreement, pointing out that counsels merely assist their clients and do not decide for them in a compromise agreement. Respondent likewise averred that complainant was not prejudiced by the dismissal of Civil Case No. B-259 for the simple reason that the latter was no less the defendant therein and it was the plaintiff who failed to prosecute the case for a long period of time. In any event, respondent alleged that the instant administrative complaint is simply complainants reaction to his letter dated June 15, 20046 relative to his (respondents) act of having withdrawn as complainants counsel in a different case pending before another court. Complainant, in his Reply-Affidavit,7 countered that he contacted respondent several times regarding the submission of the compromise agreement in Civil Case No. B-259. The first was on October 20, 1999 at respondents residence as the latter was not at his office at that time, in compliance with respondents letter requesting to see him. The second was on April 19, 2000 when complainant went to respondents office on account of another case, and there reminded the latter as to the compromise agreement but respondent just made the assurance that he will be the one to make the draft and/or prepare the same. The third was on January 12, 2001, again at the respondents office where, after being reminded as to the compromise agreement, respondent told him not to be in a hurry because the court can wait for the compromise agreement and besides he is quite busy with other court cases. Denying that the administrative complaint is his reaction to respondents letter dated June 15, 2004, complainant asserted that said letter concerns another case in connection with which he is preparing another administrative case against respondent. In his Rejoinder,8 respondent denied that complainant contacted and reminded him about the subject compromise agreement, averring that any communication that has happened between him and the complainant pertains to another case. Respondent further averred that complainant is merely attempting to besmirch his unsullied reputation as a legal practitioner since 1975. After the termination of the mandatory preliminary conference, the parties were required to submit their respective position papers with documentary exhibits and affidavits of witnesses, if any, within twenty (20) days from notice, after which the case shall be submitted for resolution.9 Eventually, on July 26, 2005, the IBP Investigating Commissioner, Acerey C. Pacheco, submitted his Report and Recommendation.10 Said the Commissioner in his report: It is a fact as established by the records that no compromise agreement was submitted to the court despite the receipt of the Order dated September 25, 1998. While it is true that as counsel, respondent do not decide for the complainant to enter into such kind of agreement, respondent is however, duty bound to assist the court in the speedy disposition of cases. xxx xxx xxx

Respondents asseveration that he waited for the complainant to provide him with details of the compromise agreement but the latter failed to come does not inspire belief in the face of the denials made by the complainant. Not even a piece of paper or letter requesting the complainant to provide him with the details of the agreement was presented to substantiate such allegation. And even assuming arguendo that respondent indeed asked the complainant of such details, the period of almost four (4) years from September 25, 1998 (date of the Order requiring the submission of the compromise agreement) up to August 5, 2002 (date of the Order dismissing the case for failure to submit the same) without doing anything to avoid the case being left "hanging on the air" betrays respondents duty towards the court. As an officer of the court whose primary function is to assist the court in the impartial and speedy adjudication of cases, respondent ought to be vigilant and avoid any act or omission that only impedes and obstructs speedy disposition of cases. In the case at bar, the period of almost four (4) years of waiting constitutes inaction that caused unnecessary delay in the disposition of said cases. The fact that no damage or prejudice was sustained by the complainant, he being the defendant in that case, is of no moment. Thus, the Commissioners recommendation: WHEREFORE, premises considered, it is most respectfully recommended that herein respondent be reprimanded for his inaction over the period of almost four (4) years without doing anything and that a repetition of the same act to be dealt with accordingly.11 On October 22, 2005, the IBP Board of Governors passed Resolution No. XVII-2005-9012 adopting and approving the afore-quoted report and recommendation of the Investigating Commissioner, to wit: RESOLVED to ADOPT and APPROVE, as it is hereby ADOPTED and APPROVED, the Report and Recommendation of the Investigating Commissioner of the above-entitled case, herein made part of this Resolution as Annex "A"; and, finding the recommendation fully supported by the evidence on record and the applicable laws and rules, and considering the almost four years of inaction that caused delay in the disposition of the cases, Atty. Enrique S. Empleo is hereby REPRIMANDED and repetition of the same act shall be dealt with accordingly. We are in full accord with the findings and recommendation of the Investigating Commissioner as adopted by the IBP Board of Governors. First and foremost among the duties of a lawyer is his duty to the court. The chief mission of an attorney is to assist in the administration of justice and to this end, his clients success in the case is subordinate. As mandated in Canon 12 of the Code of Professional Responsibility: A LAWYER SHALL EXERT EVERY EFFORT AND CONSIDER IT HIS DUTY TO ASSIST IN THE SPEEDY AND EFFICIENT ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE.

Like the court itself, a lawyer is an instrument to advance its ends: the speedy, efficient, impartial, correct and inexpensive adjudication of cases and the prompt satisfaction of final judgments.13 A lawyer should not only help attain these objectives but should likewise avoid any unethical or improper practices that impede, obstruct or prevent their realization, charged as he is with the primary task of assisting in the speedy and efficient administration of justice.14 True, a lawyer cannot enter into a compromise agreement without his clients consent. Be it remembered, however, that a lawyer is also an officer of the court with the correlative duty to see to it that cases are disposed in the soonest possible time. Here, respondent, fully aware that there is a pending court order for the submission of a compromise agreement, should have taken pains to remind complainant about it and ascertain the true intent of the latter regarding the same, so that he, as complainants counsel, can make the necessary legal action in order for the case not to be unduly delayed and appear not to be indefinitely pending in the docket of the court concerned. Moreover, by respondents inaction to the court order in Civil Case No. B-259, he has very well violated his Attorneys Oath to "obey the laws and legal orders of the duly constituted authorities." Lastly, we cannot but note that respondent's conduct relative to the civil case in question likewise fell short of the diligence required of his profession, in violation of Canon 18 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, which demands that a lawyer shall serve his client with competence and diligence. Rule 18.03 of said Canon further states that a lawyer shall not neglect a legal matter entrusted to him and his negligence in connection therewith shall render him liable. As complainants counsel in Civil Case No. B-259, it was incumbent upon respondent to invite his clients attention as to the compromise agreement, especially so when there is a pending court order for the submission of the same. There is nothing in the record which shows that respondent did anything in this respect, even when, as per his admission, he and complainant were in communication at that time, albeit, with regards to another case. Thus, by just letting the court order for the submission of a compromise agreement in Civil Case No. B-259 remain unacted upon resulting in the pendency of that case for almost four (4) years until its dismissal for the parties non-compliance, respondent sorely failed to perform what is required of him as a lawyer and a member of the Bar. ACCORDINGLY, respondent Atty. Enrique Empleo is hereby REPRIMANDED with WARNING that a repetition of the same or similar act will be dealt with more severely. SO ORDERED. CANCIO C. GARCIA Associate Justice WE CONCUR:

G.R. No. 114061 August 23, 1995 KOREAN AIRLINES CO., LTD., petitioner, vs. COURT OF APPEALS and JUANITO C. LAPUZ, respondents. G.R. No. 113842 August 23, 1995 JUANITO C. LAPUZ, petitioner, vs. COURT OF APPEALS and KOREAN AIRLINES CO., LTD., respondents. RESOLUTION

FRANCISCO, J.: The case is of 1980 vintage. It originated from the Regional Trial Court, appealed to the Court of Appeals, then finally elevated to this Court. From the Court's disposition of the case stemmed incidents which are now the subjects for resolution. To elaborate: In an action for breach of contract of carriage, Korean Airlines, Co., Ltd., (KAL) was ordered by the trial court to pay actual/compensatory damages, with legal interest, attorney's fees and costs of suit in favor of plaintiff Juanito C. Lapuz. 1 Both parties appealed to the Court of Appeals, but the trial court's judgment was merely modified: the award of compensatory damages reduced, an award for moral and exemplary damages added, with 6% interest per annum from the date of filing of the complaint, and the attorney's fees and costs deleted. The parties subsequently elevated the case to this Court, docketed as G.R. No. 114061 and G.R. No. 113842. On August 3, 1994, the Court in a consolidated decision affirmed the decision of the Court of Appeals, modified only as to the commencement date of the award of legal interest, i.e., from the date of the decision of the trial court and not from the date of filing of the complaint. 2 The parties filed their respective motions for reconsideration with KAL, for the first time, assailing the Court's lack of jurisdiction to impose legal interest as the complaint allegedly failed to pray for its award. In a resolution dated September 21, 1994, the Court resolved to deny both motions for reconsideration with finality. Notwithstanding, KAL filed subsequent pleadings asking for reconsideration of the Court's consolidated decision and again impugning the award of legal interest. Lapuz, meanwhile, filed a motion for early resolution of the case followed by a motion for execution dated March 14, 1995, praying for the issuance of a writ of execution. KAL, in response, filed its Opposition and Supplemental Argument in Support of the Opposition dated March 28, 1995, and March 30, 1995, respectively. Additionally, on May 3, 1995, Lapuz filed another Urgent Motion for Early Resolution stating that the

case has been pending for fifteen years which KAL admitted in its Comment filed two days later, albeit stressing that its pleadings were not intended for delay. 3 KAL's asseveration that the Court lacks jurisdiction to award legal interest is devoid of merit. Both the complaint and amended complaint against KAL dated November 27, 1980, and January 5, 1981, respectively, prayed for reliefs and remedies to which Lapuz may be entitled in law and equity. The award of legal interest is one such relief, as it is based on equitable grounds duly sanctioned by Article 2210 of the Civil Code which provides that: "[i]nterest may, in the discretion of the Court, be allowed upon damages awarded for breach of contract". 4 Furthermore, in its petition for review before the Court of Appeals, KAL did not question the trial court's imposition of legal interest. Likewise, in its appeal before the Court, KAL never bewailed the award of legal interest. In fact, KAL took exception only with respect to the date when legal interest should commence to run. 5 Indeed, it was only in its motion for reconsideration when suddenly its imposition was assailed for having been rendered without jurisdiction. To strengthen its languid position, KAL's subsequent pleadings clothed its attack with constitutional import for alleged violation of its right to due process. There is no cogent reason and none appears on record that could sustain KAL's scheme as KAL was amply given, in the courts below and in this Court, occasion to ventilate its case. What is repugnant to due process is the denial of opportunity to be heard 6 which opportunity KAL was extensively afforded. While it is a rule that jurisdictional question may be raised at any time, this, however, admits of an exception where, as in this case, estoppel has supervened. 7 This court has time and again frowned upon the undesirable practice of a party submitting his case for decision and then accepting the judgment, only if favorable, and attacking it for lack of jurisdiction when adverse. 8 The Court shall not countenance KAL's undesirable moves. What attenuates KAL's unmeritorious importuning is that the assailed decision has long acquired finality. It is a settled rule that a judgment which has acquired finality becomes immutable and unalterable, hence may no longer be modified in any respect except only to correct clerical errors or mistake. 9 Once a judgment becomes final, all the issues between the parties are deemed resolved and laid to rest. KAL's filing of numerous pleadings delayed the disposition of the case which for fifteen years remained pending. This practice may constitute abuse of the Court's processes for it tends to impede, obstruct and degrade the administration of justice. In Li Kim Tho v. Go Siu Ko, et al., 10 the Court gave this reminder to litigants and lawyers' alike:
Litigation must end and terminate sometime and somewhere, and it is essential to an effective and efficient administration of justice that, once a judgment has become final, the winning party be not, through a mere subterfuge, deprived of the fruits of the verdict. Courts must therefore guard against any scheme calculated to bring about the result. Constituted as they are to put an end to controversies, courts should frown upon any attempt to prolong them. 11

Likewise, in Banogan v. Zerna 12 the Court reminded lawyers of their responsibility as officers of the court in this manner:

As officers of the court, lawyers have a responsibility to assist in the proper administration of justice. They do not discharge this duty by filing pointless petitions that only add to the workload of the judiciary, especially this Court, which is burdened enough as it is. A judicious study of the facts and the law should advise them when a case, such as this, should not de permitted to be filed to merely clutter the already congested judicial dockets. They do not advance the cause of law or their clients by commencing litigations that for sheer lack of merit do not deserve the attention of the courts. 13

A lawyer owes fidelity to the cause of his client, but not at the expense of truth and the administration of justice. 14 Counsel for KAL is reminded that it is his duty not to unduly delay a case, impede the execution of a judgment or misuse Court processes. 15 With respect to Lapuz' motion for execution, suffice to state that the application for a writ of execution should be addressed to the court of origin and not to this Court. As the judgment has become final and executory then all that is left of the trial court is the ministerial act of ordering the execution thereof. ACCORDINGLY, KAL's motion for reconsideration is DENlED. Counsel for KAL is hereby warned that repetition of his undesirable practice shall be dealt with severely. Regalado, Puno and Mendoza, JJ., concur. Narvasa, C.J., is on leave. A.M. No. 491 October 6, 1989 IN THE MATTER OF THE INQUIRY INTO THE 1989 ELECTIONS OF THE INTEGRATED BAR OF THE PHILIPPINES.

PER CURIAM: In the election of the national officers of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (hereafter "IBP") held on June 3, 1989 at the Philippine International Convention Center (or PICC), the following were elected by the House of Delegates (composed of 120 chapter presidents or their alternates) and proclaimed as officers: NAME
Atty. Violeta Drilon Atty. Bella Tiro Atty. Salvador Lao Atty. Renato F. Ronquillo Atty. Teodoro Quicoy President Executive Vice-President Chairman, House of Delegates Secretary, House of Delegates Treasurer, House of Delegates


Atty. Oscar Badelles Atty. Justiniano Cortes Atty. Ciriaco Atienza Atty. Mario Jalandoni Atty. Jose Aguilar Grapilon Atty. Teodoro Almine Atty. Porfirio Siyangco Atty. Ricardo Teruel Atty. Gladys Tiongco Atty. Simeon Datumanong

Sergeant at Arms, House of Delegates Governor & Vice-President for Northern Luzon Governor & Vice-President for Central Luzon Governor & Vice-President for Metro Manila Governor & Vice-President for Southern Luzon Governor & Vice-President for Bicolandia Governor & Vice-President for Eastern Visayas Governor & Vice-President for Western Visayas Governor & Vice-President for Eastern Mindanao Governor & Vice-President for Western Mindanao

The newly-elected officers were set to take the their oath of office on July 4,1989, before the Supreme Court en banc. However,disturbed by the widespread reports received by some members of the Court from lawyers who had witnessed or participated in the proceedings and the adverse comments published in the columns of some newspapers about the intensive electioneering and overspending by the candidates, led by the main protagonists for the office of president of the association, namely, Attorneys Nereo Paculdo, Ramon Nisce, and Violeta C. Drilon, the alleged use of government planes, and the officious intervention of certain public officials to influence the voting, all of which were done in violation of the IBP By-Laws which prohibit such activities. The Supreme Court en banc, exercising its power of supervision over the Integrated Bar, resolved to suspend the oath-taking of the IBP officers-elect and to inquire into the veracity of the reports. It should be stated at the outset that the election process itself (i.e. the voting and the canvassing of votes on June 3, 1989) which was conducted by the "IBP Comelec," headed by Justice Reynato Puno of the Court of Appeals, was unanimously adjudged by the participants and observers to be above board. For Justice Puno took it upon himself to device safeguards to prevent tampering with, and marking of, the ballots. What the Court viewed with considerable concern was the reported electioneering and extravagance that characterized the campaign conducted by the three candidates for president of the IBP. I. MEDIA ACCOUNT OF THE ELECTION CAMPAIGN. Emil Jurado, in his column "IBP Group Questions Drilon Election" (Manila Standard, Sunday, June 17, 1989), Luis Mauricio, in two successive columns: "The Invertebrated Bar" (Malaya, June 10, 1989) and "The Disintegrating Bar" (Malaya, June 20, 1989), and Teodoro Locsin Jr. in an article, entitled "Pam-Pam" (The Philippines Free Press,

July 8,1989), and the editorial, entitled 'Wrong Forum" of the Daily Globe (June 8, 1989), were unanimously critical of the "vote-buying and pressure tactics" allegedly employed in the campaign by the three principal candidates: Attys. Violeta C. Drilon, Nereo Paculdo and Ramon Nisce who reportedly "poured heart, soul, money and influence to win over the 120 IBP delegates." Mr. Jurado mentioned the resentment of Atty. Drilon's rivals who felt at a disadvantage because Atty. Drilon allegedly used PNB helicopters to visit far-flung IBP chapters on the pretext of distributing Bigay Puso donations, and she had the added advantage of having regional directors and labor arbiters of the Department of Labor and Employment (who had been granted leaves of absence by her husband, the Labor Secretary) campaigning for her. Jurado's informants alleged that there was rampant vote-buying by some members of the U.P. Sigma Rho Fraternity (Secretary Drilon's fraternity), as well as by some lawyers of ACCRA (Angara, Concepcion, Cruz, Regala and Abello Law Office) where Mrs. Drilon is employed, and that government positions were promised to others by the office of the Labor Secretary. Mr. Mauricio in his column wrote about the same matters and, in addition, mentioned "talk of personnel of the Department of Labor, especially conciliators and employers, notably Chinese Filipinos, giving aid and comfort to her (Atty. Drilon's) candidacy," the billeting of out-of-town delegates in plush hotels where they were reportedly "wined and dined continuously, womened and subjected to endless haggling over the price of their votes x x x" which allegedly "ranged from Pl5,000 to P20,000, and, on the day of the election, some twelve to twenty votes which were believed crucial, appreciated to P50,000." In his second column, Mr. Mauricio mentioned "how a top official of the judiciary allegedly involved himself in IBP politics on election day by closeting himself with campaigners as they plotted their election strategy in a room of the PICC (the Philippine International Convention Center where the convention/election were held) during a recess x x x." Mr. Locsin in his column and editorial substantially re-echoed Mauricio's reports with some embellishments. II. THE COURT'S DECISION TO INVESTIGATE. Responding to the critical reports, the Court, in its en banc resolution dated June 15, 1989, directed the outgoing and incoming members of the IBP Board of Governors, the principal officers and Chairman of the House of Delegates to appear before it on Tuesday, June 20, 1989, at 2:00 o'clock p.m., and there to inform the Court on the veracity of the aforementioned reports and to recommend, for the consideration of the Court, appropriate approaches to the problem of confirming and strengthening adherence to the fundamental principles of the IBP.

In that resolution the Court "call[ed] to mind that a basic postulate of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP), heavily stressed at the time of its organization and commencement of existence, is that the IBP shall be non-political in character and that there shall be no lobbying nor campaigning in the choice of members of the Board of Governors and of the House of Delegates, and of the IBP officers, national, or regional, or chapter. The fundamental assumption was that officers, delegates and governors would be chosen on the basis of professional merit and willingness and ability to serve." The resolution went on to say that the "Court is deeply disturbed to note that in connection with the election of members of the Board of Governors and of the House of Delegates, there is a widespread belief, based on reports carried by media and transmitted as well by word of mouth, that there was extensive and intensive campaigning by candidates for IBP positions as well as expenditure of considerable sums of money by candidates, including vote-buying, direct or indirect." The venerable retired Supreme Court Justice and IBP President Emeritus, Jose B.L. Reyes, attended the dialogue, upon invitation of the Court, to give counsel and advice. The meeting between the Court en banc on the one hand, and the outgoing and in coming IBP officers on the other, was an informal one. Thereafter, the Court resolved to conduct a formal inquiry to determine whether the prohibited acts and activities enumerated in the IBP By-Laws were committed before and during the 1989 elections of IBP's national officers. The Court en banc formed a committee and designated Senior Associate Justice Andres R. Narvasa, as Chairman, and Associate Justices Teodoro R. Padilla, Emilio A. Gancayco, Abraham F. Sarmiento, and Carolina C. Grio-Aquino, as members, to conduct the inquiry. The Clerk of Court, Atty. Daniel Martinez, acted as the committee's Recording Secretary. A total of forty-nine (49) witnesses appeared and testified in response to subpoenas issued by the Court to shed light on the conduct of the elections. The managers of three five-star hotels the Philippine Plaza, the Hyatt, and the Holiday Inn where the three protagonists (Drilon, Nisce and Paculdo) allegedly set up their respective headquarters and where they billeted their supporters were summoned. The officer of the Philippine National Bank and the Air Transport Office were called to enlighten the Court on the charge that an IBP presidential candidate and the members of her slate used PNB planes to ferry them to distant places in their campaign to win the votes of delegates. The Philippine Airlines officials were called to testify on the charge that some candidates gave free air fares to delegates to the convention. Officials of the Labor Department were also called to enable the Court to ascertain the truth of the reports that labor officials openly campaigned or worked for the election of Atty. Drilon. The newspaper columnists, Messrs. Luis Mauricio, Jesus Bigornia and Emil Jurado were subpoenaed to determine the nature of their sources of information relative to the IBP elections. Their stories were based, they said, on letters, phone calls and personal

interviews with persons who claimed to have knowledge of the facts, but whom they, invoking the Press Freedom Law, refused to identify. The Committee has since submitted its Report after receiving, and analyzing and assessing evidence given by such persons as were perceived to have direct and personal knowledge of the relevant facts; and the Court, after deliberating thereon, has Resolved to accept and adopt the same. III. PROHIBITED ACTS AND PRACTICES UNDER IBP BY-LAWS. Article I, Section 4 of the IBP By-Laws emphasizes the "strictly non-political" character of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, thus:
"SEC. 4. Non-political Bar. The Integrated Bar is strictly non-political, and every activity tending to impair this basic feature is strictly prohibited and shall be penalized accordingly. No lawyer holding an elective, judicial, quasi-judicial, or prosecutory office in the Government or any political subdivision or instrumentality thereof shall be eligible for election or appointment to any position in the Integrated Bar or any Chapter thereof. A Delegate, Governor, officer or employee of the Integrated Bar, or an officer or employee of any Chapter thereof shall be considered ipso facto resigned from his position as of the moment he files his certificate of candidacy for any elective public office or accepts appointment to any judicial, quasi-judicial, or prosecutory office in the Government or any political subdivision or instrumentality thereof. "' Section 14 of the same By-Laws enumerates the prohibited acts relative to IBP elections: SEC. 14. Prohibited acts and practices relative to elections. The following acts and practices relative to election are prohibited, whether committed by a candidate for any elective office in the Integrated Bar or by any other member, directly or indirectly, in any form or manner, by himself or through another person: (a) Distribution, except on election day, of election campaign material; (b) Distribution, on election day, of election campaign material other than a statement of the biodata of a candidate on not more than one page of a legal-size sheet of paper; or causing distribution of such statement to be done by persons other than those authorized by the officer presiding at the elections; (c) Campaigning for or against any candidate, while holding an elective, judicial, quasijudicial or prosecutory office in the Government or any political subdivision, agency or instrumentality thereof; (d) Formation of tickets, single slates, or combinations of candidates, as well as the advertisement thereof; (e) For the purpose of inducing or influencing a member to withhold his vote, or to vote for or against a candidate, (1) payment of the dues or other indebtedness of any member; (2) giving of food, drink, entertainment, transportation or any article of value, or any similar consideration to any person; or (3) making a promise or causing an expenditure to be made, offered or promised to any person."

Section 12(d) of the By-Laws prescribes sanctions for violations of the above rules:
(d) Any violation of the rules governing elections or commission of any of the prohibited acts and practices defined in Section 14 prohibited Acts and Practices relative to elections) of the by-laws of the Integrated Bar shall be a ground for the disqualification of a candidate or his removal from office if elected, without prejudice to the imposition of sanctions upon any erring member pursuant to the By-laws of the Integrated Bar.

At the formal investigation which was conducted by the investigating committee, the following violations were established: (1) Prohibited campaigning and solicitation of votes by the candidates for president, executive vice-president, the officers of candidate the House of Delegates and Board of Governors. The three candidates for IBP President Drilon, Nisce and Paculdo began travelling around the country to solicit the votes of delegates as early as April 1989. Upon the invitation of IBP President, Leon Garcia, Jr. (t.s.n., July 13,1989, p. 4), they attended the Bench and Bar dialogues held in Cotabato in April 1989 (t.s.n., June 29, 1989, p. 123), in Tagaytay City, Pampanga, and in Baguio City (during the conference of chapter presidents of Northern Luzon (t.s.n., July 3,1989, p. 113; t.s.n., July 10, p. 41; t.s.n., July 13, p. 47) where they announced their candidacies and met the chapter presidents. Atty. Nisce admitted that he went around the country seeking the help of IBP chapter officers, soliciting their votes, and securing their written endorsements. He personally hand-carried nomination forms and requested the chapter presidents and delegates to fill up and sign the forms to formalize their commitment to his nomination for IBP President. He started campaigning and distributing the nomination forms in March 1989 after the chapter elections which determined the membership of the House of Delegates composed of the 120 chapter presidents (t.s.n., June 29, 1989, pp. 82-86). He obtained forty (40) commitments. He submitted photocopies of his nomination forms which read:
"Nomination Form

I Join in Nominating RAMON M. NISCE as National President of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines

______________ _______________

Chapter Signature"

Among those who signed the nomination forms were: Onofre P. Tejada, Candido P. Balbin, Jr., Conizado V. Posadas, Quirico L. Quirico Ernesto S. Salun-at, Gloria C. Agunos, Oscar B. Bernardo, Feliciano F. Wycoco, Amor L. Ibarra, Jose M. Atienza, Jose N. Contreras, Romeo T. Mendoza, Leo C. Medialdea, Jr., Paulino G. Clarin, Julius Z. Neil, Roem J. Arbolado Democrito M. Perez, Abelardo Fermin, Diosdado B. Villarin, Jr., Daniel C. Macaraeg, Confesor R. Sansano Dionisio E. Bala, Jr., Emesto A. Amores, Romeo V. Pefianco, Augurio C. Pamintuan, Atlee T. Viray, Ceferino C. Cabanas, Jose S. Buban, Diosdado Z. Reloj, Jr., Cesar C. Viola, Oscar C. Fernandez, Ricardo B. Teruel Rodrigo R. Flores, Sixto Marella, Jr., Arsenio C. Villalon, Renato F. Ronquillo, Antonio G. Nalapo Romualdo A. Din Jr., Jose P. Icaonapo Jr., and Manuel S. Person. Atty. Nisce admitted that he reserved rooms at the Hyatt Hotel based on the commitments he had obtained (t.s.n., June 29, 1989, pp. 82-85). Unfortunately, despite those formal commitments, he obtained only 14 votes in the election (t.s.n., June 29, 1 989, p. 86). The reason, he said, is that. some of those who had committed their votes to him were "manipulated, intimidated, pressured, or remunerated" (t.s.n., June 29,1989, pp. 8695; Exhibit "M-4-Nisce," t.s.n., July 4, 1989, pp. 100-1 04). (2) Use of PNB plane in the campaign. The records of the Philippine National Bank (Exhibit C-1-Crudo and Exhibit C-2-Crudo) show that Secretary Fulgencio S. Factoran, Jr. of the Department of Environment & Natural Resources (DENR) borrowed a plane from the Philippine National Bank for his Bicol CORD (Cabinet Officers for Regional Development) Assistant, Undersecretary Antonio Tria. The plane manifest (Exh. C-2-Crudo) listed Atty. Violeta Drilon, Arturo Tusi (Tiu), Assistant Secretary for Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Tony Tria, Atty. Gladys Tiongco, and Amy Wong. Except for Tony Tria, the rest of the passengers were IBP candidates. Atty. Drilon admitted that she "hitched" a ride on a PNB plane. She said that she was informed by Atty. Tiu about the availability of a PNB plane (t.s.n., July 3,1989, pp. 116118). Atty. Tiu, who ran for the position of IBP executive vice-president in the Drilon ticket, testified that sometime in May 1989 he failed to obtain booking from the Philippine Airlines for the projected trip of his group to Bicol. He went to the DENR allegedly to follow up some papers for a client. While at the DENR, he learned that Assistant Secretary Tria was going on an official business in Bicol for Secretary Fulgencio Factoran and that he would be taking a PNB plane. As Assistant Secretary Tria is his fraternity brother, he asked if he, together with the Drilon group, could hitch a ride on the plane to Bicol. His request was granted. Their purpose in going to Bicol was to assess their chances in the IBP elections. The Drilon company talked with the IBP chapter presidents in Daet, Naga, and Legaspi, and asked for their support (t.s.n., July 10, 1989, pp. 549).

Assistant Secretary Antonio S. Tria confirmed the use of a PNB plane by Atty. Drilon and her group. He recalled that on May 23,1989, DENR Secretary Factoran instructed him to go to Bicol to monitor certain regional development projects there and to survey the effect of the typhoon that hit the region in the middle of May. On the same day, Atty. Tiu, a fraternity brother (meaning that Tiu belongs to the Sigma Rho fraternity) went to the DENR office and requested the Secretary (Factoran) if he (Tiu) could be allowed to hitch a ride on the plane. Assistant Secretary Tria, together with the Drilon group which included Attorneys Drilon, Grapilon, Amy Wong, Gladys Tiongco, and Tiu, took off at the Domestic Airport bound for Naga, Daet and Legaspi. In Legaspi the Drilon group had lunch with Atty. Vicente Real, Jr., an IBP chapter president (t.s.n., July 10, 1989, pp. 5469). (3) Formation of tickets and single slates. The three candidates, Paculdo, Nisce and Drilon, admitted having formed their own slates for the election of IBP national officers on June 3, 1989. Atty. Paculdo's slate consisted of himself for President; Bella D. Tiro, for Executive Vice-President; and for Governors: Justiniano P. Cortez (Northern Luzon), Oscar C. Fernandez (Central Luzon), Mario C.V. Jalandoni (Greater Manila), Petronilo A. de la Cruz (Southern Luzon), Teodorico C. Almine, Jr. (Bicolandia), Ricardo B. Teruel (Western Visayas), Porfirio P. Siyangco (Eastern Visayas), Jesus S. Anonat (Western Mindanao), Guerrero A. Adaza, Jr. (Eastern Mindanao) (Exhibit M-Nisce). The Drilon ticket consisted of. Violeta C. Drilon for President, Arturo Tiu for Executive Vice President, Salvador Lao for Chairman of the House of Delegates, and, for Governors: Basil Rupisan (Northern 'Luzon), Acong Atienza (Central Luzon), Amy Wong (Metro Manila), Jose Grapilon (Southern Tagalog), Teodoro Almine (Bicolandia), Baldomero Estenzo (Eastern Visayas), Joelito Barrera (Western Visayas), Gladys Tiongco (Eastern Mindanao), Simeon Datumanong (Western Mindanao) (Exhibit M-1Nisce). Atty. Ramon N. Nisce's line-up listed himself and Confessor B. Sansano Benjamin B. Bernardino, Antonio L. Nalapo Renato F. Ronquillo, Gloria C. Agunos, Mario Valderrama, Candido P. Balbin Jr., Oscar C. Fernandez, Cesar G. Viola, Leo C. Medialdea, Jr., Vicente P. Tordilla, Jr., Jose S. Buban, Joel A. Llosa, Jesus T. Albacite and Oscar V. Badelles. (4) Giving free transportation to out-of-town delegates and alternates. Atty. Nisce admitted having bought plane tickets for some delegates to the convention. He mentioned Oscar Badelles to whom he gave four round-trip tickets (worth about P10,000) from Iligan City to Manila and back. Badelles was a voting delegate. Nisce, however, failed to get a written commitment from him because Atty. Medialdea assured him (Nisce) "sigurado na 'yan, h'wag mo nang papirmahin." Badelles won as sergeantat-arms, not in Nisce's ticket, but in that of Drilon.

Badelles admitted that Nisce sent him three airplane tickets, but he Badelles said that he did not use them, because if he did, he would be committed to Nisce, and he Badelles did not want to be committed (t.s.n., July 4,1989, pp. 77-79, 95-96). Nisce also sent a plane ticket to Atty. Atilano, who was his candidate, and another ticket to Mrs. Linda Lim of Zamboanga. Records of the Philippine Airlines showed that Atty. Nisce paid for the plane tickets of Vicente Real, Jr. (Exh. D-1-Calica), Romeo Fortes (Exh. D-1-Calica), Cesar Batica (Exh. D-2-Calica), Jose Buban of Leyte (Exh. D-2Calica), Delsanto Resuello (Exh. D-3- Calica), and Ceferino Cabanas (Exh. D-3-Calica). In spite of his efforts and expense, only one of Nisce's candidates won: Renato Ronquillo of Manila 4, as Secretary of the House of Delegates (t.s.n. July 3, p. 161). (5) Giving free hotel accommodations, food, drinks, entertainment to delegates. (a) ATTY. NEREO PACULDO Atty. Paculdo alleged that he booked 24 regular rooms and three suites at the Holiday Inn, which served as his headquarters. The 24 rooms were to be occupied by his staff (mostly ladies) and the IBP delegates. The three suites were to be occupied by himself, the officers of the Capitol Bar Association, and Atty. Mario Jalandoni. He paid P150,000 for the hotel bills of his delegates at the Holiday Inn, where a room cost P990 per day with breakfast. Those listed as guests of Atty. Paculdo at the Holiday Inn were: Emesto C. Perez, Tolomeo Ligutan Judge Alfonso Combong, Ricardo Caliwag, Antonio Bisnar, Benedicto Balajadia, Jesus Castro, Restituto Villanueva, Serapio Cribe Juanita Subia, Teodorico J. Almine, Rudy Gumban, Roem Arbolado, Ricardo Teruel, Shirley Moises, Ramon Roco, Alberto Trinidad, Teodoro Quicoy Manito Lucero, Fred Cledera Vicente Tordilla, Julian Ocampo, Francisco Felizmenio Marvel Clavecilla, Amador Capiral, Eufronio Maristela, Porfirio Siyangco, William Llanes, Jr., Marciano Neri, Guerrero Adaza, Diosdado Peralta, Luis C. Formilleza, Jr., Democrito Perez, Bruno Flores, Dennis Rendon, Judge Ceferino Chan, Mario Jalandoni, Kenneth Siruelo Bella Tiro, Antonio Santos, Tiburcio Edano James Tan, Cesilo A. Adaza, Francisco Roxas, Angelita Gacutan, Jesse Pimentel, Judge Jaime Hamoy, Jesus Anonat, Carlos Egay, Judge Carlito Eisma, Judge Jesus Carbon, Joven Zach, and Benjamin Padon. Noel de Guzman, Holiday Inn's credit manager, testified that Atty. Paculdo booked 52 (not 24) rooms, including the presidential suite, which was used as the Secretariat. The group bookings were made by Atty. Gloria Paculdo, the wife of Nereo Paculdo (t.s.n. June 28, 1989, pp. 63-68). The total sum of P227,114.89 was paid to Holiday Inn for the use of the rooms. (b) ATTY. VIOLETA C. DRILON

The delegates and supporters of Atty. Drilon were billeted at the Philippine Plaza Hotel where her campaign manager, Atty. Renato Callanta, booked 40 rooms, 5 of which were suites. According to Ms. Villanueva, Philippine Plaza banquet and conventions manager, the contract that Atty. Callanta signed with the Philippine Plaza was made in the name of the "IBP c/o Atty. Callanta." Mrs. Lourdes Juco, a sales manager of the Philippine Plaza, recalled that it was Mr. Mariano Benedicto who first came to book rooms for the IBP delegates. She suggested that he obtain a group (or discounted) rate. He gave her the name of Atty. Callanta who would make the arrangements with her. Mr. Benedicto turned out to be the Assistant Secretary of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE). The total sum of P316,411.53 was paid by Atty. Callanta for the rooms, food, and beverages consumed by the Drilon group, with an unpaid balance of P302,197.30. Per Attorney Daniel Martinez's last telephone conversation with Ms. Villanueva, Atty. Callanta still has an outstanding account of P232,782.65 at Philippine Plaza. Atty. Callanta admitted that he signed the contract for 40 rooms at the Philippine Plaza. He made a downpayment of P123,000. His "working sheet' showed that the following persons contributed for that down payment: (a) Nilo Pena (Quasha Law Office) (b) Antonio Carpio (c) Toto Ferrer (Carpio Law Office) (d) Jay Castro (e) Danny Deen (f) Angangco Tan (Angara Law Office) (g) Alfonso Reyno (h) Cosme Rossel (t.s.n. July 4, 1 989, pp. 3-4) Atty. Callanta explained that the above listed persons have been contributing money every time the IBP embarks on a project. This time, they contributed so that their partners or associates could attend the legal aid seminar and the IBP convention too. Atty. Drilon alleged that she did not know that Atty. Callanta had billeted her delegates at the Philippine Plaza. She allegedly did not also know in whose name the room she occupied was registered. But she did ask for a room where she could rest during the P 25,000 20,000 10,000 10,000 20,000 10,000 20,000 15,300

convention. She admitted, however, that she paid for her hotel room and meals to Atty. Callanta, through Atty. Loanzon (t.s.n. July 3,1989). The following were listed as having occupied the rooms reserved by Atty. Callanta at the Philippine Plaza: Violeta Drilon, Victoria A. Verciles, Victoria C. Loanzon, Leopoldo A. Consulto Ador Lao, Victoria Borra, Aimee Wong, Callanta, Pena, Tiu, Gallardo, Acong Atienza, D. Bernardo, Amores, Silao Caingat, Manuel Yuson, Simeon Datumanong, Manuel Pecson, Sixto Marella, Joselito Barrera, Radon Macalalag, Oscar Badelles, Antonio Acyatan, Ildefonso C. Puerto, Nestor Atienza, Gil Batula Array Corot, Dimakuta Corot Romeo Fortes Irving Petilla, Teodoro Palma, Gil Palma, Danilo Deen, Delsanto, Resuello, Araneta, Vicente Real, Sylvio Casuncad Espina, Guerrero, Julius Neri, Linda Lim, Ben Lim, C. Batica, Luis Formilleza, Felix Macalag Mariano Benedicto, Atilano, Araneta, Renato Callanta. Atty. Nilo Pena admitted that the Quasha Law Office of which he is a senior partner, gave P25,000 to Callanta for rooms at the Philippine Plaza so that some members of his law firm could campaign for the Drilon group (t.s.n. July 5,1989, pp. 7678) during the legal aid seminar and the IBP convention. Most of the members of his law firm are fraternity brothers of Secretary Drilon (meaning, members of the Sigma Rho Fraternity). He admitted being sympathetic to the candidacy of Atty. Drilon and the members of her slate, two of whom Jose Grapilon and Simeon Datumanong are Sigma Rhoans. They consider Atty. Drilon as a "sigma rho sister," her husband being a sigma rhoan. Atty. Antonio Carpio, also a Sigma Rhoan, reserved a room for the members of his own firm who attended the legal aid seminar and the convention. He made the reservation through Atty. Callanta to whom he paid P20,000 (t.s.n. July 6,1989, pp. 30-34). Atty. Carpio assisted Atty. Drilon in her campaign during the convention, by soliciting the votes of delegates he knew, like Atty. Albacite his former teacher (but the latter was already committed to Nisce), and Atty. Romy Fortes, a classmate of his in the U.P. College of Law (t. t.s.n. July 6, 1989, pp. 22, 29, 39). (c) ATTY. RAMON NISCE. Atty. Nisce, through his brother-in-law, Ricardo Paras, entered into a contract with the Hyatt Hotel for a total of 29 rooms plus one (1) seventh-floor room. He made a downpayment of P20,000 (t.s.n. June 28, 1989, p. 58) on April 20, 1989, and P37,632.45 on May 10, or a total of P57,632.45. Ms. Cecile Flores, Ms. Milagros Ocampo, and Mr. Ramon Jacinto, the sales department manager, credit manager, and reservation manager, respectively of the Hyatt, testified that Atty. Nisce's bill amounted to P216,127.74 (t.s.n. June 28, 1989, pp. 57-58; Exhibits E-Flores, F-Jacinto G-Ocampo). As earlier mentioned, Atty. Nisce admitted that he reserved rooms for those who committed themselves to his candidacy.

The hotel guests of Atty. Nisce were: Gloria Agunos Dennis Habanel B. Batula, John E. Asuncion, Reynaldo Cortes, Lourdes Santos, Elmer Datuin, Romualdo Din, Antonio Nalapo, Israel Damasco, Candido Balbin, Serrano Balot, Ibarra, Joel Llosa, Eltanal, Ruperto, Asuncion, Q. Pilotin Reymundo P. Guzman, Zoilo Aguinaldo, Clarin, R. Ronquillo, Dominador Carillo, Filomeno Balinas, Ernesto Sabulan, Yusop Pangadapun, A. Viray, Icampo, Abelardo Fermin, C. Quiaoit, Augurio Pamintuan, Daniel Macaraeg, Onofre Tejada. (6) Campaigning by labor officials for Atty. Violeta Drilon In violation of the prohibition against "campaigning for or against a candidate while holding an elective, judicial, quasi-judicial, or prosecutory office in the Government' (Sec. 14[c], Art. I, IBP By-Laws), Mariano E. Benedicto II, Assistant Secretary, Department of Labor and Employment, testified that he took a leave of absence from his office to attend the IBP convention. He stayed at the Philippine Plaza with the Drilon group admittedly to give "some moral assistance" to Atty. Violeta Drilon. He did so because he is a member of the Sigma Rho Fraternity. When asked about the significance of Sigma Rho, Secretary Benedicto explained: "More than the husband of Mrs. Drilon being my boss, the significance there is that the husband is my brother in the Sigma Rho." He cheered up Mrs., Drilon when her spirits were low. He talked to her immediate circle which included Art Tiu, Tony Carpio, Nilo Pena, Amy Wong, Atty. Grapilon, Victor Lazatin, and Boy Reyno. They assessed the progress of the campaign, and measured the strengths and weaknesses of the other groups The group had sessions as early as the later part of May. Room 114, the suite listed in the name of Assistant Secretary Benedicto toted up a bill of P23,110 during the 2-day IBP convention/election. A total of 113 phone calls (amounting to Pl,356) were recorded as emanating from his room. Opposite Room 114, was Room 112, also a suite, listed in the names of Mrs. Drilon, Gladys Tiongco (candidate for Governor, Eastern Mindanao) and Amy Wong (candidate for Governor, Metro Manila). These two rooms served as the "action center' or "war room" where campaign strategies were discussed before and during the convention. It was in these rooms where the supporters of the Drilon group, like Attys. Carpio, Callanta, Benedicto, the Quasha and the ACCRA lawyers met to plot their moves. (7) Paying the dues or other indebtedness of any number (Sec. 14[e], IBP BY-Laws). Atty. Teresita C. Sison, IBP Treasurer, testified that she has heard of candidates paying the IBP dues of lawyers who promised to vote for or support them, but she has no way of ascertaining whether it was a candidate who paid the delinquent dues of another, because the receipts are issued in the name of the member for whom payment is made (t.s.n. June 28, 1989, pp. 24-28).

She has noticed, though, that there is an upsurge of payments in March, April, May during any election year. This year, the collections increased by P100,000 over that of last year (a non-election year from Pl,413,425 to Pl,524,875 (t.s.n. June 28, 1989, p. 25). (8) Distribution of materials other than bio-data of not more than one page of legal size sheet of paper (Sec. 14[a], IBP By-Laws). On the convention floor on the day of the election, Atty. Paculdo caused to be distributed his bio-data and copies of a leaflet entitled "My Quest," as wen as, the lists of his slate. Attys. Drilon and Nisce similarly distributed their tickets and bio-data. The campaign materials of Atty. Paculdo cost from P15,000 to P20,000. They were printed by his own printing shop. (9) Causing distribution of such statement to be done by persons other than those authorized by the officer presiding at the election (Sec. 14[b], IBP By-Laws). Atty. Paculdo employed uniformed girls to distribute his campaign materials on the convention floor. Atty. Carpio noted that there were more campaign materials distributed at the convention site this year than in previous years. The election was more heated and expensive (t.s.n. July 6,1989, p. 39). Atty. Benjamin Bernardino, the incumbent President of the IBP Rizal Chapter, and a candidate for chairman of the House of Delegates on Nisce's ticket, testified that campaign materials were distributed during the convention by girls and by lawyers. He saw members of the ACCRA law firm campaigning for Atty. Drilon (t.s.n. July 3,1989, pp. 142-145). (10) Inducing or influencing a member to withhold his vote, or to vote for or against a candidate (Sec. 14[e], IBP BY-Laws). Atty. Bernardino disclosed that his cousin, Atty. Romeo Capulong, urged him to withdraw his candidacy for chairman of the House of Delegates and to run as vicechairman in Violy Drilon's slate, but he declined (t.s.n. July 3,1989, pp. 137, 149). Atty. Gloria Agunos personnel director of the Hyatt Terraces Hotel in Baguio and president of the Baguio-Benguet IBP Chapter, recalled that in the third week of May 1989, after the Tripartite meet of the Department of Labor & Employment at the Green Valley Country Club in Baguio City, she met Atty. Drilon, together with two labor officers of Region 1, Attys. Filomeno Balbin and Atty. Mansala Atty. Drilon solicited her (Atty. Agunos') vote and invited her to stay at the Philippine Plaza where a room would be available for her. Atty. Paculdo also tried to enlist her support during the chapter presidents' meeting to choose their nominee for governor for the Northern Luzon region (t.s.n. July 13,1989, pp. 43-54).

Atty. Nisce testified that a Manila Chapter 4 delegate, Marcial Magsino, who had earlier committed his vote to Nisce changed his mind when he was offered a judgeship (This statement, however, is admittedly hearsay). When Nisce confronted Magsino about the alleged offer, the latter denied that there was such an offer. Nisce's informant was Antonio G. Nalapo an IBP candidate who also withdrew. Another Nisce candidate, Cesar Viola, withdrew from the race and refused to be nominated (t.s.n. June 29, 1989, p. 104). Vicente P. Tordilla who was Nisce's candidate for Governor became Paculdo's candidate instead (t.s.n. June 29, 1989, p. 104). Nisce recalled that during the Bench and Bar Dialogue in Cotabato City, Court Administrator Tiro went around saying, "I am not campaigning, but my wife is a candidate." Nisce said that the presidents of several IBP chapters informed him that labor officials were campaigning for Mrs. Drilon (t.s.n. June 29,1989, pp. 109-110). He mentioned Ciony de la Cerna, who allegedly campaigned in La Union (t.s.n. June 29,1989,p.111) Atty. Joel A. Llosa, Nisce's supporter and candidate for governor of the Western Visayas, expressed his disappointment over the IBP elections because some delegates flip-flopped from one camp to another. He testified that when he arrived at the Manila Domestic Airport he was met by an assistant regional director of the DOLE who offered to bring him to the Philippine Plaza, but he declined the offer. During the legal aid seminar, Atty. Drilon invited him to transfer to the Philippine Plaza where a room had been reserved for him. He declined the invitation (t.s.n. July 4,1989, pp. 102-106). Atty. Llosa said that while he was still in Dumaguete City, he already knew that the three candidates had their headquarters in separate hotels: Paculdo, at the Holiday Inn; Drilon, at the Philippine Plaza; and Nisce, at the Hyatt. He knew about this because a week before the elections, representatives of Atty. Drilon went to Dumaguete City to campaign. He mentioned Atty. Rodil Montebon of the ACCRA Law Office, accompanied by Atty. Julve the Assistant Regional Director of the Department of Labor in Dumaguete City. These two, he said, offered to give him two PAL tickets and accommodations at the Philippine Plaza (t.s.n. July 4,1989, pp. 101-104). But he declined the offer because he was already committed to Atty. Nisce. Atty. Llosa also revealed that before he left for Manila on May 31, 1989, a businessman, Henry Dy, approached him to convince him to vote for Atty. Paculdo. But Llosa told Dy that he was already committed to Nisce. He did not receive any plane tickets from Atty. Nisce because he and his two companions (Atty. Eltanal and Atty. Ruperto) had earlier bought their own tickets for Manila (t.s.n. July 4, 1989, p. 101). SUMMARY OF CAMPAIGN EXPENSES INCURRED BY THE CANDIDATES

Atty. Paculdo admitted having spent some P250,000 during his three weeks of campaigning. Of this amount, the Capitol Bar Association (of which he was the chapter president) contributed about P150,000. The Capitol Bar Association is a voluntary bar association composed of Quezon City lawyers. He spent about P100,000 to defray the expenses of his trips to the provinces (Bicol provinces, Pampanga, Abra, Mountain Province and Bulacan) (t.s.n. June 29,1989, pp. 9-14). Atty. Nisce's hotel bills at the Hyatt amounted to P216,127.74. This does not include the expenses for his campaign which began several months before the June 3rd election, and his purchases of airplane tickets for some delegates. The records of the Philippine Plaza Hotel, headquarters of Atty. Drilon's camp, showed that her campaign rang up over P600,000 in hotel bills. Atty. Callanta paid P316,411.53 for the rooms, food, and beverage consumed by Atty. Drilon's supporters, but still left an unpaid bill of P302,197.30 at convention's end. FINDINGS. From all the foregoing, it is evident that the manner in which the principal candidates for the national positions in the Integrated Bar conducted their campaign preparatory to the elections on June 3, 1989, violated Section 14 of the IBP By-Laws and made a travesty of the idea of a "strictly non-political" Integrated Bar enshrined in Section 4 of the ByLaws. The setting up of campaign headquarters by the three principal candidates (Drilon, Nisce and Paculdo) in five-star hotels: The Philippine Plaza, the Holiday Inn and The Hyatt the better for them to corral and entertain the delegates billeted therein; the island hopping to solicit the votes of the chapter presidents who comprise the 120-member House of Delegates that elects the national officers and regional governors; the formation of tickets, slates, or line-ups of candidates for the other elective positions aligned with, or supporting, either Drilon, Paculdo or Nisce; the procurement of written commitments and the distribution of nomination forms to be filled up by the delegates; the reservation of rooms for delegates in three big hotels, at the expense of the presidential candidates; the use of a PNB plane by Drilon and some members of her ticket to enable them to "assess their chances" among the chapter presidents in the Bicol provinces; the printing and distribution of tickets and bio-data of the candidates which in the case of Paculdo admittedly cost him some P15,000 to P20,000; the employment of uniformed girls (by Paculdo) and lawyers (by Drilon) to distribute their campaign materials on the convention floor on the day of the election; the giving of assistance by the Undersecretary of Labor to Mrs. Drilon and her group; the use of labor arbiters to meet delegates at the airport and escort them to the Philippine Plaza Hotel; the giving of pre-paid plane tickets and hotel accommodations to delegates (and some families who accompanied them) in exchange for their support; the pirating of some candidates by inducing them to "hop" or "flipflop" from one ticket to another for some

rumored consideration; all these practices made a political circus of the proceedings and tainted the whole election process. The candidates and many of the participants in that election not only violated the ByLaws of the IBP but also the ethics of the legal profession which imposes on all lawyers, as a corollary of their obligation to obey and uphold the constitution and the laws, the duty to "promote respect for law and legal processes" and to abstain from 'activities aimed at defiance of the law or at lessening confidence in the legal system" (Rule 1.02, Canon 1, Code of Professional Responsibility). Respect for law is gravely eroded when lawyers themselves, who are supposed to be millions of the law, engage in unlawful practices and cavalierly brush aside the very rules that the IBP formulated for their observance. The unseemly ardor with which the candidates pursued the presidency of the association detracted from the dignity of the legal profession. The spectacle of lawyers bribing or being bribed to vote one way or another, certainly did not uphold the honor of the profession nor elevate it in the public's esteem. The Court notes with grave concern what appear to be the evasions, denials and outright prevarications that tainted the statements of the witnesses, including tome of the candidates, during the initial hearing conducted by it before its fact-finding committee was created. The subsequent investigation conducted by this Committee has revealed that those parties had been less than candid with the Court and seem to have conspired among themselves to deceive it or at least withhold vital information from it to conceal the irregularities committed during the campaign. CONCLUSIONS. It has been mentioned with no little insistence that the provision in the 1987 Constitution (See. 8, Art. VIII) providing for a Judicial and Bar Council composed of seven (7) members among whom is "a representative of the Integrated Bar," tasked to participate in the selection of nominees for appointment to vacant positions in the judiciary, may be the reason why the position of IBP president has attracted so much interest among the lawyers. The much coveted "power" erroneously perceived to be inherent in that office might have caused the corruption of the IBP elections. To impress upon the participants in that electoral exercise the seriousness of the misconduct which attended it and the stern disapproval with which it is viewed by this Court, and to restore the non-political character of the IBP and reduce, if not entirely eliminate, expensive electioneering for the top positions in the organization which, as the recently concluded elections revealed, spawned unethical practices which seriously diminished the stature of the IBP as an association of the practitioners of a noble and honored profession, the Court hereby ORDERS: 1. The IBP elections held on June3,1989 should be as they are hereby annulled.

2. The provisions of the IBP By-Laws for the direct election by the House of Delegates (approved by this Court in its resolution of July 9, 1985 in Bar Matter No. 287) of the following national officers: (a) the officers of the House of Delegates; (b) the IBP president; and (c) the executive vice-president, be repealed, this Court being empowered to amend, modify or repeal the By-Laws of the IBP under Section 77, Art. XI of said By-Laws. 3. The former system of having the IBP President and Executive Vice-President elected by the Board of Governors (composed of the governors of the nine [91 IBP regions) from among themselves (as provided in Sec. 47, Art. VII, Original IBP By-Laws) should be restored. The right of automatic succession by the Executive Vice-President to the presidency upon the expiration of their two-year term (which was abolished by this Court's resolution dated July 9,1985 in Bar Matter No. 287) should be as it is hereby restored. 4. At the end of the President's two-year term, the Executive Vice-President shall automatically succeed to the office of president. The incoming board of governors shall then elect an Executive Vice-President from among themselves. The position of Executive Vice-President shall be rotated among the nine (9) IBP regions. One who has served as president may not run for election as Executive Vice-President in a succeeding election until after the rotation of the presidency among the nine (9) regions shall have been completed; whereupon, the rotation shall begin anew. 5. Section 47 of Article VII is hereby amended to read as follows:
Section 47. National Officers. The Integrated Bar of the Philippines shall have a President and Executive Vice-President to be chosen by the Board of Governors from among nine (9) regional governors, as much as practicable, on a rotation basis. The governors shall be ex oficio Vice-President for their respective regions. There shall also be a Secretary and Treasurer of the Board of Governors to be appointed by the President with the consent of the Board.

6. Section 33(b), Art. V, IBP By-Laws, is hereby amended as follows:

(b) The President and Executive Vice President of the IBP shall be the Chairman and Vice-Chairman, respectively, of the House of Delegates. The Secretary, Treasurer, and Sergeant-at-Arms shall be appointed by the President with the consent of the House of Delegates.'

7. Section 33(g) of Article V providing for the positions of Chairman, Vice-Chairman, Secretary-Treasurer and Sergeant-at- Arms of the House of Delegates is hereby repealed

8. Section 37, Article VI is hereby amended to read as follows:

Section 37. Composition of the Board. The Integrated Bar of the Philippines shall be governed by a Board of Governors consisting of nine (9) Governors from the nine (9) regions as delineated in Section 3 of the Integration Rule, on the representation basis of one (1) Governor for each region to be elected by the members of the House of Delegates from that region only. The position of Governor should be rotated among the different Chapters in the region.

9. Section 39, Article V is hereby amended as follows:

Section 39. Nomination and election of the Governors at least one (1) month before the national convention the delegates from each region shall elect the governor for their region, the choice of which shall as much as possible be rotated among the chapters in the region.

10. Section33(a), Article V hereby is amended by addingthe following provision as part of the first paragraph:
No convention of the House of Delegates nor of the general membership shall be held prior to any election in an election year.

11. Section 39, (a), (b), (1), (2), (3), (4), (5), (6), and (7) of Article VI should be as they are hereby deleted. All other provisions of the By-Laws including its amendment by the Resolution en banc of this Court of July 9, 1985 (Bar Matter No. 287) that are inconsistent herewith are hereby repealed or modified. 12. Special elections for the Board of Governors shall be held in the nine (9) IBP regions within three (3) months, after the promulgation of the Court's resolution in this case. Within thirty (30) days thereafter, the Board of Governors shall meet at the IBP Central Office in Manila to elect from among themselves the IBP national president and executive vice-president. In these special elections, the candidates in the election of the national officers held on June 3,1989, particularly identified in Sub-Head 3 of this Resolution entitled "Formation of Tickets and Single Slates," as well as those identified in this Resolution as connected with any of the irregularities attendant upon that election, are ineligible and may not present themselves as candidate for any position. 13. Pending such special elections, a caretaker board shall be appointed by the Court to administer the affairs of the IBP. The Court makes clear that the dispositions here made are without prejudice to its adoption in due time of such further and other measures as are warranted in the premises. SO ORDERED. A.M. No. 1625 February 12, 1990


PER CURIAM: In a verified complaint filed by Angel L. Bautista on May 19, 1976, respondent Ramon A. Gonzales was charged with malpractice, deceit, gross misconduct and violation of lawyer's oath. Required by this Court to answer the charges against him, respondent filed on June 19, 1976 a motion for a bill of particulars asking this Court to order complainant to amend his complaint by making his charges more definite. In a resolution dated June 28, 1976, the Court granted respondent's motion and required complainant to file an amended complaint. On July 15, 1976, complainant submitted an amended complaint for disbarment, alleging that respondent committed the following acts:
1. Accepting a case wherein he agreed with his clients, namely, Alfaro Fortunado, Nestor Fortunado and Editha Fortunado [hereinafter referred to as the Fortunados] to pay all expenses, including court fees, for a contingent fee of fifty percent (50%) of the value of the property in litigation. 2. Acting as counsel for the Fortunados in Civil Case No. Q-15143, wherein Eusebio Lopez, Jr. is one of the defendants and, without said case being terminated, acting as counsel for Eusebio Lopez, Jr. in Civil Case No. Q-15490; 3. Transferring to himself one-half of the properties of the Fortunados, which properties are the subject of the litigation in Civil Case No. Q15143, while the case was still pending; 4. Inducing complainant, who was his former client, to enter into a contract with him on August 30, 1971 for the development into a residential subdivision of the land involved in Civil Case No. Q-15143, covered by TCT No. T-1929, claiming that he acquired fifty percent (50%) interest thereof as attorney's fees from the Fortunados, while knowing fully well that the said property was already sold at a public auction on June 30, 1971, by the Provincial Sheriff of Lanao del Norte and registered with the Register of Deeds of Iligan City; 5. Submitting to the Court of First Instance of Quezon City falsified documents purporting to be true copies of "Addendum to the Land Development Agreement dated August 30, 1971" and submitting the same document to the Fiscal's Office of Quezon City, in connection with the complaint for estafa filed by respondent against complainant designated as I.S. No. 7512936;

6. Committing acts of treachery and disloyalty to complainant who was his client; 7. Harassing the complainant by filing several complaints without legal basis before the Court of First Instance and the Fiscal's Office of Quezon City; 8. Deliberately misleading the Court of First Instance and the Fiscal's Office by making false assertion of facts in his pleadings; 9. Filing petitions "cleverly prepared (so) that while he does not intentionally tell a he, he does not tell the truth either."

Respondent filed an answer on September 29, 1976 and an amended answer on November 18, 1976, denying the accusations against him. Complainant filed a reply to respondent's answer on December 29, 1976 and on March 24, 1977 respondent filed a rejoinder. In a resolution dated March 16, 1983, the Court referred the case to the Office of the Solicitor General for investigation, report and recommendation. In the investigation conducted by the Solicitor General, complainant presented himself as a witness and submitted Exhibits "A" to "PP", while respondent appeared both as witness and counsel and submitted Exhibits "1" to "11". The parties were required to submit their respective memoranda. On May 16, 1988 respondent filed a motion to dismiss the complaint against him, claiming that the long delay in the resolution of the complaint against him constitutes a violation of his constitutional right to due process and speedy disposition of cases. Upon order of the Court, the Solicitor General filed a comment to the motion to dismiss on August 8, 1988, explaining that the delay in the investigation of the case was due to the numerous requests for postponement of scheduled hearings filed by both parties and the motions for extension of time to file their respective memoranda." [Comment of the Solicitor General, p. 2; Record, p. 365]. Respondent filed a reply to the Solicitor General's comment on October 26, 1988. In a resolution dated January 16, 1989 the Court required the Solicitor General to submit his report and recommendation within thirty (30) days from notice. On April 11, 1989, the Solicitor General submitted his report with the recommendation that Atty. Ramon A. Gonzales be suspended for six (6) months. The Solicitor General found that respondent committed the following acts of misconduct:
a. transferring to himself one-half of the properties of his clients during the pendency of the case where the properties were involved; b. concealing from complainant the fact that the property subject of their land development agreement had already been sold at a public auction prior to the execution of said agreement; and

c. misleading the court by submitting alleged true copies of a document where two signatories who had not signed the original (or even the xerox copy) were made to appear as having fixed their signatures [Report and Recommendation of the Solicitor General, pp. 17-18; Rollo, pp. 403-404].

Respondent then filed on April 14, 1989 a motion to refer the case to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) for investigation and disposition pursuant to Rule 139-B of the Revised Rules of Court. Respondent manifested that he intends to submit more evidence before the IBP. Finally, on November 27, 1989, respondent filed a supplemental motion to refer this case to the IBP, containing additional arguments to bolster his contentions in his previous pleadings. I. Preliminarily, the Court will dispose of the procedural issue raised by respondent. It is respondent's contention that the preliminary investigation conducted by the Solicitor General was limited to the determination of whether or not there is sufficient ground to proceed with the case and that under Rule 139 the Solicitor General still has to file an administrative complaint against him. Respondent claims that the case should be referred to the IBP since Section 20 of Rule 139-B provides that:
This Rule shall take effect on June 1, 1988 and shall supersede the present Rule 139 entitled DISBARMENT OR SUSPENSION OF ATTORNEYS. All cases pending investigation by the Office of the Solicitor General shall be transferred to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines Board of Governors for investigation and disposition as provided in this Rule except those cases where the investigation has been substantially completed.

The above contention of respondent is untenable. In the first place, contrary to respondent's claim, reference to the IBP of complaints against lawyers is not mandatory upon the Court [Zaldivar v. Sandiganbayan, G.R. Nos. 79690-707; Zaldivar v. Gonzales, G.R. No. 80578, October 7, 1988]. Reference of complaints to the IBP is not an exclusive procedure under the terms of Rule 139-B of the Revised Rules of Court [ Ibid]. Under Sections 13 and 14 of Rule 139-B, the Supreme Court may conduct disciplinary proceedings without the intervention of the IBP by referring cases for investigation to the Solicitor General or to any officer of the Supreme Court or judge of a lower court. In such a case, the report and recommendation of the investigating official shall be reviewed directly by the Supreme Court. The Court shall base its final action on the case on the report and recommendation submitted by the investigating official and the evidence presented by the parties during the investigation. Secondly, there is no need to refer the case to the IBP since at the time of the effectivity of Rule 139-B [June 1, 1988] the investigation conducted by the Office of the Solicitor General had been substantially completed. Section 20 of Rule 139-B provides that only pending cases, the investigation of which has not been substantially completed by the Office of the Solicitor General, shall be transferred to the IBP. In this case the investigation by the Solicitor General was terminated even before the effectivity of Rule 139-B. Respondent himself admitted in his motion to dismiss that the Solicitor General

terminated the investigation on November 26, 1986, the date when respondent submitted his reply memorandum [Motion to Dismiss, p. 1; Record, p. 353]. Thirdly, there is no need for further investigation since the Office of the Solicitor General already made a thorough and comprehensive investigation of the case. To refer the case to the IBP, as prayed for by the respondent, will result not only in duplication of the proceedings conducted by the Solicitor General but also to further delay in the disposition of the present case which has lasted for more than thirteen (13) years. Respondent's assertion that he still has some evidence to present does not warrant the referral of the case to the IBP. Considering that in the investigation conducted by the Solicitor General respondent was given ample opportunity to present evidence, his failure to adduce additional evidence is entirely his own fault. There was therefore no denial of procedural due process. The record shows that respondent appeared as witness for himself and presented no less than eleven (11) documents to support his contentions. He was also allowed to cross-examine the complainant who appeared as a witness against him. II. The Court will now address the substantive issue of whether or not respondent committed the acts of misconduct alleged by complainant Bautista. After a careful review of the record of the case and the report and recommendation of the Solicitor General, the Court finds that respondent committed acts of misconduct which warrant the exercise by this Court of its disciplinary power. The record shows that respondent prepared a document entitled "Transfer of Rights" which was signed by the Fortunados on August 31, 1971. The document assigned to respondent one-half (1/2) of the properties of the Fortunados covered by TCT No. T1929, with an area of 239.650 sq. mm., and TCT No. T-3041, with an area of 72.907 sq. m., for and in consideration of his legal services to the latter. At the time the document was executed, respondent knew that the abovementioned properties were the subject of a civil case [Civil Case No. Q-15143] pending before the Court of First Instance of Quezon City since he was acting as counsel for the Fortunados in said case [See Annex "B" of Original Complaint, p. 12; Rollo, p. 16]. In executing the document transferring one-half (1/2) of the subject properties to himself, respondent violated the law expressly prohibiting a lawyer from acquiring his client's property or interest involved in any litigation in which he may take part by virtue of his profession [Article 1491, New Civil Code]. This Court has held that the purchase by a lawyer of his client's property or interest in litigation is a breach of professional ethics and constitutes malpractice [Hernandez v. Villanueva, 40 Phil. 774 (1920); Go Beltran v. Fernandez, 70 Phil. 248 (1940)]. However, respondent notes that Canon 10 of the old Canons of Professional Ethics, which states that "[t]he lawyer should not purchase any interests in the subject matter of

the litigation which he is conducting," does not appear anymore in the new Code of Professional Responsibility. He therefore concludes that while a purchase by a lawyer of property in litigation is void under Art. 1491 of the Civil Code, such purchase is no longer a ground for disciplinary action under the new Code of Professional Responsibility. This contention is without merit. The very first Canon of the new Code states that "a lawyer shall uphold the Constitution, obey the laws of the land and promote respect for law and legal process" (Emphasis supplied), Moreover, Rule 138, Sec. 3 of the Revised Rules of Court requires every lawyer to take an oath to 44 obey the laws [of the Republic of the Philippines] as well as the legal orders of the duly constituted authorities therein." And for any violation of this oath, a lawyer may be suspended or disbarred by the Supreme Court [Rule 138, Sec. 27, Revised Rules of Court]. All of these underscore the role of the lawyer as the vanguard of our legal system. The transgression of any provision of law by a lawyer is a repulsive and reprehensible act which the Court will not countenance. In the instant case, respondent, having violated Art. 1491 of the Civil Code, must be held accountable both to his client and to society. Parenthetically, it should be noted that the persons mentioned in Art. 1491 of the Civil Code are prohibited from purchasing the property mentioned therein because of their existing trust relationship with the latter. A lawyer is disqualified from acquiring by purchase the property and rights in litigation because of his fiduciary relationship with such property and rights, as well as with the client. And it cannot be claimed that the new Code of Professional Responsibility has failed to emphasize the nature and consequences of such relationship. Canon 17 states that "a lawyer owes fidelity to the cause of his client and he shall be mindful of the trust and confidence reposed in him." On the other hand, Canon 16 provides that "a lawyer shall hold in trust all moneys and properties of his client that may come into his possession." Hence, notwithstanding the absence of a specific provision on the matter in the new Code, the Court, considering the abovequoted provisions of the new Code in relation to Art. 1491 of the Civil Code, as well as the prevailing jurisprudence, holds that the purchase by a lawyer of his client's property in litigation constitutes a breach of professional ethics for which a disciplinary action may be brought against him. Respondent's next contention that the transfer of the properties was not really implemented, because the land development agreement on which the transfer depended was later rescinded, is untenable. Nowhere is it provided in the Transfer of Rights that the assignment of the properties of the Fortunados to respondent was subject to the implementation of the land development agreement. The last paragraph of the Transfer of Rights provides that:
... for and in consideration of the legal services of ATTY. RAMON A. GONZALES, Filipino, married to Lilia Yusay, and a resident of 23 Sunrise Hill, New Manila, Quezon City, rendered to our entire satisfaction, we hereby, by these presents, do transfer and convey to the said ATTY. RAMON A. GONZALES, his heirs, successor, and assigns, one-half (1/2) of our rights and interests in the abovedescribed property, together with all the improvements found therein [Annex D of the Complaint, Record, p. 28; Emphasis supplied].

It is clear from the foregoing that the parties intended the transfer of the properties to respondent to be absolute and unconditional, and irrespective of whether or not the land development agreement was implemented. Another misconduct committed by respondent was his failure to disclose to complainant, at the time the land development agreement was entered into, that the land covered by TCT No. T-1929 had already been sold at a public auction. The land development agreement was executed on August 31, 1977 while the public auction was held on June 30, 1971. Respondent denies that complainant was his former client, claiming that his appearance for the complainant in an anti-graft case filed by the latter against a certain Gilbert Teodoro was upon the request of complainant and was understood to be only provisional. Respondent claims that since complainant was not his client, he had no duty to warn complainant of the fact that the land involved in their land development agreement had been sold at a public auction. Moreover, the sale was duly annotated at the back of TCT No. T-1929 and this, respondent argues, serves as constructive notice to complainant so that there was no concealment on his part. The above contentions are unmeritorious. Even assuming that the certificate of sale was annotated at the back of TCT No. T-1929, the fact remains that respondent failed to inform the complainant of the sale of the land to Samauna during the negotiations for the land development agreement. In so doing, respondent failed to live up to the rigorous standards of ethics of the law profession which place a premium on honesty and condemn duplicitous conduct. The fact that complainant was not a former client of respondent does not exempt respondent from his duty to inform complainant of an important fact pertaining to the land which is subject of their negotiation. Since he was a party to the land development agreement, respondent should have warned the complainant of the sale of the land at a public auction so that the latter could make a proper assessment of the viability of the project they were jointly undertaking. This Court has held that a lawyer should observe honesty and fairness even in his private dealings and failure to do so is a ground for disciplinary action against him [Custodio v. Esto, Adm. Case No. 1113, February 22, 1978, 81 SCRA 517]. Complainant also charges respondent with submitting to the court falsified documents purporting to be true copies of an addendum to the land development agreement. Based on evidence submitted by the parties, the Solicitor General found that in the document filed by respondent with the Court of First Instance of Quezon City, the signatories to the addendum to the land development agreement namely, Ramon A. Gonzales, Alfaro T. Fortunado, Editha T. Fortunado, Nestor T. Fortunado, and Angel L. Bautistawere made to appear as having signed the original document on December 9, 1972, as indicated by the letters (SGD.) before each of their names. However, it was only respondent Alfaro Fortunado and complainant who signed the original and duplicate original (Exh. 2) and the two other parties, Edith Fortunado and Nestor Fortunado, never did. Even respondent himself admitted that Edith and Nestor

Fortunado only signed the xerox copy (Exh. 2-A) after respondent wrote them on May 24, 1973, asking them to sign the said xerox copy attached to the letter and to send it back to him after signing [Rejoinder to Complainant's Reply, pp. 4-6; Rollo, pp. 327329]. Moreover, respondent acknowledged that Edith and Nestor Fortunado had merely agreed by phone to sign, but had not actually signed, the alleged true copy of the addendum as of May 23, 1973 [Respondent's Supplemental Motion to Refer this Case to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, p. 16]. Thus, when respondent submitted the alleged true copy of the addendum on May 23, 1973 as Annex "A" of his Manifestation filed with the Court of First Instance of Quezon City, he knowingly misled the Court into believing that the original addendum was signed by Edith Fortunado and Nestor Fortunado. Such conduct constitutes willful disregard of his solemn duty as a lawyer to act at all times in a manner consistent with the truth. A lawyer should never seek to mislead the court by an artifice or false statement of fact or law [Section 20 (d), Rule 138, Revised Rules of Court; Canon 22, Canons of Professional Ethics; Canon 10, Rule 10.01, Code of Professional Responsibility]. Anent the first charge of complainant, the Solicitor General found that no impropriety was committed by respondent in entering into a contingent fee contract with the Fortunados [Report and Recommendation, p. 8; Record, p. 394]. The Court, however, finds that the agreement between the respondent and the Fortunados, which provides in part that:
We the [Fortunados] agree on the 50% contingent fee, provided, you [respondent Ramon Gonzales] defray all expenses, for the suit, including court fees. Alfaro T. Fortuna do [signed] Editha T. Fortuna do [signed] Nestor T. Fortuna do [signed] CONFO RME Ramon A. Gonzal es [signed] [Annex A to the Complaint, Record, p. 4].

is contrary to Canon 42 of the Canons of Professional Ethics which provides that a lawyer may not properly agree with a client to pay or bear the expenses of litigation. [See also Rule 16.04, Code of Professional Responsibility]. Although a lawyer may in good faith, advance the expenses of litigation, the same should be subject to reimbursement. The agreement between respondent and the Fortunados, however, does not provide for reimbursement to respondent of litigation expenses paid by him. An agreement whereby an attorney agrees to pay expenses of proceedings to enforce the client's rights is champertous [JBP Holding Corp. v. U.S. 166 F. Supp. 324 (1958)]. Such agreements are against public policy especially where, as in this case, the attorney has agreed to carry on the action at his own expense in consideration of some bargain to have part of the thing in dispute [See Sampliner v. Motion Pictures Patents Co., et al., 255 F. 242 (1918)]. The execution of these contracts violates the fiduciary relationship between the lawyer and his client, for which the former must incur administrative sanctions. The Solicitor General next concludes that respondent cannot be held liable for acting as counsel for Eusebio Lopez, Jr. in Civil Case No. Q-15490 while acting as counsel for the Fortunados against the same Eusebio Lopez, Jr. in Civil Case No. Q-15143. The Court, after considering the record, agrees with the Solicitor General's findings on the matter. The evidence presented by respondent shows that his acceptance of Civil Case No. Q15490 was with the knowledge and consent of the Fortunados. The affidavit executed by the Fortunados on June 23, 1976 clearly states that they gave their consent when respondent accepted the case of Eusebio Lopez, Jr. [Affidavit of Fortunados, dated June 23, 1976; Rollo, p. 198]. One of the recognized exceptions to the rule against representation of conflicting interests is where the clients knowingly consent to the dual representation after full disclosure of the facts by counsel [Canon 6, Canons of Professional Ethics; Canon 15, Rule 15.03, Code of Professional Responsibility]. Complainant also claims that respondent filed several complaints against him before the Court of First Instance and the Fiscal's Office of Quezon City for the sole purpose of harassing him. The record shows that at the time of the Solicitor General's investigation of this case, Civil Case No. Q-18060 was still pending before the Court of First Instance of Quezon City, while the complaints for libel (I.S. No. 76-5912) and perjury (I.S. No. 5913) were already dismissed by the City Fiscal for insufficiency of evidence and lack of interest, respectively [Report and Recommendation, pp. 16-17; Rollo, pp. 402-403]. The Solicitor General found no basis for holding that the complaints for libel and perjury were used by respondent to harass complainant. As to Civil Case No. Q-18060, considering that it was still pending resolution, the Solicitor General made no finding on complainants claim that it was a mere ploy by respondent to harass him. The determination of the validity of the complaint in Civil Case No. Q-18060 was left to the Court of First Instance of Quezon City where the case was pending resolution.

The Court agrees with the above findings of the Solicitor General, and accordingly holds that there is no basis for holding that the respondent's sole purpose in filing the aforementioned cases was to harass complainant. Grounds 6, 8 and 9 alleged in the complaint need not be discussed separately since the above discussion on the other grounds sufficiently cover these remaining grounds. The Court finds clearly established in this case that on four counts the respondent violated the law and the rules governing the conduct of a member of the legal profession. Sworn to assist in the administration of justice and to uphold the rule of law, he has "miserably failed to live up to the standards expected of a member of the Bar." [Artiaga v. Villanueva, Adm. Matter No. 1892, July 29, 1988, 163 SCRA 638, 647]. The Court agrees with the Solicitor General that, considering the nature of the offenses committed by respondent and the facts and circumstances of the case, respondent lawyer should be suspended from the practice of law for a period of six (6) months. WHEREFORE, finding that respondent Attorney Ramon A. Gonzales committed serious misconduct, the Court Resolved to SUSPEND respondent from the practice of law for SIX (6) months effective from the date of his receipt of this Resolution. Let copies of this Resolution be circulated to all courts of the country for their information and guidance, and spread in the personal record of Atty. Gonzales. SO ORDERED.


A.M. No. 05-3-04-SC





September 11, 2006 x---------------------------------------------------------------------------------x



In an en banc Resolution dated July 22, 2005 in A.M. No. 05-3-304-SC, the Court adjudged Atty. Noel S. Sorreda guilty of contempt of court and violation of the Code of Professional Responsibility for maliciously attacking the Court and its members for the manner they resolved several cases mentioned in his letter of February 21, 2005 to then Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide Jr. For this infraction, the Court indefinitely suspended Atty. Sorreda as a member of the Bar and prohibited him from engaging in the practice of law unless the Court orders otherwise.

In a subsequent letter of February 4, 2006, Atty. Sorreda continued with his old obnoxious ways and, in a virtual repeat of what he said previously but with more venom this time, Atty. Sorreda embarked on another assault against the dignity of the Court, adding that he has not the slightest intention of apologizing for his misdeeds either now or in the future. Worse still, he even dared the Court to up the penalty of suspension to disbarment.

In the expectation that Atty. Sorreda would mend his ways if given another chance, the Court merely imposed a strong warning. Accompanying the warning, however, was the caveat that any further derogatory remark from him, be it embodied in a letter or pleading, shall warrant an even more severe sanction, of which there is none other than disbarment.

In his present MANIFESTATION AND MOTION under date of July 18, 2006, Atty. Sorreda has raised a step further the level of his obstinacy and

defiance. In a clearly insulting tone reflecting a remorseless and boorish person, he states that he has from the start defied the suspension order meted him by the Court and has continued with his professional practice as a lawyer both in the lower courts and before this Tribunal.

The Courts patience has been stretched to the limit by Atty. Sorredas arrogance and disrespect. At the minimum, members of the legal fraternity owe courts of justice respect. By taking the lawyers oath, they become guardians of the law and an indispensable instrument in the orderly and impartial administration of justice. Deliberately veering away from the path which a lawyer ought to follow as called for by his oath and his profession cannot be tolerated by this Court as the disciplining authority. So it must be here. Atty. Sorreda has proven himself to be incorrigible. By his demeanor, as demonstrated by his penchant for addressing malicious letters and pleadings to this Court, Atty. Sorreda is unworthy to continue as an officer of the court.

WHEREFORE, Atty. Noel S. Sorreda is DISBARRED from the practice of law. Let his name be stricken off the Roll of Attorneys.

This resolution shall take effect immediately. Let copies thereof furnished the Bar Confidant, to be appended to Atty. Sorredas personal record; the National Office and the Quezon City Chapter of the IBP; the Philippine Judges Association; and all the courts of the land for their information and guidance.


FRANCISCO, J.: This administrative complaint stemmed from Civil Case No. 111 entitled Alex Boquiren, et. al. vs. Mariano Gutierrez, for ejectment and damages, where complainant Atty. Felixberto N. Boquiren was the plaintiff's counsel. Atty. Saturnino V. Bactad, the defendant's counsel and the incumbent vice-governor of the province, and Judge Emperatriz del Rosario-Cruz and Atty. Melinda D. Gatdula, the judge and clerk of court respectively of the Municipal Trial Court, San Antonio, Zambales where the aforementioned civil case was docketed. Judge Cruz dismissed the ejectment suit due to plaintiff's lack of cause of action which complainant, Atty. Boquiren, seasonably appealed to the Regional Trial Court Branch 70 of Iba, Zambales. On July 5, 1993 Atty. Boquiren filed an administrative complaint against Judge Cruz and Atty. Gatdula for misconduct, partiality, serious nonfeasance, culpable dereliction of duty and ignorance of the law relative to the disposition of civil case no. 111. On the other hand, Atty. Bactad, the defendant's counsel, was charged by the complainant with false representation and employing scheme to defeat the application of the Revised Rule on Summary Procedure the latter alleging Atty. Bactad's claim and false representation that a motion to dismiss is an allowable pleading under the Revised Rule on Summary Proceedings. On January 26, 1994 the Court "DISMISSED the case without prejudice to the refiling of an administrative case at the proper time, it appearing that the case is on appeal with the Regional Trial Court, Branch 70, Iba, Zambales where relief is available". On February 18, 1994 complainant Atty. Boquiren filed a motion for its reconsideration. On March 2, 1994 the Court dismissed the complaint for not having been verified and for its failure to show prima facie case against respondent Atty. Gatdula. In reaction thereto, complainant Atty. Boquiren filed a motion for reconsideration dated March 26, 1994. We find these two motions for reconsideration devoid of merit.

Civil Case No. 111 from which the subject administrative complaint stemmed has distinct facts from the latter but the subject administrative complaint can hardly be taken into isolation. We deemed it proper, as we had properly resolved in our January 26, 1994 Resolution, to dismiss the subject administrative complaint without prejudice since Civil Case No. 111 is now on appeal with the Regional Trial Court, Branch 70, Iba, Zambales. Necessarily, the appeal of Civil Case No. 111 includes all incidents that occurred from the initial filing of the complaint for Forcible Entry and Detainer on June 5, 1992 up to the MTC Decision dated February 26, 1993 dismissing said complaint. In fact, a cursory reading of Atty. Boquiren's appeal before the Regional Trial Court shows that he devoted at least twenty pages in his twenty-six page appeal statement detailing the incidents, perceived improper conduct, orders, proceedings, misrepresentation, misapprehension of facts, ignorance of the law and rules of procedure allegedly all evidencing the culpability of the Judge, the Clerk of Court and the defendant's counsel for administrative offenses. We note that these are the same grounds that now constitute the bases of the subject administrative complaint. The issues and matters raised therein were purely judicial in nature which an appeal can adequately and properly address. The alleged errors committed by Judge Cruz relative to the disposition of a case are at best errors of judgment and can be amply remedied by any aggrieved party without recourse to the subject administrative complaint. Besides, it is a matter of public policy that in the absence of fraud, dishonesty or corruption, the acts of a judge in his judicial capacity are not subject to disciplinary action even though such acts are erroneous (Revita v. Rimando, 98 SCRA 619 [1980]). More important, any finding that this Court would make relative to the administrative complaint would undoubtedly influence and affect the outcome of Atty. Boquiren's appeal. Needless to say, this would constitute an unwarranted judicial interference and sway the Regional Trial Court's dispensation of the appeal which we cannot allow to happen. The Court strongly notes the excessive prose employed by complainant Atty. Boquiren in his Motions for Reconsideration describing the Court's Resolutions as: "highly questionable"; "based on insufficient or incorrect reasons"; "a classic arbituarily concluded resolution", "a glaring violation of the Canons of Judicial Ethics"; "pregnant with aptness to mislead, deceptive or delusive quality"; "patently erroneous"; "a BRAZEN LIE and MOCKERY OF JUSTICE" "classic carelessness, inefficiency, if not lack of industry on the part of Special Asst. to the Office of the Clerk of Court of the 3rd Div. and/or to the adjudication officer/office"; "mirror[ing] the Adjudicating Tribunal's and/or its staff's BRAZEN MOCKERY OF JUSTICE with their gross violation of the PUBLIC INTEREST POLICY of the State" [Emphasis in the original] It appears prima facie that the foregoing words are aimed at seriously undermining the integrity of this Court. Complainant seems to have forgotten his duty, as a lawyer and as an officer of the court, to observe and maintain the respect due to the courts and judicial officers (Canon 11, Code of Professional Responsibility). ACCORDINGLY, finding the motions for reconsideration without merit the same are hereby DISMISSED. Complainant Atty. Felixberto N. Boquiren, however, is hereby

ordered to explain within five (5) days from receipt of this Resolution why he should not be cited for contempt and/or subject to disciplinary action. SO ORDERED.