A.C. No. 6010 August 28, 2006 ST. LOUIS UNIVERSITY LABORATORY HIGH SCHOOL (SLU-LHS) FACULTY and STAFF, Complainant, vs.

ATTY. ROLANDO C. DELA CRUZ, Respondent. CHICO-NAZARIO, J.: This is a disbarment case filed by the Faculty members and Staff of the Saint Louis University-Laboratory High School (SLU-LHS) against Atty. Rolando C. Dela Cruz, principal of SLU-LHS, predicated on the following grounds: 1) Gross Misconduct: From the records of the case, it appears that there is a pending criminal case for child abuse allegedly committed by him against a high school student filed before the Prosecutor’s Office of Baguio City; a pending administrative case filed by the Teachers, Staff, Students and Parents before an Investigating Board created by SLU for his alleged unprofessional and unethical acts of misappropriating money supposedly for the teachers; and the pending labor case filed by SLU-LHS Faculty before the NLRC, Cordillera Administrative Region, on alleged illegal deduction of salary by respondent. 2) Grossly Immoral Conduct: In contracting a second marriage despite the existence of his first marriage; and 3) Malpractice: In notarizing documents despite the expiration of his commission. According to complainant, respondent was legally married to Teresita Rivera on 31 May 1982 at Tuba, Benguet, before the then Honorable Judge Tomas W. Macaranas. He thereafter contracted a subsequent marriage with one Mary Jane Pascua, before the Honorable Judge Guillermo Purganan. On 4 October 1994, said second marriage was subsequently annulled for being bigamous. On the charge of malpractice, complainant alleged that respondent deliberately subscribed and notarized certain legal documents on different dates from 1988 to 1997, despite expiration of respondent’s notarial commission on 31 December 1987. A Certification1 dated 25 May 1999 was issued by the Clerk of Court of Regional Trial Court (RTC), Baguio City, to the effect that respondent had not applied for commission as Notary Public for and in the City of Baguio for the period 1988 to 1997. Respondent performed acts of notarization, as evidenced by the following documents: 1. Affidavit of Ownership2 dated 8 March 1991, executed by Fernando T. Acosta, subscribed and sworn to before Rolando Dela Cruz; 2. Affidavit3 dated 26 September 1992, executed by Maria Cortez Atos, subscribed and sworn to before Rolando Dela Cruz; 3. Affidavit4 dated 14 January 1992, executed by Fanolex James A. Menos, subscribed and sworn to before Rolando Dela Cruz; 4. Affidavit5 dated 23 December 1993, executed by Ponciano V. Abalos, subscribed and sworn to before Rolando Dela Cruz; 5. Absolute Date of Sale6 dated 23 June 1993, executed by Danilo Gonzales in favor of Senecio C. Marzan, notarized by Rolando Dela Cruz; 6. Joint Affidavit By Two Disinherited Parties7 dated 5 March 1994, executed by Evelyn C. Canullas and Pastora C. Tacadena, subscribed and sworn to before Rolando Dela Cruz; 7. Sworn Statement8 dated 31 May 1994, executed by Felimon B. Rimorin, subscribed and sworn to before Rolando Dela Cruz; 8. Deed of Sale9 dated 17 August 1994, executed by Woodrow Apurado in favor of Jacinto Batara, notarized by Rolando Dela Cruz; 9. Joint Affidavit by Two Disinterested Parties10 dated 1 June 1994, executed by Ponciano V. Abalos and Arsenio C. Sibayan, subscribed and sworn to before Rolando Dela Cruz; 10. Absolute Deed of Sale11 dated 23 March 1995, executed by Eleanor D.Meridor in favor of Leonardo N. Benter, notarized by Rolando Dela Cruz; 11. Deed of Absolute Sale12 dated 20 December 1996, executed by Mandapat in favor of Mario R. Mabalot, notarized by Rolando Dela Cruz; 12. Joint Affidavit By Two Disinterested Parties13 dated 17 April 1996, executed by Villiam C. Ambong and Romeo L. Quiming, subscribed and sworn to before Rolando Dela Cruz; 13. Conditional Deed of Sale14 dated 27 February 1997, executed by Aurelia Demot Cados in favor of Jose Ma. A. Pangilinan, notarized by Rolando Dela Cruz;

14. Memorandum of Agreement15 dated 19 July 1996, executed by JARCO represented by Mr. Johnny Teope and AZTEC Construction represented by Mr. George Cham, notarized by Rolando Dela Cruz. Quite remarkably, respondent, in his comment, denied the charges of child abuse, illegal deduction of salary and others which are still pending before the St. Louis University (SLU), National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) and the Prosecutor’s Office. He did not discuss anything about the allegations of immorality in contracting a second marriage and malpractice in notarizing documents despite the expiration of his commission. After the filing of comment, We referred16 the case to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP), for investigation, report and recommendation. The IBP conducted the mandatory preliminary conference. The complainants, thereafter, submitted their position paper which is just a reiteration of their allegations in their complaint. Respondent, on his part, expressly admitted his second marriage despite the existence of his first marriage, and the subsequent nullification of the former. He also admitted having notarized certain documents during the period when his notarial commission had already expired. However, he offered some extenuating defenses such as good faith, lack of malice and noble intentions in doing the complained acts. After the submission of their position papers, the case was deemed submitted for resolution. On 30 March 2005, Commissioner Acerey C. Pacheco submitted his report and recommended that: WHEREFORE, premises considered, it is respectfully recommended that respondent be administratively penalized for the following acts: a. For contracting a second marriage without taking the appropriate legal steps to have the first marriage annulled first, he be suspended from the practice of law for one (1) year, and b. For notarizing certain legal documents despite full knowledge of the expiration of his notarial commission, he be suspended from the practice of law for another one (1) year or for a total of two (2) years.17 On 17 December 2005, the IBP Board of Governors, approved and adopted the recommendation of Commissioner Pacheco, thus: 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 that Respondent contracted a second marriage without taking appropriate legal steps to have the first marriage annulled, Atty. Rolando C. dela Cruz is hereby SUSPENDED from the practice of law for one (1) year and for notarizing legal documents despite full knowledge of the expiration of his notarial commission Atty. Rolando C. dela Cruz is SUSPENDED from the practice of law for another one (1) year, for a total of two (2) years Suspension from the practice of law.18 This Court finds the recommendation of the IBP to fault respondent well taken, except as to the penalty contained therein. At the threshold, it is worth stressing that the practice of law is not a right but a privilege bestowed by the State on those who show that they possess the qualifications required by law for the conferment of such privilege. Membership in the bar is a privilege burdened with conditions. A lawyer has the privilege and right to practice law only during good behavior, and he can be deprived of it for misconduct ascertained and declared by judgment of the court after opportunity to be heard has been afforded him. Without invading any constitutional privilege or right, an attorney’s right to practice law may be resolved by a proceeding to suspend, based on conduct rendering him unfit to hold a license or to exercise the duties and responsibilities of an attorney. It must be understood that the purpose of suspending or disbarring him as an attorney is to remove from the profession a person whose misconduct has proved him unfit to be entrusted with the duties and responsibilities belonging to an office of attorney and, thus, to protect the public and those charged with the administration of justice, rather than to punish an attorney. Elaborating on this, we said on Maligsa v. Atty. Cabanting,19 that the Bar should maintain a high standard of legal proficiency as well as of honesty and fair dealing. A lawyer brings honor to the legal profession by faithfully performing his duties to society, to the bar, to the courts and to his clients. A member of the legal fraternity should refrain from doing any act which might lessen in any degree the confidence and trust reposed by the public in the fidelity, honesty and integrity of the legal profession. Towards this end, an attorney may be disbarred or suspended for any violation of his oath or of his duties as an attorney and counselor, which include statutory grounds enumerated in Section 27, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court, all of these being broad enough to cover practically any misconduct of a lawyer in his professional or private capacity. Equally worthy of remark is that the law profession does not prescribe a dichotomy of standards among its members. There is no distinction as to whether the transgression is committed in the lawyer’s professional capacity or in his private life. This is because a lawyer may not divide his personality so as to be an attorney at one time and a mere citizen at another.20 Thus, not only his professional activities but even his private life, insofar as the latter may reflect unfavorably upon the good name and prestige of the profession and the courts, may at any time be the subject of inquiry on the part of the proper authorities.21 One of the conditions prior to admission to the bar is that an applicant must possess good moral character. Possession of such moral character as requirement to the enjoyment of the privilege of law practice must be continuous. Otherwise, "membership in the bar may be terminated when a lawyer ceases to have good moral conduct."22 In the case at bench, there is no dispute that respondent and Teresita Rivera contracted marriage on 31 May 1982 before Judge Tomas W. Macaranas. In less than a year, they parted ways owing to their irreconcilable differences without seeking judicial recourse. The union bore no offspring. After their separation in-fact, respondent never knew the whereabouts of Teresita Rivera since he had lost all forms of communication with

Terre. respondent abandoned the complainant without support and without the wherewithal for delivering his own child safely to a hospital. He was humble enough to offer no defense save for his love and declaration of his commitment to his wife and child. second. .her. or about five years after respondent contracted his second marriage.23 Section 27. The Court has laid down with a common definition of what constitutes immoral conduct. decency and morality. he even had the temerity to assure complainant that "everything is legal. After respondent had finished his law course and gotten complainant pregnant.27 respondent was disbarred because his moral character was deeply flawed as shown by the following circumstances. Since then up to now. He did this without complainant’s knowledge. In particular. But is it so gross as to warrant his disbarment? Indeed. c. with some assistance from respondent’s parents. Seven years thereafter. After his first failed marriage and prior to his second marriage or for a period of almost seven (7) years. The second marriage was annulled only on 4 October 1994 before the RTC of Benguet. e. The power to disbar must be exercised with great caution. So long as the quantum of proof . they have parted ways when the mother and child went to Australia. respondent became attracted to one Mary Jane Pascua. he mispresented himself as a "bachelor" so he could contract marriage in a foreign land. respondent remained celibate. no less than the respondent himself acknowledged and declared his abject apology for his misstep. viz: he convinced the complainant that her prior marriage to Bercenilla was null and void ab initio and that she was legally single and free to marry him. He never disclaimed paternity over the child and husbandry (sic) with relation to his wife. When complainant and respondent had contracted their marriage. In fact. Firstly. as earlier emphasized. we find the imposition of disbarment upon him to be unduly harsh.29 In line with this philosophy. When the second marriage was entered into. There is also no dispute over the fact that in 1989. thus: The uncontested assertions of the respondent belies any intention to flaunt the law and the high moral standard of the legal profession. d."24 Undoubtedly. he abandoned his lawful wife and three children.26 In the case of Terre v. it must be so corrupt and false as to constitute a criminal act or so unprincipled as to be reprehensible to a high degree. and may be imposed only in a clear case of misconduct that seriously affects the standing and character of the lawyer as an officer of the Court. we are not prepared to consider respondent’s act as grossly immoral. Respondent was already a member of the Bar when he contracted the bigamous second marriage in 1989. vis-à-vis." that is. is contrary to honesty. having been admitted to the Bar in 1985. After the annulment of his second marriage. The annulment of respondent’s second marriage has no bearing to the instant disbarment proceeding. The penalty of one (1) year suspension recommended by the IBP is too light and not commensurate to the act committed by respondent. he lured an innocent young woman into marrying him. respondent’s act constitutes immoral conduct. he made a mockery of marriage which is a sacred institution demanding respect and dignity. Based on the reasons stated above. His act of contracting a second marriage while the first marriage was still in place. This finds support in the following recommendation and observation of the IBP Investigator and IBP Board of Governors. if the acquittal of a lawyer in a criminal action is not determinative of an administrative case against him. Disbarment should never be decreed where any lesser penalty could accomplish the end desired. we find that a penalty of two years suspension is more appropriate. As such. Palma. Jr. Secondly. v.clear preponderance of evidence . then neither will the judgment of annulment of respondent’s second marriage also exonerate him from a wrongdoing actually committed. He never absconded from his obligations to support his wife and child. b. as we held in In re: Almacen. the first and subsisting marriage must first be annulled by the appropriate court. justice. His second marriage was a show of his noble intentions and total love for his wife. he availed himself of complainant’s resources by securing a plane ticket from complainant’s office in order to marry the latter’s daughter. Afterwards. or shameless. f. and fourth. Thus. respondent went through law school while being supported by complainant. respondent’s prior marriage with Teresita Rivera was still subsisting. grossly immoral conduct. then liability attaches." Such acts are wanting in the case at bar. whom he described to be very intelligent person. Respondent even admitted this fact. Rule 138 of the Rules of Court cites grossly immoral conduct as a ground for disbarment. Branch 68.in disciplinary proceedings against members of the Bar is met. he has not been romantically involved with any woman. flagrant. respondent married Mary Jane Pascua in the Municipal Trial Court (MTC) of Baguio City. measured against the definition. the annulment came after the respondent’s second bigamous marriage. he exhibited a deplorable lack of that degree of morality required of him as a member of the Bar. Immoral conduct is "that conduct which is willful. who was also a faculty member of SLU-LHS. Branch 9. or if an affidavit of withdrawal of a disbarment case does not affect its course.28 respondent was also disbarred for his grossly immoral acts such as: first. third. a disbarment case is sui generis for it is neither purely civil nor purely criminal but is rather an investigation by the court into the conduct of its officers.25 However. In the case of Cojuangco. no action having been initiated before the court to obtain a judicial declaration of nullity or annulment of respondent’s prior marriage to Teresita Rivera or a judicial declaration of presumptive death of Teresita Rivera. he cannot feign ignorance of the mandate of the law that before a second marriage may be validly contracted. and which shows a moral indifference to the opinion of the good and respectable members of the community" and what is "grossly immoral. to wit: a.

the Notarial Law. Then. and recorded in the personal records of the respondent. such that only those who are qualified or authorized may act as notaries public. by making it appear that he is duly commissioned when he is not. alleged that he received no payment in notarizing said documents. respondent sent complainant home and while she is about to step out of the car. Rolando Dela Cruz guilty of immoral conduct. Notarization of a private document converts the document into a public one making it admissible in court without further proof of its authenticity. Complainant alleged the following: Sometime on 1st week of December 2004 complainant [Cynthia Advincula] seek the legal advice of the respondent [Atty. met (sic) at Zensho Restaurant in Tomas Morato. As promised. On February 10. ATTY. Cordillera Administrative Region. the pending administrative case filed by the Teachers. notaries public must observe with the utmost care the basic requirements in the performance of their duties. the Office of the Bar Confidant. Let copies of this Decision be furnished all the courts of the land through the Court Administrator."31 The Court had occasion to state that where the notarization of a document is done by a member of the Philippine Bar at a time when he has no authorization or commission to do so. it is invested with substantive public interest. a deed of sale. Students and Parents before an Investigating Board created by SLU." By acting as a notary public without the proper commission to do so. immoral or deceitful conduct. These violations fall squarely within the prohibition of Rule 1. Macabata]. MACABATA. respondent humbly admitted having notarized certain documents despite his knowledge that he no longer had authority to do so. supplemental affidavit. Respondent. he is. In the case of Buensuceso v. more specifically. to wit: a complaint for ejectment. No. The Court has characterized a lawyer’s act of notarizing documents without the requisite commission to do so as "reprehensible. on alleged illegal deduction of salary by respondent. Guided by the pronouncement in said case. the confidence of the public in the integrity of this form of conveyance would be undermined. He. 2005. indulging in deliberate falsehood. It has been emphatically stressed that notarization is not an empty. which provides: "A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful. A notarial document is by law entitled to full faith and credit upon its face and. On the contrary. Herein respondent notarized a total of fourteen (14) documents33 without the requisite notarial commission. charging the latter with Gross Immorality. and another two (2) years for notarizing documents despite the expiration of his commission or a total of four (4) years of suspension. performing a notarial act without such commission is a violation of the lawyer’s oath to obey the laws. Other charges constituting respondent’s misconduct such as the pending criminal case for child abuse allegedly committed by him against a high school student filed before the Prosecutor’s Office of Baguio City. need not be discussed.As to the charge of misconduct for having notarized several documents during the years 1988-1997 after his commission as notary public had expired.: Before Us is a complaint1 for disbarment filed by Cynthia Advincula against respondent Atty. dishonest. which directs every lawyer to uphold at all times the integrity and dignity of the legal profession. A. meaningless. After the dinner. Quezon City to discuss the possibility of filing the complaint against Queensway Travel and Tours because they did not settle their accounts as demanded. At such stages. in disregard of the Code of Professional Responsibility. Barera. which the lawyer’s oath similarly proscribes. for this reason. however. and a contract to sell. as they are still pending before the proper forums. 2004 (copy attached as Annex "I") to the concerned parties. J. respondent hold (sic) her arm and kissed her on the cheek and embraced her very tightly. . too.30 The requirements for the issuance of a commission as notary public must not be treated as a mere casual formality. SO ORDERED. Otherwise. WHEREFORE. as well as the IBP. he sent Demand Letter dated December 11.32 a lawyer was suspended for one year when he notarized five documents after his commission as Notary Public had expired.01 of Canon 1 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. 2007 CYNTHIA ADVINCULA. the offender may be subjected to disciplinary action or one. RESOLUTION CHICO-NAZARIO. 7204 March 7. for all legal intents and purposes. and the pending labor case filed by SLU-LHS Faculty before the NLRC. vs. regarding her collectibles from Queensway Travel and Tours. the lawyer likewise violates Canon 7 of the same Code. Staff. ERNESTO M. he is hereby SUSPENDED from the practice of law for a period of two (2) years. constituting as it does not only malpractice but also x x x the crime of falsification of public documents. Macabata. affidavit. Ernesto M. Complainant. we find that a suspension of two (2) years is justified under the circumstances. the presumption of innocence still prevails in favor of the respondent. finding respondent Atty. routinary act.C.

complainant was wandering (sic) why she felt so sleepy where in fact she just got up from bed a few hours ago. Atty. On 30 September 2005. 2 put it rightly it s an expression of feeling. It’s not tking advantage of the situation."I’m veri sri. Il not do it again. Please next time behave na ko). 2005 respondent sent another message to complainant at 3:55:32 pm saying "I don’t know wat 2 do s u may 4give me. "Im realy sri. the IBP passed Resolution No. that on both occasions." Then another message was received by her at 4:06:33 pm saying "Ano k ba. on 26 July 2005. at about past 10:00 in the morning. I’ll not do it again. Puede bati na tyo. in San Francisco Del Monte." (I don’t know what to do so you may forgive me.4 recommending the imposition of the penalty of one (1) month suspension on respondent for violation of the Code of Professional Responsibility. and considering the behavior of Respondent went beyond the norms of conduct required of a lawyer when dealing with or relating with a client. which he usually did every time they met." (Ano ka ba. March 7.Again. Its not taking advantage of the situation. Quezon City to finalize the draft of the complaint to be filed in Court. it would have been impossible to commit the acts imputed to him. S sri" (I’m very sorry. Pls. I’m really sri. Macabata is SUSPENDED from the practice of law for three (3) months. Pasig City. 2005. complainant sent a text message to respondent informing him that she decided to refer the case with another lawyer and needs (sic) to get back the case folder from him. respondent further elucidated that: 1) there was a criminal case for Acts of Lasciviousness filed by complainant against respondent pending before the Office of the City Prosecutor in Quezon City. Puede bati na tayo). was a busy street teeming with people. I decided to refer it with other lawyer . Nxt ime bhave n me. thus. she met respondent at Starbucks coffee shop in West Avenue. complainant rode with him in his car where he held and kissed complainant on the lips as the former offered her lips to him.wrong to kiss a girl especially in the lips if you don’t have relationship with her. which is a clear manifestation of admission of guilt.I’m s sri. the recommendation of the Investigating Commissioner."does this mean I can not c u anymore" (Does this mean I cannot see you anymore) . A hearing was conducted by the Commission on Bar Discipline of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) at the IBP Building. thus: RESOLVED to ADOPT and APPROVE. Wil u stil c me s I can show u my sincerity" (I’m so sorry. that the corner of Cooper Street and Roosevelt Avenue. and. Investigating Commissioner Dennis A. finding the recommendation fully supported by the evidence on record and the applicable laws and rules. Occidental Mindoro. XVII-2006-117 dated 20 March 2006. Will you still see me so I can show you my sincerity) On the following day. I’m really sorry. By way of defense. approving and adopting.forget the case. respondent offered again a ride. .5 The issue to be resolved in this case is: whether respondent committed acts that are grossly immoral or which constitute serious moral depravity that would warrant his disbarment or suspension from the practice of law. where he dropped off the complainant. to discuss the relevant matters relative to the case which complainant was intending to file against the owners of Queensway Travel and Tours for collection of a sum of money. After the meeting.. Ernesto A.I feel bad. the Report and Recommendation of the Investigating Commissioner of the above-entitled case. At along Roosevelt Avenue immediately after corner of Felipe St. Funa submitted his Report and Recommendation. that he met with complainant on 10 February 2005 and 6 March 2005. . 3) the complainant was living with a man not her husband. B.3 respondent admitted that he agreed to provide legal services to the complainant. The communications transpired was recorded in her cellular phone and read as follows: Sent by complainant At 5:33:46 pm replied by respondent at 6:16:11 pm sent by complainant at 6:17:59 pm Follow-up message Sent by complainant At 6:29:30 pm Replied by respondent At 6:32:43 pm Follow up message by respondent at 6:42:25 pm . 2) the legal name of complainant is Cynthia Advincula Toriana since she remains married to a certain Jinky Toriana because the civil case for the nullification of their marriage was archived pursuant to the Order dated 6 December 2000 issued by the Regional Trial Court of Maburao. Ortigas Center. with modification. Complainant even in a state of shocked (sic) succeeded in resisting his criminal attempt and immediately manage (sic) to go (sic) out of the car. and 4) the complainant never bothered to discuss respondent’s fees and it was respondent who always paid for their bills every time they met and ate at a restaurant. Along the way. In the late afternoon. herein made part of this Resolution as Annex "A". I’m really sorry. . Respondent replied "talk to my lawyer in due time.2 In his answer. Quezon City when she was almost restless respondent stopped his car and forcefully hold (sic) her face and kissed her lips while the other hand was holding her breast. Thereafter. I can’t expect that u will take advantage of the situation. as it is hereby ADOPTED and APPROVED. with modification. to put it rightly it is an expression of feeling) . on March 6. and.

And whenever it is made to appear that an attorney is no longer worthy of the trust and confidence of the public. honesty. as keepers of public faith.A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful. immoral or deceitful conduct. "as officers of the court.7 we emphasized that: This Court has been exacting in its demand for integrity and good moral character of members of the Bar. hence. namely: (1) to protect the public.01-.10 In Bar Matter No. Everything happened very spontaneously with no reaction from her except saying "sexual harassment. (2) to protect the public image of lawyers. xxxx 35. As may be gleaned from above.03-." During the hearing held on 26 July 2005 at the 3rd floor. probity or good demeanor.Simple as the facts of the case may be. even if it pertains to his private activities. whether in public or private life. There was no force used. In his Answer. as distinguished from good reputation. The Code of Professional Responsibility provides: CANON I – x x x Rule 1. behave in a scandalous manner to the discredit of the legal profession. Ortigas City.A lawyer shall at all times uphold the integrity and dignity of the legal profession and support the activities of the Integrated Bar. free from misdeeds and acts constitutive of malpractice. it becomes not only the right but also the duty of this Court. and integrity of the legal profession. the manner by which we deal with respondent’s actuations shall have a rippling effect on how the standard norms of our legal practitioners should be defined.6 In Aldovino v. This permissiveness notwithstanding.. Pujalte. must handle their personal affairs with greater caution. nor shall he. are burdened with a high degree of social responsibility and. Dona Julia Vargas Avenue. It should be noted that the requirement of good moral character has four ostensible purposes. the Code of Professional Responsibility forbids lawyers from engaging in unlawful. They are expected at all times to uphold the integrity and dignity of the legal profession and refrain from any act or omission which might lessen the trust and confidence reposed by the public in the fidelity. Jr. respondent admitted kissing complainant on the lips. No breast holding was done. thus: 27. xxxx Rule 7. to withdraw the privilege. 1154. They may be suspended from the practice of law or disbarred for any misconduct. It is the bounden duty of lawyers to adhere unwaveringly to the highest standards of morality. When she was about to get off the car.11 good moral character was defined as what a person really is.A lawyer shall not engage in conduct that adversely reflects on his fitness to practice law. not only upon admission to the Bar but also throughout their legal career. or from the opinion generally entertained of him. which made him one of its officers and gave him the privilege of ministering within its Bar. or the estimate in which he is held by the public in the place where he is known. Lawyers are called upon to safeguard the integrity of the Bar. Moral character is not a subjective term but one which corresponds to objective reality. When I stopped my car I said okay. no lewd designs displayed. I saw her offered (sic) her left cheek and I lightly kissed it and with my right hand slightly pulled her right cheek towards me and plant (sic) a light kiss on her lips. We said goodnight and she got off the car. lawyers must not only in fact be of good moral character but must also be seen to be of good moral character and leading lives in accordance with the highest moral standards of the community. as long as it shows him to be wanting in moral character. The legal profession exacts from its members nothing less. immoral or deceitful conduct. CANON 7-.8 We explained in Barrientos v. I said can I kiss you goodnight. Their exalted positions as officers of the court demand no less than the highest degree of morality. No intimidation made. dishonest. MACABATA: . Daarol9 that. respondent candidly recalled the following events: ATTY.12 In the case at bar.13 respondent confessed. honesty. The continued possession of good moral character is a requisite condition for remaining in the practice of law. lawyers. Membership in the legal profession is a privilege. Perhaps morality in our liberal society today is a far cry from what it used to be. IBP Building." Lawyers are expected to abide by the tenets of morality. and (4) to protect errant lawyers from themselves. in order to maintain their good standing in this exclusive and honored fraternity. She offered her left cheek and I kissed it and with my left hand slightly pulled her right face towards me and kissed her gently on the lips. dishonest. Lawyers have been repeatedly reminded that their possession of good moral character is a continuing condition to preserve their membership in the Bar in good standing. (3) to protect prospective clients.

we ordered food and then a little while I told her.15 In Zaguirre v. okay.17 a lawyer was disbarred from the practice of law.) It is difficult to state with precision and to fix an inflexible standard as to what is "grossly immoral conduct" or to specify the moral delinquency and obliquity which render a lawyer unworthy of continuing as a member of the bar. So before she went down . we went inside my car and I said where to? Same place. before she went down. v. to have taken advantage of his position as chairman of the college of medicine in asking complainant. When we were there.21 respondent lawyer was disbarred when he abandoned his lawful wife and three children. that’s it. Aznar. a student in said college. Dantes. so I said okay. or so unprincipled as to be reprehensible to a high degree or committed under such scandalous or revolting circumstances as to shock the common sense of decency. we met … I fetched her I should say. lured an innocent woman into marrying him and misrepresented himself as a "bachelor" so he could contract marriage in a foreign land. So I parked my car somewhere along the corner of Edsa and Kamuning and I was there about ten to fifteen minutes then she arrived. In Macarrubo v. or shameless as to show indifference to the opinion of good and respectable members of the community. xxxx ATTY. She went down the car. institutions that this society looks to for the rearing of our children. I . when he abandoned his lawful wife and cohabited with another woman who had borne him a child. would it be okay for you of I (sic) order wine? She said yes so I ordered two glasses of red wine. After that were through so I said let’s go because I have an appointment. MACABATA: I saw her offered her left cheek like that. Furthermore.." . So when I said let’s go so I stood up and then I went to the car. we discussed about her case. and for the strengthening of our nation as a whole.19 respondent’s act of engaging in illicit relationships with two different women during the subsistence of his marriage to the complainant constitutes grossly immoral conduct warranting the imposition of appropriate sanctions. So. MACABATA: Okay. In Obusan v. "there can be no other fate that awaits respondent than to be disbarred. FUNA: Pardon? ATTY. I went ahead of my car and she followed me then she rode on (sic) it. In Delos Reyes v. to go with him to Manila where he had carnal knowledge of her under the threat that she would flank in all her subjects in case she refused. Macarrubo. flagrant. And then I said good night. taken in conjunction with the documentary evidence. After that. There. so then at the same corner. after discussing matters about her case. So we went out.. so I kissed her again and then with the use of my left hand. I told her can I kiss you goodnight? She offered her left cheek and I kissed it and with the slight use of my right hand. before she opened the door of the car. a married man with children. pushed a little bit her face and then kissed her again softly on the lips and that’s it.22 respondent entered into multiple marriages and then resorted to legal remedies to sever them. somewhere along the corner of Edsa and Kamuning because it was then raining so we are texting each other. Palma. x x x." As such. sufficiently established that respondent breached the high and exacting moral standards set for members of the law profession. for such conduct to warrant disciplinary action.16 we reiterated the definition of immoral conduct. Toledo. would you like that we have a Japanese dinner? And she said yes. So I kissed her again. Jr. I saw her offered her left cheek. This court declared that respondent failed to maintain the highest degree of morality expected and required of a member of the bar. FUNA: February 10 iyan.18 a lawyer was disbarred after complainant proved that he had abandoned her and maintained an adulterous relationship with a married woman.. she said. for the development of values essential to the survival and well-being of our communities. should I say tilted her face towards me and when she’s already facing me I lightly kissed her on the lips. but grossly immoral. The rule implies that what appears to be unconventional behavior to the straight-laced may not be the immoral conduct that warrants disbarment. So I told her where to? She told me just drop me at the same place where you have been dropping me for the last meetings that we had and that was at the corner of Morato and Roosevelt Avenue.That time in February. the same must not simply be immoral.14 (Emphases supplied. The following cases were considered by this Court as constitutive of grossly immoral conduct: In Toledo v. so I said … it’s about 9:00 or beyond that time already.20 it was ruled that it was highly immoral of respondent. Jr. And so I said … she opened my car and then she went inside so I said. In Cojuangco. Castillo. So I brought her to Zensho which is along Tomas Morato. Obusan. COMM. we ruled that "[s]uch pattern of misconduct by respondent undermines the institutions of marriage and family. In Dantes v. let’s go. as such conduct which is so willful. It must be so corrupt as to constitute a criminal act. COMM. Complainant’s testimony.

However. as shown by the above circumstances. Agustin. but should ever be controlled by the imperative need to scrupulously guard the purity and independence of the bar and to exact from the lawyer strict compliance with his duties to the court. and to deter other lawyers from similar misconduct. Tucay. We laud complainant’s effort to seek redress for what she honestly believed to be an affront to her honor. respondent was disqualified from being admitted to the bar. Peralta. flagrant. He is. it was difficult and agonizing on her part to come out in the open and accuse her lawyer of gross immoral conduct. All told. their marriage still valid and subsisting. cannot be considered grossly immoral.38 a lawyer was publicly reprimanded for grabbing a female client. or indicative of corruption. Immorality has not been confined to sexual matters. We held that respondent failed to maintain that degree of morality and integrity which. Only those acts which cause loss of moral character should merit disbarment or suspension. or shameless conduct showing moral indifference to opinions of respectable members of the community. lacking the good moral character required by the Rules of Court.29 Thus. The mitigating or aggravating circumstances that attended the commission of the offense should also be considered. or is willful. therefore. disbarred from the practice of law. We held that "the act of respondent of contracting the second marriage is contrary to honesty. However. The acts of respondent. the same was not motivated by malice. A mere charge or allegation of wrongdoing does not suffice. Be it noted also that the incident happened in a place where there were several people in the vicinity considering that Roosevelt Avenue is a major jeepney route for 24 hours. decency and morality. Complainant’s bare allegation that respondent made use and took advantage of his position as a lawyer to lure her to agree to have sexual relations with him. to his client. Accusation is not synonymous with guilt. kissing her. such act. casual and customary. In Cabrera v. The exchange of text messages between complainant and respondent bears this out. and an inconsiderate attitude toward good order and public welfare. The question as to what disciplinary sanction should be imposed against a lawyer found guilty of misconduct requires consideration of a number of factors. cum per rerum naturam factum negantis probation nulla sit. deserves no credit. honorable and reliable men in whom courts and clients may repose confidence.33 When deciding upon the appropriate sanction.36 Censure or reprimand is usually meted out for an isolated act of misconduct of a lesser nature. respondent’s acts are not grossly immoral nor highly reprehensible to warrant disbarment or suspension. must prove. respondent immediately extended an apology to complainant also via cellular phone text message. non qui negat.31 In the case at bar. while respondent admitted having kissed complainant on the lips.28 disclosing a case that is free from doubt as to compel the exercise by the Court of its disciplinary power. to foster public confidence in the Bar. indecency. to preserve the integrity of the profession. and raising her blouse which constituted illegal conduct involving moral turpitude and conduct which adversely reflected on his fitness to practice law.24 respondent married complainant while his first wife was still alive.23 respondent contracted marriage with another married woman and left complainant with whom he has been married for thirty years.34Disciplinary proceedings are means of protecting the administration of justice by requiring those who carry out this important function to be competent. and she must establish the case against the respondent by clear. We ruled that such acts constitute "a grossly immoral conduct and only indicative of an extremely low regard for the fundamental ethics of his profession. Surely. convincing and satisfactory proof.37 In the Matter of Darell Adams. with great caution and only for the most weighty reasons and only on clear cases of misconduct which seriously affect the standing and character of the lawyer as an officer of the court and member of the Bar. The power to disbar or suspend ought always to be exercised on the preservative and not on the vindictive principle.In Tucay v. . though. complainant miserably failed to comply with the burden of proof required of her. and surely needs to be corroborated or supported by more objective evidence.25 respondent lured an innocent woman into a simulated marriage and thereafter satisfied his lust.26 Guided by the definitions above.32 Moreover. he could have brought her to a private place or a more remote place where he could freely accomplish the same. We come to this conclusion because right after the complainant expressed her annoyance at being kissed by the respondent through a cellular phone text message. reprimand would suffice. If respondent truly had malicious designs on complainant." warranting respondent’s disbarment. depravity and dissoluteness. it should neither be arbitrary and despotic nor motivated by personal animosity or prejudice. is expected of members of the bar."30 As a basic rule in evidence. The dubious character of the act charged as well as the motivation which induced the lawyer to commit it must be clearly demonstrated before suspension or disbarment is meted out. justice. the Court must consider that the primary purposes of disciplinary proceedings are to protect the public. The burden of proof rests on the complainant." Thus. to his brethren in the profession and to the public. we perceived acts of kissing or beso-beso on the cheeks as mere gestures of friendship and camaraderie. while those acts which neither affect nor erode the moral character of the lawyer should only justify a lesser sanction unless they are of such nature and to such extent as to clearly show the lawyer’s unfitness to continue in the practice of law. her own assessment of the incidents is highly subjective and partial. In Villasanta v. the adage that "he who asserts not he who denies.35 While it is discretionary upon the Court to impose a particular sanction that it may deem proper against an erring lawyer.27 forms of greetings. Based on the circumstances of the case as discussed and considering that this is respondent’s first offense. at all times. qui decit. even if considered offensive and undesirable. in turning the head of complainant towards him and kissing her on the lips are distasteful. It is also imposed for some minor infraction of the lawyer’s duty to the court or the client. the burden of proof lies on the party who makes the allegations—ei incumbit probation. but includes conduct inconsistent with rectitude.

C." and requested for "a period of twenty days from May 15. CEZAR. 6288 June 16. Ronquillo is a Filipino citizen currently residing in Cannes.00 each. San Juan. and (7) willfully appearing as an attorney for a party without authority. In a letter dated May 2. is hereby DISMISSED. dated October 25. 2003. vs. found respondent guilty of dishonest and deceitful conduct proscribed under Rule 1.WHEREFORE. On February 21. respondent is hereby REPRIMANDED to be more prudent and cautious in his dealing with his clients with a STERN WARNING that a more severe sanction will be imposed on him for any repetition of the same or similar offense in the future. XVI-2003-226. respondent violated his oath under Rule 1. (4) conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude. Respondent also obligated himself to deliver to complainants a copy of the Contract to Sell he executed with Crown Asia. dated April 19.00 upon execution of the Deed of Assignment. France..500. a member of the Bar may be disbarred or suspended on any of the following grounds: (1) deceit.00. to whom the instant disciplinary case was assigned for investigation.01. within ten days. dishonest. Ernesto Macabata. For these reasons. They allege that respondent sold them a piece of property over which he has no right nor interest. 2000 within which to either completely pay Crown Asia or return the money at your (complainants’) option. Hence. Canon 1 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. CABUNGCAL. the complaint for disbarment against respondent Atty. Respondent was able to encash the first check dated August 17. she recommended that respondent be suspended from the practice of law for a period of three (3) years. Complainant Marili C.500.3 The amount of P937. respondent transferred. HOMOBONO T.500. located at 75 Granwood Villas Subd.500. including legal interest. (5) violation of the lawyer’s oath. dishonest. through Resolution No.000. 2000. in favor of the complainants.500. Respondent also failed to deliver to complainants a copy of the Contract to Sell he allegedly executed with Crown Asia.: Complainants seek the disbarment or suspension of respondent from the practice of law for unlawful. plus legal interest. represented by their Attorney-in-Fact SERVILLANO A. Respondent. However. does not refer exclusively to the performance of a lawyer’s .01. complainants’ counsel sent respondent a second letter5 demanding the return of the amount of P937. Rule 1. Alexander and Jon Alexander. informing him that they were still willing to pay the balance of the purchase price of the townhouse on the condition that respondent work on Crown Asia’s execution of the Deed of Absolute Sale in their favor. A. Canon 1 of the Code of Professional Responsibility and he ought to be disbarred or suspended from the practice of law. wrote respondent. complainants. (2) malpractice or other gross misconduct in office. RONQUILLO.00 down payment and the first quarterly installment of P187. complainant Marili Ronquillo ordered the bank to stop payment on the second check she issued to respondent in the amount of P187." "Conduct. addressed to complainants. 2006 MARILI C. SO ORDERED. complainants issued in favor of respondent four postdated checks in the amount of P187. In the alternative. Under Section 27.1 For the price of P1. through their counsel. In her Report dated October 9. for alleged immorality. The IBP Board of Governors. for failing to comply with his promise. DECISION PUNO. J." as used in this rule. (3) grossly immoral conduct.4 respondent claimed that he was "working now on a private project which hopefully will be realized not long from now. dishonest.00 each." The period lapsed but respondent did not make good his promise to pay Crown Asia in full. Respondent received from complainants P750. his rights and interests over a townhouse unit and lot. or return the amount paid by complainants. together with her minor children. ALEXANDER RONQUILLO and JON ALEXANDER RONQUILLO.00 which complainants paid respondent. The demand was unheeded. BF Homes. approved the recommendation of Commissioner San Juan. In May 1999.000. Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) Investigating Commissioner Milagros V. (6) willful disobedience of any lawful order of a superior court. 2003.5M.2 Complainants subsequently received information from Crown Asia that respondent has not paid in full the price of the townhouse at the time he executed the Deed of Assignment. and that he refuses to return to them the amount they have paid him for it. the townhouse developer. Allegedly. report and recommendation. Complainants. No. Quezon City.00.500.500. Canon 1 of the Code of Professional Responsibility provides that "A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful. this administrative complaint6 that respondent engaged in unlawful. The balance was to be paid by complainants in four equal quarterly installments of P187. 1999. complainants and respondent entered into a Deed of Assignment. Rule 138 of the Revised Rules of Court. respondent further undertook to have Crown Asia execute a Deed of Absolute Sale over the property in favor of the complainants. 2000.00 represents the P750. 2002. immoral or deceitful conduct. immoral or deceitful conduct. On March 6. Thus. immoral and deceitful conduct. 1996. We agree. complainants demanded the return of the amount of P937.01. Upon full payment of the purchase price.00. ATTY.

11 and a violation of the high moral standards of the legal profession justifies the imposition of the appropriate penalty. thereby violating his oath as a lawyer and the canons of legal and judicial ethics. It is granted only to those of good moral character. Torres with presentation of false testimony. He did not inform the complainants that he has not yet paid in full the price of the subject townhouse unit and lot.12 Be that as it may. complainants gave respondent sufficient time to fulfill his obligation. respondent failed to live up to the strict standard of morality required by the Code of Professional Responsibility and violated the trust and respect reposed in him as a member of the Bar. which shows him to be wanting in moral character. in the alternative. Respondent’s adamant refusal to return to complainant Marili Ronquillo the money she paid him. His acceptance of the bulk of the purchase price amounting to Nine Hundred Thirty-Seven Thousand Five Hundred Pesos (P937. but rather investigations by the court into the conduct of one of its officers. respondent. that complainants sent respondent a second letter8 demanding solely the return of the amount of P937. which would show the extent of his right of ownership.professional duties. This Court has made clear in a long line of cases7 that a lawyer may be disbarred or suspended for misconduct. 2004 ISIDRA TING-DUMALI. In the instant case. including suspension and disbarment. whether in his professional or private capacity. and all courts for their information and guidance. this Court cannot rule on the issue of the amount of money that should be returned to the complainants. May I please request for a period of 20 days from May 15. thus: xxx I am working now on a private project which hopefully will be realized not long from now but I need a little time to fix some things over. Respondent was likewise guilty of dishonest and deceitful conduct when he concealed this lack of right from complainants. respondent acknowledged his obligation. over the townhouse unit and lot in question. SO ORDERED. complainant Isidra Ting-Dumali charges respondent Atty. 2000 within which to either completely pay Crown Asia or return the money at your option.01. RESOLUTION PER CURIAM: In a Complaint-Affidavit1 filed on 22 October 1999 with this Court. and an officer of the court. transfer or assign said property at the time of the execution of the Deed of Assignment.13 Thus. honesty. including legal interest. participation in. Cezar is SUSPENDED from the practice of law for a period of THREE (3) YEARS. When he failed in his undertaking. consent to. TORRES. 9 The Bar must maintain a high standard of honesty and fair dealing. . By this time. it was indubitable that respondent would not be able to perform his end of their agreement. The practice of law is not a right but a privilege. A. IN VIEW WHEREOF.500. and gross misrepresentation in court for the purpose of profiting from such forgery. Canon 1 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. the return of the money paid by complainants.00. despite knowing he was not entitled to it. or unworthy to continue as an officer of the court.00.00). respondent admitted not having full ownership over the subject townhouse unit and lot. the Integrated Bar of the Philippines. effective immediately. The only question for determination in these proceedings is whether or not the attorney is still fit to be allowed to continue as a member of the Bar. ATTY. respondent Atty. Let a copy of this Decision be furnished the Office of the Bar Confidant. is morally reprehensible. It was only after almost two years had passed. In reply to said letter.C. he had no right to sell. Respondent’s culpability is therefore clear. (Emphasis supplied) In no uncertain terms. made matters worse for him. To be sure. He received a letter from complainants’ counsel demanding the execution of the Deed of Absolute Sale in favor of the complainants. No. the forgery of complainant’s signature in a purported Deed of Extrajudicial Settlement. and promised to settle the same if given sufficient time. By his actuations. ROLANDO S. if any. and failure to advise against. therefore. 5161 April 14. vs. Rolando S. Disciplinary proceedings against lawyers do not involve a trial of an action. after respondent promised to pay Crown Asia or return to complainants the amount they paid him. or. as he has yet to completely pay Crown Asia.10 Lawyers must conduct themselves beyond reproach at all times. Respondent even failed to produce the Contract to Sell he allegedly executed with Crown Asia over the subject unit. It cannot be gainsaid that it was unlawful for respondent to transfer property over which one has no legal right of ownership. and. complainant.500. which was the fruit of her labor as an Overseas Filipino Worker for ten (10) years.500. respondent may have acted in his private capacity when he entered into a contract with complainant Marili representing to have the rights to transfer title over the townhouse unit and lot in question. we cannot grant complainants’ prayer that respondent be directed to return the money he received from them in the amount of P937. probity and good demeanor. whether they are dealing with their clients or the public at large. Homobono T. respondent fell short of his duty under Rule 1.

Partial payment was even received pending the reconstitution proceedings. . Insofar as Lot 1586 is concerned. Jr. he even used the stationery of the Philippine National Bank. and received by. Vicente Ting.195. filed by complainant’s sisters Marcelina and Felicisima on 24 October 1995. since the latter was still alive. Besides.. (T-6203) RT-19151 of the Registry of Deeds of Cavite. (2) when their mother died. T1869 Covering Lot No. (3) on 5 February 2000. Rivera.1869 of the Registry of Deeds of Cavite.e. in LRC Case No. knowing fully well that the same was false. of which he was an employee. it was done in good faith. to wit: a) One half of Lot 1586 of the San Francisco de Malabon Estate. The false testimony of Marcelina in that case that she and Felicisima were the only children of spouses Vicente Ting and Julita Reynante could not be faulted on him because such was a clear oversight. 4. Anent his alleged gross and false misrepresentation that the order of reconstitution would be released by the end of November 1996. containing an area of 22. containing an area of 43. and Eliseo Ting. The respondent admits that he was the counsel of Marcelina Ting Rivera. Inc. (T-6425) RT-7688 of the Registry of Deeds of Cavite. 5964 entitled In Re:Petition for Judicial Reconstitution of the Original Copy and Owner’s Duplicate Copy of TCT No. Finally. in response to the previous letter of Felicisima. Neither can he be faulted by the execution of the Deed of Extrajudicial Settlement dated 17 March 1995 involving Lot 1603 because he had no part in the execution of the document. All the while he believed in good faith that the Ting sisters had already agreed on how to dispose of the said lot. the respondent made gross and false misrepresentations for the purpose of profiting therefrom when he requested the buyer through a certain Mrs. and covered at that time by TCT No.400. She attributes to the respondent the following acts or omissions: 1. TM-855 for "Annulment of Documents. Eliseo wrote his siblings. four of the siblings were still minors including respondent’s wife herself. 2. Payment was already made to. In LRC Rec. c) Lot 1605 of the San Francisco de Malabon Estate. His conformity through his signature was pro-forma because the property was a paraphernal property of Marcelina and his wife. or immoral act. and Miriam. Marcelina. The forgery or falsification was made to enable them to sell Lot 1603 to Antel Holdings. Titles. the respondent took advantage of his relationship with her and her brothers and used his profession to deprive them of what was lawfully due them even if it involved the commission of an illegal.908 square meters more or less. as he admitted. Inc. 5964 for the reconstitution of TCT No. With the reconstituted title. et. the complainant denies the presence of toka or verbal will allegedly made by her mother and allegedly implemented by their eldest brother Eliseo in view of the following circumstances: (1) her mother met a sudden death in 1967. the perjury committed by his wife Felicisima and his sister-inlaw Miriam when they executed a Deed of Extrajudicial Settlement of Estate dated 11 November 1986. the administrator of the properties of the Ting spouses. more or less. consented to. and Reconveyance plus Damages". Rosauro Morabe. consented to.. Inc. Mr.213. Saria. In her reply. and failed to advise against. the sale of Lot 1605 to Antel Holdings. Their parents died intestate and left several parcels of land.The complainant is one of the six children of the late spouses Julita Reynante and Vicente Ting. In his Comment. this administrative case. No. containing an area of 16. suffice it to say that the assurance was made by the Clerk of Court.2 the respondent denies the allegations of the complaint and asserts that he did not take advantage of his profession to deprive any of the co-heirs of his wife of the estate left by his parents-in-law. The respondent participated in. who is married to herein respondent. was the decision of Marcelina and his wife. According to the complainant.100 and profited from the sale to the exclusion of their other siblings. and failed to advise against. He presented that document to the Register of Deeds of Cavite for the transfer of the title over Lot No. for P2. the respondent affirms that Felicisima and Miriam were not motivated by any desire to solely profit from the sale. and partition of the properties in total disregard of their father was morally reprehensible.. Payment was received and misappropriated by Felicisima and Marcelina. the respondent made gross misrepresentation and offered false testimony to the effect that Marcelina and Felicisima are the only children and legal heirs of the late spouses Vicente Ting and Julita Reynante for the purpose of obtaining a new title in their names. the respondent believes that complainant intended to harass him in bombarding him with numerous lawsuits. b) Lot 1603 of the San Francisco de Malabon Estate. more or less and covered at that time by TCT No. 1586 in the names of his wife and Miriam. Her siblings are Marcelina T. Torres. Miriam T. T-1869. the forgery of complainant’s signature in a purported Deed of Extrajudicial Settlement dated 17 March 1995 involving Lot 1603 when he knew that she was in Italy at that time working as an overseas contract worker.073 square meters. and a criminal case for Estafa and Falsification of Public Documents. The lot was later sold to Antel Holdings Inc. al.. Felicisima and Marcelina were able to sell Lot 1605 to Antel Holdings. 3. To facilitate the release of the money. and with the express conformity of the respondent.. i.131 square meters. wherein the two made it appear that they were the sole heirs of the late spouses Julita Reynante and Vicente Ting. unlawful. On 20 November 1996. The respondent participated in. She further states that the respondent was not merely a passive onlooker but. 1605 of the Registry of Deeds for the Province of Cavite. Felicisima T. If ever complainant’s signature was affixed on that document. He even presented the falsified document to the Register of Deeds of Cavite to transfer the title over the property in favor of his wife Felicisima and sister-in-law Marcelina. Felicisima and Miriam. Ong to release the full payment for Lot 1605 under the pretense that the order of reconstitution would be released within a month when he knew that it would be impossible because he presented evidence in the reconstitution case only on 12 August 1997. T. petitions for reconstitution are usually uncontested and granted by courts. denying the existence of a toka. for P1. Civil Case No. and covered at that time by TCT No. Moreover.

It also bears noting that the respondent was consulted9 regarding the falsification of complainant’s signature in the Extrajudicial Settlement10 dated 17 March 1995 involving Lot 1603. after due hearing and consideration of the issues presented by both parties. but a sacred trust that lawyers must uphold and keep inviolable at all times. nor consent to its commission. We fully agree with the Investigating Commissioner in her findings of facts and conclusion of culpability. the Board of Governors of the IBP approved and adopted Commissioner San Juan’s report. I will support its Constitution and obey the laws as well as the legal orders of the duly constituted authorities therein.01 and 1. nor should he. In fact.On 14 June 2000.6 This oath is firmly echoed and reflected in the Code of Professional Responsibility. immoral or deceitful conduct.8 Yet. By swearing the lawyer’s oath. which provides: CANON 1 — A lawyer shall uphold the constitution.12 . and will conduct myself as a lawyer according to the best of my knowledge and discretion with all good fidelity as well to the courts as to my clients. Thus she recommended that the respondent be disbarred from the practice of law. Rule 10. which contains a purported waiver by the complainant of her right over the property. fairness and good faith to the court.. as well as instruments in the fair and impartial dispensation of justice.03 — A lawyer shall not engage in conduct that adversely reflects on his fitness to practice law. report. 1586 to the exclusion of their other siblings. nor is it mere words. respondent miserably failed. do solemnly swear that I will maintain allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines. the respondent is the brother-in-law of complainant. In his long years as a lawyer.01 — A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful. It is time once again that the Court inculcate in the hearts of all lawyers that pledge. ……………… . Significantly. .3 On 9 January 2003.7 There was concealment of the fact that there were other compulsory heirs to the estate of the deceased. I will do no falsehood. this Court referred the case to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) for investigation.02 — A lawyer shall not counsel or abet activities aimed at defiance of the law or at lessening confidence in the legal system. The respondent has sufficiently demonstrated that he is morally and legally unfit to remain in the exclusive and honorable fraternity of the legal profession. Being married to complainant’s sister. Marcelina admitted that she signed complainant’s name in that document. he made a solemn promise to so stand by his pledge. In this covenant. and support the activities of the Integrated Bar. Rule 1. behave in a scandalous manner to the discredit of the legal profession. he declared that the complainant stayed with them while she was in the Philippines. and I impose upon myself this voluntary obligation without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion. dishonest.01 — A lawyer shall not do any falsehood.. This oath to which all lawyers have subscribed in solemn agreement to dedicate themselves to the pursuit of justice is not a mere ceremony or formality for practicing law to be forgotten afterwards. XV-2003-3335 of 21 June 2003. he knew of his wife’s siblings. When the respondent took the oath as a member of the legal profession. he must have forgotten his sworn pledge as a lawyer. Investigating Commissioner Milagros V. nor consent to the doing of any in court. the respondent presented that document to the Register of Deeds of General Trias. false or unlawful suit nor give aid nor consent to the same. drift and hollow. they become guardians of truth and the rule of law. . whether in public or private life. but reduced the penalty to suspension from the practice of law for six years. and recommendation or decision. All of these underscore the role of a lawyer as the vanguard of our legal system.11 Such act of counterfeiting the complainant’s signature to make it appear that the complainant had participated in the execution of that document is tantamount to falsification of a public document.02 of Canon 1 and Rule 10. to effect the transfer of the title of the lot in question in the name of his wife and his sister-in-law Miriam.. San Juan of the Commission on Bar Discipline of the IBP found the actuations of the respondent to be violative of Rules 1.. I will not wittingly or willingly promote or sue any groundless. nor shall he mislead or allow the court to be misled by any artifice. … Rule 7.4 In its Resolution No. Cavite. Rule 1. CANON 7 — A lawyer shall at all times uphold the integrity and dignity of the legal profession. obey the laws of the land and promote respect for law and for legal processes. thus: LAWYER'S OATH I. SO HELP ME GOD.01 of Canon 10 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. I will delay no man for money or malice. The records show that Felicisima and Miriam stated in the Extrajudicial Settlement of Estate dated 11 November 1986 that they are the children of Julita Reynante and thus adjudicated only between them Lot No. CANON 10 — A lawyer owes candor.

Ong that he was assured by the Clerk of Court that the order directing the reconstitution of title for Lot 1605 would be released within the month. therefore. engage in unlawful. are you the only child or daughter of the deceased Sps. or for any violation of the oath which he is required to take before the admission to practice. They constitute gross misconduct for which he may be disbarred or suspended pursuant to Section 27. obey the laws of the land. Felicisima Torres and I.31 Such act.21 Respondent’s argument that the non-declaration by his wife and his sister. Inc.26 Moreover. The practice of soliciting cases at law for the purpose of gain. The Code of Professional Responsibility underscores the primacy of such duty by providing as its canon that a lawyer shall uphold the Constitution. nor motivated by personal animosity or prejudice."27 This Rule was clearly and openly violated by the respondent when he permitted Marcelina to falsely testify that she had no siblings aside from Felicisima and when he offered such testimony in the petition for reconstitution of the title involving Lot 1605. Q Do you have other brothers and sisters? A None. nor shall he mislead or allow the court to be misled by any artifice. which is to protect the administration of justice by requiring that those who exercise this important function shall be competent. in a letter dated 20 November 1996 addressed to a certain Mrs. under Canon 10 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. he himself may be punished as guilty of false testimony.18As such. relaying to Antel Holdings. sir. therefore. In the determination of the imposable disciplinary sanction against an erring lawyer.22 Second. shows lack of candor and honesty on the part of the respondent. and reliable men in whom courts and clients may repose confidence. For this reason. grounds therefor. uphold the Constitution. it should ever be controlled by the imperative need to scrupulously guard the purity and independence of the bar. or deceitful conduct. 5964 for the reconstitution of title involving Lot 1605 was a mere oversight does not deserve credence in view of the following circumstances: First. as she was never in possession of the title29 and would not. He shall "not do any falsehood. know that the same was lost. No.23 The respondent allowed Marcelina to commit a crime by giving false testimony24 in court. which is to maintain allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines. through Mrs. the latter said none. he offered in evidence an Affidavit of Loss. and he never corrected the same despite full knowledge of the true facts and circumstances of the case. therefore. Marcelina admitted that her statement in that affidavit that the title was in her possession was false. 27. in knowingly offering in evidence such false testimony. and obey the laws of the land. or almost a year after he sent the letter. therefore. Respondent’s acts or omissions reveal his moral flaws and doubtless bring intolerable dishonor to the legal profession. immoral. the sanction should neither be arbitrary or despotic. Rule 138 of the Rules of Court. he presented13 such document to the Registry of Deeds to secure a new title for the lot in favor of Marcelina and his wife. during the hearing of said case when the respondent asked Marcelina whether she has brothers and sisters other than Felicisima. Rather. Ong.33 . or for a willful disobedience of any lawful order of a superior court. Moreover. fairness.30 Respondent’s information was misleading because he presented evidence only on 12 August 1997. the respondent requested the release of 50% of the remaining balance for the sale of Lot 1605.Instead of advising Marcelina to secure a written special power of attorney and against committing falsification. which was executed by Marcelina and notarized by him. either personally or through paid agents or brokers.28 It may not be amiss to mention that to further support the reconstitution. Disbarment or suspension of attorneys by Supreme Court.25 Moreover. dishonest. and promote respect for law and legal processes. or other gross misconduct in such office. or by reason of his conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude.32 While the assessment of what sanction may be imposed is primarily addressed to our sound discretion.17 For a lawyer is the servant of the law and belongs to a profession to which society has entrusted the administration of law and the dispensation of justice. any act on his part that obstructs and impedes the administration of justice constitutes misconduct and justifies disciplinary action against him. he also admitted in an affidavit dated 22 May 1995 that he prepared the legal documents for the transfer of Lot 1603. he should make himself more an exemplar for others to emulate. We are two. Vicente Ting. constitutes malpractice.15 Notably. may also be held liable for knowingly using a falsified document to the damage of the complainant and her other co-heirs. sir. Jr. TORRES: Q Madame Witness. and good faith to the court. -.14 He himself.19 He should not. The transcript of that hearing reads: ATTY.16 Respondent did not advise his wife and his sisters-in-law from doing acts which are contrary to law. malpractice. and Julita Reynante? WITNESS: A No. honorable. Like the court itself. During the hearing of this administrative case. He must have kept in mind the first and foremost duty of a lawyer.A member of the bar may be disbarred or suspended from his office as attorney by the Supreme Court for any deceit. The respondent must have forgotten that as an attorney he is an officer of the court called upon to assist in the administration of justice. which provides: Sec.. nor consent to the doing of any in court. we take into account the primary purpose of disciplinary proceedings. the petition clearly names only Felicisima and Marcelina as the petitioners when there were six siblings who were heirs of the unpartitioned lot. or for corruptly or willfully appearing as an attorney for a party to a case without authority to do so. a lawyer owes candor.20 He makes himself unfit to remain in the profession who commits any such unbecoming act or conduct. he is an instrument to advance its cause. grossly immoral conduct.in-law Marcelina of the other siblings in LRC Rec.

Rule 1. 373. Orlando Dizon. thereby rendering him unworthy of continuing membership in the legal profession. We will not hesitate to remove an erring attorney from the esteemed brotherhood of lawyers where the evidence calls for it. together with his men. Dizon.01 and 6. Dizon requested to take them into his custody. for violation of P.03. J. on motion of Atty. one Atty.: The killing during a rumble on December 8. Atty. drew the then Chancellor of UP Diliman Roger Posadas to seek the assistance of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI). 346. Respondent. Atty. Villamor undertaking to accompany them to the NBI the following morning. together with Chancellor Posadas and Vice Chancellor Torres-Yu and Col. and all administrative and quasi-judicial agencies of the Republic of the Philippines. Lambino in opposing the turn-over of the suspects to Atty. the issues were defined as follows: . ORLANDO V. who also repaired to the office of the colonel. as well as Canons 1 and 10 of the Code of Professional Responsibility.Thus. which shall forthwith record it in the personal files of the respondent. the Integrated Bar of the Philippines. consolidated. 1994.3 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. and we therefore adopt the penalty recommended by the Investigating Commissioner. which shall disseminate copies thereof to all its Chapters. Dizon against Atty. Complainant. Lambino. A. Dizon before the IBP with violation of the Code of Professional Responsibility. Atty. Bentain. effective immediately. the students were allowed to go back to their dormitories. Eduardo Bentain.D. and 1. repaired to the Office of Col. 6968 August 9. Torres guilty of gross misconduct and violation of the lawyer’s oath. Francis Carlo Taparan and Raymundo Narag. SO ORDERED. docketed as CBD Case No. were at the time in the office of Col. Villamor. Before the IBP Commission on Bar Discipline (CBD).01. DECISION CARPIO MORALES. ATTY. Hence. ORLANDO V. and his name is ordered stricken off the Roll of Attorneys. As two student-suspects in the killing. we find that respondent’s gross misconduct calls for the severance of his privilege to practice law for life. for violation of Canon 1. The two student-suspects were eventually indicted in court. No. however. x-----------------------------------------x ATTY. head of the UP Security Force on December 12. Bentain. MARICHU C. Atty. MARICHU C.02. given the peculiar factual circumstances prevailing in this case. Respondent. then Chief of the Special Operations Group (SOG) of the NBI. docketed as CBD Case No. the chairperson of the UP College of Public Administration Student Council. the supreme penalty of disbarment is meted out only in clear cases of misconduct that seriously affect the standing and character of the lawyer as an officer of the court and member of the bar. He is thus ordered DISBARRED from the practice of law. vs. DIZON. Acting on the request of Chancellor Posadas. Dizon had earlier filed a criminal complaint also against Atty. DIZON. Rolando S. despite the latter’s claim that under its Charter the NBI was authorized to make warrantless arrests.34 Verily. he not being armed with a warrant for their arrest. Atty. Lambino in turn charged Atty. we find respondent Atty. Rules 6. Marichu Lambino. Let copies of this Resolution be furnished the Office of the Bar Confidant. ATTY. joined Atty. 2006 ATTY. LAMBINO.C. advised against Atty. Bentain. The administrative cases were. specifically Canon 1. 1. Canon 6. Chancellor Posadas and Vice Chancellor for students Rosario Torres-Yu. spawned the filing of a complaint by Atty. Lambino.01. 1994 of University of the Philippines (UP) graduating student Dennis Venturina. Dizon’s move. later also showed up at the office of Col. and Canon 8. The suspects’ lawyer. Legal Counsel of UP Diliman. LAMBINO. Rule 8. Bentain and after what appeared to be a heated discussion between Atty. before the Ombudsman.02. Lambino before the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP). 1829 which makes it unlawful for anyone to obstruct the apprehension and prosecution of criminal offenses. IN VIEW OF ALL THE FOREGOING. all the courts of the Philippines. vs. Dizon and the UP officials. who repaired to the Office of Col. Rules 1. Complainant.1 to 1. with Atty.

there being no basis for him to effect a warrantless arrest. No." With respect to the complaint against Atty.D.D. and the Department of Justice."4 In the main. SO ORDERED. OBEY THE LAWS OF THE LAND AND PROMOTE RESPECT FOR LAW AND LEGAL PROCESSES. this Court. and (2) Whether there was probable cause for prosecuting petitioner for violation of P. Sec.1 held that the objection of the said UP officials to the arrest of the students "cannot be construed as a violation of P. this Court addressing in the negative the two issues raised therein. The IBP thereupon transferred to this Court its Notice of Resolution.02 – A lawyer shall not counsel or abet activities aimed at defiance of the law or at lessening confidence in the legal system."2 they having "a right to prevent the arrest [of the students] at the time because their attempted arrest was illegal. to wit: (1) Whether the attempted arrest of the student suspects by the NBI could be validly made without a warrant. Atty. Lambino was elevated on Certiorari and Prohibition. 1829. upon its own initiative and as public interest may require"5 and to make arrests. Orlando V. Marichu C. Lambino was legally justified in advising against the turn over of the suspects to Atty. (Emphasis supplied). Whether the act of Atty. 1 (c) without rendering it unconstitutional. 1829. 2005. and as such have the following powers: (a) To make arrests. Dizon before the Ombudsman against Chancellor Posadas. Atty. Respecting the complaint against Atty. Lambino is whether she violated the Canons of Professional Ethics in "refusing to turn over the suspected students to the group of Atty. Whether the act of Atty. found guilty of violation of Canon 1 of Rule 1. As earlier stated. Dizon in trying to arrest the student-suspects constitutes violation of the Code of Professional Responsibility. together with the records of the cases which this Court noted by Resolution of February 1. Atty. also in Posadas v. Mison recommended the dismissal of the complaint against Atty." Members of the investigation staff of the Bureau of Investigation shall be peace officers. held that "[f]or the failure of the NBI agents to comply with the constitutional and procedural requirements. 2. 2006. The invocation does not impress. WHEREFORE."3 Indeed. 373.6 x x x x (Emphasis supplied) By persisting in his attempt to arrest the suspected students without a warrant. A. Dizon is. Dizon invoked Section 1 (a) of Republic Act 157 (The NBI Charter) which empowers the NBI "to undertake investigations of crimes and other offenses against the laws of the Philippines. 2006 . . Dizon. Atty. No. Dizon’s administrative complaint against her must then be dismissed. Atty. Dizon violated Rule 1. . Ombudsman. x x x. Dizon. Said section does not grant the NBI the power to make warrantless arrests. the Commissioner recommended to reprimand him for violating the Code of Professional Responsibility in "recklessly tr[ying] to arrest" the suspects without warrant.02 of the Code of Professional Responsibility and is REPRIMANDED and WARNED that a repetition of the same or similar infraction shall be dealt with more severely. the issue against Atty. Vice Chancellor Torres-Yu and Atty. 6317 August 31. Lambino in light of a finding that she "acted within her official duties as she safeguarded the rights of the students in accordance with the school’s substitute parental authority" and "within the bounds of the law as the NBI agents had no warrants of arrest. their attempt to arrest [the two student-suspects] without a warrant was illegal. searches and seizures in accordance with existing laws and rules. 346 against Atty. The NBI Charter clearly qualifies the power to make arrests to be "in accordance with existing laws and rules. 2005.1. CBD Case No. adopted and approved the Commissioner’s Report. . by Resolution of October 22. Dizon. By Report and Recommendation submitted to the Board of Governors of the IBP on June 20. No. in CBD Case No. CBD Investigating Commissioner Siegfrid B.02 of Canon 1 of the Code of Professional Responsibility which provides: CANON 1 – A LAWYER SHALL UPHOLD THE CONSTITUTION. xxxx Rule 1." When the complaint of Atty. Let a copy of this Decision be furnished the Office of the Bar Confidant. Lambino in refusing to turn over the suspected students to the group of Atty. The IBP Board of Governors. Dizon constitutes violation of Code of Professional Responsibility.C. the National Bureau of Investigation. Lambino is DISMISSED. Dizon.

The complaint was referred3 to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) for investigation. the Investigating Commissioner submitted his report finding respondent guilty of violating Rules 1. Laguna. He averred that the P70. 2. To be made the suspension or disbarment of a lawyer. ROGELIO P.000. Branch 24 docketed as LRC Case No. B-2610.02 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. The record must disclose as free from doubt a case which compels the exercise by the Supreme Court of its disciplinary powers.01 and 9. LIJAUCO. In the instant scenario. upon the latter’s death.00 and the release of her foreclosed house and lot located in Calamba.: On February 13. Makati branch in the amount of P180. J. TERRADO. T-402119 in the name of said bank is the subject of a petition for the issuance of a writ of possession then pending before the Regional Trial Court of Binan.000.000. B-2610. The property identified as Lot No. the Investigating Commissioner opined that: In disbarment proceedings. immoral or deceitful conduct.00 he received from complainant was payment for legal services for the recovery of the deposit with Planters Development Bank and did not include LRC Case No. In finding the respondent guilty of violating Rules 1. Rule 9.LUZVIMINDA C. she engaged the services of respondent sometime in January 2001 for P70. Laguna. Rogelio P.) The Php70.00 to assist in recovering her deposit with Planters Development Bank. even if the plan is based in whole or in part. Complainant alleged that respondent failed to appear before the trial court in the hearing for the issuance of the Writ of Possession and did not protect her interests in the Compromise Agreement which she subsequently entered into to end LRC Case No.) Respondent actively acted as complainant’s lawyer to effectuate the compromise agreement. Buendia. Laguna. the burden of proof rests upon the complainant. Respondent.00 legal fees for the recovery of a Php180. an administrative complaint1 was filed by complainant Luzviminda C. despite the strong protestation of respondent that the Php70. According to the complainant. Terrado for gross misconduct. x x x. The dubious character of the act done as well as of the motivation thereof must be clearly demonstrated. by luring complainant to participate in a compromise agreement with a false and misleading assurance that complainant can still recover after Three (3) years her foreclosed property respondent violated Rule 1.5 The IBP Board of Governors adopted the recommendation of the investigating commissioner.00 legal fees is purely and solely for the recovery of the Php180. Worst.02.000. DECISION YNARES-SANTIAGO. 408-C-2 and registered as TCT No. except: a) Where there is a pre-existing agreement with a partner or associate that. dishonest.01. finding respondent responsible for aforestated violations to protect the public and the legal profession from his kind.2 Respondent denied the accusations against him. 2005.000.6 . money shall be paid over a reasonable period of time to his estate or to the persons specified in the agreement.01 – A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful.4 The Investigating Commissioner thus recommended: WHEREFORE. to wit: 1. Canon 9 of the Code of Professional Responsibility which provides that a lawyer shall not divide or stipulate to divide a fee for legal services with persons not licensed to practice law. ATTY.000. malpractice and conduct unbecoming of an officer of the court when he neglected a legal matter entrusted to him despite receipt of payment representing attorney’s fees. on a profit-sharing arrangement. report and recommendation.02 of the Code of Professional Responsibility which provide: Rule 1. immoral or deceitful conduct. or c) Where a lawyer or law firm includes non-lawyer employees in a retirement plan. Lijauco against respondent Atty. Complainant. B-2610 pending before the Regional Trial Court of Biñan.000.01 and 9.02 – A lawyer shall not divide or stipulate to divide a fee for legal services with persons not licensed to practice law.00 savings account of complainant subsequent acts and events say otherwise. vs.00 savings deposit is too high.000. the charge against him must be established by convincing proof.00 to other individuals as commission/referral fees respondent violated Rule 9. By openly admitting he divided the Php70. or b) Where a lawyer undertakes to complete unfinished legal business of a deceased lawyer. Canon 1 of the Code of Professional Responsibility which says a lawyer shall not engage in unlawful. it is recommended that he be suspended for Six (6) months with a stern warning that similar acts in the future will be severely dealt with. 2004. dishonest. On September 21.

No. 2006 PHILIPPINE AMUSEMENT AND GAMING CORPORATION. Carandang. Rule 138 of the Rules of Court. in accordance with the values and norms of the legal profession as embodied in the Code of Professional Responsibility. The canons of the legal profession require that once an attorney agrees to handle a case. he should undertake the task with dedication and care. immoral or deceitful conduct8 and are mandated to serve their clients with competence and diligence. DANTE A. or other gross misconduct in office. The failure to exercise that degree of vigilance and attention makes such lawyer unworthy of the trust reposed in him by his client and makes him answerable not just to his client but also to the legal profession. 18. Utmost fidelity is demanded once counsel agrees to take the cudgels for his client’s cause. complainant agreed to these concessions because respondent misled her to believe that she could still redeem the property after three years from the foreclosure..00 for legal assistance in the recovery of the deposit amounting to P180. Let copies of this Decision be entered in the record of respondent and served on the IBP.C. Rogelio P. except in certain cases. Acceptance of money from a client establishes an attorney-client relationship and gives rise to the duty of fidelity to the client’s cause. lawyers are expected to maintain at all times a high standard of legal proficiency and morality.17 we held that Rule 18. Complainant. They must perform their fourfold duty to society. the Investigating Commissioner observed that the fee of P70.10 Respondent’s claim that the attorney’s fee pertains only to the recovery of complainant’s savings deposit from Planter’s Development Bank cannot be sustained.7 Lawyers are prohibited from engaging in unlawful. Indeed. Dante A. Jr. he is directed to return to complainant the amount he received by way of legal fees pursuant to existing jurisprudence. vs. He is further ordered to RETURN. The duty of a lawyer to safeguard his client’s interests commences from his retainer until his discharge from the case or the final disposition of the subject matter of litigation. he covenants that he will exercise due diligence in protecting his rights. Moreover. the sum of P70. the legal profession. Carlos R. within thirty (30) days from notice. 9. Lijauco and to submit to this Court proof of his compliance within three (3) days therefrom. he should undertake the task with zeal. A. dishonest.. andSTERNLY WARNED that any similar infraction will be dealt with more severely. and that she releases her claims against it. Mauricio. .02 and 20.00 to complainant Luzviminda C. care and time to his client’s case.19 WHEREFORE.We agree with the findings of the IBP. Records show that he acted as complainant’s counsel in the drafting of the compromise agreement between the latter and the bank relative to LRC Case No. He is SUSPENDED from the practice of law for six (6) months effective from notice. 4) conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude. as well as on the Court Administrator who shall circulate it to all courts for their information and guidance. and 7) willfully appearing as an attorney for a party without authority. In addition. Bautista.000. Jr. 3) grossly immoral conduct.: Before us is a verified complaint for disbarment filed by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) against Atty. It is not enough that a lawyer possesses the qualification to handle the legal matter.11 Respondent’s disregard for his client’s interests is evident in the iniquitous stipulations in the compromise agreement where the complainant conceded the validity of the foreclosure of her property. In Santos v. SO ORDERED. If he fails in this duty. A lawyer shall not divide or stipulate to divide a fee for legal services with persons not licensed to practice law.03 of the Code of Professional Responsibility is a basic postulate in legal ethics.15 Under Section 27. the courts and their clients. Terrado is found GUILTY of violating Rules 1.000. Respondent. Respondent admitted that he explained the contents of the agreement to complainant before the latter affixed her signature. that the redemption period has already expired thus consolidating ownership in the bank. J. The practice of law is a privilege bestowed on those who show that they possessed and continue to possess the legal qualifications for it. CARANDANG. he must also give adequate attention to his legal work.02. a lawyer should accept only as much cases as he can efficiently handle in order to sufficiently protect his clients’ interests.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. integrity and fair dealing. Lazaro16 and Dalisay v.13 Respondent’s admission14 that he divided the legal fees with two other people as a referral fee does not release him from liability. ATTY. and this negligence in connection therewith shall render them liable.01. A lawyer should give adequate attention.18 In view of the foregoing. care and utmost devotion. represented by Atty. When a lawyer takes a client’s cause. a member of the Bar may be disbarred or suspended on the following grounds: 1) deceit. he is not true to his oath as a lawyer. 6) willful disobedience to any lawful order of a superior court. Thus. A lawyer shall charge only fair and reasonable fees.000. Atty. Once he agrees to handle a case. including honesty. the courts and society. 2) malpractice.9 They shall not neglect a legal matter entrusted to them. 5700 January 30. B-2610. we find that suspension from the practice of law for six months is warranted.12 As found by the Investigating Commissioner.00 is unreasonable. 5) violation of the lawyer’s oath. DECISION SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ.

) Blg.P. 2001. multiplied a thousand fold. Bingo Royale became bankrupt. to do so after assessing and weighing the consequences and risks for doing so. a complaint for damages against PAGCOR. It also prohibits a lawyer from engaging in unlawful conduct (Canon 1 & Rule 1. the Investigating IBP Commissioner. and prays that his name be stricken from the Roll of Attorneys. 2001. It is clearly a choice for an individual (especially one learned in the law). Thus.00 signed by respondent. is the president of Bingo Royale. Moreover. Carandang to pay the said amount in monthly installment of P300. Bingo Royale incurred arrears amounting to P6. The mischief it creates is not only a wrong to the payee or holder. 2002. Surely. 22 against respondent. a private corporation organized under the laws of the Philippines. Makati City.1 In his Report and Recommendation. On February 24. respondent. could not raise funds. Tañada. violation of B. This prompted the latter to file with the Regional Trial Court. can very well pollute the channels of trade and commerce. In his "Opposition" to the complaint. respondent is liable for serious misconduct. 2001. ." Respondent explained that since the start of its operations. 22. The thrust of the law is to prohibit under pain of penal sanctions the making of worthless checks and putting them in circulation. docketed as Civil Case No.14 as of November 15. Avenue Branch. Blg. he cannot be said to be unaware of the probability that BRI. By issuing the bouncing checks in blatant violation of B. PAGCOR contends that in issuing those bouncing checks. Blg. the practice is proscribed by law. it incurred arrearages in paying PAGCOR’s shares and failed to pay the amounts of the checks. thus – xxx The gravamen of the offense punished by B. the Honorable Supreme Court explained the nature of the offense. This 20% is divided into 15% to PAGCOR and 5% franchise tax to the Bureau of Internal Revenue. On November 20. Instead of demanding the payment therefor. we resolved to refer this case to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) for investigation.00 from July 2001 to June 2003. xxx The effects of the issuance of a worthless check transcends the private interests of the parties directly involved in the transaction and touches the interest of the community at large. On February 2.833.P.N. injure the banking system and eventually hurt the welfare of society and the public interest. As correctly pointed out by complainant. debtors will merely state that they no longer have the capacity to pay and. PAGCOR filed with the Office of the City Prosecutor of Manila criminal complaints for violations of Batas Pambansa (B. Bingo Royale has been experiencing financial difficulties due to meager sales. Atty. inability to pay is not a ground. nor fully or partially. 2003.P. respondent contends that because of business reverses or inability to generate funds. In the course of its operations. respondent failed to pay the amounts of the checks. they were all dishonored by reason of Bingo Royale’s "Closed Account. As President of BRI. U. If this theory is sustained. under the Civil Code. to cover the checks as they fell due. undersigned cannot agree with this contention. report and recommendation. His act of doing so "is not related to the office of a lawyer. Manila. Branch 59. Doroteo B.064. Respondent now maintains that the dishonor of the checks was caused by circumstances beyond his control and pleads that our power to disbar him must be exercised with great caution.P. In the leading case of People v. PAGCOR and Bingo Royale executed a "Grant of Authority to Operate Bingo Games. made the following findings and observations: Whether to issue or not checks in favor of a payee is a voluntary act. not obliged to pay on time.000. BRI should be excused from making good the payment of the checks. violation of the Attorney’s Oath and violation of the Code of Professional Responsibility. whether in a personal capacity or officer of a corporation. Hence. Aguila. Blg. the company he runs. PAGCOR closed the operations of Bingo Royale. their debt to creditors. Subsequently. 22 is an offense that involves public interest. consequently. totally or partially." Article V of this document mandates Bingo Royale to remit 20% of its gross sales to PAGCOR.200." Despite PAGCOR’s demand letters dated November 12 and December 12. respondent averred that he is not liable for issuing bouncing checks because they were drawn by Bingo Royale. The harmful practice of putting valueless commercial papers in circulation. Specifically. PAGCOR allowed Bingo Royale and respondent Atty. Bingo Royale then issued to PAGCOR twenty four (24) Bank of Commerce checks in the sum of P7. but also an injury to the public.01). However. The law punishes the act not as an offense against property but an offense against public order. The desire to continue the operations of his company does not excuse respondent’s act of violating the law by issuing worthless checks. x x x (Emphasis supplied) The Code of Professional Responsibility requires a lawyer to obey the laws of the land and promote respect for law and the legal processes. 22 is the act of making and issuing a worthless check or a check that is dishonored upon its presentation for payment xxx. 1999. when the checks were deposited after the end of each month at the Land Bank. and February 12. Because of its deleterious effects on the public interest.The complaint alleges that Atty. Incorporated (Bingo Royale).000. 01-1671. Carandang. to suspend nor extinguish an obligation.

Rule 1. Tuanda. and the statutory rule prescribing the qualifications of attorney. Consistent with the ruling in this Castillo case. dishonest.3 we explained the nature of violation of B. The thrust of the law is to prohibit under pain of penal sanctions.2 Section 1. finding the recommendation fully supported by the evidence on record and the applicable laws and rules. multiplied a thousand fold. The law punishes the act not as an offense against property but an offense against public order. The effects of the issuance of a worthless check transcends the private interests of the parties directly involved in the transaction and touches the interests of the community at large. behave in a scandalous manner to the discredit of the legal profession. 2003. Dante A. among others. 22 is the act of making and issuing a worthless check or a check that is dishonored upon its presentation for payment xxx. company or entity. but also for gross misconduct not connected with his professional duties. immoral or deceitful conduct. the Report and Recommendation of the Investigating Commissioner of the above-entitled case.01 – A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful. with modification. Carandang is declared GUILTY of serious misconduct and violations of the Attorney’s Oath and the Code of Professional Responsibility. but also for gross misconduct outside of his professional capacity. the trust relation which exists between attorney and client.4 we defined misconduct as follows: Misconduct has been defined as "wrong or improper conduct.P. specifically the following provisions: Cannon 1 – A lawyer shall uphold the Constitution. the practice is proscribed by the law. Dante A. Carandang is hereby SUSPENDED from the practice of law for six (6) months. Blg. Blg. WHEREFORE. conviction for the offense of violation of B. obey the laws of the land and promote respect for the law and legal processes. xxx So it is held that an attorney will be removed not only for malpractice and dishonesty in his profession. P. and also prohibits a lawyer from engaging in unlawful conduct. Civil Service Board of Appeals.P. suspension for one year is the deserved minimum penalty for the outrageous conduct of a lawyer who has no concern for the property rights of others nor for the canons of professional responsibility.5 we held that a lawyer may be disciplined not only for malpractice in connection with his profession. the IBP Board of Governors passed Resolution No. Blg. respondent is guilty of serious misconduct.03 – A lawyer shall not engage in conduct that adversely reflects on his fitness to practice law. which shows him to be unfit for the office and unworthy of the principles which his license and the law confer upon him. B. In Lizaso v. whether in public or private life. Taguines. In People v. injure the banking system and eventually hurt the welfare of society and the public interest. but also an injury to the public. Blg. The harmful practice of putting valueless commercial papers in circulation. as well as between court and attorney.P. Blg. This Court once held that the word misconduct implies a wrongful intention and not a mere error of judgment. On September 27. Atty. Moreover. thus: RESOLVED TO ADOPT and APPROVE. can very well pollute the channels of trade and commerce. Carandang deserves to be suspended from the practice of law for a period of one year. Atty. Canon 7 – A lawyer shall at all times uphold the integrity and dignity of the legal profession and support the activities of the Integrated Bar. Atty. herein made part of the Resolution/Decision as Annex "A" and. Because of its deleterious effects on the public interest. obey the laws. . By issuing checks in violation of the provisions of this law. 22. 22 provides: Where the check is drawn by a corporation. he isSUSPENDED from the practice of law for six (6) months effective from notice. Rule 7. (Underscoring supplied) Respondent likewise violated the Attorney’s Oath that he will. (Emphasis supplied) Clearly. shameful" (Webster). In Camus v. respondent is deemed to know the law. the person or persons who actually signed the check on behalf of such drawer shall be liable under this Act. Commissioner Aguila then recommended that respondent be suspended from the practice of law for one (1) year. 254 SCRA 554). as it is hereby ADOPTED and APPROVED. the making of worthless checks and putting them in circulation. As recommended by the IBP Board of Governors. 22 as follows: The gravamen of the offense punished by B. thus: The nature of the office. Collado. XVI-2003-177 adopting and approving Commissioner Aguila’s Report and Recommendation with modification in the sense that the recommended penalty is reduced to suspension of six (6) months. especially B. and the Code of Professional Responsibility." and "gross" has been held to mean "flagrant. nor shall he. 22 is not even essential for disbarment (De Jesus v. The mischief it creates is not only a wrong to the payee or holder. P. As a lawyer. even if the check was drawn by Bingo Royale. uniformly require that an attorney shall be a person of good moral character.respondent clearly was irresponsible and displayed lack of concern for the rights of others nor for the canons of professional responsibility (Castillo v. 216 SCRA 619). Amante. and considering that the Code of Professional Responsibility requires a lawyer to obey the laws of the land and promote respect of law and the legal processes. still respondent is liable.

Oras. EASTERN SAMAR RESOLUTION CORONA. Kho.: In our resolution dated June 27.000 should suffice.M. The matter did not end there. They are expected to make themselves exemplars worthy of emulation. 2006. That omission was a breach of his oath to obey the laws as well as the legal orders of the duly constituted authorities3 and of his duties under Canon 1.000 within ten days from receipt of this resolution. No. the presence of evil intent on the part of the lawyer is not essential in order to bring his act or omission within the terms of Rule 1. The Financial Management Office. Because his malfeasance prima facie contravened Canon 1. Rule 1. SO ORDERED. Section 20(a). former clerk of court of the Regional Trial Court. is hereby DIRECTED to deduct from Atty. we ordered him to show cause why he should not be disciplined as a lawyer and as an officer of the court. Kho is hereby found GUILTY of unlawful conduct in violation of the Attorney’s Oath.4 This.5 By definition.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility: CANON 1 — A lawyer shall uphold the constitution. Branch 5. REGIONAL TRIAL COURT. Kho submitted his explanation in compliance with our directive.012 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. The least a lawyer can do in compliance with Canon 1 is to refrain from engaging in unlawful conduct. cannot negate the fact that his failure to remit P65. We shall now resolve this pending matter and bring to a close this regrettable chapter in his career as a government lawyer. P-06-2177 April 19. Branch 5. Rule 1. in fact. Oras. however. Atty. Kho’s accrued leave credits as a former clerk of court of the Regional Trial Court. He is ordered to pay a FINE of P5. RULE 1. CLERK OF COURT IV. J. he must be called to account.M. and Canon 1. it was unlawful as well. Under the circumstances. Kho’s apparent good faith and his ready admission of the infraction.000 in judiciary funds for over a year was contrary to the mandatory provisions of OCA Circular 8A-93. Atty. however. Atty. Kho’s conduct was not only far from exemplary. Lawyers should always keep in mind that. For this. 8A-93. 2006. and all courts in the land for their information and guidance. In his explanation. 2007 (Formerly A. Atty.1 We ordered him to pay a fine of P10. Office of the Court Administrator.6 It does not necessarily imply the element of criminality although it is broad enough to include it. Eastern Samar the fines imposed in this resolution and in the resolution dated June 27. No. Atty. his candid and repentant admission of his error. The Office of the Bar Confidant is DIRECTED to spread a copy of this Decision on the personal record of Atty. lawyers are required to be at the forefront of observing and maintaining the rule of law. that he kept the money in the court’s safety vault and never once used it for his own benefit. a lawyer’s responsibilities under Canon 1 mean more than just staying out of trouble with the law. Raquel G. although upholding the Constitution and obeying the law is an obligation imposed on every citizen. obey the laws of the land and promote respect for law and for legal processes. . ORAS.7 Thus. Rule 1. the Integrated Bar of the Philippines. Rule 138 of the Rules of Court. A. any act or omission contrary to law is unlawful. a fine of P5. KHO. However. Kho admitted that his failure to make a timely remittance of the cash deposited with him was inexcusable. It is no accident that these are the first edicts laid down in the Code of Professional Responsibility for these are a lawyer’s foremost duties.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility.01. Eastern Samar. Raquel G. SO ORDERED. Carandang. A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful. dishonest. As servants of the law and officers of the court. RAQUEL G. his lack of intent to gain and the fact that this is his first offense should temper his culpability considerably. guilty of gross misconduct for his failure to make a timely remittance of judiciary funds in his custody as required by OCA Circular No.01 which specifically prohibits lawyers from engaging in unlawful conduct. we found Atty.000 for his transgression. WHEREFORE. He maintained. is what a lawyer’s obligation to promote respect for law and legal processes entails.Let a copy of this Decision be furnished the Office of the Bar Confidant. immoral or deceitful conduct. 06-4-268-RTC) RE: REPORT ON THE FINANCIAL AUDIT CONDUCTED ON THE BOOKS OF ACCOUNTS OF ATTY. although certainly mitigating.

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