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Legal Ethics MENDOZA vs.

DECIEMBRE FACTS: Complainant, a postal employee, is a creditor of respondent in the amount of P 20,000payable in 6 months at 20% interest, secured by 12 blank checks. Complainant although not faithfully paying her obligation, but made remittances in the amount of P12,910 in respondent's Metrobank account. Not satisfied with the remitted amount, respondent filled up two postal checks she issued in blank, in the amount of P50,000 each in which respondent claimed was for the P100,000 cash that complainant received in Nov. 15,1999. Complainant denied having borrowed the P100, 000 from respondent and claimed that respondent victimized other employees of Postal Office by filling up without authorization, blank checks issued to him as condition for loans. The case was referred to the IBP where it was initially found out in the Report dated Sept. 6, 2002, finding respondent guilty of dishonesty. The Supreme Court remanded the case and a second Report was made by Commissioner Funa stating among others, that respondent's allegations are mere fabrications for there were contradicting allegations. The loan alleged by respondent to have happened on November 15, 1999never took place as it was respondent's modus operandi to demand a certain amount as "settlement" for the dropping of estafa complaints against his borrowers. The IBP in its Resolution indefinitely suspended Deciembre from practice of law. ISSUE: Is the indefinite suspension against Deciembre proper? HELD: The Court ruled that Deciembre should not indefinitely suspended but instead be disbarred from the practice of law and his name be stricken out from the Roll of Attorneys. Respondent is guilty of gross misconduct and violation of Canon 1, Rule 1.01 and Canon 7, Rule 7.03 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. CANON 1 ± A lawyer shall uphold the constitution, obey the laws of the land and promote respect for law and legal processes. Rule 1.01. - A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct. CANON 7 ± A lawyer shall at all times uphold the integrity and dignity of the legal profession and support the activities of the integrated bar. Rule 7.03. A lawyer shall not engage in conduct that adversely reflects on his fitness to practice law, nor should he, whether in public or private life, behave in a scandalous manner to the discredit of the legal profession. The fact that there is no attorney-client relationship in this case and the transactions entered into by respondent were done in his private capacity cannot shield respondent, as a lawyer, from liability. A lawyer may be disciplined for acts committed even in his private capacity for acts which tend to bring reproach on the legal profession or to injure it in the favorable opinion of the public.28 Indeed, there is no distinction as to whether the transgression is committed in a lawyer's private life or in his professional capacity, for a lawyer may not divide his personality as an attorney at one time and a mere citizen at another.29In this case, evidence abounds that respondent has failed to live up to the standards required of members of the legal profession