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AMALGAMATED LABORERS ASSOCIATION and/or FELISBERTO M. JAVIER for himself and as General President, ATTY. JOSE UR.

CARBONELL, ET.AL.(petitioners) vs. CIR and ATTY. LEONARDO C. FERNANDEZ (respondent) GR No. L-23467 March 27, 1968 FACTS: Amalgamated Laborers Association won a case of unfair labor practice against Binalbagan Sugar Central Company, Inc. (Biscom). Upon motion of the complainants, CIR sent the Chief Examiner to go to Biscom and compute the backwages. Total net backwages amounted to P79,755.22. Appeals were made against this decision. In the interim, Atty. Leonardo C. Fernandez (herein respondent), in the same case, filed a Notice of Attorneys Lien over the amount to be awarded. He alleged therein that he had been the attorney of record for the said case since the inception of the preliminary hearings of said case up to the Supreme Court in Appeal, as chief counsel. He claimed that the labourers have voluntarily agreed to give him as attorneys fees on contingent basis 25% of the award. He further averred that this is already a discounted fee out of the plea of the unions president to reduce it from 30% for them to also satisfy Atty. Jose Ur Carbonell. Meanwhile, CIR decided the appeals still in favour of the petitioners and ordered Biscom to deposit the amount representing 25% of P79,755.22 with the cashier of the court to be awarded and granted to Atty. Fernandez. Atty. Carbonell and ALA appealed from the decision contending that 1) CIR is bereft of jurisdiction to adjudicate contractual disputes over attorneys fees averring that a dispute arising from contracts for attorneys fees is not a labor dispute and is not one among the cases ruled to be within CIRs authority and to consider such a dispute to be a mere incident to a case over which CIR may validly assume jurisdiction is to disregard the special and limited nature of said courts jurisdiction; 2) the award of 25% as attorneys fees to Atty. Fernandez is excessive, unfair and illegal. This and a subsequent motion for reconsideration was denied. Hence, this petition. ISSUES: 1. Is CIR bereft of jurisdiction over the claim for attorneys fees? 2. Is 25% of the award a reasonable attorneys fee? RULING: 1. No. Court may be expressly granted the incidental powers necessary to effectuate its jurisdiction. In the absence of such express grant, and in the absence of prohibitive legislation, it shall also be impliedly granted. In the case at bench, to direct that the present dispute be lodged in another court as petitioners advocate would only result in multiplicity of suits, a situation abhorred by the rule. Since the court of Industrial Relations obviously had the jurisdiction over the main cases, it likewise had jurisdiction to consider and decide all matters collateral thereto, such as claims for attorneys fees made by the members of the bar who appeared therein. 2. Yes. An examination of the record of the case will readily show that an award of 25% attorneys fees reasonably compensates the whole legal services rendered in the case. This must however be shared by petitioner Atty. Carbonell and respondent Atty. Fernandez. Afterall, they are the counsel of record of the complainants. Though common effort is presumed, the rightful shares of both must be ascertained. As such, the case has been remanded to the CIR for the sole determination of shares. OTHER IMPORTANT POINTS: Canon 34 of Legal Ethics condemns the arrangement wherein union presidents should share in the attorneys fees. No division of fees for legal services is proper, except with another lawyer, based upon a division of service and responsibility. The union president is not the attorney for the labourers. He may seek compensation only as union president. A contingent fee contract specifying the percentage of recovery an attorney is to receive in a suit should be reasonable under all circumstances of the case, but should always be subject to the supervision of a court, as to its reasonableness. PAUL M. FLORENDO College of Law University of Nueva Caceres Labor Relations S/Y 2013-2014