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9154 March 19, 2012 CANON 17 CODE OF PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY Facts: Complainant, Cerdan, and widower, Benjamin Rufino, during their cohabitation as husband and wife, purchased several real properties and maintained savings accounts at First Consolidated Bank (FCB), all of which were made under Rufinos name. Upon Rufinos death, complainant sought the legal aid of respondent as to what to do with the real properties. Complainant alleged paying respondent P152,000 in attorneys fees, although only P100,00 was reflected in the receipt. Complainant further alleged that using the SPA granted to him, respondent changed FCBs arrangement for the disbursement of Rufinos savings account, which was split 50-50 between Cerdan and Rufinos heirs, into that which the latter received 60%, while Cerdan, only 40%. It was also stated that Gomez SPA only covered the account in the FCB Quezon Branch, but the respondent also included funds from the FCB Narra Branch. In another case wherein respondent represented the complainant, the former has yet to remit the proceeds of the case amounting to P12,000. In his answer, Gomez denied all the allegations made in Cerdans affidavit. Commissioner Dela Rama found that Atty. Gomez violated the Code of Professional Responsibility and recommended that he be suspended from the practice of law for six (6) months. Issue: Whether or not Atty Gomez violated the Code of Professional Responsibility Held: Yes, the Court agreed with the findings of the IBP. A lawyer-client relationship is highly fiduciary in nature and it requires a high standard of conduct and demands utmost fidelity, candor, fairness, and good faith. Once a lawyer agrees to handle a case, he is required by the Canons of Professional Responsibility to undertake the task with zeal, care and utmost devotion. The actions of Atty. Gomez has been in violation of Canons 16 and 17. For Canon 16, Atty. Gomez failed to account for the money he received for complainant as a result of the compromise agreement. Worse, he remitted the amount of 290,000.00 only, an amount substantially less than the share of complainant. Records reveal that complainants share from the FCB savings accounts amounted to 442,547.88 but only P290,000.00 was remitted by Atty. Gomez after deducting his share. As for Canon 17, it states that, a lawyer owes fidelity to the cause of his client and he shall be mindful of the trust and confidence reposed in him. Atty. Gomez failed to observe the utmost good faith, loyalty, candor, and fidelity required of an attorney in his dealings with complainant. Atty. Gomez exceeded his authority when he entered into a compromise agreement with regard to the FCB account in Quezon Branch, where he agreed that complainant shall receive 40 percent of the proceeds while the heirs of Rufino shall get the 60 percent, which was contrary to the original agreement of 50-50 sharing. Atty. Gomez likewise acted beyond the scope of the SPA when he included in the compromise agreement the FCB account in Narra branch when it was issued only with respect to the FCB account, Quezon branch. Moreover, Atty. Gomez entered into a compromise

agreement with respect to the other properties of Rufino without authority from complainant. Lawyers should always live up to the ethical standards of the legal profession as embodied in the Code of Professional Responsibility. Public confidence in law and in lawyers may be eroded by the irresponsible and improper conduct of a member of the bar. Thus, every lawyer should act and comport himself in a manner that would promote public confidence in the integrity of the legal profession. WHEREFORE, respondent Atty. Carlo Gomez is hereby declared GUILTY of violation of Canon 16 of the Code of Professional Responsibility and is SUSPENDED from the practice of law for a period of one (1) year

BUN SIONG YAO VS. ATTY. LEONARDO A. AURELIO A.C. No. 7023 March 30, 2006 CANON 21 CODE OF PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY Facts: Bun Siong Yao is a majority stockholder of Solar Farms & Livelihood Corporation and Solar Textile Finishing Corporation and since 1987, he retained the services of another stockholder, Atty. Leonardo Aurelio, as his personal lawyer and also the brother-in-law of Yaos wife. In 1999, they had a disagreement. Aurelio then filed cases against Yao and his wife. Yao alleged that the series of suits filed against him and his wife constitute an abuse of the confidential information which Aurelio obtained by virtue of his employment as counsel. Aurelio, on the other hand, claimed that he filed those which he obtained by virtue of his being a stockholder of Solar Textile Finishing Corporation.The investigating commissioner found that Yao discontinued paying dividends to Aurel io which compelled the latter to file multiple criminal and civil cases in the exercise of his rights as a stockholder. He recommended that Aurelio be suspended from practice of law. The IBP approved and adopted the said recommendation. Issue: Whether or not Aurelio violated the Code of Professional Responsibility. Held: Yes, Atty. Leonardo Aurelio is ordered suspended from the practice of law for a period of six months. He took advantage of his being a lawyer in order to get back at Yao and in doing so, he has inevitably utilized information he has obtained from his dealings with Yao and his companies for his own end. It is essential to note that the relationship between an attorney and his client is a fiduciary one. Canon 17 of the Code of Professional Responsibility provides that a lawyer owes fidelity to the cause of his client and shall be mindful of the trust and confidence reposed on him. Likewise, according to Canon 21, a lawyer shall preserve the confidence and secrets of his client even after the attorney-client relation is terminated. An attorney is not permitted to disclose communications made to him in his professional character by a client, unless the latter consents. It is to preserve theconfidences and secrets of a client arise at the inception of their relationship. It does not cease with the termination

of the litigation, nor is it affected by the party's ceasing to employ the attorney and retaining another, or by any other change of relation between them. It even survives the death of the client.