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Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila FIRST DIVISION A.C. No.

6711 July 3, 2007

complainant further stated, a disciplinary case was also instituted against her before the Professional Regulation Commission. Complainant seeks the suspension and/or disbarment of respondent for the latter's act of disclosing personal secrets and confidential information she revealed in the course of seeking respondent's legal advice. In an order dated October 2, 2002, the IBP Commission on Bar Discipline required respondent to file her answer to the complaint. In her answer, styled as COUNTER-AFFIDAVIT,5 respondent denied giving legal advice to the complainant and dismissed any suggestion about the existence of a lawyer-client relationship between them. Respondent also stated the observation that the supposed confidential data and sensitive documents adverted to are in fact matters of common knowledge in the BFP. The relevant portions of the answer read: 5. I specifically deny the allegation of F/SUPT. MA. LUISA C. HADJULA in paragraph 4 of her AFFIDAVIT-COMPLAINT for reason that she never WAS MY CLIENT nor we ever had any LAWYER-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP that ever existed ever since and that never obtained any legal advice from me regarding her PERSONAL PROBLEMS or PERSONAL SECRETS. She likewise never delivered to me legal documents much more told me some confidential information or secrets. That is because I never entertain LEGAL QUERIES or CONSULTATION regarding PERSONAL MATTERS since I know as a LAWYER of the Bureau of Fire Protection that I am not allowed to privately practice law and it might also result to CONFLICT OF INTEREST. As a matter of fact, whenever there will be PERSONAL MATTERS referred to me, I just referred them to private law practitioners and never entertain the same, NOR listen to their stories or examine or accept any document. 9. I specifically deny the allegation of F/SUPT. MA. LUISA C. HADJULA in paragraph 8 of her AFFIDAVIT-COMPLAINT, the truth of the matter is that her ILLICIT RELATIONSHIP and her illegal and unlawful activities are known in the Bureau of Fire Protection since she also filed CHILD SUPPORT case against her lover … where she has a child …. Moreover, the alleged DOCUMENTS she purportedly have shown to me sometime in 1998, are all part of public records …. Furthermore, F/SUPT. MA. LUISA C. HADJULA, is filing the instant case just to get even with me or to force me to settle and withdraw the CASES I FILED AGAINST HER since she knows that she will certainly be DISMISSED FROM SERVICE, REMOVED FROM THE PRC ROLL and CRIMINALLY CONVICTED of her ILLICIT, IMMORAL, ILLEGAL and UNLAWFUL ACTS. On October 7, 2004, the Investigating Commissioner of the IBP Commission on Bar Discipline came out with aReport and Recommendation, stating that the information related by complainant to the respondent is "protected under the attorney-client privilege communication." Prescinding from this postulate, the Investigating Commissioner found the respondent to have violated legal ethics when she "[revealed]

MA. LUISA HADJULA, complainant, vs. ATTY. ROCELES F. MADIANDA, respondent. DECISION GARCIA, J.: Under consideration is Resolution No. XVI-2004-472 of the Board of Governors, Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP), relative to the complaint for disbarment filed by herein complainant Ma. Luisa Hadjula against respondent Atty. Roceles F. Madianda. The case started when, in an AFFIDAVIT-COMPLAINT1 bearing date September 7, 2002 and filed with the IBP Commission on Bar Discipline, complainant charged Atty. Roceles F. Madianda with violation of Article 2092 of the Revised Penal Code and Canon Nos. 15.02 and 21.02 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. In said affidavit-complaint, complainant alleged that she and respondent used to be friends as they both worked at the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) whereat respondent was the Chief Legal Officer while she was the Chief Nurse of the Medical, Dental and Nursing Services. Complainant claimed that, sometime in 1998, she approached respondent for some legal advice. Complainant further alleged that, in the course of their conversation which was supposed to be kept confidential, she disclosed personal secrets and produced copies of a marriage contract, a birth certificate and a baptismal certificate, only to be informed later by the respondent that she (respondent) would refer the matter to a lawyer friend. It was malicious, so complainant states, of respondent to have refused handling her case only after she had already heard her secrets. Continuing, complainant averred that her friendship with respondent soured after her filing, in the later part of 2000, of criminal and disciplinary actions against the latter. What, per complainant's account, precipitated the filing was when respondent, then a member of the BFP promotion board, demanded a cellular phone in exchange for the complainant's promotion. According to complainant, respondent, in retaliation to the filing of the aforesaid actions, filed a COUNTER COMPLAINT3 with the Ombudsman charging her (complainant) with violation of Section 3(a) of Republic Act No. 3019,4 falsification of public documents and immorality, the last two charges being based on the disclosures complainant earlier made to respondent. And also on the basis of the same disclosures,

information given to her during a legal consultation," and accordingly recommended that respondent be reprimanded therefor, thus: WHEREFORE, premises considered, it is respectfully recommended that respondent Atty. Roceles Madianda be reprimanded for revealing the secrets of the complainant. On November 4, 2004, the IBP Board of Governors issued Resolution No. XVI-2004-472 reading as follows: RESOLVED to ADOPT and APPROVE, as it is hereby ADOPTED and APPROVED, the Report and Recommendation of the Investigating Commissioner of the above-entitled case, herein made part of this Resolution as Annex "A"; and , finding the recommendation fully supported by the evidence on record and the applicable laws and rules, and considering the actuation of revealing information given to respondent during a legal consultation, Atty. Roceles Madianda is hereby REPRIMANDED. We AGREE with the recommendation and the premises holding it together. As it were, complainant went to respondent, a lawyer who incidentally was also then a friend, to bare what she considered personal secrets and sensitive documents for the purpose of obtaining legal advice and assistance. The moment complainant approached the then receptive respondent to seek legal advice, a veritable lawyer-client relationship evolved between the two. Such relationship imposes upon the lawyer certain restrictions circumscribed by the ethics of the profession. Among the burdens of the relationship is that which enjoins the lawyer, respondent in this instance, to keep inviolate confidential information acquired or revealed during legal consultations. The fact that one is, at the end of the day, not inclined to handle the client's case is hardly of consequence. Of little moment, too, is the fact that no formal professional engagement follows the consultation. Nor will it make any difference that no contract whatsoever was executed by the parties to memorialize the relationship. As we said inBurbe v. Magulta,6 A lawyer-client relationship was established from the very first moment complainant asked respondent for legal advise regarding the former's business. To constitute professional employment, it is not essential that the client employed the attorney professionally on any previous occasion. It is not necessary that any retainer be paid, promised, or charged; neither is it material that the attorney consulted did not afterward handle the case for which his service had been sought. It a person, in respect to business affairs or troubles of any kind, consults a lawyer with a view to obtaining professional advice or assistance, and the attorney voluntarily permits or acquiesces with the consultation, then the professional employments is established. Likewise, a lawyer-client relationship exists notwithstanding the close personal relationship between the lawyer and the complainant or the non-payment of the former's fees.

Dean Wigmore lists the essential factors to establish the existence of the attorney-client privilege communication, viz: (1) Where legal advice of any kind is sought (2) from a professional legal adviser in his capacity as such, (3) the communications relating to that purpose, (4) made in confidence (5) by the client, (6) are at his instance permanently protected (7) from disclosure by himself or by the legal advisor, (8) except the protection be waived.7 With the view we take of this case, respondent indeed breached his duty of preserving the confidence of a client. As found by the IBP Investigating Commissioner, the documents shown and the information revealed in confidence to the respondent in the course of the legal consultation in question, were used as bases in the criminal and administrative complaints lodged against the complainant. The purpose of the rule of confidentiality is actually to protect the client from possible breach of confidence as a result of a consultation with a lawyer. The seriousness of the respondent's offense notwithstanding, the Court feels that there is room for compassion, absent compelling evidence that the respondent acted with ill-will. Without meaning to condone the error of respondent's ways, what at bottom is before the Court is two former friends becoming bitter enemies and filing charges and counter-charges against each other using whatever convenient tools and data were readily available. Unfortunately, the personal information respondent gathered from her conversation with complainant became handy in her quest to even the score. At the end of the day, it appears clear to us that respondent was actuated by the urge to retaliate without perhaps realizing that, in the process of giving vent to a negative sentiment, she was violating the rule on confidentiality. IN VIEW WHEREOF, respondent Atty. Roceles F. Madianda is hereby REPRIMANDED and admonished to be circumspect in her handling of information acquired as a result of a lawyer-client relationship. She is alsoSTERNLY WARNED against a repetition of the same or similar act complained of. SO ORDERED. Puno, (Chief Justice), Sandoval-Gutierrez,J., on leave. Corona, Azcuna, Garcia, JJ., concur.

SECOND DIVISION

Complainant contends that respondent is guilty of malpractice and misconduct by representing clients with conflicting interests and should be disbarred by reason thereof.[7] In his Comment,[8] respondent contends that he was never a direct recipient of any monetary support coming from the complainant. Respondent denies complainant‘s allegation that he (respondent) did not inform complainant of the trial court‘s order dismissing the latter‘s coun terclaim in Civil Case No. 1648. Respondent claims that within two days upon his receipt of the trial court‘s order of dismissal, he delivered to complainant a copy of the said order, apprising him of its contents. As to his representation of the persons against whom complainant filed criminal cases for theft, [9] respondent argues that he honestly believes that there exists no conflict between his present and former clients‘ interests as the cases he handled for these clients are separate and distinct from each other. He further contends that he took up the cause of the accused in the criminal cases filed by complainant for humanitarian considerations since said accused are poor and needy and because there is a dearth of lawyers in their community. With respect to the case for ejectment filed by complainant against his nephew, respondent admits that it was he who notarized the deed of sale of the parcel of land sold to complainant. However, he contends that what is being contested in the said case is not the ownership of the subject land but the ownership of the house built on the said land.[10] On December 21, 1999, complainant filed a Reply to respondent‘s Comment. [11] On January 19, 2000, the Court referred the instant case to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) for investigation, report and recommendation.[12] On February 18, 2002, respondent filed a Rejoinder to complainant‘s Reply adding that the instant complaint was orchestrated by complainant‘s son who wanted political vengeance because he lost the vice-mayoralty post to respondent during the 1988 local elections.[13] On February 20, 2002, complainant filed a Sur-Rejoinder to respondent‘s Rejoinder.[14] Thereafter, the parties filed their respective Position Papers, [15] after which the case was deemed submitted for resolution. In his Report and Recommendation dated February 20, 2004, Investigating Commissioner Agustinus V. Gonzaga found respondent guilty of violating Rule 15.03, Canon 15 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. He recommended that respondent be meted the penalty of suspension for one month. In a minute Resolution passed on July 30, 2004, the IBP Board of Governors resolved to annul and set aside the recommendation of the Investigating Commissioner and instead approved the dismissal of the complaint for lack of merit, to wit: RESOLUTION NO. XVI-2004-387 Adm. Case No. 5128 Elesio C. Pormento, Sr., vs. Atty. Elias A. Pontevedra RESOLVED to ANNUL and SET ASIDED [sic], as it is hereby ANNULED and SET ASIDE, the Recommendation of the Investigating Commission, and to APPROVE the DISMISSAL of the aboveentitled case for lack of merit of the complaint. We do not agree with the dismissal of the complaint. At the outset, we reiterate the settled rule that in complaints for disbarment, a formal investigation is a mandatory requirement which may not be dispensed with except for valid and compelling

[A.C. No. 5128. March 31, 2005]

ELESIO[1] C. PORMENTO, SR., complainant, vs. ATTY. ALIAS A. PONTEVEDRA, respondent. RESOLUTION AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ, J.: In a verified Complaint[2] dated August 7, 1999, Elesio C. Pormento, Sr. charged Atty. Elias A. Pontevedra with malpractice and misconduct, praying that on the basis of the facts alleged therein, respondent be disbarred. Complainant alleges that between 1964 and 1994, respondent is his family‘s legal counsel having represented him and members of his family in all legal proceedings in which they are involved. Complainant also claims that his family‘s relationship with respondent extends beyond mere lawyer -client relations as they gave respondent moral, spiritual, physical and financial support in his different endeavors.[3] Based on the allegations in the complaint, the rift between complainant and respondent began when complainant‘s counterclaim in Civil Case No. 1648 filed with the Regional Trial Court of Bacolod City was dismissed. Complainant claims that respondent, who was his lawyer in the said case, deliberately failed to inform him of the dismissal of his counterclaim despite receipt of the order of dismissal by the trial court, as a result of which, complainant was deprived of his right to appeal said order. Complainant asserts that he only came to know of the existence of the trial court‘s order when the adverse party in the said case extrajudicially foreclosed the mortgage executed over the parcel of land which is the subject matter of the suit. In order to recover his ownership over the said parcel of land, complainant was constrained to hire a new lawyer as Atty. Pontevedra refused to institute an action for the recovery of the subject property.[4] Complainant also claims that in order to further protect his rights and interests over the said parcel of land, he was forced to initiate a criminal case for qualified theft against the relatives of the alleged new owner of the said land. Respondent is the counsel of the accused in said case. Complainant claims that as part of his defense in said criminal case, respondent utilized pieces of confidential information he obtained from complainant while the latter is still his client.[5] In a separate incident, complainant claims that in 1967, he bought a parcel of land located at Escalante, Negros Occidental. The Deed of Declaration of Heirship and Sale of said land was prepared and notarized by respondent. Since there was another person who claims ownership of the property, complainant alleges that he heeded respondent‘s advice to build a small house on the property and to allow his (complainant‘s) nephew and his family to occupy the house in order for complainant to establish his possession of the said property. Subsequently, complainant‘s nephew refused to vacate the property prompting the former to file an ejectment case with the Municipal Trial Court of Escalante, Negros Occidental, docketed as Civil Case No. 528. Respondent acted as the counsel of com plainant‘s nephew.[6]

[23] Another test to determine if there is a representation of conflicting interests is whether the acceptance of a new relation will prevent an attorney from the full discharge of his duty of undivided fidelity and loyalty to his client or invite suspicion of unfaithfulness or double dealing in the performance thereof. it is his duty to contend for that which duty to another client requires him to oppose. to use against his first client any knowledge acquired through their connection. It is also disturbing to note that the abovementioned Resolution of the IBP Board of Governors. which might influence the client in the selection of counsel. Section 12(a).[17] Due process is fulfilled when the parties were given reasonable opportunity to be heard and to submit evidence in support of their arguments. unless the client with full knowledge of the circumstances consents thereto. 12. which is akin to what is required of the decisions of courts of record. Within the meaning of this canon. we resolve to proceed and decide the case on the basis of the extensive pleadings on record. annulling and setting aside the recommendation of the Investigating Commissioner. it is also an assurance that the judge. We shall concurrently discuss the first and second grounds as they are interrelated.[16] Formal investigations entail notice and hearing. directly or indirectly. [19] No further hearings were conducted. for not notifying complainant of the dismissal of his counterclaim in Civil Case No. Canon 21 specifically requires that: A lawyer shall not. However. and the issues being raised may be determined on the basis of the numerous pleadings filed together with the annexes attached thereto. and. to the disadvantage of his client. is bereft of any findings of facts or explanation as to how and why it resolved to set aside the recommendation of the Investigating Commissioner and instead dismissed the complaint against respondent. a lawyer represents conflicting interests when. in behalf of one client. we cannot countenance the act of the IBP Board of Governors in merely stating that it is annulling the Commissioner‘s recommendation and then dismiss the complaint without stating the facts and the reasons for said dismissal. The obligation to represent the client with undivided fidelity and not to divulge his secrets or confidences forbids also the subsequent acceptance of retainers or employment from others in matters adversely affecting any interest of the client with respect to which confidence has been reposed. Jurisprudence instructs that there is a representation of conflicting interests if the acceptance of the new retainer will require the attorney to do anything which will injuriously affect his first client in any matter in which he represents him and also whether he will be called upon in his new relation.[22] . or the Board of Governors in this case. to the subject matter of the previous litigation in which he appeared for the former client. [21] Moreover. Rule 139-B of the Rules of Court provides: SEC. third. Canon 21 of the same Code enjoins a lawyer to preserve the confidences and secrets of his clients even after the attorney-client relation is terminated. Canon 6 of the Canons of Professional Ethics states: It is the duty of a lawyer at the time of retainer to disclose to the client all the circumstances of his relations to the parties and any interest in or connection with the controversy.02.[20] we reiterated the importance of the requirement that the decision of the IBP Board of Governors must state the facts and the reasons on which such decision is based. it appears that the Investigating Commissioner conducted a hearing on January 16. In addition. for taking advantage of the information and knowledge that he obtained from complainant. as actual adversarial proceedings become necessary only for clarification or when there is a need to propound searching questions to witnesses who give vague testimonies. herein complainant. in case any of them decides to appeal the decision. use information acquired in the course of employment. in this case. respondent is being accused of malpractice and misconduct on three grounds: first. It is unprofessional to represent conflicting interests. Cabrera.[25] Conversely. he may properly act as counsel for a In Cruz vs. that no further factual determination is required. second. Review and decision by the Board of Governors. except by express consent of all concerned given after a full disclosure of the facts. (Emphasis supplied) Coming to the main issue in the present case. It shall be promulgated within a period not exceeding thirty (30) days from the next meeting of the Board following the submittal of the Investigator‘s report. in the interest of justice and speedy disposition of the case. 1648. Rule 15. after which the case shall be deemed submitted for resolution.[24] A lawyer is forbidden from representing a subsequent client against a former client when the subject matter of the present controversy is related.reasons. Canon 15 of the Code of Professional Responsibility provides: ―A lawyer shall not represent conflicting interests except by written consent of all concerned given after a full disclosure of the facts. Noncompliance with this requirement would normally result in the remand of the case. – (a) Every case heard by an investigator shall be reviewed by the IBP Board of Governors upon the record and evidence transmitted to it by the Investigator with his report.03. Rule 21. considering that the present controversy has been pending resolution for quite some time.‖ Corollary to this. The decision of the Board upon such review shall be in writing and shall clearly and distinctly state the facts and the reasons on which it is based. nor shall he use the same to his own advantage or that of a third person. the requirements of notice and hearing in administrative cases do not necessarily connote full adversarial proceedings. 2002 where it was agreed that the complainant and the respondent shall file their respective position papers. However. while we may consider the act of the IBP Board of Governors in simply adopting the report of the Investigating Commissioner as substantial compliance with said Rule. We held therein that: [A]side from informing the parties the reason for the decision to enable them to point out to the appellate court the findings with which they are not in agreement. reached his judgment through the process of legal reasoning.[18] From the records extant in the present case. for representing interests which conflict with those of his former client.

S. the Land Registration Authority or the respondent‘s clients themselves. be that as it may. there being in that instance no conflict of interests. As we have previously held: The relations of attorney and client is [are] founded on principles of public policy. The only established participation respondent had with respect to the parcel of land purchased by complainant. 528.[32] However. The matter discussed by respondent when he cross-examined complainant is the ownership of Lot 609 in its entirety. in a great number of litigations. 3159 so as to avoid suspicion that he used in the criminal action any information he may have acquired in Civil Case No. Furthermore. 99-188. He learns from his client the weak points of the action as well as the strong ones.[27] As we have held in Maturan vs. 3159. secret and well known facts. only a portion of which was purportedly sold to complainant. It is possible that the information as to the ownership of the disputed lot used by respondent in bringing up this issue may have been obtained while he still acted as counsel for complainant. 3159 filed by herein complainant against several persons. complainant submitted in evidence portions of the transcript of stenographic notes taken during his cross-examination in Criminal Case No. the rule is settled that the prohibition against representation of conflicting interests applies although the attorney‘s intentions and motives were honest and he acted in good faith. 99-188 filed by complainant against his nephew and other members of his family involves several parts of trucks owned by herein complainant. 1648 and his subsequent employment as counsel of the accused in Criminal Case No.[36] Thus. However. inquiry of the nature suggested would lead to the revelation. which is one of trust and confidence of the highest degree. Case No. For if the confidence is abused. we find no conflict of interests when respondent represented herein complainant‘s nephew and other members of his family in the ejectment case.[30] In essence. In the complexity of what is said in the course of dealings between an attorney and client. of other matters that might only further prejudice the complainant‘s cause. In fine. To prove his contention. against a former client in a matter wholly unrelated to that of the previous employment. is that he was the one who notarized the deed of sale of the said land. like Caesar‘s wife. Nonetheless. Part of the defense raised by his clients is that herein complainant does not have the personality to file the criminal complaint as he is not the owner of the lot where the supposed theft occurred. filed by herein complainant against them. The subject matter in Civil Case No. the same parcel of land involved in Criminal Case No. It is also probable that such information may have been taken from other sources. 3159. and in the criminal complaint. 3159. nothing on record would show that respondent fully apprised complainant and his new clients and secured or at least tried to secure their consent when he took the defense of the accused in Criminal Case No. Respondent contends that he handled the defense of the accused in the subject criminal case for humanitarian reasons and with the honest belief that there exists no conflict of interests. it does not necessarily follow that respondent obtained any information from herein complainant that can be used to the detriment of the latter in the ejectment case he filed.[34] Moreover. complainant failed to present substantial evidence to hold respondent liable for violating the prohibition against representation of conflicting interests. 1648. consisting of entangled relevant and irrelevant. but also to avoid the appearance of treachery and double dealing. it cannot be denied that when respondent was the counsel of complainant in Civil Case No.S. Negros Occidental. what a lawyer owes his former client is to maintain inviolate the client‘s confidence or to refrain from doing anything which will injuriously affect him in any matter in which he previously represented him. on good taste.[26]Where.[37] Moreover. the lawyer may have to contend for his new client that which he previously opposed as counsel for the former client or to use against the latter information confided to him as his counsel. Case No. the subject matter of the present suit between the lawyer‘s new client and his former client is in som e way connected with that of the former client‘s action. Hence. However. he became privy to the documents and information that complainant possessed with respect to the said parcel of land. The question is not necessarily one of the rights of the parties. Only thus can litigants be encouraged to entrust their secrets to their attorneys which is of paramount importance in the administration of justice. A lawyer must have the fullest confidence of his client. [33] This case is not in any way connected with the controversy involving said parcel of land.S. 99-188. However. however. a complicated affair. no corroborating evidence was presented to prove this allegation. with full disclosure to the latter. after a reading of the said transcript. in his answer to the complaint for ejectment.new client. 528 and I. the profession will suffer by the loss thereof. we find no direct evidence to prove that respondent took advantage of any information that he may have been acquired from complainant and used the same in the defense of his clients in Criminal Case No.[31] In the present case. A lawyer becomes familiar with all the facts connected with his client‘s case. but as to whether the attorney has adhered to proper professional standard. 1648 is Lot 609 located at Escalante. denominated as I. Gonzales:[28] The reason for the prohibition is found in the relation of attorney and client. the subject matter of I. 1648. whatever may be said as to whether or not respondent utilized against complainant any information given to him in a professional capacity. On that basis alone. in advance of the trial. Defendant. we find conflict of interests in respondent‘s representation of herein complainant in Civil Case No. the fact that the conflict of interests is remote or merely probable does not make the prohibition inoperative. accusing them of theft for allegedly cutting and stealing coconut trees within the premises of the said lot. raised the issue as to the right of the vendor to sell the said land in favor of complainant. Moreover. like the Registry of Deeds. David[35] that: Communications between attorney and client are. [29] The proscription against representation of conflicting interests finds application where the conflicting interests arise with respect to the same general matter and is applicable however slight such adverse interest may be. it behooves attorneys. the mere fact of their previous relationship should have precluded him from appearing as counsel for the opposing side. not only to keep inviolate the client‘s confidence. we have held in Hilado vs. [38] . we find this immaterial because what is actually in issue in the ejectment case is not the ownership of the subject lot but the ownership of the house built on the said lot. 1648. with respect to Civil Case No. Such knowledge must be considered sacred and guarded with care. Complainant contends that it is in this criminal case that respondent used confidential information which the latter obtained from the former in Civil Case No. respondent should have declined employment in Criminal Case No. No opportunity must be given him to take advantage of the client‘s secrets. 3159. docketed as Civil Case No. While complainant alleges that it was respondent who advised him to allow his nephew to temporarily occupy the property in order to establish complainant‘s possession of said property as against another claimant. Case No. With these thoughts in mind.

SO ORDERED. to refrain from all appearances and acts of impropriety including circumstances indicating conflict of interests. Cabrera. As to the third ground. fairness and loyalty in all transactions with his clients. Elias A.Respondent also asserts that when he accepted employment in Criminal Case No. [44] WHEREFORE.[41] The same ―certification‖ relieved respondent of his obligation as counsel of complainant. we consider such situation as a circumstance that mitigates his liability. On the contrary. 1648 from complainant. we find that complainant failed to present substantial evidence to prove that respondent did not inform him of the dismissal of his counterclaim in Civil Case No. From the foregoing. Negros Occidental. Otherwise.. Tinga. concur. considering respondent‘s honest belief t hat there is no conflict of interests in handling Civil Case No. Pontevedra is found GUILTY of representing conflicting interests and is hereby FINED in the amount of Ten Thousand (P10.[42] Moreover. One of the lawyers is already handling complainant‘s case. This defense does not hold water because the termination of the relation of attorney and client provides no justification for a lawyer to represent an interest adverse to or in conflict with that of the former client. where complainant‘s daughter acknowledged receipt of the entire records of Civil Case No. and it appearing that this is respondent‘s first infraction of this nature. the attorney-client relations between him and complainant in Civil Case No. we take into account respondent‘s undisputed claim that there are only three lawyers who are actually engaged in private practice in Escalante. Considering the foregoing facts and circumstances. 1989 that respondent received the order of the trial court dismissing complainant‘s counterclaim. Callejo. in view of respondent‘s belief that he simply adhered to his sworn duty to defend the poor and the needy. while the other lawyer is believed by respondent‘s clients to be a relative of complainant. Respondent is further reminded to be more cautious in accepting professional employments. we find sufficient evidence to prove that complainant has been properly notified of the trial court‘s order of dismissal. it can be inferred that respondent duly notified complainant of the dismissal of his counterclaim. presented a ―certification‖ dated December 11.00) Pesos. complainant could not have ordered his daughter to withdraw the records of his case from respondent at the same time relieving the latter of responsibility arising from his obligation as complainant‘s counsel in that particular case.[40] However. 1648 had already been terminated. In Sibulo vs. Puno.. As to the penalty to be imposed. and Chico-Nazario. we find it proper to impose a fine on respondent. 3159. Nonetheless. 1648. Rule 139-B of the Rules of Court as discussed in the text of herein decision. The only proof presented by complainant to support his claim is the affidavit of his daughter confirming complainant‘s contention that respondent indeed failed to inform him of the dismissal of his counterclaim. respondent Atty. where both complainant and respondent reside. and to behave at all times with circumspection and dedication befitting a member of the Bar. 1648 and Criminal Case No. He is WARNED that a repetition of the same or similar acts will be dealt with more severely. The Board of Governors of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines is DIRECTED to be heedful of the requirements provided for in Section 12(a). Sr.000. respondent‘s clients believed that they had no choice but go to him for help. 1989. Respondent. (Chairman). 3159. in the same affidavit.[39] Thus. We do not find this situation as an excuse for respondent to accept employment because he could have referred his clients to the resident lawyer of the Public Attorney‘s Office or to other lawyers in the neighboring towns. especially observing candor.[43] the respondent is fined for having been found guilty of unethical conduct in representing two conflicting interests. or one week after his receipt of the trial court‘s order. . Hence. we find respondent guilty of misconduct for representing conflicting interests. complainant‘s daughter admits that it was on December 4. JJ. we find the penalty of suspension to be disproportionate to the offense committed.

et al. Inc. 8 Respondent. Respondent should have inhibited himself from hearing. The Facts Ruthie Lim-Santiago ("complainant") is the daughter of Alfonso Lim and Special Administratrix of his estate. Respondent. Complainant. And he came to me and told me he gonna help me. The Presidential Commission on Good Government sequestered it sometime in 1986. Rule 15.S. Because he is supposed to be my father‘s friend and he was working with my Dad and he was supposed to be trusted by my father. CARLOS B. What do you mean you didn‘t think he would do it. Sagucio for violating Rule 15.03 of the Code of Professional Responsibility and for defying the prohibition against private practice of law while working as government prosecutor.000 for the month of April 1996. 2 Atty. Complainant presented evidence to prove that respondent received P10. Jr. Inc.000 as retainer‘s fee for the months of January and February 1995.03 of the Code of Professional Responsibility and for defying the prohibition against private practice of law while working as government prosecutor. Respondent. No. ATTY. Ruthie Lim-Santiago. Respondent refutes complainant‘s allegations and counters that complainant was merely aggrieved by the resolution of the criminal complaint which was adverse and contrary to her expectation.03 of the Code of Professional Responsibility Complainant contends that respondent is guilty of representing conflicting interests. Madam Witness? A.: The Case This is a disbarment complaint against Atty. being the former Personnel Manager and Retained Counsel of Taggat. knew the operations of Taggat very well. respondent had resigned from Taggat for more than five years. 19 Respondent claims that when the criminal complaint was filed. J. 1Alfonso Lim is a stockholder and the former President of Taggat Industries. investigating and deciding the case filed by Taggat employees. ("Taggat") is a domestic corporation engaged in the operation of timber concessions from the government. 26 .000 for the months of April and May 1995. withheld payment of their salaries and wages without valid cause from 1 April 1996 to 15 July 1997. x x x. (Atty. 23 Respondent points out that complainant did not file a motion to inhibit respondent from hearing the criminal complaint 24 but instead complainant voluntarily executed and filed her counteraffidavit without mental reservation. Inc." docketed as I. 13 Complainant also contends that respondent is guilty of engaging in the private practice of law while working as a government prosecutor. who took over the management and control of Taggat after the death of her father. 2006 Complainant now charges respondent with the following violations: 1. 14Furthermore. No. 21 employees of Taggat ("Taggat employees") filed a criminal complaint entitled "Jesus Tagorda. 97-240 ("criminal complaint"). as Assistant Provincial Prosecutor. vs. 6 Sometime in July 1997. 4 Taggat Industries. Dabu).C. was assigned to conduct the preliminary investigation. 25 Respondent states that complainant‘s reason in not filing a motion to inhibit was her impression that respondent would exonerate her from the charges filed as gleaned from complainant‘s statement during the hearing conducted on 12 February 1999: xxx Q. Engaging in the private practice of law while working as a government prosecutor RUTHIE LIM-SANTIAGO. complainant claims that respondent instigated the filing of the cases and even harassed and threatened Taggat employees to accede and sign an affidavit to support the complaint. Carlos B. 22 Respondent contends that complainant failed to establish lack of impartiality when he performed his duty. 20 Respondent asserts that he no longer owed his undivided loyalty to Taggat. SAGUCIO. 17and P5. Sagucio ("respondent") was the former Personnel Manager and Retained Counsel of Taggat Industries. v.Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila EN BANC A. 16 another P10. DECISION CARPIO. 5 and its operations ceased in 1997. 9 He resolved the criminal complaint by recommending the filing of 651 Informations 10 for violation of Article 288 11 in relation to Article 116 12 of the Labor Code of the Philippines. 3 until his appointment as Assistant Provincial Prosecutor of Tuguegarao. 6705 March 31. Carlos B. 15 2. 21 Respondent argues that it was his sworn duty to conduct the necessary preliminary investigation. 18 Complainant seeks the disbarment of respondent for violating Rule 15. Cagayan in 1992. 7 Taggat employees alleged that complainant.

Ruthie Lim-Santiago. 97-240. he does not represent any client or any interest except justice. 97-240 not been labor-related.S.Respondent also asserts that no conflicting interests exist because he was not representing Taggat employees or complainant. 640.S. 97-240 was for "Violation of the Labor Code. 34 Hence. as a former Personnel Manager and Legal Counsel of Taggat. I. that a lawyer has an immutable duty to a former client with respect to matters that he previously handled for that former client. Respondent submits that consultation is not the same as representation and that rendering consultancy services is not prohibited. the above-mentioned labor complaints filed by former Taggat employees. 4th ed. or if Respondent had not been a Personnel Manager concurrently as Legal Counsel. 97-240 were of the years 1996 and 1997.S. Villanueva. Capule. To engage in the practice of law is to do any of those acts that are characteristic of the .B. are very much familiar with Respondent. the IBP Board of Governors issued Resolution No. I. malice and bad faith. these consultations had no relation to. Funa ("IBP Commissioner Funa"). in his Reply-Memorandum. 97-240 was filed for "Violation of Labor Code" (see Resolution of the Provincial Prosecutors Office. the mechanics and personalities in that case are very much familiar with Respondent. in I. of retainer fees from complainant but claims that it was only on a case-to-case basis and it ceased in 1996. The act of being a legal consultant is a practice of law. No. Respondent claims that this accusation is bereft of proof because complainant failed to mention the names of the employees or present them for cross-examination. or connection with. xxxx While Respondent ceased his relations with Taggat in 1992 and the unpaid salaries being sought in I. Herein Complainant. 2. 27Respondent argues that complainant failed to establish that respondent‘s act was tainted with personal interest. Respondent. undoubtedly dealt with and related with the employees of Taggat. These payments do not at all show or translate as a specie of ‗conflict of interest‘. the duty to "maintain inviolate the client’s confidence or to refrain from doing anything which will injuri ously affect him in any matter in which he previously represented him" (Natam v. Respondent undoubtedly dealt with and related with complainants in I. the criminal complaint was dismissed. Cadelina last 4 January 1999. failure to safeguard a former client‘s interest. p. 1994 ed. But as it is. A determination of this issue will require the test of whether the matter in I. Therefore. Respondent claims he was merely performing his official duty as Assistant Provincial Prosecutor. matters relating to personnel. this matter had long been settled. 14 SCRA 109. the employees and management involved are the very personalities he dealt with as Personnel Manager and Legal Counsel of Taggat. No. Moreover.S. intended as token consultancy fees on a case -to-case basis and not as or for retainer fees." Here lies the conflict. No. No. states: x x x [I]f ever Taggat paid him certain amounts. therefore. 32 Respondent insists that complainant‘s evidence failed to prove that when the criminal complaint was filed with the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor of Cagayan. Clearly. the Resolution and Order issued by respondent to file 651 Informations against complainant was reversed and set aside by Regional State Prosecutor of Cagayan Rodolfo B. 30 Respondent contends that the fees were paid for his consultancy services and not for representation. No. 37 Due to IBP Commissioner Abbas‘ resignation. 31 Respondent. While the issues of unpaid salaries pertain to the periods 1996-1997. he was an employee of the corporation and part of its management. a former client. p. No. XVI-2004-479 ("IBP Resolution") dated 4 November 2004 adopting with modification 39 IBP Commissioner Funa‘s Report and Recommendation ("Report") finding respondent guilty of conflict of interests. 91 Phil. Government prosecutors are prohibited to engage in the private practice of law (see Legal and Judicial Ethics. 97-240. 97240 is labor-related and Respondent was a former Personnel Manager of Taggat. Resolution of the Prov. The Report reads: Now the issue here is whether being a former lawyer of Taggat conflicts with his role as Assistant Provincial Prosecutor in deciding I. the case was reassigned to Commissioner Dennis A. labor policies. 647).) Respondent argues that as Assistant Provincial Prosecutor. Blanco 70 Phil. Annex "B" of Complaint).S. A lawyer owes something to a former client. 231. supra). and labor relations that he previously handled as Personnel Manager and Legal Counsel of Taggat. xxxx As to the propriety of receiving "Retainer Fees" or "consultancy fees" from herein Complainant while being an Assistant Provincial Prosecutor. was being accused as having the "management and control" of Taggat (p. 97-240 will conflict with his former position of Personnel Manager and Legal Counsel of Taggat.S. No. threatened and harassed Taggat employees. 28 Respondent denies complainant‘s allegations that he instigated the filing of the cases. after his appointment as government prosecutor. Alejandro -Abbas ("IBP Commissioner Abbas") heard the case 36 and allowed the parties to submit their respective memoranda. Pros. 35 The IBP‘s Report and Recommendation The Integrated Bar of the Philippines‘ Investigating Commissioner Ma. however. 97-240. No. 20. Ernesto Pineda. 33 While this disbarment case was pending. People v. 38 After the parties filed their memoranda and motion to resolve the case. Carmina M. The IBP Board of Governors recommended the imposition of a penalty of three years suspension from the practice of law. It should not be forgotten.. No. 29 Respondent does not dispute his receipt. Respondent dealt with these persons in his fiduciary relations with Taggat. Aquino v. Perhaps it would have been different had I. Office. I.S. In this case. herein Respondent undoubtedly handled the personnel and labor concerns of Taggat. The issues. respondent was still the retained counsel or legal consultant.S. Herein Respondent owes to Taggat. and violating the prohibition against the private practice of law while being a government prosecutor. and for rendering legal consultancy work while being an Assistant Provincial Prosecutor. Moreover. Agpalo.S. these were paid voluntarily by Taggat without the respondent‘s asking. Legal Ethics.

Agrava. in or out of court. Even the receipts he signed stated that the payments by Taggat were for "Retainer‘s fee. which device or service requires the use in any degree of legal knowledge or skill. Cayetano v.03 of the Code of Professional Responsibility ("Code"). Further. respondent was no longer connected with Taggat during that period since he resigned sometime in 1992.01. In order to charge respondent for representing conflicting interests. 42 Respondent committed unlawful conduct when he violated Section 7(b)(2) of the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees or Republic Act No. People v. 14 SCRA 111. Respondent clearly violated this prohibition. when a written consent of all concerned is given after a full disclosure of the facts or when no true attorney-client relationship exists. it does not necessarily follow that respondent used any confidential information from his previous employment with complainant or Taggat in resolving the criminal complaint. respondent clearly violated the prohibition in RA 6713. we find no conflict of interests when respondent handled the preliminary investigation of the criminal complaint filed by Taggat employees in 1997. that such practice will not conflict or tend to conflict with [his] official functions. failure to safeguard a former client‘s interest. evidence must be presented to prove that respondent used against Taggat. complainant failed to present a single iota of evidence to prove her allegations." 47 Complainant‘s evidence failed to substantiate the claim that respondent represented conflicting interests In Quiambao v. 40 The IBP Board of Governors forwarded the Report to the Court as provided under Section 12(b). "To engage in the practice of law is to perform those acts which are characteristics of the profession." 51 "Private practice of law" contemplates a succession of acts of the same nature habitually or customarily holding one‘s self to the public as a lawyer. However. provided. Villanueva. this rule is subject to certain limitations. Monsod. considering the serious consequence of the disbarment or suspension of a member of the Bar. the same falls within the ambit of the term "practice of law. On that basis alone. respondent admitted that he rendered his legal services to complainant while working as a government prosecutor. This argument is without merit because the law does not distinguish between consultancy services and retainer agreement. 45 Moreover.legal profession (In re: David. which required the application of law. which requires the application of law. knowledge. to practice law is to give notice or render any kind of service. The issue in the criminal complaint pertains to non-payment of wages that occurred from 1 April 1996 to 15 July 1997."53 Thus. Generally." 44However." Unlawful conduct includes violation of the statutory prohibition on a government employee to "engage in the private practice of [his] profession unless authorized by the Constitution or law. we find the evidence insufficient. For as long as respondent performed acts that are usually rendered by lawyers with the use of their legal knowledge. Canon 1 of the Code of Professional Responsibility against unlawful conduct. his former client. The Ruling of the Court The Court exonerates respondent from the charge of violation of Rule 15. The only established participation respondent had with respect to the criminal complaint is that he was the one who conducted the preliminary investigation. . training and experience. 201 SCRA 210). The prohibition to represent conflicting interests does not apply when no conflict of interest exists. The intent of the law is to impose upon the lawyer the duty to protect the client‘s interests only on matters that he previously handled for the former client and not for matters that arose after the lawyer-client relationship has terminated. as correctly pointed out by complainant. Rule 139B 41 of the Rules of Court. 49 In essence. 173." Nonetheless. Clearly. 105 Phil. Respondent should be found guilty of conflict of interest. legal principles. 46 Respondent is also mandated under Rule 1. It covers any activity. legal procedure. and violating the prohibition against the private practice of law while being a government prosecutor. 461). As for the secondary accusations of harassing certain employees of Taggat and instigating the filing of criminal complaints. any confidential information acquired through his previous employment. 50 In the present case. 52 Respondent argues that he only rendered consultancy services to Taggat intermittently and he was not a retained counsel of Taggat from 1995 to 1996 as alleged. practice or procedures and calls for legal knowledge. training and experience (PLA v. respondent is not guilty of violating Rule 15. Canon 6 provides that the Code "shall apply to lawyers in government service in the discharge of their official duties. clear preponderant evidence is necessary to justify the imposition of the administrative penalty. Respondent engaged in the private practice of law while working as a government prosecutor The Court has defined the practice of law broadly as – x x x any activity. Bamba. 93 Phil. 48 the Court enumerated various tests to determine conflict of interests." 43 A government lawyer is thus bound by the prohibition "not [to] represent conflicting interests. A lawyer‘s immutable duty to a former client does not cover transactions that occurred beyond the lawyer‘s employment with the client. The fact alone that respondent was the former Personnel Manager and Retained Counsel of Taggat and the case he resolved as government prosecutor was labor-related is not a sufficient basis to charge respondent for representing conflicting interests. Thus. 6713 ("RA 6713"). Accordingly. in or out of court. One test of inconsistency of interests is whether the lawyer will be asked to use against his former client any confidential information acquired through their connection or previous employment.03 of the Code. the Court finds respondent liable for violation of Rule 1.01 of Canon 1 not to engage in "unlawful x x x conduct. what a lawyer owes his former client is to maintain inviolate the client‘s confidence or to refrain from doing anything which will injuriously affect him in any matter in which he previously represented him.

01. . which constitutes a violation of Rule 1. respondent‘s violation of RA 6713 also const itutes a violation of Rule 1. 54 On the Appropriate Penalty on Respondent The appropriate penalty on an errant lawyer depends on the exercise of sound judicial discretion based on the surrounding facts. Let copies of this Decision be furnished the Office of the Bar Confidant to be appended to respondent‘s personal record as an attorney. we SUSPEND respondent Atty.01. violations of RA 6713 are not subject to disciplinary action under the Code of Professional Responsibility unless the violations also constitute infractions of specific provisions of the Code of Professional Responsibility. Here. dishonest. the penalty for government employees engaging in unauthorized private practice of profession is suspension for six months and one day to one year. Canon 1 of the Code of Professional Responsibility.However. Sagucio GUILTY of violation of Rule 1. 56 We find this penalty appropriate for respondent‘s violation in this case of Rule 1. 55 Under Civil Service Law and rules. the IBP has no jurisdiction to investigate violations of RA 6713 – the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees – unless the acts involved also transgress provisions of the Code of Professional Responsibility. Accordingly. immoral or deceitful conduct. Respondent admitted that complainant also charged him with unlawful conduct when respondent stated in his Demurrer to Evidence: In this instant case.01. which mandates that "[a] lawyer shall not engage in unlawful. Carlos B. the Department of Justice. Sagucio from the practice of law for SIX MONTHS effective upon finality of this Decision. Carlos B.01 of Canon 1. WHEREFORE. the Integrated Bar of the Philippines. Certainly. SO ORDERED." Respondent‘s admission that he received from Taggat fees for legal services while serving as a government prosecutor is an unlawful conduct. Canon 1 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. and all courts in the country for their information and guidance. the complainant prays that the respondent be permanently and indefinitely suspended or disbarred from the practice of the law profession and his name removed from the Roll of Attorneys on the following grounds: xxxx d) that respondent manifested gross misconduct and gross violation of his oath of office and in his dealings with the public. we find respondent Atty.

(footnotes omitted)[3] We resolve this disbarment complaint against Atty. Respondent. Gabino Velasquez. Atty. x x x x x x JOSEFINA M.[4] The Findings of the IBP Board of Governors In a resolution dated February 27.: April 11. Sabitsana administratively liable for representing conflicting interests. Complainant. Jr. B -1060 did not initially learn about the sale executed by Bontes in favor of complainant thru the confidences and information divulged by complainant to respondent in the course of the preparation of the said deed of sale.* PEREZ. Josefina M. Promulgated: . Barrios.[5] The IBP Board of Governors agreed with the IBP Commissioner‘s recommended penalty. 2004. CLEMENCIO SABITSANA. Cañete. J. Sabitsana) and had instigated the complaint for this reason. 5098 Present: BRION. Atty. Magpayo Jr. x------------------------------------------------------------------------------------x DECISION BRION. Atty. . no such written consent was secured by respondent before accepting employment as Mrs.versus - ATTY. who is charged of: (1) violating the lawyer‘s duty to preserve confidential information received from his client. The complainant accused Atty. Sabitsana admitted having advised the complainant in the preparation and execution of the Deed of Sale. but the IBP Board of Governors denied his motion in a resolution dated July 30. A. Acting Chairperson. Cañete‘s counsel -of-record. Jr. Jr. In brief. he denied having received any confidential information. report and recommendation. respondent‘s present client in Civil Case No. we referred the disbarment complaint to the Commission on Bar Discipline of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) for investigation. The IBP Commissioner opined: In Bautista vs... In re De la Rosa clearly suggests that a lawyer may not represent conflicting interests in the absence of the written consent of all parties concerned given after a full disclosure of the facts.C. J. 2003..[2] In her complaint. the conflict of interest is obviously present. it is the attorney‘s duty to contend for that which his duty to another client requires him to oppose.Republic of the Philippines Supreme Court Baguio City SECOND DIVISION In our Resolution dated November 22. [1] and (2) violating the prohibition on representing conflicting interests. ANIÑON. SERENO. Cañete. Jr. In his Report and Recommendation datedNovember 28. if he argues for one client this argument will be opposed by him when he argues for the other client. the notary of the disbarment complaint who lost a court case against him (Atty. Sabitsana asserted that the present disbarment complaint was instigated by one Atty. Such is the case with which we are now confronted. 2004. respondent being asked by one client to nullify what he had formerly notarized as a true and valid sale between Bontes and the complainant. respondent nonetheless has a duty to decline his current employment as counsel of Zenaida Cañete in view of the rule prohibiting representation of conflicting interests. Aniñon (complainant) related that she previously engaged the legal services of Atty. Granting that Zenaida L. There is said to be inconsistency of interest when on behalf of one client. IBP Commissioner Pedro A. the legal wife of Brigido Caneja. Brigido Caneja. Sabitsana moved to reconsider the above resolution. No. PERALTA. Sabitsana be suspended from the practice of law for a period of one (1) year. JR. it was held that a lawyer may not handle a case to nullify a contract which he prepared and thereby take up inconsistent positions. The Findings of the IBP Investigating Commissioner The IBP Commissioner recommended that Atty. Sabitsana of using the confidential information he obtained from her in filing the civil case. 2012 Complainant and respondent‘s present client. Sabitsana allegedly violated her confidence when he subsequently filed a civil case against her for the annulment of the Deed of Sale in behalf of Zenaida L. and REYES. Sabitsana in the preparation and execution in her favor of a Deed of Sale over a parcel of land owned by her late common-law husband. Clemencio Sabitsana. found Atty. Atty. being contending claimants to the same property. The Issue The issue in this case is whether Atty. 1999. However. Sabitsana is guilty of misconduct for representing conflicting interests. JJ. In the present case. the IBP Board of Governors resolved to adopt and approve the Report and Recommendation of the IBP Commissioner after finding it to be fully supported by the evidence on record. the applicable laws and rules.

is duty-bound to observe candor. Atty. we find no reason to apply the exception due to Atty.03. not for representation of conflicting interests. the Deed of Sale over the property was prepared and executed in the complainant‘s favor. we find — as the IBP Board of Governors did — Atty. At that point. We likewise agree with the penalty of suspension for one (1) year from the practice of law recommended by the IBP Board of Governors. as established by the following circumstances on record: One. As stated in paragraph 8 of the complaint: Atty. has advised his client [complainant] to execute the second sale[. fairness and loyalty in all dealings and transactions with the client. and third. there is a violation of the rule. Rule 15. Sabitsana accepted the engagement from Zenaida Cañete. Another test of inconsistency of interests is whether the acceptance of a new relation would prevent the full discharge of the lawyer‟s duty of undivided fidelity and loyalty to the client or invite suspicion of unfaithfulness or doubledealing in the performance of that duty. Canon 15 of the Code of Professional Responsibility provides an exception to the above prohibition. This penalty is consistent with existing jurisprudence on the administrative offense of representing conflicting interests. Sabitsana‘s actual knowledge of the conflicting interests between his two clients was demonstrated by his own actions: first. This is the standard of confidentiality that must prevail to promote a full disclosure of the client‘s most confidential information to his/her lawyer for an unhampered exchange of information between them. Sabitsana. One test is whether a lawyer is duty-bound to fight for an issue or claim in behalf of one client and. Atty. Four.] On the basis of the attendant facts of the case. Still another test is whether the lawyer would be called upon in the new relation to use against a former client any confidential information acquired through their connection or previous employment. the lawyer. the records show that Atty. Sabitsana takes exception to the IBP recommendation on the ground that the charge in the complaint was only for his alleged disclosure of confidential information. a client can only entrust confidential information to his/her lawyer based on an expectation from the lawyer of utmost secrecy and discretion. he filed a case against the complainant in behalf of Zenaida Cañete. finding him liable for the latter offense is a violation of his due process rights since he only answered the designated charge. We find no violation of Atty. Thus. the case he filed was for the annulment of the Deed of Sale that he had previously prepared and executed for the complainant. a matter covered by Rule 15. are present clients and the nature or conditions of the lawyer‘s respective retainers with each of themwould affect the performance of the duty of undivided fidelity to both clients. The relationship between a lawyer and his/her client should ideally be imbued with the highest level of trust and confidence. -A lawyer shall not represent conflicting interests except by written consent of all concerned given after a full disclosure of the facts. we find substantial evidence to support Atty. Three. he impleaded the complainant as the defendant in the case.‖[9] Jurisprudence has provided three tests in determining whether a violation of the above rule is present in a given case. Sabitsana agree to represent one client against another client in the same action. not only did Atty. at the same time. for his part. we agree with the findings and recommendations of the IBP Commissioner and the IBP Board of Governors.[11] Moreover. Canon 15 of the Code of Professional Responsibility quoted below: Rule 15. The records likewise show that although Atty. he also accepted a new engagement that entailed him to contend and oppose the interest of his other client in a property in which his legal services had been previously retained. Sabitsana failed to obtain the written consent of his two clients. accepted the commission as a Lawyer of ZENAIDA CANEJA. as required by Rule 15.03. Atty. it is ―enough that the opposing parties in one case. Sabitsana already had knowledge that Zenaida Cañete‘s interest clashed with the complainant‘s interests. Accordingly. Atty. if a lawyer‘s argument for one client has to be opposed by that same lawyer in arguing for the other client. Sabitsana wrote a letter to the complainant informing her of Zenaida Cañete‘s adverse claim to the property covered by the Deed of Sale and. . Sabitsana however did not disclose to the complainant that he was also being engaged as counsel by Zenaida Cañete. Although there was indeed a specific charge in the complaint. to oppose that claim for the other client. Sabitsana guilty of misconduct for representing conflicting interests.03. Atty. to recover lands from Complainant. Sabitsana‘s violation of the above rule.[10] [emphasis ours] Two. his legal services were initially engaged by the complainant to protect her interest over a certain property.‖ [8] To be held accountable under this rule. Jr. Sabitsana.‖ [7]The prohibition also applies even if the ―lawyer would not be called upon to contend for one client that which the lawyer has to oppose for the other client.The Court‟s Ruling After a careful study of the records. we are not unmindful that the complaint itself contained allegations of acts sufficient to constitute a violation of the rule on the prohibition against representing conflicting interests. Jr. Needless to state. To be sure. including this land where lawyer Atty.03. [6] Part of the lawyer‘s duty in this regard is to avoid representing conflicting interests. or that there would be no occasion to use the confidential information acquired from one to the disadvantage of the other as the two actions are wholly unrelated. To Atty. Sabitsana did not make a full disclosure of facts to the complainant and to Zenaida Cañete before he accepted the new engagement with Zenaida Cañete. Sabitsana‘s failure to comply with the requirements set forth under the rule. one of whom would lose the suit. By his acts. Sabitsana met with Zenaida Cañete to discuss the latter‘s legal interest over the property subject of the Deed of Sale. The records show that upon the legal advice of Atty. Sabitsana. Sabitsana‘s due process rights. second. despite the knowledge of the clashing interests between his two clients. urging her to settle the adverse claim. now Zenaida Cañete. Canon 15 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. [12] We note that Atty. However. Sabitsana. ―The proscription against representation of conflicting interests applies to a situation where the opposing parties are present clients in the same action or in an unrelated action. Atty.

respondent asked [the] permission of Mrs. Clemencio C. is found GUILTY of misconduct for representing conflicting interests in violation of Rule 15. the opportunity to explain one‘s side or the opportunity to seek a reconsideration of the action or ruling complained of. Because the defendant-to-be in the complaint (Civil Case No.[14] We have consistently held that the essence of due process is simply the opportunity to be informed of the charge against oneself and to be heard or. Atty. All told. SO ORDERED. we did this to a degree very much lesser than what the powers of this Court allows it to do in terms of the imposable penalty. the Court merely calls upon a member of the Bar to account for his actuations as an officer of the Court with the end in view of preserving the purity of the legal profession. by their misconduct.[15] These opportunities were all afforded to Atty. Cañete (which she granted) that he would first write a letter (Annex ―4‖) to the complainant proposing to settle the case amicably between them but complainant ignored it. Significantly. Sabitsana. Atty. Atty. as shown by the above circumstances. He is hereby SUSPENDED for one (1) year from the practice of law. premises considered. WHEREFORE. Sabitsana. Cañete on the ground she is now invoking in her instant complaint. we have already been lenient towards respondent lawyer. So respondent felt free to file the complaint against her. as applied to administrative proceedings.03. In this sense. . Sabitsana even admitted these allegations in his answer. Canon 15 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. We likewise aim to ensure the proper and honest administration of justice by purging the profession of members who. Neither did she object to respondent‘s handling the case in behalf of Mrs.[16] In the exercise of its disciplinary powers.[13] He also averred in his Answer that: 6b. disciplinary proceedings against lawyers are sui generis.Interestingly. Jr.[17] This is all that we did in this case. have proven themselves no longer worthy to be entrusted with the duties and responsibilities of an attorney. the Court resolves to ADOPT the findings and recommendations of the Commission on Bar Discipline of the Integrated Bar of thePhilippines. Sabitsana is DIRECTED to inform the Court of the date of his receipt of this Decision so that we can determine the reckoning point when his suspension shall take effect. B-1060) that he would file on behalf of Zenaida Caneja-Cañete was his former client (herein complainant).

On May 14. respondents. 70075 of the Court of First Instance of Manila. For the foregoing reasons. Mrs. 1949 My dear Mrs. that is to say. On his last point. Dizon. Serafin P. Manila J. vs.000 in Japanese military notes. Hilado: BLANDINA GAMBOA HILADO.R. No. Not receiving any answer to this suggestion.) VICENTE J. I believe. I expect that you will have great difficulty in proving that the real purchaser was other than Mr. 1943. Assad will not ordinarily prosper. . Attorney Francisco's letter to plaintiff. 1946. L-961 September 21. Dizon Vicente J. On October 5. JACOB ASSAD and SELIM JACOB ASSAD. Delgado. Attorney Francisco entered his appearance as attorney of record for the defendant in substitution for Attorney Ohnick. entitled "Blandina Gamboa Hilado vs. Hilado without your knowledge on the aforesaid date of May 3. Attorney Delgado. is in full as follows: and Flores for petitioner. The records of the case you loaned to me are herewith returned. as of May 3. FRANCISCO VJF/Rag. petitioner. Philippines Blandina July 13." I find that the basic facts which brought about the controversy between you and the defendant therein are as follows: (a) That you were the equitable owner of the property described in the complaint. does not quite strike me as so grossly inadequate as to warrant the annulment of the sale. 1945. 1945. Francisco for respondents. it was alleged. Dizon. S. Velilla and Balonkita who had withdrawn from the case. 1946. Assad had the right to presume that your husband had the legal right to dispose of the property as the transfer certificate of title was in his name. Moreover. the legal title to the property was with your husband. Hilado's now deceased husband. to disqualify Attorney Francisco. Flores and Rodrigo on June 3. wherein the case was and is pending. Attorneys Delgado. Yours very truly. filed a formal motion with the court. J. furthermore. On May 29. FRANCISCO. Manila. these attorneys filed an amended complaint by including Jacob Assad as party defendant. (b) That on May 3. on which occasion. Attorneys Ohnick. I regret to advise you that I cannot appear in the proceedings in your behalf. TUASON. Velilla and Balonkita filed an answer on behalf of the defendant. I am of the opinion that your action against Mr. VICENTE Attorney-at-Law 1462 Estrada. Blandina Gamboa Hilado brought an action against Selim Jacob Assad to annul the sale of several houses and lot executed during the Japanese occupation by Mrs. "she turned over the papers" to Attorney Francisco. mentioned above and identified as Exhibit A. 1943. FRANCISCO (Sgd. Hilado. and (c) That the property was sold by Mr. On January 28. Flores and Rodrigo registered their appearance as counsel for the plaintiff. lastly. wrote Attorney Francisco urging him to discontinue representing the defendants on the ground that their client had consulted with him about her case. nor on the simple allegation that the real purchaser was not a citizen of the Philippines. Gamboa Hilado From the papers you submitted to me in connection with civil case No. the price of P110. Attorney Dizon. Mr. JOSE GUTIERREZ DAVID. J. and on June 15. VICENTE J. the houses and lot pertained to your paraphernal estate. Assad. 1943. Upon the foregoing facts.: It appears that on April 23. Mr. Assad.Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila EN BANC G. considering that death has already sealed your husband's lips and he cannot now testify as to the circumstances of the sale. in the name of his firm. as the same was purchased and/or built with funds exclusively belonging to you. that the transaction cannot be avoided merely because it was made during the Japanese occupation. and the latter sent her a written opinion.

that he never saw Mrs.In his answer to plaintiff's attorneys' complaint. in the name of her husband. Hilado ensued. (5 Jones Commentaries on Evidence. (abstract). learned that Mrs. R. . is to strike at the element of confidence which lies at the basis of. Hilado against a certain Syrian to annul the sale of a real estate which the deceased Serafin Hilado had made to the Syrian during the Japanese occupation. or advocating his client's cause in open court. "information so received is sacred to the employment to which it pertains. her case would not prosper either. that Mrs. that this being his opinion. L. showed him a letter which had been dictated in English by Mr. p. That several days later. just as truly as when he is drawing his client's pleadings. 1917B. Hilado if there was a Torrens title to the property and she answered yes. that he then asked Mrs. (Denver Tramway Co. A. or his advice given thereon in the course of professional employment.. R. that he accepted the retainer and on January 28. cited in Vol.. a real estate broker came to his office in connection with the legal separation of a woman who had been deserted by her husband.R. J. Hilado had dropped in looking for him and that when he. (In re De la Rosa. and she did. 252." and section 19 (e) of Rule 127 imposes upon an attorney the duty "to maintain inviolate the confidence. Agrava. .) In fact the prohibition derives validity from sources higher than written laws and rules. Teofilo Ragodon. 1946. As has been aptly said in In re Merron.. to preserve the secrets of his client. Attorney Francisco filed an affidavit of stenographer Ragodon in corroboration of his answer.A.. . that Mrs. or. that according to her the case was in the hands of Attorneys Delgado and Dizon. his assistant. vs. that Mrs. The contract may be express or implied and it is sufficient that the advice and assistance of the attorney is sought and received. that Ragodon told him (Attorney Francisco) upon Attorney Agrava's request that Agrava thought it more proper to explain to Mrs. that he forthwith signed the letter without reading it and without keeping it for a minute in his possession. Hilado the reasons why her case was rejected. Kennington Co. If a person. in matters pertinent to his profession. Hilado came to see him about a suit she had instituted against a certain Syrian to annul the conveyance of a real estate which her husband had made. and concluded that the intercourse between the plaintiff and the respondent did not attain the point of creating the relation of attorney and client. 4118-4119. 364. and Co. that this woman asked him if he was willing to accept the case if the Syrian should give it to him. That one month afterwards. 1. to prosecute or defend an action in court of justice. M. dismissed the complaint. Assad was in his office to request him to handle his case stating that his American lawyer had gone to the States and left the case in the hands of other attorneys. contracts and the like. vs. His Honor believed that no information other than that already alleged in plaintiff's complaint in the main cause was conveyed to Attorney Francisco.. 11 Ky. without the consent of his client. Granting the facts to be no more than these. and at every peril to himself. upon arrival at his law office on Estrada street. or when he is giving advice thereon. be examined as to any communication made by the client to him.) Section 26 (e). Rule 123 of the Rules of Court provides that "an attorney cannot." and "to permit it to be used in the interest of another. entered his appearance. That in January. neither is it material that the attorney consulted did not afterward undertake the case about which the consultation was had. the relation of attorney and client. consults with his attorney in his professional capacity with the view to obtaining professional advice or assistance. . that he told the woman that the sales of real property during the Japanese regime were valid even though it was paid for in Japanese military notes. Howlett. Mrs. E. . 378. Agrava. Owens. that as he had known the plaintiff's deceased husband he did not hesitate to tell her frankly that hers was a lost case for the same reason he had told the broker. worse still. Hilado since their last meeting until she talked to him at the Manila Hotel about a proposed extrajudicial settlement of the case. bills. Stripped of disputed details and collateral matters. Attorney Francisco alleged that about May. but she wanted to take it away from them. see Hirach Bros.) An attorney is employed-that is." There is no law or provision in the Rules of Court prohibiting attorneys in express terms from acting on behalf of both parties to a controversy whose interests are opposed to each other. 107. It is not necessary that any retainer should have been paid. . that this opinion was reached on the basis of papers she had submitted at his office. Hilado's purpose in submitting those papers was to secure Attorney Francisco's professional services. in legal form such papers as deeds. L. then the professional employment must be regarded as established. that she requested him to read the complaint to be convinced that this was the theory of her suit. Hilado. (7 C. later promoted to the Court of Appeals. that he told Attorney Agrava that the firm should not handle Mrs. we agree with petitioner's counsel that the relation of attorney and client between Attorney Francisco and Mrs.. or to prepare and draft. Hilado's case and he should return the papers. in the interest of the adverse party. 22 N. Hilado's visit concerned legal matters he attended to her and requested her to leave the "expediente" which she was carrying. and also told him (Francisco) that there was a pending suit brought by Mrs. but that the premises were her private and exclusive property. or charged for." . 1945. R. and affords the essential security in. Hilado. 20 Colo. 1946... An acceptance of the relation is implied on the part of the attorney from his acting in behalf of his client in pursuance of a request by the latter. calling Agrava's attention to what he (Francisco) already had said to Mrs.. (Atkinson vs. returning the "expedients" to Mrs. pp. 848-849. he is engaged in his professional capacity as a lawyer or counselor-when he is listening to his client's preliminary statement of his case. the attorneys must be employed either to give advice upon a legal point. 88 A. in respect to his business affairs or troubles of any kind. 88. this much is undoubted: That Attorney Francisco's law firm mailed to the plaintiff a written opinion over his signature on the merits of her case. 258. Hilado retorted that the basis of her action was not that the money paid her husband was Japanese military notes. 848. 27 Phil. and the attorney voluntarily permits or acquiesces in such consultation. he was informed by Attorney Federico Agrava. but such prohibition is necessarily implied in the injunctions above quoted. Hilado that if the property was registered in her husband's favor. 6. 36 P. That some days afterward. S. promised. Honorable Jose Gutierrez David. the stenographer in his law office. The following rules accord with the ethics of the legal profession and meet with our approval: In order to constitute the relation (of attorney and client) a professional one and not merely one of principal and agent. that he told Mrs.) Formality is not an essential element of the employment of an attorney. L. Law Rep. The judge trying the case. he told his visitor he would have no objection to defending the Syrian.) To constitute professional employment it is not essential that the client should have employed the attorney professionally on any previous occasion.

" the purpose of which stems from the realization that the attorney is disabled from acting as counsel for the other side after he has given professional advice to the opposite party.. C. So without impugning respondent's good faith. by being retained by one party. With these thoughts in mind. we do believe that upon the admitted facts it is highly in expedient.) In order that a court may prevent an attorney from appearing against a former client.. that the right of . on terminating his employment. consisting of entangled relevant and irrelevant. on good taste. 553. by the nature of his connection with the firm is available to his associates or employers.) The defense that Attorney Agrava wrote the letter Exhibit A and that Attorney Francisco did not take the trouble of reading it. in a great number of litigations. the opinion was actually signed by the head of the firm and carries his initials intended to convey the impression that it was dictated by him personally. It is to prevent undue hardship on the attorney resulting from the rigid observance of the rule that a separate and independent fee for consultation and advice was conceived and authorized. secret and well known facts. but as to whether the attorney has adhered to proper professional standard. 201. This letter binds and estop him in the same manner and to the same degree as if he personally had written it. or fraudulent. which is to be sedulously fostered. to make the employment conditioned on the scope and character of the knowledge acquired by an attorney in determining his right to change sides. personal and private in character. S. 51 Nev. 7 C. 994. he acquired no knowledge which could operate to his client's disadvantage in the subsequent adverse employment. Section 2285. Without condemning the respondents conduct as dishonest. 181.J. (Strong vs. 183 Ill.) Communications between attorney and client are. inquiry of the nature suggested would lead to the revelation. would not enhance the freedom of litigants. Hilado's statement that other papers. 30 Hawaii. it behooves attorneys. S. J. Footnote 7. 77 Atl. cannot thereafter act as counsel against his client in the same general matter. "into public disrepute and suspicion and undermine the integrity of justice. the court said: "We are all of the one mind. for such member or assistant. Court. J.A. i. would not vary the situation even if we should discard Mrs. 432. like Caesar's wife. in advance of the trial.. (Boyd vs. and the payment of such fee. Cas. employers or assistants. representing one party in litigation. 274 P. J. Int. no secret communication was transmitted to him by the plaintiff. it is unnecessary that the ascertain in detail the extent to which the former client's affairs might have a bearing on the matters involved in the subsequent litigation on the attorney's knowledge thereof. Litigants would in consequence be wary in going to an attorney.. 2290. were turned in by her. but also to avoid the appearance of treachery and double-dealing. Ann.S. would not take the case out of the interdiction. in which throughout the conduct of the cause in the court below the attorney had been suffered so to act without objection. 97.) This rule has been so strictly that it has been held an attorney. corrupt. but his information. 7. (Christian vs. No progress could be hoped for in "the public policy that the client in consulting his legal adviser ought to be free from apprehension of disclosure of his confidence. lest by an unfortunate turn of the proceedings. a complicated affair.) This is not a mere fiction or an arbitrary rule.. It is intended to remunerate counsel for being deprived. 31 R. etc. objection to the appearance of an attorney was allowed even on appeal as a ground for reversal of the judgment. as in our case. As has been said in another case. this being so. D. not only acts in the name and interest of the firm. not only to keep inviolate the client's confidence. 1912S. The condition would of necessity call for an investigation of what information the attorney has received and in what way it is or it is not in conflict with his new position. 264.) Hence the necessity of setting down the existence of the bare relationship of attorney and client as the yardstick for testing incompatibility of interests.That only copies of pleadings already filed in court were furnished to Attorney Agrava and that.) It is founded on principles of public policy. the court need not inquire as to how much knowledge the attorney acquired from his former during that relationship. even if he should decline to perform the contemplated services on behalf of the latter.e. In the complexity of what is said in the course of the dealings between an attorney and a client. 628.. as in the present instance... F.. C. is neither made nor received in payment of the services contemplated. had formerly represented the adverse party with respect to the same matter involved in the litigation. but as well to protect the honest lawyer from unfounded suspicion of unprofessional practice. Palmer [1910]. I. In one case. the question is not necessarily one of the rights of the parties. The principle which forbids an attorney who has been engaged to represent a client from thereafter appearing on behalf of the client's opponent applies equally even though during the continuance of the employment nothing of a confidential nature was revealed to the attorney by the client. to consult with lawyers upon what they believe are their rights in litigation. "A retaining fee is a preliminary fee given to an attorney or counsel to insure and secure his future services. its payment has no relation to the obligation of the client to pay his attorney for the services which he has retained him to perform. if an investigation be held. before refusing to permit the attorney to represent the adverse party. Waialua Agricultural Co. Precedents are at hand to support the doctrine that the mere relation of attorney and client ought to preclude the attorney from accepting the opposite party's retainer in the same litigation regardless of what information was received by him from his first client. the fact remains that his firm did give Mrs. 52 App. 1019.. Second Judicial Dist. "Now the abstinence from seeking legal advice in a good cause is by hypothesis an evil which is fatal to the administration of justice." There is in legal practice what called "retaining fee.) Where it appeared that an attorney. The fact that petitioner did not object until after four months had passed from the date Attorney Francisco first appeared for the defendants does not operate as a waiver of her right to ask for his disqualification. Hilado a formal professional advice from which. 1923.R. Only thus can litigants be encouraged to entrust their secrets to their attorneys which is of paramount importance in the administration of justice. Miller. 2291. Ass'n.. 330. emerged the relation of attorney and client. 47 L. this. 986. If this letter was written under the circumstances explained by Attorney Francisco and he was unaware of its contents. as heretofore demonstrated. To make the passing of confidential communication a condition precedent." (7 C.. In that case." if the prohibition were not extended to the attorney's partners. even though. of other matters that might only further prejudice the complainant's cause. of which he is a distinguished member. of the opportunity of rendering services to the other and of receiving pay from him." (John H. (6 C. while acting for his former client. the court should accept the attorney's inaccurate version of the facts that came to him. not necessarily to prevent any injustice to the plaintiff but to keep above reproach the honor and integrity of the courts and of the bar.. The rule is all the more to be adhered to where. (Brown vs. 286. Bldg. and induce him to act for the client. This stern rule is designed not alone to prevent the dishonest practitioner from fraudulent conduct. An information obtained from a client by a member or assistant of a law firm is information imparted to the firm.. (Pierce vs.. in the absence of an express understanding to the contrary. And the theory would be productive of other un salutary results. we nevertheless can not sanction his taking up the cause of the adversary of the party who had sought and obtained legal advice from his firm. 828. Wigmore's Evidence. 792. It had the tendency to bring the profession.

S. Terr.. We conclude therefore that the motion for disqualification should be allowed. 102.the appellee to make his objection has not lapsed by reason of failure to make it sooner. 162. forming a part of the machinery of the law for the administration of justice and as such subject to the disciplinary authority of the courts and to its orders and directions with respect to their relations to the court as well as to their clients. Padilla. The courts have summary jurisdiction to protect the rights of the parties and the public from any conduct of attorneys prejudicial to the administration of the justice. The courts acts on the same principles whether the undertaking is to appear. (Charest vs. not to appear. JJ. Note 26. Montemayor. Paras. 1007. It is so ordered. The summary jurisdiction of the courts over attorneys is not confined to requiring them to pay over money collected by them but embraces authority to compel them to do whatever specific acts may be incumbent upon them in their capacity of attorneys to perform. 1 Wash..J. etc. C. concur. to answer declaration. (6 C. 321 A. without costs. that professional confidence once reposed can never be divested by expiration of professional employment. 1062. Griffin. The courts from the general principles of equity and policy. Ozaeta..S..W. or.. Reyes and Torres. Bengzon.. Moran. L.) Attorney stand on the same footing as sheriffs and other court officers in respect of matters just mentioned. R. Feria. 137 Minn. 1005." (Nickels vs. . 718 C. Bishop. 1316.. 374. J. will always look into the dealings between attorneys and clients and guard the latter from any undue consequences resulting from a situation in which they may stand unequal.) The complaint that petitioner's remedy is by appeal and not by certiorari deserves scant attention..J. for that matter.J. 7 C.) This summary remedy against attorneys flows from the facts that they are officers of the court where they practice. N.

On the second charge. Respondent averred that it was complainant who acknowledged that they did not own the Moran property for: (1) complainant‘s February 1979 Statement of Assets and Liabilities did not include the said property. Instead. In 1965.C. .000. 1998] On the first charge. vs. hence. Complainant averred that there is no distinction between respondent‘s law and auditing firms as respondent is the senior and controlling partner of both firms which are housed in the same building. 1979. In defense. Jose Nakpil became interested in purchasing a summer residence in Moran Street. Prepared and defended monetary claims against the estate that retained him as its counsel and auditor. Respondent explained that the Nakpils never bought back the Moran property from him. lawyer and accountant of the Nakpils. respondent acted as the legal counsel and accountant of his widow. Respondent also disclaimed knowledge or privity in the preparation of a letter (Exhibit ―H‖) of his accounting firm to the Baguio City treasurer remitting the real estate taxes for the Moran property on behalf of the Nakpils. She claimed that respondent represented conflicting interests when his accounting firm prepared the list of claims of creditors Angel Nakpil and ENORN. They agreed that respondent would keep the property in thrust for the Nakpils until the latter could buy it back. charged the loan secured to purchase the said excluded property as a liability of the estate. On February 13. J. the Caval Realty Corporation. ATTY. On the merit of the first charge. Carlos J. Baguio City. Baguio City.‖ Respondent insisted that this was not an admission that the Nakpils owned t he property as the phrase ―probably for the purchase‖ did not imply a consummated transaction but a projected acquisition. The ownership of the Moran property became an issue in the intestate proceedings. CARLOS J. CPAs) excluded the Moran property from the inventory of her husband‘s estate. respondent transferred the property to his corporation. J. Inc. signed the Balance Sheet of the Estate where the Moran property was not mentioned.SECOND DIVISION III.00) which he used to purchase and renovate the property. Baguio City.000.00.. yet included in the claims against the estate the amounts of P65. Excluded the Moran property from the ‗inventory of real estate properties‘ he prepared for a client-estate and. She claimed that respondent has expressly acknowledged that the said property belonged to the late Nakpil in his correspondences[3] with the Baguio City Treasurer and the complainant. while respondent‘s auditing firm (C. CPAs) acted as accountant of both the estate and two of its creditors. respondent‘s law firm. against her husband‘s estate whic h was represented by respondent‘s law firm. Complainant was appointed as administratix of the estate.‖ As to the third charge. IMELDA A. NAKPIL. He contended that the letter could be a mere error or oversight. On March 9. respondent reiterated his defense in the reconveyance case that he did not hold the Moran property in trust for the Nakpils as he is its absolute owner. and title was issued in its name.00 and P75. complainant filed this administrative case to disbar the respondent. complainant. complainant IMELDA NAKPIL. J. In hisANSWER. In charging his loans against the estate. Respondent‘s law firm then filed a petition for settlement of the estate of the deceased Nakpil but did not include the Moran property in the estate‘s inventory. (2) complainant. respondent obtained two (2) loans from a bank (in the amounts of P65. respondent denied preparing the list of claims against the estate which included his loans of P65. complainant alleged that she accepted respondent‘s offer to serve as lawyer and auditor to settle her husband‘s estate. respondent transferred his title to the Moran property to his company. 1973. VALDES dates back to the ‗50s during their schooldays in De La Salle and the Philippine Law School.00 and P75. Complainant accused respondent of maliciously appropriating the property in trust knowing that it did not belong to him. and. which respondent represented as her husband‘s loans applied ―probably for the purchase of a house and lot in Moran Street. 1978. complainant alleged that respondent‘s auditing firm (C. as administratrix. Assigned to his family corporation the Moran property (Pulong Maulap) which belonged to the estate he was settling as its lawyer and auditor.[2] [A. It was the Nakpils who occupied the Moran summer house. She charged that respondent violated professional ethics when he: I. complainant sought to recover the Moran property by filing with the then Court of First Instance (CFI) of Baguio City an action for reconveyance with damages against respondent and his corporation. During the pendency of the action for reconveyance. complainant alleged that respondent‘s law firm (Carlos J. DECISION PUNO. 2040. he requested respondent to purchase the Moran property for him.000.000. VALDES. Caval Realty Corporation. Title was then issued in respondent‘s name. all for the purpose of transferring the title to the said property to his family corporation. Valdes & Co.00 and P75. at the same time. he stressed that the list drawn up by his accounting firm merely stated that the loans in respondent‘s name were applied ―probably for the purchase of the house and lot in Moran Street. Their closeness extended to their families and respondent became the business consultant. We required respondent to answer the charges against him. March 4.. It appears that respondent excluded the Moran property from the inventory of Jose‘s estate. the property remained to be his and was rightly excluded from the inventory of Nakpil‘s estate. Valdes & Associates. [4] respondent initially asserted that the resolution of the first and second charges against him depended on the result of the pending action in the CFI for reconveyance which involved the issue of ownership of the Moran property. No. respondent claimed absolute ownership over the property and denied that a trust was created over it. II. handled the proceeding for the settlement of Jose‘s estate.000. On March 29. Valdes and Co. 1976.: The friendship of JOSE NAKPIL and respondent CARLOS J. Valdes and Associates) filed the petition for the settlement of her husband‘s estate in court. When Jose Nakpil died on July 8.respondent. As to the second charge.[1] For lack of funds.000. Pursuant to their agreement.00 for the purchase and renovation of the Moran property.

[10] In 1983. respondent resigned from his law and accounting firms as early as August 15. These two claimants had been clients of his law and accounting firms even during the lifetime of Jose Nakpil. we note that the case at bar presents a novel situation as it involves the disbarment of a CPA-lawyer for his demeanor in his accounting profession and law practice in connection with the property of his client. On February 18. Enrique O. Inc. complainant submitted her REPLY. Valdes and Co. but for all the representations and communications of his firms. the work of Carlos J. This rule is founded on public policy for. Sixth. Inc. As to the third charge. He urged that it is not per se anomalous for respondent‘s accounting firm to act as accountant for the estate and its creditors. He emphasized that there was no allegation that the claims were fraudulent or excessive and that the failure of respondent‘s law firm to object to these claims damaged th e estate. Third. i. Inc. as accountant of the estate of Jose Nakpil and filed with the intestate court by C. CPAs) served as accountant of the estate and prepared the claims of creditors Angel Nakpil and ENORN. He alleged that his accounting firm merely prepared the list of claims of the creditors Angel Nakpil and ENORN.[7] She maintained that the pendency of the reconveyance case is not prejudicial to the investigation of her disbarment complaint against respondent for the issue in the latter is not the ownership of the Moran property but the ethics and morality of respondent‘s conduct as a CPA-lawyer. Inc. 1979. Hence. 1974. the CFI of Baguio dismissed the action for reconveyance.. On November 12. On appeal. J. In his REJOINDER. Inc.[9] we deferred further action on the disbarment case until after resolution of the action for reconveyance between the parties involving the issue of ownership by the then CFI of Baguio. against the estate. The OSG found that respondent was not put on notice of complainant‘s claim over the property. He averred that his law firm did not oppose these claims as they were legitimate and not because they were prepared by his accounting firm. Complainant refuted respondent‘s claim that he resigned from his firms from March 9. Complainant has started paying off the claims of Angel Nakpil and ENORN. an attorney is in an easy position to take advantage of the credulity and . In our January 21. courts carefully watch these transactions to assure that no advantage is taken by a lawyer over his client. As a rule. the Court of Appeals reversed the trial court. a lawyer is not barred from dealing with his client but the business transaction must be characterized with utmost honesty and good faith. Valdes and Associates as counsel for the estate.e. he should be held accountable in another forum. Thus. Thus. Percival Cendaña (from the law firm Carlos Valdes & Associates) who filed the inestate proceedings in court in 1976. there was no conflict of interests between the estate and the claimants for they had forged a modus vivendi. who filed the intestate proceedings in court. Complainant urged that respondent cannot disown unfavorable documents (the list of claims against the estate and the letter regarding Nakpil‘s payments of realty tax on the Moran property) which were prepared by his law and accounting firms and invoke other documents prepared by the same firms which are favorable to him. The OSG recommended the dismissal of the administrative case. It also found no conflict of interests as the claimants were related to the late Jose Nakpil. as common auditor redounded to the benefit of the estate for the firm prepared a true and accurate amount of the claim. Inc. Claimant ENORN. The Decision was elevated to this Court. The OSG relied heavily on the decision of the Court of Appeals then pending review by this Court.[5] However. during the pendency of complainant‘s appeal to this Court. Chan. 1986. The appellate court held that respondent was the absolute owner of the Moran property. It opined that there was no trust agreement created over the property and that respondent was the absolute owner thereof. Complainant alleged that respondent‘s Annexes to his Reply (such as the Statement of Assets & Liability of the Nakpils and the Balance Sheet of the Estate) which showed that complainant did not claim ownership of the Moran property were all prepared by C. i. Valdes and Co.Respondent admitted that complainant retained the services of his law and accounting firms in the settlement of her husband‘s estate. Claimant Angel Nakpil is a brother of the late Nakpil who. became the President of ENORN.‖ She alleged that none of the documents submitted as evidence referred to his resignation from his law firm. as administratrix. he committed such ―misconduct‖ not as a lawyer but as an accountant who acted as common auditor of the estate and its creditors. that the subject claims would be satisfied only after full payment of the principal bank creditors. Their claims were not defended by his accounting or law firm but by Atty. the unethical acts of respondent as a CPA-lawyer.‖[13] Business transactions between an attorney and his client are disfavored and discouraged by the policy of the law. Prefatorily.[12] The measure of good faith which an attorney is required to exercise in his dealings with his client is a much higher standard than is required in business dealings where the parties trade at ―arms length. She averred that respondent must accept responsibility not just for some. Complainant charged respondent with greed for coveting the Moran property on the basis of defects in the documents he himself prepared.[8] respondent insisted that complainant cannot hold him liable for representing the interests of both the estate and the claimants without showing that his action prejudiced the estate. respondent alleged that in the remote possibility that he committed a breach of professional ethics. Second. he pointed out that he has resigned from his law and accounting firms as early as 1974.e. his alleged representation of conflicting interests was with the knowledge and consent of complainant as administratrix. but as accountant for both the estate and its claimants. He submitted as proof the SEC‘s certification of the filing of his accounting firm of an Amended Articles of Partnership. is a family corporation of the Nakpils of which the late Nakpil was the President. Complainant. He reiterated that he is not subject to the jurisdiction of this Court for he acted not as lawyer.. Fourth. the claimants were represented by their own counsel Atty. He proffered the following reasons for his thesis: First. 1980 Resolution. The trial court ruled that respondent held the Moran property in trust for the Nakpils but found that complainant waived her right over it. the OSG submitted its Report[11] on the disbarment complaint. On the other hand. it uphel d respondent‘s right to transfer title to his family corporation. We granted her motion and referred the administrative case to the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) for investigation. after satisfying the banks‘ claims. by virtue of his office. report and recommendation. Hence. from the firm Carlos J. respondent denied there was a conflict of interest when his law firm represented the estate in the inestate proceedings while his accounting firm (C. Fifth. did not controvert the claims of Angel Nakpil and ENORN. J. Valdes and Associates. Complainant alleged that she signed the documents because of the professional counsel of respondent and his firm that her signature thereon was required. upon the latter‘s death. Enrique Chan.. Complainant did not assert that their claims caused prejudice to the estate. the two claimants were closely related to the late Nakpil. He alleged that it was Atty. Complainant moved for reconsideration on the ground that the issue of ownership pending with the CFI was not prejudicial to her complaint which involved an entirely different issue. The documents merely substantiated his resignation from his accounting firm. J. Valdes & Co. 1976 to ―several years later. it was not he but Atty. She averred that these Annexes were not proofs that respondent owned the Moran property but were part of respondent‘s scheme to remove the property from the estate and transfer it to his family corporation. Percival Cendaña. [6] He rejoined his accounting firm several years later.

[21] However. he should have at least informed complainant of his adverse claim. He theorizes that the inclusion of the loans must have been a mere error or oversight of his accounting firm. representation of conflicting interests may be allowed where the parties consent to the representation.[16] It is well-established that respondent offered to the complainant the services of his law and accounting firms by reason of their close relationship dating as far back as the ‗50s. the accounting firm of herein respondent. 1976 and as of 1978. respondent‘s law firm questioned the claims of creditor Angel Nakpil against the estate. It is clear that the information as to how these two loans should be treated could have only come from respondent himself as the said loans were in his name. It applies although the attorney‘s intentions and motives were honest and he acted in good faith. who filed the intestate case in court. x x x (H)e repudiated the trust when (he) excluded Pulong Maulap from the list of properties of the late Jose Nakpil submitted to the intestate court in 1973.ignorance of his client. Hence. If respondent truly believed that the said property belonged to him. ―J‖ was that respondent Valdes would x x x „take over the total loan ofP140. through his accounting firm.” which is a list of the application of the proceeds of various FUB loans contracted as of 31 December 1973 by the late Jose Nakpil. Percival Cendaña. which she also adduced in this administrative case. As established in the records of this case and in the reconveyance case. x x x contains the two (2) loans contracted in the name of respondent. and not merely in trust for Jose Nakpil. If they could not agree on its ownership. the intestate proceedings was still pending in . which was prepared by Carlos J. should estop respondent from claiming that he bought the Moran property for himself.. Disclosure alone is not enough for the clients must give their informed consent to such representation. at the same time. he expressly recognized it. It is generally the rule. Respondent‘s misuse of his legal expertise to deprive his client of the Moran property is clearly unethical.[17] thus: ―x x x Valdes (herein respondent) never repudiated the trust during the lifetime of the late Jose Nakpil. [14] In the case at bar. Nakpil and/or the property itself. Respondent seeks to exculpate himself from this charge by disclaiming knowledge or privity in the preparation of the list of the estate‘s liabilities. charged the two loans ofP65. These findings were based mainly on the decision of the Court of Appeals in the action for reconveyance which was reversed by this Court in 1993. Thus. the supposed error of the accounting firm in charging respondent‘s loans against the estate could not have been committed without respondent‘s participation. respondent later transferred it to his corporation. respondent denies that he represented complainant in the intestate proceedings. 1978. [19] The proscription against representation of conflicting interests finds application where the conflicting interests arise with respect to the same general matter[20] and is applicable however slight such adverse interest may be. [18] It ought to follow that respondent‘s act of excluding Moran property from the estate which his law firm was representing evinces a lack of fidelity to the cause of his client. In violation of the trust agreement.[15] As to the first two charges. In fact. respondent claimed absolute ownership over the property and refused to sell the property to complainant after the death of Jose Nakpil. He points out that it was one Atty. Respondent‘s claim of resignation from his law firm is not supported by any documentary proof. There is clearly a conflict between the interest of the estate which stands as the debtor. As regards the third charge. It is highly improper to represent both sides of an issue. the intestate proceedings for the settlement of Jose‘s estate had not yet been terminated. these loans should not have been included in the list. This does not mean. It does not escape us that when respondent transferred the Moran property to his corporation on February 13.000. after full disclosure of facts. x x x Valdes could already automatically assume ownership of Pulong Maulap. To make matters worse. However. based on sound public policy. respondent should have formally presented his claim in the intestate proceedings instead of transferring the property to his own corporation and concealing it from complainant and the judge in the estate proceedings. Contrary to the findings of the OSG. Valdes and Caval Realty Corporation was to proceed against the estate of the late Jose M. Valdes & Associates. Exhibit “I-2. respondent. [23] respondent acted as counsel and accountant of complainant after the death of Jose Nakpil. Valdes & Co. Angel Nakpil. what the parties merely agreed to under the arrangement outlined in Exh. x x x xxx ―The fact that there was no transfer of ownership intended by the parties x x x can be bolstered by Exh. The documents on record[24] only show respondent‘s resignation from his accounting firm in 1972 and 1974. She reposed her complete trust in respondent who was the lawyer. Respondent wanted to ―have his cake and eat it too‖ and subordinated the interest of his client to his own pecuniary gain. Respondent‘s bad faith in transferring the property to his family corporation is well discussed in this Court‘s Decision. that an attorney cannot represent adverse interests. we are bound by the factual findings of this Court in the aforementioned reconveyance case. there is no question that the interests of the estate and that of it creditors are adverse to each other. On the contrary. The lawyer must explain to his clients the nature and extent of conflict and the possible adverse effect must be thoroughly understood by his clients. Respondent and the late Nakpil agreed that the former would purchase the Moran property and keep it in trust for the latter. we further ruled that complainant‘s documentary e vidence (Exhibits ―H‖. ―I-2. Respondent violated Canon 17 of the Code of Professional Responsibility which provides that a lawyer owes fidelity to his client‘s cause and enjoins him to be mindful of the trust and confidence reposed on him. no presumption of innocence or improbability of wrongdoing is considered in an attorney‘s favor.‖ an annex to the claim filed against the estate proceedings of the late Jose Nakpil by his brother. Respondent‘s accounting firm prepared the list of assets and liabilities of the estate and. the remedy of respondents Carlos J. from his law firm Carlos J. after said loans were obtained by respondent for the purchase and renovation of the property which he claimed for himself. that if at the end of the five-year period petitioner (Nakpil) failed to reimburse Valdes for his advances. at one instance.000. Instead. If ownership of Pulong Maulap was already transferred or ceded to Valdes. as we view it. we cannot subscribe to the findings of the OSG in its Report.00 as liability of the estate. the fact that he did not personally file the case and appear in court is beside the point.[22] In the case at bar.000.00 and P75. we hold that respondent is guilty of representing conflicting interests. To place the property beyond the reach of complainant and the intestate court. however. ‖ (emphasis supplied) In the said reconveyance case. computed the claims of two creditors of the estate. Even these documents reveal that respondent returned to his accounting firm on July 1. Respondent‘s defense that he resigned from his law and accounting firms as early as 1974 (or two years before the filing of the intestate case) is unworthy of merit. To exculpate himself. ―Indeed. ―J‖ and ―L‖). respondent initially acknowledged and respected the trust nature of the Moran property. accountant and business consultant of her late husband. and that of the two claimants who are creditors of the estate.00 and pay all of the interests due on the notes‟ while the heirs of the late Jose Nakpil would continue to live in the disputed property for five (5) years without remuneration save for regular maintenance expenses.

He is the senior partner of his law and accounting firms which carry his name. Thus. Valdes & Co. When a creditor files a claim against an estate. as long as it shows him to be wanting in moral character. allowing his law firm to represent the estate in the proceedings where these claims were presented. CARLOS J. that complainant. Prescinding from these premises.J. The rule is settled that a lawyer may be suspended or disbarred for ANY misconduct. Thus. Let copies of this Decision be furnished all courts. respondent undoubtedly placed his law firm in a position where his loyalty to his client could be doubted. his interest is per se adverse to the estate. the duty of respondent‘s law firm was to contest the claims of these two creditors but which claims were prepared by respondent‘s accounting firm. a lawyer should determine his conduct by acting in a manner that would promote public confidence in the integrity of the legal profession. Valdes & Associates was the legal counsel of the estate[25] and his accounting firm. He is charged for allowing his accounting firm to represent two creditors of the estate and. [27] Possession of good moral character is not only a prerequisite to admission to the bar but also a continuing requirement to the practice of law. We also hold that the relationship of the claimants to the late Nakpil does not negate the conflict of interest. complainant is not charging respondent with breach of ethics for being the common accountant of the estate and the two creditors. even if it pertains to his private activities. her silence regarding the arrangement does not amount to an acquiescence based on an informed consent. We do not agree. He is suspended from the practice of law for a period of one (1) year effective from receipt of this Decision.. Respondent claims that complainant knew that his law firm Carlos J.court. VALDES guilty of misconduct. honesty. Thus. at the same time. . not certainty of conflict. CPAs. the set-up is still undesirable. as well as the Integrated Bar of the Philippines and the Office of the Bar Confidant. the succession of events shows that respondent could not have been totally ignorant of the proceedings in the intestate case. was the auditor of both the estate and the two claimants against it. did not object to the set-up cannot be taken against her as there is nothing in the records to show that respondent or his law firm explained the legal situation and its consequences to complainant. fairness and loyalty in his dealings and transactions with his clients. her claim is still adverse and must be filed in the intestate proceedings. as administratrix.[26] The fact. SO ORDERED. probity or good demeanor. In the case at bar. if she had a claim against her husband‘s estate. The act is a breach of professional ethics and undesirable as it placed respondent‘s and his law firm‘s loyalty under a cloud of doubt. Even granting that respondent‘s misconduct refers to his accountancy practice. Respondent advances the defense that assuming there was conflict of interest. Respondent is a CPA-lawyer who is actively practicing both professions. In the estate proceedings. As correctly pointed out by complainant. the Court finds respondent ATTY. respondent exhibited less than full fidelity to his duty to observe candor. [28] In the case at bar. he could not be charged before this Court as his alleged ―misconduct‖ pertains to his accounting practice. with a warning that a similar infraction shall be dealt with more severely in the future. it would not prevent this Court from disciplining him as a member of the Bar. The test to determine whether there is a conflict of interest in the representation is probability. C. Public confidence in law and lawyers may be eroded by the irresponsible and improper conduct of a member of the bar. [29] IN VIEW WHEREOF. however. Even if the claims were valid and did not prejudice the estate. It was respondent‘s duty to inhibit either of his firms from said proceedings to avoid the probability of conflict of interest. Members of the bar are expected to always live up to the standards embodied in the Code of Professional Responsibility as the relationship between an attorney and his client is highly fiduciary in nature and demands utmost fidelity and good faith.

and the consequent loss of lives of some of petitioner‘s relatives and destruction of his family‘s properties. the complaint was dismissed again by the RTC for lack of sufficient and credible evidence. that the National Power Corporation (NAPOCOR) recklessly.800. the RTC issued an Order directing respondent to deliver the check to the Sheriff of the court who will subsequently deliver it to petitioner.00). Ponciano Hernandez. in the name of petitioner which was eventually received by the latter. the following: A. only four bodies were recovered and only petitioner and one of his sons.961. upon motion filed by respondent.00 payable to petitioner. Bulacan.00). ordering defendants-appellees to pay jointly and severally. On 21 December 1979. Norzagaray. the joint decision appealed from is hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE.060. Respondent.060. Said dismissal was questioned directly to this Court which set aside the RTC decision and ordered the reinstatement of the complaint. plaintiff-appellant. J. Thereafter. which reversed the RTC decision and awarded damages in favor of petitioner. HERNANDEZ. which affirmed the Court of Appeals Decision. attorney‘s fees in an amount equivalent to 15% of the total amount awarded. On 7 April 1994. G. and FRANCISCO RAYOS.00 from respondent. "Francisco Rayos v. Bulacan. As a consequence. ATTY. 5 The case was appealed to this Court. plaintiffs-appellants. vs. On 24 January 1994 . Thus. Norzagaray. petitioner initiated this complaint for disbarment for the failure of respondent to return the rest of the award in the amount of P557.Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila THIRD DIVISION xxxx 2. PONCIANO G. the resultant swelling and flooding of Angat River. on 4 July 1994. The complaint alleged. the check was turned over to respondent as counsel of petitioner. but the latter refused.000. NAPOCOR issued Check No. respondent refused to surrender the check. corresponding to the damages awarded by the Court of Appeals. for which he sought damages. ordering defendants-appellees to pay. Despite the Court Order. Thus. justifies his retention as a means to ensure payment of his attorney‘s fees. petitioner filed with the RTC a motion 8 to direct respondent to deliver to him the check issued by NAPOCOR. 6 The Decision of the Supreme Court became final and executory on 4 August 1993.00). 014710 dated 5 January 1994. In Civil Case No. with legal interest from the date when this decision shall have become final and executory.000.21. Actual damages of Five Hundred Twenty Thousand Pesos (P520.: This is a Petition for Review 1 of the Resolution dated 12 March 2005 of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP). the dispositive portion of which reads: CONFORMABLY TO THE FOREGOING.000. in all the four (4) instant cases. in the amount of P1. xxxx In addition. and a new one is hereby rendered: C. Inc. Moral Damages of Five Hundred Thousand Pesos (P500. 3 On 30 April 1990. Litigation Expenses of Ten Thousand Pesos (P10. 2007 B. Petitioner. 9 Respondent. . during the occurrence of typhoon "Kading" causing the release of a great volume of stored water. the complaint was dismissed 2 on the ground that the State cannot be sued without its consent as the operation and management of Angat Dam. NAPOCOR.R. SM-951. Petitioner demanded the turn over of the check from respondent. among other things. However. DECISION CHICO-NAZARIO.800. imprudently and negligently opened the three floodgates of the spillway of Angat Dam at midnight of 26 October 1978 until the early morning hours of 27 October 1978. however. A Writ of Execution was subsequently issued." filed before the Regional Trial Court (RTC). claiming that respondent had no authority to receive the same as he was already dismissed by petitioner as his counsel on 21 November 1993. SM-951 entitled. Petitioner sought to recover the check in the amount of P1. German Rayos. No. jointly and severally. respondent deposited the amount of P502. 169079 February 12. survived. were governmental functions. dismissing petitioner Francisco Rayos‘s complaint for disbarment against respondent Atty. a Writ of Execution 7 was issued by the RTC on 10 December 1993. Respondent was the counsel of petitioner in Civil Case No. 4 The case was subsequently appealed to the Court of Appeals.. Malolos. on the other hand.79 with Farmers Savings and Loan Bank. Of the 10 members of petitioner‘s family who perished.838.

and. approving and adopting the recommendation of the Investigating Commissioner. petitioner and respondent supposedly agreed on a 40%-60% sharing. SM-951. In a Resolution dated 9 August 1995. But respondent was not justified to hold on the entire amount of award collected by him until his fees had been paid and received by him.A lawyer shall deliver the funds and property of his client when due or upon demand.120. It is only after an Order was issued by the RTC ordering the delivery of the check to petitioner that the respondent partially delivered the amount of P502. finding the recommendation fully supported by the evidence on record and the applicable laws and rules. the IBP issued its Resolution dated 12 March 2005. Respondent further asseverated that because petitioner dismissed the respondent and refused to settle his obligation. as it hereby ADOPTED and APPROVED. report and recommendation. The Court notes that respondent represented petitioner from the time of filing of the complaint in Civil Case No. from the trial court up to the Supreme Court. warrants the imposition of disciplinary action. and the amount of P63. respondent received a letter dated 15 November 1993 from Atty. Navarro B.00 awarded as attorney‘s fees by the Court of Appeals) on 19 May 1994. it also impairs public confidence in the legal profession and deserves punishment. the same is hereby DISMISSED.79 in accordance with the RTC Order dated 7 April 1994. SM-951. In the case at bar. respectively. The threshold issue in this petition is: whether respondent is justified in retaining the amount awarded to petitioner in Civil Case No. he shall have a lien over the funds and may apply so much thereof as may be necessary to satisfy his lawful fees and disbursements.03 of the Code of Professional Responsibility.) But the fact alone that a lawyer has a lien for fees on moneys in his hands collected for his client. of the court award.21 as payment for his attorney‘s fees. but still retaining for himself the amount of P557. 15 We do not agree in the recommendation of the IBP. Jose G. 19 Thus. does not relieve him of his duty to promptly account for the moneys received.648.In his comment. Bruno asking him to comment on the therein attached letter dated 19 November 1993 of petitioner addressed to NAPOCOR. Bulacan. 18 It is true that under Canon 16. In short. what respondent should have properly done in the case at bar was to provide the petitioner with an accounting before deducting his attorney‘s fees and then to turn over the remaining balance of the award collected to petitioner. By virtue of the contract. in Civil Case No. herein made part of this Resolution as Annex "A". thus: RESOLVED to ADOPT and APPROVE. 17 The failure of an attorney to return the client‘s money upon demand gives rise to the presumption that he has misappropriated it for his own use to the prejudice and violation of the general morality. SM-951 before what is now the RTC and of the appeal of the same case to the Court of Appeals and Supreme Court.838.838.961. as above-stated. his failure to do so constitutes professional misconduct. as well as of professional ethics. 16 Canon 16 of the Code of Professional Responsibility provides as follows: CANON 16 . 10 respondent alleged that he handled petitioner‘s case.03. he received a letter from petitioner dismissing him as counsel. for 15 years. as in this case. a lawyer‘s unjustified withholding of money belonging to his client. 13 the Court referred the case to the Commission on Bar Discipline of the IBP for investigation. A series of hearings were conducted by the Commission on Bar Discipline of the IBP at the IBP Building. Investigating Commissioner Lydia A. Respondent contended that the petitioner‘s complaint was without basis and was meant only to harass and put him to shame before the residents of Norzagaray. an attorney has the following rights. he breached the trust reposed on him.320. 12 Petitioner already received the amount ofP502. Respondent fell far short of this standard when he failed to render an accounting for the amount actually received by him on behalf of his client and when he refused to turn over any portion of said . Respondent also averred that petitioner had a verbal contract for attorney‘s fees on a contingent basis and that the said contract was only reduced in writing on 6 October 1991. The claim of the respondent that petitioner failed to pay his attorney‘s fees is not an excuse for respondent‘s failure to deliver the amount to the petitioner. Pasig City. Rule 16. 14 recommending the dismissal of the case. duly signed by both of them.01 – A lawyer shall account for all money or property collected or received for or from the client. Ortigas Center. On 1 February 2005. An attorney must exercise the utmost good faith and fairness in all his relationship vis-à-vis his client. (Emphases supplied.79 to the former. when respondent withheld and refused to deliver the NAPOCOR check representing the amount awarded by the court in Civil Case No. The relationship of attorney and client has always been rightly regarded as one of special trust and confidence. Rule 16. the Report and Recommendation of the Investigating Commissioner of the above-entitled case. He shall also have a lien to the same extent on all judgments and executions he has secured for his client as provided for in the Rules of Court. giving notice promptly thereafter to his client. which he received on behalf of his client (petitioner herein).A lawyer shall hold in trust all moneys and properties of his client that may come into his possession. A lawyer is not entitled to unilaterally appropriate his client‘s money for himself by the mere fact alone that the client owes him attorney‘s fees. 381 (representing petitioner‘s share of 40% of the total award ) on 10 May 1994 11 . However. 389 (representing petitioner‘s share of 40% of the P159. Funa submitted her Report and Recommendation. requesting that the award of damages granted by the Court of Appeals and affirmed by the Supreme Court be paid to him. Respondent was entitled to receive 60% of the award because petitioner agreed to pay him 40% of the award as attorney‘s fees and 20% of the award as litigation expenses.00 in petitioner‘s name under Account No.00 in a bank in petitioner‘s name under Account No. from March to September 2001. On 21 November 1993. Simultaneous thereto. he deposited the amount of P424. and considering that the case lacks merit. Moneys collected by an attorney on a judgment rendered in favor of his client constitute trust funds and must be immediately paid over to the client. Thereafter. SM-951 to assure payment of his attorney‘s fees.

and the professional standing of the attorney. now a corollary issue of whether the stipulated attorney‘s fees are unreasonable and unconscionable under the circumstances of the case as to warrant a reduction thereof. 32 The decree of unconscionability or unreasonableness of a stipulated amount in a contingent fee contract. ay nagpapatunay sa mga sumusunod: Na. Upon taking his attorney‘s oath as an officer of the court. Rule 138. not just to guarantee that the fees he charges and receives remain reasonable and commensurate with the services rendered. his client. Hernandez. undue influence or suppression of facts on the part of the attorney. ang ano mang aking makukuha ay hahatiin gaya ng sumusunod: 40% ang para sa akin. Ponciano G. ako ay nakipagkasundo sa aking abogado.An attorney shall be entitled to have and recover from his client no more than a reasonable compensation for his services. will not. The agreement provides: UNAWAIN NG LAHAT SA PAMAMAGITAN NITO: Ako. or that a legal fraud had been perpetrated on him. and first and foremost. with the sanction of law. placed his private and personal interest above that of his client. agreement as to fees. but may disregard such testimony and base its conclusion on its own professional knowledge. Oftentimes." Likewise. sa pamamagitan ng kasulatang ito. A written contract for services shall control the amount to be paid therefor unless found by the court to be unconscionable or unreasonable. Kung matalo ako sa kaso ay wala akong sagutin sa aking abogado. the contingent fee arrangement is the only means by which the poor and helpless can seek redress for injuries sustained and have their rights vindicated. Hernandez. ako ay lumagda sa kasunduang ito dito sa Norzagaray. gaya ng sumusunod: 1 Sakaling ipanalo ang aking usapin. It is a calling that. A much higher compensation is allowed as contingent fee in consideration of the risk that the lawyer may get nothing if the suit fails. a lawyer submits himself to the authority of the courts to regulate his right to charge professional fees. public policy demands that said contract be disregarded to protect the client from unreasonable exaction. may sapat na gulang at ngayon ay naninirahan sa Pinagbarilan. 23 There is another aspect to this case which the Court cannot just gloss over. the amount of attorney‘s fees due is that stipulated in the retainer agreement which is conclusive as to the amount of the lawyer‘s compensation. with a view to the importance of the subject matter of the controversy. This means to say that the amount of the fee contracted for. is not capital that yields profits. 20 Law advocacy. Section 24. si Francisco Rayos. 29 Section 13 of the Canons of Professional Ethics states that "a contract for a contingent fee." 28 Contingent fee contracts are subject to the supervision and close scrutiny of the court in order that clients may be protected from unjust charges. should be reasonable under all the circumstances of the case including the risk and uncertainty of the compensation. No court shall be bound by the opinion of attorneys as expert witnesses as to the proper compensation.amount to his client upon the pretext that his attorney‘s fees had not at all been paid. in fact. 31 There is. unlike mercantile pursuits which enjoy a greater deal of freedom from governmental interference. (SGD)PONCIANO G. where sanctioned by law. Bulacan. a contingent fee comprising of forty percent (40%) as attorney‘s fees and twenty percent (20%) as litigation expenses. however. standing alone and unexplained would be sufficient to show that an unfair advantage had been taken of the client. of the Rules of Court provides: SEC. therefore. It merely justifies the fixing by the court of a reasonable compensation for the lawyer‘s services. but should always be subject to the supervision of a court. Pilipino. 26 The amount of contingent fee agreed upon by the parties is subject to the stipulation that counsel will be paid for his legal services only if the suit or litigation prospers. kaugnay sa aking usapin laban sa NPC at Benjamin Chavez (Rayos vs. Ponciano G.) The reduction of unreasonable attorney‘s fees is within the regulatory powers of the courts. or found to have been marred by fraud. The returns it births are simple rewards for a job done or service rendered. We have held that lawyering is not a moneymaking venture and lawyers are not merchants. 2. mistake. et al. Generally. NPC. preclude recovery. 20% ay ilalabas bilang gastos sa kaso. HERNANDEZ (SGD)FRANCISCO RAYOS Abogado May Usapin 24 A contingent fee arrangement is valid in this jurisdiction 25 and is generally recognized as valid and binding but must be laid down in an express contract. the extent of the services rendered. Respondent claimed that he charged petitioner. . 27 Contracts of this nature are permitted because they redound to the benefit of the poor client and the lawyer "especially in cases where the client has meritorious cause of action. for which it is subject to State regulation. is impressed with a public interest. Resp ondent had. 40% ang para kay Atty. Compensation of attorney‘s. 24. Bulacan ngayong ika-6 ng Oktubre 1991. Sr. Stipulated attorney‘s fees are unconscionable whenever the amount is by far so disproportionate compared to the value of the services rendered as to amount to fraud perpetrated upon the client. as to its reasonableness. an officer of the court and participates in the fundamental function of administering justice in society. it has been stressed.) na ngayon ay nakabinbin sa Court of Appeals. 22 It follows that a lawyer‘s compensation for professional services rendered is subject to the supervision of the court. make a contract for a contingent fee to be paid out of the proceeds of the litigation. but also to maintain the dignity and integrity of the legal profession to which he belongs. but no means with which to pay for legal services unless he can. Atty. he is also. A stipulation on a lawyer‘s compensation in a written contract for professional services ordinarily controls the amount of fees that the contracting lawyer . (Underscoring supplied.. 21 A lawyer is not merely the defender of his client‘s cause and a trustee of his client‘s cause of action and assets. 30 When the courts find that the stipulated amount is excessive or the contract is unreasonable. Sa katunayan ng lahat. Baliwag.

To deprive one of such an office is often to decree poverty to the lawyer and destitution to his family. Petitioner also had to face the loss and destruction of his family‘s properties. Rule 138 of the Rules of Court. (4) the responsibility imposed. time. We believe and so hold that the contingent fee here claimed was. v. (g) The amount involved in the controversy and the benefits resulting to the client from the service. 36 Rule 20. 45 15%.800. probity and good demeanor. (5) the amount of money or the value of the property affected by the controversy or involved in the employment. petitioner would easily succumb and readily agree to the demands of respondent lawyer regarding his attorney‘s fees. the respondent took risk in representing petitioner on a contingent fee basis. respondent actually collected fifty-three percent (53%) or more than half of the total amount due the petitioner. 42 20%. when considered in conjunction with the circumstances of this case.00 as attorney‘s fees. At first. Lastly. 39 the rate of attorney‘s fees allowed was 25%. (f) The customary charges for similar services and the schedule of fees of the IBP Chapter to which he belongs. a fee of 35% of the amount awarded to petitioner would be a fair compensation for respondent‘s legal services. Hernandez.. would accomplish the end desired. respondent Atty. in Cosmopolitan Insurance Co. whether in his professional or private capacity. however. As adverted to above. Under such circumstances and given his understandable desire to recover the damages for the loss of his loved ones and properties. 47 Disbarment. Said award was sustained by the Supreme Court. therefore. (i) The character of the employment.may be allowed.00 award for damages paid by NAPOCOR to petitioner. the petitioner. Canon 20 of the Code of Professional Responsibility enumerates the following factors which should guide a lawyer in determining his fees: (a) The time spent and the extent of the services rendered or required. (h) The contingency or certainty of compensation. Dimayuga.. in Polytrade Corporation v. Court of Appeals. Courts may ascertain also if the attorney‘s fees are found to be excessive. on 26-27 October 1978 because of the negligent release by NAPOCOR of the water through the spillways of the Angat Dam. A survey of existing jurisprudence regarding attorney‘s fees would reveal the following: in the case of Amalgamated Laborers‘ Association v. also shows that an unfair advantage was taken of the client and legal fraud and imposition perpetrated upon him. in Law Firm of Raymundo A. In the present case. In the case at bar. Armovit v. and in Social Security Commission v. (6) the skill and experience called for in the performance of the services. We have identified the circumstances to be considered in determining the reasonableness of a claim for attorney‘s fees as follows: (1) the amount and character of the service rendered. (7) the professional character and social standing of the attorney. must a lawyer be allowed to recover more than what is reasonable.1. in Reyes v. and trouble involved. It should bear in mind that admission to the Bar is obtained only after years of labor and study and the office acquired often becomes the source of great honor and emolument to its possessor. (3) the nature and importance of the litigation or business in which the services were rendered. This Court has the power to guard a client. such as temporary suspension.120. 4315%. we note that petitioner was unschooled and frustrated and hopeless with the tragic loss of his loved ones caused by the inundation of the town of Norzagaray. 41 25%. grossly excessive and unconscionable. Lawyers should not be permitted to get a lion‘s share of the benefits due the poor and the helpless.800. should never be decreed where any lesser penalty. 35 and (10) the financial capacity and economic status of the client have to be taken into account in fixing the reasonableness of the fee. under the facts obtaining in this case. whether occasional or established.00 as damages and P159. respondent failed to obtain a favorable judgment in the RTC as the case was dismissed. 37 especially an aged and necessitous client. (e) The probability of losing other employment as a result of acceptance of the proffered case. it being recognized that an attorney may properly charge a much larger fee when it is contingent than when it is not. succeeded in obtaining a favorable decision for his client. the reasonable worth of the attorney‘s services.34 In no case.e. (c) The importance of the subject matter. the amount of attorney‘s fees is fixed on the basis of quantum meruit. respondent retained the amount of P557. indeed. But on appeal to the Court of Appeals. (9) whether the fee is absolute or contingent. he appropriated for himself more than the amount which he had already turned over to and actually received by his client. 48 . what is reasonable under the circumstances. The misconduct of a lawyer. 33 In the absence thereof. 40 the rate allowed was 20%. 38 against such a contract. Blanco. i. 46 The court should also exercise a sound discretion in determining whether a lawyer should be disbarred or merely suspended. To most members of the legal profession. Almeda. in Santiago v. pursuant to Section 24. Court of Appeals. renders him unworthy to the privileges which his license and the law confer upon him.961. unless the court finds such stipulated amount unreasonable or unconscionable. Bulacan. In consideration of the foregoing. it is a means of support for themselves and their families. may be sanctioned with disbarment or suspension.060. Reyes. Such a fee structure. (8) the results secured. Inc. honesty. and (j) The professional standing of the lawyer. Under the said scheme. (d) The skill demanded. Contracts for legal services between the helpless and attorney should be zealously scrutinized to the end that a fair share of the benefits be not denied to the former. the RTC Decision was reversed and petitioner was awarded the amount of P1. We also take note respondent‘s efforts in litigating petitioner‘s case for a long period of 15 years. which shows him to be wanting in moral character. (2) la bor. (b) The novelty and difficulty of the questions involved. after all.21 out of the P1.060. 44 15%. Court of Industrial Relations.

SM-951. Respondent is guilty of violation of the attorney‘s oath and of serious professional misconduct and shall be SUSPENDED from the practice of law for six (6) months and WARNED that repetition of the same or similar offense will be dealt with more severely. 52 which he retained in excess of what we herein declared as fair and reasonable attorney‘s fees. Guided by our rulings in the abovestated cases.1awphi1. plus legal interest from date of finality of this judgment until full payment thereof. Atty. and for collecting excessive and unreasonable fees. 49 a lawyer was suspended for six months for not returning his client‘s money despite demands. Let copies of this Decision be entered in the personal record of respondent as member of the Bar and furnished the Office of the Bar Confidant.21).net WHEREFORE the Court Resolves that: 1. Respondent is to return the amount of Two Hundred Ninety Thousand One Hundred Nine Pesos and Twenty-One Centavos (P290. the IBP. and the Court Administrator for circulation to all courts of the country. 2. 50 a lawyer was suspended for a period of six months for failure to return the money received by him on behalf of his client and for collecting excessive and unconscionable fees. . Also in the case of Tanhueco v.109. Atty. De Dumo. and 3. SO ORDERED. suspension of respondent for six months is justified in the case at bar. for unjustifiably refusing to return his client‘s papers. Flores. Respondent is entitled to attorney‘s fees in the amount equivalent to thirty-five percent (35%) of the total amount awarded 51 to petitioner in Civil Case No.In the case of Schulz v.

in the City of Makati.00. to the damage and prejudice of complainant Elizabeth Luciaja and Margarita Alocilja in the aforementioned amount of P130.000. and PERLAS-BERNABE. J.* JJ. Statement of the Facts and of the Case . 00084370 for P96. for advice regarding the transfer of the title in the latter‘s name. but the said accused. when she consulted with the BIR. received in trust from ELIZABETH LUCIAJA the amount of P150. J. seeking to annul and set aside the Court of Appeals (CA) Decision dated 9 July 2010[2] and Resolution dated 4 January 2011. deducting from P150. Makati Branch. unlawfully and feloniously misappropriate.Republic of the Philippines Supreme Court Manila SECOND DIVISION HECTOR TREÑAS.000. she was informed that the receipts were fake.000. 109266. January 25. CONTRARY TO LAW. R. REYES. G. 2012 The pertinent facts.00 for his other transactions.000. 1999 and prepared [a] Deed of Sale with Assumption of Mortgage. Documentary Stamp. The bank manager Joselito Palma recommended the appellant Hector Treñas (Hector) to private complainant Elizabeth. The Information reads as follows: That on or about the 23rd day of December.000.00P24. Margarita Alocilja (Margarita) wanted to buy a house-and-lot in Iloilo City covered by TCT No. Elizabeth demanded the return of the money.00 which money was given to her by her aunt Margarita Alocilja. PEREZ. once in possession of the said amount. Respondent.00 the P30.[3] On 29 October 2001. Hector gave Elizabeth Revenue Official Receipt Nos. Capital Gains Tax.00. When confronted. courts must keep strictly within the limits of the law authorizing them to take jurisdiction and to try the case and render judgment thereon. appellant Hector issued in favor of Elizabeth a Bank of Commerce check No.000. an Information was filed by the Office of the City Prosecutor before the Regional Trial Court (RTC). did then and there willfully. misapply and convert to his own personal use and benefit the amount of P130.00 less attorney‘s fees and the said accused failed and refused and still fails and refuses to do so. appellant failed to pay. Petitioner.000. . Chairperson. the abovenamed accused. 2000 in the amount of P120.000.000. both of Makati City.00 as attorney‘s fees. the following expenses would be incurred: P20. 0042856 dated November 10.[4] x--------------------------------------------------x DECISION SERENO. Hector informed Elizabeth that for the titling of the property in the name of her aunt Margarita.. Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court. the same was dishonored for the reason that the account was closed.00.000. Subsequently. Thus. No. When the check was deposited with the PCIBank. with the express obligation on the part of the accused to use the said amount for expenses and fees in connection with the purchase of a parcel of land covered by TCT No. 195002 Present: CARPIO. Promulgated: PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES. with the intent to gain and abuse of confidence. Hector admitted to her that the receipts were fake and that he used the P120. Miscellaneous Expenses. Elizabeth gave P150. are as follows: Sometime in December 1999.00P10.00Attorney‘s fees.000.00 to Hector who issued a corresponding receipt dated December 22.000. [1] This is a Petition for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 of the 1997 Revised Rules of Civil Procedure. the instant case of Estafa was filed against him.00 and 00084369 for P24. To settle his accounts.: Where life or liberty is affected by its proceedings. T109266. SERENO.versus - Thereafter.000.000.00P90. Metro Manila. who was an employee and niece of Margarita. It was then mortgaged with Maybank. 1999. as found by the CA. However. Notwithstanding repeated formal and verbal demands.

no proof was adduced as to the genuineness of petitioner‘s signature in the Registry Return Receipt of the demand letter. On 4 August 2010.[13] On the first issue. petitioner claims that the amount of P150. reckoned from the date this case was filed until the amount is fully paid. Instead. and the fact that he lives in Iloilo City. the OSG asserts that the RTC did not err in convicting petitioner as charged. This motion was granted in a Resolution dated 12 September 2011. Moreover.‖ Allegedly due to old age and poor health.During arraignment on 26 April 2002. the demand letter sent to Elizabeth suffices. with the following assignment of errors: 1. the demand referred to the amount of P120. the OSG stresses that the defense of ―no valid demand‖ was not raised in the lower court. With respect to his claim that the Complaint should have been filed in Iloilo City. The OSG notes that petitioner does not dispute the factual findings of the trial court with respect to the delivery of P150. asking the Court to weigh the credibility of the prosecution witness. one must rely on the disputable presumption that things happened according to the ordinary course of nature and the ordinary habits of life.R. instead of P150. petitioner filed his Petition for Review on Certiorari before this Court. Petitioner claims that the only logical conclusion is that the money was actually delivered to him in Iloilo City. and that there was a relationship of trust and confidence between him and Elizabeth. accused Hector Trenas is sentenced to suffer a penalty of Ten (10) Years and One (1) Day of Prision Mayor to Seventeen (17) Years and Four (4) Months of Reclusion Temporal. as she is also one of the complainants alleged in the Information. On 9 July 2010. especially since his residence and office were situated there as well. Petitioner thus argues that an accused is not required to present evidence to prove lack of jurisdiction. which is not the case here. the CA rendered a Decision[10] affirming that of the RTC. Nevertheless. paragraph (b). in view of the foregoing. Further. In its Comment. On 29 September 2011. judgment is rendered finding accused Hector Trenas guilty of the crime of Estafa with abuse of confidence as penalized under Article 315 of the Revised Penal Code. The signature on the Registry Return Receipt was not proven to be that of petitioner‘s. On 24 August 2007. of Article 315 of the Revised Penal Code (RPC). The only time Makati City was mentioned was with respect to the time when the check provided by petitioner was dishonored by Equitable-PCI Bank in its De la RosaRada Branch in Makati.[6] We note at this point that petitioner has been variably called Treñas and Trenas in the pleadings and court issuances. acting as his own counsel. Petitioner asserts that the prosecution witness failed to allege that any of the acts material to the crime of estafa had occurred in Makati City. entered a plea of ―Not Guilty. With respect to the second issue. this Court issued a Resolution directing the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) to file the latter‘s Comment on the Petition. 32177. Absent any direct proof as to the place of delivery. the OSG filed a Motion for Special Extension. As a consequence of this judgment. petitioner asserts that nowhere in the evidence presented by the prosecution does it show that ₱150. the trial court‘s assessment of the credibility of a witness is entitled to great weight. petitioner filed a Motion for Extension of Time to File Petition for Review on Certiorari[12] before this Court.[8] SATISFIES THE REQUIREMENT OF DEMAND TO CONSTITUTE THE OFFENSE OF ESTAFA. when such lack is already indicated in the prosecution evidence. the OSG filed a Motion for Extension. and the Court granted his motion in a Resolution dated 9 February 2011. which was denied by the CA in a Resolution dated 4 January 2011. THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN RULING THAT DEMAND MADE BY A PERSON OTHER THAN THE AGGRIEVED PARTY . Thus. requesting an additional period of five days. Assuming there was misappropriation. there is no showing that the demand was actually received by petitioner. as an agent of Margarita. under which he was accused in the Information. without any indication of the place where it was issued. as he did not present any. the trial court failed to acquire jurisdiction over the case. the evidence shows that the Receipt issued by petitioner for the money was dated 22 December 1999.000 to him. THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN RULING THAT AN ACCUSED HAS TO PRESENT EVIDENCE IN SUPPORT OF THE DEFENSE OF LACK OF JURISDICTION EVEN IF SUCH LACK OF JURISDICTION APPEARS IN THE EVIDENCE OF THE PROSECUTION.[7] which was denied by the RTC in a Resolution dated 2 July 2008. Meanwhile. SO ORDERED. it was actually she – not Elizabeth – who was the offended party. However. Elizabeth. CR No. On 30 May 2011. unless tainted with arbitrariness or oversight of some fact or circumstance. also on 22 December 1999. He asked for a period of 15 days within which to file a petition for review. 2. with the dispositive portion as follows: WHEREFORE.000. we use the name ―Treñas‖.[9] The appeal was docketed as CA-G. praying for an additional period of 60 days within which to submit its Comment. petitioner filed a Motion for Reconsideration.000 was given to and received by petitioner in Makati City. On 3 February 2011.000. his claim was not supported by any piece of evidence. As to the second issue. he is ordered to indemnify private complainant Elizabeth Luciaja the amount of P130. petitioner filed a Motion for Reconsideration. it filed its Comment on the Petition. Even assuming that the demand could have been properly made by Elizabeth. Finally. petitioner filed a Notice of Appeal before the RTC. On 23 September 2011. in effect.00 with interest at the legal rate of 12% per annum. petitioner was unable to attend the pre-trial and trial of the case. petitioner is. but for consistency. On 8 January 2007. the Deed of Sale with Assumption of Mortgage prepared by petitioner was signed and notarized in Iloilo City. and which offense was committed in the manner described in the aforementioned information. On 25 September 2008. petitioner. Moreover. the RTC rendered a Decision[5] finding petitioner guilty of the crime of Estafa under section 1. Thus.000.000 actually belongs to Margarita. On 27 July 2011. the latter‘s demand does not satisfy the requirement of prior demand by the offended party in the offense of estafa.[11] On 25 January 2011.

ruled on the commission of the offense without any finding as to where it was committed: Based on the evidence presented by the prosecution through private complainant Elizabeth Luciaja. if this Court were to seriously assay his assertions. It bears emphasis that Hector did not comment on the formal offer of prosecution‘s evidence nor present any evidence on his behalf. When the Court of Appeals failed to notice certain relevant facts which. The trial court.The OSG. Eventually.00 from her. As a rule. surmises or conjectures.000. petitioner raised the argument that it had no jurisdiction over the offense charged. as follows: (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) When the factual findings of the Court of Appeals and the trial court are contradictory. his argumentation in this regard is too specious to consider favorably. if properly considered. The Court‟s Ruling The Petition is impressed with merit. the resolution of the Petition requires a review of the factual findings of the lower courts and the evidence upon which they are based. the same would still not warrant a reversal of the assailed judgment. When the findings of fact are themselves conflicting. in its Decision. could affect the outcome of the case. after accused Trenas had obtained the amount of P150. He failed to substantiate his allegations that he had received the amount of P150.00 in Iloilo City. in view of his advanced age and failing health. only questions of law may be raised in a petition for review under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court. the CA ruled on the issue of the trial court‘s jurisdiction in this wise: It is a settled jurisprudence that the court will not entertain evidence unless it is offered in evidence. they are grounded on conclusions and conjectures. When the appellate court. without citing any specific evidence upon which its findings were based. the findings of fact of the trial court and the CA on the issue of the place of commission of the offense are conclusions without any citation of the specific evidence on which they are based.00 was delivered to him by private complainant Luciaja in Makati City the following day. the Court is convinced that accused Trenas had committed the offense of Estafa by taking advantage of her trust so that he could misappropriate for his own personal benefit the amount entrusted to him for payment of the capital gains tax and documentary stamp tax. this Court has laid down exceptions to this general rule.[15] In his Motion for Reconsideration before the RTC. Review of Factual Findings While the Petition raises questions of law. in making its findings. for the fraudulent purpose of fooling her and making her believe that he had complied with his duty to pay the aforementioned taxes. His reasoning the money must have been delivered to him in Iloilo City because it was to be used for paying the taxes with the BIR office in that city does not inspire concurrence. absurd or impossible. and When the findings of fact of the Court of Appeals are premised on the absence of evidence but such findings are contradicted by the evidence on record. x x x Besides. and by relying on conjecture. . submits that the Court may recommend petitioner for executive clemency. however.[17] The instant case is thus an exception allowing a review of the factual findings of the lower courts. he gave her two receipts purportedly issued by the Bureau of Internal Revenue. Hence. Absent any showing of a fact or circumstance of weight and influence which would appear to have been overlooked and. Thus. Accused Treñas. Jurisdiction of the Trial Court (6) (7) (8) (9) (10) In this case. Hector‘s allegations cannot be given evidentiary weight. They are entitled to great weight and respect and will not be disturbed on review.[16] For its part. When the findings of fact are conclusions without citation of the specific evidence on which they are based.[14] As clearly narrated by private complainant Luciaja. the factual findings and assessment on the credibility of a witness made by the trial court remain binding on appellate tribunal. In many instances. not based on the evidence. never appeared in Court to present countervailing evidence. It is only now that he is suggesting another possible scenario. The records show that he did not even pay the taxes because the BIR receipts he gave to private complainant were fake documents. When there is grave abuse of discretion in the appreciation of facts. went beyond the issues of the case. would justify a different conclusion.000. however. When the conclusion is a finding grounded entirely on speculation. When the inference made by the Court of Appeals from its findings of fact is manifestly mistaken. thus: That the said amount was given to [Treñas] in Makati City was incontrovertibly established by the prosecution. When the judgment of the Court of Appeals is premised on misapprehension of facts. it cannot preclude the fact that the P150. Even if the Deed of Sale with Assumption of Mortgage was executed on 22 December 999 in Iloilo City. and such findings are contrary to the admissions of both appellant and appellee. if considered. on the other hand. but on mere ―what ifs‖.000. The trial court denied the motion. private complainant Luciaja discovered that said receipts were fabricated documents.

in the City of Makati. as defined and penalized under Article 315. was consummated when Yu and Fukuzume met at the latter's house in Parañaque and. Yu suffered damage. that as a result. that Yu paid Fukuzume the initial amount of P50.00 on July 22. wherein the prosecution failed to prove that the essential elements of the offense took place within the trial court‘s jurisdiction.[18] this Court explained: The place where the crime was committed determines not only the venue of the action but is an essential element of jurisdiction. THAT on 23 December 1999. to corroborate Yu's sworn statement or to prove that any of the aboveenumerated elements of the offense charged was committed in Makati. 1991. However. a photo copy of which is hereto attached as Annex ―B‖. the prosecution failed to establish that any of the subsequent payments made by Yu in the amounts of P50. this Court dismissed a Complaint for estafa.000. In Fukuzume v. 1994. Indeed. we find nothing in the direct or cross-examination of Yu to establish that he gave any money to Fukuzume or transacted business with him with respect to the subject aluminum scrap wires inside or within the premises of the Intercontinental Hotel in Makati.00 to be expended as agreed and ATTY. paragraph 2(a) of the Revised Penal Code. HECTOR TREÑAS issued to me a receipt.the jurisdiction of a court over the criminal case is determined by the allegations in the complaint or information. Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court. in criminal cases. that with the intention of selling the subject aluminum scrap wires. venue is jurisdictional. HECTOR TREÑAS the sum of P150. the prosecution presented no other evidence.000. Territorial jurisdiction in criminal cases is the territory where the court has jurisdiction to take cognizance or to try the offense allegedly committed therein by the accused.00 on October 14. aside from the sworn statement executed by Yu on April 19. It provides in part: 4. it is evident that the prosecution failed to prove that Fukuzume committed the crime of estafa in Makati or that any of the essential ingredients of the offense took place in the said city. by falsely pretending to sell aluminum scrap wires. received in trust from ELIZABETH LUCIAJA the amount of P150. the offense should have been committed or any one of its essential ingredients should have taken place within the territorial jurisdiction of the court.000. to the filing of appropriate charges with the court of competent jurisdiction. 1991 and P170. the prosecution must not only prove that the offense was committed. It is a fundamental rule that for jurisdiction to be acquired by courts in criminal cases.000. the judgment of the trial court convicting Fukuzume of the crime of estafa should be set aside for want of jurisdiction. the elements of which are as follows: x x x The crime was alleged in the Information as having been committed in Makati. P50. Furthermore. paragraph (b) of Article 315 of the RPC was committed within the jurisdiction of the RTC of Makati City. Hence. That the offense was committed in Makati City was alleged in the information as follows: That on or about the 23rd day of December. On the contrary. The Court ruled: More importantly. xxx From the foregoing. People. (Emphasis supplied) In this case. People. that based on the false pretense of Fukuzume. the court should dismiss the action for want of jurisdiction. Neither was there proof to show that the certifications purporting to prove that NAPOCOR has in its custody the subject aluminum scrap wires and that Fukuzume is authorized by Furukawa to sell the same were given by Fukuzume to Yu in Makati. the criminal information against Fukuzume was filed with and tried by the RTC of Makati. P20. Yu agreed to buy the subject aluminum scrap wires. it must also prove the identity of the accused and the fact that the offense was committed within the jurisdiction of the court. however. THAT despite my several follow-ups with ATTY. the latter failed to transfer the title of aforesaid property to MRS. 1991 was given in Makati.000.However. 5. the latter pretended that he is a representative of Furukawa who is authorized to sell the said scrap wires. 1999. if the evidence adduced during the trial shows that the offense was committed somewhere else. . A court cannot exercise jurisdiction over a person charged with an offense committed outside its limited territory.00 on July 12. Fukuzume was able to induce Yu to part with his money. the crime of estafa. 1991. or anywhere in Makati for that matter. this statement would have been sufficient to vest jurisdiction in the RTC of Makati. He was charged with estafa as defined under Article 315. Thus. However.00 x x x. A copy of said Deed of Sale is hereto attached as Annex ―C‖.000. it cannot take jurisdiction over a person charged with an offense allegedly committed outside of that limited territory. the above-named accused. And once it is so shown. 1991. the Affidavit of Complaint executed by Elizabeth does not contain any allegation as to where the offense was committed.) In a criminal case. the testimony of Yu established that all the elements of the offense [19] charged had been committed in Parañaque. the court may validly take cognizance of the case. HECTOR TREÑAS accomplished was only the preparation of the Deed of Sale covering aforesaid property. Venue in criminal cases is an essential element of jurisdiction. documentary stamps and BIR-related expenses. x x x In the present case. paragraph 2(a) of the Revised Penal Code. (Emphasis supplied. without prejudice. Stated differently. Yu went to the house of Fukuzume in Parañaque. He also failed to pay the capital gains tax. to wit: that on July 12.000. What ATTY. MARGARITA ALOCILJA. HECTOR TREÑAS. In Isip v.00 on October 18. Metro Manila. the prosecution failed to show that the offense of estafa under Section 1.The overarching consideration in this case is the principle that. (Emphasis supplied. testimonial or documentary.00.)[20] Ordinarily. [Elizabeth] personally entrusted to ATTY.

I gave him ONE HUNDRED FIFTY THOUSAND. no other evidence was presented by the prosecution to prove that the offense or any of its elements was committed in Makati City. Did he give a breakdown of this ONE HUNDRED FIFTY THOUSAND? Yes. and (4) there is demand by the offended party to the offender. [22] There is nothing in the documentary evidence offered by the prosecution[23] that points to where the offense. [28] This principle echoes more strongly in this case. Hector Treñas.00 and the sum of P10. (2) that there be misappropriation or conversion of such money or property by the offender. or it may be considered motu proprio by the court at any stage of the proceedings or on appeal. sir. x x x 7. Indeed. there is nothing in the prosecution evidence which even mentions that any of the elements of the offense were committed in Makati. sir.[27] Section 15 (a) of Rule 110 of the Revised Rules on Criminal Procedure of 2000 provides that ―[s]ubject to existing laws. petitioner was unable to present his defense in the charges against him. par. THAT in view of my persistent follow-ups. 1 (b) of the RPC. And what is the breakdown of this ONE HUNDRED FIFTY THOUSAND? TWENTY THOUSAND is for his Attorney‘s fee. or under any other obligation involving the duty to make delivery of or to return the same. where. And did you give him this ONE HUNDRED FIFTY THOUSAND? Yes. par.01 — A lawyer shall account for all money or property collected or received for or from the client. what happened next? We have met and he explained to the expenses and what we will have to… and she will work for the Deed of Sale.[25] Moreover.02 — A lawyer shall keep the funds of each client separate and apart from his own and those others kept by him. due to distance constraints. Q A Q A Q A Q A Q A Q A Q What was the amount quoted to you? ONE HUNDRED FIFTY THOUSAND. sir. coupled with his advanced age and failing health.000. Rules 16. the criminal action shall be instituted and tried in the court of the municipality or territory where the offense was committed or where any of its essential ingredients occurred. madam witness. ATTY. A review of the testimony of Elizabeth also shows that there was no mention of the place where the offense was allegedly committed: Q A Q A After the manager of Maybank referred Atty. will you be able to identify it? Yes. Treñas issued to you? This is the receipt issued by Atty. such dishonor is not an element of the offense of estafa under Article 315. Did he issue a receipt? Yes. a different court from that of the province where the crime was committed as it would cause him great inconvenience in looking for his witnesses and other evidence in another place.[29] As such.[26] It has been consistently held by this Court that it is unfair to require a defendant or accused to undergo the ordeal and expense of a trial if the court has no jurisdiction over the subject matter or offense or it is not the court of proper venue. was committed.6. the same was dishonored by the drawee bank for the reason: ACCOUNT CLOSED. or any of its elements. Rule 16.[24] Although the prosecution alleged that the check issued by petitioner was dishonored in a bank in Makati.01 and 16. THAT when said check was deposited at EQUITABLE PCI BANK dela Rosa-Rada Branch at Makati City. or for administration. there is no more need to discuss the other issue raised by petitioner. At this juncture. Will you please go over this document and inform this court what relation has this to the receipt which you said Atty. I am showing to you a document. There being no showing that the offense was committed within Makati. goods or other personal property is received by the offender in trust or on commission. Now. .000. x x x[21] Aside from the lone allegation in the Information. Under Article 315. what happened next? We made several follow-ups but he failed to do his job. after the amount of ONE HUNDRED FIFTY THOUSAND was given to Atty. If shown to you a receipt issued by Atty.00 allegedly paid to BIR or in the net sum of P120. Treñas to you. already identified during the pre-trial as exhibit ―B‖. by express waiver or otherwise. This appears to be a receipt dated December 22. this Court sees it fit to note that the Code of Professional Responsibility strongly militates against the petitioner‘s conduct in handling the funds of his client.‖ This fundamental principle is to ensure that the defendant is not compelled to move to. (3) that such misappropriation or conversion or denial is to the prejudice of another. sir. HECTOR TREÑAS issued to me a check for refund of the sum given to him less the attorney‘s fee of P20.02 of the Code provides: Rule 16. other than the lone allegation in the information. That jurisdiction is conferred by the sovereign authority that organized the court and is given only by law in the manner and form prescribed by law. And did he quote any amount when you got to the expenses? Yes. the RTC of that city has no jurisdiction over the case. 1 (b) of the RPC. the elements of estafa are as follows: (1) that money. jurisdiction over the subject matter in a criminal case cannot be conferred upon the court by the accused. NINETY THOUSAND is for the capital gain tax TWENTY FOUR THOUSAND is intended for documentary sum (sic) and TEN THOUSAND PESOS is for other expenses for BIR.000. or denial on his part of such receipt. Treñas for this ONE HUNDRED FIFTY THOUSAND.00. A Q A 1999. and appear in. The rule is settled that an objection may be raised based on the ground that the court lacks jurisdiction over the offense charged. Treñas by you.

32177 are SET ASIDE on the ground of lack of jurisdiction on the part of the Regional Trial Court. a lawyer has the duty to deliver his client's funds or properties as they fall due or upon demand. In any case. Branch 137. the Petition is GRANTED. Makati City. The Decision dated 9 July 2010 and the Resolution dated 4 January 2011 issued by the Court of Appeals in CA-G. and constitutes a ground for disciplinary action.[30] If he does not use the money for its intended purpose. should there be a finding that petitioner has failed to account for the funds received by him in trust.[33] It is a gross violation of general morality as well as of professional ethics.[34] In Cuizon v.000 to his client.[32] His failure to return the client's money upon demand gives rise to the presumption that he has misappropriated it for his own use to the prejudice of and in violation of the trust reposed in him by the client.R. it impairs public confidence in the legal profession and deserves punishment. . he should promptly account to the client how the money was spent. CR No.[35] this Court ruled that the issuance of checks which were later dishonored for having been drawn against a closed account indicates a lawyer's unfitness for the trust and confidence reposed on him. transportation and office expenses). Criminal Case No. SO ORDERED. WHEREFORE. This case is thus referred to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) for the initiation of disciplinary proceedings against petitioner.When a lawyer collects or receives money from his client for a particular purpose (such as for filing fees. Macalino. he must immediately return it to the client. with the appropriate rate of interest from the time of demand until full payment.[31] Moreover. This case is REFERRED to the IBP Board of Governors for investigation and recommendation pursuant to Section 1 of Rule 139-B of the Rules of Court. registration fees.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. shows lack of personal honesty and good moral character as to render him unworthy of public confidence. His failure either to render an accounting or to return the money (if the intended purpose of the money does not materialize) constitutes a blatant disregard of Rule 16. 01-2409 is DISMISSED without prejudice. the recommendation should include an order to immediately return the amount of ₱130.

Promulgated: March 20. issued and sent out a Notice of Mandatory Conference directing the parties to appear before it on October 23. 2008. Casuga was able to acquire from her several pieces of jewelry: a ¾ K diamond solitaire ring. 2008 came.versus - ATTY.000 from Chul. so Nevada claims. the IBP CBD found Casuga guilty of the charges against him. disposing as follows: WHEREFORE. Casuga. Nevada (Nevada) seeks the disbarment of Atty. prompting the designated commissioner to reset the conference to November 25. NEVADA. LEONARDO-DE CASTRO. Notably. JJ. And in time. Thus. premises considered it is hereby recommended that Casuga be suspended for one (1) year for gross misconduct.: Corazon T. Rodolfo D. 2012 x-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------x DECISION of its ―elders. DEL CASTILLO. Casuga took possession of the valuables purportedly with the obligation of selling them and to remit any proceeds to Nevada. and PERLAS-BERNABE.C. sometime in 2006. The case was docketed as CBD Case No. the Court. In compliance with a directive from the Court. on March 1. referred the case to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) for investigation. Casuga (Casuga) for alleged violation of his lawyer‘s oath and the 2004 Rules on Notarial Practice (Notarial Rules). Results of the Investigation In its Report and Recommendation[5] dated January 14. Casuga was able to gain her trust and confidence. CARPIO. violation of the notarial law and . Nevada and notarized the document himself. 7591 was submitted for resolution on the basis of Nevada‘s Position Paper dated December 3. started to represent himself as the administrator of the Hotel. 2008. 2008 and the evidence she submitted consisting of. VELASCO. JR. was never turned over to her or to C. Respondent. Inc. November 25. he entered into a contract of lease[2] with a certain Jung Jong Chul (Chul) covering an office space in the Hotel. Thereafter. A.000). The Facts Nevada is the principal stockholder of C. However. thru Commisioner Norberto B. Baguio City (the Hotel). report and recommendation/decision. BRION. 7591 entitled Corazon T. REYES. JR. wherein Chul attested that he gave Casuga. a family corporation which operates the Mt. Nevada & Sons. Inc.. upon contract signing. No. Crest Hotel located at Legarda Road. Casuga claims thatNevada informally instituted him as the administrator of the Hotel in a limited capacity but denied receiving the PhP 90. Complainant. Atty. she has allowed the use of one of the Hotel‘s functions rooms for church services. despite repeated demands by Nevada for Casuga to return the valuables or otherwise remit the proceeds of the sale. In it.000) as rental deposit for the office space. 7591 Present: CORONA. 2006. with an aggregate value of three hundred thousand pesos (PhP 300.T. Casuga. Nevada further alleges that unbeknownst to her.J. among others. On September 22. Rodolfo D. thru the Office of the Bar Confidant. 2008.T. In fact. Casuga submitted an Affidavit [4] dated December 5.. earrings with three (3) diamonds each and a ring with three (3) diamonds.000). VILLARAMA. 2008. Nevada & Sons.. only Nevadashowed up. the amount of ninety thousand pesos (PhP 90.* ABAD.Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila EN BANC CORAZON T. 2007. with a warning that he. as comment on the administrative complaint. RODOLFO D.‖ According to Nevada. but only Nevada was present at the conference. will be declared in default and the case submitted for resolution should he again fail to appear. Nevada v. with annexes. the IBP Commission on Bar Discipline (CBD). a religious group which counts the latter as one .. PERALTA. BERSAMIN. JR. no jewelry or money was ever returned. Annex ―B‖[3] of the affidavit-complaint is a notarized letter dated May 15. 2009. Casuga signed the lease contract over the printed name of one Edwin T. PEREZ. With regard to the pieces of jewelry and the Rolex watch. Casuga stated that Nevada actually pawned them in a pawnshop and that she later asked his wife to redeem them using their own money. Ruiz. J. Nevada asked Casuga‘s wife to sell the valuables and reimburse herself from the proceeds of the sale. CASUGA. Nevada alleges that she and Casuga are members of the One in Jesus Christ Church. CBD Case No. The amount thus deposited. MENDOZA. By Resolution of July 2. 2007. On that date. in the course of their acquaintanceship. 2007. VELASCO. and a solid gold Rolex watch with diamond dials valued at twelve thousand US dollars (USD 12. SERENO.. Nevada adds that. twenty-one (21) official rental receipts Casuga issued to at least two (2) lessors of the Hotel. Casuga. C. In her affidavit-complaint[1] dated June 28.

Rodolfo D. Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation.‖ The adjective is “serious.[9] ―The law makes no presumption of agency and proving its existence. the lawyer was able to obtain a loan from the complainant. the jewelry and the Rolex watch or their monetary value to Chul. People [1874]. 9 Neb. Thus.” that is.) The above definition was to be reiterated in Ajeno v. unlawful behavior or gross negligence by the public officer. 41 Pa.000.000.U. A bare denial must fail in light of the positive assertion of Chul. The Court‟s Ruling We agree with the CBD‘s inculpatory findings. Smith vs. upon receipt of a copy of Resolution No. received the money. with modification. XIX-2010-461. and the propriety of the return to Nevada of the items.Y.(Lawlor vs. As to the first. a transgression of some established and definite rule of action. this Court previously ruled that ―For serious misconduct to exist. Gumba. In his affidavit-comment dated December 5. when he made it appear that he was authorized to enter into a contract of lease in behalf of Nevada when. and. or were in persistent disregard of well-known legal rules. By virtue of the SPA. as directed in the resolution. secured by the said parcel of land through an ―open‖ deed of sale. for misappropriation of his client[‘s] funds and jewelries. [N. Chul‘s notarized letter of May 15. or their money value. the law provides that ―sufficient cause‖ must exist in the judgment of the Supreme Court involving ―serious misconduct. Casuga failed to adduce an iota of evidence to prove that he was indeed so authorized. with modification. XIX-2010-461 dated August 28.” that is. unlawful behavior or gross negligence. vs.) (Emphasis supplied. he was not.00 or its equivalent to Mr. for viola tion of the Notarial Law when he signed as a party to a lease contract and notarized the same and also taking into consideration the gravity of the offense committed.[10] the respondent lawyer similarly misrepresented herself to have been authorized to sell a parcel of land by virtue of a Special Power of Attorney (SPA).00.. In Tan v. 74 Ill. XIX-2010-461 were subsequently forwarded to the Court along with the records of the case.. Ong:[8] x x x The respondent Justices were not liable for gross misconduct – defined as the transgression of some established or definite rule of action. 2007 sufficiently shows that Casuga indeed received PhP 90. Roby [1880]. The latter ground is not involved in these proceedings. In addition. 2010. the complainant could not register the . However. The CBD Report and Recommendation and a copy of Resolution No. as indicated in Resolution No. but claimed that he was duly authorized to do so by Nevada. and not trifling. the Report and Recommendation of the Investigating Commissioner of the above entitled case x x x. Atty. alleging that a certain Pastor Oh..‖ Plainly enough. However. No. 28 Fed. Jung Jong Chul.000. 590. it turned out that the SPA only authorized the lawyer to mortgage the property to a bank. jewelries amounting to P300. Casuga admitted signing the subject contract of lease. and considering Casuga‘s violation of Canon 16 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. wrote and asked the IBP Board of Governors to rectify said resolution. Atty. jewelries and a Rolex watch which pertain to the complainant and the family corporation. as endorsed by the IBP Board of Governors. vs. Instead of the return of the amount of PhP 90. In re Tighe [1904]. When the respondent lawyer defaulted in the payment of the loan. finding the recommendation fully supported by the evidence on record and the applicable laws and rules. The Issues The principal but simple issues in this case pivot on the guilt of Casuga for the charges detailed or implied in the basic complaint. more particularly. Miller vs. Respondent Casuga represented himself as a duly-authorized representative of Nevadawhen in fact he was not. The IBP Board of Governors later adopted and approved the CBD‘s Report and Recommendation. important. otherwise his Suspension shall continue. to wit: RESOLVED to ADOPT and APPROVE. The Court ruled in Yun Kwan Byung v. who appears to have no ulterior motive to incriminate Casuga. 2007. Cutler [1833]. XIX-2010-461.000. One who alleges the existence of an agency relationship must prove such fact. The letter-request of Nevada had remained not acted upon owing obviously to the fact that the records of the case have been transmitted to the Court in the interim.[7] where the Court wrote: In the case of In re [Horrilleno]. nature and extent is incumbent upon the person alleging it. 386. Casuga is guilty of misrepresentation. momentous. Supra. 16643. Nevada requested the return to be made in her favor. in fact.. Casuga is hereby SUSPENDED from the practice of law for four (4) years. the records reveal that Casuga received the rentals by virtue of the contract of lease. Judge Inserto. In the meantime. The word “misconduct” implies a wrongful intention and not a mere error or judgment. 89 N. 10 Wend. Warner [1848]. or were in persistent disregard of well-known legal rules. Casuga denied having received such amount. or the corrupt or persistent violation of the law or disregard of well-known legal rules x x x. more particularly.000 as rental deposit from Chul.S. and the recommended upgrading of penalties. 212. Marsh [1861]. Furthermore. The noun is “misconduct. who purportedly introduced him to Chul. Cas. but subject to the modification as shall be discussed. 471. there must be reliable evidence showing that the judicial acts complained of were corrupt or inspired by an intention to violate the law.‖ Of similar tenor is the definition provided in Jamsani-Rodriguez v. and the amount subject of the case. Nevada. there must be reliable evidence showing that the judicial acts complained of were corrupt or inspired by an intention to violate the law. as it is hereby unanimously ADOPTED and APPROVED. as shown in Resolution No.00 and the Rolex watch valued at $12.].infidelity in the custody of monies. Casuga is guilty of gross misconduct for misrepresenting himself In re Horrilleno[6] defined ―gross misconduct‖ in the following wise: The grounds for removal of a judge of first instance under Philippine law are two: (1) Serious misconduct and (2) inefficiency. Citizens' Insurance Co. Casuga again failed to adduce a single piece of evidence to support his contention. Casuga is Suspended or Disqualified from reappointment as Notary Public for two (2) years and Ordered to Return the amount of P90.Y. 43 Phil. benefitting from his misrepresentation. weighty. For serious misconduct to exist. 719. 228.

following Section 27. giving notice promptly thereafter to his client. Langit. by maintaining an office within the Hotel. x x x [Respondent] Atty.03 of the Code. Casuga‘s failure to return such property or remit the proceeds of the sale is a blatant violation of Canon 16 of the Code of Professional Responsibility (the Code). Again. and through the use of false representations. and this act constituted a gross violation of professional ethics and a betrayal of public confidence in the legal profession. As manifested by complainant. without any adequate reason. in Tan. taking advantage of his apparent close relationship to Nevada. Pawnshop receipts would have provided the best evidence under the circumstances. as amended x x x. when in fact he was not. not only for malpractice and dishonesty in the profession. the lawyer must immediately return the money to his client. Moreover. and warranted the imposition of disciplinary action.[13] a lawyer was also suspended from the practice of law for two (2) years.M. case law has it that an attorney may be removed. Alvero. His failure to do so renders him subject to disciplinary action. Alvero‟s failure to immediately account for and return the money when due and upon demand violated the trust reposed in him. supports Nevada‘s version of the story. They constitute gross misconduct and gross unethical behavior for which he may be suspended. Casuga also violated Canon 16 of the Code of Professional Responsibility With regard to the jewelry and watch entrusted to him. By her misdeed. Casuga led Chul to believe that he was the administrator of the Hotel. Similarly. (Emphasis supplied. When a lawyer receives money from a client for a particular purpose. He shall also have a lien to the same extent on all judgments and executions he has secured for his client as provided for in the Rules of Court. as he failed to return the money of his client that he was holding in trust and for failing to file an answer to the complaint and his refusal to appear at the mandatory conference before the IBP. Banares. he made it appear that he was duly authorized to enter into contracts for the Hotel and to receive rentals from its occupants. thus: . however. v. he would have never granted the loan to respondent were it not for respondent‘s misrepresentation that she was authorized to sell the property and if respondent had not led him to believe that he could register the ―open‖ deed of sale if she fails to pay the loan.[11] the Court suspended a lawyer from the practice of law for two (2) years after he failed to account for or return PhP 300. Rule 16.A lawyer shall deliver the funds and property of his client when due or upon demand. A. Casuga violated Canon 16 and Rule 16. too. But they were not presented. He added that Nevada then instructed his wife to sell the valuables and use the proceeds to reimburse herself for the redemption price.000 that was entrusted to him for deposit with the courts. Casuga alleged that Nevadapawned them and thereafter instructed Casuga‘s wife to redeem them with the latter‘s money.03 .3 state: CANON 16 . Having been tasked to sell such valuables. Casuga was duty-bound to return them upon Nevada‘s demand. Even if it were true that no attorney-client relationship existed between them. the respondent lawyer was held guilty of misconduct and suspended from the practice of law for six (6) months. x x x Jurisprudence dictates that a lawyer who obtains possession of the funds and properties of his client in the course of his professional employment shall deliver the same to his client (a) when they become due. Rule 138 of the Rules of Court x x x. respondent has eroded not only complainant‘s perception of the legal profession but the public‘s perception as well. Rule 138 of the Revised Rules of Court. Casuga‘s allegations are unsupported by a single shred of evidence. the lack of a lawyer-client relationship as an exonerating factor. in Small v. the lawyer is bound to render an accounting to the client showing that the money was spent for a particular purpose. Her actions constitute gross misconduct for which she may be disciplined. The Code‘s Canon 16 and Rule 16. In that case. or (b) upon demand. In Barcenas v. Casuga‘s misrepresentation properly constitutes gross misconduct for which he must be disciplined. By doing so.[12] the Court suspended a lawyer from the practice of law for two (2) years for failing to account for the money and properties of his client. 02-8-13-SC. Chul in particular. The Court ruled: From the records of the case. However. And if he does not use the money for the intended purpose. he cannot use. Thus. or otherwise disciplined. (Emphasis supplied. the Court ruled: Here. he shall have a lien over the funds and may apply so much thereof as may be necessary to satisfy his lawful fees and disbursements. demonstrated his lack of integrity and moral soundness. His fraudulent scheme enabled Casuga to collect rentals from the occupants of the Hotel. Casuga‘s admission that the valuables are indeed in his possession. In Almendarez. Worse still. there is likewise a clear breach of lawyerclient relations. Atty. Section 1(c) and Sec. provides in its Rule IV.) In the instant case. No. respondent‘s actions clearly show that she deceived complainant into lending money to her through the use of documents and false representations and taking advantage of her education and complainant‘s ignorance in legal matters.deed of sale with the register of deeds and could not recover the amount that he loaned to the lawyer. which he did not transmit toNevada. but also for gross misconduct not connected with his professional duties.) Having failed to return. It gave rise to the presumption that he converted the money for his own use. Casuga violated the Notarial Rules The Notarial Rules. Following the principle laid down in Tan. as a defense. following Section 27. making him unfit for the office and unworthy of the privileges which his license and the law confer upon him. To be sure. the items entrusted to him by Nevada or remit the proceeds of the sale. Jr. Casuga obtained money belonging to the Hotel. upon demand. the same penalty should be imposed upon Casuga.A lawyer shall hold in trust all moneys and properties of his client that may come into his profession. 3(a) when a notary public may sign a document in behalf of another person. Notably. Alvero cannot take refuge in his claim that there existed no attorney-client relationship between him and Barcenas.

27.) The recommended penalty must be modified On the other hand. it cannot be granted. any notary public who: (10) knowingly performs or fails to perform any other act prohibited or mandated by these Rules. which provides: SECTION 1. (Emphasis supplied. It hews with prevailing jurisprudence as cited above. (3) both witnesses sign their own names. a notary public must observe with utmost care the basic requirements in the performance of x x x duties. 1. is too severe a sanction to impose under the premises. Sec. Simply put. stressed the significance of notarization and proceeded to define the heavy burden that goes when a lawyer is commissioned as a notary public. he must now accept the commensurate consequences of his professional indiscretion. he converted the Deed of Absolute Sale. from a private document into a public document. This was on top of the penalty of disqualification from being commissioned as a notary public for two (2) years. Otherwise.‖ None of the requirements contained in Rule IV. 27. The function of a notary public is. x x x As a lawyer commissioned to be a notary public.SEC. however. The desired disbarment of Casuga. (b) In addition. 3(a) of the Notarial Rules. the Executive Judge may revoke the commission of. as would justify a notary signing in behalf of a contracting party. for which he can be disciplinarily sanctioned provided under Rule XI. their representative‟s names should appear in the said documents as the ones who executed the same. By affixing his notarial seal on the instrument. Aside from being a violation of the Notarial Rules.[16] x x x (Emphasis supplied. the succeeding Sec. 3(a) disqualifies a notary public from performing a notarial act if he or she ―is a party to the instrument or document that is to be notarized. Casuga‘s disqualification from reappointment as notary public for two (2) years should match his suspension from the practice of law. [17] . A notarial document is. Revocation and Administrative Sanctions. So it was that in Lanuzo v. Powers. veritably made him a party to the contract of lease in question.[15] the Court adjudged the respondent notary public guilty of gross negligence for failing to require the parties to be physically present before him. meaningless routinary act. such responsibility is incumbent upon him. his act of notarizing a deed to which he is a party is a plain violation of the aforequoted Rule IV. The penalty of disbarment shall be meted out only when the lawyer‘s misconduct borders on the criminal and/or is committed under scandalous circumstance. (5) the notary public notarizes his signature by acknowledgment or jurat. the confidence of the public in the integrity of this form of conveyance would be undermined. The Court wrote: x x x [N]otarization is not an empty. or impose appropriate administrative sanctions upon. Thus. in Dela Cruz. was complied with in this case. Sec. xxxx A notary public should not notarize a document unless the persons who signed the same are the very same persons who executed and personally appeared before him to attest to the contents and the truth of what are stated therein. — A member of the bar may be disbarred or suspended from his office as attorney by the Supreme Court for any deceit. by law. the Court. Casuga‘s act of affixing his signature above the printed name ―Edwin T. respondent is mandated to discharge his sacred duties with faithful observance and utmost respect for the legal solemnity of an oath in an acknowledgment or jurat. among others. (4) the notary public writes below his signature: ―Signature affixed by notary in presence of (names and addresses of person and two (2) witnesses)‖. as discussed above. However. malpractice. the aggregate penalty recommended by the IBP Board of Governors of suspension from the practice of law for four (4) years was correct. to guard against any illegal or immoral arrangements. Bongon[14] the Court suspended a notary public from the practice of law for one (1) year for violation of the Notarial Rules. In Dela Cruz v. Casuga‘s aforementioned act partakes of malpractice of law and misconduct punishable under the ensuing Sec. (2) the signature of the notary public is affixed in the presence of two disinterested and unaffected witnesses to the instrument or document. otherwise.‖ without any qualification.) Considering the various infractions Casuga committed. x x x or for any violation of the oath which he is required to take before admission to practice x x x. since only a lawyer in good standing can be granted the commission of a notary public. For this reason. It is invested with substantive public interest. Sec. Moreover. Nevada. – x x x xxxx (c) A notary public is authorized to sign on behalf of a person who is physically unable to sign or make a mark on an instrument or document if: (1) the notary public is directed by the person unable to sign or make a mark to sign on his behalf. Disbarment or suspension of attorneys by Supreme Court. or other gross misconduct in such office. In revoking the erring notary‘s commission. Zabala. It must be underscored that x x x notarization x x x converts a private document into a public document making that document admissible in evidence without further proof of authenticity thereof. 1(c). These acts of the affiants cannot be delegated because what are stated therein are facts they have personal knowledge of and are personally sworn to. 1(b)(10) of the Notarial Rules. grounds therefor. entitled to full faith and credit upon its face. Rule 138 of the Rules of Court: SEC. – x x x. The disqualification should accordingly be increased to four (4) years.

the pieces of jewelry subject of this case or their equivalent of PhP 300. Atty. if still existing. Let a copy of this Decision be furnished the Office of the Bar Confidant. the Court finds Atty. Additionally. We need not belabor the fact that Chul has no right whatsoever over the amount or property mentioned above. Casuga GUILTY of gross misconduct for violation of Canon 16 of the Code of Professional Responsibility and the Notarial Rules. Casuga as a member of the Bar. Lastly.000. He is hereby SUSPENDED for a period of four (4) years from the practice of law. he is ordered to return the amount of PhP 90.000.000. jewelry and Rolex watch should be returned to Nevada Nevada‘s plea that the rental deposit of PhP 90. Rodolfo D. and the Rolex watch valued at USD 12. and the Office of the Court Administrator for dissemination to all trial courts for their information and guidance. Casuga is warned that a repetition of the same or similar acts will be dealt with more severely. SO ORDERED.000 or its equivalent in Philippine Peso should be ordered returned to her instead of to Jung Jong Chul is well-taken.000. the pieces of jewelry worth PhP 300. and the Rolex watch valued at USD 12. otherwise. Nevada within thirty (30) days from finality of this Decision.000 or its equivalent in Philippine Peso to Corazon T. The notarial commission of Atty. WHEREFORE. is hereby REVOKED and he is DISQUALIFIED from being commissioned as Notary Public also for four (4) years. Rodolfo D. the Integrated Bar of the Philippines. he shall be cited for contempt. to be appended to the personal record of Atty. .The money. Casuga.

On May 30. 19136 and 19144. including the amount of P14. 1983.000. did not have knowledge of these transfers and transactions. National Capital Judicial Region. 1974 to September. 1984. Picazo. The antecedental facts 3 which spawned the filing of said actions are undisputed and are hereinunder set forth as found by the trial court and adopted substantially in the decision of respondent court. 1983. Bautista.000.00 as its proper. et al.Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila SECOND DIVISION It was during the pendency of these suits that these parcels of land were sold by petitioner to its sister corporation. As a consequence of the transfer of said parcels of land to Service Leasing Corporation.R. petitioner. Three months later. (2) whether or not a separate civil suit is necessary for the enforcement of such lien and G. in Civil Cases Nos. dated March 3.000. II. REGALADO. on October 15. petitioner failed to appear and oppose said motion. private respondent handled the abovementioned civil cases before the then Court of First Instance of Pasig (Branches I. Meanwhile.. just and reasonable attorney's fees in these cases. in turn. XIII. Rule 138 of the Rules of Court. with a total area of about ten (10) hectares. VI. filed on August 16.00. as a result of which the lower court granted the same and ordered the. No. XX AND XXIV) in behalf of petitioner. for brevity). 1988.: This petition for review on certiorari impugns the decision of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. respondent court affirmed the order of the trial court in its decision promulgated on February 11.000. offering a compromise amount of P600. hence the present recourse. petitioner manifested that it had fully paid private respondent. petitioner filed an urgent motion for substitution of party on July 28. under the following dispositive portion: PREMISES CONSIDERED. which motion the lower court granted with prejudice in its order dated September 5. A motion for reconsideration. Nos. X. 1983. countered that the amount of P50. movant therein. et al.000. the amount of P936. which had been consolidated and were pending before the Regional Trial Court of Pasig. THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS and ARTURO ALAFRIZ and ASSOCIATES. fraud and misrepresentation committed against him by Javier in the sale of the parcels of land. 1990 METROPOLITAN BANK AND TRUST COMPANY. The lower court found that private respondent. Tan & Fider for petitioner. The issues raised and submitted for determination in the present petition may be formulated thus: (1) whether or not private respondent is entitled to the enforcement of its charging lien for payment of its attorney's fees. granting payment of attorney's fees to private respondent. herein private respondent Arturo Alafriz and Associates. 1983. 453093 to 453099 of the original seven (7) parcels of land hereinbefore adverted to.1984. in the aforesaid civil cases. the plaintiffs Alejandro. These properties were thereafter mortgaged by Javier with the petitioner to secure a loan obligation of one Felix Angelo Bautista and/or International Hotel Corporation. XIX.000. Buyco.200. was filed by petitioner but the same was denied in a resolution promulgated on November 19. Private respondent. Arturo A. equivalent to twenty-five percent (25%) of the actual and current market values of the litigated properties as its attorney's fees. which motion precipitated an exchange of arguments between the parties. petitioner foreclosed the mortgages after which certificates of sale were issued by the provincial sheriff in its favor as purchaser thereof Subsequently. 0826508268 1affirming the order of Branch 168. alleging deceit.1984. or on June 7. respondents. On December 29. the same court ordered the Register of Deeds to annotate the attorney's liens of private respondent on the derivative titles which cancelled Transfer Certificates of Title Nos. private respondent filed a motion to fix its attorney's fees. fixing attorney's fees and directing herein petitioner Metropolitan Bank and Trust Company (Metrobank.000. J. filed a motion to dismiss their complaints therein. Alejandro. 5 On appeal. The records show that from March.000. as defendant in said civil cases. A certain Celedonio Javier bought seven (7) parcels of land owned by Eustaquio Alejandro.00 but the negotiations were unsuccessful. 1988. vs. and included petitioner as defendant therein. It further appears that private respondent attempted to arrange a compromise with petitioner in order to avoid suit. to pay its attorneys. Herby mortgaged the same properties with Banco de Oro for P9. Despite due notice. with damages. The obligors having defaulted. Regional Trial Court.500. the motion is hereby granted and the Metropolitan Bank and Trust Company (METROBANK) and Herby Commercial and Construction Corporation 4 are hereby ordered to pay the movant Arturo Alafriz and Associates the amount of P936. 1980. 1983. brought suits against Javier et al. 86100-03 January 23. 1983 for the purported price of P600.00 paid to it on December 15. Finally. pursuant to Section 37. . the properties were resold by the latter to Herby Commercial and Construction Corporation for the purported price of P2.00 given by petitioner could not be considered as full payment but merely a cash advance. Register of Deeds of Rizal to annotate the attorney's liens on the certificates of title of the parcels of land. 1983 a verified motion to enter in the records of the aforesaid civil cases its charging lien. Service Leasing Corporation on March 23. the latter. on its part.R. based on quantum meruit. On May 28.. Alafriz & Associates for and in their own behalf. 2 The civil cases were all for the declaration of nullity of certain deeds of sale.00.00 as attorney's fees on a quantum meruit basis. 1988. the court a quo issued the order assailed on appeal before respondent court.00. On the same day. 19123-28.

then it must be taken in haec verba. without any legal basis. In fact." 10 relying on the case of Bacolod-Murcia Milling Co. it follows that no sum can be awarded the defendant for damages. but such lien does not extend to land which is the subject matter of the litigation. On the first issue. 9 cited by petitioner in support of its position. Private respondent would nevertheless insist that the lien attaches to the "proceeds of a judgment of whatever nature. . and he shall have the same right and power over such judgments and executions as his client would have to enforce his lien and secure the payment of his just fees and disbursements. the lien does not attach to the property in litigation. recovered title or possession in a suit prosecuted by such client. the general rule is that an attorney has no lien on the land of his client. In that case. that no amount having been awarded the defendant. . 6 We agree with petitioner. . an attorney may acquire a lien for his compensation upon money due his client from the adverse party in any action or proceeding in which the attorney is employed. 14 Notably. and executions issued in pursuance of such judgments. a charging lien. Ababa. It is true that there are some American cases holding that the lien attaches even to properties in litigation. The language of the law is clear and unequivocal and. too. This is an inescapable recognition that a contrary rule obtains in other jurisdictions thereby resulting in doctrinal rulings of converse or modulated import. petitioner avers that private respondent has no enforceable attorney's charging lien in the civil cases before the court below because the dismissal of the complaints therein were not. Consequent to such provision. This Court held: . 16 the Court once again declared that a charging lien "presupposes that the attorney has secured a favorable money judgment for his client ." Even in the Bacolod-Murcia Milling case. barring any necessity for elaborate interpretation. movantappellant attorney sought the payment of his fees from his client who was the defendant in a complaint for injunction which was dismissed by the trial court after the approval of an agreement entered into by the litigants. it must be taken to mean exactly what it says. in the words of Section 37. herein appellant's lien could not be enforced. under our rule. in Director of Lands vs. especially those with variant legal systems. and shall have caused written notice thereof to be delivered to his client and to the adverse party. which we previously noted as cited by private respondent. requires as a condition sine qua non a judgment for money and execution in pursuance of such judgment secured in the main action by the attorney in favor of his client. Inc. 12 The contention is without merit just as its reliance is misplaced. This being so." Further." In Ampil vs. et al.(3) whether or not private respondent is entitled to twenty-five (25%) of the actual and current market values of the litigated properties on aquantum meruit basis. from and after the time when he shall have caused a statement of his claim of such lien to be entered upon the records of the court rendering such judgment. . To repeat. therefore. Victoriano. 15 the Court had the occasion to rule that "the lien of respondent is not of a nature which attaches to the property in litigation but is at most a personal claim enforceable by a writ of execution. could. However. vs. since in our jurisdiction the applicable rule provides that a charging lien attaches only to judgments for money and executions in pursuance of such judgment. vs. collect his fees as attorney. ." 13 as is the situation in the case at bar. . He shall also have a lien to the same extent upon all judgments for the payment of money. notwithstanding such attorney has." 8 The dismissal order neither provided for any money judgment nor made any monetary award to any litigant. In point is Morente vs. 18 More specifically. there was an express declaration that "in this jurisdiction. Rule 138. Firmalino.. literal as it may appear to be. et al. which he has secured in a litigation of his client. 17 we held that "(a) charging lien under Section 37. to be enforceable as security for the payment of attorney's fees. private respondent's supposed charging lien is. the civil cases below were dismissed upon the initiative of the plaintiffs "in view of the frill satisfaction of their claims. In Caina et al. an attorney merely defeating recovery against his client as a defendant is not entitled to a lien on the property involved in litigation for fees and the court has no power to fix the fee of an attorney defending the client's title to property already in the client's possession. Henares 11 and some American cases holding that the lien attaches to the judgment recovered by an attorney and the proceeds in whatever form they may be. Rule 138 of the Revised Rules of Court is limited only to money judgments and not to judgments for the annulment of a contract or for delivery of real property as in the instant case. with respect to the land in question. Rule 138 provides: . The defendant having suffered no actual damage by virtue of the issuance of a preliminary injunction. It cannot be gainsaid that legal concepts of foreign origin undergo a number of variegations or nuances upon adoption by other jurisdictions. et al. or defended successfully such client's right and title against an unjust claim or an unwarranted attack. The appellant." Indeed. is not without support in Philippine case law despite the dearth of cases on all fours with the present case. judgments for the payment of money or executions issued in pursuance of such judgments. JulianoAgrava. A lawyer may enforce his right to fees by filing the necessary petition as an incident in the main action in which his services were rendered when something is due his client in the action from which the fee is to be paid. 19 . It becomes apparent. It is flawed by the fact that there is nothing to generate it and to which it can attach in the same manner as an ordinary lien arises and attaches to real or personal property. or issuing such execution. the same source from which private respondent culled the American cases it cited expressly declares that "in the absence of a statute or of a special agreement providing otherwise. 7 In the case at bar.. the statutory rules on which they are based and the factual situations involved therein are neither explained nor may it be said that they are of continuing validity as to be applicable in this jurisdiction. On the matter of attorney's liens Section 37. successfully prosecuted a suit to establish the title of his client thereto. the interpretation. by appropriate action.. much less in favor of petitioner who was a defendant therein.

is not capital that yields profits. 26 ACCORDINGLY. apply only where the charging lien is valid and enforceable under the rules. Law advocacy. 1988 affirming the order of the trial court is hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. Nonetheless. and (3) the professional standing of the lawyer. 22 These decisional rules. The resolution of the second issue is accordingly subsumed in the preceding discussion which amply demonstrates that private respondent is not entitled to the enforcement of its charging lien. (2) the extent of the services rendered. or what may be misunderstood to be such. has to be prosecuted and the allegations therein established as any other money claim. unlike mercantile pursuits which enjoy a greater deal of freedom from government interference. the Court refrains from resolving the same so as not to preempt or interfere with the authority and adjudicative facility of the proper court to hear and decide the controversy in a proper proceeding which may be brought by private respondent. either as a separate civil suit or as an incident in the main action. the instant petition for review is hereby GRANTED and the decision of respondent Court of Appeals of February 11. the obvious necessity of a hearing is beyond cavil. Nothing in this decision should. 21 There is certainly no valid reason why the trial court cannot pass upon a petition to determine attorney's fees if the rule against multiplicity of suits is to be activated. is impressed with public interest. terminating the services of his counsel. 23Hence. On the last issue. The returns it births are simple rewards for a job done or service rendered. It is a calling that. is within the jurisdiction of the court trying the main case and this jurisdiction subsists until the lien is settled. waiving his cause or interest in favor of the adverse party or compromising his action. it has been stressed. But. SO ORDERED. 20 this rule cannot find application here as the termination of the cases below was not at the instance of private respondent's client but of the opposing party.While a client cannot defeat an attorney's right to his charging lien by dismissing the case. it bears mention at this juncture that an enforceable charging lien. however. the elements to be considered are generally (1) the importance of the subject matter in controversy. without prejudice to such appropriate proceedings as may be brought by private respondent to establish its right to attorney's fees and the amount thereof. be misconstrued as imposing an unnecessary burden on private respondent in collecting the fees to which it may rightfully be entitled. 25 A determination of all these factors would indispensably require nothing less than a full-blown trial where private respondent can adduce evidence to establish its right to lawful attorney's fees and for petitioner to oppose or refute the same. duly recorded. however. Besides. for which it is subject to State regulation. in fixing a reasonable compensation for the services rendered by a lawyer on the basis of quantum meruit. . 24 These are aside from the several other considerations laid down by this Court in a number of decisions as pointed out by respondent court. the proper legal remedy should be availed of and the procedural rules duly observed to forestall and obviate the possibility of abuse or prejudice. The persons who are entitled to or who must pay attorney's fees have the right to be heard upon the question of their propriety or amount. as in the exercise of any other right conferred by law. often to the undeserved discredit of the legal profession. A petition for recovery of attorney's fees.

DEATH AND INSURANCE BENEFIT CLAIMS ABROAD.03. report and recommendation. Canons of the CPR are rules of conduct all lawyers must adhere to.03 of the CPR provides: RULE 2. A LAWYER SHALL NOT DO OR PERMIT TO BE DONE ANY ACT DESIGNED PRIMARILY TO SOLICIT LEGAL BUSINESS. Caloocan City Fax: (632) 362-7821 Cel. including the manner by which a lawyer‘s services are to be made known. CARPIO. cor M. Chairperson. in his defense. Respondent. the CBD.versus CORONA. LINSANGAN. 2nd Flr. Hence. complainant presented the sworn affidavit[5] of James Gregorio attesting that Labiano tried to prevail upon him to sever his lawyer-client relations with complainant and utilize respondent‘s services instead. [9] found that respondent had encroached on the professional practice of complainant. Canon 3 of the CPR provides: CANON 3 . with the help of paralegal Fe Marie Labiano. Complainant. ILLNESS. . personally or through paid agents or brokers as stated in Section 27. Respondent promised them financial assistance [3] and expeditious collection on their claims. in exchange for a loan of P50. [13] To allow a lawyer to advertise his talent or skill is to commercialize the practice of law.FIRST DIVISION PEDRO L. Time and time again.02 of the CPR. LEONARDO-DE CASTRO and BERSAMIN. NICOMEDES TOLENTINO.H. M-01 Tel: 362-7820 6th Ave. Rule 138[12] of the Rules of Court. the CBD recommended that respondent be reprimanded with a stern warning that any repetition would merit a heavier penalty. J. Respondent. this complaint. violating Rule 8. he contravened the rule against soliciting cases for gain. ATTY.[14] Rule 2.: This is a complaint for disbarment[1] filed by Pedro Linsangan of the Linsangan Linsangan & Linsangan Law Office against Atty.[4] To induce them to hire his services. Promulgated: September 4. INJURY. No. JJ. Del Pilar Grace Park. DIGNIFIED AND OBJECTIVE INFORMATION OR STATEMENT OF FACTS. And the means employed by respondent in furtherance of the said misconduct themselves constituted distinct violations of ethical rules.A LAWYER IN MAKING KNOWN HIS LEGAL SERVICES SHALL USE ONLY TRUE.000.. Complainant alleged that respondent.[8] Based on testimonial and documentary evidence. HONEST. he persistently called them and sent them text messages. Moreover. SICKNESS. Labiano Paralegal 1st MIJI Mansion. Nicomedes Tolentino for solicitation of clients and encroachment of professional services. 6672 Present: PUNO.: (0926) 2701719 Back SERVICES OFFERED: CONSULTATION AND ASSISTANCE TO OVERSEAS SEAMEN REPATRIATED DUE TO ACCIDENT. degrade the profession in the public‘s estimation and impair its ability to efficiently render that high character of service to which every member of the bar is called. FAIR. (emphasis supplied) Hence. C. 2009 x-----------------------------------------x RESOLUTION CORONA.C.J.. in its report and recommendation.02 [10] and other canons[11] of the Code of Professional Responsibility (CPR). We adopt the findings of the IBP on the unethical conduct of respondent but we modify the recommended penalty.[7] The complaint was referred to the Commission on Bar Discipline (CBD) of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) for investigation. The complaint before us is rooted on the alleged intrusion by resp ondent into complainant‘s professional practice in violation of Rule 8. . lawyers are reminded that the practice of law is a profession and not a business. Complainant also attached ―respondent‘s‖ calling card:[6] Front NICOMEDES TOLENTINO LAW OFFFICE CONSULTANCY & MARITIME SERVICES W/ FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE Fe Marie L. Rm. lawyers should not advertise their talents as merchants advertise their wares. A. denied knowing Labiano and authorizing the printing and circulation of the said calling card. To support his allegations. Thus. convinced his clients[2] to transfer legal representation.

Rule 138 of the Rules of Court is herebySUSPENDED from the practice of law for a period of one year effective immediately from receipt of this resolution.[20] Again the Court notes that respondent never denied having these seafarers in his client list nor receiving benefits from Labiano‘s ―referrals. Violation of anti -solicitation statutes warrants serious sanctions for initiating contact with a prospective client for the purpose of obtaining employment. address. either personally or through paid agents or brokers. Nicomedes Tolentino for violating Rules 1.[22] It seeks to ensure his undivided attention to the case he is handling as well as his entire devotion and fidelity to the client‘s cause.02 of the CPR. Money was dangled to lure clients away from their original lawyers.[28] Labiano‘s calling card contained the phrase ―with financial assistance. a mere reprimand.[24] As previously mentioned. lawyers are only allowed to announce their services by publication in reputable law lists or use of simple professional cards. A lawyer‘s best advertisement is a well-merited reputation for professional capacity and fidelity to trust based on his character and conduct. The rule is intended to safeguard the lawyer‘s independence of mind so that the free exercise of his judgment may not be adversely affected. WHEREFORE. A final word regarding the calling card presented in evidence by petitioner.04 and Canon 3 of the Code of Professional Responsibility and Section 27. he later admitted it during the mandatory hearing.[21] Respondent committed an unethical. the Court is not prepared to rule that respondent was personally and directly responsible for the printing and distribution of Labiano‘s calling cards.03 should be read in connection with Rule 1. any act of solicitation constitutes malpractice [25] which calls for the exercise of the Court‘s disciplinary powers. The proposed penalty is grossly incommensurate to its findings.03. the lawyer in effect acquires an interest in the subject matter of the case or an additional stake in its outcome.[15] Such actuation constitutes malpractice.Hence. FOR ANY CORRUPT MOTIVE OR INTEREST. respondent violated Rule 16. With regard to respondent‘s violation of Rule 8.03. the sanction recommended by the IBP. when in the interest of justice. he never denied Labiano‘s connection to his office. good result or reduced fees for his services. in this jurisdiction. name of the law firm with which he is connected. Professional calling cards may only contain the following details: (a) (b) (c) (d) (e) lawyer‘s name. However. etc.) for a matter that he is handling for the client. 8. respondent clearly solicited employment violating Rule 2. Neither shall a lawyer lend money to a client except. The rule is that a lawyer shall not lend money to his client. personally or through an agent in order to gain employment)[17] as a measure to protect the community from barratry and champerty. ENCOURAGE ANY SUIT OR PROCEEDING OR DELAY ANY MAN‘S CAUSE. we adhere to the rule to protect the public from the Machiavellian machinations of unscrupulous lawyers and to uphold the nobility of the legal profession.02 and 16. is a wimpy slap on the wrist. Through Labiano‘s actions.03. 2. This rule proscribes ―ambulance chasing‖ (the solicitation of almost any kind of legal business by an attorney. stenographer‘s fees for transcript of stenographic notes. cash bond or premium for surety bond. Let a copy of this Resolution be made part of his records in the Office of the Bar Confidant. lawyers are prohibited from soliciting cases for the purpose of gain.03 of the CPR which provides: RULE 1. or to accept a settlement which may take care of his interest in the verdict to the prejudice of the client in violation of his duty of undivided fidelity to the client‘s cause. in the absence of substantial evidence to prove his culpability.03.[18] Complainant presented substantial evidence[19] (consisting of the sworn statements of the very same persons coaxed by Labiano and referred to respondent‘s office) to prove that respondent indeed solicited legal business as well as profited from referrals‘ suits.03 and Canon 3 of the CPR and Section 27. settled is the rule that a lawyer should not steal another lawyer‘s client nor induce the latter to retain him by a promise of better service. telephone number and special branch of law practiced. The only exception is. .[16] Rule 2. respondent Atty. Although respondent initially denied knowing Labiano in his answer. and be furnished to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines and the Office of the Court Administrator to be circulated to all courts.[27] For this reason. and Rule 1. Hapless seamen were enticed to transfer representation on the strength of Labiano‘s word that respondent could produce a more favorable result.02 of the CPR. A LAWYER SHALL NOT.[23] Either of these circumstances may lead the lawyer to consider his own recovery rather than that of his client. thereby taking advantage of their financial distress and emotional vulnerability. If the lawyer lends money to the client in connection with the client‘s case. SO ORDERED. Supreme Court of the Philippines. he has to advance necessary expenses in a legal matter he is handling for the client. by engaging in a money-lending venture with his clients as borrowers. Moreover. Based on the foregoing. a ground for disbarment. respondent‘s law practice was benefited. Rule 138 of the Rules of Court.04 – A lawyer shall not borrow money from his c lient unless the client‘s interests are fully protected by the nature of the case or by independent advice. when in the interest of justice. This crass commercialism degraded the integrity of the bar and deserved no place in the legal profession.‖ Furthermore.04: Rule 16. He cannot escape liability under Rule 8. He is STERNLY WARNEDthat a repetition of the same or similar acts in the future shall be dealt with more severely.‖ The phrase was clearly used to entice clients (who already had representation) to change counsels with a promise of loans to finance their legal actions. Considering the myriad infractions of respondent (including violation of the prohibition on lending money to clients). predatory overstep into another‘s legal practice. [26] Thus. he has to advance necessary expenses (such as filing fees.

and MARIA TERESA SARRAGA. 2. among others. Finally. as valid and title thereto shall pertain to defendant spouses Sarraga.R. and other documents upon Atty. wrote petitioners allowing them to repurchase the lots for P8.714. we are not yet selling the aforesaid properties. and Maria Teresa Sarraga.73. 1993. The terms were later embodied in a Memorandum of Agreement[3] (MOA) signed by the parties. 1998. through its liquidators. Cagayan de Oro. On January 25. or before the expiration of the period for the redemption of the lots. petitioners paid in full the total repurchase price for the three (3) lots. On July 2. All other claims of plaintiff Bank as well as counterclaims by the defendants are dismissed. petitioners mortgaged their lots to Banco Filipino Savings and Mortgage Bank (Banco Filipino). as follows: 1. Banco Filipino shall execute the corresponding deed of sale for the three (3) lots in their favor. were the absolute owners of three (3) parcels of land. December 9. 143783. in Lapasan. respondent. 1992. situated in Poblacion. accounting and damages.[2] They were likewise granted the power to manage and administer the building located in Lot 416-B. 1998. motions. On October 10. petitioners received a letter from Banco Filipino recognizing their intention to redeem their lots. one of which is Lot 416-B. 1998. On September 10. Dumlao suffered a mild stroke. Cagayan de Oro City. Atty. On October 30. petitioners. prompting petitioners to hire the services of another counsel. 1984. Owing to her lack of work experience in a law office. 1985. Declaring the sale and conveyance of the two (2) parcels of land (denominated as Lots 1035-A and 1053-B) situated in Barangay Lapasan. she merely left the court order on her desk and eventually it was misplaced. incapacitating him from participating actively in the proceedings. On June 29. Dumlao. filed with the Regional Trial Court. Deputy Receiver Arnulfo B. started negotiating with petitioners on the terms of redemption. Banco Filipino refused to execute the corresponding deed of sale and turn over Lot 416-B to petitioners. No.R. On April 27. However. then Banco Filipino‘s liquidator. 416-B and the building thereon to plaintiff Bank. petitioner Dante P. petitioners. 3. the trial court continued to serve pleadings. SR. 93-186. 1986. Dumlao remained petitioners‘ counsel of record. [5] They were represented by Atty. same city. Rogelio Bagabuyo. While the latter appeared for the petitioners during the hearing and signed pleadings for them. Banco Filipino. Dumlao and Bagabuyo.506. vs. Ordering defendant spouses Sarraga to immediately relinquish and surrender possession of Lot No.597. and the other two. Sarraga sent a letter to Banco Filipino‘s receiver-liquidator offering to redeem the same. petitioners filed their answer with counterclaim. 1990. Banco Filipino foreclosed the mortgage. 1993. Mr. under the terms stipulated therein. as security for a loan in the amount of P3. [G. a newly-hired clerk at the office of Atty. Florentino G. it was ordered closed and placed under receivership and liquidation. Branch 38. processes.[6] the dispositive portion of which states: ―Wherefore. Later. Banco Filipino was placed in conservatorship by the Central Bank of the Philippines. She failed to bring the matter to the attention of Atty. Dumlao. Banco Filipino. Cagayan de Oro City. Atty.‖ Since petitioners were not allowed to redeem their lots within the period prescribed by law. 1985.BANCO FILIPINO SAVINGS AND MORTGAGE BANK. On September 3. the order was received by Ms. Jr.618. Instead. Aurellano wrote petitioners that ―at this stage of the liquidation of the bank. ―SO ORDERED.[1] The terms include. on April 5. ―No pronouncement as to costs. with 12% interest per annum. Declaring plaintiff Banco Filipino to be the true and lawful owners of Lot 416-B and the building therein (formerly known as the Lucar Building but now as Executive Centrum) situated along J. and 4. Atty. petitioners filed a motion for reconsideration. Consequently. the trial court rendered a decision. Bagabuyo when she . judgment is hereby rendered.59. Sometime in the early 1980‘s. Banco Filipino formally conveyed to petitioners the two (2) lots (Lots 1053-A and 1053-B) located in Lapasan. Cagayan de Oro City. Renan Santos. recovery of ownership and possession. 1998. As such.: Spouses Dante Sarraga. Sr.THIRD DIVISION On May 16.‖[7] On July 1. Bagabuyo. Petitioners defaulted in the payment of their loan. docketed as Civil Case No. Borja Street. respondent. titles thereto were consolidated in the name of Banco Filipino. 2002] DANTE SARRAGA. DECISION SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ. on October 30. On April 9. 1991. Llerna Guligado.[8] signed by both Attys. the trial court issued an order[9] denying petitioners‘ motion. 1985. prior to the pre-trial. J. However. Lots 1053-A and 1053-B. On June 1. that petitioners may pay by installments and that upon full payment of the repurchase price. who formally entered his appearance as their counsel of record. Cagayan de Oro City. a complaint[4] against petitioners for quieting of title.

Bagabuyo falls under the said exceptions. 1996 was signed by him alone as counsel for the defendants. 2) whether Atty. without in any way indicating to the court and the adverse party that he had to defer to the judgment of Atty. docketed as CA GR-SP No. 1999. service upon him shall be made upon his counsel or one of them x x x. this will result in the deprivation of their property. 1998 denying their motion for reconsideration was served upon Atty.[18] Thus. Atty. Attys.[19] In such cases.resigned on September 15. we find that the negligence of Atty. acted alone. Bagabuyo was negligent which prevented petitioners from filing a timely notice of appeal. The MEMORANDUM FOR THE DEFENDANTS dated April 8. the trial court issued an order[11] dismissing the petition for relief on the ground that it was filed out of time. ascribing to the trial court grave abuse of discretion for dismissing their petition for relief from judgment. Macasandig. they filed a petition for relief from judgment. [17] Nothing is more settled than the rule that the negligence of counsel binds the client.[16] The Court of Appeals correctly found that indeed petitioners‘ counsel was Atty. 1999 order- ―The records of this case show that Atty. service of pleadings. Here. dated November 28.‖ Petition. Due to his excitement and relocation to Manila. Rogelio Zosa Bagabuyo signed as lead counsel the defendants‘ Motion for Reconsideration dated 26 June 1998 and the Urgent Rejoinder to Plaintiff‘s Opposition To Our Motion for Reconsideration dated 03 August 1998. Eventually. Bagabuyo knew that his clerk has no work experience in a law firm. Bagabuyo was negligent which prevented petitioners from filing a timely notice of appeal. The day before. he failed to apprise Atty. Time and again this Court has admonished law offices to adopt a system of distributing and receiving pleadings and notices. they found that the records of the case were already transmitted to the Court of Appeals due to a partial appeal interposed by Banco Filipino. Mr. Bagabuyo is not their counsel of record since he did not file with the trial court a formal appearance. thus: ―WHEREFORE. Bagabuyo of a copy of the Order dated September 3. 1998. Atty. Bagabuyo did not ‗merely enter his appearance orally at every hearing which he attended.‘ Atty. Bagabuyo. Bagabuyo ‗had been the one actively handling the case for the defendants since the pre-trial stage. Borja Streets. the application of the general rule to a given case should be looked into and adopted according to the surrounding circumstances. so that the lawyers will be promptly informed of the status of their cases. pp.‘ He signed alone as counsel for the defendants an URGENT MOTION TO CANCEL SCHEDULED HEARING ON 31 July 1998 dated 28 July 1998 in which he indicated his address as ‗72 corners 14th-10th Streets. Dumlao and Bagabuyo. the Appellate Court rendered a Decision[13] dismissing the petition. Thus. 53765. judgments and other papers may be made on any one of them. City of Cagayan de Oro. Gaudencio Beduya. Concerned that no action had been taken on their motion for reconsideration of the Decision. Rule 13 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure.‘ The obvious meaning of said rule is that if a party is represented by more than one lawyer. To be sure.‘ (Annex ―F. Consequently. we hold that public respondent did not err much less act with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction in issuing the disputed orders.‘ He filed several pleadings in this case as ‗counsel for the defendants‘ in which he indicated his address. In the trial court. Rogelio Zosa B.‘ x x x it is simply absurd for petitioners to even suggest that service upon Atty. Dumlao on any matter pertaining to the instant case. On June 20. or (3) where the interests of justice so require. Pursuant to Section 2. vs. (2) when its application will result in outright deprivation of the client‘s liberty or property. 1998. Travellers Life Building. Petitioners filed a motion for reconsideration but was denied. whether such negligence is binding upon petitioners. Atty. on December 7. As explained by the court a quo in its May 24. made decisions alone. City of Cagayan de Oro. and 3) if so. 196-197. Macasandig. they came to know that the order dated September 3. rollo). 1998 which denied their Motion for Reconsideration of the judgment was ineffective or did not bind them.‖[14] Hence this petition for review on certiorari. City of Cagayan de Oro. verified its status. ―SO ORDERED. Inc. Bagabuyo was appointed Senior State Prosecutor in the Department of Justice. He should have supervised her office performance very closely considering the importance of his legal calling. the service upon him of the trial court‘s order denying their motion for reconsideration is not valid. He presented the defendant Dante Sarraga and the latter‘s witness. The fundamental issues for our resolution are: 1) whether there was a valid service of the trial court‘s order denying petitioners‘ motion for reconsideration upon Atty. for which reason. Rule 13 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure explicitly provides that ‗(i)f any party has appeared by counsel. or intimating to the court and the adverse party that he had to consult Atty. However. signed pleadings alone. This prompted petitioners to file with the trial court a notice of appeal which was denied for being late. as amended. corners Tiano & J. 2000. he committed gross negligence. Atty. Court of Appeals. Section 2. Such posture is untenable. thus: ―We find no merit in the first ground invoked by petitioners. Ultimately. which he signed alone as ‗counsel for Defendants‘ and in which he indi cated his address as ‗Suite 201. since he started appearing in this case. Petitioners maintain that Atty. The first pleading that he filed x x x was a MOTION TO HEAR SPECIAL AND AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSES AS IF A MOTION TO DISMISS HAD BEEN FILED. the herein petition has to be. Obviously. exceptions to the said rule have been recognized by this Court: (1) where reckless or gross negligence of counsel deprives the client of due process of law. or on September 14. courts must step in and accord relief to a client who suffered thereby.R. specifically Lot 416-B. Dumlao on the status of the case. Indeed. In Apex Mining. Bagabuyo. ―Given the foregoing circumstances and the court a quo‘s further observation that Atty. It is undisputed that petitioners were represented by two (2) lawyers. as it is hereby DISMISSSED. On February 12. foregoing premises considered.[10] During the hearing.[20] this Court ruled: . Petitioners were deprived of their right to appeal when he failed to inform them immediately of the denial of their motion for reconsideration of the trial court‘s decision. at the trial of this ca se and terminated the presentation of the defendant‘s evidence without consulting. petitioners. Bagabuyo only. 1998. Bagabuyo. in which he indicated his address as 14th-10th Streets. 1994.[12] They then filed a petition for certiorari with the Court of Appeals. the negligence of clerks which adversely affect the cases handled by lawyers is binding upon the latter. Dumlao on the matter.[15] service of the trial court‘s order denying petitioners‘ motion for reconsideration may be made upon either counsel.

(Chairman). giving a false impression of speedy disposal of cases while actually resulting in more delay. the petition for relief filed on December 16. Hence. especially in this case where petitioners‘ appeal appears prima facie worthy of the CA‘s full consideration on the merits. Branch 38. when an unsuccessful party has been prevented from fully and fairly presenting his case as a result of his lawyer‘s professional delinquency or infidelity the litigation may be reopened to allow the party to present his side. Accordingly. 1998 was well within the sixty-day period prescribed in Section 3.―If the incompetence. and Carpio. It has been consistently held that the dismissal of appeal on purely technical grounds is frowned upon. concur. J. 1998. no part. not override. The dispensation of justice and vindication of legitimate grievances should not be barred by technicalities.. .‖ Petitioners cannot be faulted for failing to verify the status of their case with the trial court since a client has the right to expect that his lawyer will protect his interest during the hearing of his case. Cagayan de Oro City is DIRECTED to grant the petition for relief filed by petitioners and to GIVE DUE COURSE to their notice of appeal in Civil Case No. this Court. the trial court gravely abused its discretion when it denied the petition for relief. JJ. substantial justice. the petition is GRANTED. to introduce evidence on their behalf. Considering the circumstances obtaining here. Court litigations are primarily for the search of truth.‖[21] Undoubtedly. as amended. SO ORDERED. who otherwise has a good cause. technical sense. for they are adopted to help secure. Where counsel is guilty of gross ignorance.[24] ―x x x. is prejudiced and denied his day in court. the litigation may be reopened to give the client another chance to present his case. 53765 is SET ASIDE. To cling to the general rule in this case is only to condone rather than rectify a serious injustice to a party whose only fault was to repose his faith and entrust his innocence to his previous lawyers. Rule 38. Former counsel of a party. higher interests of justice and equity demand that petitioners be allowed to present evidence on their defense. 2000 in CA-GR SP No. ―A client may reasonably expect that his counsel will make good his representations and has the right to expect that his lawyer will protect his interests during the trial of his case. [22] Hence. 93-186. Panganiban. ―In view of the foregoing circumstances. which is December 7. in cases where a party was denied this right. at least. the client is deprived of his day in court and the judgment may be set aside on such ground. of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure. the power to take such steps as he deems necessary to defend the suit and protect the interests of the defendant. may even stay the dismissal of appeals grounded merely on technicalities. The challenged Decision of the Court of Appeals dated June 20. if not a miscarriage of justice.[23] Hence. ignorance or inexperience of counsel is so great and the error comm itted as a result thereof is so serious that the client. and in a defendant‘s attorney. This policy applies with equal force in case of appeals. Puno. petitioners should not be made to suffer the consequences of their counsel‘s negligence. The fundamental purpose of procedural rules is to afford each litigant every opportunity to present evidence in their behalf in order that substantial justice is achieved.. Petitioners may not be made suffer for the lawyer‘s mistakes and should be afforded another opportunity. Verily. we have relaxed the stringent application of procedural rules in order to allow a party the chance to be heard. the period within which to file their petition for relief should be reckoned from their actual receipt of the order denying their motion for reconsideration. in the exercise of its equity jurisdiction. negligence and dereliction of duty. and thereby defeat their very aims. dismissal of appeals purely on technical grounds is frowned upon and the rules o f procedure ought not to be applied in a very rigid. it would be more in accord with justice and equity to allow the appeal by petitioners to enable the Court of Appeals to review the trial court‘s decision. The Regional Trial Court. Both lower courts actually sacrificed justice for technicality. For the general employment of an attorney to prosecute or defend a case or proceeding ordinarily vests in a plaintiffs attorney the implied authority to take all steps or do all acts necessary or incidental to the regular and orderly prosecution and management of the suit. This Court has consistently ruled that it is a far better and more prudent course of action for a court to excuse a technical lapse and afford the parties a review of the case on the merits to attain the ends of justice rather than dispose of the case on technicality and cause a grave injustice to the parties.‖ [25] WHEREFORE. which resulted in the client‘s being held liable for damages in a damage suit. and a liberal interpretation of the rules by which both parties are given the fullest opportunity to adduce proofs is the best way to ferret out such truth. Corona. Similarly.Morales.

A lawyer owes fidelity to the cause of his client at all times. to refund his plane fare and to pay moral damages and attorney‘s fees. report and recommendation. he found out that respondent never filed a Petition for Review of his labor case. Failure to comply with these abiding precepts of ethical conduct renders counsel liable for violating the canons of his profession.C. 5302. 2000. POEA Case No. on September 17. the following: DECISION YNARES-SANTIAGO. 2003. he won it at the Labor Arbiter‘s level. complainant filed this administrative complaint against respondent. respondent‘s Motion to Admit Comment Filed One Day Late was referred to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines for investigation. respondent advised complainant and his uncle that respondent intended to appeal the Decision of the NLRC to the Court of Appeals and so he filed a Petition for Extension of Time to File Petition …. No. respondent did not charge a single centavo for attorney‘s fees. He must always serve with competence and diligence. (8) that respondent pleads good faith in the subsequent course of action taken. L-93-04-610.C. respondent won 3 cases for them especially the criminal complaint for Homicide against complainant‘s uncle. … (4) that at the time respondent advanced the docket fees. 1998.[2] On January 29. On February 28. respondent alleged by way of defense. and that respondent made several promises to complainant‘s uncle regarding the status of the Pet ition for Review but nothing came out of said promises.[13] In his letter-reply filed on February 7. … (5) that weeks later. respondent would advise him to call on a later date at which time he may have some news of any development with the case. An attorney should endeavor to keep his client informed of the status of his case and respond within a reasonable time to the latter‘s request for information.[5] Respondent filed with the Court of Appeals a motion for extension of time to file a petition for review and paid the corresponding docket fee. [6]On September 25. BERNARDO G. On August 30. that in the 4 cases respondent handled for complainant and his uncle.[10] [A. the National Labor Relations Commission reversed the arbiter‘s decision and dismissed the case for lack of basis. respondent chose to pursue another course of action. On July 20. that of entertaining the idea of filing a Motion for Execution to enforce the Labor Arbiter‘s Decision against the other respondents who did not appeal said Decision. [9] On September 2. the Decision of Labor Arbiter Carpio was reversed and NLRC OCW Case No. complainant. It appears that complainant engaged the services of respondent of the law firm P.[4] For several times. 93 E-17909 and POEA Case No. that herein complainant and Aniceto Encio requested respondent not to charge them an acceptance fee for said case and instead offered to pay respondent 30% of any monetary award recovered in said case. respondent was required to file his comment within 10 days from notice. M-91-06-602. [8] Notwithstanding. either personally or through his designated agents. In a Resolution dated October 21. that there is no truth to respondent‘s allegation that complainant was in the province because complainant‘s uncle called respondent 3 times a week to follow-up the Petition for Review. respondent filed his Compliance with Motion for Final Twelve (12) Day Extension With No Further Extension. 2005] Finally. the NLRC decision became final and executory. [7] Subsequently. complainant averred the following statements originally in the vernacular: … it is not true that there was no acceptance fee because complainant paid respondent the am ount of P1. Nolasco and Associates as counsel de parte in NLRC NCR OCW Case No. Bernardo G. JUANINO. Consequently. ABIERO. respondent still failed to file his comment. I. and despite 11 extensions. that in said criminal case. and never neglect a legal matter entrusted to him. When complainant verified with the Court of Appeals the status of the case. on July 29. … (9) that respondent tried his best to win complainant‘s labor case and in fact. Juanino with negligence in connection with a legal matter entrusted to him. complainant. that it was actually complainant who paid for the docket fees but respondent who physically paid the same to the Court of Appeals. respondent was warned that no further extension shall be granted. 00-12-00904-95 was dismissed by the NLRC for lack of merit.[12] As summarized.respondent. Thus. F-10088. (10) that respondent appeals to the sense of fairness of complainant. 00-12-00904-95. when complainant reimbursed respondent for the docket fees he had advanced. 2002. vs. .500 plus the amount of P500 per hearing but no receipts were issued for these payments. 2002. respondent filed his comment [11] together with a Motion to Admit Comment Filed One Day Late. 2002. 2000. ATTY. complainant and respondent did not have any agreement that a Petition for Certiorari would be filed with the Court of Appeals. that respondent entertained the idea that he could enforce the original Decision through a Motion for Execution. February 18. … that on appeal to the National Labor Relations Commission. (7) that there was an error in judgment on respondent‘s part when instead of filing a Petition for Certiorari as originally intended. 00-12-00904-95 was referred by Aniceto Encio to respondent for handling.: (1) that complainant became respondent‘s client after respondent handled these cases for complainant‘s uncle Aniceto Encio and his family namely Criminal Case No.[14] MARCIAL L. Carpio ruled in favor of complainant by ordering the respondents to pay complainant his unpaid wages and unpaid vacation leave pay. mindful of the trust and confidence reposed in him. 2001. J. (2) that NLRC NCR OCW Case No. respondent was required to show cause why he should not be disciplinarily dealt with or held in contempt for failure to comply with our directives. tried to follow up the status of the case.FIRST DIVISION Consequently. 2002. No. Each time.[3] On appeal.S. respondent filed a series of motions for extension to file comment. 2000. that respondent successfully handled these cases which led to the dismissal of the criminal case against Aniceto Encio and recovery of monetary awards in the other cases. Abiero charging respondent Atty. an administrative complaint[1] was filed by Marcial L. Labor Arbiter Eduardo J. respondent requested for additional time to file comment.

In Barbuco v. he is not true to his oath as a lawyer.[18] By his own admission. failure to file brief for his client certainly constitutes inexcusable negligence on his part. not only to his client. he filed the comment one (1) day late. [16] The Board of Governors of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines. the period to file the petition before the Court of Appeals continued to run. Atty. he owes fidelity to such cause and must at all times be mindful of the trust and confidence reposed in him. adopted the Report and Recommendation of the Investigating Commissioner. the Commission on Bar Discipline of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP). Carpio informed me that since decision was reversed on appeal and the complaint dismissed. as it is hereby ADOPTED and APPROVED. Carpio. A lawyer who fails to exercise due diligence or abandon‘s his client‘s cause makes him unworthy of the trust reposed on him by the latter. Once he agrees to handle a case.[15] held that there was no sufficient justification for respondent‘s failure to file the petition for review with the Court of Appeals.[19] As a lawyer. he should undertake the task with dedication and care. thus: RESOLVED to ADOPT and APPROVE. in view of the foregoing. Paguinto[25] that a lawyer should give adequate attention. It found that respondent was aware of the period for filing said petition because he himself paid the docket fees and filed the Motion for Extension of Time to File the Petition for Review. Antonio . SO ORDERED. before the office of the arbiter to discuss his plan to file a motion for execution. He can do this by faithfully performing his duties to society. C. and Azcuna. Utmost fidelity is demanded once counsel agrees to take the cudgels for his client‘s cause. and considering respondent‘s violation of Canons 17 & 18 of the Code of Professional Responsibility by failing to file the Petition for Certiorari. finding the recommendation fully supported by the evidence on record and the applicable laws and rules. Complainant had placed his trust in respondent to handle his claims against his previous employer. Jr. It is not enough that a lawyer possesses the qualification to handle the legal matter.03 of the Code of Professional Responsibility which declares that ―a lawyer shall not neglect a legal matter entrusted to him and his negligence in connection therewith shall render him liable. Bernardo G.[23] counsel‘s failure to exercise due diligence in protecting the interest of his client caused the latter material prejudice. respondent should know that he is not required to seek prior approval from the labor arbiter before he could file a motion for execution. Respondent has indeed committed a serious lapse in judgment in failing to perform his professional duty to his client under the canons of his profession.[27]the Court suspended counsel for six months upon a finding that their failure to perfect an appeal was inexcusable and persuasively demonstrative of negligence and malpractice. His inexcusable negligence on such matter renders him liable for violation of Canons 17 and 18 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. The failure to timely file a pleading is by itself a sin of omission on the part of the respondent. I could enforce the Decision (See THIRD REASON) against these other respondents who did not appeal. Atty. Judge Armenta. Court of Appeals. Atty. Despite numerous extensions. but also to the Court of which he is an officer. respondent Atty.[26] and Sps. I was dumbfounded as the period to file a Petition for Certiorari already expired. .. which were all granted. Beltran. His claim that he was pursuing another legal remedy in the labor case did not justify his failure to file the petition for review within the prescribed period. Villaluz v. Juanino is found guilty of negligence and is SUSPENDED from the practice of law for six (6) months effective upon receipt of this Decision. Failure to comply with his legal duty as counsel of complainant in NLRC NCR OCW Case No. and. a violation of Rule 18. to the courts and to his clients. Thus. The moment counsel takes a client‘s cause. the Integrated Bar of the Philippines. Such misconduct should not be countenanced. In its Report and Recommendation. Notwithstanding. Honorable Labor Arbiter Eduardo J. respondent was held to have breached Canons 17 and 18 of the Code of Professional Responsibility.The lone issue for resolution is whether respondent violated Canons 17 and 18 of the Code of Professional Responsibility.[20] As we held in the recent case of Barbuco v. WHEREFORE. the Report and Recommendation of the Investigating Commissioner of the above-entitled case. I was not able to see him the first two times that I went as I was informed he was assigned to certain task force and when I saw him the third time. thus: I honestly believed then that since the other respondents did not appeal the Decision to the Commission of the NLRC. herein made part of this Resolution/Decision as Annex ―A‖. Atty.[24] We observed in Pariñas v. we note that respondent delayed the filing of the comment for more than two (2) years. respondent entertained the idea of filing a motion for execution. (Chairman). For having neglected a legal matter entrusted to him by his client. The lawyer has the duty to exert his best judgment in the prosecution or defense of the case entrusted to him and to exercise reasonable and ordinary care and diligence in the pursuit or defense of the case. By neglecting his duties to his client and to this Court. Guiang v. a lawyer should accept only as much cases as he can efficiently handle in order to sufficiently protect his clients‘ interests. respondent transgressed the canons of legal ethics enshrined in the Code of Professional Responsibility. He is bound to protect his client‘s interest to the best of his ability and perform his duties to his client with utmost diligence. Atty. If he fails in this duty. still. Nothing less can be expected from a member of the Philippine Bar. However. it eventually expired. Once a lawyer consents to defend the cause of his client.. but thrice. there would be no basis for filing a Motion for Execution to enforce Decision. for their information and guidance. JJ. he presented himself. only to discover that such recourse was not feasible. Thus. especially if such failure took the form of filing a pleading after the deadline for filing the same has passed. Davide.[22] In Legarda v.J.04 of the Code of Professional Responsibility which requires a lawyer to keep his client informed of the status of his case and respond within a reasonable time to the client‘s request for information. respondent did not serve his client with diligence and competence. Worse. Quisumbing. Rule 18. concur. Beltran. while respondent was waiting for the arbiter‘s opinion. he owes fealty. not once. Failure to appeal to the Court of Appeals despite instructions by the client to do so constitutes inexcusable negligence on the part of counsel.. in failing to file the petition for review. to the bar. 00-12-00904-95 has caused damage and prejudice to the latter. Juanino is hereby SUSPENDED from the practice of law for six (6) months. Bernardo G.[21] an attorney is bound to protect his client‘s interest to the best of his ability and with utmost diligence. Let a copy of this Decision be furnished to the Office of the Bar Confidant. So undersigned went to Honorable Labor Arbiter Eduardo J. complainant‘s travails were further compounded by the failure of the respondent to maintain an open line of communication with his client in direct contravention of Canon 18.[17] We agree with the findings of the IBP Investigating Commissioner. [28] Incidentally. he covenants that he will exert all effort for its prosecution until its final resolution. Thus.‖ We cannot overstate the duty of a lawyer to uphold the integrity and dignity of the legal profession at all times. The Commission on Bar Discipline of IBP recommended that respondent be suspended from the practice of law for a period of six (6) months. he must also give adequate attention to his legal work. care and time to his client‘s case. with a WARNING that a repetition of the same or similar acts will be dealt with more severely. Carpio and explained to him about my plan to file a Motion for Execution against the other respondents who did not appeal the Decision to the Commission of the NLRC. as in fact. and all courts in the Philippines.

Roxas and Santiago N. Said Decision and Resolution reversed and set aside the decision of the Regional Trial Court (RTC). PACITA JAVIER. Our representation shall also include the areas taken over by the Ministry of Public Works and Highways which now formed part of the Marcos Highway at Antipolo. Pastor. JOSE REYES and ANTONIO REYES. 26804 entitled. Mrs. You are willing to accept NHA 5-year bonds as part payment up to 75% of the total compensation.00 per square meter or more our contingent fee[s] is THIRTY PERCENT (30%) of the just compensation. At such price of P11. ENRIQUE DE ZUZUARREGUI. Attys. PACITA JAVIER.R. THE NATIONAL HOUSING AUTHORITY. 2006 April 22. ELIAS REYES. PASTOR. JOSE B. This was sealed by a Letter-Agreement dated 22 April 1983. more or less. TERESITA REYES. No. NATIVIDAD REYES. 6. NATIVIDAD REYES. "National Housing Authority v. Rizal. 5 docketed therein as Civil Case No. 152072. JR.R. ROMEO G. The other terms and conditions of our proposal are: xxxx 5. JOSEFINA R. About a month before the aforecited case was ordered archived.570. Antonio de Zuzuarregui.790.R. ELIZABETH R. Petitioners. The petitioners in G. No. DAZA. Any lower amount shall not entitle us to any attorney‘s fees." . Roxas and Santiago N. Pilar Ibañez Vda. De Zuzuarregui. respectively. 1983 Mr. dated 03 January 1994. vda. ROXAS and SANTIAGO N.00) or more per square meter. No. ENRIQUE DE ZUZUARREGUI. JOSEFINA R. JR. PEDROSA.. DECISION CHICO-NAZARIO. 26804. 152104.Republic SUPREME Manila FIRST DIVISION G. No. TERESITA REYES. kindly signify your formal Jr. 152104. we shall assist to have them discounted at 75% of its face value. vs. De Zuzuarregui) Dear Sir and Madam: This is to confirm in writing our verbal negotiations for us to represent you in the expropriation proceedings filed by the National Housing Authority against your goodselves before the Court of First Instance of Rizal (now the Regional Trial Court) and docketed as Civil Case No. Antonio de Zuzuarregui ( as heir to the late Pilar Y. The petitioners in G. Quezon City. JOSE REYES and ANTONIO REYES. Municipality of Makati. Respondents. x----------------------------------x G. GONZALES. which is partly reproduced hereunder: January 31. Romeo G. xxxx Should the above proposal be acceptable to your goodselves. 152072 of the Philippines COURT On 25 May 1983. 26804. petitioners in G. pray that the said Decision and Resolution of the Court of Appeals be modified. This case was lodged before the RTC. Rizal. J. et al. vs. 2006 ANTONIO DE ZUZUARREGUI. the Zuzuarreguis engaged the legal services of Attys. Romeo G. Our lawyer‘s fees shall be in the proportion of the cash/bonds ratio of the just compensation. H. Branch 98. ROXAS and SANTIAGO N. seek the reversal and annulment of the Decision3 and Resolution4 of the Court of Appeals dated 25 June 2001 and 06 February 2002. on the other hand. ANTONIO DE ZUZUARREGUI. Zuzuarregui) ROMEO G. THE ANTECEDENTS The instant cases had their beginnings in 1977 when the National Housing Authority (NHA) filed expropriation proceedings against the Zuzuarreguis. Respondents. for parcels of land belonging to the latter situated in Antipolo. Branch 141. ELIZABETH R.R. Likewise our fees are subject to 10% withholding tax.36 square meters.: Before Us are two petitions for review on certiorari 1 which were consolidated per Resolution2 of this Court dated 27 November 2002. No. ELIAS REYES. the Zuzuarreguis. to represent them in Civil Case No. The areas affected are the following: xxxx We shall endeavor to secure the just compensation with the National Housing Authority and other governmental agencies at a price of ELEVEN PESOS (P11. GONZALES.R. In the event of your desire to discount the bonds. Pastor. with a total land area of 1. said case was ordered archived6 by Branch 141. Pacita Javier (as heir to the late Jose de Mr. 152104 January 31. Petitioners. PASTOR. DAZA..

00 per square meter. The NHA filed a Motion for Reconsideration9 dated 23 November 1984 praying that the Partial Decision be reconsidered and set aside. 26804 fixing the just compensation to be paid to the Zuzuarreguis at P30. Enrique De Zuzuarregui and Pacita Javier. Roxas and Pastor in Civil Case No. in Makati. JR. in favor of Attys. Jr. (Sgd. a Partial Decision was rendered by Branch 141 in Civil Case No. ROMEO G. ROXAS AND SANTIAGO PASTOR are our lawyers in Civil Case No. 26804 before the Regional Trial Court. …. A Motion to Set Case for Hearing.1avvph!l. JR. Toquero.) PASTOR ROMEO Lawyer G. all of legal age. De Reyes in favor of Attys. to be our true and lawful attorneys to act in our names and on our behalves to do and execute all or any of the following acts and deeds subject to our approval: xxxx (Sgd. On 29 October 1984. De Zuzuarregui as heir to the late Jose De Zuzuarregui7 (Sgd. and hereby ratifying and confirming all that our said attorneys shall do or cause to be done under and by virtue of these presents. Makati. Branch CXLI. do hereby appoint.. and a new one rendered lowering the amount of just compensation in accordance with applicable laws. name and constitute ATTYS. ROMEO G. ENRIQUE DE ZUZUARREGUI and PACITA JAVIER.) ANTONIO DE ZUZUARREGUI. (4) To sign and prepare all papers relative to the preparation of a Compromise Agreement or any papers and communications which shall eventually bear our signatures. Santiago Pastor and Basilio H. Philippines. ROXAS and SANTIAGO PASTOR.acceptance as (sic) the space hereunder provided.) ANTONIO DE ZUZUARREGUI. 1985. Roxas and Pastor. a Joint Special Power of Attorney was executed by Antonio De Zuzuarregui. vda. We have hereunto set our hands this 26th day of August. JR. The appropriate proceedings thereafter ensued. M. HEREBY GIVING AND GRANTING unto our said attorneys full power and authority whatsoever requisite or necessary or proper to be done in or about the premises. 26804. Romeo G.) PACITA JAVIER10 (Sgd. (Sgd.8 dated 14 February 1984. M. quoted as follows: . and (5) That this Special Power of Attorney is enforce (sic) as long as ATTYS. In my behalf and as heir to the late Pilar Y. Pending resolution thereof.ne+ JOINT SPECIAL POWER OF ATTORNEY KNOW ALL MEN BY THESE PRESENTS: That We. ROXAS (3) To negotiate for and in our behalves for the settlement of the just compensation of our properties payable in cash or in bonds. praying that the case be revived and be set for hearing by the court at the earliest date available in its calendar.) PACITA JAVIER N. ANTONIO DE ZUZUARREGUI..) ENRIQUE DE ZUZUARREGUI (2) To represent us in the negotiations for a compromise with the National Housing Authority for our properties subject of the above case. (Sgd.) SANTIAGO Lawyer CONFORME: (Sgd. IN WITNESS WHEREOF.. as fully to all intents and purposes as we might or could lawfully do if personally present. a Special Power of Attorney was executed by Beatriz Zuzuarregui vda. viz: On 22 November 1985. Roxas. was filed by Attys. Very truly yours.

HEREBY GIVING AND GRANTING unto my said attorneys full power and authority whatsoever requisite. on the one hand. DE REYES11 Atty. entitled "National Housing Authority vs. et al.00) per square meter.) ANTONIO DE In my behalf as heir to the late Pilar I.. BEATRIZ ZUZUARREGUI VDA.) ENRIQUE DE ZUZUARREGUI ZUZUARREGUI. Atty. Very truly yours. To represent me in the negotiation for a Compromise with the National Housing Authority for my properties subject to my approval in CIVIL CASE No. Pastor: This will confirm an amendment to our agreement regarding your attorney‘s fees as our lawyers and counsels for the Zuzuarregui‘s properties expropriated by National Housing Authority covering ONE HUNDRED SEVENTY-NINE (179) HECTARES. the actual receipts of which payments shall be signed by me. we commit and bind ourselves to pay to you. more or less. Roxas Pastor Center JAVIER . a Letter-Agreement was executed by and between Antonio Zuzuarregui.) BEATRIZ ZUZUARREGUI VDA. Rodriguez Ave. 3. Philippines do hereby appoint. and Attys. or for a total of THIRTY MILLION FOUR HUNDRED THOUSAND PESOS (P30. ROMEO G. to be my true and lawful attorneys … : 1. Roxas & Atty. all payable in NHA Bonds. and a resident of E. of legal age. widow. necessary or proper … to be done under and by virtue of these presents. Jr. To negotiate for and in my behalf for the settlement of the just compensation of my properties payable in cash or in bond. Romeo Santiago Executive G. This Letter Agreement hereby amends and supersedes our previous agreement regarding y our attorney‘s fees as our lawyers and counsels in the above-mentioned expropriation case. IN WITNESS WHEREOF. 1985 KNOW ALL MEN BY THESE PRESENTS: That I.00) per square meter payable in NHA bonds as mentioned above. This Letter Agreement serves also as your authority to collect directly from NHA the amount pertaining to you as your contingent attorney‘s fees. The said Letter-Agreement reads: SPECIAL POWER OF ATTORNEY December 10.)PACITA As heir to the late Jose De Zuzuarregui (Sgd. To accept for and in my behalf payments for my properties after the Compromise Agreement is duly approved by the Court. (Sgd. Pacita Javier and Enrique De Zuzuarregui. as your contingent attorney‘s fees any and all amount in excess of the SEVENTEEN PESOS (P17. (Sgd. Makati Salcedo Village. TOQUERO. 2. ROXAS. 4. 26804. We also agree and confirm that for and in consideration of your services as our lawyers and counsels in the said expropriation case. Filipino. in the City of Manila. Pilar Ibañez de Zuzuarregui. Quezon City. covered by TCT Nos. 85633 and 85634 and filed as Civil Case No..On 10 December 1985. We hereby confirm and agree that we are willing to accept as final and complete settlement for our 179 hectares expropriated by NHA a price of SEVENTEEN PESOS (P17. SANTIAGO PASTOR and BASILIO H. To sign and prepare all papers relative to the preparation of a Compromise Agreement or any papers and communications which shall eventually bear my signature. Makati Dear Atty. 138340. Roxas and Santiago Pastor. DE REYES. Makati. subject to my approval. JR. Branch CXLI. de Zuzuarregui (Sgd. before the Regional Trial Court. Philippines.4 Million). 26804. name and constitute ATTYS. on the other.. Romeo G. I have hereunto set my hand this 22nd day of November 1985. vda. your heirs or assignees-ininterest.

000.00.50 per square meter. Romeo G. stipulated among other things. the Zuzuarreguis filed a civil action for Sum of Money and Damages on 14 November 1989 before the RTC. and 4. Jose B. Roxas and Santiago N.R. Branch 98.570.. et al.00 is. 1994 of the Regional Trial Court. among other things. respectively as exemplary damages. subject to the availability of funds. Rizal. Roxas. Perdosa. 3. IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING. and that the yield on the bonds to be paid to the Zuzuarreguis shall be based on the Central Bank rate at the time of payment. De Reyes.000.36 square meters located in Antipolo.18 The total amount in NHA bonds released to Atty.476. A Notice of Appeal23 dated 10 February 1994 was filed by the Zuzuarreguis. Pay each of the defendants Romeo G.000. Attys. as it did not really go to them. through Atty. Romeo G. 16 On 14 February 1986. the RTC. a letter19 was sent by the Zuzuarreguis‘ new counsel. Roxas amounted to P30. docketed as Civil Case No. CV No. released to Atty. Pastor. P200. a letter21 was sent by the Zuzuarreguis through Antonio De Zuzuarregui.500. in behalf of the Zuzuarreguis.)ATTY." for "Sum of Money and Damages. Q-89-4013. the Zuzuarreguis filed their appeal brief with the Court of Appeals. on 26 April 1995. Santiago N.000. Pastor and Pedrosa. SANTIAGO PASTOR 12 Zuzuarreguis (except Betty) in the expropriation proceedings filed by the NHA.00.00. This receipt included the P15. Pay the costs of this suit. respectively. Atty.000.000.. in view of the foregoing consideration[s]. the decision dated January 3. Quezon City. This amount has been arrived at by giving to defendantsappellees P2. through Beatriz Zuzuarregui vda.000. docketed as Civil Case No. P50. Roxas in behalf of the Zuzuarreguis amounted to P54. undoubtedly. that the Zuzuarreguis would be paid in NHA Bonds. The dispositive portion reads: WHEREFORE. ROXAS (Sgd. the amount of P34. Pastor.000.51 square meter expropriated properties of herein plaintiffs-appellants.00 in NHA Bearer Bonds as "partial payment for several parcels of land with a total area of 1. The Compromise Agreement. Branch 98. Jose F. ROMEO G. the amount of P200."14 On even date. the records show that the amount turned over to the Zuzuarreguis by Atty.000. reversing and setting aside the ruling of Branch 98.000. Jr.00. against the NHA. Romeo G. Out of this amount. a Decision22 in Civil Case No.00. Roxas in behalf of the Zuzuarreguis. Romeo G. They stated therein. the Zuzuarreguis.00. Roxas and Pastor. Makati.122. We find that the amount of P4. issued another receipt for the amount of P450. and P25. Roxas delivered NHA Bonds to Antonio De Zuzuarregui in the amount of P15.426. Branch 141.520. Gonzalez.50 per square meter of the 1. to Attys.00. Again on 17 February 1986.)ATTY.15On 04 February 1986. On 27 December 1985. Pay attorney‘s fees to defendants Roxas and Pastor in the amount of P20. 45732.00.696. 89-4013 entitled "Antonio Zuzuarregui. further ordering plaintiffs.00 in Bearer Bonds was again released by the NHA to Atty. A Decision24 was eventually promulgated by the Fifteenth Division of the Court of Appeals on 25 June 2001. The case was docketed as CAG. the balance from the P17. the 1. in the opinion of this Court. Jose B. the yield on the bonds. Subsequently.596.122.790.790. H.00 given to them last 27 December 1985. informing the latter that their services as counsels of the . H. under pain of administrative. 2. As a result of the aforesaid NHA Resolution. the amount of P50. et al. Pedrosa.000. the NHA Legal Department. jointly and solidarily.000.916. Romeo G. Roxas. Roxas and Pastor answered via a letter dated 21 September 1987 explaining their side of the story. Computed at P19. H.000.570.476. was being formally terminated. The difference of P19.000. approved the Compromise Agreement submitted by the parties. WHEREFORE.790. The Zuzuarreguis demanded that the yield on the NHA bonds be turned over to them.36 square meters property of the Zuzuarreguis was expropriated at a total price of P34. On 25 August 1987. to: 1. versus National Housing Authority. Defendants-Appellees Roxas and Pastor are hereby ordered to return to plaintiffs-appellants the amount of P12.CONFORME: (Sgd.00.073. a Compromise Agreement was executed between the Zuzuarreguis and the NHA in Civil Case No. Romeo G. but it just actually passed their hands. National Capital Judicial Region. Quezon City in Civil Case No. Santiago Pastor and Jose B.426. received as yield from NHA bonds after deducting the reasonable attorney‘s fees in the amount of P4. Pay each of the defendants Roxas.000. that the just compensation of the Zuzuarregui properties would be at P19. Q-89-4013 was rendered on 03 January 1994.50 per square meter payable in NHA Bonds. Atty.00 and P100. demanding that the latter deliver to the Zuzuarreguis the yield corresponding to bonds paid by the NHA within a period of 10 days from receipt.878.000. judgment is hereby rendered ordering the dismissal of the complaint against all the defendants. as moral damages." is hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. commensurate to the services rendered by defendants-appellees.00. that the amount that they got seems huge from the surface. to Attys. 117413 dated 16 December 1985 was issued by the NHA stating that the Zuzuarregui property would be acquired at a cost of P19.25 Resolution No. Pedrosa. 20 On 29 September 1987.275.70. and. Jr.425. The total amount released by the NHA was P54. the Zuzuarreguis issued a receipt17 for receiving the amount of P30. Apparently unsatisfied with the explanation of Attys.500. the amount of P20. viz: Therefore.000.275 is.500. 26804.000. civil and/or criminal action.000. dismissing the Complaint. After due hearing. Roxas and Pastor. Roxas and Atty.50 per square meter.570. 26804.070.00 in NHA bonds. In a Decision dated 20 December 1985.583.00 in NHA bonds.00.

it is patent that the principal issue that must be addressed by this Court is: WHETHER OR NOT THE LETTER-AGREEMENT DATED 10 DECEMBER 1985.790. according to the NHA.122. The Letter-Agreement dated 10 December 1985 should thus stand as law between the parties.425 AND NOT P17. Roxas and Pastor filed a Petition for Review on Certiorari 29 assailing the Decision of the Court of Appeals. HEREIN PETITIONERS. The Zuzuarreguis. and that in fact the Zuzuarreguis have receivedP30.1avvph!l. embodied in the Letter-Agreement dated 10 December 1985. The NHA. assign as errors the following: I THE RESPONDENTS SHOULD BE HELD LIABE FOR MORAL AND EXEMPLARY DAMAGES AND ATTORNEY‘S FEES IV THE RESPONDENTS NHA AND JOSE B. Attys. then it should be so. assign as errors the following: I THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN AWARDING TO PETITIONERS THE PRINCIPAL AMOUNT OF ONLY P12.33 The Zuzuarreguis. This was.476. Since this Letter-Agreement. Attys. Roxas and Pastor further assert that the receipts issued by the Zuzuarreguis dated 14 February 1986 and 17 February 1986 indicated that the amounts received by the latter were in "full and final payment" for the subject properties.439.000. docketed as G.36 square meters property should be P30. Roxas and Pastor. Roxas and Pastor. and the NHA and Atty. Roxas and Pastor on the one hand.00 per square meter.Attys.R.36 square meters expropriated by the government. on the application of yields from NHA bonds. which was "as plain and simple as can be such that there is no need for any further construction. insists that there was no conspiracy between Attys. petitioners in G. They should have been awarded the amount of P17. Besides.122.R. No. according to them. on 21 March 2002. According to them. for its part. petitioners in G.R.00.70. CONCEALED TO THE PLAINTIFFSAPPELLEES. ROXAS AND PASTOR.00 per square meter.10. 152072. Likewise. while the NHA and Pedrosa filed their Motions for Reconsideration28 on 03 August 2001. HEREIN RESPONDENTS. docketed as G. 152072. Pedrosa on the other. No. Roxas and Pastor filed a Motion for Reconsideration26 on 25 July 2001.570.790.073.696. petitioners in G.H. on the other hand. not having been satisfied with the award. 152104." already fixed the amount that would go to the Zuzuarreguis (P17. 152072. for their part. the Zuzuarreguis filed their own Petition for Review on Certiorari30 assailing the same Decision. insist that the amounts awarded them were not enough. Quoting the Zuzuarreguis: . "miserably failed to substantiate and establish conspiracy" between them.520. though they were triumphant in the Court of Appeals. they stress that the amount that should go to the Zuzuarreguis for their 1. On 05 March 2002. FIXING THE EXACT AMOUNT THAT MUST GO TO THE FORMER. the P12. wherein the Zuzuarreguis agreed to accept the price of P17. THE COURT‘S RULING THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED ON A QUESTION OF LAW IN HOLDING THAT THE LETTER-AGREEMENT DATED DECEMBER 10. No.426. 1985 CANNOT BE ALLOWED TO STAND AS THE LAW BETWEEN THE PARTIES.073.596. The Zuzuarreguis also filed a Motion for Reconsideration27 on 30 July 2001. and II THE HONORABLE COURT OF APPEALS GRAVELY ERRED ON A QUESTION OF LAW IN HOLDING THAT DEFENDANTS-APPELLANTS.00 was even way above the P11. No. the Court of Appeals denied for lack of merit all the Motions for Reconsideration. In a Resolution dated 06 February 2002.425 awarded by the Court of Appeals was not correct.ne+ ASSIGNMENT OF ERRORS Attys.00 that the Zuzuarreguis were willing to accept for their properties under the Letter of Engagement executed by the parties earlier on 22 April 1983. EXECUTED BY THE ZUZUARREGUIS.R. Computed atP17.00 per square meter for the 1. SHOULD STAND AS LAW BETWEEN THE PARTIES.596. AND ATTYS.696. contend in the main that the Zuzuarreguis are only entitled to the amount of P17. No. Roxas and Pastor contend that the price of P17.70 MAKING A DIFFERENCE OF P4. PEDROSA ARE JOINTLY AND SEVERALLY LIABLE WITH RESPONDENTS ROXAS AND PASTOR32 ISSUE FOR RESOLUTION Drawn from the above assignment of errors.R. THE YIELD OF THE NHA BONDS31 The Zuzuarreguis. Attys.28 II THE RESPONDENTS SHOULD BE HELD LIABLE FOR INTEREST FROM THE DATE OF THE FILING OF THE COMPLAINT UNTIL FULLY PAID III Attys. 152101.696.00 per square meter).570.

(2) object certain which is the subject matter of the contract.476. and attorney‘s fees. its existence. petitioner Cristina Licudan-Campos and by the petitioner Wilfredo Licudan who both manifested in open court that they gave their free and willing consent to the said contract.980.00 per square meter). viz: 13. A contract is a meeting of the minds between two persons whereby one binds himself.596. "deliberately hidden" by respondents Roxas and Pastor from petitioners.38 The Zuzuarreguis. 36 Under Article 1318 of the Civil Code. of the P20.28 from petitioners share in the yield in the amount of P17. 35 Contracts shall be obligatory.00 yield should be proportionately divided at the ratio of P17. the same are binding as between the parties. is that the product of 1. for handling "a simple expropriation case which ended up in a compromise agreement.46 viz: CANON 20 – A LAWYER SHALL CHARGE ONLY FAIR AND REASONABLE FEES. and two.790.00 (petitioners‘) and P2. and Canon 20. One is the money that will go to the Zuzuarreguis (P17. There was certainty as to the amount that will go to the Zuzuarreguis. Rule 20. in whatever form they may have been entered into.000. the total attorney‘s fees of respondents Roxas and Pastor should be P6. . however.426. 39 The second requisite is the object certain. The amount of P20. (c) The importance of the subject matter. Rule 20. not bad.073. and there was likewise certainty as to what amount will go to Attys.073.01. in error to still deduct the amount of P4. In general.000. – A contract for contingent fee.877. Roxas and Pastor.073.42 In Licudan v. should be reasonable under all the circumstances of the case including the risk and uncertainty of the compensation. provided all the essential requisites for their validity are present.696. to give something or to render some service.476.42.36 sq m." It was.00 representing the yield of all the bearer bonds was. What was done.50 per square meter. Verily. fully gave their consent thereto.980.Respondents Roxas and Pastor retained for themselves the amount of P3.000. there are three essential requisites which must concur in order to give rise to a binding contract: (1) consent of the contracting parties.43 we did not allow the Contract for Professional Services between the counsel and his client to stand as the law between them as the stipulation for the lawyer‘s compensation was unconscionable and unreasonable. The cause is the legal service that was provided by Attys.70 be imposed from the date of the filing of the complaint. Contingent Fees. 1979 was apparently voluntarily signed by the late Aurelio Licudan for himself and on behalf of his daughter. There is absolutely no evidence to show that anybody was forced into entering into the Letter-Agreement.00 yield.073.877.000. The objects in this case are twofold.426. but should always be subject to the supervision of a court. It is a deeply-rooted rule that contingent fees are not per se prohibited by law. including moral and exemplary damages.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility.000. Attys. (d) The skill demanded. We said: Although the Contract for Professional Services dated August 30. Roxas and Pastor are to receive contingent fees 45 for their professional services.122.122. public order or public policy.30 to respondents Roxas and Pastor.28 was again deducted from the P17. (area of the expropriated land of petitioners) and P2. Roxas and Pastor.44 Under the contract in question. good customs. Roxas and Pastor. therefore.00 which represented the agreed attorney‘s fees of Roxas and Pastor at P2. morals. P17. (b) The novelty and difficulty of the question involved. due execution and contents were admitted by the Zuzuarreguis themselves.000.00 per square meter). for the purpose of confirming all the matters which they had agreed upon previously.50 which is 4. By mathematical computation.000.70 which is the corresponding share of the petitioners out of the total yield of P20. in entering into the Letter-Agreement. good customs.000. and (3) cause of the obligation which is established. again in the words of the Court of Appeals. public policy or public order. cause is the why of the contract or the essential reason which moves the contracting parties to enter into the contract. it was them (the Zuzuarreguis) who sent the said letter to Attys. Add this amount to the total of P3. Roxas and Pastor (any and all amount in excess of P17. Unless the stipulations in a contract are contrary to law.50 (share of respondents Roxas and Pastor).70 leaving then only P12.122. the same becomes the law between the said parties is not absolute but admits an exception – that the stipulations therein are not contrary to law. as to its reasonableness.00 at the agreed rate of P2. They are sanctioned by Canon 13 of the Canons of Professional Ethics.906. good morals. Following this ratio of division. – A lawyer shall be guided by the following factors in determining his fees: (a) The time spent and the extent of the services rendered or required.50 per square meter. If this were a criminal case.570. 37 All these requisites were present in the execution of the Letter-Agreement.122. Court of Appeals.00. petitioners were being sentenced twice for the same offense. the money that will go to Attys. 34 The Zuzuarreguis further insist that legal interest on the amount of P17. with respect to the other.926. Consent is manifested by the meeting of the offer and the acceptance upon the thing and the cause which are to constitute the contract. but with modification in the computation. in the words of the Court of Appeals.30. where sanctioned by law. 41 Obligations arising from contracts have the force of law between the contracting parties and should be complied with in good faith. we cannot allow the said contract to stand as the law between the parties involved considering that the rule that in the presence of a contract for professional services duly executed by the parties thereto. We sustain the Court of Appeals. In fact.70 should pertain to petitioners and the balance of P2.000. 40 It is basic that a contract is the law between the parties. the P20.000.

(e) The probability of losing other employment as a result of acceptance of the proffered case; (f) The customary charges for similar services and the schedule of fees of the IBP chapter to which he belongs; (g) The amount involved in the controversy and the benefits resulting to the client from the service; (h) The contingency or certainty of compensation; (i) The character of the employment, whether occasional or established; and (j) The professional standing of the lawyer. However, in cases where contingent fees are sanctioned by law, the same should be reasonable under all the circumstances of the case, and should always be subject to the supervision of a court, as to its reasonableness,47such that under Canon 20 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, a lawyer is tasked to charge only fair and reasonable fees. Indubitably entwined with the lawyer‘s duty to charge only reasonable fees is the power of this Court to reduce the amount of attorney‘s fees if the same is excessive and unconscionable. 48 Thus, Section 24, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court partly states: SEC. 24. Compensation of attorneys; agreement as to fees. – An attorney shall be entitled to have and recover from his client no more than a reasonable compensation for his services, with a view to the importance of the subject matter of the controversy, the extent of the services rendered, and the professional standing of the attorney. x x x. A written contract for services shall control the amount to be paid therefore unless found by the court to be unconscionable or unreasonable. Attorney‘s fees are unconscionable if they affront one‘s sense of justice, decency or reasonableness. 49 It becomes axiomatic therefore, that power to determine the reasonableness or the, unconscionable character of attorney's fees stipulated by the parties is a matter falling within the regulatory prerogative of the courts.50 In the instant case, Attys. Roxas and Pastor received an amount which was equal to forty-four percent (44%) of the just compensation paid (including the yield on the bonds) by the NHA to the Zuzuarreguis, or an amount equivalent to P23,980,000.00 of the P54,500,000.00. Considering that there was no full blown hearing in the expropriation case, ending as it did in a Compromise Agreement, the 44% is, undeniably, unconscionable and excessive under the circumstances. Its reduction is, therefore, in order. This is in accordance with our ruling in the earlier case of Tanhueco v. De Dumo 51, where we reduced the amount of attorney‘s fees from sixty percent (60%) to fifteen percent (15%), for being excessive and unreasonable. It is imperative that the contingent fees received by Attys. Roxas and Pastor must be equitably reduced. In the opinion of this Court, the yield that corresponds to the percentage share of the Zuzuarreguis in the

P19.50 per square meter just compensation paid by the NHA must be returned by Attys. Roxas and Pastor.1avvph!l.ne+ The yield on the NHA bonds amounted to P19,583,878.00. This amount must therefore be divided between the Zuzuarreguis, on the one hand, and Attys. Roxas and Pastor, on the other. The division must be pro rata. The amount of P17.00 that should go to the Zuzuarreguis represents 87.18% of the P19.50 per square meter just compensation, The P2.50 per square meter that was to go to Attys. Roxas and Pastor, on the other hand, represents 12.82%. The Zuzuarreguis are entitled to the yield equal to 87.18% of the P19,583,878.00, while Attys. Roxas and Pastor are entitled to 12.82% of said amount. The amount corresponding to 87.17% of P19,583,878.00 is P17,073,224.84. This is the yield that the Zuzuarreguis are entitled to. Attys. Roxas and Pastor, on the other hand, are entitled to P2,510,653.16. Attys. Roxas and Pastor, in the opinion of this Court, were not shortchanged for their efforts for they would still be earning or actually earned attorney‘s fees in the amount of P6,987,078.75 (P4,476,425.59 + P2,510,653.16). The amount of P17,073,224.84 must therefore be returned by Attys. Roxas and Pastor to the Zuzuarreguis. They can take this out from the yield in the amount of P19,583,878.00 which they have appropriated for themselves. On the issue of moral and exemplary damages, we cannot award the same for there was no direct showing of bad faith on the part of Attys. Roxas and Pastor, for as we said earlier, contingency fees are not per se prohibited by law. It is only necessary that it be reduced when excessive and unconscionable, which we have already done. We likewise cannot hold the NHA and Atty. Pedrosa jointly and severally liable to the Zuzuarreguis for there is no evidence to show conspiracy between them. WHEREFORE, in view of all the foregoing considerations, the Decision and Resolution of the Court of Appeals dated 25 June 2001 and 06 February 2002, respectively, are AFFIRMED but with the MODIFICATION that Attys. Romeo G. Roxas and Santiago N. Pastor are hereby ordered to return to the Zuzuarreguis the amount of P17,073,224.84. No costs. SO ORDERED.

Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila EN BANC A.M. No. 2144 April 10, 1989 CELEDONIO QUILBAN, ROMUALDO DALAGAN, FORTUNATO RAMIREZ AMADOR ALARCON and LUIS AGAWAN, complainant, vs. ATTY. SANTIAGO R. ROBINOL, respondent. A.M. No. 2180 April 10, 1989 ATTY. SANTIAGO R. ROBINOL, complainant, vs. ATTY. A. R. MONTEMAYOR, respondent. RESOLUTION

Idea of donating or selling the land cheap to the squatters. Congressman Taruc then advised the squatters to form an organization and choose a leader authorized to negotiate with Father Escaler. Following that advice, the squatters formed the "Samahang Pagkakaisa ng Barrio Bathala" (Samahan, for brevity), with Bernabe Martin as President (Exhibit "24", Robinol), who was entrusted with the task of negotiating on their behalf for the sale of the land to them. But instead of working for the welfare of the Samahan, Martin went to one Maximo Rivera, a realtor, with whom he connived to obtain the sale to the exclusion of the other Samahan members. On 28 March 1971, the land was ultimately sold to Rivera at P 15 per square meter or a total consideration of P 41,961.65. The prevailing price of the land in the vicinity then was P 100 to P 120 per square meter. It was evident that Father Escaler had been made to believe that Rivera represented the squatters on the property. On the same date, 28 March 1971, Rivera obtained TCT No. 175662 to the property in his name alone. In 1972, thirty-two heads of families of the Samahan filed Civil Case No. Q-16433, Branch IV, Quezon City, entitled "Celedonio Quilban, et al., Plaintiffs, vs. Maximo Rivera, et al., Defendants." with the principal prayer that said defendants be ordered to execute a deed of conveyance in favor of said plaintiffs after reimbursement by the latter of the corresponding amount paid by Rivera to the Colegio. The Court of First Instance of Quezon City, however, dismissed the case. To prosecute the appeal before the Court of Appeals, the Samahan members hired as their counsel Atty. Santiago R. Robinol for which the latter was paid P 2,000.00 as attorney's fees on 8 October 1975 (Exhibit "I"). Atty. Robinol was also to be given by the members a part of the land, subject matter of the case, equal to the portion that would pertain to each of them. What was initially a verbal commitment on the land sharing was confirmed in writing on 10 March 1979 (Exhibit "2"). On 14 November 1978, the Court of Appeals reversed the CFI Decision by:

PER CURIAM: Subjected to frustrations were the dreams of thirty-two (32) squatter families to own the land of approximately 50 square meters each on which their respective homes were built. To vindicate their rights they have aired their plight before this Court. Thwarted, too, was the benevolence shown by the original owner of the land which parted with its property at a giveaway price thinking that it was accommodating the landless squatters. The antecedent facts follow: The Colegio de San Jose, a Jesuit corporation, (Colegio, for short) used to own a parcel of land at the Seminary Road, Barrio Bathala, Quezon City. Through its administrator, Father Federico Escaler, it sold said land to the Quezon City Government as the site for the Quezon City General Hospital but reserved an area of 2,743 square meters as a possible development site. Squatters, however, settled in the area since 1965 or 1966. Sometime in 1970, the Colegio, through Father Escaler gave permission to Congressman Luis R. Taruc to build on the reserved site a house for his residence and a training center for the Christian Social Movement. Seeing the crowded shanties of squatters, Congressman Taruc broached to Father Escaler the

(1) ordering defendant Maximo Rivera and all his co-defendants to execute a deed of conveyance of the land in question in favor of herein plaintiffs after the payment of the corresponding amount paid by the defendants to the Colegio de San Jose, Inc., and in case of refusal or failure on their part to do so, ordering the Clerk of Court to execute the same in favor of plaintiffs and declaring TCT No. 175662 (Annex E) null and void and ordering the Register of Deeds of Quezon City to cancel said certificate and issue a new one in lieu thereof in the name of plaintiffs-appellants, upon presentation of the deed of conveyance to be executed in favor of appellants and (2) ordering appellees jointly and severally to pay appellants the sum of P 2,000.00 as attomey's fees, plus costs." (p. 30, Report and Recommendation) To raise the amount of P 41,961.65 ordered paid by the Court of Appeals, plus expenses for ejectment of the non-plaintiffs occupying the property, conveyance, documentation, transfer of title etc., the five officers of the Samahan collected, little by little, P 2,500.00 from each head of family. The Treasurer, Luis Agawan, issued the proper receipts prepared by Atty. Robinol. On 18 May 1979, the sum of P 68,970.00 was turned over to Atty. Robinol by the officers; on 31 May 1979 the amounts of P l,030.00 and P 2,500.00 respectively; and on 2 June 1979, the sum of P 2,500.00, or a total of P 75,000.00.

After almost a year, the five officers discovered that no payment had been made to Rivera. When queried, Atty. Robinol replied that there was an intervention filed in the civil case and that a Writ of Execution had not yet been issued by the Court of First Instance of Quezon City. However, it turned out that the motion for intervention had already been dismissed. After confronting Atty. Robinol with that fact, the latter gave other excuses, which the officers discovered to have no basis at all. On 6 March 1980, 21 out of 32 plaintiffs arrived at a "first consensus" to change their counsel, Atty. Robinol (Exhibit "3"). The officers of the Samahan thereafter approached Atty. Anacleto R. Montemayor, who agreed to be their counsel, after he was shown the document of 6 March 1980 containing the consensus of the Samahan members to change Atty. Robinol as their lawyer. Upon Atty. Montemayor's advice, the officers sent Atty. Robinol a letter dated 17 March 1980 informing the latter of their decision to terminate his services and demanding the return of the P 75,000.00 deposited with him (Exhibit "5"). Atty. Robinol turned deaf ears to the demand. A subsequent letter of the same tenor, dated 31 March 1980 (Exhibit "6"), was similarly disregarded by Atty. Robinol. On 20 March 1980, Atty. Montemayor formally entered his appearance in Civil Case No. Q-16433 as counsel for the plaintiffs (Exhibit "8"), vice Atty. Robinol, on the strength of the authority dated 18 March 1980 given him by plaintiffs in said civil case through the five officers (Exhibit "9"). Atty. Montemayor then filed on 20 March 1980 a Motion for Execution praying that the defendants and/or the Clerk of Court be directed to execute a deed of conveyance in favor of the plaintiffs (Exhibit "10"). At the hearing of the Motion for Execution on 5 June 1980, Atty. Robinol manifested that he had no objection to the appearance of and his substitution by Atty. Montemayor (Exhibits "11" & "11-A"). Because Atty. Robinol, however, still questioned the first consensus dated 6 March 1980, another document labelled the "second consensus" (Exhibit "E") was signed by 21 plaintiffs during a meeting held for the purpose on 24 November 1980 to the effect that they had decided to change Atty. Robinol as their counsel because he had delayed paying for their land notwithstanding the Decision of the Court of Appeals in their favor. Administrative Case No. 2144 On 15 April 1980 the Samahan officers filed this Administrative Complaint before this Court requesting the invention of Atty. Robinol for refusal to return the P 75,000.00 and praying that the Court exercise its power of discipline over members of the Bar unworthy to practice law. The details of their Complaint were embodied in their Joint Affidavit executed on 14 April 1980 describing what had transpired between them and Atty. Robinol. In his defense, Atty. Robinol maintains that he was hired by Complainants to appeal their case to the Court of appeals after they had lost in the lower Court; that their agreement as to attomey's fees was on a contingent basis if he obtains a reversal of the lower Court Decision, they wig give him a portion of the property subject matter of the litigation equal to the portion that will pertain to each of the 32 plaintiffs in Civil Case No. Q-16433; that he did not receive P 70,000.00 from Complainants on 18 May 1979 but only P 56,470.00; that he prepared and signed the receipt dated 18 May 1979 showing that he received P 70,000.00 only to save complainants from embarrassment and shame should their co-plaintiff ask for proof that they (Complainants) have paid their shares, which they have not; that the correct amount in his possession is only P 62,470.00-it would really be P 75,000.00 had the five Complainants paid their shares in the amount of P 12,500.00 at P 2,500.00 each and one Fortunate Ramirez paid his balance of P 30.00;

that he had the right to hold the money in his possession as guarantee for the payment of his attomey's fees of get a portion of the property that win pertain to each of the plaintiffs, he wants his portion converted to cash, and the cash equivalent of his portion is P 50,000.00 (2,743 square meters divided by 32 plaintiffs equals 85 square meters for each plaintiff, multiplied by P 500.00 up per square meter); that considering that P 50,000.00 is even less than one-half (1/ 2) per cent of the total value of the property, which is more than a million pesos, such amount is not unreasonable; that he is ready to give back the amount of P 12,470.00, representing the difference between P 50,000.00 and the amount of P 62,470.00 in his possession; that complainants cannot make this Court a collection agency and that while this Court has the exclusive disciplinary power over members of the Bar, it is equally true that the Court cannot pass judgment on Complainants' plea that the amount deposited by respondent be returned to them as this prayer should be ventilated in an ordinary action; that he does not have the slightest intention to appropriate the money in his possession (P 62,470.00) for himself, but he is holding it until his attomey's fees are satisfied there being no guarantee for its satisfaction because of Complainants' adamant refusal to pay him; that there was no previous notice to him of his discharge; and that Atty. Montemayor accepted the case without his Robinols formal withdrawal and conformity. Administrative Case No. 2180 Pursuing that tack on 29 July 1980, Atty. Robinol filed a complaint for Disbarment against Atty. Anacleto R. Montemayor for alleged gross unethical conduct unbecoming of a lawyer in that Atty. Montemayor readily accepted the case without his Robinols formal withdrawal and conformity and knowing fully well that there was no consensus of all the plaintiffs to discharge him as their counsel. For his part, Atty. Montemayor denied that the attomey's fees agreed upon by plaintiffs and Atty. Robinol were purely on a contingent basis, the truth being that the attomey's fees were payable on a cash basis of P 2,000.00 retainer fee, as evidenced by the receipt signed by Atty. Robinol (Annex "I"), plus whatever amount is adjudicated as attomey's fees by the Court of Appeals; that the contingent fee referred to by Atty. Robinol was the result of his insistent demand after the Court of Appeals Decision in Civil Case No. Q-16433 was already final, as shown by the date of the agreement (Annex "2"); that twenty [20] out of thirty-two [32] members of the Samahan signed the agreement to discharge Atty. Robinol and hire a substitute counsel as shown by Annex "3", which is a majority of the membership and, therefore, a valid consensus; that he agreed to act as counsel if only to arrest the growing belief of the Samahan that most members of the Philippine Bar are unprincipled; that although there was no formal Motion for substitution, there was substantial compliance with Sec. 26, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court, as shown by the formal entry of appearance in Civil Case No. Q-1 6433 (Annex "8"), the written consent of the clients (Annex "9"), notice to Atty. Robinol of his discharge and substitution (Annexes "10' and "11"), non-objection by Robinol of his appearance as counsel (Annex "l 2"), and implied consent of the Court to the substitution as shown by its Order of 29 May 1980 (Annex "l 3"); that his professional and personal actuations as counsel for the plaintiffs in Civil Case No. Q-16433, CFI-Quezon City, do not cause dishonor either to himself or to the Philippine Bar; and that the Complaint against him should be dismissed. On 1 September 1980 and on 17 December 1980, the Court referred Adm. Case No. 2144 and Adm. Case No. 2180, respectively, to the Office of the Solicitor General for investigation, report and recommendation. On 15 December 1988, the Solicitor General submitted his compliance and recommended: 1. That Atty. Santiago R. Robinol be suspended for three months for refusing to deliver the funds of the plaintiffs in his possession, with the warning that a more severe penalty will be imposed for a

500. the Motion for Execution on 5 June 1979.500. however. Certainly. He stands obliged to return the money immediately to their rightful owners. Rollo) Except for the disciplinary sanction suggested for Atty. we concur with the recommendations. broken the fiduciary relation between lawyer and client. Robinol's services had been formally terminated. heart lessly took advantage of them. Rule 138. through the complainants in Adm. Firstly. there was justifiable ground for his discharge as counsel. he is bereft of any legal right to retain his clients' funds intended for a specific purpose the purchase of land.00 inclusive of the share of P 12. Montemayor In so far as Atty. That act was well within their prerogative. did not include any of the five (5) officers of the Samahan. We agree with the Solicitor General that complainants' evidence on this score is the more credible and that he had. The principle of quantum meruit applies if a lawyer is employed without a price agreed upon for his services in which case he would be entitled to receive what he merits for his services. therefore. Re: Atty. Santiago R. twenty-one (21) out of twenty-five (25) is sufficient to make the said consensus binding. Robinol. After the Court of Appeals had rendered a Decision favorable to his clients and he had received the latter's funds. Montemayor is concerned.00 per family with which to pay for the land only to be deprived of the same by one who. there was an express contract and a stipulated mode of compensation.000. The implied assumpsit onquantum meruit therefore. Moreover. In his Memorandum of 12 December 1985 and during the proceedings before the lower Court on 5 June 1980 he had stated that he had no objection to Atty. Robinol has rendered himself unfit to continue in the practice of law. Robinol has no basis to claim that since he was unjustly dismissed by his clients he had the legal right to retain the money in his possession. under the circumstances. Robinol had no right to unilaterally appropriate his clients' money not only because he is bound by a written agreement but also because. the Motion for Postponement on 31 August 1979. It is more than a simple majority. His clients had lost confidence in him for he had obviously engaged in dilatory tactics to the detriment of their interests.repetition of the same or similar act. He has not only violated his oath not to delay any man for money and to conduct himself with all good fidelity to his clients. Anacleto R. Case No. therefore. Santiago R. But Atty. Montemayor. the plaintiffs in the civil suit below decided to change their lawyer. had not yet submitted their corresponding shares which list. By reason of his unethical actuations. Case No.000. Anacleto R. 2) Administrative Case No. been guilty of ethical infractions and grave misconduct that make him unworthy to continue in the practice of the profession.00 and not P 75. Atty. for loss of trust and confidence. That was followed by another letter of 31 March 1980 of the same tenor (Exhibit "6"). Atty. it was highly unjust for him to have done so. therefore. we agree with the findings of the Solicitor General that he has not exposed himself to any plausible charge of unethical conduct in the exercise of his profession when he agreed to serve as counsel for the plaintiffs in Civil Case No. Inevitable. in fact. Robinol is hereby DISBARRED for having violated his lawyer's oath to delay no man for money. Re: Atty. Robinol himself in the civil case below. the following developments estop Atty. Robinol. twenty-one (21) had signed the first consensus of 6 March 1980 expressing their resolve to change their lawyer. as of that time. Q-16433. and that he be ordered to return to the plaintiffs. however. ACCORDINGLY. Robinol sought to exclude seven (7) of the plaintiffs (out of 32) for non-payment of their shares. Secondly. which he was duty-bound to protect. is the conclusion that Atty. In as much as Atty. Montemayor's appearance in Civil Case Q-16433.00 of the five (5) officers of the Somalian For. Anacleto R. he is hereby declared to have forfeited his rights to attomey's fees and is ordered to return the amount of P 75. in the pleadings filed by Atty. in fact. Montemayor is concerned. Adm. His clients were mere squatters who could barely eke out an existence They had painstakingly raised their respective quotas of P 2.000.00 to the plaintiffs in Civil Case No. When the latter did enter his appearance. He has also brought the profession into disrepute with people who had reposed in it full faith and reliance for the fulfillment of a life-time ambition to acquire a homelot they could call their own. Q-16433 through the complainant in the aforementioned Administrative Case. 59-60. even if there were no valid ground. Robinol against Atty. In this case. Montemayor for disbarment is hereby DISMISSED for lack of merit. suddenly. There is no gainsaying that clients are free to change their counsel in a pending case at any time (Section 26. after having seen the color of money. who. and the Motion to Set Hearing of Motion for Execution on 10 March 1980.00. In so far as the complaint for disbarment filed by Atty. Robinol. Robinol from questioning his discharge as counsel: On 17 March 1980 he was informed in writing by plaintiffs of the termination of his services (Exhibit "5").470. Robinol Atty. 2144. Atty. is inapplicable. received the total sum of P 75.00. In this case.00 claiming that five (5) officers of the Samahan had not yet paid their shares to P 12. That the case against Atty. as much as he has earned. 2180. he made mention of seven (7) persons. Robinol seeks to impress upon the Court that he had received only the sum of P 62. Rules of Court) and thereafter employ another lawyer who may then enter his appearance. be dismissed. (pp. Consequently. and proven himself unworthy to continue in the practice of law. He had in no way encroached upon the professional employment of a colleague. which he alleges to be the monetary value of that area. 2180 against Atty. Robinol has. only twenty five (25) of them should be considered in determining the majority. he had a change of mind and decided to convert the payment of his fees from a portion of land equivalent to that of each of the plaintiffs to P 50.000. on 20 March 1980 it was only after assuring himself that Atty.500. 1) In Administrative Case No. the sum of P 75.000. 2. since he has not committed any misconduct imputed to him by Atty. we find the same absolutely without merit. Of the thirty-two (32) plaintiffs in said civil case. Let copies of this .00. Atty. namely. 2134.

a 7. That I. and Angelino M. 2. however. Tuazon plowed a portion of the lot and planted palay without Camacho‘s consent.FOUR THOUSAND PESOS (P24. and that no part shall be construed as impliedly creating new tenancy relationship. Camacho and the Municipality of Balanga. Camacho is the registered owner of Lot No. Under the Contract of Attorney‘s Fee which they h ad both signed. Camacho would compensate him with a 5. 261 Balanga Cadastre. Bataan. is willing to undertake the above-enumerated undertaking. To negotiate with the Municipal Government of Balanga so that the abovementioned lot shall be the site of the proposed Balanga Public Market. Banzon. Respondents. vs. 1968. CV No.000. Camacho executed a Special Power of Attorney5 giving Atty. in view of the absence of the transcript of stenographic notes of the proceedings before the MTC. Atty. Tuazon was allowed to cultivate specific portions of the property as indicated in a sketch plan which the parties prepared.Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila THIRD DIVISION G. Camacho filed a Manifestation11 in Civil Case No. has secured the legal services of Atty. Bataan. Atty. BANZON (Signed) AURORA B. To sell 1200 sq. m. for the sum of TWENTY.. Angelino M.5-hectare parcel of land situated in Balanga. Atty. On appeal to the RTC. Despite the agreement. CAMACHO. On December 17. 3512.R. The case was eventually decided in favor of the plaintiffs and Tuazon was ordered to vacate the lot. And to perform all the legal phase incidental to this work."3 The agreement is worded as follows: KNOW ALL MEN BY THESE PRESENTS: That we. 127. Victor De La Serna. Bataan."9 On September 1. widow. Banzon and had retained the services of new counsel. 1969 before the Municipal Trial Court (MTC) of Balanga. 1973. Banzon to perform the following: 1. on even date. Branch 1. Still on the same date. Banzon. have agreed on the following: That I. Baluyot. the plaintiffs. and Tuazon entered into an "Agreement to Stay Court Order. The Antecedents Camacho was the owner of Lot 261. through Atty. 127520 February 9. Aurora B. for which in no case I shall not be responsible for payment of income taxes in relation hereto. 424. 3512. Bataan and covered by Transfer Certificate of Title No. Angelino M. 2007 That for and in consideration of this undertaking.000-sq-m portion of Lot 261 in case he succeeds in negotiating with the Municipality of Balanga in transferring the projected new public market which had been . and to use the market‘s water supply to irrigate his plants within the lot subject to the market‘s preferential rights. sent a letter-proposal4 to the municipal council offering three sites for the proposed public market which included Lot 261. CAMACHO AURORA FE B. Banzon. which was later accepted by the local government unit in Municipal Resolution No. 520-B‘73. COURT OF APPEALS and ANGELINO BANZON.: This is a Petition for Review on Certiorari of the Decision1 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G. On August 22.00) right at the Market Site." On December 6. 1973. 1968. 3. filed a complaint8 for forcible entry on November 18. Camacho. 3512 declaring that she had terminated the services of Atty. WITNESS our hands this 14 of July. Banzon FIVE THOUSAND SQUARE METERS (5000) of the said lot. T-10. The RTC issued a preliminary mandatory injunction ordering Tuazon to "discontinue entering the subject premises until further orders of the court. 59 B‘65 (where a favorable decision was rendered) and in Civil Case No. He alleged that Camacho had engaged his services as counsel in CAR Case No. through then Acting Mayor Victor Y. No. The parties also contracted that "the agreement shall in no way affect the merits of Civil Case No. SR. Aurora B. I bind myself to pay Atty. in Balanga. 1973. Since Tuazon refused to vacate the premises. Bataan. Camacho and respondent Atty. On July 14. (Signed) ANGELINO M. Banzon filed a Complaint-in-Intervention12 in Civil Case No. 3512 and CAR Case No.000-sq-m portion of Lot 261 to the municipal government of Balanga. 1968. Angelino Banzon entered into a contract for legal services denominated as a "Contract of Attorney‘s Fee. Bataan. 41268 affirming with modification the Decision2 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Balanga. this area located also at market site. of legal age and resident of Balanga. DECISION CALLEJO. trial de novo ensued.185."10 Under the agreement. Tuazon and Camacho entered into an "Agreement with Voluntary Surrender" 7 where Tuazon voluntarily surrendered his right as a tenant of the landholding. Angelino M. Pursuant to the agreement.R. Banzon. The Deed of Donation was executed.6 Silvestre Tuazon had been an agricultural tenant in Lot 261 since World War II. Petitioner. Banzon the authority to execute and sign for her behalf a Deed of Donation transferring a 17. The complaint was docketed as Civil Case No. J.

until the same is delivered to the INTERVENOR. Banzon 1. On the Second Cause of Action. and the National Urban Planning Commission. Camacho admitted. 1973. 15 Camacho opposed16 Atty. ordering the Plaintiff Aurora B. 21 Lastly. 128 transferring the market site to Camacho‘s property was enacted precisely because of his letter -proposal24 to the municipal council. 25 whereby Camacho agreed to transfer a 1. Camacho and Defendant Silvestre Tuazon to pay jointly and severally. as attorney‘s fee in handling seven (7) cases. waives his defenses against the claim of the INTERVENOR ANGELINO M. Banzon had an interest over the subject property which he had to protect and that the compromise . BANZON over a portion of Lot No. Banzon to facilitate the transfer of the site of the proposed public market.00. Banzon thus prayed for the following relief: 1. 3. that she signed the Contract of Attorney‘s Fee but only u pon the request of Atty. Camacho to pay the sum of P8. thru the prior intercession of the Defendant‘s counsel Atty. WHEREFORE. and that of the seven cases14 he had handled for Camacho. counted from July. Banzon. 261. until the case is terminated.22 In his Reply. Court. EIGHT HUNDRED (800) square meters which the INTERVENOR purchased from third parties. she denied that he had made demands to deliver the mentioned portions of the property. On December 31. 3. subject to the approval of this Hon. 1974. the RTC rendered a partial decision 26 approving the compromise agreement. 1973. Tuazon moved to dismiss Civil Case No. Camacho denied that she solicited the services of Atty. Camacho and Tuazon entered into a Compromise Agreement. Camacho filed a Motion to Dismiss27 the Complaint-in-Intervention filed by Atty. He further declared that his requests for Camacho to deliver the portions of the subject lot remained unheeded. Camacho to deliver (5000) square meters as per Annex "A". On April 5. The RTC denied the motion in its Order28 dated March 16. He assured her that the municipality of Balanga planned to relocate the public market and was scouting for a new location. 2. including future claims that each may have against each other. EIGHTY square meters as per Annex "C". Ordering the Plaintiff Aurora B. cost and litigation expenses of P1. 6.00 for attorney‘s fee for legal services to the INTERVENOR. the sum of P5. just and equitable in the premises.00). Atty. Jr. 1977.000. which have been received from the INTERVENOR and acknowledged to have been received by the Defendant Silvestre Tuazon.20 She further denied that she agreed to give to Atty. portion of the lot in question. it was Atty. 1979. Thus. Banzon‘s motion on the ground that the admission of the complaint -inintervention would merely serve to delay the case. Atty. 1978. Ordering the ejectment of Defendant Silvestre Tuazon. the Development Bank of the Philippines. they never discussed attorney‘s fees. in so far as (6880) square meters is concerned. Cruz. He also told her that her lot appeared to be the most ideal location.000-sq-m portion of Lot 261-B in favor of Tuazon. for his part. Court‘s decision between the herein INTERVENOR and DEFENDANT Silvestre Tuazon. Camacho to deliver (1000) square meters.000 sq m for handling the seven cases. 5.000. it is respectfully prayed that the foregoing AMICABLE SETTLEMENT be approved and made as the basis of this Hon.23 Atty. Narciso V. 4. That for and in consideration of the sum of TWO THOUSAND PESOS (P2. That the foregoing AMICABLE SETTLEMENT was realized and achieved between the herein parties. Banzon countered that the Balanga Municipal Council Resolution No.000-sq-m portion of Lot 261 as attorney‘s fee.000. in fact. She was not even a party in some of the cases cited by Atty. 3805 and to remove all the improvements outside the portion of the property which Camacho had agreed to convey to him. corresponding to the lease rental of (5880) square meters a month. On September 12. four had been decided in her favor while three are pending.820. ordering the Plaintiff Aurora B. Banzon. On August 14. Atty. The cases stemmed from his as surance that he would take care of any legal problem resulting from the donation of her property. and that he would take care of all the legal problems. The First Cause of Action. She also claimed that his interest could be fully ventilated in a separate case for recovery of property or for damages. INTERVENOR‘S claim over Lot 261. That the parties herein bind themselves to comply with the conditions of the foregoing settlement. Banzon on the ground that the jurisdiction of the court to try the case ceased to exist because the principal action had been terminated. to the extent of SIX THOUSAND EIGHT HUNDRED EIGHTY (6880) SQUARE METERS as claimed and contained in the COMPLAINT IN INTERVENTION and to give effect to this AMICABLE SETTLEMENT hereby surrenders the actual possession of the said portion. It was never intended to bind her to pay attorney‘s fees. however. she further bound herself orally to give him a 1. 4. Banzon and Tuazon entered into the following amicable settlement: 1. He had also acquired from Camacho by purchase an 80-sq-m portion of the subject lot as evidenced by a Provisional Deed of Sale13 and from third parties an 800-sq-m portion. He told her that the document would be shown to the municipal councilors "for formality‘s sake" to prove his authority to act for and in behalf of Camacho. On the Third Cause of Action. Banzon who approached and convinced her to donate a portion of the lot to the municipality of Balanga.18 In Answer19 to the complaint-in-intervention. To grant such relief. Philippine currency. in favor of the INTERVENOR. the latter hereby acknowledges.set for construction at the Doña Francisca Subdivision. It held that Atty. That the herein parties to this AMICABLE SETTLEMENT waive and renounce whatever rights or claims. ordering the Plaintiff Aurora B. Banzon further claimed that as a consequence of the seven cases filed by/against Camacho. all legal requirements having been approved by a municipal resolution. 2. the RTC granted17 the motion and subsequently admitted the complaint-in-intervention.

Lot 261-B-1 or any other derivative sublots of the original Lot 261 in case of deficiency. the CA rendered a decision38 affirming with modification the RTC ruling. and the costs of the suit. Since Atty. T. On November 20. AND IN DISMISSING PLAINTIFFS‘ COUNTERCLAIMS. CONSIDERING THAT JUDGE VERA HAD LONG CEASED TO BE THE JUDGE OF THAT COURT AND WAS THE PRESIDING JUDGE OF BRANCH 90 OF THE REGIONAL TRIAL COURT OF QUEZON CITY WHEN THE INSTANT DECISION WAS SIGNED ON SEPTEMBER 1. SO ORDERED. THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN ORDERING PLAINTIFF TO EXECUTE A FINAL DEED OF SALE FOR 80 SQUARE METERS OUT OF LOT 261-B-1. Camacho raised the following errors: I. the area of the lot agreed upon as attorney‘s fees appears to be a reasonable compensation for his services.000. THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN ALLOWING JUDGE ABRAHAM VERA TO SIGN THE DECISION IN THE INSTANT CASE. III. Directing said plaintiff to deliver to said intervenor. Banzon filed a motion to dismiss on the ground that since the case originated from the municipal court. Applying the provisions of Section 7 (now section 9).000 SQUARE METERS OF PLAINTIFF‘S LAND FOR HIS HANDLING OF ALLEGED SEVEN CASES.00. 4. 5. On appeal to the CA. for legal services rendered in seven (7) cases. IV. On October 8. covered by Transfer Certificate of Title No. Declaring the dismissal of said intervenor from the case at bar as unjustified. judgment is hereby rendered: 1.T. V.C. it concluded that the terms of the contract were embodied in the document itself. T-76357. THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN UPHOLDING THE VALIDITY AND DUE EXECUTION OF CONTRACT EXH. Ordering said plaintiff to execute the corresponding Deed of Sale in favor of said intervenor for the aforesaid 80 square meters. It went further and awarded moral damages to Atty. 1992. CONSIDERING THAT THIS LOT IS NOT SPECIFIED IN EXH. The RTC declared that Atty. after payment of the balance of the purchase price. 1996. Banzon. under a Provisional Deed of Sale. IN AWARDING INTERVENOR MORAL DAMAGES. Banzon.agreement between Camacho and Tuazon did not include him. Lot 261-B-1. filed a Notice of Appeal. 1992. the RTC rendered a Decision30 on September 1. The court likewise found that applying the provisions of Sections 24 33 and 26.34 Rule 138 of the Rules of Court. the dismissal of the intervention would not achieve its purpose of avoiding multiplicity of suits. Moreover. 1992. After trial on the merits. It likewise granted the notice of appeal on the ground that the complaint-in-intervention originated from the RTC and not from the MTC. ordinary appeal is proper. Atty. Banzon filed a Motion for Execution Pending Appeal.37 On October 29.00. 1992 in favor of Atty. Atty. under the factual backdrop of the case.000-sq-m lot which the parties had orally agreed upon is proper. 80 square meters of the subject property. Ordering plaintiff Aurora B. 2. The fallo reads: ACCORDINGLY. the court issued an Order36 denying the motion for execution pending appeal for failure to state good reasons therefor. Ordering said plaintiff to pay and deliver to said intervenor 1000 square meters of the property in question.000. 6. Condemning said plaintiff to pay moral damages to said intervenor in the amount of P100. Lot 261-B-1 or any other derivative sublots of the original Lot 261-B in case of deficiency. it should be assailed via petition for review. Rule 13032 of the Rules of Court. The fallo reads: . [to deliver] 5000 square meters of the subject landholding. THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN DECLARING THAT INTERVENOR‘S DISCHARGE AS PLAINTIFF‘S COUNSEL IN THE CASE AT BAR WAS UNJUSTIFIED. THE LOWER COURT ERRED IN AWARDING INTERVENOR 1. Banzon handled other cases subsequent to the execution of the contract of attorney‘s fees. on the other hand. Banzon on account of the mental anguish and besmirched reputation he had suffered. Court of Appeals29 where this Court affirmed the denial of the motion. the additional 1. Camacho under the Contract of Attorney‘s Fees. It also held that Camacho was obliged to execute the necessary public instrument covering the 80-sq-m portion of the lot which she had sold to Atty. Moreover. CONSIDERING THAT LOT 261-B-1 IS NOT SPECIFIED IN THE PROVISIONAL DEED OF SALE. T-76357. or any other derivative sublots of the original Lot 261-B. The propriety of the denial of C amacho‘s motion to dismiss was finally settled by this Court in Camacho v.31 According to the RTC. "C" AND IN ORDERING PLAINTIFF TO DELIVER TO INTERVENOR 5. 35 Camacho. Camacho did not bother to pay for all the other cases being handled by Atty. Banzon was entitled to be compensated based on quantum meruit since his dismissal from the present case was unjustified. 3. "C". II. attorney‘s fees in the sum of P30.000 SQUARE METERS OF LOT 261-B-1. Camacho had indeed read the contract and freely affixed her signature thereon. Banzon because she knew that she had agreed already to pay attorney‘s fees.

WILL THAT NOT ALL THE MORE PROVE THAT TE OBJECT OF CONTRACT EXH.WHEREFORE. m.000 sq. Lastly. m. the conclusion of the CA was based on the presumption that the document was read prior to being signed. of Lot 261-B-1 to Intervenor as his attorney‘s fee and 80 sq. 7 OF THE COMPLAINT-IN-INTERVENTION. M. WHETHER OR NOT THE COURT OF APPEALS WAS IN A POSITION TO PROCLAIM THE LEGALITY OR ILLEGALITY OF THE ALLEGED CONTRACT WITHOUT FIRST REVEALING OR SETTING FORTH THE REAL NATURE OF THIS OR THESE UNDERTAKINGS BASED ON THE ALLEGATIONS AND TESTIMONIES OF INTERVENOR. the CA held that the RTC erred in requiring Camacho to deliver Lot 261-B-1. and 1. WHETHER OR NOT THE AWARD OF 1. foregoing considered. On December 3. also from Lot 261 subject to the conditions embodied under no. Banzon cannot demand a portion of superior quality in the same way that appellant cannot transfer an inferior quality. CAN THE BURDEN OF PROVING THE AND (SIC) DUE EXECUTION OF CONTRACT EXH. WHETHER OR NOT THE TWO UNDERTAKINGS IN CONTRACT EXH. petitioner raises the following issues: 1. the CA no longer acted on the motions on the ground that it had already lost jurisdiction over the case. "C" BE SHIFTED TO PLAINTIFF CAMACHO WITHOUT VIOLATING SECT. 4. She further contends that the CA erred in . In the meantime.000-sq-m lot. as well as a Motion to Declare Decision Final insofar as Camacho was concerned. that the discharge of Atty. thus. he is not entitled to the 5.41 In the present petition. WHICH WERE ENUMERATED AND DISCUSSED ON PAGES 42-60 OF HER APPELLANT‘S BRIEF. She further insists that respondent failed to accomplish the twin objective of ejecting Silvestre Tuazon and converting the remaining land into a commercial area. 1246 OF THE CIVIL CODE TO THE INSTANT CASE IN RULING THAT CONTRACT EXH. without citation of evidence to support them. 1349 OF THE CIVIL CODE? 3. 4 of the dispositive portion of the assailed decision all within thirty (30) days from the finality of this decision.m. Banzon filed a Motion for Partial Reconsideration of the CA Decision. the object of the contract is certain since the genus of the object was expressed although there was no determination of the individual specie. petitioner had filed the petition before this Court. the issue is not the quality of the property but its identity. the appealed decision is hereby AFFIRMED with modification requiring plaintiff Camacho to DELIVER 5. the court held that Camacho was estopped from claiming damages by reason thereof. Camacho. in short. WHETHER OR NOT INTERVENOR CAN BE AWARDED A FAVORABLE JUDGMENT DESPITE ABSENCE OF ANY FINDINGS OF FACT IN THE DECISION WHICH SHOW THAT HE WAS ABLE TO PROVE THE (SIC) HIS MATERIAL ALLEGATIONS UPON WHICH HE BASIS (SIC) HIS CLAIM UNDER CONTRACT OF ATTORNEY‘S FEE. Camacho moved to cancel the notice of lis pendens. She likewise avers that consent was not clearly proven. "C" IS VALID AS TO OBJECT? WILL THE DECISION REQUIRING THE DELIVERY OF 5. The CA likewise found the award of moral damages to be in order. the CA issued a Resolution40 instituting petitioner Aurora Fe Camacho as substitute for the deceased Aurora B. "C" ARE LAWFUL.39 The CA held that all the elements of a valid contract were present: Camacho (a dentistry graduate and an experienced businesswoman conversant in English) cannot plead that she did not understand the undertaking she had entered into. Atty. SO ORDERED. "C" IS INDETERMINATE PURSUANT [TO] ART." ESPECIALLY PAR.000 sq. DID NOT THE COURT OF APPEALS COMMIT GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION IN REPRESENTING PLAINTIFF CAMACHO‘S THIRD ASSIGNED ERROR AS REFERRING MERELY TO THE ISSUE OF WHETHER OR NOT THE AWARD OF MORAL DAMAGES TO INTERVENOR IS JUSTIFIED. WAS NOT PLAINTIFF CAMACHO THEREBY DEPRIVED OF HER CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT TO DUE PROCESS OF LAW? 5. 1. EXH. Petitioner further asserts that the cause of the contract – pirating of the municipality‘s market project and ejecting the tenant to convert the property into a commercial establishment – is illegal. IN WHICH INTERVENOR CANNOT DEMAND A THING OF SUPERIOR QUALITY AND NEITHER CAN PLAINTIFF CAMACHO DELIVER A THING OF INFERIOR QUALITY. and the cause of the obligation – to negotiate and offer a site where the public market will be constructed – is not unlawful and cannot be considered as influence peddling.000 SQUARE METERS OF LOT 261 BASED ON THE SAID ART. Petitioner insists that there is no "object certain" to speak of since the exact location of the subject property cannot be determined. Banzon as counsel for Camacho was not justified and his discharge does not in any way deprive him of his right to attorney‘s fees. HENCE. 1996. DID THE COURT OF APPEALS CORRECTLY APPLY THE PROVISION OF ART.42 Petitioner argues that the findings of facts in the assailed decision are mere conclusions. 1246." AND WHICH WERE PRINCIPALLY AND SPECIFICALLY COVERED IN HER THIRD ASSIGNMENT OF ERRORS AND CONSIDERING THAT ONE OF THESE ALLEGED REASONS ALSO CONSTITUTE PLAINTIFF CAMACHO‘S COUNTERCLAIM FOR WHICH SHE IS SEEKING MORAL DAMAGES OF P100. since Atty. On the other hand. "C. Thus. OF THE RULES OF COURT? 2. ANNEX "B. As to the alleged violation of the terms of the special power of attorney.000 SQ. RULE 131.000. WHETHER OR NOT THE COURT OF APPEALS COMMIT A GRAVE ABUSE OF DISCRETION BY TREATING LIKE A MATTER OUT OF RECORD THE ALLEGED REASONS OF PLAINTIFF CAMACHO FOR DISMISSING INTERVENOR AS HER COUNSEL IN THE CASE AT BAR. BE SUSCEPTIBLE OF IMPLEMENTATION WITHOUT NEED OF A NEW CONTRACT OR AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE PARTIES? IF SO. OF LOT 261 ATTORNEY‘S FEE FOR ALLEGED HANDLING OF SEVEN CASES HAS ANY LEGAL BASIS CONSIDERING THAT THERE IS NO SHOWING IN THE DECISION THAT THE ORAL CONTRACT ALLEGED BY INTERVENOR TO BE THE BASIS OF THE SAID ATTORNEY‘S FEE WAS DULY POROVEN (SIC).

Camacho was an experienced businesswoman.43 respondent counters that the elements of a valid contract are present: Camacho‘s consent to the contract is evidenced by her signature which was in fact admitted by the latter. it is capable of being made determinate without the need of a new agreement between the parties. We also note that Camacho did not avail of the remedy of reformation of the instrument in order to reflect what. The requisite that a thing be determinate is satisfied if at the time the contract is entered into. that it would be unsafe. Lastly. The Ruling of the Court Article 1305 of the New Civil Code defines a contract as a "meeting of minds between two persons whereby one binds himself. according to her. xxxx Article 1460. It was never intended to bind her to pay him attorney‘s fees. Camacho admitted the existence of the contract as well as the genuineness of her signature. however. coupled with Ca macho‘s admission that the signature appearing thereon was hers. The fact that the quantity is not determinate shall not be an obstacle to the existence of the contract. he or she is bound by all the terms stipulated therein and is open to all the legal obligations that may arise from their breach. 48 Moreover. It is an established rule that written evidence is so much more certain and accurate than that which rests in fleeting memory only. Camacho voluntarily signed the document evidencing the contract." Contracts shall be obligatory in whatever form they may have been entered into.000-sq-m portion of Lot 261.45 The first element – Consent of the contracting parties – Is shown by their signatures on the Contract Consent is manifested by the meeting of the offer and the acceptance upon the thing and the cause which are to constitute the agreement. Banzon represented Camacho pursuant to the Contract of Attorney‘s Fee. It cannot be overcome by mere denial and allegations that they did not intend to be bound thereby. the object of the contract is the 5. this is a mere error occasioned by . petitioner insists that Camacho had not given her consent to the contract. that while it is true that the identity of the 5. Atty. she cannot plead that she did not understand the undertaking she had entered into. We. she asserts that the CA erred in affirming the award of the 1. and if Camacho were to be believed. We note that the words and phrases used in the Contract of Attorney‘s Fee are very simple and clear. In this case. m. In his Comment. without the need of a new contract between the parties. In all these transactions. Camacho did execute a Special Power of Attorney50 after the Contract of Attorney‘s Fee was executed. Even assuming that the contract did not reflect the true intention of the parties as to their respective obligations. 51 Considering that her undertaking was to part with a 5. In fact. As correctly held by the CA. the Contract of Attorney‘s Fee should have been immediately canceled thereafter since it was no longer needed. it is nevertheless binding. especially considering the p revailing jurisprudence against a lawyer‘s acquisition of a client‘s lot in litigation without the latter‘s consent. with respect to the other. The contract between Camacho and respondent is evidenced by a written document signed by both parties denominated as Contract of Attorney‘s Fee. do not agree. to admit weaker evidence to control and vary the stronger. and (3) the cause of the obligation which is established.000-sq-m lot pursuant to a verbal contract between Camacho and respondent. was the true agreement. Banzon was authorized to sign the same on behalf of Camacho. a dentistry graduate and is conversant in the English language. thus. and to show that the parties intended a different contract from that expressed in the writing signed by them. Camacho‘s consent to the contract was further manifested in the following events that transpired after the contract was executed: the execution of the agreement with voluntary surrender signed by Tuazon. provided it is possible to determine the same. The object of every contract must be determinate as to its kind. she claimed that she signed only upon the request of Atty.000-sq-m portion of Lot 261 has not been specified due to the absence of the necessary technical descriptions. 47 in short. when parties have expressed the terms of their contract in writing. (2) an object certain which is the subject of the contract. she should have been more vigilant in protecting her rights. The existence of the written contract. Banzon. to give something or to render some service. The failure of the parties to state its exact location in the contract is of no moment. The object of the contract is still certain despite the parties‘ failure to indicate the specific portion of the property to be given as compensation for services Articles 1349 and 1460 of the Civil Code provide the guidelines in determining whether or not the object of the contract is certain: Article 1349.44 In general. portion of the property right at the market site. the thing is capable of being made determinate without the necessity of a new or further agreement between the parties. since a special power of attorney could just as easily have accomplished that purpose. A thing is determinate when it is particularly designated and/or physically segregated from all others of the same class. Balanga Cadastre. Camacho‘s claim that the document was intended only to show respondent‘s au thority to represent her with respect to the transaction is flimsy. who told her that the document would only be shown to the municipal councilors ("for formality‘s sake") to prove his authority in her behalf.awarding moral damages because respondent did not ask for it in his complaint-in-intervention.46 In this case. the execution of the Deed of Donation where Atty. the general principle of estoppel applies. as to the validity of the cause of the contract. constitute ineluctable evidence of her consent to the agreement. However. provided all the essential requisites for their validity are present. and the sale of 1200 sq.49 In the instant case. the moment a party affixes her signature thereon. there are three (3) essential requisites for a valid contract: (1) consent of the contracting parties.000-sq-m portion of her property.

0059 This clearly negates respondent‘s claim of an additional 1. however. and thus gives rise to the obligation upon the person benefited by the services to make compensation therefor. 3281 P5. We do not agree. Thus. The records show that the parties had agreed upon specific sums of money as attorney‘s fees for the other cases: Civil Case No. to sell 1. There was thus nothing wrong with the services which respondent undertook to perform under the contract. petitioner cannot be allowed to evade the payment of Camacho‘s liabilities under the contract with respondent.the parties‘ failure to describe with particularity the subject property. with more reason that they are entitled thereto if their relationship is governed by a written contract of attorney‘s fee. We uphold the following pronouncement of the CA on the matter: .200-sq-m portion which was sold) were either in exchange for services rendered or for monetary consideration. and to take charge of the legal phases incidental to the transaction which include the ejectment of persons unlawfully occupying the property (whether through amicable settlement or court action). it was sufficiently established that an attorney-client relationship existed between Camacho and respondent and that the latter handled several other cases for his client.000.000-sq-m portion donated to the municipality. Likewise.000-sq-m share as compensation for services rendered. It must be understood that a retainer contract is the law that governs the relationship between a client and a lawyer. morals. that the municipal council was scouting for a new location because it had reservations regarding the site of the proposed project.0056 CAR Case No.000. inasmuch as these services were accepted and made use of by the latter.62 Unless expressly stipulated. Camacho admitted in her Answer60 to the Complaint-in-Intervention that respondent had purchased from her an 80-sq-m portion of the property. The municipal council had the authority to choose the best site for its project. all these transactions resulted in the increase in the economic value of her remaining properties.63 Whether the lawyer‘s services were solicited or they were offered to the client for his assistance. we must consider that there was a tacit and mutual consent as to the rendition of the services. the titling of the property in the name of the municipality. And while Lot 261 was considered to be the most ideal (because it stands on higher ground and is not susceptible to flooding) it does not follow that respondent no longer negotiated for and in Camacho‘s behalf. rendition of professional services by a lawyer is for a fee or compensation and is not gratuitous. the 5. he is likewise not entitled to this portion of the property. morals. Tuazon occupied the property. which does not indicate the absence of the principal object as to render the contract void. The Cause or Consideration of the contract is not illegal In general. the Development Bank of the Philippines. and at the time the contract was executed. if any.200 square meters right at the market site. We also note that the market site was transferred with the active participation of Camacho. It must be stressed that Camacho was not deprived of any property right. such as the mode of transfer (whether sale or donation). In her fourth assigned error.000-sq-m portion given to respondent as attorney‘s fees.61 we agree with the RTC that respondent has the right to require the execution of a public instrument evidencing the sale. there being no evidence on respondent‘s right over the 800-sq-m allegedly purchased from third persons. it must be lawful such that it is not contrary to law. In fact. 54 Petitioner insists that the cause of the subject contract is illegal. and the sale of the 1. This is premised on the fact that the construction of the new public market at Doña Francisca Subdivision had originally been approved by the municipal council of Balanga. and such other legalities necessary to consummate the transaction. As to the additional 1. the defense of the illegality of respondent‘s undertaking is baseless. petitioner claims that the CA failed to rule on the propriety of the dismissal of respondent as Camacho‘s counsel. and the National Urban Planning Commission.52 Since Camacho bound herself to deliver a portion of Lot 261 to Atty.0057 CAR Case No. C-1773 P10. good customs. but also to see that lawyers are paid their just and lawful fees. Atty. who agreed to donate the 17. On the other hand. good customs. Banzon was obliged to negotiate with the municipal government of Balanga for the transfer of the proposed new public market to Camacho‘s property (Lot 261). 278-B‘70 P2.0055 Civil Case No. Thus. Since she had merely executed a Provisional Deed of Sale. the description of the property subject of the contract is sufficient to validate the same. the cause is the why of the contract or the essential reason which moves the contracting parties to enter into the contract. The records show. However. They are not contrary to law. the terms of payment. There were other terms to be negotiated. and the execution of the Deed of Donation and other papers necessary to consummate the transaction. The duty of the court is not only to see that lawyers act in a proper and lawful manner.000. Indeed. the new public market was constructed and became operational. a contrary conclusion would negate the rule of estoppel and unjust enrichment. however.64 Lawyers are thus as much entitled to judicial protection against injustice on the part of their clients as the clients are against abuses on the part of the counsel. 424 P1. public order or public policy.000-sq-m-portion of Lot 261. The portions of her property which she parted with (the 17. Banzon. Petitioner argues that the cause of the contract is the "pirating" of the municipality‘s market project and ejecting the tenant to convert the property into a commercial establishment. 65 If lawyers are entitled to fees even if there is no written contract. and the 1.000.53 For the cause to be valid. under the terms of the contract.0058 Civil Case No.200-sq-m lot was consummated when Camacho executed the deeds herself. public order or public policy. we find and so hold that respondent is not entitled thereto. 520-B‘73 P5.000-sq-m portion of her property.000.

plaintiff Camacho continues to unjustifiably refuse the payment of the attorney‘s fees due to intervenor. Failure of plaintiff Camacho to prove that Intervenor intended to damage her. SO ORDERED. serious anxiety and moral shock as a consequence of the act of the other party. Angelito Banzon as attorney‘s fees is DELETED. the grounds relied upon by plaintiff Camacho as justifications for the discharge of Intervenor are not sufficient to deprive the latter of his attorney‘s fees. when Intervenor demanded payment. Moral damages can be awarded when a party acted in bad faith as in this case by Camacho. But these do not in any way prove that Intervenor was working to the prejudice of plaintiff Camacho. Suffice it to say that mere allegations cannot prove a claim. . And until this time. one can readily imagine the worries and anxiety gone through by Intervenor. The procedures adopted by Intervenor may not be what plaintiff Camacho believes to be the best. Intervenor may see the case in an angle different from that seen by plaintiff Camacho.67 IN LIGHT OF ALL THE FOREGOING. 66 The ruling of the CA on the award of moral damages is likewise in accordance with the facts and established jurisprudence: The act of plaintiff Camacho is a clear case of breach of contract.In this case. This case dragged on for twenty (20) years. We consider the charges of plaintiff Camacho as mere honest difference of opinions. Award of moral damages is but proper. the appealed decision is AFFIRMED with the MODIFICATION that the award of a 1. Moral damages may be granted if the party had proven that he suffered mental anguish.000-square-meter portion of Lot 261 to respondent Atty.1avvphi1.net Worst. plaintiff Camacho adopted all sorts of strategies to delay payment. For these. As to the charge that Intervenor failed to account the money he collected in behalf of plaintiff Camacho. the same is not supported by any evidence.

Baloc. ATTY." [A. Respondent did not appear at the hearings nor did he contact complainant. the court issued an order directing respondent to secure complainant's consent to the motion "and his appearance as private prosecutor shall continue until he has secured this consent.[18] In the instant case. considerably restricted. the lawyer must file an application with the court.00 to be paid upon signing of the contract and the balance to be paid on or before the conclusion of the case.SECOND DIVISION On October 23. the letter-complaint.[8] Complainant. complainant paid respondent the sum of P5. respondent religiously attended the bail hearings for the accused although these hearings were postponed on motion of the accused's counsel.[6] Respondent explained that he did not receive formal notice of the hearing.An attorney may retire at any time from any action or special proceeding. the name of the attorney newly employed shall be entered on the docket of the court in place of the former one. 1991.[4] for a total of P20.[13] The right of an attorney to withdraw or terminate the relation other than for sufficient cause is.000. on notice to the client and adverse party. Change of attorneys -. The rule in this jurisdiction is that a client has the absolute right to terminate the attorney-client relation at any time with or without cause. respondent.[2] another P5. should the court. 1992. .00 per appearance of respondent before the court and fiscal. 1997] ANGELITA C. No. After the hearing. Hence."[11] Complainant refused to sign her conformity to respondent's withdrawal. [12] Meanwhile. She asked for the records of the case saying that she could refer them to another lawyer.[5] As private prosecutor. Orcino filed with this Court a letter-complaint dated December 10. on notice to the client and attorney. report and recommendation. and written notice of the change shall be given to the adverse party. We referred the letter-complaint to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines. JOSUE GASPAR.00. On September 18.00 -P10.[1] In accordance with the contract. did not file an application with the court for it to determine whether he should be allowed to withdraw. Should the client refuse to give his consent. vs. Forthwith.000. without the consent of his client. 1991. Complainant was also to pay P500. He interviewed witnesses and gathered evidence to build a case against the suspects. for investigation. He drew up the necessary sworn statements and dutifully attended the preliminary investigation. respondent filed before the trial court a "Motion to Withdraw as Counsel. 26. 1991. however. It was at this hearing that the court.00 on March 31.C. This agreement was embodied in a contract executed on February 22. complainant bound herself to pay respondent legal fees of P20. 3773. and on hearing. [19] He. her former counsel. Sto.[17] Section 26 of Rule 138 of the Revised Rules of Court provides: "Sec. determine that he ought to be allowed to retire. The court. granted bail to all the accused. J. ORCINO.[7] Complainant became belligerent and started accusing him of jeopardizing the case by his absence. The case was thereafter filed with the Regional Trial Court. 1991. Commission on Bar Discipline. A lawyer may retire at any time from any action or special proceeding with the written consent of his client filed in court and copy thereof served upon the adverse party. however. The court thus ordered respondent to secure this consent. Respondent however failed to attend the hearing scheduled in August 1991.A LAWYER SHALL WITHDRAW HIS SERVICES ONLY FOR GOOD CAUSE AND UPON NOTICE APPROPRIATE IN THE CIRCUMSTANCES. Stung by her words. The application for withdrawal must be based on a good cause. He may also retire at any time from an action or special proceeding. however. September 24. Complainant prayed that this Court impose disciplinary sanctions on respondent for abandoning his duties and for failing to return the legal fees she fully paid for his services.[3] and P10. complainant. In consideration thereof. Nueva Ecija.[15] He is not at liberty to abandon it without reasonable cause. shall determine whether he ought to be allowed to retire. over complainant's objections. respondent gave her the records. Respondent allegedly informed the court that complainant had become hostile and refused to sign his motion.000. by the written consent of his client filed in court. RESOLUTION PUNO. x x x.00 on February 25. we find that this reason is insufficient to justify his withdrawal from the case. continued accusing him belligerently.01 of Canon 22 of the Code of Professional Responsibility provides: "CANON 22 -. Complainant was thus compelled to engage the services of another lawyer. [14] Among the fundamental rules of ethics is the principle that an attorney who undertakes to conduct an action impliedly stipulates to carry it to its conclusion. complainant immediately went to respondent's residence and confronted him with his absence.000.000. The complaint arose from the following facts: Complainant engaged the services of respondent to prosecute a criminal case she intended to file against several suspects in the slaying of her husband."[10] The motion did not bear the consent of complainant. complainant did not give her written consent to respondent's withdrawal.000. complainant Angelita C. [16] A lawyer's right to withdraw from a case before its final adjudication arises only from the client's written consent or from a good cause. Domingo. Respondent's withdrawal was made on the ground that "there no longer exist[ed] the xxx confidence" between them and that there had been "serious diffferences between them relating to the manner of private prosecution. In case of substitution. Josue Gaspar. 1991. Respondent said that her suspicions were based on rumors and intrigues fed to her by her relatives. Branch 37. 1991 against respondent Atty. the hearings in the criminal case continued. Granting that respondent's motion without complainant's consent was an application for withdrawal with the court. respondent entered into his duties.: On June 14.[9] Complainant never returned the records nor did she see respondent."[20] Rule 22. 1991.00 on May 21.

it is but fair that he return to complainant half of the amount paid him. (g) other similar cases. Regalado. concur. (Chairman) and Torres.[21] Until his withdrawal shall have been approved. that respondent was justified in terminating his services. As found by the Commission on Bar Discipline. b) When the client insists that the lawyer pursue conduct violative of these canons and rules. (d) when the mental or physical condition of the lawyer makes him incapable of handling the case effectively. he. cannot just do so and leave complainant in the cold unprotected.00) representing a portion of his legal fees received from the latter with a warning that failure on his part to do so will result in the imposition of stiffer disciplinary action. She vehemently opposed the grant of bail." Assuming.A lawyer may withdraw his services in any of the following cases: a) When the client pursues an illegal or immoral course of conduct in connection with the matter he is handling.01-. And even at that moment. Complainant was upset by respondent's absence at the hearing where bail was granted to the suspected killers of her husband. e) When the client deliberately fails to pay the fees for the services or fails to comply with the retainer agreement. He was in fact paid in full for his services. (b) when the client insists that the lawyer pursue conduct violative of the Code of Professional Responsibility.. hence. JJ. J. and g) Other similar cases. It was thus a spontaneous and natural reaction for her to confront respondent with his absence. IN VIEW WHEREOF.Rule 22. But her words were uttered in a burst of passion. the lawyer remains counsel of record who is expected by his client as well as by the court to do what the interests of his client require. She made this clear when she refused to sign his "Motion to Withdraw as Counsel. (f) when the lawyer is elected or appointed to public office. on official leave. respondent is admonished to exercise more prudence and judiciousness in dealing with his clients. .. Her belligerence arose from her overzealousness. The lawyer has no right to presume that his petition for withdrawal will be granted by the court. He is also ordered to return to complainant within fifteen (15) days from notice the amount of ten thousand pesos (P10.000. [24] Respondent expressly bound himself under the contract to bring the criminal case to its termination. Mendoza. c) When his inability to work with co-counsel will not promote the best interest of the client. Respondent failed to comply with his undertaking. nevertheless. Neither can this be considered analogous to the grounds enumerated. Complainant's words and actions may have hurt respondent's feelings considering the work he had put into the case. The instant case does not fall under any of the grounds mentioned. complainant did not expressly terminate respondent's services. nothing more. Jr. (c) when the client has two or more retained lawyers and the lawyers could not get along to the detriment of the case.[22] He must still appear on the date of hearing[23] for the attorney-client relation does not terminate formally until there is a withdrawal of record. The peculiar circumstances of the case have rendered it impossible for respondent and complainant to continue their relation under the contract. d) When the mental or physical condition of the lawyer renders it difficult for him to carry out the employment effectively. f) When the lawyer is elected or appointed to public office. however.. SO ORDERED." A lawyer may withdraw his services from his client only in the following instances: (a) when a client insists upon an unjust or immoral conduct of his case. this case arose from a simple misunderstanding between complainant and respondent. (e) when the client deliberately fails to pay the attorney's fees agreed upon.

there must at least be proof that notice of the motion for substitution has been served upon him in the manner prescribed by the rules. ADRIANO SOCO. RAMOLETE. LUPECINC LUMAPAS. according to the terms and conditions of the original agreement . 1972. J. R-10866. Ramon Duterte for private respondents. the PROVINCIAL SHERIFF OF CEBU. Higinio Hermosisima. Hermosisima for petitioner." was dismissed. SOCO. YBAÑEZ.. without first annotating on the certificate of title the lease agreement between the plaintiff and the defendant. PEREZ. remove the improvements he constructed thereon. Vasquez. with prayer for preliminary injunction. and (2) the court had no jurisdiction over defendants' counterclaim for ejectment. does not involve a substitution of attorneys.000. This motion was predicated on two grounds: (1) Under the contract of lease and the supplemental contract of lease. and (c) a written consent of the attorney to b substituted. Thus in the case at bar the certificate dated May 16. principally on the following grounds: (a) the "motion for reconsideration" having been filed by a new counsel. In its order of July 24. was without any legal effect and could not have suspended the running of the period for appeal and consequently considered the judgment final and granted the issuance of a writ of execution. TRINIDAD J. JOSE R. 1972. owners of the leased property as defendants for (a) damages — "for the refusal of the defendants to comply with their obligation to grant a renewal of the contract of lease for another fifteen (15) years. After petitioner (plaintiff) received a copy of the judgment on April 18. and pay defendants the rentals from October 24. to set aside the order dated July 24. and (c) the ejectment of plaintiff from the premises being a necessary and compulsory counterclaim of defendants to plaintiff's action. We required respondents to file the answer and issued a temporary restraining order to enjoin the enforcement of the challenged order.680. L-35356 May 18. The settled rule is that in order that there may be a valid substitution of attorneys in a given case. surrender the possession thereof to defendants.. 1972. Judge of the Court of First Instance of Cebu.: Petition for certiorari. was properly within the jurisdiction of the court to decide. CORAZON J. CARMEN J. and DOMINGO YBAÑEZ. The main issues which this Court is called upon to resolve are: (1) whether the filing of the motion for reconsideration with the court below suspended the running of the period within which to appeal. not by Atty. at P1. vs. (b) a written consent the client. 1972 when the Provincial Sheriff of Cebu proceeded to levy on execution plaintiffs properties pursue to the writ of execution. In a judgment rendered by the respondent court on April 14. 1973 ONG CHING. there must be (a) written application for substitution. On July 31. HON. respondents. ROSARIO J. Rule 138 of the Revised Rules of Court for substitution of attorneys has no legal effect whatsoever and therefore the filing of such pleading did not suspend the running of the 30 day period to appeal. No. PEREZ. the lease was renewable at the option of the plaintiff under exactly the same terms and conditions as the original contract of lease. with no formal appearance in the case and without complying with the requirements of Section 26. LUMAPAS. 3 There is no question that a party may have two or more lawyers working in collaboration as his counsel in a given litigation. until the date of the judgment. 1972. MATILDE J. 1972. petitioner. but neither would it indicate that by his filing of the pleading in the case. petitioner (plaintiff) filed the present petition for certiorari to annul the aforesaid order of the court. FULGENCIO M.R. Higinio C. and the sum of P2. This motion for reconsideration. in Civil Case No.00 as attorney's fees plus the costs of the suit. 1..Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila EN BANC G." and (b) for injunction — "to enjoin the defendants from selling the land subject-matter of the lease agreement. counsel of record of petitioner. Candido Vasquez. True it is. that the motion for reconsideration filed by Atty. TRUZ. Hermosisima was replacing Atty. the complaint of petitioner as lessee against private respondents. the trial court after reiterating its previous findings and construction of the renewal system clause of the lease agreement. 1972. was opposed by the private respondents as defendants in the case. 2 The fact that a second attorney enters an appearance on behalf of litigant does not authorize a presumption that the authority of the first attorney has been withdrawn. executed by ANTONIO. denied the motion for reconsideration and ruled that there being no proper substitutions of counsel.00 per month. 1 The present case. of respondent Court of First Instance of Cebu. Hermosisima gives no indication that he was presenting his motion in collaboration with Atty. Hermosisima. . On August 17. and (2) whether said court has jurisdiction to order petitioner to vacate the premises and surrender the possession thereof to the private respondents. it was not under the same terms and conditions of the original lease. and said party was ordered to vacate the leased premises. Vasquez as counsel for petitioner. denying petitioner's motion for reconsideration of the judgment therein and granting the writ of execution. In case the consent of the attorney to be substituted cannot be obtained. (b) the contention of plaintiff is without merit as the court has sufficiently shown in its judgment that while the contract of lease may be renewed. Esperanza F Garcia for respondents. however. the motion filed by Atty. but by one Atty. JOSE JAYME. but merely the employment by petitioner of a additional counsel. Atty. 1968. In law it is assumed prima facie that every attorney who appears in court does so with sufficient authority. 1972. as claimed by respondents. a motion for reconsideration of the said decision on behalf of petitioner was filed with respondent court on May 18.

While it may be desirable in the interest of an orderly conduct of judicial proceedings. 12 While jurisdiction of tribunal may be challenged at any time. v. Hermosisima to collaborate with him in the case due to his ill health. A distinction between a stipulation to renew a lease and one to extend it for an additional period beyond the original term is usually made. 13 PREMISES CONSIDERED.Atty. considering that the area leased was in a commercial zone where it was shown that the real estate assessments had been progressively increasing to such an extent that in 1963 the assessment of said property had risen by 321% (P4. a day immediately prior to his sending of his telegram to Jose Jayme. Vasquez. Atty. it was certainly improbable that the private respondents would have agreed for an extension of the lease for another period of 15 years at the same measly rental of only P91. advising them of his intention to "exercise the option to renew the lease . would be meritorious and not a futile exertion of judicial authority. an ambiguity in the option clause should therefore be construed against said party.. no explanation has been given why the stipulation in the original lease that the "lessor shall have the option to renew said lease for a like period". 5 Ramos v. 10 Apart from this on October 20. 1953 was drafted and prepared by the lawyer of the petitioner.. therefore. Zaldivar. 1963. There are certain facts found by the trial court which militate against the contention of petitioner. weighed and resolved adversely to petitioner. with costs against petitioner. why did he prepare the complaint even before knowing the action of the lessors. one of the lessors. if allowed. Fernando. 6 Baquiran v. who signed the 1953 lease agreement as attorney in-fact of all of the owners. Borromeo. Makalintal. by the trial court in its decision. 4 Fojas. that a counsel for a party should file with the court his formal written appearance in the case.531. While the said certificate was not attached to the motion for reconsideration on May 17. Such argument appears to have been already considered. not only affirmed his continued connection with the case. will be modified substantially to warrant a different result.50 to P19. JJ. had no express authority to grant an extension of the lease another period of 15 years. the petition for certiorari is hereby dismissed. Navarro. but was presented in court rather belatedly on June 16. 8 The lease contract of October 23. 1968. Court of Appeals. Vasquez. concur. while the latter does not. was not clarified by adding the phrase "under the same terms and conditions". Having invoked the jurisdiction of the trial court to secure an affirmative relief against his opponents. it was shown that Jose Jayme. ." respondents have not shown that the recitals of fact contained therein did not reflect the truth. 1965 for the purpose of clarifying the terms of the original agreement. The former usually requires the execution of new lease. J. petitioner merely amplified his arguments in support of his theory that the contract of lease was renewableat the option of the lessee "under exactly. Castro. on the renewal of the lease? Moreover. Finally.. with the consent and authority of petitioner (who signified his confirmity in writing) was authorizing Atty. but also explained Atty. if the appeal. took no part. 1972. if it was true that such was the intention of the parties. is to the effect that he. did not toll the period for appeal. Considering that the motion for reconsideration was filed on the 30th day of the period within which petitioner could appeal from the questioned judgment. Hermosisima's appearance as collaborating counsel. before filing a pleading therein. sound public policy bars petitioner from so doing after having procured that jurisdiction himself.60 monthly. At any rate. Certainly if he believed in good faith that he had the right to an extension of the lease. or mention in said pleading that he is submitting the same in collaboration with the counsel of record. Under such circumstances it will not serve any useful purpose to allow the appeal since it can not be reasonable expected that "the legal conclusions of the trial court. A cursory reading of the motion for reconsideration reveals that except for his contention assailing the jurisdiction of the Court on respondents' counterclaim. J.. Barredo." 11 Petitioner having raised before the court the issue of the validity of his renewal of the lease and consequently of his right to retain possession of the premises. speculating on the fortunes of litigation. it is rather late in the day for him now to question the authority of the Court to order him to vacate the premises after declaring that the lease had already expired as it was not lawfully renewed by the parties and therefore his continued possession of the land is an act of unlawful usurpation. it might be useful to ascertain. which a apparently in accordance with law. Makasiar and Esguerra. the same terms and conditions" as the original contract of lease. 1972 as an annex to petitioner's "Rejoinder to Opposition to Motion for Reconsideration.080. et al.00). and although the same was revised on February 15. concurs in the result. petitioner had prepared the complaint which he filed in the case at bar. for a like period of fifteen years" and two days before the expiry date of the lease on October 22. v. petitioner may not now be allowed to repudiate or question the same jurisdiction after failing to obtain such relief.S. the mere circumstance that such acts were not done does not warrant the conclusion that the pleading filed by such counsel has no legal effect whatsoever. 9 In any event since the contract was drafted upon the direction of the petitioner. Potenciano. Teehankee. this case is different from U. Respondents also claim that petitioner's motion for reconsideration is pro forma and.' 7 Here petitioner's counsel.. The aforesaid order is but the logical and necessary consequence of such judicial declaration.