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CANON 9 Sec.

31, Rule 127 of the Rules of Court provides that in the court of a justice of the PEOPLE V. VILLANUEVA On September 4, 1959, the Chief of Police of Alaminos, Laguna, charged Simplicio Villanueva with the Crime of Malicious Mischief before the Justice of the Peace Court of said municipality. Said accused was represented by counsel de officio but later on replaced by counsel de parte. The complainant in the same case was represented by City Attorney Ariston Fule of San Pablo City, having entered his appearance as private prosecutor, after securing the permission of the Secretary of Justice. The condition of his appearance as such, was that every time he would appear at the trial of the case, he would be considered on official leave of absence, and that he would not receive any payment for his services. The appearance of City Attorney Fule as private prosecutor was questioned by the counsel for the accused, invoking the case of Aquino, et al. vs. Blanco, et al., L-1532, Nov. 28, 1947, wherein it was ruled that "when an attorney had been appointed to the position of Assistant Provincial Fiscal or City Fiscal and therein qualified, by operation of law, he ceased to engage in private law practice." Counsel then argued that the JP Court in entertaining the appearance of City Attorney Fule in the case is a violation of the above ruling. On December 17, 1960 the JP issued an order sustaining the legality of the appearance of City Attorney Fule. WHEREFORE, the appeal from the order of the Justice of the Peace Court of Under date of January 4, 1961, counsel for the accused presented a "Motion to Inhibit Fiscal Fule from Acting as Private Prosecutor in this Case," this time invoking Section 32, Rule 27, now Sec. 35, Rule 138, Revised Rules of Court, which bars certain attorneys from practicing. Counsel claims that City Attorney Fule falls under this limitation. The JP Court ruled on the motion by upholding the right of Fule to appear and further stating that he (Fule) was not actually enagaged in private law practice. This Order was appealed to the CFI of Laguna, presided by the Hon. Hilarion U. Jarencio, which rendered judgment on December 20, 1961, the pertinent portions of which read: The present case is one for malicious mischief. There being no reservation by the offended party of the civil liability, the civil action was deemed impliedly instituted with the criminal action. The offended party had, therefore, the right to intervene in the case and be represented by a legal counsel because of her interest in the civil liability of the accused. Aside from the considerations advanced by the learned trial judge, heretofore reproduced, and which we consider plausible, the fallacy of the theory of defense counsel lies in his confused interpretation of Section 32 of Rule 127 (now Sec. 35, Rule 138, Revised Rules), which provides that "no judge or other official or employee of the superior courts or of the office of the Solicitor General, shall engage in private practice as a member of the bar or give professional advice to clients." He claims that City Attorney Fule, in appearing as private prosecutor in the case was engaging in private practice. We believe that the isolated appearance of The appeal should be dismissed, for patently being without merits.1wph1.t The above decision is the subject of the instant proceeding. Alaminos, Laguna, allowing the apprearance of Ariston D. Fule as private prosecutor is dismissed, without costs. In view of the foregoing, this Court holds that Asst. City Attorney Ariston D. Fule may appear before the Justice of the Peace Court of Alaminos, Laguna as private prosecutor in this criminal case as an agent or a friend of the offended party. peace a party may conduct his litigation in person, with the aid of an agent or friend appointed by him for that purpose, or with the aid of an attorney. Assistant City Attorney Fule appeared in the Justice of the Peace Court as an agent or friend of the offended party. It does not appear that he was being paid for his services or that his appearance was in a professional capacity. As Assistant City Attorney of San Pablo he had no control or intervention whatsoever in the prosecution of crimes committed in the municipality of Alaminos, Laguna, because the prosecution of criminal cases coming from Alaminos are handled by the Office of the Provincial Fiscal and not by the City Attornev of San Pablo. There could be no possible conflict in the duties of Assistant City Attorney Fule as Assistant City Attorney of San Pablo and as private prosecutor in this criminal case. On the other hand, as already pointed out, the offended party in this criminal case had a right to be represented by an agent or a friend to protect her rights in the civil action which was impliedly instituted together with the criminal action.

City Attorney Fule did not constitute private practice within the meaning and contemplation of the Rules. Practice is more than an isolated appearance, for it consists in frequent or customary actions, a succession of acts of the same kind. In other words, it is frequent habitual exercise (State vs. Cotner, 127, p. 1, 87 Kan. 864, 42 LRA, M.S. 768). Practice of law to fall within the prohibition of statute has been interpreted as customarily or habitually holding one's self out to the public, as customarily and demanding payment for such services (State vs. Bryan, 4 S.E. 522, 98 N.C. 644, 647). The appearance as counsel on one occasion is not conclusive as determinative of engagement in the private practice of law. The following observation of the Solicitor General is noteworthy: Essentially, the word private practice of law implies that one must have presented himself to be in the active and continued practice of the legal profession and that his professional services are available to the public for a compensation, as a source of his livelihood or in consideration of his said services. For one thing, it has never been refuted that City Attorney Fule had been given permission by his immediate superior, the Secretary of Justice, to represent the complainant in the case at bar, who is a relative. CONFORMABLY WITH ALL THE FOREGOING, the decision appealed from should be, as it is hereby affirmed, in all respects, with costs against appellant..

PEOPLE V. DE LUNA the lower court concluded that the contemptuous act allegedly committed by appellees herein This is an appeal, taken by the prosecution, from an order, of the Court of First Instance of Manila, granting a motion to dismiss filed by the defendant in each one of the above entitled cases, for lack of jurisdiction and, also, upon the ground that the facts alleged in the amended informations, filed in said cases, do not constitute the crime of contempt of court with which said defendants (Eustacio de Luna, Jaime P. Marco, Santos L. Paria, Estela R. Gordo, Angelo T. Lopez, Generosa H. Hubilla, Oreste Arellano y Rodriguez, Abraham C. Calaguas, Roque J. Briones, Alawadin I. Bandon, Balbino P. Fajardo, Maria Velez y Estrellas and Emilio P. Jardinico, Jr.) are charged. It is alleged in said amended informations that, on or about the 22nd day of December, 1954, in the City of Manila, Philippines, the person accused in each one of these cases ". . . well knowing that he has not passed the bar examination and was not in any way authorized to take his oath as a lawyer and after having been duly informed and notified that certain portions of Republic Act No. 972, known as the Bar Flunkers Act of 1953, are unconstitutional and therefore void and without force and effect, and that all the petitions of the candidates including the accused who failed in the examinations of 1946 to 1952, inclusive, for admission to the bar were refused and denied by the Resolution of the Honorable, the Supreme Court, promulgated on March 18, 1954, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and contemptuously disobey and resist in an insolent and defiant manner the said Resolution of the Supreme Court directed to him and each and everyone of the petitioners, and perform acts constituting improper conduct and manifestations that tend directly or indirectly to impede, obstruct or degrade the administration of justice in all courts of the Philippines and impair the respect to and attack the authority and dignity of the Honorable, the Supreme Court and all other inferior courts by then and there, without being lawfully authorized to do so, taking an oath as a lawyer before a notary public and making manifestations to that effect before the Honorable, the Supreme Court."cralaw virtua1aw library After quoting from Rule 64, section 4, of the Rules of Court, the pertinent part of which "Where the contempt . . . has been committed against a superior court or judge, or against an officer appointed by it, the charge may be filed with such superior court . . . ." (Italics our.) and from the Corpus Juris Secundum, the rule to the effect that "It is a well-established rule that the power to judge a contempt rest exlusively with the court contemned and that no court is authorized to punish a contempt against another. Accordingly, disobedience of the order of a state court is not punishable as for contempt by a court of another state or by a federal court."cralaw virtua1aw library Again, section 236 of Act No. 190 and section 6 of Rule 64 of the Rules of Court provide that a person guilty of any of the acts of contempt defined, respectively, in section 232 of said Act and section 3 of said Rule 64, "may be fined not exceeding one thousand pesos, or imprisoned not more than six months." Pursuant to section 44 of the Revised Judiciary Act of 1948 (Republic Act No. 296), courts of first instance have original jurisdiction over criminal cases "in which the penalty provided by law is imprisonment for more than six months, or a fine of more than two thousand pesos." Inasmuch as a fine not exceeding P1,000 may be imposed in the cases of contempt under consideration, it follows that the same are within the original jurisdiction of the Court of First Instance of Manila, although such jurisdiction is concurrent with that of the Supreme Court, in view of the inherent power of the latter to punish those guilty of contempt against the same. Moreover, the amended informations specifically allege that the defendants herein did "perform acts constituting improper conduct and manifestations that tend directly or indirectly to impede, obstruct or degrade the administration of justice in all courts of the Philippines and impair the respect to and attack the authority and dignity of the Honorable, the Supreme Court and all other inferior courts." To put it differently the acts charged were committed, according to said amended informations, in contempt of the Supreme Court, as well as of "all other courts of the Philippines," including the Court of First Instance of Manila. Thus, the very authorities cited in the order appealed from do not justify the same. This conclusion is untenable. The above-quoted provision of the Rules of Court is permissive in nature. It is merely declaratory of the inherent power of courts to punish those guilty of contempt against the same. It does not declare that jurisdiction of the court concerned to so punish the guilty party is exclusive. Indeed, in promulgating said Rules of Court, this Court could not have validly denied to other Courts, to which the jurisdiction may have been vested by statute, the right to exercise said authority, for the rule-making power of the Supreme Court, under Article VIII, section 13, of the Constitution, is limited to the promulgation of "rules concerning pleadings, practice and procedure in all courts, and the admission to the practice of law," and does not extend to the determination of the jurisdiction of the courts of justice in the Philippines. In fact, section 2 of said Article VIII of the Constitution explicitly ordains that "Congress shall have the power to define, prescribe and apportion the jurisdiction of the various courts," thereby implying, necessarily, that such power is withheld from the Supreme Court. Needless to say, the aforesaid view, quoted from Corpus Juris Secundum, is good law only "unless otherwise provided by statute" (17 C.J.S., 81), and such statute, providing "otherwise", exists in the Philippines. "was committed not against" said court "but against the Supreme Court of the Philippines" and that, accordingly, the Court of First Instance of Manila "has no jurisdiction to try and punish" the appellees herein.

"B. As Pedro Ayuda has assumed to be an attorney without authority, he is given 10 days from It may not be amiss to add that, in the event of such concurrent jurisdiction over cases of contempt of court, it would be a good practice to acknowledge the preferential right of the court against which the act of contempt was committed to try and punish the guilty party. However, insofar as appellees herein are concerned, on February 3, 1955, this Court passed and promulgated a resolution of the following "The Court received from Pedro B. Ayuda a communication of the following tenor:chanrob1es virtual "D. The clerk of Court is directed to furnish copy of this resolution to the Court of Appeals "MANIFESTATION "COMES NOW the undersigned for and in representation of the above-named attorneys and to this Honorable Court, hereby respectfully makes manifestation that they have taken the oath of office as Attorneys-at-Law on December 22, 1954 before Mr. Anatolio A. Alcova, a Notary Public in and for the City of Manila, with office at R-201 Regina Building, Escolta, Manila, in pursuance of the provisions of Republic Act No. 972; "There are attached to this manifestation seventeen (17) copies of the oath of office as Annexes A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, K, L, M, N, O, P, and Q. "Messrs, Alejandro P. Capitulo, Claro C. Gofredo, and Florencio P. Sugarol of the group took the bar examinations in August, 1954. They also had taken their oath before this Honorable Tribunal, January 20, 1955. "This manifestation is made for all legal effects as they will practice law in all the Courts of the Philippines. "Manila, Philippines, January 28, 1955. (Sgd.) PEDRO B. AYUDA In his own behalf and on behalf of the others in his capacity as president of the 1946 - 1952 BAR EXAMINEES ASSOCIATION, 2034 Azcarraga, Manila. "From this allegation, there is no hint whatsoever that any command, order or notification "It appearing that the persons mentioned, except Capitulo, Gofredo and Sugarol, have not passed the Bar Examinations, it was "A. To refer the matter to the Fiscal, City of Manila for investigation and appropriate action in connection with Section 3 (e), Rule 64; from the judicial court or any non- judicial person, committee or body clothed by law with power to punish for contempt has been disobeyed or violated by the herein accused. Moreover, there is nothing shown in the resolution of the Honorable Supreme Court of March 18, 1974 directing the accused not to take their oath as lawyers. The mere fact of taking an oath by any person as a lawyer does not make him automatically a lawyer without having completed the requirements prescribed by the Supreme Court for the admission to the practice of law. It is necessary before his admission to the Bar that he passes the required bar ". . . did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and contamptuously disobey and resist in an insolent and defiant manner the said Resolution of the Supreme Court directed to him, and each and everyone of the petitioners and perform acts constituting improper conduct and manifestations that tend directly and indirectly to impede obstruct or degrade the administration of justice . . ."cralaw virtua1aw library the lower court had the following to The next question for determination is whether the acts charged in the amended informations constitute contempt of court. After quoting the allegation of said amended informations to the effect that the defendant in each one of the instant cases It is clear, from the foregoing resolution, that this Court did not intend to exercise its concurrent jurisdiction over the acts of alleged contempt committed by appellees herein and that we preferred that the corresponding action be taken by the City Fiscal of Manila in the Court of First Instance of Manila. In fine, the latter had no justification whatsoever in refusing to exercise its jurisdiction over the cases at bar. "E. As to Capitulo, Gofredo and Sugarol, proper action will be taken later in their respective cases." (pp. 36-37, rec., G. R. No. L- 10245.) and to all courts of first instance, the Court of Industrial Relations, the Public Service Commission, and the Department of Justice; "C. The notary public Anatolio A. Alcoba, member of the Bar, who has illegally administered the oath to the said persons in disregard of this Courts resolution denying them admission to the Bar (except Capitulo, Gofredo and Sugarol), is hereby given ten days to show cause why he should not be disbarred or suspended from the practice of law; notice hereof, within which to explain why he should not be dealt with for contempt of this Court;

examinations and is admitted by the Supreme Court to practice law as attorney. Our statutes punish as criminal contempt one assuming to be an attorney or an officer of a court and acting as such without authority. (par. F. Rule 64, Rules of Court.) The mere taking of oath as lawyers by herein accused, in the humble opinion of this Court, is not tantamount to practice law. However, if this had taken one step further, as for example, after taking their oaths, they have held out themselves as lawyers to the public, received cases for litigants, appeared before any court of justice personally or by filing pleadings therewith, would be considered that they are really engaged in the practice of law. These accused have not committed any of these acts as enunciated by our Supreme Tribunal in the case of Bosque and Ney, 8 Phil., 146, nor have they disobeyed or defied any command, order or notification of this Court or of the Honorable Supreme Court. What they have done only was the taking of their oath as lawyers before a notary public who was not authorized by law to take their oath as lawyers, as the latter can only aware as such before the Supreme Court or any member thereof. "Pursuant to the above stated reasons, this Court is of the opinion and so holds that no criminal contempt has been committed by the herein accused before this Court and neither before the highest Tribunal of this land."cralaw virtua1aw library The aforementioned quotation from the amended informations is, however, incomplete. It did not include the allegation to the effect that the defendant in each one of the cases at bar took his "oath as a lawyer before a notary public" and filed the manifestation transcribed in the resolution above quoted, "well knowing that he has not passed the bar examination and was not in any way authorized to take his oath as a lawyer and after having been duly informed and notified that certain portions of Republic Act No. 972, known as the Bar Flunkers Act of 1953, are unconstitutional and therefore void and without force and effect, and that all the petitions of the candidates including the accused who failed in the examinations of 1946 to 1952, inclusive, for admission to the bar were refused and denied by the resolution of the Honorable Supreme Court, on March 18, 1954, . . . ."cralaw virtua1aw library In other words, appellees knew that they did not pass the bar examination. Although they, likewise, sought admission to the Bar under the provisions of Republic Act No. 972, known as the Bar Flunkers Act of 1953, they were subsequently notified of the resolution of this Court denying said petition. Inasmuch as the oath as lawyer is a prerequisite to the practice of law and may be taken only, before the Supreme Court, by those authorized by the latter to engage in such practice, the resolution denying the aforementioned petition of appellees herein, implied, necessarily, a denial of the right to take said oath, as well as a prohibition of or injunction against the taking thereof. When, this notwithstanding, appellees took the oath before a notary public, and formally advised this Court, not only of such fact, but also, that "they will practice in all the courts of the Philippines," they, accordingly, disobeyed the order

implied, and resisted the injunction implicit, in said resolution, thus violating section 232 of Act No. 190, which declares in "A person guilty of any of the following acts may be punished as for "1. Disobedience of or resistance to a lawful writ, process, order, judgment, or command of a court, or injunction granted by a court or judge."cralaw virtua1aw library and section 3, subdivision (b), Rule 64, of the Rules of Court, which is identical. This case is, in principle, analogous to that of U.S. v. Ney and Bosque (8 Phil., 146), which involved two lawyers, an American, C.W. Ney, and a Spaniard, Juan Garcia Bosque, who sent out a circular, signed "Ney and Bosque", stating that they had established an office for the general practice of law in all courts of the Islands and that Bosque would devote himself especially to consultation and office work relating to Spanish Law. Accused of contempt of court, both were convicted as charged, although upon different grounds. As regards the Spaniard, it was held that a former order of this Court denying his admission to the practice of law in the Philippines, on account of alienage, "was directly binding upon him;" that the aforementioned circular "amounted to an assertation of his right and purpose" to engage in such practice of law; and that "consequently the conduct of the defendant Bosque amounts to disobedience of an order made in a proceeding to which he was a party." As regards Ney, he was found guilty of "misbehaviour" committed by "an officer of the court."cralaw virtua1aw library Likewise, by their aforementioned acts, as set forth in the amended informations, appellees herein expressed clearly their intent to, and did, in fact, challenged and defy the authority of this Court to pass upon and settle, in a final and conclusive manner, the issue whether or not they should be admitted to the bar, as well as, embarrass, hinder and obstruct the administration of justice and impair the respect due to the courts of justice in general, and the Supreme Court, in particular. Thus, they performed acts constituting an "improper conduct tending, directly or indirectly, to impede, obstruct, or degrade the administration of justice," in violation of section 3, subdivision (b) of said Rule 64. ". . . Acts which bring the court into disrepute or disrespect or which offend its dignity, affront its majesty, or challenge its authority constitute contempt of court.." . . . (12 Am. Jur. 395.) The lower court is, seemingly, under the impression that appellees could not be guilty of contempt of court unless they actually engaged in the practice of law or "held out to the public" as lawyers "by means of circulars." Such view is inaccurate, for "assuming to be an attorney . . . and acting as such without authority," is, only one of the means by which contempt of court may be committed, under said Rule 64, section 3, of the Rules of Court. At

any rate, by taking "the oath of office as attorney-at-law" and notifying the Supreme Court that they had done so and would "practice law in all courts of the Philippines", the appellees had, for all intents and purposes, "held out to the public" as such attorneys-at-law (U.S. v. Ney and Bosque, supra). Wherefore, the order appealed from is hereby reversed, and let the records of these cases be remanded to the court of origin for further proceedings not inconsistent with this decision. It is so ordered.

LICHAUCO VS. ALEJANDRINO On the 16th of July, 1908, the plaintiffs commenced an action against the defendants, in the Court of First Instance of Pampanga, for the purpose of recovering the sum of P1,657.75, with interest at 12 per cent from the said 16th of July, 1908. To this complaint the defendants demurred, which demurrer was, on the 23d of November, 1908, sustained by the Hon. Julio Llorente, judge. On the same day (the 23d of November, 1908) the plaintiffs filed an amended complaint against the defendants. The complaint was accompanied by Exhibit A, B, C, and D. Later the defendants presented a demurrer which was overruled. On the 2d of July, 1909, the defendants presented a general and special answer, in which they prayed to be relieved from all liability under the complaint, with costs against the plaintiffs.

Second. That on the 15th of August, 1895, the said Mariano Alejandrino and Cornelia Laochangco liquidated the amount due under the said contract, Exhibit A, and it was found on the date that there was still due under the said contract the sum of P4,115.75. On the same day (August 15, 1895) the said Mariano Alejandrino borrowed from Cornelia Laochangco the additional sum of P234.25, making a total amount due of 4,350 pesos Mex. (Exhibit B.) Third. That on the 15th of December, 1906, all of the children of the said Mariano Alejandrino, except the defendant herein, Ana Alejandrino, entered into a contract, by the terms of which they obligated themselves to pay to the plaintiffs the balance due from their father, Mariano Alejandrino. (See Exhibit D.) Fifth. That on the 23d of April, 1898, the amount due on the said contract of July 30, 1886, was again liquidated and it was found that there was remaining due and unpaid on the said contract, the sum of P4,465. (See Exhibit C.) Under the provisions of Exhibit D (the contract which was entered into by all of the

After hearing the evidence adduced during the trial of the cause, the Hon. Julio Llorente, judge, on the 10th of February, 1901, rendered a judgment in favor of the plaintiffs and against the defendants for the sum of P610.22 Philippine currency, with interest at 6 per cent from the 16th of July, 1908, with the provision that if the defendants failed to pay the said amount, the plaintiffs were entitled to sell at public auction one-sixth part of the land mortgaged under and by virtue of a contract between Mariano Alejandrino and Cornelia Laochangco, dated the 30th of July, 1886. (See Exhibit A.) Mariano Alejandrino was the father of the defendant, Ana Alejandrino, and Cornelia Laochangco as the mother of the plaintiffs. Mariano Alejandrino and Cornelia Laochangco are both dead. From the judgment of the lower court the plaintiffs appealed. From an examination of the record, the following facts seem to be true: First. That on the 30th of July, 1886, the said Mariano Alejandrino borrowed from the said Cornelia Laochangco the sum of P6,000 Mex., under certain conditions mentioned in the said contract. (See Exhibit A.)

heirs of Mariano Alejandrino, except the defendant herein, Ana Alejandrino), they obligated themselves to pay their proportional amount of the indebtedness of their father, together with 12 per cent interest. The plaintiffs claim that the amount due on the contract of July 30, 1886, at the time of the commencement of the present action (the 15th of July, 1908), together with the interest amounted to the sum of P9,946.50, and that the defendant herein, Ana Alejandrino, was liable for one-sixth part of said sum, or the sum of P1,657.75. The defendant, Ana Alejandrino, was not a party to the contract represented by Exhibit D. she did not agree to pay 12 per cent interest on the amount remaining due on the 23rd of April, 1898, of the debt between her father and the plaintiffs herein. There is no proof in the record that any demand was ever made upon her for the payment of her aliquot part of the balance found to be due on the 23rd of April, 1898, either judicially or extrajudicially. She was, therefore, not liable to pay interest or her aliquot part of the said amount. The lower court correctly held, however, that she was liable for the payment of one-sixth part of said amount by virtue of her having accepted her proportional part of the property involved and covered by the original contract between her father and the mother of the plaintiffs, bearing date of July 30, 1886, or for the sum of 744.16 pesos Mex.,

which, reduced to conant, amounted to P610.22, the amount for which the lower court rendered judgment, with 6 per cent from the 16th of July, 1908. While we have not discussed the assignments of error in detail, we believe that we have answered each of them in effect. We have discussed the question upon their merits as they are presented in the record. There is a question of parties, however, which has not been presented, which we can not overlook. It will be noted that Faustino Lichauco has brought this action for himself and in representation of his co-heirs. So far as the record shows, the co-heirs have no knowledge of the pendency of the action. Faustino Lichauco shows no authority for representing his co-heirs except the mere allegation in the title of his complaint. He speaks of himself as the plaintiff. The attorney signs himself as attorney for the plaintiff ? not for the plaintiffs. Faustino Lichauco represents himself and his coheirs, and the attorney-at-law, who signs the complaint, represents as he alleges "the plaintiff." There is nothing in the record which shows that the co-heirs are not capable of representing themselves. There is nothing in the record which shows that they ever gave their consent to the commencement of the present action. It may be assumed that they did, but this not sufficient. The Code of Procedure in Civil Actions provides that in Courts of First Instance a party may conduct his litigation personally or by the aid of a lawyer, and his appearance must be either personal or by the aid of a duly authorized member of the bar. (Sec. 34, Act No. 190.) In the present case the co-heirs are neither in court personally nor by the a duly authorized member of the bar. Therefore they are not in court at all, and any judgment which we might render in the present case, with reference to the heirs, either pro or con, would in no way be binding upon them. (Espiritu vs. Crossfield and Vicente Guasch, No. 5313).[[1]] The present case seems to have been tried in the lower court upon the theory that all of the interested parties were present, and for that reason we have discussed the case upon its merits, believing that the parties would deem further litigation unnecessary, once being informed of the views of this court upon the facts presented. This assumption, however, is based upon the ground that even though the co-heirs had been represented in the trial of the cause, in accordance with law, no other or different evidence would have been adduced.

Therefore, following the decision of this court in the case of Lichauco vs. Limjuco (19 Phil. Rep., 12), the judgment of the lower court is hereby set aside, unless the coheirs of Faustino Lichauco, within a period of ten days from notification of this decision, shall appear personally or by attorney in the Court of First Instance of the Province or Pampanga, either as plaintiffs or defendants, and in writing indicate their full conformance with the proceedings had in the present cause. In which case, the Court of First Instance of the Province of Pampanga is hereby directed to enter a judgment confirming the judgment heretofore rendered by said court on the 10th day of February, 1910.

ROBINSON VS. VILLAFUERTE On April 30, 1908, W. W. Robinson entered suit in the Court of First Instance of Tayabas against Marcelino Villafuerte y Raola, alleging as a first cause of action: That the plaintiff was engaged, in the city of Manila and at the time specified further on, in the importation and sale of flour and other products from abroad, with an office in the city of Manila, a business which he still continued, through the agency of Castle Brothers, Wolf & Sons, established therein; that the defendant, a resident of Lucena, Tayabas, by an instrument duly executed on October 19, 1906, by his attorney in fact and legal representative, Vicente Marcelo Concepcion, who was fully empowered and authorized for the purpose, and ratified on the same date before the notary public of Manila, D. R. Williams, acknowledged and confessed that he owed the plaintiff the net sum of P3,852.50; that by the said instrument duly executed the defendant bound and pledged himself to pay to the plaintiff the said sum of P3,852.50 in four monthly installments from that date, at the rate of P1,000 for each of the first three installments and P852.50 for the last one, and likewise the interest thereon at the rate of 8 per cent per annum, to be adjusted and paid at the time of paying each of the installments fixed; that in the said instrument the defendant moreover bound himself to pay to the plaintiff the sum of P500 for costs and expenses, in case the latter should recur to judicial process for the collection of the aforementioned debt; and that, as security for the payment of the said debt, of the interest thereon and of the amount for costs and expenses, the defendant voluntarily executed, by means of the said instrument and in favor of the plaintiff, a special mortgage upon the properties of his absolute ownership and control, which are: XXX The respective bounderies of each one of the estates above enumerated were set fourth in the said instrument of mortgage, which was duly inscribed in the property registry of Tayabas. This deed does not appear to have been canceled, and constitutes an encumbrance on the properties described in favor of the plaintiff. It was stated in the instrument referred to, that the liability of the property mortgaged was distributed in the following manner: Total 4,352.50

3. It was stated further, as an express condition, that default of payment of any of the installments specified in the fourth preceding paragraph would cause the entire obligation to mature and would entitle the plaintiff (it says "defendant") to require the payment of the same in its totality and forthwith to institute foreclosure proceedings against any and all of the mortgage properties. 4. The complaint further alleged, as a first cause of action, that, notwithstanding the repeated demands made upon the defendant, the latter had not paid his debt nor the interest thereon, excepting the sum of P550, paid on different dates on account of the debt and interest due, wherefore the defendant owed the plaintiff the sum of P3,302.50, the remainder of his debt and besides P385.57 as interest due from December 6, 1906, to the date of the filling of the complaint; that the plaintiff was then the legal owner of the mortgage, and that he had not been paid the whole nor any part of the sum expressed in the preceding paragraph. As a second cause of action against the defendant, the complaint alleged, among other things: That the defendant, by means of an instrument duly executed on December 21, 1906, by his attorney in fact and legal representative, Vicente Marcelo Concepcion, who was fully empowered and authorized an instrument ratified on the same date before the notary Daniel R. Williams and in consideration of the credit which the plaintiff agreed to allow the said defendant up to the sum of P3,560, executed a special voluntary mortgage of the properties of his absolute ownership and control which are described as follows: XXX The respective boundaries of each of the estates above enumerate were set forth in the said instrument of mortgage, which was duly inscribed in the property registry of Tayabas, and does not appear to have been cancelled, and constitutes an encumbrance on the properties described, in favor of the plaintiff. It was stated, in the instrument referred to, that the liability of the property mortgaged was distributed in the following manner: TOTAL 4,160.00 That the aforementioned mortgage was executed as security for the payment to the plaintiff of the sum or sums which the defendant might owe him by reason of the said credit, which was granted under the following terms and conditions: 1. That the said credit should not exceed the sum of P3,560 and was granted for the

That total amount of what the defendant might be owing, by reason of the said

credit, should be settled and entirely paid, together with the interest thereon, by the 20th of May, 1907, on which date all the orders or duebills issued by the defendant against the said credit should be considered as matured, even though the extension above mentioned should not have expired. That it should be optional be optical on the part of the plaintiff to honor the duebills

or orders which the defendant Marcelino Villafuerte might issue against the said credit, in the event that the latter should fail to pay the amount of his previous duebills or orders at the time they should respectively fall due, or should fail to comply with and observe any of the conditions and stipulations contained in the said instrument of October 19, 1906, ratified before notary Williams; that the defendant should be bound to pay to the plaintiff P600, in case of litigation, and also to pay all the expenses that might be occasioned by the execution of the said instrument of December 21, 1906, those of its inscription in the registry, cancellation, and release, as well as the expenses incurred by the plaintiff on account of the instrument of October 19, 1906, referred to in the first cause of action, together with those of its inscription in the registry; provided, moreover, that the aforementioned instrument of December 21, 1906, should be retroactive in its effect from the 20th of November of the same year, and that the flour which the said defendant, through his attorney in fact, Vicente Marcelo Concepcion, had withdrawn from the plaintiff's warehouses since the 20th of November, 1906, should be include in the credit opened; that the estates described under the Nos. 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, and 13, bore a first mortgage in favor of the plaintiff executed as security for the obligation, the fulfillment of which is demanded in the first cause of action; that, by clause 14 of the said instrument of December 21, 1906, it was stipulated that in case W. W. Robinson, the plaintiff, should have to institute foreclosure proceedings against the property above described, either by reason of the mortgage hereby placed on the same, or of the obligation affecting the said property, in his favor, by virtue of the said instrument of October 19 of the present year, Robinson should be entitled to take charge of the management of all or any of the said realities until they should be sold, and to collect their revenues, rentals, fruits, and products for the purpose of applying the same to the payment of the judgment; that, by clause 15 of the said instrument of December 21, 1906, it was also stipulated that it was expressly covenanted that, in case Robinson should have to proceed judicial against the property therein mentioned in order to collect any amount to the payment of which they were subject, all the orders or duebills issued on account of the credit granted in the said instrument should be considered as matured and payable, and Robinson should be entitled forthwith to demand the payment of any balance found to be due him by Marcelino Villafuerte y Raola, with the privilege of levying upon all or any of the realities comprised with the mortgage mentioned in the said instrument; that the amount credited for the expenses referred to in No. 7 of the fifth paragraph of this cause of action reached P174.95; that the defendant, availing himself of the credit granted in the aforementioned instrument of December 21, 1906, took and withdrew from the plaintiff's warehouses, on different dates between the 20th of November and the 19th of December, 1906, inclusive,

period of six months from the 20th of November, 1906, and defendant was to make use of it in taking flour from the plaintiff's warehouse, at current prices, by means of written duebills or orders signed by the defendant or by his attorney in fact. 2. That the said written duebills or orders should be paid within thirty days from their

date, and it was stipulated that the amount or value of each one of them should bear an annual interest of 8 per cent from the date of their maturity, if not paid before.

various quantities of flour, the total value of which amounted to P5,588.15; that the defendant had not paid any part of this amount, except the sum of P375.00, and was owing a balance of P5,213.15; that at the time of the complaint the said defendant owed the plaintiff the sums of P174.95 and P5,213.15, in addition to P503.79 as interest due up to the date of the complaint; that the plaintiff was then the legal owner of the mortgage above referred to, and that none of the sums mentioned nor any part thereof had been paid to him: wherefore the plaintiff asked that judgement be rendered in his favor against the defendant, for the following amounts: (1) For the sum of P3,302.50, the principal demanded in the first course of action, and interest thereon at 8 per cent per annum from date until its payment; (2) for the sum of P385.57, as interest due on the principal mentioned in the preceding paragraph and remaining unpaid, and, in addition, the interest on this sum at the rate of 6 per cent per annum from the date of the complaint until paid; (3) for the sum of P5,213.15, the amount of the debt claimed in the second cause of action, together with the interest thereon at the rate of 8 per cent per annum from date until it's payment; (4) for the sum of P503.79, the interest due on the principal mentioned in the preceding paragraph, with interest thereon at 6 per cent per annum from date until payment; (5) for the sum of P174.95, claimed in paragraph 9 of the second cause of action, with interest thereon at 6 per cent per annum from the date of the complaint until payment; and, (6) for the sum of 1,000 for costs and attorney's fees. The plaintiff further prayed that an order be issued directing the delivery to the plaintiff of the properties described in the complaint, in order that he might administer them during the course of this suit and until they should ultimately be sold, and authorizing him to collect and receive the revenues, rentals, fruits, and other products of the said estates and to retain them in his possession in order to satisfy the judgment that would be rendered in this case, and that in case the said judgment be not satisfied thereby, the sale of the said properties be ordered and the proceeds thereof be applied to the purpose. The defendant, in his answer, made a general and specific denial of each and all of the allegations of the plaintiff for each and all of the actions instituted by him in each and all of the paragraphs of the complaint, and as a special defense, and in his crosscomplaint, alleged: That the defendant did not execute, consent to, nor authorize the execution of a power of attorney of any kind whatsoever in favor of Vicente Marcelo Concepcion, empowering the latter to mortgage, pledge, or otherwise dispose of, to the plaintiff or to any person whatever, any of the properties mentioned in the complaint, nor to accept from and open with the plaintiff any credit nor establish with him any business in flour; nor execute any power of attorney nor grant any authority whatever in favor of the said Concepcion so that the latter might represent him and accept in his name credit, or moneys whatsoever from any person; nor dispose of, mortgage, or encumber any of the properties described in the complaint; that the defendant received no sum whatever from the plaintiff nor was he in the latter's debt for the amount claimed in the complaint, nor for any other sum of money; that he did not give his consent to all of to any one of the mortgages alleged in the complaint, and that all the said mortgages on the properties therein mentioned were founded on a supposed power of

attorney said to have been executed by the defendant in favor of Vicente Marcelo Concepcion, which power of attorney was fictitious, false, fraudulent, null and void, that it was not executed by the defendant, nor did the latter intervene therein and that the said power of attorney had no true reason for existence; wherefore the defendant asked that judgment be rendered absolving him from the complaint with the costs against the plaintiff, by annulling each and all of the mortgages alleged in the complaint and the inscription of each of them in the office of the register of property of Tayabas, and by ordering the cancellation of all the inscriptions of the said mortgages and encumbrances of the aforementioned properties. The plaintiff, in answering to the counter complaint, set up a general and specific denial of each and all of the allegations of the defendant with respect to each and all of the actions brought by him in each and all of the paragraphs of the counter complaint, and prayed that judgment be pronounced in his favor, and against the defendant, in conformity with the petitions made in his complaint. The case came up for hearing on November 30, 1908, and after the presentation of oral evidence by both parties, the documentary evidence being attached to the record, the court, on December 15 of the same year, rendered judgment whereby it directed that the plaintiff should recover from the defendant the sum specified in the first instrument of mortgage, P3,302.50, as principal, the additional sum of P385.57 as interest up to April 30, 1908, besides the interest on the said principal, at the rate of 8 percent per annum from the date just above mentioned until its complete payment, also the P500 stipulated in the said instrument as payable by the defendant as costs and expenses in case of litigation; and the sum mentioned in the second instrument of mortgage, P5,213.15 as principal, besides P503.79, as interest up to the 30th day of April, 1908, in addition to the interest on the said principal at the rate of 8 per cent per annum, form the date just of P174.95, as expenses for the execution of the instrument, for its inscription, cancellation, and acquaintance, as provided for in clause 17 of the said instrument, and the additional sum of P600, which it was stipulated in the second instrument the defendant should pay for costs and expenses in case of litigation. The judgment further ordered that the defendant should pay the several amounts above mentioned, with the interest and costs, on or before the first day of the sitting of the court in April, 1909, and that, in case such order should not be compiled with, the mortgages should be foreclosed and a final writ should be issued directing that all the properties before described the sold, the proceeds of the sale to pay the principal, interest, and costs. The defendant, when notified of this judgement, took exception thereto, announced that he would file a bill of exceptions, and moved for a new trial on the ground that the evidence was insufficient to warrant the judgment rendered and that the latter was contrary to law. This motion was denied and exception was taken by the appellant, who filed the proper bill of exceptions, which was certified to, approved, and forwarded to the clerk of this court. By an order of March 1, 1909, it was provided that the execution of the aforesaid judgment should not be suspended pending the appeal, unless the defendant, for the reasons stated in the said order, should give a bond for P10,000.

In view of the fact that the defendant succeeded in withdrawing flour to the value of The purpose of the suit filed by the plaintiff, W. W. Robinson, is the collection of various sums owed by the defendant, Marcelino Villafuerte y Raola, the payment of which is secured by a mortgage on the real properties set out in the two notarial documents evidencing the debt, exhibited under letter A and B, and inscribed in the property registry of the Province of Tayabas. The mortgage action brought by the creditor, based upon the two aforementioned notarial documents is proper, inasmuch as it is sought to collect certain sums specified in the said instruments on account of their not having been paid within the periods therein stipulated, and consequently the real properties offered as security for the solvency of the debts contracted by the debtor are duly liable for the satisfaction of the same; and although the credit of P3,852.50, the value of the flour furnished to Camilio C. Gomez, in account with the defendant, and referred to in the instrument lettered A, was to have been paid in four installments from October 19, 1906, at the rate of P1,000 in each one of the three first months and P852.50 in the fourth and last month, yet since the debtor, notwithstanding the demands made upon him, did not comply with his obligation nor pay his debt in conformity with the tenor of the said instrument, letter A, for he only paid the creditor the sum of P550 delivered partially on different dates, the default of payment of any of the installments agreed upon produces the effect that all of these must be deemed to have matured and entitles the creditor to demand the payment of his entire credit and to proceed against the mortgaged properties for the purpose of collecting his credit, which amounts to P3,302.50, after the deduction of the said P550 from the principal, with the interest due from the 6th of December, 1906, amounting to P385.57. If it is true, as it appears to be, that the defendant Marcelino Villafuerte y Raola executed, on With respect to the credit mentioned in the instrument, Exhibit B, and granted by the plaintiff to the defendant Villafuerte under agreement that the latter should make use of the said credit by taking flour from the creditor's warehouse by means of written duebills or orders signed by the debtor, or his attorney in fact, under condition that the value or amount of the said duebills should be paid within thirty days from their date and that these acknowledgments of debts should bear interest of 8 per cent per annum from the date of their maturity, it was also a condition that the aforesaid instrument should be deemed to be retroactive in its effect, from November 20, 1906, that the quantities of flour which were taken from the plaintiff's warehouse since the said November 20, 1906, should be considered as included, and that the total amount of whatever the defendant might owe, by reason of the credit mentioned together with the interest thereon, should be settled and entirely paid on May 20, 1907, on which date all the orders or duebills issued against the said credit should be deemed to have matured, even though the thirty days' delay stipulated should not have expired. The evidence adduced by the defendant in his attempt to prove that, on the two dates before mentioned, when the said two powers of attorney appear to have been executed, he was in Lucena, Tayabas, and not in this city of Manila, has not resulted in defeating the validity, authenticity, and force of the said powers of attorney, for the truth of their contents as well as their ratification by the person executing them was certified to by notaries before whom they were exhibited respectively in the presence of two witnesses; the oral testimony presented by July 11 and October 29, 1906, in this city, the powers of attorney, Exhibits C and D, in favor of Vicente Marcelo Concepcion, before the notaries Eugenio de Lara and Daniel R. Williams, respectively, it not having been proved at trial that the said powers of attorney were false or null and void, the mortgages upon the real properties, executed by the attorney in fact, duly authorized for the purpose, in the instruments designated under letter A and B, the first of them ratified in the notarial record, letter G, by the debtor before the same notary, Williams, must be accepted as valid and in force, inasmuch as the said mortgage deeds appear to have been ratified in due form by contracting or interested parties before the said notary in Manila, it not having been proven at trial that they contained any flaw or defect which might operate to annul them. The defendant debtor denied the existence of the obligations contained in the said instruments; he asserted that the latter, and the powers of attorney executed in favor of Vicente Marcelo Concepcion were false, and likewise denied that he owed the plaintiff any of the amounts claimed in the complaint, or that he had authorized the said Concepcion to mortgage the realties described in the said complaint, and in asking for his release, he prayed that the aforementioned mortgages and the inscriptions of the same in the property registry be declared null and void. The complaint which gave rise to the present suit is in accordance with the provisions of section 255 of the Code of Civil Procedure, and the mortgages constituted in the two instruments aforementioned fulfill the conditions and requirements prescribed in articles 1857, 1874, and 1875 of the Civil Code; wherefore judgment should be rendered favorable to the mortgage creditor, in accordance with section 256, and following, of the Code of Civil Procedure. In the account, Exhibit E, there appears a statement of the sacks of flour which were taken on account of the said credit by means of the nine duebills, Exhibit F, attached to the aforementioned account, in which it also appears that the value of the said sacks of flour was P4,703.15, after the deduction of P375. P5,078.15, without his having paid the amount due therefor, except P375, it can not be denied that there still remains a balance to be paid of P4,703.15 (pp. 5 and 88 of the record).

the defendant was insufficient to prove that the notaries Lara and Williams untruthfully certified that Marcelino Villafuerte, whom they attested under oath that they knew, personally appeared before them and ratified in its totality the contents of the aforementioned document, declaring that he had executed it freely and voluntarily and exhibited for the purpose his cedula, No. 453963, issued in Lucena, Tayabas, on January 15, 1906. In order to establish the conclusion, as the logical result of the evidence, that the said two notaries, falsely, and entirely irrespective of the truth, issued the certificates which appear under their respective signatures and seals at the foot of the powers of attorney, letters C and D, it is not sufficient to prove, by means of the testimony of witnesses, (mostly relatives) and by unauthenticated documents, that on the dates of the execution of the powers of attorney the persons executing them was not here in Manila, where the instruments were certified to, but in Lucena, Tayabas; clear, strong, and irrefutable proof must be adduced to prove that the said notaries could not have averred that the said person was actually in their presence, that they heard him ratify the contents of the respective documents, and could have certified to the number of his cedula, the only one exhibited to both notaries, without having ostensibly perverted the truth. The defendant himself, who averred that he was in Lucena on July 11, 1906, the date of the first power of attorney, said that he was not sure whether on October 29 of the same year, the date of the second, he was in the said pueblo or in this city of Manila. Public instruments authenticated by a notary or by a competent public official, with the formalities required by law, are evidence, even against a third person, of the fact which gives rise to their execution and of the date of the latter. They shall also be evidence against the contracting parties and their legal representatives with regard to the declarations the former may have therein. (Arts. 1216 and 1218, Civil Code.) The force of proof of depositions of witnesses shall be weighed by the courts in accordance with the provisions of the law of civil procedure, taking care to avoid that, by the simple coincidence of some depositions, unless their truthfulness be evident, the affairs may be finally decided in which instruments, private documents, or any basis of written evidence are usually made use of. (Art. 1248, Civil Code.) The defendant debtor having been requested by letter, in the beginning of the year 1907, to pay his debt, were it true that he had not contracted the obligations contained in the instruments lettered A and B, nor executed in favor of Vicente Marcelo the powers of attorney lettered C and D, would have at that time made the proper investigations and taken the necessary steps for the annulment or invalidation of the said instruments. The defendant did not even attempt to do anything of the kind, and we do not find any just reason nor any legal ground whatever to warrant a discussion of the conclusion arrived at by the evidence presented in this suit.

Were it true that on the dates of the 11th of July and the 29th of October, 1906, the defendant Villafuerte was in Lucena, Tayabas, and not in Manila, it is not understood how two notaries who attested that they personally knew him could have certified that, on the respective dates aforementioned, the said defendant appeared in person before them, ratified the instrument of power of attorney which he had executed, and, to identify his personality, exhibited to the said notaries his certificate of registration, the only one and the same one which he presented at each of his appearances on the said dates. Without proof, nor rational, acceptable explanation, it is impossible to believe that the personal certificate of registration, which identifies a citizen, was for some four months in the possession of another person residing in a distant place. It was not proved in a satisfactory manner at the trial how or why the said cedula, or registration certificate, came to remain for so long a time in the possession of the Chinaman Sy Chuy Chim or of Vicente Marcelo, as averred by the defendant or his counsel, and under this supposition, so strange, anomalous, and out of the ordinary rule that every citizen should necessarily keep his certificate of identification in his possession, no explanation whatever was given by the defendant's counsel as to the purpose for which the defendant parted with his cedula and sent it to either the said Chinaman or Marcelo. The Chinaman was not examined in this litigation and the attorney in fact, Marcelo, denied that he had received the said cedula sent by his constituent. So that for the reasons hereinbefore stated, it is evident that the defendant Villafuerte personally exhibited the said cedula to the two aforementioned notaries, on his ratification of the respective instrument of power of attorney before each one of them, and it is not permissible to conclude that the instruments of power of attorney executed by the defendant, as well as the certifications subscribed by the notaries Lara and Williams, are false, because of the absolute absence of proof as a foundation for such a charge; for a notarial document, guaranteed by public attestation in accordance with the law, must be sustained in full force and affect so long as he who impugns it shall not have presented strong, complete, and conclusive proof of its falsity or nullity on account of some flaw or detect provided against by law. Although the documents exhibited by the defendant's counsel could not, for lack of proof of their authenticity, destroy or impair the value and force of the notarial documents or instruments on which the plaintiff's claim is based, it is, however, to be noted that Pedro Cantero, whose signature appears attached to the papers found on pages 159, 162, and 170, of the record, was not examined either, even for the purpose of identifying his signature, he being a Spaniard and an attorney it is not possible to believe that he wrote the aforementioned documents in the form and style in which they appear to have been drawn up; wherefore, on account of these circumstances, it is reasonable to presume that the documents of pages 159 and 170, and the note of page 162, of the record, were not authentic. It is also to be observed, in the document or letter found on page 136 of the record, and which also was unauthenticated, that the aforementioned dates of the 11th of July, 1906, appear therein with a correction, made in the proper place, of the figures 11 and 6 of the first

date, a repetition and details which induce the presumption that the said letter was written on a different date. By the foregoing it has been duly shown that the fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh errors attributed to the judgment are devoid of reason and legal foundation. With respect to the third error alleged we hold that the admission of the documents designated by the letters L and M was proper for the purpose for which they were presented, because that of letter L is an original and one of the triplicates drawn up for a single purpose, as stated therein, and that of letter M is also an original ratified before a notary, in the certificate of which, dated July 13, 1906, there certainly appears an annotation of the dame number 453963 of the cedula of the defendant Villafuerte which he exhibited to the notaries who authenticated the powers of attorney Exhibits C and D. With regard to the first two alleged errors, relative to Jose Moreno Lacalle being permitted to address questions to some of the witnesses during the hearing of the case, notwithstanding the presence of Attorney Agustin Alvarez, who represented the plaintiff, it is unquestionable that the intervention of the said law clerk and employee of Messrs. Haussermann, Cohn & Williams, the plaintiff's attorneys in this suit, was improperly admitted; it was not authorized by any law, for the reason that the said Lacalle did not have the capacity and qualifications of a lawyer admitted under oath to practice his profession before the courts of these Islands, and therefore, on objection being made to his present at the hearing of the case, the judge should have sustained such objection and should have excluded Lacalle and not permitted him to address questions to the plaintiff's witnesses, notwithstanding the fact that Attorney Agustin Alvares, designated in substitution of the said Haussermann, Cohn & Williams as the plaintiff's representative in the Court of First Instance of Tayabas, was present. Notwithstanding this, the acts performed in the course of some of the proceedings under the direction of Jose Moreno Lacalle are not subject to annulment, as no positive detriment was caused to the defendant, although such intervention is in no manner permitted by the law of procedure. However, even though the questions addressed by Lacalle to the plaintiff's witnesses and the presentation of documents of various kinds exhibited at the trial be stricken out for the reason that they were made by a person who was neither a party to the suit nor counsel for the plaintiff, yet we do not find any reason, based upon any positive prohibition of the law, to authorize the striking out to the answers given by the witnesses interrogated by Lacalle, even though the said answers may have been evoked by questions addressed by a person not authorized by law, and there is much less reason for rejecting the cross-questions addressed to the same witnesses by the defendant's attorney, and the answers thereto. Although the presentation of the documents which support the claims of the plaintiff party be deemed to be improper, on account of their having been made by a person who had not the

qualifications of a practicing attorney it is nevertheless true that their presentation was authorized by the attorney Alvarez and the documents exhibited continued to be united to the record and were not stricken out therefrom on motion by the other side, but, on the contrary, the attorney for the defendant or his counsel discussed the authenticity and validity of the said documents, made allegations against the same and concluded by asking that these documents, and also the inscription of those designated under letters A and B, be declared null and void. From the preceding statements it is concluded that the intervention of Jose Moreno Lacalle in the present suit has in no manner prejudiced the rights and interests of the defendant and that, if judgment was rendered against him and in favor of the plaintiff, it was in consequence of the merits of the evidence adduced by the plaintiff and of the inefficacy and worthlessness of the testimony given by the defendant. If the defendant Marcelino Villafuerte had presented substantial, strong and convincing evidence of the falsity of the two powers of attorney executed in favor of Vicente Marcelo Concepcion, the plaintiff's documentary evidence would have been totally invalidated and annulled, and this suit would have had a different ending. For the foregoing reasons, it is proper, in our opinion, to affirm the judgment appealed from, as we hereby do, with the costs against the appellant, and in consequence thereof we acquit the plaintiff from the cross complaint relative to the declaration of nullity of the mortgages and inscriptions, as requested by the defendant. The first day of the term of court immediately following the date on which the fulfillment of this judgment is ordered shall be set for the payment of the amounts due and the foreclosure of the said mortgages. So ordered.

DE GUZMAN V. VISAYAN RAPID TRANSIT This is a petition for certiorari to review the decision of the Court of Appeals of September 20, 1938, in the above-entitled case on various alleged errors of law. The Visayan Rapid Transit Co. and the Negros Transportation Co., Inc., during the time the legal services are claimed to have been rendered by the petitioner, were operating automobile lines in the Province of Occidental Negros. The respondent, Nicolas Concepcion, was at the time the president, general manager, and controlling stockholder of these two transportation companies. In January, 1933, Concepcion engaged the professional services of the petitioner, who was then a law practitioner in the City of Manila. The employment was for the purpose of obtaining the suppression, reduction and refund of certain toll rates on various bridges along the line operated by the respondent transportation companies. According to the petitioner, these toll bridges are in places known as Bago, Calatrava, Danao, Hinigiran, Malogo, TalavanDacu, Talabangay, Bagacay, Binmalayan and Sicaba. At the time of the employment of the petitioner, it appears that the respondent transportation companies had paid the sum of P89,816.70 as toll charges up to December 31, 1932, an amount said to represent oneseventh of their gross income up to that date, and in view of their high rates, the payment of the toll charges were detrimental to the transportation business of the respondent if not remedied in time. The herein petitioner accordingly took steps to obtain first the suppression, and later the reduction of toll rates on said bridges and also the refund of P50,000 of toll charges already collected by the Province of Occidental Negros. For this purpose, he appears to have signed Exhibit A which Concepcion brought to Manila, asking that the Bago and Malogo bridges be declared free, and said petition was filed with the Secretary of Public Works and Communications in January, 1933. Believing that the suppression of tolls on the Bago and Malogo bridges could not be effected, the petitioner filed with the said Secretary of Public Works and Communication, petition Exhibit B asking for the reduction of toll charges over the eleven (11) bridges in Occidental Negros. This fact was brought to the knowledge of Nicolas Concepcion who in turn wrote to the petitioner, Exhibit K-1, the pertinent part of which reads thus: Now compadre if this toll business will not all be effected I would like to request you therefore to work for at least 50 per cent reduction on all toll bridges, so that our little business will prosper a bit. We will always hope of course for the best to come. (In English.) The Insular authorities readily saw the justice of the transportation companies' petition and urged the provincial board of Occidental Negros to act favorably. The provincial board, however, declined to follow the suggestion. The Secretary of Commerce and Public Works warned the provincial officials by sending them the communication, dated April 23, 1934, with the admonition that "if the toll rates have not been revised by . . . June 15, 1934, this office, much to its regrets, will be forced to withdraw its approval of the existing toll rates." By

reason of this communication, the provincial board, on March 7, 1934, with the conformity of Nicolas Concepcion, adopted a resolution reducing the tolls for 2-ton trucks or more, the only kind of motor vehicles operated by the respondents, from P1.20 to P0.50 on one bridge, and from P1.20 to 0.40 on the other. And on April 10, 1935 "upon authority of the Insular Auditor, concurred in by the Department of the Interior" the provincial board refunded P50,000 as bridge tolls illegally collected from the Visayan Rapid Transit Company, Inc., and the Negros Transportation Company, Inc., said amount to be applied to future payments for tolls by said companies. As a result of this reduction of tolls, the respondents have been benefited with an economy of P78,448 for every eighteen months. (Exhibit V.) The various incidental questions raised by the petitioner revolves around the reasonable compensation to which he is entitled, and we pass on to the consideration of this point. Although the professional services rendered by the petitioner are purely administrative and did not require a high degree of professional skill and experience, the fact remains that these services were rendered and were productive of substantial beneficial results to his clients. It is clear that for these services the petitioner is entitled to compensation, and the only question is the reasonable amount to which he is entitled. He claimed in the lower court the sum of P20,000. The trial court awarded him P10,000. On appeal, the Court of Appeals reduced this amount to P3,500. Section 29 of the Code of Civil Procedure provides that "a lawyer shall be entitled to have and recover from his client no more than a reasonable compensation for the services rendered, with a view to the importance of the subject matter of the controversy, to the extent of the services rendered, and the professional standing of the lawyer . . .." The following are the circumstances to be considered in determining the compensation of an attorney: the amount and character of the services rendered; the labor, time, and trouble involved; the nature and importance of the litigation or business in which the services were rendered; the responsibility imposed; the amount of money or the value of the property affected by the controversy, or involved in the employment, the skill and experience called for in the performance of the services; the professional character and social standing of the attorney; the results secured; and whether or not the fee is absolute or contingent, it being a recognized rule that an attorney may properly charge a much a larger fee when it is to be contingent that when it is not. The financial ability of the defendant may also be considered not to enhance the amount above a reasonable compensation, but to determine whether or not he is able to pay a fair and just compensation for the services rendered, or as as incident in ascertaining the importance and gravity of the interests involved in the litigation. (Delgado vs. De la Rama, 43 Phil., 419; Panis vs. Yangco, 52 Phil., 499.) The services of the petitioner in this case were not limited to the preparation and filing with the authorities concerned of the petitions Exhibits A and B and other papers submitted in evidence, for he appears to have had various conferences with the Secretary of Public Works

and Communications, the Secretary of the Interior, the Secretary of Labor and the Insular Auditor, and had otherwise taken steps to secure the objectives of his clients. The importance, merits and value of professional services of a lawyer are measured not alone by his work taken separately, but by his work taken as a whole. There are services which, when taken separately, may not in themselves have any noticeable special merit, but when considered in connection with the other works and services of the lawyer to which they are related, acquire an unquestionable value. That is why even the time employed is not itself an appropriate basis for fixing the compensation. (Haussermann vs. Rahmeyer, 12 Phil., 350; Bachrach vs. Teal and Teal Motor Co., 53 Phil., 631, 634.) The respondents in their brief insinuate that the services of the petitioner were unsolicited and unauthorized. The trial court as well as the Court of Appeals, upon the proof submitted, concluded that the employment of the petitioner was duly made and solicited by the president and manager of the respondent corporations, and such finding cannot be disturbed. "It is elementary that an attorney is entitled to have and receive the just and reasonable compensation for services performed at the special instance and request of his client . . . That is to say, as long as the plaintiff was honestly and in good faith trying to serve and represent the interest of the client, he should have a reasonable compensation for his services. . . ." (Wolfson vs. Anderson, 48 Phil., 672, 675.) The amount of the professional fees to be paid to the petitioner had not been fixed, but the intention and promise to pay him is evidently shown by the records in this case. And in any case, whether there is an agreement or not, the courts can fix a reasonable compensation which lawyers should receive for their professional services. (Panis vs. Yangco, 52 Phil., 499, 502.) No hard and fast rule can be stated which will serve even as a guide in determining what is or what is not a reasonable fee. That must be determined from the facts in each case. (2 Thornton on Attorney at Law, p. 783.) We have noted in the beginning that the services here were rendered in a case of an administrative nature. But that does not alter the application of the proper rule: Professional services, to prepare and advocate just claims for compensation, are as legitimate as services rendered in court in arguing a cause to convince a court or jury that the claim presented or the defense set up against a claim presented by the other party ought to be allowed or rejected. Parties in such cases require advocates; and the legal profession must have a right to accept such employment and to receive compensation for their services; nor can courts of justice adjudge such contracts illegal, if they are free from any taint of fraud, misrepresentation, or unfairness. (Stanton vs. Embry, 23 Law. ed [U.S.], 983, 985.)

As warranted by the records, it is obvious that as a result of the reduction of the rates of the toll of the bridges in the said province, the respondents were benefited with an economy of P78,448. The refund to the said corporations of the amount of P50,000 is a great relief and enhancement of their business. Facts and circumstances considered, we are of the opinion that the reasonable compensation of the petitioner is P7,000, deducting therefrom, however, the sum of P1,280 which the petitioner had already received. The judgment of the Court of Appeals is accordingly modified, without pronouncement regarding costs. So ordered.

PAAR V. BORROMEO Teofilo Paar is charge in Manila with treason before the People's Court, and prayed that he be assisted in his defense by Andres R. Camasura who is not a member of the bar. The People's Court denied the petition, hence, this action for mandamus. Section 3 and 4 Rule 112 are as follows:

appearance must be either personal or by a duly authorized member of the It is clear form these provisions that in Manila where there are many members of the bar, defendants in the People's Court may be assisted only by members of the bar. Petition denied, without costs.

SEC. 3. Duty of court to inform defendant of his right to have attorney. If the defendant appears without a attorney, he must be informed by the court that it is his right to have attorney before being arraigned, and must be asked if he desires the aid of attorney. If he desires and is unable to employ attorney, the court must assign attorney de oficio to defend him. A reasonable time must be allowed for procuring attorney. This is an original action commenced in the Supreme Court. Its purpose was to SEC. 4. Who may be appointed attorney `de oficio'. The attorney so employed or assigned must be a duty authorized member of the Bar. But in provinces where duly authorized members of the bar are not available, the court may, in its discretion, admit or assign a person, resident in the province and of good repute for probity and ability, to aid the defendant in his defense, although the person so admitted or assigned be not a duly authorized member of the Bar. While the pleadings present some minor questions of general importance, in view Section 29 and 31 of Rule 127 read: SEC. 29. Attorney for destitute litigants. "A superior court may assign an attorney to render professional aid free of charge to any party in a case, if upon investigation it appears that the party is destitute and unable to employ an attorney, and that the services of counsel are necessary to secure the ends of justice and to protect the rights of the party. It shall be the duty of the attorney so assigned to render the required service, unless he is excused there from by the court for sufficient cause shown." First. SEC. 31. By whom litigation conducted. In the court of a justice of the peace a party may conduct his litigation in person, with the aid of an agent or friend appointed by him for that purpose, or with the aid of an attorney. In any other court a party may conduct his litigation personally or by aid of an attorney, and his Second. At said election several candidates were voted for. Among such candidates were the petitioner, Emilio de Castro, and the respondent, Segundo Santiago. On the 6th of June, 1916, an election was held in the municipality of Casiguran, of the Province of Sorsogon, for the election of a president. The facts upon which this actions are based are undisputed and are as follows: of the urgency for a decision upon the main question, we will now limit ourselves to a discussion and to a decision of that question only, which is: In an election contest by a "candidate voted for," for the office of president of a municipality, may he present or file the "motion," provided for by section 27 of Act No. 1582, (Section 576, Administrative Code), signed by his attorney, or must such "motion" be signed by him personally? obtain the extraordinary legal remedy of mandamus to require the Court of First Instance to reinstate and to decide upon its merits a certain election contest heretofore dismissed by the respondent judge upon a motion to quash. The said motion to quash was based upon the ground that the "motion" (or contest) had not been signed by the contestant personally. DE CASTRO V. SALAS


At the close of said election the ballots were counted and it was found Eleventh. That on the 15th of August, the respondent, Segundo Santiago, presented a demurrer to said petition. Upon the foregoing facts and the issue presented by the petition, the answer, and the demurrer, and after hearing the respective parties, the questions involved were presented to his court. Upon the main question presented for our consideration, authorities and precedents have not readily been found. The respondents contend that the law (section 576, Administrative Code) is mandatory and explicit, and cite Act No. 1773 and some decisions of this court, which they deem to be authority for their contention, while the petitioner contends that the law is not mandatory and does not limit the signing of the "motion" to the contestant himself personally, and cites the provisions of section 34 of Act No. 190, as amended by section 1 of Act No. 2453, in support of his contention. It is true that the criminal actions mentioned in said Act No. 1773 can only be

upon said count that the respondent, Segundo Santiago, had received 258 votes and that the petitioner, Emilio de Castro, had received 248 votes, and as a result of said count Segundo Santiago was declared elected president of said municipality, by the municipal council thereof, on the 12th of June, 1916. Fourth. That later, and on the 17th of June, 1916, Emilio de Castro contested said election by presenting a "motion" in the Court of First Instance of the Province of Sorsogon. Said "motion" was not signed by the "candidate voted for" but was signed by his attorney. Fifth. That on the 10th of July, 1916, the respondent, Segundo Santiago,

answered said "motion," and among other defenses presented, prayed that the "motion" be quashed or dismissed for the reason that it had not been signed by the "candidate voted for" as is required by law. (Section 576, Administrative Code.) Sixth. That on the 28th of July, 1916, the respondent judge, Fernando Salas, after

initiated by a complaint of the aggrieved person, or of the parents, grandparents, or guardian of such person. (U. S. vs. Narvas, 14 Phil. Rep., 410; U. S. vs. Castaares, 18 Phil. Rep., 210; U. S. vs. Arzadon, 19 Phil. Rep., 175; U. S. vs. Cruz and Reyes, 20 Phil. Rep., 363; Quilatan and Santiago vs. Caruncho, 21 Phil. Rep., 399; U. S. vs. Jayme, 24 Phil. Rep., 90; U. S. vs. Gariboso, 25 Phil. Rep., 171.) It must be remembered that the actions provided for under Act No. 1773 are

hearing the respective parties, dismissed said "motion" for the reason that it had not been signed by the contestant himself, Emilio de Castro. The court held that by virtue of said section 576, the "motion" or contest could only be initiated by the contestant himself by signing said "motion" himself personally; that said contest could not be initiated by presenting a "motion" signed by his attorney. Seventh. That thereafter, on the 31st of July, 1916, the petitioner, Emilio de

criminal actions, while the action contemplated by section 576 is not a criminal action. It is a civil action. It has none of the elements of a criminal action and should therefore be governed by the Code of Civil Procedure, so far as the procedure is not expressly defined by the Act providing for the "motion" or contest. An examination of said section 576 and the other sections of the law relating to election contests (sections 575-580, Administrative Code) fails to disclose any express provision which lends any assistance to the solution of the question presented.

Castro, by his attorney, presented a motion for a reconsideration of the order dismissing his "motion" or contest. Eighth. That on the same day (the 31st of July, 1916), the respondent judge, Fernando Salas, denied said motion for a reconsideration of his order dismissing said "motion" or contest. Ninth. That on the 2d of August, 1916, the petition for the remedy prayed for in

this court was presented, which was amended by the substitution of another complaint on the 9th of August, 1916. Tenth. That on the 9th of August, 1916, the Attorney-General, representing the respondent, Fernando Salas, presented an answer to said petition.

Said section 576 provides for an action for the contest of elections to offices in general. It provides: Contests in all elections for the determination of which provision has not been made otherwise shall be heard by the Court of First Instance having jurisdiction in

the judicial district in which the election was held, upon motion by any candidate voted for at such election, etc. The respondents contend that the provision that the actions shall be initiated "upon motion by any candidate voted for," expressly prohibits the presentation of the "motion" by any other person than by the "candidate voted for," personally. The respondents rely upon the provisions of Act No. 1773. That Act provides that no prosecution for the crimes mentioned therein "shall be instituted, except upon the complaint of the aggrieved person," etc. It will be noted that Act No. 1773, by express provision, inhibits the presentation of the complaint, except by the "aggrieved person," etc. No such words of limitation are used in section 576. Had the Legislature said "except upon motion by any candidate voted for," then the two statutes would be exactly analogous in their inhibitions, with reference to the persons who should initiate the respective actions. Section 34 of Act No. 190, as amended by Act No. 2453, after making provision for the conduct of litigation in courts of justices of the peace, provides that: In any other court, the party may conduct his litigation personally or by the aid of a lawyer, and his appearance must be either personally or by the aid of a duly authorized member of the bar. The phrase "may conduct his litigation," must mean that the party-litigant may either personally or by the aid of a lawyer, do anything in the progress of the action from the commencement to the termination of the litigation. Taking into consideration that there are no words used in said section 576 expressly inhibiting the contestant from presenting the "motion" by an attorney, in relation with the fact that it has been the custom ever since the adoption of section 27 of Act No. 1582 (section 576, Administrative Code), for the contestants to appear by attorneys, and in view of the above-quoted provision of Act No. 2453, we are not inclined to adopt as out view the contention of the respondents. It is also a fact of public knowledge that the majority of the members of the Legislature, who adopted section 576 of the Administrative Code, were attorneys at law, and it is not believed, in view of the large number of contests which follow each election, that it was their intention to inhibit attorneys at law from assisting contestants in the initiation of their contests. In our opinion there is nothing in the law (section 576) which inhibits contestants in election contests, under section 576, from initiating

their contests upon a "motion" presented by their attorneys. (Bragunier vs. Penn, 79 Md., 244; McCauley vs. State, 21 Md., 556.) The respondents further argue that the Court of First Instance having jurisdiction in the premises to consider the questions presented by the petitioner in his "motion," it had jurisdiction to decide all of the questions presented. That contention is true if we limit his jurisdiction to hear and determination questions presented upon their merits. But when it is alleged that the court refused to consider the questions upon their merits and erroneously dismissed the action upon a construction of some question of law or of practice preliminary to a final hearing, we have an entirely different question presented. No rule of law is better established than the one that provides that mandamus will not issue to control the discretion of an officer or a court, when honestly exercised and when such power and authority is not abused. A distinction however must be made between a case where the writ of mandamus is sought to control the decision of a court the merits of the cause, and cases where the court has refused to go into the merits of the action, upon an erroneous view of the law or practice. If the court has erroneously dismissed an action upon a preliminary objection and upon an erroneous construction of the law, then mandamus is the proper remedy to compel it to reinstate the action and to proceed to hear it upon its merits. (High on Extraordinary Legal Remedies [3d ed.], section 151; Castello vs. St. Louis Circuit Court, 28 Mo., 259; State ex rel. Chism & Boyd vs. Judge of 26th District Court, 34 La. Ann., 1177; State ex rel. Citizens' Bank vs. Judge of 7th District Court, 38 La. Ann., 499). Dr. High, in commenting upon the rule laid down by the court, says: For example, when, in statutory proceedings instituted to test the election of an officer, the court below refuses to try the case upon its merits, and quashes the proceedings, upon the ground that the contestant has not given the notice required by statute, if such court has erred in its construction of the statute, as to the notice required, the writ (mandamus) will be granted to compel it to reinstate the case and proceed to a hearing. (Castello vs. St. Louis Circuit Court, 28 Mo., 259.) Dr. High, in his valuable work, further adds, however: "If, however, the point raised by the preliminary question be purely a matter of fact, the decision of the inferior tribunal is binding and conclusive, and will not be controlled by mandamus. (Queen vs. Justices of Kesteven, 3d Ad., & E. [N. S.], 810.)"

In view of all of the foregoing, we are of the opinion First. That the law does not inhibit the contestant in the present case from

initiating his contest by having the "motion" presented by his attorney. Second. That the lower court refused to go into the merits of said contest, upon an erroneous construction of the law. Therefore, it is ordered and decreed that an order be issued out of this court to the respondent judge, Fernando Salas, directing and requiring him to set aside and to annul his order heretofore rendered, in which he dismissed the action of the petitioner, and to reinstate said action and to proceed to try said cause upon its merits. And without any finding as to costs, it is so ordered.

US V. GO LENG The defendant appeals from a judgment convicting him of a violation of Act No. 1761, wherein he was sentenced to six months' imprisonment, a fine of P300, and, in default of such payment, to the corresponding subsidiary imprisonment at the rate of one day for each 12 pesetas and a half he fails to pay, not to exceed onethird of the time of the principal penalty, and to payment of the costs. It is a fact which we find to be sufficiently proven that on the date mentioned in the complaint, an internal-revenue agent went to the defendant's house and found in various places therein two little cans and a small horn jar, all containing opium; another small tin with about 50 grams of opium ashes; scales for weighing opium; a pan for cooking the said drug, and two small lamps such as are used in smoking opium. This fact effectively sustains the finding in the judgment appealed from as to the defendant's guilt. Counsel for the defense alleges that the trial court obliged the defendant to stand trial without the assistance of an attorney, and refused to allow his request for time to procure such counsel for his defense; this, he alleges, is an error that affects the essential rights of the defendant. The facts in no manner support this allegation. Nowhere in the record does it appear that any postponement was requested by the defendant for securing counsel. That part of the record in which reference is made to this point reads as follows: The above-mentioned case was called for rehearing on this date, September 29, 1910, there being present the defendant, not represented by counsel, and the fiscal representing the United States. On the defendant's being asked whether he could afford to employ a lawyer, he replied in the affirmative, but said that he had been unable to come to an agreement with one as to the amount he should pay him for his services. This court being of the opinion that the defendant is not entitled to the appointment of counsel de oficio, and, declining to recognize the fact of his not having reached an agreement with his attorney in the matter of his fees as a proper excuse for postponing the hearing of this case, orders the reading of the complaint.

The reason of the court for not postponing the hearing is set forth in another part of the record and is as follows: The bond given by the defendant in this case was first forfeited; later, the forfeiture was canceled. Another date was set for the hearing, at least two days in advance. The court sees no reason whatever for postponing this case, and still less for showing any consideration to the defendant because he is not represented by counsel, since he does not belong to the class of poor people who are entitled to the appointment of counsel de oficio. If he can not come to an agreement with Mr. Sotto as to the amount of the latter's fees for defending him, the court is not called upon to take the matter into consideration as a ground for postponement and other similar delays. By order of the court the complaint was duly read to the defendant: the latter acknowledged notification thereof and replied by pleading not guilty. Neither on that occasion, nor before, nor afterwards, nor, in short, at any time during the progress of the trial, did the defendant request the postponement or suspension of the same or raise any objection or protest of any sort against the continuance of the trial. Far from so doing, the record shows that during the presentation of the evidence he crossed-examined the witness, notwithstanding that he was advised by the court of his right not to testify unless he desired to do so of his own free will and consent. These being the facts, the assignment of error contained in the brief filed by the defendant's counsel is absolutely devoid of foundation. Accused persons are undoubtedly entitled to appoint an attorney to defend them at trial, or to have one appointed de oficio, should they ask for one and not possess the necessary means to employ an attorney of their own. But it devolves exclusively upon them to avail themselves of this right. It is one which they are perfectly entitled to waive and they may defend themselves in person. The law expressly authorizes them, as it could not but do, to defend themselves in person, without the assistance of counsel. (Sec. 15, General Orders, No. 58. It is understood, of course, that they waive their right to be assisted by counsel when they not only do not appoint or request one, but voluntarily submit to trial, and especially when they actually exercise therein the right of defense by cross-examining the witnesses for the prosecution and by introducing evidence in their own behalf, as was done in the present case. It is evident that the defendant herein preferred to defend himself personally in the

Court of First Instance and, therefore, he can not be heard to complain that he was not assisted by any attorney in the proceedings there had. When an accused person in a criminal case chooses to defend himself in person, none of his rights are infringed by the fact that the action was prosecuted without the intervention of an attorney in his behalf. In such a case the attendance of the latter is no wise necessary for the legality and perfect propriety of the proceedings. In consideration of the circumstances of the case, we are of the opinion that a fine of P300 is a sufficient penalty for the crime committed by the accused. The judgment appealed from is therefore modified in the sense that the defendant is sentenced only to pay the fine of P300, or, in case of insolvency, to suffer the corresponding subsidiary imprisonment at the rate of one day for each P2.50 which he may fail to pay, and the costs in this instance.

In a petition for certiorari filed in the Court of First Instance of Manila (Civil Case No. 33674) on September 11, 1957, Felipe Eco sought annulment of the proceeding, orders, and decisions rendered by the respondents Secretary of Agriculture & Natural Resources and Director of Forestry, claiming that the latter committed an abuse of discretion in suspending his certificate of Private Wood-land Registration No. 1329, covering a tract of land with an area of 700 hectares, 290 hectares of which were forestal, and the former, in dismissing petitioner's appeal. After the respondents had duty filed their answer justifying the controverted act, the case was heard. On April 30, 1958, the court rendered judgment finding, inter alia that on January 17, 1956, petitioner Eco obtained from the Bureau of Forestry a certificate of private wood-land registration under Section 1829 of the Revised Administrative Code, on the strength of a possessory information title covering 700 hectares but which was made to appear later on a sketch to contain 290 hectares of forest land, 99 hectares of are logged area and 811 hectares cultivated area; TigMan Lumber Co., another timber licensee, protested against this registration and filed a petition for reconsideration which was apparently granted because the Director of Forestry suspended the operation of Eco's certificate; that likewise, it was found that portions of the area released from the forest zone were under occupancy by some 80 oppositors; that after a series of protests and counter-protests, objections and counterobjections between the parties, the Director of Forestry recommended cancellation of Eco's certificate of private woodland and the Secretary of Agriculture & Natural Resources approved the recommendation; that upon the appeal of Eco, the Secretary reopened the case and ordered a formal investigation of the whole controversy to give the parties "ample opportunity to formally present their respective sides of the controversy and (be) given their 'day in court'"; that petitioner Eco refused to submit to this, reinvestigation, insisting that it was not necessary; that in the face of this attitude of Eco, the Secretary of Agriculture & Natural Resources issued a decision, the pertinent part of which reads: In the light of the above findings and circumstances, this Office is of opinion, and so holds that the dismissal of the appeal of Felipe Eco is perfectly in order. This is because of his adamant stand (not) to submit to the formal investigation duly ordered by this Office. A clear indication of this attitude is shown by his failure to appear at the investigation on May 2, 1957, when he was duly notified thereof thru his counsel. WHEREFORE, and as the forested portion of the land in controversy is actually occupied by the TigMan Lumber Co., Ltd., the appellee herein, and the remaining area which was released from the forest zone is under actual occupation and cultivation by public land applicants who had duly filed their respective public land applications therefore, the instant appeal of Felipe

Eco should be, as hereby it is, DISMISSED. Conformably herewith, the TigMan Lumber Co., Ltd., is hereby authorized to resume its operation inside the land in question. HOWEVER, and in order to quiet title to the land in dispute once and for all, the appellant herein is hereby given a period of ninety(90) days from the date hereof within which to institute voluntaryregistration proceedings covering the land; otherwise, this Office will take the necessary steps to bring the land under the operation of Sec. 53 of the Public Land Law (Commonwealth Act 141) in conjunction, with Act No. 496. For this purpose, steps shall be taken by this Office to gather evidence for the Government with a view to supporting its opposition to the voluntary registration proceedings that the appellant herein may institute, or to sustain the move of the Government in the event that it will be compelled to institute compulsory registration proceedings pursuant to Sec. 53 of the Public Land Law in conjunction with Act 496. So Ordered. On the basis of the foregoing findings, the trial court, Judge Magno S. Gatmaitan presiding, dismissed the petition for certiorari, stating: xxx xxx xxx

The Court believes and so holds that there was nothing inherently wrong in the actuations of the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources and of the Director of the Bureau of Foresty; the Court concurs with their opinion that in order to terminate the litigation between all the parties here, the most proper procedure was for petitioners to institute voluntary registration proceedings; nor can petitioners claim that equity is with him in the meantime since as already stated above, much can be said about the excess in his area. The result will be dismissal. . . . Copy of this decision was actually received by counsel for the petitioner on May 5, 1958. On June 3, 1958 or 28 days thereafter, petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration of the decision, which was denied on June 14, 1958, for lack of merit. On June 21, 1958, petitioner filed a notice of appeal and appeal bond. Respondents registered opposition thereto for the reason that the filing of said notice of appeal and appeal bond was made out of time. Sustaining this allegation, the court, by order of July 5, 1950, disapproved petitioner's appeal bond and notice of appeal. On September 6 of the same year, petitioner filed a motion for relief under Rule 38, praying for the setting aside of the decision on the ground of excusable negligence. The alleged negligence consisted of the erroneous computation by counsel's clerk of the period within which an appeal may be made, said clerk being of the impression that the prescriptive period

to appeal in certiorari cases is also 30 days like in ordinary civil actions instead of 15 days as provided in Section 17 of Rule 41. The motion for relief was denied for lack of merit. Petitioner interposed an appeal to the Court of Appeals but this court certified the case to us, the question involved herein being one of law. In support of his view, petitioner-appellant cites our ruling in the cases of Coombs vs. Santos, 24 Phil., 446,1 and Herrera vs. Far Eastern Air Transport, Inc., G. R. No. L-2587, promulgated on September 19, 1950.2 The aforecited ruling has no application to the one at bar. The delay in the filing of the pleadings in those cases was brought about by the inability to file the same due to the illness either of the clerk or of the attorney. It is quite different in the instant case. Evidently, what was delegated by petitioner's counsel to his clerk was the computation itself of the period within which the appropriate pleading may be filed. This act is hardly prudent or wise.As the lower court aptly said: "the duty to compute theperiod to appeal is a duty that devolves upon the attorney which he can not and should not delegate unto an employee because it concerns a question of study of the law and its application, and this Court considers this to be a delicate matter that should not be delegated." The negligence here cannot, therefore, be considered excusable. Even considering it on the merits, appellant's cause must also fail. The petition for relief was predicated principally on the ground that the court a quo erred in not holding that the ruling of the respondent Director of Forestry, affirmed by the respondent Secretary of Agriculture & Natural Resources, suspending his Private Woodland Registration certificate was made in abuse of discretion, because said officials allegedly deprived him of his day in court. It is noteworthy to mention, however, that it is precisely for this reason that the Secretary of Agriculture & Natural Resources ordered a formal investigation of the matter to enable the parties to present their respective evidence. Yet, appellant Eco refused to submit to such investigation. Naturally, the ruling of the respondent Director was affirmed. How can it be claimed then that the Secretary of Agriculture & Natural Resources gravely abused his discretion in dismissing Eco's appeal? Furthermore, in his questioned order of June 11, 1957, the respondent Secretary of Agriculture & Natural Resources provides: HOWEVER, and in order to quiet title to the land in dispute once and for all, the appellant (Eco) herein is hereby given a period of ninety (90) days from the date hereof within which to institute voluntary registration proceedings covering the said land; otherwise, this Office will take the necessary steps to bring the land under operation of Sec. 53 of the Public Land Law (Commonwealth Act 141) in conjunction with Act No. 496. For this purpose, steps shall be taken by this Office to gather evidence for the Government with a view to supporting its opposition to the voluntary registration proceedings that the appellant herein may institute, or to sustain the move of the Government in the event that it will be compelled to institute

compulsory registration proceedings pursuant to Sec. 53 of the Public Land Law in conjunction with Act 496. SO ORDERED. Apparently, instead of taking this course and thus proving his alleged right over the property, appellant elected to institute certiorari proceedings against the abovementioned officials in the Court of First Instance of Manila. Underthe circumstances, it is evident that appellant's action has no foundation at all. Wherefore, finding no error in the appealed order denying petitioner's motion for relief, the same is hereby affirmed, with costs against the petitioner-appellant. It is so ordered. AMALGAMATED LABORERS ASS'N. VS. CIR

Controversy over attorneys' fees for legal services rendered in CIR Case No. 70ULP-Cebu. The background facts are as follows: On May 30, 1956, Florentino Arceo and 47 others together with their union, Amalgamated Laborers' Association, and/or Felisberto Javier, general president of said union, lodged a complaint 1 in the Court of Industrial Relations (CIR), for unfair labor practices specified in Sec. 4(a) 1, 2, 3 and 4 of the Industrial Peace Act. Made respondents were their former employer, Binalbagan Sugar Central Company, Inc. (Biscom), Rafael Jalandoni, its president and general manager; Gonzalo Guillen, its chief engineer and general factory superintendent; and Fraternal Labor Organization and/or Roberto Poli, its president. Failing in their attempts to dismiss the complaint (motions to dismiss dated June 30, 1956 and July 6, 1956), 2 respondents Biscom, Jalandoni, and Guillen, on July 9, 1957, answered and counterclaimed. Respondents Fraternal Labor Union and Poli also filed their answer dated July 12, 1957. With the issues joined, the case on the merits was heard before a trial commissioner. At the hearings, only ten of the forty-eight complainant laborers appeared and testified. Two of these ten were permanent (regular) employees of respondent

company; the remaining eight were seasonal workers. The regular employees were Arsenio Reyes and Fidel Magtubo. Seasonal workers were Catalino Bangoy, Juan Fernandez, Jose Garlitos, Dionisio Pido, Santiago Talagtag, Dominador Tangente, Felimon Villaluna and Brigido Casas. On November 13, 1962, CIR, thru Associate Judge Arsenio I. Martinez, rendered judgment, which provides, inter alia, that the two regular employees (Reyes and Magtubo) be reinstated "to their former positions, without loss of seniority and other benefits which should have accrued to them had they not been illegally dismissed, with full back wages from the time of their said dismissals up to the time of their actual reinstatements, minus what they have earned elsewhere in the meantime" and that the eight seasonal workers "be readmitted to their positions as seasonal workers of respondent company (Biscom), with back wages as seasonal workers from the time they were not rehired at the start of the 1955-1956 milling season on October 1, 1955 up to the time they are actually reinstated, less the amount earned elsewhere during the period of their lay-off." Respondents Biscom, Jalandoni and Guillen appealed direct to this Court. 3 On March 28, 1963, this Court dismissed the appeal, without costs. Ground: Petitioners therein did not seek reconsideration of CIR's decision of November 13, 1962. The judgment became final. Upon the ten complainants' motion to name an official computer to determine the actual money due them, CIR, on June 4, 1963, directed the Chief Examiner of its Examining Division to go to the premises of Biscom and compute the back wages due the ten complainants. On August 9, 1963, the Chief Examiner reported that the total net back wages due the ten complainants were P79,755.22. Biscom and the complainants moved for reconsideration: Biscom on August 17, 1963; complainants on September 24, 1963. In the interim, Atty. Leonardo C. Fernandez (a respondent herein) filed on July 15, 1963 in the same case CIR Case No. 70-ULP-Cebu a "Notice of Attorney's Lien." He alleged therein that he had been the attorney of record for the laborers in CIR Case No. 70-ULP-Cebu "since the inception of the preliminary hearings of said case up to the Supreme Court on appeal, as chief counsel thereof";

that he "had actually rendered legal services to the laborers who are subject of this present litigation [CIR Case No. 70-ULP-Cebu] since the year 1956, more or less"; that the laborers "have voluntarily agreed to give [him], representing his attorney's fees on contingent basis such amounts equivalent to 25% thereof which agreement is evidenced by a Note"; and that the 25% attorney's fee so contracted is "reasonable and proper taking into consideration the length of services he rendered and the nature of the work actually performed by him." On September 25, 1963, Atty. Fernandez filed an "Amended Notice of Attorney's Lien," which in part reads: 3. That the laborers, subject of this present litigation, sometime on February 3, 1956, had initially voluntarily agreed to give Undersigned Counsel herein, representing his Attorney's fees on contingent basis, such amounts as equivalent to Thirty Per Cent (30%) of whatever money claims that may be adjudicated by this Honorable Court, copy of said Agreement, in the local Visayan dialect and a translation of the same in the English language are hereto attached as annexes "A" "A-1" hereof; 4. That subsequently thereafter, when the above-entitled Case was already decided in their favor, Arsenio Reyes, in behalf of his co-laborers who are also Complainants in this Case begged from the Undersigned Counsel herein that he reduce his attorney's fees to Twenty-Five Per Cent (25%) only for the reason that they have to share and satisfy also Atty. Jose Ur. Carbonell in the equivalent amount of Five Per Cent (5%) although the latter's actual services rendered was so insignificant thereof; 5. That because of the pleadings of said Arsenio Reyes, who is the President of said Union, the Undersigned Counsel herein finally agreed and consented that his attorney's fees be reduced to only Twenty-Five Per Cent (25%) instead of Thirty Per Cent (30%) as originally agreed upon in 1956. On October 7, 1963, Atty. Jose Ur. Carbonell (a petitioner herein) filed in court a document labelled "Discharge" informing CIR of the discharge, release and dismissal thru a union board resolution (attached thereto as Annex A thereof) of Atty. Leonardo C. Fernandez as one of the lawyers of the complainants in CIR Case No. 70-ULP-Cebu, effective February 28, 1963.

P19,938.81 representing attorneys' fees and deducting therefrom all legal fees On October 14, 1963, Atty. Fernandez replied. He averred that the grounds for his discharge specified in the board resolution were "malicious and motivated by greed and ungratefulness" and that the unjustifiable discharge did not affect the already stipulated contract for attorneys' fees. On March 19, 1964, CIR Judge Arsenio I. Martinez resolved Biscom's and complainants' motions for resonsideration objecting to the Chief Examiner's Report and also respondent Fernandez' Amended Notice of Attorney's Lien. Judge Martinez' order reads in part: (b) Respondent company is further directed to deposit the amount representing 25% of P79,755.22 with the Cashier of this Court, as attorney's fees; xxx xxx xxx These arguments are devoid of merit. (d) The amount representing attorney's fees to be deposited by the respondent company is hereby awarded and granted to Atty. Leonardo C. Fernandez, and he may collect the same from the Cashier of the Court upon the finality of this order, subject to existing auditing procedures; .... Biscom complied with the order of deposit. 4 On April 10, 1964, Atty. Carbonell moved to reconsider the March 19, 1964 order with respect to the award of attorneys' fees. Amongst his grounds are that CIR has no jurisdiction to determine the matter in question, and that the award of 25% as attorneys' fees to Atty. Fernandez is excessive, unfair and illegal. This motion was denied on April 28, 1964 by CIR en banc. On June 9, 1964, a motion for reconsideration of the April 28, 1964 resolution was filed by Atty. Carbonell. This was amplified by a similar motion filed on June 11, 1964. On June 25, 1964, two things happened: First. CIR en banc denied the motion of June 11, 1964. Second. On Atty. Fernandez' motion, Judge Martinez authorized the Cashier of the court to disburse to Fernandez the amount of A grant of jurisdiction implies the necessary and usual incidental powers essential to effectuate it, and every regularly constituted court has power to do all things reasonably necessary for the administration of justice within the scope of its jurisdiction, and for the enforcement of its judgments and mandates, even though the court may thus be called upon to decide matters which would not be within its cognizance as original causes of action. While a court may be expressly granted the incidental powers necessary to effectuate its jurisdiction, a grant of jurisdiction, in the absence of prohibitive legislation, implies the necessary and usual incidental powers essential to effectuate it (In re Stinger's Estate, 201 P. 693), and, subject to existing laws and 4. It is well settled that: The present controversy over attorneys' fees is but an epilogue or a tail-end feature of the main case, CIR No. 70-ULP-Cebu, which undoubtedly is within CIR's jurisdiction. And, it has been held that "once the Court of Industrial Relations has acquired jurisdiction over a case under the law of its creation, it retains that jurisdiction until the case is completely decided, including all the incidents related thereto." 5 Expressive of the rule on this point is this 1. Petitioners press upon this Court the view that CIR is bereft of authority to adjudicate contractual disputes over attorneys' fees. Their reasons: (1) a dispute arising from contracts for attorneys' fees is not a labor dispute and is not one among the cases ruled to be within CIR's authority; and (2) to consider such a dispute to be a mere incident to a case over which CIR may validly assume jurisdiction is to disregard the special and limited nature of said court's jurisdiction. Petitioners herein, Atty. Carbonell, Amalgamated Laborers' Association, and the ten employees, appealed from the June 25, 1964 resolution of CIR, direct to this Court. incident to such deposit.

constitutional provisions, every regularly constituted court has power to do all things that are reasonably necessary for the administration of justice within the scope of its jurisdiction, and for the enforcement of its judgments and mandates. So demands, matters, or questions ancillary or incidental to, or growing out of, the main action, and coming within the above principles, may be taken cognizance of by the court and determined, since such jurisdiction is in aid of its authority over the principal matter, even though the Court may thus be, called on to consider and decide matters, which as original causes of action, would not be within its cognizance (Bartholomew vs. Shipe, 251 S.W. 1031), (21 C.J.S. pp. 136-138.) Thus, in Gomez vs. North Camarines Lumber Co., L-11945, August 18, 1958, and Serrano vs. Serrano, L-19562, May 23, 1964, we held that the court having jurisdiction over the main cause of action, may grant the relief incidental thereto, even if they would otherwise, be outside its competence. 6 To direct that the present dispute be lodged in another court as petitioners advocate would only result in multiplicity of suits, 7 a situation abhorred by the rules. Thus it is, that usually the application to fix the attorneys' fees is made before the court which renders the judgment. 8 And, it has been observed that "[a]n approved procedure, where a charging lien has attached to a judgment or where money has been paid into court, is for the attorney to file an intervening petition and have the amount and extent of his lien judicially determined." 9 Appropriately to be recalled at this point, is the recent ruling in Martinez vs. Union de Maquinistas, 1967A Phild. 142, 144, January 30, 1967, where, speaking thru Mr. Justice Arsenio P. Dizon, explicit pronouncement was made by this Court that: "We are of the opinion that since the Court of Industrial Relations obviously had jurisdiction over the main cases, ... it likewise had full jurisdiction to consider and decide all matters collateral thereto, such as claims for attorney's fees made by the members of the bar who appeared therein." 10 2. The parties herein join hands in one point - the ten (10) successful complainants in C.I.R Case No. 70-ULP-Cebu should pay as attorneys' fees 30% of the amount adjudicated by the court in the latter's favor (P79,755.22). They are at odds, however, on how to split the fees.

Respondent Atty. Fernandez claims twenty-five per cent (25%) of the 30% attorneys' fees. He explains that upon the plea of Arsenio Reyes, union president and one of the 10 successful complainants, he had to reduce his fees to 25% since "they have to share and satisfy also Atty. Jose Ur. Carbonell in the equivalent amount of Five Per Cent (5%)." Atty. Fernandez exhibited a contract purportedly dated February 3, 1956 before the 48 employees have even filed their complaint in CIR. The stipulated fee is 30% of whatever amount the ten might recover. Strange enough, this contract was signed only by 8 of the 10 winning claimants. What happened to the others? Why did not the union intervene in the signing of this contract? Petitioners dispute said contract. They say that Atty. Fernandez required the ten to sign the contract only after the receipt of the decision. Petitioners, on the other hand, contend that the verbal agreement entered into by the union and its officers thru its President Javier and said two lawyers, Atty. Carbonell and Atty. Fernandez, is that the 30% attorneys' fees, shall be divided equally ("share and share alike") amongst Atty. Carbonell, Atty. Fernandez and Felisberto Javier, the union president. After hearing, CIR Associate Judge Arsenio I. Martinez awarded 25% attorneys' fees to respondent Atty. Fernandez. CIR noted that "the active conduct and prosecution of the above-entitled case was done by Atty. Fernandez up to the appeal in the Supreme Court," and that petitioner Atty. Carbonell manifested that "Atty. Leonardo C. Fernandez was the counsel mainly responsible for the conduct of the case." It noted, too, that petitioner Atty. Carbonell did not file any notice of Attorney's Lien. 3. We strike down the alleged oral agreement that the union president should share in the attorneys' fees. Canon 34 of Legal Ethics condemns this arrangement in terms clear and explicit. It says: "No division of fees for legal services is proper, except with another lawyer, based upon a division of service or responsibility." The union president is not the attorney for the laborers. He may seek compensation only as such president. An agreement whereby a union president is allowed to share in attorneys' fees is immoral. Such a contract we emphatically reject. It cannot be justified. 4. A contingent fee contract specifying the percentage of recovery an attorney is to receive in a suit "should be reasonable under all the circumstances of

the case, including the risk and uncertainty of the compensation, but should always be subject to the supervision of a court, as to its reasonableness." 11 Lately, we said: 12 The principle that courts should reduce stipulated attorney's fees whenever it is found under the circumstances of the case that the same is unreasonable, is now deeply rooted in this jurisdiction.... xxx xxx xxx

lawyers. Because of the inequality of the situation between laborers and lawyers, courts should go slow in awarding huge sums by way of attorneys' fees based solely on contracts. 14 For, as in the present case, the real objective of the CIR judgment in CIR Case No. 70-ULP-Cebu is to benefit the complaint laborers who were unjustifiedly dismissed from the service. While it is true that laborers should not be allowed to develop that atavistic proclivity to bite the hands that fed them, still lawyers should not be permitted to get a lion's share of the benefits due by reason of a worker's labor. What is to be paid to the laborers is not windfall but a product of the sweat of their brow. Contracts for legal services between laborer and attorney should then be zealously scrutinized to the end that a fair share of the benefits be not denied the former.

Since then this Court has invariably fixed counsel fees on a quantum meruit basis whenever the fees stipulated appear excessive, unconscionable, or 5. An examination of the record of the case will readily show that an award of twenty-five per cent (25%) attorneys' fees reasonably compensates the whole of the legal services rendered in CIR Case No. 70-ULP-Cebu. This fee must be shared by petitioner Atty. Carbonell and respondent Atty. Fernandez. For, after all, they are the counsel of record of the complainants. Respondent Atty. Fernandez cannot deny this fact. The pleadings filed even at the early stages of the proceedings reveal the existence of an association between said attorneys. The pleadings were filed under the name of "Fernandez & Carbonell." This imports a common effort of the two. It cannot be denied though that most of those pleadings up to judgment were signed for Fernandez & Carbonell by respondent Fernandez. We note that a break-up in the professional tie-up between Attorneys Fernandez and Carbonell began when petitioner Atty. Carbonell, on November 26, In the instant case, the stipulated 30% attorneys' fee is excessive and unconscionable. With the exception of Arsenio Reyes who receives a monthly salary of P175, the other successful complainants were mere wage earners paid a daily rate of P4.20 to P5.00. 13 Considering the long period of time that they were illegally and arbitrarily deprived of their just pay, these laborers looked up to the favorable money judgment as a serum to their pitiful economic malaise. A thirty per cent (30%) slice therefrom immensely dilutes the palliative ingredient of this judicial antidote. The ten complainants involved herein are mere laborers. It is not far-fetched to assume that they have not reached an educational attainment comparable to that of petitioner Carbonell or respondent Fernandez who, on the other hand, are Subsequent pleadings filed in the case unmistakably show the widening rift in their professional relationship. Thus, on May 23, 1963, a "Motion to Name and Authorize Official Computer" was filed with CIR. On the same day, a "Motion to Issue Writ of Execution" was also registered in the same court. Although filed under the name of "Carbonell & Fernandez," these pleadings were signed solely by petitioner Atty. Carbonell. 1962, complained to CIR that respondent Atty. Fernandez "failed to communicate with him nor to inform him about the incidents of this case." He there requested that he be furnished "separately copies of the decision of the court and other pleadings and subsequent orders as well as motions in connection with the case." unreasonable, because a lawyer is primarily a court officer charged with the duty of assisting the court in administering impartial justice between the parties, and hence, the fees should be subject to judicial control. Nor should it be ignored that sound public policy demands that courts disregard stipulations for counsel fees, whenever they appear to be a source of speculative profit at the expense of the debtor or mortgagor. See, Gorospe, et al. v. Gochangco, L-12735, October 30, 1959. And it is not material that the present action is between the debtor and the creditor, and not between attorney and client. As courts have power to fix the fee as between attorney and client, it must necessarily have the right to say whether a stipulation like this, inserted in a mortgage contract, is valid. Bachrach v. Golingco, 39 Phil. 138.

On September 16, 1963, an "Opposition to respondent Biscom's Motion for Reconsideration" was filed by petitioner Atty. Carbonell. On September 24, 1963, he filed a "Motion for Clarification" of the November 13, 1962 judgment of CIR regarding the basic pay of Arsenio Reyes and Fidel Magtubo. On September 24, 1963, he also filed a "Motion to Reconsider Report of Chief Examiner." These, and other pleadings that were filed later were signed solely by petitioner Atty. Carbonell, not in the name of "Carbonell & Fernandez." While it was correctly observed by CIR that a good portion of the court battle was fought by respondent Atty. Fernandez, yet CIR cannot close its eyes to the legal services also rendered by Atty. Carbonell. For, important and numerous, too, were his services. And, they are not negligible. The conclusion is inevitable that petitioner Atty. Carbonell must have a share in the twenty-five per cent (25%) attorneys' fees awarded herein. As to how much, this is a function pertaining to CIR. 6. We note that CIR's cashier was authorized on June 25, 1964 to disburse to Atty. Leonardo C. Fernandez the sum of P19,938.81 which is 25% of the amount recovered. In the event payment actually was made, he should be required to return whatever is in excess of the amount to which he is entitled in line with the opinion expressed herein. 15 IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the award of twenty five per cent (25%) attorneys' fees solely to respondent Atty. Fernandez contained in CIR's order of March 19, 1964 and affirmed by said court's en banc resolutions of April 28, 1964 and June 25, 1964, is hereby set aside; and the case is hereby remanded to the Court of Industrial Relations with instructions to conduct a hearing on, and determine, the respective shares of Attorney Leonardo C. Fernandez and Attorney Jose Ur. Carbonell in the amount of P19,938.81 herein awarded as attorneys' fees or both. No costs. So ordered.

HALILI V. CIR Facts: The cases involve disputes regarding claims for overtime of more than five hundred bus drivers and conductors of Halili Transit. Litigation initially commenced with the filing of a complaint for overtime with the CIR. The disputes were eventually settled when the contending parties reached an Agreement where the Administratrix would transfer to the employees the title to a tract of land in Caloocan, Rizal. The parcel of land was eventually registered in the name of the Union. The Union, through Atty. Benjamin C. Pineda, filed an urgent motion with the Ministry of Labor and Employment (MOLE) requesting for authority to sell and dispose of the property. Union President Amado Lopez, in a letter, informed J.C. Espinas and Associates that the general membership of the said Union had authorized a 20% contingent fee for the law firm based on whatever amount would be awarded the Union. Atty. Jose C. Espinas, (the original counsel) established the award of 897 workers' claim. When Atty. Pineda appeared for the Union in these cases, still an associate of the law firm, his appearance carried the firm name B.C. Pineda and Associates," giving the impression that he was the principal lawyer in these cases.

retainer's contract was executed in 1967, the Halili Transit had already stopped operations in Metro Manila. By then, Atty. Pineda knew that all the workers would be out of work which would mean that the 45% contingent fee would apply to all. 3. The contract which retroactively took effect on January 1, 1966, was executed when Atty. Espinas was still handling the appeal of Halili Transit in the main case before the Supreme Court. 4. When Atty. Pineda filed his motion for approval of his attorney's lien with Arbiter Valenzuela on February 8, 1983, he did not attach the retainer's contract. 5. The retainer's contract was not even notarized. A prospective buyer, the Manila Memorial Park Cemetery, Inc. objected in view of PD 1529 which requires no less than an order from a court of competent jurisdiction as authority to sell property in trust. Atty. Pineda, without authority from the Supreme Court but relying on the earlier authority given him by the Ministry of Labor, filed another urgent motion, praying that the Union be authorized to sell the lot. The sale was finally consummated, resulting in the execution of an escrow agreement. When Atty. Jose C. Espinas (herein movant and alleged original counsel for the Union)

Atty. Pineda joined the law firm of Atty. Espinas in 1965 when these cases were pending resolution. He always held office in the firm's place at Puyat Building, except in 1966 to 1967 when he transferred to the Lakas ng Manggagawa Offices. During this one-year stint at the latter office, Atty. Pineda continued handling the case with the arrangement that he would report the developments to the Espinas firm. When he rejoined the law firm in 1968, he continued working on these cases and using the Puyat Building office as his address in the pleadings. When Atty. Pineda rejoined the Espinas firm in 1968, he did not reveal to his partners (he was made the most senior partner) that he had a retainer's contract. He stayed with the law firm until 1974 and still did not divulge the 1967 retainer's contract. Only the officers of the Union knew of the contract. The alleged retainer's contract between Atty. Pineda and the Union appears anomalous and even illegal as well as unethical considering that1. The contract was executed only between Atty. Pineda and the officers of the Union chosen by about 125 members only. It was not a contract with the general membership. 2. The contingent fee of 30% for those who were still working with Halili Transit and the 45% fee for those who were no longer working worked to the prejudice of the latter group who should and were entitled to more benefits. Thus, too, when the alleged

learned of the sale and apportionment of the proceeds from past Union president Amado Lopez, he requested Labor Arbiter Raymundo Valenzuela to allow him to look into the records of the case. The latter, however, told him that the records of the case were missing. Thereupon, Atty. Espinas requested Director Pascual Reyes of the NLRC to locate the records. Issue: a.Whether or not Atty. Pineda and Arbiter Valenzuela should be held in contempt. b. Whether or not Atty. Pineda should be disbarred. Held: a. YES. Contempt of court is a defiance of the authority, justice or dignity of the court; such conduct as tends to bring the authority and administration of the law into disrespect or to interfere with or prejudice parties litigant or their witnesses during litigation. The power to punish for contempt is inherent in all courts and is essential to the preservation of order in judicial proceedings and to the enforcement of judgments,

orders, and mandates of the court, and consequently, to the due administration of justice. In the Slade Perkins case, "the exercise of the power to punish contempt has a twofold aspect, namely (1) the proper punishment of the guilty party for his disrespect to the court or its order; and (2) to compel his performance of some act or duty required of him by the court which he refuses to perform. Due to this twofold aspect of the exercise of the power to punish them, contempts are classified as civil or criminal. A civil contempt is the failure to do something ordered to be done by a court or a judge for the benefit of the opposing party therein. A criminal contempt, is conduct directed against the authority and dignity of a court or of a judge, as in unlawfully assailing or discrediting the authority or dignity of the court or judge, or in doing a duly forbidden act. b. YES. Under Section 27 of Rule 138 of the Revised Rules of Court which provides: Sec. 27. Attorneys removed or suspended by Supreme Court on what grounds.A member of the bar may be removed or suspended from his office as attorney by the Supreme Court for any deceit, malpractice, or other gross misconduct in such office, grossly immoral conduct, or by reason of his conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude, or for any violation of the oath which he is required to take before admission to practice, or for a willful disobedience of any lawful order of a superior court, or for corrupt or willfully appearing as an attorney for a party to a case without authority so to do. The practice of soliciting cases at law for the purpose of gain, either personally or through paid agents or brokers, constitutes malpractice. The Court may suspend or disbar a lawyer for any conduct on his part showing his unfitness for the confidence and trust which characterize the attorney and client relations, and the practice of law before the courts, or showing such a lack of personal honesty or of good moral character as to render him unworthy of public confidence. In the case, the expeditious manner by which Arbiter Valenzuela granted Atty. Pineda's motion for such authority to sell the property make the entire transaction dubious and irregular. Significantly Atty. Pineda's act of filing a motion praying for authority to sell was by itself an admission on his part that he did not possess the authority to sell the property. He could not and did not even wait for valid authority but instead previously obtained the same from the labor arbiter whom he knew was not empowered to so authorize.

The 45% attorney's lien on the award of those union members who were no longer working and the 30% lien on the benefits of those who were still working as provided for in the alleged retainer's contract are also very exorbitant and unconscionable. *Atty. Pineda is found guilty of indirect contempt of court for which he is sentenced to imprisonment and directed to show cause why he should not be disbarred.