EN BANC A.C. No. 9532, October 08, 2013 MARIA CRISTINA ZABALJAURE UI !ITC"ER, Complainant, v. ATT#. RUSTICO B. A ATE, Respondent.

For the Court's resolution is an administrative complaint 1 filed by Maria Cristina Zabaljauregui Pitcher complainant! against "tty. #ustico $. %agate respondent!, charging him for gross ignorance of the la& and unethical practice of la&. T$e %&ct' Complainant claimed to be the legal &ife of 'avid $. Pitcher 'avid!, ( a $ritish national &ho passed a&ay on )une 1*, (++,.- Prior to his death, 'avid &as engaged in business in the Philippines and o&ned, among others, ,+. of the shareholdings in Consulting /dge, 0nc., Consulting /dge!, a domestic corporation. 0n order to settle the affairs of her deceased husband, complainant engaged the services of respondent. 1

2n )une ((, (++,, complainant and respondent met &ith 3atherine Moscoso $antegui $antegui!, 4 a major stoc5holder of Consulting /dge,6 in order to discuss the settlement of 'avid7s interest in the company. * 8hey agreed to another meeting &hich &as, ho&ever, postponed by $antegui. 9uspecting that the latter &as merely stalling for time in order to hide something, respondent insisted that the appointment proceed as scheduled. :

/ventually, the parties agreed to meet at the company premises on )une (*, (++,. ;o&ever, prior to the scheduled meeting, complainant &as prevailed upon by respondent to put a paper seal on the door of the said premises, assuring her that the same &as legal.1+

2n the scheduled meeting, $antegui e<pressed disappointment over the actions of complainant and respondent, &hich impelled her to just leave the matter for the court to settle. 9he then as5ed them to leave, loc5ed the office and refused to give them a duplicate 5ey.11

9ubse=uently, ho&ever, respondent, &ithout the consent of $antegui, caused the change in the loc5 of the Consulting /dge office door,1( &hich prevented the employees thereof from entering and carrying on the operations of the company. 8his prompted $antegui to file before the 2ffice of the City Prosecutor of Ma5ati Prosecutor7s 2ffice! a complaint for grave coercion against complainant and respondent. 1- 0n turn, respondent advised complainant that criminal and civil cases should be initiated against $antegui for the recovery of 'avid's personal records>business interests in Consulting /dge.1, 8hus, on )anuary 16, (++1, the t&o entered into a Memorandum of "greement,11 &hereby respondent undertoo5 the filing of the cases against $antegui, for &hich complainant paid the amount of P11+,+++.++ as acceptance fee and committed herself to pay respondent P1,+++.++ for every court hearing.14

2n ?ovember 1*, (++,, the Prosecutor7s 2ffice issued a #esolution 16 dated 2ctober 1-, (++,, finding probable cause to charge complainant and respondent for grave coercion. 8he corresponding 0nformation &as filed before the Metropolitan 8rial Court of Ma5ati City, $ranch 4-, doc5eted as Criminal Case ?o. --6:*1 grave coercion case!, and, as a matter of course, &arrants of arrest &ere issued against them. 1* 'ue to the foregoing, respondent advised complainant to go into hiding until he had filed the necessary motions in court. /ventually, ho&ever, respondent abandoned the grave coercion case and stopped communicating &ith complainant. 1: Failing to reach respondent despite diligent efforts,(+ complainant filed the instant administrative case before the 0ntegrated $ar of the Philippines

report and recommendation. 0n vie& thereof. +4@14*:. &arranting his suspension from the practice of la& for a period of si< months. -6 T$e Co/rt. (++6 and February (.(6 . &as returned unserved for the reason Amoved out. -1 crala&library 0n a #esolution-( dated 2ctober *.of Canon 1*. and to devote his full attention. (+1(... the la&yer is e<pected to maintain at all times a high standard of legal proficiency. dated February 4. For his part. finding the same to be fully supported by the evidence on record and the applicable la&s and rules. and #ule 1:. 9alvador 000 declared the mandatory conference terminated and re=uired the parties to submit their position papers. regardless of its importance and &hether he accepts it for a fee or for free. 8he Court has repeatedly emphasiFed that the relationship bet&een a la&yer and his client is one imbued &ith utmost trust and confidence. -T$e OBC. doc5eted as C$' Case ?o. #ule 1*. s5ill.-1 0t deemed that the si<@month suspension from the practice of la& as suggested by the 0$P &as an insufficient penalty and.-+ crala&library 8he 0$P $oard of %overnors adopted and approved the aforementioned #eport and #ecommendation in #esolution ?o. (+11 #esolution. (+1-. and competence to the case.e*+&t-o* 2n February 11. Commissioner Magpayo! issued a #eport and #ecommendation. (+11 ?ovember 1:. the Court concurs &ith and adopts the findings and conclusions of the 2$C. her interest in Consulting /dge.0$P! @ Commission on $ar 'iscipline C$'!.on )anuary 1(.ence. ho&ever. in lieu thereof. recommended that respondent be suspended for three years. (+1-. (++6. )r. supporting documents and affidavits. the 2$C submitted a #eport and #ecommendation -. (++:.++ he received from complainant as acceptance fee. respondent failed to file his ans&er to the complaint. 0nvestigating Commissioner 8ran=uil 9.-4 Ei5e&ise. and referred the case to the 2ffice of the $ar Confidant 2$C! for evaluation. -: 8hese principles are embodied in Canon 16. 8he last notice sent to respondent. he abandoned his client's cause. (* Commissioner Magpayo found that respondent7s acts evinced a lac5 of ade=uate preparation and mastery of the applicable la&s on his part. Magpayo. the Court noted the ?otice of the 0$P7s ?ovember 1:. &hen faced &ith the counter legal measures to his actions. DD@(+11@(41 dated ?ovember 1:. the actions ta5en by respondent. (( &hich &as reset t&ice. he is enjoined to employ only fair and honest means to attain la&ful objectives. Commissioner Magpayo pointed out that $antegui is not legally obliged to honor complainant as subrogee of 'avid because complainant has yet to establish her 5inship &ith 'avid and. -* 8o this end.e*+&t-o* 2n March 1*. Corse. 'espite a directive(1 from the 0$P@C$'.B(.+++.+1 of Canon 1: of the Code &hich respectively stateG chanroble svirtuala&library crala&library crala&library .(1 crala&library T$e IB!(' Re)ort &*+ Reco. (++4.+. such as the placing of paper seal on the door of the company premises and the changing of its loc5. (+11 #esolution!. 8he case &as set for mandatory conference on ?ovember (. 0n this regard.. 0nvestigating Commissioner Pedro ". &ere all uncalled for.' Re)ort &*+ Reco. clients are led to e<pect that la&yers &ould be ever@mindful of their cause and accordingly e<ercise the re=uired degree of diligence in handling their affairs. conse=uently.(. it ordered respondent to return the P11+. concluding that respondent grossly neglected his duties to his client and failed to safeguard the latter's rights and interests in &anton disregard of his duties as a la&yer. due to the absence of respondent. in violation of Canon 1 (: of the Code of Professional #esponsibity Code!.(4 observing that respondent failed to safeguard complainant's legitimate interest and abandoned her in the grave coercion case.' R/0-*1 "fter a careful perusal of the records.

ence. 3eeping &ith the foregoing rules. he also remained unmindful of his client7s trust in him H in particular. . and his negligence in connection there&ith shall render him liable. 8o note further. but also consists of properly representing the client before any court or tribunal. respondent e=ually failed to serve his client &ith competence and diligence in violation of Canon 1* of the Code. Canon 1: of the Code as above@=uoted.. preparing and filing the re=uired pleadings. 0n addition. a person cannot ta5e the la& into his o&n hands. 'avid. prosecuting the handled cases &ith reasonable dispatch.+. .of Canon 1*. #ule 1:. second.++ acceptance fee.e.1 .+ in violation of #ule 1:. the Court finds that respondent failed to e<ercise the re=uired diligence in handling complainant7s cause since heG first. causing the change of the office door loc5 &hich thereby prevented the free ingress and egress of the employees of the said company H &as highly improper. respondent's act of advising complainant to go into hiding in order to evade arrest in the criminal case can hardly be maintained as proper legal advice since the same constitutes transgression of the ordinary processes of la&. 0n the same light.( 0n fine.+1 of Canon 1: of the Code. it must be pointed out that respondent failed to file his ans&er to the complaint despite due notice. 0t is hornboo5 principle that a la&yer7s duty of competence and diligence includes not merely revie&ing the cases entrusted to his care or giving sound legal advice.+1. C"?2? 1* H " la&yer shall serve his client &ith competence and diligence. the high@handed action ta5en by respondent to enforce complainant's claim of o&nership over the latter7s interest in Consulting /dge H i. regardless of the merits of his theory. records definitively bear out that respondent completely abandoned complainant during the pendency of the grave coercion case against themI this not&ithstanding petitioner7s efforts to reach him as &ell as his purported receipt of the P11+. Jerily. 0n the same regard.+. Cith respect to the second infraction. C"?2? 1: H " la&yer shall represent his client &ith Feal &ithin the bounds of the la&. attending scheduled hearings or conferences.. respondent should be held . it bears emphasis that complainant's right over the properties of her deceased husband. participate in presenting or threaten to present unfounded criminal charges to obtain an improper advantage in any case or proceeding. 8his demonstrates not only his lac5 of responsibility but also his lac5 of interest in clearing his name. "s such. and #ule 1:. &hich.+1 H " la&yer shall employ only fair and honest means to attain the la&ful objectives of his client and shall not present. is constitutive of an implied admission of the charges leveled against him. failed to represent her competently and diligently by acting and proffering professional advice beyond the proper bounds of la&I and. has yet to be sufficiently established. since such courses of action &ere not only improper but also erroneous. "nent the first infraction. #ule 1*. $y virtue of the foregoing.+++. respondent clearly violated his duty to his client to use peaceful and la&ful methods in see5ing justice. it cannot be doubted that he violated Canon 16. considering respondent7s gross and ine<cusable neglect by leaving his client totally unrepresented in a criminal case. her trust that respondent &ould only provide her &ith the proper legal advice in pursuing her interests H thereby violating Canon 16 of the Code. as case la& directs. abandoned his client7s cause &hile the grave coercion case against them &as pending.C"?2? 16 @ " la&yer o&es fidelity to the cause of his client and he shall be mindful of the trust and confidence reposed in him. #ule 1*.H " la&yer shall not neglect a legal matter entrusted to him. and urging their termination even &ithout prodding from the client or the court.

Failure to comply &ith the foregoing directive &ill &arrant the imposition of a more severe penalty. #ustico $. Chile the Court has previously held that disciplinary proceedings should only revolve around the determination of the respondent@la&yers's administrative and not his civil liability. "ccordingly. Jiz. considering further that the fact of respondent's receipt of the P11+. Eet a copy of this 'ecision be furnished the 2ffice of the $ar Confidant. #ule 1*. Banares.administratively liable for his infractions as herein discussed. . respondent is OR3ERE3 to return to complainant Maria Cristina Zabaljauregui Pitcher the P11+... misappropriated the client's funds and disobeyed the 0$P7s directives to submit his pleadings and attend the hearings &as suspended from the practice of la& for t&o years. and the 2ffice of the Court "dministrator for circulation to all the courts.o&ever. . respondent "tty.+++. .+++. the Court observes that. .of Canon 1*. %agate is found guilty of violating Canon 16.ence. 8hus. and #ule 1:. as recommended by the 2$C.4 it must be clarified that this rule remains applicable only to claimed liabilities &hich are purely civil in nature @ for instance.++ acceptance fee received by respondent from complainant since the same is intrinsically lin5ed to his professional engagement.+1 of Canon 1: of the Code of Professional #esponsibility. 0n the same light. 9everal cases sho& that la&yers &ho have been held liable for gross negligence for infractions similar to those committed of respondent &ere suspended from the practice of la& for a period of t&o years.6 the Court finds the return of the said fee.. in the present case.. to be in orderG chanroblesvirtuala&library 2"ERE%ORE. .a la&yer &ho neglected his client's case. he is hereby SUS!EN3E3 from the practice of la& for a period of three -! years. "lso. Gonzales. the Court no& proceeds to determine the appropriate penalty to be imposed against respondent. &ith a stem &arning that a repetition of the same or similar acts &ill be dealt &ith more severely. complainant &as subjected to a graver injury as she &as prosecuted for the crime of grave coercion largely due to the improper and erroneous advice of respondent. the Court finds it apt to impose against respondent a higher penalty of suspension from the practice of la& for a period of three years as recommended by the 2$C.1 a la&yer &ho neglected complainant7s causeI refused to immediately account for his client7s money and to return the documents receivedI failed to update his client on the status of her case and to respond to her re=uests for informationI and failed to submit his ans&er and to attend the mandatory conference before the 0$P &as suspended from the practice of la& for t&o years. Further. the Court meted a similar penalty against a la&yer &ho failed to render any legal service even after receiving money from the complainantI to return the money and documents he received despite demandI to update his client on the status of her case and respond to her re=uests for informationI and to file an ans&er and attend the mandatory conference before the 0$P. considering the superior degree of the prejudice caused to complainant. in Villanueva v. the Court sustains the 2$C's recommendation for the return of the P11+. not to mention his act of abandoning his client during the proceedings..+++. 0n Small v. complainant &ould not have unduly suffered the harbors of a criminal prosecution. 8hat said.++ acceptance fee from complainant remains undisputed. &hen the claim involves moneys received by the la&yer from his client in a transaction separate and distinct and not instrinsically lin5ed to his professional engagement such as the acceptance fee in this case!.++ acceptance fee he received from the latter &ithin ninety :+! days from the finality of this 'ecision. 0n Jinon v. Cere it not for respondent7s imprudent counseling.+. the 0ntegrated $ar of the Philippines. effective upon the finality of this 'ecision.

Jillaseca for gross and ine<cusable negligence in handling Criminal Case ?o. MATTUS. Cavite.C. %erman $ernardo '. "tty. "tty. Jillaseca also claimed that his absences during the hearings.! failed to file a demurrer to evidence despite having been granted sufficient time by the #8C to submit oneI 1! failed to present evidence on behalf of the defense. "lbert 8.e denied having collected appearance fees &hen he did not attend the scheduled hearings. that "tty. engaged the services of "tty. Jillaseca to represent them in the proceedings. Commissioner . Jillaseca to comment on the complaint. . 0mus. 4922.6 $efore us is a complaint for disbarment filed by complainant Mary "nn 8. (++*. Commissioner . 1+-+:@+(. Jillaseca filed his comment.ababag . (++*. "tty. 2n 9eptember 1+. Jillaseca7s rec5less and gross negligence deprived his clients of due processI his actuations in the criminal case sho&ed utter disregard for his clients7 life and liberty. "tty. Jillaseca7s gross and ine<cusable negligence in performing his duties as their counsel. ALBERT T.EN BANC A. 5ILLASECA. &ere justified and &ere never intended for delay. %erman. JillasecaG 1! &as often absent during court hearings but still collected appearance feesI (! fre=uently sought the postponement of trial &hen he &as presentI -! failed to as5 the #8C to direct a ?ational $ureau of 0nvestigation e<pert to e<amine the signatures of the spouses Eeslie and Zuraida Porter( in the special po&er of attorney SPA!I . as &ell as his numerous motions for postponement. Jillaseca e<plained that he made 5no&n to the complainant that the testimony of a hand&riting e<pert &as necessary only if the prosecution &ould be able to produce the original copy of the 9P". B&c71ro/*+ %&ct' 8he complainant. report and recommendation. .e*+&t-o* 0n his #eport and #ecommendation4 dated 9eptember 14. 8he complainant and her husband.. $ranch (+. No. Mattus and 'e<ter "ligan &ere the accused in Criminal Case ?o. &e referred the case to the 0ntegrated $ar of the Philippines IBP! for investigation.of )uly 14.ababag recommended that "tty. 0n the Court7s #esolution. Jillaseca further claimed that he immediately corrected the case number in the notice of appeal &hen he discovered this error. "ccording to the complainant.ababag ruled that "tty. 1+-+:@+( H a case for estafa thru falsification of public document filed in the #egional 8rial Court RTC!. Mattus against "tty. (++*. (++:. refuting the allegations against him. 0n her complaint@affidavit. 0nvestigating Commissioner 9alvador $. and only filed a memorandumI 4! did not inform her and %erman of the dates of the presentation of defense evidence and the promulgation of judgmentI and 6! erroneously indicated the &rong case number in the notice of appeal. Respondent. .1 the complainant alleged. &e re=uired "tty. v. 8he complainant maintained that she and %erman &ere convicted due to "tty. and maintained that the fees he received &ere intended to compensate him for his services in the other cases filed by the complainant. ATT#. Complainant. T$e IB!'( Re)ort &*+ Reco. "tty. Jillaseca be suspended for si< 4! months from the practice of la&. October 01. 2013 MAR# ANN T. Jillaseca7s negligence in handling the case resulted in her o&n and her husband7s conviction. 0n a #esolution1 dated 2ctober 11. among others.

B * 2nce a la&yer agrees to ta5e up the cause of a client. Jillaseca failed to file a demurrer to evidence despite the sufficient length of time that had been given to him by the #8C to submit this pleading. (++1 hearing &as reset to ?ovember 16. 5-00&'ec&(' )er-o+ o8 '/')e*'-o* 8ro.e. the #8C issued an order 11 stating that "tty. "tty. o*e <1= .ababag concluded that "tty. and helps maintain the respect of the community to the legal profession. this hearing &as postponed thriceG the May :..11 crala&library .B 8he records further disclosed that after "tty. Clearly. (++1 hearing &as reset to March 1.o9e+ t$&t $e be 1-9e* t-.B 8o our mind.. Ce stress at the outset that a la&yer Ais e<pected to e<ert his best efforts and ability to preserve his client's cause. and &aived his right to present evidence for the defense. Jillaseca7s motionI1. Jillaseca7s manifestation that his intended first &itness &as unavailable. for the un&avering loyalty displayed to his client li5e&ise serves the ends of justice. "tty. "tty. t$e )r&ct-ce o8 0&: 8ro. Jillaseca Ais deemed to have &aived his right to file the said pleading. 2e. (++1 upon "tty.and the ?ovember 16. opting instead to file a memorandum only. Commissioner . 'uring the March 1. (++4 hearing. did not file a demurrer to evidence. 0n #esolution ?o. and the e<ertion of his utmost learning and ability to the end that nothing be ta5en or &ithheld from his client. .e&r to 8-9e <5= . &arm Feal in the maintenance and defense of his client7s rights. the #8C set the initial presentation of defense evidence on May :. "tty. Jillaseca (+ days to file the demurrer to the time it ruled that he &as deemed to have &aived his right to file this pleading. D0D@(+11@(116 dated May 1.. t$e Co/rt 8-*+' t$e e9-+e*ce o* recor+ '/88-c-e*t to '/))ort t$e IB!(' 8-*+-*1'. (++1 hearing &as reset to "ugust *. the #8C gave him (+ days from receipt of the transcript of stenographic notes &ithin &hich to file a demurrer to evidence. (++4 because of "tty. (++1 due to "tty. (+11. let the period lapse &ithout submitting the same or offering an e<planation for his failure to do so. Jillaseca7s actuations violated #ule 1(.or&*+/. after obtaining e<tensions of time to file pleadings. does honor to the bar. memoranda or briefs. 1+-+:@+(.+of the Code of Professional #esponsibility &hich states that AKaL la&yer shall not. the la&yer o&es fidelity to such cause and must al&ays be mindful of the trust and confidence reposed in him. : crala&library 8he records of the present case sho& that "tty. 0n its order1+ of )uly 1. Jillaseca7s failure to appearI 1( the "ugust *. O/r R/0-*1 A8ter & c&re8/0 re9-e: o8 t$e recor+'.e o&es entire devotion to the interest of the client. . Jillaseca7s failure to file a demurrer to evidence. the 0$P $oard of %overnors adopted and approved the findings of the 0nvestigating Commissioner. e9-+e*ce. 1. $o:e9er. but increased "tty. 8o recall.e&r'. (++. (++1.e<plained that "tty. -*cre&'e Att.e to 8-0e & . Jillaseca had been grossly remiss in handling Criminal Case ?o. Ce point out that nine months had lapsed from the time the #8C granted "tty. Jillaseca requested for time to file demurrer to evidence after the prosecution had rested its case. legally applied. " la&yer &ho performs his duty &ith diligence and candor not only protects the interest of his clientI he also serves the ends of justice. Jillaseca7s period of suspension from the practice of la& from si< 4! months to one 1! year. &*+ . the respondent manifested that the +e8e*'e :o/0+ *o 0o*1er )re'e*t &*.. save by the rules of la&. "s a result. Jillaseca7s failure to properly attend to the interests of his clients led to their conviction. ho&ever. &ithout offering any e<planation &hy he failed to do so. Jillaseca7s failure to submit a demurrer to evidence to e<plain such omission constitutes ine<cusable negligenceI it sho&ed his lac5 of devotion and Feal in preserving his clients7 cause.o&ever. Jillaseca.

$ut no such e<planation ever came. Jillaseca failed to file. Ce are at a loss &hy "tty. 2r. should not be made a substitute for testimonial. more so in a criminal case &here a conviction could lead to dire conse=uences. to the bar and to the public. the entrusted privilege to practice la& carries &ith it the corresponding duties. a demurrer to evidence. he une<plainably failed to do this. Jerily. Arturo CefraG(+ crala&library K8Lhe practice of la& is a privilege besto&ed by the 9tate on those &ho sho& that they possess the legal =ualifications for it. 8o ma5e matters &orse. object or documentary evidence for the defense reveals his lac5 of diligence in performing his duties as an officer of the CourtI it sho&ed his indifference to&ards the cause of his clients. Jillaseca should have e<erted efforts to rebut the presented prosecution evidence. but also to the court. " la&yer engaged to represent a client bears the responsibility of protecting the latter's interest &ith utmost diligence. the interests of his client. no matter ho& lengthy. including honesty. leaving the lo&er court &ith no evidence to appreciate e<cept that of the prosecution. Ce again remind members of the bar to live up to the standards and norms e<pected of the legal profession by upholding the ideals and principles embodied in the Code of Professional #esponsibility. to the detriment of his clients7 cause. Ce are thus left &ith the star5 reality that "tty. he must present every remedy or defense &ithin the authority of the la& to support his client7s cause. .Ce point out that the prosecution rested its case on )uly 1. Jillaseca to present evidence for the defense. object or documentary evidence. the testimony of the lone prosecution &itness remained uncontroverted. . integrity and fair dealing. 0t is his duty to serve his client &ith competence and diligence. "tty. and later to the 0$P and to this Court.B 1* crala&library "tty. 8hey must perform their fourfold duty to society. &ithin the bounds of the la&.e could have presented the complainant and>or her husband to the &itness stand. Ce emphasiFe that &hile a la&yer has complete discretion on &hat legal strategy to employ in a case entrusted to him. Jillaseca7s failure to present any testimonial. (++. "tty. the reason for this move should have been fully e<plained to the clients.B16 0t also states that AKaL la&yer shall not neglect a legal matter entrusted to him. Jillaseca chose not to present any evidence for the defense. (++6 &ithout informing him that it &as already the date of the promulgation of judgment. 0n saying so. and he should e<ert his best efforts to protect. but again. "s a result. it should have been incumbent upon "tty. Att . and his negligence in connection Kthere&ithL shall render him liable. considering that the accused &anted and &ere ready to ta5e the &itness stand. Ea&yers are e<pected to maintain at all times a high standard of legal proficiency and morality. despite the promise made to the lo&er court. Jillaseca presented evidenceI &e simply stress that utmost fidelity and attention are demanded once counsel agrees to ta5e the cudgels for his client's cause. the legal profession. "fter failing in this first line of defense for his clients. Jillaseca directed %erman to attend the hearing on )une 4. Jillaseca &aited until March 1. in accordance &ith the values and norms of the legal profession as embodied in the Code of Professional #esponsibility. &e are not insinuating that the #8C decision &ould have tilted in favor of the defense had "tty. not only to the client.B 14 0t further mandates that AKaL la&yer shall serve his client &ith competence and diligence. " memorandum. instead of just opting to file a memorandum. 8he Code of Professional #esponsibility states that AKaL la&yer o&es fidelity to the cause of his client and he shall be mindful of the trust and confidence reposed in him. &here the life and liberty of an accused is at sta5e. "s &e e<plained in Spouses Bautista v.1: " la&yer7s diligence and vigilance is more imperative in criminal cases. the courts and their clients. (++4 onl to manifest t!at !e "ould no lon#er present an evidence . Considering that the liberty and livelihood of his clients &ere at sta5e. at the very least.I yet "tty.

Euna $. as the legal matter entrusted to him involved not merel mone or propert $ %ut t!e ver li%ert and liveli!ood of !is clients . to the courts and to his clients.+and 1*. 0n this cited case.(( &here &e suspended "tty. 2"ERE%ORE premises considered. Jillaseca agreed to handle the complainant7s criminal case. the legal profession and the public. the 0ntegrated $ar of the Philippines. &e find that the 0$P7s recommended penalty of one year7s suspension from the practice of la& is not commensurate to "tty. &e find "tty. &e find a five@year suspension from the practice of la& to be a sufficient and appropriate sanction against him. Att . . in violation of #ules 1(. .is incompetence and appalling indifference to his duty to his client. "vance &as dismissed for failure to prosecute. Avance.A8he appropriate penalty on an errant la&yer depends on the e<ercise of sound judicial discretion based on the surrounding facts. 8he increased penalty serves the purpose of protecting the interest of the Court. Eet a copy of this 'ecision be furnished to the 2ffice of the $ar Confidant. "tty. $y failing to afford his clients every remedy and defense that is authoriFed by the la&. . Jillaseca fell short of &hat is e<pected of him as an officer of the Court. Ce cannot overstress the duty of a la&yer to uphold the integrity and dignity of the legal profession by faithfully performing his duties to society. to the bar. but failed to inform her client of this omission. and the 2ffice of the Court "dministrator for circulation to all the courts. Jillaseca sho&ed a &anton and utter disregard to his clients7 causeI his failure to e<ercise due diligence in attending to their interest in the criminal case caused them grave prejudice. and to champion their cause &ith &hole@hearted fidelity.and Canon 16 of the Code of Professional #esponsibility. and STERNL# 2ARNE3 that a repetition of the same or similar offense &ill be dealt &ith more severely. the civil case entrusted to "tty. Moreover.+.B(1 Mnder the circumstances. "tty. "tty. Jillaseca7s transgressions.e is hereby SUS!EN3E3 from the practice of la& for five 1! years. "lbert 8. Ce stress that the moment "tty. 9he did not file this petition. "vance from the practice of la& for five 1! years for being grossly remiss in the performance of her duties as counsel. "ll told. Jillaseca guilty of negligence. 'uring the pendency of her motion for reconsideration &hich she had filed &ay beyond the reglementary period!. "tty. "vance stopped appearing as counsel for her client &ithout notifying the latter. he became duty@bound to serve his clients &ith competence and diligence. she told her client that she &ould file a petition for certiorari before the C" to assail the dismissal of the civil case. the courts and society indicate a high degree of irresponsibility that casts dishonor on the legal profession. effective upon his receipt of this 'ecision. Jillaseca7s negligence in the present case had much graver implications. Mnder the circumstances. chanrob1e svirtuala&library 8he present case finds a close forerunner in Santeco v.

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