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G.R. No. L-48324, March 14, 1990
Ponente: J. Narvasa

A case was set for pre-trial but before it was held, a fire broke out on June 26, 1976 in the capitol
building. The records of the court were burned, including the present case. The record was
reconstituted and was rescheduled for pre-trial on January 25, 1978. The defendants counsel
move for the cancellation of this setting. The Court reset the pre-trial to February 27, 1978. But
again, the defendants counsel pleading illness, sought this be cancelled and rescheduled again.
This motion was dated February 14, 1978 but was only filed on February 22, 1978. This motion
contained no notice of hearing, but a photocopy of a medical certificate dated January 30, 1978
stating that Atty. Pacamarra has headache and is advised to take a rest. The motion filed was
denied for being not in accordance with the rules because of lack of notice to the adverse party,
lack of setting of the date of hearing, and the attached medical certificate was only a photocopy.
At the scheduled pre-trial on February 27, neither the counsel nor the defendants appeared. The
Court declared them in default. On March 4, the Court was informed of Juana Patriarcas death
and her heirs requested that she be substituted which was granted. The heirs of Juana moved for
reconsideration of the three orders dated February 22, February 27, and March 4. But this was
denied by the court. Hence, they filed a petition for certiorari to the SC contending that they had
been denied their day in court.

Whether or not Atty. Pacamarra violated Rule 18.03 of the Code of Professional Responsibility?

Yes. He neglected his duties to legal matters. His petition for the rescheduling of the pre-trial set
on Feb 27, 1978 is untenable. A party or counsel desiring a postponement of a pre-trial must
comply with the requisites set out in Rule 15 of the Rules of Court. The requisites were not
complied with by the defendants. The SC also noted that the character of illness of Atty.
Pacamarra is not so severe as to render his non-attendance excusable. The notice of the denial of
his motion for postponement was served to him in Feb 24, 3 days before the pre-trial date. The SC
also held that defendants contention that the demise of Juana Patriarca prevented the trial
courts acquisition of jurisdiction over her is untenable. The death of Juana does not affect the
Courts jurisdiction. She was substituted. The defendants actuations give rise to the conclusion
that they were motivated by a desire to delay the disposition of the case. Petition for certiorari