LAWYERS AND THE COURTS

1. AFURONG vs. AQUINO [1999]
Administrative Matter in the SC. Malpractice

FACTS:
Par al uman B. Af ur ong f i l ed a c ompl ai nt f or e j ec t ment
agai ns t Victorino Flores for nonpayment of rentals and the court
rendered judgment in favor of petitioner Paraluman Afurong and the court
issued a writ of execution. Faci ng evi cti on, Fl ores sought hel p from
Ci ti zens Legal Assi stance Office and they assigned Atty. Angel G Aquino
to his case. He fi l ed two peti ti ons. When the court set a pre-tri al ,
he fi l ed an Urgent Moti on for Postponement and si gned hi s name
as counsel for Fl ores and i ndi cated the address of Ci ti zens Legal
Assi stance Offi ce as hi s offi ce address notwithstanding the fact that
he was separated from Citizens Legal Assistance Office at that time. In the
aforesaid motion, he stated that he could not attend the pre-tri al
conference because he had to attend the heari ng of a Habeas
Corpus Case before the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court that same
day and hour. But the Clerk of Court of the JDR Court certified that a
decision had been rendered on the aforementioned special proceedings
case and that there was no hearing. Thus, Afurong filed a verified letter-
complaint for disbarment against Aqui no, for fi l i ng fri vol ous
harassment cases to del ay the executi on of a fi nal deci s i on,
commi t t i ng f al s ehood i n an Ur gent Mot i on f or
Pos t ponement , and misrepresenting himself as an attorney for the
Citizens Legal Assistance Office. Atty. Aquino denied the charges against him
and contended that such acts had been done without malice.In a Repl y,
compl ai nant asserted that Atty. Aqui no was decl ared guilty of
contempt of court and correspondingly fined by this Court for making false
allegations in his Urgent Motion for Postponement. The IBP Commission on
Bar Discipline submitted a Report finding that Aquino failed to perform his
duties expected of an attorney as provided under the existing Canons of
Professional Ethics and Sec. 20 of Rule 138 of the ROC in force at the time of
the commission of the acts in question. They recommended that he be
penalized with 6 months suspension. Board of Gov. of the IBP resol ved
to adopt and approve the report and recommendation of the
Investigating Commissioner



ISSUE:
WON Aqui no fai l ed to perform hi s duti es expected of an attorney
as provi ded under the exi sti ng Canons of Professi onal Ethi cs and
Sec. 20 of Rul e 138 of the ROC i n force at the time of the commission
of the acts in question

RULING:
The Revised Rules of Court provides that it is the duty of an attorney to
counsel or maintain such actions or proceedings only as appear to him to be
just, and such defenses only as he believes to be honestly debatable under
the law.
Respondent Atty. Aquino should not have filed a petition for certiorari
considering that there was no apparent purpose for it than to delay the
execution of a valid judgment.
Aquino committed falsehood when he stated in his Urgent Motion for
Postponement that he had to attend the hearing of a special proceedings
case the s ame day as t he pr e- t r i al of t he Ci v i l Cas e. Such
act v i ol a t es t he Canons of Professional Ethics which obliges an
attorney to avoid the concealment of the truth from the court. A lawyer is
mandated not to mislead the court in any manner.
Lower court correctl y decl ared respondent i n contempt of court
for conduct t e ndi ng , di r ec t l y or i ndi r e ct l y , t o i mpede ,
obs t r uct , or degr a de t he administration of justice, in violation of
Section 3 (d), Rule 71 of the Revised Rules of Court.
Atty. Aquino purposely allowed the court to believe that he was still
employed with the Citizens Legal Assistance Office when in fact he had been
purged from said office.
The Court hereby fi nds respondent Atty. Angel G. Aqui no gui l ty
of mal pr a c t i ce and SUSPENDS hi m f r om t he pr a c t i ce of
l aw f or s i x ( 6) mont hs commencing upon receipt of notice hereof.
LAWYERS AND THE COURTS

2. VILLAFLOR VS. SARITA 308 SCRA 129
FACTS: Complainant filed a case for disbarment against respondent before
the IBP Commission on Bar Discipline. The Commissioner assigned to
investigate the case issued an order directing respondent to file his answer
or comment to the complaint. The period of time alloted to answer the
complaint lapsed without respondent submitting his comment. An order
was issued requiring the parties to attend the hearing of the case but the
respondent failed to appear. A notice of hearing was sent to respondent but
again he failed to attend the proceeding. After giving the respondent
enough opportunity to face the charges against him, which the latter did not
avail, the case was submitted for resolution.


ISSUE: Whether or not failure to obey notices from the IBP investigators
constitutes an unethical act.


HELD: Yes. As an officer of the court, it is the duty of a lawyer to uphold the
dignity and authority of the court to which he owes fidelity, according to the
oath he has taken. It is his foremost responsibility to observe and maintain
the respect due to the courts of justice and judicial officers. The highest
form of respect to the judicial authority is shown by a lawyer͛s obedience to
court orders and processes.

3. Criminal complaints vs. SC justices; procedure.
In AM No. 10-1-13-SC, Re: Subpoena Duces Tecum Dated January 11, 2010
of Acting Director Aleu A. Amante, PIAB-C, Office of the Ombudsman,
March 2, 2010, the Philippine Supreme Court reiterated he following basic
doctrines:

1. The Court held that under the ruling in In re Wenceslao Laureta and Alzua
v. Arnalot, a criminal complaint for violation of sec. 3(e) of RA 3019, based
on the legal correctness of the official acts of Justices of the Supreme Court,
cannot prosper and should not be entertained. This is not to say that
Members of the Court are absolutely immune from suit during their term,
for they are not. The Constitution provides that the appropriate recourse
against them is to seek their removal from office if they are guilty of
culpable violation of the Constitution, treason, bribery, graft and corruption,
other high crimes, or betrayal of public trust. Only after removal can they be
criminally proceeded against for their transgressions. While in office and
thereafter, and for their official acts do not constitute impeachable
offenses, recourses against them and their liabilities therefor, are as defined
in the above rulings.

2. The Court also found that the Lozanos also brazenly misquoted and
misused applicable constitutional provisions to justify their case against the
retired Justices. Citing sec. 4(3), Art. VIII of the Constitution, the Court
stressed that cases or matters heard by a division can be decided or
resolved with the concurrence of at least three members of a division.

3. ͞In our view, the complainants͛ errors do not belong to the genre of plain
and simple errors that lawyers commit in the practice of their profession.
Their plain disregard, misuse, and misrepresentation of constitutional
provisions constitute serious misconduct that reflects on their fitness for
continued membership in the Philippine Bar,͟ the Court said.

4 . BALAOING vs. CALDERON
AM No. RTJ-90-580, 27 April 1993

Facts:
-Atty. Balaoing was severely censured in a Resolution of the Court En Banc
for having instituted a patently unfounded and frivolous administrative
action against the different judges of Olongapo City and Zambales.
LAWYERS AND THE COURTS
-Notwithstanding the censure and suspension, Atty. Balaoing filed a serious
administrative complaints against a number of judges in Olongapo City and
Zambales, charging them with grave misconduct for their alleged failure and
refusal to issue corresponding writ of execution, prayed for by the
complainant, grave abuse of authority, and malicious delay in the
administration of justice, which were all dismissed for lack of merit.
Issue: WON Atty. Balaoing violated Canon 2 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility that a lawyer shall observe and maintain the respect due to
the Court and to the judicial officer and should insist on similar conduct of
others.

Held:
-The Court finds that the complainant Balaoing has a penchant for filing
administrative charges against judges in whose sala he has pending cases,
whenever the latter rendered decision or issue orders adverse to him or to
his clients.
-Balaoing͛s wanton disregard of the stern warning not to again file baseless
and frivolous complaints which only clog the already full dockets of the
Court instead of serving the ends of justice.
-Balaoing has utterly failed to live up to the duties and responsibilities of a
member of the legal profession. His disbarment is in order.


6. RE: SUSPENSION OF ATTY. ROGELIO Z. BAGABUYO, FORMER
STATE PROSECUTOR A.C. No. 7006 October 9, 200718. RE:
SUSPENSION OF ATTY. ROGELIO Z. BAGABUYO, FORMER
STATE PROSECUTORA.C. No. 7006 October 9, 2007

Facts In the Crim. Case No. 5144, which is declared by Judge Buyser as a
crime of homicide and not of murder, the counsel for the defense filed a
Motion to Fix the Amount of Bail Bond. Respondent Atty. Bagabuyo
objected thereto on the ground that the original charge of murder is not
subject to bail. Judge Jose Manuel P. Tan favorably resolved the Motion for
bail and denied the respondent͛s motion for reconsideration for lack of
merit. Instead of availing himself of judicial remedies, respondent caused
the publication of an article regarding the order, in which prosecutor
lambasts and lashes out at judge Tan for allowing the murder suspect out on
bail. The article also contains misrepresentation about the strength of the
evidence against the accused in the criminal case. Respondent admits to
have held a press conference but refused to answer whether he made the
statements in the newspaper article. For refusing to answer, the trial court
declared him in contempt. After this, respondent still entertained media
interview in a radio station, and in said interview, again attacked the
integrity of Judge Tan, calling him a judge who does not know the law, a liar,
and a dictator who does not accord due process to the people. He was
ordered by the trial cause to show cause why he should not be held in
contempt and not be suspended from the practice of law for violating
Canon 11 and 13 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. However, on
scheduled hearing respondent did not appear or informed the court of his
absence. Issue Whether or not respondent should be suspended for
violating the Code Ruling The Office of the Bar Confidant found that the acts
of the respondent constitute grave violation of oath of office, and with said
findings the Supreme Court agreed. Respondent violated Rule 11.05 of
Canon 11 when he caused the holding of a press conference where he made
statements against the Order allowing the accused to post bail. He also
violated the same Canon for his disrespect of the court when he stated that
Judge Tan was ignorant of the law, that he was studying mahjong instead of
studying the law and that he was a liar. The SC held that it is not against
lawyers raising grievances against erring judges but the rules providethe
proper venue and procedure because respect for the institution must
alwaysbe maintained. Hence, Atty. Bagabuyo was suspended from the
practice of law forone year.



LAWYERS AND THE COURTS
8. Javellana v. Lutero
GR. No.G.R. No. L-23956
July 21, 1967

FACTS: On March 1963, the Roman Archbishop in Jaro, Iloilo filed a detainer
complaint against Elpidio Javellana in the municipal court which was presided
by Judge Nicolas Lutero. The hearing was reset four times, all at the behest of
Elpidio Javellana͛s lawyer who gave reasons as flimsy as a painful toe, or an
unfinished business transactions in Manila. This last postponement was
granted by the municipal court, with a warning that no further
postponements shall be allowed. When the case was called for trial on August
27, 1963, neither the defendant nor his counsel Atty. Hautea appeared
although one Atty. Romy Peña who was present in court verbally moved for
the postponement of the trial on the ground that Atty. Hautea was in Manila
attending to a business transaction. The plaintiff's counsel objected to the
motion on the ground that the defendant and his counsel were well aware of
the court's previous admonition that no further postponement of the case
would be granted, and then manifested that the witnesses and the evidence
for the plaintiff were ready for presentation on that date.
The verbal motion was denied, and plaintiff was directed to adduce his
evidence. During the hearing, a telegram arrived from Atty. Hautea asking for
a postponement of the hearing. However, the hearing still continued. The
court on the same date rendered judgment for the plaintiff and against the
defendant.
About 50 days later, the defendant thru his same counsel filed a petition for
relief (from the judgment of the municipal court)with the Court of First
Instance of Iloilo, praying that the decision in question be set aside, that the
detainer case be set for trial on the merits, and, pending determination of the
petition, that an injunction issue restraining the enforcement of the decision.
Counsel for the petitioner averred that his absence on the date of the trial
was excusable as he attended to a very urgent business transaction in Manila;
that before his departure for the latter city, he verbally informed the
respondent judge that his return to Iloilo might be
delayed and that he might not arrive on time for the trial of the case as set;
that he called at both the law office and the residence of the counsel for the
private respondent to inform him of the desired postponement and the
reason there for, but the latter was in Bacolod at the time; that he exercised
utmost diligence and precaution in the sense that while in Manila he sent a
telegram to the respondent judge, asking for postponement; and that
notwithstanding all the foregoing, the municipal court nevertheless
proceeded with the trial in his absence and that of his client, allowed the
private respondent to present his evidence ex parte, and rendered a decision
against the petitioner, thus depriving the latter of his day in court. Counsel for
the petitioner further asserted that his client has a good and substantial
defense, which is, that the complainant had given his client an option to buy
the premises subject-matter of the complaint below, and that a reopening of
the case would cause the private respondent no real injury.
Issue: W/N Atty. Hautea was negligent in his duties as a lawyer.

HELD: A counsel for any party in a judicial controversy, by mandate of the
canons of legal ethics, and with due regard for the elementary standards of
fair play, is duty bound to prepare for trial with diligence and deliberate
speed. This norm of conduct is no less applicable in a detainer case, such as
the one at bar, even if the issues are essentially simple and uncomplicated. It
is obvious that the counsel for the petitioner-appellant has been remiss in
this respect.
The case was set for trial six times. Thrice it was postponed at the behest of
the said counsel. The last postponement was granted on July 24, 1963 with
the unequivocal admonition by the judgment that no further postponement
LAWYERS AND THE COURTS
would be countenanced. The case was reset for hearing on August 27, 1963,
which means that the appellant's counsel had more than a month's time to so
adjust his schedule of activities as to obviate a conflict between his business
transactions and his calendar of hearings. Came August 27, and neither he nor
the appellant appeared at the trial. His absence on the latter date was not
occasioned by illness or some other supervening occurrence which
unavoidably and justifiably prevented him from appearing in court.
It was the bounden duty of the said counsel, under the
circumstances, to give preferential attention to the case. As things were, he
regarded the municipal court as a mere marionette that must ever await his
pleasure. This attitude on his part is censurable as it reveals more than just a
modicum of disrespect for the judiciary and the established machinery of
justice
12. Millare vs Atty Montero
Facts:
ͻ Atty. Eustaquio Montero represented Elsa Dy Co in an ejectment case filed
against her by Millare͛s mother. RTC then decided to be in favor of Pacifica
Mallare and Co, thru counsel who filed the following actions:
y Manifestation and Motion that RTC and MTC decisions were void
for allowing lessor to increase rentals by 300 percent for an old
house
y Petition for Annulment of Decisions which was dismissed
y Urgent Motion for Reconsideration and Motion to Set Motion for
Reconsideration for Oral Arguments of the CA decision, denied
y Petition for Review on Certiorari, denied
y Motion for the Issuance of a Prohibitory or Restraining Order
y Special civil action

Issue: WON Atty. Montero violated the Code.

Decision: YES, Atty Montero VIOLATED the following CODE and suspended
for a year
ͻ Canon 19: a lawyer is required to represent his client "within the bounds
of the law.
ͻ to employ only fair and honest means to attain the lawful objectives of his
client (Rule 19.01)
ͻ warns him not to allow his client to dictate the procedure in handling the
case (Rule 19.03)
ͻ unethical for a lawyer to abuse or wrongfully use the judicial process
ͻ delayed the execution of judgment


13. JONAR SANTIAGO vs. ATTY. EDISON V. RAFANAN
A.C. No. 6252, October 5, 2004PANGANIBAN,
J.
FACTS:
Compl ai nant Jonar Santi ago, an empl oyee of the Bureau of Jai l
Management and Penol ogy, l odged a di sbarment compl ai nt
agai nst respondent Atty. Edi son Rafanan before the Integrated
Bar of the Philippines alleging, inter alia, that Atty. Rafanan violated Rule
12.07 and Rule 12.08 of Canon 12of the Code of Professional Responsibility
when the latter executed an affidavit in favor of his client and offered the
same as evidence in a case where he is actively representing his client. The
complaint al so al l eged that after the heari ng of the case,
respondent accompani ed by several persons wai ted
for C ompl ai na nt and af t er c onf r ont i ng t he l a t t er
di s a r med hi m of hi s s i dea r m and t he r ea f t e r ut t e r ed
insulting words and veiled threats. In his answer, respondent denied having
disarmed the complainant and uttered insulting words nor veiled threats
against the latter. He however admitted that he executed an affidavit in
favor of his c l i e nt a nd of f e r e d t he s a me as e v i de nce i n a
c a s e whe r e he i s a c t i v el y r e pr es e nt i ng hi s cl i ent but
i nterposed the defense that l awyers coul d testi fy on behal f of
LAWYERS AND THE COURTS
thei r cl i ents "on substanti al matters, i n cases where [thei r]
testi mony i s essenti al to the ends of justi ce. " Compl ai nant
charged respondent͛ s clients with attempted murder. Respondent
averred that since they were in his house when the alleged crime occurred,
"his testimony is very essential to the ends of justice.͟The IBP, while finding
that administrative offense was committed by respondent for violating the
notari al l aw, recommended the di smi ssal of the compl ai nt for
al l eged vi ol ati on of Rul e 12.07 and Rul e 12.08 of Canon 12 of the
Code of Professi onal Responsi bi l i ty for i nsuffi ci ency of evi dence.
Hence, the present action was commenced.

ISSUE:
May a lawyer testify on substantial matters relative to the cause of the
party which he is actively representing in a case without violating the Code
of Professional Responsibility?

HELD:YES.
Parentheti cal l y, under the l aw, a l awyer i s not di squal i fi ed from
bei ng a wi tness, except only in certain cases pertaining to privileged
communication arising from an attorney-client r e l a t i o n s h i p . T h e
r e a s o n b e h i n d s u c h r u l e i s t h e d i f f i c u l t y p o s e d
u p o n l a w y e r s b y t h e t a s k o f dissociating their relation to
their clients as witnesses from that as advocates. Witnesses are expected to
tel l the facts as they recal l them. In contradi sti ncti on, advocates
are parti sans -- those who acti vel y pl ead and defend the cause
of others. I t i s di ffi cul t to di sti ngui sh the fai rness and
i mparti al i ty of a di si nterested wi tness from the zeal of an
advocate. The questi on i s one of propri ety rather than
of competency of the lawyers who testify for their clients. Thus, al though
the l aw does not forbi d l awyers from bei ng wi tnesses and at the
same ti me counsel s for a cause, the preference i s for them to
refrai n from testi fyi ng as wi tnesses, unl ess they absolutely have to;
and should they do so, to withdraw from active management of the case.
Notwithstanding this guideline and the existence of the Affidavit executed
by Atty. Rafanan in favor of his clients, we cannot hastily make him
administratively liable for the following reasons:
First, we consider it the duty of a lawyer to assert every remedy and
defense that is authorized by law for the benefit of the client, especially in a
criminal action in which the latter͛s life and liberty are at stake. Havi ng
undertaken the defense of the accused, respondent, as defense
counsel , was thus expected to spare no effort to save his clients from a
wrong conviction. The Affidavit executed by Atty.Rafanan was cl earl y
necessary for the defense of hi s cl i ents, si nce i t poi nted out the
fact that on the al l eged date and ti me of the i nci dent, hi s cl i ents
were at hi s resi dence and coul d not have possi bl y committed the
crime charged against them. Notably, in his Affidavit, complainant does not
dispute the statements of respondent or suggest the falsity of its contents.
S e c ond, pa r a gr a ph ( b) of Rul e 12. 08 c ont e mpl a t es a
s i t ua t i on i n whi c h l awye r s gi v e t hei r t e s t i moni es dur i ng
t he t r i al . I n t hi s i ns t a nce , t he Af f i da v i t wa s s ubmi t t ed
dur i ng t he pr e l i mi nar y i nvesti gati on whi ch, as such, was
merel y i nqui si tori al . Not bei ng a tri al of the case on the meri ts,
a prel i mi nary i nvesti gati on has the oft-repeated purposes of
securi ng i nnocent persons agai nst hasty, malicious and oppressive
prosecutions; protecting them from open and public accusations of crime
and from the trouble as well as expense and anxiety of a public trial; and
protecting the State from useless a nd e x pe ns i v e pr os e c ut i ons .
The i nv e s t i g a t i on i s a dv i s e dl y cal l e d pr el i mi na r y , a s i t i s
y e t t o be followed by the trial proper. Nonethel ess, we deem i t
i mportant to stress and remi nd respondent to refrai n from
accepti ng empl oyment i n any matter i n whi ch he knows or has
reason to bel i eve that he may be an essenti al wi tness for the
prospecti ve cl i ent. Furthermore, i n future cases i n whi ch hi s
testi mony may become essential to serve the "ends of justice," the
canons of the profession require him to withdraw from the active
prosecution of these cases.


LAWYERS AND THE COURTS
15. CRUZ V SALVA
FACTS
- A certain Manuel Monroy was murdered. CFI Pasay found Castelo, de
Jesus, Bonifacio, Mendoza, Berdugo et al. guilty of murder. They all
appealed and Castelo sought new trial. Castelo was again found guilty.
- Pres Magsaysay ordered reinvestigation. Philippine Constabulary
questioned people and got confessions pointing to persons other than those
convicted.
- Castelo et al wrote to Fiscal Salva to conduct reinvestigation on basis of
new confessions. Fiscal conferred w/ SolGen and the Justice Sec decided to
have the results of investigation made available to counsel for appellants.
- Chief of Phil Constabulary furnished Fiscal Salva copies of the affidavits
and confessions. Salva organized a committee for reinvestigation and
subpoenaed Timoteo Cruz, who was implicated as instigator and
mastermind in the new affidavits and confessions. Cruz͛ counsel questioned
jurisdiction of the committee and of Salva to conduct preliminary
investigation bec the case was pending appeal in the SC. Counsel filed this
present petition.
- Salva said he subpoenaed Cruz bec of Cruz͛ oral and personal request to
allow him to appear at the investigation.
- SC issued writ of preliminary injunction stopping the prelim investigation.

ISSUES
1. WON Salva and his committee can push through with the investigation
2. WON Cruz can be compelled to appear and testify before Salva
3. WON Salva conducted the investigation property

HELD
1. Yes.
- SC believed Salva that it was Cruz who personally reqested to allow him to
appear at the investigation.
- Normally, when a criminal case handled by fiscal is tried and decided and
appealed to a higher court, functions of fiscal have terminated. However,
Salva has justified his reinvestigation bec in the orig case, one of the
defendants (Salvador Realista y de Guzman) was not included in the trial.
- The duty of a prosecuting attorney is not only to prosecute and secure
conviction of the guilty but also to protect the innocent.
- Writ of preliminary injunction dissolved. Investigation may continue.
- Petition for certiorari and prohibition granted in part, denied in part.
2. No
- Under the law, Cruz had right to be present at the investigation but he
need not be present. His presence is more of a right than a legal obligation.
3. No
- Salva shld have done investigation privately in his office and not publicly in
the session hall of Municipal Court of Pasay where microphones were
installed and media people were present. He should also not have made
the media people ask questions. SC was disturbed and annoyed by such
publicity.
- Salva is publicly reprehended and censured.