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[G.R. No. 161390. April 16, 2008.

]
[A.C. No. 5041. November 23, 2004.]
SALVADOR G. VILLANUEVA, complainant, vs. ATTY. RAMON RAUL H. SESBREO, petitioner, vs. HON. COURT OF APPEALS,
PROVINCE OF CEBU, GOV. EDUARDO R. GULLAS, THE
F. ISHIWATA, respondent.

SYLLABUS
1.

2.

LEGAL ETHICS; ATTORNEYS; RESPONDENT'S


FAILURE TO RETURN THE BALANCE OF
SETTLEMENT TO COMPLAINANT UPON DEMAND
GAVE RISE TO THE PRESUMPTION THAT HE
MISAPPROPRIATED IT IN VIOLATION OF THE
TRUST REPOSED ON HIM. ( clinging to something not
his and which he had no right)
ID.; ID.; A LAWYER SHOULD REFRAIN FROM ANY
ACTION WHEREBY FOR HIS PERSONAL BENEFIT
OR GAIN HE ABUSES OR TAKES ADVANTAGE OF
THE CONFIDENCE REPOSED IN HIM BY HIS
CLIENT.

PROVINCIAL TREASURER, THE PROVINCIAL AUDITOR, THE


PROVINCIAL ENGINEER PATROCINIO BACAY (sued both in their
official and personal capacities), respondents.
-Mrs. Rosario Sen and other camineros hired the petitioner to prosecute
Civil Cases against Commissioner of Public Highways and the District
Engineer
-agreement: pay Atty. Raul H. Sesbreo, thirty (30%) percent of
whatever back salaries, damages, etc. that they may recover; take care of
all expenses in connection with the said cases.
-during pendency petitioner registered his charging/retaining lien based
on the Agreement.
-camineros obtained favorable judgment in CFI
-certiorari cases filed by aggrieved party

-Gov. Gullas assumed the position of governor of Cebu, he proposed the


compromise settlement of all mandamus cases then pending against the
province which included Civil Cases handled by the petitioner.
-Under the Comp Agreement executed by Guillas and pet:
disbarment case for gross professional misconduct.

immediately appropriate and pay full backwages and


salaries as awarded by the trial court
hired respondent to handle his caseagainst J.T. Transport, Inc. for

amounts payable to the employeesis subject to said


payment of his unpaid wages, separation pay, and other benefits.
lawyer's charging and retaining liens as registered in the
trial court and in the Honorable Court of Appeals
Complainant executed SPA due o insistence of resp. (SPA-agreed to

agreeable to paying an advance of P5,000.00 to each


release J.T. Transport from all its obligations to him in consideration
employee payable through their counsel,

FACTS:

of P225 000.)

-camineros, through their new counsel (who substituted for the

J.T. Transport delivered four (4) checks to respondent in the sum of petitioner), moved for its execution.
P225,000.00
- court then ordered the issuance of a partial writ of execution directing
However, respondent gave complainant only P45,000.00 as "first
installment," without advising him that the settlement award had
been paid in full.

the payment of only 45% of the amount due them and hold 55%
-However, instead of complying with the court order directing partial
payment, the province of Cebu directly paid the camineros the full
amount of their adjudicated claims.

Complainant learned that JT Transport had fully settled its obligation -petitioner filed the complaint for Damages (Thru Breach of Contract)
thus demanded upon resp for the delivery of the balancerefused to and Attorney's Fees against the Province of Cebu and its officials and
against the camineros. (alleged that by directly paying the camineros the
pay
amounts due them, the respondents induced the camineros to violate
their written contract for attorney's fees.)

Resp: denied the charge'


- claimed that they violated the compromise agreement approved by the
-alleged that it was actually one Zenaida Villanueva, claiming to be Court
complainant's wife, who actually engaged his services. And [aid her -although he was not a party to the above contracts, by virtue of the
33000 w/ complainant's knowledge.
registration of his charging lien, he was a quasi-party and thus, had legal
-the sums delivered to complainant were also in installments. (cant standing to institute the case
present receipt because it was misplaced by his sec,)
-all the payments are in the total sum of P224,250.00, leaving only -dismiss case against the camineros after they had entered into an
P750.00 due and owing to complainant. Deducted therefrom his 25% agreement but continued against province of Cebu
attorney's fee.
IBP: vioalted canon16 suspended from the practice of law for one
(1) year; that he return the sums of P90,000.00 and P33,000.00 to
complainant
SC: SUSTAIN
(syllabus)
-The relationship between an attorney and his client is highly
fiduciary in nature.
-attorney's fee should not exceed 10%, the rate allowed under the
Labor Code.
-SUSPENDED 1year and ordered to restitute to complainant the
sum of P154,500.00

RTC: favored petitioner and ordered the province to pay him


CA: reversed (petitioner failed to sufficiently establish his allegation that
the respondents induced the camineros to violate the agreement for
attorney's fees and the compromise agreement, and that he suffered
damage due to respondents' act of directly paying the camineros the
amounts due them. )
SC:
-compromise agreement had been validly entered into by the respondents
and the camineros and the same became the basis of the judgment
rendered by this Court.
-evidenced by an agreement for attorney's fees voluntarily executed by
the camineros where the latter agreed to pay the former "thirty (30%)
percent no fixed amount was specifically provided for in their contract
nor was a specified rate agreed upon on how the money claims were to
be computed. --- use of the word "whatever" shows that the basis for the
computation would be the amount that the court would award in favor of
the camineros
-Since they agreed to compromise, payment would have to be based on
the amount agreed upon by them in the compromise agreement
-Considering that petitioner's claim of higher attorney's fees is baseless
and considering further that he had settled his case as against his former
clients, cannot sustain his right to damages for breach of contract against
the respondents, even on the basis of Articles 1191 46 or 1311.
cannot render a favorable judgment because there was no breach of
contract. Even if there was such a breach, he had waived his right to
claim against the respondents by accepting payment and/or absolving
from liability those who were primarily liable to him.
-The records do not show that when they did so, they induced the
camineros to violate their contract with the petitioner; nor do the records
show that they paid their obligation in order to cause prejudice to the
petitioner.

petition is hereby DENIED..CA AFFIRMED

[G.R. Nos. 151983-84. July 31, 2008.]


JOSE MAX S. ORTIZ, petitioner, vs. SAN MIGUEL
CORPORATION, respondent.

SC:

- Complainant Gadian and his counsel, herein petitioner, for their


part, likewise moved for the partial reconsideration of the same
Decision of the appellate court praying that the award of attorney's
fees of 10% should be based on the monetary awards adjudged by
the NLRC

petitioner's remedy is not against the private respondent, but against


his own clients, the complainants. He should file a separate action
for collection of sum of money against complainants to recover just
compensation for his legal services, and not the present Petition for
Review to claim from private respondent the attorney's fees which
were adjudged by the NLRC in favor of complainants as the
prevailing parties in the Aguirre and Toquero Cases.

Based on the foregoing, the attorney's fees awarded by the NLRC in


its Decisions in the Aguirre and Toquero Cases pertain to the
Petition for Review on Certiorari seeking to modify or partially
complainants, petitioner's clients, as indemnity for damages; and not
reconsider the Decision in so far as the award of attorney's fees is
to petitioner as compensation for his legal services. Records show
concerned
that the petitioner neither alleged nor proved that his clients, the
complainants, willingly agreed that the award of attorney's fees
-member of the Philippine Bar who represented the complainants in would accrue to him as an additional compensation or part thereof.
NLRC Cases against herein private respondent San Miguel
Corporation
since the attorney's fees pertained to the complainants as indemnity
-complainants were employees at private respondent's Sales Offices for damages, it was totally within the complainants' right to waive
in the provinces.
the amount of said attorney's fees and settle for a lesser amount
thereof in exchange for the immediate end to litigation. Petitioner
(aguirre cases)
cannot prevent complainants from compromising and/or
-Decision finding all the complainants to have been illegally
withdrawing their complaints at any stage of the proceedings just to
dismissed. He ordered complainants' reinstatement to their previous protect his anticipated attorney's fees.
or equivalent positions without loss of seniority rights. He also
ordered private respondent to pay the complainants full back wages, Article 111 of the Labor Code, as amended, which provides that the
rice subsidy, and attorney's fees equivalent to 10% of the monetary attorney's fees should be equivalent to 10% of the amount of wages
award
recovered. Since the complainants decided to settle their complaints
against the private respondent, the amounts actually received by
(Toquero Case)
them pursuant to the Deeds of Release, Waiver and Quitclaim are the
-rendered his Decision also ruling that the three complainants were amounts "recovered" and the proper basis for determining the 10%
illegally dismissed. ordered the complainants' immediate
attorney's fees.
reinstatement and other benefits and attorney's fees in the amount of
P91,159.75. 12
Petitioner cannot claim further to be a real party in interest. The
established rule is that a real party in interest is one who would be
(CA-G.R. SP No. 54576-77)
benefited or injured by the judgment, or one entitled to the avails of
-failure to get favorable decision in both cases, private respondent the suit.
elevated the NLRC Decisions to this Court via a Petition for
Certiorari.
petitioner is not the real party in interest; hence, he cannot file this
Petition to recover the attorney's fees as adjudged by the NLRC in its
-all but one of the remaining complainants in aguirre and toquero
Decisions
cases appeared in court in various dates and signed separate Deeds
of Release, Waiver and Quitclaim in favor of private respondent in In addition, as found by the Court of Appeals, when the
the presence of 2 witnesses
complainants executed their respective Deeds of Release, Waiver
(agreed to settle their claims against private respondent for amounts and Quitclaim, petitioner already received attorney's fees equivalent
less than what the NLRC actually awarded. Private respondent
to 10% of the amounts paid to the complainants in accordance with
withheld 10% of the total amount agreed upon by the parties in the the Deeds, as evidenced by several cash vouchers and checks
said Deeds as attorney's fees and handed it over to petitioner.)
payable to petitioner 46 and signed by his representative. 47 Even
petitioner himself admitted this fact.
-attached the Deeds of Release, Waiver and Quitclaim to its
Manifestation and Motion 23 filed before the appellate court. CA
This would show that petitioner has been compensated for the
affrimed the decision of NLRC only insofar as it concerned
services he rendered the complainants. The practice of law is a
complainant Gadian the only one who did not execute the deed. And decent profession and not a money-making trade. Compensation
the other complaints dismissed.
should be but a mere incident.

(G.R. No. 151421 and No. 151427)


Private respondent appealed before this Court by filing a Petition for
Review
no specific provision in the Labor Code, as amended, which requires
the conformity of petitioner, as the complainants' counsel, to make
(G.R. No. 151983-84)
their Deeds of Release, Waiver and Quitclaim valid.
Petitioner filed this present Petition for Review on his own
behalfpraying that this Court grant him attorney's fees equivalent to Petition is hereby DENIED.
those awarded by the NLRC in the Aguirre and Toquero Cases.
PETITIONER alleged:
-Decision of the appellate court was prejudicial only insofar as it
failed to grant 10% attorney's fees based on the monetary and
economic awards adjudged by the NLRC in its Decisions in the
Aguirre and Toquero Cases.
- avows that he is entitled to attorney's fees because
(1) the Deeds of Release, Waiver and Quitclaim executed by all but
one of the complainants during the pendencybefore the Court of
Appeals were done without his conformity;
(2) he, together with his assistant lawyers, had invested
substantial time and effort for more than seven or eight
years
(3) petitioner's right to attorney's fees has become vested after
rendering painstaking legal services to the complainants,
making him and his collaborating counsels entitled to the
full amount of attorney's fees as awarded by the NLRC.
ISSUE: WON CA COMMITTED GRAVE ABUSE OF
DISCRETION IN NOT AWARDING ATTORNEY'S FEES BASED
ON THE ORIGINAL AWARD MADE BY THE NLRC-FOURTH
DIVISION.