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[A.C. No. 5739. September 12, 2007.

]
PANGASINAN ELECTRIC COOPERATIVE I (PANELCO I)
represented by its GM, ROLANDO O. REINOSO, petitioner, vs. ATTY.
JUAN AYAR MONTEMAYOR, respondent.
administrative complaint filed by Pangasinan Electric Cooperative I
(PANELCO I) charging Atty. Juan Ayar Montemayor with negligence in
handling the cases assigned to him which caused unwarranted financial
losses to the complainant (PhP16,000,000)
while acting as counsel for the cooperative, respondent was negligent in
handling its cases:
1. "Rural Power Corporation vs. PANELCO I."--dismissed by
CA due to failure to serve and file the required number of copies
within the time provided by the Rules of Court.
2. Decision of the trial court became final and executory, and the
judgment award in the amount ofP2,179,209.18was paid by the
complainant
3. "Engineering and Construction Corporation of Asia (ECCOASIA) vs. PANELCO I-dismissed by CA due to the failure to serve
and file the required Appellant's Brief despite the lapse of the two
extensions of time granted. --award was paid to the
PlaintiffP13,836,676.25
4. when complainant confronted Atty. Montemayor on the matter,
and he uttered "napabayaan ko itong kaso . . . ano ang gagawin
natin";
5. As a consequence of the negligence complainant was forced to
settle with the Plaintiffs without the benefit of an approved timetable, and is presently in a dire financial situation, which has
caused difficulty in meeting its monthly power bills with
NAPOCOR

[A.C. No. 8380. November 20, 2009.]


ARELLANO UNIVERSITY, INC., complainant, vs. ATTY.
LEOVIGILDO H. MIJARES III, respondent.
disbarment case is about the need for a lawyer to account for funds
entrusted to him by his client.
Arellano engaged the services of respondent for securing a certificate of
title covering a dried up portion of the Estero de San Miguel that the
University had been occupying.
property was the subject of a Deed of Exchange between the City of
Manila and the University.
University alleged that it gave him all the documents he needed to
accomplish his work
Mijares asked the University for and was given P500,000.00 on top of his
attorney's fees, supposedly to cover the expenses for "facilitation and
processing." ----promised to give the money back in case he was unable to
get the work done
Mijares informed the University that he already completed Phase I (titling
the property approved by MMDA and sent to DENR)
*University requested for copies of the MMDA approval (failed to
comply) despite his client's repeated demand
*made himself scarce, prompting the University to withdraw all the cases
it had entrusted to him and demand the return of the P500,000.00 it gave
him (refuse to return despite several demands)

respondent was required to file his Comment on the administrative


charges however respondent failed to file his Comment

Answer to complaint:
-admitted that he received money
-claims that he gave the P500,000.00 to Undersecretary Lacuna, with
IBP Commissioner-disbarred
the University's conformity, for a favorable MMDA endorsement to the
IBP-BG suspended indefinitely
Mayor of Manila.
-Lacuna later said that he could not provide the endorsement because,
issue: WON respondent committed gross negligence or misconduct in
as it turned out, the MMDA had previously given such endorsement of the
mishandling complainant's cases on appeal, which eventually led to their University's earlier application and the Mayor of Manila did not act on
dismissal, to the prejudice of the complainant.
that endorsement.
SC:
IBP Commissioner: disbarment
CANON 19 A LAWYER SHALL REPRESENT HIS CLIENT WITH IBP-BG- indefinite suspension from the practice of law and ordering
ZEAL WITHIN THE BOUNDS OF THE LAW.
Mijares to return the money
(violated 12, 12.03, 17, 18, 18.03)
ISSUE: WON respondent is guilty of misappropriating the P500,000.00
respondent has fallen short of the competence and diligence required of that his client entrusted to him for use in facilitating and processing the
every member of the Bar in relation to his client.
titling of a property that it claimed.
The records of this case clearly show that respondent failed to live up to
his duties and responsibilities as a member of the legal profession.
There is no doubt that it was part of respondent's obligation to
complainant, as the latter's counsel of record in the civil cases, to
prosecute with assiduousness said cases on appeal in order to safeguard
complainant's rights, but it was respondent's negligence or omission
which has caused damage to such interests.

SC:
DISBARMENT
GUILTY of violation of Rules 1.01 and 1.02, Canon 15, Rule 15.05,
Canon 16, Rules 16.01 and 16.03, and Canon 18, Rule 18.04
directed all the documents

lawyer has the responsibility to protect and advance the interests of his
The case of Atty. Montemayor is however different. He is guilty not only client such that he must promptly account for whatever money or property
of his unjustified failure to file the appellant's brief of his client not only his client may have entrusted to him.
once but twice.
must return the money or property immediately to his client upon demand,
Court notes with dismay the huge losses suffered by complainant
otherwise the lawyer shall be presumed to have misappropriated the same
PANELCO I in the total amount of PhP16,000,000
in violation of the trust reposed on him. ( gross violation of professional
ethics)
emonstrated an utter lack of regard for the very serious charges against
him and a gross disrespect for the Court when he failed to file his
falsely claimed having obtained the MMDA approval of the application;
comment after being required to file
and that he nonetheless refused to return the money despite repeated
demands.
DISBARRED
Presented no evidence to substantiate his claims

[A.C. No. 4829. July 21, 2008.]


ELAINE V. ARMA, complainant, vs. ATTY. ANITA C. MONTEVILLA, [G.R. No. 162525. September 23, 2008.]
respondent.
ASEAN PACIFIC PLANNERS, APP CONSTRUCTION AND
DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION * AND CESAR GOCO, petitioners,
complainant wrote a letter-complaint addressed to then Chief Presidential vs. CITY OF URDANETA, CEFERINO J. CAPALAD, WALDO C. DEL
Legal Counsel, Atty. Renato L. Cayetano.
CASTILLO, NORBERTO M. DEL PRADO, JESUS A. ORDONO AND
AQUILINO MAGUISA, ** respondents.
sought the help of Atty. Cayetano's office to assist their group in their
plight against their former employer, Tashi Garments, Inc., and their
The instant petition seeks to set aside the Resolutions of the Court of
counsel, respondent Atty. Anita C. Montevilla.
Appeals
In response to that request, the Office of the Chief Presidential Legal
Counsel endorsed complainant's letter-complaint 1 to the Office of the
Court Administrator (OCA), who in turn, ordered the referral of the same
to the Office of the Bar Confidant (OBC)

stemmed from a Complaint for annulment of contracts with prayer for


preliminary prohibitory injunction and temporary restraining order filed
by respondent against: City of Urdaneta and Ceferino J. Capalad doing
business under the name JJEFWA Builderspetitioners Asean Pacific
Planners (APP) represented by Ronilo G. Goco and Asean Pacific
complainant filed a verified complaint for illegal dismissal, non-payment Planners Construction and Development Corporation (APPCDC)
of wages, underpayment of wages and money claims
represented by Cesar D. Goco.
averred that they availed themselves of the legal services of the
respondent, Atty. Montevilla, in this labor case; and that respondent
accepted the case on a contingency basis [30%of whatever amount they
would recover; 600 for appearance fee]

(alleged:)
Urdaneta City Mayor entered into five contracts for the preliminary
design, construction and management of a four-storey twin cinema
commercial center and hotel involving a massive expenditure of public
funds amounting to P250 million funded by a loan from PNB

LA favorable decision and awarded money claims in the aggregate


amount of P3,396,694.84

-For minimal work, the contractor was allegedly paid P95 million
-claimed that all the contracts are void because the object is outside the
upon the appeal of Tashi Garments, Inc. posting a P500,000.00 cash
commerce of men since the object is a piece of land belonging to the
bond NLRC reversed the decision of the LA and dismissed the complaint public domain and which remains devoted to a public purpose as a public
for lack of merit
elementary school
-contracts, from the feasibility study to management and lease of the
counsel had not filed a motion for reconsideration despite the money future building, are also void because they were all awarded solely to the
Goco family.
tendered to him to facilitate the filing of MR
seek explanation for her failure to file the said MR, the latter refused (answer)
to accommodate her and, instead, directed her sister, Emma Montevilla, -claimed that the contracts are valid. properly executed by then Mayor
-no legal capacity to sue and that the complaint states no cause of action.
to hand her back the records of the case including three (3) copies of a
signed and postdated Notice of Withdrawal of Counsel.
Lazaro Law Firm entered its appearance as counsel for Urdaneta City and
Thus, they filed Complaint for Disbarment for the misconduct of
filed an Omnibus Motion (among its prayer is drop Urdaneta City as
Atty. Montevilla which prejudiced their interest as clients.
defendant and be joined as plaintiff)
**denied the allegation
RTC-granted the prayer to drop the city as defendant and admitted its
1. no contingency fee agreement;
complaint for consolidation with Del Castillo's complaint, and directed the
2. denied that she received attorney's fees per appearance.
defendants to answer the city's complaint.
3. even had to spend her own money for the preparation and filing of
their complaint
RTC denied reconsideration. Resp Capalad was dropped as defendant, and
4. what prompted her to withdraw as counsel was the incident that
his complaint was consolidated with the complaints of Del Castillo and
transpired after the complainant learned that through her painstaking
Urdaneta City
efforts they won the case and were able to obtain an award of
P3,396,694.84.
Aggrieved party filed a petition for certiorari before the CA dismissed
IBP-BG: DISMISSED the disbarment case but however ADMONISHED on the grounds of:
(1) defective verification and certification of non-forum shopping (Goco
for her failure to observe the required diligence.
had no proof of his authority to sign the verification and certification of
(1) was negligent in handling the labor case of the complainant; and
non-forum shopping)
(2) made a proper withdrawal as counsel
(2) failure of the petitioners to submit certified true copies of the RTC's
assailed orders as mere photocopies were submitted, and
SC:
(3) lack of written explanation why service of the petition to adverse
parties was not personal.
fell short of her duty of meticulously ensuring that all pleadings are
properly filed and served on the concerned parties.
Hence, filed a petition for review on certiorari under Rule 45
remiss when she passed on the filing of her Motion to Withdraw as
claimed-violation:
Counsel to her client.
(a) entertaining the taxpayers' suits;
Because of this negligence, the Motion to Withdraw was belatedly filed, (b) allowing a private law firm to represent Urdaneta City;
and the eventual Motion for Reconsideration of the NLRC decision was (c) allowing respondents Capalad and Urdaneta City to switch from
resultantly filed out of time, thus causing the dismissal of complainant's being defendants to becoming complainants; and
(d) allowing Capalad's change of attorneys
case
the negligence of the respondent is not so gross as to justify removal from lazaro firm counters: The city has no legal officer and both City
Prosecutor and Provincial Legal Officer are busy.
the legal profession.
Disbarment is DENIED for lack of merit. REPRIMANDED and
WARNED

ISSUE: WON CA ERRED AND GRAVELY ABUSED ITS JUDICIAL


PREROGATIVES BY SUMMARILY DISMISSING THE PETITION ON
THE BASIS OF PROCEDURAL TECHNICALITIES DESPITE
SUBSTANTIAL COMPLIANCE
SC:
1. In the case of taxpayers' suits, the party suing as a taxpayer must
prove that he has sufficient interest in preventing the illegal expenditure of
money raised by taxation
--Petitioners' allegations that the loan contracts are serviced or paid
through a disbursement of public funds are not disputed by respondents,

hence, they are invested with personality to institute the same.


2. cannot agree with the Lazaro Law Firm..Its appearance as Urdaneta
City's counsel is against the law as it provides expressly who should
represent it. The City Prosecutor should continue to represent the city.
Section 481 (a) 29 of LGC mandates the appointment of a city legal
officer.
----city legal officer is supposed to represent the city in all civil actions,
as in this case, and special proceedings wherein the city or any of its
officials is a party.
----RTC should not have allowed the entry of appearance of the Lazaro
Law Firm vice the City Prosecutor.

[A.C. No. 6567. April 16, 2008.]


JOSE C. SABERON, complainant, vs. ATTY. FERNANDO T. LARONG,
respondent.
BSP charged Atty. Fernando T. Larong (respondent) of grave misconduct
for allegedly using abusive and offensive language in pleadings filed
before the BSP
antecedent facts :
-Complainant filed before the BSP a Petitionagainst Surigaonon Rural
Banking Corporationand Alfredo Tan Bonpin (major stockholder) for
cancellation of the bank's registration and franchise---- refusal to return
various checks and land titles, which were given to secure a loan obtained
by complainant's wife, despite alleged full payment of the loan and
interests.

3. Sahagun represents petitioners who claim that the contracts are valid.
On the other hand, Capalad filed a complaint for annulment of the
contracts. Certainly, Atty. Sahagun cannot represent totally conflicting
interests. Thus, we should expunge all pleadings filed by Atty. Sahagun in Respondent, in-house counsel and acting corporate secretary of the bank,
behalf of Capalad.
filed an Answer with Affirmative Defenses stating that:
That this is another in the series of blackmail suits filed by plaintiff
and his wife to coerce the Bank and Mr. Bonpin for financial gain
****offensive language used by Attys. Oscar C. Sahagun and Antonio B.
Escalante in their pleadings
-complainant finds the statement totally malicious, viscous and bereft of
any factual or legal basis
"court of technicalities" accused CA of protecting "an incompetent
- aided and abetted the infliction of damages upon his wife and "her
judge"
children" who were thus deprived of the use of the mortgaged property.
Attys. Oscar C. Sahagun and Antonio B. Escalante a fine of P2,000 48
each payable to this Court within ten days

***respondent answered:
(1) there was "nothing abusive, offensive or otherwise improper" in the
way he used the word "blackmail" to characterize the suit against his
clients; and
(2) when a lawyer files a responsive pleading, he is not in any way aiding
or abetting the infliction of damages upon the other party.
(3) matters stated in the Answer he filed before the BSP were privileged

(1) GRANT the petition; (2) SET ASIDE the Resolutions (3) DENY the
entry of appearance of the Lazaro Law Firm(4) ORDER the City
Prosecutor to represent Urdaneta City (5) AFFIRM the RTC in admitting
the complaint of Capalad;(6) PROHIBIT Atty. Oscar C. Sahagun from
IBP Commissioner ordered the SUSPENSION of respondent for 30days
representing Capalad and EXPUNGE all pleadings that he filed
by using words that were "unnecessary and irrelevant to the case",
respondent went "overboard and crossed the line" of professional conduct.
IBP-BG dismissed the case for lack of merit.
Complainant challenges the IBP Board of Governor's Resolution
SC:
guilty of simple misconduct for using intemperate language in his
pleadings. (canon 8, 8.1, 11, 11.3)

Court has reminded members of the Bar to abstain from all offensive
personality and to advance no fact prejudicial to the honor or reputation of
a party or witness, unless required by the justice of the cause with which
he is charged.
respondent's argument that the matters stated in the Answer he filed before
the BSP were privileged, it suffices to stress that lawyers, though they are
allowed a latitude of pertinent remark or comment in the furtherance of
the causes they uphold and for the felicity of their clients, should not
trench beyond the bounds of relevancy and propriety in making such
remark or comment.
In order that matter alleged in a pleading may be privileged, it need not be
in every case material to the issues presented by the pleadings. It must,
however, be legitimately related thereto, or so pertinent to the subject of
the controversy that it may become the subject of inquiry in the course of
the trial
respondent is guilty of using infelicitous language,
petition is partly GRANTED guilty of SIMPLE MISCONDUCT for using
intemperate language. He is FINED P2,000 with a stern WARNING

[A.C. No. 7505. October 24, 2008.]


WALTER WILKIE, complainant, vs. ATTY. SINAMAR E. LIMOS,
respondent.
administrative case arose from a Complaint filed with the IBP for
committing deceitful and dishonest conduct when she obtained a loan
from the complainant and issued two (2) postdated checks in the latter's
favor to pay the said loan despite knowledge of insufficiency of funds to
cover the same.
Complainant alleged he engaged the services of respondent regarding his
intention of adopting his wife's nephew
Notwithstanding their lawyer and client relationship respondent borrowed
money from complainant in the amount of P250,000.00. evidenced by a
Contract of Loan with a stipulation of interest in the amount of 24% per
annum and that respondent will issue two (2) post dated checks
representing the principal amount of P250,000.00 and the interest in the
amount of P60,000.00.
When the checks became due, complainant deposited the same to his
accoun but to his surprise and dismay, the checks were returned as they
were drawn against insufficient funds.
made a formal demand to respondent but to no avail
--Criminal complaints were filed against respondent
--Complainant has also withdrawn the adoption case from respondent
who did not do anything regarding the case despite the lapse of almost a
year.
Commissioner considered respondent in default and deemed the case
submitted for report and recommendation due to failure of respondent to
appear in the mandatory conference/hearing
suspended for a period of TWO (2) YEARS for violation of BP 22
IBP-BG: REPRIMANDED with STERN WARNING
the transmittal of the case to the court included the letter of the
respondent:
1. failed to attend the hearing coz she was physically unfit at that time.
2. she was made to believe that the administrative complaint would be
withdrawn in view of the Affidavit of Desistance executed by
complainant.
3. claimed that her loan from complainant was actually an
accommodation she extended in behalf of a client, Hilario Inocencio.
4. issued the postdated checks on the belief that Inocencio will send her
the funds to cover the said checks pursuant to their agreement.
5. Inocencio's demise had left her without any recourse
SC:
deliberate failure to pay just debts and the issuance of worthless checks
constitute gross misconduct, for which a lawyer may be sanctioned with
suspension from the practice of law
the excuses given by respondent cannot exculpate her from an
administrative sanction considering her acknowledgement that worthless
checks were issued by her in payment of the loan.
issuance of checks which were later dishonored for having been drawn
against a closed account indicates a lawyer's unfitness for the trust and
confidence reposed on her.
**No investigation shall be interrupted or terminated by reason of the
desistance, settlement, compromise, restitution, withdrawal of the
charges, or failure of the complainant to prosecute the same.
membership in the legal profession is a privilege demanding a high
degree of good moral character, not only as a condition precedent to
admission, but also as a continuing requirement for the practice of law.
SUSPENDED FOR THREE MONTHS

CANON 19 - A LAWYER SHALL REPRESENT HIS CLIENT WITH ZEAL


WITHIN THE BOUNDS OF THE LAW.
Rule 19.01 - A lawyer shall employ only fair and honest
means to attain the lawful objectives of his client and shall
not present, participate in presenting or threaten to present
unfounded criminal charges to obtain an improper
advantage in any case or proceeding.
Rule 19.02 - A lawyer who has received information that his
client has, in the course of the representation, perpetrated a
fraud upon a person or tribunal, shall promptly call upon the
client to rectify the same, and failing which he shall
terminate the relationship with such client in accordance with
the Rules of Court.
Rule 19.03 - A lawyer shall not allow his client to dictate the
procedure in handling the case.

CANON 20 - A LAWYER SHALL CHARGE ONLY FAIR AND


REASONABLE FEES.
Rule 20.01 - A lawyer shall be guided by the following
factors in determining his fees:
(a) the time spent and the extent of the
service rendered or required;
(b) the novelty and difficulty of the
questions involved;
(c) The importance of the subject matter;
(d) The skill demanded;
(e) The probability of losing other
employment as a result of acceptance of the
proffered case;
(f) The customary charges for similar
services and the schedule of fees of the IBP
chapter to which he belongs;

(a) When authorized by the client after


acquainting him of the consequences of the
disclosure;
(b) When required by law;
(c) When necessary to collect his fees or to
defend himself, his employees or associates
or by judicial action.
Rule 21.02 - A lawyer shall not, to the disadvantage of his
client, use information acquired in the course of employment,
nor shall he use the same to his own advantage or that of a
third person, unless the client with full knowledge of the
circumstances consents thereto.
Rule 21.03 - A lawyer shall not, without the written consent of
his client, give information from his files to an outside agency
seeking such information for auditing, statistical,
bookkeeping, accounting, data processing, or any similar
purpose.
Rule 21.04 - A lawyer may disclose the affairs of a client of
the firm to partners or associates thereof unless prohibited by
the client.
Rule 21.05 - A lawyer shall adopt such measures as may be
required to prevent those whose services are utilized by him,
from disclosing or using confidences or secrets of the clients.
Rule 21.06 - A lawyer shall avoid indiscreet conversation
about a client's affairs even with members of his family.
Rule 21.07 - A lawyer shall not reveal that he has been
consulted about a particular case except to avoid possible
conflict of interest.

CANON 22 - A LAWYER SHALL WITHDRAW HIS SERVICES ONLY


FOR GOOD CAUSE AND UPON NOTICE APPROPRIATE IN THE
CIRCUMSTANCES.
Rule 22.01 - A lawyer may withdraw his services in any of
the following case:

(g) The amount involved in the controversy


and the benefits resulting to the client from
the service;

(a) When the client pursues an illegal or


immoral course of conduct in connection
with the matter he is handling;

(h) The contingency or certainty of


compensation;

(b) When the client insists that the lawyer


pursue conduct violative of these canons and
rules;

(i) The character of the employment,


whether occasional or established; and
(j) The professional standing of the lawyer.
Rule 20.02 - A lawyer shall, in case of referral, with the
consent of the client, be entitled to a division of fees in
proportion to the work performed and responsibility
assumed.
Rule 20.03 - A lawyer shall not, without the full knowledge
and consent of the client, accept any fee, reward, costs,
commission, interest, rebate or forwarding allowance or other
compensation whatsoever related to his professional
employment from anyone other than the client.
Rule 20.04 - A lawyer shall avoid controversies with clients
concerning his compensation and shall resort to judicial
action only to prevent imposition, injustice or fraud.

CANON 21 - A LAWYER SHALL PRESERVE THE CONFIDENCE AND


SECRETS OF HIS CLIENT EVEN AFTER THE ATTORNEY-CLIENT
RELATION IS TERMINATED.
Rule 21.01 - A lawyer shall not reveal the confidences or
secrets of his client except;

(c) When his inability to work with cocounsel will not promote the best interest of
the client;
(d) When the mental or physical condition of
the lawyer renders it difficult for him to carry
out the employment effectively;
(e) When the client deliberately fails to pay
the fees for the services or fails to comply
with the retainer agreement;
(f) When the lawyer is elected or appointed
to public office; and
(g) Other similar cases.
Rule 22.02 - A lawyer who withdraws or is discharged shall,
subject to a retainer lien, immediately turn over all papers and
property to which the client is entitled, and shall cooperative
with his successor in the orderly transfer of the matter,
including all information necessary for the proper handling of
the matter.