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G.R. No. 184109
February 1, 2012
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The case
Petitioner Celerino E. Mercado appeals the Decision[1] dated April 28, 2008 and
Resolution[2] dated July 22, 2008 of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G.R. CV No. 87480. The CA
dismissed petitioners complaint[3] for recovery of possession, quieting of title, partial
declaration of nullity of deeds and documents, and damages, on the ground of prescription.
The antecedent facts
Doroteo Espinocilla owned a parcel of land, Lot No. 552, with an area of 570 sq. m., located
at Magsaysay Avenue, Zone 5, Bulan, Sorsogon. After he died, his five children, Salvacion,
Aspren, Isabel, Macario, and Dionisia divided Lot No. 552 equally among themselves. Later,
Dionisia died without issue ahead of her four siblings, and Macario took possession of Dionisias
share. In an affidavit of transfer of real property[4] dated November 1, 1948, Macario claimed
that Dionisia had donated her share to him in May 1945.
Thereafter, on August 9, 1977, Macario and his daughters Betty Gullaba and Saida Gabelo
sold[5] 225 sq. m. to his son Roger Espinocilla, husband of respondent Belen Espinocilla and
father of respondent Ferdinand Espinocilla. On March 8, 1985, Roger Espinocilla sold[6] 114 sq.
m. to Caridad Atienza. Per actual survey of Lot No. 552, respondent Belen Espinocilla occupies
109 sq. m., Caridad Atienza occupies 120 sq. m., Caroline Yu occupies 209 sq. m., and petitioner,
Salvacion's son, occupies 132 sq. m.[7]
The case for petitioner
Petitioner sued the respondents to recover two portions: an area of 28.5[8] sq. m. which he
bought from Aspren and another 28.5 sq. m. which allegedly belonged to him but was occupied
by Macarios house.[9] His claim has since been modified to an alleged encroachment of only 39

sq. m. that he claims must be returned to him. He avers that he is entitled to own and possess
171 sq. m. of Lot No. 552, having inherited 142.5 sq. m. from his mother Salvacion and bought
28.5 sq. m. from his aunt Aspren. According to him, his mothers inheritance is 142.5 sq. m., that
is, 114 sq. m. from Doroteo plus 28.5 sq. m. from Dionisia. Since the area he occupies is only
132 sq. m.,[10] he claims that respondents encroach on his share by 39 sq. m.[11]
The case for respondents
Respondents agree that Doroteos five children each inherited 114 sq. m. of Lot No. 552.
However, Macarios share increased when he received Dionisias share. Macarios increased
share was then sold to his son Roger, respondents husband and father. Respondents claim that
they rightfully possess the land they occupy by virtue of acquisitive prescription and that there is
no basis for petitioners claim of encroachment.[12]
The trial courts decision
On May 15, 2006, the Regional Trial Court (RTC) ruled in favor of petitioner and held that he
is entitled to 171 sq. m. The RTC found that petitioner inherited 142.5 sq. m. from his mother
Salvacion and bought 28.5 sq. m. from his aunt Aspren. The RTC computed that Salvacion,
Aspren, Isabel and Macario each inherited 142.5 sq. m. of Lot No. 552. Each inherited 114 sq. m.
from Doroteo and 28.5 sq. m. from Dionisia. The RTC further ruled that Macario was not entitled
to 228 sq. m. Thus, respondents must return 39 sq. m. to petitioner who occupies only 132 sq.
There being no public document to prove Dionisias donation, the RTC also held that
Macarios 1948 affidavit is void and is an invalid repudiation of the shares of his sisters Salvacion,
Aspren, and Isabel in Dionisias share. Accordingly, Macario cannot acquire said shares by
prescription. The RTC further held that the oral partition of Lot No. 552 by Doroteos heirs did not
include Dionisias share and that partition should have been the main action. Thus, the RTC
ordered partition and deferred the transfer of possession of the 39 sq. m. pending partition.[14]
The dispositive portion of the RTC decision reads:
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing premises, the court issues the following ORDER, thus a) Partially declaring the nullity of the Deed of Absolute Sale of Property dated August 9, 1977 x
x x executed by Macario Espinocilla, Betty E. Gullaba and Saida E. Gabelo in favor of Roger
Espinocilla, insofar as it affects the portion or the share belonging to Salvacion Espinocilla,
mother of [petitioner,] relative to the property left by Dionisia Espinocilla, including [Tax
Declaration] No. 13667 and other documents of the same nature and character which emanated
from the said sale;
b) To leave as is the Deeds of Absolute Sale of May 11, 1983 and March 8, 1985, it having been
determined that they did not involve the portion belonging to [petitioner] x x x.
c) To effect an effective and real partition among the heirs for purposes of determining the
exact location of the share (114 sq. m.) of the late Dionisia Espinocilla together with the 28.5 sq.
m. belonging to [petitioners] mother Salvacion, as well as, the exact location of the 39 sq. m.
portion belonging to the [petitioner] being encroached by the [respondents], with the assistance
of the Commissioner (Engr. Fundano) appointed by this court.
d) To hold in abeyance the transfer of possession of the 39 sq. m. portion to the [petitioner]
pending the completion of the real partition above-mentioned.[15]
The CA decision
On appeal, the CA reversed the RTC decision and dismissed petitioners complaint on the ground
that extraordinary acquisitive prescription has already set in in favor of respondents. The CA
found that Doroteos four remaining children made an oral partition of Lot No. 552 after
Dionisias death in 1945 and occupied specific portions. The oral partition terminated the coownership of Lot No. 552 in 1945. Said partition also included Dionisias share because the lot
was divided into four parts only. And since petitioners complaint was filed only on July 13, 2000,
the CA concluded that prescription has set in.[16] The CA disposed the appeal as follows:

WHEREFORE, the appeal is GRANTED. The assailed May 15, 2006 Decision of the Regional
Trial Court (RTC) of Bulan, Sorsogon is hereby REVERSED and SET ASIDE. The Complaint of the
[petitioner] is hereby DISMISSED. No costs.[17]

The instant petition

The core issue to be resolved is whether petitioners action to recover the subject portion is
barred by prescription.
Petitioner confirms oral partition of Lot No. 552 by Doroteo's heirs, but claims that his share
increased from 114 sq. m. to 171 sq. m. and that respondents encroached on his share by 39 sq.
m. Since an oral partition is valid, the corresponding survey ordered by the RTC to identify the
39 sq. m. that must be returned to him could be made.[18] Petitioner also alleges that Macario
committed fraud in acquiring his share; hence, any evidence adduced by him to justify such
acquisition is inadmissible. Petitioner concludes that if a person obtains legal title to property by
fraud or concealment, courts of equity will impress upon the title a so-called constructive trust in
favor of the defrauded party.[19]
The Courts ruling
We affirm the CA ruling dismissing petitioners complaint on the ground of prescription.
Prescription, as a mode of acquiring ownership and other real rights over immovable
property, is concerned with lapse of time in the manner and under conditions laid down by law,
namely, that the possession should be in the concept of an owner, public, peaceful,
uninterrupted, and adverse. Acquisitive prescription of real rights may be ordinary or
extraordinary. Ordinary acquisitive prescription requires possession in good faith and with just
title for 10 years. In extraordinary prescription, ownership and other real rights over immovable
property are acquired through uninterrupted adverse possession for 30 years without need of
title or of good faith.[20]
Here, petitioner himself admits the adverse nature of respondents possession with his
assertion that Macarios fraudulent acquisition of Dionisias share created a constructive trust. In
a constructive trust, there is neither a promise nor any fiduciary relation to speak of and the socalled trustee (Macario) neither accepts any trust nor intends holding the property for the
beneficiary (Salvacion, Aspren, Isabel). The relation of trustee and cestui que trust does not in
fact exist, and the holding of a constructive trust is for the trustee himself, and therefore, at all
times adverse.[21] Prescription may supervene even if the trustee does not repudiate the
Then, too, respondents uninterrupted adverse possession for 55 years of 109 sq. m. of Lot
No. 552 was established. Macario occupied Dionisias share in 1945 although his claim that
Dionisia donated it to him in 1945 was only made in a 1948 affidavit. We also agree with the CA
that Macarios possession of Dionisias share was public and adverse since his other co-owners,
his three other sisters, also occupied portions of Lot No. 552. Indeed, the 1977 sale made by
Macario and his two daughters in favor of his son Roger confirms the adverse nature of Macarios
possession because said sale of 225 sq. m.[23] was an act of ownership over Macarios original
share and Dionisias share. In 1985, Roger also exercised an act of ownership when he sold 114
sq. m. to Caridad Atienza. It was only in the year 2000, upon receipt of the summons to answer
petitioners complaint, that respondents peaceful possession of the remaining portion (109 sq.
m.) was interrupted. By then, however, extraordinary acquisitive prescription has already set in
in favor of respondents. That the RTC found Macarios 1948 affidavit void is of no moment.
Extraordinary prescription is unconcerned with Macarios title or good faith. Accordingly, the RTC
erred in ruling that Macario cannot acquire by prescription the shares of Salvacion, Aspren, and
Isabel, in Dionisias 114-sq. m. share from Lot No. 552.
Moreover, the CA correctly dismissed petitioners complaint as an action for reconveyance
based on an implied or constructive trust prescribes in 10 years from the time the right of action
accrues.[24] This is the other kind of prescription under the Civil Code, called extinctive
prescription, where rights and actions are lost by the lapse of time.[25] Petitioners action for

recovery of possession having been filed 55 years after Macario occupied Dionisias share, it is
also barred by extinctive prescription. The CA while condemning Macarios fraudulent act of
depriving his three sisters of their shares in Dionisias share, equally emphasized the fact that
Macarios sisters wasted their opportunity to question his acts.
WHEREFORE, we DENY the petition for review on certiorari for lack of merit and AFFIRM the
assailed Decision dated April 28, 2008 and Resolution dated July 22, 2008 of the Court of Appeals
in CA-G.R. CV No. 87480.
No pronouncement as to costs.

60 SCRA 234 Legal Ethics Lawyers Duty to the Courts Contemptuous Language
Jorge Montecillo was accused by Francisco Gica of slander. Atty. Quirico del Mar represented
Montecillo and he successfully defended Monteceillo in the lower court. Del Mar was even able to
win their counterclaim thus the lower court ordered Gica to pay Montecillo the adjudged moral
Gica appealed the award of damages to the Court of Appeals where the latter court reversed the
same. Atty. Del Mar then filed a motion for reconsideration where he made a veiled threat
against the Court of Appeals judges intimating that he thinks the CA justices knowingly
rendered an unjust decision and judgment has been rendered through negligence and that the
CA allowed itself to be deceived.
The CA denied the MFR and it admonished Atty. Del Mar from using such tone with the court. Del
Mar then filed a second MFR where he again made threats. The CA then ordered del Mar to show
cause as to why he should not be punished for contempt.
Thereafter, del Mar sent the three CA justices a copy of a letter which he sent to the President of
the Philippines asking the said justices to consider the CA judgment. But the CA did not reverse
its judgment. Del Mar then filed a civil case against the three justices of the CA before a Cebu
lower court but the civil case was eventually dismissed by reason of a compromise agreement
where del Mar agreed to pay damages to the justices. Eventually, the CA suspended Atty. Del
Mar from practice.
The issue reached the Supreme Court. Del Mar asked the SC to reverse his suspension as well as
the CA decision as to the Montecillo case. The SC denied both and this earned the ire of del Mar
as he demanded from the Clerk of the Supreme Court as to who were the judges who voted
against him.
The Supreme Court then directed del Mar to submit an explanation as to why he should not be
disciplined. Del Mar in his explanation instead tried to justify his actions even stating that had he
not been convinced that human efforts in [pursuing the case] will be fruitless he would have
continued with the civil case against the CA justices. In his explanation, del Mar also intimated
that even the Supreme Court is part among the corrupt, the grafters and those allegedly
committing injustice.
Del Mar even filed a civil case against some Supreme Court justices but the judge who handled
the case dismissed the same.
ISSUE: Whether or not Atty. Del Mar should be suspended.
HELD: Yes. Atty. Del Mar, by his contemptuous acts is in violation of his duties to the courts. As an
officer of the court, it is his sworn and moral duty to help build and not destroy unnecessarily the
high esteem and regard towards the court so essential to the proper administration of justice.
It is manifest that del Mar has scant respect for the two highest Courts of the land when on the
flimsy ground of alleged error in deciding a case, he proceeded to challenge the integrity of both
Courts by claiming that they knowingly rendered unjust judgment. In short, his allegation is that

they acted with intent and malice, if not with gross ignorance of the law, in disposing of the case
of his client.
Del Mar was then suspended indefinitely.

Clarita J. Samala vs. Atty. Luciano D. Valencia

A.C. No. 5439; January 22, 2007
Austria-Martinez, J.
Clarita J. Samala (complainant) filed a complaint against Atty. Luciano D. Valencia (respondent)
for Disbarment on the following grounds:

serving on two separate occasions as counsel for contending parties;


knowingly misleading the court by submitting false documentary evidence;


initiating numerous cases in exchange for non-payment of rental fees; and


having a reputation of being immoral by siring illegitimate children.

After respondent filed his Comment, the Court referred the case to the IBP for investigation,
report, and recommendation.
After a series of hearings, the parties filed their respective memoranda and the case was
deemed submitted for resolution.
The Commissioner found respondent guilty of violating Canons 15 and 21 of the Code of
Professional Responsibility and recommended the penalty of suspension for six months.
The IBP Board of Governors adopted and approved the report and recommendation of
Commissioner Reyes but increased the penalty of suspension from six months to one year.
Whether or not the respondent violated Canons 15 and 21 of the Code of Professional
This Court adopts the report of the IBP Board of Governors except as to the issue on immorality
and as to the recommended penalty.
(a) On serving as counsel for contending parties.

Respondent, while being the counsel for defendant Valdez, also acted as counsel for the tenants
Lagmay, Valencia, Bustamante and Bayuga by filing an Explanation and Compliance before the
The Presiding Judge warned respondent to refrain from repeating the act of being counsel of
record of both parties in Civil Case No. 95-105-MK.
Rule 15.03, Canon 15 of the Code of Professional Responsibility provides that a lawyer shall not
represent conflicting interests except by written consent of all concerned given after a full
disclosure of the facts.
A lawyer may not, without being guilty of professional misconduct, act as counsel for a person
whose interest conflicts with that of his present or former client. He may not also undertake to
discharge conflicting duties any more than he may represent antagonistic interests. This stern
rule is founded on the principles of public policy and good taste. It springs from the relation of
attorney and client which is one of trust and confidence. Lawyers are expected not only to keep
inviolate the client's confidence, but also to avoid the appearance of treachery and doubledealing for only then can litigants be encouraged to entrust their secrets to their lawyers, which
is of paramount importance in the administration of justice.
One of the tests of inconsistency of interests is whether the acceptance of a new relation would
prevent the full discharge of the lawyer's duty of undivided fidelity and loyalty to the client or
invite suspicion of unfaithfulness or double-dealing in the performance of that duty.
(b) On knowingly misleading the court by submitting false documentary evidence.
Complainant alleges that in Civil Case No. 00-7137 filed before MTC, Branch 75 for ejectment,
respondent submitted TCT No. 273020 as evidence of Valdez's ownership despite the fact that a
new TCT No. 275500 was already issued in the name of Alba on February 2, 1995.
During the hearing before Commissioner Raval, respondent avers that when the Answer was filed
in the said case, that was the time that he came to know that the title was already in the name
of Alba; so that when the court dismissed the complaint, he did not do anything anymore.
Respondent further avers that Valdez did not tell him the truth and things were revealed to him
only when the case for rescission was filed in 2002.
Respondent failed to comply with Canon 10 of the Code of Professional Responsibility which
provides that a lawyer shall not do any falsehood, nor consent to the doing of any in court; nor
shall he mislead, or allow the Court to be mislead by any artifice. It matters not that the trial
court was not misled by respondent's submission of TCT No. 273020 in the name of Valdez, as
shown by its decision dated January 8, 2002 dismissing the complaint for ejectment. What is
decisive in this case is respondent's intent in trying to mislead the court by presenting TCT No.
273020 despite the fact that said title was already cancelled and a new one, TCT No. 275500,
was already issued in the name of Alba.
(c) On initiating numerous cases in exchange for nonpayment of rental fees.
Complainant alleged that respondent filed the following cases: (a) Civil Case No. 2000-657-MK at
the RTC, Branch 272; (b) Civil Case No. 00-7137 at the MTC, Branch 75; and (c) I.S. Nos. 00-4439
and 01-036162 both entitled "Valencia v. Samala" for estafa and grave coercion, respectively,
before the Marikina City Prosecutor. Complainant claims that the two criminal cases were filed in
retaliation for the cases she filed against Lagmay docketed as I.S. No. 00-4306 for estafa and I.S.
No. 00-4318 against Alvin Valencia (son of respondent) for trespass to dwelling.
As culled from the records, Valdez entered into a retainer agreement with respondent. As
payment for his services, he was allowed to occupy the property for free and utilize the same as
his office pursuant to their retainer agreement.
The Court finds the charge to be without sufficient basis. The act of respondent of filing the
aforecited cases to protect the interest of his client, on one hand, and his own interest, on the
other, cannot be made the basis of an administrative charge unless it can be clearly shown that
the same was being done to abuse judicial processes to commit injustice.

The filing of an administrative case against respondent for protecting the interest of his client
and his own right would be putting a burden on a practicing lawyer who is obligated to defend
and prosecute the right of his client.
(d) On having a reputation for being immoral by siring illegitimate children.
The Court finds respondent liable for being immoral by siring illegitimate children.
During the hearing, respondent admitted that he sired three children by Teresita Lagmay who are
all over 20 years of age, while his first wife was still alive. He also admitted that he has eight
children by his first wife, the youngest of whom is over 20 years of age, and after his wife died in
1997, he married Lagmay in 1998. Respondent further admitted that Lagmay was staying in one
of the apartments being claimed by complainant. However, he does not consider his affair with
Lagmay as a relationship and does not consider the latter as his second family. He reasoned that
he was not staying with Lagmay because he has two houses, one in Muntinlupa and another in
Under Canon 1, Rule 1.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, a lawyer shall not engage in
unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct. It may be difficult to specify the degree of
moral delinquency that may qualify an act as immoral, yet, for purposes of disciplining a lawyer,
immoral conduct has been defined as that "conduct which is willful, flagrant, or shameless, and
which shows a moral indifference to the opinion of respectable members of the community.
ACCORDINGLY, the Court finds respondent Atty. Luciano D. Valencia GUILTY of misconduct and
violation of Canons 21, 10 and 1 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. He is SUSPENDED
from the practice of law for three (3) years, effective immediately upon receipt of herein

Lee vs Tambago, 544 SCRA 393, February 12, 2008

Facts: Complainant, Manuel L. Lee, charged respondent, Atty. Regino B. Tambago, with violation
of Notarial Law and the Ethics of the legal profession for notarizing a will that is alleged to be
spurious in nature in containing forged signatures of his father, the decedent, Vicente Lee Sr. and
two other witnesses, which were also questioned for the unnotated Residence Certificates that
are known to be a copy of their respective voter's affidavit. In addition to such, the contested will
was executed and acknowledged before respondent on June 30, 1965 but bears a Residence
Certificate by the Testator dated January 5, 1962, which was never submitted for filing to the
Archives Division of the Records Management and Archives Office of the National Commission for
Culture and Arts (NCAA). Respondent, on the other hand, claimed that all allegations are falsely
given because he allegedly exercised his duties as Notary Public with due care and with due
regards to the provision of existing law and had complied with elementary formalities in the
performance of his duties and that the complaint was filed simply to harass him based on the
result of a criminal case against him in the Ombudsman that did not prosper. However, he did
not deny the contention of non-filing a copy to the Archives Division of NCAA. In resolution, the
court referred the case to the IBP and the decision of which was affirmed with modification
against the respondent and in favor of the complainant.
Issue: Did Atty. Regino B. Tambago commit a violation in Notarial Law and the Ethics
of Legal Profession for notarizing a spurious last will and testament?
Held: Yes. As per Supreme Court, Atty. Regino B. Tambago is guilty of professional misconduct as
he violated the Lawyer's Oath, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court, Canon 1 and Rule 1.01 of the Code
of Professional Responsibility, Article 806 of the Civil Code and provision of the Notarial Law.
Thus, Atty. Tambago is suspended from the practice of law for one year and his Notarial
commission revoked. In addition, because he has not lived up to the trustworthiness expected of

him as a notary public and as an officer of the court, he is perpetually disqualified from
reappointments as a Notary Public.
Felicidad L. Oronce, et al. v. Court of Appeals, et. al. (298 SCRA 133)
Gross Misconduct
Facts: During a dispute over land, Flaminiano illegally took possession of the property in litigation
using abusive methods. She was aided by her husband, a lawyer. The illegal entry took place
while the case was pending in the CA & while a writ of preliminary injunction was in force.
Held: Atty. Flaminianos acts of entering the property without the consent of its occupants & in
contravention of the existing writ or preliminary injunction & making utterances showing
disrespect for the law & this Court, are unbecoming of a member of the Bar. Although he says
that they peacefully took over the property, such peaceful take-over cannot justify defiance
of the writ of preliminary injunction that he knew was still in force. Through his acts, he has
flouted his duties as a member of the legal profession. Under the Code of Professional
Responsibility, he is prohibited from counseling or abetting activities aimed at defiance of the
law or at lessening confidence in the legal system.
This is a case filed by a son against his father
Father employed Son as farm administrator of Hacienda Manucao
Son suffered various ailments and was hospitalized on 2 separate occasions, June and August
Father took care of medical expenses while son continued to receive compensation
However, in April 1984, Father ceased to pay Sons salary
Son filed an action in NLRC for illegal dismissal with prayer for reinstatement without loss of
seniority rights and
payment of full back wages
NLRC dismissed case stating that Son has abandoned his work and termination is for a valid
cause though ordered Father to pay P5,000 as penalty for failure to serve notice of said
termination to son


Article 282 of Labor Code enumerates causes for which an employer may valid terminate an
Father banks on the fact that Son has abandoned his work
However, to constitute abandonment there must be a clear, deliberate and justified refusal to
resume employment
and not mere absence
In the case at bar, the reason for the Sons absence was due to his illness of which Father
was aware of since he
paid hospital and medical bills

Father is ordered to pay Son back wages in lieu of reinstatement and separation pay
equivalent to 1 month for
every year of service

Rule 1.04 of the Code of Responsibility explicitly provides a lawyer shall encourage his client
to avoid, end or settle
the controversy if it will admit of a fair settlement
In the case at bar, records do not show that counsel of both parties took pains to initiate steps
geared toward a
rapprochment between their clients
In the same manner, the labor arbiter has been less than faithful to the spirit of the Labor
Code as he did not exert
all efforts towards the amicable settlement of the labor dispute

Gloria Pajares vs. Judge Estrella Abad Santos, Municipal Court of Manila and Udharam
Bazar Co. (30 SCRA 748, 1969)
Appellant Pajares was engaged in the business of buying and selling merchandise at her stall and
appelle Udharam Bazar & Co. was one of her creditors from whom she used to buy on credit
ready-made goods for resale.
Consequently, the company sued Pajares for the recovery of a certain sum of money for the
goods delivered to her in good condition (the same having been sold), but did not make the full
payment. Pajares, however, moved for a bill of particulars, alleging that without which she would
not be able to meet the issues raised in the complaint. Such having been denied, appellant
moved for a motion for reconsideration. The same was also denied and clogged the court for
seven years.
Whether or not there has been a faithful adherence (on the part of Pajares lawyer) to
Rule 7, section 5 of the Rules of Court.
No, there was no faithful adhererence.
Clearly, there must be faithful adherence to Rule 7, section 5 of the Rules of Court which provides
that the signature of an attorney constitutes a certificate by him that he has read the pleading
and that to the best of his knowledge, information and belief, there is good ground to support it;
and that it is not interposed for delay and expressly admonishes that for a willful violation of this
rule an attorney may be subjected to disciplinary action.
Had appellant been but prudently advised by her counsel to confess judgment and ask from her
creditor the reasonable time she needed to discharge her lawful indebtedness, the expenses of

litigation that she has incurred would have been more than sufficient to pay off her just debt to

Legal Ethics 5 SCRA 661 Conditional Pardon will not bar disbarment
Attorney Gutierrez was convicted for the murder of one Filemon Samaco in 1956. He was sentenced to the penalty
of reclusion perpetua. In 1958, after serving a portion of the penalty, he was granted a conditional pardon by the
President. He was released on the condition that he shall not commit any crime. Subsequently, the widow of
Samaco filed a disbarment case against Gutierrez by reason of the latters conviction of a crime involving moral
turpitude. Murder, is without a doubt, such a crime.
ISSUE: Whether or not Gutierrez may be disbarred considering the fact that he was granted pardon.
HELD: Yes. The pardon granted to Gutierrez is not absolute but conditional. It merely remitted his sentence. It does
not reach the offense itself. Gutierrez must be judged upon the fact of his conviction for murder without regard to the
pardon (which he invoked in defense). The crime was actually qualified by treachery and aggravated by its having
been committed in hand, by taking advantage of his official position (Gutierrez being municipal mayor at the time)
and with the use of motor vehicle. The degree of moral turpitude involved is such as to justify his being purged from
the profession.


A.C. No. 8391, 23 November 2010, EN BANC (Per Curiam)
Atty. Fred Gutierrez asked for a cash loan of P30,000.00 from Manuel Yuhico. Gutierrez then
claimed that he needed money to pay for the medical expenses of his mother who was seriously
ill. Yuhico immediately handed the money. In turn, Gutierrez promised to pay the loan very soon,
since he was expecting to collect his attorney's fees from a Japanese client.
Gutierrez again asked Yuhico for a loan, in the amount of P60,000.00, allegedly to pay the
medical expenses of his wife who was also hospitalized. Again, Yuhico readily issued to Gutierrez
a check amounting to P60,000.00. Again, Gutierrez promised to pay his two loans totalling to
P90,000.00 "within a short time."
Yuhico asked Gutierrez to pay his loans. Gutierrez failed to pay and in a text message he asked
for an extension of time to pay. Later, thru a text message, Gutierrez attempted to borrow money
from Yuhico again. Gutierrez claimed that his daughter needed P70,000.00 to pay the fees
required to take the licensure examination in the U.S. Medical Board. Gutierrez assured him that
he will pay all his debts within a month. However, this time, Yuhico refused to lend Gutierrez any
amount of money. Instead, he demanded from Gutierrez the payment of his debts.
Gutierrez then sent another text message to Yuhico and requested him to give him another week
to pay his debts. Gutierrez failed to make the payment. Yuhico's counsel sent a demand letter to
Gutierrez to pay his debts, but to no avail. Thus, Yuhico filed the instant complaint against
Gutierrez before the Integrated Bar of the Philippines-Commission on Bar Discipline (IBP-CBD).
On January 12, 2006, the IBP-CBD directed Gutierrez to submit his Answer on the complaint
against him. In a Resolution, IBP-CBD found Gutierrez guilty of non-payment of just debts and
ordered him to return the amount of P90,000.00 to Yuhico, with interest until full payment.

ISSUE: Whether or not Gutierrez guilty of non-payment of just debts and likewise guilty of gross
Lawyers must, at all times, faithfully perform their duties to society, to the bar, the
courts and to their clients, which include prompt payment of financial obligations
Deliberate failure to pay just debts constitutes gross misconduct, for which a lawyer may be
sanctioned with suspension from the practice of law. Lawyers are instruments for the
administration of justice and vanguards of our legal system. They are expected to maintain not

only legal proficiency, but also a high standard of morality, honesty, integrity and fair dealing so
that the peoples faith and confidence in the judicial system is ensured. They must, at all times,
faithfully perform their duties to society, to the bar, the courts and to their clients, which include
prompt payment of financial obligations. They must conduct themselves in a manner that
reflects the values and norms of the legal profession as embodied in the Code of Professional
In the instant case, there is no question as to Gutierrez's guilt. His admission of the loan he
contracted and his failure to pay the same leaves no room for interpretation. Neither can he
justify his act of non-payment of debt by his dire financial condition. Gutierrez should not have
contracted loans which are beyond his financial capacity to pay.
Likewise, it cannot be overlooked Gutierrez's propensity of employing deceit and
misrepresentations for the purpose of obtaining debts without the intention of paying them.
Records show Gutierrez's pattern of habitually making promises of paying his debts, yet
repeatedly failing to deliver. The series of text messages he sent to Yuhico promising to pay his
loans, while simultaneously giving excuses without actually making good of his promises, is
clearly reprehensible. Undoubtedly, his acts demonstrate lack of moral character to satisfy the
responsibilities and duties imposed on lawyers as professionals and as officers of the court.
Supreme Court also noted that in Huyssen v. Atty. Gutierrez, the Court had already disbarred
Gutierrez from the practice of law for gross misconduct due to non-payment of just debts and
issuance of bouncing checks. In view of the foregoing, while the court agrees with the findings of
the IBP, it cannot, however, adopt its recommendation to disbar Gutierrez for the second time,
considering that Gutierrez had already been previously disbarred. Indeed, as the IBP pointed out,
the court does not have double or multiple disbarments in its laws or jurisprudence. Neither do it
have a law mandating a minimum 5-year requirement for readmission, as cited by the IBP. Thus,
while Gutierrez's infraction calls for the penalty of disbarment, court cannot disbar him anew.