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Ui vs.

Bonifacio
Post under case digests, Legal Ethics at Thursday, March 01, 2012 Posted
by Schizophrenic Mind
Facts: Lesli Ui filed an administrative complaint for disbarment against Atty. Iris Bonifacio
on the ground of immorality, for allegedly carrying an immoral relationship with Carlos Ui,
her (Lesli) husband.
In the proceeding before the IBP Commission on Bar Discipline, Iris attached a photocopy
of a marriage certificate that said that she andCarlos got married in 1985 but according
to the certificate of marriage obtained from the Hawaii State Department of Health, they
were married in 1987.
Issue: Whether or not Atty. Iris Bonifacio conducted herself in an immoral manner for
which she deserves to be barred from the practice of law.
Held: NO. The practice of law is a privilege. The bar candidate does not have the right to
enjoy the practice of the legal profession simply by passing the bar, he must also have a
continued possession of good moral character. A lawyer may be disbarred for grossly
immoral conduct , which has been defined as the conduct which is willful, flagrant, or
shameless, and which shows a moral indifference to the good and respectable members
of the community. Lawyers, as keepers of public faith, are burdened with a higher degree
of social responsibility and thus must handle their personal affairs with great caution.
Iris Bonifacio was imprudent in managing her personal affairs. However the fact remains
that her relationship with Carlos, clothed as it was with what she believed as a valid
marriage, cannot be considered immoral. Immorality connotes conduct that shows
indifference to the moral norms of society and the opinion of good and respectable
members of the community. For such conduct to warrant disciplinary action, it must be
grossly immoral, it must be so corrupt and false as to constitute a criminal act or
unprincipled as to be reprehensible to a high degree.
A lawyer is not only required to refrain from adulterous relationships but must also behave
himself as to avoid scandalizing the public by creating the belief that he is flouting those
moral standards. Her act of distancing herself on her discovery that Carlos was married

proves that she had no intention of flaunting the law and the high moral standard of the
legal profession.
On the matter of the falsified marriage certificate, it is contrary to human experience and
highly improbable that she did not know the year of her marriage or she failed to check
that the information on the document she attached to her Answer were correct. Lawyers
are called upon to safeguard the integrity of the Bar, free from misdeeds and acts of
malpractice.
IN RE CUNANAN (CASE DIGEST)
Standard
IN RE CUNANAN

94 PHIL. 534

FACTS:

Congress passed Rep. Act No. 972, or what is known as the Bar Flunkers Act, in 1952.
The title of the law was, An Act to Fix the Passing Marks for Bar Examinations from 1946
up to and including 1955.

Section 1 provided the following passing marks:

1946-195170%

1952 .71%

1953..72%

1954..73%

1955..74%

Provided however, that the examinee shall have no grade lower than 50%.

Section 2 of the Act provided that A bar candidate who obtained a grade of 75% in any
subject shall be deemed to have already passed that subject and the grade/grades shall
be included in the computation of the general average in subsequent bar examinations.

ISSUE:

Whether of not, R.A. No. 972 is constitutional.

RULING:

Section 2 was declared unconstitutional due to the fatal defect of not being embraced in
the title of the Act. As per its title, the Act should affect only the bar flunkers of 1946 to
1955 Bar examinations. Section2 establishes a permanent system for an indefinite time.
It was also struck down for allowing partial passing, thus failing to take account of the fact
that laws and jurisprudence are not stationary.

As to Section1, the portion for 1946-1951 was declared unconstitutional, while that for
1953 to 1955 was declared in force and effect. The portion that was stricken down was
based under the following reasons:

The law itself admits that the candidates for admission who flunked the bar from 1946 to
1952 had inadequate preparation due to the fact that this was very close to the end of
World War II;
The law is, in effect, a judgment revoking the resolution of the court on the petitions of the
said candidates;

The law is an encroachment on the Courts primary prerogative to determine who may be
admitted to practice of law and, therefore, in excess of legislative power to repeal, alter
and supplement the Rules of Court. The rules laid down by Congress under this power
are only minimum norms, not designed to substitute the judgment of the court on who can
practice law; and
The pretended classification is arbitrary and amounts to class legislation.
As to the portion declared in force and effect, the Court could not muster enough votes to
declare it void. Moreover, the law was passed in 1952, to take effect in 1953. Hence, it
will not revoke existing Supreme Court resolutions denying admission to the bar of an
petitioner. The same may also rationally fall within the power to Congress to alter,
supplement or modify rules of admission to the practice of law.

Bar Matter 1154 Meling 2004


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of
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IN THE MATTER OF THE DISQUALIFICATION OF BAR EXAMINEE HARON S. MELING IN THE
2002 BAR EXAMINATIONS AND
FOR DISCIPLINARY ACTION AS MEMBER OF THE PHILIPPINE SHARIA BAR, ATTY.
FROILAN R. MELENDREZ,
petitioner.1.
The Court is here confronted with a
Petition
that seeks twin reliefs, one of which is ripe while the other has been renderedmoot by a
supervening event.2.
On October 14, 2002, Atty. Froilan R. Melendrez (Melendrez) filed with the Office of the
Bar Confidant (OBC) a
Petition
todisqualify Haron S. Meling (Meling) from taking the 2002 Bar Examinations and to
impose on him the appropriate disciplinary
penalty as a member of the Philippine Sharia Bar.
3.
Melendrez alleges that Meling did not disclose in his Petition to take the 2002 Bar
Examinations that he has three (3) pendingcriminal cases before the Municipal Trial
Court in Cities (MTCC), Cotabato City, namely: Criminal Cases Noa. 15685 and15686,
both for Grave Oral Defamation, and Criminal Case No. 15687 for Less Serious
Physical Injuries.4.
The above-mentioned cases arose from an incident which occurred on May 21, 2001,
when Meling allegedly uttereddefamatory words against Melendrez and his wife in front
of media practitioners and other people. Meling also purportedlyattacked and hit the
face of Mele
ndrez wife causing the injuries to the latter.
5.
Furthermore, Melendrez alleges that Meling has been using the title "Attorney" in his
communications, as Secretary to theMayor of Cotabato City, despite the fact that he is
not a member of the Bar.6.
Meling filed his
Answer
with the OBC.7.

Meling explains that he did not disclose the criminal cases filed against him by
Melendrez because retired Judge CorocoyMoson, their former professor, advised him to
settle his misunderstanding with Melendrez. Believing in good faith Melingconsidered
the three cases that actually arose from a single incident and involving the same parties
as "closed andterminated."8.
Moreover, Meling denies the charges and adds that the acts complained of do not
involve moral turpitude.9.
As regards the use of the title "Attorney," Meling admits that some of his
communications really contained the word "Attorney"as they were, according to him,
typed by the office clerk.10.
OBC disposed of the charge of non-disclosure against Meling in this wise: The reasons
of Meling in not disclosing the criminalcases filed against him in his petition to take the
Bar Examinations are ludicrous. He should have known that only the court ofcompetent
jurisdiction can dismiss cases, not a retired judge nor a law professor.11.
The merit of the cases against Meling is not material in this case. What matters is his
act of concealing them which constitutesdishonesty.12.
As regards Melings use of the title "Attorney", the OBC had this to say:
Anent the issue of the use of the appellation "Attorney"in his letters, the explanation of
Meling is not acceptable.13.
Consequently, the OBC recommended that Meling not be allowed to take the Lawyers
Oath and sign the Roll of Attorneys in
the event that he passes the Bar Examinations. F
urther, it recommended that Melings membership in the Sharia Bar be
suspended until further orders from the Court.14.
We fully concur with the findings and recommendation of the OBC.15.
Meling, however, did not pass the 2003 Bar Examinations. This renders the
Petition,
insofar as it seeks to prevent Meling from
taking the Lawyers Oath and signing the Roll of Attorneys, moot and academic.
Issue: whether or not Meling be disqualified in the examinations for the bar in relation to
the violation of CPR for non-disclosure of hispending criminal casesHeld: YesRatio:1.
The disclosure requirement is imposed by the Court to determine whether there is
satisfactory evidence of good moral
character of the applicant. Melings concealment of the fact that there are three
(3) pending criminal cases against him speaksof his lack of the requisite good moral
character.2.

The
Petition
is granted insofar as it seeks the imposition of appropriate sanctions upon Haron S.
Meling as a member of the
Philippine Sharia Bar.
3.
According
ly, the membership of Haron S. Meling in the Philippine Sharia Bar is hereby
SUSPENDED
until further orders fromthe Court.4.
Insofar as the
Petition
seeks to prevent Haron S. Meling from taking the Lawyers Oath and signing the Roll of
Attorneys as a
member of the Philippine Bar, the same is
DISMISSED
for having become moot and academic.

A.C. No. 6288

June 16, 2006

MARILI C. RONQUILLO, ALEXANDER RONQUILLO and JON ALEXANDER RONQUILLO,


represented by their Attorney-in-Fact SERVILLANO A. CABUNGCAL, Complainants,
vs.
ATTY. HOMOBONO T. CEZAR, Respondent.
DECISION
PUNO, J.:
Complainants seek the disbarment or suspension of respondent from the practice of law for
unlawful, dishonest, immoral and deceitful conduct. They allege that respondent sold them a piece of
property over which he has no right nor interest, and that he refuses to return to them the amount
they have paid him for it.
Complainant Marili C. Ronquillo is a Filipino citizen currently residing in Cannes, France, together
with her minor children, Alexander and Jon Alexander.
In May 1999, complainants and respondent entered into a Deed of Assignment.1 For the price
of P1.5M, respondent transferred, in favor of the complainants, his rights and interests over a
townhouse unit and lot, located at 75 Granwood Villas Subd., BF Homes, Quezon City. Respondent
also obligated himself to deliver to complainants a copy of the Contract to Sell he executed with
Crown Asia, the townhouse developer, dated April 19, 1996. Upon full payment of the purchase
price, respondent further undertook to have Crown Asia execute a Deed of Absolute Sale over the
property in favor of the complainants.
Respondent received from complainants P750,000.00 upon execution of the Deed of Assignment.
The balance was to be paid by complainants in four equal quarterly installments of P187,500.00
each. Thus, complainants issued in favor of respondent four postdated checks in the amount
of P187,500.00 each. Respondent was able to encash the first check dated August 17, 1999.2
Complainants subsequently received information from Crown Asia that respondent has not paid in
full the price of the townhouse at the time he executed the Deed of Assignment. Respondent also
failed to deliver to complainants a copy of the Contract to Sell he allegedly executed with Crown
Asia. For these reasons, complainant Marili Ronquillo ordered the bank to stop payment on the
second check she issued to respondent in the amount of P187,500.00.
On March 6, 2000, complainants, through their counsel, wrote respondent, informing him that they
were still willing to pay the balance of the purchase price of the townhouse on the condition that
respondent work on Crown Asias execution of the Deed of Absolute Sale in their favor. In the
alternative, complainants demanded the return of the amount of P937,500.00, plus legal interest,
within ten days.3 The amount of P937,500.00 represents theP750,000.00 down payment and the first
quarterly installment of P187,500.00 which complainants paid respondent.
In a letter dated May 2, 2000, addressed to complainants,4 respondent claimed that he was "working
now on a private project which hopefully will be realized not long from now," and requested for "a
period of twenty days from May 15, 2000 within which to either completely pay Crown Asia or return
the money at your (complainants) option." The period lapsed but respondent did not make good his
promise to pay Crown Asia in full, or return the amount paid by complainants.

On February 21, 2002, complainants counsel sent respondent a second letter5 demanding the return
of the amount of P937,500.00, including legal interest, for failing to comply with his promise. The
demand was unheeded.
Hence, this administrative complaint6 that respondent engaged in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or
deceitful conduct. Allegedly, respondent violated his oath under Rule 1.01, Canon 1 of the Code of
Professional Responsibility and he ought to be disbarred or suspended from the practice of law.
Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) Investigating Commissioner Milagros V. San Juan, to whom
the instant disciplinary case was assigned for investigation, report and recommendation, found
respondent guilty of dishonest and deceitful conduct proscribed under Rule 1.01, Canon 1 of the
Code of Professional Responsibility. In her Report dated October 9, 2003, she recommended that
respondent be suspended from the practice of law for a period of three (3) years. The IBP Board of
Governors, through Resolution No. XVI-2003-226, dated October 25, 2003, approved the
recommendation of Commissioner San Juan.
We agree.
Under Section 27, Rule 138 of the Revised Rules of Court, a member of the Bar may be disbarred or
suspended on any of the following grounds: (1) deceit; (2) malpractice or other gross misconduct in
office; (3) grossly immoral conduct; (4) conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude; (5) violation
of the lawyers oath; (6) willful disobedience of any lawful order of a superior court; and (7) willfully
appearing as an attorney for a party without authority. Rule 1.01, Canon 1 of the Code of
Professional Responsibility provides that "A lawyer shall not engage
in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct." "Conduct," as used in this rule, does not
refer exclusively to the performance of a lawyers professional duties. This Court has made clear in a
long line of cases7 that a lawyer may be disbarred or suspended for misconduct, whether in his
professional or private capacity, which shows him to be wanting in moral character, honesty, probity
and good demeanor, or unworthy to continue as an officer of the court.
In the instant case, respondent may have acted in his private capacity when he entered into a
contract with complainant Marili representing to have the rights to transfer title over the townhouse
unit and lot in question. When he failed in his undertaking, respondent fell short of his duty under
Rule 1.01, Canon 1 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. It cannot be gainsaid that it was
unlawful for respondent to transfer property over which one has no legal right of ownership.
Respondent was likewise guilty of dishonest and deceitful conduct when he concealed this lack of
right from complainants. He did not inform the complainants that he has not yet paid in full the price
of the subject townhouse unit and lot, and, therefore, he had no right to sell, transfer or assign said
property at the time of the execution of the Deed of Assignment. His acceptance of the bulk of the
purchase price amounting to Nine Hundred Thirty-Seven Thousand Five Hundred Pesos
(P937,500.00), despite knowing he was not entitled to it, made matters worse for him.
Respondents adamant refusal to return to complainant Marili Ronquillo the money she paid him,
which was the fruit of her labor as an Overseas Filipino Worker for ten (10) years, is morally
reprehensible. By his actuations, respondent failed to live up to the strict standard of morality
required by the Code of Professional Responsibility and violated the trust and respect reposed in
him as a member of the Bar, and an officer of the court.
Respondents culpability is therefore clear. He received a letter from complainants counsel
demanding the execution of the Deed of Absolute Sale in favor of the complainants, or, in the
alternative, the return of the money paid by complainants. In reply to said letter, respondent
acknowledged his obligation, and promised to settle the same if given sufficient time, thus:

xxx
I am working now on a private project which hopefully will be realized not long from now but I need a
little time to fix some things over. May I please request for a period of 20 days from May 15, 2000
within which to eithercompletely pay Crown Asia or return the money at your option. (Emphasis
supplied)
In no uncertain terms, respondent admitted not having full ownership over the subject townhouse
unit and lot, as he has yet to completely pay Crown Asia. Respondent even failed to produce the
Contract to Sell he allegedly executed with Crown Asia over the subject unit, which would show the
extent of his right of ownership, if any, over the townhouse unit and lot in question.
To be sure, complainants gave respondent sufficient time to fulfill his obligation. It was only after
almost two years had passed, after respondent promised to pay Crown Asia or return to
complainants the amount they paid him, that complainants sent respondent a second
letter8 demanding solely the return of the amount of P937,500.00, including legal interest. By this
time, it was indubitable that respondent would not be able to perform his end of their agreement.
The practice of law is not a right but a privilege. It is granted only to those of good moral
character.9 The Bar must maintain a high standard of honesty and fair dealing.10 Lawyers must
conduct themselves beyond reproach at all times, whether they are dealing with their clients or the
public at large,11 and a violation of the high moral standards of the legal profession justifies the
imposition of the appropriate penalty, including suspension and disbarment.12
Be that as it may, we cannot grant complainants prayer that respondent be directed to return the
money he received from them in the amount of P937,500.00. Disciplinary proceedings against
lawyers do not involve a trial of an action, but rather investigations by the court into the conduct of
one of its officers. The only question for determination in these proceedings is whether or not the
attorney is still fit to be allowed to continue as a member of the Bar.13 Thus, this Court cannot rule on
the issue of the amount of money that should be returned to the complainants.
IN VIEW WHEREOF, respondent Atty. Homobono T. Cezar is SUSPENDED from the practice of law
for a period of THREE (3) YEARS, effective immediately. Let a copy of this Decision be furnished
the Office of the Bar Confidant, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, and all courts for their
information and guidance.
SO ORDERED.

Bolivar vs. Simbol


[A.C. No. 377 April 29, 1966.]
FACTS: Concepcion Bolivar lived with and financially supported Abelardo Simbol y Manuel in
his studying for law school and other personal necessities since he promised marriage to Bolivar.
But as soon as Simbol finished his studies he married another woman while keeping it a secret
from Bolivar and continuing to get money from her. But when Bolivar found his secret, Simbol
still tried to ask money from her and persuade her to continue their relationship. This prompted
Bolivar to file a Civil Case of the Juvenile & Domestic Relations Court against Simbol but this
did not prosper since Atty. Simbol and Miss Concepcion had executed a compromise agreement.
But the Sol Gen filed for disbarment proceedings on moral grounds against Atty. Simbol. So, on
October 31, 1963, the Clerk of Court sent a mail to respondent thru Atty. Valentino G. Castro,
his counsel of record, a letter with a copy of the foregoing complaint. Atty. Castro replied that
after the execution of the compromise agreement between Bolivar and Atty. Simbol, he no
longer heard from Atty. Simbol. He further stated that he tried to get in touch with the
respondent but was unable to do so and he requested that copy of the complaint be sent directly
to said respondents address. So the Court did as what was requested but the letter returned with
the notation on the envelope that said respondent was no longer in that city. At the hearing set
by the Court on February 3, 1964, Solicitor Sumilang V. Bernardo and Atty. Tomas Yumul for
complainant appeared and they submitted the case for decision without oral argument. There was
no appearance for respondent.
ISSUES:
1. Whether or not the case against Atty. Simbol can prosper even though he did not respond to
the letter of the Solicitor General.
2. Whether or not Atty. Simbol is guilty of "grossly immoral conduct" under Section 27, Rule
138, Rules of Court.
RULING:
1. Under Section 30, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court which states that Attorneys has to be heard
before removal or suspension. But if upon reasonable notice he fails to appear and answer the
accusation, the court may proceed to determine the matter. In view of this rule, respondent knew
that the disbarment proceedings were pending. His right to practice his profession was at stake.
He could ill-afford to just stand by and wait. It was his duty to inquire as to his fate. He was
hidebound by his obligation to inform this Court of his whereabouts. Furthermore, notice of
hearing was sent to him at both his Manila and Dumaguete addresses and he did not bother to get
it from the post-office. Even his two attorneys of record, who received said notice, did not appear
before this Court. On the face these facts, respondent gave the Court ample reason to believe
that he purposely stayed away and waived his right to be heard. Therefore, the case can prosper.
2. Respondent's acts of making a dupe of complainant, living on her bounty and allowing her to
spend for his schooling and other personal necessities while dangling before her the mirage of a
marriage, marrying another girl as soon as he had finished his studies, keeping his marriage a
secret while continuing to demand money from complainant, and trying to sponge on her and
persuade her to resume their broken relationship after the latter's discovery of his immoral acts,

are indicative of a character not worthy of a member of the bar. The fact that complainant has
withdrawn her complaint against respondent does not wipe out the grievous offense he had
committed. Respondent "has failed to maintain the highest degree of morality expected and
required of a member of the bar. Therefore, he is guilty of "grossly immoral conduct" within
the meaning of Section 27, Rule 138, Rules of Court

EN BANC
[A.C. No. 4748. August 4, 2000
VICTORIA V. RADJAIE, complainant, vs. ATTY. JOSE O.
ALOVERA, Respondent.
DECISION
PER CURIAM:

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Atty. Jose O. Alovera, former Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial


Court of Roxas City, Branch 17, faces disbarment for having penned
a Decision[1 dated January 30, 1995 long after his retirement from
the Judiciary on January 31, 1995 which ultimately divested
complainant Victoria V. Radjaie of her property in Panay, Capiz.
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In an Affidavit-Complaint[2 filed before the Office of the Bar


Confidant on April 21, 1997,[3complainant sought the disbarment of
respondent enumerating the following particulars to support her
contention that the questioned January 30, 1995 decision was
prepared after the retirement of respondent:
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a) Almost all orders issued by then Judge Alovera prior to his


retirement bear the stamp "RECEIVED" by Branch 17 of RTC-Roxas
City, with the initial of the one who received it for filing with the
court-record except the Order of January 25, 1995 (p. 87 records)
admitting, and the Decision dated January 30, 1995 (pp. 8893, ibid.).
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b) It can also be seen that all the orders issued prior to the
retirement were all type-written in the same type-[writer] except
the January 25, 1995 Order (p. 87) and the Decision (pp. 88-93)

and these two (2) documents appear to have been type-written on


the same type-[writer].
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c) It is also a source of wonder why plaintiffs formally offered their


evidence one year after the last witness was presented last
December 10, 1993.
xxx xxx xxx

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Plaintiffs had until January 20, 1994 to formally offer their evidence
but it took them one (1) year and five (5) days to file such a simple
pleading. It goes against the normal human experience when
plaintiffs who are allowed to present evidence ex-parte are usually
very quick in having things done because there is no opposition but
in this case it took plaintiffs a while to formally rest which was only
fifteen (15) days prior to the retirement of Mr. Alovera. This timing
is highly suspect.
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d) Even plaintiffs' formal offer of evidence showed badges of fraud.


It was not received by the trial court. Page 67 shows this clearly. It
would not be surprising if the same was also inserted into the
records on a much later date and Atty. Alberto Villaruz must be
made to explain this too.
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It was dated January 20, 1995 but the date of the Professional Tax
Receipt (PTR) of Atty. Alberto A. Villaruz, counsel for the plaintiffs,
was issued only on January 31, 1995. This is shown on Page 71 of
the records.
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e) There is no showing that the January 25, 1995 Order (p. 87)
admitting the formal offer was even received by a Court staff for
filing with the records.
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f) The same can be said of the January 30, 1995 Decision (pp. 8893) which was allegedly decided five (5) days after the Order
admitting the evidence (p. 87) was allegedly issued. What a swift
action from a retiring judge.
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g) A copy of the Decision was not even sent to the counsel for the
plaintiffs but is shown to have been received by one of the plaintiffs
only on August 1, 1995 (p. 93).
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h) Again, it is beyond the normal experience for a lawyer such as


Atty. Villaruz who is a practitioner in the locality and who is in Court
almost everyday that he will not follow up if there is already a
decision rendered in a case where he was allowed to present
evidence ex-parte or even be told about it.
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i) The records show that all orders after the retirement of Mr.
Alovera bear the stamp "RECEIVED" by the Court staff who received
them for filing in the court records.
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Traversing the allegations of the Affidavit-Complaint as purely


speculative and not based on personal knowledge, the respondent,
in his Comment[4 dated August 20, 1997, further assailed as simply
self-serving complainant's Affidavit-Complaint alleging that a careful
scrutiny of the expediente of Civil Case No. V-6186 would reveal
that respondent observed due process when he resolved the said
case against complainant.5 It was only when Judge Julius Abela,
who succeeded him in RTC, Br. 17, Roxas City, annulled, through a
resolution, the questioned January 30, 1995 decision, which
ostensibly having become final was also executed, did the matter
get out of hand.[6 His said decision, respondent argued, may only
be impeached, annulled or otherwise set aside under three (3)
modes,7all of which were either not availed of by complainant for
lapse of time, or like an action to annul the judgment, though still
available, should not have been filed in the same court, which
rendered the questioned decision, but should have been filed,
instead, in the Court of Appeals.[8 As to the absence of stamp
"RECEIVED" on the questioned decision, respondent shifted the
blame to the then OIC Clerk of Court of the said court, Mrs. Nenita
Aluad, contending that after the decision was rendered on January
30, 1995, he lost control of it and he surmised that Mrs. Aluad, who
had the duty to receive and record the decision, might have lost it
"momentarily."[9
chanrobles vi rt ual law li bra ry

In a Resolution[10 dated October 22, 1997, this Court referred the


instant case to the Office of the Bar Confidant for investigation,

report and recommendation. While in the process of investigation,


three (3) incidents occurred, namely:
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1. The Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP), Capiz Chapter,


approved Resolution No. 9, Series of 1997 on December 17, 1997,
questioning the order, dated November 28, 1997, of the Regional
Trial Court, Br. 17, Roxas City, which ordered the suspension from
the practice of law of herein respondent and Atty. Alberto Villaruz;

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law libra ry

2. The Court En Banc, in its Resolution of December 22, 1997,


resolved to issue a temporary restraining order (TRO) in G.R. No.
131505, entitled "Atty. Alberto A. Villaruz vs. Honorable Julius L.
Abela," ordering the respondent judge therein to cease and desist
from enforcing and/or implementing his questioned order dated
November 28, 1997 in Civil Case No. V-6186, which ordered the
suspension of Atty. Villaruz; and,
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3. Respondent Alovera filed a petition for certiorari before the


Supreme Court, entitled "Jose Alovera vs. Victoria Villariez-Radjaie
and Judge Julius L. Abela," under G.R. No. 131768, which, at the
time was still pending, questioning the Order of November 28, 1997
which ordered respondent's suspension from the practice of law.
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Thus, necessitated the filing of the Manifestation[11 by the Office of


the Bar Confidant on January 27, 1998, inquiring from the Court
whether to proceed with the investigation of the case in view of the
aforementioned incidents.
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On February 18, 1998, the Court directed the Office of the Bar
Confidant to proceed with the investigation of the instant case.[12

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libra ry

Judge Julius Abela, Nenita M. Aluad, legal researcher, Teresita V.


Bauzon, court stenographer, Concepcion Alcazar, clerk-in-charge of
civil cases and special proceedings, all of Regional Trial Court, Br.
17, Roxas City, Rosa Dapat, court stenographer of Regional Trial
Court, Br. 15, Roxas City and the complainant herself testified as
witnesses for the complainant.
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The respondent presented as his lone witness, Mrs. Rosa Dapat,


who merely testified on the January 10, 1993 proceedings inside his

chambers. Respondent himself did not testify and neither did any
other witness testify for him, despite the issuance of subpoena ad
testificandum on Ireneo Borres and Ludovico Buhat, who both failed
to appear at the investigation. In lieu of their oral testimonies,
respondent offered and presented their respective
affidavits.[13 Complainant chose not to object thereto and even
waived her right, through her counsel, to cross-examine them.
chanrobles vi rtual law lib rary

The established facts, as quoted from the Report dated November


17, 1999 of the Office of the Bar Confidant, are as follows:
chanrob les vi rtua l law lib rary

On July 2, 1992, the heirs of the late Faustina Borres, Segundina


Borres, Felisa Borres, Micaela Borres, Maria Bores, and Sixto Borres
(hereinafter "Borres heirs") through their counsel, Atty. Alberto A.
Villaruz, filed an action for Partition and Accounting, docketed as
Civil Case No. V-6186, with the Regional Trial Court, Br. 15, Roxas
City, against herein complainant, Victoria V. Radjaie, who was
presumably an heir of the late Faustina Borres. The action sought,
among others, the cancellation of Transfer Certificate of Title No. T24150 in the name of herein complainant covering a parcel of land
with an area of 215,777 square meters situated in Panay, Capiz,
and the declaration of the said parcel of land as property commonly
owned by the Borres heirs.
chanroble s virtual law lib rary

On July 16, 1993, Br. 17, to which Civil Case No. V-6186 was reraffled, declared herein complainant in default and ordered the
Borres heirs to present their evidence on July 30, 1993.[14
chanroble s virtual law l ibra ry

It was only after three (3) postponements that the Borres heirs
were able to start presenting their evidence ex-parte on October 8,
1993. For lack of material time, however, the presentation of
evidence was again reset to November 22, 1993, which again was
postponed and reset to December 10, 1993.15
chanroble s virtual law lib rary

On December 10, 1993, there were several criminal and civil actions
scheduled for trial, which commenced at about 10:00 in the
morning, before Br. 17, including Civil Case No. V-6186, which was
listed number four in the court calendar. Judge Alovera presided
over the hearing and Teresita V. Bauzon, court stenographer of Br.
17, took down notes of the Proceedings. Atty. Villaruz appeared for

the accused in a criminal case[16 before Br. 17 at the time. The


court had a recess at 11:10 and resumed at 11:35 in the morning.
After the hearing of criminal cases was through, Civil Case No. V6186 was called at about 11:55 in the morning, but the plaintiffs as
well as their counsel, Atty. Villaruz, were no longer inside the
courtroom. The session thus adjourned at 11:57 in the morning
without Civil Case No. V-6186 being heard.[17
chanrobles vi rtua l law lib ra ry

At about 11:30 in the morning of the same date, Atty. Villaruz


approached Rosa Dapat, who was the court stenographer at the
time of RTC, Br. 15, Roxas City, while she was in her office. Atty.
Villaruz told her that Judge Alovera was requesting her to assist in
the proceedings of Civil Case No. V-6186. At first she was hesitant
to accede to the request as Br. 17 had also its own court
stenographer. She relented though when told that Br. 17 as well as
the other branches had no available court stenographer. She then
went to Br. 17 and saw Atty. Villaruz standing by the door of the
chambers of Judge Alovera. Atty. Villaruz motioned her to enter the
chambers, which is separate from the courtroom. While inside the
chambers, she saw Judge Alovera behind his desk and other people
whom she did not know. Upon being told that Mrs. Dapat would be
the stenographer, Judge Alovera told Atty. Villaruz to start the
proceedings. Following the manifestation made by Atty. Villaruz, a
witness, whom she later recognized to be Atty. Arturo Agudo, was
called. At that instant Judge Alovera stood up and said, "All
right, you just continue," and then went out of the
chambers.18 Judge Alovera would occasionally return to the
chambers in the course of the proceedings, but he would just sit
down and listen while Atty. Villaruz was conducting his direct
examination of the witness and presenting documentary
evidence.[19The proceedings lasted up to 12:10 in the afternoon,
with Judge Alovera making only two rulings in the course thereof,
including the one he made at the end when he ordered the plaintiffs
to file their written offer of evidence on January 20, 1994.[20
chanroble s virtual law lib rary

From this point on, complainant would establish how the January
30, 1995 decision of Judge Alovera in Civil Case No. V-6186 came
about.
chanrobles vi rt ual law li bra ry

Prior to his retirement from the judiciary on January 31, 1995, or on


January 5, 1995, Judge Alovera designated his legal researcher,
Mrs. Nenita Aluad, to be the OIC Branch Clerk of Court.[21 As part of
her functions as such OIC, all decisions, orders and resolutions of
Br. 17 would first be received by her from the judge, and would
stamp them "RECEIVED" and put thereon the date of receipt as well
as her initial or signature.[22 This is in accordance with Sec. 1, Rule
36 of the Rules of Court.[23
chanroble s virtual law l ibra ry

Sometime in February of 1995, Mrs. Teresita V. Bauzon, court


stenographer of Br. 17 since 1993, was asked to type the draft
decision in Civil Case No. V-6186 in Judge Alovera's house. When
she inquired if he can still do it, Judge Alovera told her that he had
one (1) year more to decide cases. With this assurance, she typed
the draft decision on a single bond paper without a duplicate as
Judge Alovera was dictating it.[24
chanroble s virtual law l ibra ry

On August 1, 1995 at about 9:30 in the morning, retired Judge


Alovera came to Br. 17, with a man and a woman, later identified as
the plaintiffs in Civil Case No. V-6186, behind him. While he was
approaching Nenita Aluad, he uttered to the latter, "Receive this,
receive this, " referring to the questioned January 30, 1995
decision, which he was holding. As he spread the decision on her
table, he continued, "Because I will defend you even up to the Plaza
Miranda. And give copies to these two, pointing to the plaintiffs who
were at his back.[25 Almost instantaneously, Mrs. Aluad replied,
" I would not receive it because it is already August 1, 1995," and
she did not argue with him anymore so as not to embarrass him for
being her former superior.26 She then went out of the office while
retired Judge Alovera, as well as the two plaintiffs were still
inside.[27 At about the same time, Mrs. Concepcion Alcazar, another
employee of Br. 17 and the clerk-in-charge of civil cases and special
proceedings therein, saw Judge Alovera inside the office of Br. 17
while trying to have her co-employees receive the questioned
decision. Nobody, however, received the same because it was
already seven (7) months after his retirement.[28 A little later, she
found the questioned decision, together with the formal offer of
exhibits of January 20, 1995 and the order of January 25, 1995, on
the top of her table. Although she noticed that these records were

not stamped "RECEIVED" as a matter of procedure, she went on to


attach the said records to the expediente of Civil Case No. V6186.[29 She even gave a copy of the questioned decision to one of
the plaintiffs, Ireneo Borres, and to Atty. Villaruz, which was
received for him by Ireneo Borres.[30 After keeping
the expediente, she then entered the questioned decision in her
logbook.[31
chanrobles vi rtua l law lib ra ry

The Borres heirs succeeded in having the questioned decision


executed when, on January 31, 1996, the lessee of the property,
which is the subject matter of Civil Case No. V-6186, surrendered
possession of the said property in favor of the Borres heirs,[32 Said
transfer of possession was made pursuant to the writ of execution
issued on January 19, 1996 by the Acting Presiding Judge of Br. 17,
Hon. Delano F. Villaruz, through Clerk of Court Susan Mendoza
Arce.[33
chanrobles vi rtua l law lib ra ry

Meanwhile, complainant, who had been working in Japan together


with his husband who is employed at the Turkish Embassy in Tokyo,
Japan, learned of what happened to her property in Panay,
Capiz.34 She was thus prompted to come back to the Philippines,
which resulted in losing herb in Japan.
chanroble s virtual law l ibra ry

Back home, complainant, on March 5, 1996, filed a Petition for


Relief from Order, questioning the January 30, 1995 decision and
the January 19, 1996 Writ of Execution.[35She also prayed "that
disciplinary and contempt proceedings be taken against those
involved in the perfidious anomaly to tamper with the
administration of justice."[36
chanroble s virtual law l ibra ry

Judge Julius L. Abela took cognizance of Civil Case No. V-6186 as he


was the acting presiding judge of Br. 17 at the time of the filing of
said petition for relief from order.[37 In the course of the
proceedings thereof, he noticed that the Formal Offer of Exhibits
purportedly filed by the plaintiffs, i.e., Borres heirs, was dated
January 20, 1995, while the PTR of their counsel, Atty. Alberto
Villaruz, was issued on January 31, 1995. He concluded then that
the said offer could not have been filed on January 20, 1995. When
he asked Atty. Villaruz about it, the latter refused to answer and
just kept quiet.[38 He likewise observed that there was no order in

Civil Case No. V-6186 submitting the same for decision, except for
the order made by Judge Alovera on December 10, 1993 during the
"simulated proceedings" inside his chambers, where he directed the
counsel for the plaintiffs to file his offer of exhibits.[39 Mrs. Rosa
Dapat, who took down notes during the said proceedings and who
was not a member of the staff of Br. 17, was not even
acknowledged on the records as the official stenographer in the
course thereof.[40 Thus, in his resolution of September 25, 1997,
Judge Abela granted the petition for relief filed by complainant and
the latter was ordered reinstated to the possession of the property
in question. In the same resolution, Judge Abela declared the
January 30, 1995 decision null and void, the same not being filed
with the clerk of court and not properly rendered in accordance with
Section 1, Rule 36, Rules of Court.41
chanrobles vi rtua l law li bra ry

Prompted by what he considered to be anomalous proceedings,


coupled with the prayer of complainant in her petition for relief "that
disciplinary and contempt proceedings be taken against those
involved in the perfidious anomaly to tamper with the
administration of justice," Judge Abela conducted an investigation
into the said anomaly.[42 After considering the testimonies of Misses
Aluad, Dapat, Bauzon and Alcazar during the investigation, together
with the documentary evidence presented, he concluded, thus:
chanrobles vi rtua l law lib rary

From the foregoing facts and circumstances the following facts are
established that:
chanrobles virtual law lib rary

1) Civil Case No. V-6186 was not tried on December 10, 1993. What
transpired was a mock or simulated trial inside the chamber of
Judge Alovera where only Atty. Alberto Villaruz, the plaintiffs and
Mrs. Rosa Dapat, a court stenographer from another court, were
present. No Judge or RTC Branch 17 court personnel were present
as there was actual court session in open court going on at that
time.
chanrobles v irt ual law l ibra ry

2) The records of Civil Case No. V-6186 were with Judge Jose O.
Alovera and remained with him even after his retirement on January
31, 1995. He did not return the record to Mrs. Concepcion Alcazar,
Court Clerk III in Charge of Civil Cases.
chanrobles vi rtua l law lib rary

3) The record of Civil Case No. V-6186 turned up on the table of


Mrs. Alcazar together with the "Offer of Exhibits" of Atty. Villaruz
dated January 20, 1995 and the "Order" dated January 25, 1995,
after the retirement of Judge Alovera. Both the Offer and the Order
admitting the exhibits were not properly filed and do not bear
markings of having been received by the court.
chanrobles v irt ual law l ibra ry

4) The "decision" of Judge Jose O. Alovera, though dated January


30, 1995, was filed with the court on August 1, 1995 by former
Judge Alovera himself and because he was no longer a judge his
submission was refused.
chanrobles vi rt ual law li bra ry

- CONCLUSIONS -

chanrob les vi rtual law lib rary

The "Offer of Exhibits" of Atty. Alberto Villaruz though dated


January 20, 1995 bearssignature and PTR No. issued on January
31, 1995. This simply means that the pleadings (were) ante dated.
It is impossible for Atty. Villaruz to affix his PTR No. dated January
31, 1995 or any date prior to its issuance. The Offer of Exhibits
could have been made only on January 31, 1995 or later. Because
this is so, the Order of Judge Alovera dated January 25, 1995 is also
ante dated and could have been made only on a date beyond the
filing of the Offer of Exhibits. So also with the decision of former
Judge Alovera dated January 30, 1995.
xxx xxx xxx

chanrobles vi rtua l law lib ra ry

The Order admitting the exhibits and the decision were made after
the retirement of Judge Alovera. He was no longer a judge.
chanrobles v irt ual law l ibra ry

The acts of Attys. Alberto Villaruz and Jose O. Alovera constitute


deceit, malpractice, serious and grave misconduct as lawyer
justifying their suspension from the practice of law and ultimately
their disbarment.[43
chanrob les vi rtual law lib rary

Based on the foregoing findings, the Bar Confidant recommended


the disbarment of respondent, declaring that it found more than
sufficient evidence to sustain complainant's charge against
respondent that, indeed, the January 30, 1995 decision in Civil Case
No. V-6186, which divested complainant of her property in Panay,

Capiz, was penned by respondent after his retirement from the


judiciary on January 31, 1995.
chanrobles vi rtua l law lib ra ry

This Court finds the recommendation of the Office of the Bar


Confidant to be well-taken. Respondent has thus sufficiently
demonstrated that he is morally and legally unfit to remain in the
exclusive and honorable fraternity of the legal profession.
chanrobles v irt ual law li bra ry

In his long years as a lawyer, respondent has forgotten his sworn


pledge as a lawyer. It is time once again that the Court inculcate in
the hearts of all lawyers that pledge; thus chanroble s virt ual law l ibra ry

LAWYER'S OATH

chanrobles virtua l law lib rary

" I, x x x, do solemnly swear that I will maintain allegiance to the


Republic of the Philippines; I will support and defend its Constitution
and obey the laws as well as the legal orders of the duly constituted
authorities therein; I will do no falsehood nor consent to its
commission; I will not wittingly or willingly promote or sue any
groundless, false or unlawful suit nor give aid nor consent to the
same; I will not delay any man's cause for money or malice and will
conduct myself as a lawyer according to the best of my knowledge
and discretion with all good fidelity as well to the courts as to my
clients and I impose upon myself this obligation voluntary, without
any mental reservation or purpose of evasion.
chanrobles vi rtual law lib rary

SO HELP ME GOD.

chanroble s virtual law lib rary

This oath to which all lawyers have subscribed in solemn agreement


to dedicate themselves to the pursuit of justice, is not a mere
ceremony or formality for practicing law[44 to be forgotten
afterwards nor is it mere words, drift and hollow, but a sacred trust
that every lawyer must uphold and keep inviolable at all
times.[45 This oath is firmly echoed and reflected in the Code of
Professional Responsibility, the particular provisions of which are
applicable to the case at bar, provide, to wit:
chanrobles vi rtua l law lib rary

CANON 1 - A lawyer shall uphold the constitution, obey the laws of


the land and promote respect for law and for legal processes.
chanroble s virtual law l ibra ry

Rule 1.01 - A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest,


immoral or deceitful conduct.
chanroble s virtual law lib rary

Rule 1.02 - A lawyer shall not counsel or abet activities aimed at


defiance of the law or at lessening confidence in the legal system.
xxx xxx xxx

chanrobles vi rtua l law lib ra ry

CANON 7 - A lawyer shall at all times uphold the integrity and


dignity of the legal profession, and support the activities of the
Integrated Bar.
chanrobles vi rtua l law lib ra ry

Rule 7.03 - A lawyer shall not engage in conduct that adversely


reflects on his fitness to practice law, nor should he, whether in
public or private life, behave in a scandalous manner to the discredit
of the legal profession.
xxx xxx xxx

chanrobles vi rtua l law lib ra ry

CANON 10 - A lawyer owes candor, fairness and good faith to the


court.
chanrobles vi rtua l law li bra ry

Rule 10.01 - 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
misled by any artifice.
chanrob les vi rtual law lib rary

All of these underscore the role of the lawyer as the vanguard of our
legal system. When respondent took the oath as a member of the
legal profession, he made a solemn promise to so stand by his
pledge.[46 In this covenant, respondent miserably failed.
chan roble s virtual law lib rary

The testimonies of Nenita M. Aluad, Teresita V. Bauzon and


Concepcion Alcazar were all quite telling on how respondent acted in
a grossly reprehensible manner in having the questioned decision
dated January 30, 1995 come to fore, leading ultimately to its
execution divesting the complainant of her property. Respondent
gravely abused his relationship with his former staff, pompously
flaunting his erstwhile standing as a judge. Respondent disregarded
his primary duty as an officer of the court, who is sworn to assist
the courts and not to impede or pervert the administration of justice

to all and sundry.[47In so doing, he made a mockery of the


judiciary and eroded public confidence in courts and lawyers.

chanrobles vi rtua l law lib ra ry

This Court has been nothing short of exacting in its demand for
integrity and good moral character from members of the Bar. By
swearing the lawyer's oath, an attorney becomes a guardian of
truth and the rule of law, and an indispensable instrument in the fair
and impartial administration of justice - a vital function of
democracy a failure of which is disastrous to society. Any departure
from the path which a lawyer must follow as demanded by the
virtues of his profession shall not be tolerated by this Court as the
disciplining authority[48 for there is perhaps no profession after that
of the sacred ministry in which a high-toned morality is more
imperative than that of law.[49
chanrobles v irt ual law l ibra ry

Despite the opportunities accorded to respondent to present


substantial defense to refute the charges against him, he failed
neither to do so nor to offer a valid explanation. When the integrity
of a member of the bar is challenged, it is not enough that he
denies the charges against him; he must meet the issue and
overcome the evidence against him. He must show proof that he
still maintains that degree of morality and integrity which at all
times is expected of him.[50
chanrobles v irt ual law li bra ry

Given the peculiar factual circumstances prevailing in this case, the


Court finds as appropriate the recommended penalty of the Office of
the Bar Confidant in its Report. Such gross misconduct of the
respondent brings intolerable dishonor to the legal profession and
calls for the severance of respondents privilege to practice law for
life.
chanro bles vi rtua l law lib ra ry

WHEREFORE, respondent JOSE O. ALOVERA is hereby DISBARRED.


The Office of the Clerk of Court is directed to strike out his name
from the Roll of Attorneys and to inform all courts of this Decision.
chanroble s virtual

law libra ry

SO ORDERED.

chanrobles v irt ual law l ibra ry

Davide, Jr., C.J., Melo, Puno, Mendoza, Panganiban,


Quisumbing, Purisima, Pardo, Buena, Gonzaga-Reyes,
Ynares-Santiago, and De Leon, Jr., JJ., concur.
chanrobles virtu al law libr ar y

Bellosillo, J., on leave.

chanrobles virtual law library

Vitug, and Kapunan, JJ., took no part due to close relation to


a party.
Republic of the Philippines
SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
A.M. No. 997 September 10, 1979
PILAR ABAIGAR, complainant,
vs.
DAVID D.C. PAZ, respondent.

FERNANDEZ, J.:
On April 27, 1971, Pilar Abaigar filed this administrative case for disbarment against David D. C.
Paz, a member of the Philippine Bar.
The verified complaint alleged that sometime in March 1970, the complainant, Pilar Abaigar sought
the aid of a legal counsel regarding her divorce case filed by her husband in the Superior Court of
California, County of Alameda, U.S.A.; that she called on the telephone the office of Congressman
Bagatsing in Manila; that the respondent David D.C. Paz, answered the telephone call and
volunteered his legal services; that believing that the respondent had the necessary legal
experience, the complainant confided her legal problems to him: that after the termination of the
divorce case, the respondent became exceedingly friendly with the complainant and started to
profess his love for her; that at the start, the complainant was hesitant in continuing the cordial
relations between her and the respondent but the respondent made her believe that although he was
living with another woman, his relations with said woman were no impediment that the respondent
convinced the complainant that he had been compelled to contract a civil marriage with the woman
and that since it was not a marriage under the church laws, it was no bar for him to get married
under the church laws with the complainant; that the respondent proposed marriage to the
complainant; that believing in this good faith, the complainant accepted the proposal of the
respondent; that sometime in the latter part of November 1970, an application for the issuance of a
marriage license to the complainant and the respondent was made and executed: that thereafter, the
respondent convinced the complainant that since they were going to get married anyway, they
should act as husband and wife; that because of the confidence which the complainant reposed
upon the respondent, she reluctantly acceded to said demands; that as a result of their being
together, the complainant became pregnant but due to causes beyond her control, the pregnancy
was lost; that sometime in the third week of April 1971, one Virginia Paz was introduced to the
complainant by the respondent; that said Virginia Paz was the woman previously referred to by the
respondent as his wife with whom he had contracted a forced civil marriage; that said Virginia Paz,
in the course of the meeting, informed the complainant that there had been actually two marriages
between Virginia Paz and the respondent, one under the civil law and one under the church law; that
upon being confronted by the complainant, the respondent made no explanation whatsoever and
merely kept silent; that since that time, the respondent had done nothing to make amends for having

deceived the complainant and for having taken advantage of her; and that the complainant has no
other recourse but to ask for the disbarment of the respondent who is a member of the Philippine
Bar and an officer of the courts of justice. 1
In his answer filed on June 10, 1971, the respondent denied having had any illicit relations with the
complainant and alleged that when the complainant called by telephone Congressman Ramon D.
Bagatsing, the respondent advised complainant to come to the office; that on the next day when the
complainant came to the office of Congressman Bagatsing, she was at first referred to Atty.
Geronimo Flores of the Legal Assistance Service to handle the case; that two or three days
thereafter, the complainant requested the respondent to personally handle her case; that on October
30, 1970, the respondent prepared a letter to complainant's husband, Samuel L. Navales, which
letter was signed by Congressman Bagatsing; that sometime in the latter part of October 1970, the
complainant borrowed from the respondent the sum of P200.00 to complete the payment for the
hospitalization and treatment of her brother, Eric, at the Makati Medical Center: that as a act of pity,
the respondent gave her the loan; that after the election for delegates to the Constitutional
Convention in November 1970, the complainant called at the residence of the respondent and asked
help in filing a case against the assailant of her brother who was stabbed in Olongapo City; that the
wound sustained by complainant's brother was only superficial and he could not Identify his
assailant, hence, no criminal case was filed; that after the trip to Olongapo, the complainant
requested the help of the respondent to recommend her admission to a hospital because of
abdominal and chest pains; that the respondent recommended complainant to be admitted to the
Singian Clinic located at General Solano Street, San Miguel Manila; that on December 20, 1970, the
complainant caged up the respondent at his residence by telephone and requested him to assist her
mother, Mrs. Cecilia Abaigar to file a criminal action against her minor sister, Vilma Abaigar for
disobedience; that the respondent prepares a complaint on the same night and a sworn statement of
her mother, Mrs. Cecilia Abaigar that he accompanied the complainant to the Fiscal's Office at
Pasig, Rizal and to the Municipal Court of Mandaluyong, Rizal where Criminal Case No. 23994
entitled "People of the Philippines vs. Vilma Abaigar was filed by her mother; that the respondent
also helped the mother of the complainant to prepare and file a petition for a writ of habeas corpus in
the Court of First Instance of Rizal; that by reason of said petition for habeas corpus, the mother of
the complainant was able to take Vilma Abaigar into her custody although the petition was denied;
that the respondent had never informed the complainant that he was compelled to contract a civil
marriage with his wife; that the respondent never proposed marriage to the complainant; that the
respondent has no recollection of the supposed application for the issuance of a marriage license in
the latter part of November 1970; that respondent and complainant had never acted as husband and
wife; and that the respondent had not deceived complainant nor taken advantage of her. 2
In a resolution dated August 20, 1971, this Court referred this case to the Solicitor General for
investigation, report and recommendation. 3
After hearing the parties, the Solicitor General submitted on June 30, 1973 his report and
recommendation containing the following findings:
The complaint seeks the disbarment of respondent Paz on grounds that may
properly fall under the category of deceit and grossly immoral conduct as found in
Section 27, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court.
Assuming for the moment that there had been sexual intercourse between
complainant and respondent, the first inquiry, we respectfully submit, is whether
respondent Paz practiced demotion on complainant by making her believe that
notwithstanding their subsisting marriages to their respective spouses, they could

legally get married to each other and based on his promise of marriage, she
consented to go to bed with him.
Complainant admitted that during her alleged romantic liason with respondent, she
was married to a certain Samuel Navales, also a Filipino, who divorced her in the
U.S.A. sometime in the middle of 1970 (par. 2, Complaint; p. 46, t.s.n., November 18,
1971). She also admitted that before she submitted herself to his sexual desires, she
was informed by him that, he had a wife with whom he was civilly married but that the
marriage was void because it was either fake or 'forced' (sic).
Whether there was deceit hinges on whether complainant actually believed the
representation of respondent that they could legally marry. Highly intelligent that she
is and with the educational background that she has, it is difficult to accept the
proposition that she swallowed hook, line and sinker his supposed assurances that
notwithstanding full awareness by both of the existence of each other's previous
marriages, no legal impediment stood in the way of their getting married
ecclesiastically. It is worthwhile repeating that complainant was a fifth placer in the
Board Examinations for Chemical Engineering. She was licensed as a chemical
engineer in 1964 or 1965, after which she taught at one time or another in different
schools and colleges in Manila. In 1970 or 1971 when she was supposedly tricked
into surrendering her body on a promise of marriage, she was already in her late
twenties. It is improbable that at this age, she was still ignorant of the law regarding
indissolubility of marriage. Before jumping headlong into accepting respondent's
proposal that they act as husband and wife, she should have pondered upon the
serious legal implications and complications of a second marriage for both of them.
She could have easily asked a lawyer for advice on the matter. Complainant's own
neighbor in Mandaluyong, Rizal is a lawyer by the name of Atty. Paler whose wife
testified on her behalf. According to Mrs. Paler, her husband and complainant used
to converse (p. 18, t.s.n., November 23, 1971). In these conversations complainant
could have asked, perhaps in a casual manner, Mrs. Paler's husband as to the legal
effects of a divorce obtained abroad by a Filipino citizen or the effects of a marriage
brought about through the use of force and intimidation in order to settle whatever
doubts she had in her mind.
The truth however, of the matter is that complainant did not even have to consult a
lawyer to know that she could not legally marry respondent. It is of no little
significance that some persons utilized by complainant as witnesses on her behalf
because of their supposed knowledge of her relations with respondent, were
themselves aware that divorce is not recognized in this country. Thus Mrs. Paler
categorically stated that she knew for a fact that divorce obtained abroad is not
recognized in the Philippines (p. 19, t.s.n., November 23, 1971). The same
admission was elicited from Fr. Troy de los Santos, another witness for the
complainant. Fr. de los Santos who used to be her spiritual adviser admitted at one
point of his testimony that divorce obtained abroad cannot be recognized in the
Philippines insofar as state laws are concerned and complainant knew about this (pp.
33-34, t.s.n., November 23, 1971). Thus, the Jesuit priest declared under crossexamination:
Q Do you know that complainant's husband is still alive?
A Yes.

Q Up to the present?
A Yes.
Q Do you know that divorce is not recognized in the Philippines?
A I know, but the church does not recognize divorce.
Q How about the State, do you know that the State recognize
divorce?
A As far as my knowledge, I do not think that our laws permit divorce.
Continuing with his testimony, Fr. de los Santos stated:
Q Did not the fact that complainant's husband is still have and that
divorce is not recognized in ' the Philippines be considered an
impediment to complainant's marriage to anyone?
A Yes.
Q Did you inform her so?
A She knows about that.
(33,34, t.s.n., Id.)
Again, granting that complainant did not actually comprehend the existence of a legal
bar to her remarriage, 'not being steeped in the intricacies of the law'. just the mere
realization that both respondent's wife and her own husband being still have was
enough to stir her mind and to impel her to make her own investigation. She could
have, for instance, made discreet inquiries as to who was the woman respondent
was married to and verified his claim whether he was forced into the marriage. Or,
perhaps, she could simply have asked Congressman Bagatsing about respondent's
personal status. After all she was competent enough to prepare, without anyone's
help her own affidavit, Exhibit 'A', and resourceful enough to make research in the
Supreme Court's Library on the subject of disbarment (pp. 63, 89, t.s.n., November
18, 1971).
What conclusion then can a reasonable mind draw from the given premises? Either
complainant was so helplessly naive as to be beguiled by respondent's
blandishments or. comprehending fully the legal impossibility of the fulfillment of his
marriage proposals, she unconditionally laid herself prostrate to his charms, too
much enamored of him to care about anything else. For, as philosopher Blaise
Pascal has so pithily stated of the profundity of human love, 'love has reasons that
reason cannot explain.' Since complainant cannot hide behind the camouflage of
innocence, considering her intellectual capacity and educational background, no
other conclusion is possible 'except that she voluntarily submitted to sexual intimacy
with respondent without entertaining any illusion or hope of sublimating the illicit
relations by legal union.

The question is intriguing whether respondent ever made vehement protestations of


love and actually made an offer of marriage to complainant. If there was, the
evidence adduced does not clearly show. Complainant asserted that she had
evidence in the form of love letters and the marriage application form showing
respondent's sustained courtship and offer of marriage. However, such purported
documents were not presented, complainant making the excuse that respondent
tricked her into giving him the envelope containing the evidence. Such explanation,
however, staggers human credulity considering that the supposed documents were
vital to establish the case. It is simply preposterous that she would easily Dart with
the documents and give them to no other than the respondent himself . Be that as it
may, if respondent had made an offer of marriage, it is not clearly established that
complainant's submission to his sexual desires was not on account of the offer but
for the gratification of her mundane human longings.
The next question is whether there was sexual intimacy between complainant and
respondent. Complainant testified that she acceded to his proposal that they live as
husband and wife and as a matter of fact they had three sexual intercourses that
took place in the Tower Hotel and Singian Clinic in Manila and in the Sulo Hotel in
Quezon City. While there is no proof that sexual intimacy took place in Singian Clinic
except her testimony, her allegation that they had trysts at the Tower Hotel and Sulo
Hotel was supported by the guest cards at said hotels, Exhibits 'A' and 'B'.
Notwithstanding respondent's denial that the 'Mrs.' stated in the entry in said guest
cards was a 'good-time' woman, not the complainant, common sense will tell us that
complainant could not have known that respondent lodged in said hotels on those
particular dates unless she was the woman whom respondent brought there. On this
score, we are inclined to believe that evidence has been sufficiently adduced to
establish that intimacy between complainant and respondent took place once in the
Tower Hotel and once in the Sulo Hotel. As the Honorable Court has stated, when
the lawyer's integrity is challenged by evidence, it is not enough that he denies the
charges against him; he must meet the issues and overcome the evidence for the
relator and to show proof that he still maintains the highest degree of morality and
integrity which at all times he is expected of him (Quingwa vs. Puno, Adm. Case No.
389, Feb. 28, 1967; 19 SCRA 439). Insofar as this point is concerned, the evidence
of the complainant as to the trysts they had in the two hotels has not been met and
overthrown by respondent. 4
Upon considering the report and recommendation filed by the Solicitor General, this Court, in a
resolution dated July 29, 1972, resolved to require the Solicitor General to file the corresponding
complaint against the respondent, David D.C. Paz, pursuant to Section 5 of Rule 139 of the Revised
Rules of Court. 5
On September 4, 1975, the Solicitor General filed the corresponding complaint against David D.C.
Paz praying that the respondent be suspended for a period of at least six months from the practice
of law, with a warning that similar transgressions in the future win be dealt with more severely.
Meanwhile the complainant sent a verified letter-petition dated March 29, 1974 to the then Chief
Justice Querube C. Makalintal wherein the complainant asked this Court to look into the suspicious
activities of a certain Rodolfo del Prado, who allegedly in connivance with the respondent, David
D.C. Paz, made her sign an affidavit prejudicial to her interest. Among other allegations, the
complainant stated in her verified complaint the following.

6. That there never is an illicit relationship between Atty. Paz and me at present
because I believed all along that he was single and able to marry me. In fact, our
relationship is above- board just like any engaged couple.
7. That I was made to understand by the Citizens Legal Assistant Office that the
tenor of the affidavit made by Mr. Rudolfo Del Prado is such that the consideration
for the illicit relationship was promissory note which to all intents and purposes is
immoral and illegal.
8. That I am only after the collection of the loan which Atty. Paz got from me and not
revenge for his deception. 6
The foregoing portions of her letter militate against the credibility of the complainant.
In her complainant for disbarment, she pictured the respondent as morally perverse. However, in the
aforementioned letter, she states that there never was an illicit relationship between her and the
respondent, Atty. David D.C. Paz, and that their relationship was aboveboard just like any engaged
couple. And finally, she avers that she was only after the collection of the loan which the respondent
got from her and not for revenge for his deception.
It has been held that the power of this Court to disbar a lawyer should be exercised with caution
because of its serious consequences. 7 The burden of proof rests upon the complainant and the case
against a respondent must be established by convincing proof.

In Arboleda vs. Gatchalian, this Court held:


The Court has held that in disbarment proceedings, the burden of proof rests upon
the complainant and the charge against the lawyer must be established by
convincing proof (Go vs. Candoy, A.C. No. 736, Oct. 23, 1967, 21 SCRA 439; Toquib
vs. Tomol, Jr., A.C. No. 554, March 25, 1970, 32 SCRA 156; in re Atty. Felizardo M.
de Guzman, A.C. No. 838, Jan. 21. 1974, 55 SCRA 139). The record must disclose
as free from doubt a case which compels the exercise by this Court of its disciplinary
powers. The corrupt character of the act done must be clearly demonstrated.
Moreover' considering the serious consequences, of the disbarment or suspension of
a member of the Bar, We have consistently held that clearly preponderant evidence
is necessary to justify the imposition of either penalty (De Guzman vs. Tadeo, 68
Phil. 554; Lim vs. Antonio, A.C. No. 848, Sept. 30, 1971, 41 SCRA 44). This Court
likewise held that where there is no proof that respondent lawyer was guilty of any
unethical conduct, harassment and malpractice, the disbarment case against him
should be dismissed (Ricafort vs. Baltazar, A.C. No. 661, June 26, 1967, 20 SCRA
418; Delos Santos vs. Bolanos A.C. No. 483, July 21, 1967, 20 SCRA 763). 9
The evidence adduced by the complainant has failed to establish any cause for disciplinary action
against the respondent. As the Solicitor General said in his report, "From all indications, there is little
room for doubt that she filed his disbarment case not in redress of a wrong, for there was no wrong
committed. It was a voluntary act of indiscretion between two consenting adults who were fully
aware of the consequences of their deed and for which they were responsible only to their own
private consciences."
WHEREFORE, the administrative complaint for disbarment is hereby DISMISSED.
SO ORDERED.

Barredo, Concepcion Jr., Guerrero, Abad Santos, De Castro and Melencio- Herrera, JJ., concur.
Aquino, J., concurs in the result.
Fernando, C.J.,Teehankee, Antonio JJ., took no part.
Santos,J., is on leave
MARIA
A.C.

ELENA
No.

MORENO
1109.

VS.

ATTY.
April

ERNESTO
27,

ARANETA
2005

Facts: Ernesto Araneta issued two checks to Elena Moreno for his indebtedness which amounts to P11,
000.00, the checks were dishonored. It was dishonored because the account against which is drawn is
closed. Thereafter the case was forwarded to the IBP Commission on Bar Discipline pursuant to Rule 139B of the Rules of Court. The Commission recommended the suspension from the practice of law for three
(3) months. On 15 October 2002, IBP Director for Bar Discipline Victor C. Fernandez, transmitted the
records of this case back to this Court pursuant to Rule 139-B, Sec. 12(b) of the Rules of Court. Thereafter,
the Office of the Bar Confidant filed a Report regarding various aspects of the case. The Report further made
mention of a Resolution from this Court indefinitely suspending the respondent for having been convicted
by
final
judgment
of
estafa
through
falsification
of
a
commercial
document.
Issue: Whether or not Araneta should be disbarred due to the issuance of checks drawn against a closed
account.
Held: The Court held that the act of a person in issuing a check knowing at the time of the issuance that he
or she does not have sufficient funds in, or credit with, the drawee bank for the payment of the check in full
upon its presentment, is a manifestation of moral turpitude. In Co v. Bernardino and Lao v. Medel, we held
that for issuing worthless checks, a lawyer may be sanctioned with one years suspension from the practice
of law, or a suspension of six months upon partial payment of the obligation. In the instant case, however,
herein respondent has, apparently been found guilty by final judgment of estafa thru falsification of a
commercial document, a crime involving moral turpitude, for which he has been indefinitely suspended.
Considering that he had previously committed a similarly fraudulent act, and that this case likewise involves
moral turpitude, we are constrained to impose a more severe penalty. In fact, we have long held that
disbarment is the appropriate penalty for conviction by final judgment of a crime involving moral turpitude.
As we said in In The Matter of Disbarment Proceedings v. Narciso N. Jaramillo, the review of respondent's
conviction no longer rests upon us. The judgment not only has become final but has been executed. No
elaborate argument is necessary to hold the respondent unworthy of the privilege bestowed on him as a
member of the bar. Suffice it to say that, by his conviction, the respondent has proved himself unfit to
protect the administration of justice.

52 Phil 399 Legal Ethics Practice of Law is a Privilege


Felipe Del Rosario took the bar in 1925 for the second time and he failed. He again took it in 1926 and
he failed again. In 1927, he filed a motion before the Supreme Court in which he alleged that there
was a mistake in thecomputation of his exam results in the 1925 bar exams. He was then admitted to
the bar.
HOWEVER, a subsequent investigation by the city fiscal uncovered that Del Rosario, together with
one Juan Villaflor a former employee of the Supreme Court, falsified some documents to make it
appear that Del Rosario actually passed the 1925 bar exams. The two were subsequently charged
with falsification. Villaflor was convicted as he pleaded guilty but Del Rosario was acquitted for lack of
evidence. The fiscal however recommended Del Rosario to surrender his certificate of attorney.
ISSUE: Whether or not the recommendation by the fiscal is correct.
HELD: Yes. The mere fact that Villaflor was convicted proves that Del Rosario is unworthy of the
certificate of attorney. The crime which Villaflor is proven guilty of has benefited only Del Rosario and
it is impossible that the latter has no knowledge of this illegal machination.
But shouldnt the Supreme Court just allow Del Rosario to take the bar exams again?
No. The practice of the law is not an absolute right to be granted everyone who demands it, but is a
privilege to be extended or withheld in the exercise of a sound discretion. The standards of the legal
profession are not satisfied by conduct which merely enables one to escape the penalties of the
criminal law. It would be a disgrace to the Judiciary to receive one whose integrity is questionable as
an officer of the court, to clothe him with all the prestige of its confidence, and then to permit him to
hold himself out as a duly authorized member of the bar.

Legal Ethics Use of Foreign Law Firm Name


In November 1979, Atty. Vicente Torres sent a letter to one Rosie Clurman, represented by Atty.
Adriano Dacanay, asking Clurman to release some shares to Torres client. The letterhead contained
the name Baker & McKenzie. Dacanay denied Clurmans liability and at the same time he asked why
is Torres using the letterhead Baker & McKenzie, a foreign partnership established in Chicago,
Illinois. No reply was received so Dacanay filed an administrative complaint enjoining Torres from
using Baker & McKenzie.
Later, Torres said that he is an associate of the law firm Guerrero & Torres; that their law firm is a
member of Baker & McKenzie; that the said foreign firm has members in 30 cities all over the world;
that they associated with them in order to make a representation that they can render legal services
of the highest quality to multinational business enterprises and others engaged in foreign trade and
investment.
ISSUE: Whether or not the use of a foreign law office name is allowed.
HELD: No. Baker & McKenzie, being an alien law firm, cannot practice law in the Philippines. Such
use of foreign law firm name is unethical therefore Torres and his law firm are enjoined from using
Baker & McKenzie in their practice of law.
74 Phil 579 Legal Ethics Malpractice
In June 1943, Bayot advertised in a newspaper that he helps people in securing marriage licenses;
that he does so avoiding delays and publicity; that he also makes marriage arrangements; that legal
consultations are free for the poor; and that everything is confidential. The Director of Religious Affairs
took notice of the ad and so he sued Bayot for Malpractice.
Bayot initially denied having published the advertisement. But later, he admitted the same and asked
for the courts mercy as he promised to never repeat the act again.
ISSUE: Whether or not Bayot is guilty of Malpractice.
HELD: Yes. Section 25 of Rule 127 expressly provides among other things that the practice of
soliciting cases at law for the purpose of gain, either personally or thru paid agents or brokers,
constitutes malpractice. The advertisement he caused to be published is a brazen solicitation of
business from the public. . It is highly unethical for an attorney to advertise his talents or skill as a
merchant advertises his wares. The Supreme Court again emphasized that best advertisement for a
lawyer is the establishment of a well-merited reputation for professional capacity and fidelity to trust.
But because of Bayots plea for leniency and his promise and the fact that he did not earn any case
by reason of the ad, the Supreme Court merely reprimanded him

LINSANGAN V. TOLENTINO
Facts:
A complaint of disbarment was filed by Pedro Linsangan of the Linsangan, Linsangan & Linsangan Law Office
against Atty. Nicomedes Tolentino for solicitation of clients & encroachment of professional services. Linsangan alleges
that Tolentino with the help of paralegal Labiano convinced his clients to transfer legal representation by promising
financial assistance and expeditious collection of their claims. To induce them, Tolentino allegedly texted and called
them persistently. To support his allegation, Linsangan presented the sworn affidavit of James Gregorio attesting that
Labiano tried to prevail over him to sever his client-atty relationship with Linsangan. Also, he attached respondents
calling card:
Front
NICOMEDES TOLENTINO
LAW OFFFICE
CONSULTANCY & MARITIME SERVICES
W/ FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE
Fe Marie L. Labiano
Paralegal
1st MIJI Mansion, 2nd Flr. Rm. M-01
Tel: 362-7820
6th Ave., cor M.H. Del Pilar
Fax: (632) 362-7821
Grace Park, Caloocan City
Cel.: (0926) 2701719
Back
SERVICES OFFERED:
CONSULTATION AND ASSISTANCE
TO OVERSEAS SEAMEN
REPATRIATED DUE TO ACCIDENT,
INJURY, ILLNESS, SICKNESS, DEATH
AND INSURANCE BENEFIT CLAIMS
ABROAD.
In his defense, Tolentino denies knowing Labiano and authorizing the printing and circulating of said calling card.
Issue:
W/N Atty. Tolentino is guilty of advertising his services
Held:
Yes. Atty. Tolentino suspended for violating Rules 1.03, 2.03, 8.02 and 16.04 and Canon 3 of the Code of
Professional Responsibility.
With regard to Canon 3, the practice of law is a profession and not a business. Thus, lawyers should not
advertise their talents as merchants advertise their wares. To allow lawyers to advertise their talents/skill is a
commercialization of the practice of law (degrading the profession in the publics estimation).
With regard to Rule 2.03, lawyers are prohibited from soliciting cases for purpose of gain, either personally or
through an agent. In relation to Rule 1.03, which proscribes ambulance chasing (involving solicitation personally or
through an agent/broker) as a measure to protect community from barratry and champertry.
As a final note regarding the calling card presented as evidence by Linsangan, a lawyers best advertisement
is a well-merited. reputation for professional capacity and fidelity to trust based on his character and conduct. For this
reason, lawyers are only allowed to announce their services by publication in reputable law lists or use of simple
professional cards.
Professional calling cards may only contain the following details:
(a) lawyers name;
(b) name of the law firm with which he is connected;
(c) address;
(d) telephone number and
(e) special branch of law practiced.

Labianos calling card contained the phrase with financial assistance. The phrase was clearly used to entice
clients (who already had representation) to change counsels with a promise of loans to finance their legal actions.
Money was dangled to lure clients away from their original lawyers, thereby taking advantage of their financial distress
and emotional vulnerability. This crass commercialism degraded the integrity of the bar and deserves no place in the
legal profession.

DE ROY
The firewall of a burned out building owned by petitioners collapsed and destroyed the tailoring shop
occupied by the family of the private respondents resulting in injuries to private respondents had been
warned by petitioners to vacate their shop in view of its proximity to the weakened wall but the former
failed to do. In the RTC, petitioners were found guilty of gross negligence. On the last day of the 15
days period to file an appeal, petitioners filed a motion for reconsideration which was again denied.
The Supreme Court finds that Court of Appeal did not commit a grave abuse of discretion when it
denied petitioners motion for reconsideration. It correctly applied the rule laid down in Habulayas vs
Japzon. Counsel for petitioner contends that the said case should not be applied non-publication in
the Official Gazette.
ISSUE: Whether or not Supreme Court decisions must be published in the Official Gazette before they
can be binding.
HELD: There is no law requiring the publication of Supreme Court decision in the
Official Gazette before they can be binding and as a condition to their becoming effective. It is bounden
duty of counsel as lawyer in active law practice to keep abreast of decisions of the Supreme Court
particularly where issues have been clarified, consistently reiterated and published in the advance
reports of Supreme Court decisions and in such publications as the SCRA and law journals.

Facts:
A taxi driver (Soriano) filed an action for the disbarment of Atty. Dizon, on the grounds that Dizon was convicted
of a crime involving moral turpitude, and violated Canon 1 of Rule 1.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility.
Soriano allegedly fell victim to Dizon, who was found to have:
a. Driven his car under the influence of liquor;
b. Reacted violently and attempted assault for over a simple traffic incident;
c. Shot at Soriano, who was unarmed and not in the position to defend himself (treachery);
d. Denied his acts despite positive evidence against him (dishonesty);
e. Guilty of dishonesty, claiming to be mauled by the victim (Kawawang driver, binaril na nga, may lakas pa daw
mag maul ng attorney na may baril. Hindi din tanga mag rason si Dizon diba?);
f. Despite neing granted probation, he did not satisfy his civil liabilities to the victim (Ano ba problema nito?!)
Issues:
(1) Is Dizons crime of Frustrated Homicide considered a crime involving moral turpitude
(2) Does his guilt to such crime warrant disbarment?
Held:
(1) Yes.
Moral Turpitude is everything which is done contrary to justice, modesty, or good morals
Dizon was obviously the aggressor for having pursued and shot Soriano, not only because of his treachery,
but also his intent to escape, betrayed by his attempt to wipe off his prints from the gun. His inordinate reaction to a
simple traffic incident clearly indicates his non-fitness to be a lawyer.
(2) Yes.
His illegal possession of fire-arms, and his unjust refusal to satisfy his civil liabilities all justify disbarment. The
court reminds him that in oath and in the CPR, he is bound to obey the laws of the land. The liabilities in question
have been sitting for 4 years, unsatisfied, despite it being the condition for his probation (you ungrateful person!)
Dizon displayed an utter lack of good moral character, which is an essential qualification for the privilege to
enter into the practice of law. Good moral character includes at least common honesty.

Manuel Dizon, hereby disbarred.