LUCILA S. BARBUCO vs. ATTY. RAYMUNDO N. BELTRAN, A.C. No.

5092, 8/11/2004
Facts:




Complainant filed an administrative case against respondent
Beltran for malpractice of law.
Complainant, through her son, Benito B. Sy, engaged the services
of respondent for the purpose of filing an appeal before the Court
of Appeals from the decision of the Regional Trial Court of Cavite,
which adverese to the complainants interest.
On the same day, complainant, through Benito B. Sy, gave
respondent the total sum of P3,500.00 for payment of the
docket fees.
However, the appeal was dismissed by the CA for failure to
file Appellant's brief.
The brief was only filed by respondent 43 days after the deadline
of submission of the same.
When asked to comment, respondent tried to evade liability
by alleging that he met a vehicular accident, which
incapacitated him for several days, thus he cannot finish the
appellants brief.
Moreover, he sustained injuries in the head, which as a result
respondent lost track of schedules of hearings and deadlines for
submitting briefs.

Issue: Whether or not respondent's failure to file appellant's brief warrants
sanctions.
Held: Yes.



the SC enunciated that "Rule 18.03 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility for Lawyers states: A lawyer shall not neglect a legal
matter entrusted to him, and his negligence in connection
therewith shall render him liable.
An attorney is bound to protect his client’s interest to the best of
his ability and with utmost diligence.
Failure to file brief within the reglementary period certainly
constitutes inexcusable negligence, more so if the delay of FORTY
THREE (43) days resulted in the dismissal of the appeal.
The fact that respondent was involved in a vehicular
accident and suffered physical injuries as a result thereof
cannot serve to excuse him from filing his pleadings on
time considering that he was a member of a law firm
composed of not just one lawyer.
This is shown by the receipt he issued to complainant and the
pleadings which he signed for and on behalf of the Beltran, Beltran
and Beltran Law Office.







As such, respondent could have asked any of his partners in
the law office to file the Appellant’s Brief for him or, at
least, to file a Motion for Extension of Time to file the said
pleading.
Moreover, every member of the Bar should always bear in mind
that every case that a lawyer accepts deserves his full attention,
diligence, skill and competence, regardless of its importance and
whether he accepts it for a fee or for free.
A lawyer’s fidelity to the cause of his client requires him to be ever
mindful of the responsibilities that should be expected of him.
He is mandated to exert his best efforts to protect the interest of
his client within the bounds of the law.
The Code of Professional Responsibility dictates that a lawyer shall
serve his client with competence and diligence and he should not
neglect a legal matter entrusted to him. "
–Lawyer suspended for failing to file appellant’s brief resulting to
the dismissal of his client’s case. Rule 18.03 (“a lawyer shall not
neglect a legal matter entrusted to him,and his negligence in
connection therewith shall render him liable”).
An attorney is bound to protect his client’s interest to the best of
his ability and with utmost diligence.
Failure to file brief within the reglementary period certainly
constitutes inexcusable negligence, more so if the delay of FORTY
THREE (43) days resulted in the dismissal of the appeal.
That Respondentwas involved in a vehicular accident and suffered
physical injuries as a result thereof cannot serve to excuse him
from filing his pleadings on time considering that he was a
member of a law firm composed of not just one lawyer.
Respondent could have asked any of his partners in the law office
to file the Appellant’s Brief for him or, at least, to file a Motion for
Extension of Time to file the said pleading.
Failure to timely file a pleading is by itself inexcusable negligence
on Respondent’s part and his liability is further compounded by his
failure tomaintain an open line of communication with his client, in
violation of Rule 18.04 (“a lawyer shall keep the client informed of
the status of his case and shall respond within a reasonable time
to the client’s request for information”)
WHEREFORE, Atty. Raymundo N. Beltran is found guilty of
negligence and malpractice and is SUSPENDED from the practice
of law for a period of SIX (6) MONTHS effective immediately.

ENDAYA V OCA
TINGA; September 3, 2003
FACTS

NATURE: A complaint filed by Artemio Andaya against Atty.
Wilfredo Ocafor violation of the lawer’s oath and for professional
delinquencyor infidelity












Nov. 7, 1991 - a complaint for unlawful detainer wasfiled against
Endaya and his spouse, Patrosenia Endaya.
The complaint was filed by Apolonia Hornilla, Pedro Hernandez and
Dominador Hernandez
the Endaya couple filed their answerwhich was prepared by a
certain Isaias Ramirez.
A preliminary conference was conducted w/c the couple attended
w/o counsel.
During the conference, complainant categorically admitted that
plaintiffs were the declared owners for taxation purposes of the
land involved in the case
hereafter, the complainant couple sought services of the
public attorney’s office in Batangas City wherein the
respondent attorney was assigned to handle the case
At the continuation of the preliminary conference, respondent
appeared as counsel; he also moved for the amendment of
the answer previously filed by the couple, but his motion
was denied
the court thereafter ordered the parties to submit their
affidavits and position papers w/in 10 days from receipt of
order – but the respondent failed to do so.
Nonetheless, the court dismissed the complaint on the ground that
the plaintiffs were not the real parties in interest
The plaintiffs appealed the decision.
The RTC directed the parties to file their memoranda.
Once again, the respondent failed to do so.
The courts original decision was reversed and set aside.

Petitioners' Claim

Having lost the case, the complainant filed this administrative
issue for professional delinquency consisting of his failure to file
the required pleadings.
The complainants contend that due to respondent’s inaction, he
lost the opportunity to present his cause and ultimately, the case
itself

Respondents' Comments

respondent denies this and stresses that he was not the original
counsel of the couple
he avers that when he agreed to represent complainant at the
continuation of the preliminary conference in the main case, it was
for the sole purpose of asking leave of court to file an amended
answer bec, he was made to believe that it was made by a nonlawyer.


When found out that it was actually made by lawyer, he asked the
court to relieve him as the couple’s counsel, but he was denied.
He also asserts that he purposely did not file a rejoinder believing
in good faith that it wasn’t anymore necessary

ISSUE: WON Atty. Oca (respondent) violated the lawyer’s oath through his
professional deliquency
HELD: Yes.










His failure to file the affidavits did not prejudice his clients
for the court nevertheless rendered a decision favorable to
them. But failure to do so per se is a violation of Rule
18.03
The respondent did not submit the affidavits and position
paper when required by the MCTC.
With his resolution not to file the pleadings already firmed up, he
did not bother to inform the MCTC of his resolution in
mockery of the authority of the court
Respondent’s stubborn and uncaring demeanor surfaced again
when he did not file a rejoinder to complainant’s reply
The lawyer’s oath embodies the fundamental principles that guide
every member of the legal fraternity.
From it
springs the lawyer’s duties and responsibilities that any
infringement thereof can cause his disbarment, suspension or
other preliminary action
Canon 18: A lawyer shall serve his client w/ competence and
diligence
Much is demanded from those who engage in the practice of law
because they have a duty not only to their clients but also to the
court, to the bar and to the public.
The lawyer’s diligence and dedication to his work and profession
not only promote the interest of his client, it likewise help attain
the ends of justice by contributing to the proper and speedy
administration of cases, maintain respect to the legal profession.
The facts and circumstances in this case indubitably show
respondent’s failure to live up to his duties as a lawyer
WHEREFORE, respondent Atty. Wilfredo Oca is ordered
SUSPENDED from the practice of law for two (2) months from
notice, with the warning that a similar misconduct will be dealt
with more severely

DALISAY V MAURICIO
SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ; January 23, 2006
FACTS

NATURE:Motion for reconsideration of our Decision dated April 22,
2005 finding Atty. Melanio “Batas” Mauricio, Jr., respondent, guilty

“there is nothing in the records to show that he (respondent) entered his appearance as counsel of record for complainant in Civil Case No. 2001. respondent should have returned her money. Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) Commission on Bar Discipline. but respondent refused. But once he accepts money from a client. upon learning of our Decision. He must serve the client with competence and diligence. respondent never rendered legal services for her. respondent should have verified the authenticity of her documents earlier if he really believed that they are falsified. he learned of the trial court’s Decision dated December 6. He has the right to decline employment. 00-044. complainant refused to provide him with documents related to the case. respondent filed a Sworn Affidavit Complaint against complainant charging her with violations of Article 171 and 172 and/or Article 182 of the Revised Penal Code. respondent’s present version is a flagrant departure from his previous pleadings.     ISSUE: WON respondent lawyer should be disciplined for failing to render services despite payment of his client HELD: YES. that the complaint be dismissed. Valeriana U. not due to the strict application of procedural rules. 2001. she terminated the attorney-client relationship and demanded the return of her money and documents. COMPLAINANT’S CONTENTIONS: respondent violated the principle of confidentiality between a lawyer and his client when he filed falsification charges against her. As we have ruled earlier.” Neither is there any evidence nor pleading submitted to show that he initiated new petitions. the date he was engaged as counsel. hence. or more than two months prior to October 13. “he could not have done anything anymore” about it.000. found that “for the amount of P56. complainant. A party should decide early what version he is going to advance. an attorneyclient relationship is established.” She recommended that respondent be required to refund the amount of P56. preventing him from doing his job.00 from complainant. 00-044. he had been remiss in the performance of his duties. He cannot now unbind himself from such admission and its consequences. engaged respondent’s services as counsel in Civil Case No Notwithstanding his receipt of documents and attorney’s fees in the total amount of P56. Dalisay. This cannot be countenanced. no action had been taken nor any pleadings prepared by the respondent.000. 00-044.          of malpractice and gross misconduct and imposing upon him the penalty of suspension from the practice of law for a period of six (6) months. And fourth. he is expected to be mindful of the trust and confidence reposed in him. his refusal to return her money despite this Court’s directive constitutes contempt. complainant offered tampered evidence in Civil Case prompting him to file falsification cases against her. . Unfortunately. giving rise to the duty of fidelity to the client’s cause. From then on.        RESPONDENT’S CONTENTIONS:    complainant did not engage his services as counsel in Civil Case.        It is axiomatic that no lawyer is obliged to act either as adviser or advocate for every person who may wish to become his client.00 to the complainant. respondent went to the MTC.000.00 from complainant and agreed to handle Civil Case No. Civil Case was “considered submitted for decision” as early as August 6. Undoubtedly. and surprisingly. a petition for declaration of nullity of title and a petition for review of a decree. As a result. Incidentally.000. 2001 holding that “the tax declarations and title” submitted by complainant “are not official records of the Municipal Assessor and the Registry of Deed. and champion the latter’s cause with wholehearted devotion.” Thereupon. to verify the statusof Civil Case There. The present administrative case was resolved by the IBP on the basis of respondent’s previous admission that complainant engaged his legal services in Civil Case No. She hired him for the purpose of filing two new petitions. He alleged that complainant offered tampered evidence. but because it is contrary to the rules of fair play. Respondent assumed such obligations when he received the amount of P56. justice and due process. A change of theory in the latter stage of the proceedings is objectionable.00 paid by the complainant x x x.

00-044 was already “submitted for decision” does not justify his inaction. If much is demanded from an attorney. in such a case. Sadly.: Before us is a petition for review on certiorari and mandamus seeking that the Resolutions dated September 21. then he should terminate his relationship with her. This is preposterous. in an ironic twist of fate. he failed to do this simple task. first and foremost. Instead of inaction.00-044. respondent knew where to obtain copies of the certificates of title. 00-044. such as for filing fee. managed to verify the authenticity of complainant’s title. Neither do we find merit in respondent’s second argument. He should have returned complainant’s money Surely. respondent accuses her of offering falsified documentary evidence in Civil Case No. There is nothing in the records to show that he filed any petition. his acceptance is an implied representation that he possesses the requisite academic learning. In his fourth argument. he cannot expect to be paid for doing nothing. and confidential character. Understandably. Rule 19. he admitted that his Law Office. He claims that she refused to provide him with documents vital to the case. At any rate. This is because there is no truth to his claim that he did not render legal service to complainant because she falsified the documentary evidence in Civil Case No. respondent failed to follow the above-cited Rule. to enter his appearance. perpetrated a fraud upon a person or tribunal.02 – A lawyer who has received information that his clients has. let it be stressed that the authority of an attorney begins with his or her retainer. WHEREFORE. First. still. but respondent is yet to return the money. and to the public. Canon 19 outlines the procedure in dealing with clients who perpetrated fraud in the course of a legal proceeding. it is because the entrusted privilege to practice law carries with it the correlative duties not only to the client but also to the court. prompting him to file falsification cases against her. assuming arguendo that complainant indeed engaged respondent’s services in filing the two (2) new petitions. It was a result of his active search for a justification of his negligence in Civil Case No. When a lawyer accepts a case. Money entrusted to a lawyer for a specific purpose. if anything at all has been achieved by respondent’s inconsistent assertions. The pleadings show that he learned of the alleged falsification long after complainant had terminated their attorney-client relationship. This is tantamount to abandonment of his duties as a lawyer and taking undue advantage of his client. This brings us to the second reason why we cannot sustain his fourth argument. In his third argument. After agreeing to handle Civil Case No. we DENY respondent’s motion for reconsideration. in the course of the representation. RUIZ V SANTOS AUSTRIA-MARTINEZ. In Pariñas v. 00-044. Finally. his duty is. As a matter of fact. shall promptly call upon the client to rectify the same.                 Assuming that complainant indeed offered falsified documentary evidence in Civil Case No. 2004[1] and December . As a lawyer. on its own. his liability is unmistakable. The ethics of the profession demands that. respondent is expected to know this Rule. it is his dishonesty to this Court. he should have confronted complainant and ask her to rectify her fraudulent representation. He thus justifies his inability to render legal services to complainant. 2005 is immediately executory. respondent became the accuser of complainant. In fine. but not used for failure to file the case must immediately be returned to the client on demand. exacting. instead of Civil Case No.” Per records. requiring a high degree of fidelity and good faith. complainant made repeated demands.02 of the same Canon specifically provides: Rule 19. Our Decision dated April 22. The fact that Civil Case No. If complainant refuses. 00-044. Paguinto. to the bar. Respondent is directed to report immediately to the Office of the Bar Confidant his compliance with our Decision. It bears reiterating that respondent did not take any action on the case despite having been paid for his services. will it be sufficient to exonerate respondent? We believe not. It gives rise to a relationship between an attorney and a client that is highly fiduciary in nature and of a very delicate. respondent attempts to evade responsibility by shifting the blame to complainant. skill and ability to handle the case. J.[10] we held that “a lawyer shall account for all money or property collected from the client. Consistent with its mandate that a lawyer shall represent his client with zeal and only within the bounds of the law. As a lawyer. 00-004. he should immediately return the filing fees to complainant. 00-044. and failing which he shall terminate the relationship with such client in accordance with the Rules of Court.                 In fact.

Florencio. she found out that the corporations were owned by Tantiansu. prohibition and mandamus filed before it by herein petitioners. meters. 2003.649 sq.00 and P2. P-4291 in the name of Florencio.[9] On November 6. respondent and Tantiansu in Tantiansu's office where the prospective buyer showed interest in buying the properties. meters (collectively referred to as “subject property”). but after Tantiansu's death. Tantiansu showed interest in the properties and asked for the lowering of price.” filed their Answer with counterclaim and alleged as affirmative defense that at the time of the consummation of the sale of the subject properties. Mark Edsel Ang (Atty. provided she registered in writing her prospective buyer with whom she negotiated during the period of authority. Petitioners “Domingo Ruiz. assuming there was such authority. Upon her verification of the articles of incorporation of the corporationbuyers with the Securities and Exchange Commission. petitioners filed a petition for relief[11] alleging that they were prevented from awaiting themselves of an appeal due to mistake and excusable negligence of their counsel on record.00 per square meter. ordering the latter to pay the plaintiff jointly and severally the sum of P2. 2004[2] of the Court of Appeals (CA) in CA-G. Accordingly.[8] Petitioners filed their notice of appeal. all surnamed Ruiz (petitioners). 2004. Olimpio gave respondent the plan of the subject property and verbally authorized her to sell the same. answered that she was amenable to a commission of 4%. In an Order[10] dated January 16. P-4292 in the name of Cornelia. Thereafter.00 per court appearance and to pay the cost. 49. respondent commenced the present action against them.648 sq. OCT No. Cirila delos Santos (respondent) is a duly licensed real estate broker. the RTC[7] rendered its judgment. In the authority to sell. P-4288 in the name of Dominga.21. that he communicated with the RTC Clerk of Court the fact that a notice of appeal was already filed and the fees would be paid as soon as he got the confirmation of petitioners' desire to appeal. P-4290 in the name of Olimpio. respondent introduced Olimpio to Tantiansu and they all went together to the location of the properties. meters.284 square meters located in Barangay Kaytinga. a complaint[6] for collection of sum of money and damages against all petitioners.000. a realtor and a fellow estate broker.650 sq.000. that petitioners knew that respondent had initially claimed her broker's commission from Tantiansu. who had earlier informed respondent that she had a prospective buyer interested to buy a land with an area of about 15 to 20 hectares to be used as a retirement village. SP No. and that they had a good and substantial defense. OCT No. respondent referred in writing the subject property to Odessa Antiporda (Antiporda). would be responsible for the payment of the broker's commission. the dispositive portion of which reads: WHEREFORE. to which the . 19. 19. a full-blown trial on the merits ensued. and there was nothing more to be appealed to the CA. With the denial of their appeal. and failing to collect any broker's commission from said buyer. petitioners refused to pay her broker's fee. he immediately sent copies thereof to petitioners by registered mail. to petitioners' immense gain and benefits. Sometime in 1995.649 sq. wherein he stated that when he received the decision on September 30. Antiporda in turn referred the subject property to one Alfred Tantiansu (Tantiansu). respondent filed her Comment and/or opposition thereto. that despite the sale and her repeated demands.803 sq. [4] A meeting was subsequently held among Olimpio. that it was petitioners' understanding at the time of the sale of the subject properties that Tantiansu. Respondent asked Olimpio for the renewal of her authority.80 plus legal interest thereon from the filing of the complaint and moral damages of P500. and that the CA be directed to give due course to the petition for certiorari.R. Cavite. without respondent. Respondent filed with the Regional Trial Court (RTC). 19. the RTC denied petitioners' appeal and considered the appeal barred for failure of petitioners to pay the appeal fee within the reglementary period as provided under Section 4. the same had already lapsed or expired. P4289 in the name of Apolonia. as indicated in the deeds of sale.[3] In May 1996. meters. A few weeks later. Issues having been joined. alleging that it was through her effort as a real estate broker that she was able to bring about the consummation of the sale of the subject property. Ang). meters.5%. there was no longer any existing broker's agreement between them. respondent notified petitioners in writing that Tantiansu was her buyer. 19. meters.447. P-4018 in the name of Cornelia. as four of the six petitioners live abroad while the other two live in Cavite. OCT No. It ruled that the decision had already become final and executory.000. OCT No. and OCT No. a meeting was held between Olimpio and Tantiansu only. which Olimpio pegged at P315. 85872 be reversed and set aside. the sale would not push through. alleging that the appeal was not perfected for failure of petitioners to file the docket/appeal fee within the reglementary period to appeal. through a letter sent to Olimpio. the buyer. Rule 41 of the Rules of Civil Procedure. Attached to the petition was the Affidavit of Merit of Atty. Olimpio asked respondent to lower her commission from 5% to 2. et al. But respondent.650 sq. petitioners' former counsel.000. covering 46. 19. but was unheeded. otherwise. A brief factual background is necessary for a proper perspective in the resolution of herein petition.00 as well as exemplary damages of P200. OCT No. On September 22.235 sq. Apolonia.524. Respondent then demanded the payment of her broker's commission. 2003. Tomasa and Olimpio. 2003. Cornelia. Olimpio then gave respondent a written authority to sell the same.[5] Respondent later learned that the properties were sold to different corporations at P60. Dominga. whoever the broker may be. judgment is rendered in favor of plaintiff [respondent] and against the defendants [petitioners].00 and attorney's fees of P100. Branch 275. it was specified that she would still be paid her commission even after the said authority expired. Las Piñas City.00 per square meter. meters. were the original owners of seven parcels of land with a total area of 194. to sell to which the former obliged. P-4017 in the name of Tomasa. covered by OCT No. Alfonso. that respondent had no more authority from them to sell the properties or.

for being procedurally flawed. [16] The reasons given by the CA dismissing the petition outright are as follows: (1) No motion for reconsideration was filed against the challenged Order issued by the respondent judge on January 16. the RTC denied the petition for relief for lack of merit. raised and passed upon by the lower court. notices of garnishment[14] were issued to the different banks by sheriff Josefino Ortiz. and (i) where the issue raised is one purely of law. 2003. 2004. and the grounds relied upon for the relief prayed for.clerk of court gave her assurance on the acceptance of the late payment of docket fees. 2004. 2003 had already become final and executory. WHETHER THERE IS NO SPECIAL POWER OF ATTORNEY EXECUTED BY SAID HEIRS AUTHORIZING PETITIONER TO SIGN THE VERIFICATION AND CERTIFICATION ON THEIR OWN BEHALF. c and d. Section 3. The RTC held that petitioners' claim of a good and valid defense was belied by the court's findings and conclusions contained in its Decision dated September 22. 2004. The RTC found no merit in petitioners' contention that the error of counsel to pay the appellate fees in due time was a mistake constituting excusable negligence and ruled that the mistake of counsel binds his client. 2004. he paid the appellate fees on October 24. In an Order[13] dated June 24. 2003 had already become final and executory and there was nothing more to be appealed to the CA. just after the petition for relief was denied on June 18. petitioners assert that the CA erred in finding that the filing of a motion for reconsideration is a prerequisite for the institution of a special civil action for certiorari. Clearly then. the same must be pro tanto denied. the factual background of the case. (h) where the proceedings were ex parte. Under the peculiar circumstances of the present case. (4) notice of garnishment issued on July 5. which requires that the “petition shall contain the full names and actual addresses of all petitioners and respondents. 2003 confirming petitioners' desire to appeal the decision. (2) Decision dated June 18. prohibition. a motion for reconsideration would be useless. and it ruled that its decision dated September 22. The court reiterated its disquisition found in its main decision dated September 22. as where the court a quo has no jurisdiction. herein petition raising the following issues: 1. Petitioners' notice of appeal was earlier denied by the RTC due to the late payment of docket fees. 2004 declaring the Decision as final and executory and granting the motion for execution filed by respondent. WHETHER THE NAMES OF THE HEIRS OF THE PETITIONER TOMASA RUIZ ARE INDICATED IN THE PETITION. relief from an order of arrest is urgent and the granting of such relief by the trial court is improbable. (c) where there is an urgent necessity for the resolution of the question and any further delay would prejudice the interests of the government or of the petitioner.” (3) There is no special power of attorney executed by the said heirs authorizing Dominga to sign the verification and certification in their own behalf. Ang admitted that it was through his negligence that the appeal was belatedly filed. (b) where the questions raised in the certiorari proceedings have been duly. as there are recognized exceptions: (a) where the order is a patent nullity. 2004. verified and certified by Dominga.[17] Petitioners' motion for reconsideration was denied in the assailed Resolution dated December 21. 2004. or in which the petitioner had no opportunity to object. or the subject matter of the action is perishable. 2. On September 21. the CA dismissed the petition. 2003. 2004. 2004. Rule 46 of the 1997 Rules. thus. [21] We find this case falling under exceptions b. WHETHER A MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION IS REQUIRED BEFORE RESORTING TO THE PETITION FOR CERTIORARI FILED BY PETITIONERS BEFORE THE CA. a concise statement of the matters involved. that he received a long distance call from petitioner Cornelia on October 15. Anent the first issue. Notice[15] of sale on execution of the subject property was scheduled on September 3. we agree with petitioners. (d) where. (f) where. WHETHER THE CA ACTED WITH HASTE ON ITS BASESLESS CONCLUSION THAT PETITIONERS' MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION IS A VIRTUAL REHASH OF THOSE ALLEGED IN SUPPORT OF ITS PETITION. 3. (e) where petitioner was deprived of due process and there is extreme urgency for relief. in violation of the first par. Atty. 2004. Petitioners' subsequent petition for relief from the denial of appeal was denied by the RTC in its Decision dated June 18. under the circumstances. Hence. the filing of a motion for reconsideration before availing of the remedy of certiorari is not always a sine qua non[20] requirement. in a criminal case. and consequently DISMISSED. 4. There is no question that the filing of a motion for reconsideration before resort to certiorari will lie is intended to afford the court an opportunity to correct any actual or fancied error attributed to it by way of re-examination of the legal and factual aspects of the case. (2) The names of the heirs of the petitioner Tomasa Ruiz are not indicated. which denied petitioners' notice of appeal. or public interest is involved. seeking to set aside the following: (1) Order dated January 16.[19] However. And since the temporary restraining order and/or writ of preliminary injunction is merely an adjunct to the main case. 2004 denying petitioners' petition for relief. 2004. 2004. and notice of sale. the RTC issued an Order dated June 24. (3) Order dated June 24. Petitioners filed a petition for certiorari. Well settled is the rule that a filing of a motion for reconsideration is a prerequisite to the institution of a special civil action for certiorari. or are the same as those. the dispositive portion of which reads: WHEREFORE.[18] The parties filed their respective memoranda. In its Decision[12] dated June 18. and mandamus with prayer for the issuance of a temporary restraining order/writ of preliminary injunction with the CA. In fact. as the CA found that the arguments put forward in the motion were a virtual rehash of those alleged in support of the petition. this petition is hereby DENIED DUE COURSE. 2003. 2004 granting the motion for execution filed . the RTC granted the motion for execution filed by respondent on the ground that the decision dated September 22. a motion for reconsideration would be useless in the light of such declaration by the RTC. (g) where the proceedings in the lower court are a nullity for lack of due process. On July 5. at the very least.

Thereafter.” which means that the heirs of Tomasa are the persons whose names are immediately preceding. Olimpio Ruiz.by respondent. Thus. and the granting of respondent's motion for execution as well as the sheriff's implementation of such writ by the issuance of notices of garnishment.[28] It is an essential requirement without which the decision appealed from would become final and executory as if no appeal has been filed.[22] In their motion for reconsideration of the CA Resolution dated September 21. Thus. resident of Detecon Al Saudia Co. the motion had sufficiently stated the circumstances which would excuse petitioners for their non-filing of a motion for reconsideration of the RTC decision dated June 24. Jeddah. since all the petitioners are the only children of the late Tomasa Ruiz. USA. Cornelia Ruiz. Anent the fourth issue. stocks. resident of 12903 Turnberry Circle. Petitioners also pointed out to the CA that it had overlooked the fact that the names of the heirs of Tomasa Ruiz were alleged in the petition and clarified that they were the only heirs of petitioner Tomasa and that they had executed separate SPAs in favor of petitioner Dominga. In the petition filed before the CA.. 2003. 2003 to the CA since the late payment of appellate docket fees was due to the mistake and excusable negligence of their counsel and they had a good and substantial defense. — Prior to the transmittal of the original record or the record on appeal to the appellate court. and failure to perfect an appeal renders the judgment final and executory. To begin with. petitioners filed a petition for relief from the RTC Order that did not giving due course to their notice of appeal on the grounds of mistake and excusable negligence committed by their counsel.[26] On October 14. 2004. giving her the authority to sign the required verification and certification of non-forum shopping. It is a well-settled rule that the mere filing of the notice of appeal is not enough. Anent the second issue. through counsel. interest on stocks. the trial court may. the CA committed a reversible error in outrightly dismissing the petition and not giving due course to it as well as in denying petitioners' motion for reconsideration. Apolonia Ruiz. Fort Washington. Cornelia. the heirs of Tomasa. on July 5. petitioners alleged that there was substantial compliance with the requirement that the full names and actual residents of all petitioners must be stated. we also find that the CA erred in finding that there were no special powers of attorney (SPAs) executed by the heirs of Tomasa authorizing petitioner Dominga to sign the verification and certification on their behalf. 21497.[29] Hence. attached were separate SPAs[23] of petitioners Apolonia. received a copy of the RTC decision dated September 22. Maryland. Alfonso Cavite. petitioners filed their notice of appeal through registered mail without paying the appeal fees. a fact that they had sufficiently alleged in their petition. Thus. for it must be accompanied by the payment of the correct appellate docket fees. However. executed in favor of their co-petitioner Dominga. We find such explanation plausible. Florencio Ruiz. Dismissal of appeal. were a mere rehash of those in support of their petition for certiorari. Florencio. Notably. resident of 105 Eagle Head Drive. 2003 on September 30 2003. all the above residents of the above-mentioned addresses. 13. an examination of the CA rollo shows that when the petition was filed with the CA. resident of Kaytinga. motu proprio or on motion dismiss the appeal for having been taken out of time. or for non-payment of the docket and other lawful fees within the reglementary period. They contend that their counsel mistakenly erred when he relied in good faith on . USA. shares and any other personal properties in their control and possession were already served by the sheriff on the different banks. Olimpio. it was alleged that the petitioners are as follows: Dominga Ruiz. 2004 before resorting to a petition for certiorari in the CA. Heirs of Tomasa Ruiz. Instead of remanding the case to the CA which would only unduly prolong the disposition of the case between the parties. Failure to perfect an appeal within the prescribed period is not a mere technicality but jurisdictional. there is no question that the RTC correctly dismissed petitioners' appeal pursuant to Section 13. Petitioners further claim that the RTC should have given due course to their notice of appeal of the RTC Decision dated September 22. to wit: the RTC's declaration that its decision had already become final and executory and that there was nothing more to be appealed to the CA. PO Box 31443. considering that the phrase “heirs of Tomasa Ruiz” was followed by the words “all the above. 2003 within which to perfect their appeal by filing the notice of appeal[25] and paying the appellate docket and other legal fees. Fort Washington. we shall resolve[24] the substantive issue raised in the petition for certiorari filed with the CA. 2004. we rule that the CA hastily concluded that the allegations in petitioners' motion for reconsideration of the Resolution dated September 21. petitioners had until October 15.[27] Payment in full of docket fees within the prescribed period is mandatory. As to the third issue. petitioners sufficiently showed that there was an urgent necessity for the filing of the petition with the CA to rule on the issue of the denial of appeal and the petition for relief. Chicago. petitioners. Troy. 2000. notices of garnishment of petitioners' goods. Rule 41 of the Rules of Court which reads: SEC. Maryland. However. to wit: Whether the RTC committed grave abuse of discretion in denying petitioners' petition for relief from denial of appeal. Illinois. USA. the CA erred in finding that the names of the heirs of petitioner Tomasa Ruiz were not indicated in the petition. resident of 4510 N. Ltd.

Court of Appeals. petitioners failed to pay the . Despite receiving an overseas call on October 15. he received a long distance call from petitioner Cornelia who confirmed their desire to appeal the decision. and a party thereto. considering the facts of the case. Rule 38 of the Rules of Court provides: Section 2. which if presented would have completely belied the accusation against him. As an officer of the court. and it is only allowed in exceptional circumstances to better serve the interest of justice. that counsel also mistakenly relied on jurisprudence that technical rules of procedure would be relaxed provided that the same were substantially complied with. Court of Appeals. as Saturday and Sunday were excluded and. Petition for relief from denial of appeal. 2003. the payment of the docket fees was done nine days after the lapse of the period to appeal. and they were adequately heard with all the issues fully ventilated and evidence presented before the decision was rendered. citing De Guzman v. petitioner therein committed a lapse in the formal requirement which was curable by amendment. and the hard stance taken by the CA was unjustified under the circumstances. We held that the delay was only for one day. citing our ruling in Jaro v. In the case of herein petitioners. he should know that the affirmation of the clerk of court could not prevail over the specific requirement of the rules. The liberal application of rules of procedure for perfecting appeals is still the exception.000 received for the training program which was actually conducted. October 13. Ang should not have presumed that the rules of procedure would be relaxed in favor of his clients. Petitioner subsequently filed an amended petition in the proper form accompanied by annexes. The rules of procedure are meant to be followed and not to be subjected to the whims and convenience of the parties and their counsels or by mere opinions of the clerk of court. and these original copies were readily available. Atty. the full amount of appellate docket and other lawful fees must be paid within the same period that the notice of appeal was filed. In fact. Section 2.. which was the last day to appeal. Petitioners also allege that subsequent and substantial compliance with the rule may call for the relaxation of the rules of procedure. that they have good and substantial defenses which would result in the dismissal of the complaint or a reduction of the monetary awards set forth in the decision. 1995. and not the rule. the CA dismissed the petition filed before it for being defective. as it was not in the form of a petition for review and the annexes thereto attached were certified as true xerox copies by counsel.000. Negligence to be excusable must be one which ordinary diligence and prudence could not have guarded against. This Court ruled that there was more than substantial compliance.[30] Petitioners' counsel filed a notice of appeal within the reglementary period for filing the same without.[34] We are not persuaded. instead of immediately paying the appeal fee. In the present case.[31] Atty. paying the appellate docket fees. accident. mistake. he paid the fees only on October 24. who then lived in Japan and expressed in behalf of the other petitioners their desire to appeal the RTC decision. 2003. by fraud. It bears stressing that the Rules of Court explicitly provides for the procedure for the perfection of appeal. The circumstances surrounding this case do not warrant the relaxation of the rules. 2003. not by the proper public official who had custody of the records. the present case does not involve the life or liberty of petitioners. the last day for filing the notice of appeal fell on a Friday. the higher interests of justice and equity demand that petitioner be not penalized for the costly mistake of his previous counsel. the last day to file the appeal. His reliance on jurisprudence that the application of the technical rules of procedure would be relaxed if the same was subsequently complied with is not justified. as he even allegedly communicated to the clerk of court his request for additional time in order to consolidate the confirmation of petitioners' desire to appeal. The failure of counsel to pay the appellate docket fees on time constitutes negligence. found the delay to be excusable. in the affidavit of merit of petitioners' counsel attached to the petition for relief. The original documents were all along kept in the records section of the Bureau of Plant Industry. Counsel very well knew that under the Rules of Court. however. the effect of which deprived him of presenting the pieces of documentary evidence showing due disbursement of the P200. Sandiganbayan[32] and Samala v. all of which were certified true copies by the Department of Agriculture Regional Adjudication Board. — When a judgment or final order is rendered by any court in a case. Petitioners insist that they are not bound by the mistake of their counsel. The counsel of petitioners should not have relied on the alleged assurance by the clerk of court of the acceptance of the late payment of docket fees. however. In Jaro. he may file a petition in such court and in the same case praying that the appeal be given due course.00 he received for certain training programs of the Department of Agriculture based on the testimony of the lone prosecution witness that no such training program was held at the designated places. However counsel. Ang's negligence in not paying the docket fees on time cannot be considered as excusable. that counsel's negligence should not be binding on them. Notably. In contrast. In Samala.[33] In De Guzman. or excusable negligence. has been prevented from taking an appeal.e. waited for nine days before doing so. Petitioner sought to be relieved from what he considered as the serious and costly mistake of his former lawyers in demurring to the prosecution evidence after leave was denied. a Monday.the affirmation made by the trial court's clerk of court that the appeal fees would be accepted even after the period for the filing of the notice of appeal. from petitioner Cornelia. We ruled that since no less than petitioner's liberty was at stake. i. The person to whom the filing of the notice was entrusted suffered stomach pains and was able to file it only on the next business day which was October 16. he stated that on October 15. petitioner was convicted by the Sandiganbayan of anti-graft and corrupt practices act for his failure to account for the P200.

Dominga and Tomasa were still living in Cavite. The payment of the appellate docket and other lawful fees is not a mere technicality of law or procedure. the factual circumstances in the present case do not give us sufficient reason to suspend the rules of the most mandatory character. However. Ang at the earliest possible time to protect their interest. It is settled that clients are bound by the mistakes. relaxed procedural rules in order to serve and achieve substantial justice. that respondent was instrumental in bringing about the meeting of petitioner Olimpio and Tantiansu and the transaction concerning the sale of subject property.appellate docket fees on time. The dismissal reads: On record is a pre-trial brief filed by defendant. 13. or a mistaken mode of procedure for that matter. as if no appeal was filed at all. [35] It is an essential requirement. respondent is entitled to the broker's commission as agreed upon between her and the petitioners. and that it was proven by evidence that the buyer of the subject property was Tantiansu.[3] During the pendency of the second case. Section 2 of the Rules of Court will not be granted to a party who seeks to be relieved from the effects of the judgment when the loss of the remedy of law was due to his own negligence.[36] The failure of petitioners' counsel to perfect the appeal binds petitioners. Cornelia who lives abroad was able to receive a copy of the decision and was able to make an overseas call to Atty. whatever Tantiansu and petitioners agreed relative to the payment of broker's commission is binding only upon themselves and not binding on respondent who does not appear to have consented thereto. while some of the petitioners were already abroad. Petitioners themselves may not be said to be entirely faultless. docketed as Civil Case No. Br. “Spouses Antonio M. 20-465-90.[40] Indeed. Marlon B. docketed as Civil Case No. they engaged the services of respondent in a case they filed against Peninsula Development Bank entitled. which would not relieve them of the consequence of the negligence of their counsel. without which the decision or final order appealed from would become final and executory. v. SPS SORIANO V ATT REYES CHICO-NAZARIO. a complaint[1] for disbarment was filed by complainant spouses Antonio and Norma Soriano against Atty. Reyes. Defendant’s counsel vehemently objected to the postponement of the pre-trial conference and instead moved for a declaration of plaintiffs . the client may be excused from the failure of counsel. because of either inexcusable negligence or counsel’s mistake in procedure. but a mere statutory privilege.[42] It bears stressing that appeal is not a right. No prudent party would leave the fate of his case completely to his lawyer. which is jurisdictional and which divests the trial court of jurisdiction to act on the appeal. complainants again engaged the services of respondent in a case they filed against the Technology and Livelihood Resource Center entitled. claims that as soon as he received the decision. 16. Respondent has sufficiently shown that she was authorized in writing by petitioners to sell the subject property. Ang to express her desire to appeal the decision. counsel for the plaintiffs is present in Court but he moved for a suspension of the pre-trial conference this morning for the reason that plaintiffs are proposing to amicably settle this case. the appeal on its face appears absolutely meritorious. complainants learned that Civil Case No. the instant case does not warrant the desired relaxation. Technology and Livelihood Resource Center” for Declaration of Nullity with Injunction and Temporary Restraining Order before the RTC of Davao City. Br. Soriano and Norma Soriano v. Later. took steps to call Atty. Peninsula Development Bank. as correctly held by RTC. Thus. [39] Thus. The Court may deign to veer away from the general rule only if. In 1994. “Norton Resources and Development Corporation. we find that there was participatory negligence on the part of petitioners. since they were not prevented from filing their notice of appeal and payment of docket fees by mistake or excusable negligence that would have deprived them of their day in court. the Court has. complainants inquired from respondent the status of the earlier Civil Case No. thru counsel. Records show that at that time. Petitioners' claim that Tantiansu had explicitly bound himself to pay the broker's commission after the consummation of the sale would not relieve petitioners of their liability to respondent since. otherwise. in a number of instances. the petition for review is DENIED. Llauder. petitioners' counsel. we find no grave abuse of discretion committed by the RTC in denying petitioners' petition for relief. Thus. he sent copies to petitioners. Complainants alleged that sometime in the latter part of 1990. the latter informed them that the same was still pending and/or ongoing. 22-674-94. the petition for relief will be tantamount to reviving the right of appeal which has already been lost.: For alleged gross negligence in handling two civil cases. exceptionally. negligence and omission of their counsel.[43] Corollary to this principle is that the appeal must be exercised strictly in accordance with the provisions set by law.[38] It is the duty of the client to be in touch with his counsel so as to be constantly posted about the case.[37] While. in its assessment. respondent reassured complainants that he was diligently attending to the case and will inform them of the status of their case. Such relief under Rule 38. Atty. Atty. 20-465-90 was dismissed[4] on 16 December 1991 for failure of the respondent to file a pre-trial brief. and this morning a supplemental pre-trial brief was submitted by defendant’s counsel. et al.[44] WHEREFORE. Reynaldo Reyes.[2] While the case was pending.[41] However. Ang. neither Dominga nor Tomasa who only live in Cavite. Reynaldo P. 20-465-90. Atty.” The case was for Declaration of Nullity with Injunction and/or Restraining Order before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Davao City. J.

[7] (Underscoring supplied. He disclosed that at the time he was hired in 1990.000. Complainants averred that the certification attached by respondent showing that there were estafa cases filed against them has no bearing insofar as the disbarment case is concerned. Reynaldo P. the Hearing Commissioner declared that respondent was considered to have waived his right to present his defense evidence. complainants are still holding office in the real properties subject of the foreclosure and a portion thereof is being rented by a big taxi company. Atty. As to Civil Case No. Claiming that the acts of respondent greatly prejudiced and damaged them. On 20 October 1997. respondent concluded by saying that his attorney’s fees. complainants likewise found out that the case was dismissed for failure to prosecute. Finally. and the oneyear redemption period was to expire in the latter part of 1990. They are thus. Gonzaga of the Commission on Bar Discipline. Despite due notice. herein complainants are in continuous possession of the already foreclosed properties. declared as non-suited. From the time of the filing of the complaint up to the present. dated October 11. which was docketed as Civil Case No. 20-465-90. This case is hereby ordered dismissed. In the interest of substantial justice. 1991. but plaintiffs did not file the necessary pleadings in order to prosecute the same. said loans did not materialize. Only complainants filed a memorandum. They likewise denied that respondent assisted them in their loan application. On 18 January 2002. He averred that Peninsula Development Bank foreclosed the property of the complainants for failure to pay monetary obligations amounting to several millions of pesos. As early as 27 June 2000.[11] complainants refuted respondent’s allegation of the alleged “numerous estafa cases” filed against them. 1994. the Supreme Court referred[9] the case to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) for investigation. Respondent added that they differed in opinion with regard to the handling of the case and that complainants did not understand that the filing of the case had already helped them gain time to negotiate with the bank especially on the matter of interest incurred by their loans. In their reply. he failed to appear. IN VIEW HEREOF.) Upon filing of a Motion for Reconsideration. On 1 March 2002. filed a case against the Peninsula Development Bank before the RTC of Davao City. The parties were given 20 days from 19 April 2002 to file their respective memoranda. Finally. Furnish copy of this order. the complainants. the day respondent was ordered to present his defense evidence. respondent again failed to appear. complainants filed a Complaint for disbarment against respondent before this Court. plaintiffs have not submitted their pre-trial brief in violation of the Order of the Court. the Commission admitted the documentary evidence offered as part of the testimony of complainants. 22-674-94. complainants maintained that respondent was paid his attorney’s fees. through the respondent. after several hearings. paid in meager installments. though. He said that some of the properties of the complainants were foreclosed in 1989. the case had already been scheduled for hearing by Commissioner Agustine V. They engaged the services of the respondent to prevent them from losing their properties to the Peninsula Development Bank and for no other reason. wherein plaintiffs’ counsel was afforded five (5) days from said date within which to submit to Court plaintiffs’ pre-trial brief.[10] respondent admitted that he was hired by the complainants in the case against the Peninsula Development Bank in the latter part of 1990. and his attorney’s fees. Respondent further claimed that their agreed strategy was to arrange a settlement with regard to Civil Case No. About one week before the expiration of the redemption period. According to respondent. Counsel for the complainants moved that the respondent be deemed to have waived his right to present his evidence for failure to appear on scheduled hearing despite due notice. Atty. The order reads: The records show that summons with a copy of the complaint have been served upon the defendant on May 11. report and recommendation or decision. Francisco Figura. thus.[5] (Underscoring supplied. however. remain outstanding and unpaid. after which the case will be deemed submitted for resolution. Respondent claimed that he assisted complainants in applying for a loan to pay off their obligations with Peninsula Development Bank but because of the numerous estafa cases filed against complainants. plaintiffs’ counsel and defendant’s counsel. the agreement was that he would be paid the amount of Three Hundred Thousand Pesos (P300. for failure to prosecute this case is ordered DISMISSED. The said motion is well-taken for the reason that the records failed to show that plaintiffs filed pre-trial brief. Respondent said he later realized that the complainants had no interest in paying their obligations to Peninsula Development Bank. Reyes.) A motion[6] for reconsideration was filed but the same was denied in an Order dated 27 April 1992.as non-suited for the reason that up to this time. 20-465-90. In his Comment. respondent was given a period of 10 days to comment on the complainants’ motion and scheduled the case for hearing on 19 April 2002.00) as attorney’s fees in five years. . consisting of a Ford Econovan and farm tractors. the case was reconsidered and reinstated[8] on 15 August 1995.

against Peninsula Development Bank and against Livelihood Resource Center for Declaration of Nullity with Injunction and/or Temporary Restraining Order docketed as 22-674-94. Likewise.” In view hereof. a Motion to Withdraw Testimony and Evidence[14] was filed by complainant Norma B. complainant Antonio Soriano. it is important to stress the following antecedent circumstances: (a) That it was undersigned complainant’s late husband who conferred constantly with respondent Atty. Reyes. “G”. “H-1” and “I”). San Juan found respondent negligent in handling the cases of complainants. hence. herein complainant was not really knowledgeable of the facts and details involved in the cases handled by respondent counsel. Defendants’ counsel vehemently objected to the postponement of the pre–trial conference and instead moved for a declaration of plaintiff’s as non–suited for the reason that up to this time. but plaintiffs did not file the necessary pleadings in order to prosecute the same. . 1995 which reads: “The record show that summons with a copy of the Complaint have been served upon the defendant on May 11. it was only the deceased complainant Antonio Soriano who was familiar with the scope of professional engagement. The pertinent portions of the report read: There is no question that the respondent was engaged by the complainants as their counsel in two cases. for failure to prosecute this case is ordered Dismissed. They are thus declared as non–suited. Reynaldo Reyes. This case is hereby ordered dismissed. 1994. The failure and negligence of respondent in handling the aforementioned cases is fully reflected in the Order of the Court re: Civil Case No. it is only complainant Norma B. it is submitted that Atty. 13. Marlon B. “x x x Regarding Civil Case No. (b) That herein complainant was not present in a conference with Atty.On 28 May 2003. “H”. “x x x The records show that the real status of the cases were kept from the complainants by respondent. Atty. Reynaldo P.[12] On 21 June 2003. Soriano who has testified and presented evidence during the hearing of this case due to the untimely demise of her husband. That before going into those information and facts that she came to learn after she gave her testimony before this Honorable Board. The respondent accepted both cases by filing a case of Nullity with Injunction and/or Restraining Order before the Regional Trial Court Br. Llander and this morning a supplemental pre–trial brief was submitted by defendants’ counsel. Reyes at the time his professional services were hired. Davao City in the case filed against Technology and Livelihood Resource Center the court issued an Order dated May 5. namely Civil Case No. Moreover. 16 RTC Davao City. So. 22674-94. That subsequently to the undersigned complainants testimony and presentation of evidence. Atty. stating that: 1. In the interregnum. the respondent deceived the complainant by giving them false hopes that everything was alright and there was no problem regarding the cases. 20-465-90 which reads: On record is a pre–trial brief filed by defendant thru counsel. said Investigating Commissioner recommended that he be disbarred. 16. 1991 wherein plaintiff’s counsel was afforded five (5) days time from date within which to submit to court plaintiff’s pre–trial brief. 22-674-94. 3. plaintiff have not submitted their pre–trial brief in violation of the Order of the Court. counsel for the plaintiff is present in court but he moved for a suspension of the pre–trial conference this morning for the reason that plaintiffs are proposing to amicably settle this case. The motion is well taken for the reason that the records failed to show that plaintiffs filed pre–trial brief. All the foregoing show that there is clear violation of his oath as a lawyer particularly Canon 17 and Canon 18 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. (Exhibits “F”. she has come upon information and facts that need to be reviewed and re-examine[d] in the highest interests of justice. Soriano before this Court. Soriano as the complainants. Reyes be meted the penalty of Disbarment. That although the complainant in this case names the spouses Antonio Soriano and Norma B. 20-465-90 and Civil Case No. 2. dated October 11. Regional Trial Court Br. Despite the dismissal of both cases due to respondent’s negligence and irresponsibility he continued receiving compensation from complainants are evidenced by the receipts and vouchers which respondent acknowledged with his signatures. Thus. the IBP Board of Governors adopted and approved[13] the recommendation of the Investigating Commissioner. Br. (c) That undersigned complainant did not participate in the conference between her late husband and respondent counsel on the agreed strategy because the late husband was the one actively managing the affairs of the family. Investigating Commissioner Milagros V. Reynaldo P. Davao City.

[15] The above quoted motion is tantamount to a withdrawal or desistance of the complaint. (e) That it was a surprise for herein undersigned complainant to also learn that respondent Atty. The attorney is called to answer to the court for his conduct as an officer of the court. the disbarment proceeding should proceed. Complainant herein had the mistaken impression that the complainant-decedent had availed of the services of lawyers in Makati. and has generally no interest in the outcome except as all good citizens may have in the proper administration of justice. Thus. if the evidence on record warrants. then. Hence. This rule is premised on the nature of disciplinary proceedings.[21] explained: An attorney is bound to protect his client’s interest to the best of his ability and with utmost diligence. Hence. or the additional points which could be inquired into for the purpose of additional stipulations. Pre-trial briefs also apprise the courts of the additional points the parties are willing to stipulate upon. Hence. in Spouses Galen v. this Court. who was an intimate friend of respondent. the charge of negligence has been duly proved. The complainant or the person who called the attention of the court to the attorney’s alleged misconduct is in no sense a party. Respondent’s failure to file the pre-trial brief constitutes inexcusable negligence. the affidavit of withdrawal of the disbarment case executed by a complainant does not automatically exonerate the respondent.[17] Accordingly. They enable both parties to view the documentary evidence of the other even before they are presented in court. the respondent may be suspended or disbarred despite the desistance of complainant or his withdrawal of the charges. it was only later after her testimony that she learned that respondent was also attending to and handling the other cases of the late complainant Antonio Soriano. notwithstanding the motion to withdraw evidence and testimony. For one. They eliminate haphazard preparation. 20-465-90. preparation of the lawyers and parties for the pre-trial in both questions of fact and of law cannot be overemphasized as an essential requirement for a pre-trial conference.[19] The failure to submit a pre-trial brief could very well. and (f) That I likewise subsequently learned that when respondent counsel became a city councilor of Davao City. enabling the court to discuss more intelligently an amicable settlement between or among the parties. it appears that respondent counsel went out of his way to help the late complainant Antonio Soriano solve his problems. respondent’s failure to submit the pre-trial brief to the court within the given period constitutes negligence which entails disciplinary action. They also apprise the court of the respective demands of the parties. no matter how innocently and in good faith they were presented.[18] The importance of filing a pre-trial brief cannot be gainsaid. Disciplinary proceedings involve no private interest and afford no redress for private grievance. They enable the parties to know the testimonies of each other’s witnesses. records show that it was dismissed for failure of respondent to file the pre-trial brief. Not only is it a dereliction of duty to his client but to the court as well.[16] What matters is whether. That complainant herein is filing the instant motion in the interests of truth and justice as it is farthest from her intention to have this case resolved through an inadvertent presentation of facts that do not exactly reflect the entirety of the story and the truth. [20] For this reason. A failure to file brief for his client certainly constitutes inexcusable negligence on his part. They are undertaken for the purpose of preserving courts of justice from the official ministration of persons unfit to practice in them. Paguirigan. A proceeding for suspension or disbarment is not in any sense a civil action where the complainant is a plaintiff and the respondent lawyer is a defendant. As we have previously ruled. A case of suspension or disbarment may proceed regardless of interest or lack of interest of the complainant. They are undertaken and prosecuted solely for the public welfare. Reyes received after the cases below were for those cases in Makati. Looking into the merits of the complaint against respondent. be fatal to the case of the client as in fact it is a ground for dismissal of the case. the fees that respondent Atty. Atty. 4. he did what he can to help the late complainant Antonio Soriano have a council clearance over a parcel of land that he was selling for a memorial park. in Quezon City for the purpose (sic) sourcing the necessary funds to pay off our obligations to some creditors as the agreed strategy at the very start.(d) That for example. on the basis of the facts borne out by the record. the lawyers are compelled to prepare their cases in advance. especially those cases filed in Makati. That the foregoing facts and information that herein undersigned complainant learned after she gave her testimony seriously prompts her to seek the withdrawal of her testimony and her evidence in order that she can re-evaluate the same. and 5. The respondent has indeed committed a serious lapse in the duty owed by him to his client as well as . thus. we decide to modify the findings of the IBP. Since pre-trial is a serious business of the court. As to Civil Case No. Reyes went out of his way to accompany her late husband to a financier.

this does not detract to the conclusion that. or fine – would accomplish the end desired. respondent was not able to protect his client’s interest through his own fault. he should undertake the task with dedication and care. complainant suffered actual loss. within the bounds of law. within which to submit to the Court plaintiff pre-trial brief. yet herein plaintiffs still failed to file or submit the required pre-trial brief. Accordingly. by reason of Atty. 22-624-94. A lawyer is expected to be familiar with the rudiments of law and procedure and anyone who acquires his service is entitled to. If he should do any less. possession of the foreclosed property is flimsy. disbarment. Therefore. the case was indeed dismissed for failure to prosecute although the said dismissal was later on reconsidered. Rule 18.[22] Canon 18.[27] There is always a need for the client to receive from the lawyer periodic and full updates on developments affecting the case. care and time to his cases. respondent failed to exercise such skill. The lawyer should apprise the client on the mode and manner that the lawyer is utilizing to defend the client’s interests.[25] In Garcia v. his clients will be prejudiced. Manuel. and until December 16.[26] this Court found therein respondent lawyer in bad faith for failing to inform his client of the status of the case.to the Court not to delay litigation and to aid in the speedy administration of justice. is an obstinate refusal on the part of the plaintiffs to file said pre-trial brief.[23] Respondent’s excuse that complainants. suspension. from the time of filing of the complaint up to the time of filing his comment. the motion for reconsideration was denied by the court. In one case.[29] Time and again we have stated that disbarment is the most severe form of disciplinary sanction. we find the penalty of disbarment as recommended by the IBP to be unduly harsh and we deem it appropriate to impose the penalty of one (1) year suspension. suspension and in grave cases. Reyes’s negligence. 1991. despite counsel’s knowledge of the importance of the same. a period of more than two (2) months has elapsed. the court has adamantly stressed that the lawyer-client relationship is highly fiduciary. Otherwise. He should have given adequate attention. as such. not just competent service. respondent did not only fail to file the pre-trial brief within the given period. but also whole-hearted devotion to his client’s cause. and. otherwise his negligence in fulfilling his duty will render him liable for disciplinary action. were in continuous Quite apart from the above. five (5) days from October 11. which to the mind of this Court.[28] In failing to inform his clients of the status of their cases. In this case. afforded the plaintiffs who were then present. even in the filing of their Motion for reconsideration did not even care to attach pre-trial brief if indeed they are sincere in their intention to do so. This is why a practicing lawyer may accept only so many cases that he can efficiently handle. Worse. The plaintiffs. Respondent’s negligence is apparent in the trial court’s denial of the motion for reconsideration. he had not submitted the required pre-trial brief even at the time he filed a motion for reconsideration of the order of dismissal several months later. Expectedly. In this case. . to wit: Anent Civil Case No. respondent failed to demonstrate the required diligence in handling the case of complainants. 1991. Once he agrees to handle a case. disbarment should not be decreed where any punishment less severe – such as a reprimand. Clearly. Atty.[24] The court. truly. care. A lawyer should never neglect a legal matter entrusted to him. However. the interest of his client.03 of the Code of Professional Responsibility provides that a lawyer shall not neglect a legal matter entrusted to him and his negligence in connection therewith shall render him liable. is suspension of six months. and diligence as men of the legal profession commonly possess and exercise in such manners of professional employment. It only shows the cavalier attitude which respondent took towards his client’s cause.[31] the penalty for a lawyer’s failure to file a pre-trial brief and other pleadings such as position papers leading to the dismissal of the case. In said decision. taking into account that this appears to be his first offense.[30] The appropriate penalty on an errant lawyer depends on the exercise of sound judicial discretion based on the surrounding facts. but despite the order. The penalties for a lawyer’s failure to file the required brief or pleading range from reprimand. then he is not true to his lawyer’s oath. respondent also lacked candor in dealing with his clients as he omitted to apprise complainants of the status of the two cases and even assured the complainants that he was diligently attending to said cases. warning with fine. in the exercise of sound discretion. the power to disbar must always be exercised with great caution for only the most imperative reasons and in clear cases of misconduct affecting the standing and moral character of the lawyer as an officer of the court and a member of the bar. It is the duty of a lawyer to serve his client with competence and diligence and he should exert his best efforts to protect.

his handling of the complainant'sdefense left much to be desired. T hereafter. He violated the basic rule. 7024. No. he was appointed legal consultant at the BOI requiring full-time work and the complainant had failed to pay his legal fees to him amounting to P27. We find that the respondent deserves to be sanctioned for having fallen short of the standardsrequired of him as defense counsel. or when the lawyer is elected or appointed to public office.to beunsatisfactory. a lawyer may withdraw from a case upon a goodcause such as when the client deliberately fails to pay the fees for the lawyer's services. expressed under Canon 18 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. such failure should not be a reason not to inform the clientof an important development.    OFELIA R.00.C.WHEREFORE. SECOND DIVISION (Brion. It appears thathe really had not. S he found therespondent's excuse . the complainant alleged that she retained the servicesof the respondent as her counsel in a collection case filed by Golden Collection Marketing Corporationagainst her and other codefendants. or worse. GERADO F. however. Therespondent contended that he had good reasons not to continue as the complainant's counsel. She only heard about the case when there was already adecision against her and her co-defendants. by his own admission. a third party to whom her property had been mortgaged sued her.000. that after filing the Answer to the Complaint. She alleged. It was only after thediscovery of the closure of the defendant's office did the respondent try to contact the complainant and herhusband by cellular phone. The respondent failed to precisely allege in his submissions how he tried to contact thedefendant on or about the time the interrogatories and request for admission were pending. She claimed that she had the evidence to prove this defense at the trial. He reasonedout that under the Code of Professional Responsibility. SOMOSOT v.that he could not contact her because she had changed her office address .   ISSUE: Whether or not respondent failed to serve his client diligently HELD: YES         RESPONDENT’S CONTENTIONS: Respondent denied that he failed to exercise the diligence required of him as counsel. The complainant was never informed the development of the case and the omission eventually ledto the grant of the plaintiff's motion for judgment on the pleadings. in view of the foregoing. resulting in the sale of her house and lot at public auction despite her efforts to reverse the judgment with the help of anotherlawyer. she claimed that the respondent knew all along where she lived and could have easily contacted her had he been in good faith. The respondent agreed to handle the case and duly entered his appearance as counsel after securing his acceptance fee." While itmay be said that the respondent did not completely abandon the case. She accused the respondent of miserably failing to comply with his oath as a lawyer and todischarge his duty of ably representing her. Two of these possible causes applied to his situation. LARA A.000. He filed theformal notice of withdrawal without the conformity of the complainant because he could not locate her. Contrary to the respondent's claim that he couldno longer locate her. . respondent Atty. Assuming the non-payment to be true. but they could not be reached.) FACTS:             In support of her complaint for disbarment. to withhold vital information from her. Her defense was that it was the corporation who actually owed herP800. 30 January 2009. Execution of the court's decision followed. J . or fails to comply with the terms of the retainer agreement. the respondent failed to fully inform her of further developments in the case. Reynaldo Reyes is found GUILTY of violating Canons 17 and 18 of the Code of Professional Responsibility and is SUSPENDED from the practice of law for one (1) year effective upon finality hereof with WARNING that a repetition of the same negligent act charged in this complaint will be dealt with more severely. She even belatedly learned that the respondent had sought his discharge as counsel without her knowledge and consent. which in turn led to the decision againstthe defendants. that "a lawyer shall serve his client with competence and diligence. ATTY. his attempt to contact the complainant came in December 2001and only to inform her of his government appointment and to collect his billings.00.

too. and his conduct ought to and must always be scrupulously observant of law and ethics . As a rule. No. or appointmentor election to public office. Rule 19. LOLITO G.) FACTS:          Aparicio is legal counsel for Hufana in an illegal dismissal case filed with the NLRC against Pena . As the respondent now states.reiterated the claim of his client. he merely filed a Notice of Withdrawal of Appearance. 7298.. citing his client's unknown location andfailure to communicate as reasons for his client's lack of express consent to his withdrawal. deliberate failure of the client to pay the fees for the services. on their law practice income for their living expenses." reminding legal practitioners that a lawyer's duty is not to his client but to the administration of justice. another reason was given by way of a mere notice lacking the client's express consent. thus. falsification and the cellation of Pena’s business license. Becauseof this Pena filed the administrative proceeding against Aparicio with the IBP for violation of Canon 19. he could withdraw under paragraphs (e) and (f) of the Code of Professional Responsibility i. the bar and the administration of justice as well WHEREFORE. taking into account not only the interests of the immediate parties. in both. PEÑA v. On the matter of the respondent's withdrawal from the case.specifically rule 19. Instead. however. Jr.   Thus." . his client's success is wholly subordinate. What lightens the impact of the respondent's mishandling of the case is the complainant's ownfailings as a client. to that end. premises considered. thecourt's denial of the desired withdrawal was not totally unexpected . he does not appear to have cited these reasons before the trial court. ISSUE:” )Whether or not Atty Aparicio violated Canon 19 HELD: YES   Canon 19 of the Code of Professional Responsibility states that "a lawyer shall represent his client with zeal within the bounds of the law.In particular. lawyers incur expenses in running their practice and generally depend.Pena is president of MOF company. respondent ATTY. IBP dismissed the complaint because Pena failed to file his position paper andcertification against forum shopping.01. Aparicio. recovery from thepenalty although not totally impossible . Both the non-payment of fees and the appoint to a public office. we cannot also disbar the respondent as the complainant demands in light of thecomplainant's own contributory faults. effective upon receipt of a copy of this Decision.               The respondent failed toprovide details on the developments that led to the adverse rulings on the interrogatories/admissions andthe judgment on the pleadings. Penarejected the demand and sent notice to Hufana to return to work. LARA is hereby SUSPENDED from the practice of law for a period of three (3) months. but theinterest of the public. 25 June 2007.However.is extremely difficult to attain. Disbarment is an ultimate remedy in the professional world. GERARDO F. ATTY. we must at all times act withcaution and due consideration. he remained as counsel of record burdened with all the responsibilities that his representation carried.01 commands that a "lawyer shall employ only fair and honest means to attain the lawful objectives of his client and shallnot present. or failure to comply with the retainer agreement. Aparicio sought the payment of separation pay to his client. The non-payment of fees is a factor that we cannot simply disregard. no lessserious and weighty as the power to impose reclusion perpetua in criminal cases. law practice is not a pro bono proposition and a lawyer's sensitivity and concern for unpaid fees areunderstandable.. the respondent might have had validreasons to withdraw and terminate his relationship with his client.e.C. Instead. the respondent's appointment as a consultant should beconsidered although it is a matter that none of the parties have fully examined. Thus. SECOND DIVISION (Velasco. Likewise. in a reply letter to Pena. J . FERNANDO MARTIN O. However. In his letter Apparicio also made threats saying that if the claims were not paid they would filemultiple criminal charges for tax evasion. participate in presenting or threaten to present unfounded criminal charges to obtain animproper advantage in any case or proceeding. It is undisputedthat the trial court denied the respondent's notice of withdrawal. APARICIO A. were not reasons properly presented before the trial courtthrough a motion that informed the court of all the surrounding circumstances of the desired withdrawal. Aparicio filed an MR reiterating his claim for damages against Pena(defamation) in the amount of 400M.

or by operating on the fears or the credulity. premises considered. We impose on Atty. and exert his best efforts to protect theinterest of his or her client within the bounds of the law.… obtaining of value from a person as a condition of refraining from makingan accusation against him.03 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. Atty. the prevention of an injury. As the land was occupied by unauthorized sub-tenants. as well as multiplecharges such as tax evasion. According to Canon 18 of the Code of Professional Responsibility which provides for the ruleon negligence. Aparicio is hereby found liable for violation of Rule 19.03 states that a lawyer shall not neglect a legal matter entrusted tohim and negligence in connection therewith shall render him liable. knowing that the land was already transferred to UBI. to handle the judicial titling of aparcel of land wherein Atty. Solidon. 2011. and is accordingly meted out the penalty of REPRIMAND. The land was sold for P240 million. Inc.000 as initial payment. XVIII-2008-336 dated July 17. Notinfrequently. Petitioner claimed that he tried contacting respondent in order to follow-up on the status of the case 6months after he paid the initial legal fees. Blackmail is "the extortion of money from a person by threats of accusation or exposure oropposition in the public prints. Inc. or disclosing some secret calculated to operate to his prejudice. Macalalad. ISCI’s lawyer. the follies. In this case. Macalalad received P50. 2008 of the Board of Governors of the IBP Commission on Bar Discipline. or the exercise of an influence. he would file and claim bigger amounts including moral damages. Ramil E. Issue:Whether or not respondent committed negligence for non-filing of the application despite thelapse of about a year from the time his services were engaged? Held:Yes. refused to recognize Peña. he threatened complainant that should the latter fail to pay the amounts they propose as settlement. rule 18. or the crime of the victim. Peña had to barricade himself inside the property to keep the tenants out who were forcing their way in especially so that the . Macalalad is STERNLY WARNED that a repetition of the same or similar acts will be dealt with more severely. a lawyer should not file or threaten to fileany unfounded or baseless criminal case or cases against the adversaries of his client designed to secure aleverage to compel the adversaries to yield or withdraw their own cases against the lawyer's client. Through his letter. The threats are not only unethical for violating Canon 19. but they also amount to blackmail. the respondent’s negligence in failing to file the petition for the registration of the property sought to be titled is an outright violation of rule 18. URBAN BANK V PENA OCT 19. Macalalad the penalty of SIX (6) MONTHS SUSPENSION from the practice of law for violations of Rule 16. effective upon finality of this Decision. SERENO FACTS:       Isabel Sugar Company. Magdaleno Peña had to negotiate with them for them to relocate. the exaction of money either for the performance of a duty. it is equivalent to and synonymous with extortion. petitioner.       Respondent committed negligence for not filing the application despite the lapse of about a year since his services were engaged. (UBI). The mere failure of thelawyer to perform the obligations due to the client is considered a violation and thecircumstance that the client was also at fault does not eliminate the lawyer’s liability for hisnegligence in handling a case.       Under this Rule. it is extorted by threats. ISCI then communicated with UBI so that the latter may authorize Peña to negotiate with the tenants.03 of Canon 18 of the Codeof Professional Responsibility WHEREFORE. falsification of documents. asked Atty. Atty. Respondent Atty. But the said occupants. In addition. we hereby AFFIRM WITH MODIFICATION Resolution No." In commonparlance and in general acceptation. and cancellation of business license to operate dueto violations of laws. he also claimed that he could not file the petitioner because the client was unable to furnish the necessary documentary evidence needed anddenied that petitioner tried to communicate with him. respondent. MACALALAD Facts: Atty.Respondent did not file the petition for registration over the property sought to be titled andclaimed that the delay in the filing of the petition was caused by the client’s failure tocommunicate with him.01 of Canon 19 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. (ISCI) sold a parcel of land to Urban Bank.03 and Rule 18. or by promises to concealor offers to expose the weaknesses. A lawyer engaged to represent a client bears the duty toserve his client with competence and diligence. with the STERN WARNING that a repetition of the same or similar act will be dealt with more sever SOLIDON vs. Lolito G. but he did not receive any communication .

the principle of quantum meruit should be applied. Peña also asked that said authorization be put into writing. Lee.        local cops are now sympathetic to them. it is a profession in which duty to public service. HELD: No. the trial court awarded him P28 million. Peña is entitled to payment for compensation for services rendered as agent of Urban Bank.500.5 million. The Court of Appeals however reversed the order of the trial court. Delfin C. without prejudice to the right of Urban Bank to invoke payment of this sum under a right of set-off against the amount of PhP25. Peña is entitled to payment but applying the principle of unjust enrichment and quantum meruit. Peña is entitled to receive what he merit for his services. (in short. Peña was able to settle and relocate the tenants. as follows: .5 million for settling and relocating the 23 tenants. No. Peña began sending demands to UBI for the latter to pay him the P24 million fee agreed upon. namely Teodoro Borlongan (+). Jr. and Arturo Manuel. Magdaleno Peña’s Petition for Review dated 23 April 2004 (G.000 as reimbursement for his expenses and an additional PhP1. Inc. It ruled that no agency was formed but for his legal services. that part was not written in the written authorization released by UBI). Dizon.. the late Alexander J. Peña also asked that he be paid 10% of the purchase price or (P24 million) for his efforts. Rolando B. plus his expenses for the relocation of the tenants and the hiring of security guards or an additional P3 million. or as much as he has earned. Peña didn’t have to perform any extraordinary acts or legal maneuvering. Masmud engaged the services of Atty. Go. not money. In sum. In dealing with the tenants. Inc. but on the basis of the principles of unjust enrichment and quantum meruit. Ben Y. president of UBI. Jr. Lim. Total of P4... P1. In said conversation.000. Corazon Bejasa. In the first place. Siervo G.     The Supreme Court ruled that said amount is unconscionable. Jr.5 million for his legal services. The written authorization later issued merely confirms the power granted him to negotiate with the tenants. with interest at 6% per annum from 28 May 1999. He is also entitled to reimbursement for his expenses in securing the property. 162562) and AFFIRMS WITH MODIFICATION the Court of Appeals’ Decision dated 06 November 2003 having correctly found that the Regional Trial Court of Bago City gravely abused its discretion in awarding unconscionable damages against Urban Bank. Peña then had a phone conversation with Teodoro Borlongan. other than the self-serving testimony of Peña. Absent any such agreement.000 as compensation for his services. Peña the amount of PhP3. the Court DENIES Atty. The authorization was put into writing but no mention was made as regards the 10% fee. Gonzales. The Supreme Court emphasized that lawyering is not a business.000. Benjamin L. R. Borlongan agreed over the phone on the condition that Peña should be able to settle with the tenants otherwise he forfeits said 10% fee. is the primary consideration. Hence. Urban Bank.000 that has been placed in escrow for the benefit of Isabela Sugar Company. and its officers. J Facts:   MASMUDvs. there was no other evidence presented to support his claim that Borlongan agreed to pay him that 10% over the phone.5 million for the security guards he had to hire and another P1.. Peña should only be paid P3 million. Magdaleno Peña is entitled to receive the P28 million. is hereby DISMISSED. he is entitled to receive P1. But UBI refused to make payment hence Peña filed a complaint for recovery against UBI. Eric L. After everything was settled and the property is now formally under the possession of UBI. P. WHEREFORE. is ORDERED to pay Atty. de Leon. Go¶s legal services. In this case. to wit. The Complaint against the eight other individual petitioners. in a case for non-payment of benefits and damages. In consideration of Atty.. Inc. Jr. The trial court ruled in favor of Peña as it found there indeed was a contract of agency created between and UBI and that Peña is entitled to the 10% fee plus the expenses he incurred including litigation expenses. Nevertheless. Alexander agreed to pay attorney¶s fees ona contingent basis. Peña asked authorization from Borlongan to negotiate with the tenants. The written authorization proved the existence of agency but not the existence of any agreement as to how much Peña should be paid. The Decision of the Regional Trial Court of Bago City dated 28 May 1999 is hence VACATED. EVANGELINA COMMISSION NACHURA. where Peña explained to him the situation.          ISSUE: Whether or not Atty.NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS Evangelina Masmud¶s husband.

Article 111 of the Labor Code deals with theextraordinary concept of attorney¶s fees. SP Nos. Go¶s compensation.00.000. pursuant to its specific power and duty to fix the compensation. J.The contract shall control in the determination of the amount to be paid. however bothwere dismissed and the former decision was affirmed. equivalent to 20% of the award as attorney¶s fees. Evangelina paid only theamount of P680. the NAPOCOR Welfare Plan Committee. Go and allowed him toreceive an equivalent of 39% of the monetary award. In this regard. Go the sum of P680. 78-119 approving the grant of a monthly welfare allowance equivalent to 10% of an employee’s basic pay to all NAPOCOR employees effective 1 October 1978. The Court finds nothing illegal in the contingent fee contract between Atty. Decision[3] dated 29 January 2007. The retainer contract between Atty. Go and Evangelina’s husband.      Contingent fee contracts are subject to the supervision and close scrutiny of the court in order that clients may be protected from unjust charges. The facts culled from the records are as follows: On 26 September 1978. renamed and reconstituted later on as the NAPOCOR Welfare Fund Board of Trustees (NAPOCOR-WFBT). It may not be used as the standard in fixing the amount payable to the lawyer byhis client for the legal services he rendered. subject to the pertinent provisions of the Trust Agreement. Atty. revise. Section 24.[5] Pursuant thereto. Evangelina paid Atty. The amount of contingent fees agreed upon by the parties is subject to the stipulation that counsel will be paid for his legal services only if the suit or litigation prospers.000. The CA committedno error of law when it awarded the attorney¶s fees of Atty. A much higher compensation is allowed as contingent fees because of the risk that the lawyer may get nothing if the suit fails. repeal any or all of the provisions herein contained and/or terminate the Plan. ATTY OROCIO V ANGULAN CHICO-NAZARIO. passed Resolution No. the National Power Corporation Board of Directors (NAPOCOR Board). . It regulates the amount recoverable asattorney's fees in the nature of damages sustained by and awarded to the prevailingparty.: Before Us is a Petition [1] for Review on Certiorari under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court seeking to set aside the Resolution [2] dated 31 October 2006. Issue: Whether or not CA erred in UPHOLDing RESPONDENT LAWYER¶S CLAIM OFFORTY PERCENT (40%) OF THE MONETARY AWARD IN A LABOR CASE ASATTORNEY¶S FEES HELD: NO        Contrary to Evangelina¶s proposition. and consequently Evangelina received an amountof P3.Evangelina contended that Atty. 6395. of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. Go¶s claim for attorney¶s fees of 40% of the tota lmonetary award was null and void based on Article 111 of the Labor Code. Dissatisfied. Eventually. allowance and benefits of the NAPOCOR employees under Section 6(c) of Republic Act No. issued and promulgated a charter for the NAPOCOR Welfare Fund which includes the following provisions: ARTICLE VII TERMINATION/AMENDMENT OF THE PLAN “Section 1.R. The monetary claims of Alexander were granted except his claim for medical expenses. Several appeals were made by Alexander¶s employer to NLRC and CA. plus the award pertaining to the counsel as attorney¶s fees . leavinga balance of 10%. Go filed a motion to record and enforce the attorney¶s lien allegingthat Evangelina reneged on their contingent fee agreement. Go and allowed him to receive an equivalent of 39% of the monetary award.454. Go and Evangelina¶s husband. Go and Evangelina provides for a contingent fee. 95786 and 95946. The Court finds nothing illegal in the contingent fee contract between Atty. Termination/Amendment of the Plan – The Board of Directors may amend. and Resolution [4] dated 27 September 2007. thus. The CA committed no error of law when it awarded the attorney’s fees of Atty.079. Out of said amount. the decision of theNLRC became final and executory. It was likewise agreedthat any award of attorney¶s fees shall pertain to respondent¶s law firm ascompensation. unless found bythe court to be unconscionable or unreasonable.20.        twenty percent (20%) of total monetary claims as settledor paid and an additional ten percent (10%) in case of appeal. Rule 138 of theRules of Court should be observed in determining Atty.00. as amended.

[11] On 13 July 2004.[12] The Petition was docketed as Civil Case No. Segovia (Segovia). NP Board of Directors. No acceptance fee. All costs of litigation ([filing] and docket fees. 3. On 11 May 2004. the liquidation and dissolution process for the NAPOCOR Welfare Fund commenced. and dissolving the NAPOCOR Welfare Fund upon the effectivity of EPIRA on 26 June 2001. a Petition for Mandamus. Baysic: In connection with the above-stated subject. retired. hereunder are our terms and conditions.[10] This prompted Mrs. former VicePresident of Human Resources and Administration and former ExOfficio Chairman of the NAPOCOR-WFBT. Payment of Member’s share – In the event of termination of the Plan. or separated upon the effectivity of EPIRA on 26 June 2001 (EPIRA separated members). Accounting and Liquidation with a Prayer for the Issuance of Temporary Restraining Order and Injunction against respondents NAPOCOR.[7] Almost two decades thereafter. together with Mrs. [6] The NAPOCOR Board subsequently passed Resolution No. 5. Branch 217. 4. Following the directive of EPIRA. or separated prior to the effectivity of EPIRA (nonEPIRA separated members). 2. retired. the balance to the credit of each member and the General Reserve for Employee Benefits shall be paid to the members in full. [8] Consequently. et. Q04-53121 by petitioner Atty. the NAPOCOR Board. approved Resolution No. 2003-43 on 26 March 2003 abolishing the NAPOCOR Welfare Fund Department and other departments. with the Court “NPC RETIREES versus NPC. issued a memorandum on 17 May 2004 to implement the release of P184 million only to the EPIRA separated members to the exclusion of the NAPOCOR employees (who were also members of the NAPOCOR Welfare Fund) who have resigned. 2004-001. there being no action or response on her letter. etc. Dy (as NAPOCOR Senior Department Manager on Finance). Baysic (Baysic). Anguluan (as NAPOCOR Vice-President. 2004-001 authorizing the release of P184 million (which represented 40% of the liquid assets of NAPOCOR Welfare Fund in the total amount of P462 million as of 16 April 2004) for distribution to the NAPOCOR Welfare Fund members who resigned. Victoriano V. al. Thereafter. then NAPOCOR President. Dear Ms. before the RTC Quezon City for the payment/settlement of their claims for NPC Welfare Fund (P462 Million assets and other assets liquid or non-liquid). Baysic and the 559 non-EPIRA separated members were represented in Civil Case No. filed with the Quezon City Regional Trial Court (RTC). . pertinent portions of which are reproduced below: SUBJECT: Petition for Mandamus with Damages Temporary Restraining Order/Injunction. on 8 June 2001. as Ex-Officio Chairman of NAPOCOR-WFBT. 9136. the NAPOCOR Board passed Resolution No. some of the employees in the NAPOCOR Welfare Fund Department and in other departments (who were also members of the NAPOCOR Welfare Fund) resigned. to write a letter to Mr. Segovia and Ms. the NAPOCOR-WFBT. in behalf of the 559 non-EPIRA separated members and in her own personal capacity. Murga. Contingency or success fees of fifteen percent (15%) of whatever amounts/value of assets (liquid and/or non-liquid) are recovered. The accumulated amount in the General Reserve for Employee Benefits shall be distributed among the members in the proportion to the amount outstanding to their credit as of the time of termination. miscellaneous and out-of-pocket expenses the prosecution of said action shall be for the account of the clients. herein respondent Edmund P. former President of the NAPOCOR Employees Association and former member of the NAPOCORWFBT. demanding their equal shares in the remaining assets of the NAPOCOR Welfare Fund and access to information and records thereof. Administration and Finance Department) and Lorna T.[9] Pursuant to Resolution No. Orocio under a “Legal Retainer Agreement” [13] dated 1 September 2004.Section 2. Segovia. Rogelio M. otherwise known as the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA). EPIRA directed the restructuring of the power industry which includes the reorganization of NAPOCOR. Segovia. This Retainer Agreement serves as Legal Authority for the Law Firm to receive and/or collect its contingency/success fee without further demand. 82-172 fixing a NAPOCOR employee’s contribution to the NAPOCOR Welfare Fund in a sum equivalent to 5% of his basic pay. Congress passed Republic Act No. Human Resources. in their personal capacities and on behalf of the 559 non-EPIRA separated members. retired or separated from service. Emma C. No appearance/meeting fee. with authority from the Commission on Audit.). Anguluan (Anguluan). etc. Q04-53121. Perla A. to wit: 1.

“Corrected Earnings Differential” refers to a benefit which is a result of recomputation of Member’s Equity Contributions and Earnings using the correct rates of return vis-à-vis what was used when they were separated. 15% attorney’s fees shall be deducted from the corresponding Corrected Earnings Differential of those non-EPIRA separated members who have already executed the corresponding Special Power of Attorney/Written Authority for the deduction/payment of said attorney’s fees. Victoriano V. 2001) are entitled to “Earnings Differential” of the NPC Welfare Fund. Orocio. Segovia. 6. Hence. duly assisted by their respective counsels. The parties herein shall exert their best effort in order that the terms and conditions of this agreement are implemented and complied with in the spirit of fairness. Victoriano V. public order or public policy and is voluntarily entered into by the parties of their own free will. the parties in the above-mentioned case. Orocio and Associates Law Office. 2006 for all the non-EPIRA separated members and May 31. Orocio. Segovia and Mrs. In conformity with the Retainer Agreement dated September 1.On 22 February 2006.V.785 Million. the parties herein have agreed as follows: 1. Mrs.[16] The RTC rendered a Decision on 3 April 2006 granting the parties’ Joint Motion and approving the said Compromise Agreement. Baysic and Atty. petitioner filed with the RTC a Motion for Approval of Charging (Attorney’s) Lien. as compensation for his legal services as counsel for the non-EPIRA separated members subject to deduction of applicable taxes. xxxx 4. 2004 between Mrs.196 Million while for the EPIRA separated members isP173. Baysic in favor of Atty. the parties have agreed to settle the instant case amicably. the RTC granted petitioner’s motion and decreed that he is entitled to collect the amount so demanded. a Joint Motion before the RTC for the approval of their Compromise Agreement. Orocio. counsel for petitioners. 2006 for the EPIRA separated members. As of March 2006. Period covered by the discrepancy is from 1989 to 2003. 2003 [implementation of the EPIRA law and date of abolition of the Welfare Fund]) and NPC non-EPIRA separated members (those who ceased to be members of the Fund prior to June 26. 2001 [effectivity of the EPIRA LAW] to March 1. Emma Y. executed a Compromise Agreement[14] whereby they agreed to amicably settle their dispute under the following terms and conditions: COMPROMISE AGREEMENT xxxx WHEREAS.[19] . xxxx 15. Petitioner asked the RTC to issue an order declaring him entitled to collect an amount equivalent to 15% of the monies due the non-EPIRA separated members as his attorney’s fees in conformity with the Compromise Agreement. inclusive of the 6% legal interest. [18] In an Order dated 15 May 2006. Perla A. affected are WF members separated anytime within the period 1989 to 2003. the estimated Corrected Earnings Differential for the non-EPIRA separated members is P119. 16.589 Million or a total of P292. This Agreement is not contrary to law. 2005 executed by Mrs. and shall be paid to V. represented by Atty. Victoriano V. transparency and equity. PREMISES CONSIDERED. Perla A. The Corrected Earnings Differential of all affected WF separated members shall earn 6% legal interest per annum computed from the separation of the members from service up to March 31. good customs. Both the NPC EPIRA separated members (those members of the Welfare Fund affected by the EPIRA law and ceased to be members of the Welfare Fund anytime from June 26. 2. 5.[15] The parties filed with the RTC the very next day. [17] On 10 April 2006. (copies attached as Annexes “A” and “B” respectively). Emma Y. and Irrevocable Special Power of Attorney dated July 20. 23 February 2006.

SP No. Pursuant to the said Writ of Execution. docketed as CA-G. 95786. The fallo of the Decision of the Court of Appeals reads: WHEREFORE. 95946. The Court of Appeals held that the amount of P17.794.”[25] Respondents Anguluan and Dy filed before the Court of Appeals on 22 August 2006 a Petition for Certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court.00 estimated corrected earnings differential for nonEPIRA separated members. it ruled that such amount was more than sufficient and petitioner was not entitled to claim anymore the additional amount of P14. Unit Head of the Landbank of the PhilippinesNAPOCOR Extension Office. made such distribution possible. and have given petitioner his corresponding partial attorney’s fees amounting to P3. also challenging the RTC Order dated 25 July 2006 and praying that it be set aside and a temporary restraining order and/or a writ of preliminary injunction be issued prohibiting the RTC from enforcing the said order and the corresponding writ of execution and notice of garnishment.R. the amount manifested to have already been received from the welfare fund as attorneys fees. [23] Respondents filed a Motion for Reconsideration of the RTC Order dated 25 July 2006.000.70 represents “only less than one fourth partial release of the NAPOCOR Welfare Fund which means that the equivalent of three-fourths more would be demanded [by petitioner] in the future. Sheriff Madoloria served to Arenas an “Order for Delivery of Money.007. (e) most of the non-EPIRA separated members have not yet received their share under the compromise agreement but petitioner. Madoloria (Sheriff Madoloria) issued a Notice of Garnishment to Ms. 2006 Writ of Execution.000. petitioner was unjustified in using said amount as basis for his 15% attorney’s fees. the July 28. the July 26. 95946 and No. respondent NAPOCOR filed a Motion to Consolidate CA-G. [28] On 31 October 2006. Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration of the said resolution. 95786 which was granted by the appellate court. RTC Branch Sheriff Reynaldo B. Thus. (c) there was no issue on how much each non-EPIRA separated members would receive because the amount of their respective contribution was duly recorded by the respondents. [27] Subsequently. assailing the RTC Order dated 25 July 2006 and praying that a temporary restraining order and/or a writ of preliminary injunction be issued enjoining the implementation of the said RTC order. a Writ of Execution of the RTC Order dated 15 May 2006 was issued on 26 July 2006. the assailed July 25.32 from respondents as partial payment of his supposed 15% attorney’s fees. [21] The RTC issued an Order on 25 July 2006 granting petitioner’s Motion[22] and.282. (2) there was hardly any work by petitioner since (a) the compromise agreement was reached without trial or hearing on the merits.000. and a new one is ordered.” and (3) the money claim of the non-EPIRA separated members was settled through a compromise agreement and not won by petitioner in a trial on the merits. and (4) Order for Delivery of Money dated 10 August 2006.00 due the non-EPIRA separated members under the compromise agreement was a mere estimate and. equivalent to 15% of the P119. as the maximum amount that may be billed or collected as attorneys .70 sought to be collected by petitioner as attorney’s fees. Quezon City.32.R. SP No. CAPPING at P3. SP No. since petitioner already received P3. SP No. accordingly.[26] Respondent NAPOCOR filed with the Court of Appeals on the same date another Petition for Certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court. (b) there was no issue regarding the release and distribution of the NAPOCOR Welfare Fund to the non-EPIRA separated members as the enactment of EPIRA. the Court of Appeals issued a Resolution granting respondents’ application for a TRO and writ of preliminary injunction. as such. (f) the amount of P17.00 as attorney’s fees on the basis of quantum meruit. SP No.[24] On 12 August 2006.512.007. However.32. It enjoined the RTC from implementing its Order dated 25 July 2006 and the corresponding writ of execution and notice of garnishment during the pendency of CA-G. The Court of Appeals determined that petitioner was entitled only to an amount of P1.007.R.512. Mendoza (Mendoza). Assistant Vice-President and Business Manager of the Philippine National Bank (PNB)NAPOCOR Extension Office. the Court of Appeals promulgated its Decision annulling and setting aside: (1) the RTC Order dated 25 July 2006.On 20 June 2006. 2006 Notice of Garnishment. and to Mr. Diliman.572. Aurora Arenas (Arenas). (2) the corresponding Writ of Execution dated 26 July 2006.794. (3) the Notice of Garnishment dated 28 July 2006. cannot be validly used by petitioner as basis for his claim of 15% attorney’s fees.38.565. 95946 with CA-G. was excessive based on the following reasons: (1) the corrected earnings differential in the amount ofP119. Emmanuel C.R.512.00 as attorney’s fees on the basis of quantum meruit.000. docketed as CA-G. [29] On 29 January 2007.000. 2006 Order of Delivery of Money are hereby ANNULLED and SET ASIDE.572. premises considered. and the August 10.196.R.196. not the efforts of petitioner. (d) respondents have already distributed the corrected earnings differential to some non-EPIRA separated members.196. Quezon City.000. petitioner filed with the RTC a Motion for the Issuance of a Writ of Execution of the RTC Order dated 15 May 2006. 2006 Order. Respondents contended that the amount of P119. who was merely their agent.000. [20] Respondents opposed the motion on the ground that there was no stipulation in the Compromise Agreement to the effect that petitioner is entitled to collect an amount equivalent to 15% of the monies due the nonEPIRA separated members. It also held that petitioner was entitled only to an amount of P1.00 due the non-EPIRA separated members was a mere estimate and was hypothetical. Diliman. 95786. was already given partial payment as attorney’s fees.

[32] In his first assigned error.fees from the whole welfare fund – which amount is NOTED to have already exceeded what this court had fixed atP1. the Court of Appeals granted respondents’ application for a writ of preliminary injunction based on the following reasons: This Court finds that [herein respondents] have prima facie established [their] compliance with strict requirements for issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction in this case. Under the leading case of Valencia vs. that if anyone would be injured by his claim of attorney’s fees. the non-EPIRA separated employees. Canon 20 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. ANGULUAN. THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN RULING THAT RESPONDENTS EDMUND P. RIGHTS OF BEING CLIENTS TO QUESTION THE REASONABLENESS OF THE ATTORNEY’S FEES OF A LAWYER. and (c) there is an urgent and paramount necessity for the writ to prevent serious irreparable damage to [herein respondents]. that even respondents themselves have not alleged or claimed that they are his clients. . ATTY. WHICH ARE CLEAR AND UNMISTAKABLE. Court of Appeals. LORNA T. the requisites of preliminary injunction are as follows: (a) the invasion of the right of [herein respondents] is material and substantial. THIS ALLEGED RIGHT IS NONEXISTENT AND IN FACT FABRICATED CONSIDERING THAT THE RESPONDENTS ARE NOT THE CLIENTS AT ALL OF PETITIONER. and that the requisites for the proper issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction are lacking in the instant case. it would be his clients. The right of [herein respondents] alleged to have been invaded is that a client has the right to pay only a reasonable amount of attorney’s fees and only for services actually rendered – which is clearly and unmistakably available to all clients. i.00 as the reasonable amount. that may be collected as attorneys’ fees.000. II. on quantum meruit. petitioner assails the Resolution dated 31 October 2006 of the Court of Appeals granting respondents’ application for a writ of preliminary injunction. pursuant to the guidelines codified in Rule 20. that as mere nominal parties-in-interest. OROCIO. What [herein respondents] are claiming is a material and substantial right. As can be gleaned from the foregoing. OROCIO IS UNCONSCIONABLE AND UNREASONABLE DESPITE THE UNDISPUTED FACT THAT THE SAID ATTORNEY’S FEES IS AMONG THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF A JUDICIALLY APPROVED COMPROMISE AGREEMENT AND COURT ORDER APPROVING HIS CHARGING LIEN. that none of his clients has questioned or complained about the amount of attorney’s fees he is claiming. WHICH AGREEMENT AND ORDER HAVE ALREADY BECOME FINAL AND EXECUTORY. petitioner. THE COURT OF APPEALS ERRED IN RULING THAT THE FIFTEEN PERCENT (15%) CONTINGENCY/SUCCESS FEE OF PETITIONER VICTORIANO V. (b) the right of [herein respondents] is clear and unmistakable. that the amount of attorney’s fees he claimed was chargeable on a portion of the NAPOCOR Welfare Fund due his clients. This Court finds that [herein respondents] have prima facieestablished an urgent and paramount necessity for the issuance of the writ of preliminary injunction prayed for. 352 SCRA 72 (2001). The Court of Appeals is clearly mistaken. x x x. Petitioner asserts that none of the respondents is his client in the present case. that respondents are not the real parties-in-interest and at most are merely nominal parties-ininterest.000. respondents are not entitled to a writ of preliminary injunction under the Rules of Court.e. the basis of the Court of Appeals in granting the writ was petitioner’s alleged violation or invasion of respondents’ right. DY AND NATIONAL POWER CORPORATION (NPC) ARE ENTITLED TO [PRELIMINARY] INJUNCTION AS THEY HAVE MATERIAL AND SUBSTANTIAL RIGHTS. [30] Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration of the aforementioned Decision but this was denied by the Court of Appeals in its Resolution dated 27 September 2007. He claims that the Court of Appeals issued a writ of preliminary injunction in favor of respondents because petitioner allegedly violated respondents’ material and substantial right as petitioner’s clients to pay only reasonable attorney’s fees. and only for services actually rendered by. petitioner brought the instant petition before us assigning the following errors: I. VICTORIANO V.[33] In its Resolution dated 31 October 2006. to avoid irreparable injury to [herein respondents].01. and not respondents. to pay only a reasonable amount of attorney’s fees to. as petitioner’s clients.[31] Hence. the non-EPIRA separated employees.

that none of the non-EPIRA separated members has questioned or complained about petitioner’s claim for attorney’s fees.00 estimated corrected earnings differential due the non-EPIRA separated members from the NAPOCOR Welfare Fund is not hypothetical. The amount of attorney’s fees in this contract may be on a percentage basis.00 corrected earnings differential of his clients. Petitioner was never hired or employed by respondents as their counsel in the cases at bar. however. [35] For a writ of preliminary injunction to issue. and a much higher compensation is allowed in consideration of the risk that the lawyer may get nothing if the suit fails. [46] In the case at bar.572.000. (2) a violation of that right.00 estimated corrected earnings differential due the non-EPIRA separated members was not unreasonable or unconscionable because such amount was expressly agreed upon in the Compromise Agreement between the non-EPIRA separated members and respondents. [34] A writ of preliminary injunction is a provisional remedy.196. the non- . In fact. [37] The existence of a right violated is a prerequisite to the granting of a writ of preliminary injunction. an adjunct to a main suit. amount he is claiming as attorney’s fees. refers to the reasonable compensation paid to a lawyer for the legal services he has rendered to a [45] client.000. petitioner is representing the non-EPIRA separated members.000.196.[40] In the absence of a clear legal right. the applicant is tasked to establish and convincingly show the following: (1) a right in esse or a clear and unmistakable right to be protected. Even assuming that respondents would probably suffer damages as administrators or custodians of the NAPOCOR Welfare Fund if the writ of preliminary injunction was not granted.[41] It is evident from the foregoing that respondents do not have a clear right or right in esse to pay only a reasonable amount of attorney’s fees to the petitioner because such right belongs solely to petitioner’s clients. was improper. as well as a preservative remedy issued to preserve thestatus quo of the things subject of the action or the relations between the parties during the pendency of the suit. [42] Given these considerations. the non-EPIRA separated members. [36] A clear legal right means one clearly founded on or granted by law or is enforceable as a matter of law. the non-EPIRA separated members. This is called a contingency fee contract. dated 31 October 2006. the Court of Appeals cannot alter or change the terms of the Compromise Agreement by prohibiting petitioner from collecting his stipulated amount of attorney’s fees. the non-EPIRA separated members.70. that he did a lot of legal work and utilized his legal skills on discovery procedures to force respondents to enter into the Compromise Agreement with the non-EPIRA separated members. that the P119. the non-EPIRA separated members are the lawful owners/beneficiaries of the amount from which petitioner’s attorney’s fees had been and shall be taken. such amount having been actually computed and fixed by respondents themselves without the participation of petitioner and his clients. agency or a person to refrain from a particular act or acts. It appears.000. A preliminary injunction is an order granted at any stage of an action or proceeding prior to the judgment or final order. and (3) there is an urgent and permanent act and urgent necessity for the writ to prevent serious damage. which is equivalent to 15% of the P119. We have held that the possibility of irreparable damage without proof of an actual existing right is not a ground for the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction. that if not for his legal work and skills. we hold that the issuance by the Court of Appeals of a writ of preliminary injunction in favor of respondents in its Resolution. our ruling would still be the same. there was no necessity for the writ of preliminary injunction since the non-EPIRA separated members do not claim any damage or injury caused by the execution of the RTC Order dated 15 May 2006. [38] A writ of preliminary injunction will not issue to protect a right not in esse and which may never arise. that the passage of EPIRA merely paved the way for the distribution of the remaining assets of the NAPOCOR Welfare Fund. the non-EPIRA separated members would not have received their lawful shares in the remaining assets of the NAPOCOR Welfare Fund. requiring a party or a court. Hence. petitioner maintained that his claim for attorney’s fees equivalent to 15% of the P119.00 estimated corrected earnings differential due the non-EPIRA separated members from the NAPOCOR Welfare Fund is already the total. and not respondents. the opposing party to the respondents in the present cases. or when the applicant’s right or title is doubtful or disputed. By virtue of res judicata. Also. and that his claim for 15% attorney’s fees is supported by jurisprudence. The Compromise Agreement was submitted to the RTC for approval through the joint motion of the non-EPIRA separated members and respondents. Respondents have actually partially distributed such amount to some non-EPIRA separated members pursuant to the Compromise Agreement. With regard to his second assigned error. Further. and the RTC had rendered a final and executory decision approving the same.[44] An attorney’s fee. the non-EPIRA separated members.196. In other words. preliminary injunction is not proper. not partial. in its ordinary concept. There can be no violation of a right which does not exist in the first place. if anyone would be injured by petitioner’s claim for attorney’s fees. the amount of attorney’s fees being claimed by petitioner is chargeable to the P119.[43] Petitioner also avers that the amount of P17. The client and his lawyer may enter into a written contract whereby the latter would be paid attorney’s fees only if the suit or litigation ends favorably to the client.[39] It may be issued only if the applicant has clearly shown an actual existing right that should be protected during the pendency of the principal action. it would be his clients.It should be made clear that petitioner is the counsel for the nonEPIRA separated members in the latter’s quest to claim their shares in the NAPOCOR Welfare Fund. Respondents themselves do not claim or allege that they are clients of petitioner.794.196.

as former member of the NAPOCORWFBT for two terms or four years. make a contract for a contingent fee to be paid out of the proceeds of litigation.[50] The principle of quantum meruit (as much as he deserves) may be a basis for determining the reasonable amount of attorney’s fees. according to the contingency fee contract agreement between petitioner and the non-EPIRA separated members. Undoubtedly. such that under Canon 20 of the Code of Professional Responsibility.572. However. .794. is familiar and knowledgeable on the operation of the NAPOCOR Welfare Fund. petitioner worked diligently in advocating the claims of the non-EPIRA separated members against respondents as shown by the following: (1) petitioner took pains in verifying the identity and claim of each of the 559 non-EPIRA separated members on the NAPOCOR Welfare Fund. In such a case. [49] Attorney’s fees are unconscionable if they affront one’s sense of justice. with the sanction of law.EPIRA separated members and petitioner voluntarily entered into a contingency fee contract whereby petitioner did not receive any acceptance fee or appearance/meeting fee. (2) petitioner prepared and filed a wellresearched and well-argued petition with the RTC for the claims of the nonEPIRA separated members. importance of the subject matter. The non-EPIRA separated members expressly agreed to pay petitioner “contingency or success fees of fifteen percent (15%) of whatever amount/value of assets (liquid and/or non-liquid)” recovered. or if they are so disproportionate to the value of the services rendered. and extent of services rendered. the contingent fee arrangement is the only means by which the poor clients can have their rights vindicated and upheld. factors such as the time spent. novelty and difficulty of the questions involved. the contract may be disregarded even if the client expressed their conformity thereto. Despite these circumstances. [48] A stipulation on a lawyer’s compensation in a written contract for professional services ordinarily controls the amount of fees that the contracting lawyer may be allowed.” Contingent fee contracts are permitted in this jurisdiction because they redound to the benefit of the poor client and the lawyer “especially in cases where the client has meritorious cause of action. but no means with which to pay for legal services unless he can. probability of losing other employment as a result of acceptance of the proferred case. as to its reasonableness. as non-EPIRA separated members’ counsel. and authorized petitioner’s law firm “to receive and/or collect its contingency/success fee without further demand. [52] Yet. skill demanded. the same should be reasonable under all the circumstances of the case.000. character of employment. it is fair to conclude that petitioner was entitled to a reasonably high compensation. in cases where contingent fees are sanctioned by law. respondents would not have executed the Compromise Agreement with the non-EPIRA separated members. amount involved in the controversy and the benefits resulting to the client. respondents finally agreed to settle amicably with the nonEPIRA separated members as regards the latter’s claim for shares in the NAPOCOR Welfare Fund by virtue of the Compromise Agreement.[54] (5) he obtained a temporary restraining order and a writ of preliminary injunction from the RTC which enjoined/prohibited respondents from excluding the non-EPIRA separated members from their shares in the NAPOCOR Welfare Fund.70 or equivalent to 15% of the P 119. customary charges for similar services. decency or reasonableness. If the stipulated amount for attorney’s fees is excessive.[55] (6) he held numerous conferences with the nonEPIRA separated members wherein he apprised the latter of the status of their claims and his legal strategies pertinent thereto. Oftentimes. certainty of compensation. a lawyer is tasked to charge only fair and reasonable fees. Hence. such contracts are sanctioned by Canon 13 of the Canons of Professional Ethics. petitioner’s attorney’s fees in the amount of P17. and should always be subject to the supervision of a court. Petitioner’s attorney’s fees were absolutely dependent on the success of non-EPIRA separated members’ claim on the NAPOCOR Welfare Fund. were it not for petitioner’s vigilance and zeal.[51] It appears that the non-EPIRA separated members chose petitioner as their counsel because the latter.” Further. and professional standing of the lawyer. may be considered. [56] and (7) he exerted utmost efforts which eventually led to the execution of the Compromise Agreement between the non-EPIRA separated members and respondents. petitioner received no acceptance fee and appearance/meeting fee when he took on the non-EPIRA separated members’ case.[47] However.196. Quantum meruit is a device to prevent undue enrichment based on the equitable postulate that it is unjust for a person to retain benefit without paying for it.00 corrected earnings differential of the non-EPIRA separated members should be equitably reduced. In fixing a reasonable compensation for the services rendered by a lawyer on the basis ofquantum meruit.[53] (3) he prepared and presented several witnesses and numerous pertinent documents before the RTC in support of their application for the issuance of a temporary restraining order and/or writ of preliminary injunction against respondents’ plan to exclude the nonEPIRA separated members from receiving their shares in the NAPOCOR Welfare Fund. It is applicable even if there was a formal written contract for attorney’s fees as long as the agreed fee was found by the court to be unconscionable. By reason of petitioner’s dedication and persistence as can be gleaned above. courts are empowered to reduce the attorney’s fee or fix a reasonable amount thereof taking into consideration the surrounding circumstances and the established parameters. unless the court finds such stipulated amount to be unreasonable or unconscionable. in the conduct of several hearings regarding the said application for the issuance of temporary restraining order and/or writ of preliminary injunction. (4) he participated.

000. nevertheless.416. The NPC employees were represented by a certain Atty. It follows that a lawyer’s compensation for professional services rendered is subject to the supervision of the court. No costs Quirante vs.600. an amount equivalent to 10% of the P119.In NPC Drivers and Mechanics Association (NPC DAMA) v. and first and foremost. but also to maintain the dignity and integrity of the legal profession to which he belongs. Per computation. without any judicial or administrative proceedings below.196. a written contract for services shall control the amount to be paid therefor unless found by the court to be unconscionable or unreasonable. A lawyer is not merely the defender of his client’s cause and a trustee of his client’s cause of action and assets. Aldon and Atty. i.407.000. In addition. a government-owned and controlled corporation. Rule 138 of the Rules of Court. FACTS: . and the fact that this case was originally filed before us. premises considered. the non-EPIRA separated members had a legal retainer agreement/contingency fee contract with petitioner as their counsel. of the Court of Appeals in CA-G. Aldon and Atty.32 as his attorney’s fees on the said partial payment of P23. respectively.00.68 on the corrected earnings differential of the non-EPIRA separated members. a lawyer submits himself to the authority of the courts to regulate his right to charge professional fees. [60] Accordingly.00. Cornelio P. It should also be emphasized that the practice of law is a profession not a moneymaking venture. In the case before us. No.416.00 or P11.00. nevertheless. 73886 January 31. petitioner is entitled to recover the amount of P8. 95786 and 95946 are hereby AFFIRMED with the MODIFICATION that petitioner is entitled to recover attorney’s fees in the amount ofP8. The National Power Corporation (NPC). Aldon (Atty.R.00 to some non-EPIRA separated members. Orocio filed a Motion for Approval of Charging (Attorney’s) Lien pursuant to the legal retainer agreement.68 as attorney’s fees. Aldon) and Atty. plus the facts that petitioners have suffered deprivation of their means of livelihood for the last five years. our Labor Code explicitly limits attorney’s fees to a maximum of 10% of the recovered amount.007. We note. petitioner is entitled to collect only. we approve in favor of Atty. The Decision and Resolution. Upon taking his attorney’s oath as an officer of the court. WHEREFORE.592..592. Victoriano V. dated 29 January 2007 and 27 September 2007. separated from work by reason of EPIRA. we deem it proper to reduce the same. the Resolution of the Court of Appeals dated 31 October 2006 in CA-G. Atty. he is also. Orocio.007. 95786 and 95946 granting the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction is hereby ANNULLED and SET ASIDE. (the petitioner in the instant cases) under a legal retainer agreement which provides: (1) no acceptance fee. Orocio to a charging lien on the amounts recoverable by petitioners pursuant to our 26 September 2006 Decision.407. J. the 15% attorney’s fees of petitioner should be reduced to 10%.000. [58] Thus. not just to guarantee that the fees he charges and receives remain reasonable and commensurate with the services rendered. that the compromise agreement was partially implemented in the first week of April 2006 with the payment of P23. although the non-EPIRA separated members were not illegally dismissed. and (3) twenty-five percent (25%) of whatever amounts/monies are recovered in favor of said NPC personnel contingent on the success of the case. SP Nos. The amounts which petitioners may recover as the logical and necessary consequence of our Decision of 26 September 2006.R. (2) miscellaneous/out of pocket expenses in the amount of P25.[57] we awarded separation pay in lieu of reinstatement plus backwages to several NPC employees because they were illegally dismissed by the NPC. [59] Petitioner admitted having already received an amount of P3. backwages and separation pay (in lieu of reinstatement).32 received by petitioner as attorney’s fees should be deducted from the fixed 10% attorney’s fees or the amount of P11. as well as the fundamental ethical principle that the practice of law is a profession and not a commercial enterprise.000.600. Aldon and Atty. an officer of the court and participates in the fundamental function of administering justice in society.e. Orocio a charging lien of 10% (instead of 25%) on the amounts recoverable by petitioners from NPC pursuant to our Decision dated 26 September 2006. they were.R. The abovementioned case may be reasonably applied by analogy in the instant case since they have substantially similar circumstances. taking into account the foregoing circumstances and recognized principles. SP Nos. the amount of P3.919. Under Section 24.512. In such cases. however. IAC [G. we reduced the amount of attorney’s fees which was chargeable on the monies recoverable by the NPC employees from 25% to 10% because: While we duly recognize the right of Atty. Although we granted the said motion. are essentially the same awards which we grant to illegally dismissed employees in the private sector. 1989] Ponente: REGALADO.00. As such.919.512. as attorney’s fees. Considering by analogy the said limit on attorney’s fees in this case of illegal dismissal of petitioners by respondent NPC.

000 but negotiations were unsuccessful. Celedenio Javier bought 7 parcels of land owned by Eustaquio Alejandro. in behalf of Metrobank from March 1974 to September 1983. Quirante is entitled of the attorney’s fees. January 23.   1) 2) 3) In the case of Dr. as attorney’s fees.2M. Quirante) shall be P30. there was an oral agreement between him and the late Dr. RTC issued an order granting payment of attorney’s fees.In the petition for review on certiorari. Since the main case from which the petitioner’s claims for their fees may arise has not yet become final.000.5M. it shall be divided equally between the Heirs of Dr. court would still be in better position todetermine basis of fees The orderly administration of justice dictates that such issue be likewise determined by the court a quo inasmuch as it also necessarily involves the same contingencies in determining the propriety and assessing the extent of recovery of attorney’s fees. Alejandro et al filed a motion to dismiss their complaints. In case the Honorable Court awards damages in excess of the P120. an attorney's fee cannot be determined until after the main litigation has beendecided and the subject of recovery is at the disposition of the court even if there was supposedly a contract. Obligors defaulted and Metrobank foreclosed the mortgages. since it is also premised on the eventual grant of damages to the Casasola family. the provisions thereof were made todepend on the outcome of the case i. the amount of P936. Private respondent did not have knowledge of such transactions.000. properties were resold to Herby Commercial and Construction Corporation for P2. alleging deceit.000 given by petitioner could not be considered as full payment but merely a cash advance. Quirante filed a motion in the trial court for the confirmation of his attorney’s fees. Private respondent.000. Casasola. it was during the pendency of these suits that the lands were sold by Metrobank to its sister corporation. Casasola with regard to his attorney’s fees. It also appears that private respondent attempted to arrange a compromise with Metrobank in order to avoid suit. HELD: NO. with damages. Alejandro brought suit against Javier and included Metrobank as defendant. John C. Herby then mortgaged the same properties to Banco de Oro for P9. based on quantum meruit. Service Leasing Corporation. the respondent court (IAC) ruled that the confirmation of attorney’s fees is premature.000 as attorney’s fees on a quantum meruit5 basis.        Ruling of respondent court affirmed. Quirante and Atty. et al. equivalent to 25% of the actual and current market values of the litigated properties. On same day. Private respondent handled civil cases for the declaration of nullity of certain deeds of sale. however. if 120. private respondent Arturo Alafriz and Associates. The trial court granted the motion for confirmationdespite an opposition thereto.000 surety bond would berecovered even if heirs allegedly confirmed contract.00 bond. . which lower court granted. to private respondent. fixing attorney’s fees and directing petitioner Metropolitan Bank and Trust Company (Metrobank) to pay its attorneys. According to him. petitioner Atty. offering a compromise amount of P600. These were mortgaged by Javier with Metrobank to secure a loan obligation of Felix Angelo Bautista and/or International Hotel Corporation.00. the trial court ruled in favor of the former who eventually died. countered that the P50.000.e. Rule 138 of the Rules of Court. the determination of the propriety of said fees and the amount thereof should be held in abeyance. METROBANK V CA REGALADO. for P600. private respondent filed motion to fix its attorney’s fees. Dante Cruz.00 surety bond. Respondent CA affirmed trial court’s order. P936. pursuant to Sec 37. including P14000 paid on Dec 15. Casasola’s claim against its erring building contractor. Here.000. Atty. The alleged confirmation to attorney’s fees should not adversely affect the non-signatories in the petition. private respondent then filed a motion to enter the charging lien6 in the records of the civil cases. the attorney’s fees of the undersigned counsel (Atty. as confirmed in writing by the latter’s surviving spouse and two daughters to be computed as follows: In case of recovery of the P120. ISSUE: Whether or not Atty. 1980. Metrobank manifested it had fully paid private respondent. fraud and misrepresentation committed against him by Javier. 1990 FACTS                     NATURE: Petition for review on certiorari impugning the decision of CA affirming order of RTC.

an enforceable charging lien. payable within twenty-four months.      A charging lien to be enforceable as security for the payment of attorney’s fees requires as a condition sine qua non a judgment for money and execution in pursuance of such judgment secured in the main action by the attorney in favor of his client. subdivide. March 31. This. NO. 2. Fonacier filed an action to recover the sum of P700. (hereinafter Filstream). isexcessive and unreasonable. The proceeds of the sale of the lots were to be paid to the Philippine NationalBank (PNB) for the landowner's mortgage obligation. 3.00 as his contingent fee in the case even if he had no participation in thenegotiation and preparation thereof. decision of CA is reversed and set aside.      Atty. Lawyer’s contribution was merely to ask for suspension or postponement of proceedings . entered into a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with another landdeveloper.  The Court refrained from resolving the third issue so as not to preempt or interfere with the authority and adjudicative facility of the proper court to hear and decide the controversy in a proper proceeding which may be brought by private respondent. Manuel Fonacier was hired by petitioner when the Carreons and a certain PatricioC. the elements to be considered are generally 1. the dismissal order neither provided for any money judgment nor made any monetary award to any litigant. however. the petitioner. the importance of the subject matter in controversy 2. professional standing of lawyer . but such lien does not extend to land which is the subject matter of the litigation. WON private respondent is entitled to the enforcement of its charging lien for payment of its attorney’s fees. administer.    A lawyer may enforce his right to fees by filing the necessary petition as an incident in the main action in which his services were rendered when something is due his client in the action from which the fee is to be paid.000. Sarile instituted before the RTC of Makati City an action against the petitioner for rescission of the Joint Venture Agreement which provided that: 1. HELD 1. Filstream International. Issue: proper fee? Held: No. 1993: petitioner terminated services of Fonacier Petitioner had already received 7 million from Filstream Upon knowing the existence of the MOA. NO.000. without the knowledge of the privaterespondent. While case was pending. WON a separate civil suit is necessary for the enforcement of such lien 3. 3. theformer assigned its rights and obligations under the Joint Venture Agreement in favor of the latter for a consideration of P28 million. duly recorded. An attorney merely defeating recovery against his client as e defendant is not entitled to a lien on the property involved in litigation for fees and the court has no power to fix the fee of an attorney defending the client’s title to property already in the client’s possession. Disposition Petition for review is granted. and the net profits to be shared by the contracting parties on a 50-50 basis.    excessive and unreasonable P600. in this case. extent of services rendered 3. without prejudice to appropriate proceedings as may be brought by private respondent to establish its right to attorney’s fees and the amount thereof. Private respondent’s supposed charging lien is thus without legal basis.ISSUES 1. applies only where the charging lien is valid and enforceable. Research and Services Realty vs. NOTE: in fixing a reasonable compensation for the services rendered by a lawyer on the basis of quantum meruit. whether on contingent basis or quantum meruit . WON private respondent is entitled to 25% of the actual and current market values of the litigated properties on a quantum meruit basis.00 attorney's fees. Under this MOA. an attorney may acquire a lien for his compensation upon money due his client form the adverse party in nay action or proceeding in which the attorney is employed. much less in favor of petitioner. and promote thesale of the parcels of land owned by the Carreons 2. petitioner shall undertake to develop. Inc. CA Facts:    2. is within the jurisdiction of the court trying the main case and this jurisdiction subsists until the lien is settled.

and the professional standing of the attorney. (3) the nature and importance of the litigation or business in which the services were rendered. It was the consideration of the assignment.00 was reasonable. A written contract for services shall control the amount to be paid therefor unless found by the court to be unconscionable or unreasonable. The records before us and the trial court's 11 October 1993 order do not confirm that the private respondent proved by either testimonial or documentary evidence that the award of P600. which provides: SEC. time. 612 is unwarranted. (7) the professional character and social standing of the attorney. Compensation of attorneys. . .000.00. (6) the skill and experience called for in the performance of the services. [26] it appears that only Atty. Rule 138 of the Rules of Court.R. it being recognized that an attorney may properly charge a much larger fee when it is contingent than when it is n it was incumbent upon the private respondent to prove the reasonable amount of attorney's fees. but may disregard such testimony and base its conclusion on its own professional knowledge. and the trial court committed grave abuse of discretion in arbitrarily fixing the private respondent's attorney's fees at P600. The affirmance of the said order by the Court of Appeals premised on the provision in the retainer contract regarding contingent fee is thus fatally flawed." [24] In no case. 612. — An attorney shall be entitled to have and recover from his client no more than a reasonable compensation for his services. must a lawyer be allowed to recover more than what is reasonable pursuant to Section 24. it does not appear from the 11 October 1993 order that he took the witness stand. Atienza and Mr. CV No. the extent of the services rendered. and trouble involved. he could only be entitled to attorney's fees on quantum meruit basis as of the expiration of his retainer contract on 31 March 1993. . Quantum meruit simply means "as much as he deserves. this Court had earlier declared the following as circumstances to be considered in determining the reasonableness of a claim for   attorney's fees: (1) the amount and character of the service rendered. The private respondent's testimony thereon was crucial. (5) the amount of money or the value of the property affected by the controversy or involved in the employment. was not a judgment or award in favor of the petitioner in Civil Case No. ." the private respondent's attorney's fee on "contingent basis" in Civil Case No. with a view to the importance of the subject-matter of the controversy. and conveyance to Filstream of all the petitioner's "rights. No court shall be bound by the opinion of attorneys as expert witnesses as to the proper compensation. If at all. (8) the results secured. 44839. however. and (9) whether the fee is absolute or contingent. agreement as to fees. Yet.000. 24. taking into account the foregoing factors or circumstances. transfer. Suazo gave oral testimony on the motion. From the Minutes of the trial court attached to the Rollo of CA-G. (2) labor. It necessarily follows then that the 11 October 1993 order has insufficient factual basis. (4) the responsibility imposed.      which Filstream agreed to pay the petitioner. interest and participation embodied and specified in the Joint Venture Agreement (Annex "A") and in all the eight hundred seventy-five (875) parcels of land comprising the SARANAY HOMES subdivision.