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Mercedes Cobb-Perez and Damaso Perez vs Judge Gregorio Lantin

24 SCRA 219 Legal Ethics Counsels Assertiveness

A civil case was filed by Ricardo Hermoso against Damaso Perez for the latters failure to pay a
debt of P17k. Hermoso won and a writ of execution was issued in his favor. The sheriff was to
conduct a public sale of a property owned by Damaso worth P300k. This was opposed by
Damaso as he claimed the amount of said property was more than the amount of the debt.
Judge Lantin, issuing judge, found merit on this hence he amended his earlier decision and so
he issued a second writ this time directing the sheriff to conduct a public sale on Damasos
210 shares of stock approximately worth P17k.
Subsequently, Damaso and his wife filed five more petitions for injunction trying to enjoin the
public sale. The case eventually reached the Supreme Court where the SC ruled that the
petition of the Perez spouses are without merit; that their numerous petitions for injunction are
contemplated for delay. In said decision, the Supreme Court ordered petitioners to pay the cost
of the suit but said cost should be paid by their counsels. The counsels now appeal said
decision by the Supreme Court as they claimed that such decision reflected adversely against
their professionalism; that If there was delay, it was because petitioners counsel happened to
be more assertive . . . a quality of the lawyers (which) is not to be condemned.
ISSUE: Whether or not the counsels for the Spouses Perez are excused.
HELD: No. A counsels assertiveness in espousing with candor and honesty his clients cause
must be encouraged and is to be commended; what is not tolerated is a lawyers insistence
despite the patent futility of his clients position, as in the case at bar. It is the duty of a
counsel to advise his client, ordinarily a layman to the intricacies and vagaries of the law, on
the merit or lack of merit of his case. If he finds that his clients cause is defenseless, then it is
his bounden duty to advise the latter to acquiesce and submit, rather than traverse the
incontrovertible. A lawyer must resist the whims and caprices of his client, and temper his
clients propensity to litigate. A lawyers oath to uphold the cause of justice is superior to his
duty to his client; its primacy is indisputable.
In Re: Vicente Almacen
31 SCRA 562 Legal Ethics A Lawyers Right to Criticize the Courts
Atty. Almacen was the counsel of one Virginia Yaptinchay in a civil case. They lost in said civil
case but Almacen filed a Motion for Reconsideration. He notified the opposing party of said
motion but he failed to indicate the time and place of hearing of said motion. Hence, his
motion was denied. He then appealed but the Court of Appeals denied his appeal as it agreed
with the trial court with regard to the motion for reconsideration. Eventually, Almacen filed an
appeal on certiorari before the Supreme Court which outrightly denied his appeal in a minute
This earned the ire of Almacen who called such minute resolutions as unconstitutional. He then
filed before the Supreme Court a petition to surrender his lawyers certificate of title as he
claimed that it is useless to continue practicing his profession when members of the high court
are men who are calloused to pleas for justice, who ignore without reasons their own
applicable decisions and commit culpable violations of the Constitution with impunity. He
further alleged that due to the minute resolution, his client was made to pay P120k without
knowing the reasons why and that he became one of the sacrificial victims before the altar of
hypocrisy. He also stated that justice as administered by the present members of the
Supreme Court is not only blind, but also deaf and dumb.
The Supreme Court did not immediately act on Almacens petition as the Court wanted to wait
for Almacen to ctually surrender his certificate. Almacen did not surrender his lawyers
certificate though as he now argues that he chose not to. Almacen then asked that he may be
permitted to give reasons and cause why no disciplinary action should be taken against him . .
. in an open and public hearing. He said he preferred this considering that the Supreme Court
is the complainant, prosecutor and Judge. Almacen was however unapologetic.
ISSUE: Whether or not Almacen should be disciplined.
HELD: Yes. The Supreme Court first clarified that minute resolutions are needed because the
Supreme Court cannot accept every case or write full opinion for every petition they reject
otherwise the High Court would be unable to effectively carry out its constitutional duties. The
proper role of the Supreme Court is to decide only those cases which present questions whose
resolutions will have immediate importance beyond the particular facts and parties involved.
It should be remembered that a petition to review the decision of the Court of Appeals is not a
matter of right, but of sound judicial discretion; and so there is no need to fully explain the
courts denial. For one thing, the facts and the law are already mentioned in the Court of
Appeals opinion.
On Almacens attack against the Supreme Court, the High Court regarded said criticisms as
uncalled for; that such is insolent, contemptuous, grossly disrespectful and derogatory. It is

true that a lawyer, both as an officer of the court and as a citizen, has the right to criticize in
properly respectful terms and through legitimate channels the acts of courts and judges. His
right as a citizen to criticize the decisions of the courts in a fair and respectful manner, and the
independence of the bar, as well as of the judiciary, has always been encouraged by the
courts. But it is the cardinal condition of all such criticism that it shall be bona fide, and shall
not spill over the walls of decency and propriety. Intemperate and unfair criticism is a gross
violation of the duty of respect to courts.
In the case at bar, Almacens criticism is misplaced. As a veteran lawyer, he should have
known that a motion for reconsideration which failed to notify the opposing party of the time
and place of trial is a mere scrap of paper and will not be entertained by the court. He has only
himself to blame and he is the reason why his client lost. Almacen was suspended indefinitely.
Teodoro Chavez vs Atty. Escolastico Viola
196 SCRA 10 Legal Ethics A lawyer shall do no falsehood
In 1966, Atty. Viola assisted Felicidad Alvendia et al in filing a petition against Teodoro Chavez
where he sought to have the Alvendias be declared as bona fide lessees in a land controversy.
Said petition was dismissed because of nonappearance by the Alvendias.
In 1977, Atty. Viola assisted same clients in applying for an original registration of title over the
same land in controversy in 1966. In said application, Atty. Viola insisted that his clients were
the true owners of said land because they acquired it by sale from Teresita Vistan way back in
Chavez then filed a disbarment case against Atty. Viola. Chavez said that because of the
conflicting claims that Viola prepared in behalf of his clients, he had willingly aided in and
consented to the pursuit, promotion and prosecution of a false and unlawful application for
land registration, in violation of his oath of office as a member of the Bar.
ISSUE: Whether or not Atty. Viola is in violation of the Lawyers Oath.
HELD: Yes. Viola alleged in an earlier pleading that his clients were merely lessees of the
property involved. In his later pleading, he stated that the very same clients were owners of
the same property. One of these pleadings must have been false; it matters not which one.
Worse, he offered no explanation as regards the discrepancy.
A lawyer owes honesty and candor to the courts. It cannot be gainsaid that candidness,
especially towards the courts, is essential for the expeditious administration of justice. Courts
are entitled to expect only complete candor and honesty from the lawyers appearing and
pleading before them. Atty. Viola was suspended for 5 months.
Santa Pangan vs Atty. Dionisio Ramos
93 SCRA 87 Legal Ethics Lack of Candor by a Lawyer Proper name to be used by a lawyer
In 1979, a pending administrative case filed by Santa Pangan against Atty. Dionisio Ramos was
delayed because Atty. Ramos allegedly appeared before a court in Manila. When the records of
the said case was checked (one which Atty. Ramos appeared in), it was found that he used the
name Atty. Pedro D.D. Ramos. In his defense, Atty. Ramos said he has the right to use such
name because in his birth certificate, his name listed was Pedro Dionisio Ramos. D.D. stands
for Dionisio Dayaw with Dayaw being his mothers surname. However, in the roll of attorneys,
his name listed was Dionisio D. Ramos.
ISSUE: Whether or not what Atty. Ramos did was correct.
HELD: No. The attorneys roll or register is the official record containing the names and
signatures of those who are authorized to practice law. A lawyer is not authorized to use a
name other than the one inscribed in the Roll of Attorneys in his practice of law. The official
oath obliges the attorney solemnly to swear that he will do no falsehood. As an officer in the
temple of justice, an attorney has irrefragable obligations of truthfulness, candor and
frankness. In representing himself to the court as Pedro D.D. Ramos instead of Dionisio D.
Ramos, respondent has violated his solemn oath and has resorted to deception. The Supreme
Court hence severely reprimanded Atty. Ramos and warned that a similar infraction will
warrant suspension or disbarment.


DOMINGO K. LI, respondents.
Cruz, Durian, Agabin, Atienza, Alday and Tuason for petitioner.
Simeon C. Sato for respondent Domingo K Li.
Syquia Law Offices for respondents King, Ken Suy Wat, Calderon and Ferrer, Jr.
The rule on service of summons in this jurisdiction is too well-known. In civil cases, the service
of summons on a defendant is made by handing a copy thereof to the defendant in person, or
if he refuses to receive it, by tendering it to him. 1 Such service of summons may be made at
the defendant's dwelling house or residence or at his office or regular place of business. The
essence of personal service is the handing or tendering of a copy of the summons to the
defendant himself.
However, when the defendant cannot be served personally within a reasonable time,
substituted service may be effected (a) by leaving copies of the summons at the defendant's
dwelling house or residence with some person of suitable age and discretion then residing
therein, or (b) by leaving the copies at defendant's office or regular place of business with
some competent person in charge thereof. 2
It is only when the defendant cannot be served personally within a reasonable time that
substituted service maybe resorted to. The impossibility of prompt service should be shown by
stating the efforts made to find the defendant personally and the fact that such efforts failed.
This statement should be made in the proof of service. This is necessary because substituted
service is in derogation of the usual method of service. It has been held that this method of
service is "in derogation of the common law; it is a method extraordinary in character, and
hence may be used only as prescribed and in the circumstances authorized by statute." Thus,
under the controlling decisions, the statutory requirements of substituted service must be
followed strictly, faithfully and fully, and any substituted service other than that authorized by
the statute is considered ineffective. 3
The application of the foregoing rules is the issue in this petition for review by certiorari of a
decision of the Court of Appeals in G.R. CV No. 03386 entitled "Paluwagan ng Bayan Savings
Bank vs. Mercantile Financing Corporation, et al." dated January 27, 1987, and its resolution
dated April 22, 1987. 4
The facts are undisputed. Petitioner sued Mercantile Financing Corporation MFC, and private
respondents, as directors and officers of MFC, for the recovery of money market placements
through certain promissory notes. They were charged jointly and solidarily in accordance with
Section 31 of the Corporation Code 5 which provides as follows:
Section 31. Liability of Directors, Trustees, Officers.-Directors or trustees who willfully and
knowingly vote for or assent to patently unlawful acts of the corporation or who are guilty of
gross negligence or bad faith in directing the affairs of the corporation shall be liable jointly
and severally for all damages resulting therefrom suffered by the corporation, its stockholders
or members and other persons.
Summons and copies of the complaints were served upon MFC and private respondents at the
4th Floor, LTA Building, No. 118 Perea Street, Makati, Metro Manila, which is the stated office
address of MFC in the complaint, through its Assistant Manager Mr. Nasario S. Najomot Jr. who
acknowledged receipt thereof for and in behalf of MFC and the private respondents. This is so
recited in the certification of deputy sheriff Bernardo San Juan dated May 11, 1983.
On May 24, 1983, the law firm of Guillermo E. Aragones and Associates filed a motion for
extension of time to file a responsible pleading and/or motion to dismiss. The said motion was
signed by Atty. Guillermo E. Aragones as counsel for the defendants. The motion was granted
in an order dated May 26, 1983 giving the defendants an extension of twenty (20) days from
the expiration of the reglementary period within which to file the responsive pleading and/or
motion to dismiss. On June 13, 1983, said counsel for defendants filed a motion asking for a
suspension of the action for a period of sixty (60) days on the ground that there was an ongoing negotiation for an amicable settlement of the case between the parties. The motion was
denied. On June 27, 1983, counsel for plaintiff filed a motion to declare defendants in default

for failure to file an answer. This motion was granted in an order dated June 29, 1983. On July
14, 1983, the parties, assisted by their counsel, submitted a compromise Agreement for the
approval of the court. It reads as follows:
1. The defendants propose to pay, jointly and severally, then account with the plaintiff as of
June 15, 1983, in the sum of P707,500.01 with 20% interest per annum as follows:
P100,000.00-on or before July 18, 1983
100,000.00-on or before August 30, 1983
100,000.00-on or before September 30, 1983
100,000.00-on or before October 30, 1983
100,000.00-on or before November 30, 1983
100,000.00--on or before December 30, 1983
100,000.00-on or before January 30, 1984.
2. Except those mentioned above, the plaintiff has no more claim against the defendants.
3. The plaintiff agrees to the proposal of settlement offered by the defendants provided that in
case the latter fail to pay, jointly and severally, two or more successive monthly installments,
the plaintiff is entitled to secure from the Court a writ of execution for the collection of the
unpaid account of the defendants. 6
On July 18, 1983, a decision was rendered by the trial court approving the said Compromise
Agreement and enjoining the parties to comply with the terms and conditions embodied
therein. Partial payments were made under the compromise judgment. Upon failure of private
respondent to make the other payments, petitioner filed a motion for the issuance of a writ of
execution of judgment. The trial court granted the motion on December 16, 1983.
On January 16,1984, counsel for defendants filed a pleading entitled "Clarification" thereby
seeking a correction of the compromise judgment on the ground that he erroneously filed the
Compromise Agreement in behalf of all the defendants when in fact he was the counsel for
MFC only. On January 17, 1984, said counsel filed a "Motion To Correct Compromise
Agreement" attaching thereto a copy of the resolution of the Board of Directors of MFC of July
6,1983 showing that he was the attorney-in-fact of MFC only, and praying for the correction of
the judgment, accordingly. The motion for clarification was denied on January 20,1984.
On January 24, 1984, the Syquia Law Offices, in behalf of private respondents Angelo King,
Keng Suy Wat, Quintin Calderon and Jose J. Ferrer, Jr., filed a motion to set aside the decision
dated July 18,1983, the Compromise Agreement and the writ of execution dated December 21,
1983 on the ground that there was no service of summons upon each of them as the corporate
address of the corporation was not their address as they were no longer connected therewith;
that Atty. Aragones had no authority to represent them in the action and compromise
agreement; that they were not served copies of the decision of the court; that they learned
about the same only when it was being executed; and that they did not participate as directors
or officers of MFC in the subject transaction.
On January 26,1984, private respondent Domingo F. Li filed a petition for relief from judgment
with a prayer for the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction alleging therein that there was
no service of summons upon him and that Atty. Aragones was not authorized to represent him
or to enter into the Compromise Agreement. After an opposition to said motion was filed by the
petitioner, the lower court denied the same in its order dated April 6, 1984. Separate motions
for reconsideration filed by the private respondents were also denied on May 4,1984.
Thus, private respondents appealed to the respondent Court of Appeals, reiterating that there
was no service of summons upon each of them as service of summons was made at the
address of the firm with which they had severed connections; that the counsel of record of MFC
has no authority to represent them in the case and in the Compromise Agreement; that they
have not ratified the same by a partial payment of the compromise judgment; and that they
were no longer connected with MFC at the time they were sued. In due time, a decision was
rendered by the appellate court on January 27, 1987, the dispositive part of which reads as
In view of the foregoing, the other errors assigned by the appellants need not be resolved:
(1) the decision dated July 18, 1983 approving the compromise agreement rendered by the
lower court as well as the writ of execution issued pursuant thereto as against appellants
Angelo King, Keng Suy Wat, Quintin Calderon, Jose Ferrer, Jr., and Domingo Li are hereby SET
ASIDE; and
(2) the case is remanded to the court of origin which is hereby ordered to direct proper service
of summons on the aforesaid individual appellants at their respective correct addresses and
thereafter to proceed in accordance with law.
A motion for reconsideration of the said decision filed by petitioner was denied by the
appellate court on April 22,
1987. Hence, the instant petition predicated on the following grounds:

The petition is devoid of merit.
Although private respondents were sued in their capacity as directors and officers of MFC, they
are, nevertheless, being held personally liable for the obligation subject of the litigation under
the complaint filed by petitioner. Hence, the rule on personal service of summons must be
observed in that summons must be served personally on private respondents or, if they refuse
to receive the same, by tendering it to them.
The proof of service prepared by the sheriff does not show that such personal service of
summons was effected. The office address of the corporation as indicated in the complaint
does not appear to be the office address of private respondents as they were no longer
connected with the corporation then. Personal service of summons should have been made on
them at their residences as shown in the records of the Securities and Exchange Commission
and the Central Bank. Instead, the sheriff effected substituted service by leaving copies of the
summons with the Assistant Manager of MFC at the place of business of said corporation with
which as above stated private respondents were no longer connected. Such substituted service
is not valid. There was no compliance with the requirements of the rule that there must be a
previous personal service and a failure to effect the same before substituted service could be
resorted to. As the private respondents have not been duly served with summons, the trial
court never acquired jurisdiction over their persons.
It is true that Atty. Aragones, who entered his appearance in behalf of MFC and private
respondents, sought an extension of time to file an answer or a responsive pleading, and a
suspension of the proceedings pending a possible settlement of the case; that thereafter, he
signed a Compromise Agreement in behalf of MFC and private respondents which was
submitted to the court on the basis of which a compromise judgment was rendered; that said
judgment was partially complied with but upon default in the payment of the balance, a writ of
execution was sought from and granted by the trial court; and that it was only then that Atty.
Aragones informed the court that he committed an oversight in having filed the Compromise
Agreement in behalf of private respondents when it was only MFC which hired his services. If
Atty. Aragones was duly authorized to appear in behalf of the defendants, his voluntary
appearance in their behalf by the filing of the aforementioned pleadings and the Compromise
Agreement would constitute a waiver of the defect in the service of summons. However, the
lack of authority of Atty. Aragones was revealed when he produced the resolution of the Board
of Directors of MFC to the effect that the authority of said counsel was in behalf of said
corporation only and not in behalf of the private respondents.
Since the Compromise Agreement was signed by Atty. Aragones in behalf of the private respon
dents without their authority, the same is null and void in so far as they are concerned. By the
same token, the compromise judgment is also null and void as to private respondents. The
ruling of the lower court that the motion to set aside the judgment and the petition for relief
from judgment were filed beyond the reglementary period is untenable. An action to declare
the nullity of a void judgment does not prescribe. 8
One last word, Atty. Aragones' appears to be remiss in his duties and reckless in the
performance of his responsibility as counsel of record in said case. He represented himself to
be the counsel for the defendants including the private respondents not only in the motions he
filed but also in the Compromise Agreement he submitted. It was only after the writ of
execution of the compromise judgment was being enforced that he perked up by saying that
he committed an oversight and that he was not authorized by the private respondents to
represent them as counsel, much less in the Compromise Agreement. Candor towards the
courts is a cardinal requirement of the practicing lawyer. To say one thing today and another
tomorrow is a transgression of this imperative. Counsel should be made to account before his
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED. Let a copy of this decision be furnished the Integrated Bar
of the Philippines for an appropriate administrative investigation, report and recommendation
on Atty. Guillermo E. Aragones who holds office at the 9th Floor of the Finasia Building, 6774
Ayala Avenue, Makati, Metro Manila. No costs. This decision is immediately executory.


Berenguer vs. Carranza, 26 SCRA 210

Atty. Pedro B. Carranza was filed a complaint against his acts of deception practiced in the
Court of First Instance of Sorsogon. The alleged deception was the introduction of an Affidavit
of Adjudication and Transfer of Title subscribed and sworn in Pasay City, which later turned out
to be a falsity. Atty. Carranza claimed that he took no part in the said falsified document. It was
contested that due to the said falsehood, whether or not a lawyer took part from, must still be
held liable for lack of prudence and meticulous take on the matter, and as it had caused
unnecessary delays in the administration of justice.
Whether or not Atty. Carranza should be held responsible of the said falsehood committed in
YES. Respondent was reprimanded.
There was a finding that there was nothing willful in the conduct pursued by the respondent in
introducing the document that turned out to be false. Nevertheless, the Supreme Court
reminded that the lawyers oath is one impressed with utmost seriousness and should not be
taken lightly. In its decision to issue reprimand, the respondent is warned that a more severe
penalty will be imposed if the offense of the same character is repeated again.
MANUEL Y. MACIAS, petitioner-appellant,
RELIABLE REALTY CORPORATION, defendants-appellees.
Petitioner in his own behalf.
J. Natividad & Associates for respondent.
Petitioner-appellant Manuel Y. Macias filed on December 2, 1969 a petition for review by
certiorari against respondents Uy Kim, Andres Co, Nemesio Co, Nicasio Co, Manuel Sosantong,
Reliable Realty Corporation, and Branch X of the Manila Court of First Instance, alleging that he
filed on May 5, 1969 a complaint dated April 30, 1969 for the annulment of a deed of sale,
reivindicacion and damages against respondents docketed as Civil Case No. 76412 and
assigned to Branch X of the Manila Court of First Instance presided over by Honorable Jose L.
Moya, wherein he averred:

(1) that he is a beneficiary of the estate of Julian Wolfson pending settlement in Special
Proceedings No. 57405 before Branch VI of the Manila Court of First Instance and also a
beneficiary of the estate of Rosina Marguerite Wolfson pending settlement in Special
Proceedings No. 63866 before Branch VIII of the Manila Court of First Instance. In Special
Proceedings No. 63866, he appealed from the order dated December 27, 1967 appointing
Ricardo Vito Cruz as ancillary administrator to the Supreme Court, which appeal was docketed
as G.R. No. L-29235;
(2) that he has been named as special administrator of the estate of Rosina in Special
Proceedings No. 67302 originally assigned to Branch VI but later transferred to Branch VIII and
consolidated with Special Proceedings No. 63866 but the Presiding Judge of Branch VIII
dismissed said Special Proceedings No. 67302 in an order dated February 20, 1967, which he
also appealed to the Supreme Court and docketed as G.R. No. L-28054;
(3) that to protect his interest as such beneficiary in the estates of Rosina and Julian, he caused
a notice of lis pendens to be annotated on Transfer Certificates of Title Nos. 49877/ T-158,
49878/T-158, 49879/T-158, 49880/T-158, 49881/T-158 all issued in the name of Rosina covering
five adjacent lots in Tondo, Manila;
(4) that in an order dated April 16, 1969 (p. 73, rec. of L-30935), Judge Manuel P. Barcelona
presiding in Special Proceedings No. 63866, authorized respondent Ricardo Vito Cruz as
ancillary administrator of Rosina's estate, upon the latter's motion, to sell the real properties of
the estate for the payment of the estate and inheritance taxes, realty taxes of the estate and
expenses of administration;
(5) that respondent Ricardo Vito Cruz negotiated for the sale of the aforesaid lots with the
Reliable Realty Corporation, which was willing to buy the properties for P400,000.00 provided
the notice of lis pendens annotated on the titles covering said lots is cancelled;
(6) that upon motion of respondent Vito Cruz, Judge Manuel Barcelona in Special Proceedings
No. 63866 ordered the cancellation of the said notice of lis pendens in an order dated April 15,
1969 (Schedule "C" of petition, p. 43, rec.);
(7) that respondent Vito Cruz executed a deed of sale over the aforesaid properties in favor of
Reliable Realty Corporation, organized by respondents Uy Kim, Andres Co, Nicasio Co, Nemesio
Co, and Manuel Sosantong, and respondent Judge Manuel P. Barcelona issued an order dated
April 24, 1969 approving the said deed of sale (Annex "A" and Schedule "B" of petition, pp. 3847, rec.);
(8) that thereafter T.C.T. Nos. 49877, 49878, 49880, and 49881 were cancelled and in lieu
thereof, T.C.T. Nos. 96471/T-757, 96472/T-757, 96473/T-757 and 96474/T-757 were issued by
the Register of Deeds in favor of respondent Reliable Realty Corporation;
(9) that the aforesaid orders of April 16, 1969 and April 24, 1969 were issued without due
notice to petitioner and without or in excess of the jurisdiction of the Presiding Judge in Special
Proceedings No. 63866 for the reason that he had been divested of jurisdiction of said
proceedings by reason of his appeal therein in G. R. No. L-29235, (p. 32, rec.);
(10) that on April 30, 1969, he caused the filing of a notice of adverse claim on the properties
covered by T.C.T. Nos. 96471, 96472, 96473 and 96474 (p. 34, rec.); and
(11) that he spent at least P10,000.00 in his efforts to protect and defend his hereditary
interests in the estate of Rosina;
and prays for judgment (a) declaring the deed of sale over the aforementioned lots as null and
void, (b) directing the cancellation of the transfer certificates of titles issued in the name of
Reliable Realty Corporation, (c) declaring that the aforesaid five lots as his distributive share in
the estate of Rosina as well as directing the register of deeds of Manila to issue in his name
new transfer certificates of title, and (d) sentencing private respondents jointly and severally to
pay him P10,000.00 as actual damages, P100,000.00 as moral damages, P20,000.00 as
exemplary damages, and P50,000.00 as attorney's fees plus legal interests on all said values.
Private respondents Reliable Realty Corporation, Uy Kim, Nemesio Co, Andres Co, Nicasio Co
and Manuel Sosantong filed a motion to dismiss (Appendix "B", pp. 44-50, rec.) appellant
Macias' complaint in Branch X of the Manila Court of First Instance on the grounds that the
court has no jurisdiction over the nature and subject matter of the suit; that the complaint
states no cause of action; that there is another action of the same nature pending in court; that
plaintiff has no legal capacity to prosecute the present suit; and alleging specifically that:
(1) Branch X of the Manila Court of First Instance has no jurisdiction over the case since
the subject matter involved properly belongs exclusively to and is within the
competence of Branch VIII and Branch IV before which courts Special Proceedings Nos.
63866 and 57405 are pending and petitioner's alleged claim of beneficiary interest in
the estate of Julian and Rosina depends on a recognition thereof by the probate court
in said Special Proceedings Nos. 63866 and 57405;
(2) that upon the face of the complaint, the same does not contain a cause of action;
because Branch X, which is coordinate with Branch VIII of the Manila Court of First
Instance, under the existing jurisprudence has no authority to annul the questioned
orders issued by Branch VIII, aside from the fact that he appealed to the Supreme
Court from the order of the Presiding Judge of Branch VIII dismissing Special
Proceedings No. 67302 which was then pending before Branch IV and subsequently
transferred to Branch VIII (L-28054), from the order denying Macias' claim of
beneficiary interest in Rosina's estate and appointing respondent Vito Cruz as ancillary
administrator of the estate of Rosina in the same Special Proceedings No. 63866 (L-

29235; Annex "A", pp. 51-60, rec.) as well as from the order of the Presiding Judge of
Branch IV also denying Macias' petition for relief from the order approving the partial
distribution of the estate of Julian and denying his motion for the removal of Vito Cruz
as administrator and appointment of herein appellant in his place (L-28947; Annex "B",
pp. 61-65, rec.);
(3) that petitioner Manuel Macias is not a real party in interest; because he is not the
beneficiary, nor legatee nor creditor, much less an heir, of Rosina. He bases his alleged
interest in the estate of Julian who died intestate on June 15, 1964 solely on the latter's
memorandum to his sister Rosina wherein he hoped that his sister Rosina will, after his
estate is settled, give at her convenience to petitioner Manuel Macias the sum of
P500.00; to Faustino A. Reis and Severino Baron the amount of P10 000.00 each; and
to Dominador M. Milan and Vicente D. Recto P1,000.00 each. The said memorandum is
not a will. Unfortunately, Rosina died on September 14, 1965 without being able to
comply with the memorandum of her brother Julian. Since petitioner has not been
declared an heir or legatee of Julian in Special Proceedings No. 57405 nor of Rosina in
Special Proceedings No. 63866, he has no legal standing to file the present action. The
aforesaid motion to dismiss was followed by supplement alleging that since the buyer,
the Reliable Corporation, has a distinct personality from those of its incorporators,
there is no cause of action against private respondent Uy Kim, Nemesis Co, Andres Co,
Nicasio Co and Manuel Sosantong, its incorporators.
Respondent Ricardo Vito Cruz filed a motion for intervention in said Case No. 76412 dated June
4, 1969, reiterating the ground of the motion to dismiss advanced by the other private
respondents as aforestated and emphasizing that this petition for relief from judgment seeks
the nullified classification by the Presiding Judge of Branch X of the order of the Presiding Judge
of Branch VIII in Special Proceedings No. 63866 dated April 15 and April 24, 1969, as
admmitted by petitioner's motion in praying that this Case No. 76412 should not be assigned
to Branch IV or Branch VIII as his petition seeks to nullify the orders of Presiding Judge Manuel
Barcelona of Branch VIII in said Special Proceedings No. 63866 (Annex "B", pp. 96-97, rec.).
Petitioner-appellant filed his opposition dated June 14, 1969 to the motion to dismiss of
respondents Reliable Realty Corporation and its incorporators as well as to the motion for
intervention filed by respondent Vito Cruz.
In an order dated June 30, 1969, Presiding Judge Jose L. Moya of Branch X sustained the motion
to dismiss and forthwith dismissed plaintiff's complaint herein in Civil Case No. 76412 but
denied the prayer of the motion to dismiss for cancellation of the notice of adverse claim,
which petitioner-appellant caused to be annotated on the titles issued in favor of Reliable
Realty Corporation, from which order petitioner-appellant Macias interposed his appeal, and
accordingly filed this petition for review on certiorari.
Herein respondents Reliable Realty Corporation, Uy Kim, Andres Co, Nemesio Co, Nicasio Co
and Manuel Sosantong filed on December 12, 1969 their motion to dismiss the instant petition
on the ground that Branch X of the Manila Court of First Instance has no jurisdiction over
plaintiff's complaint, for the said Branch X is without authority to review the decisions of
Branch IV, a coordinate branch of the Manila Court of First Instance; that petitioner-appellant is
not a beneficiary, heir or creditor of the estate of Julian or Rosina; and that petitioner-appellant
had already appealed the order of Judge Barcelona of Branch VIII authorizing and approving
the sale of the lots in favor of respondent Reliable Realty Corporation respectively dated April
16 and April 24, 1969 (Annex "A" pp. 94-95, rec.), which appeal is now pending before this
Court in L-30935 (pp. 87-97, rec.; pp. 4, 15, appellant's brief; emphasis supplied).
In a manifestation dated and filed on December 19, 1969, respondent Vito Cruz adopted in
toto as his own motion to dismiss and/or answer, the motion to dismiss dated December 12,
1969 filed by the principal respondents (p. 102, rec.).
Petitioner-appellant filed on December 19, 1969 an opposition dated December 18, 1969 to the
motion to dismiss (pp. 104-108, rec.).
In Our resolution dated January 23, 1970, the motion to dismiss petition for review and
certiorari was denied (p. 123, rec.).
In a manifestation dated February 13, 1970, private respondents Reliable Realty Corporation,
Uy Kim, Nemesio Co, Andres Co, Nicasio Co and Manuel Sosantong adopted as their answer
their motion to dismiss filed on December 12, 1969 (p. 133, rec.).
The appealed order of respondent Judge Jose L. Moya, dated June 30, 1969, reads:
It appearing from the complaint that there is presently pending in Branch VIII of this Court
Special Proceeding No. 63866 for the settlement of the inheritance of the deceased Rosina
Marguerite Wolfson; that the plaintiff claims to be a beneficiary by hereditary title of her
estate; that the sale of the lands forming part thereof which the plaintiff desires to annul was
approved by this Court in Special Proceeding No. 63866; that aside from praying for the
annulment of the sale, the plaintiff also seeks a declaration that the lands sold constitutes his

distributive share of Rosina Marguerite Wolfson's inheritance; and that the plaintiff has
appealed to the Supreme Court from the order approving the sale, and it being settled that the
jurisdiction to annul a judgment or order of a branch of the Court of First Instance is vested
exclusively in the branch which rendered the judgment or issued the order and that any other
branch, even if it be in the same judicial district, which attempts to do so, exceeds its
jurisdiction (Tuason v. Judge Torres, 21 S.C.R.A. 1169, L-24717, December 4, 1967), and it being
unquestionable that the authority to distribute the inheritance of a deceased person and
determine the persons entitled thereto belongs exclusively to the court or branch thereof
taking cognizance of the proceedings for its settlement (Branch VIII) in this case; and finally
the Supreme Court having already acquired jurisdiction by reason of the plaintiff's appeal, no
subordinate court should attempt to pass upon the same question submitted to it, the motion
to dismiss filed by the defendant is granted and the complaint is dismissed.
The prayer in the motion to dismiss for the cancellation of the notice of adverse claim which
the plaintiff caused to be annotated on the titles to the lands on account of the present action
is denied as the only question raised by a motion to dismiss is the sufficiency of the complaint
filed in the action. (Appendix "F", p. 78, rec.).
The pretense of herein petitioner-appellant is without merit and the foregoing order appealed
from should be sustained.
Under Section 1 of Rule 73, Rules of Court, "the court first taking cognizance of the settlement
of the estates of the deceased, shall exercise jurisdiction to the exclusion of all other courts."
Pursuant to this provision, therefore all questions concerning the settlement of the estate of
the deceased Rosina Marguerite Wolfson should be filed before Branch VIII of the Manila Court
of First Instance, then presided over by former Judge, now Justice of the Court of Appeals,
Manuel Barcelona, where Special Proceedings No. 63866 for the settlement of the testate
estate of the deceased Rosina Marguerite Wolfson was filed and is still pending.
This Court stated the rationale of said Section 1 of Rule 73, thus:
... The reason for this provision of the law is obvious. The settlement of the estate of a
deceased person in court constitutes but one proceeding. For the successful administration of
that estate it is necessary that there should be but one responsible entity, one court, which
should have exclusive control of every part of such administration. To intrust it to two or more
courts, each independent of the other, would result in confusion and delay.
xxx xxx xxx
The provision of section 602, giving one court exclusive jurisdiction of the settlement of the
estate of a deceased person, was not inserted in the law for the benefit of the parties litigant,
but in the public interest for the better administration of justice. For that reason the parties
have no control over it. 1
On the other hand, and for such effects as may be proper, it should be stated herein that any
challenge to the validity of a will, any objection to the authentication thereof, and every
demand or claim which any heir, delegate or party in interest in a testate or intestate
succession may make, must be acted upon and decided within the same special proceedings,
not in a separate action, and the same judge having jurisdiction in the administration of the
estate shall take cognizance of the question raised, inasmuch as when the day comes he will
be called upon to make distribution and adjudication of the property to the interested
parties, ... . 2
This was reiterated in Maningat vs. Castillo, 3 thus:
... The main function of a probate court is to settle and liquidate the estates of deceased
persons either summarily or through the process of administration. (See articles 74 to 91,
inclusive, Rules of Court.) In order to settle the estate of a deceased person it is one of the
functions of the probate court to determine who the heirs are that will receive the net assets of
the estate and the amount or proportion of their respective shares. ...
It is not disputed that the orders sought to be annulled and set aside by herein petitionerappellant in his complaint against private respondents which was assigned to Branch X of the
Manila Court of First Instance presided over by Judge Jose L. Moya, were issued by Judge
Barcelona presiding over Branch VIII of the same court.
Even in other cases, it is also a general principle that the branch of the court of first instance
that first acquired jurisdiction over the case retains such jurisdiction to the exclusion of all
other branches of the same court of first instance or judicial district and all other coordinate
courts. Thus, in the 1970 case of De Leon vs. Salvador, 4 Mr. Justice Teehankee, speaking for
the Court, ruled:
The various branches of a Court of First Instance of a province or city, having as they have the
same or equal authority and exercising as they do concurrent and coordinate jurisdiction,
should not, cannot, and are not permitted to interfere with the respective cases, much less
with their orders or judgments, by means of injunction. 5
In the words of Mr. Justice Fernando, also in behalf of the Court, "any other view would be
subversive of a doctrine that has been steadfastly adhered to, the main purpose of which is to
assure stability and consistency in judicial actuations and to avoid confusion that may

otherwise ensue if courts of coordinate jurisdiction are permitted to interfere with each other's
lawful orders. ... This is to preclude an undesirable situation from arising one, which if
permitted, as above pointed out, would be fraught with undesirable consequences, as already
indicated, for the bench, no less than for the litigants. To such an eventuality, this Court cannot
give its sanction. 6
Appellant claims that his action in Civil Case No. 76412 before Branch X of the Manila Court of
First Instance, is not for the annulment of any judgment or order of Branch VIII of said Court
and that nowhere, either in the prayer or in the body of his complaint, does he seek for the
annulment of any order of Branch VIII (p. 8, appellant's brief). This pretension of appellant is
belied by paragraph 8 of his complaint in Civil Case No. 76412 alleging that the order dated
April 15, 1969 directing the register of deeds of Manila to cancel the notice of lis pendens
caused to be annotated by the appellant on the titles covering the five (5) lots and the order
dated April 24, 1969 approving the deed of sale were both issued by the Presiding Judge of
Branch VIII in Special Proceedings No. 63866, without due notice to and hearing of appellant;
and further belied by paragraph 9 of the same complaint alleging that the acts of the buyers of
the aforesaid five (5) lots in causing the cancellation of appellant's notice of lis pendens in
obtaining the registration of the deed of sale, in procuring the cancellation of the transfer
certificates of titles over the five (5) lots in the name of Rosina, and in securing new transfer
certificates of title in the name of defendant Reliable Realty Corporation, are all null and void
ab initio, because (1) of the pendency of his appeal in G.R. No. L-29235 for said appeal
divested the Presiding Judge of Branch VIII of any jurisdiction in Special Proceedings No. 63866
to sell the properties in question notwithstanding the order of April 24, 1969 approving the
deed of sale, (2) the orders dated April 15, 1969 and April 24, 1969 directing the cancellation
of appellant's notice of lis pendens and approving the deed of sale may not be registered as
they have not become final and will not become final by reason of his appeal in G.R. No. L29235, and (3) he was not notified of the petition to sell any portion of Rosina's estate (pars. 8
& 9, Appendix "A", pp. 30-34, rec.). It is patent that by the aforesaid paragraphs 8 and 9 of his
complaint in Civil Case No. 76412 before Branch X, appellant impugns the validity of the
aforementioned orders of the Presiding Judge of Branch VIII in Special Proceedings No. 63866.
Furthermore, in his motion to the Honorable Executive Judge of May 5, 1969, appellant averred
that he filed his complaint in Civil Case No. 76412 to nullify and set aside certain orders of
Judge Manuel P. Barcelona of Branch VIII in Special Proceedings No. 63866 over the testate
estate of Rosina Marguerite Wolfson and prayed that said Case No. 76412 should not be
assigned to either Branch VIII or Branch IV (Annex "A", pp. 21-22, appellant's brief). Said
motion could not refer to orders of Judge Manuel P. Barcelona other than the aforecited orders
of April 15, 16, and 24, 1969 in Special Proceedings No. 63866.
This appellant impliedly admits on pp. 3-4 of his reply brief which is further emphasized by his
statement that the only purpose of his motion dated May 5, 1969 was "to keep the action away
from possible prejudgment by the abovementioned branches of the court below (referring to
Branch IV and Branch VIII of the Manila Court of First Instance)."
But even without considering paragraphs 8 and 9 of appellant's complaint and his motion
dated May 5, 1969 in Civil Case No. 76412 before Branch X, his prayer in the same complaint
for the nullification or rescission of the deed of sale covering the five lots in question cannot be
decreed without passing upon the validity of the orders of the Presiding Judge of Branch VIII in
Special Proceedings No. 63866 cancelling his notice of lis pendens authorizing the sale and
approving the sale. And, as heretofore stated, under the rules and controlling jurisprudence,
the Presiding Judge of Branch X of the Manila Court of First Instance cannot legally interfere
with, nor pass upon the validity of said orders of the Presiding Judge of Branch VIII, which court,
as the probate court, has exclusive jurisdiction over the estate of the decedent, including the
validity of the will, the declaration of heirs, the disposition of the estate for the payment of its
liabilities, and the distribution among the heirs of the residue thereof.
Appellant's insistence that in Civil Case No. 76412, he seeks to recover his distributive share of
the estate of the decedent Rosina, all the more removes the said case from the jurisdiction of
Branch X; for as heretofore stated, the distribution of the estate is within the exclusive
jurisdiction of the probate court. He must therefore seek his remedy in the same probate court
Branch VIII which is hearing Special Proceedings No. 63866, instead of filing a separate
civil case in Branch X.
Moreover, his petition for certiorari, prohibition and mandamus in G.R. No. L-30935, entitled
Macias vs. University of Michigan, et al., wherein he questions the validity of the aforesaid
orders of the Presiding Judge of Branch VIII in Special Proceedings No. 63866, amply covers the
same subject matter and seeks substantially the same relief as his complaint in Civil Case No.
76412 and the present petition (see pars. 26, 28, 30-40, and the prayer in this petition, pp. 1334, rec. of L-30935). .
Appellant himself states that the decision in the three cases he filed with this Court namely,
G.R. Nos. L-29235, L-28947 and L-30935 will answer the question whether he has legal interest
in the estates of Rosina Marguerite Wolfson and Julian A. Wolfson (pp. 21-22, appellant's brief).
The cases he cited, as correctly contended by appellees (Lajom vs. Viola, et al., 73 Phil. 563;

Ramirez vs. Gmur, 42 Phil. 855; Rodriguez vs. Dela Cruz, 8 Phil. 665; and Quion vs. Claridad, L48541, January 30, 1943, 2 O.G., No. 6, June, 1943, p. 572, 74 Phil. 100), are not applicable to
and therefore do not govern the instant case, because the actions therein were filed by the
preterited heir or legatee or co-owner long after the intestate or testate or partition
proceedings had been closed or terminated. In the case at bar, Special Proceedings No. 63866
is still pending in the probate court Branch VIII of the Manila Court of First Instance where
appellant should present, as he has in fact presented, his alleged claim of legal interest in the
estate of Rosina Marguerite Wolfson, which claim, if valid, will certainly entitle him to all notices
of all petitions, motions, orders, resolutions, decisions and processes issued and/or
promulgated by said probate court. There is no order by the said probate court terminating or
closing Special Proceedings No. 63866.
However, in the recent case of Guilas vs. Judge of the Court of First Instance of Pampanga, et
al., 7 WE reiterated the rule:
... The better practice, however, for the heir who has not received his share, is to demand his
share through a proper motion in the same probate or administration proceedings, or for reopening of the probate or administrative proceedings if it had already been closed, and not
through an independent action, which would be tried by another court or Judge which may thus
reverse a decision or order of the probate or intestate court already final and executed and reshuffle properties long ago distributed and disposed of (Ramos vs. Ortuzar, 89 Phil. 730, 741742; Timbol vs. Cano, supra; Jingco vs. Daluz, L-5107, April 24, 1953, 92 Phil. 1082; Roman
Catholic vs. Agustines, L-14710, March 29, 1960, 107 Phil. 455, 460-61).
Even in the case of Quion, etc. vs. Claridad, et al., supra, invoked by appellant, WE ruled that
the intestate proceedings, although closed and terminated, can still be reopened within the
prescriptive period upon petition therefor by a preterited heir.
The Court cannot ignore the proclivity or tendency of appellant herein to file several actions
covering the same subject matter or seeking substantially identical relief, which is unduly
burdening the courts. Coming from a neophyte, who is still unsure of himself in the practice of
the law, the same may be regarded with some understanding. But considering appellant's
ability and long experience at the bar, his filing identical suits for the same remedy is
reprehensible and should merit rebuke.
WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby dismissed and the appealed order is hereby affirmed, with
costs against petitioner-appellant. Let this be entered in his personal record.
Reyes, J.B.L., Makalintal, Zaldivar, Teehankee, Barredo and Antonio, JJ., concur.
Castro and Fernando, JJ., took no part.
Concepcion, C.J., is on leave.

Garcia v Francisco
TOPIC: Legal Ethics, CPR
Garcia, et. al leased a parcel of land to Lee for a period of 25 years beginning May 1, 1964.
Despite repeated verbal and written demands, Lee refused to vacate after the expiration of the
lease. Lee was represented by Atty. Francisco. On March 29, 1989, Lee, through Francisco, filed
a complaint against Garcia and the other lessors for specific performance and reconveyance

with damages (docketed as Q-89-2188) but was dismissed by the trial court. On May 29, 1989,
Garcia and the other lessors filed a complaint for unlawful detainer against Lee but Lee
answered alleging as special and affirmative defense the pendency of case Q-89-2188. This
allegation was rejected by Judge Bautista. On October 24, 1989, Atty. Francisco filed a petition
for certiorari and prohibition with preliminary injunction against Judge Bautista and Garcia, et.
al (such is violative of the Rule on Summary Procedure prohibiting the filing of petitions for
certiorari, mandamus or prohibition against any interlocutory order). On November 13, 1989,
Judge Vera issued an order enjoining Judge Bautista from proceeding with the trial of the
unlawful detainer case. Upon motion of the complainant, however, the injunction was set aside
and Civil Case No. Q-89-3833 was dismissed. Lee did not appeal. On April 6, 1990, Lee through
Francisco, filed a petition for certiorari and prohibition with prayer for preliminary injunction
with the Court of Appeals against Judge Vera, Judge Singzon, Garcia and the other lessors.
Petition was denied. On June 14, 1990, Judge Singzon decided Civil Case no. 1455 in favor of
complainant Garcia and the other lessors. Lee did not appeal. Instead, through Francisco again,
he filed a petition against Judge Singzon and the other lessors for certiorari and annulment of
the decision in the unlawful detainer case and damages with prayer for issuance of preliminary
injunction. On July 2, 1990, Garcias group filed an Omnibus Motion to Dismiss Civil Case. On
July 13, 1990, Judge Paralejo issued an order enjoining Judge Singzon from enforcing the
decision in that case. Garcia attacked this order in a petition for certiorari and prohibition with
prayer for preliminary injunction docketed as CA Sp. No. 22392. The petition was granted by
the Court of Appeals. Garcia then filed a motion for execution in the unlawful detainer case.
Then, Lee, through Francisco, filed with the Supreme Court a petition for certiorari with
preliminary injunction and temporary restraining order against the Court of Appeals, Judge
Singzon, Garcia and the other lessors but was denied. Finally, Lee, still through Francisco, filed
a petition for certiorari with preliminary injunction against Judge Singzon, Garcia and the other
lessors in the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City to set aside and declare the writs of execution
in the unlawful detainer case. Such dismissed but again Lee, through Francisco, filed a motion
for reconsideration. According to Francisco, he was relieved as counsel while this motion was
Whether or not Atty. Francisco transgressed with the Code of Professional Conduct
Yes. The Supreme Court held that Atty. Franciscos cause was without merit. Atty. Francisco
abused his right of recourse to the courts for the purpose of arguing a cause that had been
repeatedly rebuffed, he was disdaining the obligation of the lawyer to maintain only such
actions or proceedings as appear to him to be just and such defense only as he believes to be
honestly debatable under the law. By violating his oath not to delay any man for money or
malice, he has besmirched the name of an honorable profession and has proved himself
unworthy of trust reposed in him by law as an officer of the Court. Atty. Crisanto l. Francisco
took his oath as a lawyer on March 2, 1956. Considering his age and experience in the practice
of the laws, he should have known better than to trifle with it and to use it as an instrument for
harassment of the complainant and the misuse of judicial processes.
SUSPENDED for 1 year

Enrique Zaldivar vs Raul Gonzalez

166 SCRA 316 Legal Ethics Contemptuous Language Duty of a Lawyer
Zaldivar was the governor of Antique. He was charged before the Sandiganbayan for violations
of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act. Gonzales was the then Tanodbayan who was
investigating the case. Zaldivar then filed with the Supreme Court a petition for Certiorari,
Prohibition and Mandamus assailing the authority of the Tanodbayan to investigate graft cases
under the 1987 Constitution. The Supreme Court, acting on the petition issued a Cease and
Desist Order against Gonzalez directing him to temporarily restrain from investigating and
filing informations against Zaldivar.
Gonzales however proceeded with the investigation and he filed criminal informations against
Zaldivar. Gonzalez even had a newspaper interview where he proudly claims that he scored
one on the Supreme Court; that the Supreme Courts issuance of the TRO is a manifestation
theta the rich and influential persons get favorable actions from the Supreme Court, [while] it
is difficult for an ordinary litigant to get his petition to be given due course.
Zaldivar then filed a Motion for Contempt against Gonzalez. The Supreme Court then ordered
Gonzalez to explain his side. Gonzalez stated that the statements in the newspapers were true;
that he was only exercising his freedom of speech; that he is entitled to criticize the rulings of
the Court, to point out where he feels the Court may have lapsed into error. He also said, even
attaching notes, that not less than six justices of the Supreme Court have approached him to
ask him to go slow on Zaldivar and to not embarrass the Supreme Court.
ISSUE: Whether or not Gonzalez is guilty of contempt.

HELD: Yes. The statements made by respondent Gonzalez clearly constitute contempt and call
for the exercise of the disciplinary authority of the Supreme Court. His statements necessarily
imply that the justices of the Supreme Court betrayed their oath of office. Such statements
constitute the grossest kind of disrespect for the Supreme Court. Such statements very clearly
debase and degrade the Supreme Court and, through the Court, the entire system of
administration of justice in the country.
Gonzalez is entitled to the constitutional guarantee of free speech. What Gonzalez seems
unaware of is that freedom of speech and of expression, like all constitutional freedoms, is not
absolute and that freedom of expression needs on occasion to be adjusted to and
accommodated with the requirements of equally important public interests. One of these
fundamental public interests is the maintenance of the integrity and orderly functioning of the
administration of justice. There is no antinomy between free expression and the integrity of the
system of administering justice.
Gonzalez, apart from being a lawyer and an officer of the court, is also a Special Prosecutor
who owes duties of fidelity and respect to the Republic and to the Supreme Court as the
embodiment and the repository of the judicial power in the government of the Republic. The
responsibility of Gonzalez to uphold the dignity and authority of the Supreme Court and not to
promote distrust in the administration of justice is heavier than that of a private practicing
Gonzalez is also entitled to criticize the rulings of the court but his criticisms must be bona
fide. In the case at bar, his statements, particularly the one where he alleged that members of
the Supreme Court approached him, are of no relation to the Zaldivar case.
The Supreme Court suspended Gonzalez indefinitely from the practice of law.

Paragas vs. Cruz

Facts: In asking for reconsideration of the Courts dismissal of his petition for certiorari in the
present case, counsel for the petitioner, Atty. Jeremias Sebastian, used derogatory expressions
against the dignity of the Court in the language of his motion for reconsideration.
Issue: Whether or not Atty. Sebastian is administratively liable for his actions/language.
Held: The expressions contained in the motion for reconsideration penned by the counsel of
the petitioner are plainly contemptuous and disrespectful and he is hereby guilty of direct
contempt of court.
As remarked in People vs. Carillo: Counsel should conduct himself towards the judges who try
his cases with that courtesy all have a right to expect. As an officer of the court, it is his sworn
and moral duty to help build and not destroy unnecessarily that high esteem and regard
towards the courts so essential to the proper administration of justice.
It is right and plausible that an attorney, in defending the cause and rights of his client, should
do so with all the fervor and energy of which he is capable, but it is not, and never will be so,
for him to exercise said right by resorting to intimidation or proceeding without the propriety
and respect which the dignity of the courts require.


CONSTANCIO ALEJO, respondents.
This petition for review on certiorari assails the Decision, dated 11 November 1997, of the
Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. CV No. 48816 which reversed and set aside the Decision, dated 13
December 1994, of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 30 of Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental in
an action for recovery of possession and damages.
The core issue in this case is whether a partition of Lot No. 1639 had been effected in 1952.
Petitioners contend that there was already a partition of said lot; hence, they are entitled to
exclusive possession and ownership of Lot No. 1639-D, which originally formed part of Lot No.
1639 until its partition. Private respondents, upon the other hand, claim that there was no
partition; hence, they are co-owners of Lot No. 1639-D. Notably, this case presents a unique
situation where there is an order for partition but there is no showing that the
sketch/subdivision plan was submitted to the then Court of First Instance for its approval or
that a decree or order was registered in the Register of Deeds.
The antecedent facts of the case are as follows: Korte
Petitioners filed with the RTC a complaint for recovery of possession and damages alleging,
inter alia, that they are the owners of Lot No. 1639-D. Said lot was originally part of Lot No.
1639 which was covered by Original Certificate Title No. 6775 issued in the names of
Hermogenes Olis, Bartolome Maglucot, Pascual Olis, Roberto Maglucot, Anselmo Lara and
Tomas Maglucot on 16 August 1927.[if !supportFootnotes][1][endif] On 19 April 1952, Tomas Maglucot, one
of the registered owners and respondents predecessor-in-interest, filed a petition to subdivide
Lot No. 1639.[if !supportFootnotes][2][endif] Consequently, on 13 May 1952, then CFI of Negros Oriental
issued an order[if !supportFootnotes][3][endif] directing the parties to subdivide said lot into six portions as
follows: Rtcspped
a) Hermogenes Olis - lot 1639-A
b) Pascual Olis - lot 1639-B
c) Bartolome Maglucot - lot 1639-C
d) Roberto (Alberto) - lot 1639-D
e) Anselmo Lara - lot 1639-E
f) Tomas Maglucot - lot 1639-F.[if !supportFootnotes][4][endif]
Sometime in 1963, Guillermo Maglucot rented a portion of Lot No. 1639-D (subject lot).
Subsequently, Leopoldo and Severo, both surnamed Maglucot, rented portions of subject lot in
1964 and 1969, respectively, and each paying rentals therefor. Said respondents built houses
on their corresponding leased lots. They paid the rental amount of P100.00 per annum to Mrs.
Ruperta Salma, who represented the heirs of Roberto Maglucot, petitioners predecessor-ininterest. In December 1992, however, said respondents stopped paying rentals claiming
ownership over the subject lot. Petitioners thus filed the complaint a quo. Sdaadsc
After trial, the lower court rendered judgment in favor of petitioners. The RTC found the
existence of tax declarations in the names of Hermogenes Olis and Pascual Olis (purported
owners of Lot Nos. 1639-A and 1639-B, respectively) [if !supportFootnotes][5][endif] as indubitable proof that
there was a subdivision of Lot No. 1639. It likewise found that Tomas Maglucot, respondents
predecessor-in-interest, took active part in the partition as it was he, in fact, who commenced
the action for partition.[if !supportFootnotes][6][endif] The court a quo cited Article 1431 of the Civil Code
which states that "[t]hrough estoppel an admission or representation is rendered conclusive
upon the person making it, and cannot be denied or disproved as against the person relying
thereon." Applying said provision of law, it held that while there was no court order showing
that Lot No. 1639 was partitioned, its absence could not be used by Tomas Maglucot, or
respondents as his successors-in-interest, to deny the existence of an approved partition
against the other co-owners who claim that there was one. [if !supportFootnotes][7][endif] Said court,
likewise, ruled that the tax declarations [if
over the houses of respondents, expressly stating that the same are
constructed on the lots of Roberto Maglucot, constitute a conclusive admission by them of the
ownership of the subject lot by the latter.[if !supportFootnotes][9][endif]
The dispositive portion of the lower courts decision reads as follows: Missdaa
WHEREFORE, on the basis of the foregoing discussion, judgment is hereby rendered in favor of
the plaintiffs against the defendants ordering the latter:
1. To demolish their houses inside lot 1639-D, vacate the premises thereof and deliver the
possession of the same to Plaintiffs; Slxmis
2. To jointly and solidarily pay plaintiffs the sum of P15,000.00 for attorneys fees;

3. To each pay plaintiffs the sum of P100.00 every year from 1993 for actual damages
representing the amount of unpaid rentals up to the time they actually
vacate the premises in question; Sclaw
4. To pay the costs.[if !supportFootnotes][10][endif]
On appeal, the CA reversed the decision of the RTC. The appellate court ruled that the sketch
plan and tax
declarations relied upon by petitioners are not conclusive evidence of partition. [if !supportFootnotes][11]
The CA likewise found that the prescribed procedure under Rule 69 of the Rules of Court
was not followed. It thus declared that there was no partition of Lot No. 1639. Slxsc
Petitioners filed this petition for review on certiorari alleging that the CA committed the
following reversible errors:
1639-D SINCE 1946;
PROCEDURE;[if !supportFootnotes][12][endif]
Petitioners maintain that Lot No. 1639 was mutually partitioned and physically subdivided
among the co-owners and that majority of them participated in the actual execution of the
subdivision. Further, the co-owners accepted their designated shares in 1946 as averred by
Tomas Maglucot in his petition for partition.[if !supportFootnotes][13][endif] Petitioners opine that in 1952,
Tomas Maglucot himself initiated a court proceeding for a formal subdivision of Lot No. 1639. In
said petition, he averred that only Hermogenes Olis and the heirs of Pascual Olis were not
agreeable to the partition.[if !supportFootnotes][14][endif] Petitioners further contend that respondents
admitted in their tax declarations covering their respective houses that they are "constructed
on the land of Roberto Maglucot."[if !supportFootnotes][15][endif] Simply put, petitioners vigorously assert
that respondents are estopped from claiming to be co-owners of the subject lot in view of the
mutual agreement in 1946, judicial confirmation in 1952, and respondents acquiescence
because they themselves exclusively exercised ownership over Lot No. 1639-A beginning 1952
up to the present.[if !supportFootnotes][16][endif]
For their part, respondents posit three points in support of their position. First, they emphasize
that petitioners failed to show that the interested parties were apprised or notified of the
tentative subdivision contained in the sketch and that the CFI subsequently confirmed the
same.[if !supportFootnotes][17][endif] Second, they point to the fact that petitioners were unable to show
any court approval of any partition.[if !supportFootnotes][18][endif] Third, they maintain that Lot No. 1639
remain undivided since to date, OCT No. 6275 is still an existing and perfectly valid title,
containing no annotation of any encumbrance or partition whatsoever. [if !supportFootnotes][19][endif]
After a careful consideration of the pleadings filed by the parties and the evidence on record,
we find that the petition is meritorious. As stated earlier, the core issue in this case is whether
there was a valid partition in 1952. Scslx
Preliminarily, this Court recognizes that "the jurisdiction of this Court in cases brought before it
from the Court of Appeals via Rule 45 of the Rules of Court is limited to reviewing errors of law.
Findings of fact of the latter are conclusive, except in the following instances: (1) when the
findings are grounded entirely on speculation, surmises, or conjectures; (2) when the inference
made is manifestly mistaken, absurd, or impossible; (3) when there is grave abuse of
discretion; (4) when the judgment is based on a misapprehension of facts; (5) when the
findings of fact are conflicting; (6) when in making its findings the Court of Appeals went
beyond the issues of the case, or its findings are contrary to the admissions of both the
appellant and the appellee; (7) when the findings are contrary to those of the trial court; (8)
when the findings are conclusions without citation of specific evidence on which they are
based; (9) when the facts set forth in the petition as well as in the petitioners main and reply
briefs are not disputed by the respondent; and (10) when the findings of fact are premised on
the supposed absence of evidence and contradicted by the evidence on record." [if !supportFootnotes][20]
This case falls under exceptions (7), (8) and (10) in that the findings of facts of the CA are
in conflict with that of the RTC, are mere conclusions without citation of specific evidence on
which they are based and are premised on absence of evidence but are contradicted by the
evidence on record. For these reasons, we shall consider the evidence on record to determine
whether indeed there was partition. Slx

In this jurisdiction, an action for partition is comprised of two phases: first, an order for
partition which determines whether a co-ownership in fact exists, and whether partition is
proper; and, second, a decision confirming the sketch or subdivision submitted by the parties
or the commissioners appointed by the court, as the case may be. [if !supportFootnotes][21][endif] The first
phase of a partition and/or accounting suit is taken up with the determination of whether or not
a co-ownership in fact exists, (i.e., not otherwise legally proscribed) and may be made by
voluntary agreement of all the parties interested in the property. This phase may end with a
declaration that plaintiff is not entitled to have a partition either because a co-ownership does
not exist, or partition is legally prohibited. It may end, upon the other hand, with an
adjudgment that a co-ownership does in truth exist, partition is proper in the premises and an
accounting of rents and profits received by the defendant from the real estate in question is in
order. In the latter case, the parties may, if they are able to agree, make partition among
themselves by proper instruments of conveyance, and the court shall confirm the partition so
agreed upon. In either case i.e., either the action is dismissed or partition and/or accounting
is decreed the order is a final one, and may be appealed by any party aggrieved thereby. The
second phase commences when it appears that "the parties are unable to agree upon the
partition" directed by the court. In that event, partition shall be done for the parties by the
court with the assistance of not more than three (3) commissioners. This second stage may
well also deal with the rendition of the accounting itself and its approval by the court after the
parties have been accorded opportunity to be heard thereon, and an award for the recovery by
the party or parties thereto entitled of their just share in the rents and profits of the real estate
in question. Such an order is, to be sure, final and appealable. [if !supportFootnotes][22][endif]
The present rule on the question of finality and appealability of a decision or order decreeing
partition is that it is final and appealable.[if !supportFootnotes][23][endif] The order of partition is a final
determination of the co-ownership over Lot No. 1639 by the parties and the propriety of the
partition thereof. Hence, if the present rule were applied, the order not having been appealed
or questioned by any of the parties to the case, it has become final and executory and cannot
now be disturbed. Mesm
The true test to ascertain whether or not an order or a judgment is interlocutory or final is:
Does it leave something to be done in the trial court with respect to the merits of the case? If it
does, it is interlocutory; if it does not, it is final. The key test to what is interlocutory is when
there is something more to be done on the merits of the case. [if !supportFootnotes][24][endif] An order for
partition is final and not interlocutory and, hence, appealable because it decides the rights of
the parties upon the issue submitted.[if !supportFootnotes][25][endif]
However, this Court notes that the order of partition was issued when the ruling in Fuentebella
vs. Carrascoso,[if !supportFootnotes][26][endif] which held that the order of partition is interlocutory, was
controlling. In addition, the reports of the commissioners not having been confirmed by the
trial court are not binding.[if !supportFootnotes][27][endif] In this case, both the order of partition and the
unconfirmed sketch plan are, thus, interlocutory. Nevertheless, where parties do not object to
the interlocutory decree, but show by their conduct that they have assented thereto, they
cannot thereafter question the decree,[if !supportFootnotes][28][endif] especially, where, by reason of their
conduct, considerable expense has been incurred in the execution of the commission. [if !
Respondents in this case have occupied their respective lots in accordance
with the sketch/subdivision plan. They cannot after acquiescing to the order for more than forty
(40) years be allowed to question the binding effect thereof.
This case is to be distinguished from the order in the action for partition in Arcenas vs. Cinco.[if !
In that case, the order was clearly interlocutory since it required the parties "
to submit the corresponding deed of partition to the Court for its approval." Here, the order
appointed two commissioners and directed them merely to approve the sketch plan already
existing and tentatively followed by the parties. Calrky
Under the present rule, the proceedings of the commissioners without being confirmed by the
court are not binding upon the parties.[if !supportFootnotes][31][endif] However, this rule does not apply in
case where the parties themselves actualized the supposedly unconfirmed sketch/subdivision
plan. The purpose of court approval is to give effect to the sketch/subdivision plan. In this case,
the parties themselves or through their predecessors-in-interest implemented the sketch plan
made pursuant to a court order for partition by actually occupying specific portions of Lot No.
1639 in 1952 and continue to do so until the present until this case was filed, clearly, the
purpose of the court approval has been met. This statement is not to be taken to mean that
confirmation of the commissioners may be dispensed with but only that the parties herein are
estopped from raising this question by their own acts of ratification of the supposedly nonbinding sketch/subdivision plan. Kycalr
The records of the case show that sometime in 1946 there was a prior oral agreement to
tentatively partition Lot No. 1639.[if !supportFootnotes][32][endif] By virtue of this agreement, the original
co-owners occupied specific portions of Lot No. 1639. [if !supportFootnotes][33][endif] It was only in 1952
when the petition to subdivide Lot No. 1639 was filed because two of the co-owners, namely
Hermogenes Olis and heirs of Pascual Olis, refused to have said lot subdivided and have
separate certificates of title. Significantly, after the 1952 proceedings, the parties in this case
by themselves and/or through their predecessors-in-interest occupied specific portions of Lot
No. 1639 in accordance with the sketch plan. Such possession remained so until this case
arose, or about forty (40) years later.

From its order in 1952, it can be gleaned that the CFI took notice of the tentative subdivision
plan by oral partition of the parties therein. Further, it appears that said court was aware that
the parties therein actually took possession of the portions in accordance with the
sketch/subdivision plan. With this factual backdrop, said court ordered the partition and
appointed two (2) commissioners to approve the tentative sketch/subdivision plan. It would not
be unreasonable to presume that the parties therein, having occupied specific portions of Lot
No. 1639 in accordance with the sketch/subdivision plan, were aware that it was that same
sketch/subdivision plan which would be considered by the commissioners for approval. There is
no showing that respondents by themselves or through their predecessors-in-interest raised
any objections. On the contrary, the records show that the parties continued their possession
of the specific portions of Lot No. 1639 pursuant to the sketch/subdivision plan. Kyle
It has been previously held that a co-owner, who, though not a party to a partition accepts the
partition allotted to him, and holds and conveys the same in severalty, will not be
subsequently permitted to avoid partition.[if !supportFootnotes][34][endif] It follows that a party to a
partition is also barred from avoiding partition when he has received and held a portion of the
subdivided land especially in this case where respondents have enjoyed ownership rights over
their share for a long time.
Parties to a partition proceeding, who elected to take under partition, and who took possession
of the portion allotted to them, are estopped to question title to portion allotted to another
party.[if !supportFootnotes][35][endif] A person cannot claim both under and against the same instrument. [if !
In other words, they accepted the lands awarded them by its provisions, and
they cannot accept the decree in part, and repudiate it in part. They must accept all or none. [if !
Parties who had received the property assigned to them are precluded from
subsequently attacking its validity of any part of it. [if !supportFootnotes][38][endif] Here, respondents, by
themselves and/or through their predecessors-in-interest, already occupied of the lots in
accordance with the sketch plan. This occupation continued until this action was filed. They
cannot now be heard to question the possession and ownership of the other co-owners who
took exclusive possession of Lot 1639-D also in accordance with the sketch plan. Exsm
In technical estoppel, the party to be estopped must knowingly have acted so as to mislead his
adversary, and the adversary must have placed reliance on the action and acted as he would
otherwise not have done. Some authorities, however, hold that what is tantamount to estoppel
may arise without this reliance on the part of the adversary, and this is called, ratification or
election by acceptance of benefits, which arises when a party, knowing that he is not bound by
a defective proceeding, and is free to repudiate it if he will, upon knowledge, and while under
no disability, chooses to adopt such defective proceeding as his own. [if !supportFootnotes][39][endif]
Ratification means that one under no disability voluntarily adopts and gives sanction to some
unauthorized act or defective proceeding, which without his sanction would not be binding on
him. It is this voluntary choice, knowingly made, which amounts to a ratification of what was
theretofore unauthorized, and becomes the authorized act of the party so making the
ratification.[if !supportFootnotes][40][endif]
The records show that respondents were paying rent for the use of a portion of Lot No. 1639-D.
Had they been of the belief that they were co-owners of the entire Lot No. 1639 they would not
have paid rent. Respondents attempted to counter this point by presenting an uncorroborated
testimony of their sole witness to the effect that the amount so paid to Roberto Maglucot and,
subsequently, to Ruperta Salma were for the payment of real property taxes. We are not
persuaded. It is quite improbable that the parties would be unaware of the difference in their
treatment of their transactions for so long a time. Moreover, no evidence was ever presented
to show that a tax declaration for the entire Lot No. 1639 has ever been made. Replete in the
records are tax declarations for specific portions of Lot 1639. It is inconceivable that
respondents would not be aware of this. With due diligence on their part, they could have
easily verified this fact. This they did not do for a period spanning more than four decades.
The payment of rentals by respondents reveal that they are mere lessees. As such, the
possession of respondents over Lot No. 1639-D is that of a holder and not in the concept of an
owner. One who possesses as a mere holder acknowledges in another a superior right which he
believes to be ownership, whether his belief be right or wrong. [if !supportFootnotes][41][endif] Since the
possession of respondents were found to be that of lessors of petitioners, it goes without
saying that the latter were in possession of Lot No. 1639-D in the concept of an owner from
1952 up to the time the present action was commenced. Msesm
Partition may be inferred from circumstances sufficiently strong to support the presumption. [if !
Thus, after a long possession in severalty, a deed of partition may be
presumed.[if !supportFootnotes][43][endif] It has been held that recitals in deeds, possession and
occupation of land, improvements made thereon for a long series of years, and acquiescence
for 60 years, furnish sufficient evidence that there was an actual partition of land either by
deed or by proceedings in the probate court, which had been lost and were not recorded. [if !
And where a tract of land held in common has been subdivided into lots, and
one of the lots has long been known and called by the name of one of the tenants in common,
and there is no evidence of any subsequent claim of a tenancy in common, it may fairly be
inferred that there has been a partition and that such lot was set off to him whose name it
bears.[if !supportFootnotes][45][endif]

Respondents insist that the absence of any annotation in the certificate of title showing any
partition of Lot No. 1639 and that OCT No. 6725 has not been canceled clearly indicate that no
partition took place. The logic of this argument is that unless partition is shown in the title of
the subject property, there can be no valid partition or that the annotation in the title is the
sole evidence of partition. Esmso
Again, we are not persuaded. The purpose of registration is to notify and protect the interests
of strangers to a given transaction, who may be ignorant thereof, but the non-registration of
the deed evidencing such transaction does not relieve the parties thereto of their obligations
thereunder.[if !supportFootnotes][46][endif] As originally conceived, registration is merely a species of
notice. The act of registering a document is never necessary in order to give it legal effect as
between the parties.[if !supportFootnotes][47][endif] Requirements for the recording of the instruments are
designed to prevent frauds and to permit and require the public to act with the presumption
that recorded instruments exist and are genuine.[if !supportFootnotes][48][endif]
It must be noted that there was a prior oral partition in 1946. Although the oral agreement was
merely tentative, the facts subsequent thereto all point to the confirmation of said oral
partition. By virtue of that agreement, the parties took possession of specific portions of the
subject lot. The action for partition was instituted because some of the co-owners refused to
have separate titles issued in lieu of the original title. In 1952, an order for partition was issued
by the cadastral court. There is no evidence that there has been any change in the possession
of the parties. The only significant fact subsequent to the issuance of the order of partition in
1952 is that respondents rented portions of Lot No. 1639-D. It would be safe to conclude,
therefore, that the oral partition as well as the order of partition in 1952 were the bases for the
finding of actual partition among the parties. The legal consequences of the order of partition
in 1952 having been discussed separately, we now deal with oral partition in 1946. Given that
the oral partition was initially tentative, the actual possession of specific portions of Lot No.
1639 in accordance with the oral partition and the continuation of such possession for a very
long period indicate the permanency and ratification of such oral partition. The validity of an
oral partition is already well-settled. In Espina vs. Abaya,[if !supportFootnotes][49][endif] we declared that
an oral partition is valid. In Hernandez vs. Andal,[if !supportFootnotes][50][endif] reiterated in Tan vs. Lim,[if !
this Court has ruled, thus:
On general principle, independent and in spite of the statute of frauds, courts of equity have
enforce oral partition when it has been completely or partly performed.
Regardless of whether a parol partition or agreement to partition is valid and enforceable at
law, equity will proper cases where the parol partition has actually been
consummated by the taking of possession in severalty and the exercise of
ownership by the parties of the respective portions set off to each,
recognize and enforce such parol partition and the rights of the parties
thereunder. Thus, it has been held or stated in a number of cases
involving an oral partition under which the parties went into possession,
exercised acts of ownership, or otherwise partly performed the partition
agreement, that equity will confirm such partition and in a proper case
decree title in accordance with the possession in severalty.
In numerous cases it has been held or stated that parol partition may be sustained on the
ground of estoppel of the parties to assert the rights of a tenant in
common as to parts of land divided by parol partition as to which
possession in severalty was taken and acts of individual ownership were
exercised. And a court of equity will recognize the agreement and decree
it to be valid and effectual for the purpose of concluding the right of the
parties as between each other to hold their respective parts in severalty.
A parol partition may also be sustained on the ground that the parties thereto have acquiesced
in and ratified the partition by taking possession in severalty, exercising
acts of ownership with respect thereto, or otherwise recognizing the
existence of the partition.
A number of cases have specifically applied the doctrine of part performance, or have stated
that a part performance is necessary, to take a parol partition out of the
operation of the statute of frauds. It has been held that where there was a
partition in fact between tenants in common, and a part performance, a
court of equity would have regard to enforce such partition agreed to by
the parties. Esmsc
Two more points have constrained this Court to rule against respondents. First, respondents
Wilfreda Maglucot-Alejo and Constancio Alejo offered to buy the share of Roberto Maglucot.
Second, the tax declarations contain statements that the houses of respondents were built on
the land owned by Roberto Maglucot. Esm
On the first point, petitioners presented Aida Maglucot who testified that after respondents
were informed that petitioners were going to use Lot No. 1639-D belonging to Roberto

Maglucot, respondents Wilfreda Maglucot-Alejo and Constancio Alejo went to the house of said
witness and offered to buy the share of Roberto Maglucot. [if !supportFootnotes][52][endif] Aida Maglucot
further testified that they refused the offer because they also intend to use the lot for a
residential purpose.[if !supportFootnotes][53][endif] This testimony of Aida Maglucot is unrebutted by
respondents, and the CA did not touch upon this finding of fact. Hence, the offer to buy has
been established by the unrebutted evidence of the petitioners. Why would they give such
offer if they claim to be at least a co-owner of the said lot? In effect, respondents impliedly
admit the title of the petitioners and that they are not co-owners, much less the sole owners,
of Lot No. 1639-D. Chief
On the second point, the existence of Tax Declaration No. 04-557 in the names of Constancio
Alejo and Godofreda Maglucot,[if !supportFootnotes][54][endif] Tax Declaration No. 04-87-13 in the names of
Leopoldo Maglucot and Regina Barot,[if !supportFootnotes][55][endif] Tax Declaration No. 04-593 in the
names of Severo Maglucot and Samni Posida[if !supportFootnotes][56][endif] showing that the houses of the
above-mentioned persons are constructed on the land of Roberto Maglucot [if !supportFootnotes][57][endif]
constitute incontrovertible evidence of admission by the same persons of the ownership of the
land by Roberto Maglucot. Tax Declarations are public documents. Unless their veracity is
directly attacked, the contents therein are presumed to be true and accurate. [if !supportFootnotes][58]
The lone testimony of Severo Maglucot that Roberto Maglucot was only made to appear as
owner of the land in their respective declarations because he was the administrator of Lot No.
1639 is uncorroborated and not supported by any other evidence. Jksm
No injustice is dealt upon respondents because they are entitled to occupy a portion of Lot No.
1639, particularly Lot No. 1639-A, in their capacity as heirs of Tomas Maglucot, one of the
original co-owners of Lot No. 1639 in accordance with the sketch plan of said lot showing the
partition into six portions.[if !supportFootnotes][59][endif]
Finally, this Court takes notice of the language utilized by counsel for petitioners in their
petition for review on certiorari. Thrice in the petition, counsel for petitioners made reference
to the researcher of the CA. First, he alluded to the lack of scrutiny of the records and lack of
study of the law "by the researcher."[if !supportFootnotes][60][endif] Second, he cited the researcher of the
CA as having "sweepingly stated without reference to the record"[if !supportFootnotes][61][endif] that "[w]e
have scanned the records on hand and found no evidence of any partition." Finally, counsel for
petitioners assailed the CA decision, stating that "this will only show that there was no proper
study of the case by the researcher."[if !supportFootnotes][62][endif]
Any court when it renders a decision does so as an arm of the justice system and as an
institution apart from the persons that comprise it. Decisions are rendered by the courts and
not the persons or personnel that may participate therein by virtue of their office. It is highly
improper and unethical for counsel for petitioners to berate the researcher in his appeal.
Counsel for petitioner should be reminded of the elementary rules of the legal profession
regarding respect for the courts by the use of proper language in its pleadings and admonished
for his improper references to the researcher of the CA in his petition. A lawyer shall
abstain from scandalous, offensive, or menacing language or behavior before the courts. [if !

WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED The decision of the Court of Appeals is SET ASIDE and
the decision of the Regional Trial Court is hereby REINSTATED. h Y
Villaflor vs. Sarita (308 SCRA 129)
Facts: Complainant filed a case for disbarment against respondent before the IBP Commission
on Bar Discipline. The Commissioner assigned to investigate the case issued an order directing
respondent to file his answer or comment to the complaint. The period of time alloted to
answer the complaint lapsed without respondent submitting his comment. An order was issued
requiring the parties to attend the hearing of the case but the respondent failed to appear. A
notice of hearing was sent to respondent but again he failed to attend the proceeding. After
giving the respondent enough opportunity to face the charges against him, which the latter did
not avail, the case was submitted for resolution.
Issue: Whether or not failure to obey notices from the IBP investigators constitutes an
unethical act.
Held: Yes. As an officer of the court, it is the duty of a lawyer to uphold the dignity and
authority of the court to which he owes fidelity, according to the oath he has taken. It is his
foremost responsibility to observe and maintain the respect due to the courts of justice and
judicial officers. The highest form of respect to the judicial authority is shown by a lawyers
obedience to court orders and processes.

G.R. No. 80390 March 27, 1998

BAUTISTA, petitioners,
This petition for review on certiorari seeks to nullify the Order 1 dated January 24, 1986 of the
Regional Trial Court of Lanao del Norte, Branch V, in Civil Case No. 262, which reversed its
earlier Decision 2 dated July 31, 1985 dismissing the complaint filed by respondents.
The facts are not disputed:
Respondents Alfaro, Editha and Nestor, all surnamed Fortunado, are the registered owners of
two parcels of land covered by Transfer Certificates of Title No. 7-3041 and T-1929, both
registered with the Register of Deeds of Iligan City. Said properties were mortgaged by Arsenio
Lopez, Jr. on July 24, 1968 to the Traders Commercial Bank (now Traders Royal Bank) to secure
a loan obligation in the amount of P370,000.00.
On January 6, 1971, respondents instituted an action before the then Court of First Instance of
Rizal, Branch XVIII, against Arsenio Lopez, Jr. and Traders Royal Bank, among others, for
annulment of mortgage. In said complaint, Traders Royal Bank interposed a counterclaim for
foreclosure of the mortgage.
On August 24, 1973, the trial court rendered a decision 3, the dispositive portion of which

WHEREFORE, the Court renders judgment:

As Regards the Plaintiff's Complaint:
1. Ordering the defendant Mariano Pascual to pay to the plaintiffs the amount of P24,550.00
plus legal interest from the filing of the complaint until fully paid and attorney's fees in the
amount of P2,000.00 and to pay the costs.
2. Ordering the deed of real estate mortgage which is attached as Annex "B" of the complaint
to be declared null and void and, ordering the Register of Deeds of Iligan City to cancel the said
mortgage at the back of TCT No. T-1929, Book I, Page 8 and TCT No. T-3040, Book I, Page 96 of
said Register of Deeds.
II. With Respect to the Cross-Claim and the Third-Party Complaint of Defendant Traders
Commercial Bank:
1. Ordering the spouses Arsenio Lopez, Jr. and Ofelia Lopez to pay the Traders Commercial
Bank jointly and severally the amount of P578,025.23, inclusive of interest and other
bank charges as of April 30, 1971, and, thereafter, plus all interest and bank charges
until full payment is made and, to pay to the bank the amount of P20,000.00 as
attorney's fees and the costs.
The bank 's counterclaim against the plaintiffs is hereby dismissed.
Likewise, the counterclaim of Mariano Pascual against the plaintiffs is also dismissed.
On appeal, the Court of Appeals modified the trial court's decision, in this manner:
WHEREFORE, the decision appealed from is hereby modified by eliminating paragraph 2 of the
dispositive portion of the decision of the lower court declaring the real estate mortgage in
favor of the Traders Commercial Bank null and void. The decision is affirmed in all other
respects. 4
On December 28, 1983, Traders Royal Bank assigned 5 its rights to the mortgage to petitioner
Angel L. Bautista. By virtue of the said assignment, petitioner on March 19, 1984 wrote the City
Sheriff of Iligan City requesting that the mortgaged properties be foreclosed for non-payment
of the loan obligation. To thwart the pending foreclosure, respondents filed with the Regional
Trial Court of Lanao del Norte, Branch V, a complaint for cancellation of lien with preliminary
injunction against petitioner, which was docketed as Civil Case No. 262.
After petitioner filed his answer, respondents moved for a summary judgment which was
granted by the court. Consequently, on July 31, 1985, the trial court rendered judgment
dismissing the complaint. In its decision, the trial court delved on the issue of prescription of a
mortgage action.
Respondents moved for reconsideration arguing that since the principal loan has already been
paid, the mortgage, which is an accessory contract, should likewise be extinguished.
On January 24, 1986, the trial court modified its earlier decision disposing thus:
WHEREFORE, the motion for reconsideration, as amended, of the summary judgment of July
31, 1985 is hereby reconsidered and modified to read:
Premises considered, the Court finds that the plaintiffs have made out a preponderating case
against the defendants.
And as prayed for in the complaint, the temporary restraining order of the Court in the case on
April 23, 1984 is hereby converted into a preliminary injunction and by these presents made
permanent. The City Sheriff of Iligan City, Mr. Angel L. Bautista and Mrs. Angelica M. Bautista
are hereby permanently restrained from conducting a public auction sale of the property
covered by Transfer Certificate of Title No. T-3041 (a.f.). The Register of Deeds of Iligan City is
hereby further ordered to cancel Entry No. 451 on Transfer Certificate of Title No. T-3041 (a.f.)
on file with his office. No pronouncement as to damages or attorney's fees.
With costs against the defendants.
Petitioner appealed to the Court of Appeals which rendered a Resolution
forwarding the case to this Court for resolution reading thus:

on August 28,1987,

Considering that opposing counsel left the resolution of Atty. Ramon Gonzales' motion to the
sound discretion of this Court and considering the unrefuted allegation of the said motion that
there were no documentary or testimonial evidence which were the basis of the questioned
decision but mere admissions of the parties, the questions raised on appeal become mere
questions of law, over which the Supreme Court has exclusive original jurisdiction.
On December 29, 1987, petitioner filed this present petition for review contending that the trial
court erred in modifying its earlier decision; in declaring that he has no right to foreclose the
mortgaged property; in declaring the temporary restraining order into a permanent preliminary
injunction and in ordering the Register of Deeds of Iligan City to cancel entry No. 451 on TCT

No. 3041.
We gave due course to the petition and required the contending parties to submit their
respective Memoranda on August 31, 1988.
On January 30, 1995, respondents, through counsel Ramon A. Gonzales, filed a verified
Manifestation informing the Court that the subject real estate mortgage has already been
released by the Traders Royal Bank on December 23, 1983 as shown in the certified true copy
of the Release of Real Estate Mortgage, 7 and that the petitioner was killed in a robbery in his
house. 8 Respondents therefore pray for the dismissal of the petition.
On February 20, 1995, this Court required petitioner's counsel Atty. Emilio Abrogena to
comment on the said Manifestation. However, the copy of the resolution of the Court
addressed to Atty. Abrogena was returned unclaimed after three notices, 9 with the
postmaster's remark "moved." In view of this development, the Court considered the resolution
as served. 10
Acting on the Manifestation of the respondents, we resolve to dismiss the petition for having
been rendered moot and academic.
The resolution of the basic issue of whether or not the petitioner has the right to extrajudicially foreclose the mortgage is no longer necessary in view of the release of the mortgage
as shown in the certified true copy thereof. No useful purpose would be served by passing on
the merits of the petition. Any ruling in this case could hardly be of any practical or useful
purpose in the premises. It is a well-settled rule that courts will not determine a moot question
or abstract proposition nor express an opinion in a case in which no practical relief can be
granted. 11
However, we take notice of the failure of petitioner's lawyer, Atty. Emilio Abrogena, to inform
the trial court of the death of petitioner, a duty mandated by Section 16, Rule 3 of the Revised
Rules of Court, which provides in part, to wit:
Sec. 16. Death of party; duty of counsel. Whenever a party to a pending action dies, and the
claim is not thereby extinguished, it shall be the duty of his counsel to inform the court within
thirty (30) days after such death of the fact thereof, and to give the name and address of his
legal representative or representatives. Failure of the counsel to comply with this duty shall be
a ground for disciplinary action.
xxx xxx xxx
Hence, the proper substitution of the deceased in accordance with the aforequoted provisions
of Rule 3 could not be effected.
We likewise note Atty. Abrogena's failure to inform this Court of his change of address which
accounts for his failure to comment on the manifestation of respondents relative to the death
of petitioner and the release of the subject real estate mortgage.
Atty. Abrogena should bear in mind that a lawyer is, first and foremost, an officer of the court.
His duties to the court are more significant than those which he owes to his client. His first duty
is not to his client but to the administration of justice; to that end, his client's success is wholly
subordinate; and his conduct ought to and must always be scrupulously observant of the law
and ethics of the profession. 12
WHEREFORE, the petition is hereby DISMISSED for being moot and academic. Atty. Emilio
Abrogena, counsel for petitioner, is hereby REPRIMANDED for his failure to inform this Court of
the death of petitioner and to perform his duty under Section 16, Rule 3 of the Revised Rules of
Court. He is further warned that a repetition of such omission in the future will be dealt with


Any effort on the litigant to delay, if not to defeat, the enforcement of a final judgment,
executory in character, by raising an objection that at best hardly rises to the level of a
technicality is not likely to elicit the sympathy of this Court or any court for that matter. Yet, in
effect, that is what the move taken by the defendants in his case amounted to. The lower court
as was but proper did not lend its approval. Still undeterred, they would appeal. They ought to
have known better. There is no reason to refuse affirmance to the order of the lower court

complained of, appointing appellants as legal representatives of the deceased defendant and
substituted in his place pursuant to the Rules of Court in order that the execution that ought
that have taken place long since could at long last be effected.
There is no dispute as to the antecedents. On January 14, 1965, the Court of First Instance of
Bulacan, Branch II through its clerk issued a writ of execution reciting that as far back as March
31, 1958, it rendered a decision in favor of plaintiffs, 1 now appellees, requiring one of the
defendants therein, Segundo Aguinaldo, to reconvey one-fourth () pro-indiviso of the
property in litigation to appellees, and to pay the latter the amount of P300.00 yearly
beginning with the year 1955. There was an appeal. The decision was affirmed by the Court of
Appeals on May 23, 1965. It was further set forth therein that on January 5, 1965, a motion for
its execution was granted. Hence the writ of execution. On February 13 of the same year, one
Cecilio Aguinaldo filed an urgent ex parte manifestation and motion to quash such writ of
execution based primarily on the allegation that defendant Segundo Aguinaldo died on August
7, 1959 during the pendency of such appeal. There was an opposition to such motion on
February 25, 1965, inviting attention to Sec. 16, Rule 3 of the Rules of Court to the effect that
in the event of the death of a party to a pending case, it is the duty of his attorney to give the
name and residence of his executor, administrator, guardian, or their legal representative and
alleging that there was a failure on the part of the counsel to comply with the above provision.
The prayer was for the denial of the motion of Cecilio Aguinaldo and for an order requiring
counsel for the defendants to furnish the court the names as well as the residences of the heirs
or the legal representatives of the deceased in order that they could be substituted in his stead
so as not to render nugatory a decision, final and executory in character. On March 4, 1965,
the lower court, then presided by the Hon. Ricardo C. Puno gave counsel of record up to March
22, 1965 within which to submit the name and residence of the executor, administrator,
guardian or other legal representative of the deceased Segundo Aguinaldo. The aforesaid
counsel in turn merely manifested on March 23, 1965 that he had ceased to be such as of May
31, 1956, and that such a pleading be considered sufficient compliance with the aforesaid
order. Considering the turn of events, plaintiffs, in order that such a decision in their favor be
not rendered nugatory by the above technicality, had no choice but to ask the court in a
motion of April 7, 1965 to have the heirs of the deceased Segundo Aguinaldo, defendants
Cecilio, Anastasia, Simplicio and Domingo, all bearing the surname of Aguinaldo being the
legitimate children, and one Felicitas Bagawisan, a granddaughter, substituted as defendants.
On October 5, 1965, the lower court, this time presided by Judge Andres Sta. Maria, granted
the aforesaid motion and substituted defendants in place of the deceased Segundo Aguinaldo.
Hence this appeal to the Court of Appeals, which in turn by resolution of February 17, 1969
certified the matter to this Court, the question involved being one of law. As noted at the
outset, we find for appellees.
1. It would be the height of unreason to impute error to the lower court precisely for
embodying in the order complained of what is set forth in the Rules of Court. Thus: "Whenever
a party to a pending case dies, becomes incapacitated or incompetent, it shall be the duty of
his attorney to inform the court promptly of such death, incapacity or incompetency, and to
give the name and residence of his executor, administrator, guardian or other legal
representative." 2Had the defendant, thereafter deceased, seen to it that a new counsel was
appointed, then upon his death there could be compliance with the above provision. To cause
plaintiffs to suffer for such neglect of duty is to cast an underserved reflection on the law. It is
equally vital to remember that the judgment had become final and the stage of execution
reached. Defendants cannot be heard to allege that it is much too late now to apply the above
rule. That would be to set at naught the principle consistently adhered to by this Court.
It was succinctly put in Amor v. Jugo 3in these words: "And with more compelling reason the
respondent court cannot refuse to issue such writ, or quash it or order its stay, when the
judgment had been reviewed and affirmed by an appellate court, for it cannot review or
interfere with any matter decided on appeal, or give other or further relief, or assume
supervisory jurisdiction to interpret or reverse the judgment of the higher court." 4What was
said by us in Li Kim Tho v. Sanchez 5 is worth recalling: "Litigation must end and terminate
sometime and somewhere, and it is essential to an effective and efficient administration of
justice that, once a judgment has become final, the winning party be not, through a mere
subterfuge, deprived of the fruits of the verdict. Courts must therefore guard against any
scheme calculated to bring about that result. Constituted as they are to put an end to
controversies, courts should frown upon any attempt to prolong them." 6 An excerpt from
Villaflor v. Reyes 7 is equally relevant: "There should be a greater awareness on the part of
litigants that the time of the judiciary, much more so of this Court, is too valuable to be wasted
or frittered away by efforts, far from commendable, to evade the operation of a decision final
and executory, especially so, where, as shown in this case, the clear and manifest absence of
any right calling for vindication, is quite obvious and indisputable." 8
2. This appeal, moreover, should fail, predicated as it is on an insubstantial objection bereft of
any persuasive force. Defendants had to display ingenuity to conjure a technicality. From
Alonso v. Villamor, 9 a 1910 decision, we have left no doubt as to our disapproval of such a
practice. The aim of a lawsuit is to render justice to the parties according to law. Procedural
rules are precisely designed to accomplish such a worthy objective. Necessarily, therefore, any
attempt to pervert the ends for which they are intended deserves condemnation. We have
done so before. We do so again.
WHEREFORE, the order of October 5, 1965 is affirmed.
This decision is immediately executory. Treble costs against defendants.

Concepcion, C.J., Reyes, J.B.L., Makalintal, Zaldivar,. Castro, Teekankee, Barredo and Villamor,
JJ., concur.
Dizon and Makasiar, JJ., are on leave.

G.R. No. L-43757-58 July 30, 1976

In re: Contempt citation against Atty. Cornelio M. Orteza, respondent.

In the Court's Resolution of June 11, 1976, the petition (filed on May 31, 1976) in the cases at
bar for review of the Court of Appeals decision of November 28, 1975 which affirmed in toto
the Manila court of first instance's judgment of September 27, 1968 convicting, after joint trial,
the two petitioners accused of the crime of theft, was denied for lack of merit. The Court
further noted therein that a first petition for the same purpose filed through another lawyer on
March 6, 1976 had been previously denied and final judgment entered on May 10, 1976, and
cited Atty. Cornelio M. Orteza who filed the second petition at bar for contempt and/or for
disciplinary action, as follows:
... Considering the allegations, issues and arguments adduced in the petition for review on
certiorari of the decision of the Court of Appeals, the Court Resolved to DENY the petition for
lack of merit, a previous petition for review of the same decision docketed as G.R. Nos. L43113-14 having filed by petitioners on March 6, 1976 thru Atty. Rodolfo D. Mapile and denied
as per resolution of March 15, 1976 and entry of final judgment having been made on May 10,
1976. Atty. Cornelio M. Orteza is hereby required to SHOW CAUSE why he should not be held in
contempt and/or disciplinary dealt with for filing a second petition on behalf of the same
petitioners for review of the same decision of the Court of Appeals which was already
previously denied with finality within ten (10) days from notice hereof.
Respondent Atty. Orteza still filed without leave of court on July 6, 1976 a motion for
reconsideration of the Court's above-quoted resolution denying his petition for review and after
having secured for the purpose an extension (on the ground of pressure of work) filed on July
12, 1976 his explanation.
The burden of both pleadings is that the first petition to set aside the Court of Appeals
affirmance of petitioners conviction was a special civil action of certiorari under Rule 65, while
the second petition was one for review under Rule 45. 1
The explanation is manifestly unsatisfactory. However zealous may be counsel's concern and
belief in the alleged innocence of the petitioners, it is elementary that counsel may not split
their appeal into one to set aside the appellate court's denial of petitioners appellants' motion
for reconsideration of its decision affirming the trial court's judgment of conviction and/or for
new trial (the first petition) and into another to set aside the appellate court's decision itself,
which affirmed the trial court's conviction of the petitioners-appellants (the second petition).
Such filing of multiple petitions constitutes abuse of the Court's processes and improper
conduct that tends to impede obstruct and degrade the administration of justice and will be
punished as contempt of court. 2 Needless to add, the lawyer who filed such multiple or
repetitious petitions (which obviously delays the execution of a final and executory judgment)
subjects himself to disciplinary action for incompetence (for not knowing any better or for
willful violation of his duties as an attorney to act with all good fidelity to the courts and to
maintain only such actions as appear to him to be just and are consistent with truth and honor.

Thus in several instances in the past, the Court has admonished that (L)itigants and their
counsels are warned under pain of contempt and disciplinary action that a party who has
already failed to have a decision of the Court of Appeals set aside through a petition for review
by certiorari with the denial of his petition (by the First Division to which such petitions for
review are assigned under the Court's standing resolution of November 15, 1973) should not
under the guise of a special civil action file a second petition for the same purpose of setting
aside the same Court of Appeals' decision to be acted upon by the Second Division (to which
special civil actions are assigned under the Court's resolution of November 15, 1973). and viceversa, for such conduct would tend to trifle with the Court and impede, obstruct and impede
the administration of justice". 4
Respondent Atty. Orteza is therefore adjudged guilty of contempt of court and is ordered to pay
a fine of Five Hundred (P500.00) pesos with ten (10) days from notice hereof failing which, he
shall be imprisoned for a period of (50) days. While further administrative action against him is
herewith forborne, he is hereby warned that a future repetition or the same or similar incident
will be dealt with more severely.
Petitioners' purported motion for reconsideration of the Court's resolution of June 11, 1976
denying their second petition is ordered expunged from the records as a sham motion, (as is
the second petition itself), since the decision sought, to be reviewed has long become final and
executory with the entry on May 10, 1976 of final judgment of denial of the first petition. Let
copies hereof be furnished the Integrated Bar of the Philippines and attached to his Personal