You are on page 1of 21

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.

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 1929.
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.

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
resolution.
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.

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.

FACTS:
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.
ISSUE:
Whether or not Atty. Carranza should be held responsible of the said falsehood
committed in court.
HELD:
YES. Respondent was reprimanded.
RATIO:
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.

TOPIC: Legal Ethics, CPR

The petition was granted by the Court of Appeals. Garcia then filed a motion for

FACTS:

execution in the unlawful detainer case. Then, Lee, through Francisco, filed with

Garcia, et. al leased a parcel of land to Lee for a period of 25 years beginning

the Supreme Court a petition for certiorari with preliminary injunction and

May 1, 1964. Despite repeated verbal and written demands, Lee refused to

temporary restraining order against the Court of Appeals, Judge Singzon, Garcia

vacate after the expiration of the lease. Lee was represented by Atty. Francisco.

and the other lessors but was denied. Finally, Lee, still through Francisco, filed a

On March 29, 1989, Lee, through Francisco, filed a complaint against Garcia and

petition for certiorari with preliminary injunction against Judge Singzon, Garcia

the other lessors for specific performance and reconveyance with damages

and the other lessors in the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City to set aside and

(docketed as Q-89-2188) but was dismissed by the trial court. On May 29, 1989,

declare the writs of execution in the unlawful detainer case. Such dismissed but

Garcia and the other lessors filed a complaint for unlawful detainer against Lee

again Lee, through Francisco, filed a motion for reconsideration. According to

but Lee answered alleging as special and affirmative defense the pendency of

Francisco, he was relieved as counsel while this motion was pending.

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

ISSUE:

injunction against Judge Bautista and Garcia, et. al (such is violative of the Rule

Whether or not Atty. Francisco transgressed with the Code of Professional

on Summary Procedure prohibiting the filing of petitions for certiorari, mandamus

Conduct

or prohibition against any interlocutory order). On November 13, 1989, Judge


Vera issued an order enjoining Judge Bautista from proceeding with the trial of

HELD:

the unlawful detainer case. Upon motion of the complainant, however, the

Yes. The Supreme Court held that Atty. Franciscos cause was without merit. Atty.

injunction was set aside and Civil Case No. Q-89-3833 was dismissed. Lee did not

Francisco abused his right of recourse to the courts for the purpose of arguing a

appeal. On April 6, 1990, Lee through Francisco, filed a petition for certiorari and

cause that had been repeatedly rebuffed, he was disdaining the obligation of the

prohibition with prayer for preliminary injunction with the Court of Appeals

lawyer to maintain only such actions or proceedings as appear to him to be just

against Judge Vera, Judge Singzon, Garcia and the other lessors. Petition was

and such defense only as he believes to be honestly debatable under the law. By

denied. On June 14, 1990, Judge Singzon decided Civil Case no. 1455 in favor of

violating his oath not to delay any man for money or malice, he has besmirched

complainant Garcia and the other lessors. Lee did not appeal. Instead, through

the name of an honorable profession and has proved himself unworthy of trust

Francisco again, he filed a petition against Judge Singzon and the other lessors

reposed in him by law as an officer of the Court. Atty. Crisanto l. Francisco took

for certiorari and annulment of the decision in the unlawful detainer case and

his oath as a lawyer on March 2, 1956. Considering his age and experience in the

damages with prayer for issuance of preliminary injunction. On July 2, 1990,

practice of the laws, he should have known better than to trifle with it and to use

Garcias group filed an Omnibus Motion to Dismiss Civil Case. On July 13, 1990,

it as an instrument for harassment of the complainant and the misuse of judicial

Judge Paralejo issued an order enjoining Judge Singzon from enforcing the

processes.

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.

SUSPENDED for 1 year

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila

(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. 38-47, rec.);

EN BANC
(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;
G.R. No. L-31174

May 30, 1972

MANUEL Y. MACIAS, petitioner-appellant,


vs.
UY KIM, ANDRES CO, NEMESIO G. CO, NICASIO G. CO, MANUEL SOSANTONG and RELIABLE REALTY
CORPORATION, defendants-appellees.
Petitioner in his own behalf.
J. Natividad & Associates for respondent.

MAKASIAR, J.:p
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/T158, 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.);

(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)
Rosina;

that he spent at least P10,000.00 in his efforts to protect and defend his hereditary interests in the estate of

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 petitionerappellant 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 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. ...

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

It is not disputed that the orders sought to be annulled and set aside by herein petitioner-appellant 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. L-29235, 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.

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. 13-34, 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, L28947 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, L-48541, 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 re-opening 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 re-shuffle properties long ago distributed and disposed of (Ramos vs. Ortuzar, 89 Phil. 730, 741-742;
Timbol vs. Cano, supra; Jingco vs. Daluz, L-5107, April 24, 1953, 92 Phil. 1082; Roman Catholic vs. Agustines, L14710, 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.

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
Republic of the Philippines

SUPREME COURT
Manila

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.

FIRST DIVISION
G.R. No. 78252

April 12, 1989

PALUWAGAN NG BAYAN SAVINGS BANK, petitioner,


vs.
ANGELO KING, KEN SUY WAT JOSE FERRER, JR., QUINTIN CALDERON, FE SARINO and DOMINGO K. LI,
respondents.
Cruz, Durian, Agabin, Atienza, Alday and Tuason for petitioner.

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 on-going 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:

Simeon C. Sato for respondent Domingo K Li.


Syquia Law Offices for respondents King, Ken Suy Wat, Calderon and Ferrer, Jr.

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

GANCAYCO, J.:

100,000.00-on or before August 30, 1983

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.

100,000.00-on or before September 30, 1983

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

100,000.00--on or before December 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 January 30, 1984.


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,

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 follows:
In view of the foregoing, the other errors assigned by the appellants need not be resolved: Wherefore:
(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.

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 respondents 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

SO ORDERED. 7
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:
(A)
THAT THE CASE AT BAR (a) PERTAINS TO (AN) APPEAL FROM ORDER OF TRIAL COURT DATED
APRIL 6,1984, DENYING (i) PRIVATE RESPONDENT DOMINGO K LI'S 'PETITION FOR RELIEF FROM
JUDGMENT' FILED JANUARY 25, 1984, AND (ii) MOTION TO SET ASIDE DECISION, COMPROMISE
AGREEMENT AND QUASH EXECUTION FILED JANUARY 14,1984 BY PRIVATE RESPONDENTS ANGELO
KING, KING SUY WAT, QUINTIN CALDERON and JOSE FERRER, JR. and (b) DOES NOT INVOLVE ANY APPEAL
FROM TRIAL COURT'S DECISION DATED JULY 19,1983 APPROVING THE COMPROMISE AGREEMENT WHICH
HAS LONG BECOME FINAL AND EXECUTORY.
(B)
THAT RESPONDENT COURT OF APPEALS COMPLETELY IGNORED THE BASIC QUESTION OF
WHETHER (a) PRIVATE RESPONDENT DOMINGO K. LI'S 'PETITION FOR RELIEF FROM JUDGMENT FILED
JANUARY 25,1984, and (b)'THE MOTION TO SET ASIDE DECISION, COMPROMISE AGREEMENT AND QUASH
EXECUTION' FILED JANUARY 14,1984 BY PRIVATE RESPONDENTS ANGELO KING, KENG SUY WAT, QUINTIN
CALDERON AND JOSE FERRER, JR., WERE FILED OUT OF TIME.

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 peers.
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.
SO ORDERED.
Narvasa, Cruz, Grio-Aquino and Medialdea, JJ., concur.

(C)
THAT PRIVATE RESPONDENTS WHO WERE SUED AS DIRECTORS AND OFFICERS OF MFC WERE
PROPERLY SERVED WITH SUMMONS.
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

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 Gonzalezdirecting him to temporarily restrain
from investigating and filing informations against Zaldivar.

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.

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.

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 lawyer.

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.

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.

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.

The Supreme Court suspended Gonzalez indefinitely from the practice of law.

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
actions/language.

not

Atty.

Sebastian

is

administratively

liable

for

his

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
properadministration 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.

Republic of the Philippines


SUPREME COURT
Manila
EN BANC
G.R. No. L-24438

July 30, 1965

ROSAURO PARAGAS, petitioner,


vs.
FERNANDO A. CRUZ, Judge of the Court of First Instance of Caloocan City;
THE CITY FISCAL OF CALOOCAN CITY and ELPO (EL PORVENIR RUBBER PRODUCTS, INC.), respondents
RESOLUTION
REYES, J.B.L., J.:
In asking for reconsideration of this Court's dismissal of his petition for certiorari in the above-entitled case, Atty.
Jeremias T. Sebastian, acting as counsel de parte for petitioner Rosauro Paragas, stated the following in his written
motion, filed on May 22, 1965:
"The petitioner respectfully prays for a reconsideration of the resolution of this Honorable Court dated April 20, 1965
on the ground that it constitutes a violation of Section 14 of Rule 112 of the Rules, of Court promulgated by this very
Hon. Supreme Court, and on the further ground that it is likewise a violation of the most important right in the Bill of
Rights of the Constitution of the Philippines, a culpable violation which is a ground for impeachment."
... . The rule of law in a democracy should always be upheld and protected by all means, because the rule of law
creates and preserves peace and order and gives satisfaction and contentment to all concerned. But when the laws
and the rules are violated, the victims resort, sometimes, to armed force and to the ways of the cave-men! We do not
want Verzosa and Reyes repeated again and again, killed in the premises of the Supreme Court and in those of the
City Hall of Manila. Educated people should keep their temper under control at all times! But justice should be done
to all concerned to perpetuate the very life of Democracy on the face of the earth."
Considering the foregoing expressions to be derogatory to its dignity, this Court, by Resolution of June 2, 1965, after
quoting said statements required Atty. Sebastian to show cause why administrative action should not be taken
against him.
On June 18, 1965, counsel filed an "explanatory memorandum," stating:
When we said that the said violation is a ground for impeachment, the undersigned did not say that he would file
impeachment proceedings against the Justices who supported the resolution. We said only what we said. The task of
impeaching the highest Justices in this country is obviously not the task for a common man, like the undersigned; it is
a herculean task which only exceptional men, like Floor Leader Jose Laurel Jr., can do. In addition to this, we do not
have the time, the means and the strength for this purpose.
The assertion that "But when the laws and the rules are violated, the victims resort, sometimes, to armed force and
to the ways of the cave-men! We do not want Verzosa and Reyes repeated again and again, killed in the premises of
the Supreme Court and in those of the City Hall of Manila," is only a statement of fact and of our wish. We learn from
observation that when the laws and the rules are violated, the victims, sometimes, resort to armed force and to the
ways of the cavemen, as shown in the case of Luis M. Taruc and in the case of Jesus Lava, both of whom went to
the mountains when they were not allowed to take their seats in the House of Representatives and, according to the
newspapers, one was charged with murder and was found guilty. It was only recently that Jesus Lava surrendered to
the authorities. We had this sad recollection when we wrote the underlined passage mentioned in this paragraph.
While writing that BRIEF MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION, the thought of Verzosa and Reyes flashed across the
mind of the undersigned as the shooting of those two government employees must have resulted from some kind of
dissatisfaction with their actuations while in office. We stated or the undersigned stated that we are against the
repetition of these abominable acts that surely disturbed the peace and order of the community. Shall the
undersigned be punished by this Honorable Supreme Court only for telling the truth, for telling what happened before

in this Country? Our statement is clear and unmistakable, because we stated "We do not want Verzosa and Reyes
repeated ..." The intention of the undersigned is likewise clear and unmistakable; he is against the repetition of these
acts of subversion and hate!

FIRST DIVISION

We find the explanations submitted to be unsatisfactory. The expressions contained in the motion for
reconsideration, previously quoted, are plainly contemptuous and disrespectful, and reference to the recent killing of
two employees is but a covert threat upon the members of the Court.

GAVINA MAGLUCOT-AW, CATALINA ORCULLO, RICHARD ESTANO, NIDA MAGLUCOT, MELANIA MAGLUCOTCATUBIG, EMILIANO CATUBIG, LADISLAO SALMA, petitioners, vs. LEOPOLDO MAGLUCOT, SEVERO
MAGLUCOT, WILFREDA MAGLUCOT-ALEJO and CONSTANCIO ALEJO, respondents.

That such threats and disrespectful language contained in a pleading filed in Courts are constitutive of direct
contempt has been repeatedly decided (Salcedo vs. Hernandez, 61 Phil. 724; People vs. Varturanza 52 Off. Gaz.
769: Medina vs. Rivera, 66 Phil. 151; De Joya vs. Court of First Instance of Rizal, L-9785, Sept. 19, 1956; Sison vs.
Sandejas, L-9270, April 29, 1959; Lualhati vs. Albert, 57 Phil. 86). What makes the present case more deplorable is
that the guilty party is a member of the bar; for, as remarked in People vs. Carillo, 77 Phil. 580

DECISION

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. (Salcedo vs.
Hernandez, [In re Francisco], 61 Phil. 729)
Counsel's disavowal of any offensive intent is of no avail, for it is a well-known and established rule that defamatory
words are to be taken in the ordinary meaning attached to them by impartial observers.
A mere disclaimer of any intentional disrespect by appellant is no ground for exoneration. His intent must be
determined by a fair interpretation of the languages by him employed. He cannot escape responsibility by claiming
that his words did not mean what any reader must have understood them as meaning. (In re Franco, 67 Phil. 313)
WHEREFORE, Atty. Jeremias T. Sebastian is hereby found guilty of direct contempt, and sentenced to pay a fine of
P200.00 within ten days from notice hereof, or, in case of default, to suffer imprisonment not exceeding ten (10)
days. And he is warned that a subsequent repetition of the offense will be more drastically dealt with.

[G.R. No. 132518. March 28, 2000]

KAPUNAN, J.:
This petition for review on certiorari assails the Decision, dated 11 November 1997, of the Court of Appeals in CAG.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.[1] On 19 April 1952, Tomas Maglucot, one of the registered
owners and respondents predecessor-in-interest, filed a petition to subdivide Lot No. 1639.[2] Consequently, on 13
May 1952, then CFI of Negros Oriental issued an order[3] 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
Maglucot
e) Anselmo Lara - lot 1639-E
f) Tomas Maglucot - lot 1639-F.[4]
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-in-interest. 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)
[5] 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.[6] 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 successorsin-interest, to deny the existence of an approved partition against the other co-owners who claim that there was one.
[7] Said court, likewise, ruled that the tax declarations[8] 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.[9]
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

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.[14]
Petitioners further contend that respondents admitted in their tax declarations covering their respective houses that
they are "constructed on the land of Roberto Maglucot."[15] 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.[16]
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.[17] Second, they point to the fact that petitioners were unable to
show any court approval of any partition.[18] 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.[19]
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

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.[10]
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.[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:
I
IN VIOLATING THE LAW ON ACQUISITIVE PRESCRIPTION PLAINTIFFS HAVING POSSESSED LOT 1639-D
SINCE 1946;
II
IN VIOLATING THE LAW ON ESTOPPEL; THE FACT OF PAYMENT OF RENTALS AND OFFER TO BUY BY THE
DEFENDANTS IS ADMISSION THAT THE AREA IN LOT 1639-D, HAD LONG BEEN ADJUDICATED TO
PLAINTIFFS;
III
IN DECLARING THAT THERE WAS NO PRIOR PARTITION, CONTRARY TO THE FINDINGS OF THE TRIAL
COURT, AND AGAINST THE EVIDENCE ON RECORD, OF WHICH IF PROPERLY CONSIDERED WOULD
CHANGE THE OUTCOME OF THE CASE;
IV
IN DECLARING THAT THERE IS NO LAW OR JURISPRUDENCE APPLICABLE UNDER THE PREMISES; THIS
WOULD ONLY SHOW THAT THE RECORD OF THE CASE WAS NOT PROPERLY SCRUTINIZED, AND THE LAW
WAS NOT PROPERLY STUDIED; ESPECIALLY IN THE CASE AT BENCH THAT THE ORAL AND MUTUAL
PARTITION HAPPENED DURING THE REGIME OF THE OLD RULES OF PROCEDURE;[12]
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.[13] Petitioners opine that in

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."[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.[21] 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.[22]
The present rule on the question of finality and appealability of a decision or order decreeing partition is that it is final
and appealable.[23] 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.[24] An
order for partition is final and not interlocutory and, hence, appealable because it decides the rights of the parties
upon the issue submitted.[25]
However, this Court notes that the order of partition was issued when the ruling in Fuentebella vs. Carrascoso,[26]
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.[27] 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,[28]
especially, where, by reason of their conduct, considerable expense has been incurred in the execution of the
commission.[29] 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.[30] 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.[31] 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 non-binding 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.[32] By virtue of this agreement, the original co-owners occupied specific portions of Lot No. 1639.[33] 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

cannot accept the decree in part, and repudiate it in part. They must accept all or none.[37] Parties who had received
the property assigned to them are precluded from subsequently attacking its validity of any part of it.[38] 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.[39] 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.[40]
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.[41]
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.[42] Thus, after a long
possession in severalty, a deed of partition may be presumed.[43] 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.[44] 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.[45]
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

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.[34] 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.

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.[46] 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.
[47] 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.[48]

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.[35] A person cannot claim both under and
against the same instrument.[36] In other words, they accepted the lands awarded them by its provisions, and they

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,[49] we declared that an oral
partition is valid. In Hernandez vs. Andal,[50] reiterated in Tan vs. Lim,[51] this Court has ruled, thus:

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.[59]

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. Esmmis

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."[60] Second, he cited the
researcher of the CA as having "sweepingly stated without reference to the record"[61] 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."[62]

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.

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.[63]

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.

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

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.[52] Aida
Maglucot further testified that they refused the offer because they also intend to use the lot for a residential purpose.
[53] 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,[54] Tax Declaration No. 04-87-13 in the names of Leopoldo Maglucot and Regina Barot,[55] Tax
Declaration No. 04-593 in the names of Severo Maglucot and Samni Posida[56] showing that the houses of the
above-mentioned persons are constructed on the land of Roberto Maglucot[57] 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.[58]
The lone testimony of Severo Maglucot that Roberto Maglucot was only made to appear as owner of the land in their

SO ORDERED.

Commission on Bar Discipline. The Commissionerassigned to investigate the case issued an

IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, let a restraining order forthwith issue against defendants-appellees including the
public respondent Judge or Sheriff or any person under him from evicting and demolishing the family house of the
movant, pending appeal. x x x

order directingrespondent to file his answer or comment to the complaint. The period of time

SO ORDERED.

Facts: Complainant filed a case for disbarment against respondent before the IBP

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 butagain 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

The TRO was specifically addressed to, and personally served on, the Presiding Judge of RTC, Branch 131,
Kalookan City; the Sheriff/Deputy Sheriff, RTC Branch 131, Kalookan City; Atty. Alvin T. Sarita; and Atty. Romeo F.
Barza.[6] Despite the TRO issued by the Court of Appeals, respondent on 8 January 1997, filed before the MTC an
Urgent Ex-Parte Motion for the Implementation and/or Enforcement of the Writ of Demolition[7] which had already
been issued by the trial court as early as 12 August 1996. In his motion which is quoted hereunder, respondent
stated the reason why he did not heed the TRO:
1. That last January 7, 1997, plaintiff received a Resolution dated December 27, 1996 from the Thirteenth Division
of the Court of Appeals granting the issuance of a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO).
2. A close scrutiny of the afore-said Resolution including the Notice of Resolution and the Temporary Restraining
Order show that it was directed to the Honorable Presiding Judge (Honorable Antonio J. Fineza) of the Regional
Trial Court of Caloocan City, Branch 131 and to the assigned (deputy) sheriff thereon and NOT to this Honorable
Court and its deputy sheriff.
3. The only conclusion therefrom is that the Honorable Metropolitan Trial Court is not restrained nor prohibited from
enforcing and/or implementing its judicial process such as the subject writ of demolition.

foremost responsibility to observe and maintain the respect due to the courts of justice and

XXX

judicial officers. The highest form of respect to the judicial authority is shown by a lawyers

On 9 January 1997, Judge Amatong granted the motion of respondent and issued an order[8] for the implementation
of the writ of demolition. The demolition order was actually carried out the next day, or on 10 January 1997, by the
deputy sheriff of the lower court.[9]

obedience to court orders and processes.


EN BANC
[A.C. - CBD No. 471. June 10, 1999]
LT. LAMBERTO P. VILLAFLOR, complainant, vs. ALVIN T. SARITA, respondent.
RESOLUTION
KAPUNAN, J.:
This administrative case originated from a sworn affidavit-complaint[1] dated 14 March 1997, filed before the
Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP), Commission on Bar Discipline, by Lt. Lamberto P. Villaflor seeking the
disbarment of Atty. Alvin T. Sarita for disregarding the Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) issued by the Court of
Appeals in relation to the case entitled Lamberto Villaflor vs. Biyaya Corporation, et al.[2] now pending with the
same court.
Respondent Atty. Alvin T. Sarita is the counsel of Biyaya Corporation, the plaintiff in the ejectment case[3] filed
against complainant Lt. Lamberto P. Villaflor before the Metropolitan Trial Court, Branch 53, of Kalookan City.
Metropolitan Trial Court Judge Romanito A. Amatong decided the ejectment case in favor of Biyaya Corporation.
Complainant appealed this decision to the Regional Trial Court of Kalookan City, Branch 131,[4] which affirmed the
decision of the MTC. Not satisfied with the decision of the RTC, complainant brought the case on appeal before the
Court of Appeals which was docketed as CA G.R No. 50623.[5] Losing no time, complainant also filed with the Court
of Appeals an Urgent Ex-Parte Motion for the Issuance of a Temporary Restraining Order to prevent the impending
demolition of his family home.
In a Resolution dated 27 December 1996, the Court of Appeals granted the prayer for a TRO, the dispositive portion
of which reads as follows:

In response to the situation, complainant filed before the Court of Appeals an action for Indirect Contempt against
respondent, Biyaya Corporation, Judge Amatong, And the Register of Deeds of Kalookan City.
The Court of Appeals in its Resolution dated 20 February 1997, found respondent and his co-defendants, Judge
Amatong and Biyaya Corporation, guilty of indirect contempt. The dispositive portion of the resolution states:
WHEREFORE, in the light of the foregoing disquisitions, defendants-appellees Biyaya Corporation and MTC Judge
Ramonito Amatong, and their counsel, Atty. Alvin Sarita are hereby adjudged GUILTY OF CONTEMPT OF COURT
as they are hereby fined to pay the amount of P30,000.00 each, as per SC Administrative Circular No. 22-95,
amending Section 6, Rule 71 of the Rules of Court, with a warning that repetition of the same or similar acts will be
dealt with more severely.
Atty. Alvin Sarita is likewise REPRIMANDED for his contemptuous or improvident act despite receipt of Our
Restraining Order, without prejudice to any further administrative sanction the injured party may seek in the proper
forum.
Describing the unfortunate behavior of respondent, the Court of Appeals said:
Specifically, the Court is convinced that Atty. Alvin Sarita should answer for contempt of court for misleading if not
deceiving the defendant-appellee MTC Judge into doing a precipitate act of implementing the writ of demolition of
appellants family house which is restrained by this Court, or for making false allegations that led his clients to
commit a contemptuous act. (Cu Unjieng vs. Mitchell, 58 Phil. 476.) His misinterpretation of the resolution is no
defense otherwise, all lawyers can effectively avoid restraining orders of the higher court by arguing around the bush.
[10]
The Court of Appeals also granted the prayer for the issuance of a writ of preliminary mandatory injunction and
ordered Biyaya Corporation and Judge Amatong to immediately restore the demolished family house of complainant
or, return to him the estimated value of the same.

Thereafter, complainant filed a case for disbarment against respondent before the IBP Commission on Bar
Discipline. The commissioner[11] assigned to investigate the case issued an order[12] dated 3 September 1997,
directing respondent to file his answer or comment to the complaint. The period of time allotted to answer the
complaint lapsed without respondent submitting his comment. On 8 December 1997, an order[13] was issued by the
investigating commissioner requiring the parties to attend the hearing of the case on 10 February 1998. Respondent
failed to appear therein. The hearing was postponed and reset to 6 March 1998. A notice of hearing[14] was sent to
respondent but again he failed to attend the proceeding. After giving respondent enough opportunity to face the
charges against him, which the latter did not avail, the case was submitted for resolution on 6 March 1998.[15]
The commissioners report dated 10 September 1998, recommending the disbarment of Atty. Alvin T. Sarita stated in
part:
As clearly established in the resolution of the Honorable Thirteenth Division of the Court of Appeals in its disquisition
on his culpability, Atty, Sarita is liable not only for deliberately misleading if not deceiving the defendant-appellee
MTC Judge into violating the appellate courts restraining order, but also for making false allegations that led his
clients to commit a contemptuous act;
As a member of the Bar, Atty. Sarita is mandated by his oath to obey the laws as well as the duly constituted
authorities therein and not to do any falsehood nor consent to the doing of any in court;
In filing his urgent ex-parte motion to implement the writ of demolition issued against the residence of the
complainant, Atty. Sarita was well-aware that what he was seeking to do was specifically restrained by the court of
Appeals in no uncertain terms. Even if we were inclined, in a gesture of utmost liberality, to hold for Atty. Saritas
(sic) and resolve any doubts in his favor, we are simply overwhelmed by the thought that as a lawyer, Atty. Sarita
knew quite well or must have known quite well that what he was asking for in his motion was violative not only of an
order from the second highest court but more personally was violative of his own oath as a lawyer;
The findings of the Court of Appeals says it all. What all the more moves the undersigned to recommend the
ultimate penalty of disbarment against Atty. Alvin T. Sarita is the evident, even palpable disdain, in which he clearly
holds this Office in particular, and the Integrated Bar in general. Nowhere is this disdain more felt than in Atty.
Saritas deliberate and pointed refusal, not only to file an Answer to the complaint against him but also his unjustified
refusal to appear before this Office despite repeated notices. It appears that Atty. Sarita is beyond caring for
whatever sanctions this Office may recommend against him. Surely, he cannot turn his back on the possibility that
the complainants prayer may be granted given the seriousness of his (Saritas) misdeeds. But then, considering that
Atty. Sarita has no compunctions about misleading a judge of the Metropolitan Trial Court into disregarding and
violating an order from the Court of Appeals, it is no surprise that he would ignore the Commission on Bar Discipline;

Atty. Alvin T. Sarita committed an immeasurable disservice to the judicial system when he openly defied the TRO
issued by the Court of Appeals. By such act, he deliberately disregarded or ignored his solemn oath to conduct
himself as a lawyer according to the best of his knowledge and discretion, with all good fidelity to the courts. He
neglected his duties to observe and maintain the respect due to the courts of justice and judicial officers,[17] and to
act with candor, fairness and good faith to the courts.[18]
Moreover, even assuming ex gratia argumenti that the TRO issued by the Court of Appeals was ambiguous in its
phraseology, respondent should have carried out the intent and the spirit of the said TRO rather than choose to be
narrowly technical in interpreting and implementing the same. In De Leon vs. Torres,[19] this Court said:
We desire to call attention to the fact that courts orders, however erroneous they may be, must be respected,
especially by the bar or the lawyers who are themselves officers of the courts. Court orders are to be respected not
because the judges who issue them should be respected, but because of the respect and consideration that should
be extended to the judicial branch of the Government. This is absolutely essential if our Government is to be a
government of laws and not of men. Respect must be had not because of the incumbents to the positions, but
because of the authority that vests in them. Disrespect to judicial incumbents is disrespect to that branch of the
Government to which they belong, as well as to the State which has instituted the judicial system.
Not only did respondent disobey the order of the Court of Appeals, he also misled the trial court judge into issuing the
order to implement the writ of demolition which led to the destruction of the family home of complainant. In doing so,
respondent violated his oath of office and Canon 10, Rule 10.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility which
provides that a lawyer shall not do any falsehood nor consent to the doing of any in court. Surely, such conduct of
respondent is starkly unbecoming of an officer of the court.
Respondents behavior also exhibited his reckless and unfeeling attitude towards the complainant. By disobeying
the TRO issued by the Court of Appeals, he inflicted deep physical and moral injury upon complainant and his family
by making them homeless. Obviously, it did not matter to him whether complainant and his family would still have a
place to stay as long as he won the case for his client. We would like to emphasize that a lawyers responsibility to
protect and advance the interests of his client does not warrant a course of action propelled by ill motives and
malicious intentions against the other party.[20] Respondent failed to live up to this expectation.
We find the complaint against respondent fully substantiated by the evidence. However, we believe that the penalty
of disbarment imposed by the Board of Governors of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines is too severe and, hereby
reduce it to suspension for two (2) years from the practice of law.[21]
ACCORDINGLY, respondent Atty. Alvin T. Sarita is hereby SUSPENDED for two (2) years from the practice of law
and from the enjoyment of all rights and privileges appurtenant to membership in the Philippine Bar, effective
immediately.

We recommend for the disbarment of Atty. Alvin T. Sarita.


In its 4 December 1998 Resolution, the IBP Board of Governors resolved to adopt the findings of the investigating
commissioner, to wit:

Let copies of this Resolution be furnished the Bar Confidant, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines and all courts
throughout the country.
SO ORDERED.

RESOLVED to ADOPT and APPROVE, as it is hereby ADOPTED and APPROVED, the Report and
Recommendation of the Investigating Commissioner in the above-entitled case, herein made part of this
Resolution/Decision as Annex A; and finding the recommendation fully supported by the evidence on record and
the applicable laws and rules, Respondent Atty. Alvin T. Sarita is DISBARRED from the practice of law.
The facts and evidence obtaining in this case clearly reveal respondents failure to live up to his duties as a member
of the Bar in accordance with the Code of Professional Responsibility, the Lawyers Oath and Section 20 (b), Rule
138 of the Rules of Court, thus warranting disciplinary sanction.
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.[16] The highest form of respect to the judicial authority is shown by a
lawyers obedience to court orders and processes.
Republic of the Philippines

SUPREME COURT
Manila

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

SECOND DIVISION
G.R. No. 80390

March 27, 1998

CITY SHERIFF, ILIGAN CITY and SPOUSES ANGEL L. BAUTISTA and ANGELICA M. BAUTISTA, petitioners,
vs.
ALFARO FORTUNADO, EDITHA FORTUNADO, & NESTOR FORTUNADO, respondents.

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.

MARTINEZ J.:

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.

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.

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:

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 reads:

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.

WHEREFORE, the Court renders judgment:


With costs against the defendants.
I.

As Regards the Plaintiff's Complaint:


SO ORDERED.

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. T1929, Book I, Page 8 and TCT No. T-3040, Book I, Page 96 of said Register of Deeds.
II.

Petitioner appealed to the Court of Appeals which rendered a Resolution 6 on August 28,1987, forwarding the case
to this Court for resolution reading thus:
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.

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.
SO ORDERED.
On appeal, the Court of Appeals modified the trial court's decision, in this manner:

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

SUPREME COURT
Manila

Acting on the Manifestation of the respondents, we resolve to dismiss the petition for having been rendered moot
and academic.

G.R. No. L-30362 November 26, 1970

The resolution of the basic issue of whether or not the petitioner has the right to extra-judicially 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 severely.
SO ORDERED.

EN BANC

VICTORIA AGUINALDO and SIMEONA AGUINALDO, plaintiffs-appellees,


vs.
SEGUNDO AGUINALDO (deceased), PRIMO AGUINALDO and RUFINA AGUINALDO, defendants, CECILIO
AGUINALDO, ANASTACIA AGUINALDO, SIMPLICIO AGUINALDO, DOMINGO AGUINALDO, and FELICITAS
BAGAWISAN, defendants-appellants.

FERNANDO, J.:
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.

Republic of the Philippines

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.

SUPREME COURT
Manila

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

REGINO GABRIEL and JAIME TAPEL, petitioners,


vs.
THE HON. COURT OF APPEALS, and THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, respondents. In re: Contempt citation
against Atty. Cornelio M. Orteza, respondent.

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.

FIRST DIVISION
G.R. No. L-43757-58

July 30, 1976

RESOLUTION

TEEHANKEE, J.:
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. L- 43113-14 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.

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

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. 3

Republic of the Philippines

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 vice-versa, 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 record.
SO ORDERED.