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Republic of the Philippines

A.C. No. 516

June 27, 1967

TRANQUILINO O. CALO, JR., petitioner,

ESTEBAN DEGAMO, respondent.
Teodoro O. Calo, Jr. for complainant.
Office of the Solicitor General Arturo A. Alafriz and Solicitor Pedro A,. Ramirez for
REYES, J.B.L., J.:
Disbarment proceedings against the respondent Esteban Degamo 1 upon a verified
letter-complaint of the petitioner, Tranquilino O. Calo, Jr., filed with this Court on 2
March 1962, and charging the former with "having committed false statement
under oath or perjury" in connection with his appointment as Chief of Police of
Carmen, Agusan.
On 12 March 1962, this Court required the respondent to file "an answer (not a
motion to dismiss.) After interposing an unsuccessful motion for a bill of
particulars, he filed his answer on 29 May 1962 and this Court accordingly
referred the case to the Solicitor-General for investigation, report and
recommendation. In turn, the Solicitor General referred the case to the Provincial
Fiscal of Agusan. The fiscal conducted an investigation. The petitioner adduced
evidence, but not the respondent, because on the date set for hearing, on 25 July
1964, following several postponements, the respondent failed to attend, despite
due notice, for which reason the investigating fiscal considered the respondent as
having waived his right to present evidence. Thereafter, the fiscal forwarded the
record of the investigation to the Solicitor General. On the basis thereof, the
Solicitor General filed his report and a complaint with this Court, recommending
the disbarment of the respondent, for gross misconduct.
No evidence having been submitted by the respondent, the following facts are
either unrebutted or admitted:
On 17 January 1959, respondent Esteban Degamo, as an applicant to the position
of Chief of Police of Carmen, Agusan, subscribed and swore to a filled-out
"Information Sheet" before Mayor Jose Malimit of the same municipality. The sheet
called for answers about name, personal circumstances, educational attainment,
civil service eligibility and so forth. One item required to be filled out reads:
Criminal or police record, if any, including those which did not reach the
Court. (State the details of case and the final outcome.)"
to which respondent answered, "None."
Having accomplished the form, the respondent was appointed by the mayor to
the position applied for. However, on the day the respondent swore to the
information sheet, there was pending against him, and two (2) other co-accused,
a criminal case in the Court of First Instance of Bohol (No. 2646) for illegal
possession of explosive powder.2

Prior to the commencement of this administrative case, the respondent was also
charged in an information, dated 23 September 1960, for perjury, in the Court of
First Instance of Agusan, docketed as Criminal Case No. 2194, on the same facts
upon which he is now proceeded against as a member of the Philippine bar.
In his defense, the respondent claims that his answer "None" to the aforequoted
questionnaire was made in good faith, it being his honest interpretation of the
particular question (heretofore quoted) that it referred to a final judgment or
conviction and that Criminal Case No. 2646 was not a criminal or police
The defense is plainly untenable. The questionnaire was simple, couched in
ordinary terms and devoid of legalism hence, it needed no interpretation. It only
called for simple information. That it asked for records "whichdid not reach the
Court" entirely disproves respondent's technical twist to the question as referring
to final judgments or convictions.
Petitioner's letter-complaint was filed on 2 March 1962 while the act of the
respondent complained of was committed on 17 January 1959. Without explaining
how and upon what authority, respondent invokes the defense of prescription.
This defense does not lie; the rule is that
The ordinary statutes of limitation have no application to disbarment
proceedings, nor does the circumstance that the facts set up as a ground for
disbarment constitute a crime, prosecution for which in a criminal
proceeding is barred by limitation, affect the disbarment proceeding, . . . (5
Am. Jur. 434).
Nor is the pendency of Criminal Case No. 2194 (for perjury) a prejudicial question,
since the ground for disbarment in the present proceeding is not for conviction of
a crime involving moral turpitude but for gross misconduct. A violation of a
criminal law is not a bar to disbarment (6 Moran 242, 1963 Ed., citing the case
of In re Montagne and Dominguez, 3 Phil. 577), and an acquittal is no obstacle to
cancellation of the lawyer's license. (In re Del Rosario, 52 Phil. 399).
Respondent Degamo stresses that there is no cause of action against him because
the information sheet is not required by law but only by the Civil Service
Commission. This argument is beside the point. The issue is whether or not he
acted honestly when he denied under oath the existence against him of any
criminal or police record, including those that did not reach the court. In this, he
did not tell the truth. He deliberately concealed it in order to secure an
appointment in his own favor. He, therefore, failed to maintain that high degree of
morality expected and required of a member of the bar (Toledo vs. Toledo, Adm.
Case No. 266, 27 April 1963; Mortel vs. Aspiras, Adm. Case No. 145, 28 Dec. 1956;
Bolivar vs. Simbol, Adm. Case No. 377, 29 April 1966 **), and he has violated his
oath as a lawyer to "do no falsehood". It needs no reiteration that the ethical
standards applicable to a member of the bar, who thereby automatically becomes
a court officer, must necessarily be one higher than that of the market place.
The facts being clear and undisputed, respondent's insistence upon patent
technical excuses disentitle him to leniency from his Court.
For the foregoing reasons, respondent Esteban Degamo is hereby disbarred, and
his name ordered stricken from the roll of attorneys. So ordered.
Concepcion, C.J., Dizon, Makalintal, Bengzon, J.P., Zaldivar, Sanchez and Castro, JJ.,


Bayot was charged with malpractice by publishing Marriagelicense
promptly secured thru our assistance & the annoyance of delay or publicity
avoided if desired, and marriage arranged to wishes of parties. Consultation

on any matter free for the poor. Everything confidential. In the Sunday
Bayot first denied the publication but later on admitted, and asked for
mitigation saying:
o I only did it once. I wont repeat it again!
o I never had any case by reason of the publication
ISSUE: WoN Bayot can be charged with malpractice?
1. The publication is tantamount to a solicitation of business from the public.
Section 25 of Rule 127 expressly provides among other things that "the
practice of soliciting cases at law for the purpose of gain, either personally
or thru paid agents or brokers, constitutes malpractice." It is highly unethical
for an attorney to advertise his talents or skill as a merchant advertises his
wares. Law is a profession and not a trade.
2. In In re Tagorda, 53 Phil., the respondent attorney was suspended from the
practice of law for the period of one month for advertising his services and
soliciting work from the public by writing circular letters. That case, however,
was more serious than this because there the solicitations were repeatedly
made and were more elaborate and insistent. Considering his plea for
leniency and his promise not to repeat the misconduct, the Court is of the
opinion and so decided that the respondent should be, as he hereby is,
"The most worth and effective advertisement possible, even for a young lawyer is
the establishment of a well-merited reputation for professional capacity and
fidelity to trust. This cannot be forced but must be the outcome of character and
conduct." (Canon 27, Code of Ethics.)

Republic of the Philippines


A.C. No. 3910

June 28, 2001

JOSE S. DUCAT, JR., complainant,

On August 14, 2000, a Decision was rendered by this Court in the above-entitled
case, finding respondent Atty. Arsenio C. Villalon, Jr. guilty of gross misconduct.
The dispositive portion of the Court's Decision reads:
WHEREFORE, respondent ATTY. ARSENIO C. VILLALON, JR. is hereby found
guilty of gross misconduct, and he is SUSPENDED from the practice of law
for a period of ONE (1) YEAR with a warning that a repetition of the same or
similar act will be dealt with more severely. Respondent Villalon is further
directed to deliver to the registered owner, complainant Jose Ducat Jr., the
latter's TCT No. M-3023 covering the subject property within a period of sixty
(60) days from receipt of this Decision, at his sole expense; and that failure
on his part to do so will result in his disbarment.
Let a copy of this Decision be attached to Atty. Villalon's personal record in
the Office of the Bar Confidant and copies thereof be furnished the
Integrated Bar of the Philippines.
From the afore-quoted Decision respondent Atty. Arsenio C. Villalon, Jr. seeks this
The finding of guilt for gross misconduct was based on the Report and
Recommendation of the Investigating Commissioner of the Integrated Bar of the
Philippines upon whom the case was referred for investigation. We again quote
the said findings for emphasis:
Complainant and his witness, Jose Ducat, Sr., testified in a straightforward,
spontaneous and candid manner. The sincerity and demeanor they
displayed while testifying before the Commission inspire belief as to the
truth of what they are saying. More importantly, respondent failed to impute
any ill motive on the part of the complainant and his witness which can
impel them to institute the instant complaint and testify falsely against him.
To be sure, the testimony of the complainant and his witness deserves the
Commission's full faith and credence.
Respondent's evidence, on the other hand, leaves much to be desired. His
defense (that he considered himself the owner of the subject property which
was allegedly given to him by Jose Ducat, Sr.) rings hollow in the face of a
welter of contravening and incontrovertible facts.
FIRST, the registered owner of the subject property is complainant Jose
Ducat, Jr. accordingly, respondent (being a lawyer) knew or ought to know
that Jose Ducat, Sr. could not possibly give to him the said property unless
the former is duly authorized by the complainant through a Special Power of
Attorney. No such authorization has been given. Moreover, Jose Ducat, Sr.
has vigorously denied having given the subject property to the respondent.

This denial is not too difficult to believe considering the fact that he (Jose
Ducat, Sr.) is not the owner of said property.
SECOND, being a lawyer, respondent knew or ought to know that
conveyance of a real property, whether gratuitously or for a consideration,
must be in writing. Accordingly, it is unbelievable that he would consider
himself the owner of the subject property on the basis of the verbal or oral
"giving" of the property by Jose Ducat, Sr. no matter how many times the
latter may have said that.
THIRD, the Deed of Sale of Parcel of Land (Exh. "1" for the respondent and
Exh. "A-2" for the complainant) allegedly executed by Jose Ducat, Sr. in favor
of respondent Atty. Arsenio Villalon and/or Andres Canares, Jr. covering the
subject parcel of land which respondent prepared allegedly upon instruction
of Jose Ducat, Sr. is of dubious character. As earlier adverted to, Jose Ducat,
Sr. is not the owner of said property. Moreover, said Deed of Sale of Parcel of
Land is a falsified document as admitted by the respondent himself when he
said that the signature over the typewritten name Maria Cabrido (wife of
Jose Ducat, Sr.) was affixed by Jose Ducat, Sr. Being a lawyer, respondent
knew or ought to know that the act of Jose Ducat, Sr. in affixing his wife's
signature is tantamount to a forgery. Accordingly, he should have treated the
said Deed of Sale of Parcel of Land has (sic) a mere scrap of worthless paper
instead of relying on the same to substantiate his claim that the subject
property was given to him by Jose Ducat, Sr. Again, of note is the fact that
Jose Ducat, Sr. has vigorously denied having executed said document which
denial is not too difficult to believe in the light of the circumstances already
FOURTH, the Deed of Absolute Sale of Real Property (Exh. "2" for the
respondent and Exh. "A-3" for the complainant) allegedly executed by Jose
Ducat, Jr. in favor of Andres Canares, Jr. over the subject property (which
respondent claims he prepared upon instruction of Jose Ducat, Sr.) is likewise
of questionable character. Complainant Jose Ducat, Jr. has vigorously denied
having executed said document. He claims that he has never sold said
property to Andres Canares, Jr. whom he does not know; that he has never
appeared before Atty. Crispulo Ducusin to subscribe to the document; and
that he has never received the amount of P450,000.00 representing the
consideration of said transaction. More importantly, the infirmity of the said
Deed of Absolute Sale of Real Property was supplied by the respondent no
less when he admitted that there was no payment of P450,000.00 and that
the same was placed in the document only to make it appear that the
conveyance was for a consideration. Accordingly, and being a lawyer,
respondent knew or ought to know the irregularity of his act and that he
should have treated the document as another scrap of worthless paper
instead of utilizing the same to substantiate his defense. 1
We remain convinced that respondent was remiss in his duty to abide by his
sworn oath as a member of the bar to "do no falsehood nor consent to its
commission"2 and further violated the mandate of his profession to "uphold the
integrity and dignity of the legal profession." 3
In the instant case, after a review of the records, we note that this is the first and
only administrative complaint against respondent Atty. Villalon in his long career
as a member of the bar. At one time, he was even the President of the Integrated
Bar of the Philippines (IBP)-Manila 1 Chapter, and as such he introduced various
programs to uphold the confidence of the public in the integrity of the legal
profession and to uplift the welfare of his brethren. Furthermore, it appears that as

of July 8, 1997, respondent Atty. Villalon already returned to the complainant

himself the owner's duplicate of the subject TCT No. M-3023 and the complainant
acknowledged receipt4 thereof, thus there is a need to delete the directive to
deliver the said TCT from the Court's Decision. Hence, we agree to reduce the
penalty imposed on respondent Atty. Villalon.
WHEREFORE, the Court GRANTS the Urgent Motion for Reconsideration, and
MODIFIES the Decision dated August 14, 2000 in that respondent Atty. Arsenio C.
Villalon, Jr. is hereby SUSPENDED from the practice of law for a period of SIX (6)
MONTHS only with a warning that a repetition of the same or similar act will be
dealt with more severely. The directive in the Decision to deliver TCT No. M-3023
to complainant Jose Ducat, Jr. is DELETED, the delivery thereof having been
accomplished as of July 8, 1997.
Let a copy of this Resolution be entered in the personal record of respondent as
an attorney and as a member of the Integrated Bar, and furnished the Bar
Confidant, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines and the Court Administrator for
circulation to all courts in the country.
Bellosillo, (Chairman), Mendoza, Quisumbing, and Buena, JJ., concur.

Resolution. March 18, 1954.]In the Matter of the Petitions for Admission
to the Bar of Unsuccessful Candidates of 1946 to 1953; ALBINO

The Congress passed Republic Act 972, also known to be the controversial Bar
Flunkers Act of 1953 Which has the title An Act To Fix The Passing Marks for Bar
Examinations from 1946 up to and Including1955.
Section 1 of said Republic Act provides that any bar candidate who obtained the
following general average in their corresponding bar examination year, without
obtaining a grade below 50% in any subject, shall be allowed to take and
subscribe the oath of office as member of the Philippine Bar: from 1946 to 195170%; 1952- 71%; 1953- 72%; 1954- 73%; and 1955- 74%. Section 2 of said
Republic Act provides that any bar candidate who obtained a grade of seventyfive per cent in any subject in any bar examination after July4, 1946 shall be
deemed to have passed in such subject or subjects and such grade or grades shall
be included in computing the passing general average that said candidate may
obtain in any subsequent examinations that he may take. 1,094 examinees will be
benefited by the Republic Act. Petitions were filed, however, questioning the
validity of Republic Act 972.
Issue: Whether or not Republic Act 972 is CONSTITUTIONAL.
The Court held Republic Act 972 to be partly constitutional, declaring the portion
in Section 1referring to the 1946 to 1952 examinations and all of Section 2 as
unconstitutional, and declaring the remaining portions of the law as valid and
shall continue in force. First of all, Republic Act 972 was passed to admit to the
Bar those candidates who suffered from insufficiency of reading materials and
inadequate preparation because of the aftermath of the Japanese occupation. The
Court declared some parts unconstitutional because:1.
Its declared purpose is to admit candidates who failed in the bar examinations of
1946-1952, and who are certainly inadequately prepared to practice law. It obliges
the Tribunal to perform something contrary to reason and in an arbitrary manner,
and this is a manifest encroachment on the constitutional responsibility of the
Supreme Court.2.
It is a judgment revoking the resolution of the Court on the petitions of the 810
candidates without having examined their respective examination papers. In
attempting to do it directly, Republic Act No. 972 violated the Constitution.3.
Congress has exceeded its legislative power to repeal, alter and supplement the
rules on admission to the Bar. Such additional or amendatory rules are intended to
regulate acts subsequent to its promulgation and should tend to improve and
elevate the practice of law, and these are just considered minimum norms. It is
therefore the primary and inherent prerogative of the Supreme Court to render
the ultimate decision on who may be admitted and may continue in the practice
of law according to existing rules.4.
The reason advanced for the pretended classification of candidates, which the law
makes, is contrary to facts which are of general knowledge and does not justify
the admission to the Bar of law students inadequately prepared. The pretended
classification is arbitrary. It is undoubtedly class legislation.5.
Article 2 of Republic Act No. 972 is not embraced in the title of the law, contrary to
what the Constitution enjoins, and being inseparable from the provisions of article
1, the entire law is void. Because of lack of votes, the portion pertaining to the
1953-1955 is declared valid and shall continue in force.