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In Re: Sotto 82 phil 595

Facts:
This is a proceeding for contempt of our court against the respondent Atty. Vicente
Sotto, who was required by their Court on December 7, 1948, to show cause why he
should not be punished for contempt to court for having issued a written statement.
Upon his request, the respondent was granted ten days more besides the five originally
given him to file his answer, and although his answer was filed after the expiration of the
period of time given him the said answer was admitted. This Court could have rendered
a judgment for contempt after considering his answer, because he does not deny the
authenticity of the statement as it has been published. But, in order to give the
respondent ample opportunity to defend himself or justify the publication of such
libelous statement, the case was set for hearing or oral argument on January 4, the
hearing being later postponed to January 10, 1949. As the respondent did not appear at
the date set for hearing, the case was submitted for decision.
Held:
Rules 64 of the rules promulgated by this court does not punish as for contempt of
court an act which was not punishable as such under the law and the inherent powers
of the court to punish for contempt. That the power to punish for contempt is inherent in
all courts of superior statue, is a doctrine or principle uniformly accepted and applied by
the courts of last resort in the United States, which is applicable in this jurisdiction since
our Constitution and courts of justice are patterned as expounded in American
Jurisprudence. To hurl the false charge that this Court has been for the last years
committing deliberately "so many blunders and injustices," that is to say, that it has been
deciding in favor of one party knowing that the law and justice is on the part of the
adverse party and not on the one in whose favor the decision was rendered, in many
cases decided during the last years, would tend necessarily to undermine the
confidence of the people in the honesty and integrity of the members of this Court, and
consequently to lower or degrade the administration of justice by this Court. It is also
well settled that an attorney as an officer of the court is under special obligation to be
respectful in his conduct and communication to the court, he may be removed from
office or stricken from the roll of attorneys as being guilty of flagrant misconduct.
Corleto vs. Arro 99 scra 121
FACTS:
Respondent Judge refused to give due course to petitioners' appeal from an order
of dismissal. The petitioners, as the plaintiffs in Civil Case No. 5170 of the Court of First
Instance at Palo, Leyte, presented three witnesses and finished the presentation of their
evidence on August 1, 1977 when they formally offered their documentary evidence.
Thereafter the defendants (now private respondents) commenced the presentation of
their evidence. The plaintiffs and defendants filed motions for the reconsideration of that
order of dismissal. Respondent Judge in his order of June 13, 1979 denied plaintiffs'
motion for reconsideration because it was not set for hearing and because "failure of the
plaintiffs or their counsel to appear for the reception of defendants' evidence can only be
construed as lack of interest or abandonment in the prosecution of their case".
Respondent Judge bypassed defendants' motion for reconsideration. The petitioners
perfected their appeal to the Court of Appeals from the order of dismissal but
respondent Judge in his order of July 20, 1979 ruled that the appeal should be made to
the Supreme Court.

HELD:
The trial court observed that plaintiffs' absence at the hearing constituted "willful
and deliberate disobedience" of the court's order setting the case for hearing and that
the plaintiffs could be held liable for contempt "for obstructing the speedy administration
of justice". What the trial court could have done was to adjudge the lawyers in contempt
of court and to reset the hearing instead of disobedience" the case and erasing the
proceedings already held. It is understandable why the lower court should take offense
for the unexplained nonappearance of the parties and their lawyers at the hearing and
why, to vindicate its dignity, it was provoked to dismiss the case and thus teach the
lawyers an unforgettable lesson in courtesy and decorum and to make them realize that
they should not trifle with the courts. It is one of the duties of an attorney "to observe
and maintain the respect due to the courts of justice and judicial officers. A lawyer who
does not appear at the scheduled hearing of a case without any explanation or
justification shows disrespect to the court and the presiding judge. He is guilty of
contumacious behavior for obstructing and degrading the administration of justice. Such
behavior is censurable and is bound to antagonize the presiding judge who would feel
belittled and ignored. The lawyers involved in this case were evidently inexperienced
and lacking in elementary courtesy to the court. They did not bother to apologize for
their non-appearance in court. WHEREFORE, the lower court's order of dismissal is set
aside and it is directed to finish the trial of the case.
PEOPLE vs. PASCUAL 28 scra 822
FACTS:
Atty. Crisostomo F. Parias requiring him in thirty (30) days from notice to file his brief as
counsel for defendants-appellants who were convicted as principals of the crime of murder. Required
him to show cause within ten (10) days from notice thereof why disciplinary action should not be
taken against him.
HELD:
Counsel's plea of inability to pay the fine of P100 does not impress us. Rather, taken in
conjunction with his previous actuations heretofore cited, it exhibits an utter lack of regard on the
part of counsel for the orders of this Court. Members of the Bar should stand foremost in complying
with court orders obediently and respectfully. For the foregoing reasons, counsel is hereby directed
to pay to this Court the fine of P100 imposed upon him within five (5) days from notice hereof.
PEOPLE vs. DALUSAG

FACTS:
Mayor Rafael Dalusag together with the other defendant were charged with murder in the
Court of First Instance of Cavite for the killing of Fausto Hernandez. he Court of First Instance of
Cavite finds the accused RAFAEL DALUSAG and the other defendant uilty beyond reasonable doubt
of murder qualified by treachery, and there being no modifying circumstances present, hereby
sentences them to reclusion perpetua. From the judgment, the accused interposed the present
appeal. The accused interposed the defense of alibi alleging that they were somewhere else when
the shooting took place.
HELD:
Accused-appellants' defense of alibi is without merit. The house of Mayor Dalusag in the
Poblacion and Barrio Batas where the incident in question happened are both in the town of General
Aguinaldo. It is not therefore physically impossible for the accused-appellants Rafael Dalusag,
Perfecto Ramos, Jorge Golfo and Privado Dalusag to have been at the scene of the crime at the

time of the incident. Defense witness Simeon Marquez testified that Barrio Batas is about 10
kilometers from the poblacion of General Aguinaldo. Well-settled is the rule that for the defense of
alibi to prosper, it is not enough to prove that the accused were somewhere else when the crime was
committed but it must likewise be demonstrated that it was physically impossible for them to have
been at the scene of said crime at the time of its commission.

Acting on the motion for approval of the record on appeal, respondent Judge in his
order of September 28, 1979 held that the appeal should not be made by record on
appeal "since the case was not decided on its merits and (there is) no question of law or
of facts to be reviewed on appeal". In his order of October 22, 1979, denying petitioners'
motion for reconsideration, respondent Judge held that no record on appeal could be
filed because no decision was rendered and a record on appeal is supposed to contain
the decision under appeal. Respondent further held that the review of the order of
dismissal should be made by means of "some other legal remedy". In the interest of
justice and to avoid delay, we have treated the petition for certiorari and mandamus
(mailed on November 5, 1979) as an appeal from the order of dismissal under Republic
Act No. 5440, a law which took effect on September 9, 1968 and of which many
practising lawyers especially those in the provinces, are not cognizant up to this time.
We hold that the trial court acted precipitately in dismissing the case for nonappearance
of the parties and their lawyers at the continuation of the hearing for the reception of
defendants' evidence. In doing so, the lower court caused the plaintiffs to lose their case
due to the mistake or irresponsibility of their lawyer in not informing the court that he
was waiving his appearance at the hearing and that he was submitting plaintiffs' case on
the basis of their evidence. The trial court observed that plaintiffs' absence at the
hearing constituted "willful and deliberate disobedience" of the court's order setting the
case for hearing and that the plaintiffs could be held liable for contempt "for obstructing
the speedy administration of justice". What the trial court could have done was to
adjudge the lawyers in contempt of court and to reset the hearing instead of
disobedience" the case and erasing the proceedings already held. It is understandable
why the lower court should take offense for the unexplained nonappearance of the
parties and their lawyers at the hearing and why, to vindicate its dignity, it was provoked
to dismiss the case and thus teach the lawyers an unforgettable lesson in courtesy and
decorum and to make them realize that they should not trifle with the courts. It is one of
the duties of an attorney "to observe and maintain the respect due to the courts of
justice and judicial officers" (Sec. 20 (b), Rule 138, Rules of Court). A lawyer who does
not appear at the scheduled hearing of a case without any explanation or justification
shows disrespect to the court and the presiding judge. He is guilty of contumacious
behavior for obstructing and degrading the administration of justice. Such behavior is
censurable and is bound to antagonize the presiding judge who would feel belittled and
ignored. The lawyers involved in this case were evidently inexperienced and lacking in
elementary courtesy to the court. They did not bother to apologize for their nonappearance in court. WHEREFORE, the lower court's order of dismissal is set aside
and it is directed to finish the trial of the case. No costs. SO ORDERED. Barredo
(Chairman), Concepcion Jr., Guerrero and De Castro, JJ., concur.