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RECENT LEGAL ETHICS CASES

1. RE: VERIFIED COMPLAINT OF AMA LAND, INC. AGAINST HON.


DANTON Q. BUESER, HON. SESINANDO E. VILLON and HON.
RICARDO R. ROSARIO, ASSOCIATE JUSTICES OF THE COURT
OF APPEALS - A.M. OCA IPI No. 12-202-CA-J, JAN. 15, 2013
(12-202-CA-J) bias an partiality of CA justices
FACTS:
On October 2, 2012, AMA Land, Inc. (AMALI) filed an administrative
complaint before the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA), charging
respondent Honorable Court of Appeals (CA) Associate Justices Danton Q.
Bueser, Sesinando E. Villon, and Ricardo R. Rosario (respondent CA
Justices) with the following violations: (a) Section 8, Rule 140 of the Rules
of Court, specifically for dishonesty and violation of the Anti-Graft and
Corrupt Practices Law (Republic Act No. 3019), gross misconduct
constituting violations of the Code of Judicial Conduct, and knowingly
rendering an unjust judgment or order; and (b) pertinent provisions of the
Code of Judicial Conduct1 and Canons of Judicial Ethics, for issuing the
Decision2 dated June 14, 2012 in CA-G.R. SP No. 118994 filed by Wack
Wack Residents Association, Inc. (WWRAI) enjoining AMALI from continuing
with its project construction pending the determination of its petition for
declaration of right of way against WWRAI before the Regional Trial Court
of Pasig City, Branch 264 (RTC-Pasig).
Issue:
WON respondent CA Justices acted in bad faith and knowingly rendered an
unjust judgment in granting WWRAI's petition, which effectively declared
the project construction illegal and granted the latter's counterclaim
before the RTC-Pasig could have finally disposed of the case.
Ruling:
No. Jurisprudence is replete with cases holding that errors, if any,
committed by a judge in the exercise of his adjudicative functions cannot
be corrected through administrative proceedings, but should instead be
assailed through available judicial remedies. Disciplinary proceedings
against judges do not complement, supplement or substitute judicial
remedies and, thus, cannot be pursued simultaneously with the judicial
remedies accorded to parties aggrieved by their erroneous orders or
judgments.
In this case, AMALI had already filed a petition for review on certiorari
challenging the questioned order of the respondent CA Justices, which is
still pending final action by the Court. Consequently, a decision on the
validity of the proceedings and propriety of the orders of the respondent
CA Justices in this administrative proceeding would be premature. Besides,
even if the subject decision or portions thereof turn out to be erroneous,
administrative liability will only attach upon proof that the actions of the
respondent CA Justices were motivated by bad faith, dishonesty or hatred,
or attended by fraud or corruption, which were not sufficiently shown to
exist in this case. Neither was bias as well as partiality established. Acts or
conduct of the judge clearly indicative of arbitrariness or prejudice must
be clearly shown before he can be branded the stigma of being biased
and partial. In the same vein, bad faith or malice cannot be inferred
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simply because the judgment or order is adverse to a party. Here, other


than AMALI's bare and self-serving claim that respondent CA Justices
"conspired with WWRAI's counsel in knowingly and in bad faith rendering
an unjust judgment and in committing x x x other misconduct," no act
clearly indicative of bias and partiality was alleged except for the claim
that respondent CA Justices misapplied the law artd jurisprudence. Thus,
the presumption that the respondent judge has regularly performed his
duties shall prevail. Moreover, the matters raised are best addressed to
the evaluation of the Court in the resolution of AMALI's petition for review
on certiorari.
2.)
IN RE: PETITION TO SIGN IN THE ROLL OF ATTORNEYS B.M. NO. 2540, sept 24, 2013 (unauthorized practice of law
failure to sign roll of attorneys)
Facts:
Petitioner Mikhael Medado passed the bar examinations in 1979. He took
the Attorneys Oath thereafter, and was scheduled to sign the Roll of
Attorneys, but failed to do so because he had misplaced the Notice to Sign
the Roll of Attorneys. Several years later, he found such Notice and
realized he never signed the Roll of Attorneys. Medado filed this Petition to
allow him to sign in the Roll of Attorneys.
Issue:
May he still be allowed to sign the roll of attorneys?
Ruling:
The Supreme Court held that while an honest mistake of fact could be
used to excuse a person from the legal consequences of his acts as it
negates malice or evil motive, a mistake of law cannot be utilized as a
lawful justification, because everyone is presumed to know the law and its
consequences.
Knowingly engaging in unauthorized practice of law transgresses
Canon 9 of the Code of Professional Responsibility.

CANON 9 - A lawyer shall not, directly or indirectly, assist in the


unauthorized practice of law.
Such Canon also applies to law students and Bar candidates. Medado
was imposed a penalty akin to suspension by allowing him to sign one (1)
year after receipt of the Courts Resolution.
Turning now to the applicable penalty, previous violations of Canon 9
have warranted the penalty of suspension from the practice of law. As
Medado is not yet a full-fledged lawyer, we cannot suspend him from the
practice of law. Medado is not yet a full-fledged lawyer, we cannot
suspend him from the practice of law by allowing him to sign in the Roll of
Attorneys one (1) year after receipt of this Resolution. For his
transgression of the prohibition against the unauthorized practice of law,
we likewise see it fit to fine him in the amount of P32,000. During the one
year period, petitioner is warned that he is not allowed to engage in the
practice of law, and is sternly warned that doing any act that constitutes
practice of law before he has signed in the Roll of Attorneys will be dealt
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with severely by this Court

3.)
TRIASAMONTE vs. OBIAS, A.C. No. 4945, Oct 8, 2013
(real estate broker and lawyer)
Facts: Sometime in 1997, the spouses Nestor and Pura Tria hired Atty.
Fanny Obias in a package arrangement for a parcel of land they had
bought for P2.8 million: to get the full consideration and deliver it to the
sellers, to get the title and secure the execution of the deed of sale, to pay
all the taxes and other expenses, to transfer the title to the name of the
buyers, and to work for the conversion of the land from agricultural to
residential.
Fanny got the money and the necessary documents. However, after some
time, and despite repeated follow-ups, Fanny failed to comply with her
undertakings. Meantime, Nestor died and his daughter Jennifer, the
complainant, took over. She discovered that Fanny had notarized a deed
of sale with a consideration of P200,000.00 over the same land in favor of
somebody. Jennifer filed an administrative complaint against fanny for
grave misconduct and/or gross malpractice with the Supreme Court. In
defence, Fanny argued that Nestor instructed her not proceed with the
sale and instead to look for another buyer. The case was referred to the
Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) in 1999.
In 2007, the IBP Investigating Commissioner then issued a Report found
that Fanny violated her oath her oath as a lawyer because she
participated in the second sale of the subject property despite the lack of
any lawful termination of the prior sale of the same property to the
Spouses Tria. He recommended that Fanny be suspended from the
practice of law for a period of 5 years.
Issue:
Should respondent be held administratively liable for violating Canons 17
and 18 of the Code?
Ruling:
The Supreme Court agreed with the findings of the IBP but increased the
penalty. Fanny was disbarred from the practice of law.
Citing Canon 17 and 18 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, the
Supreme Court held that the core ethical principle that lawyers owe
fidelity to their clients cause and must always be mindful of the trust and
confidence reposed in them. They are duty-bound to observe candor,
fairness, and loyalty in all their dealings and transactions with their
clients. The Supreme Court found that Fanny transgressed (these) rules
as her actions were evidently prejudicial to her clients interests.
Records disclose that instead of delivering the deed of sale covering the
subject property to her clients, she willfully notarized a deed of sale over
the same property in favor of another person. Accordingly, far removed
from protecting the interest of her clients, Sps. Tria, who had in fact,
already fully paid the purchase price of the subject property, respondent
(Fanny) participated and was even instrumental in bringing about the
defeat of their rights over the said property.
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Lest it be forgotten, lawyers are bound to maintain not only a high


standard of legal proficiency, but also of morality, honesty, integrity, and
fair dealing. These unyielding standards respondent (Fanny) evidently
failed to adhere to.
4.)
YLAYA vs. GACOTT, Adm. Case No. 6475, Jan. 30, 2013
(duty to client)
FACTS: Fe A. Ylaya filed a complaint against Atty. Glenn Carlos Gacott
who allegedly deceived the complainant and her late husband, Laurentino
L. Ylaya, into signing a "preparatory" Deed of Sale that the respondent
converted into a Deed of Absolute Sale in favor of his relatives.
Ylaya alleged that she and her late husband are the registered owners 2
parcels of land covered by TCT Nos. 162632 and 162633 located at
Barangay Sta. Lourdes, Puerto Princesa City. Prior to the acquisition of
these properties, TCT No. 162632 (property) was already the subject of
expropriation proceedings filed by the City Government of Puerto Princesa
(City Government) on May 23, 1996 against its former registered owner,
Cirilo Arellano. The expropriation case was filed with the Regional Trial
Court (RTC) of Palawan and Puerto Princesa, Branch 95, and was docketed
as Civil Case No. 2902. The RTC already fixed the price and issued an
order for the City Government to deposit P6,000,000.00 as just
compensation for the property.
The respondent briefly represented the complainant and her late husband
in the expropriation case as intervenors for being the new registered
owners of the property. The complainant alleged that the respondent
convinced them to sign a "preparatory deed of sale", but he left blank the
space for the name of the buyer and for the amount of consideration.
Issues
(2) whether the evidence presented supports a finding that the
respondent is administratively liable for violating Canon 1, Rule 1.01 and
Canon 16 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, and Section 3(c), Rule
IV of A.M. No. 02-8-13-SC.
The Courts Ruling:
We set aside the findings and recommendations of the IBP Commissioner
and those of the IBP Board of Governors finding the respondent liable for
violating Canon 1, Rules 1.01 and Section 3(c), Rule IV of A.M. No. 02-8-13SC.34
We however hold the respondent liable for violating Canon 16 of the Code
of Professional Responsibility for being remiss in his obligation to hold in
trust his clients properties. We likewise find him liable for violation of (1)
Canon 15, Rule 15.03 for representing conflicting interests without the
written consent of the represented parties, thus, violating the rule on
conflict of interests; and (2) Canon 18, Rule 18.03 for neglecting a legal
matter entrusted to him.
c. Liability under Canons 15, 16 and 18 We find the respondent liable
under Canon 15, Rule 15.03 for representing conflicting interests without
the written consent of all concerned, particularly the complainant; under
Canon 16 for being remiss in his obligation to hold in trust his clients

properties; and under Canon 18, Rule 18.03 for neglecting a legal matter
entrusted to him.
Canon 15, Rule 15.03 states:
A lawyer shall not represent conflicting interests except by written consent
of all concerned given after a full disclosure of the facts.
Based on the records, we find substantial evidence to hold the respondent
liable for violating Canon 15, Rule 15.03 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility. The facts of this case show that the respondent retained
clients who had close dealings with each other. The respondent admits to
acting as legal counsel for Cirilo Arellano, the spouses Ylaya and Reynold
at one point during the proceedings in Civil Case No. 2902.80
Subsequently, he represented only Reynold in the same proceedings,81
asserting Reynolds ownership over the property against all other claims,
including that of the spouses Ylaya.
We find no record of any written consent from any of the parties involved
and we cannot give the respondent the benefit of the doubt in this regard.
We find it clear from the facts of this case that the respondent retained
Reynold as his client and actively opposed the interests of his former
client, the complainant. He thus violated Canon 15, Rule 15.03 of the Code
of Professional Responsibility.
We affirm the IBP Commissioners finding that the respondent violated
Canon 16. The respondent admits to losing certificates of land titles that
were entrusted to his care by Reynold. According to the respondent, the
complainant "maliciously retained" the TCTs over the properties sold by
Laurentino to Reynold after she borrowed them from his office. Reynold
confirms that the TCTs were taken by the complainant from the
respondents law office.
The respondent is reminded that his duty under Canon 16 is to "hold in
trust all moneys and properties of his client that may come into his
possession." Allowing a party to take the original TCTs of properties owned
by another an act that could result in damage should merit a finding of
legal malpractice. While we note that it was his legal staff who allowed the
complainant to borrow the TCTs and it does not appear that the
respondent was aware or present when the complainant borrowed the
TCTs, we nevertheless hold the respondent liable, as the TCTs were
entrusted to his care and custody; he failed to exercise due diligence in
caring for his clients properties that were in his custody.
We likewise find the respondent liable for violating Canon 18, Rule 18.03
for neglecting a legal matter entrusted to him. Despite the respondents
admission that he represented the complainant and her late husband in
Civil Case No. 2902 and that he purportedly filed a Motion for Leave to
Intervene in their behalf, the records show that he never filed such a
motion for the spouses Ylaya. The complainant herself states that she and
her late husband were forced to file the Motion for Leave to Intervene on
their own behalf. The records of the case, which include the Motion for
Leave to Intervene filed by the spouses Ylaya, support this conclusion.
Canon 18, Rule 18.03 requires that a lawyer "shall not neglect a legal
matter entrusted to him, and his negligence in connection [therewith]
shall render him liable." What amounts to carelessness or negligence in a
lawyers discharge of his duty to his client is incapable of an exact
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formulation, but the Court has consistently held that the mere failure of a
lawyer to perform the obligations due his client is per se a violation.
In Canoy v. Ortiz, we held that a lawyers failure to file a position paper
was per se a violation of Rule 18.03 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility. Similar to Canoy, the respondent clearly failed in this case
in his duty to his client when, without any explanation, he failed to file the
Motion for Leave to Intervene on behalf of the spouses Ylaya. Under the
circumstances, we find that there was want of diligence; without sufficient
justification, this is sufficient to hold the respondent liable for violating
Canon 18, Rule 18.03 of the Code of Professional Responsibility.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, we set aside Resolution No.
XVIII-.2007-302 dated December 14, 2007 and Resolution No. XIX-2010545 dated October 8, 2010 of the IBP Board of Governors, and find
respondent Atty. Glenn Carlos Gacott GUILTY of violating Rule 15.03 of
Canon 15, Canon 16, and Rule 18.03 of Canon 18 of the Code of
Professional Responsibility. As a penalty, he is SUSPENDED from the
practice of law for one (1) year, with a WARNING that a repetition of the
same or similar act will be dealt with more severely.
5.) SAMSON v. ERA, A.C. No. 6664, JULY 16, 2013 (conflicting
interest)

FACTS: Samson and his relatives were among the investors who fell prey
to the pyramiding scam. Samson engaged Atty. Era to represent and assist
him and his relatives in the criminal prosecution of ICS Corporation.
Pursuant to the engagement, Atty. Era prepared the demand letter dated
July 19, 2002 demanding the return or refund of the money subject of
their complaints. Having entered into a settlement agreement with the
scammers, Samson and his relatives later demanded from Atty. Era that
they be given instead a deed of absolute sale to enable them to liquidate
the property among themselves. Era had accomplished his professional
responsibility towards them upon the amicable settlement of the cases
between the parties. Samson and his co-complainants verified the title of
the property but it was no longer registered under the name of ICS
Corporation but was already under the name of Bank Wise Inc. During the
hearings in the RTC, Atty. Era did not anymore appear for Samson and his
group. They were shocked to find out later on that Atty. Era had already
been entering his appearance as the counsel ICS Corporation had
perpetrated.
Samson executed an affidavit alleging the foregoing antecedents, and
praying for Atty. Eras disbarment on the ground of his violation of the
trust, confidence and respect reposed in him as their counsel. To which
the the Investigating Commissioner of the IBP Commission on Bar
Discipline (IBPCBD) found Atty. Era guilty of misconduct for representing
conflicting interests, for failing to serve his clients with competence and
diligence, and for failing to champion his clients cause with wholehearted
fidelity, care and devotion.

Issue: WON Atty Era violated Rule 15.03 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility.

RULING: Rule 15.03, Canon 15 of the Code of Professional Responsibility


provides that: "A lawyer shall not represent conflicting interests except by
written consent of all concerned given after a full disclosure of the facts."
Atty. Era thus owed to Samson and his group entire devotion to their
genuine interest, and warm zeal in the maintenance and defense of their
rights. He was expected to exert his best efforts and ability to preserve
the clients cause, for the unwavering loyalty displayed to his clients
likewise served the ends of justice.
There is conflict of interest when a lawyer represents inconsistent
interests of two or more opposing parties. The test is "whether or not in
behalf of one client, it is the lawyers duty to fight for an issue or claim,
but it is his duty to oppose it for the other client. In brief, if he argues for
one client, this argument will be opposed by him when he argues for the
other client." This rule covers not only cases in which confidential
communications have been confided, but also those in which no
confidence has been bestowed or will be used. Also, there is conflict of
interests if the acceptance of the new retainer will require the attorney to
perform an act which will injuriously affect his first client in any matter in
which he represents him and also whether he will be called upon in his
new relation to use against his first client any knowledge acquired through
their connection. Another test of the inconsistency of interests is whether
the acceptance of a new relation will prevent an attorney from the full
discharge of his duty of undivided fidelity and loyalty to his client or invite
suspicion of unfaithfulness or double dealing in the performance thereof.

The prohibition against conflict of interest rests on five rationales,


rendered as follows:
x x x. First, the law seeks to assure clients that their lawyers will represent
them with undivided loyalty. A client is entitled to be represented by a
lawyer whom the client can trust. Instilling such confidence is an objective
important in itself. x x x.

Second, the prohibition against conflicts of interest seeks to enhance the


effectiveness of legal representation. To the extent that a conflict of
interest undermines the independence of the lawyers professional
judgment or inhibits a lawyer from working with appropriate vigor in the

clients behalf, the clients expectation of effective representation x x x


could be compromised.

Third, a client has a legal right to have the lawyer safeguard the clients
confidential information
xxx. 1 Preventing use of confidential client information against the
interests of the client, either to benefit the lawyers personal interest, in
aid of some other client, or to foster an assumed public purpose is
facilitated through conflicts rules that reduce the opportunity for such
abuse.
Fourth, conflicts rules help ensure that lawyers will not exploit clients,
such as by inducing a client to make a gift to the lawyer xxx.

Finally, some conflict-of-interest rules protect interests of the legal system


in obtaining adequate presentations to tribunals. In the absence of such
rules, for example, a lawyer might appear on both sides of the litigation,
complicating the process of taking proof and compromise adversary
argumentation x x x.

The rule prohibiting conflict of interest was fashioned to prevent situations


wherein a lawyer would be representing a client whose interest is directly
adverse to any of his present or former clients. In the same way, a lawyer
may only be allowed to represent a client involving the same or a
substantially related matter that is materially adverse to the former client
only if the former client consents to it after consultation. The rule is
grounded in the fiduciary obligation of loyalty. Throughout the course of a
lawyer-client relationship, the lawyer learns all the facts connected with
the client's case, including the weak and strong points of the case.
Knowledge and information gathered in the course of the relationship
must be treated as sacred and guarded with care.1wphi1 It behooves
lawyers not only to keep inviolate the clients confidence, but also to avoid
the appearance of treachery and double-dealing, for only then can
litigants be encouraged to entrust their secrets to their lawyers, which is
paramount in the administration of justice. The nature of that relationship
is, therefore, one of trust and confidence of the highest degree.

6.) TENOSO VS. ECHANEZ, A.C. No. 8384, APRIL 11, 2013 (8384
notary without proper commission)
About: Notary without proper commission

Facts: Echanez engaged in practice as a notary public without having


been commissioned by the RTC. A complaint was filed against him; In
response, he dismissed the allegations as being preposterous, full of lies,
politically motivated and x x x meant to harass or intimidate [him].
However, he failed to attend the mandatory conference and failed to file
his position paper.
The Investigating Commissioner recommended a 6-month suspension
from the practice of law and a 2-year disqualification from being
commissioned as a notary public for violating Rules 1.01 and 10.01 of the
Code of Professional Responsibility. The findings of the Investigating
Commissioner was affirmed by the IBP Board of Governors but increased
the suspension from 6 months to 1 year.
Complainant presented evidence that Eschanez notarized various
documents without the proper commission. Eschanez failed to present
evidence to rebut the allegations.
Burden of proof
1, Rule 131 Rules of Court. The burden of proof is vested upon the party
who alleges the truth of his claim or defense or any fact in issue.
Accordingly, Eschanez must present evidence to counter the allegations
and cannot resort to mere denials.
Are the duties of the notary public imbued with public interest?
Yes
Time and again, this Court emphasizes that the practice of law is imbued
with public interest and that a lawyer owes substantial duties not only to
his client, but also to his brethren in the profession, to the courts, and to
the nation, and takes part in one of the most important functions of the
State - the administration of justice - as an officer of the court"Accordingly, '"[l]awyers are bound to maintain not only a high standard of
legal proficiency, but also of morality, honesty, integrity and fair dealing."
Similarly, the duties of notaries public are dictated by public policy and
impressed with public interest. "[N]otarization is not a routinary,
meaningless act, for notarization converts a private document to a public
instrument, making it admissible in evidence without the necessity of
preliminary proof of its authenticity and due execution.
6.)
PENILLA VS. ALCID, JR., A.C. No. 9149, SEPT. 4, 2013
(9149 duty to client)
Facts: Plaintiff brought his favorite Volkswagen beetle to a repair shop.
Despite full payment, the shop failed to repair the beetle. This prompted
Julian to hire respondent Atty. Alcid, and gave him P30,000 as attorneys
fees and P10,000 as filing fees. Atty. Alcid sent a demand letter, but the
shop failed to return the payment. He filed an estafa case before the
Quezon City Prosecutors Office, which was then dismissed. He filed a
motion for reconsideration. This was denied for lack of merit. Atty. Alcid
then presented the option of filing a case for specific performance. Plaintiff
gave another P10,000 for the filing fee. Despite repeated attempts,
plaintiff failed to see respondent Atty Alcid again. He learned that the case
for specific performance was dismissed. He also found out that the filing
fee was only P2,440 and not P10,000, as earlier stated by Quintin. Julian
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filed before the Integrated Bar of the Philippines-Commission on Bar


Discipline (IBP-CBD) an administrative case against Quintin for gross
negligence.
Issue: Is respondent guilty of gross negligence?
Ruling: Yes, the Court ruled that respondent, Atty. Alcid, committed
professional negligence under Canon 18 and Rule 18.04 of the Code of
Professional Responsibility. He also violated Canon 17 and Rule 18.03 of
the Code and the Lawyers Oath. The Court held that a lawyer may be
disbarred or suspended for any violation of his oath, a patent disregard of
his duties, or an odious deportment unbecoming an attorney. A lawyer
must at no time be wanting in probity and moral fibers which are not only
conditions precedent to his entrance to the Bar, but are likewise essential
demands for his continued membership therein.
The Court stated that Atty. Alcid failed to serve his client with competence
and diligence when he filed a criminal case for estafa when the facts
warranted the filing of a civil case for breach of contract. To be sure, after
the complaint for estafa was dismissed, respondent committed another
similar blunder by filing a civil case for specific performance and damages
before the RTC. The complaint, having an alternative prayer for payment
of damages, should have been filed with the Municipal Trial Court which
has jurisdiction over complainants claim which amounts to only P36,000.
x x x. The errors committed by respondent x x x were so basic and could
have been easily averted had he been more diligent and circumspect in
his role as counsel for complainant.
7.)
TAPAY & RlJSTIA VS. BANCOLO & JARDER, A.C. No. 9604,
MAR. 20, 2013 (duty to client)
Facts: Tapay and Rustia filed a complaint with the IBP to disbar Atty.
Bancolo and Atty. Jarder for violation of the Canons of Ethics and
Professionalism, Falsification of Public Document, Gross Dishonesty, and
Harassment.
The complainants alleged that they were subjected to a harassment
Complaint filed before the Office of the Ombudsman with the forged
signature of Atty. Bancolo and that the latter were also involved in
falsification of documents used to harass and persecute innocent people.
In their Answer, Atty. Bancolo alleged that after being informed of the
assignment of the cases, he ordered his staff to prepare and draft all the
necessary pleadings and documents. However, due to some minor lapses,
Atty. Bancolo permitted that the pleadings and communications be signed
in his name by the secretary of the law office.
The IBP found that Atty. Bancolo violated Rule 9.01 of Canon 9 of the Code
of Professional Responsibility while Atty. Jarder violated Rule 1.01 of Canon
1 of the same Code.
Issue: Whether or not Atty. Bancolo and Atty. Jarder violated rule 9.01 of
Canon 9 and rule 1. 01 of Canon 1 of the code, respectively?
Ruling: The SC agreed with the findings and recommendation of the IBP
Board and held Atty. Bancolo administratively liable but dismiss the case
against Atty. Jarder.

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Atty. Bancolo admitted that the Complaint he filed for a former client
before the Office of the Ombudsman was signed in his name by a
secretary of his law office. Clearly, this is a violation of Rule 9.01 of Canon
9 of the Code of Professional Responsibility.
In the case of Cambaliza v. Cristal-Tenorio, the court held that public
policy requires that the practice of law be limited to those individuals
found duly qualified in education and character. Thus, the canons and
ethics of the profession enjoin him not to permit his professional services
or his name to be used in aid of, or to make possible the unauthorized
practice of law by, any agency, personal or corporate. And, the law makes
it a misbehavior on his part, subject to disciplinary action, to aid a layman
in the unauthorized practice of law.
In Republic v. Kenrick Development Corporation, we held that the
preparation and signing of a pleading constitute legal work involving the
practice of law which is reserved exclusively for members of the legal
profession. Atty. Bancolos authority and duty to sign a pleading are
personal to him. Although he may delegate the signing of a pleading to
another lawyer, he may not delegate it to a non-lawyer.
8.)
PESTO VS. MILLO, ADM. CASE NO. 9612, MAR. 13, 2013
(bungling of client's money)
Facts: Johnny Pesto (Johnny), a Canadian national, charged Atty. Marcelito
M. Millo with conduct unbecoming an officer of the Court, misleading his
client, bungling the transfer of title, and incompetence and negligence in
the performance of his duty as a lawyer.
In May 1990, his wife Abella Pesto (Abella) retained the services of Atty.
Millo to handle the transfer of title over a parcel of land to her name, and
the adoption of her niece, Arvi Jane Dizon. Johnny and Abella gave to Atty.
Millo the amounts of P14,000.00 for the transfer of title and P10,000.00
for the adoption case. Atty. Millo thereafter repeatedly gave them false
information and numerous excuses to explain his inability to complete the
transfer of title and made them believe that the capital gains tax for the
property had been paid way back in 1991, but they found out upon their
return to the country in February 1995 that he had not yet paid the tax.
When they confronted him, Atty. Millo insisted that he had already paid
the same, but he could not produce any receipt for the supposed
payment. Atty. Millo then further promised in writing to assume the
liability for the accrued penalties.

Exasperated by Atty. Millos neglect and ineptitude, Johnny brought this


administrative complaint in the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP). On
October 11, 2001, the IBP-CBD, through Commissioner Victoria GonzalezDe los Reyes, deemed the case submitted for resolution. On October 4,
2010, Investigating Commissioner Victor C. Fernandez, to whom the case
had
been
meanwhile
transferred,
submitted
a
report
and
recommendation, whereby he found Atty. Millo liable for violating Canon
18 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, and recommended his
suspension from the practice of law for six months.

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Ruling: Every attorney owes fidelity to the causes and concerns of his
clients. He must be ever mindful of the trust and confidence reposed in
him by the clients. His duty to safeguard the clients interests commences
from his engagement as such, and lasts until his effective release by the
clients. In that time, he is expected to take every reasonable step and
exercise ordinary care as his clients interests may require.

Without doubt, Atty. Millo had the obligation to serve his clients with
competence and diligence. Rule 18.03, Canon 18 of the Code of
Professional Responsibility, expressly so demanded of him, to wit:

CANON 18 A LAWYER SHALL SERVE HIS CLIENT WITH COMPETENCE AND


DILIGENCE.
Rule 18.03 A lawyer shall not neglect a legal matter entrusted to him,
and his negligence in connection therewith shall render him liable.

Atty. Millo claimed that his belated response to the charge was due to the
assurances of Abella that she would be withdrawing the complaint. The
Court disbelieves him, however, and treats his claim as nothing but a
belated attempt to save the day for himself. He ought to remember that
the withdrawal of an administrative charge for suspension or disbarment
based on an attorneys professional misconduct or negligence will not
furnish a ground to dismiss the charge. Suspension or disbarment
proceedings that are warranted will still proceed regardless of the lack or
loss of interest on the part of the complainant. The Court may even
entirely ignore the withdrawal of the complaint, and continue to
investigate in order to finally determine whether the charge of
professional negligence or misconduct was borne out by the record. This
approach bespeaks the Courts consistent view that the Legal Profession is
not only a lofty and noble calling, but also a rare privilege reserved only
for the deserving.

Atty. Millo made his situation even worse by consistently absenting


himself from the scheduled hearings the IBP had set for his benefit. His
disregard of the IBPs orders requiring his attendance in the hearings was
not only irresponsible, but also constituted utter disrespect for the
Judiciary and his fellow lawyers. Such conduct was absolutely unbecoming
of a lawyer, because lawyers are particularly called upon to obey Court
orders and processes and are expected to stand foremost in complying
with orders from the duly constituted authorities

12

The recommended penalty is not well taken. We modify the penalty,


because Atty. Millo displayed no remorse as to his misconduct, and could
not be given a soft treatment. His professional misconduct warranted a
longer suspension from the practice of law because he had caused
material prejudice to the clients interest. He should somehow be taught
to be more ethical and professional in dealing with trusting clients like
Johnny and Abella, who were innocently too willing to repose their utmost
trust in his abilities as a lawyer and in his trustworthiness as a legal
professional. He should remember that misconduct has no place in the
heart and mind of a lawyer who has taken the solemn oath to delay no
man for money or malice, and to conduct himself as a lawyer according to
the best of his knowledge and discretion. Under the circumstances,
suspension from the practice of law for six months is the condign and
commensurate penalty for him.

10.) JINON, VS. JIZ, A.C. No. 9615, MAR. 5, 2013 (9615 duty
to client and assigning another lawyer)
FACTS: The complaint alleged that Gloria, after the death of her brother
Charlie in July 2001, entrusted two (2) land titles covering properties
owned by their deceased parents to her sister-in-law, Viola J. Jinon (Viola).
Eventually, Gloria sold the Sta. Barbara Property, which resulted in
disagreements between her and Viola regarding their respective shares in
the proceeds. Consequently, Viola refused to return to Gloria TCT No. T119598, prompting Gloria to engage the services of Atty. Jizon on April 29,
2003 to recover the said title, for which she immediately paid an
acceptance fee of P17,000.00.3 In their subsequent meeting, Atty. Jiz
assured the transfer of the title in Glorias name.
On August 13, 2003, Gloria, upon Atty. Jizs instructions, remitted the
amount of P45,000.004 to answer for the expenses of the transfer.
However, when she later inquired about the status of her case, she was
surprised to learn from Atty. Jiz that a certain Atty. Caras was handling the
same. Moreover, when she visited the Leganes Property, which has been
leased out to one Rose Morado (Rose), she discovered that Atty. Jiz has
been collecting the rentals for the period June 2003 up to October 2004,
which amounted to P12,000.00. When she demanded for the rentals, Atty.
Jiz gave her only P7,000.00, explaining that the balance of P5,000.00
would be added to the expenses needed for the transfer of the title of the
Leganes Property to her name.
The foregoing incidents prompted Gloria to terminate the legal services of
Atty. Jiz and demand the return of the amounts of P45,000.00 and
P5,000.00 through a letter5 dated September 22, 2004, which has
remained unheeded.
To date, Atty. Jiz has not complied with his undertaking to recover TCT No.
T-119598 from Viola and effect its transfer in Glorias name, and has failed
to return her money despite due demands. Hence, the instant
administrative complaint.

13

1. The sole issue before the Court is whether Atty. Jiz should be
held administratively liable for having been remiss in his
duties as a lawyer with respect to the legal services he had
undertaken to perform for his client, Gloria.
After a careful perusal of the records, the Court concurs with the findings
of Commissioner Villanueva and the IBP Board of Governors that Atty. Jiz
was remiss in his duties as a lawyer in neglecting his clients case,
misappropriating her funds and disobeying the CBDs lawful orders
requiring the submission of his pleadings and his attendance at hearings.
He should thus be suspended from the practice of law in conformity with
prevailing jurisprudence.
The practice of law is considered a privilege bestowed by the State on
those who show that they possess and continue to possess the legal
qualifications for the profession. As such, lawyers are expected to
maintain at all times a high standard of legal proficiency, morality,
honesty, integrity and fair dealing, and must perform their four-fold duty
to society, the legal profession, the courts and their clients, in accordance
with the values and norms embodied in the Code.12
Lawyers may, thus, be disciplined for any conduct that is wanting of the
above standards whether in their professional or in their private capacity.
Undeniably, when a lawyer takes a clients cause, he covenants that he
will exercise due diligence in protecting the latters rights. Failure to
exercise that degree of vigilance and attention expected of a good father
of a family makes the lawyer unworthy of the trust reposed on him by his
client and makes him answerable not just to client but also to the legal
profession, the court and society.
Moreover, money entrusted to a lawyer for a specific purpose, such as for
the processing of transfer of land title, but not used for the purpose,
should be immediately returned.15 A lawyers failure to return upon
demand the funds held by him on behalf of his client gives rise to the
presumption that he has appropriated the same for his own use in
violation of the trust reposed to him by his client. Such act is a gross
violation of general morality as well as of professional ethics. It impairs
public confidence in the legal profession and deserves punishment.
In this case, Atty. Jiz committed acts in violation of his sworn duty as a
member of the bar. Aside from the demand letter17 dated April 29, 2003
which he sent to Viola, he failed to perform any other positive act in order
to recover TCT No. T-119598 from Viola for more than a year. He also
failed to return, despite due demand, the funds allocated for the transfer
of the title that he received from her.
11.) GARRIDO VS. GARRIDO, A.C. No. 6593 (Gross Immorality)
FACTS: Maelotisea Sipin Garrido filed a complaint-affidavit and a
supplemental affidavit for disbarment against the respondents Atty. Angel
E. Garrido (Atty. Garrido) and Atty. Romana P. Valencia (Atty. Valencia)
before the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) Committee on Discipline
charging them with gross immorality. She alleged in her affidavit that she
was married with her husband sometime in 1962. Later she found out that
her husband was with another woman and a child identified as Atty.
Ramona Paguida Valencia and Angeli Ramona Valencia Garrido,
respectively. She also found out that her husband and the woman were
14

married at Hongkong sometime on 1978. On June 1993, her husband left


their conjugal home and joined Atty. Ramona Paguida Valencia at their
residence .Since he left their conjugal home he failed and still failing to
give her needed financial support to the prejudice of our children who
stopped schooling because of financial constraints.
In her Counter-Affidavit, Atty. Valencia denied that she was the mistress of
Atty. Garrido. She explained that Maelotisea was not the legal wife of Atty.
Garrido since the marriage between them was void from the beginning
due to the then existing marriage of Atty. Garrido with Constancia. Atty.
Valencia claimed that Maelotisea knew of the romantic relationship
between her and Atty. Garrido, as they (Maelotisea and Atty. Valencia) met
in 1978. Maelotisea kept silent about her relationship with Atty. Garrido
and had maintained this silence when she (Atty. Valencia) financially
helped Atty. Garrido build a house for his second family. Atty. Valencia
alleged that Maelotisea was not a proper party to this suit because of her
silence; she kept silent when things were favorable and beneficial to her.
Atty. Valencia also alleged that Maelotisea had no cause of action against
her.
1. Atty. Garrido emphasized that all his marriages were
contracted before he became a member of the bar on May
11, 1979, with the third marriage contracted after the death
of Constancia on December 26, 1977. Does the fact affect
the disbarment proceedings?
As applied to the present case, the time that elapsed between the
immoral acts charged and the filing of the complaint is not material in
considering the qualification of Atty. Garrido when he applied for
admission to the practice of law, and his continuing qualification to be a
member of the legal profession. From this perspective, it is not important
that the acts complained of were committed before Atty. Garrido was
admitted to the practice of law. As we explained in Zaguirre v. Castillo,17
the possession of good moral character is both a condition precedent and
a continuing requirement to warrant admission to the bar and to retain
membership in the legal profession. Admission to the bar does not
preclude a subsequent judicial inquiry, upon proper complaint, into any
question concerning the mental or moral fitness of the respondent before
he became a lawyer.18 Admission to the practice only creates the
rebuttable presumption that the applicant has all the qualifications to
become a lawyer; this may be refuted by clear and convincing evidence to
the contrary even after admission to the Bar.
2. What is the effect of Maelotiseas affidavit of desistance on
the disbarment proceedings?
In light of the public service character of the practice of law and the
nature of disbarment proceedings as a public interest concern,
Maelotiseas affidavit of desistance cannot have the effect of discontinuing
or abating the disbarment proceedings. As we have stated, Maelotisea is
more of a witness than a complainant in these proceedings. We note
further that she filed her affidavits of withdrawal only after she had
presented her evidence; her evidence are now available for the Courts
examination and consideration, and their merits are not affected by her
desistance. We cannot fail to note, too, that Mealotisea filed her affidavit
of desistance, not to disown or refute the evidence she had submitted, but
solely because of compassion (and, impliedly, out of concern for her
15

personal financial interest in continuing friendly relations with Atty.


Garrido).
3. Did Atty Garrido possessed the good moral character
required of a lawyer at the time of his admission to the Bar?
By his actions, Garrido committed multiple violations relating to the legal
profession, specifically, violations of the bar admission rules, of his
lawyers oath, and of the ethical rules of the profession.
He did not possess the good moral character required of a lawyer at the
time of his admission to the Bar.27 As a lawyer, he violated his lawyers
oath,28 Section 20(a) of Rule 138 of the Rules of Court,29 and Canon 1 of
the Code of Professional Responsibility,30 all of which commonly require
him to obey the laws of the land. In marrying Maelotisea, he committed
the crime of bigamy, as he entered this second marriage while his first
marriage with Constancia was subsisting. He openly admitted his bigamy
when he filed his petition to nullify his marriage to Maelotisea.
He violated ethical rules of the profession, specifically, Rule 1.01 of the
Code of Professional Responsibility, which commands that he shall not
engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct; Canon 7 of
the same Code, which demands that [a] lawyer shall at all times uphold
the integrity and dignity of the legal profession; Rule 7.03 of the Code of
Professional Responsibility, which provides that, [a] lawyer shall not
engage in conduct that adversely reflects on his fitness to practice law,
nor should he, whether in public or private life, behave in a scandalous
manner to the discredit of the legal profession.
4. With respect to Atty Valencia, how should she be penalized?
We agree with the findings of Investigating Commissioner San Juan that
Atty. Valencia should be administratively liable under the circumstances
for gross immorality:
We find that Atty. Valencia violated Canon 7 and Rule 7.03 of the Code of
Professional Responsibility, as her behavior demeaned the dignity of and
discredited the legal profession. She simply failed in her duty as a lawyer
to adhere unwaveringly to the highest standards of morality.40 In
Barrientos v. Daarol,41 we held that lawyers, as officers of the court, must
not only be of good moral character but must also be seen to be of good
moral character and must lead lives in accordance with the highest moral
standards of the community. Atty. Valencia failed to live up to these
standards before she was admitted to the bar and after she became a
member of the legal profession.

12.)
ANONYMOUS VS. ACHAS, MTJ-11-1801, FEB. 27, 2013
(judge immorality)
Facts: The Court received an anonymous letter-complaint alleging
immorality and conduct unbecoming of a judge against Judge Rio C.
Achas. The letter calls on the Court to look into the morality of respondent
Judge Achas and alleges that: (1) it is of public knowledge in the city that
Judge Achas is living scandalously with a woman who is not his wife; (2) he
lives beyond his means; (3) he is involved with illegal activities through
his connection with bad elements, the kuratongs; ( 4) he comes to court
very untidy and dirty; (5) he decides his cases unfairly in exchange for
material and monetary consideration; and (6) he is involved with
16

cockfighting/gambling. Judge Achas denied all the charges but admitted


that he was married and only separated de facto from his legal wife for 26
years, and that he reared game cocks for leisure and extra income, having
inherited such from his forefathers.
Issue: Whether or not Judge Achas was immoral?
Held: Yes. Even if he was separated de factor from his legal wife for 26
years, the fact remains that he is still legally married to his wife. It is not
commendable, proper or moral for a judge to be perceived as going out
with a woman not his wife. Such is a blemish to his integrity and propriety,
as well as to that of the Judiciary. For going out in public with a woman not
his wife, Judge Achas has clearly failed to abide by the Canon 2 and 4
(Integrity and Propriety) of the New Code of Judicial Conduct for Philippine
Judiciary.
13.)
CARBAJOSA VS. PATRICIO, MTJ-13-1834, OCT. 2, 2013
(judge bias and partiality)
After acquiring a favourable judgment on his favour, Carbajosa filed a
motion for execution of judgment before the MCTC presided by Judge
Patricio. The adverse party opposed on the motion stating that she sent a
letter to the Chief justice asking for the review of her case and that the
same was favourable acted upon. Thereafter, Judge Patricio issued an
order holding in abeyance the resolution of Carbajosas motion and await
for the result from the chief justice, despite the objection of Carbajosa. On
the meantime, Judge Patricio granted the motion of the adverse party to
suspend proceedings on the ground that the issuance of the writ of
execution should await the resolution by the Third Division of the Supreme
Court of the letter as endorsed by the Chief Justice.
This prompted Carbajosa to institute the herein administrative complaint
imputing gross ignorance of the law, manifest partiality and evident bad
faith against Judge Patricio in continuously deferring the issuance of a writ
of execution for the final and executory judgment in the criminal case.
Ruling:
The Court agreed with the OCAs findings and recommendation that Judge
Patricio is guilty of gross ignorance of the law.
Any delay in the full execution of a final and executory decision is
repugnant to the ideal administration of justice. There was absolutely no
justifiable reason for Judge Patricio to rely on the latter and thereby thwart
the basic rules on execution of judgment.
The rules on execution are comprehensive enough for a judge not to know
how to apply them or to be confused by any auxiliary incidents. The
issuance of a writ of execution for a final and executory judgment is
ministerial. In other words, a judge is not given the discretion whether or
not to implement the judgment. He is to effect execution without delay
and supervise implementation strictly in accordance with the judgment.
Judge Patricios actuations unmistakably exhibit gross ignorance of the
law.
In Spouses Monterola v. Judge Caoibes, Jr., the Court found a judge
administratively liable for gross ignorance of the law when he
unreasonably delayed and refused the issuance of a writ of execution for a
final judgment.
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14.)LORENZANA VS. AUSTRIA, RTJ-09-2200, APR. 2, 2014 ( judge


conflict of interest)
Facts: The administrative complaints arose from the case "In the Matter
of the Petition to have Steel Corporation of the Philippines Placed under
Corporate Rehabilitation with Prayer for the Approval of the Proposed
Rehabilitation Plan," where the respondent was the presiding judge. The
complainant was the Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer
of Steel Corporation of the Philippines (SCP), a company then under
rehabilitation proceedings.
The complainant alleged that respondent committed Gross Ignorance of
the Law, Grave Abuse of Authority, Gross Misconduct, Grave
Incompetence, Irregularity in the Performance of Duty, Grave Bias and
Partiality, Lack of Circumspection, Conduct Unbecoming of a Judge, Failure
to Observe the Reglementary Period and Violation of the Code of
Professional Responsibility. According to complainant, respondent
appointed Atty. Gabionza as rehabilitation receiver over SCPs objections
and despite serious conflict of interest in being the duly appointed
rehabilitation receiver for SCP and, at the same time, the external legal
counsel of most of SCPs creditors; he is also a partner of the law firm that
he engaged as legal adviser. The respondent also conducted informal
meetings (which she termed as "consultative meetings" in her Order in
places outside her official jurisdiction (i.e., a first class golf club, a hotel
and sports club facilities in Metro Manila) and where she arbitrarily
dictated the terms, parameters and features of the rehabilitation plan she
wanted to approve for SCP. She also announced in the meetings that she
would prepare the rehabilitation plan for SCP.
The complainant likewise filed a supplemental complaint where he alleged
that the respondent committed an act of impropriety when she displayed
her photographs in a social networking website called "Friendster" and
posted her personal details as an RTC Judge, allegedly for the purpose of
finding a compatible partner. She also posed with her upper body barely
covered by a shawl, allegedly suggesting that nothing was worn
underneath except probably a brassiere.

Issue
Is Judge Austria bias or impartial?

Ruling

18

We likewise find the allegations of bias and partiality on the part of the
respondent baseless. The truth about the respondents alleged partiality
cannot be determined by simply relying on the complainants verified
complaint. Bias and prejudice cannot be presumed, in light especially of a
judges sacred obligation under his oath of office to administer justice
without respect to the person, and to give equal right to the poor and rich.
There should be clear and convincing evidence to prove the charge; mere
suspicion of partiality is not enough.
In the present case, aside from being speculative and judicial in character,
the circumstances cited by the complainant were grounded on mere
opinion and surmises. The complainant, too, failed to adduce proof
indicating the respondents predisposition to decide the case in favor of
one party. This kind of evidence would have helped its cause. The bare
allegations of the complainant cannot overturn the presumption that the
respondent acted regularly and impartially. We thus conclude that due to
the complainants failure to establish with clear, solid, and convincing
proof, the allegations of bias and partiality must fail.

19