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CASES: LEGAL ETHICS

community. Lawyers, as keepers of public faith, are


burdened with a higher degree of social responsibility and

Ui vs. Bonifacio
Facts: Lesli

Ui

thus must handle their personal affairs with great caution.


filed

an

administrative

complaint

for

disbarment against Atty. Iris Bonifacio on the ground of


immorality, for allegedly carrying an immoral relationship
with Carlos Ui, her (Lesli) husband.
In the proceeding before the IBP Commission on Bar
Discipline,

Iris

attached

photocopy

of

a marriage

certificate that said that she and Carlos got married in 1985
but according to the certificate of marriage obtained from the
Hawaii State Department of Health, they were married in
1987.

affairs. However the fact remains that her relationship with


Carlos, clothed as it was with what she believed as a valid
marriage,

cannot

be

considered

immoral.

Immorality

connotes conduct that shows indifference to the moral


norms of society and the opinion of good and respectable
members of the community. For such conduct to warrant
disciplinary action, it must be grossly immoral, it must be
so corrupt and false as to constitute a criminal act or
unprincipled as to be reprehensible to a high degree.

Issue: Whether or not Atty. Iris Bonifacio conducted herself


in an immoral manner for which she deserves to be barred
from the practice of law.
Held: NO. The

practice

of

law

is

privilege.

The

of the legal profession simply by passing the bar, he must


also have a continued possession of good moral character.
A lawyer may be disbarred for grossly immoral conduct ,
which has been defined as the conduct which is willful,
or

shameless,

A lawyer is not only required to refrain from adulterous


relationships but must also behave himself as to avoid
scandalizing the public by creating the belief that he is

bar candidate does not have the right to enjoy the practice

flagrant,

Iris Bonifacio was imprudent in managing her personal

and

which

shows

moral

indifference to the good and respectable members of the

flouting those moral standards. Her act of distancing herself


on her discovery that Carlos was married proves that she
had no intention of flaunting the law and the high
moral standard of the legal profession.
On the matter of the falsified marriage certificate, it is
contrary to human experience and highly improbable that
she did not know the year of her marriage or she failed to
1

check that the information on the document she attached to

settling aside their judgments, compelling them to grant new

her Answer were correct. Lawyers are called upon to

trials, ordering the discharge of offenders, or directing what

safeguard the integrity of the Bar, free from misdeeds and

particular steps shall be taken in the progress of a judicial

acts of malpractice.

In re: Cunanan, March 18, 1985

inquiry.
HELD: In decreeing the bar candidates who obtained in the
bar examinations of 1946 to 1952, a general average of 70

FACTS:

per cent without falling below 50 per cent in any subject, be

RA 972 Bar Fluners Act of 1953

admitted in mass to the practice of law, the disputed law is

Objectives: to admit to the Bar those candidates who

not a legislation; it is a judgment a judgment revoking

suffered from:

those promulgated by this Court during the aforecited year

(a) Insufficiency of reading materials and (b) inadequate

affecting the bar candidates concerned; and although this

preparation. By its declared objective, the law is contrary to

Court certainly can revoke these judgments even now, for

public interest because it qualifies 1,094 law graduates who

justifiable reasons, it is no less certain that only this Court,

confessedly had inadequate preparation for the practice of

and not the legislative nor executive department, that may

the profession.

be so. Any attempt on the part of any of these departments


would be a clear usurpation of its functions, as is the case

Admission to practice of law is almost without exception

with the law in question.

conceded everywhere to be the exercise of a judicial

function. Admission to practice have also been held to be

That the Constitution has conferred on Congress the power

the exercise of one of the inherent powers of the court.

to repeal, alter or supplement the rule promulgated by this

If the legislature cannot indirectly control the action of the

Tribunal, concerning the admission to the practice of law, is

courts by requiring of them construction of the law according

no valid argument. Section 13, article VIII of the Constitution

to its own views, it is very plain it cannot do so directly, by

provides:
2

delicate mission is to create a serious social danger.


Section 13. The Supreme Court shall have the power to

Moreover, the statement that there was an insufficiency of

promulgate

legal reading materials is grossly exaggerated.

rules

concerning

pleading,

practice,

and

procedure in all courts, and the admission to the practice of


law. Said rules shall be uniform for all courts of the same
grade and shall not diminish, increase or modify substantive
rights. The existing laws on pleading, practice and
procedure are hereby repealed as statutes, and are
declared Rules of Court, subject to the power of the
Supreme Court to alter and modify the same. The Congress
shall have the power to repeal, alter, or supplement the rules
concerning pleading, practice, and procedure, and the
admission to the practice of law in the Philippines.
Constitution of the Philippines, Art. VIII, sec. 13.
RATIONALE: The

public

interest

demands

of

legal

profession adequate preparation and efficiency, precisely


more so as legal problem evolved by the times become
more difficult. An adequate legal preparation is one of the
vital requisites for the practice of law that should be
developed constantly and maintained firmly. To the legal
profession is entrusted the protection of property, life, honor
and civil liberties. To approve officially of those inadequately
prepared individuals to dedicate themselves to such a
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ZORETA VS ATTY SIMPLICIANO

RONQUILLO vs. ROCO- Easement of Right of Way


Easements of right of way may not be acquired by
prescription because it is not a continuous easement.
FACTS:
Petitioners parcel of land was connected to the Naga
Market Place and Igualdad St. by an easement of a right of
way through the land of the Respondents, which they have
been using for more than 20 years. On May 1953, however,
respondents built a chapel right in the middle of the road,
blocking their usual path to the marketplace. One year after,
by means of force, intimidation, and threats, the owners
(respondents) of the land where the easement was situated,
planted wooden posts and fenced with barbed wires the
road, closing their right of way from their house to Igualdad
St. and Naga public market.
ISSUE:
Whether or not the easement of a right of way may be
acquired by prescription?
HELD: No.
Art. 620 of the CC provides that only continuous and
apparent easements may be acquired by prescription. The
easement of a right of way cannot be considered continuous

because its use is at intervals and is dependent on the acts


of man.

Minority Opinion (including the ponente):


Easements of right of way may already be acquired by
prescription, at least since the introduction into this
jurisdiction of the special law on prescription through the Old
Code of Civil Procedure, Act No. 190. Said law, particularly,
Section 41 thereof, makes no distinction as to the real rights
which are subject to prescription, and there would appear to
be no valid reason, at least to the writer of this opinion, why
the continued use of a path or a road or right of way by the
party, specially by the public, for ten years or more, not by
mere tolerance of the owner of the land, but through
adverse use of it, cannot give said party a vested right to
such right of way through prescription.

The uninterrupted and continuous enjoyment of a right of


way necessary to constitute adverse possession does not
require the use thereof every day for the statutory period,
but simply the exercise of the right more or less frequently
according to the nature of the use. (17 Am. Jur. 972)
"It is submitted that under Act No. 190, even discontinuous
servitudes can be acquired by prescription, provided it can
be shown that the servitude was actual, open, public,
continuous, under a claim of title exclusive of any other right
and adverse to all other claimants'."

CANON 1
BOLIVAR VS SIMBOL

e. Guilty of dishonesty, claiming to be mauled by the


victim (Kawawang driver, binaril na nga, may lakas pa
daw mag maul ng attorney na may baril. Hindi din
tanga mag rason si Dizon diba?);
f. Despite neing granted probation, he did not satisfy
his civil liabilities to the victim (Ano ba problema
nito?!)
Issues:
(1) Is Dizons crime of Frustrated Homicide
considered a crime involving moral turpitude
(2) Does his guilt to such crime warrant disbarment?
Held:

SORIANO V. DIZON
Facts:
A taxi driver (Soriano) filed an action for the
disbarment of Atty. Dizon, on the grounds that Dizon was
convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude, and violated
Canon 1 of Rule 1.01 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility.
Soriano allegedly fell victim to Dizon, who was found
to have:
a. Driven his car under the influence of liquor;
b. Reacted violently and attempted assault for over a
simple traffic incident;
c. Shot at Soriano, who was unarmed and not in the
position to defend himself (treachery);
d. Denied his acts despite positive evidence against him
(dishonesty);

(1) Yes.
Moral Turpitude is everything which is done contrary
to justice, modesty, or good morals
Dizon was obviously the aggressor for having
pursued and shot Soriano, not only because of his
treachery, but also his intent to escape, betrayed by his
attempt to wipe off his prints from the gun. His inordinate
reaction to a simple traffic incident clearly indicates his nonfitness to be a lawyer.
(2) Yes.
His illegal possession of fire-arms, and his unjust
refusal to satisfy his civil liabilities all justify disbarment. The
court reminds him that in oath and in the CPR, he is bound
to obey the laws of the land. The liabilities in question have
been sitting for 4 years, unsatisfied, despite it being the
condition for his probation (you ungrateful person!)
Dizon displayed an utter lack of good moral
character, which is an essential qualification for the privilege
to enter into the practice of law. Good moral character
includes at least common honesty.
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Manuel Dizon, hereby disbarred.


MARIA ELENA MORENO VS. ATTY. ERNESTO ARANETA
A.C. No. 1109. April 27, 2005
Facts: Ernesto Araneta issued two checks to Elena Moreno
for his indebtedness which amounts to P11, 000.00, the
checks were dishonored. It was dishonored because the
account against which is drawn is closed. Thereafter the
case was forwarded to the IBP Commission on Bar
Discipline pursuant to Rule 139-B of the Rules of Court. The
Commission recommended the suspension from the
practice of law for three (3) months. On 15 October 2002,
IBP Director for Bar Discipline Victor C. Fernandez,
transmitted the records of this case back to this Court
pursuant to Rule 139-B, Sec. 12(b) of the Rules of Court.
Thereafter, the Office of the Bar Confidant filed a Report
regarding various aspects of the case. The Report further
made mention of a Resolution from this Court indefinitely
suspending the respondent for having been convicted by
final judgment of estafa through falsification of a commercial
document.
Issue: Whether or not Araneta should be disbarred due to
the issuance of checks drawn against a closed account.
Held: The Court held that the act of a person in issuing a
check knowing at the time of the issuance that he or she
does not have sufficient funds in, or credit with, the drawee
bank for the payment of the check in full upon its
presentment, is a manifestation of moral turpitude. In Co v.

Bernardino and Lao v. Medel, we held that for issuing


worthless checks, a lawyer may be sanctioned with one
years suspension from the practice of law, or a suspension
of six months upon partial payment of the obligation. In the
instant case, however, herein respondent has, apparently
been found guilty by final judgment of estafa thru falsification
of a commercial document, a crime involving moral
turpitude, for which he has been indefinitely suspended.
Considering that he had previously committed a similarly
fraudulent act, and that this case likewise involves moral
turpitude, we are constrained to impose a more severe
penalty. In fact, we have long held that disbarment is the
appropriate penalty for conviction by final judgment of a
crime involving moral turpitude. As we said in In The Matter
of Disbarment Proceedings v. Narciso N. Jaramillo, the
review of respondent's conviction no longer rests upon us.
The judgment not only has become final but has been
executed. No elaborate argument is necessary to hold the
respondent unworthy of the privilege bestowed on him as a
member of the bar. Suffice it to say that, by his conviction,
the respondent has proved himself unfit to protect the
administration of justice.
In Re: FELIPE DEL ROSARIO
Felipe
del
Rosario
in
his
own
City Fiscal Guevara for the Government.

behalf.

RESOLUTION
9

MALCOLM, J.:
The supplementary report on bar examination irregularities
of the fiscal of the City of Manila, dealing with the case of
Felipe del Rosario, has been laid before the court for
consideration and action. It is recommended by the city
fiscal that Felipe del Rosario be ordered to surrender his
certificate of attorney and that he be forever prohibited from
taking the bar examination. An answer to the report has
been permitted to be made, in which the court is asked to
disapprove the report and to direct the setting aside of the
suspension to practice law by the respondent, heretofore
ordered by the court.

Felipe del Rosario was a candidate in the bar examination


who failed for the second time in 1925. He presented
himself for the succeeding bar examination in 1926 and
again was unable to obtain the required rating. Then on
March 29, 1927, he authorized the filing of a motion for the
revision of his papers for 1925 based on an alleged mistake
in the computation of his grades. The court, acting in good
faith, granted this motion, and admitted Felipe del Rosario to
the bar, but with justices dissenting. Subsequently, during
the general investigation of bar examination matters being
conducted by the city fiscal, this case was taken up, with the
result that a criminal charge was lodged in the Court of First
Instance of Manila against Juan Villaflor, a former employee

of the court and Felipe del Rosario. Villaflor pleaded guilty to


the information and was sentenced accordingly. Del Rosario
pleaded not guilty, and at the conclusion of the trial was
acquitted for lack of evidence.

The acquittal of Felipe del Rosario upon the criminal charge


is not a bar to these proceedings. The court is now acting in
an entirely different capacity from that which courts assume
in trying criminal cases. It is asking a great deal of the
members of the court to have them believe that Felipe del
Rosario was totally unaware of the illegal machinations
culminating in the falsification of public documents, of which
he was the sole beneficiary. Indeed, the conviction of Juan
Villaflor in itself demonstrates that Felipe del Rosario has no
legal right to his attorneys certificate. While to admit Felipe
del Rosario again to the bar examination would be
tantamount to a declaration of professional purity which we
are totally unable to pronounce. The practice of the law is
not an absolute right to be granted everyone who demands
it, but is a privilege to be extended or withheld in the
exercise of a sound discretion. The standards of the
legal profession are not satisfied by conduct which merely
enables one to escape the penalties of the criminal law. It
would be a disgrace to the Judiciary to receive one whose
integrity is questionable as an officer of the court, to clothe
him with all the prestige of its confidence, and then to permit
him to hold himself out as a duly authorized member of the
bar. (In re Terrell [1903], 2 Phil., 266; People ex rel.
10

Colorado Bar Association vs. Thomas [1906], 36 Colo., 126;


10 Ann. Cas., 886 and note; People vs. Macauley [1907],
230 Ill., 208; Ex parte Wall [1882], 107 U. S., 265.)
The recommendation contained in the special report
pertaining to Felipe del Rosario is approved, and within a
period of ten days from receipt of notice, the respondent
shall surrender his attorneys certificate to the clerk of this
court.

Donton vs. Tansingco (493 SCRA 1 [June 27, 2006])

Facts:

The respondent attorney prepared an


Occupancy Agreement recognizing the
ownership of a house and lot of Mr. Duane
O. Stier, an American citizen disqualified to
own land in the Philippines, despite the
transfer of title in the name of Peter
Donton, a Filipino citizen.

Issue:

Is the respondent guilty of malpractice?

Ans:

Yes
THE RULING OF THE COURT
The Court finds respondent liable for
violation of Canon 1 and Rule 1.02 of the
Code.

A lawyer should not render any service


or give advice to any client which will
involve defiance of the laws which he is
bound to uphold and obey. A lawyer who
assists a client in a dishonest scheme or
who connives in violating the law commits
an act which justifies disciplinary action
against the lawyer.
By his own admission, respondent
admitted that Stier, a U.S. citizen, was
disqualified from owning real property. Yet,
in his motion for reconsideration,
respondent admitted that he caused the
transfer of ownership to the parcel of land
to Stier. Respondent, however, aware of
the prohibition, quickly rectified his act and
transferred the title in complainants name.
But
respondent
provided
some
safeguards
by
preparing
several
documents, including the Occupancy
Agreement, that would guarantee Stiers
recognition as the actual owner of the
property
despite
its
transfer
in
complainants name. In effect, respondent
advised and aided Stier in circumventing
the constitutional prohibition against foreign
ownership of lands by preparing said
documents.
Respondent had sworn to uphold the
Constitution. Thus, he violated his oath and
the Code when he prepared and notarized
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the Occupancy Agreement to evade the


law against foreign ownership of lands.
Respondent used his knowledge of the law
to achieve an unlawful end. Such an act
amounts to malpractice in his office, or
which he may be suspended.
In Balinon V. De Leon, respondent Atty.
De Leon was suspended from the practice
of law for three years for preparing an
affidavit that virtually permitted him to
commit concubinage. In In re: Santiago,
respondent Atty. Santiago was suspended
from the practice of law for one year for
preparing a contract which declared the
spouses to be single again after nine years
of separation and allowed them to contract
separately subsequent marriages.
WHEREFORE, we find respondent Atty.
Emmanuel O. Tansingco GUILTY of
violation of Canon 1 and Rule 1.02 of the
Code of Professional Responsibility.
Accordingly, we SUSPEND respondent
Atty. Emmanuel O. Tansingco from the
practice of law for SIX MONTHS effective
upon finality of this Decision.
Let copies of this Decision be furnished
the Office of the Bar Confidant to be
appended to respondents personal record
as an attorney, the Integrated Bar of the
Philippines, the Department of Justice, and

all courts in the country for their information


and guidance.
SO ORDERED. (Donton vs. Tansingco,
493 SCRA 5-7 [June 27, 2006])
JUAN DULALIA, JR. v. ATTY. PABLO
C. CRUZ
(2007)
The primary duty of lawyers is to be well-informed of the
existing laws, o keep abreast with legal developments,
recent enactments, and jurisprudence, and be conversant
with basic legal principles.
Susan Soriano Dulalia (Susan), wife of Juan, applied for a
permit

in

theMunicipal

Government to

build

a high

rise building in Bulacan. The permit was not released due to


the opposition of Atty. Cruz who sent aletter to the Municipal
Engineers office, claiming that the building impedes the
airspace of their property which is adjacent to the Dulalias
property. Juan

Dulalia

(Juan) filed

complaint

for

disbarment against Atty. Pablo Cruz (Cruz) for immoral


conduct.

12

Juan also claimed that Cruzs illicit relationship with a


woman while still married is in violation of the Code of
Professional Responsibility.

Cruz

invokes

good

faith,

claiming to have had the impression that the applicable


provision at the time was Article 83 of the Civil Code, for
while Article 256 of the Family Code provides that the Code
shall have retroactive application, there is a qualification.
ISSUE:

with legal developments, recent enactments and


jurisprudence. It is imperative that they be conversant with
basic legalprinciples. Unless they faithfully comply with such
duty, they may not be able to discharge competently and
diligently their obligations as members of the bar. Worse,
they may become susceptible to committing mistakes.
The Court therefore concludes that Atty. Pablo C. Cruz is
guilty of violating Rule 1.01 and Canon 5 of the Code of
Professional Responsibilityand is suspended from the
practice of law for one year.

CANON 2
Director of Religious Affairs vs. Bayot , 74 Phil. 579

Whether or not Cruz violated the Code of Professional


Responsibility

Facts: Respondent is charged with malpractice for having

HELD:
Cruzs claim that he was not aware that the Family Code
already took effect on August 3, 1988 as he was in the
United States from 1986 and stayed there until he came
back to the Philippines together with his second wife on
October 9, 1990 does not lie, as ignorance of the law
excuses no one from compliance therewith.
Immoral conduct which is proscribed under Rule 1.01 of the
Code of Professional Responsibility, as opposed to grossly
immoral conduct, connotes conduct that shows indifference
to the moral norms of society and the opinion of good and
respectable members of the community. Gross immoral
conduct on the other hand must be so corrupt and false as
to constitute a criminal act or so unprincipled as to be
reprehensible to a high degree.
It must be emphasized that the primary duty of lawyers is to
obey the laws of the land and promote respect for the law
and legal processes. This duty carries with it the obligation
to be well-informed of the existing laws and to keep abreast

1943 which reads as follows

published an advertisement in Sunday Tribunal on June 13,

Marriage license promptly secured thru our assistance and


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.
Legal assistance service
12 Escolta, Manila
Room 105, Tel. 2-41-60
Issue: Whether or not the advertisement is ethical.
Held: It is undeniable that the advertisement in question was
13

or brokers, constitutes malpractice. It is highly unethical for

convinced his clients to transfer legal representation by


promising financial assistance and expeditious collection of
their claims. To induce them, Tolentino allegedly texted and
called them persistently. To support his allegation,
Linsangan presented the sworn affidavit of James Gregorio
attesting that Labiano tried to prevail over him to sever his
client-atty relationship with Linsangan. Also, he attached
respondents calling card:

an attorney to advertise his talents or skill as a

Front

a flagrant violation by the respondent of the ethics of his


profession, it being a brazen 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 through paid agents

merchant advertises his wares. Law is a profession and a


trade. The lawyer degrades himself and his profession who
stoops to and adopts the practice of merchantilism by
advertising his services or offering them to the public. As a
member of the bar, he defiles the temple of justice with
mercenary activities as the money-changers of old defiled
the temple of Jehovah. The most worthy 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.)
LINSANGAN V. TOLENTINO
Facts:
A complaint of disbarment was filed by Pedro
Linsangan of the Linsangan, Linsangan & Linsangan Law
Office against Atty. Nicomedes Tolentino for solicitation of
clients & encroachment of professional services. Linsangan
alleges that Tolentino with the help of paralegal Labiano

NICOMEDES TOLENTINO
LAW OFFFICE
CONSULTANCY & MARITIME SERVICES
W/ FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE
Fe Marie L. Labiano
Paralegal
1st MIJI Mansion, 2nd Flr. Rm. M-01
Tel: 362-7820
6th Ave., cor M.H. Del Pilar
Fax: (632) 362-7821
Grace Park, Caloocan City
Cel.: (0926) 2701719
Back
SERVICES OFFERED:
CONSULTATION AND ASSISTANCE
TO OVERSEAS SEAMEN
REPATRIATED DUE TO ACCIDENT,
INJURY, ILLNESS, SICKNESS, DEATH
AND INSURANCE BENEFIT CLAIMS
ABROAD.

14

In his defense, Tolentino denies knowing Labiano and


authorizing the printing and circulating of said calling card.
Issue:
W/N Atty. Tolentino is guilty of advertising his services
Held:
Yes. Atty. Tolentino suspended for violating Rules
1.03, 2.03, 8.02 and 16.04 and Canon 3 of the Code of
Professional Responsibility.
With regard to Canon 3, the practice of law is a
profession and not a business. Thus, lawyers should not
advertise their talents as merchants advertise their wares.
To allow lawyers to advertise their talents/skill is a
commercialization of the practice of law (degrading the
profession in the publics estimation).
With regard to Rule 2.03, lawyers are prohibited from
soliciting cases for purpose of gain, either personally or
through an agent. In relation to Rule 1.03, which proscribes
ambulance chasing (involving solicitation personally or
through an agent/broker) as a measure to protect
community from barratry and champertry.
As a final note regarding the calling card presented
as evidence by Linsangan, a lawyers best advertisement is
a well-merited. reputation for professional capacity and
fidelity to trust based on his character and conduct. For this
reason, lawyers are only allowed to announce their services
by publication in reputable law lists or use of simple
professional cards.
Professional calling cards may only contain the
following details:
(a) lawyers name;
(b) name of the law firm with which he is connected;
(c) address;
(d) telephone number and
(e) special branch of law practiced.

Labianos calling card contained the phrase with


financial assistance. The phrase was clearly used to entice
clients (who already had representation) to change counsels
with a promise of loans to finance their legal actions. Money
was dangled to lure clients away from their original lawyers,
thereby taking advantage of their financial distress and
emotional vulnerability. This crass commercialism degraded
the integrity of the bar and deserves no place in the legal
profession.
PACANA V. PASCUAL-LOPEZ
FACTS
Pacana was the Operations Director for Multitel
Communications Corporation (MCC). Multitel was besieged
by demand letters from its members and investors because
of the failure of its investment schemes. Pacana earned the
ire of Multitel investors after becoming the assignee of
majority of the shares of stock of Precedent and after being
appointed as trustee of a fund amounting to Thirty Million
Pesos (P30,000,000.00) deposited at Real Bank. Multitel
later changed its name to Precedent.
Pacana sought the advice of Lopez who also
happened to be a member of the Couples for Christ, a
religious organization where Pacana and his wife were also
active members. From then on, they constantly
communicated, with the former disclosing all his involvement
and interests in Precedent and Precedents relation with
Multitel. Lopez gave legal advice to Pacana and even
helped him prepare standard quitclaims for creditors. In
sum, Pacana avers that a lawyer-client relationship was
established between him and Lopez although no formal
document was executed by them at that time. There was an
attempt to have a formal retainer agreement signed but it
didnt push through.
15

After a few weeks, Pacana was surprised to receive a


demand letter from Lopez asking for the return and
immediate settlement of the funds invested by Lopezs
clients in Multitel. Lopez explained that she had to send it so
that her clients defrauded investors of Multitel would
know that she was doing something for them and assured
Pacana that there was nothing to worry about.
Both parties continued to communicate and
exchange information regarding the persistent demands
made by Multitel investors against Pacana. Pacana gave
Lopez several amounts, first 900,000; then 1,000,000 to be
used in his case. Even when Pacana went to the states,
they continued communicating and he continued sending
her money for the case.
Wary that Lopez may not be able to handle his legal
problems, Pacana was advised by his family to hire another
lawyer. When Lopez knew about this, she wrote to
complainant via e-mail, as follows:
Dear Butchie,
Hi! Ok ka lang? Hope you are fine. Sorry if I shocked you
but I had to do it as your friend and lawyer.
-----------I have been informed by Efie that your family is looking at
hiring Coco Pimentel. I know him very well as his sister
Gwen is my best friend. I have no problem if you hire him
but I will be hands off. I work differently kasi. -------- Efren
Santos will sign as your lawyer although I will do all the
work.
----------Please do not worry. Give me 3 months to make it all
disappear. But if you hire Coco, I will give him the free hand
to work with your case. -------- I will stand by you always.
This is my expertise. TRUST me! ---Candy

When he got back to the country, Lopez told Pacana


she had earned P12,500,000.00 as attorneys fees and was
willing to give P2,000,000.00 to him in appreciation for his
help. This never happened though. Lopez also ignored
Pacanas repeated requests for accounting. She continued
to evade him.
Finally, Pacana filed a case with the IBP for Lopezs
disbarment. The IBP disbarred her.
ISSUE
Whether or not Lopez had violated Rule 15.03 on
representing conflicting interests.
HELD
Yes!
Attorney
Maricel
Pascual-Lopez
was
DISBARRED for representing conflicting interests and for
engaging in unlawful, dishonest and deceitful conduct in
violation of her Lawyers Oath and the Code of Professional
Responsibility.
Ratio: Rule 15.03 A lawyer shall not represent
conflicting interests except by written consent of all
concerned given after full disclosure of the facts.
Lopez must have known that her act of constantly
and actively communicating with Pacana, who, at that time,
was beleaguered with demands from investors of Multitel,
eventually led to the establishment of a lawyer-client
relationship. Lopez cannot shield herself from the inevitable
consequences of her actions by simply saying that the
assistance she rendered to complainant was only in the
form of "friendly accommodations," precisely because at the
time she was giving assistance to complainant, she was
already privy to the cause of the opposing parties who had
been referred to her by the SEC.
Given the situation, the most decent and ethical thing
which Lopez should have done was either to advise Pacana
16

to engage the services of another lawyer since she was


already representing the opposing parties, or to desist from
acting as representative of Multitel investors and stand as
counsel for complainant. She cannot be permitted to do both
because that would amount to double-dealing and violate
our ethical rules on conflict of interest.
Indubitably, Lopez took advantage of Pacanas
hapless situation, initially, by giving him legal advice and,
later on, by soliciting money and properties from him.
Thereafter, Lopez impressed upon Pacana that she had
acted with utmost sincerity in helping him divest all the
properties entrusted to him in order to absolve him from any
liability. But simultaneously, she was also doing the same
thing to impress upon her clients, the party claimants
against Multitel, that she was doing everything to reclaim the
money they invested with Multitel.
ATTY. ISMAEL KHAN V. ATTY RIZALINO SIMBILLO
FACTS
A paid advertisement in the Philippine Daily Inquirer
was published which reads: Annulment of Marriage
Specialist [contact number]. Espeleta, a staff of the
Supreme Court, called up the number but it was Mrs.
Simbillo who answered. She claims that her husband, Atty.
Simbillo was an expert in handling annulment cases and can
guarantee a court decree within 4-6mos provided the case
will not involve separation of property and custody of
children. It appears that similar advertisements were also
published.
An administrative complaint was filed which was
referred to the IBP for investigation and recommendation.
The IBP resolved to suspend Atty. Simbillo for 1year. Note
that although the name of Atty. Simbillo did not appear in the
advertisement, he admitted the acts imputed against him but

argued that he should not be charged. He said that it was


time to lift the absolute prohibition against advertisement
because the interest of the public isnt served in any way by
the prohibition.
ISSUE
Whether
Rule3.01.

or

not

Simbillo

violated

Rule2.03

&

HELD
Yes!
The practice of law is not a business --- it is a
profession in which the primary duty is public service and
money. Gaining livelihood is a secondary consideration
while duty to public service and administration of justice
should be primary. Lawyers should subordinate their primary
interest.
Worse, advertising himself as an annulment of
marriage specialist he erodes and undermines the sanctity
of an institution still considered as sacrosanct --- he in fact
encourages people otherwise disinclined to dissolve their
marriage bond.
Solicitation of business is not altogether proscribed
but for it to be proper it must be compatible with the dignity
of the legal profession. Note that the law list where the
lawyers name appears must be a reputable law list only for
that purpose --- a lawyer may not properly publish in a daily
paper, magazineetc., nor may a lawyer permit his name to
be published the contents of which are likely to deceive or
injure the public or the bar.

CANON 3
17

DACANAY VS BAKER AND MCKENZIE

RATIO:

Ponente: AQUINO, J.

Baker & McKenzie, being an alien law firm, cannot practice


law in the Philippines (Sec. 1, Rule 138, Rules of Court).

FACTS:
[R]espondent Vicente A. Torres, using the letterhead of
Baker & McKenzie, which contains the names of the ten
lawyers, asked a certain Rosie Clurman for the release of 87
shares of Cathay Products International, Inc. to H.E.
Gabriel, a client. Attorney Dacanay, in his reply dated
December 7, 1979, denied any liability of Clurman to
Gabriel. He requested that he be informed whether the
lawyer of Gabriel is Baker & McKenzie and if not, what is
your purpose in using the letterhead of another law office.
Not having received any reply, he filed the instant complaint.
As admitted by the respondents in their memorandum,
Baker & McKenzie is a professional partnership organized in
1949 in Chicago, Illinois with members and associates in 30
cities around the world. Respondents, aside from being
members of the Philippine bar, practicing under the firm
name of Guerrero & Torres, are members or associates of
Baker & McKenzie.
ISSUE:
Whether or not Baker & McKenzie, an alien law firm, could
practice law in the Philippines.
HELD:
NO. Respondents were enjoined from practicing law under
the firm name Baker & McKenzie.

[R]espondents use of the firm name Baker & McKenzie


constituted a representation that being associated with the
firm they could render legal services of the highest quality
to multinational business enterprises and others engaged in
foreign trade and investment. This was unethical because
Baker & McKenzie was not authorized to practice law here.
MAURICIO C. ULEP V. THE LEGAL CLINIC, INC.
FACTS:
This is a petition praying for an order to the
respondent to cease and desist from issuing certain
advertisements pertaining to the exercise of the law
profession other than those allowed by law.
The said advertisement of the Legal Clinic invites
potential clients to inquire about secret marriage and divorce
in Guam and annulment, and the like. It also says that they
are giving free books on Guam Divorce.
Ulep claims that such advertisements are unethical
and destructive of the confidence of the community in the
integrity of lawyers. He, being a member of the bar, is
ashamed and offended by the said advertisements. On the
other hand, the respondent, while admitting of the fact of the
publication of the advertisements, claims that it is not
engaged in the practice of law but is merely rendering legal
support services through paralegals. It also contends that
such advertisements should be allowed based on certain US
cases decided.
ISSUE:
18

W/N the Legal Clinic Inc is engaged in the practice of


law.
W/N the same can properly be the subject of the
advertisements complained of.
HELD/RATIO:
Yes, it constitutes practice of law. No, the ads should
be enjoined.
Practice of law means any activity, in or out of court,
which requires the application of law, legal procedures,
knowledge, training and experience. To engage in the
practice of law is to perform those acts which are
characteristic of the profession. Generally, to practice law is
to give advice or render any kind of service that involves
legal knowledge or skill.
The practice of law is not limited to the conduct of
cases in court. It includes legal advice and counsel, and the
preparation of legal instruments and contract by which legal
rights are secured, although such matter may or may not be
pending in a court. When a person participates in a trial and
advertises himself as a lawyer, he is in the practice of law.
One who confers with clients, advises them as to their legal
rights and then takes the business to an attorney and asks
the latter to look after the case in court, is also practicing
law. Giving advice for compensation regarding the legal
status and rights of another and the conduct with respect
thereto constitutes a practice of law. The practice of law,
therefore, covers a wide range of activities in and out of
court. And applying the criteria, respondent Legal Clinic Inc.
is, as advertised, engaged in the practice of law.
What is palpably clear is that respondent corporation
gives out legal information to laymen and lawyers. With its
attorneys and so called paralegals, it will necessarily have to
explain to the client the intricacies of the law and advise him
or her on the proper course of action to be taken as may be

provided for by said law. That is what its advertisements


represent and for the which services it will consequently
charge and be paid. That activity falls squarely within the
jurisprudential definition of "practice of law."
The standards of the legal profession condemn the
lawyer's advertisement of his talents. A lawyer cannot,
without violating the ethics of his profession advertise his
talents or skill as in a manner similar to a merchant
advertising his goods. The only exceptions are when he
appears in a reputable law list and use of an ordinary,
simple professional card.
The advertisements do not fall under these
exceptions. To allow the publication of advertisements of the
kind used by respondent would only serve to aggravate
what is already a deteriorating public opinion of the legal
profession whose integrity has consistently been under
attack. Hence, it should be enjoined.
IN RE TAGORDA

FACTS:The respondent Atty. Luis Tagorda, a member of the


provincial board of Isabela, admits that in the last general
elections he made use of a card written in Spanish and
Ilocano, which in translation, read as follows:
LUIS B. TAGORDA Attoney; Notary Public; CANDIDATE
FOR BOARD MEMBER, Province of Isabela. (NOTE.- as
notaty public, he can execute for a deed of sale for the
purchase of land as required by the cadastral office, can
renew lost documents of your animals; can make your
application and final requisites for your homestead; and can
19

execute any kind of affidavit. As a lawyer he can help you


collect your loans although long overdue, as well as any
complaint for or against you. Come or write to him in his
town Echague, Isabela. He offers free consultation, and is
willing to help and serve the poor.)
The respondent further admits that he is the author of a
letter addressed to a lieutenant of barrio in his home
municipality written in Ilocano, which letter reads as follow:
I would like you all to be informed of this matter for the
reason that some people are in the belief that my residence
as member of the Board will be in Iligan and that I would
then be disqualified to exercise my profession as lawyer and
as notary public. Such is not the case and I would make it
clear that I am free to exercise my profession as formerly
and that I will have my residence here in Echague, I would
request your kind favor to transmit this information to your
barrio people in any of your meeting or social gatherings so
that they may be informed of my desire to live and to serve
with you in my capacity as lawyer and notary public. If the
people in your locality have not as yet contracted the
services of other lawyers in connection with the registration
of their land titles, I would be willing to handle the work in
court and would charge only three pesos for every
registration.

HELD:Application is give to se. 21 of the Code of Civil


Procedure, as amended by Act NO. 2828, providing The
practice of soliciting cases at law for the purpose of gain,

either personally or through paid agents or brokets,


constitutes malpractice, and to Canon 27 and 28 of the
Code of Ethics adopted by the American Bar Association in
1908 and by the Philippines Bar Association in 1917, to the
case of the respondent lawyer. The law is a profession and
not a business. The solicitation of employment by an
attorney is a ground for disbarment or suspension.
1.

Respondent Tagorda is suspended from the practice


of law for 1 month.

2.

For advertising his services in the Sunday Tribune


respondent attorney is reprimanded.

CANON 4 AND 5
De Roy and Ramos vs. CA [G.R. No. 80718
January 29, 1988]
Facts: The firewall of a burned-out building owned by
petitionerscollapsed and destroyed the tailoring shop
occupied by the family of private respondents,
resulting in injuries to private respondents and the
death of Marissa Bernal, a daughter. Private
respondents had been warned by petitioners to
vacate their shop in view of its proximity to the
weakened wall but the former failed to do so. On the
basis of the foregoing facts, the Regional Trial Court.
First Judicial Region, Branch XXXVIII, presided by
the Hon. Antonio M. Belen, rendered judgment finding
petitioners guilty of gross negligence and awarding
damages to private respondents. On appeal, the
decision of the trial court was affirmed in toto by
the Court of Appeals in a decision promulgated on
20

August 17, 1987, a copy of which was received by


petitioners on August 25, 1987. On September 9,
1987,the last day of the fifteen-day period to file an
appeal, petitioners filed a motion for extension of time
to file a motion for reconsideration, which was
eventually denied by the appellate court in the
Resolution of September 30, 1987. Petitioners filed
their motion for reconsideration on September 24,
1987 but this was denied in the Resolution because
the same was not filed within the grace period as
enscribed in the present jurisprudence .

file

motion

for

reconsideration

within

the

reglamentary period. It is the bounden duty of


counsel as lawyer in active law practice to keep
abreast

of

particularly

decisions
where

of

issues

the

Supreme

have

been

Court

clarified,

consistently reiterated, and published in the advance


reports of Supreme Court decisions(G. R. s) and in
such publications as the Supreme Court Reports
Annotated (SCRA) and law journals.

Issue: Whether or not the Court of Appeals committed


grave abuse of discretion in denying the denied the
motion and let the petitioner be bound by the

ABAD VS BLEZA

negligence of their counsel


Held: The Court finds that the Court of Appeals did
not commit a grave abuse of discretion when it

There are two administrative cases against Judge Ildefonso


Bleza here.

denied petitioners' motion for extension of time to file


a motion for reconsideration. In the instant case,
petitioners' motion for extension of time was more

Case 1

than a year after the expiration of the grace period.


Hence, it is no longer within the coverage of the
grace period. Considering the length of time from the
expiration of the grace period to the promulgation of
the decision of the Court of Appeals on August 25,
1987, petitioners cannot seek refuge in the ignorance
of their counsel regarding said rule for their failure to

In 1981, a shooting incident in a cockpit occurred where


Gregorio Abad, a colonel escaped death. In that incident,
Abad had an argument with one Potenciano Ponce and the
latters bodyguard, Francisco Sabater Jr. Sabater shot Abad
and due to medical intervention, Abad survived. Abad filed
two separate criminal cases against Ponce and Sabater.
Ponce was acquitted due to insufficiency of evidence
(because there were conflicting testimonies) while Sabater
21

was found guilty of frustrated homicide but with mitigating


circumstances of voluntary surrender and lack of intent to
kill.
Abad, not satisfied with Blezas decisions filed
administrative case against Bleza,

record and same were presented as evidence which were


even (allegedly) uncontroverted.

an

Case 2

ISSUE: Whether or not Bleza should be disciplined.

HELD: No (in both cases). In the first case, Bleza erred in


appreciating the mitigating circumstance of lack of intent to
kill in favor of Sabater but such error does not hold him
administratively liable.

Pacifico Ocampo was an employee of the Manila


International Airport Authority. He filed an administrative
case against one Ricardo Ortiz.

After that, Ocampo alleged that Crisanto Cruz (perhaps a


friend of Ortiz? not mentioned in the case), tried to
persuade Ocampo not to continue with the administrative
case against Ortiz. Ocampo did not accede so allegedly,
Cruz filed a separate administrative complaint against
Ocampo. In turn, Ocampo filed a civil case against Cruz
before Judge Bleza. Ocampo alleged that the administrative
case against him was baseless and the same made him
suffer embarrassment, mental shock, anxieties, sleepless
nights, and loss of appetite.

Ocampo won and Bleza ordered Cruz to pay for damages.


Cruz filed an administrative case against Bleza for allegedly
knowingly rendering a wrongful decision as Cruz averred
that the administrative case was based on Ocampos
absenteeism, inefficiency and tardiness which were all on

In Criminal Law, in cases of frustrated homicide there is


inherently an intention to kill for if otherwise, it would have
been a case of physical injuries. Bleza found Sabater guilty
of frustrated homicide hence it is error for him to appreciate
lack of intention to kill as a mitigating circumstance.

But as a matter of public policy, in the absence of fraud,


dishonesty or corruption, the acts of a judge in his judicial
capacity are not subject to disciplinary action, even though
such acts are erroneous. Even on the assumption that the
judicial officer has erred in the appraisal of the evidence, he
cannot be held administratively or civilly liable for his judicial
action. A judicial officer cannot be called to account in a civil
action for acts done by him in the exercise of his judicial
function, however erroneous. Not every error or mistake of a
judge in the performance of his duties makes him liable
therefor. To hold a judge administratively accountable for
every erroneous ruling or decision he renders, assuming
22

that he has erred, would be nothing short of harassment and


would make his position unbearable.

is premature to decide upon it. Only after the appellate court


holds in a final judgment that a trial judges alleged errors
were committed deliberately and in bad faith may a charge
of knowingly rendering an unjust decision be leveled against
him.

In the second case, the Supreme Court took notice of the


fact that it is on appeal before the Court of Appeals hence it

23