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CBD Case No.

176 January 20, 1995

SALLY D. BONGALONTA, complainant,
In a sworn letter-complaint dated February 15, 1995, addressed to the Commission on Bar Discipline, National Grievance Investigation
Office, Integrated Bar of the Philippines, complainant Sally Bongalonta charged Pablito M. Castillo and Alfonso M. Martija, members of
the Philippine Bar, with unjust and unethical conduct, to wit: representing conflicting interests and abetting a scheme to frustrate the
execution or satisfaction of a judgment which complainant might obtain.
The letter-complaint stated that complainant filed with the Regional Trial Court of Pasig, Criminal Case No. 7635-55, for estafa, against
the Sps. Luisa and Solomer Abuel. She also filed, a separate civil action Civil Case No. 56934, where she was able to obtain a writ of
preliminary attachment and by virtue thereof, a piece of real property situated in Pasig, Rizal and registered in the name of the Sps.
Abuel under TCT No. 38374 was attached. Atty. Pablito Castillo was the counsel of the Sps. Abuel in the aforesaid criminal and civil
During the pendency of these cases, one Gregorio Lantin filed civil Case No. 58650 for collection of a sum of money based on a
promissory note, also with the Pasig Regional Trial Court, against the Sps. Abuel. In the said case Gregorio Lantin was represented by
Atty. Alfonso Martija. In this case, the Sps. Abuel were declared in default for their failure to file the necessary responsive pleading and
evidence ex-parte was received against them followed by a judgment by default rendered in favor of Gregorio Lantin. A writ of execution
was, in due time, issued and the same property previously attached by complainant was levied upon.
It is further alleged that in all the pleadings filed in these three (3) aforementioned cases, Atty. Pablito Castillo and Atty. Alfonso Martija
placed the same address, the same PTR and the same IBP receipt number to wit" Permanent Light Center, No. 7, 21st Avenue, Cubao,
Quezon City, PTR No. 629411 dated 11-5-89 IBP No. 246722 dated 1-12-88.
Thus, complainant concluded that civil Case No. 58650 filed by Gregorio Lantin was merely a part of the scheme of the Sps. Abuel to
frustrate the satisfaction of the money judgment which complainant might obtain in Civil Case No. 56934.
After hearing, the IBP Board of Governors issued it Resolution with the following findings and recommendations:
Among the several documentary exhibits submitted by Bongalonta and attached to the records is a xerox copy of
TCT No. 38374, which Bongalonta and the respondents admitted to be a faithful reproduction of the original. And it
clearly appears under the Memorandum of Encumbrances on aid TCT that the Notice of Levy in favor of Bongalonta
and her husband was registered and annotated in said title of February 7, 1989, whereas, that in favor of Gregorio
Lantin, on October 18, 1989. Needless to state, the notice of levy in favor of Bongalonta and her husband is a
superior lien on the said registered property of the Abuel spouses over that of Gregorio Lantin.
Consequently, the charge against the two respondents (i.e. representing conflicting interests and abetting a scheme
to frustrate the execution or satisfaction of a judgment which Bongalonta and her husband might obtain against the
Abuel spouses) has no leg to stand on.
However, as to the fact that indeed the two respondents placed in their appearances and in their pleadings the same
IBP No. "246722 dated 1-12-88", respondent Atty. Pablito M. Castillo deserves to be SUSPENDED for using,
apparently thru his negligence, the IBP official receipt number of respondent Atty. Alfonso M. Martija. According to the
records of the IBP National Office, Atty. Castillo paid P1,040.00 as his delinquent and current membership dues, on
February 20, 1990, under IBP O.R. No. 2900538, after Bongalonta filed her complaint with the IBP Committee on Bar
The explanation of Atty. Castillo's Cashier-Secretary by the name of Ester Fraginal who alleged in her affidavit dated
March 4, 1993, that it was all her fault in placing the IBP official receipt number pertaining to Atty. Alfonso M. Martija in
the appearance and pleadings Atty. Castillo and in failing to pay in due time the IBP membership dues of her
employer, deserves scant consideration, for it is the bounded duty and obligation of every lawyer to see to it that he
pays his IBP membership dues on time, especially when he practices before the courts, as required by the Supreme
WHEREFORE, it is respectfully recommended that Atty. Pablito M. Castillo be SUSPENDED from the practice of law
for a period of six (6) months for using the IBP Official Receipt No. of his co-respondent Atty. Alfonso M. Martija.
The complaint against Atty. Martija is hereby DISMISSED for lack of evidence. (pp. 2-4, Resolution)
The Court agrees with the foregoing findings and recommendations. It is well to stress again that the practice of law is not a right but a
privilege bestowed by the State on those who show that they possess, and continue to possess, the qualifications required by law for
the conferment of such privilege. One of these requirements is the observance of honesty and candor. Courts are entitled to expect
only complete candor and honesty from the lawyers appearing and pleading before them. A lawyer, on the other hand, has the
fundamental duty to satisfy that expectation. for this reason, he is required to swear to do no falsehood, nor consent to the doing of any
in court.

WHEREFORE, finding respondent Atty. Pablito M. Castillo guilty committing a falsehood in violation of his lawyer's oath and of the
Code of Professional Responsibility, the Court Resolved to SUSPEND him from the practice of law for a period of six (6) months, with a
warning that commission of the same or similar offense in the future will result in the imposition of a more severe penalty. A copy of the
Resolution shall be spread on the personal record of respondent in the Office of the Bar Confidant.


A.C. No. 5830. January 26, 2004
Atty Pekas and Kollin substituted Atty. Bustamante as a counsels for the Fanged Spouses.
Petitioner Malecdan bought a parcel of land located in Baguio City from the Fanged spouses. The money was received by Eliza Fanged
and deposited in the account of Atty. Artemio Bustamante, then counsel for the latter. The complainant later found out, however, that the
said lot was the subject of a controversy between the former owners and the Fanged Spouses.
Then Kollin replaced Bustamante. He filed for a petition for rescission over the contract of sale, without returning the amount of money
to Malecdan. While Malecdan was in the US, the Fanged spouses, Atty Bustamante and the PCIB (bank) signed a compromised
contract, and Malecdan was not made a signatory to such contract. They caused the transfer of P30K from the account of Bustamante
to a separate account for Kollin and Pekas as attorneys fees.
Now, Malecdan files a case for disbarment against Kollin and Pekas, because not only was she prejudiced from such withdrawal of
money, but they also committed acts against the IBP in contravention/violation to the lawyers oath that they shall uphold the laws of the

Issue: WON Kollin and Pekas should be suspended? YES

The amount of P30K which the respondents took for themselves as attorneys fees belonged to a third person, not their client, as
admitted by them in their complaint; the owner was, in fact, an adverse party. It was the possession of the money, its entitlement, which
was in fact put in issue in the complaint for rescission of contract, and, if respondent Atty. Kollin is to be believed, prompted the filing of
the complaint itself.
Atty. Kollin knew that the money did not belong to his client, Eliza Fanged, but still he knowingly withdrew the amount of P30K to serve
his interests.

Kollin used Pekas inexperience to gain:

By having respondent Atty. Pekas sign the Manifestation of Compromise Settlement, it was the intention of respondent Atty. Kollin to
distance himself from such pleading and claim no responsibility or participation therein so that the same would not be tainted by his
apparent knowledge of the defect in Eliza Fangeds right to claim the sales proceeds. In this respect, respondent Atty. Kollin and his
client Eliza [F]anged have succeeded as they have secured the release of the sales proceeds to the detriment and prejudice of herein

Pekas knew that there was no valid compromise agreement, as one of the parties in the case was absent at the time it was entered
into. He knew that no valid notice was given to the complainant, since the signatory to the notice of the manifestation of compromise
agreement was a certain Veronica Buking.

It is a settled principle that the compensation of a lawyer should be but a mere incident of the practice of law, the primary purpose of
which is to render public service. The practice of law is a profession and not a money-making trade. The process of imbibing ethical
standards can begin with the simple act of openness and candor in dealing with clients, which would progress thereafter towards the
ideal that a lawyers vocation is not synonymous with an ordinary business proposition but a serious matter of public interest.
DECISION: Pekas suspended for 6 months, Kollin for 3 years.

Facts: This proceeding for disbarment was filed by complainant Angel Albano against respondent Perpetua Coloma, a member of
the Philippine Bar. n a letter dated !une "#, $%&" addressed to this Court, complainant alleged that during the !apanese occupation
hismother, 'elfina A(uino, and he retained the services of respondent as counsel for them as plaintiffs in Civil Case )o. *$*+ of the
Court of First nstance of locos )orte. After which came the accusation that after liberation and long after the courts had been
reorganied, respondent failed to e-pedite the hearing and termination of the case, as a result of which they had themselves
represented by another lawyer. This notwithstanding, it was claimed that respondent intervened in the case to collect her attorneys
fees. t was then alleged that during the hearing they were surprised when respondent presented in e-hibit a document showing that
they as well as their co/plaintiffs in the case promised to pay her a contingent fee of 00/1203 of whatever could be recovered whether in
land or damages.
Issue: 4ay a lawyer be removed for her failure to comply with her obligations as counsel as she served faithfully, efficiently, continuously
and to the best of her 5nowledge andcapacity.
Held: no, a lawyer be removed without just cause. The 9olicitor eneral could thus rightfully assert that if there was anyone guilty of bad faith in
this case ;it is complainant and his co/plaintiffs in Civil Case )o. *$*+ who, after benefiting from the valuable services of respondent
in said case, tried to renege on their agreement for the payment of the latters contingent attorneys fees by dismissing her as their
counsel after she had already won for them said case in the trial court and the Court of Appeals, and later, by attempting to impugn the
authenticity and genuineness of their written agreement for the payment of attorneys fees, . . . .;Counsel, any counsel, who is worthy
of his hire, is entitled to be fully recompensed for his services. <ith his capital consisting solely of his brains and with his s5ill, ac(uired at tremendous
cost not only in money but in the e-penditure of time and energy, he is entitled to the protection of any 8udicial tribunal against any
attempt on the part of a client to escape payment of his fees. t is indeed ironic if after putting forth the best that is in him to
secure 8ustice for the party he represents, he himself would not get his due. 9uch an eventuality this Court is determined to avoid. t
views with disapproval any and every effort of those benefited by counsels services to deprive him of his hard/earned honorarium.
9uch anattitude deserves condemnation. There is this additional point to consider. As Cardoo aptly observed: ;=eputation >in the legal
profession? is a plant of tender growth, and its bloom, once lost, is not easily

In 1984, The Legal Clinic was formed by Atty. Rogelio Nogales. Its aim, according to Nogales was to move toward
specialization and to cater to clients who cannot afford the services of big law firms. Now, Atty. Mauricio Ulep filed a
complaint against The Legal Clinic because of the latters advertisements which contain the following:
It is also alleged that The Legal Clinic published an article entitled Rx for Legal Problems in Star Week of
Philippine Star wherein Nogales stated that they The Legal Clinic is composed of specialists that can take care of a
clients problem no matter how complicated it is even if it is as complicated as the Sharon Cuneta-Gabby
Concepcion situation. He said that he and his staff of lawyers, who, like doctors, are specialists in various fields,
can take care of it. The Legal Clinic, Inc. has specialists in taxation and criminal law, medico-legal problems, labor,
litigation and family law. These specialists are backed up by a battery of paralegals, counselors and attorneys.
As for its advertisement, Nogales said it should be allowed in view of the jurisprudence in the US which now allows it
(John Bates vs The State Bar of Arizona). And that besides, the advertisement is merely making known to the public
the services that The Legal Clinic offers.

ISSUE: Whether or not The Legal Clinic is engaged in the practice of law; whether such is allowed; whether or not
its advertisement may be allowed.

HELD: Yes, The Legal Clinic is engaged in the practice of law however, such practice is not allowed. The Legal
Clinic is composed mainly of paralegals. The services it offered include various legal problems wherein a client may
avail of legal services from simple documentation to complex litigation and corporate undertakings. Most of these
services are undoubtedly beyond the domain of paralegals, but rather, are exclusive functions of lawyers engaged in
the practice of law. Under Philippine jurisdiction however, the services being offered by Legal Clinic which constitute
practice of law cannot be performed by paralegals. Only a person duly admitted as a member of the bar and who is
in good and regular standing, is entitled to practice law.

Anent the issue on the validity of the questioned advertisements, the Code of Professional Responsibility provides
that a lawyer in making known his legal services shall use only true, honest, fair, dignified and objective information
or statement of facts. The standards of the legal profession condemn the lawyers advertisement of his talents. A
lawyer cannot, without violating the ethics of his profession, advertise his talents or skills as in a manner similar to a
merchant advertising his goods. Further, the advertisements of Legal Clinic seem to promote divorce, secret

marriage, bigamous marriage, and other circumventions of law which their experts can facilitate. Such is highly

The Supreme Court also noted which forms of advertisement are allowed. The best advertising possible for a lawyer
is a well-merited reputation for professional capacity and fidelity to trust, which must be earned as the outcome of
character and conduct. Good and efficient service to a client as well as to the community has a way of publicizing
itself and catching public attention. That publicity is a normal by-product of effective service which is right and
proper. A good and reputable lawyer needs no artificial stimulus to generate it and to magnify his success. He easily
sees the difference between a normal by-product of able service and the unwholesome result of propaganda. The
Supreme Court also enumerated the following as allowed forms of advertisement:

[A.M. No. P-03-1690. April 4, 2003]

JUDGE ESTRELLITA M. PAAS, petitioner, vs. EDGAR E. ALMARVEZ, respondent.
[A.M. No. MTJ-01-1363. April 4, 2003
EDGAR E. ALMARVEZ, petitioner, vs. Judge ESTRELLITA M. PAAS, respondent.
[A.M. No. 01-12-02-SC. April 4, 2003]
[In Re: Use by Atty. Renerio G. Paas as an Office in His Private Practice of His Profession the Office of His Wife, Pasay City
MeTC Judge Estrellita M. Paas.
Pasay City Metropolitan Trial Court (MeTC), Branch 44 Presiding Judge Estrellita M. Paas administratively charged Court
Aide/Utility Worker Edgar E. Almarvez with discourtesy, disrespect, insubordination, neglect in performing his duties, disloyalty,
solicitation of monetary consideration and gross violation of the Civil Service Law. The case was docketed as A.M. OCA IPI No. 00956-P.
In her complaint, Judge Paas alleged that Almarvez is discourteous to his co-employees, lawyers and party litigants; has failed to
maintain the cleanliness in and around the court premises despite order to do so, thus amounting to insubordination; was, and on
several instances, habitually absent from work or made it appear that he reported for work by signing the logbook in the morning, only
to stay out of the office the whole day; asked from detention prisoners P100.00 to P200.00 before he released to them their Release
Orders; asked for amounts in excess of what was necessary for the purchase of stamps and pocketed the difference; once failed to
mail printed matter on July 11, 2000 and kept for his own use the amount given to him for the purpose; and divulged confidential
information to litigants in advance of its authorized release date for a monetary consideration, thus giving undue advantage or favor to
the paying party, in violation of Rep. Act No. 3019 (The Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act). [1]
Pasay City MeTC Branch 44 Clerk of Court Pedro C. Doctolero, Jr., by his Affidavit, [2] and members of the court staff,[3] by a Joint
Affidavit, attested that Almarvez failed to maintain the cleanliness in and around the court premises, and had shown discourtesy in
dealing with Judge Paas and his co-employees. Doctoleros affidavit also corroborated Judge Paas allegation that Almarvez would
merely sign the logbook in the morning and thereafter stay out of the office.
Pasay City Postmaster Emma Z. Espiritu, by Certification dated August 2, 2000, [4] attested that the alleged printed matter intended
to be mailed on July 11, 2000 was not included in the list of registered mails posted in the Pasay City Post Office on said date.
Jail Escort Russel S. Hernandez and Jail Officer II Rosendo Macabasag, both assigned to the Pasay City Jail, by their respective
affidavits,[5] attested that on several occasions, they saw Almarvez receive from detention prisoners P100.00 to P200.00 in
consideration of the release of their Release Orders.
Almarvez, by Answer of September 25, 2000, [6] denied Judge Paas charges, and alleged that the real reason why Judge Paas
filed the case against him was because she suspected him of helping her husband, Atty. Renerio G. Paas, conceal his marital
indiscretions; since she failed to elicit any information from him, she resorted to calling him names and other forms of harassment; on
September 6, 2000, she hurled at him the following invectives before the other employees of the court: Walang kuwenta, ahas ka,
driver lang kita, pinaasenso kita, walang utang na loob, pinagtatakpan mo pa ang asawa ko, ulupong; and she insisted that he sign a
prepared resignation letter, a copy of which he was not able to keep.
Almarvez added that he had been subjected by Judge Paas to the following incidents of oppression and abuse of authority: On
July 28, 2000, he was called by the Judge to her chambers where she berated him as follows: Sinungaling ka, ang dami mong alam,
hindi ka nagsasabi ng totoo sa akin, gago, tanga, pirmahan mo itong resignation letter, kung hindi kakasuhan kita ng estafa at
falsification; the next day, the Judge, on seeing him, told him Bakit ka nandiyan, mag-leave ka sa Lunes; and on July 31, 2000, the
Judge called him again to her chambers and told him Ang kapal ng mukha mo, pumasok ka pa dito, gago, kaya kita ipinasok dito dahil
driver kita.
Continuing, Almarvez claimed that on July 31, 2000, he reported the foregoing incidents to Pasay City MeTC Executive Judge
Maria Cancino Erum who advised him to report the same to the Office of the Clerk of Court; and on August 1, 2000, he executed a
sworn statement-complaint[7] against Judge Paas and went to the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) to file it, but he was advised
to try to talk the matter over with her who then told him that they should forget all about it.
On the merits of the charges, Almarvez denied ever requesting for money in exchange for the release of court orders and alleged
that both Hernandez and Macabasag executed their respective affidavits because Judge Paas was a principal sponsor at their
respective weddings; Hernandez was in fact indebted to the Judge for helping him cover-up the escape of a detainee under his charge;
the courts mail matters were always sealed whenever he received them for mailing and he never tampered with their contents; the
alleged unmailed printed matter was actually posted on June 28, 2000, not on July 11, 2000, via ordinary instead of registered mail,

because the money given to him for the purpose was insufficient; and on the days when he was out of the office, he was actually
performing personal errands for the judge and her husband, Atty. Paas, who treated him as their personal driver and messenger.
As further proof of Judge Paas oppressive behavior towards him, Almarvez claimed that she ordered him to undergo a drug test
per Memorandum dated September 7, 2000, [8] even if he had no history of drug abuse on a periodic or continuous basis as shown by
the test results of his examination.[9]
The Court treated respondents Answer as a counter-complaint against Judge Paas and docketed it as A.M. No. MTJ-01-1363.
The two administrative cases were consolidated and referred for evaluation to the OCA, which assigned them to Executive Judge
Vicente L. Yap of Pasay City RTC, Branch 114 for investigation.
In a separate case for inhibition of Judge Paas in a criminal case, it was revealed that Judge Paas husband, private practitioner
Atty. Paas, was using his wifes office as his office address in his law practice, in support of which were submitted copies of a Notice of
Appeal signed by Atty. Paas, notices from Pasay City RTC Branch 109 and from the Supreme Court with respect to the case of People
vs. Louie Manabat, et al. (GR Nos. 140536-37) which indicated Atty. Paas address to be Room 203, Hall of Justice, Pasay City,[10] the
office assigned to Pasay City MeTC, Branch 44.
Pursuant to Sec. 1 of Rule 139-B [11] of the Rules of Court which allows the Supreme Court to motu proprio initiate proceedings for
the discipline of attorneys, this Court resolved to docket the matter as A.M. No. 01-12-02-SC and to consolidate it with A.M. OCA IPI
No. 00-956-P and AM No. MTJ-01-1363.
In compliance with the December 4, 2001 Resolution[12] of the Court en banc, Judge and Atty. Paas submitted their January 16,
2002 Joint Affidavit[13] wherein they vehemently denied the charge that the latter was using Room 203 of the Pasay City Hall of Justice
as his office address, they claiming that Atty. Paas actually holds office at 410 Natividad Building, Escolta, Manila with his partner Atty.
Herenio Martinez; Atty. Paas would visit his wife at her office only when he has a hearing before the Pasay City courts or Prosecutors
Office, or when he lunches with or fetches her, or when he is a guest during special occasions such as Christmas party and her birthday
which are celebrated therein; and Judge Paas would never consent nor tolerate the use of the court for any personal
activities. Attached to the Joint Affidavit were the separate sworn statements of Atty. Paas law partner Atty. Herenio E. Martinez [14] and
secretary Nilda L. Gatdula[15] attesting that he is holding office at the above-said address in Escolta, and the Joint Affidavit of the Pasay
City MeTC Branch 44 court personnel[16] attesting that Atty. Paas visits to the court are neither routine nor daily occurrences, and he
never used the court in the practice of his profession.
On January 24, 2002, Judge Paas executed a Supplemental Affidavit [17] wherein she admitted that Atty. Paas did use her office as
his return address for notices and orders in Crim. Case Nos. 98-1197 to 98-1198, People vs. Louie Manabat y Valencia and Raymond
dela Cruz y Salita, (now docketed in this Court as G.R. Nos. 140536-37), lodged at the Pasay City RTC, Branch 109, but only to
ensure and facilitate delivery of those notices, but after the cases were terminated, all notices were sent to his office address in Escolta.
By Resolution of February 12, 2002,[18] the Court referred the matter to the OCA for evaluation, report and recommendation.
After the completion of his investigation of A.M. OCA IPI No. 00-956-P and A.M. No. MTJ-01-1363, Judge Yap submitted his
Report/Recommendation dated February 28, 2002.[19]
On March 11, 2002, the OCA submitted its Report on A.M. No. 01-12-02-SC dated March 1, 2002.[20]
I. OCA Findings and Recommendations
A. On the charges against Almarvez:
The OCA, for lack of evidence, recommended the dismissal of the charges against Almarvez of exacting money from detainees,
violating confidentiality of official communication, absence without official leave, discourtesy and insubordination. Given Almarvez
unsatisfactory performance ratings for three rating periods covering January to June 2000, [21] July to December 2000,[22] and January to
April 2001,[23] however, the OCA recommended that he be duly penalized for inefficiency in the performance of his official
duties with One (1) Month suspension without pay, instead of dismissal as warranted under Memorandum Circular No. 12, s. 1994, his
supervisor having failed to observe the procedure thereunder for dropping of employees from the rolls, which procedure is quoted at the
later portion of this decision.
B. On the charges against Judge Paas:
With respect to the complaint of Almarvez against Judge Paas, the OCA, for lack of supporting evidence, recommended the
dismissal of the charges of maltreatment, harassment and verbal abuse. It found, however, that Judge Paas had used her
administrative power of supervision and control over court personnel for her personal pride, prejudice and pettiness [24]when she issued
her September 7, 2000 Memorandum ordering Alvarez to undergo a drug test after she had already filed an administrative case against
him. It thus concluded that, in all probability, the purpose of Judge Paas in ordering Almarvez to undergo a drug test was to fish for
evidence to support the administrative case she had already filed against him.
Accordingly, the OCA recommended that Judge Paas be found guilty of simple misconduct in office, and be penalized
with reprimand with a warning that a repetition of the same or similar acts shall be dealt with more severely.

II. This Courts Findings:

A. On the charges against Almarvez:
Indeed, this Court finds that there is no sufficient evidence to support the charge of violation of confidentiality of official
communication against Almarvez. The charge against Almarvez in Judge Paas complaint-affidavit which reads:
That said ALMARVEZ being in charge of the mails had divulged informations which is confidential in nature to party litigants in advance
of its authorized release date before the release of Court Order and Decision for consideration of a sum of money thus giving undue
advantage or favor to the paying party detrimental to the due administration of justice,[25]
in fact lacks particularity. It is devoid of material details to enable Almarvez to intelligently meet the same.
As for the charges of neglect of duty, discourtesy and insubordination which were echoed in the affidavits of court personnel, they
are also too general to support a conviction and are contrary to what is reflected in his performance rating that he cooperated willingly,
even wholeheartedly, with his fellow employees.
On the charge of violation of Rep. Act No. 3019 (Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act): Absent any evidence to support the charge,
the affiants-jail officers who claimed to have witnessed Almarvez receive money from detention prisoners in exchange for the release of
their Release Orders not having been presented, hence, their claim remains hearsay, Almarvez categorical denial and counterallegation that these affiants executed their affidavits only out of fear of or favor to Judge Paas gain light.
As for the charge that Almarvez would merely sign the logbook and would thereafter leave the office, again Judge Paas failed to
present the affiant-Clerk of Court Atty. Pedro C. Doctolero, Jr. While she submitted in evidence a copy of her October 6, 2000
memorandum[26] requiring Almarvez to explain why he was not in the office on September 8, 11, and 13, and October 5, 2000, despite
his affixing of his signature in the logbook on those dates indicating that he reported for work, Almarvez satisfactorily explained that on
September 8, 11, and 13, 2000, he submitted himself to drug testing as required by her in her September 7, 2000 [27] memorandum,
which explanation is supported by the September 14, 2000 letter of Dr. Rosendo P. Saulog, Medical Specialist II of the Dangerous Drug
Board.[28] As to his whereabouts on October 5, 2000, Almarvez explanation that he was actually present in the morning but left in the
afternoon for the Supreme Court[29] was not controverted.
On the charge of inefficiency, this Court concurs with the following findings of the OCA that he should be faulted therefor:
The performance ratings of respondent Almarvez for three (3) rating periods covering January to June 2000, July to December 2000
and January to April 2001 evidently shows that he failed to perform his official duties. The fact that respondent Almarvez never
disputed the performance ratings given him is tantamount to an implied acceptance thereof pursuant to Sec. 5 Rule IX Book V of
Executive Order No. 292, quoted as follows:
Sec. 5. An employee who expresses dissatisfaction with the rating given him may appeal through the established Grievance
Procedure of the Department or Agency within fifteen (15) days after receipt of his copy of his performance rating. Failure to file an
appeal within the prescribed period shall be deemed a waiver of such right.
The performance ratings of respondent for the said periods are valid grounds to drop him from the Rolls. However, considering that
his superior/supervisor failed to comply with the requirements set forth in Memorandum Circular No. 12, Series of 1994 of the
Civil Service Commission, which is hereunder quoted, and that he was able to make up and cure his inefficiency after he was
given the opportunity to improve his performance in his detail to Branch 11, MeTC, Manila, as shown by his performance rating
for the period April to June 2001 with a very satisfactory rating, dropping him from the roll will no longer be appropriate [30] (Emphasis
and underscoring supplied.)
Par. 2.2 of CSC Memorandum Circular No. 12, s. 1994 referred to in the above-quoted findings of the OCA reads:
2.2 Unsatisfactory or Poor Performance.
(a) An official or employee who is given two (2) consecutive unsatisfactory ratings may be dropped from the rolls after due
notice. Notice shall mean that the officer or employee concerned is informed in writing of his unsatisfactory performance for a
semester and is sufficiently warned that a succeeding unsatisfactory performance shall warrant his separation from the service. Such
notice shall be given not later than 30 days from the end of the semester and shall contain sufficient information which shall enable the
employee to prepare an explanation. (Emphasis and underscoring supplied.)
The suspension of Almarvez for One (1) Month without pay, as recommended by the OCA, is thus in order.
B. On the charges against Judge Paas:
Regarding the charges of abuse of authority and oppression against Judge Paas, Almarvez failed to substantiate the same.
Judge Paas order for Almarvez to undergo a drug test is not an unlawful order. Per Civil Service Commission Memorandum
Circular No. 34, s. 1997, public employees are required to undergo a drug test prior to employment to determine if they are drugfree. To be drug-free is not merely a pre-employment prerequisite but is a continuing requirement to ensure the highest degree of
productivity of the civil service. However, considering that the order was issued after Judge Paas filed the administrative case against

Almarvez, it elicits the suspicion that it was only a fishing expedition against him. This is conduct unbecoming of a member of the
judiciary, for which Judge Paas should be duly reprimanded.
C. On the charges against Judge Paas and Atty. Paas:
By Judge Paas own admission in her January 24, 2002 Supplemental Affidavit,[31] she was aware that her husband Atty. Paas was
using her office to receive court notices and orders in a case lodged in a Pasay court. As the OCA puts it, [w]hile the same appears to
be innocuous, it could be interpreted as a subtle way of sending a message that Atty. Paas is the husband of a judge in the same
building and should be given special treatment by other judges or court personnel.[32]
The following are instructive in the disposition of these charges against the judge and her spouse, Atty. Paas:
SC Administrative Circular No. 01-99, Enhancing the Dignity of Courts as Temples of Justice and Promoting Respect for their
Officials and Employers reads:
As courts are temples of justice, their dignity and sanctity must, at all times be preserved and enhanced. In inspiring public respect for
the justice system, court officials and employees must:
1. In general: (a) avoid committing any act which would constitute grounds for disciplinary action under, as the case may be,
the Canons of Judicial Ethics, Code of Judicial Conduct; and Section 46, Chapter 7, Subtitle A, Title I, Book V of the
Administrative Code of 1987 (Executive Order No. 292); and (b) faithfully comply with the norms of conduct and perform
the duties prescribed in the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees (R.A. No. 6713);
2. Zealously guard the public trust character of their offices;
6. Never use their offices as a residence or for any other purpose than for court or judicial functions. (Emphasis and
underscoring supplied.)

Canon 2 of the Code of Judicial Conduct provides that A judge should avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety in all
activities. Specifically, Rule 2.03 thereof provides that:
Rule 2.03. A judge shall not allow family, social, or other relationships to influence judicial conduct or judgment. The prestige of
judicial office shall not be used or lent to advance the private interests of others, nor convey or permit others to convey the
impression that they are in a special position to influence the judge. (Emphasis supplied.)

SC Circular No. 3-92,[33] dated August 31, 1992, of this Court reads:
All judges and court personnel are hereby reminded that the Halls of Justice may be used only for purposes directly related to the
functioning and operation of the courts of justice, and may not be devoted to any other use, least of all as residential quarters of the
judges or court personnel, or for carrying on therein any trade or profession.

Attention is drawn to A.M. No. RTJ-89-327 (Nellie Kelly Austria vs. Judge Singuat Guerra), a case involving unauthorized and improper
use of the courts premises for dwelling purposes by respondent and his family, in which the Court, by Resolution dated October 17,
1991, found respondent Judge guilty of irresponsible and improper conduct prejudicial to the efficient administration of justice and best
interest of the service, and imposed on him the penalty of SEVERE CENSURE, the Court declaring that such use of the courts
premises inevitably degrades the honor and dignity of the court in addition to exposing judicial records to danger of loss or damage.
(Underscoring supplied.)
By allowing her husband to use the address of her court in pleadings before other courts, Judge Paas indeed allowed [him] to
ride on her prestige for purposes of advancing his private interest, in violation of the Code of Judicial Conduct [34] and of the abovestated Supreme Court circulars, which violation is classified as a less serious charge under the Rules of Court [35] and is punishable
under the same Rule.[36]
A judges official conduct should indeed be free from the appearance of impropriety; and his behavior not only in the performance
of judicial duties, but also in his everyday life should be beyond reproach. This is premised on the truism that a Judges official life
cannot simply be detached or separated from his personal existence and that upon a Judges attributes depend the public perception of
the Judiciary.[37]

On his part, Atty. Paas was guilty of using a fraudulent, misleading, and deceptive address that had no purpose other than to try to
impress either the court in which his cases are lodged, or his client, that he has close ties to a member of the judiciary, in violation of the
following rules of the Code of Professional Responsibility:
Canon 3A lawyer in making known his legal services shall use only true, honest, fair, dignified and objective information or statement
of facts.
Rule 3.01. A lawyer shall not use or permit the use of any false, fraudulent, misleading, deceptive, undignified, self-laudatory or unfair
statement or claim regarding his qualifications or legal services.
Rule 10.01 A lawyer shall not do any falsehood, nor consent to the doing of any in Court; nor shall he mislead, or allow the Court to be
misled by any artifice.
Rule 15.06. A lawyer shall not state or imply that he is able to influence any public official, tribunal or legislative body.
The need for relying on the merits of a lawyers case, instead of banking on his relationship with a member of the bench which
tends to influence or gives the appearance of influencing the court, cannot be overemphasized. It is unprofessional and dishonorable,
to say the least, to misuse a public office to enhance a lawyers prestige. Public confidence in law and lawyers may be eroded by such
reprehensible and improper conduct.
This Court does not subscribe to the proffered excuse that expediency and a desire to ensure receipt of court orders and notices
prompted Atty. Paas and Judge Paas to allow him to have his court notices sent to office of Judge Paas, especially given the fact that
for his other cases, Atty. Paas used his office address but there is no showing that he failed to receive the notices sent to that
address. While a lawyer should make the necessary arrangements to ensure that he is properly informed of any court action, these
should not violate his lawyers oath or the Code of Professional Responsibility, nor provide an opportunity for a member of the judiciary
to breach his or her responsibilities under Supreme Court circulars and the Code of Judicial Conduct.
WHEREFORE, this Court finds:
(1) In A.M. OCA IPI No. 00-956-P, respondent Edgar E. Almarvez GUILTY of inefficiency and is hereby SUSPENDED for One (1)
Month without pay;
(2) In A.M. No. MTJ-01-1363, respondent Judge Estrellita M. Paas GUILTY of conduct unbecoming of a member of the judiciary
and is hereby REPRIMANDED, with warning that repetition of the same or similar acts shall be dealt with more severely;
(3) In A.M. No. 01-12-02-SC,
(a) Judge Paas GUILTY of violating SC Administrative Circular No. 01-99, SC Circular No. 3-92 and Canon 2, Rule 2.03 of the
Code of Judicial Conduct and is hereby ordered to pay a FINE of TWELVE THOUSAND PESOS ( P12,000.00), with warning that
repetition of the same or similar acts shall be dealt with more severely; and
(b) Atty. Renerio Paas GUILTY of SIMPLE MISCONDUCT and is hereby SUSPENDED from the practice of law for a period of
THREE (3) MONTHS, with warning that repetition of the same or similar act shall be dealt with more severely.
This Decision shall take effect immediately.
Let copies of this Decision be furnished the Office of the Bar Confidant, Integrated Bar of the Philippines, and appended to
respondents personal record.

People v. Gacott
G.R. No. 116049 March 20, 1995
Bidin, J.
On February 2, 1994, a complaint for violation of the Anti-Dummy Law (C.A. No. 108) was filed by Asst.
City Prosecutor Perfecto E. Pe against respondents Strom and Reyes. The accused filed a Motion to
Quash/Dismiss the criminal case contending that since the power to prosecute is vested exclusively in the AntiDummy Board under Republic Act No. 1130, the City Prosecutor of Puerto Princesa has no power or authority to file
the same. The prosecution filed an opposition pointing out that the Anti-Dummy Board has already been abolished
by Letter of Implementation No. 2, Series of 1972. Despite such opposition, however, respondent judge granted the
motion espousing the position that the Letter Of Implementation relied upon by the City Fiscal is not the law
contemplated in Article 7 of the New Civil Code which can repeal another law such as R.A. 1130. Thus, respondent
judge in the assailed order of March 18, 1994 held that the City Prosecutor has no power or authority to file and
prosecute the case and ordered that the case be quashed.
whether or not respondent judge in granting the Motion to Quash gravely abused his discretion as to
warrant the issuance of a writ of certiorari
Yes. The error committed by respondent judge in dismissing the case is quite obvious in the light of P.D.
No. 1, LOI No. 2 and P.D. No. 1275 aforementioned. The intent to abolish the Anti-Dummy Board could not have
been expressed more clearly than in the aforequoted LOI. Even assuming that the City Fiscal of Puerto Princesa
failed to cite P.D. No. 1 in his opposition to the Motion to Quash, a mere perusal of the text of LOI No. 2 would have
immediately apprised the respondent judge of the fact that LOI No. 2 was issued in implementation of P.D. No. 1.
Paragraph 1 of LOI No. 2 reads:
Pursuant to Presidential Decree No. 1 dated September 23, 1972, Reorganizing the Executive Branch of the
National Government, the following agencies of the Department of Justice are herebyreorganized or activated in
accordance with the applicable provisions of the Integrated Reorganization Plan and the following instructions: . . .
(emphasis supplied).
General, Presidential Decrees, such as P.D No. 1, issued by the former President Marcos under his martial
law powers have the same force and effect as the laws enacted by Congress. As held by the Supreme Court in the
case of Aquino vs. Comelec, (62 SCRA 275 [1975]), all proclamations, orders, decrees, instructions and acts
promulgated, issued, or done by the former President are part of the law of the land, and shall remain valid, legal,
binding, and effective, unless modified, revoked or superseded by subsequent proclamations, orders, decrees,
instructions, or other acts of the President. LOI No. 2 is one such legal order issued by former President Marcos in
the exercise of his martial law powers to implement P.D. No. 1. Inasmuch as neither P.D. No. 1 nor LOI No. 2 has
been expressly impliedly revised, revoked, or repealed, both continue to have the force and effect of law.
Indeed, Section 3, Article XVII of the Constitution explicitly ordains:
Sec. 3. All existing laws, decrees, executive orders, proclamations, letters of instructions, and other executive
issuances not inconsistent with this Constitution shall remain operative until amended, repealed, or revoked.

Administrative case for disbarment filed against Atty. Felina S. Dasig, an official of the Commission onHigher Education (CHED).
1. Almost all complainants are high-ranking officers of the CHED. They allege Vitriolo committed acts that are grounds for disbarment
under Section 27, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court
2.During her tenure as OIC, Legal Services, CHED, attempted to extort from Betty C. Mangohon, Rosalie B. Dela Torre, Rocella G.
Eje, and Jacqueline N. Ng sums of money as consideration for her favorable action on their pending applications or requests before
her office
3. Complainants likewise aver that respondent violated her oath as attorney-at-law by filing eleven(11) baseless, groundless, and
unfounded suits before the Office of the City Prosecutor of Quezon City, which were subsequently dismissed.4.
Complainants charge respondent of transgressing subparagraph b (22), Section 36 of Presidential
Decree No. 807, for her willful failure to pay just debts owing to Borela Tire Supply and Novas Lining Brake & Clutch as evidenced by the
dishonored checks she issued, the complaint sheet,
and the subpoena issued to respondent.5.
Complainants also allege that respondent instigated the commission of a crime against complainant Celedonia R. Coronacion and
Rodrigo Coronacion, Jr., when she encouraged and ordered her son, Jonathan Dasig, a guard of the Bureau of Jail Management and
Penology, to draw his gun and shoot the Coronacions on the evening of May 14, 1997. As a result of this incident, a complaint for grave
threats against the respondent and her son, was lodged6.
Complainants allege that respondent authored and sent to then President Joseph Estrada a libelous and unfair report, which maligned the good names
and reputation of no less than eleven(11) CHED Directors calculated to justify her ill motive of preventing their re-appointment and with
the end view of securing an appointment for herself.7.
The IBP Commission on Bar Discipline concluded that respondent unlawfully used her public office in order to secure financial spoils to
the detriment of the dignity and reputation of the CHED. It was recommended that respondent be suspended from the practice of law
for the maximum period allowable of three (3) years with a further warning that similar action in the future will be a ground for
disbarment of respondent.8.
The IBP Board of Governors passed Resolution adopting and approving the Report and Recommendation of the Investigating
Commissioner and Respondent was SUSPENDED from the practice of law for three (3) years.
Whether or not respondent attorney-at-law, may be disciplined by this Court for her malfeasance violative of CPR 6.02
Generally speaking, a lawyer who holds a government office may not be disciplined as a member of the Bar for misconduct in the
discharge of his duties as a government official. However, if said misconduct as a government official also constitutes a violation of his
oath as a lawyer, then he may be disciplined by this Court as a member of the Bar.


April 30, 1957

In Re Charges of LILIAN F. VILLASANTA for Immorality,

HILARION M. PERALTA, respondent.
Ramon J. Diaz for respondent.
G.R. No. L-9513 has a direct bearing on the present complaint. Said case originated from a criminal action filed in
the Court of First Instance of Cagayan by the complainant against the respondent for a violation of Article 350 of the
Revised Penal Code of which the respondent was found guilty. The verdict, when appealed to the Court of Appeals,
was affirmed. The appeal by certiorari taken to this Court by the respondent was dismissed for lack of merit.
The complaint seeks to disqualify the respondent, a 1954 successful bar candidate, from being admitted to the bar.
The basic facts are the same as those found by the Court of Appeals, to wit: On April 16, 1939, the respondent was
married to Rizalina E. Valdez in Rizal, Nueva Ecija. On or before March 8, 1951, he courted the complainant who fell
in love with him. To have carnal knowledge of her, the respondent procured the preparation of a fake marriage
contract which was then a blank document. He made her sign it on March 8, 1951. A week after, the document was
brought back by the respondent to the complainant, signed by the Justice of the Peace and the Civil Registrar of
San Manuel, Tarlac, and by two witnesses. Since then the complainant and the respondent lived together as
husband and wife. Sometime later, the complainant insisted on a religious ratification of their marriage and on July
7, 1951, the corresponding ceremony was performed in Aparri by the parish priest of said municipality. The priest no
longer required the production of a marriage license because of the civil marriage contract shown to him. After the
ceremony in Aparri, the couple returned to Manila as husband and wife and lived with some friends. The
complainant then discovered that the respondent was previously married to someone else; whereupon, she filed the
criminal action for a violation of Article 350 of the Revised Penal Code in the Court of First Instance of Cagayan and
the present complaint for immorality in this court..
Upon consideration of the records of G.R. No. L-9513 and the complaint, this Court is of the opinion that the
respondent is immoral. He made mockery of marriage which is a sacred institution demanding respect and dignity.
His conviction in the criminal case involves moral turpitude. The act of respondent in contracting the second
marriage (even his act in making love to another woman while his first wife is still alive and their marriage still valid
and existing) is contrary to honesty, justice, decency, and morality.
Thus lacking the good moral character required by the Rules of Court, the respondent is hereby declared
disqualified from being admitted to the bar. So ordered.
Bengzon, Padilla, Montemayor, Reyes, A., Bautista Angelo, Labrador, Concepcion, Endencia, and Felix JJ.,concur.