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SECOND DIVISION

[G.R. No. L-27396. September 30, 1974.]


JESUS V. OCCEA and
SAMUEL
C. OCCEA, petitioners, vs. HON. PAULINO
S. MARQUEZ, District Judge, Court of
First
Instance
of
Bohol,
Branch
I, respondent. I.V. BINAMIRA, Co-Executor,
Estate of W.C. Ogan, Sp. Proc. No. 423,
CFI of Bohol, intervenor.
Jesus V . Occea & Samuel C . Occea in their own behalves.
Hon. Paulino S. Marquez for and in his own behalf.
I .V . Binamira for and in his own behalf as intervenor.
DECISION
ANTONIO, J p:
In this petition for certiorari with mandamus, petitioners seek (1)
to nullify the order of respondent Judge Paulino S. Marquez of the
Court of First Instance of Bohol, Branch I, in Sp. Proc. No. 423
entitled "In the Matter of the Testate Estate of William C. Ogan,"
in relation to petitioners' claim for partial payment of attorney's
fees in the amount of P30,000.00, dated November 2, 1966,
fixing at P20,000.00 petitioners' attorney's fees, "which would
cover the period March 1963 to December 1965," and directing
its immediate payment minus the amount of P4,000.00
previously received by petitioners, and his second order, dated
January 12, 1967, denying petitioners' motion for reconsideration
and modifying the November 2, 1966 order by deleting therefrom
the above-quoted phrase; (2) to direct the said court to approve
the release to them as attorney's fees the amount of P30,000.00
minus the amount of P4,000.00 already advanced to them by the
executrix; and (3) to allow petitioners to submit evidence to
establish the total attorney's fees to which they are entitled, in
case no agreement thereon is reached between them and the
instituted heirs. aisa dc
The gross value of the estate of the late William C. Ogan subject
matter of the probate proceeding in Sp. Proc. No. 423 is more
than P2 million. Petitioners, Atty. Jesus V. Occea and Atty.
Samuel C. Occea, are the lawyers for the estate executrix, Mrs.
Necitas Ogan Occea, and they had been representing the said
executrix since 1963, defending the estate against claims and
protecting the interests of the estate. In order to expedite the
settlement of their deceased father's estate, the seven instituted
heirs decided to enter into compromise with the claimants, as a
result of which the total amount of P220,000.00 in cash was
awarded to the claimants, including co-executor Atty. Isabelo V.
Binamira, his lawyers and his wife. A partial distribution of
the corpus and income of the estate was made to the heirs in the
total amount of P450,000.00. On November 18, 1966, the estate
and inheritance taxes were completely settled by the executrix
and the requisite tax clearance and discharge from liability was
issued by the Commissioner of Internal Revenue.
Petitioners filed a Motion for Partial Payment of Attorneys' Fees,
dated November 18, 1965, asking the court to approve payment
to them of P30,000.00, as part payment of their fees for their
services as counsel for the executrix since 1963, and to authorize
the executrix to withdraw the amount from the deposits of the
estate and pay petitioners. Three of the heirs, Lily Ogan Peralta,
William Ogan, Jr. and Ruth Ogan, moved to defer consideration of
the motion until after the total amounts for the executrix's fees
and the attorney's fees of her counsel shall have been agreed
upon by all the heirs. In July, 1966, five of the seven instituted
heirs, namely, Lily Ogan Peralta, Necitas Ogan Occea, Federico
M. Ogan, Liboria Ogan Garcia and Nancy Ogan Gibson, filed with
the court a Manifestation stating that they had no objection to
the release of P30,000.00 to petitioners as partial payment of
attorney's fees and recommending approval of petitioners'
motion.
Their first motion dated November 18, 1965 being still
unresolved, petitioners filed a second Motion for Payment of
Partial Attorneys' Fees, dated July 5, 1966, praying for the release
to them of the amount of P30,000.00 previously prayed for by
them. Action on the matter was, however, deferred in an order
dated August 6, 1966, upon the request of the Quijano and
Arroyo Law Offices in behalf of heirs William Ogan, Jr. and Ruth
Ogan for deferment until after all the instituted heirs shall have
agreed in writing on the total attorney's fees. Petitioners filed a
Motion for Reconsideration under date of September 12, 1966,
asking the court to reconsider its deferment order and praying
that payment to them of P30,000.00 be approved on the
understanding that whatever amounts were paid to them would
be chargeable against the fees which they and the instituted
heirs might agree to be petitioners' total fees.
On November 2, 1966, respondent Judge issued an order fixing
the total fees of petitioners for the period March, 1963 to
December, 1965 at P20,000.00. Petitioners moved to reconsider
that order. On January 12, 1967, respondent issued an order not
only denying petitioners' Motion for Reconsideration but also

modifying the original order by fixing petitioners' fees for the


entire testate proceedings at P20,000.00.
Petitioners contend that respondent Judge acted with grave
abuse of discretion or in excess of jurisdiction in fixing the entire
attorney's fees to which they are entitled as counsel for the
executrix, and in fixing the said fees in the amount of P20,000.00.
The reasons given by petitioners in support of their contention
are: (1) the motion submitted by petitioners for the court's
resolution was only for partial payment of their attorney's fees,
without prejudice to any agreement that might later be reached
between them and the instituted heirs on the question of total
attorney's fees, yet respondent Judge resolved the question of
total attorney's fees; (2) considering that the only question raised
by petitioners for the court's determination was that of partial
attorney's fees, they never expected the court to make a ruling
on the question of total attorney's fees; consequently, petitioners
did not have the opportunity to prove the total fees to which they
were entitled, and, hence, they were denied due process of law;
(3) of the seven heirs to the estate, five had agreed to
petitioners' motion for partial payment to them of attorney's fees
in the amount of P30,000.00, while the remaining two did not
oppose the motion; (4) in his order, respondent Judge stated that
he based the amount of P20,000.00 on the records of the case,
but the amount of attorney's fees to which a lawyer is entitled
cannot be determined on the sole basis of the records for there
are other circumstances that should be taken into consideration;
and (5) contrary to respondent Judge's opinion, the mere fact that
one of the attorneys for the executrix is the husband of said
executrix, is not a ground for denying the said attorneys the right
to the fees to which they are otherwise entitled.
Only Judge Paulino S. Marquez is named respondent in the
present petition, for, according to petitioners, "no proper party is
interested in sustaining the questioned proceedings in the Lower
Court."
In his Answer to the petition, respondent Judge alleged that (a)
petitioners' proper remedy is appeal and not a special civil action,
considering that there is already a final order on the motion for
payment of fees; (b) petitioner Atty. Samuel Occeais the
husband
of
executrix
Necitas
Ogan Occea,
hence,
Samuel Occea's pecuniary interest now goes against the
pecuniary interest of the four heirs he is representing in the
special proceeding; (c) one reason why respondent Judge ordered
the deletion of the phrase containing the period March, 1963 to
December, 1965 from his November 2, 1966 order is that there
are miscellaneous payments appearing in the compromise
agreement and in the executrix's accounting which cover
expenses incurred by petitioners for the estate; (d) co-executor
I. V. Binamira should be included as party respondent to comply
with Section 5, Rule 65 of the Revised Rules of Court; and (e) it is
the duty of respondent Judge not to be very liberal to the
attorney representing the executrix, who is at the same time the
wife of said counsel and is herself an heir to a sizable portion of
the estate, for respondent Judge's duty is to see to it that the
estate is administered "frugally," "as economically as possible,"
and to avoid "that a considerable portion of the estate is
absorbed in the process of such division," in order that there may
be a worthy residue for the heirs. As special defenses, respondent
Judge alleged that the seven instituted heirs are indispensable
parties in this case; that mandamus cannot control the actuations
of the trial court because they involved matters of discretion; and
that no abuse of discretion can be imputed to respondent Judge
for trying his best to administer the estate frugally. cdt
On the arguments that he had opposed in the lower court
petitioners' motion for payment of partial attorney's fees in the
amount of P30,000.00, and that since petitioners Samuel
C. Occea and Jesus V. Occea are the husband and father-in-law,
respectively, of executrix Necitas Ogan Occea, the latter cannot
be expected to oppose petitioners' claims for attorney's fees,
thus leaving the co-executor as the lone party to represent and
defend the interests of the estate, Atty. I. V. Binamira, who claims
to be co-executor of the Ogan estate, filed with this Court on July,
1967, a Motion for Leave to Intervene, which was granted in a
resolution of August 9, 1967. Petitioners filed a Motion for
Reconsideration of Resolution of August 9, 1967 and an
Opposition to "Motion for Leave to Intervene," contending that
Atty. Binamira ceased to be a co-executor upon his resignation
effective October 29, 1965. On August 15, 1967, Atty. Binamira
filed Intervenor's Opposition to Petition (answer in intervention)
traversing the material averments of the petition.
On August 25, 1967, intervenor filed a Reply to Executrix's
Opposition
and
Opposition
to
Executrix's
Motion
for
Reconsideration. On September 18, 1967, intervenor filed
Intervenor's Comments on Petitioners' Motion for Reconsideration
of the Resolution dated August 9, 1967. On September 21, 1967,
petitioners filed against intervenor a Petition for Contempt asking
this Court to hold intervenor in contempt of court. We required
intervenor to comment thereon. On October 9, 1967, petitioners
filed a Supplemental Petition for Contempt. Intervenor filed on
October 20, 1967, Intervenor's Comments and Counter Petition,
asking this Court to dismiss petitioners' motion for indirect
contempt and instead to hold petitioners guilty of indirect

contempt for gross breach of legal ethics. We deferred action on


the contempt motion until the case is considered on the merits.
On January 15, 1968, intervenor I. V. Binamira filed an Answer to
Supplemental Petition. This was followed on February 12, 1968,
by another Petition for Contempt, this time against one Generoso
L. Pacquiao for allegedly executing a perjured affidavit dated
December 20, 1967, to aid intervenor I. V. Binamira to escape
liability for his deliberate falsehoods, which affidavit intervenor
attached to his Answer to Supplemental Petition. On the same
date, February 12, 1968, petitioners filed against intervenor a
Second Supplemental Petition for Contempt. On February 19,
1968, petitioners filed Petitioners' Manifestation Re Documentary
Evidence Supporting Charges.

We shall now consider the merits of the basic petition and the
petitions for contempt.
I
The rule is that when a lawyer has rendered legal services to the
executor or administrator to assist him in the execution of his
trust, his attorney's fees may be allowed as expenses of
administration. The estate is, however, not directly liable for his
fees, the liability for payment resting primarily on the executor or
administrator. If the administrator had paid the fees, he would be
entitled to reimbursement from the estate. The procedure to be
followed by counsel in order to collect his fees is to request the
administrator to make payment, and should the latter fail to pay,
either to (a) file an action against him in his personal capacity,
and not as administrator, 1 or (b) file a petition in the testate or
intestate proceedings asking the court, after notice to all the
heirs and interested parties, to direct the payment of his fees as
expenses of administration. 2 Whichever course is adopted, the
heirs and other persons interested in the estate will have the
right to inquire into the value of the services of the lawyer and on
the necessity of his employment. In the case at bar, petitioner
filed his petition directly with the probate court.
There is no question that the probate court acts as a trustee of
the estate, and as such trustee it should jealously guard the
estate under administration and see to it that it is wisely and
economically administered and not dissipated. 3 This rule,
however, does not authorize the court, in the discharge of its
function as trustee of the estate, to act in a whimsical and
capricious manner or to fix the amount of fees which a lawyer is
entitled to without according to the latter opportunity to prove
the legitimate value of his services. Opportunity of a party to be
heard is admittedly the essence of procedural due process.
What petitioners filed with the lower court was a motion
for partial payment of attorney's fees in the amount of
P30,000.00 as lawyers for the executrix for the period February,
1963, up to the date of filing of the motion on or about November
18, 1965. Five of the seven heirs had manifested conformity to
petitioners' motion, while the remaining two merely requested
deferment of the resolution of the motion "until the total amount
for Executrix's fees and attorney's fees of her counsel is agreed
upon by all the heirs." The court, however, in spite of such
conformity, and without affording petitioners the opportunity to
establish how much attorney's fees they are entitled to for their
entire legal services to the executrix, issued an order fixing at
P20,000.00 the entire attorney's fees of petitioners.
In his Order
explained: cdta

of

January

12,

1967,

respondent

Judge

"The records of this case are before the Court


and
the
work
rendered
by
Atty.
Samuel Occea, within each given period, is
easily visible from them; his work as revealed
by those records is the factual basis for this
Court's orders as to attorney's fees.
"Whatever attorney's fees may have been
approved by the Court on October 28, 1965
were as a result of compromise and were
with the written consent of all the heirs and
of all the signatories of the compromise
agreement of October 27, 1965. That is not
so with respect to Atty. Occea's thirtythousand peso claim for fees; and so, this
Court, after a view of the record, had to fix it
at P20,000.00. The record can reflect what an
attorney of record has done."
In fixing petitioners' attorney's fees solely on the basis of the
records of the case, without allowing petitioners to adduce
evidence to prove what is the proper amount of attorney's
fees to which they are entitled for their entire legal services
to the estate, respondent Judge committed a grave abuse of
discretion correctable by certiorari. Evidently, such fees
could not be adequately fixed on the basis of the record
alone, considering that there are other factors necessary in
assessing the fee of a lawyer, such as: (1) the amount and
character of the services rendered; (2) the labor, time and

trouble involved; (3) the nature and importance of the


litigation or business in which the services were rendered; (4)
the responsibility imposed; (5) the amount of money or the
value of the property affected by the controversy or involved
in the employment; (6) the skill and experience called for in
the performance of the services; (7) the professional
character and social standing of the attorney; and (8) the
results secured, it being a recognized rule that an attorney
may properly charge a much larger fee when it is contingent
than when it is not. 4
It should be noted that some of the reasons submitted by
petitioners in support of their fees do not appear in the records of
the case. For instance, they claim that in connection with their
legal services to the executrix and to the estate, petitioner
Samuel C. Occea had been travelling from Davao to Tagbilaran
from 1965 to March, 1967, and from Davao to Cebu and Manila
from 1963 to March, 1967, and that in fact he and his family had
to stay for almost a year in Dumaguete City. These claims
apparently bear strongly on the labor, time and trouble involved
in petitioners' legal undertaking, and, consequently, should have
been subject to a formal judicial inquiry. Considering,
furthermore, that two of the heirs have not given their conformity
to petitioners' motion, the need for a hearing becomes doubly
necessary. This is also the reason why at this stage it would be
premature to grant petitioners' prayer for the release to them of
the amount of P30,000.00 as partial payment of their fees.
II
As stated above, petitioners have filed petitions for indirect
contempt of court against intervenor I.V. Binamira charging the
latter of having made false averments in this Court.
We have carefully considered these charges and the answers of
intervenor, and, on the basis of the evidence, We conclude that
intervenor I.V. Binamira has deliberately made false allegations
before this Court which tend to impede or obstruct the
administration of justice, to wit:
1. To bolster his claim that the executrix,
without approval of the court,
loaned P100,000.00 to the Bohol
Land Transportation Company, Inc.,
intervenor submitted as Annex 5 of
his Answer to Supplemental Petition
a so-called "Real Estate Mortgage"
which he made to appear was
signed by Atty. Vicente de la Serna
and the executrix. The certification
of the Deputy Clerk of Court (Annex
A-Contempt)
shows
that
what
intervenor claims to be a duly
executed mortgage is in reality only
a proposed mortgage not even
signed by the parties.
2. Intervenor, in his Intervenor's Opposition
to Petition, also stated that in
December, 1965, the executrix,
without the court's approval or of
the co-executor's consent, but with
petitioners'
consent,
loaned
P100,000.00 to the Bohol Land
Transportation Company, Inc. out of
the estate's funds. The record shows
that only P50,000.00 was loaned to
the
company
to
protect
the
investment of the estate therein,
and that the same was granted
pursuant to a joint motion signed,
among others, by intervenor, and
approved by the court.
3. To

discredit
petitioner
Samuel
C. Occea and
his
wife,
the
executrix, intervenor stated in his
Intervenor's Opposition to Petition
that less than a month after the loan
of P100,000.00 had been granted to
the
transportation
company,
petitioner Samuel C. Occea was
elected president by directors of his
own choosing in the Bohol Land
Transportation
Company,
Inc.,
insinuating that in effect the
executrix loaned to her husband the
said sum of money. The certification
of the corporate secretary of the
Bohol Land Transportation Company,
Inc. (Annex D-Contempt) states that
petitioner Samuel C. Occea was not
the president of the company at the
time, nor did he act as president or
treasurer thereof, and that the
president was Atty. Vicente de la

Serna. This last fact is also shown in


intervenor's own Annex 5 of his
Answer to Supplemental Petition.
4. In intervenor's Opposition to this petition
for certiorari, he stated that contrary
to the executrix's statement in the
1965 income tax return of the estate
that an estate income of P90,770.05
was distributed among the heirs in
1965, there was in fact no such
distribution
of
income.
The
executrix's project of partition
(Annex E-Contempt) shows that
there was a distribution of the 1965
income of the estate.
5. To discredit petitioners and the executrix,
intervenor alleged in his Intervenor's
Opposition
to
Petition
that
petitioners caused to be filed with
the court the executrix's verified
inventory which failed to include as
assets of the estate certain loans
granted
to
petitioner
Samuel
C. Occea in the sum of P4,000.00
and to the executrix various sums
totalling P6,000.00. The letters
written by the late W. C. Ogan to his
daughter, the executrix (Annexes F,
G. and H-Contempt), show that the
said sums totalling P10,000.00 were
in reality partly given to her as a gift
and partly for the payment of
certain furniture and equipment.
6. Intervenor, in order to further discredit
petitioners and the executrix, stated
in his Reply to Executrix's Opposition
and Opposition to Executrix's Motion
for
Reconsideration
that
the
executrix and petitioners refused to
pay and deliver to him all that he
was
entitled
to
under
the
compromise agreement. The receipt
dated October 29, 1965, signed by
intervenor
himself
(Annex
IContempt),
shows
that
he
acknowledged
receipt
from
petitioner Samuel C.Occea, lawyer
for the executrix, the sum of
P141,000.00 "in full payment of all
claims and fees against the Estate,
pursuant to the Agreement dated
October 27, 1965.
7. In his Reply to Executrix's Opposition and
Opposition to Executrix's Motion for
Reconsideration, intervenor alleged
that
he
signed
Atty. Occea's prepared
receipt
without receiving payment, trusting
that Atty. Occea would pay the
amount
in
full,
but
later
Atty. Occea withheld
Chartered
Bank Check No. 55384 for P8,000.00
drawn in favor of intervenor and
P15,000.00 in cash. A receipt signed
by intervenor I. V. Binamira (Annex
K-Contempt)
shows
that
he
acknowledged receipt of the check
in question in the amount of
P8,000.00 "intended for Mrs. Lila
Ogan Castillo . . ." Anent the sum of
P15,000.00 in cash, Annex JContempt (Reply to the Opposition
for Authority to Annotate Interest,
etc. filed by intervenor with the
probate
court)
shows
that
intervenor, as movant, himself had
alleged that "no check was issued to
movant, but withdrawn amount of
P15,000.00
was
included
in
purchasing Manager's Check No.
55398 for the Clerk of Court
(deposit) for P75,000.00," for the
said
amount
was
voluntarily
extended by intervenor as a favor
and gesture of goodwill to form part
of the total cash bond of P75,000.00
deposited with the Clerk of Court, as
shown by a receipt signed by Atty.
Samuel
C. Occea (Annex
K-11Contempt) which forms part of the
record in the court below.

8. In his intervenor's Comments and CounterPetition, intervenor denied the truth


of petitioners' claim that intervenor
had
voluntarily
and
willingly
extended the sum of P15,000.00 as
a favor and gesture of goodwill to
form part of the P75,000.00-deposit.
In the Opposition to Motion of
Executrix for Reconsideration of
Order of February 19, 1966, dated
April
16,
1966
(Annex
K-2Contempt),
intervenor
had,
however, admitted that "out of the
goodness of his heart . . . in the
nature of help," he had "willingly
extended as a favor and gesture of
goodwill"
the
said
sum
of
P15,000.00.
9. To impugn the claim of petitioner Samuel
C. Occea that
he
stayed
in
Dumaguete City for almost one year
to attend to the affairs of the estate,
intervenor,
in
his
intervenor's
Opposition to Petition, alleged that
said petitioner's stay in Dumaguete
City was not to attend to the affairs
of the estate, but to enable him to
teach in Silliman University. The
certification of the Director of the
personnel
office
of
Silliman
University, dated December 4, 1967
(Annex V-Contempt) is, however, to
the effect that their "records do not
show
that
Atty.
Samuel
C. Occea was teaching at Silliman
University or employed in any other
capacity in 1963, or at any time
before or after 1963."
The foregoing are only some of the twenty-one instances cited by
petitioners which clearly show that intervenor had deliberately
made false allegations in his pleadings.
We find no rule of law or of ethics which would justify the conduct
of a lawyer in any case, whether civil or criminal, in endeavoring
by dishonest means to mislead the court, even if to do so might
work to the advantage of his client. The conduct of the lawyer
before the court and with other lawyers should be characterized
by candor and fairness. It is neither candid nor fair for a lawyer to
knowingly make false allegations in a judicial pleading or to
misquote the contents of a document, the testimony of a witness,
the argument of opposing counsel or the contents of a decision.
Before his admission to the practice of law, he took the solemn
oath that he will do no falsehood nor consent to the doing of any
in court, nor wittingly or willingly promote or sue any false,
groundless or unlawful suit, and conduct himself as a lawyer with
all good fidelity to courts as well as to his clients. We find that
Atty. Binamira, in having deliberately made these false
allegations in his pleadings, has been recreant to his oath. cdi
The charges contained in the counter-petition for indirect
contempt of intervenor I. V. Binamira against petitioners have not
been substantiated by evidence, and they must, therefore, be
dismissed.
We note that no further action was taken on the petition for
contempt filed by petitioners against Generoso L. Pacquiao, who
executed the affidavit attached to intervenor's Answer to
Supplemental Petition, the contents of which petitioners claim to
be deliberate falsehoods. The said respondent Pacquiao not
having been afforded an opportunity to defend himself against
the contempt charge, the charge must be dismissed.
WHEREFORE, (1) the petition for certiorari is granted, and the
court a quo is directed to hold a hearing to determine how much
the total attorney's fees petitioners are entitled to, and (2) Atty.
Isabelo V. Binamira, who appeared as intervenor in this case, is
hereby declared guilty of contempt and sentenced to pay to this
Court within ten (10) days from notice hereof a fine in the sum of
Five Hundred Pesos (P500.00). Costs against intervenor.
Fernando, Barredo, Fernandez and Aquino, JJ ., concur.

||| (Occea v. Marquez, G.R. No. L-27396, [September 30, 1974],


158 PHIL 249-263)
EN BANC
[G.R. Nos. L-10236-48. January 31, 1958.]
THE PEOPLE OF
PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellant, vs.

THE

EUSTACIO DE LUNA,
appellees.

ET

AL., defendants-

Solicitor General Ambrosio Padilla and Solicitor


Felicisimo R. Rosete for appellant.
Luis F. Gabinete for appellee Eustacio de Luna.
Pedro B. Ayuda for appellee Estela R. Gordo.
Alejandro P. Captulo for appellees Angelo T. Lopez
and Alawadin I. Bandon.
Francisco de la Fuente for appellee Oreste Arellano
y Rodriguez.
Bienvenido Peralta for appellee Abraham C.
Calaguas.
Santos L. Parina, Generosa H. Hubilla, Maria Velez y
Estrellas, Jaime P. Marco, Roque J. Briones, Balbino P.
Fajardo and Emilio P. Jardinico, Jr., in their own behalf.
SYLLABUS
1. BAR FLUNKERS; OATH AS LAWYERS BEFORE A
NOTARY PUBLIC CONSTITUTES CONTEMPT OF COURT.
Although know that they did not pass the bar examination.
Although they sought admission to the Bar under the Bar
Flunkers Act, they were subsequently notified of the
resolution of the Supreme Court denying their petitions. This
notwithstanding, they took their oaths as lawyers before a
notary public and formally advised the Court, not only of
such fact, but, also that they will practice in all courts of the
Philippines. Held: The oath as lawyer is a prerequisite to the
practice of law and may taken only before the Supreme
Court by those authorized by the latter to engage in such
practice. The resolution of the Supreme Court denying
appellees' petition for admission to the Bar implied,
necessarily, a denial of the right to take said oath, as well as
prohibition of the taking thereof. By taking oaths before a
notary public, appellees expressed clearly their intent to, and
did, in fact, challenge and defy the authority of the Supreme
Court to pass upon and settle, in a final and conclusive
manner, the issue whether or not they should be admitted to
the bar, as well as, embarrass, hinder and obstruct the
administration of justice and impair the respect due to the
courts of justice and the Supreme Court, in particular, in
violation of section 3, subdivision (b) of Rule 64 of the Rules
of Court. Such acts, therefore, constitute contempt of court.
2. CONTEMPT OF COURT; MEANS BY WHICH
CONTEMPT MAY BE COMMITTED: "HOLDING OUT TO THE
PUBLIC AS ATTORNEYS-AT-LAW"; CASE AT BAR. The lower
court is, seemingly, under the impression that appellees
could not be guilty of contempt of court unless they actually
engaged in the practice of law or "held out to the public" as
lawyers "by means of circulars." Such view is inaccurate, for
"assuming to be an attorney . . . and acting as such without
authority," is, only one of the means by which contempt of
court may be contempt of court may be committed, under
said Rule 64, section 3, of the Rules of Court. Besides by
taking "the oath of office 3, of the Rules of Court. Besides by
taking "the oath of office as attorney-at-law" and notifying
the Supreme Court that they had done so and would
"practice law in all courts of the Philippines that they had
done so and would "practice law in all courts of the
Philippines", the appellees had, for all intents and purposes,
held out to the public" as such attorney-at-law (U.S. vs. Ney
and Bosque, 8 Phil. 146).
3. id.; id.; jurisdiction OF THE COURT OF FIRST
INSTANCE TO TRY AND PUNISH THE CONTEMPTS AT BAR. If
the contemptuous acts were committed not against the
Court of First Instance where the amended informations for
contempts were filed, but against the Supreme Court, does
the former court have jurisdiction to try and punish said
contempts? In the first place, according to said information,
the act charged were committed in contempt of the Supreme
Court, as well as of all other courts of the
Philippines, including the Court of First Instance of Manila. In
the second place, pursuant to Section 44 of the Judiciary
Act of 1948, courts instance have original jurisdiction over
criminal cases, in which the penalty provided by law is
imprisonment for more than six months, or a fine of more
than two thousand pesos. Inasmuch as a fine not exceeding
P1,000 may be imposed in the cases of contempt under
consideration, it follows that the same is within the original
jurisdiction is concurrent with that of the Supreme Court, in
view of the inherent power of the latter to punish those guilty
of contempt against the same.
4. ID.; ID.; CONCURRENT JURISDICTION OF LOWER
COURT AND SUPREME COURT; COURT AGAINST WHOM THE
ACT WAS COMMITTED HAS PREFERENTIAL RIGHT. In the
vent of concurrent jurisdiction over the cases of contempt of
court, the court against whom the act of contempt was
committed has the preferential right to try and punish the

guilty party. However, the court concerned (the Supreme


Court in the present case) may elect not to exercise its
concurrent jurisdiction over the acts of contempt in question,
as it did in the present case, when the said court referred the
case to the City Fiscal of Manila for investigation and
appropriate action. In such a case the Court of First Instance
of Manila may not refuse to exercise its jurisdiction over the
case.
DECISION
CONCEPCION, J p:
This is an appeal, taken by the prosecution, from an
order, of the Court of First Instance of Manila, granting a
motion to dismiss filed by the defendant in each one of the
above entitled cases, for lack of jurisdiction and, also, upon
the ground that the facts alleged in the amended
informations, filed in said cases, do not constitute the crime
of contempt of court with which said defendants
(Eustacio de Luna, Jaime P. Marco, Santos L. Paria, Estela R.
Gordo, Angelo T. Lopez, Generosa H. Hubilla, Oreste Arellano
y Rodriguez, Abraham C. Calaguas, Roque J. Briones,
Alawadin I. Bandon, Balbino P. Fajardo, Maria Velez y Estrellas
and Emilio P. Jardinico, Jr.) are charged. It is alleged in said
amended informations that, on or about the 22nd day of
December, 1954, in the City of Manila, Philippines, the
person accused in each one of these cases
". . . well knowing that he has not
passed the bar examination and was not in
any way authorized to take his oath as a
lawyer and after having been duly informed
and notified that certain portions of Republic
Act No. 972, known as the Bar Flunkers Act of
1953, are unconstitutional and therefore void
and without force and effect, and that all the
petitions of the candidates including the
accused who failed in the examinations of
1946 to 1952, inclusive, for admission to the
bar were refused and denied by the
Resolution of the Honorable, the Supreme
Court, promulgated on March 18, 1954, did
then and there wilfully, unlawfully and
contemptuously disobey and resist in an
insolent and defiant manner the said
Resolution of the Supreme Court directed to
him and each and everyone of the
petitioners, and perform acts constituting
improper conduct and manifestations that
tend directly or indirectly to impede, obstruct
or degrade the administration of justice in all
courts of the Philippines and impair the
respect to and attack the authority and
dignity of the Honorable, the Supreme Court
and all other inferior courts by then and
there, without being lawfully authorized to do
so, taking an oath as a lawyer before a
notary public and making manifestations to
that effect before the Honorable, the
Supreme Court."
After quoting from Rule 64, section 4, of the Rules of
Court, the pertinent part of which reads:
"Where the contempt . . . has been
committed against a superior court or judge,
or against an officer appointed by it, the
charge may be filed with such superior court .
. . ." (Italics our.)
and from the Corpus Juris Secundum, the rule to the effect
that
"It is a well-established rule that the
power to judge a contempt rest exlusively
with the court contemned and that no court
is authorized to punish a contempt against
another. Accordingly, disobedience of the
order of a state court is not punishable as for
contempt by a court of another state or by a
federal court."
the lower court concluded that the contemptuous act
allegedly committed by appellees herein "was committed not
against" said court "but against the Supreme Court of the
Philippines" and that, accordingly, the Court of First Instance
of Manila "has no jurisdiction to try and punish" the appellees
herein.
This conclusion is untenable. The above-quoted
provision of the Rules of Court is permissive in nature. It is
merely declaratory of the inherent power of courts to punish
those guilty of contempt against the same. It does not
declare that jurisdiction of the court concerned to so punish
the guilty party is exclusive. Indeed, in promulgating said
Rules of Court, this Court could not have validly denied to

other Courts, to which the jurisdiction may have been vested


by statute, the right to exercise said authority, for the rulemaking power of the Supreme Court, under Article VIII,
section 13, of the Constitution, is limited to the promulgation
of "rules concerning pleadings, practice and procedure in all
courts, and the admission to the practice of law," and does
not extend to the determination of the jurisdiction of the
courts of justice in the Philippines. In fact, section 2 of said
Article VIII of the Constitution explicitly ordains that
"Congress shall have the power to define, prescribe and
apportion the jurisdiction of the various courts," thereby
implying, necessarily, that such power is withheld from the
Supreme Court. Needless to say, the aforesaid view, quoted
from Corpus Juris Secundum, is good law only"unless
otherwise provided by statute" (17 C.J.S., 81), and such
statute, providing "otherwise", exists in the Philippines.
Moreover, the amended informations specifically
allege that the defendants herein did "perform acts
constituting improper conduct and manifestations that tend
directly or indirectly to impede, obstruct or degrade the
administration of justice in all courts of the Philippines and
impair the respect to and attack the authority and dignity of
the Honorable, the Supreme Court and all other inferior
courts." To put it differently the acts charged were
committed, according to said amended informations, in
contempt of the Supreme Court, as well as of "all other
courts of the Philippines," including the Court of First
Instance of Manila. Thus, the very authorities cited in the
order appealed from do not justify the same.

Again, section 236 of Act No. 190 and section 6 of


Rule 64 of the Rules of Court provide that a person guilty of
any of the acts of contempt defined, respectively, in section
232 of said Act and section 3 of said Rule 64, "may be fined
not exceeding one thousand pesos, or imprisoned not more
than six months." Pursuant to section 44 of the
Revised Judiciary Act of 1948 (Republic Act No. 296), courts
of first instance have original jurisdiction over criminal cases
"in which the penalty provided by law is imprisonment for
more than six months, or a fine of more than two thousand
pesos." Inasmuch as a fine not exceeding P1,000 may be
imposed in the cases of contempt under consideration, it
follows that the same are within the original jurisdiction of
the Court of First Instance of Manila, although such
jurisdiction is concurrent with that of the Supreme Court, in
view of the inherent power of the latter to punish those guilty
of contempt against the same.
It may not be amiss to add that, in the event of such
concurrent jurisdiction over cases of contempt of court, it
would be a good practice to acknowledge the preferential
right of the court against which the act of contempt was
committed to try and punish the guilty party. However,
insofar as appellees herein are concerned, on February 3,
1955, this Court passed and promulgated a resolution of the
following tenor:
"The Court received from Pedro B. Ayuda a
communication of the following tenor:
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES
SUPREME COURT
MANILA
"IN-RE ATTORNEYS WHO TOOK THE
OATH BEFORE A NOTARY PUBLIC UNDER THE
PROVISIONS OF REPUBLIC ACT No. 972.
"Oreste
Arellano
y
Rodriguez
"Pedro
B.
Ayuda
"Alawadin
I.
Bandon
"Abraham
C.
Calaguas
"Balbino
P.
Fajardo
"Claro
C.
Gofredo
"Estela
R.
Gordo
"Generoso
H.
Hubilla
"Emilio
P.
Jardinico,
Jr.
"Angelo
T.
Lopez
"Eustacio de Luna
"Jaime
P.
Marco
"Santos
L.
Paria
"Florencio
P.
Sugarol,
and
"Maria Velez y Estrellas. Attorneys.
xxx xxx xxx
"MANIFESTATION
"COMES NOW the undersigned for
and in representation of the above-named
attorneys and to this Honorable Court,
hereby respectfully makes manifestation that

they have taken the oath of office as


Attorneys-at-Law on December 22, 1954
before Mr. Anatolio A. Alcova, a Notary Public
in and for the City of Manila, with office at R201 Regina Building, Escolta, Manila, in
pursuance of the provisions of Republic Act
No. 972;
"There
are
attached
to
this
manifestation seventeen (17) copies of the
oath of office as Annexes 'A', 'B', 'C', 'D', 'E',
'F', 'G', 'H', 'I', 'K', 'L', 'M', 'N', 'O', 'P', and 'Q'.
"Messrs, Alejandro P. Capitulo, Claro
C. Gofredo, and Florencio P. Sugarol of the
group took the bar examinations in August,
1954. They also had taken their oath before
this Honorable Tribunal, January 20, 1955.
"This manifestation is made for all
legal effects as they will practice law in all
the Courts of the Philippines.
1955.

"Manila,

Philippines,

January

28,

(Sgd.) PEDRO B. AYUDA


In his own behalf and on
behalf of the others in his
capacity as president of the
1946
1952
BAR
EXAMINEES ASSOCIATION,
2034 Azcarraga, Manila.
"It appearing that the persons
mentioned, except Capitulo, Gofredo and
Sugarol,
have
not
passed
the
Bar
Examinations, it was resolved:
"A. To refer the matter to the Fiscal,
City of Manila for investigation and
appropriate action in connection with Section
3 (e), Rule 64;
"B. As Pedro Ayuda has assumed to
be an attorney without authority, he is given
10 days from notice hereof, within which to
explain why he should not be dealt with for
contempt of this Court;
"C. The notary public Anatolio A.
Alcoba, member of the Bar, who has illegally
administered the oath to the said persons in
disregard of this Court's resolution denying
them admission to the Bar (except Capitulo,
Gofredo and Sugarol), is hereby given ten
days to show cause why he should not be
disbarred or suspended from the practice of
law;
"D. The clerk of Court is directed to
furnish copy of this resolution to the Court of
Appeals and to all courts of first instance, the
Court of Industrial Relations, the Public
Service Commission, and the Department of
Justice;
"E. As to Capitulo, Gofredo and
Sugarol, proper action will be taken later in
their respective cases." (pp. 36-37, rec., G. R.
No. L- 10245.)
It is clear, from the foregoing resolution, that this
Court did not intend to exercise its concurrent jurisdiction
over the acts of alleged contempt committed by appellees
herein and that we preferred that the corresponding action
be taken by the City Fiscal of Manila in the Court of First
Instance of Manila. In fine, the latter had no justification
whatsoever in refusing to exercise its jurisdiction over the
cases at bar.
The next question for determination is whether the
acts charged in the amended informations constitute
contempt of court. After quoting the allegation of said
amended informations to the effect that the defendant in
each one of the instant cases
". . . did then and there wilfully,
unlawfully and contamptuously disobey and
resist in an insolent and defiant manner the
said Resolution of the Supreme Court
directed to him, and each and everyone of
the petitioners and perform acts constituting
improper conduct and manifestations that
tend directly and indirectly to impede
obstruct or degrade the administration of
justice . . ."

the lower court had the following to say:


"From this allegation, there is no hint
whatsoever that any command, order or
notification from the judicial court or any nonjudicial person, committee or body clothed by
law with power to punish for contempt has
been disobeyed or violated by the herein
accused. Moreover, there is nothing shown in
the resolution of the Honorable Supreme
Court of March 18, 1974 directing the
accused not to take their oath as lawyers.
The mere fact of taking an oath by any
person as a lawyer does not make him
automatically a lawyer without having
completed the requirements prescribed by
the Supreme Court for the admission to the
practice of law. It is necessary before his
admission to the Bar that he passes the
required bar examinations and is admitted by
the Supreme Court to practice law as
attorney. Our statutes punish as criminal
contempt one 'assuming to be an attorney or
an officer of a court and acting as such
without authority.' (par. F. Rule 64, Rules of
Court.) The mere taking of oath as lawyers by
herein accused, in the humble opinion of this
Court, is not tantamount to practice law.
However, if this had taken one step further,
as for example, after taking their oaths, they
have held out themselves as lawyers to the
public, received cases for litigants, appeared
before any court of justice personally or by
filing
pleadings
therewith,
would
be
considered that they are really engaged in
the practice of law. These accused have not
committed any of these acts as enunciated
by our Supreme Tribunal in the case of
Bosque and Ney, 8 Phil., 146, nor have they
disobeyed or defied any command, order or
notification of this Court or of the Honorable
Supreme Court. What they have done only
was the taking of their oath as lawyers before
a notary public who was not authorized by
law to take their oath as lawyers, as the
latter can only aware as such before the
Supreme Court or any member thereof.
"Pursuant to the above stated
reasons, this Court is of the opinion and so
holds that no criminal contempt has been
committed by the herein accused before this
Court and neither before the highest Tribunal
of this land."
The aforementioned quotation from the amended
informations is, however, incomplete. It did not include the
allegation to the effect that the defendant in each one of the
cases at bar took his "oath as a lawyer before a notary
public" and filed the manifestation transcribed in the
resolution above quoted,
"well knowing that he has not passed the bar
examination and was not in any way
authorized to take his oath as a lawyer and
after having been duly informed and notified
that certain portions of Republic Act No. 972,
known as the Bar Flunkers Act of 1953, are
unconstitutional and therefore void and
without force and effect, and that all the
petitions of the candidates including the
accused who failed in the examinations of
1946 to 1952, inclusive, for admission to the
bar were refused and denied by the
resolution of the Honorable Supreme Court,
on March 18, 1954, . . .."
In other words, appellees knew that they did not
pass the bar examination. Although they, likewise, sought
admission to the Bar under the provisions of Republic Act No.
972, known as the Bar Flunkers Act of 1953, they were
subsequently notified of the resolution of this Court denying
said petition. Inasmuch as the oath as lawyer is a
prerequisite to the practice of law and may be taken only,
before the Supreme Court, by those authorized by the latter
to engage in such practice, the resolution denying the
aforementioned petition of appellees herein, implied,
necessarily, a denial of the right to take said oath, as well as
a prohibition of or injunction against the taking thereof.
When, this notwithstanding, appellees took the oath before a
notary public, and formally advised this Court, not only of
such fact, but also, that "they will practice in all the courts of
the Philippines," they, accordingly, disobeyed the order
implied, and resisted the injunction implicit, in said
resolution, thus violating section 232 of Act No. 190, which
declares in part:

"A person guilty of any of the


following acts may be punished as for
contempt:
"1. Disobedience of or resistance to
a lawful writ, process, order, judgment, or
command of a court, or injunction granted by
a court or judge."
and section 3, subdivision (b), Rule 64, of the Rules of Court,
which is identical.
This case is, in principle, analogous to that of
U.S. vs. Ney and Bosque (8 Phil., 146), which involved two
lawyers, an American, C.W. Ney, and a Spaniard, Juan Garcia
Bosque, who sent out a circular, signed "Ney and Bosque",
stating that they had established an office for the general
practice of law in all courts of the Islands and that Bosque
would devote himself especially to consultation and office
work relating to Spanish Law. Accused of contempt of court,
both were convicted as charged, although upon different
grounds. As regards the Spaniard, it was held that a former
order of this Court denying his admission to the practice of
law in the Philippines, on account of alienage, "was directly
binding upon him;" that the aforementioned circular
"amounted to an assertation of his right and purpose" to
engage in such practice of law; and that "consequently the
conduct of the defendant Bosque amounts to disobedience
of an order made in a proceeding to which he was a
party." As regards Ney, he was found guilty of
"misbehaviour" committed by "an officer of the court."

Likewise, by their aforementioned acts, as set forth


in the amended informations, appellees herein expressed
clearly their intent to, and did, in fact, challenged and defy
the authority of this Court to pass upon and settle, in a final
and conclusive manner, the issue whether or not they should
be admitted to the bar, as well as, embarrass, hinder and
obstruct the administration of justice and impair the respect
due to the courts of justice in general, and the Supreme
Court, in particular. Thus, they performed acts constituting
an "improper conduct tending, directly or indirectly, to
impede, obstruct, or degrade the administration of justice,"
in violation of section 3, subdivision (b) of said Rule 64.
". . . Acts which bring the court into
disrepute or disrespect or which offend its
dignity, affront its majesty, or challenge its
authority constitute contempt of court." . . ..
(12 Am. Jur. 395.)
The lower court is, seemingly, under the impression
that appellees could not be guilty of contempt of court
unless they actually engaged in the practice of law or "held
out to the public" as lawyers "by means of circulars." Such
view is inaccurate, for "assuming to be an attorney . . . and
acting as such without authority," is, only one of the means
by which contempt of court may be committed, under said
Rule 64, section 3, of the Rules of Court. At any rate, by
taking "the oath of office as attorney-at-law" and notifying
the Supreme Court that they had done so and would
"practice law in all courts of the Philippines", the appellees
had, for all intents and purposes, "held out to the public" as
such attorneys-at-law (U.S.vs. Ney and Bosque, supra).
Wherefore, the order appealed from is hereby
reversed, and let the records of these cases be remanded to
the court of origin for further proceedings not inconsistent
with this decision. It is so ordered.
Paras, C. J., Bengzon, Padilla, Montemayor, Reyes,
A., Bautista Angelo, Labrador, Reyes, J. B. L.,
Endencia and Felix, JJ., concur.

||| (People v. De Luna, G.R. Nos. L-10236-48, [January 31, 1958],


102 PHIL 968-979)
SECOND DIVISION
[A.C. No. 3319. June 8, 2000.]
LESLIE UI, complainant, vs. ATTY.
IRIS BONIFACIO, respondent.
SYLLABUS
1. LEGAL AND JUDICIAL ETHICS; PRACTICE OF LAW; A PRIVILEGE.
The practice of law is a privilege. A bar candidate does not
have the right to enjoy the practice of the legal profession simply
by passing the bar examinations. It is a privilege that can be
revoked, subject to the mandate of due process, once a lawyer
violates his oath and the dictates of legal ethics.
2. ID.; ID.; REQUISITES FOR ADMISSION. The requisites for
admission to the practice of law are: a. he must be a citizen of
the Philippines; b. a resident thereof; c. at least twenty-one (21)

years of age; d. a person of good moral character; e. he must


show that no charges against him involving moral turpitude, are
filed or pending in court; f. possess the required educational
qualifications; and g. pass the bar examinations. AEDCHc
3. ID.; ID.; POSSESSION OF GOOD MORAL CHARACTER MUST BE
CONTINUOUS. Clear from the foregoing is that one of the
conditions prior to admission to the bar is that an applicant must
possess good moral character. More importantly, possession of
good moral character must be continuous as a requirement to the
enjoyment of the privilege of law practice, otherwise, the loss
thereof is a ground for the revocation of such privilege. It has
been held "If good moral character is a sine qua non for
admission to the bar, then the continued possession of good
moral character is also a requisite for retaining membership in
the legal profession. Membership in the bar may be terminated
when a lawyer ceases to have good moral character. (Royong vs.
Oblena, 117 Phil. 865). A lawyer may be disbarred for "grossly
immoral conduct, or by reason of his conviction of a crime
involving moral turpitude." A member of the bar should have
moral integrity in addition to professional probity. It is difficult to
state with precision and to fix an inflexible standard as what is
"grossly immoral conduct" or to specify the moral delinquency
and obliquity which render a lawyer unworthy of continuing as a
member of the bar. The rule implies that what appears to be
unconventional behavior to the straight-laced may not be the
immoral conduct that warrants disbarment. Immoral conduct has
been defined as "that conduct which is willful, flagrant, or
shameless, and which shows moral indifference to the opinion of
the good and respectable members of the community."
4. ID.; ID.; ID.; LAWYERS MUST HANDLE THEIR PERSONAL AFFAIRS
WITH GREAT CAUTION. Perhaps morality in our liberal society
today is a far cry from what it used to be before. This
permissiveness notwithstanding, lawyers, as keepers of public
faith, are burdened with a higher degree of social responsibility
and thus must handle their personal affairs with greater caution.
5. ID.; ID.; ID.; ID.; VIOLATED IN CASE AT BAR. In the case at
bar, it is the claim of respondent Atty. Bonifacio that when she
met Carlos Ui, she knew and believed him to be single.
Respondent fell in love with him and they got married and as a
result of such marriage, she gave birth to two (2) children. Upon
her knowledge of the true civil status of Carlos Ui, she left him. . .
. The facts of this case lead us to believe that perhaps respondent
would not have found herself in such a compromising situation
had she exercised prudence and been more vigilant in finding out
more about Carlos Ui's personal background prior to her intimate
involvement with him. Surely, circumstances existed which
should have at least aroused respondent's suspicion that
something was amiss in her relationship with Carlos Ui, and
moved her to ask probing questions. For instance, respondent
admitted that she knew that Carlos Ui had children with a woman
from Amoy, China, yet it appeared that she never exerted the
slightest effort to find out if Carlos Ui and this woman were
indeed unmarried. Also, despite their marriage in 1987,
Carlos Ui never lived with respondent and their first child, a
circumstance that is simply incomprehensible considering
respondent's allegation that Carlos Ui was very open in courting
her. All these taken together leads to the inescapable conclusion
that respondent was imprudent in managing her personal affairs.
6. ID.; DISBARMENT; GROSSLY IMMORAL CONDUCT; BELIED BY
RESPONDENT'S ACT OF IMMEDIATELY DISTANCING HERSELF
FROM A MARRIED MAN UPON DISCOVERING HIS TRUE CIVIL
STATUS. However, the fact remains the her relationship with
Carlos Ui, clothed as it was with what respondent believed was a
valid marriage, cannot be considered immoral. For immorality
connotes conduct that shows indifference to the moral norms of
society and the opinion of good and respectable members of the
community. Moreover, for such conduct to warrant disciplinary
action, the same must be "grossly immoral," that is, it must be so
corrupt and false as to constitute a criminal act or so unprincipled
as to be reprehensible to a high degree. We have held that "a
member of the Bar and officer of the court is not only required to
refrain from adulterous relationships . . . but must also so behave
himself as to avoid scandalizing the public by creating the belief
that he is flouting those moral standards." Respondent's act of
immediately distancing herself from Carlos Ui upon discovering
his true status belies just that alleged moral indifference and
proves that she had no intention of flaunting the law and high
moral standard of the legal profession. Complaint's bare
assertions to the contrary deserve no credit. After all, the burden
of proof rests upon the complaint, and the Court will exercise its
disciplinary powers only if she establishes her case by clear,
convincing and satisfactory evidence. This herein complaint
miserably failed to do.
7. ID.; DUTY OF LAWYERS; TO ADHERE UNWAVERINGLY TO THE
HIGHEST STANDARDS OF MORALITY. It is the bounden duty of
lawyers to adhere unwaveringly to the highest standards of
morality. The legal profession exacts from its members nothing
less. Lawyers are called upon to safeguard the integrity of the
Bar, free from misdeeds and acts constitutive of malpractice.
Their exalted positions as officers of the court demand no less
than the highest degree of morality.

8. REMEDIAL LAW; EVIDENCE; CREDIBILITY OF WITNESSES;


CONTRARY TO HUMAN EXPERIENCE AND HIGHLY IMPROBABLE
FOR A LAWYER TO FORGET THE YEAR OF HER MARRIAGE. On
the matter of the falsified Certificate of Marriage attached by
respondent to her Answer, we find improbable to believed the
averment of respondent that she merely relied on the photocopy
of the Marriage Certificate which was provided her by Carlos Ui.
For an event as significant as a marriage ceremony, any normal
bride would verily recall the date and year of her marriage. It is
difficult to fathom how a bride, especially a lawyer as in the case
at bar, can forget the year when she got married. Simply stated,
it is contrary to human experience and highly improbable.
Furthermore, any prudent lawyer would verify the information
contained in an attachment to her pleading, especially so when
she has personal knowledge of the facts and circumstances
contained therein. In attaching such Marriage Certificate with an
intercalated date, the defense of good faith of respondent on that
point cannot stand.
DECISION
DE LEON, JR., J p:
Before us is an administrative complaint for disbarment
against Atty. Iris Bonifacio for allegedly carrying on an immoral
relationship with Carlos L. Ui, husband of complainant, Leslie Ui.
The relevant facts are:
On January 24, 1971 complainant Leslie Ui married Carlos L. Ui at
the Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Quezon City 1 and as a result
of their marital union, they had four (4) children, namely, Leilani,
Lianni, Lindsay and Carl Cavin, all surnamed Ui. Sometime in
December 1987, however, complainant found out that her
husband, Carlos Ui, was carrying on an illicit relationship with
respondent Atty. Iris Bonifacio with whom he begot a daughter
sometime in 1986, and that they had been living together at No.
527 San Carlos Street, Ayala Alabang Village in Muntinlupa City.
Respondent who is a graduate of the College of Law of the
University of the Philippines was admitted to the Philippine Bar in
1982. cda
Carlos Ui admitted to complainant his relationship with the
respondent. Complainant then visited respondent at her office in
the later part of June 1988 and introduced herself as the legal
wife of Carlos Ui. Whereupon, respondent admitted to her that
she has a child with Carlos Ui and alleged, however, that
everything was over between her and Carlos Ui. Complainant
believed the representations of respondent and thought things
would turn out well from then on and that the illicit relationship
between her husband and respondent would come to an end.
However, complainant again discovered that the illicit
relationship between her husband and respondent continued, and
that sometime in December 1988, respondent and her husband,
Carlos Ui, had a second child. Complainant then met again with
respondent sometime in March 1989 and pleaded with
respondent to discontinue her illicit relationship with Carlos Ui but
to no avail. The illicit relationship persisted and complainant even
came to know later on that respondent had been employed by
her husband in his company.
A complaint for disbarment, docketed as Adm. Case No. 3319,
was then filed on August 11, 1989 by the complainant against
respondent Atty. Iris Bonifacio before the Commission on Bar
Discipline of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (hereinafter,
Commission) on the ground of immorality, more particularly, for
carrying on an illicit relationship with the complainant's husband,
Carlos Ui. In her Answer, 2 respondent averred that she met
Carlos Ui sometime in 1983 and had known him all along to be a
bachelor, with the knowledge, however, that Carlos Ui had
children by a Chinese woman in Amoy, China, from whom he had
long been estranged. She stated that during one of their trips
abroad, Carlos Ui formalized his intention to marry her and they
in fact got married in Hawaii, USA in 1985. 3 Upon their return to
Manila, respondent did not live with Carlos Ui. The latter
continued to live with his children in their Greenhills residence
because respondent and Carlos Ui wanted to let the children
gradually to know and accept the fact of his second marriage
before they would live together. 4 prcd

In 1986, respondent left the country and stayed in Honolulu,


Hawaii and she would only return occasionally to the Philippines
to update her law practice and renew legal ties. During one of her
trips to Manila sometime in June 1988, respondent was surprised
when she was confronted by a woman who insisted that she was
the lawful wife of Carlos Ui. Hurt and desolate upon her discovery
of the true civil status of Carlos Ui, respondent then left for
Honolulu, Hawaii sometime in July 1988 and returned only in
March 1989 with her two (2) children. On March 20, 1989, a few
days after she reported to work with the law firm 5 she was
connected with, the woman who represented herself to be the
wife of Carlos Ui again came to her office, demanding to know if
Carlos Ui has been communicating with her.

It is respondent's contention that her relationship with Carlos Ui is


not illicit because they were married abroad and that after June
1988 when respondent discovered Carlos Ui's true civil status,
she cut off all her ties with him. Respondent averred that
Carlos Ui never lived with her in Alabang, and that he resided at
26 Potsdam Street, Greenhills, San Juan, Metro Manila. It was
respondent who lived in Alabang in a house which belonged to
her mother, Rosalinda L. Bonifacio; and that the said house was
built exclusively from her parents' funds. 6 By way of
counterclaim, respondent sought moral damages in the amount
of Ten Million Pesos (Php10,000,000.00) against complainant for
having filed the present allegedly malicious and groundless
disbarment case against respondent.
In her Reply 7 dated April 6, 1990, complainant states, among
others, that respondent knew perfectly well that Carlos Ui was
married to complainant and had children with her even at the
start of her relationship with Carlos Ui, and that the reason
respondent went abroad was to give birth to her two (2) children
with Carlos Ui. LibLex
During the pendency of the proceedings before the Integrated
Bar, complainant also charged her husband, Carlos Ui, and
respondent with the crime of Concubinage before the Office of
the Provincial Fiscal of Rizal, docketed as I.S. No. 89-5247, but the
same was dismissed for insufficiency of evidence to establish
probable cause for the offense charged. The resolution dismissing
the criminal complaint against respondent reads:
Complainant's
evidence
had prima
facie established the existence of the "illicit
relationship"
between
the
respondents
allegedly discovered by the complainant in
December 1987. The same evidence however
show that respondent Carlos Ui was still living
with complainant up to the latter part of 1988
and/or the early part of 1989.
It would therefore be logical and safe to state
that the "relationship" of respondents started
and
was
discovered
by
complainant
sometime in 1987 when she and respondent
Carlos were still living at No. 26 Potsdam
Street, Northeast Greenhills, San Juan, Metro
Manila and they, admittedly, continued to
live together at their conjugal home up to
early (sic) part of 1989 or later 1988, when
respondent Carlos left the same.
From the above, it would not be amiss to
conclude that altho (sic) the relationship,
illicit as complainant puts it, had been prima
facie established by complainant's evidence,
this same evidence had failed to even prima
facie establish the "fact of respondent's
cohabitation in the concept of husband and
wife at the 527 San Carlos St., Ayala Alabang
house, proof of which is necessary and
indispensable to at least create probable
cause for the offense charged. The statement
alone of complainant, worse, a statement
only of a conclusion respecting the fact of
cohabitation
does
not
make
the
complainant's
evidence
thereto
any
better/stronger
(U.S. vs.
Casipong
and
Mongoy, 20 Phil. 178). LexLib
It is worth stating that the evidence
submitted by respondents in support of their
respective positions on the matter support
and
bolster
the
foregoing
conclusion/recommendation.
WHEREFORE,
it
is
most
respectfully
recommended that the instant complaint be
dismissed for want of evidence to establish
probable cause for the offense charged.
RESPECTFULLY SUBMITTED. 8
Complainant appealed the said Resolution of the Provincial Fiscal
of Rizal to the Secretary of Justice, but the same was
dismissed 9 on the ground of insufficiency of evidence to prove
her allegation that respondent and Carlos Ui lived together as
husband and wife at 527 San Carlos Street, Ayala Alabang,
Muntinlupa, Metro Manila.
In the proceedings before the IBP Commission on Bar Discipline,
complainant filed a Motion to Cite Respondent in Contempt of the
Commission 10 wherein she charged respondent with making
false allegations in her Answer and for submitting a supporting
document which was altered and intercalated. She alleged that in
the Answer of respondent filed before the Integrated Bar,
respondent averred, among others, that she was married to
Carlos Ui on October 22, 1985 and attached a Certificate of
Marriage to substantiate her averment. However, the Certificate
of Marriage 11 duly certified by the State Registrar as a true copy

of the record on file in the Hawaii State Department of Health,


and duly authenticated by the Philippine Consulate General in
Honolulu, Hawaii, USA revealed that the date of marriage
between Carlos Ui and respondent Atty. Iris Bonifacio was October
22, 1987, and not October 22, 1985 as claimed by respondent in
her Answer. According to complainant, the reason for that false
allegation was because respondent wanted to impress upon the
said IBP that the birth of her first child by Carlos Ui was within the
wedlock. 12 It is the contention of complainant that such act
constitutes a violation of Articles 183 13 and 184 14 of the
Revised Penal Code, and also contempt of the Commission; and
that the act of respondent in making false allegations in her
Answer and submitting an altered/intercalated document are
indicative of her moral perversity and lack of integrity which
make her unworthy to be a member of the Philippine Bar. LexLib
In her Opposition (To Motion To Cite Respondent in
Contempt), 15 respondent averred that she did not have the
original copy of the marriage certificate because the same was in
the possession of Carlos Ui, and that she annexed such copy
because she relied in good faith on what appeared on the copy of
the marriage certificate in her possession.
Respondent filed her Memorandum 16 on February 22, 1995, and
raised the lone issue of whether or not she has conducted herself
in an immoral manner for which she deserves to be barred from
the practice of law. Respondent averred that the complaint should
be dismissed on two (2) grounds, namely:
(i) Respondent conducted herself in a manner
consistent with the requirement of
good moral character for the
practice of the legal profession; and
(ii) Complainant failed to prove her allegation
that respondent conducted herself
in an immoral manner. 17
In her defense, respondent contends, among others, that it was
she who was the victim in this case and not Leslie Ui because she
did not know that Carlos Ui was already married, and that upon
learning of this fact, respondent immediately cut-off all her ties
with Carlos Ui. She stated that there was no reason for her to
doubt at that time that the civil status of Carlos Ui was that of a
bachelor because he spent so much time with her, and he was so
open in his courtship. 18 cdll
On the issue of the falsified marriage certificate, respondent
alleged that it was highly incredible for her to have knowingly
attached such marriage certificate to her Answer had she known
that the same was altered. Respondent reiterated that there was
no compelling reason for her to make it appear that her marriage
to Carlos Ui took place either in 1985 or 1987, because the fact
remains that respondent and Carlos Ui got married before
complainant confronted respondent and informed the latter of
her earlier marriage to Carlos Ui in June 1988. Further,
respondent stated that it was Carlos Ui who testified and
admitted that he was the person responsible for changing the
date of the marriage certificate from 1987 to 1985, and
complainant did not present evidence to rebut the testimony of
Carlos Ui on this matter.
Respondent posits that complainant's evidence, consisting of the
pictures of respondent with a child, pictures of respondent with
Carlos Ui, a picture of a garage with cars, a picture of a light
colored car with Plate No. PNS 313, a picture of the same car, and
portion of the house and ground, and another picture of the same
car bearing Plate No. PNS 313 and a picture of the house and the
garage, 19 does not prove that she acted in an immoral manner.
They have no evidentiary value according to her. The pictures
were taken by a photographer from a private security agency and
who was not presented during the hearings. Further, the
respondent presented the Resolution of the Provincial Fiscal of
Pasig in I.S. Case No. 89-5427 dismissing the complaint filed by
Leslie Ui against respondent for lack of evidence to establish
probable cause for the offense charged 20 and the dismissal of
the appeal by the Department of Justice 21 to bolster her
argument that she was not guilty of any immoral or illegal act
because of her relationship with Carlos Ui. In fine, respondent
claims that she entered the relationship with Carlos Ui in good
faith and that her conduct cannot be considered as willful,
flagrant, or shameless, nor can it suggest moral indifference. She
fell in love with Carlos Ui whom she believed to be single, and,
that upon her discovery of his true civil status, she parted ways
with him. dctai
In the Memorandum 22 filed on March 20, 1995 by complainant
Leslie Ui, she prayed for the disbarment of Atty. Iris Bonifacio and
reiterated that respondent committed immorality by having
intimate relations with a married man which resulted in the birth
of two (2) children. Complainant testified that respondent's
mother, Mrs. Linda Bonifacio, personally knew complainant and
her husband since the late 1970s because they were clients of
the bank where Mrs. Bonifacio was the Branch Manager. 23 It was
thus highly improbable that respondent, who was living with her
parents as of 1986, would not have been informed by her own
mother that Carlos Ui was a married man. Complainant likewise

averred that respondent committed disrespect towards the


Commission for submitting a photocopy of a document containing
an intercalated date.

In her Reply to Complainant's Memorandum, 24 respondent


stated that complainant miserably failed to show sufficient proof
to warrant her disbarment. Respondent insists that contrary to
the allegations of complainant, there is no showing that
respondent had knowledge of the fact of marriage of Carlos Ui to
complainant. The allegation that her mother knew Carlos Ui to be
a married man does not prove that such information was made
known to respondent.
Hearing on the case ensued, after which the Commission on Bar
Discipline submitted its Report and Recommendation, finding
that:
In the case at bar, it is alleged that at the
time respondent was courted by Carlos Ui,
the latter represented himself to be single.
The Commission does not find said claim too
difficult to
believe in the light of
contemporary human experience.
Almost always, when a married man courts a
single woman, he represents himself to be
single, separated, or without any firm
commitment to another woman. The reason
therefor is not hard to fathom. By their very
nature, single women prefer single men.
The records will show that when respondent
became aware the (sic) true civil status of
Carlos Ui, she left for the United States (in
July of 1988). She broke off all contacts with
him. When she returned to the Philippines in
March of 1989, she lived with her
brother, Atty.
Teodoro Bonifacio,
Jr.
Carlos Ui and respondent only talked to each
other because of the children whom he was
allowed to visit. At no time did they live
together.
Under the foregoing circumstances, the
Commission fails to find any act on the part
of respondent that can be considered as
unprincipled or disgraceful as to be
reprehensible to a high degree. To be sure,
she was more of a victim that (sic) anything
else and should deserve compassion rather
than condemnation. Without cavil, this sad
episode destroyed her chance of having a
normal and happy family life, a dream
cherished by every single girl.
xxx xxx xxx"
Thereafter, the Board of Governors of the Integrated Bar of the
Philippines issued a Notice of Resolution dated December 13,
1997, the dispositive portion of which reads as follows: LLphil
RESOLVED to ADOPT and APPROVE, as it is
hereby ADOPTED and APPROVED, the Report
and Recommendation of the Investigating
Commissioner in the above-entitled case,
herein made part of this Resolution/Decision
as
Annex
"A",
and,
finding
the
recommendation fully supported by the
evidence on record and the applicable laws
and rules, the complaint for Gross Immorality
against Respondent is DISMISSED for lack of
merit. Atty. Iris Bonifacio is REPRIMANDED for
knowingly and willfully attaching to her
Answer a falsified Certificate of Marriage with
a stern warning that a repetition of the same
will merit a more severe penalty.
We agree with the findings aforequoted.
The practice of law is a privilege. A bar candidate does not have
the right to enjoy the practice of the legal profession simply by
passing the bar examinations. It is a privilege that can be
revoked, subject to the mandate of due process, once a lawyer
violates his oath and the dictates of legal ethics. The requisites
for admission to the practice of law are:
a. he must be a citizen of the Philippines;
b. a resident thereof;
c. at least twenty-one (21) years of age;
d. a person of good moral character;
e. he must show that no charges against him
involving moral turpitude, are filed
or pending in court;

f. possess
the
required
qualifications; and

educational

g. pass the bar examinations. 25 (emphasis


supplied)
Clear from the foregoing is that one of the conditions prior to
admission to the bar is that an applicant must possess good
moral character. More importantly, possession of good moral
character must be continuous as a requirement to the enjoyment
of the privilege of law practice, otherwise, the loss thereof is a
ground for the revocation of such privilege. It has been held:
If good moral character is a sine qua non for
admission to the bar, then the continued
possession of good moral character is also a
requisite for retaining membership in the
legal profession. Membership in the bar may
be terminated when a lawyer ceases to have
good moral character. (Royong vs. Oblena,
117 Phil. 865).
A lawyer may be disbarred for "grossly
immoral conduct, or by reason of his
conviction of a crime involving moral
turpitude." A member of the bar should have
moral integrity in addition to professional
probity.
It is difficult to state with precision and to fix
an inflexible standard as to what is "grossly
immoral conduct" or to specify the moral
delinquency and obliquity which render a
lawyer unworthy of continuing as a member
of the bar. The rule implies that what appears
to be unconventional behavior to the
straight-laced may not be the immoral
conduct that warrants disbarment.
Immoral conduct has been defined as "that
conduct which is willful, flagrant, or
shameless, and which shows a moral
indifference to the opinion of the good and
respectable members of the community." (7
C.J.S. 959). 26 cdtai
In
the
case
at
bar,
it
is
the
claim
of
respondent Atty. Bonifacio that when she met Carlos Ui, she knew
and believed him to be single. Respondent fell in love with him
and they got married and as a result of such marriage, she gave
birth to two (2) children. Upon her knowledge of the true civil
status of Carlos Ui, she left him
Simple as the facts of the case may sound, the effects of the
actuations of respondent are not only far from simple, they will
have a rippling effect on how the standard norms of our legal
practitioners should be defined. Perhaps morality in our liberal
society today is a far cry from what it used to be before. This
permissiveness notwithstanding, lawyers, as keepers of public
faith, are burdened with a higher degree of social responsibility
and thus must handle their personal affairs with greater caution.
The facts of this case lead us to believe that perhaps respondent
would not have found herself in such a compromising situation
had she exercised prudence and been more vigilant in finding out
more about Carlos Ui's personal background prior to her intimate
involvement with him.
Surely, circumstances existed which should have at least aroused
respondent's suspicion that something was amiss in her
relationship with Carlos Ui, and moved her to ask probing
questions. For instance, respondent admitted that she knew that
Carlos Ui had children with a woman from Amoy, China, yet it
appeared that she never exerted the slightest effort to find out if
Carlos Ui and this woman were indeed unmarried. Also, despite
their marriage in 1987, Carlos Ui never lived with respondent and
their first child, a circumstance that is simply incomprehensible
considering respondent's allegation that Carlos Ui was very open
in courting her. prcd
All these taken together leads to the inescapable conclusion that
respondent was imprudent in managing her personal affairs.
However, the fact remains that her relationship with Carlos Ui,
clothed as it was with what respondent believed was a valid
marriage, cannot be considered immoral. For immorality
connotes conduct that shows indifference to the moral norms of
society and the opinion of good and respectable members of the
community. 27 Moreover, for such conduct to warrant disciplinary
action, the same must be "grossly immoral," that is, it must be so
corrupt and false as to constitute a criminal act or so unprincipled
as to be reprehensible to a high degree. 28
We have held that "a member of the Bar and officer of the court
is not only required to refrain from adulterous relationships . . .
but must also so behave himself as to avoid scandalizing the
public by creating the belief that he is flouting those moral
standards." 29 Respondent's act of immediately distancing
herself from Carlos Ui upon discovering his true civil status belies
just that alleged moral indifference and proves that she had no

intention of flaunting the law and the high moral standard of the
legal profession. Complainant's bare assertions to the contrary
deserve no credit. After all, the burden of proof rests upon the
complainant, and the Court will exercise its disciplinary powers
only if she establishes her case by clear, convincing and
satisfactory evidence. 30 This, herein complainant miserably
failed to do.
On the matter of the falsified Certificate of Marriage attached by
respondent to her Answer, we find improbable to believe the
averment of respondent that she merely relied on the photocopy
of the Marriage Certificate which was provided her by Carlos Ui.
For an event as significant as a marriage ceremony, any normal
bride would verily recall the date and year of her marriage. It is
difficult to fathom how a bride, especially a lawyer as in the case
at bar, can forget the year when she got married. Simply stated,
it is contrary to human experience and highly improbable.
Furthermore, any prudent lawyer would verify the information
contained in an attachment to her pleading, especially so when
she has personal knowledge of the facts and circumstances
contained therein. In attaching such Marriage Certificate with an
intercalated date, the defense of good faith of respondent on that
point cannot stand.
It is the bounden duty of lawyers to adhere unwaveringly to the
highest standards of morality. The legal profession exacts from its
members nothing less. Lawyers are called upon to safeguard the
integrity of the Bar, free from misdeeds and acts constitutive of
malpractice. Their exalted positions as officers of the court
demand no less than the highest degree of morality. LexLib
WHEREFORE,
the
complaint
for
disbarment
against
respondent Atty. Iris L. Bonifacio, for alleged immorality, is hereby
DISMISSED.
However, respondent is hereby REPRIMANDED for attaching to
her Answer a photocopy of her Marriage Certificate, with an
altered or intercalated date thereof, with a STERN WARNING that
a more severe sanction will be imposed on her for any repetition
of the same or similar offense in the future.

SO ORDERED.
Bellosillo (Acting
JJ., concur.

C.J.),

Mendoza,

Quisumbing and Buena,

||| (Ui v. Bonifacio, A.C. No. 3319, [June 8, 2000], 388 PHIL 691708)
EN BANC
[A.C. No. 944 . July 25, 1974.]
FLORA NARIDO, complainant, vs. ATTORN
EY JAIME S. LINSANGAN, respondent.
RESOLUTION
FERNANDO, J p:
The spectacle presented by two members of the bar engaged in
bickering and recrimination is far from edifying, although it is
understandable, if not justifiable, that at times zeal in the
defense of one's client may be carried to the point of undue
skepticism and doubt as to the motives of opposing counsel.
Some such reflection is induced by these two administrative
cases wherein respondents Jaime S. Linsangan and Rufino B.
Risma, who represented adverse parties in a workmen's
compensation case, did mutually hurl accusation at each other.
The charge against respondent Linsangan filed by a certain
Flora Narido is that he violated the attorney's oath by submitting
a perjured statement. When required to answer, not only did he
deny the complaint but he would also hold respondent Risma
accountable for having instigated his client, the complainant,
Flora Narido, to file a false and malicious complaint resulting in
what respondent Linsangan called "embarrassment, humiliation
and defamation" of a brother in a profession.
On September 9, 1971, this Court referred the above
administrative cases to the Solicitor General for investigation,
report and recommendation. Such report and recommendation
was submitted on May 31 of this year.
1. Insofar as the first case against respondent Jaime
S. Linsangan is concerned, the report contains the following: "In
support of her complaint filed with this Honorable Court,
complainant Narido heavily
relies
on
the
refusal
of
respondentLinsangan to withdraw despite warning the
affidavit of Milagros M. Vergel de Dios . . ., which
affidavit Narido claims to be perjured. . . Mrs. Narido and Atty.
Risma threatened Atty. Linsangan with disbarment should he
insist
in
offering
the
affidavit
of
Mrs.
Vergel
de
Dios." 1 Nonetheless, such affidavit was filed. It was found as a
fact that there was nothing improper in presenting such affidavit,
its alleged falsity not being proven. Even if it were otherwise, still
there was no showing of respondent having violated his
attorney's oath for submitting a perjured affidavit. Thus the

report continues: "With respect to the other allegations in the


affidavit, suffice it to say that there is no evidence showing
Atty. Linsangan's awareness of the falsity thereof, assuming
arguendo that they are indeed false. As testified by
Atty. Linsangan he has no intention whatsoever of misleading any
court or judicial body, or of violating his attorney's oath." 2
2. As for the charge against Attorney Risma, the report stated the
following: "This administrative complaint stemmed from the
belief of Atty. Linsangan that Atty. Risma 'by virtue of his financial
interest in the Award,' instigated the filing of Administrative Case
No. 944 'in order to accomplish a short cut in winning a case even
by intimidation or unfounded threats, by depriving a party of due
process and at the expense, embarrassment, humiliation, and
defamation of his undersigned brother-respondent.' . . . It seems
unkind to allude evil motive to Atty. Risma. It is perhaps more apt
to state that Atty. Risma's missionary zeal to fight for the rights of
his clients triggered him into filing Administrative Case No. 944.
We should admire Atty. Risma's dedication in championing the
cause of the poor. Mrs. Narido, his client, is a destitute woman.
She needed every centavo of the award. To her, any delay in the
payment thereof meant grave injustice; it meant deprivation and
starvation. Faced with the dilemma of his client, Atty. Risma had
to rise to the challenge. In view of this, it is more in keeping with
Christian precepts to say that it must have been the plight of
Mrs. Narido rather than his alleged financial interest that
compelled Atty. Risma to advise his client to file the case against
Atty. Linsangan. . . . There being no direct evidence to show the
alleged bad faith of Atty. Risma in advising his client to file
Administrative Case No. 944 against Atty.Linsangan, the benefit
of the doubt should be resolved in favor of Atty. Risma.
Consequently, the charge of instigating the filing of 'disbarment
proceedings against a brother attorney with improper motives
and without just ground' necessarily fails." 3
3. From the above, it was the recommendation that on such
charges, both respondents should be exculpated. It being shown
in the investigation, however, although it was not one of the
charges in the counter-complaint filed against him that
respondent Risma would seek to collect fifteen per cent of the
recovery obtained by his client, contrary to the explicit provision
in the Workmen's Compensation Act allowing only a maximum of
ten per cent and that only where the case is appealed, there was
likewise a recommendation for admonition or reprimand. The
aptness of such a penalty was predicated on the fact that
respondent Risma had not received a single centavo from the
client. Moreover, it was clear such contract for attorney's fees
would not be enforced. In the meanwhile, he had been serving his
poverty-stricken client faithfully and well, even advancing some
of the necessary expenses. What was recommended commends
itself for acceptance.
4. This further observation is not amiss. The two respondents
would be well-advised to heed these words from Justice Laurel,
announced in Javier v. Cornejo: 4 "It should be observed, in this
connection,
that
mutual
bickerings
and
unjustifiable
recriminations, between brother attorneys detract from the
dignity of the legal profession and will not receive any sympathy
from this court." 5
5. One last word. The report submitted by the Solicitor General is
characterized by thoroughness and diligence, but its quality
would have been improved had there been on the part of the
Solicitor concerned a more adequate grasp of notable opinions of
this Court on legal ethics from Justice Malcolm on, thus obviating
the need for reliance on secondary authorities, both Philippine
and American.
WHEREFORE, the complaint in Administrative Case No. 944
against respondent Jaime S. Linsangan is dismissed for lack of
merit. Respondent Rufino B. Risma in Administrative Case No.
1025 is exculpated from the charge of having instigated the filing
of an unfounded suit. He is, however, admonished to exercise
greater care in ascertaining how much under our law he could
recover by way of attorney's fees. The contract entered into
between him and his client as to his being entitled to fifteen per
cent of the award granted her in a workmen's compensation suit
is declared to be of no force and effect, the penalty imposed
being that of admonition merely only because he had made no
effort to collect on the same and had even advanced expenses
for a poor client. Let a copy of this resolution be spread on the
records of both respondents.
Makalintal, C.J., Zaldivar, Castro, Teehankee, Barredo, Makasiar,
Antonio, Esguerra, Fernandez, Muoz Palma and Aquino,
JJ., concur.

||| (Narido v. Linsangan, A.C. No. 944 (Resolution), [July 25,


1974], 157 PHIL 87-92)
EN BANC
[A.C. No. 219 . September 29, 1962.]
CASIANO
U. LAPUT, petitioner, vs. ATTY.
FRANCISCO E. F. REMOTIGUE, ATTY.

10

FORTUNATO
PATALINGHUG, respondents.

R.

Casiano U. Laput in his own behalf.


F.E.F. Remotigue in his own behalf.
F. R. Patalinghug in his own behalf.
SYLLABUS
1. ATTORNEY AND CLIENT; ADMINISTRATIVE CHARGES FOR
UNETHICAL CONDUCT; APPEARANCE AS COUNSEL AFTER CLIENT
HAS DISMISSED FORMER COUNSEL NOT IMPROPER. A lawyer
was dismissed by his client because the latter no longer trusted
him. In his stead the client contracted the services of another
lawyer, who, to safeguard the interest of his client, prepared the
papers for the revocation of the power of attorney previously
executed in favor of the first lawyer. After the second lawyer had
filed his appearance in court, the first lawyer voluntarily withdrew
as counsel and, simultaneously, filed a motion for the payment of
his attorney's fees. Held: The appearance of the second lawyer is
not unprofessional, unethical or improper; the first lawyer's
voluntary withdrawal as counsel and his filing of a motion for the
payment of his fees amounted to an acquiescence to the
appearance of the second lawyer.
DECISION
LABRADOR, J p:
This is an original complaint filed with this Court charging
respondents with unprofessional and unethical conduct in
soliciting cases and intriguing against a brother lawyer, and
praying that respondents be dealt with accordingly.
The facts which led to the filing of this complaint are as follows:
In May, 1952, petitioner was retained by Nieves Rillas Vda. de
Barrera to handle her case (Sp. Proc, No. 2-J) in the Court of First
Instance of Cebu, entitled "Testate Estate of Macario Barrera". By
January, 1955, petitioner had contemplated the closing of the
said administration proceedings and prepared two pleadings:
one, to close the proceedings and declare Nieves Rillas Vda. de
Barrera as universal heir and order the delivery to her of the
residue of the estate and, second, a notice for the rendition of
final accounting and partition of estate. At this point, however,
the administratrix Nieves Rillas Vda. de Barrera refused to
counter-sign these two pleadings and instead advised petitioner
not to file them. Some weeks later, petitioner found in the
records of said proceedings that respondent Atty. Fortunato
Patalinghug had filed on January 11, 1955 a written appearance
as the new counsel for Nieves Rillas Vda. de Barrera. On February
5, 1955 petitioner voluntarily asked the court to be relieved as
counsel for Mrs. Barrera. On February 7, 1955, the other
respondent, Atty. Francisco E. F. Remotigue, entered his
appearance, dated February 5, 1955.
Complainant here alleges that the appearances of respondents
were unethical and improper for the reason that they had nursed
the desire to replace the petitioner as attorney for the estate and
the administratrix and, taking advantage of her goodwill,
intrigued against the preparation of the final inventory and
accounting and prodded Mrs. Barrera not to consent to
petitioner's decision to close the administration proceedings; that
before their appearance, they brought petitioner's client to their
law office and there made her sign four documents captioned
"Revocation of Power of Attorney" and sent the same by mail to
several corporations and establishments where the estate of
Macario Barrera is owner of certificates of stocks and which
documents purported to disauthorize the petitioner from further
collecting and receiving the dividends of the estate from said
corporations, when in fact and in truth the respondents fully knew
that no power of attorney or authority was given to the petitioner
by his client, the respondents' motive being to embarrass
petitioner to the officials, lawyers and employees of said
corporations, picturing him as a dishonest lawyer and no longer
trusted by his client all with the purpose of straining the
relationship of the petitioner and his client, Nieves Rillas Vda. de

Barrera; and that Atty. Patalinghug entered his appearance


without notice to petitioner.
In answer, respondent Atty. Patalinghug stated that when he
entered his appearance on January 11, 1955 the administratrix
Nieves Rillas Vda. de Barrera had already lost confidence in her
lawyer, the herein petitioner, and had in fact already with her a
pleading dated January 11, 1955, entitled "Discharge of Counsel
for the Administration and Motion to Cite Atty. Casiano Laput",
which she herself had filed with the court.
In answer, respondent Atty. Remotigue stated that when he filed
his appearance on February 7, 1955, the petitioner has already
withdrawn as counsel.
After separate answers were filed by the respondents, the
Supreme Court referred the case to the Solicitor General for
investigation, report and recommendation. The Solicitor General
recommended the complete exoneration of respondents.
It appears and it was found by the Solicitor General that before
respondent Atty. Fortunato Patalinghug entered his appearance,
the widow administratrix had already filed with the court a
pleading discharging the petitioner, Atty. Casiano Laput. If she did
not furnish Atty. Laput with a copy of the said pleading, it was not
the fault of Atty. Patalinghug but that of the said widow. It
appears that the reason why Mrs. Barrera dismissed petitioner as
her lawyer was that she did not trust him any longer, for one time
she found out that some dividend checks which should have been
sent to her were sent instead to petitioner, making her feel that
she was being cheated by petitioner. Moreover, she found that
withdrawals from the Philippine National Bank and Bank of the
Philippine Islands have been made by petitioner without her prior
authority.
We see no irregularity in the appearance of respondent Atty.
Fortunato Patalinghug as counsel for the widow; much less can
we consider it as an actual grabbing of a case from petitioner.
The evidence as found by the Solicitor General shows that Atty.
Patalinghug's professional services were contracted by the
widow, a written contract having been made as to the amount to
be given him for his professional services.
Petitioner's voluntary withdrawal on February 5, 1955, as counsel
for Mrs. Barrera after Atty. Patalinghug had entered his
appearance, and his (petitioner's) filing almost simultaneously of
a motion for the payment of his attorney's fees, amounted to an
acquiescence to the appearance of respondent Atty. Patalinghug
as counsel for the widow. This should estop petitioner from now
complaining that the appearance of Atty. Patalinghug was
unprofessional.
Much less could we hold respondent Atty. Remotigue guilty of
unprofessional conduct inasmuch as he entered his appearance,
dated February 5, 1955, only on February 7, same year, after Mrs.
Barrera had dispensed with petitioner's professional services on
January 11, 1955, and after petitioner had voluntarily withdrawn
his appearance on February 5, 1955.
With respect to the preparation by Atty. Patalinghug of the
revocations of power of attorney as complained of by petitioner,
the Solicitor General found that the same does not appear to be
prompted by malice or intended to hurt petitioner's feelings, but
purely to safeguard the interest of the administratrix. Evidently,
petitioner's pride was hurt by the issuance of these documents,
and felt that he had been pictured as a dishonest lawyer; for he
filed a case before the City Fiscal of Cebu against Atty.
Patalinghug and the widow for libel and falsification. It was
shown, however, that the case was dismissed.
No sufficient evidence having been submitted to sustain the
charges, these are hereby dismissed and the case closed.
Bengzon, C.J., Padilla, Bautista Angelo, Concepcion, Paredes,
Dizon, Regala and Makalintal, JJ., concur.

||| (Laput v. Remotigue, A.C. No. 219, [September 29, 1962], 116
PHIL 371-375)

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