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6

Payment of Docket Fees in Election


Cases
Enojas v. Judge Gacott
Facts: Respondent Judge dismissed an election
case on non-payment of docket fees although the
case was previously admitted and was filed
properly by the original Judge whom Judge
replaced. Gacott issued the dismissal order citing
Manchester vs. CA: a case is deemed commenced
only upon payment of proper docket fees. In
respondents opinion, the required fees had not yet
been paid hence the complainants charges of
gross ignorance of the law against said respondent.
WoN a case is commenced upon payment of docket
fees.
Held: Election protest was properly filed. Original
judge already made an order that, from the deposit
given by the protestant for the necessary
expenses, an amount shall be allocated for the
payment of the required fees. Court also held that
the Manchester ruling does not apply to election
cases. The filing fee in an election case is fixed and
the claim for damages is merely ancillary and not
determinative of the courts jurisdiction.

Respondent judge was in utter disregard of


established rules as he was duty bound to adhere
to. He cannot feign ignorance thereof as the Code
of Judicial Ethics requires him. One of the principal
duties of a judge is to be abreast with law and
jurisprudence, and respondent failed to meet said
expectations.

7 Granting of Bail
Tolentino v. Judge Camano
Facts: Respondent Judge granted bail while pending
the holding of a preliminary investigation. The
defense moved to quash the information on the
absence of a preliminary investigation. Respondent
Judge then ordered the state prosecutor to conduct
as such. The investigation pending, respondent
granted bail in favor of the defendant after the
complainant failed to appear and present evidence
in hearings despite notices. Complainant then
accused respondent of denying the prosecution the
chance to present evidence; that bail should not
have been granted. Hence the charges of
incompetence
and
grave
abuse
against
respondent.
WoN respondent judge manifested incompetence
or abuse of discretion in his actions.
Held: No denial of due process. It was unnecessary
to hold a hearing so that the prosecution could
present evidence since a preliminary investigation
had been ordered. At that point, bail was still a
matter of right. Moreover, complainant failed to
appear and present evidence several times.

Considering that the case was referred to the Office


of the Provincial Prosecutor for preliminary
investigation, the accused was entitled to bail.
Respondent judges decision in accordance with
law.

8
Issuance of an Order of Release
Santiago vs. Judge Jovellanos; Sanchez vs.
Judge Jovellanos
A.M. No. MTJ-00-1289. August 1, 2000
Facts: Jesusa Santiago and Margarita Sanchez were
complainants in two different criminal cases. The
suspects in the criminal cases have been caught
and detained. However, both suspects were
released by order of respondent Judge Jovellanos.
Complainants questioned the orders of release,
alleging that the requirements for the bailbond had
not been fulfilled; that respondent had no
jurisdiction to order the release.
WoN requirements for bailbond had been fulfilled;
respondent had jurisdiction to order the release of
the suspects.
Held: There are two defects in the Orders for
Release by respondent judge: detainees had not
registered the bailbond in accordance with the
Rules of Criminal Procedure; and Jovellanos did not
have jurisdiction to order the release of the
detainees. Criminal Procedure provide that when a
suspect is arrested outside the area where his case
is pending, he may either apply for bail with the

court where his case is pending or with any RTC in


the province, city, or municipality. If an RTC judge is
not available, he may apply for bail with any MTC
or MCTC in the place where he was arrested.
Judge Jovellanos entertained motions for bail
and ordered release for suspects whose cases were
not pending in his court, nor were they arrested
within his jurisdiction. Unfamiliarity with the Rules
of Court is a sign of incompetence which goes
against the Code of Judicial Conduct. Judge
Jovellanos was suspended for 1 year without pay
issued and a warning.

9
Grant of a Motion for Reconsideration
Lucas v. Judge Fabros
Facts : Complainant alleges that Judge Fabros
granted the plaintiffs motion for reconsideration
after the case had been dismissed; that under
Section 19(c) of the Rules of Summary Procedure, a
motion for reconsideration is prohibited. But
respondent judge violated such rule and granted
the motion for reconsideration. Respondent judge
ordered the revival of the case out of malice with
intent to cause injury to complainant, thus
charging respondent judge with gross ignorance of
the law and grave abuse of discretion.
WoN respondent judge was ignorant of the law and
manifested grave abuse of discretion.
Held: As a rule, a motion for reconsideration is a
prohibited pleading under Section 19 of the
Revised Rule on Summary Procedure. This rule
applies only where the judgment sought to be
reconsidered is one rendered on the merits. Order
of dismissal issued by respondent judge due to
failure of a party to appear during the preliminary
conference is obviously not a judgment on the
merits. Hence, a motion for the reconsideration of

such order is not the prohibited pleading


contemplated under Section 19 (c) of the present
Rule on Summary Procedure. Respondent judge
committed no grave abuse of discretion nor guilty
of ignorance of the law thus/

10
Imposition of Proper Penalty
Dadizon vs. Judge Lirios
Facts:
Dadizon
was
the
complainant
for
Falsification, tried and decided by Judge Lirios.
Lirios convicted the accused, Pablo Suzon, and
sentenced him to 7 months imprisonment and
imposed a PhP 1,000 fine. Complainant questioned
the sentence; that 7 months is below what the law
prescribes. Lirios stated that he appreciated the
mitigating circumstance of Suzons age being over
70 years old.
Held: Respondent should have known that the
Indeterminate
Sentence
Law
provides
the
imposition of a prison sentence in its minimum and
maximum term. The offense committed has a
penalty of prision correccional. The mitigating
circumstance is merely an ordinary one. The
penalty originally imposed is erroneous.
While a judge may not always be subjected to
disciplinary action, that relative immunity is not a
license to be negligent. Every judge should that the
Indeterminate Sentence Law fixes a penalty at its
minimum and maximum. Where the law is
elementary, not knowing it constitutes gross

ignorance. Judge Lirios was fined in the amount of


PhP 5,000 and issued a stern warning.

11 Application of Rules of Procedure


Ortiz vs. Judge Quiroz
Facts: Ortiz filed a criminal complaint against
Inocencia Hernandez for malicious mischief and
grave threats. Before the trial, Judge Quiroz ruled
that the case be governed by ordinary rules of
procedure rather than the rules of criminal
procedure as the case fell within the exceptions of
P.D. 1508. Ortiz argued that the rules on criminal
procedure should be followed for his case in an
administrative complaint.
Held: Malicious mischief is penalized with arresto
mayor in its medium and maximum periods if the
value of the damage caused exceeds PhP 1,000.
The alleged damage to complainant was estimated
to be PhP 50,000. Thus, the criminal case should
have been tried under the Revised Rule on
Summary Procedure. The rules are applicable
where the penalty is imprisonment not exceeding 6
months or a fine not exceeding PhP 1,000 or both.
Respondent judge erred in applying the ordinary
rules of procedure therefore. A judges duty is to
exhibit more than cursory acquaintance with
statutes and procedural rules; to have the basic
rules at the palm of his hand and be proficient in

the interpretation of laws and procedural rules.


Judge Quiroz was reprimanded and given a stern
warning.

12
Issuance of a Writ of Execution
Jason vs. Judge Ygana
Facts: Jason was the defendant in an ejectment
case. Receiving an adverse judgement, Jason
appealed the decision to the RTC of Pasig City,
presided by Judge Ygana. Respondent judge
affirmed the decision. The Sheriff of Branch 153
executed upon some personal properties of Jason
and gave a Notice to Vacate. Jason filed an
administrative complaint against Judge Ygana; that
the Writ of Execution is to be issued by the court of
origin and not the appellate court.
Held: The case should have been remanded back
to the MTC for execution. If the judgment of the
MTC is appealed to the regional trial court and the
decision of the latter is itself elevated to the Court
of Appeals, whose decision thereafter become final,
the case should be remanded back to the MTC for
execution. It is imperative that he a judge has more
than adequate knowledge basic legal principles.
Canon 18 mandates that he should administer his
office with due regard to the integrity of the system
of the law itself. Judge Ygana was fined PhP 10,000
for gross ignorance of the law.

13
Conducting Hearings for Probation
Carlos B. Creer vs. Judge Concordio Fabillar
Facts: Judge Fabillar convicted Carlos Creer of
grave coercion. Creer appealed the conviction to
the RTC. Creer was then jailed by order of Judge
Fabillar. Creer alleged that respondent judge made
him sign an application for probation which said
judge denied. Decision was reversed by RTC
subsequently. Creer then filed a complaint against
Judge Fabillar, charging the latter with gross
ignorance of the law for conducting hearings for
probation despite his pending appeal.
Heldz: No application for probation shall be
entertained or granted if the defendant has
perfected the appeal from the judgment of
conviction. An appeal had already been perfected
during the time complainant filed for probation.
Though respondent Judge denied it, he had still
acted on it by ordering a post-sentence
investigation. The appeal should have been
outrightly denied. Where the law is basic, a judge
owes it to his office to know and to simply apply it;
anything less than that would be constitutive of
gross ignorance of the law. Judge Fabillar was

suspended from service for 6 months without pay


and ordered to pay a PhP 20,000 fine.

14
Order of Acquittal
Fredesminda Dayawon v. Judge Maximino A.
Badilla
Facts: Dayawon charged Judge Badilla with gross
ignorance of the law and incompetence" relative to
a criminal case for estafa. Respondent Judge
acquitted the accused and declared her to only be
liable civilly despite Alamos admittance in open
court that she had the obligation to remit the
proceeds of the sale of certain goods or to return
the items if unsold, but had failed to comply. These
admissions and accuseds actions in bad faith,
complainant alleged, were clearly sufficient to
convict the accused of estafa.
Held: A judge is to exhibit more than just a cursory
acquaintance with statutes and procedural rules;
so long as he remains on the bench, it is
imperative that he continues to be conversant with
the basic law. The Court, however, reduced the fine
of P5,000.00 to P2,000.00 considering no nefarious
motive was shown on respondent judges part.

15
Issuance of Hold Departure Order
Cebu Office of the Court Administrator v.
Judge Salvador B. Mendoza
Facts: Judge Mendoza issued a Hold Departure
Order in criminal case People of the Philippines v.
Arnie Pena Osabel" pending before him in an MTC
in Cebu. The Secretary urged the Court
Administrator to look into the fact that the order in
question was issued in violation of Supreme Court
Circular No. 39-97 dated June 19, 1997.
Held: Circular No. 39-97 limits the authority to
issue hold-departure orders to RTCs in criminal
cases within their exclusive jurisdiction. Canon 3,
Rule 3.01 of the Code of Judicial Conduct: judges
should be faithful to the law and maintain
professional competence." Learning the law and
the legal system is a never-ending endeavor;
hence judges should always be vigilant in their
quest for knowledge to discharge their duties with
zeal and fervor.

16. Habitual Tardiness


Antonio Yu-Asensi vs.
Villanueva

Judge

Francisco

D.

Facts: Complainant charges Judge Villanueva for


serious misconduct and violating the Canons of
Judicial Ethics on promptness and punctuality
as respondent had been consistently late for 45
minutes to 1 1/2 hours during scheduled hearings.
Due to his tardiness, complainants lawyer had also
been compelled to extend trial even beyond the
prescribed period provided for by law.
Held: Habitual tardiness amounts to serious
misconduct and inefficiency in violation of the
Canons. Several SC Circulars have been issued
which enjoin judges to be punctual in the
performance of their judicial duties, recognizing
that the time of litigants, witnesses, and attorneys
are of value. If the judge is not punctual in his
habits, he sets a bad example to the bar. Rule 3.05
of the Code of Judicial Conduct mandates: "A judge
shall dispose of the court's business promptly and
decide cases within the required periods."

17. Gross Inefficiency and Duty/Liability over Court


Personnel
Atty. Martin Pantaleon v. Judge Teofilo Guadiz
Facts:
In
receiving
an
adverse
decision,
complainant filed a Notice of Appeal within the
reglementary period and respondent Judge issued
for the transmittal of the records of the case to the
appellate court. But despite constant follow-up by
counsel, three years passed and the records have
still not been transmitted. Respondent judge
contends that the court stenographer misplaced
the transcript of the testimony of one of the
witnesses hence the delay; that complainant
should filed the proper motion or by writing a
personal letter informing him of the non-transmittal
of the records within three months from the date of
his order of transmittal.
Held:
A
judge
cannot
hide
behind
the
incompetence of his subordinates. He should be
the master of his own domain. Non-transmission of
the records by reason of inefficiency of the staff
cannot
exonerate
respondent
judge
from
administrative liability. As administrative officer of
the court, a judge is expected to keep a watchful

eye on the performance and conduct of court


personnel under his immediate supervision.
In the case of Judge Fernando Agdamag,
the Court stated a judges responsibilities include
being an effective manager of the court and its
personnel. A delay of three years in the
transmission of court records is inexcusable.

18.

Impartiality and Impropriety of a Judge

Issuance of Conflicting Orders


Daniel & Suprema Dumo v. Judge Romeo V.
Perez
A.M. No. MTJ-00-1242 January 20, 2000
Facts: Respondent MTC Judge issued a Writ of
Execution to enforce the decision of a case
involving quieting of title and recovery of
ownership of real property. But said writ was
returned unsatisfied as complainants were the
actual owners and occupants of the property.
Respondent
Judge
ordered,
stating
that
complainants shall not be affected by said writ.
Despite such order, he issued a Writ of Possession
in favor of the original plaintiff, Espinas, who used
Writ of Possession against the herein complainants
and ejected them from their property.
WoN: Respondent Judge, in issuing conflicting
orders, showed patent partiality over Espinas.
Held: As a municipal trial court judge, he had no
jurisdiction over the action for quieting of title and
recovery of ownership filed by Espinas, as such
cases fall within the exclusive jurisdiction of RTCs.

Being so basic and elementary a matter, the


judges ignorance is inexcusable. Judges act of
issuing conflicting orders, as he himself reversed a
previous order by issuing the Writ of Possession,
gave rise to the suspicion of partiality favor of
Espinas. Regularity and good faith on respondents
part are negated by the circumstances. While a
judge cannot be made liable for any erroneous
decision rendered in good faith, it is imperative
that he should have basic knowledge of the law;
that judges should not only be impartial but also
appear impartial. Canon 2 of the Code of Judicial
Conduct provides that a judge should avoid
impropriety and the appearance of impropriety in
all activities; that a judge should so behave at all
times to promote public confidence the judiciarys
integrity and impartiality.

19. Leopoldo G. Dacera, Jr. vs. Judge Teodoro


A. Dizon
Facts: Dacera was the complainant in a case of
Qualified Theft, filed in the RTC of General Santos
City where Judge Dizon presided. The prosecutor
later filed a Motion to Dismiss because Dacera had
executed and signed an Affidavit of Desistance
from pursuing the prosecution. Dacera, however,
opposed the Motion to Dismiss, alleging that Judge
Dizon had unduly influenced him to sign the
Affidavit of Desistance; that he had not been fully
appraised of the consequences. The SC assigned
an Associate Justice of the Court of Appeals to
investigate the matter.
Held: The investigation did not find conclusive
evidence that Judge Dizon was personally biased.
Respondent judge did not actually dismiss the case
upon motion of the prosecutor and even voluntarily
inhibited himself upon motion of Dacera to
disqualify him. Investigation, however, did reveal
that Dizon made telephone calls to Dacera and
even had discussions with him inside his chambers
in order to verify the truth about the Affidavit of
Desistance. A judge is not only required to be
impartial; he must also appear to be impartial.

Fraternizing
with
litigants
tarnishes
this
appearance, making respondents acts less than
circumspect. He should have strayed from
impropriety and endeavored to distance himself
acts liable to create an impression of indecorum.
Respondent Judge was admonished to refrain from
making calls to any parties-litigant and/or counsel
with cases pending in his sala and was sternly
warned.

20. William R. Adan vs. Judge Anita AbucejoLuzano


Facts: Adan was the complainant in cases of Grave
Oral Defamation, tried and decided by Judge
Luzano of the MCTC of Misamis Occidental.
Respondent judge convicted the accused and
sentenced them accordingly. Upon Motion for
Reconsideration,
however,
respondent
judge
reversed her decision and rendered a judgement
for acquittal. Adan questioned the reversal of the
conviction, alleging that Judge Luzano had modified
her judgment because she had conducted a
personal ocular inspection of the place where the
crime was committed without the presence of the
parties involved.
Held: An ex-parte ocular inspection without notice
nor presence of the parties, and after the case had
already been decided, was highly improper. She
should have ordered the reopening of the trial with
due notice to the parties, whose participation is
essential. Judges actions were highly improper as
she admitted additional evidence without giving
the prosecution a chance to object to its
introduction or controvert the same. Furthermore,
respondent judge opened herself to partiality and

bias by meeting with the accused privately. No


matter how noble her intentions may have been, it
was improper for respondent judge to meet the
accused without the presence of complainant, thus
violating Canon 2 of the Code of Judicial Conduct: a
judge should avoid impropriety and the
appearance of impropriety in all activities.

21. Gross Misconduct amounting to Violation of a


Constitutional Right/ Serious/Grave Misconduct
Atty.
NapoleonS.
Reynaldo Bellosillo

Valenzuela

v.

Judge

Facts: In a BP 22 case, Judge allegedly granted bail


to the accused despite not being accompanied and
represented by her counsel at that time and even
suggested that the latter should be replaced by
another counsel. Complainant filed his Notice of
Withdrawal in conformity with his clients decision,
Colapo,
subsequently
filing
the
instant
administrative complaint against respondent Judge.
He attached an Affidavit executed by his client to
support his position. However, complainant failed
to present Colapo as witness as she was out of the
country during the hearing.
Held: On granting bail without the assistance of
counsel, the Court held that it was valid and
sufficiently based on the Manifestation filed by Atty.
Valenzuela. With regard to the alleged act of
respondent Judge suggesting to the accused that
she should change her counsel, the evidence
adduced by the complainant was insufficient. The
affidavit issued by Colapo cannot be the basis of a

finding of guilt. Complainants failure to present his


principal witness, in the absence of other evidence,
cannot be given credence.
The employment or profession of a person
is a property right within the constitutional
guaranty of due process. Respondent judge cannot
be adjudged guilty of the charges against him
without affording him a chance to confront the
witness, Colapo. Otherwise, his right to due process
would be infringed.

22. Erlinda Sy vs. Danilo Norberte


Facts: In a civil case against Antoinetta Galvez,
complainant Sy obtained a writ of preliminary
attachment against all properties of the former.
However, she alleged that respondent Danilo
Norberte, Sheriff of Branch of the RTC, tipped off
Galvez about the said writ; that Norberte actively
assisted Galvez in the removal of her personal
property from the latter's residence.
Held: Norberte was positively identified and seen
by the complainant Sy and 2 other witnesses. The
offense of serious or grave misconduct refers to
such misconduct that shows the element of
corruption, clear intent to violate the law, or
flagrant disregard of established rules. In tipping
off and assisting Galvez, Norberte's actions are an
attempt to circumvent a valid court order.
Respondent sheriff should have refrained from any
actuations which may result in suspicion of
impropriety. Members of the judiciary are expected
to serve with the highest degree of responsibility
and efficiency, and to conduct themselves with
propriety and decorum at all times. Norberte was
suspended for 1 month and issued a warning.

23. In Re: Procedure adopted by Judge Daniel


Liangco
Facts: RTC Judge Pedro Sunga of Pampanga
received information about irregularities in the
disposition of jueteng cases before the MTCs. Judge
Sunga discovered that of the 55 jueteng cases filed
in July, 53 were assigned to the MTC of San
Fernando, presided by Judge Liangco. Judge Sunga
demanded a written explanation, and Judge
Liangco said that it has been his practice to
automatically take over all jueteng cases; that the
detained accused can file motions for bail and the
same can be entertained immediately. In other
words, because of the need for provisional liberty,
all jueteng cases are considered to be raffled to his
branch so he may entertain motions for bail, and
the accused can be released upon filing of the
bond.
Held: Judge Liangco clearly violated Supreme Court
Circular No. 7: "All cases filed with the Court in
stations or groupings where there are two or more
branches shall be assigned or distributed to the
different branches by raffle. No case may be
assigned to any branch without being raffled."
There is no connection at all between respondents

alleged desire to facilitate the release the accused


and his questionable act of retaining the records.
There is thus no need to retain the records and
consider them raffled off to his own sala. The
questioned acts of respondent Judge Liangco
constitute a clear breach of his duty as a judge.
Respondent judges manner of automatically
assigning jueteng cases to its own branch casts
doubt on his integrity as a judge. Judge Liangco
was suspended from service for 6 months without
pay and issued a warning.

24. Neglect of Duty/Abuse of Authority


Zenaida S. Beso v. Judge Juan Daguman
Facts: In a Complaint-Affidavit, Zenaida S. Beso
charged Judge Juan J. Daguman, Jr. with
solemnizing marriage outside of his jurisdiction and
of negligence in not retaining a copy nor
registering the marriage contract with the office of
the Local Civil Registrar. Respondent judge alleged
that the marriage was solemnized in Calbayog City
though outside his territory was because of, among
others, the ff. reasons: 1) physically indisposed and
unable to report to his station in Sta. Margarita; 2)
complainant said she had to fly abroad that same
day; and 3) if the marriage was delayed, it would
complicate complainants employment abroad.
Held: The authority of a judge to solemnize
marriages is only limited to those municipalities
under his jurisdiction. There are only three
instances as provided by Article 8 of the Family
Code where a marriage may be solemnized outside
a judges chamber, and the circumstances are not
attendant in the case. Moreover, respondent Judge
neglected his duty when he failed to register the
marriage, as entrusted upon him pursuant to

Article 23 of the Family Code. A judge should


exercise extra care in ensuring that records of
cases and official documents in his custody are
intact. Records show that the loss was occasioned
by carelessness on respondent Judges part.

25. Prompt Disposition of Cases/ Inefficiency/Abuse


of Authority
State Prosecutor Romulo Tolentino vs. Judge
Nilo Malanyaon
Facts: Judge Malanyaon, presiding judge of an RTC
in Camarines Sur, dismissed 5 separate criminal
cases for lack of evidence and also refused to issue
warrants of arrest due to lack of probable cause.
Acting State Prosecutor for Camarines Sur Romulo
Tolentino assailed the orders and refusal to issue
warrants alleging that Judge Malanyaon had
abused his authority and knowingly rendered
unjust orders; that several motions had been filed
before respondent judge and have yet to be
resolved.
Issues: (1) Did Judge Malanyaon exercise grave
abuse of discretion and act in excess of
jurisdiction?
(2) Was Judge Malanyaon guilty of
unreasonable delay?
Held: (1) NO. Allegations that respondent judge
had violated Canons 1, 2 and 3 of the Canons of
Judicial Conduct are of no merit. Good faith and

absence
of
malice,
corrupt
or
improper
consideration are sufficient defenses protecting a
judicial officer charged with ignorance of the law
and promulgation of an unjust decision. Since there
is no proof of grave abuse, charges were dismissed
by the Court.
(2) YES. The motions were left unacted
upon despite pending for 3 to 5 months.
Respondent should be aware of his duties as a
judge. Under Rule 3.05 of the Code of Judicial
Conduct, a judge shall dispose of the court's
business promptly and decide cases within the
required periods. Even assuming that the various
motions filed by the prosecutor were without merit,
the judge must nevertheless resolve on those
matters promptly by granting or denying them.
Respondent judge was found guilty for his failure to
resolve pending motions and/or incidents and,
accordingly, a penalty of reprimand was imposed
upon him.

26. Juan
Meteoro

Luzarraga

vs.

Hon.

Amaro

M.

Facts: After Juan Luzarraga had rested his case and


presented his evidence, the case was transferred
to an RTC in Camarines Norte, presided by Judge
Meteoro, who only proceeded with the presentation
of the defendant's evidence after two years and
submitted for decision a year later. After 7 months
without
a
decision,
Luzarraga
filed
an
administrative complaint against Judge Meteoro.
Respondent pleaded for understanding and
compassion; that his branch had more than 300
cases pending; that he had trouble recruiting and
training competent personnel and that he had
suffered a stroke.
Held: Failure of a judge to decide a case within the
required period is not excusable and constitutes
gross inefficiency and non-observance of the rule;
constitutes serious misconduct in the speedy
administration of justice. Rule 3.05 of Canon 3 of
the Code of Judicial Conduct: all judges shall
dispose the court's business promptly and decide
cases within periods fixed by law. When a judge is
unable to dispose a case within the prescribed
period, a judge may file an application with the

Court asking for an extension. But respondent did


not even attempt to do so. A heavy case load and
being a stroke victim are only mitigating, and not
exonerating. Judge Meteoro was fined P20,000 with
the warning that a repetition of the same shall be
dealt with more severely.

27. Dominga D. Quillal-Lan vs. Judge Alicia L.


Delos Santos
Facts: Complainant Quillal-Lan was the defendant
in a Forcible Entry case before Judge Delos Santos
at Davao del Sur. Complainant alleges that
respondent judge failed to decide the case within
the mandatory 30-day period as provided by the
Rules on Summary Procedure. Judge Delos Santos
avers that she was on sick leave and therefore
could not be expected to decide upon the case
within the said period.
Held: A case of Forcible Entry falls must be decided
within 30-days. Respondent should have rendered
judgment in the forcible entry case before she went
on leave. Delay in the disposition of cases covered
by the Revised Rule on Summary Procedure
defeats the very purpose of said rule, which is the
expeditious and inexpensive determination of
cases. Respondent appears to be remiss in her
duties as judge when she failed to render judgment
as mandated by the rules. Under Rule 3.05 of the
Code of Judicial Conduct, she is required to dispose
of the courts business promptly and to decide
cases within the required time frame. Judge Delos
Santos was fined PhP 1,000 and issued a warning.

28. Cob C. Dela Cruz v. Judge Rodolfo M.


Serrano
Facts: Complainant contends, among others, that
it took one (1) year and five (5) months instead of
three months to render a decision in civil case. The
civil case was submitted for decision on April 1996,
but the decision thereon was only promulgated on
October 8, 1997.
Held: Respondent Judge took one (1) year and five
(5) months to decide on a case, which is way
beyond the three-month period mandated by the
Constitution. Section 15 (1) of Article VIII of the
Constitution: all cases filed before the lower courts
must be decided or resolved within three (3)
months from date of submission. The Code of
Judicial Conduct likewise provides that a judge
should administer justice impartially and without
delay
Justice
delayed
is
often
justice
denied. Thus, any delay in the administration of
justice may result in depriving the litigant of his
right to a speedy disposition.

29.

Negligence/Incompetence of a Judge

Norma Esguerra vs. Judge Guillermo Loja


Facts: Norma Esguerra was the complainant in a
case of Falsification of a Public Document tried
before Judge Guillermo Loja. Complainant alleged
that Judge Loja failed to decide the case within the
90-day reglementary period and further accused
him of falsifying his certificate of service in order to
make it appear that he had decided the case. Judge
Loja countered that he had indeed decided upon
the case but rather, the decision was just not
dated.
Held: Judge Loja is guilty only of SIMPLE
NEGLIGENCE and not of the administrative
complaint filed against him. There is no clear proof
that the respondent judge falsified his certificate of
service simply because his decision was dated.
Even assuming that there was a slight delay in
deciding the case, it must be taken into
consideration that Judge Loja has a heavy case
load (800 pending cases) and that this is the first
offense by a judge who provided long and
consistent service to the Judiciary. The Court fined
Judge Loja PhP 2,000 and issued a warning.

30. Duty of Court Employees


Marta Bucatcat v. Edgar Bucatcat and Gene
Jaro
Facts: Complainant Bucatcat charged her husband
Edgar Bucatcat and Court Interpreter of the Third
MTC
of
Samar,
Gene
S.
Jaro,
with
immorality. Complainant claims that respondents
are having an illicit relationship with each other.
Moreover, respondents allegedly have two (2)
children together and that respondent Jaro, at the
time of the filing of the letter-complaint, was
pregnant with their third child.
Held: There is sufficient evidence to hold
respondents liable for immorality. Every employee
of the judiciary should be an example of integrity,
uprightness, and honesty and must exhibit the
highest sense of honesty and integrity not only in
the performance of duties, but their personal and
private dealings with other people to preserve the
courts good name and standing. The image of a
court is mirrored in the conduct, official and
otherwise, of the personnel who work thereat.
Respondents were DISMISSED from service.

31.

Good Faith in Rendering Decisions

Atty. Antonio T. Guerrero v. Hon. Adriano


Villamor (296 SCRA 88)
Facts: Guerrero charged respondent with gross
ignorance of the law and knowingly rendering an
unjust judgment after losing a civil and a criminal
case, which were thwarted on appeal. However, in
the pleadings before the CA, they used abusive
language in describing the respondents acts,
hence, respondent judge cited them for direct
contempt, which was later set aside by the SC.
Held: Direct contempt may only be considered as
an error of judgment. A judge may not be
administratively charged for mere errors of
judgment, in the absence of showing of any bad
faith, malice or corrupt purpose. Moreover, judges
cannot be accountable, criminally, civilly, or
administratively, for an erroneous decision
rendered by them in good faith.

32
Impartiality
Re: Inhibition of Judge Eddie R. Rojas (292
SCRA 306)
Facts: Atty. Rojas was appointed a s judge and
inherited a case which he acted as prosecutor. He
explained that his delay in inhibiting himself from
presiding on that case was because it was only
after the belated transcription of the stenographic
notes that he remembered that he handled that
case. He also says that the counsels did not object
and he never held full-blown hearings anyway.
Held: Judges are prevented from trying cases
where they acted as counsel without the consent of
the parties, as mandated by the Rules of Court,
preventing not only conflict of interest, but also
appearance of impropriety. A judge should take no
part in a proceeding where his impartiality might
reasonably be questioned. The prohibition does not
only cover hearings but all judicial acts.

33. Carlito D. Lazo v. Judge Antonio V. Tiong


Facts: Judge Tiong was accused of failing to inhibit
himself in a criminal case because he was related
to the accused within the fourth degree of affinity.
Respondent judge claims he did so in the hopes
that his presence would allow the parties to settle
amicably.
Held: A judge should take no part in a proceeding
where his impartiality might reasonably be
questioned. Also, Rule 137, Rules of Court,
provides that no judge or judicial officer shall sit in
any case in which he is related with either party
within the sixth degree of consanguinity or affinity,
or to counsel within the fourth degree computed
according to the rules of the civil law. Under this
provision, the Presiding Judge is disqualified from
sitting in the case. He cannot exercise his
discretion whether to inhibit himself or not.

34.

Speedy Administration of Justice

Baltazar D. Amion v. Judge Roberto S.


Chiongson
Facts: The accused is charged with murder of a
policeman. During the trial, respondent judge
ordered that he be represented by counsel de
officio because the accuseds attorney was ill.
Accused then charged respondent with ignorance
of the law & oppression because the counsel de
officio did not know the particulars of the case; that
he was denied due process.
Held: The Code of Judicial Conduct mandates that
a judge should administer justice impartially and
without delay. A judge should always be imbued
with a high sense of duty & responsibility in the
discharge of his obligation to promptly administer
justice. In this case, the judge appointed a flag
lawyer because the accuseds lawyer had
postponed several hearings as he was ill or out of
town. Also, accused had various lawyers during
the said case who always postponed the hearings
for various reasons, such as illness, lack of
knowledge of the case, or unavailability for trial, all
legal but clearly dilatory means used by the

complainant to delay the case for 4 years. Judge


commended.

35. Fe T. Bernardo v. Judge Amelia A. Fabros


Facts: Complainant accused respondent judge of
inaction in an unlawful detainer case for 7 months
when the rules on summary procedure call for a
decision in 30 days. Respondent does not deny the
inaction but says complainant has no standing as
she is only the attorney-in-fact of the plaintiffs to
the civil case.
Held: Judges must decide cases expeditiously,
especially in summary proceedings. She should
either ask for additional time to decide or devise an
efficient filing system to expedite decision. Finally,
standing or personal interest of the complainant is
immaterial in administrative cases which involves
the public good.

36. Dolores Gomez v. Judge Rodolfo A.


Gatdula
Facts: Gomez is the complainant in two different
criminal cases before Judge Gatdula. When she
petitioned the Supreme Court to change the venue
of one of the cases, respondent suspended the
scheduled hearings in both cases. When required
by the Supreme Court to show why disciplinary
action should not be taken against him, he delayed
his comment. He eventually explained that the
suspension of hearing was made because the
request for change of venue was pending.
Held: Judge
Gatdula
acted
vindictively
&
oppressively, apparently irked by the request of
petitioner. He need not have suspended both
hearings as the change of venue only involved one
case. His delay in commenting on the change of
venue also effectively delayed both cases by 5
months. His acts are not free from impropriety, let
alone beyond reproach, as required by Canon 3 of
the Canons of Judicial Ethics.

37. Atty. Raula A. Sanchez v. Judge Augustine


A. Vestil (298 SCRA 1)
Facts: Complainant charged RTC Judge Vestil with
falsifying his monthly certificate of service by
stating that he has no pending case submitted for
decision or resolution; that has gone beyond the
ninety day period allowed by law when in fact there
were numerous civil & criminal cases which the
respondent failed to resolve within the said period.
Held:
Judges are mandated to decide cases
seasonably. Judges who cannot comply with such
mandate should ask for additional time. Neither the
proviso nor the fact that notes are to be
transcribed is a valid defense for not deciding
within the required time. The failure of a judge to
decide a case within the required period is not
excusable and constitutes gross inefficiency & the
non-observance of said rule, and is ground for
administrative sanction

38. Assisting in the


Justice

Speedy Administration of

Eternal Gardens Memorial Park Corporation


vs. Court of Appeals (293 SCRA 622)
Facts: Judgment was rendered against the
petitioner ordering it to reconvey the cemetery to
the rightful owners. Despite the final decision by
the Supreme Court, petitioner was able to prevent
the execution for 17 years, rendering the judgment
ineffectual. They filed several petitions and
motions for reconsideration with the trial court and
the CA despite the fact that it would never prosper
as the trial courts decision had long become final.
Held: Petition denied. While lawyers owe their
entire devotion to the interest of the client and zeal
in the defense of their clients right, they are also
officers of the court, bound to exert every effort to
assist in the speedy and efficient administration of
justice. They should not misuse the rules of
procedure to defeat the ends of justice or unduly
delay a case, impede the execution of a judgment,
or misuse court processes. They do not advance
the cause of law or their clients by commencing

litigations that for sheer lack of merit do not


deserve the attention of the courts.

39
Duty to Protect Clients Interest
Development Bank of the Philippines and
Asset Privitization Trust v. Court of Appeals
and Continental Cement Corporation (CCC)
Facts: CCC filed an injunction suit to prevent the
DBP and APT from foreclosing on its
mortgages. During trial, DBP & APT were unable to
appear for cross-examining CCCs witnesses
because the respective counsels were unprepared,
unavailable, or ill. The lower court decided this as
a waiver, hence judgment was rendered for CCC.
Thus this petition for denial of due process.
Held: There can be no denial of due process where
a party had the opportunity to participate in the
proceedings but did not do so. The withdrawal of
APTs previous counsel in the thick of the
proceedings would be a reasonable ground to seek
postponement of the hearing. However, such
necessitates a duty on the part of the new counsel
to prepare himself for the next scheduled hearing.
The excuse that it was due to the former counsels
failure to turn over the records of the case to APT
shows the negligence of the new counsel to
actively recover the records of the case. Counsel
should have taken adequate steps to fully protect

the interest of his client. A motion to postpone trial


on the ground that counsel is unprepared shows
indifference and disregard of his clients interest.

40.

Falsehood//Dilatory Tactics

Ban Hua U. Flores v. Atty. Enrique S. Chua


(306 SCRA 465)
Facts: Chua was charged with many offenses: that
he notarized a forged deed of sale; that he caused
to be published an advertisement of a SEC decision
in order to bring ridicule and shame upon a
corporation. He has also been previously
reprimanded for bribing a judge and for
consistently using dilatory tactics to prolong a
litigation.
Held: He has thus violated Rules 10.01, (foisting or
commission of falsehood), among others, as well as
Canon 19 (failing to resort to lawful means in
representing his client). He had an active role in
committing fraud since he falsely stated that the
person making the deed of sale appeared before
him and stated that the same was his free act and
deed- when evidence shows the signature was
forged; also, he prolonged a family dispute by
using dilatory tactics and placing an advertisement
in order to ridicule his opponents. Thus he violated
Rule 1.04; that lawyers should encourage their
clients to end a controversy by a fair settlement. A

lawyer must uphold the integrity of the profession.


He brings honor to it by honesty and fair dealing
and by performing his duties to society, the bar,
the courts and his clients.

41.

Good Moral Character

Tomas Cabulisan v. Judge Adrian N.


Pagalilauan (297 SCRA 593)
Facts: Cabulisan filed an administrative complaint
against respondent for grave misconduct
committed as follows: peeping into the bathroom
where Marilyn C. Dumayas, a public health nurse,
and daughter of the owner of the house where he
was boarding, was then taking a bath; having a
mistress in the neighboring town; and allowing
local practitioners to write decisions for him.
Held: Respondent filed for voyeurism, other
charges dismissed for lack of evidence. People who
run the judiciary, particularly justices and judges,
must not only be proficient in both the substantive
and procedural aspects of the law, but more
importantly, they must possess the highest degree
on integrity and probity and an unquestionable
moral uprightness both in their public and private
lives. Respondent violated the trust reposed in him
and failed to live up to the ideals and standards of
morality required in the judicial profession.

42. Victoriano P. Resurreccion v. Atty. Ciriaco


C. Sayson (300 SCRA 129)
Facts: respondent was accused of having
appropriated the amount of P 2, 5000.00,
representing the amount delivered by the
Resurreccion to the respondent as compensation or
settlement money of a case for homicide. Sayson
did not turn over the amount to his client, the
Complainant in the criminal case, forcing
Resurreccion to pay the same amount
again. Sayson was later convicted for estafa.
Held: Sayson disbarred. Good moral character is
not only a condition precedent to admission to the
legal profession, but it must also remain extant in
order to maintain ones good standing in that
exclusive and honored fraternity. Acts of moral
turpitude (i.e. done contrary to justices, honesty &
good morals) such as estafa or falsification render
one unfit to be a member of the legal profession.

43.

ABUSE OF AUTHORITY

Rosalia Villaruel, et al v. Grapilon, et al


Facts: Grapilon was accused by 16 IBP employees
who sought his removal as IBP President for,
among others: immorality, questionable
disbursements of funds, dishonesty, refusal to turn
over records, oppression/harassment, appointment
of unworthy employees and relatives, and
organization of a secret society.
Issue: whether or not the SC can assume
jurisdiction or should it be considered a labor
dispute under the jurisdiction of the NLRC.
Held: Charges dropped as accusations were either
unsubstantiated or refuted by controverting
evidence. As to the issue of jurisdiction, the SC has
previously assumed administrative jurisdiction over
the IBP president. If the petitioners allege that the
IBP terminated them as an act of reprisal and with
malice or bias, this would constitute gross abuse of
authority and serious misconduct warranting the
use of the SCs supervisory powers over the IBP.

44.

GROSS IGNORANCE OF THE LAW

Jesus Conducto vs. Judge Iluminado C.


Monzon
Facts: Respondent judge refused to suspend the
mayor due to criminal charges. The judge opined
that an official cannot be suspended for something
that has happened in a previous term. Settled
jurisprudence says this only applies to
administrative, not criminal cases. Respondent
judge was subsequently charged with gross
ignorance.
Held: While judges should not be disciplined for
inefficiency on account merely of occasional
mistakes or errors of judgment, it is imperative that
they be conversant with basic legal principles as a
judge should show more than just cursory
acquaintance with the statutes and procedural
rules. Also, if the judge did act deliberately, he
violated Canon 18 of the Canons of Judicial Ethics;
it directs a judge to administer his office with due
regard to the integrity of the system of the law
itself. An RTC judge cannot overturn a settled
doctrine laid down by the Supreme Court,
otherwise, litigation would be endless.

45.

GROSS IMMORAL CONDUCT

Julieta B. Narag vs. Atty. Dominador M. Narag


Facts: Atty. Narags spouse filed a petition for
disbarment in the IBP alleging that her husband
courted one of his students, later maintaining her
as a mistress and having children by her. Atty.
Narag claims that his wife was a possessive,
jealous woman who abused him and filed the
complaint out of spite. IBP disbarred him, hence,
this petition.
Held: Narag failed to prove his innocence because
he failed to refute the testimony given against him.
It was proven that his actions were of public
knowledge and brought disrepute and suffering to
his wife. Good moral character is a continuing
qualification required of every member of the
bar. Thus, when a lawyer fails to meet the
exacting standard of moral integrity, the Supreme
Court may withdraw his or her privilege to practice
law. (Canons 1&7, Rule 7.03, Code of Ethics for
Lawyers)
Grossly immoral means it must be so corrupt
as to constitute a criminal act or so unprincipled as
to be reprehensible to a high degree or committed

under such scandalous or revolting circumstances


as to shock the common sense of decency. As a
lawyer, one must not only refrain from adulterous
relationships but must not behave in a way that
scandalizes the public.

46. Remedios Tapucar vs. Atty. Lauro L.


Tapucar
Facts: Respondent was previously dismissed as CFI
judge for maintaining and cohabiting with his
mistress. Despite this, he later married the same
woman and had children with her. He even made
statements displaying contempt for the SC and
mocking the law and said court. Petitioner, his
lawful wife, filed a letter-complaint for disbarment
against her husband. IBP disbarred him.
Held: Disbarred. A judge is a visible representation
of the law and justice, as an attorney. Attorney is
also invested with public trust and must ensure the
faith and confidence of the public that justice is
administered with dignity. A high degree of moral
integrity is expected of a lawyer in the community
where he resides. The Court may disbar or
suspend a lawyer for misconduct whether in his
professional or private capacity. The power to
disbar is only done in a clear case of misconduct
which seriously affects the standing of the lawyer
as an officer of the court. Keeping a mistress,
entering into another marriage while a prior one
subsists, as well as abandoning and/or mistreating
complainant and their children, show his disregard

of family obligations, morality and decency, the law


and the lawyers oath.

47

GROSS MISCONDUCT

Erlinda Alonto-Frayna v. Judge Abdulmajid


Astih
Facts: Judge Asith did not act on the case of the
herein complainant for over 2 years despite the
orders and directives of the Office of the Court
Administrator to resolve it without delay. In
addition, when asked to explain his actions before
the SC, respondent failed to reply.
Held: A Judge who deliberately and continuously
refuses to comply with the resolution of the SC is
guilty
of
gross
misconduct
&
insubordination. Furthermore, failure to render a
decision beyond the 90 day period from its
submission constitutes serious misconduct to the
detriment of the honor & integrity of his office & in
derogation of a speedy administration of justice.

(48) 49. Felicidad L. Oronce, et al. v. Court of


Appeals, et. al.
Facts: During a dispute over land, Flaminiano
illegally took possession of the property in litigation
using abusive methods. She was aided by her
husband, a lawyer. The illegal entry took place
while the case was pending in the CA & while a writ
of preliminary injunction was in force.
Held: Atty. Flaminianos acts of entering the
property without the consent of its occupants, in
contravention of the existing writ or preliminary
injunction, and making utterances showing
disrespect for the law and this Court are
unbecoming of a member of the Bar. Although he
says that they peacefully took over the property,
such peaceful take-over cannot justify defiance
of the writ of preliminary injunction. He has flouted
his duties as a member of the legal profession.
Under the Code of Professional Responsibility, he is
prohibited from counseling or abetting activities
aimed at defiance of the law or at lessening
confidence in the legal system.

(49) 51

IMPROPRIETY

Flaviano B. Cortes v. Judge Emerito M.


Agcaoili
Facts: In a case of illegal logging, respondent
judge dismissed the case and returned illegally cut
timber to the defendants because the search
warrant was invalid. He was also seen in eating
and drinking in the company of said defendants,
and this supposedly influenced his decision. As
such, he was charged with impropriety and gross
ignorance of the law.
Held: Judge fined and suspended. Respondent
erred in returning the seized articles, as even
though the warrant was invalid, illegal articles
(illegally cut lumber) are not returned to the
possessor. Respondent also violated Canon 2, Rule
2.01 of the Code of Judicial Ethics i.e. to avoid
impropriety or even the appearance of impropriety.
Even though it was not proven that he was
influenced by the defendants, he should not have
fraternized with litigants who had a pending case
before him as it erodes public confidence in the
integrity and independence of the judiciary.

(50) 54. Benjamin Sia Lao vs. Hon. Felimon C.


Abelila III
Facts: in a family dispute over a parcel of land,
respondent judge committed acts of forcible entry,
attempted to deny complainant of possession
despite a lease in the latters favor. He also gave
firearms to his men in order to assault
complainants workers. Respondent also fled from
police when called in for questioning.
Held: Respondent DISMISSED. A judge is the
visible representation of the law and the
embodiment of the peoples sense of justice and
that, accordingly, he should constantly keep
himself away from any act of impropriety, not only
in the performance of his official duties but also in
his everyday actuations. No other position exacts
a greater demand on moral righteousness and
uprightness of an individual than perhaps a seat in
the judiciary. A judge must be the first to abide by
the law and to weave an example for the others to
follow.

1. MARIA ELENA MORENO VS. ATTY. ERNESTO


ARANETA
A.C. No. 1109. April 27, 2005
Facts: Ernesto Araneta issued two checks to Elena
Moreno for his indebtedness which amounts to P11,
000.00, the checks were dishonored. It was
dishonored because the account against which is
drawn is closed. Thereafter the case was forwarded
to the IBP Commission on Bar Discipline pursuant
to Rule 139-B of the Rules of Court. The
Commission recommended the suspension from
the practice of law for three (3) months. On 15
October 2002, IBP Director for Bar Discipline Victor
C. Fernandez, transmitted the records of this case
back to this Court pursuant to Rule 139-B, Sec.
12(b) of the Rules of Court. Thereafter, the Office of
the Bar Confidant filed a Report regarding various
aspects of the case. The Report further made
mention of a Resolution from this Court indefinitely
suspending the respondent for having been
convicted by final judgment of estafa through
falsification of a commercial document.
Issue: Whether or not Araneta should be disbarred
due to the issuance of checks drawn against a
closed account.

Held: The Court held that the act of a person in


issuing a check knowing at the time of the issuance
that he or she does not have sufficient funds in, or
credit with, the drawee bank for the payment of
the check in full upon its presentment, is a
manifestation of moral turpitude. In Co v.
Bernardino and Lao v. Medel, we held that for
issuing worthless checks, a lawyer may be
sanctioned with one years suspension from the
practice of law, or a suspension of six months upon
partial payment of the obligation. In the instant
case, however, herein respondent has, apparently
been found guilty by final judgment of estafa thru
falsification of a commercial document, a crime
involving moral turpitude, for which he has been
indefinitely suspended. Considering that he had
previously committed a similarly fraudulent act,
and that this case likewise involves moral
turpitude, we are constrained to impose a more
severe penalty. In fact, we have long held that
disbarment is the appropriate penalty for
conviction by final judgment of a crime involving
moral turpitude. As we said in In The Matter of
Disbarment Proceedings v. Narciso N. Jaramillo,
the review of respondent's conviction no longer
rests upon us. The judgment not only has become

final but has been executed. No elaborate


argument is necessary to hold the respondent
unworthy of the privilege bestowed on him as a
member of the bar. Suffice it to say that, by his
conviction, the respondent has proved himself unfit
to protect the administration of justice.

2. Spouses OLBES VS. Atty. VICTOR V. DECIEMBRE


AC-5365. April 27, 2005
Facts: Atty. Victor V. Deciembre was given five
blank checks by Spouses Olbes for security of a
loan. After the loan was paid and a receipt issued,
Atty. Deciembre filled up four of the five checks for
P50, 000 with different maturity date. All checks
were dishonored. Thus, Atty. Deciembre fled a case
for estafa against the spouses Olbes. This
prompted the spouses Olbes to file a disbarment
case against Atty. Deciembre with the Office of the
Bar Confidant of this Court. In the report,
Commissioner Dulay recommended that
respondent be suspended from the practice of law
for two years for violating Rule 1.01 of the Code of
Professional Responsibility.
Issue: Whether or not the suspension of Atty.
Deciembre was in accord with his fault.
Held: Membership in the legal profession is a
special privilege burdened with conditions. It is
bestowed upon individuals who are not only
learned in the law, but also known to possess good
moral character. A lawyer is an oath-bound
servant of society whose conduct is clearly

circumscribed by inflexible norms of law and


ethics, and whose primary duty is the
advancement of the quest for truth and justice, for
which he has sworn to be a fearless crusader. By
taking the lawyers oath, an attorney becomes a
guardian of truth and the rule of law, and an
indispensable instrument in the fair and impartial
administration of justice. Lawyers should act and
comport themselves with honesty and integrity in a
manner beyond reproach, in order to promote the
publics faith in the legal profession. It is also
glaringly clear that the Code of Professional
Responsibility was seriously transgressed by his
malevolent act of filling up the blank checks by
indicating amounts that had not been agreed upon
at all and despite respondents full knowledge that
the loan supposed to be secured by the checks had
already been paid. His was a brazen act of
falsification of a commercial document, resorted to
for his material gain.
Deception and other fraudulent acts are not merely
unacceptable practices that are disgraceful and
dishonorable; they reveal a basic moral flaw. The
standards of the legal profession are not satisfied
by conduct that merely enables one to escape the
penalties of criminal laws. Considering the
depravity of the offense committed by respondent,

we find the penalty recommended by the IBP of


suspension for two years from the practice of law
to be too mild. His propensity for employing deceit
and misrepresentation is reprehensible. His misuse
of the filled-up checks that led to the detention of
one petitioner is loathsome. Thus, he is sentenced
suspended indefinitely from the practice of law
effective immediately.

3. NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY, INC., and BEN A.


NICOLAS vs. Atty. MACARIO D. ARQUILLO
A.C. No. 6632. August 2, 2005
Facts: Atty. Macatrio D. Arquillo represented
opposing parties in one a case before the before
the National Labor Relations Commission, Regional
Arbitration Branch in San Fernando, La Union.
Herein, complainants accuse Atty. Arquillo of
deceit, malpractice, gross misconduct and/or
violation of his oath as attorney by representing
conflicting interests. The case was filed with the
IBP-Commission on Bar Discipline which found Atty.
Arquillo guilty of the charge and recommended a
penalty of suspension for 6 months. The governors
of the IBP increased the penalty for 2 years.
Issue: Whether or not the acts of Arquillo merits his
suspension from the practice of law.
Held: The Code of Professional Responsibility
requires lawyers to observe candor, fairness and
loyalty in all their dealings and transactions with
their clients. Corollary to this duty, lawyers shall
not represent conflicting interests, except with all
the concerned clients written consent, given after
a full disclosure of the facts. When a lawyer

represents two or more opposing parties, there is a


conflict of interests, the existence of which is
determined by three separate tests: (1) when, in
representation of one client, a lawyer is required to
fight for an issue or claim, but is also duty-bound to
oppose it for another client; (2) when the
acceptance of the new retainer will require an
attorney to perform an act that may injuriously
affect the first client or, when called upon in a new
relation, to use against the first one any knowledge
acquired through their professional connection; or
(3) when the acceptance of a new relation would
prevent the full discharge of an attorneys duty to
give undivided fidelity and loyalty to the client or
would invite suspicion of unfaithfulness or double
dealing in the performance of that duty. An
attorney cannot represent adverse interests. It is a
hornbook doctrine grounded on public policy that a
lawyers representation of both sides of an issue is
highly improper. The proscription applies when the
conflicting interests arise with respect to the same
general matter, however slight such conflict may
be. It applies even when the attorney acts from
honest intentions or in good faith.
In accordance with previous rulings from this court
Atty. Arquillo is suspended for 1 year from the
practice of law.

4. RE: LETTER DATED 21 FEBRUARY 2005 OF ATTY.


NOEL S. SORREDA.
A.M. No. 05-3-04-SC July 22, 2005
Facts: Atty. Noel S. Sorreda wrote a letter
addressed to the Chief Justice over his frustrations
of the outcome of his cases decided by the
Supreme Court. The letter contained derogatory
and malignant remarks which are highly insulting.
The Court accorded Atty. Sorreda to explain,
however, instead of appearing before the court, he
wrote another letter with insulting remarks as the
first one. The court was thus offended with his
remarks.
Issue: Whether or not Atty. Sorreda can be held
guilty of contempt due to the remarks he has made
in his letters addressed to the court.
Held: Unfounded accusations or allegations or
words tending to embarrass the court or to bring it
into disrepute have no place in a pleading. Their
employment serves no useful purpose. On the
contrary, they constitute direct contempt of court
or contempt in facie curiae and a violation of the
lawyers oath and a transgression of the Code of
Professional Responsibility. As officer of the court,

Atty. Sorreda has the duty to uphold the dignity


and authority of the courts and to promote
confidence in the fair administration of justice.[24]
No less must this be and with greater reasons in
the case of the countrys highest court, the
Supreme Court, as the last bulwark of justice and
democracy
Atty. Sorreda must be reminded that his first duty is
not to his client but to the administration of justice,
to which his clients success is wholly subordinate.
His conduct ought to and must always be
scrupulously observant of law and ethics. The use
of intemperate language and unkind ascription can
hardly be justified nor can it have a place in the
dignity of judicial forum. Civility among members
of the legal profession is a treasured tradition that
must at no time be lost to it. Hence, Atty. Sorreda
has transcended the permissible bounds of fair
comment and constructive criticism to the
detriment of the orderly administration of justice.
Free expression, after all, must not be used as a
vehicle to satisfy ones irrational obsession to
demean, ridicule, degrade and even destroy this
Court and its magistrates. Thus, ATTY. NOEL S.
SORREDA is found guilty both of contempt of court
and violation of the Code of Professional

Responsibility amounting to gross misconduct as


an officer of the court and member of the Bar.

5. Heirs of Herman Rey, represented by ARACELI


Vda. DE ROMERO vs. Atty. Venancio Reyes, Jr.
A.C. No. 6192 June 23, 2005
Facts: Atty. Venancio Reyes is counsel for Heirs of
Herman Rey for which they are intervenors in a
civil case involving multiple sale of a piece of land.
There were three buyers however, and to settle the
case, they had agreed to a Compromise
Agreement. The Compromise Agreement, dated
June 16, 1995, was signed in three stages, first by
Elizabeth Reyes and her husband, then by
complainants and their counsel, Atty. Renato
Samonte Jr., and last, by Antonio Gonzales,
Veronica Gonzales for and on behalf of V.R. Credit
Enterprises, Inc. and by herein respondent. Later,
the RTC which houses the records of the case was
destroyed by fire, thus The complainants filed a
motion for reconstitution of the records of the case,
which was granted by the RTC of Bulacan. The
documents attached to the motion were the basis
for the reconstituted records. Because of the
circumstances of signing of the Compromise
Agreement, the copy submitted to the RTC bore
only the signatures of Elizabeth Reyes, her
husband, complainants, and that of their counsel,
Atty. Renato Samonte. After a lapse of two (2)

years from the date of the Compromise Agreement,


V.R. Credit Enterprises, Inc. still has not complied
with its obligation toward complainants. Hence,
complainants filed a motion for issuance of writ of
execution against V.R. Credit Enterprises, Inc. for
such failure. Atty. Reyes filed a motion for the case
was premature. Later he raised the issue that the
Compromise Agreement was not valid since it was
not signed by Veronica Gonzales. Hence, the RTC
rued that the Compromise as unenforceable. Thus,
herein, complainants filed this administrative case
against Atty. Venancio Reyes Jr. charging him with
willful and intentional falsehood, in violation of his
oath as a member of the Philippine bar. IBP
investigating commissioner found him guilty of
violation of his oath.
Issue: Whether or not Atty. Venancio Reyes is
administratively liable.
Held: Lawyers are indispensable instruments of
justice and peace. Upon taking their professional
oath, they become guardians of truth and the rule
of law. Verily, when they appear before a tribunal,
they act not merely as the parties representatives
but, first and foremost, as officers of the court.
Thus, their duty to protect their clients interests is

secondary to their obligation to assist in the


speedy and efficient administration of justice. In
assailing the legality of the Compromise
Agreement, he claims good faith. He maintains that
he should not be faulted for raising an allegedly
valid defense to protect his clients interests. The
records show, however, that his actions bear
hallmarks of dishonesty and doublespeak. Atty.
Reyes is one of negotiating panel in the
compromise agreement. He impressed upon the
parties and the trial judge that his clients were
bound to the Compromise Agreement. Then,
suddenly and conveniently, he repudiated it by
falsely alleging that one of his clients had never
signed it. True, lawyers are obliged to present
every available remedy or defense to support the
cause of their clients. However, their fidelity to
their causes must always be made within the
parameters of law and ethics, never at the expense
of truth and justice. In Choa v. Chiongson this
principle was explained thus: While a lawyer owes
absolute fidelity to the cause of his client, full
devotion to his genuine interest, and warm zeal in
the maintenance and defense of his rights, as well
as the exertion of his utmost learning and ability,
he must do so only within the bounds of the law

Thus, herein, Atty. Venancio Reyes, was ordered


suspended for 1 year.

6. JESUS M. FERRER vs. ATTY. JOSE ALLAN M.


TEBELIN
A.C. No. 6590. June 27, 2005
Facts: Ferrer obtained the services of Atty. Tebelin
in a case against Global Link as a result of a
vehicular accident through the falut of Global Links
driver. Ferrer paid Atty. Tebelin P5, 000.00 as
acceptance fee and gave him all pertinent
documents. However, Ferrer filed an administrative
case against Atty. Tebelin alleging that the said
lawyer abandoned his case. However, Atty. Tebelin
expressed his willingness to return the money and
denied having abandoned the case. However,
during the proceedings, herein Ferrer died. Atty.
Tebelin was nowhere to be found in his given
address.
Issue: Whether or not Atty. Tebellin may still be
held liable despite the death of the complainant.
Held: The court held that Atty. Tebelin may still be
held liable despite the death of the complainant.
The death of a complainant in an administrative
case notwithstanding, the case may still proceed
and be resolved. As in the case of Tudtud v.

Colifores, the court ruled that The death of the


complainant herein does not warrant the nonpursuance of the charges against respondent
Judge. In administrative cases against public
officers and employees, the complainants are, in a
real sense, only witnesses. Hence, the unilateral
decision of a complainant to withdraw from an
administrative complaint, or even his death, as in
the case at bar, does not prevent the Court from
imposing sanctions upon the parties subject to its
administrative supervision. This Court also finds
respondent, for ignoring the notices of hearing sent
to him at his address which he himself furnished, or
to notify the IBP-CBD his new address if indeed he
had moved out of his given address. His actuation
betrays his lack of courtesy, his irresponsibility as a
lawyer. This Court faults respondent too for welting
on his manifestation-undertaking to return the
P5,000.00, not to mention the documents bearing
on the case, to complainant or his heirs. Such is
reflective of his reckless disregard of the duty
imposed on him by Rule 22.02 of the Code of
Professional Responsibility: Rule 22.02 A lawyer
who withdraws or is discharged shall, subject to a
retaining lien, immediately turn over all papers and
property to which the client is entitled, and shall
cooperate with his successor in the orderly transfer

of the matter, including all information necessary


for the proper handling of the matter.
Thus, the court suspended Atty. Jose Allan M.
Tebelin from the practice of law for Two (2) Months
and is ordered to return to complainants heirs the
amount of P5, 000.00, with legal interest.

7. JUDGES; UNDUE DELAY IN RENDERING


JUDGMENT , A VIOLATION OF RULE 70 SECTION 11
OF THE RULES OF COURT
DORCAS PETALLAR VS. JUDGE JAUNILLO PULLOS
A.M. No. MTJ-03-1484. January 15, 2004
Facts: Complainant Dorcas Petallar averred that
after the preliminary conference in a case for
forcible entry, he, as plaintiff and the defendants
were ordered to submit their respective position
papers and evidence. Two months from the
submission of their position papers, complainant
personally went to the Court to verify the judgment
had been rendered. He caused his lawyer to file a
motion for rendition of judgment which was duly
received by the court on August 6, 2001 but still no
judgment was rendered on December 27, 2001
when the complaint was filed. Hence, complainant
Petallar charged Judge Juanillo Pullos, former
presiding judge of the MCTC of Surigao del Norte of
violating Canon 1, Rule 1.02 & Canon 3, Rule 3.05
of the Code of Judicial Conduct as well as Rule 140,
Section 4 & Rule 70, Section 10 & 11 of the Rules
of the Court for undue delay in rendering a decision
in a case for forcibly entry.

Issue: Whether or not respondent be held liable for


undue delay in rendering judgment.
Held: Respondent is guilty of undue delay in
rendering judgment. The records show that the
parties had filed their respective position papers as
early as February 2, 2000. thus, respondent had
until March 4, 2000. Had there been circumstances
which presented him from handling down his
decision within the prescribed period, respondent
should have at least requested from the Court for
an extension within which to render judgment.
Failure to resolve cases submitted for decisions
within the period fixed by law constitutes serious
violation of Article III, section 16 of the
Constitution. Judges must perform their official
duties with utmost diligence if public confidence in
the judiciary is to be preserved. A judge cannot by
himself prolong the period for deciding cases
beyond that authorized by law. Without any order
of extension granted by the court, failure to decide
a case within the prescribed period constitutes
gross inefficiency that merits administrative
sanction.

8. COMPLAINTS FOR DISBARMENT; FORMAL


INVESTIGATION
MERCEDES NAVA VS. ATTY. BENJAMIN SORONGON
AC No. 5442. January 26, 2004
Facts: Respondent Atty. Sorongon had been the
counsel of complainant Mercedes Nava for years.
The former informed her of his intention to
withdraw as her counsel in two of her cases due to
a stroke that paralyzed his right body but proposed
to be retained in two other criminal cases with
lesser paper works. He filed his withdrawal on
December 4, 1996 and was granted by the court.
Complainant alleged that while she continuously
paid for the respondents services, the latter
represented other clients with hostile interests and
cases filed against her. Complainant cried that
respondent assisted one Francisco Atas in filing a
formal complaint for 11 counts of violation of B.P.
22 against her. She sent a letter to respondents
expressing her disbelief and reminding him of his
ethical and moral responsibility as a lawyer.
Complainant prayed that an investigation be
conducted regarding this unfortunate actuation
and deplorable behavior as well as respondents
double standard attitude.

Thereafter, the IBP Commission on Bar Discipline


issued a resolution suspending respondent from
the practice of law for one year considering his
clear violation of the prohibition against
representing conflicting interest.
Issue: Whether or not a formal investigation is
mandatory in complaints for disbarment.
Held: In complaints for disbarment, a formal
investigation is a mandatory requirement. The
court may dispense with the normal referral to the
Integrated Bar of the Philippines if the records are
complete and the question raised is simple.
Similarly, if no further, factual determination is
necessary, the court may decide the case on the
basis of the extensive pleading on record.
Complaints against lawyers for misconduct are
normally addressed to the Court. If, at the outset,
the Court finds a complaint to be clearly wanting in
merit, it out rightly dismisses the case. If, however,
the Court deems it necessary that further inquiry
should be made, such as when the matter could
not be resolved by merely evaluating the pleadings
submitted, a referral is made to the IBP for a formal
investigation of the case during which the parties
are accorded an opportunity to be heard. An ex

parte investigation may only be conducted when


respondent fails to appear despite reasonable
notice.

9. ABANDONMENT OF LAWFUL WIFE AND


MAINTAINING ILLICIT RELATIONSHIP AS GROUND
FOR DISBARMENT
JOVITA BUSTAMANTE-ALEJANDRO VS. ATTY.
WARFREDO TOMAS ALEJANDRO and MARICRIS
VILLARIN
AC No. 4256. February 13, 2004
Facts: Complainant submitted a photocopy of the
marriage contract between her and respondent
Atty. Alejandro in support of her charge of bigamy
and concubinage against the latter and Villarin.
She also submitted a photocopy of the birth
certificate of a child of the respondent and also
stated that they were married in May 1, 1990 in
Isabela, Province.
The Supreme Court directed respondents to file
their comment on the complaint within 10 days but
they failed to comply. Copies of the resolution,
complaint and its annexes were returned to both
respondents unserved with notation moved,
same as when served personally. Complainant was
required anew to submit the correct, present
address of respondents under pain of dismissal of
her administrative complaint. She disclosed
respondents address at 12403 Develop Drive
Houston, Texas in a handwritten letter.

The Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP)


recommended that both respondents be disbarred.
The Supreme Court ordered Atty. Alejandro to be
disbarred while the complaint against his corespondent Atty. Villarin was returned to the IBP for
further proceedings or it appears that a copy of the
resolution requiring comment was never deemed
served upon her as it was upon Atty. Alejandro.
Issue: Whether or not abandonment of lawful wife
and maintaining an illicit relationship with another
woman are grounds for disbarment.
Held: Sufficient evidence showed that respondent
Atty. Alejandro, lawfully married to complainant,
carried on an illicit relationship with co-respondent
Atty. Villarin. Although the evidence was not
sufficient to prove that he co0ntracted a
subsequent bigamous marriage, that fact remains
of his deplorable lack of that degree of morality
required of him as member of the bar. A
disbarment proceeding is warranted against a
lawyer who abandons his lawful wife and maintains
an illicit relationship with another woman who had
borne him a child. We can do no less in this case
where Atty. Alejandro even fled to another country
to escape the consequences of his misconduct.

Therefore, Atty. Alejandro disbarred from the


practice of law while the complaint against Atty.
Villarin was referred back to the IBP.

10. VIOLATION OF THE CODE OF PROFESSIONAL


RESPONSIBILITY; FAILURE OF COUNSEL TO FILE
BRIEF
BIOMIE SARENAS-OCHAGABIA VS. ATTY. BALMES
OCAMPOS
AM No. 4401. January 29, 2004
Facts: Complainant Biomie Sarenas-Ochagabia and
her aunts engaged the services of respondent Atty.
Balmes Ocampos in a civil case for recovery of
possession and ownership of a parcel of land. An
adverse decision was rendered against
complainants. Atty. Ocampos filed a Notice of
Appeal at their behest. The Court of Appeals gave
them 45 days from notice to file their brief but Atty.
Ocampos was granted a 90-day extension. The
extended period lapsed without an appellants brief
being filed, hence their appeal was dismissed. The
dismissal was not challenged, but complainants
filed a complaint contending that respondent
violated his duty to inform them of his failure to file
appellants brief and of the dismissal of the appeal.
Issue: Whether or not respondent has exercised
due diligence for the protection of the clients
interests.

Held: A lawyer engaged to represent a client in a


case bears the responsibility of protecting the
latters interest with utmost diligence. By failing to
file appellants brief, respondent was remiss in the
discharge of such responsibility. He thus violated
the Code of Professional which states:
Rule 12.03 A lawyer shall not, after attaining
extensions of time to file pleadings, memoranda or
briefs, let the period lapse without submitting the
same or offering an explanation for his failure to do
so.
Rule 18.03 A lawyer shall not neglect a legal
matter entrusted to him, and his negligence in
connection therewith shall render him liable.
That respondent accepted to represent
complainants gratis et amore does not justify his
failure to exercise due diligence in the performance
of his duty. Every case deserves full attention,
diligence, and competence regardless of its
importance and whether he accepts it for a fee or
free.
Until his final release from the professional relation
with a client, a counsel of record is under obligation
to protect the clients interest. If a party has a
counsel of record, a court does not recognize any
other representation in behalf thereof unless in
collaboration with such counsel of record or until a

formal substitution of counsel is effected. Since


respondent had not then withdrawn as counsel as
he in fact filed a motion for extension of time to file
brief, he was under obligation to discharge his
professional responsibility.

59

NEGLIGENCE

Corazon T. Reontoy v. Atty. Liberato R. Ibadlit


(302 SCRA 604)
Facts: On January 28, 1998 the SC found Ibadlit
administratively liable and suspended him from the
practice of law for 1 year for failing to appeal
within the reglementary period the decision
rendered against his client. His reason was, an
appeal would only be futile. SC declared that it was
highly improper for him to have adopted such
opinion. SC said that a lawyer was without
authority to waive his clients right to appeal and
that his failure to appeal within the reglementary
period constituted negligence and malpractice,
proscribed by Rule 18.03, Canon 18 of the Code of
Professional Responsibility, which provides (a)
lawyer shall not neglect a legal matter entrusted to
him and his negligence in connection therewith
shall render him liable. This is a motion for
reconsideration.
Held: Suspension lowered to 2 months his
arguments are partly persuasive, he believed in
good faith that his clients case was weak and that
she accepted his explanation that the adverse

decision was not worth appealing anymore.


Besides, it was only several years later that she
complained when no more relief was available to
her. Also, complainant had reasonable opportunity
to hire another counsel for a second opinion
whether to appeal from the judgment or file a
petition for relief, that he did not commit to handle
his clients case on appeal and that the testimonies
of complainant and her brother were unpersuasive.
This is also his first offense.

60. People of the Philippines v. Sevilleno


( 304 SCRA 519)
Facts: In a criminal case for rape with homicide, the
accused pleaded guilty. However, the 3 PAO
lawyers assigned as counsel de officio did not
perform their duty. The first did not advise his
client of the consequences of pleading guilty, the
second did not cross-examine the prosecution
witnesses; the third postponed the presentation of
evidence for the defense.
Issue: Whether or not the three PAO lawyers
performed their duty.
Held: Case remanded. Canon 18 required every
lawyer to serve his client with utmost dedication,
competence and diligence. He must not neglect a
legal matter entrusted to him, and his negligence
in this regard renders him administratively
liable. In this case, the defense lawyers did not
protect, much less uphold, the fundamental rights
of the accused.

61. Rodolfo P. Velasquez v. CA & PCIB (GR No.


124049, June 30, 1999)
Facts: As an incident in the main case, V appointed
his counsel as attorney-in-fact to represent him at
the pre-trial. Counsel failed to appear, hence V was
declared in default. The order of default was
received by counsel but no steps were taken to
have it lifted or set aside.
Issue: Whether or not V is guilty of negligence
Held: V was guilty of negli8gence because after
making the special power of attorney, he went
abroad and paid no further attention to the case
until he received the decision. Thus, no FAME which
will warrant a lifting of the order.

62

PROPERTY UNDER LITIGATION

Regalado Daroy vs. Esteban Abecia


Facts: Daroy was plaintiff in a forcible entry
case. He hired Abecia as his lawyer and won. To
satisfy the award for damages, a parcel of land of
the defendant was sold to Daroy at an execution
sale. The land was then sold to Daroys relative,
who then sold it to Abecias wife. He now claims
that these sales are void because Abecia forged his
signature on the deeds of sale. IBP disbarred
Abecia.
Issue: Whether or not the disbarment was proper.
Held: Reversed. The evidence shows that Daroy
was a party to the sale at the time it was made and
did not discover it 9 years later as he
claimed. He was not defrauded the parties. The
parties made this arrangement to circumvent Art.
1491 of the Civil Code which prevents lawyers from
acquiring property and rights that may be the
object of any litigation in which they may take by
virtue of their profession. The prohibition in Art.
1491 does not apply to the sale of a parcel of land
acquired by a client to satisfy a judgment in his

favor, to his attorney was not the subject of the


litigation.

63

QUALIFICATIONS

Ruferto Gutierrez and Maritess Passion vs.


Judge Estanislao S. Belan
(294 SCRA 1)
Facts: Concerned citizens of Binan Laguna charged
respondent MTC judge with conduct prejudicial to
the best interest of the service. They claim he
committed perjury for failure to disclose a previous
charge for two criminal offenses in his written
application to the JBC.
Held: Judge
is
dismissed. Every
prospective
appointee to the judiciary must apprise the
appointing authority of every matter bearing on his
fitness
for
judicial
office,
including
such
circumstances as may reflect on his integrity and
probity. These
are
qualifications
specifically
required of appointees to the judiciary by Article
VIII, Sec. 7(3) of the Constitution. The act of
concealing the two criminal cases against him is a
clear proof of his lack of the said qualification and
renders him unworthy to sit as a judge- even if he
was ultimately acquitted. He is not being
chastened for having had a pending criminal case
at the time of his application for a judicial position

but for his dishonesty and misrepresentation in the


process of seeking that office.

64
Unlawful Conduct
Cleto Docena vs. Atty. Dominador Q. Limon
(295 SCRA 262)
Facts: Respondent was petitioners lawyer in a civil
case. During that case, he asked the petitioners to
post a supersedeas bond to stay the execution of
the appealed decision. Petitioners forwarded the
money to Limon. Later, the case was decided in
their favor. They were unable to recover the money
because the clerk of court said no such bond had
ever been filed. IBP suspended him for one
year. Hence this petition.
Held: Disbarred. Respondents allegation that the
money was payment of his fees was overcome by
other evidence. The law is not a trade nor craft but
a profession. Its basic ideal is to render public
service and to secure justice for those who seek its
aid. By extorting money from his client through
deceit, Limon has sullied the integrity of his
brethren in the law and has indirectly eroded the
peoples confidence in the judicial system. He is
disbarred for immoral, deceitful and unlawful
conduct.

65. Victor Nunga v. Atty. Verancio Viray (306


SCRA 487)
Facts: N accused V of notarizing documents without
a commission. It appears that in 1987 and 1991 he
notarized deeds of sale of property between the
bank he works for and his minor son. At those
times, he was not commissioned as a notary
public.
Issue: Whether or not a lawyer can notarize without
the proper commission.
Held: SUSPENDED. Notarization is invested with
public interest because it converts a private
document into a public one. Notarizing without
commission is a violation of the lawyers oath to
obey the Notarial Law and by making it appear that
he is so authorized is a deliberate falsehood which
violates the lawyers oath and Rule 1.01.

66. Atty. Prudencio Penticostes v. Prosecutor


Diosdado Ibaez (304 SCRA 281)
Facts: Pascual was sued for non-remittance of SSS
benefits. She gave the contested amount to
respondent, who was supposed to forward the
same to the SSS and drop the charges. Respondent
did not forward the amount. He only remitted the
amount after his complaint for misconduct was
filed with the IBP.
Issue: Whether or not respondent acted in
accordance with the Rules of Professional
Responsibility
Held: REPRIMANDED. A high sense of morality,
honesty and fair dealing is expected and required
of a member of the bar. Rule 1.01 provides that a
lawyer shall not engage in unlawful conduct. While
Pascual may not strictly be considered a client of
respondent, the rules relating to a lawyers
handling of funds of a client is still applicable.
Lawyers are thus bound to promptly account for
money or property received by them on behalf of
their clients. Failure to do so constitutes
professional misconduct.

67

ATTORNEYS FEES

Renato S. Ong & Francia N. Ong v. Court of


Appeals, Inland Trailways, Inc. & Philtranco
Service Enterprise, Inc.
Facts: Renato Ong was injured during a vehicular
collision. He was awarded damages by the trial
court. Upon appeal to the CA, the awards for
actual damages, moral damages & attorneys fees
were reduced because (1) the cost of corrective
surgery had not been adduced in evidence, (2) the
document to prove actual damages was not
formally offered in evidence and (3) only the bare
assertion of counsel was put forward to prove
damages.
Held: Attorneys fees is an indemnity for damages
ordered by a court to be paid by the losing party to
the prevailing party, based on any of the cases
authorized by law. It is payable not to the lawyer
but to the client, unless the 2 have agreed that the
award shall pertain to the lawyer as additional
compensation or as part thereof. The Court has
established a set of standards in fixing the amount
of attorneys fees. Counsels performance,
however, does not justify the award of 25 percent

attorneys fees. His handling of the case was


sorely inadequate. Such award is thus subjected to
sound judicial discretion and judicial control.