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THIRD DIVISION

[ A.C. No. 10372, July 30, 2014 ]
AURORA R. LADIM, ANGELITO A.
ARDIENTE, AND DANILO S. DE LA
CRUZ V. ATTY. PERLA D. RAMIREZ.
Sirs/Mesdames:
Please take notice that the Court, Third
Division, issued a Resolution dated July
30, 2014, which reads as follows:
"A.C. No. 10372 (Aurora R. Ladim,
Angelito A. Ardiente, and Danilo S. de la
Cruz v. Atty. Perla D. Ramirez). - On
March 23, 2007, a verified complaint [1]
for disbarment was filed against Atty. Perla
D. Ramirez by Aurora R. Ladim, Angelito
A. Ardiente, and Danilo S. de la Cruz, who
were all employees of Lirio Apartments
Condominium in Makati City, where Atty.
Ramirez resides. [2]
The complaint stemmed from various
incidents from 1990 to 2007 involving
complainants, other employees, lessees,
and unit owners of Lirio Apartments
Condominium and Atty. Ramirez.[3] The
tenants alleged that Atty. Ramirez kept
asking
"impertinent
personal
questions,"[4] knocking on their doors, and
using offensive language.[5] Another
tenant complained that Atty. Ramirez kept
entering units undergoing repairs " because
of her fear that people [were] damaging
the building."[6] The "keys hanging [on]
the door"[7] of one unit were lost the day
she entered the unit.[8]
The latest incident involved Atty. Ramirez
shouting at the condominium employees
and using offensive language.[9] She
accused the maintenance personnel of
destroying the building and the security
guards of trying to destroy her car.[10] She
also started shouting that the condominium
residents were prostitutes.[11] The
condominium employees tried to pacify
her, even calling her brother, Dr. Nicholas
Ramirez, to intervene.[12] "Dr. Ramirez
assured [them] that he will get in
touch"[13] with Atty. Ramirez's friend,
Malou Jacob, since Malou was the only
one who could pacify her.[14]
Since 2004, Atty. Ramirez has refused to
pay any of her association dues. [15] She
claimed that no one has been leasing her
unit [16] and argued that the association
dues should be paid only by those who
lease their units. [17]
Atty. Ramirez, on the other hand, filed
several cases before the Office of the City

Prosecutor against the condominium
employees, accusing them of malicious
mischief, grave oral defamation, slander,
and threats. [18] All the cases were
dismissed for lack of merit. [19]

maintenance of the highest degree
morality and faithful compliance with
rules of the legal profession are
continuing requirements for enjoying
privilege to practice law. [32]

In her position paper [20] before the
Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP),
Atty. Ramirez did not admit or deny the
allegations in her complaint but stated her
long years of service as a government
lawyer. [21] She also expressed that:

A lawyer may be suspended or disbarred
from the practice of law for gross
misconduct. Rule 138, Section 27 of the
Rules of Court provides:

I do not believe that the three complainants
are my equal, therefore, for reasons above
stated, [sic] I move for the outright
dismissal of the complaints charge [sic]
against me. [22]
In his report and recommendation, [23] the
Integrated Bar of the Philippines
Investigating Commissioner Eldrid C.
Antiquiera found Atty. Ramirez guilty of
violating Rule 7.03, Canon 7 of the Code
of Professional Responsibility and
recommended the penalty of reprimand.
[24]
Commissioner Antiquiera found that
"respondent's language and choice of
words [show] her lack of respect and
decorum in her dealings with other
people."[25] He also found that Atty.
Ramirez "largely relied on her legal
expertise and experience to demand
respect from others but she never [gave]
them a fair treatment."[26]
The Commissioner, however, took note of
the "forgetful, suspicious, and fearful
attitude"[27] of Atty. Ramirez and
complainants' belief that "something must
be wrong with her mentally."[28] He
concluded that her mental issues may
explain her actions and "she may not
[have] deliberately intend[ed] to injure
other people."[29]
The Integrated Bar of the Philippines
Board of Governors, in its Resolution No.
XX-2013-848, [30] dated June 22, 2013,
adopted and approved the report and
recommendation of the Commissioner.
While we adopt the findings of fact of the
Integrated Bar of the Philippines, we do
not believe that a mere reprimand is
enough to punish Atty. Ramirez for her
actions.
As this court stated in Bernardo v. Atty.
Mejia:[31]
[T]he practice of law is a privilege
burdened with conditions. Adherence to
the rigid standards of mental fitness,

of
the
the
the

Sec. 27. Disbarment or suspension of
attorneys by Supreme Court, grounds
therefore. — A member of the bar may be
disbarred or suspended from his office as
attorney by the Supreme Court for any
deceit, malpractice, or other gross
misconduct in such office, grossly immoral
conduct, or by reason of his conviction of
a crime involving moral turpitude, or for
any violation of the oath which he is
required to take before the admission to
practice, or for a willful disobedience
appearing as an attorney for a party to a
case without authority so to do. The
practice of soliciting cases at law for the
purpose of gain, either personally or
through paid agents or brokers, constitutes
malpractice.
Lawyers should treat everyone with
kindness and respect, whether they are
colleagues, members of the court, or the
public in general. Anything less would be
conduct unbecoming of one in the legal
profession.
In Tapucar v. Atty. Tapucar: [33]
As this Court often reminds members of
the Bar, they must live up to the standards
and norms expected of the legal
profession, by upholding the ideals and
tenets embodied in the Code of
Professional
Responsibility
always.
Lawyers must maintain a high standard of
legal proficiency, as well as morality
including honesty, integrity and fair
dealing. For they are at all times subject to
the scrutinizing eye of public opinion and
community approbation. Needless to state,
those whose conduct — both public and
private —fails this scrutiny would have to
be disciplined and, after appropriate
proceedings, penalized accordingly. [34]
(Emphasis supplied)
As a lawyer, Atty. Ramirez is sworn to
uphold not only her oath but also the
provisions of the Code of Professional
Responsibility. Rule 7.03 of Canon 7
states:

CANON 7 - A LAWYER SHALL AT ALL
TIMES UPHOLD THE INTEGRITY
AND DIGNITY OF THE LEGAL
PROFESSION AND SUPPORT THE
ACTIVITIES OF THE INTEGRATED
BAR.
Rule 7.03 - A lawyer shall not engage in
conduct that adversely reflects on his
fitness to practice law, nor shall he,
whether in public or private life, behave in
a scandalous manner to the discredit of the
legal profession.
Instead of answering the allegations
concerning her rude and disrespectful
attitude, Atty. Ramirez haughtily asked the
Integrated Bar of the Philippines to dismiss
the complaint because complainants were
not her equal, referring to them as "clerk,
janitor, and maintenance man,"[35]
respectively. Worse, she flaunted her
credentials, [36] believing that being a
former government lawyer allows her to
disregard the tenets of her profession.
Her arrogance manifests her lack of moral
fitness to practice law. Her disrespect
toward her neighbors and toward
complainants shows a blatant disregard to
the dignity and integrity of the legal
profession. Atty. Ramirez's actions do her
profession a disservice and, as such, a
penalty higher than a reprimand is in order.
"The rule is settled that a lawyer may be
suspended or disbarred for any
misconduct, even if it pertains to his
private activities, as long as it shows him
to be wanting in moral character, honesty,
probity or good demeanor."[37] Taking
into account her advanced age and her
"alleged mental issues,"[38] we find that
the appropriate penalty is suspension for
six (6) months from the practice of law.
WHEREFORE, Atty. Perla D. Ramirez,
having been found in violation of Canon
7.03 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility, is SUSPENDED from the
practice of law for six (6) months, with a
stern warning that a repetition of the same
or similar acts shall be dealt with more
severely.
Let a copy of this resolution be furnished
to the Office of the Bar Confidant to be
entered into respondent's records as
attorney. Copies shall likewise be
furnished to the Integrated Bar of the
Philippines and the Office of the Court
Administrator for circulation to all courts
concerned. (Villarama, Jr., J., designated
Acting Member in view of the vacancy in
the Third Division per Special Order No.
1691 dated May 22, 2014.)

SO ORDERED."
5. EN BANC
A.C. No. 6470, July 8, 2014
MERCEDITA
DE
JESUS,
Complainant, vs. ATTY. JUVY MELL
SANCHEZMALIT, Respondent.
RESOLUTION
SERENO, CJ:
before the Court is a disbarment complaint
filed by Mercedita De Jesus (De Jesus)
against respondent Atty. Juvy Mell
Sanchez-Malit (Sanchez-Malit) on the
following grounds: grave misconduct,
dishonesty, malpractices, and unworthiness
to become an officer of the Court.
THE FACTS OF THE CASE
In the Affidavit-Complaint1 filed by
complainant before the Office of the Bar
Confidant on 23 June 2004, she alleged
that on 1 March 2002, respondent had
drafted and notarized a Real Estate
Mortgage of a public market stall that
falsely named the former as its absolute
and registered owner. As a result, the
mortgagee sued complainant for perjury
and for collection of sum of money. She
claimed that respondent was a consultant
of the local government unit of
Dinalupihan, Bataan, and was therefore
aware that the market stall was
government-owned.
Prior
thereto,
respondent had also notarized two
contracts that caused complainant legal
and financial problems. One contract was a
lease agreement notarized by respondent
sometime in September 1999 without the
signature of the lessees. However,
complainant only found out that the
agreement had not been signed by the
lessees when she lost her copy and she
asked for another copy from respondent.
The other contract was a sale agreement
over a property covered by a Certificate of
Land Ownership Award (CLOA) which
complainant entered into with a certain
Nicomedes Tala (Tala) on 17 February
1998. Respondent drafted and notarized
said agreement, but did not advise
complainant that the property was still
covered by the period within which it
could not be alienated.
In addition to the documents attached to
her complaint, complainant subsequently
submitted three Special Powers of
Attorney (SPAs) notarized by respondent
and an Affidavit of Irene Tolentino
(Tolentino),
complainant’s

secretary/treasurer. The SPAs were not
signed by the principals named therein and
bore only the signature of the named
attorney in-fact, Florina B. Limpioso
(Limpioso).
Tolentino’s
Affidavit
corroborated complainant’s allegations
against respondent.2
On 4 August 2004, the Second Division of
the Supreme Court issued a Resolution
requiring respondent to submit her
comment on the Complaint within ten (10)
days from receipt of notice.3
In her Comment,4 respondent explained
that the mortgage contract was prepared in
the presence of complainant and that the
latter had read it before affixing her
signature. However, complainant urgently
needed the loan proceeds so the contract
was hastily done. It was only copied from
a similar file in respondent’s computer, and
the phrase "absolute and registered owner"
was inadvertently left unedited. Still, it
should not be a cause for disciplinary
action, because complainant constructed
the subject public market stall under a
"Build Operate and Transfer" contract with
the local government unit and, technically,
she could be considered its owner. Besides,
there had been a prior mortgage contract
over the same property in which
complainant was represented as the
property’s absolute owner, but she did not
complain. Moreover, the cause of the
perjury charge against complainant was
not the representation of herself as owner
of the mortgaged property, but her
guarantee that it was free from all liens and
encumbrances. The perjury charge was
even dismissed, because the prosecutor
found that complainant and her spouse
had, indeed, paid the debt secured with the
previous mortgage contract over the same
market stall.
With respect to the lease agreement,
respondent countered that the document
attached to the Affidavit-Complaint was
actually new. She gave the court’s copy of
the agreement to complainant to
accommodate the latter’s request for an
extra copy. Thus, respondent prepared and
notarized a new one, relying on
complainant’s assurance that the lessees
would sign it and that it would be returned
in lieu of the original copy for the court.
Complainant, however, reneged on her
promise.
As regards the purchase agreement of a
property covered by a CLOA, respondent
claimed that complainant was an
experienced realty broker and, therefore,
needed no advice on the repercussions of

that transaction. Actually, when the
purchase agreement was notarized,
complainant did not present the CLOA,
and so the agreement mentioned nothing
about it. Rather, the agreement expressly
stated that the property was the subject of a
case pending before the Department of
Agrarian Reform Adjudication Board
(DARAB); complainant was thus notified
of the status of the subject property.
Finally, respondent maintained that the
SPAs submitted by complainant as
additional evidence were properly
notarized. It can be easily gleaned from the
documents that the attorney-in-fact
personally appeared before respondent;
hence, the notarization was limited to the
former’s participation in the execution of
the
document.
Moreover,
the
acknowledgment clearly stated that the
document must be notarized in the
principal’s place of residence.
An exchange of pleadings ensued after
respondent submitted her Comment. After
her rejoinder, complainant filed an Urgent
Ex-ParteMotion for Submission of
Additional Evidence.5 Attached thereto
were copies of documents notarized by
respondent, including the following: (1) an
Extra Judicial Deed of Partition which
referred to the SPAs naming Limpioso as
attorney-in-fact; (2) five SPAs that lacked
the signatures of either the principal or the
attorney-in-fact; (3) two deeds of sale with
incomplete signatures of the parties
thereto; (4) an unsigned Sworn Statement;
(5) a lease contract that lacked the
signature of the lessor; (6) five unsigned
Affidavits; (7) an unsigned insurance
claim form (Annual Declaration by the
Heirs); (8) an unsigned Invitation Letter
toa potential investor in Japan; (9) an
unsigned Bank Certification; and (10)an
unsigned Consent to Adoption.
After the mandatory conference and
hearing, the parties submitted their
respective Position Papers.6 Notably,
respondent’s Position Paper did not tackle
the additional documents attached to
complainant’s Urgent Ex ParteMotion.
THE FINDINGS OF THE IBP
In his 15 February 2008 Report, IBP
Investigating Commissioner Leland R.
Villadolid, Jr. recommended the immediate
revocation of the Notarial Commission of
respondent and her disqualification as
notary public for two years for her
violation of her oath as such by notarizing
documents without the signatures of the
parties who had purportedly appeared
before her. He accepted respondent’s

explanations with respect to the lease
agreement, sale contract, and the three
SPAs pertaining to Limpioso. However, he
found that the inaccurate crafting of the
real estate mortgage contract was a
sufficient basis to hold respondent liable
for violation of Canon 187 and Rule
18.038 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility.
Thus,
he
also
recommended that she be suspended from
the practice of law for six months.9
The IBP Board of Governors, in its
Resolution No. XVIII-2008-245 dated 22
May 2008, unanimously adopted and
approved the Report and Recommendation
of the Investigating Commissioner, with
the modification that respondent be
suspended from the practice of law for one
year.10
Respondent filed her first Motion for
Reconsideration11 and Second Motion for
Reconsideration.12 She maintained that
the additional documents submitted by
complainant were inadmissible, as they
were obtained without observing the
procedural requisites under Section 4, Rule
VI of Adm. No. 02-08-13 SC (2004 Rules
on Notarial Practice).13 Moreover, the
Urgent Ex ParteMotion of complainant
was actually a supplemental pleading,
which was prohibited under the rules of
procedure of the Committee on Bar
Discipline; besides, she was not the proper
party to question those documents. Hence,
the investigating commissioner should
have expunged the documents from the
records, instead of giving them due course.
Respondent also prayed that mitigating
circumstances be considered, specifically
the following: absence of prior disciplinary
record; absence of dishonest or selfish
motive; personal and emotional problems;
timely good faith effort to make restitution
or to rectify the consequences of her
misconduct; full and free disclosure to the
disciplinary board or cooperative attitude
toward the proceedings; character or
reputation; remorse; and remoteness of
prior offenses.
The IBP Board of Governors, in its
Resolution No. XX-2012-119 dated 10
March 2012, denied respondent’s motion
for reconsideration for lack of substantial
reason to justify a reversal of the IBP’s
findings.14
Pursuant to Rule 139-B of the Rules of
Court, Director for Bar Discipline Pura
Angelica Y. Santiago – through a letter
addressed to then acting Chief Justice
Antonio T. Carpio – transmitted the

documents pertaining to the disbarment
Complaint against respondent.15
THE COURT’S RULING
After carefully reviewing the merits of the
complaint against respondent and the
parties’ submissions in this case, the Court
hereby modifies the findings of the IBP.
Before going into the substance of the
charges against respondent, the Court shall
first dispose of some procedural matters
raised by respondent.
Respondent argues that the additional
documents submitted in evidence by
complainant are inadmissible for having
been obtained in violation of Section 4,
Rule VI of the 2004 Rules on Notarial
Practice. A comparable argument was
raised in Tolentino v. Mendoza,16 in
which the respondent therein opposed the
admission of the birth certificates of his
illegitimate children as evidence of his
grossly immoral conduct, because those
documents were obtained in violation Rule
24, Administrative Order No. 1, Series of
1993.17 Rejecting his argument, the Court
reasoned as follows:

Section 3, Rule 128 of the Revised Rules
on Evidence provides that "evidence is
admissible when it is relevant to the issue
and is not excluded by the law or these
rules." There could be no dispute that the
subject birth certificates are relevant to the
issue. The only question, therefore, is
whether the law or the rules provide for the
inadmissibility of said birth certificates
allegedly for having been obtained in
violation of Rule 24, Administrative Order
No. 1, series of 1993.
Note that Rule 24, Administrative Order
No. 1, series of 1993 only provides for
sanctions against persons violating the rule
on confidentiality of birth records, but
nowhere does it state that procurement of
birth records in violation of said rule
would render said records inadmissible in
evidence. On the other hand, the Revised
Rules of Evidence only provides for the
exclusion of evidence if it is obtained as a
result of illegal searches and seizures. It
should be emphasized, however, that said
rule against unreasonable searches and
seizures is meant only to protect a person
from interference by the government or the
state. In People vs. Hipol, we explained
that: The Constitutional proscription
enshrined in the Bill of Rights does not
concern itself with the relation between a
private individual and another individual.

It governs the relationship between the
individual and the State and its agents. The
Bill of Rights only tempers governmental
power and protects the individual against
any
aggression
and
unwarranted
interference by any department of
government and its agencies. Accordingly,
it cannot be extended to the acts
complained of in this case. The alleged
"warrantless search" made by Roque, a coemployee of appellant at the treasurer's
office, can hardly fall within the ambit of
the
constitutional
proscription
on
unwarranted searches and seizures.
Consequently, in this case where
complainants, as private individuals,
obtained the subject birth records as
evidence against respondent, the protection
against unreasonable searches and seizures
does not apply.
Since both Rule 24, Administrative Order
No. 1, series of 1993 and the Revised
Rules on Evidence do not provide for the
exclusion from evidence of the birth
certificates in question, said public
documents are, therefore, admissible and
should
be
properly
taken
into
consideration in the resolution of this
administrative case against respondent.18
Similarly, the 2004 Rules on Notarial Law
contain no provision declaring the
inadmissibility of documents obtained in
violation thereof. Thus, the IBP correctly
considered in evidence the other notarized
documents submitted by complainant as
additional evidence.
Respondent’s argument that the Urgent ExParteMotion of complainant constitutes a
supplemental pleading must fail as well.
As its very name denotes, a supplemental
pleading only serves to bolster or adds
something to the primary pleading. Its
usual office is to set up new facts which
justify, enlarge or change the kind of relief
with respect to the same subject matter as
the controversy referred to in the original
complaint.19 Accordingly, it cannot be
said that the Urgent Ex-Parte Motion filed
by complainant was a supplemental
pleading. One of her charges against
respondent is that the latter notarized
incomplete documents, as shown by the
SPAs and lease agreement attached to the
Affidavit-Complaint. Complainant is not
legally barred from submitting additional
evidence to strengthen the basis of her
complaint.
Going now into the substance of the
charges against respondent, the Court finds
that she committed misconduct and

grievously violated her oath as a notary
public.
The important role a notary public
performs cannot be overemphasized. The
Court has repeatedly stressed that
notarization is not an empty, meaningless
routinary act, but one invested with
substantive public interest. Notarization
converts a private document into a public
document, making it admissible in
evidence without further proof of its
authenticity. Thus, a notarized document
is, by law, entitled to full faith and credit
upon its face. It is for this reason that a
notary public must observe with utmost
care the basic requirements in the
performance of his notarial duties;
otherwise, the public's confidence in the
integrity of a notarized document would be
undermined.20
Where the notary public admittedly has
personal knowledge of a false statement or
information contained in the instrument to
be notarized, yet proceeds to affix the
notarial seal on it, the Court must not
hesitate to discipline the notary public
accordingly as the circumstances of the
case may dictate. Otherwise, the integrity
and sanctity of the notarization process
may be undermined, and public confidence
in notarial documents diminished.21 In
this case, respondent fully knew that
complainant was not the owner of the
mortgaged market stall. That complainant
comprehended the provisions of the real
estate mortgage contract does not make
respondent any less guilty. If at all, it only
heightens the latter’s liability for tolerating
a wrongful act. Clearly, respondent’s
conduct amounted to a breach of Canon
122 and Rules 1.0123 and 1.0224 of the
Code of Professional Responsibility.
Respondent’s explanation about the
unsigned lease agreement executed by
complainant sometime in September
199925 is incredulous. If, indeed, her file
copy of the agreement bore the lessees’
signatures, she could have given
complainant a certified photocopy thereof.
It even appears that said lease agreement is
not a rarity in respondent’s practice as a
notary public. Records show that on
various occasions from 2002 to 2004,
respondent has notarized 22 documents
that were either unsigned or lacking
signatures of the parties. Technically, each
document maybe a ground for disciplinary
action, for it is the duty of a notarial officer
to demand that a document be signed in his
or her presence.26

A notary public should not notarize a
document unless the persons who signed it
are the very same ones who executed it
and who personally appeared before the
said notary public to attest to the contents
and truth of what are stated therein.27
Thus, in acknowledging that the parties
personally came and appeared before her,
respondent also violated Rule 10.0128 of
the Code of Professional Responsibility
and her oath as a lawyer that she shall do
no falsehood.29 Certainly, respondent is
unfit to continue enjoying the solemn
office of a notary public. In several
instances, the Court did not hesitate to
disbar lawyers who were found to be
utterly oblivious to the solemnity of their
oath as notaries public.30 Even so, the rule
is that disbarment is meted out only in
clear cases of misconduct that seriously
affect the standing and character of the
lawyer as an officer of the court and the
Court will not disbar a lawyer where a
lesser penalty will suffice to accomplish
the desired end.31 The blatant disregard by
respondent of her basic duties as a notary
public warrants the less severe punishment
of suspension from the practice of law and
perpetual
disqualification
to
be
commissioned as a notary public.
WHEREFORE, respondent Atty. Juvy
Mell Sanchez-Malit is found guilty of
violating Canon 1 and Rules 1.01, 1.02,
and 10.01 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility as well as her oath as notary
public. Hence, she is SUSPENDED from
the practice of law for ONE YEAR
effective immediately. Her notarial
commission,
if
still
existing,
is
IMMEDIATELY REVOKED and she is
hereby PERPETUALLY DISQUALIFIED
from being commissioned as a notary
public.
Let copies of this Resolution be entered
into the personal records of respondent as
a member of the bar and furnished to the
Bar Confidant, the Integrated Bar of the
Philippines, and the Court Administrator
for circulation to all courts of the country
for their information and guidance.
No costs.
SO ORDERED
7. THIRD DIVISION
[ A.C. No. 10276, July 02, 2014]
SOCORRO T. GUSTILLO VS. ATTY.
ROSELLER B. AMAZONA.
Sirs/Mesdames:

Please take notice that the Court, Third
Division, issued a Resolution dated July 2,
2014, which reads as follows:

placing serious doubt on his/her moral
character and his/her fitness to be a lawyer.
As explained in Lizaso v. Amante: [5]

"A.C. No. 10276 (Socorro T. Gustillo vs.
Atty. Roseller B. Amazona). - This
involves a disciplinary complaint filed
with the Integrated Bar of the Philippines
(IBP) by complainant Socorro T. Gustillo
against respondent Atty. Roseller B.
Amazona.

As early, as 1923, however, the Court laid
down in in Re Vicente Pelaez the principle
that it can exercise its power to discipline
lawyers for causes which do not involve
the relationship of an attorney and
client. . .. [6]

In her complaint, Gustillo charged
respondent with "conduct unbecoming of a
lawyer and gross dishonesty."[1] She
alleged that in 2004, respondent asked her
to rediscount three (3) checks which were
subsequently dishonored for the reason
"ACCOUNT CLOSED."[2] Each of these
checks amounted to P60,000, thus totaling
to P180,000. Complainant added that
respondent had failed to "make good [on
the checks] and to settle his obligation"[3]
despite having executed promissory notes
and written undertakings to make such
settlement. [4]
Respondent failed to file an answer to the
complaint.
In a report and recommendation dated
March 15, 2013, IBP Investigating
Commissioner Oliver A. Cachapero found
respondent liable and recommended that
the latter be suspended from the practice of
law for six (6) months.
In a resolution dated April 16, 2013, the
Integrated Bar of the Philippines' Board of
Governors (IBP-BOG) adopted and
approved with modification the report and
recommendation
of
Investigating
Commissioner Cachapero. The IBP-BOG
modified the report and recommendation
by adding: (1) an order for respondent to
restitute to complainant the amount of
P180,000 within thirty (30) days from
receipt of notice; and (2) a warning that
respondent's repetition of similar acts shall
be dealt with more severely.
Neither party has filed a motion for
reconsideration.
After a careful examination of the records,
the court agrees with the conclusions of
Investigating Commissioner Cachapero
and the IBP-BOG. As noted by
Investigating Commissioner Cachapero,
complainant failed to indicate if there was
an attorney-client relationship between her
and respondent. However, this court has
long settled that the lack of an attorneyclient relationship is not a bar to
disciplinary sanction where a lawyer acts
in an unprofessional manner, thereby

Thus,
unprofessional
conduct
or
misconduct, as manifested in financial
dealings with others, has served as ample
ground for the disciplining of lawyers. In
Lizaso v. Amante, a lawyer was
indefinitely suspended from the practice of
law for failing to account for and return
funds received for investment. [7]
In this case, the annexes attached to the
complaint indicate that respondent did
issue checks, which were dishonored for
the reason "ACCOUNT CLOSED." These
annexes also show that respondent
executed written undertakings and
promissory notes to settle his obligations
to complainant. Despite these, he failed to
make such settlement.
This court has repeatedly emphasized that
the practice of law is imbued with public
interest and that "a lawyer . . . takes part in
one of the most important functions of the
State - the administration of justice - as an
officer of the court."[8] Thus, "[l]awyers
are bound to maintain not only a high
standard of legal proficiency, but also of
morality, honesty, integrity and fair
dealing."[9]
Respondent has fallen short of the high
standard of morality, honesty, integrity,
and fair dealing required of lawyers. He
took advantage of complainant to secure
undue gains for himself and inflicted
serious damage on the latter. It is therefore
proper to suspend respondent from the
practice of law.
However, in the strict context of the
present case being an administrative (i.e.,
disciplinary) proceeding, we find improper
the IBP-BOG's inclusion of an order for
respondent to restitute to the complainant
the amount of P180,000 within thirty (30)
days from receipt of notice.
Administrative cases to discipline lawyers
are distinct from civil cases, which involve
private disputes between persons. While
the latter affords the plaintiff an
opportunity to demand the fulfilment of a
duty and/or compensation for a harm done,
the former does not. As this court
explained in Pimente v. Llorente: [10]

Disbarment proceedings are undertaken
solely for public welfare. The sole
question for determination is whether a
member of the bar is fit to be allowed the
privileges as such or not. The complainant
or the person who called the attention of
the Court to the attorney's alleged
misconduct is in no sense a party, and
generally has no interest in the outcome
except as all good citizens may have in the
proper administration of justice. [11]
[Emphasis supplied]
WHEREFORE,
respondent
ATTY.
ROSELLER
B.
AMAZONA,
is
SUSPENDED from the practice of law for
six (6) months. He is likewise WARNED
that a repetition of similar acts shall be
dealt with more severely.
Let copies of this resolution be served on
the Office of the Bar Confidant, the
Integrated Bar of the Philippines, and all
courts in the country for their information
and guidance. Let a copy of this resolution
be attached to respondent's personal record
as attorney. (Villarama, Jr., J., designated
Acting Member in view of the vacancy in
the Third Division per Special Order No.
1691 dated May 22, 2014.)
SO ORDERED."
9. EN BANC
A.C. No. 7766, August 5, 2014
JOSE ALLAN TAN, Complainant, vs.
PEDRO S. DIAMANTE, Respondent.
DECISION
PER CURIAM:
For the Court's resolution is an
administrative Complaint1 for disbarment
dated February 1, 2008 filed by
complainant Jose Allan Tan (complainant)
against respondent Pedro S. Diamante
(respondent), charging him of violating the
Code of Professional Responsibility (CPR)
and the lawyer’s oath for fabricating and
using a spurious court order, and for
failing to keep his client informed of the
status of the case.
The Facts
On April 2, 2003, complainant, claiming to
be a recognized illegitimate son of the late
Luis Tan, secured the services of
respondent in order to pursue a case for
partition of property against the heirs of
the late spouses Luis and Natividad
Valencia-Tan.2 After accepting the
engagement,
respondent
filed
the
corresponding complaint3 before the

00 to respondent. or way beyond the reglementary period therefor. the RTC dismissed complainant’s appeal for having been filed beyond the reglementary period provided for by law. respondent clearly violated Rule 1. observing that instead of meeting complainant’s allegations squarely. He should notify his client of any adverse decision to enable his client to decide whether to seek an appellate review thereof. 2007. showed complainant an Order12 dated November 9. subject to the modification of the recommended penalty to be imposed upon respondent. the lawyer is expected to be acquainted with the rudiments of law and legal procedure. but since complainant could not produce the said amount at that time. the Investigating Commissioner did not find credence in respondent’s accusation that the spurious November 9. did not disclose such fact and. Keeping the client informed of the developments of the case will minimize misunderstanding and loss of trust and confidence in the attorney. and a client who deals with him has the right to expect not just a good amount of professional learning and competence but also a whole-hearted fealty to the client’s cause. 2007.01 – A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful.04. the Court concurs with the IBP’s findings. Tan handed the amount of P10. He also claimed to have assisted complainant "not for money or malice" but being a desperate litigant. and deceitful conduct that caused undue prejudice and unnecessary expenses on the part of complainant. 2007 when he visited the former’s office. Despite this fact.20 In a Resolution dated April 16. 2007 Order originated from complainant. 03-11947. 2007 Order which purportedly required a DNA testing to make it appear that complainant’s appeal had been given due course. respondent engaged in an unlawful. instead. The lawyer should not leave the client in the dark on how the lawyer is defending the client’s interests. contrary to the representations of respondent. 2007 Order) directing the submission of the results of a DNA testing to prove his filiation to the late Luis Tan.00 purportedly as payment of the reservation fee for the filing of a notice of appeal before the RTC. 2007. Canon 18 of the CPR. the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) Investigating Commissioner found respondent administratively liable. which provides: CANON 1 – A lawyer shall uphold the constitution. respondent. records reveal that as of August 14. and accordingly recommended that the penalty of suspension for a period of one (1) year be meted out against him. 2007 Order was spurious. 2007 for lack of cause of action and insufficiency of evidence. and diligence as men of the legal profession commonly possess and exercise in such matters of professional employment. to wit: CANON 18 – A LAWYER SHALL SERVE HIS CLIENT WITH COMPETENCE AND DILIGENCE. it is the duty of an attorney to inform his client of whatever important information he may have acquired affecting his client’s case. obey the laws of the land and promote respect for law and legal processes. Accordingly.00 to pay for the appeal fees that resulted in the late filing of his appeal. the issue of the nondisclosure of the dismissal of the partition case.18 The Investigating Commissioner found complainant’s imputations against respondent to be well-founded. 2013. As an officer of the court.21 The Issue Before the Court The essential issue in this case is whether or not respondent should be held administratively liable for violating the CPR.00 for the payment of appeal fees and other costs. Concomitantly.Regional Trial Court of Bacolod City.400. within 15 days from receipt of the notice. docketed as Civil Case No. Under Rule 18. he never bothered to inform complainant of such dismissal as the latter only knew of the same on August 24. respondent sidestepped and delved on arguments that hardly had an effect on the issues at hand. he was blamed for the court’s unfavorable decision. immoral or deceitful conduct. 2007 when he visited the former’s office. he filed the instant administrative complaint for disbarment against respondent.000. instead. . particularly. Rule 18. complainant proceeded to the RTC and requested for an extension of the deadline for its submission. asked and was given the amount of P500. According to him. as certified by the RTC’s Clerk of Court. respondent was inexcusably negligent in filing complainant’s appeal only on September 12. omissions.14 Aggrieved. filed a notice of appeal9 before the RTC.04 – A lawyer shall keep the client informed of the status of his case and shall respond within a reasonable time to client’s request for information. Respondent. or nonfeasance would be binding upon his client. ratiocinating that it was respondent who was motivated to fabricate the same to cover up his lapses that brought about the dismissal of complainant’s appeal and make it appear that there is still an available relief left for Tan. To add insult to injury.01. Rule 1. respondent already knew of the dismissal of complainant’s partition case before the RTC.22 In this connection. who on even date. 2007. respondent attempted to conceal the dismissal of complainant’s appeal by fabricating the November 9. In his Comments/Compliance15 dated September 4. In so doing. respondent allegedly asked for the amount of P10. It was then that he discovered that the November 9. Canon 1 of the CPR. the lawyer must constantly keep in mind that his actions. 2007 purportedly issued by the RTC (November 9. respondent failed to exercise such skill. dishonest. thus resulting in its outright dismissal. however. dishonest.7 On such occasion.6 complainant learned of the same only on August 24. 2009. Considering the technical requirements for such kind of testing. Clearly. care.19 Moreover. but the latter insisted in pursuing the same.8 On September 12.23 In the case at bar.10 In an Order11 dated September 18. the IBP Board of Governors unanimously adopted and approved the aforesaid report and recommendation. The complaint was eventually dismissed by the RTC in an Order4 dated July 25.13 Complainant also found out that.24 Worse. when in truth.16 The IBP’s Report and Recommendation In a Report and Recommendation17 dated September 21.000. the same had long been denied. 2007. 2010. his appeal had long been dismissed. it is the lawyer’s duty to keep his client constantly updated on the developments of his case as it is crucial in maintaining the latter’s confidence. The Court’s Ruling After a judicious perusal of the records. Branch 46 (RTC).5 While respondent was notified of such dismissal as early as August 14. he informed complainant of the lapse of the reglementary period to appeal. respondent alleged that it was complainant’s failure to timely produce the amount of 1.

which reads as follows: However. A closer examination of the said contract to sell disclosed that it was signed by one Alexander Dacayan (Dacayan). exhibiting his moral unfitness and inability to discharge his duties as a member of the bar. 7958 (Spouses Carlito and Leonida Lising v. the Court suspended them for a period of six (6) months. Phase 7-C. SAMPANA. when in reality. but the complainants never tried to . its continued possession is also essential for remaining in the practice of law. Atty. who was never authorized to represent them. integrity. ATTY.C. In view of the foregoing. Therefore. drift and hollow. The lawyer’s oath is not mere facile words. and deceitful conduct by falsifying documents. causing undue prejudice to the latter. complainant. took advantage of his superior knowledge of the law to unlawfully deprive them of the lot. and damages. respondent deserves the ultimate punishment of disbarment. and thus. dishonest. and renders him unfit to continue in the practice of law. WHEREFORE. Carlito and Leonida Lising. Sampana). honesty. the Court’s pronouncement in Sebastian v. "A. and fair dealing.00 as of June 2. and his name is ordered STRICKEN OFF from the roll of attorneys. Tabang Plaridel. which is directed to circulate them to all the courts in the country for their information and guidance. Remegio Q. 957. respondent committed acts of falsification in order to misrepresent to his client. Calis29 is instructive. Sampana. More than 3 years had lapsed. Atty. administratively sanctioned. 10. March 03.1âwphi1 They are unacceptable practices. the project developer.26 A lawyer’s inexcusable neglect to serve his client’s interests with utmost diligence and competence as well as his engaging in unlawful. the lot owner. In Mejares v. After their initial payment of P50.000. We have sternly warned that any gross misconduct of a lawyer. Complainants further alleged that Atty. respondent’s conduct of employing a crooked and deceitful scheme to keep complainant in the dark and conceal his case’s true status through the use of a falsified court order evidently constitutes Gross Misconduct. but also of morality. viz. Glicerio Sampana (Atty. Sampana before the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB) for unsound business practices. Block 2. their alleged attorney-in-fact. Contawi. Atty.28 In this regard. Sampana. In the same vein. Rocka Village II. specific performance.: Deception and other fraudulent acts by a lawyer are disgraceful and dishonorable. he becomes unworthy to continue his practice of law..04.. respondent’s acts are so reprehensible.000. Sampana) sold to them a parcel of land covered by Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No. as well as the damage and prejudice caused to his client. This requisite is not only a condition precedent to the admission to the practice of law. complainants. Alcid. whether in his professional or private capacity. i.00 in December 2000. No.00. in view of the totality of his violations. Despite complainants' substantial payment of the amount of P312. 2014. Sampana never executed a contract to sell in their favor notwithstanding several demands from them.32 the same penalty was imposed on the lawyer who consistently failed to update his client of the status of his cases. Canon 1. Pe. in Penilla v. lawyers are bound to maintain not only a high standard of legal proficiency. complainants failed to pay the remaining balance. They averred that Atty. Glicerio A. respondent Pedro S. A lawyer’s relationship with others should be characterized by the highest degree of good faith. Atty.Complainant spouses. T-119277 and situated at Lot 4. fairness and candor. This is the essence of the lawyer’s oath. 2000. issued a Resolution dated March 3. Sampana employed fraud and deceit. 2014] SPOUSES CARLITO AND LEONIDA LISING V. and his violations of the CPR are so flagrant. dishonest. As already discussed. SO ORDERED. Third Division.C. but a sacred trust that must be upheld and keep inviolable. The nature of the office of an attorney requires that he should be a person of good moral character. . that he still had an available remedy in his case. Bulacan for P355. represented by Dacayan.e.600. In Brennisen v. They reveal moral flaws in a lawyer. the Court found them guilty of Gross Misconduct and disbarred them.00. Romana. Canon 18 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. His actions erode rather than enhance the public perception of the legal profession. Please take notice that the Court. he was forced to sign the said contract to sell.33 the Court disbarred the lawyer who falsified a special power of attorney in order to mortgage and sell his client’s property. Sirs/Mesdames: When a case was filed against Atty. his case had long been dismissed for failure to timely file an appeal. To the Court. violation of Presidential Decree (PD) No. and deceitful conduct in order to conceal such neglect should never be countenanced. Sampana sold the same lot to spouses Orlando Miranda and Amelita D. Diamante's record in this Court. No. As per declaration of Dacayan. Let a copy of this Decision be attached to respondent Pedro S.31 the Court suspended the lawyer for the same period for his failure to timely and adequately inform his clients of the dismissal of their petition. shall be paid by complainants within 3 months from date of contract. they reveal a basic moral flaw that makes him unfit to practice law. and that it was agreed that the balance in the amount of P185. and Rocka Villa Realty.01. thus. Jr. Sampana denied the allegations and claimed that on June 3.25 failing in which whether in his personal or private capacity. puts his moral character in serious doubt as a member of the Bar.34 the penalty of disbarment was meted out against the lawyer who falsified an in existent court decision for a fee. the brotherin-law of complainant Leonida Lising. THIRD DIVISION [ A. and Rule 18. Further. In his comment. in cases where lawyers engaged in unlawful. and unjustly enriched himself at their expense and prejudice. in Embido v. 2000.000.30 (Emphases and underscoring supplied) Jurisprudence reveals that in analogous cases where lawyers failed to inform their clients of the status of their respective cases.As officers of the court. Payuyo. entered into a contract to sell over the subject lot under a 1995 Joint Venture Agreement with his client. GLICERIO A. 7958.27 His acts should not just be deemed as unacceptable practices that are disgraceful and dishonorable. complainants were caught by surprise when a document purporting to be their contract to sell was produced by Atty. notwithstanding several follow-ups. Diamante is hereby DISBARRED for Gross Misconduct and violations of Rule 1. Also. let copies of this Decision be furnished to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines and the Office of the Court Administrator. (complainants) alleged that in May 1997.

XIX-2011-295 Adm. however. A lawyer shall at all times uphold the integrity and dignity of the legal profession. ISAGANI A. Sampana's motion for reconsideration and affirming its May 15. In its Resolution. complainants engaged the services of respondent to facilitate the transfer of title to property. J.. as is hereby unanimously ADOPTED and APPROVED. has the effect of making his suspension conditional and indefinite. however. Respondent. 1640 dated February 19. [3] dated June 21. Glicerio A. the Court will look with disfavour at the non-payment by the respondent of his due and demandable obligation. Sampana violated Canon 1 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. The IBP Resolution is hereby quoted as follows: RESOLUTION NO.00 for respondent’s professional fee. Atty. members of the legal fraternity can do nothing that might tend to lessen in any degree the confidence of the public in the fidelity. unlawful and illegal acts relative to the double sale of the parcel of land covered by TCT No. RESOLUTION LEONEN. The trust and confidence necessarily reposed by clients on their attorney requires in him a high standard and appreciation of his duty to his clients. No. The facts are summarized as follows: On or about November 21. 2014) SO ORDERED.800. To this end. immoral or deceitful conduct. Rule 1. 5440 2014 December 10. 119277 and recommended that he be suspended from the practice of law for a period of one (1) year with a warning that a repetition of the same or similar offense in the future shall be dealt with more severely. The owner. The Court. A lawyer can do honor to the legal profession by faithfully performing his duties to society. with modification. vs. Glicerio A. they protested. as earlier stated. which provides that: CANON 1 — A lawyer shall uphold the constitution. This decision is immediately executory and is without prejudice to the filing of any civil or criminal action against the respondent. Respondent is Ordered to Return the amount received from complainant otherwise his Suspension shall continue. RUDOLFO G. 2013. WHEREFORE. civil or criminal. never came back to pay.4 Respondent failed to produce the title despite complainants’ repeated followups. the courts. URBIZTONDO Acting Secretary for the Meeting Atty. Glicerio A. Sampana filed a motion for reconsideration but it was denied in a resolution. per Special Order No. designated Acting Member. the Report and Recommendation of the Investigating Commissioner in the aboveentitled case. on official leave.: For resolution is a complaint for disbarment filed by Spouses Nicasio and Donelita San Pedro (complainants) against Atty. honesty and integrity of the profession. [2] dated May 15.1 This case involves a determination of whether respondent violated his duty to hold in trust all moneys and properties of the client. [1] the Investigating Commissioner found Atty. The Court agrees with the recommendation of the IBP except with respect to the last sentence which has the effect of making his suspension conditional and indefinite. asked them to pay their outstanding obligation within one week in return for the lot. 2012 decision suspending him from the practice of law for one (1) year is hereby MODIFIED in that the order to return the amounts received from complainants is DELETED. Complainants. A. the owner decided to sell the lot to a third party. his profession. In its Report and Recommendation. 2013 Resolution of the IBP denying Atty. dishonest. SPOUSES NICASIO DONELITA SAN PEDRO. Sampana RESOLVED to ADOPT and APPROVE." 14.communicate with the owners.. and the public. ATTY.C. When complainants found out about the sale. Nevertheless.2 Complainants then gave respondent a check for P68. obey the laws of the land and promote respect for law and for legal processes. MENDOZA.02 — A lawyer shall not counsel or abet activities aimed at defiance of the law or at lessening confidence in the legal system. his duty to account for all funds and property collected or received for or from the client." This imposition. Furthermore. and the Office of the Court Administrator for dissemination to all courts throughout the country. to the courts.5 Several letters were sent by respondent explaining the delay in the transfer of . herein made part of this Resolution as Annex "A" and finding the recommendation fully supported by the evidence on record and the applicable laws and rules. and considering Respondent's guilty of illegal and unethical acts as evidenced by the decision of the HLURB. 7958 Sps. the policy of the Court is to let a complainant claim and collect the amount due from a respondent in an independent action. the Integrated Bar of the Philippines for distribution to all its chapters. 1996. Sampana guilty of unethical. [4] By his unethical conduct. in the name of Isabel Azcarraga Marcaida. Consequently. Complainants.3 They also gave respondent a check for P13. They did not reply either to a final demand letter sent to them and to Dacayan. The Bar must maintain a high standard of legal proficiency as well as of honesty and fair dealing.01 — A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful. Mendoza (respondent). Case No. to complainants. Atty. however. Sampana is hereby SUSPENDED from the practice of law for one (1) year with stern Warning that repetition of the similar act shall be dealt with more severely. Moreover.250. the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) Board of Governors adopted and approved the recommendation of the Investigating Commissioner. Bersamin J. the June 21. J. 2011. and to his clients. and his duty to deliver the funds and property of the client when due or upon demand under the Code of Professional Responsibility. the respondent deserves the penalty of suspension for one (1) year imposed upon him by the IBP. Carlito & Leonida Lising vs.00 for the payment of transfer taxes. Rule 1. (Abad. Isagani A. deletes the last sentence of the resolution of the IBP Board of Governors ordering the respondent "to return the amount received otherwise his suspension shall continue. Atty. Let a copy of this resolution be furnished the Bar Confidant to be included in the records of the respondent. to the Bar.

It held: RESOLVED to ADOPT and APPROVE. the details of the transaction [with the sellers].9 They also sent a letter demanding the refund of the money intended for the transfer taxes.16 Respondent further alleged that complainants challenged him to prove his worth as a lawyer by doing away with the requirements and expediting the cancellation of the Marcaidas’ title. for [r]e-partition and [r]econveyance. Atty.10 Respondent still did not return the money. submitted his findings and recommendation.01 and Rule 16.13 Respondent contested the allegations of complainants. This case was dismissed by the Honorable Court for alleged lack of jurisdiction. [r]econveyance with prayer for issuance of writ of preliminary injunction directed specifically to herein complainant. report and recommendation.] the case was dismissed by the Court[. which case.title. Laguna[. italics. Consequently[.7 Respondent refused to return the amount complainants gave for the transfer taxes.. B-4503 entitled Basbas versus Spouses Nicasio and Donelita San Pedro et al. was discontinued by complainant after the civil aspect of the same was amicably settled.26 Complainant Nicasio San Pedro’s affidavit of desistance is immaterial. finding the recommendation fully supported by the evidence on record and the applicable laws and rules. Complainants were not able to furnish respondent several important documents: (a) original copy of the deed of extrajudicial petition. The Investigating Commissioner found that respondent violated Canon 16.00 despite all the work he did for them. 2008. Hababag. Laguna[. Laguna.6 However. respondent filed his motion for reconsideration.30 The IBP Board of Governors denied respondent’s motion in the Notice of Resolution No.800. Laguna. as per reliable source.] Respondent. Rules 16.21 On July 8.24 Complainants had to obtain a loan to facilitate the transfer of title in their names. These involved "being-pulled from the office four or five times to discuss .11 However."15 Respondent also claimed that retention of the money is justified owing to his receivables from complainants for the services he rendered in various cases: 1) In the case of Spouses Nicasio and Donelita San Pedro versus Severo Basbas. going twice to the Regional Trial Court of Biñan. He promised to settle the transfer of the land title. respondent reneged on this promise. XVIII2008-399 dated August 14. the issue of possession being intertwined with that of ownership.] Branch 24. which was raffled to the Regional Trial Court of Biñan. to expedite the .0323 of the Code of Professional Responsibility.] 4) In Civil Case No. (b) affidavit of publication with the clippings of the published item in a newspaper of general circulation. respondent still failed to produce the title. the Investigating Commissioner.29 (Emphasis. Laguna[. 2008. Salvador B. herein made part of this Resolution as Annex "A". The Investigating Commissioner found that both checks issued to respondent were encashed despite respondent’s failure to facilitate the release of the title in the name of complainants." hence: WHEREFORE. .25 Moreover. 3) In Civil Case No. for Forcible Entry. Mendoza is hereby SUSPENDED from the practice of law for three (3) months and Ordered to Returnthe amount of Sixty Eight Thousand Two Hundred Fifty (P68. Branch 24[.] Branch 25. it is most respectfully recommended that the disciplinary sanction of CENSURE and WARNING be given the respondent with the admonition that he be extremely careful of his acts to forego severe penalty in the future. According to him. going twice to the office of the Register of Deeds for Calamba. docketed as Civil Case No. premises considered. This case was assigned to the Regional Trial Court of San Pedro. and underscoring in the original) On November 14.17 The present administrative case was referred to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) for investigation. 2004 in the Metropolitan Trial Court of Santa Rosa. B-688 entitled Basbas versus Spouses Nicasio and Donelita San Pedro et al. with modification. .] [and] 5) Likewise. respondent argued that complainants paid him the measly sum of P13.28 In the Notice of Resolution No. Laguna to make verification and submit the court [o]rder. 2000. it was complainants who caused the three-year delay in the transfer of title to complainants’ names. and for Respondent’s violation of Canon 16.19 They were required to submit their position papers.27 The Investigating Commissioner recommended the disciplinary action of "censure and warning. the IBP Board of Governors adopted with modification the findings of the Investigating Commissioner. Complainants subsequently referred the case to the barangay.0122 and 16. respondent admitted his liability in his letters to complainants. including facilitating the sale of the property. respondent sent another letter to complainants. . Atty. 2008.14 In addition. for and in behalf of herein complainant.00) Pesos to complainants within thirty days from receipt of notice.8 Complainants were then issued a certificate to file action.20 Respondent did not submit his position paper. On May 8.12 Complainants were then forced to obtain a loan from Philippine American Life and General Insurance Company to secure the transfer of the title to the property in their names. XX-2013-839 dated June 22. .03 of the Code of Professional Responsibility when he failed to effect the transfer of property despite encashment of the two checks. and (c) a barangay certificate from the barangay where the property is located as required by the Bureau of Internal Revenue. [and facilitating the] preparation and notarization of the Deed of Absolute Sale. which was favorably acted upon. for nullity of title. respondent represented herein complainant in [an] ESTAFA case they [filed] against Greg Ramos and Benjamin Corsino. there being no cogent reason to reverse the findings of the Commission and it being a mere reiteration of the matters which had already been threshed out and taken into .. submitted an [a]nswer and [o]pposition to the prayer for issuance of the injunction. 2) In the case of Spouses Nicasio and Donelita San Pedro versus Severo Basbas for Accion Publiciana docketed as Civil Case No. 2013: RESOLVED to unanimously DENY Respondent’s Motion for Reconsideration. and.250. B-5386 raffled to the Regional Trial Court of Biñan. [Rule] 16. Isagani A. as it is hereby unanimously ADOPTED and APPROVED.18 The parties were then called to a mandatory conference before the IBP Commission on Bar Discipline. issuance of a [n]ew owner’s duplicate copy of the title. the Report and Recommendation of the Investigating Commissioner of the above entitled case.

when in the interest of justice. When there is no unsatisfied claim for attorney’s fees. documents and papers.01 – A lawyer shall account for all money or property collected or received for or from the client. Complainants’ alleged failure to provide the necessary documents to effect the transfer does not justify his violation of his duty under the Code of Professional Responsibility. after three (3) years and several demands from complainants. The rule is that when there is "a disagreement. Section 25 of the Rules of Court provides: Section 25. After considering the parties’ arguments and the records of this case.00 with 6% legal interest from the date of finality of this . this court resolves to adopt and approve the Notice of Resolution No. he should promptly account to the client how the money was spent. XVIII-2008-399 dated August 14.250. 2013 of the IBP Board of Governors. (2) lawful possession of the client’s funds. [The lawyer’s] failure to return the client’s money upon demand gives rise to the presumption that he has misappropriated it for his own use to the prejudice of and in violation of the trust reposed in him by the client. 2008 is hereby AFFIRMED..and (c) IBP’s letter dated October 7. However. and (3) unsatisfied claim for attorney’s fees. lawyers cannot validly retain their client’s funds or properties.40 WHEREFORE. He is also ordered to RETURN to complainants the amount of P68. Rule138. Any conduct that shows a violation of the norms and values of the legal profession exposes the lawyer to administrative liability. assuming that respondent had proven all the requisites for a valid retaining lien. 2008 of the IBP Board of Governors.38 Furthermore. respondent requested for a formal hearing. but proceedings under this section shall not be a bar to a criminal prosecution. 2008. Rule 16. contempt. both complainants signed their comment to respondent's motion for reconsideration and prayed that the motion be dismissed for lack of merit. He shall also have a lien to the same extent on all judgments and executions he has secured for his client as provided for in the Rules of Court. he must immediately return it to the client. Resolution No. Neither shall a lawyer lend money to a client except. "39 We also note that despite complainant Nicasio San Pedro's affidavit of desistance dated March 14.. His failure either to render an accounting or to return the money (if the intended purpose of the money does not materialize) constitutes a blatant disregard of Rule 16.37 Respondent did not satisfy all the elements of a valid retaining lien. Rule 16. transportation and office expenses). Rule 16.02 – A lawyer shall keep the funds of each client separate and apart from his own and those of others kept by him. Further. It has been said that "[t]he practice of law is a privilege bestowed on lawyers who meet the high standards oflegal proficiency and morality. he cannot appropriate for himself his client's funds without the proper accounting and notice to the client. or when the client disputes the amount claimed by the lawyer .A LAWYER SHALL HOLD IN TRUST ALL MONEYS AND PROPERTIES OF HIS CLIENT THAT MAY COME INTO HIS POSSESSION.consideration.32 In the manifestation and motion dated October 25. If he does not use the money for its intended purpose. the lawyer should not arbitrarily apply the funds in his possession to the payment of his fees . However. [w]hen a lawyer collects or receives money from his client for a particular purpose (such as for filing fees."35 An examination of the records reveals that respondent violated the Code of Professional Responsibility. XX-2013-839 dated June 22.] [thus] . this court resolved to note the following: (a) Notice of Resolution No..04 – A lawyer shall not borrow money from his client unless the client’s interests are fully protected by the nature of the case or by independent advice."33The manifestation and motion was denied by this court in the resolution dated September 22. he has to advance necessary expenses in a legal matter he is handling for the client. Respondent’s assertion of a valid lawyer’s lien is also untenable. Unlawful retention of client's funds. Similarly. He did not present evidence as to an unsatisfied claim for attorney’s fees. 2013 of the IBP Board of Governors. . respondent Atty. Isagani A.36(Emphasis supplied) Respondent admitted that there were delays in the transfer of title of property to complainants’ name. . 2014. registration fees. Mendoza is SUSPENDED from the practice of law for three (3) months.2013. 2013. . Rule 16. XVIII-2008-399 dated August 14. (b) Notice of Resolution No. the attorney’s retaining lien is a general lien for the balance of the account between the attorney and his client. and applies to the documents and funds of the client which may come into the attorney’s possession in the course of his employment. The enumeration of cases he worked on for complainants remains unsubstantiated. Canon 16 of the Code of Professional Responsibility states: CANON 16 . respondent failed to accomplish the task given to him and even refused to return the money. A valid retaining lien has the following elements: An attorney’s retaining lien is fully recognized if the presence of the following elements concur: (1) lawyer-client relationship. — When an attorney unjustly retains in his hands money of his client after it has been demanded. giving notice promptly thereafter to his client. . A lawyer’s duty under Canon 16 of the Code of Professional Responsibility is clear: The fiduciary nature of the relationship between counsel and client imposes on a lawyer the duty to account for the money or property collected or received for or from the client[. reasoning that he "wants to exercise his right to confront his accusers [to] cross[-]examine them and that of their witness. he shall have a lien over the funds and may apply so much thereof as may be necessary to satisfy his lawful fees and disbursements. 2013 transmitting the documents pertaining to the case. he may be punished for contempt as an officer of the Court who has misbehaved in his official transactions. Thus.03 – A lawyer shall deliver the funds and property of his client when due or upon demand.31 (Emphasis and italics in the original) On December 11. XX-2013-839 dated June 22.1âwphi1 He continuously assured complainants that he would still fulfill his duty.34 The main issue in this case is whether respondent is guilty of violating Canon 16 of the Code of Professional Responsibility for failing to hold in trust the money of his clients.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility.

P15. Jimmy Pandili (Pandili). A.900. respondent filed a motion for extension of time to file said petition. and a copy be served to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines and the Office of the Court Administrator for circulation to all the courts in the land. respectively) for the recovery of one split type air-conditioner with replevin and damages.   15. Du's counsel opposed the motion pointing out that respondent misled the CA as to the date of his receipt of the assailed RTC Decision so as to make it appear that the said motion was timely filed. and despite knowledge of the expiration of the period for filing an appeal. It was at this juncture that respondent opted not to file the intended petition anymore allegedly because he would not want to waste the time of the court in resolving a petition which is baseless and admittedly filed out of time.judgment until full payment. On December 9. which merit disciplinary action. As counsel for complainant. Pandili allegedly panicked and requested him to delay the execution of the judgment on the counterclaim for fear that he would be terminated from his job. Pandili allegedly took from respondent the case folder despite the latter's warning that they only have 15 days to file a Petition for Review with the CA. Factual Antecedents Sometime in August 1997. Isagani A. But when he discussed to Pandili that it is possible that complainant may be assessed for damages. they too were unable to attend. The two of them allegedly thereafter agreed to just abandon the case. Pandili went to her salon only to find out that the same had already closed down. respondent explained that upon receiving Du's Answer with Counterclaims. (complainant). 2015 DAVAO IMPORT DISTRIBUTORS. Moreover. 1997. the MTCC issued a Decision4 ordering complainant to pay Du the amounts of P70. again. the case was dismissed for non-suit through an Order3 of even date and Du was allowed to present his evidence ex-parte in support of his counterclaim. disbarment. justify the filing of the complaint. which caused prejudice to complainant in that it was declared in default and was assessed for damages. rentals.00 as attorney's fees and P5. RESOLUTION DEL CASTILLO. Landero (respondent) on the grounds of professional misconduct and violation of Canon 12 of the Code of Professional Responsibility (CPR). Initially. on the contrary. Respondent thus conferred with the counsel of Du and requested him to withdraw the counterclaim but was turned down as Du wanted to pursue his claim for damages. vs.. JOHNNY LANDERO. respondent still filed a Motion for Extension of Time to File Petition for Review. it was respondent's duty to attend the pre-trial. 2008. Respondent.00 as moral damages. Respondent. This case was docketed as Civil Case No. the Investigating Commissioner. this Complaint for Disbarment where complainant asserts that respondent's actuations of (1) not appearing in the pre-trial of the case. And since he also failed to inform complainant or Pandili of the scheduled pre-trial.C.00 so that he may file a petition for review before the Court of Appeals (CA). 1997. complainant appealed the MTCC Decision to the Regional Trial Court (RTC). Apparently. This was allegedly by reason of an attachment in an another civil action filed by a different person against Librando..740. J. and (3) failing to file a petition for review. Librando purchased on installment basis a split-type floormounted air-conditioner from complainant in the amount of P86. was remiss in his duty by deliberately failing to attend the pre-trial.000. Johnny P. When Librando failed to pay. (2) not availing of the legal remedies against the dismissal of the Complaint due to nonsuit. Let a copy of this resolution be entered in respondent Atty. Inc. SO ORDERED. No.: This is a Complaint1 for Disbarment filed against Atty. while respondent claimed that he did not proceed with the filing of the petition for review with the CA because it was already out of time. engaged the services of respondent to file a Complaint2 against Angelita Librando and Juanito Du (Librando and Du. INC. Acceding. The CA thus ordered respondent to explain. Hence. It was only after 30 days that Pandili returned to him and begged that he file an appeal. When informed about this. the records. 3854 (civil case) before Branch 3 of the Municipal Trial Court in Cities (MTCC) of General Santos City. Complainant then disbursed to respondent the amount of P1. ATTY. Commission on Bar Discipline of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) Commissioner Rebecca Villanueva-Maala (Commissioner Villanueva-Maala) recommended that respondent be suspended from the practice of law for three months.000. Left in the premises. however. constitute unprofessional behavior or misconduct and violations of Canon 12 of the CPR. Claiming that Du refused to release the unit to complainant as he allegedly intended to retain the same as a lien for Librando's unpaid complainant filed the said case. Respondent is further DIRECTED to submit to this court proof of payment of the amount within 10 days from payment. Respondent's Defense In response to the allegations hurled against him.7 This was after she found respondent negligent in the performance of his duty as counsel for complainant and as an officer of the Court. Out of pity.00 which the former installed in her beauty salon located in a commercial building owned by Du. Without filing a Motion for Reconsideration. 5116 April 13. As a result. show that he was actually granted by the CA an extension of 15 days to file the intended . 1999 the CA issued a Resolution6 dismissing the appeal. the RTC issued its Decision5 affirming the MTCC Decision. he failed to file the same such that on January 22. through its representative and branch manager. if not. complainant Davao Import Distributors. Proceedings before the Integrated Bar of the Philippines On May 24. Mendoza's personal record with the Office of the Bar Confidant. he was alarmed to find out that the property in question was already in the custody of the sheriff.00 as litigation expenses. for fear that he would be terminated by complainant. was the airconditioning unit Librando purchased from complainant. respondent appealed the judgment on Du's counterclaim but the RTC dismissed the appeal and affirmed the MTCC Decision. However. On the scheduled date of pre-trial on November 10.000. and oppose Du's counterclaim. however. Complainant. On July 31. He then informed Pandili of the seizure of the property by the sheriff and of Du's decision not to withdraw the counterclaim. 1998. respondent failed to appear.

even assuming that there is truth to his allegation that he and Pandili already agreed to abandon the case. a complaint shall not be dismissed at the plaintiffs instance save upon approval of the court and upon such terms and conditions as the court deems proper. Dismissal upon motion of plaintiff.Except as provided in the preceding section. Thus. To stress. Alpon. (Emphasis supplied) Had respondent moved for dismissal under the above-quoted rule. 3854. A class suit shall not be dismissed or compromised without the approval of the court. the dismissal shall be limited to the complaint.15 This. Anent respondent's failure to file the Petition for Review despite being granted an extension of time to do so. respondent still deliberately did not appear thereat. memoranda or briefs. pervert or impede and degrade the administration of . despite his awareness that his absence in the pre-trial would result to a dismissal of the case with prejudice and to a declaration of his client's default with respect to Du's counterclaim.900. Du had already filed an Answer with Counterclaim. graver _responsibility is imposed upon a lawyer than any other to uphold the integrity of the courts and to show respect to its processes. However.00 as payment for docket fees.03 -A lawyer shall not. But due to respondent's absence and also his failure to inform complainant of the scheduled pre-trial. under the circumstances. which states: CANON 12 . Rule 17 of the Rules of Court. Only that he did not file the same on purpose notwithstanding his receipt from complainant of the amount of P1. he must ensure that he acts within the bounds of reason and common sense. always aware that he is an instrument of truth and justice. Unless otherwise specified in the order. curtailed the right of the complainant to refile the case. The dismissal shall be without prejudice to the right of the defendant to prosecute his counterclaim in a separate action unless within fifteen (15) days from notice of the motion he manifests his preference to have his counterclaim resolved in the same action. x x x Because of said opposition the herein counsel decided not to proceed [with] the filing of [a] petition for review considering it was already filed out of time and it will only waste the golden time of the court in reviewing a baseless appeal. Respondent himself admitted that he deliberately did not appear at the scheduled pre-trial conference in Civil Case No. the IBP Board of Governors adopted and approved the recommendation of Commissioner Villanueva-Maala but modified the period of suspension by increasing it from three months to six months. Respondent needs lecturing that sympathy towards a client does not justify his act of stating in his motion for extension that he received the RTC Decision at a later date to make it appear that the filing of the said motion is well-within the period for filing an appeal. The same only underscores his blatant violation of Rule 12. let the period lapse without submitting the same or offering an explanation for his failure to do so. after obtaining extensions of time to file pleadings.A LA WYER SHALL EXERT EVERY EFFORT AND CONSIDER IT HIS DUTY TO ASSIST IN THE SPEEDY AND EFFICIENT ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE. therefore. the Complaint was dismissed based on Section 314 of the same Rule. In a Resolution8 dated July 17. his explanation is as follows: o) That because of pity I filed an extension of time to file a petition for review alleging that the plaintiff had just received a decision and the filing is within the reglementary period copy furnished the counsel of Juanito Du[. any act on his part which tends visibly to obstruct. More importantly. Given his years of experience in the legal profession.03. If a counterclaim has been pleaded by a defendant prior to the service upon him of the plaintiff's motion for dismissal. otherwise the herein respondent would be dragged deeper in helping him. as an officer of the court and its indispensable partner in the sacred task of administering justice. . Our Ruling We agree with complainant that respondent displayed unprofessional behavior and misconduct and violated the CPR.] This was opposed by his counsel alleging [I misled] the court [as] to the correctness of the date of receipt . Moreover. observed the mandate of Section 2. needless to state.12that Canon 1813 of the CPR requires every lawyer to serve his client with utmost dedication. it cannot be denied that respondent's acts constitute misconduct which at the same time amount to violations of the CPR. 3854 despite notice and that he did not file a petition for review after receiving from his client the payment for docket fees and after being granted by the CA an extension of time to file the same.16 The Court finds respondent's reason to be unacceptable if not downright disrespectful to the courts. Sevilleno11 and reiterated in Consolidated Farms. a dismissal under this paragraph shall be without prejudice. while he owes his entire devotion to the interest and causes of his client. He must not neglect a legal matter entrusted to him and his negligence in this regard renders him administratively liable. he should have. From these facts alone. So the court issued an order directing the undersigned respondent to explain. the effect of an adjudication on the merits which. Canon 12 of the CPR. Jr. Inc.1âwphi1 Hence. This has. Respondent then filed a Motion for Reconsideration. v. Hence. so the herein respondent advised the manager to be man enough to accept the truth. It provides: RULE 17 Dismissal of Actions Section 2. the case filed by complainant would have been dismissed without prejudice thereby giving it the alternative of re-filing the case should there be a change in circumstances. 2008. The Court has already held in People v. xxxx Rule 12. of said decision.9 which the IBP Board of Governors denied in a Resolution10 dated March 21. would have had the opportunity to present evidence to refute Du's claim for damages against it. competence and diligence.petition. respondent is duty-bound to handle the same with zeal and all due diligence. Atty. had respondent been present at the pre-trial and had informed complainant of the same. he should have still attended the scheduled pre-trial to formally move for its withdrawal. As complainant's counsel in Civil Case No. respondent should be well aware that "[a] lawyer is first and foremost an officer of the court. the latter would not have been declared in default and. It is worth noting that at that time. If respondent was indeed concerned about his client's cause. respondent failed to do in utter disregard of Canon 18 of the CPR. 2014. the transmission of the whole record of the case to this Court for its final action. an attorney is bound to protect his client's interest to the best of his ability and with utmost diligence. Thus.

as President of “Samahan ng mga Maralitang Taga Ma. as evidenced by a written acknowledgment executed by respondent himself. which was intended to answer for the filing fees of a case he was supposed to file for the Samahan. respondent moved for reconsideration14 which was. WHEREFORE. He is directed to report the date of his receipt of this Resolution to enable this Court to determine when his suspension shall take effect Let a copy of this Resolution be entered in the personal records of respondent as a member of the Bar.5 Complainant further alleged that when he persisted in seeking restitution of the aforesaid sum. While waiting. with modification increasing the recommended penalty from Censure to suspension from the practice of law for a period of three (3) months.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility (CPR). 2014. the IBP Board of Governors adopted and approved the aforesaid Report and Recommendation.*Complainant. When confronted. v.16 Therefore. He owes fidelity to such cause and must always be mindful of the trust and confidence reposed upon him.2 In connection therewith. denied in a Resolution15 dated May 3. and devotion. the instant administrative case was filed against him. Maglente (complainant).7 respondent denied spending complainant’s money. March 18. a lawyer’s neglect of a legal matter entrusted to him by his client constitutes inexcusable negligence for which he must be held administratively liable for violating Rule 18."17 All told. Canon 18of the CPR. and his negligence in connection [therewith] shall render him liable. Johnny P. and copies furnished the Office of the Bar Confidant. he is duty-bound to serve the latter with competence. complainant asked for the return of the money. 2006 filed by complainant Eduardo A. Incorporated”(Samahan). the IBP Investigating Commissioner found respondent guilty of violating Rule 16. and the Office of the Court Administrator for circulation to all courts in the country.17 which reads: CANON 18 – A LAWYER SHALL SERVE HIS CLIENT WITH COMPETENCE AND DILIGENCE. and to attend to such client’s cause with diligence.12 In a Resolution13 dated May 11. as he claimed. 2015 EDUARDO A.10 The Investigating Commissioner found that respondent clearly received the amount of P48. respondent told him to shut up because it was not his money in the first place. when he discovered through the Clerk of Court of the Regional Trial Court of Antipolo City that the filing fee was quite costly. Landero is ordered SUSPENDED from the practice of law for six (6) months effective immediately. care. the Court finds respondent to have committed acts violative of Canons 12and18 of the CPR. against respondent Atty. praying that the latter be directed to return the amount of P48. respondent explained that the money given to him was not enough to fully pay for the filing fees in court.: Before the Court is an administrative complaint1 dated May 9. whether he accepts it for a fee or for free. the Investigating Commissioner observed that had respondent prepared the complaint and performed research works.03. In his defense. respondent failed to file an action in court. DECISION PERLAS-BERNABE. A. The Court’s Ruling After a judicious perusal of the records. AGCAOILI.00 to complainant.00 from complainant.11 In this relation. and (b) directed to account for or return the amount of P48. he gave respondent the aggregate amount of P48. Respondent. 2008 Resolution of the Board of Governors of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines. the Court ADOPTS the July 17.000. JR. before the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP). however. but which he failed to do so. It must be stressed that once a lawyer takes up the cause of his client. Jr. . ATTY. with a warning that a repetition of the same will be met with a stiffer penalty. however. SO ORDERED.C. the Court concurs with the findings of the IBP.000. complainant filed this administrative complaint seeking the return of the full amount he had paid to respondent. 2013.3 Despite the payment. alleged that he engaged the services of respondent for the purpose of filing a case in order to determine the true owner of the land being occupied by the members of Samahan. explaining that he had already prepared the initiatory pleading and was poised to file the same. except as tothe penalty to be imposed upon respondent. 2012. but unfortunately. he could not present any proof in this respect. No. DELFIN R.   17. The Issue Before the Court The essential issue in this case is whether or not respondent should be held administratively liable for the acts complained of. recommended that he be: (a) meted with the penalty of Censure.8 The IBP’s Report and Recommendation In a Report and Recommendation9 dated October 3.4Thus. but respondent claimed to have spent the same and even demanded more money.00 that he received from the former. xxxx Rule 18. MAGLENTE. This prompted him to immediately relay such information to complainant who undertook to raise the amount needed. 10672.6 Hence.03 – A lawyer shall not neglect a legal matter entrusted to him. the Integrated Bar of the Philippines.000. Agcaoili. (respondent). then he could have kept a reasonable amount for his effort under the doctrine of quantum meruit. and accordingly. Delfin R. Atty.justice constitutes professional misconduct calling for the exercise of disciplinary action against him. The Facts Complainant. J. Aggrieved.000..00 intended to cover the filing fees for the action to be instituted. Corazon III.

03 – A lawyer shall deliver the funds and property of his client when due or upon demand. No. To facilitate the issuance of her United States (US) visa. respondent Atty.01 and 16. Verily.: CANON 16 – A LAWYER SHALL HOLD IN TRUST ALL MONEYS AND PROPERTIES OF HIS CLIENT THAT MAY COME INTO HIS POSSESSION. and Rule 18.00 that complainant gave him despite repeated demands.01 and 16.03 of Canon 18of the Code of Professional Responsibility.000. it must be clarified that this rule remains applicable only to claimed liabilities which are purely civil in nature – for instance.C. the Court finds it appropriate that respondent be meted with the penalty of suspension from the practice of law for a period of one (1) year. Agot (complainant) against respondent Atty. 2007. Luis P. (respondent).19 as in this case. care. Having established respondent’s administrative liability. must be disciplined accordingly. respondent is ORDERED to return to complainant Eduardo A.2 whereby respondent undertook to facilitate and secure the release of a US immigrant visa in complainant’s favor prior to the scheduled wedding. when a lawyer receives money from the client for a particular purpose. LUIS P. 2008 filed by complainant Chamelyn A. AGOT. RIVERA. they entered into a Contract of Legal Services (Contract). 2007 at the United States of America. is found GUILTY of violating Rules 16. viz. Complainant. the same must be immediately returned to the client. let copies of this Decision be furnished the Integrated Bar of the Philippines and the Office of the Court Administrator.26 WHEREFORE.00 to answer for the filing fees. Maglente the amount of P48. Rivera (respondent). when the claim involves moneys received by the lawyer from his client in a transaction separate and distinct [from] and not intrinsically linked to his professional engagement.21 the Court suspended the lawyer for a period of one (1) year for his failure to perform his undertaking under his retainership agreement with his client and to return the money given to him by the latter. Delfin R.: For the Court's resolution is a ComplaintAffidavit1 dated August 30. which is directed to circulate them to all the courts in the country for their information and guidance. SO ORDERED.03 of Canon 16.000. Accordingly. ATTY. it is undisputed that complainant engaged the services of respondent for the purpose of filing a case in court. Further. Jurisprudence provides that in similar cases where lawyers neglected their clients’ affairs and.24 In view of the foregoing.22 Similarly. Let a copy of this Decision be attached to respondent’s record in this Court as attorney. Macalino. effective upon his receipt of this Decision. A. Despite the foregoing. he is hereby SUSPENDED from the practice of law for a period of one (1) year.23 the same penalty was imposed on a lawyer who failed to render any legal service to his client as well as to return the money he received for such purpose. the Court sustains the directive for respondent to account for or return the amount of P48. Agcaoili.00 to complainant. in Meneses v.18 A lawyer’s failure to return the money to his client despite numerous demands is a violation of the trust reposed on him and is indicative of his lack of integrity. In Segovia-Ribaya v. Thus. the Court now determines the proper penalty to be imposed. with a STERN WARNING that a repetition of the same or August 5. In consideration therefor. DECISION PERLAS-BERNABE. Clearly.000. charging him of violating the Code of Professional Responsibility (CPR) and the lawyer's oath for misrepresentation. Finally. at the same time. the lawyer is bound to render an accounting to the client showing that the money was spent for the intended purpose. on November 17.In the instant case. Respondent.”25 Since the aforesaid amount was intended to answer for filing fees which is intimately related to the lawyer-client relationship between complainant and respondent.000. complainant sought the services of respondent who represented himself as an immigration lawyer. complainant alleged that she was invited as maid of honor in her best friend’s wedding on December 9. respondent failed to comply with his undertaking and offered the flimsy excuse that the money he received from complainant was not enough to fully pay the filing fees. J. and diligence as men of the legal profession commonly possess and exercise in such matters of professional employment. gave the amount of P48. similar acts will be dealt with more severely. vs. It is well to note that “while the Court has previously held that disciplinary proceedings should only revolve around the determination of the respondentlawyer’s administrative and not his civil liability. Lawsin. 2014 CHAMELYN A. Rule 16. . the Court meted out the penalty of suspension from the practice of law. deceit. Furthermore. Failure to comply with the foregoing directive will warrant the imposition of a more severe penalty. if the money was not used accordingly. Furthermore. Canon 16 of the CPR when he failed to refund the amount of P48. Jr. and failure to account for and return her money despite several demands. Consequently. x x x. respondent also violated Rules 16. and in connection therewith. The Facts In her Complaint-Affidavit. the Court finds the return thereof to be in order.   18.00 he received from the latter within ninety (90) days from the finality of this Decision.01 – A lawyer shall account for all money or property collected or received for or from the client. respondent failed to exercise such skill.20 and hence. failed to return the latter’s money and/or property despite demand. 8000 xxxx Rule 16.03.

with a warning that a repetition of the same would invite a stiffer penalty.000.14 In this regard.3 The parties likewise stipulated that should complainant’s visa application be denied for any reason other than her absence on the day of the interview and/or for records of criminal conviction and/or any court-issued hold departure order.03. respondent violated Rules 16. Worse. it reveals a basic moral flaw that makes him unfit to practice law.8 The IBP’s Report and Recommendation In a Report and Recommendation9 dated April 17. Under Rule 18. Canon 16 of the CPR when he failed to refund the amount of P350. In truth. and (c) being remiss in returning complainant’s downpayment of P350. 2008. a purported US consul.03 – A lawyer shall not neglecta legal matter entrusted to him. Rule 1. assumed the responsibility to return the said amount to complainant.000. 2010.13 The Issue Before the Court The essential issue in this case is whether or not respondent should be held administratively liable for violating the CPR. nonetheless.0012 to complainant within thirty (30) days from receipt of notice. He happened to disclose this to a certain Joseph Peralta.01 – A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful. complainant filed a criminal complaint for estafa and the instant administrative complaint against respondent. as correctly observed by the Investigating Commissioner. who he had believed to be a consul for the US Embassy and to whom he delivered the amount given by the complainant. .: CANON 16 – A LAWYER SHALL HOLD IN TRUST ALL MONEYS AND PROPERTIES OF HIS CLIENTTHAT MAY COME INTO HIS POSSESSION.00 after the issuance of the US visa.5 In his Comment6 dated December 5. resulting in the execution of the Contract. However. respondent failed to perform his undertaking within the agreed period. and his negligence in connection therewith shall render him liable. bereft of any probative value and consequently cannot be given any credence. immoral or deceitful conduct. Respondent claimed that Pineda reneged on his commitments and could no longer be located but.000.4 However. however. but also of morality. xxxx Rule 16. respondent claimed that his failure to comply with his obligation under the Contract was due to the false pretenses of a certain Rico Pineda (Pineda). Respondent elaborated that he had a business relationship with Pineda on the matter of facilitating the issuance of US visas to his friends and family. respondent is obligated to return the said downpayment. Canon 18 of the CPR.01. and devotion whether he accepts it for a fee or for free.10 The Investigating Commissioner found respondent guilty of engaging in deceitful conduct for: (a) misrepresenting himself as an immigration lawyer. The Court’s Ruling After a judicious perusal of the records.complainant paid respondent the amount of P350. care. Rule 18.11 In a Resolution dated December 14.03 – A lawyer shall deliver the funds and property of his client when due or upon demand. subject to the modification of the recommended penalty to be imposed upon respondent.000. including himself. He owes fidelity to such cause and must always be mindful of the trust and confidence reposed upon him. photographs and e-mails. and dishonorable to the legal profession. whose previous US visa application had been denied.15 Corollary to such deception. lawyers are bound to maintain not only a high standard of legal proficiency. and to attend to such client’s cause with diligence. a lawyer’s neglect of a legal matter entrusted to him by his client constitutes inexcusable negligence for which he must be held administratively liable. (b) failing to deliver the services he contracted. disgraceful.00. respondent likewise failed to perform his obligations under the Contract. the complainant. respondent misrepresented himself as an immigration lawyer. respondent’s deception is not only unacceptable.00 as downpayment for his legal services. the Court concurs with the IBP’s findings. respondent has no specialization in immigration law but merely had a contact allegedly with Pineda. who supposedly processes US visa applications for him. once a lawyer takes up the cause of his client.e. the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) Investigating Commissioner found respondent administratively liable. x x x. provides: CANON 1 – A LAWYER SHALL UPHOLD THE CONSTITUTION. recommended that he be meted the penalty of suspension for a period of four (4) months.00 that complainant paid him. which is to facilitate and secure the issuance of a US visa in favor of complainant.00 as downpayment and undertook to pay the balance of P350. 2012.01 and 16. Canon 18 of the CPR. with legal interest from the date of demand.7 To buttress his claims.17 as in this case. the IBP Board of Governors unanimously adopted and approved the aforesaid report and recommendation with the modification increasing the period of suspension to six (6) months and ordering respondent to return the amount of P350. Rule 1.03. Undoubtedly. dishonest.000..000. viz. Rule 16. honesty. As the demand for refund of the downpayment was not heeded. This constitutes a flagrant violation of Rule 18. and fair dealing. which were bereft of any probative value. Furthermore.16 Therefore. he is duty-bound to serve the latter with competence. The Investigating Commissioner did not lend credence to respondent’s defense anent his purported transactions with Pineda considering that the latter’s identity was not proven and in light of respondent’s self-serving evidence. As officers of the court. who in turn referred his friend. In the instant case. Canon 1 of the CPR. to wit: CANON 18 – A LAWYER SHALL SERVE HIS CLIENT WITH COMPETENCE AND DILIGENCE.03. and accordingly.01 – A lawyer shall account for all money or property collected or received for or from the client. which resulted to complainant seeking his assistance to facilitate the issuance of her US visa and paying him the amount of P350. i. OBEY THE LAWS OF THE LANDAND PROMOTE RESPECT FOR LAW AND LEGAL PROCESSES. complainant was not even scheduled for interview in the US Embassy. integrity. respondent attached pictures supposedly of his friends and family with Pineda as well as electronic mail messages (e-mails) purportedly coming from the latter. respondent failed to prove Pineda’s identity considering that the photographs and emails he submitted were all self-serving and thus.

He resigned from his post effective August 11. another corporation under the Legacy Group. LIMPIN. the Chairman of the BOD and President of LCI. the Court imposed upon them the penalty of suspension from the practice of law. as in this case. filed with the SEC a GIS for LCI for "updating purposes".000. Accordingly. 2008. de los Angeles as Chief Operating Officer Mired with allegations of anomalous business transactions and practices. A. DECISION VILLARAMA. She argued that the GIS was provisional to comply with SEC requirements. Atty. not only did respondent fail to facilitate the issuance of complainant’s US visa and return her money. Guarin was hired by Mr. the Corporate Secretary of Legacy Card. Such act is a gross violation of general morality as well as of professional ethics. which is directed to circulate them to all the courts in the country for their information and guidance.01 of Canon 1.00 within ninety (90) days from the finality of this Decision. on December 18. It is well to note that "while the Court has previously held that disciplinary proceedings should only revolve around the determination of the respondent-lawyer's administrative and not his civil liability. The GIS4 identified Guarin as Chairman of the Board of Directors (BOD) and President. Respondent. Lawsin.5 She asserted that Guarin knew that he was a stockholder. The facts are culled from the pleadings. 2008. 2008 and transferred to St. Limpin. and thereafter as President of OneCard Company. Atty. Guarin filed this complaint with the Integrated Bar of the Philippines Commission on Bar Discipline (IBP CBD) claiming that Atty. CHRISTINE A. Luis P.C. Atty. she sent Guarin a text message and asked him to meet with her so hemay sign a Deed of Assignment concerning shareholdings. Luke's Medical Center as the Vice President for Finance.00 he received from complainant as downpayment. and Rule 18. In this case.1âwphi1 On November 27. in Jinon v. Jiz. (LCI). JR.20 Anent the proper penalty for respondent’s acts. the Court sustains the IBP's recommendation ordering respondent to return the amount of P350. Let a copy of this Decision be attached to respondent's record in this Court as attorney. Chairman of the Board and President of LCI when she knew that he had already resigned and had never held any share nor was he elected as chairperson of the BOD or been President of LCI.   19. Guarin responded in the affirmative and said that he would meet with her on Friday. ATTY. a lawyer’s failure to return upon demand the funds held by him on behalf of his client. In view of the foregoing.19 Thus. Limpin violated Canon 1 and Rule 1. No. On July 22. 2009. Failure to comply with the foregoing directive will warrant the imposition of a more severe penalty. as recommended by the IBP. It would have been corrected in the future but unfortunately LCI filed for voluntary dissolution shortly thereafter. Furthermore. the relationship between a lawyer and his client is highly fiduciary and prescribes on a lawyer a great fidelity and good faith. October 17. Complainant. ARCATOMY S.Verily. let copies of this Decision be furnished to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines and the Office of the Court Administrator. respondent is ORDERED to return to complainant Chamelyn A. he is hereby SUSPENDED from the practice of law for a period of two (2) years. Agot the legal fees he received from the latter in the amount of P350. with a stem warning that a repetition of the same or similar acts will be dealt with more severely.03 of Canon 16. Celso G. She averred that the GIS was made and submitted in good faith and that her certification served to attest to the information from the last BOD meeting held on March 3. at the same time. Rules 16. SO ORDERED. Finally. a graver penalty should be imposed upon him.000. Christine Antenor-Cruz Limpin for allegedly filing a false General Information Sheet (GIS) with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) thus violating Canon 12 and Rule 1.013 of the Code of Professional Responsibility (CPR).C.01 of the CPR by knowingly listing him as a stockholder. Further. Inc. 2008. . however. jurisprudence provides that in similar cases where lawyers neglected their client’s affairs and. Inc. since respondent received the aforesaid amount as part of his legal fees.01 and 16. a member of the Legacy Group of Companies. Limpin said that on October 13. Also.. In Segovia-Ribaya v.for instance. Under these circumstances. the Court finds the return thereof to be in order. Guarin against Atty. Rivera (respondent) is found guilty of violating Rule 1. LCI applied for voluntary dissolution with the SEC. failed to return the latter’s money and/or property despite demand. 10576 2015 January 14. He also never received any notice of meeting or agenda where his appointment as Chairman would be taken up.21 the Court suspended the lawyer for a period of one (1) year for his failure to perform his undertaking under his retainership agreement with his client and to return the money given to him by the latter. neglected to show up at the arranged time and place for reasons unknown to Atty. Limpin. In 2004. Guarin. when the claim involves moneys received by the lawyer from his client in a transaction separate and distinct [from] and not intrinsically linked to his professional engagement. the Court deems it appropriate to increase the period of suspension from the practice of law of respondent from six (6) months. Limpin admits that she filed the GIS with the SEC listing Guarin as a stockholder. resulting in undue prejudice to his client.: Before us is a complaint1 for disbarment filed by Arcatomy S. 2008.18 The highly fiduciary nature of this relationship imposes upon the lawyer the duty to account for the money or property collected or received for or from his client.. He has never accepted any appointment as Chairman and President of LCI.03 of Canon 18 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. he likewise committed deceitful acts in misrepresenting himself as an immigration lawyer. J. WHEREFORE. vs."23 Hence. Atty. gives rise to the presumption that he has appropriated the same for his own use in violation of the trust reposed in him by his client. GUARIN.22 the Court suspended the lawyer for a period of two (2) years for his failure to return the amount his client gave him for his legal services which he never performed. it must be clarified that this rule remains applicable only to claimed liabilities which are purely civil in nature . 2008. effective upon the finality of this Decision. respondent Atty. to two (2) years. On the strength of Guarin’s positive reply.

2014 Resolution18 of the IBP Board of Governors. Rules 1. et al. MERCEDES BUHAYANG-MARGALLO. Limpin presented Secretary’s Certificates dated May 16. et al. Limpin filed and certified that Guarin was a stockholder of LCI in the GIS.9 and SEC v. Inc.01and Rule 1.C. Limpin has transgressed Rule 1. both parties stipulated that the complaint filed by Senator Roxas was dismissed as to Guarin. Moreover. Limpin violated Canon 1. Limpin's action m submitting a false document we see it fit to increase the recommended penalty to six months suspension from the practice of law. Limpin GUILTY of violation of Canon 1. Members of the bar are reminded that their first duty is to comply with the rules of procedure.02 of the CPR.1âwphi1 She stated that merely presenting the GIS does not constitute as proof of any unethical conduct. That Atty. Limpin contends that Guarin failed to present sufficient evidence to warrant disbarment. malpractice. Atty. Atty. 2008.15 Moreover. Accordingly. This made the verified statement of Atty. Complainant. RAMIREZ. and June 13. She averred that this Court held that "when the criminal prosecution based on the same act charged is still pending in court. v.23 It is undisputed that Atty. considering the seriousness of Atty.1âwphi1 We also agree with the IBP that in allowing herself to be swayed by the business practice of having Mr. chairman and president of the company. her certification also contained a stipulation that she made a due verification of the statements contained therein. Rule 1. The Secretary’s Certificates with Guarin’s signature Atty.19 A lawyer who assists a client in a dishonest scheme or who connives in violating the law commits an act which justifies disciplinary action against the lawyer. 20078 bearing Guarin’s signature. J. with a warning that a repetition of the same or similar act in the future will be dealt with more severely. To belie the claim that LCI never held any board meeting.01 of the CPR. REYNALDO G. We also note that there was no submission which would support the allegation that Guarin was in fact a stockholder. However. The IBP Board of Governors in its April 15. or other gross misconduct in such office and (2) any violation of the oath which he is required to take before the admission to practice.C. Limpin untrue. In its Report. The presumption is that the attorney is innocent of the charges pr[o]ferred and has performed his duty as an officer of the court in accordance with his oath. Atty. Limpin presented were of no moment since inthese Guarin merely acceded to become a signatory of We adopt the report and recommendation of the IBP. RESOLUTION LEONEN. It . While she posits that she had made the same in good faith. Guarin raised as a defense that the November 27. Atty.   20. We thus find that in filing a GIS that contained false information. WHEREFORE. Limpin has violated Canon 1. No. however. ATTY. 2013 Resolution16 adopted in totothe CBD Report. Atty.02 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. any administrative disciplinary proceedings for the same act must await the outcome of the criminal case to avoid contradictory findings.: When an action or proceeding is initiated in our courts. Neither was there proof that Guarin acted as the President of LCI but was a mere signatory of LCI’s bank accounts. A.Limpin filed the GIS on November 27. Christine A.10 In those proceedings. we SUSPEND respondent Atty. she allowed herself to be dictated upon and falsely certified that Guarin was a stockholder.1âwphi1 As Justice Malcolm stated "[t]he serious consequences of disbarment or suspension should follow only where there is a clear preponderance of evidence against the respondent. de los Angeles appoint the members of the BOD and officers of the corporation despite the rules enunciated in the Corporation Code with respect to the election of such officers.20 Disbarment proceedings are sui generisand can proceed independently of civil and criminal cases. the Integrated Bar of the Philippines. harassment and malpractice. Christine A. the Department of Justice. May 22. Limpin committed an infraction which did not conform to her oath as a lawyer in accord with Canon 1 and Rule 1. Limpin from the practice of law for SIX (6) MONTHS effective upon finality of this Decision. and all courts in the country for their information and guidance. After going through the submissions and stipulations of the parties. ratherthan seek exceptions as loopholes. Celso de los Angeles.01 and 1. 2008 GIS was spurious and/or perjured. It noted that based on the submissions of the parties. 20067 . bank accounts and these do not show that Guarin was a stockholder.02 of the CPR. Celso de los Angeles had the authority to appoint or designate directors or officers of Legacy. Despite knowing this to be irregular.C. where she and Guarin are co-respondents: Senator Roxas. Atty. The privilege of the office of attorney grants them the ability to warrant to their client that they will manage the case as if it were their own."11 During the mandatory preliminary conference. 10537 2015 February 3. The relationship between an attorney and client is a sacred agency. Limpin moved for reconsideration17 but was denied in the March 21. Limpin believed that Guarin would sign a Deed of Assignment is inconsequential: he never signed the instrument. Guarin was never a stockholder of LCI consequently making him ineligible tobe a member of the BOD. vs. Respondent. Limpin stated that there were pending criminal complaints against the directors and officers of LCI. Rule 1.01 and Rule 1. lawyers become the eyes and ears of their clients. Let copies of this Decision be furnished the Office of the Bar Confidant to be appended to respondent's personal record as an attorney. it was noted that only Mr. Atty. Legacy Card. Lawyers are expected to prosecute or defend the interests of their clients without need for reminders.12 Lastly. we agree with the IBP that there is no indication that Guarin held any share to the corporation and thatt he is therefore ineligible to hold a seat in the BOD and be the president of the company.0214 of the CPR and thus recommended that she be suspended from the practice of law for three months. SO ORDERED. Atty. Limpin was aware that this procedure was not legally permissible. we find respondent Atty."21 Grounds for such administrative action against a lawyer may be found in Section 27.13 the IBP CBD found that Atty. Among these are (1) the use of any deceit.22 Rule 138 of the Rules of Court. 20066 .

Margallo P1. Atty.24 She claimed that when she instructed Ramirez to see her for document signing on January 8.15 On January 8. Margallo informed Ramirez that his Appeal had been denied. Villanueva recommended that Atty. Margallo had violated Canon 17 and Canon 18. she failed to file the Appellant’s Brief on time. She committed to file the Appeal before the Court of Appeals.28 The mandatory conference was reset to July 22. Margallo had been remiss in her duties as counsel. Atty. Both parties then appeared and were directed to submit their position papers. 2009. the Board of Governors granted Ramirez’s Motion for Reconsideration and increased the recommended penalty to suspension from practice of law for two (2) years.23 She denied ever having entered into an agreement regarding the contingent fee worth 30% of the value of the land subject of the controversy. Margallo had violated Canon 17 and Canon 18. In its delegated capacity to conduct fact finding for this court.32 In the Resolution33 dated March 20. Atty.21 Ramirez alleged that Atty.03 and 18. Margallo’s services as legal counsel in a civil case for Quieting of Title entitled "Spouses Roque v. Margallo had offered her legal services on the condition that she be given 30% of the land subject of the controversy instead of attorney’s fees. Margallo informed him that he needed to meet her to sign the documents necessary for the brief. Rizal.10 It was also agreed upon that Ramirez would pay Atty. the Board of Governors of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines adopted and approved the recommendation of the Commission on Bar Discipline. 2013.12 Atty. Margallo be suspended from the practice of law for two (2) years. 2014.37 Ramirez thereafter filed an undated Motion to adopt his Motion for Reconsideration previously filed with the .16 On several occasions.04 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. 2006.cannot be disregarded on the flimsy excuse that the lawyer accepted the case only because he or she was asked by an acquaintance.18 She told him that the Court of Appeals’ denial was due to Ramirez’s failure to establish his filiation with his alleged father. Atty. Margallo under Rule 139-B. The professional relationship remains the same regardless of the reasons for the acceptance by counsel and regardless of whether the case is highly paying or pro bono.36 She alleged that the recommended penalty of suspension was too severe considering that she had been very careful and vigilant in defending the cause of her client. Atty.22 By way of defense. terminating the case of her client not on the merits but due to her negligence. it found that respondent Atty. Margallo) inaction resulted in a lost appeal. First. 2014.30 This was based on his two key findings. in truth.31 Second.000. which was the basis of his claim. 2008. the Board of Governors recommended that Atty. Atty. save for travel expense of P1. the Court of Appeals directed Ramirez to file his Appellant’s Brief. the Regional Trial Court promulgated a Decision adverse to Ramirez. Margallo allowed the reglementary period for filing an Appellant’s Brief to lapse by assuming that Ramirez no longer wanted to pursue the case instead of exhausting all means possible to protect the interest of her client. 2013.20 Ramirez went to the Court of Appeals. Margallo argued that she had agreed to take on the case for free.11 On October 19. There. Ramirez followed up on the status of the brief. Ramirez notified Atty.14 On December 5. 2010 before the Commission on Bar Discipline of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines.00 per court appearance. She also claimed that she had candidly informed Ramirez and his mother that they only had a 50% chance of winning the case.26 Mandatory conference and findings of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines The dispute was set for mandatory conference on June 3. The Board of Governors resolved to recommend a penalty of reprimand to Atty. Branch 68. he ignored her. complainant Reynaldo Ramirez (Ramirez) alleged that he engaged Atty. When he finally showed up on March 2009.9 He alleged that Atty. but he was told that there was still no word from the Court of Appeals. Atty. Rules 18. 2010. Atty. 2009. Margallo contacted him on or about March 2004. 2013. resulting in the loss of Ramirez’s statutory right to seek recourse with the Court of Appeals.35 On August 20. She made it appear that the case was dismissed on the merits when. Section 12 of the Rules of Court. Rules 18.C. 2009 with a Motion for Reconsideration and Apologies for filing beyond the reglementary period.03 and 18.8 According to Ramirez. he discovered that the Appellant’s Brief was filed on April 13. In the Resolution2 dated March 21. Margallo asserted that she would not have taken on the Appeal except that the mother of Ramirez had begged her to do so. She also averred that this was the first time a Complaint was filed against her.29 Commissioner Cecilio A.19 She also informed him that they could no longer appeal to this court since the Decision of the Court of Appeals had been promulgated and the reglementary period for filing an Appeal had already lapsed. Margallo with a stern warning that repetition of the same or similar act shall be dealt with more severely. Margallo to follow up on the Appellant’s Brief. Atty. Margallo having received notice. This court resolves the Petition for Review1 filed by Atty. Ramirez. Margallo. Ramirez seasonably filed a Motion for Reconsideration on July 16. 2010. Ramirez contacted Atty. She did not discharge her duties of candor to her client.04 of the Codeof Professional Responsibility.34 In the Resolution dated March 21.00 per hearing.4 Consequently.000. as per a referral from a friend of Ramirez’s sister. Margallo advised him to appeal the judgment. 2009. Margallo filed a Petition for Review under Rule 139-B. Section 12 of the Rules of Court. he merely told her that he had been busy.13 The Appeal was perfected and the records were sent to the Court of Appeals sometime in 2008. Margallo be reprimanded for her actions and be given a stern warning that her next infraction of a similar nature shall be dealt with more severely.5 In the Complaint6 filed on January 20. assailing the Resolution of the Board of Governors of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines.27 Only Ramirez appeared despite Atty. who replied that she would have one prepared. the Board of Governors of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines affirmed with modification its earlier Resolution3 dated March 20."7 The case was initiated before the Regional Trial Court of Binangonan. 2014.25Her failure to immediately inform Ramirez of the unfavorable Decision of the Court of Appeals was due to losing her client’s number because her 8-year-old daughter played with her phone and accidentally erased all her contacts.17 On August 26. Mercedes Buhayang-Margallo’s (Atty.

Between the lawyer and the client. 2014. The salience of these facts is not usually patent to the client. a lawyer is expected to maintain at all times a high standard of legal proficiency. such as this one.03 and 18. events. His legal cause was orphaned not because a court of law ruled on the merits of his case. This is an admission that she abandoned her obligation as counsel on the basis of an assumption. For these reasons. Case law further illumines that a lawyer’s duty of competence and diligence includes not merely reviewing the cases entrusted to the counsel’s care or giving sound legal advice. skill. we observed: As regards the appropriate penalty. Rules 18. competence.. Margallo and her client was palpable but was not due to the lack of diligence of her client. clients are led to expect that lawyers would be evermindful of their cause and accordingly exercise the required degree of diligence in handling their affairs. Respondent Atty. and remedies.A LAWYER OWES FIDELITY TO THE CAUSE OF HIS CLIENT AND HE SHALL BE MINDFUL OF THE TRUST AND CONFIDENCE REPOSED IN HIM. it is the lawyer that has the better knowledge of facts. . More so with the intricacies of the legal procedure. In this light. In some cases. De Saldivar. prosecuting the handled cases with reasonable dispatch. That is. and his negligence in connection there with shall render him liable. It can only be seen through familiarity with the relevant legal provisions that are invoked with their jurisprudential interpretations. Margallo failed to exhaust all possible means to protect complainant Ramirez’s interest. This court’s ruling The Petition is denied for lack of merit.04 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. Margallo’s position that a two-year suspension is too severe considering that it is her first infraction cannot be sustained. there is information assymetry between the principal and the entrusted agent. citations omitted) Respondent Atty.04 . regardless of its importance and whether he accepts it for a fee or for free. Lawyers are expected not only to be familiar with the minute facts of their cases but also to see their relevance in relation to their causes of action or their defenses. several cases show that lawyers who have been held liable for gross negligence for infractions similar to those of the respondent were suspended for a period of six (6) months. The expectation to maintain a high degree of legal proficiency and attention remains the same whether the represented party is a high-paying client or an indigent litigant. While it is true that the client chooses which lawyer to engage. the Court has consistently held that the lawyer’s mere failure to perform the obligations due his client is per se a violation. Margallo filed her Reply40 on October 6.42 Canon 17 and Canon 18. Respondent Atty.38 In the Resolution39 dated October 14. use their authority or power for their benefit or fail to discharge their duties. Rules 18. which is contrary to what she had sworn to do as a member of the legal profession. the discovery comes too late.04 of the Code of Professional Responsibility clearly provide: CANON 17 . Margallo was unjustifiably remiss in her duties as legal counsel to Ramirez. a lawyer who failed to appear at the scheduled hearing despite due notice which resulted in the submission of the case for decision was found guilty of gross negligence and hence. Jr. The relationship between a lawyer and a client is "imbued with utmost trust and confidence. Cabanes. Atty. They commit not only to review cases or give legal advice. It is the lawyer that receives the notices and must decide the mode of appeal to protect the interest of his or her client. Conversely."41 Lawyers are expected to exercise the necessary diligence and competence in managing cases entrusted to them. This information assymetry is even more pronounced in an attorney client relationship. Rule 18. De Saldivar v.A lawyer shall keep the client informed of the status of his case and shall respond within a reasonable time to client’s request for information.. entrusted to manage the interests of another. thereby precluding the litigant from further pursuing an Appeal. Between the lawyer and the client. but also consists of properly representing the client before any court or tribunal. and to devote his full attention. and urging their termination without waiting for the client or the court to prod him or her to do so. This was aggravated by the lawyer’s failure to inform his client about the adverse ruling of the Court of Appeals.A LAWYER SHALL SERVE HIS CLIENT WITH COMPETENCE AND DILIGENCE. In many agencies. there are facts and events that the agent must attend to that may not be known by the principal. This court found that these actions amounted to gross negligence tantamount to breaching Canons 17 and 18 of the Code of Professional Responsibility: The relationship between an attorney and his client is one imbued with utmost trust and confidence. Rule 18. 2014. and accountability of the counsel that he or she chooses. A problem arises whenever agents. In Caranza Vda. The lack of communication and coordination between respondent Atty. and competence to the case. Thus. Her assumption that complainant Ramirez was no longer interested to pursue the Appeal is a poor excuse. but also to represent their clients to the best of their ability without need to be reminded by either the client or the court.Commission on Bar Discipline as a Comment on Atty. Elayda. While such negligence or carelessness is incapable of exact formulation. a lawyer’s negligence in fulfilling his duties subjects him to disciplinary action.A lawyer shall not neglect a legal matter entrusted to him.. .03and 18. the relationship between a lawyer and her client is regarded as highly fiduciary. CANON 18 . In Caranza Vda.03 . which resulted in the case being submitted for resolution. This cost complainant Ramirez his entire case and left him with no appellate remedies. Margallo’s Petition for Review.. it is the lawyer that should bear the full costs of indifference or negligence. It is only upon actual engagement that the client discovers the level of diligence.43 a lawyer was suspended after failing to justify his absence in a scheduled preliminary conference. he or she usually does so on the basis of reputation. attending scheduled hearings or conferences. preparing and filing the required pleadings.44 (Emphasis supplied. suspended for six (6) months. In Heirs of Tiburcio F. she clearly violated Canon 17 and Canon 18. therefore. but because a person privileged to act as counsel failed to discharge her duties with the requisite diligence. There was no proof that she exerted efforts to communicate with her client. Verily. In Aranda v. this court granted Ramirez’s Motion.

7 Chu followed up on the status of the CVC case with Atty. Canon I of the Code of Professional Responsibility for demanding and receiving P580. surmising that the used paper must have been among those freely lying around in his office that had been pilfered by Chu’s witnesses in the criminal complaint he had handled for Chu. v. respondent Atty. However. respondent Atty. Guico referred him to Nardo who in turn said that he would only know the status after Christmas. and one Bonifacio Elipane. FERNANDO W.1 Atty. Despite the precedents. recommendatory. Sr. whom he has accused of gross misconduct. a lawyer who neglected a legal matter entrusted to him by his client in breach of Canons 17 and 18 of the Code was also suspended for six (6) months.02.45 (Emphasis supplied. to the utmost prejudice of complainant Ramirez who relied on her alleged competence as counsel.11 Atty. Margallo coupled with her lack of candor is reprehensible. Ladivico Adriano. Reynaldo (Nardo) Manahan.12 He further denied handing to Chu a draft decision printed on used paper emanating from his office. There should be no more room for an inertia of mediocrity. it is the Integrated Bar of the Philippines that recognizes that the severity of the infraction is worth a penalty of two-year suspension. Atty.13 Findings and Recommendation of the IBP Board of Governors IBP Commissioner Cecilio A. Guico. Guico instructed Chu to meet him on July 5. 2008. CHU. CVC San Lorenzo Ruiz Corporation (CVC). 10573 2015 January 13. 2007 at the UCC Coffee Shop on T. Margallo’s neglect resulted in her client having no further recourse in court to protect his legal interests. Atty. SO ORDERED. Guico asked him to prepare a substantial amount of money to be given to the NLRC Commissioner handling the appeal to insure a favorable decision. it is this court that has the constitutionally mandated duty to discipline lawyers. must not be tolerated. Guico in view of his act of extortion and misrepresentation that . Apiag. However. Guico as counsel to handle the labor disputes involving his company.4 On June 10. Guico caused the preparation and filing of an appeal in the Court of Appeals. consistent with the constitutional powers of this court. consistent with existing jurisprudence. WHEREFORE. however. Jose C. The negligence of respondent Atty. De Saldivar did not leave the clients without procedural remedies. Labor Arbiter Herminio V.00 for the purpose. On January 11. Subsequently. Guico’s residence in Commonwealth. can only be recommendatory. Juanino. 2006 at Atty. Its recommended penalties are also. We read this as a showing of its desire to increase the level of professionalism of our lawyers. Guico to confirm that he had delivered the money to Nardo.C. Villanueva found that Atty. 2014 is ACCEPTED. ATTY. Respondent. JR. GUICO. by its nature. CVC San Lorenzo Ruiz Corp. It is time that we communicate that lawyers must actively manage cases entrusted to them. The desire of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines to ensure a higher ethical standard for its members' conduct is laudable.. a denial that Nardo corroborated with his own affidavit. the latter told Chu to raise another P300. and later on called Atty. 48 Times Street. Quezon City. et al.000.00. Quezon City. Atthe UCC Coffee Shop. The findings of the Integrated Bar.2 On September 7. Chu asked Nardo if the NLRC Commissioner had accepted the money. Atty. This lack of diligence. A. This court is not without jurisdiction to increase the penalties imposed in order to address a current need in the legal profession.01 and 1. DECISION PER CURIAM: Fernando W. and togive the money to his assistant. Atty. Quezon City. which he brought to Atty. Guico had violated Rules 1. Suelo rendered a decision adverse to CVC. 2009. the duty to assist fact finding can be delegated to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines. No. Guico who would return it should the NLRC Commissioner not accept it.3 Atty. who in turn referred Chu to Nardo for the filing of a motion for reconsideration. In Abiero v. This decision is immediately executory.   24.000.000. He denied demanding and receiving money from Chu.46 Under the current rules.C. Chu terminated Atty.00 from Chu. Atty. Complainant. the Court finds it proper to impose the same penalty against respondent and accordingly suspends him for a period of six (6) months. Guico’s legal services included handling a complaint for illegal dismissal brought against CVC (NLRC Case No. Jr. citations omitted) Caranza Vda. Thus. Guico told him to proceed to his office at No. On the other hand.5 The draft decision6 was printed on the dorsal portion of used paper apparently emanating from the office of Atty. and Fernando Chu). Atty. On that occasion. Finally. 2006. who invited him to lunch at the Ihaw Balot Plaza in Quezon City. 2007 accompanied by his son. After the denial of the motion for reconsideration. and recommended the disbarment of Atty. Chu invokes the Court's disciplinary authority in resolving this disbarment complaint against his former lawyer. Guico.000. Guico handed Chu a copy of an alleged draft decision of the NLRC in favor of CVC. vs. Atty. Guico filed a timely appeal in behalf of CVC. v. Parenthetically. Chu complied. it was Nardo who received the amount without issuing any receipt. Guico to inform him that he had raised P300. Guico described the administrative complaint as replete with lies and inconsistencies. Mercedes Buhayang-Margallo is hereby SUSPENDED from the practice of law for two (2) years.10 In his position paper. and insisted that the charge was only meant for harassment. 2009.00 to encourage the NLRC Commissioner to issue the decision.9 Chu confronted Atty. with a stern warning that a repetition of the same or similar act shall be dealt with more severely. JOSE C. during a Christmas party held on December 5. Christopher Chu. Guico. the Petition for Review is DENIED. Once there. Guico as legal counsel on May 25. Nardo assured that the money was still with Atty. Chu called Atty. Antecedents Chu retained Atty.. But Chu could only produce P280.Ballesteros. Guico’s office on July 10. but Nardo replied in the negative and simply told Chu to wait.8 On January 19. the NLRC promulgated a decision adverse to CVC. ADOPTED AND AFFIRMED. The Recommendations and Resolution of the Board of Governors of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines dated March 21. a lawyer who did not file a pre-trial brief and was absent during the pre-trial conference was likewise suspended for six (6) months. Chu again called Nardo. Guico in December 2007. 2007. Morato Street. According to Chu. RAB-III-08-9261-05 entitled Kilusan ng Manggagawang Makabayan (KMM) Katipunan CVC San Lorenzo Ruiz Chapter.

or that amount of relevant evidence which a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to justify a conclusion. Atty. was "open to the public xxx and just anybody has access to everything found therein.000.17 Neither of the parties brought a petition for review vis-à-vis Resolution No. Guico impliedly admitted Chu’s insistence by conceding that the used paper had originated from his office. XX-2013-87.22 pointing out that everything in his office. dishonest. All that Atty. Guico willingly and wittingly violated the law in appearing to counsel Chu to raise the large sums of money in order to obtain a favorable decision in the labor case.: RESOLVED to ADOPT and APPROVE. x x x support its Constitution and obey the laws as well as the legal orders of the duly constituted authorities therein. 2014 in Resolution No. Rule 1. the IBP Board of Governors adopted the findings of IBP Commissioner Villanueva in its Resolution No. Atty. and the circumstances narrated by Chu and his witnesses. Guico commonly printed documents on used paper in his law office."21 In that context.00 from Chu to obtain a favorable decision. Guico of presenting to Chu the supposed draft decision that had been printed on used paper emanating from Atty. except the filing cabinets and his desk. x x x delay no man for money or malice x x x. this Court has consistently required clearly preponderant evidence to justify the imposition of either disbarment or suspension as penalty. Guico stated by way of deflecting the imputation was that the used paper containing the draft decision could have been easily taken from his office by Chu’s witnesses in a criminal case that he had handled for Chu. therefore. 2013.26Verily."23 In our view. Guico’s attempt to downplay the sourcing of used paper from his office was futile because he did not expressly belie the forthright statement of Chu. XX-201387 and Resolution No. obey the laws of the land and promote respect for law and for legal processes.1âwphi1 Rule 1. to wit: CANON 1 — A lawyer shall uphold the constitution. as it is hereby unanimously ADOPTED and APPROVED.18 Chu submitted the affidavits of his witnesses. Indeed.19 and presented the draft decision that Atty. Atty. Guico’s office. Guico’s office. Atty. Guico had represented to him as having come from the NLRC. especially the act of Atty. every lawyer should not render any service or give advice to any client that would involve defiance of the very laws that he was bound to uphold and obey. XXI-2014-173.25 for he or she was always bound as an attorney to be law abiding. a fact may be deemed established if it is supported by substantial evidence. For one. Atty. the Report and Recommendation of the Investigating Commissioner in the aboveentitled case. We cannot but conclude that the production of the draft decision by Atty. Jr.27 Any lawyer found to violate this obligation forfeits his or her privilege to continue such membership in the legal profession. To discharge the obligation. but such denial did not overcome the affirmative testimony of Chu. Guico made the implied admission because he was fully aware that the used paper had unquestionably come from his office. The testimony of Chu. immoral or deceitful conduct. and under Rule 1. Rules 1. convincing and satisfactory evidence. Atty. XXI-2014-173. Jose C. Guico offered only his general denial of the allegations in his defense. with modification. Guico. Issue Did Atty.02 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. Guico. and thus to uphold the integrity and dignity of the Legal Profession. Despite denying being the source of the draft decision presented by Chu.15 but modified the recommended penalty of disbarment to three years suspension. Guico violate the Lawyer’s Oath and Rules 1. claiming only that used paper was just "scattered around his office. Atty. Atty.01 — A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful. Guico’s participation in the generation of the draft decision was undeniable.02. He thus violated the law against bribery and corruption. Guico bound himself to: x x x maintain allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines." and finding the recommendation fully supported by the evidence on record and the applicable laws and rules and considering Respondent’s violation of Canon 1. In this administrative case.000. Guico? In taking the Lawyer’s Oath.20 inferring that Atty. herein made part of this Resolution as Annex "A. dishonest. Canon I of the Code of Professional Responsibility for demanding and receiving P580. The Code of Professional Responsibility echoes the Lawyer’s Oath. he or she must act and comport himself or herself in such a manner that would promote public confidence in the integrity of the Legal Profession.01 and 1. Chu discharged his burden of proof as the complainant to establish his complaint against Atty. and were a flagrant breach of his ethical commitments under the Lawyer’s Oath not to delay any man for money or malice. The sworn obligation to respect the law and the legal processes under the Lawyer’s Oath and the Code of Professional Responsibility is a continuing condition for every lawyer to retain membership in the Legal Profession.000.01 and 1. Guico was intended to motivate Chu to raise money to ensure the chances of obtaining the favorable result in the labor case.24 What is the condign penalty for Atty.00) Pesos with legal interest within thirty (30) days from receipt of notice.caused dishonor to and contempt for the legal profession. . is hereby SUSPENDED from the practice of law for three (3) years with Warning that a repetition of the same or similar act shall be dealt with more severely and Ordered to Return the amount of Five Hundred Eighty Thousand (P580. His acts constituted gross dishonesty and deceit. Atty. Guico moved for reconsideration.16 but the IBP Board of Governors denied his motion for reconsideration on March 23. x x x do no falsehood. the burden of proof rests on the complainant to establish respondent attorney’s liability by clear.02 — A lawyer shall not counsel or abet activities aimed at defiance of the law or at lessening confidence in the legal system.14 On February 12. nor consent to the doing of any in court. He compounded his violation by actually using said illegality as his means of obtaining a huge sum from the client that he soon appropriated for his own personal interest.00 from Chu to guarantee a favorable decision from the NLRC? Ruling of the Court In disbarment proceedings. Chu credibly insisted that the draft decision was printed on the dorsal portion of used paper emanating from Atty. viz.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility that forbade him from engaging in unlawful. sufficed to confirm that he had committed the imputed gross misconduct by demanding and receiving P580. As such.

GUILTY of the violation of the Lawyer’s Oath. a dereliction of duty. De Taza proffered to him.000. evinces an unworthiness to continue enjoying the privilege to practice law and highlights the unfitness to remain a member of the Law Profession. contrary to Atty.: This concerns an administrative complaint1 for disbarment against Atty. Decision favorable to plaintiff w/in 2 mos.3 June 10. The said amount has been advanced by Ms.00) from him to Atty. Signed Atty. Complainant. Reyes:32 Although the Court renders this decision in an administrative proceeding primarily to exact the ethical responsibility on a member of the Philippine Bar. and implies a wrongful intent and not mere error of judgment. and DISBARS him from membership in the Integrated Bar of the Philippines. from receipt of said amount. It did not matter that this proceeding is administrative in character. on November 6. Manila and learned that the Court had already denied the petition on November 20. 2007 Receipt That the amount received P300.00 shall be returned. No. the 300. along with his siblings engaged the services of Romero De Taza Cruz and Associates to represent them in the case of Eliza T. Abellana:31 Disciplinary proceedings against lawyers are designed to ensure that whoever is granted the privilege to practice law in this country should remain faithful to the Lawyer’s Oath. Guico to fully account for and to return the money to Chu. DIZON. he. Atty. De Taza issued bouncing checks and/or failed to pay off her debts to them. because good moral character is an essential qualification for the admission of an attorney and for the continuance of such privilege. and to all courts and quasijudicial offices in the country for their information and guidance.000 shall be used to expedite the case which. Aurora Dizon and the same should be reimbursed to her by her siblings upon winning the case with finality.R. the complainant instituted a complaint for disbarment8 against Atty. Norlita De Taza (Atty. Guico committed grave misconduct and disgraced the Legal Profession."28 There is no question that any gross misconduct by an attorney in his professional or private capacity renders him unfit to manage the affairs of others. Lastly. De Taza) for the latter's demand for and receipt of exorbitant sums of money from her client purportedly to expedite the proceedings of their case which was pending before the Court. the Court FINDS and DECLARES respondent ATTY.02. Let copies of this Decision be furnished to the Office of the Bar Confidant. As the Court has reminded in Samonte v. the transgression of some established and definite rule of action. Although the purpose for the amount was unlawful. A.000 has been advanced as part of expense [sic] to expedite the process before the courts. 2006. which state: 15 Jan. Atty. the recommendation of the IBP Board of Governors that Atty. Castaneda. His deviant conduct eroded the faith of the people in him as an individual lawyer as well as in the Legal Profession as a whole. and is a ground for the imposition of the penalty of suspension or disbarment. This amount was over and above the parties’ stipulated retainer fee as evidenced by a contract. x x x ACCORDINGLY. and Rules 1. Guico from Chu in the guise of serving the latter’s interest as the client. he ceased to be a servant of the law. De Taza. the recommendation of the IBP Board of Governors to suspend him from the practice of law for three (3) years would be too soft a penalty. it would be unjust not to require Atty. willful in character. He tried to communicate with Atty. Guico’s personal record as an attorney. but she could no longer be found. J. 7676 expedite the proceedings before the Court. to be appended to Atty. ATTY. It deserves for the guilty lawyer stern disciplinary sanctions. 2007. 2007 Receipt The amount of P500.7 Thereafter. if the same should not be included in the Decision. Signed   30. De Taza’s representations that the case was still pending. for. . Norlita De Taza were submitted by the complainant. he should be disbarred. JOSE S. Guico be ordered to return the amount ofP580. He also attached several affidavits and documents9 from other individuals who attested that Atty. 2. including adopting artifices to cover up one’s misdeeds committed against clients and the rest of the trusting public. Instead. in turn shall result in the following: 1. et al. Only thereby can lawyers preserve their fitness to remain as members of the Law Profession. a forbidden act. unknown to him at that time was that. Grave misconduct is "improper or wrong conduct. Any resort to falsehood or deception. The Facts Amado Dizon (complainant) alleged that sometime in February 2005. the Court’s silence about the respondent lawyer’s legal obligation to restitute the complainant will be both unfair and inequitable. According to the complainant. De Taza had already demanded and received a total of Eight Hundred Thousand Pesos (P800. a month earlier or in January 2007. which was to expedite the proceedings of their case before the Court. for the same reason that Atty.00 to Chu is well-taken. In doing so.00) from his sibling Aurora Dizon. vs. That amount was exacted by Atty. Atty.29 Accordingly.01 and 1. v. Back rentals up to present should be returned.000.30 for he exhibited his unworthiness of retaining his membership in the legal profession. Norlita De Taza6 On October 24. DECISION REYES. No victim of gross ethical misconduct concerning the client’s funds or property should be required to still litigate in another proceeding what the administrative proceeding has already established as the respondent’s liability.2 The complainant claimed that sometime in February 2007. Norlita De Taza518 Jan. JR.immoral or deceitful conduct. His name is ORDERED STRICKEN from the Roll of Attorneys. Canon I of the Code of Professional Responsibility. De Taza demanded the sum of Seventy-Five Thousand Pesos (P75. the complainant went to this Court in Padre Faura. De Taza. to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines. as the Court has pointed out in Bayonla v. 2007.000. NORLITA DE TAZA. 2014 AMADO T. 174552. SO ORDERED. GUICO.000. Handwritten receipts4 signed by one Atty. Heirs of Spouses Martin and Lucia Dizon with G. Respondent.C. No.

2007. Atty. Like the previous occasions. De Taza’s involvement in an estafa and violation of Batas Pambansa (B. The Court then resolved by virtue of the Resolution17 dated July 2. DE TAZASHOULD BE HELD ADMINISTRATIVELY LIABLE FOR ISSUING BOUNCING CHECKS. The IBP Board of Governors modified the Commission on Bar Discipline’s recommendation in a Resolution24dated January 3. the parties were directed to file their respective position papers. averred that he was already residing abroad and maintained that he had already submitted his documentary evidence at the time of the filing of his complaint. De Taza manifested a propensity for borrowing money. Darwin Tiamzon. which were all dishonored by the bank.14 stating that Atty. As a .A. only she would certainly know. 2009.A. De Taza was not able to refute the accusations against her. 2013. DEMANDING AND/OR RECEIVING MONEY FROM HER CLIENTS UNDERTHE GUISE OF HAVING THE PROCEEDINGS BEFORE THE COURT EXPEDITED. viz: RESOLVED to ADOPT and APPROVE. 07-J2815-36) for drawing checks against a closed account. De Taza’s new address. In its Report and Recommendation23 dated January 4. the Report and Recommendation of the Investigating Commissioner in the aboveentitled case. Whether her transfer of residence was an unscrupulous move on her part to evade her creditors. alleging that Atty. they do not involve a trial of an action or a suit. Atty. averred that Atty. Almacen. De Taza is planning to leave the country as she was joining her husband in the United States of America (U. whose Affidavit12 was attached to the complaint.560. The Court in its Resolution20 dated September 9. Atty. There is neither a plaintiff nor a prosecutor therein. De Taza using the latter’s U. Not being intended to inflict punishment. De Taza. held that the said copy of the Resolution was deemed served and resolved to consider Atty. Atty.A. the IBP Commission on Bar Discipline recommended that Atty. to send a copy to Atty. 2007 with the complaint was returned. De Taza issued a check13 for P50. However. Ruling The Court acknowledges the fact that Atty. the copy of the Resolution was returned unserved with the postal carrier’s notation "RTS (Return to Sender)-Moved". et al. a certain Eleanor Sarmiento submitted an affidavit. De Taza owes herP29. As this Court held in Gatchalian Promotions Talents Pool.) No. in which they failed to appear. De Taza was required by the Court to file a Comment.S. Neither purely civil nor purely criminal. and the real question for determination is whether or not the attorney is still a fit person to be allowed the privileges as such.A certain Ana Lynda Pineda executed an affidavit10which was attached to the complaint. while already off-putting when attributed to an ordinary person.00 as payment for her loan. Yaptinchay:27 "Disciplinary proceedings against lawyers are sui generis. among other complaintaffidavits executed by her other creditors.2011. De Taza issued 11 checks11 in her favor amounting toP481. 2008. with modification.00. In a Resolution16 dated December 10. But as far as the Court is concerned. The complainant even submitted a document evidencing Atty. herein made part of this Resolution as Annex "A". v. 22 case filed before the Office of the City Prosecutor in Angeles City (I. De Taza.39 and failed to pay the said amount despite repeated demands. with the postal carrier’s notation "RTSUnclaimed". Public interest is [their] primary objective. [they are] in no sense a criminal prosecution. Furthermore. Said copy was also returned unserved with the notation "RTS-not connected. De Taza be suspended for a period of two years from the practice of law. Likewise. De Taza’s new address in the U."29 Based on the documentary evidence submitted by the complainant.. Hence. Naldoza.000. Demand letters sent to her went unheeded. it appears that Atty. in the exercise of its disciplinary powers. the case had long been dismissed. Such conduct. address. 2008 that the complainant inform the Court of Atty. a creditor of Atty. Said check was dishonored by the bank for being drawn against a closed account. The Court. and finding the recommendation fully supported by the evidence on record and the applicable laws and rules. that amount of relevant evidence that a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion. De Taza’s office address at Romero De Taza Cruz and Associates. directed the Clerk of Court to resend a copy of the Resolution dated December 10.25 (Emphasis supplied) The Issue WHETHER ATTY. Inc. is required. but all these efforts were only met with silence. is much more abhorrent when the same is exhibited by a member of the Bar. only substantial evidence.S. v. Numerous attempts were made to afford her an opportunity to defend herself from the complainant’s allegations. A Notice of Mandatory Conference21 was sent to the parties. issuing bouncing checks and incurring debts which she left unpaid without any reason. The case was referred to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) for investigation. De Taza as having waived the filing of her comment.28 (Italics supplied) "In administrative proceedings.P. 2009." It was then required in the Resolution18 dated October 8.400. did not file any position paper. De Taza an avenue to oppose the complainant’s charges. as it is hereby unanimously ADOPTED and APPROVED.26 citing In the Matter of the Proceedings for Disciplinary Action Against Atty. On November 14. in its Resolution19 dated January 26. and considering Respondent’s demand of [P]800. for her part. the Court merely calls upon a member of the Bar to account for his actuations as an officer of the Court with the end in view of preserving the purity of the legal profession and the proper and honest administration of justice by purging the profession of members who by their misconduct have prove[n] themselves no longer worthy to be entrusted with the duties and responsibilities pertaining to the office of an attorney. 2007. but are rather investigations by the Court into the conduct of one of its officers. this time.S. the copy of the Resolution dated December 10. report and recommendation. in fact. The complainant. there is neither a plaintiff nor a prosecutor therein. the complainant through a letter15 informed the Court that Atty. 2007 with a copy of the complaint to Atty. i. The Court has time and again ruled that disciplinary proceedings are investigations by the Court to ascertain whether a lawyer is fit to be one.e.00 to expedite the case pending in the Supreme Court when. x x x. in a letter22 addressed to the IBP. all means were exhausted to give Atty. Thus.000. [They] may be initiated by the Court motu proprio.). Norlita De Taza is hereby SUSPENDED from the practice of law for one (1) year. Accordingly.S. Her failure and/or refusal to file a comment will not be a hindrance for the Court to mete out an appropriate sanction. which the complainant faithfully complied with by giving Atty.

When the complainant verified this with the judge. ARTURO B. supposedly to pay the judge who was handling the case.000. Atty. especially in their dealings with their clients and the public at large. RESPONDENT. Erlinda Espejo33 suspended the respondent from the practice of law for two years when the latter issued checks which were dishonored due to insufficiency of funds. academically and. Let copies of this Decision be furnished all courts of the land.lawyer. T-662 for P15. play a vital role in the preservation of society. De Taza’s actions are reprehensible and her greed more than apparent when she even used the name of the Court to defraud her client. ASTORGA. the Court holds that there is no reason to deviate from the report and recommendation of the IBP Commission on Bar Discipline which is to suspend Atty. De Taza from the practice of law for two years. Without a doubt. 2014 ] FLORENCIO A. (6) violation of the lawyer’s oath. De Taza must remember that she is not only a symbol but also an instrument of justice. lawyers must at all times conduct themselves. in Anacta v. no such petition was filed. the Integrated Bar of the Philippines. and let it be entered in Atty. In A-1 Financial Services.00 to him for the purported filing of a petition for annulment of marriage. And if he does not use the money for the intended purpose. DECISION LEONARDO-DE CASTRO.[1] including continuing fidelity to the law and constant possession of moral fitness. (4) grossly immoral conduct. WHEREFORE.”[4] Respondent failed to exercise his right of repurchase within the period provided in the deed. Complainant remained in .31 In this case.35 the Court held that suspension from the practice of law for four years was the appropriate sanction for a lawyer who defrauded his client into paying P42. had two years within which to repurchase the property. J. ATTY."37 "The Judiciary has been besieged enough with accusations of corruption and malpractice. It shows a lack of personal honesty and good moral character as to render her unworthy of public confidence. In Celaje v. (2) malpractice. Atty. De Taza’s actuations towards the complainant and his siblings were even worse as she had the gall to make it appear to the complainant that the proceedings before the Court can be expedited and ruled in their favor in exchange for an exorbitant amount of money.1âwphi1 It also manifests a lawyer’s low regard to her commitment to the oath she has taken when she joined her peers. Arturo B.: Membership in the legal profession is a high personal privilege burdened with conditions. Valerio. The complainant later learned that the bond was also unnecessary. 4697. the Court suspended the respondent from the practice of law for two years. and a consequent obligation of lawyers is to maintain the highest standards of ethical conduct. Astorga entered into a “Deed of Sale with Right to Repurchase” on December 2. and the privilege to practice it is bestowed only upon individuals who are competent intellectually. VS.000. Section 27."38 All told. De Taza demanded money is baseless and nonexistent. the lawyer must immediately return the money to his client. equally important. De Taza just to milk more money from her clients. the purpose for which Atty. Lawyers. Resurreccion. with honesty and integrity in a manner beyond reproach. and if not repurchased within the said period. v.36 the respondent therein demanded P14. For a member of the legal profession to further stoke the embers of mistrust on the judicial system with such irresponsible representations is reprehensible and cannot be tolerated.00. and no renewal of the contract was made even after complainant sent respondent a final demand dated May 10. Said scheme was employed by Atty. 1984 for the latter to repurchase the property.34 the same penalty was meted out by this Court to the erring lawyer who issued worthless checks to pay off her loan.32 The Court in Victoria C. "We have held that the issuance of checks which were later dishonored for having been drawn against a closed account indicates a lawyer’s unfitness for the trust and confidence reposed on her. The Factual Antecedents Complainant Florencio A. (7) willful disobedience of any lawful order of a superior court. Under the said deed. The respondent therein presented to his client a copy of the petition with stamped receipt from the trial court when in reality. equity and fairness. as vendor a retro. the lawyer is bound to render an accounting to the client showing that the money was spent for that particular purpose. as the application for a writ was already denied by the trial court. the judge denied the respondent’s allegations. as well as the Office of the Bar Confidant for their information and guidance. Heenan v.”[3] The deed also provided that respondent. No.000. SALADAGA. her demand should not have even been made in the first place. respondent Atty.00 from the complainant to be put up as injunction bond and asked for additional sums of money on other occasions. Rule 138 of the Revised Rules of Court provides for the disbarment or suspension of a lawyer for any of the following: (1) deceit. 1981 where respondent sold (with right of repurchase) to complainant a parcel of coconut land located at Barangay Bunga. as guardians of the law. COMPLAINANT. (3) gross misconduct in office. Thus. Norlita De Taza is hereby SUSPENDED from the practice of law for TWO YEARS with a STERN WARNING that a repetition of the same or similar infraction would be dealt with more severely. Atty. November 25. and (8) willfully appearing as an attorney for a party without authority to do so. unmindful to the deleterious effects of such act to the public interest and public order. Due to the foregoing. Atty. Additionally. (5) conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude. 27: [A. Baybay. Soriano. respondent represented that he has “the perfect right to dispose as owner in fee simple” the subject property and that the said property is “free from all liens and encumbrances. Saladaga and respondent Atty. “the parties shall renew [the] instrument/agreement."30 Atty. The issuance of a series of worthless checks also shows the remorseless attitude of respondent. Inc.C. "Law is a noble profession. Norlita De Taza's record in this Court. seriously and irreparably tarnishing the image of the profession she should hold in high esteem. When a lawyer receives money from the client for a particular purpose.[2] Failure to live by the standards of the legal profession and to discharge the burden of the privilege conferred on one as a member of the bar warrant the suspension or revocation of that privilege. Because they are vanguards of the law and the legal system. morally. Leyte covered by Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No. SO ORDERED.

S. especially crimes involving moral turpitude. Considering respondent’s “commission of unlawful acts. but one of equitable mortgage. 1982 without informing complainant. 1979 between PNB and respondent.C.000. Respondent does not deny executing the “Deed of Sale with Right to Repurchase” dated December 2. 1982 pursuant to a deed of sale dated March 27.peaceful possession of the property until December 1989 when he received letters from the Rural Bank of Albuera (Leyte).00 consideration stated in the deed. 1972 after foreclosure proceedings. within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court. No. docketed as I. Respondent was also guilty of deceit or fraud when he represented in the “Deed of Sale with Right to Repurchase” dated December 2. 1997 and Supplemental Complaint[13] dated February 27. 1981 that the property was covered by TCT No. plus interest. T-662 was already cancelled by TCT No. with warning that a similar misdeed in the future shall be dealt with more severity. T-662. 1981 in favor of complainant. RBAI foreclosed on the property. No. and that complainant should therefore vacate the property. an Information[10] dated January 8.[5] Complainant was alarmed and made an investigation. 95-144 finding that “[t]he facts of [the] case are sufficient to engender a wellfounded belief that Estafa x x x has been committed and that respondent herein is probably guilty thereof. complainant sought the disbarment of respondent. which led to the acquisition of the property by RBAI and the dispossession thereof of complainant. 95-144. Leyte. T-7235 under his and his wife’s name on January 4. 1991. TP-10635 on March 27. and subsequently obtained TCT No. the amount he received as consideration for the pacto de retro sale. 1972 by TCT No. Leyte. the mortgage having been foreclosed. private complainant thereby suffered damages and was prejudiced by accused[’s] unlawful transaction and misrepresentation. 1996 was filed before the Municipal Trial Court (MTC) of Baybay. The Provincial Prosecutor of Leyte approved the Resolution[8] dated April 21. the total amount would have exceeded P15.[11] committed as follows: On March 14. which were docketed as A. Respondent additionally asserts that complainant should render an accounting of the produce the latter had collected from the said property. However. He learned the following: (1) TCT No. and (2) ordered to return the sum of P15. 1995 in I. (3) Respondent mortgaged the subject property to RBAI on March 14.00 received in consideration of thepacto de retro sale. This was compounded by respondent’s subsequent mortgage of the property to RBAI. even giving complainant the owner’s copy of the said certificate of title.[14] In his Consolidated Answer[15] dated August 16. T-7235 in the names of respondent and his wife on January 4. 1984. Regardless of whether the written contract between respondent and complainant is . T-3211 was cancelled by TCT No. The administrative cases were referred to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) for investigation. 4728.000. He claimed that it was an equitable mortgage and that. T-3211 cancelled with the issuance of TCT No.000. There is no merit in respondent’s defense. if only complainant rendered an accounting of his benefits from the produce of the land. Inc. respectively. report and recommendation.[6] Complainant was subsequently dispossessed of the property by RBAI. when the said TCT had already been cancelled on November 17. without first redeeming/repurchasing the same. Respondent made matters even worse. grossly immoral conduct and deceit. acts of dishonesty. complainant instituted a criminal complaint for estafa against respondent with the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor of Leyte. the Investigating Commissioner recommended that respondent be (1) suspended from the practice of law for one year. and (2) ordered to return the sum of P15. respondent argues that he still had the legal right to mortgage the subject property to other persons. No. but it refrains from ordering respondent to return the P15. formally charging respondent with the crime of estafa under Article 316. which would already exceed the P15. [17] The Court’s Ruling The Court agrees with the recommendation of the IBP Board of Governors to suspend respondent from the practice of law for two years.000. 3112-A.C. with interest at the legal rate. respondent denied that his agreement with complainant was a pacto de retro sale. 4697 and A. 1991 when the rural bank dispossessed him of the property. Albuera. accused representing himself as the owner of a parcel of land known as Lot No. No.” the IBP Board of Governors adopted and approved the Investigating Commissioner’s Report and Recommendation with modification as follows: respondent is (1) suspended from the practice of law for two years.00. 2005. T-3211 in the name of Philippine National Bank (PNB). the Investigating Commissioner of the IBP’s Commission on Bar Discipline found that respondent was in bad faith when he dealt with complainant and executed the “Deed of Sale with Right to Repurchase” but later on claimed that the agreement was one of equitable mortgage. with legal interest. 1981. Report and Recommendation of the Investigating Commissioner and Resolution of the IBP Board of Governors In a Report and Recommendation[16] dated April 29. (2) TCT No. mortgaged the same to the Rural Bank of Albuera. T-3211 in the name of Philippine National Bank (PNB) as early as November 17. 7661 of the Baybay Cadastre. 1984.00. (RBAI) informing him that the property was mortgaged by respondent to RBAI. paragraphs 1 and 2 of the Revised Penal Code. Thus.00 consideration. The aforementioned estafa case against respondent was docketed as Criminal Case No. respondent insists that the deed is not one of sale with pacto de retro. with warning that a similar misdeed in the future shall be dealt with more severity. that the bank had subsequently foreclosed on the property. when he had TCT No. 1997.[7] Aggrieved. In both complaints. 2003 filed before the IBP.S. Complainant likewise instituted the instant administrative cases against respondent by filing before this Court an AffidavitComplaint[12] dated January 28. [P]rivate complainant knowing of accused[’s] unlawful act only on or about the last week of February. knowing fully well that the possessor and owner at that time was private complainant Florencio Saladaga by virtue of a Pacto de Retro Sale which accused executed in favor of private complainant on 2nd December. Thus.”[9] Accordingly.000.

” respectively. He made it appear that the property was covered by TCT No.[23] To be “dishonest” means the disposition to lie. obey the laws of the land and promote respect for lw and legal processes. be untrustworthy. easily resolved. Otherwise. rather than as “vendor a retro” and “vendee a retro.[21] or barely a month after the execution of the said deed. at the very least. does not bear such memorandum but only a memorandum on the mortgage of the property to PNB in 1963 and the subsequent amendment of the mortgage. They show a disregard for Section 63 of the Land Registration Act. T-662. 19. clearly show a disregard for the highest standards of legal proficiency. Such poor formulation reflects at the very least negatively on the legal competence of respondent. in the exercise of his rights and in the performance of his duties. for which respondent should be held administratively liable. Indeed. as well as the orders of the IBP’s Investigating Commissioner (who was acting as an agent of this Court pursuant to the Court’s referral of these cases to the IBP for investigation. dishonest. On the other hand. dishonesty. All told. deceive.01 – A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful. and fair dealing required from lawyers. A lawyer who drafts a contract must see to it that the agreement faithfully and clearly reflects the intention of the contracting parties.actually one of sale withpacto de retro or of equitable mortgage.” and “conduct [him]self as a lawyer according to the best of [his] knowledge and discretion. respondent deserves to be sanctioned. He did not even care to correct the wrong statement in the deed when he was subsequently issued a new copy of TCT No. which respondent gave complainant when they entered into the “Deed of Sale with Right to Repurchase” dated December 2. T-3211 in the name of PNB.C. and deceit on respondent’s part.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility provide: CANON 1 – A lawyer shall uphold the constitution. Under Section 63 of the Land Registration Act. Thus. 1982. as well as in the present administrative cases. he should have seen to it that his agreement with complainant is embodied in an instrument that clearly expresses the intent of the contracting parties. Under Canon 1. where a decree in favor of a purchaser who acquires mortgaged property in foreclosure proceedings becomes final.” “Unlawful” conduct does not necessarily imply the element of criminality although the concept is broad enough to include such element. 1981. The Investigating Commissioner correctly found. fairness and straightforwardness.”[18] He gravely violated his oath. T-7235 on January 4. which caused delay in the resolution of these administrative cases. respondent clearly committed an act of gross dishonesty and deceit against complainant. a lawyer is not only mandated to personally obey the laws and the legal processes. the person must either have knowledge of the falsity or acted in reckless and conscious ignorance thereof. that respondent caused the ambiguity or vagueness in the “Deed of Sale with Right to Repurchase” as he was the one who prepared or drafted the said instrument. act with justice. On the other hand. he is moreover expected to inspire respect and obedience thereto. They also reflect bad faith. even giving complainant the owner’s copy of the said certificate of title. and observe honesty and good faith. prohibited or unauthorized by. artifice or device that is used upon another who is ignorant of the true facts. or disregards the law is “unlawful. respondent transgressed the laws and the fundamental tenet of human relations as embodied in Article 19 of the Civil Code: Art. Canon 1 and Rule 1. In particular. give everyone his due.[24] The actions of respondent in connection with the execution of the “Deed of Sale with Right to Repurchase” clearly fall within the concept of unlawful. Every person must. and was done with the intent that the aggrieved party act thereon. 4697 and . morality.” If only respondent had been more circumspect and careful in the drafting and preparation of the deed. report and recommendation). the Court required respondent to comment on complainant’s Affidavit-Complaint in A. Rule 1. dishonest. as owner of the property. to the prejudice and damage of the party imposed upon. honesty. conduct that is “deceitful” means as follows: [Having] the proclivity for fraudulent and deceptive misrepresentation. T-3211 in its name in 1972. Respondent’s breach of his oath. such purchaser becomes entitled to the issuance of a new certificate of title in his name and a memorandum thereof shall be “indorsed upon the mortgagor’s original certificate. respondent’s actuations in his transaction with complainant. Respondent could have simply denominated the instrument as a deed of mortgage and referred to himself and complainant as “mortgagor” and “mortgagee. in defiance of. and deceitful conduct.01 states the norm of conduct that is expected of all lawyers. Respondent dealt with complainant with bad faith. honesty. he took an oath where he undertook to “obey the laws. and dishonesty are compounded by his gross disregard of this Court’s directives. as a lawyer.[19] the law in effect at the time the PNB acquired the subject property and obtained TCT No. No. In order to be deceitful. especially if the parties are not on equal terms. integrity in principle. violation of the laws. Rule 1.” More significantly. defraud or betray. lacking in integrity. the uncertainty caused by respondent’s poor formulation of the “Deed of Sale with Right to Repurchase” was a significant factor in the legal controversy between respondent and complainant. cheat. the respective rights and obligations of the contracting parties will be uncertain. When respondent was admitted to the legal profession. Respondent. His imprecise and misleading wording of the said deed on its face betrayed lack of legal competence on his part. 1981 with the latter.[22] Any act or omission that is contrary to. integrity. falsehood. had the right to mortgage it to complainant but. lack of good faith. then the controversy between him and complainant could have been avoided or. T-662 under his name. disobedient to. probity. He thereby fell short of his oath to “conduct [him]self as a lawyer according to the best of [his] knowledge and discretion. and deceit when he entered into the “Deed of Sale with Right to Repurchase” dated December 2. when the truth is that the said TCT had already been cancelled some nine years earlier by TCT No. and the latter indeed acted in reliance of the false statement or deed in the manner contemplated to his injury. and the IBP Board of Governors rightly agreed.”[20] TCT No.” “do no falsehood. which opens the door to legal disputes between the said parties. They violate Article 19 of the Civil Code. immoral or deceitful conduct.

MYRNA L. respectively. the suspension of respondent from the practice of law for two years. (all surnamed Orola). SO ORDERED. and/or indemnification for consequential damages. Myrna. impede the execution of a judgment or misuse court processes. the only issue is whether the officer of the court is still fit to be allowed to continue as a member of the Bar. Astorga. Our only concern is the determination of respondent’s administrative liability. 3112-A. MANUEL L. 2003. Rule 138 of the Rules of Court (Rules). No. September 11. and Marjorie Melba Orola-Calip (Marjorie) are the children of the late Trinidad LasernaOrola (Trinidad). and administrative liabilities. unlawful. Canon 15 (Rule 15. The Investigating Commissioner also directed the parties to submit their respective position papers. 4728 on March 12. When a criminal action is instituted. as recommended by the IBP Board of Governors. He only complied on August 28.[28] respondent was held liable for conduct unbecoming an attorney for which he was fined P2. RESPONDENT. OROLA. Despite having been given several opportunities to submit the same. docketed as Criminal Case No. no such comment was submitted prompting the Court to require him in a Resolution dated February 4.” This is a civil liability best determined and awarded in a civil case rather than the present administrative cases. Joseph Ador Ramos (respondent) for his violation of Rule 15. MARY ANGELYN OROLA-BELARGA. will not adopt the recommendation of the IBP to order respondent to return the sum of P15. COMPLAINANTS.[27] Respondent’s disregard of the directives of this Court and of the Investigating Commissioner.[33] The Court notes that based on the same factual antecedents as the present administrative cases.[2] . reparation of the damage caused him. AND KAREN OROLA.000.C. nor submitted the consolidated comment. such as the ones at bar. reserved the right to institute it separately.04 – A lawyer shall not unduly delay a case. reckoned from receipt of this Decision. 2013 ] JOSEPHINE L. xxxx CANON 12 – A lawyer shall exert every effort and consider it his duty to assist in the speedy and efficient administration of justice. Substantial evidence is that amount of relevant evidence which a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to justify a conclusion. Rule 12. The Court. ATTY. respondent did not file any position paper. Mary Angelyn Orola-Belarga (Mary Angelyn). Manuel.[26] Respondent neither showed cause why he should not be disciplinarily dealt with or held in contempt for such failure.000. memoranda or briefs. OROLA. The Court Administrator is directed to circulate this Decision to all courts in the country. however. J. and disrespect for the Court and causing undue delay of these cases.00 he received from complainant under the “Deed of Sale with Right to Repurchase.03.Supplemental Complaint in A. and every case must be resolved in accordance with the facts and the law applicable and the quantum of proof required in each. JOSEPH ADOR RAMOS. xxxx Rule 12. each must be determined in the appropriate case. 1997 and June 25. Let a copy of this Decision be furnished the Office of the Bar Confidant and the Integrated Bar of the Philippines for their information and guidance. with WARNING that a similar misconduct in the future shall be dealt with more severely. WHEREFORE. after obtaining extensions of time to file pleadings. Respondent’s infractions are aggravated by the fact that he has already been imposed a disciplinary sanction before. let the period lapse without submitting the same or offering an explanation for his failure to do so. 3112-A includes restitution. When these cases were referred to the IBP and during the proceedings before the IBP’s Investigating Commissioner. Our findings have no material bearing on other judicial action which the parties may choose to file against each other. respondent is hereby found GUILTY of the following: breach of the Lawyer’s Oath. 28: [A. 9860. RESOLUTION PERLAS-BERNABE. respondent was again required several times to submit his consolidated answer. dishonest. only substantial evidence is required. and (2) submit the consolidated comment. reserves the right to institute it separately or institutes the civil action prior to the criminal action. In Nuñez v. contravenes the following provisions of the Code of Professional Responsibility: CANON 11 – A lawyer shall observe and maintain the respect due to the courts and to judicial officers and should insist on similar conduct by others. 3112-A. is proper.[35] which may already cover the P15. Moreno.00 consideration complainant had paid for the subject property.” While the respondent lawyer’s wrongful actuations may give rise at the same time to criminal. The Facts Complainants Josephine. or more than six years after this Court originally required him to do so.C. VS. civil. for which he is SUSPENDED from the practice of law for a period of two (2) years. complainant instituted a criminal case for estafa against respondent.03 – A lawyer shall not. The civil liability that complainant may recover in Criminal Case No. 1997.03) of the Code of Professional Responsibility (Code) and Section 20(e).[29] the Court pronounced that “[i]n disciplinary proceedings against lawyers. Given the foregoing. Orola (Emilio). then his civil action for the recovery of civil liability arising from the estafa committed by respondent is deemed instituted with Criminal Case No. which caused undue delay in these administrative cases. or preponderance of evidence as in civil cases. Section 5. MARJORIE MELBA OROLA-CALIP. not proof beyond reasonable doubt as in criminal cases. In Roa v.[25] While he requested for several extensions of time within which to submit his comment. married to Emilio Q.000.00. 1998 to (1) show cause why he should not be disciplinarily dealt with or held in contempt for such failure. the civil action for the recovery of civil liability arising from the offense charged shall be deemed instituted with the criminal action unless the offended party waives the civil action. and deceitful conduct.[32]Rule 133 of the Rules of Court states that in administrative cases. OROLA.[30] in relation to Sections 1[31] and 2. No. Atty.[34] Unless the complainant waived the civil action.: For the Court’s resolution is a disbarment complaint[1] filed against respondent Atty. before the MTC. or instituted the civil action prior to the criminal action.

Ely F. Karen. the Heirs of Trinidad and the Heirs of Antonio moved for the removal of Emilio as administrator and. 2008 submitted by IBP Investigating Commissioner Jose I. Jr.03 of the Code reads: CANON 15 – A LAWYER SHALL OBSERVE CANDOR. with respondent as collaborating counsel. the initially appointed administrator of Trinidad’s estate. Azarraga. The Investigating Commissioner observed that while respondent's withdrawal of appearance was with the express conformity of Maricar.03 of the Code. complainant Karen Orola (Karen) is the daughter of Maricar AlbaOrola (Maricar) and Antonio L. respondent filed an Entry of Appearance as collaborating counsel for Emilio in the same case and moved for the reconsideration of the RTC Order. and (c) Atty. Villa (Atty. Roy M. Manuel Orola. he consulted Maricar before he undertook to represent Emilio in the same case. or after he had already entered his appearance for Emilio on October 10.03 . The Recommendation and Action of the IB In the Report and Recommendation[19] dated September 15. he obtained Maricar’s permission for him to withdraw from the case as no further communications transpired after these two hearings. or on October 10. Orola (Antonio).Meanwhile. 2008 (Resolution No.[6] Due to the respondent’s new engagement. respondent failed to disclose such fact to all the affected heirs and. Likewise. Azarraga.[22] The IBP Board of Governors adopted and approved with modification the aforementioned report in its Resolution No. as he undertook to represent conflicting interests in the subject case. Branch 18 (RTC) and docketed as Special Proceeding No. respondent was found guilty of representing conflicting interests only with respect to Karen as the records of the case show that he never acted as counsel for the other complainants. which the RTC granted in an Order[5] dated September 20. Manuel. he clarified that his representation for Emilio in the subject case was more of a mediator. the Heirs of Antonio. 2006 hearings and that his appearances thereat were free of charge. the Investigating Commissioner held that there was no violation of Section 20.[26] It behooves lawyers not only to keep inviolate the client's confidence. In the course of the proceedings. Aquiliana Brotarlo as counsel for and in behalf of Emilio. Myrna.[14] Finally. contending that he never appeared as counsel for the Heirs of Trinidad or for the Heirs of Antonio.[11] He averred that he only accommodated Maricar's request to temporarily appear on her behalf as their counsel of record could not attend the scheduled June 16 and July 14. (b) Atty. The Court’s Ruling The Court concurs with the IBP’s finding that respondent violated Rule 15.[16]In support of his assertions.[12] In fact. Azarraga) as counsel for and in behalf of Maricar. asserted that no information was disclosed to him by Maricar or their counsel of record at any instance. Villa) as counsel for and in behalf of Josephine. Rule 138 of the Rules. The Issue Before the Court The sole issue in this case is whether or not respondent is guilty of representing conflicting interests in violation of Rule 15. 2007.A lawyer shall not represent conflicting interests except by written consent of all concerned given after a full disclosure of the facts.[3] In the settlement of Trinidad’s estate. XX-2013-17[25] dated January 3.03 of the Code. 2013. 2007. instead. (Atty. respondent nonetheless failed to obtain the consent of Karen. in this vein. the same was obtained only on October 18. Rule 138 of the Rules as complainants themselves admitted that respondent “did not acquire confidential information from his former client nor did he use against the latter any knowledge obtained in the course of his previous employment. XVIII-2008-641[23] dated December 11. but reduced the recommended period of suspension to three (3) months. was not able to obtain their written consent as required under the Rules. finding the same to be fully supported by the evidence on record and the applicable laws and rules but imposed against respondent the penalty of six (6) months suspension from the practice of law. 2007.[20] On the other hand. but also to avoid the appearance of treachery and doubledealing for only then can litigants be encouraged to entrust their secrets to their . Jr. and the other heirs[4] of the late Antonio (Heirs of Antonio). The prohibition is founded on the principles of public policy and good taste. respondent refuted the abovementioned charges. the parties were represented by the following: (a) Atty. Rule 15. pending before the Regional Trial Court of Roxas City. recommended that he be severely reprimanded for his act with warning that a repetition of the same or similar acts would be dealt with more severely. (Investigating Commissioner). Rule 15. and Marjorie (Heirs of Trinidad). Mary Angelyn. it is explicit that a lawyer is prohibited from representing new clients whose interests oppose those of a former client in any manner. Subsequently.[13] He added that he had no knowledge of the fact that the late Antonio had other heirs and. the Investigating Commissioner found the imposition of disbarment too harsh a penalty and. De La Rama.03 of the Code. 2007. consented to the withdrawal of respondent’s appearance. sought the appointment of the latter’s son. he formally withdrew his appearance on December 6. Respondent's motion for reconsideration[24] was denied in IBP Resolution No.03 of the Code. Azarraga[18] relative to his limited appearance and his consultation with Maricar prior to his engagement as counsel for Emilio. V3639. whether or not they are parties in the same action or on totally unrelated cases.”[21] Considering that it was respondent's first offense. 2007 (RTC Order).[7] and (b) Section 20(e). the surviving spouse of Antonio and the mother of Karen.[15] and that since no settlement was forged between the parties.[9] In this accord.[8] Complainants further claimed that while Maricar. as mandated under Rule 15. (Emphasis supplied) Under the afore-cited rule. as such. XVIII-2008641). respondent submitted the affidavits of Maricar[17] and Atty. rather than a litigator. the deceased brother of the above-named complainants and the son of Emilio. claiming that he violated: (a) Rule 15. FAIRNESS AND LOYALTY IN ALL HIS DEALINGS AND TRANSACTIONSWITH HIS CIENTS. Villa. who was already of age and one of the Heirs of Antonio. while the Heirs of Antonio were exclusively represented by Atty. in his stead. He pointed out that the records of the case readily show that the Heirs of Trinidad were represented by Atty. complainants filed the instant disbarment complaint before the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP). as he breached the trust and confidence reposed upon him by his clients.[10] For his part.

Salunat[28] (Hornilla). [31] It must. it is undisputed that respondent merely accommodated Maricar’s request out of gratis to temporarily represent her only during the June 16 and July 14.[27] In Hornilla v. In brief. Jr. Also. to wit: reinstatement as administrator in the same case. as enunciated in Hornilla. the Court observes that the said resolution is bereft WHEREFORE. Karen – and equally secure their express written consent before consummating the same. In this case. it contravened Section 12(a). disciplinary sanction is warranted. be noted that a lawyer’s immutable duty to a former client does not cover transactions that occurred beyond the lawyer’s employment with the client. second. but it is his duty to oppose it for the other client. Karen – in violation of the above-stated rule. Joseph Ador Ramos is hereby held GUILTY of representing conflicting interests in violation of Rule 15. there is conflict of interests if the acceptance of the new retainer will require the attorney to perform an act which will injuriously affect his first client in any matter in which he represents him and also whether he will be called upon in his new relation to use against his first client any knowledge acquired through their connection. Hence. this argument will be opposed by him when he argues for the other client. if he argues for one client..[35] Neither can respondent's asseveration that his engagement by Emilio was more of a mediator than a litigator and for the purpose of forging a settlement among the family members render the rule inoperative. Besides. The reasons for handing down a penalty occupy no lesser station than any other portion of the ratio. In fact. hence. perforce. Canon 15 of the Code of Professional Responsibility.[30] Applying the above-stated principles. respondent is a first time offender. a lawyer cannot change his representation from one party to the latter’s opponent in the same case. Rule 139-B of the Rules which specifically mandates that “[t]he decision of the Board upon such review shall be in writing and shall clearly and distinctly state the facts and the reasons on which it is based. the penalty recommended by the Investigating Commissioner was increased from severe reprimand to a suspension of six (6) months by the IBP Board of Governors in its Resolution No. which is of paramount importance in the administration of justice.”[34] Verily. respondent failed in this respect as the records show that respondent was remiss in his duty to make a full disclosure of his impending engagement as Emilio’s counsel to all the Heirs of Antonio – particularly. the said heirs were not in any manner prejudiced by his subsequent engagement with Emilio. In the foregoing light. hence. it is likewise undisputed that respondent had no knowledge that the late Antonio had any other heirs aside from Maricar whose consent he actually acquired (albeit shortly after his first appearance as counsel for and in behalf of Emilio). Lokin. the Court explained the concept of conflict of interest.03. even on that assertion. third.04. 2006 hearings due to her lawyer’s unavailability. That respondent’s previous appearances for and in behalf of the Heirs of Antonio was only a friendly accommodation cannot equally be given any credence since the aforesaid rule holds even if the inconsistency is remote or merely probable or even if the lawyer has acted in good faith and with no intention to represent conflicting interests. provides an absolute prohibition from representation with respect to opposing parties in the same case.[36] the Court similarly imposed the penalty of suspension from the practice of law for a period of three months to the counsel therein who represented parties whose interests are hostile to his other clients in another case. the Court agrees with the IBP’s finding that respondent represented conflicting interests and. XVIII-2008-641. the Court looks with disfavor the change in the recommended penalty without any ample justification therefor. V3639. There is conflict of interest when a lawyer represents inconsistent interests of two or more opposing parties. The intent of the law is to impose upon the lawyer the duty to protect the client’s interests only on matters that he previously handled for the former client and not for matters that arose after the lawyer-client relationship has terminated. To this end. respondent Atty. complainants admit that respondent did not acquire confidential information from the Heirs of Antonio nor did he use against them any knowledge obtained in the course of his previous employment. as such. since the requirement that its decision in disciplinary proceedings must state the facts and the reasons on which the same is based is akin to what is required of courts in promulgating their decisions. it is the lawyer's duty to fight for an issue or claim. Notably. in Ilusorio-Bildner v. citations omitted) Respondent's justification that no confidential information was relayed to him cannot fully exculpate him for the charges against him since the rule on conflict of interests. the Heirs of Trinidad and the Heirs of Antonio succeeded in removing Emilio as administrator for having committed acts prejudicial to their interests. In the course thereof. However. and fourth. it must be pointed out that a lawyer who acts as such in settling a dispute cannot represent any of the parties to it. the Court is wont to remind the IBP Board of Governors of the importance of the requirement to announce in plain terms its legal reasoning. Another test of the inconsistency of interests is whether the acceptance of a new relation will prevent an attorney from the full discharge of his duty of undivided fidelity and loyalty to his client or invite suspicion of unfaithfulness or double dealing in the performance thereof.[29] (Emphasis supplied.[32] Canon 15 of the Code similarly requires the lawyer to obtain the written consent of all concerned before he may act as mediator.” This rule covers not only cases in which confidential communications have been confided. Irrefragably. his conduct is likewise improper since Rule 15. the Court finds the penalty of suspension from the practice of law for a period of three (3) months to be more appropriate taking into consideration the following factors: first. conciliator or arbitrator in settling disputes. must be held administratively liable therefor. Accordingly. it can be said that he acted in good faith.[33] Accordingly. but also those in which no confidence has been bestowed or will be used. The test is “whether or not in behalf of one client. however. In other words. for respondent’s violation of the aforestated rules. but for all the Heirs of Antonio in Special Proceeding No. he clearly worked against the very interest of the Heirs of Antonio – particularly.lawyers. when respondent proceeded to represent Emilio for the purpose of seeking his of any explanation showing the bases of the IBP Board of Governors’ modification. he is hereby SUSPENDED from the practice of law for a period of . Records reveal that respondent was the collaborating counsel not only for Maricar as claimed by him.

filed a complaint for estafa against complainant. put the Forbes property for sale sometime in August 2004. 2009.00 only. complainant called him. The remaining one (1) share was transferred to Ma. Thereafter. On October 24. The sale. [5] The said complaint was docketed as IS No. Carolina C. Jimenez alleged that he was the true and beneficial owner of the shares of stock in Clarion Realty and Development Corporation (Clarion). the money used as the purchase price was not reflected in the books of Clarion. Thereafter. 2014 ] CAROLINE CASTAÑEDA JIMENEZ. in order to achieve its purpose of purchasing the Forbes property. The Board of Directors of Clarion issued a resolution authorizing him to negotiate the sale of the property.C. Thus. Only the counsel for Atty. Carolina C.00 - Simultaneous with the drafting of Clarion’s Articles of Incorporation.00 per the deed of sale. Jimenez was informed by Atty.000. 2007.00 Teresita C. Francisco for multiple violations of the CPR.three (3) months.[4] On June 26. Brenda Heffron.00. VS. The Antecedents Mario Crespo. Atty. asking for assistance in the documentation of the sale of the Forbes property owned by Clarion. he learned from Atty.997. 2. 2007. making her the holder of Clarion shares amounting to P1. Again. dated January 3.000. . Clarion purchased the Forbes property in the amount of P117. dated July 14.000. except for Myla Villanueva (Myla). On July 19. Jimenez transferred all his shares to complainant by another deed of assignment. In support of Jimenez’s complaint for estafa. EDGAR B. Atty. who was then Jimenez’s common-law partner. of Atty. the subscribed shares of Clarion were as follows: Mark Jimenez - P 500. 2007.000. DECISION MENDOZA. executed a deed of assignment of their respective shares in favor of complainant.750. misappropriated and converted the funds for their personal use and benefit. Magdalena Cunanan. through another deed of assignment. Marcel succeeded in persuading complainant to transfer her nominal shares in Clarion to Geraldine Antonio. RESPONDENT. while he was in prison in the United States in 2004.00 - P On November 5.000. Geraldine Antonio.998. Myla handed a check in the said amount which was funded entirely by Jimenez. her sister Rosemarie Flaminiano. 2014. For this purpose. Jimenez’s complaint for estafa was based on complainant’s alleged participation in the fraudulent means in selling the Forbes property which was acquired by Clarion with Jimenez’s money.00 Soledad Gamat P 1. According to Jimenez’s complaint. Francisco relayed to Jimenez that he was the one who received the payment for the sale of the Forbes property and that he handed all the proceeds thereof to Rosemarie Flaminiano in the presence of complainant. 074314 with the Office of the City Prosecutor of Makati City. No. the CBD received a complaint.000. The said property was eventually sold to Philmetro Southwest Enterprise Inc. with WARNING that a repetition of the same or similar acts in the future will be dealt with more severely. Clarion simulated a loan from the complainant in the amount of P80. SO ORDERED. Complainant was duty-bound to remit all the proceeds of the sale to Jimenez as the true and beneficial owner.00 without Jimenez’s knowledge. Francisco adopted his Answer. Francisco filed his Answer. Francisco that. otherwise known as Mark Jimenez (Jimenez). Francisco: 1. Francisco asked her if she had secured permission from Mark Jimenez and complainant answered in the affirmative. COMPLAINANT. The notice of the said conference addressed to complainant was returned with the notation “unknown at the given address. Clarion’s total capitalization was only P5. through fraudulent means.000. 2002. On the other hand. Francisco that his son.000. On September 6. Francisco) administratively liable for multiple violations of the Code of Professional Responsibility (CPR) and recommended the penalty of suspension of one (1) year from the practice of law. ATTY. Chua - P500. which was incorporated specifically for the purpose of purchasing a residential house located in Forbes Park.997 shares were transferred to complainant based on a deed of assignment. Myla’s 249. Marcel Crespo.000.00 - Edgar B.” No new address was provided by the complainant. was undervalued. 31:[ A. claiming that the United States Internal Revenue Service (IRS) was about to go after their properties. Complainant and her corespondents. Alsua - P500. In the deed of sale. Francisco appeared. Crespo.00 Edgar B. 10548. the above-named stockholders. however. FRANCISCO. it was made to appear that the Forbes property was purchased for P78. Board of Governors (IBP-BOG).00 Ma.000. Thomas Chua and Teresita Alsua assigned their shares in Clarion to Jimenez by virtue of a deed of trust. this was reflected in Clarion’s GIS for the year 2004.00 Soledad Gamat P1.: This refers to the Resolutions of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines. Makati City (Forbes property).[2] adopting and approving the findings of the Commission on Bar Discipline (CBD) which found Atty. December 10. 2013[1] and March 22. Atty.00 from Gerardo Contreras. [6] A perusal of this affidavit likewise would show the following claims and admissions. Francisco - P 1. however. The incorporators and original stockholders of Clarion were as follows: Thomas K. This sale was again undervalued at P78. Edgar B. To effect the sale. 2001. Francisco - P1. Atty.249. Francisco (Atty.000. among other things.000. Resultantly.00. These transactions appeared in Clarion’s General Information Sheet (GIS) filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Both parties were required to submit their respective position papers. the mandatory conference was held and terminated. Atty.000. approached the complainant and threatened her. and Isabel Gonzalez.000.997. J.00 Myla Villanueva - P249. Francisco executed an affidavit reiterating its factual averments. (Philmetro) for the amount of P118. Further. Sometime in August 2004. Crespo 1.00 Caroline Jimenez - P 749.[3] filed by Caroline Castañeda Jimenez (complainant) against Atty. complainant and her co-respondents in the estafa case. Marcel Crespo (Marcel).00.

Francisco. he was able to confirm that the sale of the Forbes property was without his knowledge and approval. After weighing on the claims of the parties. the Investigating Commissioner noted that the subsequent affidavit of desistance executed by Jimenez in the estafa case did not affect the investigation conducted by the CBD as it was not an ordinary court which accepted compromises or withdrawals of cases. to the purchase of the Forbes property. When Atty. Francisco regarding the legal implications of Clarion’s transactions. however. on whom she relied as her personal lawyer and Clarion’s corporate counsel and secretary of Clarion. Francisco or the members of his law office. Atty. that the original incorporators and stockholders of Clarion held their respective shares in trust for Jimenez. Francisco also claimed that. but never of the complainant. but these were all under the notion that Jimenez had given him authority to do so. as a corporation has a separate and distinct personality from its shareholders. Francisco. Atty. thereafter. Atty. Jose I. 2011. that Jimenez likewise learned of the successive sale of his other properties. She felt even more betrayed when she read the affidavit of Atty. Atty.. dela Rama. 4. It was just unfortunate that he fell for the ploy of complainant. in the course of which. complainant argued that its execution clearly betrayed the trust and confidence she reposed on him as a lawyer. and that as the corporate secretary and legal counsel of Clarion. He opined that assuming that complainant was indeed his client. Here. The frequent changes in stockholdings were premeditated in order to steal the money of Mark Jimenez. Atty. More significantly. that he acceded to the request on the belief that this was in accordance with Jimenez’s wishes. Francisco further stated that sometime in 2004. Francisco guilty of violations of the CPR and recommended that he be suspended for one (1) year from the practice of law. According to her. Atty. (Investigating Commissioner).000. that during this time. The Findings Commissioner of the Investigating In the Commissioner’s Report.” In this case. that a lawyer-client relationship indeed existed between them.000. The Respondent’s Position In his Answer. When Mark Jimenez returned to the Philippines. This was likewise pursuant to the rule that unlawful and illegal motives and purposes were not covered by the privilege. though he acted as legal counsel for Clarion. turned out to be false when Jimenez returned to the Philippines and discovered that the proceeds of the sale were coursed through other corporations set up by complainant and her sister. 6. Further. and not as a lawyer of complainant. found Atty. Without admitting the truth of the allegations in his affidavit. he withdrew the amount and handed the same to Rosemarie Flaminiano in the presence of complainant. Cañete. the Investigating Commissioner . The Complaint Complainant was shocked upon reading the allegations in the complaint for estafa filed by Jimenez against her. Francisco replied that Jimenez initially engaged his services in 1998 for the incorporation of Clarion for the purpose of purchasing a residential house in Forbes Park. While he admitted that the legal documentation for the transfer of shares and the sale of the Forbes property were prepared by him and notarized by the members of his law firm. This prompted her to file a disciplinary case against Atty. ultimately.[10] dated November 7. Francisco was the one who actively participated in the transactions involving the sale of the Forbes property. 5. the rule on privileged communication does not apply to his case. almost 100% of Clarion’s ownership was transferred in the name of Geraldine Antonio. Francisco mainly argued that he violated neither the rule on disclosures of privileged communication nor the proscription against representing conflicting interests. Arguing that the execution of his affidavit in the estafa case was but a truthful narration of facts by a witness. When the cash payment was deposited. Jimenez was imprisoned in the United States for excessive contributions to the Democratic Party. and that this led to the filing of the estafa case against the complainant and the others. complainant prayed for the disbarment of Atty. he averred that these acts were performed in his capacity as the corporate secretary and legal counsel of Clarion. the Investigating Commissioner. she usually conferred with Atty. San Francisco Del Monte branch. by clear and convincing evidence.[8] Atty. where he intended to live with his long-time partner. were paid. Therefore. he merely attested to the fraudulent acts of complainant. For purposes of the sale. however. and the complainant. he defended and served Jimenez as a client. Initially. he served no conflicting interests because it was not a “former client” and a “subsequent client” who were the opposing parties in litigation. Francisco denied being her lawyer. the complainant should have established. he prepared all the legal documentation to give effect to the said transfers and. Francisco cited Gonzaga v. Jr. the complainant. complainant failed to allege.00. All transfers of shares were caused without any consideration. he opened an account with Security Bank. complainant tasked him to talk to prospective buyers and to negotiate the sale of the Forbes property until it was sold for P118. much less prove. that all these representations. He was the lawyer of Jimenez and the legal counsel of Clarion. For this reason. that Marcel and complainant led him to believe that Jimenez had knowledge of the sale as they were in constant communication with him. the requisites for the application of the privilege. Complainant failed to do this. on the ground that complainant was not his client. The proceeds of the sale had already been farmed out to different corporations established by complainant and her sister. As a witness to the fraud committed against Jimenez. and that as a result. Francisco executed the affidavit narrating the facts and circumstances surrounding the said transactions. including Meridian Telekoms Inc. Francisco for representing conflicting interests. by the members of his family. Marcel. He might have assisted her in some matters. no attorney-client relationship between him and complainant was formed. The transfer taxes.[7] Atty. that the subsequent changes in the ownership of Clarion shareholdings were also pursuant to Jimenez’s orders.3. asked him again to change the ownership of Clarion shares in order to avoid the attachment of Jimenez’s properties in a tax evasion case.[9] where the Court ruled that “the fact that one of the witnesses for the defendant had been formerly the lawyer for the defendant in this suit was no ground for rejecting his testimony. Jimenez’s son. the principal documents relative to the sale and transfer of Clarion’s property were all prepared and drafted by Atty.

As to the charges against him.01 of the CPR provide: CANON 1 – A LAWYER SHALL UPHOLD THE CONSTITUTION. in order to promote the public’s faith in the legal profession. which displayed his unlawful. Francisco personally assisted him in the filing of his certificate of candidacy and the proceedings before the electoral tribunals.[15] the IBP-BOG denied the respondent’s motion for reconsideration.” “Unlawful” conduct does not necessarily imply the element of criminality although the concept is broad enough to include such element. avoid any act or omission that is contrary thereto. He became a stockholder only in 2001.[11] The circumstances would show that Atty. the findings and recommendation of the CBD against Atty. To the best of his ability. on the other hand. stating that he had retained the legal services of Atty. Francisco to execute all the documentation to show his ownership of these companies. A lawyer’s personal deference to the law not only speaks of his character but it also inspires respect and obedience to the law. It was only in 2007. lacking in integrity. Jimenez asserted that Atty.[12] the IBP-BOG adopted and approved. Francisco. Francisco admitted to have simulated the loan and undervalued the consideration of the effected sale of the Forbes property. and deceitful conduct in violation of Canon 1 of the CPR. but denied that this duty extended to the incorporators and shareholders of Clarion. it was Atty. but also known to possess good moral character. Francisco who visited and told him that his children. He asked Atty. Francisco’s law firm was in charge of all the companies he owned in the Philippines. a lawyer is expected to respect and abide by the law and. Jimenez. In its January 3. Meridian Telekoms. Francisco insisted that “Carol is not Clarion and vice versa.. probity. deceive.[18] Membership in the legal profession is bestowed upon individuals who are not only learned in law. While he was in prison in the United States. Francisco and Jimenez. cheat. Francisco. thus. when his client. in toto. Atty. on the part of the public. or in defiance of. Any act or omission that is contrary to. be unworthy. no fiduciary duty arose on his part. Granting that Jimenez really owned 100% of Clarion as alluded to by Atty. He admitted that he owed fidelity to Clarion and Jimenez. Francisco’s clear admission that the transfer of shares within Clarion were “without any consideration.” ran counter to the deeds of assignment that he again admittedly executed as corporate counsel. were then facilitating the sale of one of his companies. Canon 1 clearly mandates the obedience of every lawyer to laws and legal processes. when complainant sought advice in her capacity as a shareholder in Clarion. According to Jimenez. defraud or betray. Francisco was an original incorporator and shareholder of Clarion. Francisco violated the rule on privileged communication and engaged in an act that constituted representation of conflicting interests in violation of Canons 15 and 21 of the CPR. disobedient to. not to mention his ties with his client and friend.[19] “To say that lawyers must at all times uphold and respect the law is to state the obvious. reasoning out that the penalty of suspension of one (1) year is too severe considering that in his more than three decades of practice. Jimenez’s participation in Clarion affairs again stopped when he assigned the entirety of his shares in favor of complainant. Francisco silent and to prevent the latter from performing his duties as a lawyer. but such statement can never be . No petition for review was filed with the Court. the Investigating Commissioner held that Atty. When he filed the criminal cases against his children and complainant. the articles of incorporation of which did not include Jimenez as an original incorporator. honesty. he had never been involved in any act that would warrant the imposition of disciplinary action upon him. 2013 and moved for its reconsideration. Francisco reiterated that his participation in the execution of the documents pertaining to the sale of the Forbes property were all connected to his capacity as Clarion’s corporate secretary and legal counsel. Further. the report stated that it would appear that the latter permitted misrepresentations as to Clarion’s ownership to be reported to the SEC through its GIS. or disregards the law is “unlawful. Thus. integrity in principle. to the prejudice and damage of the party imposed upon. or prohibited or unauthorized by. Worse. Espousing Atty. without his knowledge. He directed Atty. Rule 1. In his own words. immoral. Inc. immoral or deceitful conduct.[16] To be “dishonest” means the disposition to lie. states the norm of conduct to be observed by all lawyers. Rule 1. Francisco’s defenses. In its March 22. 2013 Resolution. He apologized for his not being too circumspect in dealing with the relatives of Jimenez.concluded that nothing in the records would show that a lawyer-client relationship existed between Atty. dishonest. When Jimenez ran for Congress in 2001. experienced a difficult crisis involving his children and common-law partner that he experienced a major upheaval in his professional life. Atty.0 – A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful. The Investigating Commissioner also pointed out Atty.[13] Atty. fairness and straightforwardness[17] while conduct that is “deceitful” means the proclivity for fraudulent and deceptive misrepresentation. the people who committed crimes against him were now exhausting all possible means to keep Atty. Atty. Atty. Francisco. Francisco’s motion for reconsideration was an affidavit executed by Jimenez. Francisco to keep quiet about his children’s betrayal and to wait until he could go home. Jimenez. He was also the legal counsel and corporate secretary of the said corporation. Francisco appealed to the compassion of the IBP-BOG. Francisco since 1999. dishonest. artifice or device that is used upon another who is ignorant of the true facts. The Court’s Ruling Violations of Canons 1 and 10 of the CPR and the Lawyer’s Oath Canon 1 and Rule 1. the latter even filed a frivolous kidnapping case against Atty. OBEY THE LAWS OF THE LAND AND PROMOTE RESPECT FOR LAW AND LEGAL PROCESSES. including Clarion. The respondent received a copy of the said resolution on March 26.”[14] Attached to Atty. when he executed the affidavit containing allegations against the interest of Clarion and complainant.0. when Jimenez acquired shares from Thomas Chua and Teresita Alsua. Lawyers should act and comport themselves with honesty and integrity in a manner beyond reproach. 2014 Resolution. Myla and Marcel. These documents were in the possession of complainant for safekeeping.

to actively misrepresent to the SEC. Needless to state. In his long practice as corporate counsel. nor shall he mislead or allow the Court to be misled by an artifice. especially with the court. Canon 1) and to act with candor.”[24] “The relationship between a lawyer and his/her client should ideally be imbued with the highest level of trust and confidence. it is imperative that they live by the law. Despite assertions that these were in accordance to Jimenez’s wishes. Francisco participated in a series of grave legal infractions and was content to have granted the requests of the persons involved. to avoid dishonest and deceitful conduct. Atty. Thus. Atty. is duty-bound to observe candor. for his part. Also. he must do so only within the bounds of the law. Time and again. namely. Rule on Conflicting Interests and Disclosure of Privileged Communication With respect to Atty. In the documents submitted to the SEC. Unquestionably. Francisco’s alleged representation of conflicting interests and disclosure of privileged communication. They are expected to act with honesty in all their dealings. Francisco is knowledgeable in the law on contracts. sanction wrongdoing and falsity. While a lawyer owes absolute fidelity to the cause of his client. Francisco clearly violated the canons and his sworn duty.[26] the Court discussed the application of the rule on conflict of interest in this wise: In broad terms. Part of the lawyer’s duty in this regard is to avoid representing conflicting interests…”[25] Thus. The proscription against representation of conflicting interest applies to a situation where the opposing parties are present clients in the same action or in an unrelated action. Francisco admitted to have simulated the loan entered into by Clarion and to have undervalued the consideration of the effected sale of the Forbes property. Atty. Worse. if a lawyer’s argument for one client has to be opposed by that same lawyer in arguing for the other client.” “do no falsehood. Clarion. or pursuant to complainant’s misrepresentations. Considering that. in behalf of one client. the Court has reminded lawyers that their support for the cause of their clients should never be attained at the expense of truth and justice. the Court deviates from the findings of the IBP-BOG. He is guilty of engaging in dishonest and deceitful conduct when he admitted to having allowed his corporate client.0 of the CPR provides that “a lawyer shall do no falsehood. protecting and upholding truth and the rule of law.01. there is a violation of the rule. the significant matters regarding its corporate purpose and subsequently. in fact. nor consent to the doing of any in Court. They act as vanguards of our legal system. the Court cannot turn a blind eye on Atty. Francisco clearly violated his duties as a lawyer embodied in the CPR. Atty. at the same time.overemphasized.[22] In the same vein. called upon to assist in the administration of justice. to oppose that claim for the other client.” Corollary thereto. he chose to advance the interests of his clientele with patent disregard of his duties as a lawyer. He permitted this fraudulent ruse to cheat the government of taxes. If the Court allows this highly irregular practice for the specious reason that lawyers are constrained to obey their clients’ flawed scheming and machinations. Canon 10). therefore. such as the deeds of assignment and the GIS. the Court would. Another test of inconsistency of interests is whether the acceptance of a new relation would prevent the full discharge of the lawyer’s duty of undivided fidelity and loyalty to the client or invite suspicion of unfaithfulness or double-dealing in the performance of that duty. Developments in jurisprudence have particularized various tests to determine whether a lawyer’s conduct lies within this proscription. Franciso desecrated his solemn oath not to do any falsehood nor consent to the doing of the same. feigned the validity of these transfers of shares. or at the very least.03. and must be held within the bounds of reason and common sense. It needs to be emphasized that the lawyer's fidelity to his client must not be pursued at the expense of truth and justice.” and conduct himself as a lawyer according to the best of his knowledge and discretion. Francisco’s act of drafting. full devotion to his genuine interest. Rule 15. One test is whether a lawyer is duty-bound to fight for an issue or claim in behalf of one client and. This is the standard of confidentiality that must prevail to promote a full disclosure of the client’s most confidential information to his/her lawyer for an unhampered exchange of information between them. permitting untruthful statements to be embodied in public documents. albeit upon the alleged orders of Jimenez. Rule 10. (Rule 1. the said transactions were fictitious. Still another test is whether the lawyer would be called upon in the new relation to use against a former client any confidential information acquired through their connection or previous employment. fairness and loyalty in all his dealings and transactions with the client. Francisco’s admissions show that he lacks candor regarding his dealings. its corporate shareholdings. As corporate secretary of Clarion. making it appear that these were done for consideration when. it is their duty to contend for that which duty to another client requires them to oppose. as well as the exertion of his utmost learning and ability. lawyers are deemed to represent conflicting interests when. The Investigating Commissioner was correct in pointing out that this ran counter to the deeds of assignment which he executed as corporate counsel. a client can only entrust confidential information to his/her lawyer based on an expectation from the lawyer of utmost secrecy and discretion. fairness and good faith (Rule 10. Atty. “[a] lawyer owes candor. [lawyers are] most sacredly bound to uphold the law. he also took an oath to “obey the laws. In Quiambao v. even if lucrative fees offered by prospective clients are at stake. in effect. “[a] lawyer shall not represent conflicting interests except by written consent of all concerned given after a full disclosure of the facts. Atty. corporation law and the rules enforced by the SEC.01. Francisco.” Lawyers are officers of the court. It is of no moment that . Bamba. Canon 10 of the CPR provides that. fairness and good faith to the court. Francisco was admitted to the Bar. Atty. a lawyer must decline professional employment if the same would trigger a violation of the prohibition against conflict of interest.”[20] When Atty. it was his duty and obligation to register valid transfers of stocks.[21] In the facts obtaining in this case. it is indeed safe to assume that Atty. His responsibility to protect and advance the interests of his client does not warrant a course of action propelled by ill motives and malicious intentions. the lawyer. of all classes and professions. in his professional capacity.[23] From the foregoing. This would undermine the role of lawyers as officers of the court. and warm zeal in the maintenance and defense of his rights. Canon 15 of the CPR provides that. Nonetheless.

Francisco was Clarion’s legal counsel and that complainant sought advice and requested documentation of several transfers of shares and the sale of the Forbes property. complainant failed to establish that Atty. Atty. and not of the complainant. This could have given her opportunity to present evidence showing their professional relationship. indeed. Suffice it to say. The reason for this is to make the prospective client free to discuss whatever he wishes with the lawyer without fear that what he tells the lawyer will be divulged or used against him. Conversely. It means evidence which is more convincing to the court as worthy of belief than that which is offered in opposition thereto.[28] the Court elucidated on the factors essential to establish the existence of the said privilege. Preponderance of evidence means that the evidence adduced by one side is. Complainant’s evidence pales in comparison with her claims of being the client of Atty. or that there would be no occasion to use the confidential information acquired from one to the disadvantage of the other as the two actions are wholly unrelated. Francisco’s answer. the probability or improbability of their testimony. although it does not mean that preponderance is necessarily with the greater number. an offer and counter-offer for settlement. their intelligence. and (d) the number of witnesses. so far as the client is aware. Consequently. The purpose of the rule is precisely to protect the fiduciary nature of the ties between an attorney and his client. The client must intend the communication to be confidential. he served as the legal counsel of Clarion and. Francisco. Francisco’s claim that he was the counsel of Clarion and Jimenez. the factors are as follows: (1) There exists an attorney-client relationship. At most. and the burden of proof rests upon the complainant to clearly prove the allegations in the complaint by preponderant evidence. (b) the witnesses’ manner of testifying. lawyers enjoy the presumption of innocence. considering its detailed refutation. as a whole. Atty. xxx (2) The client made the communication in confidence. was clearly established in a sworn statement executed by Jimenez himself.[27] Markedly. a lawyer may not be precluded from accepting and representing other clients on the ground of conflict of interests. Vitriolo. drafted the documents pertaining to the transaction and that he was retained as legal counsel of Clarion. Francisco. viz: In fine. if the lawyer-client relationship does not exist in favor of a party in the first place. there is a stark disparity in the amount of narrative details presented by the parties. and for the lawyer to be equally free to obtain information from the prospective client. the court may consider the following: (a) all the facts and circumstances of the case. or a prospective attorneyclient relationship. and it is by reason of this relationship that the client made the communication. There was no detailed explanation as to how she supposedly engaged the services of Atty. A confidential communication refers to information transmitted by voluntary act of disclosure between attorney and client in confidence and by means which. Thus. It is enough that the opposing parties in one case. All that the complaint alleged was that Atty. With the complaint lacking in this regard. In Mercado v. Matters disclosed by a prospective client to a lawyer are protected by the rule on privileged communication even if the prospective client does not thereafter retain the lawyer or the latter declines the employment. Her participation in the investigation of the case apparently ended at its filing. Atty. From the foregoing. Be that as it may. Under Section 1 of Rule 133. Third. and also their personal credibility so far as the same may ultimately appear in the trial. . in determining whether or not there is preponderance of evidence. She also failed to appear during the mandatory conference with the IBP-CBD without even updating her residential address on record. He could have been staunch in reminding the latter that his tasks were performed in his capacity as legal counsel for Clarion and Jimenez. This was only successful in showing that Atty. the nature of the facts to which they testify. Francisco was her lawyer.the lawyer would not be called upon to contend for one client that which the lawyer has to oppose for the other client. The mere relation of attorney and client does not raise a presumption of confidentiality. Francisco as her personal counsel and as to what and how she communicated with the latter anent the dealings she had entered into. Francisco violated the rule on conflict of interests. the rule on lawyer-client privilege does not apply. (c) the witnesses’ interest or want of interest. Francisco. In determining whether or not Atty. it is obvious that the rule on conflict of interests presupposes a lawyer-client relationship. Francisco’s client remains unsubstantiated. a scrutiny of the parties’ submissions with the IBP reveals that the complainant failed to establish that she was a client of Atty. are present clients and the nature or conditions of the lawyer’s respective retainers with each of them would affect the performance of the duty of undivided fidelity to both clients. superior to or has greater weight than that of the other. one of whom would lose the suit. are not privileged communications. based on the affirmation presented. of Jimenez. the element of confidentiality not being present. Francisco’s indiscretion does not detract the Court from finding that the totality of evidence presented by the complainant miserably failed to discharge the burden of proving that Atty. a compromise agreement prepared by a lawyer pursuant to the instruction of his client and delivered to the opposing party. their means and opportunity of knowing the facts to which they are testifying. the unrebutted answer made by Atty. would have to prevail. Francisco couched in general terms that lacked particularity of circumstances. Second. noteworthy is the fact that complainant opted not to file a reply to Atty. Our jurisprudence on the matter rests on quiescent ground. accompanied with a detailed narrative of his engagement as counsel of Jimenez and Clarion. First. complainant’s claim of being Atty. Francisco could have prevented his entanglement with this fiasco among the members of Jimenez’s family by taking an upfront and candid stance in dealing with Jimenez’s children and complainant. discloses the information to no third person other than one reasonably necessary for the transmission of the information or the accomplishment of the purpose for which it was given. Francisco committed a violation of the rule on conflict of interests. or a document given by a client to his counsel not in his professional capacity. In suspension or disbarment proceedings.

a member of the Bar may be disbarred or suspended on any of the following grounds: (1) deceit. On 18 January 1989. the Court holds that the evidence on record fails to demonstrate the claims of complainant. Let a copy of this Decision be entered into the records of Atty.: Before us is this verified Petition[1] filed by Rosa Yap-Paras praying for the disbarment of her estranged husband Atty. (6) willful disobedience of any lawful order of a superior court. The records are further bereft of any indication that the “advice” regarding the sale of the Forbes property was given to Atty. As held in Mercado.(3) The legal advice must be sought from the attorney in his professional capacity. effective upon receipt of this Decision. Negros Oriental giving authority to their mother to sell the subject real properties previously registered in the name of the heirs of Vicente Paras wherein respondent was one of the signatories therein. RESPONDENT. The communication made by a client to his attorney must not be intended for mere information.”[29] Considering that complainant failed to attend the hearings at the IBP. The communication must have been transmitted by a client to his attorney for the purpose of seeking legal advice. Carmen and Cataluna all surnamed Paras executed a Special Power of Attorney prepared by the respondent to sell parcels of land located in Matobato. as follows: “Complainant alleged that on February 9. Negros Oriental which was with the respondent’s full knowledge since he was residing at the house of Soledad Dy-Yap at that time and from that time. but for the purpose of seeking legal advice from his attorney as to his rights or obligations. Edgar B. honesty. there was no testimony as to the specific confidential information allegedly divulged by Atty. the performance of which is entrusted to those who are qualified and who possess good moral character. Bindoy. While the Court finds no violation of the rule on conflict of interests and disclosure of privileged communication. It is. which Report reads in part. the Office of the Bar Confidant. in actively and passively allowing Clarion to make untruthful representations to the SEC and in other public documents. The Penalty A member of the Bar may be penalized. the privilege does not attach to a communication disclosed for such purpose. If the client seeks an accounting service. Complainant alleged that sometime in June 1998 her attention was called to the fact that a free patent title to the aforesaid property was issued in respondent’s name and upon verification with the DENR. complainant was able to get copies of the documents for lot Nos. such confidential information is a crucial link in establishing a breach of the rule on privileged communication between attorney and client. Neither was there a demonstration of what she had communicated to Atty. probity and good demeanor. whether in his professional or private capacity. [30] It cannot be gainsaid then that complainant. the Yap family had been in possession of the subject real property up to the present. 2005 ] ROSA YAP-PARAS. PETITIONER. WHEREFORE. The background facts are summarized in a Report and Recommendation dated 13 January 2004[4] of Commissioner Lydia A. report and recommendation. Francisco is DIRECTED to inform the Court of the date of his receipt of this Decision so that the Court can determine the reckoning point when his suspension shall take effect. Francisco nor a recital of circumstances under which the confidential communication was relayed.[32] The appropriate penalty on an errant lawyer depends on the exercise of sound judicial discretion based on the surrounding facts. Bindoy. Francisco. and not legal advice. grave misconduct. Navarro of the IBP Commission on Bar Discipline.[3] the Court referred the case to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) for investigation. difficult. (3) grossly immoral conduct. Paras-Sumabang executed a Deed of Absolute Sale in favor of Aurora Dy-Yap over the subject real property located in Matobato. for their information and guidance. malpractice. 4947. 1966 on the basis of said Special Power of Attorney. In a Resolution dated 10 February 1999. grossly immoral conduct and violation of his oath as a lawyer. 1965 the children of Ledesma de Jesus Paras-Sumabong namely Conegunda. J. still constitute malpractice and gross misconduct in his office as attorney. respondent filed his comment[2] to the Petition. [Emphases supplied] Considering these factors in the case at bench. Atty. therefore. Rule 138 of the Revised Rules of Court. Francisco in confidence. or business or personal assistance. (4) conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude. Ledesma J. Bureau of Lands. VS. Justo. for which a suspension from the practice of law for six (6) months is warranted. Francisco without her consent. Francisco.  34: [ A.[31] for the practice of law is a profession. the acts of Atty. to determine if there was any violation of the rule on privileged communication. Francisco and furnished to the Office of the Clerk of Court. All that complaint alleged in her complainant was that “she sought legal advice from respondent in various occasions. NO. February 14. who has the burden of proving that the privilege applies. failed in this regard. or unworthy to continue as an officer of the court. Complainant alleged that on May 4. Dumaguete City. which shows him to be wanting in moral character. the Integrated Bar of the Philippines. 660. 490 and 585 pertaining to the Notice of Application for . JUSTO ARAS. It is not enough to merely assert the attorney-client privilege. for violating of the lawyer’s oath and/or for breaching the ethics of the legal profession as embodied in the CPR.[33] Under Section 27. Justo Paras on alleged acts of deceit. and (7) willful appearance as an attorney for a party without authority. Edgar B. and all courts in the Philippines.C. a form of public trust. even disbarred or suspended from his office as an attorney. SO ORDERED. As discussed. with a STERN WARNING that a commission of the same or similar offense in the future will result in the imposition of a more severe penalty. the Court finds Atty. the complainant failed to establish the professional relationship between her and Atty. RESOLUTION GARCIA. if not impossible. ATTY. (2) malpractice or other gross misconduct in office. A lawyer may be disbarred or suspended for misconduct. Corazon. Francisco GUILTY of violation of Canons 1 and 10 of the Code of Professional Responsibility for which he is SUSPENDED from the practice of law for a period of six (6) months. (5) violation of the lawyer's oath.

in betrayal of his oath as a lawyer and a transgression of the Canons of Professional Responsibility. 1985 signed by the respondent. respondent presented his Counter-Affidavit[9] and supporting documents. the IBP Commission on Bar Discipline issued an Order[6] noting the filing of the last pleading and setting the instant case for hearing. which were all subjected to cross-examination by the respondent. Gallozo with a Free Patent No. Yap from Ledesma Vda de Paras upon the prodding of the Yaps for all of them were not qualified to apply for ownership of an agricultural public land via free patent. her mother. 172 in relation to Art. most particularly Atty. as follows: “From the facts obtaining respondent committed deceit and falsehood in having applied for free patent over lands owned . nor filed a complaint under the Katarungang Pambarangay Law. Quitclaim/Renunciation of Property Rights and Interest Over Real Property executed by Ledesma de Jesus dated May 28. nor filed an administrative remedy before the DENR for the cancellation and reversion/transfer of the Free Patent and Title to them. Based on the foregoing. 1985. and maliciously committed by the respondent in violation of Art. or cancellation of free patent title or recovery of ownership or whatever. and that he can never be guilty of the Anti-Dummy Law consequent to such cession. Complainant further alleged that respondent is morally unfit to continue to be an officer of the court because of his falsely declaring under oath that he had been occupying the subject real property since 1985 when in fact he did not and was never in occupation/possession thereof. otherwise the questioned properties allegedly according to the Yaps will be applied for and awarded to other qualified natural born Filipinos. a fact respondent allegedly withheld from the Bureau of Lands which he had full knowledge in successfully causing the release of a free patent in his name and unjustly and unlawfully deprived the rightful owners of their legitimate title to the said property in betrayal of the court to pervert the administration of justice in gross violation of his oath of office. a great portion of the public lands classified as forested zone in Matobato were declared and reclassified into public agricultural lands. Complainant alleged that the aforementioned application was made by the respondent without her knowledge and consent and those acts of deceit. Paras. Respondent alleged that complainant or any member of her family much less American citizen Aurora Dy Yap had not made any prior demand for the return of the questioned properties. Respondent alleged that none of the Yaps including complainant being native or natural born Filipinos muchless Aurora D. Respondent alleged that even without such civil court determination on whether or not complainant or her family were qualified to become grantee of a government gratuitous grant of public agricultural land. Respondent prayed for the outright dismissal of the petition for lack of merit. Yap who in 1985 was said to be already an American citizen.” Complainant subsequently filed a Reply[5] to respondent’s Comment. the Yaps prevailed upon him to apply for free patent over said questioned properties for the reason that respondent had already occupied the properties. real and personal were until now with the complainant and her biological family. Francisco D. 171 of the RPC. respondent alleged that he will gladly deliver and transfer title t them. 328 in the name of respondent Justo J. the Investigating Commissioner concluded her Report and made a recommendation. therein refuting respondent’s claims that he was used as a “dummy” since complainant and her siblings had previously acquired Free Patents in their names. nor brought any action in any civil court for either quieting of title. then the Bureau of Lands allegedly made a public announcement that the lands were available for private ownership thru Free Patent Application available only to native settlers or natural born Filipinos. machinations and falsification of documents were deliberately willfully. Yap and now still under the control and possession of complainant’s natural family. none of them being a natural born Filipino or native settler and were disqualified from a gratuitous grant of public land from the government. Letter of Certification signed by Apolonio Tan dated June 4. 1985 signed by District Land Officer Teopisto L. 1985 signed by respondent under oath before Apolonio Tan authorized officer to administer oath. introduced improvements thereon.Free Patent dated April 2. over the aforesaid lots previously sold by Ledesma de Jesus to Aurora D. On 27 August 1999. He allegedly applied for issuance of free patent in good faith and thereafter took dominion and control of the properties in the concept of a legitimate owner under authority of a gratuitous grant of the government. Respondent alleged that later on. then publicly surveyed and parcelized by lots identified in the survey map based on actual or known occupants. brothers and sisters were within the ambit of the term natural born citizen or native citizens under the 1946 Constitution and to them rightfully belong the ownership of the questioned titled public agricultural lands. Complainant alleged that respondent surreptitiously obtained a free patent title over real properties which had been previously sold by his own mother to Aurora D. Respondent alleged that the whole idea of giving to him and the complainant the properties was hatched and executed by the Yaps. Several hearings[7] were conducted wherein complainant presented all her witnesses together with their respective affidavits and supporting documents[8]. Likewise. Yap to circumvent the law and prevent the properties from being given by the government to some other qualified persons. and could easily align his right to the property which had been identified in the public survey as “Heirs of Vicente Paras”. complainant and her family. Respondent alleged that he sought and prayed for recovery of possession of all conjugal/communal properties including the herein questioned properties for after he left the conjugal home in 1988 possession of all these properties. if the Honorable Supreme Court will decide that complainant. respondent alleged that complainant was obviously not the owner of the properties and considering that the properties were applied for free patent titling during their marital union prior to its breakage. 1985 and Order of Approval dated August 19. xxx xxx xxx In his Comment. Yap. complainant was likewise a communal owner thereof and as such was also complaining against herself. acted as owner thereof. Letter of Application dated April 2. Respondent alleged that Free Patent Application was filed by him over the communal property of him and the complainant as well as those purchased by him including the portion whose occupancy of a public land was purchased by Aurora D.

we held: “It bears stressing that membership in the bar is a privilege burdened with conditions. “[i]t is immaterial as to who instituted the complaint for as long as there was a violation of the Code of Professional Responsibility”. and thus to protect the public and those charged with the administration of justice. And in the recent case of Bergonia v. It must be understood that the purpose of suspending or disbarring an attorney is to remove from the profession a person whose misconduct has proved him unfit to be entrusted with the duties and responsibilities belonging to the office of an attorney.[10] the IBP Board of Governors adopted the Report of the Investigating Commissioner but modified the latter’s recommended penalty by recommending that respondent be suspended from the practice of law for six (6) months for violation of Rule 7. It is a settled rule that the enumeration of the statutory grounds for disciplinary action is not exclusive and a lawyer may be disciplined on grounds other than those specifically provided in the law. now before us for We agree with the IBP Board of Governors that respondent should be sanctioned. Without invading any constitutional privilege or right. probity and good demeanor or unworthy to continue as an officer of the court. Respondent has been deplorably lacking in the candor required of him as a member of the Bar and an officer of the court in his acts of applying for the issuance of a free patent over the properties in issue despite his knowledge that the same had already been sold by his mother to complainant’s sister.03. which shows him to be wanting in moral character. an act which adversely reflected on his fitness to practice law in violation of Rule 7. or an unfit or unsafe person to enjoy the privileges and to manage the business of others in the capacity of an attorney. this Court holds that the instant case is not the proper forum to address such issue.[15] One of those requirements is the observance of honesty and candor. Justo Paras from the practice of his law profession for a period of three (3) months from receipt hereof. The case is confirmation. Moreover. to the bar. Generally a lawyer may be disbarred or suspended for any misconduct.” Via Resolution No. we ruled: “Candor in all their dealings is the very essence of a practitioner’s honorable membership in the legal profession. Lawyers are required to act with the highest standard of truthfulness. respondent committed deceit and falsehood in his application for free patent over the said properties when he manifested under oath that he had been in the actual possession and occupation of the said lands despite the fact that these were continuously in the possession and occupation of complainant’s family. These statutory grounds are so broad as to cover practically any misconduct of a lawyer in his professional or private capacity. that the recommended penalty is not commensurate to the gravity of the wrong perpetrated. Canon 7 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. fair play and nobility in the conduct of litigation and in their relations with their clients. however.[12] To this end. it must be remembered that administrative cases . Likewise. We find. as his duty to society and to the courts. it is clear to the Court that respondent violated his lawyer’s oath as well as the Code of Professional Responsibility which mandates upon each lawyer. x x x” In the instant case. to the courts and to his clients. rather than to punish the attorney. By and large. “An attorney may be disbarred or suspended for any violation of his oath or of his duties as an attorney and counsellor which include the statutory grounds enumerated in Section 27. whether in his professional or private capacity.03. an attorney’s right to practice law may be resolved by a proceeding to suspend or disbar him. “Wherefore in view of the foregoing. respondent even admitted in the comment that he filed before this Court when he alleged that the said properties were public land under the Forestal Zone “when the mother of the respondent ceded to Aurora Yap some portions of entire occupancy of the Parases”[17]. the Undersigned respectfully recommends for the suspension of Atty. the obligation to obey the laws of the land and to do no falsehood nor consent to the doing of any in court. They are bound by their oath to speak the truth and to conduct themselves according to the best of their knowledge and discretion. and continue to possess. a lawyer can do honor to the legal profession by faithfully performing his duties to society. honesty and integrity profession. For. A lawyer has the privilege and right to practice law during good behavior and can only be deprived of it for misconduct ascertained and declared by judgment of the court after opportunity to be heard has been afforded him. the qualifications required by law for the conferment of such privilege. or for conduct which tends to bring reproach on the legal profession or to injure it in the favorable opinion of the public. The Court has always reminded that a lawyer shall at all times uphold the integrity and dignity of the legal profession[11] as the bar should always maintain a high standard of legal proficiency as well as of honesty and fair dealing among its members. based on conduct rendering him unfit to hold a license or to exercise the duties and responsibilities of an attorney. Rule 139-B of the Disbarment and Discipline of Attorneys. This fact. Javier[14]. the practice of law is not a right but merely a privilege bestowed by the State upon those who show that they possess. Anent his argument questioning the status of complainant and her family as “natural born citizens”. XVI-2004-120 dated 27 February 2004. Rule 138 of the Rules of Court.by another over which he had no actual physical possession being aware of the fact that the same was previously transferred in the name of Aurora Yap. in honesty. as evidenced no less by respondent’s own statements in the pleadings filed before the IBP. the opposing parties. nothing should be done by any member of the legal fraternity which might tend to lessen in any degree the confidence and trust reposed by the public in the fidelity. the other counsels and the courts.[13] of the legal In Marcelo v.” Indeed. and with fidelity to the courts and their clients. Merrera[16]. “It is also hereby recommended that the IBP Chapter wherein respondent Paras is a registered member be furnished a copy of the Order and notified of the said suspension for proper enforcement. any other action which the parties may make against each other has no material bearing in this case. “It is immaterial as to who instituted the complaint for as long as there was a violation of the Code of Professional Responsibility which partakes the nature of proper disciplinary action pursuant to Section 1. Canon 7 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. Furthermore. as correctly held by the Investigating Commissioner.

Atty. 1995.03.[4] Likewise. In line herewith. 1995.000. He also thereby violates Rule 18. “Accent should be laid on the fact that disciplinary proceedings like the present are sui generis. that when they confronted him. but they found out upon their return to the country in February 1995 that he had not yet paid the tax. Millo for letting the adoption case be considered closed by the Tarlac office of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (Tarlac DSWD) due to two years of inaction.C. DECISION BERSAMIN.00 given for the adoption case. CASE NO.: An attorney who conceals his inefficiency and lack of diligence by giving wrong information to his client regarding the matter subject of their professional relationship is guilty of conduct unbecoming an officer of the Court. Johnny blamed Atty.m. Hence. Not being intended to inflict punishment. Millo likewise made them believe that the capital gains tax for the property had been paid way back in 1991. that when they went to the hearing.against lawyers belong to a class of their own. entitled Rosa Yap Paras v. that Atty. thereby occasioning sanction from this Court. Millo made him and his wife believe that an interview with the Tarlac DSWD had been scheduled on February 14. Millo with conduct unbecoming an officer of the Court. as well as the Office of the Bar Confidant and the Court Administrator who shall circulate it to all courts for their information and guidance and likewise be entered in the record of respondent as attorney. Millo to handle the transfer of title over a parcel of land to her name. Atty. 2013 ] JOHNNY M. bungling the transfer of title. Millo could not be reached at all.C. 1995 at 10:00 a. March 13.000. He stated that Atty. Millo insisted that he had already paid the same. No. MILLO.00 for the transfer of title[2] and P10. the Court Resolved to SUSPEND respondent from the practice of law for a period of one (1) year. Marcelito M. by which he is called upon to serve his client with competence and diligence.[5] Exasperated by Atty. Millo’s neglect and ineptitude. Canon 18 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. Antecedents In this administrative case. and for one (1) year from the practice of law on the charges of immorality and abandonment of his own family. respondent was previously meted with suspension from the practice of law for six (6) months on the charge of falsifying his wife’s signature in bank documents and other related loan instruments.643. and that Atty. SO ORDERED. and incompetence and negligence in the performance of his duty as a lawyer.75 representing the penalties for the non-payment of the capital gains tax. this Court in In re Almacen. this proceeding is not – and does not involve – a trial of an action or a suit. and the adoption of her niece. . Arvi Jane Dizon. Millo reluctantly returned to Abella the amount of P14. and of the P10. Johnny brought this administrative complaint in the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) on March 14.[18] held: WHEREFORE. and that they learned after an hour of waiting in the courthouse in Tarlac that Atty. Millo the amounts of P14. J. the Court merely calls upon a member of the Bar to account for his actuations as an officer of the Court with the end in view of preserving the purity of the legal profession and the proper and honest administration of justice by purging the profession of members who by their misconduct have proved themselves no longer worthy to be entrusted with the duties and responsibilities pertaining to the office of an attorney.[1] that Johnny and Abella gave to Atty. Atty. No. Atty. and seeking the refund of P15. COMPLAINANT. Johnny Pesto (Johnny). They are distinct from and may proceed independently of civil and criminal cases. that adding to their dismay. that Atty. but is rather an investigation by the Court into the conduct of its officers. with a WARNING that commission of the same or similar offense in the future will result in the imposition of a more severe penalty. RESPONDENT. Neither purely civil nor purely criminal.000. a Canadian national. Accordingly. that it was only upon reaching home in Quezon City when he received word from Atty. praying for disciplinary action to be taken against Atty. Let copies of this Resolution be furnished the IBP. it is in no sense a criminal prosecution. Millo’s office in exasperation over his stalling tactics.. 9612.00 only after he stormed out of Atty. Public interest is its primary objective. 35: [ADM. Millo could not be found. he constituted one Tita Lomotan as his attorney-in-fact to represent him during his and his wife’s absence from the country. Being a resident of Canada. At this juncture. Millo. but he could not produce any receipt for the supposed payment. Johnny averred that in May 1990. misleading his client. xxx” The facts and evidence obtaining in the instant case indubitably reveal respondent’s failure to live up to his duties as a lawyer in consonance with the strictures of the lawyer’s oath and the Code of Professional Responsibility. Millo thereafter repeatedly gave them false information and numerous excuses to explain his inability to complete the transfer of title. VS.[3] that Atty. It may be initiated by the Court motu proprio. Millo that a hearing had again been scheduled on February 23. his deplorable behavior in the present case which grossly degrades the legal profession warrants the imposition of a much graver penalty. He thereby violates his Lawyer’s Oath to conduct himself as a lawyer according to the best of his knowledge and discretion with all good fidelity as well to the courts as to his client. 5333 formerly A. charged Atty. there is neither a plaintiff nor a prosecutor therein. CBD-371. and the real question for determination is whether or not the attorney is still a fit person to be allowed the privileges as such. Considering the serious nature of the instant offense and in light of respondent’s prior misdemeanors for which he was penalized with a six (6) month and one (1) year suspension from the practice of law. PESTO. Millo then further promised in writing to assume the liability for the accrued penalties. Millo had requested the hearing to be moved to the afternoon without their knowledge.000. Justo de Jesus Paras. we take note that on 18 October 2000. but when they arrived at the Tarlac DSWD they were dismayed to be told that no such interview had been scheduled. in our Decision in A. finding respondent Atty. his wife Abella Pesto (Abella) retained the services of Atty. Paras guilty of committing a falsehood in violation of his lawyer’s oath and of the Code of Professional Responsibility. MARCELITO M. in the exercise of its disciplinary powers.00 for the adoption case. Justo J.

Millo had the obligation to serve his clients with competence and diligence.[7] he filed no answer in the end. Rule 18. The proceedings were held in abeyance to await the appropriate motion from Johnny’s counsel. the IBP required Johnny through Lomotan to engage a counsel.[8] He did not also appear at the hearings despite due notice.00. to whom the case had been meanwhile transferred.[19] Atty. Investigating Commissioner Victor C. whereby he found Atty. and finding respondent guilty of the charges level(led) against him. he did not pay the capital gains tax. expressly so demanded of him. rendering the clients liable for a substantial financial liability in the form of penalties.[13] whereby he claimed that Johnny had meanwhile died. Millo’s acceptance of the sums of money from Johnny and Abella to enable him to attend to the transfer of title and to complete the adoption case initiated the lawyer-client relationship between them. he is expected to take every reasonable step and exercise ordinary care as his clients’ interests may require. The long delay prompted Johnny to write to the President of the IBP on October 28. the IBP Board of Governors denied Atty.[17] On June 9. Atty. to wit: RESOLVED to ADOPT and APPROVE. and had also returned the P14. but also inevitable from sheer passage of time. that the adoption case had been finally granted by the trial court. Atty. Indeed. Millo assumed the duty to render competent and efficient professional service to them as his clients. the Report and Recommendation of the Investigating Commissioner in the aboveentitled case. Millo to return the amount of P16. Millo did not file any written answer. being residents in Canada. with modification.000. Without doubt. His duty to safeguard the clients’ interests commences from his engagement as such. He concealed his inefficiency and neglect by giving false information to his clients about having already paid the capital gains tax. and presented a manifestation/motion. as happened here.[12] At that hearing. stating that he had honestly believed that Abella had already caused the withdrawal of the complaint prior to her own death.[9] In the meantime. A serious administrative complaint like this one should not be taken for granted or lightly by any respondent attorney. and ordered Atty.03 – A lawyer shall not neglect a legal matter entrusted to him. and even ignored it for a long period of time.000. except that Daquis had meanwhile died in November 2011. Such events. the IBP ordered Atty. submitted a report and recommendation. however. Millo’s motion for reconsideration. 2001. Atty.03. It mattered little now that he had in the meantime returned the amount of P14. He thereby forfeited his right and chance to reasonably explain the circumstances behind the charges against him. He was inefficient and negligent in going about what the professional service he had assumed required him to do. Atty. Towards him the Court now stays its hand of leniency. herein made part of this Resolution as Annex “A” and finding the recommendation fully supported by the evidence on record and the applicable laws and rules. The severe lesson that he must now learn is that he could not ignore without consequences the liberal opportunity the Court and the IBP allowed him to justify his neglect and ineptitude in serving his clients’ concerns. that he had lost contact with Johnny and Abella who resided in Canada. Millo purposely disregarded the opportunity to answer the charges granted to him out of a desire to delay the investigation of the complaint until both Johnny and Abella.[18] Ruling We affirm Resolution No. that the IBP Commission on Bar Discipline (IBP-CBD) scheduled another hearing on June 29.[16] the IBP Board of Governors affirmed the findings of Investigating Commissioner Fernandez. did not obliterate his liability based on the neglect and ineptitude he had inflicted on his clients. lest the Court be unfairly seen as too willing to forego the exaction of responsibility upon a lawyer as neglectful and inept as he had been towards his clients.00 paid by Johnny. He did not thereby refute the charge against him. Marcelito Millo is hereby SUSPENDED from the practice of law for a period of two (2) months and is ordered to return the amount of P16. 2012. Yet. Had the complaint been untrue and unfair. On March 27.[14] On October 4. the IBP-CBD. XX-2011-235. and his negligence in connection therewith shall render him liable. which omission indicated that the complaint had substance. and that the application for adoption had been eventually granted by the trial court. In that time. could have confirmed that the charge had arisen from a simple misunderstanding. xx x x Rule 18. XX-2011-235 adopted on November 19. through Commissioner Victoria GonzalezDe los Reyes. to wit: CANON 18 – A LAWYER SHALL SERVE HIS CLIENT WITH COMPETENCE AND DILIGENCE. Fernandez. Canon 18 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. 1998. Atty. His belated and terse characterization of the charge by claiming that the charge had emanated from a mere “misunderstanding” was not sufficient.[15] In Resolution No. 2001. or.00 to complainant. Atty. Every attorney owes fidelity to the causes and concerns of his clients. and recommended his suspension from the practice of law for six months. Millo moved for a reconsideration. would have already departed this world and be no longer able to rebut whatever refutations he would .On July 10. 2001.000. Millo liable for violating Canon 18 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. deemed the case submitted for resolution. 2010. Yet. Abella’s brother. Millo to file his answer. would have already lost interest in prosecuting it. He must be ever mindful of the trust and confidence reposed in him by the clients. that he had already caused the preparation of the documents necessary for the transfer of the certificate of title. it would have been quite easy for him to refute it quickly and seasonably. that Juan Daquis. In reality.[11] It was only on April 2. It even seems very likely that Atty. Millo did not take the complaint of Johnny seriously enough. From that moment on. 1995. Atty. but lowered the suspension to two months. 2011. and lasts until his effective release by the clients. but modify the penalty. he failed to discharge his duty. as it is hereby unanimously ADOPTED and APPROVED. Millo appeared through a representative. 2012. and that Abella would cause the withdrawal of the complaint.[6] Although an extension of the period to file was granted at his instance. Despite being given several opportunities to do so.[10] The administrative matter did not move for several years. and that Abella would be withdrawing the complaint against him. being not only post facto. On October 11. a refutation was the requisite response from any worthy and blameless respondent lawyer.00 to the clients.000.

SO ORDERED. The Court notes that Atty. His professional misconduct warranted a longer suspension from the practice of law because he had caused material prejudice to the clients’ interest. Suspension or disbarment proceedings that are warranted will still proceed regardless of the lack or loss of interest on the part of the complainant. was arrested for drug trafficking and possession of marijuana during a buybust operation conducted by police operatives within the vicinity of Isetann Department Store. for the purpose of preserving the courts of justice from the official ministration of persons unfit to practice law before them. NANCY QUIMPO. who were innocently too willing to repose their utmost trust in his abilities as a lawyer and in his trustworthiness as a legal professional. Atty. The Court disbelieves him. MILLO guilty of violating Canon 18. The complainant or any other person who has brought the attorney’s misconduct to the attention of the Court is in no sense a party. together with one Pilar Cabuslay. he thereby manifested evasion. and should meet the issue and overcome the evidence against him. Millo’s disregard is justified.75 representing the penalty for the late payment of the capital gains tax.[20] The obvious reason for the requirement is that an attorney thus charged must thereby prove that he still maintained that degree of morality and integrity expected of him at all times. Surprisingly.00 given in connection with the adoption case.000. Every attorney is called to answer for every misconduct he commits as an officer of the Court. whether true or not. COMPLAINANT. WHEREFORE. Rule 18. His disregard of the IBP’s orders requiring his attendance in the hearings was not only irresponsible. But the Court is not about to condone such selfish disregard. The following antecedents spawned the filing of the complaint.[25] He should somehow be taught to be more ethical and professional in dealing with trusting clients like Johnny and Abella. the Court FINDS and HOLDS Atty. A similar treatment of Atty. Atty. NO. to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines. and to the Office of the Court Administrator for dissemination to all courts throughout the country for their information and guidance.00 received for the transfer of title. VS ATTY. He should remember that misconduct has no place in the heart and mind of a lawyer who has taken the solemn oath to delay no man for money or malice. ORDERS him to return to the heirs of Johnny and Abella Pesto within ten days from notice the sum of P10. to be appended to Atty.00. disciplinary proceedings against attorneys are unlike civil suits where the complainants are the plaintiffs and the respondent attorneys are the defendants. reckoned from the finality of this decision. report and recommendation. Ulep. a Mitsubishi Eclipse which she boarded in going to the site of the operation. but also a rare privilege reserved only for the deserving. Consequently. 6128. Millo should refund the P10. They neither involve private interests nor afford redress for private grievances. in Espiritu v. was impounded by the police authorities. Let copies of this decision be furnished to the Office of the Bar Confidant. .[22] the Court saw the respondent attorney’s odious practice of repeatedly and apparently deliberately not appearing in the scheduled hearings as his means of wiggling out from the duty to explain his side. Manila. but also constituted utter disrespect for the Judiciary and his fellow lawyers.000. and continue to investigate in order to finally determine whether the charge of professional negligence or misconduct was borne out by the record. Indeed. HSIEH.000. the Court cannot order him to refund that amount because it is not a collection agency. He ought to remember that the withdrawal of an administrative charge for suspension or disbarment based on an attorney’s professional misconduct or negligence will not furnish a ground to dismiss the charge. Her car. Let it be emphasized to him and to others similarly disposed that an attorney who is made a respondent in a disbarment proceeding should submit an explanation. [23] This approach bespeaks the Court’s consistent view that the Legal Profession is not only a lofty and noble calling. Millo made his situation even worse by consistently absenting himself from the scheduled hearings the IBP had set for his benefit. was referred to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) for investigation. SUSPENDS him from the practice of law for a period of six months effective from notice. Millo displayed no remorse as to his misconduct. And she was detained at the Manila City Jail. and to conduct himself as a lawyer according to the best of his knowledge and discretion. because Atty. MARCELITO M. The recommended penalty is not well taken. Verily. 2006 ] ROSEMARIE L. We modify the penalty. and has generally no interest in the outcome except as all good citizens may have in the proper administration of justice.[24] The IBP Board of Governors recommended suspension from the practice of law for two months as the penalty to be imposed. Millo already returned the P14. They are undertaken and prosecuted solely for the public welfare. 36: [ A.03 of the Code of Professional Responsibility and the Lawyer’s Oath. and treats his claim as nothing but a belated attempt to save the day for himself. because lawyers are particularly called upon to obey Court orders and processes and are expected to stand foremost in complying with orders from the duly constituted authorities.[26] The Court may only direct the repayment of attorneys fees received on the basis that a respondent attorney did not render efficient service to the client. and DIRECTS him to promptly submit to this Court written proof of his compliance within thirty days from notice of this decision.[21] Moreover. plus legal interest of 6% per annum reckoned from the finality of this decision until full payment. December 19. Although he ought also to refund the amount of P15.643. RESPONDENTS The present complaint of Rosemarie Loria Hsieh[1] (complainant) against respondents-spouses Attorneys Salvador and Nancy Quimpo. suspension from the practice of law for six months is the condign and commensurate penalty for him. SALVADOR QUIMPO AND ATTY. Under the circumstances. for gross misconduct. Millo claimed that his belated response to the charge was due to the assurances of Abella that she would be withdrawing the complaint. plus interest of 6% per annum.C. and could not be given a soft treatment. The Court may even entirely ignore the withdrawal of the complaint. a bad trait that no worthy member of the Legal profession should nurture in himself. however. Marcelito M. Millo’s personal record as an attorney. Atty. Such conduct was absolutely unbecoming of a lawyer.ultimately make. with the STERN WARNING that any similar infraction in the future will be dealt with more severely. Complainant.

.000.00 allegedly representing legal fees or expenses incurred have not been clearly substantiated or justified by the respondents. as counsels for complainant. she. it is further recommended that the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City. as claimed by the latter. authorized respondents. were subsequently filled up.000 for attorney's fees.00 to be indicated therein and Atty. that the car was already registered in the name of respondents by virtue of the Deed of Sale. to sell it by signing a Deed of Sale the complete particulars of which were left in blank. she secured the services of another lawyer without her informing them. violated the Canons of Professional Responsibility "when they acquired from the complainant the [car]. Salvador Quimpo and Atty. claiming that it would serve as payment for their legal services. Annex F. however. among other things.000 as acceptance fee. therefore. Ergo. respectively. At this time [21 September 1999].[6] (Emphasis and underscoring supplied) By Report[7] dated July 22. claim that they agreed to handle complainant's case for P20.[5] and respondents were eventually able to get hold of it. respondents informed her that the proceeds of the sale would defray "expenses in dismissing her case and expediting and facilitating her release from the Manila City Jail. and to avoid a "humiliating" situation.Complainant secured the services of respondents who represented her and Pilar during the inquest and preliminary investigation of the case. Branch 54. she convinced them to accept the Deed of Sale covering her car as a form of assurance that she would settle any outstanding account. and when she demanded the return of her car. the Traffic Management Group seized it from her and charged her with carnapping and theft. forcing her to secure the services of another lawyer. Although a lawyer's lien over a client's property in satisfaction of his lawful fees and disbursements is recognized by this Court. as soon as they are promulgated. Complainant's Reply to Respondent's Position Paper]. on the other hand. This is roughly two (2) months after the questioned instrument was allegedly notarized. By complainant's claim. as there was a big possibility that complainant would be released on bail. The IBP Investigator defined the issue in the present complaint to be whether respondents. be required to submit their decisions in the replevin case [Civil Case No. . Respondents. 2005.000 success fee. respondents were thus not entitled to collect a success fee from the complainant even if there was an agreement between the parties for the payment of such a fee.[8] (Underscoring supplied) It appears from the computer-generated Deed of Sale that complainant's first name. why was not the name of the obligee for whom the security was allegedly executed – respondents – not also printed out? And why did not respondents bother to advise complainant of the eventual sale of the car and account the proceeds thereof? It is on this account that this Court finds the above-quoted ratiocination of the IBP Investigator in holding respondents to have committed breach of contract well-taken. they withdrew as her counsel but demanded full settlement of her outstanding account. Nancy Quimpo's signing the same in 21 September 1999 [see p. Complainant thus filed a complaint for replevin[3] against respondents."[2] respondents. and the fact that the order allowing complainant to post bail was issued two months after the deed of sale was concluded and. the same cannot be exercised haphazardly. Q-00-41395]and the carnapping/theft cases [Criminal Case Nos. she and respondents mutually agreed on September 21. It can thus be reasonably concluded that the other important particulars. such as the vendee's name – respondent Atty. and the month and year (May 1999) of the signing of the document were the only data originally provided therein. to enable the Honorable Supreme Court to determine whether there is a need to revise or adjust the herein recommended penalty.00 could not also be considered a success fee payable to the respondents. assuming the same is approved. She soon discovered. . but as complainant did not have money. however. Nancy Quimpo. ceased to appear on her behalf. It is submitted that respondents took advantage of the fact that the Deed of Sale of Motor Vehicle was already signed in blank by the complainant and which was in their possession coupled with the fact that complainant was still in jail. .000. 1999 to "give effect" to the Deed of Sale which they caused to be notarized. C-67161 and C-67162]. As complainant did not have sufficient funds to defray the expenses attendant to her defense. the particulars of the car. be STRONGLY REPRIMANDED. [T]here is here a case of a breach of trust on the part of the respondents.000. Respondents' Reply to Complainant's Position Paper] was unethical if not improper. the IBP thus recommended: . 1999. and the purchase price – P600. Canon 16 of the Code of Professional Responsibility provides that a lawyer shall hold in trust all moneys and properties of his client that may come into his possession. Moreover. and since complainant failed to settle her account. respondents refused. the respondents were duty-bound to observe faithfulness towards their client and should have conducted themselves with utmost professionalism in discharging their fiduciary duty. that both respondents. who in the meantime were able to secure the release of the car. However. Branch 129. in light of. saidP600. and that a repetition by respondents of this offense shall be dealt with more severely. Atty. and P1. the amount could not have represented the success fee even if there was such an agreement for the payment thereof. 3. [4] While complainant was able to regain possession of the car. It is further pointed out that the complainant was allowed to post bail only on 09 November 1999 [see Order dated 09 November of Regional Trial Court of Manila. Nancy Quimpo as well as the purchase price of the sale at P600. Their act of "filling in" the details of the blank instrument by causing the name of Atty. while on detention at the Manila City Jail or on May 21.000. Respondents claim further that on September 1999. Branch 90 and the Regional Trial Court of Kalookan. the lack of justification of the charge of P600.000. This Court's pronouncement that a fiduciary relationship requires a high degree of fidelity and good faith and is designed to remove all such temptation and to prevent everything of that kind from . . and smacks of lack of delicadeza especially since the amount of P600." The IBP investigator found that there was a breach of trust on respondents' part. If the Deed of Sale was originally intended to serve as security for the payment of complainant's outstanding account with respondents. Nancy Quimpo.

000. RAFAEL. 2005. Rafael (Atty. before the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (I As the breach of the trust reposed upon respondents constitutes a violation of the Canon 16 of the Canons of Professional Responsibility which reads: Canon 16 of the Code of Professional Responsibility provides: CANON 16 – A LAWYER SHALL HOLD IN TRUST ALL MONEYS AND PROPERTIES OF HIS CLIENT THAT MAY COME INTO HIS POSSESSION. according to him. REPRESENTED BY ITS PRESIDENT. Canon 1. ATTY. Administrative cases against lawyers belong to a class of their own. PACE.[7] that the approval of the P30. that Atty. ATTY. RESPONDENT. Hence. 2007. an election of officers was conducted and Atty. Rafael). 2010. Diaz. Instead. They are distinct from and may proceed independently of civil and/or criminal cases. the case was re-assigned to IBP Commissioner Victor C." In his Report and Recommendation. and past treasurer.[11] As regards the accusation that Atty. Diaz. that the net proceeds of that convention was "fully accounted. Diaz violated Chapter 1. the outgoing Board of Directors. immoral or deceitful conduct. Diaz offered documentary evidence to show that she was able to submit the liquidation reports for the two aforementioned conventions of PACE. that on the last day of the convention or on March 31.[8] Initially. the same does not lie.[10] This resolves the complaint for suspension or disbarment Hied by the Philippine Association of Court Employees (PACE) through its president. this would be better resolved through an audit rather than in disbarment proceedings. As then National Treasurer of PACE. 10134. as it was initiated by Aliven Maderaza and seconded by Atty. to explain why they failed to liquidate the finances of PACE for the Davao and Iloilo conventions. Virginia C.[10] As to the sufficiency and completeness of these reports. it was approved by the previous board of directors. but she was not elected. Rule 1. Diaz with respect to the Davao City convention. Atty. the case was assigned to IBP Commissioner Elpidio G.00 term-end bonus did not rest with her solely.[6] that she denied running for re-election as PACE national treasurer during the Iloilo convention as she had already filed her certificate of candidacy for Board Member of the First District of Ipil. VIRGINIA C. Diaz did not submit a liquidation report for the 12th convention. that the report.[11] WHEREFORE. including Atty.[9] The lone issue here is whether or not Atty. On the IBP-CBD recommendation that the courts before the replevin and carnapping/theft cases involving the same parties were lodged submit their decisions to enable this Court to determine whether there is a need to revise or adjust the penalty. respondents' suspension for three months from the practice of law would be reasonable. the disposition in the administrative case is not governed by that in the civil and/or criminal cases and vice versa. Commissioner Fernandez did not consider the position of Atty. The complainant alleged that the liquidation for the 11th PACE national convention was submitted by Atty. Atty. that during the 12thconvention. that there was no turn over of monies belonging to the association as a matter of procedure despite a letter of demand. COMPLAINANT. Atty. After an exchange of pleadings. 2007. Diaz ran for the position of National Treasurer. VS. dishonest. 2014 ] PHILIPPINE ASSOCIATION OF COURT EMPLOYEES (PACE). Let copies of this Decision be furnished all courts in the country. EDNA M. Rosita D. ALIBUTDAN-DIAZ. Diaz countered that she had filed the Statement of Liquidation for the 11th national convention in Davao in less than a week after the said convention.being done for the protection of the client[9] bears reiterating. Garcia averred that she was not privy to the disbursement of the said term-end bonus. Thereafter. she should be sanctioned in accordance with the by-laws of PACE instead of a disbarment case. and that she never sponsored the bonus. on July 17. dated June 28. It is thus this Court's duty to look into dealings between attorneys and their clients and guard the latter from any undue consequences resulting from a situation in which they may stand unequal. Soriano. SO ORDERED  38: [ A. Lourdes Garcia and Sarah Ampong. and the Office of the Bar Confidant. Fernandez (Commissioner Fernandez). together with the cash. Diaz. dated June 20. with warning that a repetition of the same or similar acts will be dealt with more severely. the mandatory conference was held."[5] that she also filed the Statement of Liquidation for the 12th national convention on May 22. respondents Atty. the Integrated Bar of the Philippines.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility (CPR). Atty. Diaz). Commissioner Fernandez opined that the best evidence. Zamboanga Sibugay. checks and original receipts. former National Treasurer of PACE. Diaz only on March 29. Edna M. which was the "certificate of candidacy.000.[4] In her defense. Salvador Quimpo and Atty. Letecia Agbayani. Diaz for lack of merit. Commissioner Fernandez recommended the dismissal of the case against Atty. liquidated and entirely deposited to PACE accounts." was never . Alibutdan-Diaz (Atty. 00-07 directing past president. that it was duly audited by the national auditor. passed and approved Resolution No. Amizola. which reads: "A lawyer should not engage in an unlawful.C. the umbrella association of 1st and 2nd level court employees in the Judiciary held its 11th National Convention/Seminar in Davao City from October 6 to 8. He also took note that Atty. this Court finds that the recommended penalty therefor is not commensurate. Thus. On her part. November 26. the protagonists were directed to submit their respective position papers. Diaz as national treasurer of PACE to have any connection with her being as a lawyer. Diaz was entrusted with all the money matters of PACE. 2008 against Atty.00 as term-end bonus for each PACE official qualified thereto. rather. 1-2007 appropriating the amount of P30. Rafael herself acknowledged the liquidation report made by Atty. Nancy Quimpo are SUSPENDED from the practice of law for a period of Three (3) Months from notice. were received by Rosita Amisola and witnessed by former PACE officers. 2007. Besides. Afterwards.[3] and that the new set of PACE officers issued Board Resolution No. Atty. during the 12th PACE national convention in Iloilo City[2]. Diaz ran for re-election in the PACE elections even though she was no longer connected with the Judiciary and therefore disqualified. Atty. No. 2007 sent to Atty.

including her non-admission that she ran for said election as shown not by her certificate of candidacy but by the affidavits of former PACE officers. One of those requirements is the observance of honesty and candor. Atty. Diaz in contravention of Rule 1. No. COMPLAINANT.[14] On November 19. and integrity of this noble profession. Commissioner Fernandez believed Atty. 2013 Extended Resolution. her running for reelection. the dispositive portion of which reads: WHEREFORE. Everyone should keep in mind that the practice of law is only a privilege.00 term-end bonus and that the approval of Resolution No. Diaz. he or she is an exemplar for others to emulate and should not engage in unlawful. FELICIANO. with a STERN WARNING that a repetition of the same or similar acts will be dealt with more severely. 101-V-07 entitled “Edilberto Lozada. Feliciano (complainant) against respondent Atty. the opposing parties.03 and 16. 45: [ A. the Court denied with finality Atty. Lozada) for violation of Section 27. It is definitely not a right. dishonest. They are always expected to uphold the integrity and dignity of the legal profession and to refrain from any act or omission which might lessen the trust and confidence reposed by the public in the fidelity.[2] Rule 138 of the Rules of Court. lawyers must conduct themselves beyond reproach at all times.[20] It bears stressing that Atty. and let it be entered in respondent's personal records. JJ. It reversed and set aside its earlier resolution and suspended Atty. one must show that he possesses.[21] Atty. 2006. Again. as well as the Office of the Bar Confidant. Let copies of this Resolution be furnished all courts of the land. 2005. the Court has held that the practice of law is granted only to those of good moral character. 6656 entitled “Bobie Rose V.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility..04 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. AlibutdanDiaz is found GUILTY of violating Chapter 1. shall be immediately Let copies of this Decision be furnished the Court Administrator for its distribution to all courts of the land. Lozada's motion for reconsideration. Lawyers are required to act with the highest standard of truthfulness. Atty. the IBP Board of Governors (IBP-BOG) passed a resolution adopting and approvingthe report and recommendation of Commissioner Fernandez. Diaz's assertion that she never sponsored the appropriation of the P30. Before us is a Petition for Disbarment[1] dated August 2. ATTY. and a violation of the high moral standards of the legal profession justifies the imposition of the appropriate penalty.C. Diaz' liquidation of PACE funds. The facts of the case. the other counsels and the courts. immoral or deceitful conduct. Diaz. There was much to be desired in Atty. the IBP-BOG issued the Extended Resolution. concur Castillo.whammy" of questionable actions[18]committed by Atty. vs. Diaz is a servant of the law and belongs to that profession which society entrusts with the administration of law and the dispensation of justice. including herself even though she was no longer working in the Judiciary. March 11. are as follows: On December 13. They are bound by their oath to speak the truth and to conduct themselves according to the best of their knowledge and discretion. RESPONDENT. Frias vs. Carmelita Bautista-Lozada (Atty.[5] However. 7593. This decision executory.03 and 16. WHEREFORE.* and Leonen. the Integrated Bar of the Philippines. and is hereby SUSPENDED from the practice of law for a period ofthree (3) months. constituted a "triple . Diaz' actions/ inactions. in an action for injunction with prayer for issuance of a temporary restraining order and/or writ of preliminary injunction docketed as Civil Case no.000. 1-2007 was a collegial action among the Board of Directors. Thus.[17] The IBP-BOG explained that the questions regarding (i) Atty. 2007 filed by Alvin S. Diaz from the practice of law for one (1) year. on June 5. The Bar maintains a high standard of honesty and fair dealing. 2007. She is hereby SUSPENDED from the practice of law for a period of two (2) years from notice. and continues to possess. this Court has been exacting in its demand for integrity and good moral character from members of the Bar. honesty. the Court en banc promulgated a Resolution in A.[4] On May 4. for their information and guidance. Canon 1.[12] and that Atty. Edna M. knew that her bid for re-election would be a useless exercise since she would not be able to assume office if she won. being a lawyer. Necessarily.al. CARMELITA BAUTISTA-LOZADA. were definitely not the candor the Court speaks of. fair play and nobility in the conduct of litigation and in their relations with their clients. Commissioner Fernandez was of the view that her participation in the passage of the questioned board resolution was not connected to her being a lawyer. (ii) her running for reelection when she was no longer with the Judiciary. 2013.04 of the Code of Professional Responsibility and of willfully disobeying a final and executory decision of the Court of Appeals. In order to enjoy this privilege. whether they are dealing with their clients or the public at large. the IBP. Carmencita Bautista Lozada”[3] suspending Atty.[13] Finally. and with fidelity to the courts and their clients.[16] dated June 21. and her involvement in the approval or passage of the questioned term-end bonus of PACE officers. Rule 1.offered. The Court's Ruling This Court agrees with the IBP-BOG and adopts its June 21. 2015 ] ALVIN S. et . respondent Atty. Del Reyes. VS.C. Lozada for violation of Rules 15. Feliciano. For this. No. et.01 of the CPR. and (iii) her entitlement to the term-end bonus when she was no longer working in the Judiciary. Diaz' delay in the liquidation of the finances of PACE. and dismissed the complaint against Atty. (Chairperson). [19] Time and again. Carpio. including suspension and disbarment. the qualifications required by law for the conferment of such privilege. Carmencita Bautista Lozada is hereby found guilty of violating Rules 15. granting the complainant's motion for reconsideration. SO ORDERED. 2011. as culled from the records.[15] On reconsideration. and the Office of the Bar Confidant to be entered into respondent's personal records as a member of the Philippine Bar. Candor in all their dealings is the very essence of a practitioner's honorable membership in the legal profession. Alvin S. SO ORDERED.

willful disobedience to any lawful order of a superior court is a ground for disbarment or suspension from the practice of law: SEC. constitutes malpractice. as amended. To prove his allegation. Based on the records. 27. the lawyer must desist from performing all functions requiring the application of legal knowledge within the period of suspension. Rule 18. considering that Atty. Neither did she seek any clearance or clarification from the Court if she can represent her husband. Disbarment or suspension of attorneys by Supreme Court. Disbarment of lawyers is a proceeding that aims to purge the law profession of unworthy members of the bar.[6] as well as the transcript of stenographic notes showing that Atty. 2007. in this case. it does so in the most vigilant . the Court resolved to require Atty. She knew very well that at the time she represented her husband. conducting or offering stipulation/admission of facts. training and experience. that is. Romeo Calubaquib and Jimmy P.[8] In her Comment[9] dated November 19. Lozada appeared for and in behalf of her husband in Civil Case No. Following the recent case of Victor C. engaged in the unauthorized practice of law. 2007. or for a willful disobedience of any lawful order of a superior court.A member of the bar may be disbarred or suspended from his office as attorney by the Supreme Court for any deceit. Lozada conducted direct examination and cross-examination of the witnesses during the trial proceedings. Under Section 27. wherein Atty. thus. or within the two (2)-year suspension.[10] On January 30. she was not representing a client but rather a spouse. Lozada signed her name as one of the counsels. Lozada in appearing as counsel while still suspended from the practice of law constitutes willfull disobedience to the resolutions of the Court which suspended her from the practice of law for two (2) years.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility and the terms of her suspension from the practice of law as imposed by the Court.”[14] In the instant case. Lozada of actively engaging in the practice of law in JuneJuly 2007 were done within the period of her two (2)-year suspension considering that she was suspended from the practice of law by this Court in May 4. 2007. all constitute practice of law. . Lingan v. knowledge. or for corruptly or willfully appearing as an attorney for a party to a case without authority to do so. Thus. either personally or through paid agents or brokers. which requires the application of law. Furthermore.[11] In its Report and Recommendation[12] dated March 9. impose the same penalty on Atty.” where complainant was one of the respondents.. complainant lamented that Atty. there is no doubt that Atty. the Court referred the instant case to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines for investigation. dated June 12. 2007 and July 6. 2009. July 3. Thus. Lozada explained that she was forced by circumstances and her desire to defend the rights of her husband who is embroiled in a legal dispute. 2011. or by reason of his conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude. While we understand her devotion and desire to defend her husband whom she believed has suffered grave injustice. and actively participated in the proceedings of the case before Branch 75 of the Regional Trial Court of Valenzuela City. It is intended to preserve the nobility and honor of the legal profession. as in the instant case. Lozada's actuations. Rule 138 of the Revised Rules of Court. Atty. On May 14.al.01 & 1. When this Court orders a lawyer suspended from the practice of law. report and recommendation.[13] Suffice it to say that practice of law embraces "any activity. Lozada's defense of good faith fails to convince. she. Atty. 2007. malpractice. she is still serving her two (2)-year suspension order." It includes "[performing] acts which are characteristics of the [legal] profession" or "[rendering any kind of] service [which] requires the use in any degree of legal knowledge or skill. Lozada for representing her husband as counsel despite lack of authority to practice law. at the very least. legal procedure. 101-V-07 and actively participated in the proceedings therein in June-July 2007. to a spouse. Lozada appeared as counsel for the plaintiff and her husband. Lozada should not forget that she is first and foremost. the Integrated Bar of the Philippines-Commission on Bar Discipline (IBP-CBD) found Atty. an officer of the court who is bound to obey the lawful order of the Court. Magat. in or out of court. [15] Atty. Atty. grounds therefor. complainant submitted certified true copies of the minutes of the hearings. The practice of soliciting cases at law for the purpose of gain. On September 12. Baliga. Atty. in appearing and signing as counsel for and in behalf of her husband.[16] citing Molina v. and his reputation and honor are at stake. but this Court recognizes the fact that it is part of the Filipino culture that amid an adversity. Indeed. this Court has the exclusive jurisdiction to regulate the practice of law. Lozada be suspended from the practice of law for three (3) months. considering that she is defending her husband and not a client.[17] where this Court suspended further respondents from the practice of law for six (6) months for practicing their profession despite this court's previous order of suspension. Lozada's guilt is undisputed. It would then appear that. grossly immoral conduct.02. While the Supreme Court has the plenary power to discipline erring lawyers through this kind of proceedings. more so. She claimed that she believed in good faith that her appearance as wife of Edilberto Lozada is not within the prohibition to practice law. however. it is clear that when Atty. Atty. 2008. Yet. or for any violation of the oath which he is required to take before admission to practice. she failed to inform the court about it. or other gross misconduct in such office. Lozada cannot practice law from 2006 to 2008. Lozada's actuation was prompted by her affection to her husband and that in essence. conducting direct and cross-examination. she has no choice but to give him legal assistance. Edilberto Lozada. we deem it proper to mitigate the severeness of her penalty. Lozada would have deserved a harsher penalty. Atty. Lozada guilty of violating Rule 1. Atty. therefore. ozada. the findings of the IBP would disclose that such actuations of Atty. Lozada to comment on the complaint against him. RULING We adopt the ruling of the IBP-Board of Governors with modification. She insisted that her husband is a victim of grave injustice. Thus. thus. families will always look out and extend a helping hand to a family member. we. the IBP-Board of Governors resolved to adopt and approve with modification the report and recommendation of the IBP-CBD such that it recommended instead that Atty.[7] Complainant argued that the act of Atty. the IBP-CBD recommended the disbarment of Atty. 2006.

the end desire of reforming the errant lawyer is possible. RESPONDENT. considering that respondent failed anew to file his comment despite receipt of the complaint.. 2014 ] ROSE BUNAGAN-BANSIG. thus. Respondent suspected that Bansig was trying to mislead him in order to prevent him from defending himself. Bansig asserted that the Court should sanction respondent for his deliberate and willful act to frustrate the actions of the Court. respondent and Gracemarie R. Bansig submitted an Affidavit of Mailing to show proof that a copy of the administrative complaint was furnished to respondent at his given address which is No. 2004. in his Explanation. premises considered.000. Carmelita S. WHEREFORE. 46: [ A. 2003. so that we can determine the reckoning point when her suspension shall take effect. he did not know the nature or cause thereof since other than Bansig's Omnibus Motion. legal wife of respondent. and is hereby SUSPENDED for a period of six (6) months from the practice of law. otherwise. Project 3.e. Atty. Bansig filed an Omnibus Ex Parte Motion[7] praying that respondent's failure to file his comment on the complaint be deemed as a waiver to file the same. CELERA. countered that Bansig's Omnibus Motion was merely a ploy to frighten him and his wife from pursuing the criminal complaints for falsification of public documents they filed against Bansig and her husband. No. He requested anew that Bansig be directed to furnish him a copy of the complaint. 2004. while his marriage is still subsisting. however. he would have received the same already. the Court. He then prayed that he be furnished a copy of the complaint and be given time to file his answer to the complaint. through it. 2002.[9] On March 17. resolved to require respondent to show cause why he should not be disciplinarily dealt with or held in contempt for failing to file his comment on the complaint against him. despite receipt of the copy of the Court's Resolution. Thus.C. 30639. Cielo Paz Torres Alba (Alba). with a WARNING that a repetition of the same or similar offense will warrant a more severe penalty. He added that Bansig has an unpaid obligation amounting to P2. The Court. ROGELIO JUAN A. 2004.[10] On June 3.[19] Rule 138 of the Rules of Court. Celera (respondent) for Gross Immoral Conduct. Bunagan (Bunagan). 1997. Bansig. 5581. COMPLAINANT. Respondent failed to submit his comment on the complaint.VS. the Court granted respondent's prayer that he be furnished a copy of the complaint. and required Bansig to furnish a copy of the complaint to respondent. [18] Bansig stressed that the marriage between respondent and Bunagan was still valid and in full legal existence when he contracted his second marriage with Alba. he transferred to at least two (2) new residences. 2003. Again. This Decision is immediately executory.[2] Bansig is the sister of Gracemarie R. Respondent pointed out that having been the family's erstwhile counsel and her younger sister's husband. and that the first marriage had never been annulled or rendered void by any lawful authority. the Office of the Bar Confidant and the Integrated Bar of the Philippines for their information and guidance. Respondent.00 to his wife which triggered a sibling rivalry. Bautista-Lozada is found GUILTY of violating Section 27. he received no other pleading or any processes of this Court. January 14. 2002 filed by complainant Rose Bunagan-Bansig(Bansig) against respondent Atty.manner so as not to frustrate its preservative principle. as evidenced by a certified xerox copy of the certificate of marriage issued by the City Civil Registry of Manila.[6] On December 10. Bansig knew his law office address. Manila. as evidenced by Registry Receipt No. notwithstanding respondent's marriage with Bunagan. 2004. respondent claimed that while it appeared that an administrative case was filed against him. In her complaint. respondent. Bansig narrated that. Rogelio Juan A. The Office of the Bar Confidant is DIRECTED to append a copy of this Decision to respondent’s record as member of the Bar. in a Motion. in her Manifestation. She attached a copy of the complaint and submitted an Affidavit of Mailing stating that again a copy of the complaint was mailed at . the Court resolved to require respondent to file a comment on the instant complaint. Ninoy Aquino Subdivision.000. Before us is a Petition for Disbarment[1] dated January 8. 2167. Quezon City.. ATTY. On May 4. entered into a contract of marriage. in a Resolution[5] dated March 17. SO ORDERED. 1998 with a certain Ma. Bunagan.[11] reiterated that he has yet to receive a copy of the complaint. He further claimed that he and his wife received death threats from unknown persons.[13] lamented the dilatory tactics allegedly undertaken by respondent in what was supposedly a simple matter of receipt of complaint. in the exercise of its sound judicial discretion.[3] In a Resolution[4] dated February 18. Manila and Angeles City. 2002. and that the case be submitted for disposition. the Court resolved to require respondent to show cause why he should not be disciplinarily dealt with or held in contempt for such failure. constitutes grossly immoral and conduct unbecoming of a member of the Bar. in Sampaloc. He also explained that he was able to obtain a copy of the Court's Show Cause Order only when he visited his brother who is occupying their former residence at 59-B Aguho St. Atty. on August 25. Lozada is DIRECTED to inform the Court of the date of her receipt of this Decision. 238 Mayflower St.[12] On October 1. the Court resolved to (a) require Bansig to furnish respondent with a copy of the administrative complaint and to submit proof of such service. as evidenced by Registry Return Receipt No. but she failed to send a copy of the complaint to him. on May 8. Bansig alleged that respondent’s act of contracting marriage with Alba. 2003. which renders him unfit to continue his membership in the Bar. He claimed that Bansig probably had not complied with the Court's Order.. and (b) require respondent to file a comment on the complaint against him. i. In a Resolution[8] dated July 7. Respondent further averred that he also received a copy of Bansig's Omnibus Motion when the same was sent to his law office address. Let copies of this Decision be furnished all courts. as evidenced by a certified xerox copy of the certificate of marriage issued by the City Registration Officer of San Juan. is inclined to impose a less severe punishment if. In compliance. However. respondent contracted another marriage on January 8. Angeles City.

[15] On September 12.. Celera contracted marriage on May. Valley View Royale Subd. 922 Aurora Blvd. showed that respondent cannot be located because neither Halili Complex nor No. 59353. but is rather an investigation by the court into the conduct of its officers. issued by a public officer in custody thereof. meanwhile. Celera contracted marriage on January 8. 2008 and July 7. of the IBP-CBD. Thus. the Court anew issued a Show Cause Order to respondent as to why he should not be disciplinarily dealt with or held in contempt for failure to comply with the Resolution dated July 7. Bansig manifested that respondent had consistently indicated in his correspondence with the Court No. pending before the Regional Trial Court (RTC). 8. the complainant has the burden of proving. San Juan.. for failure to file his comment on this administrative complaint as required in the Resolution dated July 7.00 payable to the court.. 922 Aurora Blvd. 55621. the Court resolved to: (1) DISPENSE with the filing by respondent of his comment on the complaint.” It likewise required Bansig to submit the correct and present address of respondent.. However. or failure of the complainant to prosecute the same. Tuguegarao City. respondent failed to take any action on the matter. Halili Complex. The Order of Default was received by respondent as evidenced by a registry return receipt. 1998 with Ma. Commissioner Rebecca VillanuevaMaala. Bansig averred that in Civil Case No. Celera to COMPLY with the Resolution dated July 7. by substantial evidence. The first marriage. the case against the respondent must be established by clear. and (b) SUBMIT a report of compliance with the Resolution. Quezon City. Bunagan at the Church of Saint Augustine. Hence. RULING A disbarment case is sui generis for it is neither purely civil nor purely criminal. Metro Manila. Banawa.e. Cubao. Bansig submitted certified xerox copies of the marriage certificates to prove that respondent entered into a second marriage while the latter’s first marriage was still subsisting. Cubao. Taytay.”[16] On February 13. On January 3. as evidenced by the certified xerox copy of the Certificate of Marriage issued on October 4. Branch 1. Investigation Agent II. The Court likewise resolved to REFER the complaint to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines for investigation. Gloria C. For the Court to exercise its disciplinary powers. the Court noted the returned and unserved copy of the Show Cause Order dated May 16. (2) ORDER the arrest of Atty. Greenhills. Celera be suspended for a period of two (2) years from the practice of law. or in this case. i. in its Report and Recommendation. at Cubao. The Integrated Bar of the Philippines. Manila. 922 Aurora Blvd. Celera a FINE of P1.[18] In a Resolution[19] dated January 27. Intramuros. this Court has consistently held that clear preponderant evidence is necessary to justify the imposition of the administrative penalty. We note that the second marriage apparently took place barely a year from his first marriage to Bunagan which is indicative that indeed the first marriage was still subsisting at the time respondent contracted the second marriage with Alba. or a penalty of imprisonment of five (5) days if said fine is not paid. Angeles City as his residential address. states that respondent Rogelio Juan A. are admissible as the best evidence of their contents. Considering the serious consequence of the disbarment or suspension of a member of the Bar. Celera for non-compliance with the Resolution dated June 30. 2005 sent to respondent at 238 Mayflower St. 922 Aurora Blvd. Rizal. 2010. 2006. respondent entered his appearance as counsel with mailing address to be at “Unit 8. 238 Mayflower St. 2005 to respondent at his new address at Unit 8. as provided for . the IBP-CBD. 2003 by filing the comment required thereon.[20] However. the Court resolved to: (a) IMPOSE upon Atty. On May 16. the Return of Warrant[21] dated March 24. Quezon City was a vacant lot with debris of a demolished building. Halili Complex. 2008. and (3) DIRECT the Director of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to (a) ARREST and DETAIN Atty. states that respondent Rogelio Juan A. 1997 with Gracemarie R. 2005. Substantial evidence has been defined as such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion. it appearing that respondent failed to comply with the Court's Resolutions dated June 30. 3582.. The certified xerox copies of the marriage contracts. all notices served upon him on said address were returned with a note “moved” by the mail server. [17] On June 30. Quezon City cannot be located. However. there is a preponderance of evidence that respondent contracted a second marriage despite the existence of his first marriage. convincing and satisfactory proof.[14] On August 1. Madison St. In administrative proceedings.. AntiGraft Division of the NBI. reported that as per their records. 2003. it appeared that the given address. Celera. under Registry Receipt No. and (b) REQUIRE Atty. Manila. During surveillance. 2001 by the City Civil Registry of San Juan. 2001 by the City Civil Registry of Manila. 2005. the address of respondent is at No. as evidenced by the certified xerox copy of the Certificate of Marriage issued on October 3.. Cubao. an administrative proceeding for disbarment continues despite the desistance of a complainant. the allegations in the complaint. the Court resolved to resend a copy of the Show Cause Order dated May 16. No. in an Order dated August 4. 2010. the warrant of arrest cannot be enforced. recommended that respondent Atty. 2003 despite service of copy of the complaint by registered mail. 2011..[23] In the instant case.respondent's residential address in Angeles City as shown by Registry Receipt No. Ninoy Aquino Subd. with notation “RTS-Moved. Commission on Bar Discipline (IBP-CBD). the failure of respondent to answer the charges against him despite numerous notices. report and recommendation. Quezon City. 2008. 2010. the second marriage.[22] The issue to be determined is whether respondent is still fit to continue to be an officer of the court in the dispensation of justice. Considering that the given address cannot be found or located and there were no leads to determine respondent's whereabouts. 2003. in compliance with the Court's Resolution.. despite several notices. Ninoy Aquino Subdivision. Cielo Paz Torres Alba at the Mary the Queen Church. Pagdilao. declared respondent to be in default and the case was submitted for report and recommendation. Respondent likewise failed to appear before the mandatory conference and hearings set by the Integrated Bar of the Philippines. 2005.000. however.. Frayn M. due to respondent's failure to comply with the Show Cause Order dated May 16. submitted by Atty. 2005. 41 Hoover St.

as evidenced by numerous affidavits of service. without addressing rather respondent’s defiant stance against the Court as demonstrated by his repetitive disregard of its Resolution requiring him to file his comment on the complaint. Rule 7. sending copies of the Court's Resolutions and complaint to different locations . despite earnest efforts of the Court to reach respondent. yet. July 09. . However. Rule 138 of the Rules of Court provides: Sec.A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful. a sacred institution demanding respect and dignity. also clearly indicate that respondent contracted the second marriage while the first marriage is subsisting. maneuvering the liberality of the Court in order to delay the disposition of the case and to evade the consequences of his actions. When said excuse seemed no longer feasible.both office and residential addresses of respondent. the certified xerox copies of the marriage certificates. he cannot. effective immediately. however. Respondent’s cavalier attitude in repeatedly ignoring the orders of the Supreme Court constitutes utter disrespect to the judicial institution. Canon 7. these Marriage Certificates bearing the name of respondent are competent and convincing evidence to prove that he committed bigamy. but respondent seemed to have preselected only those he will take notice of and the rest he will just ignore. either personally or through paid agents or brokers. Evidence admissible when original document is a public record.03. none of them have escaped respondent's attention. ATTY. his failure to comment on the complaint against him. honesty. By itself. His act of contracting a second marriage while his first marriage is subsisting constituted grossly immoral conduct and are grounds for disbarment under Section 27. – When the original of a document is in the custody of a public officer or is recorded in a public office.”[26] Section 27.[25] This case cannot be fully resolved. feign ignorance that there is a complaint against him that is pending before this Court which he could have easily obtained a copy had he wanted to.” Respondent’s obstinate refusal to comply with the Court’s orders “not only betrays a recalcitrant flaw in his character. respondent's acts constitute willful disobedience of the lawful orders of this Court. The Court has issued several resolutions directing respondent to comment on the complaint against him. the Court has issued numerous directives for respondent's compliance. other than being admissible in evidence. All the Courts of the Philippines and the Integrated Bar of the Philippines shall disseminate copies thereof to all its Chapters. [24] The Code of Professional Responsibility provides: Rule 1. The certified xerox copies should be accorded the full faith and credence given to public documents. the certified xerox copies of the marriage certificates would already have been sufficient to establish the existence of two marriages entered into by respondent. GACOTT. thus. immoral or deceitful conduct. 6490 [Formerly CBD Case No.C. In the span of more than 10 years. He made a mockery of marriage. No. He is.A lawyer shall not engage in conduct that adversely reflects on his fitness to practice law. Respondent’s conduct indicates a high degree of irresponsibility. its contents may be proved by a certified copy issued by the public officer in custody thereof. In a manner of speaking. 27. behave in a scandalous manner to the discredit of the legal profession. unworthy to continue as an officer of the court. or for a willful disobedience of any lawful order of a superior court. dishonest. He claimed to have not received a copy of the complaint. grounds therefor. however conveniently offers a mere excuse of failure to receive the complaint. or other gross misconduct in such office. what is apparent is respondent’s deplorable disregard of the judicial process which this Court cannot countenance. it only shows him to be wanting in moral character. however. Considering respondent's propensity to disregard not only the laws of the land but also the lawful orders of the Court. or for corruptly or willfully appearing as an attorney for a party to a case without authority to do so.01. nor should it be complied with partially. respondent just disappeared. Ironically. have relentlessly tried to reach respondent for more than a decade. CELERA. He is thus ordered DISBARRED from the practice of law and his name stricken off the Roll of Attorneys. Disbarment or suspension of attorneys by Supreme Court. Rule 138 of the Revised Rules of Court. COMPLAINANTS. For purposes of this disbarment proceeding. probity and good demeanor. to this day. Ultimately. Even assuming that indeed the copies of the complaint had not reached him. guilty of grossly immoral conduct and willful disobedience of lawful orders rendering him unworthy of continuing membership in the legal profession. to wit: Sec. as well as Bansig. The Court.A lawyer shall at all times uphold the integrity and dignity of the legal profession. IN VIEW OF ALL THE FOREGOING. however. nor should he. VS. RESPONDENT. We have repeatedly held that a Court’s Resolution is “not to be construed as a mere request.under Section 7 of Rule 130 of the Rules of Court. This case has dragged on since 2002. 2013 ] LILIA TABANG AND CONCEPCION TABANG. which renders him unfit to continue as a member of the Bar. we find respondent ATTY. or selectively. The practice of soliciting cases for the purpose of gain. grossly immoral conduct. Clearly. respondent’s acts were deliberate. . ROGELIO JUAN A. he has not submitted any answer thereto. inadequately. it also underscores his disrespect of the Court’s lawful orders which is only too deserving of reproof. malpractice. and support the activities of the Integrated Bar. 03-1054]. or by reason of his conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude or for any violation of the oath which he is required to take before admission to practice. Respondent exhibited a deplorable lack of that degree of morality required of him as a member of the Bar. accommodating respondent's endless requests. which shall forthwith record it in the personal file of respondent. the latter. manifestations and prayers to be given a copy of the complaint. 7. whenever it is a show cause order. Let copies of this Decision be furnished the Office of the Bar Confidant.  48: [ A.A member of the bar may be disbarred or suspended from his office as attorney by the Supreme Court for any deceit. SO ORDERED. The Court has been very tolerant in dealing with respondent's nonchalant attitude towards this case. Moreover. Rule 138 of the Rules of Court is in itself alone a sufficient cause for suspension or disbarment. whether in public or private life. which under Section 27. GLENN C. thus. constitutes malpractice.

Tabang was prohibited from acquiring vast tracts of agricultural land as she already owned other parcels.000. Pretending to be the “authorized agent-representative” of the fictitious owners of the seven parcels. 2006. 12793 – Elizabeth Dungan. July 18. respondent succeeded in selling the seven parcels. Claiming that he would help complainants by offering the parcels to prospective buyers. He alleged that after she had been refused to be given a “balato. 12475 – Amelia Andes.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. paid only P668. The case was docketed as Commission on Bar Discipline (CBD) Case No.[7] Seeking to avoid embarrassment. immoral or deceitful conduct in violation of Rule 1. TCT No. Funa.00. She recommended that respondent be suspended from the practice of law for six (6) months.000. Palawan. Hearings were conducted on March 22. she changed the fictitious owners’ signatures in the hope of making them look more varied. the public prosecutor noticed similarities in the signatures of the supposed owners that were affixed on the Special Powers of Attorney (SPA) purportedly executed in favor of Lilia Tabang. One was Dieter Heinze. Judge Gacott advised her to put the titles of the parcels under the names of fictitious persons.773. 2004.[6] In the course of the proceedings. TCT No.This case involves a complaint for disbarment directly filed with the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) charging respondent Atty. Thereafter. This time. 12791 – Leonor Petronio. Puerto Princesa. 2007. Lilia Tabang filed a new set of petitions. Glenn Gacott’s father. August 29. there could not have been adequate basis for sustaining the imposition of a penalty as grave as disbarment.[8] Subsequently.[10] Also.000. dishonest.[13] In her Report and Recommendation dated March 4.[14] IBP Investigating Commissioner Lydia A. The public prosecutor. His company. a friend introduced him to respondent who. 2004. as follows: 1. Respondent then told the complainants that he had lost all seven titles.675.[2] Eventually. in turn. complainants confronted respondent. In his defense. They agreed on the purchase of a lot priced at P900. Thus. respondent executed several documents that included revocations of SPAs and various affidavits of recovery purportedly signed by the parcels’ (fictitious) owners. Agerico Paras. Lilia Tabang was able to purchase seven parcels and obtained the corresponding Transfer Certificates of Title (TCT) under the names of fictitious persons. 2007. Lilia Tabang filed petitions for re-issuance of titles. 2005. respondent Glenn Gacott borrowed from Lilia Tabang the TCTs covering the parcels. introduced himself as the owner of seven (7) parcels in Puerto Princesa City. 2006.” Lilia Tabang had threatened to defame him and seek his disbarment. which consisted of several parcels belonging to different owners. Heinze noted that his company withheld payment upon his realization that Lilia Tabang had caused the annotation of an adverse claim and upon respondent’s failure to produce Leonor Petronio. 3. complainants Lilia and Concepcion Tabang decided to sell the seven parcels as they were in need of funds for their medication and other expenses. acting on his observation. November 7. He added that Lilia Tabang had been merely the broker for the seven parcels and that she had unsuccessfully demanded a “balato” of twenty percent (20%) from the proceeds of the sale of the seven parcels. October 7.[1] Complainants alleged that sometime in 1984 and 1985.00. The case was then assigned to Investigating Commissioner Dennis B. TCT No. He received a total of ? 3. 2005. and July 25. Lilia Tabang intended to purchase a total of thirty (30) hectares of agricultural land located in Barangay Bacungan. 12794 – Andes Estoy. Lilia Tabang had the petitions voluntarily dismissed without prejudice to their being re-filed. 2006. 12790 – Agnes Camilla. dishonesty. 03-1054. They agreed on the purchase of a lot priced at P2. TCT No. However. In a Resolution dated April 16. 12476 – Wilfredo Ondoy.[4] About a year after respondent borrowed the titles and after he failed to negotiate any sale. TCT No. and 7. 5. 2004. [16] the Supreme Court remanded the case to the IBP. however. TCT No. 4. Respondent then caused the annotation of these documents on the TCTs of the seven parcels. respondent alleged that the owners of the seven parcels were not fictitious and that they had voluntarily sold the seven parcels.300. complainants filed their complaint directly with the Integrated Bar of the Philippines on February 3.[19] He testified that Heinze introduced him to respondent who. 2003. respondent Atty. 2. Glenn Gacott of engaging in unlawful. respondent caused the publication of notices where he represented himself as the owner of the parcels and announced that these were for sale. Upon learning that Lilia Tabang had . TCT No. the IBP Board of Governors increased the penalty to disbarment.00. introduced himself as the owner of seven (7) parcels in Puerto Princesa City. Navarro found respondent guilty of gross misconduct for violating Rule 1.[15] the IBP Board of Governors adopted the report of Commissioner Navarro. the alleged lot owner. 12792 – Wilfredo Gomez.[11] Later.[18] Heinze testified that in April 2001. In a Resolution dated September 29. Thus. Judge Gacott noted that under the government’s agrarian reform program.[9] Upon learning that Lilia Tabang had filed a new set of petitions. President of the Swiss American Lending Corporation. February 23.[5] On the pretext of offering a remedy to complainants. asked the court to have the supposed owners summoned.[17] The complainants presented several witnesses.00 from the proceeds of the sales. Palawan. 6.[3] Later.[12] Alleging that respondent committed gross misconduct.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility (CPR). The Court noted that majority of the pieces of evidence presented by complainants were mere photocopies and affidavits and that the persons who supposedly executed such documents were neither presented nor subpoenaed. complainant Lilia Tabang sought the advice of Judge Eustaquio Gacott. the case was referred to the Supreme Court pursuant to Rule 139-B of the Rules of Court. Palawan. and deceit. He paid for the said parcel in two (2) installments. respondent advised them to file petitions in court for re-issuance of titles. in turn. Another of complainants’ witnesses was Atty.

and fair dealing. also testified for complainants. c. We impose upon respondent the supreme penalty of disbarment. Teodoro Gallinero. he orchestrated it.01 of the CPR when he executed the revocations of SPAs and affidavits of recovery and in arrogating for himself the ownership of the seven (7) subject parcels. on the parties’ Position Papers (and supporting documents). with the Supreme Court En Banc’s approval of the IBP-CBD’s Rules of Procedure.00 which he paid in cash and in kind (L-300 van). conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude. he deliberately and cunningly took advantage of his knowledge and skill of the law to prejudice and torment other individuals. He surmised that the signatures on such documents appearing above the name “Glenn C. Not only did he acquiesce to injustice. He likewise noted that respondent was absent in most of the hearings without justifiable reason. the case was deemed submitted for Commissioner Limpingco’s Report and Recommendation. 2012.[26] He recommended that respondent be disbarred and his name. the ostensible owner of the parcel he had purchased.04 of the CPR. f. he instigated it.[28] Respondent then filed his Notice of Appeal with the IBP on August 8. Commissioner Funa then inhibited himself. On July 30. 2011. Respondent filed his Motion for Reconsideration and the Inhibition of Commissioner Funa who. On September 20. the case was reassigned to Investigating Commissioner Rico A. malpractice. By way of examples: . integrity. grossly immoral conduct. the IBP Board of Governors issued a Resolution[27] adopting the Report of Investigating Commissioner Limpingco. He is a lawyer who is held to the highest standards of morality.000. seven (7) owners who were introduced to him by Lilia Tabang. He asserted that Lilia Tabang could not have been the owner of the seven (7) parcels since the SPAs executed by the parcels’ owners clearly made her a mere agent and him a subagent. his offense is made even graver. the Court granted respondent’s Motion and gave him an extension of thirty (30) days to file his Appeal. In his Report and Recommendation dated August 23. respondent filed two (2) more Motions for Extension – the first on September 29. Limpingco.[20] He testified that in February 2001. It is established in Jurisprudence that disbarment is proper when lawyers commit gross misconduct. In the meantime. 2007. immoral or deceitful conduct violating Rule 1. Under Rule 138. and on the results of clarificatory questioning (if such questioning was found to be necessary). He claimed that since 1996. 2009. honesty.caused the annotation of an adverse claim.[25] Commissioner Limpingco found respondent liable for gross violation of Rule 1. the IBP Board of Governors denied respondent’s Motion for Reconsideration. Gallinero agreed to purchase a parcel for the price of P2. While it may be true that complainant Lilia Tabang herself engaged in illicit activities. and deceit in violation of Rule 1. 2010.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. 2011. deprived him of the chance to cross-examine complainants’ witnesses. respondent’s Motion for Reconsideration was denied. Section 27 of the Rules of Court (Rules). d. 2011. willful disobedience of lawful order of a superior court. 2011 – both of which were denied by the Court. e. After a careful examination of the records. a lawyer may be disbarred for any of the following grounds: a. the Court concurs with and adopts the findings and recommendation of Commissioner Limpingco and the IBP Board of Governors. in violation of Rule 12. respondent claimed. Perverting what is expected of him. Quite the contrary. In his Position Paper. 2011. respondent filed his Position Paper.[24] Subsequently. respondent filed before the Supreme Court his Urgent Motion for Extension of Time (to file Petition for Review/Appeal). Despite the Court’s denials of his Motions for Extension. thus warranting his disbarment. On June 26. and any h. and deceit in usurping the property rights of other persons. the complainant’s own complicity does not negate. He also assailed the authenticity of the public announcements (where he supposedly offered the seven [7] parcels for sale) and Memorandum of Agreement. willfully appearing as an attorney for a party without authority to do so. On October 8. 2011 a Motion to Admit Petition for Review/Appeal (with attached Petition/Appeal). dishonesty. deceit. This Motion was denied by the Court on April 17. and he was required to file his Position Paper. he had relied on the Torrens Titles of the For resolution is the issue of whether or not respondent engaged in unlawful.[23] On August 17. Thus. respondent noted that he filed criminal complaints against Lilia Tabang on account of Tabang’s statement that she had fabricated the identities of the owners of the seven (7) parcels. another buyer of one of the seven parcels. he was introduced to respondent who claimed that several parcels with a total area of thirty (30) hectares were owned by his mother. 2010.01 of the CPR. Despite this. respondent filed on December 14. dishonesty. he wrote to respondent asking him to either work on the cancellation of the claim or to reimburse him. He added that respondent was unable to produce Amelia Andes. dishonest. Complainant Lilia Tabang also testified on the matters stated in the Complaint.000. g. Gacott” had been mere forgeries and crude duplications of his own signature. gross misconduct in office. Following this. it was deemed proper for an Investigating Commissioner to submit his/her Report and Recommendation based on matters discussed during the mandatory conferences. It is clear that respondent committed gross misconduct. and was “bent on prejudicing”[22] him. As such.[21] On July 25. stricken from the Roll of Attorneys. 2011 and the second on November 3. the repugnancy of respondent’s offense. violation of the lawyer's oath. Not only did he countenance illicit action. or even mitigate. b. Commissioner Funa required the complainants to submit their Position Paper. The Supreme Court warned respondent that no further extension will be given.

Contawi was disbarred for having used a spurious SPA to mortgage and sell property entrusted to him for administration. their intelligence. the probability or improbability of their testimony.[41] However. b. c. As this Court noted in Moran v. dishonesty. Agerico Paras. In this regard. Atty. the power to disbar must always be exercised with great caution. Office of Administrative Services. it has been established that clearly preponderant evidence is necessary to justify its imposition. Respondent’s defense centered on his insistence that the owners of the seven parcels were not fictitious and that they had voluntarily sold the seven parcels. He also surmised that the signatures on the subject documents appearing above the name “Glenn C. such sales were without the consent or authorization of complainants. as such. in Leave Division. Carmelito B. Section 1 of the Rules. he had failed to produce such persons or even show an iota of proof of their existence. only for the most imperative reasons and in clear cases of misconduct affecting the standing and moral character of the lawyer as an officer of the court and member of the bar.[34] As explained in Aba v. she threatened to defame respondent and seek his disbarment. unreliable. should no longer remain a member of the bar.[33] Moreover.a. by his serious misconduct. the nature of the facts to which they testify. Ramon U. Agerico Paras. complainants have shown by a preponderance of evidence that respondent committed gross misconduct. although it does not mean that preponderance is necessarily with the greater number. De Guzman. Respondent also evaded the allegations against him by flinging counterallegations. respondent misrepresented himself as the owner of or having the right to dispose of the subject parcels. In Daroy v. and deceit in violation of Rule 1. d. recourse to disbarment must be done with utmost caution. respondent never remitted the proceeds of the sales to complainants. Respondent failed to aver facts and circumstances which support these claims. and fraudulent. Nevertheless. superior to or has greater weight than that of the other. Ramon Legaspi for having converted to his personal use the funds that he received for his clients. Office of the Court Administrator v. The witnesses’ manner of testifying. It means evidence which is more convincing to the court as worthy of belief than that which is offered in opposition thereto. For instance. Section 1 of the Rules of Court. he alleged that Lilia Tabang had unsuccessfully demanded a “balato” from the proceeds of the sale of the subject parcels and that after she had been refused. he failed to produce the slightest proof of their identities and existence. Thus. suspension. much less produce their actual persons. the testimonies of Dieter Heinze. complainants’ witnesses showed that when respondent had been confronted with Lilia Tabang’s adverse claims and asked to substantiate the identities of the supposed owners of the subject parcels. In Brennisen v. In support of this allegation. he makes much of how Lilia Tabang was named as a mere agent in the SPAs. as a whole. a court may consider the following in determining preponderance of evidence: a. It was incumbent upon respondent to prove his allegation that the supposed owners of the seven parcels are real persons. respondent merely draws conclusions from the documents which form the very basis of complainants’ own allegations and which are actually being assailed by complainants as inaccurate. Atty. As to his allegations regarding Lilia Tabang’s supposed extortion and threat and the forgery or crude duplication of his signature. and. Gacott” were mere forgeries and crude duplications of his signature. Contawi:[29] Respondent Atty. Gabor. Accordingly. At best. a. More importantly.[37] the burden of proof is vested upon the party who alleges the truth of his claim or defense or any fact in issue. .01 of the CPR. the determination that he committed the violation is sustained.”[36] Per Rule 133. and e. Legaspi:[31] The Court disbarred respondent Atty. Per Rule 131. All the facts and circumstances of the case. complainants have shown not only through Lilia Tabang’s testimony but more so through the testimonies of Dieter Heinze. disbarment should not be decreed where any punishment less severe – such as a reprimand. Respondent makes much of how Lilia Tabang could not have been the owner of the seven (7) parcels since her name does not appear on the parcels’ TCTs[39] and how he merely respected the title and ownership of the ostensible owners. respondent perfected the sales and received the proceeds of the sales – whether in cash or in kind – of the subject parcels. they remain just that – allegations. The witnesses’ interest or want of interest and also their personal credibility so far as the same may ultimately appear in the trial. respondent failed to present evidence to rebut complainant's allegations. Tandayag:[30] One of the respondents. respondent actively sought to sell or otherwise dispose of the subject parcels. Atty. he pointed out that he had filed criminal complaints against Lilia Tabang. Gutierrez[38] where a party resorts to bare denials and allegations and fails to submit evidence in support of his defense. their means and opportunity of knowing the facts to which they are testifying. b. Quite the contrary. c. b. c. Disbarment is the most severe form of disciplinary sanction. Moron:[32] Specifically. The number of witnesses.[35] “[p]reponderance of evidence means that the evidence adduced by one side is. and d. In this case. or fine – would accomplish the end desired. considering the gravity of disbarment. In Sabayle v. In contrast. and Teodoro Gallinero are particularly significant in so far as they have been made despite the fact that their interest as buyers is contrary to that of complainants’ interest as adverse claimants. was disbarred for having acknowledged a Deed of Sale in the absence of the purported vendors and for taking advantage of his position as Assistant Clerk of Court by purchasing one-half (1/2) of the land covered by said Deed of Sale knowing that the deed was fictitious. and Teodoro Gallinero that: Disbarment should never be imposed unless it is evidently clear that the lawyer.[40] Similarly.

integrity and fair dealing. Before this Court is the complaint for disbarment against Assistant Provincial Prosecutor Atty.[3] Mr. respondent deserves none of this Court’s clemency. ANTIQUE. this Court is led to no other reasonable conclusion than that respondent committed the acts of which he is accused and that he acted in a manner that is unlawful. The Case WHEREFORE.[1] On September 9. Respondent even foisted upon the IBP and this Court his duplicity by repeatedly absenting himself from the IBP’s hearings without justifiable reasons. RESPONDENT. respondent merely embarks on conjectures and ascribes motives to complainants. the court files revealed that Judge Penuela had decided Special Proceedings No. dishonest. immoral. Instead. (respondent) of San Jose. Penuela in Special Proceedings Case No. and takes part in one of the most important functions of the State – the administration of justice – as an officer of the court.”[46] Accordingly. 2013 ] ATTY. honesty. and there was no reason for him to refuse an occasion to earn income. Embido. In urging this Court to sustain him. and self-serving allegations of (1) how he could not have obtained the TCTs from Tabang as “it is a standing policy of his law office not to accept Torrens title [sic] unless it is related to a court case”[42] and because “[he] does not borrow any Torrens title from anybody and for whatever purpose. “[l]awyers are bound to maintain not only a high standard of legal proficiency. the Integrated Bar of the Philippines. and all courts in the country for their information and guidance. what is clear is that respondent failed to adduce even the slightest proof to substantiate these claims. whose petitioner was one Shirley Quioyo. COMPLAINANT.[2] Judge Penuela instructed the civil docket clerk to retrieve the records of Special Proceedings Case No.”[43] (2) how complainants could not have confronted him to demand the return of the TCTs and how he could not have told them that he lost the TCTs because “[a]s a lawyer. represented by Regional Director Atty. Ronel F. It was then discovered that the RTC had no record of Special Proceedings No. to the courts. and fair dealing required of him. FOR SAN PEDRO. Western Visayas Regional Office.respondent loses sight of the fact that it is precisely the accuracy of what the TCTs and SPAs indicate and the deception they engender that are the crux of the present controversy. and deceitful in violation of Rule 1. he is all but averse to rectifying his ways and assuaging complainants’ plight. He did so over the course of several years in a sustained and unrelenting fashion and outdid his previous wrongdoing with even greater. SALVADOR N. Salvador N. VS. PE. 084 entitledIn the Matter of the Declaration of Presumptive Death of Rey Laserna. and of threatening to defame him and to seek his disbarment after she had been refused. Let a copy of this Decision be attached to respondent's personal record as attorney. ASSISTANT PROVINCIAL PROSECUTOR. integrity. respondent would have us rely on the very documents assailed as fraudulent. October 22. Antecedent On July 7. Hunt sent a letter dated October 12. He has hardly shown any remorse. SAN JOSE. This Court has repeatedly emphasized that the practice of law is imbued with public interest and that “a lawyer owes substantial duties not only to his client. 084 entitled In the Matter of the Declaration of Presumptive Death of Rolando Austria. 1997 rendered by Judge Rafael O. Ballam Delaney Hunt. respondent ATTY. honesty. WESTERN VISAYAS. Sustituya. 6732. This evasive posturing notwithstanding. Lilia Tabang had sufficient basis to file the present Complaint and seek sanctions against respondent. 084 entitled In the Matter of the Declaration of Presumptive Death of Rey Laserna. 084 entitled In . sweeping. is DISBARRED and his name orderedSTRICKEN from the Roll of Attorneys. 49: [ A. ILOILO A lawyer who forges a court decision and represents it as that of a court of law is guilty of the gravest misconduct and deserves the supreme penalty of disbarment. the RTC received another letter from Mr. No.C. Informed that the requested decision and case records did not exist. received a written communication from Mr. Pe. Given the glaring disparity between the evidence adduced by complainants and the sheer lack of evidence adduced by respondent. [45] Rather than responding squarely to complainants’ allegations. 084 entitled In the Matter of the Declaration of Presumptive Death of Rey Laserna. GLENN C. Jr. For all his perversity. more detestable offenses.”[44] and (3) how he could not have met and talked with Lilia Tabang for the engagement of his services only to refuse Lilia Tabang because legal practice constituted his livelihood. REGIONAL OFFICE (NBIWEVRO). reiterating the request for a copy of the decision in Special Proceedings Case No. whose petitioner was one Serena Catin Austria. Let copies of this Decision be served on the Office of the Bar Confidant. He accuses Lilia Tabang of demanding a “balato” of twenty percent (20%) from the proceeds of the sale of the seven parcels. 2004. 084 wherein Shirley Quioyo was the petitioner. Clerk of Court of the RTC. thus inviting the Court to be a party in delaying complainants’ cause. Quite the contrary. having clearly violated the Canons of Professional Responsibility through his unlawful. Antique for his having allegedly falsified an inexistent decision of Branch 64 of the Regional Trial Court stationed in Bugasong. Oscar L. and to the nation. dishonest. From all indications. [he] always respects and recognizes the right of an owner to keep in his custody or possession any of his properties of value..”[47] CITY. OSCAR L. From how he has conducted himself in these proceedings. Hunt. a Solicitor in the United Kingdom (UK). EMBIDO. Atty. REGIONAL DIRECTOR. GACOTT. but also of morality. He also vexed this Court to admit his Appeal despite his own failure to comply with the much extended period given to him. The letter requested a copy of the decision dated February 12. NATIONAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION. but also to his brethren in the profession. Respondent has fallen dismally and disturbingly short of the high standard of morality. he employed his knowledge and skill of the law as well as took advantage of the credulity of petitioners to secure undue gains for himself and to inflict serious damage on others. SO ORDERED. all that respondent can come up with are generic.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. ATTY. Antique (RTC) instituted by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI). 2004 attaching a machine copy of the purported decision in Special Proceedings No. 2004. and deceitful conduct. JR. Apart from these.

Manila. the IBP Investigating Commissioner. XVII-2007-063. 2004 letter was a falsified court document. Quisumbing. 2005. Antique. had previously resorted to people on Recto Avenue in Manila to solve his documentation problems as an OFW. the Court resolved: (1) to treat the respondent’s comment/opposition as his appeal by petition for review. there is no plausible reason why Dy Quioyo and his sister. with a recommendation that the respondent be prosecuted for falsification of public document under Article 171. The respondent’s main defense consisted in blanket denial of the imputation.00 from Dy Quioyo for the falsified decision. 2008. 084 entitled In the Matter of the Declaration of Presumptive Death of Rey Laserna for a fee of P60. with Shirley Quioyo as the petitioner. The allegations against the respondent were substantially corroborated by Mary Rose Quioyo. 2011. and recommended his suspension from the practice of law for one year. that he had given advice on the pertinent laws involved and the different grounds for the annulment of marriage. he should have made this known in the investigation. Jr. and that he had also learned from Atty. Hunt to apprise him of the situation. If his side of the story were true. XVIII2008-709[21] denying the respondent’s motion for reconsideration and affirming Resolution No.00. Mary Rose Quioyo would falsely implicate him in this incident. and claimed that the falsification had been the handiwork of Dy Quioyo. 2005. Florencia Jalipa. Indeed. On January 11. executed an affidavit on March 4. His story therefore appears to have been a mere afterthought. that Dy Quioyo. if the decision was obtained in Recto. the IBP Board of Governors passed Resolution No. the Court issued its resolution[16] treating the respondent’s counter-affidavit as his comment. to the effect that her late husband. Velasco. the NBI forwarded to the Office of the Ombudsman for Visayas the records of the investigation. Finally. After conducting its investigation. with Serena Catin Austria as the petitioner. She concluded that the respondent had forged the purported decision of Judge Penuela by making it appear that Special Proceedings No. Dy Quioyo had gone back to him to present a copy of what appeared to be a court decision. Judge Penuela wrote Mr. had executed a sworn statement before Police Investigator Herminio Dayrit with the assistance of Atty. the report and recommendation of the Investigating Commissioner by suspending the respondent from the practice of law for six years. He insisted that he had had no hand in the falsification.[15] except for the names and dates? Respondent failed to explain this. (3) to require the respondent to file a reply to the complainant’s comment within 10 days from notice. (now a Member of the Court) officially endorsed the recommendation to the Office of the Bar Confidant.[4] After comparing the two documents and ascertaining that the document attached to the October 12.[10] The NBI likewise recommended to the Office of the Court Administrator that disbarment proceedings be commenced against the respondent. XVII-2007-063 dated February 1.[11] Then Court Administrator Presbitero J. On December 11. the respondent was guilty of grave misconduct for falsifying a court decision in consideration of a sum of money. Ruling We affirm the findings of the IBP Board of Governors. a brother of Shirley Quioyo. [13] whereby he denied any participation in the falsification. when in truth and in fact the proceedings related to the petition for declaration of presumptive death of Rolando Austria. 2006. 2007.[5] The discovery of the falsified decision prompted the Clerk of Court to communicate on the situation in writing to the NBI. Manuel Jalipa. in an affidavit dated March 20. a sister of Shirley Quioyo. an overseas Filipino worker (OFW).000. Dy Quioyo. respondent did not attend the NBI investigation and merely invoked his right to remain silent. The NBI also issued subpoenas to Shirley Quioyo and Dy Quioyo but only the latter appeared and gave his sworn statement. He insisted that Dy Quioyo had sought his opinion on Shirley’s petition for the annulment of her marriage. Secondly. Such a contention is hard to believe. of the Revised Penal Code. and (4) to direct the IBP to transmit the original records of the case within 15 days from notice. Jr.[6] In the meanwhile. the respondent submitted his counter-affidavit. the respondent’s denial and his implication against Dy Quioyo in the illicit . with modification.[7] wherein he stated that it was the respondent who had facilitated the issuance of the falsified decision in Special Proceedings No. hinting that Dy Quioyo had a history of employing unscrupulous means to achieve his ends. that he had advised Dy Quioyo that the falsified decision would not hold up in an investigation. He implied that Dy Quioyo had resorted to the shady characters in Recto Avenue in Manila to resolve the problems he had encountered as an OFW.[19] Thereafter.[8] The NBI invited the respondent to explain his side.000. 084 concerned a petition for declaration of presumptive death of Rey Laserna.[20] the IBP Board of Governors adopted and approved. In the first place. The IBP’s Report and Recommendation In a report and recommendation dated June 14. that one Mrs. and for violation of Section 3(a) of Republic Act 3019 (The Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act).[18] and that the respondent had received P60. She rationalized her conclusions thusly: Respondent’s denials are not worthy of merit. Angeles Orquia. However. and referred the case to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) for investigation. Bugasong. found the respondent guilty of serious misconduct and violations of the Attorney’s Oath andCode of Professional Responsibility. Orquia. Respondent contends that it was one Manuel Jalipa (deceased) who facilitated the issuance and as proof thereof. he presented the sworn statement of the widow of Florencia Jalipa (sic). why was it an almost verbatim reproduction of the authentic decision on file in Judge Penuela’s branch In its Resolution No. The IBP Board of Governors then forwarded the case to the Court in accordance with Section 12(b). triggering the investigation of the falsification. had been responsible for making the falsified document at the instance of Dy Quioyo. (2) to consider the complainant’s reply as his comment on the petition for review. report and recommendation. Rule 139-B[22] of the Rules of Court.[12] Upon being required by the Court. Lolita A. Jr.[17] Atty. 1 and 2. that in June 2004. a resident of Igbalangao.the Matter of the Declaration of Presumptive Death of Rey Laserna that had been presented by Shirley Quioyo in court proceedings in the UK.[9] but he invoked his constitutional right to remain silent.[14] that Dy Quioyo had then admitted to him that he had caused the falsification of the decision.

and DISBARS him effective upon receipt of this decision. the imputation of wrongdoing against Dy Quioyo lacked credible specifics and did not command credence. the respondent was guilty of grave misconduct for having authored the falsification of the decision in a nonexistent court proceeding. after appropriate proceedings. PE. through the en banc resolution of May 10. the Court FINDS AND PRONOUNCES ASST. for the sworn statement of the wife was rendered unreliable due to its patently hearsay character. which by nature was positive evidence. guilty of violating Rule 1.[1] Complainant Maria Victoria B. PROVINCIAL PROSECUTOR SALVADOR N.[27] Verily. honesty.generation of the falsified decision are not persuasive. VENTURA executed a Sworn Statement dated 19 April 2002 and a Supplemental-Complaint dated 10 May 2002 stating therein that the crime of RAPE was committed against her person sometime in December. [26] The Court will not hesitate to wield its heavy hand of discipline on those among them who wittingly and willingly fail to meet the enduring demands of their Attorney’s Oath for them to: No lawyer should ever lose sight of the verity that the practice of the legal profession is always a privilege that the Court extends only to the deserving. 2012 ] MARIA VICTORIA B. The herein Complainant MARIA VICTORIA B. PROVINCIAL PROSECUTOR SALVADOR N. ATTY. and that the Court may withdraw or deny the privilege to him who fails to observe and respect the Lawyer’s Oath and the canons of ethical conduct in his professional and private capacities. complainant alleged that 2. conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude. DANILO S. nor shall he whether in public or private life. PE. COMPLAINANT.” In her complaint. SO ORDERED. PE. married to Teresita B. VENTURA. integrity and fair dealing. 2005. nor consent to the doing of any in court. Rule 7. x x x support [the] Constitution and obey the laws as well as the legal orders of the duly constituted authorities therein. But such reliance was outrightly worthless.[28] The test is whether the conduct shows the lawyer to be wanting in moral character.” Lawyers are further required by Rule 1. Needless to state.[23] Also. The respondent relied on the sworn statement supposedly executed by Mrs. given the purpose of the falsification. Lawyers are at all times subject to the watchful public eye and community approbation. 9608. but also for gross misconduct not directly connected with his professional duties that reveal his unfitness for the office and his unworthiness of the principles that the privilege to practice law confers upon him. Canon 7 of the Code of Professional Responsibility demands that all lawyers should uphold at all times the dignity and integrity of the Legal Profession. JR.03 of the Code of Professional Responsibility states that “a lawyer shall not engage in conduct that adversely reflects on his fitness to practice law. dishonest and immoral or deceitful conduct. Worse. the deliberate falsification of the court decision by the respondent was an act that reflected a high degree of moral turpitude on his part. and x x x conduct [themselves as lawyers] according to the best of [their] knowledge and discretion with all good fidelity as well to the courts as to [their] clients x x x.C. nor give aid nor consent to the same. RESPONDENT. Let copies of this decision be furnished to the Office of the Bar Confidant.  50: [ A. VS. . Ventura filed on July 29. which by nature was negative evidence. from the Roll of Attorneys.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility not to engage in any unlawful. It then becomes timely to remind all members of the Philippine Bar that they should do nothing that may in any way or degree lessen the confidence of the public in their professional fidelity and integrity. or fraudulent transactions can justify a lawyer’s disbarment or suspension from the practice of law. The Court DIRECTS the Bar Confidant to remove the name of ASST. Danilo S. JR. It is worthy to note. No. and Rule 7.[25] Specifically. no lawyer is immune from the disciplinary authority of the Court whose duty and obligation are to investigate and punish lawyer misconduct committed either in a professional or private capacity. false or unlawful suit. In light of the established circumstances. November 27.[29] WHEREFORE. x x x not wittingly or willingly promote or sue on groundless. that the respondent filed his counter-affidavit only after the Court. probity. 084. had required him to comment. The Court has often reminded members of the bar to live up to the standards and norms of the legal profession by upholding the ideals and principles embodied in the Code of Professional Responsibility. 2004 a Complaint[2] for Disbarment or Suspension before the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) Commission on Bar Discipline against respondent Atty. JR. which was to mislead a foreign tribunal on the personal status of a person. He thereby became unworthy of continuing as a member of the Bar. Jalipa that declared that her deceased husband had been instrumental in the falsification of the forged decision. behave in a scandalous manner to the discredit of the legal profession. those whose conduct – both public and private – fail this scrutiny have to be disciplined and. xxx do no falsehood. Gross immorality.01 of Canon 1. In addition. too. SAMSON. and to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines. and whether the conduct renders the lawyer unworthy to continue as an officer of the Court. PROVINCIAL PROSECUTOR SALVADOR N. DANILO S. honesty.03 of Canon 7 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. the unworthiness of the sworn statement as proof of authorship of the falsification by the husband is immediately exposed and betrayed by the falsified decision being an almost verbatim reproduction of the authentic decision penned by Judge Penuela in the real Special Proceedings Case No. This decision is without prejudice to any pending or contemplated proceedings to be initiated against ASST.[24] The belatedness of his response exposed his blanket denial as nothing more than an afterthought. but also of morality. Samson for “grossly immoral conduct. Dy Quioyo’s categorical declaration on the respondent’s personal responsibility for the falsified decision. He may be disbarred or suspended from the practice of law not only for acts and omissions of malpractice and for dishonesty in his professional dealings. Lawyers are bound to maintain not only a high standard of legal proficiency. the act made a mockery of the administration of justice in this country. 2001 and on 19 March 2002 when she was merely thirteen (13) years of age by herein Respondent ATTY. and good demeanor. x x x delay no man for money or malice. the Office of the Court Administrator for dissemination to all courts of the country. then thirty eight (38) years old. accordingly penalized. SAMSON. was not overcome by the respondent’s blanket denial.

the latter made good her threats and filed the criminal case for Rape.000. respondent dragged her to a dilapidated shack. she was awakened when respondent went on top of her. by way of a PETITION FOR REVIEW. respondent gave her five hundred pesos and warned her not to tell anyone what had happened or he would kill her and her mother. He alleged therein that complainant usually stayed late at night with her male friends when her mother was out of the house. Respondent. Respondent did not come across with Corazon Ventura. Respondent asked her to go with him to the farm. VENTURA as hereinbefore stated clearly constitute … “grossly immoral conduct” under Section 27 of Rule 138 of the Rules of Court of the Philippines which provides for a penalty of “DISBARMENT or SUSPENSION of an Attorney by the SUPREME COURT. and succeeded in having sexual intercourse with her. Thereafter. 6. San Francisco. VENTURA and himself…. DANILO S. 5. She stated that another incident happened on March 19. Complainant also claimed that on March 19. Agusan del Sur. 6. [sic] When the case [for] rape did not prosper because the Prosecutor dropped the Rape Case. And Corazon Ventura can afford to utilize Maria Victoria Ventura as her instrument in putting down the respondent herein because Maria Victoria Ventura is not her biological daughter and she knows before hand that her ward has a questionable reputation. The filing of the Criminal Case against respondent as well as this Administrative Case is a well orchestrated and planned act of Corazon Ventura as vengeance against respondent as a result of her separation from the employment in the Law Office of the respondent. This is supported by the Affidavit of Patronio Punayan. Corazon Ventura [sent word] to respondent that she is amenable for the amount of P400. Agusan Del Sur. Samson against the herein ComplainantMARIA VICTORIA B. Jr. Respondent has not violated any grounds mentioned in this rule. She further stated that on the night she was sexually abused. she was sleeping in the maid’s room at respondent’s house when respondent entered and went on top of her. Respondent alleged in his Answer[5] that 2. the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor of Agusan Del Sur. the herein Complainant filed a MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION dated 26 August 2002 which was denied in the RESOLUTION dated 02 October 2002 of the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor of Agusan Del Sur…. Complainant told him that they wanted to go out to swim but they did not have money. he gave her . sucked her breast. In her Supplemental-Complaint. between 5:00 p.” Complainant narrated in her Sworn Statement[3] that sometime in December 2001. Respondent kissed her lips. Having sex with complainant once with just compensation does not amount to immoral conduct…. Philippines issued a RESOLUTION dated 10 June 2002 dismissing the charge of RAPE and finding the existence of probable cause for the crime of QUALIFIED SEDUCTION and issued the corresponding INFORMATION for QUALIFIED SEDUCTION on 04 July 2002…. respondent forced her to ride a multi-cab. He claimed that he heard rumors that complainant had sexual affairs with different boys. When they arrived at his poultry farm in Alegria. Danilo S. The act/s committed by the herein Respondent Atty. and is pending resolution by the Department of Justice. She felt pain and found blood stain in her panty. but respondent covered her mouth and nobody could hear as nobody was in the house. After the conduct of preliminary investigation.[4] complainant averred that respondent allowed her to sleep in his house after her mother agreed to let her stay there while she studied at the Agusan National High School. Respondent respectfully submits that his having sex with complainant with just compensation once does not amount to immoral conduct. Complainant is a woman of loose moral character. She resisted his advances but her efforts proved futile. 7.m. has no knowledge or information as to the truth of the allegation that she was 13 years…. 5414…. 9. Respondent respectfully submit[s] that his act of having sex with complainant once does not constitute … gross[ly] immoral conduct. The said Corazon Ventura entertained hatred and [had a grudge] against the herein respondent who terminated her services due to misunderstanding…. Respondent narrated that on March 19.000. In his Counter-Affidavit. 2002. 5. however. 4. Philippines…. To show that Corazon Ventura desires to get back [at] respondent.00[.000. For who among men will not yield to temptation when a woman shall invite him for sex? Attached to respondent’s Answer is his Counter-Affidavit[6] which he submitted to the Provincial Prosecutor. 8. The aforesaid RESOLUTION dated 02 October 2002 was elevated to [the Department of Justice]. which is hereto attached as Annex “3”. he saw complainant with some of her classmates near their rented house. SAMSON admitted that sexual intercourse indeed transpired between the herein Complainant MARIA VICTORIA B.Samson. Respondent admits the allegations in paragraph 2 of the complaint to the effect that Maria Victoria Ventura filed a complaint against him for Rape at the Provincial Prosecutor’s Office with qualification that the said complaint for Rape was dismissed. Thereafter. In effect. The fact [that] Corazon Ventura is not the biological mother of Maria Victoria Ventura is shown by the pre-trial order in Criminal Case No. at around midnight. she demanded from respondent to settle with her and demanded the payment of the amount [of] P2. Respondent vehemently denies the truth of the allegations in paragraph 8 of the complaint to the effect that the acts of respondent in having sex with complainant constitute … grossly immoral conduct. He brought her to an old shanty where he sexually abused her. 2002 at respondent’s poultry farm in Alegria. The truth is that [the] act of respondent in having sex with complainant was done [with] mutual agreement after respondent gave money to complainant. to 6:00 pm. herein Respondent ATTY.] otherwise she will file a case against him in Court for Rape and for disbarment. 3. There is no human law that punishes a person who [has] sex with a woman with mutual agreement and complainant [accepts] compensation therefore. The complaint is instigated by Corazon Ventura who was an employee at the Law Office of respondent herein. 8. Filipino and resident of Barangay 5.00. This claim is supported by the Affidavit of Natividad Ruluna. Corazon Ventura wanted to extort from respondent so that she [can] get even with him and his wife for separating her from the employment. 2002. When she asked if he could spare some amount. the former Office Clerk at the Law Office of respondent…. She struggled to free herself and shouted. San Francisco.

03. Moreover. respondent and his wife was victim’s guardians and for being a married man. behave in a scandalous manner to the discredit of the legal profession.A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful. Branch 6. On November 10.[7] The charge of rape. and since this is the first time he has been found administratively liable. The pertinent provisions in the Code of Professional Responsibility provide: CANON 1 . the IBP Commission on Bar Discipline recommended that respondent be suspended for a period of one year from the practice of law for immorality with the warning that repetition of the same or similar act will merit a more severe penalty. . to wit: RESOLVED to ADOPT and APPROVE. [15] Consequently.A lawyer shall not engage in conduct that adversely reflects on his fitness to practice law. immoral or deceitful conduct. he is entitled to a reduction of the penalty to one year suspension from the practice of law. Thus. is sufficient to warrant suspension or disbarment. She casually walked towards the car and boarded it.[17] From the undisputed facts gathered from the evidence and the admissions of . any errant behavior on the part of a lawyer. He alleged that she accepted the money he gave because she needed to buy some things but her mother did not give her any allowance.. Likewise. be it in the lawyer’s public or private activities. It is the bounden duty of members of the bar to observe the highest degree of morality in order to safeguard the integrity of the Bar. the victim is a minor. 2007. Rule 1. It likewise appears that the Investigating Prosecutors found that probable cause exists for respondent to stand trial for qualified seduction. flagrant. and considering that respondent is found guilty of immorality. Respondent insisted that what happened between them was the first and the last incident. dishonest. herein made part of this Resolution as Annex “A”. He just thought that for complainant. and he was surprised when she agreed. An Information was filed with the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Agusan del Sur. The farm worker agreed and they went straight to the hut. complainant filed a petition for review with the Department of Justice (DOJ). whether in public or private life.money. He told her not to tell anyone about what had happened. complainant prays that the penalty of disbarment be imposed. Castillo. Samson is hereby SUSPENDED from the practice of law for five (5) years with Stern Warning that repetition of the same or similar act in the future will be dealt with more severely. He also took advantage of his moral ascendancy over complainant considering that she was then staying at respondent’s residence. the criminal case against respondent was dismissed. . honesty. She contends that respondent committed grossly immoral conduct by forcing himself to have sexual intercourse with a young and innocent lass of 13 years of age. complainant was not under their custody. nor shall he. respondent also filed a Motion for Reconsideration[13] of the IBP Resolution. the Report and Recommendation of the Investigating Commissioner of the aboveentitled case. He told her in jest that he wanted to see her that afternoon and go to a place where they could be alone. Respondent did not notice any involuntariness on her part as she undressed herself. Accordingly. on December 14. as it is hereby unanimously ADOPTED and APPROVED with modification.[12] Meanwhile. [14] the possession of good moral character is both a condition precedent and a continuing requirement to warrant admission to the bar and to retain membership in the legal profession. she’s not crazy as to tell anyone. Danilo S. Then. Thereafter. She argues that the penalty imposed by the IBP is not commensurate to the gravity and depravity of the offense. or so unprincipled as to be reprehensible to a high degree. Immoral conduct involves acts that are willful.[16] Immoral conduct is gross when it is so corrupt as to constitute a criminal act.[11] Complainant now moves to reconsider the IBP Resolution. Atty. filed a motion for reconsideration. However. finding the recommendation fully supported by the evidence on record and the applicable laws and rules. and that show a moral indifference to the opinion of the upright and respectable members of the community. complainant and her mother appeared before the public prosecutor and executed their respective Affidavits of Desistance. probity or good demeanor. or shameless. the Board of Governors of the IBP issued Resolution No. Upon reaching his poultry farm. to which she replied “natural buang kay motug-an” meaning. respondent met his farm worker and asked him if he could use the latter’s hut. she was withdrawing the complaint she filed against respondent before the RTC as well as the one she filed before the IBP Commission on Bar Discipline. the complainant dressed up and walked back to the multi-cab where she waited for him. sex is a common thing despite her age. which tends to show said lawyer deficient in moral character. He told her that they will not check in a lodging house because people might recognize him. She insists that this detestable behavior renders respondent unfit and undeserving of the honor and privilege which his license confers upon him. there was a betrayal of the marital vow of fidelity considering that respondent was a married man. 2006. He asserted that they had sexual intercourse based on their mutual understanding. CANON 7 . he fetched complainant at her house. however. At around 5:00 p.[8] Complainant stated that what happened between respondent and her in March 2002 was based on mutual understanding. Rule 7.m. and. but complainant who was not satisfied with the dismissal of the rape charge. during the sexual encounter.A LAWYER SHALL AT ALL TIMES UPHOLD THE INTEGRITY AND DIGNITY OF THE LEGAL PROFESSION AND SUPPORT THE ACTIVITIES OF THE INTEGRATED BAR. When said motion was denied.A LAWYER SHALL UPHOLD THE CONSTITUTION. 2007. Thus. He claimed that he was able to confirm that complainant is no longer a virgin. As we explained in Zaguirre v. XVIII-2007-237.[9] In its Report and Recommendation[10] dated October 10. He further stresses that because of his admission and remorse.01. He asserts that complainant has not presented any proof of her minority. OBEY THE LAWS OF THE LAND AND PROMOTE RESPECT FOR LAW AND LEGAL PROCESSES. complainant did not hesitate in entering the room. was dismissed for insufficiency of evidence. He contends that complainant’s mother even testified that her daughter stayed at respondent’s house only until February 2002. Inside the farm worker’s hut. the DOJ sustained the findings of the prosecutor. or when committed under such scandalous or revolting circumstances as to shock the community’s sense of decency.

[24] In this case. in Dumadag v. All these could not but put the legal profession in disrepute and place the integrity of the administration of justice in peril. which makes a mockery of the inviolable social institution of marriage. maintenance of the highest degree of morality and faithful compliance with the rules of the legal profession are the conditions required for remaining a member of good standing of the bar and for enjoying the privilege to practice law. . SO ORDERED. Supreme Court of the Philippines. Complainant’s Affidavit of Desistance cannot have the effect of abating the instant proceedings in view of the public service character of the practice of law and the nature of disbarment proceedings as a public interest concern. his moral indifference to sexual exploitation of a minor. and his outright defiance of established norms. then a 13-year-old minor. disbarment should never be decreed. which shows him to be wanting in moral character. Respondent clearly committed a disgraceful. It bears to stress that membership in the Bar is a privilege burdened with conditions.[20] Likewise. hence the need for strict but appropriate disciplinary action. Whether the sexual encounter between the respondent and complainant was or was not with the latter’s consent is of no moment. In Cordova v. A case of suspension or disbarment is sui generis and not meant to grant relief to a complainant as in a civil case. Let a copy of this Decision. Section 27. whether in his professional or private capacity. Moreover. Indeed. any deceit.[26] However. Cabanting[21] that a lawyer may be disbarred for any misconduct. Such conduct is a transgression of the standards of morality required of the legal profession and should be disciplined accordingly. but is intended to cleanse the ranks of the legal profession of its undesirable members in order to protect the public and the courts. the daughter of his former employee. where a lesser penalty. his act of having carnal knowledge of a woman other than his wife manifests his disrespect for the laws on the sanctity of marriage and his own marital vow of fidelity. we find that respondent’s act of engaging in sex with a young lass. it was held in Maligsa v. respondent Atty. grossly immoral conduct. Rule 1. As a privilege bestowed by law through the Supreme Court. probity and good demeanor or unworthy to continue as an officer of the court.[19] who for a time was under respondent’s care.01 and Canon 7. Rule 7. membership in the Bar can be withdrawn where circumstances concretely show the lawyer’s lack of the essential qualifications required of lawyers. And let copies of the Decision be furnished the Integrated Bar of the Philippines and circulated to all courts.[25] The Court is mindful of the dictum that the power to disbar must be exercised with great caution. which is immediately executory. and Violation of Canon 1. such as temporary suspension.03 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. The fact that complainant filed an Affidavit of Desistance during the pendency of this case is of no moment. Respondent has violated the trust and confidence reposed on him by complainant. A disbarment case is not an investigation into the acts of respondent but on his conduct as an officer of the court and his fitness to continue as a member of the Bar.[27] WHEREFORE. Respondent not only admitted he had sexual intercourse with complainant but also showed no remorse whatsoever when he asserted that he did nothing wrong because she allegedly agreed and he even gave her money. depending on the circumstances. in the present case. Danilo S.[23] Illicit sexual relations have been previously punished with disbarment. Cordova. Samson is hereby DISBARRED for Gross Immoral Conduct. grossly immoral and highly reprehensible act. the fact that he procured the act by enticing a very young woman with money showed his utmost moral depravity and low regard for the dignity of the human person and the ethics of his profession.respondent himself. Adherence to the rigid standards of mental fitness.[18] we held that the moral delinquency that affects the fitness of a member of the bar to continue as such includes conduct that outrages the generally accepted moral standards of the community. conduct for instance. Lumaya. or violation of the oath that he is required to take before admission to the practice of law. Thus. among others. Violation of his oath of office. Rule 138 of the Rules of Court expressly states that a member of the bar may be disbarred or suspended from his office as attorney by the Supreme Court for. Similarly. be made part of the records of respondent in the Office of the Bar Confidant. constitutes gross immoral conduct that warrants sanction.[22] the Court pronounced: The practice of law is a privilege burdened with conditions. could accomplish the end desired. in honesty. This Decision takes effect immediately. the seriousness of the offense compels the Court to wield its power to disbar as it appears to be the most appropriate penalty. respondent’s gross misbehavior and unrepentant demeanor clearly shows a serious flaw in his character. indefinite or definite suspension. and only in a clear case of misconduct that seriously affects the standing and character of the lawyer as an officer of the Court and as a member of the bar.