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[A.M. No.1608]
[August 14, 1981]

Duty to Society - Respect for law and legal processes

PETITIONER: Magdalena Arciga

Segundino Maniwang
Aquino, J. (2nd Div)
<RA #: Law>
Sec. 1. xxx (no need to include in the written digest)
Oct 1970: petitioner (CIM med tech student) & respondent (USJR law student) met &
became bf/gf in Cebu
Jan 1971: petitioner refused to have a tryst with respondent in a motel, so he stopped
visiting her
Feb 1971: they met again in a valentines party, renewed their relationship, & had sex in
her boarding house
o When he asked why she didnt want to have sex before, she joked that she was in
love with another and had a child with yet another man
o Respondent replied that, even if that were true, it did not matter because he
loved her very much
They repeated their acts of cohabitation and respondent started telling others that they
were secretly married
1972: respondent transferred to Padada, Davao del Sur, where he continued his studies
o Petitioner remained in Cebu, from which she sent him love letters and telegrams
Jan 1973: respondent discovered that she was pregnant.
o They went to her hometown in Ivisan, Capiz to tell her parents that they were
married (not true).
o He convinced her father to defer the church wedding to after the Bar exam and
prepared his birth certificate for the purpose of obtaining a marriage license
Respondent continued sending letters to petitioner, expressing his love and concern for
the baby and reassuring her several times that he would marry her once he passed the
Sept 4, 1973: their child was born. Respondent was not present then, but he did attend
the baptism in Dec.
1975: respondent was admitted to the bar. Petitioner was present during the oath taking.
after this, he stopped corresponding
Jul 1975: Fearing something was wrong, petitioner went to Davao where respondent told
her that they couldnt get married because they lacked the money.
Nov 1975: Respondent married Erlinda Ang
Dec 1975: she went to Davao again but failed to see respondent, who was then in
o She went to Bukidnon, where he told her that they couldnt get married since he
was already wed
o Heartbroken, petitioner went to Davao and confronted Erlinda
o Respondent followed her there and physically hurt her for confronting his wife
o She reported the assault to the Commander of the Padada Police and was treated
in a hospital

Feb 24, 1976: Petitioner sought the disbarment of respondent on the ground of grossly
immoral conduct (refused to fulfill his promise of marriage to her)
Respondents arguments
o Admitted to his relationship with petitioner, that he was the father of their child,
and that he promised to marry her
o Explained that he refused to marry her due to her shady past (accused in court of
oral defamation and already had an illegitimate child before their child was born)
Sol Gen sided with him: cohabitation & non-fulfillment of promise to marry doesnt
warrant disbarment

ISSUE:WON respondents acts warrant his disbarment

No, it does not. Petition DISMISSED.
On good moral character
o a sine qua non (indispensable requisite) for admission to the bar
o continued possession of it is also a requisite for retaining membership in the legal
On disbarment
o Membership in the bar may be terminated when a lawyer ceases to have good
moral character
o A lawyer may be disbarred for grossly immoral conduct, or by reason of his
conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude"
IMMORAL CONDUCT has been defined as "that conduct which is willful,
flagrant, or shameless, and which shows a moral indifference to the
opinion of the good and respectable members of the community"
Examples of Successful Disbarment Cases:
Had carnal knowledge of another under promise of marriage, which
he refused to fulfill despite the birth of a child as consequence of
their sexual acts. During her pregnancy, he urged her to take pills
to hasten the flow of her menstruation and tried (but failed) to
convince her to have an abortion. He married another woman.
Lawyer made her believe that they were married in the Manila City
Hall, and, after such fake marriage, they cohabited and she later
give birth to their child
lawyer abandoned his wife and cohabited with another woman who
bore his child
lived off her bounty and allowed her to spend for his schooling and
other personal necessities, under promise of a marriage. He
married another as soon as he had finished his studies, keeping his
marriage a secret while continuing to demand money from her.
Upon discovery, he persuaded her to resume their relationship
misrepresented that he was single, made a promise of marriage,
and succeeded in having sex with her. He faked a marriage
between Josefina and his own son. He still wrote love letters to
had a 15-year adulterous relationship with a married woman
separated from her husband, then seduced her 18 y.o. niece who
begot a child
When a lawyer's conduct may not be in consonance with the canons of ethics, yet he is
not subject to disciplinary action
o his misbehavior or deviation from the path of rectitude is not glaringly scandalous

WON a lawyer's sexual congress with a woman not his wife or without the benefit
of marriage should be characterized as "grossly immoral conduct," will depend on
the surrounding circumstances
This case is similar to Soberano v. Villanueva
o Soberano: Villanueva had frequent sex with Soberano before his admission to the
bar in 1954. She wrote to him in 1950 and 1951 several letters making reference
to their trysts in hotels, one of which contained expressions of vulgar nature,
which imparts the firm conviction that, because of the close intimacy between the
parties, she felt no restraint whatsoever in writing to him with impudicity. 2
children were born as a consequence of her long intimacy with the respondent.
SC: respondent's refusal to marry petitioner was not so corrupt nor unprincipled as to
warrant disbarment