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CASE

DIGESTS:

1. JOSE ALLAN TAN, Complainant, vs PEDRO S. DIAMANTE, Respondent.


A.C. No. 7766, August 5, 2014
Facts:
This is an administrative case filed by Jose Allan Tan against his lawyer Pedro
Diamante. Complainant 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. Respondent accepted the engagement however the case
was dismissed. Respondent knew of the dismissal as early as August 14, 2007 but
complainant was only informed of such fact on August 24, 2007. Respondent
allegedly asked for the amount of P10, 000.00 for the payment of appeal fees and
other costs, but since complainant could not produce the said amount at that time,
respondent, instead, asked and was given the amount of P500.00 purportedly as
payment of the reservation fee for the filing of a notice of appeal before the RTC. On
September 12, 2007, Tan handed the amount of P10, 000.00 to respondent, who on
even date, filed a notice of appeal before the RTC.
In an Order dated September 18, 2007, the RTC dismissed complainants appeal for
having been filed out of the time prescribed. Respondent, however, did not disclose
such fact and, instead, showed complainant an Order dated November 9, 2007
purportedly issued by the RTC directing the submission of the results of a DNA
testing to prove his filiation to the late Luis Tan. When complainant went to the RTC
to follow up his case, it was then that he discovered that the November 9, 2007
Order was spurious, as certified by the RTCs Clerk of Court. Complainant also found
out that, contrary to the representations of respondent, his appeal had long been
dismissed. Aggrieved, he filed the instant administrative complaint for disbarment
against respondent.
Issue:
Whether or not respondent should be held administratively liable for violating the
CPR
Held:
Yes. Under Rule 18.04, Canon 18 of the CPR, it is the lawyers duty to keep his client
constantly updated on the developments of his case as it is crucial in maintaining
the latters confidence. A lawyers inexcusable neglect to serve his clients interests
with utmost diligence and competence as well as his engaging in unlawful,
dishonest, and deceitful conduct in order to conceal such neglect should never be
countenanced, and thus, administratively sanctioned.
Respondent committed acts of falsification in order to misrepresent to his client, i.e.,
complainant, that he still had an available remedy in his case, when in reality, his
case had long been dismissed for failure to timely file an appeal, thus, causing
undue prejudice to the latter. To the Court, respondents acts are so reprehensible,

and his violations of the CPR are so flagrant, exhibiting his moral unfitness and
inability to discharge his duties as a member of the bar. His actions erode rather
than enhance the public perception of the legal profession. Therefore, in view of the
totality of his violations, as well as the damage and prejudice caused to his client,
respondent deserves the ultimate punishment of disbarment .

2. ELPIDIO TIONG, Complainant, vs GEORGE M. FLORENDO, Respondent


A.C. No. 4428, December 12, 2011
Facts:
Complainant Elpidio P. Tiong, an American Citizen, and his wife, Ma. Elena T. Tiong,
are real estate lessors in Baguio City. In 1991, they engaged the services of
respondent Atty. George M. Florendo not only as legal counsel but also as
administrator of their businesses.
Complainant suspected that respondent was having an affair with the formers wife.
His suspicions were affirmed when he heard the two talking on the phone and
saying I love you. He asked his wife if they were having an affair which the latter
denied but subsequently admitted. The parties met again at the Mandarin
Restaurant in Baguio City and, in the presence of a Notary Public, Atty. Liberato
Tadeo, respondent and Ma. Elena executed and signed an affidavit attesting to their
illicit relationship and seeking their respective spouses' forgiveness.
Despite this, complainant filed an administrative complaint for disbarment against
respondent.
Issue:
Whether the pardon extended by complainant in the Affidavit is sufficient to warrant
the dismissal of the present disbarment case against respondent for gross immoral
conduct.
Held:
No. It has been consistently held by the Court that possession of good moral
character is not only a condition for admission to the Bar but is a continuing
requirement to maintain one's good standing in the legal profession. It is the
bounden duty of law practitioners to observe the highest degree of morality in order
to safeguard the integrity of the Bar.9 Consequently, any errant behaviour on the
part of a lawyer, be it in his public or private activities, which tends to show him
deficient in moral character, honesty, probity or good demeanor, is sufficient to
warrant his suspension or disbarment.
In this case, respondent admitted his illicit relationship with a married woman not
his wife, and worse, that of his client. Contrary to respondent's claim, their
consortium cannot be classified as a mere "moment of indiscretion"10 considering
that it lasted for two (2) years and was only aborted when complainant overheard
their amorous phone conversation.

It bears to stress that a case of suspension or disbarment is sui generis and not
meant to grant relief to a complainant as in a civil case but is intended to cleanse
the ranks of the legal profession of its undesirable members in order to protect the
public and the courts. It is not an investigation into the acts of respondent as a
husband but on his conduct as an officer of the Court and his fitness to continue as
a member of the Bar.15 Hence, the Affidavit dated March 15, 1995, which is akin to
an affidavit of desistance, cannot have the effect of abating the instant proceedings.

3. MELVYN
G.
GARCIA, Complainant, vs.
ATTY.
SESBRENO, Respondent
A.C. No. 7973 and A.C. No. 10457, February 3, 2015

RAUL

H.

Facts:
Respondents services was availed of by the complainants children in an action for
support. Complainant claims that respondent cannot practice law because he was
convicted of the crime of homicide. A crime complainant claims to be one involving
moral turpitude.
Respondent on the other hand claims that his sentence was commuted and the
phrase "with the inherent accessory penalties provided by law" was deleted. He
argued that even if the accessory penalty was not deleted, the disqualification
applies only during the term of the sentence. He further alleged that homicide does
not involve moral turpitude.
Issue:
Whether or not homicide is a crime involving moral turpitude
Held:
In this case yes. Section 27, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court states that a member of
the bar may be disbarred or suspended as attorney by this Court by reason of his
conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude. This Court has ruled that
disbarment is the appropriate penalty for conviction by final judgment for a crime
involving moral turpitude.
Moral turpitude is an act of baseness, vileness, or depravity in the private duties
which a man owes to his fellow men or to society in general, contrary to justice,
honesty, modesty, or good morals. This is not to say that all convictions of the crime
of homicide do not involve moral turpitude. Homicide may or may not involve moral
turpitude depending on the degree of the crime. The IBP-CBD correctly stated that

the victims in the homicide involving respondent were just at the wrong place and
time. They did not do anything that justified the indiscriminate firing done by
respondent that eventually led to their death.
We cannot accept respondents argument that the executive clemency restored his
full civil and political rights. The Order of Commutation did not state that the pardon
was absolute and unconditional. The accessory penalties were not mentioned when
the original sentence was recited in the Order of Commutation and they were also
not mentioned in stating the commuted sentence.

4. JOVITO S. OLAZO, Complainant, vs. JUSTICE


(Ret.), Respondent.
A.M. No. 10-5-7-SC, December 7, 2010

DANTE

O.

TINGA

Facts:
The respondent is charged of violating Rule 6.02, Rule 6.03 and Rule 1.01 of the
Code of Professional Responsibility for representing conflicting interests.
The complainant filed a sales application covering a parcel of land. The Committee
on Awards was headed by the Director of Lands and the respondent was one of the
Committee members, in his official capacity as the Congressman of Taguig and
Pateros (from 1987 to 1998); the respondents district includes the areas covered by
the proclamations.
The First Charge: Violation of Rule 6.02
The complainant alleged that the respondent exerted undue pressure and influence
over the complainants father, Miguel P. Olazo, for the latter to contest the
complainants sales application and claim the subject land for himself. The
complainant further claimed that the respondent brokered the transfer of rights of
the subject land between Miguel Olazo and Joseph Jeffrey Rodriguez, who is the
nephew of the respondents deceased wife.

As a result of the respondents abuse of his official functions, the complainants


sales application was denied. The conveyance of rights to Joseph Jeffrey Rodriguez
and his sales application were subsequently given due course by the Department of
Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).
The Second Charge: Violation of Rule 6.03
The second charge involves another parcel of land within the proclaimed areas
belonging to Manuel Olazo, the complainants brother. The complainant alleged that
the respondent persuaded Miguel Olazo to direct Manuel to convey his rights over
the land to Joseph Jeffrey Rodriguez. As a result of the respondents promptings, the
rights to the land were transferred to Joseph Jeffrey Rodriguez.
The Third Charge: Violation of Rule 1.01
The complainant alleged that the respondent engaged in unlawful conduct
considering his knowledge that Joseph Jeffrey Rodriguez was not a qualified
beneficiary under Memorandum No. 119. The complainant averred that Joseph
Jeffrey Rodriguez is not a bona fide resident of the proclaimed areas and does not
qualify for an award. Thus, the approval of his sales application by the Committee
on Awards amounted to a violation of the objectives of Proclamation No. 172 and
Memorandum No. 119.
Issue:
Whether or not respondent was guilty of violating the Code of Judicial Ethics
Held:
We find the absence of any concrete proof that the respondent abused his position
as a Congressman and as a member of the Committee on Awards in the manner
defined under Rule 6.02 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. The
circumstances do not show that the respondent did in any way promote, advance or
use his private interests in the discharge of his official duties. To repeat, since the
sales application was not brought before the Committee on Awards when the
respondent was still a member, no sufficient basis exists to conclude that he used
his position to obtain personal benefits. We note in this regard that the denial of the
complainants sales application over the subject land was made by the DENR, not
by the Committee on Awards.
As the records show, no evidence exists showing that the respondent previously
interfered with the sales application covering Manuels land when the former was
still a member of the Committee on Awards. The complainant, too, failed to
sufficiently establish that the respondent was engaged in the practice of law. At face
value, the legal service rendered by the respondent was limited only in the
preparation of a single document. In Borja, Sr. v. Sulyap, Inc., we specifically
described private practice of law as one that contemplates a succession of acts of
the same nature habitually or customarily holding ones self to the public as a
lawyer.

In any event, even granting that respondents act fell within the definition of
practice of law, the available pieces of evidence are insufficient to show that the
legal representation was made before the Committee on Awards, or that the
Assurance was intended to be presented before it. These are matters for the
complainant to prove and we cannot consider any uncertainty in this regard against
the respondents favor.