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In 2004, Guarin was hired by Mr. Celso G. de los Angeles as Chief Operating Officer and thereafter as
President of OneCard Company, Inc., a member of the Legacy Group of Companies. He resigned from his
post effective August 11, 2008 and transferred to St. Lukes Medical Center as the Vice President for

On November 27, 2008, Atty. Limpin, the Corporate Secretary of Legacy Card, Inc. (LCI), another
corporation under the Legacy Group, filed with the SEC a GIS for LCI for updating purposes. The GIS4
identified Guarin as Chairman of the Board of Directors (BOD) and President.

Mired with allegations of anomalous business transactions and practices, on December 18, 2008, LCI
applied for voluntary dissolution with the SEC.

On July 22, 2009, Guarin filed this complaint with the Integrated Bar of the Philippines Commission on Bar
Discipline (IBP CBD) claiming that Atty. Limpin violated Canon 1 and Rule 1.01 of the CPR by knowingly
listing him as a stockholder, 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. He also never received any notice of meeting or agenda where his appointment as
Chairman would be taken up. He has never accepted any appointment as Chairman and President of LCI.

Contention of Defendant

Atty. Limpin admits that she filed the GIS with the SEC listing Guarin as a stockholder, the
Chairman of the BOD and President of LCI. She argued that the GIS was provisional to comply
with SEC requirements. It would have been corrected in the future but unfortunately LCI filed for
voluntary dissolution shortly thereafter. 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, 2008.5chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary

She asserted that Guarin knew that he was a stockholder. Atty. Limpin said that on October 13,
2008, she sent Guarin a text message and asked him to meet with her so he may sign a Deed of
Assignment concerning shareholdings. Guarin responded in the affirmative and said that he
would meet with her on Friday, October 17, 2008. Guarin, however, neglected to show up at the
arranged time and place for reasons unknown to Atty. Limpin. On the strength of Guarins
positive reply, Atty. Limpin filed the GIS on November 27, 2008.

To belie the claim that LCI never held any board meeting, Atty. Limpin presented Secretarys
Certificates dated May 16, 20066, May 22, 20067, and June 13, 20078 bearing Guarins signature.

Moreover, Atty. Limpin stated that there were pending criminal complaints against the directors
and officers of LCI, where she and Guarin are co-respondents: Senator Roxas, et al. v. Celso de los
Angeles, et al.9 and SEC v. Legacy Card, Inc.10 In those proceedings, Guarin raised as a defense
that the November 27, 2008 GIS was spurious and/or perjured. She averred that this Court held
that when the criminal prosecution based on the same act charged is still pending in court, any
administrative disciplinary proceedings for the same act must await the outcome of the criminal
case to avoid contradictory findings.11 During the mandatory preliminary conference, however,
both parties stipulated that the complaint filed by Senator Roxas was dismissed as to

Lastly, Atty. Limpin contends that Guarin failed to present sufficient evidence to warrant
disbarment. She stated that merely presenting the GIS does not constitute as proof of any
unethical conduct, harassment and malpractice.

IBP Ruling

In its Report,13 the IBP CBD found that Atty. Limpin violated Canon 1, Rules 1.01 and 1.0214 of the CPR
and thus recommended that she be suspended from the practice of law for three months. It noted that
based on the submissions of the parties, Guarin was never a stockholder of LCI consequently making him
ineligible to be a member of the BOD. Neither was there proof that Guarin acted as the President of LCI
but was a mere signatory of LCIs bank accounts. This made the verified statement of Atty. Limpin

Moreover, it was noted that only Mr. Celso de los Angeles had the authority to appoint or designate
directors or officers of Legacy. Atty. Limpin was aware that this procedure was not legally permissible.
Despite knowing this to be irregular, she allowed herself to be dictated upon and falsely certified that
Guarin was a stockholder, chairman and president of the company. The Secretarys Certificates with
Guarins signature Atty. Limpin presented were of no moment since in these Guarin merely acceded to
become a signatory of bank accounts and these do not show that Guarin was a stockholder.

The IBP Board of Governors in its April 15, 2013 Resolution16 adopted in toto the CBD Report. Atty. Limpin
moved for reconsideration17 but was denied in the March 21, 2014 Resolution18 of the IBP Board of

SC Ruling

SC adopt the report and recommendation of the IBP. Atty. Limpin has violated Canon 1, Rule 1.01 and Rule
1.02 of the CPR.

Members of the bar are reminded that their first duty is to comply with the rules of procedure, rather than
seek exceptions as loopholes.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

Disbarment proceedings as Sui Generis

Disbarment proceedings are sui generis and can proceed independently of civil and criminal cases. 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. 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.

Grounds for such administrative action against a lawyer may be found in Section 27,22 Rule 138 of the
Rules of Court. Among these are (1) the use of any deceit, malpractice, 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.

After going through the submissions and stipulations of the parties, we agree with the IBP that there is no
indication that Guarin held any share to the corporation and that he is therefore ineligible to hold a seat in
the BOD and be the president of the company.23 It is undisputed that Atty. Limpin filed and certified that
Guarin was a stockholder of LCI in the GIS. While she posits that she had made the same in good faith, her
certification also contained a stipulation that she made a due verification of the statements contained
therein. That Atty. Limpin believed that Guarin would sign a Deed of Assignment is inconsequential: he
never signed the instrument. We also note that there was no submission which would support the
allegation that Guarin was in fact a stockholder. We thus find that in filing a GIS that contained false
information, Atty. Limpin committed an infraction which did not conform to her oath as a lawyer in accord
with Canon 1 and Rule 1.01 of the CPR.

SC also agree with the IBP that in allowing herself to be swayed by the business practice of having Mr. 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, Atty. Limpin has transgressed Rule
1.02 of the CPR.
However, considering the seriousness of Atty. Limpins action in submitting a false document we see it fit
to increase the recommended penalty to six months suspension from the practice of law.

Supreme Court Decision

WHEREFORE, we find respondent Atty. Christine A.C. Limpin GUILTY of violation of Canon 1, Rule 1.01 and
Rule 1.02 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. Accordingly, we SUSPEND respondent Atty. Christine
A.C. Limpin from the practice of law for SIX (6) MONTHS effective upon finality of this Decision, with a
warning that a repetition of the same or similar act in the future will be dealt with more severely.


Whether or not Atty. Limpin has violated Canon 1 Rule 1.01 and Rule 1.02 of the CPR.


YES. Atty. Limpin has violated Canon 1, Rule 1.01 and Rule 1.02 of the CPR.

Members of the bar are reminded that their first duty is to comply with the rules of procedure, rather than
seek exceptions as loopholes.

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. Disbarment proceedings are sui generis and can
proceed independently of civil and criminal cases. As Justice Malco lm stated [t]he serious consequences
of disbarment or suspension should follow only where there is a clear preponderance of evidence against
the respondent. 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.

Grounds for such administrative action against a lawyer may be found in Section 27,22

Rule 138 of the Rules of Court. Among these are (1) the use of any deceit, malpractice, 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. We thus find that in filing a GIS that contained false information, Atty. Limpin
committed an infraction which did not conform to her oath as a lawyer in accord with Canon 1 and Rule
1.01 of the CPR.

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


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 Regional Trial Court of Bacolod City, Branch 46 (RTC). The complaint
was eventually dismissed by the RTC for lack of cause of action and insufficiency of evidence.5 While
respondent was notified of such dismissal as early as August 14, 2007,6 complainant learned of the same
only on August 24, 2007 when he visited the formers office.7 On such occasion, 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.8
On September 12, 2007, Tan handed the amount of P10,000.00 to respondent, who on even date, filed a
notice of appeal9 before the RTC.10

In an Order11 dated September 18, 2007, the RTC dismissed complainants appeal for having been filed
beyond the reglementary period provided for by law. Respondent, however, did not disclose such fact and,
instead, showed complainant an Order12 dated November 9, 2007 purportedly issued by the RTC
(November 9, 2007 Order) directing the submission of the results of a DNA testing to prove his filiation to
the late Luis Tan, within 15 days from receipt of the notice. Considering the technical requirements for such
kind of testing, complainant proceeded to the RTC and requested for an extension of the deadline for its
submission. It was then that he discovered that the November 9, 2007 Order was spurious, as certified by
the RTCs Clerk of Court.13 Complainant also found out that, contrary to the representations of respondent,
his appeal had long been dismissed.14 Aggrieved, he filed the instant administrative complaint for
disbarment against respondent.

Contention of Respondent

Respondent alleged that it was complainants failure to timely produce the amount of 1,400.00 to pay for
the appeal fees that resulted in the late filing of his appeal. According to him, he informed complainant of
the lapse of the reglementary period to appeal, but the latter insisted in pursuing the same. He also
claimed to have assisted complainant "not for money or malice" but being a desperate litigant, he was
blamed for the courts unfavorable decision.16

The IBPs Report and Recommendation

The Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) Investigating Commissioner found respondent administratively
liable, and accordingly recommended that the penalty of suspension for a period of one (1) year be meted
out against him.18

The Investigating Commissioner found complainants imputations against respondent to be well-founded,

observing that instead of meeting complainants allegations squarely, particularly, the issue of the
nondisclosure of the dismissal of the partition case, respondent sidestepped and delved on arguments that
hardly had an effect on the issues at hand.19

Moreover, the Investigating Commissioner did not find credence in respondents accusation that the
spurious November 9, 2007 Order originated from complainant, ratiocinating that it was respondent who
was motivated to fabricate the same to cover up his lapses that brought about the dismissal of
complainants appeal and make it appear that there is still an available relief left for Tan.20

In a Resolution dated April 16, 2013, the IBP Board of Governors unanimously adopted and approved the
aforesaid report and recommendation.21


The essential issue in this case is whether or not respondent should be held administratively liable for
violating the CPR.

The Courts Ruling

After a judicious perusal of the records, the Court concurs with the IBPs findings, subject to the
modification of the recommended penalty to be imposed upon respondent.

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, to wit:


Rule 18.04 A lawyer shall keep the client informed of the status of his case and shall respond
within a reasonable time to clients request for information.

As an officer of the court, it is the duty of an attorney to inform his client of whatever important
information he may have acquired affecting his clients case. He should notify his client of any adverse
decision to enable his client to decide whether to seek an appellate review thereof. Keeping the client
informed of the developments of the case will minimize misunderstanding and loss of trust and confidence
in the attorney. The lawyer should not leave the client in the dark on how the lawyer is defending the
clients interests.22 In this connection, the lawyer must constantly keep in mind that his actions,
omissions, or nonfeasance would be binding upon his client. Concomitantly, the lawyer is expected to be
acquainted with the rudiments of law and legal procedure, 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 clients cause.23

In the case at bar, respondent already knew of the dismissal of complainants partition case before the
RTC. Despite this fact, he never bothered to inform complainant of such dismissal as the latter only knew of
the same on August 24, 2007 when he visited the formers office. To add insult to injury, respondent was
inexcusably negligent in filing complainants appeal only on September 12, 2007, or way beyond the
reglementary period therefor, thus resulting in its outright dismissal. Clearly, respondent failed to exercise
such skill, care, and diligence as men of the legal profession commonly possess and exercise in such
matters of professional employment.24

Worse, respondent attempted to conceal the dismissal of complainants appeal by fabricating the
November 9, 2007 Order which purportedly required a DNA testing to make it appear that complainants
appeal had been given due course, when in truth, the same had long been denied. In so doing, respondent
engaged in an unlawful, dishonest, and deceitful conduct that caused undue prejudice and unnecessary
expenses on the part of complainant.

Accordingly, respondent clearly violated Rule 1.01, Canon 1 of the CPR, which provides:

CANON 1 A lawyer shall uphold the constitution, obey the laws of the land and promote
respect for law and legal processes.

Rule 1.01 A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct.

As officers of the court, lawyers are bound to maintain not only a high standard of legal proficiency, but
also of morality, honesty, integrity, and fair dealing,25 failing in which whether in his personal or private
capacity, he becomes unworthy to continue his practice of law.26 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.

In view of the foregoing, respondents conduct of employing a crooked and deceitful scheme to keep
complainant in the dark and conceal his cases true status through the use of a falsified court order
evidently constitutes Gross Misconduct.27 His acts should not just be deemed as unacceptable practices
that are disgraceful and dishonorable; they reveal a basic moral flaw that makes him unfit to practice
law.28 In this regard, the Courts pronouncement in Sebastian v. Calis29 is instructive, viz.:

Deception and other fraudulent acts by a lawyer are disgraceful and dishonorable. They reveal moral flaws
in a lawyer.1wphi1 They are unacceptable practices. A lawyers relationship with others should be
characterized by the highest degree of good faith, fairness and candor. This is the essence of the lawyers
oath. The lawyers oath is not mere facile words, drift and hollow, 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. This requisite is not only a condition precedent to the admission to the practice of law, its
continued possession is also essential for remaining in the practice of law. We have sternly warned that
any gross misconduct of a lawyer, whether in his professional or private capacity, puts his moral character
in serious doubt as a member of the Bar, and renders him unfit to continue in the practice of law.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, the Court suspended them for a period of six (6) months. In Mejares v. Romana,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. In the same vein, in Penilla v. Alcid, Jr.,32 the same penalty was
imposed on the lawyer who consistently failed to update his client of the status of his cases,
notwithstanding several follow-ups.

However, in cases where lawyers engaged in unlawful, dishonest, and deceitful conduct by falsifying
documents, the Court found them guilty of Gross Misconduct and disbarred them. In Brennisen v.
Contawi,33 the Court disbarred the lawyer who falsified a special power of attorney in order to mortgage
and sell his clients property. Also, in Embido v. Pe,34 the penalty of disbarment was meted out against the
lawyer who falsified an in existent court decision for a fee.

As already discussed, 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

SC Decision

WHEREFORE, respondent Pedro S. Diamante is hereby DISBARRED for Gross Misconduct and violations of
Rule 1.01, Canon 1, and Rule 18.04, Canon 18 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, and his name is
ordered STRICKEN OFF from the roll of attorneys.




AMALI is the owner and developer of the 37-storey condominium project located along Epifanio Delos
Santos Avenue corner Fordham Street in Wack Wack, Mandaluyong City.1 Due to the projects location,
AMALI would have to use Fordham Street as an access road and staging area for the construction activities.
In that regard, AMALI needed the consent of the Wack Wack Residents Association, Inc. (WWRAI).
Accordingly, AMALI sent a notice to WWRAI, which ignored the notice. Left with no option, AMALI set up a
field office along Fordham Street that it enclosed with a temporary fence. WWRAI allegedly tried to
demolish the field office and set up a fence to deny access to AMALIs construction workers, which
prompted AMALI to file a petition for the enforcement of an easement of right of way in the Regional Trial
Court (RTC) in Pasig City. The petition, which included an application for a temporary restraining order
(TRO) and/or writ of preliminary mandatory injunction (WPMI), was docketed as Civil Case No. 65668.2 On
July 24, 1997, the RTC granted AMALIs prayer for the WPMI.

In the meantime, AMALI converted the condominium project into a 34-storey building of mixed use (to be
known as the AMA Residences) after AMALIs petition for corporate rehabilitation was approved.

On January 26, 2010, WWRAI filed in Civil Case No. 65668 an urgent motion to set for hearing its prayer for
a TRO and/or writ of preliminary injunction (WPI) contained in its answer. The denial of the prayer for
injunction by the RTC impelled WWRAI to bring a petition for certiorari with an application for a TRO and/or
writ of preliminary injunction in the CA to enjoin the RTC from proceeding in Civil Case No. 65668.5

After hearing, the CA issued a TRO, which prompted AMALI to file an Urgent Motion to Lift and/or Dissolve
Temporary Restraining Order and later on a Compliance and Motion for Reconsideration.

The CA issued a preliminary injunction and required AMALI to file its Comment. AMALI complied and filed a
Comment which also served as its motion for partial reconsideration of the Resolution. AMALI filed an
Urgent Motion to Resolve and to Approve Counterbond. Allegedly, these motions were left unresolved when
the CA Tenth Division, which included Associate Justices Bueser and Rosario, required the parties to submit
their respective memoranda.

The Special Former Tenth Division of the CA promulgated a decision granting the petition of WWRAI.

AMALI consequently filed a petition for review on certiorari in this Court, docketed as G.R. No. 202342,
entitled AMA Land, Inc. v. Wack Wack Residents Association, Inc.8

AMALI then brought this administrative complaint, alleging that respondent Justices had conspired with the
counsels of WWRAI, namely: Atty. Archibald F. de Mata and Atty. Myra Jennifer D. Jaud-Fetizanan, in
rendering an unjust judgment. AMALI stated that the decision of the CA had been rendered in bad faith
and with conscious and deliberate intent to favor WWRAI, and to cause grave injustice to AMALI. In thereby
knowingly rendering an unjust judgment, respondent Justices were guilty of gross misconduct, and
violated Canon 1, Rule 1.01 and Canon 1, Rules 10.01 and 10.03 of the Code of Professional Responsibility,
as well as Section 27, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court.


Are the respondent Justices liable for knowingly rendering an unjust judgment and violating Canon 1, Rule
1.01; Canon 10, Rules 10.01 and 10.03 of the Code of Professional Responsibility; and Section 27, Rule 138
of the Rules of Court?


No,AMALI fell short of the requirements for establishing its charge of knowingly rendering an unjust
judgment against respondent Justices.

In administrative proceedings, the complainant has the burden of proving the allegations of the complaint by substantial
evidence.9 Failure to do so will lead to the dismissal of the complaint for its lack of merit. This is because an
administrative charge against any official of the Judiciary must be supported by at least substantial evidence.

Knowingly rendering an unjust judgment constitutes a serious criminal offense. Article 204, Revised Penal
Code, provides that any judge who "knowingly render[s] an unjust judgment in any case submitted to him
for decision" is punished with prision mayor and perpetual absolute disqualification. To commit the
offense, the offender must be a judge who is adequately shown to have rendered an unjust judgment, not
one who merely committed an error of judgment or taken the unpopular side of a controversial point of
law.12 The term knowingly means "sure knowledge, conscious and deliberate intention to do an
injustice."13 Thus, the complainant must not only prove beyond reasonable doubt that the judgment is
patently contrary to law or not supported by the evidence but that it was also made with deliberate intent
to perpetrate an injustice. Good faith and the absence of malice, corrupt motives or improper
consideration are sufficient defenses that will shield a judge from the charge of rendering an unjust
decision.14 In other words, the judge was motivated by hatred, revenge, greed or some other similar
motive in issuing the judgment.15 Bad faith is, therefore, the ground for liability.16 The failure of the judge
to correctly interpret the law or to properly appreciate the evidence presented does not necessarily render
him administratively liable.17

But who is to determine and declare that the judgment or final order that the judicial officer knowingly
rendered or issued was unjust? May such determination and declaration be made in administrative
investigations and proceedings like a preliminary investigation by the public prosecutor? The answers to
these queries are obvious only a superior court acting by virtue of either its appellate or supervisory
jurisdiction over the judicial actions involved may make such determination and declaration. Otherwise,
the public prosecutor or administrative hearing officer may be usurping a basic judicial power of review or
supervision lodged by the Constitution or by law elsewhere in the appellate court.

Moreover, AMALIs allegations directly attacked the validity of the proceedings in the CA through an
administrative complaint. The attack in this manner reflected the pernicious practice by disgruntled
litigants and their lawyers of resorting to administrative charges against sitting judges instead of
exhausting all their available remedies. We do not tolerate the practice. In Re: Verified Complaint of Engr.
Oscar L. Ongjoco, Chairman of the Board/CEO of FH-GYMN Multi-Purpose and Transport Service
Cooperative, against Hon. Juan Q. Enriquez, Jr., Hon. Ramon M. Bato, Jr. and Hon. Florito S. Macalino,
Associate Justices, Court of Appeals,18 we emphatically held that the filing of administrative complaints or
even threats of the filing subverted and undermined the independence of the Judiciary, to wit:

It is evident to us that Ongjocos objective in filing the administrative complaint was to take respondent
Justices to task for the regular performance of their sworn duty of upholding the rule of law. He would
thereby lay the groundwork for getting back at them for not favoring his unworthy cause. Such actuations
cannot be tolerated at all, for even a mere threat of administrative investigation and prosecution made
against a judge to influence or intimidate him in his regular performance of the judicial office always
subverts and undermines the independence of the Judiciary.

SC Decision
ACCORDINGLY, the Court (a) DISMISSES the administrative complaint against Associate Justice Danton Q.
Bueser, Associate Justice Sesinando E. Villon and Associate Justice Ricardo R. Rosario for its utter lack of
merit; and (b) ORDERS Joseph B. Usita, the Senior Assistant Vice President of AMA Land, Inc., and all the
members of the Board of Directors of AMA Land, Inc. who had authorized Usita to bring the administrative
complaint against respondent Associate Justices to show cause in writing within 10 days from notice why
they should not be punished for indirect contempt of court for degrading the judicial office of respondent
Associate Justices, and for interfering with the due performance of their work for the Judiciary.