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CANON 7 A lawyer shall at all times uphold the integrity and dignity of the
INTRODUCTION legal profession and support t he activities of the integrated bar.

1. Banogan v. Zerna 19. In re Galang

2. Ledesma v. Climaco 20. In re Arthur M. Cuevas
3. Cui v. Cui 21. Samaniego v. Ferrer
4. Alawi v. Alauya 22. Arnobit v. Arnobit
23. St. Louis University etc v. Dela Cruz
CANON 1 - A lawyer shall uphold the Constitution, obey the laws of the land 24. Advincula v. Macabata
and promote respect for law and legal process.
CANON 8 A lawyer shall conduct himself with courtesy, fairness, and candor
5. Re: Financial Audit of Atty. Raquel G. Kho toward his professional colleagues and shall avoid harassing tactics against
6. Chua v. Mesina opposing counsel.
7. Soriano v. Dizon
8. Stemmerik v. Mas 25. Reyes v. Chiong
9. De Ysasi III v. NLRC 26. Dallong-Galiciano v. Castro
10. Cordon v. Balicanta 27. Alcantara v. Pefianco
28. Camacho v. Pagulayan
CANON 2 A lawyer shall make his legal services available in an efficient and 29. Torres v. Javier
convenient manner compatible with the independence, integrity and 30. Linsangan v. Tolentino
effectiveness of the profession.
CANON 9 A lawyer shall not, directly or indirectly, assist in the unauthorized
CANON 3 A lawyer in making known his legal services shall use only true, practice of law.
honest, fair, dignified and objective information or statement of facts.
31. Ulep v. Legal Clinic, Inc.
11. In re Tagorda 32. Cayetano v. Monsod
12. Atty. Ismael Khan v. Atty Rizalino Simbillo 33. Cambaliza v. Cristobal-Tenorio
13. Canoy v. Ortiz 34. Amalgamated Laborers Association v. CIR
14. Linsangan v. Tolentino 35. Aguirre v. Rama
36. Judge Laquindanum v. Quintana
CANON 4 A lawyer shall participate in development of the legal system by
initiating or supporting efforts in law reform and in the improvement of the CANON 10 A lawyer owes candor, fairness and good faith to the court.
administration of justice.
CANON 11 A lawyer shall observe and maintain the respect due to the courts
CANON 5 A lawyer shall keep abreast of legal developments, participate in and judicial officers and should insist on similar conduct by others.
continuing legal education programs, support efforts to achieve highest
standards in law schools as well as in the practical training of law students and 37. Fernandez v. De Ramos-Villalon
assist in disseminating information regarding the law and jurisprudence. 38. Rivera v. Corral
39. Johnny Ng v. Alar
CANON 6 These canons shall apply to lawyers in government service in the 40. Fudot v. Cattleya Land
discharge of their official duties. 41. Bondoc v. Judge Simbulan

15. Suarez v. Platon CANON 12 - A lawyer shall exert every effort and consider it his duty to assist
16. Ramos v. Imbang in the speedy and efficient administration of justice.
17. Catu v. Rellosa
18. PCGG v. Sandiganbayan 42. Berbano v. Barcelona
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43. Sebastian v. Bajar 69. Angalan v. Delante

44. Hegna v. Paderanga 70. Santon-Tan v. Robino
45. Plus Builders v. Revilla 71. Somosot v. Lara
46. Fil-Garcia, Inc. v. Hernandez
CANON 19 A lawyer shall represent his client with zeal within the bounds of
CANON 13 A lawyer shall rely upon the merits of his cause and refrain from law.
any impropriety which tends to influence, or gives the appearance of
influencing the court. 72. Briones v. Jimenez
73. Pena v. Aparicio
CANON 14 A lawyer shall not refuse his services to the needy.
47. Foodsphere v. Mauricio
48. Suspension of Atty. Bagubayao 74. Manalang v. Angeles
75. Garcia v. CA
CANON 15 A lawyer shall observe candor, fairness and loyalty in all his 76. Santiago v. De los Santos
dealings and transactions with his clients.
CANON 20 A lawyer shall charge only fair and reasonable fees.
49. Hilado v. David
50. Nakpil v. Valdes 77. Sesbreno v. CA
51. Hornilla v. Salunat 78. Bautista v. Gonzales
52. Northwestern University v. Arquillo 79. Gamilla v. Marino
53. Quiambao v. Bamba 80. Pineda v. De Jesus
54. Heirs of Falame v. Baguio 81. Roxas v. De Zuzuarregui
55. Pacana v. lim-Lopez 82. Law Firm of Tungol and Tibayan v. CA

CANON 16 A lawyer shall hold in trust all moneys and properties of his client CANON 21 A lawyer shall preserve the confidence and secrets of his client
that may come into his possession. even after the attorney-client relationship is terminated.

56. Licuanan v. Melo 83. Regala v. Sandiganbayan

57. Posidio v. Vitan 84. Pfleider v. Palanca
58. Lemoine v. Balon 85. Mercado v. Vitriolo
59. Re: Atty. Maquera 86. Genato v. Silapan
60. Reddi v. Sersbio 87. Hadjula v. Madianda
61. De Chavez-Blanco v. Lumasag 88. Rebecca J. Palm v. Atty. Felipe Iledan, Jr.
62. Wilson Charm v. Patta-Moya
63. Jerry T. Wong v. Atty. Salvador N. Moya II Canon 22 A lawyer may withdraw his services only for good cause and upon
notice appropriate in the circumstances.
CANON 17 A lawyer owes fidelity to the cause of his client and he shall be
mindful of the trust and confidence in him. 89. Wack Wack Gold and Country Club v. CA
90. Venterez v. Cosme
CANON 18 A lawyer shall serve his client with competence and diligence. 91. Santero v. Vance
92. Francisco v. Portugal
64. Hernandez v. Go 93. Metrobank v. CA
65. PANELCO v. Montemayor 94. Doronila-Tioseco v. CA
66. Sps. Adecer v. Akut 95. Sesbreno v. CA
67. Belleza v. Macasa
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127.In Re: Undated Letter of Louis Biraogo

96. Gatchalian Promotions v. Naldoza
97. Santos v. Llamas CANON 5 Equality
98. Letter of Atty. Cecilio Arevalo
99. Vda. de Barrera v. Laput CANON 6 Competence and diligence
100.Barrientos v. Daarol
101.Berbano v. Beltran 128.Republic of the Philippines v. Judge Ramon S. Caguioa, etc.
102.Tabas v. Malicden 129.Dee C. Chuan & Sons, Inc v. Judge William Simon P. Peralta
103.Sesbreno v. CA 130.Prosecutor Jorge D. Baculi v. Judge Medel Arnaldo B. Belen
131.Danilo David S. Mariano v. Judge Jose P. Nacional
NEW CODE OF JUDICIAL CONDUCT 132.Atty. Antonio G. Caneda v. Judge Eric F. Menchavez
133.Nilda Verginesa-Suarez v. Judge Renato J. Dilag
CANON 1 Independence

104.Libarios v. Dablos
105.Go v. CA
106.Sabitsana v. Villamor
107.Tan v. Rosete
108.Dimatulac v. Villon

CANON 2 Integrity

109.Fernandez v. Hamoy
110. Dawa v. De Asa
111. In re judge Marcos
112. Lachica v. Flordeliza
113. Sibayan-Joaquin v. Javellana
114. Olga v. Judge Virgilio G. Caballero

CANON 3 Impartiality

115. Dimo Realty & Development v. Dimaculangan

116. Pimentel v. Salanga
117. Montemayor v. Bermejo, Jr.
118. Oktubre v. Velasco
119. Sandoval v. CA
120.The Law Firm of Chavez v. Justice Dicdican, etc.

CANON 4 Propriety

121.J. King & Sons v. Hontanosas

122.Centrum Agri Business Realty Corp v. Katalbas-Moscardon
123.Rizalina v. Judge Paulita B. Acosta-Villarante
124.Atty. Florencio Alay Binalay v. Judge Elias Lelina, Jr.
125.Concerned lawyers of Bulacan v. Presiding Judge Pornillos, RTC Br. 10
Malolos City
126.Venancio Ino, Anna Jane D. Lihaylihay, etc. Judge Alejandro Canda
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CODE OF PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY commendable, to evade the operation of a decision final and executory, especially so,
where, as shown in this case, the clear and manifest absence of any right calling for
INTRODUCTION vindication, is quite obvious and indisputable.
One reason why there is a degree of public distrust for lawyers is the way
BANOGAN V. ZERNA some of them misinterpret the law to the point of distortion in a cunning effort to
achieve their purposes. By doing so, they frustrate the ends of justice and at the
Facts: same time lessen popular faith in the legal profession as the sworn upholders of the
The original decision in this case was rendered by the cadastral court way law. While this is not to say that every wrong interpretation of the law is to be
back on February 9, 1926, sixty one years ago. A motion to amend that decision was condemned, as indeed most of them are only honest errors, this Court must express
filed on March 6, 1957, thirty one years later. This was followed by an amended its disapproval of the adroit and intentional misreading designed precisely to
petition for review of the judgment on March 18, 1957, and an opposition thereto on circumvent or violate it. As officers of the court, lawyers have a responsibility to assist
March 26, 1957. On October 11, 1971, or after fourteen years, a motion to dismiss the in the proper administration of justice. They do not discharge this duty by filing
petition was filed. The petition was dismissed on December 8, 1971, and the motion pointless petitions that only add to the workload of the judiciary, especially this Court,
for reconsideration was denied on February 14, 1972. The petitioners then came to which is burdened enough as it is. A judicious study of the facts and the law should
us on certiorari to question the orders of the respondent judge. The respondent court advise them when a case, such as this, should not be permitted to be filed to merely
dismissed the petition for review of the decision rendered in 1926 on the ground that it clutter the already congested judicial dockets. They do not advance the cause of law
had been filed out of time, indeed thirty one years too late. Laches, it was held, had or their clients by commencing litigations that for sheer lack of merit do not deserve
operated against the petitioners. the attention of the courts.
The petitioners contend that the said judgment had not yet become final and
executory because the land in dispute had not yet been registered in favor of the LEDESMA V. CLIMACO
private respondents. The said judgment would become so only after one year from
the issuance of the decree of registration. If anyone was guilty of laches, it was the Facts:
private respondents who had failed to enforce the judgment by having the land Atty. Ledesma was the counsel de parte for one of the cases pending before
registered in their the pursuant thereto. the sala of Judge Climaco. He filed a motion to withdraw from the case but the judge
For their part, the private respondents argue that the decision of February 9, denied the motion and instead appointed him counsel de oficio for two more cases.
1926, became final and executory after 30 days, same not having been appealed by Atty. Ledesma filed another motion to withdraw because he was appointed as election
the petitioners during that period. They slept on their rights for thirty one years before registrar, which was still denied.
it occurred to them to question the judgment of the cadastral court.
It is shown that it is against their contentions and that under this doctrine Issue:
they should not have delayed in asserting their claim of fraud. Their delay was not Should his motion to withdraw as counsel prosper?
only for thirty one days but for thirty one years. Laches bars their petition now. Their
position is clearly contrary to law and logic and to even ordinary common sense. Held:
No. The respondent judges denial was proper. It was observed that there is
Issue: no real conflict between his duties as election registrar and counsel de oficio. The
W/N petitioners are already barred by laches. appointment of a lawyer as counsel de oficio is a privilege which veteran lawyers in
fact, readily welcome as an opportunity to render their services for free. In the same
Held: way, all lawyers should treat it that way as an opportunity to prove to the community
YES. This Court has repeatedly reminded litigants and lawyers alike that that the proper performance of his profession is not contingent upon the payment of
litigation must end and terminate sometime and somewhere, and it is assent essential his fees.
to an effective and efficient administration of justice that, once a judgment has
become final, the winning party be not, through a mere subterfuge, deprived of the CUI V. CUI
fruits of the verdict. Courts must therefore guard against any scheme calculated to
bring about that result. Constituted as they are to put an end to controversies, courts Facts:
should frown upon any attempt to prolong them. There should be a greater The Hospicio de San Jose de Barili, is a charitable institution established by
awareness on the part of litigants that the time of the judiciary, much more so of this the spouses Don Pedro Cui and Dona Benigna Cui for the care and support, free of
Court, is too valuable to be wasted or frittered away by efforts, far from charge, of indigent invalids, and incapacitated and helpless persons. It acquired
corporate existence by legislation (Act No. 3239). Sec. 2 of the Act gave the initial
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management to the founders jointly and, in case of their incapacity or death, to such
persons as they may nominate or designate, in the order prescribed to them. ALAWI V. ALAUYA
(embodied in Sec. 2 of the spouses deed of donation)
Plaintiff Jesus Ma. Cui and defendant Antonio Ma. Cui are brothers, being Facts:
the sons of Mariano Cui, one of the nephews of the spouses Don Pedro and Dona Sophia Alawi was a sales representative of E.B. Villarosa & Partners Co.,
Benigna Cui. In 1960, the then incumbent administrator of the Hospicio, resigned in Ltd. of Davao City, a real estate and housing company. Ashari M. Alauya is the
favor of Antonio Cui pursuant to a convenio entered into between them that was incumbent executive clerk of court of the 4th Judicial Shari'a District in Marawi City,
embodied on a notarial document. Jesus Cui, however had no prior notice of either They were classmates, and used to be friends.
the convenio or of his brothers assumption of the position. Through Alawi's agency, a contract was executed for the purchase on
Upon the death of Dr. Teodoro Cui, Jesus Cui wrote a letter to his brother installments by Alauya of one of the housing units of Villarosa. In connection, a
Antonio, demanding that the office be turned over to him. When the demand was not housing loan was also granted to Alauya by the National Home Mortgage Finance
complied, Jesus filed this case. Lower court ruled in favor of Jesus. Corporation (NHMFC).
Not long afterwards, Alauya addressed a letter to the President of Villarosa &
ISSUE Co. advising of the termination of his contract with the company. He claimed that his
Who is best qualified as administrator for the Hospicio? consent was vitiated because Alawi had resorted to gross misrepresentation, deceit,
fraud, dishonesty and abuse of confidence. He laso wrote similar letters to the Vice
HELD President of Villarosa and the Vice President of NHMFC.
Antonio should be the Hospicios administrator. On learning of Alauya's letters, Alawi filed an administrative complaint
Jesus is the older of the two and under equal circumstances would be against him. One of her grounds was Alauyas usurpation of the title of "attorney,"
preferred pursuant to sec.2 of the deed of donation. However, before the test of age which only regular members of the Philippine Bar may properly use.
may be, applied the deed gives preference to the one, among the legitimate Alauya justified his use of the title, "attorney," by the assertion that it is
descendants of the nephews named, who if not a lawyer (titulo de abogado), should "lexically synonymous" with "Counsellors-at-law." a title to which Shari'a lawyers have
be a doctor or a civil engineer or a pharmacist, in that order; or if failing all theses, a rightful claim, adding that he prefers the title of "attorney" because "counsellor" is
should be the one who pays the highest taxes among those otherwise qualified. often mistaken for "councilor," "konsehal" or the Maranao term "consial," connoting a
Jesus Ma. Cui holds the degree of Bachelor of laws but is not a member of local legislator beholden to the mayor. Withal, he does not consider himself a lawyer.
the Bar, not having passed the examinations. Antonio Ma. Cui, on the other hand, is a
member of the Bar and although disbarred in 1957, was reinstated by resolution, Issue:
about two weeks before he assumed the position of administrator of the Hospicio. Whether or not Alauya, a member of the Sharia bar, can use the title of
The term titulo de abogado means not mere possession of the academic Attorney
degree of Bachelor of Laws but membership in the Bar after due admission thereto,
qualifying one for the practice of law. A Bachelors degree alone, conferred by a law Held:
school upon completion of certain academic requirements, does not entitle its holder He cant. The title is only reserved to those who pass the regular Philippine
to exercise the legal profession. By itself, the degree merely serves as evidence of bar.
compliance with the requirements that an applicant to the examinations has As regards Alauya's use of the title of "Attorney," this Court has already had
successfully completed all the prescribed courses, in a law school or university, occasion to declare that persons who pass the Shari'a Bar are not full-fledged
officially approved by the Secretary of Education. members of the Philippine Bar, hence may only practice law before Shari'a courts.
The founders of the Hospicio provided for a lwayer, first of all, because in all While one who has been admitted to the Shari'a Bar, and one who has been admitted
of the works of an administrator, it is presumed, a working knowledge of the law and a to the Philippine Bar, may both be considered "counsellors," in the sense that they
license to practice the profession would be a distinct asset. give counsel or advice in a professional capacity, only the latter is an "attorney." The
Under this criterion, the plaintiff Jesus is not entitled as against defendant, to title of "attorney" is reserved to those who, having obtained the necessary degree in
the office of administrator. Reference is made to the fact that the defendant Antonio the study of law and successfully taken the Bar Examinations, have been admitted to
was disbarred (for immorality and unprofessional conduct). However, it is also a fact, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines and remain members thereof in good standing;
that he was reinstated before he assumed the office of administrator. His and it is they only who are authorized to practice law in this jurisdiction.
reinstatement is recognition of his moral rehabilitation, upon proof no less than that
required for his admission to the Bar in the first place. Also, when defendant was CANON 1
restored to the roll of lawyers the restrictions and disabilities resulting from his
previous disbarment were wiped out. RE: FINANCIAL AUDIT OF ATTY. RAQUEL G. KHO
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Mesina was, for years, the Chua spouses legal counsel and adviser upon
FACTS: whom they reposed trust and confidence. They were in fact lessees of a building
The Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) instituted an administrative case (Burgos Property) owned by Mesinas family, and another property (Melencio
against Atty Kho, a former clerk of court of an RTC, after an audit by the former found Property), also owned by Mesinas family where the Chua spouses constructed their
that the latter failed to remit P60K (confiscated cash bonds) and P5K(Special house. These two properties were mortgaged by the registered owner, Mesinas
Allowance for the Judiciary Fund). Atty Kho stated that these amounts were stored in mother, Mrs. Mesina, in favor of the Planters Development Bank to secure a loan she
the courts safety vaults, as his usual practice. The audit team advised him that he obtained. As Mrs. Mesina failed to meet her obligation to the bank, Atty. Mesina
should deposit such amounts to the Judicial Development Fund account and Atty Kho convinced the Chua spouses to help Mrs. Mesina to settle her obligation in
complied with the directives. consideration for which the Melencio property would be sold to them at P850.00/sq.
Subsequently, the ICA received a complaint that Atty Kho, along with his m.
common-law wife, a stenographer, was engaged with lending out to court employees The spouses Chua and their business partner, Marcelina Hsia, settled Mrs.
money in his possession as clerk of court, personally deriving profit from the interest Mesinas bank obligation in the amount of P983,125.40. A Deed of Absolute Sale
earned. The OCA found Atty Kho liable of violating an OCA Circular because he kept dated January 19, 1985 conveying the Melencio property for P85,400.00 was
the funds in a safety vault for more than a year. The OCA then recommended that its thereafter executed by Mrs. Mesina, whose name appears therein as Felicisima M.
report be docketed as an A.C. and Kho be imposed a P10K fine. Melencio, in favor of complainants. As complainants were later apprised of the
amount of capital gains tax they were to pay, they consulted respondent about it.
ISSUE/S: Respondent thus suggested to them that another Deed of Absolute Sale should be
W/N Atty. Kho is liable. executed, antedated to 1979 before the effectivity of the law mandating the payment
of capital gains tax. As suggested by respondent, another Deed of Absolute Sale
HELD: antedated February 9, 1979 was executed by Mrs. Mesina, whose name again
YES. OCA recommendations VALID. appears therein as Felicisima M. Melencio, in favor of complainants wherein the
purchase price was also indicated to be P85,400.00.
RATIO: After liquidating the advances made by the Chua spouses in the redemption
Dishonesty Conduct of the MESINA properties, Mrs. Mesina was found to have an existing balance due
Kho failed to make a timely turn-over of cash deposited with him. The failure the spouses in the amount of P400,000.00, on account of which they advised
to remit the funds in due time constitutes gross dishonesty and gross misconduct. It respondent about it. Respondent, by Affidavit acknowledged such obligation to be
diminishes the faith of the people in the Judiciary. Dishonesty, being in the nature of a his and undertook to settle it within two years.
grave offense, carries the extreme penalty of dismissal from the service even if Complainants were subsequently issued on a title over the Melencio
committed for the first time. His malfeasance prima facie contravenes Canon 1, Rule property.
1.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. Not long after the execution of the Deed of Absolute Sale or in February
And although Kho had restituted all his cash accountabilities, he was 1986, one Tecson filed an Affidavit dated charging Mrs. Mesina, the spouses Chua,
nevertheless liable for failing to immediately deposit the collections for the judiciary Marcelina Hsia and the two witnesses to the said Deed of Absolute Sale, for
funds. Falsification of Public Document and violation of the Internal Revenue Code. In his
complaint affidavit, Tecson alleged that he was also a lessee of the Melencio property
Unlawful conduct and was, along with the Chua spouses, supposed to purchase it but that contrary to
Lawyers should always keep in mind that, although upholding the their agreement, the property was sold only to complainant and her co-complainant,
Constitution and obeying the law is an obligation imposed on every citizen, a lawyers to his exclusion. Tecson went on to relate that the Deed of Absolute Sale did not
responsibilities under Canon 1 mean more than just staying out of trouble with the reflect the true value of the Melencio property and was antedated to evade payment
law. The least a lawyer can do in compliance with Canon 1 is to refrain from engaging of capital gains tax. Tecson submitted documents showing that indeed the July 9,
in unlawful conduct. The presence of evil intent on the part of the lawyer is not 1979 Deed of Absolute Sale was antedated.
essential in order to bring his act or omission within the terms of Rule 1.01 which Respondent thereupon hatched a plan to dodge the falsification charge
specifically prohibits lawyers from engaging in unlawful conduct. against Mrs. Mesina et al. He proposed to complainants that they would simulate a
deed of sale of the Melencio property wherein complainants would resell it to Mrs.
Heeding the proposal of respondent, complainants executed a Deed of
Facts: Absolute Sale dated April 1, 1986 conveying to Felicisima M. Melencio the Melencio
property for P85,400.00.A new title was accordingly issued in the name of Felicisima
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M. Melencio, the owners copy of which was entrusted to complainants. Tecson A taxi driver (Soriano) filed an action for the disbarment of Atty. Dizon, on the
subsequently filed an Affidavit of Desistance dated September 5, 1986 alleging that grounds that Dizon was convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude, and violated
his filing of the criminal complaint arose out of mere misunderstanding and Canon 1 of Rule 1.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility.
difference with herein complainants and their co-respondents and he had no Soriano allegedly fell victim to Dizon, who was found to have:
sufficient evidence against them. a. Driven his car under the influence of liquor;
Some years later, Mesina approached the Chua spouses and told them that b. Reacted violently and attempted assault for over a simple traffic incident;
he would borrow the owners copy of Mrs. Mesinas title with the undertaking that he c. Shot at Soriano, who was unarmed and not in the position to defend himself
would, in four months, let Mrs. Mesina execute a deed of sale over the Melencio (treachery);
property in complainants favor. In fact, respondent gave complainants a written d. Denied his acts despite positive evidence against him (dishonesty);
undertaking dated May 2, 1990. e. Guilty of dishonesty, claiming to be mauled by the victim (Kawawang driver,
In the meantime, Mrs. Mesina died in the early part of 1991. Despite binaril na nga, may lakas pa daw mag maul ng attorney na may baril. Hindi
respondents repeated promises to effect the transfer of title in complainants name, din tanga mag rason si Dizon diba?);
he failed to do so. Complainants were later informed that the Melencio property was f. Despite neing granted probation, he did not satisfy his civil liabilities to the
being offered for sale to the public. The spouses Chua and complainant Marcelina victim (Ano ba problema nito?!)
Hsia thus filed a complaint against Mesina for Declaration of Nullity of Sale and
Reconveyance of Real Property. Issues:
(1) Is Dizons crime of Frustrated Homicide considered a crime involving
ISSUE moral turpitude
Whether or not Mesina is guilty of Gross Misconduct? (2) Does his guilt to such crime warrant disbarment?

HELD Held:
This Court finds that indeed, respondent is guilty of gross misconduct. (1) Yes.
First, by advising complainants to execute another Deed of Absolute Sale Moral Turpitude is everything which is done contrary to justice, modesty, or
antedated to 1979 to evade payment of capital gains taxes, he violated his duty to good morals
promote respect for law and legal processes, and not to abet activities aimed at Dizon was obviously the aggressor for having pursued and shot Soriano, not
defiance of the law; That respondent intended to, as he did defraud not a private party only because of his treachery, but also his intent to escape, betrayed by his attempt to
but the government is aggravating. wipe off his prints from the gun. His inordinate reaction to a simple traffic incident
Second, when respondent convinced complainants to execute another clearly indicates his non-fitness to be a lawyer.
document, a simulated Deed of Absolute Sale wherein they made it appear that (2) Yes.
complainants reconveyed the Melencio property to his mother, he committed His illegal possession of fire-arms, and his unjust refusal to satisfy his civil
dishonesty. liabilities all justify disbarment. The court reminds him that in oath and in the CPR, he
Third, when on May 2, 1990 respondent inveigled his own clients, the Chua is bound to obey the laws of the land. The liabilities in question have been sitting for
spouses, into turning over to him the owners copy of his mothers title upon the 4 years, unsatisfied, despite it being the condition for his probation (you ungrateful
misrepresentation that he would, in four months, have a deed of sale executed by his person!)
mother in favor of complainants, he likewise committed dishonesty. Dizon displayed an utter lack of good moral character, which is an essential
As a rule, a lawyer is not barred from dealing with his client but the business qualification for the privilege to enter into the practice of law. Good moral character
transaction must be characterized with utmost honesty and good faith. The measure includes at least common honesty.
of good faith which an attorney is required to exercise in his dealings with his client is Manuel Dizon, hereby disbarred.
a much higher standard that is required in business dealings where the parties trade
at arms length. STEMMERIK V. MAS
In fine, respondent violated his oath of office and, more specifically, Canon 1,
Rules. 1.01 and Rules 1.02. FACTS:
Stemmerik, a Danish citizen, wanted to buy Philippine property due to its
SORIANO V. DIZON beauty. He consulted Atty Mas about his intention, to which the latter advised him that
he could legally buy such properties. Atty Mas even suggested a big piece of property
Facts: that he can buy, assuring that it is alienable. Because of this, Stemmerik entrusted all
of the necessary requirements and made Atty Mas his attorney in fact as he went
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back to Denmark. After some time, Atty Mas informed Stemmerik that he found the Following his marriage on June 6, 1982, petitioner moved to Bacolod City
owner of the big piece of property and stated the price of the property is P3.8M. with his wife and commuted to work daily. He suffered various ailments and was
Stemmerik agreed, giving Atty Mas the money, and the latter supposedly drawing up hospitalized on two separate occasions in June and August, 1982. In November,
the necessary paperwork. 1982, he underwent fistulectomy, or the surgical removal of the fistula, a deep
When Stemmerik asked when he could have the property registered in his sinuous ulcer. His recuperation lasted over four months. In June, 1983, he was
name, Atty Mas cant be found. He returned to the Philippines, employed another confined for acute gastroenteritis and, thereafter, for infectious hepatitis from
lawyer, and to his horror, was informed that aliens couldnt own Philippine Lands and December, 1983 to January, 1984.
that the property was also inalienable. Stemmerik the filed a DISBARMENT case During the entire periods of petitioner's illnesses, private respondent took
against Atty MAS in the Commission on Bar Discipline (CBD) of the IBP. The CBD care of his medical expenses and petitioner continued to receive compensation.
ruled that Atty Mas abused the trust and confidence of Stemmerik and recommended However, in April, 1984, without due notice, private respondent ceased to pay the
that he be disbarred. The IBP Board of Governors adopted such recommendations. latter's salary. Petitioner made oral and written demands for an explanation for the
sudden withholding of his salary. Both demands, however, were not acted upon.
W/N Atty Mas can be disbarred. Issues:
(1) whether or not the petitioner was illegally dismissed; (2) whether or not
HELD: he is entitled to reinstatement, payment of back wages, thirteenth month pay and
YES! Disbarred. other benefits; and (3) whether or not he is entitled to payment of moral and
exemplary damages and attorney's fees because of illegal dismissal.
Disobeyed the Laws and the Constitutional Prohibition Held:
Section 7, Article XII of the Constitution prohibits foreigners from buying
Philippine Lands. Respondent, in giving advice that directly contradicted a The decision of NLRC is set aside. Private respondent is ORDERED to pay
fundamental constitutional policy, showed disrespect for the Constitution and gross petitioner back wages for a period not exceeding three (3) years, without qualification
ignorance of basic law. Worse, he prepared spurious documents that he knew were or deduction, and, in lieu of reinstatement, separation pay equivalent to one (1) month
void and illegal. for every year of service, a fraction of six (6) months being considered as one (1)
whole year.
Deceitful Conduct Rule 1.04 of the Code of Professional Responsibility explicitly provides that
By advising complainant that a foreigner could legally and validly acquire "(a) lawyer shall encourage his client to avoid, end or settle the controversy if it will
real estate in the Philippines and by assuring complainant that the property was admit of a fair settlement."
alienable, respondent deliberately deceived his client. He did not give due regard to Counsels must be reminded that their ethical duty as lawyers to represent
the trust and confidence reposed in him by complainant. their clients with zeal goes beyond merely presenting their clients' respective causes
in court. It is just as much their responsibility, if not more importantly, to exert all
Illegal Conduct reasonable efforts to smooth over legal conflicts, preferably out of court and
By pocketing and misappropriating the P3.8 million given by complainant for especially in consideration of the direct and immediate consanguineous ties between
the purchase of the property, respondent committed a fraudulent act that was criminal their clients. The useful function of a lawyer is not only to conduct litigation but to
in nature. avoid it whenever possible by advising settlement or withholding suit. He should be a
mediator for concord and a conciliator for compromise, rather than a virtuoso of
DE YSASI III V. NLRC technicality in the conduct of litigation.
Both counsels herein fell short of what was expected of them, despite their
Facts: avowed duties as officers of the court. The records do not show that they took pains
Petitioner was employed by his father, herein private respondent, as farm to initiate steps geared toward effecting a rapprochement between their clients. On
administrator of Hacienda Manucao in Hinigaran, Negros Occidental sometime in the contrary, their acerbic and protracted exchanges could not but have exacerbated
April, 1980. As farm administrator, petitioner was responsible for the supervision of the situation even as they may have found favor in the equally hostile eyes of their
daily activities and operations of the sugarcane farm and attending to such other respective clients.
tasks as may be assigned to him by private respondent. For this purpose, he lived on In the same manner, we find that the labor arbiter who handled this
the farm, occupying the upper floor of the house there. regrettable case has been less than faithful to the letter and spirit of the Labor Code
mandating that a labor arbiter "shall exert all efforts towards the amicable settlement
8 | Block C 2012
Justice Hofilena

of a labor dispute within his jurisdiction." If he ever did so, or at least entertained the Good moral character is more than just the absence of bad character. Such
thought, the copious records of the proceedings in this controversy are barren of any character expresses itself in the will to do the unpleasant thing if it is right and the
reflection of the same. resolve not to do the pleasant thing if it is wrong. This must be so because vast
interests are committed to his care; he is the recipient of unbounded trust and
CORDON V. BALICANTA confidence; he deals with his clients property, reputation, his life, his all.


Cordon, along with her daughter, inherited some properties from her
husband with the help of Atty Balicanta. Subsequently, Atty Balicanta enticed them to IN RE: TAGORDA
form a corporation to develop the real properties inherited. Such corp. was formed,
and the properties were registered in the corp.s name. Atty Balicanta was the one Facts:
who single-handedly ran the corp.s affairs, by being its Chairman, President, Luis Tagorda was a member of the provincial board of Isabela. Previous to
General Manager, and treasurer. By being such officers, he made a number of acts: the last election, he admits that he made use of a card written in Spanish containing
1) made Cordon sign a voting trust agreement; 2) made Cordon sign a SPA to the fact that he was a candidate for third member of the Province of Isabela & offering
sell/mortgage properties; 3) transferred title of some of the properties to other people. services as notary public (such as free consultation, execution of deed of sale, etc.).
And by using spurious Board resolutions, Atty Balicanta also made the following acts: He also admits that he wrote a letter addressed to a lieutenant of a barrio if his home
1) obtained a loan from Land Bank using the properties as collateral; 2) Sold the municipality saying that he will continue his practice of law and for the lieutenant to
Corps right to redeem the properties to another person; 3) demolished the ancestral make known to the people of his desire to serve as lawyer & notary public (including
home of the Cordons and sold the lot to another person. In all of these, Atty Balicanta his services to handle land registration cases for P3/every registration).
did not account for the proceeds coming the sales and dispositions.
The Cordons made several demands for Atty Balicanta to give back the Issue:
properties and to account the proceeds of the loan. When such demands were W/N acts of Tagorda constituted advertising
unheeded, The Cordons terminated Balicantas services and filed a complaint for
disbarment against the latter in the IBP. The Commissioner, in its report, Held:
recommended for Balicantas disbarment as well. The IBP Board of Governors Yes, Tagorda is in a way advertising his services and is contrary to the
resolved that Balicanta be suspended for 5 years for such conduct. Canons of Professional Ethics. Solicitation of business by circulars or advertisements,
or by personal communications or interviews not warranted by personal relations is
ISSUE/S: unprofessional. His acts warrant disbarment, but because of the mitigating
W/N Balicanta be disbarred1. circumstance of his youth and inexperience, he is therefore suspended.
The law is a profession and not a business. The lawyer may not seek or
HELD: YES! Disbarred. obtain employment by himself or through others for to do so would be unprofessional.
It is also unprofessional for a lawyer to volunteer advice to bring lawsuit. Lastly,
RATIO: solicitation of cases result in the lowering of the confidence of the community and
Deceitful Conduct integrity of the members of the bar (as it results in needless litigations and in incenting
The fraudulent acts he carried out against his client followed a well thought to strife otherwise peaceful citizens).
of plan to misappropriate the corporate properties and funds entrusted to him. He
started his devious scheme by making himself the President, Chairman of the Board, ATTY. ISMAEL KHAN V. ATTY RIZALINO SIMBILLO
Director and Treasurer of the corporation, although he knew he was prohibited from
assuming the position of President and Treasurer at the same time. He also entered FACTS
into dishonest transactions under the cloak of sham resolutions. His misdemeanors A paid advertisement in the Philippine Daily Inquirer was published which
reveal a deceitful scheme to use the corporation as a means to convert for his own reads: Annulment of Marriage Specialist [contact number]. Espeleta, a staff of the
personal benefit properties left to him in trust by complainant and her daughter. Supreme Court, called up the number but it was Mrs. Simbillo who answered. She
claims that her husband, Atty. Simbillo was an expert in handling annulment cases
Side Doctrine: and can guarantee a court decree within 4-6mos provided the case will not involve
separation of property and custody of children. It appears that similar advertisements
By virtue of Section 12(b), Rule 139-B of the Rules of Court, this were also published.
resolution is automatically elevated to the SC for final action.
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Justice Hofilena

An administrative complaint was filed which was referred to the IBP for Issue:
investigation and recommendation. The IBP resolved to suspend Atty. Simbillo for W/N Atty. Ortiz should be sanctioned?
1year. Note that although the name of Atty. Simbillo did not appear in the
advertisement, he admitted the acts imputed against him but argued that he should Held:
not be charged. He said that it was time to lift the absolute prohibition against Yes. Atty. Ortiz is to be sanctioned, suspension for 1 month.
advertisement because the interest of the public isnt served in any way by the Atty. Ortiz violated Canons 18 and 22. Under Canon 18.03, a lawyer owes
prohibition. fidelity to his clients cause and must always be mindful of the trust and confidence
reposed to him. He owes his entire devotion to the interest of the client. His
ISSUE negligence in connection therewith shall render him liable. Under Canon 18.04, the
Whether or not Simbillo violated Rule2.03 & Rule3.01. relationship of a lawyer-client being one of confidence, there is an ever present need
for the client to be adequately and fully informed of the developments of the case and
HELD should not be left in the dark. A lawyer cannot shift the blame to complainant for
Yes! failing to inquire the status about the case as this is one of the lawyers duties.
The practice of law is not a business --- it is a profession in which the The adoption of additional duties due to the election of Atty. Ortiz as
primary duty is public service and money. Gaining livelihood is a secondary councilor does not exonerate him of his negligent behavior. The CPR allows a lawyer
consideration while duty to public service and administration of justice should be to withdraw his legal service if the lawyer is elected or appointed to a public office
primary. Lawyers should subordinate their primary interest. since councilors are not expressly prohibited to exercise their legal profession.
Worse, advertising himself as an annulment of marriage specialist he
erodes and undermines the sanctity of an institution still considered as sacrosanct --- LINSANGAN V. TOLENTINO
he in fact encourages people otherwise disinclined to dissolve their marriage bond.
Solicitation of business is not altogether proscribed but for it to be proper it Facts:
must be compatible with the dignity of the legal profession. Note that the law list A complaint of disbarment was filed by Pedro Linsangan of the Linsangan,
where the lawyers name appears must be a reputable law list only for that purpose Linsangan & Linsangan Law Office against Atty. Nicomedes Tolentino for solicitation
--- a lawyer may not properly publish in a daily paper, magazineetc., nor may a of clients & encroachment of professional services. Linsangan alleges that Tolentino
lawyer permit his name to be published the contents of which are likely to deceive or with the help of paralegal Labiano convinced his clients to transfer legal
injure the public or the bar. representation by promising financial assistance and expeditious collection of their
claims. To induce them, Tolentino allegedly texted and called them persistently. To
CANOY V. ORTIZ support his allegation, Linsangan presented the sworn affidavit of James Gregorio
attesting that Labiano tried to prevail over him to sever his client-atty relationship with
Facts: Linsangan. Also, he attached respondents calling card:
A complaint was filed on April 2001 by Canoy against Atty. Ortiz, accusing
him for misconduct and malpractice. It is alleged that Canoy filed a complaint for Front
illegal dismissal against Coca Cola Philippines. Atty. Ortiz appeared as counsel for
Canoy in this proceeding. Canoy submitted all the documents and records to Atty. NICOMEDES TOLENTINO
Ortiz for the preparation of the position paper. Thereafter, he made several unfruitful LAW OFFFICE
visits to the office of Atty. Ortiz to follow-up the process of the case. On April 2000, CONSULTANCY & MARITIME SERVICES
Canoy was shocked to learn that his complaint was actually dismissed way back in W/ FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE
1998 for failure to prosecute, the parties not having submitted their position papers.
Canoy alleged that Ortiz had never communicated to him about the status of the Fe Marie L. Labiano
case. Paralegal
Atty. Ortiz informs the Court that he has mostly catered to indigent and low-
income clients, at considerable financial sacrifice to himself. Atty. Ortiz admits that the 1st MIJI Mansion, 2nd Flr. Rm. M-01
period within which to file the position paper had already lapsed. He attributes his Tel: 362-7820
failure to timely file the position paper to the fact that after his election as Councilor of 6th Ave., cor M.H. Del Pilar
Bacolod City, he was frankly preoccupied with both his functions as a local Fax: (632) 362-7821
government official and as a practicing lawyer. Grace Park, Caloocan City
Cel.: (0926) 2701719
10 | Block C 2012
Justice Hofilena

SERVICES OFFERED: Suarez was charged with sedition which was subsequently dismissed. He in
CONSULTATION AND ASSISTANCE turn filed a case for arbitrary detention against Lieutenant Orais. After the case was
TO OVERSEAS SEAMEN handed to Judge Platon following several changes in trial judge and several refusals
REPATRIATED DUE TO ACCIDENT, by fiscals to prosecute the case.
ABROAD. Should mandamus issue to compel the fiscal to reinstate the case?
In his defense, Tolentino denies knowing Labiano and authorizing the printing and
circulating of said calling card. Held:
Yes. It is unquestionable that in the proper cases, the prosecutors must
Issue: reinvestigate in order to properly dispense justice. At the same time, it must be kept in
W/N Atty. Tolentino is guilty of advertising his services mind that a prosecutor is the representative of a sovereignty; he is interested only in
the fact that justice is served, and this also includes his refusing to prosecute if the
Held: innocence of the accused is quite clear. He is a servant of the law, and his two-fold
Yes. Atty. Tolentino suspended for violating Rules 1.03, 2.03, 8.02 and 16.04 aim is not to let the guilty escape nor let the innocent suffer. He is not at liberty to
and Canon 3 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. strike foul blows because it is his duty to refrain from doing so as much as it is to use
With regard to Canon 3, the practice of law is a profession and not a legitimate methods of prosecution.
business. Thus, lawyers should not advertise their talents as merchants advertise
their wares. To allow lawyers to advertise their talents/skill is a commercialization of RAMOS V. IMBANG
the practice of law (degrading the profession in the publics estimation).
With regard to Rule 2.03, lawyers are prohibited from soliciting cases for FACTS
purpose of gain, either personally or through an agent. In relation to Rule 1.03, which In 1992, the complainant Diana Ramos sought the assistance of respondent
proscribes ambulance chasing (involving solicitation personally or through an Atty. Jose R. Imbang in filing civil and criminal actions against the spouses Roque
agent/broker) as a measure to protect community from barratry and champertry. and Elenita Jovellanos. She gave respondent P8,500 as attorney's fees but the latter
As a final note regarding the calling card presented as evidence by issued a receipt for P5,000 only.
Linsangan, a lawyers best advertisement is a well-merited. reputation for The complainant tried to attend the scheduled hearings of her cases against
professional capacity and fidelity to trust based on his character and conduct. For this the Jovellanoses. Oddly, respondent never allowed her to enter the courtroom and
reason, lawyers are only allowed to announce their services by publication in always told her to wait outside. He would then come out after several hours to inform
reputable law lists or use of simple professional cards. her that the hearing had been cancelled and rescheduled. This happened six times
Professional calling cards may only contain the following details: and for each appearance in court, respondent charged her P350.
(a) lawyers name; After six consecutive postponements, the complainant became suspicious.
(b) name of the law firm with which he is connected; She personally inquired about the status of her cases in the trial courts of Bian and
(c) address; San Pedro, Laguna. She was shocked to learn that respondent never filed any case
(d) telephone number and against the Jovellanoses and that he was in fact employed in the Public Attorney's
(e) special branch of law practiced. Office (PAO).
Labianos calling card contained the phrase with financial assistance. The
phrase was clearly used to entice clients (who already had representation) to change HELD
counsels with a promise of loans to finance their legal actions. Money was dangled to Attorney Imbang is disbarred and his name stricken from the roll of
lure clients away from their original lawyers, thereby taking advantage of their attorneys.
financial distress and emotional vulnerability. This crass commercialism degraded the Lawyers are expected to conduct themselves with honesty and
integrity of the bar and deserves no place in the legal profession. integrity. More specifically, lawyers in government service are expected to be more
conscientious of their actuations as they are subject to public scrutiny. They are not
CANONS 4, 5 & 6 only members of the bar but also public servants who owe utmost fidelity to public
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Justice Hofilena

Government employees are expected to devote themselves completely to public cases were being tried and asked the complainant to pay his appearance fees for
service. For this reason, the private practice of profession is prohibited. Section 7(b) hearings that never took place. These acts constituted dishonesty, a violation of the
(2) of the Code of Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees provides: lawyer's oath not to do any falsehood.
Section 7. Prohibited Acts and Transactions. -- In addition to acts and Respondent's conduct in office fell short of the integrity and good moral
omissions of public officials and employees now prescribed in the Constitution and character required of all lawyers, specially one occupying a public office. Lawyers in
existing laws, the following constitute prohibited acts and transactions of any public public office are expected not only to refrain from any act or omission which tend to
official and employee and are hereby declared unlawful: lessen the trust and confidence of the citizenry in government but also uphold the
xxx xxx xxx dignity of the legal profession at all times and observe a high standard of honesty and
(b) Outside employment and other activities related thereto, public officials and fair dealing. A government lawyer is a keeper of public faith and is burdened with a
employees during their incumbency shall not: high degree of social responsibility, higher than his brethren in private practice.
xxx xxx xxx There is, however, insufficient basis to find respondent guilty of violating
(1) Engage in the private practice of profession unless authorized by the Rule 16.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. Respondent did not hold the
Constitution or law, provided that such practice will not conflict with their official money for the benefit of the complainant but accepted it as his attorney's fees. He
function. neither held the amount in trust for the complainant (such as an amount delivered by
Thus, lawyers in government service cannot handle private cases for they the sheriff in satisfaction of a judgment obligation in favor of the client) nor was it
are expected to devote themselves full-time to the work of their respective offices. given to him for a specific purpose (such as amounts given for filing fees and bail
In this instance, respondent received P5,000 from the complainant and bond). Nevertheless, respondent should return the P5,000 as he, a government
issued a receipt on July 15, 1992 while he was still connected with the PAO. lawyer, was not entitled to attorney's fees and not allowed to accept them.
Acceptance of money from a client establishes an attorney-client
relationship. Respondent's admission that he accepted money from the complainant CATU V. RELLOSA
and the receipt confirmed the presence of an attorney-client relationship between him
and the complainant. Moreover, the receipt showed that he accepted the FACTS
complainant's case while he was still a government lawyer. Respondent clearly Catu co-owns a lot and building and contested the possession of one of the
violated the prohibition on private practice of profession. units in the said building by Elizabeth (sister in law of Catu) and Pastor, who ignored
Aggravating respondent's wrongdoing was his receipt of attorney's fees. The demands to vacate the place. The parties went to the Lupon Tagapamayapa to try to
PAO was created for the purpose of providing free legal assistance to indigent settle the issue amicably. Respodent Rellosa as Punong Barangay presided over the
litigants. Section 14(3), Chapter 5, Title III, Book V of the Revised Administrative conciliation proceedings. The parties failed to settle their case, and the petitioner
Code provides: brought the case to court.
Sec. 14. xxx Surprisingly, Rellosa appeared in court as counsel for Elizabeth and Pastor.
The PAO shall be the principal law office of the Government in extending This prompted Catu to file an administrative complaint against Rellosa for his act of
free legal assistance to indigent persons in criminal, civil, labor, administrative and impropriety.
other quasi-judicial cases. IBP committee on bar discipline, after investigation, ruled that Rellosa
As a PAO lawyer, respondent should not have accepted attorney's fees from violated Rule 6.032 and RA 67133. The committee recommended Rellosas
the complainant as this was inconsistent with the office's mission. Respondent suspension from practice for 1 month.
violated the prohibition against accepting legal fees other than his salary.
Every lawyer is obligated to uphold the law. This undertaking includes the ISSUE
observance of the above-mentioned prohibitions blatantly violated by respondent W/N Rellosa violated Rule 6.03
when he accepted the complainant's cases and received attorney's fees in
consideration of his legal services. Consequently, respondent's acceptance of the HELD
cases was also a breach of Rule 18.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility No.
because the prohibition on the private practice of profession disqualified him from
acting as the complainant's counsel. 2
A lawyer shall not, after leaving government service, accept
Aside from disregarding the prohibitions against handling private cases and
accepting attorney's fees, respondent also surreptitiously deceived the complainant. engagement or employment in connection with any matter in which
Not only did he fail to file a complaint against the Jovellanoses (which in the first place he intervened while in service
he should not have done), respondent also led the complainant to believe that he Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officers and
really filed an action against the Jovellanoses. He even made it appear that the Employees
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Justice Hofilena

Rule 6.03 applies only to a lawyer who has left government service. 'engagement or employment in connection with any matter in which he had
Rellosa was an incumbent punong barangay at the time he committed the act intervened while in said service.
complained of.
As such incumbent, the proper law that governs him is RA 7160 4, which ISSUE
actually allows him to practice his profession. However, being a public official, he is W/N Rule 6.03 of the Code of Professional Responsibility applies to
also governed by Revised Civil Service Rules, which requires him first to obtain a respondent Mendoza?
written permission from his department head who is the Sec. of DILG. This he failed
to do. HELD
SC ruled that Rellosa violated the lawyers oath (to uphold and obey law), NO, IT DOES NOT APPLY. The matter or the act of respondent Mendoza as
Rule 1.01 (lawyer shall not engage in unlawful conduct), and Canon 7 (lawyer shall Solicitor General involved in the case at bar is 'advising the Central Bank, on how to
uphold integrity and dignity of the profession), for a lawyer who disobeys law proceed with the said bank's liquidation and even filing the petition for its liquidation
disgraces the dignity of the legal profession. with the CFI of . In fine, the Court should resolve whether his act of advising the
SC punished Rellosa with 6 months suspension and strongly advised him to Central Bank on the legal procedure to liquidate GENBANK is included within the
look up and take to heart the meaning of the word delicadeza. concept of 'matter under Rule 6.03.
__________ The 'matter where he got himself involved was in informing Central Bank on
the procedure provided by law to liquidate GENBANK thru the courts and in filing the
Hofilena question: under RA 6713, are lawyers allowed to practice their profession? necessary petition. The subject 'matter of Sp. Proc. No. 107812, therefore, is not the
Answer: Yes, RA 6713 says if the constitution or law allows it Public officers same nor is related to but is different from the subject 'matter in Civil Case No. 0096
however are subject to Civil Service Rules which state that should they engage in which is about the sequestration of the shares of respondents Tan, et al.
private practice of their profession, they should first secure a written permission from The jurisdiction of the PCGG does not include the dissolution and liquidation
their department head. of banks. It goes without saying that Code 6.03 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility cannot apply to respondent Mendoza because his alleged intervention
PCGG V. SANDIGANBAYAN while a Solicitor General in Sp. Proc. No. 107812 is an intervention on a matter
different from the matter involved in Civil Case No. 0096.
FACTS Secondly, the supposed intervention of Mendoza in the liquidation case is
General Bank and Trust Company (GENBANK) encountered financial not significant and substantial. We note that the petition filed merely seeks the
difficulties. Later on, Central Bank issued a resolution declaring GENBANK insolvent. assistance of the court in the liquidation of GENBANK. The principal role of the court
Former Solicitor General Estelito P. Mendoza filed a petition with the then in this type of proceedings is to assist the Central Bank in determining claims of
Court of First Instance praying for the assistance and supervision of the court in creditors against the GENBANK.
GENBANK's liquidation. Also, The disqualification of respondent Mendoza has long been a dead
After EDSA 1, Pres. Aquino established the PCGG for the purpose of issue. For a fact, the recycled motion for disqualification in the case at bar was filed
recovering ill gotten wealth. The PCGG, on July 17, 1987, filed with the more than four years after the filing of the petitions for certiorari, prohibition and
Sandiganbayan a complaint for 'reversion, reconveyance, restitution, accounting and injunction with the Supreme Court which were subsequently remanded to the
damages against respondents Tan, et al. so PCGG issued several writs of Sandiganbayan. At the very least, the circumstances under which the motion to
sequestration on properties allegedly acquired by the above-named persons by taking disqualify in the case at bar were refiled put petitioner's motive as highly suspect.
advantage of their close relationship and influence with former President Marcos. It is also submitted that the Court should apply Rule 6.03 in all its strictness
These respondents were represented by Mendoza. for it correctly disfavors lawyers who 'switch sides. It is claimed that 'switching sides'
PCGG filed motions to disqualify respondent Mendoza as counsel for carries the danger that former government employee may compromise confidential
respondents. The motions alleged that respondent Mendoza, as then Solicitor official information in the process. But this concern does not cast a shadow in the
General and counsel to Central Bank, 'actively intervened in the liquidation of case at bar. As afore-discussed, the act of respondent Mendoza in informing the
GENBANK, which was subsequently acquired by respondents Tan, et al. and became Central Bank on the procedure how to liquidate GENBANK is a different matter from
Allied Banking Corporation. the subject matter of Civil Case No. 0005 which is about the sequestration of the
The motions to disqualify invoked Rule 6.03 of the Code of Professional shares of respondents Tan, et al., in Allied Bank. There is no switching sides for there
Responsibility. Rule 6.03 prohibits former government lawyers from accepting were no sides.

Local Government Code of 1991
13 | Block C 2012
Justice Hofilena

IN RE GALANG Before the IBP Samaniego testified that she knew that Atty. Ferrer was in a
relationship but did not think he was already married. Atty. Ferrer refused to appear
Doctrine: during the hearing since he did not want to see Samaniego.
That the concealment of an attorney in his application to take the Bar Atty. Ferrer manifested his willingness to support their daughter in a position
examinations of the fact that he had been with, or indicted for an alleged crime, as a paper. He also reasoned that he found it unconscionable to abandon his wife and 10
ground for revocation of his license to practice law, is well settled. children to cohabit with Samaniego.
IBP Board of Governors imposed upon Atty. Ferrer the penalty of 6 months
IN RE ARTHUR M. CUEVAS suspension for his refusal to support his daughter.
Atty. Ferrer filed MR with prayer for to reduce the penalty because it will
FACTS further cause extreme hardship to his family of 10 children. Upon finding that Atty.
Petitioner Arthur Cuevas Jr. recently passed the bar examinations, but was Ferrer lacked the degree of morality required of a member of the bar, his prayer for
precluded from taking the lawyers 1996 oath, pending approval from the reduced penalty was denied.
Supreme Court
This stems from petitioners participation in the initiation rites of the Lex Held:
Talionis Fraternitas of Sand Beda where neophyte Raul Camaligan died as a SC finds Atty. Ferrer guilty of gross immorality and he is ordered suspended
result of hazing. for 6 months.
Cuevas was charged with Imprudence Resulting in Homicide. Atty. Ferrer admitted his extra-marital affair and SC considers such illicit
relation as a disgraceful and immoral conduct subject to disciplinary action. Although
He applied for and was granted probation, then was discharged on May
it is true that Samaniego was not entirely blameless for knowing about Atty. Ferrers
wife, it does not make this case less serious since it is immaterial whether both are
May 1997, he applied to Court that he may take the lawyers oath and in pari delicto.
attached to his petition certifications attesting to his righteous, peaceful and Atty. Ferrer was held to have violated Rule 1.01, Canon 7 and Rule 7.03.
law abiding character.
May Cuevas take the lawyers oath, taking in consideration the certifications
attesting to his righteous, peaceful and law abiding character? Facts:
Disbarment case filed by the Faculty members and Staff of the SLU-LHS
HELD against Atty. Dela Cruz, its principal, on the ff grounds:
Yes. a. Gross Misconduct: there were pending cases filed against the respondent:
Though his deliberate participation in the initiation rites indicates absence of criminal case for child abuse; admin case for unethical acts of
that moral fitness required for admission into the bar, the court is willing to give the misappropriating money for teachers; and the labor case filed by SLU-LHS
petitioner a chance based on the various certifications: they sufficiently show that he Faculty for illegal deduction of salary.
has a righteous, peaceful and civil oriented character; and he has proven that he has Grossly Immoral Conduct: respondent contracted a second marriage despite
taken steps to purge himself of his deficiency in moral character and atone for the the existence of his first marriage. He was married in 1982 and they separated in-fact
death of Raul Camaligan. a year after. 7 years after, he contracts another marriage, but this was annulled for
being bigamous.
SAMANIEGO V. ATTY. FERRER Malpractice: respondent notarized documents (14 in total), from 88-97
(Complaint for immorality, abandonment and willful refusal to give support to an despite the expiration of his notarial commission in 87.
illegitimate child) Respondent denied the charges in the cases pending against him, but
admitted his second marriage and its subsequent nullification. He also admitted
Facts: having notarized documents when his notarial commission had already expired.
Samaniego was a client of Atty. Ferrer and their lawyer-client relationship However, he offered defenses such as good faith, lack of malice and noble intentions
became intimate, when Atty. Ferrer courted her and she fell in love. They lived in doing the complained acts.
together as "husband and wife" from 96-97 and their daughter was born. The affair IBP resolved to suspend Atty. Dela Cruz for 1 year for his bigamous
ended in 2000 and since then he failed to give support to their daughter. marriage and 1 year also for notarizing without commission (2 years total)

14 | Block C 2012
Justice Hofilena

Held: would be cruel deny him of this at this time when he is already advanced in
SC finds respondent guilty of immoral conduct, and suspended him from the age.
practice of law for 2 years, and another 2 years for notarizing documents.
Respondent was already a member of the Bar when he contracted the The Court agreed with the IBP recommendation but ruled that gross immoral
bigamous marriage. However, after his failed first marriage, he remained celibate until conduct was sufficiently proven warranting disbarment of respondent.
the 2nd marriage, showed his good intentions by marrying the 2nd wife, and he never CANON 7 A lawyer shall at all times uphold the integrity and dignity of the
absconded in his family duties. The SC finds that penalty of disbarment is too harsh. legal profession and support the activities of the Integrated Bar.
As to the charge of misconduct for having notarized documents without the Rule 7.03 A lawyer shall not engage in conduct that adversely reflects on
necessary commission, SC stresses notarization is not an empty, meaningless, this fitness to practice law, nor should he, whether in public or private life behave in a
routinary act. For doing such constitutes not only malpractice but also the crime of scandalous manner to the discredit of the legal profession.
falsification of public documents. Respondent also violated the Notarial Law for so Possession of good moral character is not only a condition precedent to the
doing, and this falls squarely within the prohibition of Rule 1.01 and Canon 7. practice of law, but a continuing qualification for all members of the bar.
The other cases against respondent are pending before the proper forums. Good moral character is more than just the absence of bad character. It
At such stages, the presumption of innocence still prevails in favor of the respondent. expresses itself in the will to do the unpleasant thing if it is right and the resolve not to
do the pleasant thing if it is wrong.
ARNOBIT V. ARNOBIT Immoral conduct has been described as conduct which is so willful, flagrant,
or shameless as to show indifference to the opinion of good and respectable
FACTS members of the community. To be the basis of disciplinary action, such conduct must
Petitioner Rebecca Arnobit filed this complaint against her husband, not only be immoral, but grossly immoral.
respondent Atty. Ponciano Arnobit, praying that the court exercise its disciplinary Grossly immoral meaning it must be so corrupt as to virtually constitute a
power over him. criminal act or so unprincipled as to be reprehensible to a high degree or committed
Rebecca alleged that she and respondent were married on 1942; that they under such scandalous or revolting circumstances as to shock the common sense of
bore 12 children; that she saw respondent through law school, continuously decency.
supporting him until he passed the bar; that several years after their marriage, or in Lawyers must not only be of good moral character but must also be seen to
1968, respondent left the conjugal home and began cohabiting with Benita Buenafe be of good moral character and leading lives in accordance with the highest moral
Navarro who later bore him four more children. Because of this, Rebecca was standards of the community.
impelled to file a complaint for legal separation and support, and a criminal case for The fact that respondents philandering ways are far removed from the
adultery. exercise of his profession would not save the day from him. A lawyer may be
Respondent admitted that Rebecca is his wedded wife but he denied having suspended or disbarred for any misconduct which, albeit unrelated to the actual
cohabited with Benita. He also stated that Rebecca was the cause of their separation practice of his profession, would show him to be unfit for the office and unworthy of
alleging that she was always traveling for business purposes without his knowledge his license.
and consent, thereby neglecting her obligations toward her family. Hearings were Respondent has the duty to show that he is morally fit to remain a member
conducted before the Office of the SolGen and subsequently, before the IBP of the bar. This, he failed to do. He never attended the hearings to rebut the charges
Commission on Bar Discipline. against him, irresistibly suggesting that they are true.
Aside from herself, Rebecca presented 2 other witnesses: her sister, who Undoubtedly, respondents act of leaving his wife and 12 children to cohabit
identified a letter sent to her by respondent apologizing for the unhappiness he and have children with another woman constitutes gross immoral conduct. He should
caused the family; and the other was Melecio Navarro, the husband of Benita, who therefore be disbarred.
testified about how respondent took his wife Benita as a mistress knowing fully well of
their marriage. During the hearings, respondent, despite due notice, repeatedly ADVINCULA V. MACABATA
absented himself when it was his turn to present evidence. He would also seek
postponement, pleading illness, on the hearing dates. FACTS
IBP Commission on Bar Discipline Report: Atty. Macabata was the counsel of Cynthia Advincula. In two separate
The IBP Commission on Bar Discipline found respondent liable for incidents, Atty. Macabata turnedthe head of Advincula and kissed her on the lips.
abandonment and recommended his suspension from the practice of law for These kissing incidents occurred after meetings regarding a case that Advincula was
3 months. It averred that an indefinite suspension is not recommended involved in. in both incidents, Atty. Macabata kissed Advincula inside the car, just
because respondent supports himself through the practice of law and that it
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before dropping her off in a public street. Atty. Macabata apologized to Advincula via because of the supposed irregularities in conducting the investigation. The SC
text messages immediately after the 2nd kissing incident. referred the case to the IBP.
Advincula filed a petition for disbarment against Atty. Macabata on the
ground of grossly immoral character. Atty. Macabata admitted that he did kiss ISSUE
Advincula, but that this was due to his feelings toward Advincula. W/N the civil complaint was groundless
W/N is was proper to implead Atty. Reyes and Prosecutor Salanga in the
ISSUE civil complaint
Is Atty. Macabata guilty of grossly immoral character to merit his
disbarment? HELD
Yes, civil complaint was groundless and it was improper to implead Atty.
HELD Reyes and Prosecutor Salanga in said civil complaint.
The Supreme Court ruled that Atty. Macabata was NOT guilty of grossly IBP: civil complaint was filed purposely to obtain leverage against the estafa
immoral character. case. There was no need to implead Atty. Reyes and Prosecutor Salanga since they
Grossly immoral character must be so corrupt as to constitute a criminal act, were not parties in the business venture. Their inclusion in the complaint was
or so unprincipled as to be reprehensible to a high degree or committed under such improper and highly questionable and the suit was filed to harass both of them. In
scandalous or revolting circumstances as to show the common sense of decency. To filing the civil suit, Atty. Chiong violated his oath of office and Canon 8 of the Code of
merit a disbarment, the act must be grossly immoral. Professional Responsibility. IBP recommended 2 years suspension
Atty. Macabatas act of kissing Advincula was not grossly immoral. The kiss SC: affirmed IBPs recommendation. In addition, the Court mentioned some
was not motivated by malice. This was proven by Atty. Macabatas immediate apology alternative remedies Atty. Chiong could have taken if his allegations were indeed true.
and the fact that it happened in a well-populated place. Advincula failed to prove that Chiong could have filed a motion for reinvestigation or motion for reconsideration of
Atty. Macabata lured her or took advantage of her. Salangas decision to file the information for estafa. Motion to Dismiss the estafa case
While the disbarment complaint was dismissed, Atty. Macabata was was also available if it was indeed filed without basis.
reprimanded and given a stern warning. The court described his kissing of Advincula
as distasteful. Relevant Provisions:
(The Supreme Court also said that greetings like beso are ok.) Canon 8 A lawyer shall conduct himself with courtesy, fairness, and candor towards
his professional colleagues, and shall avoid harassing tactics against opposing
CANON 8 counsel.
Lawyers Oath not to wittingly or willingly promote or sue any groundless, false or
REYES V. CHIONG unlawful suit, nor give aid nor consent to the same.


Two Chinese-Taiwanese businessmen (Xu and Pan) entered into a business
venture to set up a factory for seafood products. Xu invested P300,000. Eventually, Facts:
Xu discovered that Pan had not established the factory and asked for his money Atty. Dallong-Galicinao is the Clerk of Court of RTC and Atty. Castro was a
back. Pan became hostile and ignored Xu. Xu engaged the services of Atty. Reyes, private practitioner and VP of IBP-Nueva Vizcaya. Respondent went to complainants
who filed a complaint for estafa against Pan (represented by Atty. Chiong). The office to inquire whether the records of Civil Case No. 784 had already been
complaint was assigned to Asst. Manila City Prosecutor Pedro Salanga, who issued a remanded to the MCTC. Respondent was not the counsel of either party in that
subpoena for Pan to appear for preliminary investigation. For failure to appear and case.
submit a counter-affidavit, Salanga filed a criminal complaint for estafa against Pan in Complainant replied that the record had not yet been transmitted since a
the RTC of Manila. The RTC issued a warrant of arrest against Pan. In response, Atty. certified true copy of the CA decision should first be presented. To this respondent
Chiong filed a motion to quash the warrant of arrest. He also filed with the RTC of retorted, You mean to say, I would have to go to Manila to get a copy? Complainant
Zamboanga a civil complaint for the collection of a sum of money, damages, and for replied that respondent may show instead the copy sent to the party he represents.
the dissolution of the business venture against Xu, Atty. Reyes and Salanga. Atty. Respondent then replied that complainant shouldve notified him. Complainant
Reyes then filed a disbarment case against Atty. Chiong for filing a groundless suit, explained that it is not her duty to notify the respondent of such duty. Angered,
alleging that it was instituted to exact vengeance. Atty. Chiong alleges that Atty. Reyes respondent yelled stuff in Ilocano and left the office, banging the door so loud. He
was impleaded for conniving with Xu in filing the estafa case. Salanga was impleaded then returned to the office and shouted, Ukinnam nga babai! (Vulva of your mother,
you woman!)
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Later, complainant filed a manifestation that she wont appear in the hearing
of the case in view of the respondents public apology, and that the latter was forgiven CAMACHO V. PAGULAYAN
Held: AMA Computer College (AMACC) had a pending case in the RTC for
Respondent is fined the amount of 10k with a warning. expelling some students due to having published objectionable features or articles in
Respondent was not the counsel of record of Civil Case No. 784. His the school paper. Thereafter, Atty. Camacho who is the counsel for the expelled
explanation that he will enter his appearance in the case when its records were students filed a complaint against Atty. Pangulayan, counsel for AMACC, for violation
already transmitted to the MCTC is unacceptable. Not being the counsel of record of Canon 9 of the Code of Professional Ethics which provides that "A lawyer should
respondent had no right to impose his will on the clerk of court. He violated Rule 8.02, not in any way communicate upon the subject of controversy with a party represented
because this was an act of encroachment. It matters not that he did so in good faith. by counsel, much less should he undertake to negotiate or compromise the matter
His act of raising his voice and uttering vulgar invectives to the clerk of court with him, but should only deal with his counsel. It is incumbent upon the lawyer most
was not only ill-mannered but also unbecoming considering that he did these in front particularly to avoid everything that may tend to mislead a party not represented by
of the complainants subordinates. For these, he violated Rules 7.03 and 8.01 and counsel and he should not undertake to advise him as to law." The complaint was
Canon 8. based on the fact that Atty. Pangulayan procured and effected from the expelled
The penalty was tempered because respondent apologized to the students and their parents compromise agreements in which the students waived all
complainant and the latter accepted it. This is not to say, however, that kinds of claims they may have against AMACC and to terminate all civil, criminal and
respondent should be absolved from his actuations. People are accountable for the administrative proceedings filed against it. The compromise agreements were
consequences of the things they say and do even if they repent afterwards. procured by Atty. Pangulayan without the consent and knowledge of Atty. Camacho
given that he was already the counsel for the students at that time. It was averred that
ALCANTARA V. PEFIANCO the acts of Atty. Pangulayan was unbecoming of any member of the legal profession
warranting either disbarment or suspension from the practice of law.
Atty. Alcantara (incumbent District Pubic Attorney of PAO in Anitque) filed a ISSUE
complaint against Atty. Pefianco for conduct unbecoming of the bar for using improper Whether or not Atty. Pangulayan violated Canon 9 of the Code of
and offensive language and threatening and attempting to assault complainant. This Professional Ethics
happened when Atty, Salvani was conferring with his client in the PAO office when the
wife of the murdered victim, in tears, came and askef for a settlement. Moved by the HELD
plight of the woman, Pefianco, who was standing nearby, scolded and shouted at YES! Atty. Pangulayan is suspended for 3 months from the practice of law
Salvani to not settle the case and to have his client imprisoned so that he would for having ciolated the Code of Professional Ethics.
realize his mistake. As head of the office, Alcantara reproached Pefianco, but this In this case, when the compromise agreements were formalized and
ended up with Pefianco saying that Alcantara was an idiot for sending him out of the effected by Atty. Pangulayan, Atty. Camacho was already the retained counsel for the
PAO. Also, Pefianco tried to attack Alcantara and even shouted at him, Gago ka! students in the pending case filed by the students against AMACC and Atty.
The IBP Committee on Bar Discipline found that Pefianco violated Canon 8 Pangulayan had full knowledge of such fact. However, Atty. Pangulayan still
of the Code of Professional Responsibility. proceeded to negotiate with the students and the parents without at least
communicating the matter with their lawyer even being aware that the students were
Issue: being represented by counsel.
W/N Pefianco is guilty of violating Canon 8 Such failure of Atty. Pangulayan, whether by design or oversight, is an
inexcusable violation of the canons of professional ethics and in utter disregard of a
Held: duty owing to a colleague. Atty. Pangulayan in this case fell short of the demands
Yes. Canon 8 admonishes lawyers to conduct themselves with courtesy, required of him as a lawyer and as a member of the Bar.
fairness and candor toward their fellow lawyers. Pefiancos meddling in a matter in *In relation to our topic (not stated in case), such act of Atty. Pangulayan is
which he had no right to do so caused the incident. And although Pefianco was also in violation of Canon 8.02 of the Code of Professional Responsibility which states
moved by the womans plight, what he thought was righteous did not give him the that "A lawyer shall not, directly or indirectly, encroach upon the professional
right to scold Salvani and insult and berate those who tried to calm him down. employment of another lawyer, however, it is the right of any lawyer, without fear or
Whatever moral righteousness he had was negated by the way he chose to express favor, to give proper advice and assistance to those seeking relief against unfaithful or
his indignation. neglectful counsel."
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Justice Hofilena


Facts: Settled is the rule that a lawyer should not steal another lawyers client nor
Atty. Torres and Mrs. Celestino charge Atty. Javier for malpractice, gross induce the latter to retain him by a promise of better service, good result, or reduced
misconduct in office as an attorney an/or violation of the lawyers oath. This stemmed fees for his service. In this case, promise of a loan.
from the remarks made by Javier in the pleadings he filed in a petition for audit of all
funds of the University of the East Faculty Assoc. (UEFA) as counsel: 1. Motion to CANON 9
Expedite contained false statements with malicious imputation of robbery and theft of
UEFAs funds upon their persons; and 2. In the atty.s fees case, Javier in his Reply MAURICIO C. ULEP V. THE LEGAL CLINIC, INC.
used abusive and improper language, and made a statement demeaning to the
integrity of the profession (not uncommon for trial lawyers to hear notaries asking FACTS:
their family members to sign for them). This is a petition praying for an order to the respondent to cease and desist
Javier explained that he was angry because Torres had been spreading from issuing certain advertisements pertaining to the exercise of the law profession
reports and rumors implicating his clients including his wife to the burglary. With other than those allowed by law.
respect to the atty.s fess case, he alleged that Torres, in his Answer, did not confront The said advertisement of the Legal Clinic invites potential clients to inquire
the issues but mocked and made malicious accusations against his wife. about secret marriage and divorce in Guam and annulment, and the like. It also says
The IBP found Javier guilty of violating the Code of Professional that they are giving free books on Guam Divorce.
Responsibility. Ulep claims that such advertisements are unethical and destructive of the
confidence of the community in the integrity of lawyers. He, being a member of the
Issue: bar, is ashamed and offended by the said advertisements. On the other hand, the
W/N Javier is guilty of violation of the Code respondent, while admitting of the fact of the publication of the advertisements, claims
that it is not engaged in the practice of law but is merely rendering legal support
Held: services through paralegals. It also contends that such advertisements should be
Yes. For reasons of public policy, utterances made in the course of judicial allowed based on certain US cases decided.
proceedings, including all kinds of pleadings, petitions and motion, are absolutely
privileged so long as they are pertinent and relevant to the subject inquiry, however ISSUE:
false or malicious they may be (must be material and relevant). This privilege does W/N the Legal Clinic Inc is engaged in the practice of law.
not extend to those matters not related to the controversy. W/N the same can properly be the subject of the advertisements
The allegations in the Motion to Expedite fall under this privilege, but not complained of.
those in the Reply. The SC does not countenance Torres incorporation of criticisms
against Javiers wife as past president of UEFA, but this does not justify Javiers HELD/RATIO:
retaliating statements (What kind of lawyer is Torres? He lies through his teeth). Yes, it constitutes practice of law. No, the ads should be enjoined.
Canon 8 instructs that a lawyers arguments in his pleadings should be Practice of law means any activity, in or out of court, which requires the
gracious to both the court and opposing counsel and be of such words as may be application of law, legal procedures, knowledge, training and experience. To engage
properly addressed by one gentleman to another. in the practice of law is to perform those acts which are characteristic of the
profession. Generally, to practice law is to give advice or render any kind of service
LINSANGAN V. TOLENTINO that involves legal knowledge or skill.
The practice of law is not limited to the conduct of cases in court. It includes
FACTS legal advice and counsel, and the preparation of legal instruments and contract by
Tolentino, with the help of Labiano, was pirating the clients of Labiano by which legal rights are secured, although such matter may or may not be pending in a
offering, in some instances, a 50K loan. court. When a person participates in a trial and advertises himself as a lawyer, he is in
the practice of law. One who confers with clients, advises them as to their legal rights
ISSUE and then takes the business to an attorney and asks the latter to look after the case in
Is it an encroachment on the professional practice of Labiano, thereby court, is also practicing law. Giving advice for compensation regarding the legal status
violating rule 8.02 which provides that, A lawyer shall not, directly or indirectly, and rights of another and the conduct with respect thereto constitutes a practice of
encroach upon the professional employment of another lawyer,? law. The practice of law, therefore, covers a wide range of activities in and out of
18 | Block C 2012
Justice Hofilena

court. And applying the criteria, respondent Legal Clinic Inc. is, as advertised, intimate relation to the administration of justice by the courts. No valid distinction, so
engaged in the practice of law. far as concerns the question set forth in the order, can be drawn between that part of
What is palpably clear is that respondent corporation gives out legal the work of the lawyer which involves appearance in court and that part which
information to laymen and lawyers. With its attorneys and so called paralegals, it will involves advice and drafting of instruments in his office. It is of importance to the
necessarily have to explain to the client the intricacies of the law and advise him or welfare of the public that these manifold customary functions be performed by
her on the proper course of action to be taken as may be provided for by said law. persons possessed of adequate learning and skill, of sound moral character, and
That is what its advertisements represent and for the which services it will acting at all times under the heavy trust obligations to clients which rests upon all
consequently charge and be paid. That activity falls squarely within the jurisprudential attorneys.
definition of "practice of law." The SC, in order to arrive at its decision, presented a brief history of
The standards of the legal profession condemn the lawyer's advertisement Monsods employment. After passing the bar exam, Atty. Monsod worked in the law
of his talents. A lawyer cannot, without violating the ethics of his profession advertise office of his father. From 1963 to 1970, he worked for the World Bank Group, where
his talents or skill as in a manner similar to a merchant advertising his goods. The he was assigned as operations officer in Costa Rica. His job involved getting
only exceptions are when he appears in a reputable law list and use of an ordinary, acquainted with the laws of member-countries negotiating loans and coordinating
simple professional card. legal, economic and project work of the bank. In 1970, he returned to the Philippines
The advertisements do not fall under these exceptions. To allow the and worked with the Meralco Group, served as chief executive of an investment bank
publication of advertisements of the kind used by respondent would only serve to and a business conglomerate. By 1986, he rendered his services to various
aggravate what is already a deteriorating public opinion of the legal profession whose companies as a legal and economic consultant and he also worked as a Chief
integrity has consistently been under attack. Hence, it should be enjoined. Executive Officer. He was also the Secretary-General and National Chairman of
NAMFREL in 1986-1987. His position in NAMFREL required his knowledge in
CAYETANO V. MONSOD election law. Also, he sat as a member of the Davide Commission in 1990.
Interpreted in the light of the various definitions of the term Practice of law".
FACTS particularly the modern concept of law practice, and taking into consideration the
Respondent Christian Monsod was nominated by then President Aquino for liberal construction intended by the framers of the Constitution, Atty. Monsod's past
the position of COMELEC Chairman in 1991. This nomination was opposed by work experiences as a lawyer-economist, a lawyer-manager, a lawyer-entrepreneur of
petitioner Cayetano on the ground that Monsod does not possess the required industry, a lawyer-negotiator of contracts, and a lawyer-legislator of both the rich and
qualification of having been engaged in the practice of law for at least 10 years. the poor verily more than satisfy the constitutional requirement that he has been
Apparently, the Constitution requires that the COMELEC Chairperson be a member of engaged in the practice of law for at least ten years.
the Philippine Bar who has been engaged in the practice of law for at least 10 years.
Despite Cayetanos opposition, the Commission on Appointments confirmed the PADILLA, J., dissenting:
nomination. Thus, Cayetano filed an instant petition for certiorari and prohibition, There are several factors determinative of whether a particular activity constitutes
basically challenging the confirmation by the CA of Monsods nomination. "practice of law."
1. Habituality
ISSUE 2. Compensation
Is Monsod qualified to be COMELEC Chairperson? 3. Application of law, legal principle, practice or procedure which calls or legal
knowledge, training and experience is within the term "practice of law.
HELD 4. Attorney-client relationship.
The practice of law is not limited to the conduct of cases in court. Practice of CAMBALIZA V. CRISTOBAL-TENORIO
law under modem conditions consists in no small part of work performed outside of
any court and having no immediate relation to proceedings in court. It embraces FACTS
conveyancing, the giving of legal advice on a large variety of subjects, and the Cabliza, a former employee of Cristal-Tenorio in her law office, filed a
preparation and execution of legal instruments covering an extensive field of business disbarment complaint on the grounds of deceit, grossly immoral conduct and
and trust relations and other affairs. Although these transactions may have no direct malpractice or other gross misconduct in office.
connection with court proceedings, they are always subject to become involved in Deceit: represented herself to be married to Felicisimo Tenorio Jr, who has a
litigation. They require in many aspects a high degree of legal skill, a wide experience prior existing marriage
with men and affairs, and great capacity for adaptation to difficult and complex Grossly immoral conduct: disseminated libellous affidavits against a
situations. These customary functions of an attorney or counselor at law bear an Makati City counselor.
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Justice Hofilena

Malpractice: allowed her husband, a non-lawyer, to practice by making him

a senior partner in her law office. This is evidenced by 1) the law office letterhead AGUIRRE V. RAMA
which included the husband as a senior partner, 2) an id wherein he signed as an
atty, 3) appearance in court as counsel. FACTS
Respondent Edwin L. Rana was among those who passed the 2000 Bar
HELD Examinations. On 21 May 2001, one day before the scheduled mass oath-taking of
Guilty of malpractice. Violated Canon 9 and Rule 9.01 successful bar examinees as members of the Philippine Bar, complainant Donna
Canon 9: a lawyer shall not assist in unauthorized practice of law Marie Aguirre filed against respondent a Petition for Denial of Admission to the Bar,
Rule 9.01: a lawyer shall not delated to any unqualified person the charging respondent with unauthorized practice of law, grave misconduct, violation of
performance of a task that may only be performed by members of the bar in good law, and grave misrepresentation.
standing The Court allowed respondent to take his oath as a member of the Bar
Even though Cabliza later on withdrew her complaint, IBP still pushed during the scheduled oath-taking on 22 May 2001 but ruled that he cannot sign the
through with the investigation because such is a disciplinary proceeding. There is no Roll of Attorneys pending the resolution of the charge against him.
private interest affected such that desistance of the complainant will terminate the Complainant charged respondent for unauthorized practice of law and grave
proceedings. The purpose is to protect the bar from those unfit to practice law. misconduct, alleging that respondent, while not yet a lawyer, appeared as counsel for
Vice Mayoralty candidate George Bunan in the May 2001 elections before the
AMALGAMATED LABORERS ASSOCIATION V. CIR Municipal Board of Election Canvassers (MBEC) of Mandaon, Masbate, and filed
with the MBEC a pleading as counsel entitled Formal Objection to the Inclusion in the
FACTS Canvassing of Votes in Some Precincts for the Office of Vice-Mayor. Respondent also
This case involves a controversy over Attorneys Fees for legal services in signed as counsel for Estipona-Hao in her petition to be declared the winning
the CIR. mayoralty candidate.
On 1956, Arceo + 47 other members of their UNION, ALA and Javier lodged On the charge of violation of law, respondent is not allowed by law to act as
a complaint agains Binalbagan Sugar Central Company (BISCOM) for unfair labor counsel for a client in any court or administrative body, respondent being a municipal
practices, as specified in the Industrial Peace Act. government employee (Secretary of the Sangguniang Bayan of Mandaon, Masbate).
On Nov 1962, the CIR rendered judgement in favor of the workers and it The Court referred the case to the Office of the Bar Confidant (OBC) for
became final on March 1963. evaluation, report and recommendation.
On June 1963, the CIR directed the Chief Examiner to go to BISCOM to
compute the backwages of the complainant workers OBCs Report and Recommendation
Atty. Fernandez filed a Notice of Atty.s lien amounting to 25% of their The OBC found that respondent indeed appeared before the MBEC as counsel for
money claim (PhP79, 755.22). He explained that it was supposed to be 30% but Bunan in the May 2001 elections. The minutes of the MBEC proceedings show that
Arsenio Reyes requested him to 25% to satisfy Atty. Carbonells lien of 5%. respondent actively participated in the proceedings. The OBC likewise found that
Atty. Carbonell disputed this claim and even said that the verbal agreement respondent appeared in the MBEC proceedings even before he took the lawyers
entered into by the UNION and its officers is that the 30% Atty.s Fees shall be divided oath on 22 May 2001. Respondents misconduct casts a serious doubt on his moral
equally by him, Atty. Fernandez & Felisberto Javier, the UNIONs president. fitness to be a member of the Bar. Such unauthorized practice of law is a ground to
There are other matters in this case regarding Jurisdiction but the one deny his admission to the practice of law.
related to Legal Ethics is on the issue on Atty.s Fees
ISSUE Respondent is guilty of unauthorized practice of law and was thus denied
SHARE IN THE ATTORNEYS FEES. 1. SC agreed with the finding of the OBC that respondent engaged in the
unauthorized practice of law and thus does not deserve admission to the Philippine
NO. The court struck down the alleged oral agreement that the UNION - Respondent appeared as counsel for Bunan and signed as counsel in the
President should share in the Atty.s Fees. The UNION President is not the attorney pleadings
for the laborers. He may seek compensation only as such president. An agreement - was also retained as counsel of mayoralty candidate Emily Estipona-Hao
whereby a UNION President is allowed to share in Atty.s Fees is immoral. Such a and of party REFORMA LM-PPC
contract we emphatically reject. It cannot be justified. Note Rule 9.02.
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Justice Hofilena

*all these took place before Respondent took his oath and signed the Roll of Held:
Attorneys Yes. He was found to have assisted in the unauthorized practice of law by
2. What constitutes the practice of law negligently letting his wife notarize documents herself in his absence. His contention
- The practice of law is not limited to the conduct of cases or litigation in that he rectified this error by slapping his wife is of no moment because he did not in
court; it embraces the preparation of pleadings and other papers incident to the first place take the necessary steps to prevent this. He was also charged with
actions and special proceedings, the management of such actions and violations of the notarial law.
proceedings on behalf of clients before judges and courts
- all advice to clients, and all action taken for them in matters connected with
the law, incorporation services, assessment and condemnation services CANONS 10 & 11
contemplating an appearance before a judicial body, the foreclosure of a
mortgage, enforcement of a creditor's claim in bankruptcy and insolvency FERNANDEZ V. DE RAMOS-VILLALON
proceedings, and conducting proceedings in attachment, and in matters of
estate and guardianship have been held to constitute law practice, as do the FACTS
preparation and drafting of legal instruments, where the work done involves This is an administrative case filed by petitioner Fernandez against Atty.
the determination by the trained legal mind of the legal effect of facts and Villalon. It started from a case filed by a certain Carlos Palacios against Fernandez to
conditions. nullify a Deed of Donation. Atty. Villalon represented Palacios in the early part of the
- any activity, in or out of court, which requires the application of law, legal case against Fernandez.
procedure, knowledge, training and experience. In 2004, Palacios, owner of a lot in Makati, sought the help of Fernandez to
- perform acts which are usually performed by members of the legal help him in a case against a land-grabbing syndicate. Palacios won the case with the
profession. help of Fernandez.
- render any kind of service which requires the use of legal knowledge or In Sept 2005, Palacios bumped into a Mrs. Lirio who expressed interest in
skill. buying Palacios Makati property. It turns out that it was being sold by Fernandez who
* respondent was engaged in the practice of law when he appeared in the allegedly had a Deed of Donation which Palacios executed in his favor. This Deed of
proceedings before the MBEC and filed various pleadings, without license to Donation was registered.
do so. Palacios, with the help of Atty. Villalon, filed an action tto nullify the Deed
3. The right to practice law is not a natural or constitutional right but is a against Fernandez. However, Fernandez answered that the title transfer in his name
privilege. was proper, citing a Deed of Absolute Sale as basis. He furthered alled that it was
- limited to persons of good moral character with special qualifications duly actually Palacios who forged the Deed of Donation to cheat in taxes.
ascertained and certified. In 2006, Fernandez filed a complaint for disbarment against Atty. Villalon for
- A bar candidate does not acquire the right to practice law simply by passing violation of Rule 1.01, 7.03, 10.1, 10.2, 10.3. He claims that Atty. Villalon has
the bar examinations. suppressed and excluded in the complaint filed by her knowledge about the existence
- although respondent passed the 2000 Bar Examinations and took the of the Deed of Absolute Sale, which was by the way, unregistered. He says that no
lawyers oath, it is the signing in the Roll of Attorneys that finally makes one mention of it was made in the petition for the annulment of thee Deed of Donation.
a full-fledged lawyer. Commissioner of IBP recommended the dismissal of the case. Sustaining
Atty. Villalons argument that she, as counsel for Palacios, was under no duty to
LAQUINDANUM V. QUINTANA include the fact that the Deed of Sale existed because only the clients operative
facts, and not other evidentiary facts, need to be included in the complaint. The Deed
Facts: of Sale was a matter of a defense that Fernandez as defendant can freely point out
Judge Laquindanum charged Atty. Quintana with the offense of notarizing during the trial.
documents beyond the jurisdiction of his notarial license and with notarizing Fernandez appealed the case.
documents not known to him to be based on actual facts. It was also found that his
wife sometimes notarized the documents herself. ISSUE
W/N there was grave abuse of discretion in dismissing the complaint.
Is Atty. Quintana guilty of violating Canon 9? HELD
None. Case against Villalon is dismissed.

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Justice Hofilena

A lawyer, as an officer of the court, has the duty to be truthful in all his In reaction to this, respondent filed a Motion for Reconsideration with Motion to Inhibit
dealings. However, this duty does not require that the lawyer advance matters of (MRMI) where respondent used scandalous, offensive, and menacing languages to
defense on behalf of his or her clients opponent. She (Villalon) is not duty bound to support his complaint. He said that the labor arbiter was cross-eyed in making his
build the case for her clients opponent, Fernandez. findings of fact and that Commissioner Dinopol acted in the same manner with malice
The cause of action chosen by Palacios was for the annulment of the Deed thrown in when he adopted the findings of the labor arbiter. That the retiring
of Donation. Client Palacios informed her that the Deed of Sale was void for lack of commissioners of NLRC circumvent the law and jurisprudence when the money claim
consideration. Also, it was not registered and was not the basis of the transfer of title involved in the case is substantial. According to respondent, such acts constitute
of Palacios property to Fernandez. Therefore, it is not a necessary evidence/fact to grave abuse of discretion.
their case. Because of the MRMI, complainant filed a disbarment case with IBPs
Commission on Bar Discipline against respondent wherein it was alleged that the
RIVERA V. CORRAL latter violated certain codes and rules of the Code of Professional Responsibility.
Specifically, respondent allegedly violated Canons 8 and 11 wherein a lawyer is
Facts: prohibited from using scandalous, oppressive, offensive, and malicious language
Rivera instituted a complaint for disbarment charging Atty. Corral with against an opposing counsel and before the courts.
malpractice and conduct unbecoming a member of the Philippine Bar. A decision for In his defense, respondent argues that he did not violate any of the canons
an ejectment case was received by Atty. Corrals secretary on February 23, 1990. found in the Code because 1) the NLRC is not among the courts referred to in the
Notice of Appeal was filed by Atty. Corral on March 13, 1990. Next day, he went to the rules; 2) the Commissioners therein are not judges; and 3) the complainants in labor
clerk of court and changed the date February 23 to February 29 without the courts cases are entitled to some latitude of righteous anger. Attached to respondents
prior knowledge and permission. Atty. Corral later on filed a reply to plaintiffs counter-complaint is an affidavit made by the union president Batan alleging that the
manifestation claiming that he received the decision on February 28, not 29 (because lawyers of the complainant are the ones who violated the Code of Professional
there is no Feb 29). Responsibility when they filed multiple suits arising from the same cause of action
and when they deliberately lessened the number of complainants in the labor case.
Issue: The findings of the Commission on Bar discipline led the IBP to conclude
W/N Atty. Corral should be disbarred for changing the date when he received that respondent is guilty of violating Canons 8 and 11, while the lawyers of the
the decision of the court without the courts prior knowledge of decision complainant did not violate any canons of the Code. It recommended that respondent
be reprimanded with a stern warning that severe penalties will be imposed in case a
Held: similar conduct will be committed again.
No, Atty. Corral is suspended for 1 year. The correction of date by Atty.
Corral was made not to reflect the truth but to mislead the trial court in believing that ISSUE
the notice of appeal was filed within the reglementary period. Because if the decision W/N respondent violated Canons 8 and 11 of the Code of Professional
was received on Feb 22, the notice of appeal filed on March 13 is filed out of time. To Responsibility.
extricate himself from such predicament, Atty. Corral altered the date he received the
courts decision. By altering the material dates to make it appear that the Notice of HELD
Appeal was timely filed, Atty. Corral committed an act of dishonesty. Dishonesty YES. Respondent has clearly violated Canons 8 and 11 of the Code of
constitutes grave misconduct. Professional Responsibility. His actions erode the publics perception of the legal
profession. The MRMI contains insults and diatribes against the NLRC, attacking both
JOHNNY NG V. ALAR its moral and intellectual integrity, replete with implied accusations of partiality,
impropriety and lack of diligence. Respondent used improper and offensive language
FACTS in his pleadings that does not admit any justification.
The case stemmed from a labor case filed by the employees of the Ng Though a lawyer's language may be forceful and emphatic, it should always
Company against its employers. The employees alleged that they did not receive their be dignified and respectful, befitting the dignity of the legal profession. The use of
service incentive leave pay from their employers due to the latters claim that the unnecessary language is proscribed if we are to promote high esteem in the courts
employees conducted a strike at the Companys premises which hampered its and trust in judicial administration.
ingress and egress. The case was referred to the labor arbiter and the latter found However, the penalty of reprimand with stern warning imposed by the IBP
that the employees have been paid their service incentive leave pay. The employees Board of Governors is not proportionate to respondents violation of the Canons of the
appealed to NLRC but the latter affirmed the labor arbiters decision. Code of Professional Responsibility. Thus, he deserves a stiffer penalty of fine in the
amount of P5,000.00.
22 | Block C 2012
Justice Hofilena

Anent the Counter-Complaint filed against the lawyers of complainant, the court which tend to corrode the judicial machinery. Thus, if he acquired reliable
Court finds no reason to disturb the following findings and recommendation of the information that anomalies are perpetrated by judicial officers, it is incumbent upon
Investigating Commissioner, as approved by the IBP Board of Governors, to wit: him to report the matter to the Court so that it may be properly acted upon. An
The Counter-complainant Batan failed to submit any position paper to omission or even a delay in reporting may tend to erode the dignity of, and the
substantiate its claims despite sufficient opportunity to do so. public's trust in, the judicial system.
This is not to say, however, that as an officer of the court, he cannot criticize
FUDOT V. CATTLEYA LAND the court. It is a long recognized and respected right of a lawyer, or any person, for
that matter, to be critical of courts and magistrates as long as they are made in
FACTS properly respectful terms and through legitimate channels. But it is the cardinal
De La Serna a requested for the inhibition of Associate Justice Dante O. condition of all such criticism that it shall be bona fide and shall not spill over
Tinga claiming that Justice Tinga, who was the ponente of the decision, received P10 the walls of decency and propriety. Intemperate and unfair criticism is a gross
Million from Mr. Johnny Chan in exchange for a favorable decision. De la serna violation of the duty of respect to courts. It is such a misconduct that subjects a lawyer
alleges JOHNNY CHAN curtly told him that Chan already given out 10M to JUSTICE to disciplinary action.
DANTE O. TINGA in exchange for a favorable Decision in the case between Fudot In this case, Atty. De La Serna's statements bear the badges of falsehood
and Catltleya land(Mr. Chan is a representative of Cattleya land). Atty. De La Serna while the common version of the witnesses who disputed his statements is imbued
said that Justice Tinga abandoned the doctrine in the case Lim v, Jorge to with the hallmarks of truth. De La Serna's declarations were maliciously and
accommodate Mr. Chan. He also said that the case was prioritized for resolution and irresponsibly made. They exceeded the boundaries of decency and propriety. The
that Mr. Chan had prior knowledge of the outcome of the case before the decision libelous attack on the integrity and credibility of Justice Tinga tend to degrade the
was promulgated. dignity of the Court and erode public confidence that should be accorded to it.
However, Mr. Chan related that he approached De La Serna for the purpose
of amicably settling their case with Cattleya, and offered him to be their retainer in BONDOC V. JUDGE SIMBULAN
Bohol. However, he denied having said to De La Serna that he had already spent so
much money for the Supreme Court FACTS
There was a case for corruption in the judges sala. the private prosecutors
ISSUE representing the government were repeatedly absent or unprepared.
W/N Atty. De La Serna is guilty of indirect contempt. This led to the case being dismissed. the lawyer/private prosecutor was
unhappy with the dismissal and accused the judge of favoritism and gross ignorance
HELD of the law.
Atty. De La Serna is guilty of indirect contempt. The lawyer went to the congressman in their district and through him filed a
Contempt is defined as a disobedience to the Court by setting up an case against the judge. this subsequent reached the supreme court.
opposition to its authority, justice and dignity. It signifies not only a willful disregard or
disobedience of the court's orders but such conduct that tends to bring the authority HELD
of the court and the administration of law into disrepute or in some manner to impede The supreme court found the judge innocent and the lawyer was found to be
the due administration of justice. Indirect contempt is one committed out of or not in the one behind the case (against the judge) not the congressman.
the presence of the court that tends to belittle, degrade, obstruct or embarrass the The lawyer was found guilty of indirect contempt and given a stern warning
court and justice. Any improper conduct tending, directly or indirectly, to impede, as well as fined for 2500php by the court.
obstruct, or degrade the administration of justice has also been considered to Lesson: if you file a case against a judge file it within the justice system (ie
constitute indirect contempt. office of the court administrator / IBP) not with your congressman or other non-judicial
A lawyer is, first and foremost, an officer of the court. Corollary to his duty to people.
observe and maintain the respect due to the courts and judicial officers is to support
the courts against "unjust criticism and clamor." His duty is to uphold the dignity and CANON 12
the authority of the courts to which he owes fidelity, "not to promote distrust in the
administration of justice, as it is his sworn and moral duty to help build and not BERBANO V. BARCELONA
destroy unnecessarily that high esteem and regard towards the courts so essential to
the proper administration of justice FACTS
As part of the machinery for the administration of justice, a lawyer is Felicitas Berbano, heir of Rufino Hilapo appointed Atty. Daen as their atty-in-
expected to bring to the fore irregular and questionable practices of those sitting in fact for their pending casevwith the Commission on the Settlement of Land Problems
23 | Block C 2012
Justice Hofilena

(regarding their Ayala lot being claimed by Filinvest Dev. Corp.). Atty. Daen was Respondent has demonstrated a penchant for misrepresenting to clients that he has
subsequently arrested by Muntinlupa police. The heirs of Hilapo looked for a lawyer to the proper connections to secure the relief they seek, and thereafter, ask for money,
secure the release of Atty. Daen. Berbano was recommended to Atty. Barcelona (by a which will allegedly be given to such connections (related to Canon 12).
certain Naty Sibuya). After the first visit of Atty. Barcelona in Muntinlupa City Jail, they
learned that Atty. Daen had decided to engage the services of Atty. Barcelona. Atty. SEBASTIAN V. BAJAR
Barcelona told Berbano that if they could produce P50K, he will cause the release of
Atty. Daen the next day. Since it was already late in the evening, Berbano could only FACTS
produce P15,700 by asking from relatives who were with her. Bajar was a lawyer or the Bureau of Agrarian Legal Assistance of the DAR
There were several subsequent meetings between Berbano and Atty. who represented Fernando Tanlioco in numerous cases which raised the same
Barcelona regarding the grease money to be used to allegedly bribe an SC justice. issues. Tanlioco was an agricultural lessee of a land owned by Sebastians spouse
Berbano made another payment via a pay-to-cash check for P24,000; and, in and sister-in-law (landowners). The landowners filed an Ejectment case
another occasion, went to the house of Atty. Barcelona to give him P10,000. Another against Tanlioco on the basis of a conversion order of the land use from agricultural to
P15,000 was handed to Atty. Barcelona by Atty. Daens nephew while Berbano gave residential. The RTC rendered judgment ordering Tanliocos ejectment subject to the
him P1000 for gasoline expenses when Atty. Barcelona informed them that he could payment of disturbance compensation. This was affirmed by the CA and SC. Bajar, as
not secure Atty. Daens because the check had not been encashed. By this time, the counsel, filed another case for Specific Performance to produce the conversion order.
total amount given to Atty. Barcelona reached P64,000. RTC dismissed this due to res judicata and lack of cause of action. Bajar again filed
For failure to deliver on his promise and due to his sudden disappearance, another case for Maintenance of Possession with the DAR Adjudication Board which
Berbano filed a complaint for disbarment against Atty. Barcelona with the IBP. raised the same issues of conversion and disturbance compensation.
Commissioner Bautista found Atty. Barcelona guilty of malpractice and serious breach Manuel S. Sebastian filed a disbarment complaint against Atty. Emily
of the Code of Professional Responsibility recommending him to be disbarred and A. Bajar (respondent) for obstructing, disobeying, resisting, rebelling, and impeding
ordering him to return the P64,000 (For failure to file an answer and to appear before final decisions of Regional Trial Courts, the Court of Appeals and of the Honorable
the Commissioner, the decision was rendered ex parte.). Board of Governors adopted Supreme Court, and also for submitting those final decisions for the review and
the Commissioners findings but reduced the penalty to suspension from the practice reversal of the DARAB, an administrative body, and for contemptuous acts and
of law for 6 years. dilatory tactics.
The Court issued a resolution requiring Bajar to comment on the complaint
ISSUE lodged against her. After a 2nd Motion for Extension, Bajar finally submitted her
W/N Atty. Barcelona should be disbarred Comment which was alleged to not confront the issues raised against her. The Court
required Bajar to submit a Rejoinder but failed, and was later ordered to show cause
HELD why she should not be subjected to disciplinary action for such failure. The Court
Atty. Barcelona should be disbarred. referred the case to the IBP for hearing and decision. The IBP ruled that Bajar be
Disbarment proceedings are meant to safeguard the administration of justice SUSPENDED INDEFINITELY from the practice of law for Unethical Practices and
by protecting the court and the public from the misconduct of officers of the court and attitude showing her propensity and incorrigible character to violate the basic tenets
remove from the profession of law persons whose disregard for their oath of office and requirements of the Code of Professional Responsibility rendering her unfit to
have proved them unfit to continue discharging the trust reposed in them as members continue in the practice of law. However, Bajar continued to practice law despite the
of the bar. decision claiming that she did not receive a copy of the order.
Berbanos Affidavit-Complaint and testimony was sufficient to support the
finding that respondent committed the acts complained of. The act of Atty. Barcelona ISSUE
in not filing his answer and ignoring the hearings, despite due notice, emphasized his Whether Bajar violated the Canon 12 of the Code of Professional
contempt for legal proceedings. Hence, the Court finds no compelling reason to Responsibility
overturn the Investigating Commissioners judgment.
Atty. Barcelona is guilty for violations of Canon 1, 7, 11, and 16 (Rule 16.01). HELD
Instead of promoting respect for law and the legal processes, respondent callously YES.
demeaned the legal profession by taking money from a client under the pretext of Respondents act of filing cases with identical issues in other venues despite
having connections with a Member of the Court (to secure the release of Atty. Daen). the final ruling which was affirmed by the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court is
Also, this was not the first time Atty. Barcelona has been charged and found guilty of beyond the bounds of the law. Respondent abused her right of recourse to the
conduct unbecoming a lawyer (The previous case also involved misrepresentation courts. Respondent, acting as Tanliocos counsel, filed cases for Specific
and Atty. Barcelona also did not appear before the IBP despite due notice.). Performance and Maintenance of Possession despite the finality of the decision in
24 | Block C 2012
Justice Hofilena

the Ejectment case which involves the same issues. The Court held that an offering settlement and it was only when he denied them that he received the Third
important factor in determining the existence of forum-shopping is the vexation Party Complaint.
caused to the courts and the parties-litigants by the filing of similar cases to claim
substantially the same reliefs.[72] Indeed, while a lawyer owes fidelity to the cause of ISSUE
his client, it should not be at the expense of truth and administration of justice. It is W/n there was indeed a genuine transfer of the lot and vehicle to Atty.
evident from the records that respondent filed other cases to thwart the execution of Paderanga?
the final judgment in theEjectment case. In this case, respondent has shown her great
propensity to disregard court orders. Respondents acts of wantonly disobeying her HELD
duties as an officer of the court show an utter disrespect for the Court and the legal Commissioner is convinced that there was indeed an anomaly which
profession. However, the Court will not disbar a lawyer if it finds that a lesser penalty constitutes a violation of the Canons of Professional Responsibility so given 1 year
will suffice to accomplish the desired end. suspension. His non-registration of the sale transaction so it would not appear in the
Bajar was SUSPENDED from the practice of law for a period of THREE records of the BIR, the City Assessor or the Register of Deeds, on the Land
YEARS effective from notice, with a STERN WARNING that a repetition of the same Registration Office so that he would not pay for the expenses of the sale and
or similar acts will be dealt with more severely. transfer twice, once he decided to sell; or place them in his childrens name,
and avoid paying estate and inheritance taxes upon his death.
HEGNA V. PADERANGA Art. 1491 A lawyer ought to have known that he cannot acquire the
property of his client which is in litigation.
FACTS violated Rule 1.01 which provides that a lawyer shall not engage in
Hegna was the lessee of a portion of land owned by the Baclayon spouses unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct.
for 10 years but during this period the Panaguinip spouses by means of force, threat, violated the Lawyers Oath, which mandates that he should support the
intimidation, stealth and strategy (FISTS) entered upon the vacant portion of the lot Constitution, obey the laws as well as the legal orders of the duly constituted
and constructed a shop for which he filed a forcible entry case. authorities therein, and do no falsehood or not consent to the doing of
Hegna won and the Panaguinip spouses were sentenced to vacate the any in court. Further, he has also failed to live up to the standard set by law
leased premises and to pay complainant compensatory damages for illegal that he should refrain from counseling or abetting activities aimed at
occupation. When the MTCC of Cebu issued a writ of execution and the Sheriff levied defiance of the law or at lessening confidence in the legal system. The
certain properties of the spouses they sent a letter dated Dec 2001 to Hegna for a act of non-registration of the deeds of sale to avoid paying tax may not be
possible amicable settlement which he denied. Then Atty. Paderanga filed a Third illegal per se; but, as a servant of the law, a lawyer should make himself an
Party Complaint alleging that he bought the lot and the vehicle during November and exemplar for others to emulate.
December of 2001 which caused the failure to levy the properties by the Sheriff.
Hegna then filed a letter complaint to the Office of the bar confidant for PLUS BUILDERS V. REVILLA
deliberately falsifying documents, causing delay and a possible denial of justice. He
also filed criminal charges against Atty. Paderanga & Atty. Madarang (notary public) FACTS
for falsification of public documents and the Panaguinip spouses for false testimony In the case of PLUS BUILDERS, INC., and EDGARDO C. GARCIA vs.
and perjury. His grounds were (1) the lot had no record of transfer with the Register of ATTY. ANASTACIO E. REVILLA, JR., , En Banc, A.C. No. 7056, February 11, 2009,
Deeds, (2) the registration of the vehicle didnt reflect any change of ownership & (3) the respondent lawyer filed a motion for reconsideration of the decision of the
the Notarial Register Book showed tampering and erasures. Philippine Supreme Court, finding respondent guilty of gross misconduct for
The City Prosecutor dismissed the criminal complaint for lack of prima committing a willful and intentional falsehood before the court, misusing court
facie evidence of guilt but referred the administrative complaint to the Integrated Bar procedure and processes to delay the execution of a judgment and collaborating with
of the Philippines (IBP) for investigation. Atty. Paderangas defense alleged that for non-lawyers in the illegal practice of law.
ESTATE PLANNING purposes, he intentionally left these properties in the name of On November 15, 1999, a decision was rendered by the Provincial
the previous owner and that he alleged discrepancies in the notarization were made Adjudicator of Cavite (PARAD) in favor of complainant, Plus Builders, Inc. and against
to correct mistakes so that entries will speak the truth. the tenants/farmers Leopoldo de Guzman, et. al., who were the clients of respondent
The Investigating Commissioner found that the dismissal was improper in Atty. Anastacio E. Revilla, Jr. The PARAD found that respondents clients were mere
light of the letter handwritten by Respondents clients, written in Cebuano, asking for tenants and not rightful possessors/owners of the subject land. The case was
mercy and forgiveness in relation to the forcible entry case. Such letter was no longer elevated all the way up to the Supreme Court, with this Court sustaining
necessary if indeed there was a GENUINE transfer of ownership of properties. In complainants rights over the land. Continuing to pursue his clients lost cause,
addition, there were several instances where Atty. Paderanga will meet with Hegna
25 | Block C 2012
Justice Hofilena

respondent was found to have committed intentional falsehood; and misused court from unduly delaying a case by impeding execution of a judgment or by misusing
processes with the intention to delay the execution of the decision through the filing of court processes.
several motions, petitions for temporary restraining orders, and the last, an action to
quiet title despite the finality of the decision. Furthermore, he allowed non-lawyers to FIL-GARCIA, INC. V. HERNANDEZ
engage in the unauthorized practice of law holding themselves out as his
partners/associates in the law firm. FACT
Respondent maintains that he did not commit the acts complained of. The Filomeno Garcia, president of Fil-Garcia Inc., after losing his case in the CA
courses of action he took were not meant to unduly delay the execution of the for a sum of money, secured the serviced of Atty. Fernando Hernandez, who received
DARAB Decision dated November 19, 1999, but were based on his serious study, the denied resolution for Garcia as counsel, and was given 15 days to appeal.
research and experience as a litigation lawyer for more than 20 years and on the Instead of filing the appeal, Hernandez filed for a Motion for Extension the
facts given to him by his clients in the DARAB case. He believes that the courses of day before the expiration of the period to file the appeal,, alleging that he was counsel
action he took were valid and proper legal theory designed to protect the rights and for a mayoralty candidate and a senatorial candidate, and he was also needed in the
interests of Leopoldo de Guzman, et. al. He stresses that he was not the original canvassing of votes, so the urgency of the nature of his work will not allow him the
lawyer in this case. The lawyer-client relationship with the former lawyer was limited time to file the appeal, thus asked for 30 days extension.
terminated because Leopoldo de Guzman, et. al. felt that their former counsel did not 30 days later, Hernandez again filed his 2 nd Motion for Extension, this time,
explain/argue their position very well, refused to listen to them and, in fact, even because he fell ill, and his physical state will not allow him to file the appeal on time,
castigated them. As the new counsel, respondent candidly relied on what the thus asking for 20 days extension.
tenants/farmers told him in the course of his interview. They maintained that they had 20 days later, the 3rd Motion for Extension was filed, with the grand excuse
been in open, adverse, continuous and notorious possession of the land in the that because he fell ill the last time, his work load piled up, thus requiring him more
concept of an owner for more than 50 years. Thus, the filing of the action to quiet title time to conclude on the work load he missed when he was ill, plus the appeal, hence
was resorted to in order to determine the rights of his clients respecting the subject the request for 10 days extension, to which 10 days later, he did actually file the
property. He avers that he merely exhausted all possible remedies and defenses to appeal. (Finally!)
which his clients were entitled under the law, considering that his clients were Of course, afterwards, Hernandez learned that all three Motions for
subjected to harassment and threats of physical harm and summary eviction by the Extensions were denied by the court, and to his dismay, received a copy of the
complainant. He posited that he was only being protective of the interest of his clients resolution denying the appeal all together. However, instead of informing his client,
as a good father would be protective of his own family, and that his services to Fil-Garcia, he decides to forward the resolution of denial of the appeal some 7 months
Leopoldo de Guzman, et. al were almost pro bono. later, which greatly angered his client, pushing him to file for his disbarment.

It is the rule that when a lawyer accepts a case, he is expected to give his Is Hernandez liable for malpractice, gross misconduct, tantamount to
full attention, diligence, skill and competence to the case, regardless of its importance violation of his oath as a lawyer, which warrant his disbarment?
and whether he accepts it for a fee or for free. A lawyers devotion to his clients cause
not only requires but also entitles him to deploy every honorable means to secure for HELD
the client what is justly due him or to present every defense provided by law to enable Yes, to gross negligence, but no to disbarment.
the latters cause to succeed. In this case, respondent may not be wanting in this The filing of 3 motions for extension on the careless assumption that each
regard. On the contrary, it is apparent that the respondents acts complained of were motion will be granted by the Court, and without taking care of informing himself of
committed out of his over-zealousness and misguided desire to protect the interests the Court's action thereon, constitutes inexcusable negligence. Moreover, respondent
of his clients who were poor and uneducated. We are not unmindful of his dedication knowingly referred to Rule 65 in the petition he belatedly filed as an afterthought in his
and conviction in defending the less fortunate. Taking the cudgels from the former desperate attempt to salvage the appeal.
lawyer in this case is rather commendable, but respondent should not forget his first Rule 12.04 enjoins a lawyer not to "unduly delay a case, impede the
and foremost responsibility as an officer of the court. In support of the cause of their execution of judgment or misuse court proceedings." While pressure of work or some
clients, lawyers have the duty to present every remedy or defense within the authority other unavoidable reasons may constrain a lawyer to file a motion for extension of
of the law. This obligation, however, is not to be performed at the expense of truth and time to file pleadings, he should not presume that his motion for extension of time will
justice. This is the criterion that must be borne in mind in every exertion a lawyer be granted. Motions for extension of time to file a pleading are not granted as a
gives to his case. Under the Code of Professional Responsibility, a lawyer has the matter of course but lie in the sound discretion of the court. It is thus incumbent on
duty to assist in the speedy and efficient administration of justice, and is enjoined any movant for extension to exercise due diligence to inform himself as soon as
possible of the Court's action on his motion, by timely inquiry from the Clerk of Court.
26 | Block C 2012
Justice Hofilena

Should he neglect to do so, he runs the risk of time running out on him, for which he discredit them in his tv shows. Because of this, the IBP ordered that Mauricio be
will have nobody but himself to blame. suspended for 2 years. Mauricio now challenges the validity of the suspension.
A lawyer who finds it impracticable to continue as counsel should inform the
client and ask that he be allowed to withdraw from the case to enable the client to ISSUE/S
engage the services of another counsel who can study the situation and work out a W/N Mauricios suspension was valid.
To make matters worse, it took respondent 7 months from the time he HELD
received a copy of the Court's resolution to inform complainant of the same. YES! Mauricio suspended for 3 years.
He was merely suspended for 6 months, considering that respondent Continued Attacks Despite Pending Cases = Violation Of Rule 13.02
humbly admitted his fault in not immediately informing complainant of the status of the Despite the pendency of the case against Mauricio, and IBPs orders that he
case. discontinue with his actions, he still continued with his attacks against Foodsphere
and its products. This is a clear and conscious violation the Code of Professional
CANONS 13 & 14 Responsibility which is an improper conduct of a member of the bar.
NOTE: The power of the media to form or influence public opinion cannot be
FOODSPHERE V. MAURICIO underestimated.


Foodsphere, Inc. is the owner of CDO grocery products. One day, a Mr.
Cordero bought canned goods from a grocery store, one of them being a CDO liver FACTS
spread canned good. When Mr. Cordero and his family ate the liver spread, they Administrative case stemmed from the events of the proceedings in Criminal
found that it tasted sour and subsequently discovered that the canned good was Case No. 5144: People v. Luis Plaza. Plaza was accused of murdering a policeman.
infested with a colony of worms. A complaint was filed with the Bureau of Food and Criminal case was originally raffled to the sala of Judge Buyser. Buyser
Drug Administration (BFAD) and a subsequent investigation confirmed the presence denied the Demurrer to the Evidence of the accused, declaring that evidence
of the parasites. BFAD ordered a hearing between Foodsphere and the Corderos, presented was sufficient to prove the crime of homicide but not murder.
where the latter demanded P150k. Foodsphere refused, resulting to the Corderos Counsel for Plaza filed a Motion to Fix Amount of Bail, but Senior State
threatening to bring up the matter to the media. Prosecutor Bagabuyo (who was in charge of the case) objected thereto on the ground
Meanwhile, Atty Mauricio faxed Foodsphere a sample front page of a tabloid that the original charge of murder was not subject to bail (Rules of Court).
he was involved with, which contained articles discrediting the latter, and threatened Judge Buyser inhibited himself from trying the case because of the harsh
to publish it if they didnt pay the amount the Corderos wanted. Foodsphere refused insinuation of Bagabuyo that he lacks the cold neutrality of an impartial magistrate
as well. Atty Mauricio thus proposed a Kasunduan between the two, where by allegedly suggesting the filing of the motion to fix the amount of bail.
Foodsphere agreed to settle the matter for a lower amount, but added that Case was transferred to Judge Tan, who fixed the amount of bail at P40k.
Foodsphere advertise in Mauricios tabloids and tv shows, in exchange for the Instead of availing of judicial remediess, Bagabuyo caused the publication of
withdrawal of the complaint. The Corderos withdrew their complaint and BFAD an article regarding the Order granting the bail in the Mindanao Gold Star Daily,
dismissed the complaint against Foodsphere. Senior prosecutor lambasts Surigao judge for allowing murder suspect to bail out.
Mauricio then sent Foodsphere an Advertising Contract asking the latter In the article, Bagabuyo argued that the crime of murder is non-bailable, but
advertisements of various media (which were a lotand expensive!) owned by admitted that a judge could still opt to allow a murder suspect to bail out in cases
Mauricio. As a sign of goodwill, Foodsphere offered to patronize some advertisements when the evidence of the prosecution is weak. He claims that the former judge found
only. Mauricio was disappointed with this and threatened to proceed with the the evidence to be strong. He stated that he was not afraid to be cited for contempt
publications. And a few weeks later, Mauricio, in his radio talk show (Batas ng Bayan) because it was the only way for the public to know that there are judges displaying
held a guessing contest with questions that asked which company had worms in its judicial arrogance.
liver spread. He also wrote in his columns and aired in his tv shows about the same RTC directed Bagabuyo (and the writer of the article) to explain why he
topic. should not be cited for indirect contempt of court for the publication of the article
Foodsphere filed criminal and civil complaints against Mauricio about the which degraded the court with its presiding judge with its lies and misrepresentations.
discrediting remarks that he has been making against the company. Foodsphere also Bagabuyo refused to explain and the RTC held him in contempt of court,
filed the present administrative complaint against Mauricio to the IBP, where he was sentencing him to 30 days in jail (he posted a bail bond and was released).
ordered not to make any more statements on the matter. Notwithstanding the pending Despite this, Bagabuyo presented himself to the media for interviews in
cases against him, Mauricio continued to publish articles against Foodsphere and Radio Station DXKS and again, attacked the integrity of Judge Tan.
27 | Block C 2012
Justice Hofilena

In the radio interview, Bagabuyo called Judge Tan a liar, ignorant of the law - Mrs. Hilado filed an action against Assad to annul the sale of several house
and that as a mahjong aficionado, he was studying mahjong instead of studying the & lot between Assad and her now deceased husband, during the Japanese
law. occupation
RTC required Bagabuyo to explain and show cause why he should not be - Assads counsel is Atty. Francisco
held in contempt and be suspended from the practice of law for violating the Code of - Mrs. Hilados counsels are the following: Delgado, Dizon, Flores and
Professional Responsibility (Rule 11.05 and Rule 13.02). Rodrigo
Bagabuyo denied the charge that he sought to be interviewed. He said that - Atty. Dizon wrote Atty. Francisco to discontinue representing Assad because
he was approached by someone who asked him to comment on the Order. He Mrs. Hilado consulted her about the case and even turned over some
justified his response to the interview (at the instance of his friend) as a simple documents to Atty. Francisco
exercise of his constitutional right of freedom of speech and that it was made without - Atty. Francisco even wrote a legal opinion/letter addressed to Mrs. Hilado
malice. regarding the same case, which states that Atty. Francisco will not represent
RTC found his denials lame, held him in contempt, and suspended him from Mrs. Hilado in the case and he thinks that the action against Assad will not
the practice of law for 1 year. In accordance with the Rules of Court, the case was prosper
transmitted to the Office of the Bar Confidant, which recommended the - Mrs. Hilados counsel filed a motion to DISQUALIFY Atty. Francisco
implementation of the RTCs order of suspension. - Atty. Franciscos version of the story:
o Mrs. Hilado came to see Atty. Francisco about the case, but he
ISSUE refused to become her counsel because he thinks that the action
W/N Bagabuyo should be held in contempt and suspended for violating Rule will not prosper
11.05, Canon 11 and Rule 13.02 of the Code of Professional Responsibility YES o Days later, Atty. Franciscos assistant, Atty. Agrava, informed him
that Mrs. Hilado left some expediente in the firm. Atty. Francisco
HELD instructed Atty. Agrava to return the expediente because they will
Canon 11 mandates a lawyer to observe and maintain the respect due to the not handle the case of Mrs. Hilado
courts and to judicial officers. o Later, the firms stenographer showed Atty. Francisco a letter
Bagabuyo violated Canon 11 when he indirectly stated that Judge Tan was allegedly dictated by Atty. Agrava which explains to Mrs. Hilado why
displaying judicial arrogance in the published article and when he stated that Judge they refuse to take the case
Tan was ignorant of the law and that as a mahjong aficionado, he was studying o Atty. Francisco allegedly signed the letter without reading it
mahjong instead of the law.
o Later on, Assad went to Atty. Franciscos office. Afterwards, Atty.
Rule 11.05 states that a lawyer shall submit grievances against a judge to
Francisco accepted the retainer fee
the proper authorities.
- Lower Court Held: no other information was transmitted to Atty. Francisco
Bagabuyo violated Rule 11.05 when he caused the holding of a press
conference and submitted to a radio interview to air out his grievances against Judge other than those in plaintiffs complaint and there was no attorney-client
Tan. relationship between Atty. Francisco and Mrs. Hilado. Hence, motion to
Rule 13.02 states that a lawyer shall not make public statements in the disqualify is denied.
media regarding a pending case tending to arouse public opinion for or against a
party. ISSUE
Bagabuyo violated Rule 13.02 when he made statements in the article, W/N there was an attorney-client relationship between Atty. Francisco and
which were made while Criminal Case No. 5144 was still pending in court. Mrs. Hilado
A lawyer may be disbarred or suspended for any violation of his oath, a
patent disregard of his duties, or an odious deportment unbecoming of an attorney. HELD
Yes, there was an attorney-client relationship because the purpose of Mrs. Hilado
CANON 15 was to obtain Atty. Franciscos personal service as a lawyer
- Retainer and frequency of consultation is not needed , so long as the
HILADO V. DAVID purpose is to obtain professional advice or assistance and the attorney
permits, then an attorney-client relationship is established
FACTS - Formality is not essential

28 | Block C 2012
Justice Hofilena

- Even is no secret communication was given, as long as there is an attorney- was absent for quite some time but returned to work during the tenure of the litigation
client relationship which precludes accepting opposite partys retainer in the of claims. Thus, he cannot claim ignorance of the case.
same litigation regardless of what type of information was received The test of impropriety of representation of conflicting interests is not the
- Only thus can litigants be encouraged to entrust their secrets to their certainty of such existence but mere probability for it to exist.
attorneys which is of paramount importance to administration of justice Even though he could have committed such misconduct not as a lawyer but
- Even if the information was only received by an assistant, it is still as an accountant, the court is not divested of jurisdiction to punish a lawyer for
considered as professional service, besides an information imparted to a misconduct committed outside the legal field, as the good moral character
member of a firm is made available to the entire firm requirement is not only a requisite for entrance to the bar but a continuing
- Hence, Atty. Francisco is disqualified as Assads counsel requirement for the practice of law.
Ratio: Rule 15.02 a lawyer shall be bound by the rule on privileged communication A lawyer should always act to promote public confidence to the legal
in respect of matters disclosed to him by a prospective client profession.


Valdes is Jose Nakpils accountant, consultant and lawyer. Complainants in this case are members of the Philippine Public School
Nakpil got interested in the purchase of a summer residence in Baguio but Teachers Association (PPSTA) who filed an intra-corporate case against its members
due to lack of funds, he asked Valdes to buy it for him and hold it in trust. of the Board of Directors for unlawful spending and the undervalued sale of the real
Valdes obtained 2 loans (65k and 75k), then he bought the land and had the properties of PPSTA corporation.
Attorney Salunat is the counsel of the Philippine Public School Teachers
title issued in his name.
Association (PPSTA) and at the same time the counsel of the PPSTA Board of
When Jose Nakpil died, Imelda, his wife, became the administratrix of Joses Directors.
estate. And, Valdes law firm filed for the settlement of Joses estate. Hence, complainants now aver that Atty. Salunat is guilty of conflict of
Baguio property became an issue because the property was not included in interest.
Joses inventory of estate, but the loans used to purchase the property were
charged under his name. ISSUE
The title to the property was transferred from Valdes to Caval Realty, Valdes Can a lawyer, engaged by a corporation, defend members of the board of
family realty corp. the same corporation in a derivative suit?
Valdes accounting firm handled the inventory of Joses estate but also,
handled the claims of Joses creditors- Angel Nakpil and ENORN, INC. HELD
No, a lawyer cannot. Hence, Atty. Salunat is guilty of representing conflicting
ISSUE interest and is admonished to observe a higher degree of fidelity in the practice of his
w/n Valdes is guilty of representing conflicting interests in violation of the profession.
code of professional ethics The Court in this case explained the nature of a derivative suit. Where
corporation directors have committed a breach, ultra vires acts, or negligence a
HELD stockholder may sue on behalf of himself and other stockholders and for the benefit of
Yes. the corporation. In this suit therefore, the corporation is the real party in interest, while
The proscription applies no matter how slight the adverse interest is. the stockholder who files a suit for the corporations behalf is only the nominal party.
Representation of conflicting interests may be allowed only upon full The test of inconsistency of interest is whether the acceptance of a new
disclosure of the facts among all concerned parties, as to the extent of conflict and relation will prevent an attorney from the full discharge of his duty of undivided fidelity
probable adverse outcome. and loyalty to his client or invite suspicion of unfaithfulness or double dealing in the
The preparation of claims of the creditors against the estate is obviously performance thereof.
improper because he had to fight for one side, the claims he was defending against A situation wherein a lawyer represents both the corporation and its assailed
for the other side. directors unavoidably gives rise to a conflict of interest.
The defense that he had already resigned from the law firm was not
supported by evidence. His resignation from the accounting firm only shows that he NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY V. ARQUILLO

29 | Block C 2012
Justice Hofilena

FACTS At the time Atty. Bamba filed the replevin case on behalf of AIB, he was still
Northwestern University filed an administrative case against Atty. Arquillo for the counsel of record of Quiambao in the pending ejectment case. Under Rule 15.03,
representing conflicting interests in a NLRC case. The complaint alleges that Atty. a lawyer shall not represent conflicting interests except by written consent of all
Arquillo appeared as counsel for both the petitioner and the respondent (Castro) in concerned given after full disclosure of the facts. This is founded on the principles of
the labor case. Atty. Arquillo, as a defense, contended that the petitioners and public policy because it is the only way that litigants can be encouraged to entrust
respondent he represented in the labor case belonged to the same side as the latter their secrets to their lawyers, which is of paramount importance in the administration
party was absolved from liability. Hence, there was no conflict of interests. of justice.

ISSUE 3 Tests of Conflict of Interests:

W/N Atty. Arquillo represented conflicting interests. 1. Whether a lawyer is duty-bound to fight for an issue or claim in behalf of one
client and, at the same time, to oppose that claim for the other client
HELD 2. Whether the acceptance of a new relation would prevent the full discharge of
YES. When a lawyer represents two or more opposing parties, there is a the lawyers duty of undivided fidelity and loyalty to the client or invite
conflict of interests, the existence of which is determined by three separate tests: (1) suspicion of unfaithfulness or double-dealing in the performance of that duty
when, in representation of one client, a lawyer is required to fight for an issue or 3. Whether the lawyer would be called upon in the new relation to use against
claim, but is also duty-bound to oppose it for another client; (2) when the acceptance a former client any confidential information acquired through their connection
of the new retainer will require an attorney to perform an act that may injuriously or previous employment
affect the first client or, when called upon in a new relation, to use against the first one
any knowledge acquired through their professional connection; or (3) when the HEIRS OF FALAME V. BAGUIO
acceptance of a new relation would prevent the full discharge of an attorneys duty to
give undivided fidelity and loyalty to the client or would invite suspicion of FACTS
unfaithfulness or double dealing in the performance of that duty. Plaintiffs, heirs of the late Lydio Falame, allege that their father engaged the
Having agreed to represent one of the opposing parties first, the lawyer services of respondent Atty. Baguio to represent him in an action for forcible entry (in
should have known that there was an obvious conflict of interests, regardless of his which Lydio and his brother Raleigh were one of the defendants). As counsel, Atty.
alleged belief that they were all on the same side. It cannot be denied that the Baguio used and submitted evidence of: 1.) A special power of attorney executed by
dismissed employees were the complainants in the same cases in which Castro was Lydio in favor of his brother, Raleigh Falame, appointing him as his attorney-in-fact;
one of the respondents. and 2.) affidavit of Raleigh Falame, executed before the respondent, in which Raleigh
stated that Lydio owned the property subject of the case.
QUIAMBAO V. BAMBA Plaintiffs further allege that even after a favorable ruling for the defendants in
the said case, Lydio still retained the services of Atty. Baguio as his legal adviser and
Facts: counsel of his businesses until his death in 1996.
Quiambao charges Atty. Bamba with violation of CPR for representing However, in October of 2000 Atty. Baguio, in representation of spouses Raleigh and
conflicting interests when the latter filed a case against her while he was at that time Noemi Falame, filed a compliant against the plaintiffs involving the same property that
representing her in another case, and for committing other acts of disloyalty and was the subject matter in the first case. Said complaint sought the declaration of
double-dealing. Atty. Bamba is the counsel of Allied Investigation Bureau (AIB) and its nullity of the deed of sale, its registration in the registry of deeds, TCT issued as a
president and managing director (Quiambao). Atty. Bamba is the counsel of consequence of the registration of the sale and the real estate mortgage.
Quaimbao in an ejectment case. Later on, Quiambao resigned from AIB. While the Plaintiffs in turn, filed an administrative case against Atty. Baguio alleging
ejectment case was still ongoing, Atty. Bamba, as the counsel of AIB, filed a replevin that by acting as counsel for the spouses Falame in the second case, wherein they
case against Quiambao. were impleaded a defendants, respondent violated his oath of office and duty as an
attorney. They contend that the spouses Falames interests are adverse to those of
Issue: his former client, Lydio.
Whether or not Atty. Bamba is guilty of misconduct for representing The IBP Board of Governors passed a Resolution adopting and approving
conflicting interests in contravention of the basic tenets of the legal profession. Investigating Commissioner Winston Abuyuans report and recommendation for the
dismissal of this case.
Yes, Atty. Bamba is guilty. Suspended for 1 year. ISSUE

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Justice Hofilena

W/N Atty. Baguio violated Rule 15.03 of the Code of Professional Precedent and after being appointed as trustee of a fund amounting to Thirty Million
Responsibility? Pesos (P30,000,000.00) deposited at Real Bank. Multitel later changed its name to
HELD Pacana sought the advice of Lopez who also happened to be a member of
Yes, he violated the rule. Rule 15.03 of the Canon of Professional the Couples for Christ, a religious organization where Pacana and his wife were also
Responsibility provides: A lawyer shall not represent conflicting interests except by active members. From then on, they constantly communicated, with the former
written consent of all concerned given after a full disclosure of the facts. A lawyer may disclosing all his involvement and interests in Precedent and Precedents relation with
not, without being guilty of professional misconduct, act as counsel for a person Multitel. Lopez gave legal advice to Pacana and even helped him prepare standard
whose interest conflicts with that of his present or former client. quitclaims for creditors. In sum, Pacana avers that a lawyer-client relationship was
The test is whether, on behalf of one client, it is the lawyers duty to contest established between him and Lopez although no formal document was executed by
that which his duty another client requires him to oppose or when the possibility of them at that time. There was an attempt to have a formal retainer agreement signed
such situation will develop. The rule covers not only cases in which confidential but it didnt push through.
communications have been confided, but also those in which no confidence has been After a few weeks, Pacana was surprised to receive a demand letter from
bestowed or will be used. Lopez asking for the return and immediate settlement of the funds invested by
The rule prohibits a lawyer from representing a client if that representation Lopezs clients in Multitel. Lopez explained that she had to send it so that her clients
will be directly adverse to any of his present or former clients. The rule is grounded in defrauded investors of Multitel would know that she was doing something for them
the fiduciary obligation of loyalty. and assured Pacana that there was nothing to worry about.
The termination of attorney-client relation provides no justification for a Both parties continued to communicate and exchange information regarding
lawyer to represent an interest adverse to or in conflict with that of the former client. the persistent demands made by Multitel investors against Pacana. Pacana gave
The clients confidence once reposed should not be divested by mere expiration of Lopez several amounts, first 900,000; then 1,000,000 to be used in his case. Even
professional employment. The protection given to a client is perpetual and does not when Pacana went to the states, they continued communicating and he continued
cease with the termination of the litigation, nor is it affected by the partys ceasing to sending her money for the case.
employ the attorney and retaining another, or by any other change of relation between Wary that Lopez may not be able to handle his legal problems, Pacana was
them. It even survives the death of the client. advised by his family to hire another lawyer. When Lopez knew about this, she wrote
In the case at bar, respondent admitted having jointly represented Lydio and to complainant via e-mail, as follows:
Raleigh as defendants in the first civil case. Evidently, the attorney-client relation
between Lydio and respondent was established despite the fact that it is immaterial Dear Butchie,
whether such employment was paid, promised or charged for. Hi! Ok ka lang? Hope you are fine. Sorry if I shocked you but I had to do it as your
As defense counsel in the first civil case respondent advocated the stance friend and lawyer.
that Lydio solely owned the property subject of the case. In the second civil case ------------
involving the same property, respondent, as counsel for Raleigh and his spouse, has I have been informed by Efie that your family is looking at hiring Coco Pimentel. I
pursued the inconsistent position that Raleigh owned the same property in common know him very well as his sister Gwen is my best friend. I have no problem if you
with Lydio, with complainants, who inherited the property, committing acts which hire him but I will be hands off. I work differently kasi. -------- Efren Santos will
debase respondents rights as co-owner. The fact that the attorney-client relation had sign as your lawyer although I will do all the work.
ceased by reason of Lydios death or through the completion of the specific task for -----------
which respondent was employed is not reason for respondent to advocate a position Please do not worry. Give me 3 months to make it all disappear. But if you hire
opposed to the of Lydio. And while plaintiffs have never been respondents clients, Coco, I will give him the free hand to work with your case. -------- I will stand by
they derive their rights to the property from Lydios ownership of it which respondent you always. This is my expertise. TRUST me! ----
maintained in the first civil case. Candy

PACANA V. PASCUAL-LOPEZ When he got back to the country, Lopez told Pacana she had earned
P12,500,000.00 as attorneys fees and was willing to give P2,000,000.00 to him in
FACTS appreciation for his help. This never happened though. Lopez also ignored Pacanas
Pacana was the Operations Director for Multitel Communications repeated requests for accounting. She continued to evade him.
Corporation (MCC). Multitel was besieged by demand letters from its members and Finally, Pacana filed a case with the IBP for Lopezs disbarment. The IBP disbarred
investors because of the failure of its investment schemes. Pacana earned the ire of her.
Multitel investors after becoming the assignee of majority of the shares of stock of
31 | Block C 2012
Justice Hofilena

Whether or not Lopez had violated Rule 15.03 on representing conflicting Yes! Atty. Melo is disbarred.
interests. Ratio:
The actuations of Atty. Melo in retaining for his personal benefit over a 1 year
HELD period, the mount of P5,220 received by him on behalf of his client, Licuanan is
Yes! Attorney Maricel Pascual-Lopez was DISBARRED for representing deprived of its use, and withholding information on the same despite inquiries made
conflicting interests and for engaging in unlawful, dishonest and deceitful conduct in by her, I a breach of the Lawyers Oath to which he swore observance, and an
violation of her Lawyers Oath and the Code of Professional Responsibility. evident transgression of the CPR. Due to Atty. Melos professional misconduct, he
Ratio: Rule 15.03 A lawyer shall not represent conflicting interests except has breached the trust reposed in him by his client. Atty. Melos unprofessional
by written consent of all concerned given after full disclosure of the facts. actuations considered, the SC find him guilty of deceit, malpractice and gross
Lopez must have known that her act of constantly and actively misconduct in office. He has displayed lack of honesty and good moral character.
communicating with Pacana, who, at that time, was beleaguered with demands from
investors of Multitel, eventually led to the establishment of a lawyer-client relationship. POSIDIO V. VITAN
Lopez cannot shield herself from the inevitable consequences of her actions by
simply saying that the assistance she rendered to complainant was only in the form of FACTS
"friendly accommodations," precisely because at the time she was giving assistance Posidio engaged the services of Vitan in a Testate Proceeding of the
to complainant, she was already privy to the cause of the opposing parties who had deceased Nicolasa Arroyo to which she paid Php 20,000.00 as legal fees. However,
been referred to her by the SEC. Vitan withdrew his appearance in the said case thus, Posidio had to engage the
Given the situation, the most decent and ethical thing which Lopez should services of another lawyer. Six years after, Vitan contacted Posidio and told her that
have done was either to advise Pacana to engage the services of another lawyer he has with some tax declarations and other documents purportedly forming part of
since she was already representing the opposing parties, or to desist from acting as the estate of Nicolasa Arroyo, but was not included in the inventory of properties for
representative of Multitel investors and stand as counsel for complainant. She cannot distribution. He convinced complainant to file another case to recover her share in the
be permitted to do both because that would amount to double-dealing and violate our alleged undeclared properties and demanded P100,000.00 as legal fees. After
ethical rules on conflict of interest. several months, however, respondent failed to institute any action. Complainant
Indubitably, Lopez took advantage of Pacanas hapless situation, initially, by decided to forego the filing of the case and asked for the return of the P100,000.00,
giving him legal advice and, later on, by soliciting money and properties from him. but respondent refused despite repeated demands.
Thereafter, Lopez impressed upon Pacana that she had acted with utmost sincerity in The lower court ruled in favor of Posidio and ordered Vitan to return the Php
helping him divest all the properties entrusted to him in order to absolve him from any 100,000.00 and pay an additional Php 20,000.00 as interest and damages. In
liability. But simultaneously, she was also doing the same thing to impress upon her compliance, Vitan issued a Prudential Bank check that was dishonored later on.
clients, the party claimants against Multitel, that she was doing everything to reclaim Despite being sent a notice of dishonor and the repeated demands to pay, Vitan
the money they invested with Multitel. refused to honor his obligation.
The case was referred to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines for
CANON 16 investigation, report and recommendation. The Investigating Commissioner submitted
his Report finding Vitan guilty of violating the lawyers oath and the Code of
LICUANAN V. MELO Professional Responsibility in defrauding his client and issuing a check without
sufficient funds to cover the same. The IBP penalized Vitan with a reprimand with
Facts: stern warning that a similar misconduct will warrant a more severe penalty.
Licuanan filed a complaint against Atty. Melo for breach of professional
ethics. Atty. Melo was Licuanans counsel in an ejectment case filed against her ISSUE
tenant. Atty. Melo failed to remit to her the rentals collected nor did the said lawyer Whether or not Vitan should be penalized?
report to her the receipt of said amounts. It was only after a year from actual receipt
that Atty. Melo turned over his collections to Licuanan because a demand made by HELD
the latter. The Supreme Court agrees with the findings of the IBP. However, they find
that the penalty of reprimand is not commensurate to the gravity of wrong committed
Issue: by Vitan.
Whether or not Atty. Melo should be penalized for failure to remit rentals In the instant case, respondent received the amount of P100,000.00 as legal
collected fees for filing additional claims against the estate of Nicolasa S. de Guzman Arroyo.
32 | Block C 2012
Justice Hofilena

However, he failed to institute an action, thus it was imperative that he immediately attorneys fee equivalent to 50% of the entire amount collected. He also
return the amount to complainant upon demand. Having received payment for threatened Lemoine that he will not hesitate to make proper representation
services which were not rendered, respondent was unjustified in keeping with the Bureau of Immigration and Deportation, DOLE and BIR if Lemoine
complainants money. His obligation was to immediately return the said amount. His will make any trouble to Balon and that he has good network with the
refusal to do so despite complainants repeated demands constitutes a violation of his mentioned agencies.
oath where he pledges not to delay any man for money and swears to conduct Balon later claimed that he gave P233,000 to Garcia on the representation
himself with good fidelity to his clients. of Lemoine, however, he gave no evidence to such turnover
A lawyer is obliged to hold in trust money or property of his client that may
come to his possession. He is a trustee to said funds and property. He is to keep the ISSUE
funds of his client separate and apart from his own and those of others kept by him. W/N Atty. Balon violated the Code of Professional Responsibility
Money entrusted to a lawyer for a specific purpose such as for the registration of a
deed with the Register of Deeds and for expenses and fees for the transfer of title HELD
over real property under the name of his client if not utilized, must be returned YES.
immediately to his client upon demand. The lawyers failure to return the money of his According to the SC, Atty. Balon violated Canons 1, 15, 16, 17, 18 and 21.
client upon demand gave rise to a presumption that he has misappropriated said Specifically, Canon 16 which provides that a lawyer shall hold in trust all moneys and
money in violation of the trust reposed on him. The conversion by a lawyer of funds properties of his client that may come into his possession.
entrusted to him by his client is a gross violation of professional ethics and a betrayal Balon violated this and committed misconduct, when he failed to render an
of public confidence in the legal profession. account upon receipt of the money and further, when he failed to deliver such amount
to Lemoine.
LEMOINE V. BALON It is also the duty of the lawyer to surrender such money collected when
demanded upon him. Balon violated this duty when he refuses to return the amount to
FACTS Lemoine contending that he has a lien on the fund.
Lemoine, the petitioner, is a French national who filed an insurance claim The lawyers continuing exercise of his retaining lien, as provided for in Rule
with Metropolitan Insurance. 16.03, presupposes that the client agrees with the amount of attorneys fees to be
His friend, Jesus Garcia, arranged for the engagement of Atty. Balons charged. In case of disagreement, however, the lawyer must not arbitrarily apply the
services as his counsel funds in his possession to the payment of his fees, but rather he can file the
Balon advised Lemoine that he was charging 25% of the actual amount to necessary action with the proper court to fix the fees. And in the present case,
being recovered payable upon successful recovery. Lemoine never gave his Lemoine never gave his consent on the proposal of Balon.
consent as to the fee. It must be noted as well that before receiving the check, Balon proposes a
Since he was leaving the country, Lemoine signed an undated Special 25% attorneys fees, after receiving the check, he was already asking for 50%.
Power of Attorney authorizing Balon to bring any action against Metropolitan SC found Balon guilty of malpractice, deceit, and gross misconduct, and
Insurance for the satisfaction of Lemoines claim as well as to negotiate, ordered disbarred.
sign, compromise, encash and receive payments
Metropolitan Insurance offered to settle Lemoines claim and Balon
confirmed his acceptance of the offer
December 1998, Metropolitan Insurance issued a China Bank check payable Facts:
to Lemoine in the amount of P525,000 which was received by Balon Atty Maquera was counsel for a certain Castro who was indebted to Edward
When Lemoine asked Balon as to the status of the case, Balon answered Benavente who obtained judgment in a civil case. Castros propery was sold at public
that Metropolitan Insurance was offering P350,000 for settlement which auction to satisfy the obligation, but Castro retained the right to redemption over said
Lemoine suggested that Balon accept to avoid litigation property.
December 1999, Lemoine visited the office of Metropolitan Insurance to ask In consideration for Maqueras legal fees, Castro and Atty Maquera entered
on the status of the case and it answered that the case was long settled via into an oral agreement that he would assign his right of redemption to Maquera.
a check given to Balon. Maquera purchased the property from Benavente for $525.00 then sold it for
Balon acknowledge that he is in possession of the check and that he is $320,000.
keeping the check as attorneys lien pending Lemoines payment of his He was suspended in the practice of law in Guam for two years for

33 | Block C 2012
Justice Hofilena

Obtaining an unreasonably high fee for his services

Did not comply with Guams Model Rules by entering into a Issue:
business transaction with a client or knowingly acquire a pecuniary Is respondent guilty of violating Canon 16?
interest adverse to a client unless the transaction and the terms
governing the lawyer's acquisition of such interest are fair and Held:
reasonable to the client, and are fully disclosed to, and understood Yes. Said canon requires that a lawyer should properly account for all
by the client and reduced in writing amounts in his custody which pertain to the client and return the same upon demand.
This the respondent plainly failed to do even after repeated demands made by Reddi.
May a member of the Philippine Bar who was disbarred or suspended from
the practice of law in a foreign jurisdiction where he has also be admitted as an DE CHAVEZ-BLANCO, REPRESENTED BY HER ATTORNEY-IN-FACT, ATTY.
attorney be meted the same sanction as a member of the Philippine Bar for the same EUGENIA J. MUOZ V. ATTY. JAIME B. LUMASAG, JR.
infraction committed in the foreign jurisdiction?
Ruling: This is an administrative complaint for disbarment filed by complainant de
It is not automatic suspension or disbarment, but is prima facie evidence Chavez-Blanco against respondent Atty. Lumasag, Jr., for deceit, dishonesty and
only. gross misconduct.
The power of the Court to disbar/suspend a lawyer for acts an omission Complainant and her husband was a resident of USA. They both owned
committed in a foreign jurisdiction is found in Sec 27, Rule 138 of the Revised Rules parcels of land in Quezon City, registered in complainants name. Complainant
of Court: authorized respondent Atty. Lumasag [being the 1st cousin of her husband] to sell the
[]The disbarment or suspension of a member of the Philippine Bar by a lands.
competent court or other disciplinatory agency in a foreign jurisdiction where he has Complainant was informed by respondent that he had sold only one lot and
also been admitted as an attorney is a ground for his disbarment or suspension if the remitted the proceeds to complainant. Respondent further told complainant that the
basis of such action includes any of the acts hereinabove enumerated. other lots remained unsold due to the presence of squatters.
The judgment, resolution or order of the foreign court or disciplinary agency shall be After few years, complainant discovered that more than one lot was sold.
prima facie evidence of the ground for disbarment or suspension. Complainant then sent a demand letter to respondent directing him to remit and turn
Also, he violated Article 1492 in relation to 1491 of the civil code which over to her the entire proceeds of the sale of the properties. Complainant also averred
prohibits a lawyer from acquiring by assignment the clients property which is the that the Special Power of Attorney, which respondent had used to sell the lots is a
subject of litigation. It extends to legal redemption. forgery and a falsified document, as the signature therein were not the real signatures
Most particularly, Canon 17 which states that a lawyer owes fidelity to the of complainant and her spouse.
cause of his client and be mindful of the trust and confidence In him; and rule 1.01,
which prohibits a lawyer from engaging in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful ISSUE:
conduct. Whether or not respondent Atty. Lumasag, Jr. is guilty of deceit, dishonesty
HOWEVER, there is a need to ascertain Maquera has the right to explain and gross misconduct.
why he should and should not be suspended/disbarred on those grounds.
Suspension/disbarment is NOT automatic HELD:
NEVERTHELESS, the Court rules that Maquera should be suspended from Yes. Jaime Lumasag, Jr. is SUSPENDED from the practice of law for a
the practice of law for the non-payment of his IBP dues from 1977. period of six (6) months. A lawyer may be disciplined for any conduct, in his
professional or private capacity, that renders him unfit to continue to be an officer of
REDDI V. SERBIO, JR. the court. Canon 1 of the Code of Professional Responsibility commands all lawyers
to uphold at all times the dignity and integrity of the legal profession. Specifically, Rule
Facts: 1.01 thereof provides:
Reddi, an Indian national, is a philanthropist. She decided to put up a Rule 1.01A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest and immoral or
hospital in the Philippines and acquired, with the help of Atty. Serbio, some properties deceitful conduct.
to help speed up generation of funds. It was later found out that some of the Respondent committed dishonesty and abused the confidence reposed in
properties did not in fact belong to the owners she paid. him by the complainant and her spouse. Records show that two lots had been sold by
respondent as evidenced by the Deed of Absolute Sale. Respondent, however, taking
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advantage of the absence of complainant and her spouse from the Philippines and Jerry Wong as owner of a business selling agricultural and veterinary
their complete trust in him, deceitfully informed them in a letter that he had sold only products retained the services of Atty. Moya for the purpose of collecting due and
one. They constitute gross misconduct for which he may be suspended, following demandable debts in favor of the company. Sometimes also, Atty. Moya handled
Section 27, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court, which provides: personal cases of Wong and his wife.
Sec. 27. Disbarment or suspension of attorneys by Supreme Court, grounds Later, Atty. Moya asked financial help from Wong for the construction of his
therefor. A member of the bar may be disbarred or suspended from his office as house and the purchase of a car. Wong purchased a car on installment basis for Atty.
attorney by the Supreme Court for any deceit, malpractice, or other gross misconduct Moya. Wong issued postdated checks to cover the payment of the car while Atty.
in such office, grossly immoral conduct, or by reason of his conviction of a crime Moya issued checks in favor of Wong to reimburse him for purchasing the car. The
involving moral turpitude, or for any violation of the oath which he is required to take checks issued by Wong were encashed by Transfarm (car seller) however, the
before the admission to practice, or for a willful disobedience appearing as attorney checks issued by Atty. Moya in favor of Wong were dishonored for the reason
for a party to a case without authority to so do. account closed. Despite repeated demands, Atty. Moya refused to replace the
dishonored checks.
WILSON CHAM V. ATTY. EVA PAITA-MOYA Atty. Moya also introduced Wong to Quirino Tomlin from whom the
construction materials for his house was obtained. He bought this on credit but Atty.
FACTS: Moya filed to pay this indebtedness causing embarrassment to Wong. Atty. Moya also
This is a complaint for disbarment filed by complainant Wilson Cham against handled a case of the Wong spouses against Berting Diwa. Judgment was rendered
respondent Atty. Eva Paita-Moya. Complainant Cham alleges that Atty. Paita-Moya in favor of the spouses and as satisfaction of the judgment, Diwa paid P15, 680.50.
committed deceit in occupying a leased apartment unit and, thereafter, vacating the Atty. Moya as the counsel of the spouses received the payment but did not inform
same without paying the rentals due. Respondent stayed at the leased premises up them. The Wongs only found out about the payment of money when they got hold of
without paying her rentals. She also failed to settle her electric bills. Later on, a report the Manifestation with Prayer to Terminate Proceedings.
reached complainant's office that respondent had secretly vacated the apartment unit, The IBP-CBD ordered Atty. Moya to file his answer to the complaint for
bringing along with her the door keys. disbarment filed by Wong. Atty. Moya filed 3motions for extensions (after the 1 st
motion was granted and the time had elapsed, he filed another one and so on and so
ISSUE: forth). Subsequently, he filed a Motion to Dismiss.
Whether or not Atty. Paita-MOya is guilty of gross misconduct. The IBP-CBD denied the motion to dismiss and required him to file an
answer. Atty. Moya filed a motion for reconsideration which was denied. He then filed
HELD: for an extension to file his answer which was granted but with a warning that no
Yes. Atty. Eva Paita-Moya is found guilty of gross misconduct and is hereby further extension requests will be entertained. When the time to elapse was near he
SUSPENDED for one month. A review of the records would reveal that respondent is, filed a Very Urgent Motion for Extension to File Answer but the IBP-CBD did not
indeed, guilty of willful failure to pay just debt. Complainant is able to fully substantiate accept this hence he was declared in default after failing to file his answer.
that respondent has existing obligations that she failed to settle. Hence, when The IBP-CBD ordered both parties to file their position papers because a
respondent backtracked on her duty to pay her debts, such act already constituted a complaint for disbarment, suspension or discipline of attorneys prescribes in 2years
ground for administrative sanction. from the date of the professional misconduct which in this case occurred in 2002 and
Respondent's abandonment of the leased premises to avoid her obligations that it was already 2005. Atty. Moya did not file any pleadings at all.
for the rent and electricity bills constitutes deceitful conduct violative of the Code of The IBP recommended that Atty. Moya be suspended for 1year. The IBP
Professional Responsibility, particularly Canon I and Rule 1.01 thereof, which Board of Governors modified this and suspended Atty. Moya for 2years.
explicitly state:
"CANON 1- A lawyer shall uphold the constitution, obey the laws of the land ISSUE
and promote Whether or not the suspension of 2years is justifiable?
respect for law and legal processes.
"Rule 1.01- A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or HELD
deceitful conduct." Yes!
1) Atty. Moya was charged for having failed to pay his debts and for issuing
JERRY T. WONG V. ATTY. SALVADOR N. MOYA II worthless checks. He did not deny these allegations. Rule1.01 of the Code of
Professional Responsibility provides that a lawyers shall not engage in unlawful,
FACTS dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct. It has been held that the issuance of
worthless checks as a violation of this rule and constitutes a gross misconduct.
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2) The act of a lawyer in issuing a check without sufficient funds to cover the same Hernandez owns three more lots in Zamboanga City which were mortgaged
constitutes such willful dishonesty and immoral conduct as to undermine the to creditors. When the mortgages fell due, Atty. Go redeemed the lots and
public confidence in the legal profession. He cannot justify his act of issuing persuaded Hernandez to execute deeds of sale in his favor covering the said
worthless checks by his dire financial conditions. He should not have contracted lots
debts which are beyond his financial capacity to pay. If he suffered financial Atty. Go became the registered owner of all the lots belonging to Hernandez
reverses he should have explained this with particularity and not though In 1974, Hernandez came to know that Atty. Go did not sell her lots as
generalized and unsubstantiated allegations. agreed upon, but instead he paid her creditors with his own funds and had
3) Atty. Moya is accused of delay in the delivery of the sum of money due to his her land titles registered in his name, depriving her of real property worth
client. His failure to explain such delay cannot be excused by his bare allegation millions
that the same had already been transmitted to the complainant.
Hernandez filed a complaint with the IBP
4) His conduct in the course of the IBP proceedings in this case is also a matter of
serious concern. He submitted a motion to dismiss after requesting several IBP: Atty. Go violated Canon 17 and should be suspended for 3 years
extensions of time to file his answer. His failure to attend the hearings and
belated plea to dismiss the case, despite orders to the contrary, show a callous ISSUE
disregard of the lawful orders which caused undue delay in the IBP proceeding. W/N Atty. GO SHOULD BE REPRIMANDED
This conduct runs counter to the precepts of the Code of Professional
Responsibility and violates the lawyer's oath which imposes upon every member HELD
of the bar the duty to delay no man for money or malice. YES, for violating Canons 16 and 17
5) It is stressed that membership in the legal profession is a privilege burdened with Atty. Go violated Canon 16
conditions. Adherence to the rigid standards of mental fitness, maintenance of His acts acquiring for himself Hernandezs lots entrusted to him are acts
the highest degree of morality and faithful compliance with the Rules of the Legal constituting gross misconduct, a grievous wrong, a forbidden act, a dereliction of duty,
Profession are the conditions required for remaining a member of good standing willful in character and implies a wrongful intent and not a mere error in judgment
of the bar and for enjoying the privilege to practice law. Such conduct on the part of Atty. Go not only degrades himself but also the
6) As to the penalty, failure to pay debts and issuance of worthless checks honor of the legal profession
constitutes gross misconduct for which a lawyer may be sanctioned with 1year Atty. Go violated Canon 17 which provides that a lawyer owes fidelity to the cause of
suspension. However, in this case, Atty. Moya is suspended for 2years because his client and he shall be mindful of the trust and confidence reposed in him.
aside from issuing worthless checks and failure to pay his debts, he also Records show that Hernandez reposed high degree of trust and confidence
seriously breached his client's trust and confidence to his personal advantage in Atty. Go and when she engaged his services, she entrusted to him her land titles
and had shown a wanton disregard of the IBP's Orders in the course of its and allowed him to sell the same
proceedings. Atty. Go, however, abused this trust and confidence when he did not sell her
properties to others but to himself without giving any monetary consideration to
CANONS 17 & 18 Hernandez, thus depriving Hernandez the real worth of her properties
Atty. Go is duty bound to render a detailed report to Hernandez on how
HERNANDEZ V. GO much he sold the lots and the amounts paid to her creditors but failed to do so
In previous cases, the Court disbarred and expelled lawyers from the
FACTS practice of law in similar circumstances, thus, the penalty recommended by the IBP is
Sometime in 1961, Hernandezs husband abandoned her and her son too light
Atty. Go was ordered disbarred.
Shortly thereafter, creditors of Hernandez s husband demanded payment of
Hernandez, fearful of mortgage foreclosures and aware of a impending claim
suit, engaged the legal services of Atty. Go FACTS:
Atty. Go advised Hernandez to give him land titles covering three lots in This is an administrative complaint filed by Pangasinan Electric Cooperative
Zamboanga City belonging to her, so that he may sell them to enable her to I (PANELCO I) charging Atty. Juan Ayar Montemayor with negligence.
pay the creditors Some of the omissions of Atty Montemayor were:
Also, Atty. Go persuaded Hernandez to execute deeds of sale in his favor
without any monetary or valuable consideration

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Atty. Montemayor failed to serve and file the required Appellant's Brief impression that they first had to pay off their civil liabilities prior to filing a petition for
despite the lapse of the two extensions of time granted, hence the Court of Appeals probation and [2] unaware that they had only fifteen (15) days from their counsels
considered the appeal Abandoned receipt of a copy of the decision to file their petition, proves that Atty. Akut failed to
The records also show that respondent Atty. Juan Ayar Montemayor did not give complainants timely legal advise.
even bother to answer the complaint nor present his defense Atty. Akut explained that he was out of his office most of the time because,
Hence, PANELCO I prays that the court impose sanctions on Atty. he and his wife were always out of town looking for faith healers to cure the malignant
Montemayors gross negligence as counsel for complainant which resulted [in] the brain tumor of his wife, who eventually succumbed to the cancer. Allegedly, after
damage of PANELCO I. attending the "important" hearings, he immediately went out of town seeking faith
Whether or not respondent committed gross negligence or misconduct in ISSUE:
mishandling complainants cases on appeal, which eventually led to their dismissal, to Whether or not Atty. Akut is guilty of negligence.
the prejudice of the complainant.
HELD: Yes. WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. Atty. Emmanuel A. Akut is
Yes. WHEREFORE, Atty. Juan Ayar Montemayor is DISBARRED from the hereby SUSPENDED from the practice of law for six (6) months. Every case a lawyer
practice of law. As counsel for complainant, respondent had the duty to present every accepts deserves his full attention, skill and competence, regardless of his impression
remedy or defense authorized by law to protect his client. When he undertook his that one case or hearing is more important than the other. We commiserate with
clients cause, he made a covenant that he will exert all efforts for its prosecution until respondent for the loss of his wife, however, failure of an attorney to file a timely
its final conclusion.He should undertake the task with dedication and care. motion for reconsideration or an appeal renders him liable for negligence.
CANON 12 - A LAWYER SHALL EXERT EVERY EFFORT AND CONSIDER By agreeing to be his clients counsel, he represents that he will exercise
IT HIS DUTY TO ASSIST IN THE SPEEDY AND EFFICIENT ADMINISTRATION OF ordinary diligence or that reasonable degree of care and skill having reference to the
JUSTICE. character of the business he undertakes to do, to protect the clients interests and
Rule 12.03 - A lawyer shall not, after obtaining extensions of time to file take all steps or do all acts necessary
pleadings, memoranda or briefs, let the period lapse without submitting the same or
offering an explanation for his failure to do so. BELLEZA V. MACASA
REPOSED IN HIM. On November 10, 2004, complainant went to see respondent on referral of
CANON 18 A LAWYER SHALL SERVE HIS CLIENT WITH their mutual friend, Joe Chua. Complainant wanted to avail of respondents legal
COMPETENCE AND DILIGENCE. services in connection with the case of her son, Francis John Belleza, who was
Rule 18.03 - A lawyer shall not neglect a legal matter entrusted to him and arrested by policemen of Bacolod City earlier that day for alleged violation of Republic
his negligence in connection therewith shall render him liable. Act (RA) 9165. Respondent agreed to handle the case for P30,000.
CANON 19 - A LAWYER SHALL REPRESENT HIS CLIENT WITH ZEAL The following day, complainant made a partial payment of P15,000 to
WITHIN THE BOUNDS OF THE LAW. respondent thru their mutual friend Chua. On November 17, 2004, she gave him an
additional P10,000. She paid the P5,000 balance on November 18, 2004. Both
ADECER V. AKUT payments were also made thru Chua. On all three occasions, respondent did not
issue any receipt.
FACTS: On November 21, 2004, respondent received P18,000 from complainant for
Originally, there was a Criminal Case in which complainants were charged the purpose of posting a bond to secure the provisional liberty of her (complainants)
with committing a crime (Other deceits) punishable under the Revised Penal Code son. Again, respondent did not issue any receipt. When complainant went to the court
(Other Deceits). Respondent, Atty. Akut was their legal counsel in the criminal case. the next day, she found out that respondent did not remit the amount to the court.
Complainant accuses Atty. Akut for being negligent. Complainant demanded the return of the P18,000 from respondent on
First, despite Atty. Akuts receipt of a copy of the Decision and the several occasions but respondent ignored her. Moreover, respondent failed to act on
consequent running of the fifteen (15)-day period to file a petition for probation, the case of complainants son and complainant was forced to avail of the services of
respondent went out of town without contacting complainants to give them proper the Public Attorneys Office for her sons defense.
legal advice. Furthermore, Atty. Akuts admission that complainants were [1] under the
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Thereafter, complainant filed a verified complaint for disbarment against prejudice the rights of a litigant, particularly his client. Thus, from the perspective of
respondent in the Negros Occidental chapter of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines the ethics of the legal profession, a lawyers lethargy in carrying out his duties to his
(IBP). client is both unprofessional and unethical.
In an order dated July 13, 2005, the CBD required respondent to submit his If his clients case is already pending in court, a lawyer must actively
answer within 15 days from receipt thereof. Respondent, in an urgent motion for represent his client by promptly filing the necessary pleading or motion and
extension of time to file an answer dated August 10, 2005, simply brushed aside the assiduously attending the scheduled hearings. This is specially significant for a lawyer
complaint for being "baseless, groundless and malicious" without, however, offering who represents an accused in a criminal case.
any explanation. He also prayed that he be given until September 4, 2005 to submit The accused is guaranteed the right to counsel under the Constitution. However, this
his answer. right can only be meaningful if the accused is accorded ample legal assistance by his
Respondent subsequently filed urgent motions for second and third lawyer:
extensions of time praying to be given until November 4, 2005 to submit his answer. The right to counsel proceeds from the fundamental principle of due process
He never did. which basically means that a person must be heard before being condemned. The
due process requirement is a part of a person's basic rights; it is not a mere formality
HELD that may be dispensed with or performed perfunctorily.
Respondent Grossly Neglected The Cause of His Client, Atty. Macasa is The right to counsel must be more than just the presence of a lawyer in the
disbarred courtroom or the mere propounding of standard questions and objections. The right to
Respondent undertook to defend the criminal case against complainants counsel means that the accused is amply accorded legal assistance extended by a
son. Such undertaking imposed upon him the following duties: counsel who commits himself to the cause for the defense and acts accordingly. The
CANON 17 A LAWYER OWES FIDELITY TO THE CAUSE OF HIS right assumes an active involvement by the lawyer in the proceedings, particularly at
CLIENT AND HE SHALL BE MINDFUL OF THE TRUST AND CONFIDENCE the trial of the case, his bearing constantly in mind of the basic rights of the accused,
REPOSED IN HIM. his being well-versed on the case, and his knowing the fundamental procedures,
CANON 18 A LAWYER SHALL SERVE HIS CLIENT WITH essential laws and existing jurisprudence.
COMPETENCE AND DILIGENCE. The right of an accused to counsel is beyond question a fundamental right.
xxx xxx xxx Without counsel, the right to a fair trial itself would be of little consequence, for it is
Rule 18.03 A lawyer shall not neglect a legal matter entrusted to him, and through counsel that the accused secures his other rights. In other words, the right to
his negligence in connection therewith shall render him liable. counsel is the right to effective assistance of counsel.
xxx xxx xxx The right of an accused to counsel finds substance in the performance by
CANON 19 A LAWYER SHALL REPRESENT HIS CLIENT WITH ZEAL the lawyer of his sworn duty of fidelity to his client. Tersely put, it means an effective,
WITHIN THE BOUNDS OF THE LAW. efficient and truly decisive legal assistance, not a simply perfunctory representation.
A lawyer who accepts the cause of a client commits to devote himself In this case, after accepting the criminal case against complainants son and receiving
(particularly his time, knowledge, skills and effort) to such cause. He must be ever his attorneys fees, respondent did nothing that could be considered as effective and
mindful of the trust and confidence reposed in him, constantly striving to be worthy efficient legal assistance. For all intents and purposes, respondent abandoned the
thereof. Accordingly, he owes full devotion to the interest of his client, warm zeal in cause of his client. Indeed, on account of respondents continued inaction,
the maintenance and defense of his clients rights and the exertion of his utmost complainant was compelled to seek the services of the Public Attorneys Office.
learning, skill and ability to ensure that nothing shall be taken or withheld from his Respondents lackadaisical attitude towards the case of complainants son was
client, save by the rules of law legally applied. reprehensible. Not only did it prejudice complainants son, it also deprived him of his
A lawyer who accepts professional employment from a client undertakes to constitutional right to counsel. Furthermore, in failing to use the amount entrusted to
serve his client with competence and diligence. He must conscientiously perform his him for posting a bond to secure the provisional liberty of his client, respondent
duty arising from such relationship. He must bear in mind that by accepting a retainer, unduly impeded the latters constitutional right to bail.
he impliedly makes the following representations: that he possesses the requisite
degree of learning, skill and ability other lawyers similarly situated possess; that he OVERGAARD V. VALDEZ
will exert his best judgment in the prosecution or defense of the litigation entrusted to
him; that he will exercise reasonable care and diligence in the use of his skill and in FACTS
the application of his knowledge to his clients cause; and that he will take all steps Overgaard is a Dutch national who engaged the services of Atty. Valdez.
necessary to adequately safeguard his clients interest. They entered into a retainer agreement, providing that for 900K, Valdez would
A lawyers negligence in the discharge of his obligations arising from the represent Overgaard as counsel in 2 cases filed by him (Estafa and a mandamus
relationship of counsel and client may cause delay in the administration of justice and
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case) and 2 cases filed against him (Other Light threats and violation of the Anti- document which the Spouses Eustaquio prepared, and which complainants signed,
Violation against women and their children act). was a deed of absolute sale and not a real estate mortgage. They also learned that
Overgaard sent $16, 854 to Atty. Valdez via telegraphic bank transfer. 4 Navarro R. Eustaquio (Navarro) had transferred the title over the property to his
months after, Overgaard demanded for a report on the status of his cases. In spite of name.
many phone calls and emails, Valdez couldnt be reached. Hence, Overgaard Complainants engaged the services of respondent for the purpose of
inquired on his own, and discovered that Valdez didnt file his entry of appearance in recovering their property.
any of the cases, that a counter-affidavit was required from him, and that the criminal Respondent lawyer filed a complaint for the reconveyance of the property.
cases against him have already been arraigned and warrants were issued for his Complainants and the Spouses Eustaquio entered into an amicable settlement. In the
arrest. He was constrained to find a new lawyer. amicable settlement, the complainants offered the spouses the sum of P30K as
Overgaard then wrote again and tried to locate Valdez to demand the return repurchase price which the spouses accepted.
of documents entrusted to the latter, as well as the $16K payment. No word was However, complainants did not have the P30,000 repurchase price for the
heard from Valdez. Overgaard filed a case with the IBP for Valdezs dismissal for property. Respondent Delante advanced the P30,000 and, in return, complainants
gross malpractice, immoral character, dishonesty and deceitful conduct. allowed respondent to possess the property and gather its produce until he is paid.
The IBP required Valdez to file an answer, but he did not comply. He also When complainants tried to repay the P30,000 repurchase price and recover
failed to attend the hearing and was declared in default. Later, a clarificatory hearing the property from respondent, respondent refused. Complainants learned that
was set, but Valdez never showed. IBP found him guilty of violating canons 1, 15, 16, respondent transferred the title of the property to his name.
17, and 18 and his penalty was a 3-year suspension and he was ordered to return Complainants filed a complaint praying that (1) the deed of absolute sale
Overgaards money. prepared by the Spouses Eustaquio and signed by the complainants be declared
void, (2) title issued in the name of Atty. Delante be declared void, and (3) respondent
HELD be made to pay damages.
SC agrees with the findings of IBP, but declared that Valdez be disbarred for As defense, respondent alleges that:
falling below the standards required of lawyers. 1. The complainants only borrowed money from him without any intention
Canon 18 provides that a lawyer must serve his client with competence and to pay him back or at least offer an explanation as to how they would be
diligence. Rule 18.03 requires a lawyer to not neglect a legal matter entrusted to him able to repay him
and his negligence will make him liable. Valdez should indeed be liable because he 2. That the couple did not really engage his services as counsel for an
was not just incompetent, he was useless; not just negligent, he was indolent; and annulment suit against Navarro Eustaquio
rather than helping his client, he prejudiced him. He abandoned his client and left him 3. The sale between Eustaquio and the complainants was a valid sale and
without any recourse. It was a clear evasion of duty. Also, his failure to act on the not a mortgage
disbarment case against him, without any explanation, is a clear evidence of 4. The actual buyer of the property was Atty. Delantes former client who is
negligence on his part. now residing in New York. But after 11 years, the buyer did not return to
Rule 18.04 requires that a lawyer keep his client informed of the status of his the Philippines anymore so he authorized Atty. Delante to have the
case and to respond within reasonable time to the clients request for information. property in his name upon refund of the purchase price.
Despite Overgaards efforts, Valdez avoided his client and never bothered to reply. Complainants filed a complaint dated with the Court charging respondent
Clearly, the rule was violated. with gross violation of the Code of Professional Responsibility.
In a Report dated 15 October 2007, Commissioner Hababag of the IBP
ANGALAN V. DELANTE found that respondent violated the Code of Professional Responsibility. IBP Board of
governors approved but increased the penalty from a 6-month suspension to 1-year.
This is a complaint filed by the heirs of an illiterate couple belonging to the ISSUE
Samal Tribe against Atty. Delante for gross violation of professional responsibility Whether or not respondent committed grave violation of [the] Code of
particularly Canons 16 and 17. Professional Responsibility when he bought the property of his client[s] without their
The couple owned a property in Samal, Davao del Norte. On 15 April 1971, knowledge, consent and against their will?
Angalan and complainants borrowed P15,000 from Spouses Eustaquio. To secure the
loan, Angalan and complainants mortgaged their property and surrendered the title to HELD
the Spouses Eustaquio. YES.
When complainants tried to pay the loan and recover the title from the
Spouses Eustaquio, the Spouses Eustaquio refused. Complainants learned that the
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Justice Hofilena

The Court is not impressed with Atty. Delantes defenses. Angalan and A person who takes the 8.102-hectare property of his illiterate clients and
complainants went to respondents office not to seek advice about borrowing money who is incapable of telling the truth is unfit to be a lawyer.
but to engage his services for the purpose of recovering their property. The Court finds Atty. Leonido C. Delante GUILTY of violating Canons 16 and
First, after Angalan and complainants went to respondents office, 17 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. Accordingly, the Court DISBARS him
respondent filed a complaint with the CFI praying that the Spouses from the practice of law and ORDERS that his name be stricken from the Roll of
Eustaquio reconvey the property to Angalan and complainants. Attorneys.
Second, in the complaint, respondent stated that, "by reason of unwarranted
refusal on the part of the defendants to reconvey the property to plaintiffs, SANTOS-TAN V. ATTY. ROMEO R. ROBISO
the latter have been constrained to engage, and in fact have engaged, the
services of counsel." FACTS
Third, respondent issued a receipt to complainants stating that he Complainant Santos-Tan charged respondent with malpractice for grossly
"RECEIVED from Mr. MACARIO CAPUL and FRANCISCA RAFAEL CAPUL neglecting his duties and responsibilities as counsel for complainant and for issuing a
the sum of ONE THOUSAND TWO HUNDRED PESOS (P1,200.00) bouncing check.
representing full payment of professional services in regard to the recovery Complainant found out that her case had not progressed and that the only
of Original Certificate of Title No. P-11499 in the name of Angalan (Samal)." pleading that respondent had filed was his notice of appearance.
Fourth, in respondents letter dated 10 January 1979 and addressed to the
barrio captain of Umbay, Samal, Davao del Norte, he stated that he was the
(1) Whether respondent was negligent in handling complainants case (NO);
lawyer of complainants.
(2) Whether respondent should be disciplined for issuing a bouncing check
As to his claim regarding his former client purchasing the property
1. Amicable settlement there was an agreed repurchase price to which both
parties agreed to RATIO:
2. Letter to the barrio captain the lawyer stated that complainants On the issue of negligence on the part of respondent in handling
repurchased the property from the Spouses Eustaquio. (This will inform you complainants case, the Court agrees that based on the facts presented there was
that the Heirs of Angalan Samal have already redeemed their property nothing that he could have done to expedite the resolution of the motion for
through me from Mr. Navarro Eustaquio since September, 1978.) reconsideration then pending before the RTC. The RTC had already ordered that the
3. Insufficient proof Respondent did not give any detail or proof to motion for reconsideration be submitted for resolution. Respondent could not be
substantiate his story the name of the alleged client, an affidavit of the faulted if the acting presiding judge did not want to act on the motion until the regular
alleged client, the old passport of the alleged client showing immigration presiding judge return.
stamps, or any form of correspondence between him and the alleged client. Regarding the other issues, as a lawyer, respondent is deemed to know the
The Court agrees with the observation of Commissioner Hababag that law, especially Bouncing Check Law. By issuing a check in violation of the provisions
respondents "vain attempt to salvage his malicious acts [is] too flimsy to of this law, respondent is guilty of serious misconduct. The act of a lawyer in issuing a
gain belief and acceptance." check which is drawn against insufficient funds constitutes deceitful conduct or
conduct unbecoming an officer of the court. The Court has held that the issuance of
Canon 17 states that lawyers shall be mindful of the trust and confidence checks which were later dishonored for having been drawn against a closed account
reposed in them. Respondent should have been mindful of the trust and confidence indicates a lawyers unfitness for the trust and confidence reposed on him. It shows a
complainants reposed in him. Complainants allege that they are illiterate and that the lack of personal honesty and good moral character as to render him unworthy of
Spouses Eustaquio took advantage of them. Complainants engaged the services of public confidence. As such, we have held that deliberate failure to pay just debts and
respondent in the hope that he would help them recover their property. Instead of the issuance of worthless checks constitute gross misconduct, for which a lawyer may
protecting the interests of complainants, respondent took advantage of complainants be sanctioned with suspension from the practice of law. Respondent violated the
and transferred the title of the property to his name. Attorneys Oath that he will, among others, obey the laws. The Code of Professional
Considering the depravity of respondents offense, the Court finds the Responsibility specifically provides:
recommended penalty too light. Violation of Canons 16 and 17 constitutes gross CANON 1 A LAWYER SHALL UPHOLD THE CONSTITUTION, OBEY
misconduct. Section 27, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court states that a member of the THE LAWS OF THE LAND AND PROMOTE RESPECT FOR THE LAW AND LEGAL
bar may be disbarred or suspended from his office as attorney by the Court for gross PROCESSES.
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Justice Hofilena

IN VIEW WHEREOF, respondent Atty. Romeo R. Robiso is ORDERED secured her conformity to the withdrawal of appearance when they talked on
SUSPENDED from the practice of law for a period of ONE (1) month. December 2001, but because he failed to do so, he remain as counsel of record.



Atty Gerardo Lara represented Ofelia Somosot in a collections case against
Golden Collections Marketting Corp. FACTS:
Golden Collections filed interrogatories and request for Admission The complainant in this disbarment case is Atty. Briones. The respondent is
Atty Lara objected, stating that such interrogatories and admission should be Atty. Jimenez. Complainant Briones is the Special Administrator of the Henson
sent directly to Mrs. Somosot Estate, while respondent Jimenez is the counsel for Heirs of Henson.
The root of herein administrative complaint for Disbarment is an RTC Order
At this point, we should take note that Atty Lara is already sensitive about
(2002). The RTC Order directed complainant Briones to deliver the residue of the
the P27,000 in unpaid attys fees
estate to the Heirs in proportion to their shares. Complainant Briones did not reply to
Nov. 2001, Atty Lara was appointed as a consultant in the Board of the demand, so respondent Jimenez opted to file a criminal complaint in behalf of his
Investment, a government position clients for refusal to obey the lawful order of the court.
Lara tried to locate Somosot about the fees in her office in Greenhills; office Complainant Briones now claims that respondent Jimenez is guilty of
was locked and according to the security guard, they had moved office violation of Rule 19.01 of the Code of Professional responsibility by filing the
without leaving a forwarding address. Lara also attempted to call Mr and Mrs unfounded criminal complaint against complainant to obtain an improper advantage:
Somosot, but they couldnt be reached Rule 19.01 - A lawyer shall employ only fair and honest means to attain the
Lara filed his Withdrawal of Appearance in court, without the required lawful objectives of his client and shall not present, participate in presenting or
conformity of his client, Somosot, because she could be located. This was threaten to present unfounded criminal charges to obtain an improper advantage in
denied. any case of proceeding.
Dec. 2001, upon learning that Somosots new office was in Pasig, he called
her where he advised that she should find another Lawyer. She informed her ISSUE:
that she already did. Whether or not respondent Atty. Jimenez should be administratively liable.
September, 2005. Lara receives a letter from Somosot giving him one last
chance to give her a reason not to instigate a disbarment suit against him. HELD:
Yes. Atty. Jacinto D. Jimenez is found guilty of and REPRIMANDED [since
ISSUE no evidence of malice or bad faith] for violation of Rule 19.01 of the Code of
W/N Atty Lara, from the facts stated, is deemed incompetent in his services Professional Responsibility Fair play demands that respondent should have filed the
to Mrs. Ofelia Somosot. proper motion with the RTC to attain his goal of having the residue of the estate
delivered to his clients and not subject complainant to a premature criminal
HELD prosecution.
Yes. Canon 19 of the Code of Professional Responsibility enjoins a lawyer to
Atty Laras services were insufficient. His neglect (or refusal) to reply to the represent his client with zeal. However, the same Canon provides that a lawyers
Interrogatories and Request for Admissions himself eventually caused the court to performance of his duties towards his client must be within the bounds of the law.
rule against Mrs. Somosot. Records do not show how exactly he tried to address the Rule 19.01 of the same Canon requires, among others, that a lawyer shall employ
Interrogatories issue or whether he appealed the case or not. only fair and honest means to attain the lawful objectives of his client. To permit
He did not mention how he tried to locate Mrs. Somosot to inform her about lawyers to resort to unscrupulous practices for the protection of the supposed rights of
the Interrogatories and Request for Admission. He only took the initiative when he their clients is to defeat one of the purposes of the state the administration of
learned that he had been appointed into a government position. justice. While lawyers owe their entire devotion to the interest of their clients and zeal
Lara was very much sensitive about his unpaid billings, and this shouldnt be in the defense of their clients right, they should not forget that they are, first and
a reason for him not to inform his client about the cases development foremost, officers of the court, bound to exert every effort to assist in the speedy and
He had two valid reasons for withdrawing as her Atty. One, his appointment efficient administration of justice.
in a government office; and two, Somosots refusal to pay his fees. He could have
41 | Block C 2012
Justice Hofilena

obligation to tell the truth of the offenses he imputed against Pea. He also stated that
FACTS the writing of demand letters is standard practice.
Atty. Aparicio was the legal counsel for Grace Hufana in an alleged dismissal SC ruled that Atty. Aparicios assertions are misleading because the fact of
case before the NLRC against Pena, President of MOF Company. Atty. Aparicio the matter is, he used such threats to gain leverage against Pea and force the latter
prayed that his client be given separation pay. Pea rejected the claim. Thereafter, to accede to his clients claims. The letter even implied a promise to keep silent
Pea sent notices to Hufana to return to work. Atty. Aparicio replied with a letter about the said violations if the claim is met.
reiterating the claim of his client. The letter also contained threats against the While it is true that writing demand letters is standard practice in the
company stating that if the claim is not paid on Aug. 10, 2005, they will file multiple profession of law, such letters must not contain threats such as those found in this
charges such as, criminal charges for tax evasion, falsification of documents, and for case.
the cancellation of the companys business license. Nevertheless, SC held that disbarment is too severe a penalty considering
Pea filed an administrative complaint against Atty. Aparicio with the that Atty. Aparicio wrote the letter out of his overzealousness to protect his clients
Commission on Bar Discipline of the IBP for violating Rule 19.01 of Canon 19 of the interests. Therefore, the SC reprimanded him with a stern warning.
Code of Professional Responsibility. Atty. Aparicio in turn filed counterclaims for the
defamatory charges against him. The IBP dismissed the complaint because Pea had
allegedly failed to file his position paper and the certification against forum shopping.
The IBP transmitted the records of the case to the SC.
Atty. Aparicio filed an MR with the SC reiterating his claim for damages
against Pea in the amount of P400M for filing false, malicious, defamatory,
fraudulent suit against him. Pea likewise filed this Petition for Review alleging that he
submitted his position paper and that the dismissal denied him of due process.

W/N Atty. Aparicio is guilty of violating Rule 19.01?

First of all, the SC found that Pea actually submitted his position paper. In
addition, disbarment proceedings are sui generis, hence, the requirement of a
certification of forum shopping is not to be strictly complied with in such a case. At any
rate, Pea actually submitted a certification against forum shopping after Atty.
Aparicio filed the motion to dismiss, curing the supposed defect in the original
Now to the merits
Canon 19, a lawyer shall represent his client with zeal within the bounds of
the law, this shows that a lawyers duty to his client is subordinate to his duty in the
administration of justice.
Rule 19.01, a lawyer shall employ only fair and honest means to attain the
lawful objectives of his client and shall not present, participate in presenting or
threaten to present unfounded criminal charges to obtain an improper advantage in
any case or proceeding. Under such Rule, a lawyer should not file or threaten to file
baseless criminal cases against the adversaries of his client to secure a leverage to
compel the adversaries to yield to the claims of the lawyers client. This is exactly
what Atty. Aparicio did in this case.
Furthermore, his threats were not only unethical, but they amounted to
blackmail extortion of money by threats of accusation or exposure in the public
prints. Blackmail and extortion would not only entail disbarment but also possible
criminal prosecution. Worse yet, Atty. Aparicio actually admitted and even found it his
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Justice Hofilena

POST MIDTERM CASES Moreover, his excuse in his answer, that he should be allowed to deduct
sheriff's fees and other administrative expenses before delivering the money due his
AUTHORITY OF THE LAWYER: CONDUCT OF LITIGATION clients, is unsatisfactory. Respondent clearly failed to comply with the Rules of Court
in the enforcement of an attorney's liens. The records of this case are barren of any
MANALANG V. ANGELES statement of respondent's claims for lien or payment of his alleged disbursements.
Nor did respondent present any showing that he caused written notices of his lien on
FACTS: the money judgment to be served upon his clients and to the losing party
Manalang and Cirillo alleged that they were the complainants in a case for His act of holding on to his clients' money without their acquiescence is
overtime and separation pay filed against their employer, the Philippine Racing Club conduct indicative of lack of integrity and propriety. He was clinging to something
Restaurant, before the National Labor Relations. Respondent was their counsel. which was not his, and to which he had no right. He appears oblivious of the
Judgment was rendered in their favor, in the amount of P6,500. After the decision admonition that a member of the legal fraternity should refrain from any act or
became final, a writ of execution issued. However, without authority from his clients, omission which might lessen the trust and confidence reposed by the public in the
respondent compromised the award and was able to collect P5,500 only. fidelity, honesty, and integrity of the legal profession.
Complainants said they made several demands upon respondent to turn This is the first case on record against him, a fact which could be taken into
over to them the amount collected minus the agreed upon attorney's fees of thirty account by way of mitigation. Considering further the amount involved, the penalty of
percent (30%), but Atty. Angeles refused and offered to give them only the sum of six (6) months suspension appears to us in order.
Respondent counsel stated that he offered to give complainants their money, GARCIA V. CA
but they insisted that he "deduct from this attorney's fees the amount of P2,000,
representing the amount discounted by the counsel of the Philippine Racing Club FACTS:
Restaurant, together with sheriff legal fees and other administrative expenses."
Respondent claimed that to accept complainants' proposition meant that he "would Guevara spouse seeks recovery of a lady's diamond ring which they bought
not be compensated for prosecuting and handling, the case. from Rebullida.
Guevara claims that while talking to Consuelo S. de Garcia, owner of La Bulakea
ISSUE: restaurant, she recognized her ring in the finger of Mrs. Garcia and asked where she
Whether respondent Atty. Francisco F. Angeles should be suspended from bought it, which Garcia answered from her comadre.
the practice of law because of grave misconduct related to his clients' funds. Guevarra told Garcia that a ring was stolen from her house in February,
1952. Garcia handed the ring to Guevara and it fitted her finger. Two or three days
HELD later, at the request of Guevarra, her husband Lt. Col. Juan Guevara, Lt. Cementina
Where a member of the bar stands charged with malpractice, the of Pasay PD, Garcia and her attorney proceeded to the store of Mr. Rebullida to
proceedings are not meant solely to rule on his culpability but also to determine if the whom they showed the ring in question.
lawyer concerned is possessed of that good moral character, which is a condition Mr. Rebullida examined the ring and after consulting the stock card thereon,
precedent to the privilege of practicing law and continuing in the practice thereof. concluded that it was the very ring that plaintiff bought from him in 1947. The ring was
Money claims due to workers cannot, as a rule, be the object of settlement returned to Garcia who despite a written request failed to deliver the ring to Guevara.
or compromise effected by counsel without the consent of the workers concerned . A Garcia refused to deliver the ring which had been examined by Mr.
client has every right to expect from his counsel that nothing will be taken or withheld Rebullida, claiming it was lost.
from him, save by the rules of law validly applied. By compromising the judgment Garciass defense was that they denied having made any admission before
without the consent of his clients, respondent not only went against the stream of Guevara or Mr. Rebullida or the sheriff. Her evidence tends to show that the ring was
judicial dicta, he also exhibited an uncaring lack of devotion to the interest of his purchased by her from Mrs. Miranda who got it from Miss Angelita Hinahon who in
clients as well as want of zeal in the maintenance and defense of their rights. In so turn got it from the owner, Aling Petring, who was boarding in her house; that the ring
doing, he violated Canon 17 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. she bought could be similar to, but not the same ring plaintiff purchased from Mr.
A lawyer shall hold in trust all moneys and properties of his client that may Rebullida which was stolen; that according to a pawn-shop owner the big diamond
come into his possession. In the instant case, the records clearly and abundantly was never dismantled. When dismantled, defendant's diamond was found to weigh
point to respondent's receipt of and failure to deliver upon demand, the amount of 2.57 cts, unlike the one claimed by Guevara spouse.
P4,550 intended for his clients. This is a clear breach of Rule 16.03, Canon 16 of the Apparently Garcias own counsel admitted through an answer that the ring in
Code of Professional Responsibility. question was the same ring, which is being claimed by the Guevara spouse.

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Justice Hofilena

ISSUE: oppositor Pacita V. de los Santos as not being entitled to recognition as there was a
Whether or not a lawyer needs an SPA to admit the truth of certain facts general order of default except as to the Bureau of Lands and the Bureau of Forestry,
not lifted as to her, and that she had no interest to oppose the application of the
HELD: registration of her land, although admittedly there was a claim on her part under a
NO. Garcia is contradicted by her own extra-judicial admissions, although pasture lease agreement in her favor. Hence the plea for the order of dismissal being
made by her counsel. For an attorney who acts as counsel of record and is permitted set aside and plaintiff being allowed to present evidence. What purpose, it may
to act such, has the authority to manage the cause, and this includes the authority to pertinently be asked, would be served thereby if, after the time-consuming effort, it
make admission for the purpose of the litigation... Garcias proffered explanation that would clearly appear that plaintiff could not in truth show that there was such an open,
her counsel misunderstood her is futile because the liability to error as to the identity uninterrupted, peaceful and adverse possession in the concept of owner? Nor is it to
of the vendor and the exchange of the ring with another ring of the same value, was be forgotten that in the motion to dismiss of oppositor de los Santos, it was stated:
rather remote. "That the son of applicant Luis Santiago, namely Juanito S. Santiago, was one time
The rings identification was confirmed by Mr. Rafael Rebullida, whose the Lessee of the aforesaid timber area sought to be registered by him under Pasture
testimony is entitled to great weight, with his 30 years experience behind him in the Lease Agreement No. 182 on April 18, 1955, which Lease Agreement was cancelled
jewelry business by the Government on August 18, 1958 for failure of Lessee Santiago to make the
Indeed, Garcia made no comment when in her presence Rebullida after examining improvements and comply otherwise with the terms and conditions of the Lease
the ring and stock card told Guevara that that was her ring, nor did she answer Contract; ... ." There was no denial of such allegation.
plaintiff's letter of demand,asserting ownership. An admission made in the pleadings cannot be controverted by the party
None of the people whom she mentioned, was able to corroborate the story making such admission and are conclusive as to him, and that all proofs submitted by
of how she bought the ring. him contrary thereto or inconsistent therewith, should be ignored, whether objection is
interposed by the party or not.
Plaintiff, now appellant, applied for registration of a parcel of land. In a SESBRENO V. CA
motion to set the case for hearing, he attached documents indicative of the land being
public in character, thus lending support to the opposition of the Director of Forestry, Facts:
the Director of Lands, and a certain Pacita V. de los Santos. The then Judge Cecilia Atty. Sesbreno is the counsel of 52 employees who sued the province of
Muoz Palma, now an Associate Justice of this Court, dismissed the suit. Its reversal Cebu for reinstatement and back wages. They signed 2 documents whereby the
is sought in this appeal. employees agreed to pay Atty. Sesbreno 30% as attorneys fees and 20% expenses
to be taken from their back salaries. The trial court rendered a decision in favor the
Issue: employees and fixed Atty. Sesbrenos attorneys fees at 40% of back salaries,
Was the counsel negligent in the preparation of the pleadings? Yes. terminal leave, gratuity pay and retirement benefits and 20% as expenses, or a total
of 60% of all monies paid to the employees. The court later on modified the attorneys
Held: fees to 50%. Atty. Sesbreno appealed to the CA, which decided that the attorneys
Attached to such pleading were the documents, which, in the language of fees should be reduced to 20% of the back salaries awarded to the employees. Atty.
the then Judge Palma, "show that the land object of this registration proceeding is Sesbreno appeals to the SC on the ground that attorneys fees amounting to 50% of
part of the public domain ... ." Former counsel ought to have realized the fatal effect all monies awarded to his clients as contingent fees should be upheld for being
on his client's case of such an admission. If it were his intention to demolish entirely consistent with prevailing case law and the contract of professional services between
the pretension of plaintiff to the claim that he had been in open, public, uninterrupted, the parties.
peaceful and adverse possession in the concept of owner from July 26, 1894 up to
the present, he could not have succeeded any better. What was so categorically Issue:
therein set forth as to such parcel of land being a part of a public forest, although Whether or not the Court of Appeals had the authority to reduce the amount
thereafter released by the Secretary of Agriculture and Natural Resources for of attorneys fees awarded to Atty. Sesbreno, notwithstanding the contract for
agricultural purposes, is conclusive and binding. professional services signed by the client
How did the present counsel for plaintiff, the law firm of Luna and Manalo,
seek to extricate him from a predicament of his own making? It would rely on certain Held:
procedural doctrines; more specifically, it would insist on the motion to dismiss of
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Justice Hofilena

Yes! The CA has the authority to reduce the amount of attorneys fees. A them by UST and the attorneys fees amounting to 4.2M which he deducted from the
lawyer may charge and receive as attorneys fees is always subject to judicial control. benefits allotted to faculty members.
In the case at bar, the parties entered into a contingent fee contract, wherein Atty.
Sesbreno will get 50% from the employees money claims if they will win the case. Issue:
However, the court finds the 50% fee as unconscionable. Stipulated attorneys fees Whether or not the 4.2M attorneys fees is proportionate to the legal services
are unconscionable whenever the amount is by far so disproportionate compared to rendered by Atty. Marino
the value of the services rendered as to amount to fraud perpetrated upon the client.
Contingent fee contracts are under the supervision and close scrutiny of the court in Held:
order that clients may be protected from unjust charges. The court held that a fee of No. The record does not show any justification for such huge amount of
20% of back salaries would be a fair settlement. compensation nor any clear differentiation between his legal services and his tasks
union president comprising in all probity the same duties for which he has collected a
BAUTISTA V. GONZALES hefty compensation as attorney for the union. Furthermore, there was lack of notice
and transparency in Atty. Marinos dual role a lawyer and president of UST Faculty
Facts: Union when he obtained 4.2M as attorneys fees. A simple accounting of the money
Atty. Gonzales is the lawyer of the Fortunados in a civil case wherein Atty. that he and others concerned received from UST, as well as an explanation on the
Gonzales agreed to pay all expenses, including court fees, for a contingent fee of details of the agreements, would have enlightened the faculty members about the
50% of the value of the property in litigation. probability of conflict of interests on respondents part and guided them to look for
alternative actions to protect their own interests. The objective of a disciplinary case is
Issue: not so much to punish the individual attorney as to protect the dispensation of justice
Whether or not the contingent fee agreement between Atty. Gonzales and by sheltering the judiciary and the public from the misconduct or inefficiency of
the Forunados is valid officers of the court. Restorative justice not retribution is our goal in this type of
proceedings. In view of this, instead of taking a more stern measure against
Held: respondent, a reprimand and a warning would be sufficient disciplinary action. Hence,
No. There was no impropriety in entering into a contingent fee contract with the Atty. Mario is admonished to refrain from all appearances and acts of impropriety
Fortunados. However, the agreement between Atty. Gonzales and the Fortunados is including circumstances indicating conflict of interests, and to behave at all times with
contrary to the Code of Professional Responsibility which provides that a lawyer may circumspection and dedication befitting a member of the Bar, especially observing
not properly agree with a client to pay or bear the expenses of litigation. Although a candor, fairness and loyalty in all transactions with his client.
lawyer may in good faith, advance the expenses of litigation, the same should be
subject to reimbursement. The agreement between Atty. Gonzales and Fortunados VINSON PINEDA V. ATTY. DE JESUS, ATTY. AMBROSIO AND ATTY. MARIANO
does not provide for reimbursement to Atty. Gonzales of litigation expenses paid by
him. An agreement whereby an attorney agrees to pay expenses of proceedings to Facts:
enforce the clients rights is champertous. Such agreements are against public policy. Aurora Pineda filed for declaration of nullity of marriage against Vinson
The execution of these contracts violates the fiduciary relationship between the Pineda. Aurora proposed a settlement regarding visitation rights and the separation of
lawyer and his client, for which the former must incur administrative sanctions. properties which was accepted by Vinson. Settlement was approved by the trial court
and their marriage was declared null and void.
GAMILLA V. MARINO Throughout the proceedings the respondent counsels were compensated
but they still billed petitioner additional legal fees in amounting to P16.5M. Vinson
Facts: refused to pay the additional fees but instead paid P1.2M.
Atty. Eduardo Marino Jr. was the president of the UST Faculty Union. Respondents filed a complaint with the same trial court.
Theres a long history of collective bargaining agreement between UST and UST Trial court ordered Vinson to pay a total of P9M. CA reduced the amount to a
Faculty Union. During the series of agreements between UST and the UST Faculty total of P2M.
Union, Atty. Marino was removed from his position but continued to serve as a lawyer
for the UST Faculty Union. In the end, the UST Faculty won and was awarded 42 Issues:
million pesos for back wages, salaries, additional compensations, etc. Complainants W/N the RTC had jurisdiction over the claim for additional legal fees?
are members of the UST Faculty Union questioning the lack of transparency in the W/N respondents were entitled to additional legal fees?
disbursement of the monetary benefits (42M) for the faculty members, and prays for
the expulsion of Atty. Marino for failure to account for the balance of 42M ceded to Held:
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Justice Hofilena

A lawyer may enforce his right to his fees by filing the petition as an incident The honorable court of appeals gravely erred on a question of law in holding
of the main action. RTC has jurisdiction. that the letter-agreement re: contingent fees cannot be allowed to stand as the law
The respondents were seeking to collect P50M which was 10% of the value between the parties
of the properties awarded to Vinson. What respondents were demanding was
additional payment for service rendered in the same case. Held:
The professional engagement between petitioner and respondents was A contract is a meeting of the minds between two persons whereby one
governed by quantum meruit. binds himself, with respect to the other, to give something or to render some service.
Rule 20.4 of the Code of Professional Responsibility advises lawyers to Contracts shall be obligatory, in whatever form they may have been entered into,
avoid controversies with clients concerning their compensation and to resort to provided all the essential requisites for their validity are present. The Zuzuarreguis, in
judicial action only to prevent imposition, injustice or fraud. Suits to collect fees should entering into the Letter-Agreement, fully gave their consent thereto. In fact, it was
be avoided and should be filed only when circumstances force lawyers to resort to it. them (the Zuzuarreguis) who sent the said letter to Attys. Roxas and Pastor, for the
In this case, there was no justification for the additional legal fees sought by purpose of confirming all the matters which they had agreed upon previously. There is
respondents. It was an act of unconscionable greed! absolutely no evidence to show that anybody was forced into entering into the Letter-
Agreement. Verily, its existence, due execution and contents were admitted by the
ROXAS V. DE ZUZUARREGUI, JR Zuzuarreguis themselves.
In the presence of a contract for professional services duly executed by the
Facts: parties thereto, the same becomes the law between the said parties is not absolute
The Zuzuarreguis engaged the legal services of Attys. Romeo G. Roxas and but admits an exception that the stipulations therein are not contrary to law, good
Santiago N. Pastor, to represent them in the case. This was sealed by a Letter- morals, good customs, public policy or public order.
Agreement, wherein it was contained that the attorneys would endeavor to secure just Under the contract in question, Attys. Roxas and Pastor are to receive
compensation with the NHA and other government agencies at a price of 11pesos or contingent fees for their professional services. It is a deeply-rooted rule that
more per square meter, and that any lower amount shall not entitle them to any attys contingent fees are not per se prohibited by law. They are sanctioned by Canon 13 of
fees. They also stipulated that in the event they get it for 11pesos per square meter, the Canons of Professional Ethics.
their contingent fee shall be 30% of the just compensation. They also stipulated that A contract for contingent fee, where sanctioned by law, should be
their lawyers fees shall be in proportion to the cash/bonds ratio of the just reasonable under all the circumstances of the case including the risk and uncertainty
compensation. of the compensation, but should always be subject to the supervision of a court, as to
[] its reasonableness.
A Compromise Agreement was executed between the Zuzuarreguis and the Indubitably entwined with the lawyers duty to charge only reasonable fees is
NHA. The Compromise Agreement, stipulated among other things, that the just the power of this Court to reduce the amount of attorneys fees if the same is
compensation of the Zuzuarregui properties would be at P19.50 per square meter excessive and unconscionable.
payable in NHA Bonds. In a Decision dated 20 December 1985, the RTC, approved Attorneys fees are unconscionable if they affront ones sense of justice,
the Compromise Agreement submitted by the parties. decency or reasonableness. It becomes axiomatic therefore, that power to determine
The total amount in NHA bonds released to Atty. Romeo G. Roxas in behalf the reasonableness or the, unconscionable character of attorney's fees stipulated by
of the Zuzuarreguis amounted to P54,500,000.00. Out of this amount, the records the parties is a matter falling within the regulatory prerogative of the courts.
show that the amount turned over to the Zuzuarreguis by Atty. Roxas amounted to In the instant case, Attys. Roxas and Pastor received an amount which was
P30,520,000.00 (representing the actual just compensation, although this amount is equal to forty-four percent (44%) of the just compensation paid (including the yield on
bigger) in NHA bonds. the bonds) by the NHA to the Zuzuarreguis, or an amount equivalent to
Computed at P19.50 per square meter, the 1,790,570.36 square meters P23,980,000.00 of the P54,500,000.00. Considering that there was no full blown
property of the Zuzuarreguis was expropriated at a total price of P34,916,122.00. The hearing in the expropriation case, ending as it did in a Compromise Agreement, the
total amount released by the NHA was P54,500,000.00. The difference of 44% is, undeniably, unconscionable and excessive under the circumstances. Its
P19,583,878.00 is, undoubtedly, the yield on the bonds. reduction is, therefore, in order.
On 25 August 1987, a letter was sent by the Zuzuarreguis new counsel, It is imperative that the contingent fees received by Attys. Roxas and Pastor
Jose F. Gonzalez, to Attys. Roxas and Pastor, demanding that the latter deliver to the must be equitably reduced. In the opinion of this Court, the yield that corresponds to
Zuzuarreguis the yield corresponding to bonds paid by the NHA within a period of 10 the percentage share of the Zuzuarreguis in the P19.50 per square meter just
days from receipt, under pain of administrative, civil and/or criminal action. compensation paid by the NHA must be returned by Attys. Roxas and Pastor.
The yield on the NHA bonds amounted to P19,583,878.00. This amount must
Issue: therefore be divided between the Zuzuarreguis, on the one hand, and Attys. Roxas
46 | Block C 2012
Justice Hofilena

and Pastor, on the other. The division must be pro rata. Attys. Roxas and Pastor, in recovery of alleged ill-gotten wealth, which includes shares of stocks in the named
the opinion of this Court, were not shortchanged for their efforts for they would still be corps. in PCGG Case No. 33 (CC No. 0033) entitled "RP vs. Eduardo Cojuangco, et
earning or actually earned attorneys fees in the amount of P6,987,078.75 al."
On the issue of moral and exemplary damages, we cannot award the same Among the defendants named in the case are herein petitioners and herein
for there was no direct showing of bad faith on the part of Attys. Roxas and Pastor, for private respondent Raul S. Roco, who all were then partners of the law firm Angara,
as we said earlier, contingency fees are not per se prohibited by law. It is only Abello, Concepcion, Regala and Cruz (ACCRA) Law Offices. ACCRA Law Firm
necessary that it be reduced when excessive and unconscionable, which we have performed legal services for its clients and in the performance of these services, the
already done. members of the law firm delivered to its client documents which substantiate the
client's equity holdings.
LAW FIRM OF TUNGOL & TIBAYAN V. CA AND SPOUSES INGCO In the course of their dealings with their clients, the members of the law firm
acquire information relative to the assets of clients as well as their personal and
Facts: business circumstances. As members of the ACCRA Law Firm, petitioners and private
Ingcos hired the petitioner law firm to enforce delivery of a land title. respondent Raul Roco admit that they assisted in the organization and acquisition of
Complaint was filed by the law firm in behalf of the Ingcos before the HLURB against the companies included in CC No. 0033, and in keeping with the office practice,
Villa Crista alleging that the Ingcos had paid P5.1M for a lot but Villa Crista failed to ACCRA lawyers acted as nominees-stockholders of the said corporations involved in
deliver the title thereto. The Ingcos and Villa Crista entered into a compromise sequestration proceedings.
whereby the latter was bound to refund P4.8M provided that in case of breach of such PCGG filed a "Motion to Admit 3rd Amended Complaint" & "3rd Amended
obligation, an additional P200k would be paid by way of liquidated damages. Complaint" w/c excluded Roco from the complaint in PCGG Case No. 33 as
Villa Crista failed to pay. Writ of execution issued. Sheriff levied and auctioned 10 lots partydefendant, Roco having promised hell reveal the identity of the principal/s for
belonging to Villa Crista. The Ingcos bought 3 lots, the payment of which includes whom he acted as nominee/stockholder in the companies involved in PCGG Case #
P5.1M contract price for the initial lot they primarily bought, P1.35M attorneys fees 33.
and other expenses. The Ingcos then terminated the services of the law firm. Petitioners were included in 3rd Amended Complaint for having plotted,
The law firm filed with the HLURB to recover 25% of the excess of the devised, schemed, conspired & confederated w/each other in setting up, through the
existing prevailing selling price or the fair market value of the 3 lots. It also filed for use of coconut levy funds, the financial & corporate framework & structures that led to
damages in the RTC. establishment of UCPB, UNICOM, COCOLIFE, COCOMARK, CIC, & more than 20
The law firm argued that the spouses still owed P4.5M; that in their contract other coconut levy funded corps, including the acquisition of San Miguel Corp. shares
the law firm was entitled to 25% of the excess of the total bid price. & its institutionalization through presidential directives of the coconut monopoly.
HLURB arbiter ruled for the law firm. HLURHB Board reversed. The Office of the Through insidious means & machinations, ACCRA Investments Corp., became the
President reversed, affirming the HLURB arbiters decision. CA reversed the OP. holder of roughly 3.3% of the total outstanding capital stock of UCPB.
In their answer to the Expanded Amended Complaint, petitioners alleged
Held: that their participation in the acts w/ w/c their co-defendants are charged, was in
SC ruled that the lawyers are not entitled to additional fees. The spouses furtherance of legitimate lawyering
acquired the 3 lots as the highest bidder at the auction sale. It can be said that the Petitioner Paraja Hayudini, who had separated from ACCRA law firm, filed a
lots had been acquired not through the recovery efforts of the law firm. separate answer denying the allegations in the complaint implicating him in the
Moreover, during the negotiations with Villa Crista, it was Renato Ingco who alleged ill-gotten wealth.
was actually negotiating, not the lawyers. Petitioners then filed their "Comment &/or Opposition" w/ Counter-Motion
When the auction sale was made, the attorney-client relationship no longer that PCGG exclude them as parties-defendants like Roco. PCGG set the ff.
existed, hence the lawyers are not entitled to the additional fees. precedent for the exclusion of petitioners:
(a) the disclosure of the identity of its clients;
CANON 21 (b) submission of documents substantiating the lawyer-client relationship; and
(c) the submission of the deeds of assignments petitioners executed in favor of its
REGALA V. SANDIGANBAYAN clients covering their respective shareholdings.
Consequently, PCGG presented supposed proof to substantiate compliance
FACTS: by Roco of the same conditions precedent. However, during said proceedings, Roco
The Republic of the Philippines instituted a Complaint before the didnt refute petitioners' contention that he did actually not reveal the identity of the
Sandiganbayan (SB), through the Presidential Commission on Good Govt (PCGG) client involved in PCGG Case No. 33, nor had he undertaken to reveal the identity of
against Eduardo M. Cojuangco, Jr., as one of the principal defendants, for the the client for whom he acted as nominee-stockholder.
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Justice Hofilena

In a Resolution, SB denied the exclusion of petitioners, for their refusal to Attorney-client privilege, is worded in Rules of Court, Rule 130:
comply w/ the conditions required by PCGG. It held, ACCRA lawyers cannot excuse Sec. 24. Disqualification by reason of privileged communication. The
themselves from the consequences of their acts until they have begun to establish the following persons cannot testify as to matters learned in confidence in the following
basis for recognizing the privilege; the existence and identity of the client. cases: xxx An attorney cannot, without the consent of his client, be examined as to
ACCRA lawyers filed MFR w/c was denied. Hence, ACCRA lawyers filed the any communication made by the client to him, or his advice given thereon in the
petition for certiorari. Petitioner Hayudini, likewise, filed his own MFR w/c was also course of, or with a view to, professional employment, can an attorney's secretary,
denied thus, he filed a separate petition for certiorari, assailing SBs resolution on stenographer, or clerk be examined, without the consent of the client and his
essentially same grounds averred by petitioners, namely: employer, concerning any fact the knowledge of which has been acquired in such
SB gravely abused its discretion in subjecting petitioners to the strict capacity.
application of the law of agency. Further, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court states: Sec. 20. It is the duty of an
SB gravely abused its discretion in not considering petitioners & Roco attorney: (e) to maintain inviolate the confidence, and at every peril to himself, to
similarly situated &, thus, deserving equal treatment preserve the secrets of his client, and to accept no compensation in connection with
SB gravely abused its discretion in not holding that, under the facts of this his client's business except from him or with his knowledge and approval.
case, the attorney-client privilege prohibits petitioners from revealing the identity of This duty is explicitly mandated in Canon 17, CPR (A lawyer owes fidelity to
their client(s) and the other information requested by the PCGG. the cause of his client and he shall be mindful of the trust and confidence reposed in
SB gravely abused its discretion in not requiring that dropping of him.) Canon 15, CPE also demands a lawyer's fidelity to client.
partydefendants be based on reasonable & just grounds, w/ due consideration to An effective lawyer-client relationship is largely dependent upon the degree
constitutional rts of petitioners of confidence which exists between lawyer and client which in turn requires a
PCGG, through its counsel, refutes petitioners' contention, alleging that the situation which encourages a dynamic and fruitful exchange and flow of information.
revelation of the identity of the client is not w/in the ambit of the lawyer-client Thus, the Court held that this duty may be asserted in refusing to disclose the name
confidentiality privilege, nor are the documents it required (deeds of assignment) of petitioners' client(s) in the case at bar.
protected, because they are evidence of nominee status. The general rule is that a lawyer may not invoke the privilege and refuse to
divulge the name or identity of his client.
RULING (pulled out only the pertinent sections ): Reasons advanced for the general rule:
Court has a right to know that the client whose privileged information is
REVEALING THE IDENTITY OF THEIR CLIENT(S) & THE OTHER INFORMATION Privilege begins to exist only after the attorney-client relationship has been
YES. Nature of lawyer-client relationship is premised on the Roman Law Privilege generally pertains to subject matter of relationship
concepts of locatio conductio operarum (contract of lease of services) where one Due process considerations require that the opposing party should, as a
person lets his services and another hires them without reference to the object of
general rule, know his adversary.
which the services are to be performed, wherein lawyers' services may be
compensated by honorarium or for hire, and mandato (contract of agency) wherein a
Exceptions to the gen. rule:
friend on whom reliance could be placed makes a contract in his name, but gives up
Client identity is privileged where a strong probability exists that revealing
all that he gained by the contract to the person who requested him. But the lawyer-
the client's name would implicate that client in the very activity for which he sought
client relationship is more than that of the principal-agent and lessor-lessee
the lawyer's advice.
An attorney is more than a mere agent or servant, because he possesses
special powers of trust and confidence reposed on him by his client. An attorney
Ex-Parte Enzor and U.S. v. Hodge and Zweig: The subject matter of the
occupies a "quasi-judicial office" since he is in fact an officer of the Court & exercises
relationship was so closely related to the issue of the client's identity that the privilege
his judgment in the choice of courses of action to be taken favorable to his client.
actually attached to both.
Thus, in the creation of lawyer-client relationship, there are rules, ethical
Where disclosure would open the client to civil liability, his identity is
conduct and duties that breathe life into it, among those, the fiduciary duty to his client
which is of a very delicate, exacting and confidential character, requiring a very high
Neugass v. Terminal Cab Corp.: couldnt reveal name of his client as this
degree of fidelity and good faith, that is required by reason of necessity and public
would expose the latter to civil litigation.
interest based on the hypothesis that abstinence from seeking legal advice in a good
Matter of Shawmut Mining Company: We feel sure that under such
cause is an evil which is fatal to the administration of justice.
conditions no case has ever gone to the length of compelling an attorney, at the

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instance of a hostile litigant, to disclose not only his retainer, but the nature of the invoked in a case where a client thinks he might have previously committed
transactions to w/c it related, when such information could be made the basis of a suit something illegal and consults his attorney. Whether or not the act for which the client
against his client. sought advice turns out to be illegal, his name cannot be used or disclosed if the
Where the government's lawyers have no case against an attorney's client disclosure leads to evidence, not yet in the hands of the prosecution, which might
unless, by revealing the client's name, the said name would furnish the only link that lead to possible action against him.
would form the chain of testimony necessary to convict an individual of a crime, the The Baird exception, applicable to the instant case, is consonant with the
client's name is privileged. principal policy behind the privilege, i.e., that for the purpose of promoting freedom of
Baird vs. Korner: a lawyer could not be forced to reveal the names of clients consultation of legal advisors by clients, apprehension of compelled disclosure from
who employed him to pay sums of money to govt voluntarily in settlement of attorneys must be eliminated. What is sought to be avoided then is the exploitation of
undetermined income taxes, unsued on, & w/ no govt audit or investigation into that the general rule in what may amount to a fishing expedition by the prosecution.
client's income tax liability pending In fine, the crux of petitioner's objections ultimately hinges on their
Apart from these principal exceptions, there exist other situations which expectation that if the prosecution has a case against their clients, the latter's case
could qualify as exceptions to the general rule: should be built upon evidence painstakingly gathered by them from their own sources
if the content of any client communication to a lawyer is relevant to the and not from compelled testimony requiring them to reveal the name of their clients,
subject matter of the legal problem on which the client seeks legal information which unavoidably reveals much about the nature of the transaction which
assistance may or may not be illegal.
where the nature of the attorney-client relationship has been previously The utmost zeal given by Courts to the protection of the lawyer-client
disclosed & it is the identity w/c is intended to be confidential, the identity of confidentiality privilege and lawyer's loyalty to his client is evident in the duration of
the client has been held to be privileged, since such revelation would the protection, which exists not only during the relationship, but extends even after
otherwise result in disclosure of the entire transaction. the termination of the relationship.
We have no choice but to uphold petitioners' right not to reveal the identity of
Summarizing these exceptions, information relating to the identity of a client may their clients under pain of the breach of fiduciary duty owing to their clients, as the
fall within the ambit of the privilege when the client's name itself has an independent facts of the instant case clearly fall w/in recognized exceptions to the rule that the
significance, such that disclosure would then reveal client confidences. client's name is not privileged information. Otherwise, it would expose the lawyers
Instant case falls under at least 2 exceptions to the general rule. First, themselves to possible litigation by their clients in view of the strict fiduciary
disclosure of the alleged client's name would lead to establish said client's connection responsibility imposed on them in exercise of their duties.
with the very fact in issue of the case, which is privileged information, because the
privilege, as stated earlier, protects the subject matter or the substance (without which IN THE MATTER OF THE COMPLAINT FOR DISBARMENT OF
there would be no attorney-client relationship). ATTORNEY PALANCA:
The link between the alleged criminal offense and the legal advice or legal WILLIAM PFLEIDER VS. ATTORNEY PALANCA
service sought was duly established in the case at bar, by no less than the PCGG
itself as can be seen in the 3 specific conditions laid down by the PCGG which Facts:
constitutes petitioners' ticket to non-prosecution should they accede thereto. Palanca was the legal counsel of Pfleider. Pfleider leased an agricultural
From these conditions, particularly the third, we can readily deduce that the land to Palanca known as Hacienda Asia. Pfleider filed a civil suit against Palanca for
clients indeed consulted the petitioners, in their capacity as lawyers, regarding the rescission of the lease contract for defaulting in rental payments. He also filed this
financial and corporate structure, framework and set-up of the corporations in administrative complaint of gross misconduct against Palanca. Pfleider alleged that in
question. In turn, petitioners gave their professional advice in the form of, among a criminal case for estafa filed against him in which Palanca was his counsel, the
others, the aforementioned deeds of assignment covering their client's shareholdings. latter sought to negotiate the dismissal of the complaint. Pfleider alleged that Palanca
Petitioners have a legitimate fear that identifying their clients would implicate informed him through letters that he had successfully negotiated the dismissal of the
them in the very activity for which legal advice had been sought, i.e., the alleged complaint and that he had deposited P5k with the court.
accumulation of ill-gotten wealth in the aforementioned corporations.
Secondly, under the third main exception, revelation of the client's name Issue:
would obviously provide the necessary link for the prosecution to build its case, where W/N Palanca was guilty of gross misconduct?
none otherwise exists. W/N the filing of the civil suit for the rescission of the lease contract
While the privilege may not be invoked for illegal purposes such as in a case terminated the attorney-client relationship?
where a client takes on the services of an attorney, for illicit purposes, it may be
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Palanca was not guilty of gross misconduct. The letters relied upon by imported cars, shark loans and other shady deals and that he was also involved in
Pfleider did not show that Palanca stated that he had successfully negotiated the bribery cases.
dismissal of the criminal complaint against Pfleider. Genato claimed that Atty. Silapan was guilty of breaking their confidential
The civil suit for rescission terminated the attorney-client relationship. While lawyer-client relationship.
the object of the suit was the rescission of the lease contract, the conflict of interest
became incompatible with the mutual confidence and trust essential to every Issue:
attorney-client relationship. Was Atty. Silapan guilty of the breach?
MERCADO V. ATTY. VITRIOLO No. While Canon 17 provides that a lawyer shall be mindful of the trust and
confidence reposed on him, especially with privileged communication the protection
Facts: is only limited to communications which are legitimately and properly within the scope
Atty. Vitriolo was the counsel of Mercado in a case for annulment of marriage of a lawful employment of a lawyer. It does not extend to those made in contemplation
filed by the latters husband. Vitriolo filed a criminal action for falsification of public of a crime or perpetration of a fraud. Thus, here, the attorney-client privilege does not
documents against Mercado alleging that the latter made false entries in the attach, there being no professional employment in the strictest sense.
certificates of live birth of her children which were presented in the annulment case. However, the disclosures were not indispensable to protect Atty. Silapans
Mercado filed this complaint alleging that due to the criminal case filed against her by rights as they were not pertinent to the case. It was improper for him to disclose those
Vitriolo, information relating to her civil case for annulment was divulged. Hence, information as they were not the subject matter of litigation at hand. His professional
Vitriolo breached the privilege and confidence reposed within a lawyer-client competence and legal advice were not being attacked in the said case. A lawyer must
relationship. Mercado prayed the Vitriolo be disbarred. conduct himself with integrity.
He is therefore suspended for 6 months.
W/N Vitriolo violated the rule on privileged communication between attorney HADJULA V. ATTY MADIANDA
and client when he filed a criminal case against his former client?
Held: Hadjula claimed that she asked legal advice from her friend, Atty. Madianda.
SC provided the factors which are essential to establish the existence of the She disclosed confidential information during that period. However, after the
communication privilege between an attorney and his client. confidential information was given by Hadjula, Atty. Madianda referred her to another
There exists an attorney-client relationship, or a prospective attorney-client lawyer.
relationship, and it is by reason of this relationship that the client made the Hadjula filed a complaint against Atty. Madianda because of this, claiming
communication. the lawyer just wanted to hear her secrets. In answering the complaint, Atty.
The client made the communication in confidence. Madianda filed a counter complaint against Hadjula for falsification of public
The legal advice must be sought from the attorney in his professional documents and immorality using the disclosures as basis for the charges.
capacity. Issue: What is to become of Atty. Madianda?
SC ruled that in applying all there rules, the evidence on record fails to
substantiate Mercados allegations. Mercado did not even specify the alleged Held:
communication. all her claims were couched in general terms and lacked specificity. Reprimanded.
The moment complainant approached the then receptive respondent to seek
GENATO V. ATTY SILAPAN legal advice, a veritable lawyer-client relationship evolved between the two. Atty.
Madianda should have kept the information secret and confidential, under the
Facts: attorney-client privilege rule.
Atty. Silapan was leasing office space in Genatos building. Atty. Silapan However, the seriousness of the respondents offense notwithstanding, the
handled some of Genatos cases. After a while, Atty. Silapan borrowed money from Court feels that there is room for compassion, absent compelling evidence that she
Genato to buy a car. Atty. Silapan bought the car, and issued a postdated check to (Atty. Madianda) acted with ill-will. It appears that she was actuated by the urge to
Genato. The check was dishonored. retaliate without perhaps realizing that in the process of giving bent to a negative
Genato filed a case against Atty. Silapan under BP 22. In his defense, he sentiment, she was violating the rule of confidentiality.
alleged that Genato was in the business of buying an selling deficiency taxed

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Justice Hofilena

PALM V. ATTY. ILEDAN 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
Palm is the president of Comtech, which hired Atty. Iledan as its retained CANON 22
counsel. She filed a case of disbarment against Atty. Iledan for breach of the attorney-
client privilege and conflict of interests. WACK WACK GOLF V. CA, PETRONILO ARCANGEL AND ANTONINO
The basis of the claim of breach occurred during a meeting. Atty. Iledan BERNARDO
claimed that the stockholders meeting cannot take place via teleconferencing
because they have yet to amend the by-laws of the corporation to allow such mode of Facts:
communications. Palm claims this was a breach of the attorney-client privilege of Wack-wack was in a labor case against Arcangel. During the pendency of
confidentiality. the case, Wack-wack wanted to change their counsel from Balcoff, Poblador and
The basis of the conflict of interests stemmed from Atty. Iledan being the Cruz to the Law Office of Juan Chudian.
counsel of Soledad who was filed with an estafa case by Comtech. During the hearing, neither Wack-wack nor their original counsels showed
up, so Arcangel was allowed to present his evidence without Wack-wack. The court
awarded judgment to Arcangel. The law firm of Chuidian then filed a petition to set
Issue: aside the judgment on the ground of misunderstanding. This petition was denied by
Was Atty. Iledan guilty of breach? How about conflict of interests? the lower court. Wack-wack assails the denial of the petition.
It has to be taken note of that the court did not know of the change of
Held: counsel because Chudian only entered his appearance after the judgment was
No. Although the information about the necessity to amend the corporate by- rendered against Wack-wack.
laws may have been given to respondent, it could not be considered a confidential
information. The amendment, repeal or adoption of new by-laws may be effected by Issue:
the board of directors or trustees, by a majority vote thereof, and the owners of at Was the trial court correct in denying the petition to set aside the judgment?
least a majority of the outstanding capital stock, or at least a majority of members of a
non-stock corporation.It means the stockholders are aware of the proposed Held:
amendments to the by-laws. Further, whenever any amendment or adoption of new Yes. As such counsel of record, Balcoff, Poblador and Cruz must have
by-laws is made, copies of the amendments or the new by-laws are filed with the known that, its impending relief as counself for the defendant notwithstanding, it is still
Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and attached to the original articles of under obligation to protect the clients interest until its final release from the
incorporation and by-laws.The documents are public records and could not be professional relationship with such client. The court could recognize no other
considered confidential. representation on behalf of the client except such counsel of record until a formal
It is settled that the mere relation of attorney and client does not raise a substitution of attorney is effected.
presumption of confidentiality. The client must intend the communication to be Any agreement or arrangement such counsel of record and its client may
confidential. Since the proposed amendments must be approved by at least a reach regarding the presentation of the clients case in court is purely their private
majority of the stockholders, and copies of the amended by-laws must be filed with concern. Proceedings in court cannot be made to depend on them.
the SEC, the information could not have been intended to be confidential. Thus, the
disclosure made by respondent during the stockholders meeting could not be VENTEREZ V. ATTY COSME
considered a violation of his clients secrets and confidence within the contemplation
of Canon 21 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. Facts:
The Court also finds no conflict of interest when respondent represented Venterez and friends hired Atty. Cosme as counsel for a land title dispute.
Soledad in a case filed by Comtech. The case where respondent represents Soledad The court rule against Venterez and friends. They wanted to file a motion for
is an Estafa case filed by Comtech against its former officer. There was nothing in reconsideration but Atty. Cosme failed or refused to do so. Because of this, Venterez
the records that would show that respondent used against Comtech any was constrained to contract another lawyer to prepare the MR.
confidential information acquired while he was still Comtechs retained Atty. Cosme claims that the son of one of the complainants informed him
counsel. Further, respondent made the representation after the termination of his that he was withdrawing the case from him because he (the son) already engaged
retainer agreement with Comtech. A lawyers immutable duty to a former client does another lawyer to take over the case. Atty. Cosme explained that he even turned over
not cover transactions that occurred beyond the lawyers employment with the client. the records of the case to the son and thus, ceased to be counsel any longer.
The intent of the law is to impose upon the lawyer the duty to protect the clients
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Issue: Atty argues that he had decided to withdraw as counsel. He wrote a letter to
Is Atty. Cosme guilty of culpable negligence in handling the case? one of the complainants giving them instructinos to sign and file with the Court the
Notice to Withdraw. But the complainant didnt file it with the court because they were
Held: aware that it would be difficult to find another counsel.
Yes. Once a lawyer agrees to take up the cause of a client, he owes fidelity
to such cause and must be mindful of the trust and confidence reposed on him. An Issue:
attornery who undertakes an action impliedly stipulates to carry it to its termination Is Atty guilty of negligence in handling the case?
that is, until the case becomes final and executory. Any dereliction of duty affects the
client. Held:
The Court cannot accept Atty. Cosmes defense that he had already Yes! 3 month suspension. Atty should have filed the notice of withdrawal
withdrawn from the case. A lawyer may retire at any time with the written consent of himself if he truly wanted to withdraw. At the very least, he should have informed the
his client fileed in court and with a copy thereof served upon the adverse party. court. For failure to do so, Atty was negligent. Atty was also negligent in filing the
Should the client refuse to give his consent, the lawyer must file an application with petition out of time. eventually he would have known that the petition was denied but
the court. The application must be based on a good case. still he failed to informe the convicts and return their calls.
What constitutes good cause? See Rule 22.01, Canon 22. One of the fundamental rules of ethics is the principle that an attorney who
There was no proper revocation in this case. He is suspended for 3 months. undertakes to conduct an action impliedly stipulates to carry it to its conclusion. He is
not at liberty to abandon it without reasonable cause. A lawyers right to withdraw from
SANTECO V. ATTY. AVANCE a case before its final adjudication arises only from the clients written consent or from
a good cause.
Facts: After agreeing to take up the cause of a client, a lawyer owes fidelity to both
Santeco got Atty. Avance to handle a case for her in a civil suit. She paid her cause and client, even if the client never paid any fee for the attorney-client
P12,000 as acceptance money. Losing in the first instance, Atty. Avance made relationship. Lawyering is not a business; it is a profession in which duty of public
representations that she was going to file a petition for certiorari with the CA. service, not money, is the primary consideration.
She didnt.
She also didnt appear during scheduled hearings, causing the case to get METROPOLITAN BANK V. CA
dismissed for failure to prosecute.
Issue: Atty. handled several cases from 1974 to 1983 concerning the declaration of
Is Atty. Avance grossly remiss in the performance of her duties? nullity of certain deeds of sale. Pending resolution in the RTC, Atty filed a motion to
enter his charging lien equal to 25% of the market value of the litigated properties as
Held: atty fees. The court granted and the attys lien was annotated on the TCTs. The
Yes. Aggravating her gross negligence in the performance of her duties, she cases were later dismissed with prejudice at the instance of the plaintiffs therein. Thus
abruptly stopped appearing as complainants counsel even as proceedings were still the Bank now had the TCTs in its name and the attys lien was carried over.
pending with neither a withdrawal nor an explanation for doing so. This violated Atty. filed a motion to fix his Atty Fees based on quantum meruit. RTC
Canon 22. granted the motion and fixed the fees at 936K. CA affirmed.
Suspended for 5 years.
FRANCISCO VS. PORTUGAL Is Atty. entitled to a charging lien? Is a separate suit necessary for
enforcement of the lien?
Atty was counsel for complainants in a criminal case. Atty was retained After Held:
judgment was rendered convicting appellants. Atty filed an MR and another Motion Yes! Yes! CA reversed without prejudice to proper to the bringing of proper
and Petition for review of the judgment of conviction. But after the filing, Atty proceedings. A charging lien, to be enforceable as security for the payment of
disappeared and was nowhere to be found. attorney's fees, requires as a condition sine qua non a judgment for money and
Later, the complainants found out that their petitions were denied for being execution in pursuance of such judgment secured in the main action by the attorney
filed out of time and for failure to pay the docket fees. The decision became final and in favor of his client. A lawyer may enforce his right to fees by filing the necessary
warrants of arrest were issued.
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Justice Hofilena

petition as an incident in the main action in which his services were rendered when based on the national and not the provincial wage rate. Thus, petitioner insists that
something is due his client in the action from which the fee is to be paid. the respondents should be made liable for the difference.
Here, there was no money judgment. Thus there is no charging lien. And Attys act in withdrawing the case against the employees and agreeing to
court has no authority to fix a charging lien. settle their dispute may be considered a waiver of his right to the lien.
A petition for recovery of attorney's fees, either as a separate civil suit or as Even if there was such a breach of the contract, he had waived his right to
an incident in the main action, has to be prosecuted and the allegations therein claim against the respondents by accepting payment and/or absolving from liability
established as any other money claim. those who were primarily liable to him.



Heirs of Doronilla had a dispute with their counsel over his Atty Lien. The
RTC declared that Counsel was entitled to 10% of the shares of the heirs. Facts:
Counsel filed a motion to annotate attorney's lien on the title of parcels of Atty. convinced his clients to appeal a case from the POEA to the SC. Atty
land of the estate which the heirs had inherited. The RTC granted the motion. asked from complainants $2.5K which he said were to be used for payment of docket
fees and that the court could take cognizance of the case. Later, complainant
Issue: corporation came to know that the fees to be paid to the SC consisted only of nominal
Is the order of annotation proper? fees for such kind of appeal. Atty in order to cover up presented complainant a fake
xerox copy of an alleged Supreme Court receipt representing payment of $2.5K.
Held: A criminal case was filed for estafa. Atty was acquitted but was held civilly liable for
No! An attorney's lien does not extend to land which is the subject matter of $2.5K.
the litigation.
SESBRENO V. CA Should Atty be disbarred? Should the case be dismissed because of his
Atty was hired as counsel by some workers. They agreed that Atty would Held:
take 30% of whatever they may recover. The trial court ordered reinstatement and Yes disbarred! No, complaint shouldnt be dismissed. Administrative cases
payment of backwages. The employer appealed the decision. against lawyers belong to a class of their own. They are distinct from and they may
Pending appeal, the workers entered into a compromise agreement that they proceed independently of civil and criminal cases. The burden of proof is clearly
waived their right to be reinstated with the agreement of payment of full backwages at preponderant evidence.
once. The court adopted the compromise and ordered the withholding of the payment A finding of guilt in a criminal case or liability in a civil case will not
of 55% for the lien of the Atty. But instead of withholding, the employer directly paid necessarily result in a finding of liability in the administrative case and vice versa.
the workers in full. Thus Atty filed a complaint for collection against the employer and Neither will a favorable disposition in the civil action absolve the administrative liability
employees. of the lawyer. The basic premise is that criminal and civil cases are altogether
Atty. moved to dismiss the case against the employees. different from administrative matters, such that the disposition in the first two will not
Later the trial court ordered payment of 669K by the employee. The CA reversed. inevitably govern the third and vice versa. Disciplinary proceedings against lawyers
are sui generis
Issue: Respondent's acts are more despicable. Not only did he misappropriate the
Is the employer liable for the Attys fees? money entrusted to him; he also faked a reason to cajole his client to part with his
money. Worse, he had the gall to falsify an official receipt of this Court to cover up his
Held: misdeeds. Clearly, he does not deserve to continue being a member of the bar.
No! CA affirmed. Atty rightly commenced the action against both his clients
and the judgment debtors. However, at the instance of the petitioner himself, the SANTOS V. LLAMAS
complaint against his clients was withdrawn on the ground that he had settled his
differences with them. He maintained the case against employers because, Facts:
according to him, the computation of the employees money claims should have been
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Justice Hofilena

This is a complaint for misrepresentation and non-payment of bar CANON 7 - A LAWYER SHALL AT ALL TIMES UPHOLD THE INTEGRITY
membership dues filed against respondent Atty. Francisco R. Llamas. AND DIGNITY OF THE LEGAL PROFESSION, AND SUPPORT THE ACTIVITIES OF
In a letter-complaint to this Court dated February 8, 1997, complainant THE INTEGRATED BAR. Esmso
Soliman M. Santos, Jr., himself a member of the bar, alleged that: CANON 10 - A LAWYER OWES CANDOR, FAIRNESS AND GOOD FAITH
On my oath as an attorney, I wish to bring to your attention and appropriate TO THE COURT.
sanction the matter of Atty. Francisco R. Llamas who, for a number of years now, has Rule 10.01 - A lawyer shall not do any falsehood, nor consent to the doing of
not indicated the proper PTR and IBP O.R. Nos. and data (date & place of issuance) any court; nor shall he mislead or allow the court to be misled by any artifice.
in his pleadings Respondents failure to pay his IBP dues and his misrepresentation in the
This matter is being brought in the context of Rule 138, Section 1 which pleadings he filed in court indeed merit the most severe penalty. However, in view of
qualifies that only a duly admitted member of the bar "who is in good and regular respondents advanced age, his express willingness to pay his dues and plea for a
standing, is entitled to practice law". There is also Rule 139-A, Section 10 which more temperate application of the law, we believe the penalty of one year suspension
provides that "default in the payment of annual dues for six months shall warrant from the practice of law or until he has paid his IBP dues, whichever is later, is
suspension of membership in the Integrated Bar, and default in such payment for one appropriate.
year shall be a ground for the removal of the name of the delinquent member from the
W/N counsel is guilty of misrepresentation? YES FACTS:
W/N he is exempt from paying his dues? YES Atty Arevalo wrote a letter in Sept 2004, asking to be exempted from
payment of IBP duties amounting to P12,035 (unpaid duties from 1977-2005). Atty
Held: Arevalo was admitted to the Bar in 1961. He was with the Philippine Civil Service
Rule 139-A provides: from 1962 to 1986. After that, he migrated and worked in the USA until 2003. His
Sec. 9. Membership dues. - Every member of the Integrated Bar shall pay main contention was that he cannot be assessed IBP dues for the above amount
such annual dues as the Board of Governors shall determine with the approval of the because he was working with the Civil Service then, and the Civil Service Law
Supreme Court. A fixed sum equivalent to ten percent (10%) of the collections from prohibits the practice of ones profession while in government service. He also
each Chapter shall be set aside as a Welfare Fund for disabled members of the contends that he cannot be assessed for the years he was working in the USA.
Chapter and the compulsory heirs of deceased members thereof. IBP commented on the letter saying that the IBP membership is NOT based
Sec. 10. Effect of non-payment of dues. - Subject to the provisions of on the actual practice of law. Once a lawyer passes the Bar, he continues to be a
Section 12 of this Rule, default in the payment of annual dues for six months shall member of the IBP, and one of his obligations as member is the payment of annual
warrant suspension of membership in the Integrated Bar, and default in such payment dues. The validity of such dues has been upheld by the SC in saying that it is
for one year shall be a ground for the removal of the name of the delinquent member necessary to defray the cost of the Integrated Bar Program and no one is exempted
from the Roll of Attorneys. from paying the dues. What was allowed was the voluntary termination and
In accordance with these provisions, respondent can engage in the practice reinstatement later on of membership. If membership is terminated, dues wouldnt be
of law only by paying his dues, and it does not matter that his practice is "limited." assessed.
While it is true that R.A. No. 7432, 4 grants senior citizens "exemption from the Basically, the main contention of Atty. Arevalo is that the IBPs policy of Non-
payment of individual income taxes: provided, that their annual taxable income does Exemption in payment of annual membership dues is invalid because it would be
not exceed the poverty level as determined by the National Economic and oppressive for one who has been in an inactive status and is without income derived
Development Authority (NEDA) for that year," the exemption does not include from his law practice. Also, it is a deprivation of property right without due process.
payment of membership or association dues.
Second. By indicating "IBP-Rizal 259060" in his pleadings and thereby ISSUE:
misrepresenting to the public and the courts that he had paid his IBP dues to the W/N Atty. Arevalo is entitled to exemption from payment of his dues during
Rizal Chapter, respondent is guilty of violating the Code of Professional Responsibility the time he was inactive in the practice of law, when he was in the Civil Service and
which provides: abroad?
Rule 1.01 - A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or
deceitful conduct. HELD/RATIO:
NO. Integration of the Bar is essentially a process by which every member of
the Bar is afforded an opportunity to do his shares in carrying out the objectives of the
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Bar as well as obliged to bear his portion of its responsibilities. Organized by or under
the direction of the State, an Integrated Bar is an official national body of which all FACTS:
lawyers are required to be members. They are, therefore, subject to all the rules This is a disbarment case filed by Barrientos against Atty Daarol, on grounds
prescribed for the governance of the Bar, including the requirement of payment of a of deceit and grossly immoral conduct.
reasonable annual fee for the effective discharge of the purposes of the Bar. Barrientos first knew Daarlo in 1969. She was a college student, single. Atty.
Bar integration does not compel the lawyer to associate with anyone. The Daarol went to her house because he was a friend of her sister, hence they also
only compulsion to which he is subjected is the payment of his annual dues. The became friends. She knew Daarol to be a single and as a General Manager of
public interest promoted by the integration of the Bar far outweighs the slight ZANECO (electic cooperative).
inconvenience to a member resulting from his required payment of the annual dues. On June 1973, Daarol went to Barrientos house and asked her to be one of
Thus, payment of dues is a necessary consequence of membership in the the usherettes in the Masons convention so the latter said he should ask for the
IBP, of which no one is exempt. This means that the compulsory nature of payment of permission of her parents. They consented and so she served as an usherette,
dues subsists for as long as ones membership in the IBP remains regardless of the Daarol picking her up and taking her home everyday.
lack of practice of, or the type of practice, the member is engaged in. In July 1973, Daarol came to petitioners house and invited her for a joy ride,
There is nothing in the law or rules which allows exemption from payment of with the permission of her mother (who was Daarols former classmate). They went
membership dues. At most, as correctly observed by the IBP, he could have informed to the beach and Daarol proposed his love for Barrientos and told her that if she
the Secretary of the Integrated Bar of his intention to stay abroad before he left. In would accept him, he would marry her within 6 months from her acceptance. After a
such case, his membership in the IBP could have been terminated and his obligation few days of courting, she accepted the offer of love. Visitations continued and they
to pay dues could have been discontinued. agreed to get married in Dec 1973.
In Aug 1973, he took Barrientos to a party and when they left, he took her for
VDA. DE BARRERA V. LAPUT a joy ride to an airport in Sicayab where there were no houses around. There, he
Gross Misconduct as ground for discipline of lawyer pressured her into having sexual intercourse reiterating that he loved her, and that he
(Lawyer suspended for intimidating his client to sign papers by placing his revolver on would marry her and that December was very near anyway they would marry soon.
his lap when she refused to do so) She gave in after much hesitation because she loved him. She cried after the deed.
This event happened frequently thereafter during August to October 1973,
Facts: where she consented because she loved him. Eventually, she became pregnant and
Respondent Atty. Laput represented petitioner Vda. de Barrera (Mrs. informed Daarol. He however suggested that she have the baby aborted. She
Barrera) in the estate proceedings of her late husband. Laput presented to her refused. He told her that she didnt have to worry because they were getting married
several papers or pleadings for her signature. However, Mrs. Barrera refused to sign soon anyway.
the pleadings but requested Laput to leave them so that she may ask somebody to In late October 1973, Daarol came to see Barrientos and her mother and
translate the same for her (she was from Cebu). Laput got angry and drew his told them that he could not marry her because he was already married. He reassured
revolver from its holster and placed it on his lap to intimidate the 72-year-old woman them though that he has been separated from his wife for 16 years and that he would
into signing the papers. Mrs. Barrera was compelled to sign them, but is now before work for the annulment of his marriage and subsequently marry her. So Barrientos
the court seeking the disbarment of Laput. waited and delivered the baby but eventually wasnt able to contact Daarol anymore
(he went MIA).
W/N Laput should be disbarred for gross misconduct ISSUE:
W/N Daarol should be disbarred for grossly immoral conduct.
Yes. The acts are inherently improper and censurable, more so considering HELD/RATIO:
that they were performed by a man dealing with a 72-year-old woman. The offense is YES. The fact of his previous marriage was disclosed by respondent only
compounded by the circumstance that, being a member of the BAR, the offender after the complainant became pregnant. Even then, respondent misrepresented
should have set an example of a man of peace and champion of the Rule of Law. himself as being eligible to re-marry for having been estranged from his wife for 16
Worse still is the fact that the offended party is the very person whom the offender years and dangled a marriage proposal on the assurance that he would work for the
had pledged to defend and protect his client. He was suspended from the practice annulment of his first marriage. It was a deception after all as it turned out that
of law for 1 year. respondent never bothered to annul said marriage.
Respondent resorted to deceit in the satisfaction of his sexual desires at the
VICTORIA BARRIENTOS V. TRANSFIGURACION DAAROL expense of the gullible complainant. He is perverted. He says that: "I see nothing
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Justice Hofilena

wrong with this relationship despite my being married." Worse, he even suggested from the profession of law persons whose disregard for their oath of office have
abortion. proved them unfit to continue discharging the trust reposed in them as members of
Finally, respondent even had the temerity to allege that he is a Moslem the bar.
convert and as such, could enter into multiple marriages and has inquired into the In disbarment proceedings, the burden of proof rests upon the complainant,
possibility of marrying complainant. As records indicate, however, his claim of having and for the court to exercise its disciplinary powers, the case against the respondent
embraced the Islam religion is not supported by any evidence save that of his self- must be established by clear, convincing and satisfactory proof. Considering the
serving testimony. serious consequence of the disbarment or suspension of a member of the Bar, this
By his acts of deceit and immoral tendencies to appease his sexual desires, Court has consistently held that clear preponderant evidence is necessary to justify
respondent Daarol has amply demonstrated his moral delinquency. Hence, his the imposition of the administrative penalty.
removal for conduct unbecoming a member of the Bar on the grounds of deceit and Complainants evidence consists solely of her Affidavit-Complaint and
grossly immoral conduct is in order. testimony before the Commission attesting to the truth of the allegations laid down in
her affidavit. The act of respondent in not filing his answer and ignoring the hearings
FELICITAS BERBANO V. ATTY. WENCESLAO BARCELONA set by the Investigating Commission, despite due notice, emphasized his contempt
for legal proceedings.
FACTS: Respondent collected money from the complainant and the nephew of the
This is a disbarment case filed by Berbano against Atty. Barcelona for detained person in the total amount of P64,000.00 for the immediate release of the
Malpractice and Gross Misconduct Unbecoming of a Lawyer, Dereliction of Duty and detainee through his alleged connection with a Justice of the Supreme Court. He
Unjust Enrichment. deserves to be disbarred from the practice of law. Respondent has demonstrated a
Berbano was one of the heirs of a certain Hilapo, who owned a lot in penchant for misrepresenting to clients that he has the proper connections to secure
Alabang. Said lot was being claimed by FIlinvest Development Corp so Berbano and the relief they seek, and thereafter, ask for money, which will allegedly be given to
her co-heirs appointed a certain Mr. Daen as attorney-in-fact. However, Mr. Dane was such connections. In this case, respondent misrepresented to complainant that he
arrested in Jan 1999 and was detained so he needed the assistance of a law for his could get the release of Mr. Porfirio Daen through his connection with a Supreme
release. Someone recommended Atty. Barcelona to them. So later that month, Atty. Court Justice. In so doing, respondent placed the Court in dishonor and public
Barcelona went to see Mr. Daen in jail. The latter engaged the services of Atty. contempt. He is disbarred.
Barcelona for his release. Atty. Barcelona told them that they (Berbano and Co.) had
to produce P50,000 at that time so that he could secure Daens release the following HILDA D. TABAS V. ATTY. BONIFACIO B. MANGIBIN
day. Berbano didnt have enough money and time to immediately come up with such
big amount but they were able to come up with P15,700. She handed Atty. Barcelona FACTS:
the money. He said that he would go to the SC to talk to someone regarding the This is a disbarment case filed by Tabas against Atty. Mangibin for allegedly
release of Daen, and that they should just meet tomorrow. having committed forgery.
The day after, they met again. Berbano handed over another check worth Tabas claims that in March 2001, a certain Galvan mortgaged to her a piece
P24,000. The day after, they gave another P10,000 to Atty. Barcelona (through his of real property to secure a P48,000 loan. The deed of the REM was registered and
wife and daughter). There were other payments of money, the total amounting to annotated. On October 2001 however, a certain Castillejos, falsely representing
P64,000. After much time wasted, and promises reiterated of the release of Daen, herself as Tabas, appeared before Atty. Mangibin and asked him to prepare a
Atty. Barcelona wasnt seen again and he didnt return their calls. Daen was still in jail. discharge of the said mortgage and then notarize it afterwards.
Atty. Barcelona failed to file an answer. Commissioner on Bar Discipline Atty. Mangibin prepared the said discharge but he didnt ask Castillejos for
found Barcelona guilty of malpractice and serious breach of CPR. He recommended any other document other that a Community Tax Certificate. He later on notarized the
disbarment and return of the P64,000. IBP Board of Governots adopted such findings said deed. Subsequently, the mortgagor Galvan was able to mortgage the same
but recommended only suspension. property again with Rural Bank of Nauilian. When Tabas learned of the cancellation,
she promptly informed Atty. Mangibin that her signature in the deed was forged.
ISSUE: However, he did not help her.
W/N Atty. Barcelona should be disbarred. Atty. Mangibin admits of the discharge deed but denies liability for the
falsification under a claim of good faith. He says he did not know of Castillejos
HELD/RATIO: fraudulent intent and so, he cannot be faulted. He claims it is beyond the realm of his
Yes. The object of a disbarment proceeding is not so much to punish the futy to investigate the identity of persons appearing before him. And that as a matter
individual attorney himself, as to safeguard the administration of justice by protecting of routine, he only requires the CTCs of persons appearing before him.
the court and the public from the misconduct of officers of the court, and to remove
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IBP recommended to give respondent merely a warning, to be more careful was payment of the lawyers fees pending determination of such amount. However,
in the preparation of legal documents so that such situations may me avoided in the instead of complying with the court order directing partial payment, the province of
future. Bar Confidant however recommended suspension. He was found guilty of Cebu directly paid the camineros the full amount of their adjudicated claims.
gross negligence. Sesbreno now sues for Damages and Attorneys Fees against respondents
ISSUE: W/N Atty. Mangibin is liable for violating the Notarial Law and should be and his former clients. RTC ruled in favor of Sesbreno. The court further upheld the
suspended from the practice of law. petitioners status as a quasi-party considering that he had a registered charging
lien. CA reversed.
Yes, suspended for 2 years. ISSUE:
A notarial document is, by law, entitled to full faith and credit upon its face. W/N Atty. Sesbreno is entitled to Damages for breach of contract.
Courts, administrative agencies, and the public at large must be able to rely upon the
acknowledgment executed by a notary public and appended to a private instrument. HELD/RATIO:
For this reason, notaries public must observe with utmost care the basic requirements NO. The compromise agreement had been validly entered into by the
in the performance of their duties. Otherwise, the confidence of the public in the respondents and the camineros and the same became the basis of the judgment
integrity of public instruments would be undermined. A notary public should not rendered by this Court.
notarize a document unless the person who signed the same is the very same person Petitioners claim for attorneys fees was evidenced by an agreement for
who executed and personally appeared before him to attest to the contents and truth attorneys fees voluntarily executed by the camineros where the latter agreed to pay
of matters stated in the document. The purpose of this requirement is to enable the the former thirty (30%) percent of whatever back salaries, damages, etc. that they
notary public to verify the genuineness of the signature of the acknowledging party might recover in the mandamus and other cases that they were filing or have filed.
and to ascertain that the document is the party's free act and deed. Clearly, no fixed amount was specifically provided for in their contract nor was a
The circumstances in this case indubitably show that respondent did not specified rate agreed upon on how the money claims were to be computed. The use
take even ordinary precautions required in the premises. Respondents conduct of the word whatever shows that the basis for the computation would be the amount
showed serious lack of due care in the performance of his duties as a notary public. that the court would award in favor of the camineros. Considering that the parties
Because of his carelessness, respondent failed to notice the glaring difference in the agreed to a compromise, the payment would have to be based on the amount agreed
signature of mortgagee in the deed of real estate mortgage from her purported upon by them in the compromise agreement approved by the court.
signature in the questioned discharge of real estate mortgage. Hence, he breached To insure payment of his professional fees and reimbursement of his lawful
Canon I of the Code of Professional Responsibility, which requires lawyers to promote disbursements in keeping with his dignity as an officer of the court, the law creates in
respect for the law and legal processes as well as to uphold the Constitution and favor of a lawyer a lien, not only upon the funds, documents and papers of his client
obey the laws of the land. which have lawfully come into his possession until what is due him has been paid, but
also a lien upon all judgments for the payment of money and executions issued
SESBRENO V. COURT OF APPEALS pursuant to such judgments rendered in the case wherein his services have been
retained by the client.
FACTS: A charging lien is an equitable right to have the fees and costs due to the
On January 26, 1970, Mrs. Rosario Sen and other camineros hired the lawyer for services in a suit secured to him out of the judgment or recovery in that
petitioner to prosecute their cases. They had undertaken an an agreement wherein it particular suit. It is based on the natural equity that the plaintiff should not be allowed
was stated that Sesbreno will get 30% of whatever back salaries, damages, etc. they to appropriate the whole of a judgment in his favor without paying thereout for the
may recover. Atty. Sesbreno registered his charhing/retaining lien on the Agreement. services of his attorney in obtaining such judgment.
The camineros he was representing obtained a favorable judgment. RTC Lawyering is not a moneymaking venture and lawyers are not merchants.
ordered that they be reinstate with back salaries, with privileges and adjustments. The Law advocacy is not capital that yields profits. The returns it births are simple
respondent to that case DPWH appealed to the SC where Sesbreno still represented rewards for a job done or service rendered. It is a calling that, unlike mercantile
the camineros. Later on, the Governor of Cebu proposed a compromise settlement of pursuits which enjoy a greater deal of freedom from governmental interference, is
the cases. The parties signed a Compromise Agreement wherein it is stated that impressed with a public interest, for which it is subject to state regulation.
camineros will be paid full back wages. Also states that the camineros are subject to Considering that petitioners claim of higher attorneys fees is baseless and
lawyers charging and retaining liens as registered in the lower court. considering further that he had settled his case as against his former clients, SC did
Sespreno was not the counsel anymore after finality of judgment adopting not sustain his right to damages for breach of contract. The attendant circumstances,
the compromise agreement. The camineros moved for execution however, only 45% in fact, show that the camineros acknowledged their liability to the petitioner and they
of the amount due them was released because the court retained the 55%, holding it willingly fulfilled their obligation. It would be contrary to human nature for the
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petitioner to have acceded to the withdrawal of the case against them, without certification that no preliminary investigation was conducted because accused did not
receiving the agreed attorneys fees. sign a waiver of the provisions of Art.125 of the RPC. Counsel of accused however
later filed a motion for release and proper preliminary investigation. After the case
NEW CODE OF JUDICIAL CONDUCT was raffled to the RTC, Judge Pelayo initially allowed the release of accused on a
cash bond and issued an order granting the leave to conduct preliminary
CANON 1 investigation. Later on however, Pelayo motu proprio issued an order recalling the
granting of bail and proceeded to trial. Accused and his counsel continuously
LIBARIOS V. DABALOS opposed this.
(Gross ignorance of the law; close association)
Facts: (Note: What is related to ethics is actually found in the concurring opinion of
Judge Dabalos without conducting any hearing directed the issuance of a Justice Gutierrez)
warrant of arrest against accused and at the same time fixed the bail for accused I am at a loss for reasons why an experienced Judge should insist on
Calo and Allocod. proceeding to trial in a sensational murder case without a preliminary investigation
despite vigorous and continued objection and reservation of rights of the accused and
Held: notwithstanding the recommendation of the prosecutor that said rights be respected
Judge Dabalos is fined with a warning. I agree with Justice Isagani Cruz that the trial court has apparently been moved by a
It has been an established legal principle or rule that in cases where a desire to cater to public opinion to the detriment of the impartial administration of
person is accused of a capital offense, the trial court must conduct a hearing in a justice. Mass media has its duty to fearlessly but faithfully inform the public about
summary proceeding to prove that the evidence of guilt against the accused is strong, events and persons. However, when a case has received wide and sensational
before resolving the issue of bail for the temporary release of the accused. publicity, the trial court should be doubly careful not only to be fair and impartial but
Irrespective of respondent judge's opinion that the evidence of guilt against herein also to give the appearance of complete objectivity in its handling of the case.
accused is not strong, the law and settled jurisprudence demanded that a hearing be
conducted before bail was fixed. Respondent judge's disregard of an established rule SABITSANA V. VILLAMOR
of law by depriving the prosecution of the opportunity to prove that the evidence of
guilt against the accused was strong, amounted to gross ignorance of the law, which Facts:
is subject to disciplinary action. It was discovered that there were 87 cases undecided by respondent judge
Considering that respondent judge had a close association with respondent beyond the 90-day reglementary period. The dismal state of the Courthouse of the
Calo, Jr. as a former employee of the said accused, prudence and regard for his respondent judge which was described as bereft of any dignity as a court of law has
position as judge demanded that he should have refrained from fixing the bail of said been noted. Judge Villamor however shifts the blame on his clerk of court, Atty.
accused and from concluding that the evidence against him was merely Jocobo who he claims was inefficient in the management of the court records.
"circumstantial", in order to avoid any doubt as to his judicial impartiality. Respondent Also, in the case of theft by Lipango, Villamor designated Judge Pitao as
judge should have waited for the raffle of the case and allowed the judge to whom the acting judge of the MCTC. Villamor warned Pitao to acquit Lipango because the case
case was actually raffled to resolve the issue of fixing the bail of said accused, if he was being backed up by someone powerful. He did this by sending a letter to Pitao
was bailable. A judge should not only render a just, correct and impartial decision but through Lipangos wife. However, Pitao still convicted Lipango because the evidence
should do so in a manner as to be free from any suspicion as to his fairness, of guilt was strong. When Pitao was away for some conference, he found out that
impartiality and integrity. Villamor revoked his designation and appointed another as judge of the MCTC. And
finally, when the case was elevated to the RTC where Villamor was assigned he
GO V. COURT OF APPEALS acquitted Lipango.

Facts: Held:
Accused presented himself before the police to verify reports that he was Villamor violated Canon3 and Canon2
being hunted by the police. He was thereafter detained. The prosecutor then informed A judge sits not only to Judge litigated cases with the least possible delay
accused of his right to preliminary investigation but that he must first sign a waiver of but that his responsibilities include being an effective manager of the Court and its
the provision of Art.125 of the RPC. Accused refused to execute such waiver. The personnel. Canon 3, Rule 3.08, of the Code of Judicial Conduct, provides: A judge
prosecutor filed an information for murder with no recommended bail and a should diligently discharge administrative responsibilities, maintain professional
competence in court management, and facilitate the performance of the
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administrative functions of other judges and court personnel. Also, under Rule 3.09 is Note: Ill skip the facts because its exhaustingly long and complicated (recall: Kenjies
that: A judge should organize and supervise the court personnel to ensure the 40page case. Haha. Note, there are actually a lot of respondents but only Villon is
prompt and efficient dispatch of business, and require at all times the observance of related to us). Basically, there was denial of due process.
high standards of public service and fidelity.
Cardinal is the rule that a Judge should avoid impropriety and the Judge Villon --- Acting with deliberate dispatch, set the date of arraignment without
appearance of impropriety in all activities. The Canons mince no words in mandating even perusing the records (otherwise he wouldve known among others, that there
that a Judge shall refrain from influencing in any manner the outcome of litigation or was a motion to defer proceedings because of an appeal pending in the DOG, there
dispute pending before another Court (Canon 2, Rule 2.04). Interference by members was an order giving petitioners 10days to file a petition with the CA, the filing of such
of the bench in-pending suits with the end in view of influencing the course or the petition, order of the CA directing respondent accused to comment on the petition to
result of litigation does not only subvert the independence of the judiciary but also show cause why the application for a write of preliminary injunction should not be
undermines the people's faith in its integrity and impartiality grantedetc.,).
All the foregoing demanded from any impartial mind a cautious attitude as
TAN V. ROSETE these were unmistakable indicia of the probability of a miscarriage of justice should
arraignment be precipitately held. While it may be true that he was not bound to await
Facts: the DOJ's resolution of the appeal his judicial instinct should have led him to peruse
Before the cases were decided, respondent judge allegedly sent a member the documents to initially determine if indeed murder was the offense committed; or,
of his staff to talk to complainant. The staff member told complainant Tan that Judge he could have directed the private prosecutor to secure a resolution on the appeal
Rosete was asking for P150,000.00 in exchange for the non-dismissal of the cases. within a specified time. Given the totality of circumstances, judge Villon should not
She was shown copies of respondent judges decision in the criminal cases, both still have merely acquiesced to the findings of the public prosecutor.
unsigned, dismissing the complaints against the accused. She was told that IMPORTANT: The judge "should always be imbued with a high sense of duty
respondent judge would reverse the disposition of the cases as soon as she remits and responsibility in the discharge of his obligation to promptly and properly
the amount demanded. Complainant, however, did not accede to respondents administer justice." He must view himself as a priest, for the administration of justice
demand because she believed that she had a very strong case, well supported by is akin to a religious crusade. Thus, exerting the same devotion as a priest "in the
evidence. The criminal cases were eventually dismissed by respondent judge. performance of the most sacred ceremonies of religious liturgy," the judge must
render service with impartiality commensurate with the public trust and confidence
Held: reposed in him. Although the determination of a criminal case before a judge lies
We have repeatedly admonished our judges to adhere to the highest tenets within his exclusive jurisdiction and competence, his discretion is not unfettered, but
of judicial conduct. They must be the embodiment of competence, integrity and rather must be exercised within reasonable confines. The judge's action must not
independence. The exacting standards of conduct demanded from judges are impair the substantial rights of the accused, nor the right of the State and offended
designed to promote public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary party to due process of law.
because the peoples confidence in the judicial system is founded not only on the
magnitude of legal knowledge and the diligence of the members of the bench, but CANON 2
also on the highest standard of integrity and moral uprightness they are expected to
possess. When the judge himself becomes the transgressor of any law which he is FERNANDEZ V. HAMOY
sworn to apply, he places his office in disrepute, encourages disrespect for the law
and impairs public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary itself. It Facts:
is therefore paramount that a judges personal behavior both in the performance of Despite the lapse of more than 10years, respondent judge failed to render
his duties and his daily life, be free from any appearance of impropriety as to be judgment in the case were complainant was counsel to plaintiff. After Hamoy was
beyond reproach. transferred, complainant learned he brought the records of the case to his new
Respondents act of sending a member of his staff to talk with complainant station. Hamoys excuse was that his utility aid mixed the records up and because the
and show copies of his draft decisions, and his act of meeting with litigants outside dockets were congested with so many family-cases his court being the only family
the office premises beyond office hours violate the standard of judicial conduct court in the area. He also failed to comply with the directives of the OCA. Also, he
required to be observed by members of the Bench. They constitute gross misconduct was able to collect his salary when he claimed in his certification that he had no
which is punishable under Rule 140 of the Revised Rules of Court pending cases.


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Respondent Judge cannot be absolved from liability for the inefficiency of his In the present case, the Court found totally unacceptable the temerity of the
court personnel. Judges are charged with the administrative responsibility of respondent judge in subjecting herein complainants, his subordinates all, to his
organizing and supervising his court personnel to secure the prompt and efficient unwelcome sexual advances and acts of lasciviousness. Not only do the actions of
dispatch of business, requiring at all times the observance of high standards of public respondent judge fall short of the exacting standards for members of the judiciary;
service and fidelity. they stand no chance of satisfying the standards of decency even of society at large.
More importantly, judges have a duty to decide their cases within the His severely abusive and outrageous acts, which are an affront to women,
reglementary period. On meritorious grounds, they may ask for additional time. It unmistakably constitute sexual harassment because they necessarily ". . . result in an
must be stressed, however, that their application for extension must be filed before intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment for the employees. Let it be
the expiration of the prescribed period. Upon his transfer to another post, respondent remembered that respondent has moral ascendancy and authority over complainants,
Judge should have asked the permission of the Court Administrator to bring the who are mere employees of the court of which he is an officer. The Court concludes
records of the cases to his new assignment or should have apprised the parties of his with moral certainty that he acted beyond the bounds of decency, morality and
action with respect thereto. propriety and violated the Code of Judicial Conduct. The bench is not a place for
Furthermore, respondent Judge should be held liable for his failure to obey persons like him. His gross misconduct warrants his removal from office.
directives from this Court and the Court Administrator. Needless to say, judges should
respect the orders and decisions of higher tribunals, much more so this Court from IN RE JUDGE MARCOS
which all other courts should take their bearings
In the Judiciary, moral integrity is more than a cardinal virtue, it is a Facts:
necessity. Respondent Judge must bear in mind that the exacting standards of Two complaints were filed by Romeo T. Zacarias and a concerned citizen of
conduct demanded of judges are designed to promote public confidence in the Gerona, Tarlac. These Complaints identically charged Judge Martonino R. Marcos
integrity and impartiality of the judiciary. (Formerly of the Municipal Trial Court in Cities, Branch 2, Tarlac City) and Clerk of
A judge who fails to decide cases within the prescribed period but collects Court Shirley M. Visaya (of the 5th Municipal Circuit Trial Court of Gerona, Tarlac) with
his salary upon a false certificate is guilty of dishonesty amounting to gross immoral conduct and illegal solicitation from litigants. Zacarias alleged that, on two
misconduct and deserves the condemnation of all right thinking men. In view of the occasions, Judge Marcos and Visaya tried to extort money from him in exchange for
primordial role of judges in the administration of justice, only those with irreproachable a favorable decision in a criminal case against Zacarias and for his provisional
integrity and probity must be entrusted with judicial powers. release. He further alleged that upon some inquiries, he was informed that the
respondent Judge does not approve bailbonds without bribe money and that the
DAWA V. DE ASA respondents are engaged in an illicit love affair which is common knowledge to
municipal and court personnel and as well as to the people of Gerona.
Presiding judge Armando de Asa was charged with sexual harassment Issue:
and/or acts of lasciviousness by Floride Dawa, Femenina Lazaro-Barreto and Noraliz Whether respondents violated the Code of Judicial Conduct
Jorgensen. Dawa and Barreto were employed as stenographic reporters while
Jorgensen was a casual employee in the Office of the Mayor of Caloocan City and
detailed to the Office of the Clerk of Court. They charged de Asa for allegedly forcing
himself on them and kissing them on the lips.
The Code of Judicial Conduct mandates that a magistrate should avoid
impropriety and the appearance of impropriety in all activities and should be the
Issue: embodiment of competence, integrity and independence. Since appearance and
Whether de Asa violated Canon 2 of the Code of Judicial Ethics reality fuse in the performance of judicial functions, the judge -- like Caesars wife --
must not only be pure, but also be beyond suspicion. the actions of respondent judge
Ruling. were not free from all appearances of impropriety. His conduct lacked the meticulous
Yes. care expected of one ever mindful of the image of the judiciary that one portrays. It is
Canon 2 provides that a judge should avoid impropriety and the appearance the kind of behavior for which he must be administratively dealt with, as it erodes
of impropriety in all activities. He should behave at all times as to promote public public confidence in the judicial system.
confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary. It is therefore paramount As to respondent clerk, we find that she was equally remiss in the
that a judge's personal behavior, both in the performance of his duties and in his daily performance of her duties. By her own admission, she required complainant to post
life, be free from the appearance of impropriety as to be beyond reproach. the cash bond, even though she had not been instructed to do so by respondent

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judge. She thereby arrogated judicial power unto herself. The determination of was an offshoot of a case for estafa filed by Sibayan-Joaquin for and in behalf of
whether to require a cash bond, like the approval of bail or the release of the Andersons Group, Inc., against Romeo Tan before the San Carlos City
accused, is purely a judicial function. It was certainly not among the mandated duties RTC. Complainant averred that there was an undue delay in the rendition of judgment
of respondent clerk. It has been stressed that the conduct and behavior of everyone in the criminal case, the decision, that had acquitted the accused Romeo Tan, having
charged with the dispensation of justice is circumscribed by the trust and confidence been rendered only on the tenth month after the case was submitted for decision.
reposed in a public office. The image of a court of justice is necessarily mirrored in the Respondent judge was also cited for impropriety by complainant because he was
conduct, official or otherwise, of the men and women who work therein, from the often seen with Attorney Vic Agravante, counsel for the accused, whose vehicle
judge to the lowliest clerk. respondent judge would even use at times.


Whether Judge Javellana violated Canon 2 of the Code of Judicial Ethics
Dr. Amparo A. Lachica, the Municipal Health Officer of Jose Abad Santos,
Davao del Sur, charged the respondent, Judge Rolando A. Flordeliza of the Municipal
Circuit Trial Court of Jose Abad Santos-Sarangani, Davao del Sur, with abuse of
The Investigating Justice has seen impropriety on the part of respondent
judicial position and intimidation, for allegedly compelling her to sign a death
judge in his close association with a counsel for a litigant.
certificate even though she was not the attending physician. According to Lachica,
The Court shares the view and disquisition of the Honorable
during a party, Judge Flordeliza, who was drunk at that time, threatened to file an
Justice. Judges, indeed, should be extra prudent in associating with litigants and
administrative case against her if she will refuse to sign the death certificate.
counsel appearing before them so as to avoid even a mere perception of possible
bias or partiality. It is not expected, of course, that judges should live in retirement or
Issue: seclusion from any social intercourse. Indeed, it may be desirable, for instance, that
Whether respondent-judge is guilty as charged of abuse of judicial position they continue, time and work commitments permitting, to relate to members of the bar
and intimidation amounting to violation of the Code of Judicial Conduct in worthwhile endeavors and in such fields of interest, in general, as are in keeping
with the noble aims and objectives of the legal profession. In pending or prospective
Ruling: litigations before them, however, judges should be scrupulously careful to avoid
Yes. A judges official conduct should be free from the appearance of anything that may tend to awaken the suspicion that their personal, social or sundry
impropriety, and his personal behavior, not only upon the bench and in the relations could influence their objectivity, for not only must judges possess proficiency
performance of judicial duties, but also in his everyday life, should be beyond in law but that also they must act and behave in such manner that would assure, with
reproach. great comfort, litigants and their counsel of the judges' competence, integrity and
From all the foregoing, as well as the evidence on record, this Court is independence. The respondent was ADMONISHED to constantly be circumspect in
convinced that the charge of misconduct against the respondent judge has been his conduct and dealings with lawyers who have pending cases before him.
established by substantial evidence, which is the quantum of proof required in
administrative cases. His undue interest in having complainant sign the Death SAMSON V. CABALLERO
Certificate is highly questionable, to say the least. Further, his inebriated demeanor
and incoherent behavior during the festivities, as attested to by a witness is Facts:
reprehensible in a judge and should be subjected to disciplinary action. Respondent This is an administrative complaint for dishonesty and falsification of a public
was FINED in the amount of TEN THOUSAND (P10,000.00) PESOS, with a stern document against respondent Judge Virgilio G. Caballero. Complainant Olga M.
warning that a repetition of the same or similar acts in the future will be dealt with Samson alleged that respondent Judge Virgilio G. Caballero should not have been
more severely. appointed to the judiciary for lack of the constitutional qualifications of proven
competence, integrity, probity and independence, and for violating the Rules of the
SIBAYAN-JOAQUIN V. JAVELLANA Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) which disqualifies from nomination any applicant for
judgeship with a pending administrative case.
Facts: According to the complainant, respondent, during his JBC interviews,
Eliezer A. Sibayan-Joaquin charged Judge Roberto S. Javellana, acting deliberately concealed the fact that he had pending administrative charges against
presiding judge of the RTC of San Carlos City, Branch 57, with grave misconduct in him. She disclosed that, on behalf of Community Rural Bank of Guimba (Nueva
the performance of official duties, graft and gross ignorance of the law. The complaint Ecija), Inc., she had filed criminal and administrative charges for grave abuse of

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authority, conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service and violation of Article situated in Barrio Namuco, Rosario, Batangas. As payment for respondents services,
208 of the Revised Penal Code against respondent in the Office of the Ombudsman petitioner agreed to give him 1 subdivision lot at Villa Luz Subdivision and pay him
on July 23, 2003. P9,200.00 in cash. After the completion of respondents work, petitioners paid him
At that time a public prosecutor, respondent allegedly committed certain P9,200.00 in installments and delivered to him possession of the lot. However,
improprieties and exceeded his powers by overruling the Secretary of Justice in a despite respondents demands, petitioners failed to deliver the title of the lot,
reinvestigation he conducted. prompting him to file with the RTC a complaint for specific performance and
damages. The trial court issued an order dismissing the complaint for improper
Issue: venue. Respondent then filed a motion for reconsideration with motion for inhibition
Whether respondent violated the Code of Judicial Ethics alleging partiality on the part of the presiding judge Hon. Pedro T. Santiago. CA
denied the motion for inhibition.
Yes. Since membership in the bar is an integral qualification for membership
Whether the CA erred in denying the motion for inhibition
in the bench, the moral fitness of a judge also reflects his moral fitness as a lawyer. A
judge who disobeys the basic rules of judicial conduct also violates his oath as a
lawyer. In this particular case, respondents dishonest act was against the lawyers
No. Suffice it to state that whether judges should inhibit themselves from a
oath to do no falsehood, nor consent to the doing of any in court.
case rests on their own "sound discretion." Otherwise stated, inhibition partakes of
It cannot be denied that respondents dishonesty did not only affect the
voluntariness on the part of the judges themselves. This Court has to be shown acts
image of the judiciary, it also put his moral character in serious doubt and rendered
or conduct of the judge clearly indicative of arbitrariness or prejudice before the latter
him unfit to continue in the practice of law. Possession of good moral character is not
can be branded the stigma of being biased or partial. In a catena of cases, we held
only a prerequisite to admission to the bar but also a continuing requirement to the
that "bias and prejudice, to be considered valid reasons for the voluntary inhibition of
practice of law. If the practice of law is to remain an honorable profession and attain
judges, must be proved with clear and convincing evidence. Bare allegations of
its basic ideals, those counted within its ranks should not only master its tenets and
partiality and prejudgment will not suffice. These cannot be presumed, especially if
principles but should also accord continuing fidelity to them. The requirement of good
weighed against the sacred obligation of judges whose oaths of office require them to
moral character is of much greater import, as far as the general public is concerned,
administer justice without respect to person and to do equal right to the poor and the
than the possession of legal learning. The first step towards the successful
rich." Here, petitioners merely alleged the arbitrary issuance of a temporary
implementation of the Courts relentless drive to purge the judiciary of morally unfit
restraining order without however showing bias or prejudice on the part of the trial
members, officials and personnel necessitates the imposition of a rigid set of rules of
judge. In fact, the Court of Appeals held that "such error of the respondent judge does
conduct on judges. The Court is extraordinarily strict with judges because, being the
not necessarily warrant his inhibition in the case."
visible representation of the law, they should set a good example to the bench, bar
and students of the law. The standard of integrity imposed on them is and should be
higher than that of the average person for it is their integrity that gives them the right
to judge.
Respondent was DISBARRED for violation of Canons 1 and 11 and Rules
Challenged here in an original petition for certiorari and/or prohibition is the
1.01 and 10.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility and his
right of respondent judge of the Court of First Instance of Ilocos Sur (Branch IV) to sit
name STRICKEN from the Roll of Attorneys.
in judgment in cases where petitioner, a practicing attorney, appears as counsel.
Petitioner's misgivings stem from the fact that he is complainant in an
administrative case he himself lodged in this Court on May 12, 1967, against
respondent judge upon averments of "serious misconduct, inefficiency in office,
partiality, ignorance of the law and incompetence."
Petitioner moved in the court below to have respondent judge disqualify
Facts: himself from sitting in Civil Case 21-C, Criminal Cases 4898 and C-5, and Election
Leonardo P. Dimaculangan, respondent, filed with the Regional Trial Court a Case 2470 aforesaid. He there prayed that the records of those cases be transferred
complaint for specific performance against Dimo Realty & Development, Inc. (Dimo to another sala.
Realty) and spouses Gregorio and Luz Mojares Dizon, petitioners. The complaint Respondent judge rejected the foregoing motion. He stood his ground with
alleges that sometime in 1967 to 1968, petitioners engaged the services of the statement that the administrative complaint against him is no cause for
respondent as geodetic surveyor to subdivide (into subdivision lots) 2 parcels of land disqualification under the Rules of Court
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Justice Hofilena

Dr. Montemayor filed with the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) the
Issue: instant Administrative Complaint charging Judge Bermejo with gross incompetence
Is a judge disqualified from acting in litigations in which counsel of record for and inefficiency, gross negligence, gross ignorance of the law, gross misconduct,
one of the parties is his adversary in an administrative case said counsel lodged and/or conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service.
against him? NO. Moreover, Judge Bermejo did not resolve the three Motions for Execution and two
Motions to Require Defendants Counsel to Inform the Court the Date He Received a
Held: Copy of the Judgment.
Rule 126 [of the old Rules] enumerates the grounds for disqualification of a Dr. Montemayor also avers that Judge Bermejo prevented the transmittal of
judge upon being challenged and under which he should disqualify himself. The rule, the records of the case to the appellate court within 15 days from the perfection of the
however, has never been interpreted to prohibit a judge from voluntarily inhibiting appeal in violation of Section 6, Rule 40 of the Rules of Court. According to him, it
himself, in the absence of any challenge by either party, due to his close blood was only after the respondent Judge received the defendants supersedeas bond that
relationship with counsel for one of said parties. Considering the spirit of the Rule, it the former issued the Order dated May 5, 2003 directing the Branch Clerk of Court to
would seem that cases of voluntary inhibition, based on good, sound and/or ethical transmit the records of the case to the appellate court.
grounds, is a matter of discretion on the part of the judge and the official who is The respondent Judge maintains that he is not liable for delay in the
empowered to act upon the request for such inhibition. rendition of judgment. In essence, he argues that since the Order deeming the case
The exercise of sound discretion mentioned in the rule has reference submitted for resolution was issued on September 23, 2002, the rendition of judgment
exclusively to a situation where a judge disqualifies himself, not when he goes on October 10, 2002 was made within the mandatory 30-day period.
forward with the case.7 For, the permissive authority given a judge in the second
paragraph of Section 1, Rule 137, is only in the matter of disqualification, not Issue:
otherwise. Better stated yet, when a judge does not inhibit himself, and he is not Is the respondent judge guilty of delaying rendition of judgment and violating
legally disqualified by the first paragraph of Section 1, Rule 137, the rule remains as it the Code of Judicial Ethics? YES.
has been he has to continue with the case.
A judge cannot be disqualified by a litigant or his lawyer for grounds other than those Held:
specified in the first paragraph of Section 1, Rule 137. The reckoning point from which the mandatory period for rendition of
This is not to say that all avenues of relief are closed to a party properly judgment should be computed is the receipt of the last affidavits and position papers
aggrieved. If a litigant is denied a fair and impartial trial, induced by the judge's bias or of the parties, or the expiration of the period for filing the same, as provided by the
prejudice, we will not hesitate to order a new trial, if necessary, in the interest of Rules, not from the issuance of the order by the judge deeming the case submitted
justice. for resolution. The reckoning point is fixed by law, not by the judge. A judge cannot by
Efforts to attain fair, just and impartial trial and decision, have a natural and himself choose to prolong the period for deciding cases beyond that authorized by the
alluring appeal. But, we are not licensed to indulge in unjustified assumptions, or law.
make a speculative approach to this ideal. It ill behooves this Court to tar and feather The records do not reveal when the parties received Judge Bermejos Order
a judge as biased or prejudiced, simply because counsel for a party litigant happens requiring them to submit their respective affidavits and position papers. Assuming,
to complain against him. To disqualify or not to disqualify himself then, as far as however, that the court received the defendants Position Paper on August 14, 2002,
respondent judge is concerned, is a matter of conscience. as respondent Judge claims, judgment should have been rendered on September 13,
In the end we are persuaded to say that since respondent judge is not 2002. Instead, the decision was dated October 10, 2002, or nearly a month after the
legally under obligation to disqualify himself, we may not, on certiorari or prohibition, lapse of the mandatory period for rendition of judgment and almost two months from
prevent him from sitting, trying and rendering judgment in the cases herein mentioned the receipt of the defendants Position Paper. Plainly, Judge Bermejo is guilty of delay
and, thus, administratively liable.
MONTEMAYOR V. BERMEJO Rule 1.02 of the Code of Judicial Conduct requires judges to administer
(The RULING portion is kind of lengthy because I think the refutation of the Court for justice without delay. Rule 3.05 of the same Code admonishes all judges to dispose
every misconduct alleged is important. ) of the courts business promptly and decide cases within the required periods. The
failure to decide a case within the required period is not excusable, constitutes gross
Facts: inefficiency and is a ground for the imposition of administrative sanctions against the
Dr. Montemayor asserts that the respondent Judge failed to decide the case defaulting judge.
within the period provided under Section 11, Rule 70 of the 1997 Rules of Civil The respondent Judge, however, can only offer feeble excuses for his
Procedure (Rules of Court). inaction on the plaintiffs Motions for Execution. He claims that the first Motion for
Execution prayed that hearing be set on a date that was not a motion day. Judge
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Justice Hofilena

Bermejo forgets that while the Rules of Court requires all motions to be scheduled for appearance of impartiality. Thus, under Canon 2 of the Code of Judicial Conduct, a
hearing on Friday afternoons, or if Friday is a non-working day, in the afternoon of the judge should avoid impropriety and appearance of impropriety in all activities.
next working day, the same Rules provides an exception for motions requiring Specifically, under Rule 2.01 of the Code, a judge should so behave at all times as to
immediate action. Perhaps, as a judgment in favor of the plaintiffs in an unlawful promote public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary. The
detainer case is immediately executory, the plaintiffs believed that their motion came appearance of bias or prejudice can be as damaging to public confidence and the
under the exception. However, if the respondent Judge did not share this view, he administration of justice as actual bias or prejudice.
could have simply set the motion for hearing on the next motion day. Instead, he ACCORDINGLY, the Court finds respondent Judge Juan O. Bermejo, Jr. of
untenably ignored the motion. delay in the rendition of judgment in violation of Rules 1.02 and 3.05 of the Code of
Judge Bermejo also rationalizes his failure to act on the motion on the Judicial Conduct for which he is fined the amount of P5,000.00. Respondent Judge is
ground that there was no proof yet that the defendants counsel had received notice also declared guilty of impropriety in violation of Canon 2 of said Code and is fined
of the Judgment. the amount of P10,000.00.
The plaintiffs filed their first Motion for Execution almost two months later on
December 12, 2002. The fact that the registry receipts of the service of judgment had OKTUBRE V. VELASCO
not yet returned at this point would have been cause for apprehension for any
responsible judge. Yet Judge Bermejo has not conveyed any semblance of anxiety. FACTS:
He did not inquire from, nor inform, the Clerk of Court about the absence of the Oktubre is the administrator of Paler Building, owned by Peggy DArcy.
receipts two months after copies of the Judgment were sent to the parties. Instead, he DArcy is the aunt-in-law of Judge Velasco.
found the lack of registry receipts a convenient reason for tarrying on the motion. Shortly after Velascos appointment to the MTC of Maasin, he asked DArcy
These circumstances may lead a sophisticated mind to conclude one of two if he could reside at the Paler Building. He was initially allowed by DArcy however
things. when he sought an extension to stay thereat he was denied by DArcy. Nevertheless,
One, the registry receipts are indeed missing from the records but Judge Judge Velasco was able to stay in the building albeit in another room.
Bermejo is denying it to cover up such loss. This conclusion is buttressed by the odd Judge Velasco then sent letters to the tenants of the building declaring that
fact that, despite the seriousness of Dr. Montemayors allegations, the respondent he was the lawful owner of the building and all rentals should be deposited by them at
Judge has not offered in these administrative proceedings any evidence of the his office in the MTC. He also sent a strongly worded letter using the MTCs
existence of the registry receipts. An obvious disregard of keeping records is letterhead to DArcy asserting possession over the building.
evidence of incompetence and lack of professionalism. Judge Velasco caused the removal of the buildings service jeep from its
A judge is charged with exercising extra care in ensuring that the records of garage. DArcy then instructed Oktubre to replace the vehicle in the building and to
the cases and official documents in his custody are intact. There is no justification for take measures to ensure that the removal would not be repeated. Oktubre
missing records save fortuitous events. successfully replaced the vehicle and removed one of its wheels and put it inside the
Two, Judge Bermejo is suppressing proof of the registry return receipts, in computer room of the building.
which case, he is not only guilty of dragging his feet in the resolution of the motions Thereafter, Judge Velasco caused the destruction and replacement of the
but, worse, bias in favor of the defendant. padlock to Oktubres room and the access gate to the third floor of the building.
Other circumstances support the theory of bias. Judge Bermejo provides a Oktubre then filed a complaint against the judge in the Punong Baranggay.
flimsy justification for his inaction on Dr. Montemayors Second Motion for Execution. Conciliation proceedings failed.
According to the respondent Judge, the court was undertaking its semestral inventory After the hearing, Oktubre was asked by a police officer to come with him to
when the motion was filed. Even if the Court were to admit the adequacy of this the station at the chiefs request. Upon arrival, he was confronted with an arrest
obvious pretext, Judge Bermejo, at the very least, should have set the motion for warrant signed under authority by Judge Velasco in connection with the alleged
hearing on the next motion day after the inventory. But again, he disregarded the robbery of the jeepneys wheel and he was put behind bars pursuant thereto.
second motion. After obtaining his release he was again filed suit for malicious mischief and
Next, under Section 19, Rule 70, supra, in case the defendant does not file falsification of documents again by Judge Velasco. All the complaints were supported
any supersedeas bond or did not make any monthly deposit, the plaintiff would be by the sole affidavit of Judge Velasco which he prosecuted using his Office.
entitled as a matter of right to the immediate execution of the inferior courts
judgment. In such a case the execution is mandatory. ISSUE:
However, by countenancing, permitting, and even creating the many delays Whether or not Judge Velasco is guilty of grave misconduct, grave abuse of
in obvious disregard of the letter and the spirit of the Rules of Court and the Rule on authority and gross ignorance of the law.
Summary Procedure, Judge Bermejo has put in question his partiality. It bears
reminding him that a judge must at all times not only be impartial but maintain the RULING:
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Justice Hofilena

It appears that an impostor succeeded in selling property lawfully titled in

Respondent Judge is Liable for Grave Misconduct and Grave Abuse of anothers name by misrepresenting himself as the latter. The lower court ruled in
Authority. favor of the original owner and nullified the deed of sale in favor of the buyer who
Note Canon 2, Rule 2.03 of Code of Judicial Conduct and Rule 3.12 of the claims to be a purchaser in good faith. CA affirmed.
same code. For inappropriately using his Offices letterhead and for acting on his own []
criminal complaints against complainant and DArcy, respondent Judge violated these Hence, this petition for review where Juan C. Sandoval prays for the reversal
rules. Thus, he is liable for grave misconduct [and grave abuse of authority. of the Court of Appeals decision. Two issues are presented for resolution. First,
On Respondent Judges failure to Recuse Himself from His Criminal petitioner contends that he was denied due process when the ponente of the decision
Complaints. Note the principle that no judge should preside in a case in which he is in the Court of Appeals, Justice Luis Victor, did not inhibit himself from the case
not wholly free, disinterested, impartial and independent. A Judge should not handle a inasmuch as he was, for a time, the presiding judge in the court a quo trying the
case in which he might be perceived to be susceptible to bias and partiality. The rule case. Second, petitioner maintains that he is an innocent purchaser for value who
is intended to preserve the peoples faith and confidence in the courts of justice. should not be held accountable for the fraud committed against private respondent
True, a judge should possess proficiency in law so that he can competently construe Tan, Jr.
and enforce the law. However, it is more important that he should act and behave in
such a manner that the parties before him have confidence in his impartiality. Indeed, Issue:
even conduct that gives rise to the mere appearance of partiality is proscribed. Whether or not the Justice who penned the assailed decision in the Court of
Here, although he is the complainant in the three criminal complaints, Appeals should have inhibited himself from taking part in the case.
respondent Judge did not disqualify himself from the cases. Worse, he even issued a
warrant of arrest in Criminal Case No. 5485, resulting in the arrest and detention of Held:
complainant. By doing so, respondent Judge violated Rule 3.12 and, by implication In every instance the judge shall indicate the legal reason for inhibition.
Section 1 of Rule 137, which covers the preliminary stages of criminal prosecution. To A judges conduct should be above reproach and in the discharge of his
be sure, the situation in this case does not fall under any of the instances enumerated judicial duties he should be conscientious, studious, thorough, courteous, patient,
in Rule 3.12. Nevertheless, as the provision itself states, such enumeration is not punctual, just, impartial, fearless of public clamour, and regardless of private influence
exclusive. More importantly, paragraph (d) prohibits a judge from sitting in a case should administer justice according to law and should deal with the patronage of the
where he is related to a party or to counsel within the sixth and fourth degree of position as a public trust; and he should not allow outside matters or his private
consanguinity or affinity, respectively. Thus, there is more reason to prohibit a judge interests to interfere with the prompt and proper performance of his office.
from doing so in cases where he is a party. Indeed, the idea that a judge can preside From the foregoing legal principles, we find no basis for Justice Victor to
over his own case is anathema to the notion of impartiality that such was no longer inhibit himself from deciding the case. To be sure, as trial court judge, he presided
included in the enumeration in Rule 3.12 nor covered by Section 1 of Rule 137. partly over the case below, heard part of plaintiffs evidence and ruled on motions.
Respondent Judges subsequent inhibition from the three cases does not The decision itself, however, was penned by another judge, the Honorable Lucas
detract from his culpability for he should not have taken cognizance of the cases in Bersamin, who took over as presiding judge when then Judge Luis Victor was
the first place. The evil that the rule on disqualification seeks to prevent is the denial promoted. Upon elevation to the Court of Appeals, the case was assigned to Justice
of a party of his right to due process. This became fait accompli when respondent Victor as ponente.
Judge refused to abide by such rule. The principle that approximates the situation obtaining herein is the
WHEREFORE, we find respondent Ramon P. Velasco, Presiding Judge of disqualification of a judge from deciding a case where his ruling in a lower court is
the Municipal Trial Court, Maasin City, Southern Leyte, GUILTY of Grave Misconduct, the subject of review or in which he has presided in any inferior court when his ruling
Gross Ignorance of the Law, and Grave Abuse of Authority for violation of Rule 2.03 or decision is the subject of review. Granted that Justice Victor presided partly over
and Rule 3.12 of the Code of Judicial Conduct. He is DISMISSED from the service the case in the court a quo, his was not the pen that finally rendered the decision
with forfeiture of retirement benefits and with prejudice to reinstatement in any branch therein. Hence, he cannot be said to have been placed in a position where he had to
of the government or any of its agencies or instrumentalities, including government review his own decision as judge in the trial court. Accordingly, he was not legally
owned or controlled corporations. However, he shall receive any accrued leaves due bound to inhibit himself from the case.
him as of this date. Nevertheless, Justice Victor should have been more prudent and
circumspect and declined to take on the case, owing to his earlier involvement in the
SANDOVAL V. CA case. The Court has held that a judge should not handle a case in which he might be
perceived, rightly or wrongly, to be susceptible to bias and partiality, which axiom is
Facts: intended to preserve and promote public confidence in the integrity and respect for
the judiciary. While he is not legally required to decline from taking part in the case, it
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Justice Hofilena

is our considered view that his active participation in the case below constitutes a Complainant alleges that it is the plaintiff in a case pending before the RTC
just or valid reason, under Section 1 of Rule 137 for him to voluntarily inhibit himself presided over by respondent. Respondent issued an Order granting the application
from the case. for writ of preliminary attachment. An urgent motion to discharge and lift writ of
preliminary attachment was filed by defendants before the respondent and on the
THE LAW FIRM OF CHAVEZ V. JUSTICE DICDICAN same day, respondent issued an Order lifting the writ of preliminary attachment. Said
Order was issued sans proper notice and hearing as required by the Rules of Civil
Facts: Procedure. Respondent approved defendants counter-bond despite knowledge that
This is an administrative complaint against Justice Dicdican filed by Ma. the bonding companys Supreme Court Clearance was not valid and the maximum
Asparen, a party to a case involving St. Mary Mazzarello School. In that case, the net retention of the bonding company had a deficiency. At a meeting in his house,
school imposed disciplinary sanctions on Ms. Asparen but the same was lifted by respondent asked Rafael King to match defendants offer to pay P250,000.00 so that
Hon. Elumba, judge of the Trial Court. The respondent justice of the CA issued a the Order of July 5, 2002 will be reconsidered formally if a motion for reconsideration
TRO. is filed by complainant. Respondents favorite hang-out is the karaoke music lounge
So complainant here sought the inhibition of respondent from the case on of Metropolis Hotel owned by herein complainant, and he uses said facilities "gratis et
the ground that the latter had previously represented various religious organizations amore."
during his practice in law and the petitioner in this case is run by a religious
organization. Held:
Respondent denied that such circumstance affected his impartiality in the We agree with the Investigating Justices finding that respondent is guilty of
case but he nevertheless inhibited himself. gross ignorance of the law for not holding a full-blown hearing on the motion to lift
Despite such inhibition, it was still alleged that Justice still appeared as one attachment and for violating the three-day notice rule.
of the signatories of a resolution dated Nov. 21, 2006 of the CA admitting the Respondent acted with indecent haste in immediately holding a hearing on
memorandum of the petitioner school and which deemed the petition as submitted for the motion to lift attachment filed only a few minutes before said hearing, in
resolution. considering the same submitted for resolution, and in issuing the order lifting the writ
Complainant alleged that respondent justices actions showed his manifest of preliminary attachment and approving the counter-bond, all on the same day
bias and prejudice against his client in the case. Respondent Justice however, was without giving complainant the opportunity to be heard on the matter.
able to show that no document was forwarded to him when he inhibited from the It is has been oft repeated that judges cannot be held to account or answer
case. It was also shown that another Justice took over the same. It was also shown criminally, civilly or administratively for an erroneous judgment of decision rendered
that his inclusion as a signatory was a mere mistake by the stenographer as shown by him in good faith, or in the absence of fraud, dishonesty or corruption. However, it
by the letter of apology. has also been held that when the law violated is elementary, a judge is subject to
disciplinary action. The principles of due notice and hearing are so basic that
Held: respondents inability to accord a litigant their right thereto cannot be excused. In this
Complaint was devoid of merit. In administrative proceedings, burden of case, we believe that respondents actuations reek of malice and bad faith. Thus, we
proof is upon complainant. If complainant fails to do so, respondent is under no find respondent guilty of gross ignorance of the law for violating the three-day notice
obligation to prove his defense. rule and failing to give herein complainant due notice and the opportunity to be heard
In the present case, the complainant failed to substantiate his imputations of on the matter
impropriety and partiality against respondent justice. He failed to present any other As to the matter of the approval of the counter-bond, respondent utterly
evidence to prove his charges. failed to exercise due care in examining the supporting papers. The respondent
A partys remedy if prejudiced by the orders of a magistrate lies with the should know the basic requirements before approving a surety bond or a judicial bond
proper reviewing court, not with the office of the court administrator by means of an such as counter-bond.
administrative complaint. When some other judicial means is available, an It is indeed grossly improper for respondent to meet with a litigant at his
administrative complaint is not the appropriate remedy for every act of a judge home and to frequent the karaoke bar owned by such litigant, enjoying the use
deemed aberrant or irregular. thereof for free. Respondent thereby received benefits from a litigant appearing in his
court. Respondents defense that his wife offered to pay but the management of the
CANON 4 karaoke bar did not allow her to do so, is feeble. The testimonies of the waiters at
said bar are quite clear that respondents wife would sign the order slips, but no
J. KING & SONS COMPANY V. JUDGE HONTANOSAS payment was ever given by respondent or his wife. Respondent should have insisted
on paying, especially considering that complainant has a total of three cases pending
Facts: before his court. By entertaining a litigant in his home and receiving benefits given by
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Justice Hofilena

said litigant, respondent miserably failed to live up to the standards of judicial nearly a month, leading Centrum to fear that respondent judge would welsh on her
conduct. undertaking to increase the awards in its favour.
Insistence on personal integrity and honesty as indispensable qualifications On rendering an unjust interlocutory order and gross ignorance of the law,
for judicial office reflect an awareness in the legal profession of the immensity of the the court finds the judges errors in this case to be grossly inexcusable. The judge
damage that can be done to the legal order by judicial corruption. violated certain provisions in the rules of court applicable to ejectment proceedings.

Facts: Judge Rizalina Capco-Umali (petitioner) charged Judge Paulita Acosta-
Petitioner Centrum filed a complaint with the MTCC for ejectment of several Villarante (respondent) with violation of Canon 4.
stores leasing its building (JVLS Building). Centrum bought this property from JVLS The petitioner and other judges made a courtesy call to the Mayor of
Co. Inc., but the tenants refused to pay rent to Centrum (These tenants on the other Mandaluyong and they talked about local allowance of judges. The Mayor noticed the
hand sued JVLS to enforce their right of first option). MTCC ruled for Centrum, disparity in the amounts received (respondent was receiving more, compared to
ordered the tenants to pay rent covering 53 months + interests. petitioner and other judges). So the Mayor ordered that the allowance received by
The tenants appealed this decision to RTC where respondent is the respondent be reverted to the previous rates.
presiding judge. In that appeal, Centrum moved for the execution of the MTCC During the first ever monthly meetingof RTC judges, what happened in the
decision, but respondent refused. The tenants moved for 30 days within which to file courtesy call was reported. Angered, respondent yelled accusations of paninira at the
their supplemental memorandum, which the judge granted, but limited the period to Executive judge (she was there during the courtesy call and was presiding over the
10 days. Centrum urged for the early resolution of the case, but the judge said that meeting). Petitioner, also present at the meeting, felt that she had to rescue the
Centrums motion was already moot and academic, but she wanted to give the executive judge and explained what happened. This time, respondent yelled at
tenants a chance to file their memorandum (meaning a ruling was already made). petitioner, called her sinungaling and told petitioner to stop talking because
The judge on July 13 released the decision in favour of Centrum, but with nakakahiwa boses mo. Petitioner yelled back, matanda ka na, malapit ka na sa
different rental rates (higher, in favour of Centrum). This decision was dated June 15. kamatayan gumagawa ka pa ng ganyan, madadamay pa kami, to which the
In the present administrative case against respondent judge, Centrum respondent answered that she was ready to die any moment because she did no
charged her with 1. Corrupt acts and practices, gross dishonesty, serious misconduct; wrong. Basically, they had a screaming match until they were pacified.
2. Knowingly rendering an unjust interlocutory order; 3. Gross ignorance of the law. Judge Villarante then wrote a Memorandum addressed to Executive Judge
Centrum states that not only were the amounts in the decision substantially of the Mandaluyong RTC, copies of which were furnished to the Justices of the SC,
increased, it also disclosed that it had received a duplicate copy of the decision even JBC, other judges of Mandaluyong, its Congressman, and prosecutor. The memo
before it was promulgated, signed by the respondent. Judge claimed she was suggested that the holding of monthly meeting of judges be suspended, considering
innocent and had no idea how Centrum got a copy. Centrum also alleges that the what transpired. Petitioner filed a complaint for libel based on the memorandum. In
judge unjustly denied its motion for execution. causing the circulation of the memorandum, respondent claimed that it was her
obligation to bring to the attention of concerned officials the personal demeanor of
Held: petitioner that would put the judiciary in public scrutiny and disrespect.
Respondent judge is guilty of serious misconduct and is dismissed from
office. Held:
Although there is no proof of how Centrum obtained a copy of the decision Both judges are fined (11,000 for petitioner, 16,000 for respondent) and
even before its promulgation, the fact is that a copy was obtained by it and this is given a stern warning for having violated Sec 1, Canon 4 of the New Code of Judicial
highly irregular. Since the judge is ultimately responsible for the safekeeping of her Conduct
papers, the burden of accounting is on her. Courts are looked upon by the people with high respect. Misbehavior by
(judge claims that her stenographer was at fault) judges and employees necessarily diminishes their dignity. Any fighting or
This was not merely a simple case of breach of confidentiality, but evidence misunderstanding is a disgraceful occurrence reflecting adversely on the image of the
suggests a scheme to extort money from Centrum. Judiciary. By fighting, respondent judges failed to observe the proper decorum
There was a negotiation between the Judge and Centrum, as admitted by expected of members of the Judiciary. More detestable is the fact that their squabble
the latters counsel. Why Centrum filed this case against the judge appears to be that arose out of a mere allowance coming from the local government.
the decision, although it was completed as of June 15, was not promulgated until after

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Justice Hofilena

The behaviour of both parties was very unbecoming. Judge Capco- secure an authorization to engage in the practice of law only shows that he is aware
Umali failed to live up to the standard of propriety required of judges. While she might of the prohibition.
have been provoked by Judge Acosta-Villarantes referral to her as a liar, she should Moreover, he should not permit the law firm to still carry his name. By
have maintained her composure instead of shouting back at a fellow judge. She allowing the firm to do so, he held himself in public as a lawyer, in violation of the
should have exercised self-restraint instead of reacting in such a very inappropriate rules and norms of judicial ethics.
Judge Acosta-Villarante should also be required to answer for her failure to CONCERNED LAWYERS OF BULACAN V. PRESIDING JUDGE PORNILLOS
observe the basic norm of propriety demanded from a judge. She provoked petitioner (Judge dismissed for borrowing money from lawyers with pending cases before her)
by calling her sinungaling. She should have been more cautious in choosing her
words. She also repeated the uncalled for conduct when she wrote the memorandum Facts:
and caused its circulation. If indeed the memorandum was produced strictly to allow Complainants charged Judge Pornillos for, among others, the violation of the
the parties to cool off and avoid a repetition of the incident, there was no need to Canons of Judicial Conduct for borrowing money from her staff and lawyers in
mention the alleged misbehavior of Judge Capco-Umali during the meeting. The amounts ranging from P500-P5k. The Office of the Court Administrator (OCA) made
memorandum was thus written as a medium for retaliation against Judge Capco- an investigation and found that such attaches no administrative liability (since they
Umali. were already paid or waived by the creditors and were obtained 19 years ago).


W/N Judge Pornillos should be held administratively liable.
Complainant Atty. Binalay filed this administrative case against Judge Lelina, Held:
Jr. for violating Rule 138 of the Rules of Court and Canon 4 of the New Code of Yes. Judge Pornillos was dismissed from the service for gross misconduct
Judicial Conduct (both are with regard to prohibition on judges in the private practice (aggravated by undue delay in rendering decisions and violation of SC rules). Under
of law). the Uniform Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil service, borrowing money by
Respondent judge is preventively suspended for being charged with rape, superior officers from subordinates is a violation punishable by reprimand,
abduction with rape and slight illegal detention. While still under suspension, the suspension, and dismissal from service. At the very least, she should be admonished
judge filed a manifestation for the court to grant him the permission to practice law for dealing with her subordinates in an improper manner.
during the remainder of his preventive suspension, or if such cannot be granted, to More severely prohibited is borrowing money or property from lawyers and
consider him resigned from the judiciary. litigants in case pending before the court (a serious charge under Sec. 8, Rule 140 of
It turned out, however, that even before he filed this manifestation, he had ROC). Under Canon 5 of the Code of Judicial Conduct (the old one), a judge shall
already engaged in the private practice of law representing 2 persons in a criminal refrain from financial and business dealings that tend to reflect adversely on the
case, and one in a civil case, all of which are still pending. All pleadings in those courts impartiality, interfere with the proper performance of judicial activities, or
cases were signed by him, as a partner of the Bartolome Lelina Calimag Densing & increase involvement with lawyers or persons likely to come before the court.
Associates Law Offices.
In the meantime, the office of court administrator directed respondent to LIHAYLIHAY V. JUDGE ALEJANDRO CANDA
desist from engaging in the practice of law pending the courts resolution of his
manifestation. Facts:
In his comment, the judge argues that the prohibition to engage in practice of Petitioner filed a complaint against Judge Canda for the ff. acts:
law applies only to judges who are in the active service and should not cover those Threatening her through text message that she would be in trouble (because he
under suspension. He also said he was forced to practice law due to his thought she was supporting an applicant for sheriff which he opposed)
impoverished life and because of the continuing sufferings of his wife and children. Filing admin. complaints and criminal cases to harass her
Describing her as a GRO, undignified, a whore, disgusting, repulsive,
Held: pakialamera, offensive, etc. (in a letter he wrote to the Executive Judge after he found
Judge is suspended and sternly warned. out she ad him blotted with the police because of the text threat)
By being merely suspended, judge remains to bound by the prohibition to Publishing such remarks in a newspaper
practice law. Ubi lex non distinguit nec nos ditinguire debemos. Law does not make a
distinction between a suspended judge and an active judge. The fact that he tried to Issue:
W/N Judge Canda is guilty of gross misconduct
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Justice Hofilena

Yes. Sec. 2, Canon 4: As a subject of constant public scrutiny, judges must Case 1: Judge Caguioa issued a writ of preliminary injunction against the
accept personal restrictions that might be viewed as burdensome by the ordinary Republic for the implementation of a law5 which required the payment of duties and
citizenin particular, judges shall conduct themselves in a way that is consistent with taxes to importers in the Subic Bay Freeport Zone, who formerly had an exemption to
the dignity of the judicial office. such taxes but was subsequently required by virtue of such law. He also granted
Sec. 6, Canon 4: Judges are entitled to freedom of expression, but in various ex-parte motions for interventions of different but similarly situated
exercising such right, they shall always conduct themselves in a manner as to corporations, and approved an injunction bond of P1M for all the petitioners. These
preserve the dignity of the judicial office. orders were immediately implemented despite the MRs filed by the OSG. The
The acts committed by Judge Canda are unbecoming of a judge, and these Republic filed administrative cases against Caguioa for manifest partiality, gross
subjected the judiciary to embarrassment. He was fined and was given a stern ignorance of the law and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service. This
warning. was acted upon by the OCA and subsequently by the CA, stating that Caguioa
gravely abused his discretion for ordering the issuance of the writ of Preliminary
Case 2: (Almost similar circumstances, different people involved) Judge
Facts: Caguioa issued a writ of preliminary injunction and a TRO, to enjoin a person from
The Supreme Court, en banc, continued its deliberations on the draft of acting as an officer in a Govt agency. The agency filed administrative cases against
Justice Ruben Reyes in 3 consolidated cases (Limkaichong case). Since there was Caguioa for manifest partiality, gross ignorance of the law and conduct prejudicial to
no further objection, the En Banc approved it. Being printed on Gilbert paper, Justice the best interest of the service.
Reyes immediately circulated the ponencia during the same session. However, they Case 3: Caguioa ordered a Writ of Execution, after his order of dismissal of
decided to withhold the promulgation of the Gilbert copy because 9 justices wanted to a case based on prescription. Private Petitioner filed a case for Grave Misconduct
concur only in the result (if the majority concurred only in result, the ponencia would against Caguioa. The CA saw this as invalid, because the Writ should conform to the
have no doctrinal value). They decided to hold oral arguments. dispositive portion of the decision. The Order of dismissal did not adjudicate any
Biraogo, a petitioner in one of the 3 cases, held a press conference and rights of the parties and resolved no other matter except the dismissal of the case.
circulated to the media an undated letter signed by him together with a photocopy of
the unpromulgated ponencia. He insinuated that the Court unlawfully and with The findings of the Investigative Justice of the CA:
improper motives withheld the promulgation of the ponencia. Case 1: Guilty of gross ignorance of the law + conduct prejudicial to the best interest
Since the unauthorized release of the copy infringed on the confidential of the service. Evidence on the Manifest Partiality was insufficient.
deliberations of the SC and constituted contempt of court, the SC directed an Case 2: Same as Case 1.
investigation. The Investigating Committee found that the leak came from Justice Case 3: Guilty of simple misconduct.
Reyes himself. Hence, he must be liable for grave misconduct. Penalty: 1-year suspension + Stern Warning.

Issue: ISSUE/S:
W/N Justice Reyes is liable for gross misconduct W/N Caguioa is guilty of Gross Ignorance of the Law, Conduct Prejudicial to
the Best Interest of the Service and Simple Misconduct.
YES. He is suspended from the practice of law indefinitely. The New Code HELD:
of Judicial Conduct provides that confidential information* acquired by justices and YES! Adopt findings of the CA. Caguioa Dismissed from service + forfeiture
judges in their official capacity shall not be used or disclosed for any other purposes of retirement benefits except leave credits.
not related to their judicial duties.
*Information not yet made public concerning the work of any justice or judge RATIO:
relating to pending cases. Gross Ignorance of the Law
Judge Caguioa issued the Writs of Preliminary Injunction that did not satisfy
CANONS 5 & 6 the legal requisites for its issuance, and which was enforced outside of his territorial
jurisdiction. In the former, the applicants of the Writ showed no clear and
Consolidation of 3 cases against respondent RA 9334
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Justice Hofilena

unmistakable right that was material and substantial as would warrant the issuance of The Constitution mandates that all cases or matters filed before all lower
such Writ, and the of its urgency and necessity. In short, he issued the Writs without courts shall be decided or resolved within 90 days from the time the case is submitted
basis. for decision. Peralta ignored this mandate. Failure to comply within the mandated
The requisites for the issuance of the Writ are basic and elementary, and period constitutes a serious violation of the constitutional right of the parties to a
should have been known by Caguoia. Basic rules should be at the palm of their speedy disposition of their cases.
hands. Where the law is basic, lack of conversance with it, and for transgressing the For more than a year, Peralta failed to resolve several motions the motion
elementary jurisdictional limits of his court, a judge should be administratively liable to dismiss appeal and for issuance of writ of execution as well as the three motions to
for gross ignorance of the law. resolve, and didnt offer any reason or justification on why it took him more than a
year to resolve the motions. He thus violated the New Code of Judicial Conduct which
Not Grave Misconduct requires judges to dispose of the courts business promptly and decide cases within
Even though Caguioa issued the Writs without basis, in this circumstance, it the required periods. A judges failure to resolve motions and incidents within the
only amounts to simple misconduct. For grave misconduct to exist, the judicial act prescribed period of three months as gross inefficiency for it undermines the peoples
complained of should be corrupt, or with evident bad faith. Such conduct was not faith and confidence in the judiciary, lowers its standards and brings it to disrepute.
evident in the case.
FACTS: Baculi, a Provincial Prosecutor, filed an Information against a person-
Sept 13, 2002: Final order of an unlawful detainer case in favor of Dee C. accused for frustrated homicide. Belen, a RTC Judge, directed Baculi to submit
Chuan & Sons Inc. An appeal was filed with Peralta, an RTC Judge. evidence that the notice of preliminary investigation was duly served and received by
March 18, 2003: DCCSI filed a "motion to dismiss appeal and for issuance of such person. After a series of pleadings filed by Baculi, Belen directed the former why
writ of execution" for failure of the appellants to post the required bond and to pay the he should not be cited for tempt of court for making unfounded statements in his
rentals due in accordance with the decision of the MeTC. pleadings. No such reason was given, thus Belen found Baculi guilty of direct
March 21, 2003: Acting on the Motion, Peralta required appellants to file their contempt for making scurrilous (vulgar) and contumacious (rebellious) statements in
comment. one of the latter's Motions, and subsequently for indirect contempt. Baculi moved that
August 11, 2003, October 20, 2003 and December 3, 2003: DCCSI filed a such order be set aside, but was denied by Belen, stating that such Decisions are
motion to resolve. However, despite the lapse of more than one year, respondent final and executory. Therefore, Baculi filed a complaint against Belen, denying the
failed and refused to resolve the pending motions. Complaint thus filed. claims against him, and added that Belen was induced by revenge because it was
When asked by the OCA about the case, Peralta said that it "ha (d) been Baculi who indicted him in a previous libel case against him, and that Belen had a
resolved by (his) Court and the same (was) already for mailing" and attached a copy 'power complex'.
of his order dated May 5, 2004. In his order, he dismissed the appeal for failure of the
appellants to file their memorandum and directed the issuance of a writ of execution ISSUE:
in favor of DCCSI. The OCA, in its report, found Peralta indeed failed to resolve W/N Belen is guilty of gross ignorance of the law for citing Baculi in indirect
several motions for more than a year and showed indifference in his comment and contempt.
recommended that he be held liable for inefficiency in the performance of his official
duties and fined in the amount of P11, 000. HELD:
YES! Suspended for 6 months + Stern warning.
W/N Peralta is liable for inefficiency and undue delay in rendering a decision RATIO:
or order. Gross Ignorance of the Law
Indirect contempt is any improper conduct tending, directly or indirectly, to
HELD: impede, obstruct, or degrade the administration of justice. The scurrilous and
YES! FINED + Sternly Warned. contumacious statements constitute direct contempt because it is equivalent to
misbehavior committed in the presence of or so near a court or judge as to interrupt
RATIO: the administration of justice. But such is not the reason for indirect contempt. And
Delivery of Decisions with Reasonable Promptness even if such statements were considered as indirect contempt, Belen did not follow

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Justice Hofilena

the proper procedure under the Rules of Court. This strengthens the OCA's findings deciding cases beyond that authorized by law. If a judge needs more time to decide a
that Belen is grossly ignorant of basic procedure. case, he should formally request the SC for an extension of the deadline.
Unfamiliarity with the Rules of Court is a sign of incompetence. Basic Failure to apply elementary rules of procedure constitutes gross ignorance of
procedural rules must be at the palm of his hands. When the law is so elementary, the law and procedure. Lack of malice or good faith will not exonerate Nacional
such as the provisions of the Rules of Court, not to know, or to act as if one does not because the rules violated were basic procedural law. All he had to do was apply
know the same, and failure to follow basic legal commands embodied in the law and them, but he chose not to. It is settled that one who accepts the position of judge
the rules constitutes gross ignorance of the law, from which no one is excused, and owes the public and the court the ability o be proficient in the law and the duty to
surely not a judge like Belen. maintain the professional competence at all times. Competence and diligence are
prerequisites to the due performance of judicial office. (Note: length of service does
MARIANO V. JUDGE NACIONAL not mitigate administrative penalty)


This is an administrative complaint for gross inefficiency, gross ignorance of
the law, dereliction of duty and violation of judicial conduct stemming from an action Facts:
for ejectment. Complainant Atty. Caneda is counsel for defendant Virginia Guzman, in Civil
In the ejectment proceeding, Judge Nacional issued a pre-trial order dated Case Roberto Borromeo v. Heirs of Juan Borromeo, for judicial partition pending with
Sep. 3, 2004 requiring the parties to file their respective position papers on Sep. 30, Judge Mechanvezs sala.
2004 (w/c the parties complied with). Nacional subsequently issued an order dated During the Dec. 14, 2005 hearing of said partition case, the motion to
Dec. 28, 2004 requiring parties to submit their respective memoranda in the form of a segregate the inheritance shares of one of the plaintiffs, Roberto Borromeo was due
court decision which the parties complied with. The case was eventually decided by to be taken up. During the hearing, the defendants agreed to a partition subject to
Nacional on Feb. 14, 2005. plaintiffs withdrawal of a motion for reconsideration it filed before the SC to clear one
Complaint alleges that the issuance of the Dec. 28, 2004 order violated the of the areas (subject to partition) of squatters. Because the plaintiff could not withdraw
prohibition on memoranda by the Revised Rules on Summary Procedure and that the MR before the SC, Atty. Caneda suggested mediation. Judge Menchavez blurted
Nacional violated the Rules when he decided the case only on Feb. 14, 2005 (136 out never mind mediation, walay hinundan na.
days from the date required by law). When Judge Menchavez checked on the progress of the case, Atty. Caneda
Judge Nacional admits that he exceeded the maximum period allowed under remarked it was being delayed because no proper summons had been served on the
the Revised Rules and offered the following excuses: (1) quality of decision had defendants who were residing outside the country. Menchavez reacted angrily and
priority over compliance w/ reglementary pd; (2) heavy caseload; and (3) documents banged his gavel & shouted I said no publication period. Afterwards, Menchavez
were voluminous. slammed the table with his hand and went inside his chambers. Afterwards, Judge
Menchavez came back with a holstered handgun and smashed it on the table, as he
Issue: angrily shouted at Atty. Caneda Unsay gusto nimo? Yawa! Gahig ulo!
W/N Nacional violated basic procedure and code of judicial conduct? Atty. Caneda filed a complaint against Judge Menchavez alleging that the
Judges act of challenging him inside the courtroom in the presence of many people
Held: was improper
Yes, he is fined P40K for gross ignorance of the law and procedure, P20K
for violation of Canons 3 & 6 (Code of Judicial Conduct) and P10K for violations of Issue:
CPR W/N Judge Menchavez should be held liable
The urgency of restoring social order is the paramount consideration in
settling unlawful detainer and forcible entry cases. The necessity of promptly Held:
resolving unlawful detainer and forcible entry cases is made more imperative by Yes, Judge Menchavez overstepped the norms of propriety demanded of a
express provisions of the periods of rendition of judgment (30 days after receipt of the member of the bench by losing his cool and uttering intemperate language during the
affidavits and position period, or expiration of the period for the filing the same hearing.
ROC/Rules of Summary Procedure). Corollarily, Sec 5 of Canon 6 of Code of Judicial In the courtroom, a lawyer makes submissions before a judge whose role is
Conduct mandates judges to perform all judicial duties efficiently, fairly and with to hear and consider the submissions, and subsequently rule on the matter. It is not a
reasonable promptness. The justifications advanced by Nacional cannot be accepted situation where two equals, such as the opposing counsels, argue against each other.
because doing so will undermine the wisdom behind procedural rules & diminish Menchavez should have coolly ruled and allowed counsel to respond to his ruling
respect for the law. The judge (by himself) cannot choose to prolong the period for instead of proceeding in a manner that invited further arguments. Atty. Caneda also
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Justice Hofilena

erred when he continued to argue despite Judge Menchavezs ruling. However, of ignorance, for if committed in good faith, no administrative sanction is imposed.
Menchavez should have directed the complainant to wind up his arguments under Good faith, however, inheres only within the parameters of tolerable judgment. It does
pain of direct contempt if he persisted in his arguments. Direct contempt is not not apply where the issues are so simple and the applicable legal procedures evident
enforced by the judges act of bringing out of his weapon and asking counsel the and basic as to be beyond possible margins of error. In the case at bench, Dilag failed
direct question what do you want? This confrontational manner has no place in our to follow basic legal procedures which are not excusable but renders him
present justice system. There are agents of the law, officers of the court & the police administratively liable for gross ignorance of the law and procedure (During
who can be called upon to implement contempt orders & restore order as needed. questioning, Dilag said that re-filing is allowed in a dismissal with or without prejudice.
Judge Menchavezs overreacting by bringing out a gun for everyone present Also, he deiced a case even before the submission of the City Prosecutor relative to
in the court to see, even for purposes of maintaining order and decorum in court, is the investigation to determine collusion between the parties as required under Sec. 9
inexcusable in the absence of overt acts of physical aggression by a party before the of the Rule on Declaration of Absolute Nullity of Void Marriages and Annulment of
court. While the New Code of Judicial Conduct requires a magistrate to maintain Voidable Marriages)
order and decorum in the court, the Code itself sets its limits (as provided for by Sec. Dilag was charged with gross ignorance of the law. However, to warrant a
6 of Canon 6) wherein the judge himself must observe decorum by acting with dignity finding of gross ignorance of the law, the error must be so gross and patent as to
and courtesy to all those present in the courtroom. Judges are demanded to be produce an inference of bad faith. The acts complained of must not only be contrary
always temperate, patient, and courteous both in conduct and in language. to existing law and jurisprudence, but were also motivated by bad faith, fraud,
dishonesty, and corruption. For to hold a judge administratively accountable for ever
SUAREZ V. DILAG erroneous order or decision he renders would be intolerable. In the case at bar, there
was no allegation whatsoever that Dilag was motivated by bad faith, malice or
Facts: corruption when he issued the premature warrant of arrest. Be that as it may, the
Suarez filed administrative complaints of (a) graft and corruption against Court holds him administratively liable for his unfamiliarity with the rules on the
Judge Dilag and Court Stenographer Pascua and (b) grave misconduct and conduct of prelim investigations. Judges should be conversant with basic legal norms
ignorance of the law against Judge Dilag allegedly for collecting P30K from litigants in and precepts as well as with the statutes and procedural rules. They are expected to
consideration of favorable judgments in cases for annulment or declaration of nullity follow developments in the law and to apply them. Having accepted the exalted
of marriage. Suarez further pointed out the existence of conflicting decisions rendered position of a judge, whereby he judges his fellowmen, the judge owes it to the public
by Judge Dilar (Pancho Case, Tomboc Case, del Rosario Case which were all who depend on him, and to the dignity of the court he sits in, to be proficient in the
previously dismissed but subsequently reopened the case and granted the petition). law. Thus, the Code of Judicial Conduct requires a judge to be faithful to the law and
After referral to an investigation officer, the Investigating Justice found Judge Dilag be the embodiment of professional competence.
liable for (1) gross misconduct for singing conflicting decisions; (2) gross ignorance of
the law and procedure in handling Moreno and Perez cases; and (3) gross negligence
and inefficiency for failing to administer supervision over his staff when a fake registry
return receipt was effected in Cayabyab Case and entries of judgment were effected
in Moreno Case & Dinoso v. Corpuz. Pascua was found guilty of graft and corruption.

W/N Judge Dilag should be held liable?

Yes, Judge Dilag is dismissed from service, with forfeiture of all retirement
benefits, excluding accrued leave benefits and disqualification from reinstatement or
appointment to any public office.
A judge is the embodiment of competence, integrity, and independence to uphold and
maintain public confidence in the legal system. Thus, while he is expected to keep
abreast of developments in law and jurisprudence, he is presumed to have more than
a cursory knowledge of the rules of procedure (Eg. taking cognizance of a second
petition for declaration of nullity on the ground of psychological incapacity when Dilag
had already dismissed with prejudice the first petition involving the same parties,
issues, and causes of action with that of the first petition). Not every error is indicative
72 | Block C 2012
Justice Hofilena