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PATERNO R. CANLAS, petitioner,vs. HON.


G.R. No. L-77691 August 8, 1988


The private respondent own several parcels of land located in Quezon City for which he is the registered owner.
He secured loans from L and R corporations and executed deeds of mortgage over the parcels of land for the
security of the same. Upon the maturity of said loans, the firm initiated an extrajudicial foreclosure of the
properties in question after private respondent failed to pay until maturity. The private respondent filed a
complaint for injunction over the said foreclosure and for redemption of the parcels of land. Two years after the
filing of the petition, private respondent and L and R corporation entered into a compromise agreement that
renders the former to be insured another year for the said properties. Included in the stipulations were the
attorneys fees amounting to Php 100,000.00. The private respondent however, remained to be in turmoil when
it came to finances and was apparently unable to pay and secure the attorneys fees, more so the redemption
liability. Relief was discussed by petitioner and private respondent executed a document to redeem the parcels
of land and to register the same to his name.

Allegations were made by the private respondent claiming the parcels of land to his name but without prior
notice, the properties were already registered under the petitioners name. The private respondent calls for a
review and for the court to act on the said adverse claim by petitioner on said certificates for the properties
consolidated by the redemption price he paid for said properties. The private respondent filed a suit for the
annulment of judgment in the Court of appeals which ruled over the same.

Issue: whether the petitioner is on solid ground on the reacquisition over the said properties.

By Atty. Canlas' own account, "due to lack of paying capacity of respondent Herrera, no financing entity was
willing to extend him any loan with which to pay the redemption price of his mortgaged properties and
petitioner's P100,000.00 attorney's fees awarded in the Compromise Judgment," a development that should
have tempered his demand for his fees. For obvious reasons, he placed his interests over and above those of
his client, in opposition to his oath to "conduct himself as a lawyer ... with all good fidelity ... to [his] clients." The
Court finds the occasion fit to stress that lawyering is not a moneymaking venture and lawyers are not
merchants, a fundamental standard that has, as a matter of judicial notice, eluded not a few law advocates. The
petitioner's efforts partaking of a shakedown" of his own client are not becoming of a lawyer and certainly, do
not speak well of his fealty to his oath to "delay no man for money."
We are not, however, condoning the private respondent's own shortcomings. In condemning Atty. Canlas
monetarily, we cannot overlook the fact that the private respondent has not settled his liability for payment of
the properties. To hold Atty. Canlas alone liable for damages is to enrich said respondent at the expense of his
lawyer. The parties must then set off their obligations against the other.