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G.R. No. L-51813-14 November 29, 1983 respondent Fiscal Leodegario C.

Quilatan opposed the appearances of said


petitioners, and respondent judge, in an Order dated August 16, 1979,
ROMULO CANTIMBUHAN, NELSON B. MALANA, and ROBERT V. sustained the respondent fiscal and disallowed the appearances of
LUCILA, petitioners, petitioners Malana and Lucila, as private prosecutors in said criminal cases.
vs. Likewise, on September 4, 1979, respondent Judge issued an order denying
HON. NICANOR J. CRUZ, JR., Presiding Judge of the Municipal Court petitioners' motion for reconsideration.
of Paraaque, Metro Manila, and FISCAL LEODEGARIO C.
QUILATAN, respondents. Hence, this petition for certiorari, mandamus and prohibition with prayers,
among others, that the Orders of respondent judge, dated August 16, 1979
Froilan M. Bacungan and Alfredo F. Tadiar for petitioners. and September 4, 1979, be set aside as they are in plain violation of Section
34, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court and/or were issued with grave abuse of
discretion amounting to lack of jurisdiction. Upon motion, the Court, on
The Solicitor General for respondents. November 8, 1979, issued a temporary restraining order "enjoining
respondent judge and all persons acting for and in his behalf from
conducting any proceedings in Criminal Cases Nos. 58549 (People of the
Philippines vs. Danilo San Antonio) and 58559 (People of the Philippines vs.
RELOVA, Rodolfo Diaz) of the Municipal Court of Paraaque, Metro Manila on
November 15, 1979 as scheduled or on any such dates as may be fixed by
said respondent judge.
Appeal from the Order, dated August 16, 1979, of respondent Judge Nicanor
J. Cruz, Jr., of the then Municipal Court of Paraaque, Metro Manila,
disallowing the appearances of petitioners Nelson B. Malana and Robert V. Basis of this petition is Section 34, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court which
Lucila as private prosecutors in Criminal Cases Nos. 58549 and 58550, both states:
for less serious physical injuries, filed against Pat. Danilo San Antonio and
Pat. Rodolfo Diaz, respectively, as well as the Order, dated September 4, SEC. 34. By whom litigation conducted. In the court of
1979, denying the motion for reconsideration holding, among others, that a justice of the peace a party may conduct his litigation in
"the fiscal's claim that appearances of friends of party-litigants should be person, with the aid of an agent or friend appointed by him
allowed only in places where there is a scarcity of legal practitioner, to be for that purpose, or with the aid of an attorney. In any
well founded. For, if we are to allow non-members of the bar to appear in other court, a party may conduct his litigation personally or
court and prosecute cases or defend litigants in the guise of being friends of by aid of an attorney, and his appearance must be either
the litigants, then the requirement of membership in the Integrated Bar of the personal or by a duly authorized member of the bar.
Philippines and the additional requirement of paying professional taxes for a
lawyer to appear in court, would be put to naught. " (p. 25, Rollo) Thus, a non-member of the Philippine Bar a party to an action is
authorized to appear in court and conduct his own case; and, in the inferior
Records show that on April 6, 1979, petitioner Romulo Cantimbuhan filed courts, the litigant may be aided by a friend or agent or by an attorney.
separate criminal complaints against Patrolmen Danilo San Antonio and However, in the Courts of First Instance, now Regional Trial Courts, he can
Rodolfo Diaz for less serious physical injuries, respectively, and were be aided only by an attorney.
docketed as Criminal Cases Nos. 58549 and 58550 in the then Municipal
Court of Paraaque, Metro Manila. On the other hand, it is the submission of the respondents that pursuant to
Sections 4 and 15, Rule 110 of the Rules of Court, it is the fiscal who is
Petitioners Nelson B. Malana and Robert V. Lucila, in 1979, were senior law empowered to determine who shall be the private prosecutor as was done
students of the U.P.assistance to the needy clients in the Office of the Legal by respondent fiscal when he objected to the appearances of petitioners
Aid. Thus, in August 1979, petitioners Malana and Lucila filed their separate Malana and Lucila. Sections 4 and 15, Rule 110 of the Rules of Court
appearances, as friends of complainant-petitioner Cantimbuhan. Herein provide:
SEC. 4. Who must prosecute criminal actions. All In the two criminal cases filed before the Municipal Court of Paraaque,
criminal actions either commenced by complaint or by petitioner Cantimbuhan, as the offended party, did not expressly waive the
information shall be prosecuted under the direction and civil action nor reserve his right to institute it separately and, therefore, the
control of the fiscal. civil action is deemed impliedly instituted in said criminal cases. Thus, said
complainant Romulo Cantimbuhan has personal interest in the success of
xxx xxx xxx the civil action and, in the prosecution of the same, he cannot be deprived of
his right to be assisted by a friend who is not a lawyer.
SEC. 15. Intervention of the offended party in criminal
action. Unless the offended party has waived the civil WHEREFORE, the Orders issued by respondent judge dated August 16,
action or expressly reserved the right to institute it 1979 and September 4, 1979 which disallowed the appearances of
separately from the criminal action, and subject to the petitioners Nelson B. Malana and Robert V. Lucila as friends of party-litigant
provisions of section 4 hereof, he may intervene, petitioner Romulo Cantimbuhan. are hereby SET ASIDE and respondent
personally or by attorney, in the prosecution of the judge is hereby ordered to ALLOW the appearance and intervention of
offense. petitioners Malana and Lucila as friends of Romulo Cantimbuhan.
Accordingly, the temporary restraining order issued on November 8, 1979 is
LIFTED.
And, they contend that the exercise by the offended party to intervene is
subject to the direction and control of the fiscal and that his appearance, no
less than his active conduct of the case later on, requires the prior approval SO ORDERED.
of the fiscal.
Fernando, C.J., Makasiar, Concepcion Jr., Guerrero, Abad Santos, Plana,
We find merit in the petition. Section 34, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court, Escolin and Gutierrez, Jr., JJ., concur.
clearly provides that in the municipal court a party may conduct his litigation
in person with the aid of an agent appointed by him for the purpose. Thus, in
the case of Laput vs. Bernabe, 55 Phil. 621, a law student was allowed to
represent the accused in a case pending before the then Municipal Court,
the City Court of Manila, who was charged for damages to property through
reckless imprudence. "It is accordingly our view that error was committed in
the municipal court in not allowing Crispiniano V. Laput to act as an agent or Separate Opinions
friend of Catalino Salas to aid the latter in conducting his defense." The
permission of the fiscal is not necessary for one to enter his appearance as
private prosecutor. In the first place, the law does not impose this condition.
What the fiscal can do, if he wants to handle the case personally is to AQUINO, J., dissenting:
disallow the private prosecutor's participation, whether he be a lawyer or not,
in the trial of the case. On the other hand, if the fiscal desires the active
participation of the private prosecutor, he can just manifest to the court that Senior law students should study their lessons anti prepare for the bar. They
the private prosecutor, with its approval, will conduct the prosecution of the have no business appearing in court.
case under his supervision and control. Further, We may add that if a non-
lawyer can appear as defense counsel or as friend of the accused in a case MELENCIO-HERRERA, J., dissenting:
before the municipal trial court, with more reason should he be allowed to
appear as private prosecutor under the supervision and control of the trial
Section 34, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court specifically provides that it is "a
fiscal.
party" who may conduct his litigation in person, with the aid of an agent or
friend appointed by him for that purpose in the Court of a Justice of the
Peace. Romulo Cantimbuhan, as the complaining witness in Criminal Cases
Nos. 58549 and 58550 of the then Municipal Court of Paraaque, Metro Nos. 58549 and 58550 of the then Municipal Court of Paraaque, Metro
Manila, is not a "party" within the meaning of the said Rule. The parties in a Manila, is not a "party" within the meaning of the said Rule. The parties in a
criminal case are the accused and the People. A complaining witness or an criminal case are the accused and the People. A complaining witness or an
offended party only intervene in a criminal action in respect of the civil offended party only intervene in a criminal action in respect of the civil
liability. The case of Laput and Salas vs. Bernabe, 55 Phil. 621, is authority liability. The case of Laput and Salas vs. Bernabe, 55 Phil. 621, is authority
only in respect of the accused, as a "party", in a criminal case. only in respect of the accused, as a "party", in a criminal case.

Sections 4 and 15, Rule 110 of the Rules of Court, being the more specific Sections 4 and 15, Rule 110 of the Rules of Court, being the more specific
provisions in respect of criminal cases, should take precedence over Section provisions in respect of criminal cases, should take precedence over Section
34, Rule 138 and should be controlling (Bagatsing vs. Hon. Ramirez, 74 34, Rule 138 and should be controlling (Bagatsing vs. Hon. Ramirez, 74
SCRA 306 [1976]). Section 4 provides that all criminal actions shall be SCRA 306 [1976]). Section 4 provides that all criminal actions shall be
prosecuted under the direction and control of the Fiscal, while Section 15 prosecuted under the direction and control of the Fiscal, while Section 15
specifically provides that the offended party may intervene, personally or by specifically provides that the offended party may intervene, personally or by
attorney, in the prosecution of the offense. attorney, in the prosecution of the offense.

I vote, therefore, to uphold the Order of respondent Municipal Judge, dated I vote, therefore, to uphold the Order of respondent Municipal Judge, dated
August 16, 1979, disallowing the appearances of petitioners as private August 16, 1979, disallowing the appearances of petitioners as private
prosecutors in the abovementioned criminal cases. Orders set aside. prosecutors in the abovementioned criminal cases. Orders set aside.

Fernando, C.J., Makasiar, Concepcion, Jr., Guerrero, Abad Santos, Plana, De Castro, Teehankee, JJ., concur
Escolin and Gutierrez, Jr., JJ., concur.

Separate Opinions

AQUINO, J., dissenting:


Separate Opinions
Senior law students should study their lessons anti prepare for the bar. They
have no business appearing in court.

AQUINO, J., dissenting: MELENCIO-HERRERA, J., dissenting:

Senior law students should study their lessons anti prepare for the bar. They Section 34, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court specifically provides that it is "a
have no business appearing in court. party" who may conduct his litigation in person, with the aid of an agent or
friend appointed by him for that purpose in the Court of a Justice of the
MELENCIO-HERRERA, J., dissenting: Peace. Romulo Cantimbuhan, as the complaining witness in Criminal Cases
Nos. 58549 and 58550 of the then Municipal Court of Paraaque, Metro
Manila, is not a "party" within the meaning of the said Rule. The parties in a
Section 34, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court specifically provides that it is "a criminal case are the accused and the People. A complaining witness or an
party" who may conduct his litigation in person, with the aid of an agent or offended party only intervene in a criminal action in respect of the civil
friend appointed by him for that purpose in the Court of a Justice of the liability. The case of Laput and Salas vs. Bernabe, 55 Phil. 621, is authority
Peace. Romulo Cantimbuhan, as the complaining witness in Criminal Cases only in respect of the accused, as a "party", in a criminal case.
Sections 4 and 15, Rule 110 of the Rules of Court, being the more specific A Complaint[1] dated January 3, 2002, was filed by Imelda
provisions in respect of criminal cases, should take precedence over Section Y. Maderada against Judge Ernesto H. Mediodea of the 12th Municipal Circuit
34, Rule 138 and should be controlling (Bagatsing vs. Hon. Ramirez, 74 Trial Court (MCTC) of Cabatuan and Maasin, Iloilo. In the Complaint, the judge
SCRA 306 [1976]). Section 4 provides that all criminal actions shall be was charged with gross ignorance of the law amounting to grave misconduct
prosecuted under the direction and control of the Fiscal, while Section 15 for failing to observe and apply the Revised Rule on Summary Procedure in
specifically provides that the offended party may intervene, personally or by Civil Case No. 252.[2]
attorney, in the prosecution of the offense.
On September 7, 2001, complainant filed before the 12th MCTC
of Cabatuan and Maasin, Iloilo -- presided over by Judge Erlinda Tersol -- an
I vote, therefore, to uphold the Order of respondent Municipal Judge, dated action for forcible entry with a prayer for preliminary injunction, temporary
August 16, 1979, disallowing the appearances of petitioners as private restraining order (TRO) and damages[3]covered by the Rule on Summary
prosecutors in the abovementioned criminal cases. Procedure. Because complainant was the clerk of court in the aforesaid sala,
Judge Tersol inhibited herself from the case. Thus, Executive Judge
De Castro, Teehankee, JJ., concurs with the dissent of Assoc. Justice Tito Gustilo designated respondent judge to hear and decide the case.
Herrera.
In an Order[4] dated September 13, 2001, respondent required the
defendants in the civil case to show cause why the preliminary injunction
should not be granted. Respondent judge scheduled the hearing
on September 21, 2001, but defendants therein filed a
Manifestation[5] on September 17, 2001, praying that they be given an
additional period of ten days to file an answer. After the September 21 hearing,
[A.M. No. MTJ-02-1459. October 14, 2003] respondent reset the hearing to September 28, 2001.[6] Meanwhile, the
defendants filed their Opposition[7]to complainants prayer for preliminary
injunction and TRO. The September 28 hearing was held in abeyance after
the defendants lawyer questioned the authority of complainant to appear on
behalf of and as counsel for her co-plaintiff.[8] Respondent gave the
IMELDA Y. MADERADA, complainant, vs. Judge ERNESTO H. defendants ten days[9] to file a motion to disqualify complainant from appearing
MEDIODEA, 12th Municipal Circuit Trial as counsel and thereafter to complainant to file her opposition thereto.
Court, Cabatuan and Maasin, Iloilo, respondent.
In his Order[10] dated October 19, 2001, respondent denied the
defendants Motion[11]to disqualify complainant from appearing on behalf of
DECISION
and as counsel for her co-plaintiff.
PANGANIBAN, J.:
Complainant filed a total of three Motions [12] praying for judgment to be
rendered on the civil case. In an Order[13] dated October 19, 2001, respondent
Under the Rules of Court, parties to a case in a first-level court may -- denied complainants Motions because of the pending hearing for the issuance
without having to resign from their posts -- conduct their own litigation in of a restraining order and an injunction. He likewise denied the defendants
person as well as appear for and on their own behalf as plaintiffs or Motion for extension of time to file an answer. [14] Complainant did not ask for
defendants. However, appearing as counsel on behalf of a co-plaintiff subjects a reconsideration of the denial of her Motion for Rendition of Judgment.
the employee to administrative liability.
In his Comment[15] on the Complaint, respondent contends that
complainant filed a Petition for his inhibition after filing two administrative
cases against him. He argues that the mere filing of administrative charges
The Case and the Facts against judges is not a ground for disqualifying them from hearing cases. In
the exercise of their discretion, however, they may voluntarily disqualify
themselves. It is worth noting that respondent later inhibited himself from Civil
Case No. 252. The case was then reassigned to Judge Loida Maputol of the engaging in a vocation or a profession, they should do so only with prior
14th MCTC, San Miguel-Alimodian-Leon, Iloilo. approval of this Court. The OCA added that [e]ngaging in any private
business, vocation or profession without prior approval of the Court is
Respondent avers that the delay in the resolution of the case cannot be tantamount to moonlighting, which amounts to malfeasance in office. [22]
attributed to him, considering that he was mandated by law and the rules of
procedure to pass upon every motion presented before him. [16] Besides, Thus, it recommended that Complainant Maderada be fined in the
complainant allegedly failed to present evidence necessary for the immediate amount of P1,000 for appearing as counsel without authority from this Court,
resolution of her prayer for preliminary injunction. [17] Moreover, she with a stern warning that any similar infraction in the future would be dealt with
supposedly failed to exhaust the remedies available to her to question the more severely. The OCA also recommended that she be directed to file her
validity of his Orders. Instead, she tried to compel him to render a decision on application for leaves of absence on the days she had appeared in court to
the case.[18] litigate her case.
Respondent likewise refutes complainants assertion that she appeared
as counsel on her own behalf because she could not afford the services of a
lawyer. Such claim was allegedly without basis, since her compensation and The Courts Ruling
other benefits as clerk of court were more than enough to pay for the services
of counsel.[19] He further alleges that she did not secure authority from this
Court to appear as counsel, and that she failed to file her leave of absence We agree with the findings and recommendations of the OCA, but modify
every time she appeared in court.[20] the penalty to conform to the rules.

Evaluation and Recommendation of the Administrative Liability


Court Administrator

The Rules of Court clearly provide that actions for forcible entry and
The OCA agreed with respondent that the issuance of the preliminary unlawful detainer, regardless of the amount of damages or unpaid rentals
injunction prayed for in the Complaint should first be resolved before judgment sought to be recovered, shall be governed by the Rule on Summary
should be rendered in the principal action. However, it opined that the prayer Procedure.[23] These actions are summary in nature, because they involve the
for preliminary injunction should have been decided within 30 days from the disturbance of the social order, which should be restored as promptly as
filing thereof. It noted that both the motion for preliminary injunction and the possible.[24] Designed as special civil actions, they are governed by the Rules
principal action for forcible entry remained unresolved even after four months on Summary Procedure to disencumber the courts from the usual formalities
had already lapsed since the filing of Civil Case No. 252. of ordinary actions.[25] Accordingly, technicalities or details of procedure that
may cause unnecessary delays should be carefully avoided. [26] The actions
Accordingly, the OCA recommended that respondent judge be fined in
for forcible entry and unlawful detainer are designed to provide expeditious
the amount of P1,000 with a stern warning that a similar infraction in the future
means of protecting actual possession or the right to possession of the
would be dealt with more severely.[21]
property involved. Both are time procedures designed to bring immediate
It did not, however, find complainant completely faultless. It therefore relief.[27]
undertook another round of investigation, the subject of which was
Moreover, as correctly observed by the OCA, in an action for forcible
complainants appearance in court as counsel for herself and on behalf of her
entry, parties are entitled to the provisional remedy of preliminary injunction.
co-plaintiff without court authority.
A preliminary injunction is an order granted at any stage of court actions
According to the OCA, officials and employees of the judiciary must
or proceedings prior to the judgment or final order, requiring a party or a court,
devote their full time to government service to ensure the efficient and speedy
an agency or a person to refrain from doing a particular act or acts. [28] It may
administration of justice. Although they are not absolutely prohibited from
also require the performance of a particular act or acts, in which case it is
known as a preliminary mandatory injunction.[29] Since this remedy is granted promptly and decide cases within the required periods. Often have we ruled
prior to the judgment or final order, we agree with both the OCA and that their inability to decide a case within the required period is not excusable
respondent that the prayer for preliminary injunction should first be resolved and constitutes gross inefficiency.[32] To avoid sanction, they should ask this
before the main case of forcible entry is decided. Court for an extension and give their reasons for the delay.
However, respondent should have resolved the Motion for Preliminary Although respondent is correct in asserting that he is mandated to rule
Injunction within 30 days from its filing. There can be no mistaking the clear on every motion, he cannot use this excuse to evade the clear command of
command of Section 15 of Rule 70 of the Rules of Court, which reads: the rule that cases should be decided within the prescribed period. This Court
notes with concern the plethora of motions and pleadings filed in this case,
Sec. 15. Preliminary injunction -- The court may grant preliminary injunction, in which should have been tried under the Rules of Summary Procedure. Yet,
accordance with the provisions of Rule 58 hereof, to prevent the defendant from even after four months had lapsed since the filing of the original Complaint for
committing further acts of dispossession against the plaintiff. forcible entry, the prayer for preliminary injunction and the main case
remained unresolved.
A possessor deprived of his possession through forcible entry or Respondent is reminded that in order to meet the deadlines set for
unlawful detainer may, within five (5) days from the filing of the complaint, present deciding cases, judges should at all times remain in full control of the
a motion in the action for forcible entry or unlawful detainer for the issuance of a proceedings in their sala.[33] They should not be at the mercy of the whims of
writ of preliminary mandatory injunction to restore him in his possession. The court lawyers and parties, for it is not the latters convenience that should be the
shall decide the motion within thirty (30) days from the filing thereof. (Italics ours) primordial consideration, but the administration of justice.[34]
To reiterate, judges are bound to dispose of the courts business promptly
Judges have no other option but to obey. In fact, the provision uses the and to decide cases within the required period. They are called upon to
word shall to evince its mandatory character. We cannot subscribe to the observe utmost diligence and dedication in the performance of their judicial
belief of respondent that since there was a prayer for the issuance of a functions and duties. As held by this Court in Gallego v. Acting
preliminary injunction, the main case for forcible entry would have to wait until Judge Doronila:[35]
after he shall have decided the injunction plea, no matter how long it took. If
that were so, then the main case would lose its summary nature.
We cannot countenance such undue delay by a judge especially at a time when the
Respondent should have known that since a prayer for preliminary clogging of court dockets is still the bane of the judiciary whose present leadership
injunction is merely a provisional remedy in an action for forcible entry, it has launched an all-out program to minimize, if not totally eradicate, docket
should lend itself to the summary nature of the main case. This is the very congestion and undue delay in the disposition of cases. Judges are called upon to
reason why the Rules of Court mandate that a preliminary injunction in a observe utmost diligence and dedication in the performance of their judicial
forcible entry case be decided within 30 days from its filing. Preliminary functions and duties.[36]
injunctions and TROs are extraordinary remedies provided by law for the
speedy adjudication of an ejectment case in order to save the dispossessed The prompt disposition of cases becomes even more pronounced when
party from further damage during the pendency of the original action. a municipal trial court is called upon to decide a case governed by the Rules
Time and time again, this Court has impressed upon judges the need to of Summary Procedure.As eloquently put by Justice Jose C. Vitug, speaking
decide, promptly and judiciously, cases and other matters pending before their for the Court in Cruz Jr. v. Judge Joven:[37]
courts.[30] To a large extent, the publics faith and confidence in the judicial
system is boosted by the judicious and prompt disposition of cases and x x x. Being the paradigm of justice in the first instance, a municipal trial court
undermined by any delay thereof.[31]Judges are thus enjoined to decide cases judge, more than any other colleague on the bench, is the immediate embodiment of
with dispatch. how that trust is carried out. In the evolvement of the public perception on the
judiciary, there can likely be no greater empirical data that influences it than the
Their failure to do so constitutes gross inefficiency and warrants the prompt and proper disposition of cases before the courts.[38]
imposition of administrative sanction on them. Rule 3.05 of the Code of
Judicial Conduct specifically obliges judges to dispose of the courts business
We have often held that failure to decide cases and other matters within interpreted as customarily or habitually holding one's self out to the public, as a
the reglementary period constitutes gross inefficiency and warrants the lawyer and demanding payment for such services. x x x.[46] (Citations omitted)
imposition of administrative sanctions against erring judges. Given the facts
of this case, a fine of P10,000 is appropriate pursuant to current Clearly, in appearing for herself, complainant was not customarily or
jurisprudence[39] and Rule 140.[40] habitually holding herself out to the public as a lawyer. Neither was she
As to Complainant Maderada, the OCA recommended that she be fined demanding payment for such services. Hence, she cannot be said to be in the
in the amount of P1,000 for supposedly engaging in a private vocation or practice of law.
profession without prior approval of the Court. The Office of the Court Blacks Law Dictionary defines profession in the collective sense as
Administrator held that her appearance as counsel for herself and on behalf referring to the members of such a vocation.[47] In turn, vocation is defined as
of her co-plaintiff was tantamount to moonlighting, a species of malfeasance a persons regular calling or business; ones occupation or profession.[48]
in office.
The law allows persons who are not lawyers by profession to litigate their
Since complainant was charged with engaging in a private vocation or own case in court. The right of complainant to litigate her case personally
profession when she appeared on her own behalf in court, the necessary cannot be taken away from her. Her being an employee of the judiciary does
implication was that she was in the practice of law. We clarify. A partys right not remove from her the right to proceedings in propria persona or to self-
to conduct litigation personally is recognized by law. Section 34 of Rule 138 representation. To be sure, the lawful exercise of a right cannot make one
of the Rules of Court provides: administratively liable. Thus, we need not go into a discussion of the Courts
ruling in Cayetano v. Monsod[49] regarding the extent of the practice of law.
SEC. 34. By whom litigation conducted. -- In the court of a justice of the peace a
party may conduct his litigation in person, with the aid of an agent or friend However, it was also clearly established that complainant had appeared
appointed by him for that purpose, or with the aid of an attorney. In any other court, on behalf of her co-plaintiff in the case below, for which act the former cannot
a party may conduct his litigation personally or by aid of an attorney, and his be completely exonerated. Representing oneself is different from appearing
appearance must be either personal or by a duly authorized member of the bar. on behalf of someone else.
The raison detre for allowing litigants to represent themselves in court
This provision means that in a litigation, parties may personally do will not apply when a person is already appearing for another party. Obviously,
everything during its progress -- from its commencement to its because she was already defending the rights of another person when she
termination.[41] When they, however, act as their own attorneys, they are appeared for her co-plaintiff, it cannot be argued that complainant was merely
restricted to the same rules of evidence and procedure as those qualified to protecting her rights. That their rights may be interrelated will not give
practice law; otherwise, ignorance would be unjustifiably complainant authority to appear in court. The undeniable fact remains that she
rewarded.[42]Individuals have long been permitted to manage, prosecute and and her co-plaintiff are two distinct individuals. The former may be impairing
defend their own actions; and when they do so, they are not considered to be the efficiency of public service once she appears for the latter without
in the practice of law.[43] One does not practice law by acting for himself any permission from this Court.
more than he practices medicine by rendering first aid to himself.[44]
We cannot countenance any act that would undermine the peoples faith
The practice of law, though impossible to define exactly, involves the and confidence in the judiciary, even if we consider that this was the first time
exercise of a profession or vocation usually for gain, mainly as attorney by complainant appeared in court, that she appeared for her own sister, and that
acting in a representative capacity and as counsel by rendering legal advise there was no showing she did so for a fee. Again we should be reminded that
to others.[45] Private practice has been defined by this Court as follows: everyone connected with an office that is charged with the dispensation of
justice carries a heavy burden of responsibility.[50]Given these circumstances,
x x x. Practice is more than an isolated appearance, for it consists in frequent or the penalty of reprimand[51] is sufficient.
customary action, a succession of acts of the same kind. In other words, it is frequent This Court reiterates its policy not to tolerate or condone any conduct,
habitual exercise. Practice of law to fall within the prohibition of statute [referring to act or omission that falls short of the exacting norms of public office, especially
the prohibition for judges and other officials or employees of the superior courts or on the part of those expected to preserve the image of the judiciary. Thus, it
of the Office of the Solicitor General from engaging in private practice] has been
will not shirk from its responsibility of imposing discipline upon its employees
in order not to diminish the peoples faith in our justice system. But when the
charge has no basis, it will not hesitate to shield the innocent court employee
from any groundless accusation that trifles with judicial processes, [52] and that This is a Petition for Certiorari, Prohibition and Mandamus, with prayer for
serves only to disrupt rather than promote the orderly administration of
the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court.It
justice.[53]
was directly filed with this Court assailing the Resolutions dated May 10, 2002 [1]and
WHEREFORE, Respondent Judge Ernesto H. Mediodea is hereby
found GUILTY of gross inefficiency in failing to observe July 31, 2002[2] of the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 108, Pasay City, which
the reglementary periods in deciding cases, and is FINED in the amount
of P10,000 with a stern warning that a repetition of the same or of a similar denied the appearance of the plaintiff Ferdinand A. Cruz, herein petitioner, as party
act in the future shall be dealt with more severely. On the other hand, Imelda
Y. Maderada is hereby REPRIMANDED for appearing as counsel on behalf litigant, and the refusal of the public respondent, Judge Priscilla Mijares, to voluntarily
of a co-plaintiff without court authority and is likewise warned that a future
inhibit herself from trying the case. No writ of preliminary injunction was issued by
similar act shall be sanctioned more severely.
this Court.
SO ORDERED.
Puno, (Chairman), Sandoval-Gutierrez, and Carpio-Morales,
JJ., concur. The antecedents:
Corona, J., on leave.

On March 5, 2002, Ferdinand A. Cruz (petitioner) sought permission to enter his

appearance for and on his behalf, before the RTC, Branch 108, Pasay City, as the

plaintiff in Civil Case No. 01-0410, for Abatement of Nuisance. Petitioner, a fourth

year law student, anchors his claim on Section 34 of Rule 138 of the Rules of
FERDINAND A. CRUZ, 332 Edang St., Pasay City,
Petitioner, Court[3] that a non-lawyer may appear before any court and conduct his litigation

- versus - personally.

JUDGE PRISCILLA MIJARES, Presiding Judge, Regional Trial


Court, Branch 108, Pasay City, Metro Manila, During the pre-trial, Judge Priscilla Mijares required the petitioner to secure
Public Respondent.
a written permission from the Court Administrator before he could be allowed to
BENJAMIN MINA, JR., 332 Edang St., Pasay City,
Private Respondent. appear as counsel for himself, a party-litigant. Atty. Stanley Cabrera, counsel for
x------------------------------------------------------------------------------------x Benjamin Mina, Jr., filed a Motion to Dismiss instead of a pre-trial brief to which

petitioner Cruz vehemently objected alleging that a Motion to Dismiss is not allowed
DECISION
after the Answer had been filed. Judge Mijares then remarked, Hay naku, masama
NACHURA, J.:
yung marunong pa sa Huwes. Ok? and proceeded to hear the pending Motion to
Dismiss and calendared the next hearing on May 2, 2002. On August 16, 2002, the petitioner directly filed with this Court, the instant

petition and assigns the following errors:

On March 6, 2002, petitioner Cruz filed a Manifestation and Motion to

Inhibit,[4] praying for the voluntary inhibition of Judge Mijares. The Motion alleged
I.
that expected partiality on the part of the respondent judge in the conduct of the trial

could be inferred from the contumacious remarks of Judge Mijares during the pre- THE RESPONDENT REGIONAL TRIAL COURT GRAVELY
ERRED AND ABUSED ITS DISCRETION WHEN IT DENIED
trial. It asserts that the judge, in uttering an uncalled for remark, reflects a negative THE APPEARANCE OF THE PETITIONER, FOR AND IN
THE LATTERS BEHALF, IN CIVIL CASE NO. 01-0401 [sic]
frame of mind, which engenders the belief that justice will not be served.[5] CONTRARY TO RULE 138, SECTION 34 OF THE RULES OF
COURT, PROVIDING FOR THE APPEARANCE OF NON-
LAWYERS AS A PARTY LITIGANT;
In an Order[6] dated April 19, 2002, Judge Mijares denied the motion for
II.
inhibition stating that throwing tenuous allegations of partiality based on the said
THE RESPONDENT COURT GRAVELY ERRED AND
remark is not enough to warrant her voluntary inhibition, considering that it was said ABUSED ITS DISCRETION WHEN IT DID NOT
even prior to the start of pre-trial. Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration [7] of VOLUNTARILY INHIBIT DESPITE THE ADVENT OF
JURISPRUDENCE [sic] THAT SUCH AN INHIBITION IS
the said order. PROPER TO PRESERVE THE PEOPLES FAITH AND
CONFIDENCE TO THE COURTS.

On May 10, 2002, Judge Mijares denied the motion with finality.[8] In the
The core issues raised before the Court are: (1) whether the extraordinary
same Order, the trial court held that for the failure of petitioner Cruz to submit the
writs of certiorari, prohibition and mandamus under Rule 65 of the 1997 Rules of
promised document and jurisprudence, and for his failure to satisfy the requirements
Court may issue; and (2) whether the respondent court acted with grave abuse of
or conditions under Rule 138-A of the Rules of Court, his appearance was denied.
discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction when it denied the appearance

of the petitioner as party litigant and when the judge refused to inhibit herself from
In a motion for reconsideration,[9] petitioner reiterated that the basis of his
trying the case.
appearance was not Rule 138-A, but Section 34 of Rule 138. He contended that the

two Rules were distinct and are applicable to different circumstances, but the
This Courts jurisdiction to issue writs of certiorari, prohibition, mandamus
respondent judge denied the same, still invoking Rule 138-A, in an Order[10] dated
and injunction is not exclusive; it has concurrent jurisdiction with the RTCs and the
July 31, 2002.
prescribed law curriculum and is enrolled in a recognized law
Court of Appeals. This concurrence of jurisdiction is not, however, to be taken as an school's clinical legal education program approved by the
Supreme Court, may appear without compensation in any civil,
absolute, unrestrained freedom to choose the court where the application therefor will
criminal or administrative case before any trial court, tribunal,
be directed.[11] A becoming regard of the judicial hierarchy most certainly indicates board or officer, to represent indigent clients accepted by the legal
clinic of the law school.
that petitions for the issuance of extraordinary writs against the RTCs should be filed
Sec. 2. Appearance. The appearance of the law student authorized
with the Court of Appeals.[12] The hierarchy of courts is determinative of the by this rule, shall be under the direct supervision and control
appropriate forum for petitions for the extraordinary writs; and only in exceptional of a member of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines duly
accredited by the law school. Any and all pleadings, motions,
cases and for compelling reasons, or if warranted by the nature of the issues reviewed, briefs, memoranda or other papers to be filed, must be signed by
the supervising attorney for and in behalf of the legal clinic.
may this Court take cognizance of petitions filed directly before it.[13]

The respondent court held that the petitioner could not appear for himself
Considering, however, that this case involves the interpretation of Section
and on his behalf because of his failure to comply with Rule 138-A. In denying
34, Rule 138 and Rule 138-A of the Rules of Court, the Court takes cognizance of
petitioners appearance, the court a quo tersely finds refuge in the fact that, on
herein petition. Nonetheless, the petitioner is cautioned not to continue his practice of
December 18, 1986, this Court issued Circular No. 19, which eventually became Rule
filing directly before this Court petitions under Rule 65 when the issue raised can be
138-A, and the failure of Cruz to prove on record that he is enrolled in a recognized
resolved with dispatch by the Court of Appeals. We will not tolerate litigants who
schools clinical legal education program and is under supervision of an attorney duly
make a mockery of the judicial hierarchy as it necessarily delays more important
accredited by the law school.
concerns before us.

However, the petitioner insisted that the basis of his appearance was Section 34 of
In resolving the second issue, a comparative reading of Rule 138, Section 34 and Rule
Rule 138, which provides:
138-A is necessary.

Sec. 34. By whom litigation is conducted. - In the court of a justice


Rule 138-A, or the Law Student Practice Rule, provides: of the peace, a party may conduct his litigation in person, with the
aid of an agent or friend appointed by him for that purpose, or
with the aid of an attorney. In any other court, a party may
RULE 138-A conduct his litigation personally or by aid of an attorney, and
his appearance must be either personal or by a duly authorized
LAW STUDENT PRACTICE RULE member of the bar.

Section 1. Conditions for Student Practice. A law student who has


successfully completed his 3rd year of the regular four-year
and is a rule distinct from Rule 138-A.
as an addendum to the instances when a non-lawyer may appear in courts and was
From the clear language of this provision of the Rules, it will have to be incorporated to the Rules of Court through Rule 138-A.

conceded that the contention of the petitioner has merit. It recognizes the right of an

individual to represent himself in any case to which he is a party. The Rules state that It may be relevant to recall that, in respect to the constitutional right of an

a party may conduct his litigation personally or with the aid of an attorney, and that accused to be heard by himself and counsel,[16] this Court has held that during the trial,

his appearance must either be personal or by a duly authorized member of the Bar. the right to counsel cannot be waived.[17] The rationale for this ruling was articulated

The individual litigant may personally do everything in the course of proceedings in People v. Holgado,[18] where we declared that even the most intelligent or educated

from commencement to the termination of the litigation.[14]Considering that a party man may have no skill in the science of law, particularly in the rules of procedure,

personally conducting his litigation is restricted to the same rules of evidence and and without counsel, he may be convicted not because he is guilty but because he does

procedure as those qualified to practice law,[15] petitioner, not being a lawyer himself, not know how to establish his innocence.

runs the risk of falling into the snares and hazards of his own ignorance. Therefore,

Cruz as plaintiff, at his own instance, can personally conduct the litigation of Civil The case at bar involves a civil case, with the petitioner as plaintiff

Case No. 01-0410. He would then be acting not as a counsel or lawyer, but as a party therein.The solicitous concern that the Constitution accords the accused in a criminal

exercising his right to represent himself. prosecution obviously does not obtain in a civil case. Thus, a party litigant in a civil

case, who insists that he can, without a lawyers assistance, effectively undertake the

The trial court must have been misled by the fact that the petitioner is a law successful pursuit of his claim, may be given the chance to do so. In this case,

student and must, therefore, be subject to the conditions of the Law Student Practice petitioner alleges that he is a law student and impliedly asserts that he has the

Rule. It erred in applying Rule 138-A, when the basis of the petitioners claim is competence to litigate the case himself. Evidently, he is aware of the perils incident

Section 34 of Rule 138. The former rule provides for conditions when a law student to this decision.

may appear in courts, while the latter rule allows the appearance of a non-lawyer as a

party representing himself. In addition, it was subsequently clarified in Bar Matter 730, that by virtue

of Section 34, Rule 138, a law student may appear as an agent or a friend of a party

The conclusion of the trial court that Rule 138-A superseded Rule 138 by litigant, without need of the supervision of a lawyer, before inferior courts. Here, we

virtue of Circular No. 19 is misplaced. The Court never intended to repeal Rule 138 have a law student who, as party litigant, wishes to represent himself in court. We
when it released the guidelines for limited law student practice. In fact, it was intended should grant his wish.
Additionally, however, petitioner contends that the respondent judge WHEREFORE, the Petition is PARTIALLY GRANTED. The assailed
committed manifest bias and partiality by ruling that there is no valid ground for her Resolution and Order of the Regional Trial Court, Branch

voluntary inhibition despite her alleged negative demeanor during the pre-trial when 108, Pasay City are MODIFIED. Regional Trial Court, Branch 108, Pasay City

she said: Hay naku, masama yung marunong pa sa Huwes. Ok? Petitioner avers that is DIRECTED to ADMIT the Entry of Appearance of petitioner in Civil Case No.

by denying his motion, the respondent judge already manifested conduct indicative of 01-0410 as a party litigant.

arbitrariness and prejudice, causing petitioners and his co-plaintiffs loss of faith and

confidence in the respondents impartiality. No pronouncement as to costs.

We do not agree.

SO ORDERED.
It must be noted that because of this incident, the petitioner filed an

administrative case[19] against the respondent for violation of the Canons of Judicial
ANTONIO EDUARDO B. NACHURA
Ethics, which we dismissed for lack of merit on September 15, 2002. We now adopt Associate Justice
the Courts findings of fact in the administrative case and rule that there was no grave

abuse of discretion on the part of Judge Mijares when she did not inhibit herself from

the trial of the case.


G.R. No. L-1582 October 10, 1947

TEOFILO PAAR, petitioner,


In a Motion for Inhibition, the movant must prove the ground for bias and
vs.
prejudice by clear and convincing evidence to disqualify a judge from participating in FORTUNATO V. BORROMEO ET AL., respondents.

a particular trial,[20] as voluntary inhibition is primarily a matter of conscience and The petitioner in his own behalf.
addressed to the sound discretion of the judge. The decision on whether she should First Assistant Solicitor General Roberto A. Gianzon and Solicitor Francisco
Carreon for respondents.
inhibit herself must be based on her rational and logical assessment of the

circumstances prevailing in the case before her.[21] Absent clear and convincing proof

of grave abuse of discretion on the part of the judge, this Court will rule in favor of MORAN, C.J.:
the presumption that official duty has been regularly performed.
Teofilo Paar is charge in Manila with treason before the People's Court, and It is clear form these provisions that in Manila where there are many
prayed that he be assisted in his defense by Andres R. Camasura who is not members of the bar, defendants in the People's Court may be assisted only
a member of the bar. The People's Court denied the petition, hence, this by members of the bar.
action for mandamus.
Petition denied, without costs.
Section 3 and 4 Rule 112 are as follows:
Paras, Feria, Perfecto, Hilado, Bengzon, Briones, Padilla, and Tuason, JJ.,
SEC. 3. Duty of court to inform defendant of his right to have concur.
attorney. If the defendant appears without a attorney, he must be
informed by the court that it is his right to have attorney before MORAN, C.J.:
being arraigned, and must be asked if he desires the aid of
attorney. If he desires and is unable to employ attorney, the court
must assign attorney de oficio to defend him. A reasonable time I certify that Mr. Justice Pablo concurs in this decision.
must be allowed for procuring attorney.

SEC. 4. Who may be appointed attorney `de oficio'. The attorney


so employed or assigned must be a duty authorized member of the G.R. No. L-23959 November 29, 1971
Bar. But in provinces where duly authorized members of the bar are
not available, the court may, in its discretion, admit or assign a
PHILIPPINE ASSOCIATION OF FREE LABOR UNIONS (PAFLU),
person, resident in the province and of good repute for probity and
ENRIQUE ENTILA & VICTORIANO TENAZAS petitioners,
ability, to aid the defendant in his defense, although the person so
admitted or assigned be not a duly authorized member of the Bar. vs.
BINALBAGAN ISABELA SUGAR COMPANY, COURT OF INDUSTRIAL
RELATIONS, & QUINTIN MUNING respondents.
Section 29 and 31 of Rule 127 read:
Cipriano Cid & Associates for petitioners.
SEC. 29. Attorney for destitute litigants. "A superior court may
assign an attorney to render professional aid free of charge to any
Ceferino Magat and Manuel C. Gonzales for respondent Quintin Muning.
party in a case, if upon investigation it appears that the party is
destitute and unable to employ an attorney, and that the services of
counsel are necessary to secure the ends of justice and to protect
the rights of the party. It shall be the duty of the attorney so
assigned to render the required service, unless he is excused there REYES, J.B.L., J.:
from by the court for sufficient cause shown."
May a non-lawyer recover attorney's fees for legal services rendered? This
SEC. 31. By whom litigation conducted. In the court of a justice is the issue presented in this petition for review of an order, dated 12 May
of the peace a party may conduct his litigation in person, with the 1964, and the en banc resolution, dated 8 December 1964, of the Court of
aid of an agent or friend appointed by him for that purpose, or with Industrial Relations, in its Case No. 72-ULP-Iloilo, granting respondent
the aid of an attorney. In any other court a party may conduct his Quintin Muning a non-lawyer, attorney's fees for professional services in the
litigation personally or by aid of an attorney, and his appearance said case.
must be either personal or by a duly authorized member of the
bar.lawphil.net
The above-named petitioners were complainants in Case No. 72-ULP-Iloilo
entitled, "PAFLU et al. vs. Binalbagan Isabela Sugar Co., et al." After trial,
the Court of Industrial Relations rendered a decision, on 29 March 1961, Applicable to the issue at hand is the principle enunciated in Amalgamated
ordering the reinstatement with backwages of complainants Enrique Entila Laborers' Association, et al. vs. Court of Industrial Relations, et al., L-23467,
and Victorino Tenazas. Said decision became final. On 18 October 1963, 27 March 1968, 4 that an agreement providing for the division of attorney's
Cipriano Cid & Associates, counsel of record for the winning complainants, fees, whereby a non-lawyer union president is allowed to share in said fees
filed a notice of attorney's lien equivalent to 30% of the total backwages. On with lawyers, is condemned by Canon 34 of Legal Ethics and is immoral and
22 November 1963, Atty. Atanacio Pacis also filed a similar notice for a cannot be justified. An award by a court of attorney's fees is no less immoral
reasonable amount. Complainants Entila and Tenazas on 3 December 1963, in the absence of a contract, as in the present case.
filed a manifestation indicating their non-objection to an award of attorney's
fees for 25% of their backwages, and, on the same day, Quentin Muning The provision in Section 5(b) of Republic Act No. 875 that
filed a "Petition for the Award of Services Rendered" equivalent to 20% of
the backwages. Munings petition was opposed by Cipriano Cid & Associates
the ground that he is not a lawyer. In the proceeding before the Court or Hearing Examiner
thereof, the parties shall not be required to be represented
by legal counsel ...
The records of Case No. 72-ULP-Iloilo show that the charge was filed by
Cipriano Cid & Associates through Atty. Atanacio Pacis. All the hearings
were held in Bacolod City and appearances made in behalf of the is no justification for a ruling, that the person representing the party-litigant in
complainants were at first by Attorney Pacis and subsequently by the Court of Industrial Relations, even if he is not a lawyer, is entitled to
respondent Quintin Muning. attorney's fees: for the same section adds that

On 12 May 1964, the Court of Industrial Relations awarded 25% of the it shall be the duty and obligation of the Court or Hearing
backwages as compensation for professional services rendered in the case, Officer to examine and cross examine witnesses on behalf
apportioned as follows: of the parties and to assist in the orderly presentation of
evidence.
Attys. Cipriano Cid & Associates
............................................. 10% thus making it clear that the representation should be exclusively entrusted
to duly qualified members of the bar.
Quintin Muning
......................................................................... 10% The permission for a non-member of the bar to represent or appear or
defend in the said court on behalf of a party-litigant does not by itself entitle
the representative to compensation for such representation. For Section 24,
Atty. Atanacio Pacis Rule 138, of the Rules of Court, providing
................................................................. 5%
Sec. 24. Compensation of attorney's agreement as to
The award of 10% to Quintin Muning who is not a lawyer according to the fees. An attorney shall be entitled to have and recover
order, is sought to be voided in the present petition. from his client no more than a reasonable compensation
for his services, ...
Respondent Muning moved in this Court to dismiss the present petition on
the ground of late filing but his motion was overruled on 20 January imports the existence of an attorney-client relationship as a condition to the
1965. 1 He asked for reconsideration, but, considering that the motion recovery of attorney's fees. Such a relationship cannot exist unless the
contained averments that go into the merits of the case, this Court admitted client's representative in court be a lawyer. Since respondent Muning is not
and considered the motion for reconsideration for all purposes as one, he cannot establish an attorney-client relationship with Enrique Entila
respondent's answer to the petitioner for review. 2 The case was considered and Victorino Tenezas or with PAFLU, and he cannot, therefore, recover
submitted for decision without respondent's brief. 3 attorney's fees. Certainly public policy demands that legal work in
representation of parties litigant should be entrusted only to those The other issue in this case is whether or not a union may appeal an award
possessing tested qualifications and who are sworn, to observe the rules of attorney's fees which are deductible from the backpay of some of its
and the ethics of the profession, as well as being subject to judicial members. This issue arose because it was the union PAFLU, alone, that
disciplinary control for the protection of courts, clients and the public. moved for an extension of time to file the present petition for review; union
members Entila and Tenazas did not ask for extension but they were
On the present issue, the rule in American jurisdictions is persuasive. There, included as petitioners in the present petition that was subsequently filed, it
it is stated: being contended that, as to them (Entila and Tenazas), their inclusion in the
petition as co-petitioners was belated.
But in practically all jurisdictions statutes have now been
enacted prohibiting persons not licensed or admitted to the We hold that a union or legitimate labor organization may appeal an award
bar from practising law, and under statutes of this kind, the of attorney's fees which are deductible from the backpay of its members
great weight of authority is to the effect that compensation because such union or labor organization is permitted to institute an action in
for legal services cannot be recovered by one who has not the industrial court, 12 on behalf of its members; and the union was
been admitted to practice before the court or in the organized "for the promotion of the emloyees' moral, social and economic
jurisdiction the services were rendered. 5 well-being"; 13 hence, if an award is disadvantageous to its members, the
union may prosecute an appeal as an aggrieved party, under Section 6,
Republic Act 875, which provides:
No one is entitled to recover compensation for services as
an attorney at law unless he has been duly admitted to
practice ... and is an attorney in good standing at the Sec. 6. Unfair Labor Practice cases Appeals. Any
time. 6 person aggrieved by any order of the Court may appeal to
the Supreme Court of the Philippines ...,
The reasons are that the ethics of the legal profession should not be
violated; 7 that acting as an attorney with authority constitutes contempt of since more often than not the individual unionist is not in a position to bear
court, which is punishable by fine or imprisonment or both, 8 and the law will the financial burden of litigations.
not assist a person to reap the fruits or benefit of an act or an act done in
violation of law; 9 and that if were to be allowed to non-lawyers, it would Petitioners allege that respondent Muning is engaged in the habitual practice
leave the public in hopeless confusion as to whom to consult in case of of law before the Court of Industrial Relations, and many of them like him
necessity and also leave the bar in a chaotic condition, aside from the fact who are not licensed to practice, registering their appearances as
that non-lawyers are not amenable to disciplinary measures. 10 "representatives" and appearing daily before the said court. If true, this is a
serious situation demanding corrective action that respondent court should
And the general rule above-stated (referring to non- actively pursue and enforce by positive action to that purpose. But since this
recovery of attorney's fees by non-lawyers) cannot be matter was not brought in issue before the court a quo, it may not be taken
circumvented when the services were purely legal, by up in the present case. Petitioners, however, may file proper action against
seeking to recover as an "agent" and not as an attorney. 11 the persons alleged to be illegally engaged in the practice of law.

The weight of the reasons heretofore stated why a non-lawyer may not be WHEREFORE, the orders under review are hereby set aside insofar as they
awarded attorney's fees should suffice to refute the possible argument that awarded 10% of the backwages as attorney's fees for respondent Quintin
appearances by non-lawyers before the Court of Industrial Relations should Muning. Said orders are affirmed in all other respects. Costs against
be excepted on the ground that said court is a court of special jurisdiction; respondent Muning.
such special jurisdiction does not weigh the aforesaid reasons and cannot
justify an exception. Concepcion, C.J., Makalintal, Zaldivar, Castro, Fernando, Teehankee,
Barredo, Villamor and Makasiar, JJ. concur.
(41) in all, they claimed that petitioner paid them wages below the minimum
and sought payment of their salary differentials and thirteenth-month pay.
Engineers Estacio and Dulatre were named co-respondents.
G.R. No. 126625 September 18, 1997

Some of the cases were assigned to Labor Arbiter Guardson A. Siao while
KANLAON CONSTRUCTION ENTERPRISES CO., INC., petitioner,
the others were assigned to Labor Arbiter Nicodemus G. Palangan.
vs.
Summonses and notices of preliminary conference were issued and served
NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS COMMISSION, 5TH DIVISION, and
on the two engineers and petitioner through Engineer Estacio. The
BENJAMIN RELUYA, JR., EDGARDO GENAYAS, ERNESTO CANETE,
preliminary conferences before the labor arbiters were attended by
PROTACIO ROSALES, NESTOR BENOYA, RODOLFO GONGOB, DARIO
Engineers Estacio and Dulatre and private respondents. At the conference
BINOYA, BENJAMIN BASMAYOR, ABELARDO SACURA, FLORENCIO
of June 11, 1990 before Arbiter Siao, Engineer Estacio admitted petitioner's
SACURA, ISABELO MIRA, NEMESIO LACAR, JOSEPH CABIGKIS,
liability to private respondents and agreed to pay their wage differentials and
RODRIGO CILLON, VIRGILIO QUIZON, GUARINO EVANGELISTA,
thirteenth-month pay on June 19, 1990. As a result of this agreement,
ALEJANDRO GATA, BENEDICTO CALAGO, NILO GATA, DIONISIO
Engineer Estacio allegedly waived petitioner's right to file its position
PERMACIO, JUANITO SALUD, ADOR RIMPO, FELIPE ORAEZ, JULIETO
paper. 1 Private respondents declared that they, too, were dispensing with
TEJADA, TEOTIMO LACIO, ONOFRE QUIZON, RUDY ALVAREZ,
their position papers and were adopting their complaints as their position
CRESENCIO FLORES, ALFREDO PERMACIO, CRESENCIO ALVIAR,
paper. 2
HERNANI SURILLA, DIOSDADO SOLON, CENON ALBURO, ZACARIAS
ORTIZ, EUSEBIO BUSTILLO, GREGORIO BAGO, JERRY VARGAS,
EDUARDO BUENO, PASCUAL HUDAYA, ROGELIO NIETES, and On June 19, 1990, Engineer Estacio appeared but requested for another
REYNALDO NIETES, respondents. week to settle the claims. Labor Arbiter Siao denied this request. On June
21, 1990, Arbiter Siao issued an order granting the complaint and directing
petitioner to pay private respondents' claims. Arbiter Siao held:

xxx xxx xxx


PUNO, J.:

Considering the length of time that has elapsed since these cases
In this petition for certiorari, petitioner Kanlaon Construction Enterprises Co.,
were filed, and what the complainants might think as to how this
Inc. seeks to annul the decision of respondent National Labor Relations
branch operates and/or conducts its proceedings as they are now
Commission, Fifth Division and remand the cases to the Arbitration Branch
restless, this Arbiter has no other alternative or recourse but to
for a retrial on the merits.
order the respondent to pay the claims of the complainants, subject
of course to the computation of the Fiscal Examiner II of this
Petitioner is a domestic corporation engaged in the construction business Branch pursuant to the oral manifestation of respondent. The
nationwide with principal office at No. 11 Yakan St., La Vista Subdivision, Supreme Court ruled: "Contracts though orally made are binding on
Quezon City. In 1988, petitioner was contracted by the National Steel the parties." (Lao Sok v. Sabaysabay, 138 SCRA 134).
Corporation to construct residential houses for its plant employees in
Steeltown, Sta. Elena, Iligan City. Private respondents were hired by
Similarly, this Branch would present in passing that "a court cannot
petitioner as laborers in the project and worked under the supervision of
decide a case without facts either admitted or agreed upon by the
Engineers Paulino Estacio and Mario Dulatre. In 1989, the project neared its
parties or proved by evidence." (Yu Chin Piao v. Lim Tuaco, 33
completion and petitioner started terminating the services of private
Phil. 92; Benedicto v. Yulo, 26 Phil. 160)
respondents and its other employees.

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the respondent is hereby


In 1990, private respondents filed separate complaints against petitioner
ordered to pay the individual claims of the above-named
before Sub-Regional Arbitration Branch XII, Iligan City. Numbering forty-one
complainants representing their wage differentials within ten (10) Petitioner interposed this petition alleging that the decision of respondent
days from receipt of this order. Commission was rendered without jurisdiction and in grave abuse of
discretion. Petitioner claims that:
The Fiscal Examiner II of this Branch is likewise hereby ordered to
compute the individual claims of the herein complainants. I

SO ORDERED. 3 THE QUESTIONED DECISION RENDERED BY THE


HONORABLE COMMISSION IS A NULLITY, IT HAVING BEEN
On June 29, 1990, Arbiter Palangan issued a similar order, thus: ISSUED WITHOUT JURISDICTION;

When the above-entitled cases were called for hearing on June 19, II
1990 at 10:00 a.m. respondent thru their representative manifested
that they were willing to pay the claims of the complainants and PUBLIC RESPONDENT NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS
promised to pay the same on June 28, 1990 at 10:30 a.m. COMMISSION GRAVELY ABUSED ITS DISCRETION IN
ARBITRARILY, CAPRICIOUSLY AND WHIMSICALLY MAKING
However, when these cases were called purposely to materialize THE FOLLOWING CONCLUSIONS BASED NOT ON FACTS AND
the promise of the respondent, the latter failed to appear without BUT ON SPECULATION, SURMISE AND EVIDENCE
any valid reason. CONJECTURE:

Considering therefore that the respondent has already admitted the A. Petitioner was deprived of the constitutional
claims of the complainants, we believe that the issues raised herein right to due process of law when it was adjudged
have become moot and academic. by the NLRC liable without trial on the merits and
without its knowledge;
WHEREFORE premises considered, the above-entitled cases are
hereby ordered Closed and Terminated, however, the respondent B. The NLRC erroneously, patently and
is hereby ordered to pay the complainants their differential pay and unreasonably interpreted the principle that the
13th-month pay within a period of ten (10) days from receipt hereof NLRC and its Arbitration Branch are not strictly
based on the employment record on file with the respondent. bound by the rules of evidence;

SO ORDERED. 4 C. There is no legal nor actual basis in the


NLRC's ruling that petitioner is already in
estoppel to disclaim the authority of its alleged
Petitioner appealed to respondent National Labor Relations Commission. It representatives.
alleged that it was denied due process and that Engineers Estacio and
Dulatre had no authority to represent and bind petitioner. Petitioner's appeal
was filed by one Atty. Arthur Abundiente. D. The NLRC committed manifest error in relying
merely on private, respondents' unsubstantiated
complaints to hold petitioner liable for damages. 5
In a decision dated April 27, 1992, respondent Commission affirmed the
orders of the Arbiters.
In brief, petitioner alleges that the decisions of the labor arbiters and
respondent Commission are void for the following reasons: (1) there was no
valid service of summons; (2) Engineers Estacio and Dulatre and Atty.
Abundiente had no authority to appear and represent petitioner at the
hearings before the arbiters and on appeal to respondent Commission; (3) To determine the scope or meaning of the term "authorized representative"
the decisions of the arbiters and respondent Commission are based on or "agent" of parties on whom summons may be served, the provisions of
unsubstantiated and self-serving evidence and were rendered in violation of the Revised Rules of Court may be resorted to. 6
petitioner's right to due process.
Under the Revised Rules of Court, 7 service upon a private domestic
Service of summons in cases filed before the labor arbiters is governed by corporation or partnership must be made upon its officers, such as the
Sections 4 and 5 of Rule IV of the New Rules of Procedure of the NLRC. president, manager, secretary, cashier, agent, or any of its directors. These
They provide: persons are deemed so integrated with the corporation that they know their
responsibilities and immediately discern what to do with any legal papers
Sec. 4. Service of Notices and Resolutions. (a) Notices or served on them. 8
summons and copies of orders, resolutions or decisions shall be
served on the parties to the case personally by the bailiff or duly In the case at bar, Engineer Estacio, assisted by Engineer Dulatre, managed
authorized public officer within three (3) days from receipt thereof or and supervised the construction project. 9 According to the Solicitor General
by registered mail; Provided that where a party is represented by and private respondents, Engineer Estacio attended to the project in Iligan
counsel or authorized representative, service shall be made on City and supervised the work of the employees thereat. As manager, he had
such counsel or authorized representative; provided further that in sufficient responsibility and discretion to realize the importance of the legal
cases of decision and final awards, copies thereof shall be served papers served on him and to relay the same to the president or other
on both the parties and their counsel; provided finally, that in case responsible officer of petitioner. Summons for petitioner was therefore validly
where the parties are so numerous, service shall be made on served on him.
counsel and upon such number of complainants as may be
practicable, which shall be considered substantial compliance with Engineer Estacio's appearance before the labor arbiters and his promise to
Article 224 (a) of the Labor Code, as amended. settle the claims of private respondents is another matter.

xxx xxx xxx The general rule is that only lawyers are allowed to appear before the labor
arbiter and respondent Commission in cases before them. The Labor Code
Sec. 5. Proof and completeness of service. The return is prima and the New Rules of Procedure of the NLRC, nonetheless, lists three (3)
facie proof of the facts indicated therein. Service by registered mail exceptions to the rule, viz:
is complete upon receipt by the addressee or his agent. . . .
Sec. 6. Appearances. . . . .
Under the NLRC Rules of Procedure, summons on the respondent shall be
served personally or by registered mail on the party himself. If the party is A non-lawyer may appear before the Commission or any Labor
represented by counsel or any other authorized representative or agent, Arbiter only if:
summons shall be served on such person.
(a) he represents himself as party to the case;
It has been established that petitioner is a private domestic corporation with
principal address in Quezon City. The complaints against petitioner were
filed in Iligan City and summonses therefor served on Engineer Estacio in (b) he represents the organization or its members, provided that he
Iligan City. The question now is whether Engineer Estacio was an agent and shall be made to present written proof that he is properly
authorized representative of petitioner. authorized; or

(c) he is a duly-accredited member of any legal aid office duly


recognized by the Department of Justice or the Integrated Bar of
the Philippines in cases referred thereto by the latter. . . . 10
A non-lawyer may appear before the labor arbiters and the NLRC only if: (a) The promise to pay allegedly made by Engineer Estacio was made at the
he represents himself as a party to the case; (b) he represents an preliminary conference and constituted an offer to settle the case amicably.
organization or its members, with written authorization from them: or (c) he is The promise to pay could not be presumed to be a single unilateral act,
a duly-accredited member of any legal aid office duly recognized by the contrary to the claim of the Solicitor General. 14 A defendant's promise to pay
Department of Justice or the Integrated Bar of the Philippines in cases and settle the plaintiff's claims ordinarily requires a reciprocal obligation from
referred to by the latter. 11 the plaintiff to withdraw the complaint and discharge the defendant from
liability. 15 In effect, the offer to pay was an offer to compromise the cases.
Engineers Estacio and Dulatre were not lawyers. Neither were they duly-
accredited members of a legal aid office. Their appearance before the labor In civil cases, an offer to compromise is not an admission of any liability, and
arbiters in their capacity as parties to the cases was authorized under the is not admissible in evidence against the offeror. 16 If this rule were
first exception to the rule. However, their appearance on behalf of petitioner otherwise, no attempt to settle litigation could safely be made. 17 Settlement
required written proof of authorization. It was incumbent upon the arbiters to of disputes by way of compromise is an accepted and desirable practice in
ascertain this authority especially since both engineers were named co- courts of law and administrative tribunals. 18 In fact, the Labor Code
respondents in the cases before the arbiters. Absent this authority, whatever mandates the labor arbiter to exert all efforts to enable the parties to arrive at
statements and declarations Engineer Estacio made before the arbiters an amicable settlement of the dispute within his jurisdiction on or before the
could not bind petitioner. first hearing. 19

The appearance of Atty. Arthur Abundiente in the cases appealed to Clearly, respondent Commission gravely abused its discretion in affirming
respondent Commission did not cure Engineer Estacio's representation. the decisions of the labor arbiters which were not only based on
Atty. Abundiente, in the first place, had no authority to appear before the unauthorized representations, but were also made in violation of petitioner's
respondent Commission. The appellants' brief he filed was verified by him, right to due process.
not by petitioner. 12 Moreover, respondent Commission did not delve into the
merits of Atty. Abundiente's appeal and determine whether Engineer Estacio Section 3 of Rule V of the NLRC Rules of Procedure provides:
was duly authorized to make such promise. It dismissed the appeal on the
ground that notices were served on petitioner and that the latter was
estopped from denying its promise to pay. Sec. 3. Submission of Position Papers/Memorandum. Should
the parties fail to agree upon an amicable settlement, in whole or in
part, during the conferences, the Labor Arbiter shall issue an order
Nevertheless, even assuming that Engineer Estacio and Atty. Abundiente stating therein the matters taken up and agreed upon during the
were authorized to appear as representatives of petitioner, they could bind conferences and directing the parties to simultaneously file their
the latter only in procedural matters before the arbiters and respondent respective verified position papers
Commission. Petitioner's liability arose from Engineer Estacio's alleged
promise to pay. A promise to pay amounts to an offer to compromise and
requires a special power of attorney or the express consent of petitioner. xxx xxx xxx
The authority to compromise cannot be lightly presumed and should be duly
established by evidence.13 This is explicit from Section 7 of Rule III of the After petitioner's alleged representative failed to pay the workers' claims as
NLRC Rules of Procedure, viz: promised, Labor Arbiters Siao and Palangan did not order the parties to file
their respective position papers. The arbiters forthwith rendered a decision
Sec. 7. Authority to bind party. Attorneys and other on the merits without at least requiring private respondents to substantiate
representatives of parties shall have authority to bind their clients in their complaints. The parties may have earlier waived their right to file
all matters of procedure; but they cannot, without a special power of position papers but petitioner's waiver was made by Engineer Estacio on the
attorney or express consent, enter into a compromise agreement premise that petitioner shall have paid and settled the claims of private
with the opposing party in full or partial discharge of a client's claim. respondents at the scheduled conference. Since petitioner reneged on its
"promise," there was a failure to settle the case amicably. This should have
prompted the arbiters to order the parties to file their position papers.
Article 221 of the Labor Code mandates that in cases before labor arbiters QUISUMBING, J.:
and respondent Commission, they "shall use every and all reasonable
means to ascertain the facts in each case speedily and objectively and Before us is the Motion for Relief filed on January 17, 2002 by Espiridion
without regard to technicalities of law or procedure, all in the interest of due J. Dela Cruz, of Suite 416 William Liyao Bldg., Rizal Avenue, Manila, who
process." The rule that respondent Commission and the Labor Arbiters are styles himself as counsel for petitioner Maximino B. Gamido. Two issues were
not bound by technical rules of evidence and procedure should not be tendered during the hearing of said motion today, attended by Dela Cruz and
interpreted so as to dispense with the fundamental and essential right of due the counsels for respondent led by the Assistant Solicitor General Rodolfo
process. 20 And this right is satisfied, at the very least, 'when the parties are Urbiztondo, OSG, to wit:
given the opportunity to submit position papers. 21 Labor Arbiters Siao and
Palangan erred in dispensing with this requirement. 1. Whether or not there has been a violation of the rule against
forum-shopping; and
Indeed, the labor arbiters and the NLRC must not, at the expense of due 2. Whether or not Espiridion J. Dela Cruz may appear as counsel
process, be the first to arbitrarily disregard specific provisions of the Rules for petitioner in this case, considering allegations that he is not
which are precisely intended to assist the parties in obtaining the just, a member of the Philippine Bar.
expeditious and inexpensive settlement of labor disputes. 22
It appearing that earlier the petitioner himself filed under date of February
IN VIEW WHEREOF, the petition for certiorari is granted. The decision of the 12, 2001, personally his Motion to Withdraw Petition, and that the Court in its
National Labor Relations Commission, Fifth Division, is annulled and set Resolution dated March 12, 2001, granted the withdrawal of his petition
aside and the case is remanded to the Regional Arbitration Branch, Iligan for habeas corpus, the Court hereby RESOLVES that the instant Motion for
City for further proceedings. Relief, which was filed without authority of the petitioner and clearly without
merit, should be and is hereby DENIED.
SO ORDERED. Further, considering representations by the self-styled counsel for
petitioner that he, Espiridion J. Dela Cruz, is a lawyer with a law office bearing
Regalado and Torres, Jr., JJ., concur. his name at Suite 416 William Liyao Bldg., Rizal Avenue, Manila, and for this
purpose he used the title of attorney and indicated in his pleadings filed before
this Court an IBP number, which turned out to be spurious, it having been
Mendoza, J., is on leave.
shown and admitted by him that he is not a member of the Philippine Bar as
certified by the Office of the Bar Confidant, after he was made to show cause
why he should not be disciplinarily dealt with for appearing as counsel in this
case without license to practice law, and although he asked the Court for
forgiveness for the wrong he had done, the Court RESOLVED to declare
ESPIRIDION J. DELA CRUZ GUILTY of indirect contempt of this
Court. WHEREFORE, he is hereby sentenced to pay a FINE of TEN
[G.R. No. 146783. July 29, 2002]
THOUSAND PESOS (P10,000) within thirty days from notice hereof, OR
suffer IMPRISONMENT for a period of one month and one day to be served
at the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) detention center, Taft Avenue,
Manila, with the warning that a repetition of the same or similar act would be
IN THE MATTER OF THE APPLICATION FOR HABEAS CORPUS OF dealt with more severely.
MAXIMINO GAMIDO; MAXIMINO B. GAMIDO, petitioner,
vs. NEW BILIBID PRISON, respondent. SO ORDERED.
Bellosillo, (Chairman), Mendoza, and Corona, JJ., concur.
RESOLUTION
(OGCC) and the Commission on Audit (COA) gave their consent to the employment
REY J. VARGAS AND EDUARDO A.C. No. 8096
of Atty. Ignes.[3] However, controversy later erupted when two (2) different groups,
A. PANES, JR.,
Complainants, Present: herein referred to as the Dela Pea board and Yaphockun board, laid claim as the
CARPIO MORALES, J., legitimate Board of Directors of KWD.
Chairperson,
- versus - BRION,
BERSAMIN,
On December 28, 2006, the members of the Dela Pea board filed Civil Case
ABAD, and
VILLARAMA, JR., JJ. No. 1793[4] for Injunction and Damages, seeking to annul the appointment of two (2)
ATTY. MICHAEL A. IGNES, ATTY.
LEONARD BUENTIPO MANN, directors, Joselito T. Reyes and Carlito Y. Uy, who will allegedly connive with
ATTY. RODOLFO U. VIAJAR, JR., Promulgated:
AND ATTY. JOHN RANGAL D. Director Allan D. Yaphockun whose hostility to the present Board of Directors, the
NADUA, July 5, 2010 Dela Pea board, is supposedly of public knowledge.
Respondents.

On January 18, 2007, the Dela Pea board also adopted Resolution No.
x- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -x
009[5]appointing respondents Atty. Rodolfo U. Viajar, Jr. and Atty. Leonard Buentipo

Mann as private collaborating counsels for all cases of KWD and its Board of
RESOLUTION
Directors, under the direct supervision and control of Atty. Ignes.
VILLARAMA, JR., J.:

Before the Court is a petition for review of Resolution No. XVIII-2008-335[1]passed Subsequently, on February 9, 2007, Attys. Ignes, Viajar, Jr. and Mann filed SCA Case
on July 17, 2008 by the Board of Governors of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines No. 50-24 for Indirect Contempt of Court[6] entitled Koronadal Water District (KWD),
(IBP) in CBD Case No. 07-1953. The IBP Board of Governors dismissed the represented herein by its General Manager, Eleanor Pimentel-Gomba v. Efren V.
disbarment case filed by the complainants against the respondents. Cabucay, et al. On February 19, 2007, they also filed Civil Case No. 1799 for

Injunction and Damages[7] entitled Koronadal Water District (KWD), represented


The facts and proceedings antecedent to this case are as follows: herein by its General Manager, & Eleanor Pimentel-Gomba v. Rey J.

Vargas. On March 9, 2007, KWD and Eleanor Pimentel-Gomba filed a supplemental


Koronadal Water District (KWD), a government-owned and controlled corporation complaint[8] in Civil Case No. 1799.
(GOCC), hired respondent Atty. Michael A. Ignes as private legal counsel for one (1)

year effective April 17, 2006.[2] The Office of the Government Corporate Counsel
Meanwhile, in Contract Review No. 079[9] dated February 16, 2007, the OGCC had In his defense,[14] Atty. Mann stated that he and his fellow respondents can validly
approved the retainership contract of Atty. Benjamin B. Cuanan as new legal counsel represent KWD until April 17, 2007 since Atty. Ignes was not notified of his contracts

of KWD and stated that the retainership contract of Atty. Ignes had expired pre-termination. Atty. Mann also stated that he stopped representing KWD after April

on January 14, 2007. 17, 2007 in deference to the OGCCs stand. Attys. Ignes, Viajar, Jr. and Nadua echoed

Atty. Manns defense.[15]

In its letter[10] dated March 2, 2007, the OGCC also addressed Eleanor P. Gombas

insistence that the retainership contract of Atty. Ignes will expire on April 17, On March 10, 2008, complainants filed a manifestation [16] before the IBP with the

2007.The OGCC stated that as stipulated, the KWD or OGCC may terminate the following attachments: (1) the transcript of stenographic notes taken on January 28,

contract anytime without need of judicial action; that OGCCs grant of authority to 2008 in Civil Case No. 1799, and (2) the notice of appeal dated February 28, 2008 of

private counsels is a privilege withdrawable under justifiable circumstances; and that the January 7, 2008 Order dismissing Civil Case No. 1799. Aforesaid transcript

the termination of Atty. Igness contract was justified by the fact that the Local Water showed that Atty. Ignes appeared as counsel of KWD and Ms. Gomba. He also signed

Utilities Administration had confirmed the Yaphockun board as the new Board of the notice of appeal.

Directors of KWD and that said board had terminated Atty. Igness services and

requested to hire another counsel. In his report and recommendation,[17] the Investigating Commissioner recommended

that the charge against Atty. Ignes be dismissed for lack of merit. The Investigating

Alleging that respondents acted as counsel for KWD without legal authority, Commissioner held that Atty. Ignes had valid authority as counsel of KWD for one

complainants filed a disbarment complaint[11] against the respondents before the IBP (1) year, from April 2006 to April 2007, and he was unaware of the pre-termination

Commission on Bar Discipline (CBD), docketed as CBD Case No. 07- of his contract when he filed pleadings in SCA Case No. 50-24 and Civil Case No.

1953.Complainants alleged that respondents filed SCA Case No. 50-24 and Civil Case 1799 in February and March 2007.

No. 1799 as counsels of KWD without legal authority. They likewise stated in their

position paper[12] that Atty. Ignes continued representing KWD even after the OGCC As to Attys. Viajar, Jr., Mann and Nadua, the Investigating Commissioner

had confirmed the expiration of Atty. Igness contract in its April 4, 2007 recommended that they be fined P5,000 each for appearing as attorneys for a party

manifestation/motion[13] in Civil Case No. 1796-25 entitled Koronadal Water District without authority to do so, per Santayana v. Alampay.[18] The Investigating

(KWD), represented herein by its General Manager, Eleanor Pimentel Gomba v. Commissioner found that they failed to secure the conformity of the OGCC and COA
Supreme Investigative and Security Agency, represented by its Manager Efren Y. to their engagement as collaborating counsels for KWD.

Cabucay.
As aforesaid, the IBP Board of Governors reversed the recommendation of the After a careful study of the case and the parties submissions, we find respondents
Investigating Commissioner and dismissed the case for lack of merit. administratively liable.

Hence, the present petition. At the outset, we note that the parties do not dispute the need for OGCC and COA

conformity if a GOCC hires private lawyers. Nonetheless, we shall briefly recall the

Complainants contend that the IBP Board of Governors erred in dismissing legal basis of this rule. Under Section 10, Chapter 3, Title III, Book IV of

the case because respondents had no authority from the OGCC to file the complaints the Administrative Code of 1987, it is the OGCC which shall act as the principal law

and appear as counsels of KWD in Civil Case No. 1799, SCA Case No. 50-24 and office of all GOCCs. And Section 3 of Memorandum Circular No. 9,[19] issued by

Civil Case No. 1796-25. Complainants point out that the retainership contract of Atty. President Estrada on August 27, 1998, enjoins GOCCs to refrain from hiring private

Ignes had expired on January 14, 2007; that the Notice of Appeal filed by Atty. Ignes, lawyers or law firms to handle their cases and legal matters. But the same Section 3

et al. in Civil Case No. 1799 was denied per Order dated April 8, 2008 of the Regional provides that in exceptional cases, the written conformity and acquiescence of the

Trial Court (RTC) for being filed by one not duly authorized by law; and that the Solicitor General or the Government Corporate Counsel, as the case may be, and the

authority of Attys. Viajar, Jr. and Mann as collaborating counsels is infirm since written concurrence of the COA shall first be secured before the hiring or employment

Resolution No. 009 of the Dela Pea board lacks the conformity of the OGCC.As a of a private lawyer or law firm. In Phividec Industrial Authority v. Capitol Steel

consequence, according to complainants, respondents are liable for willfully Corporation,[20] we listed three (3) indispensable conditions before a GOCC can hire

appearing as attorneys for a party to a case without authority to do so. a private lawyer: (1) private counsel can only be hired in exceptional cases; (2) the

GOCC must first secure the written conformity and acquiescence of the Solicitor

In his comment, Atty. Ignes admits that their authority to represent KWD had expired General or the Government Corporate Counsel, as the case may be; and (3) the written

on April 17, 2007, but he and his fellow respondents stopped representing KWD after concurrence of the COA must also be secured.

that date. He submits that they are not guilty of appearing as counsels without

authority. In their comment, Attys. Viajar, Jr. and Nadua propound similar In the case of respondents, do they have valid authority to appear as counsels of

arguments. They also say that their fees were paid from private funds of the members KWD?

of the Dela Pea board and KWD personnel who might need legal representation, not

from the public coffers of KWD. In his own comment, Atty. Mann submits similar We find that Attys. Nadua, Viajar, Jr. and Mann had no valid authority to appear as
arguments. collaborating counsels of KWD in SCA Case No. 50-24 and Civil Case No.

1799.Nothing in the records shows that Atty. Nadua was engaged by KWD as
collaborating counsel. While the 4th Whereas Clause of Resolution No. 009 partly the extremely urgent motion for the immediate return of the facilities of the KWD to
states that he and Atty. Ignes presently stand as KWD legal counsels, there is no proof the KWD Arellano Office. The RTC was compelled to ask him why he seeks the

that the OGCC and COA approved Atty. Naduas engagement as legal counsel or return of KWD properties if he filed the motion as counsel of Ms. Gomba.When the

collaborating counsel. Insofar as Attys. Viajar, Jr. and Mann are concerned, their RTC noted that KWD does not appear to be a party to the motion, Atty. Ignes said

appointment as collaborating counsels of KWD under Resolution No. 009 has no that KWD is represented by Ms. Gomba per the caption of the case. Atty. Ignes also

approval from the OGCC and COA. manifested that they will file a motion for reconsideration of the orders dismissing

Civil Case No. 1799 and Civil Case No. 1793. The RTC ruled that it will not accept

Attys. Nadua, Viajar, Jr. and Mann are in the same situation as the private counsel of any motion for reconsideration in behalf of KWD unless he is authorized by the

Phividec Industrial Authority in Phividec. In that case, we also ruled that said private OGCC, but Atty. Ignes later filed a notice of appeal [23] dated February 28, 2008, in

counsel of Phividec Industrial Authority, a GOCC, had no authority to file the Civil Case No. 1799. As the notice of appeal signed by Atty. Ignes was filed by one

expropriation case in Phividecs behalf considering that the requirements set by (1) not duly authorized by law, the RTC, in its Order [24] dated April 8, 2008, denied

Memorandum Circular No. 9 were not complied with.[21] Thus, Resolution No. 009 due course to said notice of appeal.

did not grant authority to Attys. Nadua, Viajar, Jr. and Mann to act as collaborating

counsels of KWD. That Atty. Ignes was not notified of the pre-termination of his own As we see it, Atty. Ignes portrayed that his appearance on January 28, 2008 was

retainership contract cannot validate an inexistent authority of Attys. Nadua, Viajar, merely as counsel of Ms. Gomba. He indicted himself, however, when he said that

Jr. and Mann as collaborating counsels. Ms. Gomba represents KWD per the case title. In fact, the extremely urgent motion
sought the return of the facilities of KWD to its Arellano Office. Clearly, Atty. Ignes

In the case of Atty. Ignes, he also appeared as counsel of KWD without authority, filed and argued a motion with the interest of KWD in mind. The notice of appeal in

after his authority as its counsel had expired. True, the OGCC and COA approved his Civil Case No. 1799 further validates that Atty. Ignes still appeared as counsel of

retainership contract for one (1) year effective April 17, 2006. But even if we assume KWD after his authority as counsel had expired. This fact was not lost on the RTC in

as true that he was not notified of the pre-termination of his contract, the records still denying due course to the notice of appeal.

disprove his claim that he stopped representing KWD after April 17, 2007.
Now did respondents willfully appear as counsels of KWD without authority?

Atty. Ignes offered no rebuttal to the verified manifestation of complainants filed with
The following circumstances convince us that, indeed, respondents willfully and
the IBP on March 10, 2008. Attached therein was the transcript of stenographic
deliberately appeared as counsels of KWD without authority. One, respondents have
notes[22] in Civil Case No. 1799 taken on January 28, 2008 when Atty. Ignes argued
admitted the existence of Memorandum Circular No. 9 and professed that they are Consequently, for respondents willful appearance as counsels of KWD without
aware of our ruling in Phividec.[25] Thus, we entertain no doubt that they have full authority to do so, there is a valid ground to impose disciplinary action against

grasp of our ruling therein that there are indispensable conditions before a GOCC can them.Under Section 27, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court, a member of the bar may be

hire private counsel and that for non-compliance with the requirements set by disbarred or suspended from his office as attorney by the Supreme Court for any

Memorandum Circular No. 9, the private counsel would have no authority to file a deceit, malpractice, or other gross misconduct in such office, grossly immoral

case in behalf of a GOCC. Still, respondents acted as counsels of KWD without conduct, or by reason of his conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude, or for

complying with what the rule requires. They signed pleadings as counsels of any violation of the oath which he is required to take before admission to practice, or

KWD.They presented themselves voluntarily, on their own volition, as counsels of for a willful disobedience of any lawful order of a superior court, or for corruptly

KWD even if they had no valid authority to do so. or willfully appearing as an attorney for a party to a case without authority to do so.

Two, despite the question on respondents authority as counsels of KWD which Disbarment, however, is the most severe form of disciplinary sanction, and, as such,

question was actually raised earlier in Civil Case No. 1799 by virtue of an urgent the power to disbar must always be exercised with great caution, and should be

motion to disqualify KWDs counsels[26] dated February 21, 2007 and during the imposed only for the most imperative reasons and in clear cases of misconduct

hearing on February 23, 2007[27] respondents still filed the supplemental complaint in affecting the standing and moral character of the lawyer as an officer of the court and

the case on March 9, 2007. And despite the pendency of this case before the IBP, Atty. member of the bar. Accordingly, disbarment should not be decreed where any

Ignes had to be reminded by the RTC that he needs OGCC authority to file an intended punishment less severe such as a reprimand, suspension or fine, would accomplish the

motion for reconsideration in behalf of KWD. end desired.[28] In Santayana,[29] we imposed a fine of P5,000 on the respondent for

willfully appearing as an attorney for a party to a case without authority to do so. The

With the grain of evidence before us, we do not believe that respondents are innocent respondent therein also appeared as private counsel of the National Electrification

of the charge even if they insist that the professional fees of Attys. Nadua, Viajar, Jr. Administration, a GOCC, without any approval from the OGCC and COA.

and Mann, as collaborating counsels, were paid not from the public coffers of

KWD. To be sure, the facts were clear that they appeared as counsels of KWD without Conformably with Santayana, we impose a fine of P5,000 on each respondent.

authority, and not merely as counsels of the members of the Dela Pea board and KWD

personnel in their private suits. On another matter, we note that respondents stopped short of fully narrating what had
happened after the RTC issued four (4) orders on March 24, 2007 and on April 13,

2007 in Civil Case No. 1799.[30] As willingly revealed by complainants, all four (4)
SPOUSES CONSTANTE AGBULOS AND ZENAIDA G.R. No. 176530
orders were nullified by the Court of Appeals.[31] We are compelled to issue a PADILLA AGBULOS,
Petitioners,
reminder that our Code of Professional Responsibility requires lawyers, like
Present:
respondents, to always show candor and good faith to the courts.[32]
YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.,
Chairperson,
- versus - CHICO-NAZARIO,
WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The assailed Resolution No. XVIII- VELASCO, JR.,
NACHURA, and
2008-335 passed on July 17, 2008 by the IBP Board of Governors in CBD Case No.
PERALTA, JJ.
07-1953 is REVERSED and SET ASIDE.
NICASIO GUTIERREZ, JOSEFA GUTIERREZ and
ELENA G. GARCIA,
Respondents. Promulgated:
Respondents Attys. Michael A. Ignes, Leonard Buentipo Mann, Rodolfo U. Viajar,

Jr., and John Rangal D. Nadua are found GUILTY of willfully appearing as attorneys June 16, 2009

for a party to a case without authority to do so and FINED P5,000 each, payable to

this Court within ten (10) days from notice of this Resolution. They are STERNLY

WARNED that a similar offense in the future will be dealt with more severely.

Let a copy of this Resolution be attached to respondents personal records in the Office
x-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------x
of the Bar Confidant.
RESOLUTION

SO ORDERED.
NACHURA, J.:

This petition for review on certiorari seeks the review of the Decision[1] of
MARTIN S. VILLARAMA, JR. the Court of Appeals (CA) dated February 6, 2007 in CAG.R. CV No. 83994 which
Associate Justice
set aside the dismissal of a complaint for declaration of nullity of contract,

cancellation of title, reconveyance and damages.

The case stems from the following antecedents:


On October 16, 1997, respondents, Dr. Nicasio G. Gutierrez, Josefa Respondents opposed the motion, arguing that the motion had been filed beyond the
Gutierrez de Mendoza and Elena G. Garcia, through their counsel, Atty. Adriano B. period for filing an Answer, that the RTC had jurisdiction over the case based on the

Magbitang, filed with the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Gapan, Nueva Ecija, a allegations in the complaint, and that the DARAB had no jurisdiction since the parties

complaint against petitioners, spouses Constante Agbulos and Zenaida Padilla had no tenancy relationship.

Agbulos, for declaration of nullity of contract, cancellation of title, reconveyance and

damages. The complaint alleged that respondents inherited from their father, Maximo In an Order[2] dated October 24, 2002, the RTC granted the petitioners

Gutierrez, an eight-hectare parcel of land located in Callos, Penaranda, Nueva Ecija, motion and dismissed the complaint for lack of jurisdiction. The RTC held that the

covered by Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No. NT-123790 in the name of DARAB had jurisdiction, since the subject property was under the CARP, some

Maximo Gutierrez. Through fraud and deceit, petitioners succeeded in making it portions of it were covered by registered CLOAs, and there was prima facie showing

appear that Maximo Gutierrez executed a Deed of Sale on July 21, 1978 when, in of tenancy. [3]

truth, he died on April 25, 1977. As a result, TCT No. NT-123790 was cancelled and

a new one, TCT No. NT-188664, was issued in the name of petitioners. Based on the Respondents filed a motion for reconsideration. On November 13, 2003, the

notation at the back of the certificate of title, portions of the property were brought RTC denied the motion.[4]

under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) and awarded to Lorna

Padilla, Elenita Nuega and Suzette Nuega who were issued Certificates of Land Atty. Magbitang filed a Notice of Appeal[5] with the RTC, which gave due

Ownership Award (CLOAs). course to the same.[6] The records reveal that on December 15, 2003, respondent Elena

G. Garcia wrote a letter to Judge Arturo M. Bernardo, Acting Judge of RTC Gapan,

In their defense, petitioners averred that respondents were not the real Branch 87, stating that they were surprised to receive a communication from the court

parties in interest, that the Deed of Sale was regularly executed before a notary public, informing them that their notice of appeal was ready for disposition. She also stated

that they were possessors in good faith, and that the action had prescribed. in the letter that there was no formal agreement with Atty. Magbitang as to whether

they would pursue an appeal with the CA, because one of the plaintiffs was still

On the day set for the presentation of the respondents (plaintiffs) evidence, in America.[7]

petitioners filed a Motion to Dismiss, assailing the jurisdiction of the RTC over the

subject matter of the case. Petitioners contended that the Department of Agrarian On February 6, 2007, the CA rendered a Decision in favor of respondents.
Reform Adjudication Board (DARAB), not the RTC, had jurisdiction since the The dispositive portion of the decision reads:

subject land was covered by the CARP, and CLOAs had been awarded to tenants.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the appeal is
hereby GRANTED and the assailed Order dated October 24, 2002
issued by the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Gapan, Nueva Ecija,
Branch 87, is The CA did not err in giving due course to the appeal, on both procedural
REVERSED and SET ASIDE.Accordingly, the subject complai
and substantive grounds.
nt is

reinstated and the records of the case is (sic) hereby remanded to A lawyer who represents a client before the trial court is presumed to
the RTC for further proceedings.
represent such client before the appellate court. Section 22 of Rule 138 creates this
SO ORDERED.[8] presumption, thus:

SEC. 22. Attorney who appears in lower court


The CA concluded that the dispute between the parties was purely civil, not
presumed to represent client on appeal. An attorney who
agrarian, in nature. According to the CA, the allegations in the complaint revealed that appears de parte in a case before a lower court shall be presumed
to continue representing his client on appeal, unless he files a
the principal relief sought was the nullification of the purported deed of sale and formal petition withdrawing his appearance in the appellate court.

reconveyance of the subject property. It also noted that there was no tenurial,

leasehold, or any other agrarian relations between the parties. A reading of respondent Elena Garcias letter to the RTC would show that

she did not actually withdraw Atty. Magbitangs authority to represent respondents in
Thus, this petition, raising the following issues for the resolution of this the case. The letter merely stated that there was, as yet, no agreement that they would
Court: pursue an appeal.

1. Whether or not the CA erred in not dismissing the


appeal despite the undisputed fact that Atty. Magbitang filed the In any case, an unauthorized appearance of an attorney may be ratified by
notice of appeal without respondents knowledge and consent;
the client either expressly or impliedly. Ratification retroacts to the date of the lawyers
2. Whether or not the CA erred in giving due course to
first appearance and validates the action taken by him.[10] Implied ratification may
the appeal despite the fact that Atty. Magbitangs appellants brief
failed to comply with the mandatory requirements of Section 13, take various forms, such as by silence or acquiescence, or by acceptance and retention
Rule 44 of the Rules of Court regarding the contents of an
appellants brief; and of benefits flowing therefrom.[11] Respondents silence or lack of remonstration when

3. Whether or not the CA erred in ruling that the RTC the case was finally elevated to the CA means that they have acquiesced to the filing
(Regional Trial Court), not the DARAB (Department of Agrarian of the appeal.
Reform Adjudication Board) or the PARAD/RARAD
(Provincial/Regional Agrarian Provincial Agrarian Reform
Adjudicator), has jurisdiction over respondents complaint.[9]
Moreover, a lawyer is mandated to serve his client with competence and
x x x A reading of the material averments of the complaint reveals
diligence.[12] Consequently, a lawyer is entreated not to neglect a legal matter that the principal relief sought by plaintiffs-appellants is for the
nullification of the supposedly forged deed of sale which resulted
entrusted to him; otherwise, his negligence in connection therewith shall render him
in the issuance of TCT No. NT-188664 covering their 8-hectare
liable.[13] In light of such mandate, Atty. Magbitangs act of filing the notice of appeal property as well as its reconveyance, and not for the cancellation
of CLOAs as claimed by defendants-appellees. Moreover, the
without waiting for her clients to direct him to do so was understandable, if not parties herein have no tenurial, leasehold, or any other agrarian
relations whatsoever that could have brought this controversy
commendable. under the ambit of the agrarian reform laws. Neither were the
CLOA awardees impleaded as parties in this case nor the latters
entitlement thereto questioned. Hence, contrary to the findings of
the RTC, the herein dispute is purely civil and not agrarian in
The CA was likewise correct in holding that the case is within the nature falling within the exclusive jurisdiction of the trial courts.
jurisdiction of the RTC, not the DARAB.

On the alleged deficiency of the appellants brief filed before the CA by the
For the DARAB to have jurisdiction over a case, there must be a tenancy
respondents, suffice it to state that the requirements in Section 13, Rule 44 are
relationship between the parties. It is, therefore, essential to establish all the
intended to aid the appellate court in arriving at a just and proper resolution of the
indispensable elements of a tenancy relationship, to wit: (1) that the parties are the
case. Obviously, the CA found the appellants brief sufficient in form and substance
landowner and the tenant or agricultural lessee; (2) that the subject matter of the
as the appellate court was able to arrive at a just decision. We have repeatedly held
relationship is an agricultural land; (3) that there is consent between the parties to the
that technical and procedural rules are intended to help secure, not to suppress,
relationship; (4) that the purpose of the relationship is to bring about agricultural
substantial justice. A deviation from a rigid enforcement of the rules may, thus, be
production; (5) that there is personal cultivation on the part of the tenant or agricultural
allowed in order to attain this prime objective for, after all, the dispensation of justice
lessee; and (6) that the harvest is shared between the landowner and the tenant or
is the core reason for the existence of courts.[16]
agricultural lessee.[14]

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the petition is DENIED. The Court


Basic is the rule that jurisdiction is determined by the allegations in the
of Appeals Decision dated February 6, 2007 is AFFIRMED.
complaint.[15] Respondents complaint did not contain any allegation that would, even

in the slightest, imply that there was a tenancy relation between them and the SO ORDERED.

petitioners. We are in full agreement with the following findings of the CA on this
ANTONIO EDUARDO B. NACHURA
point:
Associate Justice
WILFREDO M. CATU, Thereafter, Regina and Antonio filed a complaint for ejectment against Elizabeth and
Complainant,
Present:
Pastor in the Metropolitan Trial Court of Manila, Branch 11. Respondent entered his
-versus
appearance as counsel for the defendants in that case. Because of this, complainant

ATTY. VICENTE G. RELLOSA, filed the instant administrative complaint,[6] claiming that respondent committed an
Respondent.
act of impropriety as a lawyer and as a public officer when he stood as counsel for the
x - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -x
defendants despite the fact that he presided over the conciliation proceedings between

RESOLUTION the litigants as punong barangay.


CORONA, J.:

In his defense, respondent claimed that one of his duties as punong barangay was to

Complainant Wilfredo M. Catu is a co-owner of a lot[1] and the building erected hear complaints referred to the barangays Lupong Tagapamayapa. As such, he heard

thereon located at 959 San Andres Street, Malate, Manila. His mother and brother, the complaint of Regina and Antonio against Elizabeth and Pastor. As head of

Regina Catu and Antonio Catu, contested the possession of Elizabeth C. Diaz- the Lupon, he performed his task with utmost objectivity, without bias or partiality

Catu[2] and Antonio Pastor[3] of one of the units in the building. The latter ignored towards any of the parties. The parties, however, were not able to amicably settle their

demands for them to vacate the premises. Thus, a complaint was initiated against them dispute and Regina and Antonio filed the ejectment case. It was then that Elizabeth

in the Lupong Tagapamayapa of Barangay 723, Zone 79 of the 5th District of sought his legal assistance. He acceded to her request. He handled her case for free

Manila[4] where the parties reside. because she was financially distressed and he wanted to prevent the commission of a

patent injustice against her.


Respondent, as punong barangay of Barangay 723, summoned the parties

to conciliation meetings.[5] When the parties failed to arrive at an amicable settlement, The complaint was referred to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) for

respondent issued a certification for the filing of the appropriate action in court. investigation, report and recommendation. As there was no factual issue to thresh out,
(b) Outside employment and other activities related thereto.
the IBPs Commission on Bar Discipline (CBD) required the parties to submit their Public officials and employees during their incumbency shall
not:
respective position papers. After evaluating the contentions of the parties, the IBP- xxx xxx xxx
(2) Engage in the private practice of profession
CBD found sufficient ground to discipline respondent.[7] unless authorized by the Constitution or law,
provided that such practice will not conflict or tend to
conflict with their official functions; xxx (emphasis
According to the IBP-CBD, respondent admitted that, as punong barangay, supplied)

he presided over the conciliation proceedings and heard the complaint of Regina and

Antonio against Elizabeth and Pastor. Subsequently, however, he represented According to the IBP-CBD, respondents violation of this prohibition

Elizabeth and Pastor in the ejectment case filed against them by Regina and Antonio. constituted a breach of Canon 1 of the Code of Professional Responsibility:

CANON 1. A LAWYER SHALL UPHOLD THE


In the course thereof, he prepared and signed pleadings including the answer with CONSTITUTION, OBEY THE LAWS OF THE
LAND, PROMOTE RESPECT FOR LAW AND LEGAL
counterclaim, pre-trial brief, position paper and notice of appeal. By so doing, PROCESSES. (emphasis supplied)

respondent violated Rule 6.03 of the Code of Professional Responsibility: For these infractions, the IBP-CBD recommended the respondents

Rule 6.03 A lawyer shall not, after leaving government suspension from the practice of law for one month with a stern warning that the
service, accept engagement or employment in connection with
any matter in which he intervened while in said service.
commission of the same or similar act will be dealt with more severely. [9] This was

adopted and approved by the IBP Board of Governors.[10]


Furthermore, as an elective official, respondent contravened the prohibition
We modify the foregoing findings regarding the transgression of respondent
under Section 7(b)(2) of RA 6713:[8]

SEC. 7. Prohibited Acts and Transactions. In addition as well as the recommendation on the imposable penalty.
to acts and omissions of public officials and employees now
prescribed in the Constitution and existing laws, the following
shall constitute prohibited acts and transactions of any public RULE 6.03 OF THE CODE OF PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY APPLIES
official ands employee and are hereby declared to be unlawful: ONLY TO FORMER GOVERNMENT LAWYERS
xxx xxx xxx
Respondent cannot be found liable for violation of Rule 6.03 of the Code of For elective local government officials, Section 90 of RA 7160[12] governs:
SEC. 90. Practice of Profession. (a) All governors,
Professional Responsibility. As worded, that Rule applies only to a lawyer who city and municipal mayors are prohibited from practicing their
profession or engaging in any occupation other than the exercise
has left government service and in connection with any matter in which he intervened of their functions as local chief executives.
(b) Sanggunian members may practice their
while in said service. In PCGG v. Sandiganbayan,[11] we ruled that Rule professions, engage in any occupation, or teach in
schools except during session hours: Provided,
6.03 prohibits former government lawyers from accepting engagement or That sanggunian members who are members of the
Bar shall not:
employment in connection with any matter in which [they] had intervened while in (1) Appear as counsel before any court in any
civil case wherein a local government unit or any
office, agency, or instrumentality of the government is
said service.
the adverse party;
(2) Appear as counsel in any criminal case
Respondent was an incumbent punong barangay at the time he committed wherein an officer or employee of the national or local
government is accused of an offense committed in
relation to his office;
the act complained of. Therefore, he was not covered by that provision.
(3) Collect any fee for their appearance in
administrative proceedings involving the local
government unit of which he is an official; and
(4) Use property and personnel of the
SECTION 90 OF RA 7160, NOT SECTION 7(B)(2) OF RA 6713, Government except when the sanggunian member
GOVERNS THE PRACTICE OF PROFESSION OF ELECTIVE LOCAL concerned is defending the interest of the Government.
GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS (c) Doctors of medicine may practice their profession
even during official hours of work only on occasions
of emergency: Provided, That the officials concerned
do not derive monetary compensation therefrom.
Section 7(b)(2) of RA 6713 prohibits public officials and employees, during

their incumbency, from engaging in the private practice of their profession unless This is a special provision that applies specifically to the practice of

authorized by the Constitution or law, provided that such practice will not conflict or profession by elective local officials. As a special law with a definite scope (that is,

tend to conflict with their official functions. This is the general law which applies to the practice of profession by elective local officials), it constitutes an exception to

all public officials and employees.


Section 7(b)(2) of RA 6713, the general law on engaging in the private practice of or teach in schools outside their session hours. Unlike governors, city mayors and

profession by public officials and employees. Lex specialibus derogat generalibus.[13] municipal mayors, members of the sangguniang panlalawigan, sangguniang

panlungsod or sangguniang bayanare required to hold regular sessions only at least


Under RA 7160, elective local officials of provinces, cities, municipalities
once a week.[14] Since the law itself grants them the authority to practice their
and barangays are the following: the governor, the vice governor and members of
professions, engage in any occupation or teach in schools outside session hours, there
the sangguniang panlalawigan for provinces; the city mayor, the city vice mayor and
is no longer any need for them to secure prior permission or authorization from any
the members of the sangguniang panlungsod for cities; the municipal mayor, the
other person or office for any of these purposes.
municipal vice mayor and the members of the sangguniang bayan for municipalities

and the punong barangay, the members of the sangguniang barangay and the While, as already discussed, certain local elective officials (like governors,

members of the sangguniang kabataan for barangays. mayors, provincial board members and councilors) are expressly subjected to a total

or partial proscription to practice their profession or engage in any occupation, no


Of these elective local officials, governors, city mayors and municipal
such interdiction is made on the punong barangay and the members of
mayors are prohibited from practicing their profession or engaging in any occupation
the sangguniang barangay. Expressio unius est exclusio alterius.[15] Since they are
other than the exercise of their functions as local chief executives. This is because
excluded from any prohibition, the presumption is that they are allowed to practice
they are required to render full time service. They should therefore devote all their
their profession. And this stands to reason because they are not mandated to serve full
time and attention to the performance of their official duties.
time. In fact, the sangguniang barangay is supposed to hold regular sessions only

On the other hand, members of the sangguniang twice a month.[16]

panlalawigan, sangguniang panlungsod or sangguniang bayan may practice their

professions, engage in any occupation, or teach in schools except during session

hours. In other words, they may practice their professions, engage in any occupation,
Accordingly, as punong barangay, respondent was not forbidden to practice

his profession. However, he should have procured prior permission or authorization As punong barangay, respondent should have therefore obtained the prior

from the head of his Department, as required by civil service regulations. written permission of the Secretary of Interior and Local Government before he

entered his appearance as counsel for Elizabeth and Pastor. This he failed to do.
A LAWYER IN GOVERNMENT SERVICE WHO IS NOT PROHIBITED TO
PRACTICE LAW MUST SECURE PRIOR AUTHORITY FROM THE HEAD
The failure of respondent to comply with Section 12, Rule XVIII of the Revised Civil
OF HIS DEPARTMENT
Service Rules constitutes a violation of his oath as a lawyer: to obey the laws. Lawyers

A civil service officer or employee whose responsibilities do not require his time to are servants of the law, vires legis, men of the law. Their paramount duty to society is

be fully at the disposal of the government can engage in the private practice of law to obey the law and promote respect for it. To underscore the primacy and importance

only with the written permission of the head of the department concerned.[17]Section of this duty, it is enshrined as the first canon of the Code of Professional

12, Rule XVIII of the Revised Civil Service Rules provides: Responsibility.

Sec. 12. No officer or employee shall engage


directly in any private business, vocation, or profession or be In acting as counsel for a party without first securing the required written permission,
connected with any commercial, credit, agricultural, or
industrial undertaking without a written permission from the respondent not only engaged in the unauthorized practice of law but also violated civil
head of the Department: Provided, That this prohibition will
be absolute in the case of those officers and employees whose
duties and responsibilities require that their entire time be at the service rules which is a breach of Rule 1.01 of the Code of Professional
disposal of the Government; Provided, further, That if an
employee is granted permission to engage in outside activities, Responsibility:
time so devoted outside of office hours should be fixed by the Rule 1.01 A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful,
agency to the end that it will not impair in any way the efficiency dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct. (emphasis supplied)
of the officer or employee: And provided, finally, that no
permission is necessary in the case of investments, made by an
officer or employee, which do not involve real or apparent
conflict between his private interests and public duties, or in any
way influence him in the discharge of his duties, and he shall not
take part in the management of the enterprise or become an
officer of the board of directors. (emphasis supplied)
For not living up to his oath as well as for not complying with the exacting ethical therefore SUSPENDEDfrom the practice of law for a period of six months effective

standards of the legal profession, respondent failed to comply with Canon 7 of the from his receipt of this resolution. He is sternly WARNED that any repetition of

Code of Professional Responsibility: similar acts shall be dealt with more severely.

CANON 7. A LAWYER SHALL AT ALL TIMES UPHOLD


THE INTEGRITY AND THE DIGNITY OF THE LEGAL Respondent is strongly advised to look up and take to heart the meaning of the
PROFESSION AND SUPPORT THE ACTIVITIES OF THE
INTEGRATED BAR. (emphasis supplied)
word delicadeza.

Let a copy of this resolution be furnished the Office of the Bar Confidant and entered
Indeed, a lawyer who disobeys the law disrespects it. In so doing, he
into the records of respondent Atty. Vicente G. Rellosa. The Office of the Court
disregards legal ethics and disgraces the dignity of the legal profession.
Administrator shall furnish copies to all the courts of the land for their information
Public confidence in the law and in lawyers may be eroded by the
and guidance.
irresponsible and improper conduct of a member of the bar.[18] Every lawyer should
SO ORDERED.
act and comport himself in a manner that promotes public confidence in the integrity

of the legal profession.[19]


RENATO C. CORONA
Associate Justice
A member of the bar may be disbarred or suspended from his office as an

attorney for violation of the lawyers oath[20] and/or for breach of the ethics of the legal

profession as embodied in the Code of Professional Responsibility.

WHEREFORE, respondent Atty. Vicente G. Rellosa is hereby found GUILTY of

professional misconduct for violating his oath as a lawyer and Canons 1 and 7 and

Rule 1.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. He is


A.M. No. 202 July 22, 1975 Indubitably, therefore, Rada has violated the civil service rule prohibiting
government employees from engaging directly in a private business,
RENE P. RAMOS, complainant, vocation or profession or being connected with any commercial, credit,
vs. agricultural or industrial undertaking without a written permission from the
MOISES R. RADA, respondent. head of the Department. But, indubitably, also, his private business
connection has not resulted in any prejudice to the Government service.
Thus, his violation of the rule the lack of prior permission is a technical
one, and he should be meted no more than the minimum imposable penalty,
which is reprimand.
CASTRO, J.:
The duties of messenger Rada are generally ministerial which do not require
Moises R. Rada a messenger in the Court of First Instance of Camarines that his entire day of 24 hours be at the disposal of the Government. Such
Norte, Branch II, is charged with a violation of Section 12 of Civil Service being his situation, it would be to stifle his willingness to apply himself to a
Rule XVIII, which provides as follows: productive endeavor to augment his income, and to award a premium for
slothfulness if he were to be banned from engaging in or being connected
Sec. 12. No officer or employee shall engage directly in with a private undertaking outside of office hours and without foreseeable
any private business, vocation, or profession or be detriment to the Government service. His connection with Avesco Marketing
connected with any commercial, credit, agricultural or Corporation need not be terminated, but he must secure a written
industrial undertaking without a written permission from permission from the Executive Judge of the Court of First Instance of
the head of Department: Provided, That this prohibition will Camarines Norte, who is hereby authorized to grant or revoke such
be absolute in the case of those officers and employees permission, under such terms and conditions as will safeguard the best
whose duties and responsibilities require that their entire interests of the service, in general, and the court, in particular.
time be at the disposal of the Government:....
ACCORDINGLY, the respondent Moises R. Rada is adjudged guilty of a
From the respondent Rada's letters of explanation and their annexes, dated technical violation of Section 12 of Civil Service Rule XVIII, for which he is
December 16, 1973 and June 27, 1974, respectively, and the letter and its hereby reprimanded. He may however apply, if he so desires, for permission
annexes, dated August 12, 1974, filed by the complainant Rene P. Ramos, to resume his business connection with the corporation, in the manner
by way of rejoinder to Rada's explanation, undisputed fundamental facts above indicated.
emerge that justify us in dispensing with a full-blown investigation of this
administrative case. Makasiar, Esguerra, Muoz Palma and Martin, JJ., concur.

The respondent Rada receives a monthly salary of P267.75. On December Teehankee, J., is on leave.
15, 1972 he was extended an appointment by the Avesco Marketing
Corporation, thru its president, Jimmy Tang, as representative to manage
and supervise real properties situated in Camarines Norte which were
foreclosed by the corporation. Rada accepted the appointment and
discharged his duties as administrator. The administrative complaint against
Rada was filed with the Department of Justice on October 3, 1973. He
requested permission to accept the appointment on October 27, 1973. It is
not indicated that his acceptance and discharge of the duties of the position
of administrator has at all impaired his efficiency as messenger; nor has it
been shown that he did not observe regular office hours.
A.M. No. P-220 December 20, 1978 checked with time record he has submitted and if he has
any application for leave. He may try to cure it by
JULIO ZETA, complainant, submitting application for leave but this should not be
vs. allowed as he has already committed crime.
FELICISIMO MALINAO, respondent.
4 VIOLATION OF EXECUTIVE ORDER AND CIVIL
SERVICE LAW.-WE have reliable information it is
prohibited for a civil service employee to engage in private
practice any profession or business without permission
BARREDO, J.: from the Department Head. Mr. Malinao we are sure has
not secured that permission because he should not be
Administrative complaint against Felicisimo Malinao court interpreter of the allowed to practice as he is not an attorney. If that were
Court of First Instance of Catbalogan, Samar charging as follows: so, he violated that Executive Order and Civil Service Law
and we are urgently and earnestly requesting the
l ILLEGALLY APPEARING IN COURT. MR. Malinao Commissioner of Civil Service to investigate him on this. If
has been appearing in the municipal court of this town for warranted he should be given the corresponding penalty
parties like attorney when he is not an attorney. Reliable as dismissal because we believe he deserve it. (Page 2,
information also says he has been appearing in the Record.)
municipal courts of Daram, Zumarraga, Talalora and even
Sta. Rita. He is not authorized to do so we believe. He After respondent filed the following 3rd indorsement relative to the above
makes it his means of livelihood as he collects fees from complaint:
his clients. He competes with attorneys but does not pay
anything. We believe that his doing so should be stopped Respectfully returned to the Honorable, the Secretary of
for a good government. These facts can be checked with Justice, Manila, thru the Honorable District Judge, Court of
records of those municipal courts. First Instance, Branch I, Catbalogan, Samar, and thru the
Honorable Judicial Superintendent, Department of Justice,
2 GRAVE MISCONDUCT IN OFFICE. Being Manila, the undersigned's reply to the preceding
employed in the Court of First Instance he would instigate endorsements, to wit: That the alleged letter-complaint of
persons, especially in his barrio to grab land rob or coerce. one Julio Zeta is not inclosed in the first indorsement,
In fact he has cases in the municipal court in this town which absence has also been noticed and noted on the
involving himself and his men. He incite them telling them right hand corner of the said first indorsement by the Clerk
not to be afraid as he is a court employee and has of Court, of this Court; that despite this absence, and
influence over the judges. Those persons being ignorant without waiving, however, his right to any pertinent
would believe him and so would commit crimes. This act provision of law, but for respect and courtesy to a
of Mr. Malinao is contrary to good order and peace as he Superior, he hereby states that he has not violated any
is using his supposed influences to urge persons to rule or law, much less Sec. 12, Rule XVIII of the Civil
commit crimes. Service Rules; that his participation for defendants' cause
was gratuitous as they could not engage the services of
3 CRIME OF FALSIFICATION. Information has it counsel by reason of poverty and the absence of one in
that he is unfaithfully filing his time record in the CFI. Even the locality, said assistance has also checked the
he has been out practicing in the municipal courts miscarriage of justice by the Presiding Municipal Judge,
sometimes he would fill his time record as present. He now resigned; that he is attaching herewith a carbon-
receives salary for those absent days. This can be original of a pleading submitted by Atty. Simeon Quiachon
the attorney of record for the defendants in Civil Case No.
24, entitled 'Jose Kiskisan versus Fidel Pacate, et al. for entitled Restituto Centino versus Jesus Tizon for forcible
Forcible Entry, in the Municipal Court of Talalora, Samar, entry and again on June 17, 1970 in the same case.
which is a 'Motion To Withdraw Exhibits', as Annex 'A', as
part of this reply. (Page 5, Rec.) From the certification of the Clerk of this Court, it appears
that the respondent had the following entries in his daily
the Department of Justice that had jurisdiction over the matter then, referred time record:
the said complaint and answer to District Judge Segundo Zosa, Court of
First Instance, Catbalogan, Western Samar, for investigation, report and 1. Was on leave from office on August 5, 1960 and
recommendation, and after due hearing, Judge Zosa submitted his report September 17, 1960;
pertinent parts of which read thus:
2. Was present in office on December l5, 1962;
Inspite of diligent efforts exerted by the Court to subpoena
the complainant, Julio Zeta, who is said to be a resident of
Zumarraga, Samar the same had failed because the said 3. Was present in office on January 26, 1963, and present
Julio Zeta appears to be a fictitious person also on February 18, 1963 but undertime by 1 hour;

Inspite of the failure of the complainant to appear in the 4. Was on leave from office on March 1, 1963;
investigation in connection with his complaint against
Felicisimo Malinao, the Court nevertheless proceeded to 5. Was on leave from office on March 27, 1969; and
investigate the case against him by calling Judge Restituto
Duran of Sta. Rita, Samar, Judge Juanito Reyes of 6. Was present in office on June 17, 1970 but undertime
Zumarraga, Samar and Judge Miguel Avestruz of Daram, by 5 hours.
Samar.

Comparing the dates when the respondent appeared


Judge Restituto Duran of Sta. Rita, Samar, declared that before the aforementioned Municipal Courts with his daily
according to his docket books the respondent appeared as time records, he made it appear that on December 15,
counsel for Vicente Baculanlan in criminal case No. 1247 1962 and February 18, 1963 he was present in his office
in the Municipal Court of Sta. Rita, Samar, for grave although according to the testimony of Judge Miguel
threats and in criminal case No. 1249 for the same Avestruz he was before his Court on December 15, 1962
accused and Romulo Villagracia for illegal possession of as well as on February 18, 1963. Again according to
firearm on August 5, 1960 and on September 17, 1970. Judge Juanito Reyes the respondent appeared in his
Court on June 17, 1970. The respondent again made it
Judge Miguel Avestruz of Daram, Samar, declared that appear in his daily time record that he was present with an
the respondent appeared as counsel in civil case No. 39 in undertime of five hours. The respondent did not offer any
the Municipal Court of Daram, Samar, entitled Felix plausible explanation for this irregularity.
Versoza versus Victor Payao, et al., for forcible entry on
December 15, 1962, January 26, 1963, February 18, 1963 xxx xxx xxx
and on March 1, 1963.

With respect to the crime of falsification of his daily time


Judge Juanito Reyes declared that on March 27, 1969, the record as shown by the evidence, he had made it appear
respondent appeared as counsel for the defendant in civil that he was present in his office on December 15, 1962,
case No. 318 of the Municipal Court of Zumarraga February 18, 1963 and June 17, 1970 when as a matter of
fact he was in the Municipal Court of Daram attending to a court or investigative body wherein Only members of the bar are allowed to
case entitled Felix Versoza versus Victor Payao, et al., for practice.
forcible entry as well as in the Municipal Court of
Zumarraga attending to Civil Case No. 318 WHEREFORE, respondent Felicisimo Malinao is hereby ordered dismissed
entitled Restituto Centino versus Jesus Tizon for forcible from his position as interpreter in the Court of First Instance, CFI,
entry. The Inquest Judge respectfully recommends that he Zumarraga, Western Samar with prejudice to reemployment in the judicial
be given stern warning and severe reprimand for this branch of the government.
irregularity.
Castro, C.J., Fernando, Teehankee, Makasiar, Antonio, Aquino,
With respect to the fourth charge, for violation of Section Concepcion, Jr., Santos, Fernandez and Guerrero, JJ., concur.
12, Rule XVIII, Republic Act 2260, as amended, again the
evidence shows that respondent had been appearing as
counsel in the municipal courts of Sta. Rita, Daram and
Zumarraga in violation of the rules of the Civil Service
Law. (Pp. 28-31, Record.) G.R. No. 208290 December 11, 2013

We have carefully reviewed the record, and We find the conclusions of fact PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Petitioner,
of the Investigator to be amply supported by the evidence, particularly the vs.
documents consisting of public records and the declarations of the judges THE HONORABLE JUANITO C. CASTANEDA, JR., HONORABLE
before whom respondent had appeared. It is clear to Us that respondent, CAESAR A. CASANOVA, HONORABLE CIELITO N. MINDARO-GRULLA,
apart from appearing as counsel in various municipal courts without prior AS ASSOCIATE JUSTICES OF THE SPECIAL SECOND DIVISION,
permission of his superiors in violation of civil service rules and regulations, COURT OF TAX APPEALS; and MYRNA M. GARCIA AND CUSTODIO
falsified his time record of service by making it appear therein that he was MENDOZA VESTIDAS, JR., Respondents.
present in his office on occasions when in fact he was in the municipal
courts appearing as counsel, without being a member of the bar, which,
RESOLUTION
furthermore, constitutes illegal practice of law. We, therefore, adopt the
above findings of fact of the Investigator.
PER CURIAM:
The defense of respondent that "his participation (sic) for defendants' cause
was gratuitous as they could not engage the services of counsel by reason This is a petition for certiorari under Rule 65 of the Rules of Court seeking to
of poverty and the absence of one in the locality" cannot, even if true, carry review the March 26, 20131 and May 15, 20132 Resolutions of the Court of
the day for him, considering that in appearing as counsel in court, he did so Tax Appeals (CTA) in CTA Crim. Case No. 0-285, ordering the dismissal of
without permission from his superiors and, worse, he falsified his time record the case against the private respondents for violation of Section 36023 in
of service to conceal his absence from his office on the dates in question. relation to Sections 2503 and 2530 (f) (i) and 1, (3) (4) and (5) of the Tariff
Indeed, the number of times that respondent acted as counsel under the and Customs Codeof the Philippines, as amended, on the ground of
above circumstances would indicate that he was doing it as a regular insufficiency of evidence.
practice obviously for considerations other than pure love of justice.
The antecedentsas culled from the records:
In the premises, it is quite obvious that the offense committed by respondent
is grave, hence it warrants a more drastic sanction than that of reprimand Private respondents Myrna M. Garcia (Garcia) and Custodio Mendoza
recommended by Judge Zosa. We find no alternative than to separate him Vestidas, Jr.(VestidasJr.)were charged before the CTA under an Information
from the service, with the admonition that he desist from appearing in any which reads:
That on or about November 5, 2011, or prior or subsequent thereto, in the prosecution failed to prove their guilt beyond reasonable doubt for the
City of Manila, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable following reasons:
Court, the above-named accused Myrna M. Garcia and Custodio Mendoza
Vestidas, Jr. as owner/proprietress and broker of Plinth Enterprise a)The pieces of documentary evidence submitted by the prosecution were
respectively, conspiring and confederating with each other, with intent to inadmissible incourt;
defraud the government, did then and there willfully, unlawfully and
fraudulently import into the Port of Manila, 858 cartons of 17,160 pieces of
Anti-Virus Software Kaspersky Internet Security Premium 2012, subject to b)The object evidence consisting of the allegedly misdeclared goods were
customs duties,by misdeclaration under Import Entry No. C-181011 and Bill not presented as evidence; and
of Lading No. PFCMAN1715, filed with the Bureau of Customs
(BOC),covering One Forty Footer (1x40) container van shipment bearing No. c)None of the witnesses for the prosecution made a positive identification of
KKFU7195683 which was falsely declared to contain 40 pallets/1,690 the two accused as the ones responsible for the supposed misdeclaration.
cartons of CD kit cleaner and plastic CD case, said imported items having
customs duties amounting to Three Million Three Hundred Forty One Despite opposition, the CTA dismissed the caseagainst Garcia and Vestidas
Thousand Two Hundred Forty Five Pesos (Php 3,341,245) of which only the Jr.in its March 26, 2013 Resolution, for failure of the prosecution to establish
amount of One Hundred Thousand Three Hundred Sixty Two Pesos theirguilt beyond reasonable doubt.
(Php100,362) was paid, in violation of the above-captioned law, and to the
prejudice and damage of the Government in the amount of Three Million
Two Hundred Forty Thousand Eight Hundred Eighty Three Pesos According to the CTA, "no proof whatsoever was presented by the
(Php3,240,883).4 prosecution showing that the certified true copies of the public documents
offered in evidence against both accused were in fact issued by thelegal
custodians."8 It cited Section 26, Rule 132 of the Revised Rules of Court,
In a hearing held on August 1, 2012, Garcia and VestidasJr.pleaded "Not whichprovidesthat"when the original of a document is a public record, it
Guilty" to the aforementioned charge. Thereafter, a preliminary conference should not generally be removed from the office or place in which it is
was held on September 5, 2012 followed by thepre-trial on September 13, kept."9 As stated in Section 7, Rule 130,10 its contents may be proven using
2012. Both the prosecution and the defense agreed to adopt the joint secondary evidence and such evidence may pertain to the certified true copy
stipulations of facts and issues entered in the course of the preliminary of the original document issued by the public officer in custody
conference. thereof.Hence, the CTA wrotethat the certified true copiesof the public
documents offered in evidence should have been presented in court.
Thereafter, trial ensued.
Anent its offer of private documents,11 the prosecution likewise failed to
The prosecution presented a number of witnesses whoessentially comply with Section 27, Rule 132 of the Rules of Court, which reads, "[a]n
observed5 the physical examination of Container Van No. KKFU 7195638 authorized public record of a private document may be proved by the original
conducted6 by the Bureau of Customs (BOC) and explained7 the process of record, or by a copy thereof, attested by the legal custodian of the record,
electronic filing under the Electronic to Mobile (E2M) Customs Systems of with an appropriate certificate that such officer has the custody." Considering
the BOC and the alleged misdeclared goods therein. that the private documents were submitted and filed with the BOC, the same
became part of public records. Again, the records show that the prosecution
Subsequent to the presentation of witnesses, the prosecution filed its Formal failed to present the certified true copies of thedocuments.
Offer of Evidence on December 10, 2012.
The CTA noted that,in its Opposition to the Demurrer,the prosecution even
On January 15, 2013, Garcia and Vestidas, Jr. filed their Omnibus Motion to admitted that none of their witnesses ever positively identified the accused in
File Demurrer to Evidence with Leave of Court to Cancel Hearing Scheduled open court and that the alleged misdeclared goods were not competently
on January 21, 2013,whichwas grantedby the CTA. Thereafter, they filed and properly identified in court by any of the prosecution witnesses.
theDemurrer to Evidence, dated January 13, 2012, claimingthat the
The prosecution filed its motion for reconsideration, but it was deniedby the In the case at bench, no convincing justification for the belated filing of the
CTAin its May 15, 2013 Resolution, stressing, among others, that to grant it petition was advanced to warrant the relaxation of the Rules.Notably, the
would place the accused in double jeopardy.12 records show that the petition was filedonly on August 12, 2013, or almost a
month late from the due date which fell on July 16, 2013. To excuse this
On July 24, 2013, the Run After the Smugglers (RATS) Group, Revenue grave procedural lapse will not only be unfairto the other party, but it will also
Collection Monitoring Group (RCMG), as counsel for the BOC, received a sanction a seeming rudimentary attempt to circumvent standing rules of
copy of the July 15, 2013 Resolution of the CTA ordering the entry of procedure. Suffice it to say, the reasons proffered by the petitioner do not
judgment in the case. carry even a tinge of merit that would deserve leniency.

Hence,this petition for certiorari, ascribing grave abuse of discretion on the The late filing of the petition was borne out of the petitioners failure to
part of theCTA when in ruled that: 1) the pieces of documentary evidence monitor incoming court processes that neededto be addressed by the office.
submitted by the prosecution were inadmissible in evidence; 2) the object Clearly, this is an admission of inefficiency, if not lack of zeal, on the part of
evidence consisting of the alleged misdeclared goods were not presented as an office tasked toeffectively curb smuggling activities which rob the
evidence; and 3) the witnesses failed to positively identifythe accused as government of millions of revenue every year.
responsible forthe misdeclaration of goods.
The display of patent violations of even the elementary rules leads the Court
The Court agrees with the disposition of the CTA. to suspectthat the case against Garcia and Vestidas Jr. was doomed by
designfrom the start. The failure to present the certified true copies of
documentary evidence; the failure to competently and properly identify the
At the outset, it should be noted that the petition was filed beyond the misdeclared goods; the failure to identify the accused in court; and,worse,
reglementary periodfor the filingthereof under Rule 65. The petition itself the failure to file this petition on time challenging a judgment of acquittal, are
statedthat a copy of the May 15, 2013 Resolution was received by the BOC tell-tale signs ofa reluctantand subduedattitude in pursuing the case. This
two (2) days after its promulgation, or on May 17, 2013. Nonetheless, the stance taken by the lawyers in government service rouses the Courts
RATS was only alerted by the developments in the case on July 24, 2013, vigilance against inefficiency in the administration of justice. Verily, the
when Atty. Danilo M. Campos Jr. (Atty. Campos) received the July 15, 2013 lawyersrepresenting the offices under the executive branchshould be
Resolution of the CTA ordering the entry of judgment in the case, reminded that theystill remain as officers of the courtfrom whom a high
considering that no appeal was taken by any of the parties. According toAtty. sense of competence and fervor is expected. The Courtwill not close its eyes
Campos, it was only on that occasion when he discovered the May 15, 2013 to this sense of apathy in RATS lawyers, lest the governments goal of
Resolution of the CTA.Thus, it was prayed that the petitionbe given due revenue enhancement continues to suffer the blows of smuggling and similar
course despite its late filing. activities.

This belated filing cannot be countenanced by the Court. Even the error committed by the RATS in filing a motion for reconsideration
with the CTA displays gross ignorance as to the effects of an acquittal in a
Section 4, Rule 65 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedureis explicit in stating criminal case and the constitutional proscription on double jeopardy. Had the
thatcertiorarishould be instituted within a period of 60 days from notice of the RATS been eager and keen in prosecuting the respondents, it would have,
judgment, orderor resolution sought to be assailed. The 60-day period is in the first place, presented its evidence with the CTA in strict compliance
inextendible to avoid any unreasonable delay that would violate the with the Rules.
constitutional rights of parties to a speedy disposition of their case. 13 While
there are recognized exceptions14 to such strict observance, there should be In any case, even if the Court decides to suspend the rules and permit this
an effort on the part of the party invoking liberality to advance a reasonable recourse, the end result would remain the same. While a judgment of
or meritorious explanation for his/her failure to comply with the rules. 15 acquittal in a criminal case may be assailed in a petition for certiorari under
Rule 65 of the Rules of Court,it must be shown that there was grave abuse
of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction or a denial of due
process.In this case, a perusal of the challenged resolutions ofthe CTAdoes
not disclose any indication of grave abuse of discretion on its partor denial of
due process.The records are replete with indicators that the petitioner
actively participated during the trial and, in fact, presented its offer of
evidence and opposed the demurrer.
[A.C. No. 4680. August 29, 2000]

Grave abuse of discretion is defined as capricious or whimsical exercise of


judgment as is equivalent to lack of jurisdiction. The abuse of discretion must
be patent and gross as to amount to an evasion of a positive duty or a virtual
refusal to perform a duty enjoined by law, or to act at all in contemplation of AQUILINO Q. PIMENTEL, JR., complainant, vs. ATTYS. ANTONIO M.
law, as where the power is exercised in an arbitrary and despotic manner by LLORENTE and LIGAYA P. SALAYON, respondents.
reason of passion and hostility.16 Here, the subject resolutions of the CTA
have been issued in accordance with the rules on evidence and existing DECISION
jurisprudence.
MENDOZA, J.:
On a final note, the Court deems it proper to remind the lawyers in the
Bureau of Customs that the canons embodied in the Code of Professional This is a complaint for disbarment against respondents Antonio M.
Responsibility equally apply to lawyers in government service in the Llorente and Ligaya P. Salayon for gross misconduct, serious breach of trust,
discharge of their official tasks. 17 Thus, RA TS lawyers should exert every and violation of the lawyers oath in connection with the discharge of their
effort and consider it their duty to assist in the speedy and efficient duties as members of the Pasig City Board of Canvassers in the May 8, 1995
administration of justice.18 elections. Salayon, then election officer of the Commission on Elections
(COMELEC), was designated chairman of said Board, while Llorente, who
was then City Prosecutor of Pasig City, served as its ex oficio vice-chairman
WHEREFORE, the petition is DISMISSED and the assailed March 26, 2013
as provided by law.[1] Complainant, now a senator, was also a candidate for
and May 15, 2013 Resolutions of the Court of Tax Appeals are AFFIRMED.
the Senate in that election.

The Office of the Ombudsman is hereby ordered to conduct an investigation Complainant alleges that, in violation of R.A. No. 6646,
for possible criminal or administrative offenses committed by the Run After 27(b),[2]respondents tampered with the votes received by him, with the result
the Smugglers (RA TS) Group, Revenue Collection Monitoring Group that, as shown in the Statements of Votes (SoVs) and Certificate of Canvass
(RCMG), Bureau of Customs, relative to the filing and handling of the subject (CoC) pertaining to 1,263 precincts of Pasig City, (1) senatorial candidates
complaint for violations of the Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines. Juan Ponce Enrile, Anna Dominique Coseteng, Gregorio Honasan, Marcelo
Fernan, Ramon Mitra, and Rodolfo Biazon were credited with votes which
were above the number of votes they actually received while, on the other
Let copies of this resolution be furnished the Office of the President, the
hand, petitioners votes were reduced; (2) in 101 precincts, Enriles votes were
Secretary of Finance, the Collector of Customs, and the Office of the
in excess of the total number of voters who actually voted therein; and (3) the
Ombudsman for their guidance and appropriate action.
votes from 22 precincts were twice recorded in 18 SoVs. Complainant
maintains that, by signing the SoVs and CoC despite respondents knowledge
SO ORDERED. that some of the entries therein were false, the latter committed a serious
breach of public trust and of their lawyers oath.
PRESBITERO J. VELASCO, JR.
Respondents denied the allegations against them. They alleged that the
Associate Justice
preparation of the SoVs was made by the 12 canvassing committees which
Chairperson
the Board had constituted to assist in the canvassing. They claimed that the
errors pointed out by complainant could be attributed to honest mistake,
oversight, and/or fatigue.
In his Consolidated Reply, complainant counters that respondents On the question whether petitioners present petition was filed within the
should be held responsible for the illegal padding of the votes considering the 15-day period provided under Rule 139-B, 12(c), although the records show
nature and extent of the irregularities and the fact that the canvassing of the that it was filed on June 4, 1999, respondent has not shown when petitioner
election returns was done under their control and supervision. received a copy of the resolution of the IBP Board of Governors denying his
motion for reconsideration. It would appear, however, that the petition was
On December 4, 1998, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, to which filed on time because a copy of the resolution personally served on the Office
this matter had been referred pursuant to Rule 139-B, 13, in relation to 20 of of the Bar Confidant of this Court was received by it on May 18, 1999. Since
the Rules of Court, recommended the dismissal of the complaint for lack of copies of IBP resolutions are sent to the parties by mail, it is possible that the
merit.[3] Petitioner filed a motion for reconsideration on March 11, 1999, but copy sent to petitioner was received by him later than May 18, 1999.Hence, it
his motion was denied in a resolution of the IBP Board of Governors dated may be assumed that his present petition was filed within 15 days from his
April 22, 1999. On June 4, 1999, he filed this petition pursuant to Rule 139-B, receipt of the IBP resolution. In any event, the burden was on respondent, as
12(c). the moving party, to show that the petition in this case was filed beyond the
It appears that complainant likewise filed criminal charges against 15-day period for filing it.
respondents before the COMELEC (E.O. Case No. 96-1132) for violation of Even assuming that petitioner received the IBP resolution in question on
R.A. No. 6646, 27(b). In its resolution dated January 8, 1998, the COMELEC May 18, 1999, i.e., on the same date a copy of the same was received by the
dismissed complainants charges for insufficiency of evidence. However, on a Office of the Bar Confidant, the delay would only be two days.[8] The delay
petition for certiorari filed by complainant,[4] this Court set aside the resolution may be overlooked, considering the merit of this case. Disbarment
and directed the COMELEC to file appropriate criminal charges against proceedings are undertaken solely for public welfare.The sole question for
respondents. Reconsideration was denied on August 15, 2000. determination is whether a member of the bar is fit to be allowed the privileges
Considering the foregoing facts, we hold that respondents are guilty of as such or not. The complainant or the person who called the attention of the
misconduct. Court to the attorneys alleged misconduct is in no sense a party, and generally
has no interest in the outcome except as all good citizens may have in the
First. Respondent Llorente seeks the dismissal of the present petition proper administration of justice.[9] For this reason, laws dealing with double
on the ground that it was filed late. He contends that a motion for jeopardy[10] or prescription[11] or with procedure like verification of
reconsideration is a prohibited pleading under Rule 139-B, 12(c)[5] and, pleadings[12] and prejudicial questions[13] have no application to disbarment
therefore, the filing of such motion before the IBP Board of Governors did not proceedings.
toll the running of the period of appeal. Respondent further contends that,
assuming such motion can be filed, petitioner nevertheless failed to indicate Even in ordinary civil actions, the period for perfecting appeals is relaxed
the date of his receipt of the April 22, 1999 resolution of the IBP denying his in the interest of justice and equity where the appealed case is clearly
motion for reconsideration so that it cannot be ascertained whether his petition meritorious. Thus, we have given due course to appeals even though filed
was filed within the 15-day period under Rule 139-B, 12(c). six,[14] four,[15] and three[16] days late.In this case, the petition is clearly
meritorious.
The contention has no merit. The question of whether a motion for
reconsideration is a prohibited pleading or not under Rule 139-B, 12(c) has Second. The IBP recommends the dismissal of petitioners complaint on
been settled in Halimao v. Villanueva,[6] in which this Court held: the basis of the following: (1) respondents had no involvement in the tabulation
of the election returns, because when the Statements of Votes (SoVs) were
Although Rule 139-B, 12(c) makes no mention of a motion for given to them, such had already been accomplished and only needed their
reconsideration, nothing in its text or in its history suggests that such motion respective signatures; (2) the canvassing was done in the presence of
is prohibited. It may therefore be filed within 15 days from notice to a watchers, representatives of the political parties, the media, and the general
party. Indeed, the filing of such motion should be encouraged before resort is public so that respondents would not have risked the commission of any
made to this Court as a matter of exhaustion of administrative remedies, to irregularity; and (3) the acts dealt with in R.A. No. 6646, 27(b) are mala in
afford the agency rendering the judgment an opportunity to correct any error se and not mala prohibita, and petitioner failed to establish criminal intent on
it may have committed through a misapprehension of facts or misappreciation the part of respondents.[17]
of the evidence.[7]
The recommendation is unacceptable. In disciplinary proceedings Respondent Llorentes contention that he merely certified the
against members of the bar, only clear preponderance of evidence is required genuineness and due execution of the SoVs but not their correctness is belied
to establish liability.[18] As long as the evidence presented by complainant or by the certification which reads:
that taken judicial notice of by the Court[19] is more convincing and worthy of
belief than that which is offered in opposition thereto, [20] the imposition of WE HEREBY CERTIFY that the foregoing Statement of Votes by . . .
disciplinary sanction is justified. [p]recinct is true and correct. IN WITNESS WHEREOF, we sign these
In this case, respondents do not dispute the fact that massive presents at the City/Municipality of ___________ Province of
irregularities attended the canvassing of the Pasig City election returns. The ____________ this _______ day of May, 1995. (Emphasis added)
only explanation they could offer for such irregularities is that the same could
be due to honest mistake, human error, and/or fatigue on the part of the Nor does the fact that the canvassing was open to the public and
members of the canvassing committees who prepared the SoVs. observed by numerous individuals preclude the commission of acts for which
respondents are liable.The fact is that only they had access to the SoVs and
This is the same allegation made in Pimentel v. Commission on CoC and thus had the opportunity to compare them and detect the
Elections.[21] In rejecting this allegation and ordering respondents prosecuted discrepancies therein.
for violation of R.A. No. 6646, 27(b), this Court said:
Now, a lawyer who holds a government position may not be disciplined
There is a limit, We believe, to what can be construed as an honest as a member of the bar for misconduct in the discharge of his duties as a
mistake or oversight due to fatigue, in the performance of official duty. The government official.[25]However, if the misconduct also constitutes a violation
sheer magnitude of the error, not only in the total number of votes garnered of the Code of Professional Responsibility or the lawyers oath or is of such
by the aforementioned candidates as reflected in the CoC and the SoVs, character as to affect his qualification as a lawyer or shows moral delinquency
which did not tally with that reflected in the election returns, but also in the on his part, such individual may be disciplined as a member of the bar for such
total number of votes credited for senatorial candidate Enrile which exceeded misconduct.[26]
the total number of voters who actually voted in those precincts during the
May 8, 1995 elections, renders the defense of honest mistake or oversight Here, by certifying as true and correct the SoVs in question, respondents
due to fatigue, as incredible and simply unacceptable. [22] committed a breach of Rule 1.01 of the Code which stipulates that a lawyer
shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct. By
Indeed, what is involved here is not just a case of mathematical error in express provision of Canon 6, this is made applicable to lawyers in the
the tabulation of votes per precinct as reflected in the election returns and the government service. In addition, they likewise violated their oath of office as
subsequent entry of the erroneous figures in one or two SoVs [23] but a lawyers to do no falsehood.
systematic scheme to pad the votes of certain senatorial candidates at the
expense of petitioner in complete disregard of the tabulation in the election Nowhere is the need for lawyers to observe honesty both in their private
returns. A cursory look at the evidence submitted by petitioner reveals that, in and in their public dealings better expressed in Sabayle v. Tandayag[27] in
at least 24 SoVs involving 101 precincts, the votes for candidate Enrile which this Court said:
exceeded the number of voters who actually voted in the said precincts and,
in 18 SoVs, returns from 22 precincts were tabulated twice. In addition, as the There is a strong public interest involved in requiring lawyers . . . to
Court noted in Pimentel, the total number of votes credited to each of the behave at all times in a manner consistent with truth and honor. It is important
seven senatorial candidates in question, as reflected in the CoC, markedly that the common caricature that lawyers by and large do not feel compelled
differ from those indicated in the SoVs. [24]Despite the fact that these to speak the truth and to act honestly, should not become a common reality. .
discrepancies, especially the double recording of the returns from 22 precincts . .[28]
and the variation in the tabulation of votes as reflected in the SoVs and CoC, It may be added that, as lawyers in the government service, respondents were
were apparent on the face of these documents and that the variation involves under greater obligation to observe this basic tenet of the profession because
substantial number of votes, respondents nevertheless certified the SoVs as a public office is a public trust.
true and correct. Their acts constitute misconduct.
Third. Respondents participation in the irregularities herein reflects on
the legal profession, in general, and on lawyers in government, in
particular. Such conduct in the performance of their official duties, involving Eladio Ramos giving the latter authority to encumber, mortgage and transfer
no less than the ascertainment of the popular will as expressed through the in favor of any person a parcel of land situated in Bayambang, Pangasinan.
ballot, would have merited for them suspension were it not for the fact that this On August 9, 1934, by virtue of the power of attorney abovementioned,
is their first administrative transgression and, in the case of Salayon, after a Eladio Ramos executed in favor of one Romualdo Rivera a mortgage on
long public service.[29] Under the circumstances, a penalty of fine in the therefore said property. Together with another parcel of land, to guarantee
amount of P10,000.00 for each of the respondents should be sufficient. the payment of loan of 300, with interest thereon at the rate of 12% per
annum. When Eladio Ramos failed to pay the obligation on its date of
WHEREFORE, the Court finds respondents Antonio M. Llorente and maturity, Romualdo Rivera, the mortgage, filed an action to foreclosure the
Ligaya P. Salayon GUILTY of misconduct and imposes on each of them a mortgage, making as parties-defendants the herein petitioners, brothers and
FINE in the amount of P10,000.00 with a WARNING that commission of sisters of Eladio Ramos (civil case No. 7668). The summons was served
similar acts will be dealt with more severely. only upon Eladio Ramos, who acknowledge the service in his own behalf
SO ORDERED. and in that services of Attorney Lauro C. Maiquez, who put in his
appearance for all the defendants, and submitted an answer in their behalf.
Bellosillo, (Chairman), Quisumbing, Buena, and De Leon, Jr., After trial, at which both parties presented their evidence, the court rendered
JJ., concur. decision ordering Eladio Ramos to pay to the plaintiff his obligation of 300,
with interest thereon at the rate of 12 per cent per annum, from August 9,
1934, until its full payment, plus the sum of 100 as attorney's fees, and
ordering the foreclosure of the mortgage upon failure of Eladio Ramos to pay
the judgment within ninety (90) days from the date the decision becomes
final. The decision was rendered on August 24, 1939. As Eladio Ramos
G.R. No. L-2610 June 16, 1951
failed to pay the judgment within the period therein specified, on motion of
the plaintiff, the court ordered the sale at public auction of the mortgaged
CEFERINA RAMOS, ET ALS., petitioners, properties, which were sold to the plaintiff as the highest bidder and the
vs. provincial sheriff issued the corresponding deed of the sale in his favor. The
ANATOLIO C. MAALAC, or his successor, as Judge of the Court of sale was confirmed by the court on April 1, 1941. On August 21, 1947,
First Instance of Pangasinan, Second Branch, and FELIPE Romualdo Rivera sold the properties to Felipa Lopez, who later filed a
LOPEZ, respondents. motion praying that she be placed in possession thereof. This motion was
granted on September 22, 1947. As the petitioners did not heed the order,
D. Ignacio Castillo for petitioners. they were summoned by the court to explain why they should no be
Primicias, Abad, Mencias and Castillo for respondents. punished for contempt for their refusal to comply with the writ of possession,
to which they answered contending that said writ partakes of the nature of
an action and as it was issued after more than five years, the court acted in
BAUTISTA ANGELO, J.:
excess of its jurisdiction, and that the sale conducted by the sheriff was
illegal because petitioners were not properly served with summons as
This is a petition for certiorari seeking the annulment of an order of the Court defendants in the foreclosure suit. The explanation given by petitioners
of First Instance of Pangasinan dated September 22, 1947, placing one having been found to be unsatisfactory, the court insisted in its order and
Felipe Lopez in possession of two (2) parcels of land claimed to belong to threatened to punish the petitioners as for contempt of court if they failed to
petitioners, and of the decision rendered by the same court on August 24, obey the order. Hence this petition for certiorari.
1939, ordering the foreclosure of the mortgage executed on said property to
satisfy the payment of an obligation.
The issues posed by the petitioners relate (1) to the validity of the decision
rendered by the lower court on August 24, 1939, in civil case No. 7668,
The facts involved in this case are: On August 31, 1933, Victoriano, ordering the foreclosure of the mortgage excluded by Eladio Ramos on the
Leonardo, Vicenta, Isabina, Gregoria, Ceferina, Jose and Geronimo, all properties in question; and (2) to the validity of the order of the court dated
surnamed Ramos, executed a power of attorney in favor of their brother September 22, 1947, directing the issuance of a writ of possession to place
respondent Felipa Lopez in possession to place respondent Felipa Lopez in purchaser, and the latter will not be driven to an action at law to obtain
possession of the properties purchased by her from the mortgagee. possession. The power of the court to issue a process and place the
purchaser in possession, is said to rest upon the ground that it has power to
As regards the first issue, we are of the opinion that the claim of the enforce its own decrees and thus avoid circuitous action and vexatious
petitioners can not be sustained for the reason that it is in the nature of a litigation (Rovero de Ortega vs. Natividad, 71 Phil., 340).
collateral attack to a judgment which on its face is valid and regular and has
become final long ago. It is a well-known rule that a judgment, which on its It has also been held:
face is valid and regular, can only be attacked in separate action brought
principally for the purpose (Gomez vs. Concepcion, 47 Phil., 717). In a foreclosure suit, where no third person not a party thereto
intervenes and the debtor continues in possession of the real
Granting for the sake of argument that petitioners were not properly served property mortgaged, a writ of possession is a necessary remedy to
with summons in civil case No. 7668, as they claim, the defect in the service put an end to the litigation, inasmuch as section 257 of the Code of
was cured when the petitioners voluntarily appeared and answered the Civil Procedure (now section 3, Rule 70 of the Rules of Court)
complaint thru their attorney of record, Lauro C. Maiquez who appeared in provides that the confirmation of the sale by judicial decree
their behalf in all stages of the case. Since an Attorney Maiquez who operates to divest all the parties to the action of their respective
appeared for the petitioners must be presumed to have been authorized by rights and vests them in the purchaser. According to this legal
them when he appeared in their behalf in all the stages of the case. The provision, it is the duty of the competent court to issue a writ so that
security and finality of judicial proceedings require that the evasions and the purchaser may be placed in the possession of the property
tergiversations of unsuccessful litigants should be received with undue favor which he purchased at the public auction sale and become his by
to overcome such presumption (Tan Lua vs. O'Brien, 55 Phil., 53). This is virtue of the final decree confirming the sale. (Rivera vs. Rupac, 61
specially so when, as in the instant case, it is only after the lapse of more Phil., 201). Emphasis supplied.
than nine (9) years after the judgment has been rendered that petitioners
thought of challenging the jurisdiction of the court. The following American authorities may also be involved in support of the
order of the lower court:
The second issue raised by the petitioners is not also taken, for the simple
reason that the issuance of a writ of possession in a foreclosure proceedings A court of equity, having obtained jurisdiction in action for the
is not an execution of judgment within the purview of section 6, Rule 39, of foreclosure of the mortgage, and having decreed a sale of the
the Rules of Court, but is merely a ministerial and complementary duty of the premises, RETAINS its jurisdiction and has authority to put the
court can undertake even after the lapse of five (5) years, provided the purchaser in possession of the property, without compelling him to
statute of limitations and the rights of third persons have not intervened in resort to an action of law. (27 Cyc., 1937; 42 C. J., 271 and cases
the meantime (Rivera vs. Rupac, 61 Phil., 201). This is the correct there cited.) (Bold types and emphasis supplied).
interpretation of section 6, Rule 39, in relation to section 3, Rule 70 of the
Rules of Court. This is a case where the judgment involved is already final
executed, and the properties mortgaged sold by order of the court, and the . . . It does not appear to consist with sound principle that the court
properties mortgaged sold by order of the court, and purchaser thereof has which has exclusive authority to foreclosure the equity of
transferred them to a third person, who desires to be placed in their redemption of a mortgagor, and can call all the parties in interest
possession. In the exercise of its interlocutory duty to put and end to the before it, and decree a sale of the mortgaged premises, should not
litigation and save multiplicity of an action, no plausible reason is seen why be able even to put the purchaser into possession against one of
the court cannot issue a peremptory order to place the ultimate purchaser in the very parties to the suit, and who is bound by the decree. When
the possession of the property. the court has obtained jurisdiction of a case, and has investigated
and decided upon the merits, it is not sufficient for the ends of
justice merely to declare the right without affording the remedy. If it
The general rule is that after a sale has been made under a decree in a was to be understood that after a decree and sale mortgaged
foreclosure suit, the court has the power to give possession to the premises, the mortgagor, or other party to the suit, or perhaps,
those who have been let into possession by the A person can not be punished because of his alleged disobedience
mortgagor, pendente lite, could withhold the possession in defiance of an order of court not addressed to him. A writ of execution issued
of the authority of this court, and compel the purchaser to resort to by a justice of the peace to the sheriff directing the latter to place
a court of law, I apprehend that the delay and expense and the plaintiff in possession of property held by the defendant, is not
inconvenience of such a course of proceeding would greatly impair an order addressed to the defendant. Such an order must been
the value and diminish the results of sales under a decree. (See addressed to an officer of the court and not to either the plaintiff or
Notes to Wilson v. Polk, 51 Am. D., 151). (Kershew v. Thompson, 4 the defendant. The party in possession may have been unwilling to
Johns, Ch., 609). deliver the land, but such unwillingness does not constitute an act
of disobedience to order of an agent of authorities, as defined by
Wherefore, the petition is dismissed with costs against the petitioners. art. 252, P.C. The disobedience contemplated by said article
consists in the failure or refusal to obey a direct judicial order and
not an order which is merely declaratory of the rights of the parties.
Paras, C. J., Feria, Bengzon, Montemayor and Jugo, JJ., concur. In the case at bar, while the order does direct that the party in
possession shall surrender the property to the proper person, it
does not and could not order his to do so to do. Instead of
executing the judgment himself, the sheriff merely ordered the
defendant to deliver the property. A sheriff has no power to require
TUASON, J., concurring and dissenting: any person to perform an act which he himself is bound to perform.
Under such circumstances, disobedience on the part of the person
to whom the sheriff gave such an order does not constitute a crime.
I am in complete agreement with the majority decision on the two
propositions formulated in the opening paragraph, namely; (1) that the
foreclosure of the mortgage and the sale of the mortgaged property was in Act 3170, subsequently passed, added a new paragraph to Section 232 of
accordance with law, and (2) that placing Felipa Lopez in Possession of the the Code of Civil Procedure, reading as follows:
said property was a natural corollary of the first. But the appealed order also
threatens the petitioners with punishment for contempt if they refuse to A person guilty of any of the following acts may be punished as for
vacate the lands. This, to me the most important feature of the order, has contempt:
been ignored or brushed aside in the decision. By its sweeping denial of the
petition, this Court sanctions the impending punishment. To this extent, I xxx xxx xxx
dissent.
5. The person defeated in civil action concerning the ownership or
In the case of U.S. vs. Ramayrat, 22 Phil., 183, the Court said: possession of real estate who, after having been evicted by the
sheriff from the realty under litigation in compliance with the
A writ of execution to sheriff directing him to place a plaintiff in judgment rendered, shall enter or attempt to enter upon the same
possession of property held by a defendant and failure or refusal on for the purpose of executing acts of ownership or possession or
the part of the defendant to surrender the property does not who shall in any manner disturb possession by the person whom
constitute contempt or disobedience to an agent of authority as the sheriff placed in possession of said realty.
defined in art. 252, P.C. It is the duty of the sheriff to place the
proper party in possession. Whether a refusal to deliver the But the new enactment has not given courts a new power to punish the
property to the sheriff on demand would constitute contempt, recalcitrant loser for contempt before he is evicted. It is only when he
quaere. reenters or attempts to reenter after he is punishment. In the case at bar, the
purchaser of the mortgaged property has never been placed in possession
xxx xxx xxx thereof by the sheriff, much less have the present occupants been evicted
therefrom.
The validity of the lower court's order that is the subject of the present memorandum before the Court of Appeal is to practice the
proceeding is not attacked on the ground of lack of authority of the court to profession of lawyer, because an agent can not do it; Collecting
punish for contempt for their refusal to quit lands; but this Court's decision in rents from the more than one hundred defendants issuing receipts
keeping silent on this vital point could or would, be construed as a green and signing them as attorney of the plaintiff is to practice the
light signal for the respondent Judge to proceed with the enforcement of his profession.
said order with all it's intended ramifications.
2. ID .; ID .; - The fact that the lawyer had not put in his motion
I do not believe that the petitioners' action is punishable as for contempt on for execution that acted as a lawyer but as agent and employee of
another ground. Although they were included as parties defendants in the the applicant does not alter the nature of his services which are
foreclosure suit, yet the dispositive part of the judgment imposes no duty on certainly professional services of lawyer. Concealing that he acted
them either to pay the mortgaged debt or to make delivery of the mortgaged as a lawyer and pretending to be only an agent, his situation is
property. As was said in U.S. vs. Ramayrat, supra, "the disobedience aggravated; It is more guilty that, covered with a mask, he fires at
contemplated by Art. 232 of the Code of Civil Procedure consist in the failure his enemy than he who does it with his face uncovered and in
or refusal to obey a direct judicial order and not an order which is merely
public view.
declaratory of the rights of the parties."
3. ID .; ATTORNEY SUSPENDED THAT ENJOY THE PROFESSION. -
The suspended lawyer practicing the profession during the period
of suspension must be completely disqualified to practice such
profession in the Philippines with the consequent cancellation of
the certificate issued in his favor as such lawyer.
EN BANC

[Adm. Case No. 98. July 13, 1953.]


DECISION
In Case of FELIX Attorney P. David.
PAUL M. :
D. Felix P. David in his own representation.

Assistant Attorney General, Mr. Ruperto Kapunan, Jr. and In administrative case No. 35, the defendant was suspended for
Attorney General, Mr. Esmeraldo Umali, on behalf of the malpractice in the exercise of his profession of lawyer for a period
Government. of five years from November 9, 1949. The defendant admits this
suspension in his written report filed on 17 Of March 1951; yet he
continued exercising the profession within the period of the
SYLLABUS
suspension, November 9, 1949 November 8, 1954.

On February 28, 1950 the Respondent submitted a claim (Exhibit


1. ATTORNEYS; DEFINED THE TERM "EXERCISE THE
J) in the cause CA GR No. 4792 -R, Tan Tek Sy v. Maliwanag, not
PROFESSION." - To practice the profession of lawyer is to practice
as a lawyer for Tan Tek Sy, but with the following words: "for and
the acts of that profession. The preparation and lodging of motions
on behalf of Tan Tek Sy"; On January 26, 1951, it was sent by
requesting the execution of a sentence, the demolition of the
certified mail notification of the decision in said case (Exhibit G),
defendants' houses in the case asking the court to order the sheriff
confirming the decision of the Court of First Instance; on March
to deliver the amounts collected in the case are acts that form part
13, 1951 I filed a motion in this court - returned and the record -
of the exercise of the profession of advocacy; The filing and
calling the issuance of a warrant of execution, which motion is September 25, 1950, I submitted to the Court of Appeal a
signed as follows: jgc: chanrobles.com.ph memorandum in reply to that of the appellant, signed as is the
case.
"TEK SO IF
"In order," says the respondent, "to show that I did not have the
" By (Sgd.) FELIX DAVID P., intention to disregard the suspension of the Supreme Court, I did
not have the knowledge of Tan Tek and even identified myself as
"c / o Atty. Felix P. David, the attorney for the appellee but in good faith, I signed for and on
behalf of the appellee without designating that I am practicing the
" Corner Dagupan and Azcarraga St., attorney-at-law. " cralaw virtua1aw library

"Saw Mill & Construction Philippines, do not think this justified the performance of the resorted to
submit the claim and its memorandum on behalf of his client being
" Manila " suspended in the exercise of their profession; Knowing that he was
suspended, should not have presented them neither as an agent
the present resorted therefore written not as often practicing nor as a lawyer; Was obliged not to continue serving his client
lawyers do, but as an agent Sy Tan Tek. before the Court of Appeal; Had to warn his client that he was
suspended in the exercise of his profession of lawyer and should
in the civil case No. 3658 of the Court of First Instance of Manila, advise him to employ another in his place if he wanted to have
entitled Malayan Saw Mill, Inc. against Tolentino, the respondent representation; Should not contravene the express order of this
filed a brief in September 25 1950, calling for an order to demolish Court; He should have known that a non-practicing lawyer can not
the defendants' homes (Exhibit A), and on October 10, 1950, I be heard by a litigant before a court except before a court of
filed a motion asking that the Sheriff of Manila be authorized to law. In presenting his plea and memorandum with the words "For
pay "the amount or such other amount as may be collected by the and on behalf of the Appellee" he infringed Article 31 of Rule 127
Sheriff from time to time "(Exhibit B), on November 13, 1950 filed which provides that "In other courts, a party may conduct its own
another motion (Exhibit C) requesting another demolition order, litigation either personally or with the assistance of An attorney,
signing the three briefs, Exhibits A, B and C, as plaintiff's and his appearance shall be made personally or through a duly
attorney; Exhibits B to B-34 show that he was receiving payments authorized member of the Forum. " An agent or a member of the
of amounts from several defendants as plaintiff's attorney; the suspended Forum can not appear for a litigant.
oldest receipt is dated February 12, 1950 and the last on
December 7, 1950. In order to explain the motions in case No. 3655, Malayan Saw
Mill, Inc. v. Tolentino, the respondent states that I am acting in
In defense resorted appeared as attorney says Tan Tek Sy from good faith, that I present them not to disobey the decision of this
the Municipal Court of Manila in 1948; That when he was Court but to be able to collect its fees. As an officer of the Forum,
suspended he had advised his client to seek another lawyer to the lawyer must comply with the decision of this Court over any
prepare the case to be presented to the Court of Appeal; That other consideration. We believe that it is not a work of good faith
when there were no more than two or three days and his client that, putting its interest in the collection of its fees, exercises the
could not present it, he himself wrote it and presented it at the profession knowing that it was forbidden to exercise it. Even if he
request of his client; That he prepared the plea with the intention had not filed his motions on exhibits A, B and C and issued
of his client signing it, but since he was in Dagupan and could not receipts B to B-34 for amounts collected from the defendants, the
sign it and there was only one day left, then he signed it as defendant could have collected his fees, either claiming directly
follows: "Felix P. David, For and on behalf of the appellee. " On from his client, already claiming them according to the article Rule
33 127. Bengzon, Padilla, Tuason, Montemayor, Reyes, Jugo, Angelo
Bautista and Labrador, MM., Are satisfied.
the appeal says that if appeared before March 2, 1950 in case No.
7679 of the Court of First Instance of Manila, Juan de la Torre
against Philippine Trust Co., was by request of his brother John's
Torre and also he did not charge fees for his appearance because
he knew that he was suspended in the exercise of the
profession. Even if this appearance were not taken into account,
the respondent can not be saved because he / she has lent the
various professional services already reported.

To practice the profession of lawyer is to practice the acts of that


profession. The preparation and filing of motions requesting the
execution of the sentence, the demolition of the defendants'
houses, asking the court to order the Sheriff to deliver the
amounts collected, are acts that are part of the practice of the
profession of advocacy; The filing and memorandum before the
Court of Appeal is to practice the profession of lawyer, because an
agent can not do it; Collecting rents from the 109 defendants by
issuing 35 receipts and signing them as attorney for the plaintiff, is
to practice the profession.

The fact that he had not put in motion his order to execute
Malayan Saw Mill, Inc. against Tolentino, who acted as a lawyer
but as agent and employee of the Philippines Sawmill and
Construction, does not alter the nature of his services which are
certainly Professional lawyer services; But concealing that he acted
as a lawyer for Tan Tek Sy and pretending to be only an agent, his
situation is aggravated: it is more guilty that, covered with a
mask, he shoots his enemy than he who does it with his face
uncovered and in plain sight Of the public; Hence the criminal law
imposes more severe penalty in the first case.

The evidence of record shows that the Respondent Felix P. David


practiced as a lawyer intentionally disobeying the decision of the
Court of September 30, 1949, Administrative Case No. 35.

Therefore, it disables to practice the profession of lawyer In the


Philippines, the certificate issued in your favor to exercise the
profession is declared canceled and you are ordered to return it to
the Clerk of this Court.