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Sources of Principles and Rules on Legal and Judicial

Ethics

Art. VIII, Sec. 5 (5), 1987 Constitution

Rules 135 to 142, Revised Rules of Court

Lawyer's Oath

The Notarial Law (Title IV, Chapter 11, Revised


Administrative Code)

2004 Rules on Notarial Practice, April 27, 2004

Practice of law definition

Practice of law is a privilege, not a right

In Re Keenan:

"The right to practice law is not one of the inherent


rights of every citizen, as in the right to carry on an
ordinary trade or business. It is a peculiar privilege
granted and continued only to those who demonstrate
special fitness in intellectual attainment and in moral
character. All may aspire to it on an absolutely equal
basis, but not all will attain it. Elaborate machinery has
been set up to test applicants by standards fair to all and
to separate the fit from the unfit. Only those who pass
the test are allowed to enter the profession, and only
those who maintain the standards are allowed to remain
in it."
Re Rouss:

"Membership in the bar is a privilege burdened with


conditions, and a fair private and professional character
is one of them; to refuse admission to an unworthy
applicant is not to punish him for past offense: an
examination into character, like the examination into
learning, is merely a test of fitness."

Law as a profession and not a trade

Qualification for admission to the bar.

LARYERS OATH

OATH OF A LAWYER

IN RE: PETITION TO TAKE THE LAWYERS OATH BY


ARTHUR M. CUEVAS, JR., 348 Phil. 841
Let it be stressed to herein petitioner that the lawyers oath is
not a mere formality recited for a few minutes in the glare of
flashing cameras and before the presence of select witnesses.
Petitioner is exhorted to conduct himself beyond reproach at all
times and to live strictly according to his oath and the Code of
Professional Responsibility. And, to paraphrase Mr. Justice
Padillas comment in the sister case of Re: Petition of Al
Argosino To Take The Lawyers Oath, Bar Matter No. 712,
March 19, 1997, [t]he Court sincerely hopes that Mr. Cuevas,
Jr., will continue with the assistance he has been giving to his
community. As a lawyer he will now be in a better position to
render legal and other services to the more unfortunate
members of society.

The official oath obliges the attorney solemnly to swear


that he "will do no falsehood". As an officer in the
temple of justice, an attorney has irrefragable
obligations of "truthfulness, candor and frankness".[1]
Indeed, candor and frankness should characterize the
conduct of the lawyer at every stage.(Pangan vs. Atty.
Ramos A. C. No. 1053, September 07, 1979)

CANON 1

CANON 2

CANON 3
CANON 4

CANON 6

CANON 7
RULE 7.02

The nature of the office, the trust relation which exists between
attorney and client, as well as between court and attorney,
and the statutory rule prescribing the qualifications of
attorneys, uniformly require that an attorney be a person of
good moral character. If that qualification in a condition
precedent to a license or privilege to enter upon the practice of
the law, it would seem to be equally essential during the
continuance of the practice and the exercise of the privilege. So
it is held that an attorney will be removed not only for
malpractice and dishonesty In his profession, but also for gross
misconduct not connected with his professional duties, which
shows him to be unfit for the office and unworthy of the
privileges which his license and the law confer upon him."( In
Re Pelaez, 44 Phil. 667)

CANON 7, RULE 7.03

The Code of Professional Responsibility enjoins a lawyer from


engaging in unlawful, dishonest or deceitful conduct. The
complementing Rule 7.03 of the Code, on the other hand,
provides that "a lawyer shall not engage in conduct that
adversely reflects on his fitness to practice law." Another
complementing provision is found in the Rules of Court
providing that a member of the bar may be suspended or even
removed from office as an attorney for any deceit, malpractice,
or misconduct in office. And when the Code or the Rules speaks
of "conduct" or "misconduct," the reference is not confined to
one's behavior exhibited in connection with the performance of
the lawyer's professional duties, but also covers any
misconduct which, albeit unrelated to the actual practice of his
profession, would show him to be unfit for the office and
unworthy of the privileges which his license and the law invest
him with. To borrow from Orbe v. Adaza. "[T]he grounds
expressed in Section 27, Rule 138, of the Rules of Court are not
limitative and are broad enough to cover any misconduct,
including dishonesty, of a lawyer in his professional or private
capacity."( GACIAS VS. ATTY. ALEXANDER BULAUITAN,
A.C. NO. 7280, November 16, 2006)

CANON 8

CANON 9
The lawyers duty to prevent, or at the very least not to assist
in, the unauthorized practice of law is founded on public
interest and policy. Public policy requires that the practice of
law be limited to those individuals found duly qualified in
education and character. The permissive right conferred on the
lawyer is an individual and limited privilege subject to
withdrawal if he fails to maintain proper standards of moral
and professional conduct. The purpose is to protect the public,
the court, the client, and the bar from the incompetence or
dishonesty of those unlicensed to practice law and not subject
to the disciplinary control of the Court. It devolves upon a
lawyer to see that this purpose is attained. Thus, the canons
and ethics of the profession enjoin him not to permit his
professional services or his name to be used in aid of, or to
make possible the unauthorized practice of law by, any agency,
personal or corporate. And, the law makes it a misbehavior on
his part, subject to disciplinary action, to aid a layman in the
unauthorized practice of law.( atty. Neo-lacsamana vs. atty.
Busmente, 677 phil. 1)

Canon 9, The lawyers duty to prevent, or at the very least not


to assist in, the unauthorized practice of law is founded on
public interest and policy. Public policy requires that the
practice of law be limited to those individuals found duly
qualified in education and character. The permissive right
conferred on the lawyer is an individual and limited privilege
subject to withdrawal if he fails to maintain proper standards
of moral and professional conduct. The purpose is to protect
the public, the court, the client, and the bar from the
incompetence or dishonesty of those unlicensed to practice law
and not subject to the disciplinary control of the Court. It
devolves upon a lawyer to see that this purpose is attained.
Thus, the canons and ethics of the profession enjoin him not to
permit his professional services or his name to be used in aid
of, or to make possible the unauthorized practice of law by, any
agency, personal or corporate. And, the law makes it a
misbehavior on his part, subject to disciplinary action, to aid a
layman in the unauthorized practice of law.( CAMBALIZA vs.
ATTY. ANA LUZ B. CRISTAL-TENORIO, Adm. Case No. 6290,
July 14, 2004)

Canon 9, The lawyers duty to prevent, or at the very least not


to assist in, the unauthorized practice of law is founded on
public interest and policy. Public policy requires that the
practice of law be limited to those individuals found duly
qualified in education and character. The permissive right
conferred on the lawyer is an individual and limited privilege
subject to withdrawal if he fails to maintain proper standards
of moral and professional conduct. The purpose is to protect
the public, the court, the client, and the bar from the
incompetence or dishonesty of those unlicensed to practice law
and not subject to the disciplinary control of the Court. It
devolves upon a lawyer to see that this purpose is attained.
Thus, the canons and ethics of the profession enjoin him not to
permit his professional services or his name to be used in aid
of, or to make possible the unauthorized practice of law by, any
agency, personal or corporate. And, the law makes it a
misbehavior on his part, subject to disciplinary action, to aid a
layman in the unauthorized practice of law.( CAMBALIZA vs.
ATTY. ANA LUZ B. CRISTAL-TENORIO, Adm. Case No. 6290,
July 14, 2004)

CANON 10

CANON 11

CANON 12

CANON 13
CANON 14

It is settled that a lawyer is not obliged to act as counsel for


every person who may wish to become his client. He has the
right to decline employment subject however, to the provision
of Canon 14 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. Once
he agrees to take up the cause of a client, he owes
fidelity to such cause and must always be mindful of the
trust and confidence reposed to him. Respondent
Meneses, as counsel, had the obligation to inform his client of
the status of the case and to respond within a reasonable time
to his clients request for information. Respondents failure to
communicate with his client by deliberately disregarding its
request for an audience or conference is an unjustifiable denial
of its right to be fully informed of the developments in and the
status of its case.

Rule 14.01

The Court has stressed in Aromin v. Boncavil that:

Once he agrees to take up the cause of the client, the lawyer


owes fidelity to such cause and must always be mindful of the
trust and confidence reposed in him. He must serve the client
with competence and diligence, and champion the latter's
cause with wholehearted fidelity, care, and devotion. Elsewise
stated, he owes entire devotion to the interest of the client, warm
zeal in the maintenance and defense of his client's rights, and
the exertion of the his utmost learning and ability to the end
that nothing be taken or withheld from his client, save by the
rules of law, legally applied. This simply means that his
client is entitled to the benefit of any and every remedy
and defense that is authorized by the law of the land
and he may expect his lawyer to assert every such
remedy or defense. If much is demanded from an
attorney, it is because the entrusted privilege to
practice law carries with it the correlative duties not
only to the client but also to the court, to the bar, and to
the public. A lawyer who performs his duty with diligence and
candor not only protects the interest of his client; he also serves
the ends of justice, does honor to the bar, and helps maintain
the respect of the community to the legal profession.

A written contract is not an essential element in the


employment of an attorney; the contract may be express or
implied. To establish the relation, it is sufficient that the
advice and assistance of an attorney is sought and received in
any matter pertinent to his profession.( A.C. NO. 6155, March
14, 2006
MA. GINA L. FRANCISCO, JOSEPHINE S. TAN AND
CARLOS M. JOAQUIN, COMPLAINANTS, VS. ATTY. JAIME
JUANITO P. PORTUGAL

This Court has likewise constantly held that once lawyers


agree to take up the cause of a client, they owe fidelity to such
cause and must always be mindful of the trust and confidence
reposed in them. They owe entire devotion to the interest of the
client, warm zeal in the maintenance and the defense of the
clients rights, and the exertion of their utmost learning and
abilities to the end that nothing be taken or withheld from the
client, save by the rules of law legally applied.( Adm. Case No.
99-634, June 10, 2002 BURBE, , VS. ATTY. ALBERTO C.
MAGULTA,)

Rule 14. 03

We held in Nombrado v. Hernandez[25] that the


termination of the relation of attorney and client
provides no justification for a lawyer to represent an
interest adverse to or in conflict with that of the former
client. The reason for the rule is that the client's
confidence once reposed cannot be divested by the
expiration of the professional employment. Consequently,
a lawyer should not, even after the severance of the
relation with his client, do anything which will injuriously
affect his former client in any matter in which he
previously represented him nor should he disclose or use
any of the client's confidences acquired in the previous
relation.

Jurisprudence has provided three tests in determining


whether a lawyer is guilty of representing conflicting
interest:

One test is whether a lawyer is duty-bound to fight for an


issue or claim in behalf of one client and, at the same
time, to oppose that claim for the other client. Thus, if a
lawyer's argument for one client has to be opposed by
that same lawyer in arguing for the other client, there is
a violation of the rule.

Another test of inconsistency of interests is whether the


acceptance of a new relation would prevent the full
discharge of the lawyer's duty of undivided fidelity
and loyalty to the client or invite suspicion of
unfaithfulness or double-dealing in the
performance of that duty. Still another test is whether
the lawyer would be called upon in the new relation to
use against a former client any confidential information
acquired through their connection or previous
employment. (Lee vs. Simando A.C. No. 9537 , june 10,
2013)

CANON 15
The prohibition against representing conflicting interest is
founded on principles of public policy and good taste. In the
course of a lawyer-client relationship, the lawyer learns all the
facts connected with the client's case, including the weak and
strong points of the case. The nature of that relationship is,
therefore, one of trust and confidence of the highest degree. It
behooves lawyers not only to keep inviolate the client's
confidence, but also to avoid the appearance of impropriety and
double-dealing for only then can litigants be encouraged to
entrust their secrets to their lawyers, which is of paramount
importance in the administration of justice.[5]( A.C. NO. 6160,
March 30, 2006 PEREZ VS. ATTY. DE LA TORRE)

There is conflict of interests when a lawyer represents


inconsistent interests of two or more opposing parties. The test
is "whether or not in behalf of one client, it is the lawyer's duty
to fight for an issue or claim, but it is his duty to oppose it for
the other client. In brief, if he argues for one client, this
argument will be opposed by him when he argues for the other
client." This rule covers not only cases in which confidential
communications have been confided, but also those in which no
confidence has been bestowed or will be used. [3]( A.C. NO. 6160,
March 30, 2006

NESTOR PEREZ, COMPLAINANT, VS. ATTY. DANILO DE


LA TORRE
)

CANON 16

Money entrusted to a lawyer for a specific purpose, such as


payment for the balance of the purchase price of a parcel of
land as in the present case, but not used for the purpose,
should be immediately returned.[2] A lawyer's failure to return
upon demand the funds held by him on behalf of his client
gives rise to the presumption that he has appropriated the
same for his own use in violation of the trust reposed in him by
his client. Such act is a gross violation of general morality as
well as of professional ethics. It impairs public confidence in
the legal profession and deserves punishment.[ A.C. No. 9390, August 01,
2012

EMILIA O. DHALIWAL, COMPLAINANT, VS. ATTY. ABELARDO B. DUMAGUING)

Every lawyer has the responsibility to protect and advance the


interests of his client such that he must promptly account for
whatever money or property his client may have entrusted to
him. As a mere trustee of said money or property, he must hold
them separate from that of his own and make sure that they
are used for their intended purpose. If not used, he must
return the money or property immediately to his client upon
demand, otherwise the lawyer shall be presumed to have
misappropriated the same in violation of the trust reposed on
him.[4] A lawyer's conversion of funds entrusted to him is a
gross violation of professional ethics.( A.C. No. 8380, November
20, 2009

ARELLANO UNIVERSITY, INC., COMPLAINANT, VS.


ATTY. LEOVIGILDO H. MIJARES III,

Rule 16.02

The relationship between an attorney and his client is highly


fiduciary in nature.[6] Under his oath, a lawyer pledges himself
not to delay any man for money and he is bound to conduct
himself with good fidelity to his clients. A lawyer should thus
refrain from any action whereby for his personal benefit or
gain, he abuses or takes advantage of the confidence reposed in
him by his client. Accordingly, any money collected for the
client or other trust property coming into the lawyers
possession should promptly be reported by him.[7] A lawyer
must at all times conduct himself, especially in his dealings
with his clients and the public at large, with honesty and
integrity in a manner beyond reproach. A violation of the high
standards of the legal profession subjects the erring lawyer to
administrative sanctions by this Court.( Villanueva v. Atty. Ishiwata, A.C. No.

5041, November 23, 2004)

A lawyer is obliged to hold in trust money or property of his


client that may come to his possession. He is a trustee to said
funds and property. He is to keep the funds of his client
separate and apart from his own and those of others kept by
him. Money entrusted to a lawyer for a specific purpose such as
for the registration of a deed with the Register of Deeds and for
expenses and fees for the transfer of title over real property
under the name of his client if not utilized, must be returned
immediately to his client upon demand therefor. The lawyer's
failure to return the money of his client upon demand gave rise
to a presumption that he has misappropriated said money in
violation of the trust reposed on him. The conversion by a
lawyer [of] funds entrusted to him by his client is a gross
violation of professional ethics and a betrayal of public
confidence in the legal profession.[ A.C. NO. 6051, April 02,
2007

CELIA ARROYO-POSIDIO, COMPLAINANT, VS. ATTY.


JEREMIAS R. VITAN)

In Albano vs. Coloma,[2] this Court has said:


"Counsel, any counsel, who is worthy of his hire, is entitled to
be fully recompensed for his services. With his capital
consisting solely of his brains and with his skill, acquired at
tremendous cost not only in money but in the expenditure of
time and energy, he is entitled to the protection of any judicial
tribunal against any attempt on the part of a client to escape
payment of his fees. It is indeed ironic if after putting forth the
best that is in him to secure justice for the party he represents,
he himself would not get his due. Such an eventuality this
Court is determined to avoid. It views with disapproval any
and every effort of those benefited by counsel's services to
deprive him of his hard-earned honorarium. Such an attitude
deserves condemnation."[3]

Rule 16.03. A lawyer shall deliver the funds and property of


client when due or upon demand. x x x.

Where a client gives money to his lawyer for a specific purpose,


such as to file an action, appeal an adverse judgment,
consummate a settlement, or pay the purchase price of a parcel
of land, the lawyer should, upon failure to take such step and
spend the money for it, immediately return the money to his
client.[15] The fact that a lawyer has a lien for his attorney's
fees on the money in his hands collected for his client does not
relieve him from the obligation to make a prompt accounting.
[16]
Neither is a lawyer entitled to unilaterally appropriate his
client's money for himself by the mere fact alone that the client
owes him attorney's fees.( A.C. No. 4219, December 08, 2003

LOTHAR SCHULZ, COMPLAINANT, VS. ATTY. MARCELO


G. FLORES

Rule 16.03

The charging lien is the right which the attorney has upon all
judgments for the payment of money, and executions issued in
pursuance of said judgments, which he has secured in a
litigation of his client (Section 33, Rule 127; Rustia vs.
Abeto, 72 Phil., 133). Under this rule, this lien, whether
retaining or charging, takes legal effect only from and after,
but not before, notice of said lien has been entered in the
record and served on the adverse party (Macondray &
Company, Inc. vs. Jose, 66 Phil., 590; Menzi and Company
vs. Bastida, 63 Phil., 16).

It may therefore be seen that the right of a lawyer to insure


the payment of his professional fee is either to retain the
funds, documents, and papers of his client which may have
lawfully come into his possession, or to enforce it upon any
judgment for the payment of money he may secure in favor of
his client. And it has been held that the retaining lien is
dependent upon possession and does not attach to anything
not in attorney's hand3. The lien exists only so long as the
attorney retains possession ends (Rustia vs. Abeto, supra).

In both cases, however, it is to be assumed that the client


agrees with the lawyer in the amount of attorney's fees. In case
of a disagreement, or when the client disputes the amount
claimed by the lawyer for being unconscionable, the lawyer
should not arbitrarily apply the funds in his possession to the
payment of his fees; instead, it should behoove the lawyer to
file, if he still deems it desirable, the necessary action or the
proper motion with the proper court to fix the amount of his
attorney's fees.[7] If a lawyer were allowed to unilaterally apply
the funds in his hands in payment of his claimed compensation
even when there is a disagreement between him and his client
would not only be violative of the trust relationship between
them but can also open the door to possible abuse by those who
are less than mindful of their fiduciary duty.( J. K. Mercado
and Sons Agricultural Enterprises, Inc. v. De Vera, 317 SCRA
339 (1999).)
Consequently, a lawyer's failure to return upon demand the
funds or property held by him on behalf of his client gives rise
to the presumption that he has appropriated the same for his
own use to the prejudice of, and in violation of the trust
reposed in him by, his client. It is a gross violation of general
morality as well as of professional ethics; it impairs the public
confidence in the legal profession and deserves punishment.
( Espiritu v. Ulep, A.C. No. 5808, May 4, 2005)

Lawyers who misappropriate the funds entrusted to them are


in gross violation of professional ethics and are guilty of
betrayal of public confidence in the legal profession.[20] Those
who are guilty of such infraction may be disbarred or
suspended indefinitely from the practice of law.( Espiritu v.
Ulep, A.C. No. 5808, May 4, 2005)

Section 25, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court:


SEC. 25. Unlawful retention of client's funds; contempt - When
an attorney unjustly retains in his hands money of his client
after it has been demanded he may be punished for contempt
as an officer of the Court who has misbehaved in his official
transactions; but proceedings under this section shall not be a
bar to a criminal prosecution.

It bears emphasis that a lawyer, under his oath, pledges


himself not to delay any man for money or malice and is
bound to conduct himself with all good fidelity to his
clients. He is obligated to report promptly the money of
his client that has come into his possession. He should not
commingle it with his private property or use it for his
personal purposes without his cllients [sic] consent. He
should maintain a reputation for honesty and fidelity to
private trust (Daroy vs. Legaspi, 65 SCRA 304).

Money collected by a lawyer in pursuance of a judgment in


favor of his clients is held in trust and must be immediately
turned over to them (Aya vs. Bigornia, 57 Phil. 8).

The relationship of lawyer-client being one of confidence, it is


the lawyer's duty to keep the client regularly and fully updated
on the developments of the client's case.[18] The Code provides
that "[a] lawyer shall keep the client informed of the status of
his case and shall respond within a reasonable time to the
client's request for information."( Navarro v. Meneses, 285
SCRA 586 (1998);)

The Code mandates that every "lawyer shall hold in trust all
moneys and properties of his client that may come into his
possession."[21] The Code further states that "[a] lawyer shall
account for all money or property collected or received for or
from the client."[22] Furthermore, "[a] lawyer shall deliver the
funds and property of his client when due and upon
demand."[23]( Navarro v. Meneses, 285 SCRA 586 (1998);)

When a lawyer receives money from the client for a particular


purpose, the lawyer is bound to render an accounting to the
client showing that the money was spent for the intended
purpose.[24] Consequently, if the lawyer does not use the money
for the intended purpose, the lawyer must immediately return
the money to the client.[ Navarro v. Meneses, 285 SCRA 586 (1998);)

A lawyer, under his oath, pledges himself not to delay any man
for money or malice and is bound to conduct himself with all
good fidelity to his clients. He is obligated to report promptly
the money of his clients that has come into his possession. He
should not commingle it with his private property or use it for
his personal purposes without his client's consent. He should
maintain a reputation for honesty and fidelity to private trust.
(Daroy vs. Legaspi 160 Phil. 306)

Money collected by a lawyer in pursuance of a judgment in


favor of his clients is held in trust and must be immediately
turned over to them (Aya vs. Bigornia, 57 Phil. 8, 11).

"The relation between an attorney and his client is highly


fiduciary in its nature and of a very delicate, exacting and
confidential character, requiring a high degree of fidelity and
good faith" (7 Am. Jur. 2d 105). In view of that special
relationship, "lawyers are bound to promptly account for money
or property received by them on behalf of their clients and
failure to do so constitutes professional misconduct. The fact
that a lawyer has a lien for fees or money in his hands collected
for his clients does not relieve him from the duty of promptly
accounting for the funds received." (Syllabus, In re Bamberger,
49 Phil. 962).

A member of the bar who converts the money of his client to


his own benefit through false pretenses is guilty of deceit,
malpractice and gross misconduct in his office of lawyer. The
attorney, who violates his oath of office, betrays the confidence
reposed in him by a client and practises deceit cannot be
permitted to continue as a law practitioner. Not alone has he
degraded himself but as an unfaithful lawyer he has
besmirched the fair name of an honorable profession (In re
Paraiso, 41 Phil 24, 25; In re David, 84 Phil 627; Manaloto vs.
Reyes, Adm. Case No. 503, October 29, 1965, 15 SCRA 131; See
Cabigao and Yzquierdo vs. Fernando Rodrigo, 57 Phil. 20).

CANON 16 Barnachea v. Quiocho

A lawyer is obliged to hold in trust money or property of his


client that may come to his possession. He is a trustee to said
funds and property. He is to keep the funds of his client
separate and apart from his own and those of others kept by
him. Money entrusted to a lawyer for a specific purpose such as
for the registration of a deed with the Register of Deeds and for
expenses and fees for the transfer of title over real property
under the name of his client if not utilized, must be returned
immediately to his client upon demand therefor. The lawyer's
failure to return the money of his client upon demand gave rise
to a presumption that he has misappropriated said money in
violation of the trust reposed on him. The conversion by a
lawyer [of] funds entrusted to him by his client is a gross
violation of professional ethics and a betrayal of public
confidence in the legal profession.[

CANON 17
canon 17,
The relationship between a lawyer and a client is
imbued with utmost trust and confidence.[41] Lawyers are
expected to exercise the necessary diligence and competence in
managing cases entrusted to them. They commit not only to
review cases or give legal advice, but also to represent their
clients to the best of their ability without need to be reminded
by either the client or the court. The expectation to maintain a
high degree of legal proficiency and attention remains the
same whether the represented party is a high-paying client or
an indigent litigant.( A.C. No. 10537, February 03, 2015

REYNALDO G. RAMIREZ, COMPLAINANT, VS. ATTY.


MERCEDES BUHAYANG-MARGALLO, RESPONDENT.

CANON 18

A lawyer has the duty to give adequate attention and time to


every case he accepts. A lawyer impliedly warrants that he
possesses the necessary diligence, learning and skill to handle
each case. He should exert his best judgment and exercise
reasonable and ordinary care and diligence in the pursuit or
defense of his clients cause.( A.C. No. 6297, July 13, 2004
PARIAS, VS. ATTY. PAGUINTO)

Lawyers are expected to be acquainted with the rudiments of


law and legal procedure. A client who deals with counsel has
the right to expect not just a good amount of professional
learning and competence, but also a wholehearted fealty to the
client's cause.22 Thus, we find that passing the blame to
persons not trained in remedial law is not just wrong; it is
reflective of the want of care on the part of lawyers handling
the legal matters entrusted to them by their clients.(Tan vs.
Atty. Beltran, A.C. No. 5819 FEB o 1 2017)

In Reontoy v. lbadlit,21 we ruled that failure of the counsel to


appeal within the prescribed period constitutes negligence and
malpractice. The Court elucidated that per Rule 18.03, Canon
18 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, "a lawyer shall
not neglect a legal matter entrusted to him and his negligence
in connection therewith shall render him liable.

In Gamalinda vs. Alcantara,[11] we ruled:


A lawyer owes fidelity to the cause of his client and must be
mindful of the trust and confidence reposed in him. He shall
serve his client with competence and diligence, and his duty of
entire devotion to his clients cause not only requires, but
entitles him to employ every honorable means to secure for the
client what is justly due him or to present every defense
provided by law to enable the latters cause to succeed. An
attorneys duty to safeguard the clients interests commences
from his retainer until his effective release from the case or the
final disposition of the whole subject matter of the litigation.
During that period, he is expected to take such reasonable
steps and such ordinary care as his clients interests may
require.

A lawyer is expected to be familiar with these rudiments of law


and procedure and anyone who acquires his service is entitled
to not just competent service but also whole-hearted devotion to
his clients cause. It is the duty of a lawyer to serve his client
with competence and diligence and he should exert his best
efforts to protect within the bounds of law the interest of his
client. A lawyer should never neglect a legal matter entrusted to
him, otherwise his negligence in fulfilling his duty will render
him liable for disciplinary action.( SECOND DIVISION

A.C. No. 5817, May 26, 2004


EMMA V. DE JUAN, COMPLAINANT, VS. ATTY. OSCAR R.
BARIA III,

Rule. 18.03

As this Court has held:

A counsel must constantly keep in mind that his actions or


omissions, even malfeasance or nonfeasance, would be binding
on his client. Verily, a lawyer owes to the client the exercise of
utmost prudence and capability in that representation.
Lawyers are expected to be acquainted with the rudiments of
law and legal procedure, and anyone who deals with them has
the right to expect not just a good amount of professional
learning and competence but also a whole-hearted fealty to the
clients cause.[ A.C. No. 5394, December 02, 2002

RIZALINO FERNANDEZ, COMPLAINANT, VS. ATTY.


REYNALDO NOVERO,

A lawyer owes entire devotion in protecting the interest of his


client, warmth and zeal in the defense of his rights. He must
use all his learning and ability to the end that nothing can be
taken or withheld from his client except in accordance with the
law. He must present every remedy or defense within the
authority of the law in support of his clients cause, regardless
of his own personal views. In the full discharge of his duties to
his client, the lawyer should not be afraid of the possibility
that he may displease the judge or the general public.[9]

Spouses Galen v. Atty. Paguirigan,[21] explained:


An attorney is bound to protect his client's interest to the best
of his ability and with utmost diligence. A failure to file brief
for his client certainly constitutes inexcusable negligence on
his part. The respondent has indeed committed a serious lapse
in the duty owed by him to his client as well as to the Court not
to delay litigation and to aid in the speedy administration of
justice.

A.C. No. 5817, May 26, 2004

EMMA V. DE JUAN, COMPLAINANT, VS. ATTY. OSCAR R.


BARIA III,

No lawyer is obliged to advocate for every person who may


wish to become his client, but once he agrees to take up the
cause of a client, the lawyer owes fidelity to such cause and
must be mindful of the trust and confidence reposed in him.[11]
Further, among the fundamental rules of ethics is the principle
that an attorney who undertakes an action impliedly stipulates
to carry it to its termination, that is, until the case becomes
final and executory. A lawyer is not at liberty to abandon his
client and withdraw his services without reasonable cause and
only upon notice appropriate in the circumstances. [12] Any
dereliction of duty by a counsel, affects the client. [13] This
means that his client is entitled to the benefit of any and every
remedy and defense that is authorized by the law and he may
expect his lawyer to assert every such remedy or defense.[14]

A lawyer is expected to be familiar with these rudiments of law


and procedure and anyone who acquires his service is entitled
to not just competent service but also whole-hearted devotion
to his clients cause. It is the duty of a lawyer to serve his client
with competence and diligence and he should exert his best
efforts to protect within the bounds of law the interest of his
client. A lawyer should never neglect a legal matter entrusted
to him, otherwise his negligence in fulfilling his duty will
render him liable for disciplinary action.[15]

Without a proper revocation of his authority and withdrawal as


counsel, respondent remains counsel of record and whether or
not he has a valid cause to withdraw from the case, he cannot
just do so and leave his client out in the cold. An attorney may
only retire from the case either by a written consent of his
client or by permission of the court after due notice and
hearing, in which event the attorney should see to it that the
name of the new attorney is recorded in the case.[18] Respondent
did not comply with these obligations.

Every member of the Bar should always bear in mind that every
case that a lawyer accepts deserves his full attention, diligence,
skill and competence, regardless of its importance and whether
he accepts it for a fee or for free. A lawyers fidelity to the cause
of his client requires him to be ever mindful of the
responsibilities that should be expected of him. He is mandated
to exert his best efforts to protect the interest of his client within
the bounds of the law. The Code of Professional Responsibility
dictates that a lawyer shall serve his client with competence
and diligence and he should not neglect a legal matter
entrusted to him.[12 A.C. No. 5092, August 11, 2004

LUCILA S. BARBUCO, COMPLAINANT, VS. ATTY.


RAYMUNDO N. BELTRAN,

In Orcino v. Gaspar,[12] we held that until a lawyer's withdrawal


shall have been approved, he remains counsel of record and is
expected by his client as well as by the court to do what the
interests of his client require. He must still appear on the date
of hearing for the attorney-client relation does not terminate
formally until there is a withdrawal of his appearance on
record.

Lawyers are expected to be acquainted with the rudiments of


law and legal procedure. A client who deals with counsel has
the right to expect not just a good amount of professional
learning and competence, but also a wholehearted fealty to the
client's cause. Thus, we find that passing the blame to persons
not trained in remedial law is not just wrong; it is reflective of
the want of care on the part of lawyers handling the legal
matters entrusted to them by their clients.( HEIRS OF SIXTO
L. TAN, SR., represented by RECTO A. TAN vs. ATTY.
NESTOR B. BELTRAN, A.C. No. 5819, February 1, 2017)

CANON 19

CANON 20

Section 37, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court specifically


provides:

Section 37. Attorney's liens. - An attorney shall have a


lien upon the funds, documents and papers of his client,
which have lawfully come into his possession and may
retain the same until his lawful fees and disbursements
have been paid, and may apply such funds to the
satisfaction thereof. He shall also have a lien to the same
extent upon all judgments for the payment of money, and
executions issued in pursuance of such judgments, which
he has secured in a litigation of his client, from and after
the time when he shall have caused a statement of his
claim of such lien to be entered upon the records of the
court rendering such judgment, or issuing such
execution, and shall have caused written notice thereof
to be delivered to his client and to the adverse party; and
he shall have the same right and power over such
judgments and executions as his client would have to
enforce his lien and secure the payment of his just fees
and disbursements.

An attorney's retaining lien is fully recognized if the


presence of the following elements concur: (1) lawyer-
client relationship; (2) lawful possession of the client's
funds, documents and papers; and (3) unsatisfied claim
for attorney's fees. Further, the attorney's retaining lien
is a general lien for the balance of the account between
the attorney and his client, and applies to the documents
and funds of the client which may come into the
attorney's possession in the course of his employment.
(Miranda vs. Atty. Carpio A.C. No 6281, September 16,
2011)

The lawyer's continuing exercise of his retaining lien


presupposes that the client agrees with the amount of
attorney's fees to be charged. In case of disagreement or
when the client contests that amount for being
unconscionable, however, the lawyer must not arbitrarily
apply the funds in his possession to the payment of his
fees. He can file, if he still deems it desirable, the
necessary action or proper motion with the proper court
to fix the amount of such fees. (Lemoine vs. Atty. Balon,
A.C. No. 5829, October 28, 2003)

Where a client gives money to his lawyer for a specific


purpose, such as to file an action, appeal an adverse
judgment, consummate a settlement, or pay the
purchase price of a parcel of land, the lawyer should,
upon failure to take such step and spend the money for
it, immediately return the money to his client. [15] The
fact that a lawyer has a lien for his attorney's fees on the
money in his hands collected for his client does not
relieve him from the obligation to make a prompt
accounting.[16] Neither is a lawyer entitled to unilaterally
appropriate his client's money for himself by the mere
fact alone that the client owes him attorney's fees.
(Schulz vs. Flores, A.C. No. 4219, Dec. 8, 2003)

CANON 21

CANON 22
CANON 22 -- A LAWYER SHALL WITHDRAW HIS
SERVICES ONLY FOR GOOD CAUSE AND UPON
NOTICE APPROPRIATE IN THE CIRCUMSTANCES.
The rule in this jurisdiction is that a client has the
absolute right to terminate the attorney-client relation at
any time with or without cause. The right of an attorney
to withdraw or terminate the relation other than for
sufficient cause is, however, considerably restricted.
Among the fundamental rules of ethics is the principle
that an attorney who undertakes to conduct an action
impliedly stipulates to carry it to its conclusion. He is not
at liberty to abandon it without reasonable cause. A
lawyer's right to withdraw from a case before its final
adjudication arises only from the client's written consent
or from a good cause.( Elisa V. Venterez et al vs. Atty.
Rodrigo R. Cosme, AC No. 7421, October 10, 2007)

Section 26, Rule 138 of the Revised Rules of Court


provides:

Sec. 26. Change of attorneys -- An attorney may retire at


any time from any action or special proceeding, by the
written consent of his client filed in court. He may also
retire at any time from an action or special proceeding,
without the consent of his client, should the court, on
notice to the client and attorney, and on hearing,
determine that he ought to be allowed to retire. In case
of substitution, the name of the attorney newly employed
shall be entered on the docket of the court in place of the
former one, and written notice of the change shall be
given to the adverse party.

FINAL word

A lawyer must conduct himself, especially in his dealings with


his clients, with integrity in a manner that is beyond
reproach. His relationship with his clients should be
characterized by the highest degree of good faith and fairness.

All the foregoing show that there is clear violation, ILAC

On the basis of the foregoing premises,

profession and deserves punishment.

As explained in Rayos-Ombac v. Rayos:[28]


A proceeding for suspension or disbarment is not in any
sense a civil action where the complainant is a plaintiff
and the respondent lawyer is a defendant. Disciplinary
proceedings involve no private interest and afford no
redress for private grievance. They are undertaken and
prosecuted solely for the public welfare. They are
undertaken for the purpose of preserving courts of
justice from the official ministration of persons unfit to
practice in them. The attorney is called to answer to the
court for his conduct as an officer of the court. The
complainant or the person who called the attention of
the court to the attorney's alleged misconduct is in no
sense a party, and has generally no interest in the
outcome except as all good citizens may have in the
proper administration of justice.