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BAR DISCIPLINE

In A.M. No. 07-7-17-SC (Re: Letter of Judge Augustus C. Diaz, Metropolitan Trial Court of Quezon City, Branch 37, Appealing for Clemency), the Court laid down the following guidelines in
resolving requests for judicial clemency, thus:

"1. There must be proof of remorse and reformation. These shall include but should not be limited to certifications or testimonials of the officer(s) or chapter(s) of the Integrated Bar of the
Philippines, judges or judges associations and prominent members of the community with proven integrity and probity. A subsequent finding of guilt in an administrative case
for the same or similar misconduct will give rise to a strong presumption of non-reformation.
2. Sufficient time must have lapsed from the imposition of the penalty to ensure a period of reform.
3. The age of the person asking for clemency must show that he still has productive years ahead of him that can be put to good use by giving him a chance to redeem himself.
4. There must be a showing of promise (such as intellectual aptitude, learning or legal acumen or contribution to legal scholarship and the development of the legal system or
administrative and other relevant skills), as well as potential for public service.
5. There must be other relevant factors and circumstances that may justify clemency."

A.C. No. 5161, August 25, 2015
RE: IN THE MATTER OF THE PETITION FOR REINSTATEMENT OF ROLANDO S. TORRES AS A MEMBER OF THE PHILIPPINE BAR.

-For resolution is the Petition1 filed by respondent Rolando S. Torres (respondent) who seeks judicial clemency in order to be reinstated in the Roll of Attorneys.
-Records show that respondent was administratively charged by his sister-in-law, complainant Isidra Ting-Dumali (complainant), for "presentation of false
testimony; participation in, consent to, and failure to advise against, the forgery of complainant's signature in a purported Deed of Extrajudicial Settlement; and
gross misrepresentation in court for the purpose of profiting from such forgery."

-1. Torres participated in, consented to, and failed to advise against, the perjury committed by his wife Felicisima and his sister-in-law Miriam when they executed
a Deed of Extrajudicial Settlement of Estate wherein the two made it appear that they were the sole heirs of the late spouses Julita Reynante and Vicente Ting,
knowing fully well that the same was false. He presented that document to the Register of Deeds of Cavite for the transfer of the title over Lot No. 1586 in the
names of his wife and Miriam. The lot was later sold to Antel Holdings, Inc.

-2. The respondent participated in, consented to, and failed to advise against, the forgery of complainant's signature in a purported Deed of Extrajudicial
Settlement when he knew that she was in Italy at that time working as an overseas contract worker. He even presented the falsified document to the Register of
Deeds of Cavite to transfer the title over the property in favor of his wife Felicisima and sister-in law Marcelina. The forgery or falsification was made to enable
them to sell Lot 1603 to Antel Holdings, Inc.

-3. In Re: Petition for Judicial Reconstitution of the Original Copy. and Owner's Duplicate Copy of TCT No. T-1869 Covering Lot No. 1605 of the Registry of Deeds
for the Province of Cavite, filed by complainant's sisters Marcelina and Felicisima, the respondent made gross misrepresentation and offered false testimony to the
effect that Marcelina and Felicisima are the only children and legal heirs of the late spouses Vicente Ting and Julita Reynante for the purpose of obtaining a new title
in their names. With the reconstituted title, and with the express conformity of the respondent, Felicisima and Marcelina were able to sell Lot 1605 to Antel
Holdings, Inc. and profited from the sale to the exclusion of their other siblings. Partial payment was even received pending the reconstitution proceedings.
-found Atty. Torres guilty of gross misconduct and violation of the lawyer's oath, as well as Canons 1 & 10 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. He is thus
ordered DISBARRED from the practice of law, and his name is ordered stricken off the Roll of Attorneys, effective immediately.
-More than 10years from his disbarment, or on June 23, 2015, respondent filed the instant Petition once more seeking judicial clemency from the Court to
reinstate him in the Roll of Attorneys. (first on May 2004, Sep 2004, then on Jan 2006)
--Membership in the Bar is a privilege burdened with conditions. It is a special privilege granted and continued only to those who demonstrate special fitness in
intellectual attainment and in moral character.
--The same reasoning applies to reinstatement of a disbarred lawyer. The Court should see to it that only those who establish their present moral fitness &
knowledge of the law will be readmitted to the Bar. Thus, though the doors to the practice of law are never permanently closed on a disbarred attorney, the Court
owes a duty to the legal profession as well as to the general public to ensure that if the doors are opened, it is done so only as a matter of justice.
--The basic inquiry in a petition for reinstatement to the practice of law is whether the Iawver has sufficiently rehabilitated himself or herself in conduct
and character. Whether the applicant shall be reinstated in the Roll of Attorneys rests to a great extent on the sound discretion of the Court. The lawyer has to
demonstrate and prove by clear and convincing evidence that he or she is again worthy of membership in the Bar. The Court will take into consideration his or her
character and standing prior to the disbarment, the nature and character of the charge/s for which he or she was disbarred, his or her conduct subsequent to the
disbarment, and the time that has elapsed in between the disbarment and the application for reinstatement."
---INSERT GUIDELINES (Letter of Judge Diaz)

--not meritorious.
--respondent's present petition has failed to show substantial proof of his reformation as required in the first guideline above.
--judicial "clemency, as an act of mercy removing any disqualification, should be balanced with the preservation of public confidence in the courts. Thus the Court
will grant it only if there is a showing that it is merited. Proof of reformation and a showing of potential and promise are indispensable."
--the only ostensible proof of reformation that respondent has presented is a Certification signed by Reverend Nelson Feranil, Administrative Pastor of the
Buenavista Evangelical Church in General Trias, Cavite, which generally states that respondent, "before and after his disbarment," has been "assisting the poor and
indigent litigants in our community," and that "he has been very active in spreading the words and gospel of the Almighty God." Aside from these bare statements,
no other proof was presented to specify the actual engagements or activities by which respondent had rendered free legal services to indigents or had ministered to
the members of his community or church, hence, insufficient to demonstrate any form of consistency in his supposed desire to reform.
--The other testimonials which respondent submits stated that "as a former law practitioner, [respondent] is humble, simple, and respectful to fellow lawyers,
Court Personnel, and the Presiding Judge," and that "he used to give free legal advice and assisted indigent litigants in their court cases."
--It should be discerned that the root cause of respondent's disbarment was his fraudulent acts against his sister-in-law. However, no proof was presented to show
that he had reconciled or even attempted to reconcile w/ her so as to show remorse for his previous faults. Its dismissal, could not prove that he was actually
innocent of the administrative charges against him, since the considerations of an administrative case are evidently different from that in a criminal case.
--No other evidence was presented in his Petition to demonstrate his potential for public service, or that he - now being 68 years of age - still has productive years
ahead of him that can be put to good use by giving him a chance to redeem himself. Thus, the third and fourth guidelines were neither complied with.
--the petition is DENIED.

LIGAYA MANIAGO vs ATTY. LOURDES I. DE DIOS
-The instant case arose from an Affidavit-Complaint filed by Maniago, seeking the disbarment of Atty. de Dios for engaging in the practice of law despite having been suspended by the Court.
-Complainant alleged that she filed a criminal case against Hiroshi Miyata, a Japanese national, for violation of PD No. 603. The accused was represented by Atty. De Dios. Complainant then learned from the
RTC staff that Atty. De Dios had an outstanding suspension order from the Supreme Court since 2001, and was, therefore, prohibited from appearing in court. Complainant further alleges that there is a civil
case and another case filed against Miyata, where Atty. De Dios appeared as his counsel. In her Comment, Atty. De Dios admitted that there were cases filed against her client, Miyata. She, however, denied
that she was under suspension when she appeared as his counsel in the cases.
-Respondent explained that an administrative case was indeed filed against her where she was meted the penalty of 6-month suspension. She served the suspension immediately upon receipt of the Courts
Resolution on May 16, 2001 up to Nov 16, 2001. In a Manifestation filed on Oct 19, 2001, respondent formally informed the Court that she was resuming her practice of law on Nov 17, 2001.
-A problem arose when Judge Farrales, in her capacity as Acting Exec Judge of the RTC, Olongapo City, erroneously issued a directive on March 15, 2007, ordering respondent to desist from practicing law
and revoking her notarial commission for the years 2007 & 2008. Knowing that the directive was rather questionable, respondent, nonetheless, desisted from law practice in due deference to the court order.
Thereafter, respondent filed a Motion for Clarification with the SC on account of Judge Farrales letters to all courts in Olongapo City and to some municipalities in Zambales.
--According to the Office of the Bar Confidant (OBC), a suspended lawyer must first present proof(s) of his compliance by submitting certifications from the Integrated Bar of the Philippines and from the
Executive Judge that he has indeed desisted from the practice of law during the period of suspension. Thereafter, the Court, after evaluation, and upon a favorable recommendation from the OBC, will issue a
resolution lifting the order of suspension and thus allow him to resume the practice of law. The OBC alleged that it was unfortunate that this procedure was overlooked in A.C. No. 4943, where Atty. De Dios
was able to resume her practice of law w/out submitting the required certifications and passing through the OBC for evaluation. In order to avoid confusion and conflicting directives from the Court, the OBC
recommended that the Court adopt a uniform policy on the matter of the lifting of the order of suspension of a lawyer from the practice of law.
--As much as the Court will not hesitate to discipline an erring lawyer, it should, at the same time, also ensure that a lawyer may not be deprived of the freedom and right to exercise his profession
unreasonably.

the BOG shall issue a resolution setting forth its findings and recommendations. we cannot. Layusa dated March 17. The BOG shall first resolve the incident and shall thereafter elevate the assailed resolution with the entire case records to this Court for final action. On the amendment to Secs. 2004 Supreme Court Decision. or disbarment. in answer to the query of Deputy Clerk of Court and Bar Confidant Ma. the IBP is directed to forthwith transmit to this Court. Gutierrez promised to pay the loan very soon. shall forthwith be transmitted to the Supreme Court for final action. said party can file a petition for a review under Rule 45 of the Rules of Court with this Court within 15 days from notice of the resolution resolving the motion. and 5. allegedly to pay the medical expenses of his wife who was also hospitalized. 1 and 2 of Rule III which read: RULE III PLEADINGS. If the 15-day period lapses without any motion for reconsideration having been filed. to act on said motions with reasonable dispatch. The only pleadings allowed are verified complaint. thus: a) Every case heard by an investigator shall be reviewed by the IBP Board of Governors upon the record and evidence transmitted to it by the Investigator with his report. Yuhico was there to testify at the preliminary investigation of a Complaint for Estafa against one Jose Chicharro. determines that the respondent should be suspended from the practice of law or disbarred. 2) Unless the Court explicitly states that the decision is immediately executory upon receipt thereof. Gutierrez filed by Yuhico for violation of Rule 1. FRED L. Yuhico alleged that Gutierrez attempted to borrow money from him again. --In view of the foregoing. but he is currently in financial distress. stating therein that he or she has desisted from the practice of law and has not appeared in any court during the period of his or her suspension. 4. A copy of the same shall be transmitted to the Supreme Court. thereafter. an aggrieved party can file said motion w/ the BOG w/in 15 days from notice of receipt thereof by said party. -Yuhico averred that Gutierrez phoned him and asked for a cash loan of P30. He claimed he will pay his debts when his financial condition improves. since he was expecting to collect his attorney's fees from a Japanese client. Motion to dismiss the complaint or petition b. Gutierrez promised to pay his two loans totalling to P90. Yuhico immediately handed the money. Atty. SEC. for final action. If no motion for reconsideration is filed. the latter is directed to withdraw from this Court the subject resolutions together with the whole records of the cases. -However. the following guidelines shall be observed by the IBP in respect of disciplinary cases against lawyers: 1. Pleadings. thus. 2008 Resolution in BM No. the Court resolved as follows: 1. 4) Copies of the Sworn Statement shall be furnished to the Local Chapter of the IBP and to the Executive Judge of the courts where respondent has pending cases handled by him or her. verified answer and verified position papers. In turn. Again. The decision of the Board upon such review shall be in writing and shall clearly and distinctly state the facts and the reasons on which it is based. 2. The following pleadings shall not be allowed. Gutierrez then claimed that he needed money to pay for the medical expenses of his mother who was seriously ill. as the IBP pointed out. If a motion for reconsideration has been timely filed by an aggrieved party. the subject resolution together with the whole record of the case. the IBP must first resolve the same prior to elevating to this Court the subject resolution together with the whole record of the case. 2. however.00 within a short time.000. Thus.000. d) Notice of the resolution or decision of the Board shall be given to all parties through their counsel. the SC orders otherwise. 2. through the Office of the Bar Confidant. -Later. YUHICO vs ATTY. 3. Gutierrez failed to make the payment. Motion for reconsideration f. 1755: RE.000. 3) Upon the expiration of the period of suspension.000 to pay the fees required to take the licensure examination in the U. No. recognizes double or multiple disbarments as well as the minimum requirement of five (5) years for readmission to the Bar. . 1755. however. Neither do we have a law mandating a minimum 5-year requirement for readmission. notices.--following guidelines be observed in the matter of the lifting of an order suspending a lawyer from the practice of law: 1) After a finding that respondent lawyer must be suspended from the practice of law. reprimand. while Gutierrez's infraction calls for the penalty of disbarment.M. and/or where he or she has appeared as counsel. the fallo in Ramientas is repealed and superseded by the Feb 12. Medical Board.S.00. we cannot disbar him anew. to wit: a.A. GUTIERREZ . Thus. To implement Rule 139-B. 1755 has effectively superseded Ramientas. together with the whole record of the case. -Gutierrez again asked Yuhico for a loan. B. Cristina B. The IBP-CBD explained that while we do not have jurisprudence on the issue of double or multiple disbarment. respondent has 15 days within which to file a motion for reconsideration thereof. 2007. For records of cases already transmitted to this Court where there exist pending motions for reconsideration filed in due time before the IBP. Gutierrez an Equitable PCI Bank check amounting to P60. 5) The Sworn Statement shall be considered as proof of respondent’s compliance with the order of suspension. the Court shall render a decision imposing the penalty. If the imposable penalty is suspension from the practice of law or disbarment. b) If the Board. then the BOG shall likewise transmit to this Court the resolution with the entire case records for appropriate action.01 of the CPR. 2008 Resolution. respondent shall file a Sworn Statement with the Court. He said Gutierrez claimed that his daughter needed P70. within 30 days from notice. Yuhico readily issued to Atty. 2008 on whether the Feb 12. Yuhico refused to lend Gutierrez any amount of money. If no motion for reconsideration has been filed within the period provided for. considering that Gutierrez had already been previously disbarred. He claimed that they eventually became acquainted as they frequently saw each other during the hearings of the case. adopt its recommendation to disbar Gutierrez for the second time. and. the aggrieved party can file a motion for reconsideration within the 15-day period from notice.C. A party desiring to appeal from the resolution of the IPB may file a petition for review before this Court within 15 days from notice of said resolution sought to be reviewed. Petition for relief from judgment e. NOTICES AND APPEARANCES SECTION 1. Indeed. Sec 12 of said rule prescribes the procedure before the IBP. -Complainant Yuhico alleged that he met Gutierrez at the Office of the City Prosecutor in Pasig City. we do not have double or multiple disbarment in our laws or jurisprudence. who was then being represented by Gutierrez. -Gutierrez added that he has no intention of evading his obligation to pay his debts. instead of rendering the instant case moot. The IBP must first afford a chance to either party to file a motion for reconsideration of the IBP resolution containing its findings and recommendations within 15 days from notice of receipt by the parties thereon. -Yuhico asked Gutierrez to pay his loans. Again. Motion for a bill of particulars c. Gutierrez failed to pay. approved the Rules of Procedure of the Commission on Bar Discipline (CBD) of the IBP on September 25. Supplemental pleadings Further. he cannot pay his debts yet. as cited by the IBP. this time. while we agree with the findings of the IBP. the decision shall become final and executory and a copy of said decision shall be furnished this Court. this time in the amount of P60. A party can no longer file a motion for reconsideration of any order or resolution of the Investigating Commissioner. Gutierrez should be disbarred anew effective upon the expiration of the sanction pursuant to the March 26. --The IBP-CBD recommended to the Court that. CLARIFICATION ON RULES OF PROCEDURE OF THE COMMISSION ON BAR DISCIPLINE Rule 139-B of the Rules of Court governs the investigation of administrative complaints against lawyers by the IBP. The aggrieved party can file a motion for reconsideration of said resolution with the BOG within 15 days from notice. he demanded from Gutierrez the payment of his debts. Instead. 8391 -Before us is a Complaint for disciplinary action against respondent Atty. In case a decision is rendered by the BOG that exonerates the respondent or imposes a sanction less than suspension or disbarment. Motion for a new trial d. it shall issue a resolution setting forth its findings and recommendations which. as may be warranted. The denial of said motion shall render the decision final and executory.000. No. Regarding the issue of whether a motion for reconsideration of a decision or resolution of the BOG can be entertained. the American jurisprudence. c) If the respondent is exonerated by the Board or the disciplinary sanction imposed by it is less than suspension or disbarment (such as admonition. in Bar Matter No. the Court. or fine) it shall issue a decision exonerating respondent or imposing such sanction. such motion being a prohibited pleading. 1 and 2 of Rule III of the CBD Rules of Procedure. The rules pertinent to pleadings. It shall be promulgated within a period not exceeding 30 days from the next meeting of the Board following the submittal of the Investigator's report. If the motion is denied. MULTIPLE DISBARMENT: MANUEL C. 6) Any finding or report contrary to the statements made by the lawyer under oath shall be a ground for the imposition of a more severe punishment. Prohibited Pleadings. The case shall be deemed terminated unless upon petition of the complainant or other interested party filed with the SC within 15 days from notice of the Board's resolution. and appearances are provided in Secs. by the vote of a majority of its total membership.