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Case Digest
Code of Professional Responsibilty

Mary D. Malecdan vs. Atty. Matthew. P Kollin, respondent A.C. No. 5380

January 20, 2004

Rule 2.04 of CPR

FACTS: Atty Pekas and Kollin substituted Atty. Bustamante as a counsel for the Fanged Spouses.
Petitioner Malecdan bought a parcel of land located in Baguio City from the Fanged spouses. The
money was received by Eliza Fanged and deposited in the account of Atty. Artemio Bustamante,
then counsel for the latter. The complainant later found out, however, that the said lot was the
subject of a controversy between the former owners and the Fanged Spouses.
Then Kollin replaced Bustamante. He filed for a petition for rescission of the contract
of sale, without returning the amount of money to Malecdan. While Malecdan w as in
the US, the Fanged spouses, Atty. Bustamante and the PCIB (bank) signed a
compromised contract, and Malecdan was not made a signatory to such contract. They caused
the transfer of P30K from the account of Bustamante to a separate account for Kollin and Pekas as attorneys
Now, Malecdan files a case for disbarment against Kollin and Pekas, because not only was
she prejudiced from such withdrawal of money, but they also committed acts against the IBP in
contravention/violation to the lawyers oath that they shall uphold the laws of the land.

ISSUE: Whether or not Kollin and Pekas should be suspended based on Rule 2.04 of the RPC?

The amount of P30K which the respondents took for themselves as attorneys fees
belonged to a third person, not their client, as admitted by them in their complaint; the owner
was, in fact, an adverse party. It was the possession of the money, its entitlement, which was in
fact put in issue in the complaint for rescission of contract, and, if respondent Atty. Kollin is to be
believed, prompted the filing of the complaint itself.
Atty. Kollin knew that the money did not belong to his client, Eliza Fanged,
but still he knowingly withdrew the amount of P30K to serve his interests. Kollin used Pekas
inexperience to gain.
By having respondent Atty. Pekas sign the Manifestation of Compromise Settlement, it was the
intention of respondent Atty. Kollin to distance himself from such pleading and claim
no responsibility or participation therein so that the same would not be tainted by
his apparent knowledge of the defect in Eliza Fangeds right to claim the sales
proceeds. In this respect, respondent Atty. Kollin and his client Eliza Fanged have succeeded
as they have secured the release of the sales proceeds to the detriment and prejudice of herein complainant.
Pekas knew that there was no valid compromise agreement, as one of the parties in the
case was absent at the time it was entered into. He knew that no valid notice was given to the
complainant, since the signatory to the notice of the manifestation of compromise
agreement was a certain Veronica Buking.
It is a settled principle that the compensation of a lawyer should be but a mere incident
of the practice of law, the primary purpose of which is to render public service. The practice of
law is a profession and not a money-making trade. The process of imbibing ethical
standards can begin with the simple act of openness and candor in dealing with clients, which
would progress t h e r e a f t e r t o w a r d s t h e i d e a l t h a t a l a w y e r s v o c a t i o n i s n o t
s y n o n y m o u s w i t h a n o r d i n a r y business proposition but a serious matter of public interest.
Pekas is suspended for 6 months, Kollin for 3 years

1 Jessie P. Ancog HNU COL - 1