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Canon 10

DELIA LIM, complainant, vs. ATTY. AQUILINO MEJICA, respondent.|||

On July 16, 2008, Atty. Mejica filed a criminal action for grave oral defamation against Lim ( Vice
Mayor of Oras, Eastern Samar)
He alleged that Lim uttered against him the following slanderous words at the Session Hall of
the Sangguniang Bayan of Oras:
"HI AGUS BALDADO NAG KIHA KAN ATTY AKI MEJICA HA IBP UG YANA HI ATTY. MEJ[I]CA
SUSPENDIDO HIT IYA KA ABOGADO SAKOP HIN UNOM KA BULAN, IPAN NUMAT NIYO" |||
Provincial Prosecutor Cornelio M. Umil II issued a Resolution dismissing the complaint of
Atty. Mejica for lack of probable cause.
A Motion for Reconsideration (MR) was filed, but the same was denied in a Resolution
While Atty. Mejica's MR was still pending before the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor (OPP), he
filed on March 31, 2009, for the second time, the same complaint|||
MCTC issued an Order 7 dismissing the complaint of Atty. Mejica on the ground that the same
had already prescribed
Commission on Bar Discipline (CBD) of the IBP issued an Order 10 directing Atty. Mejica to
submit his answer to Lim's complaint within 15 days from receipt of the order.
Atty. Mejica argued that the filing of the case before the MCTC pending the resolution of his MR
before the OPP was made in good faith. He argued that he did not know that an oral defamation
case may be filed directly with the MCTC
According to Atty. Mejica, he consulted his friend, Atty. Emmanuel C. Apelado, a Public Attorney's
Office lawyer. He alleged that he was advised, that an oral defamation case is not subject to
preliminary investigation and as such he could file the same directly with the MCTC|||
he argued that since the criminal complaint was filed before the OAPP, its resolution for probable
cause would not be a bar for the court's judicial determination of probable cause considering that
in case of oral defamation, preliminary investigation is not required|||
IBP-CBD issued a Report and Recommendation 18 finding Atty. Mejica liable for violating Rule
12.02 of Canon 12 of the CPR, and recommended that he be suspended for a period of six (6)
months.
The IBP Board of Governors, however, modified the penalty by reducing the suspension to three
(3) months.|||
he IBP Board of Governors, however, after considering this Court's previous sanctions imposed
against Atty. Mejica, increased his suspension to five (5) years

Issue: whether the instant disbarment complaint constitutes a sufficient basis to suspend
Atty. Mejica from the practice of law for five (5) years for violation of the CPR.

Held:

Atty. Mejica is liable for violation of Canon 10

Nonetheless, the Court finds that Atty. Mejica failed to exercise candor and courtesy to the

court when he failed to inform the same of the pendency of his MR before the OPP in connection with

the same cause of action. Likewise, records show that he failed to withdraw his MR before the OPP

despite the subsequent filing of his complaint before the MCTC.


Although it is the MCTC that has jurisdiction over the complaint filed by Atty. Mejica, he made

a mockery of the judicial process and further eroded public confidence in lawyers when he ignored

the proceedings he initiated in the OPP.


WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Resolution No. XXI-2014-595 dated September 27, 2014 of
the Integrated Bar of the Philippines Board of Governors is hereby SET ASIDE.|||

The Court, however, finds Atty. Aquilino Mejica to have violated Canon 10 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility. He is hereby meted out the penalty ofSUSPENSION from the practice of law for SIX (6)
MONTHS with WARNING that a similar offense by him will be dealt with more severely.|||

ROUEL YAP PARAS, complainant, vs. ATTY. JUSTO P. PARAS, respondent.|||

Rouel Yap Paras (Rouel) charges his father Atty. Justo J. Paras (Atty. Paras) with violation of his lawyer's
oath and the Code of Professional Responsibility. 2 Atty.Paras allegedly voluntarily offered properties he
did not own nor possess to the Department of Agrarian Reform for coverage under the Comprehensive
Agrarian Reform Program. 3 Atty. Paras has been previously disciplined twice upon complaint of his
wife.|||

Issue: whether respondent violated his lawyer's oath and the Code of Professional Responsibility when
he voluntarily offered property that he neither owned nor possessed for coverage under the
Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program.|||

WHEREFORE, this Court finds respondent Atty. Justo J. Paras GUILTY of violating the lawyer's oath and
Canon 1, Rule 1.01 and Canon 10, Rule 10.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. He is
hereby DISBARRED from the practice of law and his name stricken from the Roll of Attorneys.|||

ATTY. PABLO B. FRANCISCO, complainant, vs. ATTY. ROMEO M. FLORES, respondent.|||

Atty. Francisco alleged that he filed a Complaint for forcible entry against Rainier Fineza and his
mother, Teodora Fineza, (Finezas) before the Municipal Trial Court of Binangonan, Rizal. 2 The
Finezas were represented by Atty. Flores|||
The Municipal Trial Court ruled in favor of the Finezas. 4 Atty. Francisco filed an appeal before
the Regional Trial Court of Binangonan, Rizal. 5 However, the appeal was denied.
MR granted. The Finezas were then ordered to vacate the property and to pay rentals
Finezas filed a Petition 20 for Relief from Judgment with application for temporary restraining
order and injunction. They also attached a Joint Affidavit of Merit 21 to the Petition. The Petition
was signed by the Finezas and not by Atty. Flores. 22 Atty. Francisco claims that the Petition,
while not signed by counsel, "was ostensibly prepared by respondent Atty. Romeo M. Flores|||
Atty. Francisco claims that Atty. Flores knew about the untruthful allegations and frivolous
character of the Petition for Relief from Judgment, yet he sought to pursue the Petition through
the filing of a Motion to Admit Supplemental Pleading|||
Finezas were evicted. 30 Their "personal properties were levied upon, then sold on execution to
settle their judgment debt|||
Commission on Bar Discipline recommended that Atty. Flores be found guilty of violating Rules
10.01 and 10.03 of Canon 10, and that the penalty of suspension from the practice of law for
three (3) months "with stern warning that a repetition of the same offense shall be dealt with more
severely" 50 be imposed. 51 No pronouncement was made on the issue of whether
Atty. Flores violated Canon 18

WHEREFORE, the findings of fact of the Board of Governors of the Integrated Bar of the

Philippines dated June 20, 2013 and August 9, 2014 areACCEPTED and APPROVED.

Respondent Atty. Romeo M. Flores is found guilty of violating Canon 10, Rules 10.01 and

10.03, and Canon 18, Rule 18.03 of theCode of Professional Responsibility.

Respondent Atty. Romeo M. Flores is suspended from the practice of law for two (2) years. He

is warned that a repetition of the same or similar act shall be dealt with more severely.

ANTONIO CONLU, complainant, vs. ATTY. IRENEO AREDONIA, JR., respondent.|||

Complaint 1 for disbarment with a prayer for damages instituted by Antonio Conlu against
Atty. Ireneo Aredonia, Jr. on grounds of gross negligence and dereliction of sworn duty.|||
Antonio was the defendant in Civil Case , a suit for Quieting of Title and Recovery of a
Parcel of Land commenced before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) in Silay City, Negros
Occidental.
He engaged the services of Atty. Ireneo to represent him in the case. On March 16,
1995, the RTC rendered judgment adverse to Antonio.
Therefrom, Atty. Ireneo, for Antonio, appealed to the Court of Appeals (CA)
CA eventually dismissed the appeal for non-filing of the appellant's brief within the
reglementary period. Antonio got wind of the dismissal from his wife who verified the
status of the case when she happened to be in Manila. When confronted about the
dismissal action, Atty. Ireneo promised to seek reconsideration, which he did, but which
the appellate court later denied for belated filing of the motion.|||
Antonio got the case records back from Atty. Ireneo and personally filed another motion
for reconsideration. CA again denied this motion for the reason that the prejudicial impact
of the belated filing by his former counsel of the first motion for reconsideration binds
Antonio.
Atty. Ireneo's repeated failure to submit, as ordered, his comment, a number of
extensions of time given notwithstanding, 7 the Court referred the instant case, docketed
as Administrative Case No. 4955, to its Office of the Bar Confidant (OBC) for evaluation,
report and recommendation.|||

The failure to file a brief resulting in the dismissal of an appeal constitutes inexcusable

negligence. 16 This default translates to a violation of the injunction of Canon 18, Rules 18.03 and

18.04 of the Code of Professional Responsibility

Atty. Ireneo tried to mislead the appellate court about the receipt of a copy of its February 10,

1997 Resolution dismissing the appeal. He denied personally receiving such copy, but the CA found
and declared that he himself received said copy. The CA arrived at this conclusion thru the process of

comparing Atty. Ireneo's signature appearing in the pleadings with that in the registry return card.

Both signatures belong to one and the same person. Needless to stress, Atty. Ireneo had under the

premises indulged in deliberate falsehood, contrary to the self-explanatory prescriptions of Canon 1,

Rule 1.01 and Canon 10, Rule 10.01|||

WHEREFORE, respondent Atty. Ireneo Aredonia, Jr. is declared GUILTY of inexcusable

negligence, attempting to mislead the appellate court, misuse of Court processes, and willful

disobedience to lawful orders of the Court. He is hereby SUSPENDED from the practice of law for a

period of one (1) year effective upon his receipt of this Resolution, with WARNING that a repetition of

the same or similar acts will be dealt with more severely. Let a copy of this Decision be furnished the

Office of the Bar Confidant, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, and all courts throughout the

country.|||

RENATO M. MALIGAYA, complainant, vs. ATTY. ANTONIO G. DORONILLA,

JR., respondent

Atty. Antonio G. Doronilla, Jr. of the Judge Advocate General's Service is before us on a

charge of unethical conduct for having uttered a falsehood in open court during a hearing of Civil

Case (an action for damages filed by complainant Renato M. Maligaya, a doctor and retired colonel of

the Armed Forces of the Philippines, against several military officers for whom Atty. Doronilla stood as

counsel)

At one point during the February 19, 2002 hearing of the case, Atty. Doronilla said: And

another matter, Your Honor. I was appearing in other cases he [complainant Maligaya]

filed before against the same defendants. We had an agreement that if we withdraw

the case against him, he will also withdraw all the cases. So, with that

understanding, he even retired and he is now receiving pension.

Maligaya filed a complaint against Atty. Complainant swore before the investigating

commissioner that he had never entered into any agreement to withdraw his
lawsuits. 7 Atty. Doronilla, who took up the larger part of two hearings to present evidence and explain

his side, admitted several times that there was, in fact, no such agreement. 8 Later he explained in

his memorandum that his main concern was "to settle the case amicably among comrades in arms

without going to trial" 9 and insisted that there was no proof of his having violated the Code of

Professional Responsibility or the lawyer's oath. 10 He pointed out, in addition, that his false

statement (or, as he put it, his "alleged acts of falsity") had no effect on the continuance of the case

and therefore caused no actual prejudice to complainant.

By stating untruthfully in open court that complainant had agreed to withdraw his lawsuits,

Atty. Doronilla breached these peremptory tenets of ethical conduct. Not only that, he violated the

lawyer's oath to "do no falsehood, nor consent to the doing of any in court," of which Canon 10 and

Rule 10.01 are but restatements. His act infringed on every lawyer's duty to "never seek to mislead

the judge or any judicial officer by an artifice or false statement of fact or law." |||

WHEREFORE, Atty. Antonio G. Doronilla, Jr. is hereby SUSPENDED from the practice of law

for TWO MONTHS. He is WARNED that a repetition of the same or similar misconduct shall be dealt

with more severely.||

JUAN PABLO P. BONDOC, complainant, vs. Judge DIVINA LUZ P. AQUINO-

SIMBULAN, Regional Trial Court, Branch 41, San Fernando City,

Pampanga, respondent.

This is a case filed by former Representative Bondoc charging Judge Aquino-Simbulan with
partiality, gross ignorance of the law and gross misconduct in the handling of Criminal case
entitled People v Totaan.
Complainant bewailed: (1) the respondents attempt to have the cases settled in an off-the-
record huddle with the parties lawyers because she did not want the accused to be
administratively suspended; (2) the respondents order to fast track the cases because the
accused had been suspended upon the motion of the private prosecutors.
The complainant then narrated the instances when his lawyers were alleged given a hard time
and subjected to indignities by the respondent in her desire to fast track the criminal case.
On the other hand, the respondent pointed out that an examination of the complaint would readily
show that it was prepared by the private prosecutors, Attys. Stephen David and Lanee David,
who wove a tale lies and distortions regarding the proceedings to cover up their own
shortcomings as lawyers; had they performed their duty as officers of the court and members of
the bar, they would have informed the complainant that they lost because of their blunders in the
prosecution cases.
In the manifestation and motion respondent prayed for the permanent dismissal of the present
administrative matter and requested that her complaint against Attys. Stephen David and Lanee
David be acted upon and given due course. The court resolved to dismiss the administrative
complaint against the respondent and required Attys. Stephen and Lanee David to show cause
why they should not be disciplined or held in contempt.

ISSUE: WON Attys. Stephen and Lanee David guilty of contempt.

RULING: The SC dismissed the administrative complaint filed against the respondent and resolved the
liability of the two Attorneys. The complainant (Bondoc) never appeared in court, it is reasonable to
conclude that the two lawyers crafted the complaint and incorporated therein all the unfounded
accusations against the respondent in order to conceal their inadequacies in the handling of their clients
case. To say the least, the complaint was most unfair to the respondent who, as the record shows, was
simply keeping faith with her avowed objective of expediting the proceedings in her court by, among other
measures, requiring lawyers to be prepared at all times and to be fair and candid in their dealings with the
court. As the court held in Racines v Judge Morallos, et al., a clients cause does not permit an attorney to
cross the line between liberty and license. Lawyers must always keep in perspective that since they are
administrators of justice, oath-bound servants of society, their first duty is not to their clients, as many
suppose, but to the administration of justice. As a lawyer, he is an officer of the court with the duty to
uphold its dignity and authority and not promote distrust in the administration of justice.
Attys. Stephen and Lanee David miserably failed to come up to the standards of these rulings. They are
liable and was held in indirect contempt under Section 3, Rule 71 of the Rules of Court.

WHEREFORE, premises considered, we hereby declare Attys. Stephen L. David and Lanee S.

Cui-David GUILTY of Indirect Contempt for violation of A.M. No. 03-10-01-SC, and accordingly impose

on each of them the FINE of Two Thousand Five Hundred Pesos (P2,500.00) with the STERN
WARNING that a commission of a similar offense shall be dealt with more severely.|||

RODRIGO A. MOLINA, complainant, vs. ATTY. CEFERINO R. MAGAT, respondent

complainant filed cases of (1) Assault Upon an Agent of a Person in Authority and (2) Breach of

the Peace and Resisting Arrest against one Pascual de Leon (de Leon) before the (CFI) of

Manila

The counsel of record for accused de Leon in both cases was Atty. Magat; that a case for slight

physical injuries was filed against him (Molina) by de Leon as a counter-charge and

Atty. Magat was also the private prosecutor;


that Atty. Magat subsequently filed a motion to quash the information on Assault upon an Agent

of a Person in Authority on the sole ground of double jeopardy claiming that a similar case for

slight physical injuries was filed in court by a certain Pat. Molina (Molina);

that based on the record, no case of slight physical injuries was filed by Molina against de

Leon;

that Atty.Magat was very much aware of such fact as he was the counsel and private

prosecutor on record of de Leon from the very start of the case way back on May 24, 1974;

that Atty. Magat's act of filing the Motion to Quash was a malicious act done in bad faith to

mislead the court, thus, a betrayal of the confidence of the court of which he is an officer;

and that Atty. Magat likewise committed willful disobedience of the court order when he

appeared as counsel for de Leon on two (2) occasions despite the fact that he was suspended

from the practice of law.

Atty. Magat's act clearly falls short of the standards set by the Code of Professional Responsibility,

particularly Rule 10.01

There was a deliberate intent on the part of Atty. Magat to mislead the court when he filed the motion to

dismiss the criminal charges on the basis of double jeopardy. Atty. Magat should not make any false and

untruthful statements in his pleadings.

Furthermore, Atty. Magat expressly admitted appearing in court on two occasions despite having been

suspended from the practice of law by the Court.

WHEREFORE, respondent Atty. Ceferino R. Magat is hereby ordered SUSPENDED from the practice of

law for six (6) months with a WARNING that the commission of the same or similar offense in the future

would be dealt with more severely.

Canon 11