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University of Cebu Banilad, College of Law

Case Digests for

Legal Ethics
Atty. Mark Anthony Gaviola

Submitted by:
Mahinay, Shammah Rey c
JD-1, M6
A.C. No. 932, June 21, 1940


Facts: Ernesto Baniquit wanted to contract a second marriage and sought the legal advice of the respondent.
Baniquit was living separately from his wife Soledad Colares for nine consecutive years. The respondent,
believing that seven years of separation of husband and wife would entitle either of them to contract a
second marriage, prepared a document where it was stipulated that the contracting parties authorized each
other to marry again, at the same time renouncing or waiving whatever right of action one might have against
the party so marrying. Ernesto Baniquit subsequently contracted a second marriage with Trinidad Aurelio on
June 11, 1939. The respondent then realized that he had made a mistake and sent for the contracting parties
on June 30, 1939 and signed the deed of cancellation of the document.

Issue: Whether or not the respondent is guilty of malpractice.

Held: Yes, the respondent Roque Santiago was found guilty of malpractice and was suspended from the
practice of law for a period of one year.

The document prepared by the respondent is contrary to law, moral, and tends to subvert the vital foundation
of the family. Atty. Santiagos acts constitute malpractice which justifies disbarment from the practice of law.
The respondents sheer ignorance of the law makes him unfit or unsafe to be entrusted with the
responsibilities and obligations of a lawyer.

A.C. No. 104, January 28, 1954

BENITA S. BALINON, petitioner, vs. CELESTINO M. DE LEON, ET AL., respondents.

Facts: Respondent de Leon, still legally married to Vertudes Marquez, lived as husband and wife with Regina S.
Balinon since December, 1948. He prepared an affidavit on February 4, 1948 before respondent Velayo, a
notary public, dissolving the first marriage and stating that he will take Balinon as his life-partner. Respondent
Velayo signed the same in violation of his oath of office as attorney and notary public despite the unlawful
and immoral purposes of the foregoing affidavit.

De Leon contends that while the affidavit may be illicit, it is not an agreement but a mere innocent unilateral
declaration of facts. Velayo alleges, on the other hand, that his participation was limited to the task of
notarizing the affidavit, as a matter of courtesy to a brother lawyer and without knowing its contents.

Issue: Whether or not the respondents acts merit a disciplinary action.

Held: Celestino M. de Leon was suspended from the practice of law for three years while Justo T. Velayo is
hereby merely reprimanded.

The affidavit prepared and signed by respondent De Leon virtually permitts himself to commit the crime of
concubinage. His contention that the affidavit is only a unilateral declaration of facts is of no moment, since it
undoubtedly enabled respondent De Leon to attain his purpose of winning over Regina S. Balinon with some
degree of permanence. Velayo, on the other hand, did nothing except to affix his signature to the affidavit in
question as a notary public. It is the duty of a notary public to at least guard against an illegal or immoral

arrangement. Velayo was negligent in just affixing his signature to the affidavit, although his fault is mitigated
by the fact the he had relied on the good faith of his co-respondent.

A.C. No. CBD-174, March 7, 1996

GIOVANI M. IGUAL, complainant, vs. ATTY. ROLANDO S. JAVIER, respondent.

Facts: Iguals mother had a Civil Case pending with the Court of Appeals. Complainant wanted to hire
respondent lawyer because of the lawyers influence to several justices of the Court of Appeals. Atty. Javier
offered to collaborate in the appealed case. Complainant gave respondent P10,000.00 for safekeeping and
should Iguals mother and her lawyer Atty. Ibadlit disagree in his collaborating in the case, respondent would
to return the money.

Respondent thus entered his formal appearance as collaborating counsel on April 3, 1991. Then, the
respondent and complainant quarreled. The complainant allegedly maligned the respondents character
prompting the respondent not prepare an appellees brief. The complainant wrote respondent on June 27,
1991 stating that he is demanding P7,000.00 balance since P3,000.00 had already been refunded by
respondent. Respondent did not file an Answer.

Issue: Whether or not Javier violated the Code of Professional Responsibility.

Held: Yes, respondent violated canons 15, 16, 17, and 20 of the Code of Professional Responsibility by his
deceitful actions.

Javier was SUSPENDED from the practice of law for ONE (1) MONTH and ORDERED to restitute to the
complainant the amount of SEVEN THOUSAND PESOS (P7,000.00).

In situations where the lawyer cannot agree with the client, the lawyer may exit from the relationship instead
of merely maintaining a cold war of doing nothing in the case. The lawyer may secure a notice of withdrawal
from the case or manifest to the court the circumstances why he can no longer proceed in representing his
client. Otherwise, a lawyers act will be interpreted as abandonment.

Respondent should have set aside his personal feelings and should have pursued diligently the cause of his
client within the bounds of reason, justice, and fair play. Public interest requires that an attorney exert his
best efforts and ability in the prosecution or defense of his clients cause.

A.C. No. 3694, June 17, 1993

CENTER, complainants, vs. ATTORNEY BENJAMIN M. GRECIA, respondent.

Facts: Attorney Damaso B. Aves, the husband of late Linda Aves, brought an action for damages against St.
Luke's Hospital and the attending physicians of his wife due to the hospitals incompetence in handling his late
wifes pregnancy. Respondent Attorney Benjamin Grecia was counsel for the case.

On July 16, 1991, Attorney Grecia borrowed from Mrs. Robles, the Clerk of Court, the folder containing the
medical records of Mrs. Aves. Robles then saw Grecia tear off two (2) pages of the medical records, crumpled
the papers and placed them inside the right pocket of his coat. He immediately returned the folder to Mrs.
Robles and left the office. Grecia then called his alleged driver and gave the crumpled papers from his

Judge Capulong confronted the man and ordered him to give her the papers which Grecia had passed on to
him. The man produced the crumpled pages "72" and "73" of the medical folder.

On August 20, 1991, St. Luke's failed this disbarment case against Grecia.

Issue: Whether or not the respondent is guilty of dishonesty and grave misconduct.

Held: Yes, the Court finds Attorney Benjamin Grecia guilty of grave misconduct, dishonesty, and grossly
unethical behavior as a lawyer. Grecia was disbarred and his license to practice law in the Philippines was

By stealing two pages from Linda Aves' medical chart and passing them on to his driver, he violated Rule 1.01,
canon 1 of the Rules of Professional Responsibility as well as canon 7 thereof which provide that:

Rule 1.01 A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral and deceitful conduct.

Canon 7. A lawyer shall at all times uphold the integrity and dignity of the legal profession and support the
activities of the Integrated Bar.

A lawyer is an officer of the courts and is tasked to uphold justice. An incorrigible practitioner of "dirty tricks,"
like Grecia would be ill-suited to discharge the role of "an instrument to advance the ends of justice." Grecia
has demeaned and disgraced the legal profession. He has demonstrated his moral unfitness to continue as a
member of the honorable fraternity of lawyers.

A.C. No. 6131, February 28, 2005


complainants, vs. Atty. ARTURO B. ASTORGA, respondent.

Facts: On June 5, 1968, the late Maria Ortega Vda. De Nuez executed a Sale with Right to Repurchase of a lot
in favor of Eugenio O. Nuez for a consideration of P400.00. The stipulated time of repurchase was ten (10)
years from the date of execution thereof or until June 5, 1978. The vendors right to repurchase subsequently
expired without any agreement of extending said period of repurchase. Eugenio O. Nuez occupied and
possessed said Lot for more than 40 years.

A year after the execution of the said pacto de retro sale, the late Maria Ortega Vda. de Nuez and her son
Ricardo Nuez, extrajudicially partitioned his estate including the subject Lot. Ricardo Nuez then appointed
respondent, Atty. Astorga, as administrator. Astorga had been disturbing the peaceful occupation and
possession of complainants of the Lot claiming that complainants have no right over the same. Complainants
then agreed to buy the subject Lot and respondent, who, without being appointed by the court as
administrator of the intestate estate of the late spouses Ricardo Nuez sold and conveyed to Imelda Nuez

and Elisa Nuez-Alvarico, daughters of Eduardo, the portions of the Lot they were occupying. After which Elisa
Nuez-Alvarico filed a criminal complaint for Estafa against respondent.

Sometime on 29 March 2001 at around 7:30 in the evening, respondent went to the house of Eduardo L.
Nuez at corner J.P. Laurel and M.L. Quezon Sts., Baybay, Leyte and threatened to kill Eduardo Nuez.

Issue: Whether or not the respondent commit a conduct unbecoming an attorney.

Held: Yes, respondents offensive language against complainants and their counsel unbecoming an attorney.
Atty. Arturo B. Astorga is ACQUITTED of the charge of serious misconduct, but is held liable for conduct
unbecoming an attorney and is FINED two thousand pesos.

The legal profession exacts a high standard from its members. Lawyers shall not engage in conduct that
adversely reflects on their fitness to practice law. Neither shall they, whether in public or in private life,
behave in a scandalous manner to the discredit of the legal profession.

The Code of Professional Responsibility mandates:

CANON 8 A lawyer shall conduct himself with courtesy, fairness, and candor toward his professional
colleagues, and shall avoid harassing tactics against opposing counsel.

Rule 8.01 A lawyer shall not, in his professional dealings, use language which is abusive, offensive or otherwise
improper. Astorgas statement constitute conduct unbecoming a member of the legal profession.

G.R. No. 148326, November 15, 2001


Facts: Villaber and Cagas were rival candidates for a congressional seat in the First District of Davao del Sur
during 2001 elections. Cagas filed a consolidated petition to disqualify Villaber alleging Villaber was convicted
for issuing a bouncing check worth P100,000.00 and was sentenced to suffer one (1) year imprisonment.
Cagas further alleged that this crime involves moral turpitude making Villaber disqualified to run for any public
office. In his answer, Villaber countered that a violation of B.P. Blg. 22 does not involve moral turpitude.

On April 30, 2001, the COMELEC (Second Division), declared Villaber disqualified as a candidate for and from
holding any elective public office and canceling his certificate of candidacy. The COMELEC ruled that a
conviction for violation of B.P Blg. 22 involves moral turpitude.

Issue: Whether or not violation of B.P. Blg. 22 involves moral turpitude.

Held: Yes, violation of B.P. Blg. 22 involves moral turpitude.

The elements of the offense are:

1. The accused makes, draws or issues any check to apply to account or for value;

2. The accused knows at the time of the issuance that he or she does not have sufficient funds in, or credit
with, the drawee bank for the payment of the check in full upon its presentment; and

3. The check is subsequently dishonored by the drawee bank for insufficiency of funds or credit, or it would
have been dishonored for the same reason had not the drawer, without any valid reason, ordered the bank to
stop payment.

The presence of the second element manifests moral turpitude. A conviction for violation of B.P. Blg. 22
imports deceit and certainly relates to and affects the good moral character of a person.

A.C. No. 6313, September 7, 2006

CATHERINE JOIE P. VITUG, complainant, vs. ATTY. DIOSDADO M. RONGCAL, respondent.

Facts: Complainant states that she and respondent met when she was looking for a lawyer to assist her in
suing Arnulfo Aquino ("Aquino"), the biological father of her minor daughter, for support. She and respondent
then started having a sexual relationship. She narrates that he had progressed to making sexual advances
towards complainant, to the accompaniment of sweet inducements. Complainant acknowledges that she
succumbed to these advances, assured by respondent's claim that the lawyer was free to marry her, as his
own marriage had already been annulled.

On February 2001, respondent allegedly convinced complainant to sign an Affidavit of Disclaimer stating that
even as Aquino was denoted as the father in the birth certificate of her daughter, he was, in truth, not the real
father. She was not allowed to read the contents of the Affidavit, she claims. Respondent then allegedly
advised complainant that Aquino gave him P150,000.00 cash and P58,000.00 in two (2) postdated checks to
answer for the medical expenses of her daughter. Instead of turning them over to her, respondent handed
her his personal check in the amount of P150,000.00 and promised to give her the balance of P58,000.00
soon thereafter. However, respondent informed her that he could not give her the said amount because he
used it for his political campaign as he was then running for Provincial Board Member of the 2nd District of

According to the respondent, however, when the emissary handed P150,000.00 in cash the complainant
allegedly told respondent that he could keep the remaining P38,000.00, not P58,000.00 as alleged. Although
she did not say why, he assumed that it was for his attorney's fees.

As regards their illicit relationship, respondent admits of his sexual liaison with complainant. He, however,
denies luring her with sweet words and empty promises. He denies that he tricked her into believing that his
marriage was already annulled.

Issue: Whether or not the respondent is guilty of grossly immoral conduct.

Held: No, Atty. Diosdado M. Rongcal was found GUILTY of immorality but not sufficient for a grossly immoral

Respondent does not deny that he had an extra-marital affair with complainant, albeit brief and discreet, and
which act is not "so corrupt and false " in order to merit disciplinary sanction. However, one of the conditions
prior to admission to the bar is that an applicant must possess good moral character. The Court has held that
to justify suspension or disbarment the act complained of must not only be immoral, but grossly immoral. A
grossly immoral act is one that is so corrupt and false as to constitute a criminal act or so unprincipled or
disgraceful as to be reprehensible to a high degree. However, the court noted that respondent had expressed

remorse over his indiscretion and had in fact ended the brief illicit relationship years ago and should be taken
as mitigating circumstances in his favor. Also, the complainant would not have been so easily deceived as a
woman of sufficient age.

Even if not all forms of extra-marital relations are punishable under penal law, sexual relations outside
marriage is considered disgraceful and immoral as it manifests deliberate disregard of the sanctity of marriage
and the marital vows protected by the Constitution.

A.C. No. 3405, June 29, 1998

JULIETA B. NARAG, complainant, vs. ATTY. DOMINADOR M. NARAG, respondent.

Facts: The St. Louis College of Tuguegarao engaged the services of Atty. Dominador M. Narag as a full-time
college instructor in the College of Arts and Sciences and as a professor in the Graduate School. In 1984, Ms.
Gina Espita, 17 years old and a first year college student, enrolled in subjects handled by Atty. Narag. Exerting
his influence as her teacher, Atty. Narag courted Ms. Espita, gradually lessening her resistance until the
student acceded to his wishes.

The respondent eventually abandoned his family to live with Ms. Espita. Atty. Narag allegedly used his power
and influence as a member of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Cagayan to cause the employment of Ms.
Espita at the Department of Trade and Industry Central Office at Makati, Metro Manila.

The respondent argued however, that his wife, the complainant was constantly abusing him therefore
prompting him to leave the marriage.

Issue: Whether or not the respondent violated the Code of Ethics for Lawyers.

Held: Yes, respondent violated canons of the Code of Ethics for Lawyers. Dominador M. Narag was

The Code of Professional Responsibility provides:

Rule 1.01-- A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct.

CANON 7-- A lawyer shall at all times uphold the integrity and dignity of the legal profession, and support the
activities of the Integrated Bar.

Rule 7.03-- A lawyer shall not engage in conduct that adversely reflects on his fitness to practice law, nor
should he, whether in public or private life, behave in a scandalous manner to the discredit of the legal

As officers of the court, lawyers must not only in fact be of good moral character but must also be seen to be
of good moral character and leading lives in accordance with the highest moral standards of the community.
More specifically, a member of the Bar and officer of the court is not only required to refrain from adulterous
relationships or the keeping of mistresses but must also so behave himself as to avoid scandalizing the public
by creating the belief that he is flouting those moral standards.

In the present case, the complainant was able to establish, by clear and convincing evidence, that respondent
had breached the high and exacting moral standards set for members of the law profession. On the strength
of the testimony of her witnesses and love letters sent to Gina, the complainant was able to establish that
respondent abandoned his family and lived with another woman. Absent any evidence showing that these
witnesses had an ill motive to testify falsely against the respondent, their testimonies are deemed worthy of

Respondent may have provided well for his family -- they enjoyed a comfortable life and his children finished
their education. He may have also established himself as a successful lawyer and a seasoned politician. But
these accomplishments are not sufficient to show his moral fitness to continue being a member of the noble
profession of law.

A.C. No. 1377, July 31, 1981.

DORIS R. RADAZA, Complainant, vs. ROBERTO T. TEJANO, Respondent.

Facts: Radaza and respondent were sweethearts. Complainant was then single, 30 years old and a physical
education teacher at the Butuan City Central Elementary School, while respondent was also single, 28 years
old, and the private secretary to the Mayor of Butuan City. Complainant and respondent constantly had sexual
intercourse. As a consequence, complainant became pregnant and delivered a baby-boy. Respondent readily
acknowledged being the father of the baby whom he named after him.

While that complainant and respondent were having their relationship, respondent was also engaged to
Florminda Buque, complainants cousin. This relationship was known to complainant. On September 21, 1974,
respondent married Florminda Buque.

Complainant contends in her testimony that she accepted respondents love and submitted to his
importunings to have sexual relations due to the latters promise to marry her. On the other hand,
respondent, while not denying their intimate relationship, disclaimed having promised to marry her, and
alleged that their sexual intimacies were motivated by their mutual attraction and desire for each other.

Issue: Whether or not the conduct of respondent constitute gross immoral conduct to merit disbarment.

Held: No, it does not constitute a gross immoral conduct. Respondent was only sternly admonished that any
other misconduct on his part which might reflect unfavorably on the moral norms of the profession will be
dealt with accordingly.

In the case at bar, respondent denied having promised marriage to complainant. In fact, complainant knew
beforehand that respondent was also engaged to her cousin, Florminda Buque, whom he eventually married.
Complainant was mature enough to realize the folly of her acts. She could not have been so naive as to be
deceived by such promise.

Undoubtedly, the cohabition of respondent with petitioner is immoral for lack of a valid marriage. But to be
the basis of a disciplinary action, the act must not merely be immoral; it must be grossly immoral it must
be so corrupt and false as to constitute a criminal act or so unprincipled as to be reprehensible to a high
degree. And the same must be established by clear and convincing proof, disclosing a case that is free from
doubt as to compel the exercise by the Court of its disciplinary power.

SBC Case No. 519, July 31, 1997

PATRICIA FIGUEROA, complainant, vs. SIMEON BARRANCO, JR., respondent.

Facts: Patricia Figueroa petitioned that respondent Simeon Barranco, Jr. be denied admission to the legal
profession averring that respondent and she had been sweethearts, that a child out of wedlock was born to
them and that respondent did not fulfill his repeated promises to marry her.

Complainant first acceded to sexual congress with respondent sometime in 1960. Their intimacy yielded a
son, Rafael Barranco, born on December 11, 1964. It was after the child was born, complainant alleged, that
respondent first promised he would marry her after he passes the bar examinations. Their relationship
continued and respondent allegedly made more than twenty or thirty promises of marriage. He gave only
P10.00 for the child on the latters birthdays. Her trust in him and their relationship ended in 1971, when she
learned that respondent married another woman.

The Court resolved to cancel respondents scheduled oath-taking. On June 1, 1993, the Court referred the
case to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) for investigation, report and recommendation.

Issue: Whether or not the respondent committed a grossly immoral act.

Held: No, the acts do not constitute gross immorality warranting the permanent exclusion of respondent from
the legal profession. His engaging in premarital sexual relations with complainant and promises to marry
suggests a doubtful moral character on his part but the same does not constitute grossly immoral conduct.
The Court has held that to justify suspension or disbarment the act complained of must not only be immoral,
but grossly immoral. A grossly immoral act is one that is so corrupt and false as to constitute a criminal act or
so unprincipled or disgraceful as to be reprehensible to a high degree. It is a willful, flagrant, or shameless act
which shows a moral indifference to the opinion of respectable members of the community.

Respondent and complainant were sweethearts whose sexual relations were evidently consensual.
Complainant was then an adult who voluntarily and actively pursued their relationship and was not an
innocent young girl who could be easily led astray. Unfortunately, respondent chose to marry and settle
permanently with another woman. The Court cannot castigate a man for seeking out the partner of his
dreams, for marriage is a sacred and perpetual bond which should be entered into because of love, not for
any other reason.

Adm. Case No. 481, February 28, 1969

VIRGINIA C. ALMIREZ assisted by her father, AGAPITO ALMIREZ complainants, vs. ARTURO P.
LOPEZ, respondent.

Facts: Respondent courted Almirez by correspondence and became sweethearts. Although he had told the
complainant of his intent to marry her, it was understood that the wedding would take place upon
consummation of a given deal in which he expected to make a big amount of money. They subsequently had
carnal knowledge of each other several times. Complainant became pregnant and upon knowing it, he urged
her to see another lady doctor who could perform an abortion. Complainant did not agree and on August 22,
1961, complainant gave birth to a baby boy.

Prior thereto, on March, 1961, the wedding did not take place, because respondent blamed her for refusing
to undergo an abortion.

On the other hand, respondent argued that complainant was impregnated by another man.

Issue: Whether or not respondent is guilty of gross immoral conduct.

Held: Lopez was found guilty of gross immoral conduct and was disbarred.

The defense of the respondent actually reveals that there have been sexual relations between him and the
complainant. The fact that respondent urged the complainant to have an abortion, besides being unlawful, is
an act of willful, flagrant, or shameless act which shows a moral indifference to the opinion of respectable
members of the community.

A.C. No. 5916, July 1, 2003

SELWYN F. LAO, complainant, vs. ATTY. ROBERT W. MEDEL, respondent.

Facts: Respondent was indebted to Lao. In the payment of his outstanding obligation, respondent paid in
worthless checks totaling P22,000.00. These dishonored checks were issued by defendant in replacement for
previous checks issued to the complainant. The respondent made a request for a final extension of only ten
(10) days from June 30, 2000, to pay P22,000.00 to Engr. Lao. However, Atty. Medel has not paid his

On July 4, 2002, both parties appeared before the IBP-CBD for their scheduled hearing. But, while waiting for
the case to be called, respondent suddenly insisted on leaving, supposedly to attend to a family emergency.
Complainants counsel objected and Commissioner Cunanan, who was still conducting a hearing in another
case, ordered him to wait. He, however, retorted in a loud voice, Its up to you. This is only disbarment, my
family is more important. And, despite the objection and the warning, he arrogantly left. He made no effort
to comply with his undertaking to settle his indebtedness before leaving.

Issue: Whether or not the deliberate failure to pay just debts and the issuance of worthless checks constitute
gross misconduct.

Held: Atty. Medel was found guilty of gross misconduct was suspended for one year from the practice of law.

It is evident from the records that he made several promises to pay his debt promptly. However, he reneged
on his obligation despite sufficient time afforded him. Worse, he refused to recognize any wrongdoing and
transferred the blame to complainant, on the contorted reasoning that the latter had refused to accept the
formers plan of payment. It must be pointed out that complainant had no obligation to accept it, considering
respondents previous failure to comply with earlier payment plans for the same debt.

Canon 1 of the Code of Professional Responsibility mandates all members of the bar to obey the laws of the
land and promote respect for law. Rule 1.01 of the Code specifically provides that a lawyer shall not engage in
unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct.

Also, the high-handed manner in which respondent dealt with Commissioner Cunanan during the hearing, was
taken as a discourtesy of respondent. Thus, it was imperative for him to respect the authority of the officer

assigned to investigate his case. Assuming that he had a very important personal matter to attend to, he could
have politely explained his predicament to the investigating commissioner and asked permission to leave

March 3, 1923

In re suspension of VICENTE PELAEZ, attorney

Facts: The respondent Vicente Pelaez was appointed guardian of the minor Gracia Cabrera. As such guardian,
he came into possession of certain property, including twenty shares of the E. Michael & Co., Inc., and ten
shares of the Philippine Engineering Co. While Pelaez was still the guardian of the minor, he borrowed P2,800
from the Cebu branch of the Philippine National bank. Shortly thereafter, to guarantee the loan, Pelaez,
without the knowledge or consent of the Court of First Instance of Cebu, deposited with the Cebu branch of
the Philippine National Bank the shares of stock corresponding to the guardianship.

The judge of First Instance suspended him from the legal profession. To quote counsel for the respondent,
"the misconduct of which the respondent in this case is guilty consist of having pledged the shares belonging
to his ward, to guarantee the payment of his personal debt."

Issues: Whether or not a lawyer may be suspended or disbarred for non-professional misconduct.

Held: Yes, a lawyer may be subject to disciplinary measures for acts not related to his/her profession.

It is a well-settled rule that a statutory enumeration of the grounds of disbarment is not to be taken as a
limitation of the general power of the court in this respect. A member of the bar may be removed or
suspended from his office as lawyer for other than statutory grounds.

As a general rule, a court will not assume jurisdiction to discipline one of its officers for misconduct alleged to
have been committed in his private capacity. But this is a general rule with many exceptions. The courts
sometimes stress the point that the attorney has shown, through misconduct outside of his professional
dealings, a want of such professional honesty as render him unworthy of public confidence, and an unfit and
unsafe person to manage the legal business of others. The reason why such a distinction can be drawn is
because it is the court which admits an attorney to the bar, and the court requires for such admission the
possession of good moral character.

The respondent was thus suspended for one year.

A.C. No. 4017, September 29, 1999


Facts: Respondent was the counsel of the complainant corporation in a case. When the said case was resolved
in favor of the complainant, the respondent Atty. Naldoza knowing fully well that the said decision had already
become final and unappealable, convinced the complainant to appeal the case before the Supreme Court.
Thus, the respondent filed with the Supreme Court a Petition for Review and that two (2) days later falsely

told the complainant corporation that the complainant had to pay, which it did, Cash Bond in UNITED STATES
DOLLAR amounting to $2,555.00 to the Supreme Court in order that the said appealed case could be heard or
acted upon by the Supreme Court. The said amount was given to the respondent.

The receipt issued by the treasurers office of the Supreme Court was revealed spurious. The respondent only
paid P622.00.

A criminal case for estafa was filed against respondent but acquitted on reasonable doubt, he was declared
civilly liable in the amount of US$ 2,555.

Issue: Whether or not the acts of the respondent constitute malpractice.

Held: The acts committed by respondent definitely constitute malpractice and gross misconduct in his office
as attorney. They are in violation of his duty, as a lawyer, to uphold the integrity and dignity of the legal
profession and to engage in no conduct that adversely reflects on his fitness to practice law. Such misconduct
discredits the legal profession." Naldoza was subsequently disbarred.

Respondents acts are more despicable. Not only did he misappropriate the money entrusted to him; he also
faked a reason to cajole his client to part with his money. Worse, he had the gall to falsify an official receipt of
this Court to cover up his misdeeds. Clearly, he does not deserve to continue being a member of the bar.

A.M. No. R-705-RTJ, August 23, 1989



Facts: Atty. Ligaya Gonzales-Austria, then Branch Clerk of Court of the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 52,
Puerto Princess City, Mrs. Leonila Fuertes and Mr. Edgardo Servando alleged that Judge Emmanuel M. Abaya,
then Presiding Judge of RTC, Branch 51, Puerto Princess City 2, (1) encashed the salaries of employee Miss
Anabelle Cardenas who never reported for duty from August 1983 to May 1984 by forging of payee's
signature in the treasury warrants, (2) received bribed money in exchange for favorable resolutions and
decisions from different litigants in Branch 52, and (3) exacted a portion of Edgardo Servandos salaries as part
and condition of his continued employment under Judge Abaya.

Judge Abaya denied all these charges by saying that these were concocted in retaliation against the
administrative complaint he filed against one of his accusers, Atty. Ligaya Gonzales-Austria for dishonesty and
grave misconduct. Gonzales-Austria allegedly forged his signature in a probation order.

Issue: Whether or not Abaya and Gonzales-Austria committed acts worthy of disciplinary measures.

Held: Atty. Austria was suspended for one year while Abayas retirement benefits were forfeited.

Judge Emmanuel M. Abaya guilty of grave and serious misconduct. The office of a judge exists for one solemn
end to promote justice by administering it fairly and impartially. The judge is the visible representation of
the law and of justice. From him, the people draw their will and awareness to obey the law. For him then to
transgress the highest ideals of justice and public service for personal gain is indeed a demoralizing example

constituting a valid cause for disenchantment and loss of confidence in the judiciary as well as in the civil
service system.

Atty. Ligaya Gonzales-Austria admits to having signed the probation order and of having promulgated it, but
explains that these were done with the knowledge and consent of Judge Abaya, who had asked her to prepare
orders and decisions in Branch 52 to ease his load of presiding over two (2) branches. Atty. Austria's
misconduct as Branch Clerk of Court to affect her qualification as a member of tile Bar, for precisely as a
lawyer, she ought to have known the illegality of the act complained of.

A.C. No. L-1117, March 20, 1944


Facts: The respondent, who is an attorney-at-law, is charged with malpractice by publishing in the Sunday
Tribune of June 13, 1943, advertising his services. Respondent at first denied having published the
advertisement but subsequently admitted having caused its publication and asked the court for mercy and
leniency and promised never to do such act again.

Issue: Whether or not the respondent violated the rule prohibiting solicitation of business.

Held: The advertisement in question was a violation of the ethics of his profession. Section 25 of Rule 127
expressly provides among other things that "the practice of soliciting cases at law for the purpose of gain,
either personally or thru paid agents or brokers, constitutes malpractice." The lawyer degrades himself and his
profession by advertising his services or offering them to the public. But the respondent was only
reprimanded because of his plea for leniency and his promise not to repeat the misconduct.

G.R. No. L-77691, August 8,1988


Facts: Herrera owned eight parcels of land located in Quezon City. Between 1977 and 1978, he obtained
various loans from the L & R Corporation totaling P420,000.00 and as security he executed deeds of mortgage
in favor of the corporation over the parcels aforesaid. However, Herrera failed to pay the loan and his
property was foreclosed and subsequently auctioned in which L & R Corporation was itself the highest bidder.

Herrera filed a complaint for injunction against L & R Corporation where he was represented by the
petitioner. Two years later, the parties entered into a compromise agreement where L & R Corporation will
give Herrera another year to redeem the foreclosed properties subject to payment of P600,000.00, with
interest of one per cent per month. They likewise stipulated that the petitioner shall be entitled to attorney's
fees of P100,000.00.

However, Herrera failed to repay the loans as well as the P100,000.00 in attorney's fees. Later, Herrera and
petitioner agreed that petitioner would redeem the properties provided that Herrera executed a "transfer of
mortgage" over the properties in his favor. They executed a "Deed of Sale and Transfer of Rights of
Redemption and/or to Redeem," a document that enabled the petitioner to register the same in his name.

The private respondent alleges that the "Deed of Sale and Transfer of Rights of Redemption and/or to
Redeem" had been falsified.

Issue: Whether or not the petitioner committed a violation of hi oath.

Held: Yes, petitioner committed an infidelity to his oath "to do no falsehood".

Petitioner used his mastery of procedural law to score a technical knockout over his own client. Regarding
attorney's fees, section 24, of Rule 138, of the Rules, providing that lawyers may recover reasonable
compensation from clients.

The petitioner's claim of P100,000.00 in attorney's fees is unreasonable. The case did not involve complex
questions of fact or law that would have required substantial effort as to research or leg work for the
petitioner to warrant his demands. Also, the Court notes that petitioner wanted to force the transfer of the
properties to himself. But while the court cannot hold the petitioner liable for falsification he committed an
infidelity to his oath. The petitioner, Atty. Patemo Canlas, was ordered to pay to the private respondent,
Francisco Herrera, the sum of P326,000.00, and was ordered to show cause why no disciplinary action may be
imposed on him for violation of his oath, as a lawyer.

AC No. 99-634, June 10, 2002

DOMINADOR P. BURBE, complainant, vs. ATTY. ALBERTO C. MAGULTA, respondent.

Facts: Burbe hired Atty. Magulta to legally represent him in a money claim and possible civil case against
certain parties for breach of contract. Magulta then prepared the demand letter and some other legal papers,
including a settlement of the dispute with a filing fee P25,000.00. He was informed Magulta that the
complaint had already been filed in court, but there was no such complaint filed.

Upon confrontation, Magulta admitted that he did not file the complaint because he had spent the money for
the filing fee for his own purpose and offered to reimburse Burbe by issuing two (2) checks, postdated June 1
and June 5, 1999, in the amounts of P12,000.00 and P8,000.00, respectively.

Magulta denied that there was no lawyer-client relationship between him and Burbe. According to him, Burbe
was a kumpadre of a colleague and that he [Burbe] never paid him any fee for his services.

Issue: Whether or not Magulta violated the Code of Professional Responsibiity.

Held: Yes, Magulta is found guilty of violating Rules 16.01 and 18.03 of the Code of Professional Responsibility
and was suspended for one (1) year.

A lawyer-client relationship was established from the very first moment complainant asked respondent for
legal advice regarding the formers business. It is not necessary that any retainer be paid, promised, or
charged. A lawyer-client relationship may exist despite the close personal relationship between the lawyer
and the complainant. Hence, despite the fact that respondent dispensed legal advice to complainant as a
personal favor to the kumpadre, the lawyer was duty-bound to file the complaint he had agreed to prepare at
the soonest possible time, in order to protect the clients interest. Rule 18.03 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility provides that lawyers should not neglect legal matters entrusted to them.

Rule 16.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility states that lawyers shall hold in trust all moneys of their
clients and properties that may come into their possession. Magultas failure to put the complainants money
to its intended use is a gross violation of professional ethics and are guilty of betrayal of public confidence in
the legal profession.

ADM. CASE No. 5649, January 27, 2006

DANDY V. QUIJANO, Complainant, vs. GEOBEL A. BARTOLABAC (Labor Arbiter, NLRC-NCR South),
and ALBERTO R. QUIMPO (Commissioner, NLRC-First Division), Respondents.

Facts: Complainant, Quijano, was dismissed from service by the Mercury Drug Corporation. He filed a
complaint for illegal dismissal and was decided in his favor. Complainant filed with respondent Labor Arbiter
Bartolabac a motion for execution but despite the final resolution of his case, Bartolabac issued an order that
in effect changed the tenor of the final judgment. While the decision of this Court had mandated
complainants reinstatement, Bartolabac instead awarded backwages and separation pay.

The Court, upon learning this, issued a Resolution directing Bartolabac to fully comply with its Decision and to
explain in writing why he should not be punished for indirect contempt for his actuations in handling the case
and defiance of the Courts directives. Commissioner Quimpo, on the other hand directed the payment of
separation pay rather than reinstatement to a substantially similar position as ordered by the Court. This is
because the position of complainant, a warehouse man, was already abolished.

Issue: Whether or not respondents violate the Code of Professional Responsibility.

Held: Yes, respondents are liable for violating Canon 1 and Rule 1.01 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility. Respondents Labor Arbiter Geobel A. Bartolabac and Commissioner Alberto R. Quimpo were
suspended for THREE (3) months.

The Court is unyielding in its adjudication that complainant must be reinstated to his former position as
warehouseman or to a substantially equivalent position. Both respondents labor arbiter and commissioner do
not have any latitude to depart from the Courts ruling. Respondents have no discretion on this matter, much
less any authority to change the order of the Court. In facts, the Court granted that complainant could be
reinstated to a substantially equivalent or similar position as a viable alternative for the corporation to carry

A.C. No. 3701, March 28, 1995


Facts: While respondent was still an employee of PNB, he participated in arranging the sale of steel sheets in
favor of Milagros Ong Siy for P200,000. When a civil action arose out of this transaction between Mrs. Ong Siy
and complainant bank before the Regional Trial Court of Makati, Branch 146, respondent who had since left
the employ of complainant bank, appeared as one of the counsels of Mrs. Ong Siy.

Similarly, when the same transaction became the subject of an administrative case filed by complainant bank
against his former subordinate Emmanuel Elefan, for grave misconduct and dishonesty, respondent appeared
as counsel for Elefan only to be later disqualified by the Civil Service Commission.

Moreover, while respondent was still the Asst. Vice President of complainants Asset Management Group, he
intervened in the handling of the loan account of the spouses Ponciano and Eufemia Almeda with
complainant bank by writing demand letters to the couple. When a civil action ensued between complainant
bank and the Almeda spouses as a result of this loan account, the latter were represented by the law firm
"Cedo, Ferrer, Maynigo & Associates" of which respondent is one of the Senior Partners.

Issue: Whether or not respondent violated Canon 6, Rule 6.03 of the Code of Professional Responsibility
stating that, A lawyer shall not, after leaving government service, accept engagement or employment in
connection with any matter in which he had intervened while in said service.

Held: Yes, the respondent violated Canon 6, Rule 6.03 of the Code of Professional Responsibility and was
suspended for three years.

There was a deliberate intent on the part of the respondent to devise ways and means to attract as clients
former borrowers of complainant bank since he was in the best position to see the legal weaknesses of his
former employer, a convincing factor for the said clients to seek his professional service.

A.C. No. 4807, March 22, 2000



Facts: Nine students of AMA Computer College ("AMACC") were expelled therefrom upon the
recommendation of the Student Disciplinary Tribunal. They were all members of the Editorial Board of
DATALINE, who apparently had caused to be published some objectionable features or articles in the paper.
Complainant is the hired counsel of the expelled students. Respondents, then counsel for the defendants,
procured compromise agreements (letters of apology and Re-Admission Agreements) with four of
complainants clients without his knowledge which required them to waive all kinds of claims they might have
had against AMACC, the principal defendant, and to terminate all civil, criminal and administrative
proceedings filed against it.

Issue: Whether or not respondents violated Canon 9 of the Code of Professional Ethics.

Held: Yes, Respondent Pangulayan is guilty of violating Canon 9 of the Code of Professional Ethics and was
suspended for three months while the case against the other respondents is dismissed for insufficiency of

Canon 9 states that, "A lawyer should not in any way communicate upon the subject of controversy with a
party represented by counsel, much less should he undertake to negotiate or compromise the matter with
him, but should only deal with his counsel. It is incumbent upon the lawyer most particularly to avoid
everything that may tend to mislead a party not represented by counsel and he should not undertake to
advise him as to law."

When the individual letters of apology and Re-Admission Agreements were formalized, complainant was
already the counsel for plaintiff students in the civil case. Respondent Pangulayan had full knowledge of this
fact but proceeded, nonetheless, to negotiate with them and their parents without at the very least
communicating the matter to their lawyer. This failure of respondent, whether by design or because of
oversight, is an inexcusable violation of the canons of professional ethics and in utter disregard of a duty
owing to a colleague.

A. C. No. 5398, December 3, 2002

ANTONIO A. ALCANTARA, complainant, vs. ATTY. MARIANO PEFIANCO, respondent.

Facts: The complainant, Atty. Alcantara, the incumbent District Public Attorney of the Public Attorneys Office
in San Jose, Antique, had a heated argument with respondent Atty. Pefianco, shouting first at another lawyer
(Atty. Salvani) then to Alcantara and called him gago (stupid) after a woman tried to amicably settle the civil
aspect of the criminal because she was no longer interested in prosecuting the same. The tension escalated
and the respondent almost punched Alcantara.

Issue: Whether or not respondent violated Canon 8 of the Code of Professional Responsibility.

Held: Yes, Pefianco was found guilty of violation of Canon 8 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, was
fined P1,000.00, and reprimanded with a warning.

Canon 8 of the Code of Professional Responsibility admonishes lawyers to conduct themselves with courtesy,
fairness and candor toward their fellow lawyers. Lawyers are duty bound to uphold the dignity of the legal
profession. They must act honorably, fairly and candidly toward each other and otherwise conduct
themselves without reproach at all times.

The evidence on record indeed shows that it was respondent Pefianco who provoked the incident in question.
In this case, respondents meddling in a matter in which he had no right to do so caused the untoward
incident. He had no right to demand an explanation from Atty. Salvani why the case of the woman had not or
could not be settled. Even so, Atty. Salvani in fact tried to explain the matter to respondent, but the latter
insisted on his view about the case.

Respondent ought to have realized that this sort of public behavior can only bring down the legal profession in
the public estimation and erode public respect for it. Whatever moral righteousness respondent had was
negated by the way he chose to express his indignation. An injustice cannot be righted by another injustice.

A.C. No. 2339, February 24, 1984.

JOSE M. CASTILLO, Complainant, v. ATTY. SABINO PADILLA, JR., Respondent.

Facts: Complainant was the counsel for the defendants (and at the same time, one of the defendants) in a
criminal case for forcible entry. Respondent was counsel for the plaintiff of the said case. While complainant
was formally offering his evidence in a court hearing, he heard respondent say "bobo." When complainant
turned toward respondent, he saw the latter looking at him (complainant) menacingly. Embarrassed and

humiliated in the presence of many people, complainant was unable to proceed with his offer of evidence.
The court proceedings had to be suspended.

Issue: Whether or not respondent committed a violation of the Code of Professional Responsibility to observe
and maintain the respect due to the courts of justice.

Held: Yes, respondent was merely reprimanded for his misbehavior.

Whether directed at the person of complainant or his manner of offering evidence, the remark "bobo" or "Ay,
que bobo" was offensive and uncalled for. Respondent had no right to interrupt complainant which such
cutting remark while the latter was addressing the court. In so doing, he exhibited lack of respect not only to a
fellow lawyer but also to the court.

The Court, however, notes that in the case at bar, respondents actuation was triggered by complainants own
manifest hostility and provocative remarks. Complainant is therefore not entirely free from blame when
respondent unleashed his irritation through the use of improper words.

A.M. No. 219, September 29, 1962

PATALINGHUG, respondents.

Facts: Petitioner was the counsel of Nieves Rillas Vda. de Barrera. Petitioner prepared two pleadings,
however, Barrera refused to countersign these two pleadings and instead advised petitioner not to file them.
Some weeks later, petitioner found in the records of said proceedings that respondent Atty. Fortunato
Patalinghug had filed a written appearance as the new counsel for Nieves Rillas Vda. de Barrera. Petitioner
voluntarily asked the court to be relieved as counsel for Mrs. Barrera. The other respondent, Atty. Remotigue,
then entered his appearance.

Complainant here alleges that the appearances of respondents were unethical and improper because
respondents motive was to allegedly embarrass petitioner to the officials, lawyers and employees of said
corporations, picturing him as a dishonest lawyer and no longer trusted by his client all with the purpose of
straining the relationship of the petitioner and his client, Nieves Rillas Vda. de Barrera; and that Atty.
Patalinghug entered his appearance without notice to petitioner.

Issue: Whether or not respondents are guilty of violating the Code of Professional Responsibility by allegedly
soliciting cases and intriguing against a brother lawyer.

Held: No, no sufficient evidence were submitted to sustain the charges.

According to investigation, the reason why Mrs. Barrera dismissed petitioner as her lawyer was that she did
not trust him any longer, for one time she found out that some dividend checks which should have been sent
to her were sent instead to petitioner, making her feel that she was being cheated by petitioner. Moreover,
she found that withdrawals from the Philippine National Bank and Bank of the Philippine Islands have been
made by petitioner without her prior authority.

The court sees no irregularity in the appearance of respondent Atty. Fortunato Patalinghug as counsel for the
widow. The evidence shows that Atty. Patalinghug's professional services were contracted by the widow.

A.M. No. 944, July 25, 1974

FLORA NARIDO, complainant, vs. ATTORNEY JAIME S. LINSANGAN, respondent.

Facts: Respondent Atty. Linsangan was the counsel of Flora Narido in a workmen's compensation case. Narido
alleged that Linsangan violated the attorney's oath by submitting a perjured statement. Respondent accused
Atty. Risma of the opposing party accountable for instigating his client, the complainant, Narido, to file the
case in what respondent Linsangan called "embarrassment, humiliation and defamation" of a brother in a
profession. Respondent Jaime S. Linsangan and Rufino B. Risma hurled accusations at each other.

Issue: Whether or not the respondents merit a disciplinary action.

Held: No, respondent Jaime S. Linsangan is dismissed for lack of merit while respondent Rufino B. Risma is
exculpated from the charge of having instigated the filing of an unfounded suit.

The two respondents were advised to heed these words from Justice Laurel, announced in Javier v. Cornejo:
"It should be observed, in this connection, that mutual bickering and unjustifiable recriminations, between
brother attorneys detract from the dignity of the legal profession and will not receive any sympathy from this