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CANON 20

BALINGIT v. CERVANTES
(A.C. No. 11059, November 9, 2016)

FACTS:
Complainant has two sons Jose Antonio Balingit, Jr. and Carlo Balingit.
His sons were riding their motorcycles which collided with a car driven by
David A. Alizadeh. Jose Antonio, Jr. was dead on arrival at the hospital while
his passenger Kristopher Rocky Kabigting, Jr. suffered physical injuries and
Carlo suffered serious physical injuries. A criminal negligence was filed
against David. Complainant together with Carlo, Kristopher and the heirs of
Jose Antonio, Jr. hired the respondent in filing a separate civil suit for
damages and an administrative case with the Professional Regulation
Commission (PRC) against David, who passed the physician board exam. A
demand letter was sent to David for payment of P2, 000, 000.00 plus 25% as
attorney’s fees.

A letter was sent informing Atty. Cervantes about the pending


criminal case against David and requesting issuance of David’s license to
practice medicine be deferred or suspended until termination of the criminal
case. The PRC replied and informed Atty. Cervantes of the requirements in
order to file an administrative case against David. Atty. Cervantes signed
and prepared an Agreement about the terms of respondents’ engagement
addressed to Kristopher, Carlo, and the heirs of Jose Antonio, Jr. which they
did not sign. Respondents failed to institute the separate civil suit for
damages agreed upon while in the criminal case complainant and the
representatives of David agreed to settle.

A Compromise Agreement was signed. Upon hearing the


Compromise Agreement, Atty. Cervantes demanded 10% of the amount of
the compromise as the attorney’s fee and P5, 000.00 as appearance fee which
the complainant refused to pay. Atty. Cervantes filed a criminal complaint
for estafa against the complainant while the complainant filed the present
disbarment case against respondents before the Integrated Bar of the
Philippines-Commission on Bar Discipline (IBP-CBD). Respondents filled
separate motions for extension of time to submit their answers. Atty.
Delarmente failed to file his answer whereas Atty. Cervantes filed a motion
to admit his verified answer. Atty. Cervantes denied receiving money and
did not receive the acceptance and docket fees to the case.

ISSUE:
Whether or not the respondent violated Canon 20, and Rule 20.04 of
the Code of Professional Responsibility

HELD:
Yes. Rule 20.4 of the Code of Professional Responsibility advises that
xxx A lawyer shall avoid controversies with clients concerning their compensation
and to resort to judicial action only to prevent imposition, injustice or fraud. xxx It
is improper for a lawyer to impose additional professional fees on his client
that were never mentioned nor agreed upon the time of the engagement of
his services. In the case at bar, Atty. Cervantes demanded, as success fee for
the criminal case and the Compromise Agreement was entered in the
proceedings, P5, 000.00 appearance fee and 10% of the settlement. The
Compromise Agreement was outside the scope of respondents’ engagement.
Matters of fees present an irreconcilable conflict of interests between a client
and his lawyer.

The Court held that the respondent is guilty of being remiss in their
duties as counsel for complainant and that when a lawyer accepts a case he
undertakes to give his utmost attention, skill, and competence to it. His client
has the right to expect that he will discharge his duties diligently and exert
his best efforts, learning, and ability to prosecute or defend his client's cause
with reasonable dispatch. The Court suspended Atty. Teodoro B.
Delarmente and Atty. Renato M. Cervantes for six months from the practice
of law.
CANON 20

DOY MERCANTILE, INC. v. AMA COMPUTER COLLEGE


(G.R. No. 155311, March 31, 2004)

FACTS:
The petitioner through its then counsel, respondent a Complaint for
Annulment of Contract, Damages with Preliminary Injunction against AMA
Computer College, Inc. (AMA) and one Ernesto Rioveros. During pre-trial,
AMA proposed to enter into a compromise agreement with DOY, which
proposal the parties later agreed to adopt. The agreement was signed by
Fernando Yap in behalf of DOY, with the assistance of Atty. Gabriel, Jr. and
Atty. Andres.

A judgment based on the compromise agreement was rendered by the


RTC. In light of said compromise, the Court of Appeals dismissed the case
for mootness. DOY, however, refused to satisfy Atty. Gabriel, Jr.’s attorney’s
fees, prompting the lawyer to file with the RTC a Motion to Allow
Commensurate Fees and to Annotate Attorney’s. At this point, DOY had
already obtained the services of a new counsel to attend to the enforcement
of the Judgment of the RTC.

The RTC fixed Atty. Gabriel, Jr.'s fees at Php 200,000 and ordered that
a lien be annotated on the TCTs. A Writ of Execution was later issued by the
trial court in Atty. Gabriel, Jr.’s favor. DOY contends that the Decision is not
consistent with the guidelines prescribed by Section 24, Rule 138 of the Rules
of Court and Rule 20.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility.

ISSUE:
Whether or not the appellate court failed to follow Rule 20.01 of Canon
20 of the Code of Professional Responsibility

HELD:
No. Canon 20 of the Code of Professional Responsibility provides xxx
A lawyer shall charge only fair and reasonable fees. xxx Rule 20.01 of the same
code list several other factors in setting such fees which are mere guides in
ascertaining the real value of the lawyer's service and courts are not bound
to consider all these factors in fixing attorney's fees. While a lawyer should
charge only fair and reasonable fees, no hard and fast rule may be set in the
determination of what a reasonable fee is, or what is not that must be
established from the facts in each case. As the Court of Appeals is the final
adjudicator of facts, this Court is bound by the former’s findings on the
propriety of the amount of attorney’s fees.

CANON 20

VALDEZ v. ATTY. VICTORIA, JR.


(A.C. No. 10958, January 13, 2016)

FACTS:
On September 2004, the complainant and the respondent entered into
an arrangement where the former would be handling a land registration case
involving the latter's sister. Respondent was named attorney-in-fact of his
sister in that case. The properties sought to be registered consist of two (2)
parcels with a combined area of about 13,000 sq.m. in Barangay Hagonoy
and Bambang in Taguig City with an estimated value, according to
complainant, of Php35,000,000.00. The complainant received only paltry
sums of Php2,000.00 up to Php2,500.00 mainly for appearances fees despite
demand for collection reminders addressed to the respondent for the
payment of the more reasonable fees. For the Supreme Court case,
complainant was paid for a measly Php5,000.00 (1) presumably as
acceptance fee. All in all, as of the moment, complainant has received for the
entire effort from the RTC, CA to the SC only the piteous amount of some
Twenty Five Thousand Pesos (Php25,000.00) from the respondent."

ISSUE:
Whether or not respondent committed a grave misconduct in this case.

HELD:
No, complainant identifies respondent to be an attorney-in- fact but
there is hardly any showing in the pleadings filed any solid indication of that
claim. It is recommended that the complaint be dismissed for lack of
adequate basis to sanction respondent. Nonetheless, this dismissal is
without prejudice to complainant seeking relief from another forum to
obtain what he feels is due him as attorney's fees.
CANON 20

SANTECO v. ATTY. AVANCE


(A.C. No. 5834, December 11, 2003)

FACTS:
The complainant, Teresita D. Santeco was the defendant in an
ejectment case. While on the pendency of the case, Santeco filed an action to
Declare Deed of Absolute Sale Null and Void. Thereafter, complainant
terminated the services of her then counsel and engaged the services of
respondent Atty. Luna B. Avance as her counsel de parte in both cases.
Complainant agreed to and did pay respondent P12,000.00 as acceptance fee
for her services. Subsequently, respondent made representations with
complainant that she was going to file a petition for certiorari with the Court
of Appeals. Avance, without any word, being the legal counsel of the
complainant and after receiving the fees, failed to file the petition case of his
client and as the result, the court dismissed the civil case. Consequently,
Santeco filed a case for disbarment to the respondent for mishandling her
case for annulment of a deed of absolute sale.

ISSUE:
Whether or not the respondent is guilty of gross misconduct in
handling the case at bar.

HELD:
Yes, There can be no question that respondent was grossly remiss in
the performance of her duties as counsel for complainant. The records show
that in engaging the services of respondent, complainant agreed to and did
pay respondent P12,000.00 as acceptance fee. A lawyer has the duty to
uphold the integrity and dignity of the legal profession at all times and to
faithfully perform her duties to society, to the bar, to the courts and to her
clients. The Court cannot tolerate any misconduct that tends to besmirch the
fair name of an honorable profession. Respondent has dismally failed to do
her duty to her client and has clearly violated the Code of Professional
Responsibility.


CANON 20

CUETO VS. ATY. JIMENEZ, JR.


(A.C. No. 5798, January 20, 2005)

FACTS:
Complainant Engr. Alex Cueto alleged that he engaged the services of
respondent as notary public, the latter being the father of the owner of the
building subject of the Construction Agreement to be notarized. After
notarizing the agreement, respondent demanded P50,000 as notarial fee.
Despite his surprise as to the cost of the notarial service, complainant
informed respondent that he only had P30,000 in cash. Respondent
persuaded complainant to pay the P30,000 and to issue a check for the
remaining P20,000. Before the maturity date of the check, complainant
requested respondent not to deposit the same for lack of sufficient funds, but
respondent still deposited the check which was consequently dishonored for
insufficient funds. Subsequently, Atty. Jimenez lodged a complaint for
violation of BP 22 against Cueto. Cueto filed his own administrative
complaint against Jimenez, alleging that he violated the Code of Professional
Responsibility and Canons of Professional Ethics when he filed the criminal
case against him so he could collect the balance of his notarial fee. The Board
of Governors adopted and approved the report and recommendation of the
Investigating Commissioner, that the respondent is guilty of violating
Canon 20, Rule 20.4 of the Code of Professional Responsibility and
recommended that he be reprimanded.

ISSUE:
Whether or not the respondent lawyer violated Canon 20, Rule 20.4 of
the Code of Professional Responsibility.

HELD:
Yes. The Court agrees with the IBP that respondent's conduct in filing
a criminal case for violation of BP 22 against complainant (when the check
representing the P20,000 balance was dishonored for insufficient funds) was
highly improper. Canon 20, Rule 20.4 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility mandates that "[a] lawyer shall avoid controversies with
clients concerning his compensation and shall resort to judicial action only
to prevent imposition, injustice or fraud." There was clearly no imposition,
injustice or fraud obtaining in this case to justify the legal action taken by
respondent. Atty. Jose Jimenez, Jr. is severely reprimanded for violating
Canon 20, Rule 20.4 of the Code of Professional Responsibility.
CANON 20

MIRANDA VS. ATTY. CARPIO


(A.C. No. 6281, September 26, 2011)

FACTS:
Complainant Valentin C. Miranda engaged the services of respondent
Atty. Carpio as counsel in the case regarding a parcel of land located in Las
Piñas, Metro Manila. Complainant paid the amounts agreed upon with
respondent, as evidenced by receipts duly signed by the latter. During the
last hearing of the case, respondent demanded the additional amount of
P10,000.00 for the preparation of a memorandum, which he said would
further strengthen complainant's position in the case, plus twenty 20% of the
total area of the subject property as additional fees for his services.
Complainant did not accede to respondent's demand for it was contrary to
their agreement which made the respondent furious and their relationship
became sore. When the Decision was declared final and executory in an
Order, the complainant went to the Register of Deeds to get the owner's
duplicate of the Original Certificate of Title (OCT), only to find out that the
same had already been claimed by and released to respondent. Respondent
insisted that complainant first pay him P10,000.00 and the 20% share in the
in exchange for which, respondent would deliver the owner's duplicate of
the OCT. In defense of his actions, respondent relied on his alleged retaining
lien over the owner's duplicate of OCT and he further invoked the principle
of "quantum meruit" to justify the amount being demanded by him. The IBP
Board of Governors adopted and approved the Report and
Recommendation of the IBP-CBD, that respondent be suspended from the
practice of law for a period of 6 months for unjustly withholding from
complainant the owner's duplicate of OCT in the exercise of his so-called
attorney's lien.

ISSUE:
Whether or not the respondent is liable for violation of Canon 20 of the
Code of Professional Responsibility for his inexcusable act of withholding
the property belonging to his client and imposing unwarranted fees in
exchange for the release of said title.
HELD:
Yes. In collecting from complainant exorbitant fees, respondent has
breached violated Canon 20 of the Code of Professional Responsibility,
which mandates that "a lawyer shall charge only fair and reasonable fees." It
is highly improper for a lawyer to impose additional professional fees upon
his client which were never mentioned nor agreed upon at the time of the
engagement of his services. At the outset, respondent should have informed
the complainant of all the fees or possible fees that he would charge before
handling the case and not towards the near conclusion of the case. In the
present case, the parties had already entered into an agreement as to the
attorney's fees of the respondent, and thus, the principle of “quantum
meruit”, meaning 'as much as he deserved’ does not fully find application
because the respondent is already compensated by such agreement.
Respondent lawyer is suspended from the practice of law for a period of 6
months and he is ordered to return to the complainant the owner's duplicate
of immediately upon receipt of this decision.

CANON 20

SPOUSES JACINTO VS. BANGO, JR.

FACTS:
This administrative case stems from the complaint brought on
December 8, 2009 by the Spouses Emilio and Alicia Jacinto, then 81 and 76
years of age, respectively, against Atty. Emelie P. Bangot, Jr. for the latter's
unjust and dishonest treatment of them as his clients.
On October 17, 2008 the respondent requested them to proceed to his law in
order to sign the MOA wherein Atty. Bangot, Jr. will get 300 sq. m., from Lot
No. 37925-G covered by TCT No. 121708. Because of full trust to Atty.
Bangot, the Spouses did not bother reading the contents of the documents.

However, the contents of the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) was


not signed by Atty. Bangot and did not bear the signature of witnesse. The
(MOA) did not reflect the true intentions being contemplated in our previous
discussions. Contrary to what the complainant have told him, a different
area which is 37925-G under TCT No. 121708 was written. The lot written in
the MOA could no longer be disposed of because these lots were already
committed to each of the complainant’s children. The lot area was also
increased from 250 sq. m. to 300 sq. m. The complainants’ daughter whose
share was involved reacted badly and she was hurt because she will then be
deprived of her place to live in, in the future. The complainants decided to
see Atty. Bangot to have the MOA be revoked because they felt they were
deceived, Atty. Bangot took advantage of our old age, thus breaking the trust
and confidence the client[']s and lawyer should uphold at all times in the
exercise of one's profession.

As a gesture of acknowledging his efforts, the complainants offered to


pay him in cash, fair enough for the services he had rendered to us.
However, he refused to revoke the MOA because accordingly, he would
consult his wife which finally did not materialize because his wife was not
amenable which in effect showed that they have vested interest on the
property and they are bent on taking the property at any cause. He even
challenged us to file an appropriate case in court against him rather than
agree with our pleading for payment of cash. Likewise, he refused our offer
to pay his services in cash alleging that he already filed a Manifestation in
court and claimed that our possession would not be disturbed and that he
will be filing a case for Certiorari as promised.
The Manifestation filed by Atty. Bangot is not a preparatory pleading
for certiorari. No way could it even stop the intrusion into compainants’
property.

Feeling aggrieved, the complainants decided to bring their complaint


against the respondent.

On his part, the respondent denied the allegations of the complainants.


He insisted that the complaint against him was a harassment tactic designed
to intimidate him from seeking judicial remedies to settle their dispute on
the validity of the MOA; that the MOA was valid; that the Manifestation for
Information he had filed in court prevented the intrusion into the
complainants' land; that the administrative complaint was designed to
insure the derailment of his application for a judgeship position, and to cover
up the negligence of the complainants' counsel as the plaintiffs in Civil Case
No. 2008-302 (for annulment and/or rescission of agreement), which case
was dismissed for failure to comply with the requirement for the prior
barangay conciliation proceedings; and that they had voluntarily signed the
MOA without intimidation, fraud or undue influence.

ISSUE:
Whether or not respondent violated Canon 20 of the Code of
Professional Responsibility?

HELD:
Yes. The Court ruled that respondent violated Canon 20 of the Code of
Professional Responsibility. The Court also ruled that all the foregoing
circumstances established that the respondent was deceitful, dishonest and
unreasonable in his dealings with the complainants as his clients. He thus
violated his Lawyer's Oath, whereby he vowed, among others, to do no
falsehood, and not to consent to the doing of any falsehood, as well as not to
delay any man's cause for money or malice but to conduct himself as a
lawyer according to the best of his knowledge and discretion "with all good
fidelity as well to the courts as to [his] clients. He also breached the following
canons of the Code of Professional Responsibility, to wit:
Rule 1.01 — A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or
deceitful conduct.
Canon 15 — A lawyer shall observe candor, fairness and loyalty in all his
dealings and transactions with his clients.
Canon 17 — A lawyer owes fidelity to the cause of his client and he shall be
mindful of the trust and confidence reposed in him.
Canon 18.03 — A lawyer shall not neglect a legal matter entrusted to him,
and his negligence in connection therewith shall render him liable.
Canon 20 — A lawyer shall charge only fair and reasonable fees.
Rule 20.4 — A lawyer shall avoid controversies with clients concerning his
compensation and shall resort to judicial action only to prevent
imposition, injustice or fraud.

The Court emphasized that the Law is neither a trade nor a craft but a
profession whose basic ideal is to render public service and to secure justice
for those who seek its aid. If the Law has to remain an honorable profession
and has to attain its basic ideal, those enrolled in its ranks should not only
master its tenets and principles but should also, by their lives, accord
continuing fidelity to such tenets and principles. The respondent's behavior
and deceit demonstrated a preference for self-gain that transgressed his
sworn duty of fidelity, loyalty and devotion to his clients' cause. His betrayal
of his clients' trust besmirched the honorable name of the Law Profession.
These considerations justify suspending him from the practice of law.
CANON 20

CAMPOS, JR. V. ATTY. ESTEBAL


(A.C. No. 10443, August 8, 2016)

FACTS:
Complainants Rosario B. Campos, Rita C. Batac (Batac) and Dorina D.
Carpio (Carpio), who represented William G. Campos, Jr. (Campos),
engaged the services of respondent Atty. Alexander C. Estebal (Atty. Estebal
) to assist each of them in securing tourist visas to the United States (U.S.).
Toward this end, Campos and Atty. Estebal entered into a Service Contract
stipulating an acceptance/service fee of P200,000.00 exclusive of out-of-
pocket expenses such as tickets, filing fees, and application fees. Campos
paid Atty. Estebal the sum of P150,000.00. For their part, Batac and Carpio
gave Atty. Estebal the amounts of P75,000.00 and 120,000.00, respectively.

Atty. Estebal failed to apply or secure for them the U.S. tourist visas
that he promised. Thus, complainants demanded for the return of their
monies. Atty. Estebal, however, failed to return the amount despite repeated
demands.

Atty. Estebal posited that complainant’s demand for the return or


refund of their money has no factual or legal basis at all, especially because
he had invested considerable time, talent and energy in the processing of
complainant’s tourist visa applications with the U.S. Embassy.

ISSUE:
Whether or not respondent is guilty of professional misconduct for
violating Canon 20 of the Code of Professional Responsibility.

HELD:
Yes. Respondent is guilty of professional misconduct for violating
Canon 20 of the Code of Professional Responsibility.

CANON 20 – A lawyer shall charge only fair and reasonable fees.

While lawyers are entitled to the payment of attorney’s fees, the same
should be reasonable under the circumstances. It is not even clear if the
amount individually paid by the complainants is for the payment of
respondent’s attorney’s fees or for the payment of the application for the US
visa; an applicant has to spend only P6,157.00. Thus, by mere mathematical
computation, the amount of P200,000.00 contract with complainant William
Campos is excessive. If it is for the payment of attorney’s fees, the same is
also considered excessive and unreasonable.

Considering the degree of work and number of hours spent, the


amount he collected from the complainants is not commensurate to the
degree of services rendered. Obviously, respondent took advantage of the
weakness of the complainants in their desire to go to the United States.

CANON 20

DR. GIL GAMILLA ET AL. VS ATTY. EDUARDO MARIÑO JR.


(AC No. 4763, March 20, 2003)

FACTS:
In 1986 respondent Atty. Mariño Jr. as president of the UST Faculty
Union and other union officers entered into a collective bargaining
agreement with the management of UST for the provision of economic
benefits amounting to P35 million. The 1986 collective bargaining agreement
expired in 1988 but efforts to forge a new one unfortunately failed.

In 1992 UST and the UST Faculty Union executed a memorandum of


agreement to settle the salary increases and other benefits under the
collective bargaining agreement effective 1988 for the period 1 June 1991 to
31 May 1993 for a total of P42,000,000.00. It was agreed that the benefits
accruing from 1 June 1991 to 31 October 1992 were to be taken from the sum
of P42, 000,000.00 which UST would release directly to the faculty members,
while the remainder of the P42, 000,000.00 package would be ceded by UST
to the UST Faculty Union which would then disburse the balance to cover
the benefits from 1 November 1992 to 31 May 1993. The memorandum of
agreement also charged the amount of P2, 000,000.00 agreed upon in the
1990 compromise agreement as well as the attorney's fees of Atty. Mariño
worth P4, 200,000.00 against the P42, 000,000.00 outlay.

In accordance with the memorandum of agreement, UST took care of


the disbursement of P20,226,221.60 from the total commitment of
P42,000,000.00 to pay for the following expenses: (a) P2,000,000.00 as
payment for unpaid obligations to faculty members under the 1986 collective
bargaining agreement; (b) P13,833,597.96 for the salary increases of faculty
members from 1 June 1991 to 31 October 1992; (c) P192,623.64 for telephone,
electricity and water billings; and, (d) P4,200,000.00 paid to the UST Faculty
Union as attorney's fees. The expenses left a collectible sum of P21, 773,778.40
from the obligation of P42,000,000.00. The university however relinquished
only P18,038,939.37 to the UST Faculty Union which was P3,734,839.03 short
of the balance of P21,773,778.40. In the meantime, the UST Faculty Union
placed P9,766,570.01 of the amount received from UST in the money market
to earn as it did make P1,146,381.27 in interest.
Complainants filed the instant complaint for disbarment against Atty.
Mariño accusing him of (a) compromising their entitlements under the 1986
collective bargaining agreement without the knowledge, consent or
ratification of the union members, and worse, for only P2,000,000.00 when
they could have received more than P9,000,000.00; (b) failing to account for
the P7,000,000.00 received by him and other officers and directors in the UST
Faculty Union under the 1990 compromise agreement; (c) lack of
transparency in the administration and distribution of the remaining balance
of the P42,000,000.00 package under the 1992 memorandum of agreement;
(d) refusal to remit and account for the P4,200,000.00 in favor of the faculty
members although the amount was denominated as attorney's fees.

ISSUE:
Whether or not respondent violated Canon 20 of the Code of
Professional Responsibility.

HELD:
Yes. Canon 20 of the Code of Professional Responsibility states that “A
lawyer shall charge only fair and reasonable fees. In the instant case, there
was lack of notice and transparency in respondent's dual role as lawyer and
president of the UST Faculty Union when he obtained P4,200,000.00 as
attorney's fees. Without ruling on the validity of the collection of attorney's
fees so as not to pre-empt the decision in G.R. No. 149763 on this issue, the
record does not show any justification for such huge amount of
compensation nor any clear differentiation between his legal services and his
tasks as union president comprising in all probability the same duties for
which he had collected a hefty compensation as attorney for the union. The
situation of Atty. Mariño is not any different from that of an executor or
administrator of an estate who may not charge against the estate any
professional fee for legal services rendered by him because his efforts as such
are already paid for in his capacity as executor or administrator. Indeed, he
could have avoided complaints and perceptions of self-enrichment arising
from the levy of attorney's fees by spelling out the terms and bases for the
claim of P4,200,000.00 since the compensation for his services as president of
the union should have otherwise covered his legal services as well.
CANON 20

GIOVANI IGUAL VS ATTY ROLANDO JAVIER


(AC No. CBD-174, March 7, 1996)

FACTS:
The complainant met respondent attorney thru complainant's tennis
partner, one Sergio Dorado, sometime April 1, 1991. Complainant asked
Sergio Dorado to make it possible for complainant to meet respondent at the
latter's house regarding the possibility of hiring respondent to handle Civil
Case No. 2188-LRC No. 215, pending with the Regional Trial Court of Aklan.
A decision favorable to complainant's mother had just been rendered but
this decision was appealed by the adverse party to the Court of Appeals.
Complainant said respondent is being hired because complainant's mother
wanted the appeal expedited.

Complainant alleged that he gave the money with understanding that


the money is for 'safekeeping and as proof, according to him, . . . promising
to return my money should my mother and her lawyer Atty. Ibadlit disagree
in his collaborating in the case' — covered by receipt which provides:
'Received the amount of Ten Thousand (P10,000.00) Pesos from Mr. Giovani
M. Igual as Legal Fees and Filing Fees. Respondent thus entered his formal
appearance 'as collaborating counsel' dated April 3, 1991. Then 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. Instead
of filing an Answer, respondent filed an 'Affidavit' dated April 20, 1992,
alleging that: he 'gave back the P3,000.00 not as a settlement' because
complainant said 'his child was hospitalized and gravely ill' and that the
reason why complainant wanted a refund of the remaining P7,000.00 is
because 'it is not the fault of the affiant if Giovani M. Igual had quarreled
with his mother or his brother or his sister as to the reimbursement or
sharing of the Legal Fees — because the truth was that Igual wanted to
secure double or bigger reimbursement.'.

ISSUE:
Whether or not the act of the respondent violated Canon 20 of the Code
of Professional Responsibility.
HELD:
Yes. The Court held that all members of the Bar are expected to always
live up to the standards embodied in the Code of Professional
Responsibility, particularly the Canon 20 which states that “A lawyer shall
charge only fair and reasonable fees” It also agreed with the Commissioner
Roxas’ findings and conclusions that respondent unlawfully withheld
complainant's money in the amount of P7,000.00 paid by way of acceptance
fee for a matter which respondent never performed any work on. In
addition, the Court noted that respondent not only unjustifiably refused to
return the complainant's money upon demand, but he stubbornly persisted
in clinging to what was not his and to which he absolutely had no right. Such
lack of delicadeza and absence of integrity was further highlighted by
respondent's half-baked excuses, hoary pretenses and blatant lies in his
testimony before the IBP Committee on Bar Discipline represented by
Commissioner Roxas.

CANON 21

MERCADO v. DE VERA
(A.C. No. 5859, November 23, 2010)

FACTS:
Atty. Eduardo De Vera is a member of the Bar and was the former
counsel of Rosario P. Mercado. Pursuant to a favorable decision, a writ of
execution pending appeal was issued in favor of Rosario P. Mercado. Herein
respondent, as her legal counsel, garnished the bank deposits of the
defendant, but did not turn over the proceeds to Rosario. Rosario demanded
that the respondent turn over the proceeds of the garnishment, but the latter
refused claiming that he had paid part of the money to the judge while the
balance was his, as attorney’s fees. Such refusal prompted Rosario to file an
administrative case for disbarment against the respondent. The IBP Board of
Governors promulgated a Resolution holding the respondent guilty of
infidelity in the custody and handling of clients funds and recommending to
the Court his one-year suspension from the practice of law. De Vera filed a
series of lawsuits against the Mercado family except George Mercado. He
also instituted cases against the family corporation, the corporation’s
accountant and the judge who ruled against the reopening of the case where
respondent tried to collect the balance of his alleged fee from Rosario.

ISSUE:
Whether or not De Vera violated the Code of Professional
Responsibility.

HELD:
Yes, the respondent not only filed frivolous and unfounded lawsuits
that violated his duties as an officer of the court in aiding in the proper
administration of justice, but he did so against a former client to whom he
owes loyalty and fidelity. The cases filed by the respondent against his
former client involved matters and information acquired by the respondent
during the time when he was still Rosarios counsel. Information as to the
structure and operations of the family corporation, private documents, and
other pertinent facts and figures used as basis or in support of the cases filed
by the respondent in pursuit of his malicious motives were all acquired
through the attorney-client relationship with herein complainants. Such act
is in direct violation of the Canons and will not be tolerated by the Court.
CANON 21

MERCADO v. ATTY. VITRIOLO


(A.C. No. 5108, May 26, 2005)

FACTS:
The complainant is a Senior Education Program Specialist of the
Standards Development Division, Office of Programs and Standards while
respondent is a Deputy Executive Director IV of the Commission on Higher
Education (CHED).

Atty. Anastacio P. de Leon, counsel of complainant, died. Respondent


entered his appearance before the trial court as collaborating counsel for
complainant. Then, respondent filed his Notice of Substitution of Counsel,
informing that he has been appointed as counsel for the complainant, in
substitution of Atty. de Leon.

Respondent filed a complaint for violation of falsification of public


document. Respondent alleged that complainant made false entries in the
Certificates of Live Birth of her children and allegedly indicated in said
Certificates of Live Birth that she is married to a certain Ferdinand
Fernandez. However, complainant denied the accusations of respondent
against her. She denied using any other name than Rosa F. Mercado and
insisted that she has gotten married only once.

Respondent maintains that his filing of the criminal complainant for


falsification of public documents against complainant does not violate the
rule on privileged communication between attorney and client because the
bases of the falsification case are two certificates of live birth which are
public documents and in no way connected with the confidence taken
during the engagement of respondent as counsel.

ISSUE:
Whether or not the respondent violated the rule on privileged
communication between attorney and client when he filed a criminal case
for falsification of public document against his former client
HELD:
No. In engaging the services of an attorney, the client reposes on him
special powers of trust and confidence. Their relationship is strictly personal
and highly confidential and fiduciary. Only by such confidentiality and
protection will a person be encouraged to repose his confidence in an
attorney.

One rule adopted to serve this purpose is the attorney-client privilege


stated on Canon 21 of the Code of Professional Ethics which reads: xxx A
lawyer shall preserve the confidence and secrets of his client even after attorney-
client relationship is terminated. xxx It is the glory of the legal profession that
its fidelity to its client can be depended on and that a man may safely go to
a lawyer and converse with him upon his rights or supposed rights in any
litigation with absolute assurance that the lawyer’s tongue is tied from ever
disclosing it.

The factors essential to establish the existence of the privilege is: (1)
There exists an attorney-client relationship, and it is by reason of this
relationship that the client made the communication; (2) The client made the
communication in confidence; (3) The legal advice must be sought from the
attorney in his professional capacity.

In the case at bar, the evidence on record failed to substantiate the


complainant’s allegations. The alleged communication in confidence
disclosed by the respondent was not even specified by the complainant
because all her claims were couched in general terms and lacked specificity.

CANON 21

UY v. ATTY. GONZALES
(A.C. No. 5280, March 30, 2004)

FACTS:
The complainant, William S. Uy engaged the services of the
respondent, Atty. Fermin L. Gonzales to prepare and file a petition for the
issuance of a new certificate of title. After confiding with respondent the
circumstances surrounding the lost title and discussing the fees and costs,
respondent prepared, finalized and submitted to him a petition to be filed
before the Regional Trial Court of Tayug, Pangasinan. When the petition was
about to be filed, respondent went to his (complainant's) office at Virra Mall,
Greenhills and demanded a certain amount from him other than what they
had previously agreed upon. Respondent left his office after reasoning with
him. Expecting that said petition would be filed, he was shocked to find out
later that instead of filing the petition for the issuance of a new certificate of
title, respondent filed a letter-complaint dated July 26, 1999 against him with
the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor of Tayug, Pangasinan for
"Falsification of Public Documents. Thereafter, the complainant filed a case
for disbarment against the respondent for violating the confidentiality of
their lawyer-client relationship.

ISSUE:
Whether or not respondent violates the confidentiality of their lawyer-
client relationship.

HELD:
No, the alleged "secrets" of complainant were not specified by him in
his affidavit-complaint. Whatever facts alleged by respondent against
complainant were not obtained by respondent in his professional capacity
but as a redemptioner of a property originally owned by his deceased son
and therefore, when respondent filed the complaint for estafa against herein
complainant, which necessarily involved alleging facts that would constitute
estafa, respondent was not, in any way, violating Canon 21. To hold
otherwise would be precluding any lawyer from instituting a case against
anyone to protect his personal or proprietary interests.
CANON 21

GENATO v. ATTY. SILAPAN


(A.C. No. 4078, July 14, 2003)

FACTS:
The respondent, Atty. Essex L. Silapan rented a small office space
owned by the complainant, William Ong Genato. Afterward, Silapan handle
some of complainant cases. Hence, they started a legal relationship. The
conflict between the parties started when Silapan borrowed P200, 000.00
from the complainant, which he intended to use as a downpayment for a
new car. The respondent then issued a check and mortgaged his house to the
complainant. However, upon purchasing the car, the document of sale of the
car was issued in complainant’s name. Thereafter, Silapan failed to pay the
amortization of the car. Consequently, the bank sent demand letters for the
payment of the car. Genato tried to encash the check given to him but the
bank dishonored it for the reason that the account was already closed.
Genato then filed a complaint for disbarment of Silapan being guilty of
breaking their confidential lawyer-client relationship.

ISSUE:
Whether or not the respondent is guilty of breaking the confidential
lawyer-client relationship.

HELD:
Yes, A lawyer must conduct himself, especially in his dealings with his
clients, with integrity in a manner that is beyond reproach. The disclosures
were not indispensable to protect his rights, as they were not pertinent to the
foreclosure case. It was improper for the respondent to use it against the
complainant in the foreclosure case as it was not the subject matter of
litigation therein and respondent's professional competence and legal advice
were not being attacked in said case. His relationship with his clients should
be characterized by the highest degree of good faith and fairness. Thus, the
Court agrees with the evaluation of the IBP and finds that respondent's
allegations and disclosures in the foreclosure case amount to a breach of
fidelity sufficient to warrant the imposition of disciplinary sanction against
him.

CANON 21

HADJULA VS MADIANDA
(A.C. No. 6711, July 3, 2007)

FACTS:
Ma. Luisa Hadjula filed a complaint for disbarment against
respondent Atty. Roceles F. Madianda. The complainant alleged that the
respondent violated Canon 21.02 of the Code of Professional Responsibility
which provides the attorney- client relationship. The complainant and the
respondent used to be friends as they both worked at the Bureau of Fire
Protction (BFP), one day she approached the respondent for some legal
advice. She disclosed personal secrets and produced copies of a marriage
contract, birth certificate and a baptismal certificate, only to be informed by
the respondent that the matter will be referred to another lawyer, for it was
malicious. The complainant states that the respondent refused handling her
case only after she had already heard her secrets. The respondent averred
that she denied giving legal advice to the complainant and dismissed any
suggestion about the existence of an attorney-client relationship between
them.

ISSUE:
Whether or not the respondent, Atty. Roceles F. Madianda violated
Canon 21.02 of the Code of Professional Responsibility.

HELD:
Yes, the respondent violated Canon 21.02 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility. The moment complainant approached the respondent to
seek legal advice, a veritable attorney-client relationship evolved between
the two. As stated in the case of Burbe vs Magulta, an attorney- client
relationship was established from the very first moment complainant asked
for the legal advice. It is not necessary that the lawyer will be paid, promised,
or charged, neither is it material that the lawyer consulted did not afterward
handle the case for which his service had been south. The Court, hereby
reprimanded the respondent and admonished to be circumspect in her
handling of information acquired as a result of an attorney-client
relationship. She is also sternly warned against a repetition of the same or
similar act complained of.
Canon 21

SALONGA VS. ATTY. HILDAWA


(A.C. No. 5105, August 12, 1999)

FACTS:
Fernando Salonga President of Sikap at Tiyaga Alabang Vendors
Association, Inc. ("STAVA"), of Muntinlupa City, charged Atty. Isidro T.
Hildawa with gross misconduct and/or deceit. Complainant averred that
respondent lawyer was a retained counsel of STAVA for a number of years
and, in December 1993, represented the association in Civil Cases No. 2406,
No. 2413 and No. 2416, for ejectment against, respectively, Linda Del
Rosario, Angelita Manuel and Francisco Vega, all stallholders at the Alabang
market, before the Municipal Trial Court of Muntinlupa.

Respondent lawyer issued a receipt that acknowledged his having


received the withdrawn deposit of P104,543.80. Complainant alleged that
STAVA was not informed of the filing of the motion nor did it authorize
Atty. Hildawa to withdraw the amount. Despite repeated demands,
respondent lawyer refused to turn over the withdrawn sum to STAVA.

In his answer to the complaint, Atty. Hildawa countered that


complainant was fully aware of the withdrawal of the rental in arrears
deposited by the defendants in the ejectment cases and that complainant, on
several occasions, even accompanied him in following up the release of the
money.

The Commission on Bar Discipline, through Commissioner Renato G.


Cunanan, found respondent guilty of violation of Canons 16 and 21 of the
Code of Professional Responsibility and recommended that he be suspended
for one year from the practice of law. On 25 April 1998, the IBP Board of
Governors, in its Resolution No. XIII-98-72, resolved to adopt and approve
the recommendation of the Investigating Commissioner.

ISSUE:
Whether or not the decision of the Commission on Bar Discipline is
correct.
HELD:
One of the signatories of the resolution was complainant Fernando
Salonga himself. Atty. Hildawa did not keep the money but turned it over
on 10 December 1994, or just one day after receiving it (on 09 December
1994), to Dolores Javinar, the STAVA treasurer, who issued a corresponding
receipt therefor. What the treasurer or STAVA might have done thereafter
with the funds was no concern of respondent counsel. The Court agrees with
the Investigating Commissioner, however, that respondent lawyer has
transgressed Canon 21 which requires a lawyer to preserve the confidences
and secrets of his client even after the attorney-client relation ceases, a
mandate that he has placed in possible jeopardy by agreeing to appear as
counsel for a party his client has previously contended with in a case
similarly involving said parties.

CANON 21

ROSACIA VS. BULALACAO

FACTS:
Complainant Cynthia B. Rosacia, president of Tacma, Phils., Inc., a
duly registered corporation, filed a complaint for disbarment dated October
25, 1991, against herein respondent Atty. Benjamin B. Bulalacao. Acting on
the complaint, the Court in a resolution dated February 24, 1992, resolved to
refer the case to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) for investigation,
report and recommendation. Commissioner Victor C. Fernandez, the IBP
investigating commissioner, found that respondent breached his oath of
office and accordingly recommended respondent's suspension from the
practice of law for three (3) months. In a resolution dated July 30, 1994, the
IBP Board of Governors resolved to adopt and approve the commissioner's
report and recommendation.

As found by the IBP, the undisputed facts are as follows:


"On June 1, 1990, by virtue of a written Agreement (Exh. "3-a"),
respondent Atty. Benjamin B. Bulalacao was hired as retained counsel of a
corporation by the name of Tacma Phils., Inc.

"On October 31, 1990, the lawyer-client relationship between the


respondent and Tacma Phils., Inc. was severed as shown by another
agreement of even date (Exh. "3-b").

"On July, 1991, or after almost nine (9) months from the date
respondent's retainer agreement with Tacma, Phils., Inc. was terminated,
several employees of the corporation consulted the respondent for the
purpose of filing an action for illegal dismissal. Thereafter, he agreed to
handle the case for the said employees as against Tacma, Phils., Inc. by filing
a complaint before the National Labor Relations Commission, and
appearing in their behalf."

ISSUE:
Whether or not the respondent breached his oath of office for
representing the employees of his former client, Tacma, Phils., Inc., after the
termination of their attorney-client relationship?
HELD:
Yes. The Court agreed with the findings of the IBP and ruled that
respondent breached his oath of office. Respondent does not now dispute
this. In fact, in his motion for reconsideration, respondent admitted that he
"did commit an act bordering on grave misconduct, if not outright violation
of his attorney's oath."|||

The Court reiterates that an attorney owes loyalty to his client not
only in the case in which he has represented him but also after the relation
of attorney and client has terminated as it is not good practice to permit him
afterwards to defend in another case other person against his former client
under the pretext that the case is distinct from, and independent of the
former case. It behooves respondent not only to keep inviolate the client's
confidence, but also to avoid the appearance of treachery and double dealing
for only then can litigants be encouraged to entrust their secrets to their
attorneys which is of paramount importance in the administration of justice.
The relation of attorney and client is one of confidence and trust in the
highest degree. A lawyer owes fidelity to the cause of his client and he ought
to be mindful of the trust and confidence reposed in him. An attorney not
only becomes familiar with all the facts connected with his client's cause, but
also learns from his client the weak and strong points of the case. No
opportunity must be given attorneys to take advantage of the secrets of
clients obtained while the confidential relation of attorney and client exists.
Otherwise, the legal profession will suffer by the loss of the confidence of the
people. |
CANON 21

PEOPLE V. SANDIGANBAYAN
(G.R. Nos. 115439-41)

FACTS:
Atty. Generoso Sansaet served as counsel for Agusan del Sur Governor
Ceferino Paredes Jr. in several instances pertinent to the criminal charges
involved in the present recourse. Paredes was previously accused of graft
and perjury but the case was dismissed on the ground of prescription. The
same person who initiated the charges against Paredes, one Teofilo Gelacio,
sent a letter to the Ombudsman seeking the investigation of Paredes,
Sansaet, and Honrada for falsification of public documents.

In a so-called Affidavit of Explanations and Rectifications, Sansaet


revealed that Paredes contrived to have the graft case against him dismissed
on the ground of double jeopardy by making it that the perjury case had
been dismissed by the trial court after he had been arraigned therein. This
was made possible with the help of Honrada who simulated and certified as
true copies certain documents purporting to be a notice of arraignment.

The prosecution filed a motion to discharge Sansaet as state witness.


However, the Sandiganbayan rejected such motion on the ground that there
existed between Sansaet and Paredes a client-lawyer relationship.

ISSUE:
Whether or not the projected testimony of respondent Sansaet, as
proposed state witness, is barred by the attorney-client privilege.

HELD:
No. The confidential communications made by Paredes to Sansaet
were for purposes of and in reference to the crime of falsification which had
not yet been committed. Communications made for purposes of future
offenses were outside the pale of the attorney-client privilege, thereby an
exception to the rule. In addition, for a communication to be privileged, it
shall be for a lawful purpose or in furtherance of a lawful end. The existence
of an unlawful purpose in the case of Paredes prevented the privilege from
attaching.
The resolution of the Sandiganbayan was set aside and the
prosecution’s motion to discharge Sansaet as state witness was granted.

CANON 21

REBECCA PALM V. ATTY. FELIPE ILEDAN, JR.


(AC no. 8242, October 2, 2009)

FACTS:
Rebecca J. Palm is the president of Comtech Worldwide Solutions Inc.
She became uncomfortable with Atty. Felipe Iledan because of his close
relationship with Elda Soledad a former officer and director of Comtech,
who resigned and who was suspected of releasing unauthorized
disbursements of corporate funds. Thus, Comtech decided to terminate its
retainer agreement with respondent. Comtech filed an Estafa case against
Elda Soledad before the Makati Prosecutors Office. In a stockholder’s
meeting, respondent was made proxy for Gary Harrison. On 26 January
2005, complainant filed a Complaint for disbarment against respondent
before the Integrated Bar of the Philippines for revealing information
obtained in the course of an attorney-client relationship and for representing
an interest which conflicted his former client, Comtech. Respondent alleged
that there was no conflict of interest when he represented Soledad in the case
for Estafa filed by Comtech. He alleged that Soledad was already a client
before he became a consultant for Comtech. He alleged that the criminal case
was not related to or connected with the limited procedural queries he
handled with Comtech. The IBP-CBD found that in representing Soledad in
a case filed by Comtech, respondent represented an interest in conflict with
that of a former client and that the fact that respondent represented Soledad
after the termination of his professional relationship with Comtech was not
an excuse. The IBP-CBD recommended that respondent be suspended from
the practice of law for one year. Respondent filed a motion for
reconsideration and in a Resolution, IBP Board of Governors adopted and
approved the recommendation of the First Division but refused his
suspension from two years to one year.

ISSUE:
Whether or not the IBP erred in suspending the respondent

HELD:
Yes, the Supreme Court ruled that although the information about the
necessity to amend the corporate by-laws may have been given to
respondent, it could not be considered a confidential information. And
whenever any amendment or adoption of new by-laws is made, copies of
the amendments or the new by-laws are filed with the Securities and
Exchange Commission (SEC) and attached to the original articles of
incorporation and by-laws. The documents are public records and could not
be considered confidential. It is settled that the mere relation of attorney and
client does not raise a presumption of confidentiality. The client must intend
the communication to be confidential. Since the proposed amendments must
be approved by at least a majority of the stockholders, and copies of the
amended by-laws must be filed with the SEC, the information could not have
been intended to be confidential. Thus, the disclosure made by respondent
during the stockholders meeting could not be considered a violation of his
client’s secrets and confidence within the contemplation of Canon 21 of the
Code of Professional Responsibility.
CANON 21

ANGLO VS. VALENCIA


(A.C. No. 10567. February 25, 2015)

FACTS:
Complaint availed the services of a law firm, for two (2) consolidated
labor cases where he was impleaded as respondent. Atty. Dionela, a partner
of the law firm, was assigned to represent complainant. The labor cases were
terminated on June 5, 2008 upon the agreement of both parties.

On September 2009 a criminal case for qualified theft was filed against
complainant and his wife by FEVE Farms Agricultural Corporation acting
through a certain Villacorta. Villacorta, however, was represented by the law
firm, the same law office which handled complainant's labor cases.

Respondents explained that their association with one another is not a


formal partnership, but one that is subject to certain "arrangements. The
lawyers do not discuss their clientele with the other lawyers and associates,
unless they agree that a case be handled collaboratively

They averred that complainant's labor cases were solely and


exclusively handled by Atty. Dionela and not by the entire law firm.
Moreover, respondents asserted that the qualified theft case filed by FEVE
Farms was handled by Atty. Peñalosa, a new associate who had no
knowledge of complainant's labor cases, as he started working for the firm
after the termination thereof.

ISSUE:
Whether or not the respondents violated Canon 21 of the Code of
Professional Responsibility.

RULING:
Yes, the respondents violated Canon 21 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility.
Canon 21 states that “a lawyer shall preserve the confidences and
secrets of his client even after the attorney-client relationship is terminated.

A lawyer is prohibited from representing new clients whose interests


oppose those of a former client in any manner, whether or not they are
parties in the same action or on totally unrelated cases. The prohibition is
founded on the principles of public policy and good taste.

The test on conflict of interest is "whether or not in behalf of one client,


it is the lawyer's duty to fight for an issue or claim, but it is his duty to oppose
it for the other client. In brief, if he argues for one client, this argument will
be opposed by him when he argues for the other client." Also, there is conflict
of interests if the acceptance of the new retainer will require the attorney to
perform an act which will injuriously affect his first client in any matter in
which he represents him and also whether he will be called upon in his new
relation to use against his first client any knowledge acquired through their
connection. Another test of the inconsistency of interests is whether the
acceptance of a new relation will prevent an attorney from the full discharge
of his duty of undivided fidelity and loyalty to his client or invite suspicion
of unfaithfulness or double dealing in the performance thereof.

In this case, the Court concurs with the IBP's conclusions that
respondents represented conflicting interests and must therefore be held
liable. As the records bear out, respondents' law firm was engaged and, thus,
represented complainant in the labor cases instituted against him. However,
after the termination thereof, the law firm agreed to represent a new client,
FEVE| Farms, in the filing of a criminal case for qualified theft against
complainant, its former client, and his wife.

Respondents' pronounced liability is not altered by the fact that the


labor cases against complainant had long been terminated. Verily, the
termination of attorney-client relation provides no justification for a lawyer
to represent an interest adverse to or in conflict with that of the former client.
The client's confidence once reposed should not be divested by mere
expiration of professional employment.

CANON 22

MONTANO v. INTEGRATED BAR OF THE PHILIPPINES


(A.C. No. 4215, May 21, 2001)

FACTS:
Complainant Felicimo M. Montano filed a complaint against Atty.
Juan S. Dealca with misconduct and prays that he be sternly dealt with
administratively. In the case, complainant hired Atty. Dealca as his counsel.
They agreed for Php 15, 000 for the attorney’s fees, 50% upon the acceptance
of the case and the remaining balance upon the termination of the case.
Complainant obliged paying the amount of P4, 000.00 after Atty. Dealca
demanded an additional payment. Prior to the filing of the appellant’s brief,
Atty. Dealca demanded for the remaining balance and when the
complainant failed to do so, Atty. Dealca then withdraw his appearance as
counsel without conformity and returned the case folder with a Note to the
complainant. The Court referred the case to the Integrated Bar of the
Philippines (IBP) for investigation, report and recommendation and the IBP
found Atty. Dealca guilty of unprofessional conduct and recommended
three months suspension from the practice of law.

Atty. Dealca filed a Motion for Reconsideration and claimed that his
withdrawal as counsel was ethical and proper because of the complainant's
refusal to pay the agreed lawyer's Fees and that the suspension was harsh
for he was just colleting the payment for his services rendered.

ISSUE:
Whether or not the respondent violated Canon 22 of the Code of
Professional Responsibility

HELD:
Yes. It is provided in Canon 22 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility that xxx A lawyer shall withdraw his services only for good cause
and upon notice appropriate in the circumstances.xxx In the case at bar, Atty.
Dealca may withdraw his appearance when the client deliberately fails to
pay the fees for the services but in the present case the complainant did not
fail to pay the attorney's fees and exerted honest efforts to fulfill his
obligation. He withdrew his appearance because of the remaining balance of
Php 3,500 to be paid by the complainant and was aggravated when Atty.
Dealca failed to act in accordance with the demands of the Code when his
note to complainant was contained with impolite and insulting language.
The Court held that Atty. Dealca's conduct unbecoming of a member of the
legal profession.
CANON 22

PINEWOOD MARINE, INC. v. EMCO


(G.R. No. 179789, June 17, 2015)

FACTS:
EMCO filed a Complaint for "Replevin, Attachment and Damages".
EMCO is primarily engaged in the business of manufacturing plywood
EMCO had entered into a contract with Ever for the loading, transporting
and unloading of the logs at Butuan City, Philippines. EMCO had paid Ever
the full freight of its cargo. The latter then chartered the vessel MV Tao Hua
Ling from Kanetomi (HK)Ltd., which, in turn, chartered the said vessel from
defendant, Shenzhen. The local ship agent of the latter, Pinewood,
represents it in the Philippines. EMCO objected to the withholding of the
cargo and assailed the lien as invalid. The RTC declared that EMCO is not
privy to the charter party agreements executed among Shenzhen, Kanetomi
(HK) Ltd. and Ever. EMCO suffered damages by reason of the baseless
withholding of delivery of the logs. Mr. Max Alcantara, Vice President, and
Nelva G. Mandap , a senior accounting staff, testified on the amount of
damages suffered by EMCO. Pinewood on the other hand alleged that Del
Rosario abandoned the appeal without the former’s knowledge and consent.

ISSUE:
Whether or not respondent’s act of withdrawal of his service complied
with Rule 20.01, Canon 22 of the Code of Professional Responsibility

HELD:
No. It is provided in Rule 22.01 that xxx A lawyer may withdraw his
services in any of the following cases:
a) The client’s written consent is secured and is therefore filed in court;
b) a good cause exists justifying the withdrawal; or
c) the court, upon notice to the client and counsel and after hearing,
determines that a withdrawal is in order. xxx

Applying this in the case, Del Rosario’s filing of its Manifestation


should not be considered as adequate compliance with the requirements
before counsel can withdraw from a case.

CANON 22

LEDESMA v. HON. CLIMACO


(G.R. No. L-23815, June 28, 1974)

FACTS:
On October 13, 1964, the petitioner Adelino H. Ledesma was
appointed Election Registrar for the Municipality of Cadiz, Province of
Negros Occidental. Then and there, he commenced to discharge its duties.
As he was counsel de parte for one of the accused in a case pending in the
sala of respondent, Judge Rafael C. Climaco, he filed a motion to withdraw
as such. Not only did respondent Judge deny such motion, but he also
appointed him counsel de oficio for the two defendants. Subsequently, on
November 3, 1964, petitioner filed an urgent motion to be allowed to
withdraw as counsel de oficio, premised on the policy of the Commission on
Elections to require full time service as well as on the volume or pressure of
work of petitioner, which could prevent him from handling adequately the
defense. Respondent Judge, in the challenged order of November 6, 1964,
denied said motion. A motion for reconsideration having proved futile, he
instituted this certiorari proceeding. The petitioner assailed that the
respondent judge erred in denying a motion filed by petitioner to be allowed
to withdraw as counsel de oficio.

ISSUE:
Whether or not respondent erred in denying the motion by the
petitioner.

HELD:
No, if respondent Judge were required to answer the petition, it was
only due to the apprehension that considering the frame of mind of a counsel
loath and reluctant to fulfill his obligation, the welfare of the accused could
be prejudiced. His right to counsel could in effect be rendered nugatory.
Thus is made manifest the indispensable role of a member of the Bar in the
defense of an accused. Such a consideration could have sufficed for
petitioner not being allowed to withdraw as counsel de oficio.
CANON 22

CENIZA v. ATTY. RUBIA


(A.C. No. 6166, October 2, 2009)

FACTS:
On May 3, 2002, complainant sought the legal services of the
respondent in regard to the share of her mother-in-law in the estate of her
husband Carlos Ceniza. As she had no money to pay for attorney's fees since
her mother-in-law would arrive from the United States only in June 2002,
respondent made her sign a promissory note for P32,000.00, which amount
was lent by Domingo Natavio. After her mother-in-law arrived and paid the
loan, respondent furnished them a copy of the complaint for partition and
recovery of ownership/possession representing legitime but with no docket
number on it. They kept on following up the progress of the complaint.
However, three months lapsed before respondent informed them that it was
already led in court. It was then that they received a copy of the complaint
with and a rubber-stamped "RECEIVED" thereon. However, when
complainant verified the status of the case with the Clerk of Court of the
Regional Trial Court of Davao del Sur, she was informed that no case with
said title and docket number was filed. On January 19, 2007, the IBP
Investigating Commissioner recommended that respondent be found guilty
of falsification of public document and be meted the penalty of suspension
from the practice of law for a period of three years.

ISSUE:
Whether or not respondent is guilty of grave misconduct, gross
ignorance of the law and falsification of public documents.

HELD:
Yes. When a lawyer accepts to handle a case, whether for a fee or gratis
et amore, he undertakes to give his utmost attention, skill and competence
to it, regardless of its signi cance. Thus, his client, whether rich or poor, has
the right to expect that he will discharge his duties diligently and exert his
best efforts, learning and ability to prosecute or defend his (client's) cause
with reasonable dispatch. Failure to fulfill his duties will subject him to grave
administrative liability as a member of the Bar. For the overriding need to
maintain the faith and confidence of the people in the legal profession
demands that an erring lawyer should be sanctioned.

CANON 22

LIM JR. VS VILLAROSA


(A.C. no 5303, June 15, 2006)

FACTS:
Humberto C. Lim Jr. 1 filed a verified complaint for disbarment against
respondent Atty. Nicanor V. Villarosa on July 7, 2000.

The respondent is a practicing lawyer and a member of the Integrated


Bar of the Philippines. He represented the case of Lumot Jalandoni. However
respondent without due notice prior to a schedule of a hearing, filed a
motion to withdraw as counsel, one day before its scheduled hearing. This
motion for withdrawal caused irreparable damage and injury to Jalandoni.
The ground for his withdrawal was that he was only recommended by his
retained counsel Dennis Jalbuena. Respondent further stated that he cannot
refuse to represent Dennis G. Jalbuena in the case filed against the latter
before the City Prosecutors Office by Jalandoni due to an alleged
retainership agreement with said Dennis G. Jalbuena. likewise represented
Carmen J. Jalbuena and one Vicente Delfin when PRC filed the criminal
complaint against them. The respondent became the representative of both
opposing parties.

The second cause of action stems was that the respondent now has vast
resources of confidential information. Information that he acquired from the
virtue of the lawyer client relationship of the respondent with Jalandoni now
using those information the respondent conspired with Jalbuena to fabricate
charges against Jalandoni.

In an addendum to the July 4, 2000 complaint, Lim also pointed to


certain acts of respondent which allegedly violated the Rules of Court
perpetration of falsehood and abuse of his influence as former public
prosecutor. These supposedly affected the status of the cases that Lim filed
against the clients of respondent.|

Respondent reiterated his ground for the dismissal of the complaint


that Lim was not duly authorized by the Penta Resorts Corp or PRC nor was
he a proper party to file this complaint. This fact is an additional ground to
have his case dismissed because Humberto C. Lim Jr. exceeded whatever
authority was granted to him as embodied in a resolution and the Special
Power of Attorney allegedly granted to him by the complainants.

The court resolved to refer the case to the IBP. IBP said that
Respondent failed to substantiate his allegation that Lim's complaint was
defective in form and substance, and that entertaining it would result in a
miscarriage of justice. For the same reason, IBP will no longer put in issue
the filing at the onset of a motion to dismiss by respondent instead of an
answer or comment.

ISSUE:
Whether or not respondent violated The Code of Professional
Responsibility

HELD:
Yes he violated canon 22 in the unnoticed withdrawal of the case that
he accepted

An attorney may only retire from a case either by written consent of


his client or by permission of the court after due notice and hearing, in which
event the attorney should see to it that the name of the new lawyer is
recorded in the case. A lawyer who desires to retire from an action without
the written consent of his client must file a petition for withdrawal in
court. He must serve a copy of his petition upon his client and the adverse
party at least three days before the date set for hearing, otherwise the court
may treat the application as a "mere scrap of paper”

Respondent should not have presumed that his motion to withdraw


as counsel would be granted by the court. Yet, he stopped appearing as Mrs.
Jalandoni's counsel
CANON 22

FERRER VS. ATTY. TEBELIN


(A.C. No. 6590, June 27, 2005)

FACTS:
Respondent Atty. Jose Allan M. Tebelin agreed to render legal services
to complainant Jesus M. Ferrer regarding a vehicular accident involving his
jeepney due to the reckless driving of the driver of Global Link. Respondent
lawyer charged and received from the complainant the amount of P5,000.00
as acceptance fee. Complainant alleged on his complaint filed in the IBP
Commission on Bar Discipline that the respondent committed fraud by
abandoning his case. The respondent to answered he explained that prior to
his acceptance to handle the case, he extensively interviewed complainant
and told him that the filing of a complaint would take some time as he
(respondent) would "work first to have an audience or talk with [Global
Link's] manager or representative", which he did. He denied having
abandoned complainant's case, advancing that he in fact prepared a draft of
a complaint against Global Link a copy of which he also attached to his
Answer. The IBP-CBD set the case for hearing and it was scheduled several
times due to the unavailability of the parties. On the scheduled mandatory
conference, no one showed up. While a copy of the notice of said conference
was sent to respondent at his given address, it was returned with a notation
"moved out." By Resolution, the Board of Governors of the IBP
recommended that the respondent lawyer be suspended from practice of
law for 2 years and ordered to return to the heirs of complainant the money
in the amount of P5,000.00.

ISSUES:
Whether or not the respondent’s failure to perform his services for his
client and his failure to return the acceptance fee upon demand constitutes a
violation of Canon 22 of the Code of Professional Responsibility.

HELD:
Yes. The Court faults respondent for welching on his manifestation-
undertaking to return the P5,000.00 and the documents bearing on the case,
to complainant or his heirs. Such is reflective of his reckless disregard of the
duty imposed on him by Rule 22.02 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility: “A lawyer who withdraws or is discharged shall, subject to
a retaining lien, immediately turn over all papers and property to which the
client is entitled, and shall cooperate with his successor in the orderly
transfer of the matter, including all information necessary for the proper
handling of the matter”. However, it cannot be reasonably concluded that
respondent failed to perform services for complainant as he did not refute
the respondent’s asseveration that he first brought to the attention of Global
Link the claim of complainant arising from the vehicular accident, through
one Mr. Bongalos and that he followed it up by a demand letter to Global
Link. Respondent Atty. Tebelin is suspended for practice of law for 2
months and he was ordered to return to complainant's heirs the amount of
P5,000.00, with legal interest, with a warning that a repetition of the same or
similar offenses will be dealt with more severely.

Canon 22

ORCINO V. GASPAR
(A.C. No. 3773)

FACTS:
Respondent Atty. Gaspar was the counsel of complainant Angelita
Orcino in a criminal case against several persons involved in the death of her
husband. Gaspar was paid a total of P20,000 for his services. He failed to
attend one scheduled hearing; it was in this hearing that the court granted
bail to all of the accused. Orcino immediately went to the respondent’s house
and confronted him; he reasoned that he did not receive formal notice of the
hearing hence his absence. She then belligerently accused him of
jeopardizing the case, asked for the case records, and told him that she could
avail the services of another lawyer. Gaspar gave her the records and filed
before the court a Motion to Withdraw Counsel without the consent of
Orcino. Although another lawyer was now handling the case, Orcino
refused to give her consent in respondent’s withdrawal. She also filed a
complaint against him for abandonment of his duties as counsel and for his
failure to return the legal fees she paid.

ISSUE:
Whether or not Gaspar had reasonable ground to withdraw from the
case and therefore violated Canon 22 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility.

HELD:
Respondent’s withdrawal was made on the ground that “there no
longer existed confidence” between him and the complainant and that there
had been “serious difference between them relating to the manner of private
prosecution.” His contention did not fall under any of the grounds found in
Canon 22 of the Code of Professional Responsibility: a) when a client insists
upon an unjust or immoral conduct of his case, b) when the client insists that
the lawyer pursue conduct violative of the Code of Professional
Responsibility, c) when the client has two or more retained lawyers and the
lawyers could not get along to the detriment of the case, d) when the mental
or physical condition of the lawyer makes him incapable of handling the case
effectively, e) when the client deliberately fails to pay the attorney’s fees
agreed upon, f) when the lawyer is elected or appointed to public office and
g) other similar cases.

In addition to being admonished to exercise more prudence and


judiciousness in dealing with his clients, Atty. Gaspar was ordered to return
to the complainant the amount of P10,000 within 10 days from notice.
CANON 22

CANOY VS. ORTIZ

FACTS:
A Complaint dated 10 April 2001 was filed with the Office of the Bar
Confidant by Elmer Canoy (Canoy) accusing Atty. Jose Max Ortiz (Atty.
Ortiz) of misconduct and malpractice. It was alleged that Canoy filed a
complaint for illegal dismissal against his former employer, Coca Cola
Bottlers Philippines. The complaint was filed with the National Labor
Relations Commission (NLRC) Regional Arbitration Board VI in Bacolod
City. Atty. Ortiz appeared as counsel for Canoy in this proceeding. In 1998,
the labor arbiter hearing the complaint ordered the parties to submit their
respective position papers. Canoy submitted all the necessary documents
and records to Atty. Ortiz for the preparation of the position paper.
Thereafter, he made several unfruitful visits to the office of Atty. Ortiz to
follow-up the progress of the case. After a final visit at the office of Atty.
Ortiz in April of 2000, during which Canoy was told to come back as his
lawyer was not present, Canoy decided to follow-up the case himself with
the NLRC. He was shocked to learn that his complaint was actually
dismissed way back in 1998, for failure to prosecute, the parties not having
submitted their position papers. The dismissal was without prejudice.
Canoy alleged that Atty. Ortiz had never communicated to him about the
status of the case, much less the fact that he failed to submit the position
paper.

ISSUE:
Whether or not respondent violated Canon 22 of the Code of
Professional Responsibility?

HELD:
Yes. The Court ruled that the respondent violated Canon 22 of the
Code of Professional Responsibility.
CANON 22 — A LAWYER SHALL WITHDRAW HIS SERVICES ONLY
FOR GOOD CAUSE AND UPON NOTICE APPROPRIATE IN THE
CIRCUMSTANCES.
Rule 22.02 — A lawyer who withdraws or is discharged shall, subject to a
retainer lien, immediately turn over all papers and property to which the
client is entitled, and shall cooperate with his successor in the orderly
transfer of the matter, including all information necessary for the proper
handling of the matter.

Assuming that Atty. Ortiz was justified in terminating his services, he,
however, cannot just do so and leave complainant in the cold
unprotected. Indeed, Rule 22.02 requires that a lawyer who withdraws or is
discharged shall, subject to a lien, immediately turn over all papers and
property to which the client is entitled, and shall cooperate with his
successor in the orderly transfer of the matter. Atty. Ortiz claims that the
reason why he took no further action on the case was that he was informed
that Canoy had acquired the services of another counsel. Assuming that
were true, there was no apparent coordination between Atty. Ortiz and this
new counsel.

In fact, it took nearly two years before Canoy had learned that the
position paper had not been filed and that the case had been dismissed. This
was highly irresponsible of Atty. Ortiz, much more so considering that
Canoy was one of the indigent clients whom Atty. Ortiz proudly claims as
his favored clientele. It does not escape the Court's attention that Atty. Ortiz
faults Canoy for not adequately following up the case with his office. He
cannot now shift the blame to complainant for failing to inquire about the
status of the case, since, as stated above, it was his duty as lawyer to inform
his clients of the status of cases entrusted to him.

CANON 22

TERESITA D. SANTECO VS ATTY. LUNA B. AVANCE


(A.C. 5834, December 11, 2003)

FACTS:
The complainant, Teresita D. Santenco filed a Verified Complaint
against respondent, Atty. Luna B. Avance, with the Committee on Bar
Discipline of the IBP for mishandling Civil Case No. 97-275. Complainant
terminated the services of her then counsel and engaged the services of
respondent, as her counsel de parte in 2 cases, including the above
mentioned case. In an Order dated July 6, 1988 in Civil Case 97-275, the
record of one of the witnesses was expunged, prompting the respondent to
file a "Motion to Recinsider and/or Set Aside Order of July 6, 1998." which
was denied by the court. The case was dismissed for failure to prosecute and
respondent filed a motion to reconsider the same. Respondent also claimed
that she would file a petition for certiorari with the Court of Appeals
questioning the dismissal of the Civil Case. Soon after receiving the sum of
P3,900 to file the petition, the respondent vehemently avoided the
complainant.

ISSUE:
Whether or not respondent violated the Canon 22 of the CPR

HELD:
Yes. Aggravating her gross negligence in the performance of her
duties, respondent abruptly stopped appearing as complainant’s counsel
even as proceedings were still pending – with neither a withdrawal nor an
explanation for doing so. This was in gross violation of the following:
CANON 22. A LAWYER SHALL WITHDRAW HIS SERVICES ONLY FOR
GOOD CAUSE AND UPON NOTICE APPROPRIATE IN THE
CIRCUMSTANCES. It must be remembered that while the right of the client
to terminate the relation is absolute, i.e., with or without cause, the right of
the attorney to withdraw or terminate the relation other than for sufficient
cause is considerably restricted. An attorney who undertakes to conduct an
action impliedly stipulates to carry it to its termination. He is not at liberty
to abandon it without reasonable cause. The grounds wherein a lawyer may
withdraw his services are well-defined, and the abruptness of respondent’s
withdrawal hardly fits into any of them. Be that as it may, whether or not a
lawyer has a valid cause for withdrawing from a case, he cannot just do so
and leave the client out in the cold unprotected. An attorney may only retire
from a case either by written consent of his client or by permission of the
court after due notice and hearing, in which event the lawyer should see to
it that the name of the new counsel is recorded in the case.
CANON 22

VENTEREZ ET AL. VS. ATTY. RODRIGO COSME


(AC No. 7421, October 10, 2007)

FACTS:
Complainants contracted the legal services of respondent in Civil Case
No. 981 for Declaration of Ownership with Damages filed before the
Municipal Trial Court (MTC) of Calasiao, Pangasinan. Respondent
represented the complainants, who were defendants in said case, until a
Decision thereon was rendered by the MTC on 25 February 2004. The MTC
ruled against the complainants. Complainants alleged that they directed the
respondent to either file a Motion for Reconsideration or a Notice of Appeal,
but respondent failed or refused to do so. The 15-day period within which
to file an appeal or a motion for reconsideration of the MTC Decision expired
on 18 March 2004. Complainant Elisa V. Venterez was constrained to
contract another lawyer to prepare the Motion for Reconsideration which
was filed on 19 March 2004.

On 23 March 2004, the said Motion for Reconsideration was denied by


the MTC. Respondent was not furnished a copy of the denial of the motion
per a Certification issued by Clerk of Court II Zenaida C. de Vera. On 31
March 2004, a Motion for Issuance of Writ of Execution was filed by the
plaintiffs in Civil Case No. 981 but respondent never bothered to file an
opposition to or any comment on the said motion despite receipt thereof. The
motion was eventually granted by the MTC on 23 April 2004. On 28 April
2004, a Writ of Execution was issued and on 26 April 2004, an Entry of
Judgment was made in the said case. Two months after respondent received
a copy of the Decision, the respondent filed his Notice of Retirement of
Counsel with the MTC on 3 May 2004.

For his defense, respondent averred that Salvador Ramirez (the son of
one of the complainants, Inocencia V. Ramirez), informed him that he [was]
withdrawing the case from the respondent because he already engaged
another lawyer to take over the case, so respondent gave the records of the
case to him.
ISSUE:
Whether or not the withdrawal of services by the respondent was a
violation of Canon 22 of the Code of Professional Responsibility.

HELD:
Yes. Good causes for the withdrawal of services by the counsel are
identified under Rule 22.01, Canon 22 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility. The instant case does not fall under any of the grounds
mentioned in Rule 22.01. Neither can the circumstances of this case be
considered analogous to the grounds thus explicitly enumerated. Contrary
to respondent’s contention, his professional relations as a lawyer with his
clients are not terminated by the simple turnover of the records of the case
to his clients. Respondent’s defense completely crumbles in face of the fact
that Salvador Ramirez is not even a party in Civil Case No. 981 and, hence,
had no authority to withdraw the records of the said case from respondent
or to terminate the latters services.