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LEGAL ETHICS Case Digests

by: April B. Sumalinog – LLB1

1. Cayetano vs. Monsod, GR#100113, 9/3/1991


FACTS:
Respondent Christian Monsod was nominated by President Corazon C. Aquino to the
position of Chairman of the COMELEC in a letter received by the Secretariat of the
Commission on Appointments on April 25, 1991. Petitioner Renato Cayetano questioned the
nomination because allegedly Monsod does not possess the required qualification of having
been engaged in the practice of law for at least ten years.

On June 5, 1991,the Commission on Appointments confirmed the nomination of


Monsodas Chairman of the COMELEC.On June 18, 1991, he took his oath of office. On the
same day, he assumed office as Chairman of the COMELEC. Challenging the validity of the
confirmation by the Commission on Appointments of Monsod's nomination, petitioner as a
citizen and tax payer, filed the instant petition for certiorari and Prohibition praying that
saidconfirmation and the consequent appointment of Monsod as Chairman of the
Commission on Elections be declared null and void.

It was established that after graduating from the College of Law and hurdling the Bar,
respondent worked in his father’s law office for a short while, then worked as an Operations
Officer in the World Bank Group for about 2 years, which involved getting acquainted with the
laws of member-countries, negotiating loans, and coordinating legal, economic and project
work of the Bank. Upon returning to the Philippines, he worked with the Meralco Group,
served as Chief Executive Officer of an investment bank and has subsequently worked either
as Chief Executive Officer or Consultant of various companies.

ISSUE:
1. Whether or not respondent posses the required qualifications of having engaged in
the practice of law for at least ten years.

2. Whether the appointment of Chairman Monsod of Comelec violates Section 1(1),


Article IX-C of the 1987 Constitution.

HELD:
YES. In the case of Philippine Lawyers Association vs. Agrava: The practice of law is not
limited to the conduct of cases or litigation in court…In general, all advice to clients, and all
action taken for them in matters connected with the law incorporation services, assessment
and condemnation services, contemplating an appearance before judicial body, the
foreclosure of mortgage, enforcement of a creditor’s claim in bankruptcy and insolvency
proceedings, and conducting proceedings in attachment, and in matters of estate and
guardianship have been held to constitute law practice.

The records of the 1986 constitutional commission show that the interpretation of the term
practice of law was liberal as to consider lawyers employed in the Commission of Audit as
engaged in the practice of law provided that they use their legal knowledge or talent in their
respective work. The court also cited an article in the January 11, 1989 issue of the Business
Star, that lawyers nowadays have their own specialized fields such as tax lawyers, prosecutors,
etc., that because of the demands of their specialization, lawyers engage in other works or
functions to meet them. These days, for example, most corporation lawyers are involved in
management policy formulation. Therefore, Monsod, who passed the bar in 1960, worked
with the World Bank Group from 1963-1970, then worked for an investment bank till 1986,
became member of the CONCOM in 1986, and also became a member of the Davide
Commission in 1990, can be considered to have been engaged in the practice of law as
lawyer-economist, lawyer-manager, lawyer-entrepreneur, etc.y act or acts either in court or
outside of court for that purpose, is engaged in the practice of law.”

2. NO. The power of the COA to give consent to the nomination of the Comelec
Chairman by the president is mandated by the constitution.

The 1987 constitution provides in Section 1, Article IX-C: There shall be a Commission
on Elections composed of a Chairman and six Commissioners who shall be natural-born
citizens of the Philippines and, at the time of their appointment, at least thirty-five years of
age, holders of a college degree, and must not have been candidates for any elective position
in the immediately preceding elections. However, a majority thereof, including the Chairman,
shall be members of the Philippine Bar who have been engaged in the practice of law for at
least ten years.

Atty. Christian Monsod is a member of the Philippine Bar, having passed the bar
examinations of 1960 with a grade of 86.55%. He has been a dues paying member of the
Integrated Bar of the Philippines since its inception in 1972-73. He has also been paying his
professional license fees as lawyer for more than 10 years. Atty. Monsod’s past work
experiences as a lawyer-economist, a lawyer-manager, a lawyer-entrepreneur of industry, a
lawyer-negotiator of contracts, and a lawyer-legislator of both the rich and the poor — verily
more than satisfy the constitutional requirement — that he has been engaged in the practice
of law for at least 10 years.

Hence, the Commission on the basis of evidence submitted doling the public hearings on
Monsod's confirmation, implicitly determined that he possessed the necessary qualifications
as required bylaw. The judgment rendered by the Commission in the exercise of such an
acknowledged power is beyond judicial interference except only upon a clears howing of a
grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction. (Art. VIII, Sec. 1
Constitutionw.

2. Lee vs. Tambago, AC#5281, 2/12/2008


FACTS:
Complainant, Manuel L. Lee, charged respondent, Atty. Regino B. Tambago, with
violation of Notarial Law and the Ethics of thelegal profession for notarizing a will that is
alleged to be spurious in nature in containingforged signatures of his father, the decedent,
Vicente Lee Sr. and two other witnesses. In the said will, the decedent supposedly bequeathed
his entire estate to his wife LimHock Lee, save for a parcel of land which he devised to Vicente
Lee, Jr. AndElena Lee, half-siblings of complainant.
In addition to such, the contested will was executed and acknowledged before
respondent on June 30, 1965 but bears a Residence Certificate by the Testator dated January
5, 1962, which was never submitted for filing to the Archives Division of the Records
Management and Archives Office of the National Commission for Culture and Arts (NCAAw.
Complainant also questioned the absence of notation of the residence certificates of the
purported witnesses Noynay and Grajo. He alleged that their signatures had likewise
beenforgedand merely copied from their respective voters’affidavits.

Respondent refuted that all allegations were falsely given because he allegedly
exercised his duties as Notary Public with due care and with due regards to the provision of
existing law and had complied with elementary formalities in the performance of his duties
and that the complaint was filed simply to harass him based on the result of a criminal case
against him filed by complainant in the Ombudsman that did not prosper.

However, he did not deny the contention of non-filing a copy to the Archives Division
of NCAA. In resolution, the court referred the case to the IBP and the decision of which was
affirmed with modification against the respondent and in favor of the complainant.

ISSUE:
Did Atty. Regino B. Tambago committed a violation in Notarial Law and the Ethics of
Legal Profession for notarizing a spurious last will and testament.

HELD:
Yes. Tambago violated the Notarial Law and the ethics oflegal profession.
The law provides for certainformalities that must be followed in the execution of wills. The
object of solemnities surrounding the execution of wills is to close the door on bad faith and
fraud, to avoid substitution of wills and testaments and to guarantee their truth and
authenticity.

The Civil Code likewise requires that a will must be acknowledged before anotary
public by the testator and the witnesses. An acknowledgment is the act of one who has
executed a deed in going before some competent officer or court and declaring it to be his
act or deed. It involves anextra step undertaken whereby the signatory actually declares to the
notary public that the same is his or her own free act and deed. The acknowledgment in a
notarial will has a two-fold purpose: (1w to safeguard the testator’s wishes long after his
demise and (2w to assure that his estate is administered in the manner that he intends it to be
done.

As per Supreme Court, Atty. Regino B. Tambago is guilty of professional misconduct as


he violated the Lawyer's Oath, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court, Canon 1 and Rule 1.01nof the
Code of Professional Responsibility, Article 806 of the Civil Code and provision of the Notarial
Law. Thus, Atty. Tambago is suspended from the practice of law for one year and his Notarial
commission revoked. In addition, because he has not lived up to the trustworthiness expected
of him as a notary public and as an officer of the court, he is perpetually disqualified from
reappointments as a Notary Public.
3. Docena vs. Atty. Limon, AC#2387, 9/10/1998
FACTS:
Respondent Atty. Dominador Q. Limon was the lawyer of petitioner Cleto Docena on
appeal in Civil Case No. 425 for Forcible Entry. During that case, he asked the petitioners to
post a supersedeas bond to stay execution of the appealed decision. He then required the
Docena spouses to post a supersedeas bond in the amount of P10,000.00 allegedly to staythe
execution of the appealed decisionPetitioners forwarded the money to Limon.

The Docena’s obtained a loan of P3,000.00 from the Borongan, Eastern Samar Branch of the
Development Bank ofthe Philippines; borrowed P2,140.00 from a private individual; and
applied for an agricultural loan of P4,860.00from the Borongan, Samar Branch of the
Philippine National Bank, wherein Limon himself acted as guarantor.Later, the case was
decided in their favor. When The Docena’s went to the CFI to withdraw the bond after the
case, they discovered They were unable to recover the money because the clerk of court said
no such bond had ever been filed or posted by Limon.Respondent claims that the P10,000.00
was just his attorney’s fees

ISSUE:
Whether or not Atty. Limon should be sanctioned.

HELD:
As per Supreme Court, respondent Atty. Dominador Q. Limon, Sr. is DISBARRED(see
Canon 1.01 and 16.01w. The Office of the Clerk of Court is directed that his name be striken
out from the Roll of Attorneys. Respondent’s allegation that the money was payment of his
fees was overcome by other evidence. The law is not a trade nor craft but a profession. Its
basic ideal is to render public service and to secure justice for those who seek its aid. If it has
to remain an honorable profession and attain its basic ideal, lawyers should not only master
its tenets and principles but should also, by their lives, accord continuing fidelity to them.

By extorting money from his client through deceit and misrepresentation, respondent
Limon has reduced the lawprofession to a level so base, so low and dishonorable,and most
contemptible. He has sullied the integrity of his brethren in the law and has, indirectly, eroded
the peoples' cofidence in thejudicial system. By hisreprehensible conduct, which is reflective
of his depraved character, respondent has made himself unworthy to remain in the Roll of
Attorneys.

4. Santos vs. Atty. Llamas, AC#4749, 1/20/2000


FACTS:
This is a complaint for misrepresentation and non-payment of bar membership dues
filed against respondent Atty. Francisco R. Llamas It appears that Atty. Llamas, who for a
number of years now, has not indicated the proper PTR and IBP OR Nos. and data in his
pleadings. If at all, he only indicated “IBP Rizal 259060” but he has been using this for at least
3 years already. On the other hand, respondent, who is now of age, averred that since 1992,
he has engaged in practice OF LAW without having paid his IBP dues. He likewise admits that,
as appearing in the pleadings submitted by complainant to this Court, he indicated "IBP-Rizal
259060" in the pleadings he filed in court, at least for the years 1995, 1996, and 1997, thus
misrepresenting that such was his IBP chapter membership and receipt number for the years
in which those pleadings were filed. He claims, however, that he is only engaged in a "limited"
practice and that he believes in good faith that he isexempt from the payment of taxes, such
as income tax, under R.A. No. 7432, as a senior citizen since 1992.

ISSUE:
1. Whether respondent is exempt from paying his yearly dues to the Integrated Bar of
the Philippines.

2. Whether the respondent has misled the court about his standing in the IBP by using
the same IBP O.R. number in his pleadings of at least six years and therefore liable for his
actions.

HELD:
1. NO. Rule 139-A requires that every member of the Integrated Bar shall pay annual
dues and default thereof for six months shall warrant suspension of membership and if
nonpayment covers a period of 1-year, default shall be a ground for removal of the
delinquent’s name from the Roll of Attorneys. It does not matter whether or not respondent is
only engaged in “limited” practice of law. Moreover, While it is true that R.A. No. 7432, grants
senior citizens "exemption from the payment of individual income taxes: provided, that their
annual taxable income does not exceed the poverty level as determined by the National
Economic and Development Authority (NEDAw for that year," the exemptionhowever does
not include payment of membership or association dues.

2. YES. By indicating "IBP-Rizal 259060" in his pleadings and thereby misrepresenting


to the public and the courts that he had paid his IBP dues to the Rizal Chapter, respondent is
guilty of violating the Code of Professional Responsibility which provides: Rule 1.01 – A lawyer
shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct. His act is also a
violation of Rule 10.01 which provides that: A lawyer shall not do any falsehood, nor consent
to the doing of any in court; nor mislead or allow the court to be misled by any artifice.

Respondent's failure to pay his IBP dues and his misrepresentation in the pleadings he
filed in court indeed merit the most severe penalty. However, in view of respondent's
advanced age, his express willingness to pay his dues and plea for a more
temperateapplication of the law, we believe the penalty of one year suspension from the
practice of law or until he has paid his IBP dues, whichever is later, is appropriate.

5. Philippine Lawyer’s Association vs. Agrava 105 Phil 173


FACTS:
A petition was filed by PLA for prohibition and injunction against Celedonio Agrava, in his
capacity as Director of the Philippines Patent Office. On May 27, 1957, respondent Director
issued a circular announcing that he had scheduled for June 27, 1957 an examination for the
purpose of determining who are qualified to practice as patent attorneys before the
Philippines Patent Office. According to the circular, members of the Philippine Bar, engineers
and other persons with sufficient scientific and technical training are qualified to take the said
examination.
The petitioner contended that one who has passed the bar examinations and is
licensed by the Supreme Court to practice law in the Philippines and who is in good standing
is duly qualified to practice before the Philippines Patent Office and that the respondent
Director’s holding an examination for the purpose is in excess of his jurisdiction and is in
violation of the law.The respondent, in reply, maintains the prosecution of patent cases “ does
not involve entirely or purely the practice of law but includes the application of scientific and
technical knowledge and training as a matter of actual practice so as to include engineers and
other individuals who passed the examination can practice before the Patent office.
Furthermore, he stressed that for the long time he is holding tests, this is the first time that his
right has been questioned formally.

ISSUE:
Whether or not the appearance before the patent Office and the preparation and the
prosecution of patent application, etc., constitutes or is included in the practice of law.

HELD:
The Supreme Court ruled that the practice of law includes such appearance before the
Patent Office, the representation of applicants, oppositors, and other persons, and the
prosecution of their applications for patent, their opposition thereto, or the enforcement of
their rights in patent cases. Moreover, the practice before the patent Office involves the
interpretation and application of other laws and legal principles, as well as the existence of
facts to be established in accordance with the law of evidence and procedure. The practice of
law is not limited to the conduct of cases or litigation in court but also embraces all other
matters connected with the law and any work involving the determination by the legal mind
of the legal effects of facts and conditions. Furthermore, the law provides that any party may
appeal to the Supreme Court from any final order or decision of the director. Thus, if the
transactions of business in the Patent Office involved exclusively or mostly technical and
scientific knowledge and training, then logically, the appeal should be taken not to a court or
judicial body, but rather to a board of scientists, engineers or technical men, which is not the
case.

6. Cruz vs. Atty. Cabrera, AC#5737, 10/25/2004


FACTS:
Complainant Ferdinand A. Cruz, a fourth year law student appearing for and in his
behalf inhis own cases charges Atty. Stanley Cabrera, respondent with misconduct in violation
of the Code of Professional Responsibility during a hearing on January 14, 2002, in one case
before the Regional Trial Court, Branch 112, Pasay City, presided by Judge Caridad Cuerdo.

Respondent’s imputations were uncalled for and the latter’s act of compelling the court
to ask complainant whether he is a lawyer or not was intended to malign him before the
public, inasmuch as respondent knew that complainant is not a lawyer, having appeared for
and in his behalf as a party litigant in prior cases; respondent’s imputations of complainant’s
misrepresentation as a lawyer was patently with malice to discredit his honor, with the
intention to threaten him not to appear anymore in cases respondent was handling; the
manner, substance, tone of voice and how the words “appear ka ng appear, pumasa ka
munam” were uttered were totally with the intention to annoy, vex and humiliate, malign,
ridicule, incriminate and discredit complainant before the public.

ISSUE:
1. Whether or not respondent violated Rule 8.01 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility.

2. Whether or not complainant is precluded from litigating personally his cases.

HELD:
1. We hold that respondent’s outburst of “appear ka ng appear, pumasa ka muna” does
not amount to a violation of Rule 8.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. Such single
outburst, though uncalled for, is not of such magnitude as to warrant respondent’s
suspension or reproof. It is but a product of impulsiveness or the heat of the moment in the
course of an argument between them. It has been said that lawyers should not be held to too
strict an account for words said in the heat of the moment, because of chagrin at losing cases,
and that the big way is for the court to condone even contemptuous language.

2. Complainant is not precluded from litigating personally his cases. A party’s right to
conduct litigation personally is recognized by Section 34 of Rule 138 of the Rules of Court:
SEC. 34. By whom litigation conducted. — In the court of a justice of the peace a party may
conduct his litigation in person, with the aid of an agent or friend appointed by him for that
purpose, or with the aid of an attorney. In any other court, a party may conduct his litigation
personally or by aid of an attorney, and his appearance must be either personal or by a duly
authorized member of the bar.

In Maderada vs. Mediodea, this Court expounded on the foregoing provision, thus: This
provision means that in litigation, parties may personally do everything during its progress--
from its commencement to its termination. When they, however, act as their own attorneys,
they are restricted to the same rules of evidence and procedure as those qualified to practice
law; otherwise, ignorance would be unjustifiably rewarded. Individuals have long been
permitted to manage, prosecute and defend their own actions; and when they do so, they
arenot considered to be in the practice of law. "One does not practice law by acting for
himself anymore than he practices medicine by rendering first aid to himself."

7. Ulep vs. The Legal Clinic, BM#553, 6/17/1993,


FACTS:
This is a petition praying for an order to the respondent to cease and desist from
issuing certain advertisements pertaining to the exercise of the law profession other than
those allowed by law.

The said advertisement of the Legal Clinic invites potential clients to inquire about
secret marriage and divorce in Guam and annulment, and the like. It also says that they are
giving free books on Guam Divorce.
Ulep claims that such advertisements are unethical and destructive of the confidence of
the community in the integrity of lawyers. He, being a member of the bar, is ashamed and
offended by the said advertisements. On the other hand, the respondent, while admitting of
the fact of the publication of the advertisements, claims that it is not engaged in the practice
of law but is merely rendering legal support services through paralegals. It also contends that
such advertisements should be allowed based on certain US cases decided.

ISSUE:
Whether or not the Legal Clinic Inc is engaged in the practice of law.

Whether or not the same can properly be the subject of the advertisements
complained of.

HELD:
Yes, it constitutes practice of law. No, the ads should be enjoined.

Practice of law means any activity, in or out of court, which requires the application of
law, legal procedures, knowledge, training and experience. To engage in the practice of law is
to perform those acts which are characteristic of the profession. Generally, to practice law is to
give advice or render any kind of service that involves legal knowledge or skill.

The practice of law is not limited to the conduct of cases in court. It includes legal
advice and counsel, and the preparation of legal instruments and contract by which legal
rights are secured, although such matter may or may not be pending in a court. When a
person participates in a trial and advertises himself as a lawyer, he is in the practice of law.
One who confers with clients, advises them as to their legal rights and then takes the business
to an attorney and asks the latter to look after the case in court, is also practicing law. Giving
advice for compensation regarding the legal status and rights of another and the conduct
with respect thereto constitutes a practice of law. The practice of law, therefore, covers a wide
range of activities in and out of court. And applying the criteria, respondent Legal Clinic Inc.
is, as advertised, engaged in the “practice of law”.

What is palpably clear is that respondent corporation gives out legal information to
laymen and lawyers. With its attorneys and so called paralegals, it will necessarily have to
explain to the client the intricacies of the law and advise him or her on the proper course of
action to be taken as may be provided for by said law. That is what its advertisements
represent and for the which services it will consequently charge and be paid. That activity falls
squarely within the jurisprudential definition of "practice of law."

The standards of the legal profession condemn the lawyer's advertisement of his
talents. A lawyer cannot, without violating the ethics of his profession advertise his talents or
skill as in a manner similar to a merchant advertising his goods. The only exceptions are when
he appears in a reputable law list and use of an ordinary, simple professional card.

The advertisements do not fall under these exceptions. To allow the publication of
advertisements of the kind used by respondent would only serve to aggravate what is already
a deteriorating public opinion of the legal profession whose integrity has consistently been
under attack. Hence, it should be enjoined.

8. Atty. Magno vs. Atty. Velasco-Jacoba, AC#6296, 11/22/2005


FACTS:
Atty. Evelyn J. Magno, President of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBPw, Nueva
Ecija Chapter had a disagreement with her uncle, Lorenzo Inos, over a landscaping contract
they had entered into. During the conciliation/confrontation proceeding, Atty. OliviaVelasco-
Jacoba appeared on the strength of a Special Power of Attorney signed by Lorenzo Inos. Atty.
Magno objected to Atty. Jacoba’s appeareance in the conciliation but the latter interpose that
Lorenzo Inos is entitled to be represented by a lawyer inasmuch as complainant is herself a
lawyer.

Complainant enumerated specific instances, with supporting documentation, tending


to prove that respondent had, in the courseof the conciliation proceedings before the Punong
Barangay, acted as Inos Lorenzo’s counsel instead of as his attorney-in-fact.

Thus, this petition for willful violation of (aw Section 415 of the Local Government Code
(LGCw of 1991 and (bw Canon 4 of the Code of Professional Responsibility.

ISSUE:
Whether or not Atty. Olivia Velasco-Jacoba violated the Local Government Code and
the Code of Professional Responsibility.

HELD:
Section 415 of the LGC of 1991, on the subject Katarungang Pambarangay, provides:

Section 415. Appearance of Parties in Person. - In all katarungang pambarangay


proceedings, the parties must appear in person without the assistance of the counsel or
representative, except forminors and incompetents who may be assisted by their next of kin
who are not lawyers.

The above-quoted provision clearly requires the personal appearance of the parties in
katarungan pambarangay conciliation proceedings, unassisted by counsel or representative.
The rationale behind the personal appearance requirement is to enable the lupon to secure
first hand and direct information about the facts and issues, the exception being in cases
where minors or incompetents are parties. There can be no quibbling that laymen of goodwill
can easily agree to conciliate and settle their disputes between themselves without what
sometimes is the unsettling assistance of lawyers whose presence could sometimes obfuscate
and confuse issues. Worse still, the participation of lawyers with their penchant to use their
analytical skills and legal knowledge tend to prolong instead of expedite settlement of the
case.

Doubtless, respondent’s conduct tended to undermine the laudable purpose of the


katarungan pambarangay system. What compounded matters was when respondent
repeatedly ignored complainant’s protestation against her continued appearance in the
barangay conciliation proceedings. Hence, Atty. Jacoba was ordered to fine P5,000 and
warned that commission of similar acts of impropriety on her part in the future will be dealt
with more severely.

9. Ziga vs. Judge Arejola, AM#MTJ-99-1203, 6/10/2003


FACTS:
Nelia Ziga and Ramon Arejola are two of the heirs of Fabian Arejola. They inherited a
land from Fabiana and became co-owners (with 8 othersw of the property. Ramon Arejola was
an attorney in the Public Attorney’s Office (PAOw. He filed in behalf of his co-heirs an
application for registration of title of the land. The petition was granted. A substantial portion
of the lot was sold to the City of Naga. The unsold portion was subject to a dispute between
the heirs and a 3 rd party.

Meanwhile, Ramon Arejola was appointed judge of the MTC of Daet, Camarines Norte.
Notwithstanding such appointment, Judge Arejola continued to appear in the Land
registration case (the dispute with the 3 rd personw. The court requested him to submit a
written authority from the SC to appear as counsel. He did not comply. A second request was
made but Judge Arejola insists that it is not needed. Then Judge Arejola wrote the City of
Naga for the terms of payment for the sale of the land and his claim for contingent atty fees.

Now, Nelia Ziga filed a complaint praying that Judge Arejola be disciplined for
appearing before the court without the SC’s permission and for asking contingent atty’s fees
and commission. Judge Arejola’s defense was that there was no need for the SC’s permission,
as he was appearing as representative of the heirs and not as counsel. He argues that he was
a party-in-interest being one of the heirs. He also said that the complaint was filed merely to
harass him and that complainant Ziga had a disturbed mind. The executive judge of the RTC
found the charge of unauthorized legal practice to be without basis. The Office of the Court
Administrator recommended that Judge Arejola be found guilty.

ISSUE:
Whether or not Judge Arejola guilty of violating the Code of Judicial Conduct by
engaging in the unauthorized practice of law.

HELD:
Yes and FINED 10,000. “Practice of law” is not confined to appearance in court as it also
covers the preparation of pleadings and giving of advice to clients. Based on the records,
Ramon Arejola engaged in the practice of law after he was appointed MTC Judge (And even if
the complaint was filed before he became judge, the fact that he continued to act as counsel
after the appointment sustains his liability. It was shown that he: prepared and signed
pleadings; appeared for applicants in the case; wrote a letter to the buyer asking for checks
and atty’s fees; etc. The representation made by Arejola was not just isolated as there was a
succession of acts. His argument that he appeared as co-heir was belied by the tenor of the
pleadings and letters showing that he was acting in representation of the heirs.

Judge Arejola violated the Rules of Court and Code of Judicial Conduct which prohibits
members of the bench from engaging in the private practice of law. Note that the purpose of
the prohibition is founded public policy—that is to ensure that judges give their full time and
attention to judicial duties and prevent them from advancing private interests. The Civil
Service Rules require him to secure a written permission to appear as counsel from the SC.
Judge Arejola was even requested by the RTC to procure this written authority. But he did not
comply. It appeared from the records that he tried to get a written authority later on. But
when he was told by the Court Administrator to provide the details of the case in which he is
appearing, he failed to comply. Nevertheless, his act of trying to procure authority was an
admission that he was appearing as counsel and that he was aware that he is required to
present such before the court.

10. Javellana vs. DILG, GR#102549, 8/10/1992


FACTS:
Javellana is an incumbent member of the City Council or Sanggunian Panglungsod of
Bago City, and a lawyer by profession who has continuously engaged in the practice of law
without securing authority for that purpose from the Regional Director, Department of Local
Government, as required by DLG Memorandum Circular No. 80-38 in relation to DLG
Memorandum Circular No. 74-58.

Five months later or on October 10, 1991, the Local Government Code of 1991 (RA
7160w was signed into law, Section 90 of which provides: Sec. 90. Practice of Profession. - (aw
All governors, city and municipal mayors are prohibited from practicing their profession or
engaging in any occupation other than the exercise of their functions as local chief
executives.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library (bw Sanggunian members
may practice their professions, engage in any occupation, or teach in schools except during
session hours: Provided, That sanggunian members who are members of the Bar shall not: (1w
Appear as counsel before any court in any civil case wherein a local government unit or any
office, agency, or instrumentality of the government is the adverse party; (2w Appear as
counsel in any criminal case wherein an officer or employee of the national or local
government is accused of an offense committed in relation to his office; (3w Collect any fee
for their appearance in administrative proceedings involving the local government unit of
which he is an official; and(4w Use property and personnel of the Government except when
the Sanggunian member concerned is defending the interest of the Government.

ISSUE:
Whether or not Javellana is administratively liable for practicing law while being a
councilor.

HELD:
Petitioner's contention that Section 90 of the Local Government Code of 1991 and DLG
Memorandum Circular No. 90-81 violate Article VIII, Section 5 of the Constitution is
completely off tangent. Neither the statute nor the circular trenches upon the Supreme
Court's power and authority to prescribe rules on the practice of law. The Local Government
Code and DLGMemorandum Circular No. 90-81 simply prescribe rules of conduct for public
officials to avoid conflicts of interest between the discharge of their public duties and the
private practice of their profession, in those instances where the law allows it.
11. In re: Cunanan 94 PHIL 534
FACTS:
This is the “Bar Flunkers Act of 1953” case. As per the Rules of Court. A bar candidate
must have a general average of 75% in all subjects without failing below 50% in any subject.
In spite of this, the court passed and admitted to the bar those candidates who had obtained
an average of only: 72% in 1946, 69% in 1947, 70% in 1948, 74% in 1949, In 1950 to 53, the
74% was raised to 75%.

A few candidates who missed the above marks set by the courts approached Congress.
Congress made a bill, which was allowed by the president to become a law without his
signature. This is RA 972. Pursuant to the law in question, those who, without a grade below
50 per cent in any subject, have obtained a general average of 69.5 per cent in the bar
examinations in 1946 to 1951, 70.5 per cent in 1952, 71.5 per cent in 1953, and those will
obtain 72.5 per cent in 1954, and 73.5 per cent in 1955, will be permitted to take and
subscribe the corresponding oath of office as members of the Bar, notwithstanding that the
rules require a minimum general average of 75 per cent, which has been invariably followed
since 1950.

A breakdown of the numbers is on page 538. The additional candidates who want to
be admitted claim that they suffered from insufficiency of reading materials and of
inadequacy of preparation.

ISSUE:
Whether or Not RA No. 972 is constitutional and valid.

HELD:
RA 972 is contrary to public interest because it qualifies 1,094 law graduates who
confessedly had inadequate preparation for the practice of the profession. The public interest
demands of the legal profession, adequate preparation and efficiency, precisely more so as
legal problems evolved by the times become more difficult. In the judicial system from which
ours has been evolved, the admission, suspension, disbarment and reinstatement of attorneys
at law in the practice of the profession and their supervision have been indisputably a judicial
function and responsibility. We have said that in the judicial system from which ours has been
derived, the admission, suspension, disbarment or reinstatement of attorneys at law in the
practice of the profession is concededly judicial. On this matter, there is certainly a clear
distinction between the functions of the judicial and legislative departments of the
government.

It is obvious, therefore, that the ultimate power to grant license for the practice of law
belongs exclusively to this Court, and the law passed by Congress on the matter is of
permissive character, or as other authorities may say, merely to fix the minimum conditions
for the license. Republic Act Number 972 is held to be unconstitutional.

12. In re: Alamacen 31 SCRA 562


FACTS:
Atty. Almacen was the counsel of one Virginia Yaptinchay in a civil case. They lost in
said civil case but Almacen filed a Motion for Reconsideration. He notified the opposing party
of said motion but he failed to indicate the time and place of hearing of said motion. Hence,
his motion was denied. He then appealed but the Court of Appeals denied his appeal as it
agreed with the trial court with regard to the motion for reconsideration. Eventually, Almacen
filed an appeal on certiorari before the Supreme Court which outrightly denied his appeal in a
minute resolution.

This earned the ire of Almacen who called such minute resolutions as unconstitutional.
He then filed before the Supreme Court a petition to surrender his lawyer’s certificate of title
as he claimed that it is useless to continue practicing his profession when members of the
high court are men who are calloused to pleas for justice, who ignore without reasons their
own applicable decisions and commit culpable violations of the Constitution with impunity.
He further alleged that due to the minute resolution, his client was made to pay P120k
without knowing the reasons why and that he became “one of the sacrificial victims before
the altar of hypocrisy.” He also stated “that justice as administered by the present members of
the Supreme Court is not only blind, but also deaf and dumb.”

The Supreme Court did not immediately act on Almacen’s petition as the Court wanted
to wait for Almacen to ctually surrender his certificate. Almacen did not surrender his lawyer’s
certificate though as he now argues that he chose not to. Almacen then asked that he may be
permitted “to give reasons and cause why no disciplinary action should be taken against him .
. . in an open and public hearing.” He said he preferred this considering that the Supreme
Court is “the complainant, prosecutor and Judge.” Almacen was however unapologetic.

ISSUE:
Whether or not Atty. Almacen should be given disciplinary actions for his acts.

HELD:
YES. The Supreme Court first clarified that minute resolutions are needed because the
Supreme Court cannot accept every case or write full opinion for every petition they reject
otherwise the High Court would be unable to effectively carry out its constitutional duties.
The proper role of the Supreme Court is to decide “only those cases which present questions
whose resolutions will have immediate importance beyond the particular facts and parties
involved.” It should be remembered that a petition to review the decision of the Court of
Appeals is not a matter of right, but of sound judicial discretion; and so there is no need to
fully explain the court’s denial. For one thing, the facts and the law are already mentioned in
the Court of Appeals’ opinion.

In the case at bar, Almacen’s criticism is misplaced. As a veteran lawyer, he should have
known that a motion for reconsideration which failed to notify the opposing party of the time
and place of trial is a mere scrap of paper and will not be entertained by the court. He has
only himself to blame and he is the reason why his client lost. Almacen was suspended
indefinitely.
13. In re: Lanuevo 66 SCRA 245
FACTS:
This is an administrative proceeding against Victorio Lanueva who was the Bar
Confidant during the 1971 Bar Examination emanating from the revelation of one Oscar
Landicho, a bar examinee of the same bar exam, in his confidential letter that the result of the
bar exam of one of the bar examinee later identified as Ramon Galang was raised before the
result was released to make him pass the bar.

Acting upon said letter, the court called the 5 bar examiners and the Bar Confident
Lanuevo to submit their sworn statements on the matter. It appears that each of the 5 bar
examiners were approached by Lanuevo with the examination booklet asking them to re-
evaluate the grades of the bar examiner explaining that it is a practice policy in bar exams
that he will review the grades obtained in all subjects by an examinee and when he finds a
candidate to have extraordinary high grades in other subjects and low grade in one subject he
can bring it to the examiner for reconsideration to help the candidate pass.

In good faith of trust and confidence to the authority of Lanuevo, the examiners re-
evaluated the exam of the candidate and reconsider the grade they give for each subject
matter. Further investigation also revealed that Ramon Galang was charged with crime of
slight physical injuries in the Mla. MTC but did not revealed the information in his application
to take the bar examination.

ISSUE:
Whether or not Lanuevo has the authority to ask bar examiners to re-evaluate and re-
correct the examination result of a bar candidate.

HELD:
The court ruled that it is evident that Lanuevo has deceptively staged a plot to
convince each examiner individually to re-evaluate the grades of Galang in order to help him
pass the bar without prior authorization of the Court. His duty as a Bar Confident is limited
only as a custodian of the examination notebooks after they are corrected by the examiners
where he is tasked to tally the general average of the bar candidate. All requests for re-
evaluation of grades from the bar exam shall be made by the candidate themselves.

With the facts fully established that Lanuevo initiated the re-evaluation of the exam
answers of Galang without the authority of the Court, he has breached the trust and
confidence given to him by the court and was disbarred with his name stricken out from the
rolls of attorneys. Galang was likewise disbarred for fraudulently concealing the criminal
charges against him in his application for the bar exam while under oath constituting perjury.
The court believed that the 5 bar examiners acted in good faith and thereby absolved from
the case but reminded to perform their duties with due care.

14. Application for Bar Admission, Vicente Ching, BM#914, 10/1/1999,


FACTS:
In 1998, Vicente Ching finished his law degree at the Saint Louis University in Baguio
City. He eventually passed the bar but he was advised that he needs to show proof that he is a
Filipino citizen before he be allowed to take his oath. Apparently, Ching’s father was a Chinese
citizen but his mother was a Filipino citizen. His parents were married before he was born in
1963. Under the 1935 Constitution, a legitimate child, whose one parent is a foreigner,
acquires the foreign citizenship of the foreign parent. Ching maintained that he has always
considered himself as a Filipino; that he is a certified public accountant – a profession
reserved for Filipinos; that he even served as a councilor in a municipality in La Union.

The Solicitor-General commented on the case by saying that as a legitimate child of a


Chinese and a Filipino, Ching should have elected Filipino citizenship upon reaching the age
of majority; that under prevailing jurisprudence, “upon reaching the age of majority” is
construed as within 7 years after reaching the age of majority (in his case 21 years old
because he was born in 1964 while the 1935 Constitution was in placew.

Ching did elect Filipino citizenship but he only did so when he was preparing for the
bar in 1998 or 14 years after reaching the age of majority. Nevertheless, the Solicitor-General
recommended that the rule be relaxed due to the special circumstance of Ching.

ISSUE:
Whether or not Ching should be allowed to take the lawyer’s oath.

HELD:
No. Unfortunately, he belatedly elected Filipino citizenship. The Supreme Court cannot
agree with the recommendation of the Solicitor-General. Fourteen years had lapsed and it’s
way beyond the allowable 7 year period. The Supreme Court even noted that the period is
originally 3 years but it was extended to 7 years. Ching’s special circumstances can’t be
considered. It is not enough that he considered all his life that he is a Filipino; that he is a
professional and a public officer (wasw serving this country. The rules for citizenship are in
place.

Further, Ching didn’t give any explanation why he belatedly chose to elect Filipino
citizenship. The prescribed procedure in electing Philippine citizenship is certainly not a
tedious and painstaking process. All that is required of the elector is to execute an affidavit of
election of Philippine citizenship and, thereafter, file the same with the nearest civil registry.
Ching’s unreasonable and unexplained delay in making his election cannot be simply glossed
over.

15. Petition to Resume Practice of Law, Benjamin Dacanay, BM#1678, 12/17/2007


FACTS:
In 1998, Atty. Benjamin Dacanay went to Canada to seek medical help. In order for him
to take advantage of Canada’s free medical aid program he became a Canadian citizen in
2004. In 2006 however, he re-acquired his Philippine citizenship pursuant to Republic Act
9225 of the Citizenship Retention and Re-Acquisition Act of 2003. In the same year, he
returned to the Philippines and he now intends to resume his practice of law.

ISSUE:
Whether or not Benjamin Dacanay may still resume his practice of law.
HELD:
Yes. As a rule, the practice of law and other professions in the Philippines are reserved
and limited only to Filipino citizens. Philippine citizenship is a requirement for admission to
the bar. So when Dacanay became a Canadian citizen in 2004, he ceased to have the privilege
to practice law in the Philippines. However, under RA 9225, a Filipino lawyer who becomes a
citizen of another country is deemed never to have lost his Philippine citizenship if he
reacquires his Filipino citizenship in accordance with RA 9225. Hence, when Dacanay
reacquires his Filipino citizenship in 2006, his membership to the Philippine bar was deemed
to have never been terminated.

But does this also mean that he can automatically resume his practice of law right after
reacquisition?

No. Dacanay must still comply with several conditions before he can resume his
practice of law, to wit:
(a) the updating and payment in full of the annual membership dues in the IBP;
(b) the payment of professional tax;
(c) the completion of at least 36 credit hours of mandatory continuing legal education;
this is especially significant to refresh the applicant/petitioner’s knowledge of Philippine laws
and update him of legal developments and
(d) the retaking of the lawyer’s oath which will not only remind him of his duties and
responsibilities as a lawyer and as an officer of the Court, but also renew his pledge to
maintain allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines.

Compliance with these conditions will restore his good standing as a member of the
Philippine bar.

16. Petition to Reacquire Privilege to Practice Law, Epifanio Muneses, BM#2112,


7/24/2012
FACTS:
Epifanio B. Muneses, a Filipino and member of the Philippine Bar but lost the privilege
because he became a citizen of the United States of America on August 28, 1981. On
September 15, 2006 reacquired his Philippine citizenship pursuant to the "Citizenship
Retention and Re-Acquisition Act of 2003" (R.A. No. 9225w. He intends to retire in the
Philippines & return to the practice of law after compliance with the requirements of the
Office of the Bar Confidant, hence this petition.

ISSUE:
Whether or not petitioner Muneses, after reacquiring Philippine citizenship, can
practice law in the Philippines.

HELD:
The court - In Bar Matter No. 1678, dated December 17, 2007, allowed Benjamin M.
Dacanay (a Filipino citizen and a barrister who migrated to Canada) to return to the practice
of law after complying with R.A. No. 9225 and the requirements of the Office of the Bar
Confidant to wit:
1. Petition for Re-Acquisition of Philippine Citizenship;
2. Order (for Re-Acquisition of Philippine Citizenship);
3. Oath of Allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines;
4. Identification Certificate (IC) issued by the Bureau of Immigration;
5. Certificate of Good Standing issued by the IBP;
6. Certification from the IBP on updated payments of annual membership dues;
7. Proof of payment of professional tax; and
8. Certificate of compliance issued by the MCLE Office.

The practice of law is a privilege burdened with conditions. It is so delicately affected


with public interest that it is both the power and duty of the State (through this Court) to
control and regulate it in order to protect and promote the public welfare.

Wherefore, the petition of Atty. Epifanio B. Muneses is hereby granted.

17. Villa vs. Ama, BM#674, 6/14/2005


FACTS:
On April 15, 2005, Junel Anthony D. Ama filed a petition for admission in the bar as
successful passers of the 1992 bar exam. The said petitioner together with the other member
of the Aguila Legis fraternity of Ateneo de Manila University was implicated and criminally
charged with the death of Jose Villa. Amended information for serious physical injury was
filed in MTC Caloocan City against the petitioner and another case of homicide in RTC
Caloocan City.

On April 16, 1993, the father of the victim filed a petition praying that the petitioner be
disallowed from taking lawyer’s oath and signing the roll of attorneys pending final judgment
of the case filed against him. On February 8, 1996, the MTC acquitted him while the RTC
rendered a guilty decision through conspiracy. The RTC decision was appealed in the ca and
the latter set aside the lower courts decision rendering a guilty decision on slight physical
injury under Art. 266 of RPC. he was ordered to pay 30 thousand pesos jointly with the other
accused as indemnity. Instead of serving the 20 day imprisonment, he applies for probation of
RTC Caloocan which granted him and terminating the case.

ISSUE:
Whether or not the offense considered as grave violation of the moral sentiment of the
community or crime of moral turpitude.

HELD:
No, the court grants the petition of Junel Anthony D. Ama. He is hereby allowed to take
the lawyer’s oath and sign the roll of attorneys. The crime for which the petitioner was
convicted was a light offense and cannot be considered as grave violation of the moral
sentiment of the people and certainly not a crime involving moral turpitude.
18. Narag vs. Atty. Narag, AC#3405, 6/29/1998
FACTS:
Atty. Dominador Narag was alleged to have abandoned his family for his paramour
who was once his student in tertiary level. The administrative complaint of disbarment was
filed by his wife, Mrs. Julieta Narag. Respondent filed motion to dismiss because allegedly the
complainant fabricated the story as well as the love letters while under extreme emotional
confusion arising from jealousy.

The case took an unexpected turn when another complaint was filed, the wife as again
the complainant but now together with their seven children as co-signatories. After several
hearings, the facts became clear, that the respondent indeed abandoned his family as against
morals, based on testimonial evidences. In addition, the assailed relationship bore two
children.

ISSUE:
Whether or not respondent is guilty of gross immorality and for having violated the
Code of Ethics for Lawyers culpable for disbarment.

HELD:
YES. Respondent is disbarred.

The complainant was able to establish, by clear and convincing evidence, that the
respondent breached the high and exacting moral standards set for the members of the law
profession. Good moral character is not only a condition precedent to the practice of law, but
a continuing qualification for all members of the bar.

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 profession.

Undoubtedly, the canons of law practice were violated. Hence, the disbarment.

19. Aguirre vs. Rana, BM#1036, 6/10/2003


FACTS:
Rana was among those who passed the 2000 Bar Examinations. Before the scheduled
mass oath-taking, complainant Aguirre filed against respondent a Petition for Denial of
Admission to the Bar. The Court allowed respondent to take his oath. Respondent took the
lawyer’s oath on the scheduled date but has not signed the Roll of Attorneys up to now.
Complainant alleges that respondent, while not yet a lawyer, appeared as counsel for a
candidate in an election.

On the charge of violation of law, complainant claims that respondent is a municipal


government employee, being a secretary of the Sangguniang Bayan of Mandaon, Masbate. As
such, respondent is not allowed by law to act as counsel for a client in any court or
administrative body.

On the charge of grave misconduct and misrepresentation, complainant accuses


respondent of acting as counsel for vice mayoralty candidate George Bunan without the latter
engaging respondent’s services. Complainant claims that respondent filed the pleading as a
ploy to prevent the proclamation of the winning vice mayoralty candidate.

ISSUE:
Whether or not respondent engaged in the unauthorized practice of law and thus does
not deserve admission to the Philippine Bar.

HELD:
The Court ruled that respondent Edwin L. Rana is DENIED admission to the Philippine
Bar.

The right to practice law is not a natural or constitutional right but is a privilege. It is
limited to persons of good moral character with special qualifications duly ascertained and
certified. The exercise of this privilege presupposes possession of integrity, legal knowledge,
educational attainment, and even public trust since a lawyer is an officer of the court. A bar
candidate does not acquire the right to practice law simply by passing the bar examinations.
The practice of law is a privilege that can be withheld even from one who has passed the bar
examinations, if the person seeking admission had practiced law without a license.

True, respondent here passed the 2000 Bar Examinations and took the lawyer’s oath.
However, it is the signing in the Roll of Attorneys that finally makes one a full-fledged lawyer.
The fact that respondent passed the bar examinations is immaterial. Passing the bar is not the
only qualification to become an attorney-at-law. Respondent should know that two essential
requisites for becoming a lawyer still had to be performed, namely: his lawyer’s oath to be
administered by this Court and his signature in the Roll of Attorneys.

20. Tolentino vs. Atty. Mendoza, AC#5151, 10/19/2004


FACTS:
Pedro G. Tolentino filed a complaint against Atty. Mendoza for grossly immoral
conduct and gross misconduct. The respondent was a former mtc judge who abandoned his
wife in favor of his paramour who was also a married one. The two was openly and publicly
cohabitating with each other and has two children. The paramour declared at the birth
certificate of their children that they got married with the respondent sometime in 1986 to
make it appear that their children are legitimate one. In addition to that, respondent also
stated in his certificate of candidacy his legal wife but declared it as separated. Respondent
filed a comments stressing that said complaints was politically motivated and the evidence
submitted were hearsay and violative of Rule 24 of Administrative Order No. 1 series of 1993
therefore cannot be admitted as evidence.

ISSUE:
Is the act of the respondent an immoral one.
HELD:
Yes, the court finds the act of the respondent as violative to the code of professional
responsibility that a lawyer shall not engage in an unlawful, deceitful and immoral act. The
respondent has violated the said rule. The respondent’s open and public cohabitation with his
paramour is a mockery of the fundamental institution of marriage, therefore, the respondent
is guilty of immorality and be suspended indefinitely from practicing his profession until he
submits satisfactory proof that he has abandoned his immoral course of conduct.

21. Letter of Atty. Arevalo, Requesting Exemption from IBP Dues Payment, BM#1370,
5/9/2005
FACTS:
Atty. Arevalo wrote a letter to the SC requesting for exemption from payment of his IBP
dues from 1977-2005 in the amount of P12,035.00. He contends that after admission to the
Bar he worked at the Civil Service Commission then migrated to the US until his retirement.
His contention to be exempt is that his employment with the CSC prohibits him to practice his
law profession and he did not practice the same while in the US. The compulsion that he pays
his IBP annual membership is oppressive since he has an inactive status as a lawyer. His
removal from the profession because of non-payment of the same constitutes to the
deprivation of his property rights bereft of due process of the law.

ISSUE:
Whether or not the petitioner is entitled to exemption from payment of his dues
during the time that he was inactive in the practice of law.

HELD:
No. A membership fee in the Bar Association is an exaction for regulation. If the
judiciary has inherent power to regulate the Bar, it follows that as an incident to regulation, it
may impose a membership fee for that purpose. It would not be possible to put on an
Integrated Bar Program without means to defray the expenses. The doctrine of implied
powers necessarily carries with it the power to impose such exaction.

Whether the practice of law is a property right, in the sense of its being one that
entitles the holder of a license to practice a profession, the court do not pause to consider at
length, as it [is] clear that under the police power of the State, and under the necessary
powers granted to the Court to perpetuate its existence, the respondents right to practice law
before the courts of this country should be and is a matter subject to regulation and inquiry.
And, if the power to impose the fee as a regulatory measure is recognized, then a penalty
designed to enforce its payment, which penalty may be avoided altogether by payment, is not
void as unreasonable or arbitrary.

As a final note, it must be borne in mind that membership in the bar is a privilege
burdened with conditions, one of which is the payment of membership dues. Failure to abide
by any of them entails the loss of such privilege if the gravity thereof warrants such drastic
move.
22. Ting-Dumali vs. Atty. Torres, AC#5161, 4/4/2004
FACTS:
The parents of Isidra Ting-Dumali died intestate and they left several properties
including two parcels of land Lot 1586 and Lot 1603 both in Malabon. Isidra has 5 other
siblings.

In 1986 however, two of her siblings, Felicisima Ting-Torres and Miriam Ting-Saria,
executed two Deeds of Extrajudicial Settlement. They were assisted by Felicisima’s husband,
Atty. Rolando Torres – who was also the administrator of the Ting Estate. In the Deed of
Extrajudicial Settlement covering Lot 1586, they made it appear that Felicisima and Miriam
were the only heirs of the Tings. In the Deed of Extrajudicial Settlement covering Lot 1603, the
signature of Isidra was forged to make it appear that she was a party to the Deed. Torres then
presented the Deeds to the Registry of Deeds of Cavite for the purpose of transferring the
titles into the name of Miriam and Felicisima. Thereafter, Felicisima and Miriam sold the lands
to a corporation.

Consequently, Isidra filed several complaints. One of the complaints is this disbarment
case against Atty. Torres.

Torres, in his defense, averred that he acted in good faith in allowing his wife and
Miriam to execute the Deeds; that he thought that the Deeds were agreed to by the other
siblings pursuant to a toka or verbal will left by Isidra’s mother and as implemented by their
eldest brother, Eliseo Ting; that the exclusion of the other heirs was merely an oversight. Isidra
denied the existence of the toka. Eliseo also said there was no such toka.

ISSUE:
Whether or not Torres should be disbarred for allowing the exclusion of the other heirs
from the Deeds of Extrajudicial Settlement despite his knowledge of their presence.

HELD:
Yes. He violated his oath as he engaged in deceitful conduct. He has committed
falsehood. By letting his wife and Miriam declare in a public document that they are the only
heirs to the estate when in fact there are other compulsory heirs and then later presenting
these Deeds to the Registry of Deeds, Atty. Torres failed to advise that the two were doing
acts contrary to law. He participated in the making of these Deeds as well as to the
subsequent transactions involving the sale of the properties covered by the Deeds. His acts
facilitated a wrong against the other heirs.

23. Endaya vs. Atty. Oca, AC#3967, 9/3/2003


FACTS:
A complaint for unlawful detainer was filed against Artemio Endaya and his wife. An
answer was prepared by a Mr. Ramirez for the spouses. At the beginning of the preliminary
conference, spouses appeared without counsel. Endaya sought the services of the Public
Attorney’s Office. Atty. Oca was assigned to handle the case. At the continuation of the prelim
conference, Oca filed motion for amendment of answer. Motion was denied.

The judge then ordered all parties to submit their affidavits and position papers. The
court also said that 30 days after the submission of the last paper or upon expiration of the
period for filing, judgment shall be rendered on the case. Oca failed to submit any affidavit or
position paper. Nonetheless, the complaint for unlawful detainer was dismissed because
those who filed the case were not really parties-in-interest. The case was appealed to RTC.
Oca failed to submit anything again. RTC reversed the MTC decision. Spouses were ordered to
vacate the property and pay a certain amount for rentals. Endaya confronted Oca about the
decision. Oca feigned that he did not receive anything. Upon checking with the clerk of court,
Oca did receive a copy of the decision. Hence this administrative complaint.

ISSUE:
Whether or not Oca committed professional misconduct

HELD:
Yes, respondent Atty. Wilfredo Oca is ordered SUSPENDED from the practice of law for
two months with the warning that a similar misconduct will be dealt with more severely.

For intentionally failing to submit the pleadings required by the court, respondent practically
closed the door to the possibility of putting up a fair fight for his client. Oca cannot just
appear only once for the spouses. A lawyer continues to be a counsel of record until the
lawyer-client relationship is terminated. Respondents story projects in vivid detail his
appalling indifference to his clients cause, deplorable lack of respect for the courts and a
brazen disregard of his duties as a lawyer.

24. Barrientos vs. Atty. Libiran-Meteoro, AC#6408, 8/31/2004


FACTS:
Respondent Atty. Elerizza Libiran-Meteoro issued several checks in favor of Isidra
Barrientos and Olivia Mercado complainants for the payment of a pre-existing debt. The
checks bounced due to insufficient funds thus charges for violation of B.P. 22 were filed by
Isidra and Olivia.

Respondent sent text messages to complainants asking for the deferment of the
criminal charges with the promise that she will pay her debt. Respondent, however, failed to
fulfill said promise. Respondent even tried to give to complainants a title for a parcel of land
in exchange for the bounced checks, but it was later discovered that the land belonged to
someone else, who merely entrusted said title to the respondent. Thus, a complaint for
disbarment was filed against Atty. Elerizza A. Libiran-Meteoro for deceit and non-payment of
debts.

ISSUE:
Whether or not Atty. Elerizza A. Libiran-Meteoro is guilty of gross misconduct.

HELD:
YES. IBP Board of Governors ruled that respondent violated not only her oath as a
lawyer but also Rule 1.01, Canon 1 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. Atty. Elerizza A.
Libiran-Meteoro is hereby suspended from the practice of law for six months and Restitution
of P84,000 to complainant.

The Court held that deliberate failure to pay just debts and the issuance of worthless
checks constitute gross misconduct, for which a lawyer may be sanctioned with suspension
from the practice of law. Lawyers are instruments for the administration of justice and
vanguards of our legal system. They are expected to maintain not only legal proficiency but
also a high standard of morality, honesty, integrity and fair dealing so that the people’s faith
and confidence in the judicial system is ensured. They must at all times faithfully perform their
duties to society, to the bar, the courts and to their clients, which include prompt payment of
financial obligations. They must conduct themselves in a manner that reflects the values and
norms of the legal profession as embodied in the Code of Professional Responsibility.

25. Alejandro vs. Atty. Alejandro, AC#4256, 2/13/2004


FACTS:
Complainant submitted a photocopy of the marriage contract between her and
respondent Atty. Alejandro in support of her charge of bigamy and concubinage against the
latter and Villarin. She also submitted a photocopy of the birth certificate of a child of the
respondent and also stated that they were married in May 1, 1990 in Isabela, Province.

The Supreme Court directed respondents to file their comment on the complaint within
10 days but they failed to comply. Copies of the resolution, complaint and its annexes were
returned to both respondents unserved with notation “moved”, same as when served
personally. Complainant was required anew to submit the correct, present address of
respondents under pain of dismissal of her administrative complaint. She disclosed
respondent’s address at 12403 Develop Drive Houston, Texas in a handwritten letter.

The Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) recommended that both respondents be
disbarred. The Supreme Court ordered Atty. Alejandro to be disbarred while the complaint
against his co-respondent Atty. Villarin was returned to the IBP for further proceedings or it
appears that a copy of the resolution requiring comment was never “deemed served” upon
her as it was upon Atty. Alejandro.

ISSUE:
Whether or not abandonment of lawful wife and maintaining an illicit relationship with
another woman are grounds for disbarment.

HELD:
YES. Sufficient evidence showed that respondent Atty. Alejandro, lawfully married to
complainant, carried on an illicit relationship with co-respondent Atty. Villarin. Although the
evidence was not sufficient to prove that he co0ntracted a subsequent bigamous marriage,
that fact remains of his deplorable lack of that degree of morality required of him as member
of the bar. A disbarment proceeding is warranted against a lawyer who abandons his lawful
wife and maintains an illicit relationship with another woman who had borne him a child. The
court can do no less in this case where Atty. Alejandro even fled to another country to escape
the consequences of his misconduct.

Therefore, Atty. Alejandro is disbarred from the practice of law while the complaint
against Atty. Villarin was referred back to the IBP.

26. Vda. De Espino vs. Atty. Prequito, AC#4762, 6/28/2004


FACTS:
Complainant’s husband has entered an agreement with the respondent in the sale of
his lot for installment basis. Respondent Atty. Prequito issued 8 checks to satisfy its
obligation. However, it was dishonored and the said lot until the case is filed is still unpaid.
This prompted the wife of Espino to file complaint against the respondent.

On June 9, 1997, Linda Vda. de Espino wrote a letter-complaint, charging respondent


Atty. Pepito C. Presquito, a member of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP), Misamis
Oriental Chapter, for having employed fraud, trickery and dishonest means in refusing to
honor and pay her late husband Virgilio Espino, when he was still alive, the sum of
P763,060.00. According to complainant, respondent’s unlawful refusal and dilatory tactics
partly triggered the death of her husband, who died disillusioned and embittered.

In his comment, respondent denied any wrongdoing, and said that the allegations that
he had employed dishonest means with the late Mr. Espino were totally false and baseless.
The complaint, according to respondent, stemmed from complainants lack of knowledge as
to the real story of the transaction between complainants husband and respondent.

Respondent does not deny the issuance of the eight checks. He alleged that the
nonpayment was justified by the unresolved problems with respect to the right of way of the
land and that respondent later found out that such road-right-of-way required the consent of
four other land owners, and the expense would be considerably more than he was made to
believe.

ISSUE:
Whether or not the act of respondent a violation of Canons of Professional Ethics as
well as Code of Professional Responsibility.

HELD:
Yes, the court found the evidence of the complainant more weight and substance than
the self-serving testimony of the complainant. His a cts not only sets himself liable for a
serious criminal offense under B.P. Blg. 22, but also transgresses the Code of Professional
Responsibility, specifically the mandate of Canon 1 to obey the laws of the land and promote
the respect for law.

A lawyer may be disciplined for any conduct, in his professional or private capacity,
that renders him unfit to continue to be an officer of the court. Thus, the Code of Professional
Responsibility provides: Rule 1.01 A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral
or deceitful conduct.
It should be stressed that respondent issued 8 worthless checks, seemingly without
regard to its deleterious effects to public interest and public order. Thus the court, found him
guilty of gross misconduct and ordered to be suspended from practicing law for a period of 1
year and an immediate account of the complainant for the sale of the lot.

27. Guevarra vs. Atty. Eala, AC# 7136, 8/1/2007


FACTS:
On March 4, 2002 a complaint of disbarment was filed before the Integrated Bar of the
Philippines Committee on Bar Discipline against Atty. Jose Emmanuel M. Eala a.k.a. Noli Eala
for grossly immoral conduct and unmitigated violation of the lawyer’s oath.

In the complaint, Guevarra first met the respondent in January 2000 when his then
fiancée Irene Moje introduced respondent to him as her friend who was married to Marianne
Tantoco with whom he had three children. After his marriage to Irene on October 7, 2000,
Complainant noticed that from January to March 2001, Irene had been receiving from
respondent cellphone calls, as well as messages some which read “I love you,” “I miss you,” or
“Meet you at Megamall.” He also noticed that Irene habitually went home very late at night or
early in the morning of the following day, and sometimes did not go home from work. When
he asked her whereabouts, she replied that she slept at her parent’s house in Binangonan,
Rizal or shewas busy with her work.

In February or March 2001, complainant saw Irene and respondent together on two
occasions. On the second occasion, he confronted them following which Irene abandoned the
conjugal house. On April 22, 2001 complainant went uninvited to Irene’s birthday celebration
at which he saw her and the respondent celebrating with her family and friends. Out of
embarrassment, anger and humiliation, he left the venue immediately. Following that
incident, Irene went to the conjugal house and hauled off all her personal belongings.

Complainant later found a handwritten letter dated October 7, 2007, the day of his
wedding to Irene. Complainant soon saw respondent’s car and that of Irene constantly parked
at No.71-B11 Street, New Manila where as he was later learn sometime in April 2001, Irene
was already residing. He also learned still later that when his friends saw Irene on about
January18, 2002 together with respondent during a concert, she was pregnant.

ISSUE:
Whether or not Atty. Jose Emmanuel Eala committed acts that are grossly immoral
which would warrant his disbarment or suspension from the practice of law.

HELD:
YES. The case at bar involves a relationship between a married lawyer and a married
woman who is not his wife. It is immaterial whether the affair was carried out discreetly.
Lawyer’s oath stated that a lawyer should support the Constitution and obey the laws.
Meaning he shall not make use of deceit, malpractice, or other gross misconduct, grossly
immoral conduct, or be convicted in any crime involving moral turpitude.
Furthermore, Atty. Eala was accused of Concubinage, under ART. 334 of the Revised
Penal Code, “Any husband who shall keep a mistress in a conjugal dwelling, or, shall have
sexual intercourse, under scandalous circumstances, with a woman who is not his wife, or shall
cohabit with her in any other place, shall be punished by prision correccional in its minimum
and medium period . Section 2 of Art. XV states that “Marriage, as an inviolable social
institution, is the foundation of the family and shall be protected by the state. Respondent’s
grossly immoral conduct runs afoul of the constitution and the laws, that he as a lawyer has
sworn to uphold.

Hence the court declared Atty. Jose Emmanul M. Eala DISBARRED for grossly immoral
conduct, violation of his oath of office, and violation of canon 1, Rule 1.01 and Canon 7, Rule
7.03 of the Code of Professional Responsibility.

28. Bautista vs. Atty. Gonzales, 182 SCRA 151


FACTS:
In a verified complaint filed by Angel L. Bautista, respondent Ramon A. Gonzales was
charged with malpractice, deceit, gross misconduct and violation of lawyer’s oath. Required
by this Court to answer the charges against him, respondent filed a motion for a bill of
particulars asking this Court to order complainant to amend his complaint by making his
charges more definite. In a resolution the Court granted respondent’s motion and required
complainant to file an amended complaint. Complainant submitted an amended complaint
for disbarment, alleging that respondent committed the following acts:
1. Accepting a case wherein he agreed with his clients, namely, Alfaro Fortunado,
Nestor Fortunado and Editha Fortunado [hereinafter referred to as the Fortunados] to pay all
expenses, including court fees, for a contingent fee of fifty percent (50%) of the value of the
property in litigation.

xxx

4. Inducing complainant, who was his former client, to enter into a contract with him on
August 30, 1971 for the development into a residential subdivision of the land involved in
Civil Case No. Q-15143, covered by TCT No. T-1929, claiming that he acquired fifty percent
(50%) interest thereof as attorney’s fees from the Fortunados, while knowing fully well that
the said property was already sold at a public auction on June 30, 1971, by the Provincial
Sheriff of Lanao del Norte and registered with the Register of Deeds of Iligan City;

xxx

Pertinent to No. 4 above, the contract, in No. 1 above, reads:

We the [Fortunados] agree on the 50% contingent fee, provided, you [respondent
Ramon Gonzales] defray all expenses, for the suit, including court fees.

ISSUE:
Whether or not respondent committed serious misconduct involving a champertous
contract.
HELD:
YES. Respondent was suspended from practice of law for six (6) months.

The Court finds that the agreement between the respondent and the Fortunados is
contrary to Canon 42 of the Canons of Professional Ethics which provides that a lawyer may
not properly agree with a client to pay or bear the expenses of litigation. [See also Rule 16.04,
Code of Professional Responsibility]. Although a lawyer may in good faith, advance the
expenses of litigation, the same should be subject to reimbursement.

The agreement between respondent and the Fortunados, however, does not provide
for reimbursement to respondent of litigation expenses paid by him. An agreement whereby
an attorney agrees to pay expenses of proceedings to enforce the client’s rights is
champertous. Such agreements are against public policy especially where, as in this case, the
attorney has agreed to carry on the action at his own expense in consideration of some
bargain to have part of the thing in dispute. The execution of these contracts violates the
fiduciary relationship between the lawyer and his client, for which the former must incur
administrative sanctions.

29. Mecaral vs. Atty. Velasquez, AC#8392, 6/29/10


FACTS:
Complainant was hired as a secretary by the atty. Velasquez who later became
hiscommon-law wife. Mecaral was later brought to UpperSanAgustininCaibiran,Bilranwhereheleftherwithareligiousgroup
known as theFaith HealersAssociation of the Philippines. Later, Mecaral returned home
anduponknowing,Velasquez brought her back to San Agustin where, on his
instruction,h i s f o l l o w e r s t o r t u r e d , b r a i n w a s h e d a n d i n j e c t e d h e r w i t h d r u g s .
H e r m o t h e r , Delia Tambis Vda. De Mecaral (Delia),having received information
that she wasweak,pale and walking barefoot along the i the mountainousarea of Caibiran
causedt h e r e s c u e o p e r a t i o n o f M e c a r a l . T h u s ,
M e c a r a l f i l e d a d i s b a r m e n t complaintagainstrespondent and charged
the latter with bigamy for contracting asecondmariagetoLenyH.AzuronAugust2,1996,despitethesubsistenceofhismariagetohisfirstwife,Ma.ShirleyG. Yunzal.

ISSUE:
Whether or not respondent is guilty of grossly immoral acts which constitute gross
misconduct,

HELD:
YES. Re s p o n d e n t , A t t y . D a n i l o S . V e l a s q u e z , i s D I S B A R R E D , a n d h i s
name ORDERED STRICKEN from the Roll of Attorneys.

The respondent had violated Canon 1 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. The practice of law
is not a right but a privilegebestowedbythestateuponthosewhoshowthattheypossess,andcontinuetopossess,thequalifications required bylaw for
the conferment of such privilege.

Atty. Velasquez’s acts of converting his secretary into a mistress; contracting two
marriages with Shirley and Leny, are grossly immoral which no civilized society in the world
can countenance. The subsequent detention and torture of the complainant is gross
misconduct which only a beast may be able to do. In fine, by engaging himself in acts which
are grossly immoral and acts which constitute gross misconduct, respondent has ceased to
possess the qualifications of a lawyer

30. Cham vs. Atty. Paita-Moya, AC#7494, 6/27/2008


FACTS:
A Complaint for disbarment filed by Wilson Cham against respondent Atty. Eva Paita-
Moya, who he alleged committed deceit in occupying a leased apartment unit and, thereafter,
vacating the same without paying the rentals due. Respondent entered into a Contract of
lease with Greenville Realty and Development Corp. (GRDC), represented by complainant as
its President and General Manager, involving a residential apartment unit owned by GRDC
located at No. 61-C Kalayaan Avenue, Quezon City, for a consideration of P8,000.00 per
month for a term of one year.

Upon the expiration of said lease contract, respondent informed the complainant that
she would no longer renew the same but requested an extension of her stay until 30June
2000 with a commitment that she would be paying the monthly rental during the extension
period. Complainant approved such request but increased the rental rate toP8,650.00 per
month for the period beginning 01October1999 until 30June2000. While respondent stayed
at the leased premises without paying her rentals from July to October 2000, she also failed to
settle her electric bills for the months of September and October 2000. The statement of
Account as of 15 October 2004 shows that respondent’s total accountability is P71,007.88.

Sometime in October 2000, a report reached complainant’s office that respondent had
secretly vacated the apartment unit, bringing along with her the door keys. Complainant sent
repeated written demands for payment of her obligations but respondent alleged that she
had religiously paid her monthly rentals and had not vacated the apartment unit
surreptitiously. She also averred that she transferred to another place because she was given
notice by the complainant to vacate the premises.

Respondent actually wanted to ask that the complainant may account for her deposit
for the apartment unit, but she could not do so since she did not know complainant’s address
or contact number. For the same reason, she could not turn over to the complainant the door
keys to the vacated apartment unit.

ISSUE:
Whether or not a lawyer’s failure to fulfill an obligation is a ground for suspension.

HELD:
YES. A lawyer-lessee’s act of abandoning a leased apartment unit to avoid her
obligations for the rent and electricity bills constitutes deceitful conduct. The court finds Atty.
Eva Paita-Moya guilty of gross misconduct and is hereby SUSPENDED for one month from the
practice of law, effective upon her receipt of this Decision. She is warned that a repetition of
the same or a similar act will be dealt with more severely.
Lawyers are instruments for the administration of justice. As vanguards of our legal
system, they areexpected to maintain not only legal proficiency but also a high standard of
morality, honesty, integrityand fair dealing. Verily, lawyers must at all times faithfully perform
their duties to society, to the bar, to the courts and to their clients. As part of those duties,
they must promptly pay their financial obligations.

31. Roa vs. Atty. Moreno, AC#8382, 4/21/10


FACTS:
Respondent Atty. Juan R. Moreno sold to complainant Alfredo B. Roa a parcel of land
located along Starlite Street in Cupang, Antipolo. Roa paid Atty. Moreno P70,000 in cash as
full payment for the lot. Atty. Moreno did not issue a deed of sale. Instead, he issued a
temporary receiptand a Certificate of Land Occupancypurportedly issued by the general
overseer of the estate in which the lot was located. Atty. Moreno assured Roa that he could
use the lot from then on. Roa learned later that the Certificate of Land Occupancy could not
be registered in the Register of Deeds. When Roa went to see Atty. Moreno, the latter
admitted that the real owner of the lot was a certain Rubio. He also said that there was a
pending legal controversy over the lot.

Thereafter Roa sent a letterto Atty. Moreno demanding the return of the P70,000 paid
for the lot then filed a criminal case against Moreno. The MTC rendered a decisionconvicting
Atty. Moreno of the crime of other forms of swindling under Article 316, paragraph 1 of the
Revised Penal Code. Atty. Moreno was sentenced to suffer the penalty of imprisonment for
one month and one day and ordered him to return the amount of P70,000 to Roa.

On appeal, the RTC set aside the lower court's ruling. For lack of evidence establishing
respondent's guilt beyond reasonable doubt, the RTC acquitted respondent. Complainant
filed with the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) an Affidavit-Complaintagainst
respondent. The IBP found respondent guilty of violating Rules 1.01 and 7.03 of the Code of
Professional Responsibility and recommended that respondent be suspended from the
practice of law for three months and ordered to immediately deliver the amount of P70,000 to
complainant.

ISSUE:
Whether or not Atty. Moreno should be disciplined and ordered to return the amount
of money paid for the sale.

HELD:
YES. The Court finds Atty. Juan R. Moreno GUILTY of violating Rule 1.01, Canon 1 of the
Code of Professional Responsibility. Accordingly, the Court SUSPENDS him from the practice
of law for a period of two (2) years.

Respondent's refusal to return to complainant the money paid for the lot is
unbecoming as a member of the bar and an officer of the court. By his conduct, respondent
failed to live up to the strict standard of professionalism required by the Code of Professional
Responsibility. Respondent's acts violated the trust and respect complainant reposed in him
as a member of the Bar and an officer of the court.

32. Samaniego vs. Atty. Ferrer, AC#7022, 6/18/2008


(Complaint for immorality, abandonment and willful refusal to give support to an illegitimate
child)

FACTS:
Complainant Marjorie F. Samaniego was a client of respondentAtty. Andrew V. Ferrer
and their lawyer-client relationship became intimate, when Atty. Ferrer courted her and she
fell in love. They lived together as husband and wife from 1996-1997 and their daughter was
born. The affair ended in 2000 and since then he failed to give support to their daughter.
Before the IBP Samaniego testified that she knew that Atty. Ferrer was in a relationship but
did not think he was already married. Atty. Ferrer refused to appear during the hearing since
he did not want to see Samaniego.

Atty. Ferrer manifested his willingness to support their daughter in a position paper. He
also reasoned that he found it unconscionable to abandon his wife and 10 children to cohabit
with Samaniego. IBP Board of Governors imposed upon Atty. Ferrer the penalty of 6 months
suspension for his refusal to support his daughter. Atty. Ferrer filed Motion for
Reconsideration with prayer to reduce the penalty because the gravity of such penalty
imposed and meted out will further cause extreme hardship to his family of 10 children. Upon
finding that Atty. Ferrer lacked the degree of morality required of a member of the bar, his
prayer for reduced penalty was denied.

ISSUE:
Whether or not Atty. Ferrer is guilty of gross immorality and should be suspended.

HELD:
YES. The Court finds respondent Atty. Andrew V. Ferrer GUILTY of gross immorality and,
as recommended by the Integrated Bar of the Philippines and the Office of the Bar Confidant,
SUSPENDED from the practice of law for six (6) months effective upon notice, with WARNING
that the same or similar act in the future will be dealt with more severely

Needless to state, respondent ought always to keep in mind the responsibilities of a


father to all his children. If there be a resultant hardship on them because of this case, let it be
impressed on all concerned that the direct cause thereof was his own misconduct.

33. Ventura vs. Atty. Samson, AC#9608, 11/27/2012


FACTS:
Sometime in December 2001, at around midnight, while Ventura was sleeping in the
maid’s room at respondent’s house when respondent entered and went on top of her.
Respondent kissed her lips, sucked her breast, and succeeded in having sexual intercourse
with her. She felt pain and found blood stain in her panty. Respondent asked her to go with
him to the farm. He brought her to an old shanty where he sexually abused her. Thereafter,
respondent gave her five hundred pesos and warned her not to tell anyone what had
happened or he would kill her and her mother.

In her Supplemental-Complaint, complainant averred that respondent allowed her to


sleep in his house after her mother agreed to let her stay there while she studied at the
Agusan National High School. She further stated that on the night she was sexually abused,
she was awakened when respondent went on top of her. She struggled to free herself and
shouted, but respondent covered her mouth and nobody could hear as nobody was in the
house. Complainant also claimed that respondent forced her to ride a multi-cab. When they
arrived at his poultry farm in Alegria, respondent dragged her to a dilapidated shack. She
resisted his advances but her efforts proved futile.

The complainant and her mother appeared before the public prosecutor and executed
their respective Affidavits of Desistance. Complainant stated that what happened between
respondent and her in March 2002 was based on mutual understanding. Thus, she was
withdrawing the complaint she filed against respondent before the RTC as well as the one she
filed before the IBP Commission on Bar Discipline. Accordingly, the criminal case against
respondent was dismissed.

ISSUE:
Whether or not the penalty of Disbarment is proper.

HELD:
YES. Respondent Atty. Danilo S. Samson is hereby DISBARRED for Gross Immoral
Conduct, Violation of his oath of office, and Violation of Canon 1, Rule 1.01 and Canon 6, Rule
6.0 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. A disbarment case is not an investigation into
the acts of respondent but on his conduct as an officer of the court and his fitness to continue
as a member of the Bar.

The possession of good moral character is both a condition precedent and a


continuing requirement to warrant admission to the bar and to retain membership in the
legal profession. It is the bounden duty of members of the bar to observe the highest degree
of morality in order to safeguard the integrity of the Bar. Consequently, any errant behaviour
on the part of a lawyer may be it in the lawyer’s public or private activities, which tends to
show said lawyer deficient in moral character, honesty, probity or good demeanour, is
sufficient to warrant suspension or disbarment.

From the undisputed facts gathered from the evidence and the admissions of
respondent himself, we find that respondent’s act of engaging in sex with a young lass, the
daughter of his former employee, constitutes gross immoral conduct that warrants sanction.
Respondent not only admitted he had sexual intercourse with complainant but also showed
no remorse whatsoever when he asserted that he did nothing wrong because she allegedly
agreed and he even gave her money. Indeed, his act of having carnal knowledge of a woman
other than his wife manifests his disrespect for the laws on the sanctity of marriage and his
own marital vow of fidelity. Moreover, the fact that he procured the act by enticing a very
young woman with money showed his utmost moral depravity and low regard for the dignity
of the human person and the ethics of his profession. Respondent has violated the trust and
confidence reposed on him by complainant, then a 13-year-old minor, who for a time was
under respondent’s care. Whether the sexual encounter between the respondent and
complainant was or was not with the latter’s consent is of no moment. Respondent clearly
committed a disgraceful, grossly immoral and highly reprehensible act. Such conduct is a
transgression of the standards of morality required of the legal profession and should be
disciplined accordingly.

34. Manois vs. Atty. Deciembre, AC#5364, 8/20/2008


FACTS:
Complainant, Juanita Manaois, a government employee work as a mail sorter in manila
central post office. She applied for a loan thru the assistance of Atty. Victor V. Deciembre in
the amount of 20 thousand pesos from Rodella Loans Inc. As security of the loan, respondent
required her to issue blank check that she would fill out according to their agreed monthly
amortizations.

Notwithstanding upon full payment of the loan respondent did not return the
remaining blank checks. Respondent also made falsification of the amount of the check and
made it appear complainant had exchanged them for cash. The respondent filed several cases
against the complainant pertaining to the blank checks issuance as well as the loan payments.
The IBP Board of Governors investigate the matter.

ISSUE:
Whether or not the act of the respondent a violation of the code of professional
responsibility.

HELD:
Yes, the court finds the respondent guilty of the violation of canon 1, rule 101 of the
code of professional responsibility.

His conduct is a serious dishonesty and and professionla misconduct,rendering him to


be suspended indefinitely in practicing law.

35. Ronquillo vs. Atty. Cezar, AC#6288, 2006


FACTS:
Atty. Homobono t. Cezar entered into a Deed of Assignment for the price of P1.5M in
favor of Marili C. Ronquillo, a Filipino citizen residing in Cannes, France his rights and interests
over a townhouse unit and lot and obligated himself to deliver to complainants a copy of the
Contract to Sell he executed with Crown Asia, the townhouse developer. Respondent received
P750,000.00 upon execution of the Deed of Assignment and was able to encash the first check
of P187,500.00.

Complainants subsequently received information from Crown Asia that respondent has
not paid in full the price of the townhouse and he also failed to deliver a copy of the Contract
to Sell he allegedly executed with Crown Asia. Complainant ordered stop payment on the
second check of P187,500.00.
ISSUE:
Whether or not Atty. Homobono T. Cezar should be disbarred or suspended for deceit
and grossly immoral conduct.

HELD:
YES, he should be SUSPENDED from the practice of law for a period of 3 YEARS.

· Under Section 27, Rule 138 of the Revised Rules of Court, a member of the Bar may be
disbarred or suspended on any of the following grounds: (1) deceit; (2) malpractice or other
gross misconduct in office; (3) grossly immoral conduct; (4) conviction of a crime involving
moral turpitude; (5) violation of the lawyer’s oath; (6) willful disobedience of any lawful order
of a superior court; and (7) willfully appearing as an attorney for a party without authority.

He did not inform the complainants that he has not yet paid in full the price of the
subject townhouse unit and lot, and, therefore, he had no right to sell, transfer or assign said
property at the time of the execution of the Deed of Assignment. Respondent’s adamant
refusal to return to complainant Marili Ronquillo the money she paid him, which was the fruit
of her labor as an Overseas Filipino Worker for 10 years, is morally reprehensible.

Respondent failed to live up to the strict standard of morality required by the Code of
Professional Responsibility and violated the trust and respect reposed in him as a member of
the Bar, and an officer of the court. Lawyers must conduct themselves beyond reproach at all
times, whether they are dealing with their clients or the public at large, and a violation of the
high moral standards of the legal profession whether or not the attorney is still fit to be
allowed to continue as a member of the Bar; cannot rule on the issue of the amount of money
that should be returned.

36. Lee vs. Abastillas, 234 SCRA 28


FACTS:
Judge Renato E. Abastillas was the presiding judge of the Criminal Cases Nos. 10010
and 10011, where Johnson Lee and Bonny Moreno are defendants. Judge Abastillas solicited
the amount of PhP50, 000.00 from Atty. Chua to secure a favorable decision on the said
criminal cases, which he communicated to his clients (Lee and Moreno). Johnson Lee then
financed the PhP20, 000.00 as a down payment and was delivered by Atty, Chua to Judge
Abastillas. Lee had 3 meetings with Judge Abastillas to discuss the merits of the case and the
payment of $5, 000.00. Lee even recorded the telephone conversation he had with the
respondent judge.

After some waiting and obviously realizing that Judge Abastillas was giving the accuse
d a runaround, not having done anything relative to the criminal proceedings to indicate that
he would perform his part of the bargain, Johnson Lee appeared before the Judicial and Bar
Council (JBC) to oppose Judge Abastillas’ application for transfer to Manila as RTC Judge on
the ground of his lack of good moral character. A complaint was then filed charging Judge
Renato E. Abastillas with a violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and gross
misconduct for soliciting a bribe in two Criminal Cases pending in his sala .
On the other hand, Atty. Chua was charged administratively for allowing himself to be
used as a conduit for illegal and immoral act.

ISSUE(s):
Whether or not Judge Abastillas has violated the Code of Judicial Conduct and whether
or not Atty. Chua has violated the Code of Professional Responsibility.

HELD:
YES. The Code of Judicial Conduct requires that a judge should be the embodiment of
competence, integrity and independence (Rule 1.01). He should administer justice impartially
and without delay (Rule 1.02). He should so behave at all times as to promote public
confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary (Rule 2.01).

It is peculiarly essential that the system for establishing and dispensing justice be
developed to a high degree of proficiency, to gain the absolute confidence of the public in
the integrity and impartiality of its administration, because appearance is as important as
reality, so much so that a judge, like Cesar’s wife, must not only be pure but beyond
suspicion. The actuations of Judge Abastillas transgressed against the high standard of moral
ethics required of judges.

On the other hand, YES, Atty. Chua is guilty of violating Rule 1.01, canon 1, of the Code
of Professional Responsibility in view of his admission that he allegedly delivered PhP20,
000.00 as bribe money to Judge Abastillas, thereby allowing himself to be used as a conduit
for an illegal and immoral act. Rule 1.01 provides that "A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful,
dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct.

37. Vitug vs. Atty. Rongcal, AC#6313, 9/7/2006


FACTS:
Catherine Joie P. Vitug sought the service of respondent Atty. Diosdado M. Rongcal
who was introduced to her by her former classmate. Complainant asked Atty. Rongcal to
represent her in the support case she was going to file against her former lover, Arnulfo
Aquino. Soon after, herein complainant and respondent started having sexual relationship
with each other. According to Vitug, respondent also gave her sweet inducements such as the
promise of a job, financial security for her daughter, and his services as counsel for the
prospective claim for support against Aquino.

Respondent allegedly convinced complainant to sign an Affidavit of Disclaimer which


the latter signed without reading the said affidavit and 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, later respondent informed complainant
that he could not give her the said amount because he used it for his political campaign as he
was then running for the position of Provincial Board Member of the 2nd District of
Pampanga.
Complainant argues that respondent's acts constitute a violation of his oath as a
lawyer. She filed an administrative case against Rongcal which was referred to the Integrated
Bar of the Philippines. It was then recommended that respondent be suspended from the
practice of law for six (6) months and that he be ordered to return to complainant the amount
of P58,000.00 within two months. The same was approved by the IBP Board of Governors.
Respondent then filed a Motion for Reconsideration with Motion to Set Case for Clarificatory
Questioning with the IBP and a Motion to Reopen/Remand Case for Clarificatory Questioning
with the Supreme Court.

ISSUES:
Whether or not Atty. Rongcal’s immorality will warrant suspension or disbarment from
practice of law and whether or not respondent’s act of preparing and notarizing the Affidavit,
a document disadvantageous to his client, is a violation of the Code.

HELD:
NO. 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. On sexual relation and on respondent’s subsequent marriage,
by his own admission, respondent is obviously guilty of immorality in violation of Rule 1.01 of
the Code which states that a lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or
deceitful conduct. The Court find credence in respondent's assertion that it was impossible for
her not to have known of his subsisting marriage, complainant’s allegations of deceit were
not established by clear preponderant evidence required in disbarment cases. Hence, the
court finds Atty. Diosdado M. Rongcal GUILTY of immorality and impose on him a FINE
of P15,000.00 with a stern warning that a repetition of the same or similar acts in the future
will be dealt with more severely.

NO. It was not unlawful for respondent to assist his client in entering into a settlement
with Aquino after explaining all available options to her. The law encourages the amicable
settlement not only of pending cases but also of disputes which might otherwise be filed
in court. Rule 1.04, Canon 1 of the Code of Professional Responsibility states that: A lawyer
shall encourage his clients to avoid, end or settle a controversy if it will admit of a fair
settlement. Suspicion, no matter how strong, is not enough in the absence of contrary
evidence, what will prevail is the presumption that the respondent has regularly performed his
duty in accordance with his oath.

38. Abella vs. Barrios, AC#7332, 6/18/2013


FACTS:
Complainant obtained a favourable judgment from the Court of Appeals involving a
Labor Case. Complainant then filed a Motion for Issuance of a Writ of Execution before the
Regional Arbitration Branch which the respondent was the Labor Arbiter. After the lapse of
five (5) months, complainant’s motion remained unacted, prompting him to file a Second
Motion for Execution. However, still, there was no action until the complainant agreed to give
respondent a portion of the monetary award thereof after the latter asked from the former
how much would be his share.

Thereafter, respondent issued a writ of execution but the employer of the complainant
moved to quash the said writ. Eventually, issued a new writ of execution wherein
complainant’s monetary awards were reduced to the effect that it modifies the DECISION of
the CA.

Complainant now filed the instant disbarment complaint before the Integrated Bar of
the Philippines (IBP), averring that respondent violated the Code of Professional
Responsibility for (a) soliciting money from complainant in exchange for a favorable
resolution; and (b) issuing a wrong decision to give benefit and advantage to PT&T,
complainant’s employer.

ISSUE:
Whether or not respondent is guilty of gross immorality for his violation of Rules 1.01
and 1.03, Canon 1, and Rule 6.02, Canon 6 of the Code.

HELD:
YES. The above-cited rules, which are contained under Chapter 1 of the Code, delineate
the lawyer’s responsibility to society: Rule 1.01 engraves the overriding prohibition against
lawyers from engaging in any unlawful, dishonest, immoral and deceitful conduct; Rule 1.03
proscribes lawyers from encouraging any suit or proceeding or delaying any man’s cause for
any corrupt motive or interest; meanwhile, Rule 6.02 is particularly directed to lawyers in
government service, enjoining them from using one’s public position to: (1) promote private
interests; (2) advance private interests; or (3) allow private interests to interfere with public
duties. It is well to note that a lawyer who holds a government office may be disciplined as a
member of the Bar only when his misconduct also constitutes a violation of his oath as a
lawyer.

The infractions of the respondent constitute gross misconduct. Jurisprudence illumines


that immoral conduct involves acts that are wilful, flagrant, or shameless, and that show a
moral indifference to the opinion of the upright and respectable members of the community.
It treads the line of grossness when it is so corrupt as to constitute a criminal act, or so
unprincipled as to be reprehensible to a high degree, or when committed under such
scandalous or revolting circumstances as to shock the community’s sense of decency. On the
other hand, gross misconduct constitutes "improper or wrong conduct, the transgression of
some established and definite rule of action, a forbidden act, a dereliction of duty, wilful in
character, and implies a wrongful intent and not mere error of judgment."

In this relation, Section 27, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court states that when a lawyer is
found guilty of gross immoral conduct or gross misconduct, he may be suspended or
disbarred. However, the Court takes judicial notice of the fact that he had already been
disbarred in a previous administrative case, entitled Sps. Rafols, Jr. v. Ricardo G. Barrios, Jr.,
which therefore precludes the Court from duplicitously decreeing the same. In view of the
foregoing, the Court deems it proper to, instead, impose a fine in the amount of P40,000.00 in
order to penalize respondent’s transgressions as discussed herein and to equally deter the
commission of the same or similar acts in the future.

39. Ramos vs. Atty. Ngaseo, AC#6210, 12/9/2004


FACTS:
Ramos went to Atty. Ngaseo to engage his services as counsel in a case involving a
piece of land. After the Court of Appeals rendered a favorable judgment ordering the land to
be returned to Ramos and his siblings (such decision having been final and executor), Atty.
Ngaseo sent a demand letter to Ramos asking for the delivery of a piece of land which the
complainant allegedly promised as payment for respondent's appearance fee. As a result,
Ramos filed before the IBP a complaint charging Atty. Ngaseo of violation of the CPR for
demanding the delivery of a parcel of land, which was the subject of litigation.

The IBP found Atty. Ngaseo guilty. Atty. Ngaseo argues that he did not violate Article
1491 CC because when he demanded the delivery of the piece of land, the case has been
terminated, when the appellate court ordered the return of the land to the family of Ramos.

ISSUE:
Whether or not Atty. Ngaseo violated Art. 1491 of the Civil Code.

HELD:
NO. Under Par. (5), Art. 1491 of the Civil Code, lawyers are prohibited from acquiring
either by purchase or assignment the property or rights involved which are the object of
litigation in which they intervene by virtue of their public/judicial sales.

The article provides: Article 1491. The following persons cannot acquire by purchase,
even at a public or judicial action, either in person or through the mediation of another: xxx
xxx xxx (5) Justices, judges, prosecuting attorneys, clerks of superior and inferior courts, and
other officers and employees connected with the administration of justice, the property and
rights in litigation or levied upon an execution before the court within whose jurisdiction or
territory they exercise their respective functions; this prohibition includes the act of acquiring
by assignment and shall apply to lawyers, with respect to the property and rights which may
be the object of any litigation in which they may take part by virtue of their profession.

The prohibition in the aforesaid Article applies only to the sale or assignment of the
property which is the subject of litigation to the persons disqualified therein. The court have
already ruled that "... for the prohibition to operate, the sale or assignment of the property
must take place during the pendency of the litigation involving the property." Since such
prohibition applies only if the sale or assignment of the property takes place during the
pendency of the litigation involving the client's property. Consequently, where the property is
acquired after the termination of the case, as in the instant case, no violation of paragraph 5,
article 1491 of Civil Code attaches.

In the instant case, there was no actual acquisition of the property in litigation since the
respondent only made a written demand for its delivery, which the complainant refused to
comply. Mere demand for delivery of the litigated property does not cause the transfer of
ownership, hence, not a prohibited transaction within the contemplation of Article 1491.

40. Bel-Air Transit Service Corp. vs. Atty. Mendoza, AC#6107, 1/31/2005
FACTS:
Respondent Atty. Esteban Y. Mendoza rented twice a car from complainant Bel-Air
Transit Service Corporation (Dollar Rent-A-Car), a Toyota Camry under the terms of the Rental
Agreement which the respondent personally signed. The statements of account were,
thereafter, sent to the respondent at his office and business address at Martinez & Mendoza
Law Office, Mandaluyong City. Despite repeated demands for payment, the respondent
refused to pay his account, which constrained the complainant to send a formal and final
demand for payment through counsel. This formal demand was, likewise, ignored by the
respondent, further compelling the complainant to resort to filing a complaint for recovery of
money before the MTC.

The respondent alleged that his refusal to pay for the services of the complainant is
because the driver assigned to him during the trips, did not exercise extraordinary diligence
as he almost twice figured in accidents. The respondent then demanded a meeting with the
complainant's president in order to resolve the matter, but despite repeated requests, the
latter refused to meet with him.

The case was referred to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) for investigation.
During the hearing, the counsel for the complainant manifested that although the respondent
had already paid his account, such payment was made only after the court had already
decided the case against the respondent. Complainant alleged that nonpayment of car rental
services constitutes deceit and grossly immoral and unethical conduct, which violates the
Canons of Professional Ethics and Articles 19-21 of the Civil Code, can be a sufficient ground
for the respondent's disbarment.

ISSUE:
Whether or not Atty. Mendoza's grossly immoral and unethical conduct will warrant a
disbarment.

HELD:
No. The court held that there was no evidence to show that Atty. Esteban Y. Mendoza
had acted with deceit in not paying for the questioned obligation.

It is settled that a lawyer may be disbarred or suspended for any misconduct, whether
in his professional or private capacity, which shows him to be wanting in moral character, in
honesty, probity and good demeanour or unworthy to continue as an officer of the court.
Their conduct must always reflect the values and norms of the legal profession as embodied
in the Code of Professional Responsibility.

In this case, the respondent refused to pay for the services of the complainant,
constraining the latter to file charges in order to collect what was due to it under the
contracts, in which the respondent himself was the signatory. Moreover, the respondent's
claim that he almost twice figured in accidents due to the negligent drivers employed by the
complainant and that he intended to question the company's billings which he also posited
was a valid excuse for non-payment, appears to have been concocted as a mere afterthought.

Therefore, respondent is admonished for his actuations to be more circumspect in his


financial obligations and his dealings with the public. He is STERNLY WARNED that similar
conduct in the future shall be dealt with more severely

41. De Guzman vs. Atty. De Dios, AC#4843, 1/26/2001


FACTS:
In 1995, complainant Diana De Guzman engaged the services of respondent Atty.
Lourdes I. De Dios as counsel in order to form a corporation. Later, in 1996, with the
assistance of the latter, Suzuki Beach Hotel, Inc. (SBHI) was registered with the Securities and
Exchange Commission. Complainant paid on respondent a monthly retainer fee of P5,000.00.

In, 1997, the corporation required complainant to pay her unpaid subscribed shares of
stock amounting to P2,235,000.00 or 22,350 shares on or before December 30, 1997. Then in
1998, De Guzman received notice of the public auction sale of her delinquent shares and a
copy of a board resolution authorizing such sale. Complainant soon learned that her shares
had been acquired by Ramon del Rosario, one of the incorporators of SBHI. The sale ousted
complainant from the corporation completely. While respondent rose to be president of the
corporation.

Complainant alleged that she relied on the advice of Atty. De Dios and believed that
would help her with the management of the corporation. She pointed out that respondent
appeared as her counsel and signed pleadings in a case where complainant was one of the
parties. Respondent, however, explained that she only appeared because the property
involved belonged to SBHI, that the complainant misunderstood her role legal counsel of
Suzuki Beach Hotel, Inc.

ISSUE:
W/N there is attorney-client relationship between the parties and W/N there is
violation of lawyer’s oath

HELD:
Yes. Attorney-client relationship existed between the parties. It was the complainant
who retained respondent to form a corporation. She appeared as counsel in behalf of
complainant.

Yes, there is violation of lawyer’s oath. Lawyers must conduct themselves, especially in
their dealings with their clients and the public at large, with honesty and integrity in a manner
beyond reproach. As a lawyer, he is bound by her oath to do no falsehood or consent to its
commission and to conduct herself as a lawyer according to the best of her knowledge and
discretion. The lawyer’s oath is a source of obligations and violation thereof is a ground for
suspension, disbarment, or other disciplinary action.
In this case, there was evidence of collusion between the board of directors and
respondent wherein the complainant was ousted completely from the corporation while the
respondent became the President. It is clear that the acts of respondent Atty. De Dios are in
violation of her solemn oath as a lawyer by representing conflicting interests and engaging in
unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct. Thus, Supreme Court SUSPENDS her from
the practice of law for six (6) months, with warning that a repetition of the charges will be
dealt with more severely.

42. Tan Tiong Bio vs. Atty. Gonzales, AC#6634, 8/23/2007


FACTS:
A complaint for for disbarment was filed by Tan Tiong Bio against Atty. Renato L.
Gonzales for allegedly notarizing a conveying deed outside the territory covered by his
notarial commission and without requiring the personal presence before him of the
signatories to the deed before notarizing the same, in violation of the Notarial Law and the
lawyers oath.

As records reveal, complainant purchased several parcels of land at the Manila


Southwoods Residential Estates owned/operated by Fil-Estate Golf and Development, Inc.
(FEGDI) and Fil-Estate Properties, Inc. (FEPI). In one of the transactions adverted to,
complainant, as vendee, was made to sign and execute Deed of Sale covering a lot described
and covered by the vendor’s Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT). Following payment of the
contract price in full, including miscellaneous expenses, it was delivered to him with the
corresponding completed deed of sale. Respondent Renato L. Gonzales, employed as
corporate counsel for FEPI and appointed/reappointed from 1996 to 2001 as notary public for
Quezon City, was the notarizing officer of Deed on which the name and signature of Alice
Odchigue- Bondoc (Bondoc) appear as the vendor’s authorized representative.

At the preliminary conference before the IBP Commission on Bar Discipline


(Commission), complainant and respondent entered into the following stipulation of facts, to
wit: The Deed of Absolute Sale No. 1108 was duly executed by Mr. Henry Tan and Atty. Alice
Odchigue-Bondoc as authorized signatory of the seller; that the subject document was
notarized by respondent as document no. 367, page no. 74, book no. 8, series of 2001 of his
Notarial Register; that respondent admits that his Notarial appointment covers Quezon City
and that the subject document was notarized in Pasig City, specifically, at the Renaissance
Tower; and that the parties admit that Atty. Alice Odchigue-Bondoc and Henry Tan were not
present at the same time when the subject document was notarized.

After due hearings, Investigating his REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION, which, as


approved by the IBP Director for Bar Discipline, was forwarded to the Court. In the report, the
Commission recommended that respondent be adjudged liable and penalized for violating
the rule proscribing one from acting as a notary outside the area covered by his commission,
but recommended the dismissal of the complaint insofar as it charges the respondent for
notarizing a document without the personal appearance before him of the party-signatories
thereto.

ISSUE:
Whether or not the respondent breached the injunction against notarizing a document
in a place outside his commission.

HELD:
Yes. For all legal intents and purposes, respondent, by performing through the years
notarial acts in Pasig City where he is not so authorized, has indulged in deliberate falsehood.
By such malpractice as a notary public, respondent likewise violated Canon 7 of the Code of
Professional Responsibility, which directs every lawyer to uphold at all times the integrity and
dignity of the legal profession.

WHEREFORE, respondent Atty. Renato L. Gonzales is PERMANENTLY BARRED from


being commissioned as Notary Public. He is furthermore SUSPENDED from the practice of
law for a period of two (2) years, effective upon receipt of a copy of this Decision.

43. Dela Cruz vs. Atty. Dimaano, AC#7781, 9/12/2008


FACTS:
In their complaint for disbarment against respondent Atty. Atty. Jose R. Dimaano, Jr.,
complainants alleged that on July 16, 2004, respondent notarized a document denominated
as Extrajudicial Settlement of the Estate with Waiver of Rights purportedly executed by them
and their sister, Zenaida V.L. Navarro. According to complainants, respondent had made
untruthful statements in the acknowledgment portion of the notarized document when he
made it appear, among other things, that complainants "personally came and appeared
before him" and that they affixed their signatures on the document in his presence. In the
process, complainants added, respondent effectively enabled their sister, Navarro, to assume
full ownership of their deceased parents' property in and sell the same to the Department of
Public Works and Highways.

The respondent however argued that "he notarized the document in good faith relying
on the representation and assurance of Zenaida Navarro that the signatures and the
community tax certificates appearing in the document were true and correct." Navarro would
not, according to respondent, lie to him having known, and being neighbors of, each other for
30 years.

ISSUE:
Whether or not respondent should be penalized for committing violations of his duties
as a notary public.

FACTS:
Yes, lawyers commissioned as notaries public are mandated to discharge with fidelity
the duties of their offices, such duties being dictated by public policy and impressed with
public interest. It must be remembered that notarization is not a routinary, meaningless act,
for notarization converts a private document to a public instrument, making it admissible in
evidence without the necessity of preliminary proof of its authenticity and due execution. A
notarized document is by law entitled to full credit upon its face and it is for this reason that
notaries public must observe the basic requirements in notarizing documents. Otherwise, the
confidence of the public on notarized documents will be eroded.
Hence, the court ruled that, for breach of the Notarial Law, the notarial commission of
respondent Atty. Jose R. Dimaano, Jr., if still existing, is REVOKED. He is DISQUALIFIED from
being commissioned as notary public for a period of two (2) years and SUSPENDED from the
practice of law for a period of one (1) year, effective upon receipt of a copy of this Decision,
with WARNING that a repetition of the same negligent act shall be dealt with more severely.

44. Atty. Linco vs. Atty. Lacebal, AC#7241, 10/17/2011


FACTS:

Complainant claimed that she is the widow of the late Atty. Alberto Linco (Atty. Linco),
the registered owner of a parcel of land with improvements, consisting of 126 square meters,
located at No. 8, Macopa St., Phase I-A, B, C & D, Valley View Executive Village, Cainta, Rizal
and covered by Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No. 259001.

Complainant alleged that Atty. Jimmy D. Lacebal (respondent), a notary public for
Mandaluyong City, notarized a deed of donation allegedly executed by her husband in favor
of Alexander David T. Linco, a minor. The notarial acknowledgment thereof also stated that
Atty. Linco and Lina P. Toledo (Toledo), mother of the donee, allegedly personally appeared
before respondent on July 30, 2003, despite the fact that complainant’s husband died on July
29, 2003.

Consequently, by virtue of the purported deed of donation, the Register of Deeds of


Antipolo City cancelled TCT No. 259001 on March 28, 2005 and issued a new TCT No.
29251 in the name of Alexander David T. Linco.

Aggrieved, complainant filed the instant complaint. She claimed that respondent's
reprehensible act in connivance with Toledo was not only violative of her and her children's
rights but also in violation of the law. Respondent's lack of honesty and candor is
unbecoming of a member of the Philippine Bar.

ISSUE:
Whether or not respondent violate the Notarial Law and the Code of Professional
Responsibility.

HELD:
YES. There is no question as to respondent's guilt. The records sufficiently established
that Atty. Linco was already dead when respondent notarized the deed of donation on July 30,
2003. Respondent likewise admitted that he knew that Atty. Linco died a day before he
notarized the deed of donation. The sufficient lapse of time from the time he last saw Atty.
Linco should have put him on guard and deterred him from proceeding with the notarization
of the deed of donation.

WHEREFORE, for breach of the Notarial Law and Code of Professional Responsibility,
the notarial commission of respondent ATTY. JIMMY D. LACEBAL, is REVOKED. He
is DISQUALIFIED from reappointment as Notary Public for a period of two years. He is
also SUSPENDED from the practice of law for a period of one year, effective immediately. He
is further WARNED that a repetition of the same or similar acts shall be dealt with more
severely. He is DIRECTED to report the date of receipt of this Decision in order to determine
when his suspension shall take effect.

45. Nevada vs. Atty. Casuga, AC#7591, 3/20/2012


FACTS:
In 2007, Corazon Nevada, filed a disbarment case against Atty. Rodolfo Casuga.
Nevada alleged the following: 1. That Atty. Casuga acquired several pieces of jewelry from
her; the jewelries include diamond earrings and diamond amounting P300,000.00. and a Rolex
gold watch worth $12,000.00; that Casuga assured her that he will sell them; but de repeated
demands, Casuga never remitted any money nor did he return said jewelries. 2. That in 2006,
Casuga, taking advantage of his close relationship with Nevada (they belong to the same
religious sect), Ca represented himself as the hotel administrator of the hotel (Mt. Crest) that
Nevada own; that as such, Casuga was able to into a contract of lease with one Jung Chul;
that he negotiated an office space with Chul in said Hotel for P90,000.00 Casuga notarized
said agreement; that he forged the signature of Edwin Nevada (husband); that he never
remitted the P9 Nevada. In his defense, Casuga said: 1. That Nevada actually pawned said
jewelries in a pawnshop; that she later advised Casuga’s wife to redeem said jew using Mrs.
Casuga’s wife; that Casuga can sell said jewelries and reimburse herself from the proceeds;
that he sti possession of said jewelries. 2. That he never received the P90,000.00; that it was
received by a certain Pastor Oh; that he was authorized as an age Edwin Nevada to enter into
said contract of lease.

ISSUE:
Whether or not there is merit in Atty. Casuga’s defense.

HELD:
No. Atty. Casuga is in violation of the following:

1. Gross Misconduct: Casuga misrepresented himself as a duly authorized representative of


Nevada when in fact he was no never adduced evidence showing that he was duly authorized
either by Edwin or Corazon. He also dialed to adduce evid proving that he never received the
P90k from Chul. On the contrary, a notarized letter showed that Casuga did receive the m His
misrepresentations constitute gross misconduct and his mere denial does not overcome the
evidence presented against him.

2. Violated Canon 16 of the Code of Professional Responsibility: It is his duty as a lawyer to


account for all moneys property of his client that may come to his possession. This is still
applicable even though said property/money did not come possession by virtue of a lawyer-
client relationship. He failed to adduce evidence to prove his claim that Nevada pawned
jewelries. He never presented receipts. Further, even assuming that Nevada did pawn said
items, Casuga was still duty bou return said jewelries upon demand by Nevada.

3. Violation of Notarial Rules: He signed a document (contract of lease) in behalf of another


person without authorization forgery made him an actual party to the contract. In effect he
was notarizing a document in which he is party in violation o notarial rules (Secs. 1 and 3, Rule
IV).

4. Malpractice of Law: As a summation of all the above violations, Casuga is guilty of


Malpractice and Misconduct. Such punishable under Sec. 27, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court.
However, the Supreme Court deemed that disbarment is too sev punishment against Casuga.
He was suspended for 4 years from the practice of law. His notarial commission was likewise
rev and he is disqualified to be a notary public while serving his suspension. The Supreme
Court emphasized: the pena disbarment shall be meted out only when the lawyer’s
misconduct borders on the criminal and/or is committed under scand circumstance.

46. Jandoquile vs. Atty. Revilla, AC#9514, 4/10/2013


FACTS:
The facts of the case are not disputed. Atty Revilla Jr notarized a complaint-affidavit
signed by Heneraline Brosas, Herizalyn Brosas Pedrosa and Elmer Alvarado. Heneraline Brosas
is a sister of Heizel Wynda Brosas Revilla, Atty. Revilla Jr’s wife. Jandoquile complains that Atty
Revilla Jr is disqualified to perform the notarial act per Section 3 (c), Rule IV of the 2004 Rules
on Notarial Practice. Complainant also averred that respondent did not require the three
affiants in the complaint-affidavit to show their valid identification cards. Atty Revilla did not
deny but admitted complainant’s material allegations.

ISSUE:
Whether or not the single act of notarizing the complaint-affidavit of relatives within
the fourth civil degree of affinity and, at the same time, not requiring them to present valid
identification cards is a ground for disbarment.

HELD:
No. The court ruled, that respondent’s violation is not sufficient ground for disbarment.

Indeed, Atty Revilla, Jr. violated the disqualification rule under Section 3 ©, Rule IV of
the 2004 Rules on Notarial Practice. Given the clear provision of the disqualification rule, it
behoved upon Atty. Revilla, Jr. to act with prudence and refuse notarizing the document. On
the second charge, Atty Revilla, Jr. cannot be held liable. If the notary public knows the
affiants personally, he need not require them to show their valid identification cards. This rule
is supported by the definition of a “jurat” under Sec 6, Rule II of the 2004 Rules on Notarial
Practice. A “Jurat” refers to an act in which an individual on a single occasion: (a) appears in
person before the notary public and presents an instruments or documents; (b) is personally
known to the notary public or identified by the notary public through competent evidence of
identity; (c) signs the instrument or document in the presence of the notary; (d) takes an oath
or affirmation before the notary public as to such instrument or document.

In this case, Heneraline Brosas is a sister-in-law of Atty Revilla, Jr’s wife; Herizalyn
Brosas Pedrosa is his wife’s sister-in-law; and Elmer Alvarado is the live-in house boy of the
Brosas family. Respondent knows the three affiants personally, thus he was justified in no
longer requiring them to show valid identification cards. But respondent is not without fault
for failing to indicate such fact in the “jurat” of the complaint-affidavit. While he has a valid
defense as to the second charge, it does not exempt him from liability for violating the
disqualification rule.

WHEREFORE, respondent Atty. Quirino P. Revilla, Jr.,


is REPRIMANDED and DISQUALIFIED from being commissioned as a notary public, or from
performing any notarial act if he is presently commissioned as a notary public, for a period of
three (3) months. Atty. Revilla, Jr. is further DIRECTED to INFORM the Court, through an
affidavit, once the period of his disqualification has lapsed.

47. Espinosa vs. Atty. Omana, AC#9081, 10/12/2011


FACTS:
On 17 November 1997, Rodolfo Espinosa and his wife Elena Marantal sought Omana’s
legal advice on whether they could dissolve their marriage and live separately. Omana
prepared a document entitled “Kasunduan Ng Paghihiwalay.” Espinosa and Marantal started
implanting the conditions of the said contract. However, Marantal took custody of all their
children and took possession of most of the conjugal property.

Espinosa sought the advice of Glindo, his fellow employee who is a law graduate, who
informed him that the contract executed by Omana was not valid. They hired the services of a
lawyer to file a complaint against Omana before the IBP-CBD. Omana denied that she
prepared the contract. She admitted that Espinosa went to see her and requested for the
notarization of the contract but she told him that it was illegal. Omana alleged that Espinosa
returned the next day while she was out of the office and managed to persuade her part-time
office staff to notarize the document. Her office staff forged her signature and notarized the
contract.

ISSUE:
Whether or not Omaña violated the CPR in notartizing the “Kasunduan Ng
Paghihiwalay.” W/N the Kasunduaan ng Paghihiwalay is valid.

HELD:
No. SC has ruled that the extrajudicial dissolution of the conjugal partnership without
judicial approval is void. The Court has also ruled that a notary public should not facilitate the
disintegration of a marriage and the family by encouraging the separation of the spouses and
extrajudicially dissolving the conjugal partnership, which is exactly what Omaña did in this
case.

WHEREFORE, we SUSPEND Atty. Julieta A. Omaña from the practice of law for ONE
YEAR. We REVOKE Atty. Omaña's notarial commission, if still existing, and SUSPENDher as a
notary public for TWO YEARS.

48. Uy vs. Atty. Sano, AC#6505, 9/11/2008


49. Brennisen vs. Atty. Contawi, AC#7481, 4/24/2012
50. Williams vs. Atty. Icao, AC#6882, 12/24/2008
51. Pena vs. Atty. Paterno, AC#4191, 6/10/2013
52. Gokioco vs. Atty. Mateo, AC#4179, 11/11/2004
FACTS:
Alice Gokioco filed an Affidavit-Complaint with this Court alleging that: during the pre-
trial conference of civil case, they discovered that the complaint in said case was subscribed
and sworn to by See Chua-Gokioco before herein respondent on November 10, 1992; See
Chua-Gokioco however, died on October 7, 1992 as evidenced by the death certificate issued
by the local civil registrar; respondent, a long time counsel for the family, notarized and filed
the said complaint, fully aware of the death of See Chua-Gokioco.

Respondent, Atty. Rafael P. Mateo admitted that although See Chua-Gokioco signed
and subscribed the civil complaint at an earlier date, he only entered the fact of the signing
and subscribing of the said complaint much later, that is, on the date of the filing of the said
civil complaint. He purposely delayed the filing of the civil complaint against the herein
complainant and her family because he wanted to make sure that the parties had the
opportunity to amicably settle the issues raised in the civil complaint. Moreover, respondent
averred that his office has no telephone and is about 70 kilometers from the residence of the
Gokioco family in Caloocan; he notarized and filed the complaint on November 10, 1992
without any personal knowledge of the fact of death of Mrs. Gokioco.

ISSUE:
Whether or not the act warrants respondent's disbarment and/or suspension from the
practice of law.

HELD:

No. It is clear that respondent is guilty of misconduct for which he must be suspended.

The notary public shall enter in such register, in chronological order, the nature of each
instrument executed, sworn to, or acknowledging the instrument. It cannot be stressed
enough that notaries public should be truthful in carrying out their functions. They must
observe with the highest degree of care the basic requirements in the performance of their
duties in order to preserve the confidence of the public in the integrity of the notarial system.
Courts, agencies and the public at large must be able to rely upon the acknowledgment
executed by notaries public appended to instruments.

WHEREFORE, Atty. Rafael P. Mateo is SUSPENDED from practice of law for six (6)
months; his incumbent notarial commission, if any, is REVOKED; and he is prohibited anew
from being commissioned as a notary public for two (2) years, effective immediately, with
astern warning that repetition of the same or similar conduct in the future will be dealt with
more severely.

53. Ulep vs. The Legal Clinic, 223 SCRA 378


FACTS:
In 1984, The Legal Clinic was formed by Atty. Rogelio Nogales. Its aim, according to
Nogales, was to move toward specialization and to cater to clients who cannot afford the
services of big law firms. Atty. Ulep files a complaint against The Legal Clinic because of its
advertisements which states undignified phrases like- “Secret Marriage? P560.00 for a valid
marriage. Information on DIVORCE, ANNULMENT, ABSENCE, VISA. The Legal Clinic, Inc. Please
call: 5210767, 5217232, 5222041 8:30am to 6:00pm 7 th Floor Victoria Bldg. UN Avenue,
Manila.”

It is also alleged that The Legal Clinic published an article entitled Rx for Legal
Problems in The Philippine Star because it is composed of specialists that can take care of a
client’s situation no matter how complicated it is, especially on marriage problems like the
Sharon and Gabby situation. Citing John Bates vs. The State Bar of Arizona, Atty. Nogales said
that it should be allowed based on this American Jurisprudence. According to him, there is
nothing wrong with making known the legal services his Legal Clinic has to offer.

ISSUE:
Whether or not such advertisement may be allowed.

HELD:
No. The Legal Clinic is engaged in the practice of law and such practice is not allowed.

The Legal Clinic is composed mainly of paralegals, which is undoubtedly beyond the
domain of the paralegals. As stated in a previous jurisprudence, practice of law is only
reserved for the members of the Philippine bar, and not to paralegals. As with the Legal
Clinic’s advertisements, Canon 3, Code of Professional Responsibility provides that “a lawyer
in making known his legal services must use only honest, fair, dignified and objective
information or statement of facts. A lawyer cannot advertise his talents in a manner that a
merchant advertise his goods.

Rule 3.01, Code of Professional Responsibility provides that "A lawyer shall not use or
permit the use of any false, fraudulent, misleading, deceptive, undignified, self-laudatory or
unfair statement or claim regarding his qualifications for legal services.” The Legal Clinic
promotes divorce, secret marriages, bigamous marriages which are undoubtedly contrary to
law. The only allowed form of advertisements would be: (1.) Citing your involvement in a
reputable law list, (2.) An ordinary professional card (3.) Phone directory listing without
designation to a lawyer’s specialization.

ACCORDINGLY, the Court Resolved to RESTRAIN and ENJOIN herein respondent, The
Legal Clinic, Inc., from issuing or causing the publication or dissemination of any
advertisement in any form which is of the same or similar tenor and purpose as Annexes "A"
and "B" of this petition, and from conducting, directly or indirectly, any activity, operation or
transaction proscribed by law or the Code of Professional Ethics as indicated herein.

54. Atty. Khan vs. Atty. Simbillo, AC#5299, 8/19/2003


FACTS:
The administrative complaint arose from the paid advertisement that appeared in the
July 5, 2000 issue of Philippine Daily Inquirer which read: Annulment of Marriage Specialist
532-4333/521-2667. Ms. Ma. Theresa Espeleta, a staff member of the Public Information Office
of the Supreme Court, took notice of the advertisement and inquired by pretending as an
interested party. After such inquiry, confirming that Atty. Rizalino Simbillo is actually
promoting himself as an expert in handling annulment cases and is guaranteeing a court
decree within four to six months with a fee of P48,000 to be paid in instalment basis, further
research was conducted by the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA).

The research revealed other similar advertisements published in two other newspapers
August 2 and 6, 2000 issues of Manila Bulletin and August 5, 2000 issue of The Philippine Star.
Atty. Ismael Khan, Jr., afterwards, in his capacity as Assistant Court Administrator and Chief of
the Public Information Office filed an administrative complaint against Atty. Simbillo for
improper advertising and solicitation in violation of Rule 2.03 and Rule 3.01 of the Code
of Professional Responsibility (CPR) and Rule 138, Section 27 of the Rules of Court. The IBP,
taking cognizance of the referral to investigate, report and recommend, found the respondent
guilty. Respondent, then, filed an Urgent Motion for Reconsideration, which was denied.
Hence, this petition for certiorari.

ISSUE:
Whether or not Atty. Rizalino Simbillo is guilty of violating Rule 2.03 and Rule 3.01 of
CPR.

HELD:
Yes. The Court agreed with the IBP's resolution, holding that the practice of law is not a
business but a profession in which duty to public service and not money is the primary
consideration. By advertising himself as an Annulment Specialist, he undermined the
stability and sanctity of marriage € encouraging people who might have otherwise been
disinclined and would have refrained from dissolving their marriage bonds, to do so. In
addition, although solicitation of legal business is not altogether proscribed, for solicitation to
be proper, it must be compatible with the dignity of the legal profession which the petitioner
failed to do. Therefore, the Court suspended the petitioner from the practice of law for one
year and sternly warned him that a repetition of the same or similar offense will be dealt with
more severely.

WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, respondent RIZALINO T. SIMBILLO is


found GUILTY of violation of Rules 2.03 and 3.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility
and Rule 138, Section 27 of the Rules of Court. He is SUSPENDED from the practice of law for
ONE (1) YEAR effective upon receipt of this Resolution. He is likewise STERNLY WARNED that
a repetition of the same or similar offense will be dealt with more severely.

55. Villatuya vs. Atty. Tabalingcos, AC#6622, 7/10/2012


56. Atty. Vitriolo vs. Atty. Dasig, AC#4984, 4/1/2003
57. Lim vs. Atty. Barcelona, AC#5438, 3/10/2004
58. Collantes vs. Atty. Renomeron, AC#3056, 8/16/1991
59. Catu vs. Atty. Rellosa, AC#5738, 2/19/2008
60. Sierra vs. Lopez, AC#7549, 8/29/2008
61. Abella vs. Barrios, Jr., AC#7332, 6/18/2013
62. In Re Edillon, AM#1928, 8/3/1978