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SPOUSES LAMBERTO V. EUSTAQUIO AND GLORIA J. EUSTAQUIO, Complainants, v. ATTY.

EDGAR R. NAVALES, Respondent.


A.C. No. 10465, June 08, 2016

FACTS
Sps. Estaquio are the owners of an apartment in Quezon City. They entered into a Contract of Lease with
Atty. Navales but the latter violated the terms and conditions of the contract when he failed to pay monthly
rentals and to vacate the premises despite repeated demands. This prompted complainants to refer the
matter to Barangay Conciliation where the parties agreed on an amicable settlement where respondent
promised to pay the complainants and to vacate the premises but he reneged on his obligations. Thus,
complainants filed an ejectment case against him before the MeTC of Quezon City. They also filed this
instant case before the Commission on Bar Dsicipline of the IBP. Atty. Navaro failed to file his Answer, to
appear in the mandatory conference, and to file his position paper. The MeTC promulgated its decision in
favor of the complainants. During the pendency of the case, Atty. Navaro was appointed as an Assistant
City Public Prosecutor of Quezon City.

The IBP Investigating Commissioner found Atty. Navaro administratively liable and recommended the
penalty of suspension for 6 months, in view of the violation of Rules 1.01 and 1.02, Canon 1 of the Code
of Professional Responsibility. The IBP Board of Governors adopted and approved the repost and
recommendation. The Court likewise adopted and approved the same suspension. As per Registry
Return Card No. 957, respondent received the Court's order of suspension on Oct. 16, 2014 and records
show that he failed to file a Motion for reconsideration and thus, the order of suspension against him
became final and executory.

On Sept. 7, 2015 and upon the request from the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA), a Certification
was issued by the MeTC of QC Br. 38 stating that respondent has been appearing before it as an
Assistant City Prosecutor since September 2014 up to the present. OCA indorsed the matter to the OBC
for appropriate action. The OBC recommended suspension for 6 months, thus increasing his total
suspension to 1 year imm. Effective.

ISSUE
Whether a lawyer suspended from the practice of law be suspended in his government position

HELD
YES.
Sec. 9 of RA 10071 or the Prosecution Service Act of 2010 provides for the powers and functions of the
provincial or city prosecutor. A plain reading of the provision evidently shows that the government office
of the Assistant City Prosecutor requires its holder to be authorized to practice law. Hence, respondent's
continuous discharge of his functions as such constitutes practice of law, and thus, a clear defiance of the
Court's order of suspension against him

Under Sec. 27 Rule 138 ROC, willful disobedience to any lawful order of a superior court and willfully
appearing as an attorney without authority to do so – acts which respondent is guilty of in this case – are
grounds for disbarment or suspension from the practice of law.