You are on page 1of 47

A.C. No.

932 June 21, 1940

In re ATTY. ROQUE SANTIAGO, respondent,

Original Action in the Supreme Court. Malpractice.

FACTS:

In this administrative case, the Solicitor General charged the respondent Atty. Roque
Santiago with malpractice and prayed that disciplinary action be taken against him.

The respondent gave legal advice to one Ernesto Baniquit who was living separately from
his wife for some nine consecutive years and seeking to contract a second marriage.
The respondent assured Baniquit that he could secure a separation from his wife and marry
again. The lawyer prepared a document (Exhibit A) stating that the contracting parties, husband
and wife, were authorized to marry again and at the same time giving the authorization to
renounce or waive each member’s right against the party marrying.

The notary let the husband and wife execute and acknowledge the document and declared
that they were again single and as such could contract another marriage. Relying on this
document, Baniquit contracted a second marriage.

The respondent, upon realizing his mistake, sent for the parties and let them sign the
deed of cancellation (Exhibit C) a month later but after the second marriage of Baniquit.

ISSUES:

1. Did the lawyer commit malpractice in his acts regarding the dispensation of such advice and
preparation of document?
2. Is the document regarding separation (Exhibit A) valid?

HELD:

1. Yes. The advice given by the respondent and his preparation and acknowledgment by of the
contract constitute malpractice which justifies disbarment from the practice of law. Atty.
Santiago was suspended from practice of law for a year on the ground of ignorance of the law or
being careless for giving legal advice by trying to dissolve the marriage through a private
contract.
2. No. Marriage separation should have should be sanctioned in the proper court and before the
separation (see Selanova). Apart from this, the document subverts the vital foundation of the
family, marriage, and is contrary to law, morals and public policy.

Decision:

Respondent suspended from practice of law for one year.

Dicta:

A. As a response to Baniquit’s question, Santiago remarked that he would tear the diploma off the
wall if the document did not turn out to be valid.
B. Santiago was ignorant of the applicable provision of the law or carelessly negligent in giving
legal advice.
C. The admission to the practice of law dependent on a lawyer’s remaining as a fit-and-safe
person to society. Once he becomes unsafe or unfit to be entrusted with obligations, his
professional privilege should be terminated.
A.C. No. 104 January 28, 1954

BENITA S. BALINON, petitioner,


vs.
CELESTINO M. DE LEON, ET AL., respondents.

FACTS:

The Solicitor General has filed a complaint against the respondent Celestino M. de Leon
and Justo T. Velayo, duly qualified members of the bar in active practice, alleging that, since
December, 1948, respondent De Leon, still legally married to Vertudes Marquez, lived as
husband and wife with Regina S. Balinon; that said respondent prepared and subscribed on
February 4, 1948, before respondent Velayo, a notary public, an affidavit which that there exists
a contract of separation executed and perfected between my wife, Vertudes Marquez and De
Leon. That said contract states among other things that each of them are at liberty and free to
take for himself and herself a lifetime partner with the full consent and authorization of each
other.

The complaint also alleges that, notwithstanding the unlawful and immoral purposes of
the foregoing affidavit, respondent Velayo knowingly signed the same in violation of his oath of
office as attorney and notary public.

Respondent De Leon admits his continuous cohabitation with Regina S. Balinon during
his subsisting marriage with Vertudes Marquez and the fact that he prepared and subscribed the
affidavit above quoted, but contends that he has not yet been finally convicted of a crime
involving moral turpitude; that while the affidavit may be illicit, it is not an agreement but a mere
innocent unilateral declaration of facts; and that while the execution of said affidavit may be
illegal and void ab initio, no specific law has been violated so as to give rise to an action.

ISSUE:

Whether or not De Leon should be disbarred from practice of law.

RULING:

It is likewise insisted that the acts imputed to respondent De Leon had no relation with
his professional duties and therefore cannot serve as a basis for suspension or disbarment under
section 25 of Rule 127. It should be remembered, however, that a member of the bar may be
removed or suspended from office as a lawyer on grounds other than those enumerated by said
provision (In re Pelaez, 44 Phil., 567). Moreover, we can even state that respondent De Leon was
able to prepare the affidavit in question because he is a lawyer, and has rendered professional
service to himself as a client. He surely employed his knowledge of the law and skill as an
attorney to his advantage. (Manalo v. Gan, Adm. Case No. 72, May 13, 1953.)

Wherefore, we hereby decree the suspension from the practice of law of respondent Celestino M.
de Leon for three years from the date of the promulgation of this decision.
[A.C. No. CBD-174. March 7, 1996]

GIOVANI M. IGUAL, complainant,


vs.
ATTY. ROLANDO S. JAVIER, respondent.

FACTS:

The complaint dated September 23, 1991 alleges that complainant met respondent
attorney thru complainant tennis partner, one Sergio Dorado, sometime April 1, 1991.
Complainant asked Sergio Dorado to make it possible for complainant to meet respondent at the
latters house regarding the possibility of hiring respondent to handle Civil Case No. 2 188-LRC
No. 215, pending with the Regional Trial Court of Aklan. Complainant said respondent is being
hired because complainants mother wanted the appeal expedited.

That very night, when Atty. Javier offered to collaborate in the appealed case because
Atty. Javier through sweet talk and pretense of influence to several justices of the Court of
Appeals x x x that he could be of great help in expediting the speedy disposition of the case
complainant gave respondent P10,000.00 which money he intended to buy a refrigerator with.
Respondent thus entered his formal appearance as collaborating counsel dated April 3,
1991 . Then complainant wrote respondent on June 27, 1991stating that he is demanding
P7,000.00 balance since P3,000.00 had already been refunded by respondent.

Instead of filing an Answer, respondent filed an Affidavit dated April 20, 1992, alleging
that: he gave back the P3,000.00 not as a settlement because complainant said his child was
hospitalized and gravely and that the reason why complainant wanted a refund of the remaining
P7,000.00 is because it is not the fault of the affiant if Giovani M. Igual had quarreled with his
mother or his brother or his sister as to the reimbursement or sharing of the Legal Fees.

Respondents declared purpose in the Formal Offer of Evidence was to show that Atty.
Rolando S. Javier had accepted the appealed cases and had obtained pertinent records or
pleadings to work on it.

From the evidence, however, the decision is dated February 25, 1991 and the March 19,
1991 is the date of the RTCs Order stating that the appeal had been perfected.

Commissioner Roxas then rendered the following analysis and evaluation of the evidene
presented:

This would have been a difficult situation had there been no written receipt of payment of
fees. In a lawyer-client relationship, what is governing is the written receipt dated April 1, 1991.
In such situations, if indeed the lawyer cannot agree with the client, or, as in this case, the
lawyer is quarreling with his client, there are several options for the lawyer to exit from the
relationship instead of merely maintaining a cold war of doing nothing in the case, such as
securing a written and signed notice of withdrawal from the case, or, manifesting to the court the
circumstances why he can no longer proceed in representing his client. Otherwise, a lawyers act
will be interpreted as abandonment.

Respondent should have set aside his personal feelings and should have pursued
diligently the cause of his client within the bounds of reason, justice, and fair play. Public
interest requires that an attorney exert his best efforts and ability in the prosecution or defense of
his clients cause [Cantiller vs. Potenciano, 180 SCRA 246].

For it has been held that a lawyer is not merely a professional but also an officer of the
court and as such, he is called upon to share in the task and responsibility of dispensing justice
and resolving disputes in society [Zaldivar vs. Gonzales, 166 SCRA 316], and not contribute to
propagating more disputes.

ISSUE:

Whether or not Atty Javier constituting violations of the Code of Professional


Responsibility, must be subjected to disciplinary measures.

RULING:

We are in agreement with Commissioner Roxas findings and conclusions, as -approved


by the IBP Board of Governors. In addition, we note that respondent not only unjustifiably
refused to return the complainants money upon demand, but he stubbornly persisted in clinging
to what was not his and to which he absolutely had no right.

It goes without saying that respondent, by his deceitful actuations constituting violations
of the Code of Professional Responsibility, must be subjected to disciplinary measures for his
own good, as well as for the good of the entire membership of the Bar as a whole.

WHEREFORE, in light of the foregoing, and consistent with the recommendation of the
Integrated Bar of the Philippines, respondent ROLANDO S. JAVIER is hereby SUSPENDED
from the practice of law for a period of ONE (1) MONTH, effective upon notice hereof, and
ORDERED to restitute to the complainant the amount of SEVEN THOUSAND PESOS
(P7,000.00) within thirty (30) days from notice. Let copies of this Decision be spread upon his
record in the Bar Confidants Office and furnished the Integrated Bar of the Philippines.
A.C. No. 3694 June 17, 1993

ALBERTO FERNANDEZ, ISABELO ONGTENGCO, ACHILLES BARTOLOME, AND


ST. LUKES MEDICAL CENTER, complainants,
vs.
ATTORNEY BENJAMIN M. GRECIA, respondent.

FACTS:

In 1990, Linda Aves was admitted to St. Lukes Hospital. Among the doctors who treated
her was Dr. Alberto Fernandez. She was treated well hence she was sent home but then the next
day she died together with her unborn child. Damaso Aves, husband, then filed a damage suit
against the hospital and he impleaded the attending doctors which included Fernandez. Aves
hired Atty. Benjamin Grecia to represent him.

Grecia requested St. Luke to surrender before the court the medical records of Linda Aves. St.
Luke complied and the medical records were delivered to the Clerk of Court. In the morning of
July 16, 1991, Grecia went to the office of the clerk of court to borrow the said medical records.
While Grecia was examining the said medical records, he tore in front of the Clerk and one
office staff two pages from the medical records and then handed it back to the Clerk. The Clerk
was stunned as she watched Grecia walk away. She then reported the incident to the judge. The
judge immediately took action and the torn pages were eventually recovered as it turned out that
Grecia handed the torn pages to someone else.

Grecia was then administratively charged by Dr. Fernandez. Apparently, Grecia has been
disbarred before. However, he was able to get to the good side of the Supreme Court hence he
was reinstated to the profession.

ISSUE:

Whether or not Grecia should be disbarred again.

HELD:

Yes. Grecia violated the Code of Professional Responsibility. As a lawyer, he should not
engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral and deceitful conduct. A lawyer shall at all times uphold
the integrity and dignity of the legal profession and support the activities of the Integrated Bar. A
lawyer is an officer of the courts; he is “like the court itself, an instrument or agency to advance
the ends of justice”. Considering that this is his second offense, an incorrigible practitioner of
“dirty tricks,” like Grecia would be ill-suited to discharge the role of “an instrument to advance
the ends of justice.” By descending to the level of a common thief, respondent Grecia has
demeaned and disgraced the legal profession. He has demonstrated his moral unfitness to
continue as a member of the honorable fraternity of lawyers. He has forfeited his membership in
the BAR.
[A.C. No. 6131. February 28, 2005]

EDUARDO L. NUEZ, EUGENIO O. NUEZ, ELISA NUEZ-ALVARICO


and IMELDA L. NUEZ, complainants,
vs.
Atty. ARTURO B. ASTORGA, respondent.

FACTS:

Complainants allege that sometime on June 5, 1968, the late Maria Ortega Vda. De
Nunez executed a Sale with Right to Repurchase in favor of Eugenio O. Nunez. In the said
contract, the stipulated time of repurchase was ten (10) years from the date of execution thereof
or until June 5, 1978. That said period of vendors right to repurchase expired without any
agreement of extending said period of repurchase. To date, even the heirs of the late Maria
Ortega Vda. de Nunez have not exercised[d] their right of repurchase. A year after the execution
of the said pacto de ret[r]o sale, the late Maria Ortega Vda. de Nunez and her son Ricardo
Nunez, as the surviving heirs of the late Eleuterio Nunez, extrajudicially partitioned his estate.

By virtue of a power of attorney executed sometime in 1982 by the late spouses Ricardo
Nunez and Paterna Nunez appointing respondent as administrator, as well as on the alleged
judicial confirmation of respondents wife, as acknowledged natural child of Ricardo Nunez,
respondent, on the pretext of administering the properties of the late spouses, had been disturbing
the peaceful occupation and possession of complainants of Lot No. 106 claiming that
complainants have no right over the same.

Sometime on 29 March 2001, respondent went to the house of Eduardo L. Nunez and
threatened to kill Eduardo Nunez by uttering the words ipaposil ta ka which means Ill have you
shot. A complaint for Grave Threats was filed by Eduardo L. Nunez before Municipal Trial
Court of Baybay, Leyte.

In a hearing held on June 5, 2002, complainants appeared with their counsel, while
respondent was represented by Atty. Arnold Logares. As respondent had not yet filed his answer
to the Complaint despite a previous Order dated December 7, 2001, he was granted a period of
fifteen (15) days within which to do so. The hearing was thus reset to June 26, 2002.

On June 26, 2002, only respondents counsel, Atty. Arnold Logares, was present.
Respondent filed a Motion seeking a cancellation of the scheduled hearing and another extension
of fifteen (15) days within which to file his answer. He was thus granted a non-extendible period
of fifteen (15) days within which to do so.

On July 18, 2002, Atty. Astorga finally submitted his Answer. He denied that he had
utilized his profession to circumvent the law and averred that there were already several pending
cases involving the same issues raised by complainants in the present administrative action
On August 8, 2002, complainants submitted their Reply. Thereafter, IBP-CPD
Commissioner Rebecca Villanueva-Maala scheduled the case for hearing on December 11, 2002.
On this date, respondent requested and was a granted a period of fifteen (15) days to file his
rejoinder. The parties agreed to file simultaneous memoranda on January 15, 2003, after which
the case was to be considered submitted for resolution.

In her Report, Commissioner Villanueva-Maala found respondent guilty of serious


misconduct. Thus, the investigating commissioner recommended his suspension from the
practice of law for a period of one year.

ISSUE:

Whether or not Atty Astorga committed serious misconduct in practice of law and is he
liable for suspension.

RULING:

WHEREFORE, Atty. Arturo B. Astorga is ACQUITTED of the charge of serious


misconduct, but is held liable for conduct unbecoming an attorney and is FINED two thousand
pesos.

We disagree with the findings and recommendation of the IBP, but find respondents
offensive language against complainants and their counsel unbecoming an attorney.

The legal profession exacts a high standard from its members. Lawyers shall not engage
in conduct that adversely reflects on their fitness to practice law. Neither shall they, whether in
public or in private life, behave in a scandalous manner to the discredit of the legal
profession. In Gonzaga v. Villanueva, this Court, citing Tucay v. Tucay, held thus:

A lawyer may be disbarred or suspended for any violation of his oath, a patent disregard
of his duties, or an odious deportment unbecoming an attorney. Among the grounds enumerated
in Section 27, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court are deceit; malpractice; gross misconduct in office;
grossly immoral conduct; conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude; any violation of the
oath which he is required to take before admission to the practice of law; willful disobedience of
any lawful order of a superior court; corrupt or willful appearance as an attorney for a party to a
case without authority to do so. The grounds are not preclusive in nature even as they are broad
enough as to cover practically any kind of impropriety that a lawyer does or commits in his
professional career or in his private life. A lawyer must at no time be wanting in probity and
moral fiber, which are not only conditions precedent to his entrance to the Bar but are likewise
essential demands for his continued membership therein.
However, the penalties of disbarment and suspension are severe forms of disciplinary
action and must be imposed with great caution. The allegations in the Complaint were not
substantiated by clear evidence; they were bereft of convincing proof of respondents deceit and
gross misconduct.

Without clear and convincing evidence that he committed acts that allegedly constituted
serious misconduct, the mere existence of pending criminal charges cannot be a ground for
disbarment or suspension of respondent. To hold otherwise would open the door to harassment
of attorneys through the mere filing of numerous criminal cases against them.

RATIO:

While we are not convinced that complainants have clearly and convincingly proven the
charges of serious misconduct, we do, however, note the use of offensive language in
respondent’s pleadings. The Code of Professional Responsibility mandates:

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

Rule 8.01 A lawyer shall not, in his professional dealings, use language which is abusive,
offensive or otherwise improper.
[G.R. No. 148326. November 15, 2001]

PABLO C. VILLABER, petitioner,


vs.
COMMISSION ON ELECTIONS and REP. DOUGLAS R. CAGAS, respondents.

FACTS:

Both petitioner Villaber and respondent Douglas R. Cagas were rival candidates for a
congressional seat in the First District of Davao del Sur during the May 14, 2001 elections.

Cagas filed with the COMELEC, a consolidated petition to disqualify Villaber and to
cancel the latter’s certificate of candidacy, alleging that Villaber was convicted for violation of
Batas Pambansa Blg. 22. Cagas further alleged that this crime involves moral turpitude; hence,
under Section 12 of the Omnibus Election Code, he is disqualified to run for any public office.

COMELEC issued the resolution declaring Villaber disqualified as a candidate. The latter
filed a motion for reconsideration but was denied.

Hence, this petition.

ISSUE:

Whether or not violation of B.P. Blg. 22 involves moral turpitude, which would
disqualify Villaber as a candidate for and from holding any public office.

HELD:

COMELEC believed it is, applying Section 12 of the Omnibus Election Code that any
person who has been sentenced by final judgment for any offense for which he has been
sentenced for a crime involving moral turpitude, shall be disqualified to be a candidate and to
hold any office.

Moral turpitude is an act of baseness, vileness, or depravity in the private duties which a
man owes his fellow men, or to society in general, contrary to the accepted and customary rule of
right and duty between man and woman, or conduct contrary to justice, honesty, modesty, or
good morals.

In the case at bar, petitioner does not assail the facts and circumstances surrounding the
commission of the crime. In effect, he admits all the elements of the crime for which he was
convicted. There was no grave abuse of discretion committed by respondent COMELEC in
issuing the assailed Resolutions.
[A.C. No. 6313. September 07, 2006]

CATHERINE JOIE P. VITUG, Complainant,


vs,
CARPIO, CARPIO MORALES, TINGA, and VELASCO, JR. ATTY. DIOSDADO M.
RONGCAL, Respondent.

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.

On 9 February 2001, respondent allegedly convinced complainant to sign anAffidavit of


Disclaimer which the latter signed without reading the saidaffidavit. On 14 February 2001,
respondent allegedly advised complainant that Aquino gave him P150,000.00 cash
and P58,000.00 in two (2) postdated checks to answer for the medical expenses of her daughter.
Instead of turning them over to her, respondent handed her his personal check in the amount
of P150,000.00 and promised to give her the balance of P58,000.00 soon thereafter. However,
sometime in April or May 2001, respondent informed her that he could not give her the said
amount because he used it for his political campaign as he was then running for 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:

(1) Whether or not respondent be disbarred for immorality


(2) 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:

(1) NO. One of the conditions prior to admission to the bar is that anapplicant must
possess good moral character. Said requirement persists as a continuing condition for the
enjoyment of the privilege of law practice, otherwise, the loss thereof is a ground for the
revocation of such privilege. 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 actor so unprincipled or disgraceful as to be
reprehensible to a high degree. On sexual relation and on respondent’s subsequent marriage, by
his ownadmission, 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.

(2) 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. As
complainant voluntarily and intelligently agreed to a settlement with Aquino, she cannot later
blame her counsel when she experiences a change of heart. 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.

WHEREFORE, premises considered, this 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.

The charge of misappropriation of funds of the client is REMANDED to the IBP for
further investigation, report and recommendation within ninety (90) days from receipt of this
Decision.
[A.C. No. 3405. June 29, 1998]

JULIETA B. NARAG, complainant,


vs.
ATTY. DOMINADOR M. NARAG, respondent.

FACTS:

Mrs. Julieta Nunag filed several cases against his husband, Atty. Dominador Nunag, for
his alleged affair with Gina Espita who happens to be a former student of the respondent back
when Ms. Espita was a first-year college student. Finally, in the most recent case filed by Mrs.
Nunag, the complainant had her seven children sign the appeal for disbarment of Atty. Nunag.
Mrs. Nunag presented as evidence the pictures of the respondent and Ms. Espita together, love
letters, testimony of Mr. Charlie Espita, the brother of Ms. Espita and the source of the
mentioned pictures and love letters, and the testimony of the children of Atty. And Mrs Nunag.
In the proceedings, Atty. Nunag has been engaged in an affair with Ms. Espita, and being live-in
partners, have had two children with the latter. Atty. Nunag denied the allegations by presenting
Argumentum ad Misericordia.

ISSUE:

Should Atty. Nunag be disbarred even if he denied the allegations against him?

RULING:

Atty. Nunag was not able to invalidate the authenticity of the pieces of evidence
presented against him, but instead, presented an argument to pity. He is, by order of the
honorable court, being disbarred by virtue of The Code of Professional Responsibility which
provides:

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

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

Rule 7.03 — A lawyer shall not engage in conduct that adversely reflects on his fitness to
practice law, nor should he, whether in public or private life, behave in a scandalous
manner to the discredit of the legal profession.
[A.C. No. 1377 : July 31, 1981.]

DORIS R. RADAZA, Complainant,


vs.
ROBERTO T. TEJANO, Respondent.

FACTS:

Disbarment case was filed on the ground of immorality. Respondent having had sexual
intercourse with complainant gave birth to a child, whom respondent readily recognized. Both
the complainant and the respondent are free to marry. Her being about 30 years of age and him
28 years old. Subsequently, however, respondent married complainant’s cousin, whom
complainant knew respondent had been courting which results to this disbarment case.

ISSUE:

Whether or not the sexual relations between complainant and respondent, both unmarried
at the time, resulting to pregnancy and subsequent delivery, and the marriage of respondent to
another woman constitute gross immoral conduct as to warrant disbarment or disciplinary action
against respondent as a member of the BAR.

HELD:
We have reviewed the record and we find the foregoing report sufficiently borne thereby.
While We hold that respondent’s conduct complained of does not warrant drastic disciplinary
sanction, this is far from saying that it conforms with the highest standard of morality and
propriety or decorum that every lawyer is expected to maintain. More than an ordinary
individual, a lawyer “must, in the exercise of his rights and the performance of his duties, act
with justice, give everyone his due, and observe honesty and good faith.” (Article 19, Civil
Code)
Accordingly, the instant complaint against respondent is hereby DISMISSED, but he is
sternly admonished that any other misconduct on his part which might reflect unfavorably on the
moral norms of the profession will be dealt with accordingly.
[SBC Case No. 519. July 31, 1997]

PATRICIA FIGUEROA, complainant,


vs.
SIMEON BARRANCO, JR., respondent.

FACTS:

Figueroa and Barranco were sweethearts since their teens. Their intimacy eventually
resulted to a son born out of wedlock. At this point (1964) Barranco promised Figueroa that he
would marry her when he passes the bar examinations. After four takes, he finallypassed but did
not hold true to his promise of marriage. In 1971, their relationship ended. Years later, he
married another woman. When Barranco was about to take his oath to enter the legal profession,
Figueroa filed a complaint relaying to the court what happened between her and Barranco. Until
1988, Barranco has filed three motions to dismiss because Figueroa still would not persecute and
because for the past years, he has become elected in the Sangguniang Bayan, has actively
participated in various civic organizations and has acquired a good standing within his
community while the case was pending. The court sought the opinion of the IBP which
recommended that Barranco be allowed to take his oath. Figueroa reappeared and intercepted the
scheduled oath-taking of Barranco which led to its delay.

ISSUE:

Whether or not Barranco should be allowed to take his oath despite the accusations of
Figueroa.

HELD:

Yes. The maintenance of an intimate relationship between a man and a woman, both of
whom had no impediment to marry and voluntarily carried on with the affair, does not amount to
a grosslyimmoral conduct even if a child was born out of the relationship. His previous acts may
be said to be a question to his moral character but none of these are “so corrupt and false as to
constitute acriminal act or so unprincipled or disgraceful as to be reprehensible to a high degree.”
Her allegations that she was forced to have sexual relations with him cannot lie as evidenced by
her continuedcohabitation with him even after their child was born in 1964. The ignobleness of
his treatment of Figueroa is sufficiently punished by the 26 years that he has been prevented
from entering the profession he has worked so hard for.
Adm. Case No. 481 February 28, 1969

IN RE: DISBARMENT PROCEEDING AGAINST ARTURO P. LOPEZ.


VIRGINIA C. ALMIREZ assisted by her father, AGAPITO ALMIREZ complainants,
vs.
ARTURO P. LOPEZ, respondent.
27 SCRA 169 – Legal Ethics – Gross Immoral Conduct

FACTS:

Atty. Arturo Lopez became a lawyer in 1957. In 1958, he courted Virginia Almirez; they
became sweethearts. In 1960, Lopez manifested his intention to marry Almirez. Almirez
believed in the promise and so they had multiple carnal knowledge in the following months.
Eventually, Almirez got pregnant. Lopez then urged to her take some pills which he said would
hasten her menstrual flow. When this didn’t work, Lopez advised her to see an abortion doctor
but no abortion was done because Almirez was against it. Thereafter, Lopez refused to marry
Almirez even though they already secured marriage license.

Almirez then filed a disbarment case against Lopez. Lopez in his defense denied that the
baby was his; that he did not promise to marry Almirez.

While the case was pending in the Office of the Solicitor General, Almirez filed an
affidavit of desistance. But later on, she withdraw said affidavit. She also confided that the
reason why she made the affidavit withdrawing the case was that Lopez promised to marry her
finally. BUT then Lopez did not and the latter actually married another woman instead hence,
Almirez revived the case. Further, Almirez also testified that the affidavit withdrawing the
disbarment case was procured by Lopez by letting her sign a blank sheet.

ISSUE:

Whether or not Atty. Lopez should be disbarred.

HELD:

Yes. Lopez is guilty of gross immoral conduct. Lopez denied that he promised to marry
Almirez but such denial is belied by the fact that they secured a marriage license. Therefore, it is
evident that he breached that promise when he did not marry her. His urging Almirez to have an
abortion is highly reprehensible. His procurement of the affidavit by letting Almirez sign a blank
sheet also bolsters his being unfit of being a member of the bar. Hence, the Supreme Court
disbarred him from the practice of law.
[A.C. No. 5916. July 1, 2003] 405 SCRA 227

SELWYN F. LAO, complainant,


vs.
ATTY. ROBERT W. MEDEL, respondent.

FACTS:

The Complaint arose from the [respondents] persistent refusal to make good on four (4)
RCBC checks totaling [t]wenty [t]wo [t]housand (P22,000.00) [p]esos. These dishonored checks
were issued by defendant in replacement for previous checks issued to the complainant. Based
on the exchange of letters between the parties, it appears that [respondent], in a letter dated June
19, 2001, had committed to forthwith effect immediate settlement of my outstanding obligation
of P22,000.00 with Engr. Lao, at the earliest possible time, preferably, on or before the end of
June 2000. Again, in a letter dated July 3, 2000, the [respondent] made a request for a final
extension of only ten (10) days from June 30, 2000 (or not later than July 10, 2000), within
which to effect payment of P22,000.00 to Engr. Lao. Needless to say, the initiation of this
present complaint proves that contrary to his written promises, Atty. Medel never made good on
his dishonored checks. Neither has he paid his indebtedness.

In a hearing with IBP-CBD Commissioner Renato G. Cunanan, on May 29, 2002, respondent
acknowledged his obligation and committed himself to pay a total of P42,000 (P22,000 for his
principal debt and P20,000 for attorney’s fees). Complainant agreed to give him until July 4,
2002 to settle the principal debt and to discuss the plan of payment for attorney’s fees in the next
hearing.

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

The IBP Commissioner found respondent guilty of violating the attorney’s oath and the Code
of Professional Responsibility. The former explained that, contrary to the latter’s claim, violation
of BP 22 was a crime that involved moral turpitude. Further, he observed that while no criminal
case may have been instituted against [respondent], it is beyond cavil that indeed, the latter
committed not one (1) but four counts of violation of BP 22. The refusal by respondent to pay his
indebtedness, his broken promises, his arrogant attitude towards complainants counsel and the
[commission sufficiently] warrant the imposition of sanctions against him. Thus, the
investigating commissioner recommended that respondent be suspended from the practice of
law.
The Board of Governors of the IBP adopted the Report and Recommendation of
Commissioner Cunanan and resolved to suspend respondent from the practice of law for two
years.

ISSUE:

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

HELD:

The deliberate failure to pay just debts and the issuance of worthless checks constitute
gross misconduct, for which a lawyer may be sanctioned with one-year suspension from the
practice of law.

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

Moreover, before the IBP-CBD, respondent had voluntarily committed himself to the
payment of his debts, yet failed again to fulfill his promise. That he had no real intention to settle
them is evident from his unremitting failed commitments. His cavalier attitude in incurring debts
without any intention of paying for them puts his moral character in serious doubt.
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. Their conduct must always reflect the values and norms of the legal profession as
embodied in the Code of Professional Responsibility. On these considerations, the Court may
disbar or suspend lawyers for any professional or private misconduct showing them to be
wanting in moral character, honesty, probity and good demeanor -- or to be unworthy to continue
as officers of the Court.

Canon 1 of the Code of Professional Responsibility mandates all members of the bar to
obey the laws of the land and promote respect for law. Rule 1.01 of the Code specifically
provides that [a] lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct.
The Court considered the issuance of worthless checks as a violation of this Rule and an act
constituting gross misconduct. It explained thus:

The general rule is that a lawyer may not be suspended or disbarred, and the court
may not ordinarily assume jurisdiction to discipline him for misconduct in his non-
professional or private capacity. Where, however, the misconduct outside of the lawyer's
professional dealings is so gross a character as to show him morally unfit for the office
and unworthy of the privilege which his licenses and the law confer on him, the court
may be justified in suspending or removing him from the office of attorney.

Accordingly, administrative sanction is warranted by his gross misconduct. The IBP


Board of Governors recommended that he be suspended from the practice of law for two years.
However, in line with Co v. Bernardino, Ducat Jr. v. Villalon Jr. and Saburnido v. Madroo --
which also involved gross misconduct of lawyers – the court find the suspension of one year
sufficient in this case. He is warned that a repetition of the same or a similar act will be dealt
with more severely.
[March 3, 1923] 44 PHIL 569

In re suspension of VICENTE PELAEZ, attorney,

Juan Sumulong for respondent.


Attorney-General Villa-Real for the Government.

FACTS:

The respondent Vicente Pelaez is a member of the Philippine Bar, residing at Cebu, Cebu.
On March 20, 1918, he was appointed guardian of the minor Gracia Cabrera. As such guardian,
he came into possession of certain property, including twenty shares of the E. Michael & Co.,
Inc., and ten shares of the Philippine Engineering Co. While Pelaez was still the guardian of the
minor, he borrowed P2,800 from the Cebu branch of the Philippine National bank. Shortly
thereafter, to guarantee the loan, Pelaez, without the knowledge or consent of the Court of First
Instance of Cebu, deposited with the Cebu branch of the Philippine National Bank the shares of
stock corresponding to the guardianship. On April 13, 1921, Pelaez executed a written agreement
in favor of the Cebu branch of the Philippine National Bank, pledging, without the authority of
the Court of First Instance of Cebu, the shares of stock in question, to guarantee the payment of
the loan above referred to.

These are the facts, taken principally from the memorandum filed in this court on behalf of
the respondent, which caused the judge of First Instance to suspend him from the legal
profession. To quote counsel for the respondent, "the misconduct of which the respondent in this
case is guilty consist of having pledged the shares belonging to his ward, to guarantee the
payment of his personal debt."

ISUE:

(1) Are the courts in the Philippines authorized to suspend or disbar a lawyer for causes other
than those enumerated in the statute?
(2) May a lawyer be suspended or disbarred for non-professional misconduct?

HELD:

(1) Section 21 of the Code of Civil Procedure provides that a member of the bar may be
removed or suspended from this office as lawyer by the Supreme Court for any of the causes
therein enumerated. It will be noticed that our statute merely provides that certain cause shall be
deemed sufficient for the revocation or suspension of an attorney's license. It does not provide
that these shall constitute the only causes for disbarment, or that an attorney may not be
disbarred or suspended for other reasons.
It is a well-settled rule that a statutory enumeration of the grounds of disbarment is not to
be taken as a limitation of the general power of the court in this respect. Even where the
Legislature has specified the grounds for disbarment, the inherent power of the court over its
officer is not restricted.
The prior tendency of the decisions of this court has been toward the conclusion that a
member of the bar may be removed or suspended from his office as lawyer for other than
statutory grounds. Indeed, the statute is so phrased as to be broad enough to cover practically any
misconduct of a lawyer.

(2) As a general rule, a court will not assume jurisdiction to discipline one of its officers
for misconduct alleged to have been committed in his private capacity. But this is a general rule
with many exceptions. The courts sometimes stress the point that the attorney has shown,
through misconduct outside of his professional dealings, a want of such professional honesty as
render him unworthy of public confidence, and an unfit and unsafe person to manage the legal
business of others. The reason why such a distinction can be drawn is because it is the court
which admits an attorney to the bar, and the court requires for such admission the possession of
good moral character.
The nature of the office, the trust relation which exists between attorney and client, as well
as between court and attorney, and the statutory rule prescribing the qualifications of attorney,
uniformly require that an attorney shall be a person of good moral character. If that qualification
is a condition precedent to a license or privilege to enter upon the practice of the law, it would
seem to be equally essential during the continuance of the practice and the exercise of the
privilege. So it is held that an attorney will be removed not only for malpractice and dishonesty
in his profession, but also for gross misconduct not connected with his professional duties, which
shows him to be unfit for the office and unworthy of the privileges which his license and the law
confer upon him.
The relation of guardian and ward requires of the guardian the continual maintenance of
the utmost good faith in his dealings with the estate of the ward. The bond and the oath of the
guardian require him to manage the estate of the ward according to law for the best interests of
the ward, and faithfully to discharge his trust in relation thereto. Moreover, it has not escaped our
attention that in the petition by Vicente Pelaez, asking the court to appoint him the guardian of
Gracia Cabrera, he begins his petition in this manner: "El abogado que subscribe, nombrado tutor
testamentario, etc." (The undersigned attorney, appointed testamentary guardian, etc.) which
indicates that petitioner might not have been named the guardian in this particular case had he
not at the same time been a lawyer.
[A.C. No. 4017. September 29, 1999]
GATCHALIAN PROMOTIONS TALENTS POOL, INC., complainant,
vs.
ATTY. PRIMO R. NALDOZA, respondent.

FACTS:

The case at bar is a petition for disbarment against Atty. Primo L. Naldoza for appealing
a decision which is final and executory, deceitfully obtaining $2,555 from the client allegedly for
“cash bond” in the appealed case, and issuing a spurious receipt to conceal the illegal act.
Respondent denies that he persuaded complainant to file an appeal and asserted that it was the
latter who initiated the action to delay the execution of POEA decision. He also denied the two
other charges. Trial procedures were instituted before the IBP.

Meanwhile, a criminal case based on the same facts was filed before RTC Makati, Branch 141.
Although acquitted on reasonable doubt, he was declared civilly liable in the amount of $2,555.
Having been acquitted in the criminal case, he manifested a Motion for Dismissal of the IBP
case.
Commissioner Jose brushed aside respondent's contention on the ground that the criminal
case for estafa is completely different from the proceedings before him. Acquittal in the former
did not exonerate respondent in the latter. He further noted that the RTC Decision itself hinted at
the administrative liability of respondent, since it found him civilly liable to herein complainant
for $2,555. He was suspended by the IBP for one (1) year. Thus, he appealed before the Supreme
Court.

ISSUES:

1. Whether or not respondent should be freed of the administrative proceeding since he was
acquitted of the criminal charge.
2. Whether or not respondent is negligent when he appealed the decision of the POEA knowing
it to be final and executory.

HELD:

1. Administrative cases against lawyers belong to a class of their own. They are distinct
from and they may proceed independently of civil and criminal cases.
xxx
Thus, a criminal prosecution will not constitute a prejudicial question even if the same facts and
circumstances are attendant in the administrative proceedings.
It should be emphasized that a finding of guilt in the criminal case will not necessarily result in a
finding of liability in the administrative case. Conversely, respondent’s acquittal does not
necessarily exculpate him administratively. In the same vein, the trial court’s finding of civil
liability against the respondent will not inexorably lead to a similar finding in the administrative
action before this Court.
2. Complainant has failed to present proof regarding the status of the appeal. Neither has
there been any showing that the appeal was dismissed on the ground that the POEA
Decision had become final and executory. Worse, there has been no evidence that
respondent knew that the case was unappealable. Indeed, the records of this Court shows
that the Petition for Review was dismissed for petitioner's failure to submit an Affidavit
of Service and a legible duplicate of the assailed Order. Clearly, this charge has no leg to
stand on.
xxx
WHEREFORE, Primo R. Naldoza is hereby DISBARRED. The Office of the Clerk of Court is
directed to strike out his name from the Roll of Attorneys and to inform all courts of this
Decision.
[A.M. No. R-705-RTJ August 23, 1989] 176 SCRA 634

LIGAYA GONZALES-AUSTRIA, LEONILA FUERTES and EDGARDO


SERVANDO, complainants,
vs.
JUDGE EMMANUEL M. ABAYA, RTC, Br. 51, Puerto Princess City and ANNA BELLE
CARDENAS,respondents.

FACTS:

Atty. Ligaya Gonzales-Austria, then Branch Clerk of Court of the Regional Trial Court
(RTC), Branch 52, Puerto Princess City , Mrs. Leonila Fuertes and Mr. Edgardo Servando
charged Judge Emmanuel M. Abaya, then Presiding Judge of RTC, Branch 51, Puerto Princess
City with:

1. Estafa through falsification of public or official documents, by verifying official hours


rendered by one employee in the person of Miss Anabelle Cardenas who never reported for
duty from August 1983 to May 1984 by encashing and receiving salaries of said Miss
Cardenas through forgery of payee's signature in the treasury warrants, thus deceiving the
government and defrauding the Government treasury of a big amount of money;
2. Gross dishonesty and corruption by soliciting, demanding, receiving bribed (sic) money
in exchange for favorable resolutions and decisions from different litigants in Branch 52,
where said Judge was temporarily assigned from November 1984 to April 1986 and of
which one of the undersigned complainant (sic), LIGAYA GONZALES-AUSTRIA is the
Branch Clerk of Court;
3. Illegal exaction of portion of the salaries of his subordinate Edgardo Servando as part
and condition of his continued employment in Branch 51, where Judge Abaya is the
presiding judge.,

ISSUE:

Whether or not a lawyer who holds a government office may be disciplined as a member
of the bar for misconduct in the discharge of his duties as a government official?

HELD:

Generally speaking, a lawyer who holds a government office may not be disciplined as a
member of the bar for misconduct in the discharge of his duties as a government
official. However, if that misconduct as a government official is of such a character as to affect
his qualification as a lawyer or to show moral delinquency, then he may be disciplined as a
member of the bar on such ground.
In summation, the court found Judge Emmanuel M. Abaya guilty of grave and serious
misconduct affecting his integrity and moral character which would have warranted his dismissal
from the service had his resignation not been accepted.
The office of a judge exists for one solemn end — to promote justice by administering it
fairly and impartially. In regarding justice as a commodity to be sold at a price, Judge Abaya
betrayed the very essence of magistracy. In complicity with Annabelle Cardenas, he likewise
abused the trust and confidence of the people, shortchanging them of services undoubtedly vital
to the speedy administration of justice.
The judge is the visible representation of the law and of justice. From him, the people
draw their will and awareness to obey the law. 19 For him then to transgress the highest ideals of
justice and public service for personal gain is indeed a demoralizing example constituting a valid
cause for disenchantment and loss of confidence in the judiciary as well as in the civil service
system.
By these acts, Judge Abaya has demonstrated his unfitness and unworthiness of the honor
and requisites attached to his office. As he had previously resigned, we hereby order the
forfeiture of his retirement benefits, except earned leave credits, as recommended by the
investigating officer Justice Herrera.
A.C. No. L-1117 March 20, 1944

THE DIRECTOR OF RELIGIOUS AFFAIRS, complainant,


vs.
ESTANISLAO R. BAYOT, respondent.

74 Phil 579 – Legal Ethics – Malpractice

FACTS:

In June 1943, Bayot advertised in a newspaper that he helps people in securing marriage
licenses; that he does so avoiding delays and publicity; that he also makes marriage
arrangements; that legal consultations are free for the poor; and that everything is confidential.
The Director of Religious Affairs took notice of the ad and so he sued Bayot for Malpractice.

Bayot initially denied having published the advertisement. But later, he admitted the same and
asked for the court’s mercy as he promised to never repeat the act again.

ISSUE:

Whether or not Bayot is guilty of Malpractice.

HELD:

Yes. Section 25 of Rule 127 expressly provides among other things that “the practice of
soliciting cases at law for the purpose of gain, either personally or thru paid agents or brokers,
constitutes malpractice.” The advertisement he caused to be published is a brazen solicitation of
business from the public. .” It is highly unethical for an attorney to advertise his talents or skill
as a merchant advertises his wares. The Supreme Court again emphasized that best advertisement
for a lawyer is the establishment of a well-merited reputation for professional capacity and
fidelity to trust. But because of Bayot’s plea for leniency and his promise and the fact that he did
not earn any case by reason of the ad, the Supreme Court merely reprimanded him.
G.R. No. L-77691 August 8,1988

PATERNO R. CANLAS, petitioner,


vs.
HON. COURT OF APPEALS, and FRANCISCO HERRERA, respondents.

FACTS:

Private respondent secured loans from L and R Corporation and executed deeds of
mortgage over several parcels of land for which he is the registered owner for the security of the
loan. Respondent failed to pay the said loan until maturity, the firm initiated an extrajudicial
foreclosure of the secured properties. Following, private respondent filed a complaint for
injunction over the said foreclosure and for redemption of the parcels of land. Two years after
the filing of the petition, the parties entered into a compromise agreement, rendering private
respondent to be insured another year for the said properties. Included in the stipulations were
attorney’s fees, more so the redemption liability. Relief was discussed by the petitioner and
private respondent executed a document to redeem the parcels of land and to register the same
to his name.

Allegations were made by the private respondent claiming the parcels of land to his
name but without prior notice, the properties were already registered under the petitioner’s
name. the private respondent calls for a review and for the court to act on the said adverse
claim by the petitioner on said certificated for the properties consolidated by the redemption
price he paid for said properties. The private respondent filed a suit for the annulment of
judgment in the Court of Appeals which rules over the same.

ISSUE:

Whether the petitioner is on solid ground on the reacquisition over the said properties

HELD:

By Atty. Canlas’ own account, “due to lack of paying capacity of respondent Herra, no
financing entity was willing to extend him any loan with which to pay the redemption price of his
mortgaged properties and the petitioner’s attorney’s fees awarded in the Compromise
Judgment, “a development that should have been tempered his demand for his fees. For this
obvious reason, he placed his interest over and above those of his clients.” The court finds the
occasion fit to stress that lawyering is not a moneymaking venture and lawyers are not
merchants, a fundamental standard that has, as a matter of judicial notice, eluded not a few law
advocates. The petitioner’s efforts partaking of a shakedown of his own client are not becoming
of a lawyer and certainly, do not speak well of his fealty to his oath to “delay no man for money.”
We are not, however, condoning the private respondent’s own short comings. In condemning
Atty. Canlas monetarily, we cannot overlook the fact that the private respondent has not settles
his liability for payment of his properties. To hold Atty. Canlas alone liable for damages is to
enrich said respondent at the expense of his lawyer. The parties must set off their obligations
against the other.
[AC No. 99-634. June 10, 2002]

DOMINADOR P. BURBE, complainant,


vs.
ATTY. ALBERTO C. MAGULTA, respondent.

FACTS:

On September 1998, respondent agreed to legally represent petitioner Dominador Burbe


in a money claim and possible civil case against certain parties for breach of contract. In
consequence to such agreement, Atty. Alberto C. Magulta prepared the demand letter and some
other legal papers, for which services he was accordingly paid and an amount of P25,000.00 for
the required filing fee. A week later, petitioner was informed by the respondent that the
complaint had already been filed in court, and that he should receive notice of its progress. The
petitioner waited for several months for the notice from the court but there was no progress in the
case, he was also inquired repeatedly in the respondent’s Law Office, however he was told to just
wait.

The petitioner decided to go to the Office of the Clerk of Court with the draft of Atty.
Magulta’s complaint to personally verify the progress of the case, and there told that there was
no record at all of a case filed by Atty. Alberto C. Magulta on his behalf, copy of the
Certification dated May 27, 1999. As such, the petitioner confronted the latter. The respondent
admitted that he has not at all filed the complaint because he had spent the money for the filing
fee for his own purpose he offered to reimburse him by issuing two (2) checks, postdated June 1
and June 5, 1999, in the amounts of P12,000.00 and P8,000.00.

The petitioner filed a case against Atty. Magulta for misrepresentation, dishonesty and
oppressive conduct. The respondent denied the allegations and alleged that he was never been
paid by complainant for his acceptance and legal fees and that the amount he had paid was a
deposit for the acceptance fee

ISSUE:
Whether or not respondent Atty. Magulta is liable for misrepresentation of funds given to
him for the filing fee.
HELD:
YES. Rule 16.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility states that lawyers shall hold in
trust all moneys of their clients and properties that may come into their possession.
Lawyers who convert the funds entrusted to them are in gross violation of professional
ethics and are guilty of betrayal of public confidence in the legal profession. It may be true that
they have a lien upon the client’s funds, documents and other papers that have lawfully come
into their possession; that they may retain them until their lawful fees and disbursements have
been paid; and that they may apply such funds to the satisfaction of such fees and disbursements.
However, these considerations do not relieve them of their duty to promptly account for the
moneys they received. Their failure to do so constitutes professional misconduct. In any event,
they must still exert all effort to protect their client’s interest within the bounds of law.
Respondent fell short of this standard when he converted into his legal fees the filing fee
entrusted to him by his client and thus failed to file the complaint promptly. The fact that the
former returned the amount does not exculpate him from his breach of duty.
ADM. CASE No. 5649 January 27, 2006

DANDY V. QUIJANO, Complainant,


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

FACTS:

Respondents Atty. Bartolabac, Labor Arbiter of the National Labor Relations


Commission (and Commissioner Alberto R. Quimpo were alleged to have violated Canon 1 and
Rule 1.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility in a verified complained filed by Quijano.
According to complainant, respondents violated his constitutional right to due process in failing
to execute the final and executory judgment of this Court in G.R. No. 126561 entitled Quijano v.
Mercury Drug Corporation. The antecedent facts are as follows: Complainant was dismissed
from service by the Mercury Drug Corporation(corporation). He filed a complaint for illegal
dismissal before the NLRC. Eventually, the case was elevated to this Court. On 8 July 1998, the
Court promulgated its Decision in favor of herein complainant ordering, among others, his
reinstatement. The corporation’s motion for reconsideration was denied by this Court in its
Resolution dated 5 July 1999. Complainant relates that he filed with respondent Labor Arbiter
Bartolabac a motion for execution on 9 December 1998 but despite the final resolution of his
case, Bartolabac issued an order that in effect changed the tenor of the final judgment. While the
decision of this Court had mandated complainant’s reinstatement, Bartolabac instead awarded
back wages and separation pay. Pursuant to the Resolution of this Court, Bartolabac issued an
alias writ of execution. However, respondent Bartolabac allegedly again unilaterally issued
another order dated 5 April 2000, amending his previous order and assigning the complainant to
the position of self-service attendant of the corporation instead of his original position of
warehouseman. Subsequently, respondent Commissioner Quimpo overturned the above order of
Bartolabac and directed the payment of separation pay rather than reinstatement to a
substantially similar position as ordered by this Court.

ISSUE:

Whether or not respondents are liable for their acts in deviating from the final and
executory judgment of this Court in G.R. No. 126561.

HELD:

The Court is unyielding in its adjudication that complainant must be reinstated to his
former position as warehouseman or to a substantially equivalent position. Clearly, the Court is
unwilling to accept the corporation and respondent labor arbiter’s reason that reinstatement is no
longer feasible because the position of warehouseman had already been abolished and there is no
substantially equivalent position in the corporation. Both respondents labor arbiter and
commissioner do not have any latitude to depart from the Court’s ruling. The Decision in G.R.
No. 126561 is final and executory and may no longer be amended. It is incumbent upon
respondents to order the execution of the judgment and implement the same to the letter.
Respondents have no discretion on this matter, much less any authority to change the order of the
Court. The acts of respondent cannot be regarded as acceptable discretionary performance of
their functions as labor arbiter and commissioner of the NLRC, respectively, for they do not have
any discretion in executing a final decision. The implementation of the final and executory
decision is mandatory. As held in Siy v. National Labor Relations Commission and Embang:
Once the case is decided with finality, the controversy is settled and the matter is laid to rest. The
prevailing party is entitled to enjoy the fruits of his victory while the other party is obliged to
respect the court’s verdict and to comply with it. We reiterate our pronouncement in Salicdan v.
Court of Appeals: Well-settled is the principle that a decision that has acquired finality becomes
immutable and unalterable and may no longer be modified in any respect even if the
modification is meant to correct erroneous conclusions of fact or law and whether it will be made
by the court that rendered it or by the highest court of the land. Again, we are unceasing in
emphasizing that the decision in the labor case has become final and executory since 1999. There
can be no justification for the overturning of the Court’s reinstatement order by the NLRC First
Division and full satisfaction of the monetary award of only three (3) years after the finality of
the judgment. The Court is not wont to compel the corporation to instantly restore the position of
warehouseman if it has been already abolished. Indeed, the Court granted that complainant could
be reinstated to a substantially equivalent or similar position as a viable alternative for the
corporation to carry out.

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Court finds respondents liable for violating
Canon 1 and Rule 1.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. Respondents Labor Arbiter
Geobel A. Bartolabac and Commissioner Alberto R. Quimpo are hereby SUSPENDED from the
practice of law for a period of THREE (3) months
A.C. No. 3701 March 28, 1995

PHILIPPINE NATIONAL BANK, complainant,


vs.
ATTY. TELESFORO S. CEDO, respondent.

Case Nature: Violation of Canon 6, Rule 6.03 of the Code of Professional Responsibility

FACTS:

The Philippine National Bank (PNB) charged respondent Atty. Telesforo S. Cedo, former
Asst. Vice-President of the Asset Management Group of complainant bank, with violation of
Canon 6, Rule 6.03 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, thus: “A lawyer shall not, after
leaving government service, accept engagement or employment in connection with any matter in
which he had intervened while in said service.” Complainant averred that while respondent was
still in its employ, he participated in arranging the sale of steel sheets (denominated as Lots 54-M
and 55-M) in favor of Milagros Ong Siy for P200, 000. He even “noted” the gate passes issued
by his subordinate, Mr. Emmanuel Elefan, in favor of Mrs. Ong Siy authorizing the pull-out of
the steel sheets from the DMC Man Division Compound. When a civil action arose out of this
transaction between Mrs. Ong Siy and complainant bank before the RTC of Makati, Branch 146,
respondent who had since left the employ of complainant bank, appeared as one of the counsels
of Mrs. Ong Siy. Moreover, while respondent was still the Asst. Vice President of complainant’s
Asset Management Group, he intervened in the handling of the loan account of the spouses
Ponciano and Eufemia Almeda with complainant bank by writing demand letters to the couple.
When a civil action ensued between complainant bank and the Almeda spouses as a result of this
loan account, the latter were represented by the law firm “Cedo, Ferrer, Maynigo &Associates”
of which respondent is one of the Senior Partners. In his Comment on the complaint, respondent
admitted that he appeared as counsel for Mrs. Ong Siy but only with respect to the execution
pending appeal of the RTC decision. He alleged that he did not participate in the litigation of the
case before the trial court. With respect to the case of the Almeda spouses, respondent alleged
that he never appeared as counsel for them. He contended that while the said law firm is
designated as counsel of record, the case is actually handled only by Atty. Pedro Ferrer.
Respondent averred that he did not enter into a general partnership with Atty. Ferrer nor with the
other lawyers named therein. They are only using the aforesaid name to designate a law firm
maintained by lawyers, who although not partners, maintain one office as well as one clerical
and supporting staff. On the other hand, during the investigation conducted by the IBP, it was
discovered that respondent was previously fined by this Court in the amount of P1, 000.00 in
connection with the cases entitled “Milagros Ong Siy vs. Hon. Salvador Tensuan, et al.” for
forum shopping, where respondent appeared as counsel for petitioner Milagros through the said
law firm. The IBP further found that the charges against respondent were fully substantiated. In
one of the hearings of the Almeda spouses’ case, respondent attended the same with his partner
Atty. Ferrer, and although he did not enter his appearance, he was practically dictating to Atty.
Ferrer what to say and argue before the court. Furthermore, during the hearing of the application
for a writ of injunction in the same case, respondent impliedly admitted being the partner of Atty.
Ferrer, when it was made of record that respondent was working in the same office as Atty.
Ferrer. The IBP noted that assuming the alleged set-up of the firm to be true, it is in itself a
violation of the Code of Professional Responsibility (Rule 15.02) since the client’s secrets and
confidential records and information are exposed to the other lawyers and staff members at all
times. The IBP thus recommended the suspension of respondent from the practice of law for 3
years.

ISSUE:

Whether or not the act of Atty. Cedo as counsel of other party in a case against PNB, his
former employer, constitutes a violation of the Code of Professional Responsibility?

HELD:

YES. The Court finds the occasion appropriate to emphasize the paramount importance
of avoiding the representation of conflicting interests. The alleged set-up of the firm is in itself a
violation of the Code of Professional Responsibility. Having been an executive of complainant
bank, respondent now seeks to litigate as counsel for the opposite side, a case against his former
employer involving a transaction which he formerly handled while still an employee of
complainant, in violation of Canon 6 of the Canons of Professional Ethics on adverse influence
and conflicting interests. ACCORDINGLY, this Court resolves to SUSPEND respondent ATTY.
TELESFORO S. CEDO from the practice of law for THREE (3) YEARS, effective immediately.
[A.C. No. 4807. March 22, 2000]

MANUEL N. CAMACHO, complainant,


vs.
ATTYS. LUIS MEINRADO C. PANGULAYAN, REGINA D. BALMORES, CATHERINE
V. LAUREL and HUBERT JOAQUIN P. BUSTOS of PANGULAYAN AND
ASSOCIATES LAW OFFICES, respondents.

FACTS:

AMA Computer College (AMACC) had a pending case in the RTC for expelling some
students due to having published objectionable features or articles in the school paper.
Thereafter, Atty. Camacho who is the counsel for the expelled students filed a complaint against
Atty. Pangulayan, counsel for AMACC, for violation of Canon 9 of the Code of Professional
Ethics which provides that "A lawyer should not in any way communicate upon the subject of
controversy with a party represented by counsel, much less should he undertake to negotiate or
compromise the matter with him, but should only deal with his counsel. It is incumbent upon the
lawyer most particularly to avoid everything that may tend to mislead a party not represented by
counsel and he should not undertake to advise him as to law." The complaint was based on the
fact that Atty. Pangulayan procured and effected from the expelled students and their parents
compromise agreements in which the students waived all kinds of claims they may have against
AMACC and to terminate all civil, criminal and administrative proceedings filed against it. The
compromise agreements were procured by Atty. Pangulayan without the consent and knowledge
of Atty. Camacho given that he was already the counsel for the students at that time. It was
averred that the acts of Atty. Pangulayan was unbecoming of any member of the legal profession
warranting either disbarment or suspension from the practice of law.

ISSUE:

Whether or not Atty. Pangulayan violated Canon 9 of the Code of Professional Ethics

HELD:

YES! Atty. Pangulayan is suspended for 3 months from the practice of law for having
ciolated the Code of Professional Ethics.
In this case, when the compromise agreements were formalized and effected by Atty.
Pangulayan, Atty. Camacho was already the retained counsel for the students in the pending case
filed by the students against AMACC and Atty. Pangulayan had full knowledge of such fact.
However, Atty. Pangulayan still proceeded to negotiate with the students and the parents without
at least communicating the matter with their lawyer even being aware that the students were
being represented by counsel.
Such failure of Atty. Pangulayan, whether by design or oversight, is an inexcusable
violation of the canons of professional ethics and in utter disregard of a duty owing to a
colleague. Atty. Pangulayan in this case fell short of the demands required of him as a lawyer
and as a member of the Bar.
*In relation to our topic (not stated in case), such act of Atty. Pangulayan is also in
violation of Canon 8.02 of the Code of Professional Responsibility which states that "A lawyer
shall not, directly or indirectly, encroach upon the professional employment of another lawyer,
however, it is the right of any lawyer, without fear or favor, to give proper advice and assistance
to those seeking relief against unfaithful or neglectful counsel."
[A. C. No. 5398. December 3, 2002]

ANTONIO A. ALCANTARA, complainant,


vs.
ATTY. MARIANO PEFIANCO, respondent.

FACTS:

This is a complaint against Atty. Mariano Pefianco for conduct unbecoming a member of
the bar for using improper and offensive language and threatening and attempting to assault
complainant. The complainant, Atty. Antonio A. Alcantara, is theincumbent District Public
Attorney of the Public Attorney’s Office in San Jose, Antique. He alleged that while Atty.
Ramon Salvani III was conferring with a client in the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) at the Hall
of Justice in San Jose, Antique, a woman approached them. Complainant suggested Atty. Salvani
to talk with her when respondent Atty. Mariano Pefianco, who was sitting nearby, stood up and
shouted at Atty. Salvani and his client. Atty Pefianco was asked to calm down but he did not
refrain from his outburst. This caused a commotion in the office wherein respondent tried to
attack complainant and even shouted at him, "You’re stupid!" Complainant also submitted
the affidavits of Atty. Ramon Salvani III, Felizardo Del Rosario, Atty. Pepin Joey Marfil, Robert
Minguez,Herbert Ysulat and Ramon Quintayo to corroborate his allegations.
In his Comment and Counter-Complaint, respondent Pefianco said that the sight of the crying
woman, whose husband had beenmurdered, moved him and prompted him to take up her
defense. He also averred that it was Alcantara who punched him and called him stupid.

ISSUE:

Whether or not respondent’s act violate the Code of Professional Responsibility.

HELD:

YES. Pefianco violated Canon 8 of the Code of Professional Responsibility: CANON 8 -


A LAWYER SHALL CONDUCT HIMSELF WITH COURTESY, FAIRNESS AND CANDOR
TOWARD HIS PROFESSIONAL COLLEAGUES, AND SHALL AVOID HARASSING
TACTICS AGAINST OPPOSING COUNSEL.

Lawyers are duty bound to uphold the dignity of the legal profession. They must act
honorably, fairly and candidly toward each other and otherwise conduct themselves without
reproach at all times. In this case, respondent’s meddling in a matter in which he had no right to
do so caused the untoward incident. Though he thought that this is righteous, his public
behaviorcan only bring down the legal profession in the eyes of the public and erode respect for
it. An injustice cannot be righted by another injustice.

WHEREFORE, Atty. Mariano Pefianco is found GUILTY of violation of Canon 8 of the Code
of Professional Responsibility and, considering this to be his first offense, is hereby FINED in
the amount of P1,000.00 and REPRIMANDED with a warning that similar action in the future
will be sanctioned more severely.
[A.C. No. 2339. February 24, 1984.]

JOSE M. CASTILLO, Complainant,


vs.
ATTY. SABINO PADILLA, JR., Respondent.

FACTS:

Complainant was the counsel for the defendants (and at the same time, one of the
defendants) in Criminal Case No. 13331 for forcible entry before the Metropolitan Trial Court of
Caloocan. Respondent was counsel for the plaintiff. At the hearing of the case on November 19,
1981, while complainant was formally offering his evidence, he heard respondent say "bobo."
When complainant turned toward respondent, he saw the latter looking at him (complainant)
menacingly. Embarrassed and humiliated in the presence of many people, complainant was
unable to proceed with his offer of evidence. The court proceedings had to be suspended.

While admitting the utterance, respondent denied having directed the same at the complainant,
claiming that what he said was "Ay, que bobo", referring to "the manner complainant was trying
to inject wholly irrelevant and highly offensive matters into the record" while in the process of
making an offer of evidence.

ISSUE:

Whether or not respondent be suspended from the practice of law for the use of insulting
language in the course of judicial proceedings.

HELD:

Among the duties of an attorney are: (1) to observe and maintain the respect due to the
courts of justice; and (2) to abstain from all offensive personality and to advance no fact
prejudicial to the honor or reputation of a party or witness unless required by the justice of the
cause with which he is charged. (Rules of Court, Rule 138, Sec. 20 (b) and (f). The Canons of
Professional Ethics likewise exhort lawyers to avoid all personalities between counsel. (Canon
17.)

Whether directed at the person of complainant or his manner of offering evidence, the
remark "bobo" or "Ay, que bobo" was offensive and uncalled for. Respondent had no right to
interrupt complainant which such cutting remark while the latter was addressing the court. In so
doing, he exhibited lack of respect not only to a fellow lawyer but also to the court.
The Court, however, notes that in the case at bar, respondent’s actuation was triggered by
complainant’s own manifest hostility and provocative remarks. Complainant is therefore not
entirely free from blame when respondent unleashed his irritation through the use of improper
words.

WHEREFORE, respondent is hereby reprimanded for his misbehavior. He is directed to


observe proper decorum and restraint and warned that a repetition of the offense will be dealt
with more severely.
A.M. No. 219 September 29, 1962
CASIANO U. LAPUT, petitioner,
vs.
ATTY. FRANCISCO E.F. REMOTIGUE and ATTY. FORTUNATO P.
PATALINGHUG, respondents.

FACTS :

Petitioner ATTY. CASIANO U. LAPUT charge respondents ATTY. FRANCISCO


E.F. REMOTIGUE and ATTY. FORTUNATO P. PATALINGHUG with unprofessional and
unethical conduct in soliciting cases and intriguing against a brother lawyer. In May 1952,
Nieves Rillas Vda. de Barrera retained petitioner Atty. Laput to handle her "Testate Estate of
Macario Barrera" case in CFI-Cebu. By Jan. 1955, petitioner had prepared two pleadings: (1)
closing of administration proceedings, and (2) rendering of final accounting and partition of said
estate. Mrs. Barrera did not countersign both pleadings. Petitioner found out later that respondent
Atty. Patalinghug had filed on 11 Jan. 1955 a written appearance as the new counsel for Mrs.
Barrera. On 5 Feb. 1955, petitioner voluntarily asked the court to be relieved as Mrs. Barrera’s
counsel.

Petitioner alleged that: (1) respondents’ appearances were unethical and improper; (2)
they made Mrs. Barrera sign documents revoking the petitioner’s “Power of Attorney"
purportedly to disauthorize him from further collecting and receiving dividends of the estate
from Mr. Macario Barrera’s corporations, and make him appear as a dishonest lawyer and no
longer trusted by his client; and (3) Atty. Patalinghug entered his appearance without notice to
petitioner.

Respondent Atty. Patalinghug answered that when he entered his appearance on 11 Jan.
1955 Mrs. Barrera had already lost confidence in her lawyer, and had already filed a pleading
discharging his services. The other respondent Atty. Remotigue answered that when he filed his
appearance on 7 Feb. 1955, the petitioner had already withdrawn as counsel.

The SC referred the case to the SolGen for investigation, report and recommendation.
The latter recommended the complete exoneration of respondents.

ISSUE :

Whether or not Atty. Remotigue and Atty Patalinghug are guilty of unprofessional and
unethical conduct in soliciting cases.
HELD :

No. The SC found no irregularity in the appearance of Atty. Patalinghug as counsel for
Mrs. Barrera; and there was no actual grabbing of a case from petitioner because Atty.
Patalinghug's professional services were contracted by the widow. Besides, the petitioner's
voluntary withdrawal on 5 Feb. 1955, and his filing almost simultaneously of a motion for the
payment of his attorney's fees, amounted to consent to the appearance of Atty. Patalinghug as
counsel for the widow.

The SC also held that respondent Atty. Remotigue was also not guilty of unprofessional
conduct inasmuch as he entered his appearance, dated 5 Feb. 1955, only on 7 February 1955,
after Mrs. Barrera had dispensed with petitioner's professional services, and after petitioner had
voluntarily withdrawn his appearance.

As to Atty. Patalinghug’s preparation of documents revoking the petitioner’s power of


attorney, the SolGen found that the same does not appear to be prompted by malice or intended
to hurt petitioner's feelings, but purely to safeguard the interest of the administratrix.

Case dismissed and closed for no sufficient evidence submitted to sustain the charges.
A.M. No. 944 July 25, 1974

FLORA NARIDO, complainant,


vs.
ATTORNEY JAIME S. LINSANGAN, respondent.

58 SCRA 85 – Legal Ethics – Mutual Bickering Between Opposing Counsels

FACTS:

This case arose from a labor dispute where Atty. Rufino Risma represented Flora Narido,
an indigent client against her employer Vergel De Dios, the client of Atty. Jaime Linsangan.
During the proceedings in the trial court, Atty. Risma vehemently opposed the submission of a
certain affidavit executed by De Dios because, in the belief of Risma, said affidavit is perjured.
He threatened Atty. Linsangan that if said affidavit is submitted in court, they shall file a
disbarment case against him. The affidavit was filed and so Risma and Narido filed an
administrative case against Linsangan.

Linsangan on the other hand filed a separate administrative case against Risma where he
accused Risma of instigating his client to file an administrative case against him; that said
administrative case is groundless; that it was only filed to spite him and is just a mere scheme to
threaten him and to ensure that Risma and Narido has an edge over the labor case.

ISSUE:

Whether or not both administrative cases should prosper.

HELD:

No. The Supreme Court adopted the findings of the Solicitor General where it was
recommended that both administrative cases are not well merited.

In the administrative case against Linsangan, it was found out that there is no sufficient evidence
to prove that De Dios’ affidavit is perjured. Or if even so, there is no showing that Linsangan
was in bad faith for it was not proven that he has the intention of misleading the court.
In the administrative case against Risma, it was not proven that he instigated Narido. It was
Risma’s zeal in protecting his client’s interest that made him to convince Narido to file an
administrative case against Linsangan. There was no bad faith on the part of Risma. He even
advanced the expenses because Narido is indigent.

HOWEVER, it was found that Risma made an arrangement with Narido that he shall collect 15%
from whatever amount they shall collect from De Dios as a result of the labor case. Risma was
admonished for this; that under the Workmen’s Compensation Act, he’s only allowed to collect a
maximum of 10%. He’s advised to keep abreast of said law.