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PEÑA vs. PATERNO her property had she held on to it.

Respondent
prayed for the dismissal of the case.
FACTS: Anita C. Peña personally knew Atty.
Christina C. Paterno as respondent was her lawyer ISSUE: WON Paterno should be disbarred.
in a legal separation case, which she filed against
her husband and the aforementioned property HELD: YES.
was her share in their property settlement. RATIO: Pursuant to Section 27, Rule 138 of the
Complainant stated that she also knew personally Rules of Court, a lawyer may be removed or
one Estrella D. Kraus, as she was respondent’s suspended for any deceit or dishonest act, thus:
trusted employee who did secretarial work for Sec. 27. Attorneys removed or suspended by
respondent. Paterno suggested that she Supreme Court on what grounds. – A member of
(complainant) apply for a loan from a bank to the bar may be removed or suspended from his
construct townhouses on her property for sale to office as attorney by the Supreme Court for any
interested buyers, and that her property be offered deceit, malpractice, or other gross misconduct in
as collateral. Paterno assured Peña that she would such office, grossly immoral conduct, or by reason
work out the speedy processing and release of the of his conviction of a crime involving moral
loan. Peña discovered that her apartment was turpitude, or for any violation of the oath which
already demolished, and in its place, four he is required to take before admission to practice,
residential houses were constructed on her or for a wilfull disobedience of any lawful order of
property, which she later learned was already a superior court, or for corruptly or wilfully
owned by one Ernesto D. Lampa, who bought her appearing as an attorney for a party to a case
property from Estrella D. Kraus. Complainant without authority to do so. The practice of
learned that her property was sold to Krisbuilt soliciting cases at law for the purpose of gain,
Traders Company, Ltd., and respondent was the either personally or through paid agents or
Notary Public before whom the sale was brokers, constitutes malpractice.
acknowledged. Krisbuilt Traders Company, Ltd.,
through its Managing Partner, Estrella D. Kraus, Given the facts of this case, wherein respondent
sold the same to one Ernesto D. Lampa. was in possession of complainant’s copy of the
certificate of title to the property in Marikina, and
Complainant stated in her Complaint that she did it was respondent who admittedly prepared the
not sell her property to Krisbuilt Traders Deed of Sale, which complainant denied having
Company, Ltd., and that she neither signed any executed or signed, the important evidence of the
deed of sale in its favor nor appeared before alleged forgery of complainant’s signature on the
respondent to acknowledge the sale. She alleged Deed of Sale and the validity of the sale is the Deed
that respondent manipulated the sale of her of Sale itself. However, a copy of the Deed of Sale
property. Respondent alleged that complainant could not be produced by the Register of Deeds of
took hold of the Deed of Sale. Complainant Marikina City, as it could not be located in the
allegedly told respondent that she would inform general files of the registry, and a certification was
respondent when the transaction was completed issued stating that the Deed of Sale may be
so that the Deed of Sale could be recorded in the considered lost. Moreover, respondent did not
Notarial Book. Thereafter, respondent claimed submit to the Clerk of Court of the RTC of Manila
that she had no knowledge of what transpired her Notarial Report for the month of November
between complainant and the Spouses Kraus. 1986, including the said Deed of Sale, which was
Respondent stated that she was never entrusted executed on November 11, 1986. Hence,
with complainant’s certificate of title. Moreover, it Investigating Commissioner Sordan opined that it
was only complainant who negotiated the sale of appears that efforts were exerted to get rid of the
her property. According to respondent, copies of the said Deed of Sale to prevent
complainant’s inaction for eight years to verify complainant from getting hold of the document
what happened to her property only meant that for the purpose of handwriting verification from
she had actually sold the same, and that she an expert to prove that her alleged signature on
concocted her story when she saw the prospect of the Deed of Sale was forged. The failure of
respondent to submit to the proper RTC Clerk of of five (5) months, complainant’s motion
Court her Notarial Register/Report for the month remained unacted, prompting him to file a Second
of November 1986 and a copy of the Deed of Sale, Motion for Execution. However, still, there was
which was notarized by her within that month, no action until the complainant agreed to give
has far-reaching implications and grave respondent a portion of the monetary award
consequences, as it in effect suppressed evidence thereof after the latter asked from the former how
on the veracity of the said Deed of Sale and much would be his share. Thereafter, respondent
showed the deceitful conduct of respondent to issued a writ of execution but the employer of the
withhold the truth about its authenticity. During complainant moved to quash the said writ.
her testimony, it was observed by the Eventually, issued a new writ of execution
Investigating Commissioner and reflected in the wherein complainant’s monetary awards were
transcript of records that respondent would reduced to the effect that it modifies the
neither directly confirm nor deny that she DECISION of the CA. Complainant now filed the
notarized the said Deed of Sale. For the instant disbarment complaint before the
aforementioned deceitful conduct, respondent is Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP), averring
disbarred from the practice of law. As a member that respondent violated the Code of Professional
of the bar, respondent failed to live up to the Responsibility for (a) soliciting money from
standards embodied in the Code of Professional complainant in exchange for a favorable
Responsibility, particularly the following Canons: resolution; and (b) issuing a wrong decision to
give benefit and advantage to PT&T,
CANON 1 – A lawyer shall uphold the complainant’s employer.
constitution, obey the laws of the land and
promote respect for law and for legal processes. ISSUE:Whether or not respondent is guilty of
gross immorality for his violation of Rules 1.01
Rule 1.01 – A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, and 1.03, Canon 1, and Rule 6.02, Canon 6 of the
dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct. Code.
Rule 1.02 – A lawyer shall not counsel or abet HELD: YES. The above-cited rules, which are
activities aimed at defiance of the law or at contained under Chapter 1 of the Code, delineate
lessening confidence in the legal system. the lawyer’s responsibility to society: Rule 1.01
CANON 7 – A lawyer shall at all times uphold the engraves the overriding prohibition against
integrity and dignity of the legal profession, and lawyers from engaging in any unlawful,
support the activities of the Integrated Bar. dishonest, immoral and deceitful conduct; Rule
1.03 proscribes lawyers from encouraging any suit
Rule 7.03 – A lawyer shall not engage in conduct or proceeding or delaying any man’s cause for any
that adversely reflects on his fitness to practice corrupt motive or interest; meanwhile, Rule 6.02 is
law, nor should he, whether in public or private particularly directed to lawyers in government
life, behave in a scandalous manner to the service, enjoining them from using one’s public
discredit of the legal profession. position to: (1) promote private interests; (2)
advance private interests; or (3) allow private
DISPOSITION: Respondent Atty. Christina C. interests to interfere with public duties. It is well
Paterno is DISBARRED to note that a lawyer who holds a government
EDUARDO A. ABELLA vs. RICARDO G. office may be disciplined as a member of the Bar
BARRIOS, JR. only when his misconduct also constitutes a
violation of his oath as a lawyer.
FACTS: Complainant obtained a favorable
judgment from the Court of Appeals involving a The infractions of the respondent constitute
Labor Case. Complainant then filed a Motion for gross misconduct. Jurisprudence illumines that
Issuance of a Writ of Execution before the immoral conduct involves acts that are willful,
Regional Arbitration Branch which the flagrant, or shameless, and that show a moral
respondent was the Labor Arbiter. After the lapse indifference to the opinion of the upright and
respectable members of the community. It treads and told him categorically that she was getting off
the line of grossness when it is so corrupt as to the car. Instead he accelerated a bit more but
constitute a criminal act, or so unprincipled as to sensing her insistence to get off, he stopped the
be reprehensible to a high degree, or when car, and allowed her to get off.
committed under such scandalous or revolting
circumstances as to shock the community’s sense Jocelyn de Leon then filed with the Integrated Bar
of decency. On the other hand, gross misconduct of the Philippines (IBP) a complaint for
constitutes "improper or wrong conduct, the disbarment or suspension from the practice of law
transgression of some established and definite against Atty. Tyrone Pedreña.
rule of action, a forbidden act, a dereliction of IBP Investigating Commissioner recommended
duty, willful in character, and implies a wrongful for his disbarment, the IBP Board of Governors
intent and not mere error of judgment." however modified the penalty to three-month
In this relation, Section 27, Rule 138 of the suspension from practice of law. Upon Motion for
Rules of Court states that when a lawyer is found Reconsideration by Atty. Pedreña which the
guilty of gross immoral conduct or gross Board denied, they increased the penalty to six
misconduct, he may be suspended or months. Thereafter transmitted records and
disbarred.However, the Court takes judicial notice resolution to the Court for approval.
of the fact that he had already been disbarred in a Issue: Whether or not Atty. Pedreña is guilty of
previous administrative case, entitled Sps. Rafols, violating Rule 1.01 of Canon 1 of the Code of
Jr. v. Ricardo G. Barrios, Jr., which therefore Professional Responsibility.
precludes the Court from duplicitously decreeing
the same. In view of the foregoing, the Court Ruling: Yes, Atty. Pedreña is guilty. The Supreme
deems it proper to, instead, impose a fine in the Court adopted the findings and conclusions of the
amount of P40,000.00 in order to penalize Investigating Commissioner. Yet, the Court
respondent’s transgressions as discussed herein consider the recommended penalty of suspension
and to equally deter the commission of the same for six months not commensurate with the gravity
or similar acts in the future. of the offensive acts committed.

JOCELYN DE LEON v. ATTY. TYRONE Given the circumstances in which Atty. Pedreña
PEDRENA committed them, his acts were not merely
offensive and undesirable but repulsive,
Facts: Atty. Tyrone Pedreña, a Public Attorney of
disgraceful and grossly immoral. In this regard, it
Parañaque City. Jocelyn De Leon is a single
bears stressing that immoral conduct is gross
mother of two minor children. Atty. Pedreña is the
when it is so corrupt as to constitute a criminal act,
counsel of Jocelyn De Leon on the case for support
or so unprincipled as to be reprehensible to a high
for the two minor children.
degree, or when committed under such
Records show, as established by the IBP scandalous or revolting circumstances as to shock
Investigating Commissioner, on January 30, 2006 the community’s sense of decency.
after asking about the status of the case Atty.
Therefore, the Court took into consideration
Pedreña told Jocelyn De Leon then to ride with
judicial precedents on gross immoral conduct
him and he would just drop Jocelyn by the jeepney
bearing on sexual matters. The Court consider the
station, she refused to ride with him but Atty.
acts committed by Atty. Pedreña to be not of the
Pedreña persistently told her to get in the car, and
same degree as the acts committed by the
so she acceded to his request so as not to offend
respondent lawyer in Calub v. Suller, among other
him. Inside the car Atty. Pedreña rubbed the
cases whereby the respondent lawyer was
Jocelyn’s right leg with his hand; tried to insert his
disbarred for raping his neighbor’s wife. Unlike in
finger into her firmly closed hand; grabbed her
Barrientos where there was deceit and in Delos
hand and forcibly placed it on his crotch area; and
Reyes where there were threats and taking
pressed his finger against her private part. Jocelyn
advantage of a lawyer’s position, Atty. Pedreña
thereafter tried at all cost to unlock the car’s door
did not employ any scheme to satiate his lust, but, there as Doc. No. 31, Page No. 08 was a
instead, he desisted upon the first signs of the De cancellation of real estate mortgage dated January
Leon’s firm refusal to give in to his advances. 11, 1996.

In view of these considerations, according to the Respondents Calubaquib and Baliga both
Court penalty of suspension from the practice of admitted the incorrectness of the entries and
law for two years is fitting and just. simply attributed them to the inadvertence in
good faith of their secretary and legal assistants to
Victor Lingan VS. Attys. Romeo Calubaquib and whom they had left the task of entering all his
Jimmu P. Baliga
notarial documents.
FACTS: A complaint for disbarment was filed by
ISSUE: Whether or not respondents
Victor Lingan against Attys. Romeo Calubaquib
violated the Notarial Practice Law
and Jimmy Baliga on November 16, 2000.
Complainant alleged that respondents, both RULING: It is abundantly clear that the notary
notaries public, falsified certain public documents, public is personally accountable for all entries in
as follows: his notarial register. Section 245 of the Notarial
Law provides that every notary public shall keep
1. A complaint for annulment of title with
a register to be known as the notarial register,
damages filed by Isaac Villegas against
wherein record shall be made of all his official acts
complainant with the Regional Trial Court of
as notary; and he shall supply a certified copy of
Tuguegarao, Cagayan. Respondent Calubaquib
such record, or any part thereof, to any person
signed the verification and certification of non-
applying for it and paying the legal fees therefore.
forum shopping of the complaint as notary public
Section 246 of the same law also provides that the
and entered the same as Doc. No. 182; Page No. 38;
notary public shall enter in such register, in
Book No. CLXXII; Series of 1996, which according
chronological order, the nature of each instrument
to the records of the National Archives, the
executed, sworn to, or acknowledged before him,
document entered as Doc. No. 182; Page 38; Book
the person executing, swearing to, or
No. CLXXII; Series of 1996 in respondent
acknowledging the instrument, the witnesses, if
Calubaquib’s notarial register was an affidavit of
any, to the signature, the date of execution, oath,
one Daniel Malayao.
or acknowledgment of the instrument, the fees
2. A special power of attorney dated collected by him for his services as notary in
September 10, 1996 executed by Isaac Villegas connection therewith, and, when the instrument is
appointing respondent Calubaquib as his a contract, he shall keep a correct copy thereof as
attorney-in-fact to “enter into a compromise part of his records, and shall likewise enter in said
agreement under such terms and conditions records a brief description of the substance thereof
acceptable to him” which was notarized by and shall give to each entry a consecutive number,
respondent Baliga and entered as Doc. No. 548, beginning with number one in each calendar year.
Page No. 110; Book No. VIII; Series of 1996, which The notary shall give to each instrument executed,
according to respondent Baliga’s notarial register, sworn to, or acknowledged before him a number
Doc. No. 548; Page No. 110; Book No. VIII; Series corresponding to the one in his register, and shall
of 1996 pertains to an affidavit of loss of one Pedro also state on the instrument the page or pages of
Telan, dated August 26, 1996. his register on which the same is recorded. No
blank line shall be left between entries.
3. A petition for reappointment as notary
public for and in Tuguegarao,Cagayan by In this connection, Section 249(b) provides that the
respondent Baliga, which was notarized by failure of the notary to make the proper entry or
respondent Calubaquib and entered in his notarial entries in his notarial register touching his notarial
register as Doc. No. 31, Page No. 08, Book No. acts in the manner required by law shall, in the
CXXX, Series of 1995. However, Notarial Register discretion of the proper judge of first instance, be
Book No. CXXX was for the year 1996 and entered sufficient ground for the revocation of his
commission:
Respondents cannot be relieved of responsibility against JMJB International Services, Inc. The case
for the violation of the aforesaid sections by was raffled to respondent, who is a Labor Arbiter.
passing the buck to their secretaries, a
reprehensible practice which to this day persists
despite our open condemnation. Respondent dismissed the case on a
Notarization is not an empty, meaningless or finding that Flores had voluntarily resigned from
routinary act but one invested with substantive employment. The case was elevated to the NLRC,
public interest, such that only those who are but was dismissed for having been filed out of
qualified or authorized to do so may act as time. The case was then brought to the Court of
notaries public. The protection of that interest Appeals (CA).
necessarily requires that those not qualified or The CA ruled that the appeal to the
authorized to act must be prevented from NLRC had been timely filed, sets aside the NLRC
inflicting themselves upon the public, the courts Resolution for being null and void and granted
and the administrative offices in general. monetary awards to Flores. On 19 February 2003,
Notarization by a notary public converts a private the CA Decision became final and executory.
document into a public one and makes it Flores filed before respondent a Motion for
admissible in evidence without further proof of its Execution of the CA Decision.
authenticity. Notaries public must therefore Accordingly, complainant filed an
observe utmost care with respect to the basic administrative case against respondent, citing that
requirements of their duties. the latter's act of archiving the records of the labor
FALLO: WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, case and refusal to amend the Writ of Execution
respondents Atty. Romeo I. Calubaquib and Atty. constituted a violation of the Lawyer's Oath, the
Jimmy P. Baliga are hereby found guilty of Code of Professional Responsibility, and other
violation of Rule 1.01, Canon 1 of the Code of ethical standards.
Professional Responsibility and of their lawyer’s In a Resolution dated 11 April 2007, the IBP Board
oath. They are both ordered SUSPENDED from found respondent guilty and recommended his
the practice of law for ONE YEAR effective disbarment. The gist of the report reads:
immediately, with a warning that another
infraction shall be dealt with more severely. “We find as unacceptable the
respondent's gross delay in performing what is
Their present commissions as notaries public, if supposedly a purely ministerial act on his part, his
any, are hereby REVOKED, with unexplained and unsanctioned resort to
DISQUALIFICATION from reappointment as "archiving" which led to the disappearance of the
notaries public for a period of two years. case records, and his gross ignorance of the law in
Let a copy of this Resolution be attached to the refusing to issue a writ of execution against what
personal records of Atty. Romeo I. Calubaquib the SEC has essentially certified to be a company
and Atty. Jimmy P. Baliga, and copies furnished hiding under a new name. We believe that the
the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, the Office of respondent's actions were not a product of
the Court Administrator and Office of the Bar ignorance, indolence, or negligence, but rather,
Confidant for dissemination to all courts were clearly borne out of a willful, deliberate, and
nationwide. wholly malicious intent to misuse his position by
favoring one of the parties in NLRC Case No. 99-
Mary Ann T. Flores vs Atty. Jovencio LL. Mayor, 06-0972, thus causing no small degree of serious
Jr injury to the complainant therein and to the
integrity of the legal process as a whole.”
FACTS: This administrative case stemmed from
the Complaint for illegal dismissal filed with the ISSUE: Whether or not respondent is guilty of
National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) by violation of the Lawyer's Oath, the Code of
the complainants husband, Jose Roberto Flores
Professional Responsibility, and other ethical Presbitero paid Solidum P50,000.00 as acceptance
standards. fee.

In May 2006, Ma. Theresa Yulo, daughter of


Presbitero also engaged the services of Solidum
HELD: There is a clear neglect of duty and for the registration of a parcel of land. Yulo
ignorance of the law on the part of respondent on however asked the help of her sister, Natividad
account of his failure to immediately act on the Navarro, to finance the case. Hence, Navarro gave
Motion for Execution, as well as his refusal to Solidum Php200,000.00 for the registration
amend the Writ of Execution despite having been expenses.
informed of the amendment of the name - but not
the dissolution - of the corporation against which Meanwhile, Solidum in May and June 2006,
the writ was issued. obtained a total of Php2 million from Navarro. The
loan was covered by two Memorandum of
As a Labor Arbiter, respondent is a Agreement (MOAs). The MOA was prepared by
public officer who must at all times be accountable Solidum. The MOA stated that the monthly
to the people, whom he must serve with utmost interest shall be 10%.
responsibility, integrity, loyalty, and efficiency.
The unjustified delay in his actions and his failure Solidum also borrowed Php 1 million from
to act according to law constituted a breach of his Presbitero during the same period. He again
accountability not only to complainant, but also to drafted a MOA containing the same terms and
the public in general. Further, respondent violated conditions as with Navarro. As additional security
his oath as a lawyer to delay no man for money or for the loan, Solidum mortgaged his 263-hectare
malice, and abandoned his professional land for P1 million in favor of Presbitero.
responsibility to exert every effort and consider it
his duty to assist in the speedy and efficient Nothing happened in the quieting of title case
administration of justice. field by Presbitero since Solidum did nothing after
receiving the acceptance fee.
The Court, however, does not hesitate to
impose the penalty of disbarment when the guilty In the land registration case of Yulo financed by
party has become a repeat offender. Herein Navarro, Navarro later found out that the land
respondent was already suspended from the was already registered to someone else. Navarro
practice of law for a period of six ( 6) months in claims that she should not have financed the case
another case, Lahm Ill v. Mayor, Jr., in which he if only Solidum advised her of the status of the
was found guilty of gross ignorance of the law in land.
violation of the Lawyer's Oath and the Code of Anent the loans, Solidum failed to pay them.
Professional Responsibility. Instead, he questioned the terms of the loans as he
Respondent ATTY. JOVENCIO LL. claimed that the interest rate of said loans at 10%
MAYOR, JR. was found guilty of grave is unconscionable.
misconduct and gross ignorance of the law in Navarro and Presbitero later filed an
violation of the Lawyer's Oath and the Code of administrative case against Solidum.
Professional Responsibility rendering him
unworthy of continuing membership in the legal ISSUE: Whether or not Atty. Ivan Solidum, Jr.
profession. should be disbarred.

Natividad Navarro vs Ivan Solidum, Jr. HELD: Yes.

Canon 16 applies sans lawyer-client relationship Although Solidum acted in his private capacity
when he obtained a total of Php3 million from
In April 2006, Hilda Presbitero engaged the Navarro and Presbitero, he may still be
services of Atty. Ivan Solidum, Jr. to help her in disciplined for misconduct committed either in his
the quieting of her title over a parcel of land. private capacity. The test is whether his conduct
shows him to be wanting in moral character, Atty. George Florendo has been serving as the
honesty, probity, and good demeanor, or whether lawyer of spouses Elpidio and Ma. Elena Tiong.
it renders him unworthy to continue as an officer Elpidio, a US citizen is often times away. For two
of the court. In this case, such act displayed by years, he suspected that his wife and Atty.
Solidum merited his disbarment. Florendo were having an affair. Finally in 1995, he
was able to listen to a telephone conversation
Solidum is guilty of engaging in dishonest and where he heard Atty. Florendo mention amorous
deceitful conduct, both in his professional words to Ma. Elena. Atty. Florendo confronted the
capacity with respect to his client, Presbitero, and two and both eventually admitted to their illicit
in his private capacity with respect to Navarro. relationship. Atty. Florendo and Ma. Elena then
Both Presbitero and Navarro allowed Splidum to executed and signed an affidavit, which was later
draft the terms of the loan agreements. Solidum notarized, stating that they admit of their illicit
drafted the MOAs knowing that the interest rates relationship; that they are seeking the forgiveness
were exorbitant. Later, using his knowledge of the of their respective spouse. Elpidio forgave
law, he assailed the validity of the same MOAs he Florendo and Ma. Elena. But nevertheless, Elpidio
prepared. filed a disbarment case against Florendo.
In the case of Navarro, who financed the Yulo Florendo said he can no longer be sanctioned
case, Solidum also violated Canon 16 of the Code because he was already pardoned.
of Professional Responsibility which provides that
a lawyer shall hold in trust all moneys and ISSUE: Whether or not Atty. Florendo is correct.
properties of his client that may come into his
possession. This is notwithstanding the fact that HELD: No. A petition for suspension or
Navarro is not actually his client in the Yulo case disbarment of a lawyer is a sui generis case. This
but was only the financier of the Yulo case. class of cases is meant to protect the public and the
courts of undesirable members of the legal
In Presbitero’s case, since Presbitero is his client, profession. As such, pardon by the offended party
Solidum also violated Rule 16.04 of the Code of of the act complained of does not operate to offset
Professional Responsibility which provides that a the ground for disbarment or suspension.
lawyer shall not borrow money from his client Florendo’s act of having an affair with his client’s
unless the client’s interests are fully protected by wife manifested his disrespect for the laws on the
the nature of the case or by independent advice. sanctity of marriage and his own marital vow of
Even though Solidum secured the loan with a fidelity. It showed his utmost moral depravity and
mortgage and a MOA, Presbitero’s interest was low regard for the ethics of his profession. He
not fully protected because the property Solidum violated the trust reposed upon him by his client
mortgaged was overvalued. He claimed that his (Canon 17, Code of Professional Responsibility).
263-hectare land was worth P1 million but in fact His illicit relationship with Ma. Elena amounts to
Solidum sold it later for only P150,000.00. Clearly, a disgraceful and grossly immoral conduct
Presbitero was disadvantaged by Solidum’s warranting disciplinary action. Section 27, Rule
ability to use all the legal maneuverings to renege 138 of the Rules of Court provides that an attorney
on his obligation. He took advantage of his may be disbarred or suspended from his office for
knowledge of the law as well as the trust and any deceit, malpractice, or other gross misconduct
confidence reposed in him by his client. in office, grossly immoral conduct, among others.
It cannot be also said, as he claims, that their
Solidum was disbarred by the Supreme Court. relationship is merely a moment of indiscretion
Elpidio Tiong vs Atty. George Florendo considering that their affair went on for more than
two years. Florendo was suspended for 6 months.
Problem Areas in Legal Ethics – Pardon Does Not
Bar Sanction Against an Erring Lawyer – Moral
Depravity – Grossly Immoral Conduct