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Atty.

Christian Monsod is a member of the Philippine Bar,


PROBLEM AREAS IN LEGAL ETHICS having passed the bar examinations of 1960 with a grade
CASE DIGESTS of 86-55%. He has been a dues paying member of the
Integrated Bar of the Philippines since its inception in
1972-73. He has also been paying his professional license
LEGAL ETHICS fees as lawyer for more than ten years. (p. 124, Rollo)

A. PRACTICE OF LAW After graduating from the College of Law (U.P.) and having
hurdled the bar, Atty. Monsod worked in the law office of
1. G.R. No. 100113, September 3, 1991 his father. During his stint in the World Bank Group (1963-
RENATO CAYETANO vs. CHRISTIAN MONSOD, HON. 1970), Monsod worked as an operations officer for about
JOVITO R. SALONGA, COMMISSION ON APPOINTMENT, two years in Costa Rica and Panama, which involved
and HON. GUILLERMO CARAGUE, in his capacity as getting acquainted with the laws of member-countries
Secretary of Budget and Management negotiating loans and coordinating legal, economic, and
project work of the Bank. Upon returning to the
Facts: Philippines in 1970, he worked with the Meralco Group,
served as chief executive officer of an investment bank and
Christian Monsod was nominated by President Corazon C. subsequently of a business conglomerate, and since 1986,
Aquino to the position of Chairman of the COMELEC in a has rendered services to various companies as a legal and
letter received by the Secretariat of the Commission on economic consultant or chief executive officer. As former
Appointments on April 25, 1991. Renato Cayetano Secretary-General (1986) and National Chairman (1987)
opposed the nomination because allegedly Monsod does of NAMFREL. Monsod's work involved being
not possess the required qualification of having been knowledgeable in election law. He appeared for NAMFREL
engaged in the practice of law for at least ten in its accreditation hearings before the Comelec. In the
years. On June 5, 1991, the Commission on field of advocacy, Monsod, in his personal capacity and as
Appointments confirmed the nomination of Monsod as former Co-Chairman of the Bishops Businessmen's
Chairman of the COMELEC. On June 18, 1991, he took his Conference for Human Development, has worked with the
oath of office. On the same day, he assumed office as under privileged sectors, such as the farmer and urban
Chairman of the COMELEC. poor groups, in initiating, lobbying for and engaging in
affirmative action for the agrarian reform law and lately
Pertinent provision of the 1987 Philippine Constitution the urban land reform bill. Monsod also made use of his
regarding the required qualifications for COMELEC is as legal knowledge as a member of the Davide Commission, a
follows: quast judicial body, which conducted numerous hearings
(1990) and as a member of the Constitutional Commission
There shall be a Commission on Elections composed (1986-1987), and Chairman of its Committee on
of a Chairman and six Commissioners who shall be Accountability of Public Officers, for which he was cited by
natural-born citizens of the Philippines and, at the the President of the Commission, Justice Cecilia Muñoz-
time of their appointment, at least thirty-five years Palma for "innumerable amendments to reconcile
of age, holders of a college degree, and must not government functions with individual freedoms and public
have been candidates for any elective position in the accountability and the party-list system for the House of
immediately preceding elections. However, a Representative.
majority thereof, including the Chairman, shall be
members of the Philippine Bar who have been Issue:
engaged in the practice of law for at least ten years.
Whether or not Christian Monsod possesses the required
Challenging the validity of the confirmation by the qualification of having been in the “practice of law” for at
Commission on Appointments of Monsod's nomination, least ten years.
petitioner as a citizen and taxpayer, filed the instant
petition for certiorari and Prohibition praying that said Ruling:
confirmation and the consequent appointment of Monsod
as Chairman of the Commission on Elections be declared Yes. “Practice of law” means any activity, in or out of court,
null and void. which requires the application of law, legal procedure,
knowledge, training and experience. "To engage in the
practice of law is to perform those acts which are

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LLB – 4 (S.Y. 2015-2016)

Abing, Patrick Jamero, Jacinto Jr. Maglasang, Laarni Ursal, April Lynn
Gulbin, Lou Ann Magdoza, Bregette Niere, Sherlyn Ysulan, Aura Bern
Franje, Hanelli Jane JD-4 Tabuñag, Vincent Roel JD-4
characteristics of the profession. Generally, to practice law respondent instigated the filing of the cases and even
is to give notice or render any kind of service, which device harassed and threatened Taggat employees to accede and
or service requires the use in any degree of legal sign an affidavit to support the complaint.
knowledge or skill."
Complainant also contends that respondent is guilty of
In the light of the various definitions of the term “practice engaging in the private practice of law while working as a
of law" and taking into consideration the liberal government prosecutor. Complainant presented evidence
construction intended by the framers of the Constitution, to prove that respondent received P10,000 as retainer’s
Atty. Monsod's past work experiences as a lawyer- fee for the months of January and February 1995, another
economist, a lawyer-manager, a lawyer-entrepreneur of P10,000 for the months of April and May 1995, and P5,000
industry, a lawyer-negotiator of contracts, and a lawyer- for the month of April 1996. Complainant seeks the
legislator of both the rich and the poor — verily more than disbarment of respondent for violating Rule 15.03 of the
satisfy the constitutional requirement — that he has been Code of Professional Responsibility and for defying the
engaged in the practice of law for at least ten years. prohibition against private practice of law while working
as government prosecutor.
2. A.C. No. 6705, March 31, 2006
RUTHIE LIM-SANTIAGO vs. ATTY. CARLOS B. SAGUCIO Respondent refutes complainant’s allegations and
counters that complainant was merely aggrieved by the
Facts: adverse resolution of the criminal complaint. Respondent
claims that when the criminal complaint was filed,
Ruthie Lim-Santiago ("complainant") is the daughter of respondent had resigned from Taggat for more than five
Alfonso Lim and Special Administratrix of his estate. years, thus, no longer owed his undivided loyalty to
Alfonso Lim is a stockholder and the former President of Taggat. Respondent argues that it was his sworn duty to
Taggat Industries, Inc. Atty. Carlos B. Sagucio conduct the necessary preliminary investigation.
("respondent") was the former Personnel Manager and Respondent does not dispute his receipt, after his
Retained Counsel of Taggat Industries, Inc. until his appointment as government prosecutor, of retainer fees
appointment as Assistant Provincial Prosecutor of from complainant but claims that it was only on a case-to-
Tuguegarao, Cagayan in 1992. Taggat Industries, Inc. case basis and it ceased in 1996.
("Taggat") is a domestic corporation engaged in the
operation of timber concessions from the government. The IBP Commissioner Funa’s Report and Recommendation
PCGG sequestered it sometime in 1986, and its operations ("Report") finding respondent guilty of conflict of
ceased in 1997. interests, failure to safeguard a former client’s interest,
and violating the prohibition against the private practice of
Sometime in July 1997, 21 employees of Taggat filed a law while being a government prosecutor imposed a
criminal complaint against Ruthie Lim-Santiago. Taggat penalty of three years suspension from the practice of law.
employees alleged that complainant, who took over Taggat Clearly, Respondent undoubtedly handled the personnel
after the death of her father, withheld payment of their and labor concerns of Taggat and undoubtedly dealt with
salaries and wages without valid cause from 1 April 1996 and related with the employees of Taggat which lawyer
to 15 July 1997. owes something to a former client. Herein Respondent
owes to Taggat, a former client, the duty to "maintain
Respondent Atty. Sagucio, as Assistant Provincial inviolate the client’s confidence or to refrain from doing
Prosecutor, was assigned to conduct the preliminary anything which will injuriously affect him in any matter in
investigation. He resolved the criminal complaint by which he previously represented him."
recommending the filing of 651 Informations for violation
of Article 288 in relation to Article 116 of the Labor Code As to the propriety of receiving "retainer fees" or
of the Philippines. "consultancy fees" from herein Complainant while being
an Assistant Provincial Prosecutor, and for rendering legal
Complainant now charges respondent for violating Rule consultancy work while being an Assistant Provincial
15.03 Code of Professional Responsibility. Complainant Prosecutor, this matter had long been settled. Government
contends that respondent is guilty of representing prosecutors are prohibited to engage in the private
conflicting interests. Respondent, being the former practice of law. To engage in the practice of law is to do
Personnel Manager and Retained Counsel of Taggat, knew any of those acts that are characteristic of the legal
the operations of Taggat very well and should have profession.
inhibited himself. Furthermore, complainant claims that

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LLB – 4 (S.Y. 2015-2016)

Abing, Patrick Jamero, Jacinto Jr. Maglasang, Laarni Ursal, April Lynn
Gulbin, Lou Ann Magdoza, Bregette Niere, Sherlyn Ysulan, Aura Bern
Franje, Hanelli Jane JD-4 Tabuñag, Vincent Roel JD-4
The IBP Board of Governors forwarded the Report to the employment with complainant or Taggat in resolving the
Court as provided under Section 12(b), Rule 139-B of the criminal complaint.
Rules of Court.
Respondent engaged in the private practice of law while
Issue: working as a government prosecutor.

Whether or not the respondent is guilty of violating Rule The Court has defined the practice of law broadly as – x x x
15.03 and Rule 1.01 of the Code of Professional any activity, in or out of court, which requires the
Responsibility. application of law, legal procedure, knowledge, training
and experience. "To engage in the practice of law is to
Ruling: perform those acts which are characteristics of the
profession. Generally, to practice law is to give notice or
The Court exonerates respondent from the charge of render any kind of service, which device or service
violation of Rule 15.03 of the Code of Professional requires the use in any degree of legal knowledge or skill."
Responsibility but finds respondent liable for violation of
Rule 1.01, Canon 1 of the same Code against unlawful "Private practice of law" contemplates a succession of acts
conduct when he violated Section 7(b)(2) of the Code of of the same nature habitually or customarily holding one’s
Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and self to the public as a lawyer. Respondent argues that he
Employees or Republic Act No. 6713 ("RA 6713"). only rendered consultancy services to Taggat
intermittently and he was not a retained counsel of Taggat
Canon 6 provides that the Code "shall apply to lawyers in from 1995 to 1996 as alleged. This argument is without
government service in the discharge of their official merit because the law does not distinguish between
duties." A government lawyer is thus bound by the consultancy services and retainer agreement. For as long
prohibition "not [to] represent conflicting interests." The as respondent performed acts that are usually rendered by
prohibition to represent conflicting interests does not lawyers with the use of their legal knowledge, the same
apply when no conflict of interest exists, when a written falls within the ambit of the term "practice of law."
consent of all concerned is given after a full disclosure of Nonetheless, respondent admitted that he rendered his
the facts or when no true attorney-client relationship legal services to complainant while working as a
exists. Respondent is also mandated under Rule 1.01 of government prosecutor. Even the receipts he signed stated
Canon 1 not to engage in "unlawful x x x conduct.” This that the payments by Taggat were for "Retainer’s fee."
includes violation of the statutory prohibition on a Thus, as correctly pointed out by complainant, respondent
government employee to "engage in the private practice of clearly violated the prohibition in RA 6713.
[his] profession unless authorized by the Constitution or
law, provided, that such practice will not conflict or tend to However, violations of RA 6713 are not subject to
conflict with [his] official functions." Complainant’s disciplinary action under the Code of Professional
evidence failed to substantiate the claim that respondent Responsibility unless the violations also constitute
represented conflicting interests. infractions of specific provisions of the Code of
Professional Responsibility. Certainly, the IBP has no
One test of inconsistency of interests is whether the lawyer jurisdiction to investigate violations of RA 6713 – the Code
will be asked to use against his former client any of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and
confidential information acquired through their Employees – unless the acts involved also transgress
connection or previous employment. In the present case, provisions of the Code of Professional Responsibility.
we find no conflict of interests when respondent handled
the preliminary investigation of the criminal complaint Under Civil Service Law and rules, the penalty for
filed by Taggat employees in 1997. The issue in the government employees engaging in unauthorized private
criminal complaint pertains to non-payment of wages that practice of profession is suspension for six months and one
occurred from 1 April 1996 to 15 July 1997. Clearly, day to one year. We find this penalty appropriate for
respondent was no longer connected with Taggat during respondent’s violation in this case of Rule 1.01, Canon 1 of
that period since he resigned sometime in 1992. The only the Code of Professional Responsibility.
established participation respondent had with respect to
the criminal complaint is that he was the one who WHEREFORE, we find respondent Atty. Carlos B. Sagucio
conducted the preliminary investigation. On that basis GUILTY of violation of Rule 1.01, Canon 1 of the Code of
alone, it does not necessarily follow that respondent used Professional Responsibility. Accordingly, we SUSPEND
any confidential information from his previous

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LLB – 4 (S.Y. 2015-2016)

Abing, Patrick Jamero, Jacinto Jr. Maglasang, Laarni Ursal, April Lynn
Gulbin, Lou Ann Magdoza, Bregette Niere, Sherlyn Ysulan, Aura Bern
Franje, Hanelli Jane JD-4 Tabuñag, Vincent Roel JD-4
respondent Atty. Carlos B. Sagucio from the practice of law "Misconduct" generally means wrongful, improper or
for SIX MONTHS effective upon finality of this Decision. unlawful conduct motivated by a premeditated, obstinate
or intentional purpose. The term, however, does not
3. A.C. No. 5095, November 28, 2007 necessarily imply corruption or criminal intent.
FATHER RANHILIO C. AQUINO, LINA M. GARAN,
ESTRELLA C. LOZADA, POLICARPIO L. MABBORANG, The penalty to be imposed for such act of misconduct
DEXTER R. MUNAR, MONICO U. TENEDRO, ANDY R. committed by a lawyer is addressed to the sound
QUEBRAL, NESTOR T. RIVERA, EDUARDO C. discretion of the Court. In Arrieta vs. Llosa, wherein Atty.
RICAMORA, ARTHUR G. IBAÑEZ, AURELIO C. CALDEZ Joel A. Llosa notarized a Deed of Absolute Sale knowing
and DENU A. AGATEP vs. ATTY. EDWIN PASCUA that some of the vendors were already dead, this Court
held that such wrongful act "constitutes misconduct" and
Facts: thus imposed upon him the penalty of suspension from the
practice of law for six months, this being his first
For our resolution is the letter-complaint dated August 3, administrative offense. Also, in Vda. de Rosales vs. Ramos,
1999 of Father Ranhilio C. Aquino, then Academic Head of we revoked the notarial commission of Atty. Mario G.
the Philippine Judicial Academy, joined by Lina M. Garan Ramos and suspended him from the practice of law for six
and the other above-named complainants, against Atty. months for violating the Notarial Law in not registering in
Edwin Pascua, a Notary Public in Cagayan. In his letter- his notarial book the Deed of Absolute Sale he notarized. In
complaint, Father Aquino alleged that Atty. Pascua falsified Mondejar vs. Rubia, however, a lesser penalty of one month
two documents committed as follows: suspension from the practice of law was imposed on Atty.
Vivian G. Rubia for making a false declaration in the
(1) He made it appear that he had notarized the document she notarized.
"Affidavit-Complaint" of one Joseph B. Acorda
entering the same as "Doc. No. 1213, Page No. 243, In the present case, considering that this is Atty. Pascua's
Book III, Series of 1998, dated December 10, first offense, we believe that the imposition of a three-
1998". month suspension from the practice of law upon him is in
order. Likewise, since his offense is a ground for
(2) He also made it appear that he had notarized revocation of notarial commission, the same should also be
the "Affidavit-Complaint" of one Remigio B. imposed upon him.
Domingo entering the same as "Doc. No. 1214,
Page 243, Book III, Series of 1998, dated 4. JBC No. 013, August 22, 2007
December 10, 1998. Re: Non-disclosure Before the Judicial and Bar Council
of the Administrative Case Filed Against Judge Jaime V.
Father Aquino further alleged that on June 23 and July 26, Quitain, in His Capacity as the then Asst. Regional
1999, Atty. Angel Beltran, Clerk of Court, Regional Trial Director of the National Police Commission, Regional
Court, Tuguegarao, certified that none of the above entries Office XI, Davao City.
appear in the Notarial Register of Atty. Pascua; that the last
entry therein was Document No. 1200 executed on Facts:
December 28, 1998; and that, therefore, he could not have
notarized Documents Nos. 1213 and 1214 on December Judge Jaime Vega Quitain was appointed Presiding Judge of
10, 1998. the RTC. Subsequent thereto, the Office of the Court
Administrator (OCA) received confidential information
Issue: that administrative and criminal charges were filed against
Judge Quitain in his capacity as then Assistant Regional
Whether or not the respondent is guilty of misconduct in Director of NAPOLCOM, as a result of which he was
the performance of his duties. dismissed from the service per A.O. No. 183.

Ruling: In the Personal Data Sheet (PDS) submitted to the JBC,


Judge Quitain declared that there were five criminal cases
Atty. Pascua is guilty of misconduct in the performance of filed against him before the Sandiganbayan, which were all
his duties for failing to register in his Notarial Register the dismissed. No administrative case was disclosed by Judge
affidavit-complaints of Joseph B. Acorda and Remigio B. Qutain in his PDS.
Domingo.

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Abing, Patrick Jamero, Jacinto Jr. Maglasang, Laarni Ursal, April Lynn
Gulbin, Lou Ann Magdoza, Bregette Niere, Sherlyn Ysulan, Aura Bern
Franje, Hanelli Jane JD-4 Tabuñag, Vincent Roel JD-4
To confirm the veracity of the information, then Deputy his PDS with the JBC, he had full knowledge of the subject
Court Administrator (DCA) Christopher Lock requested administrative case, as well as A.O. No. 183 dismissing him
from the Sandiganbayan certified copies of the Orders from the government service.
dismissing the criminal cases and from NAPOLCOM
certified true copies of documents relative to the Respondent filed his Comment contending that before he
administrative complaints filed against Judge Quitain, filed his application for RTC Judge with the JBC, he had no
particularly A.O. No. 183 dismissing him from the service. knowledge that he was administratively dismissed from
NAPOLCOM furnished the OCA a copy of A.O. No. 183 the NAPOLCOM service as the case was "secretly heard and
showing that respondent Judge was indeed dismissed from decided."
the service for Grave Misconduct for falsifying or altering
the amounts reflected in disbursement vouchers in OCA submitted its Memorandum stating therein that it was
support of his claim for reimbursement of expenses. adopting its earlier findings. Based on the documents
presented, it cannot be denied that at the time Judge
In a letter addressed to DCA Lock, Judge Quitain denied Quitain applied as an RTC judge, he had full knowledge of
having committed any misrepresentation before the JBC. A.O. No. 183 dismissing him from government service. OCA
He alleged that he never received from the Office of the maintained its recommendation that Judge Quitain be
President an official copy of A.O. No. 183 dismissing him dismissed from the service with prejudice to his
from the service. reappointment to any position in the government,
including government-owned or controlled corporations,
Thereafter, DCA Lock directed Judge Quitain to explain and with forfeiture of all retirement benefits except
within ten (10) days from notice why he did not include in accrued leave credits.
his PDS, which was sworn to before a notary public, the
administrative case filed against him, and the fact of his Issue:
dismissal from the service.
Whether or not Judge Quitain concealed his administrative
In his letters, respondent explained that during the charges and dismissal in the PDS and filed his application
investigation of his administrative case by the NAPOLCOM with knowledge of said charges and dismissal.
Ad Hoc Committee, one of its members suggested to him
that if he resigns from the government service, he will no Ruling:
longer be prosecuted; that following such suggestion, he
tendered his irrevocable resignation from NAPOLCOM Yes. SC fully agrees with the disquisition and the
which was immediately accepted by the Secretary of the recommendation of the OCA. It behooves every
DILG; that he did not disclose the case in his PDS because prospective appointee to the Judiciary to apprise the
he was of the "honest belief" that he had no more pending appointing authority of every matter bearing on his fitness
administrative case by reason of his resignation; that his for judicial office, including such circumstances as may
resignation "amounted to an automatic dismissal" of his reflect on his integrity and probity. These are
administrative case considering that "the issues raised qualifications specifically required of appointees to the
therein became moot and academic"; and that had he Judiciary by Sec. 7(3), Article VIII of the Constitution.
known that he would be dismissed from the service, he
should not have applied for the position of a judge since he Judge Quitain failed to disclose that he was
knew he would never be appointed. administratively charged and dismissed from the service
for grave misconduct per A.O. No. 183 by no less than the
Finding reasonable ground to hold him administratively former President of the Philippines. He insists that before
liable, then Court Administrator Presbitero J. Velasco, Jr. he filed with the JBC his verified PDS in support of his
and then DCA Lock submitted a Memorandum to then application for RTC Judge, he had no knowledge of A.O. No.
Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide, Jr. An examination of the 183; and that he was denied due process. He further
PDS submitted by Judge Quitain with the JBC, which was argues that since all the criminal cases filed against him
subscribed and sworn to before Notary Public, reveals that were dismissed, and considering the fact that he resigned
he concealed material facts and even committed perjury in from office, his administrative case had become moot and
having answered "yes" to Question No. 24, but without academic. Respondent’s contentions utterly lack merit.
disclosing the fact that he was dismissed from the
government service. Judge Quitain deliberately did not No amount of explanation or justification can erase the fact
disclose the fact that he was dismissed from the that Judge Quitain was dismissed from the service and that
government service. At the time he filled up and submitted he deliberately withheld this information. His insistence

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Abing, Patrick Jamero, Jacinto Jr. Maglasang, Laarni Ursal, April Lynn
Gulbin, Lou Ann Magdoza, Bregette Niere, Sherlyn Ysulan, Aura Bern
Franje, Hanelli Jane JD-4 Tabuñag, Vincent Roel JD-4
that he had no knowledge of A.O. No. 183 is belied by the that he is tendering his irrevocable resignation effective
newspaper items published relative to his dismissal. In the immediately as Presiding Judge of the RTC, Branch 10,
Mindanao Times, Judge Quitain stated in one of his Davao City.
interviews that "I was dismissed from the Napolcom office
without due process." It also reads: "Quitain, who was one The resignation of Judge Quitain which was accepted by
of the guests in yesterday’s Kapehan sa Dabaw, wept the Court without prejudice does not render moot and
unabashedly as he read his prepared statement on his academic the instant administrative case. The jurisdiction
dismissal from the government service." that the Court had at the time of the filing of the
administrative complaint is not lost by the mere fact that
Neither can we give credence to the contention that he was the respondent judge by his resignation and its consequent
denied due process. The documents submitted by the acceptance – without prejudice – by this Court, has ceased
NAPOLCOM to the OCA reveal that Commissioner Alexis to be in office during the pendency of this case. The Court
Canonizado, Chairman Ad Hoc Committee, sent him retains its authority to pronounce the respondent official
summons informing him that an administrative complaint innocent or guilty of the charges against him. A contrary
had been filed against him and required him to file an rule would be fraught with injustice and pregnant with
answer. Respondent, through his counsel, filed an Answer. dreadful and dangerous implications. Indeed, if innocent,
In administrative proceedings, the essence of due process the respondent official merits vindication of his name and
is simply an opportunity to be heard, or an opportunity to integrity as he leaves the government which he has served
explain one’s side or opportunity to seek a reconsideration well and faithfully; if guilty, he deserves to receive the
of the action or ruling complained of. Where opportunity corresponding censure and a penalty proper and
to be heard either through oral arguments or through imposable under the situation.
pleadings is accorded, there is no denial of due process.
WHEREFORE, in view of our finding that JUDGE JAIME V.
Furthermore, cessation from office by his resignation does QUITAIN is guilty of grave misconduct which would have
not warrant the dismissal of the administrative complaint warranted his dismissal from the service had he not
filed against him while he was still in the service nor does resigned during the pendency of this case, he is hereby
it render said administrative case moot and academic. meted the penalty of a fine of P40,000.00. It appearing that
Judge Quitain was removed from office after investigation he has yet to apply for his retirement benefits and other
and was found guilty of grave misconduct. His dismissal privileges, if any, the Court likewise ORDERS the
from the service is a clear proof of his lack of the required FORFEITURE of all benefits, except earned leave credits
qualifications to be a member of the Bench. which Judge Quitain may be entitled to, and he is
PERPETUALLY DISQUALIFIED from reinstatement and
More importantly, it is clear that Judge Quitain deliberately appointment to any branch, instrumentality or agency of
misled the JBC in his bid to gain an exalted position in the the government, including government-owned and/or
Judiciary. controlled corporations.

We cannot overemphasize the need for honesty and 5. Adm. Case No. 2984, August 31, 2007
integrity on the part of all those who are in the service of RODOLFO M. BERNARDO vs. ATTY. ISMAEL F. MEJIA
the Judiciary. We have often stressed that the conduct
required of court personnel, from the presiding judge to Facts:
the lowliest clerk of court, must always be beyond
reproach and circumscribed with the heavy burden of Before the Court is a petition for review of Administrative
responsibility as to let them be free from any suspicion Case No. 2984 with plea for reinstatement in the practice
that may taint the Judiciary. We condemn, and will never of law filed by Ismael F. Mejia (Mejia) who is already
countenance any conduct, act or omission on the part of all seventy-one years old and barred from the practice of law
those involved in the administration of justice, which for fifteen years.
would violate the norm of public accountability and
diminish or even just tend to diminish the faith of the The antecedent facts that led to Mejia’s disbarment are as
people in the Judiciary. follows.

Considering the foregoing, Judge Quitain is hereby found On January 23, 1987, Rodolfo M. Bernardo, Jr. accused his
guilty of grave misconduct. He deserves the supreme retained attorney, Ismael F. Mejia, of the following
penalty of dismissal. However, the Court received a letter administrative offenses:
from Judge Quitain addressed to the Chief Justice stating

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LLB – 4 (S.Y. 2015-2016)

Abing, Patrick Jamero, Jacinto Jr. Maglasang, Laarni Ursal, April Lynn
Gulbin, Lou Ann Magdoza, Bregette Niere, Sherlyn Ysulan, Aura Bern
Franje, Hanelli Jane JD-4 Tabuñag, Vincent Roel JD-4
1) misappropriating and converting to his personal The applicant must, like a candidate for admission to the
use: bar, satisfy the Court that he is a person of good moral
a) part of the sum of P27,710.00 entrusted character, a fit and proper person to practice law. The
to him for payment of real estate taxes on Court will take into consideration the applicants character
property belonging to Bernardo, situated and standing prior to the disbarment, the nature and
in a subdivision known as Valle Verde I; character of the charge/s for which he was disbarred, his
and conduct subsequent to the disbarment, and the time that
b) part of another sum of P40,000.00 has elapsed between the disbarment and the application
entrusted to him for payment of taxes and for reinstatement.
expenses in connection with the
registration of title of Bernardo to After his disbarment, he put up the Mejia Law Journal, a
another property in a subdivision known publication containing his religious and social writings. He
as Valle Verde V; also organized a religious organization and named it El
2) falsification of certain documents, Cristo Movement and Crusade on Miracle of Heart and
3) issuing a check, knowing that he was without Mind.
funds in the bank, in payment of a loan obtained
from Bernardo in the amount of P50,000.00, and The practice of law is a privilege burdened with conditions.
thereafter, replacing said check with others Adherence to the rigid standards of mental fitness,
known also to be insufficiently funded. maintenance of the highest degree of morality and faithful
compliance with the rules of the legal profession are the
The Supreme Court En banc declared the respondent, Atty. continuing requirements for enjoying the privilege to
Ismael F. Mejia, guilty of all the charges against him and practice law.
hereby imposes on him the penalty of disbarment.
6. A.C. No. 6697, July 25, 2006
12 years later in 1999, Mejia filed a Petition praying that ZOILO ANTONIO VELEZ vs. ATTY. LEONARD S. DE VERA
he be allowed to reengage in the practice of law. The
Supreme Court En Banc issued a Resolution denying the Facts:
petition for reinstatement.
In AC No. 6697, Complainant Zoilo Antonio Velez sought
8 years thereafter in 2007, Mejia filed the present petition the suspension or disbarment of Respondent Atty. Leonard
for review of Administrative Case No. 2984 with a plea for de Vera (1) for misrepresentation through his concealment
reinstatement in the practice of law. No comment or of the suspension order rendered against him by the State
opposition was filed against the petition. Bar of California; and (2) for violation of the “rotation rule”
enunciated in Administrative Matter No. 491.
In the petition, Mejia acknowledged his indiscretions in the
law profession. Fifteen years had already elapsed since The first ground concerned an administrative case filed
Mejia’s name was dropped from the Roll of Attorneys. At against Atty. de Vera before the State Bar of California. The
the age of seventy-one, he is begging for forgiveness and action arose from an insurance case he had handled
pleading for reinstatement. According to him, he has long involving Julius Wills III, who had figured in an automobile
repented and he has suffered enough. Through his accident in 1986. To settle the case amicably, Atty. de Vera
reinstatement, he wants to leave a legacy to his children received -- on his client’s behalf -- a $12,000 check, which
and redeem the indignity that they have suffered due to his he then deposited in his personal account. Because of his
disbarment. irregular deposit of his client's funds, respondent was
suspended from the practice of law for three years, upon
Issue: the recommendation of the hearing referee. The case was
not decided on the merits, because Atty. de Vera resigned
Whether or not the Court decides that the public interest from the California Bar. Later, his resignation was accepted
in the orderly and impartial administration of justice will by the Supreme Court of California.
continue to be preserved even with the applicant’s reentry
as a counselor at law. On the second ground, complainant averred that
respondent’s transfer of membership from the Pasay,
Ruling: Parañaque, Las Piñas and Muntinlupa (PPLM) IBP Chapter
to the Agusan del Sur IBP Chapter was a circumvention of
Petition is granted. the rotation rule. Allegedly, Atty. de Vera made the transfer

UNIVERSITY OF CEBU – COLLEGE OF LAW Page 7


LLB – 4 (S.Y. 2015-2016)

Abing, Patrick Jamero, Jacinto Jr. Maglasang, Laarni Ursal, April Lynn
Gulbin, Lou Ann Magdoza, Bregette Niere, Sherlyn Ysulan, Aura Bern
Franje, Hanelli Jane JD-4 Tabuñag, Vincent Roel JD-4
for the sole purpose of becoming IBP national president. maintained that his removal from his two positions had
Complainant stressed that respondent neither resided in been done without due notice and due process.
Agusan del Sur nor held office there.
Issue:
A companion case, Bar Matter No. 1227, referred to the
letter-request of respondent, asking the Supreme Court to Whether or not respondent Atty. de Vera committed
schedule his oath-taking as IBP national president. On the malpractice which amounted to moral turpitude in the
other hand, AM No. 05-5-15-SC referred to the letter- State Bar of California and in the Philippines, in the course
report of IBP National President Jose Anselmo I. Cadiz, of his practice of law.
furnishing the Court with the May 13, 2005, IBP Resolution
removing Atty. de Vera from the latter’s positions as IBP Ruling:
board member and executive vice-president, for
committing acts inimical to the board and the IBP in Yes. There is substantial evidence of malpractice on the
general. part of Atty. de Vera independent of the recommendation
of suspension by the hearing officer of the State Bar of
The controversy in these two consolidated cases started California. The Court cited Maquera, according to which a
when the IBP board approved the withdrawal of a Petition judgment of suspension against a Filipino lawyer in a
docketed at the Supreme Court as “Integrated Bar of the foreign jurisdiction may transmute into a similar judgment
Philippines et al vs. Senate of the Philippines et al. - SC- of suspension in the Philippines, only if the basis of the
R165108.” Subsequently, during the plenary session held foreign court’s action included any of the grounds for
at the 10th National IBP Convention, respondent allegedly disbarment or suspension in our jurisdiction. The Court
made some untruthful statements, innuendos, and blatant opined that by insisting that he was authorized by his
lies in connection with the IBP board's Resolution to client’s father and attorney-in-fact to use the funds, Atty.
withdraw the Petition. de Vera was impliedly admitting his use of the Willis funds
for his own personal use. Undoubtedly, his unauthorized
On May 12, 2005, IBP Governor Romulo A. Rivera wrote to use of his client’s funds was highly unethical. Canon 16 of
IBP National President Cadiz, praying for the removal of the Code of Professional Responsibility is emphatic about
the IBP board membership of Atty. de Vera, who had this matter. The conduct of Atty. de Vera -- holding on to
allegedly committed acts inimical to the board and the IBP the money of his client without the latter’s acquiescence --
in general. The following day, during its 20th regular was indicative of lack of integrity and propriety. It was
meeting, the IBP board resolved by a two-thirds vote to clear that by depositing the $12,000 check in his own bank
remove respondent from his positions as a member of the account and using it for his own benefit, respondent was
board of governors and as the executive vice-president guilty of malpractice, gross misconduct, and unethical
(EVP) of the IBP. behavior. He violated his oath to conduct himself with all
good fidelity to his client. Nevertheless, the Court decreed
On June 13, 2005, the IBP board took note of the vacancy that, where any lesser penalty could accomplish the end
in the EVP position, brought about by the removal of Atty. desired, disbarment should not be decreed. Considering
de Vera. In his stead, IBP Governor Pura Angelica Y. the amount involved in this case, the Court considered the
Santiago was formally elected and declared as EVP. penalty of suspension for two years appropriate. The Court
found that the transfer by Atty. de Vera of his membership
On June 20, 2005, Atty. Santiago voluntarily relinquished to the Agusan del Sur IBP Chapter was within his rights. He
that position. Thus, on June 25, 2005, during its last could not be deemed to be guilty of unethical conduct or
regular meeting, the IBP board elected a new EVP in the behavior. Neither the Code of Professional Responsibility
person of IBP Governor Jose Vicente B. Salazar. On June 28, nor the Lawyer’s Oath punished lawyers for aspiring to be
2005, IBP National President Cadiz requested the Supreme the IBP national president or prohibited them from doing
Court's approval of Atty. Salazar's election and assumption perfectly legal acts in accomplishing that goal.
of office as national president, in the event that Atty. de
Vera would be disbarred or suspended from the practice of
law; or should his removal from his positions as member
of the 2003-2005 board of governors and as EVP of the IBP
be approved by the Court. Protesting the election of both
Atty. Santiago and Atty. Salazar, respondent also denied
having committed acts inimical to the IBP and its board. He

UNIVERSITY OF CEBU – COLLEGE OF LAW Page 8


LLB – 4 (S.Y. 2015-2016)

Abing, Patrick Jamero, Jacinto Jr. Maglasang, Laarni Ursal, April Lynn
Gulbin, Lou Ann Magdoza, Bregette Niere, Sherlyn Ysulan, Aura Bern
Franje, Hanelli Jane JD-4 Tabuñag, Vincent Roel JD-4
7. G.R. No. 154207, April 27, 2007 de oficio, there being no claim for civil indemnity, and that
FERDINAND A. CRUZ vs. ALBERTO MINA, HON. therefore, the intervention of a private prosecutor is not
ELEUTERIO F. GUERRERO and HON. ZENAIDA legally tenable.
LAGUILLES
On May 9, 2002, the petitioner filed before the RTC a
Facts: Motion for Reconsideration. The petitioner argues that
nowhere does the law provide that the crime of Grave
On September 25, 2000, Ferdinand A. Cruz (petitioner) Threats has no civil aspect. And last, petitioner cites Bar
filed before the MeTC a formal Entry of Appearance, as Matter No. 730 dated June 10, 1997 which expressly
private prosecutor, in Criminal Case No. 00-1705 for Grave provides for the appearance of a non-lawyer before the
Threats, where his father, Mariano Cruz, is the complaining inferior courts, as an agent or friend of a party litigant,
witness. even without the supervision of a member of the bar.

The petitioner, describing himself as a third year law Pending the resolution of the foregoing Motion for
student, justifies his appearance as private prosecutor on Reconsideration before the RTC, the petitioner filed a
the bases of Section 34 of Rule 138 of the Rules of Court Second Motion for Reconsideration dated June 7, 2002
and the ruling of the Court En Banc in Cantimbuhan vs. with the MeTC seeking the reversal of the March 4, 2002
Judge Cruz, Jr. that a non-lawyer may appear before the Denial Order of the said court, on the strength of Bar
inferior courts as an agent or friend of a party litigant. The Matter No. 730, and a Motion to Hold In Abeyance the Trial
petitioner furthermore avers that his appearance was with dated June 10, 2002 of Criminal Case No. 00-1705 pending
the prior conformity of the public prosecutor and a written the outcome of the certiorari proceedings before the RTC.
authority of Mariano Cruz appointing him to be his agent
in the prosecution of the said criminal case. On June 5, 2002, the RTC issued its Order denying the
petitioner’s Motion for Reconsideration.
However, in an Order dated February 1, 2002, the MeTC
denied permission for petitioner to appear as private Likewise, in an Order dated June 13, 2002, the MeTC
prosecutor on the ground that Circular No. 19 governing denied the petitioner’s Second Motion for Reconsideration
limited law student practice in conjunction with Rule 138- and his Motion to Hold in Abeyance the Trial on the
A of the Rules of Court (Law Student Practice Rule) should ground that the RTC had already denied the Entry of
take precedence over the ruling of the Court laid down in Appearance of petitioner before the MeTC.
Cantimbuhan; and set the case for continuation of trial.
Issue:
On February 13, 2002, petitioner filed before the MeTC a
Motion for Reconsideration seeking to reverse the Whether or not Cruz, a third year law student, may appear
February 1, 2002 Order alleging that Rule 138-A, or the before an inferior court as an agent or friend of a party
Law Student Practice Rule, does not have the effect of litigant.
superseding Section 34 of Rule 138, for the authority to
interpret the rule is the source itself of the rule, which is Ruling:
the Supreme Court alone. The MeTC denied the Motion for
Reconsideration. Yes. In Resolution dated June 10, 1997 in Bar Matter No.
730, the Court En Banc clarified:
On April 2, 2002, the petitioner filed before the RTC a
Petition for Certiorari and Mandamus with Prayer for The rule, however, is different if the law student
Preliminary Injunction and Temporary Restraining Order appears before an inferior court, where the issues
against the private respondent and the public respondent and procedure are relatively simple. In inferior
MeTC. courts, a law student may appear in his personal
capacity without the supervision of a lawyer.
After hearing the prayer for preliminary injunction to Section 34, Rule 138 provides:
restrain public respondent MeTC Judge from proceeding
with Criminal Case No. 00-1705 pending the Certiorari Sec. 34. By whom litigation is conducted. -
proceedings, the RTC, in a Resolution dated May 3, 2002, In the court of a justice of the peace, a
resolved to deny the issuance of an injunctive writ on the party may conduct his litigation in person,
ground that the crime of Grave Threats, the subject of with the aid of an agent or friend
Criminal Case No. 00-1705, is one that can be prosecuted appointed by him for that purpose, or with

UNIVERSITY OF CEBU – COLLEGE OF LAW Page 9


LLB – 4 (S.Y. 2015-2016)

Abing, Patrick Jamero, Jacinto Jr. Maglasang, Laarni Ursal, April Lynn
Gulbin, Lou Ann Magdoza, Bregette Niere, Sherlyn Ysulan, Aura Bern
Franje, Hanelli Jane JD-4 Tabuñag, Vincent Roel JD-4
the aid of an attorney. In any other court, a the payment of annual dues for six months shall
party may conduct his litigation personally warrant suspension of membership in the
or by aid of an attorney, and his Integrated Bar, and default in such payment for one
appearance must be either personal or by a year shall be a ground for the removal of the name
duly authorized member of the bar. of the delinquent member from the Roll of
Attorneys.
Thus, a law student may appear before an inferior
court as an agent or friend of a party without the The all-encompassing, all-inclusive scope of membership
supervision of a member of the bar. in the IBP is stated in these words of the Court Rule:

Section 34, Rule 138 is clear that appearance before the SECTION 1. Organization. — There is hereby
inferior courts by a non-lawyer is allowed, irrespective of organized an official national body to be known as
whether or not he is a law student. As succinctly clarified the 'Integrated Bar of the Philippines,' composed of
in Bar Matter No. 730, by virtue of Section 34, Rule 138, a all persons whose names now appear or may
law student may appear, as an agent or a friend of a party hereafter be included in the Roll of Attorneys of the
litigant, without the supervision of a lawyer before inferior Supreme Court.
courts.
The obligation to pay membership dues is couched in the
8. A.M. No. 1928, August 3, 1978 following words of the Court Rule:
In the Matter of the IBP Membership Dues
Delinquency of Atty. MARCIAL A. EDILION (IBP SEC. 9. Membership dues. Every member of the
Administrative Case No. MDD-1) Integrated Bar shall pay such annual dues as the
Board of Governors shall determine with the
Facts: approval of the Supreme Court. ...

The respondent Marcial A. Edillon is a duly licensed He contends that the stated provisions constitute an
practicing attorney in the Philippines. invasion of his constitutional rights of being compelled to
be a member of the IBP in order to practice his profession
On November 29, 1975, the Integrated Bar of the and thus deprives his rights to liberty and property and
Philippines (IBP) Board of Governors unanimously thereby null and void.
adopted Resolution No. 75-65 in Administrative Case No.
MDD-1 (In the Matter of the Membership Dues Issue:
Delinquency of Atty. Marcial A. Edillon) recommending to
the Court the removal of the name of the respondent from Whether or not it assailed provisions constitutes a
its Roll of Attorneys for "stubborn refusal to pay his deprivation of liberty and property of the respondent.
membership dues" to the IBP since the latter's constitution
notwithstanding due notice. Ruling:

He assailed the provisions of the Rule of Court 139-A and No. The court held that the IBP is a State-organized Bar as
the provisions of par. 2, Section 24, Article III, of the IBP distinguished from bar associations that are organized by
By-Laws pertaining to the organization of IBP, payment of individual lawyers themselves, membership of which is
membership fee and suspension for failure to pay the voluntary. The IBP however is an official national body of
same. which all lawyers must be a member and are subjected to
the rules prescribed for the governance of the Bar which
The authority of the IBP Board of Governors to includes payment of reasonable annual fee for the purpose
recommend to the Supreme Court the removal of a of carrying out its objectives and implementation of
delinquent member's name from the Roll of Attorneys is regulations in the practice of law.
found in par. 2 Section 24, Article Ill of the IBP By-Laws
(supra), whereas the authority of the Court to issue the The provisions assailed does not infringe the
order applied for is found in Section 10 of the Court Rule, constitutional rights of the respondent as it is a valid
which reads: exercise of police power necessary to perpetuate its
existence with regulatory measures to implement. The
SEC. 10. Effect of non-payment of dues. — Subject to name of Edillon was stricken out from the rolls of attorney
the provisions of Section 12 of this Rule, default in for being a delinquent member of the bar.

UNIVERSITY OF CEBU – COLLEGE OF LAW Page 10


LLB – 4 (S.Y. 2015-2016)

Abing, Patrick Jamero, Jacinto Jr. Maglasang, Laarni Ursal, April Lynn
Gulbin, Lou Ann Magdoza, Bregette Niere, Sherlyn Ysulan, Aura Bern
Franje, Hanelli Jane JD-4 Tabuñag, Vincent Roel JD-4
In In Re: Sparks (267 Ky. 93, 101 S.W. (2d) 194), in which B. DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF A LAWYER
the report of the Board of Bar Commissioners in a
disbarment proceeding was confirmed and disbarment I. The Lawyer and The Society
ordered, the court, sustaining the Bar Integration Act of
Kentucky, said: Canon 1 – A lawyer shall uphold the
constitution, obey the laws of the land and
"The power to regulate the conduct and promote respect for law of and legal processes.
qualifications of its officers does not depend upon
constitutional or statutory grounds. It is a power 9. G.R. Nos. 79690-707, April 27, 1988
which is inherent in this court as a court — ENRIQUE A. ZALDIVAR vs. THE HONORABLE
appropriate, indeed necessary, to the proper SANDIGANBAYAN AND HONORABLE RAUL M.
administration of justice ... the argument that this GONZALEZ, CLAIMING TO BE AND ACTING AS
is an arbitrary power which the court is TANODBAYAN-OMBUDSMAN UNDER THE 1987
arrogating to itself or accepting from the CONSTITUTION
legislative likewise misconceives the nature of the
duty. It has limitations no less real because they Facts:
are inherent. It is an unpleasant task to sit in
judgment upon a brother member of the Bar, Zaldivar was the governor of Antique and was charged
particularly where, as here, the facts are disputed. before the Sandiganbayan for violations of the Anti-Graft
It is a grave responsibility, to be assumed only and Corrupt Practices Act. Gonzales was the then
with a determination to uphold the Ideals and Tanodbayan who was investigating the case. Zaldivar then
traditions of an honorable profession and to filed with the Supreme Court a petition for Certiorari,
protect the public from overreaching and fraud. Prohibition and Mandamus assailing the authority of the
The very burden of the duty is itself a guaranty Tanodbayan to investigate graft cases under the 1987
that the power will not be misused or prostituted. Constitution. The Supreme Court, acting on the petition
..." issued a Cease and Desist Order against Gonzalez directing
him to temporarily restrain from investigating and filing
The Court's jurisdiction was greatly reinforced by our informations against Zaldivar. Gonzales however
1973 Constitution when it explicitly granted to the Court proceeded with the investigation and he filed criminal
the power to "Promulgate rules concerning pleading, informations against Zaldivar. Respondent Gonzalez has
practice ... and the admission to the practice of law and the also asserted that the Court was preventing him from
integration of the Bar ... (Article X, Sec. 5(5) the power to prosecuting "rich and powerful persons," that the Court
pass upon the fitness of the respondent to remain a was in effect discrimination between the rich and powerful
member of the legal profession is indeed undoubtedly on the one hand and the poor and defenseless upon the
vested in the Court. other, and allowing "rich and powerful" accused persons to
go "scot-free" while presumably allowing or affirming the
We thus reach the conclusion that the provisions of Rule of conviction of poor and small offenders.
Court 139-A and of the By-Laws of the Integrated Bar of
the Philippines complained of are neither unconstitutional Zaldivar then filed a Motion for Contempt against
nor illegal. Gonzalez. The Supreme Court then ordered Gonzalez to
explain his side. Gonzalez stated that the statements in the
newspapers were true; that he was only exercising his
freedom of speech; that he is entitled to criticize the
rulings of the Court, to point out where he feels the Court
may have lapsed into error.

Issue:

Whether or not Gonzalez is guilty of contempt.

Ruling:

Yes. The statements made by respondent Gonzalez clearly


constitute contempt and call for the exercise of the

UNIVERSITY OF CEBU – COLLEGE OF LAW Page 11


LLB – 4 (S.Y. 2015-2016)

Abing, Patrick Jamero, Jacinto Jr. Maglasang, Laarni Ursal, April Lynn
Gulbin, Lou Ann Magdoza, Bregette Niere, Sherlyn Ysulan, Aura Bern
Franje, Hanelli Jane JD-4 Tabuñag, Vincent Roel JD-4
disciplinary authority of the Supreme Court. According to six years after the date of notarization, they had a dispute
Canon 11: A lawyer shall observe and maintain the respect with one Danilo German over the ownership of the land.
due to the courts and to judicial officers and should insist The case was estafa through falsification of a public
on similar conduct by others. It is one of the bounded document. During the trial of the case, German presented
duties of an attorney to observe and maintain the respect in court an affidavit executed by respondent denying the
due to the courts of justice and judicial officer (Section 20 authenticity of his signature on the deed of sale. The
[b], Rule 138 of the Rules of Court). His statements spouses allegedly forged his notarial signature on said
necessarily imply that the justices of the Supreme Court deed.
betrayed their oath of office. Such statements very clearly
debase and degrade the Supreme Court and, through the According to complainants, respondent overlooked the fact
Court, the entire system of administration of justice in the that the disputed deed of sale contained all the legal
country. Gonzalez is entitled to the constitutional formalities of a duly notarized document, including an
guarantee of free speech. What Gonzalez seems unaware of impression of respondent’s notarial dry seal. Not being
is that freedom of speech and of expression, like all persons who were learned in the technicalities
constitutional freedoms, is not absolute and that freedom surrounding a notarial act, spouses contended that they
of expression needs on occasion to be adjusted to and could not have forged the signature of herein respondent.
accommodated with the requirements of equally They added that they had no access to his notarial seal and
important public interests. One of these fundamental notarial register, and could not have made any imprint of
public interests is the maintenance of the integrity and respondent’s seal or signature on the subject deed of sale
orderly functioning of the administration of justice. There or elsewhere.
is no antinomy between free expression and the integrity
of the system of administering justice. In his answer to the complaint, respondent denied the
allegations against him. He denied having notarized any
Gonzalez, apart from being a lawyer and an officer of the deed of sale covering the disputed property. According to
court, is also a Special Prosecutor who owes duties of respondent, he once worked as a junior lawyer at Carpio
fidelity and respect to the Republic and to the Supreme General and Jacob Law Office where as a matter of office
Court as the embodiment and the repository of the judicial procedure, documents underwent scrutiny by the senior
power in the government of the Republic. The lawyers and it was only when they gave their approval that
responsibility of Gonzalez to uphold the dignity and notarization was done. Respondent added that he
authority of the Supreme Court and not to promote normally required the parties to exhibit their community
distrust in the administration of justice is heavier than that tax certificates and made them personally acknowledge
of a private practicing lawyer. the documents before him as notary public. He would have
remembered complainants had they actually appeared
Gonzalez is also entitled to criticize the rulings of the court before him. While he admitted knowing complainant
but his criticisms must be bona fide. In the case at bar, his Editha Santuyo, he said he met the latter’s husband and co-
statements, particularly the one where he alleged that complainant only on November 5, 1997, or about six years
members of the Supreme Court approached him, are of no from the time that he purportedly notarized the deed of
relation to the Zaldivar case. sale. Moreover, respondent stressed that an examination
of his alleged signature on the deed of sale revealed that it
The Court concludes that respondent Gonzalez is guilty was forged; the strokes were smooth and mild. He
both of contempt of court in facie curiae and of gross suspected that a lady was responsible for forging his
misconduct as an officer of the court and member of the signature.
Bar.
To further refute the accusations against him, respondent
10. A.C. No. 5838, January 17, 2005 stated that, at the time the subject deed of sale was
SPOUSES BENJAMIN SANTUYO AND EDITHA SANTUYO supposedly notarized, on December 27, 1991, he was on
vs. ATTY. EDWIN A. HIDALGO vacation. He surmised that complainants must have gone
to the law office and enticed one of the secretaries, with
Facts: the concurrence of the senior lawyers, to notarize the
document. He claimed he was a victim of a criminal
Complainants stated that sometime in December 1991, scheme motivated by greed.
they purchased a parcel of land covered by a deed of sale
notarized by respondent lawyer and was entered in his The complaint was referred to the IBP for investigation,
notarial register. Complainant spouses averred that about report and recommendation which the IBP noted that the

UNIVERSITY OF CEBU – COLLEGE OF LAW Page 12


LLB – 4 (S.Y. 2015-2016)

Abing, Patrick Jamero, Jacinto Jr. Maglasang, Laarni Ursal, April Lynn
Gulbin, Lou Ann Magdoza, Bregette Niere, Sherlyn Ysulan, Aura Bern
Franje, Hanelli Jane JD-4 Tabuñag, Vincent Roel JD-4
alleged forged signature of respondent on the deed of sale commission as a notary public for a period of two years, if
was different from his signatures in other documents he he is commissioned, or if he is not, he is disqualified from
submitted during the investigation of the present case. an appointment as a notary public for a period of two
However, it ruled that respondent was also negligent years from finality of this resolution.
because he allowed the office secretaries to perform his
notarial functions, including the safekeeping of his notarial 11. A.C. No. 5864, April 15, 2005
dry seal and notarial register. It thus recommended the ARTURO L. SICAT vs. ATTY. GREGORIO E. ARIOLA, JR.
respondent’s commission as notary public be revoked for
two (2) years if he is commissioned as such; or he should Facts:
not be granted a commission as notary public for two (2)
years upon receipt hereof. Arturo Sicat, Board Member of the Sangguniang
Panlalawigan of Rizal charged Atty. Gregorio E. Ariola of
After going over the evidence submitted by the parties, committing fraud, deceit, and falsehood in notarizing a
complainants did not categorically state that they Special Power of Attorney (SPA). Said SPA was
appeared before respondent to have the deed of sale purportedly executed by Juanito Benitez, of the JC Benitez
notarized. The records show that complainants themselves Architect and Technical Management. Said company had a
were not sure if respondent, indeed, signed the document; contract with the Municipality of Cainta for the
what they were sure of was the fact that his signature construction of low cost houses.
appeared thereon. They had no personal knowledge as
well as to who actually affixed the signature of respondent What is fraudulent about it is the fact that the SPA was
on the deed. notarized more than 2 months after the death of Benitez,
the person who supposedly executed it. P P3,700,000 was
Issue: paid to JC Benitez Architect and Technical Management for
services not rendered (as consultants).
Whether or not Atty. Hidalgo is guilty of negligence in the
performance of his duties as notary public. Ariola claims that the document he notarized was
superfluous and unnecessary, and prejudiced no one, and
Ruling: therefore he should be exonerated – the document was
cancelled the same day he notarized it, hence legally there
In finding respondent negligent in performing his notarial was no public document that existed.
functions, the IBP reasoned out that the responsibility
attached to a notary public is sensitive respondent should Issue:
have been more discreet and cautious in the execution of
his duties as such and should not have wholly entrusted Whether or not Ariola can be held liable for the act of
everything to the secretaries; otherwise he should not notarizing the SPA.
have been commissioned as notary public.
Ruling:
For having wholly entrusted the preparation and other
mechanics of the document for notarization to the Yes. Notaries public should not authenticate documents
secretary there can be a possibility that even the unless the persons who signed them are the very same
respondent’s signature which is the only one left for him to persons who executed them and personally appeared
do can be done by the secretary or anybody for that matter before the, to attest to the contents and truth of what are
as had been the case herein. stated therein.

As it is respondent had been negligent not only in the His assertion of falsehood in a public document
supposed notarization but foremost in having allowed the contravened one of the most cherished tenets of the legal
office secretaries to make the necessary entries in his profession and potentially cast suspicion on the
notarial registry which was supposed to be done and kept truthfulness of every notarial act.
by him alone; and should not have relied on somebody
else. Ariola is disbarred, and not merely suspended for a year.

WHEREFORE, respondent Atty. Edwin A. Hidalgo is hereby


found GUILTY of negligence in the performance of his
duties as notary public and is hereby SUSPENDED from his

UNIVERSITY OF CEBU – COLLEGE OF LAW Page 13


LLB – 4 (S.Y. 2015-2016)

Abing, Patrick Jamero, Jacinto Jr. Maglasang, Laarni Ursal, April Lynn
Gulbin, Lou Ann Magdoza, Bregette Niere, Sherlyn Ysulan, Aura Bern
Franje, Hanelli Jane JD-4 Tabuñag, Vincent Roel JD-4
12. A.C. No. 8254, February 15, 2012 gross negligence as a notary public and recommended that
NESA ISENHARDT vs. ATTY. LEONARDO M. REAL he be suspended from the practice of law for one year and
disqualified from reappointment as notary public for two
Facts: (2) years.

This case stemmed from the verified complaint filed with Issue:
the IBP by Nesa G. Isenhardt seeking the disbarment of
respondent Atty. Leonardo M. Real for allegedly notarizing Whether or not respondent is guilty of gross negligence as
a document even without the appearance of one of the a notary public.
parties.
Ruling:
Complainant alleged that respondent notarized a Special
Power Attorney (SPA) supposedly executed by her. The Yes. SC sustained the findings and recommendation of the
SPA authorizes complainant’s brother to mortgage her real IBP.
property. Complainant averred that she never appeared
before respondent. She maintained that it was impossible Respondent violated his oath as a lawyer and the Code of
for her to subscribe to the questioned document in the Professional Responsibility when he made it appear that
presence of respondent since she was in Germany at that complainant personally appeared before him and
time. Complainant submitted that because of respondent’s subscribed an SPA authorizing her brother to mortgage
act, the property subject of the SPA was mortgaged and her property.
later foreclosed by the Rural Bank of Antipolo City.
A notary public should not notarize a document unless the
Respondent denied the allegations in the complaint. He person who signs it is the same person who executed it,
narrated that spouses Wilfredo and Lorena Gusi personally appearing before him to attest to the contents
approached him to seek advice regarding the computer and the truth of what are stated therein. This is to enable
business they were planning to put up. During one of their the notary public to verify the genuineness of the signature
meetings, the spouses allegedly introduced to him Nesa G. of the acknowledging party and to ascertain that the
Isenhardt, sister of Wilfredo, as the financier of their document is the party’s free act.
proposed business. Respondent further narrated that
spouses Gusi and the complainant, went to his office to Respondent insists that complainant appeared before him
have the subject SPA notarized. He maintained that the and subscribed to the SPA subject of the instant case. His
parties all signed in his presence, exhibiting to him their contention, however, cannot prevail over the documentary
respective CTCs. Complainant even presented to him the evidence presented by complainant that she was not in the
original copy of the TCT of the property subject of the SPA Philippines on 14 September 2000, the day the SPA was
evidencing her ownership of the property. allegedly notarized.

Respondent concluded that complainant’s cause of action Anent respondent’s claim of prescription of the offense, we
had already prescribed. He argued that a complaint for agree with the Investigating Commissioner that the rule
disbarment prescribes in two years from the date of should be construed to mean two years from the date of
professional misconduct. discovery of the professional misconduct. To rule
otherwise would cause injustice to parties who may have
Moreover, respondent noted that the SPA in question discovered the wrong committed to them only at a much
authorizing the grantee Wilfredo Gusi to mortgage the later date. In this case, the complaint was filed more than
property of complainant was not used for any transaction three years after the commission of the act because it was
with a third person prejudicial to the latter. The only after the property was foreclosed that complainant
annotation at the back of the TCT would show that the discovered the SPA.
property subject of the SPA was instead sold by
complainant to her brother Wilfredo. Thus, he submits that The duties of a notary public is dictated by public policy
the SPA did not cause grave injury to the complainant. and impressed with public interest. It is not a meaningless
ministerial act of acknowledging documents executed by
The IBP Board of Governors issued a Resolution which parties who are willing to pay the fees for notarization. It is
adopted and approved the Report and Recommendation of of no moment that the subject SPA was not utilized by the
the Investigating Commissioner. IBP Commissioner Dennis grantee for the purpose it was intended because the
Funa, after due proceeding, found respondent guilty of property was allegedly transferred from complainant to

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LLB – 4 (S.Y. 2015-2016)

Abing, Patrick Jamero, Jacinto Jr. Maglasang, Laarni Ursal, April Lynn
Gulbin, Lou Ann Magdoza, Bregette Niere, Sherlyn Ysulan, Aura Bern
Franje, Hanelli Jane JD-4 Tabuñag, Vincent Roel JD-4
her brother by virtue of a deed of sale consummated married, and that upon learning of this fact, respondent
between them. What is being penalized is respondent’s act immediately cut-off all her ties with Carlos Ui. She stated
of notarizing a document despite the absence of one of the that there was no reason for her to doubt at that time that
parties. By notarizing the questioned document, he the civil status of Carlos Ui was that of a bachelor because
engaged in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful he spent so much time with her, and he was so open in his
conduct. A notarized document is by law entitled to full courtship.
credit upon its face and it is for this reason that notaries
public must observe the basic requirements in notarizing On the issue of the falsified marriage certificate,
documents. Otherwise, the confidence of the public in respondent alleged that it was highly incredible for her to
notarized documents will be undermined. have knowingly attached such marriage certificate to her
Answer had she known that the same was altered.
A lawyer commissioned as notary public having thus failed Respondent reiterated that there was no compelling
to discharge his duties as a notary public, the revocation of reason for her to make it appear that her marriage to
his notarial commission, disqualification from being Carlos Ui took place either in 1985 or 1987, because the
commissioned as a notary public for a period of two years fact remains that respondent and Carlos Ui got married
and suspension from the practice of law for one year, are before complainant confronted respondent and informed
in order. the latter of her earlier marriage to Carlos Ui in June 1988.
Further, respondent stated that it was Carlos Ui who
WHEREFORE, the notarial commission of respondent Atty. testified and admitted that he was the person responsible
Leonardo M. Real is hereby REVOKED. He is disqualified for changing the date of the marriage certificate from 1987
from reappointment as notary public for a period of two to 1985, and complainant did not present evidence to
(2) years and SUSPENDED from the practice of law for a rebut the testimony of Carlos Ui on this matter.
period of one (1) year, effective immediately. He is
WARNED that a repetition of the same or similar offense in The Board of Governors of the Integrated Bar of the
the future shall be dealt with more severely. Philippines dismissed the complaint for Gross Immorality
against Respondent is for lack of merit. But Atty. Iris
13. ADM. CASE No. 3319, June 8, 2000 Bonifacio is REPRIMANDED for knowingly and willfully
LESLIE UI vs. ATTY. IRIS BONIFACIO attaching to her Answer a falsified Certificate of Marriage
with a stern warning that a repetition of the same will
Facts: merit a more severe penalty.

An administrative complaint was filed for disbarment Issue:


against Atty. Iris Bonifacio for allegedly carrying on an
immoral relationship with Carlos L. Ui, husband of Should the complaint for disbarment be dismissed?
complainant, Leslie Ui.
Ruling:
Complainant Leslie Ui prayed for the disbarment of Atty.
Iris Bonifacio and reiterated that respondent committed Yes. Respondent was imprudent in managing her personal
immorality by having intimate relations with a married affairs. However, the fact remains that her relationship
man which resulted in the birth of two (2) children. with Carlos Ui, clothed as it was with what respondent
Complainant testified that respondent’s mother, Mrs. Linda believed was a valid marriage, cannot be considered
Bonifacio, personally knew complainant and her husband immoral. For immorality connotes conduct that shows
since the late 1970s because they were clients of the bank indifference to the moral norms of society and the opinion
where Mrs. Bonifacio was the Branch Manager. It was thus of good and respectable members of the community.
highly improbable that respondent, who was living with Moreover, for such conduct to warrant disciplinary action,
her parents as of 1986, would not have been informed by the same must be "grossly immoral," that is, it must be so
her own mother that Carlos Ui was a married man. corrupt and false as to constitute a criminal act or so
Complainant likewise averred that respondent committed unprincipled as to be reprehensible to a high degree.
disrespect towards the Commission for submitting a
photocopy of a document containing an intercalated date. We have held that "a member of the Bar and officer of the
court is not only required to refrain from adulterous
In her defense, respondent contends, among others, that it relationships x x x but must also so behave himself as to
was she who was the victim in this case and not Leslie Ui avoid scandalizing the public by creating the belief that he
because she did not know that Carlos Ui was already is flouting those moral standards." Respondents act of

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LLB – 4 (S.Y. 2015-2016)

Abing, Patrick Jamero, Jacinto Jr. Maglasang, Laarni Ursal, April Lynn
Gulbin, Lou Ann Magdoza, Bregette Niere, Sherlyn Ysulan, Aura Bern
Franje, Hanelli Jane JD-4 Tabuñag, Vincent Roel JD-4
immediately distancing herself from Carlos Ui upon reappeared and intercepted the scheduled oath-taking of
discovering his true civil status belies just that alleged Barranco which led to its delay.
moral indifference and proves that she had no intention of
flaunting the law and the high moral standard of the legal Issue:
profession. Complainant’s bare assertions to the contrary
deserve no credit. After all, the burden of proof rests upon Whether or not Barranco should be allowed to take his
the complainant, and the Court will exercise its oath despite the accusations of Figueroa.
disciplinary powers only if she establishes her case by
clear, convincing and satisfactory evidence. This, herein Ruling:
complainant miserably failed to do.
Yes. The maintenance of an intimate relationship between
On the matter of the falsified Certificate of Marriage a man and a woman, both of whom had no impediment to
attached by respondent to her Answer, we find improbable marry and voluntarily carried on with the affair, does not
to believe the averment of respondent that she merely amount to a grossly immoral conduct even if a child was
relied on the photocopy of the Marriage Certificate which born out of the relationship. His previous acts may be said
was provided her by Carlos Ui. For an event as significant to be a question to his moral character but none of these
as a marriage ceremony, any normal bride would verily are “so corrupt and false as to constitute a criminal act or
recall the date and year of her marriage. It is difficult to so unprincipled or disgraceful as to be reprehensible to a
fathom how a bride, especially a lawyer as in the case at high degree.” Her allegations that she was forced to have
bar, can forget the year when she got married. Simply sexual relations with him cannot lie as evidenced by her
stated, it is contrary to human experience and highly continued cohabitation with him even after their child was
improbable. born in 1964. The ignobleness of his treatment of Figueroa
is sufficiently punished by the 26 years that he has been
It is the bounden duty of lawyers to adhere unwaveringly prevented from entering the profession he has worked so
to the highest standards of morality. The legal profession hard for.
exacts from its members nothing less. Lawyers are called
upon to safeguard the integrity of the Bar, free from 15. A.C. No. 4585, November 12, 2004
misdeeds and acts constitutive of malpractice. Their MICHAEL P. BARRIOS vs. ATTY. FRANCISCO P.
exalted positions as officers of the court demand no less MARTINEZ
than the highest degree of morality.
Facts:
14. SBC Case No. 519, July 31, 1997
PATRICIA FIGUEROA vs. SIMEON BARRANCO, JR. This is a verified petition for disbarment filed against Atty.
Francisco Martinez for having been convicted by final
Facts: judgment in Criminal Case No. 6608 of a crime involving
moral turpitude by Branch 8 of the Regional Trial Court
Figueroa and Barranco were sweethearts since their teens. (RTC) of Tacloban City.
Their intimacy eventually resulted to a son born out of
wedlock. At this point (1964) Barranco promised Figueroa Atty. Martinez was convicted of the crime involving BP 22.
that he would marry her when he passes the bar He was also involved in another Estafa case pertaining to
examinations. After four takes, he finally passed but did his legal services rendered on the victim of Doña Paz
not hold true to his promise of marriage. In 1971, their tragedy. The victim he represented filed a complaint
relationship ended. Years later, he married another because of the compensation that the victim had received
woman. When Barranco was about to take his oath to from Sulpicio Lines which was later deducted by Atty.
enter the legal profession, Figueroa filed a complaint Martinez. On Sept. 27, 2003 the IBP Board of Governors
relaying to the court what happened between her and passed a resolution approving the report and the
Barranco. Until 1988, Barranco has filed three motions to recommendation of its investigating commissioner. On
dismiss because Figueroa still would not persecute and Dec. 3, 2003 respondent filed a reinvestigation.
because for the past years, he has become elected in the
Sangguniang Bayan, has actively participated in various Issues:
civic organizations and has acquired a good standing
within his community while the case was pending. The 1. Whether or not the crime of issuing worthless check is
court sought the opinion of the IBP which recommended one involving moral turpitude.
that Barranco be allowed to take his oath. Figueroa

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LLB – 4 (S.Y. 2015-2016)

Abing, Patrick Jamero, Jacinto Jr. Maglasang, Laarni Ursal, April Lynn
Gulbin, Lou Ann Magdoza, Bregette Niere, Sherlyn Ysulan, Aura Bern
Franje, Hanelli Jane JD-4 Tabuñag, Vincent Roel JD-4
2. Whether or not the act of the respondent is considered 16. A.C. No. 6057, June 27, 2006
to be a ground for disbarment PETER T. DONTON vs. ATTY. EMMANUEL O.
TANSINGCO
Ruling:
Facts:
1. Yes. Moral turpitude includes everything which is done
contrary to justice, honesty, modesty, or good morals. It This is a disbarment complaint against respondent Atty.
involves an act of baseness, vileness, or depravity in the Emmanuel O. Tansingco ("respondent") for serious
private duties which a man owes his fellow men, or to misconduct and deliberate violation of Canon 1, Rules 1.01
society in general, contrary to the accepted and customary and 1.02 of the Code of Professional Responsibility
rule of right and duty between man and woman, or ("Code").
conduct contrary to justice, honesty, modesty, or good
morals. In his Complaint dated 20 May 2003, Peter T. Donton
("complainant") stated that he filed a criminal complaint
In People of the Philippines vs. Atty. Fe Tuanda, where the for estafa thru falsification of a public document against
erring lawyer was indefinitely suspended for having been Duane O. Stier ("Stier"), Emelyn A. Maggay ("Maggay") and
convicted of three counts of violation of B.P. Blg. 22, we respondent, as the notary public who notarized the
held that conviction by final judgment of violation of B.P. Occupancy Agreement.
Blg. 22 involves moral turpitude and stated:
The disbarment complaint arose when respondent filed a
We should add that the crimes of which respondent was counter-charge for perjury against complainant.
convicted also import deceit and violation of her attorney's Respondent, in his affidavit-complaint, stated that:
oath and the Code of Professional Responsibility under
both of which she was bound to "obey the laws of the 5. The OCCUPANCY AGREEMENT dated September 11,
land." Conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude 1995 was prepared and notarized by me under the
might not (as in the instant case, violation of B.P. Blg. 22 following circumstances:
does not) relate to the exercise of the profession of a
lawyer; however, it certainly relates to and affects the A. Mr. Duane O. Stier is the owner and long-time
good moral character of a person convicted of such offense resident of a real property located at No. 33 Don
Jose Street, Bgy. San Roque, Murphy, Cubao,
2. In this case as well, we find disbarment to be the Quezon City.
appropriate penalty. Of all classes and professions, the
lawyer is most sacredly bound to uphold the laws. He is B. Sometime in September 1995, Mr. Stier – a U.S.
their sworn servant; and for him, of all men in the world, to citizen and thereby disqualified to own real
repudiate and override the laws, to trample them property in his name – agreed that the property
underfoot and to ignore the very bands of society, argues be transferred in the name of Mr. Donton, a
recreancy to his position and office and sets a pernicious Filipino.
example to the insubordinate and dangerous elements of
the body politic. C. Mr. Stier, in the presence of Mr. Donton,
requested me to prepare several documents that
WHEREFORE, respondent Atty. Francisco P. Martinez is would guarantee recognition of him being the
hereby DISBARRED and his name is ORDERED STRICKEN actual owner of the property despite the transfer
from the Roll of Attorneys. Let a copy of this Decision be of title in the name of Mr. Donton.
entered in the respondents record as a member of the Bar,
and notice of the same be served on the Integrated Bar of D. For this purpose, I prepared, among others, the
the Philippines, and on the Office of the Court OCCUPANCY AGREEMENT, recognizing Mr. Stier’s
Administrator for circulation to all courts in the country. free and undisturbed use of the property for his
residence and business operations. The
OCCUPANCY AGREEMENT was tied up with a loan
which Mr. Stier had extended to Mr. Donton.

Complainant averred that respondent’s act of preparing


the Occupancy Agreement, despite knowledge that Stier,
being a foreign national, is disqualified to own real

UNIVERSITY OF CEBU – COLLEGE OF LAW Page 17


LLB – 4 (S.Y. 2015-2016)

Abing, Patrick Jamero, Jacinto Jr. Maglasang, Laarni Ursal, April Lynn
Gulbin, Lou Ann Magdoza, Bregette Niere, Sherlyn Ysulan, Aura Bern
Franje, Hanelli Jane JD-4 Tabuñag, Vincent Roel JD-4
property in his name, constitutes serious misconduct and the law commits an act which justifies disciplinary action
is a deliberate violation of the Code. Complainant prayed against the lawyer.
that respondent be disbarred for advising Stier to do
something in violation of law and assisting Stier in By his own admission, respondent admitted that Stier, a
carrying out a dishonest scheme. U.S. citizen, was disqualified from owning real property.
Yet, in his motion for reconsideration, respondent
In his Comment, respondent claimed that complainant admitted that he caused the transfer of ownership to the
filed the disbarment case against him upon the instigation parcel of land to Stier. Respondent, however, aware of the
of complainant’s counsel, Atty. Bonifacio A. Alentajan, prohibition, quickly rectified his act and transferred the
because respondent refused to act as complainant’s title in complainant’s name. But respondent provided
witness in the criminal case against Stier and Maggay. "some safeguards" by preparing several documents,
Respondent admitted that he "prepared and notarized" the including the Occupancy Agreement, that would guarantee
Occupancy Agreement and asserted its genuineness and Stier’s recognition as the actual owner of the property
due execution. despite its transfer in complainant’s name. In effect,
respondent advised and aided Stier in circumventing the
In a Resolution dated 1 October 2003, the Court referred constitutional prohibition against foreign ownership of
the matter to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) lands by preparing said documents.
for investigation, report and recommendation.
Respondent had sworn to uphold the Constitution. Thus,
Commissioner Milagros V. San Juan ("Commissioner San he violated his oath and the Code when he prepared and
Juan") of the IBP Commission on Bar Discipline found notarized the Occupancy Agreement to evade the law
respondent liable for taking part in a "scheme to against foreign ownership of lands. Respondent used his
circumvent the constitutional prohibition against foreign knowledge of the law to achieve an unlawful end. Such an
ownership of land in the Philippines." Commissioner San act amounts to malpractice in his office, for which he may
Juan recommended respondent’s suspension from the be suspended.
practice of law for two years and the cancellation of his
commission as Notary Public. 17. A.C. No. 6697, July 25, 2006
ZOILO ANTONIO VELEZ vs. ATTY. LEONARD S. DE VERA
The IBP Board of Governors adopted, with modification,
the Report and recommended respondent’s suspension Facts:
from the practice of law for six months.
The controversy involves 3 consolidated cases revolving
Respondent filed a motion for reconsideration before the around Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) Governor
IBP. Respondent stated that he was already 76 years old and Executive Vice-President (EVP) Atty. Leonard de Vera.
and would already retire by 2005 after the termination of Let’s concentrate on the disbarment case questioning Atty.
his pending cases. He also said that his practice of law is de Vera's moral fitness to remain as a member of the
his only means of support for his family and his six minor Philippine Bar and his removal as Governor and EVP of the
children. IBP.

IBP denied the motion for reconsideration because the IBP An administrative case against Atty. de Vera was filed
had no more jurisdiction on the case as the matter had before the State Bar of California. It arose from an
already been referred to the Court. insurance case Atty. de Vera handled involving Julius
Willis, III who figured in an automobile accident in 1986.
Issue: Atty. de Vera was authorized by the elder Willis (father of
Julius who was given authority by the son to control the
Whether or not respondent Atty. Tansingco is liable for case because the latter was then studying in San Diego
violation of Canon 1 and Rule 1.02 of the Code. California) for the release of the funds in settlement of the
case. Atty. de Vera received a check in settlement of the
Ruling: case which he then deposited to his personal account.

Yes. A lawyer should not render any service or give advice The Hearing referee in the said administrative case
to any client which will involve defiance of the laws which recommended that Atty. de Vera be suspended from the
he is bound to uphold and obey. A lawyer who assists a practice of law for three years. Atty. de Vera opted to
client in a dishonest scheme or who connives in violating

UNIVERSITY OF CEBU – COLLEGE OF LAW Page 18


LLB – 4 (S.Y. 2015-2016)

Abing, Patrick Jamero, Jacinto Jr. Maglasang, Laarni Ursal, April Lynn
Gulbin, Lou Ann Magdoza, Bregette Niere, Sherlyn Ysulan, Aura Bern
Franje, Hanelli Jane JD-4 Tabuñag, Vincent Roel JD-4
resign from the California Bar which resignation was recommendation of suspension by the hearing officer of
accepted by the Supreme Court of California. the State Bar of California.

(On the second issue re removal from IBP) At the 10th Atty. de Vera vehemently insisted that he did not
National IBP Convention at Camp John Hay Convention misappropriate his client's funds as the latter's father (the
Center, Baguio City, it was alleged that Atty. de Vera made elder Willis) gave him authority to use the same and that,
some untruthful statements, innuendos and blatant lies in unfortunately, the hearing officer did not consider this
connection with the IBP Board's Resolution to withdraw a explanation notwithstanding the fact that the elder Willis
petition questioning the legality of Republic Act No. 9227. testified under oath that he "expected de Vera might use
the money for a few days."
IBP Gov. Romulo A. Rivera wrote IBP National President
Cadiz a letter praying for the removal of Atty. de Vera as By insisting that he was authorized by his client's father
member of the IBP Board for committing acts which were and attorney-in-fact to use the funds, Atty. de Vera has
inimical to the IBP. Later, the IBP Board resolved to impliedly admitted the use of the Willis funds for his own
remove Atty. de Vera as member of the IBP Board of personal use.
Governors and as IBP Executive Vice President.
(At this point, it bears stressing that in cases filed before
Issue: administrative and quasi-judicial bodies, a fact may be
deemed established if it is supported by substantial
Whether or not the oath of office as lawyer is attached to evidence or that amount of relevant evidence which a
the person of Attorney Leonard S. Devera (sic) wherever reasonable mind might accept as adequate to justify a
he may go and not necessarily bound by the territorial conclusion.)
jurisdiction of the Philippines.
The unauthorized use by a lawyer of his client's funds is
Ruling: highly unethical. Canon 16 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility is emphatic about this, thus:
The recommendation of the hearing officer of the State Bar
of California, standing alone, is not proof of malpractice. CANON 16. A LAWYER SHALL HOLD IN TRUST ALL
The judgment of suspension against a Filipino lawyer in a MONEYS AND PROPERTIES OF HIS CLIENT THAT
foreign jurisdiction does not automatically result in his MAY COME TO HIS POSSESSION.
suspension or disbarment in the Philippines. Judgment of
suspension against a Filipino lawyer may transmute into a Rule 16.01. A lawyer shall account for all money or
similar judgment of suspension in the Philippines only if property collected or received for or from the client.
the basis of the foreign court's action includes any of the
grounds for disbarment or suspension in this jurisdiction. Rule 16.02. A lawyer shall keep the funds of each
client separate and apart from his own and those of
Moreover, the judgment of the foreign court merely others kept by him.
constitutes prima facie evidence of unethical acts as
lawyer. The judgment or final order may be repelled by Atty. de Vera himself admitted that he used his client's
evidence of a want of jurisdiction, want of notice to the money for personal use, he has unwittingly sealed his own
party, collusion, fraud, or clear mistake of law or fact. fate since this admission constitutes more than substantial
evidence of malpractice. Consequently, Atty. de Vera now
Considering that there is technically no foreign judgment has the burden of rebutting the evidence which he himself
to speak of, the recommendation by the hearing officer of supplied. The act of Atty. de Vera in holding on to his
the State Bar of California does not constitute prima facie client's money without the latter's acquiescence is conduct
evidence of unethical behavior by Atty. de Vera. indicative of lack of integrity and propriety. It is clear that
Complainant must prove by substantial evidence the facts Atty. de Vera, by depositing the check in his own account
upon which the recommendation by the hearing officer and using the same for his own benefit is guilty of deceit,
was based. If he is successful in this, he must then prove malpractice, gross misconduct and unethical behavior. He
that these acts are likewise unethical under Philippine law. caused dishonor, not only to himself but to the noble
profession to which he belongs.
However, there is substantial evidence of malpractice on
the part of Atty. de Vera independent of the Nevertheless, the Supreme Court does not agree with the
plea to disbar Atty. de Vera from the practice of law. The

UNIVERSITY OF CEBU – COLLEGE OF LAW Page 19


LLB – 4 (S.Y. 2015-2016)

Abing, Patrick Jamero, Jacinto Jr. Maglasang, Laarni Ursal, April Lynn
Gulbin, Lou Ann Magdoza, Bregette Niere, Sherlyn Ysulan, Aura Bern
Franje, Hanelli Jane JD-4 Tabuñag, Vincent Roel JD-4
power to disbar must be exercised with great caution. was charged with estafa, and after reading the said
Where any lesser penalty can accomplish the end desired, affidavits in his behalf, and hearing his counsel, the court
disbarment should not be decreed. Considering the below found, and decided as a fact, that the charges
amount involved here – US$12,000, the penalty of aforesaid made against Howard D. Terrell were true, and
suspension for two (2) years is appropriate. thereupon made an order suspending him from his office
as a lawyer in the Philippine Islands, and directed the clerk
The IBP Board removed Atty. de Vera as IBP Governor for of the court to transmit to this court a certified copy of the
just and valid cause. order of suspension, as well as a full statement of the facts
upon which the same was based.
The IBP Board argues that it is vested with sufficient
power and authority to protect itself from an intractable Issue:
member whose removal was caused not by his
disagreement with the IBP Board but due to various acts Whether or not Terrell should be suspended as a member
committed by him which the IBP Board considered as of the bar.
inimical to the IBP Board in particular and the IBP in
general. The IBP Board, therefore, was well within its right Ruling:
in removing Atty. de Vera as the latter's actuations during
the 10th National IBP Convention were detrimental to the Yes. We have carefully considered these facts, and have
role of the IBP Board as the governing body of the IBP. reached the conclusion that they were such as to justify the
court below in arriving at the conclusion that the
The power of supervision of the Supreme Court over the knowledge and acts of the accused in connection with the
IBP should not preclude the IBP from exercising its organization of the "Centro Bellas Artes" Club were of such
reasonable discretion especially in the administration of a nature and character as to warrant his suspension from
its internal affairs governed by the provisions of its by- practice.
laws.
The promoting of organizations, with knowledge of their
18. G.R. No. 1203, May 15, 1903 objects, for the purpose of violating or evading the laws
In the matter of the suspension of HOWARD D. against crime constitutes such misconduct on the part of
TERRELL from the practice of law. an attorney, an officer of the court, as amounts to
malpractice or gross misconduct in his office, and for
Facts: which he may be removed or suspended. (Code of Civil
Procedure, sec. 21.) The assisting of a client in a scheme
Howard D. Terrell, an attorney-at-law, was ordered to which the attorney knows to be dishonest, or the
show cause in the CFI Manila, on the 5th day of February, conniving at a violation of law, are acts which justify
1903, why he should not be suspended as a member of the disbarment.
bar of the city of Manila for the reasons:
In this case, however, inasmuch as the defendant in the
First, that he had assisted in the organization of case of the United States vs. Terrell was acquitted on the
the "Centro Bellas Artes" Club, after he had been charge of estafa, and has not, therefore, been convicted of
notified that the said organization was made for crime, and as the acts with which he is charged in this
the purpose of evading the law then in force in proceeding, while unprofessional and hence to be
said city; and, condemned, are not criminal in their nature, we are of
opinion that the ends of justice will be served by the
Secondly, for acting as attorney for said "Centro suspension of said Howard D. Terrell from the practice of
Bellas Artes" during the time of and after its law in the Philippine Islands for the term of one year from
organization, which organization was known to the 7th day of February, 1903.
him to be created for the purpose of evading the
law. It is therefore directed that the said Howard D. Terrell be
suspended from the practice of law for a term of one year
The accused appeared on the return day, and by his from February 7, 1903. It is so ordered.
counsel, W. A. Kincaid, made answer to these charges,
denying the same, and filed affidavits in answer thereto.
After reading testimony given by said Howard D. Terrell, in
the case of the United States vs. H. D. Terrell, wherein he

UNIVERSITY OF CEBU – COLLEGE OF LAW Page 20


LLB – 4 (S.Y. 2015-2016)

Abing, Patrick Jamero, Jacinto Jr. Maglasang, Laarni Ursal, April Lynn
Gulbin, Lou Ann Magdoza, Bregette Niere, Sherlyn Ysulan, Aura Bern
Franje, Hanelli Jane JD-4 Tabuñag, Vincent Roel JD-4
19. G.R. No. 159486-88, November 25, 2003 disability’ even without proof of compliance with
PRESIDENT JOSEPH EJERCITO ESTRADA vs. THE the corresponding constitutional conditions, e.g.,
HONORABLE SANDIGANBAYAN [SPECIAL DIVISION], written declaration by either the President or
HON. MINITA CHICO-NAZARIO, HON. EDILBERTO majority of his cabinet; and
SANDOVAL, HON. TERESITA LEONARDO-DE CASTRO,
and THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES c) actually proclaiming Vice-President Arroyo on
that same ground of permanent disability.
Facts:
In a letter, dated 30 June 2003, addressed to Chief Justice
Attorney Alan F. Paguia, as counsel for Estrada, averred Hilario G. Davide, Jr., and Associate Justice Artemio V.
that the respondent justices have violated Rule 5.10 of the Panganiban, he has demanded, in a clearly disguised form
Code of Judicial Conduct by attending the ‘EDSA 2 Rally’ of forum shopping, for several advisory opinions on
and by authorizing the assumption of Vice-President Gloria matters pending before the Sandiganbayan.
Macapagal Arroyo to the Presidency in violation of the
1987 Constitution. Subsequently, the court ruled that the instant petition
assailing the foregoing orders must be DISMISSED for
“Rule 5.10. A judge is entitled to entertain personal gross insufficiency in substance and for utter lack of merit.
views on political questions. But to avoid suspicion The Sandiganbayan committed no grave abuse of
of political partisanship, a judge shall not make discretion, an indispensable requirement to warrant a
political speeches, contribute to party funds, recourse to the extraordinary relief of petition for
publicly endorse candidates for political office or certiorari under Rule 65 of the Revised Rules of Civil
participate in other partisan political activities.” Procedure.

Also, petitioner contended that the justices have prejudged In a resolution, dated 08 July 2003, the Court strongly
a case that would assail the legality of the act taken by warned Attorney Alan Paguia, on pain of disciplinary
President Arroyo. The subsequent decision of the Court in sanction, to desist from further making, directly or
Estrada v. Arroyo (353 SCRA 452and356 SCRA 108) is, indirectly, similar submissions to this Court or to its
petitioner states, a patent mockery of justice and due Member.
process.-According to Atty. Paguia, during the hearing of
his ‘Mosyong Pangrekonsiderasyon’ on 11 June 2003, the Unmindful of the well-meant admonition to him by the
three justices of the Special Division of the Sandiganbayan Court, Attorney Paguia appears to persist on end. In fact,
made manifest their bias and partiality against his client. on the 7th September 2003 issue of the Daily Tribune,
Atty. Paguia wrote to say -
Thus, he averred, Presiding Justice Minita V. Chico-Nazario
supposedly employed foul and disrespectful language “What is the legal effect of that violation of
when she blurted out, ‘Magmumukha naman kaming gago,’ President Estrada’s right to due process of law? It
(Rollo, p. 13.) and Justice Teresita Leonardo-De Castro renders the decision in Estrada vs. Arroyo
characterized the motion as insignificant even before the unconstitutional and void. The rudiments of fair
prosecution could file its comments or opposition thereto, play were not observed. There was no fair play
(Rollo, p. 12.) remarking in open court that to grant since it appears that when President Estrada filed
Estrada’s motion would result in chaos and disorder. his petition, Chief Justice Davide and his fellow
(Ibid.) justices had already committed to the other party
- GMA - with a judgment already made and waiting
Prompted by the alleged ‘bias and partial attitude’ of the to be formalized after the litigants shall have
Sandiganbayan justices, Attorney Paguia filed, on 14 July undergone the charade of a formal hearing. After
2003, a motion for their disqualification.-The petitioner the justices had authorized the proclamation of
also asked the Court to include in its Joint Resolution the GMA as president, can they be expected to
TRUTH of the acts of Chief Justice Davide, et al., last voluntarily admit the unconstitutionality of their
January 20, 2001 in: own act?”

a) going to EDSA 2; Issue:

b) authorizing the proclamation of Vice-President Whether or not Atty. Paguia committed a violation of the
Arroyo as President on the ground of ‘permanent Code of Professional Responsibility.

UNIVERSITY OF CEBU – COLLEGE OF LAW Page 21


LLB – 4 (S.Y. 2015-2016)

Abing, Patrick Jamero, Jacinto Jr. Maglasang, Laarni Ursal, April Lynn
Gulbin, Lou Ann Magdoza, Bregette Niere, Sherlyn Ysulan, Aura Bern
Franje, Hanelli Jane JD-4 Tabuñag, Vincent Roel JD-4
Ruling: WHEREFORE, Attorney Alan Paguia is hereby indefinitely
suspended from the practice of law, effective upon his
Criticism or comment made in good faith on the receipt hereof, for conduct unbecoming a lawyer and an
correctness or wrongness, soundness or unsoundness, of a officer of the Court
decision of the Court would be welcome for, if well-
founded, such reaction can enlighten the court and 20. A.C. No. 4497, September 26, 2001
contribute to the correction of an error if committed. (In MR. and MRS. VENUSTIANO G. SABURNIDO vs. ATTY.
Re Sotto, 82 Phil 595.) However, Attorney Paguia has not FLORANTE E. MADROÑO
limited his discussions to the merits of his client’s case
within the judicial forum. Indeed, he has repeated his Facts:
assault on the Court in both broadcast and print media.
This is an administrative complaint for disbarment of
“Rule 13.02 of the Code of Professional Responsibility respondent, Atty. Florante E. Madroño filed by spouses
prohibits a member of the bar from making such public Venustiano and Rosalia Saburdino.
statements on any pending case tending to arouse public
opinion for or against a party. By his acts, Attorney Paguia Complainant Venustiano is a member of the Philippine
may have stoked the fires of public dissension and posed a National Police while his wife Rosalia is a public school
potentially dangerous threat to the administration of teacher. Respondent is a former judge of the Municipal
justice.” Circuit Trial Court.

It should be clear that the phrase “partisan political Previous to this administrative case, complainants also
activities,” in its statutory context, relates to acts designed filed three separate administrative cases against
to cause the success or the defeat of a particular candidate respondent, which led to the latter’s dismissal from the
or candidates who have filed certificates of candidacy to a judiciary and forfeiture of his retirement benefits.
public office in an election. The taking of an oath of office
by any incoming President of the Republic before the Chief In the present case, the spouses Saburnido allege that
Justice of the Philippines is a traditional official function of respondent has been harassing them by filing numerous
the Highest Magistrate. The assailed presence of other complaints against them, in addition to committing acts of
justices of the Court at such an event could be no different dishonesty. The cases filed were:
from their appearance in such other official functions as
attending the Annual State of the Nation Address by the 1. Adm. Case No. 90-0755, for serious irregularity,
President of the Philippines before the Legislative filed by respondent against Venustiano Saburnido.
Department.
2. Adm. Case No. 90-0758, for falsification, filed by
The Supreme Court does not claim infallibility; but it will respondent against Venustiano Saburnido and two
not countenance any wrongdoing nor allow the erosion of others.
our people’s faith in the judicial system, let alone, by those
who have been privileged by it to practice law in the 3. Crim. Case No. 93-67, for evasion through
Philippines. negligence under Article 224 of the Revised Penal
Code, filed by respondent against Venustiano
Canon 11 of the Code of Professional Responsibility Saburnido.
mandates that the lawyer should observe and maintain the
respect due to the courts and judicial officers and, indeed, 4. Adm. Case No. 95 33, filed by respondent
should insist on similar conduct by others. In liberally against Rosalia Saburnido for violation of the
imputing sinister and devious motives and questioning the Omnibus Election Code.
impartiality, integrity, and authority of the members of the
Court, Atty. Paguia has only succeeded in seeking to The IBP concluded that complainants submitted
impede, obstruct and pervert the dispensation of justice. convincing proof that respondent indeed committed acts
constituting gross misconduct that warrant the imposition
The Court has already warned Atty. Paguia, on pain of of administrative sanction. The IBP recommends that
disciplinary sanction, to become mindful of his grave respondent be suspended from the practice of law for one
responsibilities as a lawyer and as an officer of the Court. year.
Apparently, he has chosen not to at all take heed.

UNIVERSITY OF CEBU – COLLEGE OF LAW Page 22


LLB – 4 (S.Y. 2015-2016)

Abing, Patrick Jamero, Jacinto Jr. Maglasang, Laarni Ursal, April Lynn
Gulbin, Lou Ann Magdoza, Bregette Niere, Sherlyn Ysulan, Aura Bern
Franje, Hanelli Jane JD-4 Tabuñag, Vincent Roel JD-4
Issue: punishment, but as a means to protect the public and the
legal profession.
Whether or not Atty. Madrono’s act of filling numerous
complaints against spouses Saburnido constitute gross WHEREFORE, respondent Atty. Florante E. Madroño is
misconduct that will warrant the imposition of found GUILTY of gross misconduct and is SUSPENDED
administrative sanctions. from the practice of law for one year with a WARNING that
a repetition the same or similar act will be dealt with more
Ruling: severely.

Yes. SC agrees with the findings and recommendation of 21. A.C. No. 6672, September 4, 2009
the IBP. PEDRO L. LINSANGAN vs. ATTY. NICOMEDES
TOLENTINO
A lawyer may be disciplined for any conduct, in his
professional or private capacity, that renders him unfit to Facts:
continue to be an officer of the court. Canon 7 of the Code
of Professional Responsibility commands all lawyers to at In 2005, Atty. Pedro Linsangan filed an administrative
all times uphold the dignity and integrity of the legal complaint against Atty. Nicomedes Tolentino alleging that
profession. Specifically, Rule 7.03 provides: Atty. Tolentino, through his paralegal Fe Marie Labiano,
“pirated” a client of Atty. Linsangan. Said client later
RULE 7.03. A lawyer shall not engage in conduct executed an affidavit in support of Atty. Linsangan’s
that adversely reflects on his fitness to practice law, allegations.
nor shall he whether in public or private life, behave
in a scandalous manner to the discredit of the legal Atty. Linsangan also questioned the propriety of Labiano’s
profession. calling card. In his defense, Atty. Tolentino denied knowing
Labiano. He also denied authorizing the printing of such
Respondent's act of filing multiple complaints against calling cards.
herein complainants reflects on his fitness to be a member
of the legal profession. His act evinces vindictiveness, a Issues:
decidedly undesirable trait whether in a lawyer or another
individual, as complainants were instrumental in 1. Whether or not Atty. Nicomedes Tolentino encroached
respondent's dismissal from the judiciary. We see in upon the professional services of Atty. Pedro Linsangan.
respondent's tenacity in pursuing several cases against
complainants not the persistence of one who has been 2. Whether or not Atty. Tolentino is liable for the improper
grievously wronged but the obstinacy of one who is trying calling card of Labiano.
to exact revenge.
Ruling:
Respondent's action erodes rather than enhances public
perception of the legal profession. It constitutes gross 1. Yes. Atty. Tolentino violated Rule 8.02 of the Code of
misconduct for which he may be suspended, following Professional Responsibility. A lawyer should not steal
Section 27, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court. another lawyer’s client nor induce the latter to retain him
by a promise of better service, good result or reduced fees
Complainants ask that respondent be disbarred. However, for his services. By recruiting Atty. Linsangan’s clients,
we find that suspension from the practice of law is Atty. Tolentino committed an unethical predatory overstep
sufficient to discipline respondent. The supreme penalty of into another’s legal practice.
disbarment is meted out only in clear cases of misconduct
that seriously affect the standing and character of the 2. Yes. Atty. Tolentino violated Rules 1.03, 2.03 and 16.04
lawyer as an officer of the court. While we will not hesitate of the Code of Professional Responsibility. Although Atty.
to remove an erring attorney from the esteemed Tolentino initially denied knowing Labiano, he admitted he
brotherhood of lawyers, where the evidence calls for it, we actually knew her later in the proceedings. It is thus clear
will also not disbar him where a lesser penalty will suffice that Labiano was connected to his law office. Through
to accomplish the desired end. In this case, we find Labiano’s actions, Atty. Tolentino’s law practice was
suspension to be a sufficient sanction against respondent. benefited. Hapless seamen were enticed to transfer
Suspension, we may add, is not primarily intended as a representation on the strength of Labiano’s word that Atty.
Tolentino could produce a more favorable result.

UNIVERSITY OF CEBU – COLLEGE OF LAW Page 23


LLB – 4 (S.Y. 2015-2016)

Abing, Patrick Jamero, Jacinto Jr. Maglasang, Laarni Ursal, April Lynn
Gulbin, Lou Ann Magdoza, Bregette Niere, Sherlyn Ysulan, Aura Bern
Franje, Hanelli Jane JD-4 Tabuñag, Vincent Roel JD-4
22. G.R. No. 104599, March 11, 1994 Rule 1.04 of the Code of Professional Responsibility
JON DE YSASI III vs. NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS explicitly provides that “(a) lawyer shall encourage his
COMMISSION (FOURTH DIVISION), CEBU CITY, and JON client to avoid, end or settle the controversy if it will admit
DE YSASI of a fair settlement.” Both counsels fell short of what was
expected of them, despite their avowed duties as officers of
Facts: the court. In the same manner, the labor arbiter who
handled this regrettable case has been less than faithful to
Jon De Ysasi and Jon De Ysasi III are father and sons the letter and spirit of the Labor Code mandating that a
respectively. The elder Ysasi owns a hacienda in Negros labor arbiter “shall exert all efforts towards the amicable
Occidental. De Ysasi III is employed in the hacienda as the settlement of a labor dispute within his jurisdiction.” If he
farm administrator. In November 1982, De Ysasi III ever did so, or at least entertained the thought, the copious
underwent surgery and so he missed work. He was records of the proceedings in this controversy are barren
confined and while he’s nursing from his infections he was of any reflection of the same.
terminated, without due process, by his father. De Ysasi III
filed against his father for illegal dismissal before the 23. G.R. No. L-28546, July 30, 1975
National Labor Relations Commission. His father invoked VENANCIO CASTANEDA and NICETAS HENSON vs.
that his son actually abandoned his work. PASTOR D. AGO, LOURDES YU AGO and THE COURT OF
APPEALS
Issue:
Facts:
Whether or not De Ysasi III abandoned his work.
In 1955 the petitioners Venancio Castañeda and Nicetas
Ruling: Henson filed a replevin suit against Pastor Ago in the Court
of First Instance of Manila to recover certain machineries.
No. His absence from work does not constitute In 1957 judgment was rendered in favor of the plaintiffs,
abandonment. To constitute abandonment, there must be: ordering Ago to return the machineries or pay definite
sums of money. Ago appealed, and on June 30, 1961 this
a.) failure to report for work or absence without Court, in Ago vs. Castañeda, L-14066, affirmed the
valid or justifiable reason, and judgment. After remand, the trial court issued on August
b.) a clear intention to sever the employer- 25, 1961 a writ of execution for the sum of P172, 923.87.
employee relationship, with the second element as Ago moved for a stay of execution but his motion was
the more determinative factor and being denied, and levy was made on Ago's house and lots located
manifested by some overt acts. No such intent was in Quezon City. The sheriff then advertised them for
proven in this case. auction sale on October 25, 1961. Ago moved to stop the
auction sale, failing in which he filed a petition for
The Supreme Court, in making its decision, noted that the certiorari with the Court of Appeals. The appellate court
lawyers for both camps failed to exert all reasonable dismissed the petition and Ago appealed. On January 31,
efforts to smooth over legal conflicts, preferably out of 1966 this Court, in Ago vs. Court of Appeals, et al., L-19718,
court and especially in consideration of the direct and affirmed the dismissal. Ago thrice attempted to obtain a
immediate consanguineous ties between their clients writ of preliminary injunction to restrain the sheriff from
especially considering that the parties involved are father enforcing the writ of execution "to save his family house
and son. This case may have never reached the courts had and lot;" his motions were denied, and the sheriff sold the
there been an earnest effort by the lawyers to have both house and lots on March 9, 1963 to the highest bidders, the
parties find an off court settlement but records show that petitioners Castañeda and Henson. Ago failed to redeem,
no such effort was made. The useful function of a lawyer is and on April 17, 1964 the sheriff executed the final deed of
not only to conduct litigation but to avoid it whenever sale in favor of the vendees Castañeda and Henson. Upon
possible by advising settlement or withholding suit. He is their petition, the Court of First Instance of Manila issued a
often called upon less for dramatic forensic exploits than writ of possession to the properties.
for wise counsel in every phase of life. He should be a
mediator for concord and a conciliator for compromise, However, on May 2, 1964 Pastor Ago, now joined by his
rather than a virtuoso of technicality in the conduct of wife, Lourdes Yu Ago, as his co-plaintiff, filed a complaint
litigation. in the Court of First Instance of Quezon City to annul the
sheriff's sale on the ground that the obligation of Pastor
Ago upon which judgment was rendered against him in the

UNIVERSITY OF CEBU – COLLEGE OF LAW Page 24


LLB – 4 (S.Y. 2015-2016)

Abing, Patrick Jamero, Jacinto Jr. Maglasang, Laarni Ursal, April Lynn
Gulbin, Lou Ann Magdoza, Bregette Niere, Sherlyn Ysulan, Aura Bern
Franje, Hanelli Jane JD-4 Tabuñag, Vincent Roel JD-4
replevin suit was his personal obligation, and that Lourdes Canon 2 – A lawyer shall make his legal
Yu Ago's one-half share in their conjugal residential house services available in an efficient and convenient
and lots which were levied upon and sold by the sheriff manner compatible with the independence,
could not legally be reached for the satisfaction of the integrity and effectiveness of the profession.
judgment. They alleged in their complaint that wife
Lourdes was not a party in the replevin suit, that the 24. A.C. No. 6252, October 5, 2004
judgment was rendered and the writ of execution was JONAR SANTIAGO vs. Atty. EDISON V. RAFANAN
issued only against husband Pastor, and that wife Lourdes
was not a party to her husband's venture in the logging Facts:
business which failed and resulted in the replevin suit and
which did not benefit the conjugal partnership. Complainant Jonar Santiago, an employee of the Bureau of
Jail Management and Penology, lodged a disbarment
The Ago spouses repaired once more to the Court of complaint against respondent Atty. Edison Rafanan before
Appeals where they filed another petition for certiorari the Integrated Bar of the Philippines alleging, inter alia,
and prohibition with preliminary injunction. The said that Atty. Rafanan violated Rule 12.07 and Rule 12.08 of
court gave due course to the petition and granted Canon 12of the Code of Professional Responsibility when
preliminary injunction. the latter executed an affidavit in favour of his client and
offered the same as evidence in a case where he is actively
Issue: representing his client. The complaint also alleged that
after the hearing of the case, respondent accompanied by
Whether or not the Agos’ lawyer encouraged his clients to several persons waited for Complainant and after
avoid controversy. confronting the latter disarmed him of his sidearm and
thereafter uttered insulting words and veiled threats. In
Ruling: his answer, respondent denied having disarmed the
complainant and uttered insulting words nor veiled
No. Despite the pendency in the trial court of the complaint threats against the latter. He however admitted that he
for the annulment of the sheriff’s sale, justice demands that executed an affidavit in favour of his client and offered the
the petitioners, long denied the fruits of their victory in the same as evidence in a case where he is actively
replevin suit, must now enjoy them, for the respondents representing his client but interposed the defense that
Agos abetted by their lawyer. lawyers could testify on behalf of their clients "on
substantial matters, in cases where [their] testimony is
Atty. Luison, have misused legal remedies and prostituted essential to the ends of justice." Complainant charged
the judicial process to thwart the satisfaction of the respondent’s clients with attempted murder. Respondent
judgment, to the extended prejudice of the petitioners. averred that since they were in his house when the alleged
Forgetting his sacred mission as a sworn public servant crime occurred, "his testimony is very essential to the ends
and his exalted position as an officer of the court, Atty. of justice.” The IBP, while finding that administrative
Luison has allowed himself to become an instigator of offense was committed by respondent for violating the
controversy and a predator of conflict instead of a notarial law, recommended the dismissal of the complaint
mediator for concord and a conciliator for compromise, a for alleged violation of Rule 12.07 and Rule 12.08 of Canon
virtuoso of technicality in the conduct of litigation instead 12 of the Code of Professional Responsibility for
of a true exponent of the primacy of truth and moral insufficiency of evidence. Hence, the present action was
justice. commenced.

A counsel’s assertiveness in espousing with candor and Issue:


honesty his client’s cause must be encouraged and is to be
commended; what the SC does not and cannot May a lawyer testify on substantial matters relative to the
countenance is a lawyer’s insistence despite the patent cause of the party which he is actively representing in a
futility of his client’s position. It is the duty of the counsel case without violating the Code of Professional
to advice his client on the merit or lack of his case. If he Responsibility?
finds his client’s cause as defenseless, then he is his duty to
advise rather the latter to acquiesce and submit than Ruling:
traverse the incontrovertible. A lawyer must resist the
whims and caprices of his client, and temper his client’s Yes. Parenthetically, under the law, a lawyer is not
propensity to litigate. disqualified from being a witness, except only in certain

UNIVERSITY OF CEBU – COLLEGE OF LAW Page 25


LLB – 4 (S.Y. 2015-2016)

Abing, Patrick Jamero, Jacinto Jr. Maglasang, Laarni Ursal, April Lynn
Gulbin, Lou Ann Magdoza, Bregette Niere, Sherlyn Ysulan, Aura Bern
Franje, Hanelli Jane JD-4 Tabuñag, Vincent Roel JD-4
cases pertaining to privileged communication arising from 25. A.C. No. 6672, September 4, 2009
an attorney-client relationship. The reason behind such PEDRO L. LINSANGAN vs. ATTY. NICOMEDES
rule is the difficulty posed upon lawyers by the task of TOLENTINO
dissociating their relation to their clients as witnesses
from that as advocates. Witnesses are expected to tell the Facts:
facts as they recall them. In contradistinction, advocates
are partisans -- those who actively plead and defend the In 2005, Atty. Pedro Linsangan filed an administrative
cause of others. It is difficult to distinguish the fairness and complaint against Atty. Nicomedes Tolentino alleging that
impartiality of a disinterested witness from the zeal of an Atty. Tolentino, through his paralegal Fe Marie Labiano,
advocate. The question is one of propriety rather than of “pirated” a client of Atty. Linsangan. Said client later
competency of the lawyers who testify for their clients. executed an affidavit in support of Atty. Linsangan’s
Thus, although the law does not forbid lawyers from being allegations.
witnesses and at the same time counsels for a cause, the
preference is for them to refrain from testifying as Atty. Linsangan also questioned the propriety of Labiano’s
witnesses, unless they absolutely have to; and should they calling card. In his defense, Atty. Tolentino denied knowing
do so, to withdraw from active management of the case. Labiano. He also denied authorizing the printing of such
Notwithstanding this guideline and the existence of the calling cards.
Affidavit executed by Atty. Rafanan in favor of his clients,
we cannot hastily make him administratively liable for the Issues:
following reasons: First, we consider it the duty of a lawyer
to assert every remedy and defense that is authorized by 1. Whether or not Atty. Nicomedes Tolentino encroached
law for the benefit of the client, especially in a criminal upon the professional services of Atty. Pedro Linsangan.
action in which the latter’s life and liberty are at stake.
Having undertaken the defense of the accused, respondent, 2. Whether or not Atty. Tolentino is liable for the improper
as defense counsel, was thus expected to spare no effort to calling card of Labiano.
save his clients from a wrong conviction. The Affidavit
executed by Atty. Rafanan was clearly necessary for the Ruling:
defense of his clients, since it pointed out the fact that on
the alleged date and time of the incident, his clients were 1. Yes. Atty. Tolentino violated Rule 8.02 of the Code of
at his residence and could not have possibly committed the Professional Responsibility. A lawyer should not steal
crime charged against them. Notably, in his Affidavit, another lawyer’s client nor induce the latter to retain him
complainant does not dispute the statements of by a promise of better service, good result or reduced fees
respondent or suggest the falsity of its contents. Second, for his services. By recruiting Atty. Linsangan’s clients,
paragraph (b) of Rule 12.08 contemplates a situation in Atty. Tolentino committed an unethical predatory overstep
which lawyers give their testimonies during the trial. In into another’s legal practice.
this instance, the Affidavit was submitted during the
preliminary investigation which, as such, was merely 2. Yes. Atty. Tolentino violated Rules 1.03, 2.03 and 16.04
inquisitorial. Not being a trial of the case on the merits, a of the Code of Professional Responsibility. Although Atty.
preliminary investigation has the oft-repeated purposes of Tolentino initially denied knowing Labiano, he admitted he
securing innocent persons against hasty, malicious and actually knew her later in the proceedings. It is thus clear
oppressive prosecutions; protecting them from open and that Labiano was connected to his law office. Through
public accusations of crime and from the trouble as well as Labiano’s actions, Atty. Tolentino’s law practice was
expense and anxiety of a public trial; and protecting the benefited. Hapless seamen were enticed to transfer
State from useless and expensive prosecutions. The representation on the strength of Labiano’s word that Atty.
investigation is advisedly called preliminary, as it is yet to Tolentino could produce a more favorable result.
be followed by the trial proper. Nonetheless, we deem it
important to stress and remind respondent to refrain from
accepting employment in any matter in which he knows or
has reason to believe that he may be an essential witness
for the prospective client. Furthermore, in future cases in
which his testimony may become essential to serve the
"ends of justice," the canons of the profession require him
to withdraw from the active prosecution of these cases.

UNIVERSITY OF CEBU – COLLEGE OF LAW Page 26


LLB – 4 (S.Y. 2015-2016)

Abing, Patrick Jamero, Jacinto Jr. Maglasang, Laarni Ursal, April Lynn
Gulbin, Lou Ann Magdoza, Bregette Niere, Sherlyn Ysulan, Aura Bern
Franje, Hanelli Jane JD-4 Tabuñag, Vincent Roel JD-4
Canon 3 – A lawyer in making known his legal lawyer is not contrary to law, public policy and public
services shall use only true, honest, fair, order as long as it is dignified.
dignified and objective information or
statement of facts. The case was referred to the IBP and it passed on a
resolution finding the respondent guilty and suspended
26. A.C. No. 5299, August 19, 2003 him from the practice of law for one (1) year.
ATTY. ISMAEL G. KHAN, JR., Assistant Court
Administrator and Chief, Public Information Office vs. Respondent filed a Motion for Reconsideration with the
ATTY. RIZALINO T. SIMBILLO IBP but was denied. Hence, this instant petition for
certiorari.
Facts:
Issue:
This administrative complaint arose from a paid
advertisement that appeared in the July 5, 2000 issue of Whether or not respondent Atty. Simbillo is guilty for
the newspaper, Philippine Daily Inquirer, which reads: violating Rule 2.03 and Rule 3.01 of the Code of
ANNULMENT OF MARRIAGE Specialist 532-4333/521- Professional Responsibility and Rule 138, Section 27 of the
2667. Rules of Court.

A staff member of the Public Information Office of the Ruling:


Supreme Court, called up the published telephone number
and pretended to be an interested party. She spoke to Mrs. Yes. The court agrees with the IBP Resolution. It has been
Simbillo, who claimed that her husband, Atty. Rizalino repeatedly stressed that the practice of law is not a
Simbillo, was an expert in handling annulment cases and business. It is a profession in which duty to public service,
can guarantee a court decree within four to six months, not money, is the primary consideration. Lawyering is not
provided the case will not involve separation of property primarily meant to be a money-making venture, and law
or custody of children. Mrs. Simbillo also said that her advocacy is not a capital that necessarily yields profits. The
husband charges a fee of P48,000.00, half of which is gaining of a livelihood should be a secondary
payable at the time of filing of the case and the other half consideration. The duty to public service and to the
after a decision thereon has been rendered. administration of justice should be the primary
consideration of lawyers, who must subordinate their
Further research revealed that similar advertisements personal interests or what they owe to themselves.
were published in the August 2 and 6, 2000 issues of the
Manila Bulletin and August 5, 2000 issue of the Philippine The following elements distinguish the legal profession
Star. from a business:

Atty. Ismael G. Khan, Jr., filed an administrative complaint 1. A duty of public service, of which the
against Atty. Rizalino T. Simbillo for improper advertising emolument is a by-product, and in which one may
and solicitation of his legal services, in violation of Rule attain the highest eminence without making much
2.03 and Rule 3.01 of the Code of Professional money;
Responsibility and Rule 138, Section 27 of the Rules of 2. A relation as an officer of the court to the
Court. administration of justice involving thorough
sincerity, integrity and reliability;
In his answer, respondent admitted the acts imputed to 3. A relation to clients in the highest degree of
him, but argued that advertising and solicitation per se are fiduciary;
not prohibited acts; that the time has come to change our 4. A relation to colleagues at the bar characterized
views about the prohibition on advertising and by candor, fairness, and unwillingness to resort to
solicitation; that the interest of the public is not served by current business methods of advertising and
the absolute prohibition on lawyer advertising; that the encroachment on their practice, or dealing
Court can lift the ban on lawyer advertising; and that the directly with their clients.
rationale behind the decades-old prohibition should be
abandoned. Thus, he prayed that he be exonerated from all There is no question that respondent committed the acts
the charges against him and that the Court promulgate a complained of. He himself admits that he caused the
ruling that advertisement of legal services offered by a publication of the advertisements. While he professes
repentance and begs for the Courts indulgence, his

UNIVERSITY OF CEBU – COLLEGE OF LAW Page 27


LLB – 4 (S.Y. 2015-2016)

Abing, Patrick Jamero, Jacinto Jr. Maglasang, Laarni Ursal, April Lynn
Gulbin, Lou Ann Magdoza, Bregette Niere, Sherlyn Ysulan, Aura Bern
Franje, Hanelli Jane JD-4 Tabuñag, Vincent Roel JD-4
contrition rings hollow considering the fact that he Call Marivic.
advertised his legal services again after he pleaded for THE LEGAL CLINIC, INC.
compassion and after claiming that he had no intention to 7th Flr. Victoria Bldg., UN Ave., Manila nr. US
violate the rules. Embassy
Tel. 521-7232, 521-7251, 522-2041, 521-0767
Nonetheless, the solicitation of legal business is not
altogether proscribed. However, for solicitation to be It is also alleged that The Legal Clinic published an article
proper, it must be compatible with the dignity of the legal entitled “Rx for Legal Problems” in Star Week of Philippine
profession. If it is made in a modest and decorous manner, Star wherein Nogales stated that they The Legal Clinic is
it would bring no injury to the lawyer and to the bar. Thus, composed of specialists that can take care of a client’s
the use of simple signs stating the name or names of the problem no matter how complicated it is even if it is as
lawyers, the office and residence address and fields of complicated as the Sharon Cuneta-Gabby Concepcion
practice, as well as advertisement in legal periodicals situation. He said that he and his staff of lawyers, who, like
bearing the same brief data, are permissible. Even the use doctors, are “specialists” in various fields, can take care of
of calling cards is now acceptable. Publication in reputable it. The Legal Clinic, Inc. has specialists in taxation and
law lists, in a manner consistent with the standards of criminal law, medico-legal problems, labor, litigation and
conduct imposed by the canon, of brief biographical and family law. These specialists are backed up by a battery of
informative data is likewise allowable. As explicitly stated paralegals, counselors and attorneys.
in Ulep vs. Legal Clinic, Inc.
As for its advertisement, Nogales said it should be allowed
27. Bar Matter No. 553, June 17, 1993 in view of the jurisprudence in the US which now allows it
MAURICIO C. ULEP vs. THE LEGAL CLINIC, INC. (John Bates vs. The State Bar of Arizona). And that besides,
the advertisement is merely making known to the public
Facts: the services that The Legal Clinic offers.

In 1984, The Legal Clinic was formed by Atty. Rogelio Issue:


Nogales. Its aim, according to Nogales was to move toward
specialization and to cater to clients who cannot afford the Whether or not The Legal Clinic is engaged in the practice
services of big law firms. Now, Atty. Mauricio Ulep filed a of law; whether such is allowed; whether or not its
complaint against The Legal Clinic because of the latter’s advertisement may be allowed.
advertisements which contain the following:
Ruling:
SECRET MARRIAGE?
P560.00 for a valid marriage. Yes, The Legal Clinic is engaged in the practice of law
Info on DIVORCE. ABSENCE. ANNULMENT. VISA. however, such practice is not allowed. The Legal Clinic is
THE LEGAL CLINIC, INC. composed mainly of paralegals. The services it offered
Please call: 521-0767; 521-7232; 522-2041 include various legal problems wherein a client may avail
8:30am – 6:00pm of legal services from simple documentation to complex
7th Flr. Victoria Bldg., UN Ave., Manila litigation and corporate undertakings. Most of these
services are undoubtedly beyond the domain of paralegals,
GUAM DIVORCE but rather, are exclusive functions of lawyers engaged in
DON PARKINSON the practice of law. Under Philippine jurisdiction however,
the services being offered by Legal Clinic which constitute
An attorney in Guam is giving FREE BOOKS on practice of law cannot be performed by paralegals. Only a
Guam Divorce through The Legal Clinic beginning person duly admitted as a member of the bar and who is in
Monday to Friday during office hours. good and regular standing, is entitled to practice law.

Guam divorce. Annulment of Marriage. Anent the issue on the validity of the questioned
Immigration Problems, Visa Ext. Quota/Non-quota advertisements, the Code of Professional Responsibility
Res. & Special Retiree’s Visa. Declaration of provides that a lawyer in making known his legal services
Absence. Remarriage to Filipina Fiancees. shall use only true, honest, fair, dignified and objective
Adoption. Investment in the Phil. US/Foreign Visa information or statement of facts. The standards of the
for Filipina Spouse/Children. legal profession condemn the lawyer’s advertisement of
his talents. A lawyer cannot, without violating the ethics of

UNIVERSITY OF CEBU – COLLEGE OF LAW Page 28


LLB – 4 (S.Y. 2015-2016)

Abing, Patrick Jamero, Jacinto Jr. Maglasang, Laarni Ursal, April Lynn
Gulbin, Lou Ann Magdoza, Bregette Niere, Sherlyn Ysulan, Aura Bern
Franje, Hanelli Jane JD-4 Tabuñag, Vincent Roel JD-4
his profession, advertise his talents or skills as in a manner business enterprises and others engaged in foreign trade
similar to a merchant advertising his goods. Further, the and investment.
advertisements of Legal Clinic seem to promote divorce,
secret marriage, bigamous marriage, and other Issue:
circumventions of law which their experts can facilitate.
Such is highly reprehensible. Whether or not respondents should be enjoined from
practicing law under the firm name Baker & McKenzie.
The Supreme Court also noted which forms of
advertisement are allowed. The best advertising possible Ruling:
for a lawyer is a well-merited reputation for professional
capacity and fidelity to trust, which must be earned as the Yes. Baker & McKenzie, being an alien law firm, cannot
outcome of character and conduct. Good and efficient practice law in the Philippines (Sec. 1, Rule 138, Rules of
service to a client as well as to the community has a way of Court).
publicizing itself and catching public attention. That
publicity is a normal by-product of effective service which Respondents' use of the firm name Baker & McKenzie
is right and proper. A good and reputable lawyer needs no constitutes a representation that being associated with the
artificial stimulus to generate it and to magnify his success. firm they could "render legal services of the highest quality
He easily sees the difference between a normal by-product to multinational business enterprises and others engaged
of able service and the unwholesome result of propaganda. in foreign trade and investment" which the Court finds
unethical because Baker & McKenzie is not authorized to
The Supreme Court also enumerated the following as practice law here.
allowed forms of advertisement:
1. Advertisement in a reputable law list; WHEREFORE, the respondents are enjoined from
2. Use of ordinary simple professional card; practicing law under the firm name Baker & McKenzie.
3. Listing in a phone directory but without
designation as to his specialization. 29. July 30, 1979
PETITION FOR AUTHORITY TO CONTINUE USE OF THE
28. Adm. Case No. 2131, May 10, 1985 FIRM NAME "SYCIP, SALAZAR, FELICIANO, HERNANDEZ
ADRIANO E. DACANAY vs. BAKER & MCKENZIE and & CASTILLO." LUCIANO E. SALAZAR, FLORENTINO P.
JUAN G. COLLAS JR., LUIS MA. GUERRERO, VICENTE A. FELICIANO, BENILDO G. HERNANDEZ. GREGORIO R.
TORRES, RAFAEL E. EVANGELISTA, JR., ROMEO L. CASTILLO. ALBERTO P. SAN JUAN, JUAN C. REYES. JR.,
SALONGA, JOSE R. SANDEJAS, LUCAS M. NUNAG, J. ANDRES G. GATMAITAN, JUSTINO H. CACANINDIN,
CLARO TESORO, NATIVIDAD B. KWAN and JOSE A. NOEL A. LAMAN, ETHELWOLDO E. FERNANDEZ,
CURAMMENG, JR. ANGELITO C. IMPERIO, EDUARDO R. CENIZA, TRISTAN
A. CATINDIG, ANCHETA K. TAN, and ALICE V. PESIGAN
Facts:
Facts:
In November 1979, Atty. Vicente Torres sent a letter to one
Rosie Clurman, represented by Atty. Adriano Dacanay, The case involves two petitions. The first was filed by the
asking Clurman to release some shares to Torres’ client. surviving partners of Atty. Alexander Sycip who died on
The letterhead contained the name “Baker & McKenzie”. May 5, 1975 and the other by the surviving partners of
Dacanay denied Clurman’s liability and at the same time he Atty. Herminio Ozaeta who died on February 14, 1976
asked why is Torres using the letterhead “Baker & praying that they be allowed to continue using in the name
McKenzie”, a foreign partnership established in Chicago, of their firms the names of their deceased partners who
Illinois. No reply was received so Dacanay filed an had passed away. The petitioner anchored their petitions
administrative complaint enjoining Torres from using on the following:
“Baker & McKenzie”.
1) that under the law, a partnership is not
Later, Torres said that he is an associate of the law firm prohibited from continuing its business under a
Guerrero & Torres; that their law firm is a member of firm name which includes the name of a deceased
Baker & McKenzie; that the said foreign firm has members partner;
in 30 cities all over the world; that they associated with 2) that in regulating other professions, such as
them in order to make a representation that they can accountancy and engineering, the legislature has
render legal services of the highest quality to multinational authorized the adoption of firm names without

UNIVERSITY OF CEBU – COLLEGE OF LAW Page 29


LLB – 4 (S.Y. 2015-2016)

Abing, Patrick Jamero, Jacinto Jr. Maglasang, Laarni Ursal, April Lynn
Gulbin, Lou Ann Magdoza, Bregette Niere, Sherlyn Ysulan, Aura Bern
Franje, Hanelli Jane JD-4 Tabuñag, Vincent Roel JD-4
any restriction as to the use, in such firm name, of as unethical the continued use of the name of a deceased
the name of a deceased partner; or former partner in the firm name of a law partnership
3) that the Canons of Professional Ethics are not when such a practice is permissible by local custom but the
transgressed by the continued use of the name of Canon warns that care should be taken that no imposition
a deceased partner in the firm name of a law or deception is practiced through this use. It must be
partnership because Canon 33 of the Canons of conceded that in the Philippines, no local custom permits
Professional Ethics adopted by the American Bar or allows the continued use of a deceased or former
Association declares that the continued use of the partner's name in the firm names of law partnerships.
name of a deceased or former partner when
permissible by local custom, is not unethical but 30. A.M. No. P-99-1292, February 26, 1999
care should be taken that no imposition or JULIETA BORROMEO SAMONTE vs. ATTY. ROLANDO R.
deception is practiced through this use; GATDULA, Branch Clerk of Court
4) that there is no possibility of imposition or
deception because the deaths of their respective Facts:
deceased partners were well-publicized in all
newspapers of general circulation for several The complaint filed by Julieta Borromeo Samonte charges
days; the stationeries now being used by them Rolando R. Gatdula, RTC, Branch 220, Quezon City with
carry new letterheads indicating the years when grave misconduct consisting in the alleged engaging in the
their respective deceased partners were private practice of law which is in conflict with his official
connected with the firm; and functions as Branch Clerk of Court.
5) that no local custom prohibits the continued
use of a deceased partner's name in a professional Complainant alleges that she is the authorized
firm's name. representative of her sister Flor Borromeo de Leon, the
plaintiff in Civil Case No. 37-14552 for ejectment filed with
Issue: the Metropolitan Trial Court of Quezon City, Branch 37. A
typographical error was committed in the complaint which
Whether or not the petitioners should be allowed to use in stated that the address of defendant is No. 63-C instead of
their firm names the names of their deceased partners. 63-B, P. Tuazon Blvd., Cubao, Quezon City. The mistake
was rectified by the filing of an amended complaint which
Ruling: was admitted by the Court. A decision was rendered in
favor of the plaintiff who subsequently filed a motion for
The court ruled in the negative. The court cited the execution. Complainant however, was surprised to receive
following reasons. First is that Article. 1815 of the Civil a temporary restraining order signed by Judge Prudencio
Code provides that “Every partnership shall operate under Castillo of Branch 220, RTC, Quezon City, where Atty.
a firm name, which may or may not include the name of Rolando Gatdula is the Branch Clerk of Court, enjoining the
one or more of the partners. Those who, not being execution of the decision of the Metropolitan Trial Court.
members of the partnership, include their names in the Complainant alleges that the issuance of the temporary
firm name, shall be subject to the liability, of a partner” restraining order was hasty and irregular as she was never
thus it is clearly tacit in the above provision that names in notified of the application for preliminary injunction.
a firm name of a partnership must either be those of living
partners’ and. in the case of non-partners, should be living Complainant further alleges that when she went to Branch
persons who can be subjected to liability. Second, the 220, RTC, Quezon City, to inquire about the reason for the
courts said that a partnership for the practice of law issuance of the temporary restraining order, respondent
cannot be likened to partnerships formed by other Atty. Rolando Gatdula, blamed her lawyer for writing the
professionals or for business. For one thing, the law on wrong address in the complaint for ejectment and told her
accountancy specifically allows the use of a trade name in that if she wanted the execution to proceed, she should
connection with the practice of accountancy. A partnership change her lawyer and retain the law office of respondent
for the practice of law is not a legal entity. It is a mere at the same time giving his calling card with the name
relationship or association for a particular purpose. It is "Baligod, Gatdula, Tacardon, Dimailig and Celera" with
not a partnership formed for the purpose of carrying on office at Rm. 220 Mariwasa Bldg., 717 Aurora Blvd., Cubao,
trade or business or of holding property. Thus, it has been Quezon City; otherwise she will not be able to eject the
stated that "the use of a nom de plume, assumed or trade defendant Dave Knope. Complainant told respondent that
name in law practice is improper. And lastly while the she could not decide because she was only representing
court admits that it is true that Canon 33 does not consider her sister. To her consternation, the RTC Branch 220

UNIVERSITY OF CEBU – COLLEGE OF LAW Page 30


LLB – 4 (S.Y. 2015-2016)

Abing, Patrick Jamero, Jacinto Jr. Maglasang, Laarni Ursal, April Lynn
Gulbin, Lou Ann Magdoza, Bregette Niere, Sherlyn Ysulan, Aura Bern
Franje, Hanelli Jane JD-4 Tabuñag, Vincent Roel JD-4
issued an order granting the preliminary injunction as position in said office, the fact remains that his name is
threatened by respondent despite the fact that the MTC, included therein which may therefore tend to show that he
Branch 37 had issued an Order directing the execution of has dealings with said office. Thus, while he may not be
the Decision in Civil Case No. 37-14552. actually and directly employed with the firm, the fact that
his name appears on the calling card as a partner in the
The respondent's version of the incident is that sometime Baligod, Gatdula, Tacardon, Dimailig & Celera Law Offices
before the hearing of the motion for the issuance of a give the impression that he is connected therein and may
temporary restraining order, complainant Samonte went constitute an act of solicitation and private practice which
to court "very mad" because of the issuance of the order is declared unlawful under Republic Act No. 6713. It is to
stopping the execution of the decision in the ejectment be noted, however, that complainant failed to establish by
case. Respondent tried to calm her down, and assured her convincing evidence that respondent actually offered to
that the restraining order was only temporary and that the her the services of their law office. Thus, the violation
application for preliminary injunction would still be heard. committed by respondent in having his name
Later the Regional Trial Court granted the application for a included/retained in the calling card may only be
writ of preliminary injunction. The complainant went back considered as a minor infraction for which he must also be
to court "fuming mad" because of the alleged administratively sanctioned."
unreasonableness of the court in issuing the injunction.
The above explanation tendered by the Respondent is an
Respondent Gatdula claims that thereafter complainant admission that it is his name which appears on the calling
returned to his office, and informed him that she wanted to card, a permissible form of advertising or solicitation of
change counsel and that a friend of hers recommended the legal services. Respondent does not claim that the calling
Law Firm of "Baligod, Gatdula, Tacardon, Dimailig and card was printed without his knowledge or consent and
Celera," at the same time showing a calling card, and the calling card carries his name primarily and the name of
asking if he could handle her case. Respondent refused as "Baligod, Gatdula, Tacardon, Dimailig and Celera with
he was not connected with the law firm, although he was address at 220 Mariwasa Bldg., 717 Aurora Blvd., Cubao,
invited to join but he chose to remain in the judiciary. Quezon City" in the left comer. The card clearly gives the
Complainant returned to court a few days later and told impression that he is connected with the said law firm.
him that if he cannot convince the judge to recall the writ The inclusion/retention of his name in the professional
of preliminary injunction, she will file an administrative card constitutes an act of solicitation which violates
case against respondent and the judge. The threat was Section 7 sub-par. (b)(2) of Republic Act No. 6713,
repeated but the respondent refused to be pressured. otherwise known as "Code of Conduct and Ethical
Meanwhile, the Complainant's Motion to Dissolve the Writ Standards for Public Officials and Employees" which
of Preliminary Injunction was denied. Respondent Gatdula declares it unlawful for a public official or employee to,
claims that the complainant must have filed this among others:
administrative charge because of her frustration in
procuring the ejectment of the defendant lessee from the "(2) Engage in the private practice of their
premises. Respondent prays for the dismissal of the profession unless authorized by the Constitution or
complaint against him. law, provided that such practice will not conflict or
tend to conflict with official functions."
Issue:
Time and again this Court has said that the conduct and
Whether or not there exists a conflict between the behavior of everyone connected with an office charged
respondents function as a Branch Clerk of Court and him with the dispensation of justice, from the presiding judge
engaging into private practice. to the lowliest clerk. should be circumscribed with the
heavy burden of responsibility. His conduct, at all times
Ruling: must not only be characterized by proprietor and decorum
but above all else must be above suspicion.
Based on the record of this administrative case, the calling
card attached as Annex "B" of complainant's affidavit dated WHEREFORE, respondent Rolando R. Gatdula. Branch
September 25, 1996 allegedly given by respondent to Clerk of Court, RTC, Branch 220, Quezon City is hereby
complainant would show that the name of herein reprimanded for engaging in the private practice of law
respondent was indeed included in the BALIGOD, with the warning that a repetition of the same offense will
GATDULA, TACARDON, DIMAILIG & CELERA LAW be dealt with more severely. He is further ordered to
OFFICES. While respondent denied having assumed any

UNIVERSITY OF CEBU – COLLEGE OF LAW Page 31


LLB – 4 (S.Y. 2015-2016)

Abing, Patrick Jamero, Jacinto Jr. Maglasang, Laarni Ursal, April Lynn
Gulbin, Lou Ann Magdoza, Bregette Niere, Sherlyn Ysulan, Aura Bern
Franje, Hanelli Jane JD-4 Tabuñag, Vincent Roel JD-4
cause the exclusion of his name in the firm name of any Issues:
office engaged in the private practice of law.
1. Whether or not the respondent, as a lawyer, may also be
Canon 4 – A lawyer shall participate in the disciplined by the Court for his malfeasance as a public
development of the legal system by initiating or official.
supporting efforts in law reform and in the
improvement of the administration of justice. 2. Whether or not the Code of Professional Responsibility
applies to government service in the discharge of official
Canon 5 – A lawyer shall keep abreast of legal tasks.
developments, participate in continuing legal
education programs, support efforts to achieve Ruling:
high standards in law schools as well as in the
practical training of law students and assist in 1. Yes, a lawyer’s misconduct as a public official also
disseminating the law and jurisprudence. constitutes a violation of his oath as a lawyer. The lawyer’s
oath imposes upon every lawyer the duty to delay no man
Canon 6 – These canons shall apply to lawyers for money or malice. The lawyer’s oath is a source of
in government services in the discharge of their obligations and its violation is a ground for his suspension,
tasks. disbarment or other disciplinary action.

31. A.C. No. 3056 August 16, 1991 2. Yes, the Code of Professional Responsibility applies to
FERNANDO T. COLLANTES vs. ATTY. VICENTE C. government service in the discharge of their official tasks
RENOMERON (Canon 6). The Code forbids a lawyer to engage in
unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct (Rule
Facts: 1.01, Code of Professional Responsibility), or delay any
man’s cause “for any corrupt motive or interest” (Rule
This complaint for disbarment is relative to the 1.03).
administrative case filed by Atty. Collantes, house counsel
for V&G Better Homes Subdivision, Inc. (V&G), against The acts of dishonesty and oppression which Attorney
Atty. Renomeron, Register of Deeds of Tacloban City, for Renomeron committed as a public official have
the latter’s irregular actuations with regard to the demonstrated his unfitness to practice the high and noble
application of V&G for registration of 163 pro forma Deed calling of the law (Bautista vs. Judge Guevarra, 142 SCRA
of Absolute Sale with Assignment (in favor of GSIS) of lots 632; Court Administrator vs. Rodolfo G. Hermoso, 150 SCRA
in its subdivision. 269). He should therefore be disbarred.

Although V&G complied with the desired requirements, 32. A.C. No. 6788, August 23, 2007
respondent suspended the registration of the documents DIANA RAMOS vs. ATTY. JOSE R. IMBANG
with certain “special conditions” between them, which was
that V&G should provide him with weekly round trip ticket Facts:
from Tacloban to Manila plus P2,000.00 as pocket money
per trip, or, in lieu thereof, the sale of respondent’s Quezon In 1992, the complainant Diana Ramos sought the
City house and lot by V&G or GSIS representatives. assistance of respondent Atty. Jose R. Imbang in filing civil
and criminal actions against the spouses Roque and Elenita
Eventually, respondent formally denied the registration of Jovellanos. She gave respondent P8,500 as attorney's fees
the documents. He himself elevated the question on the but the latter issued a receipt for P5,000 only.
registrability of the said documents to Administrator
Bonifacio (of the National Land Titles and Deeds The complainant tried to attend the scheduled hearings of
Registration Administration-NLTDRA). The Administrator her cases against the Jovellanoses. Oddly, respondent
then resolved in favor of the registrability of the never allowed her to enter the courtroom and always told
documents. Despite the resolution of the Administrator, her to wait outside. He would then come out after several
the respondent still refused the registration thereof but hours to inform her that the hearing had been cancelled
demanded from the parties interested the submission of and rescheduled. This happened six times and for each
additional requirements not adverted in his previous "appearance" in court, respondent charged her P350.
denial.

UNIVERSITY OF CEBU – COLLEGE OF LAW Page 32


LLB – 4 (S.Y. 2015-2016)

Abing, Patrick Jamero, Jacinto Jr. Maglasang, Laarni Ursal, April Lynn
Gulbin, Lou Ann Magdoza, Bregette Niere, Sherlyn Ysulan, Aura Bern
Franje, Hanelli Jane JD-4 Tabuñag, Vincent Roel JD-4
After six consecutive postponements, the complainant Rule 18.01. A lawyer should not undertake a legal
became suspicious. She personally inquired about the service which he knows or should know that he is
status of her cases in the trial courts of Biñan and San not qualified to render. However, he may render
Pedro, Laguna. She was shocked to learn that respondent such service if, with the consent of his client, he can
never filed any case against the Jovellanoses and that he obtain as collaborating counsel a lawyer who is
was in fact employed in the Public Attorney's Office (PAO). competent on the matter.

According to respondent, the complainant knew that he Thus, it recommended respondent's suspension from the
was in the government service from the very start. In fact, practice of law for three years and ordered him to
he first met the complainant when he was still a district immediately return to the complainant the amount of
attorney in the Citizen's Legal Assistance Office P5,000 which was substantiated by the receipt.
(predecessor of PAO) of Biñan, Laguna and was assigned
as counsel for the complainant's daughter. The IBP Board of Governors adopted and approved the
findings of the CBD that respondent violated Rules 1.01,
In 1992, the complainant requested him to help her file an 16.01 and 18.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility.
action for damages against the Jovellanoses. Because he
was with the PAO and aware that the complainant was not Issue:
an indigent, he declined. Nevertheless, he advised the
complainant to consult Atty. Tim Ungson, a relative who Whether or not Atty. Imbang has violated Rules 1.01, 16.01
was a private practitioner. Atty. Ungson, however, did not and 18.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility.
accept the complainant's case as she was unable to come
up with the acceptance fee agreed upon. Notwithstanding Ruling:
Atty. Ungson's refusal, the complainant allegedly remained
adamant. She insisted on suing the Jovellanoses. Afraid We adopt the findings of the IBP with modifications.
that she "might spend" the cash on hand, the complainant
asked respondent to keep the P5,000 while she raised the Lawyers are expected to conduct themselves with honesty
balance of Atty. Ungson's acceptance fee. and integrity. More specifically, lawyers in government
service are expected to be more conscientious of their
A year later, the complainant requested respondent to actuations as they are subject to public scrutiny. They are
issue an antedated receipt because one of her daughters not only members of the bar but also public servants who
asked her to account for the P5,000 she had previously owe utmost fidelity to public service.
given the respondent for safekeeping. Because the
complainant was a friend, he agreed and issued a receipt Government employees are expected to devote themselves
dated July 15, 1992. completely to public service. For this reason, the private
practice of profession is prohibited. Section 7(b)(2) of the
On April 15, 1994, respondent resigned from the PAO. A Code of Ethical Standards for Public Officials and
few months later or in September 1994, the complainant Employees provides:
again asked respondent to assist her in suing the
Jovellanoses. Inasmuch as he was now a private Section 7. Prohibited Acts and Transactions. -- In
practitioner, respondent agreed to prepare the complaint. addition to acts and omissions of public officials
However, he was unable to finalize it as he lost contact and employees now prescribed in the Constitution
with the complainant. and existing laws, the following constitute
prohibited acts and transactions of any public
The CBD (Commission on Bar Discipline) concluded that official and employee and are hereby declared
respondent violated the following provisions of the Code unlawful:
of Professional Responsibility:
xxx xxx xxx
Rule 1.01. A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful,
dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct. (b) Outside employment and other activities related
thereto, public officials and employees during their
Rule 16.01. A lawyer shall account for all money or incumbency shall not:
property collected or received for or from a client.
xxx xxx xxx

UNIVERSITY OF CEBU – COLLEGE OF LAW Page 33


LLB – 4 (S.Y. 2015-2016)

Abing, Patrick Jamero, Jacinto Jr. Maglasang, Laarni Ursal, April Lynn
Gulbin, Lou Ann Magdoza, Bregette Niere, Sherlyn Ysulan, Aura Bern
Franje, Hanelli Jane JD-4 Tabuñag, Vincent Roel JD-4
(1) Engage in the private practice of The Court in its July 27, 1994 Resolution, among other
profession unless authorized by the things, granted the substitution but denied the motion for
Constitution or law, provided that such leave to file motion for new trial, "the petition having been
practice will not conflict with their official already denied on February 9, 1994."
function.
Notwithstanding, petitioner on August 8, 1994 filed a
Thus, lawyers in government service cannot handle "MOTION TO ADMIT ATTACHED MOTION FOR NEW
private cases for they are expected to devote themselves TRIAL", and a "MANIFESTATION AND SECOND MOTION
full-time to the work of their respective offices. TO ADMIT" on August 17, 1994. The Court thereafter
required the Solicitor General to comment on said motion
In this instance, respondent received P5,000 from the and manifestation.
complainant and issued a receipt on July 15, 1992 while he
was still connected with the PAO. Acceptance of money The Solicitor General himself recommends that petitioner
from a client establishes an attorney-client relationship. be entitled to a new trial, proceeding from the same
Respondent's admission that he accepted money from the impression that a certain Rodolfo Cuenca's (petitioner's
complainant and the receipt confirmed the presence of an brother) sworn statement is an admission against interest
attorney-client relationship between him and the which may ultimately exonerate petitioner from criminal
complainant. Moreover, the receipt showed that he liability.
accepted the complainant's case while he was still a
government lawyer. Respondent clearly violated the The Solicitor General said:
prohibition on private practice of profession.
The People is inclined to allow petitioner to
As a PAO lawyer, respondent should not have accepted establish the genuineness and due execution of his
attorney's fees from the complainant as this was brother's affidavit in the interest of justice and fair
inconsistent with the office's mission. Respondent violated play.
the prohibition against accepting legal fees other than his
salary. Under Rule 6.01 of Canon 6 of the Code of
Professional Responsibility, prosecutors who
There is, however, insufficient basis to find respondent represent the People of the Philippines in a
guilty of violating Rule 16.01 of the Code of Professional criminal case are not duty bound to seek
Responsibility. Respondent did not hold the money for the conviction of the accused but to see that justice is
benefit of the complainant but accepted it as his attorney's done. Said Rule 6.01 of Canon 6 states:
fees. He neither held the amount in trust for the
complainant (such as an amount delivered by the sheriff in Canon 6 — These canons shall apply to lawyers in
satisfaction of a judgment obligation in favor of the client) government service in the discharge of their official
nor was it given to him for a specific purpose (such as tasks.
amounts given for filing fees and bail bond). Nevertheless,
respondent should return the P5,000 as he, a government Rule 6.01 — The primary duty of a lawyer engaged
lawyer, was not entitled to attorney's fees and not allowed in public prosecution is not to convict but to see
to accept them. that justice is done. The suppression of facts or the
concealment of witnesses capable of establishing
33. G.R. No. 109870, December 1, 1995 the innocence of the accused is highly reprehensible
EDILBERTO M. CUENCA vs. COURT OF APPEALS and and is cause for disciplinary action.
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES
Issue:
Facts:
Whether or not petitioner Cuenca is entitled to a new trial
After his petition for review of the Court of Appeals' as recommended by the Solicitor General.
judgment affirming his conviction for violation of the
"Trust Receipts Law" was denied by this Court in a Ruling:
Resolution dated February 9, 1994, petitioner filed on July
6, 1994 a pleading entitled "SUBSTITUTION OF COUNSEL Yes. Although in "Goduco vs. CA" (14 SCRA 282 [1965])
WITH MOTION FOR LEAVE TO FILE MOTION FOR NEW decided some twenty (20) years ago, this Court ruled that
TRIAL.” it is not authorized to entertain a motion for

UNIVERSITY OF CEBU – COLLEGE OF LAW Page 34


LLB – 4 (S.Y. 2015-2016)

Abing, Patrick Jamero, Jacinto Jr. Maglasang, Laarni Ursal, April Lynn
Gulbin, Lou Ann Magdoza, Bregette Niere, Sherlyn Ysulan, Aura Bern
Franje, Hanelli Jane JD-4 Tabuñag, Vincent Roel JD-4
reconsideration and/or new trial predicated on allegedly President did not have the authority and jurisdiction to
newly discovered evidence, the rule now appears to have remove him from office and insisted that respondents
been relaxed, if not abandoned, in subsequent cases like violated the laws on security of tenure and that
"Helmuth, Jr. vs. People" and "People vs. Amparado". respondent Reynaldo V. Maulit, then the administrator of
the LRA committed a breach of Civil Service Rules when he
In both cases, the Court, opting to brush aside abdicated his authority to resolve the administrative
technicalities and despite the opposition of the Solicitor complaint against him (herein respondent), but was
General, granted new trial to the convicted accused dismissed for failure on the part of petitioner to
concerned on the basis of proposed testimonies or sufficiently show that public respondent committed grave
affidavits of persons which the Court considered as newly abuse of discretion in issuing the questioned order.
discovered and probably sufficient evidence to reverse the Respondent MR was denied with finality.
judgment of conviction. Being similarly circumstanced,
there is no nagging reason why herein petitioner should be On the disbarment proceeding, complainant claims that it
denied the same benefit. It becomes all the more plausible has become obvious that respondent had proven himself
under the circumstances considering that the "People" unfit to be further entrusted with the duties of an attorney
does not raise any objection to a new trial, for which and that he poses a serious threat to the integrity of the
reason the Solicitor General ought to be specially legal profession. Respondent maintains that there was
commended for displaying once again such statesmanlike nothing irregular with his issuance of TCT No. T-2821 in
gesture of impartiality. the name of the Bauduli Datus. According to him, both law
and jurisprudence support his stance that it was his
34. A.C. No. 4018, March 8, 2005 ministerial duty, as the Register of Deeds of Marawi City, to
OMAR P. ALI vs. ATTY. MOSIB A. BUBONG act on applications for land registration on the basis only
of the documents presented by the applicants. In the case
Facts: of the Bauduli Datus, nothing in the documents they
presented to his office warranted suspicion, hence, he was
This is a verified petition for disbarment filed against Atty. duty-bound to issue TCT No. T-2821 in their favor.
Mosib Ali Bubong for having been found guilty of grave
misconduct while holding the position of Register of Deeds Respondent also insists that he had nothing to do with the
of Marawi City. It appears that this disbarment proceeding dismissal of criminal complaint for violation of the Anti-
is an off-shoot of the administrative case earlier filed by Squatting Law and explains that his participation in said
complainant against respondent, which was initially case was a result of the two subpoenas duces tecum issued
investigated by the Land Registration Authority (LRA), by the investigating prosecutor who required him to
complainant charged respondent with illegal exaction; produce the various land titles involved in said dispute.
indiscriminate issuance of Transfer Certificate of Title The IBP commenced the investigation of this disbarment
(TCT); and manipulating the criminal complaint filed suit. On 23 February 1996, Commissioner Victor C.
against Hadji Serad Bauduli Datu and others for violation Fernandez denied the order relative to the transfer of
of the Anti-Squatting Law. It appears from the records that venue of this case and penalized with dismissal from the
the Baudali Datus are relatives of respondent. The initial service, as Register of Deeds of Marawi City. The finding of
inquiry by the LRA was resolved in favor of respondent, Grave Misconduct on the part of respondent by the Office
absolved respondent of all the charges brought against of the President was fully supported by evidence and as
him. such carries a very strong weight in considering the
professional misconduct of respondent in the present case.
The case was then forwarded to the DOJ for review, then The IBP Board of Governors adopted and approved, with
SoJ Franklin Drilon exonerated respondent of the charges modification, which pertained solely to the period of
of illegal exaction and infidelity in the custody of suspension from the practice of law from a five-year
documents, but held guilty of grave misconduct for his suspension to a two-year suspension to be proper.
imprudent issuance of TCT and manipulating the criminal
case for violation of the Anti-Squatting Law instituted On 17 January 2003, respondent MR was denied as by that
against Hadji Serad Bauduli Datu and the latter’s co- time, the matter had already been endorsed to this Court.
accused. As a result of this finding, former President FVR
issued AO No. 41 adopting in toto the conclusion reached
by Secretary Drilon. Respondent questioned said AO
before this Court through a petition for certiorari,
mandamus, and prohibition claiming that the Office of the

UNIVERSITY OF CEBU – COLLEGE OF LAW Page 35


LLB – 4 (S.Y. 2015-2016)

Abing, Patrick Jamero, Jacinto Jr. Maglasang, Laarni Ursal, April Lynn
Gulbin, Lou Ann Magdoza, Bregette Niere, Sherlyn Ysulan, Aura Bern
Franje, Hanelli Jane JD-4 Tabuñag, Vincent Roel JD-4
Issue: have previously explained in the case of Irene Rayos-
Ombac vs. Atty. Orlando A. Rayos:
Whether or not respondent may be disbarred for grave
misconduct committed while he was in the employ of the A case of suspension or disbarment may proceed
government. regardless of interest or lack of interest of the
complainant. What matters is whether, on the
Ruling: basis of the facts borne out by the record, the
charge of deceit and grossly immoral conduct has
We resolve this question in the affirmative. The Code of been duly proven. This rule is premised on the
Professional Responsibility does not cease to apply to a nature of disciplinary proceedings. A proceeding
lawyer simply because he has joined the government for suspension or disbarment is not in any sense a
service. In fact, by the express provision of Canon 6 civil action where the complainant is a plaintiff
thereof, the rules governing the conduct of lawyers shall and the respondent lawyer is a defendant.
apply to lawyers in government service in the discharge of Disciplinary proceedings involve no private
their official tasks. Thus, where a lawyer’s misconduct as a interest and afford no redress for private
government official is of such nature as to affect his grievance. They are undertaken and prosecuted
qualification as a lawyer or to show moral delinquency, solely for the public welfare. They are undertaken
then he may be disciplined as a member of the bar on such for the purpose of preserving courts of justice
grounds. Although the general rule is that a lawyer who from the official ministration of persons unfit to
holds a government office may not be disciplined as a practice in them. The attorney is called to answer
member of the bar for infractions he committed as a to the court for his conduct as an officer of the
government official, he may, however, be disciplined as a court. The complainant or the person who called
lawyer if his misconduct constitutes a violation of his oath the attention of the court to the attorneys alleged
a member of the legal profession. misconduct is in no sense a party, and has
generally no interest in the outcome except as all
In the case at bar, respondents grave misconduct, as good citizens may have in the proper
established by the Office of the President and subsequently administrative of justice.
affirmed by this Court, deals with his qualification as a
lawyer. By taking advantage of his office as the Register of WHEREFORE, respondent Atty. Mosib A. Bubong is hereby
Deeds of Marawi City and employing his knowledge of the DISBARRED and his name is ORDERED STRICKEN from the
rules governing land registration for the benefit of his Roll of Attorneys.
relatives, respondent had clearly demonstrated his
unfitness not only to perform the functions of a civil 35. A.M. No. 10-5-7-SC, December 7, 2010
servant but also to retain his membership in the bar. Rule JOVITO S. OLAZO vs. JUSTICE DANTE O. TINGA (Ret.)
6.02 of the Code of Professional Responsibility is explicit
on this matter. It reads: Rule 6.02 A lawyer in the Facts:
government service shall not use his public position to
promote or advance his private interests, nor allow the In March 1990, the complainant filed a sales application
latter to interfere with his public duties. covering a parcel of land situated in Barangay Lower
Bicutan in the Municipality of Taguig. The land was
Respondents conduct manifestly undermined the people’s previously part of Fort Andres Bonifacio that was
confidence in the public office he used to occupy and cast segregated and declared open for disposition pursuant to
doubt on the integrity of the legal profession. The ill- Proclamation No. 2476, issued on January 7, 1986, and
conceived use of his knowledge of the intricacies of the law Proclamation No. 172, issued on October 16, 1987.
calls for nothing less than the withdrawal of his privilege
to practice law. To implement Proclamation No. 172, Memorandum No.
119 was issued by then Executive Secretary Catalino
As for the letter sent by Bainar Ali, the deceased Macaraig, creating a Committee on Awards whose duty
complainants daughter, requesting for the withdrawal of was to study, evaluate, and make a recommendation on the
this case, we cannot possibly favorably act on the same as applications to purchase the lands declared open for
proceedings of this nature cannot be interrupted or disposition. The Committee on Awards was headed by the
terminated by reason of desistance, settlement, Director of Lands and the respondent was one of the
compromise, restitution, withdrawal of the charges or Committee members, in his official capacity as the
failure of the complainant to prosecute the same. As we Congressman of Taguig and Pateros (from 1987 to 1998);

UNIVERSITY OF CEBU – COLLEGE OF LAW Page 36


LLB – 4 (S.Y. 2015-2016)

Abing, Patrick Jamero, Jacinto Jr. Maglasang, Laarni Ursal, April Lynn
Gulbin, Lou Ann Magdoza, Bregette Niere, Sherlyn Ysulan, Aura Bern
Franje, Hanelli Jane JD-4 Tabuñag, Vincent Roel JD-4
the respondent’s district includes the areas covered by the as a lawyer for Ramon Lee and Joseph Jeffrey Rodriguez
proclamations. before the Committee on Awards.

Violation of Rule 6.02: In the complaint, the complainant In his Comment, the respondent claimed that the present
claimed that the respondent abused his position as complaint is the third malicious charge filed against him by
Congressman and as a member of the Committee on the complainant. The first one was submitted before the
Awards when he unduly interfered with the complainant’s Judicial and Bar Council when he was nominated as an
sales application because of his personal interest over the Associate Justice of the Supreme Court; the second
subject land when respondent exerted undue pressure and complaint is now pending with the Office of the
influence over the complainant’s father, Miguel P. Olazo, Ombudsman, for alleged violation of Section 3(e) and (i) of
for the latter to contest the complainant’s sales application R.A. No. 3019, as amended.
and claim the subject land for himself. The respondent
prevailed upon Miguel Olazo to accept, on various dates, Issue:
sums of money as payment of the latters alleged rights
over the subject land. The complainant further claimed Whether or not respondent’s actions constitute a breach of
that the respondent brokered the transfer of rights of the the standard ethical conduct first, while the respondent
subject land between Miguel Olazo and Joseph Jeffrey was still an elective public official and a member of the
Rodriguez, who is the nephew of the respondent’s Committee on Awards; and second, when he was no longer
deceased wife. As a result, complainant’s sales application a public official, but a private lawyer who represented a
was denied. The conveyance of rights to Joseph Jeffrey client before the office he was previously connected with.
Rodriguez and his sales application were subsequently
given due course by the DENR. Ruling:

Violation of Rule 6.03: The second charge involves another Generally, a lawyer who holds a government office may not
parcel of land within the proclaimed areas belonging to be disciplined as a member of the Bar for misconduct in
Manuel Olazo, the complainant’s brother. The respondent the discharge of his duties as a government official. He may
persuaded Miguel Olazo to direct Manuel to convey his be disciplined by this Court as a member of the Bar only
rights over the land to Joseph Jeffrey Rodriguez. As a result when his misconduct also constitutes a violation of his
of the respondent’s promptings, the rights to the land were oath as a lawyer. After a careful evaluation of the pleadings
transferred to Joseph Jeffrey Rodriguez. In addition, the filed by both parties and their respective pieces of
complainant alleged that the respondent met with Manuel evidence, we resolve to dismiss the administrative
for the purpose of nullifying the conveyance of rights over complaint.
the land to Joseph Jeffrey Rodriguez. The complainant
claimed that the respondent wanted the rights over the Accountability of a government lawyer in public office
land transferred to one Rolando Olazo, the Barangay
Chairman of Hagonoy, Taguig. The respondent in this In Huyssen vs. Gutierrez, we defined promotion of private
regard executed an Assurance where he stated that he was interest to include soliciting gifts or anything of monetary
the lawyer of Ramon Lee and Joseph Jeffrey Rodriguez. value in any transaction requiring the approval of his or
her office, or may be affected by the functions of his or her
Violation of Rule 1.01: The complainant alleged that the office. In Ali vs. Bubong, we recognized that private interest
respondent engaged in unlawful conduct considering his is not limited to direct interest, but extends to advancing
knowledge that Joseph Jeffrey Rodriguez was not a the interest of relatives. We also ruled that private interest
qualified beneficiary under Memorandum No. 119. Joseph interferes with public duty when the respondent uses the
Jeffrey Rodriguez is not a bona fide resident of the office and his or her knowledge of the intricacies of the law
proclaimed areas and does not qualify for an award. Thus, to benefit relatives. In Vitriolo vs. Dasig, we found the act of
the approval of his sales application by the Committee on the respondent (an official of the Commission on Higher
Awards amounted to a violation of the objectives of Education) of extorting money from persons with
Proclamation No. 172 and Memorandum No. 119. applications or requests pending before her office to be a
serious breach of Rule 6.02 of the Code of Professional
The complainant also alleged that the respondent violated Responsibility. We reached the same conclusion in
Section 7(b)(2) of the Code of Conduct and Ethical Huyssen, where we found the respondent (an employee of
Standards for Public Officials and Employees or Republic the Bureau of Immigration and Deportation) liable under
Act (R.A.) No. 6713 since he engaged in the practice of law, Rule 6.02 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, based
within the one-year prohibition period, when he appeared on the evidence showing that he demanded money from

UNIVERSITY OF CEBU – COLLEGE OF LAW Page 37


LLB – 4 (S.Y. 2015-2016)

Abing, Patrick Jamero, Jacinto Jr. Maglasang, Laarni Ursal, April Lynn
Gulbin, Lou Ann Magdoza, Bregette Niere, Sherlyn Ysulan, Aura Bern
Franje, Hanelli Jane JD-4 Tabuñag, Vincent Roel JD-4
the complainant who had a pending application for visas authorized by the Constitution or by the law; and second,
before his office. Similarly, in Igoy vs. Soriano we found the the practice will not conflict or tend to conflict with his or
respondent (a Court Attorney of this Court) liable for her official functions. The last paragraph of Section 7
violating Rule 6.02 of the Code of Professional provides an exception to the exception. In case of lawyers
Responsibility, after considering the evidence showing that separated from the government service who are covered
he demanded and received money from the complainant under subparagraph (b) (2) of Section 7 of R.A. No. 6713, a
who had a pending case before this Court. one-year prohibition is imposed to practice law in
connection with any matter before the office he used to be
Applying these legal precepts to the facts of the case, we with. Otherwise stated, to fall within the ambit of Rule 6.03
find the absence of any concrete proof that the respondent of the Code of Professional Responsibility, the respondent
abused his position as a Congressman and as a member of must have accepted engagement or employment in a
the Committee on Awards in the manner defined under matter which, by virtue of his public office, he had
Rule 6.02 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. previously exercised power to influence the outcome of
the proceedings.
Records do not clearly show if the complainant’s sales
application was ever brought before the Committee on As the records show, no evidence exists showing that the
Awards. Complainant filed a sales application in March respondent previously interfered with the sales
1990 before LMB. By 1996, the complainant’s sales application covering Manuel’s land when the former was
application was pending before the Office of the Regional still a member of the Committee on Awards. The
Director, NCR of the DENR due to the conflicting claims of complainant, too, failed to sufficiently establish that the
Miguel Olazo, and, subsequently, of Joseph Jeffrey respondent was engaged in the practice of law. At face
Rodriguez. The records show that it was only on August 2, value, the legal service rendered by the respondent was
2000 that the Office of the Regional Director, NCR of the limited only in the preparation of a single document. In
DENR rendered its decision, or after the term of the Borja, Sr. v. Sulyap, Inc., we specifically described private
respondent’s elective public office and membership to the practice of law as one that contemplates a succession of
Committee on Awards, which expired in 1997.These acts of the same nature habitually or customarily holding
circumstances do not show that the respondent did in any one’s self to the public as a lawyer. In any event, even
way promote, advance or use his private interests in the granting that respondent’s act fell within the definition of
discharge of his official duties. Since the sales application practice of law, the available pieces of evidence are
was not brought before the Committee on Awards when insufficient to show that the legal representation was
the respondent was still a member, no sufficient basis made before the Committee on Awards, or that the
exists to conclude that he used his position to obtain Assurance was intended to be presented before it. These
personal benefits. We note in this regard that the denial of are matters for the complainant to prove and we cannot
the complainant’s sales application over the subject land consider any uncertainty in this regard against the
was made by the DENR, not by the Committee on Awards. respondents favor.

Private practice of law after separation from public office Violation of Rule 1.01

As proof that the respondent was engaged in an Rule 1.01 prohibits a lawyer from engaging in unlawful,
unauthorized practice of law after his separation from the immoral or deceitful conduct. From the above discussion,
government service, the complainant presented the we already struck down the complainants allegation that
Sinumpaang Salaysay, dated January 20, 2000, of Manuel respondent engaged in an unauthorized practice of law
and the document entitled Assurance where the when he appeared as a lawyer for Ramon Lee and Joseph
respondent legally represented Ramon Lee and Joseph Jeffrey Rodriguez before the Committee on Awards. We
Jeffrey Rodriguez. Nevertheless, the foregoing pieces of find that a similar treatment should be given to the
evidence fail to persuade us to conclude that there was a complainants claim that the respondent violated
violation of Rule 6.03 of the Code of Professional paragraph 4(1) of Memorandum No. 119 when he
Responsibility. encouraged the sales application of Joseph Jeffrey
Rodriguez despite his knowledge that his nephew was not
As a rule, government lawyers are not allowed to engage in a qualified applicant. The matter of Joseph Jeffrey
the private practice of their profession during their Rodriguez’s qualifications to apply for a sales application
incumbency. By way of exception, a government lawyer over lots covered by the proclaimed areas has been
can engage in the practice of his or her profession under resolved in the affirmative by the Secretary of the DENR in
the following conditions: first, the private practice is the decision dated April 3, 2004, when the DENR gave due

UNIVERSITY OF CEBU – COLLEGE OF LAW Page 38


LLB – 4 (S.Y. 2015-2016)

Abing, Patrick Jamero, Jacinto Jr. Maglasang, Laarni Ursal, April Lynn
Gulbin, Lou Ann Magdoza, Bregette Niere, Sherlyn Ysulan, Aura Bern
Franje, Hanelli Jane JD-4 Tabuñag, Vincent Roel JD-4
course to his sales application over the subject land. We The defense of denial proffered by respondent is not
are, at this point, bound by this finding. As pointed out by convincing. It is settled that denial, which is inherently a
the respondent, the DENR decision was affirmed by the weak defense, to be believed must be buttressed by a
Office of the President, the Court of Appeals and, finally, strong evidence of non-culpability. The evidence,
the Court, per our Minute Resolution, dated October 11, respondent’s letters to the complainant, shows that he
2006, in G.R. No. 173453. made it appear that the US$20,000 was officially deposited
with the Bureau of Immigration and Deportation. If this is
All told, considering the serious consequences of the true, how come only Petty Cash Vouchers were issued by
penalty of disbarment or suspension of a member of the respondent to complainant to prove his receipt of the said
Bar, the burden rests on the complainant to present clear, sum and official receipts therefore were never issued by
convincing and satisfactory proof for the Court to exercise the said Bureau? Also, why would respondent issue his
its disciplinary powers. The respondent generally is under personal checks to cover the return of the money to
no obligation to prove his/her defense, until the burden complainant if said amount was really officially deposited
shifts to him/her because of what the complainant has with the Bureau of Immigration? All these actions of
proven. Where no case has in the first place been proven, respondent point to the inescapable conclusion that
nothing has to be rebutted in defense. respondent received the money from complainant and
appropriated the same for his personal use.
With this in mind, we resolve to dismiss the administrative
case against the respondent for the complainant’s failure Lawyers in government service in the discharge of their
to prove by clear and convincing evidence that the former official task have more restrictions than lawyers in private
committed unethical infractions warranting the exercise of practice. Want of moral integrity is to be more severely
the Courts disciplinary power. condemned in a lawyer who holds a responsible public
office.
36. A.C. No. 6707, March 24, 2006
GISELA HUYSSEN vs. ATTY. FRED L. GUTIERREZ Considering that respondent was able to perpetrate the
fraud by taking advantage of his position with the Board of
Facts: Special Inquiry of the Bureau of Immigration and
Deportation, makes it more reprehensible as it has caused
Respondent Atty. Gutierrez, a Bureau of Immigration and damage to the reputation and integrity of said office. It is
Deportation officer, received US$20,000 from complainant submitted that respondent has violated Rule 6.02 of Canon
Huyssen. Accused of falsely representing that it was 6 of the Code of Professional Responsibility which reads:
needed in complainant’s application for visa and failing to
return the same, respondent denied misappropriating the "A lawyer in the government service shall not use
said amount, claiming that he gave it to a certain Atty. his public position to promote or advance his
Mendoza who assisted complainant and children in their private interests, nor allow the latter to interfere
application for visa. He failed however to substantiate such with his public duties."
denial.
Also, the act of issuing a bouncing check shows moral
Atty. Gutierrez had many alibis on why the money could turpitude. Respondent's acts are more despicable, for not
not immediately be returned to the complainant, and only did he misappropriate the money of complainant;
promised her several times that he would repay her out of worse, he had the gall to prepare receipts with the
his personal funds. He even issued personal post-dated letterhead of the BID and issued checks to cover up his
checks on this, but which later bounced. misdeeds.

Issue: Time and again, we have declared that the practice of law
is a noble profession. It is a special privilege bestowed only
Whether or not respondent’s conduct violated the Code of upon those who are competent intellectually, academically
Professional Responsibility and merits the penalty of and morally.
disbarment.
A lawyer must at all times conduct himself, especially in
Ruling: his dealings with his clients and the public at large, with
honesty and integrity in a manner beyond reproach. More
Yes, the respondent should be disbarred. importantly, possession of good moral character must be
continuous as a requirement to the enjoyment of the

UNIVERSITY OF CEBU – COLLEGE OF LAW Page 39


LLB – 4 (S.Y. 2015-2016)

Abing, Patrick Jamero, Jacinto Jr. Maglasang, Laarni Ursal, April Lynn
Gulbin, Lou Ann Magdoza, Bregette Niere, Sherlyn Ysulan, Aura Bern
Franje, Hanelli Jane JD-4 Tabuñag, Vincent Roel JD-4
privilege of law practice; otherwise, the loss thereof is a since he was in the best position to see the legal
ground for the revocation of such privilege. weaknesses of his former employer.

As a lawyer, who was also a public officer, respondent Issue:


miserably failed to cope with the strict demands and high
standards of the legal profession. Section 27 Rule 138 of Whether or not Atty. Cedo violated Rule 6.02.
the Revised Rules of Court mandates that a lawyer may be
disbarred or suspended for, among other acts, gross Ruling:
misconduct in office.
Cedo violated Rule 6.02. Atty. Cedo was suspended.
WHEREFORE, Atty. Gutierrez is hereby DISBARRED from
the practice of law and ordered to return the amount he According to Canon 6.03 of the Code of Professional
received from the complainant with legal interest from his Responsibility, “A lawyer shall not, after leaving
receipt of the money until payment. The case shall be government service, accept engagement or employment in
referred to the Office of the Ombudsman for criminal connection with any matter in which he had intervened
prosecution for violation of Anti-Graft and Corrupt while in said service.” Having been an executive of
Practices Acts and to the Department of Justice for complainant bank, respondent sought to litigate as counsel
appropriate administrative action. for the opposite side, a case against his former employer
involving a transaction which he formerly handled while
37. A.C. No. 3701, March 28, 1995 still an employee of complainant, violated said Canon.
PHILIPPINE NATIONAL BANK vs. ATTY. TELESFORO S.
CEDO In the complexity of what is said in the course of dealings
between the atty. and the client, inquiry of the nature
Facts: suggested would lead to the revelation, in advance of the
trial, of other matters that might only further prejudice the
PNB filed a complaint against Atty. Cedo for violation of complainant cause. Whatever may be said as to w/n the
Rule 6.02 that states: A lawyer shall not, after leaving atty. utilized against his former client information given to
government service, accept engagement or employment in him in a professional capacity, the mere fact that their
connection with any matter which he had intervened with previous relationship should have precluded him from
in said service. Cedo was the former Asst. Vice-President of appearing as counsel for the other side.
the Asset management Group of PNB.
It is unprofessional to represent conflicting interests,
During Cedo’s stint with PNB, he became involved in 2 except by express consent of all the parties concerned after
transactions: the disclosure of facts. A lawyer represents conflicting
interests when, in behalf of one client, it is his duty to
1. Arrange the sale of steel sheets to Ms. Ong and; contend for that which duty to another client requires him
2. Intervened in the handling of a loan of spouses to oppose.
Almeda.
II. The Lawyer and The Legal Profession
When a civil action arose because of 1st transaction, Cedo,
after leaving the bank appeared as one of the counsel of Canon 7 – A lawyer shall at all times uphold the
Ms. Ong. Also, when the second transaction was involved integrity and dignity of the legal profession and
in a civil action, the Almedas were represented by the law support the activities of the integrated bar.
firm Cedo, Ferrer, Maynigo & Associates of which Cedo was
a Senior Partner. 38. A.C. No. 4921, August 3, 2005
CARMELITA I. ZAGUIRRE vs. ATTY. ALFREDO CASTILLO
Cedo claims that he did not participate in the
litigationbefore the court of Ms. Ong’s case He also claims Facts:
that even if it was his law firm handling the Almeda case,
the case was being handled by Atty. Ferrer. This is a Petition for Disbarment filed by Carmelita I.
Zaguirre against Atty. Alfredo Castillo on the ground of
IBP made its report and recommendation for suspension Gross Immoral Conduct. Complainant and respondent met
for having deliberate intent to devise ways and means to sometime in 1996 when the two became officemates at the
attract as clients former borrowers of complainant bank NBI. Respondent courted complainant and promised to

UNIVERSITY OF CEBU – COLLEGE OF LAW Page 40


LLB – 4 (S.Y. 2015-2016)

Abing, Patrick Jamero, Jacinto Jr. Maglasang, Laarni Ursal, April Lynn
Gulbin, Lou Ann Magdoza, Bregette Niere, Sherlyn Ysulan, Aura Bern
Franje, Hanelli Jane JD-4 Tabuñag, Vincent Roel JD-4
marry her while representing himself to be single. They committed under such scandalous or revolting
had an intimate relationship that started sometime in circumstances as to shock the common sense of decency."
1996 and lasted until 1997. During their affair, respondent
was preparing for the bar examinations which he passed. Siring a child with a woman other than his wife is a
On May 10, 1997, he was admitted as a member of the conduct way below the standards of morality required of
Philippine Bar. It was only around the first week of May every lawyer. Moreover, the attempt of respondent to
1997 that complainant first learned that respondent was renege on his notarized statement recognizing and
already married when his wife went to her office and undertaking to support his child by Carmelita
confronted her about her relationship with respondent. On demonstrates a certain unscrupulousness on his part
September 10, 1997, respondent, who by now is a lawyer, which is highly censurable, unbecoming a member of a
executed an affidavit, admitting his relationship with the noble profession, tantamount to self-stultification.
complainant and recognizing the unborn child she was
carrying as his. On December 9, 1997, complainant gave This Court has repeatedly held: "as officers of the court,
birth to a baby girl. By this time however, respondent had lawyers must not only in fact be of good moral character
started to refuse recognizing the child and giving her any but must also be seen to be of good moral character and
form of support. After due haring, the IBP Commission on leading lives in accordance with the highest moral
Bar Discipline found Atty. Alfredo Castillo guilty of gross standards of the community. More specifically, a member
immoral conduct and recommends that he be meted the of the Bar and officer of the court is not only required to
penalty of indefinite suspension from the practice of law. refrain from adulterous relationships or the keeping of
mistresses but must also so behave himself as to avoid
Issue: scandalizing the public by creating the belief that he is
flouting those moral standards."
Whether or not Atty. Alfredo Castillo is guilty of gross
immoral conduct and should be punished with the penalty While respondent does not deny having an extra-marital
of indefinite suspension. affair with complainant he seeks understanding from the
Court, pointing out that "men by nature are polygamous,"
Ruling: and that what happened between them was "nothing but
mutual lust and desire." The Court is not convinced. In fact,
Yes. The Court agrees with the findings and it is appalled at the reprehensible, amoral attitude of the
recommendation of the IBP. respondent.

The Code of Professional Responsibility provides: Respondent claims that he did not use any deception to
win her affection. Granting arguendo that complainant
Rule 1.01 — A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, entered into a relationship with him knowing full well his
dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct." marital status, still it does not absolve him of gross
immorality for what is in question in a case like this is
CANON 7 — A lawyer shall at all times uphold the respondent's fitness to be a member of the legal
integrity and dignity of the legal profession, and profession. It is not dependent whether or not the other
support the activities of the Integrated Bar." party knowingly engaged in an immoral relationship with
him.
Rule 7.03 — A lawyer shall not engage in conduct
that adversely reflects on his fitness to practice law, We agree with the IBP that the defense of in pari delicto is
nor should he, whether in public or private life, not feasible. The Court held in Mortel vs. Aspiras: "In a
behave in a scandalous manner to the discredit of disbarment proceeding, it is immaterial that the
the legal profession." complainant is in pari delicto because this is not a
proceeding to grant relief to the complainant, but one to
Immoral conduct has been defined as: "x x x that conduct purge the law profession of unworthy members, to protect
which is so willful, flagrant, or shameless as to show the public and the courts."
indifference to the opinion of good and respectable
members of the community. Furthermore, such conduct The illicit relationship with Carmelita took place while
must not only be immoral, but grossly immoral. That is, it respondent was preparing to take the bar examinations.
must be so corrupt as to constitute a criminal act or so Thus, it cannot be said that it is unknown to him that an
unprincipled as to be reprehensible to a high degree or applicant for admission to membership in the bar must
show that he is possessed of good moral character, a

UNIVERSITY OF CEBU – COLLEGE OF LAW Page 41


LLB – 4 (S.Y. 2015-2016)

Abing, Patrick Jamero, Jacinto Jr. Maglasang, Laarni Ursal, April Lynn
Gulbin, Lou Ann Magdoza, Bregette Niere, Sherlyn Ysulan, Aura Bern
Franje, Hanelli Jane JD-4 Tabuñag, Vincent Roel JD-4
requirement which is not dispensed with upon admission Canon 8 – A lawyer shall conduct himself with
to membership of the bar. This qualification is not only a courtesy, fairness and candor towards his
condition precedent to admission to the legal profession, professional colleagues, and shall avoid
but its continued possession is essential to maintain one's harassing tactics against opposing counsel.
good standing in the profession; it is a continuing
requirement to the practice of law and therefore 39. A.C. No. 7054, December 4, 2009
admission to the bar does not preclude a subsequent CONRADO QUE vs. ATTY. ANASTACIO REVILLA, JR.
judicial inquiry, upon proper complaint, into any question
concerning his mental or moral fitness before he became a Facts:
lawyer. This is because his admission to practice merely
creates a rebuttable presumption that he has all the In a complaint for disbarment, Conrado Que (complainant)
qualifications to become a lawyer. accused Atty. Anastacio Revilla, Jr. (respondent) before the
IBP Committee on Bar Discipline (IBP-CBD) of committing
Respondent repeatedly engaged in sexual congress with a the following violations of the provisions of the Code of
woman not his wife and now refuses to recognize and Professional Responsibility and Rule 138 of the Rules of
support a child whom he previously recognized and Court:
promised to support. Clearly therefore, respondent (1) respondent’s abuse of court remedies and
violated the standards of morality required of the legal processes;
profession and should be disciplined accordingly. (2) respondent’s commission of forum-shopping by
filing the subject cases in order to impede,
Disbarment shall not be meted out if a lesser punishment obstruct, and frustrate the efficient administration
could be given. Records show that from the time he took of justice for his own personal gain and to defeat
his oath in 1997, he has severed his ties with complainant the right of the complainant;
and now lives with his wife and children in Mindoro. As of (3) respondent’s lack of candor and respect towards
now, the Court does not perceive this fact as an indication his adversary and the courts by resorting to
of respondent's effort to mend his ways or that he falsehood and deception to misguide, obstruct and
recognizes the impact of his offense on the noble impede the due administration of justice;
profession of law. Nevertheless, the Court deems it more (4) respondent’s willful and revolting falsehood that
appropriate under the circumstances that indefinite unjustly maligned and defamed the good name
suspension should be meted out than disbarment. The and reputation of the late Atty. Catolico, the
suspension shall last until such time that respondent is previous counsel of the respondent’s clients;
able to show, to the full satisfaction of the Court, that he (5) respondent’s deliberate, fraudulent and
has instilled in himself a firm conviction of maintaining unauthorized appearances in court in the petition
moral integrity and uprightness required of every member for annulment of judgment for 15 litigants, three
of the profession. of whom are already deceased; and
(6) respondent’s willful and fraudulent appearance in
A lawyer may be suspended or disbarred for any the second petition for annulment of title as
misconduct, even if it pertains to his private activities, as counsel for the Republic of the Philippines without
long as it shows him to be wanting in moral character, being authorized to do so.
honesty, probity or good demeanor. The Court finds
respondent GUILTY of Gross Immoral Conduct and Additionally, the complaint accused the respondent of
ordered to suffer INDEFINITE SUSPENSION from the representing fifty-two (52) litigants in a civil case when no
practice of law. such authority was ever given to him.

In a Resolution of the Court issued on August 3, 2005, the Except for the last charge of unauthorized appearance on
Court found that respondent Castillo’s show of repentance behalf of 52 litigants in a civil case, Investigating
and active service to the community is a just and Commissioner Cunanan found all the charges against the
reasonable ground to convert the original penalty of respondent meritorious. The Board of Governors of the
indefinite suspension to a definite suspension of two years. IBP-CBD, through its Resolution, adopted and approved
Furthermore, the Court noted that complainant Zaguirre’s the Report and Recommendation of Investigating
further claim for the support of her child should be Commissioner Cunanan and recommended that the
addressed to the proper court in a proper case. respondent be suspended from the practice of law for two
(2) years. On reconsideration, the Board of Governors

UNIVERSITY OF CEBU – COLLEGE OF LAW Page 42


LLB – 4 (S.Y. 2015-2016)

Abing, Patrick Jamero, Jacinto Jr. Maglasang, Laarni Ursal, April Lynn
Gulbin, Lou Ann Magdoza, Bregette Niere, Sherlyn Ysulan, Aura Bern
Franje, Hanelli Jane JD-4 Tabuñag, Vincent Roel JD-4
reduced the respondent’s suspension from the practice of add to the congestion of the heavily burdened dockets of
law to one (1) year. the courts.

Issue: While the filing of a petition for certiorari to question the


lower courts’ jurisdiction may be a procedurally legitimate
Whether or not the respondent can be held liable for the (but substantively erroneous) move, the respondent’s
imputed unethical infractions and professional subsequent petitions involving the same property and the
misconduct, and the penalty these transgressions should same parties not only demonstrate his attempts to secure
carry. favorable ruling using different fora, but his obvious
objective as well of preventing the execution of the MeTC
Ruling: and RTC decisions in the unlawful detainer case against his
clients.
Yes. Except for the penalty, we agree with the Report and
Recommendation of Investigating Commissioner Cunanan Willful, intentional and deliberate falsehood before the
and the Board of Governors of the IBP Committee on Bar courts
Discipline.
Respondent also committed willful, intentional and
Abuse of court procedures and processes deliberate falsehood in the pleadings he filed with the
lower courts. For these acts, we find the respondent liable
Respondent is guilty of serious misconduct for abusing under Rule 10.01 of Canon 10 the Code of Professional
court procedures and processes to shield his clients from Responsibility for violating the lawyer’s duty to observe
the execution of the final judgments of the MeTC and RTC candor and fairness in his dealings with the court.
in the unlawful detainer case against these clients. The
persistent applications by the respondent for injunctive Likewise, the respondent violated his duty as an attorney
relief in the four petitions he had filed in several courts – and his oath as a lawyer "never to mislead the judge or any
the petition for certiorari, the petition for annulment of judicial officer by an artifice or false statement of fact or
judgment, the second petition for annulment of law." The respondent failed to remember that his duty as
complainant’s title and the petition for declaratory relief – an officer of the court makes him an indispensable
reveal the respondent’s persistence in preventing and participant in the administration of justice, and that he is
avoiding the execution of the final decisions of the MeTC expected to act candidly, fairly and truthfully in his work.
and RTC against his clients in the unlawful detainer case. His duty as a lawyer obligates him not to conceal the truth
from the court, or to mislead the court in any manner, no
Respondent’s repeated attempts go beyond the legitimate matter how demanding his duties to his clients may be. In
means allowed by professional ethical rules in defending case of conflict, his duties to his client yield to his duty to
the interests of his client. These are already uncalled for deal candidly with the court.
measures to avoid the enforcement of final judgments of
the MeTC and RTC. In these attempts, the respondent In defending his clients’ interest, the respondent also failed
violated Rule 10.03, Canon 10 of the Code of Professional to observe Rule 19.01, Canon 19 of the Code of
Responsibility which makes it obligatory for a lawyer to Professional Responsibility. Said Canon obligates a lawyer,
"observe the rules of procedure and. . . not to misuse them in defending his client, to employ only such means as are
to defeat the ends of justice." By his actions, the consistent with truth and honor. He should not prosecute
respondent used procedural rules to thwart and obstruct patently frivolous and meritless appeals or institute clearly
the speedy and efficient administration of justice, resulting groundless actions. The recital of what the respondent did
in prejudice to the winning parties in that case. to prevent the execution of the judgment against his clients
shows that he actually committed what the above rule
Filing of multiple actions and forum shopping expressly prohibits.

The respondent likewise violated Rule 12.02 and Rule Maligning the name of his fellow lawyers
12.04, Canon 12 of the Code of Professional Responsibility,
as well as the rule against forum shopping, both of which To support the charge of extrinsic fraud in his petition for
are directed against the filing of multiple actions to attain annulment of judgment, the respondent attacked the name
the same objective. Both violations constitute abuse of and reputation of the late Atty. Catolico and accused him of
court processes; they tend to degrade the administration deliberate neglect, corrupt motives and connivance with
of justice; wreak havoc on orderly judicial procedure; and the counsel for the adverse party. Respondent failed to

UNIVERSITY OF CEBU – COLLEGE OF LAW Page 43


LLB – 4 (S.Y. 2015-2016)

Abing, Patrick Jamero, Jacinto Jr. Maglasang, Laarni Ursal, April Lynn
Gulbin, Lou Ann Magdoza, Bregette Niere, Sherlyn Ysulan, Aura Bern
Franje, Hanelli Jane JD-4 Tabuñag, Vincent Roel JD-4
demonstrate how he came upon his accusation against serves. Not even his ardor and overzealousness in
Atty. Catolico. The respondent, by his own admission, only defending the interests of his client can save him. Such
participated in the cases previously assigned to Atty. traits at the expense of everything else, particularly the
Catolico after the latter died. integrity of the profession and the orderly administration
of justice, this Court cannot accept nor tolerate.
We believe that the respondent has been less than fair in
his professional relationship with Atty. Catolico and is thus Additionally, disbarment is merited because this is not the
liable for violating Canon 8 of the Code of Professional respondent’s first ethical infraction of the same nature. We
Responsibility, which obligates a lawyer to "conduct penalized him in Plus Builders, Inc. and Edgardo Garcia
himself with courtesy, fairness, and candor toward his versus Atty. Anastacio E. Revilla for his willful and
professional colleagues." He was unfair because he intentional falsehood before the court; for misuse of court
imputed wrongdoing to Atty. Catolico without showing any procedures and processes to delay the execution of a
factual basis therefor; he effectively maligned Atty. judgment; and for collaborating with non-lawyers in the
Catolico, who is now dead and unable to defend himself. illegal practice of law. We showed leniency then by
reducing his penalty to suspension for six (6) months. We
Unauthorized appearances cannot similarly treat the respondent this time; it is clear
that he did not learn any lesson from his past experience
We support Investigating Commissioner Cunanan’s finding and since then has exhibited traits of incorrigibility.
that the respondent twice represented parties without
proper authorization: first, in the petition for annulment of We hereby AFFIRM the Resolutions of the Board of
judgment; and second, in the second petition for Governors of the IBP-CBD insofar as respondent Atty.
annulment of title. Anastacio Revilla, Jr. is found liable for professional
misconduct for violations of the Lawyer’s Oath; Canon 8;
In both instances, the respondent violated Sections 21 and Rules 10.01 and 10.03, Canon 10; Rules 12.02 and 12.04,
27, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court when he undertook the Canon 12; Rule 19.01, Canon 19 of the Code of Professional
unauthorized appearances. The settled rule is that a Responsibility; and Sections 20(d), 21 and 27 of Rule 138
lawyer may not represent a litigant without authority from of the Rules of Court. However, we modify the penalty the
the latter or from the latter’s representative or, in the IBP imposed, and hold that the respondent should be
absence thereof, without leave of court. The willful DISBARRED from the practice of law.
unauthorized appearance by a lawyer for a party in a given
case constitutes contumacious conduct and also warrants In a Resolution of the Court issued on November 11, 2014,
disciplinary measures against the erring lawyer for the Court denied the Profound Appeal for Judicial
professional misconduct. Clemency filed by Atty. Anastacio E. Revilla, Jr., who seeks
to be reinstated as a member of the Philippine Bar. The
Conclusion Court was not fully convinced that the passage of more
than four (4) years is sufficient to enable the respondent to
We conclude that the respondent committed various acts reflect and to realize his professional transgressions. Court
of professional misconduct and thereby failed to live up to emphasized that this is the second time that the
the exacting ethical standards imposed on members of the respondent was accused and was found guilty of gross
Bar. We cannot agree, however, that only a penalty of one- misconduct. Considering the respondent’s earlier
year suspension from the practice of law should be disbarment case (and subsequent reduction of the penalty
imposed. Neither should we limit ourselves to the imposed as an act of clemency), and another disbarment
originally recommended penalty of suspension for two (2) case against him still pending review by the Court, we are
years. not fully and convincingly satisfied that the respondent has
already reformed. The period of five (5) years is likewise
Given the respondent’s multiple violations, his past record, not considerably long considering the nature and
and the nature of these violations which shows the perversity of the respondent’s misdeeds. We believe that it
readiness to disregard court rules and to gloss over is still early for the Court to consider the respondent’s
concerns for the orderly administration of justice, we reinstatement.
believe and so hold that the appropriate action of this
Court is to disbar the respondent to keep him away from
the law profession and from any significant role in the
administration of justice which he has disgraced. He is a
continuing risk, too, to the public that the legal profession

UNIVERSITY OF CEBU – COLLEGE OF LAW Page 44


LLB – 4 (S.Y. 2015-2016)

Abing, Patrick Jamero, Jacinto Jr. Maglasang, Laarni Ursal, April Lynn
Gulbin, Lou Ann Magdoza, Bregette Niere, Sherlyn Ysulan, Aura Bern
Franje, Hanelli Jane JD-4 Tabuñag, Vincent Roel JD-4
40. A.C. No. 4807, March 22, 2000 Respondent violated professional ethics and disregarded a
MANUEL N. CAMACHO vs. ATTYS. LUIS MEINRADO C. duty owing to his colleague.
PANGULAYAN, REGINA D. BALMORES, CATHERINE V.
LAUREL and HUBERT JOAQUIN P. BUSTOS of The Board of Governors of the IBP passed a resolution
PANGULAYAN AND ASSOCIATES LAW OFFICES suspending Pangulayan for 6 months and dismissed the
case against the other respondents since they took no part
Facts: in it. The court concurred with IBP’s findings but reduced
the suspension to 3 months.
Nine students from the AMA Computer College (AMACC),
all members of the Editorial Board of DATALINE, allegedly 41. A.C. No. 6672, September 4, 2009
published certain objectionable features. The Student PEDRO L. LINSANGAN vs. ATTY. NICOMEDES
Disciplinary Tribunal found them guilty and the students TOLENTINO
were expelled.
Facts:
The 9 students appealed but were denied by the AMACC
President giving rise to a civil case calling for the Issuance In 2005, Atty. Pedro Linsangan filed an administrative
of a Writ of Preliminary Mandatory Injunction with complaint against Atty. Nicomedes Tolentino alleging that
Camacho as their counsel and Pangulayan and associates Atty. Tolentino, through his paralegal Fe Marie Labiano,
representing the defendant, AMACC. “pirated” a client of Atty. Linsangan. Said client later
executed an affidavit in support of Atty. Linsangan’s
While the case was pending, letters of apology and re- allegations.
admission agreements were separately executed by
and/or in behalf of the students by their parents. Atty. Linsangan also questioned the propriety of Labiano’s
calling card. In his defense, Atty. Tolentino denied knowing
Following this, the Pangulayan Law Offices filed a Labiano. He also denied authorizing the printing of such
Manifestation stating, among other things, that 4 of the calling cards.
students had acknowledged their guilt and agreed to
terminate all proceedings. Issues:

Apparently, Pangulayan procured and effected the re- 1. Whether or not Atty. Nicomedes Tolentino encroached
admission agreements through negotiations with said upon the professional services of Atty. Pedro Linsangan.
students and their parents without communicating with
Camacho. 2. Whether or not Atty. Tolentino is liable for the improper
calling card of Labiano.
Issue:
Ruling:
Whether or not Pangulayan is guilty of disregarding
professional ethics. 1. Yes. Atty. Tolentino violated Rule 8.02 of the Code of
Professional Responsibility. A lawyer should not steal
Ruling: another lawyer’s client nor induce the latter to retain him
by a promise of better service, good result or reduced fees
Yes, this action violates Canon 9 of the Code of Professional for his services. By recruiting Atty. Linsangan’s clients,
Ethics which states: Atty. Tolentino committed an unethical predatory overstep
into another’s legal practice.
“A lawyer should not in any way communicate upon
the subject of controversy with a party represented 2. Yes. Atty. Tolentino violated Rules 1.03, 2.03 and 16.04
by counsel, much less should he undertake to of the Code of Professional Responsibility. Although Atty.
negotiate or compromise the matter with him, but Tolentino initially denied knowing Labiano, he admitted he
should only deal with his counsel. It is incumbent actually knew her later in the proceedings. It is thus clear
upon the lawyer most particularly to avoid that Labiano was connected to his law office. Through
everything that may tend to mislead a party not Labiano’s actions, Atty. Tolentino’s law practice was
represented by counsel and he should not undertake benefited. Hapless seamen were enticed to transfer
to advise him as to law.” representation on the strength of Labiano’s word that Atty.
Tolentino could produce a more favorable result.

UNIVERSITY OF CEBU – COLLEGE OF LAW Page 45


LLB – 4 (S.Y. 2015-2016)

Abing, Patrick Jamero, Jacinto Jr. Maglasang, Laarni Ursal, April Lynn
Gulbin, Lou Ann Magdoza, Bregette Niere, Sherlyn Ysulan, Aura Bern
Franje, Hanelli Jane JD-4 Tabuñag, Vincent Roel JD-4
Canon 9 – A lawyer shall not, directly or 43. A.M. No. P-220, December 20, 1978
indirectly, assist in the unauthorized practice of JULIO ZETA vs. FELICISIMO MALINAO
law.
Facts:
42. G.R. No. 89591-96, January 24, 2000
PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES vs. HON. BONIFACIO This is an administrative complaint against Felicisimo
SANZ MACEDA, Presiding Judge of Branch 12, Regional Malinao, a court interpreter of the CFI of Catbalogan,
Trial Court of Antique, and AVELINO T. JAVELLANA Samar.

Facts: These are the charges against him:

Judge Bonifacio Sanz Maceda committed no grave abuse of l — ILLEGALLY APPEARING IN COURT. — Mr. Malinao has
discretion in issuing the order of August 8, 1989 giving been appearing in the municipal court of this town for
custody over private respondent Avelino T. Javellana to the parties like attorney when he is not an attorney. Reliable
Clerk of Court of the Antique RTC, Atty. Deogracias del information also says he has been appearing in the
Rosario, during the pendency of Criminal Cases Nos. 3350- municipal courts of Daram, Zumarraga, Talalora and even
3355. The trial court's order specifically provided for Sta. Rita. He makes it his means of livelihood as he collects
private respondent's detention at the residence of Atty. del fees from his clients. He competes with attorneys but does
Rosario and not to be allowed liberty to roam around. not pay anything.
However, the order was not strictly complied with because
Javellana was not detained in the residence of Atty. Del 2 — GRAVE MISCONDUCT IN OFFICE. — Being employed
Rosario. He went about his normal activities as if he were a in the CFI he would instigate persons, especially in his
free man, including engaging in the practice of law. barrio to grab land rob or coerce. In fact he has cases in the
municipal court in this town involving himself and his
Issue: men. He incite them telling them not to be afraid as he is a
court employee and has influence over the judges.
Whether or not Avelino Javellana can practice law under
detention. 3 — CRIME OF FALSIFICATION. — Information has it that
he is unfaithfully filing his time record in the CFI. Even he
Ruling: has been out practicing in the municipal courts sometimes
he would fill his time record as present. He receives salary
As a detention prisoner private respondent Javellana is not for those absent days. This can be checked with time
allowed to practice his profession as a necessary record he has submitted and if he has any application for
consequence of his status as a detention prisoner. The trial leave. He may try to cure it by submitting application for
court's order was clear that private respondent "is not to leave but this should not be allowed as he has already
be allowed liberty to roam around but is to be held as a committed crime.
detention prisoner As a matter of law, when a person
indicted for an offense is arrested, he is deemed placed 4 — VIOLATION OF EXECUTIVE ORDER AND CIVIL
under the custody of the law. He is placed in actual SERVICE LAW. — It is prohibited for a civil service
restraint of liberty in jail so that he may be bound to employee to engage in private practice any profession or
answer for the commission of the offense. He must be business without permission from the Department Head.
detained in jail during the pendency of the case against Mr. Malinao has not secured that permission because he
him, unless he is authorized by the court to be released on should not be allowed to practice as he is not an attorney.
bail or on recognizance. Let it be stressed that all prisoners
whether under preventive detention or serving final After due hearing and investigation, Judge Segundo Zosa
sentence can not practice their profession nor engage in (CFI Catbalogan) submitted a report stating:
any business or occupation, or hold office, elective or
appointive, while in detention. This is a necessary *Inspite of diligent efforts exerted by the court to
consequence of arrest and detention. subpoena the complainant, Julio Zeta, who is said to be a
resident of Zumarraga, Samar, the same had failed because
the said Julio Zeta appears to be a fictitious person;

*Inspite of the failure of the complainant to appear in the


investigation in his complaint against Felicisimo Malinao,

UNIVERSITY OF CEBU – COLLEGE OF LAW Page 46


LLB – 4 (S.Y. 2015-2016)

Abing, Patrick Jamero, Jacinto Jr. Maglasang, Laarni Ursal, April Lynn
Gulbin, Lou Ann Magdoza, Bregette Niere, Sherlyn Ysulan, Aura Bern
Franje, Hanelli Jane JD-4 Tabuñag, Vincent Roel JD-4
the court nevertheless proceeded to investigate the case question. Indeed, the number of times that respondent
against him by calling Judge Restituto Duran of Sta. Rita, acted as counsel under the above circumstances would
Samar, Judge Juanito Reyes of Zumarraga, Samar and Judge indicate that he was doing it as a regular practice
Miguel Avestruz of Daram, Samar. obviously for considerations other than pure love of
justice.
*Judge Duran declared that according to his docket books
Mr. Malinao appeared as counsel for Vicente Baculanlan in In the premises, it is quite obvious that the offense
criminal case No. 1247 for grave threats and in criminal committed by Mr. Malinao is grave, hence it warrants a
case No. 1249 for the same accused and Romulo Villagracia more drastic sanction than that of reprimand
for illegal possession of firearm; recommended by Judge Zosa. We find no alternative than
to separate him from the service, with the admonition that
*Judge Avestruz declared that the respondent appeared as he desist from appearing in any court or investigative body
counsel in civil case No. 39 in the Municipal Court of wherein Only members of the bar are allowed to practice.
Daram, Samar, for forcible entry case;
WHEREFORE, respondent Felicisimo Malinao is hereby
*Judge Reyes declared that Mr. Malinao appeared as ordered dismissed from his position as interpreter in the
counsel for the defendant in civil case No. 318 of the CFI of Zumarraga, Western Samar with prejudice to re-
Municipal Court of Zumarraga for a forcible entry case; employment in the judicial branch of the government.

Comparing the dates when he appeared before the 44. G.R. No. 169517, March 14, 2006
aforementioned Municipal Courts with his daily time ROGELIO A. TAN, NORMA TAN and MALIYAWAO
record entries, Mr. Malinao made it appear that he was on PAGAYOKAN vs. BENEDICTO M. BALAJADIA
a regular duty. He did not offer any plausible explanation
for this irregularity. Facts:

Issue: This is an original petition for contempt filed by


petitioners Rogelio Tan, Norma Tan and Maliyawao
What should be done to a person like Mr. Malinao? Pagayokan against respondent Benedicto Balajadia.

Ruling: On May 8, 2005, Mr. Balajadia filed a criminal case against


the petitioners with the Office of the City of Prosecutor of
The SC carefully reviewed the record and found the Baguio City for usurpation of authority, grave coercion and
conclusions of fact of the Investigator to be amply violation of city tax ordinance due to the alleged illegal
supported by the evidence, particularly the documents collection of parking fees by petitioners from respondent.
consisting of public records and the declarations of the In the complaint-affidavit, Mr. Balajadia asserted that he is
judges before whom respondent had appeared. a practicing lawyer based in Baguio City with office
address at Room B-207, 2/F Lopez Building, Session Road,
Apart from appearing as counsel in various municipal Baguio City. However, certifications issued by the Office of
courts without prior permission of his superiors in the Bar Confidant and the Integrated Bar of the Philippines
violation of civil service rules and regulations, falsified his showed that Mr. Balajadia has never been admitted to the
time record of service by making it appear therein that he Philippine Bar. Hence, petitioners claim that Mr. Balajadia
was present in his office on occasions when in fact he was is liable for indirect contempt for misrepresenting himself
in the municipal courts appearing as counsel, without as a lawyer.
being a member of the bar, which, furthermore, constitutes
illegal practice of law. In his Comment, Mr. Balajadia contends that the allegation
in paragraph 5 of the complaint-affidavit that he is a
The defense of Mr. Malinao that "his participation (sic) for practicing lawyer was an honest mistake. He claims that
defendants' cause was gratuitous as they could not engage the secretary of Atty. Paterno Aquino prepared the subject
the services of counsel by reason of poverty and the complaint-affidavit which was patterned after Atty.
absence of one in the locality" cannot, even if true, carry Aquino’s complaint-affidavit. It appears that Atty. Aquino
the day for him, considering that in appearing as counsel in had previously filed a complaint-affidavit against
court, he did so without permission from his superiors petitioners involving the same subject matter.
and, worse, he falsified his time record of service to
conceal his absence from his office on the dates in

UNIVERSITY OF CEBU – COLLEGE OF LAW Page 47


LLB – 4 (S.Y. 2015-2016)

Abing, Patrick Jamero, Jacinto Jr. Maglasang, Laarni Ursal, April Lynn
Gulbin, Lou Ann Magdoza, Bregette Niere, Sherlyn Ysulan, Aura Bern
Franje, Hanelli Jane JD-4 Tabuñag, Vincent Roel JD-4
Mr. Balajadia claims that two complaint-affidavits were x x x x.
drafted by the same secretary; one for the May 5, 2005
parking incident at 10:00 o’clock in the morning and In several cases, we have ruled that the unauthorized
another for the parking incident on the same date but practice of law by assuming to be an attorney and acting as
which occurred at 1:00 o’clock in the afternoon. Mr. such without authority constitutes indirect contempt
Balajadia insists that the complaint-affidavit regarding the which is punishable by fine or imprisonment or both. The
1:00 o’clock parking incident correctly alleged that he is a liability for the unauthorized practice of law under Section
businessman with office address at Room B-204, 2/F 3(e), Rule 71 of the Rules of Court is in the nature of
Lopez Building, Session Road, Baguio City. However, the criminal contempt and the acts are punished because they
complaint-affidavit regarding the 10:00 o’clock parking are an affront to the dignity and authority of the court, and
incident, which is the subject of the instant petition, obstruct the orderly administration of justice. In
erroneously referred to him as a practicing lawyer because determining liability for criminal contempt, well-settled is
Atty. Aquino’s secretary copied verbatim paragraph 5 of the rule that intent is a necessary element, and no one can
Atty. Aquino’s complaint-affidavit. Hence, it was be punished unless the evidence makes it clear that he
inadvertently alleged that respondent is a practicing intended to commit it.
lawyer based in Baguio City with office address at Room B-
207, 2/F Lopez Building, Session Road, Baguio City, which In the case at bar, a review of the records supports Mr.
statement referred to the person of Atty. Aquino and his Balajadia’s claim that he never intended to project himself
law office address. as a lawyer to the public. It was a clear inadvertence on the
part of the secretary of Atty Aquino. The affidavit of Liza
Liza Laconsay, Atty. Aquino’s secretary, executed an Laconsay attesting to the circumstances that gave rise to
affidavit admitting the mistake in the preparation of the the mistake in the drafting of the complaint-affidavit
complaint-affidavit. Mr. Balajadia alleged that he did not conforms to the documentary evidence on record. Taken
read the complaint-affidavit because he assumed that the together, these circumstances show that the allegation in
two complaint-affidavits contained the same allegations paragraph 5 of respondent’s complaint-affidavit was,
indeed, the result of inadvertence.
with respect to his occupation and office address. Mr.
Balajadia also claims that he had no intention of Mr. Balajadia has satisfactorily shown that the allegation
misrepresenting himself as a practicing lawyer. that he is a practicing lawyer was the result of
inadvertence and cannot, by itself, establish intent as to
Issue: make him liable for indirect contempt. In the cases where
we found a party liable for the unauthorized practice of
Whether Mr. Balajadia is liable for indirect contempt. law, the party was guilty of some overt act like signing
court pleadings on behalf of his client; appearing before
Ruling: court hearings as an attorney; manifesting before the court
that he will practice law
No, Mr. Balajadia is not guilty of indirect contempt. He is
reprimanded though to be more careful in the future. despite being previously denied admission to the bar; or
deliberately attempting to practice law and holding out
Section 3(e), Rule 71 of the Rules of Court provides: himself as an attorney through circulars with full
knowledge that he is not licensed to do so.
Section 3. Indirect contempt to be punished after
charge and hearing. After a charge in writing has In the case at bar, no evidence was presented to show that
been filed, and an opportunity given to the Mr. Balajadia acted as an attorney or that he intended to
respondent to comment thereon within such period practice law. Consequently, he cannot be made liable for
as may be fixed by the court and to be heard by indirect contempt considering his lack of intent to illegally
himself or counsel, a person guilty of any of the practice law.
following acts may be punished for indirect
contempt: However, while the evidence on record failed to prove
respondents deliberate intent to misrepresent himself as
xxxx an attorney and act as such without authority, Mr.
Balajadia is hereby warned to be more careful and
(e) Assuming to be an attorney or an officer of a circumspect in his future actions.
court, and acting as such without authority;

UNIVERSITY OF CEBU – COLLEGE OF LAW Page 48


LLB – 4 (S.Y. 2015-2016)

Abing, Patrick Jamero, Jacinto Jr. Maglasang, Laarni Ursal, April Lynn
Gulbin, Lou Ann Magdoza, Bregette Niere, Sherlyn Ysulan, Aura Bern
Franje, Hanelli Jane JD-4 Tabuñag, Vincent Roel JD-4
45. B. M. No. 1036, June 10, 2003 Ruling:
DONNA MARIE S. AGUIRRE vs. EDWIN L. RANA
The Supreme Court agrees with the findings and
Facts: conclusions of the OBC that respondent engaged in the
unauthorized practice of law and thus do not deserve
Respondent Edwin L. Rana (respondent) was among those admission to the Philippine Bar.
who passed the 2000 Bar Examinations.
In Philippine Lawyers Association vs. Agrava, the Court
On 21 May 2001, one day before the scheduled mass oath- elucidated that:
taking of successful bar examinees as members of the
Philippine Bar, complainant Donna Marie Aguirre The practice of law is not limited to the conduct of
(complainant) filed against respondent a Petition for cases or litigation in court; it embraces the
Denial of Admission to the Bar. Complainant charged preparation of pleadings and other papers
respondent with unauthorized practice of law, grave incident to actions and special proceedings, the
misconduct, violation of law, and grave misrepresentation. management of such actions and proceedings on
The Court allowed respondent to take his oath as a behalf of clients before judges and courts, and in
member of the Bar during the scheduled oath-taking on 22 addition, conveyancing. In general, all advice to
May 2001 at the Philippine International Convention clients, and all action taken for them in matters
Center. However, the Court ruled that respondent could connected with the law, incorporation services,
not sign the Roll of Attorneys pending the resolution of the assessment and condemnation services
charge against him. contemplating an appearance before a judicial
body, the foreclosure of a mortgage, enforcement
On the charge of grave misconduct and misrepresentation, of a creditor's claim in bankruptcy and insolvency
complainant accuses respondent of acting as counsel for proceedings, and conducting proceedings in
vice mayoralty candidate George Bunan (Bunan) without attachment, and in matters of estate and
the latter engaging respondents services. Complainant guardianship have been held to constitute law
claims that respondent filed the pleading as a ploy to practice, as do the preparation and drafting of
prevent the proclamation of the winning vice mayoralty legal instruments, where the work done involves
candidate. the determination by the trained legal mind of the
legal effect of facts and conditions.
On 17 July 2001, the Court referred the case to the Office of
the Bar Confidant (OBC) for evaluation, report and The right to practice law is not a natural or constitutional
recommendation. right but is a privilege. It is limited to persons of good
moral character with special qualifications duly
OBCs Report and Recommendation ascertained and certified. The exercise of this privilege
presupposes possession of integrity, legal knowledge,
The OBC found that respondent indeed appeared before educational attainment, and even public trust since a
the MBEC as counsel for Bunan in the May 2001 elections. lawyer is an officer of the court. A bar candidate does not
The minutes of the MBEC proceedings show that acquire the right to practice law simply by passing the bar
respondent actively participated in the proceedings. The examinations. The practice of law is a privilege that can be
OBC likewise found that respondent appeared in the MBEC withheld even from one who has passed the bar
proceedings even before he took the lawyers oath on 22 examinations, if the person seeking admission had
May 2001. The OBC believes that respondent’s misconduct practiced law without a license.
casts a serious doubt on his moral fitness to be a member
of the Bar. The OBC also believes that respondent’s The regulation of the practice of law is unquestionably
unauthorized practice of law is a ground to deny his strict. In Beltran, Jr. v. Abad, a candidate passed the bar
admission to the practice of law. The OBC therefore examinations but had not taken his oath and signed the
recommends that respondent be denied admission to the Roll of Attorneys. He was held in contempt of court for
Philippine Bar. practicing law even before his admission to the Bar. Under
Section 3 (e) of Rule 71 of the Rules of Court, a person who
Issue: engages in the unauthorized practice of law is liable for
indirect contempt of court.
Whether or not respondent should be admitted to practice
law.

UNIVERSITY OF CEBU – COLLEGE OF LAW Page 49


LLB – 4 (S.Y. 2015-2016)

Abing, Patrick Jamero, Jacinto Jr. Maglasang, Laarni Ursal, April Lynn
Gulbin, Lou Ann Magdoza, Bregette Niere, Sherlyn Ysulan, Aura Bern
Franje, Hanelli Jane JD-4 Tabuñag, Vincent Roel JD-4
True, respondent here passed the 2000 Bar Examinations Issue:
and took the lawyers oath. However, it is the signing in the
Roll of Attorneys that finally makes one a full-fledged Whether or not respondent is guilty of violating Rules 1.01
lawyer. The fact that respondent passed the bar and 9.02 of the Code of Professional Responsibility.
examinations is immaterial. Passing the bar is not the only
qualification to become an attorney-at-law. Respondent Ruling:
should know that two essential requisites for becoming a
lawyer still had to be performed, namely: his lawyer’s oath We agree with the findings of the IBP.
to be administered by this Court and his signature in the
Roll of Attorneys. The practice of law is a privilege bestowed on those who
show that they possessed and continue to possess the legal
46. A.C. No. 6317, August 31, 2006 qualifications for it. Indeed, lawyers are expected to
LUZVIMINDA C. LIJAUCO vs. ATTY. ROGELIO P. maintain at all times a high standard of legal proficiency
TERRADO and morality, including honesty, integrity and fair dealing.
They must perform their fourfold duty to society, the legal
Facts: profession, the courts and their clients, in accordance with
the values and norms of the legal profession as embodied
An administrative complaint was filed by complainant in the Code of Professional Responsibility.
Luzviminda C. Lijauco against respondent Atty. Rogelio P.
Terrado for gross misconduct, malpractice and conduct Lawyers are prohibited from engaging in unlawful,
unbecoming of an officer of the court when he neglected a dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct and are mandated
legal matter entrusted to him despite receipt of payment to serve their clients with competence and diligence. They
representing attorney’s fees. shall not neglect a legal matter entrusted to them, and this
negligence in connection therewith shall render them
She engaged the services of respondent sometime in liable.
January 2001 for P70,000.00 to assist in recovering her
deposit with Planters Development Bank, Buendia, Makati Respondent’s admission that he divided the legal fees with
branch in the amount of P180,000.00 and the release of two other people as a referral fee does not release him
her foreclosed house and lot located in Calamba, Laguna. from liability. A lawyer shall not divide or stipulate to
divide a fee for legal services with persons not licensed to
Complainant alleged that respondent failed to appear practice law, except in certain cases.
before the trial court in the hearing for the issuance of the
Writ of Possession and did not protect her interests in the Under Section 27, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court, a
Compromise Agreement which she subsequently entered member of the Bar may be disbarred or suspended on the
into to end the case in RTC-Laguna. following grounds:
1) deceit;
Respondent denied the accusations against him. He 2) malpractice, or other gross misconduct in office;
averred that the P70,000.00 he received from complainant 3) grossly immoral conduct;
was payment for legal services for the recovery of the 4) conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude;
deposit with Planters Development Bank and did not 5) violation of the lawyers oath;
include the case pending before the RTC of Bian, Laguna. 6) willful disobedience to any lawful order of a
superior court; and
The complaint was referred to the Integrated Bar of the 7) willfully appearing as an attorney for a party
Philippines (IBP) for investigation, report and without authority.
recommendation. On September 21, 2005, the
Investigating Commissioner submitted his report finding 47. A.C. No. 7056, September 13, 2006
respondent guilty of violating Rules 1.01 and 9.02 of the PLUS BUILDERS, INC. and EDGARDO C. GARCIA vs.
Code of Professional Responsibility. It is recommended ATTY. ANASTACIO E. REVILLA, JR.
that he be suspended for Six (6) months with a stern
warning that similar acts in the future will be severely Facts:
dealt with.
The respondent herein is the counsel of the tenants/
farmers in cases regarding the properties owned by the
petitioners Plus Builders, Inc. The respondent allegedly

UNIVERSITY OF CEBU – COLLEGE OF LAW Page 50


LLB – 4 (S.Y. 2015-2016)

Abing, Patrick Jamero, Jacinto Jr. Maglasang, Laarni Ursal, April Lynn
Gulbin, Lou Ann Magdoza, Bregette Niere, Sherlyn Ysulan, Aura Bern
Franje, Hanelli Jane JD-4 Tabuñag, Vincent Roel JD-4
resorted to unlawful strategies and machinations after the the incompetence or dishonesty of those
Provincial Adjudicator of Cavite rendered adecision unlicensed to practice law and not subject to the
against the tenants regarding ownership of the subject disciplinary control of the Court. It devolves upon
properties. Among these machinations and strategies a lawyer to see that this purpose is attained. Thus,
include his involvement in the unauthorized practice of the canons and ethics of the profession enjoin him
law by allowing a group of non-lawyers to submit a not to permit his professional services or his name
pleading collectively representing themselves as law to be used in aid of, or to make possible the
partners in KDC Legal Services, Law Officers, and unauthorized practice of law by, any agency,
Associates and solicited fees for such. The respondent personal or corporate. And, the law makes it a
contends that he only did such in good faith to exert misbehavior on his part, subject to disciplinary
utmost efforts to defend his clients, no matter how guilty action, to aid a layman in the unauthorized
he may appear to be. This prompted the Integrated Bar of practice of law.
the Philippines-Commission on Bar Discipline to review
the matter and eventually found the respondent guilt of Respondent failed to live up to the exacting standards
unlawful practice of law because he was not able to deny expected of him as a vanguard of law and justice. In line
that the allegations were true, violation the Code of with jurisprudence, he is held liable for gross misconduct
Professional Responsibility. and is suspended from the practice of law.

Issue: WHEREFORE, Anastacio E. Revilla, Jr. is hereby found


guilty of gross misconduct and is SUSPENDED for two
Whether or not the respondent is guilty of violating the years from the practice of law, effective upon his receipt of
Code of Professional Responsibility specifically Canon 9. this Decision. He is warned that a repetition of the same or
similar acts will be dealt with more severely.
Ruling:
III. The Lawyer and The Courts
Yes. He indeed violated Canon 9. The Canon states that "—
A lawyer shall not directly or indirectly assist in the Canon 10 – A lawyer owes candor, fairness and
unauthorized practice of law.” 'Rule 9.01 — A lawyer shall good faith to the court.
not delegate to any unqualified person the performance of
any task which by law may only be performed by a 48. A.C. No. 6198, September 15, 2006
member of the Bar in good standing.' In the present case, RENATO M. MALIGAYA vs. ATTY. ANTONIO G.
respondent claims good faith in pursuing the cause of his DORONILLA, JR.
clients. The records show, however, that his course of legal
action was obviously a stratagem to delay unduly the Facts:
execution of the provincial adjudicator's Decision. the
silence or failure of respondent to challenge the allegation Civil Case No. Q-99-38778 was an action for damages filed
that he allowed non-lawyers to engage in the unauthorized by complainant Renato M. Maligaya, a doctor and retired
practice of law may be deemed an admission of the truth of colonel of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, against
the accusation. several military officers for whom Atty. Doronilla stood as
counsel. At one point during the February 19, 2002
The significance of this professional norm was emphasized hearing of the case, Atty. Doronilla said:
in Cambaliza vs. Cristal-Tenorio, which we quote:
And another matter, Your Honor. I was appearing
The lawyers duty to prevent, or at the very least in other cases he [complainant Maligaya] filed
not to assist in, the unauthorized practice of law is before against the same defendants. We had an
founded on public interest and policy. Public agreement that if we withdraw the case against
policy requires that the practice of law be limited him, he will also withdraw all the cases. So, with
to those individuals found duly qualified in that understanding, he even retired and he is now
education and character. The permissive right receiving pension. (emphasis supplied)
conferred on the lawyer is an individual and
limited privilege subject to withdrawal if he fails Considering this to be of some consequence, presiding
to maintain proper standards of moral and Judge Reynaldo B. Daway asked a number of clarificatory
professional conduct. The purpose is to protect questions and thereafter ordered Atty. Doronilla to put his
the public, the court, the client, and the bar from statements in writing and file the appropriate pleading.

UNIVERSITY OF CEBU – COLLEGE OF LAW Page 51


LLB – 4 (S.Y. 2015-2016)

Abing, Patrick Jamero, Jacinto Jr. Maglasang, Laarni Ursal, April Lynn
Gulbin, Lou Ann Magdoza, Bregette Niere, Sherlyn Ysulan, Aura Bern
Franje, Hanelli Jane JD-4 Tabuñag, Vincent Roel JD-4
Weeks passed but Atty. Doronilla submitted no such Rule 10.01 A lawyer shall not do any falsehood, nor
pleading or anything else to substantiate his averments. consent to the doing of any in court; nor shall he
mislead, or allow the Court to be misled by any
On April 29, 2002, Maligaya filed a complaint against Atty. artifice.
Doronilla in the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP)
Commission on Bar Discipline. The complaint, which By stating untruthfully in open court that complainant had
charged Atty. Doronilla with misleading the court through agreed to withdraw his lawsuits, Atty. Doronilla breached
misrepresentation of facts resulting [in] obstruction of these peremptory tenets of ethical conduct. Not only that,
justice, was referred to a commissioner for investigation. he violated the lawyers oath to do no falsehood, nor
Complainant swore before the investigating commissioner consent to the doing of any in court, of which Canon 10 and
that he had never entered into any agreement to withdraw Rule 10.01 are but restatements. His act infringed on every
his lawsuits. Atty. Doronilla, who took up the larger part of lawyers duty to never seek to mislead the judge or any
two hearings to present evidence and explain his side, judicial officer by an artifice or false statement of fact or
admitted several times that there was, in fact, no such law.
agreement. Later he explained in his memorandum that his
main concern was to settle the case amicably among Atty. Doronillas unethical conduct was compounded,
comrades in arms without going to trial and insisted that moreover, by his obstinate refusal to acknowledge the
there was no proof of his having violated the Code of impropriety of what he had done. From the very beginning
Professional Responsibility or the lawyers oath. He of this administrative case, Atty. Doronilla maintained the
pointed out, in addition, that his false statement (or, as he untenable position that he had done nothing wrong in the
put it, his alleged acts of falsity) had no effect on the hearing of Civil Case No. Q-99-38778. He persisted in doing
continuance of the case and therefore caused no actual so even after having admitted that he had, in that hearing,
prejudice to complainant. spoken of an agreement that did not in truth exist. Rather
than express remorse for that regrettable incident, Atty.
In due time, investigating commissioner Lydia A. Navarro Doronilla resorted to an ill-conceived attempt to evade
submitted a report and recommendation finding Atty. responsibility, professing that the falsehood had not been
Doronilla guilty of purposely stating a falsehood in meant for the information of Judge Daway but only as a
violation of Canon 10, Rule 10.01 of the Code of sort of question to complainant regarding a pending
Professional Responsibility and recommending that he be proposal to settle the case.
suspended from the government military service as legal
officer for a period of three months. This was adopted and The explanation submitted by Atty. Doronilla, remarkable
approved in toto by the IBP Board of Governors on August only for its speciousness, cannot absolve him. If anything,
30, 2003. it leads us to suspect an unseemly readiness on his part to
obfuscate plain facts for the unworthy purpose of escaping
Issue: his just deserts. There is in his favor, though, a
presumption of good faith which keeps us from treating
Whether or not the respondent is guilty of violating the the incongruity of his proffered excuse as an indication of
Code of Professional Responsibility specifically Canon 10. mendacity. Besides, in the light of his avowal that his only
aim was to settle the case amicably among comrades in
Ruling: arms without going to trial, perhaps it is not unreasonable
to assume that what he really meant to say was that he had
Yes. There is a strong public interest involved in requiring intended the misrepresentation as a gambit to get the
lawyers who, as officers of the court, participate in the proposed agreement on the table, as it were. But even if
dispensation of justice, to behave at all times in a manner that had been so, it would have been no justification for
consistent with truth and honor. The common caricature speaking falsely in court. There is nothing in the duty of a
that lawyers by and large do not feel compelled to speak
the truth and to act honestly should not become a common lawyer to foster peace among disputants that, in any way,
reality. To this end, Canon 10 and Rule 10.01 of the Code of makes it necessary under any circumstances for counsel to
Professional Responsibility state: state as a fact that which is not true. A lawyers duty to the
court to employ only such means as are consistent with
CANON 10 – A LAWYER OWES CANDOR, FAIRNESS, truth and honor forbids recourse to such a tactic. Thus,
AND GOOD FAITH TO THE COURT. even as we give Atty. Doronilla the benefit of the doubt and
accept as true his avowed objective of getting the parties

UNIVERSITY OF CEBU – COLLEGE OF LAW Page 52


LLB – 4 (S.Y. 2015-2016)

Abing, Patrick Jamero, Jacinto Jr. Maglasang, Laarni Ursal, April Lynn
Gulbin, Lou Ann Magdoza, Bregette Niere, Sherlyn Ysulan, Aura Bern
Franje, Hanelli Jane JD-4 Tabuñag, Vincent Roel JD-4
to settle the case amicably, we must call him to account for He is WARNED that a repetition of the same or similar
resorting to falsehood as a means to that end. misconduct shall be dealt with more severely.

Atty. Doronillas offense is within the ambit of Section 27, 49. A.C. No. 3731, September 7, 2007
Rule 138 of the Rules of Court, which in part declares: MANUEL S. SEBASTIAN vs. ATTY. EMILY A. BAJAR

A member of the bar may be disbarred or suspended from Facts:


his office as attorney by the Supreme Court for any deceit x
x x or for any violation of the oath which he is required to Respondent is a lawyer of the Bureau of Agrarian Legal
take before admission to practice x x x. Assistance (BALA) of the Department of Agrarian Reform
who represented Fernando Tanlioco (Tanlioco) in
The suspension referred to in the foregoing provision numerous cases. Tanlioco is an agricultural lessee of a land
means only suspension from the practice of law. For this owned by Manuel Sebastian’s (complainant) spouse and
reason, we disagree with the IBPs recommendation for sister-in-law. The landowners filed an Ejectment case
Atty. Doronillas suspension from the government military against Tanlioco on the basis of a conversion order of the
service. After all, the only purpose of this administrative land use from agricultural to residential. The Regional
case is to determine Atty. Doronillas liability as a member Trial Court (RTC) rendered judgment ordering Tanlioco’s
of the legal profession, not his liability as a legal officer in ejectment subject to the payment of disturbance
the military service. Thus, it would be improper for us to compensation. The RTC’s judgment was affirmed by the
order, as a penalty for his breach of legal ethics and the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court.
lawyers oath, his suspension from employment in the
Judge Advocate Generals Service. Of course, suspension However, Atty. Emily Bajar (respondent), as Tanlioco’s
from employment as a military legal officer may well counsel, filed another case for Specific Performance to
follow as a consequence of his suspension from the produce the conversion order. The RTC dismissed the
practice of law but that should not be reason for us to complaint due to res judicata and lack of cause of action.
impose it as a penalty for his professional misconduct. We Respondent filed another case for Maintenance of
would be going beyond the purpose of this proceeding Possession with the Department of Agrarian Reform
were we to do so. Therefore, we shall treat the IBPs Adjudication Board. The case raised the same issues of
recommendation as one for suspension from the practice conversion and disturbance compensation.
of law.
Hence, on 18 October 1991, Manuel S. Sebastian filed a
At any rate, we are not inclined to adopt the IBPs disbarment complaint against Atty. Emily A. Bajar for
recommendation on the duration of Atty. Doronillas "obstructing, disobeying, resisting, rebelling, and impeding
suspension. We need to consider a few circumstances that final decisions of Regional Trial Courts, the Court of
mitigate his liability somewhat. First, we give him credit Appeals and of the Honorable Supreme Court, and also for
for exhibiting enough candor to admit, during the submitting those final decisions for the review and
investigation, the falsity of the statement he had made in reversal of the DARAB, an administrative body, and for
Judge Daways courtroom. Second, the absence of material contemptuous acts and dilatory tactics."
damage to complainant may also be considered as a
mitigating circumstance. And finally, since this is Atty. Issue:
Doronillas first offense, he is entitled to some measure of
forbearance. Whether or not respondent obstructed, disobeyed, and
resisted the decisions of the Court which may cause her
Nonetheless, his unrepentant attitude throughout the disbarment.
conduct of this administrative case tells us that a mere slap
on the wrist is definitely not enough. Atty. Doronilla, it Ruling:
seems, needs time away from the practice of law to
recognize his error and to purge himself of the After a careful review of the records, the Court finds the
misbegotten notion that an effort to compromise justifies evidence on record sufficient to support the IBP’s findings
the sacrifice of truthfulness in court. that [1.] Respondent appealed a case for purposes of delay
which amounted to an obstruction of justice; and [2.]
WHEREFORE, Atty. Antonio G. Doronilla, Jr. is hereby Respondent abused her right of recourse to the courts. The
SUSPENDED from the practice of law for TWO MONTHS. duplication or multiplication of suits should be avoided
and respondent’s acts were tantamount to forum-shopping

UNIVERSITY OF CEBU – COLLEGE OF LAW Page 53


LLB – 4 (S.Y. 2015-2016)

Abing, Patrick Jamero, Jacinto Jr. Maglasang, Laarni Ursal, April Lynn
Gulbin, Lou Ann Magdoza, Bregette Niere, Sherlyn Ysulan, Aura Bern
Franje, Hanelli Jane JD-4 Tabuñag, Vincent Roel JD-4
which is a reprehensible manipulation of court processes Ruling:
and proceedings.
Yes. A lawyer must be a disciple of truth. He swore upon
It must be noted that officers of the court shall be his admission that he will do no falsehood nor consent to
competent, honorable, and reliable men in whom the the doing of any in court. As officer of the court, his high
public may repose confidence "Lawyers must at all times vocation is to correctly inform the court upon the law and
faithfully perform their duties to society, to the bar, to the facts of the case to aid it in arriving at the correct
courts, and to their clients. Their conduct must always conclusion. The courts, on the other hand, are entitled to
reflect the values and norms of the legal profession as expect only complete honesty from lawyers appearing and
embodied in the Code of Professional Responsibility. On pleading before them. A lawyer’s solemn duty is to defend
these considerations, the Court may disbar or suspend his client. A lawyer’s conduct must never be at the expense
lawyers for any professional or private misconduct of truth. In the case at bar, BATUEGAS, et al feel short of
showing them to be wanting in moral character, honesty, the duties and responsibilities expected of them as
probity, and good demeanor — or to be unworthy to members of the bar. Anticipating that their Motion for Bail
continue as officers of the Court." will be denied by the Court found that it had no
jurisdiction over the person of the accused, they craftily
Respondent’s acts constitute gross misconduct and willful concealed the truth alleging that the accused had
disobedience of lawful orders of a superior court. Hence, voluntarily surrendered. To knowingly allege an untrue
respondent was ordered suspended for three years. statement in the pleading is a contemptuous conduct that
the Court strongly condemns. BATUEGAS, et al violated
50. A.C. No. 5379, May 9, 2003 their oath when they resorted to deception. Hence,
WALTER T. YOUNG vs. CEASAR G. BATUEGAS, BATUEGAS, et al should be suspended for 6 months.
MIGUELITO NAZARENO V. LLANTINO and FRANKLIN Q.
SUSA 51. G.R. No. L-25291, January 30, 1971
THE INSULAR LIFE ASSURANCE CO., LTD., EMPLOYEES
Facts: ASSOCIATION-NATU, FGU INSURANCE GROUP
WORKERS and EMPLOYEES ASSOCIATION-NATU, and
YOUNG is the private prosecutor in People of the Phil v INSULAR LIFE BUILDING EMPLOYEES ASSOCIATION-
Arana. BATUEGAS, et al are the counsels for the accused in NATU vs. THE INSULAR LIFE ASSURANCE CO., LTD., FGU
the said criminal case. On Dec 13, 2000, BATUEGAS filed a INSURANCE GROUP, JOSE M. OLBES and COURT OF
Manifestation with Motion for Bail alleging that the INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS
accused has voluntarily surrendered to a person in
authority and, as such, is now under detention. Upon Facts:
verification with the NBI, YOUNG discovered that the
accused surrendered on Dec 14,2000 (not 13). BATUEGAS, This is a case appealed by certiorari to review a decision
et al in their defense alleged that on Dec 13, 2000, upon and a resolution en banc of the CIR regarding ULP.
learning that a warrant of arrest was issued against their
client, they filed a Manifestation with Motion for Bail. They The petitioners (15 of them) ask this Court to cite for
immediately fetched accused from Cavite and brought him contempt the respondent Presiding Judge Arsenio
to NBI to voluntarily surrender. However, due to heavy Martinez of the CIR and the counsels for the private
traffic, they arrived at NBI at 2am the next day. That was respondents, on the ground that the former wrote the
why the Certificate of Detention indicated that the accused following in his decision subject of the instant petition for
surrendered on Dec 14, 2000 and not 13. As to lack of certiorari, while the latter quoted the same on pages 90-91
notice, YOUNG being a private prosecutor, is not entitled to of the respondents' brief:
such as only the State and City prosecutors should be given
notices. Investigating Commissioner recommended ... Says the Supreme Court in the following
suspension of 6 months. IBP Commission on Bar Discipline decisions:
in a resolution approved said recommendation.
In a proceeding for unfair labor practice, involving
Issue: a determination as to whether or not the acts of
the employees concerned justified the adoption of
Whether or not Batuegas, et al. are guilty of falsehood and the employer of disciplinary measures against
should be suspended. them, the mere fact that the employees may be
able to put up a valid defense in a criminal

UNIVERSITY OF CEBU – COLLEGE OF LAW Page 54


LLB – 4 (S.Y. 2015-2016)

Abing, Patrick Jamero, Jacinto Jr. Maglasang, Laarni Ursal, April Lynn
Gulbin, Lou Ann Magdoza, Bregette Niere, Sherlyn Ysulan, Aura Bern
Franje, Hanelli Jane JD-4 Tabuñag, Vincent Roel JD-4
prosecution for the same acts, does not erase or its employees, should the act upon which the
neutralize the employer's right to impose criminal charges was based constitute
discipline on said employees. For it is settled that nevertheless an activity inimical to the employer's
not even the acquittal of an employee of the interest.
criminal charge against him is a bar to the
employer's right to impose discipline on its In the herein case, it appears to us that for an
employees, should the act upon which the employee to publish his "suspicion," which
criminal charged was based constitute actually amounts to a public accusation, that his
nevertheless an activity inimical to the employer's employer is exerting political pressure on a public
interest... The act of the employees now under official to thwart some legitimate activities on the
consideration may be considered as a misconduct employees, which charge, in the least, would sully
which is a just cause for dismissal. (Lopez, Sr., et the employer's reputation, can be nothing but an
al. vs. Chronicle Publication Employees Ass'n. et act inimical to the said employer's interest. And
al., G.R. No. L-20179-81, December 28, 1964.) the fact that the same was made in the union
(emphasis supplied) newspaper does not alter its deleterious character
nor shield or protect a reprehensible act on the
The two pertinent paragraphs in the above-cited decision * ground that it is a union activity, because such end
which contained the underscored portions of the above can be achieved without resort to improper
citation read however as follows: conduct or behavior. The act of the employees
now under consideration may be considered as a
Differently as regard the dismissal of Orlando misconduct which is a just cause for dismissal.**
Aquino and Carmelito Vicente, we are inclined to (Emphasis ours)
uphold the action taken by the employer as proper
disciplinary measure. A reading of the article Issue:
which allegedly caused their dismissal reveals that
it really contains an insinuation albeit subtly of the Whether or not the respondent judge and respondents’
supposed exertion of political pressure by the counsels are guilty of contempt for the misquotation.
Manila Chronicle management upon the City
Fiscal's Office, resulting in the non-filing of the Ruling:
case against the employer. In rejecting the
employer's theory that the dismissal of Vicente No. It is plain to the naked eye that the 60 un-underscored
and Aquino was justified, the lower court words of the paragraph quoted by the respondent Judge do
considered the article as "a report of some acts not appear in the pertinent paragraph of this Court's
and omissions of an Assistant Fiscal in the decision in L-20179-81. Moreover, the first underscored
exercise of his official functions" and, therefore, sentence in the quoted paragraph starts with "For it is
does away with the presumption of malice. This settled ..." whereas it reads, "For it must be remembered
being a proceeding for unfair labor practice, the ...," in this Court's decision. Finally, the second and last
matter should not have been viewed or gauged in underlined sentence in the quoted paragraph of the
the light of the doctrine on a publisher's respondent Judge's decision, appears not in the same
culpability under the Penal Code. We are not here paragraph of this Court's decision where the other
to determine whether the employees' act could sentence is, but in the immediately succeeding paragraph.
stand criminal prosecution, but only to find out
whether the aforesaid act justifies the adoption by This apparent error, however, does not seem to warrant an
the employer of disciplinary measure against indictment for contempt against the respondent Judge and
them. This is not sustaining the ruling that the the respondents' counsels. We are inclined to believe that
publication in question is qualified privileged, but the misquotation is more a result of clerical ineptitude
even on the assumption that this is so, the than a deliberate attempt on the part of the respondent
exempting character thereof under the Penal Code Judge to mislead. We fully realize how saddled with many
does not necessarily erase or neutralize its effect pending cases are the courts of the land, and it is not
on the employer's interest which may warrant difficult to imagine that because of the pressure of their
employment of disciplinary measure. For it must varied and multifarious work, clerical errors may escape
be remembered that not even the acquittal of an their notice. Upon the other hand, the respondents'
employee, of the criminal charges against him, is a counsels have the prima facie right to rely on the quotation
bar to the employer's right to impose discipline on as it appears in the respondent Judge's decision, to copy it

UNIVERSITY OF CEBU – COLLEGE OF LAW Page 55


LLB – 4 (S.Y. 2015-2016)

Abing, Patrick Jamero, Jacinto Jr. Maglasang, Laarni Ursal, April Lynn
Gulbin, Lou Ann Magdoza, Bregette Niere, Sherlyn Ysulan, Aura Bern
Franje, Hanelli Jane JD-4 Tabuñag, Vincent Roel JD-4
verbatim, and to incorporate it in their brief. Anyway, the In our Resolution of June 15, 2010, we found Atty. Lozano
import of the underscored sentences of the quotation in and Atty. Evangeline Lozano-Endriano guilty of grave
the respondent Judge's decision is substantially the same professional misconduct when they misquoted or misused
as, and faithfully reflects, the particular ruling in this constitutional provisions in their pleadings in order to
Court's decision, i.e., that "[N]ot even the acquittal of an impute unjust acts to members of this Court. Subsequently,
employee, of the criminal charges against him, is a bar to we have reinstated Atty. Lozano-Endriano in our August
the employer's right to impose discipline on its employees, 23, 2011 Resolution, because of circumstances indicating
should the act upon which the criminal charges were lesser culpability on her part.
based constitute nevertheless an activity inimical to the
employer's interest." Professional misconduct involving the misuse of
constitutional provisions for the purpose of insulting
Be that as it may, we must articulate our firm view that in Members of this Court is a serious breach of the rigid
citing this Court's decisions and rulings, it is the bounden standards that a member of good standing of the legal
duty of courts, judges and lawyers to reproduce or copy profession must faithfully comply with. Thus, the penalty
the same word-for-word and punctuation mark-for- of indefinite suspension was imposed. However, in the
punctuation mark. Indeed, there is a salient and salutary past two years during which Atty. Lozano has been
reason why they should do this. Only from this Tribunal's suspended, he has repeatedly expressed his willingness to
decisions and rulings do all other courts, as well as lawyers admit his error, to observe the rules and standards in the
and litigants, take their bearings. This is because the practice of law, and to serve the ends of justice if he should
decisions referred to in article 8 of the Civil Code which be reinstated. And in these two years, this Court has not
reads, "Judicial decisions applying or interpreting the laws been informed of any act that would indicate that Atty.
or the Constitution shall form a part of the legal system of Lozano had acted in any unscrupulous practices unsuitable
the Philippines," are only those enunciated by this Court of to a member of the bar.
last resort. We said in no uncertain terms in Miranda, et al.
vs. Imperial, et al. (77 Phil. 1066) that "[O]nly the decisions While this Court will not hesitate to discipline its erring
of this Honorable Court establish jurisprudence or officers, it will not prolong a penalty after it has been
doctrines in this jurisdiction." Thus, ever present is the shown that the purpose for imposing it had already been
danger that if not faithfully and exactly quoted, the served. From Atty. Lozanos letters-petitions, we discern
decisions and rulings of this Court may lose their proper that his suspension had already impressed upon him the
and correct meaning, to the detriment of other courts, need for care and caution in his representations as an
lawyers and the public who may thereby be misled. But if officer of this Court.
inferior courts and members of the bar meticulously
discharge their duty to check and recheck their citations of Under these circumstances, this Court decides to grant
authorities culled not only from this Court's decisions but Atty. Lozanos letters-petitions with the expectation that he
from other sources and make certain that they are shall now avoid going to the extreme of employing
verbatim reproductions down to the last word and contortions of and misusing legal provisions and principles
punctuation mark, appellate courts will be precluded from to justify his positions, and instead focus his energies and
acting on misinformation, as well as be saved precious talents towards a lawyers primary aim of promoting the
time in finding out whether the citations are correct. speedy and efficient administration of justice.

52. A.M. No. 10-9-9-SC WHEREFORE, premises considered, we hereby LIFT the
Re: Order of the Office of the Ombudsman Referring indefinite suspension from the practice of law of Atty.
the complaint of Attys. OLIVER O. LOZANO and Oliver Lozano and REINSTATE him to the status of a
EVANGELINE J. LOZANO-ENDRIANO Against Chief member in good standing in so far as the suspension
Justice Reynato S. Puno [ret.]. imposed him by this Court is concerned.

Resolution: SO ORDERED.

We resolve the separate successive letter-petitions of Atty.


Oliver O. Lozano, addressed to the Supreme Court en banc,
for the lifting of the indefinite suspension from the practice
of law imposed by the Court in its Resolution of June 15,
2010.

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LLB – 4 (S.Y. 2015-2016)

Abing, Patrick Jamero, Jacinto Jr. Maglasang, Laarni Ursal, April Lynn
Gulbin, Lou Ann Magdoza, Bregette Niere, Sherlyn Ysulan, Aura Bern
Franje, Hanelli Jane JD-4 Tabuñag, Vincent Roel JD-4
Canon 11 – A lawyer shall observe and maintain 54. G.R. No. 162525, September 23, 2008
the respect due to the courts and to judicial ASEAN PACIFIC PLANNERS, APP CONSTRUCTION AND
officers and should insist on similar conduct by DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION*AND CESAR GOCO vs.
others. CITY OF URDANETA, CEFERINO J. CAPALAD, WALDO C.
DEL CASTILLO, NORBERTO M. DEL PRADO, JESUS A.
53 & 56. G.R. No. L-27654, February 18, 1970 ORDONO AND AQUILINO MAGUISA
IN THE MATTER OF PROCEEDINGS FOR DISCIPLINARY
ACTION AGAINST ATTY. VICENTE RAUL ALMACEN In L- Facts:
27654, ANTONIO H. CALERO vs. VIRGINIA Y.
YAPTINCHAY This case stemmed from a Complaint for annulment of
contracts with prayer for preliminary prohibitory
Facts: injunction and temporary restraining order filed by
respondent Waldo C. Del Castillo, in his capacity as
Atty. Vicente Raul Almacen filed a “Petition to Surrender taxpayer, against respondents City of Urdaneta and
the Lawyer’s Certificate of Title” to the Supreme Court as a Ceferino J. Capalad doing business under the name JJEFWA
sign of his protest as against to what he call a tribunal Builders, and petitioners Asean Pacific Planners (APP)
“peopled by people who are calloused to our pleas for represented by Ronilo G. Goco and Asean Pacific Planners
justice…” He also expressed strong words as against the Construction and Development Corporation (APPCDC)
judiciary like “justice… is not only blind, but also deaf and represented by Cesar D. Goco.
dumb.” The petition rooted from the case he lost due to the
absence of time and place in his motion in the trial court. In their Answer, respondent asserted that the contracts
His appeal was dismissed in the Court of Appeals by were properly executed by then Mayor Parayno with prior
reason of jurisprudence. In a petition for certiorari in the authority from the Sangguniang Panlungsod. Also, they
Supreme Court, it was again dismissed thru a minute contended that Del Castillo has no legal capacity to sue and
resolution. With the disappointments, he thought of this that the complaint states no cause of action.
sacrificial move. He claimed that this petition to surrender
his title is only in trust, and that he may obtain the title After pre-trial, the Lazaro Law Firm entered its
again as soon as he regained confidence in the justice appearance as counsel for Urdaneta City and filed an
system. Omnibus Motion with prayer to (1) withdraw Urdaneta
City's Answer; (2) drop Urdaneta City as defendant and be
Issue: joined as plaintiff; (3) admit Urdaneta City's complaint;
and (4) conduct a new pre-trial. Urdaneta City allegedly
Whether or not Atty. Almacen should be given disciplinary wanted to rectify its position and claimed that inadequate
actions for his acts. legal representation caused its inability to file the
necessary pleadings in representation of its interests.
Ruling:
The Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Urdaneta City,
Yes. Indefinite suspension imposed. It has been pointed Pangasinan admitted the entry of appearance of the Lazaro
out by the Supreme Court that there is no one to blame but Law Firm and granted the withdrawal of appearance of the
Atty. Almacen himself because of his negligence. Even if City Prosecutor. It also granted the prayer to drop the city
the intentions of his accusations are so noble, in speaking as defendant and admitted its complaint for consolidation
of the truth and alleged injustices, so as not to condemn with Del Castillo's complaint, and directed the defendants
the sinners but the sin, it has already caused enough to answer the city's complaint.
damage and disrepute to the judiciary. Since this particular
case is sui generis in its nature, a number of foreign and Aggrieved, APP and APPCDC filed a petition for certiorari
local jurisprudence in analogous cases were cited as before the Court of Appeals.
benchmarks and references. Between disbarment and
suspension, the latter was imposed. Indefinite suspension Issues:
may only be lifted until further orders, after Atty. Almacen
may be able to prove that he is again fit to resume the 1. Did the RTC err and commit grave abuse of discretion in
practice of law. (a) entertaining the taxpayers' suits; (b) allowing a private
law firm to represent Urdaneta City; (c) allowing
respondents Capalad and Urdaneta City to switch from

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LLB – 4 (S.Y. 2015-2016)

Abing, Patrick Jamero, Jacinto Jr. Maglasang, Laarni Ursal, April Lynn
Gulbin, Lou Ann Magdoza, Bregette Niere, Sherlyn Ysulan, Aura Bern
Franje, Hanelli Jane JD-4 Tabuñag, Vincent Roel JD-4
being defendants to becoming complainants; and (d) of protecting, in their view, "an incompetent judge." In
allowing Capalad's change of attorneys? explaining the "concededly strong language," Atty.
Sahagun further indicted himself. He said that the Court of
2. Whether or not offensive language used by Attys. Oscar Appeals' dismissal of the case shows its "impatience and
C. Sahagun and Antonio B. Escalante in their pleadings readiness to punish petitioners for a perceived slight on its
before the court unfairly calling the Court of Appeals a dignity" and such dismissal "smacks of retaliation and does
"court of technicalities" for validly dismissing their not augur for the cold neutrality and impartiality
defectively prepared petition. demanded of the appellate court."

Ruling: Accordingly, we impose upon Attys. Oscar C. Sahagun and


Antonio B. Escalante a fine of P2,000 each payable to this
1. The RTC properly allowed the taxpayers' suits. In the Court within ten days from notice and we remind them
case of taxpayers' suits, the party suing as a taxpayer must that they should observe and maintain the respect due to
prove that he has sufficient interest in preventing the the Court of Appeals and judicial officers; abstain from
illegal expenditure of money raised by taxation. Here, the offensive language before the courts; and not attribute to a
allegation of taxpayers Del Castillo, Del Prado, Ordono and Judge motives not supported by the record. Similar acts in
Maguisa that P95 million of the P250 million PNB loan had the future will be dealt with more severely.
already been paid for minimal work is sufficient allegation
of overpayment, of illegal disbursement, that invests them 55. A.C. No. 5921, March 10, 2006
with personality to sue. JUDGE UBALDINO A. LACUROM, Presiding Judge,
Regional Trial Court, Cabanatuan City, Branch 29 and
The Lazaro Law Firm’s appearance as Urdaneta City's Pairing Judge, Branch 30 vs. ATTY. ELLIS F. JACOBA
counsel was also held as against the law as it provides and ATTY. OLIVIA VELASCO-JACOBA
expressly who should represent it. The City Prosecutor
should continue to represent the city. The LGC provides Facts:
that the city legal officer is supposed to represent the city
in all civil actions, as in this case, and special proceedings This administrative case arose from a complaint filed by
wherein the city or any of its officials is a party. In the case Judge Ubaldino A. Lacurom against respondent-spouses
of Urdaneta City, however, the position of city legal officer Atty. Ellis F. Jacoba and Atty. Olivia Velasco-Jacoba -
is still vacant, the City Prosecutor's appearance as counsel Complainant charged respondents with violation of Rules
of Urdaneta City is proper. The City Prosecutor remains as 11.03,1 11.04,2 and 19.013 of the Code of Professional
the city's legal adviser and officer for civil cases, a function Responsibility. Lacurom issued a Resolution reversing the
that could not yet be transferred to the city legal officer. earlier judgments rendered in favor of Veneracion.
Under the circumstances, the RTC should not have allowed Veneracion’s counsel filed a Motion for Reconsideration.
the entry of appearance of the Lazaro Law Firm vice the
City Prosecutor. This RESOLUTION of REVERSAL is an
ABHORRENT NULLITY as it is entirely DEVOID of
As regards the RTC's order admitting Capalad's complaint factual and legal basis. It is a Legal MONSTROSITY
and dropping him as defendant, we find the same in order. in the sense that the Honorable REGIONAL TRIAL
Capalad insists that Atty. Sahagun has no authority to COURT acted as if it were the DARAB (HOW
represent him. Atty. Sahagun claims otherwise. We note, HORRIBLE and TERRIBLE! The mistakes are very
however, that Atty. Sahagun represents petitioners who patent and glaring!
claim that the contracts are valid. On the other hand,
Capalad filed a complaint for annulment of the contracts. The defendant filed a Motion for Reconsideration,
Certainly, Atty. Sahagun cannot represent totally and after a very questionable SHORT period of
conflicting interests. Thus, we should expunge all time, came this STUNNING and SUDDEN
pleadings filed by Atty. Sahagun in behalf of Capalad. REVERSAL. Clearly, the RESOLUTION is an INSULT
to the Judiciary and an ANACHRONISM in the
2. Before we close, notice is taken of the offensive language Judicial Process. Need we say more? THIS ERROR
used by Attys. Oscar C. Sahagun and Antonio B. Escalante IS STUPENDOUS and a real BONER. Where did the
in their pleadings before us and the Court of Appeals. They Honorable PAIRING JUDGE base this conclusion? x
unfairly called the Court of Appeals a "court of x x This HORRENDOUS MISTAKE Another
technicalities" for validly dismissing their defectively HORRIBLE ERROR! Even an average Law Student
prepared petition. They also accused the Court of Appeals knows that JURISDICTION is determined by the

UNIVERSITY OF CEBU – COLLEGE OF LAW Page 58


LLB – 4 (S.Y. 2015-2016)

Abing, Patrick Jamero, Jacinto Jr. Maglasang, Laarni Ursal, April Lynn
Gulbin, Lou Ann Magdoza, Bregette Niere, Sherlyn Ysulan, Aura Bern
Franje, Hanelli Jane JD-4 Tabuñag, Vincent Roel JD-4
averments of the COMPLAINT and not by the We now consider the evidence as regards Jacoba. His name
averments in the answer! does not appear in the 30 July 2001 motion. He asserts the
inadmissibility of Velasco-Jacoba’s statement pointing to
In her Explanation, Comments and Answer, Velasco-Jacoba him as the author of the motion. The Court cannot easily
claimed that "His Honor knows beforehand who actually let Jacoba off the hook. His Answer with Second Motion for
prepared the subject Motion; records will show that the Inhibition did not contain a denial of his wife’s account.
undersigned counsel did not actually or actively Instead, Jacoba impliedly admitted authorship of the
participate in this case." Velasco-Jacoba disavowed any motion by stating that he "trained his guns and fired at the
"conscious or deliberate intent to degrade the honor and errors which he perceived and believed to be gigantic and
integrity of the Honorable Court. Judge Lacurom found monumental." we find Velasco-Jacoba’s version of the facts
Velasco-Jacoba guilty of contempt and penalized her with more plausible, for two reasons: (1) her reaction to the
imprisonment for five days. Velasco-Jacoba moved for events was immediate and spontaneous, unlike Jacoba’s
reconsideration order. She recounted that on her way out defense which was raised only after a considerable time
of the house for an afternoon hearing, Atty. Ellis Jacoba had elapsed from the eruption of the controversy; (2)
("Jacoba") stopped her and said "O, pirmahan mo na ito Jacoba filed a Manifestation praying that Judge Lacurom
kasi last day na, baka mahuli.” She signed the pleading await the outcome of the petition for certiorari before
handed to her without reading it, in "trusting blind faith" deciding the contempt charge against him. This petition for
on her husband of 35 years with whom she "entrusted her certiorari anchors some of its arguments on the premise
whole life and future. Velasco-Jacoba lamented that Judge that the motion was, in fact, Jacoba’s handiwork.
Lacurom had found her guilty of contempt without Respondents nonetheless try to exculpate themselves by
conducting any hearing. She accused Judge Lacurom of saying that every remark motion was warranted.
harboring "a personal vendetta," ordering her
imprisonment despite her status as "senior lady lawyer of We disagree. Resolution presented the facts correctly and
the IBP Nueva Ecija Chapter, already a senior citizen, and a decided the case according to supporting law and
grandmother many times over." Judge Lacurom issued jurisprudence. Though a lawyer’s language may be forceful
another order this time directing Jacoba to explain why he and emphatic, it should always be dignified and respectful,
should not be held in contempt. Jacoba complied by filing befitting the dignity of the legal profession. The use of
an Answer with Second Motion for Inhibition, wherein he unnecessary language is proscribed if we are to promote
denied that he typed or prepared the 30 July 2001 motion. high esteem in the courts and trust in judicial
IBP Commissioner recommended the suspension. administration. Shortly after the filing of the 30 July 2001
motion but before its resolution, Jacoba assisted his client
IBP Board of Governors adopted Recommendation, except in instituting two administrative cases against Judge
for the length of suspension which the IBP Board reduced Lacurom Court’s attention is drawn to the fact that the
to three months. timing of the filing of these administrative cases could very
well raise the suspicion that the cases were intended as
Issue: leverage against Judge Lacurom. Respondent spouses have
both been the subject of administrative cases before this
Whether or not respondent is liable under the Code of Court. In Administrative Case No. 2594, we suspended
Professional Responsibility. Jacoba from the practice of law for a period of six months
WHEREFORE, we SUSPEND Atty. Ellis F. Jacoba from the
Ruling: practice of law for two (2) years effective upon finality of
this Decision. We also SUSPEND Atty. Olivia Velasco-Jacoba
Yes. There is no dispute that the genuine signature of from the practice of law for two (2) months effective upon
Velasco-Jacoba appears by signing the 30 July 2001 finality of this Decision.
motion, Velasco-Jacoba in effect certified that she had read
it, she knew it to be meritorious, and it was not for the
purpose of delaying the case. Velasco-Jacoba insists,
however, that she signed the motion only because of her
husband’s request but she did not know its contents
beforehand. By Velasco-Jacoba’s own admission, therefore,
she violated Sec 3 of Rule 7. This violation is an act of
falsehood before the courts, which is a ground for
subjecting her to disciplinary action.

UNIVERSITY OF CEBU – COLLEGE OF LAW Page 59


LLB – 4 (S.Y. 2015-2016)

Abing, Patrick Jamero, Jacinto Jr. Maglasang, Laarni Ursal, April Lynn
Gulbin, Lou Ann Magdoza, Bregette Niere, Sherlyn Ysulan, Aura Bern
Franje, Hanelli Jane JD-4 Tabuñag, Vincent Roel JD-4
Canon 12 – A lawyer shall exert every effort and checks in connection with said agreement; (3) these
consider it his duty to assist in the speedy and checks were dishonored and remain unpaid; and (4) the
efficient administration of justice. land sold had an existing road-right-of- way. The
responded failed to prove that he had legal cause to refuse
57. A.M. No. AC 4762, June 28, 2004 payment, or that he was entitled to legal compensation.
LINDA VDA. DE ESPINO vs. ATTY. PEPITO C. Respondent’s failure to present evidence is a breach of
PRESQUITO Rule 12.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility.
Having no legal defense to refuse payment of the 8
Facts: dishonored checks, respondent’s indifference to
complainant’s entreaties for payment was conduct
Mrs. Linda Vda. de Espino filed a letter-complaint with the unbecoming of a member of the bar and an officer of the
Court Administrator Alfredo Benipayo for "having court. Respondent violated the Code of Professional
employed fraud, trickery and dishonest means in refusing Responsibility by his unlawful, dishonest and deceitful
to honor and pay [her] late husband Virgilio Espino, when conduct towards complainant and her late husband, first
he was still alive, the sum of P763,060.00" against Atty by allowing the 8 checks he issued to bounce, then by
Pepito C.Presquito (respondent). Mr. Espino and the ignoring the repeated demands for payment until
respondent entered into an agreement for a purchase of complainant was forced to file this complaint, and finally
land by the latter from the former. The price of the land by deliberately delaying the disposition of this case with
was P1,437,410.00, payable on a staggered basis and by dilatory tactics.
installments. Respondent issues post-dated checks as
payment. Respondent then entered into a joint venture or 58. G.R. Nos. 189161 & 189173, March 21, 2012
partnership agreement with Mrs. Guadalupe Ares for the JUDGE ADORACION G. ANGELES vs. HON. MA.
subdivision of the landinto home-size lots and its MERCEDITAS N. GUTIERREZ, Ombudsman; HON.
development, with a portion of the land retained by ORLANDO C. CASIMIRO, Overall Deputy Ombudsman;
respondent for his own use. The land was eventually titled HON. SYLVIA A. SEVERO, Graft Investigator and
in the name of respondent and Mrs. Ares, and subdivided Prosecution Officer I; HON. MARILOU B. ANCHETA-
into 35 to 36 lots. The 8 post-dated checks issued by MEJICA, Acting Director, PIAB-D; HON. JOSE T. DE
respondent were all dishonored. Mr. Espino made JESUS, JR., Assistant Ombudsman, PAMO; All of the
repeated demands for payment from respondent but the Ombudsman; and SSP EMMANUEL Y. VELASCO
latter refused. Mr. Espino died in December 1996. His
widow, complainant, then tried to collect from respondent Facts:
the value of the eight checks. When complainant’s
numerous pleas remained unheeded, she filed the Petitioner Judge Angeles was, at the time this Petition was
complaint in June 1997.Respondent denied any filed, the Presiding Judge of Branch 12 of the Caloocan City
wrongdoing, and said that the allegations that he had Regional Trial Court (RTC); while private respondent
employed "fraud, trickery and dishonest means" with the Velasco was a senior state prosecutor at the Department of
late Mr. Espino were totally false and baseless. Justice (DOJ).
Respondents claim that he and Mr. Espino, agreed that Mr
Espino will not encash the checks until the right of way On 20 February 2007, petitioner Judge Angeles filed a
problem has been resolved. In addition, respondent claims criminal Complaint against respondent Velasco with the
that the balance would be offset with the cost he incurred Ombudsman and sought his indictment before the
when he defended Mr. Espino’s son in a criminal case. Sandiganbayan for the following acts allegedly committed
in his capacity as a prosecutor:
Issue: 1. Giving an unwarranted benefit, advantage or
preference to the accused in a criminal case for
Whether or not the respondent failed to act with candor smuggling by failing to present a material witness;
and fairness towards the complainant. 2. Engaging in private practice by insisting on the
reopening of child abuse cases against petitioner;
Ruling: 3. Falsifying a public document to make it appear
that a clarificatory hearing on the child abuse
Complainant’s testimony and exhibits have clearly Complaint was conducted.
established that: (1) there was an agreement between
respondent and complainant’s late husband for the sale of In the questioned Joint Order, the Ombudsman dismissed
the latter’s land; (2) respondent had issued the eight the charges against respondent Velasco. It found that after

UNIVERSITY OF CEBU – COLLEGE OF LAW Page 60


LLB – 4 (S.Y. 2015-2016)

Abing, Patrick Jamero, Jacinto Jr. Maglasang, Laarni Ursal, April Lynn
Gulbin, Lou Ann Magdoza, Bregette Niere, Sherlyn Ysulan, Aura Bern
Franje, Hanelli Jane JD-4 Tabuñag, Vincent Roel JD-4
evaluation of the facts and evidence presented by Issue:
complainant, there was no cause to conduct a preliminary
investigation or an administrative adjudication with Whether or not the Ombudsman committed grave abuse of
regard to the charges. discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction in
dismissing the Complaint against respondent Velasco.
On the first charge of suppression of testimonial evidence
in connection with the smuggling case, the Ombudsman Ruling:
dismissed the charge on the ground that petitioner had no
sufficient personal interest in the subject matter of the No.
grievance. The Ombudsman explained that petitioner was
neither one of the parties nor the presiding judge in the Power of the Court over the Ombudsman’s Exercise of its
said criminal case and, therefore, had no personal interest Investigative and Prosecutorial Powers
in it.
As a general rule, the Court does not interfere with the
Moreover, granting that the personal interest of petitioner Ombudsman’s exercise of its investigative and
was not in issue, respondent Velasco acted based on his prosecutorial powers without good and compelling
discretion as prosecutor and his appreciation of the reasons. Such reasons are clearly absent in the instant
evidence in the case, and any lapse in his judgment cannot Petition.
be a source of criminal liability. The Ombudsman said that
it had no authority to investigate the prosecutor’s exercise At the outset, we emphasize that certiorari is an
of discretion, unless there was sufficient evidence that the extraordinary prerogative writ that is never demandable
exercise was tainted with malice and bad faith. as a matter of right. Also, it is meant to correct only errors
of jurisdiction and not errors of judgment committed in
The Ombudsman likewise dismissed the second charge of the exercise of the discretion of a tribunal or an officer.
private practice of profession on the ground of failure to This is especially true in the case of the exercise by the
exhaust administrative remedies. It pointed out that Ombudsman of its constitutionally mandated powers. That
petitioner should have first elevated her concern to the is why this Court has consistently maintained its well-
DOJ, which had primary jurisdiction over respondent’s entrenched policy of non-interference in the Ombudsman’s
actions and conduct as public prosecutor. Moreover, the exercise of its investigatory and prosecutorial powers.
Ombudsman found that respondent Velasco was not
engaged in private practice when he filed the two Petitions General Rule of Non-Interference with the Plenary Powers
for the reopening of the child abuse cases against of the Ombudsman
petitioner, since he was the investigating prosecutor of the
said cases. The general rule has always been non-interference by the
courts in the exercise by the office of the prosecutor or the
Finally, on the falsification of a public document, which Ombudsman of its plenary investigative and prosecutorial
was also dismissed, the Ombudsman said that the issue powers.
should have been raised earlier, when petitioner Judge
Angeles filed her Petition for Review of the Resolution of The Discretionary Nature of Preliminary Investigation
respondent Velasco. Moreover, petitioner should have
substantiated the allegation of falsification, because the The determination by the Ombudsman of probable cause
mere presentation of the alleged falsified document did or of whether there exists a reasonable ground to believe
not in itself establish falsification. The Ombudsman also that a crime has been committed, and that the accused is
ruled that with the belated filing of the charge and the probably guilty thereof, is usually done after the conduct of
reversal by the DOJ of respondent Velasco’s Resolution a preliminary investigation. However, a preliminary
indicting petitioner, the materiality of the alleged falsified investigation is by no means mandatory.
document is no longer in issue.
No Grave Abuse of Discretion in the Ombudsman’s
Petitioner filed a Motion for Reconsideration of the Evaluation of Evidence
questioned Joint Order, which was denied by the
Ombudsman for lack of merit. This Court acknowledges exceptional cases calling for a
review of the Ombudsman’s action when there is a charge
Hence, the present Rule 65 Petition. and sufficient proof to show grave abuse of discretion.

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LLB – 4 (S.Y. 2015-2016)

Abing, Patrick Jamero, Jacinto Jr. Maglasang, Laarni Ursal, April Lynn
Gulbin, Lou Ann Magdoza, Bregette Niere, Sherlyn Ysulan, Aura Bern
Franje, Hanelli Jane JD-4 Tabuñag, Vincent Roel JD-4
Grave abuse of discretion implies such capricious and The parties are warned against trifling with court process.
whimsical exercise of judgment as is equivalent to lack of This case shall, hopefully, serve as a reminder of their
jurisdiction; or the exercise of power in an arbitrary or ethical and professional duties and put an immediate end
despotic manner by reason of passion, prejudice, or to their recriminations.
personal hostility. The abuse must be in a manner so
patent and so gross as to amount to an evasion of a 59. A.C. No. 6273, March 15, 2010
positive duty or to a virtual refusal to perform the duty ATTY. ILUMINADA M. VAFLOR-FABROA vs. ATTY.
enjoined or to act at all in contemplation of law. OSCAR PAGUINTO

The determination of grave abuse of discretion as the Facts:


exception to the general rule of non-interference in the
Ombudsman’s exercise of its powers is precisely the An Information for Estafa was filed on June 21, 2001
province of the extraordinary writ of certiorari. However, against Atty. Iluminada M. Vaflor-Fabroa (complainant)
we highlight the exceptional nature of that determination. along with others based on a joint affidavit-complaint
which Atty. Oscar Paguinto (respondent) prepared and
In this Petition, we do not find any grave abuse of notarized, which did not indicate the involvement of
discretion that calls for the Court’s exceptional divergence complainant. A Motion to Quash the Information was
from the general rule. Notably, the burden of proof to show granted. Respondent’s MR of the quashal of the
grave abuse of discretion is on petitioner, and she has Information was denied. Respondent also filed six other
failed to discharge this burden. She merely states why she criminal complaints against complainant for violation of
does not agree with the findings of the Ombudsman, Article 31 of RA 6938 (Cooperative Code of the
instead of demonstrating and proving grave abuse of Philippines) but eventually withdrew them.
discretion. In her arguments, petitioner would also have us
pass upon the factual findings of the Ombudsman. That we Complainant, who was Chairperson of the General Mariano
cannot do, for this Court is not a trier of facts. Alvarez Service Cooperative, Inc. (GEMASCO), received a
Notice of Special General Assembly of GEMASCO on
Even if we were to extend liberally the exception to the October 14, 2001 to consider the removal of four members
general rule against the review of the findings of the of the Board of Directors which was signed by respondent.
Ombudsman, an examination of the records would show At the October 14, 2001 Special General Assembly
that no grave abuse of discretion was demonstrated to presided by respondent and PNP Sr. Supt. Angelito L.
warrant a reversal of the Joint Order dismissing the Gerangco (Gerangco), who were not members of the then
Complaint against respondent Velasco. current Board, Gerango, complainant’s predecessor, as
Chair of the GEMASCO board, declared himself Chair,
Final Note appointed others to replace the removed directors, and
appointed respondent as Board Secretary. Thus,
Finally, the Court notes with strong disapproval both respondent and his group took over the GEMASCO office
parties’ resort to abuse of the judicial processes of this and its premises, the pumphouses, water facilities, and
Court. This is the third case we know of that the parties operations.
have filed against each other, and that has reached the
Supreme Court. Complainant thus filed on October 16, 2001 with the
Cooperative Development Authority (CDA)-Calamba a
This fact is especially regrettable, considering that complaint for annulment of the proceedings taken during
petitioner as judge and respondent as prosecutor should Special General Assembly. The CDA Acting Regional
have been well-cognizant of our clogged court dockets and Director (RD), declared the questioned general assembly
should have thus exercised more restraint in filing cases null and void for having been conducted in violation of
against each other. Canon 12 of the Code of Professional GEMASCO’s By-Laws and the Cooperative Code of the
Responsibility enjoins a lawyer from filing multiple actions Philippines, but was later vacated on February 21, 2002
arising from the same cause and from misusing court for lack of jurisdiction of CDA.
process. Judging from the number of cases and the
vengeful tone of the charges that the parties have hurled In her present complainant against respondent for
against each other in their pleadings, they seem more bent disbarment, complainant alleged that respondent
on settling what has become a personal score between promoted or sued a groundless, false or unlawful suit, and
them, rather than on achieving the ends of justice. gave aid and consent to the same, disobeyed laws of the
land, promoted disrespect for law and the legal profession,

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LLB – 4 (S.Y. 2015-2016)

Abing, Patrick Jamero, Jacinto Jr. Maglasang, Laarni Ursal, April Lynn
Gulbin, Lou Ann Magdoza, Bregette Niere, Sherlyn Ysulan, Aura Bern
Franje, Hanelli Jane JD-4 Tabuñag, Vincent Roel JD-4
did not conduct himself with courtesy, fairness and candor When, after obtaining an extension of time to file comment
toward his professional colleague and engaged in on the complaint, respondent failed to file any and ignored
harassing tactics against opposing counsel, violated Canon this Court’s subsequent show cause order, he violated Rule
19, and ruined and damaged the GEMASCO and the entire 12.03 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, which
water-consuming community. states that "A lawyer shall not, after obtaining extensions
of time to file pleadings, memoranda or briefs, let the
Despite the Court’s grant on respondent’s motion of period lapse without submitting the same or offering an
extension of time to file Comment, respondent never filed explanation for his failure to do so." Sebastian vs. Bajar
any comment. The Court thus required him to show cause, teaches: x x x Respondent’s cavalier attitude in repeatedly
why he should not be disciplinarily dealt with but just the ignoring the orders of the Supreme Court constitutes utter
same he failed to comply. The Court thus referred the disrespect to the judicial institution. Respondent’s conduct
complaint to IBP for investigation, report, and indicates a high degree of irresponsibility. A Court’s
recommendation. Resolution is "not to be construed as a mere request, nor
should it be complied with partially, inadequately, or
Issues: selectively".

1. Whether or not the acts of respondent constitute The Court notes that respondent had previously been
violations of the Code of Professional Responsibility, suspended from the practice of law for six months for
particularly Canon 1, – A lawyer shall uphold the violation of the CPR. It appears, however, that respondent
Constitution, obey the laws of the land and promote has not reformed his ways. A more severe penalty this
respect for law and legal [processes], Canon 8 – A lawyer time is thus called for.
shall conduct himself with courtesy, fairness, and candor
toward his professional colleagues, and shall avoid WHEREFORE, respondent, Atty. Oscar P. Paguinto, is
harassing tactics against opposing counsel, Canon 10 – A SUSPENDED for two years from the practice of law for
lawyer owes candor, fairness and good faith to the court, violation of Canons 1, 8, 10, and Rule 12.03 of the Code of
Canon 19 – A lawyer shall represent his client with zeal Professional Responsibility and the Lawyer’s Oath.
within the bounds of the law, Rule 12.03 – A lawyer shall
not, after obtaining extensions of time to file pleadings, 60. G.R. No. 133090, January 19, 2001
memoranda or briefs, let the period lapse without REXIE EFREN A. BUGARING AND ROYAL BECHTEL
submitting the same or offering an explanation for his BUILDERS, INC. vs. HON. DOLORES S. ESPAÑOL, in her
failure to do so. capacity as Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Court
Branch 90, Imus, Cavite
2. Whether or not the above acts of respondent constitute
violations of his lawyer’s oath. Facts:

3. Whether or not the above acts of [respondent] The incident subject of the petition occurred during a
complained of are grounds for disbarment or suspension hearing held on December 5, 1996 of Civil Case NO. 1266-
of attorneys by the Supreme Court as provided for in 96 entitled "Royal Becthel Builders, Inc. vs. Spouses Luis
Section 27, Rule 138 of the Revised Rules of Court. Alvaran and Beatriz Alvaran, et al.", for Annulment of Sale
and Certificates of Title, Specific Performance and
Ruling: Damages with Prayer for Preliminary Injunction and/or
Temporary Restraining Order in the sala of respondent
The Court finds that by conniving with Gerangco in taking judge Dolores S. Español of the Regional Trial Court of
over the Board of Directors and the GEMASCO facilities, Cavite, Branch 90, Imus, Cavite.
respondent violated the provisions of the Cooperative
Code of the Philippines and the GEMASCO By-Laws. He The trial court issued an order on February 27, 1996
also violated the Lawyer’s Oath, which provides that a directing the Register of Deeds of the Province of Cavite to
lawyer shall support the Constitution and obey the laws. annotate at the back of certain certificates of title a notice
of lis pendens. Before the Register of Deeds of the Province
When respondent caused the filing of baseless criminal of Cavite could comply with said order, the defendant
complaints against complainant, he violated the Lawyer’s Spouses Alvaran on April 15, 1996, filed a motion to cancel
Oath that a lawyer shall "not wittingly or willingly promote lis pendens. The newly appointed counsel of Royal Bechtel
or sue any groundless, false or unlawful suit, nor give aid Builders, Inc., filed an opposition to the motion to cancel lis
or consent to the same." pendens was granted by the court. Petitioner filed a MR,

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LLB – 4 (S.Y. 2015-2016)

Abing, Patrick Jamero, Jacinto Jr. Maglasang, Laarni Ursal, April Lynn
Gulbin, Lou Ann Magdoza, Bregette Niere, Sherlyn Ysulan, Aura Bern
Franje, Hanelli Jane JD-4 Tabuñag, Vincent Roel JD-4
which was opposed by the defendants. Petitioner filed an deposition when lawfully required to do so, may be
Urgent Motion to Resolve, and on November 6, 1996, filed summarily adjudged in contempt by such court or
a Rejoinder to Opposition and Motion for Contempt of judge and punished by a fine not exceeding two
Court. thousand pesos or imprisonment not exceeding ten
(10) days, or both, if it be a superior court, or a
During the hearing of the motion for contempt of court judge thereof, or by a fine not exceeding two
held on December 5, 1996, Judge Español cited petitioner hundred pesos or imprisonment not exceeding one
in direct contempt of court which sentenced him to 3 days (1) day, or both, if it be an inferior court.
imprisonment and a fine of P3,000.00.
We agree with the statement of the Court of Appeals that
While serving the first day of his sentence, petitioner filed petitioner's alleged deference to the trial court in
a MR of the Order of contempt. The next day, petitioner consistently addressing the respondent judge as "your
filed another motion praying for the resolution of his MR. Honor please" throughout the proceedings is belied by his
Both motions were never resolved until release. behavior therein:

To clear his name in the legal circle and the general public, 1. the veiled threat to file a petition for certiorari
petitioner filed a petition before the CA praying for the against the trial court is contrary to Rule 11.03,
annulment of the Order citing him in direct contempt of Canon 11 of the CPR which mandates that "a
court and the reimbursement of the fine of P3,000.00 on lawyer shall abstain from scandalous, offensive or
grounds that respondent Judge Dolores S. Español had no menacing language or behavior before the
factual and legal basis in citing him in direct contempt of Courts".
court, and that said Order was null and void for being in 2. the hurled uncalled for accusation that the
violation of the Constitution and other pertinent laws and respondent judge was partial in favor of the other
jurisprudence. party is against Rule 11.04, Canon 11 of the CPR
which enjoins lawyers from attributing to a judge
The Court of Appeals found that the petitioner was indeed "motives not supported by the record or have no
arrogant, at times impertinent, too argumentative, to the materiality to the case".
extent of being disrespectful, annoying and sarcastic 3. behaving without due regard to the trial court's
towards the court. It affirmed the order of the respondent order to maintain order in the proceedings in
judge, but found that the fine of P3,000.00 exceeded the utter disregard to Canon 1 of the CPE which
limit of P2,000.00 prescribed by the Rules of Court, and makes it a lawyer's duty to "maintain towards the
ordered the excess of P1,000.00 returned to petitioner. courts (1) respectful attitude" in order to maintain
The petition was however dismissed. its importance in the administration of justice, and
Canon 11 of the CPR which mandates lawyers to
Issue: "observe and maintain the respect due to the
Courts and to judicial officers and should insist on
Whether or not the appellate court committed reversible similar conduct by others".
error in affirming the assailed order of the trial court 4. behaving without due regard or deference to his
which the petitioner’s submissions smacks of oppression fellow counsel who at the time he was making
and abuse of authority, hence it committed a grave error of representations in behalf of the other party, was
law in its questioned decision. rudely interrupted by the petitioner and was not
allowed to further put a word in edgewise is
Ruling: violative of Canon 8 of the CPE which obliges a
lawyer to conduct himself with courtesy, fairness
We disagree. Section 1, Rule 71 of the Rules of Court as and candor toward his professional colleagues,
amended by Administrative Circular No. 22-95 provides: and
5. The refusal of the petitioner to allow the Registrar
Direct contempt punished summarily. – A person of Deeds, through counsel, to exercise his right to
guilty of misbehavior in the presence of or so near a be heard (Ibid) is against Section 1 of Article 3,
court or judge as to obstruct or interrupt the 1997 Constitution on the right to due process of
proceedings before the same, including disrespect law, Canon 18 of the CPE which mandates a
toward the court or judge, offensive personalities lawyer to always treat an adverse witness "with
toward others, or refusal to be sworn or to answer fairness and due consideration," and Canon 12 of
as a witness, or to subscribe an affidavit or CPR which insists on a lawyer to "exert every

UNIVERSITY OF CEBU – COLLEGE OF LAW Page 64


LLB – 4 (S.Y. 2015-2016)

Abing, Patrick Jamero, Jacinto Jr. Maglasang, Laarni Ursal, April Lynn
Gulbin, Lou Ann Magdoza, Bregette Niere, Sherlyn Ysulan, Aura Bern
Franje, Hanelli Jane JD-4 Tabuñag, Vincent Roel JD-4
effort and consider it his duty to assist in the 61. G.R. No. L-27662, October 29, 1968
speedy and efficient administration of justice." MANILA PEST CONTROL, INC. vs. WORKMEN'S
COMPENSATION COMMISSION, ATANACIO A. MARDO,
The Court cannot therefore help but notice the sarcasm in as Chief Hearing Officer of Regional Officer of the
the petitioner's use of the phrase "your honor please." For, Department of Labor, CITY SHERIFF OF MANILA and
after using said phrase he manifested utter disrespect to MARIO ABITRIA
the court in his subsequent utterances. Surely this
behavior from an officer of the Court cannot and should Facts:
not be countenanced, if proper decorum is to be observed
and maintained during court proceedings. On February 24, 1967, respondent Workmen's
Compensation Commission (WCC), through its referee,
Indeed, the conduct of petitioner in persisting to have his considered a complaint filed against it by the other
documentary evidence marked to the extent of respondent, Mario Abitria, for compensation submitted for
interrupting the opposing counsel and the court showed decision after he and a physician had testified, petitioner's
disrespect to said counsel and the court, was defiant of the counsel having failed to appear at the hearing of February
court's system for an orderly proceeding, and obstructed 24, 1967. A MR by petitioner praying that he be allowed to
the administration of justice. Petitioner argued that while present evidence on his behalf was denied as a decision
it might appear that he was carried by his emotions in had already been rendered against petitioner, as employer,
espousing the case of his client – by persisting to have his awarding respondent Abitria P6,000.00 as his disability
documentary evidence marked despite the respondent compensation benefit. It was also pointed out in such
judge's contrary order – he did so in the honest belief that order that there was no plea in such MR for such decision
he was bound to protect the interest of his client to the being set aside, as it was limited to seeking an opportunity
best of his ability and with utmost diligence. to cross-examine the witnesses. It could not be granted as
the matter was looked upon as "moot and academic." It
The Court of Appeals aptly stated: was then alleged in the petition that on April 11, 1967, a
MR of the aforesaid order was filed with the averment that
But "a lawyer should not be carried away in petitioner was not aware of any decision rendered in the
espousing his client's cause". He should not forget case as no copy of the same had theretofore been
that he is an officer of the court, bound to exert furnished to its counsel. After a denial of MR and a plea for
every effort and placed under duty, to assist in the execution on behalf of respondent Abitria, which was
speedy and efficient administration of justice. He granted the City Sheriff of Manila, likewise made a
should not, therefore, misuse the rules of respondent, levied on petitioner's properties on June 14,
procedure to defeat the ends of justice per Rule 1967, by virtue of the above writ of execution.
10.03. Canon 10 of the CPR, or unduly delay a case,
impede the execution of a judgment or misuse It is petitioner's contention that in the light of the above
court processes, in accordance with Rule 12.04, alleged infringement of procedural due process was the
Canon 12 of the same Canons (Ibid). basis for the relief sought, seeking a writ of preliminary
injunction restraining City Sheriff of Manila, from
"Lawyers should be reminded that their primary proceeding with the sale at public auction of petitioner's
duty is to assist the courts in the administration of properties and after hearing, annulling the aforesaid writ
justice. Any conduct which tends to delay, impede of execution. The Court issued a resolution to file, within
or obstruct the administration of justice 10 days from notice hereof, an answer (not a motion to
contravenes such lawyer's duty." dismiss) to the petition for prohibition; let temporary
restraining order issue, effective immediately and until
It is our view and we hold, therefore, that the Court of further orders from this Court.
Appeals did not commit any reversible error in its assailed
decision. The answer of respondent WCC revealed quite a different
story. It is now quite clear that instead of being the
WHEREFORE, the assailed Decision dated March 6, 1998 of offended party suffering from a legitimate grievance, it’s
the Court of Appeals is hereby AFFIRMED. right to due process having been summarily disregarded.
Accordingly, the petition for certiorari and prohibition
should be, as it is hereby, denied.

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LLB – 4 (S.Y. 2015-2016)

Abing, Patrick Jamero, Jacinto Jr. Maglasang, Laarni Ursal, April Lynn
Gulbin, Lou Ann Magdoza, Bregette Niere, Sherlyn Ysulan, Aura Bern
Franje, Hanelli Jane JD-4 Tabuñag, Vincent Roel JD-4
Issue: masses. The ancient and learned profession of the law
stresses fairness and honor; that must ever be kept in
Whether or not there is sufficient or substantial evidence mind by everyone who is enrolled in its ranks and who
in support of the claim for disability compensation benefits expects to remain a member in good standing. This
under the Workmen's Compensation Law. Tribunal is rightfully entrusted with the serious
responsibility of seeing to it that no deviation from such a
Ruling: norm should be countenanced.

The petition was so worded that the employer's right to be WHEREFORE, this petition for certiorari and prohibition
heard appeared to have been disregarded. No further with preliminary injunction is denied. With treble costs
attention should be accorded such an alleged grievance. If against petitioner to be paid by his counsel, Attorney
it did not introduce any evidence, it had itself solely to Manuel A. Corpuz.
blame. No fault could be attributed to respondent WCC.
There must be such a realization on the part of petitioner 62. A.C. No. 6289, December 16, 2004
for its four-page memorandum submitted in lieu of oral JULIAN MALONSO vs. ATTY. PETE PRINCIPE
argument did not bother to discuss such a matter at all.
Accordingly, such a contention need not detain us further The duty of courts is not alone to see that lawyers act in a
as it ought never to have been raised in the first place. proper and lawful manner; it is also their duty to see that
lawyers are paid their just and lawful fees. Certainly, no one,
Petitioner would make much however of the allegation not even the Court can deny them that right; there is no law
that, as shown in the answer of respondent WCC, the that authorizes them to do so.
decision was sent to a certain Attorney Manuel Camacho
but care of petitioner's counsel, Attorney Manuel Corpuz. Facts:
Petitioner would emphasize that the one "officially
furnished" with a copy of such decision was not its counsel, In a Complaint for disbarment dated 6 June 2001 filed
who was without any connection with the aforesaid before the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP), Julian
Attorney Camacho. It would conclude, therefore, that it had Malonso claimed that Atty. Pete Principe, without any
not received a copy of a decision which could not authority entered his appearance as Malonsos counsel in
thereafter reach the stage of finality calling for a writ of the expropriation proceedings initiated by the National
execution. Power Corporation (NAPOCOR). In addition, he
complained that Atty. Principe, after illegally representing
Under the above circumstances, no due process question him in the said case, claimed forty (40%) of the selling
arose. What was done satisfied such a constitutional price of his land to the NAPOCOR by way of attorneys fees
requirement. An effort was made to serve petitioner with a and, further, in a Motion to Intervene, claimed to be a co-
copy of the decision; that such effort failed was owner of Malonsos property.
attributable to the conduct of its own counsel. True, there
was a denial; it is far from persuasive, as already noted. In his Answer, respondent replied that the services of his
law office, Principe Villano Villacorta and Clemente Law
Considering the above, it is not enough that petitioner be Offices, was engaged by Samahan ng mga Dadaanan at
required to pay forthwith the sum due respondent Abitria. Maapektuhan ng NAPOCOR, Inc. (SANDAMA), through its
The unseemly conduct, under the above circumstances President, Danilo Elfa, as embodied in the Contract of Legal
disclosed, of petitioner's counsel, Attorney Manuel A. Services executed on 01 April 1997.
Corpuz calls for words of reproof.
Respondent claimed that complainant Malonso is a
It is one thing to exert to the utmost one's ability to protect member of SANDAMA and that said member executed a
the interest of one's client. It is quite another thing, and special power of attorney in favor of Elfa, which served as
this is to put it at its mildest, to take advantage of any the latters authority to act in behalf of Malonso.
unforeseen turn of events, if not to create one, to delay if
not to defeat the recovery of what is justly due and In his Reply, Malonso reiterated that he did not authorize
demandable, especially so, when as in this case, the obligee Elfa to act in his behalf, considering that while the Contract
is a necessitous and poverty-stricken man suffering from a of Legal Services entered into by Atty. Principe and Elfa
dreaded disease, that unfortunately afflicts so many of our was dated 01 April 1997, the special power of attorney he
countrymen and even more unfortunately requires an executed bore a much later date, 27 November 1997.
outlay far beyond the means of our poverty stricken Moreover, he could not have authorized Elfa to hire a

UNIVERSITY OF CEBU – COLLEGE OF LAW Page 66


LLB – 4 (S.Y. 2015-2016)

Abing, Patrick Jamero, Jacinto Jr. Maglasang, Laarni Ursal, April Lynn
Gulbin, Lou Ann Magdoza, Bregette Niere, Sherlyn Ysulan, Aura Bern
Franje, Hanelli Jane JD-4 Tabuñag, Vincent Roel JD-4
lawyer in his behalf since he already had his own lawyer in he is hereby SUSPENDED from the practice of law for one
the person of Atty. Benjamin Mendoza. (1) year.

To counter this argument, Atty. Principe commented that In his Appeal Memorandum respondent claims that the
the agreement entered into by SANDAMA and his law firm Resolution No. XVI-2003-241 has no factual and legal
is a continuing one and hence, Malonso was within the basis, the complaint having been motivated by pure
coverage of the contract even if he executed the special selfishness and greed, and the Resolution itself invalid for
power of attorney on a later date. Likewise, as a member of having failed to comply with Rule 139-B of the Rules of
SANDAMA, Malonso is bound to honor the organizations Court. According to the respondent, the Investigating
commitments. Commissioner continued to investigate the instant case
despite the lapse of three months provided under Section
The Report found that the Contract of Legal Services is 8 of Rule 139-B, without any extension granted by the
between SANDAMA, a corporate being, and respondents Supreme Court. Moreover, in the subsequent review made
law firm. SANDAMA is not a party in all of the by the IBP Board of Governors, no actual voting took place
expropriation proceedings instituted by NAPOCOR, neither but a mere consensus, and the required number of votes
does it claim co-ownership of the properties being provided by the Rules was not secured considering that
expropriated. Furthermore, the power of attorney was there were only five (5) governors present. Respondent
executed by Malonso in favor of Elfa and not SANDAMA, opines that the actions of the IBP Board were aimed at
and that said power of attorney was executed after preventing him from pursuing his known intention to run
SANDAMA entered into the Contract of Legal Services. for IBP National President.
Thus, the Report concluded that the right of co-ownership
could not be derived from the said documents Issues:

Likewise, the Report noted that the right of legal 1. Whether or not the suspension of Atty. Principe is valid
representation could not be derived from the above- and done in accordance with Rule 139-B of the Rules of
mentioned documents. A contract for legal services Court.
between a lawyer and his client is personal in nature and
cannot be performed through intermediaries. Even Elfa, 2. Whether or not Atty. Principe and his law firm is entitled
the attorney-in-fact of Malonso, was never authorized to to be compensated for the legal services it has rendered.
engage legal counsels to represent the former in the
expropriation proceedings. Moreover, SANDAMA is not a Ruling:
party litigant in the expropriation proceedings and thus
Atty. Principe has no basis to interfere in the court We find for the respondent (Atty. Principe).
proceeding involving its members.
1. It is the duty of the Supreme Court to see to it that a
The Investigating Commissioner concluded that from the lawyer accounts for his behavior towards the court, his
evidence presented by both parties, Atty. Principe was client, his peers in the profession and the public. However,
guilty of misrepresentation. Atty. Principe was found to the duty of the Court is not limited to disciplining those
have violated Canon 3, Rule 3.01, Canon 10, Rule 10.01 and guilty of misconduct, but also to protecting the reputation
Rule 12.04. In representing himself as Malonsos and the of those wrongfully charged, much more, those wrongfully
other lot owners legal counsel in the face of the latters found guilty.
opposition, Atty. Principe was found to be guilty of gross or
serious misconduct. Likewise, his act of falsely claiming to On the other hand, the IBP is aimed towards the elevation
be the co-owner of properties being expropriated and his of the standards of the law profession, the improvement of
filing of several actions to frustrate the implementation of the administration of justice, and the enabling of the Bar to
the decision approving the compromise agreement make discharge its public responsibility more effectively.
his conduct constitutive of malpractice. The Report Despite its duty to police the ranks, the IBP is not exempt
recommended the penalty of two (2) years suspension from the duty to promote respect for the law and legal
from the practice of law. processes and to abstain from activities aimed at defiance
of the law or at lessening confidence in the legal system.
In its Resolution dated 25 October 2003, the IBP Board of Respect for law is gravely eroded when lawyers
Governors ordained that Atty. Principe violated Rule 3.01 themselves, who are supposed to be minions of the law,
of Canon 3, Rule 10.01 of Canon 10 and Rule 12.04 of engage in unlawful practices and cavalierly brush aside the
Canon 12 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, and very rules formulated for their observance.

UNIVERSITY OF CEBU – COLLEGE OF LAW Page 67


LLB – 4 (S.Y. 2015-2016)

Abing, Patrick Jamero, Jacinto Jr. Maglasang, Laarni Ursal, April Lynn
Gulbin, Lou Ann Magdoza, Bregette Niere, Sherlyn Ysulan, Aura Bern
Franje, Hanelli Jane JD-4 Tabuñag, Vincent Roel JD-4
The procedures outlined by the Rules are meant to ensure Prescinding from the ultimate outcome of an independent
that the innocents are spared from the wrongful action to recover attorney’s fees, the Court does not see
condemnation and that only the guilty are meted out their any obstacle to respondent filing such action against
just due. These rules cannot be taken lightly. SANDAMA or any of its members. Any counsel, worthy of
his hire, is entitled to be fully recompensed for his services.
This Court underscores the procedural transgression Such independent action may be the proper venue to show
incurred by the IBP Board when it issued Resolution No. entitlement to the attorney’s fees he is claiming, and for his
XVI-2003-241 which was reached through a mere client to refute the same. If respondent could resort to
consensus, and not through a formal voting, with the such separate action which obviously is more cumbersome
required number of votes not secured. As to the issue of and portends to be more protracted, there is similarly no
the protracted investigation without the requisite rhyme or reason to preclude him from filing mere motions
permission from the Supreme Court to extend the such as the ones he resorted to for the purpose of
investigation period, we agree with respondent that no providing what he perceives to be his legitimate claim. The
such request was made to this Court. bottom line is that respondent is not proscribed from
seeking recovery of attorney’s fees for the services he and
2. The Court cannot hold respondent guilty of censurable his firm rendered to SANDAMA and its members. As to
conduct or practice justifying the penalty recommended. whether he would succeed in the quest, that is another
While filing the claim for attorney’s fees against the story which obviously does not have to be resolved in this
individual members may not be the proper remedy for case.
respondent, the Court believes that he instituted the same
out of his honest belief that it was the best way to protect The fact that the contract stipulates a maximum of forty
his interests. After all, SANDAMA procured his firms percent (40%) contingent fees does not make the contract
services and was led to believe that he would be paid for illegal or unacceptable. Contingent fees are not per se
the same. There is evidence which tend to show that prohibited by law. Its validity depends, in large measure,
respondent and his firm rendered legal and even extra- upon the reasonableness of the amount fixed as contingent
legal services in order to assist the landowners get a fee under the circumstances of the case. Nevertheless,
favorable valuation of their properties. They facilitated the when it is shown that a contract for a contingent fee was
incorporation of the landowners to expedite the obtained by undue influence exercised by the attorney
negotiations between the owners, the appraisers, and upon his client or by any fraud or imposition, or that the
NAPOCOR. They sought the assistance of several political compensation is clearly excessive, the Court must, and will
personalities to get some leverage in their bargaining with protect the aggrieved party.
NAPOCOR. Suddenly, just after concluding the compromise
price with NAPOCOR and before the presentation of the 63. A.C. No. 7062, September 26, 2006
compromise agreement for the courts approval, SANDAMA RENERIO SAMBAJON, RONALD SAMBAJON, CRISANTO
disengaged the services of respondent’s law firm. CONOS, and FREDILYN BACULBAS vs. ATTY. JOSE A.
SUING
With the validity of its contract for services and its
authority disputed, and having rendered legal service for Facts:
years without having received anything in return, and with
the prospect of not getting any compensation for all the The practice of law does requires only ordinary diligence
services it has rendered to SANDAMA and its members, or that degree of vigilance expected of a bonus pater
respondent and his law firm auspiciously moved to protect familias.
their interests. They may have been mistaken in the
remedy they sought, but the mistake was made in good Sambajon, et al. are parties to a previous labor case in
faith. Indeed, while the practice of law is not a business which the Atty. Jose Suing is the counsel of their employer
venture, a lawyer nevertheless is entitled to be duly Microplast, Inc. A judgment in favor of them was rendered
compensated for professional services rendered. It is but by the Labor Arbiter and a writ of execution was issued
natural that he protect his interest, most especially when against Microplast, Inc.
his fee is on a contingent basis.
In the meantime, the Labor Arbiter dismissed the case
Respondent was disengaged by SANDAMA after a insofar as the seven complainants are concerned on the
compromise agreement was entered into by the lot owners basis of individual Release Waiver and Quitclaims
and NAPOCOR. Its motions for separate legal fees as well purportedly signed and sworn to by them.
as for intervention were dismissed by the trial court.

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LLB – 4 (S.Y. 2015-2016)

Abing, Patrick Jamero, Jacinto Jr. Maglasang, Laarni Ursal, April Lynn
Gulbin, Lou Ann Magdoza, Bregette Niere, Sherlyn Ysulan, Aura Bern
Franje, Hanelli Jane JD-4 Tabuñag, Vincent Roel JD-4
Four of the seven who purportedly executed the Release involved in releasing to the complainants the money for
Waiver and Quitclaims, denied having signed and sworn to and in consideration of the execution of the documents.
before the Labor Arbiter the said documents or having
received the considerations therefor. They subsequently As an officer of the court, a lawyer is called upon to assist
filed an administrative complaint alleging that respondent, in the administration of justice. He is an instrument to
acting in collusion with his clients Johnny and Manuel advance its cause. Any act on his part that tends to
Rodil, ―frustrated the implementation of the Writ of obstruct, perverts or impedes the administration of justice
Execution by presenting before the Labor Arbiter the constitutes misconduct. While the Commission on Bar
spurious documents. A Complaint seeking the disbarment Discipline is not a court, the proceedings therein are
of Atty. Jose A. Suing on the grounds of deceit, malpractice, nonetheless part of a judicial proceeding, a disciplinary
violation of Lawyer’s Oath and the Code of Professional action being in reality an investigation by the Court into
Responsibility was also filed. the misconduct of its officers or an examination into his
character.
During the administrative hearings before the IBP
Commissioner, it was apparent that Atty. Suing was 64. G.R. No. L-35252, October 21, 1932
coaching his client to prevent himself from being THE PHILIPPINE NATIONAL BANK vs. UY TENG PIAO
incriminated. It was also revealed that the Release Waiver
and Quitclaims allegedly signed were not the same Facts:
documents originally presented to the employees to be
signed. Defendant-appellant, Uy Teng Piao, was sued by PNB for
non-payment of obligations at the CFI of Manila and said
Issue: court rendered judgment in favor of PNB on September 9,
1934 for the sum of P17,232.42 with interest of seven
Whether or not the acts of Respondent Atty. Suing is an act percent per annum from June 1, 1924. The court ordered
arguably violative of the Lawyers’ Code of Ethics. the defendant appellant to deposit the money due with the
clerk of the court within three months from the date of
Ruling: judgment. In case of failure to pay, the mortgage properties
should be sold at auction in accordance with law and the
Diligence is ―the attention and care required of a person proceeds to be applied to the payment of the judgment.
in a given situation and is the opposite of negligence. A
lawyer serves his client with diligence by adopting that The defendant failed to comply with the payment order
norm of practice expected of men of good intentions. He and the properties were auctioned by the sheriff of Manila
thus owes entire devotion to the interest of his client, for a total of P1,300 with PNB as the buyer.
warm zeal in the defense and maintenance of his rights,
and the exertion of his utmost learning, skill, and ability to On February 11, 1925, PNB secured from defendant a
ensure that nothing shall be taken or withheld from him, waiver of the latter’s right to redeem one of the properties
save by the rules of law legally applied. It is axiomatic in described as TCT no. 8274 and thereafter sold the same to
the practice of law that the price of success is eternal one Mariano Santos for P8,600.
diligence to the cause of the client.
The other property, TCT No. 7264 was likewise resold and
The practice of law does not require extraordinary the proceeds were credited to the account of Uy. The total
diligence (exactissima diligentia) or that ―extreme amount generated with the resale of the lots amounted to
measure of care and caution which persons of unusual P 11, 300.
prudence and circumspection use for securing and
preserving their rights. All that is required is ordinary On August 1, 1930, PNB instituted another court action for
diligence (diligentia) or that degree of vigilance expected the recovery of the balance of the judgment amounting to
of a bonus pater familias. P11,574.38 with interest at seven percent per annum.

In the case at bar, not only did Atty. Suing try to coach his The defendant claimed that in exchange for his waiver of
client or influence him to answer questions in an apparent his right to redeem the first property resold by PNB, the
attempt not to incriminate him. His client contradicted bank would not collect from him the balance of the
Atty. Suing’s claim that the Release Waiver and Quitclaim judgment.
which he prepared was not the one presented at the
Arbiter’s Office, as well as his implied claim that he was not

UNIVERSITY OF CEBU – COLLEGE OF LAW Page 69


LLB – 4 (S.Y. 2015-2016)

Abing, Patrick Jamero, Jacinto Jr. Maglasang, Laarni Ursal, April Lynn
Gulbin, Lou Ann Magdoza, Bregette Niere, Sherlyn Ysulan, Aura Bern
Franje, Hanelli Jane JD-4 Tabuñag, Vincent Roel JD-4
The CFI ruled that there was in fact a condonation made by conducting in front of the Padre Faura gate of the Supreme
the bank through one of its officer, a certain Mr. Pecson. Court building. They set up pickets' quarters on the
pavement in front of the Supreme Court building, at times
Hence, this appeal. obstructing access to and egress from the Court's premises
and offices of justices, officials and employees. They
Issues: constructed provisional shelters along the sidewalks, set
up a kitchen and littered the place with food containers
1. Whether or not PNB condoned the balance of the and trash in utter disregard of proper hygiene and
judgment. sanitation. They waved their red streamers and placards
with slogans, and took turns haranguing the court all day
2. Whether or not a lawyer can appear as both counsel and long with the use of loud speakers.
witness in the same case.
These acts were done even after their leaders had been
Ruling: received by the Chairmen of the Divisions where their
cases are pending, and Atty. Jose C. Espinas, counsel of the
1. No. There was no evidence presented except the Union of Filipro Employees, had been called in order that
uncertain testimony of the defendant, that the bank did in the pickets might be informed that the demonstration
fact agree to the condonation. Even if the SC grants that Mr. must cease immediately for the same constitutes direct
Pecson did agree to the condonation, there is no evidence contempt of court and that the Court would not entertain
presented that Mr. Pecson was authorized by the bank their petitions for as long as the pickets were maintained.
through its board of directors or persons authorized by the The Court en banc issued a resolution giving the said
said board to bind the bank to the agreement. unions the opportunity to withdraw graciously and
requiring the union leaders of respondent Union of Filipro
2. Yes (No). The SC qualified. Employees and their counsel of record, Atty. Jose C.
Espinas; and the union leaders of petitioner Kimberly
The SC held that the appearance of a lawyer as both Independent Labor Union for Solidarity, Activism and
counsel and witness in a trial is not strictly prohibited. The Nationalism-Olalia to appear before the Court and to
SC however stated that it would be preferable if the lawyer SHOW CAUSE why they should not be held in contempt of
in this case can appear only as one or the other. In other court.
words, if they are to testify as required by the case, they
should withdraw from the active management of the case. Atty. Espinas, for himself and in behalf of the union leaders
This is embodied in Canon 19 of the Code of Legal Ethics. concerned, apologized to the Court for the above-
described acts, together with an assurance that they will
Disposition: The decision of the CFI is reversed and the not be repeated. He manifested to the Court that he had
defendant is ordered to pay PNB the sum of P11,574.38 explained to the picketers why their actions were wrong
with interest thereon at the rate of seven percent per and that the cited persons were willing to suffer such
annum to be reckoned from August 1, 1930. Costs for the penalty as may be warranted under the circumstances.
defendant. Atty. Espinas further stated that he had explained to the
picketers that any delay in the resolution of their cases is
Canon 13 – A lawyer shall rely upon the merits usually for causes beyond the control of the Court and that
of his cause and refrain from any impropriety the Supreme Court has always remained steadfast in its
which tends to influence, or gives the role as the guardian of the Constitution.
appearance of influencing the court.
Issue:
65. G.R. No. 75209, September 30, 1987
NESTLE PHILIPPINES, INC. vs. HON. AUGUSTO S. Whether or not the picketers should be held in contempt.
SANCHEZ, MINISTER OF LABOR AND EMPLOYMENT
and THE UNION OF FILIPRO EMPLOYEES Ruling:

Facts: No. We accept the apologies offered by the respondents


and at this time, forego the imposition of the sanction
Union of Filipro Employees and Kimberly Independent warranted by the contemptuous acts described earlier.
Labor Union for Solidarity, Activism and Nationalism- The liberal stance taken by this Court in these cases should
Olalia intensified the intermittent pickets they had been not, however, be considered in any other light than an

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LLB – 4 (S.Y. 2015-2016)

Abing, Patrick Jamero, Jacinto Jr. Maglasang, Laarni Ursal, April Lynn
Gulbin, Lou Ann Magdoza, Bregette Niere, Sherlyn Ysulan, Aura Bern
Franje, Hanelli Jane JD-4 Tabuñag, Vincent Roel JD-4
acknowledgment of the euphoria apparently resulting their duty as officers of the court to properly apprise their
from the rediscovery of a long-repressed freedom. The clients on matters of decorum and proper attitude toward
Court will not hesitate in future similar situations to apply courts of justice, and to labor leaders of the importance of
the full force of the law and punish for contempt those who a continuing educational program for their members.
attempt to pressure the Court into acting one way or the
other in any case pending before it. Grievances, if any, The contempt charges against herein respondents are
must be ventilated through the proper channels, i.e., dismissed. Henceforth, no demonstrations or pickets
through appropriate petitions, motions or other pleadings intended to pressure or influence courts of justice into
in keeping with the respect due to the Courts as impartial acting one way or the other on pending cases shall be
administrators of justice entitled to "proceed to the allowed in the vicinity and/or within the premises of any
disposition of its business in an orderly manner, free from and all courts.
outside interference obstructive of its functions and
tending to embarrass the administration of justice." 66. G.R. No. L-27654, February 18, 1970
IN THE MATTER OF PROCEEDINGS FOR DISCIPLINARY
The right of petition is conceded to be an inherent right of ACTION AGAINST ATTY. VICENTE RAUL ALMACEN In L-
the citizen under all free governments. However, such 27654, ANTONIO H. CALERO vs. VIRGINIA Y.
right, natural and inherent though it may be, has never YAPTINCHAY
been invoked to shatter the standards of propriety
entertained for the conduct of courts. For "it is a Facts:
traditional conviction of civilized society everywhere that
courts and juries, in the decision of issues of fact and law Atty. Vicente Raul Almacen filed a “Petition to Surrender
should be immune from every extraneous influence; that the Lawyer’s Certificate of Title” to the Supreme Court as a
facts should be decided upon evidence produced in court; sign of his protest as against to what he call a tribunal
and that the determination of such facts should be “peopled by people who are calloused to our pleas for
uninfluenced by bias, prejudice or sympathies." justice…” He also expressed strong words as against the
judiciary like “justice… is not only blind, but also deaf and
Moreover, "parties have a constitutional right to have their dumb.” The petition rooted from the case he lost due to the
causes tried fairly in court by an impartial tribunal, absence of time and place in his motion in the trial court.
uninfluenced by publication or public clamor. Every citizen His appeal was dismissed in the Court of Appeals by
has a profound personal interest in the enforcement of the reason of jurisprudence. In a petition for certiorari in the
fundamental right to have justice administered by the Supreme Court, it was again dismissed thru a minute
courts, under the protection and forms of law free from resolution. With the disappointments, he thought of this
outside coercion or interference." The aforecited acts of sacrificial move. He claimed that this petition to surrender
the respondents are therefore not only an affront to the his title is only in trust, and that he may obtain the title
dignity of this Court, but equally a violation of the above- again as soon as he regained confidence in the justice
stated right of the adverse parties and the citizenry at system.
large.
Issue:
We realize that the individuals herein cited who are non-
lawyers are not knowledgeable in the intricacies of Whether or not Atty. Almacen should be given disciplinary
substantive and adjective laws. They are not aware that actions for his acts.
even as the rights of free speech and of assembly are
protected by the Constitution, any attempt to pressure or Ruling:
influence courts of justice through the exercise of either
right amounts to an abuse thereof, is no longer within the Yes. Indefinite suspension imposed. It has been pointed
ambit of constitutional protection, nor did they realize that out by the Supreme Court that there is no one to blame but
any such efforts to influence the course of justice Atty. Almacen himself because of his negligence. Even if
constitutes contempt of court. The duty and responsibility the intentions of his accusations are so noble, in speaking
of advising them, therefore, rest primarily and heavily of the truth and alleged injustices, so as not to condemn
upon the shoulders of their counsel of record. Atty. Jose C. the sinners but the sin, it has already caused enough
Espinas, when his attention was called by this Court, did damage and disrepute to the judiciary. Since this particular
his best to demonstrate to the pickets the untenability of case is sui generis in its nature, a number of foreign and
their acts and posture. Let this incident therefore serve as local jurisprudence in analogous cases were cited as
a reminder to all members of the legal profession that it is benchmarks and references. Between disbarment and

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LLB – 4 (S.Y. 2015-2016)

Abing, Patrick Jamero, Jacinto Jr. Maglasang, Laarni Ursal, April Lynn
Gulbin, Lou Ann Magdoza, Bregette Niere, Sherlyn Ysulan, Aura Bern
Franje, Hanelli Jane JD-4 Tabuñag, Vincent Roel JD-4
suspension, the latter was imposed. Indefinite suspension Issue:
may only be lifted until further orders, after Atty. Almacen
may be able to prove that he is again fit to resume the Whether or not media coverage of the trial should be
practice of law. allowed.

67. A.M. No. 01-4-03-S.C., June 29, 2001 Ruling:


RE: REQUEST RADIO-TV COVERAGE OF THE TRIAL OF
IN THE SANDIGANBAYAN OF THE PLUNDER CASES No. The propriety of granting or denying the instant
AGAINST THE FORMER PRESIDENT JOSEPH E. petition involve the weighing out of the constitutional
ESTRADA. SECRETARY OF JUSTICE HERNANDO PEREZ, guarantees of freedom of the press and the right to public
KAPISANAN NG MGA BRODKASTER NG PILIPINAS, information, on the one hand, and the fundamental rights
CESAR SARINO, RENATO CAYETANO and ATTY. of the accused, on the other hand, along with the
RICARDO ROMULO vs. JOSEPH E. ESTRADA and constitutional power of a court to control its proceedings
INTEGRATED BAR OF THE PHILIPPINES in ensuring a fair and impartial trial.

Facts: When these rights race against one another,


jurisprudence tells us that the right of the accused must be
The Kapisanan ng mga BroadKaster ng Pilipinas (KBP) preferred to win. With the possibility of losing not only the
requested this Court to allow live media coverage of the precious liberty but also the very life of an accused, it
anticipated trial of the plunder and other criminal cases behooves all to make absolutely certain that an accused
filed against former President Joseph E. Estrada before the receives a verdict solely on the basis of a just and
Sandiganbayan in order "to assure the public of full dispassionate judgment, a verdict that would come only
transparency in the proceedings of an unprecedented case after the presentation of credible evidence testified to by
in our history." unbiased witnesses unswayed by any kind of pressure,
whether open or subtle, in proceedings that are devoid of
Honorable Secretary of Justice Hernando Perez formally histrionics that might detract from its basic aim to ferret
filed the instant petition, submitting the following: veritable facts free from improper influence, and decreed
by a judge with an unprejudiced mind, unbridled by
“The criminal cases involve the previous acts of running emotions or passions.
the former highest official of the land, members of
his family, his cohorts and, therefore, the Due process guarantees the accused a presumption of
prosecution thereof definitely involves a matter of innocence until the contrary is proved in a trial. Witnesses
public concern and interest. and judges may very well be men and women of fortitude,
able to thrive in hardy climate, with every reason to
The constitutional right of the people to be presume firmness of mind and resolute endurance, but it
informed on matters of public concern can best be must also be conceded that "television can work profound
recognized, served and satisfied by allowing the changes in the behavior of the people it focuses on." Even
live radio and television coverage of the court while it may be difficult to quantify the influence, or
proceedings. pressure that media can bring to bear on them directly and
through the shaping of public opinion, it is a fact,
Moreover, the live radio and television coverage of nonetheless, that, indeed, it does so in so many ways and in
the proceedings will also serve the dual purpose varying degrees. The conscious or unconscious effect that
of ensuring the desired transparency in the such coverage may have on the testimony of witnesses and
administration of justice in order to disabuse the the decision of judges cannot be evaluated but, it can
minds of the supporters of the past regime of any likewise be said, it is not at all unlikely for a vote of guilt or
and all unfounded notions, or ill-perceived innocence to yield to it.
attempts on the part of the present dispensation,
to railroad the instant criminal cases against the An accused has a right to a public trial but it is a right that
Former President Joseph Ejercito Estrada.” belongs to him, more than anyone else, where his life or
liberty can be held critically in balance. A public trial is not
Public interest, the petition further averred, should be synonymous with publicized trial; it only implies that the
evident bearing in mind the right of the public to vital court doors must be open to those who wish to come, sit in
information affecting the nation. the available seats, conduct themselves with decorum and
observe the trial process. In the constitutional sense, a

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Abing, Patrick Jamero, Jacinto Jr. Maglasang, Laarni Ursal, April Lynn
Gulbin, Lou Ann Magdoza, Bregette Niere, Sherlyn Ysulan, Aura Bern
Franje, Hanelli Jane JD-4 Tabuñag, Vincent Roel JD-4
courtroom should have enough facilities for a reasonable 68. A.C. No. 7199, July 22, 2009
number of the public to observe the proceedings, not too FOODSPHERE, INC. vs. ATTY. MELANIO L. MAURICIO,
small as to render the openness negligible and not too JR.
large as to distract the trial participants from their proper
functions, who shall then be totally free to report what Facts:
they have observed during the proceedings.
Foodsphere, Inc. (complainant), a corporation engaged in
The courts recognize the constitutionally embodied the business of meat processing and manufacture and
freedom of the press and the right to public information. It distribution of canned goods and grocery products under
also approves of media's exalted power to provide the the brand name "CDO," filed a complaint for disbarment
most accurate and comprehensive means of conveying the before the Commission on Bar Discipline of the Integrated
proceedings to the public and in acquainting the public Bar of the Philippines (CBD-IBP) against Atty. Melanio L.
with the judicial process in action; nevertheless, within the Mauricio, Jr., popularly known as "Batas Mauricio"
courthouse, the overriding consideration is still the (respondent), a writer/columnist of tabloids and a host of
paramount right of the accused to due process which must television and radio programs, for (1) grossly immoral
never be allowed to suffer diminution in its constitutional conduct; (2) violation of lawyer’s oath and (3) disrespect
proportions. Justice Clark thusly pronounced, "while a to the courts and to investigating prosecutors.
maximum freedom must be allowed the press in carrying
out the important function of informing the public in a Alberto Cordero purportedly bought from a grocery
democratic society, its exercise must necessarily be subject canned goods including a can of CDO Liver spread. As
to the maintenance of absolute fairness in the judicial Cordero and his relatives were eating bread with the CDO
process." Liver spread, they found the spread to be sour and soon
discovered a colony of worms inside the can. Cordero’s
The IBP also expressed its own concern on the live wife filed a complaint with the Bureau of Food and Drug
television and radio coverage of the criminal trials of Mr. Administration (BFAD). Laboratory examination
Estrada; to paraphrase: Live television and radio coverage confirmed the presence of parasites in the Liver spread.
can negate the rule on exclusion of witnesses during the
hearings intended to assure a fair trial; at stake in the BFAD conducted a conciliation hearing during which the
criminal trial is not only the life and liberty of the accused spouses Cordero demanded P150,000 as damages from
but the very credibility of the Philippine criminal justice complainant. Complainant refused to heed the demand as
system, and live television and radio coverage of the trial being in contravention of company policy and, in any
could allow the "hooting throng" to arrogate unto event, "outrageous." Complainant instead offered to return
themselves the task of judging the guilt of the accused, actual medical and incidental expenses incurred by the
such that the verdict of the court will be acceptable only if Corderos as long as they were supported by receipts, but
popular; and live television and radio coverage of the trial the offer was turned down.
will not subserve the ends of justice but will only pander to
the desire for publicity of a few grandstanding lawyers. Respondent sent complainant via fax a copy of the front
page of the would-be issue of a tabloid, which complainant
Unlike other government offices, courts do not express the found to contain articles maligning, discrediting and
popular will of the people in any sense which, instead, are imputing vices and defects to it and its products.
tasked to only adjudicate justiciable controversies on the Respondent threatened to publish the articles unless
basis of what alone is submitted before them. A trial is not complainant gave in to the P150,000 demand of the
a free trade of ideas, nor is a competing market of thoughts Corderos. Respondent later proposed to settle the matter
the known test of truth in a courtroom. The petition is for P50,000, P15,000 of which would go to the Corderos
denied. and P35,000 to his foundation.

The Corderos eventually forged a KASUNDUAN seeking the


withdrawal of their complaint before the BFAD. The BFAD
thus dismissed the complaint. Respondent, who affixed his
signature to the KASUNDUAN as a witness, later wrote in
one of his articles/columns in a tabloid that he prepared
the document. Respondent sent complainant an
Advertising Contract asking complainant to place paid
advertisements in the tabloids and television program. As

UNIVERSITY OF CEBU – COLLEGE OF LAW Page 73


LLB – 4 (S.Y. 2015-2016)

Abing, Patrick Jamero, Jacinto Jr. Maglasang, Laarni Ursal, April Lynn
Gulbin, Lou Ann Magdoza, Bregette Niere, Sherlyn Ysulan, Aura Bern
Franje, Hanelli Jane JD-4 Tabuñag, Vincent Roel JD-4
a sign of goodwill, complainant offered to buy three full- laws of the land and promote respect for law and legal
page advertisements in the tabloid and three spots of 30- processes." For he defied said status quo order, despite his
second TVC in the television program. Acting on (respondent’s) oath as a member of the legal profession to
complainant’s offer, respondent relayed to it that he was "obey the laws as well as the legal orders of the duly
disappointed with the offer and threatened to proceed constituted authorities."
with the publication of the articles/columns.
Further, respondent violated Canon 8 and Rule 8.01 of the
Complainant thus filed criminal complaints against Code of Professional Responsibility which mandate:
respondent and several others for Libel and Threatening to
Publish Libel. The complaints were pending at the time of “CANON 8 - A lawyer shall conduct himself with
the filing of the present administrative complaint. The courtesy, fairness and candor toward his
pending cases against him and the issuance of a status quo professional colleagues, and shall avoid harassing
order notwithstanding, respondent continued to publish tactics against opposing counsel.
articles against complainant and to malign complainant
through his television shows. The IBP recommended the Rule 8.01 – A lawyer shall not, in his professional
suspension of respondent from the practice of law for two dealings, use language which is abusive, offensive or
years. otherwise improper, by using intemperate
language.”
Issue:
The adversarial nature of our legal system has tempted
Whether or not Atty. Mauricio has violated the Code of members of the bar to use strong language in pursuit of
Professional Responsibility. their duty to advance the interests of their clients.
However, while a lawyer is entitled to present his case
Ruling: with vigor and courage, such enthusiasm does not justify
the use of offensive and abusive language. Language
Yes. The Court finds the findings/evaluation of the IBP abounds with countless possibilities for one to be
well-taken. The Court emphasized the necessity for every emphatic but respectful, convincing but not derogatory,
lawyer to act and comport himself in a manner that illuminating but not offensive. On many occasions, the
promotes public confidence in the integrity of the legal Court has reminded members of the Bar to abstain from all
profession, which confidence may be eroded by the offensive personality and to advance no fact prejudicial to
irresponsible and improper conduct of a member of the the honor and reputation of a party or witness, unless
bar. required by the justice of the cause with which he is
charged. In keeping with the dignity of the legal profession,
By the above-recited acts, respondent violated Rule 1.01 of a lawyer’s language even in his pleadings must be
the Code of Professional Responsibility which mandates dignified.
lawyers to refrain from engaging in unlawful, dishonest,
immoral or deceitful conduct. For, as the IBP found, he By failing to live up to his oath and to comply with the
engaged in deceitful conduct by taking advantage of the exacting standards of the legal profession, respondent also
complaint against CDO to advance his interest – to obtain violated Canon 7 of the Code of Professional
funds for his Batas Foundation and seek sponsorships and Responsibility, which directs a lawyer to "at all times
advertisements for the tabloids and his television program. uphold the integrity and the dignity of the legal
profession." The power of the media to form or influence
He also violated Rule 13.02 of the Code of Professional public opinion cannot be underestimated. On reading the
Responsibility, which mandates: “A lawyer shall not make articles respondent published, not to mention listening to
public statements in the media regarding a pending case him over the radio and watching him on television, it
tending to arouse public opinion for or against a party.” cannot be denied that the same could, to a certain extent,
For despite the pendency of the civil case against him and have affected the sales of complainant.
the issuance of a status quo order restraining/enjoining
further publishing, televising and broadcasting of any Atty. Melanio Mauricio is, for violation of the lawyer’s oath
matter relative to the complaint of CDO, respondent and breach of ethics of the legal profession as embodied in
continued with his attacks against complainant and its the Code of Professional Responsibility, SUSPENDED from
products. At the same time, respondent violated Canon 1 the practice of law for three years effective upon his
also of the Code of Professional Responsibility, which receipt of this Decision. He is warned that a repetition of
mandates lawyers to "uphold the Constitution, obey the the same or similar acts will be dealt with more severely.

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Abing, Patrick Jamero, Jacinto Jr. Maglasang, Laarni Ursal, April Lynn
Gulbin, Lou Ann Magdoza, Bregette Niere, Sherlyn Ysulan, Aura Bern
Franje, Hanelli Jane JD-4 Tabuñag, Vincent Roel JD-4
69. G.R. No. 90083, October 4, 1990 members of the Court, but his inexcusable negligence and
KHALYXTO PEREZ MAGLASANG vs. PEOPLE OF THE incompetence.
PHILIPPINES, Presiding Judge ERNESTO B. TEMPLADO
(San Carlos City Court), Negros Occidental As an officer of the court, he should have known better
than to smear the honor and integrity of the Court just to
Facts: keep the confidence of his client.

Khalyxto Maglasang was convicted in the court in San Also, with the complaint he filed, the most basic tenet of
Carlos, Negros Occidental. His counsel, Atty. Castellano, the system of government – separation of power - has been
filed for a petition for certiorari through registered mail. lost. He should know that not even the President of the
Due to non-compliance with the requirements, the court Philippines can pass judgment on any of the Court’s acts.
dismissed the petition and a motion for reconsideration.
Atty. Castellano then sent a complaint to the Office of the Rule 13.03 - A lawyer shall not brook or invite
President where he accused the five justices of the 2nd interference by another branch or agency of the
division, with biases and ignorance of the law or government in the normal course of judicial
knowingly rendering unjust judgments. He accused the proceedings.
court of sabotaging the Aquino administration for being
Marcos appointees, and robbing the Filipino people IV. The Lawyer and The Client
genuine justice and democracy. He also said that the SC is
doing this to protect the judge who was impleaded in the Canon 14 – A lawyer shall not refuse his services
petition and for money reasons. He alleges further that the to the needy.
court is too expensive to be reached by ordinary men. The
court is also inconsiderate and overly strict and 70. A.C. No. 6155, March 14, 2006
meticulous. When asked to show cause why he should not MA. GINA L. FRANCISCO, JOSEPHINE S. TAN and
be cited in contempt, Castellano said that the complaint CARLOS M. JOAQUIN vs. ATTY. JAIME JUANITO P.
was constructive criticism intended to correct in good faith PORTUGAL
the erroneous and very strict practices of the justices
concerned. He also said that the justices have no Facts:
jurisdiction over his act and that they should just answer
the complaint. The SC found him guilty of contempt and Three police officers were involved in a shooting incident,
improper conduct and ordered to pay P1, 000 or resulting in the death of two people and the serious injury
imprisonment of 15 days, and to suffer six months of another. They were tried and convicted of two counts of
suspension. homicide and one count of attempted homicide by the
Sandiganbayan.
Issue:
The police officers then engaged the services of a lawyer.
Whether or not the Atty. Castellano’s acts constitute a After filing two Motions for Reconsideration before the
violation of the provisions of the Code of Professional Sandiganbayan and a Petition for Review on Certiorari
Responsibility. with the Supreme Court (SC), the lawyer disappeared.
They repeatedly called his office but their calls were not
Ruling: returned. They visited his last known address only to
discover that he had moved out without any forwarding
Yes. The court found his comments scurrilous and address.
contumacious. He went beyond the bounds of constructive
criticism. What he said are not relevant to the cause of his More than a year later, the police officers were forced to
client. They cast aspersion on the Court’s integrity as a personally verify the status of their Petition. They were
neutral and final arbiter of all justiciable controversies shocked to discover that the SC had already issued a
before it. Resolution denying it for late filing and non-payment of
filing fees. Further, since the Resolution was already final,
The explanation of Castellano in his negligence in the filing warrants for their arrest had been issued.
of the petition for certiorari did not render his negligence
excusable. It is clear that the case was lost not by the This prompted them to file an administrative complaint
alleged injustices Castellano irresponsibly ascribed to the against their lawyer for violation of the Lawyer’s Oath,
gross misconduct, and gross negligence.

UNIVERSITY OF CEBU – COLLEGE OF LAW Page 75


LLB – 4 (S.Y. 2015-2016)

Abing, Patrick Jamero, Jacinto Jr. Maglasang, Laarni Ursal, April Lynn
Gulbin, Lou Ann Magdoza, Bregette Niere, Sherlyn Ysulan, Aura Bern
Franje, Hanelli Jane JD-4 Tabuñag, Vincent Roel JD-4
In his defense, the lawyer claimed that the police officers With respect to his alleged formal withdrawal as counsel,
did not formally engage his services and, hence, were not the SC held that the lawyer should have filed the Notice of
really his clients. He pointed out that he was not their Withdrawal himself, being more adept with court
original counsel and had only met them during the procedures and practice. He could relieve himself of his
promulgation of the Sandiganbayan decision, when their responsibility as counsel only first by securing the written
original counsel requested his assistance. He had only filed conformity of the accused and filing it with the court
Motions and Petitions on their behalf out of sincerity and pursuant to Rule 138, Section 26 of the Rules of Court.
in the true spirit of the Lawyer’s Oath. He asserted that
because of the “herculean” efforts he exerted for their case, The rule in this jurisdiction is that a client has the absolute
which were all done without proper and adequate right to terminate the attorney-client relation at anytime
remuneration, his other professional obligations were with or without cause. The right of an attorney to
neglected. withdraw or terminate the relation other than for
sufficient cause is, however, considerably restricted.
The lawyer further claimed that he formally withdrew as Among the fundamental rules of ethics is the principle that
their counsel when he wrote a letter to another police an attorney who undertakes to conduct an action impliedly
officer who served as the contact person between him and stipulates to carry it to its conclusion. He is not at liberty to
the accused officers. He had attached his Notice to abandon it without reasonable cause. A lawyer’s right to
Withdraw with instructions that they sign and file it with withdraw from a case before its final adjudication arises
the Court. only from the client’s written consent or from a good
cause.
Issue:
Also, the Court does not appreciate the offensive
Was the suspension of the lawyer proper? appellation respondent called the shooting incident that
the accused was engaged in. He described the incident,
Ruling: thus: "the accused police officers who had been convicted
of [h]omicide for the ‘salvage’ of Froilan G. Cabiling and
Yes. The SC, upon recommendation of the Integrated Bar of Jose M. Chua and [a]ttempted [h]omicide of Mario C.
the Philippines, found the lawyer guilty and suspended Macato." Rule 14.01 of the Code of Professional
him for three (3) months. Rejecting the allegation that Responsibility clearly directs lawyers not to discriminate
there was no formal agreement of undertaking between clients as to their belief of the guilt of the latter. It is ironic
the parties, the SC held: that it is the defense counsel that actually branded his own
clients as being the culprits that "salvaged" the victims.
After agreeing to take up the cause of a client, a Though he might think of his clients as that, still it is
lawyer owes fidelity to both cause and client, even unprofessional to be labeling an event as such when even
if the client never paid any fee for the attorney- the Sandiganbayan had not done so.
client relationship. Lawyering is not a business; it
is a profession in which duty of public service, not 71 & 74. G.R. No. L-26868, February 27, 1969
money, is the primary consideration. IN THE MATTER OF ATTORNEY LOPE E. ADRIANO
Member of the Philippine Bar. PEOPLE OF THE
xxxx PHILIPPINES vs. REMIGIO ESTEBIA

A written contract is not an essential element in the Facts:


employment of an attorney… To establish the relation, it is
sufficient that the advice and assistance of an attorney is One Remigio Estebia was convicted of rape by the Court of
sought and received in any matter pertinent to his First Instance of Samar, and sentenced to suffer the capital
profession. punishment. His case came up before this Court on review.

Even if the lawyer felt inadequately compensated in the On December 14, 1966, Lope E. Adriano, a member of the
case he undertook to defend, his obligations towards his Bar, was appointed by this Court as Estebia's counsel de
clients embodied in the Lawyer’s Oath and Code of oficio. In the notice of his appointment, Adriano was
Professional Responsibility remain. His zeal in handling required to prepare and file his brief within thirty days
the case should neither diminish nor cease for this reason from notice. He was advised that to enable him to examine
alone. the case, the record would be at his disposal. Adriano
received this notice on December 20, 1966. On January 19,

UNIVERSITY OF CEBU – COLLEGE OF LAW Page 76


LLB – 4 (S.Y. 2015-2016)

Abing, Patrick Jamero, Jacinto Jr. Maglasang, Laarni Ursal, April Lynn
Gulbin, Lou Ann Magdoza, Bregette Niere, Sherlyn Ysulan, Aura Bern
Franje, Hanelli Jane JD-4 Tabuñag, Vincent Roel JD-4
1967, Adriano sought for a 30-day extension to file 72. A.C. No. 6160, March 30, 2006
appellant's brief in mimeographed form. On February 18, NESTOR PEREZ vs. ATTY. DANILO DE LA TORRE
Adriano again moved for a 20-day extension (his second).
This was followed by a third filed on March 8, for fifteen Facts:
days. And a fourth on March 27, also for fifteen days. He
moved for a "last" extension of ten days on April 11. On On 30 July 2003, complainant Nestor Perez charged
April 21, he even sought a special extension of five days. All respondent Atty. Danilo Dela Torre with misconduct
these motions for extension were granted. The brief was unbecoming of a lawyer for representing conflicting
due on April 26, 1967. But no brief was filed. interests.

On September 25, 1967, Adriano was ordered to show Atty. Dela Torre, while being retained by the family of
cause within ten days from notice thereof why disciplinary murder victim Resurreccion Barrios assisted in the
action should not be taken against him for failure to file drafting of an extrajudicial confession of Sonny Boy Ilo and
appellant's brief despite the lapse of the time therefor. Diego Avila, two suspects in the kidnapping for ransom
Adriano did not bother to give any explanation. and murder of Mr. Barrios. The IBP recommended the
suspension of Atty. Dela Torre for two (2) years violation
Issue: of Rule 15.03 of the Code of Professional Responsibility
(CPR).
Does Atty. Adriano deserve a disciplinary action?
Issue:
Ruling:
Whether or not Atty. Dela Torre committed misconduct
Yes. It is true that he is a court-appointed counsel. But we unbecoming of a lawyer.
do say that as such counsel de oficio, he has as high a duty
to the accused as one employed and paid by defendant Ruling:
himself. Because, as in the case of the latter, he must
exercise his best efforts and professional ability in behalf Yes. The SC ruled that the respondent clearly violated Rule
of the person assigned to his care. His is to render effective 15.03 of the CPR which prohibits a lawyer from
assistance. The accused defendant expects of him due representing conflicting interests except by written
diligence, not mere perfunctory representation. We do not consent of all concerned given after full disclosure of the
accept the paradox that responsibility is less where the facts.
defended party is poor. It has been said that courts should
"have no hesitancy in demanding high standards of duty of Atty. Dela Torre is suspended from practice for three
attorneys appointed to defend indigent persons charged years.
with crime." For, indeed, a lawyer who is a vanguard in the
bastion of justice is expected to have a bigger dose of social The prohibition against representing conflicting interest is
conscience and a little less of self-interest. Because of this, founded on principles of public policy and good taste. In
a lawyer should remain ever conscious of his duties to the the course of a lawyer-client relationship, the lawyer
indigent he defends. learns all the facts connected with the client’s case,
including the weak and strong points of the case. The
In the present case, counsel's pattern of conduct, it would nature of that relationship is, therefore, one of trust and
seem to us, reveals a propensity on the part of counsel to confidence of the highest degree. It behooves lawyers not
benumb appreciation of his obligation as counsel de oficio only to keep inviolate the client’s confidence, but also to
and of the courtesy and respect that should be accorded avoid the appearance of impropriety and double-dealing
this Court. For the reasons given, we vote to suspend for only then can litigants be encouraged to entrust their
Attorney Lope E. Adriano from the practice of law secrets to their lawyers, which is of paramount importance
throughout the Philippines for a period of one year. in the administration of justice.

What is unsettling is that Atty. Dela Torre assisted in the


execution by the two accused of their confessions whereby
they admitted their participation in various serious
criminal offenses knowing fully well that he was retained
previously by the heirs of one of the victims. Atty. Dela
Torre, who presumably knows the intricacies of the law,

UNIVERSITY OF CEBU – COLLEGE OF LAW Page 77


LLB – 4 (S.Y. 2015-2016)

Abing, Patrick Jamero, Jacinto Jr. Maglasang, Laarni Ursal, April Lynn
Gulbin, Lou Ann Magdoza, Bregette Niere, Sherlyn Ysulan, Aura Bern
Franje, Hanelli Jane JD-4 Tabuñag, Vincent Roel JD-4
should have exercised his better judgment before public's confidence in the lawyer, in particular, but also in
conceding to accused’s choice of counsel. It did not cross the judiciary, in general. Hence, Atty. Ortiz must be held
his mind to inhibit himself from acting as their counsel and liable.
instead, he even assisted them in executing the
extrajudicial confession. Lawyers who devote their professional practice in
representing litigants who could ill afford legal services
73. A.C. No. 5485, March 16, 2005 deserve commendation. However, this mantle of public
ELMER CANOY vs. ATTY. JOSE MAX ORTIZ service will not deliver the lawyer, no matter how well-
meaning, from the consequences of negligent acts. It is not
Facts: enough to say that all pauper litigants should be assured of
legal representation. They deserve quality representation
Atty. Jose Max Ortiz's services were engaged by Elmer as well.
Canoy, who was illegally dismissed by his employer, Coca
Cola Bottlers Philippines. The latter submitted all Canon 15 – A lawyer shall observe candor,
important files necessary for the establishment of the case. fairness and loyalty in all his dealings and
After the filing thereof, Mr. Canoy made several trips to transactions with his clients.
Atty Ortiz's office to no avail. His last trip prompted him to
follow the case up with the NLRC by himself. He was 75. A.C. No. 5303, June 15, 2006
aghast to discover that the case was already dismissed two HUMBERTO C. LIM, JR., in behalf of PENTA RESORTS
years before. CORPORATION/Attorney-in-Fact of LUMOT A.
JALANDONI vs. ATTY. NICANOR V. VILLAROSA
Mr. Canoy alleged that Atty. Ortiz had never communicated
to him about the status of the case, much less the fact that Facts:
he failed to submit the position paper.
Mrs. Jalandoni has two sons-in-law, namely Dennis
In his defense, Atty. Ortiz commented that he had the Jalbuena (married to her daughter Carmen Jalbuena) and
intention of filing a motion to enter a compromise Humberto Lim, Jr. (herein complainant; married to her
agreement. Unfortunately, he was not able to do so daughter Cristina Lim). Mrs. Lumot Jalandoni owned 97%
because of his tight schedule, being a newly-elected of Penta Resorts Corp (PRC). The only property of the
Councilor of Bacolod City. corporation is the Alhambra Hotel constructed solely thru
the effort of the spouses Jalbuena on the parcel of land now
Issue: claimed by the Cabiles family.

Whether Atty. Ortiz is negligent in his duty or counsel or PRC had a case wherein Atty. Nicanor Villarosa was its
should he be excused for his negligence. counsel. Later on, complainant had a case against spouses
Jalbuena where the parties were related to each other and
Ruling: the latter spouses were represented by Atty. Villarosa as
their retained counsel.
Atty. Ortiz should be suspended from the practice of law.
After Atty. Villarosa had allegedly withdrawn as counsel
A lawyer owes fidelity to the cause of his client. He is for the complainants which Atty. Villarosa averred in his
expected to be mindful of the trust and confidence reposed answer, it is incumbent upon Humberto Lim to represent
in him. Moreover, he is mandated by the Code of his wife as one of the representatives of PRC and Alhambra
Professional Responsibility to serve his client with Hotel in the administrative complaint to protect not only
competence and diligence. her interest but that of the family.

Here, Atty. Ortiz already took up the cause of his client. In It is evident that complainant had a lawyer-client
doing so, he impliedly imposed upon himself the legal relationship with Atty. Villarosa before the latter retained
obligation to champion said cause until its termination as counsel by the spouses Jalbuena when the latter were
with competence and diligence. Such competence requires sued by complainant’s representative. Atty. Villarosa for
that he no neglect any legal matter entrusted in him. having appeared as counsel for the Sps. Jalbuena when
charged by Atty. Villarosa’s former client Jalandoni of PRC
Being elected to a public office is not enough cause to leave and Alhambra Hotel, represented conflicting interests in
one's client in the dark. Such act does not only erode the violation of CPR.

UNIVERSITY OF CEBU – COLLEGE OF LAW Page 78


LLB – 4 (S.Y. 2015-2016)

Abing, Patrick Jamero, Jacinto Jr. Maglasang, Laarni Ursal, April Lynn
Gulbin, Lou Ann Magdoza, Bregette Niere, Sherlyn Ysulan, Aura Bern
Franje, Hanelli Jane JD-4 Tabuñag, Vincent Roel JD-4
Issue:

Whether or not there existed a conflict of interest in the


cases represented and handled by Atty. Villarosa.

Ruling:

The rule on conflict of interests covers not only cases


which confidential communication have been confided but
also those in which no confidence has been bestowed or
will be used. The first part of the rule refers to cases in
which the opposing parties are the present clients either in
the same action or in a totally unrelated case; the second
part pertains to those in which the adverse party against
whom the attorney appears is his former client in a matter
which is related, directly or indirectly, to the present
controversy.

The rule prohibits a lawyer from representing new clients


whose interests oppose those of a former client in any
manner, whether or not they are parties in the same action
or in totally unrelated cases. The cases here directly or
indirectly involved the parties’ connection to PRC. An
attorney owes to his client undivided allegiance. After
being retained and receiving the confidences of the client
he cannot, w/out the free and intelligent consent of his
client, act both for his client and for one whose interest is
adverse to, or conflicting with that of his client in the same
general matter.

The relation of attorney and client may be terminated by


the client, by the lawyer or by the court, or by reason of
circumstances beyond the control of the client or the
lawyer. An attorney may only retire from a case either by
written consent of his client or by permission of the court
after due notice and hearing, in which event the attorney
should see to it that the name of the new lawyer is
recorded in the case. The appearance of Atty. Alminaza in
fact was not even to substitute for Atty. Villarosa but to act
as additional counsel. Mrs. Jalandoni’s conformity to
having an additional lawyer did not necessarily mean to
Atty. Villarosa’s desire to withdraw as counsel Atty.
Villarosa’s speculations on the professional relationship of
Atty. Alminaza and Mrs. Jalandoni find no support in the
records of this case. Atty. Villarosa should not have
presumed that his motion to withdraw as counsel would
be granted by the court. Yet, he stopped appearing as Mrs.
Jalandoni’s counsel beginning April 28, 1999, the first
hearing date. No order from the court was shown to have
actually granted his motion for withdrawal.

Thus, Atty. Villarosa is found guilty of violating Canon 15


and Canon 22 of CPR and suspended from practice of law
for one year.

UNIVERSITY OF CEBU – COLLEGE OF LAW Page 79


LLB – 4 (S.Y. 2015-2016)

Abing, Patrick Jamero, Jacinto Jr. Maglasang, Laarni Ursal, April Lynn
Gulbin, Lou Ann Magdoza, Bregette Niere, Sherlyn Ysulan, Aura Bern
Franje, Hanelli Jane JD-4 Tabuñag, Vincent Roel JD-4