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Rule 1.01

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

Leslie Ui v. Bonifacio, 333 SCRA 38

Facts

Leslie Ui filed an administrative case for disbarment against Atty. Iris Bonifacio on grounds of
immoral conduct. Atty. Bonifacio allegedly is having an illicit relationship with Carlos Ui,
husband of Leslie Ui, whom they begot two children. According to petitioner, Carlos Ui
admitted to him about the relationship between them and Atty. Bonifacio. This led Leslie Ui to
confront said respondent to stop their illicit affair but of to no avail. According however to
respondent, she is a victim in the situation. When respondent met Carlos Ui, she had known
him to be a bachelor but with children to an estranged Chinese woman who is already in Amoy,
China. Moreover, the two got married in Hawaii, USA therefore legalizing their relationship.
When respondent knew of the real status of Carlos Ui, she stopped their relationship.
Respondent further claims that she and Carlos Ui never lived together as the latter lived with
his children to allow them to gradually accept the situation. Respondent however presented a
misrepresented copy of her marriage contract.

Issue

W/N she has conducted herself in an immoral manner for which she deserves to be barred
from the practice of law?

Ruling

NO. The complaint for disbarment against respondent Atty. Iris L. Bonifacio, for alleged
immorality, was dismissed.

The practice of law is a privilege. A bar candidate does not have the right to enjoy the

practice of the legal profession simply by passing the bar examinations. It is a privilege that
can be revoked, subject to the mandate of due process, once a lawyer violates his oath and
the dictates of legal ethics. One of the conditions prior to admission to the bar is that an
applicant must possess good moral character. More importantly, possession of good moral
character must be continuous as a requirement to the enjoyment of the privilege of law
practice, otherwise, the loss thereof is a ground for the revocation of such privilege. A lawyer
may be disbarred for "grossly immoral conduct, or by reason of his conviction of a crime
involving moral turpitude". A member of the bar should have moral integrity in addition to
professional probity.

In the case at bar, Atty. Bonifacio was not proven to have conducted herself in a grossly
immoral manner. Thus, the case is dismissed. But she is reprimanded and given a stern
warning with regards to the of her marriage contract with an inculcated date.

All the facts taken together leads to the inescapable conclusion that respondent was
imprudent in managing her personal affairs. However, the fact remains that her relationship with
Carlos Ui, clothed as it was with what respondent believed was a valid marriage, cannot be
considered immoral. For immorality connotes conduct that shows indifference to the moral
norms of society and the opinion of good and respectable members of the community.
Moreover, for such conduct to warrant disciplinary action, the same must be “grossly immoral,”
that is, it must be so corrupt and false as to constitute a criminal act or so unprincipled as to
be reprehensible to a high degree.


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TAN, JOSHUA LEGETH DIGESTS

Rule 1.01

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

Figueroa vs. Barranco Jr., 276 SCRA 445

Facts

Patricia Figueroa petitioned that respondent Simeon Barranco, Jr. be denied for taking

his oath and admission to the legal profession for gross immorality. Complainant and

respondent were both childhood sweethearts and bore a child out of wedlock. The respondent

promised the complainant of marriage several times which he did not fulfill and the respondent

married another woman. The court referred the case to the IBP and the IBP recommended the
dismissal of the case and allowed the respondent to take his oath.

Issue

Whether the acts of the respondent is a conduct of gross immorality that deserves non-

inclusion into the legal profession?

Ruling

NO. To justify suspension and disbarment, that act complained of must not only immoral,

but grossly immoral. Respondent’s engagement in pre marital sex with the complainant is
consensual and promise to marry her but did not fulfill, suggest a doubtful moral character on
his part, but cannot be considered as grossly immoral conduct. Respondent was allowed to
take his oath.

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Rule 1.01

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

Perez vs. Catindig, 752 SCRA 185

Facts

Atty. Catindig admitted to Dr. Perez that he was already wed to Gomez. Atty. Catindig told Dr.
Perez that he was in the process of obtaining a divorce in a foreign country to dissolve his
marriage to Gomez, and that he would eventually marry her once the divorce had been
decreed. Consequently, sometime in 1984, Atty. Catindig and Gomez obtained a divorce
decree from the Dominican Republic. On July 14, 1984, Atty. Catindig married Dr. Perez in the
State of Virginia in the US. Years later, Dr. Perez came to know that her marriage to Atty.
Catindig is a nullity since the divorce decree that was obtained from the Dominican Republic
by the latter and Gomez is not recognized by Philippine laws. Sometime in 1997, Dr. Perez
reminded Atty. Catindig of his promise to legalize their union by filing a petition to nullify his
marriage to Gomez. Sometime in 2001, Dr. Perez alleged that she received an anonymous
letter in the mail informing her of Atty. Catindig’s scandalous affair with Atty. Baydo, and that
sometime later, she came upon a love letter written and signed by Atty. Catindig for Atty. Baydo
dated April 25, 2001. In the said letter, Atty. Catindig professed his love to Atty. Baydo,
promising to marry her once his “impediment is removed.” On October 31, 2001, Atty. Catindig
abandoned Dr. Perez and their son; he moved to an upscale condominium in Salcedo Village
where Atty. Baydo was frequently seen. Atty. Catindig, in his Comment, admitted that he
married Gomez on May 18, 1968. He claimed, however, that immediately after the wedding,
Gomez showed signs that she was incapable of complying with her marital obligations.
Eventually, their irreconcilable differences led to their de facto separation in 1984. Atty. Catindig
claimed that Dr. Perez knew of the foregoing, including the fact that the divorce decreed by the
Dominican Republic court does not have any effect in the Philippines. Atty. Catindig claimed
that his relationship with Dr. Perez turned sour. Eventually, he left their home in October 2001 to
prevent any acrimony from that relationship.

Issue

W/N the respondents committed gross immorality, which would warrant their disbarment?

Ruling

YES. “A lawyer may be suspended or disbarred for any misconduct showing any fault or
deficiency in his moral character, honesty, probity or good demeanor.” Immoral conduct
involves acts that are willful, flagrant, or shameless, and that show a moral indifference to the
opinion of the upright and respectable members of the community. Immoral conduct is gross
when it is so corrupt as to constitute a criminal act, or so unprincipled as to be reprehensible to
a high degree, or when committed under such scandalous or revolting circumstances as to
shock the community’s sense of decency. The Court makes these distinctions, as the supreme
penalty of disbarment arising from conduct requires grossly immoral, not simply immoral.

The facts gathered from the evidence adduced by the parties and, ironically, from Atty.
Catindig’s own admission, indeed establish a pattern of conduct that is grossly immoral; it is
not only corrupt and unprincipled, but reprehensible to a high degree.

Atty. Catindig’s subsequent marriage during the subsistence of his previous one definitely
manifests a deliberate disregard of the sanctity of marriage and the marital vows protected by
the Constitution and affirmed by our laws. By his own admission, Atty. Catindig made a
mockery out of the institution of marriage, taking advantage of his legal skills in the process.
He exhibited a deplorable lack of that degree of morality required of him as a member of the
bar, which thus warrant the penalty of disbarment.

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Rule 1.03

A lawyer shall not, for any corrupt motive or interest, encourage any suit or proceeding or
delay any man's cause

De Ysasi vs. NLRC, 231 SCRA 173

Facts

Jon De Ysasi and Jon De Ysasi III are father and sons respectively. The elder Ysasi owns a
hacienda in Negros Occidental. De Ysasi III is employed in the hacienda as the farm
administrator. In November 1982, De Ysasi III underwent surgery and so he missed work. He
was confined and while he’s nursing from his infections he was terminated, without due
process, by his father. De Ysasi III filed against his father for illegal dismissal before the NLRC.
His father invoked that his son actually abandoned his work.

Issue

W/N De Ysasi III abandoned his work?

Ruling

NO. His absence from work does not constitute abandonment. To constitute abandonment,
there must be a.) failure to report for work or absence without valid or justifiable reason, and b.)
a clear intention to sever the employer-employee relationship, with the second element as the
more determinative factor and being manifested by some overt acts. No such intent was
proven in this case.

Relevant

The Supreme Court, in making its decision, noted that the lawyers for both camps failed to
exert all reasonable efforts to smooth over legal conflicts, preferably out of court and especially
in consideration of the direct and immediate consanguineous ties between their clients
especially considering that the parties involved are father and son. This case may have never
reached the courts had there been an earnest effort by the lawyers to have both parties find an
off court settlement but records show that no such effort was made. The useful function of a
lawyer is not only to conduct litigation but to avoid it whenever possible by advising settlement
or withholding suit. He is often called upon less for dramatic forensic exploits than for wise
counsel in every phase of life. He should be a mediator for concord and a conciliator for
compromise, rather than a virtuoso of technicality in the conduct of litigation. 

Rule 1.04 of the Code of Professional Responsibility explicitly provides that “(a) lawyer shall
encourage his client to avoid, end or settle the controversy if it will admit of a fair settlement.”
Both counsel fell short of what was expected of them, despite their avowed duties as officers
of the court. The records do not show that they took pains to initiate steps geared toward
effecting a rapprochement between their clients. On the contrary, their acerbic and protracted
exchanges could not but have exacerbated the situation even as they may have found favor in
the equally hostile eyes of their respective clients.

In the same manner, the labor arbiter who handled this regrettable case has been less than
faithful to the letter and spirit of the Labor Code mandating that a labor arbiter “shall exert all
efforts towards the amicable settlement of a labor dispute within his jurisdiction.”  If he ever did
so, or at least entertained the thought, the copious records of the proceedings in this
controversy are barren of any reflection of the same.

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Rule 1.03

A lawyer shall not, for any corrupt motive or interest, encourage any suit or proceeding or
delay any man's cause

Programmers. Inc. vs. Bataan, 492 SCRA 529

Finally, both the trial and appellate courts declared that the land as well as the improvement
thereon (Piazza Hotel) belonged to respondent. We find no reason to overturn this factual
conclusion.

Since this petition for review on certiorari was clearly without legal and factual basis,
petitioner’s counsel should not have even filed this appeal. It is obvious that the intention was
merely to delay the disposition of the case.

Same costs against Atty. Benito R. Cuesta I, petitioner’s counsel, for filing this flimsy appeal,
payable within ten (10) days from finality of this decision.

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Canon 13. A lawyer shall rely upon the merits of his cause and refrain from any impropriety,
which tends to influence, or gives the appearance of influencing the Court.

In re: Letter of PJ Conrado Vazquez, 564 SCRA 365

What the fuck nakakabobo tong case na to, sakin pa na-assign hutaenang yan

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Canon 13. A lawyer shall rely upon the merits of his cause and refrain from any impropriety,
which tends to influence, or gives the appearance of influencing the Court.

In re: Petition to disqualify Atty. De Vera, on legal and moral grounds, from being elected IBP
Governor for Eastern Mindanao in the May 31 IBP Elections 385 SCRA 285

Garcia, Ravanera, and Velez v. Atty. De Vera

Facts

Petitioner lawyers Oliver L. Garcia, Emmanuel Ravanera and Tony Velez filed a petition seeking
the disqualification of respondent lawyer Leonard De Vera from being elected Governor of
Eastern Mindanao in the 16th Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) Regional Governor's
Elections. Petitioner Garcia is the Vice-President of Bukidnon IBP Chapter, while petitioners
Ravanera and Velez are the past president and the incumbent President, respectively, of the
Misamis Oriental IBP Chapter. Petitioners contended that respondent's transfer from Pasay,
Parañaque, Las Piñas and Muntinlupa (PPLM) Chapter to Agusan del Sur Chapter is a brazen
abuse and misuse of the rotation rule, a mockery of the domicile rule and a great insult to the
lawyers of Eastern Mindanao for it implied that there is no lawyer from the region qualified and
willing to serve the IBP.

Petitioners also submitted that respondent De Vera lacks the requisite moral aptitude for the
position. According to petitioners, respondent De Vera was previously sanctioned by the
Supreme Court for irresponsibly attacking the integrity of the SC Justices during the
deliberations of the plunder law. They further alleged that respondent De Vera could have been
disbarred in the United States for misappropriating his client's funds had he not surrendered
his California license to practice law. Respondent De Vera argued that the Court has no
jurisdiction over the present controversy contending that the election of the officers of the IBP,
including the determination of the qualification of those who want to serve the organization, is
purely an internal matter governed as it is by the IBP By-Laws and exclusively regulated and
administered by the IBP. Respondent also averred that an IBP member is entitled to select,
change or transfer his chapter or transfer his chapter membership under Section 19, Article II
and Section 29-2, Article IV of the IBP By-Laws. He also stressed that the right to

transfer membership is also recognized in Section 4, 139-A of the Rules of Court which is
exactly the same as the first of the above-quoted provision of the IBP By-Laws.

On the moral integrity question, respondent De Vera denies that he exhibited disrespect to the
Court or to any of its members during its deliberations on the constitutionality of the plunder
law. As for the administrative complaint filed against him by one of his clients when he was
practicing law in California, which in turn compelled him to surrender his California license to
practice law, he maintains that it cannot serve as basis for determining his moral qualification
(or lack of it) to run for the position he is aspiring for.

Issues

1. Whether or not the Court has no jurisdiction over the IBP. 

2. Whether or not the respondent is disqualified from being elected Governor in the IBP.

Ruling

1. On the issue of jurisdiction, the Court affirmed its right to hear and decide the present
controversy.

Section 5, Article VIII of the 1987 Constitution conferred on the Supreme Court the power to

promulgate rules affecting the IBP and implicit in the constitutional grant is the power to
supervise all the activities of the IBP, including the election of its officers. The power of
supervision over the IBP has been demonstrated in the past when it looked into the
irregularities which attended the 1989 elections of the IBP National Officers. The Court likewise
amended several provisions of the IBP By-Laws.

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2. The Court upheld respondent De Vera in his contention that a member of the IBP is entitled
to select, change or transfer his chapter membership. Section 19 of the IBP By-Laws allows a
member to change his chapter membership, subject only to the condition that the transfer
must be made not less than three months prior to the election of officers in the chapter to
which the lawyer wishes to transfer. In the case at bar, respondent De Vera's transfer to the
Agusan del Sur IBP Chapter is valid as it was done more than three months ahead of the
chapter elections held on February 27, 2003. The Court also ruled that there is nothing in the
By-Laws which explicitly provides that one must be morally fit before he can run for IBP
governorship. The Court emphasized that the disqualification of a candidate involving lack of
moral fitness should emanate from his disbarment or suspension from the practice of law by
the Court or conviction by final judgment of an offense which involves moral turpitude.

In Re: Published Alleged Threats Against Members of the Court in the Plunder Law Case
Hurled by Atty. Leonard De Vera, Respondent De Vera was found guilty of indirect contempt of
court and was imposed a fine in the amount of Twenty Thousand Pesos for his remarks
contained in two newspaper articles published in the Inquirer. The Court held that the
statements were aimed at influencing and threatening the Court to decide in favor of the
constitutionality of the Plunder Law. The ruling cannot serve as a basis to consider respondent
De Vera immoral. The act for which he was found guilty of indirect contempt does not involve
moral turpitude. Moral turpitude as "an act of baseness, vileness or depravity in the private and
social duties which a man owes his fellow men, or to society in general, contrary to the
accepted and customary rule of right and duty between man and man, or conduct

contrary to justice, honesty, modesty or good morals.”

On the administrative complaint that was filed against respondent De Vera while he was still

practicing law in California, he explained that no final judgment was rendered by the California

Supreme Court finding him guilty of the charge. Bare allegations and unsubstantiated by
evidence are not equivalent to proof. The Court also ruled that petitioners are not the proper
parties to bring the suit under Section 40 of the IBP By-Laws which provides that only
nominees can file a written protest setting forth the ground therefor. Petitioner Garcia is from
Bukidnon IBP Chapter, while the other petitioners, Ravanera and Velez, are from the Misamis
Oriental IBP and are not qualified to run for IBP governorship of Eastern Mindanao pursuant to
the rotation rule enunciated in Sections 37 and 38 of the IBP By-Laws.

The Court also held that the instant petition was premature as no nomination of candidates has
been made by the members of the House of Delegates from Eastern Mindanao, and assuming
that respondent De Vera gets nominated, he can always opt to decline the nomination

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Canon 20

A lawyer shall charge only fair and reasonable fees.

(Pineda v. de Jesus, 499 SCRA 608)

Facts

On April 6, 1993, Aurora Pineda filed an action for declaration of nullity of marriage against
petitioner Vinson Pineda in the RTC of Pasig City, docketed as JDRC Case No. 2568. Petitioner
was represented by respondents Attys. Clodualdo de Jesus, Carlos Ambrosio and Emmanuel
Mariano. During the pendency of the case, Aurora proposed a settlement to petitioner
regarding her visitation rights over their minor child and the separation of their properties. The
proposal was accepted by the petitioner and both parties subsequently filed a motion for
approval of their agreement. This was approved by the trial court. On November 25, 1998, the
marriage between the petitioner and Aurora Pineda was declared null and void.

Throughout the proceedings, respondent counsels were well compensated. They including
their relatives and friends, even availed of free products and treatments from petitioner’s
dermatology clinic. This notwithstanding, they billed petitioner additional legal fees amounting
to P16.5 million which the latter, however, refused to pay. Instead, petitioner issued them
several checks totaling P1.12 million as “full payment for settlement.” Still not satisfied,
respondents filed in the same trial court a motion for payment of lawyers’ fees for P50 million.

On April 14, 2000, trial court ordered petitioner to pay P5 million to Atty. De Jesus, P2 million to
Atty. Ambrosio and P2 million to Atty. Mariano. On appeal, the Court of Appeals reduced the
amount as follows: P1 million to Atty. de Jesus, P500,000 to Atty. Ambrosio and P500,000 to
Atty. Mariano. The motion for reconsideration was denied. Hence, this recourse.

ISSUE:

Whether the lawyers are entitled to additional legal fees?

RULING: NO. The professional engagement between petitioner and respondents was governed
by the principle of quantum meruit which means “as much as the lawyer deserves.” The
recovery of attorney’s fees on this basis is permitted, as in this case, where there is no express
agreement for the payment of attorney’s fees. Basically, it is a legal mechanism which prevents
an unscrupulous client from running away with the fruits of the legal services of counsel
without paying for it. Similarly, it avoids unjust enrichment on the part of the lawyer himself.

Further, Rule 20.4 of the Code of Professional Responsibility advises lawyers to avoid
controversies with clients concerning their compensation and to resort to judicial action only to
prevent imposition, injustice or fraud. Suits to collect fees should be avoided and should be
filed only when circumstances force lawyers to resort to it. In the case at bar, respondents’

motion for payment of their lawyers’ fees was not meant to collect what was justly due them;
the fact was, they had already been adequately paid. Demanding P50 million on top of the
generous sums and perks already given to them was an act of unconscionable greed which is
shocking to this Court. As lawyers, respondents should be reminded that they are members of

an honorable profession, the primary vision of which is justice. It is respondents’ despicable


behavior which gives lawyering a bad name in the minds of some people. The vernacular has a
word for it: nagsasamantala. The practice of law is a decent profession and not a money-
making trade. Compensation should be but a mere incident. Respondents’ claim for additional
legal fees was not justified. They could not charge petitioner a fee based on percentage,
absent an express agreement to that effect. The payments to them in cash, checks, free
products and services from petitioner’s business–all of which were not denied by respondents–
more than sufficed for the work they did. The “full payment for settlement” should have

discharged petitioner’s obligation to them. WHEREFORE, ATTY’S FEES DELETED.

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Practice of Law

Feliciano vs. Bautista-Lozada, 752 SCRA 245

Facts

Before us is a Petition for Disbarment dated August 2, 2007 filed by Alvin S. Feliciano


(complainant) against respondent Atty. Lozada for violation of Section 27, Rule 138 of the Rules
of Court.

On December 13, 2005, the Court en banc promulgated a Resolution suspending Atty. Lozada
for violation of Rules 15.03 and 16.04 of the CPR.

Plaintiff: However, in Civil Case No. 101 v-07, complainant lamented that Atty. Lozada
appeared as counsel for the plaintiff and her husband, Edilberto Lozada, and actively
participated in the proceedings of the case before Branch 75 of the RTC of Valenzuela City.
Complainant argued that the act of Atty. Lozada in appearing as counsel while still suspended
from the practice of law constitutes willfull disobedience to the resolutions of the Court which
suspended her from the practice of law for two (2) years.

Defendant: Atty. Lozada explained that she was forced by circumstances and her desire to
defend the rights of her husband who is embroiled in a legal dispute. She claimed that she
believed in good faith that her appearance as wife of Edilberto Lozada is not within the
prohibition to practice law, considering that she is defending her husband and not a client. She
insisted that her husband is a victim of grave injustice, and his reputation and honor are at
stake; thus, she has no choice but to give him legal assistance.

Issue

W/N appearance as counsel to her spouse constitutes practice of law?

Ruling

YES. This Court has the exclusive jurisdiction to regulate the practice of law. When this Court
orders a lawyer suspended from the practice of law, as in the instant case, the lawyer must
desist from performing all functions requiring the application of legal knowledge within the
period of suspension. In the instant case, Atty. Lozada's guilt is undisputed. Based on the
records, there is no doubt that Atty. Lozada's actuations, that is, in appearing and signing as
counsel for and in behalf of her husband, conducting or offering stipulation/admission of facts,
conducting direct and cross-examination, all constitute practice of law. Atty. Lozada's defense
of good faith fails to convince. She knew very well that at the time she represented her
husband, she is still serving her two (2)-year suspension order. Yet, she failed to inform the
court about it. Neither did she seek any clearance or clarification from the Court if she can
represent her husband. While we understand her devotion and desire to defend her husband
whom she believed has suffered grave injustice, Atty. Lozada should not forget that she is first
and foremost, an officer of the court who is bound to obey the lawful order of the Court.
HOWEVER, this Court recognizes the fact that it is part of the Filipino culture that amid an
adversity, families will always look out and extend a helping hand to a family member, more so,
in this case, to a spouse. Thus, considering that Atty. Lozada's actuation was prompted by her
affection to her husband and that in essence, she was not representing a client but rather a
spouse, we deem it proper to mitigate her penalty.

WHEREFORE, Atty. Carmelita S. Bautista-Lozada is SUSPENDED for a

period of 6 months from practice of law.


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Indirect Contempt

Re: Letter of Erlinda llusorio-Bildner, POTC, Philcomsat, Requesting Investigation of certain


Members of Judiciary, 755 SCRA 368

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Rule 15.03

A lawyer shall not represent conflicting interests except by written consent of all concerned
given full disclosure of the facts.

llusorio-Bildner vs. Lakin, Jr., 477 SCRA 634

Facts

In a case presided by Judge Antonio Reyes, Atty. Singson attempted to influence the outcome
of the case as can be inferred from his acts evidenced by the following documents, to wit:

1. The transcript of the stenographic notes of the May 31, 2000 hearing in the sala of Judge
Reyes when the judge made it of record that respondent offered Atty. Oscar Sevilla P500,000
to be given to Judge Reyes for a favorable decision;

2. The affidavit of Judge Reyes alleged that respondent, as soon as the case started, visited
him about three times in his office, and made more than a dozen calls to his Manila and Baguio
residences, some of which were even made late evenings; 


3. The affidavit of Atty. Sevilla confirmed that he was approached by respondent to convince
the judge, his close family friend, to rule in Atty. Singson’s favor. 


Issue:

Whether or not Atty. Singson should be administratively discipline or disbarred from the
practice of law for the alleged misconduct in attempting to bribe Judge Antonio Reyes

Ruling

Yes, Atty. Singson should be suspended from practice of law for one year. The fact that he did
talk on different occasions to Judge Reyes, initially through a mutual friend, Atty. Sevilla, leads
to the conclusion that Atty. Singson was indeed trying to influence the judge to rule in his
client’s favor. This conduct is not acceptable in the legal profession. Canon 13 of the Code of
Professional Responsibility enjoins 3A lawyer shall rely upon the merits of his cause and refrain
from any impropriety which tends to influence or gives the appearance of influencing the court.


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Lawyer’s Oath

Diaz vs. Gerong, 141 SCRA 46

This administrative case was initially filed by Jose Diaz against Atty. Manuel S. Gerong
for malpractice. After investigation by the Office of the Solicitor General, the latter joined
the complaint and both pray for the disbarment of the respondent.

Records show that sometime in January 1974 private complainant and his son, Daniel
Diaz, engaged the services of the respondent to prosecute a damage suit against
Malabuti Manufacturing Industries, Inc. (Malabuti for short) and Ceferino Bautista.
Respondent agreed to handle the case for P1,500.00 retainer's fee, plus twenty (20%)
per cent of the sum that may be collected from the defendants.

On March 28, 1974, upon agreement of respondent and the private complainant, the
latter delivered to the former the sum of P900.00 for filing fee and for other expenses in
connection with the filing of the case. Thereafter, respondent informed complainant Diaz
and his son that he had already filed Civil Case No. 1148-0, entitled: "Daniel Diaz vs.
Malabuti Manufacturing Industries, Inc., et al." before the then Court of First Instance of
Zambales and Olongapo City, Branch III, Olongapo City. Thenceforth, they exchanged
letters and telegrams concerning the status of the case. In all these communications,
respondent make it appear that a case had already been filed in court and that a
negotiation had been undertaken to settle the case amicably. In his letter of October 30,
1976, respondent attached a supposed order, dated October 28, 1976, of the court
(Exhibit I-1) granting his motion for postponement of the pre-trial hearing. The truth,
however, is, no such case had been filed, much less was there any negotiation taken or
an order issued by the court. It was only on December 7, 1976 when complainant found
that respondent had not filed the case against the defendant and that the adverted Civil
Case No. 1148-0 pertains to a case for writ of preliminary injunction and/or prohibition
entitled: "Juanito Garcia, et al. vs. Cesar Villanueva, et al. (Exhibit P-1). Upon
confrontation, respondent admitted the non-filing of the complaint and asked for
forgiveness and, finally, on December 10, 1976 he filed the case against Malabuti and
Bautista. On June 8, 1981 a judgment was rendered ordering Malabuti to pay Daniel
Diaz damages in the total amount of P105,000.00 which, however, could not be
satisfied as by then Malabuti had become insolvent and its properties already
transferred and/or disposed of to another corporation formed in 1977 after the filing of
the case.

In Our Resolution of September 29, 1982, We required respondent to comment on the


complaint for disbarment but, despite the lapse of his requested period, respondent
failed to file his comment. Thus, in the Resolution of August 24, 1983, We referred the
case to the Office of the Solicitor General for investigation, report and recommendation

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The Solicitor General reports that during his investigation, respondent, who is
remorseful for the deceit and mispresentation he had commited on complainant,
pleaded for compassion but, having found that the actuations of respondent constitute
malpractice and misconduct, he recommends disbarment of respondent Atty. Manuel S.
Gerong and the striking out of the latter's name from the Rolls of Attorney. Annexed to
his Report and Recommendation is a complaint filed, pursuant to Section 5, Rule 139 of
the Rules of Court, against respondent lawyer, for deceit, malpractice and gross
misconduct in office and for violation of the lawyer's oath.

Considering the complaint of the Solicitor General for the disbarment of Atty. Manuel S.
Gerong, We required again the respondent to file his Answer thereto within ten (10)
days from notice. On September 20, 1985, respondent filed an Urgent Petition for
Extension of Time, dated September 4, 1985, asking for ten (10) days from September
5, 1985 within which to file his Answer to the complaint of the Solicitor General. Again,
on October 1, 1985, respondent filed another Urgent Petition for Addition Extension of
five (5) days from September 16, 1985; notwithstanding the grant of the extension of
time respondent failed to file his Answer. Hence, We considered his failure as a waiver
of his right to file a responsive pleading and the case was submitted for resolution.

Analyzing the actuations of respondent lawyer We find the same not in accordance with
his oath of office, which reads:

I ... do solemnly swear that ... ; I will do no falsehood nor consent to its commission; I
will not wittingly or willingly promote or sue any groundless, false or unlawful suit nor
give aid nor consent to the same; I will not delay any man's cause for money or malice
and will conduct myself as a lawyer according to the best of my knowledge and
discretion with all good fidelity as well to the courts as to my clients and I impose upon
myself this obligation voluntarily, without any mental reservation or purposed of evasion.

The aforecited oath obliges the attorney to swear that he will do no falsehood nor delay
any man's cause for money or malice. And, pursuant to Section 27, Rule 138 of the
Revised Rules of Court, a lawyer may be disbarred for any deceit, malpractice or other
gross misconduct in his office as attorney or for any violation of the lawyer's oath.

In a number of cases, We have repeatedly ruled that the purpose of disbarment is to


protect the courts and the public from the misconduct of the officers to the court and to
ensure the administration of justice by requiring that those who exercise this important
function shall be competent, honorable and trustworthy men in whom courts and clients
may repose confidence. In Daroy vs. Legaspi, 65 SCRA 304, We held that the
objectives of disbarment are to compel the lawyer to deal fairly and honesty with his
client and to remove from the profession a person whose misconduct has proven him
unfit for the duties and responsibilities belonging to the office of an attorney.

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TAN, JOSHUA LEGETH DIGESTS

As aptly stated by the Solicitor General "respondent has not exercised honesty and
trustworthiness and has failed to live up to the high standards of the law profession.
Respondent's actuations, being unworthy of membership in the Bar, should be met with
appropriate penalty.

We find the recommendation of the Solicitor General justifiable and hereby order the
disbarment of respodent Atty. MANUEL S. GERONG and the striking out by the Bar
Confidant of his name from the Rolls of Attorney.

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