You are on page 1of 2

Rule 18.

04 – Inform Client on Status of Case


A.C. No. 5718
Abay v. Montesino
Panganiban, J.

Summarized by Sophia Sy

Atty. Montesino failed to file the appellant’s brief of his client NIT in a civil case,
resulting to the dismissal of the appeal. Respondent claims that this was due to him
deeming it futile to pursue the appeal and wanting to take another legal course of action
to protect his client’s rights. The IBP and SC found him guilty of violating CPR and
suspended him for 6 months with warning.

IMPORTANT PEOPLE
Eduardo T. Abay – complainant, stockholder of NIT
Atty. Raul Montesino – respondent

FACTS
1. Atty. Montesino was the counsel of Negros Institute of Technology in an action
for Cancellation of Title of Ownership, Recovery of Ownership and Possession
and Damages with Preliminary Injunction against Vicente Galo’s estate. RTC
dismissed the case on Apr. 27, 1995.
2. Nov. 3, 1995 – RTC denied the respondent’s MR. Respondent filed a Notice of
Appeal in the CA but failed to submit the appellant’s brief even after a total
of 120 days extension (beyond the 45 reglementary period). Mar. 19, 1999 –
CA dismissed the appeal.
3. Complainant prays for the disbarment of respondent alleging that the latter
abandoned the appeal without knowledge of NIT and never told that the
appeal had already been dismissed.
4. Respondent avers that his failure to file the brief was due to his discovery that
the property sought to be recovered was subject to another civil case as a result
of overlapping rights of transfers: a Contract of Sale in favor of Florserfina
Grandea and a Contract of Mortgage in favor of Ludovico Hidalgo.
5. Thus, respondent advised NIT to abandon the appeal and file instead an
appropriate Complaint against Grandea and Hidalgo to recover the properties.
However, complainant demanded to continue with the appeal. Thinking that his
advice was the best way to protect his client’s rights, he let the period to submit
appellant’s brief lapse.
6. The IBP Commissioner found him guilty of violating the CPR and expressed
that the respondent should have given due importance to the decision of his

1
client. She recommended a suspension of 6 months with warning, which was
adopted by the IBP Board in its Resolution.

ISSUE with HOLDING


1. W/N respondent was guilty of violating the CPR for failing to file his client’s
appellant’s brief? YES.
 Respondent’s failure to file appellant’s brief was a violation of Rules 18.031
and 18.042 of the Code of Professional Responsibility.
o Not filing an appellant’s brief is prejudicial because such could result to
the dismissal of the appeal, as in this case. Respondent failed to
exercise due diligence, and his abandonment of his client’s cause made
him unworthy of the trust that is reposed in him.
o Even if respondent was honestly protecting the interests of complainant,
the former still had no right to waive the appeal without the latter’s
knowledge and consent. If he felt unable to continue his retainership, he
should have properly withdrawn his appearance and allowed the client
to appoint another lawyer.
 Respondent also violated Rule 12.033 for failing to file the appellant’s brief
despite being granted several extensions.
 Lawyers owe fidelity to their clients cause. Regardless of their personal
views, they must present every remedy or defense within the authority of
the law in support of that cause.

DISPOSITIVE PORTION
Atty. Raul T. Montesino is found guilty of negligence; SUSPENDED from the
practice of law for six months and WARNED that a repetition of the same or a
similar act will be dealt with more severely.

DOCTRINE
Rule 18.04 A lawyer shall keep the client informed of the status of his case and
shall respond within a reasonable time to the clients request for information.

1 Rule 18.03 - A lawyer shall not neglect a legal matter entrusted to him and his negligence in connection
therewith shall render him liable.
2 Rule 18.04 A lawyer shall keep the client informed of the status of his case and shall respond within a

reasonable time to the clients request for information.


3 which mandates that [a] lawyer shall not, after obtaining extensions of time to file pleadings, memoranda

or briefs, let the period lapse without submitting the same or offering an explanation for his failure to do
so.