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CARLITO ANG,Complainant,vs.ATTY. JAMES JOSEPH GUPANA,Respondent.

(left to staff
again)(Extra-Judicial Partition of lot) The case stemmed from an affidavit-complaint3filed by
complainant Carlito Ang against respondent. Ang alleged that he and the other heirs of the late
Candelaria Magpayo, namely Purificacion Diamante and William Magpayo, executed an Extra-
judicial Declaration of Heirs and Partition4involving a lot. He was given his share of 2,003
square meters, together with all the improvements thereon.5However, when he tried to secure
a TCT in his name, he found out that said TCT No. (T-22409)-6433 had already been cancelled
and in lieu thereof, new TCTs6had been issued in the names of William Magpayo, Antonio
Diamante, Patricia Diamante, Lolita D. Canque, Gregorio Diamante, Jr. and Fe D. Montero.(THE
REGISTER SHOWED AN AFFIDAVIT INSTEAD OF A DEED OF ABSOLUTE SALE) Ang alleged that
there is reasonable ground to believe that respondent had a direct participation in the
commission of forgeries and falsifications because he was the one who prepared and notarized
the Affidavit of Loss7and Deed of Absolute Sale8that led to the transfer and issuance of the
new TCTs. Ang pointed out that the Deed of Absolute Sale which was allegedly executed by
Candelaria Magpayo on April 17, 1989, was antedated and Candelaria Magpayos signature was
forged as clearly shown by the Certification9issued by the Office of the Clerk of Court of the
Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Cebu. Further, the certified true copy of page 37, Book No. XII,
Series of 1989 of respondents Notarial Report indubitably showed that Doc. No. 181 did not
refer to the Deed of Absolute Sale, but to an affidavit.10As to the Affidavit of Loss, which was
allegedly executed by the late Candelaria Magpayo on April 29, 1994, it could not have been
executed by her as she Died11three years prior to the execution of the said affidavit of loss.In
his Comment,14respondent denied any wrongdoing and argued that Ang is merely using the
present administrative complaint as a tool to force the defendants in a pending civil case and
their counsel, herein respondent, to accede to his wishes. Investigating Commissioner Lydia A.
Navarro of the IBP Commission on Bar Discipline, submitted her Report and
Recommendation15finding respondent administratively liable. She recommended that
respondent be suspended from the practice of law for three months. The Investigating
Commissioner additionally found that respondent "delegated the notarial functions to the
clerical staff of their office before being brought to him for his signature." This, according to the
commissioner, "must have been the reason for the forged signatures of the parties in the
questioned documentas well as the erroneous entry in his notarial register." As such notary
public respondent should not delegate to any unqualified person the performance of any task
which by law may only be performed by a member of the bar in accordance with Rule 9.0117of
the Code of Professional Responsibility.18the Board of Governors of the IBP issued Resolution
adopting the findings of the Investigating Commissioner but modifying the recommended
penalty.Respondent filed a motion for reconsiderationthe IBP Board of Governors denied.We
affirm the resolution of the IBP Board of Governors finding respondent administratively
liable.(PARTY DID NOT APPEAR) However, the Court finds respondent administratively liable for
violation of his notarial duties when he failed to require the personal presence of Candelaria
Magpayo when he notarized the Affidavit of Loss which Candelaria allegedly executed on April
29, 1994. Section 1 of Public Act No. 2103, otherwise known as the Notarial Law.From the
foregoing, it is clear that the party acknowledging must appear before the notary public or any
other person authorized to take acknowledgments of instruments or documents.23In the case
at bar, the jurat of the Affidavit of Loss stated that Candelaria subscribed to the affidavit before
respondent on April 29, 1994, at Mandaue City. Candelaria, however, was already dead since
March 26, 1991. Hence, it is clear that the jurat was made in violation of the notarial law.
Respondent likewise violated Rule 9.01, Canon 9, of the Code of Professional Responsibility
which provides that "[a] lawyer shall not delegate to any unqualified person the performance of
any task which by law may only be performed by a member of the Bar in good standing."
Respondent averred in his position paper that it had been his consistent practice to course
through clerical staff documents to be notarized. Upon referral, said clerical staff investigates
whether the documents are complete as to the fundamental requirements and inquires as to
the identity of the individual signatories thereto. If everything is in order, they ask the parties to
sign the documents and forward them to him and he again inquires about the identities of the
parties before affixing his notarial signature.30It is also his clerical staff who records entries in
his notarial report. As aforesaid, respondent is mandated to observe with utmost care the basic
requirements in the performance of his duties as a notary and to ascertain that the persons
who signed the documents are the very same persons who executed and personally appeared
before him to attest to the contents and truth of what are stated therein. In merely relying on
his clerical staff to determine the completeness of documents brought to him for notarization,
limiting his participation in the notarization process to simply inquiring about the identities of
the persons appearing before him, and in notarizing an affidavit executed by a dead person,
respondent is liable for misconduct. Under the facts and circumstances of the case, the
revocation of his notarial commission, disqualification from being commissioned as a notary
public for a period of two years and suspension from the practice of law for one year are in
order.31WHEREFORE, respondent Atty. James Joseph Gupana is found administratively liable
for misconduct and is SUSPENDED from the practice of law for one year. Further, his notarial
commission, if any, is REVOKED and he is disqualified from reappointment as Notary Public for a
period of two years, with a stem warning that repetition of the same or similar conduct in the
future will be dealt with more severely.
Republic of the Philippines ISABELA STATE UNIVERSITY COLLEGE OF LAW
Cauayan Campus

CASE DIGEST in Practical Areas in Legal Ethics (PALE)

Submitted by: 3rd yr. LLB students S.Y. 2015-2016

LIST OF CASES Cases from January to December 2010

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Atty. Elmer Solidon Vs. Atty. Ramil Macalalad, A.C. No. 8158, February 24, 2010 Rural
Bank Of Calape, Inc. (Rbci) Bohol Vs.Atty. James Benedict Florido A.C. No. 5736, June
18, 2010 Spouses Virgilio And Angelina Aranda Vs. Atty. Emmanuel F. Elayda, A.C. No.
7907, December 15, 2010

    Cases from January to December 2011

Atty. Conrado Gandeza, Jr. Vs Judge Maria Clarita Tabin, A.M. No. Mtj-091736, July
25, 2011 Valentin C. Miranda V. Atty. Macario D. Carpio, A.C. 6281, September 16,
2011 Dalisay Capili Vs Atty. Alfredo Bentulan, A.C. No. 5862, October 12, 2011 Urban
Bank, Inc. Vs Atty. Magdaleno Peña, G.R. No. 145817, October 19, 2011 Elpidio Tiong
Vs Atty. George Florendo, A.C. No. 4428, December 12, 2011

             Cases from January to December 2012

Corazon Nevada Vs Atty. Rodolfo Casuga, A.C. No. 7591, March 20, 2012 Re: Report
On Financial Audit Conducted At MCTC, Santiago-San Esteban, Ilocos Sur. A.M. No. P-
11-2950. January 17, 2012 Cresencio C. Milla Vs. People Of The Philippines And Carlo
V. Lopez. G.R. No. 188726. January 25, 2012. Hector Trenas Vs. People Of The
Philippines. G.R. No. 195002. January 25, 2012. Luis P. Pineda Vs. Neil T. Torres,
Sheriff II, Municipal Trial Court In Cities, Branch 2, Angeles City. A.M. No. P-12-3027.
January 30, 2012 Concerned Citizen Vs. Domingo Nawen Abad, Etc. A.M. No. P-11-
2907. January 31, 2012. Re: Verified Complaint Of Engr. Oscar L. Ongjoco, Chairman
Of The Board/CEO Etc. Against Hon. Juan Q. Enriquez, Jr., Et Al. A.M. No. 11184-CA-
J. January 31, 2012. Judge Lucina Alpez Dayaon, Etc. Vs. Jesusa V. De Leon. A.M. No.
P-112926, February 1, 2012 Office Of The Court Administrator Vs. Judge Celso L.
Mantua, Regional Trial Court, Branch 17, Palompon, Leyte. A.M. No. RTJ-11-2291.
February 8, 2012. Aida R. Campos, Et Al. Vs. Judge Eliseo M. Campos, MTC,
Bayugan, Agusan Del Sur. A.M. No. MTJ-10-1761, February 8, 2012. Sps. Democrito
And Olivia Lago Vs. Judge Godofredo B. Abul, Jr. RTC, Br. 43, Gingoog City. A.M. No.
RTJ-10-2255, February 8, 2012. Office Of The Adrministrative Services, Office Of The
Court Administrator Vs. Leoncio K. Gutierrez III, Clerk III, Regional Trial Court, Branch
116, Pasay City. A.M. No. P-11-2951, February 15, 2012. Martin Lahn III And James P.
Concepcion Vs. Labor Arbiter Jovencio Li. Mayor, Jr., A.C. No. 7430, February 15,
2012. Nesa Isenhardt Vs. Atty. Leonardo M. Real, A.C. No. 8254, February 15, 2012.
Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

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Atty. Rene Medina, Et Al. Vs. Judge Victor Canoy, Et Al. A.M. RTJ-112298, February
22, 2012. Sheila G. Del Rosario, Court Stenographer III, RTC, Br. 36, Santiago City,
Isabela Vs. Mary Anne C. Pascua, Court Stenographer III, Same Court. A.M. No. P-11-
2999. February 27, 2012. Office Of The Court Administrator Vs. Judge Go, Et Al. A.M.
No. MTJ-071667, April 10, 2012. Maria Vs. Cortez. A.C. No. 7880, April 11, 2012. Office
Of The Court Administrator Vs. Araya. A.M. No. P-12-3053, April 11, 2012. Attys.
Gonzalez, Et Al. Vs. Calo. A.M. No. P-12-3028, April 11, 2012. Suzette Del Mundo Vs.
Atty. Arnel C. Capistrano, April 16, 2012 Suzette Del Mundo Vs. Atty. Arnel C.
Capistrano. A.C. No. 6903, April 16, 2012. Judge Salvador R. Santos, Jr. Vs. Editha R.
Mangahas. A.M. No. P-092720, April 17, 2012. In Re: Supreme Court Resolution Dated
28 April 2003 In G.R. Nos. 145817 And 145822. A.C. No. 6332, April 17, 2012. Judge
Andrew P. Dulnuan Vs. Esteban D. Dacsig, Clerk Of Court II, MCTC, Magddela-
Nagtipunan, Quirinio. A.M. No. P-11-3004, April 18, 2012. Ramoncito And Juliana
Luarca Vs. Judge Ireneo B. Molato, MTC, Bongabong, Oriental Mindoro/ Jeny Agbay
Vs. Judge Ireneo B. Molato, MTC, Bongabong, Oriental Mindoro. A.M. No. MTJ-08-
1711/A.M. No. MTJ08-1716, April 23, 2012. Evelyn J. Jailorina Vs. Richelle Taneo-
Regner, Demo II, RTC, OCC, San Mateo, Rizal. A.M. No. P-11-2948, April 23, 2012. In
Re: Rodolfo Pactolin, A.C. No. 7940, April 24, 2012 Dr. Ramie G. Hipe Vs. Judge
Rolando T. Literato, Municipal Trial Court, Mainit, Surigao Del Norte. A.M. No. MTJ-11-
1781, April 25, 2012. Re: Complaint Filed By Paz De Vera Lazaro Against Edna
Magallanes And Bonifacio Magallanes. A.M. No. P-11-3003, April 25, 2012.

Office Of The Court Administrator Vs. Sheriff Gareza. A.M. No. P-123058, April 25,
2012

Re: Letter-Complaint Against Hon. Justices Antonio T. Carpio And Maria Loudes P.A
Sereno Dated September 16, 2011 Filed By Atty. Magdaleno M. Pena, A.M. No. 12-6-
11-SC. June 13, 2012

Leticia Jacinto Vs. Judge Josephus Joannes H. Asis, Metc, Br. 40, Quezon City A.M.
No. MTJ-12-1811, June 13, 2012

Re: Report Of The Judicial Audit Conducted In The Regional Trial Court, Branches 72
And 22, Narvacan Ilocos Sur. A.M. No. 06-9-525-RTC, June 13, 2012

Pilar S. Tanoco Vs. Judge Inocencio B. Saguin, Jr. MTCC Br. 3, Cabanatuan City. A.M.
No. MTJ-12-1812. June 20, 2012

Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

Eladio D.Perfecto Vs. Judge Alma Consuelo Desales-Esideria, A.M. No. RTJ-11-2258,
June 20, 2012

State Prosecutors II Josef Albert T. Comilang And Ms. Victoria SunegaLagman Vs.
Judge Medel Arnaldo B. Belen, RTC, Branch 36, Calamba City. A.M. No. RTJ-10-2216,
June 26, 2012

Filomena B. Consolacion Vs. Lydia S. Gambito, Court Stenographer, MCTC, Binalonan,


Pangasinan/Judge Emma S. Ines-Parajas Vs. Lydia S. Gambito, Court Stenographer,
MCTC, Binalonan, Pangasinan A.M. No. P06-2186 & A.M. No. P-12-3026. July 3, 2012

Rhea Airene P. Katague, Et Al. Vs. Jerry A. Ledesma, Sheriff IV, RTC, Br. 48, Bacolod
City A.M. No. P-12-3067. July 4, 2012. Judge Pelagia Dalmacio-Joaquin Vs. Nicomedes
Dela Cruz, Process Server, Municipal Trial Court In Cities, San Jose Del Monte,
Bulacan. A.M. No. P-06-2241. July 10, 2012 Manuel G. Villatuya Vs. Atty. Bede S.
Tabalingcos A.C. No. 6622, July 10, 2012. Lambayong Teachers And Employees
Cooperative, Represented In This Act By Its Manager, Gudelio S. Valeroso Vs. Carlos
P. Diaz, In His Capacity As Sheriff IV, RTC, Branch 20, Tacurong City A.M. No. P-
062246, July 11, 2012. Isaac C. Basilio, Perlita Pedrozo And Jun Basilio Vs. Atty. Virgil
R. Castro A.C. No. 6910. July 11, 2012 Murphy Chu, Et Al. Vs. Hon. Mario B. Capellan,
Assisting Judge, Metc, Br. 40, Quezon City. A.M. No. MTJ-11-1779, July 16, 2012.
Criselda C. Gacad Vs. Judge Hilarion P. Clapis, Jr., RTC, Br. 3, Nabunturan,
Compostela Valley A.M. No. RJ-10-2257. July 17, 2012 Office Of The Court
Administrator Vs. Ma. Irissa G. Musni, Court Legal Researcher II RTC, Judicial Region
III, Branch 36, Gapan City, Nueva Ecija A.M. No. P-11-3024, July 17, 2012. Office Of
The Court Administrator Vs. Lunalinda M. Peradilla, Clerk Of Court II, MCTC, E1 Nido-
Linapacan, Palawan A.M. No. P-09-2647, July 17, 2012. Atty. Policarpio I. Catalan, Jr.
Vs. Atty. Joselito M. Silvosa. A.C. No. 7360, July 24, 2012. Engr. Gilbert Tumbokon Vs.
Atty. Mariano R. Pefianco, A.C. No. 6116 August 1, 2012 Engr. Gilbert Tumbokon Vs.
Atty. Mariano R. Pefianco. A.C. No. 6116, August 1, 2012 Emilia O. Dhaliwal Vs. Atty.
Abelardo B. Dumaguing. A.C. No. 9390, August 1, 2012.. Santos Ventura Hocorma
Foundation, Inc., Represented By Gabriel H. Abad Vs. Atty. Richard V. Funk. A.C. No.
9094, August 15, 2012 Judge Armando S. Adlawan, Presiding Judge, 6th MCTC,
Bonifacio-Don Mariano Marcos, Misamis Occidental Vs. Estrella P. Capilitan, 6th
MCTC, Bonifacio-Don Mariano Marcos, Misamis Occidental. A.M. No. P-123080.
August 29, 2012 Manolito C. Villordon Vs. Marilyn C. Avila, Court Interpreter I, Municipal
Trial Court In Cities. Branch 3, Cebu City. A.M. No. P-10-2809, August 10, 2012

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Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

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Grace M. Anacta Vs. Atty. Eduardo D. Resurrecction. A.C. No. 9074, August 14, 2012.
Astorga And Repol Law Offices, Represented By Atty. Arnold B. Lugares Vs. Leodel N.
Roxas, Sheriff IV, Regional Trial Court, Branch 66, Makati City. A.M. No. P-12-3029,
August 15, 2012. Memoranda Of Judge Eliza B. Yu Issued To Legal Researcher Marie
Joy P. Lagman And To Court Stenographer Soledad J. Bassig, All Of Metropolitan Trial
Court, Branch 47, Pasay City. A.M. No. P-12-3033, August 15, 2012. Jasper Junno F.
Rodica Vs. Atty. Manuel M. Lazaro, Et Al. A.C. No. 9259, August 23, 2012 Emilia O.
Dhaliwal Vs. Atty. Abelardo B. Dumaguing, A.C. No. 9390 August 1, 2012 Gerlie M. Uy
Vs. Judge Erwin B. Javellana, A.M. No. Mtj-07-1666, September 5, 2012

          Cases from January to December 2013

Mariano T. Ong Vs. Eva G. Basiya-Saratan, Clerk Of Court, RTC, Br. 32, Iloilo City.
A.M. No. P-12-3090. January 7, 2013 Re: Complaint Of Leonardo A. Velasco Against
Associate Justices Francisco H. Villaruz, Jr., Et Al. A.M. No. OCA IPI No. 10-25-SB-J.
January 15, 2013 Re: Verified Complaint Of AMA Land, Inc. Against Hon. Danton Q.
Bueser, Et Al. A.M. No. OCA IPI No. 12-202-CA-J. January 15, 2013 Kareen P.
Magtagñob Vs. Judge Genie G. Gapas-Agbada. OCA IPI No. 11-3631-RTJ. January 16,
2013 Re: Petition (For Extraordinary Mercy) Of Edmundo L. Macarubbo. A.C. No. 6148.
January 22, 2013 Sps. Arcing And Cresing Bautista, Et Al. Vs. Atty. Arturo Cefra A.C.
No. 5530. January 28, 2013. Fe A. Ylaya Vs. Atty. Glenn Carlos Gacott. A.C. No. 6475.
January 30, 2013 Anastacio N. Teodoro III Vs. Atty. Romeo S. Gonzales. A.C. No.
6760. January 30, 2013 Geoffrey Beckett Vs. Judge Olegario R. Sarmiento, Jr., RTC,
Branch 24, Cebu City. A.M. No. RTJ-12-2326. January 30, 2013 Anastacio N. Teodoro
Iii Vs. Atty. Romeo S. Gonzales A.C. No. 6760, January 30, 2013 Re: Request Of (Ret.)
Chief Justice Artemio V. Panganiban For ReComputation Of His Creditable Service For
The Purpose Of ReComputing His Retirement Benefits, A.M. No. 10-9-15-SC. February
12, 2013 Erlinda C. Mendoza Vs. Pedro S. Esguerra, Process Server, RTC, Br. 89, Sto.
Domingo, Nueva Ecija, A.M. No. P-11-2967. February 13, 2013

Atty. Manuel J. Jimenez, Jr. Vs. Presiding Judge Michael M. Amdengan, Municipal Trail
Court, Angono Rizal, A.M. No. MTJ-12-1818. February 13, 2013.

Victoriano G. Manlapaz Vs. Judge Manuel T. Sabillo, MCTC, Lamitan, Basilan, A.M. No.
MTJ-10-1771. February 13, 2013 Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-
2016

Patrocinio V. Agbulos Vs. Atty. Roseller A. Viray, A.C. No. 7350. February 18, 2013

Thelwoldo E. Fernandez, Antonio A. Henson & Angel S. Ong Vs. Court Of Appeals
Asso. Justices Ramon M. Bato, Jr., Isaias P. Dicdican, A.M. OCA IPI No. 12-201-CA-J.
February 19, 2013

Ray Antonio C. Sasing Vs. Celestial Venus G. Gelbolingo, Sheriff IV, RTC, Branch 20,
Cagayan De Oro City, A.M. No. P-12-3032. February 20, 2013

Missing Exhibits And Court Properties In Regional Trial Court, Br. 4, Panabo City,
Davao Del Norte, A.M. No. 10-2-41-RTC. February 27, 2013

Anonymous Vs. Judge Rio C. Achas, MTCC Branch 2, Ozamiz City, Misamis
Occidental, A.M. No. MTJ-11-1801. February 27, 2013 Verleen Trinidad, Florentina
Lander, Wally Casubuan, Minerva Mendoza, Celedonio Alojado, Rosendo Villamin And
Aurea Tolentino, Vs. Atty. Angelito Villarin, A.C. No. 9310 February 27, 2013 Gloria P.
Jinon Vs. Atty. Leonardo E. Jiz, A.C. No. 9615 March 5, 2013 Rodrigo E. Tapay And
Anthony J. Rustia Vs. Atty. Charlie L. Bancolo And Atty. Janus T. Jarder, A.C. No. 9604
March 20, 2013 Office Of The Court Administrator Vs. Develyn Gesultura. A.M. No. P-
041785. April 2, 2013 Office Of The Court Administrator Vs. Judge Anatalio S.
Necessario, Et Al. A.M. No. MTJ-07-1691. April 2, 2013 Sonia C. Decena And Rey C.
Decena Vs. Judge Nilo A. Malanyaon, RTC, Br. 32, Pili, Camarines Sur. A.M. RTJ-10-
2217. April 8, 2013 Efigenia M. Tenoso Vs. Atty. Anselmo S. Echanez. A.C. No. 8384.
April 11, 2013 Civil Service Commission Vs. Merle Ramoneda-Pita. A.M. No. P-082531.
April 11, 2013 Judge Renato A. Fuentes, RTC, Br. 17, Davao City Vs. Atty. Rogelio F.
Fabro, Etc., Et Al. A.M. No. P-10-2791. April 17, 2013 Office Of The Court Administrator
Vs. Judge Anatalio S. Necessario, Et Al A.M No. Mtj-07-1691, April 2, 2013 Sonia C.
Decena and Rey C. Decena Vs. Judge Nilo A. Malanyaon, A.M No. Rtj-10-2217, April 8,
2013 Rex Polinar Dagohoy Vs. Atty. Artemio V. San Juan, A.C. No. 7944, June 03,
2013 Pena Vs. Atty. Paterno, A.C. No. 4191, June 10, 2013 Julian Penilla, Complainant,
V. Atty. Quintin P. Alcid, Jr., A.C. No. 9149, September 04, 2013 Josephine L. Orola,
Myrna L. Orola, Manuel L. Orola, Mary Angelyn Orola-Belarga, Marjorie Melba Orola-
Calip, And Karen Orola, (Heirs Of Antonio) Vs. Atty. Joseph Ador Ramos, A.C. No.
9860, September 11, 2013 Rex Polinar Dagohoy V. Atty. Artemio V. San Juan. A.C. No.
7944, June 3, 2013.

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Civil Service Commission V. Ismael A. Hadji Ali, Et Al., A.M. No. SCC-0811-P, June 18,
2013. Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

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Rodolfo C. Sabidong V. Nicolasito S. Solas. A.M. No. P-01-1448, June 25, 2013.
Josefina Caranza Vda De Saldivar V. Atty. Ramon SG Cabanes, Jr., A.C. No. 7749,
July 8, 2013 Office Of The Court Administrator V. Noel R. Ong, Deputy Sheriff, Br. 49,
Et Al., A.M. No. P-09-2690, July 9, 2013. Concerned Citizen V. Nonita V. Catena, Court
Stenographer III, RTC, Br. 50, Puerto Princesa, Palawan, A.M. OCA IPI No. 02-1321-P,
July 16, 2013. Ferdinand A. Samson V. Atty. Edgardo O. Era, A.C. No. 6664, July 16,
2013. Sonic Steel Industries, Inc. V. Atty. Nonnatus P. Chua, A.C. No. 6942, July 17,
2013. Development Bank Of The Philippines, Etc. Vs. Damvin V. Famero, Sheriff IV,
RTC, Br. 43, Roxas, Oriental Mindoro, A.M. No. P-0-2789, July 31, 2013 Jaime Joven
And Reynaldo C. Rasing V. Atty. Pablo R. Cruz And Frankie O. Magsalin III, A.C. No.
7686, July 31, 2013. Re: Cases Submitted For Decision Before Hon. Teofilo D. Baluma,
Former Judge, Branch 1, Regional Trial Court, Tagbilaran City, Bohol, A.M. No. RTJ-13-
2355, September 2, 2013. Danilo E. Lubaton V. Judge Mary Josephine P. Lazaro,
Regional Trial Court, Br. 74, Antipolo, Rizal, A.M. RTJ-12-2320, September 2, 2013.


Julian Penilla V. Atty. Quintin P. Alcid, Jr., A.C. No. 9149, September 4, 2013.

Czarina T. Malvar V. Kraft Foods Phils., Inc., Et Al., G.R. No. 183952, September 9,
2013.

Office Of The Court Administrator V. Donabel M. Savadera, Et Al., A.M. No. P-04-1903,
September 10, 2013.

Office Of The Court Administrator V. Hon. Santiago E. Soriano, A.M. No. MTJ-07-1683,
September 11, 2013.

Joseph L. Orola, Et Al. V. Atty. Joseph Ador Ramos, A.C. No. 9860, September 11,
2013.

In Re: Petition To Sign In The Roll Of Attorneys, B.M. No. 2540, September 24, 2013.

Mary Ann T. Mattus V. Albert T. Villaseca, A.C. No. 7922, October 1, 2013. Re: Request
For Guidance/Clarification On Section 7, Rule III Of Republic Act No. 10154 Requiring
Retiring Government Employees To Secure A Clearance Of Pendency/Non-Pendency
Of Case/S From The Civil Service Commission, A.M. No. 13-09-08-SC, October 1,
2013. Jesus D. Carbajosa V. Judge Hannibal R. Patricio, Presiding Judge, Municipal
Circuit Trial Court, President Roxas, Capiz, A.M. No. MTJ-131834, October 2, 2013.

Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016


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Ma. Jennifer Tria-Samonte V. Epifania “Fanny” Obias, A.C. No. 4945, October 8, 2013.
Maria Cristina Zabaljauregui Pitcher V. Atty. Rustico B. Gagate, A.C. No. 9532, October
8, 2013. Atty. Vladimir Alarique T. Cabigao V. Naeptali Angelo V. Nery, Sheriff III,
Branch 30, Metropolitan Trial Court, Manila, A.M. No. P13-3153, October 14, 2013.
Joefil Baguio V. Maria Fe Arnejo, Stenographer III, Regional Trial Court, Branch 24,
Cebu City, A.M. No. P-13-3155, October 21, 2013. Atty. Oscar L. Embido, Etc. V. Atty.
Salvador N. Pe, Jr., Etc., A.M. No. 6732, October 22, 2013. Ma. Regina S. Peralta V.
Judge George E. Omelio / Romualdo G. Mendoza V. Judge George E. Omelio / Atty.
Asteria E. Cruzabra V. Judge George E. Omelio, A.M. No. RTJ-11-2259/A.M. No. RTJ-
11-2264/A.M. No. RTJ-11-2273, October 22, 2013. Report On The Financial Audit
Conducted In The MTCC, Tagum City, Davao Del Norte / Office Of The Court
Administrator V. Judge Ismael L. Salubre, Et Al., A.M. OCA IPI No. 09-3138-P/A.M. No.
MTJ-05-1618, October 22, 2013. Jocelyn De Leon V. Atty. Tyrone Pedrena, A.C. No.
9401, October 22, 2013. Atty. Jerome Norman L. Tacorda For: Odel L. Gedraga V.
Judge Reynaldo B. Clemens, Presiding Judge, Regional Trial Court, Br. 31, Calbayog
City, Western Samar, A.M. No. RTJ-13-2359, October 23, 2013. Atty. Jessie Tuldague
And Atty. Alfredo Baldajo, Jr. V. Judge Moises Pardo And Jaime Calpatura, Etc. / Atty.
Jessie Tuldague And Atty. Alfredo Baldajo, Jr. V. Jaime Calpatura, Etc. / Re: Report On
The Judicial Audit And Investigation Conducted In The RTC, Cabarroguis, Quirino, A.M.
No. RTJ-05-1962/ A.M. OCA IPI No. 05-2243-P/ A.M. No. 05-10-661-RTC, October 25,
2013. Re: Unauthorized Travel Abroad Of Judge Cleto R. Villacorta III, Regional Trial
Court, Branch 6, Baguio City, A.M. No. 11-9-167-RTC, November 11, 2013.

Mariano Agadan, Et Al. V. Atty. Richard Baltazar Kilaan, A.C. No. 9385, November 11,
2013.

Executive Judge Henedino P. Eduarte, RTC, Br. 20, Cauayan, Isabela V. Elizabeth T.
Ibay, Clerk II, MTCC, Cauayan, Isabela, A.C. No. P-12-3100, November 12, 2013. Hon.
Maribeth Rodriguez-Manahan, Presiding Judge, Municipal Trial Court, San Mateo, Rizal
V. Atty. Rodolfo Flores, A.C. No. 8954, November 13, 2013. Azucena Segovia-Ribaya
V. Atty. Bartolome C. Lawsin, A.C. No. 7965, November 13, 2013. Re: Application For
Survivorship Pension Benefits Under Republic Act 9946 Of Mrs. Pacita A. Gruba,
Surviving Spouse Of The Late Manuel K. Gruba, Former CTA Associate Judge, A.M.
No. 14155-Ret. November 19, 2013. Aurora H. Cabauatan V. Atty. Freddie A. Venida,
A.C. No. 10043, November 20, 2013. Eleanor P. Olivan V. Arnel A. Rubio, Etc., A.M.
No. P-13-3063, November 26, 2013.

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Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

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Mamasaw Sultan Ali V. Judge Baguinda-Ali Pacalna, Et Al., A.M. No. MTJ03-1505,
November 27, 2013 Sps. David Williams And Marissa Williams V. Atty. Rudy T.
Enriquez, A.C. No. 7329, November 27, 2013. Judge Manahan V. Atty. Flores, A.C. No.
8954, November 13, 2013 Cabuatan V. Atty. Venida, A.C. No. 10043, November 20,
2013 Conchita Baltazar,Et Al. V. Atty. Juan B. Bañez, Jr., A.C. No. 9091, December 11,
2013

Cases from January to December 2014

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Rose Bunagan-Bansig Vs. Atty. Rogelio Juan A. Celera A.C. No. 5581 Jan. 14, 2014
Rose Bunagan-Bansig V. Atty. Rogelio Juan A. Celera, A.C. No. 5581, January 14,
2014. Edgardo Areola V. Atty. Maria Vilma Mendoza, A.C. No. 10135, January 15,
2014. The Conjugal Partnership Of The Spouses Vicente Cadavedo And Benita Arcoy-
Cadavedo (Both Deceased), Substituted By Their Heirs, Namely: Herminia, Pastora,
Heirs Of Fructiosa, Heirs Of Raquel, Evangeline, Vicente, Jr., And Armand, All
Surnamed Cadavedo, G.R. No. 173188. January 15, 2014. Atty. Virgillo P. Alconera V.
Alfredo T. Pallanan, A.M. No. P-12-3069, January 20, 2014. Atty. Rhea R. Alcantara-
Aquino V. Mylene H. Dela Cruz, Etc., A.M. No. P13-3141. January 21, 2014. Office Of
The Court Administrator V. Atty. Mona Lisa A. Buencamino, Etc., Et Al./Re: Report On
The Financial Audit Conducted In The Metropolitan Trial Court Etc., A.M. No. P-05-
2051/A.M. No. 05-4-118Metc. January 21, 2014. Atty. Solidum, Jr. Failed To Fulfill This
Duty. Natividad P. Navarro And Hilda S. Presbitero V. Atty. Ivan M. Solidum, Jr., A.C.
No. 9872, January 28, 2014 Edgardo Areola Vs. Atty. Maria Vilma Mendoza A.C. No.
10135. January 15, 2014

Natividad P. Navarro Vs. Atty. Ivan M. Solidum Jr., A.C. 9872, January 28, 2014

Carlito Ang V. Atty. James Joseph Gupana, A.C. No. 4545. February 5, 2014.

Wilberto C. Talisic V. Atty. Primo R. Rinen, A.C. No. 8761, February 12, 2014

Veronica F. Galindez V. Zosima Susbilla-De Vera, A.M. No. P-13-3126, February 4,


2014 Angelito R. Marquez, Et Al. V. Judge Venancio M. Ovejera, Etc., Et Al., A.M. No.
P-11-2903, February 5, 2014 Carlito Ang V. Atty. James Joseph Gupana, A.C. No.
4545. February 5, 2014

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Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

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Executive Judge Ma. Ofelia S. Contreras-Soriano V. Clerk III Liza D. Salamanca,


Metropolitan Trial Court, Branch 55, Malabon City, A.M. No. P-13-3119. February 10,
2014 Anacleto O. Villahermosa, Sr., Et Al. V. Victor Sacia, Executive Assistant IV And
Efren R. Rivamonte, Etc., A.M. No. CA-14-28-P, February 11, 2014 Wilberto C. Talisic
V. Atty. Primo R. Rinen, A.C. No. 8761, February 12, 2014 Rex M. Tupal V. Judge
Remegio V. Rojo, Etc., A.M. No. MTJ-14-1842. February 24, 2014 Patrocinio V.
Agbulos Vs. Atty. Roseller A. Viray, A.C. No. 7350 February 18, 2013 Nestor Figueras
And Bienvenido Victoria, Jr. V. Atty. Diosdado B. Jimenez,A.C. No. 9116, March 12,
2014 Stephan Brunet And Virginia Romanillo Brunet V. Atty. Ronald L. Guaren,A.C. No.
10164, March 10, 2014 Ermelinda Lad Vda. De Dominguez, Represented By Her
Attorney-InFact, Vicente A. Pichon V. Atty. Arnulfo M. Agleron Sr.,A.C. No. 5359, March
10, 2014 Office Of The Court Administrator V. Judge Edwin C. Larida, Jr., RTC, Branch
18, Tagaytay City,A.M. No. RTJ-08-2151, March 11, 2014 Nestor Figueras And
Bienvenido Victoria, Jr. V. Atty. Diosdado B. Jimenez, A.C. No. 9116, March 12, 2014
Licerio Dizon V. Atty. Marcelino Cabucana, Jr.,A.C. No. 10185, March 12, 2014 Julieta
B. Narag Vs. Atty. Dominador M. Narag, A.C. No. 3405, March 18, 2014 Re: Melchor
Tiongson, Head Watcher, During The 2011 Bar Examinations, B.M. No. 2482, April 1,
2014 Re: Melchor Tiongson, Head Watcher, During The 2011 Bar Examinations, B.M.
No. 2482, April 1, 2014 Office Of The Court Administrator V. Judge Borromeo R.
Bustamante, Municipal Trial Court In Cities, Alaminos City, Pangasinan, A.M. No.
MTJ12-1806, April 7, 2014 Antonio M. Lorenzana V. Judge Ma. Cecilia I. Austria, RTC,
Br. 2, Batangas City, A.M. No. RTJ-09-2200, April 2, 2014

Adelia V. Quiachon Vs. Atty. Joseph Adora. Ramos, A.C. No. 9317, June 4, 2014
(Formerly Cbd Case No. 12-3615

Atty. Alan F. Paguia V. Atty. Manuel T. Molina, A.C. No. 9881, June 4, 2014.

Gershon N. Dulang V. Judge Mary Jocylen G. Regencia, MCTC, AsturiasBalamban,


Cebu, A.M. No. MTJ-14-1841, June 2, 2014 Adelia V. Quiachon V. Atty. Joseph Ador A.
Ramos, A.C. No. 9317, June 4, 2014 Office Of The Court Administrator V. Sarah P.
Ampong, Etc., A.M. No. P13-3132, June 4, 2014.

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Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016


Office Of The Court Administrator V. Sarah P. Ampong, Etc., A.M. No. P13-3132, June
4, 2014.

Erlinda Foster Vs. Jaime Agtang, A.C. No. 10579, December 10, 2014

ATTY. ELMER SOLIDON VS. ATTY. RAMIL MACALALAD, A.C. NO. 8158, February
24, 2010 FACTS: In 2005, Atty. Elmer Solidon engaged the services of Atty. Ramil
Macalalad for the latter to handle the judicial titling of a parcel of land owned by the
Solidons in Borongan, Samar. They agreed for a fee of P80k. Solidon gave P50k as
downpayment to Macalalad and the remaining P30k shall be paid after Solidon shall
receive the title over the said property. But for 6 months after the P50k was given, Atty.
Macalalad never gave an update to Solidon. It turns out that Macalalad never filed any
petition to register the land. Solidon then filed an administrative case against Macalalad.
Solidon alleged that Macalalad neglected his duties and even avoided talking to him
despite efforts from Solidon to communicate with Macalalad. In his defense, Macalalad
averred that he did not file the petition because Solidon failed to update him and that
Solidon never gave the documents he was asking for. Eventually, the Commission on
Bar Discipline recommended Macalalad to be suspended for three months.

ISSUE: Whether or not Atty. Macalalad should be suspended. Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr.
PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

HELD: Yes. Macalalad is guilty of negligence when he neglected his client’s cause. This
is a violation of Rule 18.03, Canon 18 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. A
lawyer is negligent if he failed to do anything to protect his client’s interest after
receiving his acceptance fee. Further, there is also negligence when he failed to update
his client about the status of the case. Even if assuming that Solidon was also negligent,
Macalalad cannot shift the blame to his client for failing to follow up on his case because
it was the lawyer’s duty to inform his client of the status of the case. Even if the client
has been equally at fault for the lack of communication, the main responsibility remains
with the lawyer to inquire and know the best means to acquire the required information.
The act of receiving money as acceptance fee for legal services in handling Solidon’s
case, and subsequently failing, without valid excuse, to render the services, is a clear
violation of Canon 18 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. The Supreme Court
also found that not only did Macalalad violated Canon 18, he also violated Canon 16
when he failed to account for Solidon’s money. It appears he failed to return Solidon’s
downpayment of P50k. A lawyer, when he fails to render legal services, shall
immediately account for and promptly return the money he received from his client.
Hence, on top of the recommended 3 months suspension, Macalald was suspended for
an additional 3 months or for a total of 6 months.

RURAL BANK OF CALAPE, INC. (RBCI) BOHOL vs.ATTY. JAMES BENEDICT


FLORIDO A.C. No. 5736, June 18, 2010 FACTS: According to RBCI, respondent and
his clients(Nazareno-Relampagos group), through force and intimidation, with the use of
armed men, forcibly took over the management and the premises of RBCI. They also
forcibly evicted Cirilo A. Garay (Garay), the bank manager, destroyed the bank’s vault,
and installed their own staff to run the bank.

Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

In his comment, respondent denied RBCI’s allegations. Respondent explained that he


acted in accordance with the authority granted upon him by the Nazareno-Relampagos
group, the lawfully and validly elected Board of Directors of RBCI. Moreover,
respondent claimed that RBCI failed to present any evidence to prove their allegations.
Respondent added that the affidavits attached to the complaint were never identified,
affirmed, or confirmed by the affiants and that none of the documentary exhibits were
originals or certified true copies. IBP, through its Commissioner, said that respondent
had no legal basis to implement the takeover of RBCI and that it was a “naked power
grab without any semblance of legality whatsoever.” Respondent appealed from the
IBP’s decision. ISSUE: Whether or not Atty. Florido violated Canon 19 of the Code of
Professional Responsibility. HELD: Canon 19 of the Code provides that a lawyer shall
represent his client with zeal within the bounds of the law. For this reason, Rule 15.07 of
the Code requires a lawyer to impress upon his client compliance with the law and
principles of fairness. A lawyer must employ only fair and honest means to attain the
lawful objectives of his client. It is his duty to counsel his clients to use peaceful and
lawful methods in seeking justice and refrain from doing an intentional wrong to their
adversaries. A lawyer’s duty is not to his client but to the administration of justice. To
that end, his client’s success is wholly subordinate. His conduct ought to and must
always be scrupulously observant of the law and ethics. Any means, not honorable, fair
and honest which is resorted to by the lawyer, even in the pursuit of his devotion to his
client’s cause, is condemnable and unethical. WHEREFORE, we find respondent Atty.
James Benedict Florido GUILTY of violating Canon 19 and Rules 1.02 and15.07 of the
Code of Professional Responsibility. Accordingly, we SUSPEND respondent from the
practice of law for one year effective upon finality of this Decision.

SPOUSES VIRGILIO and ANGELINA ARANDA vs. ATTY. EMMANUEL F. ELAYDA,


A.C. No. 7907, December 15, 2010 FACTS: In the Complaint of the spouses Aranda,
they alleged that Atty. Elayda’s handling of their civil case was“sorely inadequate, as
shown by his Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

failure to follow elementary norms of civil procedure and evidence. However, they were
surprised that an adverse judgment was rendered against them resulting to the loss of
their Mitsubishi Pajero. Apparently, Atty. Elayda failed to inform the spouses of the date
of hearing as well as the order of judgment. No motion for reconsideration or appeal
was interposed by the lawyer as well. In his reply, Atty. Elayda said that the spouses did
not bother to keep in touch with him and they were the ones who neglected their case in
court.

ISSUE: Whether or not Atty. Elayda should be sanctioned by the court. HELD: From the
foregoing, it is clear that Atty. Elayda is duty bound to uphold and safeguard the
interests of his clients. He should be conscientious, competent and diligent in handling
his clients’ cases. Atty. Elayda should give adequate attention, care, and time to all the
cases heis handling. As the spouses Aran da’s counsel, Atty. Elayda is expected to
monitor the progress of said spouses’ case and is obligated to exert all efforts to present
every remedy or defense authorized by law to protect the cause espoused by the
spouses Aranda. Regrettably, Atty. Elayda failed in all these. Atty. Elayda even admitted
that the spouses Aranda never knew of the scheduled hearings because said spouses
never came to him and that he did not know the spouses’ whereabouts. While it is true
that communication is a shared responsibility between a counsel and his clients, it is the
counsel’s primary duty to inform his clients of the status of their case and the orders
which have been issued by the court. He cannot simply wait for his clients to make an
inquiry about the developments in their case. Close coordination between counsel and
client is necessary for them to adequately prepare for the case, as well as to effectively
monitor the progress of the case. Besides, it is elementary procedure for a lawyer and
his clients to exchange contact details at the initial stages in order to have constant
communication with each other. Again, address is simply unacceptable. Evidently, Atty.
Elayda was remiss in his duties and responsibilities as a member of the legal
profession. His conduct shows that he not only failed to exercise due diligence in
handling his clients’ case but in fact abandoned his clients’ cause. He proved himself
unworthy of the trust reposed on him by his helpless clients. Moreover, Atty. Elayda
owes fealty, not only to his clients, but also to the Court of which he is an officer. On a
final note, it must be stressed that whenever a lawyer accepts a case, it deserves his
full attention, diligence, skill and competence, regardless of its importance and whether
or not it is for a fee or free. The IBP Board of Governors recommended a 6 month
suspension. This was adopted by the court.

Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016


ATTY. CONRADO GANDEZA, JR. VS JUDGE MARIA CLARITA TABIN, A.M. No. MTJ-
09-1736 July 25, 2011 FACTS: November 2007, the cars of Atty. Conrado Gandeza, Jr.
and Paul Casuga collided with each other. Later at the scene of the collision, Judge
Maria Clarita Tabin arrived. She was the aunt of Casuga. Atty. Gandeza observed that
the judge kept on reminding the investigating officer that the driver of Gandeza was
drunk. Later at the hospital, blood alcohol test was conducted on the driver of Gandeza.
The initial result returned negative. But Judge Tabin insisted that the doctor do a second
test. This time, the result was positive. About a week later, a criminal case was filed
against the driver of Gandeza. The wife of Atty. Gandeza, also a lawyer, later observed
that a court employee was bringing the records of the case outside the premises of the
court where the case was filed. The court employee said that the records were
requested by Judge Tabin. The case also went to mediation where Gandeza also
learned that Judge Tabin went to the mediation center and inquired about the case. All
these acts of the judge led to Gandeza’s filing of an administrative case against Judge
Tabin for Gross Misconduct and Conduct Unbecoming of a Judge. In her defense,
Judge Tabin said that she never publicly made known that she was a judge when she
was at the collision scene. But she did admit that the investigating officer as well as the
doctor knew her to be such. She also said that she merely borrowed the records of the
case because she learned that her nephew still did not have a lawyer. She also said
that when she was at the mediation center, she merely went there to assist her sister
(Casuga’s mom) as the latter did not know where the mediation center was located.

ISSUE: Whether or not Judge Tabin is guilty of Gross Misconduct or Conduct


Unbecoming of a Judge.

HELD: No. But she is guilty of impropriety in violation of Canon 2 of the Code of Judicial
Conduct. Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

Her being concern of her nephew is just but natural but as member of the judiciary, she
should know that she should not interfere in the conduct of an investigation. She should
always appear impartial – this did not happen when she interfered with the investigation
and when she borrowed the records as well as when she was at the mediation center
inquiring about the records of the case. She may have the best intention devoid of any
malicious motive but sadly her actions, however, spawned the impression that she was
using her office to unduly influence or pressure the concerned people to conduct the
medical examination as well as the investigation in their favor. Indeed, while Judge
Tabin’s concern over the safety of her nephew and the outcome of his criminal case is
understandable, she should not have disregarded the rules on proper decorum at the
expense of the integrity of the court. Although concern for family members is deeply
ingrained in the Filipino culture, she, being a judge, should bear in mind that she is also
called upon to serve the higher interest of preserving the integrity of the entire Judiciary.

VALENTIN C. MIRANDA v. ATTY. MACARIO D. CARPIO, A.C. 6281, September 16,


2011 FACTS: Complainant Valentin C. Miranda is one of the owners of a parcel of land
located at Barangay Lupang Uno, Las Piñas, Metro Manila. Complainant initiated Land
Registration Commission (LRC) Case for the registration of the property. During the
course of the proceedings, complainant engaged the services of respondent Atty.
Carpio as counsel in the said case when his original counsel, Atty. Samuel Marquez,
figured in a vehicular accident. In complainant's Affidavit, complainant and respondent
agreed that complainant was to pay P20,000.00 as acceptance fee and P2,000.00 as
appearance fee. Complainant paid respondent the amounts due him, as evidenced by
receipts duly signed by the latter. During the last hearing of the case, respondent
demanded the additional P10,000.00 for the preparation of a memorandum, which he
said would further strengthen complainant's position in the case, plus 20% of the total
area of the subject property as additional fees for his services. Complainant did not
accede to respondent's demand for it was contrary to their agreement. Moreover,
complainant co-owned the subject property with his siblings, and he could not have
agreed to the amount being demanded by respondent without the knowledge and
approval of his coheirs. As a result of complainant's refusal to satisfy respondent's
demands, the latter became furious and their relationship became sore. A Decision was
rendered, granting the petition for registration, which Decision was declared final and
executory. The Land Registration Authority (LRA) sent complainant a copy of the letter
addressed to the Register of Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

Deeds (RD) of Las Piñas City, which transmitted the decree of registration and the
original and owner's duplicate of the title of the property. Complainant went to the RD to
get the owner's duplicate of the Original Certificate of Title (OCT).He was surprised to
discover that the same had already been claimed by and released to respondent on.
Complainant talked to respondent on the phone and asked him to turn over the owner's
duplicate of the OCT, which he had claimed without complainant's knowledge, consent
and authority. Respondent insisted that complainant first pay him the PhP10,000.00 and
the 20% share in the property in exchange for which, respondent would deliver the
owner's duplicate of the OCT. Once again, complainant refused the demand, for not
having been agreed upon. ISSUE: Whether or not Atty. Carpio violated Canon 20
HELD: Yes. Respondent's claim for his unpaid professional fees that would legally give
him the right to retain the property of his client until he receives what is allegedly due
him has been paid has no basis and, thus, is invalid. In collecting from complainant
exorbitant fees, respondent violated Canon 20 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility, which mandates that ―a lawyer shall charge only fair and reasonable
fees. It is highly improper for a lawyer to impose additional professional fees upon his
client which were never mentioned nor agreed upon at the time of the engagement of
his services. At the outset, respondent should have informed the complainant of all the
fees or possible fees that he would charge before handling the case and not towards
the near conclusion of the case. This is essential in order for the complainant to
determine if he has the financial capacity to pay respondent before engaging his
services. Respondent's further submission that he is entitled to the payment of
additional professional fees on the basis of the principle of quantum meruit has no merit.
"Quantum meruit, meaning `as much as he deserved' is used as a basis for determining
the lawyer's professional fees in the absence of a contract but recoverable by him from
his client." The principle of quantum meruit applies if a lawyer is employed without a
price agreed upon for his services. In such a case, he would be entitled to receive what
he merits for his services, as much as he has earned.[13] In the present case, the
parties had already entered into an agreement as to the attorney's fees of the
respondent, and thus, the principle of quantum meruit does not fully find application
because the respondent is already compensated by such agreement. Respondent's
inexcusable act of withholding the property belonging to his client and imposing
unwarranted fees in exchange for the release of said title deserve the imposition of
disciplinary sanction. Atty. Macario D. Carpio is SUSPENDED from the practice of law
for a period of six (6) months, effective upon receipt of this Decision. He is ordered to
RETURN to the complainant the owner's duplicate of OCT No. 0-94 Atty. GIL P.
VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

immediately upon receipt of this decision. He is WARNED that a repetition of the same
or similar act shall be dealt with more severely.

DALISAY CAPILI VS ATTY. ALFREDO BENTULAN, A.C. NO. 5862, OCTOBER 12,
2011

FACTS:

Capili engaged the legal services of Atty. Alfredo Bentulan as her counsel in a civil
case. Capili lost in the trial court. She wanted to appeal but despite her payment for the
preparation and filing of an appeal brief, Atty. Bentulan failed to file the said pleading.
This resulted to the dismissal of her appeal. Ten years after said dismissal, Capili filed a
disbarment case against Bentulan. In his defense, Bentulan said that Capili’s action is
already barred by laches; that in the first place, Capili knew that the appeal was
unmeritorious; that she never actually paid Bentulan for the preparation and filing of said
appeal.
Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

ISSUE: Whether or not Atty. Alfredo Bentulan should be disciplined.

HELD: Yes. The lapse of ten years from the alleged misconduct does not bar the filing
of this case. Ordinary statutes of limitation had no application to disbarment or
suspension proceedings against members of the Bar. These proceedings are sui
generis. They are not akin to the trials of actions or suits in which interests and rights
are enforced by the plaintiffs against the defendants, but are rather investigations into
the conduct of the members of the Bar made by the Supreme Court within the context of
its plenary powers expressly granted by the Constitution to regulate the practice of law.
In preparing and filing the appeal brief, the question of whether or not Bentulan was
paid his legal services is of no moment. As a lawyer, he owes fidelity to both cause and
client, even if he is not paid any fee for the attorney-client relationship. Further, if he
believed that Capili’s case was unmeritorious, he should have advised Capili
accordingly. The failure to file a brief resulting in the dismissal of an appeal constitutes
inexcusable negligence. This violates Rule 18.03, Canon 18 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility which provides: Canon 18 – A lawyer shall service his client with
competence and diligence. Rule 18.03: A lawyer shall not neglect a matter entrusted to
him, and his negligence in connection therewith shall render him liable.

Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

URBAN BANK, INC. VS ATTY. MAGDALENO PEÑA, G.R. NO. 145817, OCTOBER 19,
2011

FACTS: In 1994, Isabel Sugar Company, Inc. (ISCI) sold a parcel of land to Urban
Bank, Inc. (UBI). The land was sold for P240 million. As the land was occupied by
unauthorized sub-tenants, ISCI’s lawyer, Atty. Magdaleno Peña had to negotiate with
them for them to relocate. But the said occupants, knowing that the land was already
transferred to UBI, refused to recognize Peña. ISCI then communicated with UBI so that
the latter may authorize Peña to negotiate with the tenants. Peña had to barricade
himself inside the property to keep the tenants out who were forcing their way in
especially so that the local cops are now sympathetic to them. Peña then had a phone
conversation with Teodoro Borlongan, president of UBI, where Peña explained to him
the situation. In said conversation, Peña asked authorization from Borlongan to
negotiate with the tenants. Peña also asked that he be paid 10% of the purchase price
or (P24 million) for his efforts. Borlongan agreed over the phone on the condition that
Peña should be able to settle with the tenants otherwise he forfeits said 10% fee. Peña
also asked that said authorization be put into writing. The authorization was put into
writing but no mention was made as regards the 10% fee, (in short, that part was not
written in the written authorization released by UBI). Peña was able to settle and
relocate the tenants. After everything was settled and the property is now formally under
the possession of UBI, Peña began sending demands to UBI for the latter to pay him
the P24 million fee agreed upon, plus his expenses for the relocation of the tenants and
the hiring of security guards or an additional P3 million. But UBI refused to make
payment hence Peña filed a complaint for recovery against UBI. The trial court ruled in
favor of Peña as it found there indeed was a contract of agency created between and
UBI and that Peña is entitled to the 10% fee plus the expenses he incurred including
litigation expenses. In sum, the trial court awarded him P28 million. The Court of
Appeals however reversed the order of the trial court. It ruled that no agency was
formed but for his legal services, Peña is entitled to payment but applying the principle
of unjust enrichment and quantum meruit, Peña should only be paid P3 million.

Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

ISSUE: Whether or not Atty. Magdaleno Peña is entitled to receive the P28 million.

HELD: No. The Supreme Court ruled that said amount is unconscionable. Peña is
entitled to payment for compensation for services rendered as agent of Urban Bank, but
on the basis of the principles of unjust enrichment and quantum meruit. In the first
place, other than the self-serving testimony of Peña, there was no other evidence
presented to support his claim that Borlongan agreed to pay him that 10% over the
phone. The written authorization later issued merely confirms the power granted him to
negotiate with the tenants. The written authorization proved the existence of agency but
not the existence of any agreement as to how much Peña should be paid. Absent any
such agreement, the principle of quantum meruit should be applied. In this case, Peña
is entitled to receive what he merit for his services, or as much as he has earned. In
dealing with the tenants, Peña didn’t have to perform any extraordinary acts or legal
maneuvering. Hence, he is entitled to receive P1.5 million for his legal services. He is
also entitled to reimbursement for his expenses in securing the property, to wit, P1.5
million for the security guards he had to hire and another P1.5 million for settling and
relocating the 23 tenants. Total of P4.5 million.

The Supreme Court emphasized that lawyering is not a business; it is a profession in


which duty to public service, not money, is the primary consideration.

Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

ELPIDIO TIONG VS ATTY. GEORGE FLORENDO, A.C. NO. 4428, DECEMBER 12,
2011

FACTS: Atty. George Florendo has been serving as the lawyer of spouses Elpidio and
Ma. Elena Tiong. Elpidio, a US citizen is often times away. For two years, he suspected
that his wife and Atty. Florendo were having an affair. Finally in 1995, he was able to
listen to a telephone conversation where he heard Atty. Florendo mention amorous
words to Ma. Elena. Atty. Florendo confronted the two and both eventually admitted to
their illicit relationship. Atty. Florendo and Ma. Elena then executed and signed an
affidavit, which was later notarized, stating that they admit of their illicit relationship; that
they are seeking the forgiveness of their respective spouse. Elpidio forgave Florendo
and Ma. Elena. But nevertheless, Elpidio filed a disbarment case against Florendo. Atty.
GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

Florendo said he can no longer be sanctioned because he was already pardoned.

ISSUE: Whether or not Atty. Florendo is correct.

HELD: No. A petition for suspension or disbarment of a lawyer is a sui generis case.
This class of cases is meant to protect the public and the courts of undesirable
members of the legal profession. As such, pardon by the offended party of the act
complained of does not operate to offset the ground for disbarment or suspension.
Florendo’s act of having an affair with his client’s wife manifested his disrespect for the
laws on the sanctity of marriage and his own marital vow of fidelity. It showed his utmost
moral depravity and low regard for the ethics of his profession. He violated the trust
reposed upon him by his client (Canon 17, Code of Professional Responsibility). His
illicit relationship with Ma. Elena amounts to a disgraceful and grossly immoral conduct
warranting disciplinary action. Section 27, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court provides that
an attorney may be disbarred or suspended from his office for any deceit, malpractice,
or other gross misconduct in office, grossly immoral conduct, among others. It cannot
be also said, as he claims, that their relationship is merely a moment of indiscretion
considering that their affair went on for more than two years. Florendo was suspended
for 6 months.

Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

CORAZON NEVADA VS ATTY. RODOLFO CASUGA, A.C. NO. 7591, MARCH 20,
2012 FACTS: In 2007, Corazon Nevada, filed a disbarment case against Atty. Rodolfo
Casuga. Nevada alleged the following: 1. That Atty. Casuga acquired several pieces of
jewelry from her; the jewelries include diamond earrings and diamond rings amounting
P300,000.00. and a Rolex gold watch worth $12,000.00; that Casuga assured her that
he will sell them; but despite repeated demands, Casuga never remitted any money nor
did he return said jewelries. 2. That in 2006, Casuga, taking advantage of his close
relationship with Nevada (they belong to the same religious sect), Casuga represented
himself as the hotel administrator of the hotel (Mt. Crest) that Nevada own; that as such,
Casuga was able to enter into a contract of lease with one Jung Chul; that he
negotiated an office space with Chul in said Hotel for P90,000.00; that Casuga
notarized said agreement; that he forged the signature of Edwin Nevada (husband); that
he never remitted the P90k to Nevada. In his defense, Casuga said: 3. That Nevada
actually pawned said jewelries in a pawnshop; that she later advised Casuga’s wife to
redeem said jewelries using Mrs. Casuga’s wife; that Casuga can sell said jewelries and
reimburse herself from the proceeds; that he still has possession of said jewelries. 4.
That he never received the P90,000.00; that it was received by a certain Pastor Oh; that
he was authorized as an agent by Edwin Nevada to enter into said contract of lease.
ISSUE: Whether or not there is merit in Atty. Casuga’s defense. HELD: No. Atty.
Casuga is in violation of the following: 1. Gross Misconduct: Casuga misrepresented
himself as a duly authorized representative of Nevada when in fact he was not. He
never adduced evidence showing that he was duly authorized either by Edwin or
Corazon. He also dialed to adduce evidence proving that he never received the P90k
from Chul. On the contrary, a notarized letter showed that Casuga did receive the
money. His misrepresentations constitute gross misconduct and his mere denial does
not overcome the evidence presented against him. 2. Violated Canon 16 of the Code of
Professional Responsibility: It is his duty as a lawyer to account for all moneys and
property of his client that may come to his possession. This is still applicable even
though said property/money did not come to his possession by virtue of a lawyer-client
relationship. He failed to adduce evidence to prove his claim that Nevada pawned said
jewelries. He never presented receipts. Further, even assuming that Nevada did pawn
said items, Casuga was still duty bound to return said jewelries upon demand by
Nevada. Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

3. Violation of Notarial Rules: He signed a document (contract of lease) in behalf of


another person without authorization. His forgery made him an actual party to the
contract. In effect he was notarizing a document in which he is party in violation of the
notarial rules (Secs. 1 and 3, Rule IV). 4. Malpractice of Law: As a summation of all the
above violations, Casuga is guilty of Malpractice and Misconduct. Such act is
punishable under Sec. 27, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court. However, the Supreme Court
deemed that disbarment is too severe a punishment against Casuga. He was
suspended for 4 years from the practice of law. His notarial commission was likewise
revoked and he is disqualified to be a notary public while serving his suspension. The
Supreme Court emphasized: the penalty of disbarment shall be meted out only when
the lawyer’s misconduct borders on the criminal and/or is committed under scandalous
circumstance.

Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

SUZETTE DEL MUNDO vs. ATTY. ARNEL C. CAPISTRANO, April 16, 2012 FACTS:
On January 8, 2005, Suzette and her friend Ricky S. Tuparan (Tuparan) engaged the
legal services of Atty. Capistrano to handle the judicial declaration of nullity of their
respective marriages allegedly for a fee of PhP140,000.00 each. On the same date, a
Special Retainer Agreement was entered into by and between Suzette and Atty.
Capistrano which required an acceptance fee of PhP30,000.00, appearance fee of
PhP2,500.00 per hearing and another PhP2,500.00 per pleading. Moreover for every
payment that Suzette made, she would inquire from Atty. Capistrano on the status of
her case. In response, the latter made her believe that the two cases were already filed
before the Regional Trial Court of Malabon City and waiting notice of hearing. Sometime
in July 2005, when she could hardly reach Atty. Capistrano, she verified her case from
the Clerk of Court of Malabon and discovered that while the case of Tuparan had been
filed on January 27, 2005, no petition has yet been filed for her. ISSUE: Whether or not
Atty. Arnel C. Capistrano violated the Code of Professional Responsibility RULING: This
court finds that Atty. Capistrano committed acts in violation of his sworn duty as a
member of the bar. In his Manifestation and Petition for Review, he himself admitted
liability for his failure to act on Suzette’s case as well as to account and return the funds
she entrusted to him. He only pleaded for the mitigation of his penalty citing the lack of
intention to breach his lawyer’s oath; that this is his first offense; and that his profession
is the only means of his and his family’s livelihood. He also prayed that the adjudged
amount of PhP140,000.00 be reduced to PhP73,500.00 representing the amount of
PhP78,500.00 he received less his payment of the sum of PhP5,000.00. Consequently,
Commissioner Quisumbing and the IBP-CBD Board of Governors correctly
recommended the appropriate penalty of one year suspension from the practice of law
for violating the pertinent provisions of the Canons of Professional Responsibility. As
stated under Canon Law, CANON 16 – A lawyer shall not hold in trust all moneys and
properties of his client that may come into his possession. RULE 16.01 – A lawyer shall
account for all money or property collected or received for or from the client. RULE
16.02 – A lawyer shall keep the funds of each client separate and apart from his own
and those of others kept by him. Canon 18- A lawyer shall serve his client with
competence and diligence. RULE 18.03 – A lawyer shall not neglect a legal matter
entrusted to him, and his negligence in connection therewith shall render him liable.
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 client’s request for information. Furthermore, a
lawyer is obliged to hold in trust money of his client that may come to his possession.
As trustee of such funds, he is bound to keep them separate and apart from his own.
Money entrusted to a lawyer for a specific purpose such as for the filing and processing
of a case if not utilized, must be returned immediately upon demand. Failure to return
gives rise to a presumption that he has misappropriated it in violation of the trust
reposed on him. And the conversion of funds entrusted to him constitutes gross
violation of Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

professional ethics and betrayal of public confidence in the legal profession


WHEREFORE, respondent Atty. Arnel C. Capistrano, having clearly violated Canons 16
and 18 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, is SUSPENDED from the practice of
law for one year with a stern warning that a repetition of the same or similar acts shall
be dealt with more severely. He is ORDERED to return to Suzette Del Mundo the full
amount of PhP73,500.00 within 30 days from notice hereof and DIRECTED to submit to
the Court proof of such payment.

IN RE: RODOLFO PACTOLIN, A.C. NO. 7940, APRIL 24, 2012 FACTS: In May 2008,
the Supreme Court, in G.R. No. 161455 (Pactolin vs Sandiganbayan), affirmed the
conviction of Atty. Rodolfo Pactolin for violation of Article 172 of the Revised Penal
Code (Falsification by a Private Individual). It was duly proved that Pactolin falsified a
letter, and presented said letter as evidence in a court of law, in order to make it appear
that his fellow councilor acting as OIC-Mayor illegally caused the disbursement of public
funds. In said decisions, the Supreme Court referred the case to the Integrated Bar of
the Philippines for appropriate administrative actions against Pactolin.

ISSUE: What administrative sanctions can be imposed upon Atty. Pactolin considering
his conviction?

HELD: Rodolfo Pactolin should be, and is henceforth disbarred. The crime of
falsification of public document is contrary to justice, honesty, and good morals and,
therefore, involves moral turpitude. Moral turpitude includes everything which is done
contrary to justice, honesty, modesty, or good morals. It involves an act of baseness,
vileness, or depravity in the private duties which a man owes his fellowmen, or to
society in general, contrary to the accepted and customary rule of right and duty
between man and woman, or conduct contrary to justice, honesty, modesty, or good
morals. As a rule, the Supreme Court exercises the power to disbar with great caution.
Being the most severe form of disciplinary sanction, it is imposed only for the most
imperative reasons and in clear cases of misconduct affecting the standing and moral
character of the lawyer as an officer of the court and a member of the bar. But it has
always been held that it is Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

appropriate to disbar a lawyer if he is convicted by final judgment for a crime involving


moral turpitude. Further, Pactolin’s situation is aggravated by the fact that although his
conviction has been affirmed, he has not served his sentence yet.

EMILIA O. DHALIWAL vs. ATTY. ABELARDO B. DUMAGUING, A.C. No. 9390 August
1, 2012 FACTS: Emilia O. Dhaliwal (complainant) she engaged the services of Atty.
Aberlardo B. Dumaguing (respondent) connection with the purchase of a parcel of land
from Fil-Estate Development, Inc. (Fil-Estate). Atty. Dumaguing was then given
P342,000.00 for him to consign with the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board
(HLURB). On September 22, 2000, respondent, on behalf of complainant, filed with the
HLURB a complaint for delivery of title and damages against Fil-Estate. A week after, or
on September 29, 2000, Atty. Dumaguing withdrew from the HLURB the checks
previously consigned. On March 3, 2003, complainant informed the HLURB that
respondent is no longer representing her. On March 11, 2003, the HLURB promulgated
its Decision, finding the case for delivery of title and damages premature as there was
no evidence of full payment. Complainant then demanded Atty. Dumaguing to return her
the amount he earlier withdrew but responded did not comply. Dhaliwal filed an
administrative complaint against Atty. Dumaguing. Responded admitted all the
allegations in the complaint. In his defense, he claims that the amount of P311,819.94
was consigned to the HLURB to cover the full payment of the balance of the purchase
price of the lot. Respondent allegedly filed a motion for reconsideration but HLURB has
not yet acted upon it. He attached a copy of the said motion in his answer. ISSUE:
Whether or not Atty. Dumaguing should be disbarred. HELD: Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr.
PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

Yes. It was established that Atty. Dimaguing submitted a false and fabricated piece of
evidence because it did not contain proof that the same was filed with the HLURB nor
was there proof that the other party was notified. He violated Canon 16 of the Code of
Professional Responsibility which states that: Canon 16-A lawyer shall hold in trust all
moneys and properties of his client that may come into his possession. Rule 16.01-A
lawyer shall account for all money or property collected or received for or from the
client. Rule 16.02-A lawyer shall keep the funds of each client separate and apart from
his own and those of others kept by him. Rule 16.03-A lawyer shall deliver the funds
and property of his client when due or upon demand. A lawyer's failure to return upon
demand the funds held by him on behalf of his client gives rise to the presumption that
he has appropriated the same for his own use in violation of the trust reposed in him by
his client. Such act is a gross violation of general morality as well as of professional
ethics. It impairs public confidence in the legal profession and deserves punishment. He
is suspended from the practice of law for six (6) months and ordered to return to
complainant said amount of P311,819.94 with legal interest.
ENGR. GILBERT TUMBOKON vs. ATTY. MARIANO R. PEFIANCO, A.C. No. 6116
August 1, 2012 FACTS: Atty. Mariano Pefianco (respondent) undertook to give Engr.
Gilbert Tumbokon (complainant) 20% commission which the respondent would receive
in representing Spouses Amable and Rosalinda Yap, whom the complainant referred.
They had a written agreement dated August 11, 1995. However, respondent failed to
pay complainant the agreed commission. Instead respondent was informed that Sps.
Yap assumed to pay the same after he agreed to reduce his attorney’s fee from 25% to
17%. Complainant demanded the payment of his commission but the respondent
ignored. Complainant also alleged that Atty. Pefianco has not lived up to the high moral
standards required of his profession. And he also accused respondent of engaging in a
money-lending business without required authorization. In respondent’s defense, he
claimed that the written agreement dated August 11, 1995 was forged and that Sps.
Yap assumed to pay complainant’s commission. Respondent filed Motion to Dismiss.
The case was referred tp Intergrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) for investigation, report
and recommendation. Respondent was recommended for one (1) year suspension from
the practice of law for violation of Lawyer’s Oath Rule 1.01, Canon1; Rule 7.01, Canon
7 and Rule 9.02, Canon 9 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. Respondent filed
Motion for Reconsideration which was denied. Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE
Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

ISSUE: Whether or not Atty. Mariano Pefianco be suspended from the practice of law.
RULING: The practice of law is considered a privilege bestowed by the State on those
who show that they possess and continue to possess the legal qualifications for the
profession. As such, lawyers are expected to maintain at all times a high standard of
legal proficiency, morality, honesty, integrity and fair dealing, and must perform their
four-fold duty to society, the legal profession, the courts and their clients, in accordance
with the values and norms embodied in the Code.11 Lawyers may, thus, be disciplined
for any conduct that is wanting of the above standards whether in their professional or in
their private capacity. In the present case, respondent's defense that forgery had
attended the execution of the August 11, 1995 letter was belied by his July 16, 1997
letter admitting to have undertaken the payment of complainant's commission but
passing on the responsibility to Sps. Yap. Clearly, respondent has violated Rule 9.02,12
Canon 9 of the Code which prohibits a lawyer from dividing or stipulating to divide a fee
for legal services with persons not licensed to practice law, except in certain cases
which do not obtain in the case at bar. Respondent did not deny abandoning his legal
family to cohabit with his mistress whom he begot four (4) children. The settled rule is
that betrayal of the marital vow of fidelity or sexual relations outside marriage is
considered disgraceful and immoral as it manifests deliberate disregard of the sanctity
of marriage and the marital vows protected by the Constitution and affirmed by our
laws.13Consequently, We find no reason to disturb the IBP's finding that respondent
violated the Lawyer's Oath14 and Rule 1.01, Canon 1 of the Code which proscribes a
lawyer from engaging in "unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct." However,
the court finds the charge of engaging in illegal money lending not to have been
sufficiently established. Respondent Atty. Mariano R. Pefianco is found guilty of
violation of the Lawyer’s Oath, Rule 1.01, Canon 1 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility and Rule 9.02, Canon 9 of the same Code and suspended from the
active practice of law one (1) year

GERLIE M. UY VS. JUDGE ERWIN B. JAVELLANA, A.M. No. MTJ-071666, September


5, 2012 FACTS: This administrative case arose from a verified complaint for "gross
ignorance of the law and procedures, gross incompetence, neglect of duty, conduct
improper and unbecoming of a judge, grave misconduct and others," filed by Public
Attorneys Uy and Bascug of PAO against Presiding Judge Javellana of the Municipal
Trial Court, La Castellana, Negros Occidental. COMPLAINT ALLEGATIONS

JAVELLANA’S DEFENSE Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

In People vs. Cornelio (Malicious Mischief) -

Judge Javellana issued warrant of arrest after the filing of a certain criminal case
despite Sec. 16 of the Revised Rules on Summary Procedure.

- The necessity of holding the accused in detention became evident when it was
revealed during trial that the same accused were wanted for Attempted Homicide in
another case.

In People vs. Lopez ( Malicious Mischief) -

Judge Javellana did not apply the Revised Rules on Summary Procedure and instead
conducted a preliminary examination and investigation in accordance with the Revised
Rules of Criminal Procedure, then set the case for arraignment and free trial, despite
confirming that complainant and her witnesses had no personal knowledge of the
material facts alleged in their affidavits, which should had been a ground for dismissal of
said case.

- Judge Javellana reiterated that a motion to dismiss is a prohibited pleading under the
Revised Rules on Summary Procedure and he added that he could not dismiss the
case outright since the prosecution has not yet fully presented its evidence.
- The Lupong Tagapamayapa was not a jurisdictional requirement and the Judge
Javellana did not grant Motion to Dismiss on said ground was the motion to dismiss for
non- a prohibited pleading under the compliance with the Lupon Revised Rule on
Summary Procedure. requirement under Sec. 18 and 19(a) of the Revised Rules on
Summary Procedure.

In Trespass to Dwelling -

ISSUE: Whether or not Judge Javellana was grossly ignorant of the Revised Rule on
Summary Procedure. HELD: YES. Without any showing that the accused in People v.
Cornelio and People v. Lopez, et al. were charged with the special cases of malicious
mischief particularly described in Article 328 of the Revised Penal Code the appropriate
penalty for the accused would be arresto mayor in its medium and maximum periods
which under Article 329(a) of the Revised Penal Code, would be imprisonment for two
(2) months and one (1) day to six (6) months. Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor,
S.Y. 2015-2016

Clearly, these two cases should be governed by the Revised Rule on Summary
Procedure.

ANASTACIO N. TEODORO III vs. ATTY. ROMEO S. GONZALES A.C. No. 6760,
January 30, 2013 FACTS: In his complaint, Anastacio N. Teodoro Ill related that Atty.
Gonzales acted as counsel of Araceli Teodoro-Marcial in two civil cases that the latter
filed against him. The first ccise, Special Proceeding No. 99-95587, involved the
settlement of the intestate estate of Manuela Teodoro. While the settlement Atty. GIL P.
VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

proceeding was pending, Atty. Gonzales assisted Teodord-Marcial in filing Civil Case
No. 00-99207, for Annulment of Document, Reconveyance and Damages, without
indicating the special proceeding earlier tiled. The tiling of the civil cases, according to
Anastacio, was a deliberate act of forum shopping that warrants the disbarment of Atty.
Gonzales. Atty. Gonzales admitted that he assisted Teodoro-Marcial in tiling the two
cases. He asserted, however,, that he did not violate the forum shopping rule as the
cases were not identical in terms of parties, subject matter and remedies. Atty.
Gonzales also opined that the complainant only filed the disbarment case to harass him.
The Investigating Commissioner’s Findings In our Resolution dated March 13, 2006, we
referred the disbarment complaint to the Commission on Bar Discipline of the Integrated
Bar of the Philippines (IBP) for investigation, report and recommendation. In his Report
and Recommendation dated July 5, 2010, Commissioner Caesar R. Dulay found Atty.
Gonzales administratively liable for forum shopping. According to Commissioner Dulay,
both Special Proceeding No. 99-95587 and Civil Case No. 00-99207 hinged on the
same substantial issue, i.e., on whether Manuela held the Malate property in trust for
Carmen Teodoro-Reyes, Donato T. Teodoro, Jorge I. Teodoro and Teodoro-Marcial. In
Special Proceeding No. 9995587, Carmen, Donato, Jorge I. Teodoro, Jorge T. Teodoro
and TeodoroMarcial claimed that they are the heirs of Manuela. During her lifetime,
Manuela was the registered owner of a parcel of land located in Malate, Manila.
According to the heirs, Manuela held the lot in trust for them, but she sold it to Anastacio
and Rogelio Ng. Thus, the heirs prayed for the issuance of letters of administration so
that Manuela’s properties could be inventoried and settled in accordance with law. In
Civil Case No. 00-99207, the heirs of Manuela claimed to be the beneficiaries of a trust
held by Manuela over the same parcel of land contested in Special Proceeding No. 99-
95587. They alleged that during her lifetime, Manuela sold a portion of this land to
Anastacio. They asked the trial court to annul the Deed of Absolute Sale executed by
Manuela; to cancel the resulting Transfer Certificate of Title in the name of Anastacio;
and to issue a new one in their names. The commissioner found that a ruling in either
case would result in res judicata over the other. Thus, Atty. Gonzales committed forum
shopping when he instituted Civil Case No. 00-99207 without indicating that Special
Proceeding No. 99-95587 was still pending. In committing forum shopping, Atty.
Gonzales disregarded the Supreme Court Circular prohibiting forum shopping and thus
violated Canon 1 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. Commissioner Dulay
recommended that Atty. Gonzales be suspended for one month from the practice of
law, with a warning that a repetition of a similar offense would merit a more severe
penalty. The Board of Governors of the IBP reversed the commissioner’s
recommendation. In a resolution dated December 10, 2011, the Board of Governors
dismissed the case against Atty. Gonzales for lack of merit. ISSUE: Whether or not Atty.
Gonzales committed forum shopping and thereby violated the Code of Professional
Responsibility. HELD: YES, Forum shopping exists when, as a result of an adverse
decision in one forum, or in anticipation thereof, a party seeks a favorable opinion in
another forum through means other than appeal or certiorari. There is forum shopping
when the elements of litis pendencia are present or where a final judgment in one case
will amount to res judicata in another. They are as follows: (a) identity of parties, or at
least such parties that represent the same interests in both actions, (b) identity of rights
or causes of action, and (c) identity of relief sought. Under this test, we find that Atty.
Gonzales Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

committed forum shopping when he filed Civil Case No. 00-99207 while Special
Proceeding No. 99-95587 was pending. Respondent was fully aware, since he was the
counsel for both cases, that he raised the issue of trust with respect to the Malate
property in the 1999 Letters of Administration case and that he was raising the same
similar issue of trust in the 2000 annulment case xxx To advise his client therefore to
execute the affidavit of non-forum shopping for the second case (annulment case) and
state that there is no pending case involving the same or similar issue would constitute
misconduct which should be subject to disciplinary action. It was his duty to advise his
client properly, and his failure to do so, in fact his deliberate assertion that there was no
falsity in the affidavit is indicative of a predisposition to take lightly his duty as a lawyer
to promote respect and obedience to the law. The Court has repeatedly warned lawyers
against resorting to forum shopping since the practice clogs the Court dockets and can
lead to conflicting rulings. Willful and deliberate forum shopping has been made
punishable either as direct or indirect contempt of court in SC Administrative Circular
No. 04-94 dated April 1, 1994. In engaging in forum shopping, Atty. Gonzales violated
Canon 1 of the Code of Professional Responsibility which directs lawyers to obey the
laws of the land and promote respect for the law and legal processes. He also
disregarded his duty to assist in the speedy and efficient administration of justice, and
the prohibition against unduly delaying a case by misusing court processes. To our
mind, however, the supreme penalty of disbarment would be very harsh in light of all the
circumstances of this case Lawyers are also censured for minor infractions against the
lawyer’s duty to the Court or the client. As earlier stated, Atty. Gonzales’ act of forum
shopping disregarded his duty to obey and promote respect for the law and legal
processes, as well as the prohibition against unduly delaying a case by misusing court
processes. It also violated his duty as an officer of the court to assist in the speedy and
efficient administration of justice. WHEREFORE, we find the basis for the complaint
meritorious and accordingly CENSURE Atty. Romeo S. Gonzales for resorting to forum
shopping. He is WARNED that any future violation of his duties as a lawyer will be dealt
with more severely. A copy of this reprimand should be attached to Atty. Romeo S.
Gonzales’ personal file in the Office of the Bar Confidant.

Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

A.C. No. 7350 February 18, 2013 PATROCINIO V. AGBULOS vs. ATTY. ROSELLER
A. VIRAY FACTS : The case stemmed from a Complaint filed before the Office of the
Bar Confidant (OBC) by complainant Mrs. Patrocinio V. Agbulos against respondent
Atty. Roseller A. Viray of Asingan, Pangasinan, for allegedly notarizing a document
denominated as Affidavit of Non-Tenancy in violation of the Notarial Law. The said
affidavit was supposedly executed by complainant, but the latter denies said execution
and claims that the signature and the community tax certificate (CTC) she allegedly
presented are not hers. She further claims that the CTC belongs to a certain Christian
Anton. Complainant added that she did not personally appear before respondent for the
notarization of the document. She, likewise, states that respondent's client, Rolando
Dollente (Dollente), benefited from the said falsified affidavit as it contributed to the
illegal transfer of a property registered in her name to that of Dollente. ISSUE: Is the
respondent guilty of his indiscretion in admitted having prepared and notarized the
document in question at the request of his client? RULING: The Court is aware of the
practice of not a few lawyers commissioned as notary public to authenticate documents
without requiring the physical presence of affiants. However, the adverse consequences
of this practice far outweigh whatever convenience is afforded to the absent affiants.
Doing away with the essential requirement of physical presence of the affiant does not
take into account the likelihood that the documents may be spurious or that the affiants
may not be who they purport to be. A notary public should not notarize a document
unless the persons who signed the same are the very same persons who executed and
personally appeared before him to attest to the contents and truth of what are stated
therein. The purpose of this requirement is to enable the notary public to verify the
genuineness of the signature of the acknowledging party and to ascertain that the
document is the party’s free act and deed. The Court has repeatedly emphasized in a
number of cases the important role a notary public performs, to wit: x x x [N]otarization
is not an empty, meaningless routinary act but one invested with substantive public
interest. The notarization by a notary public converts a private document into a public
document, making it admissible in evidence without further proof of its authenticity. A
notarized document is, by law, entitled to full faith and credit upon its face. It is for this
reason that a notary public must observe with utmost care the basic requirements in the
performance of his duties; otherwise, the public’s confidence in the integrity of a
notarized document would be undermined. Respondent’s failure to perform his duty as
a notary public resulted not only damage to those directly affected by the notarized
document but also in undermining the integrity of a notary public and in degrading the
function of notarization. He should, thus, be held liable for such negligence not only as a
notary public but also as a lawyer.23 The responsibility to faithfully observe and respect
the legal solemnity of the oath in an acknowledgment or jurat is Atty. GIL P. VILORIA,
Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

more pronounced when the notary public is a lawyer because of his solemn oath under
the Code of Professional Responsibility to obey the laws and to do no falsehood or
consent to the doing of any. Lawyers commissioned as notaries public are mandated to
discharge with fidelity the duties of their offices, such duties being dictated by public
policy and impressed with public interest. As to the proper penalty, the Court finds the
need to increase that recommended by the IBP which is one month suspension as a
lawyer and six months suspension as notary public, considering that respondent himself
prepared the document, and he performed the notarial act without the personal
appearance of the affiant and without identifying her with competent evidence of her
identity. With his indiscretion, he allowed the use of a CTC by someone who did not
own it. Worse, he allowed himself to be an instrument of fraud. Based on existing
jurisprudence, when a lawyer commissioned as a notary public fails to discharge his
duties as such, he is meted the penalties of revocation of his notarial commission,
disqualification from being commissioned as a notary public for a period of two years,
and suspension from the practice of law for one year.26 WHEREFORE, the Court finds
respondent Atty. Roseller A. Viray GUILTY of breach of the 2004 Rules on Notarial
Practice and the Code of Professional Responsibility. Accordingly, the Court
SUSPENDS him from the practice of law for one (1) year; REVOKES his incumbent
commission, if any; and PROHIBITS him from being commissioned as a notary public
for two (2) years, effective immediately. He is WARNED that a repetition of the same or
similar acts in the future shall be dealt with more severely.

Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

A.C. No. 9310 February 27, 2013 VERLEEN TRINIDAD, FLORENTINA LANDER,
WALLY CASUBUAN, MINERVA MENDOZA, CELEDONIO ALOJADO, ROSENDO
VILLAMIN and AUREA TOLENTINO, vs. ATTY. ANGELITO VILLARIN FACTS : The
instant case stemmed from a Complaint for specific performance filed with the Housing
and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB) by the buyers of the lots in Don Jose Zavalla
Subdivision against the subdivision's owner and developer- Purence Realty Corporation
and Roberto Bassig.The HLURB ordered the owner and the developer to deliver the
Deeds of Sale and the Transfer Certificates of Title to the winning litigants. The Decision
did not evince any directive for the buyers to vacate the property. Purence Realty and
Roberto Bassig did not appeal the Decision, thus making it final and executory.
Thereafter, the HLURB issued a Writ of Execution. It was at this point that respondent
Villarin entered his special appearance to represent Purence Realty. Specifically, he
filed an Omnibus Motion to set aside the Decision and to quash the Writ of Execution for
being null and void on the ground of lack of jurisdiction due to the improper service of
summons on his client. This motion was not acted upon by the HLURB. Respondent
sent demand letters to herein complainants. In all of these letters, he demanded that
they immediately vacate the property and surrender it to Purence Realty within five days
from receipt. Otherwise, he would file the necessary action against them. True enough,
Purence Realty, as represented by respondent, filed a Complaint for forcible entry
before the Municipal Trial Court (MTC) against Trinidad, Lander, Casubuan and
Mendoza. Aggrieved, the four complainants filed an administrative case against
respondent. A month after, Alojado, Villamin and Tolentino filed a disbarment case
against respondent. As found by the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) and affirmed
by its Board of Governors, complainants asserted in their respective verified Complaints
that the demand letters sent by Villarin had been issued with malice and intent to harass
them. They insisted that the letters also contravened the HLURB Decision ordering his
client to permit the buyers to pay the balance of the purchase price of the subdivision
lots. Issue : Whether or not the respondent should be administratively sanctioned for
sending the demand letters? Ruling: The respondent Atty. Angelito Villarin is clearly
proscribed by Rule 19.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. Which requires
that a lawyer shall employ only fair and honest means to attain lawful objectives.
Lawyers Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

must not present and offer in evidence any document that they know is false.

A.C. No. 9615 March 5, 2013 GLORIA P. JINON vs. ATTY. LEONARDO E. JIZ FACTS:
Gloria P. Jinon (Gloria) engaged the services of Atty.Leonardo E. Jiz (Atty. Jiz) on April
29, 2003 to recover a land title which was a subject of dispute with her sister in law
Viola J. Jinon (Viola), for which she immediately paid an acceptance fee of P17,000.00.
In their subsequent meeting, Atty. Jiz assured the transfer of the title in Gloria's name.
Gloria, upon Atty. Jiz's instructions, remitted the amount of P45,000.00 to answer for the
expenses of the transfer. However, when she later inquired about the status of her
case, she was surprised to learn from Atty. Jiz that a certain Atty. Caras was handling
the same. Moreover, when she visited the property, which has been leased out to one
Rose Morado (Rose), she discovered that Atty. Jiz has been collecting the rentals for
the period June 2003 up to October 2004, which amounted to P12,000.00. When she
demanded for the rentals, Atty. Jiz gave her only P7,000.00, explaining that the balance
of P5,000.00 would be added to the expenses needed for the transfer of the title of the
property to her name. The foregoing incidents prompted Gloria to terminate the legal
services of Atty. Jiz and demand the return of the amounts of P45,000.00 and
P5,000.00 through a letter dated September 22, 2004, which has remained unheeded.
Atty. Jiz has not complied with his undertaking to recover the land title from Viola and
effect its transfer in Gloria’s name, and has failed to return her money despite due
demands. Hence, the administrative complaint praying that Atty. Jiz: (1) be ordered to
reimburse the total amount of P67,000.00 (P17,000.00 acceptance fee, P45,000.00 for
the transfer of title, and P5,000.00 as unremitted rentals for the property); and (2) be
meted disciplinary action that the Court may deem fit under the circumstances. In his
Answer, Atty. Jiz asseverated that he was not remiss in his legal duties to Gloria.
Denying liability to reimburse Gloria for any amount, much less for P45,000.00,he
claimed that he had rendered the corresponding legal services to her with fidelity and
candor. Hence, he prayed that the complaint against him be dismissed. After the
investigation, Commissioner Cecilio A.C. Villanueva (Commissioner Villanueva) of the
Committee on Bar Discipline (CBD) of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) found
Atty. Jiz to have Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

been remiss in his duty in violation of the Code of Professional Responsibility. The
Board of Governors of the IBP passed a resolution stating that Atty. Jiz be suspended
from the practice of law for two (2) years and Ordered to Restitute complainant the
amount of P45,000.00 and 12% interest from the time he received the amount until fully
paid within sixty (60) days from notice. ISSUE: Whether or not Atty. Jiz should be held
administratively liable for having been remiss in his duties as a lawyer with respect to
the legal services he had undertaken to perform for his client, Gloria. HELD: YES. Atty.
Jiz was remiss in his duties as a lawyer in neglecting his client’s case and
misappropriating her funds. He is found having clearly violated Rules 16.01 and 16.03,
Canon 16 and Rule 18.03, Canon 18 of the Code of Professional Responsibility which
provides: CANON 16 – A LAWYER SHALL HOLD IN TRUST ALL MONEYS AND
PROPERTIES OF HIS CLIENT THAT COME INTO HIS POSSESSION. RULE 16.01 –
A lawyer shall account for all money or property collected or received for or from the
client. xxx xxx xxx RULE 16.03 – A lawyer shall deliver the funds and property of his
client when due or upon demand. xxx xxx xxx CANON 18. – A LAWYER SHALL
SERVE HIS CLIENT WITH COMPETENCE AND DILIGENCE. xxx xxx xxx RULE 18.03
– A lawyer shall not neglect a legal matter entrusted to him, and his negligence in
connection therewith shall render him liable. xxx xxx xxx Atty. Jiz is suspended from the
practice of law for two (2) years, with a stern warning that a repetition of the same or
similar acts shall be dealt with more severely and is ordered to return to complainant
Gloria P. Jinon the full amount of P45,000.00 with legal interest of 6% per annum from
date of demand on September 22, 2004 up to the finality of the decision and 12% per
annum from its finality until paid. A.C. No. 9604 March 20, 2013 RODRIGO E. TAPAY
and ANTHONY J. RUSTIA vs. ATTY. CHARLIE L. BANCOLO and ATTY. JANUS T.
JARDER FACTS: Sometime in October 2004, Rodrigo E. Tapay (Tapay) and Anthony
J. Rustia (Rustia), both employees of the Sugar Regulatory Administration, received an
Order from the Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas requiring them to file a counter-
affidavit to a complaint for usurpation of authority, falsification of public document, and
graft and corrupt practices filed against them by Nehimias Divinagracia, Jr.
(Divinagracia), a co-employee in the Sugar Regulatory Administration. The Complaint
was allegedly signed on behalf of Divinagracia by one Atty. Charlie L. Bancolo of the
Jarder Bancolo Law Office based in Bacolod City, Negros Occidental. When Atty.
Bancolo and Rustia accidentally chanced upon each other, the latter informed Atty.
Bancolo of the case filed against them before the Office of the Ombudsman. Atty.
Bancolo denied that he represented Divinagracia since he had yet to meet Divinagracia
in person. When Rustia showed him the Complaint, Atty. Bancolo declared that the
signature appearing above his name as counsel for Divinagracia was not his. Thus,
Rustia convinced Atty. Bancolo to sign an affidavit to attest to such fact. Using the
affidavit from Atty. Bancolo, Tapay and Rustia filed a counter-affidavit accusing
Divinagracia of falsifying the signature of his alleged counsel, Atty. Bancolo.
Divinagracia, denying the same, presented as evidence an affidavit by Richard A.
Cordero, the legal assistant of Atty. Bancolo, that the Jarder Bancolo Law Office
accepted Divinagracia's case and that the Complaint filed with the Office of the Atty. GIL
P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

Ombudsman was signed by the office secretary per Atty. Bancolo's instructions. Tapay
and Rustia later on filed with the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) a complaint to
disbar Atty. Bancolo and Atty. Jarder, Atty. Bancolo's law partner. The complainants
alleged that they were subjected to a harassment Complaint filed before the Office of
the Ombudsman with the forged signature of Atty. Bancolo. The complainants also
maintained that not only were respondents engaging in unprofessional and unethical
practices, they were also involved in falsification of documents used to harass and
persecute innocent people. In their answer, respondents admitted that the criminal and
administrative cases filed by Divinagracia against complainants before the Office of the
Ombudsman were accepted by the Jarder Bancolo Law Office. The cases were
assigned to Atty. Bancolo. Atty. Bancolo alleged that after being informed of the
assignment of the cases, he ordered his staff to prepare and draft all the necessary
pleadings and documents. However, due to some minor lapses, Atty. Bancolo permitted
that the pleadings and communications be signed in his name by the secretary of the
law office. After investigation, Atty. Lolita A. Quisumbing, the Investigating
Commissioner of the Commission on Bar Discipline of the IBP, submitted her Report.
Atty. Quisumbing found that Atty. Bancolo violated Rule 9.01 of Canon 9 of the Code of
Professional Responsibility while Atty. Jarder violated Rule 1.01 of Canon 1 of the same
Code and recommended that Atty. Bancolo be suspended for two years from the
practice of law and Atty. Jarder be admonished for his failure to exercise certain
responsibilities in their law firm. ISSUE: Whether or not Atty. Bancolo is guilty of
violating Canon 9 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. HELD: YES. Atty. Bancolo
admitted that the Complaint he filed for a former client before the Office of the
Ombudsman was signed in his name by a secretary of his law office. He likewise
categorically stated that because of some minor lapses, the communications and
pleadings filed against Tapay and Rustia were signed by his secretary, notwithstanding
his tolerance. Clearly, this is a violation of Rule 9.01 of Canon 9 of the Code of
Professional Responsibility, which provides: CANON 9 A LAWYER SHALL NOT,
DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY, ASSIST IN THE UNAUTHORIZED PRACTICE OF LAW.
Rule 9.01 - A lawyer shall not delegate to any unqualified person the performance of
any task which by law may only be performed by a member of the Bar in good standing.
Atty. Bancolo is suspended from the practice of law for one year effective upon finality
of this Decision. He is warned that a repetition of the same or similar acts in the future
shall be dealt with more severely. The complaint against Atty. Jarder is dismissed for
lack of merit.

Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016


Office of the Court Administrator vs. Judge Anatalio S. Necessario, et al A.M No. MTJ-
07-1691, April 2, 2013 FACTS: The judicial audit team created by the Office of the Court
Administrator (or OCA) reported alleged irregularities in the solemnization of marriages
in several branches of the MTCC and RTC in Cebu City. Also, certain package fees
were offered to interested parties by "fixers" or "facilitators" for instant marriages. A
female and a male lawyer of the audit team went undercover as a couple looking to get
married. The female lawyer went inside the branch to inquire about the marriage
application process. A woman named, Helen, approached and assisted the female
lawyer. When the female lawyer asked if the marriage process could be rushed, Helen
assured the lawyer that the marriage could be solemnized the next day, but the
marriage certificate would only be dated the day the marriage license becomes
available. Helen also guaranteed the regularity of the process for a fee of three
thousand pesos only. Judge Necessario, Judge Acosta, Judge Tormis and Judge
Rosales were asked by the OCA to submit their comments against the formal
administrative complaint by the judicial audit team. OCA also suspended the judges
pending resolution for the cases against them. In its memorandum and supplemental
report, 643 marriage certificates were examined by the judicial audit team and that 280
out of 643 were reported to have been Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y.
2015-2016

solemnized under Article 34 of the Family Code. There is also an unusual number of
marriage licenses obtained from the local civil registrars of the towns of. Barili and
Liloan, Cebu. Also, There were even marriages solemnized at 9AM with marriage
licenses obtained on the same day. OCA recommended the dismissal of the respondent
judges and some court employees , and the suspension or adominition of others for
being guilty of gross inefficiency or neglect of duty for solemnizing marriages with
questionable documents; for failure to make sure that the solemnization fee has been
paid; for gross ignorance of law for solemnizing marriages under Article 34 of the Family
Code wherein one or both parties were minors during cohabitation and; for solemnizing
a marriage without the requisite marriage license. ISSUE: Whether or not the judges
and personnel of the MTCC and RTC in Cebu City are guilty of gross ignorance of the
law, gross neglect of duty or gross inefficiency and gross misconduct, and in turn,
warrant the most severe penalty of dismissal from service. RULING: The Court held that
the judges were guilty of gross inefficiency or neglect of duty and gross ignorance of the
law and be dismissed from the service. The Court listed the following liabilities of the
judges: First, Judges Necessario, Tormis and Rosales solemnized marriages even if the
requirements submitted by the couples were incomplete and of questionable character.
The actions of the respondent judges constitute gross inefficiency. In Vega v. Asdala,
the Court held that inefficiency implies negligence, incompetence, ignorance, and
carelessness. Second, The judges were also found guilty of neglect of duty regarding
the payment of solemnization fees. The Court, in Rodrigo-Ebron v. Adolfo, defined
neglect of duty as the failure to give one’s attention to a task expected of him and it is
gross when, from the gravity of the offense or the frequency of instances, the offense is
so serious in its character as to endanger or threaten public welfare. The marriage
documents examined by the audit team show that corresponding official receipts for the
solemnization fee were missing or payment by batches was made for marriages
performed on different dates. Third, Judges Necessario, Tormis, and Rosales also
solemnized marriages where a contracting party is a foreigner who did not submit a
certificate of legal capacity to marry from his or her embassy. The irregularity in the
certificates of legal capacity that are required under Article 21 of the Family Code
displayed the gross neglect of duty of the judges. They should have been diligent in
scrutinizing the documents required for the marriage license issuance. Any irregularities
would have been prevented in the qualifications of parties to contract marriage. Lastly,
Judges Necessario, Acosta, and Tormis are likewise guilty of gross ignorance of the law
under Article 34 of the Family Code with respect to the marriages they solemnized
where legal impediments existed during cohabitation such as the minority status of one
party. Moreover, the Court held that the respondent judges violated Canons 2138 and
6139 of the Canons of Judicial Ethics which exact competence, integrity and probity in
the performance of their duties. The Court previously said that “Ignorance of the law is a
mark of incompetence, and where the law involved is elementary, ignorance thereof is
considered as an indication of lack of integrity.” In connection with this, the
administration of justice is considered a sacred task and upon assumption to office, a
judge ceases to be an ordinary mortal. He or she becomes the visible representation of
the law and more importantly of justice. The Court further said that the actuations of
these judges are not only condemnable, it is outright shameful. Atty. GIL P. VILORIA,
Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

SONIA C. DECENA AND REY C. DECENA VS. JUDGE NILO A. MALANYAON A.M
NO. RTJ-10-2217, APRIL 8, 2013 FACTS: Sonia and Rey Decena have lodged an
administrative complaint for conduct unbecoming a judge against Hon. Nilo A.
Malanyaon, the Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 32, in Pili,
Camarines Sur. The complainants had brought an administrative case in Legaspi City,
Albay against Judge Malanyanon's wife, Dr. Amelita C. Malanyaon. The complainants
averred that the actuations of Judge Malanyaon during the hearing of his wife’s
administrative case in the Civil Service Commission constituted violations of Atty. GIL P.
VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

the New Code of Judicial Conduct for the Philippines Judiciary. During the hearing of
the administrative case, Judge Malanyaon sat beside his daughter, Atty. Kristina
Malanyaon, the counsel of Dr. Amelita in the administrative case filed against her.
Judge Malanyaon coached her daughter in making manifestations/motions before the
hearing officer, by scribbling on some piece of paper and giving the same to the former,
thus prompting her daughter to rise from her seat and/or ask permission from the officer
to speak, and then make some manifestations while reading or glancing on the paper
given by Judge Malanyaon. When the principal counsel of the complainants, Atty.
Zamora, arrived, she inquired regarding the personality of Judge Malanyaon, being
seated at the lawyer’s bench beside Atty. Malanyaon, Judge Malanyaon then proudly
introduced himself and manifested that he was the “counsel of the respondent’s
counsel”. Atty. Zamora proceeded to raise the propriety of Judge Malanyaon’s sitting
with and assisting his daughter in that hearing, being a member of the judiciary, to
which Judge Malanyaon loudly retorted that he be shown any particular rule that
prohibits him from sitting with his daughter at the lawyers’ bench. He insisted that he
was merely “assisting” her daughter, who “just passed the bar”, defend the respondent,
and was likewise helping the latter defend herself. The Court administrator reiterated a
recommendation by recommending that: (a) the administrative case be re-docketed as
a regular administrative matter; and (b) Judge Malanyaon be found guilty of gross
misconduct and fined P 50,000.00. ISSUES: Whether or not the actuations of Judge
Malanyaon complained of constituted conduct unbecoming of a judge RULING: The
Court finds and pronounces JUDGE NILO A. MALANYAON, Presiding Judge of Branch
32 of the Regional Trial Court in Pili, Camarines Sur, administratively liable for conduct
unbecoming of a Judge, and penalizes him with a fine ofP40,000.00 The Court held,
that the actuations of Judge Malanyaon constituted conduct unbecoming of a judge
upon the following reasons set below: First was Judge Malanyaon’s occupying a seat
beside his daughter that was reserved for the lawyers during the hearing. Such act
displayed his presumptuousness, and probably even his clear intention to thereby exert
his influence as a judge of the Regional Trial Court on the hearing officer in order for the
latter to favor his wife’s cause. That impression was definitely adverse against the
Judiciary, whose every judicial officer was presumed to be a subject of strict scrutiny by
the public. Being an incumbent RTC Judge, he always represented the Judiciary, and
should have acted with greater circumspection and selfrestraint, simply because the
administrative hearing was unavoidably one in which he could not but be partisan.
Simple prudence should have counselled him to avoid any form of suspicion of his
motives, or to suppress any impression of impropriety on his part as an RTC judge by
not going to the hearing himself. Second was Judge Malanyaon’s admission that his
presence in that hearing was to advise his daughter on what to do and say during the
hearing, to the point of coaching his daughter. In the process, he unabashedly
introduced himself as the “counsel of the respondent’s counsel” upon his presence
being challenged by the adverse counsel, stating that his daughter was still
inexperienced for having just passed her Bar Examinations. Such excuse, seemingly
grounded on a “filial” duty towards his wife and his daughter, did not furnish enough
reason for him to forsake the ethical conduct expected of him as a sitting judge. He
ought to have restrained himself from sitting at that hearing, being all too aware that his
sitting would have him cross the line beyond which was the private practice of law.
Section 35 of Rule 138 of the Rules of Court Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor,
S.Y. 2015-2016

expressly prohibits sitting judges like Judge Malanyaon from engaging in the private
practice of law or giving professional advice to clients. Section 11, Canon 4 (Propriety),
of the New Code of Judicial Conduct and Rule 5.0730 of the Code of Judicial Conduct
reiterate the prohibition from engaging in the private practice of law or giving
professional advice to clients. The prohibition is based on sound reasons of public
policy, considering that the rights, duties, privileges and functions of the office of an
attorney are inherently incompatible with the high official functions, duties, powers,
discretion and privileges of a sitting judge. It also aims to ensure that judges give their
full time and attention to their judicial duties, prevent them from extending favors to their
own private interests, and assure the public of their impartiality in the performance of
their functions. These objectives are dictated by a sense of moral decency and desire to
promote the public interest. Thus, an attorney who accepts an appointment to the
Bench must accept that his right to practice law as a member of the Philippine Bar is
thereby suspended, and it shall continue to be so suspended for the entire period of his
incumbency as a judge. To the Court, then, Judge Malanyaon engaged in the private
practice of law by assisting his daughter at his wife’s administrative case, coaching his
daughter in making manifestations or posing motions to the hearing officer, and
preparing the questions that he prompted to his daughter in order to demand that Atty.
Eduardo Loria, collaborating counsel of the complainants’ principal counsel, should
produce his privilege tax receipt. Judge Malanyaon did so voluntarily and knowingly, in
light of his unhesitating announcement during the hearing that he was the counsel for
Atty. Katrina Malanyaon, the counsel of the respondent, as his response to the query by
the opposing counsel why he was seated next to Atty. Malanyaon thereat. Third was
Judge Malanyaon’s admission that he had already engaged in the private practice of
law even before the incident now the subject of this case by his statement in his
comment that “it is strange for complainants to take offense at my presence and accuse
me of practicing law during my stint as a judge when before the bad blood between my
wife and her sibling and nephew erupted, I helped them out with their legal problems
gratis et amore and they did not complain of my practicing law on their behalf.” He
thereby manifested his tendencies to disregard the prohibition against the private
practice of law during his incumbency on the Bench. Any propensity on the part of a
magistrate to ignore the ethical injunction to conduct himself in a manner that would
give no ground for reproach is always worthy of condemnation. We should abhor any
impropriety on the part of judges, whether committed in or out of their courthouses, for
they are not judges only occasionally. Fourth was Judge Malanyaon’s display of
arrogance during the hearing, as reflected by his reaction to the opposing counsel’s
query on his personality to sit at the counsel table at the hearing, to wit: I am the
counsel of the complainant, ah, of the respondent’s counsel, I am Judge Malanyaon. I
am assisting her. And so what?!! Judge Malanyaon’s uttering “And so what?” towards
the opposing counsel evinced his instant resentment towards the adverse parties’
counsel for rightly challenging his right to be sitting on a place reserved for counsel of
the parties. The utterance, for being made in an arrogant tone just after he had
introduced himself as a judge, was unbecoming of the judge that he was, and tainted
the good image of the Judiciary that he should uphold at all times. It is true that the
challenge of the opposing counsel might have slighted him, but that was not enough to
cause him to forget that he was still a judge expected to act with utmost sobriety and to
speak with self-restraint. He thereby ignored the presence of the hearing officer,
appearing to project that he could forsake the decorum that the time and the occasion
rightly called for from him and the others just because he was a judge and the other
Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

side was not. He should not forget that a judge like himself should be the last person to
be perceived by others as a petty and sharp-tongued tyrant. Judge Malanyaon has
insisted that his actuations were excused by his filial obligation to assist his daughter,
then only a neophyte in the Legal Profession. We would easily understand his
insistence in the light of our culture to be always solicitous of the wellbeing of our family
members and other close kin, even risking our own safety and lives in their defense. But
the situation of Judge Malanyaon was different, for he was a judicial officer who came
under the stricture that uniformly applied to all judges of all levels of the judicial
hierarchy, forbidding him from engaging in the private practice of law during his
incumbency, regardless of whether the beneficiary was his wife or daughter or other
members of his own family.

Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

REX POLINAR DAGOHOY vs. ATTY. ARTEMIO V. SAN JUAN, A.C. No. 7944, June
03, 2013 FACTS: Atty. San Juan was administratively charged for gross negligence, in
connection with the dismissal of his client's appeal filed before the Court of Appeals
(CA). Tomas Dagohoy (Tomas), his client and the father of complainant Rex Polinar
Dagohoy, was charged with and convicted of theft by the Regional Trial Court, Branch
34, of Panabo City, Davao del Norte. According to the complainant, the CA dismissed
the appeal for Atty. San Juan’s failure to file the appellant’s brief.5 He further alleged
that Atty. San Juan did not file a motion for reconsideration against the CA’s order of
dismissal.6 The complainant also accused Atty. San Juan of being untruthful in dealing
with him and Tomas. The complainant, in this regard, alleged that Atty. San Juan failed
to inform him and Tomas of the real status of Tomas’ appeal and did not disclose to
them the real reason for its dismissal. ISSUE: Whether or not the respondent is liable
for committing gross negligence, in connection with the dismissal of his client's appeal
filed before the Court of Appeals (CA) HELD: Atty. San Juan’s negligence undoubtedly
violates the Lawyer’s Oath that requires him to “conduct [himself] as a lawyer according
to the best of (his) knowledge and discretion, with all good fidelity as well to the courts
as to (his) clients[.]” He also violated Rule 18.03 and Rule 18.04, Canon 18 of the Code
of Professional Responsibility, We deny Atty. San Juan's motion to lift the order of
suspension. Atty. San Juan's self-imposed compliance with the IBP's recommended
penalty of three (3) months suspension was premature. The wordings of the Resolution
dated April 16, 2012 show that the Court merely noted: (1) the IBP's findings and the
recommended penalty against Atty. San Juan; and (2) the IBP referral of the case back
to the Court for its proper disposition. The IBP findings and the stated penalty thereon
are merely recommendatory; only the Supreme Court has the power to discipline erring
lawyers and to impose against them penalties for unethical conduct. 23 Until finally
acted upon by the Supreme Court, the IBP findings and the recommended penalty
imposed cannot attain finality until adopted by the Court as its own. Thus, the IBP
findings, by themselves, cannot be a proper subject of implementation or compliance.24
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Court resolves to: 1. NOTE the Report and
Recommendation dated January 14, 2013 of the Office of the Bar Confidant; 2.
SUSPEND from the practice of law for a period of one ( 1) year Atty. Artemio V. San
Juan for violating his Lawyer's Oath and Rules 18.03 and Rule 18.04, Canon 18 of the
Code of Professional Responsibility, with a WARNING that the commission of the same
or similar act or acts shall be dealt with more severely; and 3. DENY the motion filed by
Atty. Artemio V. San Juan in the letter dated August 28, 2012 that he be allowed to
return to the practice of law.

Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

PENA VS. ATTY. PATERNO, A.C. No. 4191, June 10, 2013 FACTS: This is an
administrative case filed against respondent Atty. Christina C. Paterno for acts violative
of the Code of Professional Responsibility and the Notarial Law. Complainant , the
owner of a parcel of land known as Lot 7-C, Psd-74200, located in Bayanbayanan,
Parang, Marikina, Metro Manila, covered by Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No. N-
61244, Register of Deeds of Marikina, with an eight-door apartment constructed
thereon. The complainant alleged that she gave respondent her owner's duplicate copy
of TCT No. 61244 to enable respondent to use the same as collateral in constructing a
townhouse, and that the title was in the safekeeping of respondent for seven years.
Despite repeated demands by complainant, respondent refused to return it. Yet,
respondent assured complainant that she was still the owner. Later, complainant
discovered that a new building was erected on her property in January 1994, eight
years after she gave the title to respondent. Respondent argued that it was
unfathomable that after eight years, complainant never took any step to verify the status
of her loan application nor visited her property, if it is untrue that she sold the said
property. Complainant explained that respondent kept on assuring her that the bank
required the submission of her title in order to process her loan application. In the
course of investigation of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, Commissioner Sordan
stated that respondent enabled Estrella B. Krausto sell complainant's land to Kris built
Traders Company, Ltd.17 This was evidenced by Entry No. 150322 in TCT No. 61244
with respect to the sale of the property described therein to Kris built Traders Company,
Ltd. for P200,000.00. Respondent alleged that complainant signed the Deed of Sale in
her presence inside her office. However, respondent would neither directly confirm nor
deny if, indeed, she notarized the instrument in her direct examination, but on cross-
examination, she stated that she was not denying that she was the one who notarized
the Deed of Sale. Estrella Kraus' affidavit supported respondent's defense.
Commissioner Sordan declared that respondent failed to exercise the required diligence
and fealty to her office by attesting that the alleged party, Anita Peña, appeared before
her and signed the deed when in truth and in fact the said person did not participate in
the execution thereof. Moreover, respondent should be faulted for having failed to make
the necessary entries pertaining to the deed of sale in her notarial register.
Recommended that Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

respondent be disbarred from the practice of law and her name stricken-off the Roll of
Attorneys, effective immediately, and recommended that the notarial commission of
respondent, if still existing, be revoked, and that respondent be perpetually disqualified
from reappointment as a notary public. ISSUE: Whether or not there was clear and
preponderant evidence showing that respondent violated the Canons of Professional
Responsibility by(a) deceiving complainant Anita C. Peña; (b) conspiring with Estrella
Kraus and Engr. Ernesto Lampa to enable the latter to register the subject property in
his name; and (c) knowingly notarizing a falsified contract of sale. HELD: As a member
of the bar, respondent failed to live up to the standards embodied in the Code of
Professional Responsibility, particularly the following Canons: CANON 1 - A lawyer shall
uphold the constitution, obey the laws of the land and promote respect for law and for
legal processes. Rule 1.01 - A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral
or deceitful conduct. Rule 1.02 - A lawyer shall not counsel or abet activities aimed at
defiance of the law or at lessening confidence in the legal system. CANON 7 - A lawyer
shall at all times uphold the integrity and dignity of the legal profession, and support the
activities of the Integrated Bar. Rule 7.03 - A lawyer shall not engage in conduct that
adversely reflects on his fitness to practice law, nor should he, whether in public or
private life, behave in a scandalous manner to the discredit of the legal profession.
Respondent Atty. Christina C. Paterno is DISBARRED from the practice of law,
pursuant to Section 27, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court, as well as for violation of the
Code of Professional Responsibility; and the notarial commission of Atty. Christina C.
Paterno, if still existing, is perpetually REVOKED.

Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

JULIAN PENILLA, Complainant, v. ATTY. QUINTIN P. ALCID, JR., A.C. No. 9149,
September 04, 2013 FACTS: The respondent was complainant’s counsel for the case of
breach of contract with the Garin spouses. He filed a criminal case, overcharged him
with attorney’s fees and filing fee, and imposed that the Asst. City Prosecutor Jose C.
Fortuno would be more in favor of the complainant’s case if they would give liquor to the
said judge. The case was rendered unsuccessful. After the hearing, the respondent
asked for more fees, and reasoned him with more filing of litigations. He suggested that
they should file a civil case and to have the complainant follow up about it in his office.
Complainant asserts having made numerous and unsuccessful attempts to follow-up
the status of the case and meet with respondent at his office. The complainant went to
the Office of the Clerk of Court of the Caloocan City Metropolitan Trial Court and
Regional Trial Court (RTC) and learned that the respondent has been lying to him about
the legal fees. The complainant filed before the Integrated Bar of the Philippines-
Commission on Bar Discipline (IBP-CBD) the instant administrative case praying that
respondent be found guilty of gross misconduct for violating the Lawyer’s Oath and the
Code of Professional Responsibility, and for appropriate administrative sanctions to be
imposed. IBP-CBD recommended the suspension of respondent from the practice of
law for six months “for negligence within the meaning of Canon 18 and transgression of
Rule 18.04 of the Code of Professional Responsibility,” The IBP-CBD decided that the
respondent’s violation of Canon 18 and Rule 18.04 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility for his negligence, Atty. Quintin P. Alcid, Jr. is hereby SUSPENDED from
the practice of law for six (6) months. On April 24, 2009, respondent sought
reconsideration and asked that the penalty of suspension be reduced to warning or
reprimand. After three days, or on April 27, 2009, respondent filed a “Motion to Admit
Amended ‘Motion for Reconsideration’ Upon Leave of Office.” The IBP Board of
Governors denied respondent’s Motion for Reconsideration for lack of merit.
Respondent filed a second Motion for Reconsideration which was no longer acted upon.
.According to the IBP, the respondent committed professional negligence under Canon
18 and Rule 18.04 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, with a modification that
we also find respondent guilty of violating Canon 17 and Rule 18.03 of the Code and the
Lawyer’s Oath. ISSUE: Is Atty Quintin P. Alcid Jr. Guilty of gross misconduct? RULING:
Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

1. The respondent, Atty. Quintin P. Alcid, Jr. was found GUILTY of gross misconduct for
violating Canons 17 and 18, and Rules 18.03 and 18.04 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility, as well as the Lawyer’s Oath. 2. The Court hereby imposed upon
respondent the penalty of SUSPENSION from the practice of law for a period of SIX (6)
MONTHS to commence immediately upon receipt of this Decision. 3. Respondent is
further ADMONISHED to be more circumspect and diligent in handling the cases of his
clients, and 4. STERNLY WARNED that a commission of the same or similar acts in the
future shall be dealt with more severely.

JOSEPHINE L. OROLA, MYRNA L. OROLA, MANUEL L. OROLA, MARY ANGELYN


OROLA-BELARGA, MARJORIE MELBA OROLA-CALIP, AND KAREN OROLA, (Heirs
of Antonio) vs. ATTY. JOSEPH ADOR RAMOS, A.C. No. 9860, September 11, 2013
FACTS: Atty Joseph Ador Ramos was charged for his violation of (a) Rule 15.03 of the
Code, as he undertook to represent conflicting interests in the subject case; and (b)
Section 20(e), Rule 138 of the Rules, as he breached the trust and confidence reposed
upon him by his clients, the Heirs of Antonio. The Antonio heirs first filed a hearing with
the IBP. IBP found the respondent guilty though there was no violation of Section 20,
Rule 138 of the Rules of Court. The IBP imposed against respondent the penalty of six
(6) months suspension from the practice of law. ISSUE: Is the respondent guilty of
representing conflicting interests in violation of Rule 15.03 of the Rules of Court?
RULING: The Court concurs with the IBP’s finding that respondent violated Rule 15.03
of the Code, but reduced the recommended period of suspension to three (3) months to
be more appropriate taking into consideration the following factors: a. Respondent is a
first time offender; b. It is undisputed that respondent merely accommodated Maricar’s
request out of gratis to temporarily represent her only during the June 16 and July 14,
2006 hearings due to her lawyer’s unavailability; c. It is likewise undisputed that
respondent had no knowledge that the late Antonio had any other heirs aside from
Maricar whose consent he actually acquired (albeit shortly after his first appearance as
counsel for and in behalf of Emilio), hence, it can be said that he acted in good faith;
and, d. Complainants admit that respondent did not acquire confidential information
from the Heirs of Antonio nor did he use against them any knowledge obtained in the
course of his previous employment, hence, the said heirs were not in any manner
prejudiced by his subsequent engagement with Emilio. 2. The Court also served the
ruling as a Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

warning to the respondent and that the next case would be dealt more severely

JUDGE MANAHAN V. ATTY. FLORES, A.C. NO. 8954, NOVEMBER 13, 2013 FACTS:
Respondent Atty. Rodolto Flores (Atty. Flores) was counsel for the defendant in Civil
Case No. 1863 captioned as Marsha Aranas plaintiff versus Arnold Balmores defendant
a suit for damages filed before the Municipal Trial Court of San Mateo, Rizal and
presided by herein complainant Judge Maribeth Rodriguez-Manahan (Judge Manahan).
xxx During the proceedings in Civil Case No. 1863, Judge Manahan issued an Order
dated January 12, 2011, whereby she voluntarily inhibited from hearing Civil Case No.
1863. The said Order reads in part, viz: “More than mere contempt do his (Atty. Flores)
unethical actuations, his traits of dishonesty and discourtesy not only to his own
brethren in the legal profession, but also to the bench and judges, would amount to
grave misconduct, if not a malpractice of law, a serious ground for disciplinary action of
a member of the bar pursuant to Rules 139 a & b.” During the Preliminary Conference,
respondent Atty. Flores entered his appearance and was given time to file a Pre-Trial
Brief. On May 24, 2010, respondent Atty. Flores filed his Pre-Trial Brief but without proof
of MCLE compliance. The preliminary conference was reset several times (August 11,
September 8) for failure of respondent Atty. Flores to appear and submit his Pre-Trial
Brief indicating thereon his MCLE compliance. The court a quo likewise issued Orders
dated September 15 and October 20, 2010 giving respondent Atty. Flores a last chance
to submit his Pre-Trial Brief with stern warning that failure to do so shall be considered a
waiver on his part. Respondent Atty. Flores later filed his Pre-Trial Brief bearing an
MCLE number which was merely superimposed without indicating the date and place of
compliance. During the preliminary conference on November 24, 2010, Atty. GIL P.
VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

respondent Atty. Flores manifested that he will submit proof of compliance of his MCLE
on the following day. On December 1, 2010, respondent Atty. Flores again failed to
appear and to submit the said promised proof of MCLE compliance. Instead, sending
the courts a manifestation for refusing in proceeding to serve his client dated September
14, 2010. ISSUE: Whether or not Atty. Flores is held liable for his unethical and
contemptuous actuations against the legal profession, client and judges? RULING: Yes.
There is no doubt that Atty. Flores failed to obey the trial court’s order to submit proof of
his MCLE compliance notwithstanding the several opportunities given him. "Court
orders are to be respected not because the judges who issue them should be
respected, but because of the respect and consideration that should be extended to the
judicial branch of the Government. xxx Disrespect to judicial incumbents is disrespect to
that branch the Government to which they belong, as well as to the State which has
instituted the judicial system." xxx Atty. Flores also employed intemperate language in
his pleadings. As an officer of the court, Atty. Flores is expected to be circumspect in his
language. Rule 11.03, Canon 11 of the Code of Professional Responsibility enjoins all
attorneys to abstain from scandalous, offensive or menacing language or behavior
before the Courts. Atty. Flores failed in this respect. xxx However, we find the
recommended penalty too harsh and not commensurate with the infractions committed
by the respondent. It appears that this is the first infraction committed by respondent.
Also, we are not prepared to impose on the respondent the penalty of one-year
suspension for humanitarian reasons. Respondent manifested before this Court that he
has been in the practice of law for half a century. Thus, he is already in his twilight
years. Considering the foregoing, we deem it proper to fine respondent in the amount of
P5,000.00 and to remind him to be more circumspect in his acts and to obey and
respect court processes. ACCORDINGLY, respondent Atty. Rodolfo Flores is FINED in
the amount of P5,000.00 with STERN WARNING that the repetition of a similar offense
shall be dealt with more severely.

CABUATAN V. ATTY. VENIDA, A.C. NO. 10043, NOVEMBER 20, 2013 FACTS: The
Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) thru its Commission on Bar Discipline (CBD)
received a Complaint filed by Aurora H. Cabauatan (complainant) against respondent
Atty. Freddie A. Venida for serious misconduct and gross neglect of duty. x x x
Complainant alleged that she was the appellant in CA-G.R. [No.] 85024 entitled Aurora
Cabauatan, PlaintiffAppellant vs. Philippine National Bank, Defendant-Appellee. The
case was originally handled by a different lawyer but she decided to change her counsel
and engaged the services of the Respondent x x x. Complainant was then furnished by
the Respondent of the pleadings he prepared, such as "Appearance as
Counsel/Dismissal of the Previous Counsel and a Motion for Extension of time to File a
Memorandum." Complainant made several followups on her case until she lost contact
with the Respondent. Complainant alleged the gross, reckless and inexcusable
negligence of the Respondent that led to the case is “x x x deemed ABANDONED and
DISMISSED on authority of Sec. 1(e), Rule 50 of the 1996 Rules of Civil Procedure. x x
x” Certified on March 31, 2006. Respondent did not submit any pleading with Atty. GIL
P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

the Court of Appeals. It is likewise very noticeable that the Respondent was not among
those furnished with a copy of the Entry of Judgment hence it is crystal clear that he
never submitted his Entry of Appearance with the Court of Appeals [insofar] as the case
of the Complainant is concerned. Respondent assured the Complainant that he was
doing his best in dealing with the case, nevertheless, later on Complainant lost contact
with him. x x x including the fact that he was not one of the parties furnished with a copy
of the Entry of Judgment proved the inaction and negligence of the Respondent. x x x
ISSUE: Is respondent can be held liable for his gross negligence and inaction against
his clients’ case? RULING: Yes, It is beyond dispute that complainant engaged the
services of respondent to handle her case which was then on appeal before the Court of
Appeals. Indeed, when a lawyer takes a client's cause, he covenants that he will
exercise due diligence in protecting the latter's rights. Complainant also established that
she made several follow-ups with the respondent but the latter merely ignored her or
made her believe that he was diligently handling her case. Thus, complainant was
surprised when she received a notice from the Court of Appeals informing her that her
appeal had been abandoned and her case dismissed. The dismissal had become final
and executory. This is a clear violation of Rule 18.04, Canon 18 of the Code of
Professional Responsibility which enjoins lawyers to keep their clients informed of the
status of their case and shall respond within a reasonable time to the clients' request for
information. The Code of Professional Responsibility pertinently provides: Canon 17 – A
lawyer owes fidelity to the cause of his client and he shall be mindful of the trust and
confidence reposed on him. Canon 18 – A lawyer shall serve his client with competence
and diligence. x x x x Rule 18.03 – A lawyer shall not neglect a legal matter entrusted to
him, and his negligence in connection therewith shall render him liable. 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 client's request for information. WHEREFORE, respondent Atty.
Freddie A. Venida is SUSPENDED from the practice o law for one year effective
immediately, with WARNING that a similar violation will be dealt with more severely. He
is DIRECTED to report to this Court the date of his receipt of this Resolution to enable
this Court to determine when his suspension shall take effect. Let a copy of this
Resolution be entered in the personal records of respondent as a member of the Bar,
and copies furnished the Office of the Bar Confidant, the Integrated Bar of the
Philippines, and the Office of the Court Administrator for circulation to all courts in the
country. SO ORDERED. CONCHITA BALTAZAR,ET AL. V. ATTY. JUAN B. BAÑEZ, JR
., A.C. NO. 9091, December 11, 2013 FACTS: Complainants engaged the legal
services of Atty. Bañez, Jr. in connection with the recovery of their properties from
Fevidal. Complainants signed a contract of legal services, where they would not pay
acceptance and appearance fees to Atty. Bañez Jr., but that the docket fees would
instead be shared by the parties. Under the contract, complainants would Atty. GIL P.
VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

pay him 50% of whatever would be recovered of the properties. Later, however,
complainants terminated his services and entered into an amicable settlement with
Fevidal. Atty. Bañez, Jr. opposed the withdrawal of their complaint in court. Thus,
complainants filed a case against him alleging that the motion of Atty. Baez, Jr. for the
recording of his attorney’s charging lien was the “legal problem” preventing them from
enjoying the fruits of their property. ISSUE: Whether the contract of legal services
entered into between the complainants and Atty. Bañez, Jr. is champertous. HELD:
Section 26, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court allows an attorney to intervene in a case to
protect his rights concerning the payment of his compensation. According to the
discretion of the court, the attorney shall have a lien upon all judgments for the payment
of money rendered in a case in which his services have been retained by the client. In
this case, however, the contract for legal services is in the nature of a champertous
contract – an agreement whereby an attorney undertakes to pay the expenses of the
proceedings to enforce the client’s rights in exchange for some bargain to have a part of
the thing in dispute. Such contracts are contrary to public policy and are thus void or
inexistent. They are also contrary to Canon 16.04 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility, which states that lawyers shall not lend money to a client, except when
in the interest of justice, they have to advance necessary expenses in a legal matter
they are handling for the client. Thus, the Court held that Atty. Bañez, Jr. violated Canon
16.04 of the Code of Professional Responsibility.

ROSE BUNAGAN-BANSIG VS. ATTY. ROGELIO JUAN A. CELERA A.C. NO. 5581
JAN. 14, 2014 FACTS: Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

In complaint of Banasig, she narrated that, on May 8, 1997, respondent and Gracemarie
R. Bunagan, entered into a contract of marriage, as evidenced by a certified xerox copy
of the certificate of marriage issued by the City Civil Registry of Manila. Bansig is the
sister of Gracemarie R. Bunagan, legal wife of respondent. However, notwithstanding
respondent's marriage with Bunagan, respondent contracted another marriage on
January 8, 1998 with a certain Ma. Cielo Paz Torres Alba, as evidenced by a certified
xerox copy of the certificate of marriage issued by the City Registration Officer of San
Juan, Manila. Bansig stressed that the marriage between respondent and Bunagan was
still valid and in full legal existence when he contracted his second marriage with Alba,
and that the first marriage had never been annulled or rendered void by any lawful
authority. Bansig alleged that respondent’s act of contracting marriage with Alba, while
his marriage is still subsisting, constitutes grossly immoral and conduct unbecoming of a
member of the Bar, which renders him unfit to continue his membership in the Bar. In a
Resolution dated February 18, 2002, the Court resolved to require respondent to file a
comment on the instant complaint. Respondent failed to appear before the mandatory
conference and hearings set by the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, Commission on
Bar Discipline (IBP-CBD), despite several notices ISSUE: 1. Whether the respondent is
still fit to continue to be an officer of the court due to the act of committing bigamy.
Violating the code of Professional Responsibility Rule 1.01, Canon 7, and Rule 7.03 His
act of contracting a second marriage while his first marriage is subsisting constituted
grossly immoral conduct and are grounds for disbarment under Section 27, Rule 138 of
the Revised Rules of Court. 2. The failure of respondent to answer the charges against
him despite numerous notices. Clearly, respondent's acts constitute willful disobedience
of the lawful orders of the Court, which is under Section 27, Rule 138 of the Rules of
Court. HELD: The certified xerox copies of the marriage certificates, other than being
admissible in evidence, clearly indicate that respondent contracted the second marriage
while the first marriage is subsisting. By itself, the certified xerox copies of the marriage
certificates would already have been sufficient to establish the existence of two
marriages entered into by respondent. The certified xerox copies should be accorded
the full faith and credence given to public documents. For purposes of this disbarment
proceeding, these Marriage Certificates bearing the name of respondent are competent
and convincing evidence to prove that he committed bigamy, which renders him unfit to
continue as a member of the Bar. And respondent’s cavalier attitude in repeatedly
ignoring the orders of the Supreme Court constitutes utter disrespect to the judicial
institution. Respondent’s conduct indicates a high degree of irresponsibility. We have
repeatedly held that a Court’s Resolution is "not to be construed as a mere request, nor
should it be complied with partially, inadequately, or selectively." Respondent’s
obstinate refusal to comply with the Court’s orders "not only betrays a recalcitrant flaw in
his character; it also underscores his disrespect of the Court's lawful orders which is
only too deserving of reproof." In View of all foregoing , the judge finds respondent Atty.
Rogelio Juan A. Celera, guilty of grossly immoral conduct and willful disobedience of
lawful orders rendering him unworthy of continuing membership in the legal profession.
He is thus ordered DISBARRED from the practice of law and his name stricken of the
Roll of Attorneys, effective immediately. Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y.
2015-2016

EDGARDO AREOLA VS. ATTY. MARIA VILMA MENDOZA A.C. NO. 10135. JANUARY
15, 2014 FACTS: Edgardo D. Areola (Areola) filed an administrative complaint against
Atty. Maria Vilma Mendoza (Atty. Mendoza), from the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) for
violation of her attorney’s oath of office, deceit, malpractice or other gross misconduct in
office under Section 27, Rule 138 of the Revised Rules of Court, and for violation of the
Code of Professional Responsibility. He said that he’s filing the said complaint in behalf
of his co-detainees Allan Seronda, Aaron Arca, Joselito Mirador, Spouses Danilo Perez
and Elizabeth Perez. Areola claimed that when Atty. Mendoza visited the Antipolo City
Jail and called all detainees with pending cases before the RTC, Atty. Mendoza stated
the following in her speech: “O kayong may mga kasong drugs na may pangpiyansa o
pang-areglo ay maging praktikal sana kayo kung gusto ninyong makalaya agad. Upang
makatiyak kayo na hindi masasayang ang pera ninyo ay sa akin ninyo ibigay o ng
kamag-anak ninyo ang pera at ako na ang bahalang maglagay kay Judge Martin at
Fiscal banqui; at kayong mga detenidong mga babae na no bail ang kaso sa drugs,
iyak-iyakan lang ninyo si Judge Martin at palalayain na kayo. Malambot ang puso
noon.” In her unverified Answer, Atty. Mendoza asseverated that the filing of the
administrative complaint against her is a harassment tactic by Areola as the latter had
also filed several administrative cases against judges in the courts including the jail
warden where Areola was previously detained. Nonetheless, Atty. Mendoza admitted in
her Answer that she advised her clients and their relatives to approach the judge and
the fiscal “to beg and cry” so that their motions would be granted and their cases
against them would be dismissed. To the Investigating Commissioner, this is highly
unethical and improper as the act of Atty. Mendoza degrades the image of and lessens
the confidence of the public in the judiciary. The Investigating Commissioner
recommended that Atty. Mendoza be suspended from the practice of law for a period of
two (2) months. ISSUE: 1. Atty. Mendoza is guilty of her attorney’s oath of office, deceit,
malpractice or other gross misconduct in office under Section 27, Rule 138 of the
Revised Rules of Court—No for lack of evidence 2. Atty. Mendoza is guilty of violating
Rule 1.02 and Rule 15.07 of the Code of Professional Responsibility—Yes. HELD: 1st
Issue No. The Court finds that the instant Complaint against Atty. Mendoza profoundly
lacks evidence to support the allegations contained therein. All Areola has are empty
assertions against Atty. Mendoza that she demanded money from his co-detainees.The
Court agrees with the IBP that Areola is not the proper party to file the Complaint
against Atty. Mendoza. He is not even a client of Atty. Mendoza. He claims that he filed
the Complaint on behalf of his co-detainees, but it is apparent that no document was
submitted which would show that they authorized Areola to file a Complaint.
Consequently, the Court rejects Areola’s statements, especially as regards Atty.
Mendoza’s alleged demands of money. 2nd issue Yes. Atty. Maria Vilma Mendoza
GUILTY of giving improper advice to her clients in violation of Rule Atty. GIL P.
VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

1.02 and Rule 15.07 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. Atty. Mendoza admitted
that she advised her clients to approach the judge and plead for compassion so that
their motions would be granted. Atty. Mendoza made it appear that the judge is easily
moved if a party resorts to dramatic antics such as begging and crying in order for their
cases to be dismissed. It is the mandate of Rule 1.02 that “a lawyer shall not counsel or
abet activities aimed at defiance of the law or at lessening confidence in the legal
system.” Rule 15.07 states that “a lawyer shall impress upon his client compliance with
the laws and the principles of fairness.” Atty. Mendoza’s improper advice only lessens
the confidence of the public in our legal system. Judges must be free to judge, without
pressure or influence from external forces or factors according to the merits of a case.
Atty. Mendoza’s careless remark is uncalled for. It must be remembered that a lawyer’s
duty is not to his client but to the administration of justice. To that end, his client’s
success is wholly subordinate. His conduct ought to and must always be scrupulously
observant of the law and ethics. Any means, not honorable, fair and honest which is
resorted to by the lawyer, even in the pursuit of his devotion to his client’s cause, is
condemnable and unethical. Penalty: penalty of REPRIMAND, with the STERN
WARNING that a repetition of the same or similar act will be dealt with more severely
Basis of the Penalty: In several administrative cases, the Court has refrained from
imposing the actual penalties in the presence of mitigating factors. Factors such as the
respondent’s length of service, the respondent’s acknowledgement of his or her
infractions and feeling of remorse, family circumstances, humanitarian and equitable
considerations, respondent’s advanced age, among other things, have had varying
significance in the Court’s determination of the imposable penalty. The Court takes note
of Atty. Mendoza’s lack of ill-motive in the present case and her being a PAO lawyer as
her main source of livelihood. Furthermore, the complaint filed by Areola is clearly
baseless and the only reason why this was ever given consideration was due to Atty.
Mendoza’s own admission. For these reasons, the Court deems it just to modify and
reduce the penalty recommended by the IBP Board of Governors.

Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

NATIVIDAD P. NAVARRO VS. ATTY. IVAN M. SOLIDUM JR., A.C. 9872, January 28,
2014

FACTS:

In April 2006, Hilda Presbitero engaged the services of Atty. Ivan Solidum, Jr. to help
her in the quieting of her title over a parcel of land. Presbitero paid Solidum P50,000.00
as acceptance fee. In May 2006, Ma. Theresa Yulo, daughter of Presbitero also
engaged the services of Solidum for the registration of a parcel of land. Yulo however
asked the help of her sister, Natividad Navarro, to finance the case. Hence, Navarro
gave Solidum Php200,000.00 for the registration expenses. Meanwhile, Solidum in May
and June 2006, obtained a total of Php2 million from Navarro. The loan was covered by
two Memorandum of Agreement (MOAs). The MOA was prepared by Solidum. The
MOA stated that the monthly interest shall be 10%. Solidum also borrowed Php 1 million
from Presbitero during the same period. He again drafted a MOA containing the same
terms and conditions as with Navarro. As additional security for the loan, Solidum
mortgaged his 263hectare land for P1 million in favor of Presbitero. Nothing happened
in the quieting of title case field by Presbitero since Solidum did nothing after receiving
the acceptance fee. In the land registration case of Yulo financed by Navarro, Navarro
later found out that the land was already registered to someone else. Navarro Atty. GIL
P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

claims that she should not have financed the case if only Solidum advised her of the
status of the land. Anent the loans, Solidum failed to pay them. Instead, he questioned
the terms of the loans as he claimed that the interest rate of said loans at 10% is
unconscionable. Navarro and Presbitero later filed an administrative case against
Solidum.

ISSUE: Whether or not Atty. Ivan Solidum, Jr. should be disbarred.


HELD: Yes.

Although Solidum acted in his private capacity when he obtained a total of Php3 million
from Navarro and Presbitero, he may still be disciplined for misconduct committed either
in his private capacity. The test is whether his conduct shows him to be wanting in moral
character, honesty, probity, and good demeanor, or whether it renders him unworthy to
continue as an officer of the court. In this case, such act displayed by Solidum merited
his disbarment. Solidum is guilty of engaging in dishonest and deceitful conduct, both in
his professional capacity with respect to his client, Presbitero, and in his private capacity
with respect to Navarro. Both Presbitero and Navarro allowed Splidum to draft the terms
of the loan agreements. Solidum drafted the MOAs knowing that the interest rates were
exorbitant. Later, using his knowledge of the law, he assailed the validity of the same
MOAs he prepared.

In the case of Navarro, who financed the Yulo case, Solidum also violated Canon 16 of
the Code of Professional Responsibility which provides that a lawyer shall hold in trust
all moneys and properties of his client that may come into his possession. This is
notwithstanding the fact that Navarro is not actually his client in the Yulo case but was
only the financier of the Yulo case.

In Presbitero’s case, since Presbitero is his client, Solidum also violated Rule 16.04 of
the Code of Professional Responsibility which provides Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE
Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

that a lawyer shall not borrow money from his client unless the client’s interests are fully
protected by the nature of the case or by independent advice. Even though Solidum
secured the loan with a mortgage and a MOA, Presbitero’s interest was not fully
protected because the property Solidum mortgaged was overvalued. He claimed that
his 263-hectare land was worth P1 million but in fact Solidum sold it later for only
P150,000.00. Clearly, Presbitero was disadvantaged by Solidum’s ability to use all the
legal maneuverings to renege on his obligation. He took advantage of his knowledge of
the law as well as the trust and confidence reposed in him by his client. Solidum was
disbarred by the Supreme Court.

Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

CARLITO ANG V. ATTY. JAMES JOSEPH GUPANA, A.C. NO. 4545. FEBRUARY 5,
2014. FACTS: The case stemmed from an affidavit-complaint 3 filed by complainant
Carlito Ang against respondent. Ang alleged that on May 31, 1991, he and the other
heirs of the late Candelaria Magpayo, namely Purificacion Diamante and William
Magpayo, executed an Extra-judicial Declaration of Heirs and Partition4 involving Lot
No. 2066-B-2-B which had an area of 6,258 square meters and was covered by
Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) No. (T-22409)6433. He was given his share of 2,003
square meters designated as Lot No. 2066-B-2-B-4, together with all the improvements
thereon. 5 However, when he tried to secure a TCT in his name, he found out that said
TCT No. (T22409)-6433 had already been cancelled and in lieu thereof, new TCTs 6
had been issued in the names of William Magpayo, Antonio Diamante, Patricia
Diamante, Lolita D. Canque, Gregorio Diamante, Jr. and Fe D. Montero. Ang alleged
that there is reasonable ground to believe that respondent had a direct participation in
the commission of forgeries and falsifications because he was the one who prepared
and notarized the Affidavit of Loss 7 and Deed of Absolute Sale8 that led to the transfer
and issuance of the new TCTs. Ang pointed out that the Deed of Absolute Sale which
was allegedly executed by Candelaria Magpayo on April 17, 1989, was antedated and
Candelaria Magpayo’s signature was forged as clearly shown by the Certification 9
issued by the Office of the Clerk of Court of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Cebu.
Further, the certified true copy of page 37, Book No. XII, Series of 1989 of respondent’s
Notarial Report indubitably showed that Doc. No. 181 did not refer to the Deed of
Absolute Sale, but to an affidavit. As to the Affidavit of Loss, which was allegedly
executed by the late Candelaria Magpayo on April 29, 1994, it could not have been
executed by her as she Diedthree years prior to the execution of the said affidavit of
loss. Ang further alleged that on September 22, 1995, respondent made himself the
attorney-in-fact of William Magpayo, Antonio Diamante, Patricia Diamante, Lolita
Canque, Gregorio Diamante, Jr. and Fe D. Montero, and pursuant to the Special Power
of Attorney in his favor, executed a Deed of Sale selling Lot No. 2066-B-2-B-4 to Lim
Kim So Mercantile Co. on October 10, 1995. Ang complained that the sale was made
even though a civil case involving the said parcel of land was pending before the RTC
of Mandaue City, Cebu. Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

In his Comment, respondent denied any wrongdoing and argued that Ang is merely
using the present administrative complaint as a tool to force the defendants in a pending
civil case and their counsel, herein respondent, to accede to his wishes. Investigating
Commissioner Lydia A. Navarro of the IBP Commission on Bar Discipline, to whom the
case was referred for investigation, report and recommendation, submitted her Report
and Recommendation finding respondent administratively liable. She recommended
that respondent be suspended from the practice of law for three months. She held that
respondent committed an unethical act when he allowed himself to be an instrument in
the disposal of the subject property through a deed of sale executed between him as
attorney-in-fact of his client and Lim Kim So Mercantile Co. despite his knowledge that
said property is the subject of a pending litigation before the RTC of Mandaue City,
Cebu.

ISSUE: Whether or not Atty. Gupana is disqualified from being commissioned as a


notary public?

HELD: Under the law, the party acknowledging must appear before the notary public or
any other person authorized to take acknowledgments of instruments or documents. In
this case, the jurat of the Affidavit of Loss stated that Candelaria subscribed to the
affidavit before Atty. Gupana on April 29, 1994, at Mandaue City. Candelaria, however,
was already dead since March 26, 1991. Hence, it is clear that the jurat was made in
violation of the notarial law. The notarization of a document is not an empty act or
routine. A notary public’s function should not be trivialized and a notary public must
discharge his powers and duties which are impressed with public interest, with accuracy
and fidelity. As a lawyer commissioned as notary public, Atty. Gupana is mandated to
subscribe to the sacred duties appertaining to his office, such duties being dictated by
public policy impressed with public interest. Thus, the Supreme Court held that Atty.
Gupana’s revocation of his notarial commission, disqualification from being
commissioned as a notary public for a period of two years and suspension from the
practice of law for one year are in order.

Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

WILBERTO C. TALISIC V. ATTY. PRIMO R. RINEN, A.C. NO. 8761, FEBRUARY 12,
2014. FACTS: Wilberto claimed that his mother Aurora died on May 7, 1987, leaving
behind as heirs her spouse, Celedonio Talisic, and their three children, namely: Arlene
Talisic Villarazo, Wilberto and Alvin Corpuz Talisic. It was only after his father’s death
on November 2, 2000 that Wilberto and his siblings knew of the transfer of the subject
parcel via the subject deed. While Wilberto believed that his father’s signature on the
deed was authentic, his and his siblings’ supposed signatures were merely forged.
Wilberto also pointed out that even his name was erroneously indicated in the deed as
"Wilfredo". For his defense, Atty. Rinen denied the charge against him and explained
that it was only on April 7, 1994 that he came to know of the transaction Atty. GIL P.
VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

between the Spouses Durante and the Talisics, when they approached him in his office
as the then Presiding Judge of the Municipal Trial Court, Real, Quezon, to have the
subject deed prepared and notarized. His clerk of court prepared the deed and upon its
completion, ushered the parties to his office for the administration of oath. 6 The deed
contained his certification that at the time of the document’s execution, "no notary public
was available to expedite the transaction of the parties." Notarial fees paid by the
parties were also covered by a receipt issued by the Treasurer of the Municipality of
Real, Quezon.7 After due proceedings, Investigating Commissioner Felimon C. Abelita
III (Commissioner Abelita) issued the Report and Recommendation 8 dated November
20, 2012 for the cancellation of Atty. Rinen’s notarial commission and his suspension
from notarial practice for a period of one year. 9 The report indicated that per Atty.
Rinen’s admission, the subject deed was prepared in his office and acknowledged
before him. Although there was no evidence of forgery on his part, he was negligent in
not requiring from the parties to the deed their presentation of documents as proof of
identity. Atty. Rinen’s failure to properly satisfy his duties as a notary public was also
shown by the inconsistencies in the dates that appear on the deed, to wit: "1994 as to
the execution; 1995 when notarized; [and] entered as Series of 1992 in the notarial
book x x x." ISSUE: Whether or not Atty. Rinen be disqualified from being
commissioned as a notary public?

HELD: The Court said yes. In Bautista v. Atty. Bernabe, the Court held that “[a] notary
public should not notarize a document unless the persons who signed the same are the
very same persons who executed and personally appeared before him to attest to the
contents and truth of what are stated therein. The presence of the parties to the deed
will enable the notary public to verify the genuineness of the signature of the affiant.”
Notarization is not an empty, meaningless, routinary act. It is invested with substantive
public interest, such that only those who are qualified or authorized may act as notaries
public. It converts a private document into a public one, making it admissible in court
without further proof of its authenticity. Thus, notaries public must observe with utmost
care the basic requirements in the performance of their duties. Otherwise, the
confidence of the public in the integrity of public instruments would be undermined.

Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

In this case, Atty. Rinen did not deny his failure to personally verify the identity of all
parties who purportedly signed the subject document and whom, as he claimed,
appeared before him on April 7, 1994. Such failure was further shown by the fact that
the pertinent details of the community tax certificates of Wilberto and his sister, as proof
of their identity, remained unspecified in the deed’s acknowledgment portion. Clearly,
there was a failure on the part of Atty. Rinen to exercise the due diligence that was
required of him as a notary public ex–officio. Thus, Atty. Rinen’s notarial commission as
revoked and he were disqualified from being commissioned as a notary public for one
year.

Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016


NESTOR FIGUERAS AND BIENVENIDO VICTORIA, JR. V. ATTY. DIOSDADO B.
JIMENEZ,A.C. NO. 9116, MARCH 12, 2014. FACTS: Congressional Village
Homeowner’s Association, Inc. is the entity in charge of the affairs of the homeowners
of Congressional Village in Quezon City. On January 7, 1993, the Spouses Federico
and Victoria Santander filed a civil suit for damages against the Association and Ely
Mabanag 8 before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Quezon City, Branch 104 for
building a concrete wall which abutted their property and denied them of their right of
way. The spouses Santander likewise alleged that said concrete wall was built in
violation of Quezon City Ordinance No. 8633, S-71 which prohibits the closing,
obstructing, preventing or otherwise refusing to the public or vehicular traffic the use of
or free access to any subdivision or community street.9 The Law Firm of Gonzalez
Sinense Jimenez and Associates was the legal counsel for the Association, with
respondent as the counsel of record and handling lawyer. After trial and hearing, the
RTC rendered a decision 10 on October 4, 1996 in favor of the Spouses Santander.
The Association, represented by said law firm, appealed to the Court of Appeals (CA).
On February 5, 1999, the CA issued a Resolution 11 in CA-G.R. CV No. 55577
dismissing the appeal on the ground that the original period to file the appellant’s brief
had expired 95 days even before the first motion for extension of time to file said brief
was filed. The CA also stated that the grounds adduced for the said motion as well as
the six subsequent motions for extension of time to file brief were not meritorious. The
CA resolution became final. Eight years later or on April 11, 2007, complainants Nestor
Figueras and Bienvenido Victoria, Jr., as members of the Association, filed a Complaint
12 for Disbarment against respondent before the IBP Committee on Bar Discipline
(CBD) for violation of the Code of Professional Responsibility, particularly Rule 12.03,
Canon 12; Canon 17; and Rule 18.03, Canon 18 thereof for his negligence in handling
the appeal and willful violation of his duties as an officer of the court. In his Verified
Answer with Counter Complaint, 13 respondent denied administrative liability. He
claimed that although his law firm represented the homeowner’s association in CA-G.R.
CV No. 55577, the case was actually handled by an associate lawyer in his law office.
As the partner in charge of the case, he exercised general supervision over the handling
counsel and signed the pleadings prepared by said handling lawyer. Upon discovery of
the omissions of the handling lawyer, appropriate sanctions were imposed on the
handling lawyer and he thereafter personally took responsibility and Atty. GIL P.
VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

spent personal funds to negotiate a settlement with Federico Santander at no cost to


the Association. No damage whatsoever was caused to the Association. Respondent
likewise alleged that after he defeated complainant Figueras in the election for
President of the homeowner’s association in 1996, Figueras and his compadre,
complainant Victoria, stopped paying their association dues and other assessments.
Complainants and other delinquent members of the association were sanctioned by the
Board of Directors and were sued by the association before the Housing and Land Use
Regulatory Board (HLURB). In retaliation, complainants filed the present disbarment
case against him and several other cases against him and other officers of the
association before the HLURB to question, among others, the legitimacy of the
Association, the election of its officers, and the sanctions imposed by the Association.
Thus, he concluded that the disbarment case was filed to harass him. Respondent
added that complainants have no personality to file the disbarment complaint as they
were not his clients; hence, there was likewise no jurisdiction over the complaint on the
part of the IBP-CBD.

ISSUE: .Whether or not the procedural requirement observed in ordinary civil


proceedings that only the real party-in-interest must initiate the suit does applies in
disbarment cases. HELD: The Supreme Court held that the complainants have
personality to file the disbarment case. In Heck v. Judge Santos, the Court held that
“[a]ny interested person or the court motu proprio may initiate disciplinary proceedings.”
The right to institute disbarment proceedings is not confined to clients nor is it
necessary that the person complaining suffered injury from the alleged wrongdoing. The
procedural requirement observed in ordinary civil proceedings that only the real party-in-
interest must initiate the suit does not apply in disbarment cases. Disbarment
proceedings are matters of public interest and the only basis for the judgment is the
proof or failure of proof of the charges. Further, the Supreme Court held that a lawyer
engaged to represent a client in a case bears the responsibility of protecting the latter’s
interest with utmost diligence. In failing to file the appellant’s brief on behalf of his client,
Atty. Jimenez had fallen far short of his duties as counsel as set forth in Rule 12.04,
Canon 12 of the Code of Professional Responsibility which exhorts every member of the
Bar not to unduly delay a case and to exert every effort and consider it his duty to assist
in the speedy and efficient administration of justice. However, the Supreme Court only
suspended Atty. Jimenez from the practice of law for one.

Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

RE: MELCHOR TIONGSON, HEAD WATCHER, DURING THE 2011 BAR


EXAMINATIONS, B.M. NO. 2482, APRIL 1, 2014. FACTS: The Office of the Bar
Confidant (OBC) designated Tiongson, an employee of the Court of Appeals (CA), to
serve as head watcher for the 2011 Bar Examinations on 6, 13, 20 and 27 November
2011. Tiongson, together with the designated watchers, namely, Eleonor V. Padilla
(Padilla), Christian Jay S. Puruganan (Puruganan) and Aleli M. Padre (Padre), were
assigned to Room No. 314 of St. Martin De Porres Building in UST. On 13 November
2011 or during the second Sunday of the bar examinations, Tiongson brought his digital
camera inside Room No. 314. Padilla, Puruganan and Padre alleged that after the
morning examination in Civil Law, while they were counting the pages of the
questionnaire, Tiongson took pictures of the Civil Law questionnaire using his digital
camera. Tiongson allegedly repeated the same act and took pictures of the Mercantile
Law questionnaire after the afternoon examination. On the same day, Padilla reported
Tiongson’s actions to Deputy Clerk of Court and Bar Confidant Atty. Ma. Cristina B.
Layusa, who immediately investigated the report. Padilla, Puruganan and Padre
subsequently executed separate affidavits confirming Tiongson’s actions. Upon demand
by the OBC to explain, Tiongson admitted that he brought his digital camera inside the
bar examination room. He explained that he did not surrender his new digital camera to
the badge counter personnel because the counter personnel might be negligent in
handling his camera. In a Memorandum dated 16 November 2011 addressed to the CA
Clerk of Court Atty. Teresita R. Marigomen, the OBC revoked and cancelled Tiongson’s
Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

designation as head watcher for the remaining Sundays of the bar examinations. In a
Resolution dated 10 April 2012, the Court, upon recommendation of the Committee on
Continuing Legal Education and Bar Matters, required Tiongson to file his comment. In
his Comment dated 25 May 2012, Tiongson restated his admission that he brought his
digital camera inside the bar examination room. Tiongson reiterated his explanation for
bringing his camera and apologized for his infraction.

ISSUE: Whether or not Tiongson is liable for misconduct? HELD: The Court held that in
administrative proceedings, substantial evidence is the quantum of proof required for a
finding of guilt, and this requirement is satisfied if there is reasonable ground to believe
that the employee is responsible for the misconduct. Misconduct means transgression
of some established and definite rule of action, more particularly, unlawful behavior or
gross negligence by an employee. Any transgression or deviation from the established
norm of conduct, work related or not, amounts to a misconduct. In this case, there was
substantial evidence to prove that Tiongson committed a misconduct. Tiongson was
held liable for simple misconduct only, because the elements of grave misconduct were
not proven with substantial evidence, and Tiongson admitted his infraction before the
Office of the Bar Confidant. As a CA employee, Tiongson disregarded his duty to uphold
the strict standards required of every court employee, that is, to be an example of
integrity, uprightness and obedience to the judiciary. A.C. No. 3405, March 18, 2014
JULIETA B. NARAG vs. ATTY. DOMINADOR M. NARAG FACTS: On November 13,
1989, Julieta B. Narag (Julieta) filed an administrative complaint for disbarment against
her husband, herein respondent, whom she accused of having violated Rule 1.011 in
relation to Canons 12 and 63 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. She claimed
that the respondent, who was then a college instructor in St. Louis College of
Tuguegarao and a member of theSangguniang Panlalawigan of Cagayan, maintained
an amorous relationship with a certain Gina Espita (Gina) – a 17–year old first year
college student. Julieta further claimed that the respondent had already abandoned her
and their children to live with Gina. The respondent denied the charge against him,
claiming that the allegations set forth by Julieta were mere fabrications; that Julieta was
just extremely jealous, which made her concoct stories against him. On June 29, 1998,
the Court rendered a Decision, which directed the disbarment of the respondent. The
Court opined that the respondent committed an act of gross immorality when he
abandoned his family in order to live with Gina. The Court pointed out that the
respondent had breached the high and exacting moral standards set for members of the
legal profession. A Motion for the Re–opening of the Administrative Investigation, or in
the Alternative, Reconsideration of the Decision was filed by the respondent on August
25, 1998. He averred that he was denied due process of law during the administrative
investigation as he Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

was allegedly unjustly disallowed to testify in his behalf and adduce additional vital
documentary evidence. Finding no substantial arguments to warrant the reversal of the
questioned decision, the Court denied the motion with finality in the Resolution dated
September 22, 1998. On November 29, 2013, the respondent filed the instant petition
for reinstatement to the Bar. The respondent alleged that he has expressed extreme
repentance and remorse to his wife and their children for his misgivings. He claimed
that his wife Julieta and their children had already forgiven him on June 10, 2010 at their
residence in Tuguegarao City. The respondent presented an undated affidavit prepared
by his son, Dominador, Jr., purportedly attesting to the truth of the respondent’s claim.
The respondent averred that he has been disbarred for 15 years already and that he
has been punished enough. He alleged that he is already 80 years old, weak and
wracked with debilitating osteo–arthritic pains. That he has very limited mobility due to
his arthritis and his right knee injury. He further claimed that he enlisted in the Philippine
Air Force Reserve Command where he now holds the rank of Lieutenant Colonel; that
as member of the Reserve Command, he enlisted in various rescue, relief and recovery
missions. The respondent likewise submitted the various recommendations,
testimonials and affidavits in support of his petition for readmission. ISSUE: “Whether
the applicant shall be reinstated in the Roll of Attorneys rests to a great extent on the
sound discretion of the Court. The action will depend on whether or not the Court
decides that the public interest in the orderly and impartial administration of justice will
continue to be preserved even with the applicant’s reentry as a counselor at law. The
applicant must, like a candidate for admission to the bar, satisfy the Court that he is a
person of good moral character, a fit and proper person to practice law. The Court will
take into consideration the applicant’s character and standing prior to the disbarment,
the nature and character of the charge/s for which he was disbarred, his conduct
subsequent to the disbarment, and the time that has elapsed between the disbarment
and the application for reinstatement.” The extreme penalty of disbarment was meted
on the respondent on account of his having committed a grossly immoral conduct, i.e.,
abandoning his wife and children to live with his much younger paramour. Indeed,
nothing could be more reprehensible than betraying one’s own family in order to satisfy
an irrational and insatiable desire to be with another woman. The respondent’s act was
plainly selfish and clearly evinces his inappropriateness to be part of the noble legal
profession. More than 15 years after being disbarred, the respondent now professes
that he had already repented and expressed remorse over the perfidy that he had
brought upon his wife and their children. That such repentance and remorse, the
respondent asserts, together with the long years that he had endured his penalty, is
now sufficient to enable him to be readmitted to the practice of law. RULING: The Court,
in deciding whether the respondent should indeed be readmitted to the practice of law,
must be convinced that he had indeed been reformed; that he had already rid himself of
any grossly immoral act which would make him inept for the practice of law. However, it
appears that the respondent, while still legally married to Julieta, is still living with his
paramour – the woman for whose sake he abandoned his family. This only proves to
show that the respondent has not yet learned from his prior misgivings. That he was
supposedly forgiven by his wife and their children would likewise not be sufficient
ground to grant respondent’s plea. It is noted that only his son, Dominador, Jr., signed
the affidavit which was supposed to evidence the Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE
Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

forgiveness bestowed upon the respondent. Thus, with regard to Julieta and the six
other children of the respondent, the claim that they had likewise forgiven the
respondent is hearsay. In any case, that the family of the respondent had forgiven him
does not discount the fact that he is still committing a grossly immoral conduct; he is still
living with a woman other than his wife. Likewise, that the respondent executed a
holographic will wherein he bequeaths all his properties to his wife and their children is
quite immaterial and would not be demonstrative that he had indeed changed his ways.
Verily, nothing would stop the respondent from later on executing another last will and
testament of a different tenor once he had been readmitted to the legal profession. In
fine, the Court is not convinced that the respondent had shown remorse over his
transgressions and that he had already changed his ways as would merit his
reinstatement to the legal profession. Time and again the Court has stressed that the
practice of law is not a right but a privilege. It is enjoyed only by those who continue to
display unassailable character. WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing premises, the
Petition for Reinstatement to the Bar filed by Dominador M. Narag is hereby DENIED.
SO ORDERED.
Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

QUIACHON V. ATTY. RAMOS, A.C. NO. 9317, June 4, 2014 FACTS: A disbarment
case was filed by Quiachon against her lawyer Atty. Ramos who represented her in a
labor case before NLRC and a special proceeding case before the RTC. Complainant
charges respondent with gross negligence and deceit in violation of Canon Rules 18.03
and 18.04 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. IBP conducted an investigation on
the disbursement case filed by the complainant against her lawyer and the report found
out that the respondent had been remiss in failing to update complainant in what had
happened to the cases being handled by respondent in behalf of complainant. There
was a failure to inform complainant (the client) of the status of the cases that thereafter
prevented the client from exercising her options. There was neglect in that regard.
However inspite of finding neglect on respondent’s part, the complainant during the
pendency of the proceedings, withdrew the disbarment case. ISSUE: Whether the
withdrawal of the disbarment case will terminate or abate the jurisdiction of the IBP and
of this Court to continue an administrative proceeding against a lawyer-respondent as a
member of the Philippine Bar. HELD: No. The withdrawal of a disbarment case against
a lawyer does not terminate or abate the jurisdiction of the IBP and of this Court to
continue an administrative proceeding against a lawyer-respondent as a member of the
Philippine Bar. The complainant in a disbarment case is not a direct party to the case,
but a witness who brought the matter to the attention of the Court. In this case, Atty.
Ramos violated Canon Rules 18.03 and 18.04 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility. Thus, the appropriate penalty should be imposed despite the desistance
of complainant or the withdrawal of the charges.

Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

ATTY. ALAN F. PAGUIA V. ATTY. MANUEL T. MOLINA , A.C. NO. 9881, JUNE 4,
2014.

FACTS: The case involves a conflict between neighbors in a four-unit compound named
"Times Square" at Times Street, Quezon City. The neighbors are the following: 1) Mr.
And Mrs. Gregorio M. Abreu, clients of Atty. Paguia; 2) Mr. And Mrs. Wilson Lim, clients
of respondent Molina; 3) Dr. and Mrs. Eduardo Yap; and Dr. Belinda San Juan.

Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

The clients of Atty. Molina entered into a contract with the other unit owners save for Mr.
Abreu. The agreement, covered by a document titled "Times Square Preamble,"
establishes a set of internal rules for the neighbors on matters such as the use of the
common right of way to the exit gate, assignment of parking areas, and security. Mr.
Abreu, the client of complainant, Atty. Paguia, was not a party to the contract since the
former did not agree with the terms concerning the parking arrangements. On 4
February 2010, Atty. Paguia filed a Complaint for Dishonesty with the IBP Commission
on Bar Discipline against Atty. Molina for allegedly giving legal advice to the latter’s
clients to the effect that the Times Square Preamble was binding on Mr. Abreu, who
was never a party to the contract.

In his Answer, Atty. Molina downplayed the case as a petty quarrel among neighbors.
He maintained that the Times Square Preamble was entered into for purposes of
maintaining order in the residential compound. All homeowners, except Mr. Abreu,
signed the document.

Respondent further stated in his Answer that Mr. and Mrs. Gregorio Abreu filed two
cases against his clients, Mr. And Mrs. William Lim, on the belief that Mr. Abreu was not
bound by the Times Square Preamble. The first case, was filed with the Housing and
Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB), which was an action to declare the Times
Square Preamble invalid. The second suit was an action for declaratory relief. Both
cases, according to respondent, were dismissed. Respondent further claimed that
another case had been filed in court, this time by his client, the Lims. They were
prompted to file a suit since Mr. Abreu had allegedly taken matters into his own hands
by placing two vehicles directly in front of the gate of the Lims, thus blocking the latter’s
egress to Times Street. The Lims filed with the Regional Trial Court, Branch 96, Quezon
City, a Complaint for Injunction and Damages, coupled with a prayer for the immediate
issuance of a Temporary Restraining Order and/or Preliminary Injunction, which was
docketed as Civil Case No. Q-08-63579. According to respondent, the RTC granted the
relief prayed for in an Order dated 12 December 2008

ISSUE: Whether or not an administrative complaint for dishonesty against Atty. Molina
will prosper?

Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

HELD: The Supreme Court in dismissing the complaint held that when it comes to
administrative cases against lawyers, two things are to be considered: quantum of
proof, which requires clearly preponderant evidence; and burden of proof, which is on
the complainant. Here, the complaint was without factual basis. The allegation of giving
legal advice was not substantiated in this case, either in the complaint or in the
corresponding hearings. Bare allegations are not proof. Even if Atty. Molina did provide
his clients legal advice, he still cannot be held administratively liable without any
showing that his act was attended with bad faith or malice. The default rule is
presumption of good faith.

OFFICE OF THE COURT ADMINISTRATOR V. SARAH P. AMPONG, ETC., A.M. NO.


P-13-3132, JUNE 4, 2014.

FACTS: Sometime in August 1994, the CSC instituted an administrative case against
Ampong for Dishonesty, Grave Misconduct, and Conduct Prejudicial to the Best Interest
of the Service for having impersonated or taken the November 1991 Civil Service
Eligibility Examination for Teachers on behalf of one Evelyn B. Junio-Decir (Decir). On
March 21, 1996, after Ampong herself admitted to having committed the charges
against her, the CSC rendered a resolution dismissing her from service, imposing all
accessory penalties attendant to such dismissal, and revoking her Professional Board
Examination for Teachers (PBET) rating. Ampong moved for reconsideration on the
ground that when the said administrative case was filed, she was already appointed to
the judiciary; as such, she posited that the CSC no longer had any jurisdiction over her.
Ampong’s motion was later denied, thus, prompting her to file a petition for review
before the Court of Appeals (CA). On November 30, 2004, the CA denied Ampong’s
petition and affirmed her dismissal from service on the ground that she never raised the
issue of jurisdiction until after the CSC ruled against her and, thus, she is estopped from
assailing the same.5 Similarly, on August 26, 2008, the Court En Banc denied her
petition for review on certiorari and, thus, affirmed her dismissal from service in G.R.
No. 167916, entitled "Sarah P. Ampong v. Civil Service Commission, CSC-Regional
Office No. 11"6 (August 26, 2008 Decision). Notwithstanding said Decision, the
Financial Management Office (FMO) of the OCA, which did not receive any official
directive regarding Ampong’s Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-
2016

dismissal, continued to release her salaries and allowances. However, in view of Judge
Infante’s letter notifying the OCA of such situation, the FMO issued a Memorandum7
dated September 7, 2011 informing the OCA that starting June 2011, it had started to
withhold Ampong’s salaries and allowances.8 In her Comment dated September 25,
2012, Ampong prayed that the Court revisit its ruling in G.R. No. 167916 despite its
finality because it might lead to unwarranted complications in its enforcement.
Moreover, Ampong reiterated her argument that the CSC did not have any jurisdiction
over the case against her ISSUE: Whether or not Ampong be held liable for dishonesty?

HELD: The Supreme Court has already held in its August 26, 2008 Decision that
Ampong was administratively liable for dishonesty in impersonating and taking the
November 1991 Civil Service Eligibility Examination for Teachers on behalf of one
Decir. Under section 58(a) of the Uniform Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil
Service (URACCS), the penalty of dismissal carries with it the following administrative
disabilities: (a) cancellation of civil service eligibility; (b) forfeiture of retirement benefits;
and (c) perpetual disqualification from re-employment in any government agency or
instrumentality, including any government-owned and controlled corporation or
government financial institution. Ampong should be made to similarly suffer the same.
Every employee of the Judiciary should be an example of integrity, uprightness, and
honesty. Court personnel are enjoined to adhere to the exacting standards of morality
and decency in their professional and private conduct in order to preserve the good
name and integrity of the courts of justice. Here, Ampong failed to meet these stringent
standards set for a judicial employee and does not, therefore, deserve to remain with
the Judiciary

ADELIA V. QUIACHON vs. ATTY. JOSEPH ADORA. RAMOS, A.C. NO. 9317, JUNE 4,
2014 (FORMERLY CBD CASE NO. 12-3615) FACTS: This is a disbarment case filed
by Adelia V. Quiachon (complainant), against her lawyer, Atty. Joseph Ador A. Ramos
(respondent). The latter represented complainant, who was then the plaintiff in a labor
case filed before the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) and in a special
proceeding Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

case filed before the Regional Trial Court (R TC). Complainant charges respondent with
gross negligence and deceit in violation of Canon Rules 18.03 and 18.04 of the Code of
Professional Responsibility. The Labor Arbiter (LA) granted complainant a favorable
decision on 26 November 2007. Upon appeal, it was reversed and set aside by the
NLRC in its Decision dated 25 July 2008. 3 On 24 October 2008, the NLRC also denied
the Motion for Reconsideration filed by respondent on complainant's behalf. A Petition
for Certiorari was filed before the Court of Appeals (CA), but it affirmed the NLRC's
reversal of the LA's Decision. The Notice of the CA Decision was received by
respondent on 23 November 2010. After the Petition was filed before the CA,
complainant would always ask respondent about the status of her case. The latter
always told her that there was no decision yet. Sometime in August 2011, while
complainant was in respondent’s office waiting for him to arrive, she noticed a mailman
delivering an envelope with the title of her labor case printed thereon. Complainant
asked the secretary of respondent to open the envelope and was surprised to discover
that it contained the Entry of Judgment of the CA’s Decision. Thereafter, complainant
tried repeatedly to contact respondent, but to no avail. When she finally got to talk to
him, respondent assured her that "it was alright" as they still had six months to appeal
the case to the Supreme Court. After that final meeting, no updates on the labor case
were ever communicated to complainant. With respect to the special proceeding case,
the RTC of Roxas City dismissed it for lack of jurisdiction. A Motion for Reconsideration
was filed, but it was also denied. Once again, respondent did nothing to reverse the
RTC Decision. Consequently, the Entry of Judgment was received on 28 October 2008.
On 28 November 2011, complainant Complaint5 against respondent.

filed

the

instant

disbarment

In his Comment, respondent averred that complainant was informed of the status of the
case. He claimed that he had told complainant that he "cannot cite any error of law or
abuse of discretion on the part of the Court of Appeals’ decision that necessitates a
Petition for Review with the Supreme Court;" thus, he supposedly advised her to
"respect the decision of the Court of Appeals." Respondent prayed that a Decision be
rendered dismissing the instant disbarment Complaint for lack of merit. During the
pendency of the proceedings, complainant withdrew the disbarment case ISSUE:
Whether or not the withdrawal of a disbarment case against a lawyer will terminate or
abate the jurisdiction of the IBP and of this Court to continue an administrative
proceeding against a lawyer-respondent as a member of the Philippine Bar? Atty. GIL
P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

HELD: The court said no. The Supreme Court held that the withdrawal of a disbarment
case against a lawyer does not terminate or abate the jurisdiction of the IBP and of this
Court to continue an administrative proceeding against a lawyer-respondent as a
member of the Philippine Bar. The complainant in a disbarment case is not a direct
party to the case, but a witness who brought the matter to the attention of the Court. In
this case, Atty. Ramos violated Canon Rules 18.03 and 18.04 of the Code of
Professional Responsibility. Thus, the appropriate penalty should be imposed despite
the desistance of complainant or the withdrawal of the charges.

Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

ERLINDA FOSTER VS. JAIME AGTANG, A.C. NO. 10579, December 10, 2014 Atty.
GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

FACTS: In 2009, Erlinda Foster engaged the services of Atty. Jaime Agtang in a realty
dispute in Ilocos Norte. Agtang’s acceptance fee was P20,000.00 plus P5,000.00 for
incidental expenses. For the case, Agtang collected P150,000.00 from Foster as filing
fee. He also advised Foster to shell out a total of P50,000.00 for them to bribe the judge
and get a favorable decision. Although reluctant, Foster gave in to Agtang’s demands.
various occasions, Agtang borrowed money from Foster for his personal use, i.e., car
repair. Such loan amounted to P122,000.00. Foster, being prudent, asked for receipts
for all funds she handed over to Agtang. Later however, Foster learned that she lost the
case due to Agtang’s negligence and incompetence in drafting the complaint. She also
found out that the filing fee therefor was only P22,410 (not P150k). Further, it turned out
that Agtang was once the lawyer of the opposing party. When she asked Agtang to
return her the balance, the said lawyer failed to do so hence, she filed an administrative
complaint against Agtang. IBP Board of Governors (IBP-BOG) eventually ordered
Agtang to return the balance of the filing fee (P127,590.00) as well as the money he
borrowed from Foster (P122,000.00). It was also recommended that Agtang be
suspended for three months only.

ISSUE: Whether or not the recommendation by the IBP-BOG is proper.

HELD: No. The recommended penalty of 3 months suspension is too light. Agtang was
disbarred by the Supreme Court. Rule 1.0, Canon 1 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility, provides that “a lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral
or deceitful conduct.” In this case, Agtang is guilty of engaging in dishonest and
deceitful conduct, both in his professional and private capacity. As a lawyer, he clearly
misled Foster into believing that the filing fees for her case were worth more Atty. GIL P.
VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

than the prescribed amount in the rules, due to feigned reasons such as the high value
of the land involved and the extra expenses to be incurred by court employees. In other
words, he resorted to overpricing, an act customarily related to depravity and
dishonesty. When asked to return the balance, he failed and refused to do so and even
had the temerity that it was all the client’s idea. . A lawyer’s failure to return upon
demand the funds held by him on behalf of his client gives rise to the presumption that
he has appropriated the same for his own use in violation of the trust reposed in him by
his client. Such act is a gross violation of general morality as well as of professional
ethics. It impairs public confidence in the legal profession and deserves punishment. It
is clear that Agtang failed to fulfill this duty. He received various amounts from Foster
but he could not account for all of them. Worse, he could not deny the authenticity of the
receipts presented by Foster. Rule 16.04, Canon 16 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility states that “a lawyer shall not borrow money from his client unless the
client’s interests are fully protected by the nature of the case or by independent advice.
Neither shall a lawyer lend money to a client except, when in the interest of justice, he
has to advance necessary expenses in a legal matter he is handling for the client.” In
the first place, Agtang should have never borrowed from Foster, his client. Second, his
refusal to pay reflects his baseness. Deliberate failure to pay just debts constitutes
gross misconduct, for which a lawyer may be sanctioned with suspension from the
practice of law. Lawyers are instruments for the administration of justice and vanguards
of our legal system. They are expected to maintain not only legal proficiency, but also a
high standard of morality, honesty, integrity and fair dealing so that the people’s faith
and confidence in the judicial system is ensured. They must, at all times, faithfully
perform their duties to society, to the bar, the courts and their clients, which include
prompt payment of financial obligations. The acts of the Agtang constitute malpractice
and gross misconduct in his office as attorney. His incompetence and appalling
indifference to his duty to his client, the courts and society render him unfit to continue
discharging the trust reposed in him as a member of the Bar. SIDE ISSUE: May the
Court order Agtang to return the money he borrowed from Foster? No. The Court held
that it cannot order the lawyer to return money to complainant if he or she acted in a
private capacity because its findings in administrative cases have no bearing on
liabilities which have no intrinsic link to the lawyer’s professional engagement. In
disciplinary proceedings against lawyers, the only issue is whether the officer of the
court is still fit to be allowed to continue as a member of the Bar. The only concern of
the Court is the determination of respondent’s administrative liability. Its findings Atty.
GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

have no material bearing on other judicial actions which the parties may choose against
each other. To rule otherwise would in effect deprive respondent of his right to appeal
since administrative cases are filed directly with the Court.

Attorney; Disbarment cases; Initiation. Complainants who are members of the


Congressional Village Homeowner’s Association, Inc. filed a Complaint for Disbarment
against Atty. Jimenez for violating Rule 12.03, Canon 12, Canon 17, Rule 18.03, and
Canon 18 of the Code of Professional Responsibility for his negligence in handling an
appeal in a case involving the Association and willful violation of his duties as an officer
of the court. The Supreme Court held that the complainants have personality to file the
disbarment case. In Heck v. Judge Santos, the Court held that “[a]ny interested person
or the court motu proprio may initiate disciplinary proceedings.” The right to institute
disbarment proceedings is not confined to clients nor is it necessary that the person
complaining suffered injury from the alleged wrongdoing. The procedural requirement
observed in ordinary civil proceedings that only the real party-in-interest must initiate the
suit does not apply in disbarment cases. Disbarment proceedings are matters of public
interest and the only basis for the judgment is the proof or failure of proof of the
charges. Further, the Supreme Court held that a lawyer engaged to represent a client in
a case bears the responsibility of protecting the Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE
Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

latter’s interest with utmost diligence. In failing to file the appellant’s brief on behalf of
his client, Atty. Jimenez had fallen far short of his duties as counsel as set forth in Rule
12.04, Canon 12 of the Code of Professional Responsibility which exhorts every
member of the Bar not to unduly delay a case and to exert every effort and consider it
his duty to assist in the speedy and efficient administration of justice. However, the
Supreme Court only suspended Atty. Jimenez from the practice of law for one month.
Nestor Figueras and Bienvenido Victoria, Jr. v. Atty. Diosdado B. Jimenez, A.C. No.
9116, March 12, 2014. Attorney; Fidelity to Client. Atty. Guaren was charged with
violating the Canon of Professional Responsibility when he accepted the titling of
complainants’ lot and despite the acceptance of P7,000, failed to perform his obligation
and allowing 5 years to elapse without any progress in the titling of complainants’ lot.
The Supreme Court reiterated that the practice of law is not a business. It is a
profession in which duty to public service, not money, is the primary consideration.
Lawyering is not primarily meant to be a money-making venture, and law advocacy is
not a capital that necessarily yields profits. The gaining of a livelihood should be a
secondary consideration. The duty to public service and to the administration of justice
should be the primary consideration of lawyers, who must subordinate their personal
interests or what they owe to themselves. In this case, Atty. Guaren admitted that he
accepted the amount of P7,000 as partial payment of his acceptance fee. He, however,
failed to perform his obligation to file the case for the titling of complainants’ lot despite
the lapse of 5 years. Atty. Guaren breached his duty to serve his client with competence
and diligence when he neglected a legal matter entrusted to him. Thus, Atty. Guaren
violated Canons 17 and 18 of the Code of Professional Responsibility and was
suspended from the practice of law for six months.Stephan Brunet and Virginia
Romanillo Brunet v. Atty. Ronald L. Guaren,A.C. No. 10164, March 10, 2014. Attorney;
Neglect of Duty. Atty. Agleron was charged with violating Rule 18.03 of the Code of
Professional Responsibility when he neglected a legal matter entrusted to him. The
Supreme Court held that once a lawyer takes up the cause of his client, he is duty
bound to serve his client with competence, and to attend to his client’s cause with
diligence, care and devotion regardless of whether he accepts it for a fee or for free. He
owes fidelity to such cause and must always be mindful of the trust and confidence
reposed on him. In this case, Atty. Agleron admitted his failure to file the complaint
despite the fact that it was already prepared and signed. He attributed his non-filing of
the appropriate charges on the failure of complainant to remit the full payment of the
filing fee and pay the 30% of the attorney’s fee. Such justification, however, is not a
valid excuse that would exonerate him from liability. As stated, every case that is
entrusted to a lawyer deserves his full attention whether he accepts this for a fee or
free. Even assuming that complainant had not remitted the full payment of the filing fee,
he should Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

have found a way to speak to his client and inform him about the insufficiency of the
filing fee so he could file the complaint. Atty. Agleron obviously lacked professionalism
in dealing with complainant and showed incompetence when he failed to file the
appropriate charges. A lawyer should never neglect a legal matter entrusted to him,
otherwise his negligence renders him liable for disciplinary action such as suspension
ranging from three months to two years. In this case, Atty. Agleron was suspended from
the practice of law three months. Ermelinda Lad Vda. De Dominguez, represented by
her Attorney-in-Fact, Vicente A. Pichon v. Atty. Arnulfo M. Agleron Sr.,A.C. No. 5359,
March 10, 2014. Attorney; Notarization; Personal Appearance. A petition for disbarment
was filed against Atty. Cabucana, Jr. for falsification of public document. The
requirement of personal appearance of the affiant is required under the Notarial Law
and Section 2 (b) of Rule IV of the Rules on Notarial Practice of 2004. The Supreme
Court held that as a notary public, Atty. Cabucana, Jr. should not notarize a document
unless the person who signs it is the same person executing it and personally appearing
before him to attest to the truth of its contents. This is to enable him to verify the
genuineness of the signature of the acknowledging party and to ascertain that the
document is the party’s free and voluntary act and deed. Thus, Atty. Cabucana, Jr. was
found violating Rule 1.01, Canon 1 of the Code of Professional Responsibility and
suspended from the practice of law for three months. His notarial commission was
revoked and he was prohibited from being commissioned as a notary public for two
years. Licerio Dizon v. Atty. Marcelino Cabucana, Jr.,A.C. No. 10185, March 12, 2014.
Judge; Violation of Administrative Rules; Unprofessional Conduct. Judge Larida, Jr. was
charged for committing various anomalies and irregularities. The Supreme Court held
that Judge Larida, Jr. committed several lapses, specifically the non-submission to the
Court of the required inventory of locally-funded employees, and his allowing Marticio to
draft court orders. Such lapses manifested a wrong attitude towards administrative rules
and regulations issued for the governance and administration of the lower courts, to the
extent of disregarding them, as well as a laxity in the control of his Branch and in the
supervision of its functioning staff. The omission to submit the inventory should not be
blamed on Atty. Calma as the Branch Clerk of Court. Although it was very likely that
Judge Larida, Jr. had tasked Atty. Calma to do and submit the inventory in his behalf,
Judge Larida, Jr. as the Presiding Judge himself remained to be the officer directly
burdened with the responsibility for doing so. Further, for knowingly allowing detailed
employees to solicit commissions from bonding companies, Judge Larida, Jr.
contravened the Code of Judicial Conduct, which imposed on him the duty to take or
initiate appropriate disciplinary measures against court personnel for unprofessional
conduct of which he would have become aware. Office of the Court Administrator v.
Judge Edwin C. Larida, Jr., RTC, Branch 18, Tagaytay City,A.M. No. RTJ-08-2151,
March 11, 2014.

Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

Judge; Gross Ignorance of the Law. An administrative complaint was filed against
Judge Bitas for fixing the accused’s bail and reducing the same motu proprio. In this
case, Miralles was charged with Qualified Trafficking, which under Section 10 (C) of
R.A. No. 9208 is punishable by life imprisonment and a fine of not less than P2,000,000
but not more than P5,000,000. Thus, by reason of the penalty prescribed by law, the
grant of bail is a matter of discretion which can be exercised only by Judge Bitas after
the evidence is submitted in a hearing. The hearing of the application for bail in capital
offenses is absolutely indispensable before a judge can properly determine whether the
prosecution’s evidence is weak or strong. The Supreme Court held that not only did
Judge Bitas deviate from the requirement of a hearing where there is an application for
bail, he also granted bail to Miralles without neither conducting a hearing nor a motion
for application for bail. Judge Bitas’ acts are not mere deficiency in prudence, discretion
and judgment on his part, but a patent disregard of well-known rules. When an error is
so gross and patent, such error produces an inference of bad faith, making the judge
liable for gross ignorance of the law. Ma. Liza M. Jorda, City Prosecutor’s Office,
Tacloban City v. Judge Crisologo S. Bitas, RTC, Branch 7, Tacloban City; Prosecutor
Leo C. Tabao v. Judge Crisologo S. Bitas, RTC, Branch 7, Tacloban City,A.M. No. RTJ-
14-2376/A.M. No. RTJ-14-2377. March 5, 2014. Court personnel; simple misconduct.
An administrative case was filed against Melchor Tiongson, a Court of Appeals (CA)
employee who was assigned to be the head watcher during the 2011 bar examinations.
The complaint alleged that she brought a digital camera inside the bar examination
rooms, in violation of the Instructions to Head Watchers. The Court held that in
administrative proceedings, substantial evidence is the quantum of proof required for a
finding of guilt, and this requirement is satisfied if there is reasonable ground to believe
that the employee is responsible for the misconduct. Misconduct means transgression
of some established and definite rule of action, more particularly, unlawful behavior or
gross negligence by an employee. Any transgression or deviation from the established
norm of conduct, work related or not, amounts to a misconduct. In this case, there was
substantial evidence to prove that Tiongson committed a misconduct. Tiongson was
held liable for simple misconduct only, because the elements of grave misconduct were
not proven with substantial evidence, and Tiongson admitted his infraction before the
Office of the Bar Confidant. As a CA employee, Tiongson disregarded his duty to uphold
the strict standards required of every court employee, that is, to be an example of
integrity, uprightness and obedience to the judiciary. Re: Melchor Tiongson, Head
Watcher, During the 2011 Bar Examinations, B.M. No. 2482, April 1, 2014. Judges; bias
and partiality must be proven by clear and convincing evidence. The Court held that the
truth about Judge Austria’s alleged partiality cannot be determined by simply relying on
the verified complaint. Bias and prejudice cannot be presumed, in light especially of a
judge’s sacred obligation under his oath of office to administer justice without respect
Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

to the person, and to give equal right to the poor and rich. There should be clear and
convincing evidence to prove the charge; mere suspicion of partiality is not enough. In
this case, aside from being speculative and judicial in character, the circumstances cited
by the complainant were grounded on mere opinion and surmises. The complainant
also failed to adduce proof indicating the judge’s predisposition to decide the case in
favor of one party. Antonio M. Lorenzana v. Judge Ma. Cecilia I. Austria, RTC, Br. 2,
Batangas City, A.M. No. RTJ-09-2200, April 2, 2014. Judges; decision-making; 90-day
requirement. An administrative case was filed against Judge Bustamante when it was
found out upon judicial audit that he had a number of cases pending for decision, some
of which the reglementary period have already lapsed. The Court held that
decisionmaking, among other duties, is the primordial and most important duty of a
member of the bench. The speedy disposition of cases in the courts is a primary aim of
the judiciary so the ends of justice may not be compromised and the judiciary will be
true to its commitment to provide litigants their constitutional right to a speedy trial and a
speedy disposition of their cases. The Constitution, Code of Judicial Conduct, and
jurisprudence consistently mandate that a judge must decide cases within 90 days from
submission. A member of the bench cannot pay mere lip service to the 90-day
requirement; he/she should instead persevere in its implementation. Heavy caseload
and demanding workload are not valid reasons to fall behind the mandatory period for
disposition of cases. Having failed to decide a case within the required period, without
any order of extension granted by the Court, Judge Bustamante was held liable for
undue delay that merits administrative sanction. Office of the Court Administrator v.
Judge Borromeo R. Bustamante, Municipal Trial Court in Cities, Alaminos City,
Pangasinan, A.M. No. MTJ-121806, April 7, 2014. Judges; impropriety. An
administrative complaint was filed against Judge Austria for impropriety for posting her
details as judge in Friendster and posting a picture with an indecent attire for the
public’s consumption. The Court held that she was guilty of impropriety. While judges
are not prohibited from becoming members of and from taking part in social networking
activities, they do not shed off their status as judges. They carry with them in
cyberspace the same ethical responsibilities and duties that every judge is expected to
follow in his/her everyday activities. Judge Austria was guilty of impropriety when she
posted her pictures in a manner viewable by the public. Joining Friendster per se does
not violate the New Code of Judicial Conduct. However, Judge Austria disregarded the
propriety and appearance of propriety required of her when she posted Friendster
photos of herself wearing an “off-shouldered” suggestive dress and made this available
for public viewing. Antonio M. Lorenzana v. Judge Ma. Cecilia I. Austria, RTC, Br. 2,
Batangas City, A.M. No. RTJ-09-2200, April 2, 2014. Judges; irregular or erroneous
order or decision; appropriate remedy. The Court held that in administrative cases, the
complainant bears the onus of proving the averments of his complaint by substantial
evidence. In this case, Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

the allegations of grave abuse of authority, irregularity in the performance of duty, grave
bias and partiality, and lack of circumspection are devoid of merit because the
complainant failed to establish Judge Austria’s bad faith, malice or ill will. The
complainant merely pointed to circumstances based on mere conjectures and
suppositions. These, by themselves, however, are not sufficient to prove the
accusations. Even granting that the judge erred in the exercise of her judicial functions,
these are legal errors correctible not by a disciplinary action, but by judicial remedies
that are readily available to the complainant. An administrative complaint is not the
appropriate remedy for every irregular or erroneous order or decision issued by a judge
where a judicial remedy is available, such as a motion for reconsideration or an appeal.
Antonio M. Lorenzana v. Judge Ma. Cecilia I. Austria, RTC, Br. 2, Batangas City, A.M.
No. RTJ-09-2200, April 2, 2014. Attorney; Disbarment; Effect of withdrawal. A
disbarment case was filed by Quiachon against her lawyer Atty. Ramos who
represented her in a labor case before NLRC and a special proceeding case before the
RTC. During the pendency of the proceedings, complainant withdrew the disbarment
case. The Supreme Court held that the withdrawal of a disbarment case against a
lawyer does not terminate or abate the jurisdiction of the IBP and of this Court to
continue an administrative proceeding against a lawyer-respondent as a member of the
Philippine Bar. The complainant in a disbarment case is not a direct party to the case,
but a witness who brought the matter to the attention of the Court. In this case, Atty.
Ramos violated Canon Rules 18.03 and 18.04 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility. Thus, the appropriate penalty should be imposed despite the desistance
of complainant or the withdrawal of the charges. Adelia V. Quiachon v. Atty. Joseph
Ador A. Ramos, A.C. No. 9317, June 4, 2014. Attorney; Quantum of proof in
administrative cases. An administrative complaint for dishonesty was filed against Atty.
Molina for having advised his clients to enforce a contract on complainant’s client who
was never a party to the agreement. The Supreme Court in dismissing the complaint
held that when it comes to administrative cases against lawyers, two things are to be
considered: quantum of proof, which requires clearly preponderant evidence; and
burden of proof, which is on the complainant. Here, the complaint was without factual
basis. The allegation of giving legal advice was not substantiated in this case, either in
the complaint or in the corresponding hearings. Bare allegations are not proof. Even if
Atty. Molina did provide his clients legal advice, he still cannot be held administratively
liable without any showing that his act was attended with bad faith or malice. The
default rule is presumption of good faith. Atty. Alan F. Paguia v. Atty. Manuel T. Molina,
A.C. No. 9881, June 4, 2014. Court personnel; Dishonesty. Ampong was dismissed
from the Civil Service Commission for dishonesty, however, remained employed in the
RTC. The Supreme Court has already held in its August 26, 2008 Decision that Ampong
was administratively liable for dishonesty in impersonating and taking the November
1991 Civil Service Eligibility Examination for Teachers on behalf of Atty. GIL P.
VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

one Decir. Under section 58(a) of the Uniform Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil
Service (URACCS), the penalty of dismissal carries with it the following administrative
disabilities: (a) cancellation of civil service eligibility; (b) forfeiture of retirement benefits;
and (c) perpetual disqualification from re-employment in any government agency or
instrumentality, including any government-owned and controlled corporation or
government financial institution. Ampong should be made to similarly suffer the same.
Every employee of the Judiciary should be an example of integrity, uprightness, and
honesty. Court personnel are enjoined to adhere to the exacting standards of morality
and decency in their professional and private conduct in order to preserve the good
name and integrity of the courts of justice. Here, Ampong failed to meet these stringent
standards set for a judicial employee and does not, therefore, deserve to remain with
the Judiciary. Office of the Court Administrator v. Sarah P. Ampong, etc., A.M. No. P-
133132, June 4, 2014. Court personnel; Simple neglect of duty. Sheriff Macusi was
charged with misfeasance, nonfeasance or conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the
service for failing to act on a writ of execution. The Supreme Court held that the 30-day
period imposed for the execution of the writ after the judgment has been received by the
sheriff, as well as the periodic report every 30 days, is mandatory. Contrary to such rule,
Sheriff Macusi submitted only one return of writ of execution in his Partial Report and
did not file any other report to the court. Sheriffs play an important part in the
administration of justice because they are tasked to execute the final judgment of
courts. Thus, Sheriff Macusi was held to be remiss in his duties and thus liable for
simple neglect of duty which is the failure to give attention to a task, or the disregard of
a duty due to carelessness or indifference. Alberto Valdez v. Desiderio W. Macusi, Jr.,
Sheriff IV, RTC, Branch 25, Tabuk, Kalinga, A.M. No. P-13-3123, June 10, 2014. Judge;
Time within which certain acts must be done; Exception. An administrative complaint
was filed against MCTC Judge Regencia. The Supreme Court held that pursuant to
Rule 3.05, Canon 3 of the Code of Judicial Conduct, prompt disposition of cases is
attained basically through the efficiency and dedication to duty of judges. If judges do
not possess those traits, delay in the disposition of cases is inevitable to the prejudice of
the litigants. In this case, the civil case was already submitted for resolution. Being an
ejectment case, it is governed by the Rules of Summary Procedure which clearly sets a
period of 30 days from the submission of the last affidavit or position paper within which
a decision must be issued. Despite this, Judge Regencia rendered judgment only more
than 2 years later. While rules prescribing the time within which certain acts must be
done are indispensable to prevent needless delays in the orderly and speedy
disposition of cases and, thus, should be regarded as mandatory, the Court has
nevertheless been mindful of the plight of judges and has been understanding of
circumstances that may hinder them from promptly disposing of their businesses and,
as such, has allowed extensions of time due to justifiable reasons. However, Judge
Regencia failed to proffer any Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-
2016

acceptable reason in delaying the disposition of the ejectment case, thus, making her
administratively liable for undue delay in rendering a decision. Gershon N. Dulang v.
Judge Mary Jocylen G. Regencia, MCTC, AsturiasBalamban, Cebu, A.M. No. MTJ-14-
1841, June 2, 2014. Attorney; a lawyer shall not assist in the unauthorized practice of
law. Atty. Bancolo admitted that the Complaint he filed for a former client before the
Office of the Ombudsman was signed in his name by a secretary of his law office. He
likewise categorically stated that because of some minor lapses, the communications
and pleadings filed against Tapay and Rustia were signed by his secretary, albeit with
his tolerance. Clearly, he violated Rule 9.01 of Canon 9 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility (CPR), which provides: CANON 9 – A LAWYER SHALL NOT,
DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY, ASSIST IN THE UNAUTHORIZED PRACTICE OF LAW.
Rule 9.01 – A lawyer shall not delegate to any unqualified person the performance of
any task which by law may only be performed by a member of the Bar in good standing.
Atty. Bancolo’s authority and duty to sign a pleading are personal to him. Although he
may delegate the signing of a pleading to another lawyer, he may not delegate it to a
non-lawyer. Further, under the Rules of Court, a counsel’s signature serves as a
certification that (1) he has read the pleading; (2) to the best of his knowledge,
information and belief there is good ground to support it; and (3) it is not interposed for
delay. Thus, by affixing one’s signature to a pleading, it is counsel alone who has the
responsibility to certify to these matters and give legal effect to the document. For
violating rule 9.01 of the CPR, Atty. Bacolo was meted with the penalty the suspension
from the practice of law for one year. Rodrigo E. Tapay and Anthony J. Rustia v. Attys.
Charlie Bancolo and Janus Jarder; A.C. No. 9604. March 20, 2013. Attorney;
disbarment complaint; outright dismissal is warranted if the complaint, on its face, lacks
merit. For resolution is the Motion for Reconsideration filed by the complainant upon the
dismissal of the Complaint for disbarment he instituted against the respondent lawyers.
Complainant claims he was denied due process because (1) she was not allowed to file
a Reply and (2) the Court deviated from usual procedure when it resolved the
disbarment Complaint without first declaring the case to have been submitted for
resolution.

The Supreme Court has the power to outrightly dismiss a Complaint for disbarment
when on its face, it is clearly wanting in merit. Thus, in International Militia of People
against Corruption & Terrorism v. Chief Justice Davide, Jr. (Ret.), the Court, after
finding the Complaint insufficient in form and substance, dismissed the same outright for
utter lack of merit. In the Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

instant case, the Court did not dismiss outright the disbarment Complaint. In fact, it even
required the respondents to file their respective Answers. Then, after a judicious study
of the records, it proceeded to resolve the same although not in complainant’s favor.
Based on the Complaint and the supporting affidavits attached thereto, and the
respective Comments of the respondents, the Court found that the presumption of
innocence accorded to respondents was not overcome. Moreover, the Court no longer
required complainant to file a Reply since it has the discretion not to require the filing of
the same when it can already judiciously resolve the case based on the pleadings thus
far submitted. And contrary to complainant’s mistaken notion, not all petitions or
complaints reach the reply or memorandum stage. Depending on the merits of the case,
the Court has the discretion either to proceed with the case by first requiring the parties
to file their respective responsive pleadings or to dismiss the same outright. Likewise,
the Court can proceed to resolve the case without need of informing the parties that the
case is already submitted for resolution. Jasper Junno F. Rodica v. Atty. Manuel M.
Lazaro, et al.; A.C. No. 9259. March 12, 2013. Attorney; duty to exercise due diligence.
The Court reiterated its ruling in Del Mundo v. Capistrano that “when a lawyer takes a
client’s cause, he covenants that he will exercise due diligence in protecting the latter’s
rights. Failure to exercise that degree of vigilance and attention expected of a good
father of a family makes the lawyer unworthy of the trust reposed on him by his client
and makes him answerable not just to client but also to the legal profession, the court
and society.” Respondent’s infractions were aggravated by his failure to comply with
CBD’s directives for him to file his pleadings on time and to religiously attend hearings,
demonstrating not only his irresponsibility but also his disrespect for the judiciary and
his fellow lawyers. Such conduct was unbecoming of a lawyer who is called upon to
obey court orders and processes and is expected to stand foremost in complying with
court directives as an officer of the court. As a member of the bar, he ought to have
known that the orders of the CBD as the investigating arm of the Court in administrative
cases against lawyers were not mere requests but directives which should have been
complied with promptly and completely. Gloria P. Jinon v. Atty. Leonardo E. Jiz; A.C.
No. 9615. March 5, 2013. Attorney; duty to hold in trust money received from client.
Money entrusted to a lawyer for a specific purpose, such as for the processing of
transfer of land title, but not used for the purpose, should be returned to the client
immediately. The Court held in Dhaliwal v. Dumaguing that a lawyer’s failure to return
the funds he holds on behalf of a client, despite latter’s demand, gives rise to the
presumption that he has appropriated the same for his own use and constitutes a gross
violation of general morality and professional ethics. Gloria P. Jinon v. Atty. Leonardo E.
Jiz; A.C. No. 9615. March 5, 2013. Court personnel; simple neglect of duty; failure of
branch clerk of court to keep and maintain a general docket. Branch clerk of court Mr.
Teves Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

admitted that he failed to keep and maintain a general docket of cases assigned to their
branch. As such, he failed to comply with his duty under Section 8, Rule 136 of the
Rules of Court, thus: Sec. 8. General docket. – The clerk shall keep a general docket,
each page of which shall be numbered and prepared for receiving all the entries in a
single case, and shall enter therein all cases, numbered consecutively in the order in
which they were received, and under the heading of each case, a complete title thereof,
the date of each paper filed or issued, of each order or judgment entered, and of each
other step taken in the case so that by reference a single page the history of the case
may be seen. With this infraction, Mr. Teves was held liable for simple neglect of duty.
Office of the Court Administrator v. Hon. Rosabella M. Tormis, Presideing Judge,
Municipal Trial Court in Cities (MTCC), Branch 4, Cebu City and Mr. Reynaldo S.
Teves, Branch Clerk of Court, same court; A.M. No. MTJ-121818. March 12, 2013.
Court personnel; simple neglect of duty; failure of branch clerk of court to schedule the
promulgation of cases. In the Datan case, Mr. Teves, instead of scheduling the case for
promulgation, just gave the accused a copy of the unpromulgated decision at the time
when the presiding judge was serving her suspension. Section 6, Rule 120 of the Rules
of Court states that: Sec. 6. Promulgation of judgment. – The judgment is promulgated
by reading it in the presence of the accused and any judge of the court in which it was
rendered. However, if the conviction is for a light offense, the judgment may be
pronounced in the presence of his counsel or representative. When the judge is absent
or outside the province or city, the judgment may be promulgated by the clerk of court x
x x. Clearly, as found by the OCA, Mr. Teves is guilty of simple neglect of duty. It is his
duty to calendar the case for promulgation in accordance with the Rules of Court. He
did not only fail to do so. Rather, he, in fact, served copies of the decision to the
accused without the judgment having been promulgated first. Office of the Court
Administrator v. Hon. Rosabella M. Tormis, Presideing Judge, Municipal Trial Court in
Cities (MTCC), Branch 4, Cebu City and Mr. Reynaldo S. Teves, Branch Clerk of Court,
same court; A.M. No. MTJ12-1818. March 12, 2013. Court personnel; simple neglect of
duty; imposable penalty. Simple neglect of duty is defined as the “failure of an employee
to give one’s attention to a task expected of him, and signifies a disregard of a duty
resulting from carelessness or indifference.” Under the Revised Uniform Rules on
Administrative Cases in the Civil Service, simple neglect of duty is a less grave offense
penalized with suspension for one month and one day to six months for the first offense,
and dismissal for the second. In the determination of the proper penalty, the Court
looked into Mr. Teves’ past administrative cases. Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE
Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

Considering his past infractions and having been warned that a repetition of the same or
similar act will be dealt with more severely, Mr. Teves still has not reformed. He has
remained undeterred in disregarding the law and he appears to be unfazed by the
previous penalties and warnings he received. Mr. Teves’ repeated infractions seriously
compromise efficiency and hamper public service which the Court can no longer
tolerate. As such, he was meted with the penalty of dismissal from service with forfeiture
of all benefits and privileges, except accrued leave credits, if any, with prejudice to
reemployment in any branch or instrumentality of the government, including
government-owned or controlled corporations. Office of the Court Administrator v. Hon.
Rosabella M. Tormis, Presideing Judge, Municipal Trial Court in Cities (MTCC), Branch
4, Cebu City and Mr. Reynaldo S. Teves, Branch Clerk of Court, same court; A.M. No.
MTJ-12-1818. March 12, 2013. Judges; duty to adopt an efficient system to monitor the
status of cases. The OCA found that the court failed to maintain a general docket book
to keep track of the cases under it. Although the duty is vested with Mr. Teves as the
Branch Clerk of Court, it is the duty of Judge Tormis to make sure that the members of
her staff perform their duties. The OCA also found that Mr. Teves repeatedly submitted
inaccurate reports as to the actual number of cases pending with their court. This is
brought about by their failure to adopt an efficient system of monitoring their cases.
Again, this is the primary responsibility of Judge Tormis. Finally, the OCA noted that
Judge Tormis failed to conduct an actual physical inventory of cases to keep abreast of
the status of the pending cases and to be informed that every case is in proper order.
Judge Tormis is guilty of violating Supreme Court rules, directives, and circulars for her
failure to comply with her duty to provide an efficient court management system in her
court which includes the preparation and use of docket inventory and monthly report of
cases as tools thereof. Office of the Court Administrator v. Hon. Rosabella M. Tormis,
Presiding Judge, Municipal Trial Court in Cities (MTCC), Branch 4, Cebu City and Mr.
Reynaldo S. Teves, Branch Clerk of Court, same court; A.M. No. MTJ-12-1818. March
12, 2013. Judges; gross ignorance of the law; when the law is sufficiently basic, not to
be aware of it constitutes gross ignorance of the law. Judge Tormis issued the warrant
of arrest in violation of the Rule on Summary Procedure that the accused should first be
notified of the charges against him and given the opportunity to file his counter-affidavits
and other countervailing evidence. The Revised Rules on Summary Procedure has
been in effect since November 15, 1991. It finds application in a substantial number of
civil and criminal cases. Judge Tormis cannot claim to be unfamiliar with the same.
Every judge is required to observe the law. When the law is sufficiently basic, a judge
owes it to his office to simply apply it; and anything less than that would be constitutive
of gross ignorance of the law. In short, when the law is so elementary, not to be aware
of it constitutes gross ignorance of the law. Office of the Court Administrator v. Hon.
Rosabella M. Tormis, Presideing Judge, Municipal Trial Court in Cities (MTCC), Branch
4, Cebu City and Mr. Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

Reynaldo S. Teves, Branch Clerk of Court, same court; A.M. No. MTJ-121818. March
12, 2013. Judges; gross inefficiency; gross ignorance of the law; imposable penalties.
Under Rule 140 of the Rules of Court, as amended by A.M. No. 01-8-10-SC dated
September 11, 2001, violation of Supreme Court rules, directives and circulars, and
gross inefficiency are categorized as less serious charges with the following sanctions:
(a) suspension from office without salary and other benefits for not less than one nor
more than three months; or (b) a fine of more than P10,000.00 but not exceeding
P20,000.00. Moreover, gross ignorance of the law is classified as serious charge under
Section 8, Rule 140 of the Revised Rules of Court, and penalized under Section 11 (a),
Rule 140 of the same Rules by: (1) Dismissal from the service, forfeiture of all or part of
the benefits as the Court may determine, and disqualification from reinstatement or
appointment to any public office, including government-owned or controlled
corporations. Provided, however, that the forfeiture of benefits shall, in no case, include
accrued leave credits; (2) Suspension from office without salary and other benefits for
more than three (3), but not exceeding six (6) months; or (3) a fine of more than
P20,000.00, but not exceeding P40,000.00. In determining the proper imposable
penalty, we also consider Judge Tormis’ work history which reflects how she performed
her judicial functions. We find that there are several administrative cases already filed
against her, with most of these cases being decided against her. These cases show her
inability to properly discharge her judicial duties. Considering her past infractions and
taking into account the number of irregularities she committed in this present case,
Judge Tormis was meted with the penalty of dismissal from service with forfeiture of all
benefits and privileges, except accrued leave credits, if any, with prejudice to
reemployment in any branch or instrumentality of the government, including
government-owned or controlled corporations. Office of the Court Administrator v. Hon.
Rosabella M. Tormis, Presideing Judge, Municipal Trial Court in Cities (MTCC), Branch
4, Cebu City and Mr. Reynaldo S. Teves, Branch Clerk of Court, same court; A.M. No.
MTJ-12-1818. March 12, 2013. Judges; motion to inhibit; grounds. As held in Sps.
Hizon v. Sps. dela Fuente, “an inhibition must be for just and valid reason.”
Complainant’s mere imputation that the case was decided by the magistrates of the
Court with extreme bias and prejudice is baseless and clearly unfounded. Jasper Junno
F. Rodica v. Atty. Manuel M. Lazaro, et al.; A.C. No. 9259. March 12, 2013. Judges;
undue delay in deciding cases. The honor and integrity of the judicial system is
measured not only by the fairness and correctness of decisions rendered, but also by
the efficiency with which disputes are resolved. Under the 1987 Constitution, trial judges
are mandated to decide and resolve cases within 90 days from submission for decision
or resolution. Corollary to this constitutional mandate, Section 5, Canon 6 of the New
Code Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

of Judicial Conduct for the Philippine Judiciary requires judges to perform all judicial
duties efficiently, fairly, and with reasonable promptness. The mandate to promptly
dispose of cases or matters also applies to motions or interlocutory matters or incidents
pending before the magistrate. Unreasonable delay of a judge in resolving a pending
incident is a violation of the norms of judicial conduct and constitutes gross inefficiency
that warrants the imposition of an administrative sanction against the defaulting
magistrate. Office of the Court Administrator v. Hon. Rosabella M. Tormis, Presiding
Judge, Municipal Trial Court in Cities (MTCC), Branch 4, Cebu City and Mr. Reynaldo
S. Teves, Branch Clerk of Court, same court; A.M. No. MTJ12-1818. March 12, 2013;
Office of the Court Administrator v. Judge Fernando G. Fuentes, RTC, Br. 49,
Tagbilaran City / Paulino Bural, Sr. v. Judge Fernando G. Fuentes, RTC, Br. 49,
Tagbilaran City; A.M. No. RTJ-13-2342 / A.M. No. RTJ-12-2318. March 6, 2013. Judge
Fuentes III concedes that there is no valid justification for the delay in resolving the
cases pending in his court. Indeed, his frequent travels to his residence in Ozamis City,
which led to travel fatigue and poor health, will not absolve him from liability. If a judge is
unable to comply with the period for deciding cases or matters, he can, for good
reasons, ask for an extension. Without an extension granted by the Court, the failure to
decide even a single case within the required period constitutes gross inefficiency that
merits administrative sanction. Office of the Court Administrator v. Judge Fernando G.
Fuentes, RTC, Br. 49, Tagbilaran City / Paulino Bural, Sr. v. Judge Fernando G.
Fuentes, RTC, Br. 49, Tagbilaran City; A.M. No. RTJ-13-2342 / A.M. No. RTJ-12-2318.
March 6, 2013. Judges; undue delay in deciding cases; administrative sanctions. An
inexcusable failure to decide a case within the prescribed 90-day period constitutes
gross inefficiency, warranting the imposition of administrative sanctions such as
suspension from office without pay or fine on the defaulting judge. The fines imposed
vary in each case, depending on the following factors: (1) the number of cases not
decided within the reglamentary period; (2) the presence of aggravating or mitigating
circumstances; (3) the damage suffered by the parties as a result of the delay; (4) the
health and age of the judge; and (5) other analogous circumstances. In this case, the
fine was reduced considering that this was the first infraction of Judge Fuentes III in his
more than 15 years in the service. The Court likewise took into consideration the fact
that the respondent judge exerted earnest efforts to fully comply with the Court’s
directives as contained in the resolution. Office of the Court Administrator v. Judge
Fernando G. Fuentes, RTC, Br. 49, Tagbilaran City / Paulino Bural, Sr. v. Judge
Fernando G. Fuentes, RTC, Br. 49, Tagbilaran City; A.M. No. RTJ-13-2342 / A.M. No.
RTJ-12-2318. March 6, 2013. Judges; undue delay in deciding cases; suspension from
office is not a justification for the delay. Respondent judge claimed that the delay was
the Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

consequence of the three suspension orders issued against her as she was suspended
for an aggregate period of almost one year and six months. Records reveal, however,
that Judge Tormis was repeatedly suspended in cases wherein she committed a breach
of her duty as a member of the Bench. She cannot, therefore, be allowed to use the
same to justify another violation of her solemn oath to dispense justice. Even if she was
allowed to avail of this excuse, as aptly observed by the OCA, several of the cases that
she failed to dispose of had been overdue for decision or resolution even prior to said
suspensions. Office of the Court Administrator v. Hon. Rosabella M. Tormis, Presiding
Judge, Municipal Trial Court in Cities (MTCC), Branch 4, Cebu City and Mr. Reynaldo
S. Teves, Branch Clerk of Court, same court; A.M. No. MTJ-12-1818. March 12, 2013.
Jurisdiction of the Court over administrative proceedings. An administrative matter was
instituted against Judge Grageda, based on the result of a judicial audit conducted after
his retirement. According to the Supreme Court, for it to acquire jurisdiction over an
administrative proceeding, the complaint must be filed during the incumbency of the
respondent public official or employee. This is because the filing of an administrative
case is predicated on the holding of a position or office in the government service.
However, once jurisdiction has attached, the same is not lost by the mere fact that the
public official or employee was no longer in office during the pendency of the case. In
present case, Judge Grageda’s retirement effectively barred the Court from pursuing
the instant administrative proceeding that was instituted after his tenure in office, and
divested the Court, much less the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA), of any
jurisdiction to still subject him to the rules and regulations of the judiciary and/or to
penalize him for the infractions committed while he was still in the service. Accordingly,
the complaint against retired Judge Grageda was dismissed. Office of the Court
Administrator v. Jesus L. Grageda; A.M. No. RTJ-10-2235. March 11, 2013. Attorney;
Applicability of the Code of Professional Responsibility to lawyers in government service
in the discharge of their official tasks. Private respondents were charged before the
Court of Tax Appeals for violation of the Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines, as
amended. However, the CTA dismissed the case since the prosecution failed to present
certified true copies of the documentary evidence submitted contrary to Section 7, Rule
130 and Section 127, Rule 132 of the Rules of Court. The Run After the Smugglers
(RATS) Group, Revenue Collection Monitoring Group (RCMG), as counsel for the BOC,
filed a petition for certiorari but the petition was filed beyond the reglementary period.
The Supreme Court held that the display of patent violations of even the elementary
rules shows that the case against respondents was doomed by design from the start.
This stance taken by the lawyers in government service rouses the Court’s vigilance
against inefficiency in the administration Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y.
2015-2016

of justice. Verily, the lawyers representing the offices under the executive branch should
be reminded that they still remain as officers of the court from whom a high sense of
competence and fervor is expected. The Court will not close its eyes to this sense of
apathy in RATS lawyers, lest the government’s goal of revenue enhancement continues
to suffer the blows of smuggling and similar activities. The Court reminded the lawyers
in the BOC that the canons embodied in the Code of Professional Responsibility equally
apply to lawyers in government service in the discharge of their official tasks. Thus,
RATS lawyers should exert every effort and consider it their duty to assist in the speedy
and efficient administration of justice. People of the Philippines v. The Hon. Juanito C.
Castaneda, Jr., et al., G.R. No. 208290, December 11, 2013 Attorney; Champertous
contract. Complainants engaged the legal services of Atty. Bañez, Jr. in connection with
the recovery of their properties from Fevidal. Complainants signed a contract of legal
services, where they would not pay acceptance and appearance fees to Atty. Bañez Jr.,
but that the docket fees would instead be shared by the parties. Under the contract,
complainants would pay him 50% of whatever would be recovered of the properties.
Later, however, complainants terminated his services and entered into an amicable
settlement with Fevidal. Atty. Bañez, Jr. opposed the withdrawal of their complaint in
court. Thus, complainants filed a case against him alleging that the motion of Atty.
Baez, Jr. for the recording of his attorney’s charging lien was the “legal problem”
preventing them from enjoying the fruits of their property. Section 26, Rule 138 of the
Rules of Court allows an attorney to intervene in a case to protect his rights concerning
the payment of his compensation. According to the discretion of the court, the attorney
shall have a lien upon all judgments for the payment of money rendered in a case in
which his services have been retained by the client. In this case, however, the contract
for legal services is in the nature of a champertous contract – an agreement whereby an
attorney undertakes to pay the expenses of the proceedings to enforce the client’s
rights in exchange for some bargain to have a part of the thing in dispute. Such
contracts are contrary to public policy and are thus void or inexistent. They are also
contrary to Canon 16.04 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, which states that
lawyers shall not lend money to a client, except when in the interest of justice, they have
to advance necessary expenses in a legal matter they are handling for the client. Thus,
the Court held that Atty. Bañez, Jr. violated Canon 16.04 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility. Conchita Baltazar,et al. v. Atty. Juan B. Bañez, Jr., A.C. No. 9091,
December 11, 2013. Attorney; Disbarment proceedings. A disbarment case was filed
against Atty. Macapagal. He was charged with dishonesty (1) when he stated in the
defendants’ Answer in Civil Case No. A-95-22906 that the parties therein are Atty. GIL
P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016
strangers to each other; (2) when he introduced a falsified Certificate of Marriage as
part of his evidence in Civil Case No. A-95-22906; and (3) when he knowingly filed a
totally baseless pleading captioned as Urgent Motion to Recall Writ of Execution of the
Writ of Preliminary Injunction in the same case. The Supreme Court held that these
issues are proper subjects of and must be threshed out in a judicial action. However,
since Atty. Macapagal failed to file a comment and his position paper despite his receipt
of Notice, he was reprimanded for failing to give due respect to the Court and the
Integrated Bar of the Philippines. Nestor V. Felipe, et al. v. Atty. Ciriaco A. Macapagal,
A.C. No. 4549, December 2, 2013. Attorney; Disobedience to court directives.
Complainant Sy charged Respondent Esponilla, Legal Researcher and then Officer-In-
Charge of Br. 54 of RTC Manila, and Atty. Buendia, clerk of court and ex-officio sheriff
of RTC Manila with Gross Misconduct, Negligence and Dishonesty. The complaint was
in connection with the irregular withdrawal of deposits for monthly rentals in a civil case
based on a purported Ex-Parte Motion to Withdraw Rental Deposits filed by Atty.
Bayhon in the civil case. The Supreme Court held that Atty. Bayhon violated the
Lawyer’s Oath and Canon 10, Rule 10.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility for
failing to explain, in good faith the circumstances surrounding the filing of the Ex-Parte
Motion which he himself filed, for proffering misleading claims in the course of the
subject administrative investigation, and for not having shown and proved that he
exerted his best efforts to secure and submit a copy of the Ex-Parte Motion – all in
violation of the resolutions issued by the Court. Atty. Bayhon was suspended for six (6)
months from the practice of law. Elpidio Sy, President, Systems Realty Development
Corporation v. Edgar Esponilla, Legal Researcher and Officer-in-Charge, et al., A.M.
No. P-06-2261, December 11, 2013. Attorney; Due diligence in handling client’s case.
Respondents were charged for gross negligence in handling the labor complaints of
complainant. The Supreme Court held that the relationship between a lawyer and his
client is one imbued with utmost trust and confidence. In this regard, clients are led to
expect that lawyers would be ever-mindful of their cause and accordingly exercise the
required degree of diligence in handling their affairs. For his part, the lawyer is required
to maintain at all times a high standard of legal proficiency, and to devote his full
attention, skill, and competence to the case, regardless of its importance and whether
he accepts it for a fee or for free. He is likewise expected to act with honesty in all his
dealings, especially with the courts. These principles are embodied in Rule 1.01 of
Canon 1, Rule 10.01 of Canon 10, Canon 17 and Rule 18.03 of Canon 18 of the Code
of Professional Responsibility. In this case, Atty. Quesada’s failure to attend the
scheduled conference hearings, despite due notice and without any proper justification,
exhibits his inexcusable lack of care and diligence in managing Atty. GIL P. VILORIA,
Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016
his client’s cause in violation of Canon 17 and Rule 18.03, Canon 18 of the Code. Felipe
C. Dagala v. Atty. Jose C. Quesada, Jr. and Atty. Amado T. Adquilen, A.C. No. 5044,
December 2, 2013. Attorney; Duty to represent a client must be within the bounds of
law. The Supreme Court issued a Resolution dismissing the administrative complaint of
Tomas Merdegia against Court of Appeals Justice Veloso. The Resolution directed Atty.
Adaza II, Merdegia’s counsel, to show cause why he should not be cited for contempt.
The Supreme Court held Atty. Adaza II guilty of indirect contempt. Atty. Adaza prepared
the administrative complaint after Justice Veloso refused to inhibit himself from a case
he was handling. The complaint and the motion for inhibition were both based on the
same main cause: the alleged partiality of Justice Veloso during the oral arguments of
Merdegia’s case. The resolution dismissing the motion for inhibition should have
disposed of the issue of Justice Veloso’s bias. If they doubted the legality of the
Resolution, they could have filed a petition for certiorari. Administrative complaints
against justices cannot and should not substitute for appeal and other judicial remedies
against an assailed decision or ruling. While a lawyer has a duty to represent his client
with zeal, he must do so within the bounds provided by law. He is also duty-bound to
impress upon his client the propriety of the legal action the latter wants to undertake,
and to encourage compliance with the law and legal processes. Atty. Adaza failed to
impress upon his client the features of the Philippine adversarial system, the substance
of the law on ethics and respect for the judicial system, and his own failure to heed what
his duties as a professional and as an officer of the Court demand of him in acting for
his client before the courts. Re: Verified Complaint of Tomas S. Merdegia against Hon.
Vicente S.E. Veloso, etc./Re: Resolution dated October 8, 2013 in OCA IPI No. 12-205-
CA-J against Atty. Homobono Adaza II, IPI No. 12-205-CA-J/A.C. No. 10300, December
10, 2013. Attorney; Gross misconduct. Heenan filed a complaint against Atty. Espejo for
violation of the Lawyer’s Oath due to the latter’s failure to pay a loan. The Supreme
Court found Atty. Espejo guilty of gross misconduct. The deliberate failure to pay just
debts and the issuance of worthless checks constitute gross misconduct, for which a
lawyer may be sanctioned. Verily, lawyers must at all times faithfully perform their duties
to society, to the bar, to the courts and to their clients. The prompt payment of financial
obligations is one of the duties of a lawyer. The fact that Atty. Espejo obtained the loan
and issued the worthless checks in her private capacity and not as an attorney of
Heenan is of no moment. A lawyer may be disciplined not only for malpractice and
dishonesty in his profession but also for gross misconduct outside of his professional
capacity. While the Court may not ordinarily discipline a lawyer for misconduct
committed in his non-professional or private capacity, the Court may be justified in
suspending or removing him Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

as an attorney where his misconduct outside of the lawyer’ professional dealings is so


gross in character as to show him morally unfit and unworthy of the privilege which his
licenses and the law confer. Thus, Atty. Espejo was suspended from the practice of law
for two (2) years. Victoria C. Heenan v. Atty. Erlinda Espejo, A.C. No. 10050, December
3, 2013. Judge; Gross Ignorance of the Law. Complainant claimed that since Judge
Cajigal’s appointment as presiding judge of RTC, Branch 96, Quezon City, the latter has
displayed gross inefficiency by failing to resolve within the prescribed period a number
of incidents. Moreover, complainant questions the propriety of the Judge’s decision in a
case he is involved in. The Supreme Court held that the charges of ignorance of the law
are bereft of merit. Judge Cajigal’s order was issued in the proper exercise of his judicial
functions, and as such, is not subject to administrative disciplinary action; especially
considering that the complainant failed to establish bad faith on the part of the judge.
Well entrenched is the rule that a judge may not be administratively sanctioned for mere
errors of judgment in the absence of showing of any bad faith, fraud, malice, gross
ignorance, corrupt purpose, or a deliberate intent to do an injustice on his or her part.
Moreover, as a matter of public policy, a judge cannot be subjected to liability for any of
his official acts, no matter how erroneous, as long as he acts in good faith. To hold
otherwise would be to render judicial office untenable, for no one called upon to try the
facts or interpret the law in the process of administering justice can be infallible in his
judgment. Narciso G. Dulalia v. Judge Afable E. Cajigal, RTC, Br. 96, Quezon City, A.M.
No. OCA IPI No. 10-3492-RTJ, December 4, 2013. Judge; Voluntary inhibition. Rallos
charges Justice Hernando with bias because he voluntarily inhibited himself in CA-G.R.
CEB SP. No. 06676 only after the promulgation of the March 28, 2012 and April 13,
2012 resolutions. The Supreme Court held that the fact that Justice Hernando
voluntarily inhibited himself after writing the assailed resolutions did not establish his
bias against Rallos and her co-heirs considering that the inhibition was for the precise
objective of eliminating suspicions of undue influence. The justification of Justice
Hernando was commendable, and should be viewed as a truly just and valid ground for
his self-disqualification as a judicial officer in a specific case. Further, Rallos insists that
she was entitled to be informed about the inhibitions of the Justices and about their
reasons for the inhibitions. The Court held that there is nothing in Rule V or in any other
part of the Internal Rules of the Court of Appeals that specifically requires that the party-
litigants be informed of the mandatory or voluntary inhibition of a Justice. Nevertheless,
a party-litigant who desires to be informed of the inhibition of a Justice and of the reason
for the inhibition must file a motion for inhibition in the manner provided under Section 3,
Rule V of the Internal Rules of the Court of Appeals. Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE
Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

However, the Court held that henceforth all the parties in any action or proceedings
should be immediately notified of any mandatory disqualification or voluntary inhibition
of the Justice who has participated in any action of the court, stating the reason for the
mandatory disqualification or voluntary inhibition. The requirement of notice is a
measure to ensure that the disqualification or inhibition has not been resorted to in order
to cause injustice to or to prejudice any party or cause. Re: Letters of Lucena B. Rallos,
for alleged acts/incidents/occurences relative to the resolutions(s) issued in CA-G.R. SP
No. 06676 by Court of Appeals Executive Justice Pampio Abarintos and Associate
Justices Ramol Paul Hernando and Victoria Isabel Paredes/Re: Complaint filed by
Lucena B. Rallos against Justices Gabriel T. Ingles, Pamela Ann Maxino, and Carmelita
S. Manahan, IPI No. 12-203-CAJ/A.M. No. 12-9-08-CA, December 10, 2013. Attorney;
lifting of indefinite suspension. Professional misconduct involving the misuse of
constitutional provisions for the purpose of insulting Members of the Supreme Court is a
serious breach of the rigid standards that a member of good standing of the legal
profession must faithfully comply with. Thus, the penalty of indefinite suspension was
imposed. However, in the past two years during which Atty. Lozano has been
suspended, he has repeatedly expressed his willingness to admit his error, to observe
the rules and standards in the practice of law, and to serve the ends of justice if he
should be reinstated. And in these two years, this Court has not been informed of any
act that would indicate that Atty. Lozano had acted in any unscrupulous practices
unsuitable to a member of the bar. While the Court will not hesitate to discipline its
erring officers, it will not prolong a penalty after it has been shown that the purpose for
imposing it had already been served. Re: subpoena Duces Tecum dated January 11,
2010 of Acting Director Aleu A. Amante, PIAB-C, Office of the Ombudsman/Re: Order
of the Office of the Ombudsman referring the complaint of Attys. Oliver O. Lozano &
Evangeline J. Lozano-Endriano against Chief Justice Reynato S. Puno(ret.). A.M. No.
10-113-SC & A.M. NO. 10-9-9-SC, March 20, 2012. Court personnel; administrative
case; quantum of evidence. The Uniform Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil
Service govern the conduct of disciplinary and non-disciplinary proceedings in
administrative cases. In Section 3, it provides that, “Administrative investigations shall
be conducted without necessarily adhering strictly to the technical rules of procedure
and evidence applicable to judicial proceedings.” The weight of evidence required in
administrative investigations is substantial evidence. For these reasons, only substantial
evidence is required to find Malunao guilty of the administrative offense charged against
her. In the hierarchy of evidentiary values, substantial evidence, or that amount of
relevant evidence which a reasonable man might accept as adequate to justify a
conclusion, is the lowest standard of proof provided under the Rules of Court. In
assessing whether there is substantial evidence in administrative investigations such as
this case, the Court is not bound by technical rules of Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE
Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

procedure and evidence. Dela Cruz’s Sinumpaang Salaysay, the joint affidavit of arrest
executed by the NBI agents, the Booking Sheet and Arrest Report, photocopy of the
marked money, the Complaint Sheet, and the photographs of Malunao entering Dela
Cruz’s house, and the contents of Malunao’s bag after receipt of the money, all prove by
subsantial evidence the guilt of Malunao for the offense of grave misconduct. Sheryll C.
Dela Cruz vs. Pamela P. Malunao, Clerk III, RTC, Branch 28, Bayombong, Nueva
Vizcaya. A.M. No. P-11-2019, March 20, 2012. Court personnel; grave misconduct.
Misconduct is a transgression of some established and definite rule of action, more
particularly, unlawful behavior or gross negligence by the public officer. The misconduct
is grave if it involves any of the additional elements of corruption, willful intent to violate
the law or to disregard established rules. Corruption, as an element of grave
misconduct, consists in the act of an official or fiduciary person who unlawfully and
wrongfully uses his position or office to procure some benefit for himself or for another
person, contrary to duty and the rights of others. Section 2, Canon 1 of the Code of
Conduct for Court Personnel states: “Court personnel shall not solicit or accept any gift,
favor or benefit based on any or explicit understanding that such gift, favor or benefit
shall influence their official actions.” Respondent’s use of her position as Clerk III in
Branch 28 to solicit money from Dela Cruz with the promise of a favorable decision
violates Section 2, Canon 1 of the Code of Conduct for Court Personnel and constitutes
the offense of grave misconduct meriting the penalty of dismissal. Sheryll C. Dela Cruz
vs. Pamela P. Malunao, Clerk III, RTC, Branch 28, Bayombong, Nueva Vizcaya. A.M.
No. P-11-2019, March 20, 2012. Judges; judicial clemency. In A.M. No. 07-7-17-SC
(Re: Letter of Judge Augustus C. Diaz, Metropolitan Trial Court of Quezon City, Branch
37, Appealing for Clemency), the Court laid down the following guidelines in resolving
requests for judicial clemency, thus: “1. There must be proof of remorse and
reformation. These shall include but should not be limited to certifications or testimonials
of the officer(s) or chapter(s) of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, judges or judges
associations and prominent members of the community with proven integrity and
probity. A subsequent finding of guilt in an administrative case for the same or similar
misconduct will give rise to a strong presumption of nonreformation. 2. Sufficient time
must have lapsed from the imposition of the penalty to ensure a period of reform. 3. The
age of the person asking for clemency must show that he still has productive years
ahead of him that can be put to good use by giving him a chance to redeem himself. 4.
There must be a showing of promise (such as intellectual aptitude, learning or legal
acumen or contribution to legal scholarship and the Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE
Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

development of the legal system or administrative and other relevant skills), as well as
potential for public service. 5. There must be other relevant factors and circumstances
that may justify clemency.” Applying the foregoing standards to this case, the Court
finds merit in petitioner’s request. A review of the records reveals that petitioner has
exhibited remorse for her past misdeeds, which occurred more than ten (10) years ago.
While she was found to have belatedly filed her motions for additional time to resolve
the cases then pending in her sala, the Court noted that she had disposed of the same
within the extended period sought, except in A.M. No. 99-2-79-RTC where she
submitted her compliance beyond the approved 45-day extended period. Nevertheless,
petitioner has subsequently shown diligence in the performance of her duties and has
not committed any similar act or omission. In the Memorandum of the Office of the
Court Administrator, her prompt compliance with the judicial audit requirements of
pending cases was acknowledged and she was even commended for her good
performance in the effective management of her court and in the handling of court
records. Moreover, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) Bohol Chapter has shown
its high regard for petitioner per the letter of support signed by a number of its members
addressed to the IBP dated October 15, 1999 during the pendency of her administrative
cases and the IBP Resolution No. 11, Series of 2009 endorsing her application for
lateral transfer to the RTC of Tagbilaran City. Re: Petition for judicial clemency of Judge
Irma Zita V. Masamayor. A.M. No. 12-2-6-SC, March 6, 2012. Administrative Complaint;
moot and academic. The Court dismissed the complaint filed by Inter-Petal Recreational
Corporation against Chief Justice Renato Corona for being moot and academic after
considering the judgment of the Senate sitting as an Impeachment Court, which found
the Chief Justice guilty of the charge under Article II of the Articles of Impeachment, with
the penalty of removal from office and disqualification to hold any office under the
Republic of the Philippines as provided in Section 3(7), Article XI of the Constitution. Re:
Complaint Against the Honorable Chief Justice Renato C. Corona dated September 14,
2011 filed by Inter-Petal Recreational Corporation, A.M. No. 12-6-10-SC. June 13, 2012
Attorneys; disbarment cases imprescriptible. The defense of prescription is untenable.
The Court has held that administrative cases against lawyers do not prescribe. The
lapse of considerable time from the commission of the offending act to the institution of
the administrative complaint will not erase the administrative culpability of a lawyer.
Otherwise, members of the bar would only be emboldened to disregard the very oath
they took as lawyers, prescinding from the fact that as long as no private complainant
would immediately come forward, they stand a chance of being completely exonerated
from whatever administrative liability they ought to answer for. Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr.
PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

Fidela Bengco and Teresita Bengco vs. Atty. Pablo Bernardo, A.C. No. 6368, June 13,
2012. Attorney; False and untruthful statements in pleadings. The practice of law is a
privilege bestowed on those who show that they possess and continue to possess the
legal qualifications for it. Lawyers are expected to maintain at all times a high standard
of legal proficiency and morality, including honesty, integrity and fair dealing. They must
perform their four-fold duty to society, the legal profession, the courts and their clients,
in accordance with the values and norms of the legal profession as embodied in the
Code of Professional Responsibility. Atty. Magat’s act clearly falls short of the standards
set by the Code of Professional Responsibility, particularly Rule 10.01, which provides:
Rule 10.01 – A lawyer shall not do any falsehood, nor consent to the doing of any in
Court; nor shall he mislead, or allow the Court to be misled by any artifice. The Court
ruled that there was a deliberate intent on the part of Atty. Magat to mislead the court
when he filed the motion to dismiss the criminal charges on the basis of double
jeopardy. Atty. Magat should not make any false and untruthful statements in his
pleadings. If it were true that there was a similar case for slight physical injuries that was
really filed in court, all he had to do was to secure a certification from that court that,
indeed, a case was filed. Rodrigo Molina vs. Atty. Ceferino Magat A.C. No. 1900. June
13, 2012. Attorney; Neglect etc.Acceptance of money from a client establishes an
attorney-client relationship and gives rise to the duty of fidelity to the client’s cause.
Once a lawyer agrees to handle a case, it is that lawyer’s duty to serve the client with
competence and diligence. Respondent has failed to fulfill this duty. When the RTC
ruled against complainant and her husband, they filed a Notice of Appeal.
Consequently, what should apply is the rule on ordinary appealed cases or Rule 44 of
the Rules on Civil Procedure. Rule 44 requires that the appellant’s brief be filed after the
records of the case have been elevated to the CA. Respondent, as a litigator, was
expected to know this procedure. Canon 5 of the Code reads: CANON 5 — A lawyer
shall keep abreast of legal developments, participate in continuing legal education
programs, support efforts to achieve high standards in law schools as well as in the
practical training of law students and assist in disseminating information regarding the
law and jurisprudence. The supposed lack of time given to respondent to acquaint
himself with the facts of the case does not excuse his negligence. Rule 18.02 of the
Code provides that a lawyer shall not handle any legal matter without adequate
preparation. While it is true that respondent was not complainant’s lawyer from the trial
to the appellate court stage, this fact did not excuse him from his duty to diligently study
a case he had agreed to handle. If he felt he did not have enough time to study the
pertinent matters involved, as he was Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y.
2015-2016

approached by complainant’s husband only two days before the expiration of the period
for filing the Appellant’s Brief, respondent should have filed a motion for extension of
time to file the proper pleading instead of whatever pleading he could come up with, just
to beat the deadline set by the Court of Appeals. Also, as counsel, he had the duty to
inform his clients of the status of their case. His failure to do so amounted to a violation
of Rule 18.04 of the Code, which reads: 18.04 – A lawyer shall keep the client informed
of the status of his case and shall respond within a reasonable time to the client’s
request for information. If it were true that all attempts to contact his client proved futile,
the least respondent could have done was to inform the CA by filing a Notice of
Withdrawal of Appearance as counsel. He could have thus explained why he was no
longer the counsel of complainant and her husband in the case and informed the court
that he could no longer contact them. His failure to take this measure proves his
negligence. The failure of respondent to file the proper pleading and a comment on
Duigan’s Motion to Dismiss is negligence on his part. Under 18.03 of the Code, a lawyer
is liable for negligence in handling the client’s case, viz: Rule 18.03 – A lawyer shall not
neglect a legal matter entrusted to him, and his negligence in connection therewith shall
render him liable. Lawyers should not neglect legal matters entrusted to them, otherwise
their negligence in fulfilling their duty would render them liable for disciplinary action.
Respondent has failed to live up to his duties as a lawyer. When a lawyer violates his
duties to his client, he engages in unethical and unprofessional conduct for which he
should be held accountable. Emilia R. Hernandez vs. Atty. Venancio B. Padilla, A.C.
No. 9387, June 20, 2012. Contempt; unauthorized practice of law. In Cayetano v.
Monsod, the Court ruled that “practice of law” means any activity, in or out of court,
which requires the application of law, legal procedure, knowledge, training and
experience. To engage in the practice of law is to perform acts which are usually
performed by members of the legal profession. Generally, to practice law is to render
any kind of service which requires the use of legal knowledge or skill. The OCA was
able to establish the pattern in Karaan’s unauthorized practice of law. He would require
the parties to execute a special power of attorney in his favor to allow him to join them
as one of the plaintiffs as their attorney-in-fact. Then, he would file the necessary
complaint and other pleadings “acting for and in his own behalf and as attorney-in-fact,
agent or representative” of the parties. The fact that Karaan did not indicate in the
pleadings that he was a member of the Bar, or any PTR, Attorney’s Roll, or MCLE
Compliance Number does not detract from the fact that, by his actions, he was actually
engaged in the practice of law. Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-
2016

Under Section 3(e), Rule 71 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, a person assuming to
be an attorney or an officer of a court, and acting as such without authority, is liable for
indirect contempt of court. Under Section 7 of the same rules, a respondent adjudged
guilty of indirect contempt committed against a Regional Trial Court or a court of
equivalent or higher rank may be punished by a fine not exceeding thirty thousand
pesos or imprisonment not exceeding six (6) months, or both. If a respondent is
adjudged guilty of contempt committed against a lower court, he may be punished by a
fine not exceeding five thousand pesos or imprisonment not exceeding one (1) month,
or both. Juvy P. Ciocon-Reer, et al., vs. Judge Antonio C. Lubao, RTC Br. 22, General
Santos City, A.M. OCA IPI No. 09-3210RTJ, June 20, 2012. Court personnel;
discourtesy. Unless specifically provided by the rules, clerks of court have no authority
to pass upon the substantive or formal correctness of pleadings and motions that
parties file with the court. Compliance with the rules is the responsibility of the parties
and their counsels. And whether these conform to the rules concerning substance and
form is an issue that only the judge of the court has authority to determine. The duty of
clerks of courts to receive pleadings, motions, and other court-bound papers is purely
ministerial. Although they may on inspection advise the parties or their counsels of
possible defects in the documents they want to file, which may be regarded as part of
public service, they cannot upon insistence of the filing party refuse to receive the same.
Canon IV, Section 2 of the Code of Conduct for Court Personnel provides that court
personnel shall carry out their responsibilities as public servants in as courteous a
manner as possible. Atty. Ramos was counsel in a case before Teves’ branch. He was
an officer of the court who expressed a desire to have the presiding judge, to whom he
addressed his motion, see and consider the same. Teves arrogated onto himself the
power to decide with finality that the presiding judge was not to be bothered with that
motion. He denied Atty. Ramos the courtesy of letting the presiding judge decide the
issue between him and the lawyer. As held in Macalua v. Tiu, Jr., an employee of the
judiciary is expected to accord respect for the person and right of others at all times,
and his every act and word should be characterized by prudence, restraint, courtesy
and dignity. These are absent in this case. Civil Service Resolution 99-1936 classifies
discourtesy in the course of official duties as a light offense, the penalty for which is
reprimand for the first offense, suspension of 1-30 days for the second offense, and
dismissal for the third offense. In two consolidated administrative cases, one for grave
misconduct and immorality and the other for insubordination, the Court meted out on
Teves the penalty of suspension for six months in its resolution of October 5, 2011. The
Court of course decided these cases and warned Teves to change his ways more than
a year after the September 8, 2008 incident with Atty. Ramos. Consequently, it could
not be said that he ignored with respect to that incident the warnings given him in the
subsequently decided cases. Still those cases show Teves’ propensity for misbehavior.
Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

Thus, the Court imposed on Reynaldo S. Teves, Branch Clerk of Court of Municipal
Trial Court in Cities, Cebu City, the penalty of 30 days suspension with warning that a
repetition of the same or a similar offense will be dealt with more severely. Atty. Edward
Anthony B. Ramos vs. Reynaldo S. Teves, Clerk of Court III, Municipal Trial Court in
Cities, Branch 4, Cebu City. A.M. No. P-12-3061, June 27, 2012. Court personnel;
disgraceful and immoral conduct. The image of a court of justice is mirrored in the
conduct, official or otherwise, of the women and men who work in the judiciary, from the
judge to the lowest of its personnel. Like the rest of the personnel of the Court, the
shuttle bus drivers are expected to observe the norms and ethics of conduct of public
officials and employees. Judiciary employees should be circumspect in how they
conduct themselves inside and outside the office. Any scandalous behavior or any act
that may erode the people’s esteem for the judiciary is unbecoming of an employee.
Court employees are supposed to be well-mannered, civil and considerate in their
actuations. Laribo Jr.’s utterances, are by themselves, malicious and cast aspersion
upon Diomampo’s character. The Court cannot countenance such behavior. The Court
sanctioned Laribo Jr. for his disgraceful and immoral conduct. Since such conduct is
classified as a grave offense, the penalty for the first offense is suspension from 6
months and 1 day to one year. But the Court tempered OCA’s recommended penalty
and imposed a penalty of one month suspension, with a warning that a repetition of the
same or similar act shall be dealt with more severely, taking into account that this is
Laribo’s Jr. first infraction. Shirley D. Diomampo, Records Officer II, Sandiganbayan vs.
Felipe C. Laribo Jr., Shuttle Bus Driver, Sandiganbayan. A.M. No. SB-12-18-P. June 13,
2012. Court personnel; dishonesty. The Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for
Public Officials and Employees enunciates the State’s policy of promoting a high
standard of ethics and utmost responsibility in the public service. And no other office in
the government service exacts a greater demand for moral righteousness and
uprightness from an employee than the judiciary. Persons involved in the dispensation
of justice, from the highest official to the lowest clerk, must live up to the strictest
standards of integrity, probity, uprightness and diligence in the public service. As the
assumption of public office is impressed with paramount public interest, which requires
the highest standards of ethics, persons aspiring for public office must observe honesty,
candor and faithful compliance with the law. Respondent committed dishonesty by
causing the unauthorized insertion of an additional sentence in the trial court’s order.
Dishonesty has been defined as a disposition to lie, cheat, deceive or defraud. It implies
untrustworthiness, lack of integrity, lack of honesty, probity or integrity in principle on the
part of the individual who failed to exercise fairness and straightforwardness in his or
her dealings. By her act, she has compromised and undermined the public’s faith in the
records of the court below and, Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-
2016

ultimately, the integrity of the Judiciary. To tolerate such act would open the floodgates
to fraud by court personnel. The insertion of an additional sentence in an order of the
trial court, regardless of the reason is not among respondent’s duties. A legal
researcher’s duty focuses mainly on verifying legal authorities, drafting memoranda on
evidence, outlining facts and issues in cases set for pre-trial, and keeping track of the
status of cases. In Salvador v. Serrano, the Court held that courts have the inherent
power to amend and control their process and orders to make them conformable to law
and justice. But such power rests upon the judge and not to clerks of court who only
perform adjudicative support functions and non-adjudicative functions. In the same vein,
the power to amend court orders cannot be performed by a legal researcher. It is well to
remind that court personnel are obliged to accord the integrity of court records of
paramount importance, as these are vital instruments in the dispensation of justice.
Judge Amado Caguioa (ret.) vs. Elizabeth Aucena, Court Legal Researcher II, Regional
Trial Court, Branch 4, Baguio City. A.M. No. P-09-2646, June 18, 2012. Under Section
52 (A) (1), Rule IV of the Uniform Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil Service,
promulgated by the Civil Service Commission through Resolution No. 99-1936 dated
August 31, 1999 and implemented by Memorandum Circular No. 19, series of 1999,
dishonesty is a grave offense punishable by dismissal from the service for the first
offense. However, the Court, in certain instances, has not imposed the penalty of
dismissal due to the presence of mitigating factors such as the length of service, being a
firsttime offender, acknowledgment of the infractions, and remorse by the respondent.
The Court has also ruled that where a penalty less punitive would suffice, whatever
missteps may be committed by labor ought not to be visited with a consequence so
severe. It is not only for the law’s concern for the workingman; there is, in addition, his
family to consider. Unemployment brings untold hardships and sorrows on those
dependent on wage earners. Considering that this is respondent’s first offense in her
twenty-two (22) years of service in the Judiciary, the admission of her act and her
sincere apology for her mistake, her firm resolve not to commit the same mistake in the
future, and taking into account that she is a widow and the only one supporting her five
children, the recommended penalty of suspension for a period of six (6) months is in
order. Judge Amado Caguioa (ret.) vs. Elizabeth Aucena, Court Legal Researcher II,
Regional Trial Court, Branch 4, Baguio City. A.M. No. P-09-2646, June 18, 2012. Court
personnel; dishonesty.For Aguam to assert that she herself took and passed the
examination when in fact somebody else took it for her constitutes dishonesty. Every
employee of the Judiciary should be an example of integrity, uprightness and honesty.
Like any public servant, she must exhibit the highest sense of honesty and integrity not
only in the performance of her official duties but also in her personal and private
dealings with other people, to preserve the court’s good name and standing. Atty. GIL
P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

The image of a court of justice is mirrored in the conduct, official and otherwise, of the
personnel who work thereat, from the judge to the lowest of its personnel. Court
personnel have been enjoined to adhere to the exacting standards of morality and
decency in their professional and private conduct in order to preserve the good name
and integrity of the courts of justice. Here, Aguam failed to meet these stringent
standards set for a judicial employee and does not therefore deserve to remain with the
Judiciary. In Cruz v. Civil Service Commission, Civil Service Commission v. Sta. Ana,
and Concerned Citizen v. Dominga Nawen Abad, the Court dismissed the employees
found guilty of similar offenses. In Cruz, Zenaida Paitim masqueraded as Gilda Cruz
and took the Civil Service examination in behalf of Cruz. The Court said that both Paitim
and Cruz merited the penalty of dismissal. In Sta. Ana, somebody else took the Civil
Service examination for Sta. Ana. The Court dismissed Sta. Ana for dishonesty. In
Abad, the evidence disproved Abad’s claim that she personally took the examination.
The Court held that for Abad to assert that she herself took the examination when in fact
somebody else took it for her constitutes dishonesty. Thus, Abad was for her offense.
The Court found no reason to deviate from these consistent rulings. Under Section
52(A)(1) of the Uniform Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil Service, dishonesty is
a grave offense punishable by dismissal for the first offense. Under Section 58(a) of the
same rules, the penalty of dismissal carries with it cancellation of eligibility, forfeiture of
retirement benefits, and perpetual disqualification for reemployment in the government
service. The OCA properly excluded forfeiture of accrued leave credits, pursuant to the
Court’s ruling in Sta. Ana and Abad. The Court also consistently held that the proper
penalty to be imposed on employees found guilty of an offense of this nature is
dismissal from the service. Lourdes Celavite-Vidal vs. Noraida A. Aguam, A.M. No.
SCC-10-13-P, June 26, 2012. Court personnel; Disrespectful behavior. Section 2,
Canon IV of the Code of Conduct for Court Personnel, requires that court personnel
shall carry out their responsibilities as public servants in as courteous a manner as
possible. The image of a court of justice is necessarily mirrored in the conduct, official or
otherwise, of the men and women who work there. Court personnel must at all times act
with strict propriety and proper decorum so as to earn and rebuild the public’s trust in
the judiciary as an institution. The Court would never countenance any conduct, act or
omission on the part of all those involved in the administration of justice, which would
violate the norm of public accountability and diminish or even just tend to diminish the
faith of the people in the judiciary. Under Rule XIV, Section 23 of the Omnibus Rules
Implementing Book V of Executive Order No. 292, discourtesy in the course of official
dutiesis classified as a light offense. A first-time violation of this rule warrants the
penalty of reprimand. Considering a) respondent’s apology and admission of his
mistakes; b) his retirement from service on 1 July 2011 after long years of employment
in the Judiciary; and c) this case being the first complaint Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr.
PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

against him, he should be held liable for discourtesy and be meted out the penalty of
reprimand. Respondent committed other lapses in the performance of his duties as
Clerk of Court. Instead of strictly observing the required number of working hours in the
civil service, he left his post in the middle of the day to attend a social event. Worse, he
chose to return to the office and enter the judge’s chambers while under the influence of
alcohol. His behavior constitutes a direct violation of the Code of Conduct for Court
Personnel, particularly Section 1, Canon IV on the Performance of Duties, which states:
“Court personnel shall at all times perform official duties properly and with diligence.
They shall commit themselves exclusively to the business and responsibilities of their
office during working hours.” Judge Ethelwolda Jaravata vs. Precioso Orencia, Clerk of
Court, MTC, Agoo, La Union A.M. No. P12-3035, June 13, 2012. Court personnel;
falsification. Falsification of a DTR by a court personnel is a grave offense. The act of
falsifying an official document is in itself grave because of its possible deleterious
effects on government service. At the same time, it is also an act of dishonesty, which
violates fundamental principles of public accountability and integrity. Under Civil Service
regulations, falsification of an official document and dishonesty are distinct offenses, but
both may be committed in one act. The constitutionalization of public
accountabilityshows the kind of standards of public officers that are woven into the
fabric of our legal system. Public office is a public trust, which embodies a set of
standards such as responsibility, integrity and efficiency. Reality may depart from these
standards, but our society has consciously embedded them in our laws, so that they
may be demanded and enforced as legal principles. This Court, in the exercise of its
administrative jurisdiction, should articulate and apply these principles to its own
personnel, as a way of bridging actual reality to the norms we envision for our public
service. The Supreme Court exercised its administrative jurisdiction despite respondent
Kasilag’s resignation, more than two years after he was directed to file his Comment.
The resignation of a public servant does not preclude the finding of any administrative
liability to which he or she shall still be answerable. Even if the most severe of
administrative sanctions— that of separation from service — may no longer be
imposed, there are other penalties which may be imposed namely, the disqualification
to hold any government office and the forfeiture of benefits. There are no mitigating
circumstances for respondent Kasilag. Dishonesty and the act of falsifying detract from
the notion of public accountability, as implemented by our laws. We apply the law as it is
written. Office of the Court Administrator vs. Jaime Kasilag, Sheriff IV, Regionatl Trial
Court, Branch 27, Manila. A.M. No. P-082573, June 19, 2012.

Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

Court Personnel; gross insubordination. Respondent failed to explain why, despite her
receipt of the Notices, she did not comply with the directives of this Court to submit her
comment. The records show that the OCA had sent notices to her at RTC–Branch 93 of
San Pedro, Laguna, where she is the branch sheriff. While she apologized to this Court
for her failure to submit her comment, she did not explain the reasons for her non-
submission thereof and only averred that it was the first time she learned of the
Complaint against her. The OCA did not find her explanation satisfactory, because she
did submit her Comment, but only after a Show-Cause Order had been issued to her–
and almost a year after the first directive requiring her to file the Comment.
Respondent’s prolonged and repeated refusal to comply with the directives of the
Supreme Court constituted willful disrespect of its lawful orders, as well as those of the
OCA. Respondent committed the infraction twice, yet failed to fully explain the
circumstances that led to the repeated omissions. Hence, there no reason to overturn or
mitigate the penalty recommended by the OCA. Ricardo Dela Cruz et al., vs. Ma. Gross
insubordination is the indifference of a respondent to an administrative complaint and to
resolutions requiring a comment thereon. The offense is deemed punishable, because
every employee in the judiciary should not only be an example of integrity, uprightness,
and honesty; more than anyone else, they are bound to manifest utmost respect and
obedience to their superiors’ orders and instructions.Ricardo Dela Cruz et al., vs. Ma.
Consuelo Jole A. Fajardo, Sheriff IV, RTC, Br. 93, San Pedro, Laguna. A.M. No. P-
123064, June 18, 2012. Court personnel; gross misconduct and dishonesty. The Code
of Conduct for Court Personnel stresses that employees of the judiciary serve as
sentinels of justice, and any act of impropriety on their part immeasurably affects the
honor and dignity of the Judiciary and the people’s confidence in it. No other office in
the government service exacts a greater demand for moral righteousness and
uprightness from an employee than in the Judiciary. Thus, the failure of judicial
employees to live up to their avowed duty constitutes a transgression of the trust
reposed in them as court officers and inevitably leads to the exercise of disciplinary
authority. By these standards, respondent was found wanting, as she never denied the
allegations that she had stolen and encashed the ₱30,000 check payable to Judge
Rojas. She did not even refute the allegations of Dauz and Corpuz that she
misrepresented to both of them that she had authority to encash the check. Worse,
neither did she ever deny the allegations pertaining to her previous acts of stealing from
and paying off her obligations to other trial court judges. She has virtually admitted her
wrongdoing. Whether or not respondent has fully settled her obligation to Judge Rojas,
and to the other trial court judges for that matter, will not exonerate her from any
administrative wrongdoing. This Court in Villaseñor v. De Leon has emphasized that full
payment of an obligation does not discharge the administrative liability, because
disciplinary actions involve not purely private matters, but acts unbecoming of a public
employee. The Court ruled Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

that respondent’s admitted acts of pocketing checks and later encashing them for her
benefit constitute grave misconduct. The Court has defined grave misconduct as
follows: Misconduct is a transgression of some established and definite rule of action,
more particularly, unlawful behavior or gross negligence by a public officer; and the
misconduct is grave if it involves any of the additional elements of corruption, such as
willful intent to violate the law or to disregard established rules, which must be
established by substantial evidence. Furthermore, stealing the checks and encashing
them are considered acts of gross dishonesty. Dishonesty is defined as a disposition to
lie, cheat, deceive or defraud; untrustworthiness; lack of integrity; lack of honesty,
probity or integrity in principle; lack of fairness and straightforwardness; disposition to
defraud, deceive or betray. The image of a court of justice is mirrored in the conduct,
official or otherwise, of the personnel who work therein. Court employees are enjoined
to adhere to the exacting standards of morality and decency in their professional and
private conduct in order to preserve the good name and integrity of the court of justice.
Both gross misconduct and dishonesty are grave offenses that are punishable by
dismissal even for the first offense. Penalties include forfeiture of retirement benefits,
except accrued leave credits, and perpetual disqualification from reemployment in
government service. The mere expedient of resigning from the service will not extricate
a court employee from the consequences of his or her acts. The Court has often ruled
that resignation should not be used either as an escape or as an easy way out to evade
an administrative liability or an administrative sanction. Thus, respondent was still held
administratively liable for gross misconduct and dishonesty.Her resignation, however,
would affect the penalties the Court may impose. The penalty of dismissal arising from
the offense was rendered moot by virtue of her resignation. Thus, the recommendation
of the OCA is appropriate under the circumstances. The Court imposed upon
respondent the penalty of a fine in the amount of ₱40,000 with forfeiture of all benefits
due her, except accrued leave credits, if any. The ₱40,000 fine shall be deducted from
any such accrued leave credits, with respondent to be personally held liable for any
deficiency that is directly payable to the Court. She was further declared disqualified
from any future government service. The Court emphasized that all court employees,
being public servants in an office dispensing justice, must always act with a high degree
of professionalism and responsibility. Their conduct must not only be characterized by
propriety and decorum, but must also be in accordance with the law and court
regulations. To maintain the people’s respect and faith in the judiciary, court employees
should be models of uprightness, fairness and honesty. They should avoid any act or
conduct that would diminish public trust and confidence in the courts. Executive Judge
Melanio C. Rojas, Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

Jr. RTC Branch 25, Tagudin, Ilocos Sur vs. Ana Marivic L. Mina, Clerk III, RTC, Bracnh
25, Tagudin Ilocos Sur. A.M. No. P-10-2867, June 19, 2012 Court personnel;
misconduct defined. In Arcenio v. Pagorogon, the Court defined misconduct as a
transgression of some established and definite rule of action, more particularly, unlawful
behavior or gross negligence by the public officer. As differentiated from simple
misconduct, in grave misconduct the elements of corruption, clear intent to violate the
law or flagrant disregard of established rule, must be manifest. The misconduct is grave
if it involves any of the additional elements of corruption, willful intent to violate the law,
or to disregard established rules, which must be established by substantial evidence. In
this case, respondent was a mere Utility Worker who had no authority to take custody of
the office attendance logbook, the DTRs of his office mates, let alone case records. Yet,
respondent, taking advantage of his position as a Utility Worker and the access to the
court records and documents which such position afforded him, repeatedly wrought
havoc on the proper administration of justice by taking case records outside of the
court’s premises and preoccupying his office mates with the time-consuming task of
locating documents. Without doubt his actions constitute grave misconduct which merits
the penalty of dismissal. However, in view of his resignation, the Court found it proper to
instead impose on respondent the penalty of fine in the amount of P10,000 with
forfeiture of benefits except accrued leave credits, if any, and with prejudice to
reemployment in any branch or instrumentality of the government, including
government-owned or controlled corporations. This of course is without prejudice to any
criminal liability he may have already incurred. As regards the 68 missing court records
to date have not yet been found, the Court deemed it proper to order complainant to
explain why she should not be disciplinarily dealt with in view of the apparent failure on
her part to exercise due care in the custody of the said case records. Our courts of
justice, regarded by the public as their haven for truth and justice, cannot afford and
does not have the luxury of offering excuses to litigants for negligence in its role of
safekeeping and preserving the records of cases pending before it. The consequences
of such failure or negligence, if there be any, are simply too damaging not just for the
parties involved but worse, for our court system as a whole. Clerk of Court Arlyn A.
Hermano vs. Edwin D. Cardeno, Utility worker I, Municipal Trial Court, Cabuyao,
Laguna. A.M. No. P-12-3036, June 20, 2012. Court Personnel; Procedure in the service
and execution of court writs and processes. There was a valid substituted service of
summons in this case. As a rule, personal service of summons is preferred as against
substituted service and substituted service can only be resorted to by the process
server if personal service cannot be made promptly. Most importantly, the proof of
substituted service of summons must (a) indicate the impossibility of service of
summons within a reasonable time; (b) specify the efforts exerted to locate the
defendant; and (c) state that the summons was served upon a person of sufficient age
and discretion who is residing in the address, or who Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE
Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

is in charge of the office or regular place of business, of the defendant. It is likewise


required that the pertinent facts proving these circumstances be stated in the proof of
service or in the officer’s return. Based on the records, Sheriff Villar exhausted efforts to
personally serve the summons to Spouses Tiu as indicated in his Sheriff’s Return of
Summons. When it was apparent that the summons could not be served personally on
the spouses, Sheriff Villar served the summons through Bauco, their employee, at the
office address of the couple’s business. It was evident that Bauco was competent and of
sufficient age to receive the summons on their behalf as she represented herself to be
their General Manager and Caretaker. The Sheriff also complied with the requirement of
prior coordination as mandated in Administrative Circular No. 12 which lays down the
guidelines and procedure in the service and execution of court writs and processes in
the reorganized courts. Documentary evidence indeed discloses that Sheriff Villar of
Pasay City coordinated with the Sheriff of Pasig City before he implemented the writ of
preliminary attachment. In the Certification, the Clerk of Court of Pasig City attested to
the fact that Sheriff Villar formally coordinated with their office in connection with the
implementation of the writ of attachment. Attached to said certification is a certified true
copy of Sheriff Villar’s request for coordination on which the word “received” was
stamped by the Office of the Clerk of Court and Ex-officio Sheriff, RTC Pasig City. By
law, sheriffs are obligated to maintain possession of the seized properties absent any
instruction to the contrary. In this case, the writ of preliminary attachment authorizing the
trial court to legally hold the attached items was set aside by the RTC Order dated July
8, 2010 specifically ordering Sheriff Villar to immediately release the seized items to
Spouses Tiu. The instruction of the trial court was clear and simple. Sheriff Villar was to
return the seized properties to Spouses Tiu. He should have followed the court’s order
immediately. He had no discretion to wait for the finality of the court’s order of dismissal
before discharging the order of attachment. Nevertheless, Sheriff Villar showed no
deliberate defiance of, or disobedience to, the court’s order of release. Records show
that he took the proper step under the circumstances and filed with the trial court his
Sheriff’s Report with Urgent Prayer for the Issuance of a Clarificatory Order. There was
nothing amiss in consulting the judge before taking action on a matter of which he is not
an expert. Spouses Rainier Tiu and Jennifer Tiu vs. Virgilio Villar, Sheriff IV, RTC, OCC
Pasay City. A.M. No. P-11-2986, June 13, 2012 Judge; delay in rendering decisions.
Judges are continuously reminded to resolve cases with dispatch to avoid any delay in
the administration of justice. Thus, under Section 9 (1), Rule 140 of the Rules of Court,
undue delay in rendering a decision or order is considered a less serious charge. The
Supreme Court ruled that the prudent course of action would have been for Judge Asis
to request an extension for acting on Civil Case No. 05-35013 Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr.
PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

instead of disposing the case only after being prompted to file a comment on the
present Complaint. The Court nevertheless deemed it proper to reduce the fine,
considering the existence of factors that mitigated the commission of the offense,
namely: (a) this is his first infraction, and (b) his delay in the disposition of the case
resulted from his serious medical conditions. Leticia Jacinto vs. Judge Josephus
Joannes H. Asis, MeTC, Br. 40, Quezon City A.M. No. MTJ-12-1811, June 13, 2012
Judge; delay in rendering decision. Section 15(1), Article VIII of the Constitution,
mandates that cases or matters filed with the lower courts must be decided or resolved
withinthree months from the date they are submitted for decision or resolution. With
respect to cases falling under the Rule on Summary Procedure, first level courts are
only allowed 30 days following the receipt of the last affidavit and position paper, or the
expiration of the period for filing the same, within which to render judgment. As a
general principle, rules prescribing the time within which certain acts must be done, or
certain proceedings taken, are considered absolutely indispensable to the prevention of
needless delays and the orderly and speedy discharge of judicial business. By their very
nature, these rules are regarded as mandatory. Judges are oft-reminded of their duty to
promptly act upon cases and matters pending before their courts. Rule 3.05, Canon 3 of
the Code of Judicial Conduct, directs judges to dispose of the court’s business promptly
and decide cases within the required periods. Canons 6 and 7 of the Canons of Judicial
Ethics further exhort judges to be prompt and punctual in the disposition and resolution
of cases and matters pending before their courts. In addition, Administrative Circular
No. 1 dated January 28, 1988 once more reminds all magistrates to observe
scrupulously the periods prescribed in Section 15, Article VIII of the Constitution, and to
act promptly on all motions and interlocutory matters pending before their courts.
Prompt disposition of cases is attained basically through the efficiency and dedication to
duty of judges. If they do not possess those traits, delay in the disposition of cases is
inevitable to the prejudice of litigants. Accordingly, judges should be imbued with a high
sense of duty and responsibility in the discharge of their obligation to promptly
administer justice. Unfortunately, respondent failed to live up to the exacting standards
of duty and responsibility that her position requires. The case was submitted for
resolution on July 19, 2006, yet it was still pending when complainant filed the present
administrative complaint on June 4, 2010, and remained unresolved per complainant’s
manifestation filed on September 8, 2010. More than four years after being submitted
for resolution, the case was still awaiting decision by respondent. Respondent
irrefragably failed to decide the case within the 30-day period prescribed by the Revised
Rule on Summary Procedure. This action is contrary to the rationale behind the Rule on
Summary Procedure, which was precisely adopted to promote a more expeditious and
inexpensive determination of cases, and to enforce the constitutional rights of litigants to
the speedy disposition of cases. Indeed, Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y.
2015-2016

respondent even failed to decide the case within the three-month period mandated in
general by the Constitution for lower courts to decide or resolve cases. Records do not
show that respondent made any previous attempt to report and request for extension of
time to resolve the case. Section 9, Rule 140 of the Rules of Court, as amended by
A.M. No. 01-8-10SC, classifies undue delay in rendering a decision as a less serious
charge for which the penalty is suspension from office without salary and other benefits
for one month to three months, or a fine of P10,000.00 to P20,000.00. Given that
respondent had been previously dismissed from the service, the penalty of suspension
is already inapplicable. Instead, the Court imposed upon respondent, for her undue
delay in resolving the case, a fine in the maximum amount of P20,000.00, to be
deducted from her accrued leave credits Fe Valdez vs. Judge Lizabeth Gutierrez-
Torres, Metropolitan Trial Court, Branch 60, Mandaluyong City. A.M. No. MTJ-11-1796,
June 13, 2012. Judge; gross abuse of authority and gross ignorance. In this case, the
contempt charge was commenced not through a verified petition, but by Judge Belen
motu proprio through the issuance of an order requiring State Prosecutor Comilang to
show cause why he should not be cited for indirect contempt. As such, the requirements
of the rules that the verified petition for contempt be docketed, heard and decided
separately or consolidated with the principal action find no application. Consequently,
Judge Belen was justified in not directing the contempt charge against State Prosecutor
Comilang to be docketed separately or consolidated with the principal action. However,
Judge Belen blatantly violated the injunctive writ issued by the CA enjoining the
implementation of his May 30, 2005 Order and December 12, 2005 Decision in CA-G.R.
SP No. 94069. As pointed out by the OCA, the CA’s disquisition is clear and categorical.
In complete disobedience to the said Resolution, however, Judge Belen proceeded to
issue (1) the Order requiring State Prosecutor Comilang to explain his refusal to file the
supersedeas bond and to require his presence in court on September 26, 2007, as well
as to explain why he should not be cited for indirect contempt; (2) the September 26,
2007 Order seeking State Prosecutor Comilang’s explanation for his defiance of the
subpoena requiring his presence at the hearing of even date, and directing, once again,
his attendance at the next hearing on October 1, 2007 and to explain once more why he
should not be cited for indirect contempt; and (3) the October 1, 2007 Order finding
State Prosecutor Comilang guilty of indirect contempt and sentencing him to pay a fine
of P30,000.00 and to suffer two days’ imprisonment. In requiring State Prosecutor
Comilang to explain his nonfiling of a supersedeas bond, in issuing subpoenas to
compel his attendance before court hearings relative to the contempt proceedings, and
finally, in finding him guilty of indirect contempt for his non-compliance with the issued
subpoenas, Judge Belen effectively defeated the status quo which the writ of
preliminary injunction aimed to preserve. State Prosecutors II Josef Albert T.

Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

Judges are expected to exhibit more than just a cursory acquaintance with statutes and
procedural laws. They must know the laws and apply them properly in good faith as
judicial competence requires no less. Moreover, refusal to honor an injunctive order of a
higher court constitutes contempt, as in this case, where Judge Belen, in
contumaciously defying the injunctive order issued by the CA, was found guilty of
indirect contempt. Judge Belen’s actuations cannot be considered as mere errors of
judgment that can be easily brushed aside. Obstinate disregard of basic and
established rule of law or procedure amounts to inexcusable abuse of authority and
gross ignorance of the law. Likewise, citing State Prosecutor Comilang for indirect
contempt notwithstanding the effectivity of the CA-issued writ of injunction demonstrated
his vexatious attitude and bad faith towards the former, for which he must be held
accountable and subjected to disciplinary action. Our conception of good judges has
been, and is, of men who have a mastery of the principles of law, who discharge their
duties in accordance with law. Hence considering the foregoing disquisitions and Judge
Belen’s previous infractions, which are all of serious nature and for which he had been
severely warned, the Court adopted the recommendation of the OCA to mete the
ultimate penalty of dismissal against Judge Belen for grave abuse of authority and gross
ignorance of the law. The Court can no longer afford to be lenient in this case, lest it
give the public the impression that incompetence and repeated offenders are tolerated
in the judiciary. State Prosecutors II Josef Albert T. Comilang and Ms. Victoria Sunega-
Lagman vs. Judge Medel Arnaldo B. Belen, RTC, Branch 36, Calamba City. A.M. No.
RTJ10-2216, June 26, 2012. Judge; gross ignorance of the law. Not all administrative
complaints against judges merit a corresponding penalty. In the absence of fraud,
dishonesty or corruption, the acts of a judge in his judicial capacity are not subject to
disciplinary action. The remedy of the complainants in this case is judicial in nature.
Hence, the denial of their motion for reconsideration of the Supreme Court’s Resolution
dismissing the administrative case against Judge Lubao is in order. The records would
show that Judge Lubao had been very careful in his actions on the case, as his branch
clerk of court even wrote the Post Office of General Santos City asking for certification
as to when the Order, sent under Registry Receipt, was received by the defendants.
There was no evidence that Judge Lubao acted arbitrarily or in bad faith. Further, Judge
Lubao could not be faulted for trying to give all the parties an opportunity to be heard
considering that the records of the case would show that the court a quo summarily
dismissed the case without issuing summons to the defendants. Juvy P. Ciocon-Reer,
et al., vs. Judge Antonio C. Lubao, RTC Br. 22, General Santos City, A.M. OCA IPI No.
09-3210-RTJ, June 20, 2012. Judge; gross ignorance of the law. The respondent
deserves to be sanctioned for gross ignorance of the law. With her inaction on the
petition for contempt, she betrayed her unbecoming lack of familiarity with basic
procedural rules such as what was involved in the contempt proceedings before her
court. Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

She should have known that while the petitioners have the responsibility to move ex
parte to have the case scheduled for preliminary conference, the court (through the
branch clerk of court) has the duty to schedule the case for pre-trial in the event that the
petitioners fail to file the motion. The respondent cannot pass the blame for the lack of
movement in the case to her staff who, she claims, were monitoring the case. As
presiding judge, she should account for the anomaly that since the respondents filed
their answer, the petition for contempt had been gathering dust or had not moved in the
respondent’s court. Clearly, the respondent fell short of the standards of competence
and legal proficiency expected of magistrates of the law in her handling of the petition
for contempt. As in Magpali v. Pardo, she should be fined P10,000.00 for gross
ignorance of the law. It bears stressing that when the law is so elementary, not to know
it or to act as if one does not know it constitutes gross ignorance of the law.” Eladio
D.Perfecto vs. Judge Alma Consuelo Desales-Esideria, A.M. No. RTJ-11-2258, June
20, 2012. Judges; inhibition. Judicial remedies were available to complainant in the
main cases. The allegations in the instant complaint are a mere rehash of the
allegations in complainant’s Urgent Omnibus Motion to Expunge Motion for Clarification
and Recall the Resolution dated November 13, 2002 and the Urgent Motion to Inhibit
and the Resolve Respondent’s Urgent Omnibus Motion filed in the main cases. These
were in fact decided already on October 19, 2011. The Complainant charges Justice
Sereno of unfairly refusing to inhibit herself from taking part in the deliberation in the
main cases notwithstanding that Justice Carpio’s former law office supposedly worked
for her appointment in the Supreme Court. The charge is purely conjectural and the
Court, in its April 17, 2012 per curiam decision in A.C. No. 6332 has already ruled that
the charge has no “extrinsic factual evidence to support it.” Re: Letter-Complaint
Against Hon. Justices Antonio T. Carpio and Maria Loudes P.A Sereno dated
September 16, 2011 filed by Atty. Magdaleno M. Pena, A.M. No. 12-6-11-SC. June 13,
2012. Judges; undue delay in rendering a decision or order. Delay in case disposition is
a major culprit in the erosion of public faith and confidence in the judiciary and the
lowering of its standards. Failure to decide cases within the reglementary period,
without strong and justifiable reasons, constitutes gross inefficiency warranting the
imposition of administrative sanction on the defaulting judge. In this case, the decision
was purportedly issued on 7 April 2011, or more than four months since the last
submission of the parties’ position paper. The pretrial Order was purportedly issued on
26 January 2010, or more than three months since the pretrial. Section 8 of the Rules
on Summary Procedure provides that within five days after the termination of the
preliminary conference, the court shall issue an order stating the matters taken up
therein. Further, paragraph 8, Title I(A) of A.M. No. 03-1-09-SC, entitled “Guidelines to
be Observed by Trial Court Judges and Clerks of Court in the Conduct of PreAtty. GIL
P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

Trial and Use of Deposition-Discovery Measures,” mandates that a judge must issue a
pretrial order within 10 days after the termination of the pretrial. Since the ejectment
case fell under the Rules on Summary Procedure, respondent judge should have
handled it with promptness and haste. The reason for the adoption of those Rules is
precisely to prevent undue delays in the disposition of cases, an offense for which
respondent judge may be held administratively liable. Section 9, Rule 140 of the Rules
of Court classifies undue delay in rendering a decision or order as a less serious
charge, which under Section 1(b) of the same Rule is punishable with suspension from
office, without salary and other benefits, for not less than one (1) nor more than three
(3) months; or a fine of more than ₱10,000, but not exceeding ₱20,000. Considering
that the instant administrative charge is only the third against respondent judge (the first
has been dismissed, while the second is still pending), and considering his relatively
long tenure in the judiciary starting in 1997, he may be reasonably meted out a penalty
of ₱5,000 for being administratively liable for undue delay in rendering a decision. Pilar
S. Tanoco vs. Judge Inocencio B. Saguin, Jr. MTCC Br. 3, Cabanatuan City. A.M. No.
MTJ-12-1812. June 20, 2012. Judge; unreasonable delay in the disposition of cases.
Judges have the sworn duty to administer justice without undue delay, for justice
delayed is justice denied. They have always been exhorted to observe strict adherence
to the rule on speedy disposition of cases, as delay in case disposition is a major culprit
in the erosion of public faith and confidence in the judicial system. Under the 1987
Constitution, trial judges are mandated to decide and resolve cases within 90 days from
submission. Corollary to this constitutional mandate, Section 5, Canon 6 of the New
Code of Judicial Conduct for the Philippine Judiciary requires judges to perform all
judicial duties efficiently, fairly, and with reasonable promptness. In Office of the Court
Administrator v. Javellana, the Court held that a judge cannot choose his deadline for
deciding cases pending before him. Without an extension granted by the Court, the
failure to decide even a single case within the required period constitutes gross
inefficiency that merits administrative sanction. If a judge is unable to comply with the
period for deciding cases or matters, he can, for good reasons, ask for an extension. An
inexcusable failure to decide a case within the prescribed 90-day period constitutes
gross inefficiency, warranting the imposition of administrative sanctions such as
suspension from office without pay or fine on the defaulting judge. The fines imposed
vary in each case, depending chiefly on the number of cases not decided within the
reglementary period and other factors, such as the presence of aggravating or
mitigating circumstances, the damage suffered by the parties as a result of the delay,
the health and age of the judge, and other analogous circumstances. In this case,
records are bereft of showing that Judge Buenavista sought for an extension of time to
decide and resolve most of the cases pending before him, save only for one instance.
Having therefore failed to decide cases and resolve incidents within the required period
constituted gross inefficiency, Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-
2016

warranting the imposition of a fine of P10,000.00 which the Court finds reasonable
under the circumstances. Re: Report of the Judicial Audit Conducted in the Regional
trial Court, Branches 72 and 22, Narvacan Ilocos Sur. A.M. No. 06-9-525-RTC, June 13,
2012. Public Officials; SALNs. While no prohibition could stand against access to official
records, such as the SALN, the same is undoubtedly subject to regulation. Section 8 (c)
and (d) of R.A. No. 6713 provides for the limitation and prohibition on the regulated
access to SALNs of government officials and employees as well as the Implementing
Rules and Regulations of R.A. No. 6713. The power to regulate the access by the public
to these documents stems from the inherent power of the Court, as custodian of these
personal documents, to control its very office to the end that damage to, or loss of, the
records may be avoided; that undue interference with the duties of the custodian of the
books and documents and other employees may be prevented; and that the right of
other persons entitled to make inspection may be insured. In this connection, Section 11
of the R.A 6173 provides for the penalties in case there should be a misuse of the SALN
and the information contained therein. The Court found no reason to deny the public
access to the SALN, PDS and CV of the Justices of the Court and other magistrates of
the Judiciary subject, of course, to the limitations and prohibitions provided in R.A. No.
6713, its implementing rules and regulations, and in the guidelines set forth in the
decretal portion. The Court noted the valid concerns of the other magistrates regarding
the possible illicit motives of some individuals in their requests for access to such
personal information and their publication. However, custodians of public documents
must not concern themselves with the motives, reasons and objects of the persons
seeking access to the records. The moral or material injury which their misuse might
inflict on others is the requestor’s responsibility and lookout. Any publication is made
subject to the consequences of the law. While public officers in the custody or control of
public records have the discretion to regulate the manner in which records may be
inspected, examined or copied by interested persons, such discretion does not carry
with it the authority to prohibit access, inspection, examination, or copying of the
records. After all, public office is a public trust. Public officers and employees must, at
all times, be accountable to the people, serve them with utmost responsibility, integrity,
loyalty, and efficiency, act with patriotism and justice, and lead modest lives. The
Supreme Court also provided the following guidelines: 1. All requests shall be filed with
the Office of the Clerk of Court of the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals, the
Sandiganbayan, the Court of Tax Appeals; for the lower courts, with the Office of the
Court Administrator; and for attached agencies, with their respective heads of offices. 2.
Requests shall cover only copies of the latest SALN, PDS and CV of the members,
officials and employees of the Judiciary, and may cover only Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr.
PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

previous records if so specifically requested and considered as justified, as determined


by the officials mentioned in par. 1 above, under the terms of these guidelines and the
Implementing Rules and Regulations of R.A. No. 6713. 3. In the case of requests for
copies of SALN of the Justices of the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals, the
Sandiganbayan and the Court of Tax Appeals, the authority to disclose shall be made
by the Court En Banc. 4. Every request shall explain the requesting party’s specific
purpose and their individual interests sought to be served; shall state the commitment
that the request shall only be for the stated purpose; and shall be submitted in a duly
accomplished request form secured from the SC website. The use of the information
secured shall only be for the stated purpose. 5. In the case of requesting individuals
other than members of the media, their interests should go beyond pure or mere
curiosity. 6. In the case of the members of the media, the request shall additionally be
supported by proof under oath of their media affiliation and by a similar certification of
the accreditation of their respective organizations as legitimate media practitioners. 7.
The requesting party, whether as individuals or as members of the media, must have no
derogatory record of having misused any requested information previously furnished to
them. Re: Request for copy of 2008 Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Networth
[SALN] and Personal Data Sheet or Curriculum Vitae of the Justices of the Supreme
Court and Officers and Employees of the Judiciary/ Re; Request of the Philippine
Center for Investigative Journalism [PCIJ] for the 2008 Statement of Assets, Liabilities
and Networth [SALN] and Personal Data Sheets of the Court of Appeals Justices, A.M.
No. 09-8-6-SC/A.M. No. 09-8-07-CA. June 13, 2012. Retirement under R.A 910;
Retirement vs. Resignation. Resignation and retirement are two distinct concepts
carrying different meanings and legal consequences in our jurisdiction. While an
employee can resign at any time, retirement entails the compliance with certain age and
service requirements specified by law and jurisprudence. Resignation stems from the
employee’s own intent and volition to resign and relinquish his/her post. Retirement
takes effect by operation of law. In terms of severance to one’s employment, resignation
absolutely cuts-off the employment relationship in general; in retirement, the
employment relationship endures for the purpose of the grant of retirement benefits. RA
No. 910, as amended allows the grant of retirement benefits to a justice or judge who
has either retired from judicial service or resigned from judicial office. In case of
retirement, a justice or judge must show compliance with the age and service
requirements as provided in RA No. 910, as amended. The second sentence of Section
1 imposes the following minimum requirements for optional retirement: (a) must have
attained the age of sixty (60) years old; and Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor,
S.Y. 2015-2016

(b) must have rendered at least fifteen (15) years service in the Government, the last
three (3) of which shall have been continuously rendered in the Judiciary. Strict
compliance with the age and service requirements under the law is the rule and the
grant of exception remains to be on a case to case basis. The Court allows seeming
exceptions to these fixed rules for certain judges and justices only and whenever there
are ample reasons to grant such exception. On the other hand, resignation under RA
No. 910, as amended must be by reason of incapacity to discharge the duties of the
office. In Britanico, it was held that the resignation contemplated under RA No. 910, as
amended must have the element of involuntariness on the part of the justice or judge.
More than physical or mental disability to discharge the judicial office, the
involuntariness must spring from the intent of the justice or judge who would not have
parted with his/her judicial employment were it not for the presence of circumstances
and/or factors beyond his/her control. In either of the two instances above-mentioned,
Judge Macarambon’s case does not render him eligible to retire under RA No. 910,as
amended. First, Judge Macarambon failed to satisfy the age requirement since he was
less than 60 years of age when he resigned from his judicial office before transferring to
the COMELEC. Likewise, he failed to satisfy the service requirement not having been in
continuous service with the Judiciary for three (3) years prior to his retirement. Second,
Judge Macarambon’s resignation was not by reason of incapacity to discharge the
duties of the office. His separation from judicial employment was of his own accord and
volition. Thus, the ruling in Britanico cannot be properly applied to his case since his
resignation was voluntary. Third, there are no exceptional reasons to justify Judge
Macarambon’s request. Judge Macarambon failed to present similar circumstances, i.e.,
the presence of available and sufficient accumulated leave credits which we may tack in
to comply with the age requirement. A verification from the Leave Division, OCA shows
that at the time he left the Court Judge Macarambon only had 514 vacation leaves and
79 sick leaves which are insufficient to cover the gap in the age of retirement. Moreover,
these accumulated leave credits were all forwarded to the COMELEC upon his transfer.
Finally, unlike in Britanico, the nature of his separation from his judicial office was
voluntary. However, although Judge Macarambon is not qualified to retire under RA No.
910, as amended, he may retire under RA No. 1616 based on the documents he had
presented before the Court which meets the age and service requirements under the
said law. Re: Application for Retirement of Judge Moslemen Macarambon under
Republic Act No. 910, as amended by Republic Act No. 9946, A.M. No. 14061-RET,
June 19, 2012. Attorney; Notarization; Importance. An administrative case was filed
against Atty. Rinen for falsification of an Extra Judicial Partition with Sale which allowed
the transfer to Spouses Durante of a parcel of land. In Bautista v. Atty. GIL P. VILORIA,
Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

Atty. Bernabe, the Court held that “[a] notary public should not notarize a document
unless the persons who signed the same are the very same persons who executed and
personally appeared before him to attest to the contents and truth of what are stated
therein. The presence of the parties to the deed will enable the notary public to verify
the genuineness of the signature of the affiant.” Notarization is not an empty,
meaningless, routinary act. It is invested with substantive public interest, such that only
those who are qualified or authorized may act as notaries public. It converts a private
document into a public one, making it admissible in court without further proof of its
authenticity. Thus, notaries public must observe with utmost care the basic
requirements in the performance of their duties. Otherwise, the confidence of the public
in the integrity of public instruments would be undermined. In this case, Atty. Rinen did
not deny his failure to personally verify the identity of all parties who purportedly signed
the subject document and whom, as he claimed, appeared before him on April 7, 1994.
Such failure was further shown by the fact that the pertinent details of the community
tax certificates of Wilberto and his sister, as proof of their identity, remained unspecified
in the deed’s acknowledgment portion. Clearly, there was a failure on the part of Atty.
Rinen to exercise the due diligence that was required of him as a notary public ex–
officio. Thus, Atty. Rinen’s notarial commission as revoked and he was disqualified from
being commissioned as a notary public for one year. Wilberto C. Talisic v. Atty. Primo R.
Rinen, A.C. No. 8761, February 12, 2014. Attorney; Notarization not an empty act.
Complainant charged Atty. Gupana of forgeries and falsifications in the notarization of
certain documents. The Supreme Court found Atty. Gupana administratively liable
under Section 1 of Public Act No. 2103, otherwise known as the Notarial Law, for
violation of his notarial duties when he failed to require the personal presence of
Candelaria Magpayo when he notarized the Affidavit of Loss which Candelaria allegedly
executed on April 29, 1994. Under the law, the party acknowledging must appear before
the notary public or any other person authorized to take acknowledgments of
instruments or documents. In this case, the jurat of the Affidavit of Loss stated that
Candelaria subscribed to the affidavit before Atty. Gupana on April 29, 1994, at
Mandaue City. Candelaria, however, was already dead since March 26, 1991. Hence, it
is clear that the jurat was made in violation of the notarial law. The notarization of a
document is not an empty act or routine. A notary public’s function should not be
trivialized and a notary public must discharge his powers and duties which are
impressed with public interest, with accuracy and fidelity. As a lawyer commissioned as
notary public, Atty. Gupana is mandated to subscribe to the sacred duties appertaining
to his office, such duties being dictated by public policy impressed with public interest.
Thus, the Supreme Court held that Atty. Gupana’s revocation of his notarial
commission, disqualification from being commissioned as a notary public for a period of
two years and suspension Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

from the practice of law for one year are in order. Carlito Ang v. Atty. James Joseph
Gupana, A.C. No. 4545. February 5, 2014. Court Personnel; Dishonesty and Conduct
Prejudicial to the Best Interest of Service. An administrative complaint was filed against
Salamanca, Clerk III of a Metropolitan Trial Court for unauthorized/unexplained
absences and other infractions: (1) failure to account for and turn over the partial
settlement amount of a civil obligation; and (2) failure to account for and turn over the
payment for legal fees she received in a case. The Supreme Court held that the acts of
Salamanca constitute dishonesty and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the
service. Dishonesty is defined as a disposition to lie, cheat, deceive, or defraud. It
implies untrustworthiness, lack of integrity, lack of honesty, probity or integrity in
principle on the part of the individual who failed to exercise fairness and
straightforwardness in his or her dealings. Conduct prejudicial to the best interest of
service, on the other hand, pertains to any conduct that is detrimental or derogatory or
naturally or probably bringing about a wrong result; it refers to acts or omissions that
violate the norm of public accountability and diminish – or tend to diminish – the
people’s faith in the Judiciary. However, Salamanca’s dishonesty does not consist of
her failure to remit court funds because the money she received from the litigants did
not acquire the status of court funds as no official receipt therefor was issued by her.
While Salamanca’s complained acts involved technically private money, the deceit she
pulled off disrupted the public’s faith in the integrity of the judiciary and its personnel.
Her conduct tarnished the image and integrity of her public office and violated the Code
of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees, Section 4(c)
which commands that public officials and employees shall at all times respect the rights
of others, and shall refrain from doing acts contrary to public safety and public interest.
Executive Judge Ma. Ofelia S. Contreras-Soriano v. Clerk III Liza D. Salamanca,
Metropolitan Trial Court, Branch 55, Malabon City, A.M. No. P-133119. February 10,
2014. Court Personnel; Duty to Submit Statements of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth
(SALN). Sheriff Collado was charged with failing to disclose in her SALN for the years
2004 and 2005 certain time deposits, among others. The Supreme Court cited Section 8
of RA 6713 which requires all public officials and employees to accomplish and submit
declarations under oath of their assets and liabilities. The requirement of SALN
submission is aimed at curtailing and minimizing the opportunities for official corruption,
as well as at maintaining a standard of honesty in the public service. With such
disclosure, the public would, to a reasonable extent, be able to monitor the affluence of
public officials, and, in such manner, provides a check and balance mechanism to verify
their undisclosed properties and/or sources of income. Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE
Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

The Supreme Court held that based on Section 8 of RA 6713, “all other assets such as
investments, cash on hand or in banks, stocks, bonds, and the like”, should be declared
by the public official in his or her SALN. In this case, however, it was established that
she only declared the original amount of her time deposits in her SALN for the years
2004 and 2005, and did not disclose the interests which had eventually accrued on the
same. Accordingly, Collado fell short of the legal requirement stated under Section 8 of
RA 6713 and thus should be held administratively liable for said infraction. Angelito R.
Marquez, et al. v. Judge Venancio M. Ovejera, etc., et al., A.M. No. P-11-2903,
February 5, 2014. Court Personnel; Grave Misconduct. A complaint was filed against
Susbilla-De Vera for soliciting money to supposedly facilitate a legal proceeding in
court. The court held Susbilla-De Vera guilty of the most serious administrative offense
of grave misconduct. To deserve the trust and confidence of the people, Susbilla-De
Vera was expected to have her dealings with the public to be always sincere and above
board. She should not lead others to believe that despite her status as a minor court
employee she had the capacity to influence the outcomes of judicial matters. Her acts
did not live up to the expectation, for the records unquestionably showed how she had
deliberately and fraudulently misrepresented her ability to assist the complainant in the
adoption of her niece and nephew. Section 2, Canon 1 of the Code of Conduct for Court
Personnel has enjoined all court personnel from soliciting or accepting any gift, favor or
benefit based on any or explicit understanding that such gift, favor or benefit shall
influence their official actions. The Court thus warranted her dismissal from service.
Veronica F. Galindez v. Zosima Susbilla-De Vera, A.M. No. P-13-3126, February 4,
2014. Court Personnel; Grave Misconduct. An administrative case was filed against
respondents who are employees of the Court of Appeals for “transacting” with party–
litigants with a pending case before the Court of Appeals. The Supreme Court held that
the court personnel’s act of soliciting or receiving money from litigants constitutes grave
misconduct. The sole act of receiving money from litigants, whatever the reason may
be, is antithesis to being a court employee. The Code of Conduct for Court Personnel
requires that court personnel avoid conflicts of interest in performing official duties. It
mandates that court personnel should not receive tips or other remunerations for
assisting or attending to parties engaged in transactions or involved in actions or
proceedings with the judiciary. Further, court personnel cannot take advantage of the
vulnerability of party–litigants. In this case, respondents were found guilty of grave
misconduct and thus, dismissed from service with forfeiture of retirement benefits and
perpetual disqualification from holding public office in any branch or instrumentality of
the government, including government–owned or controlled corporations. Anacleto O.
Villahermosa, Sr., et al. v. Victor Sacia, Executive Assistant IV and Efren R. Rivamonte,
etc., A.M. No. CA-14-28-P, February 11, 2014. Judge; Notarization; Prohibition. An
administrative complaint was filed against Judge Rojo for notarizing affidavits of
cohabitation of parties whose Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-
2016

marriage he solemnized, in violation of Circular No. 1–90 dated February 26, 1990.
Circular No. 1–90 allows municipal trial court judges to act as notaries public ex officio
and notarize documents only if connected with their official functions and duties. The
Supreme Court held Judge Rojo guilty of violating the New Code of Judicial Conduct
and Circular No. 1–90, and of gross ignorance of the law. Judge Rojo notarized
affidavits of cohabitation, which were documents not connected with the exercise of his
official functions and duties as solemnizing officer. He also notarized affidavits of
cohabitation without certifying that lawyers or notaries public were lacking in his court’s
territorial jurisdiction. As a solemnizing officer, the judge’s only duty involving the
affidavit of cohabitation is to examine whether the parties have indeed lived together for
at least five years without legal impediment to marry. The Guidelines does not state that
the judge can notarize the parties’ affidavit of cohabitation. Notarizing affidavits of
cohabitation is inconsistent with the duty to examine the parties’ requirements for
marriage. If the solemnizing officer notarized the affidavit of cohabitation, he cannot
objectively examine and review the affidavit’s statements before performing the
marriage ceremony. Thus, Judge Rojo was suspended for six months from office.Rex
M. Tupal v. Judge Remegio V. Rojo, etc., A.M. No. MTJ-14-1842. February 24, 2014.
Attorney; confidentiality of proceedings against attorneys; exception. Atty. Fortun filed a
petition for contempt against respondents for publicizing the disbarment case against
him in media. Section 18, Rule 139-B of the Rules of Court states that “proceedings
against attorneys shall be private and confidential. However, the final order of the
Supreme Court shall be published like its decisions in other cases.” The purpose of the
rule is not only to enable the Court to make its investigations free from any extraneous
influence or interference, but also to protect the personal and professional reputation of
attorneys and judges from the baseless charges of disgruntled, vindictive, and
irresponsible clients and litigants; it is also to deter the press from publishing
administrative cases or portions thereto without authority. Malicious and unauthorized
publication or verbatim reproduction of administrative complaints against lawyers in
newspapers by editors and/or reporters may be actionable. Such premature publication
constitutes a contempt of court, punishable by either a fine or imprisonment or both at
the discretion of the Court. However, Section 18, Rule 139-B of the Rules of Court is not
a restriction on the freedom of the press. If there is a legitimate public interest, media is
not prohibited from making a fair, true, and accurate news report of a disbarment
complaint. In the absence of a legitimate public interest in a disbarment complaint,
members of the media must preserve the confidentiality of disbarment proceedings
during its pendency. In this case, the filing of a disbarment complaint against Atty.
Fortun is itself a matter of public concern considering that it arose from the
Maguindanao Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

Massacre case. The interest of the public is not on Atty. Fortun himself but primarily on
his involvement and participation as defense counsel in the Maguindanao Massacre
case. Thus, since the disbarment complaint is a matter of public interest, media had a
right to publish such fact under freedom of the press. Philip Sigrid A. Fortun vs. Prima
Jesusa B. Quinsayas, et al., G.R. No. 194578. February 13, 2013.

Attorney; full discharge of duties to client; limitations. Atty. Villarin is expected to


champion the cause of his client with wholehearted fidelity, care, and devotion. This
simply means that his client is entitled to the benefit of any and every remedy and
defense – including the institution of an ejectment case – that is recognized by our
property laws. In Legarda v. Court of Appeals, the court held that in the full discharge of
their duties to the client, lawyers shall not be afraid of the possibility that they may
displease the general public. Nevertheless, the Code of Professional Responsibility
provides the limitation that lawyers shall perform their duty to the client within the
bounds of law. They should only make such defense when they believe it to be honestly
debatable under the law. In this case, Atty. Villarin’s act of issuing demand letters,
moved by the understanding of a void HLURB Decision, is legally sanctioned. If his
theory holds water, the notice to vacate becomes necessary in order to file an action for
ejectment. Hence, he did not resort to any fraud or chicanery prohibited by the Code
just to maintain his client’s disputed ownership over the subdivision lots. However, the
facts show that Atty. Villarin brazenly typified one of the complainants as an illegal
occupant when the final and executory HLURB Decision had already recognized her as
a subdivision lot buyer. Given that he knew such falsity, he thus advances the interest of
his client through means that are not in keeping with fairness and honesty. This is
proscribed by Rule 19.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, which requires that
a lawyer shall employ only fair and honest means to attain lawful objectives. Lawyers
must not present and offer in evidence any document that they know is false. Verleen
Trinidad, Florentina Lander, Wally Casubuan, Minerva Mendoza, Celedonio Alojado, et
al. vs. Atty. Angelito Villarin, A.C. No. 9310. February 27, 2013. Attorney; notarial
practice; necessity of affiant’s personal appearance; nature of notarization; penalties
when a notary public fails to discharge his duties. A notary public should not notarize a
document unless the person who signed the same is the very same person who
executed and personally appeared before him to attest to the contents and the truth of
what are stated therein. Without the personal appearance of the person who actually
executed the document, the notary public would be unable to verify the genuineness of
the signature of the acknowledging party and to ascertain that the document is the
party’s free act or deed. Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

The notarization by a notary public converts a private document into a public document,
making it admissible in evidence without further proof of its authenticity. A notarized
document is, by law, entitled to full faith and credit upon its face. It is for this reason that
a notary public must observe with utmost care the basic requirements in the
performance of his duties; otherwise, the public’s confidence in the integrity of a
notarized document would be undermined Respondent’s failure to perform his duty as a
notary public resulted not only damage to those directly affected by the notarized
document but also in undermining the integrity of a notary public and in degrading the
function of notarization. He should, thus, be held liable for such negligence not only as a
notary public but also as a lawyer. The responsibility to faithfully observe and respect
the legal solemnity of the oath in an acknowledgment or jurat is more pronounced when
the notary public is a lawyer because of his solemn oath under the Code of Professional
Responsibility to obey the laws and to do no falsehood or consent to the doing of any.
Lawyers commissioned as notaries public are mandated to discharge with fidelity the
duties of their offices, such duties being dictated by public policy and impressed with
public interest. Based on existing jurisprudence, when a lawyer commissioned as a
notary public fails to discharge his duties as such, he is meted the penalties of
revocation of his notarial commission, disqualification from being commissioned as a
notary public for a period of two years, and suspension from the practice of law for one
year. Patrocinio V. Agbulos vs. Atty. Roseller A. Viray, A.C. No. 7350. February 18,
2013. Court personnel; discourteous acts. Section 1 of Article XI of the Constitution
states that a public office is a public trust. “It enjoins public officers and employees to
serve with the highest degree of responsibility, integrity, loyalty and efficiency and to, at
all times, remain accountable to the people.” As front liners of the justice system,
sheriffs and deputy sheriffs must always strive to maintain public trust in the
performance of their duties. As agents of the law, they are “called upon to discharge
their duties with due care and utmost diligence because in serving the court’s writs and
processes and implementing the orders of the court, they cannot afford to err without
affecting the integrity of their office and the efficient administration of justice.”

Sheriff Gelbolingo’s failure to properly respond to the letters is tantamount to


discourtesy. A simple note as to where their personal effects were temporarily stored
could have assured Sasing that their belongings were not confiscated but merely stored
for safekeeping. The Court is fully aware that a sheriff’s schedule can be hectic, but she
could have easily relayed the information to the other court staff to address Sasing’s
concerns. Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

The administrative offense committed by Sheriff Gelbolingo is discourtesy in the course


of official duties which, under the Uniform Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil
Service, Rule IV, Section 52(C)(1), is a light offense. The penalty imposable for such an
offense is either a reprimand for the first offense, a suspension from 1 day to 30 days
for the second offense, and dismissal from public service for the third offense. In this
case, the court admonished Sheriff Gelbolingo considering there was an effort on her
part to meet with Sasing twice, but the latter did not appear on the second scheduled
meeting. Ray Antonio C. Sasing vs. Celestial Venus G. Gelbolingo, Sheriff IV, RTC,
Branch 20, Cagayan de Oro City, A.M. No. P-12-3032. February 20, 2013.

Court personnel; public office is a public trust; simple neglect of duty. No less than the
Constitution itself mandates that all public officers and employees should serve with
responsibility, integrity and efficiency, for public office is a public trust. The Court has
repeatedly reminded those who work in the Judiciary to be examples of responsibility,
competence and efficiency; they must discharge their duties with due care and utmost
diligence, since they are officers of the Court and agents of the law. “Indeed, any
conduct, act or omission on the part of those who would violate the norm[s] of public
accountability and diminish or even just tend to diminish the faith of the people in the
judiciary shall not be countenanced.” In this case, Mendoza charged Esguerra, a
process server in the RTC, with Negligence and Dereliction of Duty. The court held that
Esguerra was guilty of simple neglect of duty. Esguerra cannot blame the Civil Docket
Clerk for the delay in the service of the July 7, 2008 Order. If indeed a copy of the July
7, 2008 Order had been handed to Esguerra only on August 8, 2008, a Friday, “he
should not have proceeded to mail the same; but instead, should have served the Order
personally to the parties, particularly to the herein complainant.” Even the Notice of
Dismissal dated August 21, 2008 was mailed only on September 19, 2008, three (3)
weeks after it was endorsed to him sometime on August 22 or 25, 2008. These acts
clearly demonstrate lack of sufficient or reasonable diligence on the part of the
respondent. Section 1, Canon IV of the Code of Conduct for Court Personnel mandates
that “Court personnel shall at all times perform official duties properly and with
diligence.” Clearly, Esguerra had been remiss in the performance of his duties and has
shown lack of dedication to the functions of his office. Esguerra’s acts displayed a
conduct falling short of the stringent standards required of court employees. Erlinda C.
Mendoza vs. Pedro S. Esguerra, Process Server, RTC, Br. 89, Sto. Domingo, Nueva
Ecija, A.M. No. P-11-2967. February 13, 2013. Internal Rules of the CA (IRCA);
preliminary injunction; requirement of a hearing. Section 4 of Rule VI of the 2009 IRCA
provides that “[T]he requirement of a hearing for preliminary injunction is satisfied with
the issuance of a resolution served upon the party sought to be enjoined Atty. GIL P.
VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

requiring him to comment on the said application within the period of not more than ten
(10) days from notice.” In this case, the CA was justified in dispensing with the requisite
hearing on the application for injunctive writ, since the so-called “new and substantial
matters” raised in the third urgent motion in CA-G.R. SP No. 122784 and in the
supplement thereto were in fact not previously unknown to respondents Ricafort, and
they had already been previously ordered to comment on the said application, at the
time when the said “subsequent” matters were already obtaining. Ethelwoldo E.
Fernandez, Antonio A. Henson & Angel S. Ong vs. Court of Appeals Asso. Justices
Ramon M. Bato, Jr., Isaias P. Dicdican, A.M. OCA IPI No. 12-201-CA-J. February 19,
2013. Judge; anonymous complaints against judges must be supported by public
records of indubitable integrity; unbecoming conduct. Under Section 1 of Rule 140 of
the Rules of Court, anonymous complaints may be filed against judges, but they must
be supported by public records of indubitable integrity. Courts have acted in such
instances needing no corroboration by evidence to be offered by the complainant. Thus,
for anonymous complaints, the burden of proof in administrative proceedings which
usually rests with the complainant, must be buttressed by indubitable public records and
by what is sufficiently proven during the investigation. If the burden of proof is not
overcome, the respondent is under no obligation to prove his defense. In this case, no
evidence was attached to the letter-complaint. The complainant never appeared, and no
public records were brought forth during the investigation. Judge Achas denied all the
charges made against him, only admitting that he was separated de facto from his wife
and that he reared fighting cocks. For going out in public with a woman not his wife,
Judge Achas has clearly failed to abide by Canons of the New Code of Judicial Conduct
for Philippine Judiciary. Regarding his involvement in cockfighting, however, there is no
clear evidence. Although Judge Achas denied engaging in cockfighting and betting, he
admitted rearing fighting cocks for leisure. While rearing fighting cocks is not illegal,
Judge Achas should avoid mingling with a crowd of cockfighting enthusiasts and bettors
as it undoubtedly impairs the respect due him. As a judge, he must impose upon himself
personal restrictions that might be viewed as burdensome by the ordinary citizen and
should do so freely and willingly. No position demands greater moral righteousness and
uprightness from its occupant than does the judicial office. Judges in particular must be
individuals of competence, honesty and probity, charged as they are with safeguarding
the integrity of the court and its proceedings. He should behave at all times so as to
promote public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary, and avoid
impropriety and the appearance of Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y.
2015-2016

impropriety in all his activities. His personal behavior outside the court, and not only
while in the performance of his official duties, must be beyond reproach, for he is
perceived to be the personification of law and justice. Thus, any demeaning act of a
judge degrades the institution he represents. Anonymous vs. Judge Rio C. Achas,
MTCC Branch 2, Ozamiz City, Misamis Occidental, A.M. No. MTJ-11-1801. February
27, 2013. Judge; definition of ponencia; ponente if present can act upon an urgent
motion alone or with another member present. There is nothing in the Internal Rules of
the CA (IRCA) which would have required the Division Clerk of Court to transmit the
urgent motion for action only to the two present regular members of the 14th Division,
as the complainants seem to believe. The complainants would have been correct if the
absent member of the Division was not the ponente herself but either of the other
members. This implies that the ponente if present can act upon the urgent motion alone
or with another member present, provided that the action or resolution “is submitted on
the next working day to the absent member or members of the Division for ratification,
modification or recall.” A preliminary injunction is not a ponencia but an order granted at
any stage of an action prior to final judgment, requiring a person to refrain from a
particular act. It is settled that as an ancillary or preventive remedy, a writ of preliminary
injunction may be resorted to by a party to protect or preserve his rights and for no other
purpose during the pendency of the principal action. Its object is to preserve the status
quo until the merits of the case are passed upon. It is not a cause of action in itself but
merely a provisional remedy, an adjunct to a main suit. On the other hand, ponencia
refers to the rendition of a decision in a case on the merits, which disposes of the main
controversy. The writ of preliminary injunction issued by the 14th Division in CA-G.R. SP
No. 122784 did not settle the controversy therein, but is a mere interlocutory order to
restore the status quo ante, that is, the state of things prior to the RTC’s Order of
December 21, 2011. Ethelwoldo E. Fernandez, Antonio A. Henson & Angel S. Ong vs.
Court of Appeals Asso. Justices Ramon M. Bato, Jr., Isaias P. Dicdican, A.M. OCA IPI
No. 12-201-CA-J. February 19, 2013. Judge; government employee vis-à-vis
government officer; liberal treatment upon retirement claims of judges and justices. In a
letter, former Chief Justice Panganiban requested that the government service which he
rendered from January 1962 to December 1965 in the Department of Education, its
Secretary, and the Board of National Education, be creditable so that he can meet the
present service requirement of fifteen (15) years for entitlement to retirement benefits.
Under the old Administrative Code (Act No. 2657), a government “employee” includes
any person in the service of the Government or any branch thereof of whatever grade or
class. A government “officer,” on the other hand, refers to officials whose duties involve
the exercise of discretion in the performance of the functions of government, whether
such duties are precisely defined or Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y.
2015-2016

not. Clearly, the law, then and now, did not require a specific job description and job
specification. Thus, the absence of a specific position in a governmental structure is not
a hindrance for the Court to give weight to CJ Panganiban’s government service as
legal counsel and consultant. The Supreme Court has unquestionably followed the
practice of liberal treatment in passing upon retirement claims of judges and justices,
thus: (1) waiving the lack of required length of service in cases of disability or death
while in actual service19 or distinctive service; (2) adding accumulated leave credits to
the actual length of government service in order to qualify one for retirement; (3) tacking
post-retirement service in order to complete the years of government service required;
(4) extending the full benefits of retirement upon compassionate and humanitarian
considerations; and (5) considering legal counseling work for a government body or
institution as creditable government service. Re: Request of (Ret.) Chief Justice Artemio
V. Panganiban for Re-Computation of his Creditable Service for the Purpose of Re-
Computing his Retirement Benefits, A.M. No. 10-9-15-SC. February 12, 2013. Judge;
gross ignorance of the law; mandatory inhibition; no liability for damages in the exercise
of judicial functions. The court held that Judge Dinopol is guilty of gross ignorance of the
law. To be held administratively liable for gross ignorance of the law, the acts
complained of must not only be contrary to existing law and jurisprudence, but must
have also been motivated by bad faith, fraud, dishonesty, and corruption. Gross
ignorance of the law is considered as a serious offense under Rule 140, Section 8, and
is punishable under Section 11. Moreover, one of the plaintiffs in the Civil Case
assigned to the judge, is a relative by affinity within the sixth degree, Judge Dinopol
should have inhibited himself from taking cognizance of the case as mandated by
Section 1, Rule 137 of the Rules of Court. However, Judge Dinopol is not liable for
damages. In Alzua v. Johnson, the court explained that in civil actions for damages,
judges of superior and general jurisdiction are not liable to answer for what they do in
the exercise of their judicial functions, provided they are acting within their legal powers
and jurisdiction. Eduardo Panes, Jr. et al. vs. Judge Oscar E. Dinopol, RTC, Branch 24,
Koronadal City/Joewe Palad vs. Judge Oscar E. Dinopol, RTC, Branch 24, Koronadal
City/Roque C. Facura, et al. vs. Judge Oscar E. Dinopol, RTC, Branch 24, Koronadal
City/Eden V. Castro vs. Judge Oscar E. Dinopol, RTC, Branch 24, Koronadal
City/Rosalinda G. Farofaldane vs. Judge Oscar E. Dinopol, RTC, Branch 24, Koronadal
City/Engr. Roque C. Facura, et al. vs. Judge Oscar E. Dinopol, RTC, Branch 24,
Koronadal City, A.M. OCA-IPI No. 072618-RTJ/A.M. No. OCA-IPI No. 07-2619-
RTJ/A.M. No. OCA-IPI No. 07-2652RTJ/A.M. No. OCA-IPI No. 07-2720-RTJ/A.M. No.
OCA-IPI No. 07-2721-RTJ/A.M. No. OCA-IPI No. 08-2808-RTJ. February 12, 2013.

Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

Judge; instituting administrative proceedings against justices. Under Rule 140 of the
Rules of Court, there are three ways by which administrative proceedings may be
instituted against justices of the CA and the Sandiganbayan and judges of regular and
special courts: (1) motu proprio by the Supreme Court; (2) upon verified complaint (as in
this complaint) with affidavits of persons having personal knowledge of the facts alleged
therein or by documents which may substantiate said allegations; or (3) upon an
anonymous complaint supported by public records of indubitable integrity. In this case,
complainants have no personality to assail the writ of preliminary injunction issued by
the CA’s former Special 14th Division since they were not parties in the lower court.
Thus, they are not permitted to harass the CA Justices who issued the same. For even
granting that the issuance of the writ was erroneous, as a matter of public policy a
magistrate cannot be held administratively liable for every discretionary but erroneous
order he issues. The settled rule is that “a Judge cannot be held to account civilly,
criminally or administratively for an erroneous decision rendered by him in good faith.”
The issuance of the writ of preliminary injunction in the consolidated CA petitions was
discretionary, interlocutory and preservative in nature, and equally importantly, it was a
collective and deliberated action of the former Special 14th Division. Moreover, as an
established rule, an administrative, civil or criminal action against a judge cannot be a
substitute for an appeal. Ethelwoldo E. Fernandez, Antonio A. Henson & Angel S. Ong
vs. Court of Appeals Asso. Justices Ramon M. Bato, Jr., Isaias P. Dicdican, A.M. OCA
IPI No. 12-201-CA-J. February 19, 2013. Judge; judicial conduct; definition of just debts;
willful failure to pay a just debt is a ground for disciplinary action against judges.
Manlapaz charged Judge Sabillo with serious and gross misconduct for failure to return
an amount arising from a transaction. The Court has repeatedly stressed that it is not a
collection agency for the unpaid debts of its officials and employees, but has
nevertheless provided for Section 8, Rule 140 of the Rules of Court that holds its
officials and employees administratively liable in unpaid debt situations. This Section
provides that willful failure to pay a just debt is a ground for disciplinary action against
judges and justices. Just debts, as defined in Section 23, Rule XIV of the Omnibus
Rules Implementing Book V of E.O. No. 292, refer to (1) claims adjudicated by a court
of law; or (2) claims, the existence and justness of which are admitted by the debtor.
Section 8, Rule 140 of the Rules of Court classifies willful failure to pay a just debt as a
serious charge. While reference to a debt necessarily implies a transaction that is
private and outside of official transactions, the rules do not thereby intrude into public
officials’ private lives; they simply look at their actions from the prism of public service
and consider these acts unbecoming of a public official. These rules take into account
that these are actions of officials who are entrusted with public duties and who, even in
their private capacities, should continually act to reflect their status as public servants.
Employees of the Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

judiciary should be living examples of uprightness not only in the performance of official
duties but also in their personal and private dealings with others so as to preserve at all
times the good name and standing of the courts in the community. Here, the
complainant’s claim is a just debt. The willfulness of Judge Sabillo in not paying is
shown by his continuous failure to settle despite demand letters sent to him. Thus, the
court imposed the penalty of fine. Victoriano G. Manlapaz vs. Judge Manuel T. Sabillo,
MCTC, Lamitan, Basilan, A.M. No. MTJ-10-1771. February 13, 2013. Judge; judicial
audit; court’s jurisdiction over an administrative case; presumption of regularity. The
OCA submitted its memorandum to then Acting Chief Justice Antonio T. Carpio on 10
July 2012 — more than two years and seven months after Judge Grageda compulsorily
retired. During his incumbency, Judge Grageda was never given the chance to explain
the alleged violation of Supreme Court rules, directives and circulars. Up to the present,
the OCA has not commenced any formal investigation or asked Judge Grageda to
comment on the matter. Thus, the complaint against Judge Grageda must be
dismissed. In Office of the Court Administrator v. Mantua, the court held that “this Court
concedes that there are no promulgated rules on the conduct of judicial audit. However,
the absence of such rules should not serve as license to recommend the imposition of
penalties to retired judges who, during their incumbency, were never given a chance to
explain the circumstances behind the results of the judicial audit. Judicial audit reports
and the memoranda which follow them should state not only recommended penalties
and plans of action for the violations of audited courts, but also give commendations
when they are due. To avoid similar scenarios, manual judicial audits may be conducted
at least six months before a judge’s compulsory retirement. We recognize that effective
monitoring of a judge’s observance of the time limits required in the disposition of cases
is hampered by limited resources. These limitations, however, should not be used to
violate Judge Mantua’s right to due process.” For the Court to acquire jurisdiction over
an administrative case, the complaint must be filed during the incumbency of the
respondent. Once jurisdiction is acquired, it is not lost by reason of respondent’s
cessation from office. In this case, Judge Grageda’s compulsory retirement divested the
OCA of its right to institute a new administrative case against him after his compulsory
retirement. The Court can no longer acquire administrative jurisdiction over him by filing
a new administrative case against him after he has ceased to be a public official. The
remedy is to file the appropriate civil or criminal case against him for the alleged
transgression. Moreover, to hold Judge Grageda liable, there must be substantial
evidence that he committed an offense. Otherwise, the presumption is that he regularly
performed his duties. In Go v. Judge Achas, the Court held that, “In the absence of
evidence to the contrary, the presumption that the Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE
Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

respondent has regularly performed his duties will prevail. Even in administrative cases,
if a court employee or magistrate is to be disciplined for a grave offense, the evidence
against him should be competent.” Missing Exhibits and Court Properties in Regional
Trial Court, Br. 4, Panabo City, Davao del Norte, A.M. No. 10-2-41-RTC. February 27,
2013. Judge; undue delay. The court held that Judge Amdengan committed undue
delay in rendering a Decision in the ejectment case. An action for ejectment is governed
by the Rules of Summary Procedure, Section 10 which provides that “within thirty (30)
days after receipt of the last affidavits and position papers, or the expiration of the
period for filing the same, the court shall render judgment.” This provision is mandatory,
considering the nature of an ejectment case. Under Section 9, Rule 140 of the Rules of
Court, undue delay in rendering a decision or an order is classified as a less serious
charge, punishable by either suspension from office without salary and other benefits for
not less than one (1) nor more than three (3) months, or a fine of more than P10,000 but
not exceeding P20,000. The court considered his candid admission and acceptance of
his infraction as factors in imposing only a fine. Atty. Manuel J. Jimenez, Jr. vs.
Presiding Judge Michael M. Amdengan, Municipal Trail Court, Angono Rizal, A.M. No.
MTJ-12-1818. February 13, 2013. Attorney; Accountability for Money Received from
Client. Atty. Lawsin undertook to process the registration and eventually deliver, within a
period of 6 months, the certificate of title over a certain parcel of land (subject land) in
favor of complainant acting as the representative of the Heirs of the late Isabel Segovia.
Atty. Lawsin received from complainant the amounts of P15,000 and P39,000 to cover
for the litigation and land registration expenses, respectively. Atty. Lawsin, however,
failed to fulfil his undertaking and failed to return the money to complainant. The
Supreme Court held that Atty. Lawsin’s failure to properly account for and duly return
his client’s money despite due demand is tantamount to a violation of Rules 16.01 and
16.03, Canon 16 of the Code. Complainant’s purported act of “maligning” him does not
justify the latter’s failure to properly account for and return his client’s money upon due
demand. Verily, a lawyer’s duty to his client is one essentially imbued with trust so much
so that it is incumbent upon the former to exhaust all reasonable efforts towards its
faithful compliance. Azucena Segovia-Ribaya v. Atty. Bartolome C. Lawsin, A.C. No.
7965, November 13, 2013. Attorney; Administrative Proceedings; Sole Issue.
Complainants filed a complaint for dishonesty against respondent, a retired judge, for
knowingly making untruthful statements in the complaint he filed against them. The
Supreme Court held that in administrative cases, the only issue within the ambit of the
Court’s disciplinary authority is whether a lawyer is fit to remain a member of the Bar.
Other issues are proper subjects of judicial action. On its face, the 12 September 2006
complaint filed by the Spouses Williams against Atty. Enriquez does not merit an
administrative case. In order for the Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y.
2015-2016

Court to determine whether Atty. Enriquez is guilty of dishonesty, the issue of ownership
must first be settled. The issue of ownership of real property must be settled in a
judicial, not administrative, case. Sps. David Williams and Marissa Williams v. Atty.
Rudy T. Enriquez, A.C. No. 7329, November 27, 2013. Attorney; Gross Neglect of Duty.
A complaint was filed against Atty. Venida for serious misconduct and gross neglect of
duty. Complainant alleged that she engaged the services of respondent to handle her
case before the CA but the respondent had been remiss. Thus, her case was
dismissed. The Supreme Court held that this is a clear violation of Rule 18.04, Canon
18 of the Code of Professional Responsibility which enjoins lawyers to keep their clients
informed of the status of their case and shall respond within a reasonable time to the
clients’ request for information. Respondent’s refusal to obey the orders of the IBP is not
only irresponsible, but also constitutes utter disrespect for the judiciary and his fellow
lawyers. His conduct is unbecoming of a lawyer, for lawyers are particularly called upon
to obey court orders and processes and are expected to stand foremost in complying
with court directives being themselves officers of the court. Aurora H. Cabauatan v. Atty.
Freddie A. Venida, A.C. No. 10043, November 20, 2013. Attorney; Mishandling of
Client’s Case. Complainant-Spouses filed an administrative case against Atty. Dublin for
gross negligence and dereliction of duty for mishandling their case. The Supreme Court
held Atty. Dublin guilty of mishandling Civil Case No. 23,396-95. Records show that the
10-day period given to him to submit his formal offer of documentary evidence pursuant
to the RTC Order lapsed without any compliance from him. Atty. Dublin violated the
Code of Professional Responsibility particularly Canon 18 and Rule 18.03. Respondent
admitted that he deliberately failed to timely file the formal offer of exhibits because he
believed that the exhibits were fabricated and the same would be refused admission by
the RTC. However, if respondent truly believed that the exhibits to be presented in
evidence by his clients were fabricated, then he had the option to withdraw from the
case. Canon 22 allows a lawyer to withdraw his services for good cause such as
“[w]hen the client pursues an illegal or immoral course of conduct with the matter he is
handling” or “[w]hen the client insists that the lawyer pursue conduct violative of these
canons and rules.” Thus, Atty. Dublin was imposed the penalty of suspension from the
practice of law for 6 months. Sps. George A. Warriner and Aurora R. Warriner v. Atty.
Reni M. Dublin, A.C. No. 5239, November 18, 2013. Attorney; Notary Public; Notarial
Register. Complainants filed a complaint against Atty. Kilaan for falsification of
documents, dishonesty and deceit. Complainants alleged that Atty. Kilaan intercalated
certain entries in the application for issuance of Certificate of Public Convenience (CPC)
to operate a public utility jeepney filed before the LTFRB. Complainants also alleged
that the Verification in Batingwed’s application for CPC was notarized by Atty. Kilaan as
Doc. No: 253, Page No. 51, Book No. VIII, Series of 2003. However, upon verification of
Atty. Kilaan’s Notarial Registry submitted to the RTC, the Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr.
PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

said notarial entry actually refers to a Deed of Sale and not the Verification of
Batingwed’s application. It is settled that it is the notary public who is personally
accountable for the accuracy of the entries in his Notarial Register. The Court is not
persuaded by respondent’s explanation that he is burdened with cases thus he was
constrained to delegate the recording of his notarial acts in his Notarial Register to his
secretary. Rule VI, Sections I and 2 of the 2004 Rules of Notarial Practice require a
notary public to keep and maintain a Notarial Register wherein he will record his every
notarial act. His failure to make the proper entry or entries in his notarial register
concerning his notarial acts is a ground for revocation of his notarial commission. Since
Atty. Kilaan failed to make the proper entries in his Notarial Register, his notarial
commission may be properly revoked. Mariano Agadan, et al. v. Atty. Richard Baltazar
Kilaan, A.C. No. 9385, November 11, 2013. Attorney; Respect to Courts. Complainant
alleged that Atty. Flores failed to give due respect to the court by failing to obey court
orders, by failing to submit proof of his compliance with the Mandatory Continuing Legal
Education (MCLE) requirement, and for using intemperate language in his pleadings.
The Supreme Court held that Atty. Flores failed to obey the court’s order to submit proof
of his MCLE compliance notwithstanding the several opportunities given him. Court
orders are to be respected not because the judges who issue them should be
respected, but because of the respect and consideration that should be extended to the
judicial branch of the Government. This is absolutely essential if our Government is to
be a government of laws and not of men. Respect must be had not because of the
incumbents to the positions, but because of the authority that vests in them. Moreover,
Atty. Flores employed intemperate language in his pleadings. As an officer of the court,
Atty. Flores is expected to be circumspect in his language. Rule 11.03, Canon 11 of the
Code of Professional Responsibility enjoins all attorneys to abstain from scandalous,
offensive or menacing language or behaviour before the Courts. Hon. Maribeth
Rodriguez-Manahan, Presiding Judge, Municipal Trial Court, San Mateo, Rizal v. Atty.
Rodolfo Flores, A.C. No. 8954, November 13, 2013. Court Personnel; Dishonesty.
Complainants accused respondent sheriff of grave misconduct, dishonesty and conduct
unbecoming an officer of the court for unlawfully and forcibly acquiring part of their lot.
The Supreme Court held that respondent is guilty of simple dishonesty and conduct
prejudicial to the best interest of the service, but not of grave misconduct. Dishonesty is
“intentionally making a false statement on any material fact” and “a disposition to lie,
cheat, deceive or defraud; untrustworthiness; lack of integrity, lack of honesty, probity or
integrity in principle; lack of fairness and straightforwardness; disposition to defraud,
deceive or betray.” Respondent did not have a hand in the re-survey conducted by the
DAR in 2003 which resulted in the increased land area of his lot. Nonetheless,
respondent’s acts thereafter displayed his lack of honesty, fairness, and
straightforwardness, not only with his neighbors, but also with the concerned
government agencies/officials. Respondent’s deportment under the Atty. GIL P.
VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

circumstances likewise constitute conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service.
Respondent appears to have illegally forced his way into the disputed area. As a Sheriff,
he is expected to be familiar with court procedure and processes, especially those
concerning the execution of orders and decisions of the courts. Heirs of Celestino
Teves, represented by Paul John Teves Abad, Elsa C. Aquino and Filimon E. Fernan v.
Augusto Felicidario, A.M. No. P-12-3089, November 13, 2013. Court Personnel; Grave
Misconduct and Dishonesty. Complainant alleged that the respondent failed to execute
the decision in a land registration case despite receiving an amount for the
implementation of the Alias Writ. The Supreme Court held that the deposit and payment
of expenses incurred in enforcing writs are governed by Section 10, Rule 141 of the
Rules of Court, as revised by A.M. No. 04-2-04-SC. The rule clearly requires that the
sheriff executing a writ shall provide an estimate of the expenses to be incurred, and
such estimated amount must be approved by the court. Upon approval, the interested
party shall then deposit the amount with the clerk of court and ex officio sheriff. The
expenses shall be disbursed to the assigned deputy sheriff to execute the writ, subject
to liquidation upon the return of the writ. In this case, the money which respondent had
demanded and received from complainant was not among those prescribed and
authorized by the Rules of Court as it was not even accounted for earlier in his
Manifestation. He merely reported his receipt of the P20,000 in his liquidation of
expenses only after complainant demanded an accounting and in compliance to
Judge’s directive. The Court has ruled that any amount received by the sheriff in excess
of the lawful fees allowed by the Rules of Court is an unlawful exaction and renders him
liable for grave misconduct and gross dishonesty. Eleanor P. Olivan v. Arnel A. Rubio,
etc., A.M. No. P-13-3063, November 26, 2013. Court Personnel; Gross Dishonesty. An
administrative complaint was filed against Ibay, Clerk II of MTCC, for stealing a check.
The Supreme Court held that in the absence of substantial defense to refute the
charges against her, Ibay is liable for the loss of the check and the forgery of De
Ocampo’s signature, leading to the check’s encashment. The case against Ibay is
bolstered by the fact that Judge Eduarte found striking similarities between her
handwriting in the inventory of cases and the forged endorsement in the check. Thus,
there is substantial evidence to dismiss Ibay on the ground of dishonesty. Section 52(A)
(1) of the Revised Uniform Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil Service provides
that dishonesty is a grave offense punishable by dismissal from the service even when
committed for the first time. Persons involved in the dispensation of justice, from the
highest official to the lowest clerk, must live up to the strictest standards of integrity,
probity, uprightness, honesty and diligence in the public service. The Supreme Court
will not tolerate dishonesty, for the judiciary deserves the best from all its employees.
Executive Judge Henedino P. Eduarte, RTC, Br. 20, Cauayan, Isabela v. Elizabeth T.
Ibay, Clerk II, MTCC, Cauayan, Isabela, A.C. No. P-12-3100, November 12, 2013. Atty.
GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

Judges; Absence Without Approved Leave. Judge Villacorta III was granted authority to
travel until February 3, 2011. However, he only returned to work on February 16,
without securing an extension of his authority to travel abroad. This happened again for
a second time. The Supreme Court held that OCA Circular No. 49-2003 (Guidelines on
Requests for Travel Abroad and Extensions for Travel/Stay Abroad) requires that a
request must be made for an extension of the period to travel/stay abroad, and that the
request be received by the OCA ten (10) working days before the expiration of the
original travel authority. Failure to do so would make the absences beyond the original
period unauthorized. In this case, Judge Villacorta was in a position to file an application
for leave to cover his extended stay abroad. Section 50 of Civil Service Commission
Memorandum Circular No. 41, series of 1998, states that an official or an employee who
is absent without approved leave shall not be entitled to receive the salary
corresponding to the period of the unauthorized leave of absence. Re: Unauthorized
Travel Abroad of Judge Cleto R. Villacorta III, Regional Trial Court, Branch 6, Baguio
City, A.M. No. 11-9-167-RTC, November 11, 2013. Judges; Judicial Clemency in
Administrative Cases. Judge Pacalna was held administratively liable for dishonesty,
serious misconduct and gross ignorance of the law or procedure, and for violation the
Code of Judicial Conduct. He then filed a Petition for Judicial Clemency. The Supreme
Court laid down the following guidelines in resolving requests for judicial clemency: (1)
There must be proof of remorse and reformation. These shall include but should not be
limited to certifications or testimonials of the officer(s) or chapter(s) of the Integrated Bar
of the Philippines, judges or judges associations and prominent members of the
community with proven integrity and probity. A subsequent finding of guilt in an
administrative case for the same or similar misconduct will give rise to a strong
presumption of nonreformation; (2) Sufficient time must have lapsed from the imposition
of the penalty to ensure a period of reformation; (3) The age of the person asking for
clemency must show that he still has productive years ahead of him that can be put to
good use by giving him a chance to redeem himself; (4) There must be a showing of
promise (such as intellectual aptitude, learning or legal acumen or contribution to legal
scholarship and the development of the legal system or administrative and other
relevant skills), as well as potential for public service; (5) There must be other relevant
factors and circumstances that may justify clemency. In this case, Judge Pacalna’s
petition is not supported by any single proof of his professed repentance and therefore,
must be denied. Mamasaw Sultan Ali v. Judge Baguinda-Ali Pacalna, et al., A.M. No.
MTJ-03-1505, November 27, 2013. Judges; Retirement Benefits. The surviving spouse
of Judge Gruba applied for retirement/gratuity benefits under Republic Act No. 910. The
5-year lump sum gratuity due to Judge Gruba was paid to his heirs. On January 13,
2010, Congress amended Republic Act No. 910 and passed Republic Act No. 9946
which provided for more benefits, including survivorship pension benefits, among
others. On January 11, 2012, Mrs. Gruba applied for survivorship pension benefits
under Republic Act No. 9946. In a Resolution dated January Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr.
PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

17, 2012, this Court approved the application of Mrs. Gruba. She received
₱1,026,748.00 for survivorship pension benefits from January 1, 2011 to April 2012.
Later, however, the Supreme Court revoked the resolution dated January 17, 2012. The
Supreme Court held that the law accommodates the heirs of Judge Gruba by entitling
them to receive the improved gratuity benefits under Republic Act No. 9946, but it is
clear that Mrs. Gruba is not entitled to the survivorship pension benefits. However,
despite the fact that Mrs. Gruba is not entitled to receive survivorship pension, she no
longer needs to return the survivorship pension benefits she received from January
2011 to April 2012 amounting to ₱1,026,748.00. The Supreme Court, in the past, has
decided pro hac vice that a surviving spouse who received survivorship pension
benefits in good faith no longer needs to refund such pensions. Re: Application for
Survivorship Pension Benefits Under Republic Act 9946 of Mrs. Pacita A. Gruba,
Surviving Spouse of the Late Manuel K. Gruba, Former CTA Associate Judge, A.M. No.
14155-Ret. November 19, 2013.

Attorney; forum shopping as contempt of court. A disbarment complaint against Atty.


Gonzales was filed for violating the Code of Professional Responsibility for the forum
shopping he allegedly committed. The court held that the respondent was guilty of
forum shopping. Lawyers should be reminded that their primary duty is to assist the
courts in the administration of justice. Any conduct that tends to delay, impede or
obstruct the administration of justice contravenes this obligation. The Court has
repeatedly warned lawyers against resorting to forum shopping since the practice clogs
the Court dockets and can lead to conflicting rulings. Willful and deliberate forum
shopping has been made punishable either as direct or indirect contempt of court. In
engaging in forum shopping, Atty. Gonzales violated Canon 1 of the Code of
Professional Responsibility which directs lawyers to obey the laws of the land and
promote respect for the law and legal processes. He also disregarded his duty to assist
in the speedy and efficient administration of justice, and the prohibition against unduly
delaying a case by misusing court processes. Thus, the court subjected Atty. Gonzales
to censure. Anastacio N. Teodoro III vs. Atty. Romeo S. Gonzales. A.C. No. 6760.
January 30, 2013 Attorney; neglect. Complainant filed a disbarment complaint against
Atty. Gacott who allegedly deceived the complainant and her husband into signing a
“preparatory” Deed of Sale that respondent converted into a Deed of Absolute Sale in
favor of his relatives. The respondent is reminded that his duty under Canon 16 is to
“hold in trust all moneys and properties of his client that may come into his possession.”
Allowing a party to take the original TCTs of properties owned by another – an act that
could result in damage – should merit a finding of legal malpractice. While it was his
legal staff who allowed the complainant to borrow the TCTs Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr.
PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

and it does not appear that the respondent was aware or present when the complainant
borrowed the TCTs, the court still held the respondent liable, as the TCTs were
entrusted to his care and custody; he failed to exercise due diligence in caring for his
client’s properties that were in his custody. Moreover, Canon 18, Rule 18.03 requires
that a lawyer shall not neglect a legal matter entrusted to him, and his negligence in
connection therewith shall render him liable. What amounts to carelessness or
negligence in a lawyer’s discharge of his duty to his client is incapable of an exact
formulation, but the Court has consistently held that the mere failure of a lawyer to
perform the obligations due his client is per se a violation. In Canoy v. Ortiz, the court
held that a lawyer’s failure to file a position paper was per se a violation of Rule 18.03 of
the Code of Professional Responsibility. Similar to Canoy, the respondent clearly failed
in his duty to his client when, without any explanation, he failed to file the Motion for
Leave to Intervene on behalf of the spouses Ylaya. Fe A. Ylaya vs. Atty. Glenn Carlos
Gacott. A.C. No. 6475. January 30, 2013 Attorney; lack of diligence. Complainant filed a
case for disbarment against Atty. Cefra for violating Canon 18 of the Code of
Professional Responsibility and Rules 138 and139 of the Rules of Court. The court held
that Atty. Cefra was guilty of negligence in handling the complainants’ case. His acts in
the present administrative case also reveal his lack of diligence in performing his duties
as an officer of the Court. The Code of Professional Responsibility mandates that “a
lawyer shall serve his client with competence and diligence.” It further states that “a
lawyer shall not neglect a legal matter entrusted to him, and his negligence in
connection therewith shall render him liable.” In addition, a lawyer has the duty to “keep
the client informed of the status of his case.” Atty. Cefra failed to live up to these
standards as shown by the following: (1) Atty. Cefra failed to submit a formal offer of
documentary evidence within the period given by the RTC; (2) He failed to comply with
the two orders of the RTC directing him to submit a formal offer of documentary
evidence; (3) Atty. Cefra failed to file an appropriate motion or appeal, or avail of any
remedial measure to contest the RTC’s decision; (4) He failed to file an appropriate
motion or appeal, or avail of any remedial measure to contest the RTC’s decision which
was adverse to complainants. Thus, the above acts showing Atty. Cefra’s lack of
diligence and inattention to his duties as a lawyer warrant disciplinary sanction. The
court has repeatedly held that “[t]he practice of law is a privilege bestowed by the State
on those who show that they possess the legal qualifications for it. Lawyers are
expected to maintain at all times a high standard of legal proficiency and morality,
including honesty, integrity and fair dealing. They must perform their fourfold duty to
society, the legal profession, the courts and their clients, in accordance with the values
and norms of the legal profession as embodied in the Code of Professional
Responsibility.” Sps. Arcing and Cresing Bautista, et al. vs. Atty. Arturo Cefra A.C. No.
5530. January 28, 2013. Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

Attorney; reinstatement in the Roll of Attorneys; guidelines in resolving requests for


judicial clemency; good moral character requirement. In Re: Letter of Judge Augustus
C. Diaz, Metropolitan Trial Court of Quezon City, Branch 37, Appealing for Clemency,
the Court laid down the following guidelines in resolving requests for judicial clemency,
to wit: (a) There must be proof of remorse and reformation. These shall include but
should not be limited to certifications or testimonials of the officer(s) or chapter(s) of the
Integrated Bar of the Philippines, judges or judges associations and prominent
members of the community with proven integrity and probity. A subsequent finding of
guilt in an administrative case for the same or similar misconduct will give rise to a
strong presumption of nonreformation. (b) Sufficient time must have lapsed from the
imposition of the penalty to ensure a period of reform. (c) The age of the person asking
for clemency must show that he still has productive years ahead of him that can be put
to good use by giving him a chance to redeem himself. (d) There must be a showing of
promise (such as intellectual aptitude, learning or legal acumen or contribution to legal
scholarship and the development of the legal system or administrative and other
relevant skills), as well as potential for public service. (e) There must be other relevant
factors and circumstances that may justify clemency. Moreover, to be reinstated to the
practice of law, the applicant must, like any other candidate for admission to the bar,
satisfy the Court that he is a person of good moral character. In a previous Decision, the
Court disbarred respondent from the practice of law for having contracted a bigamous
marriage with complainant Teves and a third marriage with one Constantino while his
first marriage to Esparza was still subsisting. These acts, according to the court,
constituted gross immoral conduct. In this case, the court held that Respondent has
sufficiently shown his remorse and acknowledged his indiscretion in the legal profession
and in his personal life. He has asked forgiveness from his children by complainant
Teves and maintained a cordial relationship with them as shown by the herein attached
pictures. After his disbarment, respondent returned to his hometown in Enrile, Cagayan
and devoted his time tending an orchard and taking care of his ailing mother until her
death in 2008. In 2009, he was appointed as Private Secretary to the Mayor of Enrile,
Cagayan and thereafter, assumed the position of Local Assessment Operations Officer
II/Office-In-Charge in the Assessor’s Office, which office he continues to serve to date.
Moreover, he is a part-time instructor at the University of Cagayan Atty. GIL P.
VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

Valley and F.L. Vargas College during the School Year 2011-2012. Respondent
likewise took an active part in socio-civic activities by helping his neighbors and friends
who are in dire need. Certain documents also attest to Respondent’s reformed ways
such as: (1) Affidavit of Candida P. Mabborang; (2) Affidavit of Reymar P. Ramirez; (3)
Affidavit of Roberto D. Tallud; (4) Certification from the Municipal Local Government
Office. Furthermore, respondent’s plea for reinstatement is duly supported by the IBP-
Cagayan Chapter and by his former and present colleagues. His parish priest certified
that he is faithful to and puts to actual practice the doctrines of the Catholic Church. He
is also observed to be a regular churchgoer. Respondent has already settled his
previous marital squabbles, as in fact, no opposition to the instant suit was tendered by
complainant Teves. He sends regular support to his children in compliance with the
Decision dated February 27, 2004. The Court notes the eight (8) long years that had
elapsed from the time respondent was disbarred and recognizes his achievement as the
first lawyer product of Lemu National High School, and his fourteen (14) years of
dedicated government service from 1986 to July 2000 as Legal Officer of the
Department of Education, Culture and Sports; Supervising Civil Service Attorney of the
Civil Service Commission; Ombudsman Graft Investigation Officer; and State
Prosecutor of the Department of Justice. From the attestations and certifications
presented, the Court finds that respondent has sufficiently atoned for his transgressions.
At 58 years of age, he still has productive years ahead of him that could significantly
contribute to the upliftment of the law profession and the betterment of society. While
the Court is ever mindful of its duty to discipline and even remove its errant officers,
concomitant to it is its duty to show compassion to those who have reformed their ways
as in this case. Thus, the court reinstated respondent to the practice of law. He was,
however, reminded that such privilege is burdened with conditions whereby adherence
to the rigid standards of intellect, moral uprightness, and strict compliance with the rules
and the law are continuing requirements. Florence Teves Macarubbo vs. Atty. Edmundo
L. Macarubbo; Re: Petition (for Extraordinary Mercy) of Edmundo L. Macarubbo. A.C.
No. 6148. January 22, 2013 Court personnel; refusal to perform duty. Section 1, Canon
IV of the Code of Conduct for Court Personnel enjoins court personnel to perform their
official duties properly and with diligence at all times. Clerks of Court are primarily
responsible for the speedy and efficient service of all court processes and writs. Hence,
they cannot be allowed to slacken on their work since they are charged with the duty of
keeping the records and the seal of the court, issuing processes, entering judgments
and orders, and giving certified copies of records upon request. As such, they are
expected to possess a high Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

degree of discipline and efficiency in the performance of their functions to help ensure
that the cause of justice is done without delay. As an officer of the court, respondent
Clerk of Court was duty-bound to use reasonable skill and diligence in the performance
of her officially-designated duties as clerk of court, failing which, warrants the imposition
of administrative sanctions. In this case, respondent unjustifiably failed to issue the alias
writs of execution to implement the judgment in a Civil Case, despite orders from the
RTC. Moreover, she failed to file the required comment in disregard of the duty of every
employee in the judiciary to obey the orders and processes of the Court without delay.
Such act evinces lack of interest in clearing her name, constituting an implied admission
of the charges. Mariano T. Ong vs. Eva G. Basiya-Saratan, Clerk of Court, RTC, Br. 32,
Iloilo City. A.M. No. P-12-3090. January 7, 2013 Judge; disciplinary proceedings against
judges; presumption of regularity. Jurisprudence is replete with cases holding that
errors, if any, committed by a judge in the exercise of his adjudicative functions cannot
be corrected through administrative proceedings, but should instead be assailed
through available judicial remedies. Disciplinary proceedings against judges do not
complement, supplement or substitute judicial remedies and, thus, cannot be pursued
simultaneously with the judicial remedies accorded to parties aggrieved by their
erroneous orders or judgments. Even if the CA decision or portions thereof turn out to
be erroneous, administrative liability will only attach upon proof that the actions of the
respondent CA Justices were motivated by bad faith, dishonesty or hatred, or attended
by fraud or corruption, which were not sufficiently shown to exist in this case. Neither
was bias as well as partiality established. Acts or conduct of the judge clearly indicative
of arbitrariness or prejudice must be clearly shown before he can be branded the stigma
of being biased and partial. In the same vein, bad faith or malice cannot be inferred
simply because the judgment or order is adverse to a party. Here, other than AMALI’s
bare and self-serving claim, no act clearly indicative of bias and partiality was alleged
except for the claim that respondent CA Justices misapplied the law and jurisprudence.
Thus, the presumption that the respondent judge has regularly performed his duties
shall prevail. Re: Verified complaint of AMA Land, Inc. against Hon. Danton Q. Bueser,
et al. A.M. No. OCA IPI No. 12-202CA-J. January 15, 2013 Judge; gross ignorance of
law. Judge Sarmiento, Jr. was charged with gross ignorance of the law, manifest
partiality and dereliction and neglect of duty. The court held that the judge did not
commit gross ignorance of the law. Gross ignorance of the law on the part of a judge
presupposes an appalling lack of familiarity with simple rules of law or procedures and
well-established jurisprudence which tends to erode the public trust in the competence
and fairness of the court which he personifies. The complaint states that respondent
judge, in arbitrary defiance of his own September 25, 2006 Decision which constitutes
res judicata or a bar to him to pass upon the issue Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE
Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

of Geoffrey, Jr’s. custody, granted, via his March 15, 2011 Order, provisional custody
over Geoffrey, Jr. to Eltesa. The Decision adverted to refers to the judgment on
compromise agreement. Respondent judge cannot be held guilty of the charges hurled
by the complainant against him since there is no finding of strong reasons to rule
otherwise. The preference of a child over 7 years of age as to whom he desired to live
with shall be respected. Moreover, custody, even if previously granted by a competent
court in favor of a parent, is not permanent. Geoffrey Beckett vs. Judge Olegario R.
Sarmiento, Jr., RTC, Branch 24, Cebu City. A.M. No. RTJ-12-2326. January 30, 2013

Judge; misconduct. Misconduct means intentional wrongdoing or deliberate violation of


a rule of law or a standard of behavior. To constitute an administrative offense,
misconduct should relate to or be connected with the performance of the official
functions of a public officer. In grave misconduct, as distinguished from simple
misconduct, the elements of corruption, clear intent to violate the law or flagrant
disregard of an established rule must be established. In this case, the actions of the
Sandiganbayan Justices respecting the execution of the final judgment against accused
Velasco were shown to be in respectful deference to the Court’s action on the various
petitions filed by the former. Records are bereft of evidence showing any trace of
corruption, clear intent to violate the law or flagrant disregard of the rules as to hold the
Sandiganbayan Justices administratively liable for grave misconduct. Re: Complaint of
Leonardo A. Velasco against Associate Justices Francisco H. Villaruz, Jr., et al. A.M.
No. OCA IPI No. 10-25-SB-J. January 15, 2013 Judge; no abuse of authority when
judge did not renew a temporary appointment. Complainant, a former Court
Stenographer III at the RTC, failed to show any proof that she was entitled to a
permanent position. Other than her allegation that she was given two “very satisfactory”
and one “satisfactory” rating, there was no evidence presented that she has met the
prescribed qualification standard for the position. “Such standard is a mix of the formal
education, experience, training, civil service eligibility, physical health and attitude that
the job requires.” Respondent judge, who is the immediate supervisor of complainant, is
in the best position to observe the fitness, propriety and efficiency of the employee for
the position. It should be impressed upon complainant that her appointment in the
Judiciary is not a vested right. It is not an entitlement that she can claim simply for the
reason that she had been in the service for almost two years. The subsequent filing of
complaint against Atty. Borja (officer-in-charge of the PAO-Virac) manifests
complainant’s propensity to file complaints whenever she does not get what she wants.
Such attitude should not be tolerated. Otherwise, judges will be placed in hostage
situations by employees who will Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-
2016

threaten to file complaints whenever they do not get their way with their judges. Since
there is no proof that respondent judge abused her position, the case against her should
be dismissed. Respondent judge should, however, be reminded to be circumspect in
her actuations so as not to give the impression that she is guilty of favoritism. Kareen P.
Magtagñob vs. Judge Genie G. Gapas-Agbada. OCA IPI No. 11-3631-RTJ. January 16,
2013

Attorney; Contingent Fee. Spouses Cadavedo hired Atty. Lacaya on a contingency


basis. The Supreme Court held that spouses Cadavedo and Atty. Lacaya agreed on a
contingent fee of ₱2,000.00 and not, as asserted by the latter, one-half of the subject
lot. The stipulation contained in the amended complaint filed by Atty. Lacaya clearly
stated that the spouses Cadavedo hired the former on a contingency basis; the
Spouses Cadavedo undertook to pay their lawyer ₱2,000.00 as attorney’s fees should
the case be decided in their favor. Granting arguendo that the spouses Cadavedo and
Atty. Lacaya indeed entered into an oral contingent fee agreement securing to the latter
one-half of the subject lot, the agreement is void. The agreement is champertous and is
contrary to public policy. Any agreement by a lawyer to “conduct the litigation in his own
account, to pay the expenses thereof or to save his client therefrom and to receive as
his fee a portion of the proceeds of the judgment is obnoxious to the law.” The rule of
the profession that forbids a lawyer from contracting with his client for part of the thing in
litigation in exchange for conducting the case at the lawyer’s expense is designed to
prevent the lawyer from acquiring an interest between him and his client. The Conjugal
Partnership of the Spouses Vicente Cadavedo and Benita Arcoy-Cadavedo (both
deceased), substituted by their Heirs, namely: Herminia, Pastora, Heirs of Fructiosa,
Heirs of Raquel, Evangeline, Vicente, Jr., and Armand, all surnamed Cadavedo, G.R.
No. 173188. January 15, 2014. Attorney; Disbarment; Deceitful and Dishonest Conduct.
A Complaint for Disbarment was filed against Atty. Solidum, Jr. The Supreme Court
held that Atty. Solidum, Jr. violated Rule 1.01 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility. Conduct, as used in the Rule, is not confined to the performance of a
lawyer’s professional duties. A lawyer may be disciplined for misconduct committed
either in his professional or private capacity. The test is whether his conduct shows him
to be wanting in moral character, honesty, probity, and good demeanor, or whether it
renders him unworthy to continue as an officer of the court. The Supreme Court found
Atty. Solidum, Jr. guilty of engaging in dishonest and deceitful conduct, both in his
professional capacity with respect to his client, Presbitero, and in his private capacity
with respect to complainant Navarro. Both Presbitero and Navarro allowed Atty.
Solidum, Jr. to draft the terms of the loan agreements. Atty. Solidum, Jr. drafted the
MOAs knowing that the interest rates were exorbitant. Later, using his knowledge of the
law, he assailed the validity of the same MOAs he prepared. He issued checks that
were drawn from his son’s account whose Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor,
S.Y. 2015-2016

name was similar to his without informing complainants. Further, there is nothing in the
records that will show that he paid or undertook to pay the loans he obtained from
complainants. The fiduciary nature of the relationship between the counsel and his
client imposes on the lawyer the duty to account for the money or property collected or
received for or from his client. Atty. Solidum, Jr. failed to fulfill this duty. Natividad P.
Navarro and Hilda S. Presbitero v. Atty. Ivan M. Solidum, Jr., A.C. No. 9872, January
28, 2014. Attorney; Disbarment; Gross Immoral Conduct. A Petition for Disbarment was
filed against Atty. Celera for contracting a second marriage when his first marriage with
Complainant was still subsisting. The Supreme Court held that for purposes of the
disbarment proceeding, the Marriage Certificates bearing the name of Atty. Celera are
competent and convincing evidence to prove that he committed bigamy, which renders
him unfit to continue as a member of the Bar. Atty. Celera exhibited a deplorable lack of
that degree of morality required of him as a member of the Bar. He made a mockery of
marriage, a sacred institution demanding respect and dignity. His act of contracting a
second marriage while his first marriage is subsisting constituted grossly immoral
conduct and are grounds for disbarment under Section 27, Rule 138 of the Revised
Rules of Court. Rose Bunagan-Bansig v. Atty. Rogelio Juan A. Celera, A.C. No. 5581,
January 14, 2014. Attorney; Disbarment; Willful Disobedience. A Petition for Disbarment
was filed against Atty. Celera for contracting a second marriage when his first marriage
with Complainant was still subsisting. Atty. Celara failed to file a Comment despite
numerous Notices from the Court, stating that he never received such Notices. When
said excuse seemed no longer feasible, Atty. Celera just disappeared. The Supreme
Court held that Atty. Celera’s acts were deliberate, maneuvering the liberality of the
Court in order to delay the disposition of the case and to evade the consequences of his
actions. Ultimately, what is apparent is respondent’s deplorable disregard of the judicial
process which this Court cannot countenance. Atty. Celera’s acts constitute willful
disobedience of the lawful orders of this Court, which under Section 27, Rule 138 of the
Rules of Court is in itself alone a sufficient cause for suspension or disbarment.
Respondent’s cavalier attitude in repeatedly ignoring the orders of the Supreme Court
constitutes utter disrespect to the judicial institution. Atty. Celera’s conduct indicates a
high degree of irresponsibility. A Court’s Resolution is “not to be construed as a mere
request, nor should it be complied with partially, inadequately, or selectively.” Rose
Bunagan-Bansig v. Atty. Rogelio Juan A. Celera, A.C. No. 5581, January 14, 2014.
Attorney; Malpractice. A Complaint was filed against Atty. Mendoza of the Public
Attorney’s Office (PAO) for violation of the attorney’s oath, deceit, malpractice or other
gross misconduct in office under Section 27, Rule 138 of the Revised Rules of Court,
and for violation of the Code of Professional Responsibility. One of the charges against
Atty. Mendoza which she admitted is telling her clients — “Iyak-iyakan lang ninyo si
Judge Martin at palalayain na kayo. Malambot ang puso noon.” The Supreme Court
held that Atty. Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

Mendoza made irresponsible advices to her clients in violation of Rule 1.02 and Rule
15.07 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. It is the mandate of Rule 1.02 that “a
lawyer shall not counsel or abet activities aimed at defiance of the law or at lessening
confidence in the legal system.” Rule 15.07 states that “a lawyer shall impress upon his
client compliance with the laws and the principles of fairness.” However, while her
remark was inappropriate and unbecoming, her comment was not disparaging and
reproachful so as to cause dishonor and disgrace to the Judiciary. Thus, she was only
reprimanded and sternly warned. Edgardo Areola v. Atty. Maria Vilma Mendoza, A.C.
No. 10135, January 15, 2014. Court Personnel; Dishonesty and Grave Misconduct. A
complaint for grave misconduct was filed against Mylene H. Dela Cruz, Clerk III of the
Regional Trial Court. The Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials
and Employees, Republic Act 6713, enunciates the State’s policy of promoting a high
standard of ethics and utmost responsibility in the public service. And no other office in
the government service exacts a greater demand for moral righteousness and
uprightness from an employee than in the judiciary. The Supreme Court held that in this
case, Dela Cruz failed to live up to these exacting standards. The inculpatory acts
committed by Dela Cruz are so grave as to call for the most severe administrative
penalty. Dishonesty and grave misconduct, both being in the nature of a grave offense,
carry the extreme penalty of dismissal from service with forfeiture of retirement benefits,
except accrued leave credits, and perpetual disqualification for reemployment in the
government service. This penalty is in accordance with Sections 52 and 58 of the
Revised Uniform Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil Service. Atty. Rhea R.
Alcantara-Aquino v. Mylene H. Dela Cruz, etc., A.M. No. P-13-3141. January 21, 2014.
Court Personnel; Grave Misconduct. A Complaint for Grave Misconduct and Making
Untruthful Statements was filed against Alfredo Pallanan, Sheriff IV, assigned at the
Regional Trial Court. Complainant alleged that Pallanan should not have implemented
the writ of execution in the unlawful detainer case since there was a pending motion for
reconsideration with the court. Misconduct has been defined as “a transgression of
some established and definite rule of action, more particularly, unlawful behavior or
gross negligence by a public officer.” The misconduct is grave if it involves any of the
additional elements of corruption, willful intent to violate the law, or to disregard
established rules, all of which must be established by substantial evidence, and must
necessarily be manifest in a charge of grave misconduct. The Supreme Court ruled that
Pallanan did not commit grave misconduct. In ejectment cases, the rulings of the courts
are immediately executory and can only be stayed via compliance with Section 19, Rule
70 of the Rules of Court. Such provision was not complied here. The sheriff’s duty in the
execution of a writ is purely ministerial; he is to execute the order of the court strictly to
the letter. He has no discretion whether to execute the judgment or not. When the writ is
placed in his hands, it is his duty, in the absence of any instructions to the contrary, to
Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

proceed with reasonable celerity and promptness to implement it in accordance with its
mandate. It is only by doing so could he ensure that the order is executed without undue
delay. This holds especially true herein where the nature of the case requires immediate
execution. Absent a TRO, an order of quashal, or compliance with Sec. 19, Rule 70 of
the Rules of Court, respondent sheriff has no alternative but to enforce the writ. Atty.
Virgillo P. Alconera v. Alfredo T. Pallanan, A.M. No. P-12-3069, January 20, 2014. Court
personnel; Simple neglect of duty. The audit of the financial transactions of Maniquis,
former Officer-in-Charge, Clerk of Court III, and that of his successor Atty. Buencamino
(Atty. Buencamino), Clerk of Court IV uncovered shortages in the books of accounts of
the Metropolitan Trial Court. Mapue, Clerk III, admitted her fault. The Supreme Court
held that the admission of Mapue of her liability does not exculpate Atty. Buencamino
from her own negligence. A clerk of court has general administrative supervision over all
the personnel of the court. The administrative functions of a clerk of court are as vital to
the prompt and proper administration of justice as his judicial duties. As custodian of
court funds and revenues, the clerk of court is primarily accountable for all funds that
are collected for the court, whether personally received by him or by a duly appointed
cashier who is under his supervision and control. Atty. Buencamino was remiss in the
performance of her duties as clerk of court. Atty. Buencamino failed to supervise Mapue
and to properly manage the court funds entrusted to her, enabling Mapue to
misappropriate part of the funds. Atty. Buencamino’s failure to properly supervise and
manage the financial transactions in her court constitutes simple neglect of duty. Simple
neglect of duty is the failure to give attention to a task, or the disregard of a duty due to
carelessness or indifference. It is a less grave offense punishable by suspension for one
month and one day to six months for the first offense. Office of the Court Administrator
v. Atty. Mona Lisa A. Buencamino, etc., et al./Re: Report on the financial audit
conducted in the Metropolitan Trial Court etc., A.M. No. P-05-2051/A.M. No. 05-4-118-
MeTC. January 21, 2014.

Attorney; Attorney’s Fees. The case initially concerned the execution of a final decision
with the Court of Appeals in a labor litigation. Petitioner Malvar, however, entered into a
compromise agreement with the respondents pending appeal without informing her
counsel. Malvar’s counsel filed a Motion to Intervene to Protect Attorney’s Rights. The
Supreme Court, on considerations of equity and fairness, disapproved of the tendencies
of clients compromising their cases behind the backs of their attorneys for the purpose
of unreasonably reducing or completely setting to naught the stipulated contingent fees.
Thus, the Court granted the Motion for Intervention to Protect Attorney’s Rights as a
measure of protecting the Intervenor’s right to his stipulated professional fees. The
Court did so in the Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

interest of protecting the rights of the practicing Bar rendering professional services on
contingent fee basis. Although the compromise agreement was still approved by the
Court, the payment of the counsel’s adequate and reasonable compensation could not
be annulled by the settlement of the litigation without the counsel’s participation and
conformity. He remains entitled to the compensation, and his rights are safeguarded by
the Court because its members are officers of the Court who are as entitled to judicial
protection against injustice or imposition of fraud committed by the client as much as the
client is against their abuses as her counsel. In other words, the duty of the Court is not
only to ensure that the attorney acts in a proper and lawful manner, but also to see to it
that the attorney is paid his just fees. Even if the compensation of the attorney is
dependent only on winning the litigation, the subsequent withdrawal of the case upon
the client’s initiative would not deprive the attorney of the legitimate compensation for
professional services rendered. Czarina T. Malvar v. Kraft Foods Phils., Inc., et al., G.R.
No. 183952, September 9, 2013. Attorney; Attorney-Client Relationship. A disbarment
complaint was filed against respondent Atty. Ramos for representing conflicting
interests in the same case. The Supreme Court held that Atty. Ramos violated Rule
15.03 of Canon 15 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. Under the afore-cited
rule, it is explicit that a lawyer is prohibited 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 on totally unrelated cases. The prohibition is founded on the
principles of public policy and good taste. It behooves lawyers not only to keep inviolate
the client’s confidence, but also to avoid the appearance of treachery and double-
dealing for only then can litigants be encouraged to entrust their secrets to their lawyers,
which is of paramount interest in the administration of justice. Atty. Ramos’ justification
that no confidential information was relayed to him is not an excuse since the rule on
conflict of interests provides an absolute prohibition from representation with respect to
opposing parties in the same case. Thus, a lawyer cannot change his representation
from one party to the latter’s opponent in the same case. Joseph L. Orola, et al. v. Atty.
Joseph Ador Ramos, A.C. No. 9860, September 11, 2013. Attorney; Gross Misconduct.
The Supreme Court held that Atty. Alcid, Jr. violated Canon 18 and Rules 18.03 and
18.04 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. Atty. Alcid, Jr. violated his oath under
Canon 18 to “serve his client with competence and diligence” when he filed a criminal
case for estafa when the facts of the case would have warranted the filing of a civil case
for breach of contract. To be sure, after the complaint for estafa was dismissed, Atty.
Alcid, Jr. committed another similar blunder by filing a civil case for specific performance
and damages before the RTC, when he should have filed it with the MTC due to the
amount involved. Atty. Alcid, Jr. did not also apprise complainant of the status of the
cases. Atty. Alcid, Jr. is not only guilty of incompetence in handling the cases. His lack
of professionalism in Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

dealing with complainant is gross and inexcusable. The legal profession dictates that it
is not a mere duty, but an obligation, of a lawyer to accord the highest degree of fidelity,
zeal and fervor in the protection of the client’s interest. The most thorough groundwork
and study must be undertaken in order to safeguard the interest of the client. Atty. Alcid,
Jr. has defied and failed to perform such duty and his omission is tantamount to a
desecration of the Lawyer’s Oath. Julian Penilla v. Atty. Quintin P. Alcid, Jr., A.C. No.
9149, September 4, 2013. Attorney; Practice of Law. Petitioner Medado passed the bar
examinations in 1979. He took the Attorney’s Oath thereafter, and was scheduled to
sign the Roll of Attorneys, but failed to do so because he had misplaced the Notice to
Sign the Roll of Attorneys. Several years later, he found such Notice and realized he
never signed the Roll of Attorneys. Medado filed this Petition to allow him to sign in the
Roll of Attorneys. The Supreme Court held that while an honest mistake of fact could be
used to excuse a person from the legal consequences of his acts as it negates malice
or evil motive, a mistake of law cannot be utilized as a lawful justification, because
everyone is presumed to know the law and its consequences. Knowingly engaging in
unauthorized practice of law transgresses Canon 9 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility. Such Canon also applies to law students and Bar candidates. Medado
was imposed a penalty akin to suspension by allowing him to sign one (1) year after
receipt of the Court’s Resolution. In Re: Petition to Sign in the Roll of Attorneys, B.M.
No. 2540, September 24, 2013. Court Personnel; Gross Dishonesty; Gross Misconduct.
The audit team discovered cash shortages in the books of accounts of the Office of the
Clerk of Court, RTC, Lipa City. As clerk of court, Atty. Apusen is primarily accountable
for all funds collected for the court, whether personally received by him or by a duly
appointed cashier who is under his supervision and control. As custodian of court funds,
revenues, records, properties and premises, he is liable for any loss, shortage,
destruction or impairment of said funds and properties. Being a cash clerk, Savadera is
an accountable officer entrusted with the great responsibility of collecting money
belonging to the funds of the court. Clearly, she miserably failed in such responsibility
upon the occurrence of the shortages. The Supreme Court held that no position
demands greater moral righteousness and uprightness from its holder than a judicial
office. Those connected with the dispensation of justice, from the highest official to the
lowliest clerk, carry a heavy burden of responsibility. As frontliners in the administration
of justice, they should live up to the strictest standards of honesty and integrity. They
must bear in mind that the image of a court of justice is necessarily mirrored in the
conduct, official or otherwise, of the men and women who work there. Office of the
Court Administrator v. Donabel M. Savadera, et al., A.M. No. P-041903, September 10,
2013. Judge; Delay in deciding cases. Judge Lazaro was accused of undue delay in the
resolution of the Motion to Dismiss a civil case considering that she had resolved the
Motion to Dismiss beyond the 90-day period prescribed for the Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr.
PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

purpose without filing any request for the extension of the period. The Supreme Court
held that the 90-day period within which a sitting trial Judge should decide a case or
resolve a pending matter is mandatory. If the Judge cannot decide or resolve within the
period, she can be allowed additional time to do so, provided she files a written request
for the extension of her time to decide the case or resolve the pending matter. The rule,
albeit mandatory, is to be implemented with an awareness of the limitations that may
prevent a Judge from being efficient. Under the circumstances specific to this case, it
would be unkind and inconsiderate on the part of the Court to disregard Judge Lazaro’s
limitations and exact a rigid and literal compliance with the rule. With her undeniably
heavy inherited docket and the large volume of her official workload, she most probably
failed to note the need for her to apply for the extension of the 90-day period to resolve
the Motion to Dismiss. Danilo E. Lubaton v. Judge Mary Josephine P. Lazaro, Regional
Trial Court, Br. 74, Antipolo, Rizal, A.M. RTJ-12-2320, September 2, 2013. Judge;
Delay in deciding cases. Judge Baluma was asked to explain his failure to act on the
twenty-three (23) cases submitted for decision/resolution. The Supreme Court held that
it has consistently impressed upon judges the need to decide cases promptly and
expeditiously under the time-honored precept that justice delayed is justice denied.
Every judge should decide cases with dispatch and should be careful, punctual, and
observant in the performance of his functions for delay in the disposition of cases
erodes the faith and confidence of our people in the judiciary, lowers its standards and
brings it into disrepute. Failure to decide a case within the reglementary period is not
excusable and constitutes gross inefficiency warranting the imposition of administrative
sanctions on the defaulting judge. Judge Baluma’s gross inefficiency, evident in his
undue delay in deciding 23 cases within the reglementary period, merits the imposition
of administrative sanctions. Re: Cases Submitted for Decision before Hon. Teofilo D.
Baluma, Former Judge, Branch 1, Regional Trial Court, Tagbilaran City, Bohol, A.M.
No. RTJ-13-2355, September 2, 2013.

Judge; Gross Inefficiency. Judge Soriano failed to decide thirty-six (36) cases submitted
for decision in MTC and MTCC, which were all due for decision at the time he
compulsorily retired. The Supreme Court held that Judge Soriano has been remiss in
the performance of his judicial duties. Judge Soriano’s unreasonable delay in deciding
cases and resolving incidents and motions, and his failure to decide the remaining
cases before his compulsory retirement constitutes gross inefficiency which cannot be
tolerated. Inexcusable failure to decide cases within the reglementary period constitutes
gross inefficiency, warranting the imposition of an administrative sanction on the
defaulting judge. Judge Soriano’s inefficiency in managing his caseload was
compounded by gross negligence as evinced by the loss of the records of at least four
(4) cases which could no longer be located or reconstituted despite diligent efforts by
his successor. Judge Soriano was responsible for managing his court efficiently to
ensure the prompt delivery Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

of court services, especially the speedy disposition of cases. Thus, Judge Soriano was
found guilty of gross inefficiency and gross ignorance of the law, and fined P40,000 to
be taken from the amount withheld from his retirement benefits. Office of the Court
Administrator v. Hon. Santiago E. Soriano, A.M. No. MTJ-07-1683, September 11,
2013.

Attorney; Gross Immoral Conduct. Respondent Pedreña, a Public Attorney, was


charged for sexual harassment. The Supreme Court held that the records show that the
respondent rubbed the complainant’s right leg with his hand; tried to insert his finger into
her firmly closed hand; grabbed her hand and forcibly placed it on his crotch area; and
pressed his finger against her private part. Given the circumstances in which he
committed them, his acts were not merely offensive and undesirable but repulsive,
disgraceful and grossly immoral. They constituted misconduct on the part of any lawyer.
In this regard, 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. Atty. Pedreña’s misconduct was aggravated by the fact that he was then a
Public Attorney mandated to provide free legal service to indigent litigants, and by the
fact that complainant was then such a client. He also disregarded his oath as a public
officer to serve others and to be accountable at all times, because he thereby took
advantage of her vulnerability as a client then in desperate need of his legal assistance.
Thus, respondent was meted out the penalty of suspension from the practice of law for
two (2) years. Jocelyn De Leon v. Atty. Tyrone Pedrena, A.C. No. 9401, October 22,
2013. Attorney; Gross Misconduct. A complaint for disbarment was filed against
Assistant Provincial Prosecutor Atty. Salvador N. Pe, Jr. for falsifying an inexistent
decision of the RTC. The Supreme Court held that the respondent was guilty of grave
misconduct for having authored the falsification of the decision in a non-existent court
proceeding. Canon 7 of the Code of Professional Responsibility demands that all
lawyers should uphold at all times the dignity and integrity of the Legal Profession. Rule
7.03 of the Code of Professional Responsibility states that “a lawyer shall not engage in
conduct that adversely reflects on his fitness to practice law, nor shall he whether in
public or private life, behave in a scandalous manner to the discredit of the legal
profession.” Lawyers are further required by Rule 1.01 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility not to engage in any unlawful, dishonest and immoral or deceitful
conduct. Gross immorality, conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude, or fraudulent
transactions can justify a lawyer’s disbarment or suspension from the practice of law.
Specifically, the deliberate falsification of the court decision by the respondent was an
act that reflected a high degree of moral turpitude on his part. Worse, the act made a
mockery of the administration of justice in this country, given the purpose of the
falsification, which was to mislead a foreign tribunal on the personal status of a person.
Thus, the Court disbarred the respondent. Atty. Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE
Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

Oscar L. Embido, etc. v. Atty. Salvador N. Pe, Jr., etc., A.M. No. 6732, October 22,
2013. Attorney; Gross Negligence. Respondent Villaseca was charged for gross and
inexcusable negligence in handling a criminal case, as a consequence of which the
complainants were convicted. The Supreme Court held that Atty. Villaseca’s failure to
submit a demurrer to evidence constitutes inexcusable negligence; it showed his lack of
devotion and zeal in preserving his clients’ cause. Furthermore, Atty. Villaseca’s failure
to present any testimonial, object or documentary evidence for the defense reveals his
lack of diligence in performing his duties as an officer of the Court; it showed his
indifference towards the cause of his clients. Considering that the liberty and livelihood
of his clients were at stake, Atty. Villaseca should have exerted efforts to rebut the
presented prosecution evidence. The Court emphasized that while a lawyer has
complete discretion on what legal strategy to employ in a case entrusted to him, he
must present every remedy or defense within the authority of the law to support his
client’s cause. Mary Ann T. Mattus v. Albert T. Villaseca, A.C. No. 7922, October 1,
2013. Attorney; Lawyer-Client Relationship. Respondent Gagate was accused of gross
ignorance of the law and unethical practice of law. The Supreme Court emphasized that
the relationship between a lawyer and his client is one imbued with utmost trust and
confidence. In this regard, clients are led to expect that lawyers would be ever-mindful
of their cause and accordingly exercise the required degree of diligence in handling their
affairs. For his part, the lawyer is expected to maintain at all times a high standard of
legal proficiency, and to devote his full attention, skill, and competence to the case,
regardless of its importance and whether he accepts it for a fee or for free. To this end,
he is enjoined to employ only fair and honest means to attain lawful objectives. These
principles are embodied in Canon 17, Rule 18.03 of Canon 18, and Rule 19.01 of
Canon 19 of the Code. Thus, the Court found that the respondent failed to exercise the
required diligence in handling complainant’s cause since he: (1) failed to represent her
competently and diligently by acting and proffering professional advice beyond the
proper bounds of law; and, (2) abandoned his client’s cause while the grave coercion
case against them was pending. Maria Cristina Zabaljauregui Pitcher v. Atty. Rustico B.
Gagate, A.C. No. 9532, October 8, 2013. Attorney; Lawyer-Client Relationship.
Respondent Obias was charged for grave misconduct and/or gross malpractice. The
Supreme Court held that since respondent publicly held herself out as lawyer, the mere
fact that she also acted as a real estate broker did not divest her of the responsibilities
attendant to the legal profession. In this regard, the legal advice and/or legal
documentation that she offered and/or rendered regarding the real estate transaction
subject of this case should not be deemed removed from the category of legal services.
Case law instructs that if a person, in respect to business affairs or troubles of any kind,
consults a lawyer with a view to obtaining professional advice or assistance, and the
attorney voluntarily Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

permits or acquiesces with employment is established.

the

consultation,

then

the

professional

Moreover, according to the Court, respondent grossly violated the trust and confidence
reposed in her by her clients, in contravention of Canons 17 and 18 of the Code.
Records disclose that instead of delivering the deed of sale covering the subject
property to her clients, she wilfully notarized a deed of sale over the same property in
favor of another person. It is a core ethical principle that lawyers owe fidelity to their
clients’ cause and must always be mindful of the trust and confidence reposed in them.
Thus, respondent was disbarred by the Court. Ma. Jennifer Tria-Samonte v. Epifania
“Fanny” Obias, A.C. No. 4945, October 8, 2013. Judiciary; Accountability. Respondent
Arnejo, a stenographer of the RTC, was accused of receiving payment for the TSN on
22 July 2010 and remitting the money to the cashier of the Clerk of Court only on 19
and 23 December 2010. The Supreme Court held that the respondent violated the Code
of Conduct of Court Personnel and Code of Ethics for Government Officials and
Employees. The Court will not tolerate the practice of asking for advance payment from
litigants, much less the unauthorized acceptance of judicial fees. Section 11, Rule 141
of the Rules of Court, specifically provides that payment for requests of copies of the
TSN shall be made to the Clerk of Court. Clearly, therefore, payment cannot be made to
respondent, as it is an official transaction, and, as such, must be made to the Clerk of
Court. Respondent, being a stenographer, is not authorized to accept payment for
judicial fees, even if two-thirds of those fees would be paid to her. Moreover, the
issuance of an acknowledgment receipt cannot be construed as having been done in
good faith, considering the fact that respondent only remitted the payment for the TSN
five (5) months after her receipt of the supposed judicial fee, or only after the instant
Complaint had been filed against her. Her belated remittance was tainted with bad faith.
Joefil Baguio v. Maria Fe Arnejo, Stenographer III, Regional Trial Court, Branch 24,
Cebu City, A.M. No. P-13-3155, October 21, 2013. Judiciary; Applicability of Sec. 7,
Rule III, IRR of R.A. No. 10154. The issue presented in this case is whether or not
Section 7, Rule III of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of Republic Act No. (RA)
10154 applies to the employees of the Judiciary. The Supreme Court ruled that the
subject provision which requires retiring government employees to secure a prior
clearance of pendency/non-pendency of administrative case/s from, among others, the
CSC – should not be made to apply to employees of the Judiciary. To deem it otherwise
would disregard the Court’s constitutionally-enshrined power of administrative
supervision over its personnel. Besides, retiring court personnel are already required to
secure a prior clearance of the pendency/non-pendency of administrative case/s from
the Court which makes the CSC clearance a superfluous and non-expeditious
requirement contrary to the declared state policy of RA 10154. The Court, however,
noted that since the Constitution only accords the Judiciary administrative supervision
over its personnel, a different treatment of the clearance Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE
Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

requirement obtains with respect to criminal cases. As such, a clearance requirement


which pertains to criminal cases may be imposed by the appropriate government
agency, i.e., the Office of the Ombudsman, on retiring court personnel as it is a matter
beyond the ambit of the Judiciary’s power of administrative supervision. Re: Request for
guidance/clarification on Section 7, Rule III of Republic Act No. 10154 Requiring
Retiring Government Employees to Secure a Clearance of Pendency/Non-Pendency of
Case/s from the Civil Service Commission, A.M. No. 13-09-08-SC, October 1, 2013.
Judiciary; Duty of Sheriff to Promptly Serve Summons. Sherriff Nery was accused of
failing to serve summons to the defendant in a case where he asked for transportation
expense, and despite being given an amount. The Supreme Court found the respondent
guilty. Summons to the defendant in a case shall forthwith be issued by the clerk of
court upon the filing of the complaint and the payment of the requisite legal fees. Once
issued by the clerk of court, it is the duty of the sheriff, process server or any other
person serving court processes to serve the summons to the defendant efficiently and
expeditiously. Failure to do so constitutes simple neglect of duty, which is the failure of
an employee to give one’s attention to a task expected of him, and signifies a disregard
of a duty resulting from carelessness or indifference. Moreover, sheriffs are not allowed
to receive any payments from the parties in the course of the performance of their
duties. They cannot just unilaterally demand sums of money from the parties without
observing the proper procedural steps under Section 10, Rule 141 of the Rules of Court,
as amended. Atty. Vladimir Alarique T. Cabigao v. Naeptali Angelo V. Nery, Sheriff III,
Branch 30, Metropolitan Trial Court, Manila, A.M. No. P13-3153, October 14, 2013.
Judge; Gross Ignorance of the Law. Judge Clemens was charged for gross ignorance of
the law and violation of the Child Witness Examination Rule. The Supreme Court
dismissed the complaint for lack of merit since the acts of Judge Clemens were far from
being ill-motivated and in bad faith as to justify any administrative liability on his part. A
complete reading of the TSN reveals that he was vigilant in his conduct of the
proceedings. In the instances mentioned in the Complaint-Affidavit, he had been
attentive to the manifestations made by Atty. Tacorda and had acted accordingly and
with dispatch. Further, contrary to the allegations of Atty. Tacorda, the TSN showed that
the respondent Judge was very much concerned with following the proper conduct of
trial and ensuring that the One-Day Examination of Witness Rule was followed; but at
the same time, he was sensitive to the fact that the witness was already exhausted,
having testified for almost three (3) hours. Atty. Jerome Norman L. Tacorda for: Odel L.
Gedraga v. Judge Reynaldo B. Clemens, presiding Judge, Regional Trial Court, Br. 31,
Calbayog City, Western Samar, A.M. No. RTJ-13-2359, October 23, 2013. Judge;
Gross Ignorance of the Law. Complainant filed a case against Judge Patricio accusing
him of gross ignorance of the law, manifest bias and partiality for refusing to execute a
judgment which was already final and Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y.
2015-2016

executory. The rule is that once a judgment attains finality, it thereby becomes
immutable and unalterable. Thus, the Supreme Court held that Judge Patricio
demonstrated ignorance of such rule by repeatedly refusing to execute the final and
executory judgment of conviction against the accused. The rules on execution are
comprehensive enough for a judge not to know how to apply them or to be confused by
any auxiliary incidents. The issuance of a writ of execution for a final and executory
judgment is ministerial. In other words, a judge is not given the discretion whether or not
to implement the judgment. He is to effect execution without delay and supervise
implementation strictly in accordance with the judgment. Judge Patricio’s acts
unmistakably exhibit gross ignorance of the law. Jesus D. Carbajosa v. Judge Hannibal
R. Patricio, Presiding Judge, Municipal Circuit Trial Court, President Roxas, Capiz, A.M.
No. MTJ-13-1834, October 2, 2013. Judge; Gross Misconduct. Judge Pardo was
accused of corruption. Judge Pardo did not deny that Rosendo, a litigant who had a
pending application for probation in his sala, went to his house, had a “drinking spree”
with him and stayed there for more than two hours. The Supreme Court held Judge
Pardo liable for gross misconduct. Citing jurisprudence, the Court held that a judge’s
acts of meeting with litigants outside the office premises beyond office hours and
sending a member of his staff to talk with complainant constitute gross misconduct.
Moreover, a judge was held liable for misconduct when he entertained a litigant in his
home and received benefits given by the litigant. Atty. Jessie Tuldague and Atty. Alfredo
Baldajo, Jr. v. Judge Moises Pardo and Jaime Calpatura, etc. / Atty. Jessie Tuldague
and Atty. Alfredo Baldajo, Jr. v. Jaime Calpatura, etc. / Re: Report on the Judicial Audit
and Investigation Conducted in the RTC, Cabarroguis, Quirino, A.M. No. RTJ05-1962/
A.M. OCA IPI No. 05-2243-P/ A.M. No. 05-10-661-RTC, October 25, 2013. Judge;
Grave Misconduct; Gross Neglect of Duty; Gross Dishonesty; Penalty. Grave
misconduct, gross neglect of duty and gross dishonesty of which Judge Salubre, Edig,
Palero and Aventurado are found guilty, even if committed for the first time, are
punishable by dismissal and carries with it the forfeiture of retirement benefits, except
accrued leave benefits, and the perpetual disqualification for reemployment in the
government service. As to Judge Salubre and Edig, however, in view of their deaths,
the supreme penalty of dismissal cannot be imposed on them anymore. It is only the
penalty of dismissal that is rendered futile by their passing since they are not in the
service anymore, but it is still within the Court’s power to forfeit their retirement benefits.
Report on the financial audit conducted in the MTCC, Tagum City, Davao del Norte /
Office of the Court Administrator v. Judge Ismael L. Salubre, et al., A.M. OCA IPI No.
09-3138-P/A.M. No. MTJ-05-1618, October 22, 2013. Judge; Remedy for Correcting
Actions of Judge. A complaint for gross ignorance of the law, grave misconduct,
oppression, bias and partiality was filed against Judge Omelio. The Supreme Court
reiterated the rule that the filing of an administrative complaint is not the proper remedy
for correcting Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

the actions of a judge perceived to have gone beyond the norms of propriety, where a
sufficient remedy exists. The actions against judges should not be considered as
complementary or suppletory to, or substitute for, the judicial remedies which can be
availed of by a party in a case. Moreover, the grant or denial of a writ of preliminary
injunction in a pending case rests on the sound discretion of the court taking cognizance
of the case, since the assessment and evaluation of evidence towards that end involves
findings of fact left to the said court for its conclusive determination. Hence, the exercise
of judicial discretion by a court in injunctive matters must not be interfered with, except
when there is grave abuse of discretion. Ma. Regina S. Peralta v. Judge George E.
Omelio / Romualdo G. Mendoza v. Judge George E. Omelio / Atty. Asteria E. Cruzabra
v. Judge George E. Omelio, A.M. No. RTJ-112259/A.M. No. RTJ-11-2264/A.M. No.
RTJ-11-2273, October 22, 2013.

Attorney; failure to account Responsibility provides:

for

money.

The

Code

of

Professional

Canon 16-A lawyer shall hold in trust all moneys and properties of his client that may
come into his possession. Rule 16.01-A lawyer shall account for all money or property
collected or received for or from the client. Rule 16.02-A lawyer shall keep the funds of
each client separate and apart from his own and those of others kept by him. Rule
16.03-A lawyer shall deliver the funds and property of his client when due or upon
demand. Money entrusted to a lawyer for a specific purpose but not used for the
purpose, should be immediately returned. A lawyer’s failure to return upon demand the
funds held by him on behalf of his client gives rise to the presumption that he has
appropriated the same for his own use in violation of the trust reposed in him by his
client. Such act is a gross violation of general morality as well as of professional ethics.
It impairs public confidence in the legal profession and deserves punishment. Emilia O.
Dhaliwal vs. Atty. Abelardo B. Dumaguing. A.C. No. 9390, August 1, 2012. Attorney;
grave misconduct and dishonesty. The purpose of disbarment is to protect the courts
and the public from the misconduct of the officers of 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. The Court cited the case of In Re: Sotto and ruled that “One of the
qualifications required of a candidate for admission to the bar is the possession of good
moral character, and, when one who has already been admitted to the bar clearly
shows, by a series of acts, that he does not follow such moral principles as should
govern the conduct of an upright person, and that, in his Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE
Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

dealings with his clients and with the courts, he disregards the rule of professional
ethics required to be observed by every attorney, it is the duty of the court, as guardian
of the interests of society, as well as of the preservation of the ideal standard of
professional conduct, to make use of its powers to deprive him of his professional
attributes which he so unworthily abused. Rule 1.01 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility states that “a lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or
deceitful conduct.” The Code exacts from lawyers not only a firm respect for law, legal
processes but also mandates the utmost degree of fidelity and good faith in dealing with
clients and the moneys entrusted to them pursuant to their fiduciary relationship.
Pursuant to Section 27, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court, respondent may either be
disbarred or suspended for committing deceitful and dishonest acts. This rule provides
that in any of the following circumstances, to wit: (1) deceit; (2) malpractice; (3) gross
misconduct; (4) grossly immoral conduct;(5) conviction of a crime involving moral
turpitude; (6) violation of the lawyer’s oath; (7) wilful disobedience of any lawful order of
a superior court; or (8) corruptly or wilfully appearing as an attorney for a party to a case
without authority to do so; the Court is vested with the authority and discretion to impose
either the extreme penalty of disbarment or mere suspension. Grace M. Anacta vs. Atty.
Eduardo D. Resurrecction. A.C. No. 9074, August 14, 2012. Attorney; immorality. The
practice of law is considered a privilege bestowed by the State on those who show that
they possess and continue to possess the legal qualifications for the profession. As
such, lawyers are expected to maintain at all times a high standard of legal proficiency,
morality, honesty, integrity and fair dealing, and must perform their four-fold duty to
society, the legal profession, the courts and their clients, in accordance with the values
and norms embodied in the Code. Lawyers may, thus, be disciplined for any conduct
that is wanting of the above standards whether in their professional or in their private
capacity. The settled rule is that betrayal of the marital vow of fidelity or sexual relations
outside marriage is considered disgraceful and immoral as it manifests deliberate
disregard of the sanctity of marriage and the marital vows protected by the Constitution
and affirmed by our laws. Respondent violated the Lawyer’s Oath14 and Rule 1.01,
Canon 1 of the Code which proscribes a lawyer from engaging in “unlawful, dishonest,
immoral or deceitful conduct.” Engr.Gilbert Tumbokon vs. Atty. Mariano R. Pefianco.
A.C. No. 6116, August 1, 2012 Attorney; representing conflicting interest. Canon 15,
Rule 15.03 of the Code of Professional Responsibility provides that a lawyer cannot
represent conflicting interests except by written consent of all concerned given after a
full disclosure of the facts. Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

An attorney owes his client undivided allegiance. Because of the highly fiduciary nature
of their relationship, sound public policy dictates that he be prohibited from representing
conflicting interests or discharging inconsistent duties. An attorney may not, without
being guilty of professional misconduct, act as counsel for a person whose interest
conflicts with that of his present or former client. This rule is so absolute that good faith
and honest intention on the erring lawyer’s part does not make it inoperative. The
reason for this is that a lawyer acquires knowledge of his former client’s doings, whether
documented or not, that he would ordinarily not have acquired were it not for the trust
and confidence that his client placed on him in the light of their relationship. It would
simply be impossible for the lawyer to identify and erase such entrusted knowledge with
faultless precision or lock the same into an iron box when suing the former client on
behalf of a new one. Santos Ventura Hocorma Foundation, Inc., represented by Gabriel
H. Abad vs. Atty. Richard V. Funk. A.C. No. 9094, August 15, 2012 Attorney; sharing of
fees with non- lawyers. Respondent’s defense that forgery had attended the execution
of the August 11, 1995 letter was belied by his July 16, 1997 letter admitting to have
undertaken the payment of complainant’s commission but passing on the responsibility
to Sps. Yap. Clearly, respondent has violated Rule 9.02, Canon 9 of the Code which
prohibits a lawyer from dividing or stipulating to divide a fee for legal services with
persons not licensed to practice law, except in certain cases which do not obtain in the
case at bar. Engr. Gilbert Tumbokon vs. Atty. Mariano R. Pefianco. A.C. No. 6116,
August 1, 2012. Court personnel; disgraceful and immoral conduct. Immorality has been
defined to include not only sexual matters but also conduct inconsistent with rectitude,
or indicative of corruption, indecency, depravity, and dissoluteness; or is willful, flagrant
or shameless conduct showing moral indifference to opinions of respectable members
of the community, and an inconsiderate attitude toward good order and public welfare.
Respondent engaged in sexual relations with a married man which not only violate the
moral standards expected of employees of the Judiciary but is also a desecration of the
sanctity of the institution of marriage. The Code of Judicial Ethics mandates that the
conduct of court personnel must be free from any whiff of impropriety, not only with
respect to his duties in the judicial branch but also to his behavior outside the court as a
private individual. There is no dichotomy of morality; a court employee is also judged by
his private morals. The exacting standards of morality and decency have been strictly
adhered to and laid down by the Court to those in the service of the Judiciary.
Respondent, as a court stenographer, did not live up to her commitment to lead a moral
life. Public office is a public trust. The good of the service and the degree of morality,
which every official and employee in the public service must observe, if respect and
confidence are to be maintained by the Government in the enforcement of the law,
demand that no untoward Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

conduct affecting morality, integrity, and efficiency while holding office should be left
without proper and commensurate sanction, all attendant circumstances taken into
account. Judge Armando S. Adlawan, Presiding Judge, 6th MCTC, Bonifacio-Don
Mariano Marcos, Misamis Occidental vs. Estrella P. Capilitan, 6th MCTC, Bonifacio-Don
Mariano Marcos, Misamis Occidental. A.M. No. P-12-3080. August 29, 2012 Court
personnel; dishonesty and falsification of public document. Willful concealment of facts
in the Personal Data Sheet (PDS) constitutes mental dishonesty amounting to
misconduct. Likewise, making a false statement in one’s PDS amounts to dishonesty
and falsification of an official document. Dishonesty has been defined as intentionally
making a false statement on any material fact. Dishonesty evinces a disposition to lie,
cheat, deceive or defraud; untrustworthiness; lack of integrity, lack of honesty, probity or
integrity in principle; lack of fairness and straightforwardness; disposition to defraud,
deceive or betray. Civil service rules mandate the accomplishment of the PDS as a
requirement for employment in the government. Hence, making false statements in
one’s PDS is ultimately connected with one’s employment in the government. The
employee making false statements in his or her PDS becomes liable for falsification.
Moreover, for respondent to be meted the penalty of dismissal, her dishonesty need not
be committed in the performance of official duty. As the Court has previously ruled: “The
rationale for the rule is that if a government officer or employee is dishonest or is guilty
of oppression or grave misconduct, even if said defects of character are not connected
with his office, they affect his right to continue in office. The Government cannot tolerate
in its service a dishonest official, even if he performs his duties correctly and well,
because by reason of his government position, he is given more and ample opportunity
to commit acts of dishonesty against his fellow men, even against offices and entities of
the government other than the office where he is employed; and by reason of his office,
he enjoys and possesses a certain influence and power which renders the victims of his
grave misconduct, oppression and dishonesty less disposed and prepared to resist and
to counteract his evil acts and actuations. When official documents are falsified, intent to
injure a third person is irrelevant because the principal thing punished is the violation of
public faith and the destruction of the truth as claimed in that document.The act
undermines the integrity of government records and therein lies the prejudice to public
service. The act need not result in disruption of service or loss to the government. It is
the act of dishonesty itself that taints the integrity of government service. A government
officer’s dishonesty affects the morale of the service, even when it stems from the
employee’s personal dealings. Such conduct should not be tolerated from government
officials, even when official duties are performed well. Employment in the judiciary
demands the highest degree of responsibility, integrity, loyalty and efficiency from its
personnel. All judiciary employees Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-
2016

are expected to conduct themselves with propriety and decorum at all times . An act
that falls short of the exacting standards set for public officers, especially those in the
judiciary, shall not be countenanced. Manolito C. Villordon vs. Marilyn C. Avila, Court
Interpreter I, Municipal Trial Court in Cities. Branch 3, Cebu City. A.M. No. P-10-2809,
August 10, 2012 Court personnel; neglect of duty. Simple neglect of duty is defined as
the failure to give attention to a task or the disregard of a duty due to carelessness or
indifference. The Court ruled in Pilipina v. Roxas: “The Court cannot countenance
neglect of duty for even simple neglect of duty lessens the people’s confidence in the
judiciary and ultimately in the administration of justice. By the very nature of their duties
and responsibilities, public servants must faithfully adhere to, hold sacred and render
inviolate the constitutional principle that a public office is a public trust; that all public
officers and employees must at all times be accountable to the people, serve them with
utmost responsibility, integrity, loyalty and efficiency. Memoranda of Judge Eliza B. Yu
issued to Legal Researcher Marie Joy P. Lagman and to Court Stenographer Soledad
J. Bassig, all of Metropolitan Trial Court, Branch 47, Pasay City. A.M. No. P-12-3033,
August 15, 2012. Court personnel; simple neglect of duty. Rule 39, Section 14 of the
Rules of Court clearly mandates the sheriff or other proper officer to file a return and
when necessary, periodic reports, with the court which issued the writ of execution. The
writ of execution shall be returned to the court immediately after the judgment had been
partially or fully satisfied. In case the writ is still unsatisfied or only partially satisfied 30
days after the officer’s receipt of the same, said officer shall file a report with the court
stating the reasons therefor. Subsequently, the officer shall periodically file with the
court a report on the proceedings taken to enforce the writ every 30 days until said writ
is fully satisfied or its effectivity expires. The officer is further required to furnish the
parties with copies of the return and periodic reports. Difficulties or obstacles in the
satisfaction of a final judgment and execution of a writ do not excuse respondent’s total
inaction. Neither the Rules nor jurisprudence recognizes any exception from the
periodic filing of reports by sheriffs It is almost trite to say that execution is the fruit and
end of the suit and is the life of law. A judgment, if left unexecuted, would be nothing but
an empty victory for the prevailing party. Therefore, sheriffs ought to know that they
have a sworn responsibility to serve writs of execution with utmost dispatch. When writs
are placed in their hands, it is their ministerial duty to proceed with reasonable celerity
and promptness to execute them in accordance with their mandate. Unless restrained
by a court order, they should see to it that the execution of judgments is not unduly
delayed. Accordingly, they must comply with their mandated ministerial duty as speedily
as possible. As agents of the law, high standards are expected of sheriffs Canon IV,
Section 1 of the Code of Conduct for Court Personnel that reads, “Court personnel shall
at all times perform official duties properly and with Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE
Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

diligence.” Astorga and Repol Law Offices, represented by Atty. Arnold B. Lugares vs.
Leodel N. Roxas, Sheriff IV, Regional Trial Court, Branch 66, Makati City. A.M. No. P-
12-3029, August 15, 2012. Attorney; representation of non-client. Atty. Espejo’s claim
that he drafted and signed the pleading just to extend assistance to Rodica deserves
scant consideration. It is true that under Rules 2.01and 2.02, Canon 2 of the Code of
Professional Responsibility, a lawyer shall not reject, except for valid reasons, the cause
of the defenseless or the oppressed, and in such cases, even if he does not accept a
case, shall not refuse to render legal advise to the person concerned if only to the
extent necessary to safeguard the latter’s right. However, in this case, Rodica cannot be
considered as defenseless or oppressed considering that she is properly represented
by counsel in the RTC case. Needless to state, her rights are amply safeguarded. It
would have been different had Rodica not been represented by any lawyer, which,
however, is not the case. The Court wonders why Atty. Espejo, knowing fully well that
Rodica is not their law firm’s client and without the knowledge and consent of his
superiors, gave in to Rodica’s request for him to indicate in the said motion the names
of his law firm, Atty. Manuel and Atty. Michelle for the purpose of “giving more weight
and credit to the pleading.” As a member of the bar, Atty. Espejo ought to know that
motions and pleadings filed in courts are acted upon in accordance with their merit or
lack of it, and not on the reputation of the law firm or the lawyer filing the same. More
importantly, he should have thought that in so doing, he was actually assisting Rodica in
misrepresenting before the RTC that she was being represented by the said law firm
and lawyers, when in truth she was not. It is well to remind Atty. Espejo that before
being a friend to Rodica, he is first and foremost an officer of the court. Hence, he is
expected to maintain a high standard of honesty and fair dealings and must conduct
himself beyond reproach at all times. He must likewise ensure that he acts within the
bounds of reason and common sense, always aware that he is an instrument of truth
and justice. Jasper Junno F. Rodica vs. Atty. Manuel M. Lazaro, et al. A.C. No. 9259,
August 23, 2012 Attorney; accounting of funds. When a lawyer collects or receives
money from his client for a particular purpose, he should promptly account to the client
how the money was spent. If he does not use the money for its intended purpose, he
must immediately return it to the client. His failure either to render an accounting or to
return the money (if the intended purpose of the money does not materialize)
constitutes a blatant disregard of Rule 16.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility.
Moreover, a lawyer has the duty to deliver his client’s funds or properties as they fall
due or upon demand. His failure to return the client’s money upon demand gives rise to
the presumption that he has misappropriated it for his own use to the prejudice of and in
violation of the trust reposed in him by the client. The Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE
Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016
issuance of checks which were later dishonored for having been drawn against a closed
account indicates a lawyer’s unfitness for the trust and confidence reposed on him,
shows lack of personal honesty and good moral character as to render him unworthy of
public confidence, and constitutes a ground for disciplinary action. Hector Trenas vs.
People of the Philippines. G.R. No. 195002. January 25, 2012. Attorney; mistake of
counsel. The general rule is that the mistake of a counsel binds the client, and it is only
in instances wherein the negligence is so gross or palpable that courts must step in to
grant relief to the aggrieved client. It can be gleaned from the circumstances that
petitioner was given opportunities to defend his case and was granted concomitant
reliefs by the court. Thus, it cannot be said that the mistake and negligence of his
former counsel were so gross and palpable to have deprived him of due process.
Cresencio C. Milla vs. People of the Philippines and Carlo V. Lopez. G.R. No. 188726.
January 25, 2012. Court personnel; dishonesty. Every employee of the Judiciary should
be an example of integrity, uprightness and honesty. Like any public servant, she must
exhibit the highest sense of honesty and integrity not only in the performance of her
official duties but in her personal and private dealings with other people, to preserve the
court’s good name and standing. The image of a court of justice is mirrored in the
conduct, official and otherwise, of the personnel who work thereat, from the judge to the
lowest of its personnel. Court personnel have been enjoined to adhere to the exacting
standards of morality and decency in their professional and private conduct in order to
preserve the good name and integrity of the courts of justice. Under Section 52(A)(1) of
the Uniform Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil Service, dishonesty is a grave
offense punishable by dismissal for the first offense. Under Section 58 of the same
rules, dismissal carries with it cancellation of eligibility, forfeiture of retirement benefits,
and perpetual disqualification for reemployment in the government service. Thus, the
respondent is dismissed for dishonesty when she made someone take the Civil Service
Sub-professional Examination on her behalf. Concerned Citizen vs. Domingo Nawen
Abad, etc. A.M. No. P-11-2907. January 31, 2012. Court personnel; grave abuse of
authority. By the very nature of his duties, a sheriff performs a very sensitive function in
the dispensation of justice. He is duty-bound to know the basic rules relative to the
implementation of writs of execution, and should, at all times show a high degree of
professionalism in the performance of his duties. Administrative Circular No. 12 was
promulgated in order to streamline the service and execution of court writs and
processes in courts and to better serve the public good and facilitate the administration
of justice. Paragraph 2 of Administrative Circular No. 12 provides that “All Clerks of
Court of the Metropolitan Trial Court and Municipal Trial Courts in Cities, and/or their
deputy sheriffs shall serve all court processes and execute all writs of their respective
courts within their territorial jurisdiction.” Furthermore, paragraph 5 of the same circular
provides that “No sheriff or deputy sheriff shall execute a court writ outside Atty. GIL P.
VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

his territorial jurisdiction without first notifying in writing, and seeking the assistance of,
the sheriff of the place where the execution shall take place.” It is clear that
respondent’s act of implementing the subject writs in San Fernando City, when his
territorial jurisdiction is confined only to Angeles City, is a violation of the Circular and
tantamount to abuse of authority. While respondent claimed that he personally informed
the OCC of San Fernando City, he, however, failed to prove that he made written notice
as required by Administrative Circular No. 12. A mere submission of the copies of the
court processes to the OCC will not suffice as to the written notice requirement. The
requirement of notice is based on the rudiments of justice and fair play. It frowns upon
arbitrariness and oppressive conduct in the execution of an otherwise legitimate act.
Luis P. Pineda vs. Neil T. torres, sheriff II, Municipal Trial Court in Cities, Branch 2,
Angeles City. A.M. No. P12-3027. January 30, 2012 Court personnel; gross neglect of
duty. A clerk of court performs a very delicate function as the custodian of the funds and
revenues, records, property, and premises of the court. He is liable for any loss,
shortage, destruction, or impairment of said funds and property. Even the undue delay
in the remittance of amounts collected by them at the very least constitutes
misfeasance. The safekeeping of funds and collections is essential to the goal of an
orderly administration of justice and no protestation of good faith can override the
mandatory nature of the Circulars designed to promote full accountability for
government funds. Supreme Court Circular No. 13-92 mandates that all fiduciary
collections shall be deposited immediately by the Clerk of Court concerned, upon
receipt thereof, with an authorized government depository bank which is the Land Bank
of the Philippines. The respondents’ failure to remit their collection constitutes gross
neglect of duty, dishonesty, and grave misconduct. Moreover, the failure of a public
officer to remit funds upon demand by an authorized officer shall be prima facie
evidence that the public officer has put such missing funds or property to personal use.
Re: Report on Financial Audit Conducted at MCTC, SantiagoSan Esteban, Ilocos Sur.
A.M. No. P-11-2950. January 17, 2012 Judges; administrative liability. Disciplinary
proceedings and criminal actions brought against any judge in relation to the
performance of his official functions are neither complementary to nor suppletory of
appropriate judicial remedies, nor a substitute for such remedies. Any party who may
feel aggrieved should resort to these remedies, and exhaust them, instead of resorting
to disciplinary proceedings and criminal actions. A judge’s failure to correctly interpret
the law or to properly appreciate the evidence presented does not necessarily incur
administrative liability, for to hold him administratively accountable for every erroneous
ruling or decision he renders, assuming he has erred, will be nothing short of
harassment and will make his position doubly unbearable. His judicial office will then be
rendered untenable, because no one called upon to try the facts or to interpret the law
in the process of administering justice can be infallible in his judgment. Administrative
sanction and criminal liability should be imposed only when the error is so gross,
deliberate and malicious, or is committed with evident Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE
Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

bad faith, or only in clear cases of violations by him of the standards and norms of
propriety and good behavior prescribed by law and the rules of procedure, or fixed and
defined by pertinent jurisprudence. Re: Verified complaint of Engr. Oscar L. Ongjoco,
Chairman of the Board/CEO etc. against Hon. Juan Q. Enriquez, Jr., et al. A.M. No. 11-
184-CA-J. January 31, 2012. Attorney; falsification. Under Section 27, Rule 138 of the
Rules of Court, a lawyer may be removed or suspended on the following grounds: (1)
deceit; (2) malpractice; (3) gross misconduct in office; (4) grossly immoral conduct; (5)
conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude; (6) violation of the lawyer’s oath; (7)
willful disobedience of any lawful order of a superior court; and (8) corruptly or willfully
appearing as a lawyer for a party to a case without authority so to do. The crime of
falsification of public document is contrary to justice, honesty, and good morals and,
therefore, involves moral turpitude. Moral turpitude includes everything which is done
contrary to justice, honesty, modesty, or good morals. It involves an act of baseness,
vileness, or depravity in the private duties which a man owes his fellowmen, or to
society in general, contrary to the accepted and customary rule of right and duty
between man and woman, or conduct contrary to justice, honesty, modesty, or good
morals. Disbarment is the appropriate penalty for conviction by final judgment for a
crime involving moral turpitude. Re: SC Decision date May 20, 2008 in G.R. No. 161455
under Rule 139-B of the Rules of Court vs. Atty. Rodolfo D. Pactolin. A.C. No. 7940,
April 24, 2012. Attorney; groundless imputation of bribery. As officers of the court,
lawyers are duty-bound to observe and maintain the respect due to the courts and
judicial officers. They are to abstain from offensive or menacing language or behavior
before the court and must refrain from attributing to a judge motives that are not
supported by the record or have no materiality to the case. Atty. Peña cannot be
excused for uttering snide and accusatory remarks at the expense of the reputation and
integrity of members of this Court, and for using those unsubstantiated claims as basis
for the subject Motion for Inhibition. Not only has respondent Peña failed to show
sincere remorse for his malicious insinuations of bribery and wrongdoing against Justice
Carpio, he in fact continually availed of such unethical tactics in moving for the inhibition
of eleven Justices of the Court. Indeed, his pattern of behavior can no longer be seen
as isolated incidents that the Court can pardon given certain mitigating circumstances.
Respondent Peña has blatantly and consistently cast unfounded aspersions against
judicial officers in utter disregard of his duties and responsibilities to the Court.

Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016


Respondent Peña’s actions betray a similar disrespectful attitude towards the Court that
cannot be countenanced especially for those privileged enough to practice law in the
country. In re: Supreme Court Resolution dated 28 April 2003 in G.R. Nos. 145817 and
145822. A.C. No. 6332, April 17, 2012. Attorney; lack of diligence. When a lawyer takes
a client’s cause, he covenants that he will exercise due diligence in protecting the
latter’s rights. Failure to exercise that degree of vigilance and attention expected of a
good father of a family makes the lawyer unworthy of the trust reposed on him by his
client and makes him answerable not just to his client but also to the legal profession,
the courts and society. His workload does not justify neglect in handling one’s case
because it is settled that a lawyer must only accept cases as much as he can efficiently
handle. Suzette Del Mundo vs. Atty. Arnel C. Capistrano. A.C. No. 6903, April 16, 2012.
Attorney; obligation to hold in trust money of his client. A lawyer is obliged to hold in
trust money of his client that may come to his possession. As trustee of such funds, he
is bound to keep them separate and apart from his own. Money entrusted to a lawyer
for a specific purpose such as for the filing and processing of a case if not utilized, must
be returned immediately upon demand. Failure to return gives rise to a presumption that
he has misappropriated it in violation of the trust reposed on him. And the conversion of
funds entrusted to him constitutes gross violation of professional ethics and betrayal of
public confidence in the legal profession. Suzette Del Mundo vs. Atty. Arnel C.
Capistrano. A.C. No. 6903, April 16, 2012. Attorney; representation of conflicting
interests. “The proscription against representation of conflicting interests applies to a
situation where the opposing parties are present clients in the same action or in an
unrelated action.” The prohibition also applies even if the “lawyer would not be called
upon to contend for one client that which the lawyer has to oppose for the other client,
or that there would be no occasion to use the confidential information acquired from one
to the disadvantage of the other as the two actions are wholly unrelated.” To be held
accountable under this rule, it is “enough that the opposing parties in one case, one of
whom would lose the suit, are present clients and the nature or conditions of the
lawyer’s respective retainers with each of them would affect the performance of the duty
of undivided fidelity to both clients.” Aniñon vs. Sabistsana. A.C. No. 5098, April 11,
2012. Attorney; submission of falsified internal court documents. The falsification,
subject of the instant administrative case, lies in the fact that respondent Peña
submitted to the Court a document he was absolutely certain, at the time of such
submission, was a copy of the Agenda of the then ponente. Candor and truthfulness are
some of the qualities exacted and expected from members of the legal profession.
Thus, lawyers shall commit no falsehood, nor shall they mislead or allow the court to be
misled by any Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

artifice. As disciples of truth, their lofty vocation is to correctly inform the court of the law
and the facts of the case and to aid it in doing justice and arriving at correct conclusions.
Courts are entitled to expect only complete honesty from lawyers appearing and
pleading before them. In the instant case, the submission of a document purporting to
be a copy of the Agenda of a member of this Court is an act of dishonesty that puts into
doubt the ability of respondent to uphold his duty as a disciple of truth. Respondent led
the Court to believe that what he submitted was a faithful reproduction of the ponente’s
Agenda, just to support the subject Motion to Inhibit. The original of the purported copy
was later found to have been inexistent in the court’s records. The Court noted that
respondent Peña has not explained, to the Court’s satisfaction, how he managed to
obtain internal and confidential documents. Respondent Peña is sanctioned for
knowingly using confidential and internal court records and documents, which he
suspiciously obtained in bolstering his case. His unbridled access to internal court
documents has not been properly explained. The cavalier explanation of respondent
Peña that this Court’s confidential documents would simply find themselves
conveniently falling into respondent’s lap through registered mail and that the envelopes
containing them could no longer be traced is unworthy of belief. This gives the Court
reason to infer that laws and its own internal rules have been violated over and over
again by some court personnel, whom respondent Peña now aids and abets by feigning
ignorance of how the internal documents could have reached him. It is not
unreasonable to even conclude that criminal liabilities have been incurred in relation to
the Revised Penal Code and the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, with Atty. Peña
benefitting from the same. Respondent’s actions clearly merit no other penalty than
disbarment. In re: Supreme Court Resolution dated 28 April 2003 in G.R. Nos. 145817
and 145822. A.C. No. 6332, April 17, 2012. Court personnel; conduct unbecoming of a
court personnel. Respondent is liable for conduct unbecoming a court employee for his
continued refusal to coordinate with complainants in the implementation of the writ of
possession, despite numerous attempts on their part to get in touch with him. It may be
recalled that complainants endeavored, no less than four (4) times, to communicate with
respondent for the proper and expeditious execution of the writ, but each time,
respondent rebuffed their efforts. Finally, on25 April 2011, the day respondent finally
implemented the writ, respondent refused to allow Ms. De Jesus to inform complainants
of the intended implementation and opted to be accompanied by an ordinary bank
employee to witness the enforcement of the writ. The persistent refusal of respondent to
cooperate with complainants in the implementation of the writ runs afoul of the exacting
standards required of those in the judiciary. Time and again, the Court has emphasized
the heavy Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

burden of responsibility which court officials and employees are mandated to perform.
They are constantly reminded that any impression of impropriety, misdeed or
negligence in the performance of official functions must be avoided. This is so because
the image of the court of justice is necessarily mirrored in the conduct, official or
otherwise, of the men and women who work there. The conduct of even minor
employees mirrors the image of the courts they serve; thus, they are required to
preserve the judiciary’s good name and standing as a true temple of justice. Attys.
Gonzalez, et al. vs. Calo. A.M. No. P-12-3028, April 11, 2012. Court personnel;
disgraceful and immoral conduct. Immorality has been defined to include not only
sexual matters but also “conduct inconsistent with rectitude, or indicative of corruption,
indecency, depravity, and dissoluteness; or is willful, flagrant or shameless conduct
showing moral indifference to opinions of respectable members of the community, and
an inconsiderate attitude toward good order and public welfare.” There is no doubt that
engaging in sexual relations with a married man is not only a violation of the moral
standards expected of employees of the judiciary, but is also a desecration of the
sanctity of the institution of marriage which this Court abhors and is, thus, punishable.
Evelyn J. Jailorina vs. Richelle TaneoRegner, Demo II, RTC, OCC, San Mateo, Rizal.
A.M. No. P-11-2948, April 23, 2012. Court personnel; dishonesty. Falsification of daily
time record constitutes dishonesty. Dishonesty is defined as the “disposition to lie,
cheat, deceive, or defraud; untrustworthiness; lack of integrity; lack of honesty probity or
integrity in principle; lack of fairness and straightforwardness; disposition to defraud,
deceive or betray.” Section 52(A), Rule IV of the Uniform Rules on Administrative Cases
in the Civil Service (MC No. 19, dated September 14, 1999) classifies dishonesty as a
grave offense punishable by dismissal even for first time offenses. Office of the Court
Administrator vs. Araya. A.M. No. P12-3053, April 11, 2012. Court personnel; grave
misconduct. The behavior of all employees and officials involved in the administration of
justice, from judges to the most junior clerks, is circumscribed with a heavy
responsibility. Their conduct must be guided by strict propriety and decorum at all times
in order to merit and maintain the public’s respect for and trust in the judiciary. Needless
to say, all court personnel must conduct themselves in a manner exemplifying integrity,
honesty and uprightness. Respondent’s shouting at complainant within the court
premises, reporting complainant to the police after she was reprimanded for her
solicitation, and refusing to talk with complainant judge are not only acts of discourtesy
and disrespect but likewise an unethical conduct sanctioned by Republic Act No. 6713,
otherwise known as The Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and
Employees.

Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

High-strung and belligerent behavior has no place in government service where the
personnel are enjoined to act with self-restraint and civility at all times even when
confronted with rudeness and insolence. Such conduct is exacted from them so that
they will earn and keep the public’s respect for and confidence in the judicial service.
This standard is applied with respect to a court employee’s dealings not only with the
public but also with his or her co-workers in the service. Conduct violative of this
standard quickly and surely erodes respect for the courts Misconduct is a transgression
of some established and definite rule of action, more particularly unlawful behavior or
gross negligence by a public officer; and the misconduct is grave if it involves any of the
additional elements of corruption, such as willful intent to violate the law or to disregard
established rules. Thus, considering respondent’s transgressions, i.e., disrespectful
conduct, solicitation, and influence peddling of bail bonds, there is no question that
respondent is guilty of grave misconduct. Judge Salvador R. Santos, Jr. vs. Editha R.
Mangahas. A.M. No. P-09-2720, April 17, 2012. Court personnel; habitual tardiness.
Under Sec. 52 (C) (4), Rule VI of CSC Memorandum Circular No. 19, Series of 1999,
habitual tardiness is penalized as follows: First offense Reprimand; Second offense
Suspension for 1-30 days; Third offense Dismissal from the service. Since it was proven
that the present case is the second offense of Gareza for being habitually tardy, the
OCA correctly recommended for the penalty of suspension for 30 days with warning that
a similar offense in the future would be meted a more severe penalty. Office of the
Court Administrator vs. Sheriff Gareza. A.M. No. P-123058, April 25, 2012. Court
personnel; official and personal conduct. Respondent took more than six years to pay
their obligation to the complainant. Also, one of the land titles that respondents gave as
collateral turned out to have been encumbered. While they have already paid their
obligation, such payment was conditioned upon the complainant’s execution of an
Affidavit of Desistance. All these facts constitute conduct that reflects badly on the
judiciary, diminishing the honor and integrity of the offices they hold. This is especially
true because respondents were admittedly given the loans because they were
considered prominent persons in the community; and that they were considered as
such, presumably because they worked in the judiciary. In Villaseñor v. De Leon, the
Court emphasized that “to preserve decency within the judiciary, court personnel must
comply with just contractual obligations, act fairly and adhere to high ethical standards”.
In that case, the Court said that respondent was “expected to be a paragon of
uprightness, fairness and honesty not only in all her official conduct but also in her
personal actuations, including business and commercial transactions, so as to avoid
becoming her court’s albatross of infamy.” Re: Complaint filed by Atty. GIL P. VILORIA,
Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

Paz De Vera Lazaro against Edna Magallanes and Bonifacio Magallanes. A.M. No. P-
11-3003, April 25, 2012. Court personnel; neglect of duty. Settled is the role of clerks of
court as judicial officers entrusted with the delicate function with regard to collection of
legal fees. They are expected to correctly and effectively implement regulations relating
to proper administration of court funds. Delay in the remittance of collection constitutes
neglect of duty. Office of the Court Administrator vs. Nini. A.M. No. P-11-3002, April 11,
2012. Court personnel; neglect of duty. The following are the duties of a sheriff: first, to
give notice of the writ and demand that the judgment obligor and all persons claiming
under him vacate the property within three (3) days; second, to enforce the writ by
removing the judgment obligor and all persons claiming under the latter; third, to remove
the latter’s personal belongings in the property as well as destroy, demolish or remove
the improvements constructed thereon upon special court order; and fourth, to execute
and make a return on the writ within 30 days from receipt of the writ and every thirty (30)
days thereafter until it is satisfied in full or until its effectivity expires. Respondent was
clearly remiss in the performance of his mandated duties: he unilaterally gave the
occupants 3 months, instead of the three (3) days provided by the Rules, to vacate the
property; when he did evict the occupants from the premises, a room containing their
personal effects was padlocked, therefore delaying the demolition of the improvements
introduced on the property; finally, respondent failed to make a return on the writ of
possession after he implemented the same. Attys. Gonzalez, et al. vs. Calo. A.M. No. P-
12-3028, April 11, 2012. Court personnel; simple neglect of duty. Simple neglect of duty
is the failure to give attention to a task, or the disregard of a duty due to carelessness or
indifference. Office of the Court Administrator vs. Sarmiento, et al. A.M. No. P-11-2912,
April 10, 2012. Court personnel; unauthorized absences. Under the Civil Service rules,
an employee should submit in advance, whenever possible, an application for a
vacation leave of absence for action by the proper chief of agency prior to the effective
date of the leave. It is clear from the facts that Dacsig had failed to acquire the
necessary leave permits. He offers no excuse or explanation for failing to obtain the
necessary authorization for his leaves. Thus, he is guilty of taking unauthorized
absences. Rule IV, Section 52 (A) (17) of the Uniform Rules on Administrative Cases in
the Civil Service, provides that the penalty for frequent unauthorized absences of a first
offender is suspension for six months and one day to one year. Judge Andrew P.
Dulnuan vs. Esteban D. Dacsig, Clerk of Court II, MCTC, MagddelaNagtipunan,
Quirinio. A.M. No. P-11-3004, April 18, 2012.

Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

Judge; gross ignorance. Civil Case No. 632, a case for ejectment, is covered by the
Revised Rule on Summary Procedure. It is equally undisputed that in summary
procedure, a preliminary conference should be held not later than 30 days after the last
answer has been filed. Considering that no preliminary conference at all was held in
Civil Case No. 632, Judge Literato evidently failed to comply with a basic rule of
procedure for which he should accordingly be held accountable. Judge Literato’s
inaction in Civil Case No. 632 for 322 days constitutes utter disregard for the summary
nature of an ejectment case. Competence is a mark of a good judge. When a judge
displays an utter lack of familiarity with the rules, he erodes the public’s confidence in
the competence of our courts. It is highly imperative that judges be conversant with the
law and basic legal principles. Basic legal procedures must be at the palm of a judge’s
hands. In sum, Judge Literato is administratively guilty of gross ignorance of the Rule on
Summary Procedure and undue delay in rendering a decision. Dr. Ramie G. Hipe vs.
Judge Rolando T. Literato, Municipal Trial Court, Mainit, Surigao Del Norte. A.M. No.
MTJ-11-1781, April 25, 2012. Judge; gross misconduct. In Guerrero vs. Judge Deray,
the Court held that a judge “who deliberately and continuously fails and refuses to
comply with the resolution of [the Supreme] Court is guilty of gross misconduct and
insubordination.” In the present case, the Court found that Judge Go failed to heed the
Court’s pronouncements. He did not file the required comment to the Court’s
showcause resolutions despite several opportunities granted him. His willful
disobedience and disregard to the show-cause resolutions constitutes grave and
serious misconduct affecting his fitness and worthiness of the honor and integrity
attached to his office. It is noteworthy that Judge Go was afforded several opportunities
to explain his failure to decide the subject cases long pending before his court and to
comply with the directives of this Court, but he has failed, and continuously refuses to
heed the same. This continued refusal to abide by lawful directives issued by this Court
is glaring proof that he has become disinterested to remain with the judicial system to
which he purports to belong. Office of the Court Administrator vs. Judge Go, et al. A.M.
No. MTJ-07-1667, April 10, 2012. Judge; gross misconduct and dishonesty. In this
case, Judge Indar issued decisions on numerous annulment of marriage cases which
do not exist in the records of RTC-Shariff Aguak, Branch 15 or the Office of the Clerk of
Court of the Regional Trial Court, Cotabato City. There is nothing to show that (1)
proceedings were had on the questioned cases; (2) docket fees had been paid; (3) the
parties were notified of a scheduled hearing as calendared; (4) hearings had been
conducted; or (5) the cases were submitted for decision. Judge Indar, who had sworn to
faithfully uphold the law, issued decisions on the questioned annulment of marriage
cases, without any showing that such cases underwent trial and complied with the
statutory and jurisprudential Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

requisites for voiding marriages. Such act undoubtedly constitutes gross misconduct.
Among the questioned annulment decrees is Judge Indar’s Decision dated 23 May
2007, in Spec. Proc. No. 06-581, entitled “Chona Chanco Aguiling v. Alan V. Aguiling.”
Despite the fact that no proceedings were conducted in the case, Judge Indar declared
categorically, in response to the Australian Embassy letter, that the Decision annulling
the marriage is valid and that petitioner is free to marry. In effect, Judge Indar confirms
the truthfulness of the contents of the annulment decree, highlighting Judge Indar’s
appalling dishonesty. Office of the Court Administrator vs. Judge Indar. A.M. No. RTJ-
102232, April 10, 2012. Judge; performing or agreeing to perform functions or services
outside of their official functions. Judge Molato is to be reprimanded for agreeing to
serve as one of Lucky Corporation’s alternate bank signatories even if he may not have
performed such service for the corporation. He has no business agreeing to the
performance of such service. His offense constitutes a violation of Administrative
Circular 5 which in essence prohibits public officials from performing or agreeing to
perform functions or services outside of their official functions for the reason that the
entire time of the officials and employees of the judiciary shall be devoted to their official
work to ensure the efficient and speedy administration of justice. Ramoncito and Juliana
Luarca vs. Judge Ireneo B. Molato, MTC, Bongabong, Oriental Mindoro/ Jeny Agbay vs.
Judge Ireneo B. Molato, MTC, Bongabong, Oriental Mindoro. A.M. No. MTJ-08-
1711/A.M. No. MTJ-08-1716, April 23, 2012.

Notary public; duty to ascertain the identities of the parties executing the document. A
notary public is empowered to perform a variety of notarial acts, most common of which
are the acknowledgement and affirmation of documents or instruments. In the
performance of these notarial acts, the notary public must be mindful of the significance
of the notarial seal affixed on documents. The notarial seal converts a document from a
private to a public instrument, after which it may be presented as evidence without need
for proof of its genuineness and due execution. Thus, notarization should not be treated
as an empty, meaningless or routinary act. A notary public’s function should not be
trivialized and a notary public must discharge his powers and duties which are
impressed with public interest, with accuracy and fidelity. A notary public exercises
duties calling for carefulness and faithfulness. Notaries must inform themselves of the
facts they certify to; most importantly, they should not take part or allow themselves to
be part of illegal transactions. The Court cautioned all notaries public to be very careful
and diligent in ascertaining the true identities of the parties executing the document
before them, especially when it involves disposition of a property, as this Court will Atty.
GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

deal with such cases more severely in the future. Maria vs. Cortez. A.C. No. 7880, April
11, 2012. Attorney; bigamy; gross immorality. A disbarment case is sui generis. Its
focus is on the qualification and fitness of a lawyer to continue membership in the bar
and not the procedural technicalities in filing the case.Respondent’s regard for marriage
contracts as ordinary agreements indicates either his wanton disregard of the sanctity of
marriage or his gross ignorance of the law on what course of action to take to annul a
marriage under the old Civil Code provisions. Respondent entered into marriage twice
while his first marriage was still subsisting. He exhibited a deplorable lack of that degree
of morality required of him as a member of the bar. He made a mockery of marriage, a
sacred institution demanding respect and dignity.His acts of committing bigamy twice
constituted grossly immoral conduct and are grounds for disbarment under Section 27,
Rule 138 of the Revised Rules of Court. Manuel G. Villatuya vs. Atty. Bede S.
Tabalingcos A.C. No. 6622, July 10, 2012. Attorney; conviction of a crime involving
moral turpitude is a ground for disbarment. Conviction of a crime involving moral
turpitude is a ground for disbarment. Moral turpitude is defined as an act of baseness,
vileness, or depravity in the private duties which a man owes to his fellow men, or to
society in general, contrary to justice, honesty, modesty, or good morals.Section 27,
Rule 138 provides that “a member of the bar may be disbarred or suspended from his
office as attorney by the Supreme Court for any deceit, malpractice, or other gross
misconduct in such office, grossly immoral conduct, or by reason of his conviction of a
crime involving moral turpitude, or for any violation of the oath which he is required to
take before admission to practice, or for a willful disobedience of any lawful order of a
superior court, or for corruptly or willfully appearing as an attorney for a party to a case
without authority so to do. The practice of soliciting cases at law for the purpose of gain,
either personally or through paid agents or brokers, constitutes malpractice.” In a
disbarment case, the Court will no longer review a final judgment of conviction. The
crime of direct bribery is a crime involving moral turpitude. The lawyer’s final conviction
of the crime of direct bribery clearly falls under one of the grounds for disbarment under
Section 27 of Rule 138. Disbarment follows as a consequence of the lawyer’s conviction
of the crime. Atty. Policarpio I. Catalan, Jr. vs. Atty. Joselito M. Silvosa. A.C. No. 7360,
July 24, 2012. Attorney; inexcusable negligence. The failure of counsel to file the
requisite appellant’s brief amounted to inexcusable negligence in violation of the Code
of Professional Responsibility. In Perla Compania de Seguros, Inc. v. Saquilabon, it was
held that an attorney is bound to protect his client’s interest to the best of his ability and
with utmost diligence. On account of respondent’s failure to protect the interest of
complainant, respondent Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

indeed violated Rule 18.03, Canon 18 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. The
practice of law is a special privilege bestowed only upon those who are competent
intellectually, academically and morally. This Court has been exacting in its
expectations for the members of the Bar to always uphold the integrity and dignity of the
legal profession and refrain from any act or omission which might lessen the trust and
confidence of the public. Isaac C. Basilio, Perlita Pedrozo and Jun Basilio vs. Atty. Virgil
R. Castro A.C. No. 6910. July 11, 2012 Attorney; representation of conflicting interest.
Atty. Silvosa violated Rule 6.03. Rule 15.03 also provides that “A lawyer shall not
represent conflicting interests except by written consent of all concerned given after a
full disclosure of facts.” in Hilado v. David, the Court held that “an attorney is employed
— that is, he is engaged in his professional capacity as a lawyer or counselor — when
he is listening to his client’s preliminary statement of his case, or when he is giving
advice thereon, just as truly as when he is drawing his client’s pleadings, or advocating
his client’s pleadings, or advocating his client’s cause in open court.” Hence the
necessity of setting down the existence of the bare relationship of attorney and client as
the yardstick for testing incompatibility of interests. This stern rule is designed not alone
to prevent the dishonest practitioner from fraudulent conduct, but as well to protect the
honest lawyer from unfounded suspicion of unprofessional practice. It is founded on
principles of public policy, on good taste. The question is not necessarily one of the
rights of the parties, but as to whether the attorney has adhered to proper professional
standard. With these thoughts in mind, it behooves attorneys, like Caesar’s wife, not
only to keep inviolate the client’s confidence, but also to avoid the appearance of
treachery and double-dealing. Only thus can litigants be encouraged to entrust their
secrets to their attorneys which is of paramount importance in the administration of
justice. The prohibition against representation of conflicting interests applies although
the attorney’s intentions were honest and he acted in good faith. Atty. Policarpio I.
Catalan, Jr. vs. Atty. Joselito M. Silvosa. A.C. No. 7360, July 24, 2012. Attorney; sharing
of fees. A lawyer is proscribed by Rule 9.02 of the Code of Professional Responsibility
to divide or agree to divide the fees for legal services rendered with a person not
licensed to practice law. In Tan Tek Beng v. David , it was rule that an agreement
between a lawyer and a layperson to share the fees collected from clients secured by
the layperson is null and void, and that the lawyer involved may be disciplined for
unethical conduct. Manuel G. Villatuya vs. Atty. Bede S. Tabalingcos A.C. No. 6622,
July 10, 2012. Attorney; solicitation of clients. Based on the facts of the case,
respondent violated Rule 2.03 of the Code, which prohibits lawyers from soliciting cases
for the purpose of profit. A lawyer is not prohibited from engaging in business or other
lawful occupation. Impropriety arises, though, when the business is Atty. GIL P.
VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

of such a nature or is conducted in such a manner as to be inconsistent with the


lawyer’s duties as a member of the bar. This inconsistency arises when the business is
one that can readily lend itself to the procurement of professional employment for the
lawyer; or that can be used as a cloak for indirect solicitation on the lawyer’s behalf; or
is of a nature that, if handled by a lawyer, would be regarded as the practice of law Rule
15.08 of the Code mandates that the lawyer is mandated to inform the client whether
the former is acting as a lawyer or in another capacity. This duty is a must in those
occupations related to the practice of law. The reason is that certain ethical
considerations governing the attorney-client relationship may be operative in one and
not in the other. Manuel G. Villatuya vs. Atty. Bede S. Tabalingcos A.C. No. 6622, July
10, 2012. Court Personnel; conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service.
Conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service refers to acts or omissions that
violate the norm of public accountability and diminish – or tend to diminish – the
people’s faith in the Judiciary. If an employee’s questioned conduct tarnished the image
and integrity of his public office, he is liable for conduct prejudicial to the best interest of
the service. The basis for his liability is Republic Act (R.A.) No. 6713 or the Code of
Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees. The Code,
particularly its Section 4(c), commands that public officials and employees shall at all
times respect the rights of others, and shall refrain from doing acts contrary to public
safety and public interest. The strictest standards have always been valued in judicial
service. Everyone involved in the dispensation of justice, from the presiding judge to the
lowliest clerk, is expected to live up to the strictest norm of competence, honesty and
integrity in the public service. The conduct of every court personnel must be beyond
reproach and free from suspicion that may cause to sully the image of the Judiciary.
They must totally avoid any impression of impropriety, misdeed or misdemeanor not
only in the performance of their official duties but also in conducting themselves outside
or beyond the duties and functions of their office. Court personnel are enjoined to
conduct themselves toward maintaining the prestige and integrity of the Judiciary for the
very image of the latter is necessarily mirrored in their conduct, both official and
otherwise. They must not forget that they are an integral part of that organ of the
government sacredly tasked in dispensing justice. Their conduct and behavior,
therefore, should not only be circumscribed with the heavy burden of responsibility but
at all times be defined by propriety and decorum, and above all else beyond any
suspicion. The Court does not hesitate to condemn and sanction such improper
conduct, act or omission of those involved in the administration of justice that violates
the norm of public accountability and diminishes or tends to diminish the faith of the
public in the Judiciary. Filomena B. Consolacion vs. Lydia S. Gambito, Court
Stenographer, MCTC, Binalonan, Pangasinan/Judge Emma S. Ines-Parajas vs. Lydia
S. Gambito, Court Stenographer, MCTC, Binalonan, Pangasinan A.M. No. P-06-2186 &
A.M. No. P-12-3026. July 3, 2012 Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-
2016

Court personnel; dishonesty and grave misconduct. In Alenio v. Cunting, the Court
defined dishonesty and grave misconduct as the “disposition to lie, cheat, deceive,
defraud or betray; untrustworthiness; lack of integrity; lack of honesty, probity, or
integrity in principle; and lack of fairness and straightforwardness.” Misconduct, on the
other hand, is a transgression of some established and definite rule of action, more
particularly, unlawful behavior or gross negligence by the public officer. To warrant
dismissal from the service, the misconduct must be grave, serious, important, weighty,
momentous, and not trifling. The misconduct must imply wrongful intention and not a
mere error of judgment. The misconduct must also have a direct relation to and be
connected with the performance of the public officer’s official duties amounting either to
maladministration or willful, intentional neglect, or failure to discharge the duties of the
office. Taking monetary evidence without proper authority constitutes theft. In Judge
San Jose, Jr. v. Camurongan, the Court held that, “The act of taking monetary exhibits
without authority from their custodian constitutes theft. Thievery, no matter how petty,
has no place in the judiciary.” Office of the Court Administrator vs. Ma. Irissa G. Musni,
Court Legal Researcher II RTC, Judicial Region III, Branch 36, Gapan City, Nueva Ecija
A.M. No. P-11-3024, July 17, 2012. Court personnel; dishonesty, gross neglect, grave
misconduct. Section 1, Article XI of the Constitution declares that a public office is a
public trust, and all public officers and employees must at all times be accountable to
the people, serve them with utmost responsibility, integrity, loyalty, and efficiency, act
with patriotism and justice, and lead modest lives. The demand for moral uprightness is
more pronounced for the members and personnel of the judiciary who are involved in
the dispensation of justice. The conduct of court members and personnel must not only
be characterized with propriety and decorum but must also be above suspicion, for any
act of impropriety ca seriously erode or diminish the people’s confidence in the judiciary.
As frontliners in the administration of justice, they should live up to the strictest
standards of honesty and integrity in the public service. Clerks of Court act as
custodians of the court’s funds, revenues, records, property and premises and are thus,
liable for any loss, shortage, destruction or impairment of such funds and property. In
Re: Report on the Judicial and Financial Audit of RTC-Br. 4, Panabo, Davao Del Norte,
it was held that the failure of the Clerk of Court to remit the court funds constitutes gross
neglect of duty, dishonesty, and grave misconduct prejudicial to the best interest of the
service. In this case, Peradilla is guilty of dishonesty, gross neglect of duty, and grave
misconduct for her: (1) non-remittance of collections of judiciary funds; (2) non-issuance
of official receipts and non reporting in the Monthly Reports and Collections and
Deposits of some of the collections; and (3) erroneous reporting in the Monthly Reports
and Collections and Deposits of some of the collections. Office of the Court
Administrator vs. Lunalinda M. Peradilla, Clerk of Court II, MCTC, E1 NidoLinapacan,
Palawan A.M. No. P-09-2647, July 17, 2012. Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor,
S.Y. 2015-2016

Court personnel; simple misconduct. The Sheriff disregarded the procedure for the
execution of judgments as mandated by Section 10, Rule 141 of the Rules of Court. A
sheriff is mandated to make an estimate of the expenses which shall be approved by
the court. It is only after the approval of the court that an interested party shall deposit
the amount with the clerk of court. Upon the return of the writ, the sheriff must submit a
liquidation and return to the interested party any unspent amount. The Sheriff’s act of
receiving money from the party for the expenses to be incurred in the execution of the
writs, without first making an estimate and securing prior approval from the MTCC, as
well as his failure to render accounting after its execution, are clear violations of the
rule. Even if conceding that the sum demanded by Sheriff is reasonable, this does not
justify his deviation from the procedure laid down by the rule. Neither the acquiescence
nor consent of the complainant, before or after the implementation of the writ will
absolve him from liability. The mere act of receiving the money without the prior
approval of the court and without him issuing a receipt therefor is considered as a
misconduct in office. Sheriffs are reminded that they are not allowed to receive any
voluntary payments from parties in the course of the performance of their duties.
Corollarily, a sheriff cannot just unilaterally demand sums of money from a party-litigant
without observing the proper procedural steps. Even assuming that such payments
were indeed given and received in good faith, such fact alone would not dispel the
suspicion that such payments were made for less than noble purposes. Sheriffs and
their deputies are the front-line representatives of the justice system, and if, through
their lack of care and diligence in the implementation of judicial writs, they lose the trust
reposed on them, they inevitably diminish the faith of the people in the Judiciary. The
image of a court of justice is mirrored in the conduct, official and otherwise, of the
personnel who work there, from the judge to the lowest employee. As such, the Court
will not tolerate or condone any conduct of judicial agents or employees which would
tend to or actually diminish the faith of the people in the Judiciary. Lambayong Teachers
and Employees Cooperative, represented in this act by its Manager, Gudelio S.
Valeroso vs. Carlos P. Diaz, in his capacity as Sheriff IV, RTC, Branch 20, Tacurong
City A.M. No. P-06-2246, July 11, 2012. Court personnel; simple neglect of duty. The
manner in which a writ of execution is to be returned to the court, as well as the
requisite reports to be made by the sheriff or officer, is explicitly outlined in Section 14,
Rule 39 of the Rules of Court. In accordance with this rule, periodic reporting must be
done by the sheriff regularly and consistently every thirty (30) days until the judgment is
fully satisfied. It is mandatory for the sheriff to make a return of the writ of execution, so
that the court and the litigants may be apprised of the proceedings undertaken in the
enforcement of the writ. The return will enable the courts to take the necessary steps to
ensure the speedy execution of decisions. The failure of a sheriff to make periodic
reports on the status of a writ of execution warrants administrative liability.

Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

The Court faults respondent for not submitting his periodic reports on the progress of his
implementation of the writ. He is guilty of simple neglect of duty, defined as “the failure
of an employee to give one’s attention to a task expected of him, and signifies a
disregard of a duty resulting from carelessness or indifference.”As officers of the court,
sheriffs are charged with the knowledge of what proper action to take in case there are
questions on the writ needing to be clarified; they are charged as well with the
knowledge of what they are bound to comply with.Sheriffs are expected to know the
rules of procedure pertaining to their functions as officers of the court,relative to the
implementation of writs of execution, and should at all times show a high degree of
professionalism in the performance of their duties. Any act deviating from the procedure
laid down by the Rules of Court is misconduct that warrants disciplinary action. Rhea
Airene P. Katague, et al. vs. Jerry A. Ledesma, Sheriff IV, RTC, Br. 48, Bacolod City
A.M. No. P-12-3067. July 4, 2012. Court personnel; simple neglect of duty. The duty of
a process server is vital to the administration of justice. A process server’s primary duty
is to serve court notices which precisely requires utmost care on his part by ensuring
that all notices assigned to him are duly served on the parties. Unjustified delay in
performing this task constitutes neglect of duty and warrants the imposition of
administrative sanctions. All employees in the judiciary should be examples of
responsibility, competence and efficiency. It is through the process server that
defendants learn of the action brought against them by the complainant. It is also
through the service of summons by the process server that the trial court acquires
jurisdiction over the defendant. It is therefore important that summonses, other writs and
court processes be served expeditiously. Heavy workload is not an adequate excuse to
be remiss in the diligent performance of one’s public duties as a public servant.
Otherwise, every government employee charged with negligence and dereliction of duty
will always use this as a convenient excuse to escape punishment to the great prejudice
of public service The Court has defined dishonesty as the ‘disposition to lie, cheat,
deceive, or defraud; untrustworthiness; lack of integrity; lack of honesty, probity or
integrity in principle; lack of fairness and straightforwardness; disposition to defraud,
deceive or betray.’ Dishonesty is not simply bad judgment or negligence. Dishonesty is
a question of intention. In ascertaining the intention of a person accused of dishonesty,
consideration must be taken not only of the facts and circumstances which gave rise to
the act committed by the respondent, but also of his state of mind at the time the
offense was committed, the time he might have had at his disposal for the purpose of
meditating on the consequences of his act, and the degree of reasoning he could have
had at that moment. It was never alleged, much less established, that Dela Cruz was
impelled by some evil design or corrupt motives to commit said errors or to favor any
party or litigant. Hence, he was found guilty only of negligence in the performance of his
tasks, and not of Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

dishonesty. Simple neglect of duty is defined as “the failure of an employee to give


proper attention to a required task or to discharge a duty due to carelessness or
indifference.” Judge Pelagia Dalmacio-Joaquin vs. Nicomedes Dela Cruz, Process
Server, Municipal Trial Court in Cities, San Jose del Monte, Bulacan. A.M. No. P-06-
2241. July 10, 2012 Judge; gross ignorance of the law. Judge Clapis is also liable for
gross ignorance of the law for conducting bail hearings without a petition for bail being
filed by the accused and without affording the prosecution an opportunity to prove that
the guilt of the accused is strong. His Order granting bail indicates that he merely used
as basis the affidavit of one prosecution witness that was submitted earlier. Clearly, he
failed to observe the proper procedure in granting bail. His act is not a mere deficiency
in prudence, discretion and judgment but a patent disregard of well-known rules. When
an error is so gross and patent, such error produces an inference of bad faith, making
the judge liable for gross ignorance of the law. If judges are allowed to wantonly misuse
the powers vested in them by the law, there will not only be confusion in the
administration of justice but also oppressive disregard of the basic requirements of due
process. Judges are reminded that having accepted the exalted position of a judge, they
owe it to the public to uphold the exacting standard of conduct demanded from them.
Criselda C. Gacad vs. Judge Hilarion P. Clapis, Jr., RTC, Br. 3, Nabunturan,
Compostela Valley A.M. No. RJ-10-2257. July 17, 2012 Judge; gross misconduct. In
Kaw v. Osorio, the Court held that while the respondent judge, in that case, may not be
held liable for extortion and corruption as it was not substantially proven, he should be
made accountable for gross misconduct. The acts of the Judge in meeting a litigant in a
case pending before his sala, and telling her, “Sige, kay ako na bahala gamuson nato ni
sila” (Okay, leave it all to me, we shall crush them) constitute gross misconduct.
Misconduct means intentional wrongdoing or deliberate violation of a rule of law or
standard of behavior in connection with one’s performance of official functions and
duties. For grave or gross misconduct to exist, the judicial act complained of should be
corrupt or inspired by the intention to violate the law, or a persistent disregard of well-
known rules. The misconduct must imply wrongful intention and not a mere error of
judgment. The arbitrary actions of respondent judge, taken together, give doubt as to
his impartiality, integrity and propriety. His acts amount to gross misconduct constituting
violations of the New Code of Judicial Conduct, particularly Sections 1 and 2 of Canon 2
and Sections 2 and 4 of Canon 3 and Section 1 of Canon 4 It is an ironclad principle
that a judge must not only be impartial; he must also appear to be impartial at all times.
Being in constant scrutiny by the public, his language, both written and spoken, must be
guarded and measured lest the best of intentions be misconstrued. Needless to state,
any gross misconduct seriously undermines the faith and confidence of the Atty. GIL P.
VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

people in the judiciary. Criselda C. Gacad vs. Judge Hilarion P. Clapis, Jr., RTC, Br. 3,
Nabunturan, Compostela Valley A.M. No. RJ-10-2257. July 17, 2012 Judge; undue
delay. The Revised Rules on Summary Procedure was promulgated to achieve an
expeditious and inexpensive determination of the cases that it covers. The respondent
failed to abide by this purpose in the way that he handled and acted on the subject
unlawful detainer case. Under Section 7 of the 1991 Revised Rules on Summary
Procedure, a preliminary conference should be held not later than thirty (30) days after
the last answer is filed. The respondent set the case for preliminary conference at a
time way beyond the required thirty (30)-day period. Another of the respondent’s
procedural lapses relates to the frequent resetting of the date of the preliminary
conference. Clearly, the respondent failed to exert his authority in expediting the
proceedings of the unlawful detainer case. Sound practice requires a judge to remain, at
all times, in full control of the proceedings in his court and to adopt a firm policy against
unnecessary postponements. In numerous occasions, the Court admonished judges to
be prompt in the performance of their solemn duty as dispensers of justice because
undue delay in the administration of justice erodes the people’s faith in the judicial
system. Delay not only reinforces the belief of the people that the wheels of justice in
this country grind slowly, it also invites suspicion, however unfair, of ulterior motives on
the part of the Judge. Judges should always be mindful of their duty to render justice
within the periods prescribed by law. Murphy Chu, et al. vs. Hon. Mario B. Capellan,
Assisting Judge, MeTC, Br. 40, Quezon City. A.M. No. MTJ-11-1779, July 16, 2012.
Attorney; Attorney-client relationship. Respondent Atty. Ramon SG Cabanes, Jr. was
charged for gross negligence in violation of Canon 17, and Rules 18.03 and 18.04 of
Canon 18 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. The Supreme Court held him
guilty of gross negligence. The relationship between an attorney and his client is one
imbued with utmost trust and confidence. In this light, clients are led to expect that
lawyers would be ever-mindful of their cause and accordingly exercise the required
degree of diligence in handling their affairs. Verily, a lawyer is expected to maintain at
all times a high standard of legal proficiency, and to devote his full attention, skill, and
competence to the case, regardless of its importance and whether he accepts it for a
fee or for free. A lawyer’s duty of competence and diligence includes not merely
reviewing the cases entrusted to the counsel’s care or giving sound legal advice, but
also consists of properly representing the client before any court or tribunal, attending
scheduled hearings or conferences, preparing and filing the required pleadings,
prosecuting the handled cases with reasonable dispatch, and urging their termination
without waiting for the client or the court to prod him or her to do so. While such
negligence or carelessness is incapable of exact formulation, the Court has consistently
held that the lawyer’s mere failure to perform the obligations due his client is per se a
violation. Thus, the court suspended respondent for Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE
Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

six (6) months. Josefina Caranza Vda de Saldivar v. Atty. Ramon SG Cabanes, Jr., A.C.
No. 7749, July 8, 2013 Attorney; Conflict of interest. The rule prohibiting conflict of
interest was fashioned to prevent situations wherein a lawyer would be representing a
client whose interest is directly adverse to any of his present or former clients. In the
same way, a lawyer may only be allowed to represent a client involving the same or a
substantially related matter that is materially adverse to the former client only if the
former client consents to it after consultation. The rule is grounded in the fiduciary
obligation of loyalty. Throughout the course of a lawyer-client relationship, the lawyer
learns all the facts connected with the client’s case, including the weak and strong
points of the case. Knowledge and information gathered in the course of the relationship
must be treated as sacred and guarded with care. It behooves lawyers not only to keep
inviolate the client’s confidence, but also to avoid the appearance of treachery and
double-dealing, for only then can litigants be encouraged to entrust their secrets to their
lawyers, which is paramount in the administration of justice. The nature of that
relationship is, therefore, one of trust and confidence of the highest degree. Contrary to
Atty. Era’s ill-conceived attempt to explain his disloyalty to Samson and his group, the
termination of the attorney-client relationship does not justify a lawyer to represent an
interest adverse to or in conflict with that of the former client. The spirit behind this rule
is that the client’s confidence once given should not be stripped by the mere expiration
of the professional employment. Even after the severance of the relation, a lawyer
should not do anything that will injuriously affect his former client in any matter in which
the lawyer previously represented the client. Nor should the lawyer disclose or use any
of the client’s confidences acquired in the previous relation. Thus, Atty. Era was found
guilty of Rule 15.03 of Canon 15 and Canon 17 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility and was suspended from the practice of law for two (2) years. Ferdinand
A. Samson v. Atty. Edgardo O. Era, A.C. No. 6664, July 16, 2013. Attorney; Disbarment
and suspension of lawyers; Burden of proof. The burden of proof in disbarment and
suspension proceedings always rests on the shoulders of the complainant. The Court
exercises its disciplinary power only if the complainant establishes the complaint by
clearly preponderant evidence that warrants the imposition of the harsh penalty. As a
rule, an attorney enjoys the legal presumption that he is innocent of the charges made
against him until the contrary is proved. An attorney is further presumed as an officer of
the Court to have performed his duties in accordance with his oath. In this case,
complainants failed to discharge their burden of proving that respondents ordered their
secretary to stamp a much later date instead of the actual date of receipt for the
purpose of extending the ten-day period within which to file a Motion for
Reconsideration under the NLRC Rules of Procedure. Such claim is merely anchored
on speculation and conjecture and not backed by any clear preponderant evidence
necessary to justify the imposition of administrative penalty on a member of the Bar.
Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

Jaime Joven and Reynaldo C. Rasing v. Atty. Pablo R. Cruz and Frankie O. Magsalin
III, A.C. No. 7686, July 31, 2013. Attorney; Honesty; Practice of law is not a right but a
privilege. Lawyers are officers of the court, called upon to assist in the administration of
justice. They act as vanguards of our legal system, protecting and upholding truth and
the rule of law. They are expected to act with honesty in all their dealings, especially
with the court. Verily, the Code of Professional Responsibility enjoins lawyers from
committing or consenting to any falsehood in court or from allowing the courts to be
misled by any artifice. Moreover, they are obliged to observe the rules of procedure and
not to misuse them to defeat the ends of justice. Indeed, the practice of law is not a right
but merely a privilege bestowed upon by the State upon those who show that they
possess, and continue to possess, the qualifications required by law for the conferment
of such privilege. One of those requirements is the observance of honesty and candor.
Candor in all their dealings is the very essence of a practitioner’s honorable
membership in the legal profession. Lawyers are required to act with the highest
standard of truthfulness, fair play and nobility in the conduct of litigation and in their
relations with their clients, the opposing parties, the other counsels and the courts. They
are bound by their oath to speak the truth and to conduct themselves according to the
best of their knowledge and discretion, and with fidelity to the courts and their clients.
Sonic Steel Industries, Inc. v. Atty. Nonnatus P. Chua, A.C. No. 6942, July 17, 2013.
Court personnel; Gross dishonesty; Misrepresentation of eligibility; Penalty.
Respondent, a court stenographer III, was charged with gross dishonesty in connection
with her Civil Service eligibility where she was accused of causing another person to
take the Civil Service Eligibility Examination in her stead. Before the Decision was
imposed, however, respondent already resigned. The Supreme Court held that the
respondent’s resignation from the service did not cause the Court to lose its jurisdiction
to proceed against her in this administrative case. Her cessation from office by virtue of
her intervening resignation did not warrant the dismissal of the administrative complaint
against her, for the act complained of had been committed when she was still in the
service. Nor did such cessation from office render the administrative case moot and
academic. Otherwise, exacting responsibility for administrative liabilities incurred would
be easily avoided or evaded. Respondent’s dismissal from the service is the appropriate
penalty, with her eligibility to be cancelled, her retirement benefits to be forfeited, and
her disqualification from re-employment in the government service to be perpetual. Her
intervening resignation necessarily means that the penalty of dismissal could no longer
be implemented against her. Instead, fine is imposed, the determination of the amount
of which is subject to the sound discretion of the Court. Concerned Citizen V. Nonita v.
Catena, Court Stenographer III, RTC, Br. 50, Puerto Princesa, Palawan, A.M. OCA IPI
No. 021321-P, July 16, 2013. Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-
2016

Court personnel; Misconduct; Penalty under the Revised Rules on Administrative Cases
in the Civil Service; Effect of death in an administrative case. Misconduct is “a
transgression of some established and definite rule of action, a forbidden act, a
dereliction from duty, unlawful behavior, wilful in character, improper or wrong
behavior.” A misconduct is “grave” or gross” if it is “out of all measure; beyond
allowance; flagrant; shameful” or “such conduct as is not to be excused.” Respondent
Ong’s and Buencamino’s acts of using the levied car for personal errands and losing it
while under their safekeeping constitute grave misconduct and gross neglect of duty.
These are flagrant and shameful acts and should not be countenanced. Respondents’
acts warrant the penalty of dismissal as provided in Rule 10, Section 46 of the Revised
Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil Service. As for respondent Buencamino, his
death is not a ground for the dismissal of the Complaint against him. Respondent
Buencamino’s acts take away the public’s faith in the judiciary, and these acts should be
sanctioned despite his death. Sheriffs are reminded that they are “repositories of public
trust and are under obligation to perform the duties of their office honestly, faithfully, and
to the best of their abilities.” Being “frontline officials of the justice system,” sheriffs and
deputy sheriffs “must always strive to maintain public trust in the performance of their
duties.” Office of the Court Administrator v. Noel R. Ong, Deputy Sheriff, Br. 49, et al.,
A.M. No. P-09-2690, July 9, 2013. Court personnel; Simple neglect of duty; Penalty
under the Uniform Rules on Administrative Cases; Mitigating circumstances. The
Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) charged respondent Sheriff lV Famero with
Gross Neglect of Duty amounting to Gross Misconduct for refusing to implement the
Writ of Execution issued in a civil case involving DBP. The Supreme Court held that the
respondent cannot fully be excused for his failure to make periodic reports in the
proceedings taken on the writ, as mandated by Section 14, Rule 39 of the Rules of
Court. For the respondent’s lapses in the procedures in the implementation of the writ of
execution, he was found guilty of simple neglect of duty, defined as the failure of an
employee to give attention to the task expected of him. Under Section 52(B)(1) of the
Uniform Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil Service, simple neglect of duty is a
less grave offense punishable by suspension from office for one (1) month and one (1)
day to six (6) months for the first offense, and dismissal for the second offense. In the
imposition of the appropriate penalty, Section 53 of the same Rules allows the
disciplining authority to consider mitigating circumstances in favor of the respondent.
The court considered his length of service in the Judiciary, acknowledgment of
infractions, remorse and other family circumstances, among others, in determining the
proper penalty. He was also found to be entitled to the following mitigating
circumstances: (1) his more than 24 years of service in the Judiciary; (2) a clear record
other than for the present infraction which is his first offense, (3) the resistance of the
informal settlers to leave the property; (4) fear for his life; and (5) his well-grounded
recognition that he Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

could not undertake any demolition without the appropriate court order. After
considering the attendant facts and the mitigating circumstances, the court also
considered that the efficiency of court operations may ensue if the respondent’s work
were to be left unattended by reason of his suspension. Thus, he was imposed the
penalty of fine instead of suspension from service. Development Bank of the
Philippines, etc. Vs. Damvin V. Famero, Sheriff IV, RTC, Br. 43, Roxas, Oriental
Mindoro, A.M. No. P-0-2789, July 31, 2013. Judge; Gross Inefficiency; Duties include
prompt disposition or resolution of cases. As a frontline official of the Judiciary, a trial
judge should always act with efficiency and probity. He is duty-bound not only to be
faithful to the law, but also to maintain professional competence. The pursuit of
excellence ought always to be his guiding principle. Such dedication is the least that he
can do to sustain the trust and confidence that the public have reposed in him and the
institution he represents. The Court cannot overstress its policy on prompt disposition or
resolution of cases. Nonetheless, the Court has been mindful of the plight of our judges
and understanding of circumstances that may hinder them from promptly disposing of
their businesses. Hence, the Court has allowed extensions of time to decide cases
beyond the 90-day period. All that a judge needs to do is to request and justify an
extension of time to decide the cases, and the Court has almost invariably granted such
request. Judge Carbonell’s failure to decide several cases within the reglementary
period, without justifiable and credible reasons, constituted gross inefficiency.
Considering that Judge Carbonell has retired due to disability, his poor health condition
may have greatly contributed to his inability to efficiently perform his duties as a trial
judge. That mitigated his administrative liability, for which reason the Court reduced the
recommended penalty of fine from P50,000 to P20,000. Re: Failure of Former Judge
Antonio A. Carbonell to Decide Cases Submitted for Decision and Resolve Pending
Motions in the RTC, Branch 27, San Fernando, La Union, A.M. No. 08-5-305-RTC, July
9, 2013. Attorney; the failure to file a brief resulting in the dismissal of an appeal
constitutes inexcusable negligence. In Dalisay Capili v. Atty. Alfredo L. Bentulan, the
Court held that the failure to file a brief resulting in the dismissal of an appeal constitutes
inexcusable negligence. In this case, the Court cannot accept as an excuse the alleged
lapse committed by his client in failing to provide him a copy of the case records. In the
first place, securing a copy of the case records was within Atty. San Juan’s control and
is a task that the lawyer undertakes. Second, Atty. San Juan, unlike his client, knows or
should have known, that filing an appellant’s brief within the reglementary period is
critical in the perfection of an appeal. The preparation and the filing of the appellant’s
brief are matters of procedure that fully fell within the exclusive control and responsibility
of Atty. San Juan. It was incumbent upon him to execute all acts Atty. GIL P. VILORIA,
Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

and procedures necessary and incidental to the perfection of his client’s appeal. Third,
Atty. San Juan lacked candor in dealing with his client. He omitted to inform Tomas of
the progress of his appeal with the Court of Appeals. Worse, he did not disclose to
Tomas the real reason for the Court of Appeal’s dismissal of the appeal. Neither did
Atty. San Juan file a motion for reconsideration, or otherwise resort to available legal
remedies that might have protected his client’s interest. Atty. San Juan’s negligence
undoubtedly violates the Lawyer’s Oath that requires him to “conduct [himself] as a
lawyer according to the best of (his) knowledge and discretion, with all good fidelity as
well to the courts as to (his) clients[.]” He also violated Rule 18.03 and Rule 18.04,
Canon 18 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. Rex Polinar Dagohoy v. Atty.
Artemio V. San Juan. A.C. No. 7944, June 3, 2013. Attorney; IBP findings and
recommended penalties in administrative cases against lawyers are only
recommendatory. IBP’s recommended penalty of three (3) months suspension from the
practice of law is not commensurate to the gravity of the infractions committed. These
infractions warrant the imposition of a stiffer sanction. The following acts and omissions
of Atty. San Juan were considered: first, the negligence in handling his client’s appeal;
second, his failure to act candidly and effectively in communicating information to his
client; and more importantly, third, the serious and irreparable consequence of his
admitted negligence which deprived his client of legal remedies in addressing his
conviction. In Pineda v. Atty. Macapagal, the Court imposed a one (1) year suspension
from the practice of law on a lawyer who, like Atty. San Juan, had been found guilty of
gross negligence in handling his client’s case. With this case as the norm, Atty. San
Juan should be meted a suspension of one (1) year from the practice of law for his
negligence and inadequacies in handling his client’s case. Moreover, IBP’s findings and
stated penalty are merely recommendatory; only the Supreme Court has the power to
discipline erring lawyers and to impose against them penalties for unethical conduct.
Until finally acted upon by the Supreme Court, the IBP findings and the recommended
penalty imposed cannot attain finality until adopted by the Court as its own. Thus, the
IBP findings, by themselves, cannot be a proper subject of implementation or
compliance. Rex Polinar Dagohoy v. Atty. Artemio V. San Juan. A.C. No. 7944, June 3,
2013. Court personnel; dishonesty. Ismael Hadji Ali, a court stenographer I at the
Shari’a Circuit Court, represented that he took and passed the Civil Service
Professional Examination but evidence showed that another person took the exam for
him. Per CSC Memorandum Circular No. 15, Series of 1991, the use of spurious Civil
Service eligibility constitutes dishonesty, among others. Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE
Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

Dishonesty is a malevolent act that has no place in the judiciary. Hadji Ali failed to
observe the strict standards and behavior required of an employee in the judiciary. He
has shown unfitness for public office. Pursuant to the Civil Service Rules, Hadji Ali was
dismissed from the service with forfeiture of retirement and other benefits. Civil Service
Commission v. Ismael A. Hadji Ali, et al., A.M. No. SCC-08-11-P, June 18, 2013. Court
personnel; dishonesty and grave misconduct. Misconduct is a transgression of some
established and definite rule of action, more particularly, unlawful behavior as well as
gross negligence by a public officer. To warrant dismissal from service, the misconduct
must be grave, serious, important, weighty, momentous and not trifling. The misconduct
must imply wrongful intention and not a mere error of judgment. The misconduct must
also have a direct relation to and be connected with the performance of the public
officer’s official duties amounting either to maladministration or willful, intentional
neglect, or failure to discharge the duties of the office. Dishonesty is the “disposition to
lie, cheat, deceive, defraud or betray; untrustworthiness; lack of integrity; lack of
honesty, probity, or integrity in principle; and lack of fairness and straightforwardness.”
In this case, respondent deceived complainant’s family who were led to believe that he
is the legal representative of the Hodges Estate. Boasting of his position as a court
officer, a City Sheriff at that, complainant’s family completely relied on his repeated
assurance that they will not be ejected from the premises. In Re: Complaint Filed by
Paz De Vera Lazaro Against Edna Magallanes, Court Stenographer III, RTC Br. 28 and
Bonifacio G. Magallanes, Process Server, RTC Br. 30, Bayombong, Nueva Vizcaya, the
Court stressed that to preserve decency within the judiciary, court personnel must
comply with just contractual obligations, act fairly and adhere to high ethical standards.
In that case, the court held that court employees are expected to be paragons of
uprightness, fairness and honesty not only in their official conduct but also in their
personal dealings, including business and commercial transactions to avoid becoming
the court’s albatross of infamy. More importantly, Section 4(c) of Republic Act No.
671350 or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and
Employees mandates that public officials and employees shall remain true to the people
at all times. They must act with justness and sincerity and shall not discriminate against
anyone, especially the poor and the underprivileged. They shall at all times respect the
rights of others, and shall refrain from doing acts contrary to law, good morals, good
customs, public policy, public order, public safety and public interest. Rodolfo C.
Sabidong v. Nicolasito S. Solas. A.M. No. P-011448, June 25, 2013. Court personnel;
Prohibition in acquiring property involved in litigation within the jurisdiction of their
courts. Article 1491, paragraph 5 of the Civil Code Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE
Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

prohibits court officers such as clerks of court from acquiring property involved in
litigation within the jurisdiction or territory of their courts. The rationale is that public
policy disallows the transactions in view of the fiduciary relationship involved, i.e., the
relation of trust and confidence and the peculiar control exercised by these persons. “In
so providing, the Code tends to prevent fraud, or more precisely, tends not to give
occasion for fraud, which is what can and must be done.” For the prohibition to apply,
the sale or assignment of the property must take place during the pendency of the
litigation involving the property. Where the property is acquired after the termination of
the case, no violation of paragraph 5, Article 1491 of the Civil Code attaches. In this
case, when respondent purchased Lot 11-A on November 21, 1994, the Decision in
Civil Case No. 14706 which was promulgated on May 31, 1983 had long become final.
Be that as it may, it cannot be said that the property is no longer “in litigation” at that
time considering that it was part of the Hodges Estate then under settlement
proceedings. A thing is said to be in litigation not only if there is some contest or
litigation over it in court, but also from the moment that it becomes subject to the judicial
action of the judge. A property forming part of the estate under judicial settlement
continues to be subject of litigation until the probate court issues an order declaring the
estate proceedings closed and terminated. The rule is that as long as the order for the
distribution of the estate has not been complied with, the probate proceedings cannot
be deemed closed and terminated. The probate court loses jurisdiction of an estate
under administration only after the payment of all the debts and the remaining estate
delivered to the heirs entitled to receive the same. Rodolfo C. Sabidong v. Nicolasito S.
Solas. A.M. No. P-01-1448, June 25, 2013. Attorney; practice of law; notary. The
practice of law is imbued with public interest and “a lawyer owes substantial duties not
only to his client, but also to his brethren in the profession, to the courts, and to the
nation, and takes part in one of the most important functions of the State – the
administration of justice – as an officer of the court.” Accordingly, ‘”lawyers are bound to
maintain not only a high standard of legal proficiency, but also of morality, honesty,
integrity and fair dealing.” Similarly, the duties of notaries public are dictated by public
policy and impressed with public interest. “Notarization is not a routinary, meaningless
act, for notarization converts a private document to a public instrument, making it
admissible in evidence without the necessity of preliminary proof of its authenticity and
due execution.” In misrepresenting himself as a notary public, respondent exposed
partylitigants, courts, other lawyers and the general public to the perils of ordinary
documents posing as public instruments. Respondent committed acts of deceit and
falsehood in open violation of the explicit pronouncements of the Atty. GIL P. VILORIA,
Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

Code of Professional Responsibility. Evidently, respondent’s conduct falls miserably


short of the high standards of morality, honesty, integrity and fair dealing required from
lawyers. Thus, he should be sanctioned. Efigenia M. Tenoso vs. Atty. Anselmo S.
Echanez. A.C. No. 8384. April 11, 2013 Court personnel; dishonesty. In Civil Service
Commission v. Perocho, Jr., the Court defined dishonesty as “intentionally making a
false statement in any material fact, or practicing or attempting to practice any deception
or fraud in securing his examination, registration, appointment or promotion. Thus,
dishonesty, like bad faith, is not simply bad judgment or negligence. Dishonesty is a
question of intention. In ascertaining the intention of a person accused of dishonesty,
consideration must be taken not only of the facts and circumstances which gave rise to
the act committed by the respondent, but also of his state of mind at the time the
offense was committed, the time he might have had at his disposal for the purpose of
meditating on the consequences of his act, and the degree of reasoning he could have
had at that moment.” Evidence showed that respondent was not the one who took the
Civil Service Sub-Professional Examinations. The Court, citing the Code of Conduct for
Court Personnel, stressed that its employees should hold the highest standard of
integrity for they are a reflection of the esteemed institution which they serve. It certainly
cannot countenance any form of dishonesty perpetrated by its employees. Civil Service
Commission vs. Merle Ramoneda-Pita. A.M. No. P-08-2531. April 11, 2013 Court
Personnel; simple neglect of duty. In this case, the personnel in charge of the court
records failed to elevate the case records to the Court of Appeals within the prescribed
period due to the alleged “heavy workload.” The Court held that he was guilty of simple
neglect of duty. Section 1, Canon IV of the Code of Conduct for Court Personnel
commands court personnel to perform their duties properly and with diligence at all
times. The administration of justice is an inviolable task and it demands the highest
degree of efficiency, dedication and professionalism. The Court is not unaware of the
heavy workload of court personnel, given the number of cases filed and pending before
it. However, unless proven to exist in an insurmountable degree, this circumstance
cannot serve as an “excuse to evade administrative liability; otherwise, every
government employee faced with negligence and dereliction of duty would resort to that
excuse to evade punishment, to the detriment of the public service.” Clearly, Salazar is
guilty of simple neglect of duty, which is defined as the failure to give proper attention to
a task expected of an employee, thus signifying a disregard of a duty resulting from
carelessness or indifference. In the determination of the penalties to be imposed,
mitigating, aggravating and alternative circumstances attendant to the commission of
the crime shall be considered. The Court has mitigated imposable penalties for various
special reasons. It has considered length of service in the judiciary, acknowledgement
of infractions, remorse and family circumstances, among Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr.
PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

others, in determining the applicable penalty. In this case, while Salazar is a second
time offender for simple neglect of duty, her long years of service in the judiciary and the
admission of her negligence are circumstances to mitigate her culpability. Judge Renato
A. Fuentes, RTC, Br. 17, Davao City vs. Atty. Rogelio F. Fabro, etc., et al. A.M. No. P-
10-2791. April 17, 2013 Judge; Court Personnel; Grave misconduct; Gross neglect of
duty; Gross inefficiency. In Obañana, Jr. v. Ricafort, the court held that: Any impression
of impropriety, misdeed or negligence in the performance of official functions must be
avoided. This Court shall not countenance any conduct, act or omission on the part of
all those involved in the administration of justice which would violate the norm of public
accountability and diminish the faith of the people in the Judiciary. First, the judges
involved solemnized marriages even if the requirements submitted by the couples were
incomplete and questionable. Their actions constitute gross inefficiency. In Vega v.
Asdala, the Court held that inefficiency implies negligence, incompetence, ignorance,
and carelessness. Second, the judges were also found guilty of neglect of duty
regarding the payment of solemnization fees. The Court, in Rodrigo-Ebron v. Adolfo,
defined neglect of duty as the failure to give one’s attention to a task expected of him
and it is gross when, from the gravity of the offense or the frequency of instances, the
offense is so serious in its character as to endanger or threaten public welfare. The
marriage documents show that official receipts for the solemnization fee were missing
or payment by batches was made for marriages performed on different dates. Third, the
judges also solemnized marriages where a contracting party is a foreigner who did not
submit a certificate of legal capacity to marry from his or her embassy. This irregularity
displayed the gross neglect of duty of the judges. Fourth, the judges are also guilty of
gross ignorance of the law under Article 34 of the Family Code with respect to the
marriages they solemnized where legal impediments existed during cohabitation such
as the minority status of one party. On the other hand, the court interpreter is guilty of
grave misconduct when she said she can facilitate the marriage and the requirements
on the same day. She proposed an open-dated marriage in exchange for a fee of
P3,000. Section 2, Canon I of the Code of Conduct for Court Personnel prohibits court
personnel from soliciting or accepting gifts, favor or benefit based on any explicit or
implicit understanding that such gift, favor or benefit shall influence their official actions.
Administrative Cases in the Civil Service defines grave misconduct as “a grave offense
that carries the extreme penalty of dismissal from the service even on a first offense.
Office of the Court Administrator vs. Judge Anatalio S. Necessario, et al. A.M. No. MTJ-
07-1691. April 2, 2013 Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

Judge; Gross ignorance of the law. The respondent judges violated Canons 21 and 6 of
the Canons of Judicial Ethics which exact competence, integrity and probity in the
performance of their duties. Ignorance of the law is a mark of incompetence, and where
the law involved is elementary, ignorance thereof is considered as an indication of lack
of integrity. In connection with this, the administration of justice is considered a sacred
task and upon assumption to office, a judge ceases to be an ordinary mortal. He or she
becomes the visible representation of the law and more importantly of justice. Office of
the Court Administrator vs. Judge Anatalio S. Necessario, et al. A.M. No. MTJ-07-1691.
April 2, 2013 Public officer; Presumption of regularity. In People v. Jansen, the Court
held that the solemnizing officer is not duty-bound to investigate whether or not a
marriage license has been duly and regularly issued by the local civil registrar. All the
solemnizing officer needs to know is that the license has been issued by the competent
official, and it may be presumed from the issuance of the license that said official has
fulfilled the duty to ascertain whether the contracting parties had fulfilled the
requirements of law. However, in Sevilla v. Cardenas, the presumption of regularity of
official acts may be rebutted by affirmative evidence of irregularity or failure to perform a
duty. The visible superimpositions on the marriage licenses should have alerted the
solemnizing judges to the irregularity of the issuance. Office of the Court Administrator
vs. Judge Anatalio S. Necessario, et al. A.M. No. MTJ07-1691. April 2, 2013 Judge;
Prohibition against private practice of law. Section 35 of Rule 138 of the Rules of Court
expressly prohibits sitting judges like Judge Malanyaon from engaging in the private
practice of law or giving professional advice to clients. Section 11 Canon 4 (Propriety),
of the New Code of Judicial Conduct and Rule 5.07 of the Code of Judicial Conduct
reiterate the prohibition from engaging in the private practice of law or giving
professional advice to clients. The prohibition is based on sound reasons of public
policy, considering that the rights, duties, privileges and functions of the office of an
attorney are inherently incompatible with the high official functions, duties, powers,
discretion and privileges of a sitting judge. It also aims to ensure that judges give their
full time and attention to their judicial duties, prevent them from extending favors to their
own private interests, and assure the public of their impartiality in the performance of
their functions. These objectives are dictated by a sense of moral decency and desire to
promote the public interest. Thus, an attorney who accepts an appointment to the
Bench must accept that his right to practice law as a member of the Philippine Bar is
thereby suspended, and it shall continue to be so suspended for the entire period of his
incumbency as a judge. The term practice of law is not limited to the conduct of cases in
court or to participation in court proceedings, but extends to the preparation of pleadings
or papers in anticipation of a litigation, the giving of legal advice to clients or persons
needing the same, the preparation of legal instruments and contracts by which legal
rights are Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

secured, and the preparation of papers incident to actions and special proceedings. In
this case, Judge Malanyaon engaged in the private practice of law by assisting his
daughter at his wife’s administrative case, coaching his daughter in making
manifestations or posing motions to the hearing officer, and preparing the questions that
he prompted to his daughter. Sonia C. Decena and Rey C. Decena vs. Judge Nilo A.
Malanyaon, RTC, Br. 32, Pili, Camarines Sur. A.M. RTJ-10-2217. April 8, 2013 Public
Officers; public office is a public trust; public officers and employees must at all times be
accountable to the people, serve them with utmost responsibility, integrity, loyalty and
efficiency, act with patriotism and justice, and lead modest lives. In this case, Gesultura,
a Cashier II in the Office of the Clerk of Court in the RTC, was dismissed for an anomaly
involving the Judiciary Development Fund and the General Fund. The Court held that
public office is a public trust. Public officers and employees must at all times be
accountable to the people, serve them with utmost responsibility, integrity, loyalty and
efficiency, act with patriotism and justice, and lead modest lives. Those charged with the
dispensation of justice, from justices and judges to the lowliest clerks, should be
circumscribed with the heavy burden of responsibility. Not only must their conduct at all
times be characterized by propriety and decorum but, above all else, it must be beyond
suspicion. No position demands greater moral righteousness and uprightness from the
occupant than does the judicial office. The safekeeping of funds and collections is
essential to the goal of an orderly administration of justice. The act of misappropriating
judiciary funds constitutes dishonesty and grave misconduct which are grave offenses
punishable by dismissal upon the commission of even the first offense. Time and again,
we have reminded court personnel tasked with collections of court funds, such as
Clerks of Courts and cash clerks, to deposit immediately with authorized government
depositories the various funds they have collected, because they are not authorized to
keep funds in their custody. Office of the Court Administrator vs. Develyn Gesultura.
A.M. No. P-04-1785. April 2, 2013 Administrative cases against lawyers; prescriptive
period . The two-year prescriptive period for initiating a complaint against a lawyer for
disbarment or suspension provided under Section 1, Rule VIII of the Rules of Procedure
of the IBP Commission on Bar Discipline should be construed to mean two years from
the date of discovery of the professional misconduct. Nesa Isenhardt vs. Atty. Leonardo
M. Real, A.C. No. 8254, February 15, 2012. Attorney; disqualification as notary public. A
notary public should not notarize a document unless the person who signs it is the same
person who executed it, personally appearing before him to attest to the contents and
the truth of what are stated therein. This is to enable the notary public to verify the
genuineness of the signature of the acknowledging party and to ascertain that the
document is the party’s free act. The duties of a notary Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE
Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

public is dictated by public policy and impressed with public interest. It is not a
meaningless ministerial act of acknowledging documents executed by parties who are
willing to pay the fees for notarization. It is of no moment that the subject SPA was not
utilized by the grantee for the purpose it was intended because the property was
allegedly transferred from complainant to her brother by virtue of a deed of sale
consummated between them. What is being penalized is respondent’s act of notarizing
a document despite the absence of one of the parties. A notarized document is by law
entitled to full credit upon its face and it is for this reason that notaries public must
observe the basic requirements in notarizing documents. Otherwise, the confidence of
the public in notarized documents will be undermined. Nesa Isenhardt vs. Atty.
Leonardo M. Real, A.C. No. 8254, February 15, 2012. Attorney; government service;
applicability of Code of Professional Responsibility. The Code of Professional
Responsibility does not cease to apply to a lawyer simply because he has joined the
government service. Where a lawyer’s misconduct as a government official is of such
nature as to affect his qualification as a lawyer or to show moral delinquency, then he
may be disciplined as a member of the bar on such grounds. Martin Lahn III and James
P. Concepcion vs. Labor Arbiter Jovencio Li. Mayor, Jr., A.C. No. 7430, February 15,
2012. Attorney; gross ignorance of the law. The respondent labor arbiter, being part of
the quasi-judicial system of our government, performs official functions that are akin to
those of judges. Accordingly, the present controversy may be approximated to
administrative cases of judges whose decisions, including the manner of rendering the
same, were made subject of administrative cases. While a judge may not always be
held liable for ignorance of the law for every erroneous order that he renders, it is also
axiomatic that when the legal principle involved is sufficiently basic, lack of conversance
with it constitutes gross ignorance of the law. The unfounded insistence of the
respondent on his supposed authority to issue writs of preliminary injunction and/or
temporary restraining order, taken together with the delay in the resolution of the said
motion for reconsideration, would clearly show that the respondent deliberately intended
to cause prejudice to the complainants. Martin Lahn III and James P. Concepcion vs.
Labor Arbiter Jovencio Li. Mayor, Jr., A.C. No. 7430, February 15, 2012. Court
personnel; dishonesty. Dishonesty has been defined as the disposition to lie, cheat,
deceive, or defraud; untrustworthiness; lack of integrity; lack of honesty, probity or
integrity in principle; lack of fairness and straightforwardness; disposition to defraud,
deceive or betray. Dishonesty, being in the nature of a grave offense, carries the
extreme penalty of dismissal from the service with forfeiture of retirement benefits
except accrued leave credits, and perpetual disqualification for reemployment in
government service. Given the total absence of evidence to the contrary, the
presumption that respondent clerk of court punched his DTR to make it appear he was
at the office on February 26, 2010 when he was in fact absent still prevails. Dishonesty
is a malevolent act that has no place in the judiciary. Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE
Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

Public service requires utmost integrity and discipline. A public servant must exhibit at
all times the highest sense of honesty and integrity, for no less than the Constitution
declares that a public office is a public trust, and all public officers and employees must
at all times be accountable to the people, and serve them with utmost responsibility,
integrity, loyalty and efficiency. Leave Division, Office of the Adrministrative Services,
Office of the Court Administrator vs. Leoncio K. Gutierrez III, Clerk III, Regional Trial
Court, Branch 116, Pasay City. A.M. No. P-11-2951, February 15, 2012. Court
personnel; dishonesty, misrepresentation . OCA Circular No. 49-2003 provides that
court personnel who wish to travel abroad must secure a travel authority from the Office
of the Court Administrator. Section 67 of the Omnibus Rules on Leave provides that any
violation of the leave laws, rules or regulations, or any misrepresentation or deception in
connection with an application for leave shall be a ground for disciplinary action. The
respondent court stenographer traveled without securing a travel authority and did not
state her foreign travel in her leave application. She is guilty of violating at least two
office rules and regulations. This shows deception amounting to dishonesty. Dishonesty
means the concealment of truth in a matter of fact relevant to one’s office or connected
with the performance of his duties. It is an absence of integrity, a disposition to betray,
cheat, deceive or defraud, bad faith. The discrepancy in the respondent’s date of birth in
her records does not amount to dishonesty, as she made no false statement. No
deliberate intent to mislead, deceive or defraud appears from the cited circumstances of
this case. The respondent’s date of birth is not a fact directly relevant to her functions or
qualification to office or connected with the performance of her duties. Sheila G. Del
Rosario, Court Stenographer III, RTC, Br. 36, Santiago City, Isabela vs. Mary Anne C.
Pascua, Court Stenographer III, same court. A.M. No. P-11-2999. February 27, 2012.
Court personnel; habitual absenteeism. Administrative Circular No. 14-2002 provides
that an employee is considered habitually absent if the employee incurred unauthorized
absences exceeding the 2.5 days allowed per month for three months in a semester or
at least three consecutive months during the year. In imposing penalty of habitual
absenteeism in administrative cases, however, the court may take into consideration
mitigating circumstances. The presence of factors such as length of service in the
judiciary, acknowledgment of infractions and feeling of remorse, and family
circumstances, among other things, play an important role in the imposition of penalties.
Judge Lucina Alpez Dayaon, etc. vs. Jesusa V. De Leon. A.M. No. P-11-2926, February
1, 2012 Judge; gross ignorance of law and undue delay. Well- settled is the rule that an
injunction cannot be issued to transfer possession or control of a property to another
when the legal title is in dispute between the parties and the legal title has not been
clearly established. In this case, respondent judge evidently disregarded this
established doctrine when he granted the Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor,
S.Y. 2015-2016

preliminary injunction in favor of Pagels whose legal title is disputed. When the law
involved is simple and elementary, lack of conversance with it constitutes gross
ignorance of the law. Gross ignorance of the law is the disregard of basic rules and
settled jurisprudence. When the inefficiency springs from a failure to consider so basic
and elemental a rule, a law or a principle in the discharge of his functions, a judge is
either too incompetent and undeserving of the position and title he holds or he is too
vicious that the oversight or omission was deliberately done in bad faith and in grave
abuse of judicial authority. A judge may also be administratively liable if shown to have
been motivated by bad faith, fraud, dishonesty or corruption in ignoring, contradicting or
failing to apply settled law and jurisprudence. Atty. Rene Medina, et al. vs. Judge Victor
Canoy, et al. A.M. RTJ-11-2298, February 22, 2012. Judges; delay in conducting
summary hearing to extend the 72-hr TRO; gross ignorance of law; requirement of bad
faith, fraud, dishonesty, or corruption. Judges are not administratively responsible for
what they may do in the exercise of their judicial functions when acting within their legal
powers and jurisdiction. Not every error or mistake that a judge commits in the
performance of his duties renders him liable, unless he is shown to have acted in bad
faith or with deliberate intent to do an injustice. To hold otherwise would be to render
judicial office untenable, for no one called upon to try the facts or interpret the law in the
process of administering justice can be infallible in his judgment. To constitute gross
ignorance of the law, it is not enough that the subject decision, order or actuation of the
respondent judge in the performance of his official duties is contrary to existing law and
jurisprudence but, most importantly, he must be moved by bad faith, fraud, dishonesty
or corruption. Complainants failed to adduce proof to show that respondent judge was
motivated by bad faith, ill will or malicious motive when he granted the TRO and
preliminary injunction. In addition, respondent judge should not be penalized for failing
to conduct the required summary hearing within 72 hours from the issuance of the
original TRO. Though the Rules require the presiding judge to conduct a summary
hearing before the expiration of the 72 hours, it could not be complied with because of
the remoteness and inaccessibility of the trial court from the parties’ addresses. Sps.
Democrito and Olivia Lago vs. Judge Godofredo B. Abul, Jr. RTC, Br. 43, Gingoog City.
A.M. No. RTJ-10-2255, February 8, 2012. Judges; immorality vs. simple misconduct.
The New Code of Conduct for the Philippine Judiciary provides that, as a subject of
constant public scrutiny, judges must accept personal restrictions that might be viewed
as burdensome by the ordinary citizen. In particular, judges must conduct themselves in
a way that is consistent with the dignity of the judicial office. Occupying as he does an
exalted position in the administration of justice, a judge must pay a high price for the
honor bestowed upon him. Thus, the judge must comport himself at all times in such a
manner that his conduct, official or otherwise, can bear the most searching scrutiny of
the public that looks up to him as the epitome of integrity and justice. There was no
evidence that respondent judge engaged in scandalous conduct that would Atty. GIL P.
VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

warrant the imposition of disciplinary action against him. His admission of


homosexuality does not make him automatically immoral. However, respondent judge is
guilty of simple misconduct in causing the registration of title in his son’s name with the
intention of defrauding a possible judgmentobligee. Simple misconduct is a
transgression of some established rule of action, an unlawful behavior, or negligence
committed by a public officer. Aida R. Campos, et al. vs. Judge Eliseo M. Campos,
MTC, Bayugan, Agusan del Sur. A.M. No. MTJ-10-1761, February 8, 2012. Judges;
undue delay in rendering a decision. Judges must resolve matters pending before them
promptly and expeditiously within the constitutionally mandated three-month period. If
they cannot comply with the same, they should ask for an extension from the Supreme
Court upon meritorious grounds. The rule is that the reglementary period for deciding
cases should be observed by all judges, unless they have been granted additional time.
Judges must dispose of the court’s business promptly. Delay in the disposition of cases
erodes the faith and confidence of our people in the judiciary, lowers its standards, and
brings it to disrepute. Hence, judges are enjoined to decide cases with dispatch. Their
failure to do so constitutes gross inefficiency and warrants the imposition of
administrative sanctions on them. Although there are no promulgated rules on the
conduct of judicial audit, the absence of such rules should not serve as license to
recommend the imposition of penalties to retired judges who, during their incumbency,
were never given a chance to explain the circumstances behind the results of the
judicial audit. Judicial audit reports and the memoranda which follow them should state
not only recommended penalties and plans of action for the violations of audited courts,
but also give commendations when they are due. To avoid similar scenarios, manual
judicial audits may be conducted at least six months before a judge’s compulsory
retirement. Office of the Court Administrator vs. Judge Celso L. Mantua, Regional Trial
Court, Branch 17, Palompon, Leyte. A.M. No. RTJ-11-2291. February 8, 2012.

Atty. GIL P. VILORIA, Jr. PALE Instructor, S.Y. 2015-2016

A.C. No. 10185 DIZON v. CABUCANA, JR.


DIZON v. CABUCANA, JR.
A.C. No. 10185
March 12, 2014
FACTS: Complainant, Licerio Dizon, alleged that he was one of the “would be” buyers
of a parcel of land owned by Callangan in a Civil Case filed before the MTC. On that case,
a compromise agreement was executed by the parties before respondent, Atty.
Mercelino Cabucana, Jr.
At the hearing, the signatories regarding the compromise agreement therein testified
that they signed the instrument in the court room of MTCC but not in the presence of
Atty. Cabucana as Notary Public; hence, there was delay in the decision of the case
which caused damage and injury to the complainant. They also alleged that Atty.
Cabucana violated the Notarial Law by notarizing in the absence of most of the
signatories and uttered grave threats against him after the hearing of the said case.
Hence, he filed a petition against Atty. Cabucana, before the IBP, praying for the
disbarment of the latter for falsification of public document.
In his answer, he averred that the complaint was intended to harass him for he was the
private prosecutor on a criminal case against Dizon and lack of cause of action for he
was only a “would be” buyer.

ISSUE: Whether or not he violated a rule in the CPR through his conduct
RULING: Yes. As a notary public, Atty. Cabucana should not notarize a document
unless the person who signs it is the same person executing it and personally appearing
before him to attest to the truth of its contents. This is to enable him to verify the
genuineness of the signature of the acknowledging party and to ascertain that the
document is the party's free and voluntary act and deed.
Hence, the Court finds respondent Atty. Marcelino Cabucana, Jr. guilty of violating Rule
1.01, Canon l of the CPR and suspends him from the practice of law for three (3)
months, and prohibits him from being commissioned as a notary public for two (2)
years with a stern warning that a repetition of the same or similar offense shall be dealt
with more severely.

LICERIO DIZON, complainant


ATTY MARCELINO CABUCANA JR, respondent
Facts:
The case was emanated from the complaint of the complainant against the
respondent for the latter’s falsification of public documents. The complainant
and other parties concerned had executed a compromise agreement
concerning a parcel of land filed before the MTCC Br 1 Santiago City duly
notarized before Atty Cabucana Jr. That because of the undue delay in the
resolution of the Civil case filed which caused damaged and injury to the
complainant, he filed a complaint against the respondent citing the violation
in notarizing the document without the presence of the signatories before
him. In the answer of the respondent, he averred that the complaint was
intended to harass him because he was the private prosecutor in a criminal
case filed against complainant before the MTCC; that complainant had no
cause of action as his right was not violated because he was just a ‘would be
buyer” and not a party to the compromise agreement; and that complainant
would not suffer any damage by the pendency of the case or by any defects
obtaining in the notarization of the compromise agreement.
Issue: Whether or not the contention of Atty Cabucana Jr is tenable.
No. Respondent violated the Rule 1.01, Canon 1 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility when he notarized the compromise agreement without the
presence of all the parties. Also, under section 2 (b) of Rule IV of the Rules on
Notarial Practice of 2004 provides that: “ a person shall not perform a
notarial act if the person involved as signatory to the instrument or
document- (1) is not in the notary’s presence personally at the time of the
notarization and (2) is not personally known to the notary public or otherwise
identified by the notary public through competent evidence of identity as
defined by the Rules on Notarial Practice. Stated otherweise, Atty Cabucana
should not notarize a document unless the person who signs it is the same
person executing it and personally appearing before him to attest to the
truth of its contents. This is to enable him to verify the genuineness of the
signature of the acknowledging party and to ascertain that the document is
the party’s free and voluntary act and deed.

A.C. No. 9514 : April 10, 2013

BERNARD N. JANDOQUILE, Complainant, v. ATTY. QUIRINO P. REVILLA, JR., Respondent.

RESOLUTION

VILLARAMA, JR., J.:

Before us is a complaint1 for disbarment filed by complainant Bernard N.


Jandoquile against respondent Atty. Quirino P. Revilla, Jr.

The Facts of the case are not disputed.

Atty. Revilla, Jr. notarized a complaint-affidavit2 signed by Heneraline L.


Brosas, Herizalyn Brosas Pedrosa and Elmer L. Alvarado. Heneraline Brosas
is a sister of Heizel Wynda Brosas Revilla, Atty. Revilla, Jr.'s wife. Jandoquile
complains that Atty. Revilla, Jr. is disqualified to perform the notarial act3per
Section 3( c), Rule IV of the 2004 Rules on Notarial Practice which reads as
follows:chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

SEC. 3. Disqualifications. A notary public is disqualified from performing a


notarial act if he:chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

xxx

(c) is a spouse, common-law partner, ancestor, descendant, or relative by


affinity or consanguinity of the principal4 within the fourth civil degree.

Jandoquile also complains that Atty. Revilla, Jr. did not require the three
affiants in the complaint-affidavit to show their valid identification cards.

In his comment5 to the disbarment complaint, Atty. Revilla, Jr. did not deny
but admitted Jandoquile's material allegations. The issue, according to Atty.
Revilla, Jr., is whether the single act of notarizing the complaint-affidavit of
relatives within the fourth civil degree of affinity and, at the same time, not
requiring them to present valid identification cards is a ground for
disbarment. Atty. Revilla, Jr. submits that his act is not a ground for
disbarment. He also says that he acts as counsel of the three affiants; thus,
he should be considered more as counsel than as a notary public when he
notarized their complaint-affidavit. He did not require the affiants to present
valid identification cards since he knows them personally. Heneraline Brosas
and Herizalyn Brosas Pedrosa are sisters-in-law while Elmer Alvarado is the
live-in houseboy of the Brosas family.

Since the facts are not contested, the Court deems it more prudent to
resolve the case instead of referring it to the Integrated Bar of the
Philippines for investigation.

Indeed, Atty. Revilla, Jr. violated the disqualification rule under Section 3(c),
Rule IV of the 2004 Rules on Notarial Practice. We agree with him, however,
that his violation is not a sufficient ground for disbarment.

Atty. Revilla, Jr.'s violation of the aforesaid disqualification rule is beyond


dispute. Atty. Revilla, Jr. readily admitted that he notarized the complaint-
affidavit signed by his relatives within the fourth civil degree of affinity.
Section 3(c), Rule IV of the 2004 Rules on Notarial Practice clearly
disqualifies him from notarizing the complaint-affidavit, from performing the
notarial act, since two of the affiants or principals are his relatives within the
fourth civil degree of affinity. Given the clear provision of the disqualification
rule, it behooved upon Atty. Revilla, Jr. to act with prudence and refuse
notarizing the document. We cannot agree with his proposition that we
consider him to have acted more as counsel of the affiants, not as notary
public, when he notarized the complaint-affidavit. The notarial certificate6 at
the bottom of the complaint-affidavit shows his signature as a notary public,
with a notarial commission valid until December 31, 2012.

He cannot therefore claim that he signed it as counsel of the three affiants.

On the second charge, we agree with Atty. Revilla, Jr. that he cannot be held
liable. If the notary public knows the affiants personally, he need not require
them to show their valid identification cards. This rule is supported by the
definition of a "jurat" under Section 6, Rule II of the 2004 Rules on Notarial
Practice. A "jurat" refers to an act in which an individual on a single
occasion: (a) appears in person before the notary public and presents an
instrument or document; (b) is personally known to the notary public or
identified by the notary public through competent evidence of identity; (c)
signs the instrument or document in the presence of the notary; and (d)
takes an oath or affirmation before the notary public as to such instrument
or document. In this case, Heneraline Brosas is a sister of Atty. Revilla, Jr.'s
wife; Herizalyn Brosas Pedrosa is his wife's sister-in-law; and Elmer Alvarado
is the live-in houseboy of the Brosas family. Atty. Revilla, Jr. knows the
three affiants personally. Thus, he was justified in no longer requiring them
to show valid identification cards. But Atty. Revilla, Jr. is not without fault for
failing to indicate such fact in the "jurat" of the complaint-affidavit. No
statement was included therein that he knows the three affiants
personally.7 Let it be impressed that Atty. Revilla, Jr. was clearly disqualified
to notarize the complaint-affidavit of his relatives within the fourth civil
degree of affinity. While he has a valid defense as to the second charge, it
does not exempt him from liability for violating the disqualification rule.

As we said, Atty. Revilla, Jr.'s violation of the disqualification rule under


Section 3(c), Rule IV of the 2004 Rules on Notarial Practice is not a sufficient
ground to disbar him. To our mind, Atty. Revilla, Jr. did not commit any
deceit, malpractice, gross misconduct or gross immoral conduct, or any
other serious ground for disbarment under Section 27,8 Rule 138 of the
Rules of Court. We recall the case of Maria v. Cortez9where we reprimanded
Cortez and disqualified him from being commissioned as notary public for six
months. We were convinced that said punishment, which is less severe than
disbarment, would already suffice as sanction for Cortez's violation. In
Cortez, we noted the prohibition in Section 2(b), Rule IV of the 2004 Rules
on Notarial Practice that a person shall not perform a notarial act if the
person involved as signatory to the instrument or document (1) is not in the
notary's presence personally at the time of the notarization and (2) is not
personally known to the notary public or otherwise identified by the notary
public through a competent evidence of identity. Cortez had notarized a
special power of attorney without having the alleged signatories appear
before him. In imposing the less severe punishment, we were mindful that
removal from the Bar should not really be decreed when any punishment
less severe such as reprimand, temporary suspension or fine would
accomplish the end desired.

Considering the attendant circumstances and the single violation committed


by Atty. Revilla, Jr., we are in agreement that a punishment less severe than
disbarment would suffice.

WHEREFORE, respondent Atty. Quirino P. Revilla, Jr., is REPRIMANDED and


DISQUALIFIED from being commissioned as a notary public, or from
performing any notarial act if he is presently commissioned as a notary
public, for a period of three (3) months. Atty. Revilla, Jr. is further
DIRECTED to INFORM the Court, through an affidavit, once the period of his
disqualification has lapsed.

SO ORDERED.

Adm. Case No. 9612 : March 13, 2013

JOHNNY M. PESTO, Complainant, v. MARCELITO M. MILLO, Respondent.

DECISION

BERSAMIN, J.:

An attorney who conceals his inefficiency and lack of diligence by giving


wrong information to his client regarding the matter subject of their
professional relationship is guilty of conduct unbecoming an officer of the
Court. He thereby violates his Lawyer's Oath to conduct himself as a lawyer
according to the best of his knowledge and discretion with all good fidelity as
well to the courts as to his client. He also thereby violates Rule 18.03, Canon
18 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, by which he is called upon to
serve his client with competence and diligence.
Antecedents

In this administrative case, Johnny Pesto (Johnny), a Canadian national,


charged Atty. Marcelito M. Millo with conduct unbecoming an officer of the
Court, misleading his client, bungling the transfer of title, and incompetence
and negligence in the performance of his duty as a lawyer.

Johnny averred that in May 1990, his wife Abella Pesto (Abella) retained the
services of Atty. Millo to handle the transfer of title over a parcel of land to
her name, and the adoption of her niece, Arvi Jane Dizon;1 that Johnny and
Abella gave to Atty. Millo the amounts of P14,000.00 for the transfer of
title2and P10,000.00 for the adoption case;3 that Atty. Millo thereafter
repeatedly gave them false information and numerous excuses to explain his
inability to complete the transfer of title; that Atty. Millo likewise made them
believe that the capital gains tax for the property had been paid way back in
1991, but they found out upon their return to the country in February 1995
that he had not yet paid the tax; that when they confronted him, Atty. Millo
insisted that he had already paid the same, but he could not produce any
receipt for the supposed payment; that Atty. Millo reluctantly returned to
Abella the amount of P14,000.00 only after he stormed out of Atty. Millo's
office in exasperation over his stalling tactics; and that Atty. Millo then
further promised in writing to assume the liability for the accrued
penalties.4chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

Likewise, Johnny blamed Atty. Millo for letting the adoption case be
considered closed by the Tarlac office of the Department of Social Welfare
and Development (Tarlac DSWD) due to two years of inaction. He stated
that Atty. Millo made him and his wife believe that an interview with the
Tarlac DSWD had been scheduled on February 14, 1995, but when they
arrived at the Tarlac DSWD they were dismayed to be told that no such
interview had been scheduled; that adding to their dismay, Atty. Millo could
not be reached at all; that it was only upon reaching home in Quezon City
when he received word from Atty. Millo that a hearing had again been
scheduled on February 23, 1995 at 10:00 a.m.; that when they went to the
hearing, Atty. Millo could not be found; and that they learned after an hour
of waiting in the courthouse in Tarlac that Atty. Millo had requested the
hearing to be moved to the afternoon without their
knowledge.5chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

Exasperated by Atty. Millo's neglect and ineptitude, Johnny brought this


administrative complaint in the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) on
March 14, 1995, praying for disciplinary action to be taken against Atty.
Millo, and seeking the refund of P15,643.75 representing the penalties for
the non-payment of the capital gains tax, and of the P10,000.00 given for
the adoption case. Being a resident of Canada, he constituted one Tita
Lomotan as his attorney-in-fact to represent him during his and his wife's
absence from the country.

On July 10, 1995, the IBP ordered Atty. Millo to file his answer.6 Although an
extension of the period to file was granted at his instance,7 he filed no
answer in the end.8 He did not also appear at the hearings despite due
notice.9chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

In the meantime, the IBP required Johnny through Lomotan to engage a


counsel. The proceedings were held in abeyance to await the appropriate
motion from Johnny's counsel.10chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

The administrative matter did not move for several years. The long delay
prompted Johnny to write to the President of the IBP on October 28,
1998.11 It was only on April 2, 2001, however, that the IBP Commission on
Bar Discipline (IBP-CBD) scheduled another hearing on June 29, 2001.12 At
that hearing, Atty. Millo appeared through a representative, and presented a
manifestation/motion,13 whereby he claimed that Johnny had meanwhile
died, and that Abella would be withdrawing the complaint against him.

On October 11, 2001, the IBP-CBD, through Commissioner Victoria


Gonzalez-De los Reyes, deemed the case submitted for
resolution.14chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

On October 4, 2010, Investigating Commissioner Victor C. Fernandez, to


whom the case had been meanwhile transferred, submitted a report and
recommendation, whereby he found Atty. Millo liable for violating Canon 18
of the Code of Professional Responsibility, and recommended his suspension
from the practice of law for six months.15chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

In Resolution No. XX-2011-235 adopted on November 19, 2011,16 the IBP


Board of Governors affirmed the findings of Investigating Commissioner
Fernandez, but lowered the suspension to two months; and ordered Atty.
Millo to return the amount of P16,000.00, to wit:chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

RESOLVED to ADOPT and APPROVE, as it is hereby unanimously ADOPTED


and APPROVED, with modification, the Report and Recommendation of the
Investigating Commissioner in the above-entitled case, herein made part of
this Resolution as Annex "A" and finding the recommendation fully supported
by the evidence on record and the applicable laws and rules, and finding
respondent guilty of the charges level(led) against him, Atty. Marcelito Millo
is hereby SUSPENDED from the practice of law for a period of two (2)
months and is ordered to return the amount of P16,000.00 to complainant.
On March 27, 2012, Atty. Millo moved for a reconsideration, stating that he
had honestly believed that Abella had already caused the withdrawal of the
complaint prior to her own death; that he had already caused the
preparation of the documents necessary for the transfer of the certificate of
title, and had also returned the P14,000.00 paid by Johnny; that the
adoption case had been finally granted by the trial court; that he had lost
contact with Johnny and Abella who resided in Canada; that Juan Daquis,
Abella's brother, could have confirmed that the charge had arisen from a
simple misunderstanding, and that Abella would cause the withdrawal of the
complaint, except that Daquis had meanwhile died in November
2011.17chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

On June 9, 2012, the IBP Board of Governors denied Atty. Millo's motion for
reconsideration.18chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

Ruling

We affirm Resolution No. XX-2011-235, but modify the penalty.

Every attorney owes fidelity to the causes and concerns of his clients. He
must be ever mindful of the trust and confidence reposed in him by the
clients. His duty to safeguard the clients' interests commences from his
engagement as such, and lasts until his effective release by the clients. In
that time, he is expected to take every reasonable step and exercise
ordinary care as his clients' interests may
require.19chanroblesvirtualawlibrary

Atty. Millo's acceptance of the sums of money from Johnny and Abella to
enable him to attend to the transfer of title and to complete the adoption
case initiated the lawyer-client relationship between them. From that
moment on, Atty. Millo assumed the duty to render competent and efficient
professional service to them as his clients. Yet, he failed to discharge his
duty. He was inefficient and negligent in going about what the professional
service he had assumed required him to do. He concealed his inefficiency
and neglect by giving false information to his clients about having already
paid the capital gains tax. In reality, he did not pay the capital gains tax,
rendering the clients liable for a substantial financial liability in the form of
penalties.

Without doubt, Atty. Millo had the obligation to serve his clients with
competence and diligence. Rule 18.03, Canon 18 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility, expressly so demanded of him, to
wit:chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
CANON 18 A LAWYER SHALL SERVE HIS CLIENT WITH COMPETENCE AND
DILIGENCE.

xxx

Rule 18.03 A lawyer shall not neglect a legal matter entrusted to him, and
his negligence in connection therewith shall render him liable.

A serious administrative complaint like this one should not be taken for
granted or lightly by any respondent attorney. Yet, Atty. Millo did not take
the complaint of Johnny seriously enough, and even ignored it for a long
period of time. Despite being given several opportunities to do so, Atty. Millo
did not file any written answer. He thereby forfeited his right and chance to
reasonably explain the circumstances behind the charges against him. Had
the complaint been untrue and unfair, it would have been quite easy for him
to refute it quickly and seasonably. Indeed, a refutation was the requisite
response from any worthy and blameless respondent lawyer. His belated and
terse characterization of the charge by claiming that the charge had
emanated from a mere "misunderstanding" was not sufficient. He did not
thereby refute the charge against him, which omission indicated that the
complaint had substance. It mattered little now that he had in the meantime
returned the amount of P14,000.00 to the clients, and that the application
for adoption had been eventually granted by the trial court. Such events,
being not only post facto, but also inevitable from sheer passage of time, did
not obliterate his liability based on the neglect and ineptitude he had
inflicted on his clients. The severe lesson that he must now learn is that he
could not ignore without consequences the liberal opportunity the Court and
the IBP allowed him to justify his neglect and ineptitude in serving his
clients' concerns. Towards him the Court now stays its hand of leniency, lest
the Court be unfairly seen as too willing to forego the exaction of
responsibility upon a lawyer as neglectful and inept as he had been towards
his clients.

It even seems very likely that Atty. Millo purposely disregarded the
opportunity to answer the charges granted to him out of a desire to delay
the investigation of the complaint until both Johnny and Abella, being
residents in Canada, would have already lost interest in prosecuting it, or, as
happened here, would have already departed this world and be no longer
able to rebut whatever refutations he would ultimately make, whether true
or not. But the Court is not about to condone such selfish disregard. Let it be
emphasized to him and to others similarly disposed that an attorney who is
made a respondent in a disbarment proceeding should submit an
explanation, and should meet the issue and overcome the evidence against
him.20 The obvious reason for the requirement is that an attorney thus
charged must thereby prove that he still maintained that degree of morality
and integrity expected of him at all times.

Atty. Millo made his situation even worse by consistently absenting himself
from the scheduled hearings the IBP had set for his benefit. His disregard of
the IBP's orders requiring his attendance in the hearings was not only
irresponsible, but also constituted utter disrespect for the Judiciary and his
fellow lawyers. Such conduct was absolutely unbecoming of a lawyer,
because lawyers are particularly called upon to obey Court orders and
processes and are expected to stand foremost in complying with orders from
the duly constituted authorities.21 Moreover, in Espiritu v. Ulep,22 the Court
saw the respondent attorney's odious practice of repeatedly and apparently
deliberately not appearing in the scheduled hearings as his means of
wiggling out from the duty to explain his side. A similar treatment of Atty.
Millo's disregard is justified. Indeed, he thereby manifested evasion, a bad
trait that no worthy member of the Legal profession should nurture in
himself.

Surprisingly, Atty. Millo claimed that his belated response to the charge was
due to the assurances of Abella that she would be withdrawing the
complaint. The Court disbelieves him, however, and treats his claim as
nothing but a belated attempt to save the day for himself. He ought to
remember that the withdrawal of an administrative charge for suspension or
disbarment based on an attorney's professional misconduct or negligence
will not furnish a ground to dismiss the charge. Suspension or disbarment
proceedings that are warranted will still proceed regardless of the lack or
loss of interest on the part of the complainant. The Court may even entirely
ignore the withdrawal of the complaint, and continue to investigate in order
to finally determine whether the charge of professional negligence or
misconduct was borne out by the record.23 This approach bespeaks the
Court's consistent view that the Legal Profession is not only a lofty and noble
calling, but also a rare privilege reserved only for the deserving.

Verily, disciplinary proceedings against attorneys are unlike civil suits where
the complainants are the plaintiffs and the respondent attorneys are the
defendants. They neither involve private interests nor afford redress for
private grievances. They are undertaken and prosecuted solely for the public
welfare, for the purpose of preserving the courts of justice from the official
ministration of persons unfit to practice law before them. Every attorney is
called to answer for every misconduct he commits as an officer of the Court.
The complainant or any other person who has brought the attorney's
misconduct to the attention of the Court is in no sense a party, and has
generally no interest in the outcome except as all good citizens may have in
the proper administration of justice.24chanroblesvirtualawlibrary
The IBP Board of Governors recommended suspension from the practice of
law for two months as the penalty to be imposed. The recommended penalty
is not well taken. We modify the penalty, because Atty. Millo displayed no
remorse as to his misconduct, and could not be given a soft treatment. His
professional misconduct warranted a longer suspension from the practice of
law because he had caused material prejudice to the clients' interest.25 He
should somehow be taught to be more ethical and professional in dealing
with trusting clients like Johnny and Abella, who were innocently too willing
to repose their utmost trust in his abilities as a lawyer and in his
trustworthiness as a legal professional. He should remember that
misconduct has no place in the heart and mind of a lawyer who has taken
the solemn oath to delay no man for money or malice, and to conduct
himself as a lawyer according to the best of his knowledge and discretion.
Under the circumstances, suspension from the practice of law for six months
is the condign and commensurate penalty for him.

The Court notes that Atty. Millo already returned the P14,000.00 received for
the transfer of title. Although he ought also to refund the amount
of P15,643.75 representing the penalty for the late payment of the capital
gains tax, the Court cannot order him to refund that amount because it is
not a collection agency.26 The Court may only direct the repayment of
attorneys fees received on the basis that a respondent attorney did not
render efficient service to the client. Consequently, Atty. Millo should refund
the P10,000.00 given in connection with the adoption case, plus interest of
6% per annum, reckoned from the finality of this decision.

WHEREFORE, the Court FINDS and HOLDS Atty. MARCELITO M. MILLO guilty
of violating Canon 18, Rule 18.03 of the Code of Professional Responsibility
and the Lawyer's Oath; SUSPENDS him from the practice of law for a period
of six months effective from notice, with the STERN WARNING that any
similar infraction in the future will be dealt with more severely; ORDERS him
to return to the heirs of Johnny and Abella Pesto within ten days from notice
the sum of P10,000.00, plus legal interest of 6% per annum reckoned from
the finality of this decision until full payment; and DIRECTS him to promptly
submit to this Court written proof of his compliance within thirty days from
notice of this decision.

Let copies of this decision be furnished to the Office of the Bar Confidant, to
be appended to Atty. Marcelito M. Millo's personal record as an attorney; to
the Integrated Bar of the Philippines; and to the Office of the Court
Administrator for dissemination to all courts throughout the country for their
information and guidance.

SO ORDERED.
Endnotes:

LEGAL ETHICS; Lawyers must not present and offer in evidence any document they know to be false; this
includes false allegations or statements in letters sent to opposing parties

Trinidad, et al. v. Atty. Villarin, A.C. No. 9310, 27 February 2013 is an administrative case against a lawyer for allegedly harassing complainants
through demand letters sent to them.

In disposing of the case, the Supreme Court found Atty. Villarin to have acted without malice when he sent the letters to vacate to Complainants since
a lawyer “is expected to champion the cause of his client with wholehearted fidelity, care, and devotion.” This simply means that his client is entitled to
the benefit of any and every remedy and defense that is recognized by our laws, to wit:

“Proceeding to the contested demand letters, we adopt the recommendation of the IBP board of governors that the issuance thereof was not
malicious. According to its Report, respondent counsel merely acted on his legal theory that the HLURB Decision was not binding on his client, since it
had not received the summons. Espousing the belief that the proceedings in the HLURB were void, Villarin pursued the issuance of demand letters as
a prelude to the ejectment case he would later on file to protect the property rights of his client.

As the lawyer of Purence Realty, respondent is expected to champion the cause of his client with wholehearted fidelity, care, and devotion. This simply
means that his client is entitled to the benefit of any and every remedy and defense — including the institution of an ejectment case — that is
recognized by our property laws. In Legarda v. Court of Appeals, we held that in the full discharge of their duties to the client, lawyers shall not be
afraid of the possibility that they may displease the general public.”

However, the Supreme Court reminded the Bar that the duty to pursue a client’s case with zeal comes with a limitation and that is, that any means
adopted by a lawyer in pursuit of a client’s claim should be within the bounds of law. “[Lawyers] should only make such defense only when they believe
it to be honestly debatable under the law.”

“Nevertheless, the Code of Professional Responsibility provides the limitation that lawyers shall perform their duty to the client
within the bounds of law. They should only make such defense only when they believe it to be honestly debatable under the law. In this case,
respondent's act of issuing demand letters, moved by the understanding of a void HLURB Decision, is legally sanctioned. If his theory holds water, the
notice to vacate becomes necessary in order to file an action for ejectment. Hence, he did not resort to any fraud or chicanery prohibited by the Code,
just to maintain his client's disputed ownership over the subdivision lots.

Even so, respondent cannot be considered free of error. The factual findings of the IBP board of governors reveal that in his demand letter,
he brazenly typified one of the complainants, Florentina Lander, as an illegal occupant. However, this description is the exact opposite of the truth,
since the final and executory HLURB Decision had already recognized her as a subdivision lot buyer who had a right to complete her payments in
order to occupy her property. Respondent is very much aware of this ruling when he filed an Omnibus Motion to set aside the HLURB Decision and the
appurtenant Writ of Execution.

Given that respondent knew that the aforementioned falsity totally disregarded the HLURB Decision, he thus advances the interest of his
client through means that are not in keeping with fairness and honesty. What he does is clearly proscribed by Rule 19.01 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility, which requires that a lawyer shall employ only fair and honest means to attain lawful objectives. Lawyers must not present and offer in
evidence any document that they know is false.”
As can be seen from the above disquisition, while the Supreme Court agreed with the findings of the IBP that no malice attended the sending of the
letters to Complainants by Atty. Villarin, the latter’s act of naming or referring to one of the complainants as an “illegal occupant”, when he very well
knew of the finality of the HLURB’s decision in their (one of the Complainants) favor is not in accord with the ethics of the legal profession, particularly
Rule 19.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, which requires a lawyer to “employ only fair and honest means to attain lawful objectives” and
not to “present and offer in evidence any document that they know is false.”

Accordingly, the Supreme Court reprimanded Atty. Villarin with a warning that a repetition of the same or similar act shall be dealt with more severely.

Posted by Aaron Jarveen Ho at 10:52 PM

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Facts:

For resolution is the Petition (For Extraordinary Mercy) filed by respondent Edmundo L. Macarubbo who seeks to be reinstated in t
he Roll of Attorneys.

The Court disbarred him for having contracted a bigamous marriage with the complainant and a third marriage with another while h
is first marriage was still subsisting, which acts constituted gross immoral conduct in violation of Canon 1, Rule 1.01 and Canon 7, Ru
le 7.03 of the Code of Professional Responsibility.

Ruling:

Respondent had sufficiently shown his remorse and acknowledged his indiscretion in the legal profession and in his personal life. He
had asked forgiveness from his children by complainant and maintained a cordial relationship with them as shown by the herein att
ached pictures. Records also showed that after his disbarment, respondent returned to his hometown and devoted his time tending a
n orchard and taking care of his ailing mother until her death. He was appointed as Private Secretary to the Mayor and thereafter, as
sumed the position of Local Assessment Operations Officer II/ Office-In-
Charge in the Assessor’s Office, which office he continues to serve to date. Moreover, he became a part-
time instructor in a University. Respondent likewise took an active part in socio-
civic activities by helping his neighbors and friends who are in dire need.

Furthermore, respondent’s plea for reinstatement was duly supported by the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, Cagayan Chapter and
by his former and present colleagues. His parish priest certified that he is faithful to and puts to actual practice the doctrines of the
Catholic Church. He was also observed to be a regular churchgoer. Records further revealed that respondent had already settled his
previous marital squabbles, as in fact, no opposition to the instant suit was tendered by complainant. He sends regular support to his
children in compliance with the Court’s directive.

While the Court is ever mindful of its duty to discipline and even remove its errant officers, concomitant to it is its duty to show com
passion to those who have reformed their ways, as in this case.

After 8 years, he was reinstated to the practice of law


FLORENCE TEVES MACARRUBO, the Minors JURIS ALEXIS T. MACARRUBO and GABRIEL ENRICO T.
MACARRUBO as represented by their Mother/Guardian, FLORENCE TEVES MACARRUBO, complainant, v.
ATTY. EDMUNDO L. MACARRUBO, respondent.
A.C. No. 6148. February 27, 2004.

Facts:

Florence Teves Macarrubo, complainant, filed on June 6, 2000 a verified complaint for disbarment against Atty. Edmundo L.
Macarubbo,respondent, with the Integrated Bar of the Philippines alleging that respondent deceived her into marrying him despite
his prior subsisting marriage with a certain Helen Esparza. The complainant averred that he started courting her in April 1991, he
representing himself as a bachelor; that they eventually contracted marriage which was celebrated on two occasions administered by
Rev. Rogelio J. Bolivar, the first on December 18, 1991 in the latter’s Manila office, and the second on December 28, 1991 at the
Asian Institute of Tourism Hotel in Quezon City; and that although respondent admitted that he was married to Helen Esparza on
June 16, 1982, he succeeded in convincing complainant, her family and friends that his previous marriage was void.

Complainant further averred that respondent entered into a third marriage with one Josephine T. Constantino; and that he
abandoned complainant and their children without providing them any regular support up to the present time, leaving them in
precarious living conditions.

Respondent denied employing deception in his marriage to complainant, insisting instead that complainant was fully aware of his
prior subsisting marriage to Helen Esparza, but that she dragged him against his will to a “sham wedding” to protect her and her
family’s reputation since she was then three-months pregnant. He submitted in evidence that in the civil case “Edmundo L.
Macarubbo v. Florence J. Teves,” it declared his marriage to complainant void ab initio. He drew attention to the trial court’s
findings on the basis of his evidence which was not controverted, that the marriage was indeed “a sham and make believe” one,
“vitiated by fraud, deceit, force and intimidation, and further exacerbated by the existence of a legal impediment” and want of a valid
marriage license. Respondent raised the additional defenses that the judicial decree of annulment of his marriage to complainant is
res judicata upon the present administrative case; that complainant is in estoppel for admitting her status as mere live-in partner to
respondent in her letter to Josephine T. Constantino. Stressing that he had always been the victim in his marital relations,
respondent invoked the final and executory August 21, 1998 in the case “Edmundo L. Macarubbo v. Helen C. Esparza,” declaring his
first marriage void on the ground of his wife’s psychological incapacity.

It is recommended that respondent Atty. Edmundo L. Macarrubo be suspended for three months for gross misconduct reflecting
unfavorably on the moral norms of the profession. The IBP Board of Governors adopted and approved the Report and
Recommendation of the Investigating Commissioner.

Issue:

Whether or not the respondent should be suspended for gross misconduct

Ruling:

While the marriage between complainant and respondent has been annulled by final judgment, this does not cleanse his conduct of
every tinge of impropriety. He and complainant started living as husband and wife in December 1991 when his first marriage was
still subsisting, as it was only on August 21, 1998 that such first marriage was annulled, rendering him liable for concubinage. Such
conduct is inconsistent with the good moral character that is required for the continued right to practice law as a member of the
Philippine bar. Even assuming that respondent was coerced by complainant to marry her, the duress, by his own admission as the
following transcript of his testimony reflects, ceased after their wedding day, respondent having freely cohabited with her and even
begot a second child by her. Thus, respondent Edmundo L. Macarubbo is found guilty of gross immorality and is hereby disbarred
from the practice of law.

Adm. Case No. 6148 - Florence Teves Macarubbo, Complainant; v. Atty. Edmundo L. Macarubbo, Respondent; Re: Petition (for Extraordinary Mercy) of Edmundo L.
Macarubbo
EN BANC

Adm. Case No. 6148 : January 22, 2013

FLORENCE TEVES MACARUBBO, Complainant, v. ATTY. EDMUNDO L. MACARUBBO, Respondents.

RE: PETITION (FOR EXTRAORDINARY MERCY) OF EDMUNDO L. MACARUBBO.

RESOLUTION

PERLAS-BERNABE, J.:

For resolution is the Petition (For Extraordinary Mercy) filed by respondent Edmundo L. Macarubbo (respondent) who seeks to be reinstated in the Roll of Attorneys.

Records show that in the Decision1 dated February 27, 2004, the Court disbarred respondent from the practice of law for having contracted a bigamous marriage with
complainant Florence Teves and a third marriage with one Josephine Constantino while his first marriage to Helen Esparza was still subsisting, which acts constituted
gross immoral conduct in violation of Canon 1, Rule 1.01 and Canon 7, Rule 7.03 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. The dispositive portion of the subject
Decision reads: cralawlibra ry

WHEREFORE, respondent Edmundo L. Macarubbo is found guilty of gross immorality and is hereby DISBARRED from the practice of law. He is likewise ORDERED to
show satisfactory evidence to the IBP Commission on Bar Discipline and to this Court that he is supporting or has made provisions for the regular support of his two
children by complainant.

Let respondents name be stricken off the Roll of Attorneys.

SO ORDERED.2 ?r?l1

Aggrieved, respondent filed a Motion for Reconsideration/Appeal for Compassion and Mercy3 which the Court denied with finality in the Resolution4 dated June 1, 2004.
Eight years after or on June 4, 2012, respondent filed the instant Petition (For Extraordinary Mercy) 5 seeking

judicial clemency and reinstatement in the Roll of Attorneys. The Court initially treated the present suit as a second motion for reconsideration and accordingly, denied
it for lack of merit in the Resolution dated September 4, 2012.6 On December 18, 2012, the same petition was endorsed to this Court by the Office of the Vice
President7 for re-evaluation, prompting the Court to look into the substantive merits of the case.

In Re: Letter of Judge Augustus C. Diaz, Metropolitan Trial Court of Quezon City, Branch 37, Appealing for Clemency,8 the Court laid down the following guidelines in
resolving requests for judicial clemency, to wit: cralawl ibra ry

1. There must be proof of remorse and reformation. These shall include but should not be limited to certifications or testimonials of the officer(s) or chapter(s) of the
Integrated Bar of the Philippines, judges or judges associations and prominent members of the community with proven integrity and probity. A subsequent finding of
guilt in an administrative case for the same or similar misconduct will give rise to a strong presumption of non-reformation.

2. Sufficient time must have lapsed from the imposition of the penalty to ensure a period of reform.

3. The age of the person asking for clemency must show that he still has productive years ahead of him that can be put to good use by giving him a chance to redeem
himself.

4. There must be a showing of promise (such as intellectual aptitude, learning or legal acumen or contribution to legal scholarship and the development of the legal
system or administrative and other relevant skills), as well as potential for public service.

5. There must be other relevant factors and circumstances that may justify clemency.9(Citations omitted) ???ñ r?bl ?š ??r†??l l ?? l?b r?rÿ

Moreover, to be reinstated to the practice of law, the applicant must, like any other candidate for admission to the bar, satisfy the Court that he is a person of good
moral character.10 ?r?l1

Applying the foregoing standards to this case, the Court finds the instant petition meritorious.

Respondent has sufficiently shown his remorse and acknowledged his indiscretion in the legal profession and in his personal life. He has asked forgiveness from his
children by complainant Teves and maintained a cordial relationship with them as shown by the herein attached pictures.11 Records also show that after his disbarment,
respondent returned to his hometown in Enrile, Cagayan and devoted his time tending an orchard and taking care of his ailing mother until her death in 2008. 12 In
2009, he was appointed as Private Secretary to the Mayor of Enrile, Cagayan and thereafter, assumed the position of Local Assessment Operations Officer II/ Office-In-
Charge in the Assessors Office, which office he continues to serve to date.13 Moreover, he is a part-time instructor at the University of Cagayan Valley and F.L. Vargas
College during the School Year 2011-2012. 14 Respondent likewise took an active part in socio-civic activities by helping his neighbors and friends who are in dire need.
The following documents attest to respondents reformed ways: (1) Affidavit of Candida P. Mabborang; 15(2) Affidavit of Reymar P. Ramirez;16 (3) Affidavit of Roberto D.
Tallud;17 (4) Certification from the Municipal Local Government Office;18 (5) Certification by the Office of the Municipal Agriculturist/Health Officer, Social Welfare
Development Officer;19 (6) Certification from the Election Officer of Enrile, Cagayan;20 (7) Affidavit of Police Senior Inspector Jacinto T. Tuddao;21 (8) Certifications from
nine (9) Barangay Chairpersons;22 (9) Certification from the Office of the Provincial Assessor;23 (10) Certification from the Office of the Manager, Magsaka ca Multi-
Purpose Cooperative;24 and (11) Certification of the Office of the Federation of Senior Citizens, Enrile Chapter.25 The Office of the Municipal Treasurer also certified that
respondent has no monetary accountabilities in relation to his office26 while the Office of the Human Resource Management Officer attested that he has no pending
administrative case.27 He is not known to be involved in any irregularity and/or accused of a crime. Even the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) attested that he has
no record on file as of May 31, 2011.28 ?r?l1

Furthermore, respondents plea for reinstatement is duly supported by the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, Cagayan Chapter 29 and by his former and present
colleagues.30 His parish priest, Rev. Fr. Camilo Castillejos, Jr., certified that he is faithful to and puts to actual practice the doctrines of the Catholic Church.31 He is also
observed to be a regular churchgoer.32 Records further reveal that respondent has already settled his previous marital squabbles, 33 as in fact, no opposition to the
instant suit was tendered by complainant Teves. He sends regular support34 to his children in compliance with the Courts directive in the Decision dated February 27,
2004.

The Court notes the eight (8) long years that had elapsed from the time respondent was disbarred and recognizes his achievement as the first lawyer product of Lemu
National High School,35 and his fourteen (14) years of dedicated government service from 1986 to July 2000 as Legal Officer of the Department of Education, Culture
and Sports; Supervising Civil Service Attorney of the Civil Service Commission; Ombudsman Graft Investigation Officer; and State Prosecutor of the Department of
Justice.36 From the attestations and certifications presented, the Court finds that respondent has sufficiently atoned for his transgressions. At 5837 years of age, he still
has productive years ahead of him that could significantly contribute to the upliftment of the law profession and the betterment of society. While the Court is ever
mindful of its duty to discipline and even remove its errant officers, concomitant to it is its duty to show compassion to those who have reformed their ways,38 as in this
case.

Accordingly, respondent is hereby ordered .reinstated to the practice of law. He is, however, reminded that such privilege is burdened with conditions whereby
adherence. to the rigid standards of intellect, moral uprightness, and strict compliance with the rules and the law are continuing requirements.39 ?r?l1

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the instant petition is GRANTED. Respondent Edmundo L. Macarubbo is hereby ordered REINSTATED in the Roll of Attorneys.

SO ORDERED.

Facts:
In her complaint, Josefina M. Aniñon (complainant) related that she previously engaged the legal services of Atty. Sabitsana in the
preparation and execution in her favor of a Deed of Sale over a parcel of land owned by her late common-law husband, Brigido Caneja, Jr.
Atty. Sabitsana allegedly violated her confidence when he subsequently filed a civil case against her for the annulment of the Deed of Sale in
behalf of Zenaida L. Cañete, the legal wife of Brigido Caneja, Jr. The complainant accused Atty. Sabitsana of using the confidential...
information he obtained from her in filing the civil case.
IBP
Commissioner Pedro A. Magpayo Jr. found Atty. Sabitsana administratively liable for representing conflicting interests.
Issues:
The issue in this case is whether Atty. Sabitsana is guilty of misconduct for representing conflicting interests.
Ruling:
three tests in determining whether a violation of the above rule is present in a given case.
One test is whether a lawyer is duty-bound to fight for an issue or claim in behalf of one client and, at the same time, to oppose that claim for
the other client.
Another test of inconsistency of interests is whether the acceptance of a new relation would prevent the full discharge of the lawyer's duty of
undivided fidelity and loyalty to the client or invite suspicion of unfaithfulness or double-dealing in the performance of that... duty.
duty. Still another test is whether the lawyer would be called upon in the new relation to use against a former client any confidential
information acquired through their connection or previous employment.[
On the basis of the attendant facts of the case, we find substantial evidence to support Atty. Sabitsana's violation of the above rule, as
established by the following circumstances on record:
One, his legal services were initially engaged by the complainan... t to protect her interest over a certain property.
Two, Atty. Sabitsana met with Zenaida Cañete to discuss the latter's legal interest over the property subject of the Deed of Sale. At that point,
Atty. Sabitsana already had knowledge that Zenaida Cañete's interest clashed with the complainant's interests.
Three, despite the knowledge of the clashing interests between his two clients, Atty. Sabitsana accepted the engagement from Zenaida
Cañete.
Four, Atty. Sabitsana's actual knowledge of the conflicting interests between his two clients was demonstrated by his own actions: first, he
filed a case against the complainant in behalf of Zenaida Cañete; second, he impleaded the complainant as the... defendant in the case; and
third, the case he filed was for the annulment of the Deed of Sale that he had previously prepared and executed for the complainant.
By his acts, not only did Atty. Sabitsana agree to represent one client against another client in the same action; he also accepted a new
engagement that entailed him to contend and oppose the interest of his other client in a property in which his legal services had been...
previously retained.
The records likewise show that although Atty. Sabitsana wrote a letter to the complainant informing her of Zenaida Cañete's... adverse claim
to the property covered by the Deed of Sale and, urging her to settle the adverse claim; Atty. Sabitsana however did not disclose to the
complainant that he was also being engaged as counsel by Zenaida Cañete.[11] Moreover, the records... show that Atty. Sabitsana failed to
obtain the written consent of his two clients, as required by Rule 15.03, Canon 15 of the Code of Professional Responsibility.
Accordingly, we find as the IBP Board of Governors did Atty. Sabitsana guilty of misconduct for representing conflicting interests.
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Court resolves to ADOPT the findings and recommendations of the Commission on Bar Discipline
of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines. Atty. Clemencio C. Sabitsana, Jr. is found GUILTY of misconduct for representing... conflicting
interests in violation of Rule 15.03, Canon 15 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. He is hereby SUSPENDED for one (1) year from
the practice of law.
Principles:
a client can only entrust confidential information to his/her lawyer based on an expectation from the lawyer of utmost secrecy and discretion;
the lawyer, for his part, is duty-bound to observe candor,... fairness and loyalty in all dealings and transactions with the client.[6] Part of the
lawyer's duty in this regard is to avoid representing conflicting interests, a matter covered by Rule 15.03, Canon 15 of the Code of
Professional Responsibility... quoted below:
Rule 15.03. -A lawyer shall not represent conflicting interests except by written consent of all concerned given after a full disclosure of the
facts.
To be held accountable under this rule, it is "enough that the opposing parties in one case, one of whom would lose the suit, are present
clients and the nature or conditions of the lawyer's respective retainers with each of them would affect the performance of the duty of...
undivided fidelity to both clients.

Case Digest: Engr. Gilbert Tumbokon, Complainant, v. Atty. Mariano R. Pefianco, Respondent
| A.C. No. 6116, 1 August 2012
January 14, 2018
Engr. Gilbert Tumbokon, Complainant, v. Atty. Mariano R. Pefianco, Respondent
A.C. No. 6116, 1 August 2012

Facts:
According to the complainant, respondent undertook to give him 20% commission, later reduced to 10%, of the attorney’s fees, the latter
would received in representing Spouses Yap whom he referred, in an action for partition of the estate of the spouses’ relative. Their
agreement was reflected in a letter dated 11 August 1995. However, respondent failed to pay him the agreed commission notwithstanding
receipt of attorney’s fees amounting to 17% of the total estate or about PhP 40 million. Instead, the complainant was informed through a
letter dated 16 July 1997 that Spouses Yap assumed to pay the same after the respondent had agreed to reduce his attorney’s fees from
25% to 17%. He then demanded the payment of his commission which the respondent ignored.

Complainant further alleged that the respondent has not lived up to the high moral standards required of his profession for having
abandoned his legal wife with whom he has two children, and cohabited with another with whom he has four children. He also accused the
respondent of engaging in money-lending business without the required authorization from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.

In his defense, the respondent disputed the 11 August 1995 letter for being a forgery and claimed that the Spouses Yap assumed to pay.

Issue:
Whether or not Atty. Pefianco is in violation of the Code of Professional Responsibility (CPR) and Lawyer’s Oath.

Held:
Respondent’s defense that forgery of the 11 August 1995 letter was belied by his 16 July 1997 admitting to have undertaken the payment
of the complaint’s commission but passing on the responsibility to the Spouses Yap. Clearly, the respondent has violated Rule 9.02, Canon 9
of the CPR which prohibits a lawyer from dividing or stipulating to divide a fee for legal services with persons not licensed to practice law,
except in certain cases which do not obtain in the case at bar.

Furthermore, the respondent did not deny the accusation that he abandoned his legal family to cohabit with his mistress with whom he
begot four children. The Supreme Court found credence to IBP’s findings that the respondent violated the Lawyer’s Oath and Rule 1.01,
Canon 1 of the CPR.

The respondent was found guilty of violating the Lawyer’s Oath; Rule 1.01, Canon 1; and Rule 9.02, Canon 9 of the CPR. The respondent
was suspended from active practice of law for one year.
Facts:

According to complainant, respondent undertook to give him 20% commission, later reduced to 10%, of the attorney’s fees the latter
would receive in representing Spouses Yap whom he referred, in an action for partition of the estate of the spouses relative. Their agr
eement was reflected in a letter dated August 11, 1995. However, respondent failed to pay him the agreed commission notwithstandi
ng receipt of attorney’s fees amounting to 17% of the total estate or about P 40 million. Instead, he was informed through a letter dat
ed July 16, 1997 that Sps. Yap assumed to pay the same after respondent had agreed to reduce his attorney’s fees from 25% to 17%. H
e then demanded the payment of his commission which respondent ignored.

Complainant further alleged that respondent has not lived up to the high moral standards required of his profession for having aban
doned his legal wife with whom he has two children, and cohabited with another with whom he has four children. He also accused re
spondent of engaging in money-lending business without the required authorization from the BangkoSentralngPilipinas

In his defense, he disputed the August 11, 1995 letter for being a forgery and claimed that Sps. Yap assumed to pay.

Ruling:

Respondent’s defense that forgery had attended the execution of the August 11, 1995 letter was belied by his July 16, 1997 letter admi
tting to have undertaken the payment of complainant’s commission but passing on the responsibility to Sps. Yap. Clearly, responden
t has violated Rule 9.02, Canon 9 of the Code which prohibits a lawyer from dividing or stipulating to divide a fee for legal services wi
th persons not licensed to practice law, except in certain cases which do not obtain in the case at bar.

Furthermore, respondent did not deny the accusation that he abandoned his legal family to cohabit with his mistress with whom he
begot four children notwithstanding that his moral character as well as his moral fitness to be retained in the Roll of Attorneys has b
een assailed. The settled rule is that betrayal of the marital vow of fidelity or sexual relations outside marriage is considered disgracef
ul and immoral as it manifests deliberate disregard of the sanctity of marriage and the marital vows protected by the Constitution an
d affirmed by our laws. Consequently, SC find no reason to disturb the IBP’s finding that respondent violated the Lawyer’s Oath and
Rule 1.01, Canon 1 of the Code which proscribes a lawyer from engaging in “unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct.”

However, SC find the charge of engaging in illegal money lending not to have been sufficiently established.

ATTY. MARIANO R. PEFIANCO was found GUILTY of violation of the Lawyer’s Oath, Rule 1.01, Canon 1 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility and Rule 9.02, Canon 9 of the same Code and SUSPENDED from the active practice of law ONE (1) YEAR.

Case Digest: Fidela Bengco and Teresita Bengco, Complainants, v. Atty. Pablo S. Bernardo,
Respondent | A.C. No. 6368, 13 June 2012
December 19, 2017

Fidela Bengco and Teresita Bengco, Complainants, v. Atty. Pablo S. Bernardo, Respondent

A.C. No. 6368, 13 June 2012

Facts:

Fidela Bengco and Teresita Bengco filed a complaint for disbarment against Atty. Pablo S. Bernardo for deceit, malpractice, conduct

unbecoming a member of the Bar, and violation of duties and oath as a lawyer. From 15 April 1997 to 22 July 1997, the respondent – with

the connivance of Andres Magat – willfully and illegally committed fraudulent act with intent to defraud against the complainants by using
false pretenses and deceitful words to the effect that he would expedite the titling of land belonging to the Miranda Family of Tagaytay City,

who are the acquaintance of the complainants.

It started when the respondent convinced the complainants to finance and deliver to him PhP 495,000.00 as advanced money to expedite

the titling of the subject land. He further committed misrepresentation by presenting himself as the lawyer of William Gatchalian, the

prospective buyer of the land. He also led complaints to believe that he has contracts at NAMRIA, DENR, CENRO and the Register of Deeds

which representation he well knew were false, fraudulent and were only made to induce the complainants to give and deliver the said

amount. Upon receipt of the money, he did not comply with his obligation to expedite the titling of the land but instead use the money for

personal use. The complainants demanded the return of the money to no avail.

Issue:

Whether or not the respondent violated the provisions of the Code of Professional Responsibility (CPR)?

Held:

The Supreme Court held that the respondent committed the acts complained of. He, himself, admitted in his answer that his legal services

were hired by the complainants through Magat regarding the purported titling of land supposedly purchase. He used his position as a lawyer

in order to deceive the complainants into believing that he can expedite the titling of the subject properties. He never denied that he did not

benefit from the money given by the complainants in the amount of PhP 495,000.00.

The Supreme Court find the respondent in violation of the Rule 2.03, Canon 2 and Rule 3.01, Canon 3 of the CPR. The respondent was

suspended from practice of law for one year and return the amount of PhP 200,000.00 to Fidela Bengco and Teresita Bengco with 10 days

upon receipt of decision. The respondent is required to submit to the Supreme Court proof of compliance.