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[11] In re Ladrera (Recio) administrative complaint for immorality was filed against him by Lucila

January 29, 1987 | GUTIERREZ, JR., J. | Lawyer’s Oath C. Casas.

2. Lucila contends that she married Ladrera on 1944 and that when she
PETITIONER: PETITION OF SOCORRO KE. LADRERA, 1954 married him, he represented himself to be single. In 1948, Lucila learned
SUCCESSFUL BAR EXAMINEE TO TAKE THE LAWYER’S OATH. that her “husband,” Ladrera, had been previously married in 1936 to a
RESPONDENTS: --- certain Florencia Orticio with whom he had a child named Monserrat.
3. 1949: Lucia filed a case for annulment of her marriage to Ladrera. The court
SUMMARY: Ladrera passed the Bar exam in 1954; however, before he could subsequently annulled their marriage and ordered Ladrera to give monthly
take the Lawyer’s Oath, an administrative complaint for immorality was filed support (Php40) to his 3 children with Lucila.
against him by his wife, Lucila. Lucila claims that when she married Ladrera, 4. 1951: Socorro Ladrera filed a civil case to declare his first wife, Florencia
she believed that he was single; however, she found out that Ladrera had been Orticio as presumptively dead.
previously married to a certain Florencia with who he has a daughter with. In 5. CFI-Davao:
line with this, Lucila filed a petition for the annulment of her marriage to a. Ladrera and his first wife, Florencia were married in 1936 in
Ladrera, which was granted. Years later, Ladrera filed a civil case to declare his Samar. They had a daughter, Monserra, who lived with Ladrera
first wife, Florencia, as presumptively dead. CFI-Davao granted such petition, from birth up to the date of the decision.
ruling that after Florencia ran away with another man back when Ladrera and b. It appears that while living in Cebu, Florencia ran away with
Florencia were together, Ladrera could no longer find her despite numerous another man named Ramon Esteban and left the conjugal
attempts. After Florencia was declared presumptively dead, Ladrera married his home without Ladrera’s knowledge!!!
third wife, Socorro Santos. HOWEVER, after such marriage, Florencia showed c. Ladrera searched in Samar, Cebu, Bohol, and Manila, but he could
up and filed a Bigamy case against Ladrera! [SHOOKT] Such bigamy case was not find Florencia anymore.
subsequently dismissed. Now, all that stood in the way of Ladrera was the d. CFI: All things considered, the petition to declare Florencia Orticio
administrative complaint for immorality filed by his second wife, Lucila. Despite presumptively dead for all intents and purposes of law has
an investigation ordered by the Supreme Court which supported the allegations satisfactorily been established.
of Ladrera, the Court still granted the administrative complaint and 6. After his first wife was successfully judicially declared presumptively dead,
DISQUALIFIED Ladrera from taking the Lawyer’s Oath. This, however, did not Ladrera married his THIRD WIFE, Socorro Santos with whom he has 5
discourage Ladrera from consistently filing motions praying for the Court to children. [same sila ng first name ni Ladrera]
grant him the privilege to take the Lawyer’s Oath every single year for 31 years. a. After such third marriage, his First wife SHOWED UP and filed
It was further noted by the Court that each and every motion filed by Ladrera a BIGAMY CASE against him with CFI-Davao. [WHAT A
was DENIED. Now on his 32nd motion, Ladrera prays for the Court to allow TWIST]
him to take the Lawyer’s Oath, alleging that he is now morally fit to be a b. However, this bigamy case was later DISMISSED as a result of
member of the Bar. WoN Ladrera should be granted the privilege to take he alleged “payments” made by Ladrera made in favor of Orticio.
Lawyer’s Oath. - YES. The Court noted that his 32-year disqualification is 7. On the basis of the administrative complaint for immorality filed against
enough punishment for any moral delinquency in the past. Furthermore, the Ladrera [NOTE: This was the one filed by his SECOND WIFE, LUCILA],
Court laid out the different acts and multiple endorsements made by respectable this Court suspended his oath taking and directed him to file an answer to
people Ladrera submitted, showing his good moral character over the years. the complaint. In his Answer, Ladrera alleged that:
Finally, the Court stated that Lucila has long withdrawn her administrative a. When he married complainant Lucila, he honestly believed that his
complaint against Ladrera. All things considered, the Court allowed Ladrera to first wife, Florencia, was already dead.
be a member of the Bar. b. That Lucila knew he was previously married to Florencia, because
Monserrat (his child w/ his first wife) lived with Lucila and
DOCTRINE: An applicant for admission to the bar must be of good moral Ladrera during their marriage.
character. (Rule 138, Sec. 2). What constitutes good moral character within the c. That Lucila’s motive in suing for annulment to respondent was to
meaning of the rule has been elucidated in precedent cases. get a share of the properties acquired by Ladrera, and as a matter of
fact, complainant has sold the properties adjudicated to her
pursuant to their annulment and used the money realized from the
FACTS: sales for reasons NOT for the benefit of their 3 children.
1. Socorro Ke. Ladrera passed the 1954 bar examinations. Before he could d. That respondent married Socorro Santos and still lives with her in
participate in the scheduled oath taking of successful bar examinees, an
view of the court decision declaring Ladrera’s first wife, Florencia, 12. He also wrote another letter to the Court Administrator regarding his prayer.
presumptively dead.
e. That mere filing of cases against Ladreda does not necessarily ISSUE:
reflect immorality on his part, not to mention the circumstances 1. WoN Ladrera should be granted the privilege to take he Lawyer’s Oath. -
that said cases were settled or otherwise dismissed. YES, because the 32 years of rejecting his petitions is enough for
f. That Lucila’s current charges were fueled by hatred and revenge. chastisement and retribution. Considering the numerous acts that
8. Supreme Court Clerk of Court, Jose de la Cruz, was ordered to investigate Ladrera has done over the years and the endorsements by respectable
the administrative charge. He found: citizens, it is enough to rule that he has become a morally fit to become
a. The complainant, Lucila, refused to testify in the investigation. a member of the Bar.
b. On the other hand, Ladrera testified that he acted in good faith in
marrying Lucila and subsequently, marrying Socorro Santos. RULING: WHEREFORE the PETITION of Mr. Socorro Ke. Ladrera to be allowed
i. He testified that he honestly believed that Florencia was to take the lawyer’s oath is hereby GRANTED.
c. The testimony of Ladrera is unrefuted that he acted in good faith. RATIO:
i. No annulment proceeding was instituted by Lucila until
after 3 children were born in her marriage with Ladrera, First Issue: Ladrera should be allowed to finally take the Lawyer’s Oath.
which shows that Florencia was not generally known to 1. An applicant for admission to the bar must be of good moral character.
be alive. (Rule 138, Sec. 2). What constitutes good moral character within the
ii. Ladrera was constrained to file a petition to declare meaning of the rule has been elucidated in precedent cases.
Florencia presumptively dead, because he realized that 2. Bacarro v. Pinataca: One of the indispensable requisites for admission to
Lucila annulled her marriage with him mainly to get her the Philippine Bar is that the applicant must be of good moral character.
share of their conjugal properties. This requirement aims to maintain and uphold the high moral standards and
d. Ladrera has also presented evidence to show that he had complied the dignity of the legal profession, and one of the ways of achieving this end
with his obligation to provide support at least to the date of this is to admit to the practice of this noble profession only those persons who
investigation. are known to be honest and to possess good moral character.
e. The claim that respondent is immoral because of the filing a. As a man of law, (a lawyer) is necessarily a leader of the
against him of several civil cases, deserves no serious community, looked up to as a model citizen.’ He sets an example
consideration since, according to respondent’s evidence, said to his fellow citizens not only for his respect for the law, but also
cases, aside from having been dismissed or otherwise settled, for his clean living.
do not necessarily imply moral perversity. b. Thus, becoming a lawyer is more than just going through a law
"WHEREFORE, it is recommended that respondent Socorro course and passing the Bar examinations. He must show that
Ke. Ladrera be allowed to take the lawyer’s oath." he has the ability and the moral fitness required by his chose
9. Notwithstanding such favorable recommendation, the Supreme Court still vocation.
DISQUALIFIED Ladrera from taking the lawyer’s oath, granting the 3. The Court, in the past, consistently denied the annual petitions of Ladrera
complaint for immorality filed by Lucila. that he be allowed to take the lawyer’s oath. There may have been
10. Up to now or more than 31 years after he passed the bar examinations, compliance with a strict or narrow interpretation of the letter of the law but
Ladrera has not been allowed to take the lawyer’s oath. All his motions the Court was of the view that Ladrera had failed to live up to the high
filed EVERY YEAR has been DENIED. :( moral standards required for membership in the Bar.
11. Before us, now is Ladrera’s April 15, 1985 urgent motion, stating that he 4. All of that, however, is in the past. Ladrera submits that he humbly
has been deprived from taking his Lawyer’s Oath as member of the PH Bar believes with all candor and sincerity that he has more than atoned for
since 1955, because of a petition of Lucila Casas who has long ago it by living a very moral and exemplary life since then.
withdrawn her complaint and has in fact attested to the good reputation 5. Apart from his marital misadventures, there is nothing in the records to
and character of the herein respondent. warrant a permanent denial of Ladrera’s petition:
a. That considering that more than 30 years has elapsed, such time is a. He worked as a janitor-messenger in Cebu while pursuing a
more than sufficient punishment. Ladrera now prays for the SC to college education at night.
grant him the privilege to take the Lawyer’s Oath. b. He served in fairly important positions in the government such as
Technical Assistant to Pres. Magsaysay, Special Assistant to Pres.
Garcia, and later Chairman of the Board of People’s Homesite and
Housing Corporation.
c. In 1960, Senator Quintin Paredes endorsed his petitioner stating
that the latter was “honest, dependable, and trustworthy,” and gave
another endorsement in 1966.
d. In 1966, Lucila WITHDREW her complaint, stating that Ladrera’s
12-year suspension at that point in time was sufficient punishment
e. The records show various indorsements of good character from
lawyers, a law professor in Davao City, a congressman, and others.
A priest, Fr. Emiliano Sabandal attested that Ladrera "is a man of
high moral character, humble and possessed with an innate
religious quality; as a consequence thereof he is a daily
communicant of the blessed sacrament.”
f. In the 32 years since Ladrera passed the Bar, he has supported and
sent through college ALL NINE CHILDREN from his three diff
g. Ladrera was a guerrilla officer during WW2.
h. He became a successful businessman in Davao.
6. There was moral delinquency in Mr. Ladrera’s younger days but he has
made up for it by observing a respectable, useful, and religious life since
then. Thirty-two years of rejecting his petitions are enough for chastisement
and retribution.
a. Considering that the respondent has realized the wrongfulness
of his past conduct and demonstrated a sincere willingness to
make up for that moral lapse, the Court has decided to admit
him to membership in the Philippine bar.