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This resolves a disbarment case against respondent Atty. Socrates R. Rivera for
absconding with money entrusted to him and soliciting money to bribe a judge.
Complainant alleges that he called respondent and asked for help in his application
for a work permit from the Bureau of Immigration. They met a few days later, and
complainant paid respondent P10,000.00 as professional fee. They met again,
and complainant gave respondent another P10,000.00, together with his
passport. This was allegedly for the processing of his work permit.

They met for a third time since respondent asked complainant to submit
ID photos. Respondent asked complainant for another P10,000.00, but complainant
refused as they only agreed on the amount of P20,000.00. Respondent also asked
complainant for P8,000.00, allegedly for complainant’s other case, which respondent
was also working on. He explained that P5,000.00 would be given to a Las Pinñ as
judge to reverse the motion for reconsideration against complainant, while
P3,000.00 would be used to process the motion for reconsideration. Complainant
gave him the P8,000.00. Complainant claims that after respondent received
the money, he never received any updates on the status of his work permit and
pending court case. Further, whenever he called respondent to follow up on his work
permit, respondent hurled invectives at him and threatened him and his wife.
Complainant would retort by saying that he would file complaints against
respondent if he did not give back the money and passport. The respondent
returned passport but still refused to return the P28,000.00 earlier endorsed to him.

Whether or not Atty Rivera violated the Code of Professional Responsibility.

Yes. When complainant refused to give respondent any more money to process his
work permit, respondent persuaded complainant to give him an additional
₱8,000.00 purportedly to ensure that a motion for reconsideration pending before a
Las Pifias judge would be decided in complainant's favor. 31 However, after receiving
₱28,000.00 from complainant for the work permit and ensuring the success of
complainant's court case, respondent made himself scarce and could no longer be

Although nothing in the records showed whether the court case was indeed decided
in complainant's favor, respondent's act of soliciting money to bribe a judge served
to malign the judge and the judiciary by giving the impression that court cases are
won by the party with the deepest pockets and not on the merits. 32
"A lawyer shall not counsel or abet activities aimed at defiance of the law or at
lessening confidence in the legal system."33 Further, "a lawyer shall not state or
imply that he is able to influence any public official, tribunal or legislative body."34

By implying that he can negotiate a favorable ruling for the sum of ₱8,000.00,
respondent trampled upon the integrity of the judicial system and eroded
confidence on the judiciary. This gross disrespect of the judicial system shows that
he is wanting in moral fiber and betrays the lack of integrity in his character. The
practice of law is a privilege, and respondent has repeatedly shown that he is unfit to
exercise it.


Judge Dumlao was handling the case of Atty. Camacho and while the case was
pending, respondent attempted to fraternize with him. Respondent casually
mentioned his closeness to important personages, which included Justices of the
Supreme Court. He also tried to impress complainant with his influence by dropping
names of notables and his connection with the University of the Philippines (UP)
College of Law, where he served as a professor. Respondent told him that then Chief
Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno and Associate Justice Marvic Leonen were his
colleagues and close friends.

Upon receiving not favorable judgment, Atty. Camacho bribed and threatened Judge
Dumlao. He promised to share a portion of his attorney's fees with complainant and
threatened that if the offer is refused, respondent would file a disbarment case
against complainant and he insinuated that through his connections, complainant
would surely be disbarred.

Further, Atty. Camacho even threatened the Sheriff to sign a garnishment order if he
did not want to be dismissed from his job and said "Kapag hindi mo pipirmahan ito,
papatanggal kita", "Alam ng nasa itaas ito.", "Alam ng dalawang Justices ito.”

WON the lawyer violated the Code.

Yes. The highly immoral implication of a lawyer approaching a judge — or a judge
evincing a willingness — to discuss, in private, a matter related to a case pending in
that judge's sala cannot be over-emphasized.15 A lawyer is duty-bound to actively
avoid any act that tends to influence, or may be seen to influence, the outcome of an
ongoing case, lest the people's faith in the judicial process is diluted. The primary
duty of lawyers is not to their clients but to the administration of justice. To that end,
their clients' success is wholly subordinate. The conduct of a member of the bar
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.16

A lawyer that approaches a judge to try to gain influence and receive a favorable
outcome for his or her client violates Canon 13 of the Code.17 Canon 13 and Canon
13.01 state:


Rule 13.01 - A lawyer shall not extend extraordinary attention or hospitality to, nor
seek opportunity for cultivating familiarity with Judges.

On the other hand, bribery is classified as a serious charge that constitutes

malfeasance in office.18 When an attempted bribery is committed, the transaction is
always done in secret and often only between the two parties concerned.19 A lawyer
who commits attempted bribery, or corruption of public officials, against a judge or
a court personnel, violates Canon 10 and Rule 10.01 of the Code, to wit:



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.

(Lawyer was suspended for 2 years.)


Rule 14.01 - A lawyer shall not decline to represent a person solely on account of the latter's race, sex.
creed or status of life, or because of his own opinion regarding the guilt of said person.

Rule 14.02 - A lawyer shall not decline, except for serious and sufficient cause, an appointment as
counsel de officio or as amicus curiae, or a request from the Integrated Bar of the Philippines or any of
its chapters for rendition of free legal aid.

Rule 14.03 - A lawyer may not refuse to accept representation of an indigent client if:

(a) he is not in a position to carry out the work effectively or competently;

(b) he labors under a conflict of interest between him and the prospective client or between a present
client and the prospective client.

Rule 14.04 - A lawyer who accepts the cause of a person unable to pay his professional fees shall observe
the same standard of conduct governing his relations with paying clients.

Rule 15.01. - A lawyer, in conferring with a prospective client, shall ascertain as soon as practicable
whether the matter would involve a conflict with another client or his own interest, and if so, shall
forthwith inform the prospective client.

Rule 15.02.- A lawyer shall be bound by the rule on privilege communication in respect of matters
disclosed to him by a prospective client.

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.

Rule 15.04. - A lawyer may, with the written consent of all concerned, act as mediator, conciliator or
arbitrator in settling disputes.

Rule 15.05. - A lawyer when advising his client, shall give a candid and honest opinion on the merits and
probable results of the client's case, neither overstating nor understating the prospects of the case.

Rule 15.06. - A lawyer shall not state or imply that he is able to influence any public official, tribunal or
legislative body.

Rule 15.07. - A lawyer shall impress upon his client compliance with the laws and the principles of

Rule 15.08. - A lawyer who is engaged in another profession or occupation concurrently with the
practice of law shall make clear to his client whether he is acting as a lawyer or in another capacity.


10, 2002

Petitioner engaged the services of the respondent to help him recover a claim of
money against a creditor. Respondent prepared demand letters for the petitioner,
which were not successful and so the former intimated that a case should already be
filed. As a result, petitioner paid the lawyer his fees and included also amounts for
the filing of the case.

A couple of months passed but the petitioner has not yet received any feedback as to
the status of his case. Petitioner made several follow-ups in the lawyer’s office but to
no avail. The lawyer, to prove that the case has already been filed even invited
petitioner to come with him to the Justice Hall to verify the status of the case.
Petitioner was made to wait for hours in the prosecutor’s office while the lawyer
allegedly went to the Clerk of Court to inquire about the case. The lawyer went back
to the petitioner with the news that the Clerk of Court was absent that day.

Suspicious of the acts of the lawyer, petitioner personally went to the office of the
clerk of court to see for himself the status of his case. Petitioner found out that no
such case has been filed.
Petitioner confronted Atty. Magulta where he continued to lie to with the excuse that
the delay was being caused by the court personnel, and only when shown the
certification did he admit that he has not at all filed the complaint because he had
spent the money for the filing fee for his own purpose; and to appease petitioner’s
feelings, he offered to reimburse him by issuing two (2) checks, postdated June 1
and June 5, 1999, in the amounts of P12,000.00 and P8,000.00, respectively.

Whether or not the lawyer violated the Code.

Yes. Lawyers must exert their best efforts and ability in the prosecution or the
defense of the client’s cause. They who perform that duty with diligence and candor
not only protect the interests of the client, but also serve the ends of justice. They do
honor to the bar and help maintain the respect of the community for the legal
profession. Members of the bar must do nothing that may tend to lessen in any
degree the confidence of the public in the fidelity, the honesty, and integrity of the

The Supreme Court upheld the decision of the Commission on Bar Discipline of the
IBP as follows: “It is evident that the P25,000 deposited by complainant with the
Respicio Law Office was for the filing fees of the Regwill complaint. With
complainant’s deposit of the filing fees for the Regwill complaint, a corresponding
obligation on the part of respondent was created and that was to file the Regwill
complaint within the time frame contemplated by his client. The failure of
respondent to fulfill this obligation due to his misuse of the filing fees deposited by
complainant, and his attempts to cover up this misuse of funds of the client, which
caused complainant additional damage and prejudice, constitutes highly dishonest
conduct on his part, unbecoming a member of the law profession. The subsequent
reimbursement by the respondent of part of the money deposited by complainant
for filing fees, does not exculpate the respondent for his misappropriation of said

DE GUZMAN vs. DE DIOS A.C. No. 4943. January 26, 2001

In 1995, complainant De Guzman engaged the services of respondent De Dios as
counsel in order to form a corporation. Later, in 1996, with the assistance of the
latter, Suzuki Beach Hote Incorporated (SBHI) was registered with the Securities and
Exchange Commission. Complainant paid on respondent a monthly retainer fee of
P5,000.00. In, 1997, the corporation required complainant to pay her unpaid
subscribed shares of stock amounting to P2,235,000.00 or 22,350 shares on or
before December 30, 1997. Then in 1998, De Guzman received notice of the public
auction sale of her delinquent shares and a copy of a board resolution authorizing
such sale. Complainant soon learned that her shares had been acquired Ramon del
Rosario, one of the incorporators of SBHI. The sale ousted complainant from the
corporation completely. While respondent rose to be president of the corporation.
Complainant alleged that she relied on the advice of Atty. De Dios and believed that
would help her with the management of the corporation. She pointed out that
respondent appeared as her counsel and signed pleadings in a case where
complainant was one of the parties. Respondent, however, explained that she only
appeared because the property involved belonged to SBHI, that the complainant
misunderstood her role legal counsel of Suzuki Beach Hotel, Inc.

WON there is attorney-client relationship between the parties
WON there is violation of lawyers oath

Yes. Attorney-client relationship existed between the parties. It was the complainant
who retained respondent to form a corporation. She appeared as counsel in behalf of
Yes, there is violation of lawyers oath. Lawyers must conduct themselves, especially
in their dealings with their clients and the public at large, with honesty and integrity
in a manner beyond reproach. As a lawyer, he is bound by her oath to do no
falsehood or consent to its commission and to conduct herself as a lawyer according
to the best of her knowledge and discretion. The lawyers oath is a source of
obligations and violation thereof is a ground for suspension, disbarment, or other
disciplinary action.
There was evidence of collusion between the board of directors and respondent.
Indeed, the board of directors nowe included respondent as the president, Ramon
del Rosario as secretary, Hikoi Suzuki as chairman, Agnes Rodriguez as treasurer
and Takayuki Sato as director. The present situation shows a clear case of conflict of
interest of the respondent.
Clearly, respondent violated the prohibition against representing conflicting
interests and engaging in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct.

DARIA O. DAGING, Complainant vs. ATTY. RIZ TINGALON L. DAVIS, Respondent.

This administrative complaint for disbarment arose from an Affidavit Complaint1

filed by Daria O. Daging (complainant) before the Integrated Bar of the Philippines
(IBP), Benguet Chapter,2 against Atty. Riz Tingalon L. Davis (respondent).

Complainant was the owner and operator of Nashville Country Music Lounge. She
leased it from Benjie Pinlac (Pinlac).

Meanwhile, complainant received a Retainer Proposal from Davis & Sabling Law
Office signed by respondent and his partner Atty. Amos Saganib Sabling (Atty.
Sabling) and eventually resulted in the signing by the complainant.
Complainant was delinquent in paying the monthly rentals, Pinlac terminated the
lease. Together with Novie Balageo (Balageo) and respondent, Pinlac went to
complainant's music bar, inventoried all the equipment therein, and informed her
that Balageo would take over the operation of the bar. Complainant averred that
subsequently respondent acted as business partner of Balageo in operating the bar
under her business name, which they later renamed Amarillo Music Bar.

Complainant alleged that she filed an ejectment case against Pinlac and Balageo
before the Municipal Trial Court in Cities (MTCC), Branch 1, Baguio City. At that time,
Davis & Sabling Law Office was still her counsel as their Retainer Agreement
remained subsisting and in force. However, respondent appeared as counsel for
Balageo in that ejectment case
In his Comment, respondent denied participation in the takeover or acting as a
business partner of Balageo in the operation of the bar. He asserted that Balageo is
the sole proprietress of the establishment. He insisted that it was Atty. Sabling, his
partner, who initiated the proposal and was in fact the one who was able to convince
complainant to accept the law office as her retainer. Respondent maintained that he
never obtained any knowledge or information regarding the business of
complainant who used to consult only Atty. Sabling. Respondent admitted though
having represented Balageo in the ejectment case, but denied that he took advantage
of the Retainer Agreement between complainant and Davis and Sabling Law Office.

The Investigating Commissioner rendered a Report and Recommendation finding

respondent guilty of betrayal of his client's trust and for misuse of information
obtained from his client to the disadvantage of the latter and to the advantage of
another person. He recommended that respondent be suspended from the practice o
flaw for a period of one year.

WON respondent violated the Canon upon appearing as lawyer in the ejectment

Based on the established facts, it is indubitable that respondent transgressed Rule
15.03 of Canon 15 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. It provides:

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.

"A lawyer 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." The
prohibition against representing conflicting interests is absolute and the rule applies
even if the lawyer has acted in good faith and with no intention to represent
conflicting interests. In Quiambao v. Atty. Bamba, this Court emphasized that lawyers
are expected 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
importance in the administration of justice.

Respondent argues that while complainant is a client of Davis & Sabling Law office,
her case is actually handled only by his partner Atty. Sabling. He was not privy to any
transaction between Atty. Sabling and complainant and has no knowledge of any
information or legal matter complainant entrusted or confided to his law partner. He
thus inveigles that he could not have taken advantage of information obtained by his
law firm by virtue of the Retainer Agreement. We are not impressed.

In Hilado v. David, reiterated in Gonzales v. Atty. Cabucana, Jr.,this Court held that a
lawyer who takes up the cause of the adversary of the party who has engaged the
services of his law firm brings the law profession into public disrepute and suspicion
and undermines the integrity of justice. Thus, respondent's argument that he never
took advantage of any information acquired by his law firm in the course of its
professional dealings with the complainant, even assuming it to be true, is of no
moment. Undeniably aware of the fact that complainant is a client of his law firm,
respondent should have immediately informed both the complainant and Balageo
that he, as well as the other members of his law firm, cannot represent any of them
in their legal tussle; otherwise, they would be representing conflicting interests and
violate the Code of Professional Responsibility. Indeed, respondent could have
simply advised both complainant and Balageo to instead engage the services of
another lawyer.


ABAD vs. ATTY. RICHARD V. FUNK A.C. No. 9094, 15 August 2012

Complainant Santos Ventura Hocorma Foundation, Inc. filed a complaint for
disbarment against Atty. Richard Funk. It alleged that Atty. Funk used to work as
corporate secretary, counsel, chief executive officer, and trustee of the foundation
from 1983 to 1985.

Hocorma Foundation further alleged that in 2006 Atty. Funk filed an action for
quieting of title and damages against Hocorma Foundation on behalf of a client.

whether or not Atty. Funk betrayed the trust and confidence of a former client in
violation of the CPR when he filed several actions against such client on behalf of a
new one.

Yes. Canon 15, Rule 15.03 of the CPR provides that a lawyer cannot represent
conflicting interests except by written consent of all concerned given after a full
disclosure of the facts. Here, it is undeniable that Atty. Funk was formerly the legal
counsel of Hocorma Foundation. Years after terminating his relationship with the
foundation, he filed a complaint against it on behalf of another client, without the
foundation’s written consent.

This rule is so absolute that good faith and honest intention on the erring lawyer’s
part does not make it inoperative.

Atty. Richard Funk was suspended from the practice of law for one year.


Complainant charged Respondent who was his lawyer in his 2007 election
protest with misconduct for representing conflicting interests for serving as
Turqueza’s counsel in an administrative case filed against Complainant who was
elected mayor in 2010 for usurpation of authority.

SC dismissed the complaint against Respondent reasoning that, representing

conflicting interests would occur only where the attorney’s new agreement would
require her to use against a former client any confidential information gained from
the previous professional relation. The prohibition did not cover a situation where
the subject matter of the present engagement was totally unrelated to the attorney’s
previous engagement.

CASTRO V. GALING (A.C. No. 6174 November 16, 2011)

In 2003, complainant Lydia Castro-Justo engaged the services of respondent Atty.
Rodolfo Galing in connection with dishonored checks issued by Manila City
Councilor Arlene W. Koa (Ms. Koa). After she paid his professional fees, the
respondent drafted and sent a letter to Ms. Koa demanding payment of the checks.
Respondent advised complainant to wait for the lapse of the period indicated in the
demand letter before filing her complaint. complainant filed a criminal complaint
against Ms. Koa for estafa and violation of Batas Pambansa Blg. 22 before the Office
of the City Prosecutor of Manila. Complainant then received a copy of Motion for
Consolidation that was filed for the respondent on behalf of the opposing party.

Complainant submits that by representing conflicting interests, respondent violated

the Code of Professional Responsibility. He admitted that he drafted a demand letter
for complainant but argued that it was made only in deference to their long standing
friendship and not by reason of a professional engagement as professed by
complainant. He denied receiving any professional fee for the services he rendered.
It was allegedly their understanding that complainant would have to retain the
services of another lawyer. He alleged that complainant, based on that agreement,
engaged the services of Atty. Manuel A. Ao. Respondent stated that the movants in
these cases are mother and daughter while complainants are likewise mother and
daughter and that these cases arose out from the same transaction. Thus, movants
and complainants will be adducing the same sets of evidence and witnesses.
Respondent argued that no lawyer-client relationship existed between him and
complainant because there was no professional fee paid for the services he
rendered. Complainant filed filed the instant administrative complaint against
Atty.Galing seeking his disbarment from the practice of law for violation of Canon 15
of Code of Professional Responsibility and conflict of interest.

Whether or not the respondent violated Canon 15 Rule 15.03 of Code of Professional

Yes, the Board of Governors of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) found
respondent guilty of violating Canon 15, Rule 15.03 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility by representing conflicting interests and for his daring audacity and
for the pronounced malignancy of his act.

Under Rule 15.03 of the Code of Professional Responsibility states that [a] lawyer
shall not represent conflicting interests except by written consent of all concerned
given after a full disclosure of the facts. Respondent was therefore bound to refrain
from representing parties with conflicting interests in a controversy.

The prohibition against representing conflicting interest is founded on principles of

public policy and good taste. A lawyer-client relationship can exist notwithstanding
the close friendship between complainant and respondent. The relationship was
established the moment complainant sought legal advice from respondent regarding
the dishonored checks. By drafting the demand letter respondent further affirmed
such relationship. The fact that the demand letter was not utilized in the criminal
complaint filed and that respondent was not eventually engaged by complainant to
represent her in the criminal cases is of no moment.

In the course of the lawyer-client relationship, the lawyer learns of the facts
connected with the clients case, including the weak and strong points of the case.
The nature of the relationship is, therefore, one of trust and confidence of the
highest degree. It behooves lawyers not only to keep inviolate the clients 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 importance in the administration of justice.
The excuse proffered by respondent that it was not him but Atty. Ao who was
eventually engaged by complainant will not exonerate him from the clear violation
of Rule 15.03 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. The take- over of a clients
cause of action by another lawyer does not give the former lawyer the right to
represent the opposing party. It is not only malpractice but also constitutes a
violation of the confidence resulting from the attorney-client relationship.
Considering that it is respondents first infraction, the disbarment sought in the
complaint is deemed to be too severe. As recommended by the Board of Governors
of the IBP, respondent is suspended from the practice of law for one (1) year.

In a case, entitled "Brenda Sucaldito versus Reynaldo Marcelo, et al." defendant
Reynaldo Marcelo retained the services of the herein respondent as his lawyer.
Subsequently, however, the respondent also entered his appearance as counsel for
plaintiff Brenda Sucaldito in the same case, without withdrawing his appearance as
counsel for defendant Reynaldo Marcelo. In view of such development Atty. Reyes
Geromo, former counsel of Brenda Sucaldito, filed with the Manila Regional Trial
Court a motion to disqualify the respondent on the ground of unethical conduct.2
Finding merit in the said motion, the trial court ordered the disqualification of
respondent in the case. Complainant Romeo Sibulo, an intervenor in the
aforementioned Civil Case No. 90-55209, brought the present administrative
complaint against respondent, praying for the latter's removal from or suspension in
the practice of law, on the ground of unethical practice/conduct.

Violated Rule 15.03, Canon 15

Respondent has all but admitted the wrongdoing complained of, when he stated in
his Answer that he "merely accepted a case from a plaintiff and at the same time I
[he] was the counsel as intervenor of one of the defendants." Such a revelation is a
categorical admission that he (respondent) represented two conflicting interests,
which representations or appearances are prohibited by Rule 15.03 of Canon 15 of
the Code of Professional Responsibility. Respondent was bound to faithfully
represent his client in all aspects of subject civil case. When he agreed to represent
the defendant and later on, also the plaintiff in the same case, he could no longer
serve either of his said clients faithfully, as his duty to the plaintiff did necessarily
conflict with his duty to the defendant. The relation of attorney and client is based
on trust, so that double dealing which could sometimes lead to treachery, should be

FINAL PENALTY: FINED in the amount of TEN THOUSAND (P10,000.00) Pesos, with
a warning.
SAMALA V. ATTY. LUCIANO VALENCIAA.C. NO. 5439, 512 SCRA 01, January 22,

This is a complaint filed by Clarita J. Samala (complainant) against Atty. Luciano D.

Valencia (respondent) for Disbarment on the following grounds: (a) serving on two
separate occasions as counsel for contending parties; (b) knowingly misleading the
court by submitting alse documentary evidence; (c) initiating numerous cases in
exchange for nonpayment of rental fees; and (d) having a reputation of being
immoral by siring illegitimate children.

Complainant Clarita J. Samala filed against Atty. Luciano D. Valencia for Disbarment
on the following grounds: serving on two separate occasions as counsel for
contending parties, knowingly misleading the court by submitting false
documentary evidence, initiating numerous cases in exchange for nonpayment of
rental fees and having a reputation of being immoral by siring illegitimate children.
Commissioner found respondent guilty of violating Canons 15 and21 of the Code of
Professional Responsibility and recommended the penalty of suspension forsix
months. The IBP Board of Governors adopted and approved the report and
recommendation of Commissioner Reyes but increased the penalty of suspension
from six months to one year.

Whether or not, the respondent is guilty for violation of Canons 1, 10 and 21 of the
Code of Professional Responsibility.

Under Canon 1, Rule 1.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, a lawyer shall
not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct. It may be difficult
to specify the degree of moral delinquency that may qualify an act as immoral, yet,
for purposes of disciplining a lawyer, immoral conduct has been defined as that
"conduct which is willful, flagrant, or shameless, and which shows a moral
indifference to the opinion of respectable members of the community. In this case,
respondent admitted that he sired three children by Teresita Lagmay who are all
over 20 years of age, while his first wife was still alive. He also admitted that he has
eight children by his first wife, the youngest of whom is over 20 years of age, and
after his wife died, he married Lagmay. These admissions made by respondent are
more than enough to hold him liable on the charge of immorality. The Court also
found that the respondent failed to comply with Canon 10 of the Code of
Professional Responsibility which provides that 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.

It was shown that the respondent knowingly submitted to the court a title that was
already cancelled, thus, false documentary evidence, in lieu of a new title issued in
the name of Alba which misleads the decision of the lower court. Lastly, as a lawyer,
respondent is bound to comply with Canon 21 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility which states that "a lawyer shall preserve the confidences and secrets
of his client even after the attorney-client relation is terminated." In this case, it is
evident that respondent's representation of Valdez and Alba against Bustamante and
her husband, in one case, and Valdez against Alba, in another case, is a clear case of
conflict of interests which merits a corresponding sanction from this Court. Thus,
respondent is reminded to be more cautious in accepting professional employments,
to refrain from all appearances and acts of impropriety including circumstances
indicating conflict of interests, and to behave at all times with
circumspection and dedication befitting a member of the Bar, especially observing
candor, fairness and loyalty in all transactions with his clients.


Atty. Hernando was counsel for Luciana Abadilla and Angela Buted for a partition
case of the late Teofilo Buted’s lot. He successfully defended the case. When Luciana
died, Hernando withdrew appearance. Luciana once sold the property to Benito
Bolisay but it appears that the TCT was issued to the Sy couple. Upon filing specific
performance, Bolisay got Atty. Hernando to represent him (free of charge). They
succeeded in ejecting the couple. Atty. Hernando claims to have terminated
relationship with Bolisay. In February 1974, Atty. Hernando filed a petition, in behalf
of Luciana’s heirs without their consent, to cancel TCT of Bolisay couple over the lot.
The couple filed disapproval. The case was dismissed for prescription. In August of
1974, Bolisay couple filed an administrative complaint against Atty. Hernando for
having abused personal secrets obtained by him as their counsel

Whether or not respondent Hernando had a conflict of interests

Yes. The Supreme Court ruled that Atty. Hernando had a conflict of interest. In the
action for specific performance, Atty Hernando defended the Bolisay couple’s right
to ownership but assailed the very same right in the cadastral proceeding in favor of
Luciana’s heirs. The Canons of Professional Ethics prohibits conflicting interests for
lawyers. “It is unprofessional to represent conflicting interests, except by express
consent of all concerned given after a full disclosure of the facts. Within the meaning
of this canon, a lawyer represents conflicting interests when, in behalf of one client,
it is his duty to contend for that which duty to another client requires him to oppose.
The obligation to represent the client with undivided fidelity and not to divulge his
secrets or confidence forbids also the subsequent acceptance of retainers or
employment from others in matters adversely affecting any interest of the client
with respect to which confidence has been reposed.”And despite Atty Hernando’s
claim that he had never seen nor taken hold of the Transfer Certificate of Title or
that he divulged any confidential information belonging to the Bolisay couple, that
the mere fact that respondent had acted as counsel for Benito Bolisay in the action
for specific performance should have precluded him from appearing as counsel for
the other side in in the cancellation of the Transfer Certificate of Title of the spouses.
There is no necessity for proving the actual transmission of confidential information
to an attorney in the course of his employment by his first client in order that he
may be precluded from accepting employment by the second or subsequent client
where there are conflicting interests between the first and the subsequent clients.
The prohibition on conflict of interest was designed not only to prevent the
dishonest practitioner from fraudulent conduct, but as well to protect the honest
lawyer from unfounded suspicion of unprofessional practice. Although the relation
of attorney and client has terminated, and the new employment is in a different case;
nor can the attorney use against his former client any knowledge or information
gained through their former connection.

SUSPENDED for 5 months.