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G.R. No.

L-19450 May 27, 1965 party in this criminal case had a right to be
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff- represented by an agent or a friend to protect
appellee, her rights in the civil action which was
vs. impliedly instituted together with the criminal
SIMPLICIO VILLANUEVA, defendant-appellant. action.
Office of the Solicitor General for plaintiff-appellee. In view of the foregoing, this Court holds that
Magno T. Buese for defendant-appellant. Asst. City Attorney Ariston D. Fule may appear
PAREDES, J.: before the Justice of the Peace Court of
On September 4, 1959, the Chief of Police of Alaminos, Alaminos, Laguna as private prosecutor in this
Laguna, charged Simplicio Villanueva with the Crime of criminal case as an agent or a friend of the
Malicious Mischief before the Justice of the Peace Court offended party.
of said municipality. Said accused was represented by WHEREFORE, the appeal from the order of the
counsel de officio but later on replaced by counsel de Justice of the Peace Court of Alaminos, Laguna,
parte. The complainant in the same case was allowing the apprearance of Ariston D. Fule as
represented by City Attorney Ariston Fule of San Pablo private prosecutor is dismissed, without costs.
City, having entered his appearance as private The above decision is the subject of the instant
prosecutor, after securing the permission of the proceeding.
Secretary of Justice. The condition of his appearance The appeal should be dismissed, for patently being
as such, was that every time he would appear at the without merits.1äwphï1.ñët
trial of the case, he would be considered on official Aside from the considerations advanced by the learned
leave of absence, and that he would not receive any trial judge, heretofore reproduced, and which we
payment for his services. The appearance of City consider plausible, the fallacy of the theory of defense
Attorney Fule as private prosecutor was questioned by counsel lies in his confused interpretation of Section 32
the counsel for the accused, invoking the case of Rule 127 (now Sec. 35, Rule 138, Revised Rules),
of Aquino, et al. vs. Blanco, et al., which provides that "no judge or other official or
L-1532, Nov. 28, 1947, wherein it was ruled that employee of the superior courts or of the office of the
"when an attorney had been appointed to the position Solicitor General, shall engage in private practice as a
of Assistant Provincial Fiscal or City Fiscal and therein member of the bar or give professional advice to
qualified, by operation of law, he ceased to engage in clients." He claims that City Attorney Fule, in appearing
private law practice." Counsel then argued that the JP as private prosecutor in the case was engaging in
Court in entertaining the appearance of City Attorney private practice. We believe that the isolated
Fule in the case is a violation of the above ruling. On appearance of City Attorney Fule did not constitute
December 17, 1960 the JP issued an order sustaining private practice within the meaning and contemplation
the legality of the appearance of City Attorney Fule. of the Rules. Practice is more than an isolated
Under date of January 4, 1961, counsel for the accused appearance, for it consists in frequent or customary
presented a "Motion to Inhibit Fiscal Fule from Acting actions, a succession of acts of the same kind. In other
as Private Prosecutor in this Case," this time invoking words, it is frequent habitual exercise (State vs.
Section 32, Rule 27, now Sec. 35, Rule 138, Revised Cotner, 127, p. 1, 87 Kan. 864, 42 LRA, M.S. 768).
Rules of Court, which bars certain attorneys from Practice of law to fall within the prohibition of statute
practicing. Counsel claims that City Attorney Fule falls has been interpreted as customarily or habitually
under this limitation. The JP Court ruled on the motion holding one's self out to the public, as customarily and
by upholding the right of Fule to appear and further demanding payment for such services (State vs.
stating that he (Fule) was not actually enagaged in Bryan, 4 S.E. 522, 98 N.C. 644, 647). The appearance
private law practice. This Order was appealed to the as counsel on one occasion is not conclusive as
CFI of Laguna, presided by the Hon. Hilarion U. determinative of engagement in the private practice of
Jarencio, which rendered judgment on December 20, law. The following observation of the Solicitor General
1961, the pertinent portions of which read: is noteworthy:
The present case is one for malicious mischief. Essentially, the word private practice of law
There being no reservation by the offended implies that one must have presented himself
party of the civil liability, the civil action was to be in the active and continued practice of
deemed impliedly instituted with the criminal the legal profession and that his professional
action. The offended party had, therefore, the services are available to the public for a
right to intervene in the case and be compensation, as a source of his livelihood or
represented by a legal counsel because of her in consideration of his said services.
interest in the civil liability of the accused. For one thing, it has never been refuted that City
Sec. 31, Rule 127 of the Rules of Court Attorney Fule had been given permission by his
provides that in the court of a justice of the immediate superior, the Secretary of Justice, to
peace a party may conduct his litigation in represent the complainant in the case at bar, who is a
person, with the aid of an agent or friend relative.
appointed by him for that purpose, or with the CONFORMABLY WITH ALL THE FOREGOING, the
aid of an attorney. Assistant City Attorney Fule decision appealed from should be, as it is hereby
appeared in the Justice of the Peace Court as affirmed, in all respects, with costs against appellant..
an agent or friend of the offended party. It Bengzon, C.J., Concepcion, Reyes, J.B.L., Barrera,
does not appear that he was being paid for his Dizon, Regala, Makalintal, Bengzon, J.P., and Zaldivar,
services or that his appearance was in a JJ., concur.
professional capacity. As Assistant City Bautista Angelo, J., took no part.
Attorney of San Pablo he had no control or FIRST DIVISION
intervention whatsoever in the prosecution of [A.M. No. P-99-1287. January 26, 2001]
crimes committed in the municipality of OFFICE OF THE COURT
Alaminos, Laguna, because the prosecution of ADMINISTRATOR, complainant, vs.ATTY.
criminal cases coming from Alaminos are MISAEL M. LADAGA, Branch Clerk of Court,
handled by the Office of the Provincial Fiscal Regional Trial Court, Branch 133, Makati
and not by the City Attornev of San Pablo. City,respondent.
There could be no possible conflict in the duties RESOLUTION
of Assistant City Attorney Fule as Assistant City KAPUNAN, J.:
Attorney of San Pablo and as private In a Letter, dated August 31, 1998, respondent
prosecutor in this criminal case. On the other Atty. Misael M. Ladaga, Branch Clerk of Court of the
hand, as already pointed out, the offended Regional Trial Court of Makati, Branch 133, requested
the Court Administrator, Justice Alfredo L. Benipayo, birth certificate of their eldest child is the subject of
for authority to appear as pro bono counsel of his the falsification charge against Ms.
cousin, NarcisaNaldozaLadaga, in Criminal Case No. Ladaga. Respondent stated that since he is the only
84885, entitled People vs. NarcisaNaldozaLadaga for lawyer in their family, he felt it to be his duty to accept
Falsification of Public Document pending before the Ms. Ladagas plea to be her counsel since she did not
Metropolitan Trial Court of Quezon City, Branch have enough funds to pay for the services of a
40.[1] While respondents letter-request was pending lawyer.Respondent also pointed out that in his seven
action, Lisa Payoyo Andres, the private complainant in (7) years of untainted government service, initially
Criminal Case No. 84885, sent a letter to the Court with the Commission on Human Rights and now with
Administrator, dated September 2, 1998, requesting the judiciary, he had performed his duties with honesty
for a certification with regard to respondents authority and integrity and that it was only in this particular case
to appear as counsel for the accused in the said that he had been administratively charged for
criminal case.[2] On September 7, 1998, the Office of extending a helping hand to a close relative by giving a
the Court Administrator referred the matter to free legal assistance for humanitarian purpose. He
respondent for comment.[3] never took advantage of his position as branch clerk of
In his Comment,[4] dated September 14, 1998, court since the questioned appearances were made in
respondent admitted that he had appeared in Criminal the Metropolitan Trial Court of Quezon City and not in
Case No. 84885 without prior authorization. He Makati where he is holding office. He stressed that
reasoned out that the factual circumstances during the hearings of the criminal case, he was on
surrounding the criminal case compelled him to handle leave as shown by his approved leave applications
the defense of his cousin who did not have enough attached to his comment.
resources to hire the services of a counsel de parte; In our Resolution, dated June 22, 1999, we noted
while, on the other hand, private complainant was a respondents comment and referred the administrative
member of a powerful family who was out to get even matter to the Executive Judge of the Regional Trial
with his cousin. Furthermore, he rationalized that his Court of Makati, Judge Josefina Guevarra-Salonga, for
appearance in the criminal case did not prejudice his investigation, report and recommendation.
office nor the interest of the public since he did not In her Report, dated September 29, 1999, Judge
take advantage of his position. In any case, his Salonga made the following findings and
appearances in court were covered by leave application recommendation:
approved by the presiding judge. There is no question that Atty. Misael Ladaga appeared
On December 8, 1998, the Court issued a as counsel for and in behalf of his cousin,
resolution denying respondents request for NarcisaNaldozaLadaga, an accused in Criminal Case
authorization to appear as counsel and directing the No. 84-885 for Falsification of Public Documents before
Office of the Court Administrator to file formal charges the METC of Quezon City. It is also denied that the
against him for appearing in court without the required appearance of said respondent in said case was
authorization from the Court.[5] On January 25, 1999, without the previous permission of the Court.
the Court Administrator filed the instant administrative An examination of the records shows that during the
complaint against respondent for violating Sec. 7(b)(2) occasions that the respondent appeared as such
of Republic Act No. 6713, otherwise known as the Code counsel before the METC of Quezon City, he was on
of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials official leave of absence. Moreover, his Presiding
and Employees, which provides: Judge, Judge Napoleon Inoturan was aware of the case
Sec. 7. Prohibited Acts and Transactions. In addition to he was handling. That the respondent appeared as pro
acts and omissions of public officials and employees bonocounsel likewise cannot be denied. His cousin-
now prescribed in the Constitution and existing laws, client NarcisaLadaga herself positively declared that
the following shall constitute prohibited acts and the respondent did not receive a single centavo from
transactions of any public official and employee and her. Helpless as she was and respondent being the
are hereby declared to be unlawful: only lawyer in the family, he agreed to represent her
xxx out of his compassion and high regard for her.
(b) Outside employment and other activities It may not be amiss to point out, this is the first time
related thereto.- Public officials and that respondent ever handled a case for a member of
employees during their incumbency shall his family who is like a big sister to him. He appeared
not: for free and for the purpose of settling the case
xxx amicably. Furthermore, his Presiding Judge was aware
(2) Engage in the private practice of their of his appearance as counsel for his cousin. On top of
profession unless authorized by the this, during all the years that he has been in
Constitution or law, Provided, that such government service, he has maintained his integrity
practice will not conflict or tend to conflict and independence.
with their official functions; RECOMMENDATION
In our Resolution, dated February 9, 1999, we In the light of the foregoing, it appearing that the
required respondent to comment on the administrative respondent appeared as counsel for his cousin without
complaint. first securing permission from the court, and
In his Comment, respondent explained that he considering that this is his first time to do it coupled
and Ms. Ladaga are close blood cousins who belong to with the fact that said appearance was not for a fee
a powerless family from the impoverished town of and was with the knowledge of his Presiding Judge, it
Bacauag, Surigao del Norte. From childhood until he is hereby respectfully recommended that he be
finished his law degree, Ms. Ladaga had always REPRIMANDED with a stern warning that any repetition
supported and guided him while he looked up to her as of such act would be dealt with more severely.[6]
a mentor and an adviser. Because of their close We agree with the recommendation of the
relationship, Ms. Ladaga sought respondents help and investigating judge.
advice when she was charged in Criminal Case No. Respondent is charged under Sec. 7(b)(2) of the
84885 for falsification by the private complainant, Lisa Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public
Payoyo Andres, whose only purpose in filing the said Officials and Employees which prohibits civil servants
criminal case was to seek vengeance on her cousin. He from engaging in the private practice of their
explained that his cousins discord with Ms. Andres profession. A similar prohibition is found under Sec.
started when the latters husband, SPO4 Pedro Andres, 35, Rule 138 of the Revised Rules of Court which
left the conjugal home to cohabit with Ms. disallows certain attorneys from engaging in the
Ladaga. During the course of their illicit affair, SPO4 private practice of their profession. The said section
Andres and Ms. Ladaga begot three (3) children. The reads:
SEC. 35. Certain attorneys not to practice.- No judge 1998, as borne out by his own admission. It is true
or other official or employee of the superior courts or that he filed leave applications corresponding to the
of the Office of the Solicitor General, shall engage in dates he appeared in court. However, he failed to
private practice as a member of the bar or give obtain a prior permission from the head of the
professional advise to clients. Department. The presiding judge of the court to which
However, it should be clarified that private respondent is assigned is not the head of the
practice of a profession, specifically the law profession Department contemplated by law.
in this case, which is prohibited, does not pertain to an WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing,
isolated court appearance; rather, it contemplates a respondent Atty. Misael M. Ladaga is hereby
succession of acts of the same nature habitually or REPRIMANDED with a stern warning that any repetition
customarily holding ones self to the public as a lawyer. of such act would be dealt with more severely.
In the case of People vs. Villanueva,[7] we SO ORDERED.
explained the meaning of the term private practice Davide, Jr., C.J., (Chairman), Puno,
prohibited by the said section, to wit: Pardo, and Ynares-Santiago, JJ., concur.
We believe that the isolated appearance of City
Attorney Fule did not constitute private practice, within
the meaning and contemplation of the Rules. Practice
is more than an isolated appearance, for it consists in
frequent or customary action, a succession of acts of FIRST DIVISION
the same kind. In other words, it is frequent habitual
exercise (State vs. Cotner, 127, p. 1, 87 Kan. 864, 42 WILFREDO M. CATU, A.C. No. 5738
LRA, N.S. 768) Practice of law to fall within the Complainant,
prohibition of statute has been interpreted as Present:
customarily or habitually holding ones self out to the
public, as a lawyer and demanding payment for such PUNO, C.J., Chairperson,
services (State vs. Bryan, 4 S.E. 522, 98 N.C. 644, SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ,
647). The appearance as counsel on one occasion, is - v e r s u s - CORONA,
not conclusive as determinative of engagement in the AZCUNA and
private practice of law. The following observation of LEONARDO-DE CASTRO, JJ.
the Solicitor General is noteworthy:
Essentially, the word private practice of law
implies that one must have presented himself to ATTY. VICENTE G. RELLOSA,
be in the active and continued practice of the Respondent. Promulgated:
legal profession and that his professional services Feb
are available to the public for a compensation, as rua
a source of his livelihood or in consideration of his ry
said services. 19,
For one thing, it has never been refuted that City 200
Attorney Fule had been given permission by his 8
immediate superior, the Secretary of Justice, to
represent the complainant in the case at bar, who is a x-----------------------------------
relative.[8] - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -x
Based on the foregoing, it is evident that the
isolated instances when respondent appeared as pro RESOLUTION
bono counsel of his cousin in Criminal Case No. 84885 CORONA, J.:
does not constitute the private practice of the law
profession contemplated by law.
Nonetheless, while respondents isolated court Complainant Wilfredo M. Catu is a co-owner of a
appearances did not amount to a private practice of lot[1] and the building erected thereon located at 959
law, he failed to obtain a written permission therefor San Andres Street, Malate, Manila. His mother and
from the head of the Department, which is this Court brother, Regina Catu and Antonio Catu, contested the
as required by Section 12, Rule XVIII of the Revised possession of Elizabeth C. Diaz-Catu[2] and Antonio
Civil Service Rules, thus: Pastor[3] of one of the units in the building. The latter
Sec. 12. No officer or employee shall engage ignored demands for them to vacate the premises.
directly in anyprivate business, vocation, Thus, a complaint was initiated against them in
or profession or be connected with any commercial, theLupongTagapamayapa of Barangay 723, Zone 79 of
credit, agricultural, or industrial undertakingwithout a the 5thDistrict of Manila[4] where the parties reside.
written permission from the head of the
Department: Provided, That this prohibition will be Respondent, as punong barangay of Barangay
absolute in the case of those officers and employees 723, summoned the parties to conciliation
whose duties and responsibilities require that their meetings.[5] When the parties failed to arrive at an
entire time be at the disposal of the amicable settlement, respondent issued a certification
Government; Provided, further, That if an employee is for the filing of the appropriate action in court.
granted permission to engage in outside activities,
time so devoted outside of office hours should be fixed Thereafter, Regina and Antonio filed a complaint for
by the agency to the end that it will not impair in any ejectment against Elizabeth and Pastor in the
way the efficiency of the officer or employee: And Metropolitan Trial Court of Manila, Branch 11.
provided, finally, That no permission is necessary in Respondent entered his appearance as counsel for the
the case of investments, made by an officer or defendants in that case. Because of this, complainant
employee, which do not involve real or apparent filed the instant administrative complaint,[6]claiming
conflict between his private interests and public duties, that respondent committed an act of impropriety as a
or in any way influence him in the discharge of his lawyer and as a public officer when he stood as
duties, and he shall not take part in the management counsel for the defendants despite the fact that he
of the enterprise or become an officer of the board of presided over the conciliation proceedings between the
directors.[9] litigants as punong barangay.
Respondent entered his appearance and attended
court proceedings on numerous occasions, i.e., May 4- In his defense, respondent claimed that one of his
15, 1998, June 18, 1998, July 13, 1998 and August 5, duties aspunong barangay was to hear complaints
referred to the barangays LupongTagapamayapa. As LAWS OF THE LAND,PROMOTE
such, he heard the complaint of Regina and Antonio RESPECT FOR LAW AND LEGAL
against Elizabeth and Pastor. As head of the Lupon, he PROCESSES. (emphasis supplied)
performed his task with utmost objectivity, without For these infractions, the IBP-CBD
bias or partiality towards any of the parties. The recommended the respondents suspension from the
parties, however, were not able to amicably settle their practice of law for one month with a stern warning that
dispute and Regina and Antonio filed the ejectment the commission of the same or similar act will be dealt
case. It was then that Elizabeth sought his legal with more severely.[9] This was adopted and approved
assistance. He acceded to her request. He handled her by the IBP Board of Governors.[10]
case for free because she was financially distressed
and he wanted to prevent the commission of a patent We modify the foregoing findings regarding the
injustice against her. transgression of respondent as well as the
recommendation on the imposable penalty.
The complaint was referred to the Integrated Bar of
the Philippines (IBP) for investigation, report and
recommendation. As there was no factual issue to RULE 6.03 OF THE CODE
thresh out, the IBPs Commission on Bar Discipline
(CBD) required the parties to submit their respective OF PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY APPLIES ONLY TO
position papers. After evaluating the contentions of the FORMER GOVERNMENT LAWYERS
parties, the IBP-CBD found sufficient ground to
discipline respondent.[7]

According to the IBP-CBD, respondent Respondent cannot be found liable for violation
admitted that, aspunong barangay, he presided over of Rule 6.03 of the Code of Professional Responsibility.
the conciliation proceedings and heard the complaint of As worded, that Rule applies only to a lawyer who
Regina and Antonio against Elizabeth and Pastor. has left government service and in connection with any
Subsequently, however, he represented Elizabeth and matter in which he intervened while in said service.
Pastor in the ejectment case filed against them by In PCGG v. Sandiganbayan,[11] we ruled that Rule
Regina and Antonio. In the course thereof, he prepared 6.03 prohibits former government lawyers from
and signed pleadings including the answer with accepting engagement or employment in connection
counterclaim, pre-trial brief, position paper and notice with any matter in which [they] had intervened while
of appeal. By so doing, respondent violated Rule 6.03 in said service.
of the Code of Professional Responsibility:
Respondent was an incumbent punong
Rule 6.03 A lawyer shall not, barangay at the time he committed the act complained
after leaving government service, of. Therefore, he was not covered by that provision.
accept engagement or employment in
connection with any matter in which
he intervened while in said service.

Furthermore, as an elective official, respondent SECTION 90 OF RA 7160, NOT SECTION 7(B)(2) OF RA


contravened the prohibition under Section 7(b)(2) of 6713, GOVERNS THE PRACTICE OF PROFESSION OF
RA 6713:[8] ELECTIVE LOCAL GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS

SEC. 7. Prohibited Acts and


Transactions. In addition to acts and
omissions of public officials and Section 7(b)(2) of RA 6713 prohibits public
employees now prescribed in the officials and employees, during their incumbency, from
Constitution and existing laws, the engaging in the private practice of their profession
following shall constitute prohibited unless authorized by the Constitution or law, provided
acts and transactions of any public that such practice will not conflict or tend to conflict
official ands employee and are hereby with their official functions. This is the general law
declared to be unlawful: which applies to all public officials and employees.
For elective local government officials, Section
xxx xxx xxx 90 of RA 7160[12] governs:
SEC. 90. Practice of
(b) Outside employment and other Profession. (a) All governors, city and
activities related thereto. Public municipal mayors are prohibited from
officials and employees during their practicing their profession or engaging
incumbency shall not: in any occupation other than the
exercise of their functions as local
xxx xxx xxx chief executives.
(2) Engage in the private (b) Sanggunian members may
practice of profession practice their professions,
unless authorized by the engage in any occupation, or
Constitution or law, teach in schools except during
provided that such practice session hours: Provided,
will not conflict or tend to Thatsanggunian members who
conflict with their official are members of the Bar shall
functions; xxx (emphasis not:
supplied) (1) Appear as counsel
before any court in any civil
According to the IBP-CBD, respondents case wherein a local
violation of this prohibition constituted a breach of government unit or any office,
Canon 1 of the Code of Professional Responsibility: agency, or instrumentality of
the government is the adverse
CANON 1. A LAWYER SHALL UPHOLD party;
THE CONSTITUTION, OBEY THE (2) Appear as counsel
in any criminal case wherein
an officer or employee of the subjected to a total or partial proscription to practice
national or local government is their profession or engage in any occupation, no such
accused of an offense interdiction is made on the punong barangay and the
committed in relation to his members of
office; the sangguniangbarangay.Expressiouniusestexclusioalt
(3) Collect any fee for erius.[15] Since they are excluded from any prohibition,
their appearance in the presumption is that they are allowed to practice
administrative proceedings their profession. And this stands to reason because
involving the local government they are not mandated to serve full time. In fact,
unit of which he is an official; the sangguniang barangay is supposed to hold regular
and sessions only twice a month.[16]
(4) Use property and
personnel of the Government Accordingly, as punong barangay, respondent
except when was not forbidden to practice his profession. However,
the sanggunian member he should have procured prior permission or
concerned is defending the authorization from the head of his Department, as
interest of the Government. required by civil service regulations.
(c) Doctors of medicine may
practice their profession even A LAWYER IN GOVERNMENT SERVICE WHO IS NOT
during official hours of work
only on occasions of
emergency: Provided, That the
officials concerned do not A civil service officer or employee whose
derive monetary compensation responsibilities do not require his time to be fully at the
therefrom. disposal of the government can engage in the private
practice of law only with the written permission of the
This is a special provision that applies head of the department concerned.[17] Section 12, Rule
specifically to the practice of profession by elective XVIII of the Revised Civil Service Rules provides:
local officials. As a special law with a definite scope
(that is, the practice of profession by elective local Sec. 12. No officer or
officials), it constitutes an exception to Section 7(b)(2) employee shall engage directly in
of RA 6713, the general law on engaging in the private any private business, vocation,
practice of profession by public officials and or profession or be connected with
employees. Lex specialibusderogatgeneralibus.[13] any commercial, credit, agricultural,
or industrial undertaking without a
Under RA 7160, elective local officials of written permission from the head
provinces, cities, municipalities and barangays are the of the Department: Provided, That
following: the governor, the vice governor and this prohibition will be absolute in the
members of the sangguniangpanlalawigan for case of those officers and employees
provinces; the city mayor, the city vice mayor and the whose duties and responsibilities
members of the sangguniangpanlungsod for cities; the require that their entire time be at the
municipal mayor, the municipal vice mayor and the disposal of the Government; Provided,
members of the sangguniangbayan for municipalities further, That if an employee is
and the punong barangay, the members of granted permission to engage in
the sangguniang barangay and the members of outside activities, time so devoted
the sangguniangkabataan for barangays. outside of office hours should be fixed
by the agency to the end that it will
Of these elective local officials, governors, city not impair in any way the efficiency of
mayors and municipal mayors are prohibited from the officer or employee:
practicing their profession or engaging in any And provided, finally, that no
occupation other than the exercise of their functions as permission is necessary in the case of
local chief executives. This is because they are investments, made by an officer or
required to render full time service. They should employee, which do not involve real
therefore devote all their time and attention to the or apparent conflict between his
performance of their official duties. private interests and public duties, or
in any way influence him in the
On the other hand, members of discharge of his duties, and he shall
the sangguniangpanlalawigan, sangguniangpanlungsod not take part in the management of
or sangguniangbayanmay practice their professions, the enterprise or become an officer of
engage in any occupation, or teach in schools except the board of directors. (emphasis
during session hours. In other words, they may supplied)
practice their professions, engage in any occupation, or
teach in schools outside their session hours. As punong barangay, respondent should have
Unlikegovernors, city mayors and municipal therefore obtained the prior written permission of the
mayors, members of Secretary of Interior and Local Government before he
thesangguniangpanlalawigan, sangguniangpanlungsod entered his appearance as counsel for Elizabeth and
orsangguniangbayan are required to hold regular Pastor. This he failed to do.
sessions only at least once a week.[14] Since the law
itself grants them the authority to practice their The failure of respondent to comply with Section 12,
professions, engage in any occupation or teach in Rule XVIII of the Revised Civil Service Rules
schools outside session hours, there is no longer any constitutes a violation of his oath as a lawyer: to obey
need for them to secure prior permission or the laws. Lawyers are servants of the law, vires legis,
authorization from any other person or office for any of men of the law. Their paramount duty to society is to
these purposes. obey the law and promote respect for it. To underscore
the primacy and importance of this duty, it is
While, as already discussed, certain local enshrined as the first canon of the Code of Professional
elective officials (like governors, mayors, provincial Responsibility.
board members and councilors) are expressly
In acting as counsel for a party without first securing ATTY. REGINO B. TAMBAGO,
the required written permission, respondent not only Respondent. Promulgated:
engaged in the unauthorized practice of law but also February 12, 2008
violated civil service rules which is a breach of Rule x---------------------------------
1.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility: - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -x
Rule 1.01 A lawyer shall not
engage in unlawful, dishonest, RESOLUTION
immoral or deceitful conduct. CORONA, J.:
(emphasis supplied)
In a letter-complaint dated April 10, 2000,
complainant Manuel L. Lee charged respondent Atty.
For not living up to his oath as well as for not Regino B. Tambago with violation of the Notarial Law
complying with the exacting ethical standards of the and the ethics of the legal profession for notarizing a
legal profession, respondent failed to comply with spurious last will and testament.
Canon 7 of the Code of Professional Responsibility:
In his complaint, complainant averred that his
CANON 7. A LAWYER SHALL AT ALL father, the decedent Vicente Lee, Sr., never executed
TIMES UPHOLD THE INTEGRITY the contested will. Furthermore, the spurious will
AND THE DIGNITY OF THE LEGAL contained the forged signatures of CayetanoNoynay
PROFESSION AND SUPPORT THE and Loreto Grajo, the purported witnesses to its
ACTIVITIES OF THE INTEGRATED execution.
BAR. (emphasis supplied)
In the said will, the decedent supposedly
Indeed, a lawyer who disobeys the law bequeathed his entire estate to his wife Lim Hock Lee,
disrespects it. In so doing, he disregards legal ethics save for a parcel of land which he devised to Vicente
and disgraces the dignity of the legal profession. Lee, Jr. and Elena Lee, half-siblings of complainant.

Public confidence in the law and in lawyers The will was purportedly executed and
may be eroded by the irresponsible and improper acknowledged before respondent on June 30,
conduct of a member of the bar.[18] Every lawyer 1965.[1] Complainant, however, pointed out that the
should act and comport himself in a manner that residence certificate[2] of the testator noted in the
promotes public confidence in the integrity of the legal acknowledgment of the will was dated January 5,
profession.[19] 1962.[3] Furthermore, the signature of the testator was
not the same as his signature as donor in a deed of
A member of the bar may be disbarred or donation[4](containing his purported genuine
suspended from his office as an attorney for violation signature). Complainant averred that the signatures of
of the lawyers oath[20]and/or for breach of the ethics of his deceased father in the will and in the deed of
the legal profession as embodied in the Code of donation were in any way (sic) entirely and
Professional Responsibility. diametrically opposed from (sic) one another in all
angle[s].[5]
WHEREFORE, respondent Atty. Vicente G. Rellosa is
hereby found GUILTY of professional misconduct for Complainant also questioned the absence of
violating his oath as a lawyer and Canons 1 and 7 and notation of the residence certificates of the purported
Rule 1.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. He witnesses Noynay and Grajo. He alleged that their
is therefore SUSPENDEDfrom the practice of signatures had likewise been forged and merely copied
law for a period of six months effective from his from their respective voters affidavits.
receipt of this resolution. He is sternly WARNED that
any repetition of similar acts shall be dealt with more Complainant further asserted that no copy of
severely. such purported will was on file in the archives division
of the Records Management and Archives Office of the
Respondent is strongly advised to look up and take to National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA).
heart the meaning of the word delicadeza. In this connection, the certification of the chief of the
archives division dated September 19, 1999 stated:
Let a copy of this resolution be furnished the Office of
the Bar Confidant and entered into the records of Doc. 14, Page No. 4, Book No. 1,
respondent Atty. Vicente G. Rellosa. The Office of the Series of 1965 refers to an AFFIDAVIT
Court Administrator shall furnish copies to all the executed by BARTOLOME RAMIREZ on
courts of the land for their information and guidance. June 30, 1965 and is available in
this Office[s] files.[6]

FIRST DIVISION
Respondent in his comment dated July 6, 2001
MANUEL L. LEE, A.C. No. 5281 claimed that the complaint against him contained false
Complainant, allegations: (1) that complainant was a son of the
Present: decedent Vicente Lee, Sr. and (2) that the will in
PUNO, C.J., Chairperson, question was fake and spurious. He alleged that
SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ, complainant was not a legitimate son of Vicente Lee,
- v e r s u s - CORONA, Sr. and the last will and testament was validly
A executed and actually notarized by respondent per
ZCUNA affidavit[7] of Gloria Nebato, common-law wife of
and Vicente Lee, Sr. and corroborated by the joint
LEON affidavit[8] of the children of Vicente Lee, Sr., namely
ARDO Elena N. Lee and Vicente N. Lee, Jr. xxx.[9]
-DE
CAST Respondent further stated that the complaint
RO, J was filed simply to harass him because the criminal
J. case filed by complainant against him in the Office of
the Ombudsman did not prosper.
consonance with the PROHIBITED TO PRACTICE
Respondent did not dispute complainants LAW MUST SECURE PRIOR AUTHORITY FROM THE
contention that no copy of the will was on file in the HEAD OF HIS DEPARTMENT rule that acts executed
archives division of the NCCA. He claimed that no copy against the provisions of mandatory or prohibitory laws
of the contested will could be found there because shall be void, except when the law itself authorizes
none was filed. their validity.

Lastly, respondent pointed out that The Civil Code likewise requires that a will
complainant had no valid cause of action against him must be acknowledged before a notary public by the
as he (complainant) did not first file an action for the testator and the witnesses.[19] The importance of this
declaration of nullity of the will and demand his share requirement is highlighted by the fact that it was
in the inheritance. segregated from the other requirements under Article
805 and embodied in a distinct and separate
In a resolution dated October 17, 2001, the provision.[20]
Court referred the case to the Integrated Bar of the
Philippines (IBP) for investigation, report and An acknowledgment is the act of one who has
recommendation.[10] executed a deed in going before some competent
officer or court and declaring it to be his act or deed. It
In his report, the investigating commissioner found involves an extra step undertaken whereby the
respondent guilty of violation of pertinent provisions of signatory actually declares to the notary public that the
the old Notarial Law as found in the Revised same is his or her own free act and deed.[21] The
Administrative Code. The violation constituted an acknowledgment in a notarial will has a two-fold
infringement of legal ethics, particularly Canon purpose: (1) to safeguard the testators wishes long
1[11] and Rule 1.01[12] of the Code of Professional after his demise and (2) to assure that his estate is
Responsibility (CPR).[13] Thus, the investigating administered in the manner that he intends it to be
commissioner of the IBP Commission on Bar Discipline done.
recommended the suspension of respondent for a
period of three months. A cursory examination of the acknowledgment
of the will in question shows that this particular
The IBP Board of Governors, in its Resolution requirement was neither strictly nor substantially
No. XVII-2006-285 dated May 26, 2006, resolved: complied with. For one, there was the conspicuous
absence of a notation of the residence certificates of
[T]o ADOPT and APPROVE, as it is the notarial witnesses Noynay and Grajo in the
hereby ADOPTED and APPROVED, with acknowledgment. Similarly, the notation of the
modification, the Report and testators old residence certificate in the same
Recommendation of the Investigating acknowledgment was a clear breach of the law. These
Commissioner of the above-entitled omissions by respondent invalidated the will.
case, herein made part of this
Resolution as Annex A; and, finding the As the acknowledging officer of the contested
recommendation fully supported by the will, respondent was required to faithfully observe the
evidence on record and the applicable formalities of a will and those of notarization. As we
laws and rules, and considering held in Santiago v. Rafanan:[22]
Respondents failure to comply with the
laws in the discharge of his function as The Notarial Law is explicit on
a notary public, Atty. Regino B. the obligations and duties of notaries
Tambago is hereby suspended from the public. They are required to certify that
practice of law for one year and the party to every document
Respondents notarial commission acknowledged before him had
is Revoked and presented the proper residence
Disqualified from reappointment as certificate (or exemption from the
Notary Public for two (2) years.[14] residence tax); and to enter its
number, place of issue and date as
part of such certification.
We affirm with modification.

A will is an act whereby a person is permitted, These formalities are mandatory and cannot be
with the formalities prescribed by law, to control to a disregarded, considering the degree of importance and
certain degree the disposition of his estate, to take evidentiary weight attached to notarized
effect after his death.[15] A will may either be notarial documents.[23] A notary public, especially a
or holographic. lawyer,[24] is bound to strictly observe these
elementary requirements.
The law provides for certain formalities that
must be followed in the execution of wills. The object The Notarial Law then in force required the
of solemnities surrounding the execution of wills is to exhibition of the residence certificate upon notarization
close the door on bad faith and fraud, to avoid of a document or instrument:
substitution of wills and testaments and to guarantee
their truth and authenticity.[16] Section 251. Requirement as to
notation of payment of [cedula]
A notarial will, as the contested will in this residence tax. Every contract, deed, or
case, is required by law to be subscribed at the end other document acknowledged before a
thereof by the testator himself. In addition, it should notary public shall have certified
be attested and subscribed by three or more credible thereon that the parties thereto have
witnesses in the presence of the testator and of one presented their proper [cedula]
another.[17] residence certificate or are exempt
from the [cedula] residence tax, and
The will in question was attested by only two there shall be entered by the notary
witnesses, Noynay and Grajo. On this circumstance public as a part of such certificate the
alone, the will must be considered void.[18] This is in number, place of issue, and date of
each [cedula] residence certificate as certification[28] stating that the archives division had no
aforesaid.[25] copy of the affidavit of Bartolome Ramirez.

A photocopy is a mere secondary evidence. It


The importance of such act was further is not admissible unless it is shown that the original is
reiterated by Section 6 of the Residence Tax unavailable. The proponent must first prove the
Act[26] which stated: existence and cause of the unavailability of the
original,[29] otherwise, the evidence presented will not
When a person liable to the taxes be admitted. Thus, the photocopy of respondents
prescribed in this Act acknowledges notarial register was not admissible as evidence of the
any document before a notary public entry of the execution of the will because it failed to
xxx it shall be the duty of such person comply with the requirements for the admissibility of
xxx with whom such transaction is had secondary evidence.
or business done, to require the
exhibition of the residence certificate In the same vein, respondents attempt to
showing payment of the residence controvert the certification dated September 21,
taxes by such person xxx. 1999[30] must fail. Not only did he present a mere
photocopy of the certification dated March 15,
2000;[31] its contents did not squarely prove the fact of
In the issuance of a residence certificate, the entry of the contested will in his notarial register.
law seeks to establish the true and correct identity of
the person to whom it is issued, as well as the Notaries public must observe with utmost
payment of residence taxes for the current year. By care[32] and utmost fidelity the basic requirements in
having allowed decedent to exhibit an expired the performance of their duties, otherwise, the
residence certificate, respondent failed to comply with confidence of the public in the integrity of notarized
the requirements of both the old Notarial Law and the deeds will be undermined.[33]
Residence Tax Act. As much could be said of his failure
to demand the exhibition of the residence certificates Defects in the observance of the solemnities
of Noynay and Grajo. prescribed by law render the entire will invalid. This
carelessness cannot be taken lightly in view of the
importance and delicate nature of a will, considering
On the issue of whether respondent was under that the testator and the witnesses, as in this case, are
the legal obligation to furnish a copy of the notarized no longer alive to identify the instrument and to
will to the archives division, Article 806 provides: confirm its contents.[34] Accordingly, respondent must
be held accountable for his acts. The validity of the will
Art. 806. Every will must be was seriously compromised as a consequence of his
acknowledged before a notary public breach of duty.[35]
by the testator and the witness. The
notary public shall not be required In this connection, Section 249 of the old
to retain a copy of the will, or file Notarial Law provided:
another with the office of the Clerk
of Court.(emphasis supplied) Grounds for revocation of commission.
The following derelictions of duty on
Respondents failure, inadvertent or not, to file in the the part of a notary public shall, in the
archives division a copy of the notarized will was discretion of the proper judge of first
therefore not a cause for disciplinary action. instance, be sufficient ground for the
revocation of his commission:
Nevertheless, respondent should be faulted for
having failed to make the necessary entries pertaining xxx xxx xxx
to the will in his notarial register. The old Notarial Law
required the entry of the following matters in the (b) The failure of the notary to make
notarial register, in chronological order: the proper entry or entries in
his notarial register touching
1. nature of each instrument his notarial acts in the manner
executed, sworn to, or required by law.
acknowledged before him;
2. person executing, swearing to, xxx xxx xxx
or acknowledging the instrument;
3. witnesses, if any, to the (f) The failure of the notary to make
signature; the proper notation regarding
4. date of execution, oath, or cedula certificates.[36]
acknowledgment of the
instrument; These gross violations of the law also made
5. fees collected by him for his respondent liable for violation of his oath as a lawyer
services as notary; and constituted transgressions of Section 20 (a), Rule
6. give each entry a consecutive 138 of the Rules of Court[37] and Canon 1[38] and Rule
number; and 1.01[39] of the CPR.
7. if the instrument is a contract, a
brief description of the substance
of the instrument.[27] The first and foremost duty of a lawyer is to
maintain allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines,
uphold the Constitution and obey the laws of the
In an effort to prove that he had complied with land.[40] For a lawyer is the servant of the law and
the abovementioned rule, respondent contended that belongs to a profession to which society has entrusted
he had crossed out a prior entry and entered instead the administration of law and the dispensation of
the will of the decedent. As proof, he presented a justice.[41]
photocopy of his notarial register. To reinforce his
claim, he presented a photocopy of a
While the duty to uphold the Constitution and DE
obey the law is an obligation imposed on every citizen, CASTR
a lawyer assumes responsibilities well beyond the basic O,
requirements of good citizenship. As a servant of the BRION,
law, a lawyer should moreover make himself an - versus - PERALTA,
example for others to emulate.[42] Being a lawyer, he is BERSAMIN,
supposed to be a model in the community in so far as DEL CASTILLO,
respect for the law is concerned.[43] ABAD,
VILLARAMA,
The practice of law is a privilege burdened with JR.,
conditions.[44] A breach of these conditions justifies PEREZ,
disciplinary action against the erring lawyer. A MENDOZA,
disciplinary sanction is imposed on a lawyer upon a JUDGE CADER P. INDAR, SERENO,
finding or acknowledgment that he has engaged in Presiding Judge and Acting REYES, and
professional misconduct.[45] These sanctions meted out Presiding Judge of the Regional PERLAS-
to errant lawyers include disbarment, suspension and BERNABE, JJ.
reprimand. Trial Court, Branch 14, Cotabato
City and Branch 15, Shariff
Disbarment is the most severe form of Aguak, Maguindanao, respectively, Promulgated:
disciplinary sanction.[46] We have held in a number of Respondent. April 10, 2012
cases that the power to disbar must be exercised with x------------------------------------------------------------
great caution[47] and should not be decreed if any -----------------------------x
punishment less severe such as reprimand,
suspension, or fine will accomplish the end
desired.[48] The rule then is that disbarment is meted DECISION
out only in clear cases of misconduct that seriously
affect the standing and character of the lawyer as an
officer of the court.[49] PER CURIAM:

Respondent, as notary public, evidently failed


in the performance of the elementary duties of his This is an administrative complaint for gross
office. Contrary to his claims that he exercised his misconduct and dishonesty against respondent
duties as Notary Public with due care and with due Judge Cader P. Indar, Al Haj(Judge Indar), Presiding
regard to the provision of existing law and had Judge of the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch
complied with the elementary formalities in the 14, Cotabato City and Acting Presiding Judge of the
performance of his duties xxx, we find that he acted RTC, Branch 15, Shariff Aguak, Maguindanao.
very irresponsibly in notarizing the will in question.
Such recklessness warrants the less severe This case originated from reports by the Local Civil
punishment of suspension from the practice of law. It Registrars of Manila and Quezon City to the Office of
is, as well, a sufficient basis for the revocation of his the Court Administrator (OCA) that they have received
commission[50] and his perpetual disqualification to be an alarming number of decisions, resolutions, and
commissioned as a notary public.[51] orders on annulment of marriage cases allegedly
issued by Judge Indar.

WHEREFORE, respondent Atty. Regino B. To verify the allegations against Judge Indar, the OCA
Tambago is hereby found guilty of professional conducted a judicial audit in RTC-Shariff Aguak,
misconduct. He violated (1) the Lawyers Oath; (2) Branch 15, where the Audit Team found that the list of
Rule 138 of the Rules of Court; (3) Canon 1 and Rule cases submitted by the Local Civil Registrars of Manila
1.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility; (4) Art. and Quezon City do not appear in the records of cases
806 of the Civil Code and (5) the provisions of the old received, pending or disposed by RTC-Shariff Aguak,
Notarial Law. Branch 15. Likewise, the annulment decisions did not
exist in the records of RTC-Cotabato, Branch 14. The
Atty. Regino B. Tambago is Audit Team further observed that the case numbers in
hereby SUSPENDED from the practice of law for one the list submitted by the Local Civil Registrars are not
year and his notarial commissionREVOKED. Because within the series of case numbers recorded in the
he has not lived up to the trustworthiness expected of docket books of either RTC-Shariff Aguak or RTC-
him as a notary public and as an officer of the court, Cotabato.
he is PERPETUALLY DISQUALIFIED from
reappointment as a notary public. At the same time, the Audit Team followed-up
Judge Indarscompliance with Deputy Court
Let copies of this Resolution be furnished to all Administrator (DCA) Jesus Edwin
the courts of the land, the Integrated Bar of the A. Villasors 1st Indorsement, dated 15 February 2010,
Philippines and the Office of the Bar Confidant, as well relative to the letter1 of Ms. Miren Galloway, Manager-
as made part of the personal records of respondent. Permanent Entry Unit, Australian Embassy, Manila
(Australian Embassy letter), asking confirmation on
the authenticity of Judge Indars decision, dated 23
EN BANC May 2007, in Spec. Proc. No. 06-581,
entitled Chona Chanco Aguiling v. Alan V. Aguiling, for
Declaration of Nullity of Marriage. As regards this case,
the Audit Team found that Spec. Proc. No. 06-584
OFFICE OF THE COURT A.M. No. RTJ-10-2232
does not exist in the records of cases filed, pending or
ADMINISTRATOR,
disposed by RTC-ShariffAguak.
Complainant,
Present:
CORONA, C.J., Subsequently, the Audit Team made the following
CARPIO, conclusions:
VELASCO, JR.,
LEONA
RDO-
1. The list in Annexes A; A-1; A-2 and which was delivered to Judge Indarsofficial stations,
A-3 are not found in the list of cases was received by one Mustapha Randang on 28 June
filed, pending or decided in the 2010.
Regional Trial Court, Branch
15, Shariff Aguak [Maguindanao] which The scheduled hearing was postponed and reset to 20,
is based in Cotabato City, nor in the 21 and 22 July 2010. The notice of postponement was
records of the Office of the Clerk of sent to JudgeIndar via registered mail on 6 July 2010
Court of Regional Trial to his official stations and was received again by
Court,Cotabato City; Mustapha Randang on 8 July 2010.

2. There are apparently decisions of Judge Indar failed to attend the hearing as rescheduled
cases which are spurious, as these did and to submit the affidavit as required. Thus, in an
not pass through the regular process Order of 23 July 2010, Justice Gacutan directed
such as filing, payment of docket fees, Judge Indar to explain his non-appearance, and reset
trial, etc. which are now circulating and the hearing to 10 and 11 August 2010. The Order was
being registered in Local Civil sent to his residence address in M. Tan Subdivision,
Registrars throughout the country, the Gonzalo Javier St., Rosary Heights, Cotabato City. The
extent of which is any bodys guess; LBC report indicated that the Order was received by a
certain Mrs. Asok.
3. The authenticity of the signatures
appearing thereon could only be Justice Gacutan also sent a letter dated 23 July 2010
validated by handwriting experts of the addressed to
National Bureau of Investigation (NBI); Atty. Umaima L. Silongan (Atty. Silongan), Acting
Clerk of Court of RTC-Cotabato, directing her to serve
4. The participation of any lower court the notice of hearing scheduled on 10 and 11 August
officials and/or employees could not be 2010 to Judge Indarand to report the steps taken to
ascertained except probably through a effect service of the same. Atty.Silongan submitted a
more thorough discreet investigation Return of Service, informing that the notices sent to
and or entrapment; [and] Judge Indar had remained unserved, as the latter
left Cotabato City in April 2010 and his location since
5. There is a possibility then was unknown.
that more of this (sic)
spurious In a Resolution of 28 September 2010, this Court
documents may appear directed Justice Gacutan to conduct further
and cause damage to investigation to determine the authenticity of the
the Courts Integrity.2 questioned decisions allegedly rendered by
Judge Indar annulling certain marriages. The Court
required Justice Gacutan to ascertain whether the
Meanwhile, in compliance with cases were properly filed in court, and who are the
DCA Villasors Indorsementand in response to the parties responsible for the issuance of the questioned
Australian Embassy letter, Judge Indarexplained, in a decisions, and to submit a report thereon within 60
Letter dated 10 March 2010, that this court is a Court days from receipt of the Resolution.
of General Jurisdiction and can therefore act even on
cases involving Family Relations. Hence, the subject In compliance with the Courts Resolution,
decision rendered by this Court annulling the marriage Justice Gacutandirected the Local Civil Registrars of
of your client is VALID and she is free to marry.3 Manila and Quezon City and Atty. Silongan to submit
certified true copies of the questioned decisions and to
In a Memorandum dated 26 April 2010, the OCA testify thereon.
recommended that (1) the matter be docketed as a
regular administrative matter; (2) the matter be Only the Civil Registrars were present during the
assigned to a Court of Appeals Justice for hearings on 4 and 5 November 2010. Their testimonies
Investigation, Report, and Recommendation; and (3) are summarized as follows:
JudgeIndar be preventively suspended, pending
investigation. Testimonies of
Ma. Josefina Encarnacion A. Ocampo,
In a Resolution dated 4 May 2010, the Court En City Civil Registrar of Manila
Banc (1) docketed this administrative matter as A.M. TSN, November 4, 2010
No. RTJ-10-2232,4and (2) preventively suspended
Judge Indar pending investigation of this case.
As City Civil Registrar, she is mandated
The case was initially raffled to to receive all registered documents
Justice Rodil V. Zalameda of the Court of Appeals, that will affect the status of the person
Manila for investigation. The case was re-raffled to like the birth, death and marriage
Justice Angelita A. Gacutan (Justice Gacutan) of the contract, court decrees regarding
Court of Appeals, Cagayan de Oro due to its proximity annulment, adoption, legitimization,
to the Regional Trial Courts involved. the affidavit using the surname of the
father, naturalization, the selection of
Justice Gacutan set the case for hearing on several citizenship, etc. The documents are
dates and sent the corresponding notices of hearing to forwarded to their office after they are
Judge Indar at his known addresses, namely, his being registered by the concerned
official stations in RTC-Cotabatoand RTC- parties.
Shariff Aguak and residence address.
In the case of annulment of marriage,
The first notice of hearing dated 21 June 2010, which a copy of the decision is submitted to
was sentvia registered mail and private courier LBC, the Civil Registrar by the one who had
scheduled the hearings on 14, 15, and 16 July 2010 his marriage annulled. Per
and directed Judge Indarto submit in affidavit form his administrative order, it is the duty of
explanation. The LBC records show that this notice, the Clerk of Court to furnish them a
copy of the Decision. After the copies
of decisions are submitted to them,
they are mandated to verify the The Civil Registrar of Manila submitted copies of
authenticity of the decision by writing a Decisions, Orders and Resolutions, all signed by
verification letter to the Clerk of Court Judge Indar, in forty three (43) cases for annulment of
before making the annotation or marriage, correction of entry and other similar cases
changing the parties status. from RTC-Cotabato City, Branch 15. All the decisions
were accompanied by the corresponding Letter of
She identified the list of cases of Atty. Silongan, affirming each of the decisions as true
annulment of marriages and petitions and authentic based on the records, while thirty six
changing status of persons (annexes A- (36) of such decisions are accompanied by
1 and A-2) which all came from a court Atty. Silongans certification affirming the genuineness
in Cotabato. All the cases listed in A-2 of Judge Indars signature affixed on the Decisions.6
have already been confirmed or
annotated in the records of the Manila On the other hand, the Civil Registrar of Quezon City
Civil Registry. She affirmed that the submitted twenty five (25) Decisions, Orders, and
said cases in the list were certified true Resolutions issued by RTC-Cotabato City, Branch 15,
by the clerk of court. As their duty to which were transmitted to the Registrars office for
annotate the said decrees to their annotation and recording. All the Decisions were
records are merely ministerial, they do signed by Judge Indar, and accompanied by
not question the decrees however Certificates of Finality affirming the genuineness of
peculiar they may seem. JudgeIndars signature appearing above the name of
Judge Cader P.Indar. The Certificates of Finality were
The cases listed in the document issued by Atty. Silonganand in one case, by Abie Amilil,
marked as Annex A-2 were also cases the OIC-Branch Clerk of Court.7
that came from Cotabato City for their
annotation. Although these cases have Meanwhile, Atty. Silongan, despite notice, failed to
been certified true by the Clerk of attend the hearing. She explained in a Manifestation of
Court, their annotation and 8 November 2010 that she received the Notice only on
confirmation were held in abeyance 8 November 2010 because she was on leave from 1
due to the on-going investigation of October 1 to 30 November 2010. Thus, the hearing
Judge Indar. was reset to 11 and 12 January 2011. However, on the
scheduled hearing, Atty. Silongan still failed to appear.
Testimony of Salvador Cario, Justice Gacutan sought the assistance of the National
Chief of Records Division, City Civil Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to locate the
Registrar of Quezon City whereabouts of Judge Indar, as well as of
TSN, November 4, 2010 Atty. Silongan. After several exchanges of
correspondence, the NBI, in a Letter dated 22 March
He generally supervises the retrieval of 2011, provided the residence addresses of both
all the records or documents in their Judge Indar and Atty.Silongan.
office. He also signs certified true
copies of birth, marriage contract, Meanwhile, Judge George C. Jabido (Judge Jabido),
death certificate and certified true Acting Presiding Judge of RTC-Shariff Aguak, Branch
copies of Courts decisions furnished to 15, was directed to verify the authenticity of the
them by different courts. records of the subject Decisions and to appear at the
hearing on 29 March 2011. The hearing was canceled
With regards the decisions issued by due to the judicial reorganization in the Court of
the Court in provinces, once the Judge Appeals.
issued the decision regarding the
annulment, the parties concern should This administrative matter was re-raffled to Justice
first register the decision to the Local Abraham B. Borreta (Justice Borreta) since
Civil Registrar where the court is Justice Gacutan was reassigned to Manila effective 11
situated. After they receive the April 2011. Justice Borreta set the hearing on 27 to 29
decision from the Administrative June 2011. Notices of hearing were sent to
Division, they would call or write the Judge Indar and Atty. Silongan at the addresses
concerned Local Civil Registrar to provided by the NBI and at their previous mailing
authenticate or verify the records. He addresses. The registered mails addressed to
identified the cases coming from Judge Indar were returned for the following reasons:
aCotabato court that were submitted to (1) addressee out of town, move to another place and
them for annotation. (2) addressee unknown. The Notice sent to
Atty.Silongan was also returned and per LBC report,
the consignee has moved to an unknown address.

Judge Jabido, who was notified of the hearing, testified


that:

In compliance with the directive of the


The subject decisions listed in the Investigating Justice to verify the
annexes which were decided by a court authenticity of the records of the listed
in Cotabato City were already decisions, judgments and orders, he
annotated and verified. However he issued memos to the officers of the
could not ascertain who from the court Court, the Branch Clerk of Court, the
verified the authenticity or existence of docket clerk, directing them to produce
such decisions as he was not the one and secure copies of the minutes and
who personally called to verify and other documents related therein. He
authenticate them from the court personally checked the records of the
where the listed Decisions/Orders RTC. The Records of the RTC are bereft
originate.5 of evidence to show that regular and
true proceedings were had on these they filed the petitions for annulment of marriage and
cases. There is no showing that a whether proceedings were actually had before
docket fee has been paid for each Judge Indars sala in relation to their cases. All the
corresponding cases. There is also no subpoenas were returned to the Court of Appeals.
showing that the parties were notified
of a scheduled hearing as calendared. In his Report dated 2 September 2011,
There is also no record that a hearing Justice Borreta first determined whether the
was conducted. No stenographic notes requirements of due process had been complied with
of the actual proceedings were also since there was no proof that Judge Indarpersonally
made. He could not also determine and actually received any of the notices sent to him in
when the said cases were submitted the course of the investigation.
for decision as it was not calendared
for that purpose.8 Justice Borreta differentiated administrative due
process with judicial due process. He stated that while
a day in court is a matter of right in judicial
Judge Jabido also submitted a report, portions of which proceedings, it is otherwise in administrative
read: proceedings since they rest upon different principles.
The undersigned took extra efforts to
locate any record of the cases involving Justice Borreta noted that all possible means to locate
the parties as enumerated in the list. JudgeIndar and to personally serve the court notices to
The undersigned even issued him were resorted to. The notices of hearing were sent
Memorandum to the Branch Clerk of to Judge Indarsknown addresses, namely, his sala in
Court, the docket clerk and other RTC-Cotabato Branch 14 and RTC-
responsible officers of the Court to Shariff Aguak Branch 15, and at his residence address.
produce and secure copies of any However, none of the notices appeared to have been
pleading/documents related to these personally received by Judge Indar.
cases enumerated in the list but his Notwithstanding, Justice Borreta concluded that the
efforts proved futile, hence: requirements of due process have been complied with.
JusticeBorreta stated that Judge Indar was aware of a
a) to this Court, there is no record on pending administrative case against him. The notice of
file of all the enumerated cases this Courts Resolution of 4 May 2010, preventively
contained in the list. suspending JudgeIndar, was mailed and sent to him at
his sala in RTC-ShariffAguak, Branch 15.
b) to this Court, it is bereft of any
evidence on whether the Hon. Justice Borreta proceeded to determine
Judge Indar conducted a hearing in Judge Indarsadministrative liability, and found the
these cases. latter guilty of serious misconduct and dishonesty.

xxxx According to Justice Borreta, Judge Indars act of


There is absence of any record showing issuing decisions on annulment of marriage cases
compliance of the same. It is hereby without complying with the stringent procedural and
submitted that the manner upon which substantive requirements of the Rules of Court for
the questioned annulment and such cases clearly violates the Code of Judicial
correction cases, as contained herein in Conduct. Judge Indar made it appear that the
the attached list, allegedly decided by annulment cases underwent trial, when the records
the Hon. Judge Indar were commenced show no judicial proceedings occurred.
are clearly doubtful.
Moreover, Judge Indars act of affirming in writing
Firstly, there is no showing of before the Australian Embassy the validity of a
compliance on the rules prescribed. decision he allegedly rendered, when in fact that case
does not appear in the courts records, constitutes
xxxx dishonesty.

There is no showing that a verified Justice Borreta recommended the dismissal of


Petition was officially filed in writing Judge Indarfrom service, and the investigation of
and giving (sic) an opportunity for the Atty. Silongan, who is not included as respondent in
Respondents to be heard by himself or this case, on her participation in the certification of the
by counsel. x x x9 authenticity of the spurious Decisions.

The sole issue in this case is whether Judge Indar is


To support his findings, Judge Jabido submitted: (1) guilty of gross misconduct and dishonesty.
copies of the Letters and Memoranda mentioned in the
report; (2) the Calendar of Cases in RTC-Cotabato, We agree with the findings of the Investigating Justice.
Branch 15, on various dates from the period starting
April 2007 to 20 October 2009; and (3) the Docket The Uniform Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil
Inventory in Civil Cases, Criminal Cases and Other Service, which govern the conduct of disciplinary and
Cases for the period of January to December 2009 in non-disciplinary proceedings in administrative cases,
RTC-Cotabato, Branch 15. clearly provide that technical rules of procedure and
evidence do not strictly apply to administrative
proceedings. Section 3, Rule I of the Uniform Rules
Subpoenas were sent to some of the parties in the states:
questioned decisions, namely: Grace Elizarde Reyes
(Special Case No. 1049), Buenaventura Mojica (Apl. Section 3. Technical Rules in
Proc. No. 08-1931), Marie Christine N. Florendo (Civil Administrative
Case No. 519), Jesse Yamson Faune, Jr. (Special Civil Investigations. Administrative
Case 08-2366), Rosemarie Tongson Ramos (Special investigations shall be conducted
Case No. 08-1871) and Melissa Sangan- without necessarily adhering strictly to
Demafelis (Spl. Proc. 07-2262) to determine whether the technical rules of procedure and
evidence applicable to judicial reported in major national newspapers.18 Moreover,
proceedings. Judge Indar was repeatedly sent notices of hearings to
In Cornejo v. Gabriel,10 the Court held that notice and his known addresses. Thus, there was due notice on
hearing are not indispensable in administrative Judge Indar of the charges against him. However,
investigations, thus: Judge Indar still failed to file his explanation and
appear at the scheduled hearings. Consequently, the
The fact should not be lost sight of that investigation proceeded ex parte in accordance with
we are dealing with an administrative Section 4, Rule 140 of the Rules of Court.19
proceeding and not with a judicial Public office is a public trust.20 This constitutional
proceeding. As Judge Cooley, the principle requires a judge, like any other public servant
leading American writer on and more so because of his exalted position in the
constitutional Law, has well said, due Judiciary, to exhibit at all times the highest degree of
process of law is not necessarily honesty and integrity.21 As the visible representation
judicial process; much of the process of the law tasked with dispensing justice, a judge
by means of which the Government is should conduct himself at all times in a manner that
carried on, and the order of society would merit the respect and confidence of the
maintained, is purely executive or people.22
administrative, which is as much due
process of law, as is judicial Judge Indar miserably failed to live up to these
process. While a day in court is a exacting standards.
matter of right in judicial
proceedings, in administrative In Office of the Court Administrator v. Lopez,23 the
proceedings it is otherwise since Courtexplained the difference between simple
they rest upon different principles. misconduct and grave misconduct, thus:
In certain proceedings, therefore,
of an administrative character, it The Court defines misconduct as a
may be stated, without fear of transgression of some established and
contradiction, that the right to a definite rule of action, more
notice and hearing are not particularly, unlawful behavior or gross
essential to due process of negligence by a public officer. The
law. x x x11(Emphasis supplied; misconduct is grave if it involves any of
citations omitted) the additional elements of corruption,
willful intent to violate the law, or to
disregard established rules, which must
It is settled that technical rules of procedure and be established by substantial evidence.
evidence are not strictly applied to administrative As distinguished from simple
proceedings. Thus, administrative due process cannot misconduct, the elements of
be fully equated with due process in its strict judicial corruption, clear intent to violate the
sense.12 It is enough that the party is given the chance law, or flagrant disregard of
to be heard before the case against him is established rule, must be manifest in a
decided.13 Otherwise stated, in the application of the charge of grave misconduct.
principle of due process, what is sought to be
safeguarded is not lack of previous notice but the
denial of the opportunity to be heard.14 In this case, Judge Indar issued decisions on
numerousannulment of marriage cases which do not
The Court emphasized in Cornejo15 the Constitutional exist in the records of RTC-Shariff Aguak, Branch 15 or
precept that public office is a public trust,16 which is the Office of the Clerk of Court of the Regional Trial
the underlying principle for the relaxation of the Court, Cotabato City. There is nothing to show that (1)
requirements of due process of law in administrative proceedings were had on the questioned cases; (2)
proceedings, thus: docket fees had been paid; (3) the parties were
notified of a scheduled hearing as calendared; (4)
Again, for this petition to come under hearings had been conducted; or (5) the cases were
the due process of law prohibition, it submitted for decision. As found by the Audit Team,
would be necessary to consider an the list of case titles submitted by the Local Civil
office as property. It is, however, well Registrars of Manila and Quezon City are not found in
settled in the United States, that a the list of cases filed, pending or decided in RTC,
public office is not property within Branch 15, Shariff Aguak, nor in the records of the
the sense of the constitutional Office of the Clerk of Court of the Regional Trial
guaranties of due process of law, Court,Cotabato City. In other words, Judge Indar, who
but is a public trust or had sworn to faithfully uphold the law, issued decisions
agency.17 (Emphasis supplied) on the questioned annulment of marriage cases,
without any showing that such cases underwent trial
and complied with the statutory and jurisprudential
In this case, Judge Indar was given ample opportunity requisites for voiding marriages. Such act undoubtedly
to controvert the charges against him. While there is constitutes gross misconduct.
no proof that Judge Indar personally received the
notices of hearing issued by the Investigating Justices, The Court condemns Judge Indars reprehensible act of
the first two notices of hearing were received by one issuing Decisions that voided marital unions, without
Mustapha Randang of the Clerk of Court, RTC- conducting any judicial proceedings. Such malfeasance
Cotabato, while one of the notices was received by a not only makes a mockery of marriage and its life-
certain Mrs. Asok, who were presumably authorized changing consequences but likewise grossly violates
and capable to receive notices on behalf of the basic norms of truth, justice, and due process. Not
Judge Indar. only that, Judge Indars gross misconduct greatly
undermines the peoples faith in the judiciary and
Further, Judge Indar cannot feign ignorance of the betrays public trust and confidence in the courts.
administrative investigation against him because aside Judge Indarsutter lack of moral fitness has no place in
from the fact that the Courts Resolution suspending the Judiciary. JudgeIndar deserves nothing less than
him was mailed to him, his preventive suspension was dismissal from the service.
as a member of the Bar, in accordance with AM. No.
The Court defines dishonesty as: 02-9-02-SC.30This Resolution entitled Re: Automatic
Conversion of Some Administrative Cases Against
x x x a disposition to lie, cheat, Justices of the Court of Appeals and
deceive, or defraud; untrustworthiness; the Sandiganbayan; Judges of Regular and Special
lack of integrity; lack of honesty, Courts; and Court Officials Who are Lawyers as
probity or integrity in principle; lack of Disciplinary Proceedings Against Them Both as Such
fairness and straightforwardness; Officials and as Members of the Philippine Bar,
disposition to defraud, deceive or provides:
betray.24
Some administrative cases
In this case, Judge Indar issued Decisions on
against Justices of the Court of
numerousannulment of marriage cases when in fact he
Appeals and
did not conduct any judicial proceedings on the cases.
the Sandiganbayan; judges of regular
Not even the filing of the petitions occurred.
and special courts; and the court
Judge Indar made it appear in his Decisions that the
officials who are lawyersare based on
annulment cases complied with the stringent
grounds which are likewise
requirements of the Rules of Court and the strict
grounds for the disciplinary action
statutory and jurisprudential conditions for voiding
of members of the Bar for violation
marriages, when quite the contrary is true, violating
of the Lawyers Oath, the Code of
Canon 3 of the Code of Judicial Conduct which
Professional Responsibility, and the
mandates that a judge perform official duties honestly.
Canons of Professional Ethics, or for
such other forms of breaches of
As found by the Audit Team, the list of cases submitted
conduct that have been traditionally
by the Local Civil Registrars of Manila and Quezon City
recognized as grounds for the discipline
do not appear in the records of cases received,
of lawyers.
pending, or disposed by RTC-Shariff Aguak, Branch 15,
which Judge Indar presided. The cases do not likewise
exist in the docket books of the Office of the Clerk of In any of the foregoing instances,
Court, RTC-Cotabato. The Audit Team also noted that the administrative case shall also
the case numbers in the list are not within the series of be considered a disciplinary action
case numbers recorded in the docket books of either against the
RTC-Shariff Aguak or RTC-Cotabato. respondent justice, judge or court
official concerned as a member of the
Moreover, Judge Jabido, Acting Presiding Judge of Bar. The respondent may forthwith be
RTC-ShariffAguak, Branch 15, verified the records of required to comment on the complaint
the trial court and found nothing to show that and show cause why he should not also
proceedings were had on the questioned annulment be suspended, disbarred or otherwise
cases. There was nothing in the records to show that disciplinary sanctioned as a member of
(1) petitions were filed; (2) docket fees were paid; (3) the Bar. Judgment in both respects
the parties were notified of hearings; (4) hearings may be incorporated in one
were calendared and actually held; (5) stenographic decision or resolution. (Emphasis
notes of the proceedings were taken; and (6) the cases supplied)
were submitted for decision.

Among the questioned annulment decrees is Indisputably, Judge Indars gross misconduct and
Judge IndarsDecision dated 23 May 2007, in Spec. dishonesty likewise constitute a breach of the following
Proc. No. 06-581, entitledChona Chanco Aguiling v. Canons of the Code of Professional Responsibility:
Alan V. Aguiling. Despite the fact that no proceedings
were conducted in the case, Judge Indardeclared CANON 1 - A LAWYER SHALL UPHOLD
categorically, in response to the Australian Embassy THE CONSTITUTION, OBEY THE LAWS
letter, that the Decision annulling the marriage is valid OF THE LAND AND PROMOTE RESPECT
and that petitioner is free to marry. In effect, FOR LAW AND FOR LEGAL PROCESSES.
Judge Indar confirms the truthfulness of the contents
of the annulment decree, highlighting Rule 1.01 - A lawyer shall not engage
Judge Indars appalling dishonesty. in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or
deceitful act.

The Court notes that this is not Judge Indars first CANON 7 - A LAWYER SHALL AT ALL
offense. InA.M. No. RTJ-05-1953,25 the Court imposed TIMES UPHOLD THE INTEGRITY AND
on him a fine ofP10,000 for violating Section 5, Rule 58 DIGNITY OF THE LEGAL PROFESSION.
of the Rules of Court, when he issued a preliminary
injunction without any hearing and prior notice to the In addition, Judge Indars dishonest act of issuing
parties. In another case, A.M. No. RTJ-07-2069,26 the decisions making it appear that the annulment cases
Court found him guilty of gross misconduct for underwent trial and complied with the Rules of Court,
committing violations of the Code of Judicial Conduct laws, and established jurisprudence violates the
and accordingly fined him P25,000. lawyers oath to do no falsehood, nor consent to the
doing of any in court. Such violation is also a ground
Since this is Judge Indars third offense, showing the for disbarment. Section 27, Rule 138 of the Rules of
depravity of his character and aggravating27 the Court provides:
serious offenses of gross misconduct and
dishonesty,28 the Court imposes on Judge Indarthe
ultimate penalty of dismissal from the service, with its SEC. 27. Disbarment and suspension of
accessory penalties, pursuant to Section 11, Rule 140 attorneys by Supreme Court,
of the Rules of Court.29 grounds therefor. - A member of the
bar may be disbarred or suspended
This administrative case against Judge Indar shall also from his office as attorney by the
be considered as a disciplinary proceeding against him Supreme Court for any deceit,
malpractice, or other gross misconduct
in such office, grossly immoral principles but should also accord
conduct, or by reason of his conviction continuing fidelity to them. The
of a crime involving moral requirement of good moral
turpitude, or for any violation of the character is of much greater
oath which he is required to take import, as far as the general public
before admission to practice, or for a is concerned, than the possession
willful disobedience of any lawful order of legal learning. (Emphasis
of a superior court, or for corruptly or supplied)
willfully appearing as an attorney for a
party to a case without authority so to
do. The practice of soliciting cases at Considering that Judge Indar is guilty of gross
law for the purpose of gain, either misconduct and dishonesty, constituting violations of
personally or through paid agents or the Lawyers Oath, and Canons 1 and 7 and Rule 1.01
brokers, constitutes malpractice. of the Code of Professional Responsibility,
(Emphasis supplied) Judge Indar deserves disbarment.

In so far as Atty. Silongan, is concerned, we adopt


In Samson v. Caballero,31 where the Court JusticeBorretas recommendation to conduct an
automatically disbarred the respondent judge, investigation on her alleged participation in the
pursuant to the provisions ofAM. No. 02-9-02-SC, the authentication of the questioned Decisions.
Court held:
WHEREFORE, the Court finds respondent
Under the same rule, a respondent Judge Cader P.Indar, Al Haj, Presiding Judge of the
may forthwith be required to comment RTC, Branch 14, CotabatoCity and Acting Presiding
on the complaint and show cause why Judge of the RTC, Branch
he should not also be suspended, 15, ShariffAguak, Maguindanao, guilty of Gross
disbarred or otherwise disciplinary Misconduct and Dishonesty for which he
sanctioned as member of the Bar. The is DISMISSED from the service, with forfeiture of all
rule does not make it mandatory, benefits due him, except accrued leave benefits, if any,
before respondent may be held liable with prejudice to re-employment in any branch of the
as a member of the bar, that government, including government-owned or
respondent be required to comment on controlled corporations.
and show cause why he should not be
disciplinary sanctioned as a lawyer Judge Indar is likewise DISBARRED for violation of
separately from the order for him to Canons 1 and 7 and Rule 1.01 of the Code of
comment on why he should not be held Professional Responsibility and his name ORDERED
administratively liable as a member of STRICKEN from the Roll of Attorneys.
the bench. In other words, an order to
comment on the complaint is an order Let a copy of this Decision be entered into
to give an explanation on why he Judge Indars record as a member of the bar and notice
should not be held administratively of the same be served on the Integrated Bar of the
liable not only as a member of the Philippines and on the Office of the Court Administrator
bench but also as a member of the bar. for circulation to all courts in the country.
This is the fair and reasonable meaning
of automatic conversion of The Office of the Court Administrator is ORDERED to
administrative cases against justices investigate Atty. Umaima L. Silongan, Acting Clerk of
and judges to disciplinary proceedings Court of the Regional Trial Court, Cotabato City, on her
against them as lawyers. This will also alleged participation in the authentication of the
serve the purpose of A.M. No. 02-9-02- questioned Decisions on the annulment of marriage
SC to avoid the duplication or cases issued by Judge Indar.
unnecessary replication of actions by
treating an administrative complaint Let copies of this Decision be forwarded to the Local
filed against a member of the bench Civil Registrars of the City of Manila and Quezon City,
also as a disciplinary proceeding the same to form part of the records of Decisions of
against him as a lawyer by mere Judge Indar on the annulment of marriages filed with
operation of the rule. Thus, a their offices.
disciplinary proceeding as a member of This Decision is immediately executory.
the bar is impliedly instituted with the
filing of an administrative case against 436.
a justice of theSandiganbayan, Court of G.R. No. L-28546 July 30, 1975
Appeals and Court of Tax Appeals or a VENANCIO CASTANEDA and NICETAS
judge of a first- or second-level court. HENSON, petitioners,
vs.
It cannot be denied that respondents PASTOR D. AGO, LOURDES YU AGO and THE
dishonesty did not only affect the COURT OF APPEALS,respondents.
image of the judiciary, it also put his Quijano and Arroyo for petitioners.
moral character in serious doubt and Jose M. Luison for respondents.
rendered him unfit to continue in the
practice of law. Possession of good CASTRO, J.:
moral character is not only a The parties in this case, except Lourdes Yu Ago, have
prerequisite to admission to the bar been commuting to this Court for more than a decade.
but also a continuing requirement to In 1955 the petitioners VenancioCastañeda and Nicetas
the practice of law. If the practice of Henson filed a replevin suit against Pastor Ago in the
law is to remain an honorable Court of First Instance of Manila to recover certain
profession and attain its basic ideals, machineries (civil case 27251). In 1957 judgment was
those counted within its ranks should rendered in favor of the plaintiffs, ordering Ago to
not only master its tenets and return the machineries or pay definite sums of money.
Ago appealed, and on June 30, 1961 this Court, in Ago The Ago spouses repaired once more to the Court of
vs. Castañeda, L-14066, affirmed the judgment. After Appeals where they filed another petition
remand, the trial court issued on August 25, 1961 a for certiorari and prohibition with preliminary injunction
writ of execution for the sum of P172,923.87. Ago (CA-G.R. 39438-R). The said court gave due course to
moved for a stay of execution but his motion was the petition and granted preliminary injunction. After
denied, and levy was made on Ago's house and lots hearing, it rendered decision, the dispositive portion of
located in Quezon City. The sheriff then advertised which reads:
them for auction sale on October 25, 1961. Ago moved WHEREFORE, writ of preliminary
to stop the auction sale, failing in which he filed a injunction from enforcement of the writ
petition for certiorari with the Court of Appeals. The of possession on and ejectment from
appellate court dismissed the petition and Ago the one-half share in the properties
appealed. On January 31,1966 this Court, in Ago vs. involved belonging to Lourdes Yu Ago
Court of Appeals, et al., L-19718, affirmed the dated June 15, 1967 is made
dismissal. Ago thrice attempted to obtain a writ of permanent pending decision on the
preliminary injunction to restrain the sheriff from merits in Civil Case No. Q-7986 and
enforcing the writ of execution "to save his family ordering respondent Court to proceed
house and lot;" his motions were denied, and the with the trial of Civil Case No. Q-7986
sheriff sold the house and lots on March 9, 1963 to the on the merits without unnecessary
highest bidders, the petitioners Castañeda and Henson. delay. No pronouncement as to costs.
Ago failed to redeem, and on April 17, 1964 the sheriff Failing to obtain reconsideration, the petitioners
executed the final deed of sale in favor of the vendees Castañeda and Henson filed the present petition for
Castañeda and Henson. Upon their petition, the Court review of the aforesaid decision.
of First Instance of Manila issued a writ of possession 1. We do not see how the doctrine that a court may
to the properties. not interfere with the orders of a co-equal court can
However, on May 2, 1964 Pastor Ago, now joined by apply in the case at bar. The Court of First Instance of
his wife, Lourdes Yu Ago, as his co-plaintiff, filed a Manila, which issued the writ of possession, ultimately
complaint in the Court of First Instance ofQuezon was not interfered with by its co-equal court, the Court
City (civil case Q-7986) to annul the sheriff's sale on of First Instance of Quezon City as the latter lifted the
the ground that the obligation of Pastor Ago upon restraining order it had previously issued against the
which judgment was rendered against him in the enforcement of the Manila court's writ of possession; it
replevin suit was his personal obligation, and that is the Court of Appeals that enjoined, in part, the
Lourdes Yu Ago's one-half share in their conjugal enforcement of the writ.
residential house and lots which were levied upon and 2. Invoking Comilang vs. Buendia, et al., 1 where the
sold by the sheriff could not legally be reached for the wife was a party in one case and the husband was a
satisfaction of the judgment. They alleged in their party in another case and a levy on their conjugal
complaint that wife Lourdes was not a party in the properties was upheld, the petitioners would have
replevin suit, that the judgment was rendered and the Lourdes Yu Ago similarly bound by the replevin
writ of execution was issued only against husband judgment against her husband for which their conjugal
Pastor, and that wife Lourdes was not a party to her properties would be answerable. The case invoked is
husband's venture in the logging business which failed not at par with the present case. In Comilang the
and resulted in the replevin suit and which did not actions were admittedly instituted for the protection of
benefit the conjugal partnership. the common interest of the spouses; in the present
The Court of First Instance of Quezon City issued an ex case, the Agos deny that their conjugal partnership
parte writ of preliminary injunction restraining the benefited from the husband's business venture.
petitioners, the Register of Deeds and the sheriff of 3. Relying upon Omnas vs. Rivera, 67 Phil. 419, the
Quezon City, from registering the latter's final deed of Court of Appeals held that a writ of possession may not
sale, from cancelling the respondents' certificates of issue until the claim of a third person to half-interest in
title and issuing new ones to the petitioners and from the property is adversely determined, the said
carrying out any writ of possession. A situation thus appellate court assuming that Lourdes Yu Ago was a
arose where what the Manila court had ordered to be "stranger" or a "third-party" to her husband. The
done, the Quezon City court countermanded. On assumption is of course obviously wrong, for, besides
November 1, 1965, however, the latter court lifted the living with her husband Pastor, she does not claim
preliminary injunction it had previously issued, and the ignorance of his business that failed, of the relevant
Register of deeds of Quezon City cancelled the cases in which he got embroiled, and of the auction
respondents' certificates of title and issued new ones in sale made by the sheriff of their conjugal properties.
favor of the petitioners. But enforcement of the writ of Even then, the ruling in Omnas is not that a writ of
possession was again thwarted as the Quezon City possession may not issue until the claim of a third
court again issued a temporary restraining order which person is adversely determined, but that the writ of
it later lifted but then re-restored. On May 3, 1967 the possession being a complement of the writ of
court finally, and for the third time, lifted the execution, a judge with jurisdiction to issue the latter
restraining order. also has jurisdiction to issue the former, unless in the
While the battle on the matter of the lifting and interval between the judicial sale and the issuance of
restoring of the restraining order was being fought in the writ of possession, the rights of third parties to the
the Quezon City court, the Agos filed a petition for property sold have supervened. The ruling in Omnas is
certiorari and prohibition with this Court under date of clearly inapplicable in the present case, for, here, there
May 26, 1966, docketed as L-26116, praying for a writ has been no change in the ownership of the properties
of preliminary injunction to enjoin the sheriff from or of any interest therein from the time the writ of
enforcing the writ of possession. This Court found no execution was issued up to the time writ of possession
merit in the petition and dismissed it in a minute was issued, and even up to the present.
resolution on June 3, 1966; reconsideration was denied 4. We agree with the trial court (then presided by
on July 18, 1966. The respondents then filed on August Judge Lourdes P. San Diego) that it is much too late in
2, 1966 a similar petition for certiorari and prohibition the day for the respondents Agos to raise the question
with the Court of Appeals (CA-G.R. 37830-R), praying that part of the property is unleviable because it
for the same preliminary injunction. The Court of belongs to Lourdes Yu Ago, considering that (1) a wife
Appeals also dismissed the petition. The respondents is normally privy to her husband's activities; (2) the
then appealed to this Court (L-27140).1äwphï1.ñët We levy was made and the properties advertised for
dismissed the petition in a minute resolution on auction sale in 1961; (3) she lives in the very
February 8, 1967. properties in question; (4) her husband had moved to
stop the auction sale; (5) the properties were sold at a virtuoso of technicality in the conduct of litigation
auction in 1963; (6) her husband had thrice attempted instead of a true exponent of the primacy of truth and
to obtain a preliminary injunction to restrain the sheriff moral justice.
from enforcing the writ of execution; (7) the sheriff A counsel's assertiveness in espousing
executed the deed of final sale on April 17, 1964 when with candour and honesty his client's
Pastor failed to redeem; (8) Pastor had impliedly cause must be encouraged and is to be
admitted that the conjugal properties could be levied commended; what we do not and
upon by his pleas "to save his family house and lot" in cannot countenance is a lawyer's
his efforts to prevent execution; and (9) it was only on insistence despite the patent futility of
May 2, 1964 when he and his wife filed the complaint his client's position, as in the case at
for annulment of the sheriff's sale upon the issue that bar.
the wife's share in the properties cannot be levied It is the duty of a counsel to advise his
upon on the ground that she was not a party to the client, ordinarily a layman to the
logging business and not a party to the replevin suit. intricacies and vagaries of the law, on
The spouses Ago had every opportunity to raise the the merit or lack of merit of his case. If
issue in the various proceedings hereinbefore he finds that his client's cause is
discussed but did not; laches now effectively bars them defenseless, then it is his bounden
from raising it. duty to advise the latter to acquiesce
Laches, in a general sense, is failure or and submit, rather than traverse the
neglect, for an unreasonable and incontrovertible. A lawyer must resist
unexplained length of time, to do that the whims and caprices of his client,
which, by exercising due diligence, and temper his clients propensity to
could or should have been done litigate. A lawyer's oath to uphold the
earlier; it is negligence or omission to cause of justice is superior to his duty
assert a right within a reasonable time, to his client; its primacy is
warranting a presumption that the indisputable. 7
party entitled to assert it either has 7. In view of the private respondents' propensity to
abandoned it or declined to assert it. 2 use the courts for purposes other than to seek justice,
5. The decision of the appellate court under review and in order to obviate further delay in the disposition
suffers from two fatal infirmities. of the case below which might again come up to the
(a) It enjoined the enforcement of the writ of appellate courts but only to fail in the end, we
possession to and ejectment from the one-half share in have motuproprio examined the record of civil case Q-
the properties involved belonging to Lourdes Yu Ago. 7986 (the mother case of the present case). We find
This half-share is not in esse, but is merely an inchoate that
interest, a mere expectancy, constituting neither legal (a) the complaint was filed on May 2, 1964 (more than
nor equitable estate, and will ripen into title when only 11 years ago) but trial on the merits has not even
upon liquidation and settlement there appears to be started;
assets of the community. 3 The decision sets at naught (b) after the defendants Castañedas had filed their
the well-settled rule that injunction does not issue to answer with a counterclaim, the plaintiffs Agos filed a
protect a right not in esse and which may never arise. 4 supplemental complaint where they impleaded new
(b) The decision did not foresee the absurdity, or even parties-defendants;
the impossibility, of its enforcement. The Ago spouses (c) after the admission of the supplemental complaint,
admittedly live together in the same house 5which is the Agos filed a motion to admit an amended
conjugal property. By the Manila court's writ of supplemental complaint, which impleads an additional
possession Pastor could be ousted from the house, but new party-defendant (no action has yet been taken on
the decision under review would prevent the ejectment this motion);
of Lourdes. Now, which part of the house would be (d) the defendants have not filed an answer to the
vacated by Pastor and which part would Lourdes admitted supplemental complaint; and
continue to stay in? The absurdity does not stop here; (e) the last order of the Court of First Instance, dated
the decision would actually separate husband and wife, April 20, 1974, grants an extension to the suspension
prevent them from living together, and in effect divide of time to file answer. (Expediente, p. 815)
their conjugal properties during coverture and before We also find that the alleged causes of action in the
the dissolution of the conjugal union. complaint, supplemental complaint and amended
6. Despite the pendency in the trial court of the supplemental complaint are all untenable, for the
complaint for the annulment of the sheriff's sale (civil reasons hereunder stated. The Complaint
case Q-7986), elementary justice demands that the Upon the first cause of action, it is alleged that the
petitioners, long denied the fruits of their victory in the sheriff levied upon conjugal properties of the spouses
replevin suit, must now enjoy them, for, the Ago despite the fact that the judgment to be satisfied
respondents Agos, abetted by their lawyer Jose M. was personal only to Pastor Ago, and the business
Luison, have misused legal remedies and prostituted venture that he entered into, which resulted in the
the judicial process to thwart the satisfaction of the replevin suit, did not redound to the benefit of the
judgment, to the extended prejudice of the petitioners. conjugal partnership. The issue here, which is whether
The respondents, with the assistance of counsel, or not the wife's inchoate share in the conjugal
maneuvered for fourteen (14) years to doggedly resist property is leviable, is the same issue that we have
execution of the judgment thru manifold tactics in and already resolved, as barred by laches, in striking down
from one court to another (5 times in the Supreme the decision of the Court of Appeals granting
Court). preliminary injunction, the dispositive portion of which
We condemn the attitude of the respondents and their was herein-before quoted. This ruling applies as well to
counsel who, the first cause of action of the complaint.
far from viewing courts as sanctuaries Upon the second cause of action, the Agos allege that
for those who seek justice, have tried on January 5, 1959 the Castañedas and the sheriff,
to use them to subvert the very ends pursuant to an alias writ of seizure, seized and took
of justice.6 possession of certain machineries, depriving the Agos
Forgetting his sacred mission as a sworn public servant of the use thereof, to their damage in the sum of
and his exalted position as an officer of the court, Atty. P256,000 up to May 5, 1964. This second cause of
Luison has allowed himself to become an instigator of action fails to state a valid cause of action for it fails to
controversy and a predator of conflict instead of a allege that the order of seizure is invalid or illegal.
mediator for concord and a conciliator for compromise,
It is averred as a third cause of action that the sheriff's acquired them also in bad faith, while
sale of the conjugal properties was irregular, illegal VenancioCastañeda and Nicetas Henson in bad faith
and unlawful because the sheriff did not require the sold the two other parcels to Juan Quijano (60%) and
Castañeda spouses to pay or liquidate the sum of Eloy Ocampo (40%) who acquired them in bad faith
P141,750 (the amount for which they bought the and with knowledge that the properties are the subject
properties at the auction sale) despite the fact that of a pending litigation.
there was annotated at the back of the certificates of Discussion on The Causes of Action
title a mortgage of P75,000 in favor of the Philippine of The Supplemental Complaint And
National Bank; moreover, the sheriff sold the The Amended Supplemental Complaint
properties for P141,750 despite the pendency of L- Assuming hypothetically as true the allegations in the
19718 where Pastor Ago contested the amount of first cause of action of the supplemental complaint and
P99,877.08 out of the judgment value of P172,923.37 the amended supplemental complaint, the validity of
in civil case 27251; and because of said acts, the Agos the cause of action would depend upon the validity of
suffered P174,877.08 in damages. the first cause of action of the original complaint, for,
Anent this third cause of action, the sheriff was under the Agos would suffer no transgression upon their
no obligation to require payment of the purchase price rights of ownership and possession of the properties by
in the auction sale because "when the purchaser is the reason of the agreements subsequently entered into by
judgment creditor, and no third-party claim has been the Castañedas and their lawyer if the sheriff's levy
filed, he need not pay the amount of the bid if it does and sale are valid. The reverse is also true: if the
not exceed the amount of his judgment." (Sec. 23, sheriff's levy and sale are invalid on the ground that
Rule 39, Rules of Court) the conjugal properties could not be levied upon, then
The annotated mortgage in favor of the PNB is the the transactions would perhaps prejudice the Agos,
concern of the vendees Castañedas but did not affect but, we have already indicated that the issue in the
the sheriff's sale; the cancellation of the annotation is first cause of action of the original complaint is barred
of no moment to the Agoo. by laches, and it must therefore follow that the first
Case L-19718 where Pastor Ago contested the sum of cause of action of the supplemental complaint and the
P99,877.08 out of the amount of the judgment was amended supplemental complaint is also barred.
dismissed by this Court on January 31, 1966. For the same reason, the same holding applies to the
This third cause of action, therefore, actually states no remaining cause of action in the supplemental
valid cause of action and is moreover barred by prior complaint and the amended supplemental complaint.
judgment. ACCORDINGLY, the decision of the Court of Appeals
The fourth cause of action pertains to moral damages under review is set aside. Civil case Q-7986 of the
allegedly suffered by the Agos on account of the acts Court of First Instance of Rizal is ordered dismissed,
complained of in the preceding causes of action. As the without prejudice to the re-filing of the petitioners'
fourth cause of action derives its life from the counterclaim in a new and independent action. Treble
preceding causes of action, which, as shown, are costs are assessed against the spouses Pastor Ago and
baseless, the said fourth cause of action must Lourdes Yu Ago, which shall be paid by their lawyer,
necessarily fail. Atty. Jose M. Luison. Let a copy of this decision be
The Counterclaim made a part of the personal file of Atty. Luison in the
As a counterclaim against the Agos, the Castañedas custody of the Clerk of Court.
aver that the action was unfounded and as a Makasiar, Esguerra, Muñoz Palma and Martin, JJ.,
consequence of its filing they were compelled to retain concur.
the services of counsel for not less than P7,500; that Teehankee, J., is on leave.
because the Agos obtained a preliminary injunction
enjoining the transfer of titles and possession of the A.C. No. L-1117 March 20, 1944
properties to the Castañedas, they were unlawfully THE DIRECTOR OF RELIGIOUS AFFAIRS,
deprived of the use of the properties from April 17, complainant,
1964, the value of such deprived use being 20% vs.
annually of their actual value; and that the filing of the ESTANISLAO R. BAYOT, respondent.
unfounded action besmirched their feelings, the Office of the Solicitor General De la Costa and Solicitor
pecuniary worth of which is for the court to assess. Feria for complainant.
The Supplemental Complaint Francisco Claravall for respondent.
Upon the first cause of action, it is alleged that after OZAETA, J.:
the filing of the complaint, the defendants, taking The respondent, who is an attorney-at-law, is charged
advantage of the dissolution of the preliminary with malpractice for having published an advertisement
injunction, in conspiracy and with gross bad faith and in the Sunday Tribune of June 13, 1943, which reads
evident intent to cause damage to the plaintiffs, as follows:
caused the registration of the sheriff's final deed of Marriage
sale; that, to cause more damage, the defendants sold license promptly secured thru our assistance &
to their lawyer and his wife two of the parcels of land the annoyance of delay or publicity avoided if
in question; that the purchasers acquired the desired, and marriage arranged to wishes of
properties in bad faith; that the defendants mortgaged parties. Consultation on any matter free for the
the two other parcels to the Rizal Commercial Banking poor. Everything confidential.
Corporation while the defendants' lawyer and his wife Legal assistance
also mortgaged the parcels bought by them to the service
Rizal Commercial Bank; and that the bank also acted 12 Escolta, Manila,
in bad faith. Room, 105
The second cause of action consists of an allegation of Tel. 2-41-60.
additional damages caused by the defendants' bad
Appearing in his own behalf, respondent at first denied
faith in entering into the aforesaid agreements and
having published the said advertisement; but
transactions.
subsequently, thru his attorney, he admitted having
The Amended Supplemental Complaint
caused its publication and prayed for "the indulgence
The amendment made pertains to the first cause of
and mercy" of the Court, promising "not to repeat such
action of the supplemental complaint, which is, the
professional misconduct in the future and to abide
inclusion of a paragraph averring that, still to cause
himself to the strict ethical rules of the law profession."
damage and prejudice to the plaintiffs, Atty. & Mrs.
In further mitigation he alleged that the said
Juan Quijano, in bad faith sold the two parcels of land
advertisement was published only once in
they had previously bought to Eloy Ocampo who
the Tribune and that he never had any case at law by additional evidence, which was, however, opposed by
reason thereof. complainant's counsel on the ground that respondent
Upon that plea the case was submitted to the Court for is resorting to dilatory tactics. At the hearing of
decision. September 2, 1977, complainant and respondent
It is undeniable that the advertisement in question was appeared and the Court set the hearing of the case for
a flagrant violation by the respondent of the ethics of the purpose of reception of additional evidence before
his profession, it being a brazen solicitation of business its Legal Officer-Investigator.
from the public. Section 25 of Rule 127 expressly Meanwhile, on September 7, 1979, the Court, speaking
provides among other things that "the practice of through Justice Felix Antonio, severely REPRIMANDED
soliciting cases at law for the purpose of gain, either respondent Dionisio Ramos, with warning that a
personally or thru paid agents or brokers, constitutes repetition of the same overt act may warrant his
malpractice." It is highly unethical for an attorney to suspension or disbarment from the practice of
advertise his talents or skill as a merchant advertises law. 4 The reprimand was administered because
his wares. Law is a profession and not a trade. The respondent used the name "Pedro Dionisio Ramos" in
lawyer degrades himself and his profession who stoops connection with Criminal Case No. 35906. He averred
to and adopts the practices of mercantilism by that he had a right to do so because in his Birth
advertising his services or offering them to the public. Certificate his name is "Pedro Dionisio Ramos," and his
As a member of the bar, he defiles the temple of parents are Pedro Ramos and Carmen Dayaw, and that
justice with mercenary activities as the money- the D.D. in "Pedro DD Ramos" is but an abbreviation of
changers of old defiled the temple of Jehovah. "The "DionisioDayaw" his other given name and maternal
most worth and effective advertisement possible, even surname. The Court opined that respondent in effect
for a young lawyer, . . . is the establishment of a well- resorted to deception. He demonstrated "lack of candor
merited reputation for professional capacity and fidelity in dealing with the courts."
to trust. This cannot be forced but must be the At the hearing of October 23, 1979, Solicitor Celia
outcome of character and conduct." (Canon 27, Code Reyes appeared submitting the decision of the Court of
of Ethics.) First Instance of Manila, Branch XXI, in Criminal Case
In In re Tagorda, 53 Phil., the respondent attorney was No. 15528, acquitting respondent of the charges of
suspended from the practice of law for the period of bigamy on grounds of insufficiency of evidence, for
one month for advertising his services and soliciting having contracted the second marriage with the
work from the public by writing circular letters. That complainant.
case, however, was more serious than this because On January 15, 1980, the Legal Officer-Investigator
there the solicitations were repeatedly made and were submitted his report concurring in the findings of the
more elaborate and insistent. Solicitor General, although he recommended a penalty
Considering his plea for leniency and his promise not of a minimum five-year suspension from the practice
to repeat the misconduct, the Court is of the opinion of law, with prospect for the imposition of a total
and so decided that the respondent should be, as he disbarment from the practice of law, as the Court finds
hereby is, reprimanded. fit and appropriate. 5
Yulo, C.J., Moran, Horrilleno, Paras and Bocobo, On February 27, 1981, counsel for complainant filed its
JJ., concur. motion to expedite disposition of the case, further
A.M. No. 1053 August 31, 1981 alleging that respondent Ramos is still using the name
SANTA PANGAN, complainant, of Pedro Dionisio Ramos and PDD Ramos in two
vs. pleadings filed before the Court of First Instance of
ATTY. DIONISIO RAMOS, respondent. Manila, disregarding the Resolution of this Court dated
RE S O L U T I O N September 7, 1979. 6 Commenting, respondent
admitted the allegations of complainant's counsel but
DE CASTRO, J.: alleged that he signed the pleadings inadvertently
On November 29, 1971, Santa Pangan filed before this because of poor eyesight.
Court a verified complaint charging respondent Atty. The facts, as found by the Solicitor General who
Dionisio Ramos with gross immorality, the latter investigated the case, and the Legal Officer-
having misrepresented himself as still "single" when he Investigator before whom the additional evidence was
started courting complainant, proposed marriage to presented, are as follows: Respondent was admitted to
her and finally succeeded in marrying her even with the Philippine Bar in 1964. He was legally married to
full consciousness that his first marriage to his first and living with EdithaEncarnado the marriage with her
wife was still valid and subsisting. 1 (A Criminal Case having been celebrated on September 4, 1963. Both
for bigamy was also filed by the complainant against complainant and respondent were officemates in the
the respondent in the Court of First Instance of Manila, Office of Councilor LitoPuyat, City Hall, Manila since
Branch XXI, docketed as Criminal Case No. 15528). 1967. With the convenience thus offered, respondent,
In his answer to the complaint, respondent denied the representing himself to be "single," began courting
material allegations thereof for being without legal or complainant, proposed civil marriage to her to be later
factual basis. He prayed for the dismissal of the followed with a church celebration after which they will
complaint for failure to state cause of action against live together as husband and wife. From January 1968
respondent. 2 to February 1971, they had carnal knowledge of each
The case was referred to the Office of the Solicitor other in various hotels in Manila, particularly the
General for report, investigation and recommendation. Golden Gate Motel and Salem Motel. Sometime in June
On June 1, 1976, the Solicitor General submitted his 1970, complainant informed respondent that she was
report finding respondent Ramos guilty as charged, pregnant. Whereupon, both agreed to get a quick
with a recommendation for suspension from the marriage. Accordingly, complainant and respondent
practice of law for a period of three (3) years, pursuant filed their respective applications for a marriage license
to Section 7, Rule 138 of the Rules of (Exhs. "H", "H-1" and "H-2") and based thereon, they
Court. 3Subsequently, the corresponding complaint for obtained a marriage license issued on June 16, 1970
his suspension from the practice of law was filed. (Exh. "D") and celebrated their marriage before
On September 13, 1976, respondent filed his answer Minister Isidro Dizon on June 18, 1970 (Exh. "B").
to the complaint and moved for the appointment of a After the marriage, complainant and respondent
commissioner to hear and take additional evidence in agreed to have a church marriage before they live
his behalf, which, however, was denied by the Court together as husband and wife, although they continued
per its Resolution of October 6, 1976. At the hearing of to have sexual trysts. Respondent was invited by
February 25, 1977, respondent, acting as counsel for complainant to meet the latter's mother to whom
his own behalf, moved for the presentation of respondent expressed his desire to marry complainant,
to which proposal complainant's mother agreed, Respondent, however, submits that having been
provided respondent bring his parents with him to ask acquitted by the Court of First Instance of Manila,
for complainant's hand. Several weeks had passed and Branch XXI, of the charge of bigamy, the immorality
respondent failed to bring his parents to complainant's charges filed against him in this disbarment case
home. Complainant and her mother became should be dismissed. The acquittal of respondent
suspicious. They made inquiries about the personal Ramos upon the criminal charge is not a bar to these
status of respondent and they ultimately discovered proceedings. The standards of legal profession are not
that respondent was already married to one satisfied by conduct which merely enables one to
EdithaEncarnado (Exhs. "C" and "E"). After discovering escape the penalties of the criminal law. Moreover, this
that respondent was a married man, complainant Court in disbarment proceedings is acting in an entirely
resigned from her job as receptionist from the office of different capacity from that which courts assume in
Councilor LitoPuyat. She stopped having intimate trying criminal cases. 9
relationship with respondent and because of the This Court has already severely reprimanded
humiliation and embarassment she suffered before her respondent from using a name other than authorized
friends and officemates, she filed the present name in the "Roll of Attorneys" and was warned that a
disbarment case. repetition of the same overt act may warrant his
Upon the other-hand, respondent tried to prove, suspension of disbarment from office in the future.
through his affidavit subscribed before Asst. City Fiscal Notwithstanding such reprimand and warning,
PrimitivoPeñaranda of Manila, that he never however, respondent repeated the same overt act of
misrepresented himself to be "single" and that using an unauthorized name in two pleadings filed
complainant knew at the outset of his married status; before the Court of First Instance of Manila. His
that it was purely complainant's wish to carry on a love explanation that he had done so inadvertently because
affair with him as described in his affidavit; that he of poor eyesight appears unsatisfactory. He should
was threatened and forced to sign blank marriage have employed more caution and prudence in filing
contract forms and applications for marriage license by pleadings before courts considering the fact that he
the brothers of the complainant who are allegedly had already been warned and reprimanded by this
notorious police characters; that his signature in the Court. Respondent's conduct, thus, suggests lack of
marriage contract (Exh. "B") was forged and falsified; candor and respect in his dealing with this Court. He
that the marriage contract was only celebrated as a has violated his oath of office of assuming the duty of
cover-up of the pregnancy of the complainant; and good faith and honorable dealings with the court, of
that the disbarment proceedings were initiated by being respectful to it and of being obedient to its rules
complainant because he refused to elope with and lawful orders.
complainant and abandon his wife EdithaEncarnado In the light of the foregoing, the Court finds that
and he stopped giving her money and avoided seeing respondent committed a grossly immoral act, as found
her again. both by the Solicitor General and this Court's Legal
Upon a review of the record, We are convinced that Officer-Investigator, and as recommended by the
respondent Dionisio Ramos is guilty of grossly immoral Solicitor General, respondent is hereby suspended
conduct which warrants proper action from this Court. from the practice of law for a period of three (3) years,
His own declarations in his affidavit corroborate this for gross immorality, and an additional one (1) year for
imputation of immorality. Thus, in his affidavit his willful disregard of a lawful order against his using
subscribed before Asst. Fiscal Primitive Peñaranda of an unauthorized name, in serious disrespect of this
Manila on Feb. 22, 1967, respondent frankly admitted Court.
having carnal relations with complainant for several SO ORDERED.
times. What is more, respondent claimed that he was Barredo (Chairman), Aquino, Concepcion, Jr. and
threatened and forced by complainant's brothers to Guerrero, * JJ., concur.
celebrate the marriage dated June 18, 1980, but in the Abad Santos, J., is on leave.
same breath, he admitted having carnal affairs with Adm. Case No. 2131 May 10, 1985
complainant after the celebration of the marriage. ADRIANO E. DACANAY, complainant
Worse still, respondent misrepresented his civil status vs.
as "single", courted complainant, proposed marriage to BAKER & MCKENZIE and JUAN G. COLLAS JR.,
her — knowing his legal impediments to marry LUIS MA. GUERRERO, VICENTE A. TORRES,
complainant, respondent's motives were clearly and RAFAEL E. EVANGELISTA, JR., ROMEO L.
grossly immoral — won her confidence and married her SALONGA, JOSE R. SANDEJAS, LUCAS M. NUNAG,
while his first marriage to his present wife still validly J. CLARO TESORO, NATIVIDAD B. KWAN and
subsists. JOSE A. CURAMMENG, JR., respondents.
In Villasanta vs. Peralta, 7 where respondent was Adriano E. Dacanay for and his own behalf.
disbarred because he made love with complainant, Madrid, Cacho, Angeles, Dominguez &Pecson Law
procured the preparation of a false marriage contract Office for respondents.
and arranged a false wedding with complainant while
his first wife was still alive and their marriage still valid AQUINO, J.:
and existing, this Court held: "the act of respondent of Lawyer Adriano E. Dacanay, admitted to the bar in
contracting the second marriage (even his act in 1954, in his 1980 verified complaint, sought to enjoin
making love to another woman while his first wife is Juan G. Collas, Jr. and nine other lawyers from
still alive and their marriage still valid and existing) is practising law under the name of Baker & McKenzie, a
contrary to honesty, justice, decency and morality. law firm organized in Illinois.
Respondent made a mockery of marriage which is a In a letter dated November 16, 1979 respondent
sacred institution demanding respect and dignity." Vicente A. Torres, using the letterhead of Baker &
It is of importance that members of the ancient and McKenzie, which contains the names of the ten
learned profession of law must conform with the lawyers, asked Rosie Clurman for the release of 87
highest standards of morality. As stated in paragraph shares of Cathay Products International, Inc. to H.E.
29 of the Canons of Judicial Ethics: "The lawyer should Gabriel, a client.
aid in guarding the Bar against the admission to the Attorney Dacanay, in his reply dated December 7,
profession of candidates unfit or unqualified because 1979, denied any liability of Clurman to Gabriel. He
deficient in either moral character or education. He requested that he be informed whether the lawyer of
should strive at all times to uphold the honor and to Gabriel is Baker & McKenzie "and if not, what is your
maintain the dignity of the profession and to improve purpose in using the letterhead of another law office."
not only the law but also the administration of Not having received any reply, he filed the instant
justice." 8 complaint.
We hold that Baker & McKenzie, being an alien law
firm, cannot practice law in the Philippines (Sec. 1,
Rule 138, Rules of Court). As admitted by the
respondents in their memorandum, Baker & McKenzie
is a professional partnership organized in 1949 in
Chicago, Illinois with members and associates in 30
cities around the world. Respondents, aside from being
members of the Philippine bar, practising under the
firm name of Guerrero & Torres, are members or
associates of Baker &Mckenzie.
As pointed out by the Solicitor General, respondents'
use of the firm name Baker & McKenzie constitutes a
representation that being associated with the firm they
could "render legal services of the highest quality to
multinational business enterprises and others engaged
in foreign trade and investment" (p. 3, respondents'
memo). This is unethical because Baker & McKenzie is
not authorized to practise law here. (See Ruben E.
Agpalo, Legal Ethics, 1983 Ed., p. 115.)
WHEREFORE, the respondents are enjoined from
practising law under the firm name Baker & McKenzie.
SO ORDERED.
Teehankee, Acting CJ., Makasiar, Abad Santos,
Melencio-Herrera, Escolin, Relova, Gutierrez, Jr., De la
Fuente, Cuevas and Alampay, JJ., concur.
Plana, J., took no part.
Fernando, C.J., and Concepcion, Jr., J., are