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Direct contempt

- no formal charge is necessary and the proceeding is summary in nature.


- NOT APPEALABLE and reviewable only by petition for certiorari

Indirect contempt

- Formal charge file in court and an opportunity to be heard to the person


charged is NECESSARY
- Charge may be made by fiscal, judge or private person.
- A formal information by the prosecuting officer is not necessary

- An order by the court requiring a person to show cause why he should not be
cited for contempt for some contumacious acts and giving him full opportunity
to appear and defend himself is sufficient.

ACTS CONSTITUTINIG CONTEMPT

1. Misbehavior

- A lawyer who misbehaves in the performance of his official duties or in his


official transaction may be punished as for contempt.

2. Disobedience

- May result to an indirect contempt or civil contempt


- However, this requires that the order that was disobeyed or violated be valid
or legal one.

- Moreover, the act which is forbidden or required in the order should be


clearly and exactly defined, so as to leave no reasonable doubt or
uncertainty as to what specific act or thing is prohibited or should be done.

3. Publication concerning pending litigation

- A publication which tends to impede, obstruct, embarrass or influence the


courts in administering justice in a pending suit or proceeding,
constitutes criminal contempt which is summarily punished.

- The court must insist on being permitted to proceed to the disposition of its
business in an orderly manner, free from outside interference obstructive of
its functions and tending to embarrass the administration of justice

- Thus, if there is no action pending, no contempt may be held.


4. Publication tending to degrade the court, disrespectful language in
pleadings

- A publication which tends to bring the court in any way into disrepute
constitutes criminal contempt

- Any act calculated to bring the court into disfavor or destroy public confidence
in it shall be held in contempt

- BUT NOT when his motion for disqualification or the pleading itself is
couched in a respectful language and he is impelled by a justifiable
apprehension.

5. Misleading the court or obstructing justice

- Include the following acts:

a. Making false allegations in a pleadings


b. offering false evidence
c. presenting perjured witness
d. misquoting a decision except when the misquotation is merely the
result of a typographical error

6. Unauthorized practice of law

- The practice of law by one who has been disbarred or suspended therefrom
constitutes contempt of court.

- A person who holds himself out as a lawyer when he is not and a lawyer who
cooperates in the former’s misconduct are both liable for contempt, the
layman for violation of the rule that only members of the bar may practice law
and the lawyer for misbehavior as an officer of the court

7. Belligerent attitude

- contempt of court presupposes a contumacious attitude, a floating or arrogant


belligerence, a defiance of the court.

- Similarly, a finding that an attorney’s attitude toward the court was


“menacing” is a mere conclusion and does not support a judgment for
contempt, absent any specific act from which it may be inferred that his
attitude is menacing.
8. Unlawful retention of client’s funds

- lawyer who unjustly retains in his hands money of his client after it has been
demanded may be punished for contempt as an officer of the court who has
misbehaved in his official transactions.

PENALTY FOR DIRECT CONTEMPT; REMEDY

- In RTC or higher in rank courts, Fine NOT EXCEEDING Php2,000.00


- Summary adjudged in contempt; OR BOTH

- In lower courts, fine not exceeding Php200.00 or Imprisonment not


exceeding one (1) day; OR BOTH

- In appropriate cases, lawyer may be suspended in the practice of law or


fined

- Sec. 2 Rule 71 of Rules of Court provides for the remedy of lawyer held in
direct contempt, to wit:

a. File petition for certiorari or prohibition


-the execution of judgment (contempt) shall be suspended pending
resolution of the said petition

b. Provided, that the lawyer files a bond fixed by court

PENALTY, CHARGE and HEARING FOR INDIRECT CONTEMPT

- Section 3 Rule 71 of the Rules of Court provides:

Requisites
“1) After a charge in writing has been filed, and 2) an opportunity given to the
respondent to comment thereon within such period as may be fixed by the
court and 3) to be heard by himself or counsel”

A person may be held in indirect contempt for the following acts:

1. Misbehavior of an officer of the court in performance of duties


2. Disobedience or resistance to lawful writ, process, order or judgment
3. Abuse or any unlawful interference with proceedings of court
4. Improper conduct tending to degrade or impede administration of
justice
5. Assuming an attorney/officer of court and acting as such without
authority.
6. Failure to obey subpoena
7. Rescue or attempt to rescue person/property which is in custody of an
officer of the court
- The court shall not be prevented from bringing the guilty person before it.
- Indirect contempt is NOT COMMITTED in facie curiae OR in the presence
or near the court or judge as to obstruct the proceedings.

- Section 4, Rule 71 of Rules of Court provides how indirect contempt is


commenced, to wit:

a. Indirect Contempt may be initiated motu proprio (in its own initiative) by
the court through an order or any other charge requiring the person to
show cause why he should not be punished. (Commenced by the court)

b. Commenced by verified petition with CTC of docs or papers involved,


with compliance with requirements in filing initiatory pleadings. [contains:
1. cause of action, 2. certification against non-forum shopping, 3. payment
of filing fees] (Initiated by parties)

- If contempt arose out or related of principal action, but such petition


shall be docketed, heard and decided separately UNLESS the court
orders its consolidation.

- Section 5, Rule 71 of Rules of Court provides where to file

a. If committed before RTC or higher court, may be filed with such court
b. If lower court, may be filed in RTC.

- Section 6, and 7 Rule 71 of the Rules of Court provides penalty

a. In RTC or higher court, fine not exceeding Php30,000.00 or


imprisonment not exceeding six (6 months) OR BOTH

b. In lower court, not exceeding Php5,000.00 or imprisonment not


exceeding one (1 month) OR BOTH

c. In cases of Writ of Injunction, TRO, or status quo order, the guilty


shall make restitution.

Two-Fold Aspect of Power to Contempt

1. the proper punishment of the guilty party for his disrespect to the court or its
order (CRIMINAL CONTEMPT)

2. compel his performance of some act or duty required of him by the court which
he refuses to perform (CIVIL CONTEMPT)
- Criminal contempt: to protect or vindicate the dignity and power of the court,
either fine or by imprisonment

- Civil Contempt: Where the punishment is by fine directed to be paid to a


party in the nature of damages for the wrong inflicted, or by imprisonment as
a coercive measure to enforce the performance of some act for the benefit of
the party or in aid of the final judgment or decree rendered in his behalf

- Contempt of, OR with insult to public authority MAY AGGRAVATE the


offense but it is essential that:

a. that the crime is committed in the presence of a public authority, not


a mere agent of the authorities

b. that the public authority is engaged in the exercise of his functions


and is not the person against whom the crime is committed

CHAPTER 16 – SUSPENSION AND DISBARMENT

- Generally, practice of law is a privilege burdened with conditions

1. Authority to Discipline

- SC has the ultimate disciplinary power over attorneys.

- It may exercise such power even without special statutory basis and in a
manner that will give the party to be disciplined or disbarred a fair opportunity
to be heard.

- The Legislature, in enacting statutes, merely regulate the power to disbar


instead of creating it and that such statutes do not restrict the general power
of the courts over attorney.

- CA and RTC, may only impose, SUSPENSION or LESSER DISCIPLINARY


SANCTION. It cannot disbar a lawyer.

2. Purpose of disciplinary proceedings

- premised on the assumption that members of the bar should be competent,


honorable and reliable, persons in whom courts and clients may repose
confidence.

- To maintain ethical standards of the profession

- Measure which is protective in character


3. Administrative cases against lawyers a class of their own (SUI GENERIS)

- It is distinct and proceed independently of civil and criminal charges. (hence,


prejudicial question does not apply)

- In an administrative case for disbarment, PREPONDERANT EVIDENCE is


only required.

- In disbarment case, the only question is: is “whether a member of the


bar is fit to be allowed the privilege as such or not.”

4. Duty to discipline OR protect lawyers

- SC has the duty to see to it that lawyers are worthy of trust and confidence of
the public.

- Nevertheless, this power SHOULD NOT be exercised in ARBITRARY OR


DESPOTIC MANNER.

- Likewise, it is its duty to protect lawyers from any malicious charge. Like:

a. It may summarily dismiss unfounded complaint.


b. Discipline counsel of the complainant who advised the latter to file
false charges.
c. Censure the complainant for unwarranted action.

GROUNDS FOR DISCIPLINE

- Generally, lawyer may be disciplined for gross misconduct, malpractice, or


unprofessional conduct
.
- “Gross misconduct” means any inexcusable, shameful, flagrant, or unlawful
conduct on the part of the person concerned in the administration of justice
which is prejudicial to the rights of the parties or to the right determination of a
cause. It is an act that it motivated by intentional purpose.

- “Malpractice” malfeasance or dereliction of duty committed by a lawyer

- “Unprofessional conduct” means violates the rules on ethical code of his


profession or which is unbecoming a member of that profession

- Lawyer may be disciplined BEFORE or AFTER admission to practice


- Section 27, Rule 138 of Rules of Court enumerates the grounds for
disbarment or suspension (NOT EXCLUSIVE)

A. DECEIT
B. MALPRACTICE
C. GROSS MISCONDUCT
D. GROSSLY IMMORAL CONDCUT
E. CONVICTION OF CRIME INVOLVING MORAL TURPITUDE
F. VIOLATION OF THE OATH WHICH IS HE IS REQUIRED TO TAKE BEFORE
ADMISSION
G. WILLFUL DISOBEDIENCE OF ANY LAWFUL ORDER OF THE COURT
H. APPEARING AS AN ATTORNEY WITHOUT AUTHORITY TO DO SO
I. SOLICITING LEGAL BUSINESS

- Settled is the rule that a lawyer may be disciplined or suspended for any
misconduct, whether in his professional or private capacity, which shows
him to be wanting in good moral character, honesty, probity, and good
demeanor, as to render him unworthy to continue as an officer of the court.

1. MISCONDUCT BEFORE OR INCIDENT TO ADMISSION

- A lawyer may be disbarred for misrepresentation of or false pretense relative


to the requirements for admission to practice.

REQUISITES FOR DISBARMENT

a. Acts imputed must be so corrupt and false as to constitute criminal act


or so unprincipled as to be highly reprehensible to a high degree

b. Clearly established by preponderant evidence

2. MISCONDUCT COMMITTED OUTSIDE PHILIPPINES JURISDICTION

- Philippine lawyer can only practice law in the Philippines


- But he may be admitted to the bar in a foreign country
- So, if he commits misconduct outside the Philippines, he may still be
disbarred or suspended in this country.
Illustrations (MISCONDUCT OF PHILIPPINE LAWYER OUTSIDE THE PHILIPPINES)

a. Velez v. De Vera

Facts:

- Atty. De Vera is a Philippine lawyer who has admitted to the bar in the State
Bar of California USA
- However, while practicing in the said country, he was found to have been
performed an act of moral turpitude for appropriating for his own benefit the
funds of his client as per careful evaluation of Hearing Department – State
Bar of California, USA.
- Nonetheless, there was no judgment rendered since he was forced to resign
or surrender his license to practice before its rendition.

- Upon his return to the Philippines, he subsequently vied for a certain position
in the IBP

- However, after quite some time a certain Zoilo Velez moved for Atty. De Vera’s
suspension on the ground that the latter concealed the suspension order
rendered against him by the State bar of California.

Issues: W/N the suspension or act of Atty. De Vera constituting moral


turpitude in California should be an applicable basis for his
disbarment/suspension in the Philippines?

Ruling: YES, it was undisputed that Atty. De Vera received that fund and
misappropriated it for his own use. The administrative charge filed by State
Bar of Guam may be taken as a substantial evidence that adequately justifies
conclusion. His act is violative of CPR

b. SUSPENSION FROM THE PRACTICE OF LAW IN THETERRITORY OF GUAM


OF ATTY. LEON G. MAQUERA

Facts:
- Atty. Maquera was admitted in the practice of law in the Philippines in 1958
and in Guam in 1974.

- During the time of his practice in Guam, he was suspended for 2 years to
practice law by the District Court in Guam for having been committed a
misconduct as when he unlawfully acquired his client’s property as payment
for his legal services and eventually sold it to a higher fee.

- Thus, District of Court in Guam informed SC regarding Atty. Maquera’s


suspension. While IBP initially ruled in the negative for the Atty. Maquera’s
suspension, it subsequently made its judgment for his suspension due to
Maquera’s failure to pay IBP dues

Issues: W/N member of the Philippine Bar who was disbarred or suspended from the
practice of law in a foreign jurisdiction may likewise be disbarred or suspended in this
country for the same infraction?

Ruling: YES. The acts done by Atty. Maquera were constitutive of those acts
sanctioned by CPR that a lawyer owes fidelity to his client.

However, it was clarified here that it bears stressing that the Guam Superior
Court'sjudgment ordering Maquera's suspension from the practice of law in Guam does
not automatically result in his suspension or disbarment in the Philippines. Rule
39 Section 48 of Rules of Court provides that foreign judgment is a prima facie
evidence of a right between the parties and that “the judgment of the Superior Court
of Guam only constitutes prima facie evidence of Maquera's unethical acts as a lawyer”

c. Philippine Aluminum Wheels, Inc. v. Fasgi Enterprise, Inc.

Facts:
- FASGI is corporate entity existing under the laws of California, USA
- PAWI is a Philippine registered corporation
- They have entered into a distributorship agreement with FASGI where the
arrangement provided for the purchase and distributorship in the US by
FASGI of Aluminum wheels manufactured by PAWI.
- Later on, the FASGI discovered the product to be defective thus considered
PAWI as having failed to comply with the contract.
- FASGI filed an actin against PAWI in U.S. District Court for breach and claim
for damages.
- Later on, U.S District Court issued a certificate of finality of judgment ordering
in favor of FASGI but with reservation that FASGI should return the wheel it
has received.
- Unable to obtain a satisfactory judgment, FASGI filed case in RTC Makati for
the enforcement of foreign judgment.
- RTC dismissed it since the judgment was obtained through collusion, clear
mistake of law and fraud.
- CA reversed it, ordered full enforcement of foreign judgment.

Issues: W/N the foreign judgment should be enforced in the Phil.

Ruling: YES. A foreign judgment is presumed to be valid and binding in the


country from which it comes, until a contrary showing, on the basis of a
presumption of regularity of proceedings and the giving of due notice in the
foreign forum
d. Espiritu v. Ulep

Facts:

- This involves a case wherein a compromise agreement executed by Espiritu


and a certain Ricardo Maon concerning a criminal action figured between
them.
- It was agreed that Espiritu shall pay Maon Php50k which the former handed
over to his lawyer Atty. Ulep and to pay the same to Maon.
- However, Ulep failed to deliver the same to Maon and avoided talking to
Espiritu.
- This prompted Espiritu to seek assistance from local IBP Chapter which he
successfully obtained as Ulep was subsequently suspended.

Issues: W/N the suspension of Ulep was correct?

Ruling: YES. The relation between attorney and client is highly fiduciary in
nature. Being such, it requires utmost good faith, loyalty, fidelity and
disinterestedness on the part of the attorney. Its fiduciary nature is
intended for the protection of the client.

A lawyer shall hold in trust money and property of his client.

e. RADJAIE vs. ATTY. ALOVERA

Facts: he acts of Attys. Alberto Villaruz and Jose O. Alovera constitute deceit,
malpractice, serious and grave misconduct as
lawyer justifying their suspension from the practice of law and ultimately their
disbarment.
[43]
Based on the foregoing findings, the Bar Confidant recommended the
disbarment of respondent, declaring that it
found more than sufficient evidence to sustain complainant's charge against
respondent that, indeed, the January 30,
1995 decision in Civil Case No. V-6186, which divested complainant of her
property in Panay, Capiz, was penned by
respondent after his retirement from the judiciary on January 31, 1995.
This Court finds the recommendation of the Office of the Bar Confidant to be
well-taken. Respondent has thus
sufficiently demonstrated that he is morally and legally unfit to remain in the
exclusive and honorable fraternity of the legal
profession.
In his long years as a lawyer, respondent has forgotten his sworn pledge as a
lawyer. It is time once again that the
Court inculcate in the hearts of all lawyers that pledge;
Ruling: When the integrity of a member of the bar is challenged, it is not
enough that he denies the charges against him; he must meet the issue and
overcome the evidence against him. He must show proof that he still
maintains that degree of morality and integrity which at all times is
expected of him

f. MORTERA v. ATTY. PAGATPATAN

Facts:

- This case started with the favorable judgment obtained by Mortera et.al
against their debtor concerning their case for rescission of contracts.
- Under the said judgment, MORTERA was to receive the amount of Php155k
from their defendant.
- Thereafter, MORTERA’s counsel in the person of Atty. Pagatpatan, agreed with
a certain Aguilar (one of the debtor/defendants) to accept Php150k as partial
payment
- Atty. Pagatpatan deposited the money to his personal account without
knowledge of MORTERA. Atty. Pagatpatan later on refuses to return the
money despite order from RTC and CA. Hence this disbarment case.

- Atty. Pagatpatan countered that MORTERA owed him although he presented


no evidence of any agreement between him and the complainants for the exact
amount of his compensation.

Issues: W/N act of Atty. Pagatpatan was proper?

Ruling: No. Against CPR

BREACH OF DUTIES TO COURT

- An attorney is an officer of the court whose obligations to the court are more
significant and important than his obligations to his clients

- A lawyer may be: admonished, censured, fined, suspended, disbarred

1. OBSTRUCTING JUSTICE AND ABUSE OF LEGAL PROCESS


It may be in the following forms:

1. Instructing a complaining witness in a criminal action not to appear at the


scheduled hearing so that the case against a client, the accused, would be
dismissed,

2. Asking a client to plead guilty to a crime which the lawyer knows his client
did not commit,

3. Advising a client who is detained for a crime to escape from prison,


4. employing dilatory tactics to frustrate satisfaction of clearly valid claims,
5. prosecuting clearly frivolous cases on appeal to drain the resources of the
other party and compel him to submit out of exhaustion and
6. forum-shopping or filing multiple petitions or complaints for a cause that has
been previously rejected in the false expectation of getting favorable action.