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CODE OF PROFESSIONAL

RESPONSIBILITY
CANNONS 20-22

REPORTER: ANGELO C. GOMORA, LLB-2, LO2


CANON 20: A LAWYER SHALL CHARGE ONLY FAIR AND REASONABLE FEES.

Rule 20.01 - A lawyer shall be guided by the following factors in determining his fees:
a) the time spent and the extent of the service rendered or required;
b) the novelty and difficulty of the questions involved;
c) The importance of the subject matter;
d) The skill demanded;
e) The probability of losing other employment as a result of acceptance of the proffered
case;
f) The customary charges for similar services and the schedule of fees of the IBP chapter
to which he belongs;
g) The amount involved in the controversy and the benefits resulting to the client from
the service;
h) The contingency or certainty of compensation;
i) The character of the employment, whether occasional or established; and
j) The professional standing of the lawyer.
Rule 20.02 - A lawyer shall, in case of referral, with the consent of the
client, be entitled to a division of fees in proportion to the work
performed and responsibility assumed.

Rule 20.03 - A lawyer shall not, without the full knowledge and consent
of the client, accept any fee, reward, costs, commission, interest, rebate
or forwarding allowance or other compensation whatsoever related to
his professional employment from anyone other than the client.

Rule 20.04 - A lawyer shall avoid controversies with clients concerning


his compensation and shall resort to judicial action only to prevent
imposition, injustice or fraud.
1. Del Rosario v. Court of Appeals, 237 SCRA 39

Facts:
A case was filed against De Dios Marikina Transportation Company Inc. filed by
the herein petitioner for the damages the latter sustained from the physical injuries
resulted from the dragging of the petitioner along the asphalted road by the bus
operated by the transport company.

The incident occurred when the bus driver bolted forward at high speed while
petitioner was still clinging on the bus door’s handle bar that causes the latter to lose
his grip and balance. The trial court rendered judgment in favor of the petitioner. On
appeal, the Court of Appeals affirmed in toto the decision of the trial court but lowers
the attorney’s from P33,641.50 to P5,000.00. An appeal for the decision of the CA was
filed but then denied. Thus, this petition.
Issue:
Whether or not the reduction of attorney’s fee by the appellate court is an error
on latter’s part.

Held:
Yes, the reduction of attorney’s fee by the appellate court is an error on latter’s
part. The Supreme Court found the trial court’s reward of attorney’s fee
reasonable due to the time difference from the initiation of the complaint to
the rendering of decision which took four years and six months. Also, the
appearances, no less than twenty, is considered.
Further, the Court and Cannon 20 under Rule 20.01 of CPR have provided various
criteria which, for convenient guidance, we might collate thusly:

a) The quantity and character of the services rendered;


b) the labor, time and trouble involved;
c) the nature and importance of the litigation;
d) the amount of money or the value of the property affected by the controversy;
e) the novelty and difficulty of questions involved;
f) the responsibility imposed on counsel;
g) the skill and experience called for the in the performance of the service;
h) the professional character and social standing of the lawyer;
i) the customary charges of the bar for similar services;
j) the character of employment, whether casual or for established client;
k) whether the fee is absolute or contingent (it being the rule that an attorney may properly
charge a higher fee when it is contingent than when it is absolute); and
l) the results secured.
Case Problem Cannon/s Violated Penalty
Title Area/s Imposed
Del Whether Rule 20.01 - A lawyer shall be guided by the following factors in Decision of
Rosario v. or not the determining his fees: the Court of
Court of reduction a) the time spent and the extent of the service rendered or required; Appeals is
Appeals, of b) the novelty and difficulty of the questions involved; MODIFIED
237 SCRA attorney’s c) The importance of the subject matter; by
39 fee from d) The skill demanded; REINSTATI
P33,641.5 e) The probability of losing other employment as a result of acceptance of NG the trial
0 to the proffered case; court's
P5,000.00 award of
f) The customary charges for similar services and the schedule of fees of
by the attorney's
the IBP chapter to which he belongs;
appellate fees of
g) The amount involved in the controversy and the benefits resulting to
court is an P33,641.50.
error on the client from the service;
latter’s h) The contingency or certainty of compensation;
part. i) The character of the employment, whether occasional or established;
and
j) The professional standing of the lawyer.
2. A.C. No. 5655 - SIDLACAN
VALERIANA U. DALISAY vs. ATTY. MELANIO MAURICIO, JR.

Facts:

The complainant Valeriana Dalisay engaged the services of respondent,


Atty. Melanio Mauricio Jr., as her counsel in in Civil Case No. 00-44, wherein
she is the defendant. The said case was pending before the Municipal Trial
Court of Binangonan, Rizal. After consulting with respondent, she handed to
him all the pertinent documents. In turn, respondent demanded P25, 000.00 as
acceptance fee which she paid. Then respondent asked her to pay P8,000.00 as
filing fee. She paid the amount although she knew that Civil Case No. 00-44
was already filed with the court.
Canon 20: 5. A.C. No. 5655 - SIDLACAN
VALERIANA U. DALISAY vs. ATTY. MELANIO MAURICIO, JR.,

Facts:
After a month, complainant approached respondent to follow up her case.
Respondent demanded additional acceptance fee, or a total of P90,000.00. Respondent
also asked her to pay him P3,000.00 as appearance fee. Complainant raised an
additional amount and paid respondent the total sum of P48,000.00. Adding to this
amount P8,000.00 filing fee, her total payment was P56,000.00. Complainant further
alleged that notwithstanding her payments, respondent never rendered any legal service
for her in Civil Case No. 00-044. As a result, she terminated their attorney-client
relationship and demanded the return of her money and documents. However, the
respondent refused to do so.
Issue:
WON respondent violated canon 20 of the Code of Professional Responsibility.

Held:
Yes. Respondent insists that he is entitled to attorney’s fees since he gave legal
advice and opinions to complainant on her problems and those of her family. Just like
any other professional, a lawyer is entitled to collect fees for his services. However, he
should charge only a reasonable amount of fees. Canon 20 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility mandates that a lawyer shall charge only fair and reasonable fees.
There is, however, no hard and fast rule which will serve as guide in determining what
is or what is not a reasonable fee. That must be determined from the facts of each case.
The power to determine the reasonableness or the unconscionable character of a
lawyer’s fee is a matter falling within the regulatory prerogative of the Court.
It is now clear to us that since respondent did not take any step to assist complainant in
her case, charging P56, 000.00 is improper. While giving legal advice and opinion on
complainants’ problems and those of her family constitutes legal service, however, the
attorney’s fee must be reasonable. Obviously, P56, 000.00 is exorbitant.

By his inaction in Civil Case No.00-044, respondent violated Canons 17, 18 and 18.03,
as well as his Oath as an attorney. Likewise, in collecting from complainant exorbitant
consulting fee, respondent violated Canon 20 of the same Code. For all these violations,
respondent should be penalized.

He is SUSPENDED from the practice of law for a period for six (6) months effective
from notice, and STERNLY WARNED that any similar infraction in the future will be dealt
with more severely. He is further ordered to RETURN, within ten (10) days, also from
notice, the sum of P56, 000.00 to complainant.
Case Title Problem Area/s Cannon/s Violated Penalty Imposed
A.C. No. 5655 - Respondent Canon 20: A lawyer He is SUSPENDED
SIDLACAN is collecting shall charge only fair from the practice of law
VALERIANA U. from and reasonable fees. for a period for six (6)
DALISAY vs. complainant months effective from
ATTY. exorbitant notice, and STERNLY
MELANIO consulting fee. WARNED that any similar
MAURICIO, JR infraction in the future will
be dealt with more
severely. He is further
ordered to RETURN,
within ten (10) days, also
from notice, the sum of
P56, 000.00 to
complainant.
CANON21: A LAWYER SHALL PRESERVE THE CONFIDENCE AND SECRETS
OF HIS CLIENT EVEN AFTER THE ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATION IS
TERMINATED.

Rule 21.01 - A lawyer shall not reveal the confidences or secrets of his client except;
a) When authorized by the client after acquainting him of the consequences of the
disclosure;
b) When required by law;
c) When necessary to collect his fees or to defend himself, his employees or associates
or by judicial action.

Rule 21.02 - A lawyer shall not, to the disadvantage of his client, use information
acquired in the course of employment, nor shall he use the same to his own advantage
or that of a third person, unless the client with full knowledge of the circumstances
consents thereto.
Rule 21.03 - A lawyer shall not, without the written consent of his client, give
information from his files to an outside agency seeking such information for auditing,
statistical, bookkeeping, accounting, data processing, or any similar purpose.

Rule 21.04 - A lawyer may disclose the affairs of a client of the firm to partners or
associates thereof unless prohibited by the client.

Rule 21.05 - A lawyer shall adopt such measures as may be required to prevent those
whose services are utilized by him, from disclosing or using confidences or secrets of
the clients.

Rule 21.06 - A lawyer shall avoid indiscreet conversation about a client's affairs even
with members of his family.
Rule 21.07 - A lawyer shall not reveal that he has been consulted about a particular
case except to avoid possible conflict of interest.
3. A.C. No. 5859 - TITO
ATTY. CARMEN LEONOR M. ALCANTARA vs. ATTY. EDUARDO C. DE
VERA

FACTS:
Atty. Eduardo De Vera won a case for Rosario Mercado. De Vera garnished the
bank account of the opposing party but he did not remit the same to Mercado, instead
he claimed that he used the same to pay off the judge and what’s left was for his
attorney’s fees. Mercado filed an administrative complaint and eventually De Vera was
suspended from the practice of law for one year. In obvious retaliation, he filed various
complaints against Mercado and her family, the IBP officers who suspended and
several others. He attempted to re-open the case of her client in an attempt to collect
more attorney’s fees. He also instigated the opposing party in the case he won for
Mercado to file lawsuits against Mercado. The complaints were dismissed but he re-
filed them nonetheless.
ISSUE:
Whether or not De Vera should be disbarred.

HELD:
Yes. What he did is grossly unethical and filled with ill-motive. It is the duty of the
Supreme Court to remove from the profession a person whose misconduct has proved him
unfit to be entrusted with the duties and responsibilities belonging to an office of an
attorney, and thus to protect the public and those charged with the administration of
justice, rather than to punish the attorney.

Further, De Vera is in violation of Canon 21 of the Code of Professional Responsibility.


In filing cases against Mercado, De Vera used matters and information acquired by him
when he was still the counsel for Mercado. A lawyer owes loyalty and fidelity to his client
even if the lawyer-client relationship has already terminated. A lawyer shall preserve the
confidence and secrets of his client even after the attorney-client relation is terminated.
Case Title Problem Area/s Cannon/s Violated Penalty Imposed
A.C. No. Whether or not De Vera Canon21: A WHEREFORE, respondent
5859 - TITO should be disbarred when lawyer shall Atty. Eduardo C. De Vera
ATTY. he filed frivolous and preserve the is hereby DISBARRED
CARMEN unfounded lawsuits that confidence and from the practice of law
LEONOR violated his duties as an secrets of his client effective
M. officer of the even after the immediately upon his
receipt of the Resolution
ALCANTA court against a former client attorney-client
RA vs. to whom he owes loyalty relation is
ATTY. and fidelity. terminated.
EDUARDO
C. DE
VERA
CANON 22: A LAWYER SHALL WITHDRAW HIS SERVICES ONLY FOR GOOD
CAUSE AND UPON NOTICE APPROPRIATE IN THE CIRCUMSTANCES.

Rule 22.01 - A lawyer may withdraw his services in any of the following case:
a) When the client pursues an illegal or immoral course of conduct in connection with
the matter he is handling;
b) When the client insists that the lawyer pursue conduct violative of these canons and
rules;
c) When his inability to work with co-counsel will not promote the best interest of the
client;
d) When the mental or physical condition of the lawyer renders it difficult for him to
carry out the employment effectively;
e) When the client deliberately fails to pay the fees for the services or fails to comply
with the retainer agreement;
f) When the lawyer is elected or appointed to public office; and
g) Other similar cases.
Rule 22.02 - A lawyer who withdraws or is discharged shall, subject to a
retainer lien, immediately turn over all papers and property to which the
client is entitled, and shall cooperative with his successor in the orderly
transfer of the matter, including all information necessary for the proper
handling of the matter.
4. Tumbagahan v. Court of Appeals, 165 SCRA 485

Facts:
The records show that the petitioner filed two cases with the Court of First
Instance of Lanao del Norte, Branch II, namely: (1) for declaration of ownership
and reconveyance of lots of the Iligan Cadastre; and (2)for the review of the
decree of registration issued by the Land Registration Commission in favor of
Timotea Lasmarias and cancellation of her titles to the same lots. When the cases
were called for joint trial on April 10, 1968, the petitioner relieved Atty. Salise as
his counsel. Atty. Salise filed his withdrawal of appearance which was approved
by the court. On April 15, 1968, the cases were again called for trial. This time,
the petitioner personally appeared and filed a written motion for postponement on
the ground that he still had no counsel and was not ready for trial. Upon motion of
the other party, the motion for postponement was denied and the court issued an
order dismissing the two cases.
Tumbagahan v. Court of Appeals, 165 SCRA 485

Facts:

A copy of the order was sent to Atty. Amarga which he received on April 26,
1968. The petitioner received his copy of the order on May 17, 1968. Thereafter,
he filed his motion for reconsideration. After the motion was denied, he filed a
notice of appeal and record on appeal which the Court dismissed for being filed
out of time, counting the period to appeal from the day Atty. Amarga received a
copy of the order of dismissal. The petitioner alleges that he had neither engaged
the services of Atty. Amarga nor authorized the latter to represent him in his two
cases.
Issue:

The issue in this case is whether or not the petitioner validly terminated the
services of his counsels of record -Attys.Melvyn Salise and Jose Amarga —
such that service on them of processes and notices would no longer bind him.

Held:

No. There is a need to observe the legal formalities before a counsel of record
may be considered relieved of his responsibility as such counsel. The
withdrawal as counsel of a client, or the dismissal by the client of his counsel,
must be made in a formal petition filed in the case.
Held:

In this case, the termination of the attorney-client relationship between the


petitioner and Atty. Salise does not automatically severe the same relations
between the petitioner and Atty. Amarga. Only Atty. Salise's dismissal was
made of record. None was made with regard to the other counsel. The
attorney-client relation does not terminate formally until there is a withdrawal
made of record; at least so far as the opposite party is concerned, the relation
otherwise continues until the end of the litigation. Unless properly relieved,
the counsel is responsible for the conduct of the case.
Case Title Problem Area/s Cannon/s Violated Penalty Imposed
Tumbagaha The issue in this case Canon 22: A lawyer WHEREFORE, the
n v. Court is whether or not the shall withdraw his petition is hereby
of Appeals, petitioner validly services only for good DISMISSED for lack of
165 SCRA terminated the services cause and upon notice merit. The questioned
485 of his counsels of appropriate in the decision of the Court of
record -Attys.Melvyn circumstances. Appeals
Salise and Jose is AFFIRMED.
Amarga — such that
service on them of
processes and notices
would no longer bind
him.
5. A.C. No. 6166 - ANARNA
MARIA EARL BEVERLY C. CENIZA vs. ATTY. VIVIAN G. RUBIA

FACTS:

Complainant sought the legal services of the respondent in regard to the share of
her mother-in- law in the estate of her husband Carlos Ceniza. Respondent made the
complainant to sign a promissory note for P32,000.00 which was lent by Domingo
Natavio and was later paid by the latter’s mother-in- law. Then, respondent furnished
them a copy of the complaint for partition and recovery of ownership/possession
representing legitime but with no docket number on it. It was only after three months
that respondent informed them of the filing of the complaint and gave them a copy of
the complaint with Civil Case No. 4198 and a rubber stamped RECEIVED thereon.
But upon verification with the Clerk of Court of the Regional Trial Court of Davao del
Sur, she was informed that no case with said title and docket number was filed.
5. A.C. No. 6166 - ANARNA
MARIA EARL BEVERLY C. CENIZA vs. ATTY. VIVIAN G. RUBIA

FACTS:

Complainant charged respondent with grave misconduct, gross ignorance of


the law and falsification of public documents. Upon the IBP investigation, it
recommended that respondent be found guilty of falsification of public
document and be meted the penalty of suspension from the practice of law for a
period of three years. The other allegations in the complaint about ignorance of
the law are found to be without factual basis. In a resolution by the Board of
Governors, it recommended that the disbarment of the respondent be reduced to
five (5) years of suspension from the practice of law.
5. A.C. No. 6166 - ANARNA
MARIA EARL BEVERLY C. CENIZA vs. ATTY. VIVIAN G. RUBIA

FACTS:

A perusal of the records shows that complainant’s evidence does not


suffice to warrant the imposition of administrative sanction against the
respondent. However, the Court finds that respondent committed some acts
for which she should be disciplined or administratively sanctioned. She
suggested that complainant borrow money from Domingo Natavio for the
payment thereof. Furthermore, she severed the lawyer-client relationship due
to overwhelming workload demanded by her new employer Nakayama Group
of Companies, which constrained her to return the money received as well as
the records of the case, thereby leaving her client with no representation.
ISSUE:
Whether or not he violated Canon 22 of the Code of Professional Responsibility.

HELD:
Yes. Respondent violated Canon 22 of the Code of Professional Responsibility
which provides that a lawyer shall withdraw his services only for good cause and
upon notice appropriate in the circumstances. Heavy workload is not sufficient reason
for the withdrawal of her services. When she accepted to handle the complainant’s
case, she undertook to do her duties with utmost attention, skill and competence,
despite other workloads to do with other client. The client has the right to expect that
a lawyer will discharge his duties diligently and exert his best efforts to defend or
prosecute his client’s cause. Failure of such duties will render him administratively
liable. In the instant case, respondent is found guilty and suspended from the practice
of law for six months.
Case Title Problem Area/s Cannon/s Violated Penalty Imposed
A.C. No. 6166 Respondent return Canon 22: A lawyer Respondent is found
- ANARNA the money received shall withdraw his guilty and suspended from
MARIA EARL as well as the services only for good the practice of law for six
BEVERLY C. records of the case, cause and upon notice months.
CENIZA vs. and leaving her appropriate in the
ATTY. client circumstances.
with no
VIVIAN G.
representation.
RUBIA