December 14, 1998 A.M. No. 1037 VICTORIANO P. RESURRECCION, complainant, vs. ATTY. CIRIACO C. SAYSON, respondent. PER CURIAM: , J.

: To say that lawyers must at all times uphold and respect the law is to state the obvious, but such statement can never be overemphasized. Considering that, "of all classes and professions, [lawyers are] most sacredly bound to uphold the law, 1 it is imperative that they live by the law. Accordingly, lawyers who violate their oath and engage in deceitful conduct have no place in the legal profession. In a Complaint-Affidavit, Victoriano P. Resurreccion charged Respondent Atty. Ciriaco C. Sayson with acts constituting "malpractice, deceit and gross misconduct in his office and a violation of his duties and oath as a lawyer." The Complaint arose from a homicide through reckless imprudence case, in which Complaint Resurreccion was the defendant and Respondent Sayson was the counsel for the offended party, Mr. Armando Basto Sr. The complaint alleged that, pursuant to the amicable settlement previously reached by the parties, he gave P2,500 to the respondent who, however, never gave the money to his client. Thus, the complainant was compelled to give another P2,500 to Mr. Basto as settlement of the case. The complainant then demanded the return of the money from respondent, to no avail. Thus, the Complaint for Disbarment. The records show that the Office of the Solicitor Genaral (OSG) conducted several hearings on the matter, during which the complainant was represented by Atty. Ronaldo Lopez. Although respondent had been notified, he failed to attend a number of such hearings. He eventually appeared through his new counsel, Atty. Wenceslao Fajardo. Because respondent once again failed to attend the next hearing, the OSG, in its September 4, 1973 Order, 2 deemed the investigation of the case terminated. But upon the motion of the respondent, the OSG on October 31, 1973, set aside its earlier Order and once again set the case for a hearing of the former's evidence. Since, then, however, it appears that the OSG has not been able to submit its report and recommendation on the case. In 1990, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) took cognizance of the case, 3 and tasked Commissioner Jesulito A. Manalo with the investigation, of which both the complainant and the respondent were duly notified. Complainant Resurreccion manifested his assent to the pursuit of the matter, but Respondent Sayson could not be found. 4 In his Report, Commissioner Manalo presented the following facts. Respondent, a member of the Philippine Bar was accused of having converted and appropriated [for] his own personal benefit the amount P2,500.00 representing the amount which was delivered by the complainant to the respondent as compensation or settlement money of a case for homicide thru reckless imprudence. xxx xxx xxx Complainat alleged that on 13 May 1970, he was involved in a vehicular accident which occured at Epifanio delos Santos Avenue, Quezon City which involved a boy [named] the name of Armando Basto resulting [in] the death of the latter. By reason of the said incident, complainant was accused of homicide thru reckless imprudence before the City Fiscal's Office at Quezon City. In the preliminary investigation, the father of the victim Mr. Armando Basto Sr., was represented by Atty. Ramon Umali. The case for homicide thru reckless imprudence was amicably settled on 8 August 1970 and respondent received from the complainant the amount of P2,500.00. Respondent allegedlly assured complainant that the sum [would] be delivered to his client Mr. Armando Basto, Sr. Respondent acknowledged in writing having received the amount of P2,500.00 w1gO. Contrary however, to the assurances of the respondent, he had not delivered the said amount of P2,500.00 and the

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case was not dismissed for which reason complainant was compelled to pay anew the heirs of the victim the amount P2,500.00. Demands were made for the respondent to return the said amount of P2,500.00 but the latter failed. By reason thereof, complaint filed a complaint for estafa against the respondent before the City Court of Quezon City which was docketed as Criminal Case No. III-149358 entitled "People of the Philippines vs. Ciriaco C. Sayson". In the hearing held on 22 May 1973, complainant Victoriano P. Resurrection appeared assisted by his counsel. There was however, no appearance for the respondent Ciriaco C. Sayson. The investigator declared his failure to appear as a waiver of his presence and Mr. Armando Basto Sr. was presented as witness. He testified that he [was] the father of Armando Basto Jr. who was ran over by a motor vehicle then driven by the respondent. By reason of such death a case was filed in court and he was represented by Atty. Ciriaco Sayson, respondent in this case. A settlement arrangement was arrived at and complainant entrusted the amount of P2,500.00 to the respondent for the latter to turn over the same to his client. Atty. Ciriaco Sayson, however, failed to turn over the said amount of P2,500.00 to his client for which reason the case was not immediately dismissed. To effect dismissal of the case, complainant was forced to pay anew the sum of P2,500.00 Complainant was next presented as witness and the testified that on 30 May 1970, he was involved in a vehicular accident which resulted in the death of one armando Basto, Jr. By reason thereof, he was accused of homicide thru reckless imprudence [,] and to effect settlement of that case he agreed to pay the amount of P2,500.00. On 8 August 1970, complainant together with his counsel conferred with [the] respondent in the latter's office at may Building, Rizal Avenue, Manila and in a conference, a settlement was arrived at whereby complainant [would] pay the amount of P2,500.00. This was done and payment was delivered to the respondent who acknowledged having received the said amount. Subsequently, complaint learned that the said amount of P2,500,00 was not delivered by respondent to Mr. Armando Basto, Sr., the father of the victim for which reason he was compelled to pay another amount of P2,500.00 to the heirs of the victim. Thereafter, he demanded [the] return of the said amount of P2,500.00 from the respondent. Despite visiting the latter fifteen or sixteen times, Atty. Ciriaco C. Sayson still failed to return the money. Thus, complainant filed a complaint for estafa which was elevated in Court and docketed as Criminal Case No. 49358 Dp1ybXWq5. A Decision finding respondent guilty of [the] crime of estafa was promulgated by the City Court of Quezon City. 5

Commissioner Manalo then rendered his evaluation and recommendation in this wise: Complainant was able to establish by more than convincing that the misappropriation was in fact committed by the respondent. This fact [is] eloquently poroven by Exhibits "A" to "E", all of which were not controverted by the respondent. xxx xxx xxx In view of the foregoing, undersigned Commissioner respectfully recommends that the above-entitled case be endorsed by the Honorable Board Governors to the Supreme Court with the recommendation that the complain[ant be] disbarred and his name be stricken off . . . the roll of attorneys. xxx xxx xxx 6

On February 28, 1998, the IBP Board of Governors issued a Resolution adopting and approving the report and recommendation of Commissioner Manalo. The Resolution, signed by IBP National Secretary Roland B. Inting and forwarded to this Court on March 28, 1998, is worded as follows:

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RESOLUTION NO. XIII-97-202 Adm. Case No. 1037 Victoriano P. Resurreccion vs. Atty. Ciriaco C. sayson RESOLVED to ADOPT and APPROVE, as it is hereby ADOPTED AND APPROVED, the Report and Recommendation of the Investigating Commissioner in the above-entitled case, herein made part of this Resolution/Decision as Annex "A" and finding the recommendation fully supported by the evidence on record and the applicable laws and rules, respondent Atty. Ciriaco C. Sayson is DISBARRED and . . . his name . . . stricken from the Roll of Attorneys for having been found guilty of Estafa promulgated by the City Court of Quezon City and [which] complainant was able to establish by more convincing evidences that misappropriation was in fact committed by the respondent, all of which were not controverted by the respondent. 7

The Court agrees with Commissioner Manalo's findings and conclusion, as approved and adopted by the IBP Board of Governors. Atty. Ciriaco C. Sayson must be disbarred. Respondent Sayson was convicted of estafa by the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City on September 20, 1973. 8 Such conviction was affirmed by the Court of Appeals 9 and upheld by this Court. 10 In In re Vinzon, 11 the Court disbarred a lawyer who had been convicted of estafa and held that "moral turpitude includes everything which is done contrary to justice, honesty or good morals. In essence and in all respects, estafa, no doubt, is a crime involving moral turpitude because the act is unquestionably against justice, honesty and good morals. In a more recent case, 12 the Court upheld the recommendation of the IBP Board of Governors to disbar a lawyer who had been convicted of estafa through falsification of public documents, because the was "totally unfit to be a member of the legal profession." In adopting, the recommendation, we held that "good moral character is not only a condition precedent to admission to the legal profession, but it must also remain extant in order to maintain one's good standing in that exclusive and honored fraternity. True, the power to disbar must be exercised with great caution, and only in a clear case of misconduct that seriously affects the standing and character of the lawyer as an officer of the Court and member of the bar. 13 Disbarment should never be decreed where any lesser penalty, such as temporary suspension, would accomplish the end desired. 14 However, in the present case, the Court notes that even if respondent's culpability for estafa has been indubitably established, there is no indication that he has served sentence, returned to complainant what was due him or showed any remorse for what he did. The 27-year delay in the resolution of this case was, to a large extent, caused by his failure to appear before the Office of the Solicitor General and to inform the IBP of his change of address, a failure that also indicated his lack of regard for the very serious charges brought against him. Respondent Sayson, by his conduct, has shown that he is not worthy to remain a member of the bar. Law is a noble profession, and the privilege to practice it is bestowed only upon individuals who are competent intellectually, academically and, equally important, morally. Because they are vanguards of the law and the legal system, lawyers must at all times conduct themselves, especially in their dealings with their clients and the public at large, with honesty and integrity in a manner beyond reproach CMA6. WHEREFORE, Respondent Ciriaco C. Sayson is hereby DISBARRED. The Clerk of Court is directed to strike out his name from the Roll of Attorneys. SO ORDERED.

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Davide, Jr. C.J., Romero, Bellosillo, Melo, Puno, Vitug, Kapunan, Mendoza, Panganiban, Martinez, Quisumbing, Purisima and Pardo, JJ., concur. Footnotes 1 Ex parte Wall, 107 U.S. 265; cited in Malcolm, Legal and Judicial Ethics, p. 214. 2 Issued by the investigating officer, Solicitor Norberto P. Eduardo. 3 Largely due to Complainant Resurreccion's steadfast determination to pursue the case. He had written letters bewailing the delay in the resolution of the disbarment case and had submitted documents which he thought were necessary for the proper disposition of the case, which were either lost or misplaced at the Office of the Solicitor General. 4 All letters to Sayson were returned to the IBP. 5 Rollo, Vol. I, pp. 36-38. 6 Ibid., p. 39. 7 Rollo, vol. I, p. 35 jZVq3s1Ir. 8 The decretal part of the trial court's Decision, penned by Judge Pacifico I. Punzalan, reads as follows: WHEREFORE, the finds the accused Atty. Ciriaco C. Sayson GUILTY beyond reasonable doubt of the crime of Estafa as charged in the information, defined and penalized under Article 315, sub-division three sub. par. 1-b of the Revised Penal Code and hereby imposes upon him as penalty to suffer an indeterminate imprisonment of four (4) months of arresto mayor as minimum to one (1) year and eight (8) months of prision correccional as maximum to indemnify the offended party Victoriano Resurreccion in the sum of P2,500.00 without subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency, together with all the accessory penaties of law, and to pay the costs (CA Decision , p. 1). 9 In People of the Philippines v. Atty. Ciriaco C. Sayson, CA-GR. No. 15299-CR, the Court of Appeals (First Division, composed of Justice Roseller T. Lim, ponente; and Justices Magno S. Gatmaitan and Sixto A. Domondon, concurring) disposed of the case as follows: The failure, therefore, of appellant to produce the money when confronted at the Fiscal's Office or even when the present action was filed, is a clear indication of converting or misappropriating for his own use and benefit the money he received for his client. We agree with the conclusion of the lower court as follows: From the facts of the above-entitled case, brought out during the trial by clear, satisfactory and convincing evidence this court is of the view that when the accused received the amount of P2,500.00 in Manila from the offended party Resurreccion pursuant to the agreement reached by parties in Quezon City accused imposed upon himself the obligation and duty to deliver the said amount to his client Basto, Sr. in Quezon City. and should he fall to do so to return the said amount to Resurreccion, as borne out [by] the testimonies of Resurreccion and Atty. Umali. The failure of the accused to deliver the amount of P2,500.00 to Basto and the subsequent failure of the accused to return the said amount to Resurreccion coupled with his failure to give any reason for such failure despite demands, clearly show misappropriation or conversion of the money. This misappropriation or conversion or at least part thereof, as an essential ingredient of the offense of estafa occured in Quezon City. The fact that Resurreccion was constrained to pay Basto against the amount of P2,500.00 in order that the case against him would be dropped as it was indeed dropped, sufficiently prove[s] prejudice and damage on the part of the complainant Resurreccion. IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, the judgment appealed from is hereby AFFIRMED, with the cost against appellant. (CA Decision, pp. 9-10).

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10 Rollo, vol. I, p. 15. The Court's March 18, 1977 Resolution is worded thus: L-43834 (Atty. Ciriaco Sayson vs. Court of Appeals, et. al.). Considering the grounds of petitioner's motion for reconsideration of the resolution of August 20, 1976 which denied the petition for review on certiorari of the decision of the Court of Appeals as well as the Solicitor General's comment thereon the Court Resolved to DENY the motion for lack of merit and this denial is FINAL. The Court of Appeals is directed to remand the records of this case to the trial court for prompt execution of judgment to the trial court and to submit to this Court proof of such remand, both within five (5) days from notice hereof. 11 19 SCRA 815, April 27, 1967. See also Medina v. Bautista, 12 SCRA 1, September 26, 1964, and In Re: Abesamis, 102 Phil. 1182, January 17, 1958. 12 Villanueva v. Sta. Ana, 245 SCRA 707, July 11, 1995 e96wAtsd. 13 Tapucar v. Tapucar, Adm. Case No. 4148, July 30, 1998. 14 For example, in Castillo v. Taguines, 254 SCRA 554, March 11, 1996, the respondent who was accused of estafa by his client, was suspended for one year from the practice of law. Likewise, in Igual v. Javier (254 SCRA 416, March 7, 1996), suspended from the practice of law for one year was the respondent, who was accused of having unlawfully withheld and misappropriated complainant's money in the amount of P7,000.00, allegedly paid as acceptance fee for a matter on which respondent never performed any work. vytwO. G.R. No. 90083 : Philippine Supreme Court Decisions - KHALYXTO PEREZ MAGLASANG vs. PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila EN BANC G.R. No. 90083 October 4, 1990 KHALYXTO PEREZ MAGLASANG, accused-Petitioner, vs. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Presiding Judge ERNESTO B. TEMPLADO (San Carlos City Court), Negros Occidental, Respondents. <!-Marceliano L. Castellano for petitioner. RESOLUTION PER CURIAM: On June 22, 1989, a petition for certiorari 1 entitled "Khalyxto Perez Maglasang vs. People of the Philippines, Presiding Judge, Ernesto B. Templado (San Carlos City Court) Negros Occidental," was filed by registered mail with the Court. Due to non-compliance with the requirements of Circular No. 1-88 of the Court, specifically the nonpayment of P316.50 for the legal fees and the non-attachment of the duplicate originals or duly certified true copies of the questioned decision and orders of the respondent judge denying the motion for reconsideration, the Court dismissed the petition on July 26, 1989. 2 virtual law library

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On September 9, 1989, Atty. Marceliano L. Castellano, as counsel of the petitioner, moved for a reconsideration of the resolution dismissing the petition. 3 This time, the amount of P316.50 was remitted and the Court was furnished with a duplicate copy of the respondent judge's decision, and also the IBP O.R. No. and the date of the payment of his membership dues. The motion for reconsideration did not contain the duplicate original or certified true copies of the assailed orders. Thus, in a Resolution dated October 18, 1989, the motion for reconsideration was denied "with FINALITY." 4 virtual law library Three months later, or on January 22, 1990 to be exact, the Court received from Atty. Castellano a copy of a complaint dated December 19, 1989, filed with the Office of the President of the Philippines whereby Khalyxto Perez Maglasang, through his lawyer, Atty. Castellano, as complainant, accused all the five Justices of the Court's Second Division with "biases and/or ignorance of the law or knowingly rendering unjust judgments or resolution." 5 The complaint was signed by Atty. Castellano "for the complainant" with the conformity of one Calixto B. Maglasang, allegedly the father of accused-complainant Khalyxto. 6 By reason of the strong and intemperate language of the complaint and its improper filing with the Office of the President, which, as he should know as a lawyer, has no jurisdiction to discipline, much more, remove, Justices of the Supreme Court, on February 7, 1990, Atty. Castellano was required to show cause why he should not be punished for contempt or administratively dealt with for improper conduct. 7 On March 21, 1990, Atty. Castellano filed by registered mail his "Opposition To Cite For Contempt Or Administratively Dealt With For An Improper Conduct (sic)." 8 virtual law library In his "Opposition", Atty. Castellano claimed that the complaint "was a constructive criticism intended to correct in good faith the erroneous and very strict practices of the Justices concerned, as Respondents (sic). 9 Atty. Castellano further disputed the authority and jurisdiction of the Court in issuing the Resolution requiring him to show cause inasmuch as "they are Respondents in this particular case and no longer as Justices and as such they have no more jurisdiction to give such order." 10 Thus, according to him, "the most they (Justices) can do by the mandate of the law and procedure (sic) is to answer the complaint satisfactorily so that they will not be punished in accordance with the law just like a common tao." 11 virtual law library Notwithstanding his claim that the complaint was a "constructive criticism," the Court finds the various statements made by Atty. Castellano in the complaint he lodged with the Office of the President of the Philippines and in his "Opposition" filed with the Court portions of which read as follows: VI virtual law library That with all these injustices of the 2nd Division, as assigned to that most Honorable Supreme Court, the complainant was legally constrained to file this Administrative Complaint to our Motherly President who is firm and determined to phase-out all the scalawags (Marcos Appointees and Loyalists) still in your administration without bloodshed but by honest and just investigations, which the accused-complainant concurs to such procedure and principle, or otherwise, he could have by now a rebel with the undersigned with a cause for being maliciously deprived or unjustly denied of Equal Justice to be heard by our Justices designated to the Highest and most Honorable Court of the Land (Supreme Court); 12 (Emphasis ours.) VII virtual law library That the Honorable Supreme Court as a Court has no fault at all for being Constitutionally created, but the Justices assigned therein are fallables (sic), being bias (sic), playing ignorance of the law and knowingly rendering unjust Resolutions the reason observed by the undersigned and believed by him in good faith, is that they are may be Marcos-appointees, whose common intention is to sabotage the Aquino Administration and to rob from innocent Filipino people the genuine Justice and Democracy, so that they will be left in confusion and turmoil to their advantage and to the prejudice of our beloved President's honest, firm and determined Decision to bring back the real Justice in all our Courts, for the happiness, contentment and progress of your people and the only country which God has given us. - PHILIPPINES. 13 (Emphasis ours.)

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VIII virtual law library That all respondents know the law and the pure and simple meaning of Justice, yet they refused to grant to the poor and innocent accused-complainant, so to save their brethren in rank and office (Judiciary) Judge Ernesto B. Templado, . . . 14 IX virtual law library . . . If such circulars were not known to the undersigned, it's the fault of the Justices of the Honorable Supreme Court, the dismissal of the petition was based more of money reasons. . . . This is so for said Equal Justice is our very Breath of Life to every Filipino, who is brave to face the malicious acts of the Justices of the Second Division, Supreme Court. By reason of fear for the truth Respondents ignore the equal right of the poor and innocent-accused (complainant) to be heard against the rich and high-ranking person in our Judiciary to be heard in equal justice in our Honorable Court, for the respondents is too expensive and can't be reached by an ordinary man for the Justices therein are inconsiderate, extremely strict and meticulous to the common tao and hereby grossly violate their Oath of Office and our Constitution "to give all possible help and means to give equal Justice to any man, regardless of ranks and status in life" 15 (Emphasis ours.) xxx xxx xxx virtual law library 5. That the undersigned had instantly without delay filed a Motion for Reconsideration to the Resolution which carries with it a final denial of his appeal by complying (sic) all the requirements needed for a valid appeal yet the respondents denied just the same which legally hurt the undersigned in the name of Justice, for the Respondents-Justices, were so strict or inhumane and so inconsiderate that there despensation (sic) of genuine justice was too far and beyond the reach of the Accused-Appellant, as a common tao, as proved by records of both cases mentioned above. 16 xxx xxx xxx virtual law library D. That by nature a contempt order is a one sided weapon commonly abused by Judges and Justices, against practicing lawyers, party-litigants and all Filipino people in general for no Judges or Justices since the beginning of our Court Records were cited for contempt by any presiding Judge. That this weapon if maliciously applied is a cruel means to silence a righteous and innocent complainant and to favor any person with close relation. 17 scurrilous and contumacious. His allegations that the Court in dismissing his petition did so "to save their brethren in rank and office (Judiciary) Judge Ernesto B. Templado," and that the dismissal was "based more for (sic) money reasons;" and his insinuation that the Court maintains a double standard in dispensing justice - one set for the rich and another for the poor - went beyond the bounds of "constructive criticism." They are not relevant to the cause of his client. On the contrary, they cast aspersion on the Court's integrity as a neutral and final arbiter of all justiciable controversies brought before it. Atty. Castellano should know that the Court in resolving complaints yields only to the records before it and not to any extraneous influence as he disparagingly intimates. It bears stress that the petition was dismissed initially by the Court for the counsel's failure to fully comply with the requirements laid down in Circular No. 1-88, a circular on expeditious disposition of cases, adopted by the Court on November 8, 1988, but effective January 1, 1989, after due publication. It is true that Atty. Castellano later filed on behalf of his client a motion for reconsideration and remitted the necessary legal fees, 18 furnished the Court with a duplicate original copy of the assailed trial court's decision, 19 and indicated his IBP O.R. No. and the date he paid his dues. 20 But he still fell short in complying fully with the requirements of Circular No. 1-88. He failed to furnish the Court with duplicate original or duty certified true copies of the other questioned orders issued by the respondent trial court judge. At any rate, the explanation given by Atty. Castellano did not render his earlier negligence

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excusable. Thus, as indicated in our Resolution dated October 18, 1989 which denied with finality his motion for reconsideration, "no valid or compelling reason (having been) adduced to warrant the reconsideration sought." Precisely, under paragraph 5 of Circular No. 1-88 it is provided that "(S)ubsequent compliance with the above requirements will not warrant reconsideration of the order of dismissal unless it be shown that such non-compliance was due to compelling reasons." virtual law library It is clear that the case was lost not by the alleged injustices Atty. Castellano irresponsibly ascribed to the members of the Court's Second Division, but simply because of his inexcusable negligence and incompetence. Atty. Castellano, however, seeks to pass on the blame for his deficiencies to the Court, in the hope of salvaging his reputation before his client. Unfortunately, the means by which Atty. Castellano hoped to pass the buck so to speak, are grossly improper. As an officer of the Court, he should have known better than to smear the honor and integrity of the Court just to keep the confidence of his client. Time and again we have emphasized that a "lawyer's duty is not to his client but to the administration of justice; to that end, his client's success is wholly subordinate; and his conduct ought to and must always be scrupulously observant of law and ethics." 21 Thus, "while a lawyer must advocate his client's cause in utmost earnest and with the maximum skill he can marshal, he is not at liberty to resort to arrogance, intimidation, and innuendo." 22 virtual law library To be sure, the Court does not pretend to be immune from criticisms. After all, it is through the criticism of its actions that the Court, composed of fallible mortals, hopes to correct whatever mistake it may have unwittingly committed. But then again, "[i]t is the cardinal condition of all such criticism that it shall be bona fide and shall not spill over the walls of decency and propriety. A wide chasm exists between fair criticism, on the one hand, and abuse and slander of courts and the judges thereof, on the other. Intemperate and unfair criticism is a gross violation of the duty of respect to courts." 23 In this regard, it is precisely provided under Canon 11 of the Code of Professional Responsibility that: CANON 11-A LAWYER SHALL OBSERVE AND MAINTAIN THE RESPECT DUE TO THE COURTS AND TO JUDICIAL OFFICERS AND SHOULD INSIST ON SIMILAR CONDUCT BY OTHERS. xxx xxx xxx virtual law library RULE 11.03 - A lawyer shall abstain from scandalous, offensive or menancing language or behavior before the courts.virtualawlibrary virtual law library RULE 11.04 - A lawyer should not attribute to a judge motives not supported by the record or have materiality to the case. xxx xxx xxx We further note that in filing the "complaint" against the justices of the Court's Second Division, even the most basic tenet of our government system - the separation of powers between the judiciary, the executive, and the legislative branches has - been lost on Atty. Castellano. We therefore take this occasion to once again remind all and sundry that "the Supreme Court is supreme - the third great department of government entrusted exclusively with the judicial power to adjudicate with finality all justiciable disputes, public and private. No other department or agency may pass upon its judgments or declare them 'unjust.'" 24 Consequently, and owing to the foregoing, not even the President of the Philippines as Chief Executive may pass judgment on any of the Court's acts.virtualawlibrary virtual law library Finally, Atty. Castellano's assertion that the complaint "was a constructive criticism intended to correct in good faith the erroneous and very strict practices of the Justices, concerned as Respondents (sic)" is but a last minute effort to sanitize his clearly unfounded and irresponsible accusation. The arrogance displayed by counsel in insisting that the Court has no jurisdiction to question his act of having complained before the Office of the President, and in claiming that a contempt order is used as a weapon by judges and justices against practicing lawyers, however, reveals all too plainly that he was not honestly motivated in his criticism. Rather, Atty. Castellano's complaint is a vilification of

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the honor and integrity of the Justices of the Second Division of the Court and an impeachment of their capacity to render justice according to law.virtualawlibrary virtual law library WHEREFORE, Atty. Marceliano L. Castellano is found guilty of CONTEMPT OF COURT and IMPROPER CONDUCT as a member of the Bar and an officer of the Court, and is hereby ordered to PAY within fifteen (15) days from and after the finality of this Resolution a fine of One Thousand (P1,000.00) Pesos, or SUFFER ten (10) days imprisonment in the municipal jail of Calatrava, Negros Occidental in case he fails to pay the fine seasonably, and SUSPENDED from the practice of law throughout the Philippines for six (6) months as soon as this Resolution becomes final, with a WARNING that a repetition of any misconduct on his part will be dealt with more severely. Let notice of this Resolution be entered in Atty. Castellano's record, and be served on the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, the Court of Appeals, and the Executive Judges of the Regional Trial Courts and other Courts of the country, for their information and guidance. virtual law library SO ORDERED. G.R. No. 90083 : Philippine Supreme Court Decisions - KHALYXTO PEREZ MAGLASANG vs. PEOPLE OF THE PHIL. Republic of the Philippines SUPREME COURT Manila EN BANC G.R. No. 90083 October 4, 1990 KHALYXTO PEREZ MAGLASANG, accused-Petitioner, vs. PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Presiding Judge ERNESTO B. TEMPLADO (San Carlos City Court), Negros Occidental, Respondents. <!-Marceliano L. Castellano for petitioner. RESOLUTION PER CURIAM: On June 22, 1989, a petition for certiorari 1 entitled "Khalyxto Perez Maglasang vs. People of the Philippines, Presiding Judge, Ernesto B. Templado (San Carlos City Court) Negros Occidental," was filed by registered mail with the Court. Due to non-compliance with the requirements of Circular No. 1-88 of the Court, specifically the nonpayment of P316.50 for the legal fees and the non-attachment of the duplicate originals or duly certified true copies of the questioned decision and orders of the respondent judge denying the motion for reconsideration, the Court dismissed the petition on July 26, 1989. 2 virtual law library On September 9, 1989, Atty. Marceliano L. Castellano, as counsel of the petitioner, moved for a reconsideration of the resolution dismissing the petition. 3 This time, the amount of P316.50 was remitted and the Court was furnished with a duplicate copy of the respondent judge's decision, and also the IBP O.R. No. and the date of the payment of his membership dues. The motion for reconsideration did not contain the duplicate original or certified true copies of the assailed orders. Thus, in a Resolution dated October 18, 1989, the motion for reconsideration was denied "with FINALITY." 4 virtual law library

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Three months later, or on January 22, 1990 to be exact, the Court received from Atty. Castellano a copy of a complaint dated December 19, 1989, filed with the Office of the President of the Philippines whereby Khalyxto Perez Maglasang, through his lawyer, Atty. Castellano, as complainant, accused all the five Justices of the Court's Second Division with "biases and/or ignorance of the law or knowingly rendering unjust judgments or resolution." 5 The complaint was signed by Atty. Castellano "for the complainant" with the conformity of one Calixto B. Maglasang, allegedly the father of accused-complainant Khalyxto. 6 By reason of the strong and intemperate language of the complaint and its improper filing with the Office of the President, which, as he should know as a lawyer, has no jurisdiction to discipline, much more, remove, Justices of the Supreme Court, on February 7, 1990, Atty. Castellano was required to show cause why he should not be punished for contempt or administratively dealt with for improper conduct. 7 On March 21, 1990, Atty. Castellano filed by registered mail his "Opposition To Cite For Contempt Or Administratively Dealt With For An Improper Conduct (sic)." 8 virtual law library In his "Opposition", Atty. Castellano claimed that the complaint "was a constructive criticism intended to correct in good faith the erroneous and very strict practices of the Justices concerned, as Respondents (sic). 9 Atty. Castellano further disputed the authority and jurisdiction of the Court in issuing the Resolution requiring him to show cause inasmuch as "they are Respondents in this particular case and no longer as Justices and as such they have no more jurisdiction to give such order." 10 Thus, according to him, "the most they (Justices) can do by the mandate of the law and procedure (sic) is to answer the complaint satisfactorily so that they will not be punished in accordance with the law just like a common tao." 11 virtual law library Notwithstanding his claim that the complaint was a "constructive criticism," the Court finds the various statements made by Atty. Castellano in the complaint he lodged with the Office of the President of the Philippines and in his "Opposition" filed with the Court portions of which read as follows: VI virtual law library That with all these injustices of the 2nd Division, as assigned to that most Honorable Supreme Court, the complainant was legally constrained to file this Administrative Complaint to our Motherly President who is firm and determined to phase-out all the scalawags (Marcos Appointees and Loyalists) still in your administration without bloodshed but by honest and just investigations, which the accused-complainant concurs to such procedure and principle, or otherwise, he could have by now a rebel with the undersigned with a cause for being maliciously deprived or unjustly denied of Equal Justice to be heard by our Justices designated to the Highest and most Honorable Court of the Land (Supreme Court); 12 (Emphasis ours.) VII virtual law library That the Honorable Supreme Court as a Court has no fault at all for being Constitutionally created, but the Justices assigned therein are fallables (sic), being bias (sic), playing ignorance of the law and knowingly rendering unjust Resolutions the reason observed by the undersigned and believed by him in good faith, is that they are may be Marcos-appointees, whose common intention is to sabotage the Aquino Administration and to rob from innocent Filipino people the genuine Justice and Democracy, so that they will be left in confusion and turmoil to their advantage and to the prejudice of our beloved President's honest, firm and determined Decision to bring back the real Justice in all our Courts, for the happiness, contentment and progress of your people and the only country which God has given us. - PHILIPPINES. 13 (Emphasis ours.) VIII virtual law library That all respondents know the law and the pure and simple meaning of Justice, yet they refused to grant to the poor and innocent accused-complainant, so to save their brethren in rank and office (Judiciary) Judge Ernesto B. Templado, . . . 14 IX virtual law library

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. . . If such circulars were not known to the undersigned, it's the fault of the Justices of the Honorable Supreme Court, the dismissal of the petition was based more of money reasons. . . . This is so for said Equal Justice is our very Breath of Life to every Filipino, who is brave to face the malicious acts of the Justices of the Second Division, Supreme Court. By reason of fear for the truth Respondents ignore the equal right of the poor and innocent-accused (complainant) to be heard against the rich and high-ranking person in our Judiciary to be heard in equal justice in our Honorable Court, for the respondents is too expensive and can't be reached by an ordinary man for the Justices therein are inconsiderate, extremely strict and meticulous to the common tao and hereby grossly violate their Oath of Office and our Constitution "to give all possible help and means to give equal Justice to any man, regardless of ranks and status in life" 15 (Emphasis ours.) xxx xxx xxx virtual law library 5. That the undersigned had instantly without delay filed a Motion for Reconsideration to the Resolution which carries with it a final denial of his appeal by complying (sic) all the requirements needed for a valid appeal yet the respondents denied just the same which legally hurt the undersigned in the name of Justice, for the Respondents-Justices, were so strict or inhumane and so inconsiderate that there despensation (sic) of genuine justice was too far and beyond the reach of the Accused-Appellant, as a common tao, as proved by records of both cases mentioned above. 16 xxx xxx xxx virtual law library D. That by nature a contempt order is a one sided weapon commonly abused by Judges and Justices, against practicing lawyers, party-litigants and all Filipino people in general for no Judges or Justices since the beginning of our Court Records were cited for contempt by any presiding Judge. That this weapon if maliciously applied is a cruel means to silence a righteous and innocent complainant and to favor any person with close relation. 17 scurrilous and contumacious. His allegations that the Court in dismissing his petition did so "to save their brethren in rank and office (Judiciary) Judge Ernesto B. Templado," and that the dismissal was "based more for (sic) money reasons;" and his insinuation that the Court maintains a double standard in dispensing justice - one set for the rich and another for the poor - went beyond the bounds of "constructive criticism." They are not relevant to the cause of his client. On the contrary, they cast aspersion on the Court's integrity as a neutral and final arbiter of all justiciable controversies brought before it. Atty. Castellano should know that the Court in resolving complaints yields only to the records before it and not to any extraneous influence as he disparagingly intimates. It bears stress that the petition was dismissed initially by the Court for the counsel's failure to fully comply with the requirements laid down in Circular No. 1-88, a circular on expeditious disposition of cases, adopted by the Court on November 8, 1988, but effective January 1, 1989, after due publication. It is true that Atty. Castellano later filed on behalf of his client a motion for reconsideration and remitted the necessary legal fees, 18 furnished the Court with a duplicate original copy of the assailed trial court's decision, 19 and indicated his IBP O.R. No. and the date he paid his dues. 20 But he still fell short in complying fully with the requirements of Circular No. 1-88. He failed to furnish the Court with duplicate original or duty certified true copies of the other questioned orders issued by the respondent trial court judge. At any rate, the explanation given by Atty. Castellano did not render his earlier negligence excusable. Thus, as indicated in our Resolution dated October 18, 1989 which denied with finality his motion for reconsideration, "no valid or compelling reason (having been) adduced to warrant the reconsideration sought." Precisely, under paragraph 5 of Circular No. 1-88 it is provided that "(S)ubsequent compliance with the above requirements will not warrant reconsideration of the order of dismissal unless it be shown that such non-compliance was due to compelling reasons." virtual law library It is clear that the case was lost not by the alleged injustices Atty. Castellano irresponsibly ascribed to the members of the Court's Second Division, but simply because of his inexcusable negligence and incompetence. Atty.

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Castellano, however, seeks to pass on the blame for his deficiencies to the Court, in the hope of salvaging his reputation before his client. Unfortunately, the means by which Atty. Castellano hoped to pass the buck so to speak, are grossly improper. As an officer of the Court, he should have known better than to smear the honor and integrity of the Court just to keep the confidence of his client. Time and again we have emphasized that a "lawyer's duty is not to his client but to the administration of justice; to that end, his client's success is wholly subordinate; and his conduct ought to and must always be scrupulously observant of law and ethics." 21 Thus, "while a lawyer must advocate his client's cause in utmost earnest and with the maximum skill he can marshal, he is not at liberty to resort to arrogance, intimidation, and innuendo." 22 virtual law library To be sure, the Court does not pretend to be immune from criticisms. After all, it is through the criticism of its actions that the Court, composed of fallible mortals, hopes to correct whatever mistake it may have unwittingly committed. But then again, "[i]t is the cardinal condition of all such criticism that it shall be bona fide and shall not spill over the walls of decency and propriety. A wide chasm exists between fair criticism, on the one hand, and abuse and slander of courts and the judges thereof, on the other. Intemperate and unfair criticism is a gross violation of the duty of respect to courts." 23 In this regard, it is precisely provided under Canon 11 of the Code of Professional Responsibility that: CANON 11-A LAWYER SHALL OBSERVE AND MAINTAIN THE RESPECT DUE TO THE COURTS AND TO JUDICIAL OFFICERS AND SHOULD INSIST ON SIMILAR CONDUCT BY OTHERS. xxx xxx xxx virtual law library RULE 11.03 - A lawyer shall abstain from scandalous, offensive or menancing language or behavior before the courts.virtualawlibrary virtual law library RULE 11.04 - A lawyer should not attribute to a judge motives not supported by the record or have materiality to the case. xxx xxx xxx We further note that in filing the "complaint" against the justices of the Court's Second Division, even the most basic tenet of our government system - the separation of powers between the judiciary, the executive, and the legislative branches has - been lost on Atty. Castellano. We therefore take this occasion to once again remind all and sundry that "the Supreme Court is supreme - the third great department of government entrusted exclusively with the judicial power to adjudicate with finality all justiciable disputes, public and private. No other department or agency may pass upon its judgments or declare them 'unjust.'" 24 Consequently, and owing to the foregoing, not even the President of the Philippines as Chief Executive may pass judgment on any of the Court's acts.virtualawlibrary virtual law library Finally, Atty. Castellano's assertion that the complaint "was a constructive criticism intended to correct in good faith the erroneous and very strict practices of the Justices, concerned as Respondents (sic)" is but a last minute effort to sanitize his clearly unfounded and irresponsible accusation. The arrogance displayed by counsel in insisting that the Court has no jurisdiction to question his act of having complained before the Office of the President, and in claiming that a contempt order is used as a weapon by judges and justices against practicing lawyers, however, reveals all too plainly that he was not honestly motivated in his criticism. Rather, Atty. Castellano's complaint is a vilification of the honor and integrity of the Justices of the Second Division of the Court and an impeachment of their capacity to render justice according to law.virtualawlibrary virtual law library WHEREFORE, Atty. Marceliano L. Castellano is found guilty of CONTEMPT OF COURT and IMPROPER CONDUCT as a member of the Bar and an officer of the Court, and is hereby ordered to PAY within fifteen (15) days from and after the finality of this Resolution a fine of One Thousand (P1,000.00) Pesos, or SUFFER ten (10) days imprisonment in the municipal jail of Calatrava, Negros Occidental in case he fails to pay the fine seasonably, and SUSPENDED from the practice of law throughout the Philippines for six (6) months as soon as this Resolution

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becomes final, with a WARNING that a repetition of any misconduct on his part will be dealt with more severely. Let notice of this Resolution be entered in Atty. Castellano's record, and be served on the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, the Court of Appeals, and the Executive Judges of the Regional Trial Courts and other Courts of the country, for their information and guidance. virtual law library

A.C. No. 3694 June 17, 1993 ALBERTO FERNANDEZ, ISABELO ONGTENGCO, ACHILLES BARTOLOME, AND ST. LUKES MEDICAL CENTER, complainants, vs. ATTORNEY BENJAMIN M. GRECIA, respondent. Norberto Gonzales for Fernandez. Bu Castro for Ongtengco & Bartolome. Quasha, Asperilla, Ancheta, Peña & Nolasco for St. Luke's Hospital. Joaquin P. Yuseco for respondent Benjamin Grecia.

PER CURIAM: This disbarment complaint against Attorney Benjamin M. Grecia was filed on August 20, 1991 by Doctors Alberto Fernandez, Isabelo Ongtengco and Achilles Bartolome and the St. Luke's Medical Center (hereafter "St. Luke's" for brevity) where they are accredited medical practitioners. The respondent is charged with dishonesty and grave misconduct in connection with the theft of some pages from a medical chart which was material evidence in a damage suit filed by his clients against the aforenamed doctors and St. Luke's. Disciplinary proceedings like this one are in a class by themselves. As we observed in In Re Almacen, 31 SCRA 562,600, they are neither purely civil nor purely criminal. "Public interests is the primary objective, and the real question for determination is whether or not the attorney is still a fit person to be allowed the privileges as such." The purpose is "to protect the court and the public from the misconduct of officers of the court" (In Re Montagne & Dominguez, 3 Phil. 577, 588), or to remove from the profession a person whose misconduct has proved him unfit to be entrusted with the duties and responsibilities belonging to the office of an attorney (Ledesma vs. Climaco, 57 SCRA 473; Atienza vs. Evangelista, 80 SCRA 338). Disbarment is nothing new to respondent Grecia. On November 12, 1987, he was disbarred for his immoral complicity or "unholy alliance" with a judge in Quezon City to rip off banks and Chinese business firms which had the misfortune to be sued in the latter's court (Prudential Bank vs. Judge Jose P. Castro and Atty. Benjamin M. Grecia [Adm. Case No. 2756], 155 SCRA 604). Three years later, on December 18, 1990, the Court, heeding his pleas for compassions and his promise to mend his ways, reinstated him in the profession. Only eight (8) months later, on August 20, 1991, he was back before the court facing another charge of dishonesty and unethical practice. Apparently, the earlier disciplinary action that the Court took against him did not effectively reform him.

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The complaint of St. Luke's against Attorney Grecia was referred by the Court to Deputy Court of Administrator Juanito A. Bernad for investigation, report and recommendation. The following are Judge Bernad's findings: The late Fe Linda Aves was seven (7) months pregnant when she was admitted as a patient at St. Luke's Hospital on December 20, 1990. She complained of dizziness, hypertension, and abdominal pains with vaginal bleeding. Dr. Fernandez, head of the OB-GYNE Department of St. Luke's, Dr. Ongtengco, Jr., a cardiologist, and Dr. Bartolome, a urologist, examined Mrs. Aves and diagnosed her problem as mild preeclampsia (p. 63, Rollo). Five (5) days later, on Christmas day, December 25, 1990, Mrs. Aves was discharged from the hospital, to celebrate Christmas with her family. However, she was rushed back to the hospital the next day, December 26, 1990. On December 27, 1990, she died together with her unborn child. Blaming the doctors of St. Luke's for his wife's demise, Attorney Damaso B. Aves, along with his three (3) minor children, brought an action for damages against the hospital and the attending physicians of his wife. Their counsel, respondent Attorney Benjamin Grecia, filed a complaint entitled: "Attorney Damaso B. Aves, et al. vs. St. Luke's Medical Center, Drs. Alberto Fernandez, Isabelo Ongtengco, Jr. and Achilles Bartolome" in the Regional Trial Court of Valenzuela, Bulacan, where it was docketed as Civil Case No. 3548-V and assigned to Branch 172, presided over by Judge Teresita Dizon-Capulong. On July 4, 1991, the medical records of Fe Linda Aves were produced in court by St. Luke's, as requested by Attorney Grecia. The records were entrusted to the Acting Branch Clerk of Court, Avelina Robles. On July 16, 1991, between 8:30-9:00 o' clock in the morning, upon arriving in court for another hearing of the case, Attorney Grecia borrowed from Mrs. Robles the folder containing the medical records of Mrs. Aves. While leafing through the folder, Grecia surreptitiously tore off two (2) pages of the medical records. The respondent's act was notified by Mrs. Robles and Maria Arnet Sandico, a clerk. They saw Grecia crumple the papers and place them inside the right pocket of his coat. He immediately returned the folder to Mrs. Roblesa (who was momentarily rendered speechless by his audacious act) and left the office. Mrs. Robles examined the medical chart and found pages "72" and "73" missing. She ordered Sandico to follow the respondent. Sandico saw Grecia near the canteen at the end of the building, calling a man (presumably his driver) who was leaning against a parked car (presumably Grecia's car). When the man approached, Grecia gave him the crumpled papers which he took from his coatpocket. Sandico returned to the office and reported what she had seen to Mrs. Robles. The latter in turn reported it to Judge Capulong. The three of them — Judge Capulong, Mrs. Robles and Ms. Sandico — went downstairs. Ms. Sandico pointed to Judge Capulong the man to whom Grecia had given the papers which he had filched from medical folder of Linda Aves. Judge Capulong told Sandico to bring the man to her chamber. On the way back to chamber, Judge Capulong saw the plaintiff, Attorney Damaso Aves, and St. Luke's counsel, Attorney Melanie Limson. She requested them to come to her office. In the presence of Attorneys Aves and Limson, Mrs. Robles, Ms. Sandico, and a visitor, Judge Capulong confronted the man and ordered him to give her the papers which Grecia had passed on to him. The man at first denied that he had the papers in his possession. However, when Sandico declared that she saw Grecia hand over the papers to him, the man sheepishly took them from his pants pocket and gave them to Judge Capulong. When the crumpled pages "72" and "73" of the medical folder were shown to Sandico, she identified them as the same papers that she saw Grecia hand over to the man.

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After the confrontation, Sandicio and Robles went back to their office. Mrs. Robles collapsed in a dead faint and was rushed to the Fatima Hospital where she later regained consciousness. In the ensuing excitement and confusion of recovering the stolen exhibits, no one thought of ascertaining the identity of the man from whom they were recovered. Judge Capulong belatedly realized this, so she directed the Valenzuela Police to find out who he was. She also ordered Sandico to submit a formal report of the theft of the exhibits to the police. A police investigator, PO3 Arnold Alabastro, tried to ascertain the name of Grecia's driver who was known only as "SID." He located Grecia's house in Quezon City. Although he was not allowed to enter the premises, he was able to talk with a house maid. He pretended to be a cousin of "SID" and asked for the latter. The housemaid informed him that "SID" was sent home to his province by Grecia. He talked with Grecia himself but the latter denied that he had a driver named "SID." PO3 Alabastro also talked wit one of Grecia's neighbors across the street. The neighbor confirmed that Grecia's driver was a fellow named "SID". The incident caused enormous emotional strain to the personnel of Judge Capulong's court, so much so that the Acting Branch Clerk of Court, Avelina Robles, was hospitalized. Because of the incident, Judge Capulong inhibited herself from conducting the trial of Civil Case No. 3548-V. On August 20, 1991, St. Luke's failed this disbarment case against Grecia. At the investigation of the case by Judge Bernad, Attorney Damaso Aves, the surviving spouse of the late Fe Linda Aves and plaintiff in Civil case No. 3548-V, testified that it was Attorney Bu Castro, counsel of the defendants in said Civil Case No. 3548-V, who lifted two pages from the medical folder which lay among some papers on top of the table of Acting Branch Clerk of Court Robles. When he allegedly went outside the courthouse to wait for Attorney Grecia to arrive, he noticed Attorney Castro come out of the building and walk toward a man in the parking lot to whom he handed a piece of paper. Afterward, Attorney Castro reentered the courthouse. Respondent Grecia denied any knowledge of the theft of the exhibits in the Aves case. He alleged that the person who was caught in possession of the detached pages of the medical record was actually "planted" by his adversaries to discredit him and destroy his reputation. He denied that he had a driver. He alleged that his car was out of order on July 16, 1991, so he was fetched by the driver of Attorney Aves in the latter's "Maxima" car. He arrived in the courthouse at exactly 9:15 in the morning and went straight to the courtroom on the second floor of the building. He did not leave the place until his case was called at 9:40. Since it was allegedly a very warm day, he wore a dark blue barong tagalog, not a business suit. He branded the testimony of Ms. Sandico as an absolute falsehood. He alleged that he would not have done the act imputed to him, because the medical chart was the very foundation of the civil case which he filed against St. Luke's and its doctors. He wondered why the man, alleged to be his driver, to whom he supposedly gave the detached pages of the medical chart, was neither held nor arrested. His identity was not even established. He likewise branded the testimony of Police Investigator Alabastro as a fabrication for he had never seen him before. He underscored the fact that none of the lawyers in the courthouse, nor any of the court personnel, accosted him about the purloined pages of the medical record and he alleged that the unidentified man remained in the courtroom even after the confrontation in the Judge's chamber.

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In evaluating the testimonies of the witnesses, Judge Bernad found the court employee, Maria Arnie Sandico, and Acting branch Clerk of Court Avelina Robles entirely credible and "without any noticeable guile nor attempt at fabrication, remaining constant even under pressure of cross examination" (p. 11, Judge Bernad's Report). That the Acting Branch Clerk of Court, Mrs. Robles, who is not even a lawyer, and her lowly clerk, Ms. Sandico, did not promptly raise a hue and cry on seeing Grecia tear off two pages of the medical record, was understandable for they hesitated to confront a man of his stature. Nevertheless, they had the presence of mind to immediately report the matter to their Judge who forthwith took appropriate steps to recover the exhibits. Robles, Sandico and PO3 Alabastro had absolutely no motive to testify falsely against the respondent. While Judge Capulong took the blame for failing to ascertain the identity of Attorney Grecia's "driver," her swift action in summoning and confronting him led to the recovery of the stolen pages of the medical chart. Unfortunately, the inquiry made by Police Investigation Arnold Alabastro into identity of the man was fruitless for he was never seen again. Attorney Aves' allegation that it was St. Luke's counsel, Attorney Castro, not Grecia, who stole the pages from the medical folder and slipped them to an unidentified man, is an incredible fabrication. Not only is it directly contradicted by Mrs. Robles and Ms. Sandico, but, significantly, Attorney Aves failed to mention it during the confrontation with the man inside Judge Capulong's chamber where he (Attorney Aves) was present. His other allegation that he saw the man inside the courtroom afterwards, is not credible for he would have called the attention of Judge Capulong who, he knew, had been looking for the man to ascertain his identity. In view of his obvious bias for his counsel, Aves' testimony was properly disregarded by the investigator, Judge Bernad. Likewise wanting in truth and candor was Grecia's testimony. Judge Bernad noted that while Grecia was punctilious when testifying on the hour of his arrival in court (9:15 A.M.) on July 16, 1991, and he even remembered that on that day he wore a dark blue barong tagalog (an apparel that has no pockets), his memory was not sharp when he was cross-examined regarding more recent events. For instance, he insisted that Judge Bernad was absent on August 4, 1992, but the truth is that a hearing was held on that date as shown by the transcript. When he was confronted with exhibits "A" and "B," Grecia tried to make an issue of the absence of a court order to deposit Linda Aves' medical chart in court. He forgot that it was he who asked that the chart be left with the clerk of court. His allegation that he would be the last person to remove pages 72 and 73 of the medical chart for the entries therein are favorable to his client's cause is specious. As a matter of fact, the entries show that after Mrs. Aves was readmitted to the hospital on December 26, 1990, the doctors were able to stabilize her blood pressure with a normal reading of 120/80. On the basis of the evidence presented before Judge Bernad, the Court is convinced that the charge against Attorney Benjamin M. Grecia is true. By stealing two pages from Linda Aves' medical chart and passing them on to his driver, he violated Rule 1.01, canon 1 of the Rules of Professional Responsibility as well as canon 7 thereof which provide that: Canon 1. . . .

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Rule 1.01 — A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral and deceitful conduct. Canon 7. A lawyer shall at all times uphold the integrity and dignity of the legal profession and support the activities of the Integrated Bar. A lawyer is an officer of the courts; he is "like the court itself, an instrument or agency to advance the ends of justice" (People ex rel Karlin vs. Culkin, 60 A.L.R. 851, 855). An incorrigible practitioner of "dirty tricks," like Grecia would be ill-suited to discharge the role of "an instrument to advance the ends of justice." The importance of integrity and good moral character as part of a lawyer's equipment in the practice of his profession has been stressed by this Court repeatedly. . . . The bar should maintain a high standard of legal proficiency as well as of honesty and fair dealing. Generally speaking, a lawyer can do honor to the legal profession by faithfully performing his duties to society, to the bar, to the courts and to his clients. To this end, nothing should be done by any member of the legal fraternity which might tend to lessen in any degree the confidence of the public in the fidelity, honesty and integrity of the profession. (Marcelo vs. Javier, Sr., A.C. No. 3248, September 18, 1992, pp. 13-14.) . . . . The nature of the office of an attorney at law requires that he shall be a person of good moral character. This qualification is not only a condition precedent to admission to the practice of law; its continued possession is also essential for remaining in the practice of law, in the exercise of privileges of members of the Bar. Gross misconduct on the part of a lawyer, although not related to the discharge of professional duties as a member of the bar, which puts his moral character in serious doubt, renders him unfit to continue in the practice of law. (Melendrez vs. Decena, 176 SCRA 662, 676.) . . . public policy demands that legal work in representation of parties litigant should be entrusted only to those possessing tested qualifications and who are sworn to observe the rules and the ethics of the profession, a s well as being subject for judicial disciplinary control for the protection of court, clients and the public. (Phil. Association of Free Labor Unions [PAFLU] vs. Binalbagan Isabela Sugar Company, 42 SCRA 302, 305.) By descending to the level of a common thief, respondent Grecia has demeaned and disgraced the legal profession. He has demonstrated his moral unfitness to continue as a member of the honorable fraternity of lawyers. He has forfeited his membership in the BAR. Generally, a lawyer may be disbarred or suspended for any misconduct, whether in his professional or private capacity, which shows him to be wanting in moral character, in honesty, probity and good demeanor or unworthy to continue as an officer of the court, or an unfit or unsafe person to enjoy the privileges and to manage the business of others in the capacity of an attorney, or for conduct which tends to bring reproach on the legal profession or to injure it in the favorable opinion of the public. (Marcelo vs. Javier, Sr., A.C. No. 3248, September 18, 1992, p. 15.) WHEREFORE, the Court finds Attorney Benjamin Grecia guilty of grave misconduct, dishonesty, and grossly unethical behavior as a lawyer. Considering that this is his second offense against the canons of the profession, the Court resolved to impose upon him once more the supreme penalty of DISBARMENT. His license to practice law in the Philippines is hereby CANCELLED and the Bar Confidant is ordered to strike out his name from the Roll of Attorneys. A.C. No. 516 June 27, 1967

17

TRANQUILINO O. CALO, JR., petitioner, vs. ESTEBAN DEGAMO, respondent. Teodoro O. Calo, Jr. for complainant. Office of the Solicitor General Arturo A. Alafriz and Solicitor Pedro A,. Ramirez for investigators. REYES, J.B.L., J.: Disbarment proceedings against the respondent Esteban Degamo1 upon a verified letter-complaint of the petitioner, Tranquilino O. Calo, Jr., filed with this Court on 2 March 1962, and charging the former with "having committed false statement under oath or perjury" in connection with his appointment as Chief of Police of Carmen, Agusan. On 12 March 1962, this Court required the respondent to file "an answer (not a motion to dismiss.) After interposing an unsuccessful motion for a bill of particulars, he filed his answer on 29 May 1962 and this Court accordingly referred the case to the Solicitor-General for investigation, report and recommendation. In turn, the Solicitor General referred the case to the Provincial Fiscal of Agusan. The fiscal conducted an investigation. The petitioner adduced evidence, but not the respondent, because on the date set for hearing, on 25 July 1964, following several postponements, the respondent failed to attend, despite due notice, for which reason the investigating fiscal considered the respondent as having waived his right to present evidence. Thereafter, the fiscal forwarded the record of the investigation to the Solicitor General. On the basis thereof, the Solicitor General filed his report and a complaint with this Court, recommending the disbarment of the respondent, for gross misconduct. No evidence having been submitted by the respondent, the following facts are either unrebutted or admitted: On 17 January 1959, respondent Esteban Degamo, as an applicant to the position of Chief of Police of Carmen, Agusan, subscribed and swore to a filled-out "Information Sheet" before Mayor Jose Malimit of the same municipality. The sheet called for answers about name, personal circumstances, educational attainment, civil service eligibility and so forth. One item required to be filled out reads: Criminal or police record, if any, including those which did not reach the Court. (State the details of case and the final outcome.)" — to which respondent answered, "None." Having accomplished the form, the respondent was appointed by the mayor to the position applied for. However, on the day the respondent swore to the information sheet, there was pending against him, and two (2) other co-accused, a criminal case in the Court of First Instance of Bohol (No. 2646) for illegal possession of explosive powder.2 Prior to the commencement of this administrative case, the respondent was also charged in an information, dated 23 September 1960, for perjury, in the Court of First Instance of Agusan, docketed as Criminal Case No. 2194, on the same facts upon which he is now proceeded against as a member of the Philippine bar. In his defense, the respondent claims that his answer "None" to the aforequoted questionnaire was made in good faith, it being his honest interpretation of the particular question (heretofore quoted) that it referred to a final judgment or conviction and that Criminal Case No. 2646 was not a criminal or police record.1äwphï1.ñët The defense is plainly untenable. The questionnaire was simple, couched in ordinary terms and devoid of legalism hence, it needed no interpretation. It only called for simple information. That it asked for records "which did not reach the Court" entirely disproves respondent's technical twist to the question as referring to final judgments or convictions.

18

Petitioner's letter-complaint was filed on 2 March 1962 while the act of the respondent complained of was committed on 17 January 1959. Without explaining how and upon what authority, respondent invokes the defense of prescription. This defense does not lie; the rule is that — The ordinary statutes of limitation have no application to disbarment proceedings, nor does the circumstance that the facts set up as a ground for disbarment constitute a crime, prosecution for which in a criminal proceeding is barred by limitation, affect the disbarment proceeding, . . . (5 Am. Jur. 434). Nor is the pendency of Criminal Case No. 2194 (for perjury) a prejudicial question, since the ground for disbarment in the present proceeding is not for conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude but for gross misconduct. A violation of a criminal law is not a bar to disbarment (6 Moran 242, 1963 Ed., citing the case of In re Montagne and Dominguez, 3 Phil. 577), and an acquittal is no obstacle to cancellation of the lawyer's license. (In re Del Rosario, 52 Phil. 399). Respondent Degamo stresses that there is no cause of action against him because the information sheet is not required by law but only by the Civil Service Commission. This argument is beside the point. The issue is whether or not he acted honestly when he denied under oath the existence against him of any criminal or police record, including those that did not reach the court. In this, he did not tell the truth. He deliberately concealed it in order to secure an appointment in his own favor. He, therefore, failed to maintain that high degree of morality expected and required of a member of the bar (Toledo vs. Toledo, Adm. Case No. 266, 27 April 1963; Mortel vs. Aspiras, Adm. Case No. 145, 28 Dec. 1956; Bolivar vs. Simbol, Adm. Case No. 377, 29 April 1966 **), and he has violated his oath as a lawyer to "do no falsehood". It needs no reiteration that the ethical standards applicable to a member of the bar, who thereby automatically becomes a court officer, must necessarily be one higher than that of the market place. The facts being clear and undisputed, respondent's insistence upon patent technical excuses disentitle him to leniency from his Court. For the foregoing reasons, respondent Esteban Degamo is hereby disbarred, and his name ordered stricken from the roll of attorneys. So ordered. Concepcion, C.J., Dizon, Makalintal, Bengzon, J.P., Zaldivar, Sanchez and Castro, JJ., concur. Footnotes
*

The "Resolution of the Court on the " Motion for Reconsideration" was promulgated on August 30, 1967 and is printed in this volume.
1

Admitted to the Bar on 7 February 1965. The information bears data of 3 July 1958 (Exh. "B-1"). 16 Supreme Court Reports Annotated 623.

2

**

G.R. No. 126337. February 12, 1998 FELIX P. UY, Petitioner, vs. COURT OF APPEALS, THE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION and ARTURO T. MILLANA, Respondent. DECISION

19

MARTINEZ, J.: This is a petition for review on certiorari filed by Engineer Felix P. Uy from the decision of the Court of Appeals dated July 10, l9961 which affirmed the decision of the Civil Service Commission.2 The facts which gave rise to the instant petition are as follows: On September 27, l982, petitioner was promoted by then Governor Valentina G. Plaza as Supervising Mechanical Engineer, Equipment Pool Division, Provincial Engineering Office of Agusan del Sur.3 On February 26, l988, then Governor Ceferino Paredes, issued Administrative Order No. 88-01 scaling down the operations of the Provincial Engineering Office (PEO for brevity) by reducing the number of its personnel. Sixtytwo employees of the PEO, including petitioner were affected by this order. On May 11, l988, petitioner received his notice of termination effective on May 16, l988 signed by Governor Ceferino Paredes.4 However, private respondent who holds the position of Mechanical Engineer5 (a position two (2) steps below that of petitioner) was retained by Governor Paredes. Thereafter, petitioner and the sixty-one (61) other dismissed employees, filed a complaint/ petition before the Merit System Protection Board (MSPB for brevity), Civil Service Commission, assailing the legality of their termination from office. While the petition was pending before the MSPB, Governor Paredes reorganized the Equipment Pool Division, PEO and renamed the same as Motor Pool Division, PEO. He abolished the position of Supervising Mechanical Engineer and upgraded instead the next ranking position, Senior Mechanical Engineer as the Chief of Division.6 Thereafter, he appointed private respondent to the said position while designating another, Engineer Carlito Capol, to the position of Mechanical Engineer left vacant by private respondent.7 On July 1, l989, Republic Act 6758, otherwise known as the Salary Standardization Law (SSL for brevity) took effect. The positions at the PEO, Motor Pool Division were reclassified: the Chief, Motor Pool Division was designated as Head Mechanical Engineer with the equivalent rank of Engineer IV; Supervising Mechanical Engineer (previously abolished by Governor Paredes) as Engineer III; and Senior Mechanical Engineer as Engineer II. Private respondent being the current Chief, Motor Pool Division, was designated by Governor Paredes to the position of Head Mechanical Engineer. On January 29, l993, the Merit System Protection Board, Civil Service Commission, rendered its decision in MSPB Case No. 91-1739 declaring petitioners termination from the service including that of the other employees assigned with the PEO illegal. The dispositive portion thereof reads, to wit; WHEREFORE, in the light of the foregoing, the board finds the petition of Emmie Hurbada, et al., meritorious. Accordingly, the Petitioners who were illegally separated are hereby ordered reinstated.8 On May 24, l993, the petitioners in MSPB Case No. 91-1739 filed a motion praying for the Board to issue an order directing the Provincial Governor of Agusan del Sur ( who was then Governor Democrito Plaza) to reinstate petitioners in the service and to declare invalid the appointments of personnel who were then appointed by Governor Paredes in their respective positions.9 On June 24, l993, the MSPB issued an order directing the Provincial Governor of Agusan del Sur to immediately implement the subject decision in the interest of justice.10

20

On August 27, l993, Governor Plaza issued Memorandum Order No. 028-92 reinstating petitioner to the Provincial Engineering Office, Motor Pool Division as Engineer IV while revoking that of private respondent. On September 1, l993, petitioners appointment as Engineer IV was issued by the said governor.11 For failure of Governor Plaza to reinstate the rest of the petitioners despite the issuance of several orders by MSPB, the case was elevated to the Civil Service Commission (CSC for brevity).12 On March 21, l994, the CSC issued Resolution No. 94-1567 declaring MSPB order dated January 29, l993 final and executory and formally charging Governor Plaza with indirect contempt pursuant to the provisions of the l987 Administrative Code for continued refusal to reinstate the other petitioners in MSPB case No. 91-1739.13 Private respondent raised the legality of the order of Governor Plaza terminating his services as Engineer IV, Motor Pool Division before the CSC. On March 21, 1995, the CSC issued Resolution No. 95-2104, the dispositive portion of which reads, to wit: WHEREFORE, the appeal of Arturo Millana is hereby granted. Accordingly, the Provincial Government of Agusan del Sur is directed to cause the reinstatement of Arturo J. Millana to the position of Engineer IV. He is entitled to the payment of back salaries and other benefits for the period that he had been out of the service. Felix P. Uy should be reinstated to a position comparable with that which he was holding at the time of his illegal termination.14 Governor Plaza and petitioner herein filed their separate motions for reconsideration15 but the same were denied by the CSC in its Resolution No. 955591 dated September 5, l995, the dispositive portion of which reads, to wit: WHEREFORE, the instant Motions for Reconsideration of Governor Democrito O. Plaza and Engineer Felix P. Uy are hereby dismissed. Accordingly, CSC Resolution No. 95-2104 dated 21 March 1995 stands and the Provincial Government of Agusan del Sur is directed to implement the same immediately."16 On November 17, l995, petitioner filed a petition for review before the respondent court assigning two errors committed by the respondent CSC:17 (l) that public respondent erred in ruling as improper his reinstatement as Engineer IV in the provincial engineering office of the province of Agusan del Sur and by directing that he be reinstated to a position comparable with that he was holding at the time of his dismissal; (2) that public respondent erred and failed to appreciate the fact that his former Supervising Mechanical Engineer position which was abolished and replaced with a Senior Mechanical Engineer and later classified as Engineer IV pursuant to RA 6758 are the same and similar positions provided for in the plantilla of personnel, Provincial Engineering Office, province of Agusan del Sur. On July 10, l996, the respondent court rendered its decision denying the petition for lack of merit.18 It ruled that petitioner did not question the qualification of Millana to the contested position and that the position of private respondent at the time of his termination, Engineer IV, could not be that which was previously occupied by the petitioner, which was Supervising Mechanical Engineer or Engineer III. The respondent court further stressed that an appointment whether to a vacancy or to a newly created position is essentially within the discretionary power of whomsoever it is vested. A copy of the said decision was received by petitioners counsel on July 17, l996. On July 26, l996, petitioners counsel filed a motion for extension of time to file a motion for reconsideration which was denied by the respondent court in its Resolution dated August 7, l996. The order likewise declared the finality of the decision of the respondent court. On August 20, l996, petitioners counsel filed his motion for reconsideration19 which was later denied by the respondent court in its Resolution dated September 4, l996.20

21

Hence, this petition. Petitioner reiterated the assigned errors in his petition for review before the respondent court in addition to the claim that the said court erred in applying the rulings of this Court in Panis vs. CSC, 229 SCRA 509(1994); Mendilla vs. CSC; Central Bank vs. CSC; Rimonte vs. CSC, and Lapinid vs. CSC. Public respondent, on the other hand, maintains that the issue left for this court to consider is whether or nor petitioners motion for reconsideration was filed before the Court of Appeals within the reglementary period. It argued that the respondent court acted correctly in denying petitioners motion for reconsideration for having been filed out of time, citing the rulings of this court in Habaluyas Enterprises v. Japzon; Lacsamana v. Second Special Cases Division of the Intermediate Appellate Court; Rolloque v. Court of Appeals; and Caltex (Phil), Inc. v. Intermediate Appellate Court. It also added that the respondent court acted correctly in upholding the CSCc ruling that petitioner may not be reinstated to the new position of Engineer IV at the expense of Millana who enjoys the status of a permanent employee and is entitled to security of tenure. We find for the respondent. The failure of a party to perfect his appeal in the manner and within the period fixed by law renders the decision sought to be appealed final, with the result that no court can exercise appellate jurisdiction to review the decision. For it is more important that a case be settled than it be settled right. It is only in exceptional cases when we have allowed a relaxation of the rules governing the periods of appeal.21 A careful perusal of this case reveals that the decision of the respondent court had become final and executory due to the failure of petitioner to file his motion for reconsideration within the reglementary period. Since petitioners counsel received a copy of the decision on July 17, l996, the aforesaid motion should have been filed not later than August 1, l996. Petitioners filing of a motion for extension of time to file a motion for reconsideration on July 26, l996 and the motion for reconsideration only on August 20, l996, was a procedural lapse fatal to his cause. Not only was the said motion for extension of time to file a motion for reconsideration declared prohibited by several rulings of this Court but the Interim Rules of the respondent court likewise provides that the period for filing a motion for reconsideration is non-extendible.22 The denial of aforesaid motions by the respondent court is therefore correct. In fact, the filing of said motion for extension of time to file a motion for reconsideration did not suspend/toll the running of the reglementary period which in effect renders the assailed decision final and beyond the jurisdiction of this court This Court has ruled as early as 1986 in the case of Habaluyas Enterprises v. Japzon23 and reiterated in Lacsamana v. Second Special Cases Division of the Intermediate Appellate Court24 that no motion for extension of time to file a motion for new trial or reconsideration may be filed with the Metropolitan or Municipal Trial Courts, the Regional Trial Courts, and the Intermediate Appellate Court. In fact, the court has time and again consistently upheld strict adherence to aforesaid rule.25 In Rolloque, et al., vs. CA, et al., this Court said: The filing by petitioners of a motion for extension of time to file motion for reconsideration did not toll the fifteen (15) days period before a judgment becomes final and executory. Since the decision of respondent Court of Appeals dated November 28, 1986 has long become final and executory at the time of the filing of this petition, this Court can no longer alter or modify the same.26 We find no reason for counsel of petitioner to be unaware of the aforesaid rulings of this court. As counsel for petitioner, he failed to observe the responsibility imposed on him as a member of the bar to keep abreast with the latest developments of the law.27 Counsels failure or negligence cannot be sanctioned considering that it has been ten (10) years since the decision in the Habaluyas case and reiterated in subsequent cases was promulgated. Indeed, negligence or mistake of counsel necessarily binds the client.28

22

Moreover, a review of the decision of the respondent court will show that no reversible error has been made. As aptly observed by that court: The Civil Service Commission did not deny petitioners right to be reinstated to his former position but only declared as improper the manner by which his reinstatement was effected. xxx Petitioner did not question the qualifications of Millana to the contested position. It is so because an appointment whether to a vacancy or to a newly created position is essentially within the discretionary power of whomsoever it is vested, (Panis v. Civil Service Commission, 227 SCRA 509 [1994]). Once a candidate possesses the minimum qualities required by law, sufficient discretion, if not plenary, is granted to the appointing authority (Mendenilla v. Civil Service Commission, 194 SCRA 278 [1991], Central Bank v. Civil Service Commission, 171 SCRA 744 [1989]). While the choice of an appointee from among those who possess the required qualification is a political and administrative decision (Rimonte v. Civil Service Commission, 244 SCRA 498 [1995]), such discretion cannot be exercised arbitrarily to remove a permanent employee occupying the position without violating (the) latters right to security of tenure. It is a settled rule that the Civil Service Commission has no authority to revoke an appointment simply because it considers another employee to be better qualified for that would constitute an encroachment on the discretion vested in the appointing authority (Lapinid v. Civil Service Commission, 197 SCRA 106 [1991]). The argument that petitioner should have been the one appointed because he was next in rank to the contested position cannot be upheld.29 In passing, the Court would like to reiterate the time-honored doctrine that factual findings of administrative bodies should be accorded not only respect but even finality as they are supported by substantial evidence even if not overwhelming or preponderant30 or that administrative agencies which have acquired expertise because their jurisdiction is confined to specific matters.31 Considering the factual and legal precedents in the case at bar, the petition must be denied. WHEREFORE, IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, finding no reversible error in the decision of the respondent court, the petition is hereby DENIED for lack of merit. SO ORDERED. Regalado, (Chairman), Melo, Puno, and Mendoza, JJ., concur. A.M. No. 2925 February 4, 1992 JUAN M. FRANCISCO, JR. and JORAM M. FRANCISCO, complainants, vs. ATTY. ANTONIO B. BOSA and ATTY. JESUS N. BANDONG, Respondents. RESOLUTION

GUTIERREZ, JR., J.: chanrobles virtual law library Brothers Juan and Joram Francisco initiated before this Court the instant proceedings for the disbarment of Attorneys Antonio Bosa and Jesus Bandong.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

23

Initially, we referred the case docketed as Administrative Matter No. R-776-P for investigation, report and recommendation to Executive Judge Protacio C. Sto. Tomas, Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Court of Masbate, Masbate.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library In a resolution dated January 11, 1988, however, the case was referred to Executive Judge Senecio O. Ortille, Regional Trial Court, Branch 55, Irosin, Sorsogon.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library In another resolution dated June 8, 1988, we directed Judge Ortille to proceed with the trial of the case and to terminate the same within thirty (30) days from receipt of the resolution. In the meantime, the Court, through the Bar Confidant, wrote a letter dated September 9, 1986, addressed to complainant Joram Francisco stating therein that since the prayer of the complaint includes Atty. Bandong in the disbarment proceedings in his capacity as a member of the Bar and considering that as far as Atty. Bosa who is a practicing lawyer is concerned, the office of the Bar Confidant has jurisdiction over the complaint, the said office took jurisdiction over the disbarment proceedings against Atty. Bosa and Atty. Bandong. The case was docketed as Administrative Case No. 2925. Hence, in the resolution dated June 8, 1988, the Court referred the case to the IBP Board of Governors for investigation, report and recommendation.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library On September 5, 1988, the Court issued a resolution dismissing Administrative Matter No. R-776-P based on the report of Judge Senecio Ortille. Apparently, the Franciscos never appeared during the scheduled hearings of the case and decided to adduce evidence instead before the IBP Board of Governors in Administrative Case No. 2925.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library After due hearing, the IBP Board of Governors rendered a decision, the dispositive portion of which reads: WHEREFORE, the Board of Governors hereby reprimands Atty. Jesus Bandong and Atty. Antonio B. Bosa for being negligent in the performance of their professional responsibility as member of the Philippine Bar. Any repetition of the same shall be death (sic) with severely. The Court now reviews the decision. I Atty. Bosa was the counsel for the complainants in Civil Case No. 2604 of the Regional Trial Court of Masbate, later docketed as CA-G.R. CV No. 04784 in the Court of Appeals. He is now being charged for his failure to notify his clients of the unfavorable decision of said appellate court. His negligence, they alleged, resulted in the loss of 28 hectares of land which should have been adjudicated to them.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library Joram Francisco testified that in a telegram dated June 21, 1986, he was asked by his brother Juan to verify the status of their case pending before the Court of Appeals. At the Court of Appeals, he discovered to his consternation that a decision in their case was promulgated on April 30, 1986 and that a copy thereof was received by their counsel Atty. Antonio Bosa on May 13, 1986. Joram Francisco wired Atty. Bosa to appeal the case before the Supreme Court, otherwise administrative charges would be filed against him. Atty. Bosa wired back suggesting they engage the services of another lawyer. By this time, two (2) months had passed from the time Bosa received a copy of the decision. He again requested Atty. Bosa to file the petition for review before the Supreme Court. However, the latter ignored the request. Complainant Juan Francisco thus engaged the services of Atty. P. Moralde to take care of the case. The petition filed by the second lawyer was however denied due course by the Supreme Court for having been filed out of time.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library The other complainant Juan Francisco said that after receiving notice from his brother regarding their defeat in the Court of Appeals, he immediately went to the office of Atty. Bosa. The clerk there told him that the respondent had left for Manila. The clerk also showed him the records of the case which confirmed the fact that they lost before the

24

appellate court. He was also shown a copy of the telegram addressed to him, through his brother-in-law Teodoro Balerete, informing him of the status of their case.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library Complainant Juan Francisco likewise presented Atty. Bosa's letters to him addressed at his residence in Masbaranon, Esperanza, Masbate to show that said lawyer used to communicate with him at his residence.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library Juan Francisco further narrated that when he met Atty. Bosa, he asked him why he did not appeal the case to the Supreme Court. The respondent told him that he sent a telegram through Teodoro Balerete and since he received no reply, he presumed that the Franciscos were no longer interested in appealing the case. Juan Francisco told the respondent that he never received the telegram supposed to have been sent through Teodoro Balerete since the latter has transferred his residence to Manila.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library No matter how much Atty. Antonio Bosa tries to disclaim negligence on his part in failing to appeal the case, the evidence indicates otherwise. It is true that the respondent counsel sent to his client by telegram the information on the adverse decision in the case, yet he never checked whether the telegram reached its intended addressee. In this regard, he failed to exercise diligence required of a counsel. A lawyer handling the case must give his entire devotion to the interest of his client. (Negros Stevedoring Co., Inc. v. Court of Appeals, 162 SCRA 371 [1988]) He must not do acts detrimental to the cause of his client. Neither shall he neglect a legal matter entrusted to him for his negligence therewith shall render him liable. (Canon 18.03, Code of Professional Responsibility) Public interest requires that an attorney exert his best efforts and ability in the prosecution or defense of his client's cause. A lawyer who performs that duty with diligence and candor not only protects the interests of his client; he also serves the ends of justice, does honor to the bar and helps maintain the respect of the community to the legal profession. This is so because the entrusted privilege to practice law carries with it the correlative duties not only of the client but also to the court, to the bar and to the public. That circumstance explains the public concern for the maintenance of an untarnished standard of conduct by every attorney towards his client. (Cantiller v. Potenciano, 180 SCRA 246 [1989], citing Agpalo, Legal Ethics. 3rd ed., Law Publishing House, 1985, p. 153) II Atty. Bandong on the other hand is being charged for his failure to forward to the Court of Appeals with his letter of transmittal, the transcript of stenographic notes of the pre-trial proceeding and hearing on July 1, 1977 and June 25, 1981 in Civil Case No. 2604, which transcripts, according to complainants, were vital to their case.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library Joram and Juan Francisco testified that Atty. Jesus Bandong as Clerk of Court of the Regional Trial Court of Cataingan, Masbate falsified the minutes of the pre-trial proceedings on July 1, 1977 because the signatures of Atty. Pecson and Atty. Almario were forged. They also alleged that the transcripts of stenographic notes of July 1, 1977 and June 25, 1981 were never included in the letter of transmittal of the records of their case to the Court of Appeals.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library For his defense, Atty. Jesus Bandong said that since he did not prepare the minutes of the July 1, 1977 pre-trial of Civil Case No. 2604, it would be impossible for him to falsify said documents. He alleged that it is usually the court interpreter who prepares the minutes. He denied any knowledge of the missing transcripts of stenographic notes taken during the June 25, 1981 hearing when he prepared the letter of transmittal to the Court of Appeals. He said he came to know the case of the missing stenographic notes only when this administrative case was filed against him. He added that the venue of Civil Case No. 2604 was originally at branch 2 of the Court of First Instance of Masbate but the case was later transferred to Branch 49 with the advent of the Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1983. His participation in the upkeep of the records started only in 1983 when he received them as deputy clerk of court of Branch 49. It is understandable then that he overlooked the inclusions of the stenographic notes in his letter of transmittal because the paging of the early records was not done by him and no records of said transcript appeared in the minutes for that day.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

25

We find unmeritorious the arguments of respondent Clerk of Court excusing himself from his responsibility.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library An examination of the records shows that while not listed in the letter of transmittal, transcripts of stenographic notes of July 1, 1977 were actually part of the transcripts transmitted to the appellate court. Thus complaints' cause could not have been effected by this slight error. However, the non-inclusion of the transcripts of stenographic notes of June 25, 1981 is an entirely different matter.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library In appeals to the Court of Appeals from the Regional Trial Court, whether be record on appeal or by the original record, the stenographers concerned shall transcribe their notes of the proceedings and submit the transcripts to the Judge/Clerk of the Trial Court, who must submit the transcripts of stenographic notes to the Clerk of Court of the Court of Appeals within a period of thirty (30) days from perfection of appeal. (Administrative Circular No. 24-90, July 12, 1990) Faithful compliance with this rule is enjoined. Had Atty. Jesus Bandong given the records a thorough examination, he would have come across the order of Judge Alfin S. Vicencio wherein the court noted the testimony of Juan Francisco taken on June 25, 1981. From such fact, he could have noted the absence of and he should have searched for the transcript of June 25, 1981. Not having done this, he failed to exercise the due care required of him.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library Indeed, Attorneys Antonio B. Bosa and Jesus N. Bandong miserably failed to exercise due diligence in the performance of their professional responsibility.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, judgment is rendered as follows: chanrobles virtual law library 1. ATTY. ANTONIO B. BOSA is hereby suspended from the practice of law for THREE (3) MONTHS from the finality of this resolution; and chanrobles virtual law library 2. ATTY. JESUS N. BANDONG is hereby REPRIMANDED.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library A repetition of the same offenses will warrant sterner penalties.chanroblesvirtualawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library SO ORDERED. Feliciano, Bidin, Davide, Jr. and Romero, JJ., concur.

A.M. No. 219

September 29, 1962

CASIANO U. LAPUT, petitioner, vs. ATTY. FRANCISCO E.F. REMOTIGUE and ATTY. FORTUNATO P. PATALINGHUG, respondents.

LABRADOR, J.:
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This is an original complaint filed with this Court charging respondents with unprofessional and unethical conduct in soliciting cases and intriguing against a brother lawyer, and praying that respondents be dealt with accordingly. The facts which led to the filing of this complaint are as follow: In May, 1952, petitioner was retained by Nieves Rillas Vda. de Barrera to handle her case (Sp. Proc. No. 2-J) in the Court of First Instance of Cebu, entitled "Testate Estate of Macario Barrera". By January, 1955, petitioner had contemplated the closing of the said administration proceedings and prepared two pleadings: one, to close the proceedings and declare Nieves Rillas Vda. de Barrera as universal heir and order the delivery to her of the residue of the estate and, second, a notice for the rendition of final accounting and partition of estate. At this point, however, the administratrix Nieves Rillas Vda. de Barrera refused to countersign these two pleadings and instead advised petitioner not to file them. Some weeks later, petitioner found in the records of said proceedings that respondent Atty. Fortunato Patalinghug had filed on January 11, 1955 a written appearance as the new counsel for Nieves Rillas Vda. de Barrera. On February 5, 1955 petitioner voluntarily asked the court to be relieved as counsel for Mrs. Barrera. On February 7, 1955, the other respondent, Atty. Francisco E. F. Remotigue, entered his appearance, dated February 5, 1955. Complainant here alleges that the appearances of respondents were unethical and improper for the reason that they had nursed the desire to replace the petitioner as attorney for the estate and the administratrix and, taking advantage of her goodwill, intrigued against the preparation of the final inventory and accounting and prodded Mrs. Barrera not to consent to petitioner's decision to close the administration proceedings; that before their appearance, they brought petitioner's client to their law office and there made her sign four documents captioned "Revocation of Power of Attorney" and sent the same by mail to several corporations and establishments where the Estate of Macario Barrera is owner of certificates of stocks and which documents purported to disauthorize the petitioner from further collecting and receiving the dividends of the estate from said corporations, when in fact and in truth the respondents fully knew that no power of attorney or authority was given to the petitioner by his client, the respondents motive being to embarrass petitioner to the officials, lawyers and employees of said corporations, picturing him as a dishonest lawyer and no longer trusted by his client — all with the purpose of straining the relationship of the petitioner and his client, Nieves Rillas Vda. de Barrera; and that Atty. Patalinghug entered his appearance without notice to petitioner. In answer, respondent Atty. Patalinghug stated that when he entered his appearance on January 11, 1955 the administratrix Nieves Rillas Vda. de Barrera had already lost confidence in her lawyer, the herein petitioner, and had in fact already with her a pleading dated January 11, 1955, entitled "Discharge of Counsel for the Administration and Motion to Cite Atty. Casiano Laput", which she herself had filed with the court.1awphîl.nèt In answer, respondent Atty. Remotigue stated that when he filed his appearance on February 7, 1955, the petitioner has already withdrawn as counsel. After separate answers were filed by the respondents, the Supreme Court referred the case to the Solicitor General for investigation, report and recommendation. The Solicitor General recommended the complete exoneration of respondents.
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It appears and it was found by the Solicitor General that before respondent Atty. Fortunato Patalinghug entered his appearance, the widow administratrix had already filed with the court a pleading discharging the petitioner Atty. Casiano Laput. If she did not furnish Atty. Laput with a copy of the said pleading, it was not the fault of Atty. Patalinghug but that of the said widow. It appears that the reason why Mrs. Barrera dismissed petitioner as her lawyer was that she did not trust him any longer, for one time she found out that some dividend checks which should have been sent to her were sent instead to petitioner, making her feel that she was being cheated by petitioner. Moreover, she found that withdrawals from the Philippine National Bank and Bank of the Philippine Islands have been made by petitioner without her prior authority. We see no irregularity in the appearance of respondent Atty. Fortunato Patalinghug as counsel for the widow; much less can we consider it as an actual grabbing of a case from petitioner. The evidence as found by the Solicitor General shows that Atty. Patalinghug's professional services were contracted by the widow, a written contract having been made as to the amount to be given him for his professional services. Petitioner's voluntary withdrawal on February 5, 1955, as counsel for Mrs. Barrera after Atty. Patalinghug had entered his appearance, and his (petitioner's) filing almost simultaneously of a motion for the payment of his attorney's fees, amounted to an acquiescence to the appearance of respondent Atty. Patalinghug as counsel for the widow. This should estop petitioner from now complaining that the appearance of Atty. Patalinghug was unprofessional. Much less could we hold respondent Atty. Remotigue guilty of unprofessional conduct inasmuch as he entered his appearance, dated February 5, 1955, only on February 7, same year, after Mrs. Barrera had dispensed with petitioner's professional services on January 11, 1955, and after petitioner had voluntarily withdrawn his appearance on February 5, 1955. With respect to the preparation by Atty. Patalinghug of the revocations of power of attorney as complained of by petitioner, the Solicitor General found that the same does not appear to be prompted by malice or intended to hurt petitioner's feelings, but purely to safeguard the interest of the administratrix. Evidently, petitioner's pride was hurt by the issuance of these documents, and felt that he had been pictured as a dishonest lawyer; for he filed a case before the City Fiscal of Cebu against Atty. Patalinghug and the widow for libel and falsification. It was shown, however, that the case was dismissed. No sufficient evidence having been submitted to sustain the charges, these are hereby dismissed and the case closed. Bengzon, C.J., Padilla, Bautista Angelo, Concepcion, Paredes, Dizon, Regala and Makalintal, JJ., concur. The Lawphil Project - Arellano Law Foundation

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