EN BANC [A.C. No. 4431. June 19, 1997] PRISCILLA CASTILLO VDA. DE MIJARES, complainant, vs. JUSTICE ONOFRE A. VILLALUZ (Retired), respondent.

DECISION REGALADO, J.: Doubly distressing as the subject of administrative recourse to this Court is the present case where the cause celebre is a star-crossed marriage, and the unlikely protagonists are in incumbent and a retired member of the Judiciary. In a sworn complaint for disbarment filed with this Court on June 6, 1995, complainant Judge Priscilla Castillo Vda. de Mijares charged respondent Onofre A. Villaluz, a retired Justice of the Court of Appeals, with gross immorality and grave misconduct.[1] After an answer[2] and a reply[3] were respectively filed by respondent and complainant, the Court, in its Resolution dated February 27, 1996, resolved to refer the administrative case to Associate Justice Fidel P. Purisima of the Court of Appeals for investigation, report and recommendation. On March 4, 1997, Justice Purisima submitted his Report to this Court, with the following recommendation: WHEREFORE, in light of the foregoing and without prejudice to the outcome of the aforesaid Criminal Case No. 142481 for Bigamy, it is respectfully recommended that the respondent, former Justice Onofre A. Villaluz, be found guilty of gross misconduct, within the contemplation of Rule 138 of the Revised Rules of Court on removal or suspension of attorneys, and therefor(e), he be suspended from the practice of law for a period of two (2) years, commencing from the finality of the Decision in this case, with a warning that a repetition of the same or any other misconduct will be dealt with more severely. On the bases of the evidence adduced by the parties, Justice Purisima summarized the antecedent facts in his aforestated Report and which we feel should be reproduced hereunder so that his disposition of this case may be duly appreciated: Complainant is the Presiding Judge of Branch 108 of the Regional Trial Court, Pasay City, while respondent former Justice Onofre A. Villaluz is a consultant at the Presidential Anti Crime Commission (PACC) headed by VicePresident Joseph E. Estrada. Widowed by the death of her first husband, Primitivo Mijares, complainant commenced Special Proceeding No. 9054650 and therein obtained a decree declaring the said Primitivo Mijares presumptively dead, after an absence of sixteen (16) years. Complainant narrated that on January 7, 1994, she got married to respondent in a civil wedding before Judge Myrna Lim Verano, then Presiding Judge of the Municipal Circuit Trial Court of Carmona, Cavite and now Judge of the Metropolitan Trial Court of Mandaluyong City. Their marriage was the culmination of a long engagement. They met sometime in 1977, when respondent, as Presiding Judge of the Criminal Circuit Court in Pasig, Metro Manila, was trying a murder case involving the death of a son of Judge Mijares. Since then, respondent became a close family friend of complainant ( TSN, p. 14; April 10, 1996 ). After the wedding, they received their guests at a German restaurant in Makati. With the reception over, the newlywed(s) resumed their usual work and activities. At 6:00 o’clock in the afternoon of the same day, respondent fetched complainant from her house in Project 8, Quezon City, and reached the condominium unit of respondent two hours later at which time, she answered the phone. At the other end of the line was a woman offending her with insulting remarks. Consternated, complainant confronted respondent on the identity of such caller but respondent simply remarked “it would have been just a call at the wrong number”. What followed was a heated exchange of harsh words, one word led to another, to a point when respondent called complainant a “nagger”, saying “Ayaw ko nang ganyan! Ang gusto ko sa babae, ‘yong sumusunod sa bawa’t gusto ko’. Get that marriage contract and have it burned.” Such unbearable utterances of respondent left complainant no choice but to leave in haste the place of their would-be honeymoon. Since then, the complainant and respondent have been living separately because as complainant rationalized, contrary to her expectation respondent never got in touch with her and did not even bother to apologized for what happened ( TSN, p. 13, April 10, 1996 ). Several months after that fateful encounter of January 7, 1994, in a Bible Study session, the complainant learned from Manila RTC Judge Ramon Makasiar, a member of the Bible Group, that he ( Judge Makasiar ) solemnized the marriage between former Justice Onofre A. Villaluz and a certain Lydia Geraldez. Infuriated and impelled by the disheartening news, complainant lost no time in gathering evidence against respondent, such that, on June 6, 1995 she filed the instant Complaint for Disbarment against him ( Exh. “A” ). On August 7, 1995, when she discovered another incriminatory document against respondent, the complainant executed against respondent her “Supplemental Complaint Affidavit for Falsification” ( Exhs. “D” and “D-1” ). Exhibit “C”, marriage contract of respondent and Lydia Geraldez, dated May 10, 1994, was offered by complainant to prove that respondent immorally and bigamously entered into a marriage, and to show that the respondent distorted the truth by stating his civil status as SINGLE, when he married Lydia Geraldez. This, the respondent did,

1

was subsisting because the Decision declaring the annulment of such marriage had not yet become final and executory. only made subject marriage voidable and did not necessarily render the marriage between complainant and respondent void. After a thorough review of the records. authority of the solemnizing officer. 1994 was a “sham” marriage.. the service of summons upon Librada Peña having been made by publication. and a marriage ceremony with the appearance of the contracting parties before the solemnizing officer. even assuming arguendo that what respondent contracted with complainant on January 7. at that. but a former Judge of the Circuit Criminal Court and. the decision of the court annulling his marriage to his first wife. as stressed upon by complainant. his marriage with Librada Peña. complainant lamented. But. Librada Peña. to repeat: regardless of the intention of respondent in saying “I do” with complainant before a competent authority. He has made a mockery of marriage which is a sacred institution demanding respect and dignity. According to respondent. April 2. the Court finds itself in full accord with the findings and recommendation of Justice Purisima. Even granting that the immorality charge against herein complainant in 2 . Acting Branch Clerk of Court of Branch 37 of the Regional Trial Court of Manila ( Exh. Family Code. “B”. he entered into subject marriage in an effort to save the complainant from the charge of immorality against her. Respondent’s subterfuge that his marriage to petitioner was just a “sham” marriage will not justify his actuations. 1994 was merely but a “sham marriage”. from claiming that when he took herein complainant as his wife by second marriage. legal capacity of the contracting parties. Herein respondent is undeniably guilty of deceit and grossly immoral conduct. anyway. after making a false statement in his application for marriage license that his previous marriage had been annulled. respondent married another woman.[5] On this score. Besides. the ineluctible conclusion is – that what respondent perpetrated was a gross misconduct on his part as a member of the Philippine Bar and as former appellate Justice. four months after his marriage to petitioner. 15a). is beyond cavil. a crucial issue pending determination in Criminal Case No. Worse. This is aggravated by the fact that he is not a layman nor even just an ordinary lawyer. “F” and “F-1”). who must be a male and a female. a valid marriage license except in the cases provided for in Chapter 2 of Title I on marriage. when he (respondent) took Lydia Geraldez as his wife by third marriage. and subject Decision was not yet published. alone. Respondent gave a different version. Primitivo Mijares. The theory of respondent that what (was) solemnized with complainant was nothing but a “sham” marriage is too incredible to deserve serious consideration. we rely once again on the perceptive findings and discussion of Investigating Justice Purisima which we quote with approval: That. in an effort to help Judge Mijares in the administrative case for immorality filed against her by her Legal Researcher. But. Also presented for complainant were: Marriage Contract between her and respondent ( Exh. Without in anyway pre-empting whatever the Regional Trial Court of Manila will find in the criminal case for Bigamy against herein respondent. were satisfied and complied with. Nelia B. as he terms it. thereafter. and their personal declaration that they take each other as husband and wife. “E” ). then Presiding Judge of the Municipal Circuit Trial Court of Carmona. 9367048 decreeing the annulment of the marriage between respondent and Librada Peña had not attained complete finality due to non publication of said judgment in a newspaper of general circulation. for the reason that said Decision was not yet published as required by the Rules. Lydia Geraldez. He resorted to falsification to distort the truth. 1994 respondent knowingly and voluntarily entered into and signed a Marriage Contract with complainant before Judge Myrna Lim Verano. His consent thereto was freely given. competent under the law to solemnized a civil marriage. That what complainant and respondent contracted was a valid marriage is borne out by law and the evidence. and Affidavit of Judge Myrna Lim Verano. 142481 before Branch 12 of the Manila Regional Trial Court. Atty. in Cavite. what he inked with the complainant on January 7. Joseph Gregorio Naval. Judge Myrna Lim Verano was authorized by law to solemnize the civil marriage. He explained that he agreed as. Respondent theorized that when his marriage with complainant took place before Judge Myrna Lim Verano. “B” ). sometime in 1993. on January 7. had not yet attained finality. As stated under oath by respondent himself. respondent stated under oath that his marriage with Librada Peña had been annulled by a decree of annulment. he is precluded. a Justice of the Court of Appeals who cannot but have been fully aware of the consequence of a marriage celebrated with all the necessary legal requisites. he voluntarily signed the Marriage Contract marked Exh. To this effect was the Certification by Mrs. consent freely given in the presence of the solemnizing officer. “4” ). his first wife. Jr.to lead an immoral and indiscreet life. p.e. and even assuming for the sake of argument that the judgment in Civil Case No. Order declaring her first husband. 1996. Cavite. who solemnized the marriage between her (complainant) and respondent (Exhs. in the presence of not less than two witnesses of legal age. he could not be forced to do anything not of his liking (TSN.i. Rosario. According to him. and therefore. presumptively dead ( Exh. Even if the said marriage was just a caper of levity in bad taste. as it is not proper to make here a definitive finding as to whether or not respondent can be adjudged guilty of bigamy under the attendant facts and circumstances. by the principle of estoppel. a defense which amazes and befuddles but does not convince. all the essential and formal requisites of a valid marriage under Articles 2 and 3 of the Family Code. it does not speak well of respondent’s sense of social propriety and moral values.. in fact. his first marriage with Librada Peña was subsisting and unannulled. To be sure. and both contracting parties had the legal capacity to contract such marriage. all ingredients of a valid marriage were present. that circumstance.[4] He himself asserts that at the time of his marriage to herein complainant.

as recommended. GUILTY of immoral conduct in violation of the Code of Professional Responsibility. is unfounded. respondent could have testified in her favor in said administrative case. Consequently. the Court feels that disbarment would be too harsh a penalty in this peculiar case. Jr. Villaluz. Hence. finding herein respondent. a suspension of two years. Being a lawyer. the respondent is surely conversant with the legal maxim that a wrong cannot be righted by another wrong.the administrative case instituted against her by Atty. Therefore. SO ORDERED.. The commission of grossly immoral conduct and deceit are grounds for suspension or disbarment of lawyers. immoral or deceitful conduct. The nature of the office of an attorney at law requires that he shall be a person of good moral character. and the undeniable fact that he has rendered some years of commendable service in the judiciary. In this only Christian country of the Far East. If he never had any immoral love affair with Judge Priscilla Castillo Vda. Jr. [6] Under Rule 1. Joseph Gregorio Naval. considering that respondent is in the declining years of his life. To make fun of and take lightly the sacredness of marriage is to court the wrath of the Creator and mankind. WHEREFORE. Joseph Gregorio Naval. respondent was not justified in resorting to a “sham” marriage to protect her (complainant) from said immorality charge. it is evident that respondent dismally fails to meet the standard of moral fitness for continued membership in the legal profession. complained of in said administrative case was without any factual and legal basis. 1994 was nothing but a “sham” marriage is unavailing to shield or absolve him from liability for his gross misconduct. would suffice as a punitive but compassionate disciplinary measure.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. the defense of respondent that what was entered into by him and complainant on January 7. no one can make a mockery thereof and perform a sham marriage with impunity.[7] However. its continued possession is also essential for remaining in the practice of law. to assure all and sundry that what Atty. he is hereby SUSPENDEDfrom the practice of law for a period of two (2) years effective upon notice hereof. de Mijares and therefore. nay sacrilege. society cherishes and protects the sanctity of marriage and the family as a social institution. From the foregoing. he felt duty bound to help her in ventilating the whole truth and nothing but the truth. 3 . dishonest. that his impulsive conduct during some episodes of the investigation reveal a degree of aberrant reactive behavior probably ascribable to advanced age. This qualification is not only a condition precedent for admission to the practice of law. with the specific WARNING that a more severe penalty shall be imposed should he commit the same or a similar offense hereafter. a lawyer shall not engage in unlawful. former Justice Onofre A.

Since then. GUILTY of immoral conduct in violation of the Code of Professional Responsibility. on June 6. 'yong sumusunod sa bawa't gusto ko'. the complainant left the respondent and after that. in a bible study session. its continued possession is also essential for remaining in the practice of law Reasoning: The respondent made a mockery of marriage which is a sacred institution demanding respect and dignity. A former Judge of the Circuit Criminal Court. he claims that when he got married to the complainant. the respondent became a close family friend. 1994. his first marriage with Librada Peña was subsisting and unannulled. a Justice of the Court of Appeals is surely conversant with the legal maxim that a wrong cannot be righted by another wrong. Respondent’s claim: The respondent claimed that he only voluntarily signed the Marriage Contract bet. "A"). Get that marriage contract and have it burned. when he (respondent) took Lydia Geraldez as his wife by third marriage. Nelia B.CASTILLO VDA. Ratio: The nature of the office of an attorney at law requires that he shall be a person of good moral character. thereafter. "B"). Rosario. "E"). he is precluded. who solemnized the marriage between her (complainant) and respondent (Exhs. 1995 the complainant filed the instant Complaint for Disbarment against him (Exh. -The respondent gave his voluntary consent to the marriage. the Order declaring her first husband. and a retired justice of the Court of Appeals -Complainant was widowed by the presumption of death of her 1st husband. by the principle of estoppel. -On August 7. -On the afternoon of their wedding day. Him and the complainant in an effort to help the complainant in the administrative case for immorality filed against her by her legal researcher in 1993 and that their marriage was just a “sham marriage” -Also. he should have known that his marriage with the complainant was valid. a woman was on the other end of the line offending the complainant with insulting remarks." With that. respondent is undeniably guilty of deceit and grossly immoral conduct. ISSUE: HELD: WON the respondent is guilty of gross immorality and grave misconduct? YES. "4"). if granted that he was just helping the complainant in the administrative case filed against her. "D" and "D-1"). SO ORDERED. he is hereby SUSPENDED from the practice of law for a period of two (2) years effective upon notice hereof. Disposition: WHEREFORE. with all the essential and formal requisites present. The complainant confronted the respondent about the caller and the confrontation ended up in a heated exchange of words. as certified by Mrs. DE MIJARES V VILLALUZ REGALADO. 1997 NATURE: Petition for the disbarment on the grounds of grossly immoral and grave misconduct FACTS: -Complainant is the presiding judge of Branch 108 of the RTC of Pasay City while respondent is a consultant at the Presidential Anti Crime Commission. There was a phone call and when the complainant answered. -On January 7. the complainant and the respondent got married in a civil wedding. 1995. and therefore. “Ayaw ko nang ganyan! Ang gusto ko sa babae. his first marriage with Librada Peña was still subsisting because the decision declaring its annulment had not yet become final and executory (required publication not yet done). to the point where the respondent said to the complainant. they never contacted each other again. former Justice Onofre A.) dated May 10. and Affidavit of Judge Myrna Lim Verano.year absence -Complainant and respondent met sometime in 1977when respondent was the presiding judge of the Criminal Circuit Court in Pasig for the murder case involving the death of the complainant’s son. Primitivo Mijares. when complainant discovered that the respondent falsified his marriage contract (Exh C. with the specific WARNING that a more severe penalty shall be imposed should he commit the same or a similar offense hereafter. that he (Judge Makasiar) solemnized the marriage between the respondent and a certain Lydia Geraldez. After hearing that. from claiming that when he took herein complainant as his wife by second marriage. -Several months after. Acting Branch Clerk of Court of Branch 37 of the Regional Trial Court of Manila (Exh. and. presumptively dead (Exh. June 19. Villaluz. 4 . a member of the bible group. finding herein respondent. the complainant learned from Manila RTC Judge Ramon Makasiar. This qualification is not only a condition precedent for admission to the practice of law. upon a decree of presumption of death after 16. the complainant executed against respondent her "Supplemental Complaint Affidavit for Falsification" (Exhs. 1994 by stating that he is “single”. -the respondent stated under oath that his marriage with Librada Peña had been annulled by a decree of annulment. and with all the legal requisites for the marriage present. "F" and "F-1"). the respondent fetched the complainant from her house in QC to stay in the respondent’s condo unit. The complainant also presented the Marriage Contract between her and respondent (Exh.

however. .Savacion Delizo Cordova sent an unsworn letter-complaint to then CJ Teehankee charging her husband Atty. The RTC of Bislig. She requested for the rescheduling several times.Notwithstanding respondent's promise to reform. Respondent Cordova and Fely G. respondent Cordova and his complainant wife had an apparent reconciliation.Respondent and his new mistress hid Melanie from the complainants.The Commission required the complainant to submit a verified complain to which she complied and submitted on Sept 27. . . Luisita Magallanes. The complaint was forwarded to the IBP. the Commission required the parties to appear before it for the confirmation and explanation of the telegraphic message and to file formal motion to dismiss the complaint.Fely G. frequently come home from beerhouses or cabarets. .In 1985. Holgado lived together in Bislig as husband and wife.In a telegraphic message dated Apr 6.The respondent never moved to set aside the order of default.Respondent Cordova gave Fely Holgado funds with which to establish a sari-sari store in the public market at Bislig. .On Dec 16.The lack of moral character that we here refer to as essential is not limited to good moral character relating to the discharge of the duties and responsibilities of an attorney at law. 5 . . 1988 a revised and verified version of her long and detailed complaint against her husband. and continued to neglect the support of his legitimate family. the complainant informed the commission that she and her husband have already reconciled. Respondent promised that he would separate from Fely Holgado and brought his legitimate family to Bislig . That requirement is not exhausted and dispensed with upon admission to membership of the bar.In February 1987. using the name Fely Cordova. Bislig. Holgado.Respondent would. Holgado was herself married and left her own husband and children to stay with respondent. . with respondent Cordova introducing Fely to the public as his wife. 1989. November 29. even though notices were sent to him. Surigao del Sur with one Fely G. . ISSUE: WON the recent reconciliation of the Cordovas and the failure of the complainant to pursue the case have dismissed the case. Neither responded and nothing was heard from either party since then. drunk. The hearings never took place as she failed to appear. Laurence Cordova with immorality and acts unbecoming of a member of the Bar. gave her custody of their children.An applicant for admission to membership in the bar is required to show that he possessed of good moral character. Disposition: WHEREFORE.In an order dated Apr 17. . does not excuse and wipe away the misconduct and immoral behavior of the respondent earn carried out in public. HELD: The most recent reconciliation between complainant and respondent.Complainant and respondent Cordova were married on 6 June 1976 and out of this arriage.CORDOVA V CORDOVA PER CURIAM. respondent Cordova left his family as well as his job as Branch Clerk of RTC of Cabarroguis. complainant found. . 1989 NATURE: Administrative case in the SC for Immorality of a member of the Bar FACTS: . report and investigation. she was required to submit before the Commission her evidence ex parte. . and went to Mangagoy. Ratio: . . and necessarily adversely reflecting upon him as a member of the Bar and upon the Philippine Bar itself. Quirino Province. The moral delinquency that affects the fitness of a member of the bar to continue as such includes conduct that outrages the generally accepted moral standards of the community. upon returning from a trip to Manila that respondent Cordova was no longer living with her children in their conjugal home. that respondent Cordova was living with another mistress. The findings of the IBP Board of Governors: . while failing to support his legitimate family. he continued to live with Luisita Magallanes as her husband and continued to fail to give support to his legitimate family. two (2) children were born. and had taken his younger daughter along with him . compelling complainant to go to court and to take back her daughter by habeas corpus. Commission on Bar Discipline for investigation. the Court Resolved to SUSPEND respondent from the practice of law indefinitely and until further orders from this Court. assuming the same to be real. The Court will consider lifting his suspension when respondent Cordova submits proof satisfactory to the Commission and this Court that he has and continues to provide for the support of his legitimate family and that he has given up the immoral course of conduct that he has clung to.On 6 April 1986.

The publication or circulation of ordinary simple business cards. defy the traditions and lower the tone of our high calling. The commission of offenses of this nature would amply justify permanent elimination from the bar. either personally. or through paid agents or brokers. or by personal communications or interviews not warranted by personal relations. YES. his youth and inexperience at the bar. and all other like self-laudation. the importance of the lawyer's position. 1929 IN RE: TAGORDA FACTS: Luis Tagorda." Canons 27 and 28 of the Code of Ethics provide: 27. a practicing lawyer and a member of the Provincial Board of Isabela admits that the previous election he used a card which states what he can do for the people as a lawyer and a notary public (he can execute deed of sales. or to breed litigation by seeking out those with claims for personal injuries or those having any other grounds of action in order to secure them as clients… A duty to the public and to the profession devolves upon every member of the bar having knowledge of such practices upon the part of any practitioner immediately to inform thereof to the end that the offender may be disbarred. WON Tagorda is guilty of malpractice for soliciting employment 2. he will still exercise his profession as a lawyer and notary public. But solicitation of business by circulars or advertisements. WON Tagorda should be disbarred HELD: 1.MALCOLM. his intimation that he was unaware of the impropriety of his acts. With the admitted facts. 6 . except in rare cases where ties of blood. He also admits that he wrote a letter to a lieutenant of his barrio asking him to inform the people in any town meetings that despite his election as member of the Board. March 23. the respondent stands convicted of having solicited cases in defiance of the law and those canons.The law is a profession and not a business. is nprofessional. and sometimes of convenience. 2. constitutes malpractice. etc). the magnitude of the interests involved.. But as mitigating circumstances working in favor of the respondent there are: first. being a matter of personal taste or local custom. Sec 21 of the Code of Civil Procedure (as amended by Act 2828) states that "The practice of soliciting cases at law for the purpose of gain. second. Stirring up strife and litigation is not only unprofessional. Indirect advertisement for business by furnishing or inspiring newspaper comments concerning the manner of their conduct. 28 -It is unprofessional for a lawyer to volunteer advice to bring a lawsuit. but it is indictable at common law. ISSUES: 1. NO. relationship or trust make it his duty to do so. and are intolerable. It is disreputable to hunt up defects in titles or other causes of action and inform thereof in order to be employed to bring suit. is not per se improper. his promise not to commit a similar mistake in the future. and third. even adding that he will only charge three pesos for registration of their land titles. .. The lawyer may not seek or obtain employment by himself or through others for to do so would be unprofessional.

.Renomeron violated the lawyer’s oath. Baker & McKenzie is an alien law firm and cannot practice law in the country.Renomeron suspended the registration of the documents pending compliance of V&G with certain special agreement between then that V&G would provide Renomeron with a weekly Tacloban-Manil round trip ticket with P2.The NLTDRA recommended Renomeron’s case to the DOJ and the Secretary of Justice found him guilty. . He said he would act favorably on their application if that agreement would be fulfilled. The president then dismissed Renomeron from public service.000 pocket money.Renomeron then imposed additional requirements which angered Collantes. . 1987 – no action was made by Renomeron despite follow-ups made by Collantes. . The disbarment case has to do with his status as member of the Integrated Bar. they should be enjoined. the administrative complaint has to do with his position in public service.May 22. No reply coming from Clurman thus this Administrative Case. . But pocket money was not given. to HE Gabriel (a client). ISSUE WON the lawyers should be enjoined from practicing law under Baker & McKenzie HELD Yes.A complaint of disbarment is filed with a related administrative case against Renomeron of the Registrar of Deeds in Tacloban.01 forbids a lawyer from engaging in unlawful. dishonest. Respondents are enjoined from practicing law under the firm name Baker & McKenzie. . %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%% COLLANTES V RENOMERON PER CURIAM.The NLTDRA ruled that the documents were registrable. Dacanay denied any liability of Clurman and asked whether she is being represented by Baker & McKenzie as counsel as well as the purpose of the letterhead. 1987 – Renomeron denied the application for ambiguity of the subject matter. 1991 FACTS: .Collantes appealed for a reconsideration and elevated the matter to the Administrator of the National Land Titles and Deeds Registration Administration. Inc.A disbarment case was then filed by Collantes against Renomeron. . . Using the name constitutes representation of being associated with the firm which is deemed to be unethical.Feb 16. leading the latter to challenge Renomeron to act on the 163 pending applications by V&G within 24 hours. .Yes. USA). Renomeron requested Collantes to submit additional requirements which Collantes complied with. . .Collantes sent plane fare (P800) to Renomeron through his niece.Collantes was the house counsel for V & G Better Homes Subdivision and filed the case with regard to the application of V & G for registration of 163 pro forma Deeds of Absolute Sale with Assignment of lots in its subdivision in Jan 1987. Torres used the letterhead of Baker & McKenzie on a letter to Rosie Clurman that asks her to release 87 shares of Cathay Products Int’l. 7 . ISSUE WON the disbarment case against Renomeron would prosper given the administrative case HELD . immoral or deceitful conduct. May 10. 1985 NATURE Administrative Case FACTS Dacanay seeks to enjoin Torres and 9 other lawyers from practicing law under Baker & McKenzie (a law firm organized in Illinois.DACANAY V BAKER & MCKENZIE AQUINO. .The Code of Professional Responsibility 1. August 16.

This is one of those instances then where this Court is left with hardly any choice." ISSUE: WON a lawyer-public officer may represent a private client during his tenure HELD: NO. San Juan. respondent Miguel A. it would seem there was a change of heart on the part of complainant. 8 . "admits having appeared as counsel for the New Cesar's Bakery in the proceeding before the NLRC while he held office as captain in the Manila Metropolitan Police. what is worse. owner of New Cesar's Bakery. Cruz. As far back as in re Tionko. is not among the grounds provided by the Rules of Court for the suspension or removal of attorneys. Respondent. for the violation of the Minimum Wage Law. The matter was referred to the Office of the Solicitor-General for investigation. However. Necessarily. Respondent cannot be found guilty of malpractice. as "this is not embraced in Section 27. in his future actuations as a member of the bar. Rule 138 of the Revised Rules of Court which provides the grounds for the suspension or removal of an attorney. There was a denial on the part of respondent. The respondent also denies having conspired with the complainant Misamin's attorney in the NLRC proceeding in order to trick the complainant into signing an admission that he had been paid his separation pay. in the Metro Manila Police force and a member of the bar.FERNANDO. decided in 1922. . as noted in the Report of the Solicitor-General. still it would not be inappropriate for respondent member of the bar to avoid all appearances of impropriety. Respondent. he did make use. 1976 MISAMIN V SAN JUAN FACTS: . Certainly. The efforts of the Solicitor General to get at the bottom of things were thus set at naught. Likewise. but the influence that laymen could assume was inherent in the office held not only to frustrate the beneficent statutory scheme that labor be justly compensated but also to be at the beck and call of what the Complainant called alien interest. For the law is rather exacting in its requirement that there be competent and adequate proof to make out a case for malpractice.This resolution does not in any wise take into consideration whatever violations there might have been of the Civil Service Law in view of respondent practicing his profession while holding his position of Captain in the Metro Manila police force. August 31. the recommendation was one of the complaints being dismissed. the case is dismissed. the authoritative doctrine was set forth by Justice Malcolm in this wise: "The serious consequences of disbarment or suspension should follow only where there is a clear preponderance of evidence against the respondent. the outcome of such referral was to be expected. That could very well be the explanation for the non-appearance of the lawyer employed by him at the scheduled hearings." The Tionko doctrine has been subsequently adhered to. while the charges have to be dismissed. The Court noted that the Report of the Solicitor-General did not take into account respondent's practice of his profession notwithstanding his being a police official. Manila. is a matter that should not pass unnoticed. should refrain from laying himself open to such doubts and misgivings as to his fitness not only for the position occupied by him but also for membership in the bar. complainant Jose Misamin to agree to drop the charges filed by him against his employer Tan Hua. the respondent denies giving illegal protection to members of the Chinese community in Sta. The presumption is that the attorney is innocent of the charges preferred and has performed his duty as an officer of the court in accordance with his oath. Thereafter.The conclusion arrived at by the SolicitorGeneral that the complaint cannot prosper is in accordance with the settled law. Nonetheless. Miguel San Juan.It certainly fails to reflect credit on a captain. the fact that the suspicion could be entertained that far from living true to the concept of a public office being a public trust. report and recommendation. to be charged with being the legal representative of certain establishments allegedly owned by Filipinos of Chinese descent and. not so much of whatever legal knowledge he possessed. . with coercing an employee.Under the circumstances. He is not worthy of membership in an honorable profession who does not even take care that his honor remains unsullied. . but since evidence is lacking to discipline Atty. He contends that his appearance as counsel. That is a matter to be decided in the administrative proceeding as noted in the recommendation of the Solicitor-General. while holding a government position. he contends that the law did not prohibit him from such isolated exercise of his profession.

9 .Some employees of Taggat filed a criminal complaint against Lim-Santiago for withholding payment of their salaries and wages without valid cause for 1 year and 3 months (1 April 1996 to 15 July 1997). Sagucio defends himself by saying that he accepted payment from Taggat even after his appointment as government prosecutor but said that such payments were not for representation but for consultancy services. March 31. Sagucio cannot be punished for this violation under the CPR. In a charge for representing conflicting interests.CARPIO. ISSUES 1. thus there was no conflict of interest. .There are no conflicting interests. However. Respondent Carlos Sagucio was the former Personnel Manager and Retained Counsel of Taggat Industries. as the asst. and the non-payment of wages occurred in 1996-1997. On the other hand.Ruthie Lim-Santiago is the daughter and administratrix of the property of Alfonso Lim. Prosecutor. a violation of Rule 15. Also. WON disbarment is the appropriate penalty HELD . Although a lawyer owes a former client to maintain inviolate of the client’s confidence. The penalty is a suspension of 6 months and 1 day to 1 year (basis is the Civil Service Law and Rules). Sagucio is not guilty of representing conflicting interests as prohibited in Rule 15. he contends that 5 years have passed since he was connected with the company.03 of CPR. He left Taggat in 1992. evidence must be presented to prove that respondent used against the former client any CONFIDENTIAL informationacquired through his previous employment. and of engaging in the private practice of law while working as a government prosecutor. WON the “private practice of law” includes consultancy services 3. 2006 NATURE: Disbarment case LIM-SANTIAGO V SAGUCIO FACTS: . He recommended the filing of 651 Informations for violation of Art288 of the labor code of the Philippines. thus he can be punished for violating canon 1. this violation is also a violation of Rule 1. Prov. was assigned to conduct the preliminary investigation.03 of the Code of Professional Responsibility (CPR). years after the relation to Taggat has been terminated. for such violations are not subject to disciplinary action under the CPR. which is expressly prohibited in RA6713. . Sagucio. Cagayan in 1992. Lim-Santiago took over the management of the company. WON there are conflicting interests in this case 2. After his death. The payment for consultancy services conducted by Sagucio falls under the “private practice of law” which is specifically prohibited by RA6713 (the court applies the liberal definition of the practice of law as given in Cayetano v Monson).Lim-Santiago alleges that Sagucio is guilty of representing conflicting interests. the former president of Taggat Industries. That he was a former personnel manager and the case is laborrelated is not sufficient basis to charge Sagucio of representing conflicting interests.01 of Canon 1 (a lawyer shall not engage in unlawful conduct). until he was appointed Assistant Provincial Prosecutor of Tuguegarao. this responsibility does not cover transactions that occurred beyond the lawyer’s employment with the client.

Respondent assumed such obligations when he received the amount of P56. There.. respondent raises the following arguments. v. From then on.00 paid by the complainant x x x. she terminated the attorney-client relationship and demanded the return of her money and documents.[10] 10 . Notwithstanding his receipt of documents and attorney’s fees in the total amount of P56. Rizal to verify the status of Civil Case No. found that “for the amount of P56. instead of Civil Case No. . She hired him for the purpose of filing two new petitions. complainant offered tampered evidence in Civil Case No. . XVI-2004-121. Dalisay. Unfortunately.SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ. The present administrative case was resolved by the IBP on the basis of respondent’s previous admission that complainant engaged his legal services in Civil Case No. 00-044. 2001 holding that “the tax declarations and title” submitted by complainant “are not official records of the Municipal Assessor and the Registry of Deed. Dalisay U. The ethics of the profession demands that. it is his dishonesty to this Court.Undoubtedly. a petition for declaration of nullity of title and a petition for review of a decree. On February 27.On October 13. and champion the latter’s cause with wholehearted devotion.In her opposition to the motion. 2001. 2005 finding Atty. complainant did not engage his services as counsel in Civil Case No. still. complainants. 00-044. He cannot now unbind himself from such admission and its consequences. 2006 DALISAY V MAURICIO NATURE: Motion for reconsideration of our Decision dated April 22. Rizal. Civil Case No. Valeriana U. 00-044 was “considered submitted for decision” as early as August 6. 00-044. 00-044. he should immediately return the filing fees to complainant.” She recommended that respondent be required to refund the amount of P56. On April 22. he learned of the trial court’s Decision dated December 6. First. respondent filed a Sworn Affidavit Complaint against complainant charging her with violations of Article 171 and 172 and/or Article 182 of the Revised Penal Code. And fourth. ISSUE: WON respondent lawyer should be disciplined for failing to render services despite payment of his client HELD: YES. Jr.000. complainant. As a result. adopting and approving in toto Commissioner Navarro’s Report and Recommendation.” Neither is there any evidence nor pleading submitted to show that he initiated new petitions. 2005. but because it is contrary to the rules of fair play. upon learning of our Decision. no action had been taken nor any pleadings prepared by the respondent. Incidentally. preventing him from doing his job. assuming arguendo that complainant indeed engaged respondent’s services in filing the two (2) new petitions. if anything at all has been achieved by respondent’s inconsistent assertions. .000. He has the right to decline employment. A party should decide early what version he is going to advance. that the complaint be dismissed. an attorney-client relationship is established. January 23. Binangonan. entitled “Lucio De Guzman. and (4) his refusal to return her money despite this Court’s directive constitutes contempt. 00. This cannot be countenanced.044. engaged respondent’s services as counsel in Civil Case No. In Pariñas v.At any rate. respondent’s present version is a flagrant departure from his previous pleadings. or more than two months prior to October 13. hence. complainant refused to provide him with documents related tothe case. “he could not have done anything anymore” about it. his liability is unmistakable. (2) respondent should have returned her money. 00-004. There is nothing in the records to show that he filed any petition. prompting him to file falsification cases against her. Second. 2004.000. 2001. It is axiomatic that no lawyer is obliged to act either as adviser or advocate for every person who may wish to become his client. Navarro of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) Commission on Bar Discipline.00 to the complainant.00 from complainant. giving rise to the duty of fidelity to the client’s cause. A change of theory in the latter stage of the proceedings is objectionable. not due to the strict application of procedural rules.” Thereupon. he had been remiss in the performance of his duties.” pending before the Municipal Trial Court. In fact. etc. respondent. . Investigating Commissioner Lydia A. Binangonan. the IBP Board of Governors passed Resolution No. Branch I. Paguinto.. we rendered the assailed Decision. the date he was engaged as counsel. respondent went to the MTC.00 from complainant and agreed to handle Civil Case No. (3) respondent should have verified the authenticity of her documents earlier if he really believed that they are falsified. But once he accepts money from a client. 2004. and surprisingly. in such a case. FACTS:.000. he is expected to be mindful of the trust and confidence reposed in him. 2001. Melanio “Batas” Mauricio. Branch 1. complainant contends that: (1) respondent violated the principle of confidentiality between a lawyer and his client when he filed falsification charges against her. “there is nothing in the records to show that he (respondent) entered his appearance as counsel of record for complainant in Civil Case No. . . guilty of malpractice and gross misconduct and imposing upon him the penalty of suspension from the practice of law for a period of six (6) months. 00-044. Third.In this motion for reconsideration.On January 13. He alleged that complainant offered tampered evidence. Valeriana. 00-044. respondent. As we have ruled earlier. respondent never rendered legal services for her. He must serve the client with competence and diligence. justice and due process. but respondent refused.

prompting him to file falsification cases against her. and confidential character. it is because the entrusted privilege to practice law carries with it the correlative duties not only to the client but also to the court. he failed to do this simple task. requiring a high degree of fidelity and good faith.Finally. The fact that Civil Case No. Money entrusted to a lawyer for a specific purpose. Canon 19 outlines the procedure in dealing with clients who perpetrated fraud in the course of a legal proceeding. If much is demanded from an attorney. Consistent with its mandate that a lawyer shall represent his client with zeal and only within the bounds of the law. but respondent is yet to return the money.As a lawyer.” Per records. He thus justifies his inability to render legal services to complainant. 00-044. 11 . Assuming that complainant indeed offered falsified documentary evidence in Civil Case No. to enter his appearance. but not used for failure to file the case must immediately be returned to the client on demand. He claims that she refused to provide him with documents vital to the case. will it be sufficient to exonerate respondent? We believe not. 00-044. . complainant made repeated demands. he should have confronted complainant and ask her to rectify her fraudulent representation. It gives rise to a relationship between an attorney and a client that is highly fiduciary in nature and of a very delicate. to the bar. then he should terminate his relationship with her. in the course of the representation. The pleadings show that he learned of the alleged falsification long after complainant had terminated their attorney-client relationship. 00-044. in an ironic twist of fate.Neither do we find merit in respondent’s second argument. respondent knew where to obtain copies of the certificates of title. he cannot expect to be paid for doing nothing. Understandably. It was a result of his active search for a justification of his negligence in Civil Case No. Sadly. This brings us to the second reason why we cannot sustain his fourth argument. . It bears reiterating that respondent did not take any action on the case despite having been paid for his services. . respondent accuses her of offering falsified documentary evidence in Civil Case No. managed to verify the authenticity of complainant’s title. and to the public. let it be stressed that the authority of an attorney begins with his or her retainer. respondent is expected to know this Rule. Rule 19.00-044.In his third argument. shall promptly call upon the client to rectify the same. As a matter of fact. If complainant refuses.we held that “a lawyer shall account for all money or property collected from the client. respondent failed to follow the above-cited Rule. He should have returned complainant’s money. 00-044 was already “submitted for decision” does not justify his inaction. exacting. As a lawyer. This is because there is no truth to his claim that he did not render legal service to complainant because she falsified the documentary evidence in Civil Case No. perpetrated a fraud upon a person or tribunal. respondent attempts to evade responsibility by shifting the blame to complainant. This is preposterous. Instead of inaction. . After agreeing to handle Civil Case No. In fine. and failing which he shall terminate the relationship with such client in accordance with the Rules of Court.02 – A lawyer who has received information that his clients has. such as for filing fee. first and foremost. This is tantamount to abandonment of his duties as a lawyer and taking undue advantage of his client. When a lawyer accepts a case. respondent became the accuser of complainant. his duty is. on its own. 00-004. he admitted that his Law Office. In his fourth argument.02 of the same Canon specifically provides: Rule 19. First. skill and ability to handle the case. his acceptance is an implied representation that he possesses the requisite academic learning. Surely.

Ago failed to redeem .Petition for review of the decision of the Court of Appeals FACTS: . CFI issued writ of possession to the properties . Ago’s motion denied.1966 – Agos filed a petition for certiorari and prohibition to enjoin sheriff from enforcing writ of possession. Luison has allowed himself to become an instigator of controversy and a predator of conflict instead of a mediator for concord and a conciliator for compromise. CA dismissed the petition.1964 – Ago filed a complaint upon the judgment rendered against him in the replevin suit saying it was his personal obligation and that his wife ½ share in their conjugal house could not legally be reached by the levy made. justice demands that the petitioners. Luison. -1957 – judgment in favor of Castaneda and Henson . SC dismissed it.A counsel’s assertiveness in espousing with candor and honesty his client’s cause must be encouraged and is to be commended.1955 – Castaneda and Henson filed a replevin suit against Ago in the CFI of Manila to recover certain machineries. 12 . the battle on the matter of lifting and restoring the restraining order continued .1961 – SC affirmed the judgment. for. must now enjoy them. It is the duty of the counsel to advice his client on the merit or lack of his case. If he finds his client’s cause as defenseless. ISSUE WON the Agos’ lawyer.Forgetting his sacred mission as a sworn public servant and his exalted position as an officer of the court. Agos filed a similar petition with the CA which also dismissed the petition. Ago moved to stop the auction. his motions were denied .1963 – sheriff sold the house and lots to Castaneda and Henson. encourage his clients to avoid controversy HELD . July 30. long denied the fruits of their victory in the replevin suit. A lawyer must resist the whims and caprices of his client. levy was made on Ago’s house and lots. a virtuoso of technicality in the conduct of litigation instead of a true exponent of the primacy of truth and moral justice. the respondents Agos abetted by their lawyer Atty. then he is his duty to advice the latter to acquiesce and submit rather than traverse the incontrovertible. trial court issued writ of execution. Despite the pendency in the trial court of the complaint for the annulment of the sheriff’s sale. what the SC does not and cannot countenance is a lawyer’s insistence despite the patent futility of his client’s position. Agos appealed to SC which dismissed the petition . .CASTRO. Atty. sheriff advertised the sale.No. to the extended prejudice of the petitioners. have misused legal remedies and prostituted the judicial process to thwart the satisfaction of the judgment. .Ago thrice attempted to obtain writ of preliminary injunction to restrain sheriff from enforcing the writ of execution. 1975 NATURE: CASTANEDA V AGO . and temper his client’s propensity to litigate. SC affirmed dismissal . CFI of QC issued writ of preliminary injunction restraining Castaneda the Registed of Deeds and the sheriff from registering the final deed of sale.Agos filed another petition for certiorari and prohibition with the CA which gave due course to the petition and granted preliminary injunction.1964 – sheriff executed final deed of sale.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful