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PHILIPPINE JURISPRUDENCE IN

LEGAL ETHICS REVIEW


ACOSTA, BARTOLOME, CASQUEJO, DE GRACIA, PINERA

TABLE OF CONTENTS
CASE TITLE
GUARIN v. ATTY. LIMPIN
CAYETANO v. MONSOD
PAGUIA vs. OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT
ULEP v. THE LEGAL CLINIC, INC.
SPOUSES UMAGUING v. ATTY. DE VERA
GARRIDO vs. GARRIDO
BENGCO vs. BERNARDO
BUNAGAN-BANSIG vs. ATTY. CELERA
AREOLA vs. ATTY. MENDOZA
Dr. VILLAHERMOSA, Sr. vs. Atty. Caracol
FIGUERAS vs. ATTY. JIMENEZ
ATTY. CATALAN JR., vs. ATTY. SILVOSA
OCA vs. ATTY. DANIEL LIANGCO
IN RE: ATTY. RODOLFO D. PACTOLIN
MANIEGO v. DE DIOS
ALVIN FELICIANO v. ATTY. CARMELITA LOZADA.
RE: PETITION OF AL ARGOSINO
IN RE: 2003 BAR EXAMINATIONS (ATTY. DANILO DE GUZMAN)
RE: PETITION OF MACARUBBO
IN RE: LETTER OF AUGUSTUS C. DIAZ.
VELEZ v. DE VERA.
PETITION OF DACANAY
IN RE: PETITION EPIFANIO B. MUNESES.
CHU v. ATTY. JOSE C. GUICO, JR.,
ANDRES v. ATTY. NAMBI.
SOSA v. ATTY. MANUEL V. MENDOZ
GARCIA, v. ATTY. SESBREO
PEREZ v. ATTY. CATINDIG AND ATTY. BAYDO
TIONG v. FLORENDO
GARRIDO vs. GARRIDO
BUENO v. RANESES
NAVARRO vs. ATTY. SOLIDUM
LISANGAN v. TOLENTINO
RE: VIOLATION OF RULES ON NOTARIAL PRAC
PITOGO v. ATTY. SUELLO
ESPINOSA., vs. ATTY. OMAA
METROPOLITAN BANK & TRUST COMPANY v. ARGUELLES
TENOSO VS. ATTY. ECHANEZ.
JANDOQUILE v. REVILLA

1ST SEMESTER SY. 2015-2016 ATTY. VICTORIA LOANZON

PAGE

TALISIC v. ATTY. PRIMO R. RINEN


SALITA., vs. ATTY. REYNALDO SALVE
ANUDON v. ATTY. CEFRA.
HEIRS OF PEDRO ALILANO v. ATTY. EXAMEN
DACANAY v. BAKER & MCKENZIE
LORENZANA vs. ATTY. CESAR G. FAJARDO
PEOPLE vs. HON. CASTAEDA, JR., et.al
IN RE: PETITION OF ATTY. MEDADO
ENRIQUEZ v. ATTY. DE VERA.
IN THE MATTER OF BREWING CONTROVERSIES IN THE IBP
ELECTIONS
KELD STEMMERIK VS. ATTY. LEONUEL N. MAS
IN RE: ATTY. RODOLFO PACTOLIN
VILLATUYA v. TABALINGCOS
ATTY. LINCO vs. ATTY. JIMMY LACEBAL
TUMBOKON v. PEFIANCO
TAPAY ET AL v. ATTY. BANCOLO ET AL.
ATTY. LACSAMANA VS. ATTY. BUSMENTE
SPOUSES AMATORIO v. ATTY. YAP
PO1 JOSE CASPE vs. ATTY. AQUILINO MEJICA
POBRE v. SEN. MIRIAM DEFENSOR-SANTIAGO
FLORIDO v. ATTY. FLORIDO
RE: LETTER OF THE UP LAW FACULTY ENTITLED "RESTORING
INTEGRITY
LANTORIA v. BUNYI
CRUZ v. SALVA
IN RE: ALMACEN
ANGLO v. ATTY. VALENCIA, et.al
PACANA JR vs. ATTY. LOPEZ
SPOUSES CONCEPCION v. ATTY. DELA ROSA,
SHIRLEY OLAYTA-CAMBA v. ATTY. OTILIO SY BONGON
HEENAN vs. ATTY. ESPEJO
BAYONLA VS. ATTY. REYES.
FREEMAN v. ATTY. REYES
SOLIMAN v. ATTY. LERIOS-AMBOY
CARRANZA vida de ZALDIVAR v. ATTY. CABANES
SAMSON VS. ATTY. ERA
RAMIREZ vs. ATTY. BUHAYANG-MARGALLO
MAGLENTE v. ATTY. AGCAOILI, Jr.
PENILLA v. ATTY. ALCID

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ACOSTA, BARTOLOME, CASQUEJO, DE GRACIA, PINERA

PICHON v. ATTY. ARNULFO M. AGLERON Sr.


DAGALA VS. ATTY. QUESADA
BRUNET vs. ATTY. GUAREN
RE: VERIFIED COMPLAINT OF MERDEGIA
DIMAGIBA v. MONTALVO, Jr.
ONG v. UNTO
BALTAZAR, et.al vs. ATTY. BAEZ
THE CONJUGAL PARTNERSHIP OF SPOUSES VICENTE CADAVEDO
vs. LACAYA
MALVAR v. KRAFT FOODS PHILS., INC., et.al.
PALM v. ATTY. FELIPE ILEDAN, Jr.
DE LEON v. CASTELO

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GUARIN v. ATTY. LIMPIN


A.C. No. 10576, January 14, 2015

assists a client in a dishonest scheme or who connives in violating the law


commits an act which justifies disciplinary action against the lawyer.

FACTS: Guarin was hired by Mr. Celso G. de los Angeles as Chief Operating
Officer and thereafter as President of OneCard Company, Inc., a member of
the Legacy Group of Companies. He resigned from his post.

Disbarment proceedings are sui generis and can proceed independently of


civil and criminal cases. As Justice Malcolm stated [t]he serious
consequences of disbarment or suspension should follow only where there is
a clear preponderance of evidence against the respondent. The presumption
is that the attorney is innocent of the charges pr[o]ferred and has performed
his duty as an officer of the court in accordance with his oath.

Atty. Limpin, the Corporate Secretary of Legacy Card, Inc. (LCI), another
corporation under the Legacy Group, filed with the SEC a GIS for LCI for
updating purposes. The GIS identified Guarin as Chairman of the Board of
Directors (BOD) and President.

Grounds for such administrative action against a lawyer may be found in


Section 27,22Rule 138 of the Rules of Court. Among these are (1) the use of
any deceit, malpractice, or other gross misconduct in such office and (2) any
violation of the oath which he is required to take before the admission to
practice.

Mired with allegations of anomalous business transactions and practices, LCI


applied for voluntary dissolution with the SEC.
Guarin filed this complaint with the Integrated Bar of the Philippines
Commission on Bar Discipline (IBP CBD) claiming that Atty. Limpin violated
Canon 1 and Rule 1.01 of the CPR by knowingly listing him as a stockholder,
Chairman of the Board and President of LCI when she knew that he had
already resigned and had never held any share nor was he elected as
chairperson of the BOD or been President of LCI.

We thus find that in filing a GIS that contained false information, Atty. Limpin
committed an infraction which did not conform to her oath as a lawyer in
accord with Canon 1 and Rule 1.01 of the CPR.
CAYETANO v. MONSOD
G.R. No. 100113. September 3, 1991

Atty. Limpin admits that she filed the GIS with the SEC listing Guarin as a
stockholder, the Chairman of the BOD and President of LCI. She averred that
the GIS was made and submitted in good faith and that her certification served
to attest to the information from the last BOD meeting.

FACTS: Christian Monsod was nominated by then President Corazon C.


Aquino as chairman of the COMELEC. Cayetano questioned the appointment
for Monsod allegedly lacked the necessary qualification of having been
engaged in the practice of law for at least 10 years.

ISSUE: Whether or not Atty. Limpin has violated Canon 1 Rule 1.01 and Rule
1.02 of the CPR.

The 1987 constitution provides in Section 1, Article IX-C: There shall be a


Commission on Elections composed of a Chairman and six Commissioners
who shall be natural-born citizens of the Philippines and, at the time of their
appointment, at least thirty-five years of age, holders of a college degree, and
must not have been candidates for any elective position in the immediately
preceding elections.However, a majority thereof, including the Chairman,
shall be members of the Philippine Bar who have been engaged in the
practice of law for at least ten years.

HELD: YES. Atty. Limpin has violated Canon 1, Rule 1.01 and Rule 1.02 of
the CPR.
Members of the bar are reminded that their first duty is to comply with the
rules of procedure, rather than seek exceptions as loopholes.19 A lawyer who

1ST SEMESTER SY. 2015-2016 ATTY. VICTORIA LOANZON

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A person is also considered to be in the practice of law when he: . . . for


valuable consideration engages in the business of advising person, firms,
associations or corporations as to their rights under the law, or appears in a
representative capacity as an advocate in proceedings pending or
prospective, before any court, commissioner, referee, board, body,
committee, or commission constituted by law or authorized to settle
controversies. Otherwise stated, one who, in a representative capacity,
engages in the business of advising clients as to their rights under the law, or
while so engaged performs any act or acts either in court or outside of court
for that purpose, is engaged in the practice of law.

It was established that after graduating from the College of Law and hurdling
the Bar, respondent worked in his fathers law office for a short while, then
worked as an Operations Officer in the World Bank Group for about 2 years,
which involved getting acquainted with the laws of member-countries,
negotiating loans, and coordinating legal, economic and project work of the
Bank. Upon returning to the Philippines, he worked with the Meralco Group,
served as Chief Executive Officer of an investment bank and has
subsequently worked either as Chief Executive Officer or Consultant of
various companies.
ISSUE:
1. Whether or not Monsod satisfies the requirement of the position of
Chairman of the COMELEC.
2. Whether or not the Commission on Appointments committed grave abuse
of discretion in confirming Monsods appointment.

Atty. Christian Monsod is a member of the Philippine Bar, having passed the
bar examinations of 1960 with a grade of 86.55%. He has been a dues paying
member of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines since its inception in 197273. He has also been paying his professional license fees as lawyer for more
than 10 years. Atty. Monsods past work experiences as a lawyer-economist,
a lawyer-manager, a lawyer-entrepreneur of industry, a lawyer-negotiator of
contracts, and a lawyer-legislator of both the rich and the poor verily more
than satisfy the constitutional requirement that he has been engaged in the
practice of law for at least 10 years.

HELD:
1. YES. In the case of Philippine Lawyers Association vs. Agrava: The practice
of law is not limited to the conduct of cases or litigation in courtIn general,
all advice to clients, and all action taken for them in matters connected with
the law incorporation services, assessment and condemnation services,
contemplating an appearance before judicial body, the foreclosure of
mortgage, enforcement of a creditors claim in bankruptcy and insolvency
proceedings, and conducting proceedings in attachment, and in matters of
estate and guardianship have been held to constitute law practice.

2. NO. The power of the COA to give consent to the nomination of the
Comelec Chairman by the president is mandated by the constitution. The
power of appointment is essentially within the discretion of whom it is so
vested subject to the only condition that the appointee should possess the
qualification required by law. From the evidence, there is no occasion for the
SC to exercise its corrective power since there is no such grave abuse of
discretion on the part of the CA.

Practice of law means any activity, in or out court, which requires the
application of law, legal procedure, knowledge, training and experience. To
engage in the practice of law is to perform those acts which are characteristics
of the profession. Generally, to practice law is to give notice or render any
kind of service, which device or service requires the use in any degree of legal
knowledge or skill. In general, a practice of law requires a lawyer and client
relationship, it is whether in or out of court.

1ST SEMESTER SY. 2015-2016 ATTY. VICTORIA LOANZON

PAGUIA vs. OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT


G.R. No. 176278 .June 25, 2010
FACTS: Alan F. Paguia (petitioner), as citizen and taxpayer, filed this original
action for the writ of certiorari to invalidate President Gloria MacapagalArroyos nomination of former Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide, Jr. (respondent
Davide) as Permanent Representative to the United Nations (UN) pegging the

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mandatory retirement age of all officers and employees of the Department of


Foreign Affairs (DFA) at 65.

An attorney in Guam is giving FREE BOOKS on Guam Divorce through The


Legal Clinic beginning Monday to Friday during office hours.
Guam divorce. Annulment of Marriage. Immigration Problems, Visa Ext.
Quota/Non-quota Res. & Special Retirees Visa. Declaration of Absence.
Remarriage to Filipina Fiancees. Adoption. Investment in the Phil. US/Foreign
Visa for Filipina Spouse/Children.
Call Marivic.

ISSUE: Whether or not petitioner has standing to bring this suit because of
his indefinite suspension from the practice of law.
HELD: No. Petitioner has no standing.
An incapacity to bring legal actions peculiar to petitioner also obtains.
Petitioners suspension from the practice of law bars him from performing "any
activity, in or out of court, which requires the application of law, legal
procedure, knowledge, training and experience."10 Certainly, preparing a
petition raising carefully crafted arguments on equal protection grounds and
employing highly legalistic rules of statutory construction to parse Section 23
of RA 7157 falls within the proscribed conduct.

THE LEGAL CLINIC, INC.


7th Flr. Victoria Bldg., UN Ave., Manila nr. US Embassy
Tel. 521-7232, 521-7251, 522-2041, 521-0767
It is also alleged that The Legal Clinic published an article entitled Rx for
Legal Problems in Star Week of Philippine Star wherein Nogales stated that
they The Legal Clinic is composed of specialists that can take care of a clients
problem no matter how complicated it is even if it is as complicated as the
Sharon Cuneta-Gabby Concepcion situation. He said that he and his staff of
lawyers, who, like doctors, are specialists in various fields, can take care of
it. The Legal Clinic, Inc. has specialists in taxation and criminal law, medicolegal problems, labor, litigation and family law. These specialists are backed
up by a battery of paralegals, counselors and attorneys.

ULEP v. THE LEGAL CLINIC, INC.


Bar Matter No. 550, June 17, 1993
FACTS: In 1984, The Legal Clinic was formed by Atty. Rogelio Nogales. Its
aim, according to Nogales was to move toward specialization and to cater to
clients who cannot afford the services of big law firms. Now, Atty. Mauricio
Ulep filed a complaint against The Legal Clinic because of the latters
advertisements which contain the following:

As for its advertisement, Nogales said it should be allowed in view of the


jurisprudence in the US which now allows it (John Bates vs The State Bar of
Arizona). And that besides, the advertisement is merely making known to the
public the services that The Legal Clinic offers.

SECRET MARRIAGE?
P560.00 for a valid marriage.
Info on DIVORCE. ABSENCE. ANNULMENT. VISA.

ISSUE: Whether or not The Legal Clinic is engaged in the practice of law;
whether such is allowed; whether or not its advertisement may be allowed.

THE LEGAL CLINIC, INC.


Please call: 521-0767; 521-7232; 522-2041
8:30am 6:00pm
7th Flr. Victoria Bldg., UN Ave., Manila

HELD: Yes, The Legal Clinic is engaged in the practice of law however, such
practice is not allowed. The Legal Clinic is composed mainly of paralegals.
The services it offered include various legal problems wherein a client may
avail of legal services from simple documentation to complex litigation and
corporate undertakings. Most of these services are undoubtedly beyond the
domain of paralegals, but rather, are exclusive functions of lawyers engaged

GUAM DIVORCE
DON PARKINSON

1ST SEMESTER SY. 2015-2016 ATTY. VICTORIA LOANZON

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in the practice of law. Under Philippine jurisdiction however, the services


being offered by Legal Clinic which constitute practice of law cannot be
performed by paralegals. Only a person duly admitted as a member of the bar
and who is in good and regular standing, is entitled to practice law.

SPOUSES UMAGUING v. ATTY. DE VERA


A.C. No. 10451, February 04, 2015
FACTS: Umaguing ran for the position of SK Chairman but lost to her rival.
Complainants lodged an election protest and engaged in the services of Atty.
De Vera. According to the complainants, Atty. De Vera moved at a glacial
pace; he rushed the preparation of the documents and attachments for the
election protest. Two (2) of these attachments are the Affidavits of material
witnesses, which was personally prepared by Atty. De Vera. At the time that
the aforesaid affidavits were needed to be signed by the witnesses, they were
unavailable. To remedy this, Atty. De Vera look for the nearest kin of the
witnesses and ask them to sign and he had all the documents notarized. He
hastily filed the election protest with full knowledge that the affidavits were
falsified. In further breach of his oath, and for lack of trust and confidence in
the integrity and competency of Atty. De Vera, the complainants withdraw him
as their counsel. Complainants sought Atty. De Veras disbarment.

Anent the issue on the validity of the questioned advertisements, the Code of
Professional Responsibility provides that a lawyer in making known his legal
services shall use only true, honest, fair, dignified and objective information
or statement of facts. The standards of the legal profession condemn the
lawyers advertisement of his talents. A lawyer cannot, without violating the
ethics of his profession, advertise his talents or skills as in a manner similar
to a merchant advertising his goods. Further, the advertisements of Legal
Clinic seem to promote divorce, secret marriage, bigamous marriage, and
other circumventions of law which their experts can facilitate. Such is highly
reprehensible.
The Supreme Court also noted which forms of advertisement are allowed. The
best advertising possible for a lawyer is a well-merited reputation for
professional capacity and fidelity to trust, which must be earned as the
outcome of character and conduct. Good and efficient service to a client as
well as to the community has a way of publicizing itself and catching public
attention. That publicity is a normal by-product of effective service which is
right and proper. A good and reputable lawyer needs no artificial stimulus to
generate it and to magnify his success. He easily sees the difference between
a normal by-product of able service and the unwholesome result of
propaganda. The Supreme Court also enumerated the following as allowed
forms of advertisement:

ISSUE 1: Whether or not Atty. De Vera should be held administratively


liable.
HELD: Yes. The Supreme Court ruled that, fundamental is the rule that in his
dealings with his client and with the courts, every lawyer is expected to be
honest, imbued with integrity, and trustworthy. Xxx The Lawyers Oath enjoins
every lawyer not only to obey the laws of the land but also to refrain from doing
any falsehood in or out of court or from consenting to the doing of any in court,
and to conduct himself according to the best of his knowledge and discretion
with all good fidelity to the courts as well as to his clients. xxx In this light, Rule
10.01, Canon 10 of the Code of Professional Responsibility provides that [a]
lawyer shall not do any falsehood, nor consent to the doing of any in Court;
nor shall he mislead, or allow the Court to be misled by any artifice.

1. Advertisement in a reputable law list


2. Use of ordinary simple professional card
3. Listing in a phone directory but without designation as to his specialization

1ST SEMESTER SY. 2015-2016 ATTY. VICTORIA LOANZON

Atty. De Vera is found guilty of violating the Lawyers Oath and Rule 10.01,
Canon 10 of the Code of Professional Responsibility by submitting a falsified
document before a court. Disciplinary proceedings against lawyers are
designed to ensure that whoever is granted the privilege to practice law in this
country should remain faithful to the Lawyers Oath.

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conjugal home and joined Atty. Ramona Paguida Valencia at their residence,
and has since failed to render much needed financial support. In their defense,
they postulated that they were not lawyers as of yet when they committed the
supposed immorality, so as such, they were not guilty of a violation of
Canon1, Rule 1.01.

ISSUE 2: Whether or not a case of suspension or disbarment may


proceed regardless of interest or lack of interest of the complainant.
HELD: Yes. A case of suspension or disbarment may proceed regardless of
interest or lack of interest of the complainant. What matters is whether, on the
basis of the facts borne out by the record, the charge of deceit and grossly
immoral conduct has been proven. This rule is premised on the nature of
disciplinary proceedings. A proceeding for suspension or disbarment is not a
civil action where the complainant is a plaintiff and the respondent lawyer is a
defendant. Disciplinary proceedings involve no private interest and afford no
redress for private grievance. They are undertaken and prosecuted solely for
the public welfare. They are undertaken for the purpose of preserving courts
of justice from the official administration of persons unfit to practice in them.
xxx The complainant or the person who called the attention of the court to the
attorneys alleged misconduct is in no sense a party, and has generally no
interest in the outcome except as all good citizens may have in the proper
administration of justice.

ISSUE: Whether or not Atty. Garridos and Valencias actions constitute a


violation of Canon 1, Rule1.01 and thus a good enough cause for their
disbarment, despite the offense being supposedly committed when they were
not lawyers.
HELD: Yes. Membership in the Bar is a privilege, and as a privilege bestowed
by law through the Supreme Court, membership in the Bar can be withdrawn
where circumstances show the lawyers lack of the essential qualifications
required of lawyers, be they academic or moral. In the present case, the Court
had resolved to withdraw this privilege from Atty. Angel E. Garrido and Atty.
Rowena P. Valencia for the reason of their blatant violation of Canon 1,Rule
1.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, which commands that a
lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct.
Furthermore, the contention of respondent that they were not yet lawyers
when they got married shall not afford them exemption from sanctions; good
moral character was already required as a condition precedent to admission
to the Bar.

GARRIDO vs. GARRIDO


611 SCRA 508 (2010)
FACTS: The petitioner, the respondents legal wife, filed a complaint-affidavit
and a supplemental affidavit for disbarment against the respondents Atty.
Angel E. Garrido and Atty. Romana P.Valencia before the Integrated Bar of
the Philippines Committee on Discipline, charging them with gross immorality,
in violation of Canon 1, Rule 1.01, of the Code of Professional Responsibility.
The complaint arose after the petitioner caught wind through her daughter that
her husband was having an affair with a woman other than his wife and
already had a child with her; and the same information was confirmed when
one of her daughters saw that her husband walking in a Robinsons mall with
the other respondent, Atty. Valencia, with their child in tow.

As a lawyer, a person whom the community looked up to, Atty. Garrido and
Valencia wereshouldered with the expectation that they would set a good
example in promoting obedience to the Constitution and the laws. When they
violated the law and distorted it to cater to their own personal needs and
selfish motives, not only did their actions discredit the legal profession. Such
actions by themselves, without even including the fact of Garridos
abandonment of paternal responsibility, to the detriment of his children by the
petitioner; or the fact that Valencia married Garrido despite knowing of his
other marriages to two other women including the petitioner, are clear
indications of a lack of moral values not consistent with the proper conduct of
practicing lawyers within the country. As such, their disbarment is affirmed.

After a much further investigation into the matter, the time and effort given yi
elded results telling her that Atty. Valencia and her legal husband had been
married in Hong Kong. Moreover, on June 1993, her husband left their

1ST SEMESTER SY. 2015-2016 ATTY. VICTORIA LOANZON

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BENGCO vs. BERNARDO


AC No. 6368

The case was thus referred to the IBP for investigation, report and
recommendation. The investigating officer made a finding that respondent
committed a crime that import deceit and violation of his attorneys oath and
the Code of Professional Responsibility. As such he was recommended by
the IBP to be suspended for 2 years from the practice of law and as a member
of the Bar. The IBP governor adopted and approved the recommendation

FACTS: Fidela Bengco and Teresita Bengco filed a complaint for disbarment
against Atty. Pablo Bernardo for deceit, malpractice, conduct unbecoming a
member of the Bar and violation of his duties and oath as a lawyer. The
disbarment case was filed because from April 15, 1997 to July 22, 1997, Atty.
Bernardo with the connivance of Andres Magat willfully and illegally
committed fraudulent act with intent to defraud against complainants Fidela
and Teresita Bengco by using false pretenses, deceitful words to the effect
that he would expedite the titling of land belonging to the Miranda Family of
Tagaytay City who are the acquaintance of complainants.

ISSUES:
1) Whether or not the IBP Resolution is in accord with the rules considering
that the complaint was filed for more than 2 years from the alleged misconduct
and thus has prescribed?
2) Whether or not Atty. Bernardo is liable?

It started when the respondent convinced the complainants to finance and


deliver to him the amount of P495,000 as advance money to expedite the
titling of the subject land. He further committed misrepresentation by
representing himself as the lawyer of William Gatchalian, the prospective
buyer of the land and that he is the one handling William Gatchalians
business transaction. He also led complainants to believe that he has
contracts at NAMREA, DENR, CENRO and REGISTER OF DEEDS which
representation he well knew were false, fraudulent and were only made to
induce the complainants to give and deliver the said amount. And after he
has possessed the money he did not comply with his obligation to expedite
and the titling of the land unlawfully and illegally misappropriated, misapplied
and converted the said amount to his personal use and benefit despite
demand upon him to return the amount. By reason of his failure and refusal
to do so, this constitute deceit, malpractice and conduct unbecoming a
member of the Bar and violation of duties and oath as a lawyer.

HELD:
1.) Yes, the IBP Resolution is valid.
Th respondents defense of prescription is untenable. The Court has held that
administrative cases against lawyers do not prescribe. The lapse of
considerable time from the commission of the offending act to the institution
of the administrative complaint will not erase the administrative culpability of
a lawyer. Otherwise, members of the bar would only be emboldened to
disregard the very oath they took as lawyers, prescinding from the fact that
as long as no private complainant would immediately come forward, they
stand a chance of being completely exonerated from whatever administrative
liability they ought to answer for.
2) Yes, respondent Atty. Pablo S. Bernardo is found guilty of violating the
Code of Professional Responsibility.

In defense, respondent averred that he had not deceived both complainants


for purposes of getting from them the amount of [P]495,000.00. It was Andy
Magat whom they contacted and who in turn sought the legal services of the
respondent. It was Andy Magat who received the said money from them. The
arrangement for titling of the land was made by Teresita N. Bengco and Andy
Magat with no participation of respondent.

1ST SEMESTER SY. 2015-2016 ATTY. VICTORIA LOANZON

Rules 2.03 and 3.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility read:


Rule 2.03. A lawyer shall not do or permit to be done any act
designed primarily to solicit legal business.
Rule 3.01. A lawyer shall not use or permit the use of any false,
fraudulent, misleading, deceptive, undignified, self-laudatory or

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unfair statement or claim regarding his qualifications or legal


services.

Bansig alleged that respondents act of contracting marriage with Alba, while
his marriage is still subsisting, constitutes grossly immoral and conduct
unbecoming of a member of the Bar, which renders him unfit to continue his
membership in the Bar.

The SC held that there is no question that the respondent committed the acts
complained of. He himself admitted in his answer that his legal services were
hired by the complainants through Magat regarding the purported titling of
land supposedly purchased. He used his position as a lawyer in order to
deceive the complainants into believing that he can expedite the titling of the
subject properties. He never denied that he did not benefit from the money
given by the complainants in the amount of P495,000.00.

Thereafter, through several resolutions, respondent was required to file a


comment on the petition. However, respondent repeatedly failed to comply
with the resolutions.
After investigation, the IBP-CBD, in its Report and Recommendation,
recommended that respondent Atty. Celera be suspended for a period of two
(2) years from the practice of law.

The practice of law is not a business. It is a profession in which duty to public


service, not money, is the primary consideration. Lawyering is not primarily
meant to be a money-making venture, and law advocacy is not a capital that
necessarily yields profits. The gaining of a livelihood should be a secondary
consideration. The duty to public service and to the administration of justice
should be the primary consideration of lawyers, who must subordinate their
personal interests or what they owe to themselves.

ISSUE: Whether respondent is still fit to continue to be an officer of the court


in the dispensation of justice.
HELD: No.
The Code of Professional Responsibility provides:
Rule 1.01- A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest,
immoral or deceitful conduct.

Accordingly, Respondent was suspended from the practice of law for 1 year.
Furthermore, he was ordered to return the amount of P200,000.00 to Fidela
Bengco and Teresita Bengco.

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.

BUNAGAN-BANSIG vs. ATTY. CELERA


A.C. No. 5581. January 14, 2014
FACTS: Before this Court is a Petition for Disbarment filed by complainant
Rose Bunagan-Bansig (Bansig) against respondent Atty. Rogelio Juan A.
Celera (respondent) for Gross Immoral Conduct.

Rule 7.03- A lawyer shall not engage in conduct that adversely


reflects on his fitness to practice law, nor should he, whether in
public or private life, behave in a scandalous manner to the
discredit of the legal profession.

On May 8, 1997, Respondent and Gracemarie R. Bunagan (Bunagan), sister


of Bansig, entered into a contract of marriage. Nonetheless, notwithstanding
respondent's marriage with Bunagan, respondent contracted another
marriage on January 8, 1998 with a certain Ma. Cielo Paz Torres Alba.

1ST SEMESTER SY. 2015-2016 ATTY. VICTORIA LOANZON

Respondent exhibited a deplorable lack of that degree of morality required of


him as a member of the Bar. He made a mockery of marriage, a sacred
institution demanding respect and dignity. His act of contracting a second
marriage while his first marriage is subsisting constituted grossly immoral
conduct and are grounds for disbarment.

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o ng kamag-anak ninyo ang pera at ako na ang bahalang maglagay kay


Judge Martin at Fiscal banqui; at kayong mga detenidong mga babae na no
bail ang kaso sa drugs, iyak-iyakan lang ninyo si Judge Martin at palalayain
na kayo. Malambot ang puso noon."3

Moreover, respondents cavalier attitude in repeatedly ignoring the orders of


the Court constitutes utter disrespect to the judicial institution. Respondents
conduct indicates a high degree of irresponsibility. His obstinate refusal to
comply with the Courts orders "not only betrays a recalcitrant flaw in his
character; it also underscores his disrespect of the Court's lawful orders which
is only too deserving of reproof.

Areola furthermore stated that when he helped his co-inmates in drafting their
pleadings and filing motions before the RTC, Atty. Mendoza undermined his
capability.

Considering respondent's propensity to disregard not only the laws of the land
but also the lawful orders of the Court, it only shows him to be wanting in moral
character, honesty, probity and good demeanor. He is, thus, unworthy to
continue as an officer of the court. Wherefore, respondent is ordered
DISBARRED from the practice of law and his name stricken of the Roll of
Attorneys.

Atty. Mendoza asseverated that the filing of the administrative complaint


against her is a harassment tactic by Areola.
The Investigating Commissioner stated that the Complainant is
knowledgeable in the field of law. While he may be of service to his fellow
detainees, he must, however, be subservient to the skills and knowledge of
a full fledged lawyer. He however found no convincing evidence to prove that
Atty. Mendoza received money from Areolas co-detainees as alleged.

AREOLA vs. ATTY. MENDOZA


A.C. No. 10135 January 15, 2014
This refers to the administrative complaint1 filed by Edgardo D. Areola
(Areola) a.k.a. Muhammad Khadafy against Atty. Maria Vilma Mendoza (Atty.
Mendoza), from the Public Attorney s Office (PAO) for violation of her
attorney s oath of office, deceit, malpractice or other gross misconduct in
office under Section 27, Rule 138 of the Revised Rules of Court, and for
violation of the Code of Professional Responsibility.

Nonetheless, Atty. Mendoza admitted in her Answer that she advised her
clients and their relatives to approach the judge and the fiscal "to beg and
cry" so that their motions would be granted and their cases against them
would be dismissed. To the Investigating Commissioner, this is highly
unethical and improper as the act of Atty. Mendoza degrades the image of
and lessens the confidence of the public in the judiciary.12 The Investigating
Commissioner recommended that Atty. Mendoza be suspended from the
practice of law for a period of two (2) months.13

In the letter-complaint addressed to the Commission on Bar Discipline of the


Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP), Areola stated that he was filing the
complaint in behalf of his co-detainees. He alleged that, during Prisoners
Week, Atty. Mendoza, visited the Jail and called all detainees with pending
cases before the RTC, where she was assigned, to attend her
speech/lecture. Areola claimed that Atty. Mendoza stated the following
during her speech:

ISSUE: Whether or not Atty. Mendoza is liable for giving improper advice to
her clients in violation of Rule 1.02 and Rule 15.07 of the Code of
Professional Responsibility.
HELD: Yes. The Court agrees with the IBP Board of Governors that Atty.
Mendoza made irresponsible advices to her clients in violation of Rule 1.02
and Rule 15.07 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. It is the mandate
of Rule 1.02 that "a lawyer shall not counsel or abet activities aimed at
defiance of the law or at lessening confidence in the legal system." Rule

"O kayong may mga kasong drugs na may pangpiyansa o pang- areglo ay
maging praktikal sana kayo kung gusto ninyong makalaya agad. Upang
makatiyak kayo na hindi masasayang ang pera ninyo ay sa akin ninyo ibigay

1ST SEMESTER SY. 2015-2016 ATTY. VICTORIA LOANZON

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15.07 states that "a lawyer shall impress upon his client compliance with the
laws and the principles of fairness."

of Domiciano (Villahermosa). On March 2, 1994, the DARAB issued a


decision cancelling all emancipation patents and TCTs derived from OCT 433
since it was not covered by the agrarian program. The decision became final
when it was affirmed by the DARAB Central Board and the Court of Appeals.
It was when Atty. Isidro (Caracol) filed a motion for writ of execution as
Addilional Counsel for the Plaintfiffs with the DARAB, as well as the Motion
for Issuance of Second Alias Writ of Execution and Demolition where he
signed as counsel for Efren Babela that started the ball rolling in this
administrative case. Domiciano, the defendant in the DARAB case, alleged
that Isidro had no authority to file the motions since he did not have the
authority from the plaintiffs and the counsel of record. His real client was
Ernesto Aguirre, who had bought the same parcel of land, while Efren was
already dead for more than a year. He presented as proof the affidavit of
Efrens widow who alleged that Efrens signature was different from the
Waiver of Rights allegedly executed by Efren in favor of Ernesto; that in fact,
Efren sold the land to him (Domiciano).

Atty. Mendozas improper advice only lessens the confidence of the public in
our legal system. Judges must be free to judge, without pressure or influence
from external forces or factors22 according to the merits of a case. Atty.
Mendozas careless remark is uncalled for.
It must be remembered that a lawyers duty is not to his client but to the
administration of justice.1wphi1 To that end, his clients success is wholly
subordinate. His conduct ought to and must always be scrupulously
observant of the law and ethics. Any means, not honorable, fair and honest
which is resorted to by the lawyer, even in the pursuit of his devotion to his
clients cause, is condemnable and unethical.23
In spite of the foregoing, the Court deems the penalty of suspension for two
(2) months as excessive and not commensurate to Atty. Mendozas
infraction. Disbarment and suspension of a lawyer, being the most severe
forms of disciplinary sanction, should be imposed with great caution and only
in those cases where the misconduct of the lawyer as an officer of the court
and a member of the bar is established by clear, convincing and satisfactory
proof.24 The Court notes that when Atty. Mendoza made the remark "Iyakiyakan lang ninyo si Judge Martin at palalayain na kayo. Malambot ang puso
noon", she was not compelled by bad faith or malice. While her remark was
inappropriate and unbecoming, her comment is not disparaging and
reproachful so as to cause dishonor and disgrace to the Judiciary.

Domiciano also assailed the use of a falsified document (Waiver of Rights) by


Isidro that enabled him to secure an execution in the judgment in one of the
cases. He then filed cases for falsification and use of falsified document
against Isidro. On the other hand, Isidro averred that he was authorized by
Efren and Ernesto to appear as additional counsel, and consulted Atty. Aquino
who advised him to go ahead with the filing. He was not aware that there was
a waiver of rights executed in Ernestos favour.
The Investigating Commissioner recommended that Isidro be suspended from
the practice of law for five years, ruling that held Isidro clearly misrepresented
himself as lawyer for Efren to protect the interest of his real client, Ernesto,
and failed to substantiate that he was authorized by Efren or Atty. Aquino as
additional counsel. Hence he was liable for deceitful conduct since he knew
that at the time he filed the second motion, Efren was already dead. The IBP
modified too recommended penalty to one year suspension from the practice
of law.

Dr. Villahermosa, Sr. vs. Atty. Caracol


A.C. No. 7325. January 21, 201
FACTS: Fernando and Efren were the heirs of Micael Babela, who in his
lifetime was awarded a homestead patent covered by OCT 433. After his
death, the lot was divided into two and corresponding transfer certificates of
titles issued in their names. After the agrarian reform law was passed in 1972,
emancipation patents and titles were issued to Hermogena and Danilo,
alleged tenants of the land. The two in turn sold their lots to Raymunda, wife

1ST SEMESTER SY. 2015-2016 ATTY. VICTORIA LOANZON

ISSUE: Whether or not Atty. Caracol may appear in court as a counsel for
Efren and Ernesto.

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without a retainer or the requisite authority neither the litigant whom he


purports to represent nor the adverse party may be bound or affected by his
appearance unless the purported client ratifies or is estopped to deny his
assumed authority. If a lawyer corruptly or willfully appears as an attorney
for a party to a case without authority, he may be disciplined or punished for
contempt as an officer of the court who has misbehaved in his official
transaction. An attorney-client relationship terminates upon death of either
client or the lawyer. Therefore, a lawyer must be more circumspect in his
demeanor and attitude towards the public in general as agents of the judicial
system. Atty. Caracols blatant disregard of his duties as a lawyer cannot be
countenanced.

HELD: The court ruled that a lawyer is not required to present a written
authorization from the client. In fact, the absence of a formal notice of entry of
appearance will not invalidate the acts performed by the counsel in his clients
name. However, court, on its own initiative or on motion of the other party may
require a lawyer to adduce authorization from the client.
Domiciano also assailed the use of a falsified document (Waiver of Rights) by
Isidro that enabled him to secure an execution in the judgment in one of the
cases. He then filed cases for falsification and use of falsified document
against Isidro. On the other hand, Isidro averred that he was authorized by
Efren and Ernesto to appear as additional counsel, and consulted Atty. Aquino
who advised him to go ahead with the filing. He was not aware that there was
a waiver of rights executed in Ernestos favour.

FIGUERAS vs. ATTY. JIMENEZ


A.C. 9116, March 12, 2014

The Investigating Commissioner recommended that Isidro be suspended from


the practice of law for five years, ruling that held Isidro clearly misrepresented
himself as lawyer for Efren to protect the interest of his real client, Ernesto,
and failed to substantiate that he was authorized by Efren or Atty. Aquino as
additional counsel. Hence he was liable for deceitful conduct since he knew
that at the time he filed the second motion, Efren was already dead. The IBP
modified too recommended penalty to one year suspension from the practice
of law.

FACTS: Congressional Village Homeowners Association, Inc. is the entity in


charge of the affairs of the homeowners of Congressional Village in Quezon
City. Spouses Federico and Victoria Santander filed a civil suit for damages
against the Association and Ely Mabanag before the Regional Trial Court
(RTC) of Quezon City, for building a concrete wall which abutted their property
and denied them of their right of way. The spouses Santander likewise alleged
that said concrete wall was built in violation of Quezon City Ordinance No.
8633, S-71 which prohibits the closing, obstructing, preventing or otherwise
refusing to the public or vehicular traffic the use of or free access to any
subdivision or community street. The Law Firm of Gonzalez, Sinense,
Jimenez and Associates was the legal counsel for the Association, with
respondent as the counsel of record and handling lawyer. After trial and
hearing, the RTC rendered a decision in favor of the Spouses Santander. The
Association, represented by said law firm, appealed to the Court of Appeals
(CA). The CA issued a Resolution dismissing the appeal on the ground that
the original period to file the appellants brief had expired 95 days even before
the first motion for extension of time to file said brief was filed. The CA also
stated that the grounds adduced for the said motion as well as the six
subsequent motions for extension of time to file brief were not meritorious.
The CA resolution became final.

ISSUE: Whether or not Atty. Caracol may appear in court as a counsel for
Efren and Ernesto.
HELD: The court ruled that a lawyer is not required to present a written
authorization from the client. In fact, the absence of a formal notice of entry of
appearance will not invalidate the acts performed by the counsel in his clients
name. However, court, on its own initiative or on motion of the other party may
require a lawyer to adduce authorization from the client.
Lawyers must be mindful that an attorney has no power to act as counsel for
a person without being retained nor may he appear in court without being
employed unless by leave of court. If an attorney appears on a clients behalf

1ST SEMESTER SY. 2015-2016 ATTY. VICTORIA LOANZON

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Eight years later, complainants Nestor Figueras and Bienvenido Victoria, Jr.,
as members of the Association, filed a Complaint for Disbarment against
respondent before the IBP Committee on Bar Discipline (CBD) for violation of
the Code of Professional Responsibility for his negligence in handling the
appeal and willful violation of his duties as an officer of the court.

ISSUE: Whether or not the IBP correctly found him administratively liable for
violation of the Code of Professional Responsibility.
HELD: The petition is DENIED. Atty. Diosdado B. Jimenez is found
administratively liable for violation of Rule 12.04, Canon 12 and Rule 18.03,
Canon 18 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. He is suspended from
the practice of law for one (1) month with warning that a repetition of the same
or similar violation shall be dealt with more severely.

Respondent denied administrative liability. He claimed the case was actually


handled by an associate lawyer in his law office. As the partner in charge of
the case, he exercised general supervision over the handling counsel and
signed the pleadings prepared by said handling lawyer. Upon discovery of the
omissions of the handling lawyer, appropriate sanctions were imposed on the
handling lawyer and he thereafter personally took responsibility and spent
personal funds to negotiate a settlement with Federico Santander at no cost
to the Association. No damage whatsoever was caused to the Association.
Respondent likewise alleged that after he defeated complainant Figueras in
the election for President of the homeowners association in Figueras and
Victoria, stopped paying their association dues and other assessments.
Complainants and other delinquent members of the association were
sanctioned by the Board of Directors and were sued by the association before
the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB). In retaliation,
complainants filed the present disbarment case against him and several other
cases against him and other officers of the association before the HLURB.
Respondent added that complainants have no personality to file the
disbarment complaint as they were not his clients; hence, there was likewise
no jurisdiction over the complaint on the part of the IBP-CBD. Respondent
prayed for the outright dismissal of the disbarment case for lack of merit. The
Investigating Commissioner of the IBP-CBD found respondent liable for
violation of the Code of Professional Responsibility and recommended that
respondent be suspended from the practice of law for a period of three to six
months, with warning that a repetition of the same or similar offense shall be
dealt with more severely.

The procedural requirement observed in ordinary civil proceedings that only


the real party-in-interest must initiate the suit does not apply in disbarment
cases. In fact, the person who called the attention of the court to a lawyers
misconduct is in no sense a party, and generally has no interest in the
outcome. In Heck v. Judge Santos, the Court held that [a]ny interested
person or the court motu proprio may initiate disciplinary proceedings. The
right to institute disbarment proceedings is not confined to clients nor is it
necessary that the person complaining suffered injury from the alleged
wrongdoing. Disbarment proceedings are matters of public interest and the
only basis for the judgment is the proof or failure of proof of the charges.
ATTY. POLICARPIO CATALAN JR., vs. ATTY. JOSELITO SILVOSA
A.C. No. 7360 July 24, 2012
FACTS: Petitioner Atty. Catalan filed a case for disbarment against
Respondent Atty. Silvosa on the following grounds: 1) Atty. Silvosa appeared
as counsel for the accused in the same case for which he previously appeared
as prosecutor; 2) Atty. Silvosa bribed his then colleague Prosecutor Phoebe
Toribio for P30,000 and 3) the Sandiganbayan convicted respondent in a
criminal case for direct bribery.
PETITIONERS CONTENTION:

Respondent sought reconsideration but his motion was denied. The IBP
Board of Governors noted the motion was a mere reiteration of matters
already discussed and there were no substantial grounds to disturb the
February 19, 2009 Resolution.

1ST SEMESTER SY. 2015-2016 ATTY. VICTORIA LOANZON

Atty. Catalan accused Atty. Silvosa of appearing as private counsel in a case


where he previously appeared as public prosecutor hence violating Rule 6.03
of the Code of Professional responsibility. Atty Catalan alleged that
respondent and the accused are relatives and have the same middle name.

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Rule 6.03 which states that A lawyer shall not, after leaving government
service, accept engagement or employment in connection with any matter
in which he had intervened while in said service.

In a case for frustrated murder where Atty. Catalans brother was a


respondent. Prosec Toribio testified Atty. Silvosa, while still a public
prosecutor, offered her P30,000 to reconsider her findings and uphold the
charge of murder.

When he entered his appearance on the Motion to Post Bail Bond


Pending Appeal, Atty. Silvosa conveniently forgot Rule 15.03 which
provides that A lawyer shall not represent conflicting interests except by
written consent of all concerned given after a full disclosure of facts.

Atty. Catalan also presented the Sandiganbayans decision in a criminal case


convicting Atty. Silvosa of direct bribery on May 18, 2006.
RESPONDENTS CONTENTION:

While admitting of his conviction by the Sandiganbayan, respondent asserts


that conviction under the 2nd paragraph of Article 210 of the Revised Penal
Code do not involve moral turpitude.

Atty. Silvosas representation of conflicting interests and his failed attempt


at bribing Pros. Toribio merit at least the penalty of suspension. Atty.
Silvosas final conviction of the crime of direct bribery clearly falls under
one of the grounds for disbarment under Section 27 of Rule 138.
Disbarment follows as a consequence of Atty. Silvosas conviction of the
crime. We are constrained to impose a penalty more severe than suspension
because we find that Atty. Silvosa is predisposed to flout the exacting
standards of morality and decency required of a member of the Bar. His
excuse that his conviction was not in his capacity as a lawyer, but as a public
officer, is unacceptable and betrays the unmistakable lack of integrity in his
character. The practice of law is a privilege, and Atty. Silvosa has proved
himself unfit to exercise this privilege.

IBP FINDINGS & RECOMMENDATION:

Respondent was dibarred.

Atty. Silvosa claims that his appearance was only for the purpose of
reinstatement of bail and denies any relationship between and the accused.
Atty. Silvosa dismisses at the same time the allegations of Prosec. Toribio
and such allegations were self-serving and purposely dug by Atty. Catalan
and his puppeteer to pursue persecution.

The IBP ruled that respondent was guilty only of the first charge by appearing
and filing a motion to post bail bond pending appeal and thus violating Rule
6.03 of the Code of Professional Responsibility and gave the penalty of
reprimand. The IBP Board of Governors adopted and approved the report and
recommendation however modifying the penalty to suspension from the
practice of law for 6 months.

OFFICE OF THE COURT ADMINISTRATOR., vs.


ATTY. DANIEL LIANGCO
A.C. No. 5355 December 13, 2011
FACTS: A complaint for disbarment was filed against Judge Daniel Liangco.
Complainant Hermogenes T. Gozun was in open and adverse possession of
subject land for a period of more than thirty years. The municipality of San
Luis, Pampanga claimed to own the same lot.

ISSUES: Whether or not respondent is guilty?


HELD: Yes, respondent is guilty of violating Rule 6.03.

1ST SEMESTER SY. 2015-2016 ATTY. VICTORIA LOANZON

A petition for declaratory relief was filed before the sala of Judge Liangco. On
the very same day the petition was filed, respondent judge issued a resolution,

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reasoning: First, the municipality of San Luis, Pampanga through its


Sangguniang Bayan may enact resolutions and ordinances to regulate the
use of property within its jurisdiction. Second, Resolution No. 34-96 is not
contrary to law, morals and public policy. Third, the municipal mayor through
an executive order may order the Philippine National Police or any
government law enforcement agency to enforce or implement the resolution,
using reasonable force if necessary and justified. Fourth, squatting in
government property is considered a nuisance per se.

Respondents Contention:
He reasoned that when he acted on the Petition for Declaratory Relief filed by
the Sangguniang Bayan of the Municipality of San Luis, Pampanga, he was
merely rendering a legal opinion honestly and in good faith; and that his
actions were not attended by malice, bad faith or any other ulterior motive. He
further pleads for compassion from this Court and for permission to remain a
member of the bar, because the practice of law is his only means of livelihood
to support his family.

The complainant Gozun was not served with summons or given notice of the
petition for declaratory relief. Complainant Gozun learned about the resolution
on June 2, 1996,

IBP Report and Recommendation:


The investigating commissioner found justification for the disbarment of
respondent and recommending that his name be struck off the Roll of
Attorneys. She observed that he had exhibited lapses, as well as ignorance
of well-established rules and procedures. She also observed that the present
Complaint was not the first of its kind to be filed against him. She further noted
that before his dismissal from the judiciary, respondent was suspended for six
(6) months when he assigned to his court, without a raffle, fifty-four (54) cases
for violation of Presidential Decree No. 1602 a violation of Supreme Court
Circular No. 7 dated 23 September 1974. Also, pending with the Supreme
Court were three (3) administrative cases filed against him for dishonesty,
gross ignorance of the law, and direct bribery. In the bribery case, he was
caught by the National Bureau of Investigation in an entrapment operation.
The IBP Governor adopted the findings of the investigating officer.

On June 3, 1996, complainant Gozuns wife together with other public school
teachers went to the office of the respondent judge. When asked about the
resolution, respondent judge answered, Ing Apung Guinu yu y Mayor Bondoc
at kaya ko makisabi (Your God is Mayor Bondoc and you should talk to him).
The agents of the municipal government demolished complainant Gozuns
house, using respondent judges resolution and the mayors executive order
as basis.
On December 18, 1996, complainant Gozun filed this administrative
complaint with the Office of the Court Administrator. The Office of the Court
Administrators evaluation, report and recommendation suggests the
dismissal of respondent from the bench. Thus, the OCA filed a Complaint for
Disbarment against respondent.

ISSUE: Whether or not respondent is guilty?

Petitioners Contention:

HELD: Yes, the evidence on record overwhelmingly supports the finding that
respondent is guilty of gross misconduct and inexcusable ignorance of wellestablished rules of procedures.

Petitioner is guilty of gross misconduct for acting with manifest bias and
partiality towards a party, as well as for inexcusable ignorance of wellestablished rules of procedure that challenged his competence to remain a
member of the legal profession. Thus, it prayed that he be disbarred, and that
his name be stricken off the Roll of Attorneys

1ST SEMESTER SY. 2015-2016 ATTY. VICTORIA LOANZON

Gross misconduct is defined as any inexcusable, shameful or flagrant


unlawful conduct on the part of a person concerned with the administration of
justice; i.e., conduct prejudicial to the rights of the parties or to the right

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determination of the cause. The motive behind this conduct is generally a


premeditated, obstinate or intentional purpose.

competence of our courts. Moreover, he demonstrates his ignorance of the


power and responsibility that attach to the processes and issuances of a
judge, and that he as a member of the bar should know.

Canon 1 of the Code of Professional Responsibility mandates that a lawyer


must uphold the Constitution and promote respect for the legal processes.
Contrary to this edict, respondent malevolently violated the basic
constitutional right of Gozun not to be deprived of a right or property without
due process of law.

Respondent was disbarred for GROSS MISCONDUCT in violation of Canon


1, Sections 4 and 5 of the New Code of Judicial Conduct for the Philippine
Judiciary and INEXCUSABLE IGNORANCE OF THE LAW in violation of
Canons 1 and 10, Rule 10.03 of the Code of Professional Responsibility.

Under Canon 10, Rule 10.03, respondent as lawyer is mandated to observe


the Rules of Procedure and not to misuse them to defeat the ends of justice.

IN RE: ATTY. RODOLFO D. PACTOLIN.


670 SCRA 366 (2012)

In the case at bar, respondent acted upon the Petition for Declaratory Relief
filed by the Sangguniang Bayan of San Luis, Pampanga, without the
mandatory notice to Gozun who would be affected by the action. The records
show that respondent, upon receipt of the Petition, had it docketed in his court,
designated Gozun as respondent in the case title, and quickly disposed of the
matter by issuing a Resolution all on the same day that the Petition was filed
without notice and hearing. Respondent admitted that, to his mind, he was
merely rendering a legal opinion at the local governments behest, which he
gladly and expeditiously obliged. Without denying this fact in his Comment,
he admitted that he had erred in acting upon the Petition, but emphasized that
his actions were not attended by malice or bad faith. The undue haste with
which respondent acted on the Petition negates good faith on his part.

FACTS: In May 2008, the Supreme Court, in G.R. No. 161455 (Pactolin vs
Sandiganbayan), affirmed the conviction of Atty. Rodolfo Pactolin for violation
of Article 172 of the Revised Penal Code (Falsification by a Private
Individual). It was duly proved that Pactolin falsified a letter, and presented
said letter as evidence in a court of law, in order to make it appear that his
fellow councilor acting as OIC-Mayor illegally caused the disbursement of
public funds. In said decisions, the Supreme Court referred the case to the
Integrated Bar of the Philippines for appropriate administrative actions
against Pactolin.

The excuse of respondent that he simply issued a legal opinion is


unacceptable. Judges do not, and are not allowed, to issue legal opinions.
Their opinions are always in the context of judicial decisions, or concurring
and dissenting opinions in the case of collegiate courts, and always in the
context of contested proceedings.

HELD: Rodolfo Pactolin should be, and is henceforth disbarred. The crime
of falsification of public document is contrary to justice, honesty, and good
morals and, therefore, involves moral turpitude. Moral turpitude includes
everything which is done contrary to justice, honesty, modesty, or good
morals. It involves an act of baseness, vileness, or depravity in the private
duties which a man owes his fellowmen, or to society in general, contrary to
the accepted and customary rule of right and duty between man and woman,
or conduct contrary to justice, honesty, modesty, or good morals.

ISSUE: What administrative sanctions can be imposed upon Atty. Pactolin


considering his conviction?

As judge of a first-level court, respondent is expected to know that he has no


jurisdiction to entertain a petition for declaratory relief. Moreover, he is
presumed to know that in his capacity as judge, he cannot render a legal
opinion in the absence of a justiciable question. Displaying an utter lack of
familiarity with the rules, he in effect erodes the publics confidence in the

1ST SEMESTER SY. 2015-2016 ATTY. VICTORIA LOANZON

As a rule, the Supreme Court exercises the power to disbar with great
caution. Being the most severe form of disciplinary sanction, it is imposed

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only for the most imperative reasons and in clear cases of misconduct
affecting the standing and moral character of the lawyer as an officer of the
court and a member of the bar. But it has always been held that it is
appropriate to disbar a lawyer if he is convicted by final judgment for a crime
involving moral turpitude. Further, Pactolins situation is aggravated by the
fact that although his conviction has been affirmed, he has not served his
sentence yet.

HELD: YES. The Office of the Bar Confidant noted that it was unfortunate
that the defendant overlooked the procedure of passing certifications from the
IBP that she did not practice law during her suspension. The OBC then
recommended that the SC adopt a policy on the matter of the lifting of the
order of suspension of lawyer from the practice of law. In response to this the
SC established the following guidelines:
1. After a finding that respondent lawyer must be suspended from the
practice of law, the Court shall render a decision imposing the
penalty;
2. Unless the Court explicitly states that the decision is immediately
executory upon receipt thereof, respondent has 15 days within
which to file a motion for reconsideration thereof. The denial of said
motion shall render the decision final and executory;
3. Upon the expiration of the period of suspension, respondent shall
file a Sworn Statement with the Court, through the Office of the Bar
Confidant, stating therein that he or she has desisted from the
practice of law and has not appeared in any court during the period
of his or her suspension;
4. Copies of the Sworn Statement shall be furnished to the Local
Chapter of the IBP and to the Executive Judge of the courts where
respondent has pending cases handled by him or her, and/or where
he or she has appeared as counsel;
5. The Sworn Statement shall be considered as proof of
respondents compliance with the order of suspension;
6. Any finding or report contrary to the statements made by the lawyer
under oath shall be a ground for the imposition of a more severe
punishment, or disbarment, as may be warranted.

MANIEGO v. DE DIOS
617 SCRA 142 (2010)
FACTS:
ALLEGATIONS OF THE COMPLAINANT:
Complainant seeks the disbarment of Atty. Lourdes de Dios, for engaging in
the practice of law despite being suspended by the Court. The petitioner
alleged that she filed a criminal complaint against Mr. Hiroshi Miyoshi who
was represented by the respondent. Petitioner discovered from a RTC staff
that Atty. de Dios has an outstanding suspension order from the Supreme
Court since 2001.
DEFENSE OF THE DEFENDANT(LAWYER) :
She alleges that she had already served her six months suspension and that
she informed the Court of her resumption of practice. The problem arose when
a judge erroneously issued a directive ordering the defendant to desist from
practicing law and revoking her notarial commission for 2 year . There after
the respondent filed a Motion for Clarification with the Supreme Court with
gave the impression that she was not yet allowed to practice law. She avers
that at the time she represented Mr. Hiroshi Miyoshi she had already served
her suspension. She only failed to pass certifications that she indeed refrained
from practicing law during her period of suspension.

ALVIN FELICIANO v. ATTY. CARMELITA BAUTISTA-LOZADA.


A.C. No. 7593, March 11, 2015

ISSUE: WHETHER OR NOT THE RESPONDENTS RESUMPTION OF


HER PRACTICE WAS VALID DESPITE FAILURE TO PASS REQUIRED
CERTIFICATIONS AND PASSING THROUGH OBC FOR EVALUATION.

1ST SEMESTER SY. 2015-2016 ATTY. VICTORIA LOANZON

FACTS: Before us is a Petition for Disbarment1 dated August 2, 2007 filed by


Alvin S. Feliciano (complainant) against respondent Atty. Carmelita BautistaLozada (Atty. Lozada) for violation of Section 27,2 Rule 138 of the Rules of
Court.

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convince. She knew very well that at the time she represented her husband,
she is still serving her two (2)-year suspension order. Yet, she failed to inform
the court about it. Neither did she seek any clearance or clarification from the
Court if she can represent her husband. While we understand her devotion
and desire to defend her husband whom she believed has suffered grave
injustice, Atty. Lozada should not forget that she is first and foremost, an
officer of the court who is bound to obey the lawful order of the Court.

On December 13, 2005, the Court en banc promulgated a Resolution


suspending Atty. Lozada for violation of Rules 15.03 and 16.04 of the Code
of Professional Responsibility.
Plaintiff: However, in Civil Case No. 101 v-07, complainant lamented that Atty.
Lozada appeared as counsel for the plaintiff and her husband, Edilberto
Lozada, and actively participated in the proceedings of the case before
Branch 75 of the Regional Trial Court of Valenzuela City. Complainant argued
that the act of Atty. Lozada in appearing as counsel while still suspended from
the practice of law constitutes willfull disobedience to the resolutions of the
Court which suspended her from the practice of law for two (2) years.

HOWEVER, this Court recognizes the fact that it is part of the Filipino culture
that amid an adversity, families will always look out and extend a helping hand
to a family member, more so, in this case, to a spouse. Thus, considering that
Atty. Lozada's actuation was prompted by her affection to her husband and
that in essence, she was not representing a client but rather a spouse, we
deem it proper to mitigate the severeness of her penalty.

Defendant: Atty. Lozada explained that she was forced by circumstances and
her desire to defend the rights of her husband who is embroiled in a legal
dispute. She claimed that she believed in good faith that her appearance as
wife of Edilberto Lozada is not within the prohibition to practice law,
considering that she is defending her husband and not a client. She insisted
that her husband is a victim of grave injustice, and his reputation and honor
are at stake; thus, she has no choice but to give him legal assistance.

WHEREFORE, Atty. Carmelita S. Bautista-Lozada is SUSPENDED for a


period of 6 months from practice of law.
RE: PETITION OF AL ARGOSINO TO TAKE THE LAWYERS OATH
B.M. No. 712 March 19, 1997

Initially, IBP-CBD recommended disbarment. However, such was modified by


IBP-Board of Governors recommended that Atty. Lozada be suspended from
the practice of law for three (3) months.

FACTS: Petitioner Al Caparros Argosino passed the bar examinations held


in 1993. The Court however deferred his oath-taking due to his previous
conviction for Reckless Imprudence Resulting In Homicide.The criminal case
which resulted in petitioner's conviction, arose from the death of a neophyte
during fraternity initiation rites sometime in September 1991. The trial court
rendered judgment dated 11 February 1993 imposing on each of the accused
a sentence of imprisonment of from two (2) years four (4) months :and one
(1) day to four (4) years. On June 1993, the trial court granted herein
petitioner's application for probation.

HELD:
Indeed, this Court has the exclusive jurisdiction to regulate the practice of law.
When this Court orders a lawyer suspended from the practice of law, as in the
instant case, the lawyer must desist from performing all functions requiring
the application of legal knowledge within the period of suspension.
In the instant case, Atty. Lozada's guilt is undisputed. Based on the records,
there is no doubt that Atty. Lozada's actuations, that is, in appearing and
signing as counsel for and in behalf of her husband, conducting or offering
stipulation/admission of facts, conducting direct and cross-examination, all
constitute practice of law. Atty. Lozada's defense of good faith fails to

1ST SEMESTER SY. 2015-2016 ATTY. VICTORIA LOANZON

Petitioner filed before this Court a petition to be allowed to take the lawyer's
oath based on the order of his discharge from probation.

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However, the father of the victim, Atty. Camaligan, opposed on the said oath
taking. Petitioners act constituted evident absence of that moral fitness
required for admission to the bar.

Perez, one of whose partners, Marcial Balgos, was the examiner for
Mercantile Law during that time. The Court had adopted the findings of the
Investigating Committee, which identified petitioner as the person who had
downloaded the test questions from the computer of Balgos and faxed them
to other persons.

ISSUE: WHETHER OR NOT PETITIONER CAN TAKE LAWYERS OATH,


SIGN THE ROLL OF ATTORNEYS AND PRACTICE LEGAL PROFESSION.

OBC FINDINGS & RECOMMENDATION:

HELD: Yes. The lawyer's oath is not a mere ceremony or formality for
practicing law. Every lawyer should at all times weigh his actions according to
the sworn promises he makes when taking the lawyer's oath. If all lawyers
conducted themselves strictly according to the lawyer's oath and the Code of
Professional Responsibility, the administration of justice will undoubtedly be
faster, fairer and easier for everyone concerned.

The Office of the Bar Confidant (OBC) has favorably recommended the
reinstatement of petitioner in the Philippine Bar.
ISSUE: WHETHER OR NOT THE PETITION SHOULD BE GRANTED.
HELD: YES
Penalties, such as disbarment, are imposed not to punish but to correct
offenders. While the Court is ever mindful of its duty to discipline its erring
officers, it also knows how to show compassion when the penalty imposed
has already served its purpose.

The Court recognizes that Mr. Argosino is not inherently of bad moral fiber.
On the contrary, the various certifications show that he is a devout Catholic
with a genuine concern for civic duties and public service. The Court is
persuaded that Mr. Argosino has exerted all efforts to atone for the death of
Raul Camaligan. We are prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt, taking
judicial notice of the general tendency of youth to be rash, temerarious and
uncalculating.

In cases deigned to lift or commute the supreme penalty of disbarment


imposed on the lawyer, It should be taken into account the remorse of the
disbarred lawyer and the conduct of his public life during his years outside of
the bar.

IN RE: 2003 BAR EXAMINATIONS (ATTY. DANILO DE GUZMAN)


582 SCRA 372

Petitioner has sufficiently demonstrated the remorse expected of him


considering the gravity of his transgressions. Even more to his favor,
petitioner has redirected focus since his disbarment towards public service,
particularly with the Peoples Law Enforcement Board. The attestations
submitted by his peers in the community and other esteemed members of the
legal profession, such as retired Court of Appeals Associate Justice Oscar
Herrera, Judge Hilario Laqui, Professor Edwin Sandoval and Atty. Lorenzo
Ata, and the ecclesiastical community such as Rev. Fr. Paul Balagtas testify
to his positive impact on society at large since the unfortunate events of 2003.

FACTS: A Petition for Judicial Clemency and Compassion was filed by


petitioner Danilo de Guzman. He prays that this Honorable Court in the
exercise of equity and compassion, grant petitioners plea for judicial
clemency, and order his reinstatement as a member in good standing of the
Philippine Bar.
On February 4, 2004, the Court promulgated a Resolution, in B.M. No. 1222
adopting the findings of the IBP Investigating committee to disbar petitioner
from the practice of law. The subject of the Resolution is the leakage of
questions in Mercantile Law during the 2003 Bar Examinations. Petitioner at
that time was employed as an assistant lawyer in the law firm of Balgos &

1ST SEMESTER SY. 2015-2016 ATTY. VICTORIA LOANZON

Petitioners subsequent track record in public service affords the Court some
hope that if he were to reacquire membership in the Philippine bar, his

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achievements as a lawyer would redound to the general good and more than
mitigate the stain on his record. Compassion to the petitioner is warranted.

1. There must be proof of remorse and reformation. These shall include but
should not be limited to certifications or testimonials of the officer(s) or
chapter(s) of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, judges or judges
associations and prominent members of the community with proven integrity
and probity. A subsequent finding of guilt in an administrative case for the
same or similar misconduct will give rise to a strong presumption of nonreformation.
2. Sufficient time must have lapsed from the imposition of the penalty to
ensure a period of reform.
3. The age of the person asking for clemency must show that he still has
productive years ahead of him that can be put to good use by giving him a
chance to redeem himself.
4. There must be a showing of promise (such as intellectual aptitude, learning
or legal acumen or contribution to legal scholarship and the development of
the legal system or administrative and other relevant skills), as well as
potential for public service.
5. There must be other relevant factors and circumstances that may justify
clemency.

The Petition for Judicial Clemency and Compassion is GRANTED IN PART.


The disbarment of DANILO G. DE GUZMAN from the practice of law is
COMMUTED to SEVEN (7) YEARS SUSPENSION FROM THE PRACTICE
OF LAW.
FLORENCE TEVES MACARUBBO vs.
ATTY. EDMUNDO L. MACARUBBO
RE: PETITION (FOR EXTRAORDINARY MERCY)
OF EDMUNDO L. MACARUBBO.
Adm. Case No. 6148. January 22, 2013
FACTS: For resolution is the Petition (For Extraordinary Mercy) filed by
respondent Edmundo L. Macarubbo (respondent) who seeks to be reinstated
in the Roll of Attorneys.
Records show that the Court disbarred respondent from the practice of law
for having contracted a bigamous marriage with complainant Florence Teves
and a third marriage with one Josephine Constantino while his first marriage
to Helen Esparza was still subsisting, which acts constituted gross immoral
conduct in violation of Canon 1, Rule 1.01 and Canon 7, Rule 7.03 of the Code
of Professional Responsibility.

Moreover, to be reinstated to the practice of law, the applicant must, like any
other candidate for admission to the bar, satisfy the Court that he is a person
of good moral character.
Respondent has sufficiently shown his remorse and acknowledged his
indiscretion in the legal profession and in his personal life. He has asked
forgiveness from his children by complainant Teves and maintained a cordial
relationship with them. Records also show that after his disbarment,
respondent returned to his hometown and devoted his time tending an
orchard and taking care of his ailing mother until her death. In 2009, he was
appointed as Private Secretary to the Mayor and thereafter, assumed the
position of Local Assessment Operations Officer II. Moreover, he is a parttime instructor. Respondent likewise took an active part in socio-civic activities
by helping his neighbors and friends who are in dire need.

Eight years after or on June 4, 2012, respondent filed the instant Petition For
Extraordinary Mercy seeking judicial clemency and reinstatement in the Roll
of Attorneys.
ISSUE: WHETHER OR NOT THE PETITION SHOULD BE GRANTED:
HELD: The Court finds the instant petition meritorious.
In Re: Letter of Judge Augustus C. Diaz, Metropolitan Trial Court of Quezon
City, Branch 37, Appealing for Clemency, the Court laid down the following
guidelines in resolving requests for judicial clemency, to wit:

1ST SEMESTER SY. 2015-2016 ATTY. VICTORIA LOANZON

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Respondents plea for reinstatement is duly supported by the Integrated Bar


of the Philippines, Cagayan Chapter and by his former and present
colleagues. His parish priest, certified that he is faithful to and puts to actual
practice the doctrines of the Catholic Church. He is also observed to be a
regular churchgoer. Records further reveal that respondent has already
settled his previous marital squabbles, as in fact, no opposition to the instant
suit was tendered by complainant Teves. He sends regular support to his
children.

SEC. 5. Disqualification. The following are


disqualified from being nominated for appointment to any
judicial post or as Ombudsman or Deputy Ombudsman:
1. Those with pending criminal or regular
administrative cases;
2. Those with pending criminal cases in foreign
courts or tribunals; and
3. Those who have been convicted in any
criminal case; or in an administrative
case, where the penalty imposed is at
least
a
fine
of
more
than P10,000, unless he has been
granted judicial clemency.

From the attestations and certifications presented, the Court finds that
respondent has sufficiently atoned for his transgressions. At 58 years of age,
he still has productive years ahead of him that could significantly contribute to
the upliftment of the law profession and the betterment of society. While the
Court is ever mindful of its duty to discipline and even remove its errant
officers, concomitant to it is its duty to show compassion to those who have
reformed their ways, as in this case. Accordingly, respondent is hereby
ordered reinstated to the practice of law.

Under the said provision, Judge Diaz is disqualified from being


nominated for appointment to any judicial post, until and unless his request
for judicial clemency is granted.

IN RE: LETTER OF AUGUSTUS C. DIAZ.


533 SCRA 534. 2010

ISSUE: WHETHER OR NOT JUDGE DIAZ SHOULD BE GRANTED


JUDICIAL CLEMENCY.

FACTS: Judge Augustus C. Diaz of MTC branch 37 of Quezon City is seeking


judgeship in one of the vacant RTC branches in Metro Manila. During his
interview with the Judicial Bar Council, he was suggested to seek Judicial
Clemency and in particular to be allowed to again be nominated to one of the
vacant RTC branches. In a subsequent letter, He expressed deep remorse
for the lapse of which he was administratively held liable in a previous
case(Alvarez vs Diaz). In that case he was found to be guilty of gross
ignorance of the law when he granted the following motions: (1) a for
execution which was fatally defective for lack of notice to the defendant and
(2) a motion for demolition without notice and hearing. His action on the
motion for demolition also made him liable for grave abuse of authority. He
was fined P20,000.

HELD: Yes. Clemency, as an act of mercy removing any disqualification,


should be balanced with the preservation of public confidence in the courts.
The Court will grant it only if there is a showing that it is merited. Proof of
reformation and a showing of potential and promise are indispensable.
In the exercise of its constitutional power of administrative
supervision over all courts and all personnel thereof, the Court lays down the
following guidelines in resolving requests for judicial clemency:
1. There must be proof of remorse and reformation. These shall
include but should not be limited to certifications or testimonials
of the officer(s) or chapter(s) of the Integrated Bar of the
Philippines, judges or judges associations and prominent

Section 5, Rule 4 of the Rules of the Judicial and Bar Council


provides:

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2.
3.
4.

5.

members of the community with proven integrity and probity. A


subsequent finding of guilt in an administrative case for the
same or similar misconduct will give rise to a strong presumption
of non-reformation.
Sufficient time must have lapsed from the imposition of the
penalty to ensure a period of reformation.
The age of the person asking for clemency must show that he
still has productive years ahead of him that can be put to good
use by giving him a chance to redeem himself.
There must be a showing of promise (such as intellectual
aptitude, learning or legal acumen or contribution to legal
scholarship and the development of the legal system or
administrative and other relevant skills), as well as potential for
public service.
There must be other relevant factors and circumstances that
may justify clemency.

he had handled involving Julius Wills III, who had figured in an automobile
accident in 1986. To settle the case amicably, Atty. de Vera received -- on
his clients behalf -- a $12,000 check, which he then deposited in his personal
account. Because of his irregular deposit of his client's funds, respondent was
suspended from the practice of law for three years, upon the recommendation
of the hearing referee. The case was not decided on the merits, because Atty.
de Vera resigned from the California Bar. Later, his resignation was accepted
by the Supreme Court of California.
On the second ground, complainant averred that respondents transfer of
membership from the Pasay, Paraaque, Las Pias and Muntinlupa (PPLM)
IBP Chapter to the Agusan del Sur IBP Chapter was a circumvention of the
rotation rule. Allegedly, Atty. de Vera made the transfer for the sole purpose
of becoming IBP national president. Complainant stressed that respondent
neither resided in Agusan del Sur nor held office there.
A companion case, Bar Matter No. 1227, referred to the letter-request of
respondent, asking the Supreme Court to schedule his oath-taking as IBP
national president. On the other hand, AM No. 05-5-15-SC referred to the
letter-report of IBP National President Jose Anselmo I. Cadiz, furnishing the
Court with the May 13, 2005, IBP Resolution removing Atty. de Vera from the
latters positions as IBP board member and executive vice-president, for
committing acts inimical to the board and the IBP in general.

In this case, Judge Diaz expressed sincere repentance for his past
malfeasance. He humbly accepted the verdict of this Court in Alvarez. Three
years have elapsed since the promulgation of Alvarez. It is sufficient to ensure
that he has learned his lesson and that he has reformed. His 12 years of
service in the judiciary may be taken as proof of his dedication to the
institution. Thus, the Court may now open the door of further opportunities in
the judiciary for him.

The controversy in these two consolidated cases started when the IBP board
approved the withdrawal of a Petition docketed at the Supreme Court as
Integrated Bar of the Philippines et al v. Senate of the Philippines et al. - SCR165108. Subsequently, during the plenary session held at the 10th National
IBP Convention, respondent allegedly made some untruthful statements,
innuendos, and blatant lies in connection with the IBP board's Resolution to
withdraw the Petition

VELEZ v. DE VERA.
496 SCRA 345. 2006
FACTS: In AC No. 6697, Complainant Zoilo Antonio Velez sought the
suspension or disbarment of Respondent Atty. Leonard de Vera (1) for
misrepresentation through his concealment of the suspension order rendered
against him by the State Bar of California; and (2) for violation of the rotation
rule enunciated in Administrative Matter No. 491.

On May 12, 2005, IBP Governor Romulo A. Rivera wrote to IBP National
President Cadiz, praying for the removal of the IBP board membership of Atty.
De Vera, who had allegedly committed acts inimical to the board and the IBP
in general. The following day On May 12, 2005, IBP Governor Romulo A.

The first ground concerned an administrative case filed against Atty. de Vera
before the State Bar of California. The action arose from an insurance case

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Rivera wrote to IBP National President Cadiz, praying for the removal of the
IBP board membership of Atty. De Vera, who had allegedly committed acts
inimical to the board and the IBP in general.

ISSUES:
1. WHETHER THE JUDGMENT IN AC NO. 6052 CONSTITUTED A BAR TO
THE FILING OF AC 6697
2. WHETHER, IN THE COURSE OF HIS PRACTICE OF LAW,
RESPONDENT ATTY. DE VERA COMMITTED MALPRACTICE
AMOUNTING TO MORAL TURPITUDE IN THE STATE BAR OF
CALIFORNIA AND IN THE PHILIPPINES

On June 13, 2005, the IBP board took note of the vacancy in the EVP position,
brought about by the removal of Atty. de Vera. In his stead, IBP Governor
Pura Angelica Y. Santiago was formally elected and declared as EVP.
On June 20, 2005, Atty. Santiago voluntarily relinquished that position. Thus,
on June 25, 2005, during its last regular meeting, the IBP board elected a new
EVP in the person of IBP Governor Jose Vicente B. Salazar.

HELD:
As to the first issue, The Court unanimously held in a per curiam Decision that
AC No. 6052 did not constitute a bar to the filing of AC No. 6697. The two
administrative cases involved different subject matters and causes of action.
In AC No. 6052, the subject matter was the qualification of Atty. de Vera to
run for the position of IBP governor for Eastern Mindanao. In the present
Administrative Complaint, the subject matter was his privilege to practice law.
The two aforementioned cases did not seek the same relief. In the first case,
the complainants sought to prevent respondent from assuming his post as
IBP governor for Eastern Mindanao; the cause of action referred to his alleged
violation of IBP bylaws. In the second case, what was principally sought was
his suspension or disbarment; the primary cause of action was his alleged
violation of the Lawyer's Oath and the Code of Professional Responsibility.

On June 28, 2005, IBP National President Cadiz requested the Supreme
Court's approval of Atty. Salazar's election and assumption of office as
national president, in the event that Atty. de Vera would be disbarred or
suspended from the practice of law; or should his removal from his positions
as member of the 2003-2005 board of governors and as EVP of the IBP be
approved by the Court.
Protesting the election of both Atty. Santiago and Atty. Salazar, Atty. De Vera
vehemently insists that there is no proof that he misappropriated his client's
funds as the elder Willis gave him authority to use the same and that the latter
even testified under oath that he "expected de Vera might use the money for
a few days." He also questions his removal from the IBP Board on the ground
that he was denied "very basic rights of due process recognized by the
Honorable Court even in administrative cases" like the right to answer
formally or in writing and within reasonable time, the right to present
witnesses in his behalf, the right to a fair hearing. He protest the fact that he
was not able to cross-examine the complainant, IBP Governor Rivera, and
the latter voted as well for his expulsion which made him accuser, prosecutor
and judge at the same time.

In resolving the second issue, the Court cited Maquera, according to which a
judgment of suspension against a Filipino lawyer in a foreign jurisdiction may
transmute into a similar judgment of suspension in the Philippines, only if the
basis of the foreign courts action included any of the grounds for disbarment
or suspension in our jurisdiction.
The Court opined that by insisting that he was authorized by his clients father
and attorney-in-fact to use the funds, Atty. de Vera was impliedly admitting his
use of the Willis funds for his own personal use. Undoubtedly, his
unauthorized use of his clients funds was highly unethical.

The IBP Board counters that since its members were present during the
plenary session, and personally witnessed and heard Atty. de Vera's
actuations, an evidentiary or formal hearing was no longer necessary.

1ST SEMESTER SY. 2015-2016 ATTY. VICTORIA LOANZON

Canon 16 of the Code of Professional Responsibility is emphatic about this


matter. The conduct of Atty. de Vera -- holding on to the money of his client

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without the latters acquiescence -- was indicative of lack of integrity and


propriety.

HELD: As a general rule, NO.

It was clear that by depositing the $12,000 check in his own bank account and
using it for his own benefit, respondent was guilty of malpractice, gross
misconduct, and unethical behavior. He violated his oath to conduct himself
with all good fidelity to his client. Nevertheless, the Court decreed that, where
any lesser penalty could accomplish the end desired, disbarment should not
be decreed. Considering the amount involved in this case, the Court
considered the penalty of suspension for two years appropriate.

The Constitution provides that the practice of all professions in the Philippines
shall be limited to Filipino citizens save in cases prescribed by law. Since
Filipino citizenship is a requirement for admission to the bar, loss thereof
terminates membership in the Philippine bar and, consequently, the privilege
to engage in the practice of law. In other words, the loss of Filipino
citizenship ipso jure terminates the privilege to practice law in the Philippines.
The practice of law is a privilege denied to foreigners.

On the other hand, The Court found that the transfer by Atty. de Vera of his
membership to the Agusan del Sur IBP Chapter was within his rights. He could
not be deemed to be guilty of unethical conduct or behavior. Neither the Code
of Professional Responsibility nor the Lawyers Oath punished lawyers for
aspiring to be the IBP national president or prohibited them from doing
perfectly legal acts in accomplishing that goal.

The exception is when Filipino citizenship is lost by reason of


naturalization as a citizen of another country but subsequently
reacquired pursuant to RA 9225. This is because all Philippine citizens who
become citizens of another country shall be deemed not to have lost their
Philippine citizenship under the conditions of [RA 9225]. Therefore, a Filipino
lawyer who becomes a citizen of another country is deemed never to have
lost his Philippine citizenship if he reacquires it in accordance with RA
9225.Although he is also deemed never to have terminated his membership
in the Philippine bar, no automatic right to resume law practice accrues.

PETITION FOR LEAVE TO RESUME PRACTICE OF LAW,


BENJAMIN M. DACANAY
B.M. No. 1678. 530 SCRA 424. December 17, 2007

Under RA 9225, if a person intends to practice the legal profession in the


Philippines and he reacquires his Filipino citizenship pursuant to its provisions
(he) shall apply with the proper authority for a license or permit to engage in
such practice.[18] Stated otherwise, before a lawyer who reacquires Filipino
citizenship pursuant to RA 9225 can resume his law practice, he must first
secure from this Court the authority to do so, conditioned on:

FACTS: Petitioner BENJAMIN M. DACANAY was admitted to the Philippine


bar in March 1960. He practiced law until he migrated to Canada in December
1998 to seek medical attention for his ailments. He subsequently applied for
Canadian citizenship to avail of Canadas free medical aid program which was
later approved.
Year 2006, pursuant to Republic Act (RA) 9225 (Citizenship Retention and
Re-Acquisition Act of 2003), petitioner reacquired his Philippine
citizenship. On that day, he took his oath of allegiance as a Filipino citizen
before the Philippine Consulate General in Toronto, Canada. Thereafter, he
returned to the Philippines and now intends to resume his law practice.

(a) the updating and payment in full of the annual membership dues
in the IBP;
(b) the payment of professional tax;
(c) the completion of at least 36 credit hours of mandatory continuing
legal education; this is specially significant to refresh the
applicant/petitioners knowledge of Philippine laws and
update him of legal developments and

ISSUE: MAY A LAWYER WHO HAS LOST HIS FILIPINO CITIZENSHIP


STILL PRACTICE LAW IN THE PHILIPPINES?

1ST SEMESTER SY. 2015-2016 ATTY. VICTORIA LOANZON

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(d) the retaking of the lawyers oath which will not only remind him
of his duties and responsibilities as a lawyer and as an
officer of the Court, but also renew his pledge to maintain
allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines.

remains to be a member of the Philippine Bar. However, as stated in Dacanay,


the right to resume the practice of law is not automatic.2 R.A. No. 9225
provides that a person who intends to practice his profession in the Philippines
must apply with the proper authority for a license or permit to engage in such
practice.3

Compliance with these conditions will restore his good standing as a member
of the Philippine bar.

It can not be overstressed that the practice of law is a privilege burdened with
conditions.1It is so delicately affected with public interest that it is both the
power and duty of the State (through this Court) to control and regulate it in
order to protect and promote the public welfare.

IN RE: PETITION TO RE-ACQUIRE THE PRIVILEGE TO PRACTICE LAW


IN THE PHILIPPINES (EPIFANIO B. MUNESES.
677 SCRA 364. 2012

Adherence to rigid standards of mental fitness, maintenance of the highest


degree of morality, faithful observance of the legal profession, compliance
with the mandatory continuing legal education requirement and payment of
membership fees to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) are the
conditions required for membership in good standing in the bar and for
enjoying the privilege to practice law. Any breach by a lawyer of any of these
conditions makes him unworthy of the trust and confidence which the courts
and clients repose in him for the continued exercise of his professional
privilege.4

FACTS: Petitioner Epifanio B. Muneses filed with (petitioner) with the Office
of the Bar Confidant (OBC) praying that he be granted the privilege to practice
law in the Philippines. The petitioner alleged that he became a member of the
Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) on March 21, 1966; that he lost his
privilege to practice law when he became a citizen of the United States of
America (USA) on August 28, 1981; that on September 15, 2006, he reacquired his Philippine citizenship pursuant to Republic Act (R.A.) No. 9225
or the "Citizenship Retention and Re-Acquisition Act of 2003" by taking his
oath of allegiance as a Filipino citizen before the Philippine Consulate General
in Washington, D.C., USA; that he intends to retire in the Philippines and if
granted, to resume the practice of law.

WHEREFORE, the petition of Attorney Epifanio B. Muneses is


hereby GRANTED, subject to the condition that he shall re-take the Lawyer's
Oath on a date to be set by the Court and subject to the payment of
appropriate fees.

ISSUE: WHETHER OR NOT THE PETITIONER SHOULD BE GRANTED


THE PRIVILEGE TO PRACTICE LAW IN THE PHILIPPINES.

FERNANDO W. CHU v. ATTY. JOSE C. GUICO, JR.,


A.C. No. 10573. January 13, 2015.

HELD: YES. The Court reiterates that Filipino citizenship is a requirement for
admission to the bar and is, in fact, a continuing requirement for the practice
of law. The loss thereof means termination of the petitioners membership in
the bar;ipso jure the privilege to engage in the practice of law. Under R.A. No.
9225, natural-born citizens who have lost their Philippine citizenship by
reason of their naturalization as citizens of a foreign country are deemed to
have re-acquired their Philippine citizenship upon taking the oath of allegiance
to the Republic.1 Thus, a Filipino lawyer who becomes a citizen of another
country and later re-acquires his Philippine citizenship under R.A. No. 9225,

1ST SEMESTER SY. 2015-2016 ATTY. VICTORIA LOANZON

FACTS: Fernando W. Chu filed a disbarment complaint against his former


lawyer, respondent Atty. Jose C. Guico, Jr., whom he has accused of gross
misconduct.
Chu retained Atty. Guico as counsel to handle the labor disputes involving his
company, CVC San Lorenzo Ruiz Corporation (CVC). Atty. Guicos legal
services included handling a complaint for illegal dismissal brought against

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CVC. On September 7, 2006, Labor Arbiter Herminio V. Suelo rendered a


decision adverse to CVC. Atty. Guico filed a timely appeal in behalf of CVC.

RESPONDENTS CONTENTION:
Atty. Guico described the administrative complaint as replete with lies and
inconsistencies, and insisted that the charge was only meant for harassment.
He denied demanding and receiving money from Chu, a denial that Nardo
corroborated. He further denied handing to Chu a draft decision printed on
used paper emanating from his office, surmising that the used paper must
have been among those freely lying around in his office that had been pilfered
(stolen) by Chus witnesses in the criminal complaint he had handled for Chu.

PETITIONERS CONTENTION:
According to Chu, during a Christmas party held on December 5, 2006 at Atty.
Guicos residence in Commonwealth, Quezon City, Atty. Guico asked him to
prepare a substantial amount of money to be given to the NLRC
Commissioner handling the appeal to insure a favorable decision. On June
10, 2007, Chu called Atty. Guico to inform him that he had raised P300,000.00
for the purpose. Atty. Guico told him to proceed to his office at Times Street,
Quezon City, and to give the money to his assistant, Reynaldo (Nardo)
Manahan. Chu complied and delivered the money to Nardo. Subsequently,
Atty. Guico instructed Chu to meet him on July 5, 2007. Atty. Guico handed
Chu a copy of an alleged draft decision of the NLRC in favor of CVC. The
draft decision was printed on the dorsal portion of used paper apparently
emanating from the office of Atty. Guico. On that occasion, the latter told Chu
to raise another P300,000.00 to encourage the NLRC Commissioner to issue
the decision. But Chu could only produce P280,000.00, which he brought to
Atty. Guicos office on July 10, 2007. However, it was Nardo who received the
amount without issuing any receipt.

IBP FINDINGS & RECOMMENDATION:


IBP Commissioner found that Atty. Guico had violated Rules 1.01 and 1.02,
Canon I of the Code of Professional Responsibility for demanding and
receiving P580,000.00 from Chu; and recommended the disbarment of Atty.
Guico in view of his act of extortion and misrepresentation that caused
dishonor to and contempt for the legal profession. The IBP Board of
Governors adopted the findings of IBP Commissioner but modified the
recommended penalty of disbarment to three years suspension.
ISSUES:

Chu followed up on the status of the CVC case with Atty. Guico in December
2007. However, Atty. Guico referred him to Nardo who in turn said that he
would only know the status after Christmas. Chu again called Nardo and was
invited by Nardo to meet for lunch. Chu asked Nardo if the NLRC
Commissioner had accepted the money, but Nardo replied in the negative and
simply told Chu to wait. Nardo assured that the money was still with Atty.
Guico who would return it should the NLRC Commissioner not accept it.

1) WHETHER OR NOT ATTY. GUICO VIOLATED THE LAWYERS


OATH AND RULES 1.01 AND 1.02, CANON I OF THE CODE OF
PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY FOR DEMANDING AND
RECEIVING P580,000.00 FROM CHU TO GUARANTEE A
FAVORABLE DECISION FROM THE NLRC?
2) WHETHER THE PENALTY IMPOSED BY THE IBP WAS
COMMENSURATE BASED ON THE ACTS OF THE
RESPONDENT?

On January 19, 2009, the NLRC promulgated a decision adverse to CVC. Chu
confronted Atty. Guico, who in turn referred Chu to Nardo for the filing of a
motion for reconsideration. After the denial of the motion for reconsideration,
Atty. Guico caused the preparation and filing of an appeal in the Court of
Appeals. Finally, Chu terminated Atty. Guico as legal counsel on May 25,
2009.

1ST SEMESTER SY. 2015-2016 ATTY. VICTORIA LOANZON

HELD:
1) YES

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In disbarment proceedings, the burden of proof rests on the complainant to


establish respondent attorneys liability by clear, convincing and satisfactory
evidence. Indeed, this Court has consistently required clearly preponderant
evidence to justify the imposition of either disbarment or suspension as
penalty.

Rule 1.02 A lawyer shall not counsel or abet activities


aimed at defiance of the law or at lessening confidence in
the legal system.
The sworn obligation to respect the law and the legal processes under the
Lawyers Oath and the Code of Professional Responsibility is a continuing
condition for every lawyer to retain membership in the Legal Profession.

The testimony of Chu, and the circumstances narrated by Chu and his
witnesses, especially the act of Atty. Guico of presenting to Chu the supposed
draft decision that had been printed on used paper emanating from Atty.
Guicos office, sufficed to confirm that he had committed the imputed gross
misconduct by demanding and receiving P580,000.00 from Chu to obtain a
favorable decision. Atty. Guico offered only his general denial of the
allegations in his defense, but such denial did not overcome the affirmative
testimony of Chu. The SC cannot help but conclude that the production of the
draft decision by Atty. Guico was intended to motivate Chu to raise money to
ensure the chances of obtaining the favorable result in the labor case. As
such, Chu discharged his burden of proof as the complainant to establish his
complaint against Atty. Guico. In this administrative case, a fact may be
deemed established if it is supported by substantial evidence, or that amount
of relevant evidence which a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to
justify a conclusion.

Atty. Guico willingly and wittingly violated the law in appearing to counsel Chu
to raise the large sums of money in order to obtain a favorable decision in the
labor case. He thus violated the law against bribery and corruption. He
compounded his violation by actually using said illegality as his means of
obtaining a huge sum from the client that he soon appropriated for his own
personal interest. His acts constituted gross dishonesty and deceit, and were
a flagrant breach of his ethical commitments under the Lawyers Oath not to
delay any man for money or malice; and under Rule 1.01 of the Code of
Professional Responsibility that forbade him from engaging in unlawful,
dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct. His deviant conduct eroded the faith
of the people in him as an individual lawyer as well as in the Legal Profession
as a whole. In doing so, he ceased to be a servant of the law.
Grave misconduct is improper or wrong conduct, the transgression of some
established and definite rule of action, a forbidden act, a dereliction of duty,
willful in character, and implies a wrongful intent and not mere error of
judgment.

In taking the Lawyers Oath, Atty. Guico bound himself to:


x x x maintain allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines;
x x x support its Constitution and obey the laws as well as
the legal orders of the duly constituted authorities therein; x
x x do no falsehood, nor consent to the doing of any in court;
x x x delay no man for money or malice x x x.

Atty. Guico committed grave misconduct and disgraced the Legal Profession.
There is no question that any gross misconduct by an attorney in his
professional or private capacity renders him unfit to manage the affairs of
others, and is a ground for the imposition of the penalty of suspension or
disbarment, because good moral character is an essential qualification for the
admission of an attorney and for the continuance of such privilege.

The Code of Professional Responsibility echoes the Lawyers Oath, to wit:


CANON 1 A lawyer shall uphold the constitution, obey
the laws of the land and promote respect for law and for legal
processes.
Rule 1.01 A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful,
dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct.

1ST SEMESTER SY. 2015-2016 ATTY. VICTORIA LOANZON

2) NO

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The recommendation of the IBP Board of Governors to suspend him from the
practice of law for three (3) years would be too soft a penalty. Instead, he
should be disbarred, for he exhibited his unworthiness of retaining his
membership in the legal profession. As the Court has reminded in Samonte
v. Abellana:

funds or property should be required to still litigate in another


proceeding what the administrative proceeding has already
established as the respondents liability. x x x
The Court FINDS and DECLARES respondent ATTY. JOSE S. GUICO, JR.
GUILTY of the violation of the Lawyers Oath, and Rules 1.01 and 1.02, Canon
I of the Code of Professional Responsibility, and DISBARS him from
membership in the Integrated Bar of the Philippines.

Disciplinary proceedings against lawyers are designed to


ensure that whoever is granted the privilege to practice law
in this country should remain faithful to the Lawyers Oath.
Only thereby can lawyers preserve their fitness to remain as
members of the Law Profession. Any resort to falsehood or
deception, including adopting artifices to cover up ones
misdeeds committed against clients and the rest of the
trusting public, evinces an unworthiness to continue enjoying
the privilege to practice law and highlights the unfitness to
remain a member of the Law Profession. It deserves for the
guilty lawyer stern disciplinary sanctions.

YOLANDA A. ANDRES, MINETTE A. MERCADO, AND ELITO P.


ANDRES v. ATTY. SALIMATHAR V. NAMBI.
A.C. No. 7158. March 09, 2015.
FACTS: This is a Complaint for Disbarment filed against then Labor Arbiter
Salimathar V. Nambi (respondent) on the ground of gross ignorance of the
law in issuing an Amended Alias Writ of Execution against M.A. Blocks Work,
Inc. and its incorporators, the herein complainants, who are not parties to the
case.

Additional ISSUE on Restitution: Whether or not Atty. Guico can be ordered


to return the amount of money to Chu in a disbarment case?

On December 10, 2003, respondent rendered a Decision in labor case against


M.A. Mercado Construction and Spouses Maximo and Aida Mercado. Then,
Sps. Mercado interposed an appeal which was dismissed for failure to post
an appeal bond. Thus, an Alias Writ of Execution was issued to implement
the Decision. Thereafter, the complainants in the labor case filed an Ex Parte
Motion for Amendment of an Alias Writ of Execution. They claimed that they
could hardly collect the judgment award from M.A. Mercado Construction
because it allegedly transferred its assets to M.A. Blocks Work, Inc. They thus
prayed that the Alias Writ of Execution be amended to include M.A. Blocks
Work, Inc. and all its incorporators/stockholder as additional
entity/personalities against which the writ of execution shall be
enforced. Respondent granted the motion to amend the alias writ of
execution.

HELD: YES.
The recommendation of the IBP Board of Governors that Atty. Guico be
ordered to return the amount of P580,000.00 to Chu is well-taken. That
amount was exacted by Atty. Guico from Chu in the guise of serving the
latters interest as the client. Although the purpose for the amount was
unlawful, it would be unjust not to require Atty. Guico to fully account for and
to return the money to Chu. It did not matter that this proceeding is
administrative in character, for, as the Court has pointed out in Bayonla v.
Reyes:
Although the Court renders this decision in an
administrative proceeding primarily to exact the ethical
responsibility on a member of the Philippine Bar, the Courts
silence about the respondent lawyers legal obligation to
restitute the complainant will be both unfair and inequitable.
No victim of gross ethical misconduct concerning the clients

1ST SEMESTER SY. 2015-2016 ATTY. VICTORIA LOANZON

An Amended Alias Writ of Execution was issued to enforce the monetary


judgment amounting to P19,527,623.55 against M.A. Blocks Work, Inc. and
all its incorporators. By way of special appearance, M.A. Blocks Work, Inc.,

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together with three of its stockholders who are the complainants in this
administrative case, namely Yolanda A. Andres, Minette A. Mercado and Elito
P. Andres, filed an Urgent Motion to Quash the Amended Alias Writ of
Execution, contending that they are not bound by the judgment as they were
not parties to the labor case. In an Order, dated March 13, 2006, however,
respondent denied the Urgent Motion to Quash.

7, 2006 Resolution directing him to file his Comment. He also failed to attend
the mandatory conference before the IBPs Commission on Bar Discipline
despite notice. Neither did he file his Position Paper. As a former Labor
Arbiter, respondent should know that orders of the court are not mere
requests but directives which should have been complied with promptly and
completely. He disregarded the oath he took when he was accepted to the
legal profession to obey the laws and the legal orders of the duly constituted
legal authorities. x x x His conduct was unbecoming of a lawyer who is called
upon to obey court orders and processes and is expected to stand foremost
in complying with court directives as an officer of the court.

The Investigating Commissioner found respondent guilty of gross ignorance


of the law and recommended that he be suspended from the practice of law
for a period of six months. This was adopted and approved with modification
by the IBP Board of Governors.

Considering that this appears to be respondents first infraction, we find it


proper to impose on him the penalty of reprimand with warning.

ISSUE: WHETHER RESPONDENT IS GUILTY OF GROSS IGNORANCE


OF THE LAW AND OF VIOLATING THE CODE OF PROFESSIONAL
RESPONSIBILITY.

ANTONINA S. SOSA v. ATTY. MANUEL V. MENDOZA


A.C. No. 8776. March 22, 2015

HELD:
As a rule, for one to be held administratively accountable for gross ignorance
of the law, there must be a showing that the error was gross and patent as to
support a conclusion that the actor was so moved with malice, bad faith,
corruption, fraud, and dishonesty.

FACTS: On July 28, 2006, Antonia Sosa extended a loan of P500,000.00 to


Atty. Mendoza at an interest of P25,000.00 to be paid not later than
September 25, 2006. They agreed that a penalty or collection charge of 10%
per month shall accrue in case of default. To ensure the payment of the
obligation, Atty. Mendoza signed a promissory note and issued a postdated
check for P500,000.00.

The court ruled that based from the Decision rendered by respondent, the
respondent did not act whimsically or arbitrarily; his ruling could not in any
manner be characterized as imbued with malice, fraud or bad faith. His
conclusion was reached after an examination of the documents presented
and evaluation and assessment of the arguments raised by the parties. He
did not capriciously rule on the issues presented; on the contrary, he exerted
efforts to weigh the positions of the contending parties. In any event, we hold
that respondent should not be held accountable for committing an honest
mistake or an error in the appreciation of the facts of the case before him.

Atty. Mendoza failed to comply with his obligation on due date. Upon demand
to pay, he requested Ms. Sosa not to deposit the postdated check. She
acceded and deferred the deposit of the check based on Atty. Mendozas
promise that he would later pay. The check was subsequently
returned/dishonored after Ms. Sosa finally deposited it sometime in October
2006; it was Drawn Against Insufficient Funds.
PETITIONERS CONTENTION:
Ms. Sosa, thru her lawyer Atty. Ernesto V. Cabrera, sent a letter to Atty.
Mendoza demanding payment of the loan plus interest and collection charges.
Atty. Mendoza ignored the demand letter despite receipt, as proven by the
Registry Receipt and Registry Return Receipt. Likewise, he did not, in any

Based from the foregoing, the court have no basis to hold respondent
administratively liable for gross ignorance of the law. However, the court note
that respondent had consistently and obstinately disregarded the Courts and
IBPs orders. It is on record that respondent totally ignored the Courts June

1ST SEMESTER SY. 2015-2016 ATTY. VICTORIA LOANZON

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manner, contact Ms. Sosa to explain why he failed to pay. In view of the
repeated failure of Atty. Mendoza to pay, Ms. Sosa filed the complaint for
disbarment or suspension, charging Atty. Mendoza for violation of Rule 1.01
of the Code of Professional Responsibility. This Rule states that [a] lawyer
shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct.

because good character is an essential qualification for the admission to and


continued practice of law. Any wrongdoing, whether professional or nonprofessional, indicating unfitness for the profession justifies disciplinary
action.
Gross misconduct is defined as "improper or wrong conduct, the
transgression of some established and definite rule of action, a forbidden act,
a dereliction of duty, willful in character, and implies a wrongful intent and not
a mere error in judgment."

RESPONDENTS CONTENTION:
Atty. Mendoza admitted the existence of the loan and that it is a valid
obligation. However, he alleged that he only received One Hundred
Thousand Pesos (P100,000.00) from one Elenita Cruz (Elenita), a friend of
the complainant. Atty. Mendoza did not attach an affidavit from Elenita nor
any evidence proving that he only received P100,000.00.

Rule 1.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility is emphatic: [a] lawyer


shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct.

IBP FINDINGS & RECOMMENDATION:


The Investigating Commissioner found Atty. Mendoza liable not only
administratively but also civilly. The IBP Board of Governors adopted with
modification the findings of the Investigating Commissioner ruling that the
respondent is guilty of misconduct for his failure to pay a just and valid debt
thus, Atty. Manuel V. Mendoza is hereby SUSPENDED from the practice of
law for 6 months and Ordered to Return the amount of P500,000.00 to the
complainant with legal interest.

The facts of the case show that Atty. Mendoza engaged in improper or wrong
conduct as the failure to pay the loan was willful in character and implied a
wrongful intent and not a mere error in judgment.
It is undisputed that Atty. Mendoza obtained a loan in the amount of
P500,000.00. He signed the promissory note and acknowledgement receipt
showing he received P500,000.00.19 Although he initially denied getting this
amount and claimed that he only received P100,000.00, he did not present
any evidence to prove his claim. He later also admitted the validity of his loan
without qualification as to the amount. Also undisputed is the fact that Ms.
Sosa tried to collect the amount due upon maturity but Atty. Mendoza failed
to pay. In fact, Ms. Sosa deferred depositing the postdated check upon Atty.
Mendozas request, and based on his promises that he would pay. Despite
all these, he still failed to comply with his obligation. Worse, the check when
finally deposited was dishonored, a fact that Atty. Mendoza did not dispute.

ISSUES:
1) WHETHER OR NOT ATTY. MENDOZA SHOULD BE HELD
LIABLE?
2) WHETHER THE COMPLAINANT CAN COLLECT THE AMOUNT
OF THE OBLIGATION OF THE LOAN IN A DISBARMENT
CASE?

Atty. Mendoza further claimed he had P600,000.00 on hand during the


hearing with the IBP Investigating Officer. He allegedly failed to deliver the
amount to Ms. Sosa or her counsel because he arrived late. The Court found
that Atty. Mendozas excuse to be flimsy. It could have been very easy for him
to deliver the P600,000.00 to Ms. Sosa if he had the real intention to pay.
Atty. Mendoza was also not candid with the IBP Investigating Officer when he

HELD:
1) YES.
Any gross misconduct of a lawyer in his professional or in his private capacity
is a ground for the imposition of the penalty of suspension or disbarment

1ST SEMESTER SY. 2015-2016 ATTY. VICTORIA LOANZON

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claimed he had P600,000.00 and that he was ready to pay his obligation.
What is clear is that his obligation remains outstanding after all these years.

IBPs recommendation to order the erring lawyer to return the money he


borrowed from the complainant, to wit:

Other than his claim that he was disposing of real properties in order to settle
his obligation, Atty. Mendoza also failed to explain why he failed to pay despite
his admission of a just and valid loan. Whatever his reasons or excuses may
be, dire financial condition does not justify non-payment of debt.

In disciplinary proceedings against lawyers, the only issue is


whether the officer of the court is still fit to be allowed to continue
as a member of the Bar. Our only concern is the determination of
respondents administrative liability. Our findings have no material
bearing on other judicial action which the parties may choose to
file against each other. Furthermore, disciplinary proceedings
against lawyers do not involve a trial of an action, but rather
investigations by the Court into the conduct of one of its officers.
The only question for determination in these proceedings is
whether or not the attorney is still fit to be allowed to continue
as a member of the Bar. Thus, this Court cannot rule on the
issue of the amount of money that should be returned to the
complainant. [Emphasis supplied and citations omitted.]

The facts and evidence in this case clearly establish Atty. Mendozas failure
to live up to his duties as a lawyer as dictated by the lawyer's oath, the Code
of Professional Responsibility and the Canons of Professional Ethics, thereby
degrading not only his personal integrity but his profession as well. To
reiterate, his failure to honor his just debt constitutes dishonest and deceitful
conduct. This dishonest conduct was compounded by Atty. Mendozas act of
interjecting flimsy excuses that only strengthened the conclusion that he
refused to pay a valid and just debt

MELVYN G. GARCIA, v. ATTY. RAUL H. SESBREO


A.C. No. 7973 and A.C. No. 10457, February 03, 2015

2) No.
The SC differ with the IBPs recommendation ordering Atty. Mendoza to pay
the amount of the loan plus legal interest because the instant case is solely
an administrative complaint for disbarment and is not a civil action for
collection of a sum of money.

FACTS: Garcia filed a complaint for disbarment against Sesbreo. Garcia


alleged that he married Virginia Alcantara and they had two children. In 1971,
he and Virginia separated. Garcia alleged while he was in Japan, Sesbreo,
representing complainants children, filed an action for support against him
and his sister. At the time of the filing of the case, Maria Margarita was already
39 years old while Angie Ruth was 35 years old. The case was dismissed.
Garcia filed a complaint for disbarment against Sesbreo, alleged that
Sesbreo is practicing law despite his previous conviction for homicide and
despite the facts that he is only on parole and that he has not fully served his
sentence. Garcia alleged that Sesbreo violated Section 27, Rule 138 of the
Rules of Court by continuing to engage in the practice of law despite his
conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude.

The quantum of evidence in these two types of cases alone prevents the court
from agreeing with the IBPs order to pay; the administrative complaint only
requires substantial evidence to justify a finding of liability, while a civil action
requires greater evidentiary standard of preponderance of evidence.
A proceeding for suspension or disbarment is not a civil action where the
complainant is a plaintiff and the respondent lawyer is a defendant.
Disciplinary proceedings involve no private interest and afford no redress for
private grievance. They are undertaken and prosecuted solely for the public
welfare. In the recent case of Heenan v. Atty. Espejo (A.C. No. 10050,
December 3, 2013, 711 SCRA 290), The SC En Banc did not agree with the

1ST SEMESTER SY. 2015-2016 ATTY. VICTORIA LOANZON

Sesbreo alleged that, Garcia filed a similar complaint against him before the
IBP and Garcias complaint was motivated by resentment and desire for
revenge because he acted as pro bono counsel for Maria Margarita and Angie

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Ruth. Sesbreo alleged that his sentence was commuted and the phrase with
the inherent accessory penalties provided by law was deleted. Sesbreo
argued that even if the accessory penalty was not deleted, the disqualification
applies only during the term of the sentence. Sesbreo further alleged that
homicide does not involve moral turpitude.

was never wiped out. He served the commuted or reduced penalty, for which
reason he was released from prison. More importantly, the Final Release and
Discharge18 stated that [i]t is understood that such x x x accessory
penalties of the law as have not been expressly remitted herein shall
subsist. Hence, the Parcasio case has no application here. Even if Sesbreo
has been granted pardon, there is nothing in the records that shows that it
was a full and unconditional pardon. In addition, the practice of law is not a
right but a privilege. It is granted only to those possessing good moral
character. A violation of the high moral standards of the legal profession
justifies the imposition of the appropriate penalty against a lawyer, including
the penalty of disbarment.

ISSUE: WHETHER OR NOT MORAL TURPITUDE IS INVOLVED IN A


CONVICTION FOR HOMICIDE.
HELD: YES, the IBP-CBD recommended that Sesbreo be disbarred and his
name stricken from the Roll of Attorneys. We adopt the findings and
recommendation of the IBP.

DR. ELMAR O. PEREZ v. ATTY. TRISTAN A. CATINDIG


AND ATTY. KAREN E. BAYDO.
A.C. No. 5816, March 10, 2015

Section 27, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court states that a member of the bar
may be disbarred or suspended as attorney by this Court by reason of his
conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude. This Court has ruled that
disbarment is the appropriate penalty for conviction by final judgment for a
crime involving moral turpitude. Moral turpitude is an act of baseness,
vileness, or depravity in the private duties which a man owes to his fellow men
or to society in general, contrary to justice, honesty, modesty, or good morals.
xxx Moral turpitude is somewhat a vague and indefinite term, the meaning of
which must be left to the process of judicial inclusion or exclusion as the cases
are reached.

FACTS: Private respondent Tristan A. Catindig married Lily Gomez Catindig


twice on May 16, 1968. The marriage produced four children. Several years
later, the couple encountered marital problems that they decided to obtain a
divorce from the Dominican Republic. Thus, on April 27, 1984, Tristan and
Lily executed a Special Power of Attorney addressed to the Judge of the First
Civil Court of San Cristobal, Dominican Republic, appointing an attorney-infact to institute a divorce action under its laws.

We cannot accept Sesbreos argument that the executive clemency restored


his full civil and political rights. There was no mention that the executive
clemency was absolute and unconditional and restored Sesbreo to his full
civil and political rights.

On July 14, 1984, Tristan married petitioner Elmar O. Perez in the State of
Virginia in the United States and both lived as husband and wife until October
2001. Their union produced one offspring.
During their cohabitation, petitioner learned that the divorce decree issued by
the court in the Dominican Republic which "dissolved" the marriage between
Tristan and Lily was not recognized in the Philippines and that her marriage
to Tristan was deemed void under Philippine law.

There are four acts of executive clemency that the President can extend: the
President can grant reprieves, commutations, pardons, and remit fines and
forfeitures, after conviction by final judgment.15 In this case, the executive
clemency merely commuted to an indeterminate prison term of 7 years
and 6 months to 10 years imprisonment the penalty imposed on
Sesbreo. Commutation is a mere reduction of penalty.Commutation only
partially extinguished criminal liability. The penalty for Sesbreos crime

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Sometime in 2001, Dr. Perez alleged that she received an anonymous letter in
the mail informing her of Atty. Catindigs scandalous affair with Atty. Baydo,
and that sometime later, she came upon a love letter written and signed by

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Atty. Catindig for Atty. Baydo dated April 25, 2001. In the said letter, Atty.
Catindig professed his love to Atty. Baydo, promising to marry her once his
impediment is removed. On October 31, 2001, Atty. Catindig abandoned Dr.
Perez and their son; he moved to an upscale condominium in Salcedo Village,
Makati City where Atty. Baydo was frequently seen.

engaged in the assembly and repair of motor vehicles


in Paldit, Sison, Pangasinan. In 1991, they engaged the services of
respondent Atty. George M. Florendo not only as legal counsel but also as
administrator of their businesses whenever complainant would leave for the
United States of America (USA). Sometime in 1993, complainant began to
suspect that respondent and his wife were having an illicit affair. His suspicion
was confirmed in the afternoon of May 13, 1995 when, in their residence, he
chanced upon a telephone conversation between the two. Listening through
the extension phone, he heard respondent utter the words "I love you, I'll call
you later". When confronted, his wife initially denied any amorous involvement
with respondent but eventually broke down and confessed to their love affair
that began in 1993. Respondent likewise admitted the relationship.
Subsequently, at a meeting initiated by respondent and held at
the Salibao Restaurant in Burnham Park, Baguio City, respondent and
complainant's wife, Ma. Elena, confessed anew to their illicit affair before their
respective spouses.

ISSUE: WHETHER OR NOT ATTY. CATINDIG AND ATTY. BAYDO


SHOULD BE DISBARRED.
HELD: Only Atty. Catindig should be disbarred. The facts gathered from the
evidence adduced by the parties and, ironically, from Atty. Catindigs own
admission, indeed establish a pattern of conduct that is grossly immoral; it is
not only corrupt and unprincipled, but reprehensible to a high degree.From his
own admission, Atty. Catindig knew that the divorce decree he obtained from
the court in the Dominican Republic was not recognized in our jurisdiction as
he and Gomez were both Filipino citizens at that time. He knew that he was
still validly married to Gomez; that he cannot marry anew unless his previous
marriage be properly declared a nullity. Otherwise, his subsequent marriage
would be void. This notwithstanding, he still married Dr. Perez. The foregoing
circumstances seriously taint Atty. Catindigs sense of social propriety and
moral values. It is a blatant and purposeful disregard of our laws on marriage.

On May 15, 1995, the parties met again at the Mandarin Restaurant in Baguio
City and, in the presence of a Notary Public, Atty. Liberato Tadeo, respondent
and Ma. Elena executed and signed an affidavit attesting to their illicit
relationship and seeking their respective spouses' forgiveness.

With regards to Atty. Baydo, there is a dearth of evidence to prove the claimed
amorous relationship between her and Atty. Catindig. As it is, the evidence
that was presented by Dr. Perez to prove her claim were mere allegations, an
anonymous letter informing her that the respondents were indeed having an
affair and the purported love letter to Atty. Baydo that was signed by Atty.
Catindig. Atty. Tristan A. Catindig is found GUILTY of gross immorality and of
violating the Lawyers Oath and Rule 1.01, Canon 7 and Rule 7.03 of the Code
of Professional Responsibility and is DISBARRED from the practice of law.

Complainant instituted the present suit for disbarment on May 23, 1995
charging respondent of gross immorality and grave misconduct. In his
Answer, respondent admitted the material allegations of the complaint but
interposed the defense of pardon.
Finding merit in the complaint, the Commission on Bar Discipline (CBD),
through Commissioner Agustinus V. Gonzaga, submitted its Report and
Recommendation dated September 21, 2007 for the suspension of
respondent from the practice of law for one (1) year, which was adopted and
approved by the IBP Board of Governors in its Resolution dated October 19,
2007. Respondent's Motion for Reconsideration there from was denied in the
Resolution dated June 26, 2011.

TIONG v. FLORENDO.
662 SCRA 1. 2011
FACTS: Complainant Elpidio P. Tiong, an American Citizen, and his wife,
Ma. Elena T. Tiong, are real estate lessors in Baguio City. They are likewise

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Respondent, however, maintains that he cannot be sanctioned for his


questioned conduct because he and Ma. Elena had already been pardoned
by their respective spouses in the May 15, 1995 Affidavit.

order to safeguard the integrity of the Bar. Consequently, any


errant behaviour on the part of a lawyer, be it in his public or private activities,
which tends to show him deficient in moral character, honesty, probity or good
demeanor, is sufficient to warrant his suspension or disbarment.

ISSUE: WHETHER THE PARDON EXTENDED BY COMPLAINANT IN THE


AFFIDAVIT DATED MAY 15, 1995 IS SUFFICIENT TO WARRANT THE
DISMISSAL OF THE PRESENT DISBARMENT CASE AGAINST
RESPONDENT FOR GROSS IMMORAL CONDUCT.

Respondent's act of having an affair with his client's wife manifested his
disrespect for the laws on the sanctity of marriage and his own marital vow of
fidelity. It showed his utmost moral depravity and low regard for the ethics of
his profession. Likewise, he violated the trust and confidence reposed on him
by complainant which in itself is prohibited under Canon 17 of the Code of
Professional Responsibility. Undeniably, therefore, his illicit relationship with
Ma. Elena amounts to a disgraceful and grossly immoral conduct warranting
disciplinary action from the Court. Section 27, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court
provides that an attorney may be disbarred or suspended from his office by
the Court for any deceit, malpractice, or other gross misconduct in
office, grossly immoral conduct, among others.

HELD: NO.
The pertinent provisions in the Code of Professional Responsibility provide,
thus:
"CANON 1 - A LAWYER SHALL UPHOLD THE CONSTITUTION, OBEY THE
LAWS OF THE LAND AND PROMOTE RESPECT FOR LAW AND LEGAL
PROCESSES.

It bears to stress that a case of suspension or disbarment is sui generis and


not meant to grant relief to a complainant as in a civil case but is intended to
cleanse the ranks of the legal profession of its undesirable members in order
to protect the public and the courts. It is not an investigation into the acts of
respondent as a husband but on his conduct as an officer of the Court and his
fitness to continue as a member of the Bar. Hence, the Affidavit dated March
15, 1995, which is akin to an affidavit of desistance, cannot have the effect of
abating the instant proceedings.

Rule 1.01. - A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or


deceitful conduct.
xxxx
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.
xxxx

However, considering the circumstances of this case, the Court finds that a
penalty of suspension from the practice of law for six (6) months, instead of
one (1) year as recommended by the IBP-CBD, is adequate sanction for the
grossly immoral conduct of respondent.

Rule 7.03. - A lawyer shall not engage in conduct that adversely reflects on
his fitness to practice law, nor shall he, whether in public or private life, behave
in a scandalous manner to the discredit of the legal profession."

WHEREFORE, respondent ATTY. GEORGE M. FLORENDO is hereby


found GUILTY of Gross Immorality and is SUSPENDED from the practice of
law for SIX (6) MONTHS effective upon notice hereof, with a STERN
WARNING that a repetition of the same or similar offense will be dealt with
more severely.

It has been consistently held by the Court that possession of good moral
character is not only a condition for admission to the Bar but is a continuing
requirement to maintain one's good standing in the legal profession. It is the
bounden duty of law practitioners to observe the highest degree of morality in

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GARRIDO vs. GARRIDO


611 SCRA 508 (2010)

lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct.


Furthermore, the contention of respondent that they were not yet lawyers
when they got married shall not afford them exemption from sanctions; good
moral character was already required as a condition precedent to admission
to the Bar.

FACTS: The petitioner, the respondents legal wife, filed a complaint-affidavit


and a supplemental affidavit for disbarment against the respondents Atty.
Angel E. Garrido and Atty. Romana P.Valencia before the Integrated Bar of
the Philippines Committee on Discipline, charging them with gross immorality,
in violation of Canon 1, Rule 1.01, of the Code of Professional Responsibility.
The complaint arose after the petitioner caught wind through her daughter that
her husband was having an affair with a woman other than his wife and
already had a child with her; and the same information was confirmed when
one of her daughters saw that her husband walking in a Robinsons mall with
the other respondent, Atty. Valencia, with their child in tow.

As a lawyer, a person whom the community looked up to, Atty. Garrido and
Valencia wereshouldered with the expectation that they would set a good
example in promoting obedience to the Constitution and the laws. When they
violated the law and distorted it to cater to their own personal needs and
selfish motives, not only did their actions discredit the legal profession. Such
actions by themselves, without even including the fact of Garridos
abandonment of paternal responsibility, to the detriment of his children by the
petitioner; or the fact that Valencia married Garrido despite knowing of his
other marriages to two other women including the petitioner, are clear
indications of a lack of moral values not consistent with the proper conduct of
practicing lawyers within the country. As such, their disbarment is affirmed.

After a much further investigation into the matter, the time and effort given yi
elded results telling her that Atty. Valencia and her legal husband had been
married in Hong Kong. Moreover, on June 1993, her husband left their
conjugal home and joined Atty. Ramona Paguida Valencia at their residence,
and has since failed to render much needed financial support. In their defense,
they postulated that they were not lawyers as of yet when they committed the
supposed immorality, so as such, they were not guilty of a violation of
Canon1, Rule 1.01.

BUENO v. RANESES.
687 SCRA 711. 2012
Before the Court is the Complaint for Disbarment1 against Atty. Ramon
Raeses filed on March 3, 1993 by Amparo Bueno with the Integrated Bar of
the Philippines-Commission on Bar Discipline.

ISSUE: WHETHER OR NOT ATTY. GARRIDOS AND VALENCIAS


ACTIONS CONSTITUTE A VIOLATION OF CANON 1, RULE1.01 AND
THUS A GOOD ENOUGH CAUSE FOR THEIR DISBARMENT, DESPITE
THE OFFENSE BEING SUPPOSEDLY COMMITTED WHEN THEY WERE
NOT LAWYERS.

FACTS: Bueno related that she hired Atty. Raeses to represent her in Civil
Case. In consideration for his services, Bueno paid Atty. Raeses a retainer
fee of P3,000.00. She also agreed to pay him P300.00 for every hearing he
attended. No receipt was issued for the retainer fee paid.

HELD: Yes. Membership in the Bar is a privilege, and as a privilege bestowed


by law through the Supreme Court, membership in the Bar can be withdrawn
where circumstances show the lawyers lack of the essential qualifications
required of lawyers, be they academic or moral. In the present case, the Court
had resolved to withdraw this privilege from Atty. Angel E. Garrido and Atty.
Rowena P. Valencia for the reason of their blatant violation of Canon 1,Rule
1.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, which commands that a

1ST SEMESTER SY. 2015-2016 ATTY. VICTORIA LOANZON

Atty. Raeses prepared and filed an answer in her behalf. He also attended
hearings. On several occasions, Atty. Raeses would either be absent or late.
Bueno alleged that on November 14, 1988, Atty. Raeses asked for
P10,000.00. This amount would allegedly be divided between him and Judge
Nidea, the judge hearing Civil Case No. 777, so that they would not lose the

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case. Atty. Raeses told Bueno not to tell anyone about the matter. She
immediately sold a pig and a refrigerator to raise the demanded amount, and
gave it to Atty. Raeses. In addition, Atty. Raeses asked for another
P5,000.00 sometime in December 1988, because the amount she had
previously given was inadequate. Bueno then sold her sala set and colored
television to raise the demanded amount, which she again delivered to Atty.
Raeses. Bueno later discovered that the trial court had required Atty.
Raeses to comment on the adverse partys offer of evidence and to submit
their memorandum on the case, but Atty. Raeses failed to comply with the
courts directive. Atty. Raeses concealed this development from her. In fact,
she was shocked when a court sheriff arrived sometime in May 1991 to
execute the decision against them. She went to Atty. Raeses office to ask
him about what happened to the case. Atty. Raeses told her that he had not
received any decision. Bueno later discovered from court records that Atty.
Raeses actually received a copy of the decision on December 3, 1990. When
she confronted Atty. Raeses about her discovery and showed him a courtissued certification, Atty. Raeses simply denied any knowledge of the
decision

HELD: Yes.
Canon 13 of the Code of Professional Responsibility provides the rule that
instructs lawyers to refrain from any impropriety tending to influence, or from
any act giving the appearance of influencing, the court.
In this case, Atty. Raeses committed an even graver offense. As shown, he
committed a fraudulent exaction, and at the same time maligned both the
judge and the Judiciary. These are exacerbated by his cavalier attitude
towards the IBP during the investigation of his case; he practically disregarded
its processes and even lied to one of the Investigating Commissioners
regarding the notices given him about the case.
The Court supports the Investigating Commissioner in his conclusion. As
Commissioner Limpingco succinctly observed:
By its very nature, the act [of] soliciting money for bribery purposes would
necessarily take place in secrecy with only respondent Atty. Raeses and
complainant Bueno privy to it. Complainant Amparo Bueno has executed
sworn statements and had readily affirmed her allegations in this regard in
hearings held before the IBP Investigating Commissioners. Respondent Atty.
Raeses, for his part, has not even seen it fit to file any answer to the
complaint against him, much less appear in any hearings scheduled in this
investigation.

Atty. Raeses never filed an answer against Buenos complaint. He


repeatedly failed to attend the hearings scheduled and was declared in
Default on October 2, 2000. However, On October 10, 2000, the IBP-CBD
received a "Time Motion and Request for Copies of the Complaint and
Supporting Papers" filed by respondent. He asked in his motion that the
hearing on October 2, 2000 be reset to sometime in December 2000, as he
had prior commitments on the scheduled day. He also asked for copies of the
complaint and of the supporting papers, claiming that he had not been
furnished with these. In the interest of justice, hearings were scheduled
thereafter. Nonetheless, Atty. Raeses failed to attend.

Further, the false claim made by Atty. Raeses to the investigating


commissioners reveals his propensity for lying. It confirms, to some extent,
the kind of lawyer that Buenos affidavits depict him to be.
Rather than merely suspend Atty. Raeses as had been done in Bildner, the
Court believes that Atty. Raeses merits the ultimate administrative penalty
of disbarment because of the multi-layered impact and implications of what
he did; by his acts he proved himself to be what a lawyer should not be, in a
lawyers relations to the client, to the court and to the Integrated Bar.

IBP Board of Governors recommended indefinite suspension from the


practice of law.
ISSUE: WHETHER OR NOT THE ACT OF RESPONDENT IS WARRANTED
FOR DISBARMENT.

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First, he extracted money from his client for a purpose that is both false and
fraudulent.1wphi1 It is false because no bribery apparently took place as
Atty. Raeses in fact lost the case. It is fraudulent because the professed
purpose of the exaction was the crime of bribery. Beyond these, he maligned
the judge and the Judiciary by giving the impression that court cases are won,
not on the merits, but through deceitful means a decidedly black mark
against the Judiciary. Last but not the least, Atty. Raeses grossly
disrespected the IBP by his cavalier attitude towards its disciplinary
proceedings.

Complainants alleged that respondent induced them to grant him loans by


offering very high interest rates. He also prepared and signed the checks
which turned out to be drawn against his sons accounts. Complainants further
alleged that respondent deceived them regarding the identity and value of the
property he mortgaged because he showed them a different property from
that which he owned. Presbitero further alleged that respondent mortgaged
his 263-square-meter property to her for P1,000,000 but he later sold it for
only P150,000.
RESPONDENTS DEFENSE:
Respondent, alleged that he was engaged in sugar and realty business and
that it was Yulo who convinced Presbitero and Navarro to extend him loans.
Yulo also assured him that Presbitero would help him with the refining of raw
sugar through Victorias Milling Company, Inc. Respondent alleged that
Navarro fixed the interest rate and he agreed because he needed the money.
He alleged that their business transactions were secured by real estate
mortgages and covered by postdated checks. Respondent denied that the
property he mortgaged to Presbitero was less than the value of the loan. He
also denied that he sold the property because the sale was actually rescinded.
Respondent claimed that the property he mortgaged to Navarro was valuable
and it was actually worth more than P8,000,000. Respondent alleged that he
was able to pay complainants when business was good but he was unable to
continue paying when the price of sugar went down and when the business
with Victorias Milling Company, Inc. did not push through because Presbitero
did not help him.

From these perspectives, Atty. Raeses wronged his client, the judge
allegedly on the "take," the Judiciary as an institution, and the IBP of which he
is a member. The Court cannot and should not allow offenses such as these
to pass unredressed. Let this be a signal to one and all to all lawyers, their
clients and the general public that the Court will not hesitate to act decisively
and with no quarters given to defend the interest of the public, of our judicial
system and the institutions composing it, and to ensure that these are not
compromised by unscrupulous or misguided members of the Bar.
WHEREFORE, Atty. Ramon A. Raeses is hereby DISBARRED from the
practice of law, effective upon his receipt of this Decision. The Office of the
Bar Confidant is DIRECTED to delete his name from the Roll of Attorneys.
Costs against the respondent.
NATIVIDAD P. NAVARRO and HILDA S. PRESBITERO
vs. ATTY. IVAN M. SOLIDUM, JR.
A.C. No. 9872 January 28, 2014

IBP DECISION:

FACTS: This case originated from a complaint for disbarment filed by


Natividad P. Navarro (Navarro) and Hilda S. Presbitero (Presbitero) against
Atty. Ivan M. Solidum, Jr. (respondent) before the Integrated Bar of the
Philippines Commission on Bar Discipline (IBP-CBD). Respondent signed a
retainer agreement with Presbitero.

The IBP-CBD found that respondent was guilty of violating Rule 1.01 of the
Code of Professional Responsibility for committing the following acts:
(1) signing drawn checks against the account of his son as if they
were from his own account;
(2) misrepresenting to Navarro the identity of the lot he mortgaged
to her;

COMPLAINANTS ALLEGATIONS:

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(3) misrepresenting to Presbitero the true value of the 263-squaremeter lot he mortgaged to her;
(4) conspiring with Yulo to obtain the loans from complainants;
(5) agreeing or promising to pay 10% interest on his loans although
he knew that it was exorbitant; and
(6) failing to pay his loans because the checks he issued were
dishonored as the accounts were already closed.

Rule 16.01 A lawyer shall account for all money or


property collected or received for or from the client.
The fiduciary nature of the relationship between the counsel and his client
imposes on the lawyer the duty to account for the money or property collected
or received for or from his client. We agree with the IBP-CBD that respondent
failed to fulfill this duty. In this case, the IBP-CBD pointed out that respondent
received various amounts from complainants but he could not account for all
of them.

The IBP-CBD also found that respondent violated Canon 16 and Rule 16.01
of the CPR when he failed to properly account for the various funds he
received from complainants and violated Rule 16.04 of the CPR which
prohibits borrowing money from a client unless the clients interest is fully
protected or the client is given independent advice.

Clearly, respondent had been negligent in properly accounting for the money
he received from his client, Presbitero. Indeed, his failure to return the excess
money in his possession gives rise to the presumption that he has
misappropriated it for his own use to the prejudice of, and in violation of the
trust reposed in him by, the client.

ISSUE: WHETHER OR NOT RESPONDENT VIOLATED THE CODE OF


PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY.

Rule 16.04 of the Code of Professional Responsibility provides:


HELD: YES. The Court finds Atty. Ivan M. Solidum, Jr. GUILTY of violating
Rule 1.01, Canon 16, Rule 16.01, and Rule 16.04 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility. Accordingly, the Court DISBARS him from the practice of law

Rule 16.04. - A lawyer shall not borrow money from his


client unless the clients interests are fully protected by the
nature of the case or by independent advice. Neither shall
a lawyer lend money to a client except, when in the interest
of justice, he has to advance necessary expenses in a legal
matter he is handling for the client.

Respondent failed to refute that the checks he issued to his client Presbitero
and to Navarro belonged to his son, Ivan Garcia Solidum III whose name is
similar to his name. It is clear that respondent violated Rule 1.01 of the Code
of Professional Responsibility. We have ruled that conduct, as used in the
Rule, is not confined to the performance of a lawyers professional duties. A
lawyer may be disciplined for misconduct committed either in his professional
or private capacity. The test is whether his conduct shows him to be wanting
in moral character, honesty, probity, and good demeanor, or whether it
renders him unworthy to continue as an officer of the court.

Here, respondent does not deny that he borrowed P1,000,000 from his client
Presbitero. At the time he secured the loan, respondent was already the
retained counsel of Presbitero. In his dealings with his client Presbitero,
respondent took advantage of his knowledge of the law as well as the trust
and confidence reposed in him by his client.

Canon 16 and Rule 16.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility provide:

Respondent failed to live up to the high standard of morality, honesty, integrity,


and fair dealing required of him as a member of the legal profession. Instead,
respondent employed his knowledge and skill of the law and took advantage
of his client to secure undue gains for himselft hat warrants his removal from
the practice of law.

CANON 16. - A LAWYER SHALL HOLD IN TRUST ALL


MONEYS AND PROPERTIES OF HIS CLIENT THAT MAY
COME INTO HIS POSSESSION.

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Nevertheless, when a lawyer receives money from a client for a particular


purpose involving the client-attorney relationship, he is bound to render an
accounting to the client showing that the money was spent for that particular
purpose. If the lawyer does not use the money for the intended purpose, he
must immediately return the money to his client. Respondent was given an
opportunity to render an accounting, and he failed. He must return the full
amount of the advances given him by Presbitero, amounting to P50,000.

Fe Marie L. Labiano
Paralegal
RESPONDENTS CONTENTION:
Respondent, in his defense, denied knowing Labiano and authorizing the
printing and circulation of the said calling card.
IBP FINDINGS & RECOMMENDATION:
The complaint was referred to the Commission on Bar Discipline (CBD) of the
Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) for investigation, report and
recommendation. Based on testimonial and documentary evidence, the CBD,
in its report and recommendation, found that respondent had encroached on
the professional practice of complainant, violating Rule 8.02 and other canons
of the Code of Professional Responsibility (CPR). Moreover, he contravened
the rule against soliciting cases for gain, personally or through paid agents or
brokers as stated in Section 27, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court. Hence, the
CBD recommended that respondent be reprimanded with a stern warning that
any repetition would merit a heavier penalty.

LISANGAN v. TOLENTINO.
A.C. No. 6672, September 04, 2009
FACTS: A complaint for disbarment filed by Pedro Linsangan against Atty.
Nicomedes Tolentino for solicitation of clients and encroachment of
professional services.
PETITIONERS CONTENTION:
Complainant alleged that respondent, with the help of paralegal Fe Marie
Labiano, convinced his clients to transfer legal representation. Respondent
promised them financial assistance and expeditious collection on their claims.
To induce them to hire his services, he persistently called them and sent them
text messages.

ISSUES:
1) WHETHER OR NOT RESPONDENT IS GUILTY IN VIOLATION
OF THE CODE OF PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY?
2) WHETHER THE PENALTY OF THE IBP IS COMMENSURATE
TO THE CONDUCT OF THE RESPONDENT?

Complainant presented the sworn affidavit of James Gregorio attesting that


Labiano tried to prevail upon him to sever his lawyer-client relations with
complainant and utilize respondents services instead, in exchange for a loan
of P50,000.

HELD:

Complainant also presented respondents calling card:

1) YES

Front

Atty. Nicomedes Tolentino is guilty of violating Rules 1.03, 2.03, 8.02 and
16.04 and Canon 3 of the Code of Professional Responsibility and Section
27, Rule 138 of the Rules of

NICOMEDES TOLENTINO
LAW OFFFICE
CONSULTANCY & MARITIME SERVICES
W/ FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE

1ST SEMESTER SY. 2015-2016 ATTY. VICTORIA LOANZON

Canons of the CPR are rules of conduct all lawyers must adhere to, including
the manner by which a lawyers services are to be made known.

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In this case, although respondent initially denied knowing Labiano in his


answer, he later admitted it during the mandatory hearing. Through Labianos
actions, respondents law practice was benefited. Hapless seamen were
enticed to transfer representation on the strength of Labianos word that
respondent could produce a more favorable result.

CANON 3 - A lawyer in making known his legal services shall use


only true, honest, fair, dignified and objective information or
statement of facts.
Lawyers are reminded that the practice of law is a profession and not a
business; lawyers should not advertise their talents as merchants advertise
their wares. To allow a lawyer to advertise his talent or skill is to commercialize
the practice of law, degrade the profession in the publics estimation and impair
its ability to efficiently render that high character of service to which every
member of the bar is called.

Based on the foregoing, respondent clearly solicited employment violating


Rule 2.03, and Rule 1.03 and Canon 3 of the CPR and Section 27, Rule 138
of the Rules of Court.
Rule 8.02 provides:

Rule 2.03 of the CPR provides:

A lawyer shall not, directly or indirectly, encroach upon the


professional employment of another lawyer; however, it is the right
of any lawyer, without fear or favor, to give proper advice and
assistance to those seeking relief against unfaithful or neglectful
counsel.

A lawyer shall not do or permit to be done any act designed primarily


to solicit legal business.
Hence, lawyers are prohibited from soliciting cases for the purpose of gain,
either personally or through paid agents or brokers. Such actuation
constitutes malpractice, a ground for disbarment.

With regard to respondents violation of Rule 8.02 of the CPR, settled is the
rule that a lawyer should not steal another lawyers client nor induce the latter
to retain him by a promise of better service, good result or reduced fees for
his services. Respondent never denied having these seafarers in his client list
nor receiving benefits from Labianos referrals. Furthermore, he never denied
Labianos connection to his office. Respondent committed an unethical,
predatory overstep into anothers legal practice. He cannot escape liability
under Rule 8.02 of the CPR.

Rule 2.03 should be read in connection with Rule 1.03 of the CPR which
provides:
RULE 1.03. A lawyer shall not, for any corrupt motive or interest,
encourage any suit or proceeding or delay any mans cause.

Moreover, by engaging in a money-lending venture with his clients as


borrowers, respondent violated Rule 16.04:

This rule proscribes ambulance chasing (the solicitation of almost any kind of
legal business by an attorney, personally or through an agent in order to gain
employment) as a measure to protect the community from barratry and
champerty.

1ST SEMESTER SY. 2015-2016 ATTY. VICTORIA LOANZON

Rule 16.04 A lawyer shall not borrow money from his client unless
the clients interests are fully protected by the nature of the case or
by independent advice. Neither shall a lawyer lend money to a
client except, when in the interest of justice, he has to advance
necessary expenses in a legal matter he is handling for the client.

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The rule is that a lawyer shall not lend money to his client. The only exception
is, when in the interest of justice, he has to advance necessary expenses
(such as filing fees, stenographers fees for transcript of stenographic notes,
cash bond or premium for surety bond, etc.) for a matter that he is handling
for the client.

(d)
(e)

Labianos calling card contained the phrase with financial assistance. The
phrase was clearly used to entice clients (who already had representation) to
change counsels with a promise of loans to finance their legal actions. Money
was dangled to lure clients away from their original lawyers, thereby taking
advantage of their financial distress and emotional vulnerability. This crass
commercialism degraded the integrity of the bar and deserved no place in the
legal profession.

The rule is intended to safeguard the lawyers independence of mind so that


the free exercise of his judgment may not be adversely affected. It seeks to
ensure his undivided attention to the case he is handling as well as his entire
devotion and fidelity to the clients cause.
If the lawyer lends money to the client in connection with the clients case, the
lawyer in effect acquires an interest in the subject matter of the case or an
additional stake in its outcome. Either of these circumstances may lead the
lawyer to consider his own recovery rather than that of his client, or to accept
a settlement which may take care of his interest in the verdict to the prejudice
of the client in violation of his duty of undivided fidelity to the clients cause.

However, in the absence of substantial evidence to prove his culpability, the


Court is not prepared to rule that respondent was personally and directly
responsible for the printing and distribution of Labianos calling cards.
2) NO
The sanction recommended by the IBP, which is a mere reprimand, is a wimpy
slap on the wrist. The proposed penalty is grossly incommensurate to its
findings.

As previously mentioned, any act of solicitation constitutes malpractice which


calls for the exercise of the Courts disciplinary powers. Violation of antisolicitation statutes warrants serious sanctions for initiating contact with a
prospective client for the purpose of obtaining employment. Thus, in this
jurisdiction, we adhere to the rule to protect the public from the Machiavellian
machinations of unscrupulous lawyers and to uphold the nobility of the legal
profession.

The SC SUSPENDED respondent from the practice of law for a period of one
year effective immediately from receipt of this resolution. He is STERNLY
WARNED that a repetition of the same or similar acts in the future shall be
dealt with more severely.

Regarding the calling card presented in evidence by petitioner, A lawyers


best advertisement is a well-merited reputation for professional capacity and
fidelity to trust based on his character and conduct. For this reason, lawyers
are only allowed to announce their services by publication in reputable law
lists or use of simple professional cards.

RE: VIOLATION OF RULES ON NOTARIAL PRACTICE


A.M. No. 09-6-1-SC, January 21, 2015
FACTS: The complaint was filed by the commissioned notaries public within
and for the jurisdiction of Lingayen, Pangasinan, namely, Atty. Butch Cardinal
Torio, Atty. Nepthalie Pasiliao, Atty. Dominique Evangelista, and Atty.
Elizabeth C. Tugade before the Executive Judge of the Regional Trial Court,
Lingayen, Pangasinan against Atty. Juan C. Siapno, Jr. for notarizing
documents without a commission. The complainants alleged that Atty. Siapno

Professional calling cards may only contain the following details:


(a)
lawyers name;
(b)
name of the law firm with which he is connected;
(c)
address;

1ST SEMESTER SY. 2015-2016 ATTY. VICTORIA LOANZON

telephone number and


special branch of law practiced.

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was maintaining a notarial office along Alvear Street East, Lingayen,


Pangasinan, and was performing notarial acts and practices in Lingayen,
Natividad and Dagupan City without the requisite notarial commission. They
asserted that Atty. Siapno was never commissioned as Notary Public for and
within the jurisdiction of Lingayen, Natividad and Dagupan City. Complainants
also averred that Atty. Siapno had delegated his notarial authority to his
secretaries, Mina Bautista and Mary Ann Arenas , who wrote legal instruments
and signed the documents on his behalf.

Lingayen, Natividad and Dagupan City of the Province of Pangasinan since


he was not commissioned in the said places to perform such act. The SC
stressed that notarization is not an empty, meaningless and routine act. It is
invested with substantive public interest that only those who are qualified or
authorized may act as notaries public. By performing notarial acts without the
necessary commission from the court, Atty. Siapno violated not only his oath
to obey the laws particularly the Rules on Notarial Practice but also Canons 1
and 7 of the Code of Professional Responsibility which proscribes all lawyers
from engaging in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct and directs
them to uphold the integrity and dignity of the legal profession, at all times.
The Court permanently barred Atty. Siapno from being commissioned as a
notary public and was suspended from the practice of law for two years.

Erring lawyers defense:


Atty. Siapno denied the accusations and averred that the law office in
Lingayen, Pangasinan, was not his and that Bautista and Arenas were not his
secretaries.

CRESCENCIANO M. PITOGO v. ATTY. JOSELITO TROY SUELLO, A.C.


No. 10695, March 18, 2015

ISSUE: WHETHER OR NOT ATTY. SIAPNO VIOLATED THE RULES ON


NOTARIAL PRACTICE.

FACTS: Crescenciano M. Pitogo (Pitogo) purchased a motorcycle from


Emcor, Inc. The motorcycle was eventually registered in Pitogos name based
on three (3) documents notarized by respondent Atty. Joselito Troy Suello
(Suello). The documents indicate that they are registered in Suellos notarial
register.

HELD: Yes.A review of the records and evidence presented by complainants


shows that Atty. Siapno indeed maintained a law office in Lingayen,
Pangasinan, just beside the law office of one of the complainants, Atty.
Elizabeth Tugade. It was also proven that Atty. Siapno notarized several
instruments with an expired notarial commission outside the territorial
jurisdiction of the commissioning court. Section 11, Rule III of the 2004 Rules
on Notarial Practice provides that:

Pitogo obtained a copy of the three (3) documents from the Land
Transportation Office. He went to Suellos office to have them certified. Pitogo
claims that when he called Suello the next day to tell him about the importance
of these documents to his civil case, Suello disowned the documents. Suello
instead ordered his secretary to give Pitogo a copy of his notarial register.

Jurisdiction and Term A person commissioned as notary


public may perform notarial acts in any place within the
territorial jurisdiction of the commissioning court for a period
of two (2) years commencing the first day of January of the
year in which the commissioning is made, unless earlier
revoked or the notary public has resigned under these
Rules and the Rules of Court.

Pitogo reiterated to Suello that the documents were important in his civil case
pending before the Regional Trial Court. He requested Suello to certify the
authenticity and veracity of the three (3) documents he obtained from the Land
Transportation Office. He wanted to determine if the documents were duly
notarized by Suello or were merely fabricated. Pitogo did not receive a reply
from Suello.

Under the rule, only persons who are commissioned as notary public may
perform notarial acts within the territorial jurisdiction of the court which granted
the commission. Clearly, Atty. Siapno could not perform notarial functions in

1ST SEMESTER SY. 2015-2016 ATTY. VICTORIA LOANZON

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Pitogo filed his Affidavit-Complaint against Suello before the IBP. Pitogo
alleges that there were discrepancies between the three (3) documents
notarized by Suello and Suellos entries in his notarial register.

Notarization is not an empty, meaningless, routinary act. It is invested with


such substantial public interest that only those who are qualified or authorized
may act as notaries public. Notarization converts a private document into a
public document, making that document admissible in evidence without
further proof of its authenticity. For this reason, notaries must observe with
utmost care the basic requirements in the performance of their duties.
Otherwise, the confidence of the public in the integrity of this form of
conveyance would be undermined.32

RESPONDENT:
Suello denies having notarized the three (3) documents obtained from the
Land Transportation Office.He denies the allegation that he disowned the
documents. He admits that he certified the documents as true copies. Suello
explains that it was his secretary who certified Pitogos documents. Pitogo
called Suello the next day to ask for a certification. Suello told Pitogo that his
secretary was not given such authority.

Hence, when respondent negligently failed to enter the details of the three (3)
documents on his notarial register, he cast doubt on the authenticity of
complainants documents. He also cast doubt on the credibility of the notarial
register and the notarial process. He violated not only the Notarial Rules but
also the Code of Professional Responsibility, which requires lawyers to
promote respect for law and legal processes.

IBP:
Recommended Suellos suspension from the active practice of law for six (6)
months, as well as the revocation of his commission as a notary public. He
also recommended Suellos disqualification as notary public for (4) years.

Later, in his Position Paper, he passed the blame to his secretary. This
violates the Code of Professional Responsibility, which prohibits lawyers from
engaging in dishonest and unlawful conduct. Respondents secretary cannot
be blamed for the erroneous entries in the notarial register. The notarial
commission is a license held personally by the notary public. It cannot be
further delegated. It is the notary public alone who is personally responsible
for the correctness of the entries in his or her notarial register. Respondents
apparent remorse may assuage the injury done privately, but it does not
change the nature of the violation.

ISSUE: Whether or not the respondent is administratively liable for his


negligence in keeping and maintaining his notarial register.
HELD: The SC finds respondent Atty. Joselito Troy Suello GUILTY of violating
Canon 1 and Rule 1.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility and the
2004 Rules on Notarial Practice. Accordingly, he is SUSPENDED from the
practice of law for three (3) months. His notarial commission is immediately
revoked if presently commissioned. He is DISQUALIFIED from being
commissioned as notary public for one (1) year.

RODOLFO ESPINOSA., vs. ATTY. JULIETA A. OMAA


A.C. No. 9081 October 12, 2011

Failure to properly record entries in the notarial register is also a ground for
revocation of notarial commission.

FACTS: Complainants Espinosa and Glindo charged Omaa with violation of


her oath as a lawyer, malpractice, and gross misconduct in office.

Notarial acts give private documents a badge of authenticity that the public
relies on when they encounter written documents and engage in written
transactions. Hence, all notaries public are duty-bound to protect the integrity
of notarial acts by ensuring that they perform their duties with utmost care.

1ST SEMESTER SY. 2015-2016 ATTY. VICTORIA LOANZON

Petitioners Contention:
Complainants alleged that Espinosa and his wife Elena Marantal (Marantal)
sought Omaas legal advice on whether they could legally live separately and

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dissolve their marriage solemnized on 23 July 1983. Omaa then prepared a


document entitled Kasunduan Ng Paghihiwalay (contract).

The IBP-CBD found that Omaa violated Rule 1.01, Canon 1 of the Code of
Professional Responsibility. The IBP-CBD stated that Omaa had failed to
exercise due diligence in the performance of her function as a notary public
and to comply with the requirements of the law. The IBP-CBD noted the
inconsistencies in the defense of Omaa who first claimed that it was her parttime staff who notarized the contract but then later claimed that it was her
former maid who notarized it. The IBP-CBD found that respondent truly signed
the questioned document, yet she still disclaimed its authorship, thereby
revealing much more her propensity to lie and make deceit. Hence, The IBPCBD recommended that Omaa be suspended for one year from the practice
of law and for two years as a notary public.
ISSUE: Whether or not Omaa violated the Canon of Professional
Responsibility in the notarization of Marantal and Espinosas Kasunduan Ng
Paghihiwalay?

Complainants alleged that Marantal and Espinosa, fully convinced of the


validity of the contract dissolving their marriage, started implementing its
terms and conditions. However, Marantal eventually took custody of all their
children and took possession of most of the property they acquired during
their union.
Espinosa sought the advice of his fellow employee, complainant Glindo, a law
graduate, who informed him that the contract executed by Omaa was not
valid. Espinosa and Glindo then hired the services of a lawyer to file a
complaint against Omaa before the Integrated Bar of the Philippines
Commission on Bar Discipline (IBP-CBD).
Respondents Contention:

HELD: Yes, in preparing and notarizing a void document, Omaa violated Rule
1.01, Canon 1 of the Code of Professional Responsibility which provides that
[a] lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful
conduct.

Omaa alleged that she knows Glindo but she does not personally know
Espinosa. She denied that she prepared the contract. She admitted that
Espinosa went to see her and requested for the notarization of the contract
but she told him that it was illegal. Omaa alleged that Espinosa returned the
next day while she was out of the office and managed to persuade her parttime office staff to notarize the document. Her office staff forged her signature
and notarized the contract. Omaa presented Marantals Sinumpaang Salaysay
(affidavit) to support her allegations and to show that the complaint was
instigated by Glindo. Omaa further presented a letter of apology from her staff,
Arlene Dela Pea, acknowledging that she notarized the document without
Omaas knowledge, consent, and authority.

Omaa knew fully well that the Kasunduan Ng Paghihiwalay has no legal effect
and is against public policy.
Extrajudicial dissolution of the conjugal partnership without judicial approval
is void. The Supreme Court has also ruled that a notary public should not
facilitate the disintegration of a marriage and the family by encouraging the
separation of the spouses and extrajudicially dissolving the conjugal
partnership, which is exactly what Omaa did in this case.

Espinosa later submitted a Karagdagang Salaysay stating that Omaa arrived


at his residence together with a girl whom he later recognized as the person
who notarized the contract. He further stated that Omaa was not in her office
when the contract was notarized.

The Supreme Court held that it cannot accept Omaas allegation that it was
her part-time office staff who notarized the contract. The High Court agreed
with the IBP-CBD that Omaa herself notarized the contract. Even if it were
true that it was her part-time staff who notarized the contract, it only showed
Omaas negligence in doing her notarial duties. A notary public is personally
responsible for the entries in his notarial register and he could not relieve

Commission on Bar Discipline Ruling:

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Respodents defense:

himself of this responsibility by passing the blame on his secretaries or any


member of his staff.

The Trinidads claimed that they paid for the land by installments, completing
the payment on June 24, 1986 with the result that the Arguelleses executed
the deed of sale in their favor. For its part, Metrobank filed a cross-claim
against the Trinidads for litigation expenses, alleging that the Trinidads were
answerable for such expenses under the mortgage contracts.

Atty. Julieta A. Omaa was suspended from the practice of law for ONE YEAR
and her commission as a notary public is REVOKED and she is SUSPENDED
as a notary public for TWO YEARS.
METROPOLITAN BANK & TRUST COMPANY v. ARGUELLES
679 SCRA 348, 2012

ISSUE: WON, the subject document is valid.

FACTS: Respondent brothers, Servando and Claudio Arguelles (the


Arguelleses ), were registered owners of a parcel of land in Imus, Cavite. The
Arguelleses entered into a conditional sale of the land to Edgardo Trinidad
and his wife Marilou. The Trinidads occupied and began developing the
property in 1986. They paid the real estate taxes due on it from 1987 to 1997.
With a deed of sale in their favor, the Trinidads eventually had the land titled
in their names. In that same year, they applied with Metropolitan Bank & Trust
Company (Metrobank) for a loan, offering the land as collateral. Satisfied that
the Trinidads owned the property, Metrobank accepted it as collateral and lent
them money. Subsequently, Metrobank granted the couple several more
loans, totaling more than P 11 million, all secured by the land.

HELD:
RTCs Decision:
The RTC ruled in favor of the Arguelleses and cancelled both the title in the
name of the Trinidads and the mortgages in Metrobanks favor. The primordial
issue, said the RTC, was whether or not the Trinidads paid the balance of the
agreed purchase price by installments. It found that they did not since they
could not present proof of the payments they supposedly made.
CAs decision:

The Arguelleses filed a complaint against the Trinidads with the RTC of Imus,
Cavite for the cancellation of their title in the latters names. Subsequently, the
complaint was amended to implead Metrobank and sought the cancellation of
the real estate mortgages over the property in its favor.

The CA affirmed that of the RTC but reduced the award of moral damages
to P50,000.00 each in favor of Servando and Claudio Arguelles. As for
Metrobank, the CA held that it was not a mortgagee in good faith as it appears
that Metrobank compelled the Trinidads to acquire title over the property
before the initial loan could be approved.

The Arguelleses denied having executed a deed of sale in favor of the


Trinidads. They alleged that they entrusted their owners duplicate copy of title
to Atty. Alejandro Saulog, Sr., who assisted the parties in executing a
conditional sale covering the land. The Trinidads used a fictitious deed of sale,
notarized by a certain Atty. Saulog, Jr. to effect the transfer of title in their
names.

1ST SEMESTER SY. 2015-2016 ATTY. VICTORIA LOANZON

The SC ruled in favor of the Trinidads. Both the RTC and the CA held that the
presumption of regularity of a public document did not attach to the subject
deed of sale, given that the notary public, Atty. Saulog, Jr. failed to establish
the authenticity of the signatures on it. He could not remember if the
Arguelleses, present in court as he testified, were the same persons who
appeared and acknowledged the document before him. But it is too much to
expect a notary public who had but a brief time with the Arguelleses during

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the notarial ceremony to remember their faces 12 years later. What matters
is Atty. Saulog, Jr.s testimony respecting the ritual of notarization that he
invariably followed. He gave unbending assurance that he ascertained the
identities of the parties to documents who appeared before him, including the
Arguelleses, by requiring them to show documentary proofs of the same and
to sign the documents in his presence. Besides, the theory of the Arguelleses
is that it was Atty. Saulog, Jr. who facilitated the preparation of the falsified
deed of sale for the benefit of the Trinidads. But, if this were so, it would have
made more sense for Atty. Saulog, Jr. to testify in defense of the genuineness
of the transaction by claiming that he recalled the faces of those who
appeared before him 12 years ago and that they were no other than the
Arguelleses.

meant to harass or intimidate [him]. Also, the documents were tampered and
adulterated, or that [s]omebody might have forged [his] signature.
IBP:
Recommended that respondent be suspended from the practice of law and
disqualified from being commissioned as a notary public.
ISSUE: Whether or not the respondent can be administratively liable.
HELD: The Supreme Court ruled that Atty. Anselmo S. Echanez is guilty of
engaging in notarial practice without a notarial commission, and be
Suspended from the practice of law for two (2) years and be Disqualified from
being commissioned as a notary public for two (2) years.

EFIGENIA M. TENOSO VS. ATTY. ANSELMO S. ECHANEZ.


A.C. No. 8384, April 11, 2013

Time and again, this Court emphasizes that the practice of law is imbued with
public interest and that a lawyer owes substantial duties not only to his client,
but also to his brethren in the profession, to the courts, and to the nation, and
takes part in one of the most important functions of the State the
administration of justice as an officer of the court. Accordingly, [l]awyers
are bound to maintain not only a high standard of legal proficiency, but also
of morality, honesty, integrity and fair dealing.

FACTS: Efigenia M. Tenoso (complainant) filed a complaint against Atty.


Anselmo S. Echanez (respondent) alleging that respondent was engaged in
practice as a notary public in Cordon, Isabela, without having been properly
commissioned by the RTC of Santiago City, Isabela. To support her
allegations, complainant attached the following documents to her pleadings:
a. documents signed and issued by RTC Santiago City Executive Judge
bearing the names of commissioned notaries public within the territorial
jurisdiction, respondent's name does not appear on the list;
b. documents that appear to have been notarized by respondent; and
c. A copy of a certification issued by Judge Cacatian stating that a jointaffidavit notarized by respondent in 2008 could not be authenticated as to
respondent's seal and signature as NO Notarial Commission was issued upon
him at the time of the document's notarization.

Similarly, the duties of notaries public are dictated by public policy and
impressed with public interest. [N]otarization is not a routinary, meaningless
act, for notarization converts a private document to a public instrument,
making it admissible in evidence without the necessity of preliminary proof of
its authenticity and due execution.
In misrepresenting himself as a notary public, respondent exposed partylitigants, courts, other lawyers and the general public to the perils of ordinary
documents posing as public instruments. As noted by the Investigating
Commissioner, respondent committed acts of deceit and falsehood in open
violation of the explicit pronouncements of the Code of Professional
Responsibility. Evidently, respondent's conduct falls miserably short of the

RESPONDENT:
denied the allegations saying, I have never been notarizing any document or
pleadings and added that he has never committed any malpractice, nor
deceit nor have violated [the] lawyers (sic) oath. He dismissed such
allegations as being preposterous, full of lies, politically motivated and x x x

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high standards of morality, honesty, integrity and fair dealing required from
lawyers. It is proper that he be sanctioned.

the disqualification rule, it behooved upon Atty. Revilla, Jr. to act with
prudence and refuse notarizing the document.

JANDOQUILE v. REVILLA
A.C. No. 9514, April 10, 2013

As to requiring the affiants to present valid identification, the Court ruled that
he cannot be liable. . If the notary public knows the affiants personally, he
need not require them to show their valid identification cards. This rule is
supported by the definition of a "jurat" under Section 6, Rule II of the 2004
Rules on Notarial Practice. A "jurat" refers to an act in which an individual on
a single occasion: (a) appears in person before the notary public and presents
an instrument or document; (b) is personally known to the notary public or
identified by the notary public through competent evidence of identity; (c)
signs the instrument or document in the presence of the notary; and (d) takes
an oath or affirmation before the notary public as to such instrument or
document. In this case, Heneraline Brosas is a sister of Atty. Revilla, Jr.s wife;
Herizalyn Brosas Pedrosa is his wifes sister-in-law; and Elmer Alvarado is the
live-in houseboy of the Brosas family. Atty. Revilla, Jr. knows the three affiants
personally. Thus, he was justified in no longer requiring them to show valid
identification cards.

FACTS: Atty. Revilla, Jr. notarized a complaint-affidavit signed by Heneraline


L. Brosas, Herizalyn Brosas Pedrosa and Elmer L. Alvarado. Heneraline
Brosas is a sister of Heizel Wynda Brosas Revilla, Atty. Revilla, Jr.'s wife.
Petitioner:
Jandoquile complains that Atty. Revilla, Jr. is disqualified to perform the
notarial act per Section 3(c), Rule IV of the 2004 Rules on Notarial Practice.
Jandoquile also complains that Atty. Revilla, Jr. did not require the three
affiants in the complaint-affidavit to show their valid identification cards.
Defendant:
Atty. Revilla, Jr. did not deny but admitted Jandoquiles material allegations.
Atty. Revilla, Jr. submits that his act is not a ground for disbarment. He also
says that he acts as counsel of the three affiants; thus, he should be
considered more as counsel than as a notary public when he notarized their
complaint-affidavit. He did not require the affiants to present valid
identification cards since he knows them personally. Heneraline Brosas and
Herizalyn Brosas Pedrosa are sisters-in-law while Elmer Alvarado is the livein houseboy of the Brosas family.

Let it be impressed that Atty. Revilla, Jr. was clearly disqualified to notarize
the complaint-affidavit of his relatives within the fourth civil degree of affinity.
While he has a valid defense as to the second charge, it does not exempt him
from liability for violating the disqualification rule.
However, Atty. Revilla, Jr.s violation of the disqualification rule under Section
3(c), Rule IV of the 2004 Rules on Notarial Practice is not a sufficient ground
to disbar him. Atty. Revilla, Jr. did not commit any deceit, malpractice, gross
misconduct or gross immoral conduct, or any other serious ground for
disbarment under Section 27, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court.

ISSUE: Whether the single act of notarizing the complaint-affidavit of relatives


within the fourth civil degree of affinity and, at the same time, not requiring
them to present valid identification cards is a ground for disbarment.

Considering the attendant circumstances and the single violation committed


by Atty. Revilla, Jr., the court ruled that a punishment less severe than
disbarment would suffice.

HELD: No
Indeed, section 3(c), Rule IV of the 2004 Rules on Notarial Practice clearly
disqualifies respondent from notarizing the complaint-affidavit, from
performing the notarial act, since two of the affiants or principals are his
relatives within the fourth civil degree of affinity. Given the clear provision of

1ST SEMESTER SY. 2015-2016 ATTY. VICTORIA LOANZON

WHEREFORE, respondent Atty. Quirino P. Revilla, Jr., is REPRIMANDED


and DISQUALIFIED from being commissioned as a notary public, or from
performing any notarial act if he is presently commissioned as a notary public,

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for a period of three (3) months. Atty. Revilla, Jr. is further DIRECTED to
INFORM the Court, through an affidavit, once the period of his disqualification
has lapsed.

transaction of the parties." Notarial fees paid by the parties were also covered
by a receipt issued by the Treasurer of the Municipality of Real, Quezon.
After due proceedings, Investigating Commissioner Felimon C. Abelita III
(Commissioner Abelita) issued the Report and Recommendation8 dated
November 20, 2012 for the cancellation of Atty. Rinens notarial commission
and his suspension from notarial practice for a period of one year.

WILBERTO C. TALISIC v. ATTY. PRIMO R. RINEN,


A.C. No. 8761, February 12, 2014
FACTS: This is an administrative case instituted by complainant Wilberto C.
Talisic (Wilberto) against Atty. Primo R. Rinen1(Atty. Rinen), charging the
latter with falsification of an Extra Judicial Partition with Sale2 which allowed
the transfer to spouses Benjamin Durante and Eleonor Lavifia (Spouses
Durante) of a parcel of land formerly owned by Wilberto's mother, Aurora
Corpuz (Aurora). The property, measuring 3,817 square meters and situated
in Barangay Langgas, Infanta, Quezon, was formerly covered by Original
Certificate of Title No. P-4875 under Aurora's name.3After Atty. Rinen filed his
comment on the complaint, the Court referred the case to the Integrated Bar
of the Philippines (IBP), Commission on Bar Discipline, for investigation,
report and recommendation.4

ISSUE: Whether or not Atty. Rinen should be removed from being a notary
public.
HELD: YES.
Faithful observance and utmost respect of the legal solemnity of the oath in
an acknowledgment or jurat is sacrosanct."13 "The notarization of a document
carries considerable legal effect. Notarization of a private document converts
such document into a public one, and renders it admissible in court without
further proof of its authenticity. Thus, notarization is not an empty routine; to
the contrary, it engages public interest in a substantial degree.

Wilberto claimed that his mother Aurora died on May 7, 1987, leaving behind
as heirs her spouse, Celedonio Talisic, and their three children, namely:
Arlene Talisic Villarazo, Wilberto and Alvin Corpuz Talisic. It was only after his
fathers death on November 2, 2000 that Wilberto and his siblings knew of the
transfer of the subject parcel via the subject deed. While Wilberto believed
that his fathers signature on the deed was authentic, his and his siblings
supposed signatures were merely forged. Wilberto also pointed out that even
his name was erroneously indicated in the deed as "Wilfredo".

In the present case, Atty. Rinen did not deny his failure to personally verify
the identity of all parties who purportedly signed the subject document and
whom, as he claimed, appeared before him on April 7, 1994. Such failure was
further shown by the fact that the pertinent details of the community tax
certificates of Wilberto and his sister, as proof of their identity, remained
unspecified in the subject deeds acknowledgment portion. Clearly, there was
a failure on the part of Atty. Rinen to exercise the due diligence that was
required of him as a notary public ex-officio. The lapses he committed in
relation to such function then justified the recommendations presented by the
IBP.

Respondent denied the charge against him and explained that it was only
on April 7, 1994 that he came to know of the transaction between the Spouses
Durante and the Talisics, when they approached him in his office as the then
Presiding Judge of the MunicipalTrial Court, Real, Quezon, to have the
subject deed prepared and notarized. His clerk of court prepared the deed
and upon its completion, ushered the parties to his office for the administration
of oath.6 The deed contained his certification that at the time of the
documents execution, "no notary public was available to expedite the

1ST SEMESTER SY. 2015-2016 ATTY. VICTORIA LOANZON

WHEREFORE, as recommended by the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, the


Court REVOKES the notarial commission which Atty. Primo R. Rinen may
presently have, and DISQUALIFIES him from being commissioned as a
notary public for one year, effective immediately. He is WARNED that a
repetition of the same or similar act in the future shall merit a more severe

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sanction. He is DIRECTED to report to this Court the date of his receipt of this
Resolution to enable it to determine when the revocation of his notarial
commission and his disqualification from being commissioned as notary
public shall take effect.

Aggrieved, Salita filed a criminal case for falsification of public documents


against Rodriguez and Atty. Salve. Salita likewise filed the instant
administrative case against Atty. Salve.
Respondents Contention:

MELANIO S. SALITA., vs. ATTY. REYNALDO SALVE


A.C. No. 8101 February 4, 2015

In his defense, Atty. Salve vehemently denied that he falsified the Deed of
Absolute Sale. He averred that the said document was regular on its face
except the month of sale, i.e., August 12, 2007 instead of September 12,
2007, which is a mere clerical error due to sheer inadvertence on the part of
his secretary. Atty. Salve claimed that the date stamp accidentally slid to
August instead of September as it was also being used by three (3) other
office clerks and two (2) lawyers for other office documents. Atty. Salve
further narrated that both Salita and Rodriguez went to him and brought the
PN and other loan documents executed by Salita himself. He also clarified
that the PN was notarized in their presence on December 12, 2002 and both
got a copy right after. Atty. Salve then inferred that it was Salita who erased
the PNs machine printed numbers using his own handwriting and thereafter
photocopied it to make it appear that the document was not among the notarial
documents he submitted to the Office of the Clerk of Court of Tagum Cityfor
the year 2002. Finally, Atty. Salve averred that the certified electronic copies
of the PN in the Office of the Clerk of Court of Tagum City and the ones in his
law office are identical and the same, while Salitas alleged falsified photocopy
is totally different.

FACTS: Complainant Melanio S. Salita (Salita) filed a complaint against


respondent Atty. Reynaldo T. Salve (Atty. Salve) in connection with the
lattersalleged falsification of public documents.
On November 15, 2006, Salita paid his loan in full as evidenced by a Release
of Real Estate Mortgage executed by Rodriguez before Notary Public
Buenaventura Melendres, which was later duly entered in the Register of
Deeds of Davao Del Norte.
Notwithstanding such full payment, Rodriguez, on September 17, 2007,
instituted an ejectment complaint against Salita in furtherance of his cause
the pre-formed Deed of Absolute Sale and the two (2) REM instruments
signed by the latter.
Upon checking the said documents, Salita discovered that the Deed of
Absolute Sale had already been notarized by Atty. Salve and his Community
Tax Certificate Numbers were allegedly falsified.

IBP Report and Recommendation:

Petitioners Contention:

It dismissed Salitas complaint for lack of merit. He found that Salita was not
able to obtain the required quantum of proof to hold Atty. Salve
administratively liable, especially considering that Salitas criminal complaint
was dismissed for lack of probable cause.
The IBP Board of Governors adopted and approved the IBP Investigating
Commissioners Report and Recommendation dismissing the case for lack of
merit. However, upon reconsideration, the IBP Board of Governors issued a
Resolution dated March 8, 2014 setting aside its December 29, 2012
Resolution and recommended the suspension of Atty. Salves notarial

Salita noticed that one copy of the Deed of Sale was purportedly notarized on
August 12, 2007, while another was notarized a month later, or on September
12, 2007. Thus, Salita went on to conclude that because of the foregoing
events, it appeared as if he had sold the subject property to Rodriguez and
executed the same before Atty. Salve.

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commission for a period of three (3) months. It, however, failed to state the
reasons for imposing the suspension.

voluntariness of execution of the instrument; and (e) they acknowledged


personally before him that they voluntarily and freely executed the same.

ISSUE: Whether or not Atty. Salve should be held administratively liable?

Respondent Atty. Reynaldo T. Salve was found GUILTY of gross negligence


in his conduct as a notary public. His notarial commission, if still existing, was
REVOKED and he was DISQUALIFIED from being commissioned as a notary
public for a period of two (2) years.

HELD: Yes, Atty. Salves act of certifying under oath an irregular Deed of
Absolute Sale without requiring the personal appearance of the persons
executing the same constitutes gross negligence in the performance of duty
as a notary public.

JIMMY ANUDON AND JUANITA ANUDON v. ATTY. ARTURO B. CEFRA.


A.C. No. 5482. February 10, 2015

A notary public should not notarize a document unless the persons who
signed the same are the very same persons who executed and personally
appeared before him to attest to the contents and the truth of what are stated
therein. These acts of the affiants cannot be delegated because what are
stated therein are facts they have personal knowledge of and are personally
sworn to. Otherwise, their representatives names should appear in the said
documents as the ones who executed the same.

FACTS: Complainants Jimmy Anudon and Juanita Anudon are brother- and
sister-in-law. Complainants and Jimmys brothers and sister co-own a 4,446square-meter parcel of land located in Sison, Pangasinan Respondent Atty.
Arturo B. Cefra is a distant relative of Jimmy and Juanita. He was admitted
to the bar in 1996. He practices law and provides services as notary public in
the Municipality of Sison, Pangasinan. Atty. Cefra notarized a Deed of
Absolute Sale over a land owned by the petitioners. The names of petitioners
appeared as vendors, while the name of Celino Paran, Jr. appeared as the
vendee. Jimmy and Juanita claimed that the Deed of Absolute Sale was
falsified. They alleged that they did not sign the Deed of Absolute
Sale. Moreover, they did not sign it before Atty. Cefra. The National Bureau
of Investigations Questioned Documents Division certified that Jimmy and
Juanitas signatures were forged. This is contrary to Atty. Cefras
acknowledgment over the document. Moreover, it was physically impossible
for Jimmys brothers and sister to have signed the document because they
were somewhere else at that time. Due to the forgery of the Deed of Absolute
Sale, the Assistant Provincial Prosecutor, with Jimmy and Juanita as
witnesses, filed a case of falsification of public document against Atty. Cefra
and Paran.

To recount, records reveal that Rodriguez used, among others, the Deed of
Absolute Sale notarized by Atty. Salve to file an ejectment complaint against
Salita. However, it must be remembered that Salita was merely made to sign
such document as collateral for his loan and that he had already fully paid the
same, as evidenced by the notarized Release of Real Estate Mortgage
executed by Rodriguez herself. Considering the circumstances, it is simply
unfathomable for Salita to appear before Atty. Salve to have the said
document notarized, as it will be detrimental to his own interests. Hence, the
Court finds that Atty. Salve notarized the pre-formed Deed of Absolute Sale
without Salitas presence before him.
The function of a notary public is, among others, to guard against any illegal
or immoral arrangements. By affixing his notarial seal on the instrument, he
converted the Deed of Absolute Sale, from a private document into a public
document. In doing so, Atty. Salve,as borne from the records of this case,
effectively proclaimed to the world that: (a) all the parties therein personally
appeared before him; (b) they are all personally known to him; (c) they were
the same persons who executed the instruments; (d) he inquired into the

1ST SEMESTER SY. 2015-2016 ATTY. VICTORIA LOANZON

Defendant Defense:
In his defense, Atty. Cefra stated that Jimmy and Juanita were aware of the
sale of the property and that Juanita and Jimmys wife Helen Anudon went to
his residence to consult him on how they could sell the land. Atty. Cefra

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claimed that he assisted in the preparation of the documents for the sale,
which included the deed of sale and the acknowledgment receipts for
payment. Parans relatives, , brought the Deed of Absolute Sale to the
residences of Jimmy, Juanita, and Johnnys son, Loejan Anudon to have the
document signed. Parans relatives informed Atty. Cefra that they witnessed
Jimmy, Juanita, and Loejan sign the document. Loejan affixed the signatures
for his father, Johnny, and his uncle and aunt, Alfonso and Benita. Atty. Cefra
admitted knowing that Loejan affixed the signatures of Johnny, Alfonso, and
Benita with the full knowledge and permission of the three. He allowed this
on the basis of his belief that this was justified since Loejan needed the
proceeds of the sale for the amputation of his mothers leg.

(b) is attested to be personally known to the notary public or identified by the


notary public through competent evidence of identity as defined by these
Rules; and
(c) represents to the notary public that the signature on the instrument or
document was voluntarily affixed by him for the purposes stated in the
instrument or document, declares that he has executed the instrument or
document as his free and voluntary act and deed, and, if he acts in a particular
representative capacity, that he has the authority to sign in that capacity.
Rule IV, Section 2(b) states further:
SEC. 2. Prohibitions. . . .
(b) A person shall not perform a notarial act if the person involved as signatory
to the instrument or document
(1) is not in the notarys presence personally at the time of the notarization;
and
(2) is not personally known to the notary public or otherwise identified by the
notary public through competent evidence of identity as defined by these
Rules.

ISSUE: Is Atty. Cefra guilty of violating the Notarial Law and Canon 1 of Code
of Professional Responsibility?
HELD:
The IBPs finding:
Respondent violated the Notarial Law and Canon 1. That his notarial
commission be revoked, his notarial practice suspended for 2 years and that
he be suspended from practice of law for 1 year.

Notarization is the act that ensures the public that the provisions in the
document express the true agreement between the parties. Transgressing
the rules on notarial practice sacrifices the integrity of notarized documents. It
is the notary public who assures that the parties appearing in the document
are the same parties who executed it. This cannot be achieved if the parties
are not physically present before the notary public acknowledging the
document.

The SC agreed and adopted the findings of fact of the Investigating


Commissioner. Respondent Atty. Arturo B. Cefra violated the Notarial Law
and the Code of Professional Responsibility in notarizing a document without
requiring the presence of the affiants.
The 2004 Rules on Notarial Practice reiterates that acknowledgments require
the affiant to appear in person before the notary public. Rule II, Section 1
states:

Aside from Atty. Cefras violation of his duty as a notary public, Atty. Cefra is
also guilty of violating Canon 1 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility. This canon requires a lawyer to uphold the Constitution, obey
the laws of the land and promote respect for law and legal processes. He
contumaciously delayed compliance with this courts order to file a
Comment. As early as September 19, 2001, this court already required Atty.
Cefra to comment on the Complaint lodged against him. Atty. Cefra did not
comply with this order until he was arrested by the National Bureau of
Investigation. Atty. Cefra only filed his Comment on January 15, 2008, more

SECTION 1. Acknowledgment.Acknowledgment refers to an act in which


an individual on a single occasion:
(a) appears in person before the notary public and presents and integrally
complete instrument or document;

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than seven years after this courts order. Atty. Cefras actions show utter
disrespect for legal processes.

not actually his but the residence certificate number of Florentina. Atty.
Examen also falsely acknowledged that the two witnesses personally
appeared before him when they did not. Lastly, it is alleged that despite
knowing the infirmities of these documents, Atty. Examen introduced these
documents into evidence violating his oath as a lawyer and the CPR.

The Court SUSPENDED him from the PRACTICE OF LAW for TWO
YEARS, REVOKED his incumbent NOTARIAL COMMISSION ,
and PERPETUALLY DISQUALIFIED him from being COMMISSIONED as a
NOTARY PUBLIC. Respondent was also sternly warned that more severe
penalties will be imposed for any further breach of the Canons in the Code of
Professional Responsibility.

Defendant:
In his defense, Atty. Examen pointed out that there was no longer any
prohibition under the Revised Administrative Code for a notary public to
notarize a document where one of the parties is related to him by
consanguinity and affinity. With regard to the use of Florentinas residence
certificate as Ramons, Atty. Examen said that he was in good faith and that
it was office practice that the secretary type details without him personally
examining the output. In any event, he reasoned that the use of anothers
residence certificate is not a ground for disbarment and is barred by
prescription

HEIRS OF PEDRO ALILANO REPRESENTED BY DAVID ALILANO v.


ATTY. ROBERTO E. EXAMEN
A.C. No. 10132, March 24, 2015
FACTS:
Petitioner:
Complainants were the holder of Original Certificate of Title of a land located
in Sultan Kudarat. It appears that on March 31, 1984 and September 12, 1984
Absolute Deeds of Sale were executed by the Spouses Alilano in favor of
Ramon Examen and his wife, Edna. Both documents were notarized by
respondent Atty. Roberto Examen, brother of the vendee. Sometime in
September 1984, Spouses Examen obtained possession of the property.

IBP:
On MR, the IBP imposed a penalty of suspension from the practice of law for
a period of one year and disqualification from re-appointment as Notary Public
for a period of two years.
ISSUE: W/N atty. Examen violated the notarial code.
HELD: Yes.

On January 12, 2002, the heirs of Alilano filed a suit for recovery of possession
before the Regional Trial Court of Sultan Kudarat against Edna Examen and
Atty. Roberto Examen. It was during this proceeding that Atty. Examen
introduced into evidence the March 31, 1984 and September 12, 1984
Absolute Deeds of Sale.

At the time of notarization, the prevailing law governing notarization was


Sections 231-259, Chapter 11 of the Revised Administrative Code and there
was no prohibition on a notary public from notarizing a document when one
of the interested parties is related to the notary public within the fourth civil
degree of consanguinity or second degree of affinity.

Complainant stated that Atty. Examen allegedly violated the notarial law when
he notarized the absolute deeds of sale since a notary public is prohibited
from notarizing a document when one of the parties is a relative by
consanguinity within the fourth civil degree or affinity within the second civil
degree. It is also alleged that Atty. Examen notarized the documents knowing
that the cedula or residence certificate number used by Ramon Examen was

1ST SEMESTER SY. 2015-2016 ATTY. VICTORIA LOANZON

In this case, the heirs of Alilano stated that Atty. Examen was prohibited to
notarize the absolute deeds of sale since he was related by consanguinity
within the fourth civil degree with the vendee, Ramon. The prohibition might
have still applied had the applicable rule been the Spanish Notarial Law.

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However, following the Courts ruling in Kapunan, the law in force at the time
of signing was the Revised Administrative Code, thus, the prohibition was
removed. Atty. Examen was not incompetent to notarize the document even
if one of the parties to the deed was a relative, his brother.

for a disbarment proceeding. We disagree. In violating the provisions of the


Notarial Law, Atty. Examen also transgressed the his oath as a lawyer,
provisions of the CPR and Section 27, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court
By his negligent act of not checking the work of his secretary and merely
perfunctorily notarizing documents, it cannot be said that he upheld legal
processes thus violating Canon 1 of the CPR. Neither can it be said that he
promoted confidence in the legal system. If anything, his acts serve to
undermine the functions of a diligent lawyer. He thus ran afoul Rule 1.02 of
the CPR. We cannot stress enough that as a lawyer, respondent is expected
at all times to uphold the integrity and dignity of the legal profession and refrain
from any act or omission which might lessen the trust and confidence reposed
by the public in the integrity of the legal profession. A lawyers mandate
includes thoroughly going over documents presented to them typed or
transcribed by their secretaries.

As a lawyer commissioned as a notary public, respondent is mandated to


discharge with fidelity the sacred duties appertaining to his office, such duties
being dictated by public policy and impressed with public interest. Faithful
observance and utmost respect for the legal solemnity of an oath in an
acknowledgment are sacrosanct. He cannot simply disregard the
requirements and solemnities of the Notarial Law.
Here, based on the submission of the complainants, it is clear that the
residence certificate number used by Ramon Examen and as notarized by
Atty. Examen in both Absolute Deeds of Sale was not in fact the residence
certificate of Ramon but Florentinas residence certificate number. Atty.
Examen interposes that he was in good faith in that it was office practice to
have his secretary type up the details of the documents and requirements
without
him
checking
the
correctness
of
same.

WHEREFORE,
respondent
Atty.
Roberto
E.
Examen
is
hereby SUSPENDED from the practice of law for TWO (2) YEARS. In
addition, his present notarial commission, if any, is hereby REVOKED, and he
is DISQUALIFIED from reappointment as a notary public for a period of two
(2) years from finality of this Decision. He is further WARNED that any similar
act or infraction in the future shall be dealt with more severely

A notary public must discharge his powers and duties, which are impressed
with public interest, with accuracy and fidelity. Good faith cannot be a
mitigating circumstance in situations since the duty to function as a notary
public is personal. The Court note that the error could have been prevented
had Atty. Examen diligently performed his functions: personally checked the
correctness of the documents. To say that it was his secretarys fault reflects
disregard and unfitness to discharge the functions of a notary public for it is
he who personally acknowledges the document. He was behooved under
Section 251, Chapter 11 of the Revised Administrative Code to check if the
proper cedulas were presented and inspect if the documents to be
acknowledged by him reflected the correct details. This Court cannot stress
enough that notarization is not a routinary act. It is imbued with substantive
public interest owing to the public character of his duties.

ADRIANO E. DACANAY v. BAKER & MCKENZIE


ADM. CASE NO. 2131, May 10, 1985
FACTS: Respondent Vicente A. Torres, using the letterhead of Baker &
McKenzie, which contains the names of the ten lawyers, asked Rosie Clurman
for the release of 87 shares of Cathay Products International, Inc. to H.E.
Gabriel, a client
Dacanay, in his reply dated December 7, 1979, denied any liability of Clurman
to Gabriel. He requested that he be informed whether the lawyer of Gabriel is
Baker & McKenzie "and if not, what is your purpose in using the letterhead of
another law office." Not having received any reply, he filed the instant
complaint.

Atty. Examen posits that the failure of a notary to make the proper notation
of cedulas can only be a ground for disqualification and not the proper subject

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RESPONDENT:

In 1980, Dacanay filed a verified complaint, sought to enjoin Juan G. Collas,


Jr. and nine other lawyers from practicing law under the name of Baker &
McKenzie, a law firm organized in Illinois.

Respondent countered that his membership in the PLEB of Quezon City,


representing the NGO, was without fixed compensation. As regards his
designation as a member of the Lupong Tagapamayapa, the same is
authorized under Section 406 of the Local Government Code of 1991; and his
monthly allowance/honorarium is allowed under Section 393.mWhile he
received allowances, honoraria and other emoluments as member of the
PLEB and of the Lupong Tagapamayapa, even as he is in the government
service, the same is authorized by law. Hence, there was no double
compensation. He admitted having appeared as private counsel in several
cases. However, his clients were his relatives and friends, among them were
complainants father and brother Ricardo. He emphasized that his services
were pro bono.

ISSUE: W/N Baker and McKenzie can practice law in the Philippines
HELD: No.
The Court held that Baker & McKenzie, being an alien law firm, cannot
practice law in the Philippines. Respondents' use of the firm name Baker &
McKenzie constitutes a representation that being associated with the firm they
could "render legal services of the highest quality to multinational business
enterprises and others engaged in foreign trade and investment" This is
unethical because Baker & McKenzie is not authorized to practice law in the
country.

IBP:

WHEREFORE, the respondents are enjoined from practicing law under the
firm name Baker & McKenzie.

found that respondents appointment as a member of the Lupong


Tagapamayapa while concurrently employed as a legal officer of the Manila
Urban Settlements Office is not unlawful. Such appointment is in accordance
with the Local Government Code of 1991. Nor could respondent be found
liable for receiving honoraria as a Lupon member, since the Local
Government Code of 1991 authorizes Lupon members to receive honoraria,
allowances, and other emoluments. With respect to respondents appointment
as PLEB member, IBP Commissioner Aguila stated that the same is not an
exception to the prohibition against dual appointments or employment of
government officials or employees. IBP Commissioner Aguila found that
respondents court appearances as counsel for litigants do not constitute
private practice of law since complainant failed to show that he received
compensation.

FRANCISCO LORENZANA vs. ATTY. CESAR G. FAJARDO


A.C. No. 5712. June 29, 2005
FACTS: Francisco Lorenzana, complainant, charges respondent Atty. Cesar
G. Fajardo with violation of the Civil Service Law and Canon 6 of the Code of
Professional Responsibility and seeks his disbarment from the practice of the
law profession.
Complainant alleged that respondent, while employed as Legal Officer V at
the Urban Settlement Office in Manila, until his retirement, was a member of
the Peoples Law Enforcement Board (PLEB). He was also a member of the
Lupong Tagapamayapa.

However, respondent should still be held liable for violation of Civil Service
Rules and Regulations since he failed to show that he was permitted by his
Office to appear as counsel for his clients.

Complainant also alleged that respondent was engaged in the private practice
of law. He lives in a house and lot owned by complainants family without
paying any rental and refuses to leave the place despite the latters demands.

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ISSUE: Whether or not the respondent violated the civil service law and be
administratively liable.
HELD: For accepting employment as a member of the PLEB of Quezon City
while concurrently employed as Legal Officer V of the Manila Urban
Settlement Office, in violation of the Constitution and the statutes, which in
turn contravene his Attorneys Oath and Code of Professional Responsibility;
and by engaging in the illegal practice of law, Atty. Cesar G. Fajardo is hereby
SUSPENDED from the practice of law for a period of six (6) months.

We now determine whether respondent engaged in the practice of law while


employed as Legal Officer V in the Manila Urban Settlement Office. Private
practice of law contemplates a succession of acts of the same nature
habitually or customarily holding ones self to the public as a lawyer. Practice
is more than an isolated appearance for it consists in frequent or customary
action a succession of acts of the same kind. The practice of law by attorneys
employed in the government, to fall within the prohibition of statutes has been
interpreted as customarily habitually holding ones self out to the public, as a
lawyer and demanding payment for such services.

The prohibition against government officials and employees, whether elected


or appointed, from concurrently holding any other office or position in the
government is contained in Section 7, Article IX-B of the Constitution. Unless
otherwise allowed by law or by the primary functions of his position, no
appointive official shall hold any other office or employment in the
Government, or any subdivision, agency or instrumentality thereof, including
government-owned or controlled corporations or their subsidiaries.

In the case at bar, respondents appearance as counsel is not merely isolated.


Evidence presented by complainant shows that he had an extensive practice
of law. While employed as a Legal Officer in the Urban Resettlement Office of
Manila, he maintained a law office. The pleadings he signed as counsel for
his clients filed with the courts indicate his office address as Room 201 7 JA
Building, 244 Gen. Luis St., Novaliches, Quezon City. Following is the letter
head appearing on the letters and envelopes[9] sent to his clients

It is clear that this provision pertains only to the compensation of PLEB


members. It cannot be construed as an exception to the Constitutional and
statutory prohibition against dual or multiple appointments of appointive public
employees.

Respondent cannot justify his practice of law by claiming that his office (the
Manila Urban Resettlement) is not really strict when it comes to appearing in
some private cases as they (employees) were sometimes called to render
service even on holidays without additional compensation. At most, he should
have asked written permission from his chief as required by Section 12, Rule
XVIII of the Revised Civil Service Rules that (n)o officer or employee shall
engage directly in any private business, vocation or profession or be
connected with any commercial, credit, agricultural or industrial undertaking
without a written permission from the head of the Department.

Respondent also failed to establish that his primary functions as Legal Officer
of the Manila Urban Settlements Office allow his appointment as PLEB
member, an exception to dual appointment prohibited by the Constitution and
the statutes. Indeed, respondent, in accepting such appointment, has
transgressed the Constitution, the Administrative Code of 1987, and the Local
Government Code of 1991. Being contra leges, respondent also violated the
Code of Professional Responsibility and the Attorneys Oath.

PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES., vs.


HON. JUANITO C. CASTAEDA, JR., et.al
G.R. No. 28290 December 11, 2013

On respondents appointment as a member of the Lupong Tagapamayapa


while serving as Legal Officer V of the Manila Urban Settlements Office, we
agree with the IBP Investigating Commissioner that the same is in order, being
allowed by law.

1ST SEMESTER SY. 2015-2016 ATTY. VICTORIA LOANZON

FACTS: Private respondents Myrna M. Garcia (Garcia) and Custodio


Mendoza Vestidas, Jr.(VestidasJr.)were charged before the CTA for violation
of Section 3602 in relation to Sections 2503 and 2530 (f) (i) and 1, (3) (4) and
(5) of the Tariff and Customs Code of the Philippines, as amended.

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According to the CTA, "no proof whatsoever was presented by the


prosecution showing that the certified true copies of the public documents
offered in evidence against both accused were in fact issued by the legal
custodians." It cited Section 26, Rule 132 of the Revised Rules of Court, which
provides that "when the original of a document is a public record, it should not
generally be removed from the office or place in which it is kept." As stated in
Section 7, Rule 130, its contents may be proven using secondary evidence
and such evidence may pertain to the certified true copy of the original
document issued by the public officer in custody thereof. Hence, the CTA
wrote that the certified true copies of the public documents offered in evidence
should have been presented in court.

Myrna M. Garcia and Custodio Mendoza Vestidas, Jr. as owner/proprietress


and broker of Plinth Enterprise was charged of conspiring and confederating
with each other, with intent to defraud the government, and willfully, unlawfully
and fraudulently importing into the Port of Manila, 858 cartons of 17,160
pieces of Anti-Virus Software Kaspersky Internet Security Premium 2012,
subject to customs duties, by misdeclaration, filed with the Bureau of Customs
(BOC),covering One Forty Footer (1x40) container van shipment which was
falsely declared to contain 40 pallets/1,690 cartons of CD kit cleaner and
plastic CD case.
In a hearing held on August 1, 2012, Garcia and Vestidas Jr .pleaded "Not
Guilty" to the charge.

Anent its offer of private documents, the prosecution likewise failed to comply
with Section 27, Rule 132 of the Rules of Court, which reads, "[a]n authorized
public record of a private document may be proved by the original record, or
by a copy thereof, attested by the legal custodian of the record, with an
appropriate certificate that such officer has the custody." Considering that the
private documents were submitted and filed with the BOC, the same became
part of public records. Again, the records show that the prosecution failed to
present the certified true copies of the documents.

Subsequent to the presentation of witnesses, the prosecution filed its Formal


Offer of Evidence.
Garcia and Vestidas, Jr. filed their Omnibus Motion to File Demurrer to
Evidence with Leave of Court to Cancel Hearing Scheduled on January 21,
2013,which was granted by the CTA. Thereafter, they filed the Demurrer to
Evidence, claiming that the prosecution failed to prove their guilt beyond
reasonable doubt for the following reasons:

The CTA noted that, in its Opposition to the Demurrer, the prosecution even
admitted that none of their witnesses ever positively identified the accused in
open court and that the alleged misdeclared goods were not competently and
properly identified in court by any of the prosecution witnesses.

a)The pieces of documentary evidence submitted by the prosecution were


inadmissible in court;
b)The object evidence consisting of the allegedly misdeclared goods were not
presented as evidence; and

The prosecution filed its motion for reconsideration, but it was denied by the
CTA, stressing, among others, that to grant it would place the accused in
double jeopardy.

c)None of the witnesses for the prosecution made a positive identification of


the two accused as the ones responsible for the supposed misdeclaration.

On July 24, 2013, the Run After the Smugglers (RATS) Group, Revenue
Collection Monitoring Group (RCMG), as counsel for the BOC, received a
copy of the July 15, 2013 Resolution of the CTA ordering the entry of judgment
in the case.

Despite opposition, the CTA dismissed the case against Garcia and Vestidas
Jr, for failure of the prosecution to establish their guilt beyond reasonable
doubt.

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Hence, this petition for certiorari, ascribing grave abuse of discretion on the
part of the CTA when in ruled that: 1) the pieces of documentary evidence
submitted by the prosecution were inadmissible in evidence; 2) the object
evidence consisting of the alleged misdeclared goods were not presented as
evidence; and 3) the witnesses failed to positively identify the accused as
responsible for the misdeclaration of goods.

The Court deems it proper to remind the lawyers in the Bureau of Customs
that the canons embodied in the Code of Professional Responsibility equally
apply to lawyers in government service in the discharge of their official tasks.
Thus, RATS lawyers should exert every effort and consider it their duty to
assist in the speedy and efficient administration of justice.
IN RE: PETITION OF ATTY. MEDADO TO SIGN ROLL OF ATTORNEYS,
B.M. No. 2540, September 24, 2013

ISSUE: Whether or not there was failure on the part of the prosecution to
present the certified true copies of the documentary evidence as provided
under Section 7, Rule 130 and Section 127, Rule 132 of the Revised Rules of
Court?

FACTS: Medado graduated from the University of the Philippines with the
degree of Bachelor of Laws in 1979and passed the same years bar
examinations.cOn 7 May 1980, he took the Attorneys Oath at the Philippine
International Convention Center (PICC) together with the successful bar
examinees. He was scheduled to sign in the Roll of Attorneys on 13 May
1980, but he failed to do so on his scheduled date, allegedly because he had
misplaced the Notice to Sign the Roll of Attorneys given by the Bar Office
when he went home to his province for a vacation.

HELD: Yes, the Supreme Court agrees with the disposition of the CTA.
The display of patent violations of even the elementary rules leads the Court
to suspect that the case against Garcia and Vestidas Jr. was doomed by
design from the start. The failure to present the certified true copies of
documentary evidence; the failure to competently and properly identify the
misdeclared goods; the failure to identify the accused in court; and,worse, the
failure to file the petition for certiorari on time challenging a judgment of
acquittal, are tell-tale signs of a reluctant and subdued attitude in pursuing the
case. This stance taken by the lawyers in government service rouses the
Courts vigilance against inefficiency in the administration of justice. Verily,
the lawyers representing the offices under the executive branch should be
reminded that they still remain as officers of the court from whom a high sense
of competence and fervor is expected. The Court will not close its eyes to this
sense of apathy in RATS lawyers, lest the governments goal of revenue
enhancement continues to suffer the blows of smuggling and similar activities.

Several years later, while rummaging through his old college files, Medado
found the Notice to Sign the Roll of Attorneys. It was then that he realized that
he had not signed in the roll, and that what he had signed at the entrance of
the PICC was probably just an attendance record.
By the time Medado found the notice, he was already working. He stated that
he was mainly doing corporate and taxation work, and that he was not actively
involved in litigation practice. Thus, he operated under the mistaken belief
that since he had already taken the oath, the signing of the Roll of Attorneys
was not as urgent, nor as crucial to his status as a lawyer; and the matter of
signing in the Roll of Attorneys lost its urgency and compulsion, and was
subsequently forgotten.

Even the error committed by the RATS in filing a motion for reconsideration
with the CTA displays gross ignorance as to the effects of an acquittal in a
criminal case and the constitutional proscription on double jeopardy. Had the
RATS been eager and keen in prosecuting the respondents, it would have, in
the first place, presented its evidence with the CTA in strict compliance with
the Rules.

1ST SEMESTER SY. 2015-2016 ATTY. VICTORIA LOANZON

In 2005, when Medado attended Mandatory Continuing Legal Education


(MCLE) seminars, he was required to provide his roll number in order for his
MCLE compliances to be credited. Not having signed in the Roll of Attorneys,
he was unable to provide his roll number.

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About seven years later, or on 6 February 2012, Medado filed the instant
Petition, praying that he be allowed to sign in the Roll of Attorneys.

facie shown that he possesses the character required to be a member of the


Philippine Bar.

ISSUE: WON Atty. Medado may sign in the Roll of Attorneys.

Finally, Medado appears to have been a competent and able legal


practitioner, having held various positions at the Laurel Law Office, Petron,
Petrophil Corporation, the Philippine National Oil Company, and the Energy
Development Corporation.

HELD:
The OBC Decision:
The Office of the Bar Confidant (OBC) conducted a clarificatory conference
on the matter on 21 September 2012 and submitted a Report and
Recommendation to this Court on 4 February 2013. The OBC recommended
that the instant petition be denied for petitioners gross negligence, gross
misconduct and utter lack of merit. It explained that, based on his answers
during the clarificatory conference, petitioner could offer no valid justification
for his negligence in signing in the Roll of Attorneys.

While an honest mistake of fact could be used to excuse a person from the
legal consequences of his acts as it negates malice or evil motive, a mistake
of law cannot be utilized as a lawful justification, because everyone is
presumed to know the law and its consequences. Ignorantia facti excusat;
ignorantia legis neminem excusat. Applying these principles to the case at
bar, Medado may have at first operated under an honest mistake of fact when
he thought that what he had signed at the PICC entrance before the oathtaking was already the Roll of Attorneys. However, the moment he realized
that what he had signed was merely an attendance record, he could no longer
claim an honest mistake of fact as a valid justification. At that point, Medado
should have known that he was not a full-fledged member of the Philippine
Bar because of his failure to sign in the Roll of Attorneys, as it was the act of
signing therein that would have made him so. When, in spite of this
knowledge, he chose to continue practicing law without taking the necessary
steps to complete all the requirements for admission to the Bar, he willfully
engaged in the unauthorized practice of law.

After a judicious review of the records, the SC granted Medados prayer in the
instant petition, subject to the payment of a fine and the imposition of a penalty
equivalent to suspension from the practice of law. At the outset, the Court
noted that not allowing Medado to sign in the Roll of Attorneys would be akin
to imposing upon him the ultimate penalty of disbarment, a penalty that the
Court has reserved for the most serious ethical transgressions of members of
the Bar.
In this case, the records do not show that this action is warranted. For one,
petitioner demonstrated good faith and good moral character when he finally
filed the instant Petition to Sign in the Roll of Attorneys. We note that it was
not a third party who called this Courts attention to petitioners omission;
rather, it was Medado himself who acknowledged his own lapse, albeit after
the passage of more than 30 years.

Under the Rules of Court, the unauthorized practice of law by ones assuming
to be an attorney or officer of the court, and acting as such without authority,
may constitute indirect contempt of court,which is punishable by fine or
imprisonment or both. Such a finding, however, is in the nature of criminal
contempt and must be reached after the filing of charges and the conduct of
hearings. In this case, while it appears quite clearly that petitioner committed
indirect contempt of court by knowingly engaging in unauthorized practice of
law, we refrain from making any finding of liability for indirect contempt, as no
formal charge pertaining thereto has been filed against him. Knowingly
engaging in unauthorized practice of law likewise transgresses Canon 9 of
the Code of Professional Responsibility.

For another, petitioner has not been subject to any action for disqualification
from the practice of law, which is more than what we can say of other
individuals who were successfully admitted as members of the Philippine Bar.
For this Court, this fact demonstrates that petitioner strove to adhere to the
strict requirements of the ethics of the profession, and that he has prima

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the Quezon City Prosecutor's Office were under reinvestigation since she' did
not have the opportunity to answer the criminal complaint.

TERESITA B. ENRIQUEZ v. ATTY. TRINA DE VERA.


A.C. No. 8339, March 16, 2015

Moreover, "nowhere in both the affidavit-complaint for Estafa/BP 22 and the


administrative complaint was there any proof that . . . [Atty. De Vera] had in
any manner breached her oath as a lawyer [or] abused her position against
the interests of the complainant. Atty. De Vera alleges that she was the one
who was abused.

FACTS: An administrative complaint for disbarment or suspension filed by


complainant Teresita B. Enriquez against Atty. Trina De Vera. Teresita B.
Enriquez (Teresita) filed her Complaint-Affidavit1 on June 26, 2009 before this
court. The Complaint prayed for Atty. Trina De Vera's (Atty. De Vera)
disbarment or suspension in relation to the latter's issuance of worthless
checks and non-payment of a loan. According to Teresita, she is a
businesswoman involved in building cell site towers. She is acquainted with
Atty. De Vera through the business by subcontracting the cell site acquisition
to Atty. De Vera. The latter borrowed money from Teresita and issued
postdated checks in favor of Teresita.

The case was referred to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines for
"investigation, report and recommendation or decision within ninety (90) days
from receipt of [the] records[.]"The Investigating Commissioner of the
Commission on Bar Discipline of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines found
Atty. De Vera administratively liable for serious misconduct and
recommended the penalty of suspension for one (1) year from the practice of
law.

Upon maturity of the checks, Teresita presented the checks for payment.
However, the checks "bounced" for being drawn against insufficient funds.
Teresita attempted to encash the checks for a second time. However, the
checks were dishonored because the account was closed.

ISSUE: Whether Atty. De Vera committed serious misconduct and should be


held administratively liable for the issuance and dishonor of worthless checks
in violation of the Lawyer's Oath and the Code of Professional Responsibility.

Teresita demanded payment from Atty. De Vera. However, she failed to settle
her obligations, prompting Teresita to file complaints against Atty. De Vera for
violation of Batas Pambansa Blg. 22 and estafa under Article 315, paragraph
2(d) of the Revised Penal Code. The Quezon City Prosecutor's Office issued
the Resolution dated March 4, 2008 finding probable cause for violation of
Batas Pambansa Blg. 22 and Article 315, paragraph 2(d) of the Revised Penal
Code. On the same day, an Information for estafa under Article 315,
paragraph 2(d) of the Revised Penal Code was filed before the Regional Trial
Court of Quezon City. Subsequently, a warrant of arrest was issued by the
trial court.

HELD: After considering the parties' arguments and the records of this case,
we resolve to adopt and approve the recommendations of the Integrated Bar
of the Philippines Board of Governors.
Misconduct involves "wrongful intention and not a mere error of
judgment";47 it is serious or gross when it is flagrant.
A lawyer is required to observe the law and be mindful of his or her
actions whether acting in a public or private capacity.50 The Code of
Professional Responsibility provides:
CANON 1 -A LAWYER SHALL UPHOLD THE CONSTITUTION, OBEY THE
LAWS OF THE LAND AND PROMOTE RESPECT FOR LAW
AND LEGAL PROCESSES.
Rule 1.01 - A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or
deceitful conduct.

Respondent:
Atty. De Vera presented her version of the facts. She claims that the present
administrative case is baseless. She points out that the proceedings before

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....

IN THE MATTER OF BREWING CONTROVERSIES IN THE IBP


ELECTIONS (A.M. No. 09-5-2-SC, A.C. No. 8292, April 2013)

CANON 7 -A LAWYER SHALL AT ALL TIMES UPHOLD THE INTEGRITYAND DIGNITY OF THE LEGAL PROFESSION AND SUPPORT
THE ACTIVITIES OF THE INTEGRATED BAR.
....

The Court, exercising its power of supervision over the Integrated Bar of the
Philippines (IBP), resolves this matter of the election of the Executive VicePresident (EVP) of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) for the 20112013 term.

Rule 7.03 - A lawyer shall not engage in conduct that adversely reflects on his
fitness to practice law, nor shall he, whether in public or private
life, behave in a scandalous manner to the discredit of the legal
profession.

This administrative matter was triggered by the Petition for Intervention filed
by petitioner-intervenor IBP-Southern Luzon Region (IBP-Southern Luzon),
seeking a declaration that the post of EVP-IBP for the 2011-2013 term be held
open to all regions and that it is qualified to field a candidate for the said
position.

The Investigating Commissioner correctly pointed out that Atty. De Vera's


allegation of "lending" her checks to Teresita is contrary to ordinary human
experience. As a lawyer, Atty. De Vera is presumed to know the
consequences of her acts. She issued several post-dated checks for value
that
were
dishonored
upon
presentation
for
payment.

FACTS:
In 1973, the Philippine Bar was integrated1 to elevate the standards of the
legal profession, to improve the administration of justice and to enable it to
discharge its public responsibility more effectively.2 Governing the IBP was
the IBP Board of Governors (IBP-BOG), consisting of the governors from each
of the nine (9) geographic regions of the archipelago,3 namely: Northern
Luzon, Central Luzon, Southern Luzon, Greater Manila, Bicolandia, Eastern
Visayas, Western Visayas, Eastern Mindanao, and Western Mindanao.4 The
governors of the IBP-BOG are, in turn, elected by the House of Delegates
which consists of members duly apportioned among the chapters of each
region.5

Membership in the bar requires a high degree of fidelity to the laws whether
in a private or professional capacity. "Any transgression of this duty on his
part would not only diminish his reputation as a lawyer but would also erode
the public's faith in the Legal Profession as a whole."56 A lawyer "may be
removed or otherwise disciplined 'not only for malpractice and dishonesty in
his profession, but also for gross misconduct not connected with his
professional duties, which showed him to be unfit for the office and unworthy
of the privileges which his license and the law confer to him.'"
WHEREFORE, respondent Atty. Trina De Vera is SUSPENDED from the
practice of law for one (1) year. Let a copy of this Resolution be entered in
Atty. De Vera's personal record with the Office of the Bar Confidant, and a
copy be served to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines and the Office of the
Court Administrator for circulation to all the courts in the land.

1ST SEMESTER SY. 2015-2016 ATTY. VICTORIA LOANZON

At the helm of the IBP is the IBP National President (IBP-President),6 who is
automatically succeeded by the EVP. When the Philippine Bar was first
integrated, both the IBP-President and the EVP were elected by the IBP-BOG
from among themselves or from other members of the Integrated Bar,7 with
the right of automatic succession by the EVP to the presidency for the next
succeeding full term. The presidency rotated among all the nine regions in
such order as the IBP-BOG had prescribed.8 Both the IBP-President and the

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EVP held a term of one (1) year, with the presidency rotating from year to year
among the regions.9

respective regions. There shall also be a Secretary and Treasurer of the


Board of Governors to be appointed by the President with the consent of the
Board. (As amended pursuant to Bar Matter No. 491)

On November 1, 1974, the IBP By-Laws took effect, providing that the IBPPresident and the EVP be chosen by the Board of Governors from among
nine (9) regional governors, as much as practicable, on a rotation basis.10 It
was also provided that the IBP-President and the EVP hold office for a term
of two (2) years from July 1 following their election until June 30 of their second
year in office and until their successors shall have been duly chosen and
qualified.11

The Executive Vice President shall automatically become President for the
next succeeding term. The Presidency shall rotate among the nine Regions.
On January 27, 1999, in Velez v. de Vera,18 reasoning that the rotation
system applied only to the EVP, the Court considered the election of then EVP
Leonard De Vera (De Vera), representing the Eastern Mindanao region,
asone completing the first rotational cycle and affirmed the election of
Jose Vicente B. Salazar (Salazar) of the Bicolandia region as EVP. The Court
explained that the rotational cycle would have been completed with the
succession of EVP De Vera, representing Eastern Mindanao as IBPPresident. For having misappropriated his clients funds and committing acts
inimical to the IBP-BOG and the IBP in general, De Vera was removed as
governor of Eastern Mindanao and as EVP, and his removal was affirmed by
the Court.

. In Bar Matter No. 287, dated July 9, 1985, the Court approved the
recommendation allowing the IBP-President, the EVP and the officers of the
House of Delegates to be directly elected by the House of Delegates.12
Unfortunately, history recalls that this mode of electing the IBP national
officers was marred with unethical politicking, electioneering and other
distasteful practices. Thus, on October 6, 1989, the Court in Bar Matter No.
491, dated October 6, 1989, ordered: 1] the annulment of the just concluded
national elections; 2] the abolition of the system of election of national officers
by direct action of the House of Delegates; 3] the restoration of the former
system of having the IBP-President and the EVP elected by the IBP-BOG
from among themselves, with right of succession by the EVP to the presidency
and subject to the rule that "the position of Executive Vice President of the
IBP shall be rotated among the nine (9) IBP regions;"13 4] the holding of
special elections for the election of the first set of IBP-President and
EVP;14 and 5] the appointment of a caretaker board to administer the affairs
of the IBP pending the holding of special elections.15

Thus, Salazar became IBP-President for the 2005-2007 term with Feliciano
Bautista (Bautista) of Central Luzon as EVP. The term of Salazar was the start
of the second rotational cycle. Bautista eventually succeeded to the IBP
presidency with Atty. Rogelio Vinluan (Vinluan) as his EVP.
In 2009, however, the national and regional IBP elections were again tainted
with numerous controversies, which were resolved by the Court in the
following manner:
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the Court resolves that:

In the same Bar Matter No. 491, the Court ordered the amendment of Section
47, Article VII of the IBP By-laws, to read:

1. The proposed amendments to Sections 31, 33, par. (g), 39,


42, and 43, Article VI and Section 47, Article VII of the IBP ByLaws as contained in the Report and Recommendation of the
Special Committee, dated July 9, 2009, are hereby approved
and adopted; and

SEC. 47. National Officers. - The Integrated Bar of the Philippines shall have
a President and Executive Vice President to be chosen by the Board of
Governors from among nine (9) regional governors, as much as practicable,
on a rotation basis. The governors shall be ex officio Vice President for their

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The Court issued a resolution24 addressing the issues with respect to the
election of governor for IBP-Western Visayas. In clarifying that the rotational
rule was one by exclusion, the Court explained that in the election of governor
of a region, all chapters of the region should be given the opportunity to have
their nominees elected as governor, to the exclusion of those chapters that
had already served in the rotational cycle. Once a rotational cycle would be
completed, all chapters of a region, except the chapter which won in the
immediately preceding elections, could once again have the equal opportunity
to vie for the position of governor of their region. The chapter that won in the
immediately preceding election, under the rotational cycle just completed,
could only vie for the position of governor after the election of the first governor
in the new cycle.

5. The designation of retired SC Justice Santiago Kapunan as


Officer-in-Charge of the IBP shall continue, unless earlier revoked by
the Court, but not to extend beyond June 30, 2011.
Despite Bar Matter No. 491 and Velez,21 which recognized the operational
fact that the rotation was from the position of President to that of the EVP,
Section 47 was not immediately amended to reflect the official position of the
Court. It was only amended through the December 14, 2010
Resolution.22 Section 47 of the IBP By-Laws now reads:

ISSUES:

Sec. 47. National Officers. The Integrated Bar of the Philippines shall have
a President, an Executive Vice President, and nine (9) regional Governors.
The Executive Vice President shall be elected on a strict rotation basis by the
Board of Governors from among themselves, by the vote of at least five (5)
Governors. The Governors shall be ex officio Vice President for their
respective regions. There shall also be a Secretary and Treasurer of the
Board of Governors.
The violation of the rotation rule in any election shall be penalized by
annulment of the election and disqualification of the offender from
election or appointment to any office in the IBP.

HELD:

The Motion for Intervention Should be Allowed and Admitted

In the special elections that were held thereafter, Roan I. Libarios (Libarios),
representing IBP-Eastern Mindanao Region, was elected EVP and he later on
succeeded as president.

There is no dispute that the Constitution has empowered the Supreme Court
to promulgate rules concerning "the integrated bar."41 Pursuant thereto, the
Court wields a continuing power of supervision over the IBP and its affairs like
the elections of its officers. The current controversy has been precipitated by
the petition in intervention of IBP-Southern Luzon, praying that the election of
the EVP for the 2011-2013 term be opened to all and that it be considered as
qualified to field a candidate for the said position.

the IBP-BOG, acting on the letter of then Gov. Erwin M. Fortunato (Fortunato)
of IBP-Western Visayas requested that the Court provide guidance on how it
would proceed with the application of the rotational rule in the regional
elections for governor of IBP-Western Visayas.23

1ST SEMESTER SY. 2015-2016 ATTY. VICTORIA LOANZON

A. Whether the motion for intervention of IBP-Southern Luzon can


be allowed and admitted.
B. Whether the first rotational cycle was completed with the election
of Atty. Leonard De Vera.
C. Whether IBP-Southern Luzon has already served in the current
rotation.
D. Whether the IBP-Western Visayas has already served in the
current rotation.

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In the exercise of its continuing supervisory power, the Court is allowing the
matter to be raised as an issue because it has not yet been squarely settled,
as will be pointed out later on.Moreover, it is not only an exercise of its
constitutional and statutory mandated duty, but also of its symbolic function of
providing guiding principles, precepts and doctrines42 for the purpose of
steering the members of the bench and the bar to the proper path.

In Bar Matter 491, it is clear that it is the position of IBP EVP which is actually
rotated among the nine Regional Governors. The rotation with respect to the
Presidency is merely a result of the automatic succession rule of the IBP EVP
to the Presidency. Thus, the rotation rule pertains in particular to the position
of IBP EVP, while the automatic succession rule pertains to the Presidency.
The rotation with respect to the Presidency is but a consequence of the
automatic succession rule provided in Section 47 of the IBP By-Laws.

It should be noted that this is merely an administrative matter, a bar matter to


be specific, where technical rules are not strictly applied. In fact, in
administrative cases, there is no rule regarding entry of judgment. Where
there is no entry of judgment, finality and immutability do not come into play.
On several occasions, the Court has re-opened administrative cases and
modified its decisions that had long attained finality in the interest of justice.

In the case at bar, the rotation rule was duly complied with since upon the
election of Atty. De Vera as IBP EVP, each of the nine IBP regions had already
produced an EVP and, thus, the rotation was completed. It is only unfortunate
that the supervening event of Atty. de Vera's removal as IBP Governor and
EVP rendered it impossible for him to assume the IBP Presidency. The fact
remains, however, that the rotation rule had been completed despite the nonassumption by Atty. de Vera to the IBP Presidency.

At any rate, granting that technical rules are strictly applied in administrative
matters, the Court can exercise its power and prerogative to suspend its own
rules and to exempt a case from their operation if and when justice requires
it. "The power to suspend or even disregard rules of procedure can be so
pervasive and compelling as to alter even that which this Court itself had
already declared final."46

The notion that the ruling in Velez50 should not be considered at all by the
Court because it is barred by the Omnibus Motion Rule deserves scant
consideration. It may have been earlier overlooked, but the Court is not barred
from motu propio taking judicial notice of such judicial pronouncement,
pursuant to its continuing supervisory powers over the IBP.

The First Rotational Cycle Already Completed

The Second Rotational Cycle

From the above, it is clear that the amendment was effected to underscore
the shift of the rotation from the position of president to that of EVP. The
purpose of the system being to ensure that all the regions will have an equal
opportunity to serve as EVP and then automatically succeed as president.

While there may have been no categorical pronouncement in Velez that the
second rotational cycle started with the election of Salazar as EVP, it cannot
be denied that it was so. With the Velez declaration that the election of De
Vera as EVP completed the first cycle, there can be no other consequence
except that the term of EVP Salazar commenced a new rotational cycle. As
there were only four (4) regions which had served as EVP, there are still five
(5) other regions which have not yet so served. These regions are:

As previously mentioned, in Velez,48 the Court stated that the rotation system
applies to the election of the EVP only and considered the service of then EVP
De Vera, representing the Eastern Mindanao region, as having completed the
first rotational cycle. For said reason, the Court affirmed the election of
Salazar of Bicolandia as EVP. The Court explained that the rotation cycle with
respect to the presidency would have been completed with the succession of
EVP De Vera as IBP-President. The specific words used in Velez49 were:

1ST SEMESTER SY. 2015-2016 ATTY. VICTORIA LOANZON

1. Northern Luzon
2. Greater Manila Area
3. Eastern Visayas
4. Western Visayas

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5. Western Mindanao

Therefore, either the governor of the Western Visayas Region, or the governor
of the Eastern Mindanao Region should be elected as Executive VicePresident for the 2009-2011 term. The one who is not chosen for this term,
shall have his turn in the next (2011-2013) term. Afterwards, another rotation
shall commence with Greater Manila in the lead, followed by Southern Luzon,
Eastern Visayas, Western Mindanao, Northern Luzon, Bicolandia, Central
Luzon, and either Western Visayas or Eastern Mindanao at the end of the
round.54

Needless to state, Western Visayas is not the only region that can vie for EVP
for the 2011-2013 term. This answers the query of Fortunato.
With respect to IBP-Southern Luzon, following the ruling in Velez,51 it is clear
that it already had its turn to serve as EVP in the Second Rotational Cycle.
The Special Committee failed to take into account the Velez ruling

Apparently, the report of the Special Committee failed to take into account the
ruling in Velez55 that the service of then EVP Leonard De Vera, representing
the Eastern Mindanao region, completed the first rotational cycle.

the Court then was confronted with limited issues. Among those were: 1] the
validity of the election of Nasser A. Marohomsalic as governor of the IBPWestern Mindanao Region; 2] the validity of the election of Manuel M.
Maramba as governor for the Greater Manila Region for the term 2009-2011;
3] the validity of the election of Erwin M. Fortunato as governor for Western
Visayas Region for the term 2009-2011; and 4] the validity of the elections for
EVP for the 2009-2011 term presided by then IBP-President Bautista. The
four issues were intertwined since the validity of the elections presided by IBPPresident Bautista was questioned on the alleged lack of quorum, as it was
attended by Marohomsalic, whose own election was then also being
questioned.

Thus, it committed two inaccuracies. First, it erroneously reported that "only


the governors of the Western Visayas and Eastern Mindanao regions have
not yet had their turn as Executive Vice President." Second, it erroneously
considered Central Luzon and Bicolandia as having had two terms each in
the First Rotational Cycle, when their second services were for the Second
Rotational Cycle.
The unfortunate fact, however, is that the erroneous statements of the Special
Committee were used as bases for the recommendation that "either the
governor of the Western Visayas Region, or the governor of the Eastern
Mindanao Region should be elected as Executive Vice-President for the
2009-2011 term."

With those limited issues resolved, the Court directed that special elections
should be held for the election of EVP for the remaining 2009-2011 term "to
heal the divisions in the IBP and promote unity by enabling all the nine (9)
governors-elect to elect the EVP in a unified meeting called for that
purpose."53 In ordering the special elections to be conducted, the Court took
into account the report of the Special Committee as follows:

Worse, they were cited by IBP-Western Visayas as bases to oppose the


Petition in Intervention of IBP-Southern Luzon, arguing that it would be
contrary to Section 2, Rule 19, it being filed following the finality of the
December 14, 2010 Resolution56 of the Court.

Only the governors of the Western Visayas and Eastern Mindanao regions
have not yet had their turn as Executive Vice President cum next IBP
President, while Central Luzon and Bicolandia have had two (2) terms
already.

1ST SEMESTER SY. 2015-2016 ATTY. VICTORIA LOANZON

At any rate, the statement of the Court in its December 14, 2010
Resolution57 that "only the governors of the Western Visayas and Eastern
Mindanao regions have not yet had their turn as Executive Vice President,"
did not pertain to the lis mota of the case. Thus, it did not settle anything so
as to be deemed a precedent-setting ruling. Those statements, therefore,

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could not be considered as overturning, vacating and setting aside the ruling
in Velez58 that the service of then EVP De Vera completed the first
rotational cycle.

letter-complaint to the Chief Justice, with favoritism or discrimination in the


hiring of officers and employees in the IBP and with extravagant and irregular
expenditure of IBP funds. The Court found the acts of Eugene Tan as
constituting grave abuse of authority and serious misconduct in office, which
would have warranted his removal from office. Considering that he had earlier
tendered his resignation as IBP-President and his term of office already
expired on June 30, 1991, the Court imposed on him the penalty of severe
censure only.63

The election of Eugene Tan As IBP President


Much has been said about the election of Eugene Tan as IBP-President. IBPSouthern Luzon argues that with his election and service as IBP-President
from January 29, 1990 to April 1991, the IBP-Western Visayas should no
longer be allowed to field a candidate in the forthcoming elections for the
EVP.59 IBP-Western Visayas counters that his election could not be
considered as part of the current rotation as he was elected following the
special elections held as a result of the October 6, 1989 Resolution of the
Court. It has also been argued that he merely served as Interim President.

Moreover, in A.M. No. 491, the Court stressed that: "One who has served as
President of the IBP may not run for election as EVP-IBP in a
succeeding election until after the rotation of the presidency among the nine
(9) regionsshall have completed; whereupon the rotation shall begin anew."
Rotation by Exclusion

As Velez60 declared that the election of EVP De Vera completed the first
rotational cycle, it could only mean that all regions had their respective turns
in the first rotational cycle. Thus, in this second rotational cycle, issues as to
the nature of his election and service as IBP-President during the First
Rotational Cycle are inconsequential.

As clarified in the December 4, 2012 Resolution of the Court, the rotation


should be by exclusion. In said resolution, it was stated:
Resolution of the Court

At any rate, Eugene Tan could not be considered as an interim president. It


was Justice Felix Antonio who was designated by the Court as Interim
Caretaker until the election of the IBP-President by the elected IBP-BOG. The
election of the new President and Executive Vice-President was directed by
the Court itself and in no way can it be said that they served on an interim
basis. Besides, at that time, under Section 47, the rotation concerned the
presidency only. Section 47 was ordered to be amended only in the December
14, 2010 Resolution,61 despite Bar Matter No. 491 and Velez,62 which
recognized the operational fact that the rotation was from the position of
President to that of EVP.

Re: IBP-Western Visayas Region


After an assiduous review of the facts, the issues and the arguments raised
by the parties involved, the Court finds wisdom in the position of the IBP-BOG,
through retired Justice Santiago M. Kapunan, that at the start of a new
rotational cycle "all chapters are deemed qualified to vie for the governorship
for the 2011-2013 term without prejudice to the chapters entering into a
consensus to adopt any pre-ordained sequence in the new rotation cycle
provided each chapter will have its turn in the rotation." Stated differently, the
IBP-BOG recommends the adoption of the rotation by exclusion scheme. The
Court quotes with approval the reasons given by the IBP-BOG on this score:

If Eugene Tan served only up to April, 1991, it was not because he served
merely in the interim. He served up to that time only because he resigned.
As reflected in Bar Matter No. 565, dated October 15, 1991, Tan resigned as
IBP-President when he was charged by several staff members of the IBP in a

1ST SEMESTER SY. 2015-2016 ATTY. VICTORIA LOANZON

2. After due deliberation, the Board of Governors agreed and


resolved to recommend adherence to the principle of "rotation
by exclusion" based on the following reasons:

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sequence in the new rotation cycle provided each chapter will


have its turn in the rotation.

a) Election through "rotation by exclusion" is the more established


rule in the IBP. The rule prescribes that once a member of the
chapter is elected as Governor, his chapter would be excluded
in the next turn until all have taken their turns in the rotation
cycle. Once a full rotation cycle ends and a fresh cycle
commences, all the chapters in the region are once again
entitled to vie but subject again to the rule on rotation by
exclusion.

The Court takes notice of the predictability of the rotation by succession


scheme. Through the rotation by exclusion scheme, the elections would be
more genuine as the opportunity to serve as Governor at any time is once
again open to all chapters, unless, of course, a chapter has already served in
the new cycle. While predictability is not altogether avoided, as in the case
where only one chapter remains in the cycle, still, as previously noted by the
Court "the rotation rule should be applied in harmony with, and not in
derogation of, the sovereign will of the electorate as expressed through the
ballot."

b) Election through a "rotation by exclusion" allows for a more


democratic election process. The rule provides for freedom of
choice while upholding the equitable principle of rotation which
assures that every member-chapter has its turn in every rotation
cycle.

Thus, as applied in the IBP-Western Visayas Region, initially, all the chapters
shall have the equal opportunity to vie for the position of Governor for the next
cycle except Romblon, so as no chapter shall serve consecutively. Every
winner shall then be excluded after its term. Romblon then joins the
succeeding elections after the first winner in the cycle.64

c) On the other hand, rotation by pre-ordained sequence, or election


based on the same order as the previous cycle, tends to defeat the
purpose of an election. The element of choice which is crucial to a
democratic process is virtually removed. Only one chapter could
vie for election at every turn as the entire sequence, from first to last,
is already predetermined by the order in the previous rotation cycle.
This concept of rotation by pre-ordained sequence negates freedom
of choice, which is the bedrock of any democratic election process.
d) The pronouncement of the Special Committee, which the
Supreme Court may have adopted in AM No. 09-5-2-SC, involving
the application of the rotation rule in the previous election for GMR
may not be controlling, not being one of the principal issues raised
in the GMR elections.

As stated therein, it would be without prejudice to the regions entering into a


consensus to adopt any pre-ordained sequence in the new rotation cycle,
provided each region would have its turn in the rotation.
As noted by the Court in its December 4, 2012 Resolution, there is a sense of
predictability in the rotation by the pre-ordained scheme. Through the rotation
by exclusion scheme, the elections will be more genuine, as the opportunity
to serve at any time is once again open to all, unless, of course, a region has
already served in the new cycle. While predictability is not altogether avoided,
as in the case where only one region remains in the cycle, still, as previously
noted by the Court "the rotation rule should be applied in harmony with, and
not in derogation of, the sovereign will of the electorate as expressed through
the ballot."65

3. Thus, applying the principle of rotation by exclusion in Western


Visayas which starts with a new rotation cycle, all chapters (with
the exception of Romblon) are deemed qualified to vie for the
Governorship for 2011-2013 term without prejudice to the
chapters entering into a consensus to adopt any pre-ordained

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The December 14, 2010 Resolution

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That the Court, in its December 14, 2010 Resolution,66 ordered the election of
the EVP-IBP for the next term based on the inaccurate report of the Special
Committee, is a fact. That cannot be erased. As a consequence thereof,
Libarios of IBP-Eastern Mindanao is now the IBP President. He, however, is
part of the second rotational cycle because 1] in Velez67 it was categorically
ruled that the service of then EVP De Vera, representing the Eastern
Mindanao region, completed the first rotational cycle; and 2] he could not
be part of the first rotational cycle because EVP de Vera of the same region
had already been elected as such.

the IBP "to start on a clean and correct slate, free from the politicking and the
under handed tactics that have characterized the IBP elections for so long."
Section 47 of the IBP By-Laws should be further amended

It is to be noted that in the December 14, 2010 Resolution,68 the Court did not
categorically overturn the ruling in Velez.69 It merely directed the election of
the next EVP, without any reference to any rotational cycle.

Whatever the decision of the Court may be, to prevent future wranglings and
guide the IBP in their future course of action, Section 47 and Section 49 of the
IBP By-laws should again be amended. Stress should be placed on the
automatic succession of the EVP to the position of the president. Surprisingly,
the automatic succession does not appear in present Section 47, as ordered
amended by the Court in the December 14, 2010 Resolution. It should be
restored. Accordingly, Section 47 and Section 49, Article VII, are
recommended to read as follows:

To declare that the first rotational cycle as not yet completed will cause more
confusion than solution. In fact, it has spawned this current controversy. To
consider the service of current president, Libarios, as part of the first rotational
cycle would completely ignore the ruling in Velez.70

Sec. 47. Election of National President Executive Vice President. The


Integrated Bar of the Philippines shall have a President, an Executive Vice
President, and nine (9) regional Governors. The Governors shall be ex-officio
Vice President for their respective regions.

The Best Option: Open to All Regions

The Board of Governors shall elect the President and Executive Vice
President from among themselves each by a vote of at least five (5)
Governors. Upon expiration of the term of the President, the Executive VicePresident shall automatically succeed as President.

How then do we treat the turns of those who had already served in the second
rotational cycle? Shall we treat them as anomalies? As aberrant
developments,

Each region, as enumerated under Section 3, Rule 139-A of the Rules of


Court, shall have the opportunity to have its representative elected as
Executive Vice-President, provided that, the election for the position of
Executive Vice President shall be on a strict rotation by exclusion basis. A
region, whose representative has just been elected as Executive Vice
President, can no longer have its representative elected for the same position
in subsequent elections until after all regions have had the opportunity to be
elected as such. At the end of the rotational cycle, all regions, except the
region whose representative has just served the immediately preceding term,
may be elected for another term as Executive Vice-President in the new
rotational cycle. The region whose representative served last in the previous
rotational cycle may be elected Executive Vice-President only after the first

A remedy is to reconcile the conflicting decisions and resolutions with nothing


in mind but the best interest of the IBP. It appears from the pleadings,
however, that the differences are irresoluble.
To avoid the endless conflicts, confusions and controversies which have been
irritably plaguing the IBP, the solution is to start another rotational round, a
new cycle, open to all regions. At any rate, all regions, after the election of
Libarios, would be considered as already having its turn in the presidency.
This is not to detract from the fact that under Section 47, as amended, and
from the pertinent rulings, the position of EVP-IBP is the one being actually
rotated, but as stated in the December 14, 2010 Resolution,71 it will enable

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Creation of a permanent Committee for IBP Affairs

term of the new rotational cycle ends, subject once more to the rule on
exclusion.
The order of rotation by exclusion shall be without prejudice to the regions
entering into a consensus to adopt any pre-ordained sequence in the new
rotation cycle provided each region will have its turn in the rotation.

To further avoid conflicting and confusing rulings in the various IBP cases like
what happened to this one, the December 14,2010 Resolution and Velez,72 it
is recommended that the Court create a committee for IBP affairs to primarily
attend to the problems and needs of a very important professional body and
to make recommendation for its improvement and strengthening.

A violation of the rotation rule in any election shall be penalized by annulment


of the election and disqualification of the offender from election or
appointment to any office in the IBP.

WHEREFORE, the Court hereby resolves to:


1] GRANT the Motion for Leave to Intervene and to Admit the
Attached Petition In Intervention;
2] DECLARE that the election for the position of the EVP for the
2011-2013 term be open to all regions.
3] AMEND Section 47 and Section 49, Article VII of the IBP By-Laws
to read as recommended in the body of this disposition.
4] CREATE a permanent Committee for IBP Affairs.

SEC. 49. Terms of office. - The President and the Executive Vice-President
shall hold office for a term of two years from July 1 following their election until
June 30 of their second year in office and until their successors shall have
been duly chosen and qualified.
In the event the President is absent or unable to act, his functions and duties
shall be performed by the Executive Vice President, and in the event of the
death, resignation, or removal of the President, the Executive Vice President
shall serve as Acting President for the unexpired portion of the term. His
tenure as such shall not be considered a new turn in the rotation.

KELD STEMMERIK VS. ATTY. LEONUEL N. MAS


A.C. No. 8010, June 16, 2009
FACTS: Complainant Keld Stemmerik is a citizen and resident of Denmark.
Complainant expressed his interest in acquiring real property in the
Philippines. He consulted respondent who advised him that he could legally
acquire and own real property in the Philippines. Respondent even suggested
an 86,998 sq.m. property in Subic, Zambales with the assurance that the
property was alienable.

In the event of death, resignation, removal or disability of the Executive Vice


President, the Board of Directors shall elect among the regions qualified to be
elected as Executive Vice President to serve the unexpired portion of the term
or period of disability.
In the event of the death, resignation, removal or disability of both the
President and the Executive Vice President, the Board of Governors shall
elect an Acting President to hold office for the unexpired portion of the term
or during the period of disability. Unless otherwise provided in these By-Laws,
all other officers and employees appointed by the President with the consent
of the Board shall hold office at the pleasure of the Board or for such term as
the Board may fix.

1ST SEMESTER SY. 2015-2016 ATTY. VICTORIA LOANZON

Complainant agreed to purchase the property through respondent as his


representative or attorney-in-fact. Complainant returned to Denmark,
entrusting the processing of the necessary paperwork to respondent.
Thereafter, respondent prepared a contract to sell the property between
complainant, represented by respondent, and a certain Bonifacio de Mesa.
After the various contracts and agreements were executed, complainant tried
to get in touch with respondent to inquire about when the property could be

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registered in his name. However, respondent suddenly became scarce and


refused to answer complainant's calls and e-mail messages.

dishonest and deceitful. He abused the trust and confidence reposed by


complainant in him. Recommended the disbarment of respondent.

When complainant visited the Philippines again, he engaged the services of


another lawyer to ascertain the status of the property he supposedly bought.
He was devastated to learn that aliens could not own land under Philippine
laws. Moreover, revealed that the property was inalienable as it was situated
within the former US Military Reservation.

ISSUE:

Thereafter, complainant, exerted diligent efforts to locate respondent for


purposes of holding him accountable for his fraudulent acts but the respindent
was nowhere to be found. He had already abandoned his law office in
Olongapo City. Complainant filed a complaint for disbarment against
respondent. He deplored respondent's acts of serious misconduct and for
gravely misrepresenting that a foreigner could legally acquire land in the
Philippines and for maliciously absconding with complainant's P3.8 million.

HELD:

1. Whether or not the respondent was respondent properly given notice of


the disbarment proceedings against him.
2. Whether or not the respondent can be administratively liable.

1. Yes.
The respondent did not file any answer or position paper, nor did he appear
during the scheduled mandatory conference. Respondent in fact abandoned
his last known address, his law office in Olongapo City, after he committed
the embezzlement. Respondent should not be allowed to benefit from his
disappearing act. He can neither defeat this Court's jurisdiction over him as a
member of the bar nor evade administrative liability by the mere ruse of
concealing his whereabouts. Thus, service of the complaint and other orders
and processes on respondent's office was sufficient notice to him.

RESPONDENT:
Respondent failed to file his answer and position paper despite service of
notice at his last known address. Neither did he appear in the scheduled
mandatory conference. In this connection, the CBD found that respondent
abandoned his law practice in Olongapo City after his transaction with
complainant and that he did not see it fit to contest the charges against him.

Indeed, since he himself rendered the service of notice on him impossible, the
notice requirement cannot apply to him and he is thus considered to have
waived it. The law does not require that the impossible be done. The law
obliges no one to perform an impossibility. In this connection, lawyers must
update their records with the IBP by informing the IBP National Office or their
respective chapters of any change in office or residential address and other
contact details. In case such change is not duly updated, service of notice on
the office or residential address appearing in the records of the IBP National
Office shall constitute sufficient notice to a lawyer for purposes of
administrative proceedings against him.

IBP:
Ruled that respondent used his position as a lawyer to mislead complainant
on the matter of land ownership by a foreigner. He even went through the
motion of preparing falsified and fictitious contracts, deeds and agreements.
And for all these shameless acts, he collected P400,000 from complainant.
Worse, he pocketed the P3.8 million and absconded with it.
The CBD found respondent to be "nothing more than an embezzler" who
misused his professional status as an attorney as a tool for deceiving
complainant and absconding with complainant's money. Respondent was

1ST SEMESTER SY. 2015-2016 ATTY. VICTORIA LOANZON

2. Yes. The Supreme Court ruled that the respondent Atty. Leonuel N. Mas
be DISBARRED.

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Respondent committed a serious breach of his oath as a lawyer. He is also


guilty of culpable violation of the Code of Professional Responsibility, the code
of ethics of the legal profession.

IN RE: ATTY. RODOLFO PACTOLIN


A.C. No. 7940 April 24, 2012
FACTS: Elmer Abastillas, the playing coach of the Ozamis City volleyball
team, wrote Mayor Benjamin A. Fuentes of Ozamis City, requesting financial
assistance for his team. Mayor Fuentes approved the request and sent
Abastillas letter to the City Treasurer for processing. Mayor Fuentes also
designated Mario R. Ferraren, a city council member, as Officer-in-Charge
(OIC) of the city while Mayor Fuentes was away. Abastillas eventually got the
P10,000.00 assistance for his volleyball team. Meanwhile, respondent lawyer,
Atty. Rodolfo D. Pactolin, then a Sangguniang Panlalawigan member of
Misamis Occidental, got a photocopy of Abastillas letter and, using it, filed on
June 24, 1996 a complaint with the Office of the Deputy OmbudsmanMindanao against Ferraren for alleged illegal disbursement of P10,000.00 in
public funds.

All lawyers take an oath to support the Constitution, to obey the laws and to
do no falsehood. That oath is neither mere formal ceremony nor hollow words.
It is a sacred trust that should be upheld and kept inviolable at all times.
Lawyers are servants of the law and the law is their master. They should not
simply obey the laws, they should also inspire respect for and obedience
thereto by serving as exemplars worthy of emulation.
Respondent, in giving advice that directly contradicted a fundamental
constitutional policy, showed disrespect for the Constitution and gross
ignorance of basic law. Worse, he prepared spurious documents that he knew
were void and illegal.
Respondent's misconduct did not end there. By advising complainant that a
foreigner could legally and validly acquire real estate in the Philippines and by
assuring complainant that the property was alienable, respondent deliberately
foisted a falsehood on his client. He did not give due regard to the trust and
confidence reposed in him by complainant. Instead, he deceived complainant
and misled him into parting with P400,000 for services that were both illegal
and unprofessional. Moreover, by pocketing and misappropriating the P3.8
million given by complainant for the purchase of the property, respondent
committed a fraudulent act that was criminal in nature.

Aggrieved, Ferraren filed with the Sandiganbayan in Criminal Case a


complaint against Atty. Pactolin for falsification of public document.

A lawyer who resorts to nefarious schemes to circumvent the law and uses
his legal knowledge to further his selfish ends to the great prejudice of others,
poses a clear and present danger to the rule of law and to the legal system.
He does not only tarnish the image of the bar and degrade the integrity and
dignity of the legal profession, he also betrays everything that the legal
profession stands for.

Atty. Pactolin appealed to the SC but affirmed his conviction. The Court
treated the matter as an administrative complaint against him as well under
Rule 139-B of the Rules of Court, it referred the case to the Integrated Bar of
the Philippines (IBP) for appropriate action.

The Sandiganbayan found Atty. Pactolin guilty of falsification under Article


172 and sentenced him to the indeterminate penalty of imprisonment of 2
years and 4 months of prision correccional as minimum to 4 years, 9 months
and 10 days of prision correccional as maximum, to suffer all the accessory
penalties of prision correccional, and to pay a fine of P5,000.00, with
subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency.

Because complainant Ferraren neither appeared nor submitted any pleading


during the administrative proceedings before the IBP Commission on Bar
Discipline, the IBP Board of Governors passed a Resolution adopting and
approving the Investigating Commissioners Report and Recommendation that
the case against Atty. Pactolin be dismissed for insufficiency of evidence.

It is respondent and his kind that give lawyering a bad name and make laymen
support Dick the Butcher's call, "Kill all lawyers!" A disgrace to their
professional brethren, they must be purged from the bar.

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VILLATUYA v. TABALINGCOS
676 SCRA 37 (2012)

Pactolins Contention:

FACTS: Complainant, Manuel G. Villatuya filed a Complaint for Disbarment


on December 06, 2004 against respondent, Atty. Bede S. Tabalingcos. In a
resolution, the court required the respondent to file a comment, which the
respondent did. The complaint was then referred to the Integrated Bar of the
Philippines for investigation.

Atty. Pactolin attached to the complaint a copy of what he claimed was a


falsified letter of Abastillas, which showed that it was Ferraren, not Mayor
Fuentes, who approved the disbursement.
He also claims that the Court glossed over the facts, that its decision and
referral to the IBP was factually infirmed and contained factual exaggerations
and patently erroneous observation, and was too adventurous.

In a mandatory conference called for by the Commission on Bar Discipline of


the IBP, complainant and his counsel, and the respondent appeared and
submitted issues for resolution. The commission ordered the parties to submit
their verified position papers.

ISSUE: Whether or not Atty. Pactolin should be disbarred after conviction by


final judgment of the crime of falsification?
HELD: Yes, Atty. Pactolins disbarment is warranted

In the position paper submitted by the complainant on August 1, 2005, he


averred that he was employed by the respondent as financial consultant to
assist the respondent in a number of corporate rehabilitation cases.
Complainant claimed that they had a verbal agreement whereby he would be
entitled to 50,000 for every Stay Order issued by the court in the cases they
would handle, in addition to ten percent (10%) of the fees paid by their clients.
Notwithstanding, 18 Stay Orders that was issued by the courts as a result of
his work and the respondent being able to rake in millions from the cases that
they were working on together, the latter did not pay the amount due to him.
He also alleged that respondent engaged in unlawful solicitation of cases by
setting up two financial consultancy firms as fronts for his legal services. On
the third charge of gross immorality, complainant accused respondent of
committing two counts of bigamy for having married two other women while
his first marriage was subsisting.

The Supreme Court upheld the finding of the Sandiganbayan that the copy of
Abastillas letter which Atty. Pactolin attached to his complaint was spurious.
Given the clear absence of a satisfactory explanation regarding his
possession and use of the falsified Abastillas letter, this Court held that the
Sandiganbayan did not err in concluding that it was Atty. Pactolin who falsified
the letter. The Court relied on the settled rule that in the absence of
satisfactory explanation, one found in possession of and who used a forged
document is the forger and therefore guilty of falsification.
The crime of falsification of public document is contrary to justice, honesty,
and good morals and, therefore, involves moral turpitude. Moral turpitude
includes everything which is done contrary to justice, honesty, modesty, or
good morals. It involves an act of baseness, vileness, or depravity in the
private duties which a man owes his fellowmen, or to society in general,
contrary to the accepted and customary rule of right and duty between man
and woman, or conduct contrary to justice, honesty, modesty, or good morals.

1ST SEMESTER SY. 2015-2016 ATTY. VICTORIA LOANZON

Defendants Defense:
In his defense, respondent denied charges against him and asserted that the
complainant was not an employee of his law firm but rather an employee of
Jesi and Jane Management, Inc., one of the financial consultancy firms.
Respondent alleged that complainant was unprofessional and incompetent in
performing his job and that there was no verbal agreement between them

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regarding the payment of fees and the sharing of professional fees paid by
his clients. He proffered documents showing that the salary of complainant
had been paid. Respondent also denied committing any unlawful solicitation.
To support his contention, respondent attached a Joint Venture Agreement
and an affidavit executed by the Vice-President for operations of Jesi and
Jane Management, Inc. On the charge of gross immorality, respondent
assailed the Affidavit of a dismissed messenger of Jesi and Jane
Management, Inc., as having no probative value, since it had been retracted
by the affiant himself. Respondent did not specifically address the allegations
regarding his alleged bigamous marriages with two other women

The IBP Board of Governors, through its Resolution No. XVIII-2008-154,


adopted and approved the Report and Recommendation of the Investigating
Commissioner.
Supreme Court affirmed the IBPs dismissal of the first charge against
respondent, but did not concur with the rationale behind it. The first charge, if
proven to be true is based on an agreement that is violative of Rule 9.02 of
the Code of Professional Responsibility. A lawyer is proscribed by the Code
to divide or agree to divide the fees for legal services rende-red with a person
not licensed to practice law. In the case of Tan Tek Beng v. David, Supreme
Court held that an agreement between a lawyer and a layperson to share the
fees collected from clients secured by the layperson is null and void, and that
the lawyer involved may be disciplined for unethical conduct. Considering that
complainants allegations in this case had not been proven, the IBP correctly
dismissed the charge against respondent on this matter.

ISSUES:
1. WON respondent violated the Code of Professional Responsibility by
nonpayment of fees to complainant;
2. WON respondent violated the rule against unlawful solicitation; and
3. WON respondent is guilty of gross immoral conduct for having married
thrice.

A lawyer is not prohibited from engaging in business or other lawful


occupation. Impropriety arises, though, when the business is of such a nature
or is conducted in such a manner as to be inconsistent with the lawyers duties
as a member of the bar. This inconsistency arises when the business is one
that can readily lend itself to the procurement of professional employment for
the lawyer; or that can be used as a cloak for indirect solicitation on the
lawyers behalf; or is of a nature that, if handled by a lawyer, would be
regarded as the practice of law. It is clear from the documentary evidence
submitted by complainant that Jesi & Jane Management, Inc., which purports
to be a financial and legal consultant, was indeed a vehicle used by
respondent as a means to procure professional employment; specifically for
corporate rehabilitation cases.

HELD:
The Commissioners Recommendation:
Commission promulgated its Report and Recommendation addressing the
specific charges against respondent. The first charge, for dishonesty for the
nonpayment of certain shares in the fees, was dismissed for lack of merit. On
the second charge, the Commission found respondent to have violated the
rule on the solicitation of client for having advertised his legal services and
unlawfully solicited cases. It recommended that he be reprimanded for the
violation. As for the third charge, the Commission found respondent to be
guilty of gross immorality for violating Rules 1.01 and 7.03 of the Code of
Professional Responsibility and Section 27 of Rule 138 of the Rules of Court.
Due to the gravity of the acts of respondent, the Commission recommended
that he be disbarred, and that his name be stricken off the roll of attorneys.

In disbarment proceedings, the burden of proof rests upon the complainant.


In this case, complainant submitted NSO-certified true copies to prove that
respondent entered into two marriages while the latters first marriage was still
subsisting. While respondent denied entering into the second and the third
marriages, he resorted to vague assertions tantamount to a negative
pregnant.

The IBP Board of Governors Decision:

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What has been clearly established here is the fact that respondent entered
into marriage twice while his first marriage was still subsisting.

(Toledo), mother of the donee, allegedly personally appeared before


respondent on July 30, 2003, despite the fact that complainants husband died
on July 29, 2003. Respondent's lack of honesty and candor is unbecoming of
a member of the Philippine Bar.

Respondent exhibited a deplorable lack of that degree of morality required of


him as a member of the bar. He made a mockery of marriage, a sacred
institution demanding respect and dignity.57 His acts of committing bigamy
twice constituted grossly immoral conduct and are grounds for disbarment
under Section 27, Rule 138 of the Revised Rules of Court.58. The Supreme
Court adopted the recommendation of the IBP to disbar respondent and
ordered that his name be stricken from the Roll of Attorneys.

Respondents Contention:
Respondent admitted having notarized and acknowledged a deed of donation
executed by the donor, Atty. Linco, in favor of his son, Alexander David T.
Linco, as represented by Lina P. Toledo. He was invited by Atty. Linco,
through an emissary in the person of Claire Juele-Algodon (Algodon), to see
him at his residence and was then informed that Atty. Linco was sick and
wanted to discuss something with him. Atty. Linco showed him a deed of
donation and the TCT of the property subject of the donation. Respondent
claimed that Atty. Linco asked him a favor of notarizing the deed of donation
in his presence along with the witnesses. However, respondent explained that
since he had no idea that he would be notarizing a document, he did not bring
his notarial book and seal with him. Thus, he instead told Algodon and Toledo
to bring to his office the signed deed of donation anytime at their convenience
so that he could formally notarize and acknowledge the same. On July 30,
2003, respondent claimed that Toledo and Algodon went to his law office and
informed him that Atty. Linco had passed away on July 29, 2003. Respondent
was then asked to notarize the deed of donation. Respondent admitted to
have consented as he found it to be his commitment to a fellow lawyer. Thus,
he notarized the subject deed of donation, which was actually signed in his
presence on July 8, 2003.

ATTY. FLORITA LINCO vs. ATTY. JIMMY LACEBAL


A.C. No. 7241 October 17, 2011
FACTS: An administrative Complaint was filed by Atty. Florita S. Linco
(complainant) before the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) against Atty.
Jimmy D. Lacebal for disciplinary action for his failure to perform his duty as
a notary public, which resulted in the violation of their rights over their
property.
Complainant is the widow of the late Atty. Alberto Linco (Atty. Linco), the
registered owner of a parcel of land with improvements in Cainta.
Complainant alleged that Atty. Jimmy D. Lacebal (respondent), a notary public
for Mandaluyong City, notarized a deed of donation allegedly executed by her
husband in favor of Alexander David T. Linco, a minor.

IBP Ruling and Recommendation:

Consequently, by virtue of the purported deed of donation, the Register of


Deeds of Antipolo City cancelled TCT No. and issued a new TCT No. 292515
in the name of Alexander David T. Linco.

The IBP-Commission on Bar Discipline (IBP-CBD) found respondent guilty of


violating the Notarial Law and the Code of Professional Responsibility. The
IBP-CBD, thus, recommended that respondent be suspended from the
practice of law for a period of one (1) year, and that his notarial commission
be revoked and he be disqualified from re-appointment as notary public for a
period of two (2) years.

Petitioners Contention:
She claims that respondent's reprehensible act in connivance with Toledo was
violative of her and her children's rights but also in violation of the notarial law.
The notarial acknowledgment stated that Atty. Linco and Lina P. Toledo

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The IBP-Board of Governors adopted and approved the report and


recommendation of the IBP-CBD.

of two years. He is also SUSPENDED from the practice of law for a period of
one year.
TUMBOKON v. PEFIANCO
678 SCRA 60 (2012)

ISSUE: Whether or not respondent violated the Notarial Law?


HELD: Yes, respondent made a false statement and violated Rule 10.01 of
the Code of Professional Responsibility and his oath as a lawyer.

FACTS: An administrative complaint for disbarment filed by complainant


Engr. Gilbert Tumbokon against respondent Atty. Mariano R. Pefianco for
grave dishonesty, gross misconduct constituting deceit and grossly immoral
conduct.

As a rule, a lawyer engaged in notary public should not notarize a document


unless the persons who signed the same are the very same persons who
executed and personally appeared before him to attest to the contents and
truth of what are stated therein.

Complainant narrated that respondent undertook to give him 20%


commission, later reduced to 10%, of the attorney's fees the latter would
receive in representing Spouses Amable and Rosalinda Yap (Sps. Yap),
whom he referred, in an action for partition of the estate of the late Benjamin
Yap (Civil Case No. 4986 before the Regional Trial Court of Aklan). Their
agreement was reflected in a letter dated August 11, 1995. However,
respondent failed to pay him the agreed commission notwithstanding receipt
of attorney's fees amounting to 17% of the total estate or about P 40 million.
Instead, he was informed through a letter dated July 16, 1997 that Sps. Yap
assumed to pay the same after respondent had agreed to reduce his
attorney's fees from 25% to 17%. He then demanded the payment of his
commission which respondent ignored.

It is established that Atty. Linco was already dead when respondent notarized
the deed of donation on July 30, 2003. Respondent likewise admitted that he
knew that Atty. Linco died a day before he notarized the deed of donation.
Respondent notarized the document after the lapse of more than 20 days from
July 8, 2003, when he was allegedly asked to notarize the deed of donation.
The sufficient lapse of time from the time he last saw Atty. Linco should have
put him on guard and deterred him from proceeding with the notarization of
the deed of donation.
However, respondent chose to ignore the basics of notarial procedure in
order to accommodate the alleged need of a colleague. The fact that
respondent previously appeared before him in person does not justify his act
of notarizing the deed of donation, considering the affiant's absence on the
very day the document was notarized. In the notarial acknowledgment of the
deed of donation, respondent attested that Atty. Linco personally came and
appeared before him on July 30, 2003. Yet obviously, Atty. Linco could not
have appeared before him on July 30, 2003, because the latter died on July
29, 2003. Clearly, respondent made a false statement and violated Rule 10.01
of the Code of Professional Responsibility and his oath as a lawyer.

Respondent:
Explained that he accepted Sps. Yap's case on a 25% contingent fee basis,
and advanced all the expenses. He disputed the August 11, 1995 letter for
being a forgery and claimed that Sps. Yap assumed to pay complainant's
commission which he clarified in his July 16, 1997 letter. He, thus, prayed for
the dismissal of the complaint and for the corresponding sanction against
complainant's counsel, Atty. Florencio B. Gonzales, for filing a baseless
complaint.

For breach of the Notarial Law and Code of Professional Responsibility, the
notarial commission of respondent ATTY. JIMMY D. LACEBAL, is REVOKED.
And he is DISQUALIFIED from reappointment as Notary Public for a period

1ST SEMESTER SY. 2015-2016 ATTY. VICTORIA LOANZON

Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) for investigation, report and


recommendation. In his Report and Recommendation, the Investigating IBP

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Commissioner recommended that respondent be suspended for one (1) year


from the active practice of law, for violation of the Lawyer's Oath, Rule 1.01,
Canon 1; Rule 7.03, Canon 7 and Rule 9.02, Canon 9 of the Code of
Professional Responsibility (Code).

based in Bacolod City, Negros Occidental. When Atty. Bancolo and Rustia
accidentally chanced upon each other, the latter informed Atty. Bancolo of the
case filed against them before the Office of the Ombudsman. Atty. Bancolo
denied that he represented Divinagracia since he had yet to meet
Divinagracia in person. When Rustia showed him the Complaint, Atty.
Bancolo declared that the signature appearing above his name as counsel for
Divinagracia was not his. Thus, Rustia convinced Atty. Bancolo to sign an
affidavit to attest to such fact. On 9 December 2004, Atty. Bancolo signed an
affidavit denying his supposed signature appearing on the Complaint filed with
the Office of the Ombudsman and submitted six specimen signatures for
comparison. Using Atty. Bancolos affidavit and other documentary evidence,
Tapay and Rustia filed a counter-affidavit accusing Divinagracia of falsifying
the signature of his alleged counsel, Atty. Bancolo. The Office of the
Ombudsman dismissed the criminal case for falsification of public document
for insufficiency of evidence. The administrative case for dishonesty was also
dismissed for lack of substantial evidence in a Decision dated 19 September
2005.

ISSUE: Whether or not the lawyer violated the Lawyer's Oath, Rule 1.01,
Canon 1; Rule 7.03, Canon 7 and Rule 9.02, Canon 9 of the Code of
Professional Responsibility (Code).
HELD: YES.
The practice of law is considered a privilege bestowed by the State on those
who show that they possess and continue to possess the legal qualifications
for the profession. As such, lawyers are expected to maintain at all times a
high standard of legal proficiency, morality, honesty, integrity and fair dealing,
and must perform their four-fold duty to society, the legal profession, the
courts and their clients, in accordance with the values and norms embodied
in the Code. Lawyers may, thus, be disciplined for any conduct that is wanting
of the above standards whether in their professional or in their private
capacity.

Tapay and Rustia filed with the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) a
complaint to disbar Atty. Bancolo and Atty. Jarder, Atty. Bancolos law partner.
The complainants alleged that they were subjected to a harassment
Complaint filed before the Office of the Ombudsman with the forged signature
of Atty. Bancolo. Complainants stated further that the signature of Atty.
Bancolo in the Complaint was not the only one that was forged. Complainants
attached a Report6 dated 1 July 2005 by the Philippine National Police Crime
Laboratory 6 which examined three other letter-complaints signed by Atty.
Bancolo for other clients, allegedly close friends of Atty. Jarder. The report
concluded that the questioned signatures in the letter-complaints and the
submitted standard signatures of Atty. Bancolo were not written by one and
the same person. Thus, complainants maintained that not only were
respondents engaging in unprofessional and unethical practices, they were
also involved in falsification of documents used to harass and persecute
innocent people. They alleged that a certain Mary Jane Gentugao, the
secretary of the Jarder Bancolo Law Office, forged the signature of Atty.
Bancolo.

WHEREFORE, respondent ATTY. MARIANO R. PEFIANCO is


found GUILTY of violation of the Lawyers Oath, Rule 1.01, Canon 1 of the
Code of Professional Responsibility and Rule 9.02, Canon 9 of the same Code
and SUSPENDED from the active practice of law ONE (1) YEAR effective
upon notice hereof.
TAPAY ET AL v. ATTY. CHARLIE L. BANCOLO ET AL.
A.C. No. 96604, March 20, 2013
FACTS: Tapay and Rustia received an Order dated 14 October 2004 from
the Office of the Ombudsman-Visayas requiring them to file a counter-affidavit
to a complaint for usurpation of authority, falsification of public document, and
graft and corrupt practices filed against them by Nehimias Divinagracia, Jr.
(Divinagracia), a co-employee in the Sugar Regulatory Administration. The
Complaint1 dated 31 August 2004 was allegedly signed on behalf of
Divinagracia by one Atty. Charlie L. Bancolo of the Jarder Bancolo Law Office

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Defendants Defense:

suspended for 1 year. The charge against Atty. Jarder shall be dismissed for
lack of merit.

Divinagracia filed his Counter-Affidavit dated 1 August 2005 denying that he


falsified the signature of his former lawyer, Atty. Bancolo. Divinagracia
presented as evidence an affidavit dated 1 August 2005 by Richard A.
Cordero, the legal assistant of Atty. Bancolo, that the Jarder Bancolo Law
Office accepted Divinagracias case and that the Complaint filed with the
Office of the Ombudsman was signed by the office secretary per Atty.
Bancolos instructions. Atty. Bancolo alleged that after being informed of the
assignment of the cases, he ordered his staff to prepare and draft all the
necessary pleadings and documents. However, due to some minor lapses,
Atty. Bancolo permitted that the pleadings and communications be signed in
his name by the secretary of the law office. Respondents added that
complainants filed the disbarment complaint to retaliate against them since
the cases filed before the Office of the Ombudsman were meritorious and
strongly supported by testimonial and documentary evidence. Respondents
also denied that Mary Jane Gentugao was employed as secretary of their law
office.

After a careful review of the records of the case, the SC agreed with the
findings and recommendation of the IBP Board and find reasonable grounds
to hold respondent Atty. Bancolo administratively liable. Atty. Bancolo
admitted that the Complaint he filed for a former client before the Office of the
Ombudsman was signed in his name by a secretary of his law office. Clearly,
this is a violation of Rule 9.01 of Canon 9 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility.
ATTY. EDITA NOE-LACSAMANA VS. ATTY. YOLANDO F. BUSMENTE
A.C. No. 7269, November 23, 2011
FACTS: Noe-Lacsamana alleged in her complaint that she was the counsel
for Irene Bides, while Busmente was the counsel for the defendant Imelda B.
Ulaso (Ulaso) in an ejectment case. Another case for falsification was filed
against Ulaso where Busmente also appeared as counsel. Noe-Lacsamana
alleged that one Atty. Elizabeth Dela Rosa or Atty. Liza Dela Rosa (Dela
Rosa) would accompany Ulaso in court, projecting herself as Busmentes
collaborating counsel. Dela Rosa signed the minutes of the court proceedings.
Noe-Lacsamana further alleged that the court orders and notices specified
Dela Rosa as Busmentes collaborating counsel. Noe-Lacsamana alleged
that upon verification with this Court and the Integrated Bar of the Philippines,
she discovered that Dela Rosa was not a lawyer.

ISSUE: WON Atty. Bancolo violated the Code of Professional Responsibiliy.


HELD:
IBPs Recommendation:
Atty. Quisumbing found that Atty. Bancolo violated Rule 9.01 of Canon 9 of
the Code of Professional Responsibility while Atty. Jarder violated Rule 1.01
of Canon 1 of the same Code. The Investigating Commissioner recommended
that Atty. Bancolo be suspended for two years from the practice of law and
Atty. Jarder be admonished for his failure to exercise certain responsibilities
in their law firm.

RESPONDENT:
Busmente alleged that Dela Rosa was a law graduate and was his paralegal
assistant for a few years. Busmente alleged that Dela Rosas employment
with him ended in 2000 but Dela Rosa was able to continue misrepresenting
herself as a lawyer with the help of Regine Macasieb (Macasieb), Busmentes
former secretary. Busmente alleged that he did not represent Ulaso and that
his signature in the Answer presented as proof by Noe-Lacsamana was
forged.

BOGs Decision:
The Board of Governors of the IBP approved with modification the Report and
Recommendation of the Investigating Commissioner. Atty. Bancolo shall be

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IBP:

pointed out by the IBP-CBD, Busmente claimed that Macasieb resigned from
his office in 2003. Yet, Dela Rosa continued to represent Ulaso until 2005.
Pleadings and court notices were still sent to Busmentes office until 2005.
The IBP-CBD noted that Dela Rosas practice should have ended in 2003
when Macasieb left.

The IBP-CBD recommended Busmentes suspension from the practice of law


for not less than five years.
ISSUE: Whether Busmente is guilty of directly or indirectly assisting Dela
Rosa in her illegal practice of law that warrants his suspension from the
practice of law.

Hence, we agree with the findings of the IBP-CBD that there was sufficient
evidence to prove that Busmente was guilty of violation of Canon 9 of the
Code of Professional Responsibility. We agree with the recommendation of
the IBP, modifying the recommendation of the IBP-CBD, that Busmente
should be suspended from the practice of law for six months.

HELD:
We agree with the IBP.

We SUSPEND Atty. Yolando F. Busmente from the practice of law for SIX
MONTHS.

The lawyers duty to prevent, or at the very least not to assist in, the
unauthorized practice of law is founded on public interest and policy. Public
policy requires that the practice of law be limited to those individuals found
duly qualified in education and character. The permissive right conferred on
the lawyer is an individual and limited privilege subject to withdrawal if he fails
to maintain proper standards of moral and professional conduct. The purpose
is to protect the public, the court, the client, and the bar from the incompetence
or dishonesty of those unlicensed to practice law and not subject to the
disciplinary control of the Court. It devolves upon a lawyer to see that this
purpose is attained. Thus, the canons and ethics of the profession enjoin him
not to permit his professional services or his name to be used in aid of, or to
make possible the unauthorized practice of law by, any agency, personal or
corporate. And, the law makes it a misbehavior on his part, subject to
disciplinary action, to aid a layman in the unauthorized practice of law.

SPOUSES AMATORIO v. ATTY. FRANCISCO DY YAP


AND ATTY. WHELMA F. SITON-YAP
A.C. No. 5914, March 11, 2015
FACTS: The complainants said that they are clients of Atty. Paras in cases
which were filed against them by the respondents to compel them to pay their
indebtedness. At the time of the filing of the answer, Atty. Paras was
suspended from the practice of law.

In this case, it has been established that Dela Rosa, who is not a member of
the Bar, misrepresented herself as Busmentes collaborating counsel in Civil
Case No. 9284. The only question is whether Busmente indirectly or directly
assisted Dela Rosa in her illegal practice of law.

Complainants decided to seek an out-of-court settlement and asked that they


be allowed to pay their obligations by way of installment. The parties agreed
on the terms. When Aida asked the respondents if they should still attend the
pre-trial conference scheduled, the latter told them they need not attend
anymore as they will be moving for the dismissal of the cases. Subsequently,
they were surprised to receive copies of the decisions of the trial court
declaring them in default for non-appearance. The decision however did not
mention the out-of-court settlement between the parties.

Busmente alleged that Dela Rosas employment in his office ended in 2000
and that Dela Rosa was able to continue with her illegal practice of law
through connivance with Macasieb, another member of Busmentes staff. As

Nonetheless, the complainants continued tendering installment payments to


the respondents upon the latters assurance that they will disregard the
decision of the trial court since they already had an out-of-court settlement

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before the rendition of said judgment. They were surprised to learn, however,
that the respondents filed a motion for the issuance of a writ of execution.

There is substantial evidence that Respondent Francisco Yap ha[s]


deliberately neglected, at the very least, offered and/or pleaded inaccurate
allegations/testimonies to purposely mislead or confuse the civil courts.
Francisco Yap failed to controvert the existence and the authenticity of the
Acknowledgment Receipt which bore his signature and written in a Yap Law
Office letterhead.

This prompted them to seek legal advice to another lawyer who referred the
complainants to Atty. Paras, who had just resumed his practice of law after
his suspension. Atty. Paras proceeded to file a disbarment case against the
respondents with the IBP.

The complainants filed a Manifestation, terminating the services of Atty. Paras


as their counsel and executed a Judicial Affidavit, disclaiming knowledge and
participation in the preparation of the complaint and the pleadings filed on their
behalf by Atty. Paras in connection with the disbarment case. They claimed
that they merely signed the pleadings but the contents thereof were not
explained to them. They likewise expressed lack of intention to file a
disbarment case against the respondents and that, on the contrary, they were
very much willing to settle and pay their indebtedness to them. Further, they
asserted that it was not the respondents, but Atty. Paras who instructed them
not to attend the pre-trial conference of the cases which eventually resulted
to a judgment by default against them.

As foretold by Atty. Paras, the complainants experienced unpleasant backlash


which were allegedly instigated by the respondents who come from a very
powerful and affluent clan. They received threats of physical harm and Aidas
continued employment as a public school teacher was put in jeopardy. Also,
suspicious-looking individuals were seen loitering around their house. When
they refused to yield to the respondents intimidation, the latter resorted to the
filing of charges against them.
RESPONDENTS ALLEGATIONS:
Respondents denied having resorted to deceitful means to obtain favorable
judgments. They admitted that they agreed to an out-of-court settlement, but
denied that the complainants ever tendered any installment payment. They
claimed that Atty. Paras merely employed cajolery in order to entice the
complainants to file the instant case to retaliate against them. They
asseverated that Atty. Paras resented the fact that the respondents served as
counsel for his former wife, who previously filed the administrative case for
immorality, abandonment of family, and falsification and use of falsified
documents which resulted to his suspension.

ISSUE: Whether the statements of the complainants, specifically contesting


the truthfulness of the allegations hurled against the respondents in their own
complaint for disbarment necessarily results to Franciscos absolution.
HELD: The answer is in the negative. The Supreme Court ruled that Atty.
Francisco Dy Yap is SUSPENDED from the practice of law for a period of
three (3) months for deliberately misleading the Court.
It bears stressing that membership in the bar is a privilege burdened with
conditions. It is bestowed upon individuals who are not only learned in law,
but also known to possess good moral character. Lawyers should act and
comport themselves with honesty and integrity in a manner beyond reproach,
in order to promote the publics faith in the legal profession.

Atty. Paras clearly defied the authority of this Court when he represented the
complainants and filed an answer on their behalf during the period of his
suspension from the practice of law. They alleged that he appeared in several
cases and filed numerous pleadings despite his suspension.
IBP-Commission on Bar Discipline:

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It is for the foregoing reason that the Court cannot simply yield to
complainants change of heart by refuting their own statements against the
respondents and praying that the complaint for disbarment they filed be

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dismissed. It bears emphasizing that any misconduct on the part of the lawyer
not only hurts the clients cause but is even more disparaging on the integrity
of the legal profession itself. Thus, for tarnishing the reputation of the
profession, a lawyer may still be disciplined notwithstanding the complainants
pardon or withdrawal from the case for as long as there is evidence to support
any finding of culpability. A case for suspension or disbarment may proceed
regardless of interest or lack of interest of the complainants, if the facts
proven so warrant. It follows that the withdrawal of the complainant from the
case, or even the filing of an affidavit of desistance, does not conclude the
administrative case against an erring lawyer.

Caspe alleged the controversy started when Atty. Mejica disregarded conflict
of interest rules. Caspe said that when he filed a complaint for attempted
murder against Antonio Rodriguez, Jr., Atty. Mejica served as Caspes
counsel. When Rodriguez, Jr. filed his counter-affidavit, it was Atty. Mejica
who counseled and represented him.
Caspe brought separate suits for damages and disbarment: one for conflict of
interest and the present complaint. Atty. Mejica tried to negotiate a settlement
but Caspe refused. Atty. Mejica allegedly then threatened Caspe that he will
help file cases after cases against the complainant until he kneels before
[him]. He will put down complainant so much so that he will be removed from
the service. From then on, Caspe alleged, Atty. Mejica maliciously
encouraged the filing of suits against him.

Therefore, in the instant case, the Court cannot just set aside the finding of
culpability against the respondents merely because the complainants have
decided to forgive them or settle matters amicably after the case was
completely evaluated and reviewed by the IBP. The complainants
forgiveness or even withdrawal from the case does not ipso facto obliterate
the misconduct committed by Francisco. To begin with, it is already too late
in the day for the complainants to withdraw the disbarment case considering
that they had already presented and supported their claims with convincing
and credible evidence.

In the present complaint, Caspe narrated that on December 21, 2007, Romulo
Gaduena, a barangay tanod, harassed Jan Mark Busa and Marcelino Jataas
with a gun. Caspe, who was on duty, together with PO1 Onofre Lopea
responded. They recovered a caliber 0.357 revolver which was turned over
to the Can-avid Police station. The incident was recorded in the police blotter.
Gaduena evaded arrest with the help of barangay captain Prudencio Agda
and other barangay tanods who allegedly clobbered Caspe and took his gun.
In the interest of peace and harmony, the Chief of Police called and requested
that Caspe desist from filing charges against the barangay captain and
tanods, specifically Gaduena. Caspe acceded.

The complainants belated claim that the respondents were faultless and that
the allegations stated in the disbarment complaint were just fabricated by their
former counsel cannot stand against the clear and preponderant evidence
they earlier presented. What clearly appears is that the facts material to the
violation committed by Francisco are well-established notwithstanding Atty.
Paras supposed fabrication of some insignificant particulars.

However, Gaduena, with Atty. Mejica as counsel, filed a complaint for serious
slander by deed against Caspe, which was supported by a joint affidavit of
two barangay tanods. It was alleged that Caspe kicked, collared and slapped
Gaduenas face. This prompted Caspe to disregard the agreement with the
Chief of Police and he filed cases against the tanods. Suspecting that Atty.
Mejica encouraged Gaduena to file the case against him, Caspe filed the
cases for damages and disbarment against Atty. Mejica before the IBP.

PO1 JOSE CASPE vs. ATTY. AQUILINO MEJICA


A.C. No. 10679 March 10, 2015
FACTS: A complaint for disbarment was filed by PO1 Jose B. Caspe against
Atty. Aquilino A. Mejica for alleged violation of Code of Professional
Responsibility (CPR) specifically Rules 1.03, 1.04, and 10.01.

Atty. Mejica failed to appear at the Mandatory Conference. He filed


manifestation that he never received a copy of the complaints against him.

Petitioners Contention:

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He asked that the hearing be postponed and rescheduled and that copies of
the complaint be furnished to him. The hearing was thus rescheduled to
January 13, 2009 and a copy of the complaint was sent to him via a private
courier, LBC. It appeared however that he did not claim the mail.

CBD thus recommended that Atty. Mejica be suspended from the practice of
law for one year.

On December 9, 2008, Atty. Mejica once more manifested that he did not
receive any notice from LBC of any mail to be claimed. He also expressed
misgivings on the shift from registered mail to the use of a private courier to
send copies of the complaint. He requested that a copy of the complaint be
sent to him via registered mail.

ISSUE: Whether or not respondent is administratively liable?

The IBP BOG adopted the Report and Recommendation of the IBP CBD.

HELD: Yes, Atty. Mejica further violated Canon 1145 of the CPR which calls
for a lawyer to observe and give due respect to courts and judicial officers.
The Supreme Court adopts the findings of the IBP but modify the penalty
imposed.

Atty. Mejica failed to appear in the January 13, 2009 hearing. Again, Atty.
Mejica failed to appear for the February 3, 2009 hearing. The IBP CBD
ordered the case submitted for decision.

The IBP CBD concluded that there could be no other reason for Atty. Mejica
to file the cases against PO1 Caspe other than to get back at him. The High
Court agrees that the confluence of circumstances points to Atty. Mejicas
corrupt motive in helping Gaduena in filing cases against Caspe, in violation
of Rules 1.03, 1.04 and 10.01 of the CPR.

Respondents Contention:
Atty. Mejica maintains that he was not afforded due process. He stated that
he received a Notice of Preliminary Conference for October 21, 2008 but did
not appear since he did not receive a copy of the complaint and was not
ordered to answer. For the scheduled February 3, 2009 Conference, Atty.
Mejica reasoned that it was impossible for him to attend the meeting since he
received the Notice in the afternoon of February 3, 2009.33 Furthermore, he
was not given the opportunity to answer. Atty. Mejica also maintained that he
never threatened Caspe because he was not present during the preliminary
conference where he allegedly uttered the threatening words.

With respect to Atty. Mejicas claim that he was not afforded due process, i.e.,
he was not able to receive a copy of a complaint which in turn was the reason
for him not to have attended the mandatory conference, This contention is
untenable.
Section 5, Rule V of the Rules of Procedure of the Commission on Bar
Discipline Integrated Bar of the Philippines provides that:

IBP Ruling and Recommendation:

SEC. 5. Non-appearance of Parties, and Non-verification of


Pleadings. a) Non-appearance at the mandatory conference or
at the clarificatory questioning date shall be deemed a waiver of
right to participate in the proceeding. Ex parte conference or
hearings shall then be conducted. Pleadings submitted or filed
which are not verified shall not be given weight by the
Investigating Commissioner.

The IBP CBD found respondent guilty of violating Rules 1.03, 1.04 and 10.01
of the CPR. It stated that Atty. Mejica was corruptly motivated in encouraging
the filing of suits against Caspe making good his threat to file case upon case
against the latter until he kneels before him. Notice was taken that this was
Atty. Mejicas second infraction for a similar offense. In Baldado v. Mejica, he
was suspended from the practice of law for a period of three months. The IBP

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Atty. Mejica during the course of these proceedings has missed all four
scheduled hearings supposedly since he was not furnished any copy of the
complaint. Records suggest however that a copy of the complaint was sent
to him on August 25, 2008, a mail which he did not claim. He submitted two
manifestations in response to notices he received. He was thus placed on
notice that there was an action against him.

Pobre asks that disbarment proceedings or other disciplinary actions be taken


against the lady senator.
Defendants Defense:
Senator Santiago, through counsel, does not deny making the aforequoted
statements. She, however, explained that those statements were covered by
the constitutional provision on parliamentary immunity, being part of a speech
she delivered in the discharge of her duty as member of Congress or its
committee. The purpose of her speech, according to her, was to bring out in
the open controversial anomalies in governance with a view to future remedial
legislation. She averred that she wanted to expose what she believed to be
an unjust act of the Judicial Bar Council [JBC], which, after sending out public
invitations for nomination to the soon to-be vacated position of Chief Justice,
would eventually inform applicants that only incumbent justices of the
Supreme Court would qualify for nomination. She felt that the JBC should
have at least given an advanced advisory that non-sitting members of the
Court, like her, would not be considered for the position of Chief Justice.

It is the Courts opinion that Atty. Mejicas attitude toward the proceedings
before the IBP indicates a lack of respect for the IBPs rules and procedures.
respondent Atty. Aquilino A. Mejica is found GUILTY of violation of Rules 1.03,
1.04 and 10.01 and Canon 11 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. He
is SUSPENDED from the practice of law for TWO (2) YEARS.
ANTERO J. POBRE v. SEN. MIRIAM DEFENSOR-SANTIAGO
A.C. No. 7399, August 25, 2009
FACTS: In his sworn letter/complaint dated December 22, 2006, with
enclosures, Antero J. Pobre invites the Courts attention to the following
excerpts of Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiagos speech delivered on the
Senate floor:

ISSUE: WON Sen. Miriam Santiago may be disbarred or be administratively


liable.

x x x I am not angry. I am irate. I am foaming in the mouth.


I am homicidal. I am suicidal. I am humiliated, debased,
degraded. And I am not only that, I feel like throwing up to
be living my middle years in a country of this nature. I am
nauseated. I spit on the face of Chief Justice Artemio
Panganiban and his cohorts in the Supreme Court, I am no
longer interested in the position [of Chief Justice] if I was to
be surrounded by idiots. I would rather be in another
environment but not in the Supreme Court of idiots x x x.

HELD: This Court is aware of the need and has in fact been in the forefront
in upholding the institution of parliamentary immunity and promotion of free
speech. Neither has the Court lost sight of the importance of the legislative
and oversight functions of the Congress that enable this representative body
to look diligently into every affair of government, investigate and denounce
anomalies, and talk about how the country and its citizens are being
served. Courts do not interfere with the legislature or its members in the
manner they perform their functions in the legislative floor or in committee
rooms. Any claim of an unworthy purpose or of the falsity and mala fides of
the statement uttered by the member of the Congress does not destroy the
privilege. The disciplinary authority of the assembly and the voters, not the
courts, can properly discourage or correct such abuses committed in the
name of parliamentary immunity. For the above reasons, the plea of Senator
Santiago for the dismissal of the complaint for disbarment or disciplinary

To Pobre, the foregoing statements reflected a total disrespect on the part of


the speaker towards then Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban and the other
members of the Court and constituted direct contempt of court. Accordingly,

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action is well taken. Indeed, her privilege speech is not actionable criminally
or in a disciplinary proceeding under the Rules of Court. It is felt, however,
that this could not be the last word on the matter.

to the Senate Ethics Committee for appropriate disciplinary action, as the


Rules dictates under such circumstance. The lady senator clearly violated the
rules of her own chamber. It is unfortunate that her peers bent backwards and
avoided imposing their own rules on her.

No lawyer who has taken an oath to maintain the respect due to the courts
should be allowed to erode the peoples faith in the judiciary. In this case, the
lady senator clearly violated Canon 8, Rule 8.01 and Canon 11 of the Code
of Professional Responsibility, which respectively provide:

NATASHA HUEYSUWAN-FLORIDO v. ATTY. JAMES BENEDICT C.


FLORIDO, A.C. No. 5624, January 20, 2004
FACTS: An administrative complaint for the disbarment of respondent Atty.
James Benedict C. Florido and his eventual removal from the Roll of Attorneys
for allegedly violating his oath as a lawyer by manufacturing, flaunting and
using a spurious and bogus Court of Appeals Resolution/Order.

Canon 8, Rule 8.01.A lawyer shall not, in his professional


dealings, use language which is abusive, offensive or
otherwise improper.
Canon 11.A lawyer shall observe and maintain the
respect due to the courts and to the judicial officers and
should insist on similar conduct by others.

Natasha V. HeysuwanFlorido, the complainant, averred that she was the legitimatespouse of the
respondent Atty. James Benedict Florido, the respondent, but because of
theestranged relation, they lived separately. They have two children whom
the complainant has thecustody. Complainant filed a case for the
annulment of her marriage; meanwhile there, wasanother related case
pending in the Court of Appeals.Sometime in the middle of December 2001,
respondent went to complainants residence

Senator/Atty. Santiago is a cut higher than most lawyers. Her achievements


speak for themselves. She was a former Regional Trial Court judge, a law
professor, an oft-cited authority on constitutional and international law, an
author of numerous law textbooks, and an elected senator of the
land. Needless to stress, Senator Santiago, as a member of the Bar and
officer of the court, like any other, is duty-bound to uphold the dignity and
authority of this Court and to maintain the respect due its members. Lawyers
in public service are keepers of public faith and are burdened with the higher
degree of social responsibility, perhaps higher than their brethren in private
practice.[7] Senator Santiago should have known, as any perceptive individual,
the impact her statements would make on the peoples faith in the integrity of
the courts.

in Tanjay City, Negros Oriental and demanded that the custody of their two
minor children besurrendered to him. He showed complainant a photocopy of
an alleged Resolution issued by theCourt of Appeals which supposedly
granted his motion for temporary child custody.
Complainant called up her lawyer but the latter informed her that he had not
received any motionfor temporary child custody filed by
respondent.Complainant asked respondent for the original copy of the alleged
resolution of the Court ofAppeals, but respondent failed to give it to her.
Complainant then examined the resolutionclosely and noted that it bore two
dates: November 12, 2001 and November 29, 2001. Sensingsomething
amiss, she refused to give custody of their children to respondent. The
complainantverified the authenticity of the Resolution and obtained a
certification.

The Rules of the Senate itself contains a provision on Unparliamentary Acts


and Language that enjoins a Senator from using, under any circumstance,
offensive or improper language against another Senator or against any public
institution. But as to Senator Santiagos unparliamentary remarks, the Senate
President had not apparently called her to order, let alone referred the matter

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[from the Court of Appeals stating that no such resolution ordering


complainant to surrender custody of their children to respondent had been
issued.

of his conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude, or for any violation of the
oath which he is required to take before the admission to practice, or for a
willful disobedience appearing as attorney for a party without authority to do
so.

Respondent claims that he acted in good faith in invoking the Court of


Appeals Resolution which he honestly believed to be authentic. This,
however, is belied by the fact that he used and presented the spurious
resolution several times. As pointed out by the Investigating Commissioner,
the assailed Resolution was presented by respondent on at least two
occasions: first, in his Petition for Issuance of Writ of Habeas
Corpus docketed as Special Proc. Case No. 3898 which he filed with the
Regional Trial Court of Dumaguete City; and second, when he sought the
assistance of the Philippine National Police (PNP) of Tanjay City to recover
custody of his minor children from complainant. Since it was respondent who
used the spurious Resolution, he is presumed to have participated in its
fabrication.

Considering the attendant circumstances, we agree with the recommendation


of the IBP Board of Governors that respondent should be suspended from the
practice of law. However, we find that the period of six years is too harsh a
penalty. Instead, suspension for the lesser period of two years, which we
deem commensurate to the offense committed, is hereby imposed on
respondent.
WHEREFORE, in view of all the foregoing, Atty. James Benedict C. Florido is
SUSPENDED from the practice of law for a period of two (2) years.

ISSUE: Whether or not the respondent can be held administratively liable for
his reliance on and attempt to enforce a spurious Resolution of the Court of
Appeals.

RE: LETTER OF THE UP LAW FACULTY ENTITLED "RESTORING


INTEGRITY: A STATEMENT BY THE FACULTY OF THE UNIVERSITY OF
THE PHILIPPINES COLLEGE OF LAW ON THE ALLEGATIONS OF
PLAGIARISM AND MISREPRESENTATION IN THE SUPREME COURT"
A.M. No. 10-10-4-SC
March 8, 2011

HELD: Candor and fairness are demanded of every lawyer. The burden cast
on the judiciary would be intolerable if it could not take at face value what is
asserted by counsel. The time that will have to be devoted just to the task of
verification of allegations submitted could easily be imagined. Even with due
recognition then that counsel is expected to display the utmost zeal in the
defense of a clients cause, it must never be at the expense of the truth.

FACTS: The ponencia of Associate Justice Mariano del Castillo (Justice Del
Castillo) in Vinuya, et al. v. Executive Secretary (G.R. No. 162230) was
promulgated. On May 31, 2010, the counsel for Vinuya, et al. (the "Malaya
Lolas"), filed a Motion for Reconsideration of the Vinuya decision, raising
solely the following grounds:

Respondents actions erode the public perception of the legal profession. They
constitute gross misconduct and the sanctions for such malfeasance is
prescribed by Section 27, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court which states:

I.

SEC. 27. Disbarment and suspension of attorneys by Supreme Court,


grounds therefore.- A member of the bar may be disbarred or suspended from
his office as attorney by the Supreme Court for any deceit, malpractice or
other gross misconduct in such office, grossly immoral conduct or by reason

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83

Our own constitutional and jurisprudential histories reject


this Honorable Courts (sic) assertion that the Executives
foreign policy prerogatives are virtually unlimited; precisely,
under the relevant jurisprudence and constitutional
provisions, such prerogatives are proscribed by
international human rights and humanitarian standards,
including those provided for in the relevant international
conventions of which the Philippines is a party.

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Corona). Thereafter, various authors wrote the Court regarding the alleged
plagiarism of their works.

II. This Honorable Court has confused diplomatic protection with the
broader, if fundamental, responsibility of states to protect the human
rights of its citizens especially where the rights asserted are subject
of erga omnes obligations and pertain to jus cogens norms.

ISSUE: W/N the professors violated the Code of Professional Responsibility


Whether lawyers who are also law professors can invoke academic freedom
as a defense in an administrative proceeding for intemperate statements
tending to pressure the Court or influence the outcome of a case or degrade
the courts.

Counsel for the Malaya Lolas, Attys. H. Harry L. Roque, Jr. (Atty. Roque) and
Romel Regalado Bagares (Atty. Bagares), filed a Supplemental Motion for
Reconsideration in G.R. No. 162230, where they posited for the first time their
charge of plagiarism as one of the grounds for reconsideration of the Vinuya
decision. They also claimed that "[i]n this controversy, the evidence bears out
the fact not only of extensive plagiarism but of (sic) also of twisting the true
intents of the plagiarized sources by the ponencia to suit the arguments of the
assailed Judgment for denying the Petition."

HELD: The Code of Professional Responsibility mandates:


CANON 8 - A lawyer shall conduct himself with courtesy, fairness and candor
toward his professional colleagues, and shall avoid harassing tactics against
opposing counsel.

Justice Del Castillo wrote to his colleagues on the Court in reply to the charge
of plagiarism contained in the Supplemental Motion for Reconsideration.

Rule 8.01 - A lawyer shall not, in his professional dealings, use language
which is abusive, offensive or otherwise improper.

The Court formed the Committee on Ethics and Ethical Standards (the Ethics
Committee) pursuant to Section 13, Rule 2 of the Internal Rules of the
Supreme Court. In an En Banc Resolution also dated July 27, 2010, the Court
referred the July 22, 2010 letter of Justice Del Castillo to the Ethics
Committee. The matter was subsequently docketed as A.M. No. 10-7-17-SC.

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.
Rule 11.03 - A lawyer shall abstain from scandalous, offensive or
menacing language or behavior before the Courts.

A statement dated July 27, 2010, entitled "Restoring Integrity: A Statement by


the Faculty of the University of the Philippines College of Law on the
Allegations of Plagiarism and Misrepresentation in the Supreme Court" (the
Statement), was posted in Newsbreaks website and on Atty. Roques blog. A
report regarding the statement also appeared on various on-line news sites,
such as the GMA News TV and the Sun Star sites, on the same date. The
statement was likewise posted at the University of the Philippines College of
Laws bulletin board allegedly on August 10, 2010 and at said colleges
website. On August 11, 2010, Dean Leonen submitted a copy of the
Statement of the University of the Philippines College of Law Faculty (UP Law
faculty) to the Court, through Chief Justice Renato C. Corona (Chief Justice

1ST SEMESTER SY. 2015-2016 ATTY. VICTORIA LOANZON

To be sure, the adversarial nature of our legal system has tempted members
of the bar to use strong language in pursuit of their duty to advance the
interests of their clients.
However, while a lawyer is entitled to present his case with vigor and
courage, such enthusiasm does not justify the use of offensive and
abusive language. Language abounds with countless possibilities for
one to be emphatic but respectful, convincing but not derogatory,
illuminating but not offensive.

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On many occasions, the Court has reminded members of the Bar to


abstain from all offensive personalityand to advance no fact prejudicial to
the honor or reputation of a party or witness, unless required by the justice of
the cause with which he is charged. In keeping with the dignity of the legal
profession, a lawyers language even in his pleadings must be dignified.128

Even if the Court was willing to accept respondents proposition in the


Common Compliance that their issuance of the Statement was in keeping with
their duty to "participate in the development of the legal system by initiating or
supporting efforts in law reform and in the improvement of the administration
of justice" under Canon 4 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, we
cannot agree that they have fulfilled that same duty in keeping with the
demands of Canons 1, 11 and 13 to give due respect to legal processes and
the courts, and to avoid conduct that tends to influence the courts. Members
of the Bar cannot be selective regarding which canons to abide by given
particular situations. With more reason that law professors are not allowed
this indulgence, since they are expected to provide their students exemplars
of the Code of Professional Responsibility as a whole and not just their
preferred portions thereof

Verily, the accusatory and vilifying nature of certain portions of the Statement
exceeded the limits of fair comment and cannot be deemed as protected free
speech.
One such societal value that presses for recognition in the case at bar is the
threat to judicial independence and the orderly administration of justice that
immoderate, reckless and unfair attacks on judicial decisions and institutions
pose.

In this regard, the Court finds that there was indeed a lack of observance of
fidelity and due respect to the Court, particularly when respondents knew fully
well that the matter of plagiarism in the Vinuya decision and the merits of the
Vinuya decision itself, at the time of the Statements issuance, were still both
sub judice or pending final disposition of the Court. These facts have been
widely publicized. On this point, respondents allege that at the time the
Statement was first drafted on July 27, 2010, they did not know of the
constitution of the Ethics Committee and they had issued the Statement under
the belief that this Court intended to take no action on the ethics charge
against Justice Del Castillo. Still, there was a significant lapse of time from the
drafting and printing of the Statement on July 27, 2010 and its publication and
submission to this Court in early August when the Ethics Committee had
already been convened. If it is true that the respondents outrage was fueled
by their perception of indifference on the part of the Court then, when it
became known that the Court did intend to take action, there was nothing to
prevent respondents from recalibrating the Statement to take this supervening
event into account in the interest of fairness.

3. Applying by analogy the Courts past treatment of the "free speech"


defense in other bar discipline cases, academic freedom cannot be
successfully invoked by respondents in this case. The implicit ruling in
the jurisprudence discussed above is that the constitutional right to
freedom of expression of members of the Bar may be circumscribed by
their ethical duties as lawyers to give due respect to the courts and to
uphold the publics faith in the legal profession and the justice system. To
our mind, the reason that freedom of expression may be so delimited in
the case of lawyers applies with greater force to the academic freedom
of law professors.
It would do well for the Court to remind respondents that, in view of the broad
definition in Cayetano v. Monsod,134 lawyers when they teach law are
considered engaged in the practice of law. Unlike professors in other
disciplines and more than lawyers who do not teach law, respondents are
bound by their oath to uphold the ethical standards of the legal profession.
Thus, their actions as law professors must be measured against the same
canons of professional responsibility applicable to acts of members of the Bar
as the fact of their being law professors is inextricably entwined with the fact
that they are lawyers.

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In a democracy, members of the legal community are hardly expected to have


monolithic views on any subject, be it a legal, political or social issue. Even as
lawyers passionately and vigorously propound their points of view they are
bound by certain rules of conduct for the legal profession. This Court is

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certainly not claiming that it should be shielded from criticism. All the Court
demands is the same respect and courtesy that one lawyer owes to another
under established ethical standards. All lawyers, whether they are judges,
court employees, professors or private practitioners, are officers of the Court
and have voluntarily taken an oath, as an indispensable qualification for
admission to the Bar, to conduct themselves with good fidelity towards the
courts. There is no exemption from this sworn duty for law professors,
regardless of their status in the academic community or the law school to
which they belong.

mindful of his duty, as a member of the Bar, an officer of the Court,


and a Dean and professor of law, to observe full candor and honesty
in his dealings with the Court and warned that the same or similar
act in the future shall be dealt with more severely.
(4) Prof. Lynch, who is not a member of the Philippine bar, is excused
from these proceedings. However, he is reminded that while he is
engaged as a professor in a Philippine law school he should strive
to be a model of responsible and professional conduct to his students
even without the threat of sanction from this Court.

WHEREFORE, this administrative matter is decided as follows:

(5) Finally, respondents requests for a hearing and for access to the records
of A.M. No. 10-7-17-SC are denied for lack of merit.

(1) With respect to Prof. Vasquez, after favorably noting his


submission, the Court finds his Compliance to be satisfactory.
(2) The Common Compliance of 35 respondents, namely, Attys.
Marvic M.V.F. Leonen, Froilan M. Bacungan, Pacifico A. Agabin,
Merlin M. Magallona, Salvador T. Carlota, Carmelo V. Sison, Patricia
R.P. Salvador Daway, Dante B. Gatmaytan, Theodore O. Te, Florin
T. Hilbay, Jay L. Batongbacal, Evelyn (Leo) D. Battad, Gwen G. De
Vera, Solomon F. Lumba, Rommel J. Casis, Jose Gerardo A.
Alampay, Miguel R. Armovit, Arthur P. Autea, Rosa Maria J. Bautista,
Mark R. Bocobo, Dan P. Calica, Tristan A. Catindig, Sandra Marie
O. Coronel, Rosario O. Gallo, Concepcion L. Jardeleza, Antonio
G.M. La Via, Carina C. Laforteza, Jose C. Laureta, Rodolfo Noel S.
Quimbo, Antonio M. Santos, Gmeleen Faye B. Tomboc, Nicholas
Felix L. Ty, Evalyn G. Ursua, Susan D. Villanueva and Dina D.
Lucenario, is found UNSATISFACTORY. These 35 respondent law
professors are reminded of their lawyerly duty, under Canons 1, 11
and 13 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, to give due
respect to the Court and to refrain from intemperate and offensive
language tending to influence the Court on pending matters or to
denigrate the Court and the administration of justice and warned that
the same or similar act in the future shall be dealt with more severely.
(3) The separate Compliance of Dean Marvic M.V.F. Leonen
regarding the charge of violation of Canon 10 is found
UNSATISFACTORY. He is further ADMONISHED to be more

1ST SEMESTER SY. 2015-2016 ATTY. VICTORIA LOANZON

LANTORIA v. BUNYI
A.M. Case No. 1769, June 8, 1992
FACTS: This is an administrative complaint filed by Cesar L. Lantoria, seeking
disciplinary action against respondent Irineo L. Bunyi, member of the
Philippine Bar, on the ground that respondent Bunyi allegedly committed acts
of "graft and corruption, dishonesty and conduct unbecoming of a member of
the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, and corruption of the judge and bribery",
in connection with respondent's handling of Civil Case Nos. 81, 83 and 88
then pending before the Municipal Court of Experanza, Agusan del Sur,
presided over by Municipal Judge Vicente Galicia in which respondent Bunyi
was the counsel of one of the parties, namely, Mrs. Constancia Mascarinas.
Respondent Bunyi alleged that Mrs. Constancia M. Mascarinas of Manila was
the owner of d farm located in Esperanza, Agusan del Sur, and that herein
complainant Lantoria was the manager and supervisor of said farm, receiving
as such a monthly allowance. 2 It appears that the complaint in Civil Case
Nos. 81, 83 and 88 sought to eject the squatters from the aforementioned
farm. 3 These cases were assigned to the Municipal Court of Esperanza,
Agusan del Bur, the acting municipal judge of which was the Honorable
Vicente Galicia (who was at the same time the regular judge of the municipal
court of Bayugan, Agusan del Sur

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Respondent admitted the existence of the letter but explained the contents
thereof as follows:
a) the said letter of June 1, 1974, is self-explanatory and speaks for itself, that
if ever the same was written by the Respondent, it was due to the insistence
of the Complainant thru his several letters received, that the decisions in
question be drafted or prepared for Judge Galicia,
b) Thirdly, in the same letter, the decisions as prepared were in the form of
drafts, as in fact, the letter mentioned subject to suggestion or correction to
change or modify for the better by Judge Galicia (Second paragraph, Ibid);
c) Fourthly, in the some letter, Responding (sic) even apologized for the delay
in sending the same to the Complainant and expressed his gratitude for his
assistance in attending to the cases involved

The subject letters indeed indicate that respondent had previous


communication with Judge Galicia regarding the preparation of the draft
decisions in Civil Case Nos. 81, 83, and 88, and which he in fact prepared.
Although nothing in the records would show that respondent got the trial court
judge's consent to the said preparation for a favor or consideration, the acts
of respondent nevertheless amount to conduct unbecoming of a lawyer and
an officer of the Court. Clearly, respondent violated Canon No. 3 of the
Canons of Professional Ethics (which were enforced at the time respondent
committed the acts admitted by him), which provides as follows:
3. Attempts to exert personal influence on the court
Marked attention and unusual hospitality on the part of a lawyer to a judge,
uncalled for by the personal relations of the parties, subject both the judge
and the lawyer to misconstructions of motive and should be avoided. A lawyer
should not communicate or argue privately with the judge as to the merits of
a pending cause and deserves rebuke and denunciation for any device or
attempt to gain from a judge special personal consideration or favor. A selfrespecting independence in the discharge of professional duty, without denial
or diminution of the courtesy and respect due the judge's station, is the only
proper foundation for cordial personal and official relations between bench
and bar.

The Court referred the case to the Solicitor General for investigation, report
and recommendation. On 21 July 1980, the Solicitor General submitted his
report to the Court, Hence, in his report, the Solicitor General found that
respondent is guilty of highly unethical and unprofessional conduct for failure
to perform his duty, as an officer of the court, to help promote the
independence of the judiciary and to refrain from engaging in acts which would
influence judicial determination of a litigation in which he is counsel. The
Solicitor General recommended that respondent be suspended from the
practice of law for a period of one (1) year. He filed with the Court the
corresponding complaint against respondent.

In the new Code of Professional Responsibility a lawyer's attempt to influence


the court is rebuked, as shown in Canon No. 13 and Rule 13.01, which read:

In his answer to the complaint filed by the Solicitor General, respondent


manifested that in the future he would be more careful in observing his duties
as a lawyer, and in upholding the provisions of the canons of professional
ethics.

CANON 13 A lawyer shall rely upon the merits of his cause and refrain
from any impropriety which tends to influence, or gives the appearance of
influencing the court.
Rule 13.01 A lawyer shall not extend extraordinary attention or hospitality
to, nor seek opportunity for, cultivating familiarity with judges.

ISSUE: Whether or not Bunyi is guilty of unethical conduct.


HELD: We find merit in the recommendation of the Solicitor General that
respondent, by way of disciplinary action, deserves suspension from the
practice of law.

1ST SEMESTER SY. 2015-2016 ATTY. VICTORIA LOANZON

Therefore, this Court finds respondent guilty of unethical practice in


attempting to influence the court where he had pending civil case.

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WHEREFORE, respondent Atty. Irineo L. Bunyi is hereby SUSPENDED from


the practice of law for a period of one (1) year from the date of notice hereof.
Let this decision be entered in the bar records of the respondent and the Court
Administrator is directed to inform the different courts of this suspension.

Fiscal Salva conferred with the Solicitor General as to what steps he should
take. A conference was held with the Secretary of Justice who decided to
have the results of the investigation by the Philippine Constabulary and
Malacaang investigators made available to counsel for the appellants.

CRUZ v. SALVA
G.R. No. 12871, July 25, 1959, 105 Phil. 115

Thereafter, counsel for the appellants filed a motion for new trial with this
Tribunal supporting the same with the so-called affidavits and confessions of
some of those persons investigated. By resolution of this Tribunal, action on
said motion for new trial was deferred until the case was studied and
determined on the merits. In the meantime, the Chief, Philippine
Constabulary, head sent to the Office of Fiscal Salva copies of the same
affidavits and confessions and written statements, of which the motion for new
trial was based, and respondent Salva proceeded to conduct a
reinvestigation.

FACTS:
Petitioner:
This is a petition for certiorari and prohibition with preliminary injunction filed
by Timoteo V. Cruz against Francisco G. H. Salva, in his capacity as City
Fiscal of Pasay City, to restrain him from continuing with the preliminary
investigation he was conducting in September, 1957 in connection with the
killing of Manuel Monroy which took place on June 15, 1953 in Pasay City

In connection with said preliminary investigation being conducted by the


committee, petitioner Timoteo Cruz was subpoenaed by respondent to appear
at his office to testify "upon oath before me in a certain criminal investigation
to be conducted at the time and place by this office against you and Sergio
Eduardo, et al., for murder." On the dates of preliminary investigation, Atty.
Baizas appeared for petitioner Cruz, questioned the jurisdiction of the
committee, particularly respondent Salva, to conduct the preliminary
investigation in view of the fact that the same case involving the killing of
Manuel Monroy was pending appeal in this Court, and on the same day filed
the present petition for certiorari and prohibition. Moreover, it has been
observed that the investigation was conducted not in respondent's office but
in the session hall of the Municipal Court of Pasay City evidently, to
accommodate the big crowd that wanted to witness the proceeding, including
members of the press. A number of microphones were installed. Reporters
were everywhere and photographers were busy taking pictures. In other
words, apparently with the permission of, if not the encouragement by the
respondent, news photographers and newsmen had a filed day. Not only this,
it also appeared in the records that the respondent allowed the media to ask
questions to the witness in the course of the investigation.

Following the killing of Manuel Monroy in 1953 a number of persons were


accused as involved and implicated in said crime. After a long trial, the Court
of First Instance of Pasay City found Oscar Castelo, Jose de Jesus, Hipolito
Bonifacio, Bienvenido Mendoza, Francis Berdugo and others guilty of the
crime of murder and sentenced them to death. They all appealed the
sentence.
Pending appeal, the late President Magsaysay ordered a reinvestigation of
the case. Intelligence agents of the Philippine Constabulary and investigators
of Malacaang conducted the investigation for the Chief Executive,
questioned a number of people and obtained what would appear to be
confession, pointing to persons, other than those convicted and sentenced by
the trial court, as the real killers of Manuel Monroy, With that, Counsel for
Oscar Castelo and his co-defendants wrote to respondent Fiscal Salva to
conduct a reinvestigation of the case presumably on the basis of the affidavits
and confessions obtained by those who had investigated the case at the
instance of Malacaang.

Respondent:

1ST SEMESTER SY. 2015-2016 ATTY. VICTORIA LOANZON

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the instance of Realista, had scheduled the hearing at an early date, that is in
August, 1957. Respondent claims that before he would go to trial in the
prosecution of Realista he had to chart his course and plan of action, whether
to present the same evidence, oral and documentary, presented in the original
case and trial, or, in view of the new evidence consisting of the affidavits and
confessions sent to him by the Philippine Constabulary, he should first assess
and determine the value of said evidence by conducting an investigation and
that should he be convinced that the persons criminally responsible for the
killing of Manuel Monroy were other than those already tried and convicted,
like Oscar Castelo and his co-accused and co-appellants, including Salvador
Realista, then he might act accordingly and even recommend the dismissal of
the case against Realista.

Respondent Salva, however, contends that if he subpoenaed petitioner Cruz


at all, it was because of the latter's oral and personal request to allow him to
appear at the investigation with his witnesses for his own protection, possibly,
to controvert and rebut any evidence therein presented against him. Salva
claims that were it not for this request and if, on the contrary, Timoteo Cruz
had expressed any objection to being cited to appear in the investigation he
(Salva) would never have subpoenaed him.
ISSUE:
1. W/N the act of Salva to conduct preliminary investigation is correct
2. W/N petitioner may be compelled to attend preliminary investigation
3. Is the respondents act of publicizing the case correct

The duty and role of prosecuting attorney is not only to prosecute and secure
the conviction of the guilty but also to protect the innocent.

HELD:
(1)
As to the right of respondent Salva to conduct the preliminary
investigation which he and his committee began ordinarily, when a criminal
case in which a fiscal intervened though nominally, for according to
respondent, two government attorneys had been designed by the Secretary
of Justice to handle the prosecution in the trial of the case in the court below,
is tried and decided and it is appealed to a higher court such as this Tribunal,
the functions and actuations of said fiscal have terminated; usually, the appeal
is handled for the government by the Office of the Solicitor General.
Consequently, there would be no reason or occasion for said fiscal to conduct
a reinvestigation to determine criminal responsibility for the crime involved in
the appeal.

(2)
However, with respect to the right of respondent Salva to cite
petitioner to appear and testify before him at the scheduled preliminary
investigation, under the law, petitioner had a right to be present at that
investigation since as was already stated, he was more or less deeply
involved and implicated in the killing of Monroy according to the affiants whose
confessions, affidavits and testimonies respondent Salva was considering or
was to consider at said preliminary investigation. But he need not be present
at said investigation because his presence there implies, and was more of a
right rather than a duty or legal obligation. Consequently, even if, as claimed
by respondent Salva, petitioner expressed the desire to be given an
opportunity to be present at the said investigation, if he latter changed his
mind and renounced his right, and even strenuously objected to being made
to appear at said investigation, he could not be compelled to do so.

In the present case, respondent has, in this Courts opinion, established a


justification for his reinvestigation because according to him, in the original
criminal case against Castelo, et al., one of the defendants named Salvador
Realista y de Guzman was not included for the reason that he was arrested
and was placed within the jurisdiction of the trial court only after the trial
against the other accused had commenced, even after the prosecution had
rested its case and the defense had begun to present its evidence. Naturally,
Realista remained to stand trial. The trial court, according to respondent, at

1ST SEMESTER SY. 2015-2016 ATTY. VICTORIA LOANZON

(3)
The newspapers certainly played up and gave wide publicity to what
took place during the investigation, and this involved headlines and extensive
recitals, narrations of and comments on the testimonies given by the
witnesses as well as vivid descriptions of the incidents that took place during
the investigation. It seemed as though the criminal responsibility for the killing
of Manuel Monroy which had already been tried and finally determined by the

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IN RE: ALMACEN
G.R. No. 12871, February 18, 1970

lower court and which was under appeal and advisement by this Tribunal, was
being retried and redetermined in the press, and all with the apparent place
and complaisance of respondent,

FACTS: Atty. Almacen was the counsel of one Virginia Yaptinchay in a civil
case. They lost in said civil case but Almacen filed a Motion for
Reconsideration. He notified the opposing party of said motion but he failed
to indicate the time and place of hearing of said motion. Hence, his motion
was denied. He then appealed but the Court of Appeals denied his appeal as
it agreed with the trial court with regard to the motion for reconsideration.
Eventually, Almacen filed an appeal on certiorari before the Supreme Court
which outrightly denied his appeal in a minute resolution. This earned the ire
of Almacen who called such minute resolutions as unconstitutional. He then
filed before the Supreme Court a petition to surrender his lawyers certificate
of title as he claimed that it is useless to continue practicing his profession
when members of the high court are men who are calloused to pleas for
justice, who ignore without reasons their own applicable decisions and commit
culpable violations of the Constitution with impunity. He further alleged that
due to the minute resolution, his client was made to pay P120k without
knowing the reasons why and that he became one of the sacrificial victims
before the altar of hypocrisy. He also stated that justice as administered by
the present members of the Supreme Court is not only blind, but also deaf
and dumb.

The members of this Court were greatly disturbed and annoyed by such
publicity and sensationalism, all of which may properly be laid at the door of
respondent Salva. In this, he committed what was regard a grievous error and
poor judgment for which we fail to find any excuse or satisfactory explanation.
His actuations in this regard went well beyond the bounds of prudence,
discretion and good taste. It is bad enough to have such undue publicity when
a criminal case is being investigated by the authorities, even when it being
tried in court; but when said publicity and sensationalism is allowed, even
encouraged, when the case is on appeal and is pending consideration by this
Tribunal, the whole thing becomes inexcusable, even abhorrent, and this
Court, in the interest of justice, is constrained and called upon to put an end
to it and a deterrent against its repetition by meting an appropriate disciplinary
measure, even a penalty to the one liable.
In conclusion, we find and hold that respondent Salva was warranted in
holding the preliminary investigation involved in this case, insofar as Salvador
Realista is concerned, for which reason the writ of preliminary injunction
issued stopping said preliminary investigation, is dissolved; that in view of
petitioner's objection to appear and testify at the said investigation,
respondent may not compel him to attend said investigation, for which reason,
the subpoena issued by respondent against petitioner is hereby set aside.

The Supreme Court did not immediately act on Almacens petition as the
Court wanted to wait for Almacen to ctually surrender his certificate. Almacen
did not surrender his lawyers certificate though as he now argues that he
chose not to. Almacen then asked that he may be permitted to give reasons
and cause why no disciplinary action should be taken against him . . . in an
open and public hearing. He said he preferred this considering that the
Supreme Court is the complainant, prosecutor and Judge. Almacen was
however unapologetic.

In view of the foregoing, the petition for certiorari and prohibition is granted in
part and denied in part. Considering the conclusion arrived at by us,
respondent Francisco G. H. Salva is hereby publicly reprehended and
censured for the uncalled for and wide publicity and sensationalism that he
had given to and allowed in connection with his investigation, which we
consider and find to be contempt of court; and, furthermore, he is warned that
a repetition of the same would meet with a more severe disciplinary action
and penalty.

1ST SEMESTER SY. 2015-2016 ATTY. VICTORIA LOANZON

ISSUE: Whether or not Almacen should be disciplined.

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HELD: Yes. The Supreme Court first clarified that minute resolutions are
needed because the Supreme Court cannot accept every case or write full
opinion for every petition they reject otherwise the High Court would be unable
to effectively carry out its constitutional duties. The proper role of the Supreme
Court is to decide only those cases which present questions whose
resolutions will have immediate importance beyond the particular facts and
parties involved. It should be remembered that a petition to review the
decision of the Court of Appeals is not a matter of right, but of sound judicial
discretion; and so there is no need to fully explain the courts denial. For one
thing, the facts and the law are already mentioned in the Court of Appeals
opinion.

assigned to represent complainant. The labor cases were terminated upon


the agreement of both parties.
A criminal case for qualified theft was filed against complainant and his wife
by FEVE Farms, represented by the law firm, which handled complainant's
labor cases. Aggrieved, complainant filed this disbarment case against
respondents, alleging that they violated the rule on conflict of interest.
RESPONDENTS:
Admitted that they indeed operated under the name Valencia Law Office, but
explained that their association is not a formal partnership, but one that is
subject to certain "arrangements."

On Almacens attack against the Supreme Court, the High Court regarded
said criticisms as uncalled for; that such is insolent, contemptuous, grossly
disrespectful and derogatory. It is true that a lawyer, both as an officer of the
court and as a citizen, has the right to criticize in properly respectful terms and
through legitimate channels the acts of courts and judges. His right as a
citizen to criticize the decisions of the courts in a fair and respectful manner,
and the independence of the bar, as well as of the judiciary, has always been
encouraged by the courts. But it 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. Intemperate and unfair criticism is a gross violation of the duty of
respect to courts.

According to them, each lawyer contributes a fixed amount every month for
the maintenance of the entire office; and expenses for cases, such as
transportation, copying, printing, mailing, and the like are shouldered by each
lawyer separately, allowing each lawyer to fix and receive his own
professional fees exclusively.
As such, the lawyers do not discuss their clientele with the other lawyers and
associates, unless they agree that a case be handled collaboratively.
They averred that complainant's labor cases were solely and exclusively
handled by Atty. Dionela and not by the entire law firm. Moreover,
respondents asserted that the qualified theft case filed by FEVE Farms was
handled by Atty. Penalosa, a new associate who had no knowledge of
complainant's labor cases, as he started working for the firm after the
termination thereof.

In the case at bar, Almacens criticism is misplaced. As a veteran lawyer, he


should have known that a motion for reconsideration which failed to notify the
opposing party of the time and place of trial is a mere scrap of paper and will
not be entertained by the court. He has only himself to blame and he is the
reason why his client lost. Almacen was suspended indefinitely.

IBP's Report and Recommendation:

WILFREDO ANGLO v. ATTY. JOSE MA. V. VALENCIA, et.al


A.C. No. 10567, February 25, 2015

IBP Commissioner found respondents to have violated the rule on conflict of


interest and recommended that they be reprimanded.

FACTS: Complainant alleged that he availed the services of the law firm of
the respondents, for labor cases. Atty. Dionela, a partner of the law firm, was

1ST SEMESTER SY. 2015-2016 ATTY. VICTORIA LOANZON

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The IBP found that complainant was indeed represented in the labor cases
by the respondents acting together as a law firm and not solely by Atty.
Dionela. Consequently, there was a conflict of interest in this case, as
respondents, having been retained by FEVE Farms, created a connection that
would injure complainant in the qualified theft case. Moreover, the termination
of attorney-client relation provides no justification for a lawyer to represent an
interest adverse to or in conflict with that of the former client.

As a final point, the Court clarifies that respondents' pronounced liability is not
altered by the fact that the labor cases against complainant had long been
terminated. Verily, the termination of attorney-client relation provides no
justification for a lawyer to represent an interest adverse to or in conflict with
that of the former client. The client's confidence once reposed should not be
divested by mere expiration of professional employment.

ISSUE: Whether or not respondents are guilty of representing conflicting


interests in violation of the pertinent provisions of the CPR.

ROLANDO PACANA JR vs. ATTY. MARICEL PASCUAL LOPEZ


A.C. No. 8243 July 24, 2009

HELD: Yes. The Supreme Court found respondents GUILTY of representing


conflicting interests in violation of Rule 15.03, Canon 15 and Canon 21 of the
Code of Professional Responsibility and are therefore REPRIMANDED for
said violations.

FACTS: An administrative complaint was filed by Rolando Pacana, Jr. against


Atty. Maricel Pascual-Lopez charging the latter with flagrant violation of the
provisions of the Code of Professional Responsibility. Complainant alleges
that respondent committed acts constituting conflict of interest, dishonesty,
influence peddling, and failure to render an accounting of all the money and
properties received by her from complainant.

There is conflict of interest when a lawyer represents inconsistent interests of


two or more opposing parties. The test is "whether or not in behalf of one
client, it is the lawyer's duty to fight for an issue or claim, but it is his duty to
oppose it for the other client. In brief, if he argues for one client, this argument
will be opposed by him when he argues for the other client." This rule covers
not only cases in which confidential communications have been confided, but
also those in which no confidence has been bestowed or will be used. Also,
there is conflict of interests if the acceptance of the new retainer will require
the attorney to perform an act which will injuriously affect his first client in any
matter in which he represents him and also whether he will be called upon in
his new relation to use against his first client any knowledge acquired through
their connection. Another test of the inconsistency of interests is whether the
acceptance of a new relation will prevent an attorney from the full discharge
of his duty of undivided fidelity and loyalty to his client or invite suspicion of
unfaithfulness or double dealing in the performance thereof.

Complainant was the Operations Director for Multitel Communications


Corporation (MCC). Sometime in July 2002, MCC changed its name to
Precedent Communications Corporation (Precedent). According to
complainant, in mid-2002, Multitel was besieged by demand letters from its
members and investors because of the failure of its investment schemes. He
alleges that he earned the ire of Multitel investors after becoming the assignee
of majority of the shares of stock of Precedent and after being appointed as
trustee of a fund amounting to Thirty Million Pesos (P30,000,000.00)
deposited at Real Bank.
Distraught, complainant sought the advice of respondent. From then on,
complainant and respondent constantly communicated, with the former
disclosing all his involvement and interests in Precedent and Precedents
relation with Multitel. Respondent gave legal advice to complainant and even
helped him prepare standard quitclaims for creditors. In sum, complainant
avers that a lawyer-client relationship was established between him and
respondent although no formal document was executed by them at that time.
A Retainer Agreement dated January 15, 2003 was proposed by respondent.

As such, a lawyer is prohibited from representing new clients whose interests


oppose those of a former client in any manner, whether or not they are parties
in the same action or on totally unrelated cases. The prohibition is founded on
the principles of public policy and good taste.

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Complainant, however, did not sign the said agreement because respondent
verbally asked for One Hundred Thousand Pesos (P100,000.00) as
acceptance fee and a 15% contingency fee upon collection of the
overpayment made by Multitel to Benefon, a telecommunications company
based in Finland. Complainant found the proposed fees to be prohibitive and
not within his means. Hence, the retainer agreement remained unsigned.

When complainant went to the United States (US), he received several


messages from respondent sent through electronic mail (e-mail) and short
messaging system (SMS, or text messages) warning him not to return to the
Philippines because Rosario Baladjay, president of Multitel, was arrested and
that complainant may later on be implicated in Multitels failed investment
system. Respondent even said that ten (10) arrest warrants and a hold
departure order had been issued against him. Complainant, thereafter,
received several e-mail messages from respondent updating him of the status
of the case against Multitel and promised that she will settle the matter
discreetly with government officials she can closely work with in order to clear
complainants name.

After a few weeks, complainant was surprised to receive a demand letter from
respondent asking for the return and immediate settlement of the funds
invested by respondents clients in Multitel. When complainant confronted
respondent about the demand letter, the latter explained that she had to send
it so that her clients defrauded investors of Multitel would know that she was
doing something for them and assured complainant that there was nothing to
worry about.

In two separate e-mail messages, respondent again asked money from


complainant, P200,000 of which was handed by complainants wife while
respondent was confined in Saint Lukes Hospital after giving birth, and
another P700,000 allegedly to be given to the NBI.

Both parties continued to communicate and exchange information regarding


the persistent demands made by Multitel investors against complainant. On
these occasions, respondent impressed upon complainant that she can
closely work with officials of the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC), the
Department of Justice (DOJ), the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), the
Bureau of Immigration and Deportations (BID), and the Securities and
Exchange Commission (SEC) to resolve complainants problems. Respondent
also convinced complainant that in order to be absolved from any liability with
respect to the investment scam, he must be able to show to the DOJ that he
was willing to divest any and all of his interests in Precedent including the
funds assigned to him by Multitel.

Through respondents persistent promises to settle all complainants legal


problems, respondent was able to convince complainant who was still in the
US to execute a deed of assignment in favor of respondent allowing the latter
to retrieve 178 boxes containing cellular phones and accessories stored in
complainants house and inside a warehouse. He also signed a blank deed of
sale authorizing respondent to sell his 2002 Isuzu Trooper.
Sometime in April 2003, wary that respondent may not be able to handle his
legal problems, complainant was advised by his family to hire another lawyer.
Respondent thru email advised complainant to stay put in the US. But on July
4, 2003, contrary to respondents advice, complainant returned to the country.
On the eve of his departure from the United States, respondent called up
complainant and conveniently informed him that he has been cleared by the
NBI and the BID.

Respondent also asked money from complainant allegedly for safekeeping to


be used only for his case whenever necessary. Complainant agreed and gave
her an initial amount of P900,000.00 which was received by respondent
herself. Sometime thereafter, complainant again gave respondent
P1,000,000.00. Said amounts were all part of Precedents collections and
sales proceeds which complainant held as assignee of the companys
properties.

1ST SEMESTER SY. 2015-2016 ATTY. VICTORIA LOANZON

About a month thereafter, respondent personally met with complainant and


his wife and told them that she has already accumulated P12,500,000.00 as
attorneys fees and was willing to give P2,000,000.00 to complainant in
appreciation for his help. Respondent allegedly told complainant that without

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his help, she would not have earned such amount. Overwhelmed and
relieved, complainant accepted respondents offer but respondent, later on,
changed her mind and told complainant that she would instead invest the
P2,000,000.00 on his behalf in a business venture. Complainant declined and
explained to respondent that he and his family needed the money instead to
cover their daily expenses as he was no longer employed. Respondent
allegedly agreed, but she failed to fulfill her promise.

In sum, complainant avers that a lawyer-client relationship was established


between him and respondent although no formal document was executed by
them at that time.
Respondents Contention:
Respondent vehemently denied being the lawyer for Precedent. She
maintained that no formal engagement was executed between her and
complainant. She claimed that she merely helped complainant by providing
him with legal advice and assistance because she personally knew him, since
they both belonged to the same religious organization.

By April 2004, however, complainant noticed that respondent was evading


him. Respondent would either refuse to return complainants call or would
abruptly terminate their telephone conversation, citing several reasons. This
went on for several months. In one instance, when complainant asked
respondent for an update on the collection of Benefons obligation to
Precedent which respondent had previously taken charge of, respondent
arrogantly answered that she was very busy and that she would read
Benefons letter only when she found time to do so.

Respondent insisted that she represented the group of investors of Multitel


and that she merely mediated in the settlement of the claims her clients had
against the complainant. She also averred that the results of the settlement
between both parties were fully documented and accounted for. Respondent
believes that her act in helping complainant resolve his legal problem did not
violate any ethical standard and was, in fact, in accord with Rule 2.02 of the
Code of Professional Responsibility.

On November 9, 2004, fed up and dismayed with respondents arrogance and


evasiveness, complainant wrote respondent a letter formally asking for a full
accounting of all the money, documents and properties given to the latter.
Respondent rendered an accounting through a letter dated December 20,
2004. When complainant found respondents explanation to be inadequate, he
wrote a latter expressing his confusion about the accounting. Complainant
repeated his request for an audited financial report of all the properties turned
over to her; otherwise, he will be constrained to file the appropriate case
against respondent. Respondent replied, explaining that all the properties and
cash turned over to her by complainant had been returned to her clients who
had money claims against Multitel. In exchange for this, she said that she was
able to secure quitclaim documents clearing complainant from any liability.
Still unsatisfied, complainant decided to file an affidavit-complaint against
respondent before the Commission on Bar Discipline of the Integrated Bar of
the Philippines (IBP) seeking the disbarment of respondent.

IBP Ruling and Recommendation:


The IBP Investigating Commissioner issued a Report and Recommendation
finding that a lawyer-client relationship was established between respondent
and complainant despite the absence of a written contract. The Investigating
Commissioner also declared that respondent violated her duty to be candid,
fair and loyal to her client when she allowed herself to represent conflicting
interests and failed to render a full accounting of all the cash and properties
entrusted to her. Based on these grounds, the Investigating Commissioner
recommended her disbarment.
The IBP Board of Governors issued a Recommendation denying the motion
for reconsideration and adopting the findings of the Investigating
Commissioner.

Petitioners Contention:

ISSUES:

1ST SEMESTER SY. 2015-2016 ATTY. VICTORIA LOANZON

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1.) Whether or not there exist a lawyer-client relationship between


petitioner and respondent?
2.) Whether or not respondent is administratively liable?

with Multitel. Respondent herself admitted to complainant that without the


latters help, she would not have been able to earn as much and that, as a
token of her appreciation, she was willing to share some of her earnings with
complainant. Clearly, respondents act is shocking, as it not only violated Rule
9.02, Canon 9 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, but also toyed with
decency and good taste.

HELD:
1.) Yes, a lawyer client relationship exists between petitioner and
respondent.

Respondent Attorney Maricel Pascual-Lopez was DISBARRED for


representing conflicting interests and for engaging in unlawful, dishonest and
deceitful conduct in violation of her Lawyers Oath and the Code of
Professional Responsibility.

Respondent must have known that her act of constantly and actively
communicating with complainant, who, at that time, was beleaguered with
demands from investors of Multitel, eventually led to the establishment of a
lawyer-client relationship. Respondent cannot shield herself from the
inevitable consequences of her actions by simply saying that the assistance
she rendered to complainant was only in the form of friendly accommodations,
precisely because at the time she was giving assistance to complainant, she
was already privy to the cause of the opposing parties who had been referred
to her by the SEC

SPOUSES HENRY A. CONCEPCION AND BLESILDA S. CONCEPCION


v. ATTY. ELMER A. DELA ROSA, A.C. No. 10681, February 03, 2015
FACTS: This is an administrative case that stemmed from a Verified
Complaint1 filed by complainants Spouses Henry A. Concepcion (Henry) and
Blesilda S. Concepcion (Blesilda; collectively complainants) against
respondent Atty. Elmer A. dela Rosa (respondent), charging him with gross
misconduct for violating, among others, Rule 16.04 of the Code of
Professional Responsibility (CPR).
Complainants alleged that from 1997 until August 2008,3 respondent served
as their retained lawyer and counsel. In this capacity, respondent handled
many of their cases and was consulted on various legal matters, among
others, the prospect of opening a pawnshop business towards the end of
2005. Said business, however, failed to materialize. Aware of the fact that
complainants had money intact from their failed business venture,
respondent, on March 23, 2006, called Henry to borrow money. The checks
were personally encashed by respondent. Demanded the return of payment
but failed to do so.

Respondent also tries to disprove the existence of such relationship by


arguing that no written contract for the engagement of her services was ever
forged between her and complainant. This argument all the more reveals
respondents patent ignorance of fundamental laws on contracts and of basic
ethical standards expected from an advocate of justice.
2.) Yes, respondent violated Rule 9.02, Canon 9 of the Code of
Professional Responsibility.
Respondent took advantage of complainants hapless situation, initially, by
giving him legal advice and, later on, by soliciting money and properties from
him. Thereafter, respondent impressed upon complainant that she had acted
with utmost sincerity in helping him divest all the properties entrusted to him
in order to absolve him from any liability. But simultaneously, she was also
doing the same thing to impress upon her clients, the party claimants against
Multitel, that she was doing everything to reclaim the money they invested

1ST SEMESTER SY. 2015-2016 ATTY. VICTORIA LOANZON

Respondent denied borrowing P2,500,000.00 from complainants, insisting


that Nault was the real debtor.18 He also claimed that complainants had been
attempting to collect from Nault and that he was engaged for that specific
purpose.

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The IBP Report and Recommendation

A lawyers act of asking a client for a loan, as what respondent did, is very
unethical. It comes within those acts considered as abuse of clients
confidence. The canon presumes that the client is disadvantaged by the
lawyers ability to use all the legal maneuverings to renege on her obligation.

In fine, the Investigating Commissioner concluded that respondents actions


degraded the integrity of the legal profession and clearly violated Rule 16.04
and Canons 7 and 16 of the CPR. Respondents failure to appear during the
mandatory conferences further showed his disrespect to the IBP-CBD.
Accordingly, the Investigating Commissioner recommended that respondent
be disbarred and that he be ordered to return the P2,500,000.00 to
complainants, with stipulated interest.

As above-discussed, respondent borrowed money from complainants who


were his clients and whose interests, by the lack of any security on the loan,
were not fully protected. Owing to their trust and confidence in respondent,
complainants relied solely on the formers word that he will return the money
plus interest within five (5) days. However, respondent abused the same and
reneged on his obligation, giving his previous clients the runaround up to this
day. Accordingly, there is no quibble that respondent violated Rule 16.04 of
the CPR.

ISSUE: Whether or not respondent should be held administratively liable for


violating the CPR.
HELD: The Court concurs with the IBPs findings except as to its
recommended penalty and its directive to return the amount of P2,500,000.00,
with legal interest, to complainants. the complainants and incurring the same
obligation.

WHEREFORE, respondent Atty. Elmer A. dela Rosa is found guilty of violating


Canon 7 and Rule 16.04, Canon 16 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility. Accordingly, he is hereby SUSPENDEDfrom the practice of
law for a period of three (3) years effective upon finality of this Decision, with
a stern warning that a commission of the same or similar acts will be dealt
with more severely.

Under Rule 16.04, Canon 16 of the CPR, a lawyer is prohibited from borrowing
money from his client unless the clients interests are fully protected:
CANON 16 A lawyer shall hold in trust all moneys and properties of his
clients
that
may
come
into
his
possession.

SHIRLEY OLAYTA-CAMBA v. ATTY. OTILIO SY BONGON


A.C. No. 8826, March 25, 2015

Rule 16.04 A lawyer shall not borrow money from his client unless the
clients interests are fully protected by the nature of the case or by
independent advice. Neither shall a lawyer lend money to a client except,
when in the interest of justice, he has to advance necessary expenses in a
legal matter he is handling for the client.

FACTS:
Petitioner:
Complainant alleged that on March 1, 2000, she engaged the services of
respondent for the purpose of titling and/or reconstituting the titles to the real
estate properties of the late Bernabe Olayta, situated in the Municipalities of
Camalig and Guinobatan, both in the province of Albay. In connection
therewith, she claimed to have given the aggregate amount of P112,499.55
to respondent. However, respondent failed to update complainant regarding
the status of the matters referred to him. Thus, complainant terminated her

The Court has repeatedly emphasized that the relationship between a lawyer
and his client is one imbued with trust and confidence. And as true as any
natural tendency goes, this trust and confidence is prone to abuse. The rule
against borrowing of money by a lawyer from his client is intended to prevent
the lawyer from taking advantage of his influence over his client.46 The rule
presumes that the client is disadvantaged by the lawyers ability to use all the
legal maneuverings to renege on his obligation.

1ST SEMESTER SY. 2015-2016 ATTY. VICTORIA LOANZON

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engagement with respondent and demanded for the return of P112,499.55,


but to no avail.

various amounts to respondent, of which the latter admitted the receipt of only
P55,000.00. Despite the foregoing, respondent failed to comply with his
undertaking and offered the excuse that the reconstitution of the titles and the
preparation of the Deed were delayed due to the Deeds several revisions;
and that Bernabe Olaytas surviving heirs were living in different places,
making it difficult to secure their presence, much less obtain their signatures
to the said Deed.

Respondent:
Respondent asserts that he only received P55,000.00 and that the rest of the
money was received by a certain Rowena Delos Reyes-Kelly who was not an
employee of his law firm. Furthermore, he averred that he had already offered
to return the amount of P30,000.00 to complainant, claiming that he already
earned the fees for legal services in the amount of P20,000.00 for having
studied the matter entrusted to him and drafted the Deed of Extrajudicial
Partition (Deed) that underwent several revisions.

Furthermore, respondent also violated Rules 16.01 and 16.03, Canon 16 of


the CPR when he failed to refund the amount of P55,000.00 that he personally
received from complainant despite repeated demands.

IBP:
The IBP Board of Governors recommended penalty to suspension from the
practice of law for a period of three (3) months. On motion for reconsideration
of respondent, his period of suspension was further decreased to one (1)
month.

When a lawyer receives money from the client for a particular purpose, the
lawyer is bound to render an accounting to the client showing that the money
was spent for the intended purpose. Consequently, if not used accordingly,
the money must be returned immediately to the client.16 As such, a lawyers
failure to return the money to his client despite numerous demands is a
violation of the trust reposed on him and is indicative of his lack of integrity, as
in this case.

ISSUE: Whether or not respondent should be held administratively liable for


the acts complained of.

Clearly, respondent failed to exercise such skill, care, and diligence as men
of the legal profession commonly possess and exercise in such matters of
professional employment18 and, hence, must be disciplined accordingly.

HELD: Yes.
It must be stressed that once a lawyer takes up the cause of his client, he is
duty-bound to serve the latter with competence, and to attend to such clients
cause with diligence, care, and devotion whether he accepts it for a fee or for
free. He owes fidelity to such cause and must always be mindful of the trust
and confidence reposed upon him. Therefore, a lawyers neglect of a legal
matter entrusted to him by his client constitutes inexcusable negligence for
which he must be held administratively liable for violating Rule 18.03, Canon
18of the CPR.

WHEREFORE, respondent Atty. Otilio Sy Bongon is found GUILTY of


violating Rules 16.01 and 16.03 of Canon 16, and Rule 18.03 of Canon 18of
the Code of Professional Responsibility. Accordingly, he is
hereby SUSPENDED from the practice of law for a period of one (1) month,
effective upon his receipt of this Resolution, with a STERN WARNING that a
repetition of the same or similar acts will be dealt with more severely.
VICTORIA HEENAN vs. ATTY. ERLINDA ESPEJO
A.C. No. 10050 December 3, 2013

As correctly pointed out by the IBP Investigating Commissioner, complainant


engaged the services of respondent for the purpose of titling and/or
reconstituting the titles to the real estate properties of the late Bernabe Olayta,
as well as preparing the Deed, and in connection therewith, allegedly gave

1ST SEMESTER SY. 2015-2016 ATTY. VICTORIA LOANZON

FACTS: An administrative complaint was filed by Victoria Heenan (Victoria)


against Atty. Erlina Espejo (Atty. Espejo) before the Commission on Bar

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Discipline (CBD) of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) for violation of
lawyers oath.

(1) scheduled preliminary investigation where she promised to pay her loan
obligation.

In January 2009, Victoria met Atty. Espejo through her godmother, Corazon
Eusebio (Corazon). Atty. Espejo obtained a loan from Victoria. Since Atty.
Espejo was introduced to her as her godmothers lawyer, Victoria found no
reason to distrust the former. Hence, during the same meeting, Victoria
agreed to accomodate Atty. Espejo and there and then handed to the latter
the amount of PhP 250,000. To secure the payment of the loan, Atty. Espejo
simultaneously issued and turned over to Victoria a check for two hundred
seventy-five thousand pesos (PhP 275,000) covering the loan amount and
agreed interest. On due date, Atty. Espejo requested Victoria to delay the
deposit of the check for the reason that she was still waiting for the release of
the proceeds of a bank loan to fund the check. However, after a couple of
months of waiting, Victoria received no word from Atty. Espejo as to whether
or not the check was already funded enough. In July 2009, Victoria received
an Espejo-issued check in the amount of fifty thousand pesos (PhP 50,000)
representing the interest which accrued due to the late payment of the
principal obligation. Victoria deposited the said check but, to her dismay, the
check bounced due to insufficiency of funds. Atty. Espejo failed to pay despite
Victorias repeated demands. Worried that she would not be able to recover
the amount thus lent, Victoria decided to deposit to her account the first check
in the amount of PhP 275,000, but without notifying Atty. Espejo of the fact.
However, the said check was also dishonored due to insufficiency of funds.
Victoria thereafter became more aggressive in her efforts to recover her
money. She, for instance, personally handed to Atty. Espejo a demand letter
dated August 3, 2009.

In November 2009, Atty. Espejo issued another check dated December 8,


2009 in the amount of two hundred seventy five thousand pesos (PhP
275,000.). However, to Victorias chagrin, the said check was again
dishonored due to insufficiency of funds. Atty. Espejo did not file any counteraffidavit or pleading to answer the charges against her.
Victoria thereafter filed the instant administrative case against Atty. Espejo
before the CBD. The CBD, issued an Order directing Atty. Espejo to submit
her Answer to Victorias administrative complaint.
Findings and Recommendation of the IBP:
The CBD recommended the suspension of Atty. Espejo from the practice of
law and as a member of the Bar for a period of five (5) years. The failure of a
lawyer to answer the complaint for disbarment despite due notice and to
appear on the scheduled hearings set, shows his flouting resistance to lawful
orders of the court and illustrates his deficiency for his oath of office as a
lawyer, which deserves disciplinary sanction.
Moreover, respondent[s] acts of issuing checks with insufficient funds and
despite repeated demands [she] failed to comply with her obligation and her
disregard and failure to appear for preliminary investigation and to submit her
counter-affidavit to answer the charges against her for Estafa and Violation of
BP 22, constitute grave misconduct that also warrant disciplinary action
against respondent.

When Atty. Espejo still refused to pay, Victoria filed a criminal complaint
against Atty. Espejo for violation of Batas Pambansa Blg. 22 and Estafa under
Article 315 of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, before the Quezon City
Prosecutors Office.

The Board of Governors passed a Resolution adopting the Report and


Recommendation of the CBD with the modification lowering Atty. Espejos
suspension from five (5) years to two (2) years. Atty. Espejo was also ordered
to return to Victoria the amount of PhP 250,000 within thirty (30) days from
receipt of notice with legal interest reckoned from the time the demand was
made.

Atty. Espejo disregarded the notices and subpoenas which she personally
received and continued to ignore Victorias demands. She attended only one

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ISSUE: Whether or not Atty. Espejo is guilty of violating the code of


professional responsibility?

In the present case, respondent admitted his monetary obligations to the


complaint but offered no justifiable reason for his continued refusal to pay.
Complainant made several demands, both verbal and written, but respondent
just ignored them and even made himself scarce. Although he acknowledged
his financial obligations to complainant, respondent never offered nor made
arrangements to pay his debt. On the contrary, he refused to recognize any
wrong doing nor shown remorse for issuing worthless checks, an act
constituting gross misconduct. Respondent must be reminded that it is his
duty as a lawyer to faithfully perform at all times his duties to society, to the
bar, to the courts and to his clients. As part of his duties, he must promptly
pay his financial obligations.

HELD: Yes, Atty. Espejos issuance of worthless checks and her blatant
refusal to heed the directives of the Quezon City Prosecutors Office and the
IBP contravene Canon 1, Rule 1.01; Canon 7, Rule 7.03; and Canon 11 of
the Code of Professional Responsibility, which provide:
CANON 1 A LAWYER SHALL UPHOLD THE
CONSTITUTION, OBEY THE LAWS OF THE LAND AND
PROMOTE RESPECT FOR THE LAW AND LEGAL
PROCESSES.
Rule 1.01. A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest,
immoral or deceitful conduct.

The fact that Atty. Espejo obtained the loan and issued the worthless checks
in her private capacity and not as an attorney of Victoria is of no moment. The
Court held in several cases, a lawyer may be disciplined not only for
malpractice and dishonesty in his profession but also for gross misconduct
outside of his professional capacity. While the Court may not ordinarily
discipline a lawyer for misconduct committed in his non- professional or
private capacity, the Court may be justified in suspending or removing him as
an attorney where his misconduct outside of the lawyers professional
dealings is so gross in character as to show him morally unfit and unworthy of
the privilege which his licenses and the law confer.

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.
Rule 7.03 A lawyer shall not engage in conduct that adversely
reflects on his fitness to practice law, nor shall he, whether in
public or private life, behave in a scandalous manner to the
discredit of the legal profession.

Atty. Erlinda B. Espejo is found GUILTY of gross misconduct and violating


Canons 1, 7 and 11 of the Code of Professional Responsibility and is
SUSPENDED from the practice of law for two (2) years.

CANON 11 A LAWYER SHALL OBSERVE AND MAINTAIN


THE RESPECT DUE TO THE COURTS AND TO JUDICIAL
OFFICES AND SHOULD INSIST ON SIMILAR CONDUCT BY
OTHERS.

TERESITA T. BAYONLA VS. ATTY. PURITA A. REYES.


A.C. No. 4808, November 22, 2011

Atty. Espejo did not deny obtaining a loan from Victoria or traverse allegations
that she issued unfunded checks to pay her obligation. It has already been
settled that the deliberate failure to pay just debts and the issuance of
worthless checks constitute gross misconduct, for which a lawyer may be
sanctioned.

1ST SEMESTER SY. 2015-2016 ATTY. VICTORIA LOANZON

FACTS: Petra Durban and Paz Durban were sisters who had jointly owned a
parcel of land. They died without leaving a will. Their land was thereafter
expropriated in connection with the construction of the Bancasi Airport. An
expropriation compensation amounting to P2,453,429.00 was to be paid to

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their heirs. Bayonla and her uncle, Alfredo Tabada (Alfredo), were the
compulsory heirs of Paz, being, respectively, Pazs granddaughter and son.

Recommends that the respondent be required to render an accounting or


inventory duly confirmed by the complainant of all the collected shares due
the complainant and remit to the latter the said amount of P44.582.66;

Bayonla charged Atty. Reyes with gross dishonesty, deceit, conversion, and
breach of trust. Bayonla alleged that she and Alfredo had engaged the legal
services of Atty. Reyes to collect their share in the expropriation
compensation, agreeing to her attorneys fees of 10% of whatever amount
would be collected; Atty. Reyes had collected P1 million from the ATO; that
Bayonlas share, after deducting Atty. Reyes attorneys fees, would be
P75,000.00, but Atty. Reyes had delivered to her only P23,000.00, and had
failed to deliver the balance of P52,000.00 despite repeated demands; Atty.
Reyes had collected the amount of P121,119.11 from the ATO; that Bayonlas
share, after deducting Atty. Reyes attorneys fees, would be P109,007.20,
but Atty. Reyes had handed her only P56,500.00, and had failed to deliver the
balance of P52,507.20; and that Atty. Reyes should be disbarred for depriving
her of her just share.

Until such time that respondent had complied with the aforementioned, she is
suspended from the practice of her legal profession.
ISSUE: Whether or not the findings and recommendations of the IBP Board
of Governors were proper.
HELD:
Respondent was guilty of violating the canons of the Code of Professional
Responsibility
Canon 16 of the Code of Professional Responsibility requires that a lawyer
shall hold in trust all moneys and properties of her client that may come into
her possession. Rule 16.01 of Canon 16 imposes on the lawyer the duty to
account for all money or property collected or received for or from the client.
Rule 16.03 of Canon 16 demands that the lawyer shall deliver the funds and
property of his client when due or upon demand, subject to the lawyers lien
over the funds, or the lawyers option to apply so much of the funds as may
be necessary to satisfy the lawful fees and disbursements, giving notice
promptly thereafter to the client.

RESPONDENT:
Atty. Reyes admitted that Bayonla and Alfredo had engaged her legal services
for the purpose of collecting their share in the expropriation compensation;
that as consideration for her services, Bayonla and Alfredo had agreed upon
a 40% contingent fee for her; that she had given to Bayonla more than what
had been due to her; that Alfredo had received from the ATO the check for
the second release corresponding to the share of both Bayonla and Alfredo;
that Alfredo had gotten more than Bayonla out of the second release; that on
June 5, 1995 she had received out of the second release by the ATO only her
40% contingent fee; that Bayonla and Alfredo had agreed to bear the
expenses for the collection of their share; that she had incurred travel and
other expenses in collecting such share; and that she should be absolved
from liability arising from the complaint.

There is no question that the money or property received by a lawyer for her
client properly belongs to the latter. Conformably with these canons of
professional responsibility, we have held that a lawyer is obliged to render an
accounting of all the property and money she has collected for her client. This
obligation includes the prompt reporting and accounting of the money
collected by the lawyer by reason of a favorable judgment to his client.

IBP:

1ST SEMESTER SY. 2015-2016 ATTY. VICTORIA LOANZON

By not delivering Bayonlas share despite her demand, Atty. Reyes violated
the aforestated canons. The money collected by Atty. Reyes as the lawyer of
Bayonla was unquestionably money held in trust to be immediately turned
over to the client. The unjustified withholding of money belonging to the client

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warrants the imposition of disciplinary sanctions on the lawyer. Without doubt,


Atty. Reyes failure to immediately account for and to deliver the money upon
demand was deceit, for it signified that she had converted the money to her
own use, in violation of the trust Bayonla had reposed in her. It constituted
gross misconduct for which the penalty of suspension from the practice of law.

It serves well to mention, lastly, that the simultaneous pendency of an


administrative case and a judicial proceeding related to the cause of the
administrative case, even if the charges and the evidence to be adduced in
such cases are similar, does not result into or occasion any unfairness, or
prejudice, or deprivation of due process to the parties in either of the cases.

II

The Court FINDS AND PRONOUNCES ATTY. PURITA A. REYES guilty of


violating Rule 16.01 and Rule 16.03 of Canon 16 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility, and SUSPENDS her from the practice of law for a period of
two years effective upon receipt of this Decision, with warning that a similar
offense by her will be dealt with more severely.

Pendency of other cases not an obstacle to administrative proceeding against


respondent
The filing of the perjury charge by Atty. Reyes against Bayonla and of the
estafa charge by Bayonla against Atty. Reyes could not halt or excuse the
duty of Atty. Reyes to render an accounting and to remit the amount due to
Bayonla. Nor did the pendency of such cases inhibit this administrative matter
from proceeding on its due course. It is indisputable that the pendency of any
criminal charges between the lawyer and her client does not negate the
administrative proceedings against the lawyer.

The Court ORDERS Atty. Reyes to pay to complainant Teresita T. Bayonla


within 30 days from receipt of this Decision the amount of P44,582.67, with
interest of 12% per annum from June 22, 1997, and to render unto the
complainant a complete written accounting and inventory.
MARITES FREEMAN v. ATTY. ZENAIDA P. REYES
A.C. No. 6246, November 15, 2011

Disciplinary proceedings against lawyers are sui generis. Neither purely civil
nor purely criminal, they do not involve a trial of an action or a suit, but rather
investigations by the Court into the conduct of one of its officers. Not being
intended to inflict punishment, [they are] in no sense a criminal prosecution.
Accordingly, there is neither a plaintiff nor a prosecutor therein. [They] may be
initiated by the Court motu proprio. Public interest is [their] 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. Hence, in the exercise of its
disciplinary powers, the Court merely calls upon a member of the Bar to
account for his actuations as an officer of the Court with the end in view of
preserving the purity of the legal profession and the proper and honest
administration of justice by purging the profession of members who by their
misconduct have prove[n] themselves no longer worthy to be entrusted with
the duties and responsibilities pertaining to the office of an attorney.

1ST SEMESTER SY. 2015-2016 ATTY. VICTORIA LOANZON

FACTS: This is an administrative complaint, filed by complainant Marites E.


Freeman, seeking the disbarment of respondent Atty. Zenaida P. Reyes, for
gross dishonesty in obtaining money from her, without rendering proper legal
services, and appropriating the proceeds of the insurance policies of her
deceased husband. Complainant also seeks recovery of all the amounts she
had given to respondent and the insurance proceeds, which was remitted to
the latter, with prayer for payment of moral and exemplary damages.
Complainant engaged the legal services of respondent to assist her and her
child in pursuing and protecting their rights as heirs of her deceased husband
who was a British national, including claiming insurance proceeds due to the
complainant and her child, as well as processing visa applications for travel
to England. Respondent solicited various sums from the complainant,
allegedly for purposes do defraying expenses in connection with the
engagement.

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MARILEN G. SOLIMAN v. ATTY. DITAS LERIOS-AMBOY


A.C. No. 10568 [FORMERLY CBD CASE No. 10-2753], January 13, 2015

Respondent:
Admitted having received money from complainant but failed to render an
accounting or, at least, apprised the complainant of the actual expenses
incurred. Worse, respondent even inculcated in the mind of the complainant
that she had to adhere to the nefarious culture of giving grease money
or lagay to the British Embassy personnel, as if it was an ordinary occurrence
in the normal course of conducting official business transactions as a means
to expedite the visa applications.

FACTS:
Petitioner:
Complainant claimed that she engaged the services of Atty. Amboy on May
27, 2007 in connection with a partition case. In accordance with the Retainer
Agreement between the parties, Soliman agreed to pay Atty. Amboy
P50,000.00 as acceptance fee. Upon the latters engagement, Soliman paid
her P25,000.00. Later on, Atty. Amboy advised Soliman to no longer institute
a partition case since the other co-owners of the property were amenable to
the partition thereof. Instead, Atty. Amboy just facilitated the issuance of the
titles to the said property from the co-owners to the individual owners; the
P25,000.00 already paid to her was then treated as payment for her
professional services.

ISSUE: Whether or not respondent violated the Code of Professional


Responsibility.
HELD: Yes.
The Court ruled that respondent violated the dictum in Rule 1.01 of Canon 1
of the Code of Professional Responsibility which states that a lawyer shall
not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful
conduct. Respondents repeated reprehensible acts of employing chicanery
and unbecoming conduct to conceal her web of lies, to the extent of milking
complainants finances dry, and deceitfully arrogating upon herself the
insurance proceeds that should rightfully belong to complainant, in the guise
of rendering legitimate legal services, clearly transgressed the norms of
honesty and integrity required in the practice of law. This being so,
respondent should be purged from the privilege of exercising the noble legal
profession.

Later, Soliman gave Atty. Amboy P16,700.00 as payment for the transfer
tax. In the second quarter of 2009, Atty. Amboy told Soliman that there was
a delay in the issuance of the titles to the property because of the failure of
the other co-owners to submit certain documents. Atty. Amboy then told
Soliman that someone from the Register of Deeds (RD) can help expedite the
issuance of the titles for a fee of P80,000.00. On June 17, 2009, Atty. Amboy
told Soliman that her contact in the RD agreed to reduce the amount to
P50,000.00. Further, Soliman deposited the amount of P8,900.00 to Atty.
Amboys bank account as payment for the real property tax for the year
2009. Thereafter, Soliman deposited the amount of P50,000.00 to Atty.
Amboys bank account as payment for the latters contact in the RD.

WHEREFORE, respondent Atty. Zenaida P. Reyes is found guilty of gross


misconduct and DISBARRED from the practice of law. Let her name be
stricken off the Roll of Attorneys.

Later, Atty. Amboy informed Soliman that the certificates of title to the property
were then only awaiting the signature of the authorized officer. However, Atty.
Amboy failed to deliver the respective certificates of title of Soliman and her
co-owners to the subject property.
However, Atty. Amboys secretary informed Soliman that their contact in the
RD was asking for an additional P10,000.00 to facilitate the release of the said

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certificates of title. Soliman then refused to further pay. Soliman then asked
the updates on the release of the said title but respondent did not answer.
Thereafter, Soliman and Atty. Amboys secretary went to the office of a certain
Atty. Marasigan, Deputy RD of Manila. Soliman asked Atty. Marasigan if he
received the P50,000.00 as payment for the release of the said titles. Atty.
Marasigan denied having received any amount to facilitate the release of the
titles and claimed that the reason why the same could not be processed was
that Atty. Amboy failed to file certain documents. Upon demand to release the
documents and the money given, respondent refused.

competence and diligence; to never neglect a legal matter entrusted to him;


and to keep his client informed of the status of his case and respond within a
reasonable time to the clients request for information.

Respondent:
Atty. Amboy admitted that she had a retainer agreement with Soliman, but
denied having received any amount from the latter pursuant to the said
agreement. She claimed that the retainer agreement was not implemented
since the partition case was not instituted. She claimed that she merely
undertook to research, gather and collate all documents required in the
partition and in the transfer of the titles from the co-owners to the individual
owners. She denied having failed to submit the relevant documents to the RD
which caused the delay in the processing of the said titles. She likewise
denied having asked Soliman for P50,000.00 to facilitate the release of the
said titles.

This is not a simple case of negligence and incompetence by a counsel in


dealing with a client. Atty. Amboys acts undermined the legal processes,
which she swore to uphold and defend. In swearing to the oath, Atty. Amboy
bound herself to respect the law and legal processes.

The circumstances of this case clearly show that Atty. Amboy, after receiving
P25,000.00 as payment for her professional services, failed to submit material
documents relative to the issuance of separate certificates of title to the
individual owners of the property. It was her negligence which caused the
delay
in
the
issuance
of
the
certificates
of
title.

The Court further finds improper the refusal of Atty. Amboy to return the
amount of P50,000.00 which she paid in order to facilitate the release of the
certificates of title. To reiterate, upon inquiry, Atty. Marasigan, the Deputy RD
of Manila, denied having received any amount from Atty. Amboy. In not
returning the money to Soliman after a demand therefor was made following
her failure to procure the issuance of the certificates of title, Atty. Amboy
violated Canon 16 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, particularly Rule
16.03 thereof, which requires that a lawyer shall deliver the funds and property
of his client upon demand. It is settled that the unjustified withholding of
money belonging to a client warrants the imposition of disciplinary action.

IBP:
IBP
Board
of
Governors
recommends
Atty. Amboys suspension from the practice of law was increased from
six (6) months to two (2) years and that she was ordered to return the entire
amount she received from Soliman.

A lawyers failure to return upon demand the funds held by him on behalf of
his client gives rise to the presumption that he has appropriated the same for
his own use in violation of the trust reposed in him by his client. Such act is a
gross violation of general morality as well as of professional ethics. It impairs
public confidence in the legal profession and deserves punishment.

ISSUE: Whether or not respondent should be held administratively liable for


the acts complained of.
HELD: Yes.

WHEREFORE, in consideration of the foregoing disquisitions, Atty. Ditas


Lerios-Amboy is foundGUILTY of violating Rule 16.03, Canons 17 and 18,
and Rules 18.03 and 18.04 of the Code of Professional Responsibility and is
hereby SUSPENDED from the practice of law for a period of two (2) years,

The Code of Professional Responsibility clearly states that a lawyer owes


fidelity to the cause of his client and that he should be mindful of the trust and
confidence reposed in him. A lawyer is mandated to serve his client with

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effective upon receipt of this Resolution. Furthermore, she is ORDERED to


return to Marilen G. Soliman the entire amount of Fifty Thousand Pesos
(P50,000.00) she received from the latter, plus legal interest thereon,
reckoned from finality of this Resolution until fully paid.

Defendants Defense:
He alleged that upon careful examination of the heirs' unlawful detainer
complaint, he noticed a discrepancy between the descriptions of the subject
property as indicated in the said pleading as opposed to that which
complainant supplied to him. On the belief that the parties may be contesting
two (2) sets of properties which are distinct and separate from one another,
respondent, at the preliminary conference conducted on October 28, 2003,
moved for the suspension of further proceedings and proposed that a
commissioner be appointed to conduct a re-survey in order to determine the
true identity of the property in dispute. The MTC allowed the counsels for both
parties to decide on the manner of the proposed re-survey, leading to the
assignment of a Department of Agrarian Reform Survey Engineer (DAR
Engineer) for this purpose. The survey conducted by the DAR Engineer
revealed that complainant's tillage extended to about 5,000 square meters of
the subject property which was determined to belong to the heirs, the rest
being covered by the title of Pelagia. Dissatisfied, complainant manifested her
intention to secure the services of a private surveyor of her own choice, and
promised to furnish respondent a copy of the survey results, which she,
however, failed to do. Later, complainant accused respondent of manipulating
the DAR Survey Results which caused their lawyer-client relationship to turn
sour and eventually be severed. She has since retrieved the entire case
folders and retained the services of another lawyer.

JOSEFINA CARRANZA vida de ZALDIVAR v.


ATTY. RAMON SG CABANES, Jr.
A.C. No. 7749, July 8, 2013
FACTS: Complainant was the defendant in an unlawful detainer case, filed
by the heirs of one Benjamin Don before the Municipal Trial Court of Pili,
Camarines Sur (MTC), wherein she was represented by respondent. While
respondent duly filed an answer to the unlawful detainer complaint, he,
however, failed to submit a pre-trial brief as well as to attend the scheduled
preliminary conference. Consequently, the opposing counsel moved that the
case be submitted for decision which motion was granted in an Order dated
November 27, 2003. When complainant confronted respondent about the
foregoing, the latter just apologized and told her not to worry, assuring her
that she will not lose the case since she had the title to the subject property.
The MTC issued a Decision (MTC Decision) against complainant, ordering
her to vacate and turn-over the possession of the subject property to the heirs
as well as to pay them damages. On appeal, the Regional Trial Court of Pili,
Camarines Sur, Branch 32 (RTC), reversed the MTC Decision and dismissed
the unlawful detainer complaint. Later however, the Court of Appeals (CA)
reversed the RTCs ruling and reinstated the MTC Decision. Respondent
received a copy of the CAs ruling on January 27, 2006. Yet, he failed to inform
complainant about the said ruling, notwithstanding the fact that the latter
frequented his work place. Neither did respondent pursue any further action.
As such, complainant decided to engage the services of another counsel for
the purpose of seeking other available remedies. Due to respondents failure
to timely turn-over to her the papers and documents in the case, such other
remedies were, however, barred. Thus, based on these incidents,
complainant filed the instant administrative complaint, alleging that
respondents acts amounted to gross negligence which resulted in her loss.

1ST SEMESTER SY. 2015-2016 ATTY. VICTORIA LOANZON

ISSUE: WON, Atty. Cabanes was negligent in his duties.


HELD:
The Investigating Commissioners Report:
The Investigating Commissioner ruled that respondent failed to exercise
ordinary diligence in handling his client's cause, warranting his suspension
from the practice of law for a period of six (6) months.
The BOGs Recommendation:
The IBP Board of Governors adopted and approved the Commissioners
Report.

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RULING:

It took some period of negotiations between them and Atty. Era before the
latter delivered to them copies of a deed of absolute sale involving the
property. However, Atty. Era told them that whether or not the title of the
property had been encumbered or free from lien or defect would no longer be
his responsibility. He further told them that as far as he was concerned he had
already accomplished his professional responsibility towards them upon the
amicable settlement of the cases between them and ICS Corporation.

The Court resolves to adopt the IBP's findings and recommendation. The
relationship between an attorney and his client is one imbued with utmost trust
and confidence. In this light, clients are led to expect that lawyers would be
ever-mindful of their cause and accordingly exercise the required degree of
diligence in handling their affairs. Verily, a lawyer is expected to maintain at
all times a high standard of legal proficiency, and to devote his full attention,
skill, and competence to the case, regardless of its importance and whether
he accepts it for a fee or for free. Canon 17, and Rules 18.03 and 18.04 of
Canon 18 of the Code embody these quintessential directives.

When Samson and his co-complainants verified the title of the property they
were dismayed to learn that they could not liquidate the property because it
was no longer registered under the name of ICS Corporation. Due to the
silence of Atty. Era for sometime thereafter, Samson and his group wrote to
him to remind him about his guarantee and the promise to settle the issues
with Sison and her cohorts. But they did not hear from Atty. Era at all.

Case law further illumines that a lawyers duty of competence and diligence
includes not merely reviewing the cases entrusted to the counsel's care or
giving sound legal advice, but also consists of properly representing the client
before any court or tribunal, attending scheduled hearings or conferences,
preparing and filing the required pleadings, prosecuting the handled cases
with reasonable dispatch, and urging their termination without waiting for the
client or the court to prod him or her to do so.28 Conversely, a lawyer's
negligence in fulfilling his duties subjects him to disciplinary action.

During the hearings in the RTC, Atty. Era did not anymore appear for Samson
and his group. This forced them to engage another lawyer. They were
shocked to find out later on, however, that Atty. Era had already been entering
his appearance as the counsel for Sison in her other criminal cases involving
the same pyramiding scam that she and her ICS Corporation had perpetrated.
Samson executed an affidavit alleging the foregoing antecedents, and praying
for Atty. Eras disbarment on the ground of his violation of the trust, confidence
and respect reposed in him as their counsel.

FERDINAND A. SAMSON VS. ATTY. EDGARDO O. ERA


A.C. No. 6664, July 16, 2013

RESPONDENT:

FACTS: Ferdinand A. Samson and his relatives were among the investors
who fell prey to the pyramiding scam perpetrated by ICS Corporation, a
corporation whose corporate officers were led by Emilia C. Sison. Samson
engaged Atty. Era to represent him and his relatives in the criminal
prosecution of Sison and her group.

Atty. Era alleged that the conclusion of the compromise settlement between
Samson and his group, on one hand, and Sison and her ICS Corporation, on
the other, had terminated the lawyer-client relationship between him and
Samson and his group; and that he had been appointed as counsel de officio
for Sison only for purposes of her arraignment.

Atty. Era called a meeting with Samson and his relatives to discuss the
possibility of an amicable settlement with Sison and her cohorts. They
acceded and executed the affidavit of desistance he prepared, and in turn
they received a deed of assignment covering land executed by Sison in behalf
of ICS Corporation.

1ST SEMESTER SY. 2015-2016 ATTY. VICTORIA LOANZON

IBP:

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Found Atty. Era guilty of misconduct for representing conflicting interests, for
failing to serve his clients with competence and diligence, and for failing to
champion his clients cause with wholehearted fidelity, care and devotion.

2. The prohibition against conflicts of interest seeks to enhance the


effectiveness
of legal representation;
3. A client has a legal right to have the lawyer safeguard the clients
confidential information;
4. Conflict rules help ensure that lawyers will not exploit clients, such as by
inducing a client to make a gift to the lawyer; and
5. Some conflict-of-interest rules protect interests of the legal system in
obtaining adequate presentations to tribunals.

ISSUE: Whether or not the respondent is guilty of misconduct for representing


conflicting claims.
HELD: The Court FINDS Atty. EDGARDO O. ERA guilty of violating Rule
15.03 of Canon 15, and Canon 17 of the CPR; and SUSPENDS him from the
practice of law for 2 years.

In the same way, a lawyer may only be allowed to represent a client involving
the same or a substantially related matter that is materially adverse to the
former client only if the former client consents to it after consultation. The rule
is grounded in the fiduciary obligation of loyalty. It behooves lawyers not only
to keep inviolate the clients confidence, but also to avoid the appearance of
treachery and double-dealing, for only then can litigants be encouraged to
entrust their secrets to their lawyers, which is paramount in the administration
of justice. The nature of that relationship is, therefore, one of trust and
confidence of the highest degree.

In Hornilla v. Atty. Salunat, the Court discussed the concept of conflict of


interest in this wise:
There is conflict of interest when a lawyer represents inconsistent interests of
two or more opposing parties. The test is whether or not in behalf of one
client, it is the lawyers duty to fight for an issue or claim, but it is his duty to
oppose it for the other client. In brief, if he argues for one client, this argument
will be opposed by him when he argues for the other client. This rule covers
not only cases in which confidential communications have been confided, but
also those in which no confidence has been bestowed or will be used. Also,
there is conflict of interests if the acceptance of the new retainer will require
the attorney to perform an act which will injuriously affect his first client in any
matter in which he represents him and also whether he will be called upon in
his new relation to use against his first client any knowledge acquired through
their connection. Another test of the inconsistency of interests is whether the
acceptance of a new relation will prevent an attorney from the full discharge
of his duty of undivided fidelity and loyalty to his client or invite suspicion of
unfaithfulness or double dealing in the performance thereof.

Contrary to Atty. Eras ill-conceived attempt to explain his disloyalty to


Samson and his group, the termination of the attorney-client relationship does
not justify a lawyer to represent an interest adverse to or in conflict with that
of the former client. The spirit behind this rule is that the clients confidence
once given should not be stripped by the mere expiration of the professional
employment. Even after the severance of the relation, a lawyer should not do
anything that will injuriously affect his former client in any matter in which the
lawyer previously represented the client. Nor should the lawyer disclose or
use any of the clients confidences acquired in the previous relation.

The prohibition against conflict of interest rests on five rationales,


rendered as follows:

The protection given to the client is perpetual and does not cease with the
termination of the litigation, nor is it affected by the clients ceasing to employ
the attorney and retaining another, or by any other change of relation between
them. It even survives the death of the client.

1. The law seeks to assure clients that their lawyers will represent them with
undivided loyalty;

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REYNALDO RAMIREZ vs. ATTY. MERCEDES BUHAYANG-MARGALLO


A.C. No. 10537 February 3, 2015

Ramirez went to the Court of Appeals. There, he discovered that the


Appellants Brief was filed on April 13, 2009 with a Motion for Reconsideration
and Apologies for filing beyond the reglementary period.

FACTS: Complainant Reynaldo Ramirez (Ramirez) engaged Atty. Margallos


services as legal counsel in a civil case for Quieting of Title entitled Spouses
Roque v. Ramirez. The case was initiated before the Regional Trial Court of
Binangonan, Rizal, Branch 68.

Petitioners Contention:
Ramirez alleged that Atty. Margallo had violated Canon 17 and Canon 18,
Rules 18.03 and 18.04 of the Code of Professional Responsibility.

According to Ramirez, Atty. Margallo contacted him as per a referral from a


friend of Ramirezs sister. He alleged that Atty. Margallo had offered her legal
services on the condition that she be given 30% of the land subject of the
controversy instead of attorneys fees. It was also agreed upon that Ramirez
would pay Atty. Margallo P1,000.00 per court appearance.

Respondents Contention:
By way of defense, Atty. Margallo argued that she had agreed to take on the
case for free, save for travel expense of P1,000.00 per hearing. She also
claimed that she had candidly informed Ramirez and his mother that they only
had a 50% chance of winning the case. She denied ever having entered into
an agreement regarding the contingent fee worth 30% of the value of the land
subject of the controversy.

On October 19, 2006, the Regional Trial Court promulgated a Decision


adverse to Ramirez. Atty. Margallo advised him to appeal the judgment. She
committed to file the Appeal before the Court of Appeals.
The Appeal was perfected and the records were sent to the Court of Appeals
sometime in 2008.14 On December 5, 2008, the Court of Appeals directed
Ramirez to file his Appellants Brief. Ramirez notified Atty. Margallo, who
replied that she would have one prepared.

Atty. Margallo asserted that she would not have taken on the Appeal except
that the mother of Ramirez had begged her to do so. She claimed that when
she instructed Ramirez to see her for document signing on January 8, 2009,
he ignored her. When he finally showed up on March 2009, he merely told
her that he had been busy. Her failure to immediately inform Ramirez of the
unfavorable Decision of the Court of Appeals was due to losing her clients
number because her 8-year-old daughter played with her phone and
accidentally erased all her contacts.

On January 8, 2009, Ramirez contacted Atty. Margallo to follow up on the


Appellants Brief. Atty. Margallo informed him that he needed to meet her to
sign the documents necessary for the brief.
On several occasions, Ramirez followed up on the status of the brief, but he
was told that there was still no word from the Court of Appeals.

IBP Findings and Recommendation:

On August 26, 2009, Atty. Margallo informed Ramirez that his Appeal had
been denied. She told him that the Court of Appeals denial was due to
Ramirezs failure to establish his filiation with his alleged father, which was
the basis of his claim. She also informed him that they could no longer appeal
to this court since the Decision of the Court of Appeals had been promulgated
and the reglementary period for filing an Appeal had already lapsed.

1ST SEMESTER SY. 2015-2016 ATTY. VICTORIA LOANZON

The Board of Governors of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines adopted and
approved the recommendation of the Commission on Bar Discipline. The
Board of Governors resolved to recommend a penalty of reprimand to Atty.
Margallo with a stern warning that repetition of the same or similar act shall
be dealt with more severely.

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The Board of Governors of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines affirmed with
modification its earlier Resolution. It found that respondent Atty. Margallo had
violated Canon 17 and Canon 18, Rules 18.03 and 18.04 of the Code of
Professional Responsibility. Consequently, the Board of Governors
recommended that Atty. Margallo be suspended from the practice of law for
two (2) years.

(respondent), praying that the latter be directed to return the amount of


P48,000.00 that he received from the former. Complainant, as President
of Samahan ng mga Maralitang Taga Ma. Corazon III,
Incorporated(Samahan), alleged that he engaged the services of respondent
for the purpose of filing a case in order to determine the true owner of the land
being occupied by the members of Samahan.2 In connection therewith, he
gave respondent the aggregate amount of P48,000.00 intended to cover the
filing fees for the action to be instituted, as evidenced by a written
acknowledgment executed by respondent himself.3 Despite the payment,
respondent failed to file an action in court. When confronted, respondent
explained that the money given to him was not enough to fully pay for the filing
fees in court.4Thus, complainant asked for the return of the money, but
respondent claimed to have spent the same and even demanded more
money.5 Complainant further alleged that when he persisted in seeking
restitution of the aforesaid sum, respondent told him to shut up because it was
not his money in the first place.6 Hence, complainant filed this administrative
complaint seeking the return of the full amount he had paid to respondent.

ISSUE: Whether or not Atty. Margallo should be held administratively liable?


RULING: Yes, Atty. Mercedes Buhayang-Margallos (Atty. Margallo) inaction
resulted in a lost appeal, terminating the case of her client not on the merits
but due to her negligence. She made it appear that the case was dismissed
on the merits when, in truth, she failed to file the Appellants Brief on time.
She did not discharge her duties of candor to her client.
Canon 17 and Canon 18, Rules 18.03 and 18.04 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility clearly provide:
CANON 17 - A LAWYER OWES FIDELITY TO THE CAUSE OF HIS
CLIENT AND HE SHALL BE MINDFUL OF THE TRUST AND CONFIDENCE
REPOSED IN HIM.

Respondent:
Denied spending complainants money, explaining that he had already
prepared the initiatory pleading and was poised to file the same, when he
discovered through the Clerk of Court of the Regional Trial Court of Antipolo
City that the filing fee was quite costly. This prompted him to immediately relay
such information to complainant who undertook to raise the amount needed.
While waiting, however, the instant administrative case was filed against him.8

CANON 18 - A LAWYER SHALL SERVE HIS CLIENT WITH


COMPETENCE AND DILIGENCE.
Rule 18.03 - A lawyer shall not neglect a legal matter entrusted to him, and
his negligence in connection there with shall render him liable.
Rule 18.04 - A lawyer shall keep the client informed of the status of his case
and shall respond within a reasonable time to clients request for information.

The IBPs Report and Recommendation


In a Report and Recommendation9 dated October 3, 2012, the IBP
Investigating Commissioner found respondent guilty of violating Rule 16.01 of
the Code of Professional Responsibility (CPR), and accordingly,
recommended that he be: (a) meted with the penalty of Censure, with a
warning that a repetition of the same will be met with a stiffer penalty; and (b)
directed to account for or return the amount of P48,000.00 to complainant.10

EDUARDO A. MAGLENTE v. ATTY. DELFIN R. AGCAOILI, Jr.,


A.C. No. 10672 March 18, 2015
FACTS: This is an administrative complaint1 dated May 9, 2006 filed by
complainant Eduardo A. Maglente (complainant), before the Integrated Bar of
the Philippines (IBP), against respondent Atty. Delfin R. Agcaoili, Jr.

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year, effective upon his receipt of this Decision, with a STERN


WARNING that a repetition of the same or similar acts will be dealt with
more severely.

ISSUE: Whether or not respondent should be held administratively liable for


the acts complained of.
HELD: The Court concurs with the findings of the IBP, except as tothe penalty
to be imposed upon respondent.

JULIAN PENILLA v. ATTY. QUINTIN P. ALCID, Jr.


A.C. No. 9149, September 4, 2013

It must be stressed that once a lawyer takes up the cause of his client, he is
duty-bound to serve the latter with competence, and to attend to such clients
cause with diligence, care, and devotion, whether he accepts it for a fee or for
free. He owes fidelity to such cause and must always be mindful of the trust
and confidence reposed upon him.16 Therefore, a lawyers neglect of a legal
matter entrusted to him by his client constitutes inexcusable negligence for
which he must be held administratively liable for violating Rule 18.03, Canon
18of the CPR, which reads:

FACTS: Complainant Julian Penilla entered into an agreement with Sps Rey
and Evelyn Garin for the repair of his Volkswagen automobile. Despite full
payment, the spouses defaulted in their obligation. Thus, complainant decided
to file a case for breach of contract against the spouses where he engaged
the services of respondent as counsel.
Respondent sent a demand letter to the spouses and asked for the refund of
complainants payment. When the spouses failed to return the payment,
respondent advised complainant that he would file a criminal case for estafa
against said spouses. Respondent charged P30,000 as attorneys fees and
P10,000 as filing fees. Complainant turned over the relevant documents to
respondent and paid the fees in tranches. Respondent then filed the complaint
for estafa before Asst. City Prosecutor Jose C. Fortuno of the Office of the
City Prosecutor of Quezon City. Respondent attended the hearing with
complainant but the spouses did not appear. After the hearing, complainant
paid another P1,000 to respondent as appearance fee. Henceforth,
complainant and respondent have conflicting narrations of the subsequent
events and transactions that transpired.

CANON 18 A LAWYER SHALL SERVE HIS CLIENT WITH COMPETENCE


AND DILIGENCE.
In the instant case, it is undisputed that complainant engaged the services of
respondent for the purpose of filing a case in court, and in connection
therewith, gave the amount of P48,000.00 to answer for the filing fees. Despite
the foregoing, respondent failed to comply with his undertaking and offered
the flimsy excuse that the money he received from complainant was not
enough to fully pay the filing fees.
Verily, when a lawyer receives money from the client for a particular purpose,
the lawyer is bound to render an accounting to the client showing that the
money was spent for the intended purpose. Consequently, if the money was
not used accordingly, the same must be immediately returned to the client.18 A
lawyers failure to return the money to his client despite numerous demands
is a violation of the trust reposed on him and is indicative of his lack of
integrity, as in this case.

Complainant alleges that when the case was submitted for resolution,
respondent told him that they have to give a bottle of Carlos Primero I to Asst.
City Prosecutor Fortuno to expedite a favorable resolution of the case.
Complainant claims that despite initial reservations, he later acceded to
respondents suggestion, bought a bottle of Carlos Primero I for P950 and
delivered it to respondents office.

WHEREFORE, respondent Atty. Delfin R. Agcaoili, Jr. (respondent), is


found GUILTY of violating Rules 16.01 and 16.03 of Canon 16, and Rule
18.03 of Canon 18of the Code of Professional Responsibility. Accordingly,
he is hereby SUSPENDED from the practice of law for a period of one (1)

1ST SEMESTER SY. 2015-2016 ATTY. VICTORIA LOANZON

Asst. City Prosecutor Fortuno later issued a resolution dismissing the estafa
case against the spouses. Respondent allegedly told complainant that a
motion for reconsideration was needed to have [the resolution] reversed.

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Respondent then prepared the motion and promised complainant that he


would fix the problem. the motion was denied for lack of merit. Respondent
then told complainant that he could not do anything about the adverse
decision and presented the option of filing a civil case for specific performance
against the spouses for the refund of the money plus damages. After
complainant signed the complaint, he was told by respondent to await further
notice as to the status of the case. Complainant claims that respondent never
gave him any update thereafter.

ISSUE: W/N respondent may be disbarred.


HELD: Yes. Respondent committed professional negligence under Canon 18
and Rule 18.04 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, with a modification
that also find respondent guilty of violating Canon 17 and Rule 18.03 of the
Code and the Lawyers Oath.
A lawyer may be disbarred or suspended for any violation of his oath, a patent
disregard of his duties, or an odious deportment unbecoming an attorney. A
lawyer must at no time be wanting in probity and moral fiber which are not
only conditions precedent to his entrance to the Bar but are likewise essential
demands for his continued membership therein.

Complainant claims not hearing from respondent again despite his several
letters conveying his disappointment and requesting for the return of the
money and the documents in respondents possession. Later, complainant
learned that a civil case for Specific Performance and Damages was filed but
was dismissed. He also found out that the filing fee was only P2,440 and not
P10,000 as earlier stated by respondent.

A review of the proceedings and the evidence in the case at bar shows that
respondent violated Canon 18 and Rules 18.03 and 18.04 of the Code of
Professional Responsibility. Complainant correctly alleged that respondent
violated his oath under Canon 18 to serve his client with competence and
diligence when respondent filed a criminal case for estafa when the facts of
the case would have warranted the filing of a civil case for breach of contract.
To be sure, after the complaint for estafa was dismissed, respondent
committed another similar blunder by filing a civil case for specific
performance and damages before the RTC. The errors committed by
respondent with respect to the nature of the remedy adopted in the criminal
complaint and the forum selected in the civil complaint were so basic and
could have been easily averted had he been more diligent and circumspect in
his role as counsel for complainant. What aggravates respondents offense
is the fact that his previous mistake in filing the estafa case did not motivate
him to be more conscientious, diligent and vigilant in handling the case of
complainant. The civil case he subsequently filed for complainant was
dismissed due to what later turned out to be a basic jurisdictional error.

On the other hand, Respondent denied charging complainant filing fees for
the estafa case. He also countered that the payment of P30,000 made by the
complainant was his acceptance fee for both the estafa case and civil case.
Respondent likewise denied the following other allegations of complainant:
that he assured the success of the case before the prosecutor; that he asked
complainant to give a bottle of Carlos Primero I to the prosecutor; that he
promised to fix the case; and that he charged P10,000, as he only charged
P5,000, as filing fee for the civil case.
Respondent explained that it was not a matter of indifference on his part when
he failed to inform petitioner of the status of the case. In fact, he was willing
to return the money and the documents of complainant. What allegedly
prevented him from communicating with complainant was the fact that
complainant would go to his office during days and times that he would be
attending his daily court hearings.

Furthermore, After the criminal and civil cases were dismissed, respondent
was plainly negligent and did not apprise complainant of the status and
progress of both cases he filed for the latter. He paid no attention and showed
no importance to complainants cause despite repeated followups. Clearly,
respondent is not only guilty of incompetence in handling the cases. His lack

IBP recommended the suspension of respondent from the practice of law for
six months for negligence within the meaning of Canon 18 and transgression
of Rule 18.04 of the Code of Professional Responsibility.

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ERMELINDA LAD VDA. DE DOMINGUEZ, REPRESENTED BY HER


ATTORNEY-IN-FACT, VICENTE A. PICHON v. ATTY. ARNULFO M.
AGLERON Sr. A.C. No. 5359 March 10, 2014

of professionalism in dealing with complainant is also gross and inexcusable.


In what may seem to be a helpless attempt to solve his predicament,
complainant even had to resort to consulting a program in a radio station to
recover his money from respondent, or at the very least, get his attention.

FACTS: Ermelinda Lad Vda. De Dominguez (complainant) was the widow of


the late Felipe Domiguez who died in a vehicular accident in Caraga, Davao
Oriental, on October 18, 1995, involving a dump truck owned by the
Municipality of Caraga. Aggrieved, complainant decided to file charges
against the Municipality of Caraga and engaged the services of respondent
Atty. Arnulfo M. Agleron, Sr. (Atty. Agleron). On three 3 occasions, Atty.
Agleron requested and received from complainant the following amounts for
the payment of filing fees and sheriffs fees, to wit: (1) June 3, 1996 P3,000.00;
(2) June 7, 1996 Pl,800.00; and September 2, 1996 -P5,250.00 or a total
of P10,050.00. After the lapse of four (4) years, however, no complaint was
filed by Atty. Agleron against the Municipality of Caraga.

Under Rule 18.04, a lawyer has the duty to apprise his client of the status and
developments of the case and all other information relevant thereto. He must
be consistently mindful of his obligation to respond promptly should there be
queries or requests for information from the client. In the case at bar,
respondent explained that he failed to update complainant of the status of the
cases he filed because their time did not always coincide. The excuse
proffered by respondent is too lame and flimsy to be given credit. Respondent
himself admitted that he had notice that complainant had visited his office
many times. Yet, despite the efforts exerted and the vigilance exhibited by
complainant, respondent neglected and failed to fulfill his obligation under
Rules 18.03 and 18.04 to keep his client informed of the status of his case
and to respond within a reasonable time to the clients request for information.

Defendants Defense:

Respondent also violated Canon 17 of the Code which states that [a] lawyer
owes fidelity to the cause of his client and he shall be mindful of the trust and
confidence reposed in him. The legal profession dictates that it is not a mere
duty, but an obligation, of a lawyer to accord the highest degree of fidelity,
zeal and fervor in the protection of the clients interest. The most thorough
groundwork and study must be undertaken in order to safeguard the interest
of the client. Respondent has defied and failed to perform such duty and his
omission is tantamount to a desecration of the Lawyers Oath.

Atty. Agleron admitted that complainant engaged his professional service and
received the amount of P10,050.00. He, however, explained that their
agreement was that complainant would pay the filing fees and other incidental
expenses and as soon as the complaint was prepared and ready for filing,
complainant would pay 30% of the agreed attorneys fees of P100,000.00. On
June 7, 1996, after the signing of the complaint, he advised complainant to
pay in full the amount of the filing fee and sheriffs fees and the 30% of the
attorneys fee, but complainant failed to do so. Atty. Agleron averred that since
the complaint could not be filed in court, the amount of P10,050.00 was
deposited in a bank while awaiting the payment of the balance of the filing fee
and attorneys fee.

WHEREFORE, the Resolution of the IBP Board of Governors adopting and


approving the Decision of the Investigating Commissioner is hereby
AFFIRMED with a MOdIFICATION that respondent Atty. Quintin P. Alcid, Jr.
is hereby found Guilty of violating Canons 17 and 18, and Rules 18.03 and
18.04 of the Code of Professional Responsiblity, as well as the Lawyer's Oath.
This Court hereby imposes upon respondent the penalty of SUSPENSION
from the practice of law for a period of SIX (6) MONTHS to commence
immediately upon receipt of this Decision.

1ST SEMESTER SY. 2015-2016 ATTY. VICTORIA LOANZON

ISSUE: WON Atty. Agleron violated the Code of Professional Responsibility.


HELD:
The Investigating Commissioners Report:

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The Investigating Commissioner found Atty. Agleron to have violated the


Code of Professional Responsibility when he neglected a legal matter
entrusted to him, and recommended that he be suspended from the practice
of law for a period of four (4) months.

services of Atty. Adquilen, a former Labor Arbiter, who re-filed his labor case.
Similarly, the case was dismissed due to the parties' failure to submit their
respective position papers. Complainant and Atty. Adquilen re-filed the case
for a third time. During its pendency, the representative of Capitol purportedly
offered the amount of P74,000.00 as settlement of complainant's claim,
conditioned on the submission of the latters position paper. Atty. Adquilen,
however, failed to submit one, resulting in the dismissal of the complaint for
lack of interest and failure to prosecute.

The BOGs Recommendation:


The Integrated Bar of the Philippines Board of Governors adopted and
approved the report and recommendation of the Investigating Commissioner
with modification that Atty. Agleron be suspended from the practice of law for
a period of only one 1 month.

Complainant this time assisted by Atty. Picar filed a motion for


reconsideration, however, the NLRC dismissed the same for having been filed
out of time, adding that the negligence of counsel binds the client. Due to the
foregoing, Atty. Picar sent separate letters to respondents, informing them
that complainant is in the process of pursuing administrative cases against
them before the Court. Nevertheless, as complainant remains open to the
possibility of settlement, respondents were invited to discuss the matter at
Atty. Picars office. Only Atty. Quesada responded to the said letter and
subsequently, undertook to compensate the damages sustained by
complainant in consideration of the non-filing of an administrative complaint
against him. Atty. Quesada, however, reneged on his promise, thus prompting
complainant to proceed with the present complaint.

RULING: The Court agrees with the recommendation of the IBP Board of
Governors except as to the penalty imposed. Atty. Agleron violated Rule
18.03 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, which provides that:
Rule 18.03-A lawyer shall not neglect a legal matter entrusted to him, and
his negligence in connection therewith shall render him liable.
Once a lawyer takes up the cause of his client, he is duty bound to serve his
client with competence, and to attend to his clients cause with diligence, care
and devotion regardless of whether he accepts it for a fee or for free. He owes
fidelity to such cause and must always be mindful of the trust and confidence
reposed on him. In a number of cases, the Court held that a lawyer should
never neglect a legal matter entrusted to him, otherwise his negligence
renders him liable for disciplinary action such as suspension ranging from
three months to two years. In this case, the Court finds the suspension of Atty.
Agleron from the practice of law for a period of three months sufficient.

RESPONDENT:
Atty. Adquilen failed to comply with the directive and the subsequent showcause resolutions. On the other hand, Atty. Quesada, in his Comment,
admitted having accepted and filed the initial labor case for complainant. He,
however, explained that he was unable to file the required position paper due
to complainant's failure to furnish him with the employment records and other
relevant documents. He also claimed that when he was informed of the
dismissal of the case without prejudice, he advised complainant to re-file the
case with the assistance of another lawyer as he had to attend to his duties
as Chairman of union. He later denied the existence of any lawyer-client
relationship between him and complainant, and claimed that the labor case
was handled by another lawyer.

FELIPE C. DAGALA VS. ATTY. JOSE C. QUESADA, JR.


A.C. No. 5044, December 02, 2013
FACTS: Complainant, assisted by Atty. Quesada, filed before the NLRC, a
Complaint for illegal dismissal, against Capitol Allied Trading & Transport
(Capitol). The said case was dismissed for failure to appear during the
mandatory conference hearings.Thereafter, complainant engaged the

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IBP Commission on Bar Discipline

in its November 19, 2011 Resolution which represents the settlement initially
offered by Capitol in the dismissed labor case. The return of the said amount
partakes the nature of a purely civil liability which should not be dealt with
during an administrative-disciplinary proceeding such as this case. In TriaSamonte v. Obias, the Court recently illumined that disciplinary proceedings
against lawyers are only confined to the issue of whether or not the
respondent-lawyer is still fit to be allowed to continue as a member of the Bar
and that the only concern is his administrative liability. Thus, matters which
have no intrinsic link to the lawyer's professional engagement, such as the
liabilities of the parties which are purely civil in nature, should be threshed out
in a proper proceeding of such nature, and not during administrativedisciplinary proceedings, as in this case.

Finding that respondents were grossly negligent in handling complainant's


case in violation of Rule 18.03, Canon 18 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility (Code). As such, he recommended that each of them be
suspended from the practice of law for a period of one (1) year.
ISSUE: Whether or not Atty. Quesada should be held administratively liable
for gross negligence in handling complainants labor case.
HELD: Yes. The Court has repeatedly emphasized that the relationship
between a lawyer and his client is one imbued with utmost trust and
confidence. In this regard, clients are led to expect that lawyers would be evermindful of their cause and accordingly exercise the required degree of
diligence in handling their affairs. For his part, the lawyer is required to
maintain at all times a high standard of legal proficiency, and to devote his full
attention, skill, and competence to the case, regardless of its importance and
whether he accepts it for a fee or for free. He is likewise expected to act with
honesty in all his dealings, especially with the courts. These principles are
embodied in Rule 1.01 of Canon 1, Rule 10.01 of Canon 10, Canon 17 and
Rule 18.03 of Canon 18 of the Code. In the present case, the Court finds Atty.
Quesada to have violated the foregoing Rules and Canons.

Respondent Atty. Jose C. Quesada, Jr. is found GUILTY of violating Rule 1.01
of Canon 1, Rule 10.01 of Canon 10, Canon 17, and Rule 18.03 of Canon 18
of the Code of Professional Responsibility, and is accordingly SUSPENDED
from the practice of law for one (1) year. On the other hand, the administrative
complaint against respondent Atty. Amado T. Adquilen is hereby DISMISSED
in view of his supervening death.
STEPHAN BRUNET vs. ATTY. RONALD GUAREN
A.C. No. 10164 March 10, 2014

Primarily, Atty, Quesada failed to exercise the required diligence in handling


complainants case by his failure to justify his absence on the two (2)
mandatory conference hearings despite due notice, which thus resulted in its
dismissal. It bears stressing that a retained counsel is expected to serve the
client with competence and diligence and not to sit idly by and leave the rights
of his client in a state of uncertainty. Moreover, Atty. Quesada acted with less
candor and good faith in the proceedings before the IBP-CBD when he denied
the existence of any lawyer-client relationship between him and complainant,
and claimed that the labor case was handled by another lawyer, despite his
previous admission before the Court of having accepted complainant's case.

FACTS: Complainant spouses Stephan and Virginia Brunet (complainants)


filed a complaint against respondent Atty. Ronald L. Guaren (Atty. Guaren)
before the Commission on Bar Discipline (CED), Integrated Bar of the
Philippines (IBP).
Petitioners Contention:
Complainants alleged that in February 1997, they engaged the services of
Atty. Guaren for the titling of a residential lot they acquired in Bonbon, Nueva
Caseres. Atty. Guaren asked for a fee of Ten Thousand Pesos (P10,000.00)
including expenses relative to its proceeding. It was agreed that full payment
of the fee shall be made after the delivery of the title. Atty. Guaren asked for
an advance fee of One Thousand Pesos (Pl,000.00) which they gave. Atty.

The Court must, however, clarify that the foregoing resolution should not
include a directive to return the amount of P74,000.00 as ordered by the IBP

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Guaren took all the pertinent documents relative to the titling of their lotcertified true copy of the tax declaration, original copy of the deed of
exchange, sketch plan, deed of donation, survey plan, and original copy of
the waiver. On March 10, 1997, Atty. Guaren asked for additional payment of
Six Thousand Pesos (P6,000.00) which they dutifully gave. From 1997 to
2001, they always reminded Atty. Guaren about the case and each time he
would say that the titling was in progress. They became bothered by the slow
progress of the case so they demanded the return of the money they paid.
Respondent agreed to return the same provided that the amount of Five
Thousand Pesos (P5,000.00) be deducted to answer for his professional fees.

a case against complainants without a written consent from the latter. The
CBD recommended that he be suspended for six (6) months.
The IBP Board of Governors, adopted and approved with modification the
Report and Recommendation of the CBD, suspending Atty. Guaren from the
practice of law for three (3) months only.
ISSUE: Whether or not Atty. Guaren should be held administratively liable?
HELD: Yes, in the present case, Atty. Guaren admitted that he accepted the
amount of P7,000.00 as partial payment of his acceptance fee. He, however,
failed to perform his obligation to file the case for the titling of complainants'
lot despite the lapse of 5 years. Atty. Guaren breached his duty to serve his
client with competence and diligence when he neglected a legal matter
entrusted to him.

Complainants further alleged that despite the existence of an attorney-client


relationship between them, Atty. Guaren made a special appearance against
them in a case pending before the Metropolitan Circuit Trial Court, Oslob,
Cebu (MCTC).
Respondents Contention:

The practice of law is not a business. It is a profession in which duty to public


service, not money, is the primary consideration. Lawyering is not primarily
meant to be a money-making venture, and law advocacy is not a capital that
necessarily yields profits. The gaining of a livelihood should be a secondary
consideration. The duty to public service and to the administration of justice
should be the primary consideration of lawyers, who must subordinate their
personal interests or what they owe to themselves.

Atty. Guaren admitted that he indeed charged complainants an acceptance


fee of P10,000.00, but denied that the amount was inclusive of expenses for
the titling of the lot. He claimed, however, that he received the payment of
P1,000.00 and P6,000.00; that their agreement was that the case would be
filed in court after the complainants fully paid his acceptance fee; that he did
not take the documents relative to the titling of the lot except for the photocopy
of the tax declaration; and that he did not commit betrayal of trust and
confidence when he participated in a case filed against the complainants in
MCTC explaining that his appearance was for and in behalf of Atty. Ervin
Estandante, the counsel on record, who failed to appear in the said hearing.

Canons 17 and 18 of the Code of Professional Responsibility provides that:


CANON 17 - A lawyer owes fidelity to the cause of his client and he shall be
mindful of the trust and confidence reposed in him.

IBP Report and Recommendation:

CANON 18 - A lawyer shall serve his client with competence and diligence.

The Investigating Commissioner found Atty. Guaren to have violated the


Canon of Professional Responsibility when he accepted the titling of
complainants lot and despite the acceptance of P7,000.00, he failed to
perform his obligation and allowed 5 long years to elapse without any progress
in the titling of the lot. Atty. Guaren should also be disciplined for appearing in

Respondent Atty. Ronald L. Guaren was found GUILTY of having violated


Canons 17 and 18 of the Code of Professional Responsibility and was
SUSPENDED from the practice of law for a period of SIX (6) MONTHS.

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RE: VERIFIED COMPLAINT OF TOMAS S. MERDEGIA AGAINST HON.


VICENTE S.E. VELOSO, ETC./RE: RESOLUTION DATED OCTOBER 8,
2013 IN OCA IPI NO. 12-205-CA-J AGAINST ATTY. HOMOBONO ADAZA
II, IPI No. 12-205-CA-J/A.C. 10300, December 10, 2013

Said case was terminated on June 20, 1958, probating the said will. The
oppositors in this case who are the same persons mentioned above appealed
this case to the Higher Court of the Philippines and was decided by the Hon.
Supreme Court of the Philippines on October 12, 1967 in G.R. No. L-23638
and L-23662, affirming the decision of the Lower Court

FACTS: This is an administrative complaint of Tomas S. Merdegia against


Court of Appeals Associate Justice Vicente S.E. Veloso. We also directed
Atty. Homobono Adaza II, Merdegias counsel, to show cause why he should
not be cited for contempt. The Supreme Court held Atty. Adaza II guilty of
indirect contempt. Atty. Adaza prepared the administrative complaint after
Justice Veloso refused to inhibit himself from a case he was handling. The
complaint and the motion for inhibition were both based on the same main
cause: the alleged partiality of Justice Veloso during the oral arguments of
Merdegias case. The resolution dismissing the motion for inhibition should
have disposed of the issue of Justice Velosos bias. If they doubted the legality
of the Resolution, they could have filed a petition for certiorari.

That after the decision of the above-mentioned case was promulgated, the
same parties filed on June 5, 1968 Civil Case No. 3677-M with the CFI of
Bulacan for annulment of will; this case was filed through their counsel, Atty.
Gregorio Centeno. Said case was dismissed by the Court on February 11,
1970.
That on August 13,1971, again, the clients of Atty. Montalvo filed Civil Case
No. 4078 with the Court of First Instance of Bulacan for annulment of the said
will; this case was again dismissed by the Court on December 21, 1971;
That on April 22, 1972, again the same parties, through their counsel Atty.
Montalvo, filed another case with the Court of First Instance of Bulacan,
allegedly for Partition of the same property mentioned in the probate of will
which was docketed as Civil Case No. 4151. This case was again dismissed
by the Court in its Order dated October 11, 1972;

ISSUE: Whether or not the lawyers should be administratively liable.


HELD: Administrative complaints against justices cannot and should not
substitute for appeal and other judicial remedies against an assailed decision
or ruling. While a lawyer has a duty to represent his client with zeal, he must
do so within the bounds provided by law. He is also duty-bound to impress
upon his client the propriety of the legal action the latter wants to undertake,
and to encourage compliance with the law and legal processes. Atty. Adaza
failed to impress upon his client the features of the Philippine adversarial
system, the substance of the law on ethics and respect for the judicial system,
and his own failure to heed what his duties as a professional and as an officer
of the Court demand of him in acting for his client before the courts.

Another case was filed by the same parties, through Atty. Montalvo, for
specific performance, with the CFI of Bulacan and was docketed as Civil Case
No. 4188-M. This case was again dismissed by the Court in its Order dated
October 24,1973. On August 12, 1974, the said case was remanded to the
Court of Appeals, Manila, by the Court of First Instance of Bulacan
Yet, another case filed by the same persons mentioned above through Atty.
Montalvo with the Court of First Instance of Bulacan and was docketed as
Civil Case No. 4458.

DIMAGIBA v. MONTALVO, Jr.


A.C. No. 1424, October 15, 1991

In view of the numerous cases filed against me by the same parties, through
their counsel, Atty. Montalvo, complainant filed this case.

FACTS: A Probate of Will was filed with the Court of First Instance of Bulacan,
regarding the same property subject of the annulment of sale and was
docketed with the Court of First Instance of Bulacan as Sp. Proc. No. 831-M.

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Respondnet Montalvo, claims that the case for the interest of justice
certainly never for harassment and that the complainant by filing this instant
complaint for disbarment wants to cow and intimidate the undersigned in order
to withdraw as counsel of his clients because she has been thwarted in her
erroneous belief that she owns exclusively all the properties comprising the
estate of the late Benedicta de Los Reyes and could not accept and take into
account the reality that by virtue of the final decision of the Supreme Court in
G.R. No. 5618 and 5620 she is not the sole owner of the present estate of the
deceased but only a co-owner with the clients of the undersigned. Montalvo
stated that it was Dimagiba who refused to be bound by the Supreme Court
Decision in G.R. Nos. 5618 and 5620

court dockets get clogged and the administration of justice is delayed, our
judicial system may not be entirely blame less, yet the greater fault lies in the
lawyers who had take their privilege so lightly, and in such mindless fashion.
On the basis of the foregoing, we find him guilty of malpractice as charged.
He has violated his oath not to delay any ma for money or malice, besmirched
the name of an honorable profession, and has proven himself unworthy of the
trust repose in him by law as an officer of the Court. We have not
countenanced other less significant infractions among the ranks of our
lawyers. He deserves the severest punishment of DISBARMENT.
WHEREFORE on the basis of the foregoing, and consisted with the urgent
need to maintain the high traditions an standards of the legal profession and
to preserve undiminished public faith in attorneys-at-law, the Court Resolved
to DISBAR the respondent Atty. Jose Montalvo, Jr. from the practice law. His
name is hereby ordered stricken from the Roll of Attorneys.

This notwithstanding, Montalvo filed another case against Dimagiba which


was docketed as Civil Case No. 4458-M of the CFI Bulacan where the
plaintiffs and causes of action were again the same as 3677-M and 4188-M.
Again, the CFI Bulacan dismissed the cases.
Upon study, the Solicitor General recommends that respondents misbehavior
in facie curia consisting of a stubborn refusal to accept this Court's
pronouncements is in fact even summarily punishable under Rule 71, Suction
1 of the Rules of Court..

ONG v. UNTO
A.C. No. 2417, February 6, 2003

HELD: Yes.
Any lawyer who assumes the responsibility for a client' cause has the duty to
know the entire history of a case, specially if any litigation has commenced.
In the case at bar, even Atty. Montalvo does not deny the fact that the probate
of the will of the late Benedicta de los Reyes has been an over-extended a
contentious litigation between the heirs.

FACTS: This is a disbarment case filed by Alex Ong against Atty. Elpidio D.
Unto, for malpractice of law and conduct unbecoming of a lawyer. It is evident
from the records that he tried to coerce the complainant to comply with his
letter-demand by threatening to file various charges against the latter. When
the complainant did not heed his warning, he made good his threat and filed
a string of criminal and administrative cases against the complainant. They,
however, did not have any bearing or connection to the cause of his client.
The records show that the respondent offered monetary rewards to anyone
who could provide him any information against the complainant just so he
would have leverage in his actions against the latter.
Defendants Defense:

A lawyer should never take advantage of the seemingly end less channels left
dangling by our legal system in order wangle the attention of the court. Atty.
Montalvo may have thought that lie could get away with his indiscriminate
filing o suits that were clearly intended to harass Ismaela Dimagiba When

There was none. The records show that the respondent was directed to
submit his comment on the complaint lodged against him. He did not file
any. Subsequently, the case was endorsed to the Office of the Solicitor
General for investigation, report and recommendation. In turn, the OSG

ISSUE: PENILLA W/N respondent violated the Code of Professional


Responsibility.

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forwarded the records of the case to the Office of the Provincial Fiscal of
Negros Oriental, authorizing said office to conduct the investigation.

Complainants engaged the services of respondent for the purpose of assisting


them in the preparation of a settlement agreement. Instead of drafting a
written settlement, respondent encouraged them to institute actions against
Fevidal in order to recover their properties. Complainants then signed a
contract of legal services, in which it was agreed that they would not pay
acceptance and appearance fees to respondent, but that the docket fees
would instead be shared by the parties. Under the contract, complainants
would pay respondent 50% of whatever would be recovered of the properties.

It appears that the respondent did not appear before the investigating officer,
then Provincial Fiscal Jacinto Bautista, to answer the charges against
him. Instead, he moved for postponement.
ISSUE: WON Atty. Untos acts constitute malpractice.

In preparation for the filing of an action against Fevidal, respondent prepared


and notarized an Affidavit of Adverse Claim, seeking to annotate the claim of
complainants to at least 195 titles in the possession of Fevidal. Unknown to
him, the adverse claim was held in abeyance, because Fevidal convinced
complainants to agree to another settlement.

HELD: Yes. Canon 19 of the Code of Professional Responsibility mandates


lawyers to represent their clients with zeal but within the bounds of the law.
Rule 19.01 further commands that a lawyer shall employ only fair and honest
means to attain the lawful objectives of his client and shall not present,
participate, or threaten to present unfounded criminal charges to obtain an
improper advantage in any case or proceeding. The ethics of the legal
profession rightly enjoin lawyers to act with the highest standards of
truthfulness, fair play and nobility in the course of his practice of law. A lawyer
may be disciplined or suspended for any misconduct, whether in his
professional or private capacity. Public confidence in law and lawyers may be
eroded by the irresponsible and improper conduct of a member of the
Bar. Thus, every lawyer should act and comport himself in such a manner that
would promote public confidence in the integrity of the legal profession.

Respondent filed a complaint for annulment, cancellation and revalidation of


titles, and damages against Fevidal. Complainants found it hard to wait for the
outcome of the action. Thus, they terminated the services of respondent and
finalized their amicable settlement with him.
RESPONDENT:
Respondent filed a Manifestation and Opposition before the RTC, alleging
that the termination of his services and withdrawal of the complaint had been
done with the intent of defrauding counsel. He also filed a Motion for
Recording of Attorneys Charging Lien in the Records.

CONCHITA A. BALTAZAR, et.al vs. ATTY. JUAN B. BAEZ, JR.


A.C. No. 9091, December 11, 2013
FACTS: Complainants are the owners of three parcels of land. They entered
into an agreement with Gerry R. Fevidal (Fevidal), a subdivision developer.
Fevidal did not update complainants about the status of the subdivision
project and failed to account for the titles to the subdivided land. Thus, they
revoked the Special Power of Attorney they had previously executed in his
favor.

After an exchange of pleadings between respondent and Fevidal, with the


latter denying the formers allegation of collusion, complainants sought the
suspension/disbarment of respondent. Complainants alleged that they were
uneducated and underprivileged, and could not taste the fruits of their
properties because the disposition thereof was now clothed with legal
problems brought about by respondent. In their complaint, they alleged that
respondent had violated the Code of Professional Responsibility.

COMPLAINANTS:

IBP Commission on Bar Discipline:

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It suspended respondent from the practice of law for a period of one year for
entering into a champertous agreement.

Responsibility, which states that lawyers shall not lend money to a client,
except when in the interest of justice, they have to advance necessary
expenses in a legal matter they are handling for the client.

ISSUE: Whether or not the respondent is guilty of entering into a champertous


contract.

A reading of the contract for legal services shows that respondent agreed to
pay for at least half of the expense for the docket fees. He also paid for the
whole amount needed for the recording of complainants adverse claim.

HELD: We find that respondent did not violate any of the canons cited by
complainants. Respondent cannot be faulted for advising complainants to file
an action against Fevidal to recover their properties, instead of agreeing to a
settlement of P10,000,000 a measly amount compared to that in the original
agreement, under which Fevidal undertook to pay complainants the amount
of P35,000,000. Lawyers have a sworn duty and responsibility to protect the
interest of any prospective client and pursue the ends of justice. Any lawyer
worth his salt would advise complainants against the abuses of Fevidal under
the circumstances, and we cannot countenance an administrative complaint
against a lawyer only because he performed a duty imposed on him by his
oath.

While lawyers may advance the necessary expenses in a legal matter they
are handling in order to safeguard their clients rights, it is imperative that the
advances be subject to reimbursement. The purpose is to avoid a situation in
which a lawyer acquires a personal stake in the clients cause. Regrettably,
nowhere in the contract for legal services is it stated that the expenses of
litigation advanced by respondent shall be subject to reimbursement by
complainants.
In addition, respondent gave various amounts as cash advances (bali),
gasoline and transportation allowance to them for the duration of their
attorney-client relationship. In fact, he admits that the cash advances were in
the nature of personal loans that he extended to complainants.

Finally, complainants apparently refer to the motion of respondent for the


recording of his attorneys charging lien as the legal problem preventing
them from enjoying the fruits of their property.

Clearly, respondent lost sight of his responsibility as a lawyer in balancing the


clients interests with the ethical standards of his profession. Considering the
surrounding circumstances in this case, an admonition shall suffice to remind
him that however dire the needs of the clients, a lawyer must always avoid
any appearance of impropriety to preserve the integrity of the profession.

Section 26, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court allows an attorney to intervene in
a case to protect his rights concerning the payment of his compensation.
According to the discretion of the court, the attorney shall have a lien upon all
judgments for the payment of money rendered in a case in which his services
have been retained by the client. We recently upheld the right of counsel to
intervene in proceedings for the recording of their charging lien.

Attorney Juan B. Baez, Jr. is hereby ADMONISHED for advancing the


litigation expenses in a legal matter he handled for a client without providing
for terms of reimbursement and lending money to his client, in violation of
Canon 16.04 of the Code of Professional Responsibility.

Notwithstanding the foregoing, respondent is not without fault. Indeed, we find


that the contract for legal services he has executed with complainants is in
the nature of a champertous contract an agreement whereby an attorney
undertakes to pay the expenses of the proceedings to enforce the clients
rights in exchange for some bargain to have a part of the thing in dispute.
Such contracts are contrary to public policy and are thus void or inexistent.
They are also contrary to Canon 16.04 of the Code of Professional

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THE CONJUGAL PARTNERSHIP OF SPOUSES VICENTE CADAVEDO


vs. VICTORINO LACAYA
G.R. No. 173188 January 15, 2014

fix the attorneys fees on a quantum meruit basis, with due consideration of
the expenses that Atty. Lacaya incurred while handling the civil cases.
Ruling of the RTC:

FACTS: Spouses Vicente Cadavedo and Benita Arcoy-Cadavedo (Spouses


Cadavedo) acquired a homestead grant over a land in Gumay, Pian,
Zamboanga del Norte. On April 30, 1955, the spouses Cadavedo sold the lot
to the spouses Vicente Ames and Martha Fernandez (the spouses Ames).

RTC declared the contingent fee of 10.5383 hectares as excessive and


unconscionable. RTC reduced the land area to 5.2691 hectares and ordered
the respondents to vacate and restore the remaining 5.2692 hectares to the
spouses Cadavedo. The RTC noted that the agreed attorneys fee on
contingent basis was P2,000.00. The RTC was convinced that the issues
involved in the Civil Case handled by Atty. Lacuya were not sufficiently difficult
and complicated to command such an excessive award; neither did it require
Atty. Lacaya to devote much of his time or skill, or to perform extensive
research. However, the RTC deemed the respondents possession, prior to
the judgment, of the excess portion of their share in the subject lot to be in
good faith. The respondents were thus entitled to receive its fruits.

Spouses Cadavedo filed an action before the RTC of Zamboanga City against
the spouses Ames for sum of money and/or voiding of contract of sale of
homestead after the latter failed to pay the balance of the purchase price. The
spouses Cadavedo initially engaged the services of Atty. Rosendo Bandal
who, for health reasons, later withdrew from the case; he was substituted by
Atty. Lacaya. Spouses Cadavedo hired Atty. Lacaya on a contingency fee
basis. The spouses Cadavedo and Atty. Lacaya agreed on a contingent fee
of P2,000.00

The respondents appealed the case before the CA.

While Atty. Lacaya was handling the cases of petitioners, Atty. Lacaya asked
for one-half of the subject lot as attorneys fees. He caused the subdivision of
the subject lot into two equal portions, based on area, and selected the more
valuable and productive half for himself; and assigned the other half to the
spouses Cadavedo.

Ruling of the CA:


CA reversed and set aside the RTCs decision and maintained the partition
and distribution of the subject lot under the compromise agreement.
Consistent with Canon 20.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility
(enumerating the factors that should guide the determination of the lawyers
fees), the CA ruled that the time spent and the extent of the services Atty.
Lacaya rendered for the spouses Cadavedo in the three cases, the probability
of him losing other employment resulting from his engagement, the benefits
resulting to the spouses Cadavedo, and the contingency of his fees justified
the compromise agreement and rendered the agreed fee under the
compromise agreement reasonable.

Vicente Cadavedo and his sons-in-law entered the portion assigned to the
respondents and ejected them by filing a counter-suit for forcible entry.
Vicente and Atty. Lacaya entered into an amicable settlement, re-adjusting
the area and portion obtained by each. Atty. Lacaya acquired 10.5383
hectares pursuant to the agreement. The MTC approved the compromise
agreement.
The spouses Cadavedo filed before the RTC an action against the
respondents, assailing the MTC-approved compromise agreement. The
spouses Cadavedo prayed, among others, that the respondents be ejected
from their one-half portion of the subject lot; that they be ordered to render an
accounting of the produce of this one-half portion from 1981;and that the RTC

1ST SEMESTER SY. 2015-2016 ATTY. VICTORIA LOANZON

Petitioners Contention:
The petitioners argue that stipulations on a lawyers compensation for
professional services, especially those contained in the pleadings filed in

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courts, control the amount of the attorneys fees to which the lawyer shall be
entitled and should prevail over oral agreements. In this case, the spouses
Cadavedo and Atty. Lacaya agreed that the latters contingent attorneys fee
was P2,000.00 in cash, not one-half of the subject lot. This agreement was
clearly stipulated in the amended complaint filed in Civil Case No. 1721. Thus,
Atty. Lacaya is bound by the expressly stipulated fee and cannot insist on
unilaterally changing its terms without violating their contract.

1) The written agreement providing for a contingent fee of P2,000.00


should prevail over the oral agreement providing for one-half of the
subject lot.
An agreement between the lawyer and his client, providing for the
formers compensation, is subject to the ordinary rules governing
contracts in general. As the rules stand, controversies involving
written and oral agreements on attorneys fees shall be resolved in
favor of the former. Hence, the contingency fee of P2,000.00
stipulated in the amended complaint prevails over the alleged oral
contingency fee agreement of one-half of the subject lot.

Respondents Contention:
Respondents counter that the attorneys fee stipulated in the amended
complaint was not the agreed fee of Atty. Lacaya for his legal services. They
argue that the questioned stipulation for attorneys fees was in the nature of a
penalty that, if granted, would inure to the spouses Cadavedo and not to Atty.
Lacaya.

The spouses Cadavedo and Atty. Lacaya agreed on a contingent fee


of P2,000.00 and not one-half of the subject lot. The stipulation
contained in the amended complaint filed by Atty. Lacaya clearly
stated that the spouses Cadavedo hired the former on a contingency
basis; the Spouses Cadavedo undertook to pay their lawyer
P2,000.00 as attorneys fees should the case be decided in their
favor.

The respondents point out that: (1) both Vicente and Atty. Lacaya caused the
survey and subdivision of the subject lot immediately after the spouses
Cadavedo reacquired its possession with the RTCs approval of their motion
for execution of judgment in Civil Case No. 1721; (2) Vicente expressly ratified
and confirmed the agreement on the contingent attorneys fee consisting of
one-half of the subject lot; (3) the MTC in Civil Case No. 215 (ejectment case)
approved the compromise agreement; (4) Vicente is the legally designated
administrator of the conjugal partnership, hence the compromise agreement
ratifying the transfer bound the partnership and could not have been
invalidated by the absence of Benitas acquiescence; and (5) the compromise
agreement merely inscribed and ratified the earlier oral agreement between
the spouses Cadavedo and Atty. Lacaya which is not contrary to law, morals,
good customs, public order and public policy.

Contrary to the respondents contention, this stipulation is not in the


nature of a penalty that the court would award the winning party, to
be paid by the losing party. The stipulation is a representation to the
court concerning the agreement between the spouses Cadavedo
and Atty. Lacaya, on the latters compensation for his services in the
case; it is not the attorneys fees in the nature of damages which the
former prays from the court as an incident to the main action.
2) The contingent fee agreement between the spouses Cadavedo and
Atty. Lacaya, awarding the latter one-half of the subject lot, is
champertous.

Issue: Whether or not the attorneys fee consisting of one-half of the subject
lot is valid and reasonable, and binds the petitioners?
HELD: No, the attorneys fees consisting of the one half of the subject lot is
not valid for the following reasons:

1ST SEMESTER SY. 2015-2016 ATTY. VICTORIA LOANZON

Granting arguendo that the spouses Cadavedo and Atty. Lacaya


indeed entered into an
oral contingent fee agreement securing to the

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latter one-half of the subject lot, the agreement is nevertheless void. This
agreement is champertous and is contrary to public policy.

The spouses Cadavedo and Atty. Lacaya made separate


arrangements for the costs and expenses for each of these two
cases. Thus, the expenses for the two subsequent cases had been
considered and taken cared of.

The rule of the profession that forbids a lawyer from contracting with
his client for part of
the thing in litigation in exchange for conducting
the case at the lawyers expense is designed to prevent the lawyer from
acquiring an interest between him and his client. To permit
these
arrangements is to enable the lawyer to "acquire additional stake in the
outcome of the action which might lead him to consider his own
recovery rather than that of his client or to accept a settlement which might
take care of his interest in the verdict
to the sacrifice of that of his
client in violation of his duty of undivided fidelity to his clients cause."

4) Atty. Lacayas acquisition of the one-half portion contravenes Article


1491 (5) of the Civil Code
Article 1491 (5) of the Civil Code forbids lawyers from acquiring, by
purchase or assignment, the property that has been the subject of
litigation in which they have taken part by virtue of their profession.
The same proscription is provided under Rule 10 of the Canons of
Professional Ethics.

In addition to its champertous character, the contingent fee arrangement in


this case
expressly transgresses the Canons of Professional Ethics
and, impliedly, the Code of Professional Responsibility. Under Rule 42 of the
Canons of Professional Ethics, a lawyer may not properly agree with a client
that the lawyer shall pay or beat the expense of litigation.

While contingent fee agreements are indeed recognized in this


jurisdiction as a valid exception to the prohibitions under Article
1491(5) of the Civil Code. however, this recognition does not apply
to the present case. A contingent fee contract is an agreement in
writing where the fee, often a fixed percentage of what may be
recovered in the action, is made to depend upon the success of the
litigation. The payment of the contingent fee is not made during the
pendency of the litigation involving the clients property but only after
the judgment has been rendered in the case handled by the lawyer.

3) The attorneys fee consisting of one-half of the subject lot is


excessive and unconscionable.
The contingent fee of one-half of the subject lot was allegedly agreed
to secure the services of Atty. Lacaya. Plainly, it was intended for
only one action as the two other civil cases had not yet been
instituted at that time. While Civil Case No. 1721 took twelve years
to be finally resolved, that period of time, as matters then stood, was
not a sufficient reason to justify a large fee in the absence of any
showing that special skills and additional work had been involved.
The issue involved in that case, as observed by the RTC was simple
and did not require of Atty. Lacaya extensive skill, effort and
research. The issue simply dealt with the prohibition against the sale
of a homestead lot within five years from its acquisition.

In the present case, the transfer or assignment of the disputed onehalf portion to Atty. Lacaya took place while the subject lot was still
under litigation and the lawyer-client relationship still existed
between him and the spouses Cadavedo. Thus, the general
prohibition provided under Article 1491 of the Civil Code, rather than
the exception provided in jurisprudence, applies. The CA seriously
erred in upholding the compromise agreement on the basis of the
unproved oral contingent fee agreement.
5) Atty. Lacaya is entitled to receive attorneys fees on a quantum
meruit basis

Also, with respect to the two subsequent cases, it did not and could
not otherwise justify an attorneys fee of one-half of the subject lot.

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CZARINA T. MALVAR v. KRAFT FOODS PHILS., INC., et.al.,


G.R. No. 183952, September 9, 2011

"Quantum meruitmeaning as much as he deservesis used as


basis for determining a lawyers professional fees in the absence of
a contract x x x taking into account certain factors in fixing the
amount of legal fees." The doctrine of quantum meruit is a device to
prevent undue enrichment based on the equitable postulate that it is
unjust for a person to retain benefit without paying for it.

FACTS: On August 1, 1988, Kraft Foods (Phils.), Inc. (KFPI) hired Czarina
Malvar (Malvar) as its Corporate Planning Manager. From then on, she
gradually rose from the ranks, becoming in 1996 the Vice President for
Finance in the Southeast Asia Region of Kraft Foods International
(KFI),KFPIs mother company. On November 29, 1999, respondent
Bienvenido S. Bautista, as Chairman of the Board of KFPI and concurrently
the Vice President and Area Director for Southeast Asia of KFI, sent Malvar a
memo directing her to explain why no administrative sanctions should be
imposed on her for possible breach of trust and confidence and for willful
violation of company rules and regulations. Following the submission of her
written explanation, an investigating body was formed. In due time, she was
placed under preventive suspension with pay. Ultimately, on March 16, 2000,
she was served a notice of termination.

Under Section 24, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court and Canon 20 of
the Code of Professional Responsibility, factors such as the
importance of the subject matter of the controversy, the time spent
and the extent of the services rendered, the customary charges for
similar services, the amount involved in the controversy and the
benefits resulting to the client from the service, to name a few, are
considered in determining the reasonableness of the fees to which a
lawyer is entitled.
In the present case, the following considerations guide this Court in
considering and setting Atty. Lacayas fees based on quantum
meruit: (1) the questions involved in these civil cases were not novel
and did not require of Atty. Lacaya considerable effort in terms of
time, skill or the performance of extensive research; (2) Atty. Lacaya
rendered legal services for the Spouses Cadavedo in three civil
cases beginning in 1969 until 1988 when the petitioners filed the
instant case; (3) the first of these civil cases (Cadavedo v. Ames)
lasted for twelve years and reaching up to this Court; the second
(Ames v. Cadavedo) lasted for seven years; and the third (Cadavedo
and Lacaya v. DBP) lasted for six years, reaching up to the CA; and
(4) the property subject of these civil cases is of a considerable size
of 230,765 square meters or 23.0765 hectares.

Obviously aggrieved, Malvar filed a complaint for illegal suspension and illegal
dismissal against KFPI and Bautista in the National Labor Relations
Commission (NLRC). In a decision dated April 30, 2001,1 the Labor Arbiter
found and declared her suspension and dismissal illegal, and ordered her
reinstatement, and the payment of her full backwages, inclusive of allowances
and other benefits, plus attorneys fees.
On October 22, 2001, the NLRC affirmed the decision of the Labor Arbiter but
additionally ruled that Malvar was entitled to "any and all stock options and
bonuses she was entitled to or would have been entitled to had she not been
illegally dismissed from her employment," as well as to moral and exemplary
damages.
While her appeal was pending in the Supreme Court, she and respondents
entered into a compromise agreement, whereby she was paid P40,000,000
in addition to the P14,252,192.12 earlier paid to her. She later filed a motion
to dismiss/withdraw case but before it could be acted upon, a motion for
intervention to protect attorneys rights was filed by the law firm of Dasal,
Llasos and Associates, through its Of counsel, retired Supreme Court

The Supreme Court ruled that respondents are entitled only to two
(2) hectares (or approximately one-tenth [1/10] of the subject lot),
with the fruits previously received from the disputed one-half portion,
as attorneys fees. They shall return to the petitioners the remainder
of the disputed one-half portion.

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Associate Justice Josue N. Bellosillo. The motion sought, among others, that
both Malvar and KFPI be held and ordered to pay jointly and severally the
intervenors contingent fees.

International to jointly and severally pay to Intervenor Law Firm, represented


by Retired Associate Justice Josue N. Bellosillo, its stipulated contingent fees
of 10% of P41,627,593.75, and the further sum equivalent to 10% of the value
of the stock option. No pronouncement on costs of suit.

In opposing the motion, Malvar claimed that the intervenor lacked the legal
capacity to intervene because it had ceased to exist after Atty. Marwil N.
Llasos resigned from the intervenor and Atty. Richard B. Dasal became barred
from private practice upon his appointment to a position in a government
subsidiary. They both personally handled her case. Besides, their dismissal
was based on a justifiable cause.

PALM v. ATTY. FELIPE ILEDAN, Jr.


A.C. No. 8243, July 24, 2009
FACTS: Complainant is the President of Comtech, a corporation engaged in
the business of computer software development. From February 2003 to
November 2003, respondent served as Comtechs retained corporate counsel
for the amount of P6,000 per month as retainer fee. From September to
October 2003, complainant personally met with respondent to review
corporate matters, including potential amendments to the corporate bylaws. In a meeting held on 1 October 2003, respondent suggested that
Comtech amend its corporate by-laws to allow participation during board
meetings, through teleconference, of members of the Board of Directors who
were outside the Philippines.

ISSUE: Whether or not the contention of Malvar is tenable.


HELD: No.
In the absence of the lawyers fault, consent or waiver, a client cannot deprive
the lawyer of his just fee already earned in the guise of a justifiable reason.
As a final word, it is necessary to state that no court can shirk from enforcing
the contractual stipulations in the manner they have agreed upon and written.
As a rule, the courts, whether trial or appellate, have no power to make or
modify contracts between the parties. Nor can the courts save the parties from
disadvantageous provisions. The same precepts hold sway when it comes to
enforcing fee arrangements entered into in writing between clients and
attorneys. In the exercise of their supervisory authority over attorneys as
officers of the Court, the courts are bound to respect and protect the attorneys
lien as a necessary means to preserve the decorum and respectability of the
Law Profession. Hence, the Court must thwart any and every effort of clients
already served by their attorneys worthy services to deprive them of their
hard-earned compensation. Truly, the duty of the courts is not only to see to
it that attorneys act in a proper and lawful manner, but also to see to it that
attorneys are paid their just and lawful fees.

Prior to the completion of the amendments of the corporate by-laws,


complainant became uncomfortable with the close relationship between
respondent and Elda Soledad (Soledad), a former officer and director of
Comtech, who resigned and who was suspected of releasing unauthorized
disbursements of corporate funds. Thus, Comtech decided to terminate its
retainer agreement with respondent effective November 2003.
In a stockholders meeting held on 10 January 2004, respondent attended as
proxy for Gary Harrison (Harrison). teven C. Palm (Steven) and Deanna L.
Palm, members of the Board of Directors, were present through
teleconference. When the meeting was called to order, respondent objected
to the meeting for lack of quorum. Respondent asserted that Steven and
Deanna Palm could not participate in the meeting because the corporate bylaws had not yet been amended to allow teleconferencing.

WHEREFORE, the Court APPROVES the compromise agreement; GRANTS


the Motion for Intervention to Protect Attorney's Rights; and ORDERS Czarina
T. Malvar and respondents Kraft Food Philippines Inc. and Kraft Foods

1ST SEMESTER SY. 2015-2016 ATTY. VICTORIA LOANZON

Later, Comtechs new counsel sent a demand letter to Soledad to return or


account for the amount of P90,466.10 representing her unauthorized

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disbursements when she was the Corporate Treasurer of Comtech. On 22


April 2004, Comtech received Soledads reply, signed by respondent. Due to
Soledads failure to comply with Comtech's written demands, Comtech filed a
complaint for Estafa against Soledad. Thereafter, dibarment was filed against
the respondent.

ISSUE:
Is respondent guilty of violation of Canon 21?
Is there a conflict of interest when respondent represented Soledad?
HELD:
1). No

On the other hand, respondent alleged that in January 2002, Soledad


consulted him on process and procedure in acquiring property. In April 2002,
Soledad again consulted him about the legal requirements of putting up a
domestic corporation. In February 2003, Soledad engaged his services as
consultant for Comtech. Respondent alleged that from February to October
2003, neither Soledad nor Palm consulted him on confidential or privileged
matter concerning the operations of the corporation. Respondent further
alleged that he had no access to any record of Comtech. Respondent
admitted that during the months of September and October 2003, complainant
met with him regarding the procedure in amending the corporate by-laws to
allow board members outside the Philippines to participate in board meetings.

Canon 21 provides that a lawyer shall preserve the confidence and


secrets of his client even after the attorney-client relationship is terminated.
It is settled that the mere relation of attorney and client does not raise a
presumption of confidentiality. The client must intend the communication to
be confidential. Since the proposed amendments must be approved by at
least a majority of the stockholders, and copies of the amended by-laws
must be filed with the SEC, the information could not have been
intended to be confidential. The documents are public records and
could not be considered confidential. Thus, the disclosure made by
respondent during the stockholders meeting could not be considered a
violation of his clients secrets and confidence within the contemplation of
Canon 21 of the Code of Professional Responsibility.

Respondent further alleged that Harrison, then Comtech President, appointed


him as proxy during the 10 January 2004 meeting. Respondent alleged that
Harrison instructed him to observe the conduct of the meeting. Respondent
admitted that he objected to the participation of Steven and Deanna Palm
because the corporate by-laws had not yet been properly amended to allow
the participation of board members by teleconferencing.

2. No.
Rule 15.03 provides that a lawyer shall not represent conflicting interest
except by written consent of all concerned given after a full disclosure of the
facts.

Respondent alleged that there was no conflict of interest when he represented


Soledad in the case for Estafa filed by Comtech. He alleged that Soledad was
already a client before he became a consultant for Comtech. He alleged that
the criminal case was not related to or connected with the limited procedural
queries he handled with Comtech.

The Court enumerated various tests to determine conflict of interests. One


test of inconsistency of interests is whether the lawyer will be asked to use
against his former client any confidential information acquired through their
connection or previous employment. The Court has ruled that what a lawyer
owes his former client is to maintain inviolate the clients confidence or to
refrain from doing anything which will injuriously affect him in any matter in
which he previously represented him.

IBP ruled that respondent guilty of violation of Canon 21 of the Code of


Professional Responsibility and of representing interest in conflict with that of
Comtech as his former client. Thus, recommending suspending respondent
from the practice of law for two years.

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Court finds no conflict of interest when respondent represented Soledad in a


case filed by Comtech. The case where respondent represents Soledad is an
Estafa case filed by Comtech against its former officer. There was nothing
in the records that would show that respondent used against Comtech
any confidential information acquired while he was still Comtechs
retained counsel. Further, respondent made the representation after the
termination of his retainer agreement with Comtech. A lawyers immutable
duty to a former client does not cover transactions that occurred beyond the
lawyers employment with the client. The intent of the law is to impose upon
the lawyer the duty to protect the clients interests only on matters that he
previously handled for the former client and not for matters that arose after
the lawyer-client relationship has terminated.[17]

In his defense, he averred that he was engaged to represent the Lim family
by William and Leonardo Lim, the children of Spouses Hio and Dolores Chu.
That by virtue of a deed of absolute sale executed in their favor by their
parents, William and Leonardo had assumed that the TCTs were already
transferred to their names. He prepared the initial pleading based on his
honest belief that Spouses Lim Hio and Dolores Chu were then still living. Had
he known that they were already deceased; he would have most welcomed
the information and would have moved to substitute Leonardo and William
Lim as defendants for that reason.

WHEREFORE, we DISMISS the complaint against Atty. Felipe Iledan, Jr. for
lack of merit.

HELD: No. The Court found that the respondent, as attorney, did not commit
any falsehood or falsification in his pleadings. The records indicated that the
respondent did not misrepresent that Spouses Lim Hio and Dolores Chu were
still living. On the contrary, the respondent directly stated in the answer to the
complaint in intervention with counterclaim and cross-claim, and in
the clarification and submission, supra, that the Spouses Lim Hio and Dolores
Chu were already deceased.

ISSUE: WON respondent violated the Code of Professional Responsibility or


Lawyers Oath.

DE LEON v. CASTELO
A.C. No. 8620, January 12, 2011
FACTS: On January 2, 2006, the Government brought suit for the purpose of
correcting the transfer certificates of title (TCTs) covering two parcels of land
located in Malabon City then registered in the names of defendants Spouses
Lim Hio and Dolores Chu due to their encroaching on a public callejon and on
a portion of the Malabon-Navotas River shoreline. De Leon, having joined the
civil case as a voluntary intervenor two years later, now accuses the
respondent, the counsel of record of the defendants, with the serious
administrative offenses of dishonesty and falsification warranting his
disbarment or suspension as an attorney. The respondents error was
allegedly committed by his filing for defendants Spouses Lim Hio and Dolores
Chu of various pleadings that is, answer with counterclaim and cross-claim in
relation to the main complaint; and answer to the complaint in intervention
with counterclaim and cross-claim despite said spouses being already
deceased at the time of filing.

Even if any of the respondents pleadings might have created any impression
that the Spouses Lim Hio and Dolores Chu were still living, the Court still
cannot hold the respondent guilty of any dishonesty or falsification. For one,
the respondent was acting in the interest of the actual owners of the properties
when he filed the answer with counterclaim and cross-claim on April 17, 2006.
As such, his pleadings were privileged and would not occasion any action
against him as an attorney. Secondly, having made clear at the start that the
Spouses Lim Hio and Dolores Chu were no longer the actual owners of the
affected properties due to the transfer of ownership even prior to the institution
of the action, and that the actual owners needed to be substituted in lieu of
said spouses, whether the Spouses Lim Hio and Dolores Chu were still living
or already deceased as of the filing of the pleadings became immaterial. And,
lastly, De Leon could not disclaim knowledge that the Spouses Lim Hio and
Dolores Chu were no longer living. His joining in the action as
a voluntary intervenor charged him with notice of all the other persons

Defendants Defense:

1ST SEMESTER SY. 2015-2016 ATTY. VICTORIA LOANZON

125

PHILIPPINE JURISPRUDENCE IN

LEGAL ETHICS REVIEW


ACOSTA, BARTOLOME, CASQUEJO, DE GRACIA, PINERA

interested in the litigation. He also had an actual awareness of such other


persons, as his own complaint in intervention, bear out in its specific
allegations against Leonardo Lim and William Lim, and their respective
spouses. Thus, he could not validly insist that the respondent committed any
dishonesty or falsification in relation to him or to any other party.

1ST SEMESTER SY. 2015-2016 ATTY. VICTORIA LOANZON

126