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4 — As a Christian, he has forgiven the petitioner and his co-defendants in the criminal case for

CASES OF LEGAL ETHICS the death of his son. But as a loving father, who lost a son in whom he has high hope to become
PART 1 a good lawyer — to succeed him, he still feels the pain of his untimely demise, and the stigma of
the gruesome manner of taking his life. This he cannot forget.
5 — He is not, right now, in a position to say whether petitioner, since then has become morally fit
RESOLUTION for admission to the noble profession of the law. He politely submits this matter to the sound and
judicious discretion of the Hon. Court. 3
At the outset, the Court shares the sentiment of Atty. Gilbert D. Camaligan and commiserates with the
Petitioner Arthur M. Cuevas, Jr., recently passed the 1996 Bar Examinations 1. His oath-taking was untimely death of his son. Nonetheless, Atty. Gilbert D. Camaligan admits that "[h]e is not, right now,
held in abeyance in view of the Court's resolution dated August 27, 1996 which permitted him to take in a position to say whether petitioner since then has become morally fit . . ." and submits petitioner's
the Bar Examinations "subject to the condition that should (he) pass the same, (he) shall not be plea to be admitted to the noble profession of law to the sound and judicious discretion of the Court.
allowed to take the lawyer's oath pending approval of the Court . . ." due to his previous conviction for
Reckless Imprudence Resulting In Homicide. The conviction stemmed from petitioner's participation in The petition before the Court requires the balancing of the reasons for disallowing or allowing
the initiation rites of the LEX TALIONIS FRATERNITAS, a fraternity in the SAN BEDA COLLEGE OF petitioner's admission to the noble profession of law. His deliberate participation in the senseless
LAW, sometime in September 1991, where Raul I. Camaligan, a neophyte, died as a result of the beatings over a helpless neophyte which resulted to the latter's untimely demise indicates absence of
personal violence inflicted upon him. Thereafter, petitioner applied for and was granted probation. On that moral fitness required for admission to the bar. And as the practice of law is a privilege extended
May 10, 1995, he was discharged from probation and his case considered closed and terminated. only to the few who possess the high standards of intellectual and moral qualifications the Court is
duty bound to prevent the entry of undeserving aspirants, as well as to exclude those who have been
In this petition, received by the Court on May 5, 1997, petitioner prays that "he be allowed to take his admitted but have become a disgrace to the profession. The Court, nonetheless, is willing to give
lawyer's oath at the Court's most convenient time" 2 attaching thereto the Order dated May 16, 1995 of petitioner a chance in the same manner that it recently allowed Al Caparros Argosino, petitioner's co-
the Regional Trial Court, Branch 10 of Antique discharging him from his probation, and certifications accused below, to take the lawyer's oath. 4
attesting to his righteous, peaceful and law abiding character issued by: (a) the Mayor of the
Municipality of Hamtic, Antique; (b) the Officer-in-Charge of Hamtic Police Station; (c) the Petitioner Arthur M. Cuevas, Jr.'s discharge from probation without any infraction of the attendant
Sangguniang Kabataan of Pob. III, Hamtic, through its chairman and officers; (d) a member of the IBP conditions therefor and the various certifications attesting to his righteous, peaceful and civic-oriented
Iloilo Chapter; (e) the Parish Priest and Vicar General of St. Joseph Cathedral, San Jose, Antique; character prove that he has taken decisive steps to purge himself of his deficiency in moral character
and (f) the President of the Parish Pastoral Council, Parish of Sta. Monica, Hamtic, Antique. On July and atone for the unfortunate death of Raul I. Camaligan. The Court is prepared to give him the
15, 1997, the Court, before acting on petitioner's application, resolved to require Atty. Gilbert D. benefit of the doubt, taking judicial notice of the general tendency of the youth to be rash, temerarious
Camaligan, father of the deceased hazing victim Raul I. Camaligan, to comment thereon. In and uncalculating. 5 Let it be stressed to herein petitioner that the lawyer's oath is not a mere formality
compliance with the Court's directive, Atty. Gilbert D. Camaligan filed his comment which states as recited for a few minutes in the glare of flashing cameras and before the presence of select witnesses.
follows: Petitioner is exhorted to conduct himself beyond reproach at all times and to live strictly according to
his oath and the Code of Professional Responsibility. And, to paraphrase Mr. Justice Padilla's
1 — He fully appreciates the benign concern given by this Hon. Court in allowing him to comment comment in the sister case of Re: Petition of Al Agrosino To Take Lawyer's Oath, Bar Matter No. 712,
to the pending petition of Arthur M. Cuevas to take the lawyer's oath, and hereby expresses his March 19, 1997, "[t]he Court sincerely hopes that" Mr. Cuevas, Jr., "will continue with the assistance
genuine gratitude to such gesture. he has been giving to his community. As a lawyer he will now be in a better position to render legal
and other services to the more unfortunate members of society" 6.
2 — He conforms completely to the observation of the Hon. Court in its resolution dated March
19, 1997 in Bar Matter No. 712 that the infliction of severe physical injuries which approximately ACCORDINGLY, the Court hereby resolved to allow petitioner Arthur M.. Cuevas, Jr., to take the
led to the death of the unfortunate Raul Camaligan was deliberate (rather than merely accidental lawyer's oath and to sign the Roll of Attorneys on a date to be set by the Court, subject to the payment
or inadvertent) thus, indicating serious character flaws on the part of those who inflicted such of appropriate fees. Let this resolution be attached to petitioner's personal records in the Office of the
injuries. This is consistent with his stand at the outset of the proceedings of the criminal case Bar Confidant.
against the petitioner and his co-defendants that they are liable not only for the crime of homicide
but murder, since they took advantage of the neophytes' helpless and defenseless condition SO ORDERED.
when they were "beaten and kicked to death like a useless stray dog", suggesting the presence
of abuse of confidence, taking advantage of superior strength and treachery (People vs. Gagoco, ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
58 Phil. 524). In the Matter of the IBP Membership Dues Delinquency of Atty. MARCIAL A. EDILION (IBP
3 — He, however, has consented to the accused-students' plea of guilty to the lesser offense of Administrative Case No. MDD-1)
reckless imprudence resulting to the homicide, including the petitioner, out of pity to their mothers RESOLUTION
and a pregnant wife of the accused who went together at his house in Lucena City, literally
kneeling, crying and begging for forgiveness for their sons, on a Christmas day in 1991 and on CASTRO, C.J.:
Maundy Thursday in 1992, during which they reported that the father of one of the accused died
of heart attack upon learning of his son's involvement in the case. The respondent Marcial A. Edillon is a duly licensed practicing attorney in the Philippines.
On November 29, 1975, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP for short) Board of Governors The core of the respondent's arguments is that the above provisions constitute an invasion of his
unanimously adopted Resolution No. 75-65 in Administrative Case No. MDD-1 (In the Matter of the constitutional rights in the sense that he is being compelled, as a pre-condition to maintaining his
Membership Dues Delinquency of Atty. Marcial A. Edillon) recommending to the Court the removal of status as a lawyer in good standing, to be a member of the IBP and to pay the corresponding dues,
the name of the respondent from its Roll of Attorneys for "stubborn refusal to pay his membership and that as a consequence of this compelled financial support of the said organization to which he is
dues" to the IBP since the latter's constitution notwithstanding due notice. admittedly personally antagonistic, he is being deprived of the rights to liberty and property
guaranteed to him by the Constitution. Hence, the respondent concludes, the above provisions of the
On January 21, 1976, the IBP, through its then President Liliano B. Neri, submitted the said resolution Court Rule and of the IBP By-Laws are void and of no legal force and effect.
to the Court for consideration and approval, pursuant to paragraph 2, Section 24, Article III of the By-
Laws of the IBP, which reads: The respondent similarly questions the jurisdiction of the Court to strike his name from the Roll of
Attorneys, contending that the said matter is not among the justiciable cases triable by the Court but is
.... Should the delinquency further continue until the following June 29, the Board shall promptly rather of an "administrative nature pertaining to an administrative body."
inquire into the cause or causes of the continued delinquency and take whatever action it shall
deem appropriate, including a recommendation to the Supreme Court for the removal of the The case at bar is not the first one that has reached the Court relating to constitutional issues that
delinquent member's name from the Roll of Attorneys. Notice of the action taken shall be sent by inevitably and inextricably come up to the surface whenever attempts are made to regulate the
registered mail to the member and to the Secretary of the Chapter concerned. practice of law, define the conditions of such practice, or revoke the license granted for the exercise of
the legal profession.
On January 27, 1976, the Court required the respondent to comment on the resolution and letter
adverted to above; he submitted his comment on February 23, 1976, reiterating his refusal to pay the The matters here complained of are the very same issues raised in a previous case before the Court,
membership fees due from him. entitled "Administrative Case No. 526, In the Matter of the Petition for the Integration of the Bar of the
Philippines, Roman Ozaeta, et al., Petitioners." The Court exhaustively considered all these matters in
On March 2, 1976, the Court required the IBP President and the IBP Board of Governors to reply to that case in its Resolution ordaining the integration of the Bar of the Philippines, promulgated on
Edillon's comment: on March 24, 1976, they submitted a joint reply. January 9, 1973. The Court there made the unanimous pronouncement that it was
Thereafter, the case was set for hearing on June 3, 1976. After the hearing, the parties were required ... fully convinced, after a thoroughgoing conscientious study of all the arguments adduced in
to submit memoranda in amplification of their oral arguments. The matter was thenceforth submitted Adm. Case No. 526 and the authoritative materials and the mass of factual data contained in the
for resolution. exhaustive Report of the Commission on Bar Integration, that the integration of the Philippine Bar
At the threshold, a painstaking scrutiny of the respondent's pleadings would show that the propriety is 'perfectly constitutional and legally unobjectionable'. ...
and necessity of the integration of the Bar of the Philippines are in essence conceded. The Be that as it may, we now restate briefly the posture of the Court.
respondent, however, objects to particular features of Rule of Court 139-A (hereinafter referred to as
the Court Rule) 1 — in accordance with which the Bar of the Philippines was integrated — and to the An "Integrated Bar" is a State-organized Bar, to which every lawyer must belong, as distinguished
provisions of par. 2, Section 24, Article III, of the IBP By-Laws (hereinabove cited). from bar associations organized by individual lawyers themselves, membership in which is voluntary.
Integration of the Bar is essentially a process by which every member of the Bar is afforded an
The authority of the IBP Board of Governors to recommend to the Supreme Court the removal of a opportunity to do his share in carrying out the objectives of the Bar as well as obliged to bear his
delinquent member's name from the Roll of Attorneys is found in par. 2 Section 24, Article Ill of the portion of its responsibilities. Organized by or under the direction of the State, an integrated Bar is an
IBP By-Laws (supra), whereas the authority of the Court to issue the order applied for is found in official national body of which all lawyers are required to be members. They are, therefore, subject to
Section 10 of the Court Rule, which reads: all the rules prescribed for the governance of the Bar, including the requirement of payment of a
SEC. 10. Effect of non-payment of dues. — Subject to the provisions of Section 12 of this Rule, reasonable annual fee for the effective discharge of the purposes of the Bar, and adherence to a code
default in the payment of annual dues for six months shall warrant suspension of membership in of professional ethics or professional responsibility breach of which constitutes sufficient reason for
the Integrated Bar, and default in such payment for one year shall be a ground for the removal of investigation by the Bar and, upon proper cause appearing, a recommendation for discipline or
the name of the delinquent member from the Roll of Attorneys. disbarment of the offending member. 2

The all-encompassing, all-inclusive scope of membership in the IBP is stated in these words of the The integration of the Philippine Bar was obviously dictated by overriding considerations of public
Court Rule: interest and public welfare to such an extent as more than constitutionally and legally justifies the
restrictions that integration imposes upon the personal interests and personal convenience of
SECTION 1. Organization. — There is hereby organized an official national body to be known as individual lawyers. 3
the 'Integrated Bar of the Philippines,' composed of all persons whose names now appear or may
hereafter be included in the Roll of Attorneys of the Supreme Court. Apropos to the above, it must be stressed that all legislation directing the integration of the Bar have
been uniformly and universally sustained as a valid exercise of the police power over an important
The obligation to pay membership dues is couched in the following words of the Court Rule: profession. The practice of law is not a vested right but a privilege, a privilege moreover clothed with
public interest because a lawyer owes substantial duties not only to his client, but also to his brethren
SEC. 9. Membership dues. Every member of the Integrated Bar shall pay such annual dues as in the profession, to the courts, and to the nation, and takes part in one of the most important
the Board of Governors shall determine with the approval of the Supreme Court. ... functions of the State — the administration of justice — as an officer of the court. 4 The practice of law
being clothed with public interest, the holder of this privilege must submit to a degree of control for the
common good, to the extent of the interest he has created. As the U. S. Supreme Court through Mr. The issues being of constitutional dimension, however, we now concisely deal with them seriatim.
Justice Roberts explained, the expression "affected with a public interest" is the equivalent of "subject
to the exercise of the police power" (Nebbia vs. New York, 291 U.S. 502). 1. The first objection posed by the respondent is that the Court is without power to compel him to
become a member of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, hence, Section 1 of the Court Rule is
When, therefore, Congress enacted Republic Act No. 6397 5 authorizing the Supreme Court to "adopt unconstitutional for it impinges on his constitutional right of freedom to associate (and not to
rules of court to effect the integration of the Philippine Bar under such conditions as it shall see fit," it associate). Our answer is: To compel a lawyer to be a member of the Integrated Bar is not violative of
did so in the exercise of the paramount police power of the State. The Act's avowal is to "raise the his constitutional freedom to associate. 6
standards of the legal profession, improve the administration of justice, and enable the Bar to
discharge its public responsibility more effectively." Hence, the Congress in enacting such Act, the Integration does not make a lawyer a member of any group of which he is not already a member. He
Court in ordaining the integration of the Bar through its Resolution promulgated on January 9, 1973, became a member of the Bar when he passed the Bar examinations. 7 All that integration actually
and the President of the Philippines in decreeing the constitution of the IBP into a body corporate does is to provide an official national organization for the well-defined but unorganized and incohesive
through Presidential Decree No. 181 dated May 4, 1973, were prompted by fundamental group of which every lawyer is a ready a member. 8
considerations of public welfare and motivated by a desire to meet the demands of pressing public Bar integration does not compel the lawyer to associate with anyone. He is free to attend or not attend
necessity. the meetings of his Integrated Bar Chapter or vote or refuse to vote in its elections as he chooses.
The State, in order to promote the general welfare, may interfere with and regulate personal liberty, The only compulsion to which he is subjected is the payment of annual dues. The Supreme Court, in
property and occupations. Persons and property may be subjected to restraints and burdens in order order to further the State's legitimate interest in elevating the quality of professional legal services,
to secure the general prosperity and welfare of the State (U.S. vs. Gomez Jesus, 31 Phil 218), for, as may require that the cost of improving the profession in this fashion be shared by the subjects and
the Latin maxim goes, "Salus populi est supreme lex." The public welfare is the supreme law. To this beneficiaries of the regulatory program — the lawyers. 9
fundamental principle of government the rights of individuals are subordinated. Liberty is a blessing Assuming that the questioned provision does in a sense compel a lawyer to be a member of the
without which life is a misery, but liberty should not be made to prevail over authority because then Integrated Bar, such compulsion is justified as an exercise of the police power of the State. 10
society win fall into anarchy (Calalang vs. Williams, 70 Phil. 726). It is an undoubted power of the
State to restrain some individuals from all freedom, and all individuals from some freedom. 2. The second issue posed by the respondent is that the provision of the Court Rule requiring
payment of a membership fee is void. We see nothing in the Constitution that prohibits the Court,
But the most compelling argument sustaining the constitutionality and validity of Bar integration in the under its constitutional power and duty to promulgate rules concerning the admission to the practice
Philippines is the explicit unequivocal grant of precise power to the Supreme Court by Section 5 (5) of of law and the integration of the Philippine Bar (Article X, Section 5 of the 1973 Constitution) — which
Article X of the 1973 Constitution of the Philippines, which reads: power the respondent acknowledges — from requiring members of a privileged class, such as
Sec. 5. The Supreme Court shall have the following powers: lawyers are, to pay a reasonable fee toward defraying the expenses of regulation of the profession to
which they belong. It is quite apparent that the fee is indeed imposed as a regulatory measure,
(5) Promulgate rules concerning pleading, practice, and pro. procedure in all courts, and the designed to raise funds for carrying out the objectives and purposes of integration. 11
admission to the practice of law and the integration of the Bar ...,
3. The respondent further argues that the enforcement of the penalty provisions would amount to a
and Section 1 of Republic Act No. 6397, which reads: deprivation of property without due process and hence infringes on one of his constitutional rights.
Whether the practice of law is a property right, in the sense of its being one that entitles the holder of
SECTION 1. Within two years from the approval of this Act, the Supreme Court may adopt rules a license to practice a profession, we do not here pause to consider at length, as it clear that under
of Court to effect the integration of the Philippine Bar under such conditions as it shall see fit in the police power of the State, and under the necessary powers granted to the Court to perpetuate its
order to raise the standards of the legal profession, improve the administration of justice, and existence, the respondent's right to practise law before the courts of this country should be and is a
enable the Bar to discharge its public responsibility more effectively. matter subject to regulation and inquiry. And, if the power to impose the fee as a regulatory measure
Quite apart from the above, let it be stated that even without the enabling Act (Republic Act No. 6397), is recognize, then a penalty designed to enforce its payment, which penalty may be avoided
and looking solely to the language of the provision of the Constitution granting the Supreme Court the altogether by payment, is not void as unreasonable or arbitrary. 12
power "to promulgate rules concerning pleading, practice and procedure in all courts, and the But we must here emphasize that the practice of law is not a property right but a mere privilege, 13 and
admission to the practice of law," it at once becomes indubitable that this constitutional declaration as such must bow to the inherent regulatory power of the Court to exact compliance with the lawyer's
vests the Supreme Court with plenary power in all cases regarding the admission to and supervision public responsibilities.
of the practice of law.
4. Relative to the issue of the power and/or jurisdiction of the Supreme Court to strike the name of a
Thus, when the respondent Edillon entered upon the legal profession, his practice of law and his lawyer from its Roll of Attorneys, it is sufficient to state that the matters of admission, suspension,
exercise of the said profession, which affect the society at large, were (and are) subject to the power disbarment and reinstatement of lawyers and their regulation and supervision have been and are
of the body politic to require him to conform to such regulations as might be established by the proper indisputably recognized as inherent judicial functions and responsibilities, and the authorities holding
authorities for the common good, even to the extent of interfering with some of his liberties. If he did such are legion. 14
not wish to submit himself to such reasonable interference and regulation, he should not have clothed
the public with an interest in his concerns. In In Re Sparks (267 Ky. 93, 101 S.W. (2d) 194), in which the report of the Board of Bar
Commissioners in a disbarment proceeding was confirmed and disbarment ordered, the court,
On this score alone, the case for the respondent must already fall.
sustaining the Bar Integration Act of Kentucky, said: "The power to regulate the conduct and Regrettably, however, there seems to be no jurisprudence as to what constitutes practice of law as a
qualifications of its officers does not depend upon constitutional or statutory grounds. It is a power legal qualification to an appointive office.
which is inherent in this court as a court — appropriate, indeed necessary, to the proper
administration of justice ... the argument that this is an arbitrary power which the court is arrogating to Black defines "practice of law" as:
itself or accepting from the legislative likewise misconceives the nature of the duty. It has limitations The rendition of services requiring the knowledge and the application of legal principles and
no less real because they are inherent. It is an unpleasant task to sit in judgment upon a brother technique to serve the interest of another with his consent. It is not limited to appearing in court,
member of the Bar, particularly where, as here, the facts are disputed. It is a grave responsibility, to or advising and assisting in the conduct of litigation, but embraces the preparation of pleadings,
be assumed only with a determination to uphold the Ideals and traditions of an honorable profession and other papers incident to actions and special proceedings, conveyancing, the preparation of
and to protect the public from overreaching and fraud. The very burden of the duty is itself a guaranty legal instruments of all kinds, and the giving of all legal advice to clients. It embraces all advice to
that the power will not be misused or prostituted. ..." clients and all actions taken for them in matters connected with the law. An attorney engages in
The Court's jurisdiction was greatly reinforced by our 1973 Constitution when it explicitly granted to the practice of law by maintaining an office where he is held out to be-an attorney, using a
the Court the power to "Promulgate rules concerning pleading, practice ... and the admission to the letterhead describing himself as an attorney, counseling clients in legal matters, negotiating with
practice of law and the integration of the Bar ... (Article X, Sec. 5(5) the power to pass upon the fitness opposing counsel about pending litigation, and fixing and collecting fees for services rendered by
of the respondent to remain a member of the legal profession is indeed undoubtedly vested in the his associate. (Black's Law Dictionary, 3rd ed.)
Court. The practice of law is not limited to the conduct of cases in court. (Land Title Abstract and Trust Co. v.
We thus reach the conclusion that the provisions of Rule of Court 139-A and of the By-Laws of the Dworken, 129 Ohio St. 23, 193 N.E. 650) A person is also considered to be in the practice of law
Integrated Bar of the Philippines complained of are neither unconstitutional nor illegal. when he:

WHEREFORE, premises considered, it is the unanimous sense of the Court that the respondent ... for valuable consideration engages in the business of advising person, firms, associations or
Marcial A. Edillon should be as he is hereby disbarred, and his name is hereby ordered stricken from corporations as to their rights under the law, or appears in a representative capacity as an
the Roll of Attorneys of the Court. advocate in proceedings pending or prospective, before any court, commissioner, referee, board,
body, committee, or commission constituted by law or authorized to settle controversies and
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- there, in such representative capacity performs any act or acts for the purpose of obtaining or
defending the rights of their clients under the law. Otherwise stated, one who, in a representative
RENATO CAYETANO, petitioner, capacity, engages in the business of advising clients as to their rights under the law, or while so
vs. engaged performs any act or acts either in court or outside of court for that purpose, is engaged
CHRISTIAN MONSOD, HON. JOVITO R. SALONGA, COMMISSION ON APPOINTMENT, and in the practice of law. (State ex. rel. Mckittrick v..C.S. Dudley and Co., 102 S.W. 2d 895, 340 Mo.
HON. GUILLERMO CARAGUE, in his capacity as Secretary of Budget and Management, 852)
This Court in the case of Philippine Lawyers Association v.Agrava, (105 Phil. 173,176-177) stated:
The practice of law is not limited to the conduct of cases or litigation in court; it embraces the
We are faced here with a controversy of far-reaching proportions. While ostensibly only legal issues preparation of pleadings and other papers incident to actions and special proceedings, the
are involved, the Court's decision in this case would indubitably have a profound effect on the political management of such actions and proceedings on behalf of clients before judges and courts, and
aspect of our national existence. in addition, conveying. In general, all advice to clients, and all action taken for them in matters
The 1987 Constitution provides in Section 1 (1), Article IX-C: connected with the law incorporation services, assessment and condemnation services
contemplating an appearance before a judicial body, the foreclosure of a mortgage, enforcement
There shall be a Commission on Elections composed of a Chairman and six Commissioners of a creditor's claim in bankruptcy and insolvency proceedings, and conducting proceedings in
who shall be natural-born citizens of the Philippines and, at the time of their appointment, at attachment, and in matters of estate and guardianship have been held to constitute law practice,
least thirty-five years of age, holders of a college degree, and must not have been as do the preparation and drafting of legal instruments, where the work done involves the
candidates for any elective position in the immediately preceding -elections. However, a determination by the trained legal mind of the legal effect of facts and conditions. (5 Am. Jr. p.
majority thereof, including the Chairman, shall be members of the Philippine Bar who have 262, 263). (Emphasis supplied)
been engaged in the practice of law for at least ten years. (Emphasis supplied)
Practice of law under modem conditions consists in no small part of work performed outside of
The aforequoted provision is patterned after Section l(l), Article XII-C of the 1973 Constitution which any court and having no immediate relation to proceedings in court. It embraces conveyancing,
similarly provides: the giving of legal advice on a large variety of subjects, and the preparation and execution of
legal instruments covering an extensive field of business and trust relations and other affairs.
There shall be an independent Commission on Elections composed of a Chairman and eight Although these transactions may have no direct connection with court proceedings, they are
Commissioners who shall be natural-born citizens of the Philippines and, at the time of their always subject to become involved in litigation. They require in many aspects a high degree of
appointment, at least thirty-five years of age and holders of a college degree. However, a majority legal skill, a wide experience with men and affairs, and great capacity for adaptation to difficult
thereof, including the Chairman, shall be members of the Philippine Bar who have been engaged in and complex situations. These customary functions of an attorney or counselor at law bear an
the practice of law for at least ten years.' (Emphasis supplied) intimate relation to the administration of justice by the courts. No valid distinction, so far as
concerns the question set forth in the order, can be drawn between that part of the work of the MR. FOZ. Yes, Mr. Presiding Officer.
lawyer which involves appearance in court and that part which involves advice and drafting of
instruments in his office. It is of importance to the welfare of the public that these manifold MR. OPLE. Is he, in effect, saying that service in the COA by a lawyer is equivalent to the
customary functions be performed by persons possessed of adequate learning and skill, of sound requirement of a law practice that is set forth in the Article on the Commission on Audit?
moral character, and acting at all times under the heavy trust obligations to clients which rests MR. FOZ. We must consider the fact that the work of COA, although it is auditing, will necessarily
upon all attorneys. (Moran, Comments on the Rules of Court, Vol. 3 [1953 ed.] , p. 665-666, citing involve legal work; it will involve legal work. And, therefore, lawyers who are employed in COA
In re Opinion of the Justices [Mass.], 194 N.E. 313, quoted in Rhode Is. Bar Assoc. v. Automobile now would have the necessary qualifications in accordance with the Provision on qualifications
Service Assoc. [R.I.] 179 A. 139,144). (Emphasis ours) under our provisions on the Commission on Audit. And, therefore, the answer is yes.
The University of the Philippines Law Center in conducting orientation briefing for new lawyers (1974- MR. OPLE. Yes. So that the construction given to this is that this is equivalent to the practice of
1975) listed the dimensions of the practice of law in even broader terms as advocacy, counselling and law.
public service.
MR. FOZ. Yes, Mr. Presiding Officer.
One may be a practicing attorney in following any line of employment in the profession. If what he
does exacts knowledge of the law and is of a kind usual for attorneys engaging in the active MR. OPLE. Thank you.
practice of their profession, and he follows some one or more lines of employment such as this
he is a practicing attorney at law within the meaning of the statute. (Barr v. Cardell, 155 NW 312) ... ( Emphasis supplied)

Practice of law means any activity, in or out of court, which requires the application of law, legal Section 1(1), Article IX-D of the 1987 Constitution, provides, among others, that the Chairman and two
procedure, knowledge, training and experience. "To engage in the practice of law is to perform those Commissioners of the Commission on Audit (COA) should either be certified public accountants with
acts which are characteristics of the profession. Generally, to practice law is to give notice or render not less than ten years of auditing practice, or members of the Philippine Bar who have been engaged
any kind of service, which device or service requires the use in any degree of legal knowledge or in the practice of law for at least ten years. (emphasis supplied)
skill." (111 ALR 23)
Corollary to this is the term "private practitioner" and which is in many ways synonymous with the
The following records of the 1986 Constitutional Commission show that it has adopted a liberal word "lawyer." Today, although many lawyers do not engage in private practice, it is still a fact that the
interpretation of the term "practice of law." majority of lawyers are private practitioners. (Gary Munneke, Opportunities in Law Careers [VGM
Career Horizons: Illinois], [1986], p. 15).
MR. FOZ. Before we suspend the session, may I make a manifestation which I forgot to do during
our review of the provisions on the Commission on Audit. May I be allowed to make a very brief At this point, it might be helpful to define private practice. The term, as commonly understood, means
statement? "an individual or organization engaged in the business of delivering legal services." (Ibid.). Lawyers
who practice alone are often called "sole practitioners." Groups of lawyers are called "firms." The firm
THE PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Jamir). is usually a partnership and members of the firm are the partners. Some firms may be organized as
professional corporations and the members called shareholders. In either case, the members of the
The Commissioner will please proceed. firm are the experienced attorneys. In most firms, there are younger or more inexperienced salaried
MR. FOZ. This has to do with the qualifications of the members of the Commission on Audit. attorneyscalled "associates." (Ibid.).
Among others, the qualifications provided for by Section I is that "They must be Members of the The test that defines law practice by looking to traditional areas of law practice is essentially
Philippine Bar" — I am quoting from the provision — "who have been engaged in the practice of tautologous, unhelpful defining the practice of law as that which lawyers do. (Charles W. Wolfram,
law for at least ten years". Modern Legal Ethics [West Publishing Co.: Minnesota, 1986], p. 593). The practice of law is defined
To avoid any misunderstanding which would result in excluding members of the Bar who are now as the performance of any acts . . . in or out of court, commonly understood to be the practice of law.
employed in the COA or Commission on Audit, we would like to make the clarification that this (State Bar Ass'n v. Connecticut Bank & Trust Co., 145 Conn. 222, 140 A.2d 863, 870 [1958] [quoting
provision on qualifications regarding members of the Bar does not necessarily refer or involve Grievance Comm. v. Payne, 128 Conn. 325, 22 A.2d 623, 626 [1941]). Because lawyers perform
actual practice of law outside the COA We have to interpret this to mean that as long as the almost every function known in the commercial and governmental realm, such a definition would
lawyers who are employed in the COA are using their legal knowledge or legal talent in their obviously be too global to be workable.(Wolfram, op. cit.).
respective work within COA, then they are qualified to be considered for appointment as The appearance of a lawyer in litigation in behalf of a client is at once the most publicly familiar role
members or commissioners, even chairman, of the Commission on Audit. for lawyers as well as an uncommon role for the average lawyer. Most lawyers spend little time in
This has been discussed by the Committee on Constitutional Commissions and Agencies and we courtrooms, and a large percentage spend their entire practice without litigating a case. (Ibid., p. 593).
deem it important to take it up on the floor so that this interpretation may be made available Nonetheless, many lawyers do continue to litigate and the litigating lawyer's role colors much of both
whenever this provision on the qualifications as regards members of the Philippine Bar engaging the public image and the self perception of the legal profession. (Ibid.).
in the practice of law for at least ten years is taken up. In this regard thus, the dominance of litigation in the public mind reflects history, not reality. (Ibid.).
MR. OPLE. Will Commissioner Foz yield to just one question. Why is this so? Recall that the late Alexander SyCip, a corporate lawyer, once articulated on the
importance of a lawyer as a business counselor in this wise: "Even today, there are still uninformed
laymen whose concept of an attorney is one who principally tries cases before the courts. The Although members of the legal profession are regularly engaged in predicting and projecting the
members of the bench and bar and the informed laymen such as businessmen, know that in most trends of the law, the subject of corporate finance law has received relatively little organized and
developed societies today, substantially more legal work is transacted in law offices than in the formalized attention in the philosophy of advancing corporate legal education. Nonetheless, a
courtrooms. General practitioners of law who do both litigation and non-litigation work also know that cross-disciplinary approach to legal research has become a vital necessity.
in most cases they find themselves spending more time doing what [is] loosely desccribe[d] as
business counseling than in trying cases. The business lawyer has been described as the planner, the Certainly, the general orientation for productive contributions by those trained primarily in the law
diagnostician and the trial lawyer, the surgeon. I[t] need not [be] stress[ed] that in law, as in medicine, can be improved through an early introduction to multi-variable decisional context and the various
surgery should be avoided where internal medicine can be effective." (Business Star, "Corporate approaches for handling such problems. Lawyers, particularly with either a master's or doctorate
Finance Law," Jan. 11, 1989, p. 4). degree in business administration or management, functioning at the legal policy level of decision-
making now have some appreciation for the concepts and analytical techniques of other
In the course of a working day the average general practitioner wig engage in a number of legal tasks, professions which are currently engaged in similar types of complex decision-making.
each involving different legal doctrines, legal skills, legal processes, legal institutions, clients, and
other interested parties. Even the increasing numbers of lawyers in specialized practice wig usually Truth to tell, many situations involving corporate finance problems would require the services of an
perform at least some legal services outside their specialty. And even within a narrow specialty such astute attorney because of the complex legal implications that arise from each and every necessary
as tax practice, a lawyer will shift from one legal task or role such as advice-giving to an importantly step in securing and maintaining the business issue raised. (Business Star, "Corporate Finance
different one such as representing a client before an administrative agency. (Wolfram, supra, p. 687). Law," Jan. 11, 1989, p. 4).

By no means will most of this work involve litigation, unless the lawyer is one of the relatively rare In our litigation-prone country, a corporate lawyer is assiduously referred to as the "abogado de
types — a litigator who specializes in this work to the exclusion of much else. Instead, the work will campanilla." He is the "big-time" lawyer, earning big money and with a clientele composed of the
require the lawyer to have mastered the full range of traditional lawyer skills of client counselling, tycoons and magnates of business and industry.
advice-giving, document drafting, and negotiation. And increasingly lawyers find that the new skills of Despite the growing number of corporate lawyers, many people could not explain what it is that a
evaluation and mediation are both effective for many clients and a source of employment. (Ibid.). corporate lawyer does. For one, the number of attorneys employed by a single corporation will vary
Most lawyers will engage in non-litigation legal work or in litigation work that is constrained in very with the size and type of the corporation. Many smaller and some large corporations farm out all
important ways, at least theoretically, so as to remove from it some of the salient features of their legal problems to private law firms. Many others have in-house counsel only for certain
adversarial litigation. Of these special roles, the most prominent is that of prosecutor. In some lawyers' matters. Other corporation have a staff large enough to handle most legal problems in-house.
work the constraints are imposed both by the nature of the client and by the way in which the lawyer is A corporate lawyer, for all intents and purposes, is a lawyer who handles the legal affairs of a
organized into a social unit to perform that work. The most common of these roles are those of corporation. His areas of concern or jurisdiction may include, inter alia: corporate legal research, tax
corporate practice and government legal service. (Ibid.). laws research, acting out as corporate secretary (in board meetings), appearances in both courts
In several issues of the Business Star, a business daily, herein below quoted are emerging trends in and other adjudicatory agencies (including the Securities and Exchange Commission), and in other
corporate law practice, a departure from the traditional concept of practice of law. capacities which require an ability to deal with the law.

We are experiencing today what truly may be called a revolutionary transformation in corporate law At any rate, a corporate lawyer may assume responsibilities other than the legal affairs of the
practice. Lawyers and other professional groups, in particular those members participating in business of the corporation he is representing. These include such matters as determining policy
various legal-policy decisional contexts, are finding that understanding the major emerging trends in and becoming involved in management. ( Emphasis supplied.)
corporation law is indispensable to intelligent decision-making. In a big company, for example, one may have a feeling of being isolated from the action, or not
Constructive adjustment to major corporate problems of today requires an accurate understanding understanding how one's work actually fits into the work of the orgarnization. This can be frustrating
of the nature and implications of the corporate law research function accompanied by an to someone who needs to see the results of his work first hand. In short, a corporate lawyer is
accelerating rate of information accumulation. The recognition of the need for such improved sometimes offered this fortune to be more closely involved in the running of the business.
corporate legal policy formulation, particularly "model-making" and "contingency planning," has Moreover, a corporate lawyer's services may sometimes be engaged by a multinational corporation
impressed upon us the inadequacy of traditional procedures in many decisional contexts. (MNC). Some large MNCs provide one of the few opportunities available to corporate lawyers to
In a complex legal problem the mass of information to be processed, the sorting and weighing of enter the international law field. After all, international law is practiced in a relatively small number of
significant conditional factors, the appraisal of major trends, the necessity of estimating the companies and law firms. Because working in a foreign country is perceived by many as
consequences of given courses of action, and the need for fast decision and response in situations glamorous, tills is an area coveted by corporate lawyers. In most cases, however, the overseas jobs
of acute danger have prompted the use of sophisticated concepts of information flow theory, go to experienced attorneys while the younger attorneys do their "international practice" in law
operational analysis, automatic data processing, and electronic computing equipment. libraries. (Business Star, "Corporate Law Practice," May 25,1990, p. 4).
Understandably, an improved decisional structure must stress the predictive component of the This brings us to the inevitable, i.e., the role of the lawyer in the realm of finance. To borrow the
policy-making process, wherein a "model", of the decisional context or a segment thereof is lines of Harvard-educated lawyer Bruce Wassertein, to wit: "A bad lawyer is one who fails to spot
developed to test projected alternative courses of action in terms of futuristic effects flowing problems, a good lawyer is one who perceives the difficulties, and the excellent lawyer is one who
therefrom. surmounts them." (Business Star, "Corporate Finance Law," Jan. 11, 1989, p. 4).
Today, the study of corporate law practice direly needs a "shot in the arm," so to speak. No longer First System Dynamics. The field of systems dynamics has been found an effective tool for new
are we talking of the traditional law teaching method of confining the subject study to the managerial thinking regarding both planning and pressing immediate problems. An understanding
Corporation Code and the Securities Code but an incursion as well into the intertwining modern of the role of feedback loops, inventory levels, and rates of flow, enable users to simulate all sorts of
management issues. systematic problems — physical, economic, managerial, social, and psychological. New
programming techniques now make the system dynamics principles more accessible to managers
Such corporate legal management issues deal primarily with three (3) types of learning: (1) — including corporate counsels. (Emphasis supplied)
acquisition of insights into current advances which are of particular significance to the corporate
counsel; (2) an introduction to usable disciplinary skins applicable to a corporate counsel's Second Decision Analysis. This enables users to make better decisions involving complexity and
management responsibilities; and (3) a devotion to the organization and management of the legal uncertainty. In the context of a law department, it can be used to appraise the settlement value of
function itself. litigation, aid in negotiation settlement, and minimize the cost and risk involved in managing a
portfolio of cases. (Emphasis supplied)
These three subject areas may be thought of as intersecting circles, with a shared area linking
them. Otherwise known as "intersecting managerial jurisprudence," it forms a unifying theme for the Third Modeling for Negotiation Management. Computer-based models can be used directly by
corporate counsel's total learning. parties and mediators in all lands of negotiations. All integrated set of such tools provide coherent
and effective negotiation support, including hands-on on instruction in these techniques. A
Some current advances in behavior and policy sciences affect the counsel's role. For that matter, simulation case of an international joint venture may be used to illustrate the point.
the corporate lawyer reviews the globalization process, including the resulting strategic
repositioning that the firms he provides counsel for are required to make, and the need to think [Be this as it may,] the organization and management of the legal function, concern three pointed
about a corporation's; strategy at multiple levels. The salience of the nation-state is being reduced areas of consideration, thus:
as firms deal both with global multinational entities and simultaneously with sub-national
governmental units. Firms increasingly collaborate not only with public entities but with each other Preventive Lawyering. Planning by lawyers requires special skills that comprise a major part of the
— often with those who are competitors in other arenas. general counsel's responsibilities. They differ from those of remedial law. Preventive lawyering is
concerned with minimizing the risks of legal trouble and maximizing legal rights for such legal
Also, the nature of the lawyer's participation in decision-making within the corporation is rapidly entities at that time when transactional or similar facts are being considered and made.
changing. The modem corporate lawyer has gained a new role as a stakeholder — in some cases
participating in the organization and operations of governance through participation on boards and Managerial Jurisprudence. This is the framework within which are undertaken those activities of the
other decision-making roles. Often these new patterns develop alongside existing legal institutions firm to which legal consequences attach. It needs to be directly supportive of this nation's evolving
and laws are perceived as barriers. These trends are complicated as corporations organize for economic and organizational fabric as firms change to stay competitive in a global, interdependent
global operations. ( Emphasis supplied) environment. The practice and theory of "law" is not adequate today to facilitate the relationships
needed in trying to make a global economy work.
The practising lawyer of today is familiar as well with governmental policies toward the promotion
and management of technology. New collaborative arrangements for promoting specific Organization and Functioning of the Corporate Counsel's Office. The general counsel has emerged
technologies or competitiveness more generally require approaches from industry that differ from in the last decade as one of the most vibrant subsets of the legal profession. The corporate counsel
older, more adversarial relationships and traditional forms of seeking to influence governmental hear responsibility for key aspects of the firm's strategic issues, including structuring its global
policies. And there are lessons to be learned from other countries. In Europe, Esprit, Eureka and operations, managing improved relationships with an increasingly diversified body of employees,
Race are examples of collaborative efforts between governmental and business Japan's MITI is managing expanded liability exposure, creating new and varied interactions with public decision-
world famous. (Emphasis supplied) makers, coping internally with more complex make or by decisions.

Following the concept of boundary spanning, the office of the Corporate Counsel comprises a This whole exercise drives home the thesis that knowing corporate law is not enough to make one a
distinct group within the managerial structure of all kinds of organizations. Effectiveness of both good general corporate counsel nor to give him a full sense of how the legal system shapes
long-term and temporary groups within organizations has been found to be related to indentifiable corporate activities. And even if the corporate lawyer's aim is not the understand all of the law's
factors in the group-context interaction such as the groups actively revising their knowledge of the effects on corporate activities, he must, at the very least, also gain a working knowledge of the
environment coordinating work with outsiders, promoting team achievements within the management issues if only to be able to grasp not only the basic legal "constitution' or makeup of
organization. In general, such external activities are better predictors of team performance than the modem corporation. "Business Star", "The Corporate Counsel," April 10, 1991, p. 4).
internal group processes. The challenge for lawyers (both of the bar and the bench) is to have more than a passing
In a crisis situation, the legal managerial capabilities of the corporate lawyer vis-a-vis the knowledge of financial law affecting each aspect of their work. Yet, many would admit to ignorance
managerial mettle of corporations are challenged. Current research is seeking ways both to of vast tracts of the financial law territory. What transpires next is a dilemma of professional
anticipate effective managerial procedures and to understand relationships of financial liability and security: Will the lawyer admit ignorance and risk opprobrium?; or will he feign understanding and
insurance considerations. (Emphasis supplied) risk exposure? (Business Star, "Corporate Finance law," Jan. 11, 1989, p. 4).

Regarding the skills to apply by the corporate counsel, three factors are apropos: Respondent Christian Monsod was nominated by President Corazon C. Aquino to the position of
Chairman of the COMELEC in a letter received by the Secretariat of the Commission on
Appointments on April 25, 1991. Petitioner opposed the nomination because allegedly Monsod does
not possess the required qualification of having been engaged in the practice of law for at least ten In the same vein, lawyers play an important role in any debt restructuring program. For aside from
years. performing the tasks of legislative drafting and legal advising, they score national development
policies as key factors in maintaining their countries' sovereignty. (Condensed from the work paper,
On June 5, 1991, the Commission on Appointments confirmed the nomination of Monsod as entitled "Wanted: Development Lawyers for Developing Nations," submitted by L. Michael Hager,
Chairman of the COMELEC. On June 18, 1991, he took his oath of office. On the same day, he regional legal adviser of the United States Agency for International Development, during the
assumed office as Chairman of the COMELEC. Session on Law for the Development of Nations at the Abidjan World Conference in Ivory Coast,
Challenging the validity of the confirmation by the Commission on Appointments of Monsod's sponsored by the World Peace Through Law Center on August 26-31, 1973). ( Emphasis supplied)
nomination, petitioner as a citizen and taxpayer, filed the instant petition for certiorari and Prohibition Loan concessions and compromises, perhaps even more so than purely renegotiation policies,
praying that said confirmation and the consequent appointment of Monsod as Chairman of the demand expertise in the law of contracts, in legislation and agreement drafting and in renegotiation.
Commission on Elections be declared null and void. Necessarily, a sovereign lawyer may work with an international business specialist or an economist
Atty. Christian Monsod is a member of the Philippine Bar, having passed the bar examinations of in the formulation of a model loan agreement. Debt restructuring contract agreements contain such
1960 with a grade of 86-55%. He has been a dues paying member of the Integrated Bar of the a mixture of technical language that they should be carefully drafted and signed only with the advise
Philippines since its inception in 1972-73. He has also been paying his professional license fees as of competent counsel in conjunction with the guidance of adequate technical support personnel.
lawyer for more than ten years. (p. 124, Rollo) (See International Law Aspects of the Philippine External Debts, an unpublished dissertation,
U.S.T. Graduate School of Law, 1987, p. 321). ( Emphasis supplied)
After graduating from the College of Law (U.P.) and having hurdled the bar, Atty. Monsod worked in
the law office of his father. During his stint in the World Bank Group (1963-1970), Monsod worked as A critical aspect of sovereign debt restructuring/contract construction is the set of terms and
an operations officer for about two years in Costa Rica and Panama, which involved getting conditions which determines the contractual remedies for a failure to perform one or more elements
acquainted with the laws of member-countries negotiating loans and coordinating legal, economic, of the contract. A good agreement must not only define the responsibilities of both parties, but must
and project work of the Bank. Upon returning to the Philippines in 1970, he worked with the Meralco also state the recourse open to either party when the other fails to discharge an obligation. For a
Group, served as chief executive officer of an investment bank and subsequently of a business compleat debt restructuring represents a devotion to that principle which in the ultimate analysis is
conglomerate, and since 1986, has rendered services to various companies as a legal and economic sine qua non for foreign loan agreements-an adherence to the rule of law in domestic and
consultant or chief executive officer. As former Secretary-General (1986) and National Chairman international affairs of whose kind U.S. Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. once
(1987) of NAMFREL. Monsod's work involved being knowledgeable in election law. He appeared for said: "They carry no banners, they beat no drums; but where they are, men learn that bustle and
NAMFREL in its accreditation hearings before the Comelec. In the field of advocacy, Monsod, in his bush are not the equal of quiet genius and serene mastery." (See Ricardo J. Romulo, "The Role of
personal capacity and as former Co-Chairman of the Bishops Businessmen's Conference for Human Lawyers in Foreign Investments," Integrated Bar of the Philippine Journal, Vol. 15, Nos. 3 and 4,
Development, has worked with the under privileged sectors, such as the farmer and urban poor Third and Fourth Quarters, 1977, p. 265).
groups, in initiating, lobbying for and engaging in affirmative action for the agrarian reform law and Interpreted in the light of the various definitions of the term Practice of law". particularly the modern
lately the urban land reform bill. Monsod also made use of his legal knowledge as a member of the concept of law practice, and taking into consideration the liberal construction intended by the framers
Davide Commission, a quast judicial body, which conducted numerous hearings (1990) and as a of the Constitution, Atty. Monsod's past work experiences as a lawyer-economist, a lawyer-manager,
member of the Constitutional Commission (1986-1987), and Chairman of its Committee on a lawyer-entrepreneur of industry, a lawyer-negotiator of contracts, and a lawyer-legislator of both the
Accountability of Public Officers, for which he was cited by the President of the Commission, Justice rich and the poor — verily more than satisfy the constitutional requirement — that he has been
Cecilia Muñoz-Palma for "innumerable amendments to reconcile government functions with individual engaged in the practice of law for at least ten years.
freedoms and public accountability and the party-list system for the House of Representative. (pp.
128-129 Rollo) ( Emphasis supplied) Besides in the leading case of Luego v. Civil Service Commission, 143 SCRA 327, the Court said:
Just a word about the work of a negotiating team of which Atty. Monsod used to be a member. Appointment is an essentially discretionary power and must be performed by the officer in which it
is vested according to his best lights, the only condition being that the appointee should possess
In a loan agreement, for instance, a negotiating panel acts as a team, and which is adequately the qualifications required by law. If he does, then the appointment cannot be faulted on the ground
constituted to meet the various contingencies that arise during a negotiation. Besides top officials of that there are others better qualified who should have been preferred. This is a political question
the Borrower concerned, there are the legal officer (such as the legal counsel), the finance involving considerations of wisdom which only the appointing authority can decide. (emphasis
manager, and an operations officer (such as an official involved in negotiating the contracts) who supplied)
comprise the members of the team. (Guillermo V. Soliven, "Loan Negotiating Strategies for
Developing Country Borrowers," Staff Paper No. 2, Central Bank of the Philippines, Manila, 1982, p. No less emphatic was the Court in the case of (Central Bank v. Civil Service Commission, 171 SCRA
11). (Emphasis supplied) 744) where it stated:
After a fashion, the loan agreement is like a country's Constitution; it lays down the law as far as the It is well-settled that when the appointee is qualified, as in this case, and all the other legal
loan transaction is concerned. Thus, the meat of any Loan Agreement can be compartmentalized requirements are satisfied, the Commission has no alternative but to attest to the appointment in
into five (5) fundamental parts: (1) business terms; (2) borrower's representation; (3) conditions of accordance with the Civil Service Law. The Commission has no authority to revoke an appointment
closing; (4) covenants; and (5) events of default. (Ibid., p. 13). on the ground that another person is more qualified for a particular position. It also has no authority
to direct the appointment of a substitute of its choice. To do so would be an encroachment on the
discretion vested upon the appointing authority. An appointment is essentially within the
discretionary power of whomsoever it is vested, subject to the only condition that the appointee discretion is clearly shown shall the Court interfere with the Commission's judgment. In the instant
should possess the qualifications required by law. ( Emphasis supplied) case, there is no occasion for the exercise of the Court's corrective power, since no abuse, much less
a grave abuse of discretion, that would amount to lack or excess of jurisdiction and would warrant the
The appointing process in a regular appointment as in the case at bar, consists of four (4) stages: (1) issuance of the writs prayed, for has been clearly shown.
nomination; (2) confirmation by the Commission on Appointments; (3) issuance of a commission (in
the Philippines, upon submission by the Commission on Appointments of its certificate of Additionally, consider the following:
confirmation, the President issues the permanent appointment; and (4) acceptance e.g., oath-taking,
posting of bond, etc. . . . (Lacson v. Romero, No. L-3081, October 14, 1949; Gonzales, Law on Public (1) If the Commission on Appointments rejects a nominee by the President, may the Supreme Court
Officers, p. 200) reverse the Commission, and thus in effect confirm the appointment? Clearly, the answer is in the
The power of the Commission on Appointments to give its consent to the nomination of Monsod as
Chairman of the Commission on Elections is mandated by Section 1(2) Sub-Article C, Article IX of the (2) In the same vein, may the Court reject the nominee, whom the Commission has confirmed? The
Constitution which provides: answer is likewise clear.

The Chairman and the Commisioners shall be appointed by the President with the consent of the (3) If the United States Senate (which is the confirming body in the U.S. Congress) decides to
Commission on Appointments for a term of seven years without reappointment. Of those first confirm a Presidential nominee, it would be incredible that the U.S. Supreme Court would still
appointed, three Members shall hold office for seven years, two Members for five years, and the reverse the U.S. Senate.
last Members for three years, without reappointment. Appointment to any vacancy shall be only for Finally, one significant legal maxim is: We must interpret not by the letter that killeth, but by the spirit
the unexpired term of the predecessor. In no case shall any Member be appointed or designated in that giveth life.
a temporary or acting capacity.
Take this hypothetical case of Samson and Delilah. Once, the procurator of Judea asked Delilah (who
Anent Justice Teodoro Padilla's separate opinion, suffice it to say that his definition of the practice was Samson's beloved) for help in capturing Samson. Delilah agreed on condition that —
of law is the traditional or stereotyped notion of law practice, as distinguished from the modern
concept of the practice of law, which modern connotation is exactly what was intended by the No blade shall touch his skin; No blood shall flow from his veins.
eminent framers of the 1987 Constitution. Moreover, Justice Padilla's definition would require
generally a habitual law practice, perhaps practised two or three times a week and would outlaw When Samson (his long hair cut by Delilah) was captured, the procurator placed an iron rod burning
say, law practice once or twice a year for ten consecutive years. Clearly, this is far from the white-hot two or three inches away from in front of Samson's eyes. This blinded the man. Upon
constitutional intent. hearing of what had happened to her beloved, Delilah was beside herself with anger, and fuming with
righteous fury, accused the procurator of reneging on his word. The procurator calmly replied: "Did
Upon the other hand, the separate opinion of Justice Isagani Cruz states that in my written opinion, I any blade touch his skin? Did any blood flow from his veins?" The procurator was clearly relying on
made use of a definition of law practice which really means nothing because the definition says that the letter, not the spirit of the agreement.
law practice " . . . is what people ordinarily mean by the practice of law." True I cited the definition but
only by way of sarcasm as evident from my statement that the definition of law practice by "traditional In view of the foregoing, this petition is hereby DISMISSED.
areas of law practice is essentially tautologous" or defining a phrase by means of the phrase itself that
is being defined.
Justice Cruz goes on to say in substance that since the law covers almost all situations, most
individuals, in making use of the law, or in advising others on what the law means, are actually THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, Plaintiff-Appellee, vs. SIMPLICIO VILLANUEVA, Defendant-
practicing law. In that sense, perhaps, but we should not lose sight of the fact that Mr. Monsod is a Appellant.
lawyer, a member of the Philippine Bar, who has been practising law for over ten years. This is
different from the acts of persons practising law, without first becoming lawyers. PAREDES, J.:

Justice Cruz also says that the Supreme Court can even disqualify an elected President of the On September 4, 1959, the Chief of Police of Alaminos, Laguna, charged Simplicio Villanueva with
Philippines, say, on the ground that he lacks one or more qualifications. This matter, I greatly doubt. the Crime of Malicious Mischief before the Justice of the Peace Court of said municipality. Said
For one thing, how can an action or petition be brought against the President? And even assuming accused was represented by counsel de officio but later on replaced by counsel de parte. The
that he is indeed disqualified, how can the action be entertained since he is the incumbent President? complainant in the same case was represented by City Attorney Ariston Fule of San Pablo City,
having entered his appearance as private prosecutor, after securing the permission of the Secretary
We now proceed: of Justice. The condition of his appearance as such, was that every time he would appear at the trial
of the case, he would be considered on official leave of absence, and that he would not receive any
The Commission on the basis of evidence submitted doling the public hearings on Monsod's
payment for his services. The appearance of City Attorney Fule as private prosecutor was questioned
confirmation, implicitly determined that he possessed the necessary qualifications as required by law.
by the counsel for the accused, invoking the case of Aquino, et al. vs. Blanco, et al.,
The judgment rendered by the Commission in the exercise of such an acknowledged power is beyond
L-1532, Nov. 28, 1947, wherein it was ruled that "when an attorney had been appointed to the position
judicial interference except only upon a clear showing of a grave abuse of discretion amounting to
of Assistant Provincial Fiscal or City Fiscal and therein qualified, by operation of law, he ceased to
lack or excess of jurisdiction. (Art. VIII, Sec. 1 Constitution). Thus, only where such grave abuse of
engage in private law practice." Counsel then argued that the JP Court in entertaining the appearance
of City Attorney Fule in the case is a violation of the above ruling. On December 17, 1960 the JP engagement in the private practice of law. The following observation of the Solicitor General is
issued an order sustaining the legality of the appearance of City Attorney Fule. noteworthy:
Under date of January 4, 1961, counsel for the accused presented a "Motion to Inhibit Fiscal Fule Essentially, the word private practice of law implies that one must have presented himself to be in
from Acting as Private Prosecutor in this Case," this time invoking Section 32, Rule 27, now Sec. 35, the active and continued practice of the legal profession and that his professional services are
Rule 138, Revised Rules of Court, which bars certain attorneys from practicing. Counsel claims that available to the public for a compensation, as a source of his livelihood or in consideration of his
City Attorney Fule falls under this limitation. The JP Court ruled on the motion by upholding the right of said services.
Fule to appear and further stating that he (Fule) was not actually enagaged in private law practice.
This Order was appealed to the CFI of Laguna, presided by the Hon. Hilarion U. Jarencio, which For one thing, it has never been refuted that City Attorney Fule had been given permission by his
rendered judgment on December 20, 1961, the pertinent portions of which read: immediate superior, the Secretary of Justice, to represent the complainant in the case at bar, who is a
The present case is one for malicious mischief. There being no reservation by the offended party of
the civil liability, the civil action was deemed impliedly instituted with the criminal action. The CONFORMABLY WITH ALL THE FOREGOING, the decision appealed from should be, as it is hereby
offended party had, therefore, the right to intervene in the case and be represented by a legal affirmed, in all respects, with costs against appellant..
counsel because of her interest in the civil liability of the accused. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Sec. 31, Rule 127 of the Rules of Court provides that in the court of a justice of the peace a party
may conduct his litigation in person, with the aid of an agent or friend appointed by him for that
purpose, or with the aid of an attorney. Assistant City Attorney Fule appeared in the Justice of the
Peace Court as an agent or friend of the offended party. It does not appear that he was being paid
for his services or that his appearance was in a professional capacity. As Assistant City Attorney of
San Pablo he had no control or intervention whatsoever in the prosecution of crimes committed in
the municipality of Alaminos, Laguna, because the prosecution of criminal cases coming from
Alaminos are handled by the Office of the Provincial Fiscal and not by the City Attornev of San
Pablo. There could be no possible conflict in the duties of Assistant City Attorney Fule as Assistant
City Attorney of San Pablo and as private prosecutor in this criminal case. On the other hand, as
already pointed out, the offended party in this criminal case had a right to be represented by an
agent or a friend to protect her rights in the civil action which was impliedly instituted together with
the criminal action. law library
In view of the foregoing, this Court holds that Asst. City Attorney Ariston D. Fule may appear before
the Justice of the Peace Court of Alaminos, Laguna as private prosecutor in this criminal case as an
agent or a friend of the offended party. law library
WHEREFORE, the appeal from the order of the Justice of the Peace Court of Alaminos, Laguna,
allowing the apprearance of Ariston D. Fule as private prosecutor is dismissed, without costs.
The above decision is the subject of the instant proceeding.
The appeal should be dismissed, for patently being without merits. Aside from the considerations
advanced by the learned trial judge, heretofore reproduced, and which we consider plausible, the
fallacy of the theory of defense counsel lies in his confused interpretation of Section 32 of Rule 127
(now Sec. 35, Rule 138, Revised Rules), which provides that "no judge or other official or employee of
the superior courts or of the office of the Solicitor General, shall engage in private practice as a
member of the bar or give professional advice to clients." He claims that City Attorney Fule, in
appearing as private prosecutor in the case was engaging in private practice. We believe that the
isolated appearance of City Attorney Fule did not constitute private practice within the meaning and
contemplation of the Rules. Practice is more than an isolated appearance, for it consists in frequent or
customary actions, a succession of acts of the same kind. In other words, it is frequent habitual
exercise (State vs. Cotner, 127, p. 1, 87 Kan. 864, 42 LRA, M.S. 768). Practice of law to fall within the
prohibition of statute has been interpreted as customarily or habitually holding one's self out to the
public, as customarily and demanding payment for such services (State vs. Bryan, 4 S.E. 522, 98
N.C. 644, 647). The appearance as counsel on one occasion is not conclusive as determinative of
PART II (1) Does the Court have the power to integrate the Philippine Bar?
January 9, 1973 (2) Would the integration of the Bar be constitutional?
IN THE MATTER OF THE INTEGRATION OF THE BAR OF THE PHILIPPINES. (3) Should the Court ordain the integration of the Bar at this time?
RESOLUTION A resolution of these issues requires, at the outset, a statement of the meaning of Bar integration. It
will suffice, for this purpose, to adopt the concept given by the Commission on Bar Integration on
PER CURIAM: pages 3 to 5 of its Report, thus:
On December 1, 1972, the Commission on Bar Integration 1 submitted its Report dated November 30, Integration of the Philippine Bar means the official unification of the entire lawyer population of the
1972, with the "earnest recommendation" — on the basis of the said Report and the proceedings had Philippines. This requires membership and financial support (in reasonable amount) of every
in Administrative Case No. 526 2 of the Court, and "consistently with the views and counsel received attorney as conditions sine qua non to the practice of law and the retention of his name in the Roll
from its [the Commission's] Board of Consultants, as well as the overwhelming nationwide sentiment of Attorneys of the Supreme Court.
of the Philippine Bench and Bar" — that "this Honorable Court ordain the integration of the Philippine
Bar as soon as possible through the adoption and promulgation of an appropriate Court Rule." The term "Bar" refers to the collectivity of all persons whose names appear in the Roll of Attorneys.
An Integrated Bar (or Unified Bar) perforce must include all lawyers.
The petition in Adm. Case No. 526 formally prays the Court to order the integration of the Philippine
Bar, after due hearing, giving recognition as far as possible and practicable to existing provincial and Complete unification is not possible unless it is decreed by an entity with power to do so: the State.
other local Bar associations. On August 16, 1962, arguments in favor of as well as in opposition to the Bar integration, therefore, signifies the setting up by Government authority of a national
petition were orally expounded before the Court. Written oppositions were admitted, 3 and all parties organization of the legal profession based on the recognition of the lawyer as an officer of the court.
were thereafter granted leave to file written memoranda. 4
Designed to improve the position of the Bar as an instrumentality of justice and the Rule of Law,
Since then, the Court has closely observed and followed significant developments relative to the integration fosters cohesion among lawyers, and ensures, through their own organized action and
matter of the integration of the Bar in this jurisdiction. participation, the promotion of the objectives of the legal profession, pursuant to the principle of
maximum Bar autonomy with minimum supervision and regulation by the Supreme Court.
In 1970, convinced from preliminary surveys that there had grown a strong nationwide sentiment in
favor of Bar integration, the Court created the Commission on Bar Integration for the purpose of The purposes of an integrated Bar, in general, are:
ascertaining the advisability of unifying the Philippine Bar.
(1) Assist in the administration of justice;
In September, 1971, Congress passed House Bill No. 3277 entitled "An Act Providing for the
Integration of the Philippine Bar, and Appropriating Funds Therefor." The measure was signed by (2) Foster and maintain on the part of its members high ideals of integrity, learning, professional
President Ferdinand E. Marcos on September 17, 1971 and took effect on the same day as Rep. Act competence, public service and conduct;
6397. This law provides as follows: (3) Safeguard the professional interests of its members;
SECTION 1. Within two years from the approval of this Act, the Supreme Court may adopt rules of (4) Cultivate among its members a spirit of cordiality and brotherhood;
court to effect the integration of the Philippine Bar under such conditions as it shall see fit in order to
raise the standards of the legal profession, improve the administration of justice, and enable the Bar (5) Provide a forum for the discussion of law, jurisprudence, law reform, pleading, practice and
to discharge its public responsibility more effectively. procedure, and the relations of the Bar to the Bench and to the public, and publish information
relating thereto;
SEC. 2. The sum of five hundred thousand pesos is hereby appropriated, out of any funds in the
National Treasury not otherwise appropriated, to carry out the purposes of this Act. Thereafter, such (6) Encourage and foster legal education;
sums as may be necessary for the same purpose shall be included in the annual appropriations for
the Supreme Court. (7) Promote a continuing program of legal research in substantive and adjective law, and make
reports and recommendations thereon; and
SEC. 3. This Act shall take effect upon its approval.
(8) Enable the Bar to discharge its public responsibility effectively.
The Report of the Commission abounds with argument on the constitutionality of Bar integration and
contains all necessary factual data bearing on the advisability (practicability and necessity) of Bar Integration of the Bar will, among other things, make it possible for the legal profession to:
integration. Also embodied therein are the views, opinions, sentiments, comments and observations
(1) Render more effective assistance in maintaining the Rule of Law;
of the rank and file of the Philippine lawyer population relative to Bar integration, as well as a
proposed integration Court Rule drafted by the Commission and presented to them by that body in a (2) Protect lawyers and litigants against the abuse of tyrannical judges and prosecuting officers;
national Bar plebiscite. There is thus sufficient basis as well as ample material upon which the Court
may decide whether or not to integrate the Philippine Bar at this time. (3) Discharge, fully and properly, its responsibility in the disciplining and/or removal of incompetent
and unworthy judges and prosecuting officers;
The following are the pertinent issues:
(4) Shield the judiciary, which traditionally cannot defend itself except within its own forum, from the — The practice of law is not a vested right but a privilege; a privilege, moreover, clothed with public
assaults that politics and self-interest may level at it, and assist it to maintain its integrity, impartiality interest, because a lawyer owes duties not only to his client, but also to his brethren in the
and independence; 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.
(5) Have an effective voice in the selection of judges and prosecuting officers;
— Because the practice of law is privilege clothed with public interest, it is far and just that the
(6) Prevent the unauthorized practice of law, and break up any monopoly of local practice exercise of that privilege be regulated to assure compliance with the lawyer's public responsibilities.
maintained through influence or position;
— These public responsibilities can best be discharged through collective action; but there can be
(7) Establish welfare funds for families of disabled and deceased lawyers; no collective action without an organized body; no organized body can operate effectively without
(8) Provide placement services, and establish legal aid offices and set up lawyer reference services incurring expenses; therefore, it is fair and just that all attorneys be required to contribute to the
throughout the country so that the poor may not lack competent legal service; support of such organized body; and, given existing Bar conditions, the most efficient means of
doing so is by integrating the Bar through a rule of court that requires all lawyers to pay annual dues
(9) Distribute educational and informational materials that are difficult to obtain in many of our to the Integrated Bar.
1. Freedom of Association.
(10) Devise and maintain a program of continuing legal education for practising attorneys in order to
elevate the standards of the profession throughout the country; To compel a lawyer to be a member of an integrated Bar is not violative of his constitutional
freedom to associate (or the corollary right not to associate).
(11) Enforce rigid ethical standards, and promulgate minimum fees schedules;
Integration does not make a lawyer a member of any group of which he is not already a member.
(12) Create law centers and establish law libraries for legal research; He became a member of the Bar when he passed the Bar examinations. All that integration actually
does is to provide an official national organization for the well-defined but unorganized and
(13) Conduct campaigns to educate the people on their legal rights and obligations, on the incohesive group of which every lawyer is already a member.
importance of preventive legal advice, and on the functions and duties of the Filipino lawyer; and
Bar integration does not compel the lawyer to associate with anyone. He is free to attend or not
(14) Generate and maintain pervasive and meaningful country-wide involvement of the lawyer attend the meetings of his Integrated Bar Chapter or vote or refuse to vote in its elections as he
population in the solution of the multifarious problems that afflict the nation. chooses. The body compulsion to which he is subjected is the payment of annual dues.
Anent the first issue, the Court is of the view that it may integrate the Philippine Bar in the exercise Otherwise stated, membership in the Unified Bar imposes only the duty to pay dues in reasonable
of its power, under Article VIII, Sec. 13 of the Constitution, "to promulgate rules concerning amount. The issue therefore, is a question of compelled financial support of group activities, not
pleading, practice, and procedure in all courts, and the admission to the practice of law." Indeed, involuntary membership in any other aspect.
the power to integrate is an inherent part of the Court's constitutional authority over the Bar. In
providing that "the Supreme Court may adopt rules of court to effect the integration of the Philippine The greater part of Unified Bar activities serves the function of elevating the educational and ethical
Bar," Republic Act 6397 neither confers a new power nor restricts the Court's inherent power, but is standards of the Bar to the end of improving the quality of the legal service available to the people.
a mere legislative declaration that the integration of the Bar will promote public interest or, more The Supreme Court, in order to further the State's legitimate interest in elevating the quality of
specifically, will "raise the standards of the legal profession, improve the administration of justice, professional services, may require that the cost of improving the profession in this fashion be
and enable the Bar to discharge its public responsibility more effectively." shared by the subjects and beneficiaries of the regulatory program — the lawyers.

Resolution of the second issue — whether the unification of the Bar would be constitutional — Assuming that Bar integration does compel a lawyer to be a member of the Integrated Bar, such
hinges on the effects of Bar integration on the lawyer's constitutional rights of freedom of compulsion is justified as an exercise of the police power of the State. The legal profession has long
association and freedom of speech, and on the nature of the dues exacted from him. been regarded as a proper subject of legislative regulation and control. Moreover, the inherent
power of the Supreme Court to regulate the Bar includes the authority to integrate the Bar.
The Court approvingly quotes the following pertinent discussion made by the Commission on Bar
Integration pages 44 to 49 of its Report: 2. Regulatory Fee.

Constitutionality of Bar Integration For the Court to prescribe dues to be paid by the members does not mean that the Court levies a
Judicial Pronouncements.
A membership fee in the Integrated Bar is an exaction for regulation, while the purpose of a tax is
In all cases where the validity of Bar integration measures has been put in issue, the Courts have revenue. If the Court has inherent power to regulate the Bar, it follows that as an incident to
upheld their constitutionality. regulation, it may impose a membership fee for that purpose. It would not be possible to push
through an Integrated Bar program without means to defray the concomitant expenses. The
The judicial pronouncements support this reasoning:
doctrine of implied powers necessarily includes the power to impose such an exaction.
— Courts have inherent power to supervise and regulate the practice of law.
The only limitation upon the State's power to regulate the Bar is that the regulation does not impose United States. In all the jurisdictions where the Integrated Bar has been tried, none of the abuses or
an unconstitutional burden. The public interest promoted by the integration of the Bar far outweighs evils feared has arisen; on the other hand, it has restored public confidence in the Bar, enlarged
the inconsequential inconvenience to a member that might result from his required payment of professional consciousness, energized the Bar's responsibilities to the public, and vastly improved the
annual dues. administration of justice.
3. Freedom of Speech. How do the Filipino lawyers themselves regard Bar integration? The official statistics compiled by the
Commission on Bar integration show that in the national poll recently conducted by the Commission in
A lawyer is free, as he has always been, to voice his views on any subject in any manner he the matter of the integration of the Philippine Bar, of a total of 15,090 lawyers from all over the
wishes, even though such views be opposed to positions taken by the Unified Bar.For the archipelago who have turned in their individual responses, 14,555 (or 96.45 per cent) voted in favor of
Integrated Bar to use a member's due to promote measures to which said member is opposed, Bar integration, while only 378 (or 2.51 per cent) voted against it, and 157 (or 1.04 per cent) are non-
would not nullify or adversely affect his freedom of speech.Since a State may constitutionally commital. In addition, a total of eighty (80) local Bar association and lawyers' groups all over the
condition the right to practice law upon membership in the Integrated Bar, it is difficult to understand Philippines have submitted resolutions and other expressions of unqualified endorsement and/or
why it should become unconstitutional for the Bar to use the member's dues to fulfill the very support for Bar integration, while not a single local Bar association or lawyers' group has expressed
purposes for which it was established. opposed position thereto. Finally, of the 13,802 individual lawyers who cast their plebiscite ballots on
The objection would make every Governmental exaction the material of a "free speech" issue. Even the proposed integration Court Rule drafted by the Commission, 12,855 (or 93.14 per cent) voted in
the income tax would be suspect. The objection would carry us to lengths that have never been favor thereof, 662 (or 4.80 per cent) vote against it, and 285 (or 2.06 per cent) are non-committal. 5 All
dreamed of. The conscientious objector, if his liberties were to be thus extended, might refuse to these clearly indicate an overwhelming nationwide demand for Bar integration at this time.
contribute taxes in furtherance of war or of any other end condemned by his conscience as The Court is fully convinced, after a thoroughgoing conscientious study of all the arguments adduced
irreligious or immoral. The right of private judgment has never yet been exalted above the powers in Adm. Case No. 526 and the authoritative materials and the mass of factual data contained in the
and the compulsion of the agencies of Government. exhaustive Report of the Commission on Bar Integration, that the integration of the Philippine Bar is
4. Fair to All Lawyers. "perfectly constitutional and legally unobjectionable," within the context of contemporary conditions in
the Philippines, has become an imperative means to raise the standards of the legal profession,
Bar integration is not unfair to lawyers already practising because although the requirement to pay improve the administration of justice, and enable the Bar to discharge its public responsibility fully and
annual dues is a new regulation, it will give the members of the Bar a new system which they effectively.
hitherto have not had and through which, by proper work, they will receive benefits they have not
heretofore enjoyed, and discharge their public responsibilities in a more effective manner than they ACCORDINGLY, the Court, by virtue of the power vested in it by Section 13 of Article VIII of the
have been able to do in the past. Because the requirement to pay dues is a valid exercise of Constitution, hereby ordains the integration of the Bar of the Philippines in accordance with the
regulatory power by the Court, because it will apply equally to all lawyers, young and old, at the attached COURT RULE, effective on January 16, 1973.
time Bar integration takes effect, and because it is a new regulation in exchange for new benefits, it
is not retroactive, it is not unequal, it is not unfair.
To resolve the third and final issue — whether the Court should ordain the integration of the Bar at
this time — requires a careful overview of the practicability and necessity as well as the advantages
and disadvantages of Bar integration.
In many other jurisdictions, notably in England, Canada and the United States, Bar integration has
yielded the following benefits: (1) improved discipline among the members of the Bar; (2) greater
influence and ascendancy of the Bar; (3) better and more meaningful participation of the individual
lawyer in the activities of the Integrated Bar; (4) greater Bar facilities and services; (5) elimination of
unauthorized practice; (6) avoidance of costly membership campaigns; (7) establishment of an official
status for the Bar; (8) more cohesive profession; and (9) better and more effective discharge by the
Bar of its obligations and responsibilities to its members, to the courts, and to the public. No less than
these salutary consequences are envisioned and in fact expected from the unification of the Philippine
Upon the other hand, it has been variously argued that in the event of integration, Government
authority will dominate the Bar; local Bar associations will be weakened; cliquism will be the inevitable
result; effective lobbying will not be possible; the Bar will become an impersonal Bar; and politics will
intrude into its affairs.
It is noteworthy, however, that these and other evils prophesied by opponents of Bar integration have
failed to materialize in over fifty years of Bar integration experience in England, Canada and the
PART III in accordance with Sections 27 and 28 of Rule 138 of the Rules of Court. A copy of this decision
must be forwarded to the Supreme Court as required by Section 29 of the same Rule.
vs. On 16 December 1988, respondent filed a Notice of Appeal with the Court of Appeals. The
ATTY. FE T. TUANDA, respondent. Court of Appeals, in a Resolution dated 9 January 1989, noted respondent's Notice of Appeal and
advised her "to address her Notice of Appeal to the Honorable Supreme Court, the proper forum." On
PER CURIAM: 1 February 1989, respondent filed with this Court a Notice of Appeal.
In a Motion to Lift Order of Suspension dated 12 July 1989, respondent Fe T. Tuanda, a In a Resolution dated 31 May 1989, the Supreme Court noted without action respondent's
member of the Philippine Bar, asks this Court to lift the suspension from the practice of law imposed Notice of Appeal and declared that the Court of Appeals' decision of 17 October 1988 had become
upon her by a decision of the Court of Appeals dated 17 October 1988 in C.A.-G.R. CR No. 05093. final and executory upon expiration of the period for filing a petition for review on certiorari on 16
On 17 December 1983, respondent received from one Herminia A. Marquez several pieces December 1988. In that Resolution, the Court found that respondent had lost her right to appeal by
of jewelry, with a total stated value of P36,000.00, for sale on a commission basis, with the condition certiorari when she posted with this Court a Notice of Appeal instead of filing a petition for review on
that the respondent would turn over the sales proceeds and return the unsold items to Ms. Marquez certiorari under Section 1, Rule 45 of the Revised Rules of Court within the reglementary period.
on or before 14 February 1984. Sometime in February 1984, respondent, instead of returning the In the instant Motion to Lift Order of Suspension, respondent states:
unsold pieces of jewelry which then amounted to approximately P26,250.00, issued three checks: (a)
a check dated 16 February 1984 for the amount of P5,400.00; (b) a check dated 23 February 1984 that suspension from the practice of law is indeed a harsh if not a not painful penalty aggravating
also for the amount of P5,400.00; and (c) a check dated 25 February 1984 for the amount of the lower court's penalty of fine considering that accused-appellant's action on the case during the
P15,450.00. Upon presentment for payment within ninety (90) days after their issuance, all three (3) trial on the merits at the lower court has always been motivated purely by sincere belief that she is
checks were dishonored by the drawee bank, Traders Royal Bank, for insufficiency of funds. innocent of the offense charged nor of the intention to cause damage to the herein plaintiff-
Notwithstanding receipt of the notice of dishonor, respondent made no arrangements with the bank appellee.
concerning the honoring of checks which had bounced and made no effort to settle her obligations to
Ms. Marquez. We read the above statement as a claim by the respondent that, she had not violated her oath as a
member of the Philippine Bar upon the ground that when she issued the checks which bounced, she
Consequently, four (4) informations were filed against respondent with the Regional Trial did not intend to cause damage to complainant Ms. Marquez.
Court of Manila: (a) one for estafa, docketed as Criminal Case No. 85-38358; and (b) three (3) for
violation of B.P. Blg. 22, docketed respectively as Criminal Cases Nos. 85-38359, 85-38360 and 85- The Court affirms the suspension from the practice of law imposed by the Court of Appeals upon
38361. In due time, after trial, the trial court rendered a decision dated 25 August 1987 which: respondent Tuanda. The Court of Appeals correctly ruled that "the offense [of] which she is found
guilty involved moral turpitude." We should add that violation of B.P. Blg. 22 is a serious criminal
(a) acquitted respondent of the charge of estafa; and offense which deleteriously affects public interest and public order. In Lozano v. Martinez, 2 the Court
explained the nature of the offense of violation of B.P. Blg. 22 in the following terms:
(b) convicted respondent of violation of B.P. Blg. 22 in all three (3) cases, and sentenced
respondent to pay a fine of P6,000.00, with subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency and to The gravamen of the offense punished by B.P. Blg. 22 is the act of making and issuing a worthless
indemnify the complainant in the amount of P5,400.00 in Criminal Case No. 8538359; check or a check that is dishonored upon its presentation for payment. . . . The thrust of the law is
to prohibit under pain of penal sanctions, the making of worthless checks and putting them in
to pay a fine of P 6,000.00, with subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency and to indemnify the circulation. Because of its deleterious effects on the public interest, the practice is prescribed by the
complainant in the amount of P5,400.00, in Criminal Case No. 85-38360; and law. The law punishes the act not as an offense against property but an offense against public
to pay a fine of P16,000.00, with subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency, and to indemnify order.
the complainant in the amount of P15,450.00, in Criminal Case No. 85-38361, and to pay the costs The effects of the issuance of a worthless check transcends the private interests of the parties
in all three (3) cases. directly involved in the transaction and touches the interests of the community at large. The
On appeal, the Court of Appeals in C.A.-G.R. CR No. 05093 affirmed in toto the decision of mischief it creates is not only a wrong to the payee or holder, but also an injury to the public. The
the trial court but, in addition, suspended respondent Tuanda from the practice of law. The pertinent harmful practice of putting valueless commercial papers in circulation, multiplied a thousandfold,
portion of the decision read as follows: can very well pollute the channels of trade and commerce, injure the banking system and eventually
hurt the welfare of society and the public interest. 3 (Italics supplied)
For reasons above stated and finding the evidence sufficient to sustain the conviction, the judgment
is hereby AFFIRMED subject to this modification. Respondent was thus correctly suspended from the practice of law because she had been convicted
of crimes involving moral turpitude. Sections 27 and 28 of Rule 138 of the Revised Rules of Court
It appearing from the records that the accused Fe Tuanda is a member of the Bar, and the offense provide as follows:
for (sic) which she is found guilty involved moral turpitude, she is hereby ordered suspended from
the practice of law and shall not practice her profession until further action from the Supreme Court, Sec. 27. Attorneys renewed or suspended by Supreme Court on what grounds. A member of the
bar may be removed or suspended from his office as attorney by the Supreme Court of any deceit,
malpractice, or other gross misconduct in such office, grossly immoral conduct, or by reason of his Thereafter, they had repeated acts of cohabitation. Segundino started telling his acquaintances that
conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude, or for any violation of the oath which he is required he and Magdalena were secretly married.
to take before admission to practice, or for a wilful disobedience of any lawful order of a superior
court, or for corruptly or wilfully appearing as an attorney for a party to a case without authority so to In 1972 Segundino transferred his residence to Padada, Davao del Sur. He continued his law studies
do. The practice of soliciting cases at law for the purpose of gain, either personally or through paid in Davao City. .Magdalena remained in Cebu. He sent to her letters and telegrams professing his love
agents or brokers, constitutes malpractice. (Italics supplied) for her (Exh. K to Z).

Sec. 28. Suspension of attorney by the Court of Appeals or a Court of First Instance. — The Court When Magdalena discovered in January, 1973 that she was pregnant, she and Segundino went to her
of Appeals or a Court of First Instance may suspend an attorney from practice for any of the causes hometown, Ivisan, Capiz, to apprise Magdalena's parents that they were married although they were
named in the last preceding section, and after such suspension such attorney shall not practice his not really so. Segundino convinced Magdalena's father to have the church wedding deferred until after
profession until further action of the Supreme Court in the premises. (Italics supplied) he had passed the bar examinations. He secured his birth certificate preparatory to applying for a
marriage license.
We should add that the crimes of which respondent was convicted also import deceit and violation of
her attorney's oath and the Code of Professional Responsibility under both of which she was bound to Segundino continued sending letters to Magdalena wherein he expressed his love and concern for the
"obey the laws of the land." Conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude might not (as in the instant baby in Magdalena's womb. He reassured her time and again that he would marry her once he
case, violation of B.P. Blg. 22 does not) relate to the exercise of the profession of a lawyer; however, passed the bar examinations. He was not present when Magdalena gave birth to their child on
it certainly relates to and affects the good moral character of a person convicted of such offense. In September 4, 1973 in the Cebu Community Hospital. He went to Cebu in December, 1973 for the
Melendrez v. Decena, 4 this Court stressed that: baptism of his child.

the nature of the office of an attorney at law requires that she shall be a person of good moral Segundino passed the bar examinations. The results were released on April 25, 1975. Several days
character. This qualification is not only a condition precedent to an admission to the practice of law; after his oath-taking, which Magdalena also attended, he stopped corresponding with Magdalena.
its continued possession is also essential for remaining in the practice of law. 5 Fearing that there was something amiss, Magdalena went to Davao in July, 1975 to contact her lover.
Segundino told her that they could not get married for lack of money. She went back to Ivisan.
ACCORDINGLY, the Court Resolved to DENY the Motion to Lift Order of Suspension. Respondent
shall remain suspended from the practice of law until further orders from this Court. A copy of this In December, 1975 she made another trip to Davao but failed to see Segundino who was then in
Resolution shall be forwarded to the Bar Confidant and to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines and Malaybalay, Bukidnon. She followed him there only to be told that their marriage could not take place
spread on the record of respondent. because he had married Erlinda Ang on November 25, 1975. She was broken-hearted when she
returned to Davao.
Segundino followed her there and inflicted physical injuries upon her because she had a confrontation
MAGDALENA T. ARCIGA complainant, with his wife, Erlinda Ang. She reported the assault to the commander of the Padada police station
vs. and secured medical treatment in a hospital (Exh. I and J).
Segundino admits in his answer that he and Magdalena were lovers and that he is the father of the
AQUINO, J.: child Michael. He also admits that he repeatedly promised to marry Magdalena and that he breached
that promise because of Magdalena's shady past. She had allegedly been accused in court of oral
Magdalena T. Arciga in her complaint of February 24, 1976 asked for the disbarment of lawyer defamation and had already an illegitimate child before Michael was born.
Segundino D. Maniwang (admitted to the Bar in 1975 ) on the ground of grossly immoral conduct
because he refused to fulfill his promise of marriage to her. Their illicit relationship resulted in the birth The Solicitor General recommends the dismissal of the case. In his opinion, respondent's cohabitation
on September 4, 1973 of their child, Michael Dino Maniwang. with the complainant and his reneging on his promise of marriage do not warrant his disbarment.
Magdalena and Segundino got acquainted sometime in October, 1970 at Cebu City. Magdalena was An applicant for admission to the bar should have good moral character. He is required to produce
then a medical technology student in the Cebu Institute of Medicine while Segundino was a law before this Court satisfactory evidence of good moral character and that no charges against him,
student in the San Jose Recoletos College. They became sweethearts but when Magdalena refused involving moral turpitude, have been filed or are pending in any court.
to have a tryst with Segundino in a motel in January, 1971, Segundino stopped visiting her.
If good moral character is a sine qua non for admission to the bar, then the continued possession of
Their paths crossed again during a Valentine's Day party in the following month. They renewed their good moral character is also a requisite for retaining membership in the legal profession. Membership
relationship. After they had dinner one night in March, 1971 and finding themselves alone (like Adam in the bar may be terminated when a lawyer ceases to have good moral character (Royong vs.
and Eve) in her boarding house since the other boarders had gone on vacation, they had sexual Oblena, 117 Phil. 865).
congress. When Segundino asked Magdalena why she had refused his earlier proposal to have
sexual intercourse with him, she jokingly said that she was in love with another man and that she had A lawyer may be disbarred for grossly immoral conduct, or by reason of his conviction of a crime
a child with still another man. Segundino remarked that even if that be the case, he did not mind involving moral turpitude". A member of the bar should have moral integrity in addition to professional
because he loved her very much. probity.
It is difficult to state with precision and to fix an inflexible standard as to what is "grossly immoral money upon his request. After she became pregnant and gave birth to a baby boy, Puno refused to
conduct" or to specify the moral delinquency and obliquity which render a lawyer unworthy of marry her. (Quingwa vs. Puno, Administrative Case No. 389, February 28, 1967, 19 SCRA 439).
continuing as a member of the bar. The rule implies that what appears to be unconventional behavior
to the straight-laced may not be the immoral conduct that warrants disbarment. (6) Where lawyer Anacleto Aspiras, a married man, misrepresenting that he was single and making a
promise of marriage, succeeded in having sexual intercourse with. Josefina Mortel. Aspiras faked a
Immoral conduct has been defined as "that conduct which is willful, flagrant, or shameless, and which marriage between Josefina and his own son Cesar. Aspiras wrote to Josefina: "You are alone in my
shows a moral indifference to the opinion of the good and respectable members of the community" (7 life till the end of my years in this world. I will bring you along with me before the altar of matrimony."
C.J.S. 959). "Through thick and thin, for better or for worse, in life or in death, my Josephine you will always be the
first, middle and the last in my life." (Mortel vs. Aspiras, 100 Phil. 586).
Where an unmarried female dwarf possessing the intellect of a child became pregnant by reason of
intimacy with a married lawyer who was the father of six children, disbarment of the attorney on the (7) Where lawyer Ariston Oblena, who had been having adulterous relations for fifteen years with
ground of immoral conduct was justified (In re Hicks 20 Pac. 2nd 896). Briccia Angeles, a married woman separated from her husband, seduced her eighteen-year-old niece
who became pregnant and begot a child. (Royong vs. Oblena, 117 Phil. 865).
There is an area where a lawyer's conduct may not be inconsonance with the canons of the moral
code but he is not subject to disciplinary action because his misbehavior or deviation from the path of The instant case can easily be differentiated from the foregoing cases. This case is similar to the case
rectitude is not glaringly scandalous. It is in connection with a lawyer's behavior to the opposite sex of Soberano vs. Villanueva, 116 Phil. 1206, where lawyer Eugenio V. Villanueva had sexual relations
where the question of immorality usually arises. Whether a lawyer's sexual congress with a woman with Mercedes H. Soberano before his admission to the bar in 1954. They indulged in frequent sexual
not his wife or without the benefit of marriage should be characterized as "grossly immoral conduct," intercourse. She wrote to him in 1950 and 1951 several letters making reference to their trysts in
will depend on the surrounding circumstances. hotels.
This Court in a decision rendered in 1925, when old-fashioned morality still prevailed, observed that On letter in 1951 contain expressions of such a highly sensual, tantalizing and vulgar nature as to
"the legislator well knows the frailty of the flesh and the ease with which a man, whose sense of render them unquotable and to impart the firm conviction that, because of the close intimacy between
dignity, honor and morality is not well cultivated, falls into temptation when alone with one of the fair the complainant and the respondent, she felt no restraint whatsoever in writing to him with impudicity.
sex toward whom he feels himself attracted. An occasion is so inducive to sin or crime that the saying
"A fair booty makes many a thief" or "An open door may tempt a saint" has become general." (People According to the complainant, two children were born as a consequence of her long intimacy with the
vs. De la Cruz, 48 Phil. 533, 535). respondent. In 1955, she filed a complaint for disbarment against Villanueva.

Disbarment of a lawyer for grossly immoral conduct is illustrated in the following cases: This Court found that respondent's refusal to marry the complainant was not so corrupt nor
unprincipled as to warrant disbarment. (See Montana vs. Ruado, Administrative Case No. 507,
(1) Where lawyer Arturo P. Lopez succeeded in having carnal knowledge of Virginia C. Almirez, under February 24, 1975, 62 SCRA 382; Reyes vs. Wong, Administrative Case No. 547, January 29, 1975,
promise of marriage, which he refused to fulfill, although they had already a marriage license and 63 SCRA 667, Viojan vs. Duran, 114 Phil. 322; Abaigar vs. Paz, Administrative Case No. 997,
despite the birth of a child in consequence of their sexual intercourse; he married another woman and September 10, 1979,93 SCRA 91).
during Virginia's pregnancy, Lopez urged her to take pills to hasten the flow of her menstruation and
he tried to convince her to have an abortion to which she did not agree. (Almirez vs. Lopez, Considering the facts of this case and the aforecited precedents, the complaint for disbarment against
Administrative Case No. 481, February 28, 1969, 27 SCRA 169. See Sarmiento vs. Cui, 100 Phil. the respondent is hereby dismissed.
1102). SO ORDERED.
(2) Where lawyer Francisco Agustin made Anita Cabrera believe that they were married before ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Leoncio V. Aglubat in the City Hall of Manila, and, after such fake marriage, they cohabited and she
later give birth to their child (Cabrera vs. Agustin, 106 Phil. 256). PATRICIA FIGUEROA, complainant,
(3) Where lawyer Jesus B. Toledo abandoned his lawful wife and cohabited with another women who SIMEON BARRANCO, JR., respondent.
had borne him a child (Toledo vs. Toledo, 117 Phil. 768. As to disbarment for contracting a bigamous
marriage, see Villasanta vs. Peralta, 101 Phil. 313). RESOLUTION
(4) The conduct of Abelardo Simbol in making a dupe of Concepcion Bolivar by living on her bounty ROMERO, J.:
and allowing her to spend for his schooling and other personal necessities, while dangling before her
the mirage of a marriage, marrying another girl as soon as he had finished his studies, keeping his In a complaint made way back in 1971, Patricia Figueroa petitioned that respondent Simeon
marriage a secret while continuing to demand money from the complainant, and trying to sponge on Barranco, Jr. be denied admission to the legal profession. Respondent had passed the 1970 bar
her and persuade her to resume their broken relationship after the latter's discovery of his perfidy are examinations on the fourth attempt, after unsuccessful attempts in 1966, 1967 and 1968. Before be
indicative of a character not worthy of a member of the bar (Bolivar vs. Simbol, 123 Phil. 450). could take his oath, however, complainant filed the instant petition averring that respondent and she
had been sweethearts, that a child out of wedlock was born to them and that respondent did not fulfill
(5) Where Flora Quingwa, a public school teacher, who was engaged to lawyer Armando Puno, was his repeated promises to many her.
prevailed upon by him to have sexual congress with him inside a hotel by telling her that it was alright
to have sexual intercourse because, anyway, they were going to get married. She used to give Puno
The facts were manifested in hearings held before Investigator Victor F. Sevilla in June and July 1971. We find the ruling in Arciga v. Maniwang 8 quite relevant because mere intimacy between a man and a
Respondent and complainant were townmates in Janiuay, Iloilo. Since 1953, when they were both in woman, both of whom possess no impediment to marry, voluntarily carried on and devoid of any
their teens, they were steadies. Respondent even acted as escort to complainant when she reigned deceit on the part of respondent, is neither so corrupt nor so unprincipled as to warrant the imposition
as Queen at the 1953 town fiesta. Complainant first acceded to sexual congress with respondent of disciplinary sanction against him, even if as a result of such relationship a child was born out of
sometime in 1960. Their intimacy yielded a son, Rafael Barranco, born on December 11, 1964. 1 It wedlock. 9
was after the child was born, complainant alleged, that respondent first promised he would marry her
after he passes the bar examinations. Their relationship continued and respondent allegedly made Respondent and complainant were sweethearts whose sexual relations were evidently consensual.
more than twenty or thirty promises of marriage. He gave only P10.00 for the child on the latter's We do not find complainant's assertions that she had been forced into sexual intercourse, credible.
birthdays. Her trust in him and their relationship ended in 1971, when she learned that respondent She continued to see and be respondent's girlfriend even after she had given birth to a son in 1964
married another woman. Hence, this petition. and until 1971. All those years of amicable and intimate relations refute her allegations that she was
forced to have sexual congress with him. Complainant was then an adult who voluntarily and actively
Upon complainant's motion, the Court authorized the taking of testimonies of witnesses by deposition pursued their relationship and was not an innocent young girl who could be easily led astray.
in 1972. On February 18, 1974, respondent filed a Manifestation and Motion to Dismiss the case citing Unfortunately, respondent chose to marry and settle permanently with another woman. We cannot
complainant's failure to comment on the motion of Judge Cuello seeking to be relieved from the duty castigate a man for seeking out the partner of his dreams, for marriage is a sacred and perpetual
to take aforesaid testimonies by deposition. Complainant filed her comment required and that she bond which should be entered into because of love, not for any other reason.
remains interested in the resolution of the present case. On June 18, 1974, the Court denied
respondent's motion to dismiss. We cannot help viewing the instant complaint as an act of revenge of a woman scorned, bitter and
unforgiving to the end. It is also intended to make respondent suffer severely and it seems,
On October 2, 1980, the Court once again denied a motion to dismiss on the ground of abandonment perpetually, sacrificing the profession he worked very hard to be admitted into. Even assuming that
filed by respondent on September 17, 1979. 2 Respondent's third motion to dismiss was noted in the his past indiscretions are ignoble, the twenty-six years that respondent has been prevented from
Court's Resolution dated September 15, 1982. 3 In 1988, respondent repeated his request, citing his being a lawyer constitute sufficient punishment therefor. During this time there appears to be no other
election as a member of the Sangguniang Bayan of Janiuay, Iloilo from 1980-1986, his active indiscretion attributed to him. 10 Respondent, who is now sixty-two years of age, should thus be
participation in civic organizations and good standing in the community as well as the length of time allowed, albeit belatedly, to take the lawyer's oath.
this case has been pending as reasons to allow him to take his oath as a lawyer. 4
WHEREFORE, the instant petition is hereby DISMISSED. Respondent Simeon Barranco, Jr. is
On September 29, 1988, the Court resolved to dismiss the complaint for failure of complainant to ALLOWED to take his oath as a lawyer upon payment of the proper fees.
prosecute the case for an unreasonable period of time and to allow Simeon Barranco, Jr. to take the
lawyer's oath upon payment of the required fees. 5 SO ORDERED.

Respondent's hopes were again dashed on November 17, 1988 when the Court, in response to -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
complainant's opposition, resolved to cancel his scheduled oath-taking. On June 1, 1993, the Court JOSE TOLOSA, complainant,
referred the case to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) for investigation, report and vs.
recommendation. ALFREDO CARGO, respondent.
The IBP's report dated May 17, 1997 recommended the dismissal of the case and that respondent be RESOLUTION
allowed to take the lawyer's oath.
We agree.
On 7 April 1982, complainant Jose Tolosa filed with the Court an Affidavit- Complaint dated 7 March
Respondent was prevented from taking the lawyer's oath in 1971 because of the charge of gross 1982 seeking the disbarment of respondent District Citizens' Attorney Alfredo Cargo for immorality.
immorality made by complainant. To recapitulate, respondent bore an illegitimate child with his Complainant claimed that respondent had been seeing his (complainant's) wife Priscilla M. Tolosa in
sweetheart, Patricia Figueroa, who also claims that he did not fulfill his promise to marry her after he his house and elsewhere. Complainant further alleged that in June 1981, his wife left his conjugal
passes the bar examinations. home and went to live with respondent at No. 45 Sisa Street, Barrio Tenejeros, Malabon, Metro
We find that these facts do not constitute gross immorality warranting the permanent exclusion of Manila and that since then has been living with respondent at that address.
respondent from the legal profession. His engaging in premarital sexual relations with complainant Complying with an order of this Court, respondent filed a "Comment and/or Answer" dated 13 May
and promises to marry suggests a doubtful moral character on his part but the same does not 1982 denying the allegations of complainant. Respondent acknowledged that complainant's wife had
constitute grossly immoral conduct. The Court has held that to justify suspension or disbarment the been seeing him but that she bad done so in the course of seeking advice from respondent (in view of
act complained of must not only be immoral, but grossly immoral. "A grossly immoral act is one that is the continuous cruelty and unwarranted marital accusations of affiant [complainant] against her),
so corrupt and false as to constitute a criminal act or so unprincipled or disgraceful as to be much as complainant's mother-in-law had also frequently sought the advice of respondent and of his
reprehensible to a high degree." 6 It is a willful, flagrant, or shameless act which shows a moral wife and mother as to what to do about the" continuous quarrels between affiant and his wife and the
indifference to the opinion of respectable members of the community. 7 beatings and physical injuries (sometimes less serious) that the latter sustained from the former."
(Rollo, p. 8).
Complainant filed a Reply dated 16 June 1982 to respondent's "Comment and/or Answer" and made a) That Priscilla used to see respondent for advice regarding her difficult relationship with
a number of further allegations, to wit: complainant; that Priscilla left complainant because she suffered maltreatment, physical injuries and
public humiliation inflicted or caused by complainant;
(a) That complainant's wife was not the only mistress that respondent had taken;
b) That respondent was not courting Priscilla, nor lived with her at No. 45 Sisa St., Tenejeros,
(b) That respondent had paid for the hospital and medical bills of complainant's wife last May 1981, Malabon, Metro Manila; that the owner of the house where Priscilla lived in Malabon was a friend
and visited her at the hospital everyday; and former client whom respondent visited now and then;
(c) That he had several times pressed his wife to stop seeing respondent but that she had refused c) That respondent only gave P35.00 to Priscilla in the FEU Hospital, as assistance in her medical
to do so; expenses; that he reprimanded complainant for lying on the bed of Priscilla in the hospital which led
(d) That she had acquired new household and electrical appliances where she was living although to their being investigated by the security guards of the hospital;
she had no means of livelihood; and d) That it is not true that he was with Priscilla holding hands with her in Cubao or Sto. Domingo
(e) That respondent was paying for his wife's house rent. Church in 1980;

Respondent filed a Rejoinder on 19 July 1982, denying the further allegations of complainant, and e) That Priscilla bought all the appliances in her apartment at 45 Sisa Street, Tenejeros, Malabon,
stating that he (respondent) had merely given complainant's wife the amount of P35.00 by way of Metro Manila from her earnings;
financial assistance during her confinement in the hospital. f) That it is not true that he ran after complainant and tried to stab him at No. 1 Galas St., Quezon
By a Resolution dated 29 July 1982, the Court referred this case to the Solicitor General for City; that said incident was between Priscilla's brother and complainant;
investigation, report and recommendation. The Solicitor General's office held a number of hearings g) That it is also not true that he is always in 45 Sisa St., Tenejeros, Malabon, Metro Manila and/or
which took place from 21 October 1982 until 1986, at which hearings complainant and respondent he had a quarrel with complainant at 45 Sisa St., Malabon; that the quarrel was between Priscilla's
presented evidence both testimonial and documentary. brother, Edgardo Miclat, and complainant; that respondent went there only to intervene upon
The Solicitor General summed up what complainant sought to establish in the following terms: request of complainant's wife (see tsn, June 21, 1984). (Rollo, pp. 35-37).

1. That respondent had been courting his wife, Priscilla (tsn, May 12, 1982, p. 9). The Solicitor General then submitted the following

2. That he actually saw them together holding hands in l980 in Cubao and Sto. Domingo, Quezon FINDINGS
City (tsn, pp. 13-15, May 12, 1983). 1. That complainant and Priscilla are spouses residing at No.1 Lopez Jaena St., Galas, Quezon
3. That sometime in June, 1982, his wife left their conjugal house at No. 1 Lopez Jaena Street, City.
Galas, Quezon City, to live with respondent at No. 45 Sisa Street, Barrio Tenejeros, Malabon, Metro 2. That respondent's wife was their 'ninang' at their marriage, and they (complainant and Priscilla)
Manila (tsn, pp. 16- 17, May 12, 1983). considered respondent also their 'ninong'.
4. That while Priscilla was staying there, she acquired household appliances which she could not 3. That respondent and complainant are neighbors, their residences being one house away from
afford to buy as she has no source of income (tsn, pp. 10-11, Sept. 10, 1985, Exh. 'M', N' and 'Q'). each other.
5. That when Priscilla was hospitalized in May, 1982, at the FEU Hospital, respondent paid for her 4. That respondent admitted that Priscilla used to see him for advice, because of her differences
expenses and took care of her (tsn, pp. 18-20, June 15, 1983). In fact, an incident between with complainant.
respondent and complainant took place in said hospital (tsn, pp. 5-8, Sept. 20, 1983, Exhibits 'C'
and 'C-l'). 5. That Priscilla, in fact, left their conjugal house and lived at No. 45 Sisa St., Barrio Tenejeros,
Malabon, Metro Manila; that the owner of the house where Priscilla lived in Malabon is a friend and
6. That an incident which was subject of a complaint took place involving respondent and former client of respondent.
complainant at No. 45 Sisa Street, Barrio Tenejeros, Malabon, Metro Manila (tsn, pp. 8- 10, July 29,
1983; Exh. 'B', 'B-l' and 'K'). 6. That Priscilla indeed acquired appliances while she was staying in Malabon.
7. That again in Quezon City, incidents involving respondent and complainant were brought to the 7. That incidents involving respondent and complainant had indeed happened.
attention of the police (Exhibits 'F' and 'G').
8. That Priscilla returned to her mother's house later in 1983 at No. 1 Lopez Jaena St., Galas,
8. That Complainant filed an administrative case for immorality against respondent with the CLAO Quezon City; but complainant was staying two or three houses away in his mother's house.
and that respondent was suspended for one year (Exhibits 'D' and 'E'). (Rollo, pp. 33-35).
9. That complainant filed an administrative case for immorality against respondent in CLAO, where
Respondent's defenses were summarized by the Solicitor General in the following manner: respondent was found guilty and suspended for one year. (Rollo, pp. 37-39).
In effect, the Solicitor General found that complainant's charges of immorality had not been sustained Court required respondent Amante to file an Answer to the complaint, and respondent did so on 25
by sufficient evidence. At the same time, however, the Solicitor General found that the respondent May 1979. A Reply dated 23 September 1980 was filed by complainant.
had not been able to explain satisfactorily the following:
By a Resolution dated 10 November 1980, the Court referred this case to the Office of the Solicitor
1. Respondent's failure to avoid seeing Priscilla, in spite of complainant's suspicion and/or jealousy General for investigation, report and recommendation.
that he was having an affair with his wife.
On 18 June 1981, complainant wrote a letter to this Court requesting an order restraining respondent
2. Priscilla's being able to rent an apartment in Malabon whose owner is admittedly a friend and from leaving the country and an order restraining respondent's employer, the University of the East,
former client of respondent. from disbursing monies that may be due to respondent on account of his retirement from the
University's service. The Court referred this request to the Office of the Solicitor General in a
3. Respondent's failure to avoid going to Malabon to visit his friend, in spite of his differences with Resolution dated 15 July 1981.
The Office of the Solicitor General accordingly held hearings at which the complainant appeared and
4. Respondent's failure to avoid getting involved invarious incidents involving complainant and testified on her own behalf and submitted documentary evidence to support her allegations of
Priscilla's brothers (Exhs. 'B', B-1', 'F', 'G', ['G-1'] and ['I']) misconduct on the part of the respondent Amante. Respondent Amante appeared at these hearings,
5. Respondent's interest in seeing Priscilla in the evening when she was confined in the FEU testified on his own behalf and was cross-examined. Respondent also presented documentary
Hospital, in spite again of his differences with complainant. (Rollo, pp. 39-40). evidence on his behalf, but failed to complete his presentation of evidence despite repeated notices to
do so. Moreover, respondent Amante failed to offer formally his documentary evidence.
Thus, the Solicitor General concluded that respondent had failed "to properly deport himself by
avoiding any possible action or behavior which may be misinterpreted by complainant, thereby The complainant's case was summarized by the Solicitor General in his Report and Recommendation
causing possible trouble in the complainant's family," which behavior was "unbecoming of a lawyer dated 7 February 1990 in the following manner:
and an officer of the court." (Rollo, p. 40). The Solicitor General recommended that respondent Atty. On August 7, 1978, complainant handed to respondent Prudential Bank Check No. 655615 dated
Alfredo Cargo be suspended from the practice of law for three (3) months and be severely August 4, 1978 in the amount of P5,000.00 (Exh. "A") payable to the latter and which, per
reprimanded. agreement between the two of them, was to be invested in respondent's business venture in the
We agree with the Solicitor General that the record does not contain sufficient evidence to show that casino. Complainant was enticed into investing in the business by respondent's proposition that the
respondent had indeed been cohabiting with complainant's wife or was otherwise guilty of acts of business will guarantee her an interest of 10% profit a day. Complainant was further convinced
immorality. For this very reason, we do not believe that the penalty of suspension from the practice of because she knows of her sister's friend who deals in the same business in the casino and who
law may be properly imposed upon respondent. even accepts jewelries from gamblers who have lost heavily. The check was encashed by
respondent as shown by his signature appearing at the back of the check.
At the same time, the Court agrees that respondent should be reprimanded for failure to comply with
the rigorous standards of conduct appropriately required from the members of the Bar and officers of A written receipt (Exh. "B") for the amount of P5,000.00 was signed by respondent on August 7,
the court. As officers of the court, lawyers must not only in fact be of good moral character but must 1978 and which states:
also be seen to be of good moral character and leading lives in accordance with the highest moral Mrs. Shirley Cuyugan Lizaso entrusted the amount of P5,000.00 to Atty. Sergio Amante to be
standards of the community. More specifically, a member of the Bar and officer of the court is not only invested in business with a guarantee of 10% net profit a day starting Aug. 7, 1978, capital to be
required to refrain from adulterous relationships or the keeping of mistresses 1 but must also so returned after two months.
behave himself as to avoid scandalizing the public by creating the belief that he is flouting those moral
standards. Received by: S.M Amante(signed)
ACCORDINGLY, the Court Resolved to REPRIMAND respondent attorney for conduct unbecoming a The complainant originally prepared the check and the receipt on August 4, 1978. She tried to seek
member of the Bar and an officer of the court, and to WARN him that continuation of the same or respondent's signature on the receipt but it was only on August 7, 1978 when she was able to see
similar conduct will be dealt with more severely in the future. respondent and gave to him the P5,000.00 check for which respondent signed the
receipt/promissory note.
Three days after August 7, 1978, complainant tried to see respondent in order to collect the interest
SHIRLEY CUYUGAN LIZASO, complainant, on her investment but respondent failed to give her any. For the many weeks that followed,
vs. complainant even begged respondent to return her money if he could not give the interests but
ATTY. SERGIO AMANTE, respondent respondent merely made promises.
RESOLUTION Afraid that her investment will not be returned, complainant sought the help of the U.E Legal
PER CURIAM:p Department Head, Atty. Pedro Siojo and presented her written complaint dated August 27, 1978
against respondent (Exh. "C"). Atty. Siojo scheduled a confrontation but the respondent failed to
On 27 March 1979, Shirley Cuyugan-Lizaso filed a sworn Complaint for disbarment against come. The second scheduled confrontation likewise resulted in respondent's failure to appear. In
respondent Atty. Sergio G. Amante charging the latter with deceitful and grossly immoral conduct. The view of these, Atty. Siojo informed her that he cannot do anything if respondent refuses to appear.
Because of this, complainant sought the help of Mr. Antonio Ravelo, U.E Faculty President, but the Fourth. The tenacity and resourcefulness with which complainant repeatedly sought help from
latter was not able to help her because respondent denied that he ever owed complainant anything. various school officials, such as the U.E Head of Legal Department, the U.E Faculty President and
the University President himself, in separate written complaints, prior to finally securing legal
Again, complainant sought the help of the University President, Conrado Aquino, by her letter of assistance from a private lawyer, all directed to seeking the return or reimbursement of her
December 11, 1978 (Exh. "D"). Mr. Aquino, however, was of the opinion that this was a personal P5,000.00 investment, are evincive of the credibility and faithfulness to the truth of complainant's
agreement best left between the two of them to settle. 1 cause of action against respondent. 2
Respondent Amante presented a different version of the facts, which was substantially as follows. Upon the other hand, the Solicitor General found respondent's version of the facts to be unreal and
Sometime in June 1978, complainant allegedly approached respondent for a loan of P20,000.00 implausible. Moreover, the exhibits submitted by respondent Amante appeared to have been
needed to forestall foreclosure of a mortgage on complainant's house. Respondent Amante allegedly fabricated by respondent. The analysis of respondent's evidence by the Solicitor General follows:
lent P5,000.00 to complainant, which loan fell due a month later. Complainant was allegedly very slow
in repaying the loan. To provide complainant with an incentive for repaying her loan from the 1. Annex "1" — photocopy of a stub in an actual size as short and as small as one inch by three
respondent, the latter dangled the possibility of a second loan for P20,000.00 to complainant, upon inches, dated August 7, 1987, addressed to "Gigi" which is the nickname of respondent and
complainant's repayment of her first loan. Thus, on 7 August 1978, complainant tendered to embodying ten words: "Attached is check No. 655615 as payment of my "utang'" and bearing the
respondent Amante the P5,000.00 check referred to in the complaint. Amante admitted he encashed signature Shirley C. Lizaso. This evidence can only elicit disbelief as being incredible if not
the check, but' argued that he did so to realize the payment of complainant's prior obligation to him. manufactured for the following reasons:
Respondent said he had no real intention of extending a second loan to complainant. This outraged
the complainant and she allegedly then tried to extort money from respondent Amante by harassing Furthermore, the situation raises the question why complainant would give and sign such a note of
him with her false and fabricated complaint. receipt when, in the ordinary course of things as in the case at bar, it should be the respondent who
should sign and give a receipt for the check of P5,000.00, if indeed complainant paid her loan to
The respondent also denied having signed the receipt for P5,000.00 with the wording appearing in respondent.
Exhibit "B" of the Complaint. At the same time, to substantiate his own version of the evidence,
respondent offered in evidence Exhibits "1" and "2" being a copy of a receipt for P5,000.00 allegedly d) Finally, the stub receipt had never been presented by respondent in any of the
given in payment of complainant's loan from respondent, and purportedly signed by complainant. investigations/confrontations set by the U.E. Legal Department Head or the U.E Faculty President.
If there was any truth to the genuineness of the stub receipt claimed by respondent, he should have
After careful examination of the records of this case, we agree with the Solicitor General that immediately presented this in the scheduled confrontations if only to dismiss the complaint outright
complainant has discharged the burden of showing, by clear and convincing evidence, that she had or the malicious rumor he claimed complainant was spreading within the university. Instead, the
delivered P5,000.00 to respondent Amante for investment purposes and that respondent not only stub receipt suddenly surfaced only during the investigation of this disbarment case.
failed to deliver the promised return on the investment but also the principal thereof, despite repeated
demands therefor. The reasoning and conclusions of fact of the Solicitor General follow: 2. Annex "2", subsequently marked as Exh. "1", is the alleged receipt dated August 4, 1978
embodying the following words:
First. Most persuasive in lending credence to this is the fact that the check, at the time of
encashment by respondent, already contained the words "capital investment" at the back thereof. Received from Shirley C. Lizaso Check No. 655615C (P5,000.00) in payment of her loan.
The bank's microfilm copy of the reverse side of the check confirms it. This amply and clearly [Unusually long vacant space between the above words and signature below]
substantiate the material fact that at the time the check was received by respondent and presented
by him to the bank, the agreement between him and complainant was to invest the amount in Sergio G. Amante(signed)
respondent's business venture. It totally negates respondent's claim that the check was in payment
of a previous loan given by him to complainant. Exh. "1" is fully handwritten. According to respondent, Exh. "1" and Exh. "B" are one and the same
and that in view of the long and big vacant space between the handwritten words and his signature,
Second. The receipt/promissory note (Exh. "B") dated August 7, 1978 clearly expresses the terms he claimed that complainant inserted the words in Exh. "B" embodying the agreement that the
of their oral agreement that the amount of P5,000.00 was entrusted to respondent to be invested by P5,000.00 was received by respondent as her capital to be invested in respondent's business
him in his business venture, that said amount has a guarantee of 10% profit per day starting August venture with a guarantee of 10% net profit a day starting August 7, 1978 and the same to be
7, 1978, and that the capital of P5,000.00 shall be returned to complainant after two months from returned two months thereafter; and that complainant allegedly cut off all the wordings of Exh. "1"
date thereof. Said receipt unquestionably bears the signature of respondent. To all these terms, that what remained is the receipt promissory note or Exh. "B" of the complainant and the same
respondent affixed his signature. signature of respondent.
Third. After complainant had repeatedly demanded the return of her P5,000.00 capital investment Moreover, it taxes credulity on why respondent in Exh. "1" would affix his signature so far away
which respondent failed to do, the latter wrote a note dated November 7, 1978 addressed to a below from the handwritten words, leaving a big void or vacant space in between which any
certain Mr. Resty Noriega (Exh. "H") authorizing complainant to collect in his (respondent's) behalf ordinary layman knows may be used to another's advantage and manipulated to the prejudice of
his fee from Mr. Noriega. Complainant presented this note to Mr. Noriega who informed her that the the signatory, even more so that respondent is a lawyer.
note is not clear enough to entrust complainant with payment of respondent's fee. Mr. Noriega then
returned the note to her with the advice that she should secure a letter from respondent to specify Furthermore, a comparison of the edge of the cut top portion of Exh. "B" with the last handwritten
the amount to be collected by complainant. Respondent's note does not show an admission of his line in Exh. "1" which consisted of only one word "loan" would readily show that the handwritten
obligation to return or reimburse complainant's money. loops appearing on the edge of the cut portion of the top of Exh. "B" do not, at all, correspond to the
last line of Exh. "1", which does not contain any tail loops at all. In other words, the last line of . . . [A]s a general rule, a court will not assume jurisdiction to discipline one of its officers for
respondent's Exh. "1" containing the handwritten word "loan" does not have any tail loops that misconduct alleged to have been committed in his private capacity. But this is a general rule with
would correspond with those appearing on the edge of the top cut portion of complainant's Exh. "B", many exceptions. The courts sometimes stress the point that the attorney has shown, through
if it were true that the paper showing Exh. "B" is a physical continuation of Exh. "1" as respondent misconduct outside of his professional dealings, a want of such professional honesty as render him
would want the undersigned Hearing Officer to believe. Immediately clear, therefore, is the unworthy of public confidence, and an unfit and unsafe person to manage the legal business of
conclusion that Exh. "1" and "B" are not the same and are far different from each other. others. The reason why such a distinction can be drawn is because it is the court which admits an
attorney to the bar, and the court requires for such admission the possession of a good moral
Lastly, Exh. "1", just like Annex "1" (stub receipt), had never been presented by respondent in any character. 5
of the confrontations set by the university officials between complainant and respondent, but was
only presented during the investigation at bar. The nature of the office, the trust relation which exists between attorney and client,, as well as
between court and attorney, and the statutory rule prescribing the qualifications of attorneys,
3. Respondent's claim that he enticed complainant to pay him the alleged P5,000.00 loan he earlier uniformly require that an attorney shall be a person of a good moral character. If that qualification is
gave to her, by promising to give her P20,000.00 if she pays the P5,000.00 loan, is quite hollow and a condition precedent to a license or privilege to enter upon the practice of the law, it would seem to
very unlikely. Any person, the complainant no less, who knows that she will be given a P20,000.00 be equally essential during the continuance of the practice and the exercise of the privilege. So it is
loan would very unlikely pay a previous loan of P5,000.00 but would merely partially offset said held that an attorney will be removed not only for malpractice and dishonesty in his profession, but
amount and received instead the balance of P15,000.00. also for gross misconduct not connected with his professional duties, which shows him to be unfit
Moreover, it must be remembered that complainant secured from the Prudential Bank a loan of for the office and unworthy of the privileges which his license and the law confer upon him. 6
P5,000.00 on August 4, 1978 in order to invest it on respondent's business venture. To follow (Emphasis supplied)
respondent's twisted reasoning, it evokes wonder why complainant would secure a P5,000.00 loan The rationale of the rule that misconduct, indicative of moral unfitness, whether relating to
from the bank just to pay a P5,000.00 loan to respondent who promised to give her, anyway, a professional or non-professional matters, justifies suspension or disbarment, was expressed by Mr.
P20,000.00 loan. If complainant really needed the balance of P15,000.00, she could have very well Chief Justice Prentice in In Re Disbarment of Peck, 7 with eloquence and restraint:
secured the same from the bank and not from the respondent. In other words, there was no
necessity for complainant to obtain a subsequent loan from respondent because she could, just as As important as it is that an attorney be competent to deal with the oftentimes intricate matters
well, get the same loan from the bank as she was able to. which may be entrusted to him, it is infinitely more so that he be upright and trustworthy.
Unfortunately, it is not easy to limit membership in the profession to those who satisfy the standard
5. For a lawyer, as the respondent is, it appears strange that he has not required complainant to test of fitness. But scant progress in that direction can be hoped for if, in the determination of the
sign any receipt for the P5,000.00 loan he allegedly gave her "sometime in June, 1978." If qualification of professional fitness, non-professional dishonor and dishonesty in whatsoever path of
complainant, who is not a lawyer, was able to make him sign a receipt for P5,000.00 she gave him, life is to be ignored. Professional honesty and honor are not to be expected as the accompaniment
respondent, with all his legal expertise, would be doubly expected to protect his loan by a similar of dishonesty and dishonor in other relations. So it is that we, in common with other courts, hold, as
receipt. And yet, respondent was not able to, as there was actually none to secure. 3 did Lord Mansfield more than a century ago, that misconduct, indicative of moral unfitness for the
Thus, it appears to the Court that respondent failed to return and account for complainant's money profession, whether it be professional or non-professional, justifies dismission as well as exclusion
notwithstanding repeated demands of complainant for such return and accounting. It also appears from the bar. 8 (Emphasis supplied)
that when finally brought before the Office of the Solicitor General in the disbarment proceedings, The rule in this jurisdiction was stated by Mr. Justice Malcolm in Piatt v. Abordo 9 in the following
respondent tried to controvert complainant's charges by using in evidence documents that appear to terms: that an attorney may be removed or otherwise disciplined "not only for malpractice and
be falsified and which try to make it appear that complainant had delivered the P5,000.00 to dishonesty in his profession, but also for gross misconduct not connected with his professional duties,
respondent in payment of a prior loan from the latter. which showed him to be unfit for the office and unworthy of the privileges which his license and the
It is true, of course, that there was no attorney-client relationship between respondent Amante and law confer to him." Mr. Justice Malcolm went on to say:
complainant Cuyugan-Lizaso. The transaction that complainant entered into with respondent did not The courts are not curators of the morals of the bar. At the same time the profession is not
require respondent to perform professional legal services for complainant nor did that transaction compelled to harbor all persons whatever their character, who are fortunate enough to keep out of
relate to the rendition of professional services by respondent to any other person. prison. As good character is an essential qualification for admission of an attorney to practice, when
As early as 1923, however, the Court laid down in In Re Vicente Pelaez 4 the principle that it can the attoney's character is bad in such respects as to show that he is unsafe and unfit to be
exercise its power to discipline lawyers for causes which do not involve the relationship of an attorney entrusted with the powers of an attorney, the courts retain the power to discipline him. 10
and client. In that case, the respondent Vicente Pelaez, a member of the Bar, was appointed guardian Finally, we should refer to Rule 191 set out in Chapter I entitled "The Lawyer and Society" of the
of a minor child. As such guardian, he came into possession of certain property, including some "Code of Professional Responsibility" which requires that "a lawyer shall not engage in unlawful
shares of stock in certain corporations. Pelaez, while still guardian of the minor, borrowed money from dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct." We emphasize here that "conduct," as used in this rule, is
the Philippine National Bank and to guarantee that personal loan, Pelaez, without the knowledge or not limited to conduct exhibited in connection with the performance of professional duties.
consent of the guardianship court, pledged the shares of stock belonging to the minor. In disciplining
the respondent, Mr. Justice Malcolm said: In the case at bar, it is clear to the Court that the conduct of respondent Amante in failing to account
for and return the P5,000.00 delivered to him for investment purposes by complainant, constituted
dishonest and immoral conduct. We are compelled to conclude that respondent attorney converted
complainant's monies to his personal uses. This dishonest conduct was compounded by the efforts of was assigned to the Office of Solicitor Jesus G. Bersamira. After the investigation conducted by said
respondent attorney to deny and dissimulate the transaction that he had entered into with Solicitor, wherein respondent failed to appear despite due notice, the case was deemed submitted for
complainant. As far as the records of this case show, respondent has not to date returned report and recommendation. Solicitor Bersamira, however, was appointed to the Bench and no report
complainant's monies. nor recommendation was made by him. On November 8, 1984 the case was re-assigned to another
WHEREFORE, respondent Atty. Sergio G. Amante is hereby SUSPENDED INDEFINITELY from the
practice of law. Copies of this Resolution shall be furnished to all courts of the land. Copies shall also On March 12, 1990, the Solicitor General rendered its report, the dispositive portion of which reads:
be finished to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines and to the Office of the Bar Confidant and spread
on the personal record of respondent attorney. WHEREFORE, it is respectfully recommended that Atty. Prudencio S. Saludares be charged with
violation of Section 27, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court of the Philippines and his Lawyer's Oath and
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- that he be suspended for 1 year from the practice of law.
LUIS G. CONSTANTINO, complainant, Attached is a copy of the complaint for suspension.
ATTY. PRUDENCIO G. SALUDARES, respondent. (Solicitor General's Report and Recommendation, p. 3)

RESOLUTION The Solicitor General found that respondent's unjustified refusal to settle his debt was apparent from
the averments in the affidavit-complaint and this fact was sufficiently established during the
BIDIN, J.: proceedings before the investigating Solicitor. The Solicitor General further add that respondent's
refusal to pay the debt constitutes a violation of his lawyer's oath under Section 27 of Rule 138 of the
In an Affidavit-Complaint dated April 21, 1978, complainant Luis G. Constantino charges respondent Rules of Court, and is therefore a proper subject for disciplinary action.
Atty. Prudencio S. Saludares with conduct unbecoming of a lawyer for the non-payment of a loan
which the latter obtained from complainant's son Luis Constantino, Jr. There is no doubt that respondent, borrowed P1,000.00 from Luis Constantino, Jr. purportedly for an
urgent personal need, promising to pay it back the following day. As a matter of fact, the respondent
It appears that sometime in August 1977, respondent borrowed money in the amount of P1,000.00 admits said indebtness but has not given any just and valid reason for his refusal to pay this debt.
from complainant's son Luis, Jr. Respondent procured the loan purportedly for an urgent personal
obligation promising to pay it back promptly the following day. It has been held that when a lawyer's integrity is challenged by evidence, it is not enough that he
denies the charges against him, he must meet the issues and overcome the evidence for the relator
Respondent failed to comply with his promise. Subsequent demands for payment were then made by and show proof that he still maintains the highest degree of morality and integrity which is at all times
Luis, Jr. but to no avail. expected of him (Quingwa vs. Puno, 19 SCRA 439 [1967] ).
In the interim, Luis, Jr. left the country and afterwards wrote his father, authorizing the latter to collect By his failure to present convincing evidence to justify his non-payment of the debt, not to mention his
the sum of money owed by respondent. seeming indifference to the complaint brought against him made apparent by his unreasonable
Despite complainant's repeated demands however, respondent persistently refused to pay back the absence from the proceedings before the Solicitor General, respondent failed to demonstrate that he
said amount, prompting the former to seek assistance from the Civil Relations Office of the Armed still possessed the integrity and morality demanded of a member of the Bar.
Forces of the Philippines (AFP) through an affidavit-complaint. The Civil Relations Office in turn
endorsed the affidavit-complaint to this Court on April 24, 1978. (Rollo, p. 4). Granting arguendo that he failed to meet Luis, Jr. at the appointed place of payment, respondent does
not deny the fact that he has refused and still refuses to repay the P1,000.00 loan despite repeated
The complaint alleges that respondent lawyer, by abusing the trust and confidence of complainant's demands by complainant who was duly authorized to collect the same. Had respondent intended to
son, was able to obtain a loan in the amount of P1,000.00 which he unjustifiably refused and still settle his indebtness, he could have done so in several instances repayment was demanded of him.
refuses to pay despite repeated demands. This act, complainant alleges, constitutes conduct
unbecoming an officer of the court and is a clear violation of respondent's oath of office. It is clear from the records that after Luis, Jr. left the country, complainant and his wife took turns in
trying to recover the debt from respondent, only to be repeatedly turned away empty-handed. This
In compliance with this Court's resolution dated May, 25, 1979, respondent filed his comment on the prompted Luis, Jr. to write respondent a letter dated February 3, 1978 reminding the latter of the
affidavit-complaint alleging among other things that the complaint was without basis and malicious in P1,000.00 loan extended to him and at the same time demanding payment thereof. (Rollo, p. 19) This
nature. He however, categorically admits having borrowed money from complainant's son, Luis, Jr. He however, like the other demands, was left unheeded.
reasons out that he was unable to repay the loan because Luis, Jr. failed to appear at the appointed
place of the payment. Respondent further cites the fact of Luis Jr.'s absence from the country to justify The foregoing factual antecedents compel Us to conclude that from the very beginning, respondent
such act of non-payment. had no intention to honor and/or pay his just debt. We cannot simply close our eyes to the
unwarranted obstinacy displayed by respondent in evading payment of a debt validly incurred. Such a
Complainant, in his reply, challenged the veracity of respondent's contentions and reiterated his conduct, to say the least, is unbecoming and does not speak well of a member of the Bar. A lawyer's
previous allegation of respondent's unjustified refusal to settle his indebtness despite repeated professional and personal conduct must at all times be kept beyond reproach and above suspicion.
demands. He must perform his duties to the Bar, to the courts, to his clients, and to society with honor and
On October 15, 1979, the case was duly referred to the Office of the Solicitor General for dignity (Marcelo vs. Javier, 214 SCRA 1 [1992] ).
investigation, report and recommendation pursuant to Section 3 of Rule 139 of the Rules of Court and
The facts and evidence obtaining in this case indubitably establish respondent's failure to live up to his certain Ong Ting, now deceased, and the private respondent Lo Bu. The lack of competence of
duties as a lawyer in consonance with the strictures of the lawyer's oath, the Code of Professional respondent Court of Appeals to proceed further is thus rather obvious. It is about time that there be an
Responsibility and the Canons of Professional Ethics, thereby degrading not only his person but his effective vindication of the rights of petitioner labor union, so long set at naught and disregarded, by
profession as well. the employment of techniques, which certainly deserve no encouragement, much less approval.
There was a grave infirmity then in the Court of Appeals having dismissed the appeal, reinstating it in
Rule 1.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility clearly provides that a lawyer must not engage in its resolution of December 19, 1974. Certiorari and prohibition lie.chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
unlawful, immoral or deceitful conduct. A member of the Bar must act with integrity, honesty and chanrobles virtual law library
professional decorum. He must comport himself in a manner which will secure and preserve respect
and confidence of the public. Both his professional and personal conduct must be kept beyond The facts show that on January 16, 1973, petitioner Cosmos Foundry Shop Workers Union was able
reproach and above suspicion. He is required not only in fact to be possessed of good moral to obtain from the Court of Industrial Relations the third alias writ of execution for the satisfaction and
character, but must also be perceived to be leading a life in accordance with the highest moral enforcement of the judgment in its favor. 1 Thereafter, Deputy Sheriff Mario Abiog of Manila, who was
standards of the community. His conduct should be characterized by candor, competence and especially deputized to serve the writ, did so on January 17 and 18, 1973 levying on the personal
fairness (Roque vs. Clemencio, 212 SCRA 618 [1992] ). properties of the Cosmos Foundry Shop or the New Century Foundry Shop for the purpose of
conducting the public auction sale. 2 It was then that respondent Lo Bu filed an urgent motion to recall
It bears stressing that a lawyer can do honor to the legal profession by faithfully performing his duties writ of execution, asserting lack of jurisdiction of the Court of Industrial Relations, a point stressed in
to society, to the bar, to the courts and to his clients. No moral qualification for bar membership is another motion dated February 2, 1973, on the further ground that petitioner Cosmos Foundry Shop
more important that truthfulness and candor. (Fellner vs. Bar Association of Baltimore City, 131 A. 2d Workers Union failed to put up an indemnity bond. The Court of Industrial Relations in its order dated
729 as cited in Tan vs. Sabandal, 206 SCRA 473 [1992]). To this end nothing should be done by any February 23, 1973 denied his motions. So likewise was the motion for reconsideration, as shown in its
member of the legal fraternity which might tend to lessen in any degree the confidence of the public in order dated March 23, 1973. Private respondent appealed by certiorari such order to this Court. It was
the fidelity, honesty and integrity of the profession (Lyons vs. Hall [LQ App] 90 so2d 519, 60 ALR 2d docketed as G.R. No. L-36636. 3 This Court, in its resolution dated July 17, 1973, denied the petition
1003 as cited in Marcelo vs. Javier, supra). for certiorari of private respondent. 4 In the meanwhile, there was a replevin suit by private respondent
While it is true that there was no attorney-client relationship between respondent and complainant, it in the Court of First Instance of Manila covering the same properties. Upon receipt of the order from
is well-settled that an attorney may be removed or otherwise disciplined not only for malpractice and this Court denying certiorari, petitioner labor union filed a second motion to dismiss the complaint. It
dishonesty in the profession, but also for gross misconduct not connected with his professional duties, was therein alleged that private respondent has no cause of action, he being a fictitious buyer based
showing him to be unfit for the office and unworthy of the privileges which his license and the law on the findings of the Court of Industrial Relations in its order dated June 22, 1970 and affirmed by the
confer upon him (Lizaso vs. Amante, 198 SCRA 1 [1991] ). Supreme Court in its resolution dated July 17, 1973. The lower court dismissed the complaint. 5 That is
the decision elevated to the Court of Appeals, and it is precisely because of its obvious character as a
In the case at bar, it is clear to the Court that the conduct of respondent Saludares in failing to honor further delaying tactic that this petition is filed.chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library
his just debt to complainant's son constituted dishonest and immoral conduct. This dishonest conduct
was compounded by respondent's act of interjecting paltry excuses for his unwarranted refusal to pay Petitioner labor union has made out a case for certiorari and prohibition.chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
a valid and just debt. chanrobles virtual law library

WHEREFORE, the Court hereby ORDERS the Suspension of Attorney Prudencio S. Saludares from 1. The order of the Court of Industrial Relations in the unfair labor practice case dated June 27, 1970 6
the practice of law for a period of three (3) months from notice, with the warning that a repetition of the for the satisfaction and enforcement of which the third alias writ of execution was issued in favor of
same or any other misconduct will be dealt with more severely. Let a copy of this resolution be spread petitioner labor union starts with the following: "This concerns complainant's motion for the issuance of
on the records of said respondent, with copies thereof furnished to the Integrated Bar of the an alias writ of execution, dated March 12, 1970, "allowing the Sheriff to serve the Writ and returnable
Philippines and duly circularized to all courts. within 60 days and the said writ should be directed to Cosmos Foundry Shop or New Foundry Shop
which is the firm name use(d) by the respondent in lieu of the Cosmos Foundry Shop ... The original
SO ORDERED. writ of execution had been returned wholly unsatisfied as respondents had no visible properties found
in their names, and the foundry shop where Mrs. Ong Ting and her family reside at Maisan,
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Valenzuela, Bulacan, is the "New Century Foundry Shop" (return of the Deputy Provincial Sheriff of
Bulacan, dated March 11, 1970). Consequently, in its Order of March 19, 1970, the Court directed the
examination of Mrs. Ong Ting and the Cosmos Foundry Shop concerning the latter's and Ong Ting's
BU and COURT OF APPEALS, Respondents.
property and income. Extensive hearings were conducted." 7 chanrobles virtual law library
Then comes this relevant portion: "From the evidence and the records, the Court finds that after the
The jurisdiction of respondent Court of Appeals is assailed in this certiorari and prohibition Cosmos Foundry Shop was burned, Ong Ting established the New Century Foundry Shop. He and
proceeding. It is taken to task for entertaining an appeal from the Court of First Instance on a replevin his family resided in the premises of the shop at 118 Maisan Road, Valenzuela, Bulacan. After his
suit which was correctly dismissed as it had all the earmarks of a subterfuge that was resorted to for proposals to settle the present case for P5,000.00 in September 1968, for P25,000.00 in October
the purpose of frustrating the execution of a judgment in an unfair labor practice controversy, one 1968, and for P40,000.00 on December 22, 1968, were successively rejected by complainant's
moreover already passed upon and sustained by this Court. Petitioner Cosmos Foundry Shop counsel, Ong Ting, after hinting of taking measures to avoid liability, soon executed a deed of
Workers Union is the prevailing party in that labor dispute which unfortunately had dragged on since absolute sale on December 31, 1968, selling all his business, including equipment, machineries,
1961, all its efforts to obtain what was due it being rendered illusory through the machinations of a improvements, materials, supplies and rights, in the New Century Foundry Shop, to his compadre Lo
Bu, for P20,000.00, which he acknowledged so fully paid ... The deed does not bear the conformity of review or reversal in any court." What is more, in 1967, there is a reaffirmation of the doctrine by this
Mrs. Ong Ting. On January 7, 1969, when Lo Bu applied for the original registration of the firm name, Tribunal in People v. Olarte where it was stressed by Justice J.B.L. Reyes that a ruling constituting
he gave his name as the manager and the capital of the business as P30,000.00 ... Notwithstanding the law of the case, "even if erroneous, ... may no longer be disturbed or modified since it has become
such sale to Lo Bu, Ong Ting filed a verified urgent motion to reopen the case on January 25, 1969, final ... " Then, in Sanchez v. Court of Industrial Relations, promulgated in 1969, there is the
and a verified motion for reconsideration of the Decision on May 12, 1969. In the latter motion, it was pronouncement that the law of the case 'does not apply solely to what is embodied in [this Court's]
alleged that as a result of the fire, "Ong Ting lost everything; we cannot squeeze blood out of decision but likewise to its implementation carried out in fealty to what has been ... decreed.'" 13
nothing ... " This allegation was made despite the recent alleged sale to Lo Bu, from which he realized
P20,000.00." 8 The absence of good faith on the part of respondent Lo Bu as the alleged vendee was 3. Private respondent, in his special and affirmative defenses, alleged that petitioners have a plain
made clear thus: "There was no actual turn over of the business to Lo Bu, the alleged manager in and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law being the appellees in the pending case in the
absentia. At the time Ong Ting died, he was still residing in the premises of the shop ... His family Court of Appeals sought to be dismissed in this suit for certiorari. As a general rule, such a plea could
continued to reside therein without paying any rental to Lo Bu. His young 19-year-old son Delfin Ong be looked upon with sympathy. That is the ordinary course of judicial procedure. There would be no
became in-charge of the shop and the workers. His daughter Gloria Ong became the cashier. Mrs. basis for legitimate grievance on the part of petitioners. It is not so however in this case. The sad
Ong Ting became the manager and she supervised the work. .. The alleged sale was no doubt plight of petitioner labor union had been previously noted. It is about time that a halt be called to the
intended to circumvent any judgment this Court might render unfavorable to respondents. It is clearly schemes utilized by respondent Lo Bu in his far-from-commendable efforts to defeat labor's just claim.
fictitious. And such a declaration by this Court is well within its jurisdiction because what is being It would be repugnant to the principle of social justice 14 and the mandate of protection to labor 15 if
sought is the enforcement or implementation of its order. Having acquired jurisdiction, the Court may there be further delay in the satisfaction of a judgment that ought to have been enforced years
employ means to carry it into effect (Sec. 6, Rule 135, Rules of Court)." 9 chanrobles virtual law library ago.chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library

That was why in the dispositive portion of the aforesaid order, an alias writ of execution was issued 4. One last point. It was set forth in the Petition 16 that respondent Lo Bu filed an urgent motion with
against the properties held in the name of the New Century Foundry Shop at 118 Maisan Road, the Court of Industrial Relations to recall the writ of execution alleging as one of his grounds lack of
Valenzuela, Bulacan for the satisfaction of the judgment in this unfair labor practice proceeding. As jurisdiction to pass upon the validity of the sale of the New Century Foundry Shop, followed by
noted, there was a replevin suit by the same vendee in bad faith, Lo Bu, which was dismissed by the another motion praying for the return of the levied properties this time asserting that petitioner labor
Court of First Instance of Manila precisely because in the meanwhile the finality of the writ of union failed to put up an indemnity bond and then a third, this time to allow the sheriff to keep the
execution became definitely settled when this Court issued its resolution of July 17, 1973. 10 It denied levied properties at his factory, all of which were denied by the Court en banc in its order of March 23,
the petition for certiorari filed by the private respondent, Lo Bu, for the purpose of annulling the third 1973, assailed in the certiorari proceeding, dismissed by this Court for lack of merit. 17 Counsel
writ of execution issued in accordance with the dispositive portion of the order of the Court of June 22, Yolando F. Busmente in his Answer to this petition, filed on February 20, 1975, had the temerity to
1970.chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library deny such allegations. He simply ignored the fact that as counsel for respondent Lo Bu, petitioner in
L-36636, he did specifically maintain: "On January 26, 1973, in order to vindicate his rights over the
2. To all intents and purposes then, that is the law of the case. What is worse, private respondent Lo levied properties, in an expeditious or less expensive manner, herein appellant voluntarily submitted
Bu certainly cannot plead ignorance, as he himself was the petitioner in the certiorari proceeding himself, as a forced intervenor, to the jurisdiction of respondent CIR, by filing an urgent 'Motion to
before this Court. He failed, and ii was not surprising, for on the facts as found, he was a principal in Recall Writ of Execution,' precisely questioning the jurisdiction of said Court to pass upon the validity
the nefarious scheme to frustrate the award in favor of petitioner labor union. There was thus a ruling and legality of the sale of the 'New Century Foundry Shop' to him, without the latter being made a
as to the bad faith that characterized his pretension of being the alleged vendee. In Cruz v. Philippine party to the case, as well as the jurisdiction of said Court to enforce the Decision rendered against the
Association of Free Labor Unions 11 it was shown that to avoid the legal consequences of an unfair respondents in Case No. 3021-ULP, by means of an alias writ of execution against his properties
labor practice, there was a fictitious sale resorted to, as in this case. Under the circumstances, the found at the 'New Century Foundry Shop;' ... ; Petitioner appellant's urgent motion aforesaid was set
bad faith being evident, the ostensible vendee was precluded from taking advantage of the situation. for hearing on February 5, 1973, and inasmuch as the auction sale of his properties was set for
So it must be here. Moreover, that is merely, as stated earlier, to accord deference to the fundamental January 31, 1973, the CIR issued an order on January 30, 1973, one day before the schedule sale,
principle of the law of the case, his petition for certiorari having been dismissed by this Court. There is ordering the Sheriff of Manila not to proceed with the auction sale; ... ; On February 3, 1973, herein
this excerpt from the recent decision of Mangayao v. De Guzman: 12 "The latest case in point as of the petitioner-appellant [Lo Bu] filed another urgent motion dated February 2, 1973, praying for the return
time the order complained of was issued is Kabigting v. Acting Director of Prisons, a 1962 decision. of his properties on the ground that the judgment creditor (respondent-appellee) failed to put up an
As emphasized by the ponente, the then Justice, now Chief Justice, Makalintal: 'It need not be stated indemnity bond, pursuant to the provision of Section 17, Rule 39 of the Rules of Court; ... On February
that the Supreme Court, being the court of last resort, is the final arbiter of all legal questions properly 10, 1973 respondent-appellee Cosmos Foundry Workers Union interposed its opposition to herein
brought before it and that its decision in any give case constitutes the law of that particular case. Once petitioner-appellant's urgent motions dated January 26, 1973 and February 2, 1973, ... ; On February
its judgment becomes final it is binding on all inferior courts, and hence beyond their power and 27, 1973, herein petitioner-appellant received an order from respondent CIR, dated February 25,
authority to alter or modify. If petitioner had any ground to believe that the decision of this Court in 1973, denying his urgent motions and ordering the Sheriff of Manila to proceed with the auction sale
Special Proceeding No. 12276 should further be reviewed his remedy was to ask for a reconsideration of his properties "in accordance with law;" ... " 18 Such conduct on the part of counsel is far from
thereof. In fact he did file two motions for that purpose, both of which were denied. A new petition commendable. He could, of course, be casuistic and take refuge in the fact that the paragraph of the
before an inferior court on the same grounds was unjustified. As much, indeed, was clearly indicated petition, which he denied, was, in addition to being rather poorly and awkwardly worded, also prolix,
by this Court in its resolution of April 3, 1959, herein above reproduced in its entirety. The import of with unnecessary matter being included therein without due regard to logic or coherence or even rules
the resolution is too plain to be misunderstood.' So it has been from 1919, when in Compagnie of grammar. He could add that his denial was to be correlated with his special defenses, where he
Franco-Indochinoise v. Deutsche-Australische Dampschiffs Gesellschaft, this Court, through Justice concentrated on points not previously admitted. That is the most that can be said of his performance,
Street, categorically declared that a decision that has become the law of the case "is not subject to and it is not enough. For even if such be the case, Attorney Busmente had not exculpated himself. He
was of course expected to defend his client's cause with zeal, but not at the disregard of the truth and Mr. Jurado mentioned the resentment of Atty. Drilon's rivals who felt at a disadvantage because Atty.
in defiance of the clear purpose of labor statutes. He ought to remember that his obligation as an Drilon allegedly used PNB helicopters to visit far-flung IBP chapters on the pretext of distributing
officer of the court, no less than the dignity of the profession, requires that he should not act like an Bigay Puso donations, and she had the added advantage of having regional directors and labor
errand-boy at the beck and call of his client, ready and eager to do his every bidding. If he fails to arbiters of the Department of Labor and Employment (who had been granted leaves of absence by
keep that admonition in mind, then he puts into serious question his good standing in the her husband, the Labor Secretary) campaigning for her. Jurado's informants alleged that there was
bar.chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary chanrobles virtual law library rampant vote-buying by some members of the U.P. Sigma Rho Fraternity (Secretary Drilon's
fraternity), as well as by some lawyers of ACCRA (Angara, Concepcion, Cruz, Regala and Abello Law
WHEREFORE, the writ of certiorari is granted and the order of December 19, 1974 of respondent Office) where Mrs. Drilon is employed, and that government positions were promised to others by the
Court of Appeals reinstating the appeal is nullified and set aside. The writ of prohibition is likewise office of the Labor Secretary.
granted, respondent Court of Appeals being perpetually restrained from taking any further action on
such appeal, except that of dismissing it. Triple costs. Mr. Mauricio in his column wrote about the same matters and, in addition, mentioned "talk of
personnel of the Department of Labor, especially conciliators and employers, notably Chinese
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Filipinos, giving aid and comfort to her (Atty. Drilon's) candidacy," the billeting of out-of-town delegates
IN THE MATTER OF THE INQUIRY INTO THE 1989 ELECTIONS OF THE INTEGRATED BAR OF in plush hotels where they were reportedly "wined and dined continuously, womened and subjected to
THE PHILIPPINES. endless haggling over the price of their votes x x x" which allegedly "ranged from Pl5,000 to P20,000,
and, on the day of the election, some twelve to twenty votes which were believed crucial, appreciated
PER CURIAM: to P50,000."

In the election of the national officers of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (hereafter "IBP") held on In his second column, Mr. Mauricio mentioned "how a top official of the judiciary allegedly involved
June 3, 1989 at the Philippine International Convention Center (or PICC), the following were elected himself in IBP politics on election day by closeting himself with campaigners as they plotted their
by the House of Delegates (composed of 120 chapter presidents or their alternates) and proclaimed election strategy in a room of the PICC (the Philippine International Convention Center where the
as officers: convention/election were held) during a recess x x x."

The newly-elected officers were set to take the their oath of office on July 4,1989, before the Supreme Mr. Locsin in his column and editorial substantially re-echoed Mauricio's reports with some
Court en banc. However,disturbed by the widespread reports received by some members of the Court embellishments.
from lawyers who had witnessed or participated in the proceedings and the adverse comments
published in the columns of some newspapers about the intensive electioneering and overspending II. THE COURT'S DECISION TO INVESTIGATE.
by the candidates, led by the main protagonists for the office of president of the association, namely, Responding to the critical reports, the Court, in its en banc resolution dated June 15, 1989, directed
Attorneys Nereo Paculdo, Ramon Nisce, and Violeta C. Drilon, the alleged use of government planes, the outgoing and incoming members of the IBP Board of Governors, the principal officers and
and the officious intervention of certain public officials to influence the voting, all of which were done in Chairman of the House of Delegates to appear before it on Tuesday, June 20, 1989, at 2:00 o'clock
violation of the IBP By-Laws which prohibit such activities. The Supreme Court en banc, exercising its p.m., and there to inform the Court on the veracity of the aforementioned reports and to recommend,
power of supervision over the Integrated Bar, resolved to suspend the oath-taking of the IBP officers- for the consideration of the Court, appropriate approaches to the problem of confirming and
elect and to inquire into the veracity of the reports. strengthening adherence to the fundamental principles of the IBP.
It should be stated at the outset that the election process itself (i.e. the voting and the canvassing of In that resolution the Court "call[ed] to mind that a basic postulate of the Integrated Bar of the
votes on June 3, 1989) which was conducted by the "IBP Comelec," headed by Justice Reynato Puno Philippines (IBP), heavily stressed at the time of its organization and commencement of existence, is
of the Court of Appeals, was unanimously adjudged by the participants and observers to be above that the IBP shall be non-political in character and that there shall be no lobbying nor campaigning in
board. For Justice Puno took it upon himself to device safeguards to prevent tampering with, and the choice of members of the Board of Governors and of the House of Delegates, and of the IBP
marking of, the ballots. officers, national, or regional, or chapter. The fundamental assumption was that officers, delegates
What the Court viewed with considerable concern was the reported electioneering and extravagance and governors would be chosen on the basis of professional merit and willingness and ability to
that characterized the campaign conducted by the three candidates for president of the IBP. serve."

I. MEDIA ACCOUNT OF THE ELECTION CAMPAIGN. The resolution went on to say that the "Court is deeply disturbed to note that in connection with the
election of members of the Board of Governors and of the House of Delegates, there is a widespread
Emil Jurado, in his column "IBP Group Questions Drilon Election" (Manila Standard, Sunday, June 17, belief, based on reports carried by media and transmitted as well by word of mouth, that there was
1989), Luis Mauricio, in two successive columns: "The Invertebrated Bar" (Malaya, June 10, 1989) extensive and intensive campaigning by candidates for IBP positions as well as expenditure of
and "The Disintegrating Bar" (Malaya, June 20, 1989), and Teodoro Locsin Jr. in an article, entitled considerable sums of money by candidates, including vote-buying, direct or indirect."
"Pam-Pam" (The Philippines Free Press, July 8,1989), and the editorial, entitled 'Wrong Forum" of the
Daily Globe (June 8, 1989), were unanimously critical of the "vote-buying and pressure tactics" The venerable retired Supreme Court Justice and IBP President Emeritus, Jose B.L. Reyes, attended
allegedly employed in the campaign by the three principal candidates: Attys. Violeta C. Drilon, Nereo the dialogue, upon invitation of the Court, to give counsel and advice. The meeting between the Court
Paculdo and Ramon Nisce who reportedly "poured heart, soul, money and influence to win over the en banc on the one hand, and the outgoing and in coming IBP officers on the other, was an informal
120 IBP delegates." one. Thereafter, the Court resolved to conduct a formal inquiry to determine whether the prohibited
acts and activities enumerated in the IBP By-Laws were committed before and during the 1989 such statement to be done by persons other than those authorized by the officer presiding at the
elections of IBP's national officers. elections;
The Court en banc formed a committee and designated Senior Associate Justice Andres R. Narvasa, (c) Campaigning for or against any candidate, while holding an elective, judicial, quasi-judicial or
as Chairman, and Associate Justices Teodoro R. Padilla, Emilio A. Gancayco, Abraham F. Sarmiento, prosecutory office in the Government or any political subdivision, agency or instrumentality thereof;
and Carolina C. Griño-Aquino, as members, to conduct the inquiry. The Clerk of Court, Atty. Daniel
Martinez, acted as the committee's Recording Secretary. (d) Formation of tickets, single slates, or combinations of candidates, as well as the advertisement
A total of forty-nine (49) witnesses appeared and testified in response to subpoenas issued by the
Court to shed light on the conduct of the elections. The managers of three five-star hotels the (e) For the purpose of inducing or influencing a member to withhold his vote, or to vote for or
Philippine Plaza, the Hyatt, and the Holiday Inn where the three protagonists (Drilon, Nisce and against a candidate, (1) payment of the dues or other indebtedness of any member; (2) giving of
Paculdo) allegedly set up their respective headquarters and where they billeted their supporters were food, drink, entertainment, transportation or any article of value, or any similar consideration to any
summoned. The officer of the Philippine National Bank and the Air Transport Office were called to person; or (3) making a promise or causing an expenditure to be made, offered or promised to any
enlighten the Court on the charge that an IBP presidential candidate and the members of her slate person."
used PNB planes to ferry them to distant places in their campaign to win the votes of delegates. The Section 12(d) of the By-Laws prescribes sanctions for violations of the above rules:
Philippine Airlines officials were called to testify on the charge that some candidates gave free air
fares to delegates to the convention. Officials of the Labor Department were also called to enable the (d) Any violation of the rules governing elections or commission of any of the prohibited acts and
Court to ascertain the truth of the reports that labor officials openly campaigned or worked for the practices defined in Section 14 prohibited Acts and Practices relative to elections) of the by-laws of
election of Atty. Drilon. the Integrated Bar shall be a ground for the disqualification of a candidate or his removal from office
if elected, without prejudice to the imposition of sanctions upon any erring member pursuant to the
The newspaper columnists, Messrs. Luis Mauricio, Jesus Bigornia and Emil Jurado were subpoenaed By-laws of the Integrated Bar.
to determine the nature of their sources of information relative to the IBP elections. Their stories were
based, they said, on letters, phone calls and personal interviews with persons who claimed to have At the formal investigation which was conducted by the investigating committee, the following
knowledge of the facts, but whom they, invoking the Press Freedom Law, refused to identify. violations were established:
The Committee has since submitted its Report after receiving, and analyzing and assessing evidence (1) Prohibited campaigning and solicitation of votes by the candidates for president, executive vice-
given by such persons as were perceived to have direct and personal knowledge of the relevant facts; president, the officers of candidate the House of Delegates and Board of Governors.
and the Court, after deliberating thereon, has Resolved to accept and adopt the same.
(2) Use of PNB plane in the campaign.
(3) Formation of tickets and single slates.
Article I, Section 4 of the IBP By-Laws emphasizes the "strictly non-political" character of the
Integrated Bar of the Philippines, thus: (4) Giving free transportation to out-of-town delegates and alternates.

"SEC. 4. Non-political Bar. — The Integrated Bar is strictly non-political, and every activity tending (5) Giving free hotel accommodations, food, drinks, entertainment to delegates.
to impair this basic feature is strictly prohibited and shall be penalized accordingly. No lawyer
(6) Campaigning by labor officials for Atty. Violeta Drilon
holding an elective, judicial, quasi-judicial, or prosecutory office in the Government or any political
subdivision or instrumentality thereof shall be eligible for election or appointment to any position in In violation of the prohibition against "campaigning for or against a candidate while holding an
the Integrated Bar or any Chapter thereof. A Delegate, Governor, officer or employee of the elective, judicial, quasi-judicial, or prosecutory office in the Government' (Sec. 14[c], Art. I, IBP By-
Integrated Bar, or an officer or employee of any Chapter thereof shall be considered ipso facto Laws),
resigned from his position as of the moment he files his certificate of candidacy for any elective
public office or accepts appointment to any judicial, quasi-judicial, or prosecutory office in the (7) Paying the dues or other indebtedness of any number (Sec. 14[e], IBP BY-Laws).
Government or any political subdivision or instrumentality thereof. "'
(8) Distribution of materials other than bio-data of not more than one page of legal size sheet of paper
Section 14 of the same By-Laws enumerates the prohibited acts relative to IBP elections: (Sec. 14[a], IBP By-Laws).

SEC. 14. Prohibited acts and practices relative to elections. — The following acts and practices (9) Causing distribution of such statement to be done by persons other than those authorized by the
relative to election are prohibited, whether committed by a candidate for any elective office in the officer presiding at the election (Sec. 14[b], IBP By-Laws).
Integrated Bar or by any other member, directly or indirectly, in any form or manner, by himself or
(10) Inducing or influencing a member to withhold his vote, or to vote for or against a candidate (Sec.
through another person:
14[e], IBP BY-Laws).
(a) Distribution, except on election day, of election campaign material;
Atty. Llosa also revealed that before he left for Manila on May 31, 1989, a businessman, Henry Dy,
(b) Distribution, on election day, of election campaign material other than a statement of the biodata
of a candidate on not more than one page of a legal-size sheet of paper; or causing distribution of
BY THE CANDIDATES The unseemly ardor with which the candidates pursued the presidency of the association detracted
from the dignity of the legal profession. The spectacle of lawyers bribing or being bribed to vote one
Atty. Paculdo admitted having spent some P250,000 during his three weeks of campaigning. Of this way or another, certainly did not uphold the honor of the profession nor elevate it in the public's
amount, the Capitol Bar Association (of which he was the chapter president) contributed about esteem.
P150,000. The Capitol Bar Association is a voluntary bar association composed of Quezon City
lawyers. The Court notes with grave concern what appear to be the evasions, denials and outright
prevarications that tainted the statements of the witnesses, including tome of the candidates, during
He spent about P100,000 to defray the expenses of his trips to the provinces (Bicol provinces, the initial hearing conducted by it before its fact-finding committee was created. The subsequent
Pampanga, Abra, Mountain Province and Bulacan) (t.s.n. June 29,1989, pp. 9-14). investigation conducted by this Committee has revealed that those parties had been less than candid
Atty. Nisce's hotel bills at the Hyatt amounted to P216,127.74. This does not include the expenses for with the Court and seem to have conspired among themselves to deceive it or at least withhold vital
his campaign which began several months before the June 3rd election, and his purchases of airplane information from it to conceal the irregularities committed during the campaign.
tickets for some delegates. CONCLUSIONS.
The records of the Philippine Plaza Hotel, headquarters of Atty. Drilon's camp, showed that her It has been mentioned with no little insistence that the provision in the 1987 Constitution (See. 8, Art.
campaign rang up over P600,000 in hotel bills. Atty. Callanta paid P316,411.53 for the rooms, food, VIII) providing for a Judicial and Bar Council composed of seven (7) members among whom is "a
and beverage consumed by Atty. Drilon's supporters, but still left an unpaid bill of P302,197.30 at representative of the Integrated Bar," tasked to participate in the selection of nominees for
convention's end. appointment to vacant positions in the judiciary, may be the reason why the position of IBP president
FINDINGS. has attracted so much interest among the lawyers. The much coveted "power" erroneously perceived
to be inherent in that office might have caused the corruption of the IBP elections. To impress upon
From all the foregoing, it is evident that the manner in which the principal candidates for the national the participants in that electoral exercise the seriousness of the misconduct which attended it and the
positions in the Integrated Bar conducted their campaign preparatory to the elections on June 3, 1989, stern disapproval with which it is viewed by this Court, and to restore the non-political character of the
violated Section 14 of the IBP By-Laws and made a travesty of the idea of a "strictly non-political" IBP and reduce, if not entirely eliminate, expensive electioneering for the top positions in the
Integrated Bar enshrined in Section 4 of the By-Laws. organization which, as the recently concluded elections revealed, spawned unethical practices which
seriously diminished the stature of the IBP as an association of the practitioners of a noble and
The setting up of campaign headquarters by the three principal candidates (Drilon, Nisce and honored profession, the Court hereby ORDERS:
Paculdo) in five-star hotels: The Philippine Plaza, the Holiday Inn and The Hyatt the better for them to
corral and entertain the delegates billeted therein; the island hopping to solicit the votes of the chapter 1. The IBP elections held on June3,1989 should be as they are hereby annulled.
presidents who comprise the 120-member House of Delegates that elects the national officers and
regional governors; the formation of tickets, slates, or line-ups of candidates for the other elective 2. The provisions of the IBP By-Laws for the direct election by the House of Delegates (approved by
positions aligned with, or supporting, either Drilon, Paculdo or Nisce; the procurement of written this Court in its resolution of July 9, 1985 in Bar Matter No. 287) of the following national officers:
commitments and the distribution of nomination forms to be filled up by the delegates; the reservation (a) the officers of the House of Delegates;
of rooms for delegates in three big hotels, at the expense of the presidential candidates; the use of a
PNB plane by Drilon and some members of her ticket to enable them to "assess their chances" (b) the IBP president; and
among the chapter presidents in the Bicol provinces; the printing and distribution of tickets and bio-
data of the candidates which in the case of Paculdo admittedly cost him some P15,000 to P20,000; (c) the executive vice-president,
the employment of uniformed girls (by Paculdo) and lawyers (by Drilon) to distribute their campaign be repealed, this Court being empowered to amend, modify or repeal the By-Laws of the IBP under
materials on the convention floor on the day of the election; the giving of assistance by the Section 77, Art. XI of said By-Laws.
Undersecretary of Labor to Mrs. Drilon and her group; the use of labor arbiters to meet delegates at
the airport and escort them to the Philippine Plaza Hotel; the giving of pre-paid plane tickets and hotel 3. The former system of having the IBP President and Executive Vice-President elected by the Board
accommodations to delegates (and some families who accompanied them) in exchange for their of Governors (composed of the governors of the nine [91 IBP regions) from among themselves (as
support; the pirating of some candidates by inducing them to "hop" or "flipflop" from one ticket to provided in Sec. 47, Art. VII, Original IBP By-Laws) should be restored. The right of automatic
another for some rumored consideration; all these practices made a political circus of the proceedings succession by the Executive Vice-President to the presidency upon the expiration of their two-year
and tainted the whole election process. term (which was abolished by this Court's resolution dated July 9,1985 in Bar Matter No. 287) should
be as it is hereby restored.
The candidates and many of the participants in that election not only violated the By-Laws of the IBP
but also the ethics of the legal profession which imposes on all lawyers, as a corollary of their 4. At the end of the President's two-year term, the Executive Vice-President shall automatically
obligation to obey and uphold the constitution and the laws, the duty to "promote respect for law and succeed to the office of president. The incoming board of governors shall then elect an Executive
legal processes" and to abstain from 'activities aimed at defiance of the law or at lessening confidence Vice-President from among themselves. The position of Executive Vice-President shall be rotated
in the legal system" (Rule 1.02, Canon 1, Code of Professional Responsibility). Respect for law is among the nine (9) IBP regions. One who has served as president may not run for election as
gravely eroded when lawyers themselves, who are supposed to be millions of the law, engage in Executive Vice-President in a succeeding election until after the rotation of the presidency among the
unlawful practices and cavalierly brush aside the very rules that the IBP formulated for their nine (9) regions shall have been completed; whereupon, the rotation shall begin anew.
5. Section 47 of Article VII is hereby amended to read as follows: SO ORDERED.
Section 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 oficio Vice-
President for their 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.
6. Section 33(b), Art. V, IBP By-Laws, is hereby amended as follows: vs.
(b) The President and Executive Vice President of the IBP shall be the Chairman and Vice- HON. GREGORIO LANTIN, Judge of the Court of First Instance of Manila,
Chairman, respectively, of the House of Delegates. The Secretary, Treasurer, and Sergeant-at- RICARDO P. HERMOSO and the CITY SHERIFF OF MANILA, respondents.
Arms shall be appointed by the President with the consent of the House of Delegates.' CASTRO, J.:
7. Section 33(g) of Article V providing for the positions of Chairman, Vice-Chairman, Secretary- This is a motion for partial reconsideration of this Court's decision of May 22, 1968, specifically
Treasurer and Sergeant-at- Arms of the House of Delegates is hereby repealed directed against the following observation therein made:
8. Section 37, Article VI is hereby amended to read as follows: We feel compelled to observe that during the protracted litigation below, the petitioners resorted to
Section 37. Composition of the Board. — The Integrated Bar of the Philippines shall be governed by a series of actions and petitions, at some stages alternatingly, abetted by their counsel, for the sole
a Board of Governors consisting of nine (9) Governors from the nine (9) regions as delineated in purpose of thwarting the execution of a simple money judgment which has long become final and
Section 3 of the Integration Rule, on the representation basis of one (1) Governor for each region to executory. Some of the actions were filed, only to be abandoned or withdrawn. The petitioners and
be elected by the members of the House of Delegates from that region only. The position of their counsel, far from viewing courts as sanctuaries for those who seek justice, have tried to use
Governor should be rotated among the different Chapters in the region. them to subvert the very ends of justice.

9. Section 39, Article V is hereby amended as follows: Corollarily, this Court assessed treble costs against the petitioners, to "be paid by their counsel.".

Section 39. Nomination and election of the Governors at least one (1) month before the national The herein movants, Attys. Crispin D. Baizas and A. N. Bolinas, counsels for the petitioners, while
convention the delegates from each region shall elect the governor for their region, the choice of submitting to the judgment on the merits, seek reconsideration of the decision in so far as it reflects
which shall as much as possible be rotated among the chapters in the region. adversely upon their "professional conduct" and condemns them to pay the treble costs adjudged
against their clients.
10. Section33(a), Article V hereby is amended by addingthe following provision as part of the first
paragraph: At first blush, the motion for reconsideration presents a semblance of merit. After mature deliberation
and patient reprobing into the records of the case, however, we are of the firmer conviction that the
No convention of the House of Delegates nor of the general membership shall be held prior to any protracted litigation, alluded to in the above-quoted portion of our decision, was designed to cause
election in an election year. delay, and the active participation of the petitioners' counsels in this adventure is patent.
11. Section 39, (a), (b), (1), (2), (3), (4), (5), (6), and (7) of Article VI should be as they are hereby After November 15, 1962 when the Court of Appeals rendered judgment sustaining Damaso Perez'
deleted. position with respect to the extent of the levy, the subsequent proceedings interposed alternatingly by
the petitioner spouses were obviously quixotic maneuvers expected to be overthrown by the courts
All other provisions of the By-Laws including its amendment by the Resolution en banc of this Court of but calculated to delay an execution long overdue.
July 9, 1985 (Bar Matter No. 287) that are inconsistent herewith are hereby repealed or modified.
Had the petitioners and their counsels seriously believed that the levied shares of stock were conjugal
12. Special elections for the Board of Governors shall be held in the nine (9) IBP regions within three property, why did they not adopt this position from the very start, or, at the latest, in CA-G.R. 29962-R,
(3) months, after the promulgation of the Court's resolution in this case. Within thirty (30) days wherein Damaso Perez challenged the legality of the levy's coverage, in order to end the litigation with
thereafter, the Board of Governors shall meet at the IBP Central Office in Manila to elect from among reasonable dispatch? They chose, however, to attack the execution in a piecemeal fashion, causing
themselves the IBP national president and executive vice-president. In these special elections, the the postponement of the projected execution sale six times. More than eight years after the finality of
candidates in the election of the national officers held on June 3,1989, particularly identified in Sub- the judgment have passed, and the same has yet to be satisfied.
Head 3 of this Resolution entitled "Formation of Tickets and Single Slates," as well as those identified
in this Resolution as connected with any of the irregularities attendant upon that election, are ineligible In a determined effort to prolong the litigation, the Perez spouses, as represented by their counsels,
and may not present themselves as candidate for any position. sought the issuance of preliminary injunctions to restrain the execution of the final judgment in civil
case 39407 from courts which did not have jurisdiction and which would, as expected, initially or
13. Pending such special elections, a caretaker board shall be appointed by the Court to administer ultimately deny their prayer. For instance, after Damaso Perez bowed out temporarily from the scene
the affairs of the IBP. The Court makes clear that the dispositions here made are without prejudice to following the rendition of the aforementioned Court of Appeals decision, his wife, Mercedez, Ruth
its adoption in due time of such further and other measures as are warranted in the premises. Cobb-Perez, intruded into the controversy and asked for an ex parte writ of preliminary injunction from
the Court of First Instance of Rizal in connection with civil case 7532 which she filed with the said
court, knowing fully well that the basic civil case 39407 was decided by the Court of First Instance of one remedy had been exhausted, they interposed another until the case reached this Court for the
Manila (Branch VII presided by the respondent Judge Lantin), which latter court was the proper forum second time. 3 Meanwhile, justice was delayed, and more than one member of this Court are
for any action relative to the execution. Judge Eulogio Mencias of the Court of First Instance of Rizal, persuaded that justice was practically waylaid.
looking to Acosta vs. Alvendia (L-14598, October 31, 1960), which held that courts of first instance
have no power to restrain acts outside their territorial jurisdictions, lifted on October 4, 1963 the ex The movants also contend that even this Court sanctions the aforesaid civil cases 7532 and 55292 as
parte writ which he previously issued enjoining the respondent sheriff from carrying out the execution the "proper remedy" when we said that.
sale. It is clear, however, that Mrs. Perez and her counsels, the movants, knew or ought to have In reality, what they attacked is not the writ of execution, the validity and regularity of which are
known beforehand that the Court of First Instance of Rizal did not have jurisdiction to issue the writ unchallenged, but the levy made by the respondent Sheriff. In this regard, the remedy is not the
which Mrs. Perez herself sought, and, anticipating the recall of the writ improvidently issued, on recall of the writ, but an independent action to enjoin the Sheriff from proceeding with the projected
September 3, 1963, a month before the said writ was actually lifted, filed in the basic civil case 39407 sale, in which action the conjugal nature of the levied stocks should be established as a basis for
an urgent motion to lift the writ of execution issued on August 15, 1961, alleging as justification the the subsequent issuance of a permanent injunction, in the event of a successful claim. Incidentally,
conjugal nature of the levied shares of stock and the personal nature of Damaso Perez' judgment in the course of the protracted litigation, the petitioners had already availed of this remedy in civil
debt, the very same reasons advanced in civil case 7532 which was then still pending in the Court of cases 7532 and 55292, only to abandon it as they incessantly sought other, and often
First Instance of Rizal. Incidentally, Mrs. Perez failed to adduce any evidence in support of her simultaneous, devices of thwarting satisfaction of the judgment debt. (Emphasis supplied) .
aforesaid urgent motion, as in fact neither she nor her counsels appeared during the scheduled
hearing, prompting the respondent judge to issue the following order: And because of this statement, they now counter that the said cases could not be branded as having
been instituted for delay.
When the urgent motion to recall or lift writ of execution was called this morning for hearing, counsel
for the movant did not appear despite the fact that he had been duly notified of the motion for The reference we made to civil cases 7532 and 55292 in the above-quoted statement must not be
hearing. In view thereof the court assumes that he is waiving his right to present evidence in considered out of context. We said that the petitioners incidentally had already availed of the
support of his urgent motion to recall or lift writ of execution. Said urgent motion is therefore suggested remedy only in the sense that said civil cases 7532 and 55292 were apparently instituted
deemed submitted for resolution. to prove the conjugal nature of the levied shares of stocks in question. We used the word incidentally
advisedly to show that in their incessant search for devices to thwart the controverted execution, they
Despite the recall of the aforementioned writ of injunction by Judge Mencias on a disclaimer of accidentally stumbled on the suggested remedy. But the said civil cases were definitely not the
jurisdiction (since the execution sought to be enjoined was ordered by another tribunal), Mrs. Perez, "proper remedy" in so far as they sought the issuance of writs of preliminary injunction from the Court
now assisted by her husband who had staged a comeback, prayed for the issuance of another of First Instance of Rizal and the Court of First Instance of Manila (Branch XXII) where civil cases
injunction, this time from Branch XXII of the Court of First Instance of Manila (not the same Branch 7532 and 55292 were filed respectively, for the said courts did not have jurisdiction to restrain the
which issued the controverted writ of execution), in connection with civil case 7532, then still pending enforcement of the writ of execution issued by the Court of First Instance of Manila (Branch VII) under
in the Court of First Instance of Rizal. As most probably anticipated anew by the Perez spouses and the settled doctrines that Courts are without power to restrain acts outside of their territorial jurisdiction
their counsels, Judge Alikpala, presiding judge of Branch XXII, on November 8, 1963 denied the 4 or interfere with the judgment or decree of a court of concurrent or coordinate jurisdiction. 5
preliminary injunction sought, on the ground, among others, that he had no power to interfere by However, the recall and the denial of the writs of preliminary injunction in civil cases 7532 and 55292
injunction with the judgment or decree of a court of concurrent or coordinate jurisdiction. On the very did not amount to the termination or dismissal of the principal action in each case. Had the Perez
day the injunction was denied, Damaso Perez, as if expecting the reversal from Judge Alikpala, was spouses desired in earnest to continue with the said cases they could have done so. But the fact is
already prepared with another "remedy," as in fact on that day, November 8, 1963, he filed in the that Mrs. Perez practically abandoned civil case 7532 when she instituted the above mentioned
basic civil case 39407 an "Urgent Motion for Reconsideration" of the order of October 19, 1963, which urgent motion to recall writ of execution in the basic civil case 39407, anchored on the same grounds
denied his wife's above-mentioned motion to recall the controverted writ of execution. which she advanced in the former case, until the said civil case 7532 was dismissed on November 9,
The foregoing motion, far from seriously seeking the reconsideration of the order of October 19, 1963, 1963, upon her own motion. Anent civil case 55292, the Perez spouses virtually deserted the same
which in the first place Damaso Perez could not legally do for he was not even a party to the denied when they instituted the herein petition for certiorari with urgent writ of preliminary injunction based on
"Urgent Motion to Recall Writ of Execution" (filed by his wife alone), was merely an offer to replace the the same grounds proffered in the said civil case — until the latter was also dismissed on March 20,
levied stocks with supposed cash dividends due to the Perez spouses as stockholders in the Republic 1964, with the consent of the parties because of the pendency then of the aforesaid petition for
Bank.1 As a matter of fact, when the motion was set for hearing on December 21, 1963, the counsels certiorari.
for Damaso Perez promised to produce the said cash dividends within five days, but the promise was The movants further contend that "If there was delay, it was because petitioners' counsel happened to
never fulfilled.2 Consequently, the respondent Judge on January 4, 1964, denied the said motion for be more assertive ... a quality of the lawyers (which) is not to be condemned."
A counsel's assertiveness in espousing with candour and honesty his client's cause must be
The above exposition of the circumstances relative to the protracted litigation clearly negates the encouraged and is to be commended; what we do not and cannot countenance is a lawyer's
avowal of the movants that "in none of the various incidents in the case at bar has any particular insistence despite the patent futility of his client's position, as in the case at bar.
counsel of petitioners acted with deliberate aforethought to delay the enforcement of the judgment in
Civil Case No. 39407." From the chronology of antecedent events, the fact becomes inescapable that It is the duty of a counsel to advise his client, ordinarily a layman to the intricacies and vagaries of the
the Perez spouses, coached by their counsels, had sallied forth on a strategem of "remedies" law, on the merit or lack of merit of his case. If he finds that his client's cause is defenseless, then it is
projected to foil the lawful execution of a simple money judgment. It is equally obvious that they his bounden duty to advise the latter to acquiesce and submit, rather than traverse the
foreshadowed their own reversals in the "remedies" they ventured to adopt, such that even before, incontrovertible. A lawyer must resist the whims and caprices of his client, and temper his client's
propensity to litigate. A lawyer's oath to uphold the cause of justice is superior to his duty to his client; However, on May 2, 1964 Pastor Ago, now joined by his wife, Lourdes Yu Ago, as his co-plaintiff, filed
its primacy is indisputable. a complaint in the Court of First Instance of Quezon City (civil case Q-7986) to annul the sheriff's sale
on the ground that the obligation of Pastor Ago upon which judgment was rendered against him in the
The movants finally state that the "Petitioners have several counsel in this case but the participation of replevin suit was his personal obligation, and that Lourdes Yu Ago's one-half share in their conjugal
each counsel was rather limited implying that the decision of this Court ordering that "treble costs are residential house and lots which were levied upon and sold by the sheriff could not legally be reached
assessed against the petitioners, which shall be paid by their counsel" is not clear. The word for the satisfaction of the judgment. They alleged in their complaint that wife Lourdes was not a party
"counsel" may be either singular or plural in construction, so that when we said "counsel" we meant in the replevin suit, that the judgment was rendered and the writ of execution was issued only against
the counsels on record of the petitioners who were responsible for the inordinate delay in the husband Pastor, and that wife Lourdes was not a party to her husband's venture in the logging
execution of the final judgment in the basic civil case 39407, after the Court of Appeals had rendered business which failed and resulted in the replevin suit and which did not benefit the conjugal
its aforementioned decision of November 15, 1962. And it is on record that the movants are such partnership.
counsels. Atty. Bolinas, upon his own admission, "entered his appearance in the case at bar about the
time the Court of First Instance of Manila dismissed the petitioners' Petition for Relief in Civil Case No. The Court of First Instance of Quezon City issued an ex parte writ of preliminary injunction restraining
39407," or about August 3, 1961 and even prior to the Court of Appeals decision above-mentioned. the petitioners, the Register of Deeds and the sheriff of Quezon City, from registering the latter's final
Atty. Baizas claims that he "became petitioners' counsel only in October, 1963 when he filed, with deed of sale, from cancelling the respondents' certificates of title and issuing new ones to the
Atty. A.N. Bolinao, Jr. Civil Case No. 55292 before the Court of First Instance of Manila presided by petitioners and from carrying out any writ of possession. A situation thus arose where what the Manila
the Hon. Judge Alikpala although it appears on record that the urgent motion to recall writ of execution court had ordered to be done, the Quezon City court countermanded. On November 1, 1965,
filed by Mrs. Perez in the basic civil case 39407 on September 3, 1963, was over the signature of one however, the latter court lifted the preliminary injunction it had previously issued, and the Register of
Ruby Zaida of the law firm of "Crispin Baizas & Associates" as counsel for Mrs. Perez. It is to be deeds of Quezon City cancelled the respondents' certificates of title and issued new ones in favor of
recalled that the said urgent motion is the same motion discussed above, which, curiously enough, the petitioners. But enforcement of the writ of possession was again thwarted as the Quezon City
antedated by at least one month the lifting of the writ of preliminary injunction issued in civil case court again issued a temporary restraining order which it later lifted but then re-restored. On May 3,
7532. 1967 the court finally, and for the third time, lifted the restraining order.
ACCORDINGLY, the motion for partial reconsideration is denied. Our decision of May 22, 1968 is While the battle on the matter of the lifting and restoring of the restraining order was being fought in
hereby modified in the sense that Attys. Crispin D. Baizas and A.N. Bolinao, Jr. shall pay jointly and the Quezon City court, the Agos filed a petition for certiorari and prohibition with this Court under date
severally the treble costs assessed against the petitioners. of May 26, 1966, docketed as L-26116, praying for a writ of preliminary injunction to enjoin the sheriff
from enforcing the writ of possession. This Court found no merit in the petition and dismissed it in a
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- minute resolution on June 3, 1966; reconsideration was denied on July 18, 1966. The respondents
VENANCIO CASTANEDA and NICETAS HENSON, petitioners, then filed on August 2, 1966 a similar petition for certiorari and prohibition with the Court of Appeals
vs. (CA-G.R. 37830-R), praying for the same preliminary injunction. The Court of Appeals also dismissed
PASTOR D. AGO, LOURDES YU AGO and THE COURT OF APPEALS, respondents. the petition. The respondents then appealed to this Court (L-27140).1äwphï1.ñët We dismissed the
petition in a minute resolution on February 8, 1967.
The Ago spouses repaired once more to the Court of Appeals where they filed another petition for
The parties in this case, except Lourdes Yu Ago, have been commuting to this Court for more than a certiorari and prohibition with preliminary injunction (CA-G.R. 39438-R). The said court gave due
decade. course to the petition and granted preliminary injunction. After hearing, it rendered decision, the
dispositive portion of which reads:
In 1955 the petitioners Venancio Castañeda and Nicetas Henson filed a replevin suit against Pastor
Ago in the Court of First Instance of Manila to recover certain machineries (civil case 27251). In 1957 WHEREFORE, writ of preliminary injunction from enforcement of the writ of possession on and
judgment was rendered in favor of the plaintiffs, ordering Ago to return the machineries or pay definite ejectment from the one-half share in the properties involved belonging to Lourdes Yu Ago dated
sums of money. Ago appealed, and on June 30, 1961 this Court, in Ago vs. Castañeda, L-14066, June 15, 1967 is made permanent pending decision on the merits in Civil Case No. Q-7986 and
affirmed the judgment. After remand, the trial court issued on August 25, 1961 a writ of execution for ordering respondent Court to proceed with the trial of Civil Case No. Q-7986 on the merits without
the sum of P172,923.87. Ago moved for a stay of execution but his motion was denied, and levy was unnecessary delay. No pronouncement as to costs.
made on Ago's house and lots located in Quezon City. The sheriff then advertised them for auction
sale on October 25, 1961. Ago moved to stop the auction sale, failing in which he filed a petition for Failing to obtain reconsideration, the petitioners Castañeda and Henson filed the present petition for
certiorari with the Court of Appeals. The appellate court dismissed the petition and Ago appealed. On review of the aforesaid decision.
January 31,1966 this Court, in Ago vs. Court of Appeals, et al., L-19718, affirmed the dismissal. Ago 1. We do not see how the doctrine that a court may not interfere with the orders of a co-equal court
thrice attempted to obtain a writ of preliminary injunction to restrain the sheriff from enforcing the writ can apply in the case at bar. The Court of First Instance of Manila, which issued the writ of
of execution "to save his family house and lot;" his motions were denied, and the sheriff sold the possession, ultimately was not interfered with by its co-equal court, the Court of First Instance of
house and lots on March 9, 1963 to the highest bidders, the petitioners Castañeda and Henson. Ago Quezon City as the latter lifted the restraining order it had previously issued against the enforcement
failed to redeem, and on April 17, 1964 the sheriff executed the final deed of sale in favor of the of the Manila court's writ of possession; it is the Court of Appeals that enjoined, in part, the
vendees Castañeda and Henson. Upon their petition, the Court of First Instance of Manila issued a enforcement of the writ.
writ of possession to the properties.
2. Invoking Comilang vs. Buendia, et al., 1 where the wife was a party in one case and the husband writ of possession Pastor could be ousted from the house, but the decision under review would
was a party in another case and a levy on their conjugal properties was upheld, the petitioners would prevent the ejectment of Lourdes. Now, which part of the house would be vacated by Pastor and
have Lourdes Yu Ago similarly bound by the replevin judgment against her husband for which their which part would Lourdes continue to stay in? The absurdity does not stop here; the decision would
conjugal properties would be answerable. The case invoked is not at par with the present case. In actually separate husband and wife, prevent them from living together, and in effect divide their
Comilang the actions were admittedly instituted for the protection of the common interest of the conjugal properties during coverture and before the dissolution of the conjugal union.
spouses; in the present case, the Agos deny that their conjugal partnership benefited from the
husband's business venture. 6. Despite the pendency in the trial court of the complaint for the annulment of the sheriff's sale (civil
case Q-7986), elementary justice demands that the petitioners, long denied the fruits of their victory in
3. Relying upon Omnas vs. Rivera, 67 Phil. 419, the Court of Appeals held that a writ of possession the replevin suit, must now enjoy them, for, the respondents Agos, abetted by their lawyer Jose M.
may not issue until the claim of a third person to half-interest in the property is adversely determined, Luison, have misused legal remedies and prostituted the judicial process to thwart the satisfaction of
the said appellate court assuming that Lourdes Yu Ago was a "stranger" or a "third-party" to her the judgment, to the extended prejudice of the petitioners. The respondents, with the assistance of
husband. The assumption is of course obviously wrong, for, besides living with her husband Pastor, counsel, maneuvered for fourteen (14) years to doggedly resist execution of the judgment thru
she does not claim ignorance of his business that failed, of the relevant cases in which he got manifold tactics in and from one court to another (5 times in the Supreme Court).
embroiled, and of the auction sale made by the sheriff of their conjugal properties. Even then, the
ruling in Omnas is not that a writ of possession may not issue until the claim of a third person is We condemn the attitude of the respondents and their counsel who,
adversely determined, but that the writ of possession being a complement of the writ of execution, a far from viewing courts as sanctuaries for those who seek justice, have tried to use them to subvert
judge with jurisdiction to issue the latter also has jurisdiction to issue the former, unless in the interval the very ends of justice. 6
between the judicial sale and the issuance of the writ of possession, the rights of third parties to the
property sold have supervened. The ruling in Omnas is clearly inapplicable in the present case, for, Forgetting his sacred mission as a sworn public servant and his exalted position as an officer of the
here, there has been no change in the ownership of the properties or of any interest therein from the court, Atty. Luison has allowed himself to become an instigator of controversy and a predator of
time the writ of execution was issued up to the time writ of possession was issued, and even up to the conflict instead of a mediator for concord and a conciliator for compromise, a virtuoso of technicality in
present. the conduct of litigation instead of a true exponent of the primacy of truth and moral justice.
4. We agree with the trial court (then presided by Judge Lourdes P. San Diego) that it is much too late A counsel's assertiveness in espousing with candour and honesty his client's cause must be
in the day for the respondents Agos to raise the question that part of the property is unleviable encouraged and is to be commended; what we do not and cannot countenance is a lawyer's
because it belongs to Lourdes Yu Ago, considering that (1) a wife is normally privy to her husband's insistence despite the patent futility of his client's position, as in the case at bar.
activities; (2) the levy was made and the properties advertised for auction sale in 1961; (3) she lives in
the very properties in question; (4) her husband had moved to stop the auction sale; (5) the properties It is the duty of a counsel to advise his client, ordinarily a layman to the intricacies and vagaries of
were sold at auction in 1963; (6) her husband had thrice attempted to obtain a preliminary injunction the law, on the merit or lack of merit of his case. If he finds that his client's cause is defenseless,
to restrain the sheriff from enforcing the writ of execution; (7) the sheriff executed the deed of final then it is his bounden duty to advise the latter to acquiesce and submit, rather than traverse the
sale on April 17, 1964 when Pastor failed to redeem; (8) Pastor had impliedly admitted that the incontrovertible. A lawyer must resist the whims and caprices of his client, and temper his clients
conjugal properties could be levied upon by his pleas "to save his family house and lot" in his efforts to propensity to litigate. A lawyer's oath to uphold the cause of justice is superior to his duty to his
prevent execution; and (9) it was only on May 2, 1964 when he and his wife filed the complaint for client; its primacy is indisputable. 7
annulment of the sheriff's sale upon the issue that the wife's share in the properties cannot be levied
7. In view of the private respondents' propensity to use the courts for purposes other than to seek
upon on the ground that she was not a party to the logging business and not a party to the replevin
justice, and in order to obviate further delay in the disposition of the case below which might again
suit. The spouses Ago had every opportunity to raise the issue in the various proceedings
come up to the appellate courts but only to fail in the end, we have motu proprio examined the record
hereinbefore discussed but did not; laches now effectively bars them from raising it.
of civil case Q-7986 (the mother case of the present case). We find that
Laches, in a general sense, is failure or neglect, for an unreasonable and unexplained length of
(a) the complaint was filed on May 2, 1964 (more than 11 years ago) but trial on the merits has not
time, to do that which, by exercising due diligence, could or should have been done earlier; it is
even started;
negligence or omission to assert a right within a reasonable time, warranting a presumption that the
party entitled to assert it either has abandoned it or declined to assert it. 2 (b) after the defendants Castañedas had filed their answer with a counterclaim, the plaintiffs Agos
filed a supplemental complaint where they impleaded new parties-defendants;
5. The decision of the appellate court under review suffers from two fatal infirmities.
(c) after the admission of the supplemental complaint, the Agos filed a motion to admit an amended
(a) It enjoined the enforcement of the writ of possession to and ejectment from the one-half share in
supplemental complaint, which impleads an additional new party-defendant (no action has yet been
the properties involved belonging to Lourdes Yu Ago. This half-share is not in esse, but is merely an
taken on this motion);
inchoate interest, a mere expectancy, constituting neither legal nor equitable estate, and will ripen into
title when only upon liquidation and settlement there appears to be assets of the community. 3 The (d) the defendants have not filed an answer to the admitted supplemental complaint; and
decision sets at naught the well-settled rule that injunction does not issue to protect a right not in esse
and which may never arise. 4 (e) the last order of the Court of First Instance, dated April 20, 1974, grants an extension to the
suspension of time to file answer. (Expediente, p. 815)
(b) The decision did not foresee the absurdity, or even the impossibility, of its enforcement. The Ago
spouses admittedly live together in the same house 5 which is conjugal property. By the Manila court's
We also find that the alleged causes of action in the complaint, supplemental complaint and amended The Supplemental Complaint
supplemental complaint are all untenable, for the reasons hereunder stated. The Complaint
Upon the first cause of action, it is alleged that after the filing of the complaint, the defendants, taking
Upon the first cause of action, it is alleged that the sheriff levied upon conjugal properties of the advantage of the dissolution of the preliminary injunction, in conspiracy and with gross bad faith and
spouses Ago despite the fact that the judgment to be satisfied was personal only to Pastor Ago, and evident intent to cause damage to the plaintiffs, caused the registration of the sheriff's final deed of
the business venture that he entered into, which resulted in the replevin suit, did not redound to the sale; that, to cause more damage, the defendants sold to their lawyer and his wife two of the parcels
benefit of the conjugal partnership. The issue here, which is whether or not the wife's inchoate share of land in question; that the purchasers acquired the properties in bad faith; that the defendants
in the conjugal property is leviable, is the same issue that we have already resolved, as barred by mortgaged the two other parcels to the Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation while the defendants'
laches, in striking down the decision of the Court of Appeals granting preliminary injunction, the lawyer and his wife also mortgaged the parcels bought by them to the Rizal Commercial Bank; and
dispositive portion of which was herein-before quoted. This ruling applies as well to the first cause of that the bank also acted in bad faith.
action of the complaint.
The second cause of action consists of an allegation of additional damages caused by the defendants'
Upon the second cause of action, the Agos allege that on January 5, 1959 the Castañedas and the bad faith in entering into the aforesaid agreements and transactions.
sheriff, pursuant to an alias writ of seizure, seized and took possession of certain machineries,
depriving the Agos of the use thereof, to their damage in the sum of P256,000 up to May 5, 1964. This The Amended Supplemental Complaint
second cause of action fails to state a valid cause of action for it fails to allege that the order of The amendment made pertains to the first cause of action of the supplemental complaint, which is,
seizure is invalid or illegal. the inclusion of a paragraph averring that, still to cause damage and prejudice to the plaintiffs, Atty. &
It is averred as a third cause of action that the sheriff's sale of the conjugal properties was irregular, Mrs. Juan Quijano, in bad faith sold the two parcels of land they had previously bought to Eloy
illegal and unlawful because the sheriff did not require the Castañeda spouses to pay or liquidate the Ocampo who acquired them also in bad faith, while Venancio Castañeda and Nicetas Henson in bad
sum of P141,750 (the amount for which they bought the properties at the auction sale) despite the fact faith sold the two other parcels to Juan Quijano (60%) and Eloy Ocampo (40%) who acquired them in
that there was annotated at the back of the certificates of title a mortgage of P75,000 in favor of the bad faith and with knowledge that the properties are the subject of a pending litigation.
Philippine National Bank; moreover, the sheriff sold the properties for P141,750 despite the pendency Discussion on The Causes of Action of The Supplemental Complaint And The Amended
of L-19718 where Pastor Ago contested the amount of P99,877.08 out of the judgment value of Supplemental Complaint
P172,923.37 in civil case 27251; and because of said acts, the Agos suffered P174,877.08 in
damages. Assuming hypothetically as true the allegations in the first cause of action of the supplemental
complaint and the amended supplemental complaint, the validity of the cause of action would depend
Anent this third cause of action, the sheriff was under no obligation to require payment of the upon the validity of the first cause of action of the original complaint, for, the Agos would suffer no
purchase price in the auction sale because "when the purchaser is the judgment creditor, and no transgression upon their rights of ownership and possession of the properties by reason of the
third-party claim has been filed, he need not pay the amount of the bid if it does not exceed the agreements subsequently entered into by the Castañedas and their lawyer if the sheriff's levy and
amount of his judgment." (Sec. 23, Rule 39, Rules of Court) sale are valid. The reverse is also true: if the sheriff's levy and sale are invalid on the ground that the
The annotated mortgage in favor of the PNB is the concern of the vendees Castañedas but did not conjugal properties could not be levied upon, then the transactions would perhaps prejudice the Agos,
affect the sheriff's sale; the cancellation of the annotation is of no moment to the Agoo. but, we have already indicated that the issue in the first cause of action of the original complaint is
barred by laches, and it must therefore follow that the first cause of action of the supplemental
Case L-19718 where Pastor Ago contested the sum of P99,877.08 out of the amount of the judgment complaint and the amended supplemental complaint is also barred.
was dismissed by this Court on January 31, 1966.
For the same reason, the same holding applies to the remaining cause of action in the supplemental
This third cause of action, therefore, actually states no valid cause of action and is moreover barred complaint and the amended supplemental complaint.
by prior judgment.
ACCORDINGLY, the decision of the Court of Appeals under review is set aside. Civil case Q-7986 of
The fourth cause of action pertains to moral damages allegedly suffered by the Agos on account of the Court of First Instance of Rizal is ordered dismissed, without prejudice to the re-filing of the
the acts complained of in the preceding causes of action. As the fourth cause of action derives its life petitioners' counterclaim in a new and independent action. Treble costs are assessed against the
from the preceding causes of action, which, as shown, are baseless, the said fourth cause of action spouses Pastor Ago and Lourdes Yu Ago, which shall be paid by their lawyer, Atty. Jose M. Luison.
must necessarily fail. Let a copy of this decision be made a part of the personal file of Atty. Luison in the custody of the
Clerk of Court.
The Counterclaim
As a counterclaim against the Agos, the Castañedas aver that the action was unfounded and as a
consequence of its filing they were compelled to retain the services of counsel for not less than
P7,500; that because the Agos obtained a preliminary injunction enjoining the transfer of titles and
possession of the properties to the Castañedas, they were unlawfully deprived of the use of the
properties from April 17, 1964, the value of such deprived use being 20% annually of their actual
value; and that the filing of the unfounded action besmirched their feelings, the pecuniary worth of
which is for the court to assess.
On July 31, 1991, said complaint for illegal dismissal was dismissed by the NLRC, 1 holding that
petitioner abandoned his work and that the termination of his employment was for a valid cause, but
ordering private respondent to pay petitioner the amount of P5,000.00 as penalty for his failure to
serve notice of said termination of employment to the Department of Labor and Employment as
required by Batas Pambansa Blg. 130 and consonant with this Court's ruling in Wenphil Corporation
JON DE YSASI III, petitioner, vs. National Labor Relations Commission, et al. 2 On appeal to the Fourth Division of the NLRC, Cebu
vs. City, said decision was affirmed in toto. 3
YSASI, respondents. His motion for reconsideration 4 of said decision having been denied for lack of merit, 5 petitioner filed
this petition presenting the following issues for resolution: (1) whether or not the petitioner was illegally
REGALADO, J.: dismissed; (2) whether or not he is entitled to reinstatement, payment of back wages, thirteenth month
pay and other benefits; and (3) whether or not he is entitled to payment of moral and exemplary
The adage that blood is thicker than water obviously stood for naught in this case, notwithstanding the damages and attorney's fees because of illegal dismissal. The discussion of these issues will
vinculum of paternity and filiation between the parties. It would indeed have been the better part of necessarily subsume the corollary questions presented by private respondent, such as the exact date
reason if herein petitioner and private respondent had reconciled their differences in an extrajudicial when petitioner ceased to function as farm administrator, the character of the pecuniary amounts
atmosphere of familial amity and with the grace of reciprocal concessions. Father and son opted received by petitioner from private respondent, that is, whether the same are in the nature of salaries
instead for judicial intervention despite the inevitable acrimony and negative publicity. Albeit with or pensions, and whether or not there was abandonment by petitioner of his functions as farm
distaste, the Court cannot proceed elsewise but to resolve their dispute with the same reasoned administrator.
detachment accorded any judicial proceeding before it.
In his manifestation dated September 14, 1992, the Solicitor General recommended a modification of
The records of this case reveal that petitioner was employed by his father, herein private respondent, the decision of herein public respondent sustaining the findings and conclusions of the Executive
as farm administrator of Hacienda Manucao in Hinigaran, Negros Occidental sometime in April, 1980. Labor Arbiter in RAB Case No. 0452-84, 6 for which reason the NLRC was required to submit its own
Prior thereto, he was successively employed as sales manager of Triumph International (Phil.), Inc. comment on the petition. In compliance with the Court's resolution of November 16, 1992, 7 NLRC
and later as operations manager of Top Form Manufacturing (Phil.), Inc. His employment as farm filed its comment on February 12, 1992 largely reiterating its earlier position in support of the findings
administrator was on a fixed salary, with other allowances covering housing, food, light, power, of the Executive Labor Arbiter. 8
telephone, gasoline, medical and dental expenses.
Before proceeding with a discussion of the issues, the observation of the labor arbiter is worth noting:
As farm administrator, petitioner was responsible for the supervision of daily activities and operations
of the sugarcane farm such as land preparation, planting, weeding, fertilizing, harvesting, dealing with This case is truly unique. What makes this case unique is the fact that because of the special
third persons in all matters relating to the hacienda and attending to such other tasks as may be relationship of the parties and the nature of the action involved, this case could very well go down
assigned to him by private respondent. For this purpose, he lived on the farm, occupying the upper (in) the annals of the Commission as perhaps the first of its kind. For this case is an action filed by
floor of the house there. an only son, his father's namesake, the only child and therefore the only heir against his own father.

Following his marriage on June 6, 1982, petitioner moved to Bacolod City with his wife and commuted
to work daily. He suffered various ailments and was hospitalized on two separate occasions in June Additionally, the Solicitor General remarked:
and August, 1982. In November, 1982, he underwent fistulectomy, or the surgical removal of the
fistula, a deep sinuous ulcer. During his recuperation which lasted over four months, he was under the . . . After an exhaustive reading of the records, two (2) observations were noted that may justify why
care of Dr. Patricio Tan. In June, 1983, he was confined for acute gastroenteritis and, thereafter, for this labor case deserves special considerations. First, most of the complaints that petitioner and
infectious hepatitis from December, 1983 to January, 1984. private respondent had with each other, were personal matters affecting father and son relationship.
And secondly, if any of the complaints pertain to their work, they allow their personal relationship to
During the entire periods of petitioner's illnesses, private respondent took care of his medical come in the way. 10
expenses and petitioner continued to receive compensation. However, in April, 1984, without due
notice, private respondent ceased to pay the latter's salary. Petitioner made oral and written demands I. Petitioner maintains that his dismissal from employment was illegal because of want of just cause
for an explanation for the sudden withholding of his salary from Atty. Apolonio Sumbingco, private therefor and non-observance of the requirements of due process. He also charges the NLRC with
respondent's auditor and legal adviser, as well as for the remittance of his salary. Both demands, grave abuse of discretion in relying upon the findings of the executive labor arbiter who decided the
however, were not acted upon. case but did not conduct the hearings thereof.

Petitioner then filed an action with the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC, for brevity), Private respondent, in refutation, avers that there was abandonment by petitioner of his functions as
Regional Arbitration Branch No. VI, Bacolod City, on October 17, 1984, docketed therein as RAB farm administrator, thereby arming private respondent with a ground to terminate his employment at
Case No. 0452-84, against private respondent for illegal dismissal with prayer for reinstatement Hacienda Manucao. It is also contended that it is wrong for petitioner to question the factual findings
without loss of seniority rights and payment of full back wages, thirteenth month pay for 1983, of the executive labor arbiter and the NLRC as only questions of law may be appealed for resolution
consequential, moral and exemplary damages, as well as attorney's fees. by this Court. Furthermore, in seeking the dismissal of the instant petition, private respondent faults
herein petitioner for failure to refer to the corresponding pages of the transcripts of stenographic
notes, erroneously citing Sections 15(d) and 16(d), Rule 44 (should be Section 16[c] and [d],
Rule 46 and Section 1[g], Rule 50) of the Rules of Court, which provide that want of page references findings of an administrative agency, such as herein public respondent NLRC, 18 as even decisions of
to the records is a ground for dismissal of an appeal. administrative agencies which are declared "final" by law are not exempt from judicial review when so
warranted. 19
Prefatorily, we take advertence of the provisions of Article 221 of the Labor Code that technical rules
of evidence prevailing in courts of law and equity shall not be controlling, and that every and all The following perceptive disquisitions of the Solicitor General on this point deserve acceptance:
reasonable means to speedily and objectively ascertain the facts in each case shall be availed of,
without regard to technicalities of law or procedure in the interest of due process. It is submitted that the absences of petitioner in his work from October 1982 to December 1982,
cannot be construed as abandonment of work because he has a justifiable excuse. Petitioner was
It is settled that it is not procedurally objectionable for the decision in a case to be rendered by a suffering from perennial abscess in the peri-anal around the anus and fistula under the medical
judge, or a labor arbiter for that matter, other than the one who conducted the hearing. The fact that attention of Dr. Patricio Tan of Riverside Medical Center, Inc., Bacolod City (Tsn, Vol. III, Dr. Tan,
the judge who heard the case was not the judge who penned the decision does not impair the validity February 19, 1986 at 20-44).
of the judgment, 11 provided that he draws up his decision and resolution with due care and makes
certain that they truly and accurately reflect conclusions and final dispositions on the bases of the This fact (was) duly communicated to private respondent by medical bills sent to Hacienda
facts of and evidence submitted in the case. 12 Manucao (Tsn, Vol. III, Dr. Tan, January 22, 1987 at 49-50).

Thus, the mere fact that the case was initially assigned to Labor Arbiter Ricardo T. Octavio, who During the period of his illness and recovery, petitioner stayed in Bacolod City upon the
conducted the hearings therein from December 5, 1984 to July 11, 1985, and was later transferred to instruction(s) of private respondent to recuperate thereat and to handle only administrative matters
Executive Labor Arbiter Oscar S. Uy, who eventually decided the case, presents no procedural of the hacienda in that city. As a manager, petitioner is not really obliged to live and stay 24 hours a
infirmity, especially considering that there is a presumption of regularity in the performance of a public day inside Hacienda Manucao.
officer's functions, 13 which petitioner has not successfully rebutted. After evaluating the evidence within the context of the special circumstances involved and basic
We are constrained to heed the underlying policy in the Labor Code relaxing the application of human experience, petitioner's illness and strained family relation with respondent Jon de Ysasi II
technical rules of procedure in labor cases in the interest of due process, ever mindful of the long- may be considered as justifiable reason for petitioner Jon de Ysasi III's absence from work during
standing legal precept that rules of procedure must be interpreted to help secure, not defeat, justice. the period of October 1982 to December 1982. In any event, such absence does not warrant
For this reason, we cannot indulge private respondent in his tendency to nitpick on trivial technicalities outright dismissal without notice and hearing.
to boost his arguments. The strength of one's position cannot be hinged on mere procedural niceties The elements of abandonment as a ground for dismissal of an employee are as follows:
but on solid bases in law and jurisprudence.
(1) failure to report for work or absence without valid or justifiable reason; and (2) clear intention to
The fundamental guarantees of security of tenure and due process dictate that no worker shall be sever the employer-employee tie (Samson Alcantara, Reviewer in Labor and Social Legislation,
dismissed except for just and authorized cause provided by law and after due process. 14 Article 282 of 1989 edition, p. 133).
the Labor Code enumerates the causes for which an employer may validly terminate an employment,
to wit: This Honorable Court, in several cases, illustrates what constitute abandonment. In Dagupan Bus
(a) serious misconduct or willful disobedience by the employee of the lawful orders of his employer or Company v. NLRC (191 SCRA 328), the Court rules that for abandonment to arise, there must be a
representative in connection with his work; (b) gross and habitual neglect by the employee of his concurrence of the intention to abandon and some overt act from which it may be inferred that the
duties; (c) fraud or willful breach by the employee of the trust reposed in him by his employer or duly employee has no more interest to work. Similarly, in Nueva Ecija I Electric Cooperative, Inc. v.
authorized representative; (d) commission of a crime or offense by the employee against the person NLRC (184 SCRA 25), for abandonment to constitute a valid cause for termination of employment,
of his employer or any immediate member of his family or his duly authorized representative; and (e) there must be a deliberate, unjustified refusal of the employee to resume his employment. . . Mere
other causes analogous to the foregoing. absence is not sufficient; it must be accompanied by overt acts unerringly pointing to the fact that
the employee simply does not want to work anymore.
The employer may also terminate the services of any employee due to the installation of labor saving
devices, redundancy, retrenchment to prevent losses or the closing or cessation of operation of the There are significant indications in this case, that there is no abandonment. First, petitioner's
establishment or undertaking, unless the closing is for the purpose of circumventing the pertinent absence and his decision to leave his residence inside Hacienda Manucao, is justified by his illness
provisions of the Labor Code, by serving a written notice on the workers and the Department of Labor and strained family relations. Second he has some medical certificates to show his frail health.
and Employment at least one (1) month before the intended date thereof, with due entitlement to the Third, once able to work, petitioner wrote a letter (Annex "J") informing private respondent of his
corresponding separation pay rates provided by law. 15 Suffering from a disease by reason whereof intention to assume again his employment. Last, but not the least, he at once instituted a complaint
the continued employment of the employee is prohibited by law or is prejudicial to his and his co- for illegal dismissal when he realized he was unjustly dismissed. All these are indications that
employee's health, is also a ground for termination of his services provided he receives the prescribed petitioner had no intention to abandon his employment. 20
separation pay. 16 On the other hand, it is well-settled that abandonment by an employee of his work
authorizes the employer to effect the former's dismissal from employment. 17 The records show that the parties herein do not dispute the fact of petitioner's confinement in the
hospital for his various afflictions which required medical treatment. Neither can it be denied that
After a careful review of the records of this case, we find that public respondent gravely erred in private respondent was well aware of petitioner's state of health as the former admittedly shouldered
affirming the decision of the executive labor arbiter holding that petitioner abandoned his employment part of the medical and hospital bills and even advised the latter to stay in Bacolod City until he was fit
and was not illegally dismissed from such employment. For want of substantial bases, in fact or to work again. The disagreement as to whether or not petitioner's ailments were so serious as to
in law, we cannot give the stamp of finality and conclusiveness normally accorded to the factual necessitate hospitalization and corresponding periods for recuperation is beside the point. The fact
remains that on account of said illnesses, the details of which were amply substantiated by the work, petitioner argues, is further belied by his continued performance of various services related to
attending physician, 21 and as the records are bereft of any suggestion of malingering on the part of the operations of the farm from May to the last quarter of 1983, his persistent inquiries from his
petitioner, there was justifiable cause for petitioner's absence from work. We repeat, it is clear, father's accountant and legal adviser about the reason why his pension or allowance was
deliberate and unjustified refusal to resume employment and not mere absence that is required to discontinued since April, 1984, and his indication of having recovered and his willingness and
constitute abandonment as a valid ground for termination of employment. 22 capability to resume his work at the farm as expressed in a letter dated September 14, 1984. 26 With
these, petitioner contends that it is immaterial how the monthly pecuniary amounts are designated,
With his position as farm administrator of Hacienda Manucao, petitioner unmistakably may be whether as salary, pension or allowance, with or without deductions, as he was entitled thereto in view
classified as a managerial employee 23 to whom the law grants an amount of discretion in the of his continued service as farm administrator. 27
discharge of his duties. This is why when petitioner stated that "I assigned myself where I want to go,"
he was simply being candid about what he could do within the sphere of his authority. His duties as To stress what was earlier mentioned, in order that a finding of abandonment may justly be made
farm administrator did not strictly require him to keep regular hours or to be at the office premises at there must be a concurrence of two elements, viz.: (1) the failure to report for work or absence without
all times, or to be subjected to specific control from his employer in every aspect of his work. What is valid or justifiable reason, and (2) a clear intention to sever the employer-employee relationship, with
essential only is that he runs the farm as efficiently and effectively as possible and, while petitioner the second element as the more determinative factor and being manifested by some overt acts. Such
may definitely not qualify as a model employee, in this regard he proved to be quite successful, as intent we find dismally wanting in this case.
there was at least a showing of increased production during the time that petitioner was in charge of
farm operations. It will be recalled that private respondent himself admitted being unsure of his son's plans of returning
to work. The absence of petitioner from work since mid-1982, prolonged though it may have been,
If, as private respondent contends, he had no control over petitioner during the years 1983 to 1984, was not without valid causes of which private respondent had full knowledge. As to what convinced or
this is because that was the period when petitioner was recuperating from illness and on account of led him to believe that petitioner was no longer returning to work, private respondent neither explains
which his attendance and direct involvement in farm operations were irregular and minimal, hence the nor substantiates by any reasonable basis how he arrived at such a conclusion.
supervision and control exercisable by private respondent as employer was necessarily limited. It
goes without saying that the control contemplated refers only to matters relating to his functions as Moreover, private respondent's claim of abandonment cannot be given credence as even after
farm administrator and could not extend to petitioner's personal affairs and activities. January, 1983, when private respondent supposedly "became convinced" that petitioner would no
longer work at the farm, the latter continued to perform services directly required by his position as
While it was taken for granted that for purposes of discharging his duties as farm administrator, farm administrator. These are duly and correspondingly evidenced by such acts as picking up some
petitioner would be staying at the house in the farm, there really was no explicit contractual stipulation farm machinery/equipment from G.A. Machineries, Inc., 28 claiming and paying for additional farm
(as there was no formal employment contract to begin with) requiring him to stay therein for the equipment and machinery shipped by said firm from Manila to Bacolod through Zip Forwarders, 29
duration of his employment or that any transfer of residence would justify the termination of his getting the payment of the additional cash advances for molasses for crop year 1983-1984 from
employment. That petitioner changed his residence should not be taken against him, as this is Agrotex Commodities, Inc., 30 and remitting to private respondent through
undeniably among his basic rights, nor can such fact of transfer of residence per se be a valid ground Atty. Sumbingco the sums collected along with receipts for medicine and oil. 31
to terminate an employer-employee relationship.
It will be observed that all of these chores, which petitioner took care of, relate to the normal activities
Private respondent, in his pleadings, asserted that as he was yet uncertain of his son's intention of and operations of the farm. True, it is a father's prerogative to request or even command his child to
returning to work after his confinement in the hospital, he kept petitioner on the payroll, reported him run errands for him. In the present case, however, considering the nature of these transactions, as
as an employee of the hacienda for social security purposes, and paid his salaries and benefits with well as the property values and monetary sums involved, it is unlikely that private respondent would
the mandated deductions therefrom until the end of December, 1982. It was only in January, 1983 leave the matter to just anyone. Prudence dictates that these matters be handled by someone who
when he became convinced that petitioner would no longer return to work that he considered the latter can be trusted or at least be held accountable therefor, and who is familiar with the terms,
to have abandoned his work and, for this reason, no longer listed him as an employee. According to specifications and other details relative thereto, such as an employee. If indeed petitioner had
private respondent, whatever amount of money was given to petitioner from that time until abandoned his job or was considered to have done so by private respondent, it would be awkward, or
April, 1984 was in the nature of a pension or an allowance or mere gratuitous doles from a father to a even out of place, to expect or to oblige petitioner to concern himself with matters relating to or
son, and not salaries as, in fact, none of the usual deductions were made therefrom. It was only in expected of him with respect to what would then be his past and terminated employment. It is hard to
April, 1984 that private respondent completely stopped giving said pension or allowance when he was imagine what further authority an employer can have over a dismissed employee so as to compel him
angered by what he heard petitioner had been saying about sending him to jail. to continue to perform work-related tasks:
Private respondent capitalizes on the testimony of one Manolo Gomez taken on oral deposition It is also significant that the special power of attorney executed
regarding petitioner's alleged statement to him, "(h)e quemado los (p)ue(n)tes de Manucao" ("I have by private respondent on June 26, 1980 in favor of petitioner, specifically stating —
burned my bridges with Manucao") as expressive of petitioner's intention to abandon his job. In
addition to insinuations of sinister motives on the part of petitioner in working at the farm and That I, JON de YSASI, Filipino, of legal age, married, and a resident of Hda. Manucao, hereinafter
thereafter abandoning the job upon accomplishment of his objectives, private respondent takes the called and referred to as PRINCIPAL, am a sugarcane planter, BISCOM Mill District, and a duly
novel position that the agreement to support his son after the latter abandoned the administration of accredited planter-member of the BINALBAGAN-ISABELA PLANTERS' ASSOCIATION, INC.;
the farm legally converts the initial abandonment to implied voluntary resignation. 25 That as such planter-member of BIPA, I have check/checks with BIPA representing payment for all
As earlier mentioned, petitioner ripostes that private respondent undoubtedly knew about petitioner's checks and papers to which I am entitled to (sic) as such planter-member;
illness and even paid for his hospital and other medical bills. The assertion regarding abandonment of
That I have named, appointed and constituted as by these presents On procedural considerations, petitioner posits that there was a violation by private respondent of the
I HEREBY NAME, APPOINT AND CONSTITUTE as my true and lawful ATTORNEY-IN-FACT due process requirements under the Labor Code for want of notice and hearing. 39 Private respondent,
in opposition, argues that Section 2, Rule XIV, Book V of the Omnibus Rules Implementing the Labor
JON de YSASI III Code applies only to cases where the employer seeks to terminate the services of an employee on
whose specimen signature is hereunder affixed, TO GET FOR ME and in my name, place and any of the grounds enumerated under Article 282 of the Labor Code, but not to the situation obtaining
stead, my check/checks aforementioned, said ATTORNEY-IN-FACT being herein given the power in this case where private respondent did not dismiss petitioner on any ground since it was petitioner
and authority to sign for me and in my name, place and stead, the receipt or receipts or payroll for who allegedly abandoned his employment. 40
the said check/checks. PROVIDED, HOWEVER, that my said ATTORNEY-IN-FACT cannot cash The due process requirements of notice and hearing applicable to labor cases are set out in Rule XIV,
the said check/checks, but to turn the same over to me for my proper disposition. Book V of the Omnibus Rules Implementing the Labor Code in this wise:
That I HEREBY RATIFY AND CONFIRM the acts of my Sec. 2. Notice of Dismissal. — Any employer who seeks to dismiss a worker shall furnish him a
Attorney-in-Fact in getting the said check/checks and signing the receipts therefor. written notice stating the particular acts or omission(s) constituting the grounds for his dismissal. In
That I further request that my said check/checks be made a "CROSSED CHECK". cases of abandonment of work, notice shall be served at the worker's last known address.

remained in force even after petitioner's employment was supposed to have been terminated by Sec. 5. Answer and hearing. — The worker may answer the allegations as stated against him in the
reason of abandonment. Furthermore, petitioner's numerous requests for an explanation regarding notice of dismissal within a reasonable period from receipt of such notice. The employer shall afford
the stoppage of his salaries and benefits, 33 the issuance of withholding tax reports, 34 as well as the worker ample opportunity to be heard and to defend himself with the assistance of his
correspondence reporting his full recovery and readiness to go back to work, 35 and, specifically, his representative, if he so desires.
filing of the complaint for illegal dismissal are hardly the acts of one who has abandoned his work. Sec. 6. Decision to dismiss. — The employer shall immediately notify a worker in writing of a
We are likewise not impressed by the deposition of Manolo Gomez, as witness for private respondent, decision to dismiss him stating clearly the reasons therefor.
ascribing statements to petitioner supposedly indicative of the latter's intention to abandon his work. Sec. 7. Right to contest dismissal. — Any decision taken by the employer shall be without prejudice
We perceive the irregularity in the taking of such deposition without the presence of petitioner's to the right of the worker to contest the validity or legality of his dismissal by filing a complaint with
counsel, and the failure of private respondent to serve reasonably advance notice of its taking to said the Regional Branch of the Commission.
counsel, thereby foreclosing his opportunity to
cross-examine the deponent. Private respondent also failed to serve notice thereof on the Regional Sec. 11. Report of dismissal. — The employer shall submit a monthly report to the Regional Office
Arbitration Branch No. VI of the NLRC, as certified to by Administrative Assistant Celestina G. Ovejera having jurisdiction over the place of work at all dismissals effected by him during the month,
of said office. 36 Fair play dictates that at such an important stage of the proceedings, which involves specifying therein the names of the dismissed workers, the reasons for their dismissal, the dates of
the taking of testimony, both parties must be afforded equal opportunity to examine and cross- commencement and termination of employment, the positions last held by them and such other
examine a witness. information as may be required by the Ministry for policy guidance and statistical purposes.
As to the monthly monetary amounts given to petitioner, whether denominated as salary, pension, Private respondent's argument is without merit as there can be no question that petitioner was denied
allowance or ex gratia handout, there is no question as to petitioner's entitlement thereto inasmuch as his right to due process since he was never given any notice about his impending dismissal and the
he continued to perform services in his capacity as farm administrator. The change in description of grounds therefor, much less a chance to be heard. Even as private respondent controverts the
said amounts contained in the pay slips or in the receipts prepared by private respondent cannot be applicability of the mandatory twin requirements of procedural due process in this particular case, he
deemed to be determinative of petitioner's employment status in view of the peculiar circumstances in effect admits that no notice was served by him on petitioner. This fact is corroborated by the
above set out. Besides, if such amounts were truly in the nature of allowances given by a parent out certification issued on September 5, 1984 by the Regional Director for Region VI of the Department of
of concern for his child's welfare, it is rather unusual that receipts therefor 37 should be necessary and Labor that no notice of termination of the employment of petitioner was submitted thereto. 41
required as if they were ordinary business expenditures.
Granting arguendo that there was abandonment in this case, it nonetheless cannot be denied that
Neither can we subscribe to private respondent's theory that petitioner's alleged abandonment was notice still had to be served upon the employee sought to be dismissed, as the second sentence of
converted into an implied voluntary resignation on account of the father's agreement to support his Section 2 of the pertinent implementing rules explicitly requires service thereof at the employee's last
son after the latter abandoned his work. As we have determined that no abandonment took place in known address, by way of substantial compliance. While it is conceded that it is the employer's
this case, the monthly sums received by petitioner, regardless of designation, were in consideration prerogative to terminate an employee, especially when there is just cause therefor, the requirements
for services rendered emanating from an employer-employee relationship and were not of a character of due process cannot be lightly taken. The law does not countenance the arbitrary exercise of such a
that can qualify them as mere civil support given out of parental duty and solicitude. We are also hard power or prerogative when it has the effect of undermining the fundamental guarantee of security of
put to imagine how abandonment can be impliedly converted into a voluntary resignation without any tenure in favor of the employee. 42
positive act on the part of the employee conveying a desire to terminate his employment. The very
concept of resignation as a ground for termination by the employee of his employment 38 does not On the executive labor arbiter's misplaced reliance on the Wenphil case, the Solicitor General rejoins
square with the elements constitutive of abandonment. as follows:
The Labor Arbiter held thus:
While we are in full agreement with the respondent as to his defense of implied resignation and/or 295). But in Pacific Cement Company, Inc. vs. NLRC, 173 SCRA 192, this Honorable Court held
abandonment, records somehow showed that he failed to notify the Department of that when it comes to reinstatement, differences should be made between managers and the
Labor and Employment for his sons' (sic)/complainants' (sic) aba(n)donment as required by BP 130. ordinary workingmen. The Court concluded that a company which no longer trusts its managers
And for this failure, the other requisite for a valid termination by an employer was not complied with. cannot operate freely in a competitive and profitable manner. The NLRC should know the difference
This however, would not work to invalidate the otherwise (sic) existence of a valid cause for between managers and ordinary workingmen. It cannot imprudently order the reinstatement of
dismissal. The validity of the cause of dismissal must be upheld at all times provided however that managers with the same ease and liberality as that of rank and file workers who had been
sanctions must be imposed on the respondent for his failure to observe the notice on due process terminated. Similarly, a reinstatement may not be appropriate or feasible in case of antipathy or
requirement. (Wenphil Corp. v. NLRC, G.R. No. 80587). (Decision Labor Arbiter, at 11-12, Annex antagonism between the parties (Morales, vs. NLRC, 188 SCRA 295).
"C" Petition), . . .
In the present case, it is submitted that petitioner should not be reinstated as farm administrator of
This is thus a very different case from Wenphil Corporation v. NLRC, 170 SCRA 69. In Wenphil, the Hacienda Manucao. The present relationship of petitioner and private respondent (is) so strained
rule applied to the facts is: once an employee is dismissed for just cause, he must not be rewarded that a harmonious and peaceful employee-employer relationship is hardly possible. 49
re-employment and backwages for failure of his employer to observe procedural due process. The
public policy behind this is that, it may encourage the employee to do even worse and render a III. Finally, petitioner insists on an award of moral damages, arguing that his dismissal from
mockery of the rules of discipline required to be observed. However, the employer must be employment was attended by bad faith or fraud, or constituted oppression, or was contrary to morals,
penalized for his infraction of due process. In the present case, however, not only was petitioner good customs or public policy. He further prays for exemplary damages to serve as a deterrent
dismissed without due process, but his dismissal is without just cause. Petitioner did not abandon against similar acts of unjust dismissal by other employers.
his employment because he has a justifiable excuse. 43 Moral damages, under Article 2217 of the Civil Code, may be awarded to compensate one for diverse
II. Petitioner avers that the executive labor arbiter erred in disregarding the mandatory provisions of injuries such as mental anguish, besmirched reputation, wounded feelings, and social humiliation,
Article 279 of the Labor Code which entitles an illegally dismissed employee to reinstatement and provided that such injuries spring from a wrongful act or omission of the defendant which was the
back wages and, instead, affirmed the imposition of the penalty of P5,000.00 on private respondent proximate cause thereof. 50 Exemplary damages, under Article 2229, are imposed by way of example
for violation of the due process requirements. Private respondent, for his part, maintains that there or correction for the public good, in addition to moral, temperate, liquidated or compensatory
was error in imposing the fine because that penalty contemplates the failure to submit the employer's damages. They are not recoverable as a matter of right, it being left to the court to decide whether or
report on dismissed employees to the DOLE regional office, as required under Section 5 (now, not they should be adjudicated. 51
Section 11), Rule XIV of the implementing rules, and not the failure to serve notice upon the employee We are well aware of the Court's rulings in a number of cases in the past allowing recovery of moral
sought to be dismissed by the employer. damages where the dismissal of the employee was attended by bad faith or fraud, or constituted an
Both the Constitution and the Labor Code enunciate in no uncertain terms the right of every worker to act oppressive to labor, or was done in a manner contrary to morals, good customs or public policy, 52
security of tenure. 44 To give teeth to this constitutional and statutory mandates, the Labor Code spells and of exemplary damages if the dismissal was effected in a wanton, oppressive or malevolent
out the relief available to an employee in case of its denial: manner. 53 We do not feel, however, that an award of the damages prayed for in this petition would be
proper even if, seemingly, the facts of the case justify their allowance. In the aforestated cases of
Art. 279. Security of Tenure. — In cases of regular employment, the employer shall not terminate illegal dismissal where moral and exemplary damages were awarded, the dismissed employees were
the services of an employee except for a just cause or when authorized by this Title. An employee genuinely without fault and were undoubtedly victims of the erring employers' capricious exercise of
who is unjustly dismissed from work shall be entitled to reinstatement without loss of seniority rights power.
and other privileges and to his full backwages, inclusive of allowances, and to his other benefits of
their monetary equivalent computed from the time his compensation was withheld from him up to In the present case, we find that both petitioner and private respondent can equally be faulted for
the time of actual reinstatement. fanning the flames which gave rise to and ultimately aggravated this controversy, instead of sincerely
negotiating a peaceful settlement of their disparate claims. The records reveal how their actuations
Clearly, therefore, an employee is entitled to reinstatement with full back wages in the absence of just seethed with mutual antagonism and the undeniable enmity between them negates the likelihood that
cause for dismissal. 45 The Court, however, on numerous occasions has tempered the rigid application either of them acted in good faith. It is apparent that each one has a cause for damages against the
of said provision of the Labor Code, recognizing that in some cases certain events may have other. For this reason, we hold that no moral or exemplary damages can rightfully be awarded to
transpired as would militate against the practicability of granting the relief thereunder provided, and petitioner.
declares that where there are strained relations between the employer and the employee, payment of
back wages and severance pay may be awarded instead of reinstatement, 46 and more particularly On this score, we are once again persuaded by the validity of the following recommendation of the
when managerial employees are concerned. 47 Thus, where reinstatement is no longer possible, it is Solicitor General:
therefore appropriate that the dismissed employee be given his fair and just share of what the law The Labor Arbiter's decision in RAB Case No. 0452-84 should be modified. There was no voluntary
accords him. 48 abandonment in this case because petitioner has a justifiable excuse for his absence, or such
We note with favor and give our imprimatur to the Solicitor General's ratiocination, to wit: absence does not warrant outright dismissal without notice and hearing. Private respondent,
therefore, is guilty of illegal dismissal. He should be ordered to pay backwages for a period not
As a general rule, an employee who is unjustly dismissed from work shall be entitled to exceeding three years from date of dismissal. And in lieu of reinstatement, petitioner may be paid
reinstatement without loss of seniority rights and to his backwages computed from the time his separation pay equivalent to one (1) month('s) salary for every year of service, a fraction of six
compensation was withheld up to the time of his reinstatement. (Morales vs. NLRC, 188 SCRA months being considered as one (1) year in accordance with recent jurisprudence (Tan, Jr. vs.
NLRC, 183 SCRA 651). But all claims for damages should be dismissed, for both parties are In a sworn complaint 1 dated 25 September 1979, the spouses Erlinda Dalman and Narciso Melendrez
equally at fault. 54 charged Reynerio I. Decena, a member of the Philippine Bar, with malpractice and breach of trust.
The complainant spouses alleged, among others, that respondent had, by means of fraud and deceit,
The conduct of the respective counsel of the parties, as revealed by the records, sorely disappoints taken advantage of their precarious financial situation and his knowledge of the law to their prejudice,
the Court and invites reproof. Both counsel may well be reminded that their ethical duty as lawyers to succeeded in divesting them of their only residential lot in Pagadian City; that respondent, who was
represent their clients with zeal 55 goes beyond merely presenting their clients' respective causes in their counsel in an estafa case against one Reynaldo Pineda, had compromised that case without
court. It is just as much their responsibility, if not more importantly, to exert all reasonable efforts to their authority.
smooth over legal conflicts, preferably out of court and especially in consideration of the direct and
immediate consanguineous ties between their clients. Once again, we reiterate that the useful In his answer dated 18 March 1980, respondent denied all the charges levelled against him and
function of a lawyer is not only to conduct litigation but to avoid it whenever possible by advising prayed for the dismissal of the complaint.
settlement or withholding suit. He is often called upon less for dramatic forensic exploits than for wise
counsel in every phase of life. He should be a mediator for concord and a conciliator for compromise, By resolution dated 14 April 1980, the administrative complaint was referred to the Office of the
rather than a virtuoso of technicality in the conduct of litigation. 56 Solicitor General for investigation, report and recommendation.

Rule 1.04 of the Code of Professional Responsibility explicitly provides that "(a) lawyer shall Accordingly, the Solicitor General forthwith deputized the City Fiscal of Pagadian City, Jorge T.
encourage his client to avoid, end or settle the controversy if it will admit of a fair settlement." On this Almonte, to conduct the necessary investigation, with instructions to submit thereafter this report and
point, we find that both counsel herein fell short of what was expected of them, despite their avowed recommendation thereon. Fiscal Almonte held several hearings on the administrative case until 15
duties as officers of the court. The records do not show that they took pains to initiate steps geared July 1982, when he requested the Solicitor General to release him from the duty of investigating the
toward effecting a rapprochement between their clients. On the contrary, their acerbic and protracted case.
exchanges could not but have exacerbated the situation even as they may have found favor in the On 10 September 1982, the Solicitor General granted Fiscal Almonte's request and in his stead
equally hostile eyes of their respective clients. appointed the Provincial Fiscal of Zamboanga del Sur, Pedro S. Jamero, who resumed hearings on
In the same manner, we find that the labor arbiter who handled this regrettable case has been less 15 June 1983.
than faithful to the letter and spirit of the Labor Code mandating that a labor arbiter "shall exert all Respondent filed with this Court on 9 June 1987, a motion seeking to inhibit Fiscal Jamero from
efforts towards the amicable settlement of a labor dispute within his jurisdiction." 57 If he ever did so, or hearing the case followed by an urgent motion for indefinite postponement of the investigation. Both
at least entertained the thought, the copious records of the proceedings in this controversy are barren motions were denied by the Court in a Resolution dated 21 September 1987 with instructions to the
of any reflection of the same. Solicitor General to complete the investigation of the administrative case and to render his report and
One final word. This is one decision we do not particularly relish having been obliged to make. The recommendation thereon within thirty (30) days from notice.
task of resolving cases involving disputes among members of a family leaves a bad taste in the mouth On 19 July 1988, the Solicitor General submitted his Report and Recommendation 2 dated 21 June
and an aversion in the mind, for no truly meaningful and enduring resolution is really achieved in such 1988. In as Report, after setting out the facts and proceedings held in the present case, the Solicitor
situations. While we are convinced that we have adjudicated the legal issues herein squarely on the General presented the following:
bases of law and jurisprudence, sans sentimentality, we are saddened by the thought that we may
have failed to bring about the reconciliation of the father and son who figured as parties to this FINDINGS
dispute, and that our adherence here to law and duty may unwittingly contribute to the breaking,
instead of the strengthening, of familial bonds. In fine, neither of the parties herein actually emerges Complainants allege that on August 5, 1975, they obtained from respondent a loan of P 4,000.00.
victorious. It is the Court's earnest hope, therefore, that with the impartial exposition and extended This loan was secured by a real estate mortgage (Annex C, Complainants' Complaint, p. 16,
explanation of their respective rights in this decision, the parties may eventually see their way clear to records).lâwphî1.ñèt In the said Real Estate Mortgage document, however, it was made to appear
an ultimate resolution of their differences on more convivial terms. that the amount borrowed by complainants was P5,000.00. Confronted by this discrepancy,
respondent assured complainants that said document was a mere formality, and upon such
WHEREFORE, the decision of respondent National Labor Relations Commission is hereby SET assurance, complainants signed the same. The document was brought by complainant Narciso
ASIDE. Private respondent is ORDERED to pay petitioner back wages for a period not exceeding Melendres to a Notary Public for notarization. After the same was notarized, he gave the document
three (3) years, without qualification or deduction, 58 and, in lieu of reinstatement, separation pay to respondent. Despite the assurance, respondent exacted from complainants P500.00 a month as
equivalent to one (1) month for every year of service, a fraction of six (6) months being considered as payment for what is beyond dispute usurious interest on the P5,000.00 loan. Complainants
one (1) whole year. SO ORDERED. religiously paid the obviously usurious interest for three months: September, October and
November, 1975. Then they stopped paying due to financial reverses. In view of their failure to pay
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- said amounts as interest, respondent prepared a new document on May 7, 1976, a Real Estate
NARCISO MELENDREZ and ERLINDA DALMAN, complainants, Mortgage (Annex D, Complaint, p. 18, records) over the same lot 3125-C, replacing the former real
vs. estate mortgage dated August 5, 1975, but this time the sum indicated in said new contract of
ATTY. REYNERIO I. DECENA, respondent. mortgage is P 10,000.00, purportedly with interest at 19% per annum. In this new Real Estate
Mortgage, a special power of attorney in favor of respondent was inserted, authorizing him to sell
PER CURIAM: the mortgaged property at public auction in the event complainants fail to pay their obligation on or
before May 30, 1976. Without explaining the provisions of the new contract to complainants,
respondent insisted that complainants sign the same, again upon the assurance that the document beginning December 31, 1975 up to May 31, 1976 (the date of the execution of the second Real
was a mere formality. Unsuspecting of the motive of respondent, complainants signed the Estate Mortgage) a total of six (6) months lapsed. Six (6) months at P500.00 equals P 3,000.00,
document. Complainants Narciso Melendres again brought the same document to a Notary Public which amount plus the P2,000.00 complainants' loan to one Engr. Villanueva (indorsed to
for notarization. After the document was notarized, he brought the same to respondent without respondent for collection) totals P5,000.00. Adding this amount to the previous P5,000.00 indicated
getting a copy of it. loan secured by the first mortgage results in P10,000.00, the amount appearing in the second Real
Estate Mortgage. Section 7, Rule 130 of the Rules of Court provides:
Complainants, relying on the assurance of the respondent that the second Real Estate Mortgage
was but a formality, neither bothered to ask from respondent the status of their lot nor tried to pay SEC. 7. Evidence of written agreements. — When the terms of an agreement have been reduced to
their obligation. For their failure to pay the obligation, the respondent on October 12, 1976, applied writing, it is to be considered as complaining all such terms, and, therefore, there can be, as
for the extrajudicial foreclosure of the second real estate mortgage (Exhibit 16, Respondent's between the parties and their successors in interest, no evidence of the terms of the agreement
Position Paper). All the requirements of Act No. 3135, as amended, re extrajudicial sale of other than the contents of the writing, except in the following cases:
mortgage were ostensibly complied with by respondent. Hence, finally, title was transferred to him,
and on June 20, 1979, respondent sold the involved property to Trinidad Ylanan for P12,000.00. (a) Where a mistake or imperfection of the writing, or its failure to express the true intent and
agreement of the parties, or the validity of the agreement is put in issue by the pleadings;
When informed of the above by one Salud Australlado on the first week of March 1979 (see Sworn
Statement of complainant Narciso Melendres, p. 6, Folder No. 2 of case), and not having known the (b) Where there is an intrinsic ambiguity in the writing. The term "agreement" includes wills.
legal implications of the provisions of the second Real Estate Mortgage which they had executed, There is no dispute that the two documents denominated Real Estate Mortgages covering the
complainants could not believe that title to their lot had already been transferred to respondent and supposed original loan of P5,000.00 and the inflated P10,000.00, respectively, were voluntarily
that respondent had already sold the same to a third person. signed by the complainants. The general rule is that when the parties have reduced their agreement
Upon learning of the sale in March, 1979, complainants tried to raise the amount of P10,000.00 and to writing, it is presumed that they have made the writing the only repository and memorial of the
went to respondent's house on May 30, 1979 to pay their obligation, hoping that they could redeem truth, and whatever is not found in the writing must be understood to have been waived and
their property, although three years had already lapsed from the date of the mortgage. abandoned.

Respondent did not accept the proffered P10,000.00, but instead gave complainants a sheet of However, the rule is not absolute as it admits of some exceptions, as aforequoted. One of the
paper (Annex B, Complainants' Position Paper), which indicated that the total indebtedness had exceptions, that is, failure to express the true intent and agreement of the parties, applies in this
soared to P20,400.00. The computation was made in respondent's own handwriting. Complainants case. From the facts obtaining in the case, it is clear that the complainants were induced to sign the
went home with shattered hopes and with grief in their hearts. Hence, the instant competent for Real Estate Mortgage documents by the false and fraudulent representations of respondent that
disbarment against respondent filed on October 5, 1979. each of the successive documents was a are formality.

Respondent DENIES all the allegations of complainants. He maintains that what appears on the While it may be true that complainants are not at all illiterate, respondent, being a lawyer, should
two documents allegedly executed by complainants, i.e., that they obtained a loan of P5,000.00 on have at least explained to complainants the legal implications of the provisions of the real estate
August 5, 1975 and another P10,000.00 on May 7,1976, is allegedly the truth, and claims that he in mortgage, particularly the provision appointing him as the complainants' attorney-in-fact in the event
truth delivered the alleged amount of P5,000.00 to complainants and not P4,000.00. With respect to of default in payments on the part of complainants. While it may be conceded that it is presumed
the second loan, respondent claims that he delivered to complainants P8,000.00, plus the that in practice the notary public apprises complainants of the legal implications of the contract, it is
P2,000.00 loan previously extended [to] complainants [by] one Regino Villanueva, which loan had of common knowledge that most notaries public do not go through the desired practice.
been indorsed to respondent for collection, thus making a total of P10,000.00, as appearing on said Respondent at least could have informed the complainants by sending a demand letter to them to
document. Respondent denies that he exacted usurious interest of 10% a month or P500.00 from pay their obligation as otherwise he would proceed to sell the lot at public auction as per their
complainants. He asserts that the fact that complainants were able to secure a loan from the Insular contract. This respondent failed to do, despite the fact that he knew fully wen that complainants
Bank of Asia and America (IBAA) only proves the truth of his allegation that the title of the property, were trying their best to raise money to be able to pay their obligation to him, as shown by the loan
at the time complainants obtained a loan from IBAA on April 1976, was clear of any encumbrance, obtained by complainants from the IBAA on April 8, 1976. In this connection, it may be stated that
since complainants had already paid the original loan of P5,000.00 obtained from respondent; that complainants, per advice of respondent himself, returned the proceeds of the IBAA loan to the bank
complainants knew fully well all the conditions of said mortgage; and that his acquisition of the immediately on April 30, 1976, considering that the net proceeds of the loan from said bank was
property in question was in accordance with their contract and the law on the matter. Thus, he only P4,300.00 and not enough to pay the indicated loan from respondent of P5,000.00, which per
denies that he has violated any right of the complainants. computation of respondent would already have earned interest of P2,500.00 for five (5) months
(December 1975 to April, 1976).
After weighing the evidence of both complainants and respondent, we find against respondent.
Respondent claims that complainants had paid him the original loan of P5,000.00, and that this was
While complainants are correct in their claim that they actually obtained an actual cash of the reason why complainants were able to mortgage the lot to the bank free from any
P4,000.00, they are only partly correct in the claim that out of the P10,000.00 appearing in the encumbrance. This claim is incorrect. The reason why the title (T-2684) was free from any
second Real Estate Mortgage, P6,000.00 was applied to interest considering that not all the encumbrance was simply because of the fact that the first Real Estate Mortgage for the indicated
P6,000.00 but only P4,000.00 was applied to interest, computed as follows: the first loan of loan of P5,000.00 (the actual amount was only P 4,000.00) had not been annotated at the back of
P5,000.00 was supposedly due on August 31, 1975. Complainants paid 10% monthly interest or the title (see Annex B, p. 14, rec.).
P500.00 on September 30, 1975, October 31, 1975 and November 30, 1975. Consequently,
Respondent also denies that complainants offered to him the amount of Pl0,000. 00 as payment of payment, perhaps because he was still waiting for the completion of the payment of P2,000.00
the loan, alleging that if the offer were true, he could have readily accepted the same since he sold before turning over the whole amount to complainants.
the lot for almost the same amount, for only P12,000.00, a difference of a few thousand pesos.
Respondent's denial is spacious. At any rate, complainants saw accused Pineda give the abovementioned P500.00 to respondent,
but they were ashamed then to ask directly of respondent what the money was all about.
Indeed, complainants made the offer, but respondent refused the same for the simple reason that
the offer was made on May 30,1979, three (3) years after the execution of the mortgage on May 31, On June 27, 1979, barely a month after May 30, 1979, when the complainants had already lost their
1976. With its lapse of time, respondent demanded obviously the payment of the accumulated trust and respect and/or confidence in respondent upon knowing what happened to their lot and,
substantial interest for three years, as shown by his own computation in as own handwriting on a more so, upon respondent's refusal to accept the Pl0,000.00 offered by complainants to redeem the
sheet of paper (Annex C, Complainants' Position Paper, Folder No. 2).lâwphî1.ñèt same, Narciso Melendre[z] saw the accused Pineda on his way home and confronted him on the
P500.00 that had been given to respondent. Accused then showed complainant Melendres the
In view of all the foregoing, the observation made by the Hearing Officer is worth quoting: receipt (Annex M, Id.) showing that the P500.00 was an advance payment for the supposed
settlement/dismissal of the case filed by complainants against him.
In the humble opinion of the undersigned the pivotal question with respect to this particular charge
is whose version is to be believed. Is it the version of the complainants or the version of the Sensing or feeling that respondent was fooling them, complainants then filed a motion before the
respondent. court which was trying the criminal case and relieved respondent as their counsel.
In resolving this issue the possible motive on the part of the complainants in filing the present The Investigating Fiscal, who heard the case and saw the demeanor of the witnesses in testifying,
complaint against the respondent must be carefully examined and considered. At the beginning had this to say:
there was a harmonious relationship between the complainants and the respondent so much so
that respondent was even engaged as counsel of the complainants and it is but human nature that With respect to the second charge, the fact that respondent received P500.00 from Reynaldo
when respondent extended a loan to the complainants the latter would be grateful to the former. Pineda is duly established. Both the complainants and the respondent agreed that the said amount
However, in the case at bar, complainants filed a complaint against the respondent in spite of the was given to the respondent in connection with a criminal case wherein the complainants were the
great disparity between the status of the complainants and the respondent. Admittedly, respondent private offended parties: that Reynaldo Pineda is the accused and that the respondent is the private
is in a better position financially, socially and intellectually. To the mind of the undersigned, prosecutor of the said case. The pivotal issue in this particular charge is whether the respondent
complainants were only compelled to file the above entitled complaint against the respondent received the amount of P500.00 from Reynaldo Pineda as an advance payment of an amicable
because they felt that they are so aggrieved of what the respondent has done to them. It is for this settlement entered into by the complainants and the accused or the respondent received said
reason therefore that the undersigned is inclined to believe the version of the complainants rather amount from the accused without the knowledge and consent of the complainants. If it is true as
than of the respondent. In addition thereto, the respondent as a lawyer could really see to it that the alleged by the respondent that he only received it for and in behalf of the complainants as advance
transaction between the complainants and himself on papers appear legal and in order. Besides, payment of an amicable settlement why is it that the same was questioned by the complainants?
there is ample evidence in the records of its case that respondent is actually engaged in lending Why is it that it was not the complainants who signed the receipt for the said amount? How come
money at least in a limited way and that the interest at the rate of ten per cent a month is but that as soon as complainants knew that the said amount was given to the respondent, the former
common among money lenders during the time of the transactions in question' filed a motion in court to relieve respondent as their counsel on the ground that they have lost faith
and confidence on him? If it is really true that complainants have knowledge and have consented to
Going now into the second charge, complainants alleged that respondent, who was their counsel this amicable settlement they should be grateful to the efforts of their private prosecutor yet the fact
(private prosecutor) in Criminal Case No. 734, for estafa, against accused Reynaldo Pineda, is that they resented the same and went to the extent of disqualifying the respondent as their
compromised the case with the accused without their consent and received the amount of P500.00 private prosecutor. Reynaldo Pineda himself executed an affidavit belying the claim of the
as advance payment for the amicable settlement, without however, giving to the complainants the respondent.'
Id amount nor informing them of said settlement and payment.
Clearly, the complained acts as described and levelled against respondent Decena are contrary to
Again, respondent denies the allegation and claims that the amicable settlement was with the justice, honesty, modesty, or good morals for which he may be suspended. The moral turpitude for
consent of complainant wife Erlinda Dalman Melendre[z]. which an attorney may be disbarred may consist of misconduct in either his professional or non-
professional attitude (Royong v. Oblena, 7 SCRA 859). The complained acts of respondent imply
We are inclined to believe the version of the complainants. something immoral in themselves, regardless of the fact whether they are punishable by law. The
It is admitted that complainants were not interested in putting the accused Reynaldo Pineda to jail doing of the act itself, and not its prohibition by statute, fixes the moral turpitude (Bartos vs. U.S.
but rather in merely recovering their money of P2,000.00. At this stage, relationship between Dist. Court for District of Nebraska C.C.C. Neb] 19 F [2d] 722).
complainants and respondent was not yet strained, and respondent, as counsel of the complainants A parting comment.
in this case, knew that complainants were merely interested in said recovery. Knowing this,
respondent on his own volition talked to accused and tried to settle the case amicably for All the above is not to say that complainants themselves are faultless.
P2,000.00. He accepted the amount of P500.00 as advance payment, being then the only amount
carried by the accused Pineda. A receipt was signed by both respondent and accused Pineda Complainants should likewise be blamed for trusting the respondent too much. They did not bother
(Annex M, p. 34, record). However, respondent did not inform complainants about this advance to keep a copy of the documents they executed and considering that they admitted they did not
understand the contents of the documents, they did not bother to have them explained by another
lawyer or by any knowledgeable person in their locality. Likewise, for a period of three years, they 1. making it appear on the 5 August 1975 real estate mortgage that the amount loaned to
did not bother to ask for respondent the status of their lot and/or their obligation to him. Their complainants was P5,000.00 instead of P4,000.00;
complacency or apathy amounting almost to negligence contributed to the expedient loss of their
property thru the legal manuevers employed by respondent. Hence, respondent's liability merits 2. exacting grossly unreasonable and usurious interest;
mitigation. (Emphasis supplied) 3. making it appear in the second real estate mortgage of 7 May 1976 that the loan extended to
and made the following recommendation: complainants had escalated to P10,000.00;

WHEREFORE, it is respectfully recommended that Atty. Reynerio I. Decena be suspended from the 4. failing to inform complainants of the import of the real mortgage documents and inducing them to
practice of law for a period of five (5) years. 3 sign those documents with assurances that they were merely for purposes of "formality";

The Office of the Solicitor General, through Fiscals Almonte and Jamero, held several hearings 5. failing to demand or refraining from demanding payment from complainants before effecting
during the investigation of the present administrative case: City Fiscal Jorge T. Almonte was able to extrajudicial foreclosure of the mortgaged property; and
hold six (6) actual hearings out of twenty-five (25) resettings 4 While only five (5) actual hearings, 6. failing to inform or refraining from informing complainants that the real estate mortgage had
out of forty (40) resettings 5 were held under Provincial Fiscal Pedro S. Jamero. In those hearings, already been foreclosed and that complainants had a right to redeem the foreclosed property within
the complainants presented a number of witnesses who, after their direct testimony, were cross- a certain period of time.
examined by the counsel for respondent; complainant Narciso Melendrez also testified and was
accordingly cross-examined. Considering the long delay incurred in the investigation of the constitute deception and dishonesty and conduct unbecoming a member of the Bar. We agree with
administrative case and having been pressed by the Solicitor General immediately to complete the the Solicitor General that the acts of respondent "imply something immoral in themselves regardless
investigation, Fiscal Jamero posed a change of procedure, from trial type proceedings to requiring of whether they are punishable by law" and that these acts constitute moral turpitude, being "contrary
the parties to submit their respective position papers. The complainants immediately filed their to justice, honesty, modesty or good morals." The standard required from members of the Bar is not,
position paper which consisted of their separate sworn statements, (that of Narciso Melendrez was of course, satisfied by conduct which merely avoids collision with our criminal law. Even so,
in a question and answer form), their documentary exhibits and an affidavit of one Jeorge G. respondent's conduct, in fact, may be penalizable under at least one penal statute — the anti-usury
Santos. Respondent also filed his counter-affidavit and affidavits of his witnesses, with several law.
annexes in support thereof In the healing of 28 October 1987, which had been set for the cross
examination of the complainants and their witnesses by respondent, the complainants refused to The second charge against respondent relates to acts done in his professional capacity, that is, done
submit themselves to cross-examination on the ground that the order of the hearing officer dated 17 at a time when he was counsel for the complainants in a criminal case for estafa against accused
December 1986 declaring respondent's right of cross examination as having been waived, had Reynaldo Pineda. There are two (2) aspects to this charge: the first is that respondent Decena
become final and executory. Respondent questions now the evidentiary value of the complainants' effected a compromise agreement concerning the civil liability of accused Reynaldo Pineda without
position paper, not having passed through any cross-examination and argues that the non- the consent and approval of the complainants; the second is that, having received the amount of
submission of the complainants and their witnesses to cross-examination constitutes a denial of his P500.00 as an advance payment on this "settlement," he failed to inform complainants of that
right to due process. advance payment and moreover, did not turn over the P500.00 to the complainants. The facts show
that respondent "settled" the estafa case amicably for P2,000.00 without the knowledge and consent
We do not think respondent's right to confront the complainants and their witnesses against him has of complainants. Respondent informed complainants of the amicable "settlement" and of the P500.00
been violated, Respondent in fact cross-examined complainant Narciso Melendrez and some of the advance payment only after petitioner Narciso Melendrez had confronted him about these matters.
witnesses which complainants had presented earlier. As pointed out by the Solicitor General, the And respondent never did turn over to complainants the P500.00. Respondent is presumed to be
record of the proceedings shows that respondent had all the opportunity to cross-examine the other aware of the rule that lawyers cannot "without special authority, compromise their clients' litigation or
witnesses of the complainants (those whose affidavits were attached to complainants' position receive anything in discharge of a client's claim, but the full amount in cash. 6 Respondent's failure to
paper) had he wanted to, but had forfeited such opportunity by asking for numerous continuances turn over to complainants the amount given by accused Pineda as partial "settlement" of the estafa
which indicated a clear attempt on his part to delay the investigation proceedings. Respondent had case underscores his lack of honesty and candor in dealing with his clients.
in fact requested a total of twenty three (23) resettings during the investigation proceedings: he had
eight (8) under Fiscal Almonte and fifteen (15) under Fiscal Jamero. There were also instances Generally, a lawyer should not be suspended or disbarred for misconduct committed in his personal
where respondent asked for postponement and at the same time reset the hearing to a specific or non-professional capacity. Where however, misconduct outside his professional dealings becomes
date of his choice on which neither he nor as counsel would appear. That attitude of respondent so patent and so gross as to demonstrate moral unfitness to remain in the legal profession, the Court
eventually led the hearing officer to declare his (respondent's) right to cross-examine the must suspend or strike out the lawyer's name from the Rollo of Attorneys. 7 The nature of the office of
complainants and their witnesses as having been waived in his order of 17 December 1986. an attorney at law requires that he shall be a person of good moral character. This qualification is not
Respondent can not now claim that he had been deprived below of the opportunity to confront the only a condition precedent to admission to the practice of law; its continued possession is also
complainants and their witnesses. essential for remaining in the practice of law, in the exercise of privileges of members of the Bar.
Gross misconduct on the part of a lawyer, although not related to the discharge of professional duties
After carefully going through the record of the proceedings as well as the evidence presented by as a member of the Bar, which puts his moral character in serious doubt, renders him unfit to continue
both parties, we agree with the findings and conclusions of the Solicitor General. in the practice of law.
The following acts of respondent:
In the instant case, the exploitative deception exercised by respondent attorney upon the SLIGHT ILLEGAL DETENTION
complainants in his private transactions with them, and the exacting of unconscionable rates of
interest, considered together with the acts of professional misconduct committed by respondent SENTENCE The accused, Frisco Holgado, stands charged with the crime of kidnapping and serious
attorney, compel this Court to the conviction that he has lost that good moral character which is illegal detention in the following
indispensable for continued membership in the Bar. INFORMATION That on or about December 11, 1947, in the municipality of Concepcion, Province of
WHEREFORE, respondent Reynerio I. Decena is hereby DISBARRED and his name shall be stricken Romblon, Philippines and within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, the said accused being a
from the Rollo of Attorneys. Let a copy of this Resolution be FURNISHED each to the Bar Confidant private individual, did then and there wilfully, unlawfully and feloniously, and without justifiable motive,
and spread on the personal records of respondent attorney, and to the Integrated Bar of the kidnap and detain one Artemia Fabreag in the house of Antero Holgado for about 8 hours thereby
Philippines. depriving said Artemia Fabreag of her personal liberty.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Contrary to law.

CANON 2 This case is called for trial on May 8, 1948. Upon arraignment the accused pleaded guilty to the
information above described.
The offense committed by the accused is kidnapping and serious illegal detention as defined by
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, article 267 of the Revised Penal Code as amended by section 2 of Republic Act No. 18 and
vs. punished by reclusion temporal in it minimum period to death. Applying indeterminate sentence law
FRISCO HOLGADO, defendant-appellant. the penalty shall be prision mayor in its maximum degree to reclusion temporal in the medium
degree as minimum, or ten years (10) and one (1) day of prision mayor to twenty (20) years, with
MORAN, C.J.: the accessory penalties provided for by law, with costs. The accused is entitled to one-half of his
Appellant Frisco Holgado was charged in the court of First Instance of Romblon with slight illegal preventive imprisonment.
detention because according to the information, being a private person, he did "feloniously and It must be noticed that in the caption of the case as it appears in the judgment above quoted, the
without justifiable motive, kidnap and detain one Artemia Fabreag in the house of Antero Holgado for offense charged is named SLIGHT ILLEGAL DETENTION while in the body of the judgment if is said
about eight hours thereby depriving said Artemia Fabreag of her personal liberty." On may 8, 1948, that the accused "stands charged with the crime of kidnapping and serious illegal detention." In the
the day set for the trial, the trial court proceeded as follows: formation filed by the provincial fiscal it is said that he "accuses Frisco Holgado of the crime of slight
Court: Is this the case ready for trial? illegal detention." The facts alleged in said information are not clear as to whether the offense is
named therein or capital offense of "kidnapping and serious illegal detention" as found by the trial
Fiscal: I am ready, your honor. judge in his judgment. Since the accused-appellant pleaded guilty and no evidence appears to have
been presented by either party, the trial judge must have deduced the capital offense from the facts
Court: — to the accused. pleaded in the information.
Q. do you have an attorney or are you going to plead guilty? — A. I have no lawyer and I will Under the circumstances, particularly the qualified plea given by the accused who was unaided by
plead guilty. counsel, it was not prudent, to say the least, for the trial court to render such a serious judgment
finding the accused guilty of a capital offense, and imposing upon him such a heavy penalty as ten
Court: Arraign the accused.
years and one day of prision mayor to twenty years, without absolute any evidence to determine and
Note: Interpreter read the information to the accused in the local dialect after which he clarify the true facts of the case.
was asked this question.
The proceedings in the trial court are irregular from the beginning. It is expressly provided in our rules
Q. What do you plead? — A. I plead guilty, but I was instructed by one Mr. Ocampo. of Court, Rule 112, section 3, that:

Q. Who is that Mr. Ocampo, what is his complete name? — A. Mr. Numeriano Ocampo. If the defendant appears without attorney, he must be informed by the court that it is his right to
have attorney being arraigned., and must be asked if he desires the aid of attorney, the Court must
The provincial fiscal is hereby ordered to investigate that man. assign attorney de oficio to defend him. A reasonable time must be allowed for procuring attorney.
Fiscal: I have investigated this case and found out that this Ocampo has nothing to do Under this provision, when a defendant appears without attorney, the court has four important duties
with the case and I found no evidence against this Ocampo. to comply with: 1 — It must inform the defendant that it is his right to have attorney before being
arraigned; 2 — After giving him such information the court must ask him if he desires the aid of an
Court: Sentenced reserved. attorney; 3 — If he desires and is unable to employ attorney, the court must assign attorney de oficio
Two days later, or on May 10, 1948, the trial court rendered the following judgment: to defend him; and 4 — If the accused desires to procure an attorney of his own the court must grant
him a reasonable time therefor.
[Criminal Case No. V-118]
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee, vs. FRISCO HOLGADO defendant-appellant.
Not one of these duties had been complied with by the trial court. The record discloses that said court prohibit persons or entities from making advertisements pertaining to the exercise of the law
did not inform the accused of his right to have an attorney nor did it ask him if he desired the aid of profession other than those allowed by law."
one. The trial court failed to inquire whether or not the accused was to employ an attorney, to grant
him reasonable time to procure or assign an attorney de oficio. The question asked by the court to the The advertisements complained of by herein petitioner are as follows:
accused was "Do you have an attorney or are you going to plead guilty?" Not only did such a question Annex A
fail to inform the accused that it was his right to have an attorney before arraignment, but, what is
worse, the question was so framed that it could have been construed by the accused as a suggestion SECRET MARRIAGE?
from the court that he plead guilt if he had no attorney. And this is a denial of fair hearing in violation P560.00 for a valid marriage.
of the due process clause contained in our Constitution. Info on DIVORCE. ABSENCE.
One of the great principles of justice guaranteed by our Constitution is that "no person shall be held to
answer for a criminal offense without due process of law", and that all accused "shall enjoy the right to THE Please call: 521-0767 LEGAL 5217232, 5222041 CLINIC, INC. 8:30 am— 6:00 pm 7-Flr.
be heard by himself and counsel." In criminal cases there can be no fair hearing unless the accused Victoria Bldg., UN Ave., Mla.
be given the opportunity to be heard by counsel. The right to be heard would be of little avail if it does
not include the right to be heard by counsel. Even the most intelligent or educated man may have no Annex B
skill in the science of the law, particularly in the rules of procedure, and, without counsel, he may be
convicted not because he is guilty but because he does not know how to establish his innocence. And
this can happen more easily to persons who are ignorant or uneducated. It is for this reason that the DON PARKINSON
right to be assisted by counsel is deemed so important that it has become a constitutional right and it
is so implemented that under our rules of procedure it is not enough for the Court to apprise an an Attorney in Guam, is giving FREE BOOKS on Guam Divorce through The Legal Clinic beginning
accused of his right to have an attorney, it is not enough to ask him whether he desires the aid of an Monday to Friday during office hours.
attorney, but it is essential that the court should assign one de oficio if he so desires and he is poor
Guam divorce. Annulment of Marriage. Immigration Problems, Visa Ext. Quota/Non-quota Res. &
grant him a reasonable time to procure an attorney of his own.
Special Retiree's Visa. Declaration of Absence. Remarriage to Filipina Fiancees. Adoption.
It must be added, in the instant case, that the accused who was unaided by counsel pleaded guilty but Investment in the Phil. US/Foreign Visa for Filipina Spouse/Children. Call Marivic.
with the following qualification: "but I was instructed by one Mr. Ocampo." The trial court failed to 1
THE 7F Victoria Bldg. 429 UN Ave., LEGAL Ermita, Manila nr. US Embassy CLINIC, INC. Tel.
inquire as to the true import of this qualification. the record does not show whether the supposed
521-7232; 521-7251; 522-2041; 521-0767
instructions was real and whether it had reference to the commission of the offense or to the making
of the plea guilty. No investigation was opened by the court on this matter in the presence of the It is the submission of petitioner that the advertisements above reproduced are champterous,
accused and there is now no way of determining whether the supposed instruction is a good defense unethical, demeaning of the law profession, and destructive of the confidence of the community in the
or may vitiate the voluntariness of the confession. Apparently the court became satisfied with the integrity of the members of the bar and that, as a member of the legal profession, he is ashamed and
fiscal's information that he had investigated Mr. Ocampo and found that the same had nothing to do offended by the said advertisements, hence the reliefs sought in his petition as hereinbefore quoted.
with this case. Such attitude of the court was wrong for the simple reason that a mere statement of the
fiscal was not sufficient to overcome a qualified plea of the accused. But above all, the court should In its answer to the petition, respondent admits the fact of publication of said advertisement at its
have seen to it that the accused be assisted by counsel specially because of the qualified plea given instance, but claims that it is not engaged in the practice of law but in the rendering of "legal support
by him and the seriousness of the offense found to be capital by the court. services" through paralegals with the use of modern computers and electronic machines. Respondent
further argues that assuming that the services advertised are legal services, the act of advertising
The judgment appealed from is reversed and the case is remanded to the Court below for a new these services should be allowed supposedly
arraignment and a new trial after the accused is apprised of his right to have and to be assisted by in the light of the case of John R. Bates and Van O'Steen vs. State Bar of Arizona, 2 reportedly
counsel. So ordered. decided by the United States Supreme Court on June 7, 1977.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Considering the critical implications on the legal profession of the issues raised herein, we required
the (1) Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP), (2) Philippine Bar Association (PBA), (3) Philippine
MAURICIO C. ULEP, petitioner,
Lawyers' Association (PLA), (4) U.P. Womens Lawyers' Circle (WILOCI), (5) Women Lawyers
Association of the Philippines (WLAP), and (6) Federacion International de Abogadas (FIDA) to
THE LEGAL CLINIC, INC., respondent.
submit their respective position papers on the controversy and, thereafter, their memoranda. 3 The
R E SO L U T I O N said bar associations readily responded and extended their valuable services and cooperation of
which this Court takes note with appreciation and gratitude.
The main issues posed for resolution before the Court are whether or not the services offered by
Petitioner prays this Court "to order the respondent to cease and desist from issuing advertisements respondent, The Legal Clinic, Inc., as advertised by it constitutes practice of law and, in either case,
similar to or of the same tenor as that of annexes "A" and "B" (of said petition) and to perpetually whether the same can properly be the subject of the advertisements herein complained of.
Before proceeding with an in-depth analysis of the merits of this case, we deem it proper and It may be conceded that, as the respondent claims, the advertisements in question are only meant
enlightening to present hereunder excerpts from the respective position papers adopted by the to inform the general public of the services being offered by it. Said advertisements, however,
aforementioned bar associations and the memoranda submitted by them on the issues involved in this emphasize to Guam divorce, and any law student ought to know that under the Family Code, there
bar matter. is only one instance when a foreign divorce is recognized, and that is:
1. Integrated Bar of the Philippines: Article 26. . . .
Notwithstanding the subtle manner by which respondent endeavored to distinguish the two terms, Where a marriage between a Filipino citizen and a foreigner is validly celebrated and a divorce is
i.e., "legal support services" vis-a-vis "legal services", common sense would readily dictate that the thereafter validly obtained abroad by the alien spouse capacitating him or her to remarry, the
same are essentially without substantial distinction. For who could deny that document search, Filipino spouse shall have capacity to remarry under Philippine Law.
evidence gathering, assistance to layman in need of basic institutional services from government or
non-government agencies like birth, marriage, property, or business registration, obtaining It must not be forgotten, too, that the Family Code (defines) a marriage as follows:
documents like clearance, passports, local or foreign visas, constitutes practice of law? Article 1. Marriage is special contract of permanent union between a man and woman entered into
The Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) does not wish to make issue with respondent's foreign accordance with law for the establishment of conjugal and family life. It is the foundation of the
citations. Suffice it to state that the IBP has made its position manifest, to wit, that it strongly family and an inviolable social institution whose nature, consequences, and incidents are governed
opposes the view espoused by respondent (to the effect that today it is alright to advertise one's by law and not subject to stipulation, except that marriage settlements may fix the property relation
legal services). during the marriage within the limits provided by this Code.

The IBP accordingly declares in no uncertain terms its opposition to respondent's act of establishing By simply reading the questioned advertisements, it is obvious that the message being conveyed is
a "legal clinic" and of concomitantly advertising the same through newspaper publications. that Filipinos can avoid the legal consequences of a marriage celebrated in accordance with our
law, by simply going to Guam for a divorce. This is not only misleading, but encourages, or serves
The IBP would therefore invoke the administrative supervision of this Honorable Court to to induce, violation of Philippine law. At the very least, this can be considered "the dark side" of
perpetually restrain respondent from undertaking highly unethical activities in the field of law legal practice, where certain defects in Philippine laws are exploited for the sake of profit. At worst,
practice as aforedescribed. 4 this is outright malpractice.
A. The use of the name "The Legal Clinic, Inc." gives the impression that respondent corporation is Rule 1.02. — A lawyer shall not counsel or abet activities aimed at defiance of the law or at
being operated by lawyers and that it renders legal services. lessening confidence in the legal system.
While the respondent repeatedly denies that it offers legal services to the public, the advertisements In addition, it may also be relevant to point out that advertisements such as that shown in Annex "A"
in question give the impression that respondent is offering legal services. The Petition in fact simply of the Petition, which contains a cartoon of a motor vehicle with the words "Just Married" on its
assumes this to be so, as earlier mentioned, apparently because this (is) the effect that the bumper and seems to address those planning a "secret marriage," if not suggesting a "secret
advertisements have on the reading public. marriage," makes light of the "special contract of permanent union," the inviolable social institution,"
which is how the Family Code describes marriage, obviously to emphasize its sanctity and
The impression created by the advertisements in question can be traced, first of all, to the very inviolability. Worse, this particular advertisement appears to encourage marriages celebrated in
name being used by respondent — "The Legal Clinic, Inc." Such a name, it is respectfully submitted secrecy, which is suggestive of immoral publication of applications for a marriage license.
connotes the rendering of legal services for legal problems, just like a medical clinic connotes
medical services for medical problems. More importantly, the term "Legal Clinic" connotes lawyers, If the article "Rx for Legal Problems" is to be reviewed, it can readily be concluded that the above
as the term medical clinic connotes doctors. impressions one may gather from the advertisements in question are accurate. The Sharon Cuneta-
Gabby Concepcion example alone confirms what the advertisements suggest. Here it can be seen
Furthermore, the respondent's name, as published in the advertisements subject of the present that criminal acts are being encouraged or committed
case, appears with (the) scale(s) of justice, which all the more reinforces the impression that it is (a bigamous marriage in Hong Kong or Las Vegas) with impunity simply because the jurisdiction of
being operated by members of the bar and that it offers legal services. In addition, the Philippine courts does not extend to the place where the crime is committed.
advertisements in question appear with a picture and name of a person being represented as a
lawyer from Guam, and this practically removes whatever doubt may still remain as to the nature of Even if it be assumed, arguendo, (that) the "legal support services" respondent offers do not
the service or services being offered. constitute legal services as commonly understood, the advertisements in question give the
impression that respondent corporation is being operated by lawyers and that it offers legal
It thus becomes irrelevant whether respondent is merely offering "legal support services" as claimed services, as earlier discussed. Thus, the only logical consequence is that, in the eyes of an ordinary
by it, or whether it offers legal services as any lawyer actively engaged in law practice does. And it newspaper reader, members of the bar themselves are encouraging or inducing the performance of
becomes unnecessary to make a distinction between "legal services" and "legal support services," acts which are contrary to law, morals, good customs and the public good, thereby destroying and
as the respondent would have it. The advertisements in question leave no room for doubt in the demeaning the integrity of the Bar.
minds of the reading public that legal services are being offered by lawyers, whether true or not.
It is respectfully submitted that respondent should be enjoined from causing the publication of the
B. The advertisements in question are meant to induce the performance of acts contrary to law, advertisements in question, or any other advertisements similar thereto. It is also submitted that
morals, public order and public policy.
respondent should be prohibited from further performing or offering some of the services it presently and electronic machines" (pars. 2 and 3, Comment). This is absurd. Unquestionably, respondent's
offers, or, at the very least, from offering such services to the public in general. acts of holding out itself to the public under the trade name "The Legal Clinic, Inc.," and soliciting
employment for its enumerated services fall within the realm of a practice which thus yields itself to
The IBP is aware of the fact that providing computerized legal research, electronic data gathering, the regulatory powers of the Supreme Court. For respondent to say that it is merely engaged in
storage and retrieval, standardized legal forms, investigators for gathering of evidence, and like paralegal work is to stretch credulity. Respondent's own commercial advertisement which
services will greatly benefit the legal profession and should not be stifled but instead encouraged. announces a certain Atty. Don Parkinson to be handling the fields of law belies its pretense. From
However, when the conduct of such business by non-members of the Bar encroaches upon the all indications, respondent "The Legal Clinic, Inc." is offering and rendering legal services through
practice of law, there can be no choice but to prohibit such business. its reserve of lawyers. It has been held that the practice of law is not limited to the conduct of cases
Admittedly, many of the services involved in the case at bar can be better performed by specialists in court, but includes drawing of deeds, incorporation, rendering opinions, and advising clients as to
in other fields, such as computer experts, who by reason of their having devoted time and effort their legal right and then take them to an attorney and ask the latter to look after their case in court
exclusively to such field cannot fulfill the exacting requirements for admission to the Bar. To prohibit See Martin, Legal and Judicial Ethics, 1984 ed., p. 39).
them from "encroaching" upon the legal profession will deny the profession of the great benefits and It is apt to recall that only natural persons can engage in the practice of law, and such limitation
advantages of modern technology. Indeed, a lawyer using a computer will be doing better than a cannot be evaded by a corporation employing competent lawyers to practice for it. Obviously, this is
lawyer using a typewriter, even if both are (equal) in skill. the scheme or device by which respondent "The Legal Clinic, Inc." holds out itself to the public and
Both the Bench and the Bar, however, should be careful not to allow or tolerate the illegal practice solicits employment of its legal services. It is an odious vehicle for deception, especially so when
of law in any form, not only for the protection of members of the Bar but also, and more importantly, the public cannot ventilate any grievance for malpractice against the business conduit. Precisely,
for the protection of the public. Technological development in the profession may be encouraged the limitation of practice of law to persons who have been duly admitted as members of the Bar
without tolerating, but instead ensuring prevention of illegal practice. (Sec. 1, Rule 138, Revised Rules of Court) is to subject the members to the discipline of the
Supreme Court. Although respondent uses its business name, the persons and the lawyers who act
There might be nothing objectionable if respondent is allowed to perform all of its services, but only for it are subject to court discipline. The practice of law is not a profession open to all who wish to
if such services are made available exclusively to members of the Bench and Bar. Respondent engage in it nor can it be assigned to another (See 5 Am. Jur. 270). It is a personal right limited to
would then be offering technical assistance, not legal services. Alternatively, the more difficult task persons who have qualified themselves under the law. It follows that not only respondent but also
of carefully distinguishing between which service may be offered to the public in general and which all the persons who are acting for respondent are the persons engaged in unethical law practice. 6
should be made available exclusively to members of the Bar may be undertaken. This, however,
may require further proceedings because of the factual considerations involved. 3. Philippine Lawyers' Association:

It must be emphasized, however, that some of respondent's services ought to be prohibited The Philippine Lawyers' Association's position, in answer to the issues stated herein, are wit:
outright, such as acts which tend to suggest or induce celebration abroad of marriages which are 1. The Legal Clinic is engaged in the practice of law;
bigamous or otherwise illegal and void under Philippine law. While respondent may not be
prohibited from simply disseminating information regarding such matters, it must be required to 2. Such practice is unauthorized;
include, in the information given, a disclaimer that it is not authorized to practice law, that certain
course of action may be illegal under Philippine law, that it is not authorized or capable of rendering 3. The advertisements complained of are not only unethical, but also misleading and patently
a legal opinion, that a lawyer should be consulted before deciding on which course of action to take, immoral; and
and that it cannot recommend any particular lawyer without subjecting itself to possible sanctions 4. The Honorable Supreme Court has the power to supress and punish the Legal Clinic and its
for illegal practice of law. corporate officers for its unauthorized practice of law and for its unethical, misleading and immoral
If respondent is allowed to advertise, advertising should be directed exclusively at members of the advertising.
Bar, with a clear and unmistakable disclaimer that it is not authorized to practice law or perform Respondent posits that is it not engaged in the practice of law. It claims that it merely renders "legal
legal services. support services" to answers, litigants and the general public as enunciated in the Primary Purpose
The benefits of being assisted by paralegals cannot be ignored. But nobody should be allowed to Clause of its Article(s) of Incorporation. (See pages 2 to 5 of Respondent's Comment). But its
represent himself as a "paralegal" for profit, without such term being clearly defined by rule or advertised services, as enumerated above, clearly and convincingly show that it is indeed engaged
regulation, and without any adequate and effective means of regulating his activities. Also, law in law practice, albeit outside of court.
practice in a corporate form may prove to be advantageous to the legal profession, but before As advertised, it offers the general public its advisory services on Persons and Family Relations
allowance of such practice may be considered, the corporation's Article of Incorporation and By- Law, particularly regarding foreign divorces, annulment of marriages, secret marriages, absence
laws must conform to each and every provision of the Code of Professional Responsibility and the and adoption; Immigration Laws, particularly on visa related problems, immigration problems; the
Rules of Court. 5 Investments Law of the Philippines and such other related laws.
2. Philippine Bar Association: Its advertised services unmistakably require the application of the aforesaid law, the legal principles
Respondent asserts that it "is not engaged in the practice of law but engaged in giving legal support and procedures related thereto, the legal advices based thereon and which activities call for legal
services to lawyers and laymen, through experienced paralegals, with the use of modern computers training, knowledge and experience.
Applying the test laid down by the Court in the aforecited Agrava Case, the activities of respondent No amount of reasoning that in the USA, Canada and other countries the trend is towards allowing
fall squarely and are embraced in what lawyers and laymen equally term as "the practice of law." 7 lawyers to advertise their special skills to enable people to obtain from qualified practitioners legal
services for their particular needs can justify the use of advertisements such as are the subject
4. U.P. Women Lawyers' Circle: matter of the petition, for one (cannot) justify an illegal act even by whatever merit the illegal act
In resolving, the issues before this Honorable Court, paramount consideration should be given to may serve. The law has yet to be amended so that such act could become justifiable.
the protection of the general public from the danger of being exploited by unqualified persons or We submit further that these advertisements that seem to project that secret marriages and divorce
entities who may be engaged in the practice of law. are possible in this country for a fee, when in fact it is not so, are highly reprehensible.
At present, becoming a lawyer requires one to take a rigorous four-year course of study on top of a It would encourage people to consult this clinic about how they could go about having a secret
four-year bachelor of arts or sciences course and then to take and pass the bar examinations. Only marriage here, when it cannot nor should ever be attempted, and seek advice on divorce, where in
then, is a lawyer qualified to practice law. this country there is none, except under the Code of Muslim Personal Laws in the Philippines. It is
While the use of a paralegal is sanctioned in many jurisdiction as an aid to the administration of also against good morals and is deceitful because it falsely represents to the public to be able to do
justice, there are in those jurisdictions, courses of study and/or standards which would qualify these that which by our laws cannot be done (and) by our Code of Morals should not be done.
paralegals to deal with the general public as such. While it may now be the opportune time to In the case (of) In re Taguda, 53 Phil. 37, the Supreme Court held that solicitation for clients by an
establish these courses of study and/or standards, the fact remains that at present, these do not attorney by circulars of advertisements, is unprofessional, and offenses of this character justify
exist in the Philippines. In the meantime, this Honorable Court may decide to make measures to permanent elimination from the Bar. 10
protect the general public from being exploited by those who may be dealing with the general public
in the guise of being "paralegals" without being qualified to do so. 6. Federacion Internacional de Abogados:
In the same manner, the general public should also be protected from the dangers which may be 1.7 That entities admittedly not engaged in the practice of law, such as management consultancy
brought about by advertising of legal services. While it appears that lawyers are prohibited under firms or travel agencies, whether run by lawyers or not, perform the services rendered by
the present Code of Professional Responsibility from advertising, it appears in the instant case that Respondent does not necessarily lead to the conclusion that Respondent is not unlawfully
legal services are being advertised not by lawyers but by an entity staffed by "paralegals." Clearly, practicing law. In the same vein, however, the fact that the business of respondent (assuming it can
measures should be taken to protect the general public from falling prey to those who advertise be engaged in independently of the practice of law) involves knowledge of the law does not
legal services without being qualified to offer such services. 8 necessarily make respondent guilty of unlawful practice of law.
A perusal of the questioned advertisements of Respondent, however, seems to give the impression . . . . Of necessity, no one . . . . acting as a consultant can render effective service unless he is
that information regarding validity of marriages, divorce, annulment of marriage, immigration, visa familiar with such statutes and regulations. He must be careful not to suggest a course of conduct
extensions, declaration of absence, adoption and foreign investment, which are in essence, legal which the law forbids. It seems . . . .clear that (the consultant's) knowledge of the law, and his use
matters , will be given to them if they avail of its services. The Respondent's name — The Legal of that knowledge as a factor in determining what measures he shall recommend, do not constitute
Clinic, Inc. — does not help matters. It gives the impression again that Respondent will or can cure the practice of law . . . . It is not only presumed that all men know the law, but it is a fact that most
the legal problems brought to them. Assuming that Respondent is, as claimed, staffed purely by men have considerable acquaintance with broad features of the law . . . . Our knowledge of the law
paralegals, it also gives the misleading impression that there are lawyers involved in The Legal — accurate or inaccurate — moulds our conduct not only when we are acting for ourselves, but
Clinic, Inc., as there are doctors in any medical clinic, when only "paralegals" are involved in The when we are serving others. Bankers, liquor dealers and laymen generally possess rather precise
Legal Clinic, Inc. knowledge of the laws touching their particular business or profession. A good example is the
architect, who must be familiar with zoning, building and fire prevention codes, factory and
Respondent's allegations are further belied by the very admissions of its President and majority tenement house statutes, and who draws plans and specification in harmony with the law. This is
stockholder, Atty. Nogales, who gave an insight on the structure and main purpose of Respondent not practicing law.
corporation in the aforementioned "Starweek" article." 9
But suppose the architect, asked by his client to omit a fire tower, replies that it is required by the
5. Women Lawyer's Association of the Philippines: statute. Or the industrial relations expert cites, in support of some measure that he recommends, a
Annexes "A" and "B" of the petition are clearly advertisements to solicit cases for the purpose of decision of the National Labor Relations Board. Are they practicing law? In my opinion, they are not,
gain which, as provided for under the above cited law, (are) illegal and against the Code of provided no separate fee is charged for the legal advice or information, and the legal question is
Professional Responsibility of lawyers in this country. subordinate and incidental to a major non-legal problem.

Annex "A" of the petition is not only illegal in that it is an advertisement to solicit cases, but it is It is largely a matter of degree and of custom.
illegal in that in bold letters it announces that the Legal Clinic, Inc., could work out/cause the If it were usual for one intending to erect a building on his land to engage a lawyer to advise him
celebration of a secret marriage which is not only illegal but immoral in this country. While it is and the architect in respect to the building code and the like, then an architect who performed this
advertised that one has to go to said agency and pay P560 for a valid marriage it is certainly fooling function would probably be considered to be trespassing on territory reserved for licensed
the public for valid marriages in the Philippines are solemnized only by officers authorized to do so attorneys. Likewise, if the industrial relations field had been pre-empted by lawyers, or custom
under the law. And to employ an agency for said purpose of contracting marriage is not necessary. placed a lawyer always at the elbow of the lay personnel man. But this is not the case. The most
important body of the industrial relations experts are the officers and business agents of the labor (b) The services performed are not customarily reserved to members of the bar; .
unions and few of them are lawyers. Among the larger corporate employers, it has been the
practice for some years to delegate special responsibility in employee matters to a management (c) No separate fee is charged for the legal advice or information.
group chosen for their practical knowledge and skill in such matter, and without regard to legal All these must be considered in relation to the work for any particular client as a whole.
thinking or lack of it. More recently, consultants like the defendants have the same service that the
larger employers get from their own specialized staff. 1.9. If the person involved is both lawyer and non-lawyer, the Code of Professional Responsibility
succintly states the rule of conduct:
The handling of industrial relations is growing into a recognized profession for which appropriate
courses are offered by our leading universities. The court should be very cautious about declaring Rule 15.08 — A lawyer who is engaged in another profession or occupation concurrently with the
[that] a widespread, well-established method of conducting business is unlawful, or that the practice of law shall make clear to his client whether he is acting as a lawyer or in another capacity.
considerable class of men who customarily perform a certain function have no right to do so, or that
the technical education given by our schools cannot be used by the graduates in their business. 1.10. In the present case. the Legal Clinic appears to render wedding services (See Annex "A"
Petition). Services on routine, straightforward marriages, like securing a marriage license, and
In determining whether a man is practicing law, we should consider his work for any particular client making arrangements with a priest or a judge, may not constitute practice of law. However, if the
or customer, as a whole. I can imagine defendant being engaged primarily to advise as to the law problem is as complicated as that described in "Rx for Legal Problems" on the Sharon Cuneta-
defining his client's obligations to his employees, to guide his client's obligations to his employees, Gabby Concepcion-Richard Gomez case, then what may be involved is actually the practice of law.
to guide his client along the path charted by law. This, of course, would be the practice of the law. If a non-lawyer, such as the Legal Clinic, renders such services then it is engaged in the
But such is not the fact in the case before me. Defendant's primarily efforts are along economic and unauthorized practice of law.
psychological lines. The law only provides the frame within which he must work, just as the zoning
code limits the kind of building the limits the kind of building the architect may plan. The incidental 1.11. The Legal Clinic also appears to give information on divorce, absence, annulment of marriage
legal advice or information defendant may give, does not transform his activities into the practice of and visas (See Annexes "A" and "B" Petition). Purely giving informational materials may not
law. Let me add that if, even as a minor feature of his work, he performed services which are constitute of law. The business is similar to that of a bookstore where the customer buys materials
customarily reserved to members of the bar, he would be practicing law. For instance, if as part of a on the subject and determines on the subject and determines by himself what courses of action to
welfare program, he drew employees' wills. take.

Another branch of defendant's work is the representations of the employer in the adjustment of It is not entirely improbable, however, that aside from purely giving information, the Legal Clinic's
grievances and in collective bargaining, with or without a mediator. This is not per se the practice of paralegals may apply the law to the particular problem of the client, and give legal advice. Such
law. Anyone may use an agent for negotiations and may select an agent particularly skilled in the would constitute unauthorized practice of law.
subject under discussion, and the person appointed is free to accept the employment whether or
It cannot be claimed that the publication of a legal text which publication of a legal text which
not he is a member of the bar. Here, however, there may be an exception where the business turns
purports to say what the law is amount to legal practice. And the mere fact that the principles or
on a question of law. Most real estate sales are negotiated by brokers who are not lawyers. But if
rules stated in the text may be accepted by a particular reader as a solution to his problem does not
the value of the land depends on a disputed right-of-way and the principal role of the negotiator is to
affect this. . . . . Apparently it is urged that the conjoining of these two, that is, the text and the
assess the probable outcome of the dispute and persuade the opposite party to the same opinion,
forms, with advice as to how the forms should be filled out, constitutes the unlawful practice of law.
then it may be that only a lawyer can accept the assignment. Or if a controversy between an
But that is the situation with many approved and accepted texts. Dacey's book is sold to the public
employer and his men grows from differing interpretations of a contract, or of a statute, it is quite
at large. There is no personal contact or relationship with a particular individual. Nor does there
likely that defendant should not handle it. But I need not reach a definite conclusion here, since the
exist that relation of confidence and trust so necessary to the status of attorney and client. THIS IS
situation is not presented by the proofs.
Defendant also appears to represent the employer before administrative agencies of the federal PARTICULAR PERSON IN A PARTICULAR SITUATION. At most the book assumes to offer
government, especially before trial examiners of the National Labor Relations Board. An agency of general advice on common problems, and does not purport to give personal advice on a specific
the federal government, acting by virtue of an authority granted by the Congress, may regulate the problem peculiar to a designated or readily identified person. Similarly the defendant's publication
representation of parties before such agency. The State of New Jersey is without power to interfere does not purport to give personal advice on a specific problem peculiar to a designated or readily
with such determination or to forbid representation before the agency by one whom the agency identified person in a particular situation — in their publication and sale of the kits, such publication
admits. The rules of the National Labor Relations Board give to a party the right to appear in and sale did not constitutes the unlawful practice of law . . . . There being no legal impediment
person, or by counsel, or by other representative. Rules and Regulations, September 11th, 1946, S. under the statute to the sale of the kit, there was no proper basis for the injunction against
203.31. 'Counsel' here means a licensed attorney, and ther representative' one not a lawyer. In this defendant maintaining an office for the purpose of selling to persons seeking a divorce, separation,
phase of his work, defendant may lawfully do whatever the Labor Board allows, even arguing annulment or separation agreement any printed material or writings relating to matrimonial law or
questions purely legal. (Auerbacher v. Wood, 53 A. 2d 800, cited in Statsky, Introduction to the prohibition in the memorandum of modification of the judgment against defendant having an
Paralegalism [1974], at pp. 154-156.). interest in any publishing house publishing his manuscript on divorce and against his having any
personal contact with any prospective purchaser. The record does fully support, however, the
1.8 From the foregoing, it can be said that a person engaged in a lawful calling (which may involve finding that for the change of $75 or $100 for the kit, the defendant gave legal advice in the course
knowledge of the law) is not engaged in the practice of law provided that: of personal contacts concerning particular problems which might arise in the preparation and
presentation of the purchaser's asserted matrimonial cause of action or pursuit of other legal
(a) The legal question is subordinate and incidental to a major non-legal problem;.
remedies and assistance in the preparation of necessary documents (The injunction therefore advising and assisting in the conduct of litigation, but embraces the preparation of pleadings, and
sought to) enjoin conduct constituting the practice of law, particularly with reference to the giving of other papers incident to actions and special proceedings, conveyancing, the preparation of legal
advice and counsel by the defendant relating to specific problems of particular individuals in instruments of all kinds, and the giving of all legal advice to clients. It embraces all advice to clients
connection with a divorce, separation, annulment of separation agreement sought and should be and all actions taken for them in matters connected with the law.
affirmed. (State v. Winder, 348, NYS 2D 270 [1973], cited in Statsky, supra at p. 101.).
The practice of law is not limited to the conduct of cases on court.(Land Title Abstract and Trust Co. v.
1.12. Respondent, of course, states that its services are "strictly non-diagnostic, non-advisory. "It is Dworken , 129 Ohio St. 23, 193N. E. 650). A person is also considered to be in the practice of law
not controverted, however, that if the services "involve giving legal advice or counselling," such when he:
would constitute practice of law (Comment, par. 6.2). It is in this light that FIDA submits that a
factual inquiry may be necessary for the judicious disposition of this case. . . . . for valuable consideration engages in the business of advising person, firms, associations or
corporations as to their right under the law, or appears in a representative capacity as an advocate
2.10. Annex "A" may be ethically objectionable in that it can give the impression (or perpetuate the in proceedings, pending or prospective, before any court, commissioner, referee, board, body,
wrong notion) that there is a secret marriage. With all the solemnities, formalities and other committee, or commission constituted by law or authorized to settle controversies and there, in
requisites of marriages (See Articles 2, et seq., Family Code), no Philippine marriage can be secret. such representative capacity, performs any act or acts for the purpose of obtaining or defending the
rights of their clients under the law. Otherwise stated, one who, in a representative capacity,
2.11. Annex "B" may likewise be ethically objectionable. The second paragraph thereof (which is engages in the business of advising clients as to their rights under the law, or while so engaged
not necessarily related to the first paragraph) fails to state the limitation that only "paralegal performs any act or acts either in court or outside of court for that purpose, is engaged in the
services?" or "legal support services", and not legal services, are available." 11 practice of law. (State ex. rel. Mckittrick v. C.S. Dudley and Co., 102 S. W. 2d 895, 340 Mo. 852).
A prefatory discussion on the meaning of the phrase "practice of law" becomes exigent for the proper This Court, in the case of Philippines Lawyers Association v. Agrava (105 Phil. 173, 176-177),stated:
determination of the issues raised by the petition at bar. On this score, we note that the clause
"practice of law" has long been the subject of judicial construction and interpretation. The courts have The practice of law is not limited to the conduct of cases or litigation in court; it embraces the
laid down general principles and doctrines explaining the meaning and scope of the term, some of preparation of pleadings and other papers incident to actions and special proceedings, the
which we now take into account. management of such actions and proceedings on behalf of clients before judges and courts, and in
addition, conveying. In general, all advice to clients, and all action taken for them in matters
Practice of law means any activity, in or out of court, which requires the application of law, legal connected with the law incorporation services, assessment and condemnation services
procedures, knowledge, training and experience. To engage in the practice of law is to perform those contemplating an appearance before a judicial body, the foreclosure of a mortgage, enforcement of
acts which are characteristic of the profession. Generally, to practice law is to give advice or render a creditor's claim in bankruptcy and insolvency proceedings, and conducting proceedings in
any kind of service that involves legal knowledge or skill. 12 attachment, and in matters or estate and guardianship have been held to constitute law practice, as
The practice of law is not limited to the conduct of cases in court. It includes legal advice and counsel, do the preparation and drafting of legal instruments, where the work done involves the
and the preparation of legal instruments and contract by which legal rights are secured, although such determination by the trained legal mind of the legal effect of facts and conditions. (5 Am. Jr. p. 262,
matter may or may not be pending in a court. 13 263).

In the practice of his profession, a licensed attorney at law generally engages in three principal types Practice of law under modern conditions consists in no small part of work performed outside of any
of professional activity: legal advice and instructions to clients to inform them of their rights and court and having no immediate relation to proceedings in court. It embraces conveyancing, the
obligations, preparation for clients of documents requiring knowledge of legal principles not giving of legal advice on a large variety of subjects and the preparation and execution of legal
possessed by ordinary layman, and appearance for clients before public tribunals which possess instruments covering an extensive field of business and trust relations and other affairs. Although
power and authority to determine rights of life, liberty, and property according to law, in order to assist these transactions may have no direct connection with court proceedings, they are always subject
in proper interpretation and enforcement of law. 14 to become involved in litigation. They require in many aspects a high degree of legal skill, a wide
experience with men and affairs, and great capacity for adaptation to difficult and complex
When a person participates in the a trial and advertises himself as a lawyer, he is in the practice of situations. These customary functions of an attorney or counselor at law bear an intimate relation to
law. 15 One who confers with clients, advises them as to their legal rights and then takes the business the administration of justice by the courts. No valid distinction, so far as concerns the question set
to an attorney and asks the latter to look after the case in court, is also practicing law. 16 Giving advice forth in the order, can be drawn between that part of the work of the lawyer which involves
for compensation regarding the legal status and rights of another and the conduct with respect thereto appearance in court and that part which involves advice and drafting of instruments in his office. It is
constitutes a practice of law. 17 One who renders an opinion as to the proper interpretation of a of importance to the welfare of the public that these manifold customary functions be performed by
statute, and receives pay for it, is, to that extent, practicing law. 18 persons possessed of adequate learning and skill, of sound moral character, and acting at all times
under the heavy trust obligations to clients which rests upon all attorneys. (Moran, Comments on
In the recent case of Cayetano vs. Monsod, 19 after citing the doctrines in several cases, we laid down the Rules o Court, Vol. 3 [1973 ed.], pp. 665-666, citing In Re Opinion of the Justices [Mass], 194
the test to determine whether certain acts constitute "practice of law," thus: N. E. 313, quoted in Rhode Is. Bar Assoc. v. Automobile Service Assoc. [R.I.] 197 A. 139, 144).
Black defines "practice of law" as: The practice of law, therefore, covers a wide range of activities in and out of court. Applying the
aforementioned criteria to the case at bar, we agree with the perceptive findings and observations of
The rendition of services requiring the knowledge and the application of legal principles and
the aforestated bar associations that the activities of respondent, as advertised, constitute "practice of
technique to serve the interest of another with his consent. It is not limited to appearing in court, or
The contention of respondent that it merely offers legal support services can neither be seriously The Legal Clinic has regular and walk-in clients. "when they come, we start by analyzing the
considered nor sustained. Said proposition is belied by respondent's own description of the services it problem. That's what doctors do also. They ask you how you contracted what's bothering you, they
has been offering, to wit: take your temperature, they observe you for the symptoms and so on. That's how we operate, too.
And once the problem has been categorized, then it's referred to one of our specialists.
Legal support services basically consists of giving ready information by trained paralegals to
laymen and lawyers, which are strictly non-diagnostic, non-advisory, through the extensive use of There are cases which do not, in medical terms, require surgery or follow-up treatment. These The
computers and modern information technology in the gathering, processing, storage, transmission Legal Clinic disposes of in a matter of minutes. "Things like preparing a simple deed of sale or an
and reproduction of information and communication, such as computerized legal research; affidavit of loss can be taken care of by our staff or, if this were a hospital the residents or the
encoding and reproduction of documents and pleadings prepared by laymen or lawyers; document interns. We can take care of these matters on a while you wait basis. Again, kung baga sa hospital,
search; evidence gathering; locating parties or witnesses to a case; fact finding investigations; and out-patient, hindi kailangang ma-confine. It's just like a common cold or diarrhea," explains Atty.
assistance to laymen in need of basic institutional services from government or non-government Nogales.
agencies, like birth, marriage, property, or business registrations; educational or employment
records or certifications, obtaining documentation like clearances, passports, local or foreign visas; Those cases which requires more extensive "treatment" are dealt with accordingly. "If you had a
giving information about laws of other countries that they may find useful, like foreign divorce, rich relative who died and named you her sole heir, and you stand to inherit millions of pesos of
marriage or adoption laws that they can avail of preparatory to emigration to the foreign country, property, we would refer you to a specialist in taxation. There would be real estate taxes and
and other matters that do not involve representation of clients in court; designing and installing arrears which would need to be put in order, and your relative is even taxed by the state for the right
computer systems, programs, or software for the efficient management of law offices, corporate to transfer her property, and only a specialist in taxation would be properly trained to deal with the
legal departments, courts and other entities engaged in dispensing or administering legal services. problem. Now, if there were other heirs contesting your rich relatives will, then you would need a
20 litigator, who knows how to arrange the problem for presentation in court, and gather evidence to
support the case. 21
While some of the services being offered by respondent corporation merely involve mechanical and
technical knowhow, such as the installation of computer systems and programs for the efficient That fact that the corporation employs paralegals to carry out its services is not controlling. What is
management of law offices, or the computerization of research aids and materials, these will not important is that it is engaged in the practice of law by virtue of the nature of the services it renders
suffice to justify an exception to the general rule. which thereby brings it within the ambit of the statutory prohibitions against the advertisements which
it has caused to be published and are now assailed in this proceeding.
What is palpably clear is that respondent corporation gives out legal information to laymen and
lawyers. Its contention that such function is non-advisory and non-diagnostic is more apparent than Further, as correctly and appropriately pointed out by the U.P. WILOCI, said reported facts sufficiently
real. In providing information, for example, about foreign laws on marriage, divorce and adoption, it establish that the main purpose of respondent is to serve as a one-stop-shop of sorts for various legal
strains the credulity of this Court that all the respondent corporation will simply do is look for the law, problems wherein a client may avail of legal services from simple documentation to complex litigation
furnish a copy thereof to the client, and stop there as if it were merely a bookstore. With its attorneys and corporate undertakings. Most of these services are undoubtedly beyond the domain of
and so called paralegals, it will necessarily have to explain to the client the intricacies of the law and paralegals, but rather, are exclusive functions of lawyers engaged in the practice of law. 22
advise him or her on the proper course of action to be taken as may be provided for by said law. That It should be noted that in our jurisdiction the services being offered by private respondent which
is what its advertisements represent and for the which services it will consequently charge and be constitute practice of law cannot be performed by paralegals. Only a person duly admitted as a
paid. That activity falls squarely within the jurisprudential definition of "practice of law." Such a member of the bar, or hereafter admitted as such in accordance with the provisions of the Rules of
conclusion will not be altered by the fact that respondent corporation does not represent clients in Court, and who is in good and regular standing, is entitled to practice law. 23
court since law practice, as the weight of authority holds, is not limited merely giving legal advice,
contract drafting and so forth. 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 lawyers is an individual and limited
The aforesaid conclusion is further strengthened by an article published in the January 13, 1991 issue privilege subject to withdrawal if he fails to maintain proper standards of moral and professional
of the Starweek/The Sunday Magazine of the Philippines Star, entitled "Rx for Legal Problems," where conduct. The purpose is to protect the public, the court, the client and the bar from the incompetence
an insight into the structure, main purpose and operations of respondent corporation was given by its or dishonesty of those unlicensed to practice law and not subject to the disciplinary control of the
own "proprietor," Atty. Rogelio P. Nogales: court. 24
This is the kind of business that is transacted everyday at The Legal Clinic, with offices on the The same rule is observed in the american jurisdiction wherefrom respondent would wish to draw
seventh floor of the Victoria Building along U. N. Avenue in Manila. No matter what the client's support for his thesis. The doctrines there also stress that the practice of law is limited to those who
problem, and even if it is as complicated as the Cuneta-Concepcion domestic situation, Atty. meet the requirements for, and have been admitted to, the bar, and various statutes or rules
Nogales and his staff of lawyers, who, like doctors are "specialists" in various fields can take care of specifically so provide. 25 The practice of law is not a lawful business except for members of the bar
it. The Legal Clinic, Inc. has specialists in taxation and criminal law, medico-legal problems, labor, who have complied with all the conditions required by statute and the rules of court. Only those
litigation, and family law. These specialist are backed up by a battery of paralegals, counsellors and persons are allowed to practice law who, by reason of attainments previously acquired through
attorneys. education and study, have been recognized by the courts as possessing profound knowledge of legal
Atty. Nogales set up The Legal Clinic in 1984. Inspired by the trend in the medical field toward science entitling them to advise, counsel with, protect, or defend the rights claims, or liabilities of their
specialization, it caters to clients who cannot afford the services of the big law firms. clients, with respect to the construction, interpretation, operation and effect of law. 26 The justification
for excluding from the practice of law those not admitted to the bar is found, not in the protection of
the bar from competition, but in the protection of the public from being advised and represented in It is undeniable that the advertisement in question was a flagrant violation by the respondent of the
legal matters by incompetent and unreliable persons over whom the judicial department can exercise ethics of his profession, it being a brazen solicitation of business from the public. Section 25 of Rule
little control. 27 127 expressly provides among other things that "the practice of soliciting cases at law for the
purpose of gain, either personally or thru paid agents or brokers, constitutes malpractice." It is
We have to necessarily and definitely reject respondent's position that the concept in the United highly unethical for an attorney to advertise his talents or skill as a merchant advertises his wares.
States of paralegals as an occupation separate from the law profession be adopted in this jurisdiction. Law is a profession and not a trade. The lawyer degrades himself and his profession who stoops to
Whatever may be its merits, respondent cannot but be aware that this should first be a matter for and adopts the practices of mercantilism by advertising his services or offering them to the public.
judicial rules or legislative action, and not of unilateral adoption as it has done. As a member of the bar, he defiles the temple of justice with mercenary activities as the money-
Paralegals in the United States are trained professionals. As admitted by respondent, there are changers of old defiled the temple of Jehovah. "The most worthy and effective advertisement
schools and universities there which offer studies and degrees in paralegal education, while there are possible, even for a young lawyer, . . . . is the establishment of a well-merited reputation for
none in the Philippines. 28 As the concept of the "paralegals" or "legal assistant" evolved in the United professional capacity and fidelity to trust. This cannot be forced but must be the outcome of
States, standards and guidelines also evolved to protect the general public. One of the major character and conduct." (Canon 27, Code of Ethics.).
standards or guidelines was developed by the American Bar Association which set up Guidelines for We repeat, the canon of the profession tell us that the best advertising possible for a lawyer is a well-
the Approval of Legal Assistant Education Programs (1973). Legislation has even been proposed to merited reputation for professional capacity and fidelity to trust, which must be earned as the outcome
certify legal assistants. There are also associations of paralegals in the United States with their own of character and conduct. Good and efficient service to a client as well as to the community has a way
code of professional ethics, such as the National Association of Legal Assistants, Inc. and the of publicizing itself and catching public attention. That publicity is a normal by-product of effective
American Paralegal Association. 29 service which is right and proper. A good and reputable lawyer needs no artificial stimulus to generate
In the Philippines, we still have a restricted concept and limited acceptance of what may be it and to magnify his success. He easily sees the difference between a normal by-product of able
considered as paralegal service. As pointed out by FIDA, some persons not duly licensed to practice service and the unwholesome result of propaganda. 40
law are or have been allowed limited representation in behalf of another or to render legal services, Of course, not all types of advertising or solicitation are prohibited. The canons of the profession
but such allowable services are limited in scope and extent by the law, rules or regulations granting enumerate exceptions to the rule against advertising or solicitation and define the extent to which they
permission therefor. 30 may be undertaken. The exceptions are of two broad categories, namely, those which are expressly
Accordingly, we have adopted the American judicial policy that, in the absence of constitutional or allowed and those which are necessarily implied from the restrictions. 41
statutory authority, a person who has not been admitted as an attorney cannot practice law for the The first of such exceptions is the publication in reputable law lists, in a manner consistent with the
proper administration of justice cannot be hindered by the unwarranted intrusion of an unauthorized standards of conduct imposed by the canons, of brief biographical and informative data. "Such data
and unskilled person into the practice of law. 31 That policy should continue to be one of encouraging must not be misleading and may include only a statement of the lawyer's name and the names of his
persons who are unsure of their legal rights and remedies to seek legal assistance only from persons professional associates; addresses, telephone numbers, cable addresses; branches of law practiced;
licensed to practice law in the state. 32 date and place of birth and admission to the bar; schools attended with dates of graduation, degrees
Anent the issue on the validity of the questioned advertisements, the Code of Professional and other educational distinction; public or quasi-public offices; posts of honor; legal authorships; legal
Responsibility provides that a lawyer in making known his legal services shall use only true, honest, teaching positions; membership and offices in bar associations and committees thereof, in legal and
fair, dignified and objective information or statement of facts. 33 He is not supposed to use or permit scientific societies and legal fraternities; the fact of listings in other reputable law lists; the names and
the use of any false, fraudulent, misleading, deceptive, undignified, self-laudatory or unfair statement addresses of references; and, with their written consent, the names of clients regularly represented."
or claim regarding his qualifications or legal services. 34 Nor shall he pay or give something of value to
representatives of the mass media in anticipation of, or in return for, publicity to attract legal business. The law list must be a reputable law list published primarily for that purpose; it cannot be a mere
Prior to the adoption of the code of Professional Responsibility, the Canons of Professional Ethics supplemental feature of a paper, magazine, trade journal or periodical which is published principally
had also warned that lawyers should not resort to indirect advertisements for professional for other purposes. For that reason, a lawyer may not properly publish his brief biographical and
employment, such as furnishing or inspiring newspaper comments, or procuring his photograph to be informative data in a daily paper, magazine, trade journal or society program. Nor may a lawyer permit
published in connection with causes in which the lawyer has been or is engaged or concerning the his name to be published in a law list the conduct, management or contents of which are calculated or
manner of their conduct, the magnitude of the interest involved, the importance of the lawyer's likely to deceive or injure the public or the bar, or to lower the dignity or standing of the profession. 43
position, and all other like self-laudation. 36
The use of an ordinary simple professional card is also permitted. The card may contain only a
The standards of the legal profession condemn the lawyer's advertisement of his talents. A lawyer statement of his name, the name of the law firm which he is connected with, address, telephone
cannot, without violating the ethics of his profession. advertise his talents or skill as in a manner number and special branch of law practiced. The publication of a simple announcement of the
similar to a merchant advertising his goods. 37 The prescription against advertising of legal services or opening of a law firm or of changes in the partnership, associates, firm name or office address, being
solicitation of legal business rests on the fundamental postulate that the that the practice of law is a for the convenience of the profession, is not objectionable. He may likewise have his name listed in a
profession. Thus, in the case of The Director of Religious Affairs. vs. Estanislao R. Bayot 38 an telephone directory but not under a designation of special branch of law. 44
advertisement, similar to those of respondent which are involved in the present proceeding, 39 was
held to constitute improper advertising or solicitation. Verily, taking into consideration the nature and contents of the advertisements for which respondent is
being taken to task, which even includes a quotation of the fees charged by said respondent
The pertinent part of the decision therein reads:
corporation for services rendered, we find and so hold that the same definitely do not and conclusively light of the putative misuse thereof. That spin-off from the instant bar matter is referred to the Solicitor
cannot fall under any of the above-mentioned exceptions. General for such action as may be necessary under the circumstances.
The ruling in the case of Bates, et al. vs. State Bar of Arizona, 45 which is repeatedly invoked and ACCORDINGLY, the Court Resolved to RESTRAIN and ENJOIN herein respondent, The Legal Clinic,
constitutes the justification relied upon by respondent, is obviously not applicable to the case at bar. Inc., from issuing or causing the publication or dissemination of any advertisement in any form which
Foremost is the fact that the disciplinary rule involved in said case explicitly allows a lawyer, as an is of the same or similar tenor and purpose as Annexes "A" and "B" of this petition, and from
exception to the prohibition against advertisements by lawyers, to publish a statement of legal fees for conducting, directly or indirectly, any activity, operation or transaction proscribed by law or the Code
an initial consultation or the availability upon request of a written schedule of fees or an estimate of of Professional Ethics as indicated herein. Let copies of this resolution be furnished the Integrated Bar
the fee to be charged for the specific services. No such exception is provided for, expressly or of the Philippines, the Office of the Bar Confidant and the Office of the Solicitor General for
impliedly, whether in our former Canons of Professional Ethics or the present Code of Professional appropriate action in accordance herewith.
Responsibility. Besides, even the disciplinary rule in the Bates case contains a proviso that the
exceptions stated therein are "not applicable in any state unless and until it is implemented by such ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
authority in that state." 46 This goes to show that an exception to the general rule, such as that being In re LUIS B. TAGORDA,
invoked by herein respondent, can be made only if and when the canons expressly provide for such
an exception. Otherwise, the prohibition stands, as in the case at bar. MALCOLM, J.:
It bears mention that in a survey conducted by the American Bar Association after the decision in The respondent, Luis B. Tagorda, a practising attorney and a member of the provincial board of
Bates, on the attitude of the public about lawyers after viewing television commercials, it was found Isabela, admits that previous to the last general elections he made use of a card written in Spanish
that public opinion dropped significantly 47 with respect to these characteristics of lawyers: and Ilocano, which, in translation, reads as follows:
Trustworthy from 71% to 14% LUIS B. TAGORDA
Professional from 71% to 14% Attorney
Honest from 65% to 14% Notary Public
Dignified from 45% to 14% CANDIDATE FOR THIRD MEMBER
Province of Isabela
Secondly, it is our firm belief that with the present situation of our legal and judicial systems, to allow
the publication of advertisements of the kind used by respondent would only serve to aggravate what (NOTE. — As notary public, he can execute for you a deed of sale for the purchase of land as
is already a deteriorating public opinion of the legal profession whose integrity has consistently been required by the cadastral office; can renew lost documents of your animals; can make your
under attack lately by media and the community in general. At this point in time, it is of utmost application and final requisites for your homestead; and can execute any kind of affidavit. As a
importance in the face of such negative, even if unfair, criticisms at times, to adopt and maintain that lawyer, he can help you collect your loans although long overdue, as well as any complaint for or
level of professional conduct which is beyond reproach, and to exert all efforts to regain the high against you. Come or write to him in his town, Echague, Isabela. He offers free consultation, and is
esteem formerly accorded to the legal profession. willing to help and serve the poor.)
In sum, it is undoubtedly a misbehavior on the part of the lawyer, subject to disciplinary action, to The respondent further admits that he is the author of a letter addressed to a lieutenant of barrio in his
advertise his services except in allowable instances 48 or to aid a layman in the unauthorized practice home municipality written in Ilocano, which letter, in translation, reads as follows:
of law. 49 Considering that Atty. Rogelio P. Nogales, who is the prime incorporator, major stockholder
and proprietor of The Legal Clinic, Inc. is a member of the Philippine Bar, he is hereby reprimanded, ECHAGUE, ISABELA, September 18, 1928
with a warning that a repetition of the same or similar acts which are involved in this proceeding will
MY DEAR LIEUTENANT: I would like to inform you of the approaching date for our induction into
be dealt with more severely.
office as member of the Provincial Board, that is on the 16th of next month. Before my induction into
While we deem it necessary that the question as to the legality or illegality of the purpose/s for which office I should be very glad to hear your suggestions or recommendations for the good of the
the Legal Clinic, Inc. was created should be passed upon and determined, we are constrained to province in general and for your barrio in particular. You can come to my house at any time here in
refrain from lapsing into an obiter on that aspect since it is clearly not within the adjudicative Echague, to submit to me any kind of suggestion or recommendation as you may desire.
parameters of the present proceeding which is merely administrative in nature. It is, of course,
I also inform you that despite my membership in the Board I will have my residence here in
imperative that this matter be promptly determined, albeit in a different proceeding and forum, since,
Echague. I will attend the session of the Board of Ilagan, but will come back home on the following
under the present state of our law and jurisprudence, a corporation cannot be organized for or engage
day here in Echague to live and serve with you as a lawyer and notary public. Despite my election
in the practice of law in this country. This interdiction, just like the rule against unethical advertising,
as member of the Provincial Board, I will exercise my legal profession as a lawyer and notary
cannot be subverted by employing some so-called paralegals supposedly rendering the alleged
public. In case you cannot see me at home on any week day, I assure you that you can always find
support services.
me there on every Sunday. I also inform you that I will receive any work regarding preparations of
The remedy for the apparent breach of this prohibition by respondent is the concern and province of documents of contract of sales and affidavits to be sworn to before me as notary public even on
the Solicitor General who can institute the corresponding quo warranto action, 50 after due Sundays.
ascertainment of the factual background and basis for the grant of respondent's corporate charter, in
I would like you all to be informed of this matter for the reason that some people are in the belief ignorant or others, to seek his professional services. A duty to the public and to the profession
that my residence as member of the Board will be in Ilagan and that I would then be disqualified to devolves upon every member of the bar having knowledge of such practices upon the part of any
exercise my profession as lawyer and as notary public. Such is not the case and I would make it practitioner immediately to inform thereof to the end that the offender may be disbarred.
clear that I am free to exercise my profession as formerly and that I will have my residence here in
Echague. Common barratry consisting of frequently stirring up suits and quarrels between individuals was a
crime at the common law, and one of the penalties for this offense when committed by an attorney
I would request you kind favor to transmit this information to your barrio people in any of your was disbarment. Statutes intended to reach the same evil have been provided in a number of
meetings or social gatherings so that they may be informed of my desire to live and to serve with jurisdictions usually at the instance of the bar itself, and have been upheld as constitutional. The
you in my capacity as lawyer and notary public. If the people in your locality have not as yet reason behind statutes of this type is not difficult to discover. The law is a profession and not a
contracted the services of other lawyers in connection with the registration of their land titles, I business. The lawyer may not seek or obtain employment by himself or through others for to do so
would be willing to handle the work in court and would charge only three pesos for every would be unprofessional. (State vs. Rossman [1909], 53 Wash., 1; 17 Ann. Cas., 625; People vs. Mac
registration. Cabe [1893], 19 L. R. A., 231; 2 R. C. L., 1097.)
Yours respectfully, It becomes our duty to condemn in no uncertain terms the ugly practice of solicitation of cases by
lawyers. It is destructive of the honor of a great profession. It lowers the standards of that profession.
(Sgd.) LUIS TAGORDA It works against the confidence of the community in the integrity of the members of the bar. It results
Attorney in needless litigation and in incenting to strife otherwise peacefully inclined citizens.
Notary Public.
The solicitation of employment by an attorney is a ground for disbarment or suspension. That should
The facts being conceded, it is next in order to write down the applicable legal provisions. Section 21 be distinctly understood.
of the Code of Civil Procedure as originally conceived related to disbarments of members of the bar.
In 1919 at the instigation of the Philippine Bar Association, said codal section was amended by Act Giving application of the law and the Canons of Ethics to the admitted facts, the respondent stands
No. 2828 by adding at the end thereof the following: "The practice of soliciting cases at law for the convicted of having solicited cases in defiance of the law and those canons. Accordingly, the only
purpose of gain, either personally or through paid agents or brokers, constitutes malpractice." remaining duty of the court is to fix upon the action which should here be taken. The provincial fiscal
of Isabela, with whom joined the representative of the Attorney-General in the oral presentation of the
The statute as amended conforms in principle to the Canons of Professionals Ethics adopted by the case, suggests that the respondent be only reprimanded. We think that our action should go further
American Bar Association in 1908 and by the Philippine Bar Association in 1917. Canons 27 and 28 than this if only to reflect our attitude toward cases of this character of which unfortunately the
of the Code of Ethics provide: respondent's is only one. The commission of offenses of this nature would amply justify permanent
27. ADVERTISING, DIRECT OR INDIRECT. — The most worthy and effective advertisement elimination from the bar. But as mitigating, circumstances working in favor of the respondent there
possible, even for a young lawyer, and especially with his brother lawyers, is the establishment of a are, first, his intimation that he was unaware of the impropriety of his acts, second, his youth and
well-merited reputation for professional capacity and fidelity to trust. This cannot be forced, but must inexperience at the bar, and, third, his promise not to commit a similar mistake in the future. A modest
be the outcome of character and conduct. The publication or circulation of ordinary simple business period of suspension would seem to fit the case of the erring attorney. But it should be distinctly
cards, being a matter of personal taste or local custom, and sometimes of convenience, is not per understood that this result is reached in view of the considerations which have influenced the court to
se improper. But solicitation of business by circulars or advertisements, or by personal the relatively lenient in this particular instance and should, therefore, not be taken as indicating that
communications or interview not warranted by personal relations, is unprofessional. It is equally future convictions of practice of this kind will not be dealt with by disbarment.
unprofessional to procure business by indirection through touters of any kind, whether allied real In view of all the circumstances of this case, the judgment of the court is that the respondent Luis B.
estate firms or trust companies advertising to secure the drawing of deeds or wills or offering Tagorda be and is hereby suspended from the practice as an attorney-at-law for the period of one
retainers in exchange for executorships or trusteeships to be influenced by the lawyer. Indirect month from April 1, 1929,
advertisement for business by furnishing or inspiring newspaper comments concerning the manner
of their conduct, the magnitude of the interest involved, the importance of the lawyer's position, and --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
all other like self-laudation, defy the traditions and lower the tone of our high calling, and are
lawyer to volunteer advice to bring a lawsuit, except in rare cases where ties of blood, relationship
or trust make it his duty to do so. Stirring up strife and litigation is not only unprofessional, but it is
indictable at common law. It is disreputable to hunt up defects in titles or other causes of action and
inform thereof in order to the employed to bring suit, or to breed litigation by seeking out those with
claims for personal injuries or those having any other grounds of action in order to secure them as
clients, or to employ agents or runners for like purposes, or to pay or reward directly or indirectly,
those who bring or influence the bringing of such cases to his office, or to remunerate policemen,
court or prison officials, physicians, hospital attaches or others who may succeed, under the guise
of giving disinterested friendly advice, in influencing the criminal, the sick and the injured, the
CANON 3 preparation of the Appellant's Brief but failed to submit it through oversight and inadvertence, had also
left the firm.
vs. In its Resolution of 9 October 1974, respondent Court denied the motion for reconsideration, stating
Provincial Sheriff of Rizal, and ANTONIO MARINAS, in his capacity as Deputy Sheriff, Upon consideration of the motion of counsel for defendant-appellant, praying, on
respondents. the grounds therein stated, that the resolution of September 9, 1974, dismissing the
appeal, be set aside, and that appellant be granted a reasonable period of time
within which to file its brief: considering that six (6) months had elapsed since the
DAVIDE, JR., J.: expiration of the original period and more than two and one-half (2-½) months since
This is a petition for prohibition and mandamus, with prayer for preliminary injunction, to review the counsel received copy of the resolution requiring him to show cause why the appeal
Resolution dated 10 November 1975 of respondent Court of Appeals in C.A.-G.R. No. 53546-R should not be dismissed for failure to file brief; Motion Denied. 8
denying petitioner's motion to reinstate its appeal, earlier dismissed for failure to file the Appellant's No action having been taken by petitioner from the above Resolution within the period to file a petition
Brief. for review, the same became final and executory, and the records of the case were remanded to the
The material operative facts of this case, as gathered from the pleadings of the parties, are not court of origin for execution.
disputed. The trial court issued a writ of execution on 21 October 1975. 9 Pursuant thereto, respondent
Eulogio B. Reyes, now deceased, filed an action for damages with the then Court of First Instance Provincial Sheriff and Deputy Sheriff attached petitioner's Hough Pay Loader with Hercules Diesel
(now Regional Trial Court) of Rizal, Pasay City Branch, against the Director of Public Works, the Engine and issued on 5 November 1975 a Notice of Sheriff's Sale, scheduling for Friday, 14
Republic of the Philippines and petitioner herein, B. R. Sebastian Enterprises, Inc. The case was November 1975 at 10:00 o'clock in the morning, the auction sale thereof. 10
docketed as Civil Case No. 757-R. 1 On 6 November 1975, petitioner filed with respondent Court a Motion to Reinstate Appeal with Prayer
On 7 May 1973, the trial court rendered a decision finding petitioner liable for damages but absolving for Issuance of a Writ of Preliminary Injunction 11 dated 5 November 1975, and containing the
the other defendants. 2 following allegations:
Petitioner, thru its counsel, the law firm of Baizas, Alberto and Associates, timely appealed the 1. That late as it may be, this Honorable Court has the inherent power to modify and
adverse decision to the respondent Court of Appeals, which docketed the case as C.A.-G.R. No. set aside its processes, in the interest of justice, especially so in this case when the
53546-R. 3 case was dismissed on account of the untimely death of Atty. Crispin D. Baizas,
During the pendency of the appeal, the plaintiff-appellee therein, Eulogio B. Reyes, died. Upon prior counsel of BRSEI (B.R. Sebastian Enterprises, Inc.).
leave of the respondent Court, he was substituted by his heirs — Enrique N. Reyes, Felicisima R. 2. That to dismiss the case for failure to file the appellant's brief owing to the
Natividad, Donna Marie N. Reyes and Renne Marie N. Ryes — who are now the private respondents untimely death of the late Atty. Crispin D. Baizas would be tantamount to denying
in this present petition. BRSEI its (sic) day in court, and is, therefore, a clear and unmistakable denial of
On 19 February 1974, petitioner, thru its then counsel of record, received notice to file Appellant's due process on the part of BRSEI.
Brief within 45 days from receipt thereof. It had, therefore, until 5 April 1974 within which to comply. 3. That to reinstate BRSEI's appeal would not impair the rights of the parties, since
Counsel for petitioner failed to file the Brief; thus, on 9 July 1974, respondent Court issued a all that BRSEI is asking for, is a day in court to be heard on appeal in order to have
Resolution requiring said counsel to show cause why the appeal should not be dismissed for failure to the unfair, unjust and unlawful decision, set aside and reversed.
file the Appellant's Brief within the reglementary period. 4 A copy of this Resolution was received by The respondent Court denied the said motion in its Resolution of 10 November 1975: 12
counsel for petitioner on 17 July 1974. 5 . . . it appearing that appellant was represented by the law firm of Baizas, Alberto &
As the latter failed to comply with the above Resolution, respondent Court, on 9 September 1974, Associates, and while Atty. Baizas died on January 16, 1974, his law firm was not
issued another Resolution this time dismissing petitioner's appeal: dissolved since it received the notice to file brief on February 19, 1974, and the
It appearing that counsel for defendant-appellant failed to show cause why the copy of the Resolution of July 9, 1974, requiring appellant to show cause why the
appeal should not be dismissed (for failure to file the appellant's brief within the appeal should not be dismissed was received by the law firm on July 17, 1974 and
reglementary period which expired on April 5, 1974) within the period of 10 days no cause was shown; . . .
fixed in the resolution of July 9, 1974, copy of which was received by said counsel Hence, on 13 November 1975, petitioner filed the original petition 13 in this case against the Court of
on July 17, 1974; . . . 6 Appeals, Eulogio B. Reyes, Nicanor G. Salaysay, as Provincial Sheriff of Rizal, and Antonio Marinas,
On 28 September 1974, petitioner, this time thru the BAIZAS LAW OFFICE, filed a motion for as Deputy Sheriff. The petition likewise prayed for the issuance of a Temporary Restraining Order.
reconsideration 7 of the resolution dismissing its appeal alleging that as a result of the death of Atty. In the Resolution of 13 November 1975, this Court required respondents to comment on the petition
Crispin Baizas, senior partner in the law firm of BAIZAS, ALBERTO & ASSOCIATES, the affairs of the within ten (10) days from receipt thereof, and issued a Temporary Restraining Order. 14
said firm are still being settled between Atty. Jose Baizas (son of Crispin Baizas) and Atty. Ruby On 12 January 1976, respondents filed a Partial Comment on the Petition with a Motion to Suspend
Alberto, the latter having established her own law office; furthermore, Atty. Rodolfo Espiritu, the the Proceedings 15 on the ground that respondent Eulogio B. Reyes is already dead and his lawful
lawyer who handled this case in the trial court and who is believed to have also attended to the heirs had already been ordered substituted for him during the pendency of the appeal before the
respondent Court of Appeals.
In the Resolution of 21 January 1976, this Court ordered petitioner to amend its petition within then Appeals had been apprised of their alleged failure to defray the cost of printing their
(10) days from receipt of notice, and suspended the filing of respondents' Comment until after the brief and they could have articulated their reaction directly to the Court. Counsel
amendment is presented and admitted. 16 could have moved in the Appellate Court that he be allowed to withdraw from the
In compliance therewith, petitioner filed on 9 February 1976 a Motion for Leave to Admit Amended case or that the Pagtakhans be required to manifest whether they were still
Petition to which it attached the said Amended Petition. 17 The amendment consists in the substitution desirous of prosecuting their appeal or wanted a mimeographed brief to be filed for
of Eulogio B. Reyes with his heirs. them (See People vs. Cawili, L-30543, August 31, 1970, 34 SCRA 728). Since
counsel did none of those things, his representation that the appellants had evinced
This Court admitted the Amended Petition 18 and required the respondents to file their Comment within lack of interest in pursuing their appeal is difficult to believe.
ten (10) days from notice thereof, which they complied with on 5 April 1976. 19 Petitioner filed its Reply
to the Comment on 29 April 1976. 20 If the appellate court has not yet lost its jurisdiction, it may exercise its discretion in
reinstating an appeal, having in mind the circumstances obtaining in each case and
In the Resolution of 12 May 1976, this Court denied the petition for lack of merit: 21 the demands of substantial justice (Alquiza vs. Alquiza, L-23342, February 10,
L-41862 (B.R. Sebastian Enterprises, Inc. vs. Court of Appeals, et. al.). — 1968, 22 SCRA 494, 66 O.G. 276; C. Vda. de Ordoveza vs. Raymundo, 62 Phil.
Considering the allegations, issues and arguments adduced in the amended 275; Chavez vs. Ganzon, 108 Phil. 6).
petition for review on certiorari of the decision of the Court of Appeals, respondents' But even if it has already lost jurisdiction over the appeal by reason of the remand
comment thereon, as well as petitioner's reply to said comment, the Court Resolved of the record to the lower court, it, nevertheless, has the inherent right to recall the
to DENY the petition for lack of merit. remittitur or the remand of the record to the lower court if it had rendered a decision
However, on 31 May 1976, petitioner filed a motion for its reconsideration 22 claiming that since it was or issued a resolution which was induced by fraud practised upon it. Such a right is
deprived of the right to appeal without fault on its part, the petition should be given due course. not affected by the statutory provision that after the record has been remanded, the
Respondents submitted on 22 July 1976 their Comment 23 to said Motion for Reconsideration. appellate court has no further jurisdiction over the appeal (5 Am Jur. 2nd 433 citing
Lovett vs. State, 29 Fla. 384, 11 So. 176; 84 ALR 595; State vs. Ramirez, 34 Idaho
On 10 September 1976, this Court resolved to reconsider 24 its Resolution of 12 May 1976 and
623, 203 Pac. 279).
required both parties to submit simultaneously their respective Memoranda within thirty (30) days from
notice thereof. In the instant case, no fraud is involved; what obtain is simple negligence on the part of petitioner's
counsel, which is neither excusable nor unavoidable. Petitioner thus failed to demonstrate sufficient
Petitioner submitted its Memorandum on 5 November 1976 25 while respondents submitted theirs on
cause to warrant a favorable action on its plea.
22 November 1976. 26 On 29 November 1976, this Court deemed the present case submitted for
decision. 27 As held in Chavez, et al. vs. Ganzon, et al., 29 and reiterated in Negros Stevedoring Co., Inc. vs. Court
of Appeals, 30 We said:
The sole issue to be addressed is whether or not the respondent Court of Appeals gravely abused its
discretion in denying petitioner's motion to reinstate its appeal, previously dismissed for failure to file Granting that the power or discretion to reinstate an appeal that had been
the Appellant's Brief. dismissed is included in or implied from the power or discretion to dismiss an
appeal, still such power or discretion must be exercised upon a showing of good
Petitioner, in its Memorandum, extensively expounds on respondent Court's authority to reinstate
and sufficient cause, in like manner as the power or discretion vested in the
dismissed appeals and cites as basis thereof the decision of this Court in Heirs of Clemente Celestino
appellate court to allow extensions of time for the filing of briefs. There must be
vs. Court of Appeals, et al., 28 Indeed, in said case, this Court affirmed the resolution of the Court of
such a showing which would call for, prompt and justify its exercise (sic). Otherwise,
Appeals — reinstating an appeal after being dismissed for failure by the appellants therein to file their
it cannot and must not be upheld.
brief, and after entry of judgment and remand of the records to the lower court — and cancelled the
entry of judgment, requiring the lower court to return the records to the Court of Appeals and admit To justify its failure to file the Appellant's Brief, petitioner relies mainly on the death of Atty. Crispin
appellant's brief. Said case, however, had a peculiar or singular factual situation" which prompted the Baizas and the supposed confusion it brought to the firm of BAIZAS, ALBERTO & ASSOCIATES. It
Court of Appeals to grant the relief and which this Court found sufficient to justify such action. As this says: 31
Court, through Associate Justice Ramon Aquino, said: Petitioner, thru its president Bernardo R. Sebastian, engaged the services of Atty.
We are of the opinion that under the peculiar or singular factual situation in this Crispin D. Baizas to handle its defense in Civil Case No. 757-R; however, it appears
case and to forestall a miscarriage of justice the resolution of the Court of Appeals that Atty. Baizas entered petitioner's case as a case to be handled by his law firm
reinstating the appeal should be upheld. operating under the name and style "Crispin D. Baizas & Associates." Hence, the
Answer to the complaint, Answer to Cross-Claim, and Answer to Fourth-party
That Court dismissed the appeal of the Pagtakhans in the mistaken belief that they
Complaint filed for petitioner in said case, evince that the law firm "Crispin D. Baizas
had abandoned it because they allegedly failed to give to their counsel the money
& Associates" represents petitioner in the action.
needed for paying the cost of printing their brief.
After rendition of the assailed Decision of the trial court, petitioner's counsel
But presumably the Appellate Court realized later that fraud might have been
appears to have changed its firm name to "Baizas, Alberto & Associates." The
practised on appellants Pagtakhans since their oppositions were not included in the
appeal was thus pursued for petitioner by the law firm "Baizas, Alberto &
record on appeal. In (sic) sensed that there was some irregularity in the actuations
of their lawyer and that Court (sic) itself had been misled into dismissing the appeal.
On January 16, 1974, Atty. Crispin D. Baizas died as a result of a brief heart attack.
Counsel for the Pagtakhans could have furnished them with copies of his motions
In consequence (sic) of his death, the law firm "Baizas, Alberto & Associates" was
for extension of time to file brief so that they would have known that the Court of
in a terribly confused state of affairs. In effect, said law firm was dissolved. Atty. reaction to the issuance of a writ of execution by the trial court following receipt of the records for the
Ruby Alberto formed her own law office and other associates left the dissolved law respondent Court.
firms (sic) joining other offices or putting up their own. Atty. Jose Baizas, son of The "confusion" in the office of the law firm following the death of Atty. Crispin Baizas is not a valid
deceased Crispin D. Baizas, took over the management of why may have been left justification for its failure to file the Brief. With Baizas' death, the responsibility of Atty. Alberto and his
of his father's office, it appearing that some, if not many, cases of the defunct office Associates to the petitioner as counsel remained until withdrawal by the former of their appearance in
were taken over by the associates who left the firm upon its dissolution. the manner provided by the Rules of Court. This is so because it was the law firm which handled the
But, none of the former partners and associates/assistants of the dissolved law firm case for petitioner before both the trial and appellate courts. That Atty. Espiritu, an associate who was
filed the required appellant's brief for herein petitioner in its appealed case before designated to handle the case, later left the office after the death of Atty. Baizas is of no moment
the respondent Court of Appeals. No notice was served upon petitioner by any of since others in the firm could have replaced him.. Upon receipt of the notice to file Brief, the law firm
the surviving associates of the defunct law firm that its appellant's brief was due for should have re-assigned the case to another associate or, it could have withdrawn as counsel in the
filing or that the law office had been dissolved and that the law office had been manner provided by the Rules of Court so that the petitioner could contract the services of a new
dissolved and that none of the lawyers herein formerly connected desired to handle lawyer.
the appealed case of petitioner. . . . In the Negros Stevedoring case, supra., this Court held:
The circumstances that the law firm "Baizas, Alberto & Associates" was dissolved The negligence committed in the case at bar cannot be considered excusable, nor
and that none of the associates took over petitioner's case, and no notice of such (sic) is it unavoidable. Time and again the Court has admonished law firms to adopt
state of affairs was given to petitioner who could have engaged the services of a system of distributing pleadings and notices, whereby lawyers working therein
another lawyer to prosecute its appeal before respondent Court, constitutes (sic) an receive promptly notices and pleadings intended for them, so that they will always
UNAVOIDABLE CASUALTY that entitles petitioner to the relief prayed for. On the be informed of the status of their cases. Their Court has also often repeated that the
other hand, the non-dissolution of said law firm "Baizas, Alberto & Associates" will negligence of clerks which adversely affect the cases handled by lawyers, is binding
not defeat petitioner's claim for relief since, in such event, the said firm had upon the latter.
ABANDONED petitioner's cause, which act constitutes fraud and/or reckless
inattention the result of which is deprivation of petitioner's day in court. In the Compounding such negligence is the failure of the BAIZAS LAW OFFICE, which filed on 28
abovementioned Yuseco case, this Honorable Court had emphatically and forcefully September 1974 the motion for reconsider the Resolution of 9 September 1974, to take any further
declared that it will always be disposed to grant relief to parties aggrieved by appropriate action after the respondent Court denied said motion on 9 October 1974. The appearance
perfidy, fraud, reckless inattention and downright incompetence of lawyers, which of said counsel is presumed to be duly authorized by petitioner. The latter has neither assailed nor
has the consequence of depriving their day (sic) in court. questioned such appearance.
We find no merit in petitioner's contentions. Petitioner's counsel was the law firm of BAIZAS, The rule is settled that negligence of counsel binds the client. 33
ALBERTO & ASSOCIATES and not merely Atty. Crispin Baizas. Hence, the death of the latter did not Moreover, petitioner itself was guilty of negligence when it failed to make inquiries from counsel
extinguish the lawyer-client relationship between said firm and petitioner. regarding its case. As pointed out by respondents, the president of petitioner corporation claims to be
In Gutierrez & Sons, Inc. vs. Court of Appeals, 32 the appeal filed by the law firm of BAIZAS, the intimate friend of Atty. Crispin Baizas; hence, the death of the latter must have been known to the
ALBERTO & ASSOCIATES on behalf of respondent therein was dismissed for failure to comply with former. 34 This fact should have made petitioner more vigilant with respect to the case at bar.
the requisites enumerated in the Rules of Court; the excuse presented by said counsel was also the Petitioner failed to act with prudence and diligence, thus, its plea that they were not accorded the right
death of Atty. Crispin Baizas. This Court held therein that: to procedural due process cannot elicit either approval or sympathy. 35
The death of Attorney Baizas was not a valid excuse on the part of his associates Based on the foregoing, it is clear that there was failure to show a good and sufficient cause which
for not attending to Alvendia's appeal, supposing arguendo that his office was solely would justify the reinstatement of petitioner's appeal. Respondent Court of Appeals did not them
entrusted with the task of representing Alvendia in the Court of Appeals. Attorney commit any grave abuse of discretion when it denied petitioner's motion to reinstate its appeal.
Espiritu (not Attorney Baizas) was the one actually collaborating with Viola in WHEREFORE, the Petition is hereby DISMISSED and the temporary restraining order issued in this
handling Alvendia's case. He did not file a formal appearance in the Court of case is lifted.
Appeals. Costs against petitioner.
Undoubtedly, there was inexcusable negligence on the part of petitioner's counsel in failing to file the IT SO ORDERED.
Appellant's Brief. As revealed by the records, petitioner's counsel, the BAIZAS ALBERTO &
ASSOCIATES law firm, received the notice to file Brief on 19 February 1974. It failed to do so within
the 45 days granted to it. Said law firm also received a copy of the respondent Court's Resolution of 9 SPOUSES INOCENCIO AND ADORACION SAN ANTONIO, petitioners,
July 1974 requiring it to show cause why the appeal should not be dismissed for failure to file the Brief vs.
within the reglementary period. Petitioner chose not to comply with it, thus compelling the respondent COURT OF APPEALS AND SPOUSES MARIO AND GREGORIO GERONIMO, respondents.
Court to issue on 9 September 1974 a Resolution dismissing the appeal, a copy of which the former QUISUMBING, J.:
also received. Then, on 28 September 1974, the BAIZAS LAW OFFICE moved for reconsideration of This is a petition for review seeking the reversal of the decision1 dated April 28, 1995, of the Court of
the said Resolution which respondent Court denied in its Resolution of 9 October 1974. Nothing more Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 35271 affirming the orders dated May 5, 1994,2 July 12, 19943 and
was heard from petitioner until after a year when, on 6 November 1975, it filed the instant petition in September 1, 1994,4 respectively, of the Regional Trial Court of Malolos Bulacan, Branch 22, granting
the motion for execution of compromise judgment dated September 22, 1993 in Civil Case No. 233-M- possession of the defendants San Antonio over said property, or to pay Two Million Pesos
92. (P2,000,000.00) within the same period;
The facts, as culled from the records, are as follows: 3. That the parties further agree to set aside any claim, damages and counter-claims they
Private respondents spouses Mario and Gregoria Geronimo obtained a loan in the amount of One may have against each other;
Million Twenty Eight Thousand Pesos (P1,028,000) from petitioners, the spouses Inocencio and 4. That in the meantime, the possession of the plaintiffs of the subject property covering TCT
Adoracion San Antonio. To secure the loan, private respondents mortgaged two parcels of land No. 6652 (T-296744) and TCT No. RT-6653 (T-209250) shall it be respect; (SIC)
covered by TCT No. RT-6653 with an area of 10,390 square meters and TCT No. RT-6652 with an 5. This compromise agreement shall be in full settlement of the obligations of the plaintiffs
area of 2,556 square meters, both situated in Barrio Tabe, Guiguinto, Bulacan. Subsequently, private with respect to Kasulatan ng Sanglaan dated February 14, 1989 and the Susog ng Kasulatan
respondents obtained an additional loan of Nine Hundred Fifty Nine Pesos (P991,859) with an interest ng Sanglaan dated July 16, 1990, subject matter of the complaint, and those related there.
of 3.33% per month, thus making their total obligation in the amount of Two Million Nineteen
Thousand Eight Hundred Fifty Nine Pesos (P2,019,859), payable on or before February 15, 1991. 6. This compromise agreement is immediately executory (underscoring supplied).5
Private respondents failed to pay the loan and the interest on the due date, hence, the mortgage was Finding the above to be in order, the trial court approved the same in its order dated September 22,
extra-judicially foreclosed. During the auction sale, petitioners, being the highest bidder bought the 1993, thus:
two parcels of land. A careful perusal of the Compromise Agreement dated August 25, 1993 reveals that the
Before the one-year redemption period expired, private respondents filed a complaint for annulment of terms and conditions thereof are not contrary to law, morals and public policy.
extra-judicial foreclosure with preliminary mandatory injunction, docketed as Civil Case No. 233-M-92, ACCORDINGLY, the compromise agreement dated August 25, 1993 is hereby APPROVED.
with the Regional Trial Court of Bulacan, Branch 22. After the parties presented their respective The parties are enjoined to comply faithfully with their obligation under said agreement.
evidence, they submitted to the court on September 16, 1993, a compromise agreement dated August
25, 1993, the terms and conditions of which are quoted as follows:
In accordance with the stipulations in paragraph 1 of the Compromise Agreement, petitioners
COME NOW parties assisted by their respective counsels and before the Honorable Court
executed a Certificate of Redemption and Cancellation of Sale covering TCT No. RT-6653 after
most respectfully submit this compromise agreement, the terms and conditions of which are:
private respondents paid them Two Million Pesos (P2,000,000). Private respondents, however, failed
1. For a consideration of TWO MILLION PESOS (P2,000,000.00) Philippine Currency in to transfer the ownership and deliver the titles of the three parcels of land described in paragraph 2 of
hand received today by the defendants spouses Inocencio and Adoracion San Antonio from the agreement or to pay 2 Million Pesos within the six-month period from August 25, 1993. It was only
the plaintiffs, defendants San Antonio will execute a deed of on March 4, 1994, after the lapse of six months that private respondents delivered the three titles to
resale/reconveyance/redemption of that subject property covered by TCT No. RT-6653 (T- petitioners. As the delivery was beyond the agreed six-month period, petitioners refused to accept the
209250) of the Registry of Deeds of Bulacan including its improvements; same or execute an instrument for the resale, reconveyance or redemption of the property covered by
2. For the release/resale/reconveyance of the other property involved in the case described TCT No. RT-6652. Consequently, TCT No. RT-6652 was cancelled and in lieu thereof, TCT No. T-
in TCT No. RT-6652 (T-296744) of the other property involved in the case described in TCT 47229 was issued in the names of petitioners.
No. RT-6652 (T-296744) of the Registry of Deeds of Bulacan together with its improvements, Private respondents filed a motion for execution of the September 22, 1993 order with the trial court.
plaintiffs obligate themselves to transfer the ownership of the following to the defendants San This was granted on May 5, 1994. Petitioners filed a motion for reconsideration but this was denied on
Antonio. July 12, 1994. A second motion for reconsideration by petitioners was likewise denied in an order
a. That lot including its improvements situated in Brgy. Tuctucan, Municipality of dated September 1, 1994.
Guiguinto, Bulcan, covered by TCT No. 29832, Blk. 4, Lot No. 3 consisting of 135 Petitioners filed a Petition for Certiorari with application for a Temporary Restraining Order and/or Writ
square meters; of Preliminary Injunction with the Court of Appeals. As said earlier, the Court of Appeals denied the
b. That lot situated in Brgy. Tuctucan, Municipality of Guiguinto, Bulcan covered by petition on April 28, 1995, thus:
TCT No. 30078, Blk. 9, Lot 27 consisting of 78 square meters; WHEREFORE, the petition for certiorari is hereby DENIED DUE COURSE, and is
c. Another lot situated in Brgy. Tuctucan, Municipality of Guiguinto, Bulcan, covered DISMISSED. The Orders of respondent court dated May 1[5], July 12, and September 1,
by TCT No. 30079, Blk. No. 38 consisting of 75 square meters. 1994 are AFFIRMED.
Within six (6) months from signing of this compromise agreement simultaneous to which SO ORDERED.7
delivery of the title to the afore-mentioned properties in the names of the defendants San Hence this petition for review wherein petitioners aver that the Court of Appeals erred in:
Antonio, the defendants San Antonio will execute the corresponding instrument of
resale/reconveyance/redemption over that properly together with its improvements covered
by TCT No. RT-6652 (T-296744), for the purpose of the cancellation of the annulment of the
sale in the title subject to the condition that should plaintiffs fail to deliver the titles to the
three lots heretofore mentioned to the defendants San Antonio, the said plaintiffs shall be II. …RULING THAT THE PRINCIPLE OF EQUITY IS A GROUND TO JUSTIFY THE
deemed to have waived and renounced any all rights, claims and demands whatsoever they AMENDMENT OF A FINAL AND EXECUTORY JUDGMENT.
may have over that property covered by TCT No. RT-6652 (T-296744) including its III. …RULING THAT THE DELAY IN THE DELIVERY OF THE TITLES IS ATTRIBUTABLE
improvements and thenceforth bind themselves to respect the right of ownership, and TO THE REGISTER OF DEEDS OF BULACAN.
IV. …APPLYING ARTICLE 1191 OF THE NEW CIVIL CODE. effectively compelled petitioners to accept delivery of the three titles in exchange for the release of the
V. …NOT RULING THAT THE COMPROMISE AGREEMENT IS IMMEDIATELY land covered by TCT No. RT-6652 even after the lapse of the six-month period.
EXECUTORY AS PROVIDED IN PARAGRAPH 6 THEREOF. Private respondents claim that the trial court, in issuing the writ, was merely performing a ministerial
VI. … NOT RULING THAT PETITIONERS HAVE ALREADY COMPLIED WITH duty. While it becomes the trial court's ministerial duty to issue a writ of execution may be refused on
PARAGRAPH 1 OF THE COMPROMISE AGREEMENT.8 equitable grounds.10 In this case, it will be unjust to petitioners if we compel them to accept the three
titles despite the lapse of the agreed period. Contractual obligations between parties have the force of
In sum, petitioners raise the following issues for our resolution: law between them and absent any allegation that the same are contrary to law, morals, good
1. Did the trial court err in granting the writ to execute the compromise judgment? customs, public order or public policy, they must be complied with in good faith.11
2. Is Article 1191 of the New Civil Code applicable in this case? Both the trial court and the Court of Appeals attributed to the Register of Deeds private respondents'
On the first issue, did the trial court err in granting the writ to execute the compromise judgment? delay in the delivery of the three titles. But as shown in their decisions, private respondents submitted
Petitioners claim that the trial court did. The compromise agreement approved by the trial court in its to the Register of Deeds the pertinent documents for registration of the three titles in petitioners' name
order dated September 22, 1993, provided that private respondents had six months within which to only on March 2, 1994, beyond the six-month period.12 Private respondents could have done so
deliver the titles. If they failed, ownership of the land covered by TCT No. RT-6652 would be earlier, but they did not. This only shows that private respondents did not intend to truly comply with
transferred to petitioners. Petitioners contend that judgement based on a compromise is conclusive their obligations.
upon the parties and is immediately executory. It has the force and effect of res judicata, hence it As to the alleged delay on the part of petitioners in executing the Deed of Resale and Reconveyance,
cannot be modified. The trial court therefore, cannot compel petitioners, via a writ of execution, to we find that this point serves only to confuse the Court on the real facts of the case. Despite the fact
accept the three titles beyond the six-month period, because it is in effect an amendment to the that the compromise agreement involved two parcels of land up for redemption, private respondents
compromise agreement, petitioners said. They explain that even on equitable considerations this was did not indicate as to which parcel of land petitioners did not execute a deed of resale. 13 Nevertheless,
not allowed because once a decision becomes final, the court which rendered it loses jurisdiction over private respondents admitted that petitioners already executed a Certificate of Redemption. 14 For us,
the case and it can no longer be modified except for clerical errors. this was sufficient compliance of petitioners' duty under the Compromise Agreement.
Petitioners also contend that private respondents should not blame the Register of Deeds for the Lastly, is Article 1191 of the New Civil Code15 applicable in this case? According to petitioners, the
delay in the delivery of the three titles since private respondents submitted the registration documents Court of Appeals erred when it found that private respondents' delay did not constitute substantial
to the Register of Deeds only on March 2, 1994, beyond the six-month period deadline. breach to warrant rescission of the compromise agreement. They assert that they were not seeking
Further, petitioners deny that they are guilty of delay for not executing the deed of resale, rescission of the compromise agreement but its full enforcement regardless of whether the delay is
reconveyance or redemption despite their receipt of two million pesos. They said that as early as slight or substantial.
August 25, 1993, they already executed a Certificate of Redemption and Cancellation of Sale of the While indeed private respondents did not meet head on this issue, we find that it should be properly
land covered by TCT No. RT-6653. addressed. In filing the petition before the Court of Appeals, petitioners sought the appellate court's
Private respondents counter that there has been no modification of the final judgment when the trial declaration that the trial court committed grave abuse of discretion. In their view, the trial court should
judge issued the writ of execution, as the judge issued the writ of execution, as the judge was merely have enforced the compromise agreement instead of rescinding it. Thus, it was error for the Court of
performing a ministerial duty. Also, private respondents deny that they delivered the three titles late Appeals to apply Article 1191 of the New Civil Code which concerns rescission of contract. Applicable
and if ever the delivery was delayed it was the Register of Deeds who was to blame. Private here is Article 1159 which enjoins compliance in good faith by the parties who entered into a valid
respondents additionally point out that in reciprocal obligations, like the ones in this case, delay sets in contract.16 Compromise agreements are contracts, whereby the parties undertake reciprocal
only when one part fulfills his obligation and the other is unable to perform his part of the obligation. obligations to avoid litigation, or put an end to one already commenced.17
Likewise, a person obligated to deliver something incurs in delay only after demand. As herein WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. The decision dated April 28, 1995, and resolution dated
petitioners have not yet made demand and as they have not yet performed their part of the September 11, 1995, of the Court of Appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 35271 are REVERSED AND SET
agreement, which was the execution of the deed of reconveyance, delay by private respondents has ASIDE. Accordingly, the orders dated May 5, 1994, July 12, 1994 and September 1, 1994, of the
not yet occurred. Regional Trial Court of Malolos, Bulacan, Branch 22, are hereby declared NULL AND VOID. Private
We find petitioners' petition impressed with merit. respondents are ordered to cease and desist from disturbing the ownership and possession by
petitioners of the parcel of land covered by TCT No. RT-6652. Costs against private respondents.
A compromise agreement, once approved by final order of the court, has the force of res judicata
between the parties and should not be disturbed except for vices of consent or forgery.9 In this case, SO ORDERED.
the compromise agreement clearly provided private respondents six months, i.e., from August 25, ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1993 to February 25, 1994, to deliver the titles to the three parcels of land described in the
agreement. If after the lapse of the said period and no delivery is yet made by private respondents,
ownership over the land covered by TCT No. RT-6652 would be transferred to petitioners. As the
facts of this case show, private respondents failed to deliver the titles on February 25, 1994, as it was
only on March 4, 1994, when they gave the titles to petitioners. Hence, pursuant to the terms of the
compromise agreement, petitioners could rightfully refuse acceptance of the titles. It was error
therefore for the trial court to grant the writ of execution in favor of private respondents because it
Sale with Assignment of lots in its subdivision. The present complaint charges the respondent with the
following offenses:
ADRIANO E. DACANAY, complainant 1. Neglecting or refusing inspite (sic) repeated requests and without sufficient
vs. justification, to act within reasonable time (sic) the registration of 163 Deeds of
BAKER & MCKENZIE and JUAN G. COLLAS JR., LUIS MA. GUERRERO, VICENTE A. TORRES, Absolute Sale with Assignment and the eventual issuance and transfer of the
RAFAEL E. EVANGELISTA, JR., ROMEO L. SALONGA, JOSE R. SANDEJAS, LUCAS M. corresponding 163 transfer certificates of titles to the GSIS, for the purpose of
NUNAG, J. CLARO TESORO, NATIVIDAD B. KWAN and JOSE A. CURAMMENG, JR., obtaining some pecuniary or material benefit from the person or persons interested
respondents. therein.
2. Conduct unbecoming of public official.
AQUINO, J.: 3. Dishonesty.
Lawyer Adriano E. Dacanay, admitted to the bar in 1954, in his 1980 verified complaint, sought to 4. Extortion.
enjoin Juan G. Collas, Jr. and nine other lawyers from practising law under the name of Baker & 5. Directly receiving pecuniary or material benefit for himself in connection with
McKenzie, a law firm organized in Illinois. pending official transaction before him.
In a letter dated November 16, 1979 respondent Vicente A. Torres, using the letterhead of Baker & 6. Causing undue injury to a party, the GSIS [or] Government through manifest
McKenzie, which contains the names of the ten lawyers, asked Rosie Clurman for the release of 87 partiality, evident bad faith or gross inexcusable negligence.
shares of Cathay Products International, Inc. to H.E. Gabriel, a client. 7. Gross ignorance of the law and procedure. (p. 10, Rollo.)
Attorney Dacanay, in his reply dated December 7, 1979, denied any liability of Clurman to Gabriel. He As early as January 15, 1987, V & G had requested the respondent Register of Deeds to register
requested that he be informed whether the lawyer of Gabriel is Baker & McKenzie "and if not, what is some 163 deeds of sale with assignment (in favor of the GSIS) of lots of the V & G mortgaged to
your purpose in using the letterhead of another law office." Not having received any reply, he filed the GSIS by the lot buyers. There was no action from the respondent.
instant complaint.
Another request was made on February 16, 1987 for him to approve or deny registration of the
We hold that Baker & McKenzie, being an alien law firm, cannot practice law in the Philippines (Sec. uniform deeds of absolute sale with assignment. Still no action except to require V & G to submit proof
1, Rule 138, Rules of Court). As admitted by the respondents in their memorandum, Baker & of real estate tax payment and to clarify certain details about the transactions.
McKenzie is a professional partnership organized in 1949 in Chicago, Illinois with members and
associates in 30 cities around the world. Respondents, aside from being members of the Philippine Although V & G complied with the desired requirements, respondent Renomeron suspended the
bar, practising under the firm name of Guerrero & Torres, are members or associates of Baker & registration of the documents pending compliance by V & G with a certain "special arrangement"
Mckenzie. between them, which was that V & G should provide him with a weekly round trip ticket from Tacloban
to Manila plus P2,000.00 as pocket money per trip, or, in lieu thereof, the sale of respondent's Quezon
As pointed out by the Solicitor General, respondents' use of the firm name Baker & McKenzie City house and lot by V & G or GSIS representatives.
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 On May 19, 1987, respondent confided to the complainant that he would act favorably on the 163
investment" (p. 3, respondents' memo). This is unethical because Baker & McKenzie is not authorized registrable documents of V & G if the latter would execute clarificatory affidavits and send money for a
to practise law here. (See Ruben E. Agpalo, Legal Ethics, 1983 Ed., p. 115.) round trip plane ticket for him.
WHEREFORE, the respondents are enjoined from practising law under the firm name Baker & The plane fare amounting to P800 (without the pocket money of P2,000) was sent to respondent
McKenzie. through his niece.
SO ORDERED. Because of V & G's failure to give him pocket money in addition to plane fare, respondent imposed
additional registration requirements. Fed up with the respondent's extortionate tactics, the
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- complainant wrote him a letter on May 20, 1987 challenging him to act on all pending applications for
CANON 6 registration of V & G within twenty-four (24) hours.
On May 22, 1987, respondent formally denied registration of the transfer of 163 certificates of title to
FERNANDO T. COLLANTES, complainant, the GSIS on the uniform ground that the deeds of absolute sale with assignment were ambiguous as
vs. to parties and subject matter. On May 26, 1987, Attorney Collantes moved for a reconsideration of
ATTY. VICENTE C. RENOMERON respondent. said denial, stressing that:
... since the year 1973 continuously up to December 1986 for a period of nearly
PER CURIAM:p fifteen (15) years or for a sum total of more than 2,000 same set of documents
This complaint for disbarment is related to the administrative case which complainant Attorney which have been repeatedly and uniformly registered in the Office of the Register of
Fernando T. Collantes, house counsel for V & G Better Homes Subdivision, Inc. (V & G for short), filed Deeds of Tacloban City under Attys. Modesto Garcia and Pablo Amascual Jr., it is
against Attorney Vicente C. Renomeron, Register of Deeds of Tacloban City, for the latter's irregular only during the incumbency of Atty. Vicente C. Renomeron, that the very same
actuations with regard to the application of V & G for registration of 163 pro forma Deeds of Absolute documents of the same tenor have been refused or denied registration ... (p. 15,
On May 27, 1987, respondent elevated the matter en consulta to the Administrator, National Land uncontroverted the circumstance that his niece, Ms. de la Cruz, retrieved from him
Titles and Deeds Registration Administration (NLTDRA) (now the Land Registration Authority [LRA]). the amount of P800.00 earlier sent to him as plane fare, not in the original
In a Resolution dated July 27,1987 (Consulta No. 1579), the NLTDRA ruled that the questioned denomination of P100.00 bills but in P50.00 bills. The respondent had ample
documents were registrable. Heedless of the NLTDRA's opinion, respondent continued to sit on V & opportunity to clarify or to countervail this related incident in his letter dated 5
Gs 163 deeds of sale with assignment. September 1987 to Administrator Bonifacio but he never did so.
Exasperated by respondent's conduct, the complainant filed with the NLTDRA on June 4, 1987 ... We believe that, in this case, the respondent's being new in office cannot serve to
administrative charges (docketed as Adm. Case No. 87-15), against respondent Register of Deeds. mitigate his liability. His being so should have motivated him to be more aware of
Upon receipt of the charges, NLTDRA Administrator Teodoro G. Bonifacio directed respondent to applicable laws, rules and regulations and should have prompted him to do his best
explain in writing why no administrative disciplinary action should be taken against him. Respondent in the discharge of his duties. (pp. 17-18, Rollo.)
was further asked whether he would submit his case on the basis of his answer, or be heard in a Secretary Ordoñez recommended to President Corazon C. Aquino that Renomeron be dismissed
formal investigation. from the service, with forfeiture of leave credits and retirement benefits, and with prejudice to re-
In his answer dated July 9, 1987, respondent denied the charges of extortion and of directly receiving employment in the government service, effective immediately.
pecuniary or material benefit for himself in connection with the official transactions awaiting his action. As recommended by the Secretary of Justice, the President of the Philippines, by Adm. Order No. 165
Although an investigator was appointed by NLTDRA Administrator Bonifacio to hear Attorney dated May 3, 1990, dismissed the respondent from the government service (pp. 1419, Rollo).
Collantes' charges against him, Attorney Renomeron waived his right to a formal investigation. Both Less than two weeks after filing his complaint against Renomeron in the NLTDRA, Attorney Collantes
parties submitted the case for resolution based on the pleadings. also filed in this Court on June 16, 1987, a disbarment complaint against said respondent.
The investigator, Attorney Leonardo Da Jose, recommended dropping the charges of: (1) dishonesty; The issue in this disbarment proceeding is whether the respondent register of deeds, as a lawyer,
(2) causing undue injury to a party through manifest partiality, evident bad faith or gross inexcusable may also be disciplined by this Court for his malfeasances as a public official. The answer is yes, for
negligence; and (3) gross ignorance of the law and procedure. He opined that the charge of his misconduct as a public official also constituted a violation of his oath as a lawyer.
neglecting or refusing, in spite repeated requests and without sufficient justification, to act within a The lawyer's oath (Rule 138, Section 17, Rules of Court; People vs. De Luna, 102 Phil. 968), imposes
reasonable time on the registration of the documents involved, in order to extort some pecuniary or upon every lawyer the duty to delay no man for money or malice. The lawyer's oath is a source of his
material benefit from the interested party, absorbed the charges of conduct unbecoming of a public obligations and its violation is a ground for his suspension, disbarment or other disciplinary action
official, extortion, and directly receiving some pecuniary or material benefit for himself in connection (Legal Ethics, Ruben E. Agpalo, 1983 Edition, pp. 66-67).
with pending official transactions before him.
As the late Chief Justice Fred Ruiz Castro said:
Brushing aside the investigator's recommendation, NLTDRA Administrator Teodoro G. Bonifacio on
February 22, 1988, recommended to Secretary of Justice Sedfrey A. Ordoñez that the respondent: (1) A person takes an oath when he is admitted to the Bar which is designed to impress
be found guilty of simple neglect of duty: (2) be reprimanded to act with dispatch on documents upon him his responsibilities. He thereby becomes an "officer of the court" on
presented to him for registration; and (3) be warned that a repetition of similar infraction will be dealt whose shoulders rests the grave responsibility of assisting the courts in the proper.
with more severely. fair, speedy, and efficient administration of justice. As an officer of the court he is
subject to a rigid discipline that demands that in his every exertion the only criterion
After due investigation of the charges, Secretary Ordoñez found respondent guilty of grave he that truth and justice triumph. This discipline is what as given the law profession
misconduct. its nobility, its prestige, its exalted place. From a lawyer, to paraphrase Justice Felix
Our study and consideration of the records of the case indicate that ample evidence Frankfurter, are expected those qualities of truth-speaking, a high sense of honor,
supports the Investigating Officer's findings that the respondent committed grave full candor, intellectual honesty, and the strictest observance of fiduciary
misconduct. responsibility— all of which, throughout the centuries, have been compendiously
The respondent unreasonably delayed action on the documents presented to him described as moral character.
for registration and, notwithstanding representations by the parties interested for Membership in the Bar is in the category of a mandate to public service of the
expeditious action on the said documents, he continued with his inaction. highest order. A lawyer is an oath-bound servant of society whose conduct is clearly
The records indicate that the respondent eventually formally denied the registration circumscribed by inflexible norms of law and ethics, and whose primary duty is the
of the documents involved; that he himself elevated the question on the registrability advancement of the quest of truth and justice, for which he has sworn to be a
of the said documents to Administrator Bonifacio after he formally denied the fearless crusader. (Apostacy in the Legal Profession, 64 SCRA 784, 789- 790;
registration thereof, that the Administrator then resolved in favor of the registrability emphasis supplied.)
of the said documents in question; and that, such resolution of the Administrator The Code of Professional Responsibility applies to lawyers in government service in the discharge of
notwithstanding, the respondent still refused the registration thereof but demanded their official tasks (Canon 6). Just as the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials
from the parties interested the submission of additional requirements not adverted requires public officials and employees to process documents and papers expeditiously (Sec. 5,
to in his previous denial. subpars. [c] and [d] and prohibits them from directly or indirectly having a financial or material interest
xxx xxx xxx in any transaction requiring the approval of their office, and likewise bars them from soliciting gifts or
anything of monetary value in the course of any transaction which may be affected by the functions of
In relation to the alleged 'special arrangement,' although the respondent claims that their office (See. 7, subpars. [a] and [d]), the Code of Professional Responsibility forbids a lawyer to
he neither touched nor received the money sent to him, on record remains
engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct (Rule 1.01, Code of Professional Section 1 of Act No. 1699 reads in part as follows: "Whenever the provincial fiscal is absent from the
Responsibility), or delay any man's cause "for any corrupt motive or interest" (Rule 103). province, or fails or refuses to discharge thus duty by reason of illness or other cause, or by reason of
A lawyer shall not engage in conduct that adversely reflects on his fitness to personal interest in a prosecution or other matter is disqualified to act therein as provincial fiscal, the
practice law, nor shall he, whether in public or private life, behave in a scandalous judge of the Court of First Instance for the province is authorized and required to appoint a temporary
manner to the discredit of the legal profession. (Rule 7.03, Code of Professional fiscal, who shall be paid out of the provincial treasury the same compensation per day as that
Responsibility.) provided by law for the regular provincial fiscal for the days actually employed. The fiscal thus
temporarily appointed shall discharge all the duties of the provincial fiscal as provided by law which
This Court has ordered that only those who are "competent, honorable, and reliable" may practice the the regular provincial fiscal fails or is unable to perform."
profession of law (Noriega vs. Sison, 125 SCRA 293) for every lawyer must pursue "only the highest
standards in the practice of his calling" (Court Administrator vs. Hermoso, 150 SCRA 269, 278). Construing and applying this statute we said in the case of Nuñez vs. Low (19 Phil. Rep., 244): "If the
provincial fiscal fails or refuses to discharge his duty in the prosecution of criminal cases, the judge of
The acts of dishonesty and oppression which Attorney Renomeron committed as a public official have the Court of First Instance is not only authorized but is required to appoint a temporary fiscal to
demonstrated his unfitness to practice the high and noble calling of the law (Bautista vs. Judge represent the Government in such cases. The attorney for the Moro Province and his assistant stand
Guevarra, 142 SCRA 632; Court Administrator vs. Rodolfo G. Hermoso, 150 SCRA 269). He should in the same position as a provincial fiscal with reference to this matter. If the Court of First Instance for
therefore be disbarred. the Moro Province did not have authority to appoint a temporary fiscal when the exigencies of the
WHEREFORE, it is hereby ordered that Attorney Vicente C. Renomeron be disbarred from the service demanded it, it might occur that the whole court machinery, with reference to criminal cases,
practice of law in the Philippines, and that his name be stricken off the Roll of Attorneys would be impeded on account of the refusal on the part of the attorney, or his assistant, to perform
SO ORDERED. their duties. The presiding judge of the Court of First Instance for the Moro Province has the power to
cause the prosecution of criminal cases to go forward, and if the officer designated by law to
prosecute such criminal cases fails or refuses to perform his duty, then the judge or court must relieve
THE UNITED STATES, plaintiff-appellee, such officer temporarily and appoint a qualified person to take his place."
From what was said in the case just cited, and indeed from the plain and explicit provisions of the
statute, we think there can be no doubt of the power of the judges of Courts of First Instance to
appoint special fiscals or prosecuting officers, when, in the exercise of the sound judicial discretion
CARSON, J.: conferred upon them, they find that "the provincial fiscal is absent from the province, or fails or refuses
The appellants in this case were convicted in the court below of the crime of attempted rape, and to discharge his duty by reason of illness or other cause, or by reason of personal interest in a
each of them was sentenced to two years, four months and one day of prision correccional, together prosecution or other matter is disqualified to act therein as provincial fiscal."
with the accessory penalties prescribed by law. The power to appoint special fiscals being thus expressly conferred upon judges of Courts of First
A large number of witnesses for both the prosecution and the defense were called at the trial, and the Instance, the mere fact that the judge acts unwisely or improvidently or under a misapprehension of
record contains some two hundred and fifty pages of typewritten testimony and documentary facts when he makes an appointment in no wise affects the legality or the validity of the appointment,
evidence. In its last analysis, final judgment as to the guilt or innocence of the accused necessarily except, perhaps, in cases wherein it appears that there has been a manifest abuse of judicial
turns upon the degree of credit which should be accorded the respective witnesses called for the discretion in making the appointment, the effect of which need not be and is not now considered.
prosecution and the defense; and a careful examination of the record discloses nothing which would There can be no question of abuse of judicial discretion in the appointment of the special fiscal in the
justify us in disturbing the findings in this regard of the trial judge, who saw and heard the witnesses case at bar; and even if it were admitted that the trial judge acted improvidently or unwisely or
testify and was satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt as to the substantial truth of the account of the erroneously in making the appointment, the appointment when made was a valid, legal appointment,
commission of the crime of attempted rape which was given on the witness-stand by the principal and affords no ground for appellant's contention as to a lack of jurisdiction in the court below to
witnesses called for the prosecution. entertain and decide a criminal action based on an information filed by a special fiscal legally
In his opinion the trial judge sets forth at some length the material evidence adduced at the trial, and a appointed for that purpose.
restatement and review of the evidence at this time would serve no useful purpose. Moreover, we do not think that in the case at bar the special fiscal was erroneously or improvidently
Suffice it to say that so strongly were we impressed by the forceful oral argument of counsel for the appointed.
appellants with the possibility of a grave miscarriage of justice in the court below, as a result of the The appointment of the special fiscal was made in response to a petition filed by counsel for the
machinations of the personal and political enemies of one or all of the defendants, that we carefully private prosecutrix on November 8, 1912, wherein he set forth that on the 12th of June, 1912 the
and exhaustively abstracted and analyzed for ourselves the great mass of evidence brought here on private prosecutrix filed a complaint against the defendants in this action in the court of the justice of
this appeal, without discovering anything which, in our opinion, would justify us in holding that the trial the peace of Nagcarlang, charging the commission of the crime on the 9th of that month; that on the
judge erred in arriving at his conclusions as to their guilt. 29th of the same month the accused waived a preliminary trial before the justice of the peace and
It remains only to consider the contentions of counsel for the appellants touching the alleged lack of prayed that the cause be remanded to the Court of First Instance; that the cause was remanded in the
jurisdiction of the court below to entertain and adjudicate this action. It is urged that the court was early days of July, 1912; that about the 2nd of October, 1912 the provincial fiscal conducted an
without jurisdiction in the premises because the information charging the commission of the crime was investigation of the alleged crime at the urgent request of counsel for the private prosecutrix; that
filed, and the trial conducted by a special fiscal, improvidently appointed by the trial judge without thereafter the provincial fiscal promised to file a formal information against the accused, but later
authority of law. declined to do so, promising, never-the-less to ask the court to appoint a special fiscal, as he himself,
was not disposed to press the case; that the provincial fiscal had not done anything further at the date
of the petition (November 9 [8], 1912); and that a special fiscal should be appointed to prosecute the accede to such motion or not. Ordinarily, of course, he will dismiss the action in accordance with the
case in view of the manifest indisposition on the part of the provincial fiscal to bring the accused to suggestion of an experienced fiscal who has personally investigated the facts. But if he is not satisfied
trial. with the reason assigned by the fiscal, or if it appears to him from the record of the proceedings in the
This petition was endorsed over to the provincial fiscal by the presiding judge, and returned with an court of the justice of the peace, or as a result of information furnished by the private prosecutor, or
extended statement, in which this official set out at length his reasons for declining to file an otherwise, that the case should not be dismissed, he may deny the motion.
information, and proceed with the trial. In substance he stated that as a result of his investigations It is true, as counsel supported by authority contends, that the practice whereby the prosecuting
based upon the complaint of the private prosecutrix, he was satisfied that the accused had not officer in some jurisdiction enters upon the records of a criminal case that "He does not desire to
committed the crime with which they were charged; that the evidence against them was unsatisfactory prosecute further" — dicit nolle prosequi — is a very ancient one. Under the English rule the
and unworthy of credence; and that they were victims of a conspiracy of their personal and political uncontrolled right to enter a "nolle prosequi" was the prerogative of the Attorney-General. The right of
enemies to ruin them by compelling them to stand trial for a heinous offense which they had not the Attorney- General to dismiss without consent of court was there maintained under the theory that
committed. that officer was the immediate representative of the King, and that the judges should not therefore
Thereafter the trial judge, upon full consideration of the statements of counsel for the private challenge the formal expression of his will in this regard.
prosecutrix, and of the provincial fiscal held that in the interests of justice it would not be proper "to Some American states have followed the English rule. Others have declined to adopt it.itc-a1f The
deny the petition of the injured woman" and appointed a special fiscal under the provisions of Act No. modern tendency would seem to be to modify and control the power of prosecuting officers in this
1699. regard either by express legislative enactment or by the judicial recognition of a custom, "amounting
Holding as we do that the evidence relied upon by the private prosecutrix is sufficient to sustain a nearly to law" requiring the consent of the court in all cases wherein it is exercised; and some of the
finding as to the guilt of the accused beyond a reasonable doubt, we need hardly say that we think the courts which do not consider themselves bound by common law precedents have declared the
trial judge properly appointed a special fiscal to prosecute the case, in view of the failure of the English practice unsound and have held the better rule to be "to ask leave of the court giving some
provincial fiscal to file an information and bring the accused to trial. We agree with the contentions of good reason therefor."
counsel that a conscientious prosecuting official, whose investigations have satisfied him as to the The order is usually taken upon motion by the prosecuting officer and with leave of the court.
innocence of persons charged with the commission of crime, should not institute criminal proceedings (10, Enc. of Plead. and Practice, 556.)
against such persons. But we are of the opinion that in the event that criminal proceedings have been There are States in which a statute, directly or by construction, requires the consent of the
instituted, and the investigations of the provincial fiscal have satisfied him that the accused person is court; or in which a custom amounting nearly to law does; and others wherein while the
innocent, or that evidence sufficient to secure conviction will not be forthcoming at the trial despite the prosecuting officer acts practically on his own responsibility, the court claims the right to
exercise of due diligence to that end, it then becomes his duty to advise the court wherein the control him if it chooses; and in some it is not plain what the course is. (Bishop, Criminal
proceedings are pending as to the result of his investigations, and to move the court to dismiss the Procedure, Vol. 2, sec. 1389, 2nd ed.)
proceedings, leaving it to the court to take such action as may be proper in the premises. In this
jurisdiction provincial fiscals are not clothed with power, without the content of court, to dismiss or dicit In Virginiaa 1803, the General Court consisting of five judges unanimously decided: "That the
nolle prosequi criminal actions actually instituted, and pending further proceedings. The power to District Attorney has not in any case the right to enter a nolle prosequi without leave of the
dismiss is vested solely in the courts, that is to say in the presiding judge thereof. court." (Anonymous, 1 Va., Cas. 139.)
Discretion in the matter of subjecting to trial persons remanded for trial in a Court of First Instance by At common law the attorney general alone possessed this power; and might, under section
a justice of the peace lies with the judge of the court. It is for the justice of the peace to determine precautions as he felt it his duty to adopt, discontinue a criminal prosecution in that form at
whether the accused shall be remanded for trial. Act No. 194, secs. 1 and 2, and Act No. 1627, sec. any time before verdict ... . It probably exists unimpaired in the attorney general to this day,
13, and section 2 of Act No. 194, expressly provide that in case the justice of the peace binds the and it has been by several statutes delegated to district attorneys, who now represent the
accused person over to a regular trial, such person shall be committed or admitted to bail "to await the attorney general in nearly everything pertaining to indictments and other criminal
action of the judge or Court of First Instance" — not that he shall await the action of the provincial proceedings local to their respective countries.
fiscal. When the justice of the peace remands an accused person for trial in the Court of First The legislature finding the power in so many hands, and fearing its abuse ... provided that it
Instance, the case becomes forthwith a criminal action pending in that court, and can only be should not thereafter be lawful for any district attorney to enter a nolle prosequi upon any
terminated therein by the court itself. indictment, or in any other way discontinue or abandon the same without leave of the court
The duty imposed upon the provincial fiscal in such cases is either to go forward with the prosecution having jurisdiction to try the offense charged. (People vs. McLeod, 1 Hill., 377, and 25
or to move the court to dismiss the complaint, and in either event to move with the promptitude Wendell, 483.)
necessary to secure the right of the accused to a speedy trial. It is, in part, to aid him in determining Nor was the paper handed by the Solicitor-General to the clerk an entry of nolle prosequi.
the course to be adopted at this stage of the proceedings that provision is made in section 2 of Act Such a proceeding is to be coram judice. It must go on the minutes of the court and must
No. 302 for official investigations by provincial fiscals. But it is to be observed that it is expressly transpire, at least, with the cognizance of the court. The minutes are the records of the acts
provided that: "This section shall not be construed to authorize a provincial fiscal to act as justice of of the court and no entry can be made thereon except with his consent. This the Solicitor
the peace in any preliminary investigation, but only as authorizing him to secure the attendance of General did not ask. The nolle prosequi was not, therefore, a complete act ... . Nor is it in our
witnesses before him in making necessary investigation for the purpose of instituting or carrying on judgment, within the power of the Solicitor General to nolle prosequi an indictment at his
criminal prosecutions." option without the approbation of the court.
Upon a motion of the provincial fiscal to dismiss a complaint upon which an accused person has been By the act of 1870 it is expressly provided to the contrary. But even before that Act, although
remanded for trial by a justice of the peace, it rests in the sound discretion of the judge whether to we are aware it has often been done, we know of no authority for it: — The State is the party
and the Solicitor General only the agent to carry on the proceeding. He has not and ought In conclusion we here insert a number of citations of authority touching the degree of proof upon
not to have unlimited power of prosecution, and great evils may result and have resulted which an accused person may properly be required to stand trial for the crime with which he is
from placing such a power in the hands of one man ... . (Statham vs. State, 41 Ga., 507.) charged, partly in explanation and support of our ruling upon the action of the court below in holding
The District-Attorney acts for the people in criminal cases except he must have the consent that the provincial fiscal had failed to discharge his duty in the premises, and partly for the information
of the court to enter a nolle prosequi. (Moulton vs. Beecher, 1 Abb., 193.) of committing magistrates and prosecuting officers generally.
In the case of King vs. Robertson (6 Hawaii, 718) the court said: "The proposition of the counsel for Chief Justice Marshall, acting as committing magistrate, in holding that evidence presented by the
the Attorney-General that at the common law the Attorney-General of England and of States which government, consisting principally of affidavits, was sufficient to justify the commitments of Aaron
have adopted this part of the common law has the right upon his sole responsibility to enter a nolle Burr, prefaced his opinion as follows: "On an application of this kind, I certainly should not require that
prosequi, is not doubtful, and has not been questioned by this court. But the common law is not in proof which would be necessary to convict the person to be committed, on a trial in chief; nor should I
force in this Kingdom . . . . even require that which should absolutely convince my own mind of the guilt of the accused: but I
ought to require, and I should require, that probable cause be shown; and I understand probable
The uniform practice of the Supreme Court and the circuit courts has been that the Attorney- cause to be case made out by proof furnishing good reason to believe that the crime alleged has been
General by himself, or by his deputy, when desiring to nolle prosequi a case after indictment committed by the person charged with having committed it." (U.S. vs. Burr., 25 Fed. Cas., 14692a.)
found, asks leave of the court that it may be so entered, giving the court or the presiding
justice some satisfactory reason therefor. Again, in Ex parte Bollman (4 Cranch 75; 2 L. ed. 554), the Chief Justice said: "This being a mere
inquiry, which, without deciding upon guilt, precedes the institution of a prosecution, the question to be
In the case of United States vs. Valencia (1 Phil. Rep., 642) this court said: "After the complaint has determined is, whether the accused shall be discharged or held to trial; and if the latter, in what place
been presented and certainly after trial has been commenced the Court and not the fiscal has full they are to be tried, and whether they shall be confined or admitted to bail. "If," says a very learned
control of it. The complaint cannot be withdrawn by the fiscal without the consent of the Court." and accurate commentator, `upon this inquiry it manifestly appears that no such crime has been
Section 62, of Act No. 136 prescribing the duties of the provincial fiscal provides that: "He shall be an committed, or that the suspicion entertained of the prisoner was wholly groundless, in such cases only
officer of the Court and subject to its directions in relation to official matter pending in the Court of First is it lawful totally to discharge him. Otherwise he must either be committed to prison or give bail.'" (loc.
Instance." cit., 125.)
Section 2 of Act No. 194 provides that when a justice of the peace binds the accused person over to a . . . Although in making a commitment the magistrate does not decide on the guilt of the
regular trial, such person shall be committed or admitted to bail "to await the action of the judge of prisoner, yet he does decide on the probable cause and a long and painful imprisonment
Court of First Instance." may be the consequence of his decision. This probable cause, therefore, ought to be proved
We conclude that in this jurisdiction, under the uniform practice since the announcement of the rule in by testimony in itself legal, and which, though from the nature of the case it must be Ex
the case of United States vs. Valencia, (supra), in the first volume of our reports, and as a logical and parte, though in most other respects, to be such as a court and jury might hear. (loc. cit,
necessary consequence of the above cited provisions of the statutes in this regard, provincial fiscals 130.)
have not the power to dismiss criminal actions pending in Courts of First Instance without leave of In Rhea vs. State (61 Neb., 15,) it was said: "Evidence that would justify a committing magistrate in
court; and that this limitation upon their power extends to the dismissal of complaints upon which finding that probable cause existed for the detention of a defendant need not necessarily be sufficient
accused persons have been committed or admitted to bail to await the action of the judge of the to sustain a verdict of guilty when he is placed on trial."
Courts of First Instance. In re Kelly (28 Nev., 491), it was said: "We are not called upon on this hearing to pass upon the
The trial judge was manifestly of opinion that the long delay of the provincial fiscal before taking action sufficiency of this evidence to warrant the conviction of the defendant, and upon that question express
in the case at bar, and his attitude when called upon the explain his failure to prosecute at the urgent no opinion. In this connection it is proper to observe that a magistrate, in holding a defendant to
instance of counsel for the private prosecutrix, amounted to a substantial failure on his part to answer for a crime, is not required to have submitted evidence sufficient to establish the guilt of the
discharge his duty in the premises. In this we are inclined to agree with the trial judge. Without person charged beyond a reasonable doubt. As was said in a recent decision (In re Mitchell [Cal.
reflecting upon the integrity of the good faith of the provincial fiscal, we think that he undoubtedly App.], 82 Pac., 347): "In order to hold defendant and put him on his trial, the committing magistrate is
misconceived his duty, and that he failed to discharge it when he neglected and declined to proceed not required to find evidence sufficient to warrant a conviction. All that is required is that there be a
with the prosecution. He evidently was of opinion that it rested wholly in his discretion whether the sufficient legal evidence to make it appear that "a public offense has been committed and there is
case should or should not proceed to trial, and that he had the uncontrolled power to decline to sufficient cause to believe the defendant guilty thereof."
prosecute, with or without the consent of the trial judge. He manifestly erred in his belief that the The rule in New York is thus stated in People vs. Shenk (142 N.Y.S., 1081), by the Court of Special
evidence relied upon by the private prosecutrix was insufficient to justify him in proceeding with the Session: "A committing magistrate is not required to exact the full measure of proof necessary to
prosecution. Men's minds may well differ as to the probative value of evidence submitted in support of secure a conviction, but is obliged to hold one accused of crime for trial if there is reasonable ground
an alleged fact, and we do not pretend to say that he must have been convinced of the guilt of the to believe him guilty. But there must be proof "that a crime has been committed and that there was
accused, beyond a reasonable doubt, as was the trial judge after hearing the evidence. But we think sufficient cause to believe the defendant guilty thereof." (Citing, Willet vs. Quinn," 135 N.Y.S., 477;
that the evidence was undoubtedly sufficient to justify and require his proceeding promptly with the Perkins vs. Moss, 187 N.Y., 410; 11 L.R.A., N.S., 528; 10 Ann. Cas., 309; Bungart vs. Wells, 68
trial, and submitting the evidence to the court for its final determination of the guilt or innocence of the N.Y.S., 59.)"
accused. In failing so to do, he failed in the discharge of his duty, and we think that under all the
circumstances the trial judge properly appointed a special fiscal to conduct the proceedings in his In State vs. McGinley (153 Wis., 5), it was said: "Upon just what ground the trial court condemned the
stead. action of the examining magistrate does not clearly appear. If, in deciding that the evidence was
insufficient to make out a prima facie case, the judge viewed such evidence from the standpoint of a
trial court, grievous error was committed. An examination to see whether an accused person shall be
placed on trial for an offense charged against him, is a mere inquest. The examining magistrate has accused, Damian Jimenez, justice of the peace of the said municipality, prepared and
very broad latitude in the matter — if the evidence, in any reasonable view of it, satisfies him that a subscribed under oath before said Fortunato Suarez with the commission of the crime of
crime within the charge made has been committed and there is reasonable cause to believe the sedition; that the said justice of the peace Damian Jimenez, conniving with the other accused
accused is the guilty party he is warranted in holding him to bail. If there is evidence sufficient to give Vivencio Orais with the same purpose of concealing the illegality of the arrest and detention
the magistrate any room whatever for the exercise of judgment, — in other words, any jurisdiction to of said Fortunato Suarez, without legal grounds whatsoever willfully and unlawfully issued an
decide the questions of fact within the broad field of probability, then his decision can not be reversed order declaring that there were merits in the complaint thereby sanctioning the illegal and
in the matter attempted in this instance." unjust arrest and detention of Fortunato Suarez who was kept in the municipal jail of Calauag
In United States vs. Steffens (27 Fed. Cas., 16384), it was said: "A committing magistrate acts in a for eight hours.
two fold capacity, — as a court in deciding questions of law and of evidence; as a jury in finding The justice of the peace of Calauag, being one of the accused, the preliminary examination was
questions of fact. But the scope of investigation before the magistrate falls far short of a trial of a conducted by the justice of the peace of Lopez, Tayabas, who thereafter bound the defendants over
prisoner before the court and a jury. It is not required before the magistrate as it is before the jury, that to the Court of First Instance, where the case was docketed as criminal case No. 6426. While the
all reasonable doubt of the prisoner's guilt must be removed; it is only required that the evidence be case was pending in the latter court, on petition, of the accused, the provincial fiscal of Tayabas,
sufficient to establish probable cause that the prisoner committed the offense charged." Ramon Valdez y Nieto, reinvestigated the case. After such reinvestigation, he filed on April 23, 1936,
The following cases are also in accord on the point in question: United States vs. Lumsden (26 Fed. a motion for the dismissal of the case. Fortunato N. Suarez, the petitioner herein, on May 5, 1936,
Cas., 15641); In re Van Campen (28 Fed. Cas., 16835); In re Squires (13 Idaho, 624); State vs. asked the court to appoint Attorney Godofredo Reyes as acting provincial fiscal to handle the
Layman (22 Idaho, 387); Lundstrum vs. State (140 Wis., 141); Ex parte Patterson (50 Tex. Crim., prosecution, alleging, among other things, that the provincial fiscal had no courage to prosecute the
271); People vs. Van de Carr (84 N.Y.S., 461). accused. On May 11, 1936, Attorney Godofredo Reyes entered his appearance as private prosecutor,
and vigorously objected to the motion of dismissal filed by the provincial fiscal. The Bar Association of
We find no error in the proceedings in the case at bar prejudicial to the substantial rights of the Tayabas, through its president, Emiliano A. Gala, entered its appearance as amicus curiae and
defendants and appellants, and the judgment convicting and sentencing them in the court below likewise objected to the dismissal of the case. On August 14, 1936, the then presiding judge of Branch
should therefore be affirmed, with the costs of this instance against the appellants. So ordered. I of the Court of First Instance of Tayabas, Hon. Ed. Gutierrez David, after hearing, denied the motion,
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- ruling that there was prima facie case against the accused. The court, upon petitioner of the provincial
FORTUNATO N. SUAREZ, Petitioner, vs. SERVILLANO PLATON, Judge of Court of First fiscal, designated Deputy Provincial Fiscal Perfecto R. Palacio to handle the prosecution. But Fiscal
Instance of Tayabas, The PROVINCIAL FISCAL OF TAYABAS, VIVENCIO ORAIS and DAMIAN Palacio, being apparently of the same opinion as the provincial fiscal, declined to proceed, and moved
JIMENEZ, Respondents. that a practicing attorney or a competent attorney in the Bureau of Justice be designated in his stead.
Accordingly, the provincial fiscal of Sorsogon, Jacinto Yamson, at the request of the judge a quo was
assigned by the Department of Justice to handle the prosecution of the case. Fiscal Yamson after
This is an original petition for the peremptory writ of mandamus filed by Fortunato N. Suarez with this going over the case likewise entered a nolle prosequi. So, on September 23 1936, he moved for
court, to compel the respondent judge to reinstate criminal case No. 6426 of the Court of First reconsideration of the court's order of August 14, 1936, denying the motion for dismissal presented by
Instance of Tayabas so that the case may proceed to trial in the ordinary course. the provincial fiscal. Attorney Godofredo Reyes again vigorously objected to this motion on the ground
It appears on May 9, 1935, Lieutenant Vivencio Orais, of the Philippine Constabulary, one of the that there was sufficient proof to warrant the prosecution of the accused. The case in this state when
respondents in this case, filed a complaint under oath with the justice of the peace of Calauag, Judge Emilio Pena was appointed to the place of Judge Gutierres David. Later, Judge Serviliano
Province of Tayabas, charging the petitioner herein, Fortunato N. Suarez, and one Tomas Ruedas, Platon, one of the respondents herein, was appointed to preside over case No. 6426 corresponded,
with sedition under Article 142 of the Revised Penal Code. The complaint, upon preliminary and the case was thus transferred to that sala for action. Judge Platon, after consideration of all the
examination, was docketed and given due course. While the said case was pending preliminary facts and proofs submitted in the case, considered the court's order of August 14, 1936, and
investigation, Lieutenant Orais, in obedience to an order of the Provincial Commander of Tayabas, dismissed the case, holding that the evidence was insufficient to convict the accused of the crime
moved for the temporary dismissal of the case. This motion was granted by the justice of the peace of charged. From this order, the petitioner herein appealed to this Court and the case was here docketed
Calauag on May 20, 1935, and the case thus dismissed.y as G.R. No. 45431. On June 30, by a closely divided court, the appeal was dismissed.
At the instance of the petitioner herein, Fortunato N. Suarez, the deputy provincial fiscal of Tayabas, The petitioner has now filed with this Court the present petition, in which, as stated in the opening
Perfecto R. Palacio, in turn charged Lieutenant Vivencio Orais and Damian Jimenez in the justice of paragraph of this decision, we are asked to issue the peremptory writ of mandamus to compel the
the peace court of Calauag with the crime of arbitrary detention committed, according to the respondent judge to reinstate the criminal case which had been ordered dismissed by the said judge.
information under date of July 8, 1935, as follows: The petitioner gives the following grounds for the issuance of said writ:
That on or about the 9th day of May, 1935, in the municipality of Calauag, Province of Que el mencionado Juez Hon. Servillano Platon incurrio en un abuso manifiesto de
Tayabas, P.I., and within the jurisdiction of this Court, the accused Vivencio Orais being then discrecion al sobreseer la mencionada causa contra los otros dos recurridos Vivencio Orais
a public officer to wit: a second lieutenant of the Philippine Constabulary duly appointed and y Damian Jimenez, despues de que el Juzgado de Paz de Lopez habia declarado que
qualified as such and detailed in the Province of Tayabas, without warrant of arrest and existen meritos para proseguirse contra los mismos y despues de que un Juez de Primera
without any legal ground whatsoever, moved by personal grudge and ill-feeling which he Instancia de la misma categoria que el Juez Platon habia rehusado sobreseer la causa por
entertained against Attorney Fortunato Suarez, did, then and there willfully, unlawfully and creer que existian meritos para proceder contra los acusados.
feloniously arrest and detain said Attorney Fortunato Suarez in the train while the latter was Que el mencionado Juez Hon. Servillano Platon incurrio en un abuso grave de discrecion
going to Calauag, and with the purpose of concealing the illegality of said arrest and por cuanto que las pruebas existentes en la causa, en las cuales se fundo el fiscal provincial
detention of said Fortunato Suarez said accused Vivencio Orais conniving with the other al presentar la querella en el Juzgado de Paz, demuestran de un modo claro y concluyente
el delito cometido y la responsibilidad de los acusados. [Las expresadas pruebas constan a
paginas 65 al 106 del adjunto alegato anexo ("A").] El delito de detencion arbitraria esta previsto y castigado en el articulo 124 del Codigo Penal
Que el Hon. Servillano Platon incurrio en un grave abuso de discrecion al juzgar dichas Revisado, que dice asi:
pruebas con un criterio de un Tribunal "sentenciador" cuando que su unica mision era
considerarlas bajo el criterio de un tribunal meramente "investigador". (E.U. vs. Barredo, 32
Jur. Fil., 462, 482.) El funcionario o empleado publico que detuviere a una persona sinmotivo legal alguno sera
castigado; etc.
Should the writ of mandamus prayed for be issued? We observe that after the filing of the information
by the provincial fiscal of Tayabas for arbitrary detention against Lieutenant Orais and the justice of
the peace of Lopez, the same fiscal moved for the dismissal of the case, because 'despues' de una Sin perder de vista que la base angular de todos los procesoscriminales son los delitos, y
reinvestigacion de los hechos que dieron margen a la presente causa, y examinada la misma con la que a la acusacion corresponde determinarexactamente si se ha cometido o no el delito, el
debida atencion que su importancia require asi como las circunstancias del caso, ha llegado a la que suscribe, haanalizado este extremo, relacionando los hechos que determinaron
conclusion de que no hay base justificativa para la prosecucion de esta causa." The grounds for this laalegada detencion arbitraria de que fue objecto el abogado FortunatoN. Suarez, con las
action of the provincial fiscal are stated in his said motion for dismissal of April 23, 1936: circunstancias y los antecedentes de la situacion porque atravesaba entonces la Provincia
En sintesis, los hechos son: que el dia 9 de mayo de 1935, en ocasion en que el abogado de Tayabas al igual que la Provincia de Laguna, acondicionandolos con las palabras
Fortunato N. Suarez y el teniente Vivencio Orais de la constabularia, se encontraron en el proferidas porel abogado Suarez que si en su concepto no son sediciosas y subversivas,por
tren que iba a Calauag, aquel para defender a los sakdalistas acusados en este municipio, y lo menos eran abusivas para con las autoridades del gobierno, especialmente con las de la
este para atender a sus deberes officiales en relacion con el orden publico algo anormal, por Provincia de Tayabas a las cuales se referian. Asi entendido el aspecto legal de la cuestion,
causa de los mismos sakdalistas en dicho municipio de Calauag, ambos tuvieron un cambio y haciendo aplicacion de lo que nos dice la misma ley en lo en que consiste la detencion
de palabras con motivo del mismo asunto que les llevaba alli, y por haber el abogado arbitraria, que para que exista este delito, la detencion tenia que haber sido sin motivo legal
Suarez proferido en tono acalorado, de que los sakdalistas estaban perseguidos en Calauag alguno, creemos que habia algun motivo legal para la detencion del abogado Sr. Suarez y
por las autoridades municipales y la constabularia, y que era un abuso de las autoridades su companero Tomas Ruedas, y estaba justificada por haber ellos mismos dado lugar a ello.
dicha persecusion, trayendo al propio tiempo a colacion lo ocurrido en los municipios de (E.U. vs. Vallejo y otro, 11 Jur. Fil., 202; E.U. vs. Santos, 36 Jur. Fil., 909.)
Cabuyao y Sta Rosa de la Provincia de Laguna, que se levantaron contra el gobierno por los We have not overlooked the fact that this motion for dismissal was denied by Judge Gutierrez David
abusosy matanzas de sakdalistas en dichos pueblos, y que lo mismo podia tenerlugar en of August 14, 1936. It appears, however, that subsequently Fiscal Yamsom who, as stated above was
esta Provincia de Tayabas, y que el podia incitar a lossakdalistas, teniendo en cuenta que assigned by the Department of Justice to conduct the prosecution of the case, moved for
con anterioridad el teniente Oraishabia recibido informes de que los sakdalistas en Calauag reconsideration of the Court's order of August 14, 1936, denying the motion for dismissal. Judge
habian sido entrevistados por Tomas Ruedas, uno de los acusados en el municipiode Servillano Platon granted the motion for reconsideration and dismissed the case. In this motion for
Sariaya por el delito de conspiracion para cometer sedicion, que el abogado ayudaria a los reconsideration not only does Fiscal Yamson reiterate the arguments advanced by Fiscal Valdez y
sakdalistas incintandoles a la sedicion,fue el motivo por el cual el arresto al abogado Suarez, Nieto in the latter's motion for dismissal, but adds:
conduciendoleal municipio como asi lo hizo con respecto a Tomas Ruedas, quien salio al (a) En lo que respecta al acusado Teniente Orais, no existe prueba alguna en los autos de
encuentro de Suarez cuando llego a la estacion del tren en Calauag, diciendo a este que ya esta causa que dicho acusado haya arrestado al abogado Suarez y Tomas Ruedas,
tenia arreglado a los sakdalistas en Calauag. Que despues de haberles arrestado, presento solamente por el mero gusto de arrestarles. Tampoco existe pruebas de que el teniente
una denuncia contra estos por el delito de sedicion, en el juzgado de paz de Calauag, Orais haya sido inducido por motivos de venganza o resentimiento alguno contra dicho
aunque por instrucciones de sus superiores, dicho Teniente Vivencio Orais pidio el abogado Suarez y Tomas Ruedas al arrestales en el dia de autos. Aunque es verdad que el
sobreseimiento provisional de su denuncia. Teniente Orais ha sido acusado ante el Juzgado de pazde Sariaya por 'abusos de
library autoridad', sin embargo, no consta en los autos de dicha causa que el abogado Suarez y
Aunque el abogado Suarez niega que el haya profiredo palabras sediciosas, ni que haya Tomas Ruedas hayan intervenido como abogado ni parte ofendida o testigos en la misma,
incitado a los sakdalistas a actos de violenciacontra el gobierno constituido o contra las por tanto, no vemos razon alguna para que el Teniente Orais tenga motivos de vengarse de
autoridades y oficiales, sin embargo, de las declaraciones de los testigos tanto de la estos por dicha causa. (Vease pag. 1, Anexo O.) A falta de prueba sobre estos hechos, en
acusacioncomo de la defensa en lo que son consistentes, se desprende claramente que el nuestra humilde opinion, existe a favor de Teniente Orais la presuncion de haber
abogado Suarez ha hecho manifestaciones que pueden considerarse como sediciosas y cumplidocon su deber al arrestar al abogado Fortunato N. Suarez y Tomas Ruedas,
subversivas, maxime teniendo en consideracion el estado caotico porque atravesaba el teniendo en cuenta las circunstancias extraordinarias reinantes entonces en Calauag a raiz
municipio de Calauag con motivo de la campana ordenada porel gobierno contra los de los disturbios y desordenes publicos que tuvieron lugar en los municipios de Cabuyao y
sakdalistas, a raiz de los disturbiosy desordenes publicos que tuvieron lugar en los Sta. Rosa de la Provincia de Laguna, dias antes de ocurrir el suceso de autos. Se debe
municipios de Cabuyao y Sta. Rosa. tener en cuenta, ademas, el hecho de que despues de haber arrestado al abogado
Fortunato N. Suarez y Tomas Ruedas, el aqui acusado Teniente Vivencio Orais presento
denuncia inmediatamente ante su coacusado Damian Jimenez, juez de paz de Calauag, por
La presente causa se ha iniciado a denuncia del abogado Sr. Godofredo Reyes contra el infraccion del articulo 142 del Codigo Penal Revisado.
teniente Vivencio Orais de la constabularia y el juez de paz Damian L. Jimenez, por el delito We cannot overemphasize the necessity of close scrutiny and investigation of prosecuting officers of
de detencion arbitraria. all cases handled by them, but whilst this Court is averse to any form of vacillation by such officers in
the prosecution of public offenses, it is unquestionable that they may, in appropriate cases, in order to in connection with which said accused intervened or took part in his official capacity
do justice and avoid injustice, reinvestigate cases in which they have already filed the corresponding and in which he is prohibited by law from having any interest, to wit the purchases
informations. In the language of Mr. Justice Sutherland of the Supreme Court of the United States, the of construction materials by the Municipality of Numancia, Aklan from Trigen Agro-
prosecuting officer "is the representative not of an ordinary party to a controversy, but of a sovereignty Industrial Development Corporation, of which the accused is the president,
whose obligation to govern impartially is as compelling as its obligation to govern at all; and whose incorporator, director and major stockholder paid under Municipal Voucher No. 211-
interest, therefore, in a criminal prosecution is not that it shall win a case, but that justice shall be 90-10-174 in the amount of P558.80 by then and there awarding the supply and
done. As such, he is in a peculiar and very definite sense the servant of the law, the two fold aim of delivery of said materials to Trigen Agro-Industrial Development Corporation and
which is that guilt shall not escape or innocence suffer. He may prosecute with earnestness and vigor approving payment thereof to said corporation in violation of the Anti-Graft and
- indeed, he should do so. But, while he may strike hard blows, he is not at liberty to strike foul ones. It corrupt Practices Act.
is as much his duty to refrain from improper methods calculated to produce a wrongful conviction as it except only as to the dates of the commission of the offense, voucher numbers, and amounts
is to use every legitimate means to bring about a just one," (69 United States Law Review, June, involved.
1935, No. 6, p. 309.)
Criminal Cases Nos. 6856, 6857, 6858, 6859, 6860. 6861, and 6862 were allegedly committed in
Considering all the circumstances, we cannot say that Judge Servillano Platon, in granting the motion July, 1980; Criminal Cases Nos. 6863 and 6864, in August, 1980; and Criminal Cases Nos. C-865,
for the dismissal of the case for arbitrary detention against Lieutenant Orais and the justice of the 6866 and 6867 in October, 1980. T o t a l - - - - P7,730.50
peace of Lopez, abused his discretion so flagrantly as to justify, in the interest of justice, a departure
from the well-settled rule that an inferior tribunal in the performance of a judicial act within the scope After trial, the Sandiganbayan rendered the challenged decision dated November 6, 1984, convicting
of its jurisdiction and discretion cannot be controlled by mandamus. This is especially true in a matter the petitioner in all the twelve (12) criminal cases, (Rollo, pp. 324-325) and in each case he was
involving the examination of evidence and the decision of questions of law and fact, since such a duty sentenced," suffer the indeterminate penalty of imprisonment ranging from THREE (3) YEARS
is not ministerial. (High, Extraordinary Legal Remedies, sec. 156, pp. 173-175). Upon the other hand, and ONE (1) DAY as the minimum, to SIX (6) YEARS and ONE (1) DAY as the maximum, to further
it should be observed that in the case of Lieutenant Orais, in the face of the circumstances suffer perpetual disqualification from the public office, and to pay the cost of the action." (pp. 37-40,
surrounding the arrest as set forth in the two motions for dismissal by the provincial fiscal of Tayabas, Decision; Rollo, 322).
which facts and circumstances must have been investigated and duly weighed and considered by the After the petition for review was filed in this case and pending the submission by respondent of its
respondent judge of the Court of First Instance of Tayabas, the arrest effected by Lieutenant Orais comment to the petition, herein petitioner presented to this Court on June 7, 1985, an urgent petition
cannot be said to have be entirely unjustified. If, "under trying circumstances and in a zealous effort to to lift the order of the Sandiganbayan dated September 12, 1983, suspending him from Office as the
obey the orders of his superior officer and to enforce the law, a peace officer makes a mere mistake in elected Municipal Mayor of Numancia, Aklan. His term was to expire in 1986. No objection to the
good faith, he should be exculpated. Otherwise, the courts will put a premium on crime and will petition for the lifting of the suspension order was interposed by the Solicitor General. Accordingly,
terrorize peace officers through a fear of themselves violating the law. See generally Voorhees on and pursuant to the resolution of this Court dated October 1, 1985, petitioner's preventive suspension
Arrest; 5 Corpus Juris, pp. 399, 416; 2 R.C.L., 450. (United States vs. Santos, 36 Phil., 853, 855.)" was lifted and his reinstatement as Municipal Mayor of Numancia, Aklan was ordered to take effect
The petition is hereby dismissed, without pronouncement regarding cost. So ordered. immediately.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- A supplemental petition, dated October 10, 1985, was later filed by petitioner's new counsel in
collaboration with the original counsel on record of petitioner. In this supplemental pleading, it was
GENEROSO TRIESTE, SR., Petitioner, vs. SANDIGANBAYAN (SECOND DIVISION), Respondent. vigorously stressed that the petitioner did not, in any way, intervene in making the awards and
payment of the purchases in question as he signed the voucher only after all the purchases had
ALAMPAY, J.: c already been made, delivered and paid for by the Municipal Treasurer. It was further pointed out that
there was no bidding at all as erroneously adverted to in the twelve informations filed against herein
The present case relates to an appeal by way of a Petition for Review of the decision promulgated on petitioner because the transactions involved were emergency direct purchases by personal canvass.
November 6, 1984, by the Sandiganbayan convicting the herein petitioner, Generoso Trieste, Sr., of
twelve (12) separate violations of Section 3 paragraph (h) of Republic Act 3019, otherwise known as Upon leave of the Court given, the former Solicitor General filed a consolidated comment dated
the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices - Act, which petitioner were accused of in Criminal Cases Nos. November 4, 1984, to the original petition filed in this case dated April 30, 1985 as well as on the
6856-6867 of said Court. Petitioner's motion for reconsideration and/or new trial was denied by the supplemental petition dated October 10, 1985. He argued the dismissal of the petition on the ground
respondent Sandiganbayan under its Resolution of March 11, 1985. that the same raise factual issues which are, therefore, non-reviewable (Consolidated Comment, pg.
20; Rollo, 341). The submission made by the Office of the Solicitor General in the Consolidated
The twelve (12) separate Informations filed by the Tanodbayan against the herein petitioner for Comment dated November 4, 1986, are hereunder quoted:
violation of Section 3 (h) of the Anti-Graft Law are all similarly worded as the information presented in
Criminal Case No. 6856 which is hereunder quoted: xxx xxx xxx
That on or about the month of July, 1980 and some time subsequent thereto, in the The impugned decision convicted petitioner for violation of Section 3 (h), paragraph
municipality of Numancia, Aklan, Philippines, and within the jurisdiction of this (h) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act which reads as follows:
Honorable Court, the abovenamed accused, being then the Municipal Mayor and SEC. 3. Corrupt Practices of Public Officers. - In addition to acts or omissions of
member of the Committee on Award of the Municipality of Numancia, Aklan and as public officers already penalized by existing laws, the following shall constitute
such, had administrative control of the funds of the municipality and whose approval corrupt practices of any public officer and are hereby declared to be unlawful:
is required in the disbursements of municipal funds, did then and there wilfully and xxx xxx xxx
unlawfully have financial or pecuniary interest in a business, contract or transaction
(h) Directly or indirectly having financial or pecuniary interest in any business, It was then discus and argued by the petitioner that the prosecution failed to establish the presence of
contract or transaction in connection with which he intervenes or takes part in his all the elements of the offense, and more particularly to adduce proof that petitioner has, directly or
official capacity, or in which he is prohibited by the Constitution or by any law from indirectly, a financial or pecuniary interest in the imputed business contracts or transactions.
having any interest. Discussion of petitioner's arguments in this regard will not however, be recited anymore as this was
The elements essential in the commission of the crime are: obviated when a new Solicitor General, after seeking and obtaining several extensions of time to file
a) The public officer has financial or pecuniary interest in a business, contract or its Brief in this case at bar, filed on October 7, 1986, a "Manifestation For Acquittal" (in lieu of the
transaction; People's Brief). Rollo, 293).
b) In connection with which he intervenes in his official capacity. The new Solicitor General's Office after adopting the statement of facts recited in the consolidated
comment of the former Solicitor General's Office moved for the acquittal of the petitioner, upon
Concurrence of both elements is necessary as the absence of one will not warrant acknowledging and concluding that:
conviction. (Rollo, pp. 338-339).
xxx xxx xxx
The earlier view taken by the Solicitor General's Office was that petitioner's evidence of divestment of
interest in Trigen 'Corporation, which is said to have been effected on February 25, 1980, before the Petitioner has divested his interest with Trigen
petitioner assumed the Mayorship, should have been presented at the earliest opportunity before the Petitioner sought to establish that before he assumed office as mayor on March 3,
Tanodbayan and because this was not done by him the resolution of the Tanodbayan finding a prima 1980, he had already sold his shares with Trigen to his sister Mrs. Rosene Trieste-
facie case against petitioner should be sustained. Furthermore, petitioner was faulted because the Tuason. The sale was made by corresponding indorsements to her stock certificate
transfer of his interest in the corporate stock of Trigen Corporation should have been recorded in the which was duly recorded in the stock and transfer book of the corporation.
Securities and Exchange Commission but no evidence of this sort, was presented. The consolidated Respondent Sandiganbayan however doubts the sale because the same was not
comment also played up the advertisement of Trigen Corporation in the program of the Rotary Club of reported to the SEC. SEC records, as the prosecution evidence show, do not reflect
Kalibo, Aklan, showing the printed name of petitioner as the President-Manager of the said the sale and petitioner still appears as the firm's President.
corporation. (Consolidated Comment; Rollo, pp. 340-341)
The prosecution's evidence to establish non-divestment of petitioner's interest with
Petitioner filed a Reply controverting the allegations and arguments recited in the aforestated Trigen is weak. Anyway, Trigen has not updated its reports to the SEC since 1976.
Consolidated Comment of the Solicitor General. It have not even submitted its financial annual report ever since. Absence of the
After considering the pleadings filed and deliberating on the issues raised in the petition and sales report in the SEC does not mean that the sale did not take place. Reporting
supplemental petition for review on certiorari of the decision of the Sandiganbayan, as well as the the sale is not a mandatory requirement.
consolidated comment and the reply thereto filed by petitioner's counsel, the Court in its resolution of Sales of stocks need not be reported to SEC
January 16, 1986, gave due course to the petition and required the parties to file their respective
briefs. In any event, the law only requires submission of annual financial reports, not sales
or disposal of stocks (Section 141, Corporation Code of the Philippines).
Petitioner's exhaustive and well-reasoned out Brief which was filed with the Court on April 14, 1986,
raised the following legal questions. Upholding the evidence of petitioner's divestment of his interest with Trigen would
necessarily allow him to act freely in his official capacity in the municipality's
xxx xxx xxx dealings or transactions with Trigen. That in itself is sufficient to acquit him of the
From the foregoing recital of facts, the following legal questions arise: crimes charged. (Rollo, pp. 299-300).
1. Does the mere signing by a Municipal Mayor of municipal vouchers and other In the matter of the alleged intervention of petitioner, the Office of the Solicitor General itself
supporting papers covering purchases of materials previously ordered by the subscribes to and on its own volition place on record the following observations: library
Municipal Treasurer without the knowledge and consent of the former, subsequently Prosecution failed to prove charges; evidence discloses absence of bidding and award
delivered by the supplier, and, thereafter paid by the same Municipal Treasurer also
without the knowledge and consent of the Municipal Mayor, constitute a violation of The prosecution's lone witness, Treasurer Aniceto Vega, testified that there never
the provisions of Section 3 (h) of Rep. Act No. 3019 otherwise known as the Anti- was a public bidding conducted because all the transactions were made by direct
Graft and Corrupt Practices Act? purchases from Trigen.
2. Does the mere signing of the mere documents above constitute the kind of Q. In other words, in all these transactions there never really was
intervention of taking part in (his) official capacity within the context of the above- any public bidding?
mentioned law? A. Yes, Sir. There was no public bidding.
3. Was damage or prejudice, as an element of the offense under Section 3 (h) of Q. And these purchases were made by direct purchases from the
the said law, caused to the Government or the Municipality of Numancia as a result establishment of Trigen?
of the contracts in question and as a corollary thereto, was undue advantage and A. Yes, Sir. (pp. 36-37, Tsn., Oct. 26, 1983)
gained by the transacting corporation?
In the absence of a public bidding and as emphatically declared by the
4. Was there divestment on the part of the herein petitioner of his shares in Trigen prosecution's sole witness Vega that all the transactions were on direct purchases
Agro-Industrial Development Corporation long before the questioned transactions? from Trigen, how can one ever imagine that petitioner has awarded the supply and
(Appellant's Brief, page 15)
delivery of construction materials to Trigen as specifically charged in the twelve (12) xxx xxx xxx
informations? The charges are of course baseless and even contradict the evidence A. Yes, sir
of the prosecution itself.
Q. Now, what exhibits particularly do you know were issued
Even the respondent Court finally found that petitioner did not intervene during the by Trigen to indicate that payments were made prior to the
bidding and award, which of course is a false assumption because of Vega's signing of the municipal vouchers by Mayor Trieste?
testimony that there was no public bidding at all. Respondent Court said:
A. Exhibits A, G, B, F, C, D, Exhibit I and Exhibit H.
. . . . In short, accused's intervention may not be present during the bidding and
award, but his liability may also come in when he took part in said transactions such xxx xxx xxx
as signing the vouchers under certifications 1, 2 and 3 thereof, to make it appear Q. Now, Mr. Maravilla, aside from these prosecution's exhibits
that the transactions were regular and proper. (Resolution dated March 11, 1985 which are Trigen receipts showing payments long before the
denying petitioner's motion for reconsideration/new trial, page 7). municipal vouchers were prepared, what can you say about the
No evidence to prove petitioner approved payment other municipal vouchers in this case in reference to payments
made by Trigen to the municipality?
Now, did petitioner intervene by approving payments to Trigen as also charged in
the information? Can there be intervention after payment. ESCAREAL:
Vega testified that petitioner signed the twelve (12) municipal vouchers (Exhibits A Payment made by Trigen?
to L) for the purchase and payment of construction materials. It was sometime after ATTY. CONSULTA:
delivery of the construction materials that he (Vega) signed and paid the twelve (12) I am sorry, Your Honor, made to Trigen by the municipality?
-municipal vouchers (pages 5 to 7), decision of respondent Sandiganbayan dated
A. Official receipts issued by Trigen also indicate that when
November 2, 1984). The prosecution has not presented evidence to show as to
municipal vouchers marked Exhibits E, B, C, D, F, G, H, I were
when petitioner signed the twelve (12) municipal vouchers. But it can safely be
prepared, they had already been delivered and the amounts
assumed as a matter of procedure that petitioner had signed the voucher after
indicated therein were already prepared by the municipal
Treasurer Vega signed and paid them., (Rello, pp. 301-303)
xxx xxx xxx
Q. Did you say already made by the municipal treasurer-the
Testimonial and documentary evidence confirms that petitioner signed vouchers amounts were already paid by the municipal treasurer?
after payment
A. Already paid.
Additional facts which respondent Court failed to consider and which could have
Q. Who disbursed the funds evidenced by the Trigen official
altered the outcome of the case in the following uncontroverted testimony of Josue
A. The municipal treasurer, then Mr. Vega.
Q. When these municipal vouchers were prepared by the
municipal treasurer, as you said, and then presented to Mayor Q. Now, do you know why Mr. Vega asked that those municipal
Trieste for his signature, were the purchases in question already vouchers be nevertheless signed in spite of the fact that he knew
paid? that the amounts had already been disbursed and paid by him to
A. They had already been paid for, sir.
A. He said that the municipal vouchers for record purposes is
Q. Previously, prior to the signature of Mayor Trieste?
necessary to be signed by the mayor. (Tsn., Mar. 5, 1984, pp. 19-
A. Yes, sir. 49).
A.J. ESCAREAL: y Inasmuch as Treasurer Vega signed and paid the vouchers after the materials were
Q. Under what authority were they paid? delivered, petitioner's signature on the vouchers after payment is not, we submit the
A. Under official receipt issued by Trigen. kind of intervention contemplated under Section 3(h) of the Anti-Graft Law.
Q. Who authorized the payment? xxx xxx xxx
A. The municipal treasurer who paid the materials. What is contemplated in Section 3(h) of the anti-graft law is the actual intervention
in the transaction in which one has financial or pecuniary interest in order that
ATTY. CONSULTA: liability may attach. (Opinion No. 306, Series 1961 and Opinion No. 94, Series 1972
Q. You said they had already been paid for. Do you know of any of the Secretary of Justice). The official need not dispose his shares in the
receipts issued by Trigen to indicate that at the time these corporation as long as he does not do anything for the firm in its contract with the
municipal vouchers were signed by Mayor Trieste, the materials office. For the law aims to prevent the don-tenant use of influence, authority and
had already been delivered and paid by the municipality to power (Deliberation on Senate Bill 293, May 6, 1959, Congressional Record, Vol.
Trigen? 11, page 603).
There is absolutely no evidence that petitioner had, in his capacity as Mayor, used warrants, thus deceiving the government and defrauding the Government treasury
his influence, power, and authority in having the transactions given to Trigen. He of a big amount of money;
didn't ask anyone-neither Treasurer Vega nor Secretary Maravilla for that matter, to 2. Gross dishonesty and corruption by soliciting, demanding, receiving bribed (sic)
get the construction materials from Trigen. money in exchange for favorable resolutions and decisions from different litigants in
Trigen did not gain any undue advantage in the transaction Branch 52, where said Judge was temporarily assigned from November 1984 to
Petitioner should not be faulted for Trigen's transaction with the municipality, which April 1986 and of which one of the undersigned complainant (sic), LIGAYA
by the way, has been dealing with it even before petitioner had assumed the GONZALES-AUSTRIA is the Branch Clerk of Court;
mayorship on March 3, 1980. Personal canvasses conducted found that Trigen's 3. Illegal exaction of portion of the salaries of his subordinate Edgardo Servando as
offer was the lowest, most reasonable, and advantageous to the municipality. . . . part and condition of his continued employment in Branch 51, where Judge Abaya
(Rollo, pp. 307-308; Emphasis supplied). is the presiding judge.,
It is also an acknowledged fact that there was no complaint for non-delivery, underdelivery or Judge Abaya denied all these charges in his comment dated August 29, 1986, filed in compliance with
overpricing regarding any of the transactions. Considering the correct facts now brought to the the Court Resolution of August 12, 1986. He asserted that these charges were concocted in
attention of this Court by the Solicitor General and in view of the reassessment made by that Office of retaliation against the administrative complaint docketed as Adm. Matter No. 698-P he earlier filed on
the issues and the evidence and the law involved, the Court takes a similar view that the affirmance of July 18,1986 against one of his accusers, Atty. Ligaya Gonzales-Austria for dishonesty and grave
the decision appealed from cannot be rightfully sustained. The conscientious study and thorough misconduct in having forged his signature in a probation order in Criminal Case No. 4995 of the RTC,
analysis made by the Office of the Solicitor General in this case truly reflects its consciousness of its Branch 52, Puerto Princess, entitled "People of the Philippines vs. Leonardo Cruz," for attempted
role as the People's Advocate in the administration of justice to the end that the innocent be equally murder. Adm. Matter No. 698-P was followed by a petition dated August 5,1986 docketed as Adm.
defended and set free just as it has the task of having the guilty punished. This Court will do no less Case No. 2909 for the disbarment of Atty. Ligaya Gonzales-Austria based on the same alleged
and, therefore, accepts the submitted recommendation that the decision and resolution in question of offense.
the respondent Sandiganbayan be reversed and that as a matter of justice, the herein petitioner be After Atty. Ligaya Gonzales-Austria had filed her comment on the charges against her, the Court
entitled to a judgment of acquittal. resolved to consolidate these related cases.
WHEREFORE, the decision rendered by the Sandiganbayan, dated November 2, 1984, in Criminal On October 28, 1986, the Court granted the motion of the complainants in Adm. Matter No. R-705-
Cases Nos. 6856 to 6867, finding the herein petitioner, Generoso Trieste, Sr. guilty of the violations of RTJ to amend their complaint by including Annabelle Cardenas as defendant in the charge of Estafa
Section 3 paragraph (h) of Republic Act 3019, as amended, is hereby set aside and reversing the thru Falsification of Public Documents. It was averred therein that the initial exclusion was due to
appealed judgment, a new judgment is now rendered ACQUITTING Generoso Trieste, Sr., of said oversight and that it was never intended to exclude her as a co-principal.c
offenses charged against him with costs de oficio. library
By resolution of December 11, 1986, the cases were referred to Court of Appeals Justice Oscar M.
SO ORDERED. Herrera for investigation, report and recommendation. Based on the evidence presented by the
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- parties, Justice Herrera finds the respondents guilty of the charges against them and thereby
vs. JUDGE EMMANUEL M. ABAYA, RTC, Br. 51, Puerto Princess City and ANNA BELLE 1. The FORFEITURE of retirement benefits of Judge Abaya except earned leave
CARDENAS, Respondents. credits;
A.M. No. R-698-P August 23, 1989 2. The REMOVAL of Annabelle Cardenas from office as Court Stenographer;
JUDGE EMMANUEL M. ABAYA, Complainant, vs. LIGAYA GONZALES-AUSTRIA, Branch Clerk 3. A one-year SUSPENSION from office as Attorney of Atty. Ligaya G. Austria in
of Court, RTC, Br. 52, Puerto Princess City, Respondent. AC-2909. 4
A.M. No. 2909 August 23, 1989 We now consider these well-thought out recommendations.
of Court, RTC, Br. 52, Puerto Princess City, Respondent. a. Estafa thru Falsification of Public or Official Documents by Judge Abaya and Annabelle Cardenas.-
The gravamen of this charge is that Annabelle Cardenas who was appointed as Stenographic
FERNAN, C.J.: Reporter of Branch 51, RTC, Palawan in August 1983 upon the recommendation of Judge Abaya as
Presiding Judge therein, was a ghost employee from August 1983 to May 1984 as she never reported
In a complaint under oath dated July 21, 1986, docketed as Adm. Matter No. R-705-RTJ, Atty. Ligaya for work during said period, being then employed at Princess Tours Rafols Hotel as a tourist guide.
Gonzales-Austria, then Branch Clerk of Court of the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 52, Puerto Notwithstanding, with her knowledge and consent, Judge Abaya verified as true and correct her daily
Princess City 1 Mrs. Leonila Fuertes and Mr. Edgardo Servando charged Judge Emmanuel M. Abaya, time records as stenographic reporter purportedly showing that she rendered service and incurred no
then Presiding Judge of RTC, Branch 51, Puerto Princess City 2 with: absences or tardiness from August 9 to September 30, 1983 and rendered service for the period from
1. Estafa through falsification of public or official documents, by verifying official October 1, 1983 to May 31, 1984 and was granted leave of absence from March 14 to 30, 1984 and
hours rendered by one employee in the person of Miss Anabelle Cardenas who from April 23 to 27, 1984. Thus, she was paid her salaries corresponding to the periods allegedly
never reported for duty from August 1983 to May 1984 by encashing and receiving worked. Some of the Treasury Warrants covering her salaries were, according to complainants,
salaries of said Miss Cardenas through forgery of payee's signature in the treasury encashed by Judge Abaya by forging Annabelle Cardenas' signature.
Both Judge Abaya and Annabelle Cardenas vehemently denied the charges, countering that the latter Judge cut her off by saying he needed the money badly before he leaves for Manila. Mrs. Fuertes
worked as stenographic reporter from August 1983 to May 31, 1984.c answered that she would have to consult her brothers-in-law about the matter. The Judge told her to
We find the charges against Judge Abaya and Annabelle Cardenas to be supported by substantial see him at his house at 7:00 o'clock in the evening. library
evidence. Especially damaging to the pretensions of the respondents that Annabelle Cardenas Mrs. Fuertes consulted her brothers-in-law as well as the then prosecuting fiscal, now Judge Angel R.
rendered service as stenographic reporter during the period under consideration are the school Miclat about the matter. Although they were all against the Idea of her acceding to the Judge's
records of the Holy Trinity College, showing that Annabelle Cardenas was attending school in the first demand, she delivered the amount of Pl,200.00 to Judge Abaya on August 15,1985 in his chambers,
semester of school year 1983-1984 from 2:00 P.M. to 8:15 P.M. 5 While she claimed to have been telling him that was all she could afford. Judge Abaya looked dissatisfied but said "Never mind" and
permitted by her teacher to attend her typing and stenography classes after office hours, the school that he would just contact her at the next trial for the final judgment. 9
records reveal that she has other subjects such as Business Organization and Management (3 units), Roselyn Teologo, stenographic reporter of Branch 52 corroborated that portion of Mrs. Fuertes'
Ten Commandments (3 units), Sining ng Pakikipagtalastas (3 units) and Accounting for Single testimony relating to the phone call of Nelly Vicente to Mrs. Fuertes, the latter's arrival on August 13,
Proprietorship (3 units), her attendance in which can be safely concluded from the passing grades she 1985 at Branch 52 and Mrs. Fuertes having been closeted with Judge Abaya inside the courtroom for
received in said subjects. Equally damaging to respondents' assertion are the Daily Time Records of about 20 minutes. She further testified that Carmen Baloco who eavesdropped on the Judge and Mrs.
Princess Tours 6 showing that Annabelle Cardenas acted as tourist guide on 43 working days when Fuertes' conversation remarked, "Grabe ito, nanghihingi ng pera." (This is terrible, he is asking
she was supposedly rendering service as stenographic reporter. Her explanation that her name was money.) She added that when Judge Abaya emerged from the courtroom, he instructed her not to tell
placed on the daily time record as team leader, although she did not actually conduct the tours anybody that Mrs. Fuertes had been there. 10
reflected therein is too shallow to merit belief. It is indeed quite intriguing that during the ten-month
period under consideration, the court calendar for Branch 51 never once carried Annabelle Cardenas' Additional corroborative evidence was given by Judge Angel R. Miclat, then acting City Fiscal for
name to signify her attendance at a court session. Moreover, she could not produce any single order, Puerto Princess City handling Criminal Case No. 5304. He testified that Mrs. Fuertes came to him in
transcript or official stenographic notes that had been taken by her in any case, civil or criminal. All August of 1986 to inform him that Judge Abaya was asking P5,000.00 from her so that the bail
she presented were so-called practice notes. application of the accused would be denied. While he advised her to file a complaint against Judge
Abaya, he was informed later on that Mrs. Fuertes gave Judge Abaya not the amount being asked,
Judge Abaya stated in his comment that it was Annabelle Cardenas who was collecting her salary but only about P1,200.00. 11
"without intervention from your respondent. 7 It was however proved that Judge Abaya collected
Annabelle Cardenas' salaries on several occasions, as in fact, said Annabelle Cardenas even Likewise submitted in evidence by the complainants were the entries in Mrs. Fuertes' diary, thus:
executed a special power of attorney in his favor authorizing him not only to collect the treasury August 13, 1985 called by Judge Abaya to see him after office hours. He asked me
warrants but to endorse and negotiate them as well. 8 Be that as it may, we find the evidence for my case was 50-50. 12
insufficient on the one hand to overthrow the explanation of respondents that Judge Abaya collected August 15, I went to town to see Baby Francisco, gave P2,000 and I brought the
Annabelle Cardenas' salaries in Manila so that he could bring the same to Candon, Ilocos Sur for money to Judge. 13
delivery to her mother, who is a good friend of the Judge; and on the other hand to support
July 2, 1986 Judge Abaya with companion Rufo Gonzales and Celia Fernandez.
complainants' theory that Judge Abaya appropriated the money for himself.
Purpose they convinced me to sign my name in the affidavit stating that I will deny
b. Charges of Gross Dishonesty and Corruption by Soliciting, Demanding and Receiving Bribe Money the previous affidavit I made stated that Judge asked from me certain amount and
against Judge Abaya. - The act complained of was allegedly committed by Judge Abaya while his request was granted. But I did not sign and asked me to see him in town at the
temporarily assigned to Branch 52, RTC Palawan vice Judge Jose G. Genilo Jr., who was temporarily residence of Menchie his niece personally nakiusap kay Baby upang mai-deny ang
assigned to Batangas City. It must be recalled that complainant Atty. Ligaya Gonzales-Austria was affidavit ko through Atty. Austria ay nakiusap pa rin. He is talking care Nanette na
then Branch Clerk of Court of Branch 52. idinay ko. 13-A
It was alleged that Judge Abaya denied the application for bail of the accused in Criminal Case No. Judge Abaya denied the solicitation as well as the receipt of money from Mrs. Fuertes. He alleged
5304 entitled "People vs. Henry Arias and Fernando Oniot for murder, in consideration of the sum of P that the bail application of the accused in Criminal Case No. 5304 was denied, not because of any
2,000.00 given by Mrs. Leonila Fuertes, complainant and mother of the victim in the aforesaid case. outside interference, but because the evidence of guilt was strong. He surmised that Mrs. Fuertes and
Mrs. Leonila Fuertes, a school teacher, testified that she went to Branch 52 at about 5:00 P.M. on Nelly Vicente had been pressured by Atty. Ligaya Gonzales-Austria into testifying against him out of
August 13, 1985 in response to a telephone call from court stenographer Nelly Vicente that Judge sheer vindictiveness and that Mrs. Fuertes might have been blaming him for the delay in the
Abaya wanted to see her personally. Nelly Vicente referred her to Carmencita P. Baloco, the officer- resolution of the criminal case against her son's alleged killers.
in-charge who then called Judge Abaya from the other branch. Judge Abaya directed her to the We quote with approval Justice Herrera's perceptive reasons for giving full faith and credence to Mrs.
adjoining courtroom where he told her, "Ang kaso ninyo ay medyo tagilid, 50-50 dahil walang Fuertes' testimony:
eyewitness." (Your case is shaky with only a 50-50 chance of winning because there is no
We find no improper motive as to why Mrs. Fuertes, a school teacher, would impute
eyewitness.) She retorted that there was an eyewitness but the Judge insisted that there was none
such a serious offense against a judge unless it be the truth. Mrs. Fuertes is not a
because the supposed eyewitness had his back turned when her son was stabbed. Nonetheless, the
disgruntled litigant. Judge Abaya having denied the petition for bail of the suspected
Judge assured her that he would be able to do something about it ("Ngunit lahat ay magagawan ko ng
killer of Mrs, Fuertes' son, she should, under normal circumstances be grateful to
paraan dahil ako ang nakakaalam sa mga decision dito"). When Mrs. Fuertes asked the Judge what
the Judge. Yet she charged him with a serious offense, and travelled all the way
he wanted, he told her that he has a problem. "Kailangan ko ng pera Limang Libo at Ide-deny ko ang
from Palawan to Manila to testify against the Judge. Under the circumstances, We
bail na mga acusado" (I need Five Thousand Pesos and I will deny bail to the accused). Mrs. Fuertes
cannot accept Judge Abaya's contention that Mrs. Fuertes perjured herself just to
expressed puzzlement on why she had to give money when she was the aggrieved party, but the
accommodate the vengeanceful ire of Atty. Austria against Judge Abaya. That service for personal gain is indeed a demoralizing example constituting a valid cause for
would be contrary to the ordinary prompting of men. disenchantment and loss of confidence in the judiciary as well as in the civil service system.
Upon the other hand, the testimony of Mrs. Fuertes is too rich in details brought out By these acts, Judge Abaya has demonstrated his unfitness and unworthiness of the honor and
on cross-examination which cannot simply be swept aside as mere fabrications. requisites attached to his office. As he had previously resigned, we hereby order the forfeiture of his
They find support in collateral but highly significant circumstances pointed to by retirement benefits, except earned leave credits, as recommended by the investigating officer Justice
Mrs. Teologo, such as (1) the visible presence of Mrs. Fuertes in the courtroom in Herrera.
conference with Judge Abaya at 5:00 o'clock in the afternoon of August 15, (should We further mete out to Annabelle Cardenas in consequence of her grave misconduct as above-
be 13) 1985; and (2) the highly credible testimony of Judge Miclat on the report described the penalty of removal from office as Court Stenographer with prejudice to her re-
made to him by Mrs. Fuertes, as then acting City Fiscal, on the solicitation of Judge appointment to the Judiciary.
Abaya. It certainly cannot be said that Mrs. Fuertes merely concocted her story at
the time regarding the solicitation of Judge Abaya in connection with the pending II. A.M. No. R-698-P and Adm. Case No. 2909
case of the suspected killers of her son. There was absolutely no motive for her to The complaints for dishonesty and grave misconduct in A.M. No. R-698-P and for disbarment in Adm.
do So. 14 Case No. 2909 against Atty. Ligaya Gonzales-Austria, then Clerk of Court of Branch 52, RTC
c. Charge of illegal Exaction against Judge Abaya. - It is alleged that Judge Abaya exacted portions of Palawan, stem from her act of having allegedly forged the signature of Judge Abaya in a probation
the salaries of two (2) employees in Branch 51 of the Palawan RTC as a condition for their continued order dated April 22, 1986 in Criminal Case No. 4999 of said court entitled "People of the Philippines
employment. Edgardo Servando, one of the complainants herein, and who was appointed vs. Leonardo Cruz" for attempted homicide.
stenographer on September 3, 1984 upon the recommendation of Judge Abaya, declared that such Atty. Ligaya Gonzales-Austria admits to having signed the probation order and of having promulgated
recommendation was made in consideration of his agreement to give Judge Abaya Pl,000.00 from his it, but explains that these were done with the knowledge and consent of Judge Abaya, who had asked
initial salary and thereafter a monthly amount of P400.00, which undertaking he complied with. her to prepare orders and decisions in Branch 52 to ease his load of presiding over two (2) branches.
However, in December when the Judge before leaving for Manila for the Christmas vacation asked She adverts to Judge Abaya's order of November 4, 1985 which granted accused Leonardo Cruz'
him for Pl,000.00 from as fringe benefits, medical allowance and year-end bonus, he was unable to motion for reconsideration of the order denying probation. This order, which carried certain conditions,
comply as he did not then have cash, the payment of said benefits having been in checks. A week set the promulgation of the probation order on January 16, 1986 at 8:00 o'clock in the morning. In the
later, he received a notice of termination effective at the close of business hours on December 31, meantime, Judge Abaya requested Atty. Austria to prepare the probation order with the day and
1984 from the Supreme Court upon the recommendation of Judge Abaya. 15 month in blank for the signature of the Judge.
Nilo Jamora, a former stenographer of Branch 51 testified that since his employment in said Branch, On January 16,1986, Judge Abaya was absent so the promulgation was reset to April 16, 1986. On
Judge Abaya had been exacting from him P350.00 every payday, which exaction ceased only in the latter date, the provincial warden failed to bring the accused to court, hence the promulgation of
March 1986 when Atty. Ligaya Gonzales-Austria filed her charges against Judge Abaya. He further the probation order was again reset to June 3, 1986, with Judge Abaya allegedly giving instructions
stated that when he refused to retract his charges against Judge Abaya before the Sangguniang before he left for Manila to promulgate said order even in his absence should the probationer
Panlalawigan despite the Judge's offer of money, the latter demoted him to process server. 16 Leonardo Cruz arrive in court.
Judge Abaya likewise denied this charge, labelling the same as sheer vindictiveness due to On April 21, 1986, Leonardo Cruz came and begged that the probation order be promulgated the
Servando's termination and Jamora's demotion, fanned by Atty. Austria's proddings. He insists that following day, April 22, 1986 as he had to leave for Coron in the same pumpboat that brought him to
the personnel action taken on Servando and Jamora was due to their inefficiency. Puerto Princess and he had no money to sustain him up to the time the Judge arrives from Manila. As
While the investigating officer, Justice Herrera observed that both Servando and Jamora "testified in a requested, the promulgation was set on April 22, 1986, only for Atty. Austria to discover that Judge
natural and straightforward, albeit in an angry manner without attempting to conceal their contempt for Abaya had neglected to sign the probation order. In view of the predicament of Leonardo Cruz and
Judge Abaya, 17 he concluded that "the evidence in this regard would be unable to withstand judicial the authority granted to her by Judge Abaya, Atty. Austria signed Judge Abaya's name to the
scrutiny for want of ample corroboration. It would simply be the word of one against a judge. 18 probation order and promulgated it.
We are in accord with this observation, for indeed, the charge if true is so demeaning to an RTC judge Atty. Austria justifies her action under the theory of agency (Art. 1881 of the Civil Code) 20 in that
that it requires more than a bare allegation to sustain it. In this regard, we give respondent Judge the having been granted full authority to promulgate the probation order, she necessarily had the authority
benefit of the doubt. to sign the Judge's name if the need arose. She further maintains that as Judge Abaya never
complained about the alleged forgery, he is deemed to have ratified it and is now estopped from
In summation, we find Judge Emmanuel M. Abaya guilty of grave and serious misconduct affecting questioning her authority. Lastly, she compares the probation order to a writ of execution which is
Ms integrity and moral character which would have warranted his dismissal from the service had his usually done by the Clerk of Court. 21
resignation not been accepted.
Respondent's arguments are quite novel but unpersuasive. As thoroughly explained by Justice
The office of a judge exists for one solemn end - to promote justice by administering it fairly and Herrera:
impartially. In regarding justice as a commodity to be sold at a price, Judge Abaya betrayed the very
essence of magistracy. In complicity with Annabelle Cardenas, he likewise abused the trust and .....her explanation that she is the one preparing decisions and orders in Branch 52
confidence of the people, shortchanging them of services undoubtedly vital to the speedy with the knowledge and consent of Judge Abaya during the time that the latter was
administration of justice. acting as Presiding Judge of said branch and that she was directed to promulgate
the probation order in favor of Leonardo Cruz only to discover that the judge
The judge is the visible representation of the law and of justice. From him, the people draw their will overlooked to sign the order, even if true, is not a valid justification for her to
and awareness to obey the law. 19 For him then to transgress the highest ideals of justice and public simulate the signature of Judge Abaya in the probation order. This is patently illegal.
As a lawyer and branch clerk of court, she ought to know that under no ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
circumstances is her act of signing the name of the judge permissible. She could JULIO D. ENRIQUEZ, SR., representing the law firm of ENRIQUEZ and ENRIQUEZ, petitioner,
have probably released the order with the statement that it is upon orders of the vs.
judge or by authority of the judge but she could not under any circumstance make it HON. PEDRO M. GIMENEZ in his capacity as AUDITOR GENERAL OF THE PHILIPPINES,
appear as she did in this case that the Judge signed the order when in fact he did respondent.
not. The duties of the clerk of court in the absence of any express direction of the
Judge is well defined under Section 5, Rule 136 of the Rules of Court which reads: PADILLA, J.:
Sec. 5. Duties of the Clerk in the absence or by direction of the judge. - In the This is a petition filed under the provisions of Rule 45 of the Rules of Court and section 2 (c) of
absence of the judge, the clerk may perform all the duties of the judge in receiving Commonwealth Act No. 327 for a review of a decision of the Auditor General dated 24 June 1957.
applications, petitions, inventories, reports, and the issuance of all orders and On 18 June 1955 Republic Act No. 1383 creating the National Waterworks and Sewerage Authority
notices that follow as a matter of course under these rules, and may also, when as a public corporation and vesting in it the ownership, jurisdiction, supervision and control over all
directed so to do by the judge, receive the accounts of executors, administrators, territory embraced by the Metropolitan Water District as well as all areas served by existing
guardians, trustees, and receivers, and all evidence relating to them, or to the government-owned waterworks and sewerage and drainage systems within the boundaries of cities,
settlement of the estates of deceased persons, or to guardianship, trusteeships, or municipalities, and municipal districts in the Philippines, and those served by the Waterworks and
receiverships, and forthwith transmit such reports, accounts, and evidence to the Wells and Drills Section of the Bureau of Public Works, was passed. On 19 September 1955 the
judge, together with his findings in relation to the same, if the judge shall direct him President of the Philippines promulgated Executive Order No. 127 providing, among others, for the
to make findings and include the same in his report. transfer to the National Waterworks and Sewerage Authority of all the records, properties, machinery,
Signing orders in the name of, and simulating the signature of the judge is not one equipment, appropriations, assets, choses in actions, liabilities, obligations, notes, bonds and all
of them. indebtedness of all government-owned waterworks and sewerage systems in the provinces, cities,
municipalities and municipal districts (51 Off. Gaz. 4415-4417). On 31 March 1956 the municipal
Atty. Austria's theory of agency that she lawfully acted as agent of the Judge is council of Bauan, Batangas, adopted and passed Resolution No. 152 stating "that it is the desire of
wholly devoid of merit. The judicial power vested in a judge and its exercise is this municipality in this present administration not to submit our local Waterworks to the provisions of
strictly personal to the Judge because of, and by reason of his highest qualification, the said Republic Act No. 1383." (Annex A.) On 20 April 1956 the municipal mayor transmitted a copy
and can never be the subject of agency. That would not only be contrary to law, but of Resolution No. 152 to the Provincial Fiscal through the Provincial Board requesting him to render
also subversive of public order and public policy. Nor could her void act in signing an opinion on the matter treated therein and to inform the municipal council whether he would handle
the name of the judge be validly ratified by the latter. Judge Abaya himself is bereft and prosecute its case in court should the council decide to question and test judicially the legality of
of any power to authorize the clerk of court to sign his name in his official capacity in Republic Act No. 1383 and to prevent the National Waterworks and Sewerage Authority from
a matter pending adjudication before him. The issuance of the order in question is exercising its authority over the waterworks system of the municipality, (Annex B). On 2 May 1956 the
strictly judicial and is exclusively vested in the judge which is beyond his authority to provincial fiscal rendered an opinion holding that Republic Act No. 1383 is valid and constitutional and
delegate. 22 declined to represent the municipality of Bauan in an action to be brought against the National
Generally speaking, a lawyer who holds a government office may not be disciplined as a member of Waterworks and Sewerage Authority to test the validity and constitutionality of the Act creating it
the bar for misconduct in the discharge of his duties as a government official. 23 However, if that (Annex C). On 26 May 1956 the municipal council adopted and passed Resolution No. 201
misconduct as a government official is of such a character as to affect his qualification as a lawyer or authorizing the municipal mayor to take steps to commence an action or proceedings in court to
to show moral delinquency, then he may be disciplined as a member of the bar on such ground. 24 challenge the constitutionality of Republic Act No. 1383 and to engage the services of a special
We find Atty. Austria's misconduct as Branch Clerk of Court to affect her qualification as a member of counsel, and appropriating the sum of P2,000 to defray the expenses of litigation and attorney's fees
tile Bar, for precisely as a lawyer, she ought to have known the illegality of the act complained of. (Annex D). On 2 June 1956 the municipal mayor wrote a letter to the petitioner engaging his services
as counsel for the municipality in its contemplated action against the National Waterworks and
WHEREFORE, finding the respondents Judge Emmanuel M. Abaya, Annabelle Cardenas and Atty. Sewerage Authority (Annex F.) On 27 June 1956 the Provincial Board of Batangas adopted and
Ligaya Gonzales-Austria guilty as charged, except that of illegal exaction against Judge Abaya, the passed Resolution No. 1829 approving Resolution No. 201 of the municipal council of Bauan (Annex
Court hereby orders: E). On 28 June 1956 the petitioner wrote to the municipal mayor accepting his offer in behalf of the
1. In Adm. Matter No. R-705-RTJ, the FORFEITURE of the retirement benefits of Judge Emmanuel M. municipality under the following terms and conditions: that his professional services shall commence
Abaya, except his earned leave credits; and the DISMISSAL from office of Annabelle Cardenas as from the filing of the complaint up to and including the appeal, if any, to the appellate courts; that his
Stenographic Reporter with prejudice to her reappointment to the Judiciary; and, professional fee shall be P1,500 and payable as follows: P500 upon the filing of the complaint, P500
2. In Adm. Matter No. R-698-P and Adm. Case No. 2909, the resignation of Atty. Ligaya Gonzales- upon the termination of the hearing of the case in the Court of First Instance, and P500 after judgment
Austria as Branch Clerk of Court IS ACCEPTED as of December 31, 1987 and any and all benefits shall have become final or, should the judgment be appealed, after the appeal shall have been
accruing during her government service are declared forfeited, except her earned leave credits. Her submitted for judgment to the appellate court; and that the municipality shall defray all reasonable and
SUSPENSION as a member of the Bar for a period of one year from the finality of this decision is necessary expenses for the prosecution of the case in the trial and appellate courts including court
further decreed. and sheriff fees, transportation and subsistence of counsel and witnesses and cost of transcripts of
stenographic notes and other documents (Annex G). On the same date, 28 June 1956, the petitioner
Let copies of this resolution be furnished the Ombudsman for the filing of appropriate criminal charges
filed the necessary complaint in the Court of First Instance of Batangas (civil No. 542, Annex I). On 9
against respondents if warranted.
July 1956 the municipal mayor wrote to the petitioner agreeing to the terms and conditions set forth in
Copies of this resolution shall be attached to the respondents' respective personal records. his (the petitioner's) letter of 28 June 1956 (Annex H). On 16 July 1956 the defendant filed its answer
to the complaint (Annex J). On 24 July 1956 the petitioner wrote a letter to the municipal treasurer "that he will well and faithfully discharge to the best of his ability the duties of the office or position
requesting reimbursement of the sum of P40 paid by him to the Court as docket fee and payment of upon which he is about to enter. . . ."5 Instead of engaging the services of a special attorney, the
the sum of P500 as initial attorney's fee. Attached to the letter were the pertinent supporting papers municipal council should have requested the Secretary of Justice to appoint an acting provincial fiscal
(Annex K). The municipal treasurer forwarded the petitioner's claim letter and enclosures to the in place of the provincial fiscal who had declined to handle and prosecute its case in court, pursuant to
Auditor General through channels for pre-audit. On 24 June 1957 the Auditor General disallowed in section 1679 of the Revised Administrative Code. The petitioner claims that the municipal council
audit the petitioner's claim for initial attorney's fees in the sum of P500, based upon an opinion could not do this because the Secretary of Justice, who has executive supervision over the
rendered on 10 May 1957 by the Secretary of Justice who held that the Provincial Fiscal was not Government Corporate Counsel, who represented the National Waterworks and Sewerage Authority
disqualified to handle and prosecute in court the case of the municipality of Bauan and that its in the case filed against it by the municipality of Bauan (civil No. 542, Annex J) and direct supervision
municipal council had no authority to engage the services of a special counsel (Annex L), but offered and control over the Provincial Fiscal, would be placed in an awkward and absurd position of having
no objection to the refund to the petitioner of the sum of P40 paid by him to the Court as docket fee control of both sides of the controversy. The petitioner's contention is untenable. Section 83 of the
(Annex M). On 15 August 1957 the petitioner received notice of the decision of the Auditor General Revised Administrative Code, as amended by Executive Order No. 94, series of 1947 and further
and on 11 September 1957 he filed with the Auditor General a notice of appeal from his decision amended by Executive Order No. 392, series of 1950, 46 Off. Gaz., 5913, 5917, provides that the
under section 4, Rule 45, of the Rules of Court Annex N). On 13 September 1957 the petitioner filed Secretary of Justice shall have executive supervision over the Government Corporate Counsel and
this petition for review in this Court. supervision and control over Provincial Fiscals. In Mondano vs. Silvosa, 97 Phil., 143; 51 Off. Gaz.,
The Revised Administrative Code provides: 2884, 2888, this Court distinguished supervision from control as follows:
SEC. 2241. Submission of questions to provincial fiscal. — When the council is desirous of . . . In administrative law supervision means overseeing or the power or authority of an officer
securing a legal opinion upon any question relative to its own powers or the constitution or to see that subordinate officers perform their duties. If the latter fail or neglect to fulfill them
attributes of the municipal government, it shall frame such question in writing and submit the the former may take such action or step as prescribed by law to make them perform their
same to the provincial fiscal for decision. duties. Control, on the other hand, means the power of an officer to alter or modify or nullify
or set aside what a subordinate officer had done in the performance of his duties and to
SEC. 1682. Duty of fiscal as legal adviser of province and provincial subdivisions. — The substitute the judgment of the former for that of the latter. . . .
provincial fiscal shall be the legal adviser of the provincial government and its officers,
including district health officers, and of the mayor and council of the various municipalities The fact that the Secretary of Justice had, on several occasions, upheld the validity and
and municipal districts of the province. As such he shall, when so requested, submit his constitutionality of Republic Act No. 1383 does not exempt the municipal council of Bauan from
opinion in writing upon any legal question submitted to him by any such officer or body requesting the Secretary of Justice to detail a provincial fiscal to prosecute its case.
pertinent to the duties thereof. The services of the petitioner having been engaged by the municipal council and mayor without
SEC. 1683. Duty of fiscal to represent provinces and provincial subdivisions in litigation. — authority of law, the Auditor General was correct in disallowing in audit the petitioner's claim for
The provincial fiscal shall represent the province and any municipality or municipal district payment of attorney's fees. The decision under review is affirmed, without pronouncement as to costs.
thereof in any court, except in cases whereof original jurisdiction is vested in the Supreme
Court or in cases where the municipality or municipal district in question is a party adverse to
the provincial government or to some other municipality or municipal district in the same
province. When the interests of a provincial government and of any political division thereof
are opposed, the provincial fiscal shall act on behalf of the province.
When the provincial fiscal is disqualified to serve any municipality or other political
subdivision of a province, a special attorney may be employed by its council.
Under the foregoing provisions of law, the Provincial Fiscal is the legal adviser of the mayor and
counsel of the various municipalities of a province and it is his duty to represent the municipality in
any court except when he is disqualified by law. When he is disqualified to represent the municipality,
the municipal council may engage the services of a special attorney. The Provincial Fiscal is
disqualified to represent in court the municipality if and when original jurisdiction of the case involving
the municipality is vested in the Supreme Court; when the municipality is a party adverse to the
provincial government or to some other municipality in the same province;1 and when in the case
involving the municipality, he, or his wife, or child, is pecuniarily involved as heir, legatee, creditor or
otherwise.2 The fact that the Provincial Fiscal in the case at bar was of the opinion that Republic Act
No. 1383 was valid and constitutional, and, therefore, would not be in a position to prosecute the case
of the municipality with earnestness and vigor, could not justify the act of the municipal council in
engaging the services of a special counsel. Bias or prejudice and animosity or hostility on the part of a
fiscal not based on any of the conditions enumerated in the law and the Rules of Court do not
constitute a legal and valid excuse for inhibition or disqualification. 3 And unlike a practising lawyer who
has the right to decline employment,4 a fiscal cannot refuse the performance of his functions on
grounds not provided for by law without violating his oath of office, where he swore, among others,
CANON 7 allegedly used by Respondent and his wife in mortgaging the property to
Crown Savings and Loan Association for THREE HUNDRED THOUSAND
PESOS (P300,000.00) on July 15, 1991 both by virtue of Special Powers of
VICTOR NUNGA, complainant, Attorney annotated at the back of the TCT No. 362813 PR 9907. The
vs. annotation of the cancellation of the THREE HUNDRED THOUSAND
ATTY. VENANCIO VIRAY, respondent. PESOS (P300,000.00) loan in . . . favor of Crown Savings and Loan
Association under entry number 1226 was allegedly entered in the notarial
registry of the Respondent for 1991 when he wasn't commissioned as
notary public.1âwphi1.nêt

DAVIDE, JR., CJ The aforesaid acts of Respondent allegedly constitute not only
unprofessional and unethical misconduct unbecoming of a lawyer but also
In his complaint, Victor Nunga seeks the disbarment of respondent gross and serious malpractice which justifies disbarment.
Venancio Viray on the ground of grave misconduct for notarizing documents
without a commission to do so. After issues were joined, the Integrated Bar Respondent for his part alleged in his comment that complainant holds no
of the Philippines conducted an investigation. position at the Masantol Rural Bank Inc. [i]n 1987 and 1997, but is facing
criminal charges for having plundered the said bank of millions of pesos
and [for] trespass to dwelling; while his father is facing a case before the
The Investigating Commissioner was atty. Lydia A. Navarro. Her Report Securities and Exchange Commission. The sale of the lot by the Masantol
dated 4 August 1998 reads as follows: Rural Bank Inc. to his son was allegedly done in good faith all the
formalities required by law [were] properly complied with and the complaint
Victor D. Nunga, president of the Masantol Rural Bank filed a complaint for from all indications is a leverage in persuading him into a possible
disbarment against Atty. Venancio M. Viray on the ground of gross and compromise.
serious misconduct for notarizing documents when he was not
commissioned to do so at the time the said documents were executed. From 1965 to date Respondent alleged that he was always commissioned
as notary public and the fact that Pampanga is under several feet of
Complainant alleged that in May 1996, he was appointed by the board of floodwaters, he could not annex all the needed documents to support the
directors of Masantol Rural Bank after his father's resignation as its allegations. According to Respondent, there was no year in his practice of
president. law that he was not commissioned as notary public. In fact, in the alleged
documents he had PTR for that purpose [, and] he would not [have
obtained] a commission without the PTR.
A few month[] thereafter, he allegedly discovered that one of the bank's
assets consisting of 250 square meters house and lot in Kalookan City was
sold without proper bidding by its manager Jesus B. Manansala to Jesus After going over the records of this case, the Undersigned noted that
Carlo Gerard M. Viray, a minor born February 2, 1969 during the although both parties were required to submit their respective
transaction on May 22, 1987. The deed of absolute sale was notarized by memorand[a], only complainant complied with the order.
the respondent who is not only the father of the buyer minor but also a
stockholder and legal counsel of the vendor bank and was not duly Complainant submitted certification and the respective orders of the Clerk
commissioned as notary public as of that date. of Court and presiding judges . . . in support of his contention, and previous
certification issued by the Clerk of Court of Pampanga to the effect that
Complainant further alleged that the said minor vendee wasn't capable to Respondent Atty. Venancio Viray had been commissioned to act as notary
buy the said property at its value of FOUR HUNDRED THOUSAND public for the said province on January 2, 1981 to December 31, 1982;
PESOS (P400,000.00) but his parents Atty. and Mrs. Venancio Viray, January 10, 1983 to December 31, 1984; and January 8, 1995 to
respondent herein [sic]. Being a minor he must [have been] represented by December 31, 1996 and had no record of any notarial reports. These
a guardian in the said transaction. After the title was allegedly issued in the therefore negate respondent's allegation that he [has been] commissioned
name of the minor vendee Jesus Carlo [M.] Viray, the same title was as notary public since 1965 to the present.
Complainant likewise submitted a copy of the Resolution which dismissed rebut complainant's evidence that he was not so commissioned for the years
the cases filed against the Complainant and his father and the xerox copy in question.
of the TCT No. 362813 PR 9907 where the special power of attorney and
the annotations for the cancellation of mortgage showed inscription of the
same in the notarial register of Venancio Viray on June 4, 1991. Nowhere We have emphatically stressed that notarization is not an empty,
from the records and evidence[] submitted was there any proof that meaningless, routinary act. It is invested with substantive public interest,
Respondent was commissioned as notary public in 1987 and 1991, the such that only those who are qualified or authorized may act as notaries
years the Absolute Deed of Sale was notarized by Respondent as public. The protection of that interest necessarily requires that those not
appearing to be May 22, 1987 and the inscription for cancellation of
mortgage on the dorsal side of TCT 362813 as June 4, 1991 [sic]. qualified or authorized to act must be prevented from imposing upon the
public, the courts, and the administrative offices in general. It must be
The respondent's contention that he had a PTR for all the documents he underscored that the notarization by a notary public converts a private
prepared is only an indication that the Professional Tax Receipt is a license document into a public document making that document admissible in
for him to engage in the practice of his profession as a lawyer but not a evidence without further proof of the authenticity thereof. A notarial
commission for him to act as notary public. document is by law entitled to full faith and credit upon its face. For this
reason, notaries public must observe with utmost care the basic
Inasmuch as Respondent was not able to counteract the averments of
Complainant which were duly supported with evidence[], it is apparent that
requirements in the performance of their duties. (Maligsa v. Cabanting, 272
Respondent violated the provisions of the notarial law by having affixed his SCRA 408, 413 [1997]; Arrieta v. Llosa, 282 SCRA 248, 252-253 [1997]).
official signatures to the aforesaid documents with the intent to impart the
appearance of notarial authenticity thereto when . . . in fact as of those Where the notarization of a document is done by a member of the Philippine
dates 1987 and 1991 he was not commissioned as notary public. Bar at a time when he has no authorization or commission to do so, the
offender may be subjected to disciplinary action. For one, performing a
In view of the foregoing, it is respectfully recommended that if Respondent
is presently commissioned as notary public, the same should be revoked,
notarial without such commission is a violation of the lawyer's oath to obey
and [he should] not be granted any commission as notary public up to the laws, more specifically, the Notarial Law. Then, too, by making it appear
December 31, 2002. that he is duly commissioned when he is not, he is, for all legal intents and
purposes, indulging in deliberate falsehood, which the lawyer's oath similarly
On 5 November 1998, the Board of Governors of the Integrated Bar proscribes. These violations fall squarely within the prohibition of Rule 1.01
promulgated Resolution No. XIII-98-196 adopting the Report of the of Canon 1 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, which provides: "A
Investigating Commissioner and recommending that respondent's lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful
commission as a notary public be revoked and that respondent be conduct."
suspended from the practice of law for three months.
By such misconduct as a notary public, the lawyer likewise violates Canon 7
We concur with the finding of the Investigating Commissioner that of the same Code, which directs every lawyer to uphold at all times the
respondent Atty. Venancio Viray did not have a commission as notary public integrity and dignity of the legal profession. Elaborating on this, we said in
in 1987 and 1991 when he notarized the assailed documents. Respondent Maligsa v. Cabanting (supra):
knew that he could not exercise the powers or perform the duties of a notary
public unless he was duly appointed as such pursuant to the Notarial Law A lawyer brings honor to the legal profession by faithfully performing his
(Chapter 11, Title IV, Book I, Revised Administrative Code). He tried to duties to society, to the bar, to the courts and to his clients. To this end a
member of the legal fraternity should refrain from doing any act which might
impress upon the investigating commissioner that since "1965 to date" he lessen in any degree the confidence and trust reposed by the public in the
has always been commissioned as a notary public. Yet, he was unable to fidelity, honesty and integrity of the legal profession. (Citing Marcelo v.
Javier, 214 SCRA 1 [1992]).
What aggravated respondent's unlawful notarization in 1987 was the fact Following the suspension of Attorney Vicente Pelaez by Judge of First Instance
that the transaction involved was in favor of his son, who was then only Wislizenus for a period of one year, the case has been elevated to this court as
eighteen years old and, therefore, a minor. Under Article 402 of the Civil provided by law, for full investigation of the facts involved, and for the rendition of
Code, which was the governing law as of 22 May 1987 when the said the appropriate order.
transaction was made, the age of majority was twenty-one years. Republic
Act No. 6809, which reduced the age of majority to eighteen years was The respondent Vicente Pelaez is a member of the Philippine Bar, residing at Cebu,
approved only on 13 December 1989 and became effective two weeks after Cebu. On March 20, 1918, he was appointed guardian of the minor Gracia Cabrera.
publication in two newspapers of general circulation. As such guardian, he came into possession of certain property, including twenty
shares of the E. Michael & Co., Inc., and ten shares of the Philippine Engineering
Needless to state, respondent cannot escape from disciplinary action in his Co. While Pelaez was still the guardian of the minor, he borrowed P2,800 from the
capacity as a notary public and as a member of the Philippine Bar. Cebu branch of the Philippine National bank. Shortly thereafter, to guarantee the
loan, Pelaez, without the knowledge or consent of the Court of First Instance of
However, the penalty recommended by the Board of Governors of the Cebu, deposited with the Cebu branch of the Philippine National Bank the shares of
Integrated Bar of the Philippines is too light. Respondent must be barred stock corresponding to the guardianship. On April 13, 1921, Pelaez executed a
from being commissioned as a notary public for three (3) years, and written agreement in favor of the Cebu branch of the Philippine National Bank,
suspended from the practice of law for also three (3) years. pledging, without the authority of the Court of First Instance of Cebu, the shares of
stock in question, to guarantee the payment of the loan above referred to.
WHEREFORE, the Court hereby adopts the findings and conclusions of
Investigating Commissioner Lydia A. Navarro, which the Board of Governors These are the facts, taken principally from the memorandum filed in this court on
of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines adopted and approved, but behalf of the respondent, which caused the judge of First Instance to suspend him
MODIFIES the penalty recommended by the said Board of Governors. As from the legal profession. To quote counsel for the respondent, "the misconduct of
modified, respondent ATTY. VENANCIO VIRAY is hereby BARRED from which the respondent in this case is guilty consist of having pledged the shares
being commissioned as notary public for THREE (3) years and his present belonging to his ward, to guarantee the payment of his personal debt."
commission, if any, is revoked, and SUSPENDED from the practice of law
also for THREE (3) years, effective upon receipt of a copy of this Two questions present themselves for the resolution. The first question is this: Are
Resolution.1âwphi1.nêt the courts in the Philippines authorized to suspend or disbar a lawyer for causes
other than those enumerated in the statute? The second questions is this: May a
SO ORDERED. lawyer be suspended or disbarred for non-professional misconduct?

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Section 21 of the Code of Civil Procedure provides that a member of the bar may be
removed or suspended from this office as lawyer by the Supreme Court for any of
the causes therein enumerated. It will be noticed that our statute merely provides
In re suspension of VICENTE PELAEZ, attorney, that certain cause shall be deemed sufficient for the revocation or suspension of an
attorney's license. It does not provide that these shall constitute the only causes for
Juan Sumulong for respondent. disbarment, or that an attorney may not be disbarred or suspended for other reasons.
Attorney-General Villa-Real for the Government.
It is a well-settled rule that a statutory enumeration of the grounds of disbarment is
MALCOLM, J.: not to be taken as a limitation of the general power of the court in this respect. Even
where the Legislature has specified the grounds for disbarment, the inherent power attorney may be revoked or suspended are those specified in it, nor does it
of the court over its officer is not restricted. undertake to limit the common-law power of the courts to protect themselves
and the public by excluding those who are unfit to assist in the
The prior tendency of the decisions of this court has been toward the conclusion that administration of the law. It merely provides that certain causes shall be
a member of the bar may be removed or suspended from his office as lawyer for deemed sufficient for the revocation or suspension of an attorney's license.
other than statutory grounds. Indeed, the statute is so phrased as to be broad enough (Gen. Stat., 1901, sec. 398.) In the early case of Peyton's Appeal (12 Kan.,
to cover practically any misconduct of a lawyer. 398, 404), it was held that this statute is not an enabling act, but that the
power of the court to exclude unfit and unworthy members of the profession
Passing now to the second point — as a general rule, a court will not assume is inherent; that "it is a necessary incident to the proper administration of
jurisdiction to discipline one of its officers for misconduct alleged to have been justice; that it may be exercised without any special statutory authority, and
committed in his private capacity. But this is a general rule with many exceptions. in all proper cases, unless positively prohibited by statute; and that it may be
The courts sometimes stress the point that the attorney has shown, through exercised in any manner that will give the party to be disbarred a fair trial
misconduct outside of his professional dealings, a want of such professional honesty and a full opportunity to be heard.' If there is authority in the Legislature to
as render him unworthy of public confidence, and an unfit and unsafe person to restrict the discretion of the courts as to what shall constitute causes for
manage the legal business of others. The reason why such a distinction can be disbarment, or to limit the inherent power which they have exercised from
drawn is because it is the court which admits an attorney to the bar, and the court time immemorial, it should not be deemed to have done so unless its purpose
requires for such admission the possession of good moral character. is clearly expressed. It is generally held that the enumeration of the grounds
for disbarment in the statute is not to be taken as a limitation on the general
The principal authority for the respondent is the case of People ex rel. vs. Appleton power of the court, but that attorneys may be removed for common-law
([1883], 105 Ill., 474). Here it was held, by a divided court, that where property is causes when the exercise of the privileges and functions of their high office
conveyed to an attorney in trust, without his professional advice, and he mortgages is inimical to the due administration of justice . . . .
the same, for the purpose of raising a sum of money which he claims is due him
from the cestui que trust, and the trustee afterwards sells the property and The nature of the office, the trust relation which exists between attorney and
appropriates the proceeds of the sale to his own use, the relation of client and client, as well as between court and attorney, and the statutory rule
attorney not being created by such trust, his conduct, however censurable as an prescribing the qualifications of attorney, uniformly require that an attorney
individual occupying the position of a trustee, is not such as to warrant the summary shall be a person of good moral character. If that qualification is a condition
disbarring of him on motion to the court to strike his name from the roll of precedent to a license or privilege to enter upon the practice of the law, it
attorneys, but the injured party must be left to his proper remedy by suit. The would seem to be equally essential during the continuance of the practice
Illinois court, however, admits that although the general rule is, that an attorney-at- and the exercise of the privilege. So it is held that an attorney will be
law will not be disbarred for misconduct not in his professional capacity, but as an removed not only for malpractice and dishonesty in his profession, but also
individual, there are cases forming an exception where his misconduct in his private for gross misconduct not connected with his professional duties, which
capacity may be of so gross a character as to require his disbarment. shows him to be unfit for the office and unworthy of the privileges which his
license and the law confer upon him.
The Attorney-General relies principally on the case of In re Smith ([1906], 73 Kan.,
743). In the opinion written by Mr. Chief Justice Johnston, it was said: We are of the opinion that the doctrines announced by the Supreme Court of Kansas
are sound.
It is next contended that some of the charges against Smith do not fall within
the cause for disbarment named in the statute. As will be observed, the The relation of guardian and ward requires of the guardian the continual
statute does not provide that the only cause for which the license of an maintenance of the utmost good faith in his dealings with the estate of the ward. The
bond and the oath of the guardian require him to manage the estate of the ward Complying with an order of this Court, respondent filed a "Comment and/or
according to law for the best interests of the ward, and faithfully to discharge his Answer" dated 13 May 1982 denying the allegations of complainant.
trust in relation thereto. Moreover, it has not escaped our attention that in the Respondent acknowledged that complainant's wife had been seeing him but
petition by Vicente Pelaez, asking the court to appoint him the guardian of Gracia that she bad done so in the course of seeking advice from respondent (in
Cabrera, he begins his petition in this manner: "El abogado que subscribe, nombrado view of the continuous cruelty and unwarranted marital accusations of affiant
tutor testamentario, etc." (The undersigned attorney, appointed testamentary [complainant] against her), much as complainant's mother-in-law had also
guardian, etc.) which indicates that petitioner might not have been named the frequently sought the advice of respondent and of his wife and mother as to
guardian in this particular case had he not at the same time been a lawyer. what to do about the" continuous quarrels between affiant and his wife and
the beatings and physical injuries (sometimes less serious) that the latter
Counsel argues that the misconduct for which the respondent has been suspended by sustained from the former." (Rollo, p. 8).
the lower court is single and isolated. "It forms," he says, "the only blot upon the
escutcheon." We feel, however, that the trial court has been extremely considerate Complainant filed a Reply dated 16 June 1982 to respondent's "Comment
of the respondent, and that were we sitting in first instance, we would probably and/or Answer" and made a number of further allegations, to wit:
incline to a more severe sentence.
(a) That complainant's wife was not the only mistress that
Judgment affirmed. So ordered. respondent had taken;

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- (b) That respondent had paid for the hospital and medical
bills of complainant's wife last May 1981, and visited her at
the hospital everyday;

JOSE TOLOSA, complainant, (c) That he had several times pressed his wife to stop
vs. seeing respondent but that she had refused to do so;
ALFREDO CARGO, respondent.
(d) That she had acquired new household and electrical
appliances where she was living although she had no
RESOLUTION means of livelihood; and

(e) That respondent was paying for his wife's house rent.

FELICIANO, J.: Respondent filed a Rejoinder on 19 July 1982, denying the further
allegations of complainant, and stating that he (respondent) had merely
On 7 April 1982, complainant Jose Tolosa filed with the Court an Affidavit- given complainant's wife the amount of P35.00 by way of financial
Complaint dated 7 March 1982 seeking the disbarment of respondent assistance during her confinement in the hospital.
District Citizens' Attorney Alfredo Cargo for immorality. Complainant claimed
that respondent had been seeing his (complainant's) wife Priscilla M. Tolosa By a Resolution dated 29 July 1982, the Court referred this case to the
in his house and elsewhere. Complainant further alleged that in June 1981, Solicitor General for investigation, report and recommendation. The Solicitor
his wife left his conjugal home and went to live with respondent at No. 45 General's office held a number of hearings which took place from 21
Sisa Street, Barrio Tenejeros, Malabon, Metro Manila and that since then October 1982 until 1986, at which hearings complainant and respondent
has been living with respondent at that address. presented evidence both testimonial and documentary.
The Solicitor General summed up what complainant sought to establish in a) That Priscilla used to see respondent for advice
the following terms: regarding her difficult relationship with complainant; that
Priscilla left complainant because she suffered
maltreatment, physical injuries and public humiliation
1. That respondent had been courting his wife, Priscilla inflicted or caused by complainant;
(tsn, May 12, 1982, p. 9).
b) That respondent was not courting Priscilla, nor lived with
2. That he actually saw them together holding hands in her at No. 45 Sisa St., Tenejeros, Malabon, Metro Manila;
l980 in Cubao and Sto. Domingo, Quezon City (tsn, pp. 13- that the owner of the house where Priscilla lived in
15, May 12, 1983). Malabon was a friend and former client whom respondent
visited now and then;
3. That sometime in June, 1982, his wife left their conjugal
house at No. 1 Lopez Jaena Street, Galas, Quezon City, to c) That respondent only gave P35.00 to Priscilla in the FEU
live with respondent at No. 45 Sisa Street, Barrio Hospital, as assistance in her medical expenses; that he
Tenejeros, Malabon, Metro Manila (tsn, pp. 16- 17, May reprimanded complainant for lying on the bed of Priscilla in
12, 1983). the hospital which led to their being investigated by the
security guards of the hospital;
4. That while Priscilla was staying there, she acquired
household appliances which she could not afford to buy as d) That it is not true that he was with Priscilla holding
she has no source of income (tsn, pp. 10-11, Sept. 10, hands with her in Cubao or Sto. Domingo Church in 1980;
1985, Exh. 'M', N' and 'Q').
e) That Priscilla bought all the appliances in her apartment
5. That when Priscilla was hospitalized in May, 1982, at the at 45 Sisa Street, Tenejeros, Malabon, Metro Manila from
FEU Hospital, respondent paid for her expenses and took her earnings;
care of her (tsn, pp. 18-20, June 15, 1983). In fact, an
incident between respondent and complainant took place
in said hospital (tsn, pp. 5-8, Sept. 20, 1983, Exhibits 'C' f) That it is not true that he ran after complainant and tried
and 'C-l'). to stab him at No. 1 Galas St., Quezon City; that said
incident was between Priscilla's brother and complainant;
6. That an incident which was subject of a complaint took
place involving respondent and complainant at No. 45 Sisa g) That it is also not true that he is always in 45 Sisa St.,
Street, Barrio Tenejeros, Malabon, Metro Manila (tsn, pp. Tenejeros, Malabon, Metro Manila and/or he had a quarrel
8- 10, July 29, 1983; Exh. 'B', 'B-l' and 'K'). with complainant at 45 Sisa St., Malabon; that the quarrel
was between Priscilla's brother, Edgardo Miclat, and
complainant; that respondent went there only to intervene
7. That again in Quezon City, incidents involving upon request of complainant's wife (see tsn, June 21,
respondent and complainant were brought to the attention 1984). (Rollo, pp. 35-37).
of the police (Exhibits 'F' and 'G').

8. That Complainant filed an administrative case for

The Solicitor General then submitted the following
immorality against respondent with the CLAO and that
respondent was suspended for one year (Exhibits 'D' and FINDINGS
'E'). (Rollo, pp. 33-35).
1. That complainant and Priscilla are spouses residing at
Respondent's defenses were summarized by the Solicitor General in the No.1 Lopez Jaena St., Galas, Quezon City.
following manner:
2. That respondent's wife was their 'ninang' at their 3. Respondent's failure to avoid going to Malabon to visit
marriage, and they (complainant and Priscilla) considered his friend, in spite of his differences with complainant.
respondent also their 'ninong'.
4. Respondent's failure to avoid getting involved invarious
3. That respondent and complainant are neighbors, their incidents involving complainant and Priscilla's brothers
residences being one house away from each other. (Exhs. 'B', B-1', 'F', 'G', ['G-1'] and ['I'])

4. That respondent admitted that Priscilla used to see him 5. Respondent's interest in seeing Priscilla in the evening
for advice, because of her differences with complainant. when she was confined in the FEU Hospital, in spite again
of his differences with complainant. (Rollo, pp. 39-40).
5. That Priscilla, in fact, left their conjugal house and lived
at No. 45 Sisa St., Barrio Tenejeros, Malabon, Metro Thus, the Solicitor General concluded that respondent had failed "to properly
Manila; that the owner of the house where Priscilla lived in deport himself by avoiding any possible action or behavior which may be
Malabon is a friend and former client of respondent.
misinterpreted by complainant, thereby causing possible trouble in the
6. That Priscilla indeed acquired appliances while she was
complainant's family," which behavior was "unbecoming of a lawyer and an
staying in Malabon. officer of the court." (Rollo, p. 40). The Solicitor General recommended that
respondent Atty. Alfredo Cargo be suspended from the practice of law for
7. That incidents involving respondent and complainant three (3) months and be severely reprimanded.
had indeed happened.
We agree with the Solicitor General that the record does not contain
8. That Priscilla returned to her mother's house later in sufficient evidence to show that respondent had indeed been cohabiting with
1983 at No. 1 Lopez Jaena St., Galas, Quezon City; but
complainant was staying two or three houses away in his
complainant's wife or was otherwise guilty of acts of immorality. For this very
mother's house. reason, we do not believe that the penalty of suspension from the practice of
law may be properly imposed upon respondent.
9. That complainant filed an administrative case for
immorality against respondent in CLAO, where respondent At the same time, the Court agrees that respondent should be reprimanded
was found guilty and suspended for one year. (Rollo, pp. for failure to comply with the rigorous standards of conduct appropriately
required from the members of the Bar and officers of the court. As officers of
the court, lawyers must not only in fact be of good moral character but must
In effect, the Solicitor General found that complainant's charges of
also be seen to be of good moral character and leading lives in accordance
immorality had not been sustained by sufficient evidence. At the same time,
with the highest moral standards of the community. More specifically, a
however, the Solicitor General found that the respondent had not been able
member of the Bar and officer of the court is not only required to refrain from
to explain satisfactorily the following:
adulterous relationships or the keeping of mistresses 1 but must also so
1. Respondent's failure to avoid seeing Priscilla, in spite of
behave himself as to avoid scandalizing the public by creating the belief that
complainant's suspicion and/or jealousy that he was having he is flouting those moral standards.
an affair with his wife.
ACCORDINGLY, the Court Resolved to REPRIMAND respondent attorney
2. Priscilla's being able to rent an apartment in Malabon for conduct unbecoming a member of the Bar and an officer of the court,
whose owner is admittedly a friend and former client of and to WARN him that continuation of the same or similar conduct will be
dealt with more severely in the future.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Pursuant to the above offer, which plaintiff evidently accepted, the parties executed
CANON 8 a partnership agreement establishing the "Yang & Company, Limited," which was
to exist from July 1, 1945 to December 31, 1947. It states that it will conduct and
carry on the business of operating a theatre for the exhibition of motion and talking
ROSARIO U. YULO, assisted by her husband JOSE C. YULO, plaintiffs- pictures. The capital is fixed at P100,000, P80,000 of which is to be furnished by
appellants, Yang Chiao Seng and P20,000, by Mrs. Yulo. All gains and profits are to be
vs. distributed among the partners in the same proportion as their capital contribution
YANG CHIAO SENG, defendant-appellee. and the liability of Mrs. Yulo, in case of loss, shall be limited to her capital
contribution (Exh. "B").
Punzalan, Yabut, Eusebio & Tiburcio for appellants.
Augusto Francisco and Julian T. Ocampo for appellee. In June , 1946, they executed a supplementary agreement, extending the partnership
for a period of three years beginning January 1, 1948 to December 31, 1950. The
LABRADOR, J.: benefits are to be divided between them at the rate of 50-50 and after December 31,
1950, the showhouse building shall belong exclusively to the second party, Mrs.
Appeal from the judgment of the Court of First Instance of Manila, Hon. Yulo.
Bienvenido A. Tan, presiding, dismissing plaintiff's complaint as well as defendant's
counterclaim. The appeal is prosecuted by plaintiff. The land on which the theatre was constructed was leased by plaintiff Mrs. Yulo
from Emilia Carrion Santa Marina and Maria Carrion Santa Marina. In the contract
The record discloses that on June 17, 1945, defendant Yang Chiao Seng wrote a of lease it was stipulated that the lease shall continue for an indefinite period of
letter to the palintiff Mrs. Rosario U. Yulo, proposing the formation of a partnership time, but that after one year the lease may be cancelled by either party by written
between them to run and operate a theatre on the premises occupied by former Cine notice to the other party at least 90 days before the date of cancellation. The last
Oro at Plaza Sta. Cruz, Manila. The principal conditions of the offer are (1) that contract was executed between the owners and Mrs. Yulo on April 5, 1948. But on
Yang Chiao Seng guarantees Mrs. Yulo a monthly participation of P3,000 payable April 12, 1949, the attorney for the owners notified Mrs. Yulo of the owner's desire
quarterly in advance within the first 15 days of each quarter, (2) that the partnership to cancel the contract of lease on July 31, 1949. In view of the above notice, Mrs.
shall be for a period of two years and six months, starting from July 1, 1945 to Yulo and her husband brought a civil action to the Court of First Instance of Manila
December 31, 1947, with the condition that if the land is expropriated or rendered on July 3, 1949 to declare the lease of the premises. On February 9, 1950, the
impracticable for the business, or if the owner constructs a permanent building Municipal Court of Manila rendered judgment ordering the ejectment of Mrs. Yulo
thereon, or Mrs. Yulo's right of lease is terminated by the owner, then the and Mr. Yang. The judgment was appealed. In the Court of First Instance, the two
partnership shall be terminated even if the period for which the partnership was cases were afterwards heard jointly, and judgment was rendered dismissing the
agreed to be established has not yet expired; (3) that Mrs. Yulo is authorized complaint of Mrs. Yulo and her husband, and declaring the contract of lease of the
personally to conduct such business in the lobby of the building as is ordinarily premises terminated as of July 31, 1949, and fixing the reasonable monthly rentals
carried on in lobbies of theatres in operation, provided the said business may not of said premises at P100. Both parties appealed from said decision and the Court of
obstruct the free ingress and agrees of patrons of the theatre; (4) that after December Appeals, on April 30, 1955, affirmed the judgment.
31, 1947, all improvements placed by the partnership shall belong to Mrs. Yulo, but
if the partnership agreement is terminated before the lapse of one and a half years On October 27, 1950, Mrs. Yulo demanded from Yang Chiao Seng her share in the
period under any of the causes mentioned in paragraph (2), then Yang Chiao Seng profits of the business. Yang answered the letter saying that upon the advice of his
shall have the right to remove and take away all improvements that the partnership counsel he had to suspend the payment (of the rentals) because of the pendency of
may place in the premises. the ejectment suit by the owners of the land against Mrs. Yulo. In this letter Yang
alleges that inasmuch as he is a sublessee and inasmuch as Mrs. Yulo has not paid to
the lessors the rentals from August, 1949, he was retaining the rentals to make good court, finding the above motion, well-founded, set aside its decision and a new trial
to the landowners the rentals due from Mrs. Yulo in arrears (Exh. "E"). was held. After trial the court rendered the decision making the following findings:
that it is not true that a partnership was created between the plaintiff and the
In view of the refusal of Yang to pay her the amount agreed upon, Mrs. Yulo defendant because defendant has not actually contributed the sum mentioned in the
instituted this action on May 26, 1954, alleging the existence of a partnership Articles of Partnership, or any other amount; that the real agreement between the
between them and that the defendant Yang Chiao Seng has refused to pay her share plaintiff and the defendant is not of the partnership but one of the lease for the
from December, 1949 to December, 1950; that after December 31, 1950 the reason that under the agreement the plaintiff did not share either in the profits or in
partnership between Mrs. Yulo and Yang terminated, as a result of which, plaintiff the losses of the business as required by Article 1769 of the Civil Code; and that the
became the absolute owner of the building occupied by the Cine Astor; that the fact that plaintiff was granted a "guaranteed participation" in the profits also belies
reasonable rental that the defendant should pay therefor from January, 1951 is the supposed existence of a partnership between them. It. therefore, denied
P5,000; that the defendant has acted maliciously and refuses to pay the participation plaintiff's claim for damages or supposed participation in the profits.
of the plaintiff in the profits of the business amounting to P35,000 from November,
1949 to October, 1950, and that as a result of such bad faith and malice on the part As to her claim for damages for the refusal of the defendant to allow the use of the
of the defendant, Mrs. Yulo has suffered damages in the amount of P160,000 and supposed lobby of the theatre, the court after ocular inspection found that the said
exemplary damages to the extent of P5,000. The prayer includes a demand for the lobby was very narrow space leading to the balcony of the theatre which could not
payment of the above sums plus the sum of P10,000 for the attorney's fees. be used for business purposes under existing ordinances of the City of Manila
because it would constitute a hazard and danger to the patrons of the theatre. The
In answer to the complaint, defendant alleges that the real agreement between the court, therefore, dismissed the complaint; so did it dismiss the defendant's
plaintiff and the defendant was one of lease and not of partnership; that the counterclaim, on the ground that the defendant failed to present sufficient evidence
partnership was adopted as a subterfuge to get around the prohibition contained in to sustain the same. It is against this decision that the appeal has been prosecuted by
the contract of lease between the owners and the plaintiff against the sublease of the plaintiff to this Court.
said property. As to the other claims, he denies the same and alleges that the fair
rental value of the land is only P1,100. By way of counterclaim he alleges that by The first assignment of error imputed to the trial court is its order setting aside its
reason of an attachment issued against the properties of the defendant the latter has former decision and allowing a new trial. This assignment of error is without merit.
suffered damages amounting to P100,000. As that parties agreed to postpone the trial because of a probable amicable
settlement, the plaintiff could not take advantage of defendant's absence at the time
The first hearing was had on April 19, 1955, at which time only the plaintiff fixed for the hearing. The lower court, therefore, did not err in setting aside its
appeared. The court heard evidence of the plaintiff in the absence of the defendant former judgment. The final result of the hearing shown by the decision indicates that
and thereafter rendered judgment ordering the defendant to pay to the plaintiff the setting aside of the previous decision was in the interest of justice.
P41,000 for her participation in the business up to December, 1950; P5,000 as
monthly rental for the use and occupation of the building from January 1, 1951 until In the second assignment of error plaintiff-appellant claims that the lower court
defendant vacates the same, and P3,000 for the use and occupation of the lobby erred in not striking out the evidence offered by the defendant-appellee to prove that
from July 1, 1945 until defendant vacates the property. This decision, however, was the relation between him and the plaintiff is one of the sublease and not of
set aside on a motion for reconsideration. In said motion it is claimed that defendant partnership. The action of the lower court in admitting evidence is justified by the
failed to appear at the hearing because of his honest belief that a joint petition for express allegation in the defendant's answer that the agreement set forth in the
postponement filed by both parties, in view of a possible amicable settlement, would complaint was one of lease and not of partnership, and that the partnership formed
be granted; that in view of the decision of the Court of Appeals in two previous was adopted in view of a prohibition contained in plaintiff's lease against a sublease
cases between the owners of the land and the plaintiff Rosario Yulo, the plaintiff has of the property.
no right to claim the alleged participation in the profit of the business, etc. The
The most important issue raised in the appeal is that contained in the fourth Proceedings Against Attorneys Vicente L. Santiago, Jose Beltran Sotto, Graciano C.
assignment of error, to the effect that the lower court erred in holding that the Regala and Associates, Erlito R. Uy, Juanito M. Caling; and Morton F. Meads.
written contracts, Exhs. "A", "B", and "C, between plaintiff and defendant, are one
of lease and not of partnership. We have gone over the evidence and we fully agree
with the conclusion of the trial court that the agreement was a sublease, not a
partnership. The following are the requisites of partnership: (1) two or more persons
who bind themselves to contribute money, property, or industry to a common fund; SANCHEZ, J.:
(2) intention on the part of the partners to divide the profits among themselves. (Art.
1767, Civil Code.). After the July 31, 1968 decision of this Court adverse to respondent MacArthur International
Minerals Co., the Solicitor General brought to our attention statements of record purportedly
In the first place, plaintiff did not furnish the supposed P20,000 capital. In the made by Vicente L. Santiago, Erlito R. Uy, Graciano Regala, and Jose Beltran Sotto,
members of the Bar, with the suggestion that disciplinary action be taken against them. On
second place, she did not furnish any help or intervention in the management of the November 21, 1968, this Court issued a show-cause order.
theatre. In the third place, it does not appear that she has ever demanded from
defendant any accounting of the expenses and earnings of the business. Were she The following statements, so the Solicitor General avers, are set forth in the memoranda
really a partner, her first concern should have been to find out how the business was personally signed by Atty. Jose Beltran Sotto:
progressing, whether the expenses were legitimate, whether the earnings were
correct, etc. She was absolutely silent with respect to any of the acts that a partner a. They (petitioners, including the Executive Secretary) have made these
should have done; all that she did was to receive her share of P3,000 a month, which false, ridiculous and wild statements in a desperate attempt to prejudice the
courts against MacArthur International. Such efforts could be accurately
can not be interpreted in any manner than a payment for the use of the premises
called "scattershot desperation" (Memorandum for Respondents dated
which she had leased from the owners. Clearly, plaintiff had always acted in March 27, 1968, pp. 13-14, three lines from the bottom of page 13 and first
accordance with the original letter of defendant of June 17, 1945 (Exh. "A"), which line page 14).
shows that both parties considered this offer as the real contract between them.
b. Such a proposition is corrupt on its face and it lays bare the immoral and
Plaintiff claims the sum of P41,000 as representing her share or participation in the arrogant attitude of the petitioners. (Respondents' Supplemental
Memorandum and Reply to Petitioner's Memorandum Brief, dated April 13,
business from December, 1949. But the original letter of the defendant, Exh. "A",
1968, p. 16, last two lines on bottom of the page).
expressly states that the agreement between the plaintiff and the defendant was to
end upon the termination of the right of the plaintiff to the lease. Plaintiff's right c. The herein petitioners ... opportunistically change their claims and stories
having terminated in July, 1949 as found by the Court of Appeals, the partnership not only from case to case but from pleading to pleading in the same case.
agreement or the agreement for her to receive a participation of P3,000 (Respondents' Supplemental Memorandum, Ibid., p.17, sixth, seventh and
automatically ceased as of said date. eighth lines from bottom of the page).

MacArthur's third motion for reconsideration signed by Atty. Vicente L. Santiago, on his
We find no error in the judgment of the court below and we affirm it in toto, with
behalf and purportedly for Attys. Erlito R. Uy, Graciano Regala and Associates, and Jose B.
costs against plaintiff-appellant. Sotto, the Solicitor General points out, contain the following statements:

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- d. ... ; and [the Supreme Court] has overlooked the applicable law due to
the misrepresentation and obfuscation of the petitioners' counsel. (Last
SURIGAO MINERAL RESERVATION BOARD, ET AL., petitioners, sentence, par. 1, Third Motion for Reconsideration dated Sept. 10, 1968).
HON. GAUDENCIO CLORIBEL ETC., ET AL., respondents, In Re: Contempt
e. ... Never has any civilized, democratic tribunal ruled that such a gimmick (e) the preliminary injunction issued herein did not maintain the status quo
(referring to the "right to reject any and all bids") can be used by vulturous but destroyed it, and the conclusion cannot be avoided that it was
executives to cover up and excuse losses to the public, a government destroyed for a reason, not for no reason at all.
agency or just plain fraud ... and it is thus difficult, in the light of our
upbringing and schooling, even under many of the incumbent justices, that (f) there are misstatements and misrepresentations in the said decision
the Honorable Supreme Court intends to create a decision that in effect which the Honorable Supreme Court has refused to correct.
does precisely that in a most absolute manner. (Second sentence, par. 7,
Third Motion for Reconsideration dated Sept. 10, 1968). (g) the two main issues in the said decision were decided otherwise in
previous decisions, and the main issue "right to reject any or all bids" is
The motion to inhibit filed on September 21, 1968 — after judgment herein was rendered — being treated on a double standard basis by the Honorable Supreme Court.
and signed by Vicente L. Santiago for himself and allegedly for Attys. Erlito R. Uy, and
Graciano Regala and Associates, asked Mr. Chief Justice Roberto Concepcion and Mr. (h) the fact that respondent believes that the Honorable Supreme Court
Justice Fred Ruiz Castro to inhibit themselves from considering, judging and resolving the knows better and has greater understanding than the said decision
case or any issue or aspect thereof retroactive to January 11, 1967. The motion charges manifests.
"[t]hat the brother of the Honorable Associate Justice Castro is a vice-president of the
favored party who is the chief beneficiary of the false, erroneous and illegal decision dated
January 31, 1968" and the ex parte preliminary injunction rendered in the above-entitled (i) the public losses (sic) one hundred and fifty to two hundred million
case, the latter in effect prejudging and predetermining this case even before the joining of dollars by said decision — without an effort by the Honorable Supreme
an issue. As to the Chief Justice, the motion states "[t]hat the son of the Honorable Chief Court to learn all the facts through presentation through the trial court,
Justice Roberto Concepcion was given a significant appointment in the Philippine which is elementary.
Government by the President a short time before the decision of July 31, 1968 was
rendered in this case." The appointment referred to was as secretary of the newly-created On November 21, 1968, Atty. Vicente L. Santiago, again for himself and Attys. Erlito R. Uy
Board of Investments. The motion presents a lengthy discourse on judicial ethics, and and Graciano Regala and Associates, in writing pointed out to this Court that the statements
makes a number of side comments projecting what is claimed to be the patent wrongfulness specified by the Solicitor General were either quoted out of context, could be defended, or
of the July 31, 1968 decision. It enumerates "incidents" which, according to the motion, were comments legitimate and justifiable. Concern he expressed for the fullest defense of
brought about respondent MacArthur's belief that "unjudicial prejudice" had been caused it the interests of his clients. It was stressed that if MacArthur's attorney could not plead such
and that there was "unjudicial favoritism" in favor of "petitioners, their appointing authority thoughts, his client would be deprived of due process of law. However, counsel sought to
and a favored party directly benefited by the said decision." The "incidents" cited are as change the words "Chief Justice" to "Supreme Court" appearing on line 7, paragraph 2 of
follows: the motion to inhibit. Atty. Santiago also voluntarily deleted paragraph 6 of the said motion,
which in full reads:
(a) said decision is in violation of the law, which law has not been declared
unconstitutional. 6. Unfortunately for our people, it seems that many of our judicial
authorities believe that they are the chosen messengers of God in all
(b) said decision ignores totally the applicable law in the above-entitled matters that come before them, and that no matter what the circumstances
case. are, their judgment is truly ordained by the Almighty unto eternity. Some
seem to be constitutionally incapable of considering that any emanation
from their mind or pen could be the product of unjudicial prejudice or
(c) said decision deprives respondent of due process of law and the right to unjudicial sympathy or favoritism for a party or an issue. Witness the recent
adduce evidence as is the procedure in all previous cases of this nature. absurdity of Judge Alikpala daring to proceed to judge a motion to hold
himself in contempt of court — seemingly totally oblivious or
(d) due course was given to the unfounded certiorari in the first place when uncomprehending of the violation of moral principle involved — and also of
the appeal from a denial of a motion to dismiss was and is neither new nor Judge Geraldez who refuses to inhibit himself in judging a criminal case
novel nor capable of leading to a wholesome development of the law but — against an accused who is also his correspondent in two other cases. What
only served to delay respondent for the benefit of the favored party. is the explanation for such mentality? Is it outright dishonesty? Lack of
intelligence? Serious deficiency in moral comprehension? Or is it that many
of our government officials are just amoral?
And, in addition, he attempted to explain further subparagraphs (f) and (h) of paragraph 7 professional competence and referred Meads to another lawyer who later on likewise turned
thereof. down the offer; that in view of the rejection, Meads and he agreed to terminate their
previous retainer agreement; that he had not participated in any manner in the preparation
It was on December 2, 1968 that Atty. Vicente L. Santiago filed his compliance with this or authorship of any pleading or any other document in connection with this case.
Court's resolution of November 21, 1968. He there stated that the motion to inhibit and third
motion for reconsideration were of his exclusive making and that he alone should be held On February 4, 1969, Atty. Erlito R. Uy explained his side of the case. In brief, he denied
responsible therefor. He further elaborated on his explanations made on November 21, participation in any of the court papers subject of our November 21, 1968 order; claimed
1968. that he was on six months' leave of absence from July 1, 1968 to December 31, 1968 as
one of the attorneys for MacArthur but that he gave his permission to have his name
On December 5, 1968, he supplemented his explanations by saying that he already deleted included as counsel in all of MacArthur's pleadings in this case (L-27072), even while he
paragraph 6 of the Motion to Inhibit heretofore quoted from his rough draft but that it was was on leave of absence.
still included through inadvertence.
Hearing on this contempt incident was had on March 3, 1969.
On March 1, 1969, Atty. Vicente L. Santiago, as counsel for MacArthur, registered an
amended motion to inhibit. While it repeats the prayer that Mr. Chief Justice Concepcion A second contempt proceeding arose when, on July 14, 1969, respondent MacArthur,
and Mr. Justice Castro inhibit themselves, it left but three paragraphs of the original motion through new counsel, Atty. Juanito M. Caling who entered a special appearance for the
to inhibit, taking out the dissertation on judicial ethics and most of the comments attacking purpose, lodged a fourth motion for reconsideration without express leave of court. Said
the decision of this Court of July 31, 1968. motion reiterated previous grounds raised, and contained the following paragraphs:

On the part of Atty. Jose Beltran Sotto, it must be stated that as early as October 7, 1968, 4. The said decision is illegal because it was penned by the Honorable
he insisted in withdrawing his appearance in this case as one of the lawyers of MacArthur. Chief Justice Roberto Concepcion when in fact he was outside the borders
His ground was that he did not agree with the filing of the motion to inhibit the two justices. of the Republic of the Philippines at the time of the Oral Argument of the
According to him, "[t]he present steps (sic) now being taken is against counsel's upbringing above-entitled case — which condition is prohibited by the New Rules of
and judicial conscience." Court — Section 1, Rule 51, and we quote: "Justices; who may take part.
— ... . only those members present when any matter is submitted for oral
In Atty. Jose Beltran Sotto's return of November 29, 1968, he took pains to say that the argument will take part in its consideration and adjudication ..." This
questioned statements he made were also taken out of context and were necessary for the requirement is especially significant in the present instance because the
defense of his client MacArthur. He made the admission, though, that those statements member who penned the decision was the very member who was absent
lifted out of context would indeed be sufficient basis for a finding that Section 20(f), Rule for approximately four months or more. This provision also applies to the
138, had been violated. Honorable Justices Claudio Teehankee and Antonio Barredo.

On January 8, 1969, additional arguments were filed by Atty. Jose Beltran Sotto. He there xxx xxx xxx
averred that the Supreme Court had no original jurisdiction over the charge against him
because it is one of civil contempt against a party and the charge is originally cognizable by 6. That if the respondent MacArthur International Minerals Company
the Court of First Instance under Sections 4 and 10, Rule 71 of the Rules of Court. He also abandons its quest for justice in the Judiciary of the Philippine Government,
stressed that said charge was not signed by an "offended party or witness", as required by it will inevitably either raise the graft and corruption of Philippine
law; and that the Solicitor General and his assistants could not stand in the stead of an Government officials in the bidding of May 12, 1965, required by the Nickel
"offended Party or witness." Law to determine the operator of the Surigao nickel deposits, to the World
Court on grounds of deprivation of justice and confiscation of property
We now come to Atty. Graciano C. Regala. In his explanation of December 2, 1968, as and /or to the United States Government, either its executive or judicial
further clarified by a supplemental motion of December 27, 1968, he manifested that the branches or both, on the grounds of confiscation of respondent's
use of or reference to his law firm in this case was neither authorized nor consented to by proprietary vested rights by the Philippine Government without either
him or any of his associates; that on July 14, 1967, one Morton F. Meads, in MacArthur's compensation or due process of law — and invoking the Hickenlooper
behalf, offered to retain his services, which was accepted; that Meads inquired from him Amendment requiring the cutting off of all aid and benefits to the Philippine
whether he could appear in this case; that he advised Meads that this case was outside his
Government, including the sugar price premium, amounting to more than According to Meads, from the time he entered the office of Santiago to the time the motion
fifty million dollars annually, until restitution or compensation is made. was filed, the period that elapsed was approximately one hour and a half. Santiago was with
Caling for about three minutes and Meads was with Caling for about fifteen minutes.
This elicited another resolution from this Court on July 18, 1969, requiring Atty. Juanito M.
Caling "to show cause within five (5) days from receipt of notice hereof why he should not In defending himself from the contempt charge, Meads asserts that the quotation from the
be dealt with for contempt of court." Rules of Court set forth in the fourth motion for reconsideration has not been taken out of
context because said quotation is precisely accurate; that the "xs" indicate that it is not a
On July 30, 1969, Atty. Juanita M. Caling filed his return. He there alleged that the said complete quotation and that it is a common practice in court pleadings to submit partial
fourth motion for reconsideration was already finalized when Atty. Vicente L. Santiago came quotations. Meads further contends that the announced plan to bring the case to the World
to his office and requested him to accommodate MacArthur by signing the motion; that he Court is not a threat. In fact, his answer also included a notice of appeal to the World Court.
turned down said request twice on the ground that he did not know anything about the case,
much less the truth of the allegations stated in the motion; that "the allegations in said On August 27, 1969, this Court heard Attys. Vicente L. Santiago and Juanito Caling and
motion were subsequently explained to the undersigned counsel together with the Morton Meads in oral argument with respect to the second contempt incident. We shall now
background of the case involved by Atty. Vicente L. Santiago and by one Morton F. Meads"; discuss the first and second contempt incidents seriatim.
that upon assurance that there was nothing wrong with the motion he was persuaded in
good faith to sign the same; that he was misled in so signing and the true facts of the 1. We start with the case of Atty. Vicente L. Santiago. In his third motion for reconsideration,
allegations were not revealed to him especially the oral argument allegedly made in the we, indeed, find language that is not to be expected of an officer of the courts. He pictures
case. petitioners as "vulturous executives". He speaks of this Court as a "civilized, democratic
tribunal", but by innuendo would suggest that it is not.
Because of the foregoing explanation by Atty. Caling, this Court, on August 4, 1969,
resolved "to require Atty. Vicente L. Santiago and Morton Meads to file in writing their In his motion to inhibit, his first paragraph categorizes our decision of July 31, 1968 as
answer to the said return [of Atty. Caling] and at the same time to show cause why they, "false, erroneous and illegal" in a presumptuous manner. He there charges that the ex parte
Atty. Vicente L. Santiago and Morton Meads, should not be dealt with for contempt of court, preliminary injunction we issued in this case prejudiced and predetermined the case even
on or before August 16, 1969; and ... to direct that the three, Atty. Juanita M. Caling, Atty. before the joining of an issue. He accuses in a reckless manner two justices of this Court for
Vicente L. Santiago, and Morton Meads, personally appear Before this Court on Thursday, being interested in the decision of this case: Associate Justice Fred Ruiz Castro, because
August 27, 1969, at 9:30 a.m., on which date the contempt proceedings against all of them his brother is the vice president of the favored party who is the chief beneficiary of the
will be heard by this Court." decision, and Chief Justice Roberto Concepcion, whose son was appointed secretary of the
newly-created Board of Investments, "a significant appointment in the Philippine
On August 13, 1969, Atty. Vicente L. Santiago gave his explanation. He disavowed the truth Government by the President, a short time before the decision of July 31, 1968 was
of Atty. Caling's statement that he (Santiago) convinced Caling to sign the motion. The rendered." In this backdrop, he proceeds to state that "it would seem that the principles thus
truth, according to Santiago, is that one day Morton Meads went to his office and asked him established [the moral and ethical guidelines for inhibition of any judicial authority by the
if he knew of a lawyer nearby who could help him file another motion for reconsideration, Honorable Supreme Court should first apply to itself." He puts forth the claim that lesser and
and he (Santiago) mentioned Atty. Caling; he there upon accompanied Meads to Caling, further removed conditions have been known to create favoritism, only to conclude that
told Caling of Meads' desire and left Meads with Caling. Santiago insists that he never there is no reason for a belief that the conditions obtaining in the case of the Chief Justice
prepared the motion and that he never even read it. and Justice Castro "would be less likely to engender favoritism or prejudice for or against a
particular cause or party." Implicit in this at least is that the Chief Justice and Justice Castro
On August 15, 1969, Morton Meads answered. Meads' version is as follows: On July 14, are insensible to delicadeza, which could make their actuation suspect. He makes it plain in
1969, he went to Atty. Santiago's office with the fourth motion for reconsideration which he the motion that the Chief Justice and Justice Castro not only were not free from the
himself prepared. Santiago started to read the motion and in fact began to make some appearance of impropriety but did arouse suspicion that their relationship did affect their
changes in Pencil in the first or second paragraph when Meads told him that MacArthur judgment. He points out that courts must be above suspicion at all times like Caesar's wife,
wanted a new lawyer, not Santiago, to file the same. Meads asked Santiago if he could warns that loss of confidence for the Tribunal or a member thereof should not be allowed to
recommend one. They then went to Caling whose office was on the same floor. Santiago happen in our country, "although the process has already begun."
introduced Meads to Caling at the same time handing the fourth motion to Caling. While
Caling was reading the document, Santiago left. After reading the motion, Caling gave his It is true that Santiago voluntarily deleted paragraph 6 which contained language that is as
go-signal. He signed the same after his name was typed therein. The motion was then filed. disrespectful. But we cannot erase the fact that it has been made. He explained that, he
deleted this paragraph in his rough draft, which paragraph was included in the motion filed the lawyer to maintain towards the Courts a respectful attitude, not for the sake of the
in this Court only because of mere inadvertence. This explanation does not make much of a temporary incumbent of the judicial office, but for the maintenance of its supreme
distinguishing difference; it erects no shield. Not only because it was belatedly made but importance.' That same canon, as a corollary, makes it peculiarly incumbent upon lawyers
also because his signature appeared on the motion to inhibit which included paragraph 6. to support the courts against 'unjust criticism and clamor.' And more. The attorney's oath
And this paragraph 6 describes with derision "many of our judicial authorities" who "believe solemnly binds him to a conduct that should be 'with all good fidelity ... to the courts.' Worth
that they are the chosen messengers of God in all matters that come before them, and that remembering is that the duty of an attorney to the courts can only be maintained by
no matter what the circumstances are, their judgment is truly ordained by the Almighty unto rendering no service involving any disrespect to the judicial office which he is bound to
eternity." It depicts them as seemingly "incapable of considering that any emanation from uphold.' "
their mind or pen could be the product of unjudicial prejudice or unjudicial sympathy or
favoritism for a party or an issue." After citing acts of two judges of first instance, he paused A lawyer is an officer of the courts; he is, "like the court itself, an instrument or agency to
to ask: "What is the explanation for such mentality? Is it outright dishonesty? Lack of advance the ends of justice."1 His duty is to uphold the dignity and authority of the courts to
intelligence? Serious deficiency in moral comprehension? Or is it that many of our which he owes fidelity, "not to promote distrust in the administration of justice."2 Faith in the
government officials are just amoral?" courts a lawyer should seek to preserve. For, to undermine the judicial edifice "is disastrous
to the continuity of government and to the attainment of the liberties of the people."3 Thus
Paragraph 7 also of the motion to inhibit repeated mention of "unjudicial prejudice" against has it been said of a lawyer that "[a]s an officer of the court, it is his sworn and moral duty to
respondent MacArthur and spoke of "unjudicial favoritism" for petitioners, their appointing help build and not destroy unnecessarily that high esteem and regard towards the courts so
authority and a favored party directly benefited by the decision. Paragraph 8 is a lecture on essential to the proper administration of justice."4
judicial ethics. Paragraph 9 is a warning to this Court about loss of confidence, and
paragraph 10 makes a sweeping statement that "any other justices who have received It ill behooves Santiago to justify his language with the statement that it was necessary for
favors or benefits directly or indirectly from any of the petitioners or members of any board- the defense of his client. A client's cause does not permit an attorney to cross the line
petitioner, or their agents or principals, including the President", should also inhibit between liberty and license. Lawyers must always keep in perspective the thought that
themselves. "[s]ince lawyers are administrators of justice, oath-bound servants of society, their first duty
is not to their clients, as many suppose, but to the administration of justice; to this, their
What is disconcerting is that Atty. Santiago's accusations have no basis in fact and in law. clients' success is wholly subordinate; and their conduct ought to and must be scrupulously
The slur made is not limited to the Chief Justice and Mr. Justice Castro. It sweepingly casts observant of law and ethics."5 As rightly observed by Mr. Justice Malcolm in his well-known
aspersion on the whole court. For, inhibition is also asked of, we repeat, "any other justices treatise, a judge from the very nature of his position, lacks the power to defend himself and
who have received favors or benefits directly or indirectly from any of the petitioners or any it is the attorney, and no other, who can better or more appropriately support the judiciary
members of any board-petitioner or their agents or principals, including the president." The and the incumbent of the judicial position.6 From this, Mr. Justice Malcolm continued to say:
absurdity of this posture is at once apparent. For one thing, the justices of this Court are "It will of course be a trying ordeal for attorneys under certain conditions to maintain
appointed by the President and in that sense may be considered to have each received a respectful obedience to the court. It may happen that counsel possesses greater knowledge
favor from the President. Should these justices inhibit themselves every time a case of the law than the justice of the peace or judge who presides over the court. It may also
involving the Administration crops up? Such a thought may not certainly be entertained. The happen that since no court claims infallibility, judges may grossly err in their decisions.
consequence thereof would be to paralyze the machinery of this Court. We would in fact, be Nevertheless, discipline and self-restraint on the part of the bar even under adverse
wreaking havoc on the tripartite system of government operating in this country. Counsel is conditions are necessary for the orderly administration of
presumed to know this. But why the unfounded charge? There is the not-too-well concealed justice."7
effort on the part of a losing litigant's attorney to downgrade this Court.
The precepts, the teachings, the injunctions just recited are not unfamiliar to lawyers. And
The mischief that stems from all of the foregoing gross disrespect is easy to discern. Such yet, this Court finds in the language of Atty. Santiago a style that undermines and degrades
disrespect detracts much from the dignity of a court of justice. Decidedly not an expression the administration of justice. The stricture in Section 3 (d) of Rule 71 of the Rules — against
of faith, counsel's words are intended to create an atmosphere of distrust, of disbelief. We improper conduct tending to degrade the administration of justice8 — is thus transgressed.
are thus called upon to repeat what we have said in Rheem of the Philippines vs. Ferrer Atty. Santiago is guilty of contempt of court.
(1967), 20 SCRA 441, 444, as follows: "By now, a lawyer's duties to the Court have become
common place. Really, there could hardly be any valid excuse for lapses in the observance 2. We next take the case of Atty. Jose Beltran Sotto. We analyze the statements pointed out
thereof. Section 20(b), Rule 138 of the Rules of Court, in categorical terms, spells out one to us by the Solicitor General hereinbefore quoted. Sotto accuses petitioners of having
such duty: 'To observe and maintain the respect due to the courts of justice and judicial made "false, ridiculous and wild statements in a desperate attempt to prejudice the courts
officers.' As explicit is the first canon of legal ethics which pronounces that '[i]t is the duty of against MacArthur." He brands such efforts as "scattershot desperation". He describes a
proposition of petitioners as "corrupt on its face", laying bare "the immoral and arrogant preparation of any of the pleadings subject of the contempt citation. He should be held
attitude of the petitioners." He charges petitioners with opportunistically changing their exempt from contempt.
claims and stories not only from case to case but from pleading to pleading in the same
case. Such language is not arguably protected; it is the surfacing of a feeling of contempt 5. We now turn our attention to the second contempt incident. The fourth motion for
towards a litigant; it offends the court before which it is made. It is no excuse to say that reconsideration is, indeed, an act of contumacy.
these statements were taken out of context. We have analyzed the lines surrounding said
statements. They do not in any manner justify the inclusion of offensive language in the First. It was filed without express leave of court. No explanation has been made why this
pleadings. It has been said that "[a] lawyer's language should be dignified in keeping with has been done.
the dignity of the legal profession."9 It is Sotto's duty as a member of the Bar "[t]o abstain
from all offensive personality and 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 Second. It lifted Section 1. Rule 51, Rules of Court, out of context. Said Section 1 was
charged." 10 quoted as follows: "Justices; who may take part. — ... only those members present when
any matter is submitted for oral argument will take part in its consideration and
adjudication ..." However, the provision in its entire thought should be read thus —
Not far from the case of Atty. Sotto is People vs. Young, 83 Phil. 702, 708, where counsel
for the accused convicted of murder made use of the following raw language in his brief :
"The accused since birth was a poor man and a son of a poor farmer, that since his SECTION 1. Justices; who may take part. — All matters submitted to the
boyhood he has never owned a thousand pesos in his own name. Now, here comes a court for its consideration and adjudication will be deemed to be submitted
chance for him. A cold fifty thousand bucks in exchange of a man's life. A simple job. for consideration and adjudication by any and all of the Justices who are
Perhaps a question of seconds' work and that would transform him into a new man. Once in members of the division of the court at the time when such matters are
a small nipa shack, now in a palatial mansion! This poor ignorant man blinded by the taken up for consideration and adjudication, whether such Justices were or
promise of wealth, protection and stability was given to do the forbidden deed." We there were not present at the date of submission; however, only those members
held that "[s]uch a plea is a disgrace to the bar and an affront to the court." present when any matter is submitted for oral argument will take part in its
consideration and adjudication, if the parties or either of them, express a
desire to that effect in writing filed with the clerk at the date of
It will not avail Sotto any to say that the Solicitor General or his assistants may not be submission. 12
considered offended parties in this case. This Court may motu proprio start proceedings of
this nature. There should be no doubt about the power of this Court to punish him for
contempt under the circumstances. For, inherent in courts is the power "[t]o control, in Atty. Caling, who was admitted to the Bar in 1966, did not attempt to explain this point.
furtherance of justice, the conduct of its ministerial officers, and of all other persons in any
manner connected with a case before it, in every manner appertaining thereto." 11 Meads, however, for his part tried to reason out why such a distorted quotation came about
— the portion left out was anyway marked by "XS" which is a common practice among
We, accordingly, hold that Atty. Jose Beltran Sotto has misbehaved, under Section 3 (a), lawyers. Canon 22 of the Canons of Legal Ethics reminds the lawyer to characterize his
Rule 71 of the Rules of Court, as an officer of the court in the performance of his official conduct with candor and fairness, and specifically states that "it is not candid nor fair for the
duties; and that he too has committed, under Section 3 (d) of the same rule, improper lawyer knowingly to misquote." While Morton Meads is admittedly not a lawyer, it does not
conduct tending to degrade the administration of justice. He is, therefore, guilty of contempt. take a lawyer to see the deliberate deception that is being foisted upon this Court. There
was a qualification to the rule quoted and that qualification was intentionally omitted.
3. Not much need be said of the case of Atty. Graciano C. Regala. It was improper for Atty.
Santiago to have included the name of the firm of Atty. Regala without the latter's Third. The motion contained an express threat to take the case to the World Court and/or
knowledge and consent. Correctly did Regala insist — and this is confirmed by the other the United States government. It must be remembered that respondent MacArthur at that
lawyers of respondents — that he had not participated in any way in the pleadings of the time was still trying to overturn the decision of this Court of July 31, 1968. In doing so,
above-entitled case. Regala did not even know that his name was included as co-counsel in unnecessary statements were injected. More specifically, the motion announced that
this case. He is exonerated. MacArthur "will inevitably ... raise the graft and corruption of [the] Philippine government
officials in the bidding of May 12, 1965 ... to the World Court" and would invoke "the
Hickenlooper Amendment requiring the cutting off of all aid and benefits to the Philippine
4. Last to be considered with respect to the first contempt incident is the case of Atty. Erlito Government, including the sugar price premium, amounting to more than fifty million dollars
R. Uy. Borne out by the record is the fact that Atty. Uy was not also involved in the annually ... ."
This is a clear attempt to influence or bend the mind of this Court to decide the case in its 9. One last word. It would seem apropos to say again that, if only for one reason, this Court
favor. A notice of appeal to the World Court has even been embodied in Meads' return. had really no alternative but to decide the main case against respondent MacArthur. As we
There is a gross inconsistency between the appeal and the move to reconsider the held in our decision of July 31, 1968, MacArthur did not even adhere to the terms and
decision. An appeal from a decision presupposes that a party has already abandoned any conditions of the invitation to bid. For, this invitation to bid explicitly warned that "bids not
move to reconsider that decision. And yet, it would appear that the appeal to the World accompanied by bid bonds will be rejected. And We repeat, "[a]dmittedly, the bid of the
Court is being dangled as a threat to effect a change of the decision of this Court. Such act Company [MacArthur] had been submitted without the requisite bond." 13 It would not
has no aboveboard explanation. require the adroit mind of a lawyer to say that a bid unaccompanied by a bond., contrary to
the instructions to bidders, is not entitled to any consideration.
6. Atty. Caling has not shown to the satisfaction of this Court that he should be exempted
from the contempt charge against him. He knows that he is an officer of this Court. He It should be emphasized, too, that because the decision herein was by a unanimous Court,
admits that he has read the fourth motion for reconsideration before he signed it. While he even if the Chief Justice and Mr. Justice Fred Ruiz Castro had not taken part in the decision
has been dragged in only at the last minute, still it was plainly his duty to have taken care on the merits of this case, the result would have been the same: MacArthur's cause would
that his name should not be attached to pleadings contemptuous in character. just the same have failed.

7. As for Morton F. Meads, he had admitted having prepared the fourth motion for For the reasons given, this Court hereby finds:
reconsideration. He cannot beg off from the contempt charge against him even though he is
not a lawyer. He is guilty of contempt. 1. On the first contempt charge, Atty. Vicente L. Santiago and Atty. Jose Beltran Sotto guilty
of contempt of court, and fines Atty. Santiago in the sum of P1,000, and Atty. Sotto, P100;
8. We go back to Atty. Vicente L. Santiago. His insistence that he had nothing to do with the and holds Attys. Graciano C. Regala and Associates and Atty. Erlito R. Uy not guilty of
fourth motion for reconsideration and that he had not even read the same is too transparent contempt of court; and
to survive fair appraisal. It goes against the grain of circumstances. Caling represents
before us that it was Santiago who convinced him to sign the motion, who with Meads 2. On the second contempt charge, Atty. Vicente L. Santiago, Morton F. Meads and Atty.
explained to him the allegations thereof and the background of the case. Caling says that if Juanita M. Caling guilty of contempt of court, and fines Atty. Vicente L. Santiago, an
not for his friendship with Santiago, he would not have signed the motion. On the other additional P1,000, Morton F. Meads, P1,000, and Atty. Juanito M. Caling, P200.
hand, Meads states that Santiago began to read the fourth motion for reconsideration and
even started to make changes thereon in pencil. We must not forget, too, that according to Let a copy of this resolution be forwarded to the Honorable, the Secretary of Justice, for
Meads himself, he spent, on July 14, 1969, quite some time with Santiago before they whatever action he may deem proper to take in the premises against Morton F. Meads who
proceeded to Caling. It is highly improbable that Santiago did not read the fourth motion for is an alien.
reconsideration during all that time.
Let another copy of this resolution be forwarded to the Honorable, the Solicitor General, for
Furthermore, Santiago is a lawyer of record for respondent MacArthur in this case. He has such action as he may deem proper in relation to the disbarment or suspension of Attys.
not resigned from his position as such lawyer. He has control of the proceedings. Whatever Vicente L. Santiago, Jose Beltran Sotto and Juanito M. Caling.
steps his client takes should be within his knowledge and responsibility. Indeed, Canon 16
of the Canons of Legal Ethics should have reminded him that "[a] lawyer should use his
best efforts to restrain and to prevent his clients from doing those things which the lawyer The Clerk of this Court is hereby directed to append a copy of this decision to the personal
himself ought not to do, particularly with reference to their conduct towards courts, judicial records of Attorneys Vicente L. Santiago, Jose Beltran Sotto and Juanito M. Caling. So
officers, jurors, witnesses and suitors. If a client persists in such wrongdoing the lawyer ordered.
should terminate their relation."
The dignity of the Court, experience teaches, can never be protected where infraction of
ethics meets with complacency rather than punishment. The people should not be given In re FELICIANO GOMEZ, attorney-at-law,
cause to break faith with the belief that a judge is the epitome of honor amongst men. To
preserve its dignity, a court of justice should not yield to the assaults of disrespect. Punctilio Attorney-General Villa-Real for the Government.
of honor, we prefer to think, is a standard of behavior so desirable in a lawyer pleading a
cause before a court of justice.
No appearance for the respondent.
MALCOLM, J.: a private wrong by a public method. Although the honor and integrity of the court
may be assailed, judges, like other persons, are relegated to the courts for redress.
The Attorney-General has filed an information, with affidavits, in this court, in As some one has well said, where the liberty of the press and freedom of public
which it is alleged that Feliciano Gomez is guilty of contempt of court. It appears comment ends, there tyrrany begins. (Patterson vs. Colorado [1907], 205 U.S., 454,
that Feliciano Gomez and Juan Cailles were rival candidates at the election in 1919, 6 R.C.L., pp. 512, et seq.)lävvphì1·né+
for the position of provincial governor of Laguna. Gomez was proclaimed elected.
Cailles contested the election successfully, first in the Court of First Instance, and We conclude, therefore, that while the Attorney-General is to be commended for his
later in the Supreme Court. The judgment of the higher tribunal was rendered on zealous interest in the maintenance of the Judiciary, we should not, under the
December 9, 1921,1 and became final on December 24, 1921. On January 19, 1922, circumstances, permit the law-officer to go forward with the instant proceedings.
at a public meeting held to celebrate the fiesta of the municipality of Lumban, Accordingly, the papers shall be attached to the personal record of Attorney
Laguna, Gomez is charged with having said, in effect, that the Supreme Court had Feliciano Gomez, without further action. So ordered.
decided the election protest in favor of Cailles, because Governor-General Wood,
out of friendship for Cailles, had invited the members of the court to Malacañang ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
previous to formulating the decision, and there, following a secret conference, had
offered them a banquet. These remarks of Gomez were published in La Nacion, a IN RE: THE HON. RAFAEL C. CLIMACO, JUDGE OF THE COURT OF
newspaper of the city of Manila, on January 25, 1922, and are substantiated by four FIRST INSTANCE OF NEGROS OCCIDENTAL, BRANCH I, SILAY CITY.
affidavits. The position of the members of this court in considering the facts laid
before them, with reference to the conduct of Feliciano Gomez, an unsuccessful RESOLUTION
litigant and an attorney- at-law , is an extremely embarrassing one, because although
contempts are impersonal in nature, the charges have personal aspects. After,
however, close scrutiny of the case, and after a realization that to punish for
contempt of court is a jurisdiction to be exercised with scrupulous care, we have ANTONIO, J.:1äwphï1.ñët
come to the conclusion that he matter should not be dignified by further
proceedings. We doubt very much if any one would think for a moment that In a verified complaint filed on October 15, 1968 by Acting City Fiscal
members of the Supreme Court of the Philippine Islands would sell their birthright Norberto L. Zulueta, of Cadiz, Negros Occidental, and Eva Mabug-at,
of judicial integrity for a social courtesy and the favor of the Chief Executive. In widow of the deceased Norberto Tongoy, respondent is charged with
reality, the Laguna election case was taken up point by point and decided by gross malfeasance in office, gross ignorance of the law, and for
principles, so that when finished there was not a member of the court who knew knowingly rendering an unjust judgment.
what the outcome would be until the vote was tabulated in the decision. We feel
also, that litigants and lawyers should not be held to too strict an account for words The aforecited charges stemmed from the order of respondent dated
said in the heat of the moment, because of chagrin at losing cases, and that the big September 5, 1968 and his decision acquitting accused Carlos
way is for the court to condone even contemptuous language. When Attorney Caramonte promulgated on September 21, 1968, in Criminal Case No.
Feliciano Gomez comes to reflect on his conduct, and on his obligations as an 690, entitled "People the Philippines versus Isabelo Montemayor, et
officer of the court "to maintain towards it a respectful attitude, not for the sake of al.," for Robbery in Band with Homicide.
the temporary incumbent of the judicial office but for the maintenance of its
supreme importance" (Code of Ethics, No. 1), he will realize the impropriety of his In the Resolution of this Court dated October 22, 1968, the complaint
action. The charges of Mr. Gomez, it should be recalled, did not relate to a pending was given due course, and respondent was required to file, an answer
cause. The rule in the more progressive jurisdictions is, that courts, when a case is to the complaint within ten (10) days from notice thereof, and after the
finished, are subject to the same criticism as other people. Judges may not vindicate filing of respondent's answer, the case was referred on December 17,
1968 to the Hon. Nicasio Yatco, Associate Justice of the Court of After the case was submitted for decision, respondent issued an order,
Appeals, for investigation and report. On April 11, 1968, after dated September 5, 1968, which reads as follows:
conducting the requisite investigation thereon, the investigator
submitted his Report recommending the exoneration of respondent. The parties are notified that the Court intends to take judicial notice
that the Mateo Chua-Antonio Uy Compound Cadiz City is the hub of a
large fishing industry operating in the Visayas; that the said
It appears from the record that Acting City Fiscal Norberto L. Zulueta, compound is only about 500 meters away from the Police Station and
of Cadiz, Negros Occidental, filed a charge for Robbery in Band with the City Hall in Cadiz; that the neighborhood is well-lighted and well-
Homicide against thirteen (13) persons as principals, seven (7) populated. SO ORDERED.
persons as accomplices, and two (2) persons as accessories, with the
Court of First Instance of Negros Occidental, in Criminal Case No. Thereafter, or more particularly, on September 21, 1968, respondent
690.<äre||anº•1àw> The case was assigned to Branch I, Silay City, promulgated his decision in the case acquitting Carlos Caramonte.
presided over by the respondent. Out of the 13 persons charged as
principals for the crime, only Carlos Caramonte was arrested and tried Subsequently, Acting City Fiscal Zulueta appealed aforementioned
(the six other alleged principals, including Isabelo Montemayor, decision to this Court; and when required to comment on said appeal,
remained at large), while of the persons charged as accomplices and Solicitor General Antonio P. Barredo, now an Associate Justice of this
accessories, the case with respect to them was dismissed at the Court, submitted his comment on November 28, 1968 to the effect that
instance of the prosecution or with its conformity, in the following prosecution cannot appeal from the judgment of acquittal in view of
manner: the constitutional protection against double jeopardy, and made the
observation that "While the validity of the ocular inspection conducted
(a) Before arraignment: — by the lower court is open to doubt, the unvarnished fact remains that
the judgment of acquittal was not premised solely on the results of
Jorge Canonoyo said ocular inspection, as erroneously contended by prosecutor. A
cursory perusal of the decision will at once show that said acquittal
(b) After arraignment: —
was predicated on other well-considered facts and circumstances so
Agustin Cañete
thoroughly discussed by the lower court in its decision and the least of
Rosendo Cañete those was its observation arising from the ocular inspection.
Arsenio Luyao
Elias Giducos On January 30, 1969, this Court, through Justice Fernando,
Pedro Layon promulgated its Resolution dismissing the appeal (G.R. No. L-29599).
Antonio Placencia
In the meantime, on October 15, 1968, the aforementioned complaint
(c) Accused Luciano Salinas was discharged from the information and
against respondent was instituted as aforestated..
utilized as state witness; and
In his Report, the investigator stated:
(d) Accused Honorato de Sales, Paulino Quijano, Cristeta Jimenez,
Constancio Pangahin, Julio Elmo, Primitivo Mata, and Rene Under the first indictment, complainants bewail as gross malfeasance
Fernandez before the Amended Information of April 26, 1968, were in office and gross ignorance of the law, the following behaviour of
dropped. the respondent Judge in the case:


and of a judge who knowingly commits a "revolting injustice" or through
gross ignorance of the law?
It could be gleaned from a careful perusal of the complaint that
After both parties submitted their respective Memorandum attached complainants bemoaned the fact that the respondent Judge
herewith as Annexes "C" and "D", Criminal Case No. 690 for "Robbery conducted a "secret ocular inspection" of the poblacion of the City of
in Band with Homicide" was closed and submitted for Decision on Cadiz at about 3:00 o'clock in the afternoon Sunday, August 11, 1968,
July 1, 1968. without anybody to guide him, less in the presence of the prosecution
and concluded that such alleged secret ocular inspection was the
basis of the Order of September 5, 1968. A painstaking scrutiny of the
About one and a half (1-½) months thereafter, or at about 3:00 o'clock
records as well as the evidence presented by the parties does not
in the afternoon of Sunday, 11 August 1968, respondent judge made a
show any concrete proof that respondent Judge did conduct a "secret
secret ocular inspection of the poblacion of the City of Cadiz. Without
ocular inspection" of the poblacion of the City of Cadiz as seriously
anybody to guide him, he visited the places which he thought
charge by the complainants. In fact, the lone witness presented by the
erroneously were the scene of the robbery where the Chief of Police
complainants in this case did not even make an insinuation
was killed by the Montemayor gang at about 11:00 o'clock of the dark
supporting such serious allegation of said complainants. The fact is,
night of December 31, 1967. It should be noted that Cadiz City is 65
from the order of September 5, 1968, the respondent Judge took
kms. away from Bacolod City, the capital of the province. Because of
judicial notice "that the Mateo Chua-Antonio Uy Compound in Cadiz
that undeniably biased ocular inspection, the honorable trial judge,
City is the hub of a large fishing industry