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B.M. No. 2540, September 24, 2013 IN RE: PETITION TO SIGN IN THE ROLL OF TTORNE!S MI"H EL .

ME# #O, Petitioner.

We resolve the instant Petition to Sign in the Roll of Attorneys filed by petitioner Michael A. Medado (Medado). Medado graduated from the University of the Philippines same year&s bar e'aminations ith a general ith the degree of !achelor of "a s in #$%$ # and passed the
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eighted average of ().%. )

*n % May #$(+, he too- the Attorney&s *ath at the Philippine .nternational /onvention /enter (P.//) together the successful bar e'aminees.0 1e !ar *ffice hen he

ith

as scheduled to sign in the Roll of Attorneys on #0 May #$(+, 2 but he failed to do

so on his scheduled date, allegedly because he had misplaced the 3otice to Sign the Roll of Attorneys 4 given by the ent home to his province for a vacation. 5
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Several years later, Attorneys. .t of the P.//

hile rummaging through his old college files, Medado found the 3otice to Sign the Roll of hat he had signed at the entrance
%
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as then that he reali6ed that he had not signed in the roll, and that as probably 7ust an attendance record.

!y the time Medado found the notice, he ta'ation or-, and that he

as already

or-ing. 1e stated that he

as mainly doing corporate and as not as urgent, nor as

as not actively involved in litigation practice. 8hus, he operated 9under the mista-en
(

belief :that; since he ha:d; already ta-en the oath, the signing of the Roll of Attorneys and as subse>uently forgotten.<$

crucial to his status as a la yer<= and 9the matter of signing in the Roll of Attorneys lost its urgency and compulsion,
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.n )++4,

hen Medado attended Mandatory /ontinuing "egal ?ducation (M/"?) seminars, he


#+

as re>uired to provide as

his roll number in order for his M/"? compliances to be credited. 3ot having signed in the Roll of Attorneys, he unable to provide his roll number.

About seven years later, or on 5 @ebruary )+#), Medado filed the instant Petition, praying that he be allo ed to sign in the Roll of Attorneys.##
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8he *ffice of the !ar /onfidant (*!/) conducted a clarificatory conference on the matter on )# September )+#) #) and submitted a Report and Recommendation to this /ourt on 2 @ebruary )+#0. #0 8he *!/ recommended that the instant petition be denied for petitioner&s gross negligence, gross misconduct and utter lac- of merit. #2 .t e'plained that, based on his ans ers during the clarificatory conference, petitioner could offer no valid 7ustification for his negligence in signing in the Roll of Attorneys.#4 After a 7udicious revie
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of the records,

e grant Medado&s prayer in the instant petition, sub7ect to the payment of a

fine and the imposition of a penalty e>uivalent to suspension from the practice of la . At the outset, e note that not allo ing Medado to sign in the Roll of Attorneys ould be a-in to imposing upon him

the ultimate penalty of disbarment, a penalty that members of the !ar. .n this case, the records do not sho

e have reserved for the most serious ethical transgressions of

that this action is

arranted.

@or one, petitioner demonstrated good faith and good moral character in the Roll of Attorneys. We note that it rather, it as Medado himself as-ed by the !ar /onfidant you don&t -no necessary.#5 as not a third party

hen he finally filed the instant Petition to Sign

ho called this /ourt&s attention to petitioner&s omission=

ho ac-no ledged his o n lapse, albeit after the passage of more than 0+ years. When
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hy it too- him this long to file the instant petition, Medado very candidly repliedA

Mahirap hong iBe'plain yan pero, yun bang at the time,

hat can you sayC 8a-ot -a -ung anong mangyayari sa Dyo, hat&s

hat&s gonna happen. At the same time, it&s a combination of apprehension and an'iety of

gonna happen. And, finally it&s the right thing to do. . have to come here E sign the roll and ta-e the oath as @or another, petitioner has not been sub7ect to any action for dis>ualification from the practice of la , #% than hat e can say of other individuals ho hich is more

ere successfully admitted as members of the Philippine !ar. @or this

/ourt, this fact demonstrates that petitioner strove to adhere to the strict re>uirements of the ethics of the profession, and that he has prima facie sho n that he possesses the character re>uired to be a member of the Philippine !ar. @inally, Medado appears to have been a competent and able legal practitioner, having held various positions at the "aurel "a *ffice,#( Petron, Petrophil /orporation, the Philippine 3ational *il /ompany, and the ?nergy Fevelopment
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/orporation.#$

All these demonstrate Medado&s la


)+

orth to become a fullBfledged member of the Philippine !ar. While the practice of ill not un arrantedly ithhold this privilege from individuals ho have ithstand the rigors of the profession.

is not a right but a privilege, this /ourt

sho n mental fitness and moral fiber to 8hat said, ho ever,

e cannot fully e'culpate petitioner Medado from all liability for his years of inaction. since #$(+, a period spanning more than 0+ years, ithout having

Petitioner has been engaged in the practice of la

signed in the Roll of Attorneys.)# 1e 7ustifies this behavior by characteri6ing his acts as 9neither but based on a mista-en belief and an honest error of 7udgment.< )) We disagree.
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illful nor intentional

While an honest mista-e of fact could be used to e'cuse a person from the legal conse>uences of his acts )0 as it negates malice or evil motive,)2 a mista-e of la presumed to -no the la cannot be utili6ed as a la ful 7ustification, because everyone is and its conse>uences. )4 Ignorantia facti excusat; ignorantia legis neminem excusat . hen

Applying these principles to the case at bar, Medado may have at first operated under an honest mista-e of fact he thought that hat he had signed at the P.// entrance before the oathBta-ing hat he had signed 1o ever, the moment he reali6ed that

as already the Roll of Attorneys. as not a fullB ithout

as merely an attendance record, he could no longer claim as the act of signing

an honest mista-e of fact as a valid 7ustification. At that point, Medado should have -no n that he fledged member of the Philippine !ar because of his failure to sign in the Roll of Attorneys, as it therein that
)5

ould have made him so. When, in spite of this -no ledge, he chose to continue practicing la

ta-ing the necessary steps to complete all the re>uirements for admission to the !ar, he unauthori6ed practice of la . Under the Rules of /ourt, the unauthori6ed practice of la and acting as such

illfully engaged in the

by one&s assuming to be an attorney or officer of the court, hich is punishable by fine or

ithout authority, may constitute indirect contempt of court, )%

imprisonment or both.)( Such a finding, ho ever, is in the nature of criminal contempt )$ and must be reached after the filing of charges and the conduct of hearings. 0+ .n this case, hile it appears >uite clearly that petitioner committed e refrain from ma-ing any finding indirect contempt of court by -no ingly engaging in unauthori6ed practice of la ,

of liability for indirect contempt, as no formal charge pertaining thereto has been filed against him. Gno ingly engaging in unauthori6ed practice of la Responsibility, hich providesA
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li-e ise transgresses /anon $ of the /ode of Professional

/A3*3 $ H A la yer shall not, directly or indirectly, assist in the unauthori6ed practice of la . While a reading of /anon $ appears to merely prohibit la yers from assisting in the unauthori6ed practice of la , the unauthori6ed practice of la by the la yer himself is subsumed under this provision, because at the heart of /anon $ students and !ar candidates. As aspiring members of the !ar, they are bound to ith the ethical standards of the legal profession. arranted the penalty of suspension from is the la yer&s duty to prevent the unauthori6ed practice of la . 8his duty li-e ise applies to la comport themselves in accordance 8urning no 1o ever,

to the applicable penalty, previous violations of /anon $ have

the practice of la .0# As Medado is not yet a fullBfledged la yer,

e cannot suspend him from the practice of la .

e see it fit to impose upon him a penalty a-in to suspension by allo ing him to sign in the Roll of e li-e ise see it fit to fine him in the amount of P0),+++. Furing the one year period, arned that doing any act ith severely by this /ourt. before he has signed in the Roll of Attorneys ill be dealt

Attorneys one (#) year after receipt of this Resolution. @or his transgression of the prohibition against the unauthori6ed practice of la , petitioner is that constitutes practice of la arned that he is not allo ed to engage in the practice of la , and is sternly

$HEREFORE, the instant Petition to Sign in the Roll of Attorneys is hereby GR NTE#. Petitioner Michael A. Medado is LLO$E# to sign in the Roll of Attorneys ONE %1& !E Rafter receipt of this Resolution. Petitioner is LLO$E# to practice la , and is STERNL! $ RNE# that doing any act that constitutes practice ill be dealt ith severely by this /ourt. li-e ise OR#ERE# to pay a FINE of P0),+++ for his unauthori6ed practice of la . Furing the one year period, petitioner is NOT of la before he has signed in the Roll of Attorneys

.". No. '()0, September 11, 2013 *OSEPHINE L. OROL , M!RN MELB OROL ," LIP, L. OROL , M N+EL L. OROL , M R! NGEL!N OROL ,BEL RG , M R*ORIE #OR R MOS, Respondent.

N# - REN OROL , Complainants, v. TT!. *OSEPH

@or the /ourt&s resolution is a disbarment complaint # filed against respondent Atty. Ioseph Ador Ramos (respondent) for his violation of Rule #4.+0, /anon #4 (Rule #4.+0) of the /ode of Professional Responsibility (/ode) and Section )+(e), Rule #0( of the Rules of /ourt (Rules). T.e F/0t1 /omplainants Iosephine, Myrna, Manuel, (all surnamed *rola), Mary Angelyn *rolaB!elarga (Mary Angelyn), and Mar7orie Melba *rolaB/alip (Mar7orie) are the children of the late 8rinidad "asernaB*rola (8rinidad), married to ?milio J. *rola (?milio).)
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Mean hile, complainant Garen *rola (Garen) is the daughter of Maricar AlbaB*rola (Maricar) and Antonio ". *rola (Antonio), the deceased brother of the aboveBnamed complainants and the son of ?milio. 0
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.n the settlement of 8rinidad&s estate, pending before the Regional 8rial /ourt of Ro'as /ity, !ranch #( (R8/) and doc-eted as Special Proceeding 3o. KB050$, the parties ere represented by the follo ingA ( a) Atty. Roy M. Killa (Atty. Killa) as counsel for and in behalf of Iosephine, Myrna, Manuel, Mary Angelyn, and Mar7orie (1eirs of 8rinidad)= (b) Atty. ?ly @. A6arraga, Ir. (Atty. A6arraga) as counsel for and in behalf of Maricar, Garen, and the other heirs 2 of the late Antonio (1eirs of Antonio), 23t. re1po45e4t /1 0o66/bor/t347 0o841e6= and (c) Atty. A>uiliana !rotarlo as counsel for and in behalf of ?milio, the initially appointed administrator of 8rinidad&s estate. .n the course of the proceedings, the 1eirs of 8rinidad and the 1eirs of Antonio moved for the removal of ?milio as administrator and, in his stead, sought the appointment of the latter&s son, Manuel *rola, hich the R8/ granted in an *rder 4 dated September )+, )++% (R8/ *rder). Subse>uently, or on *ctober #+, )++%, respondent filed an ?ntry of Appearance as collaborating counsel for ?milio in the same case and moved for the reconsideration of the R8/ *rder. 5 Fue to the respondent&s ne
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engagement, complainants filed the instant disbarment complaint before the .ntegrated

!ar of the Philippines (.!P), claiming that he violatedA (a) Rule #4.+0 of the /ode, as he undertoo- to represent conflicting interests in the sub7ect case=% and (b) Section )+(e), Rule #0( of the Rules, as he breached the trust and confidence reposed upon him by his clients, the 1eirs of Antonio. ( /omplainants further claimed that surviving spouse of Antonio and the mother of Garen, consented to the same hile Maricar, the ithdra al of respondent&s appearance, the as not able to

as obtained only on *ctober #(, )++%, or after he had already entered his appearance for ?milio on *ctober ritten consent as re>uired under the Rules.
#+
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#+, )++%.$ .n this accord, respondent failed to disclose such fact to all the affected heirs and, as such, obtain their

@or his part, respondent refuted the abovementioned charges, contending that he never appeared as counsel for the 1eirs of 8rinidad or for the 1eirs of Antonio. 1e pointed out that the records of the case readily sho 8rinidad ere represented by Atty. Killa,
##

that the 1eirs of

hile the 1eirs of Antonio

ere e'clusively represented by Atty.

A6arraga. 1e averred that he only accommodated MaricarLs re>uest to temporarily appear on her behalf as their counsel of record could not attend the scheduled Iune #5 and Iuly #2, )++5 hearings and that his appearances thereat ere free of charge.#) .n fact, he obtained Maricar&s permission for him to ithdra from the case as no further communications transpired after these t o hearings. "i-e ise, he consulted Maricar before he undertoo- to represent ?milio in the same case.#0 1e added that he had no -no ledge of the fact that the late Antonio had other heirs and, in this vein, asserted that no information as disclosed to him by Maricar or their counsel of record at any

instance.#2 @inally, he clarified that his representation for ?milio in the sub7ect case than a litigator, and that since no settlement
#4 #5

as more of a mediator, rather ithdre


#%

as forged bet een the parties, he formally

his appearance

on Fecember 5, )++%. .n support of his assertions, respondent submitted the affidavits of Maricar and Atty. A6arraga#( relative to his limited appearance and his consultation ?milio. T.e Re0omme45/t3o4 /45 0t3o4 o9 t.e IBP ith Maricar prior to his engagement as counsel for

.n the Report and Recommendation#$ dated September #4, )++( submitted by .!P .nvestigating /ommissioner Iose .. Fe "a Rama, Ir. (.nvestigating /ommissioner), respondent ith respect to Garen as the records of the case sho .nvestigating /ommissioner observed that as found guilty of representing conflicting interests only ithdra al of appearance ho as ith the e'press that he never acted as counsel for the other complainants. 8he as already of age and one

hile respondentLs

conformity of Maricar, respondent nonetheless failed to obtain the consent of Garen, of the 1eirs of Antonio, as mandated under Rule #4.+0 of the /ode. )+ *n the other hand, the .nvestigating /ommissioner held that there
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as no violation of Section )+, Rule #0( of the

Rules as complainants themselves admitted that respondent 9did not ac>uire confidential information from his former client nor did he use against the latter any -no ledge obtained in the course of his previous employment.<)#/onsidering that it as respondentLs first offense, the .nvestigating /ommissioner found the imposition ith ould be dealt ith more severely.
))
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of disbarment too harsh a penalty and, instead, recommended that he be severely reprimanded for his act arning that a repetition of the same or similar acts 8he .!P !oard of Movernors adopted and approved
)0

ith modification the aforementioned report in its Resolution 3o.

NK...B)++(B52# dated Fecember ##, )++( (Resolution 3o. NK...B)++(B52#), finding the same to be fully supported by the evidence on record and the applicable la s and rules but imposed against respondent the penalty of si' (5) months suspension from the practice of la . RespondentLs motion for reconsideration )2 as denied in .!P Resolution 3o. NNB)+#0B#% )4 dated Ianuary 0, )+#0. T.e I118e Be9ore t.e "o8rt 8he sole issue in this case is Rule #4.+0 of the /ode. T.e "o8rt:1 R86347 8he /ourt concurs ith the .!P&s finding that respondent violated Rule #4.+0 of the /ode, but reduced the hether or not respondent is guilty of representing conflicting interests in violation of

recommended period of suspension to three (0) months. Rule #4.+0 of the /ode readsA

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#ibrary

/A3*3 #4 H A "AWO?R S1A"" *!S?RK? /A3F*R, @A.R3?SS A3F "*OA"8O .3 A"" 1.S F?A".3MS A3F 8RA3SA/8.*3S W.81 1.S /".?38S. Rule #4.+0 B A la yer shall not represent conflicting interests e'cept by a full disclosure of the facts. (Emphasis supplied) Under the aforeBcited rule, it is e'plicit that a la yer is prohibited from representing ne oppose those of a former client in any manner, clients hose interests hether or not they are parties in the same action or on totally ritten consent of /66 0o40er4e5 given after

unrelated cases. 8he prohibition is founded on the principles of public policy and good taste. )5 .t behooves la yers not only to -eep inviolate the clientLs confidence, but also to avoid the appearance of treachery and doubleBdealing for only then can litigants be encouraged to entrust their secrets to their la yers,
)% )(

hich is of paramount importance in

the administration of 7ustice. .n Hornilla v. Salunat (Hornilla), the /ourt e'plained the concept of conflict of interest, to itA
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T.ere 31 0o49630t o9 34tere1t 2.e4 / 6/2;er repre1e4t1 340o4131te4t 34tere1t1 o9 t2o or more oppo1347 p/rt3e1. 8he test is 9 hether or not in behalf of one client, it is the la yerLs duty to fight for an issue or claim, but it is his duty to oppose it for the other client. .n brief, if he argues for one client, this argument hen he argues for the other client.< 8his rule covers not only cases in confided, but also those in the acceptance of the ne client in any matter in is hich no confidence has been besto ed or retainer hether he ill be opposed by him hich confidential communications have been ill be used. Also, there is conflict of interests if hich ill in7uriously affect his first relation to use ill be called upon in his ne

ill re>uire the attorney to perform an act

hich he represents him and also relation

against his first client any -no ledge ac>uired through their connection. Another test of the inconsistency of interests hether the acceptance of a ne ill prevent an attorney from the full discharge of his duty of undivided fidelity and loyalty to his client or invite suspicion of unfaithfulness or double dealing in the performance thereof.)$ (?mphasis supplied= citations omitted) .t must, ho ever, be noted that a la yer&s immutable duty to a former client does not cover transactions that occurred beyond the la yer&s employment ith the client. 8he intent of the la is to impose upon the la yer the duty to protect the client&s interests only on matters that he previously handled for the former client and not for matters that arose after the la yerBclient relationship has terminated. 0+ Applying the aboveBstated principles, the /ourt agrees
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ith the .!P&s finding that respondent represented conflicting

interests and, perforce, must be held administratively liable therefor. Records reveal that respondent as the collaborating counsel not only for Maricar as claimed by him, but for all the

1eirs of Antonio in Special Proceeding 3o. KB050$. .n the course thereof, the 1eirs of 8rinidad and the 1eirs of Antonio succeeded in removing ?milio as administrator for having committed acts pre7udicial to their interests. 1ence, hen respondent proceeded to represent ?milio for the purpose of see-ing his reinstatement as administrator in the same case, he clearly the aboveBstated rule. RespondentLs 7ustification that no confidential information from representation as relayed to him cannot fully e'culpate him for the ords, a la yer cannot change his or-ed against the very interest of the 1eirs of Antonio H particularly, Garen H in violation of

charges against him since the rule on conflict of interests, as enunciated in Hornilla, provides an absolute prohibition ith respect to opposing parties in the same case. .n other representation from one party to the latter&s opponent in the same case. 8hat respondent&s previous appearances for and in behalf of the 1eirs of Antonio faith and as only a friendly accommodation cannot e>ually be given any credence since the aforesaid rule holds even if the inconsistency is remote or merely probable or even if the la yer has acted in good ith no intention to represent conflicting interests. 0#
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3either can respondentLs asseveration that his engagement by ?milio

as more of a mediator than a litigator and for

the purpose of forging a settlement among the family members render the rule inoperative. .n fact, even on that assertion, his conduct is li-e ise improper since Rule #4.+2, 0) /anon #4 of the /ode similarly re>uires the la yer to obtain the ritten consent of all concerned before he may act as mediator, conciliator or arbitrator in settling disputes. that respondent as remiss in his duty to ma-e a .rrefragably, respondent failed in this respect as the records sho e>ually secure their e'press la yer

full disclosure of his impending engagement as ?milio&s counsel to all the 1eirs of Antonio H particularly, Garen H and ritten consent before consummating the same. !esides, it must be pointed out that a ho acts as such in settling a dispute cannot represent any of the parties to it. 00 Accordingly, for respondent&s

violation of the aforestated rules, disciplinary sanction is

arranted. as increased from severe reprimand to a

.n this case, the penalty recommended by the .nvestigating /ommissioner

suspension of si' (5) months by the .!P !oard of Movernors in its Resolution 3o. NK...B)++(B52#. 1o ever, the /ourt observes that the said resolution is bereft of any e'planation sho ing the bases of the .!P !oard of Movernors& modification= as such, it contravened Section #)(a), Rule #0$B! of the Rules decision of the !oard upon such revie reasons on
02

hich specifically mandates that 9:t;he ithout

shall be in

riting and shall clearly and distinctly state the facts and the ith disfavor the change in the recommended penalty ont to remind the .!P !oard of Movernors of the hich the same is based is a-in to hat is re>uired

hich it is based.< Kerily, the /ourt loo-s

any ample 7ustification therefor. 8o this end, the /ourt is

importance of the re>uirement to announce in plain terms its legal reasoning, since the re>uirement that its decision in disciplinary proceedings must state the facts and the reasons on other portion of the ratio.04 of courts in promulgating their decisions. 8he reasons for handing do n a penalty occupy no lesser station than any
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.n the foregoing light, the /ourt finds the penalty of suspension from the practice of la

for a period of three (0)

months to be more appropriate ta-ing into consideration the follo ing factorsA first, respondent is a first time offender= second, it is undisputed that respondent merely accommodated Maricar&s re>uest out of gratis to temporarily represent her only during the Iune #5 and Iuly #2, )++5 hearings due to her la yer&s unavailability= third, it is li-e ise undisputed that respondent had no -no ledge that the late Antonio had any other heirs aside from Maricar hose consent he actually ac>uired (albeit shortly after his first appearance as counsel for and in behalf of ?milio), hence, it can be said that he acted in good faith= and fourth, complainants admit that respondent did not ac>uire confidential information from the 1eirs of Antonio nor did he use against them any -no ledge obtained in the course of his previous employment, hence, the said heirs pre7udiced by his subse>uent engagement represented parties imposed the penalty of suspension from the practice of la ere not in any manner ho ith ?milio. 3otably, in Ilusorio- ildner v. !o"in, Ir.,05 the /ourt similarly for a period of three months to the counsel therein

hose interests are hostile to his other clients in another case.

$HEREFORE, respondent Atty. Ioseph Ador Ramos is hereby held G+ILT! of representing conflicting interests in violation of Rule #4.+0, /anon #4 of the /ode of Professional Responsibility. Accordingly, he is hereby S+SPEN#E# from the practice of la the same or similar acts in the future for a period of three (0) months, ith more severely. ith $ RNING that a repetition of ill be dealt

.". No. ''0), *86; 2', 2013 TT!. LESTER R. N+I<+E, Complainant# v. TT!. E#+ R#O SE#ILLO, Respondent. ith the /ommission

8he /ourt resolves the /omplaint # for disbarment filed by Atty. "ester R. 3ui>ue (complainant) (respondent) ho is charged

on !ar Fiscipline (/ommission) of the .ntegrated !ar of the Philippines (.!P) against Atty. ?duardo Sedillo ithA ( #) violating the prohibition on representing conflicting interests= ()) using abusive language against and disrespecting the court= and (0) spreading rumors against a colleague in the legal profession. F/0t8/6 4te0e5e4t1

8he complainant alleged that, sometime in #$$), the respondent became the la yer of Giyoshi Gimura (Giyoshi), a Iapanese citi6en, and his ife ?strelieta PatrimonioBGimura (?strelieta) in a case for collectionPrecovery of overpayment against /arlos Amasula, Ir. (Amasula).) Since the spouses Gimura had to leave the country, the case as prosecuted by their representative Manuel Patrimonio (Manuel), ?strelieta&s brother. 8he spouses Gimura obtained a favorable decision in the trial court, but the case instant complaint hen Giyoshi terminated his services. Giyoshi, during the course of his marriage to ?strelieta, purchased several real properties in Fumaguete /ity, some of hich ere registered under the name of ?strelieta and Manuel. Sometime in September )++5, Giyoshi and ?strelieta had a falling out. Apparently, ?strelieta and Manuel falsified Giyoshi&s signature to ma-e it appear that he loaned P#,4++,+++.++ from the Fevelopment !an- of the Philippines and, as security for the said loan, surreptitiously mortgaged a parcel of land he o ned.0
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as still on appeal

ith this /ourt at the time

hen the

as filed. 8he respondent remained the counsel of record of the spouses Gimura until Iuly )++%

Sometime in 3ovember )++5, Giyoshi engaged the services of the complainant. Giyoshi, acting through his representative Fanilo ?stocoming (Fanilo) and Ga6uhiro Sampie (Ga6uhiro), filed a complaint against ?strelieta and Manuel for falsification.2 8he respondent appeared as counsel of ?strelieta and Manuel. *n @ebruary )), )++%, a civil action for accounting, sum of money and attachment as filed by Gimura !usiness

/oncepts, .nc., an assignee of Giyoshi, in the Regional 8rial /ourt (R8/) of Fumaguete /ity, !ranch 22, against ?strelieta and Manuel. 8he respondent li-e ise entered his appearance as counsel for ?strelieta and Manuel in the said case.4@urther, sometime in @ebruary )++%, Giyoshi intervened in /ivil /ase 3o. #0(55, entitled $elson Patrimonio v. %evelopment an" of the Philippines, then pending before the R8/. 8he respondent opposed Giyoshi&s motion for intervention in /ivil /ase 3o. #0(55. 8he respondent li-e ise assisted ?strelieta in instituting a habeas corpus case against Fanilo and Ga6uhiro, alleging that they ere detaining Giyoshi against his ill. 8he habeas corpus case, ho ever, as dismissed after Giyoshi appeared in court and testified that he respondent disrespected the court 9 ould have ta-en the resolution as not detained by Fanilo and Ga6uhiro. 8he complainant averred that the hich he prepared, he stated that he
%
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hen, in the motion for reconsideration 5 ith a grain of salt.<

8he complainant further alleged that, after the habeas corpus case

as dismissed, the respondent had spread rumors ith omen.

against the complainant= that the complainant supposedly detained Giyoshi and provided him

.n its *rder( dated @ebruary #4, )++(, the /ommission directed the respondent to file his ans er to the /omplaint. .n

his Ans er Amasula

ith /ounterclaim, $ the respondent denied that he as Manuel

as guilty of representing conflicting interests,

asserting that it

ho sought his legal assistance and not Giyoshi. 1e e'plained that the civil case against

as actively handled and personally pursued by Manuel, albeit in representation of the spouses Gimura. 1e ere

stressed that there has been no personal and active intervention by Giyoshi or of ?strelieta in any of the stages of the case. 8he respondent claims that, for all intents and purposes, his client is Manuel and the spouses Gimura merely 9litigationB beneficiariesBinB aiting.< @urther, Manuel, the respondent claims that the same as instituted by Fanilo and Ga6uhiro and not Giyoshi. ith respect to the falsification case against ?strelieta and

As to the charge of disrespect to the court, the respondent claims that the phrase 9 ith a grain of salt< is but a common phraseology that is neither offensive nor disrespectful. 8he respondent further denied having spread rumors to malign the complainant. *n May ), )++(, the /ommission set the case for mandatory conference on May )%, )++(. #+ *nly the respondent appeared during the scheduled mandatory conference. ##
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*n Fecember ), )++(, the complainant manifested to the /ommission that he is no longer interested in pursuing his complaint against the respondent, praying that he be allo ed to ithdra the same. #)
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F3453471 o9 t.e IBP I4=e1t37/t347 "omm3113o4er *n @ebruary $, )+#+, the .nvestigating /ommissioner issued a Report and Recommendation #0 respondent guilty of representing conflicting interests. 8husA !ased on the complaint and the ans er thereto, this /ommission finds that there is no >uestion that the respondent is the counsel in the case filed by :Giyoshi; and ?strelieta against the building contractor, /arlos Amasula. Such engagement remained until Iuly 0#, )++% 8ermination of Attorney<. 8hus, hen respondent entered his appearance as counsel for ?strelieta and her brother Manuel in the @alsification as still the counsel of :Giyoshi; in the Amasula case. 8he defense of as actually Manuel and not :Giyoshi; and ?strelieta goes contrary to basic principles of as acting as mere agent of :Giyoshi; and ?strelieta by virtue of a Special ere his hen :Giyoshi; e'ecuted his 9Revocation of Special Po er of Attorney and hich found the

complaint (..S. 3o. )++%B5#), the respondent the respondent that his client la . 8he respondent admitted that Manuel real clients. @urthermore, hich hen ?strelieta and Manuel

Po er of Attorney. 8he respondent, therefore, cannot deny that Manuel&s principals, :Giyoshi; and ?strelieta,

ere sub7ected to preliminary investigation for the @alsification charges ith his duty to :Giyoshi; by appearing as counsel for ?strelieta and hen probable cause as hen the information as filed against

as filed by :Giyoshi; through his representative Fanilo ?stocoming and Ga6uhiro Sampie, respondent

consciously and deliberately ran in conflict found against his clients, on appeal them (/riminal /ase /B#%+). 8he same situation e'isted fact that he

Manuel. 8he respondent continued to represent ?strelieta and Manuel opposite :Giyoshi; ith the Fepartment of Iustice and even

ith /ivil /ase 3o. )++%B#2+5% as the respondent appeared opposite :Giyoshi; despite the

as still :Giyoshi&s; counsel in the Amasula case. #2 (/itation omitted)

8he .nvestigating /ommissioner absolved the respondent from the charge of disrespect to the court, asserting that the use of the phrase 9 ith a grain of salt< is not offensive. 8he .nvestigating /ommissioner li-e ise pointed out that no evidence as presented to sho that the respondent had spread rumor to malign the complainant.

8he .nvestigating /ommissioner recommended that the respondent be suspended from the practice of la of si' (5) months. F3453471 o9 t.e IBP Bo/r5 o9 Go=er4or1

for a period

.n a 3otice of Resolution#4 dated Iune )%, )+##, the .!P !oard of Movernors resolved to adopt and approve the Report and Recommendation of the .nvestigating /ommissioner, finding the same to be fully supported by the evidence on record and the applicable la s and rules. 8he respondent sought to reconsider the Resolution dated Iune )%, )+##, #5 but the .!P !oard of Movernors denied his motion in its Resolution#% dated Ianuary 0, )+#0. I118e 8he issue in this case is /omplaint. R86347 o9 t.e "o8rt After a careful perusal of the records, the /ourt agrees ith the findings and the recommendations of the hether the respondent should be administratively sanctioned based on the allegations in the

.nvestigating /ommissioner and the .!P !oard of Movernors. Section )%, Rule #0( of the Rules of /ourt provides that a la yer may be disbarred or suspended from the practice of la , inter alia, for gross misconduct. 8husA Sec. )%. %isbarment or suspension of attorne&s b& Supreme Court# grounds therefore . Q member o9 t.e b/r m/; be 531b/rre5 or 181pe45e5 9rom .31 o9930e /1 /ttor4e; b; t.e S8preme "o8rt 9or /4; 5e0e3t, m/6pr/0t30e, or ot.er 7ro11 m310o4580t 34 180. o9930e, grossly immoral conduct, or by reason of his conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude, or for any violation of the oath practice, or for a practice of soliciting cases at la hich he is re>uired to ta-e before the admission to ithout authority so to do. 8he ilful disobedience appearing as an attorney for a party to a case

for the purpose of gain, either personally or through paid agents or bro-ers,

constitutes malpractice. (?mphasis ours) A la yer may be suspended or disbarred for any misconduct sho ing any fault or deficiency in his moral character, honesty, probity or good demeanor.#( Mross misconduct is any ine'cusable, shameful or flagrant unla ful conduct on the part of a person concerned intentional purpose.#$ ith the administration of 7ustice= i.e., conduct pre7udicial to the rights of the parties or to the right determination of the cause. 8he motive behind this conduct is generally a premeditated, obstinate or
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/oncomitant to the foregoing, Rule #4.+0, /anon #4 of the /ode of Professional Responsibility provides thatA Rule #4.+0. H A la yer shall not represent conflicting interests e'cept by full disclosure of the facts. 9A la yer may not, conflicts ithout being guilty of professional misconduct, act as counsel for a person
)+

ritten consent of all concerned given after a hose interest

ith that of his present or former client.< .t is only upon strict compliance

ith the condition of full

disclosure of facts that a la yer may appear against his client= other ise, his representation of conflicting interests is reprehensible.)# Such prohibition is founded on principles of public policy and good taste as the nature of the la yerB client relations is one of trust and confidence of the highest degree. ))
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.n 'uiambao v. (tt&. contend for that

amba,)0 the /ourt e'plained the concept of conflict of interest. 8husA hen, in behalf of one client, it is their duty to ithin this proscription. *ne test is hether a

.n broad terms, la yers are deemed to represent conflicting interests particulari6ed various tests to determine

hich duty to another client re>uires them to oppose. Fevelopments in 7urisprudence have hether a la yer&s conduct lies

la yer is dutyBbound to fight for an issue or claim in behalf of one client and, at the same time, to oppose that claim for the other client. 8hus, if a la yer&s argument for one client has to be opposed by that same la yer in arguing for the other client, there is a violation of the rule. 4ot.er te1t o9 340o4131te40; o9 34tere1t1 31 2.et.er t.e /00ept/40e o9 / 4e2 re6/t3o4 2o865 pre=e4t t.e 9866 5310./r7e o9 t.e 6/2;er:1 58t; o9 8453=35e5 935e63t; /45 6o;/6t; to t.e 063e4t or 34=3te 181p303o4 o9 849/3t.9864e11 or 5o8b6e,5e/6347 34 t.e per9orm/40e o9 t./t 58t;. Still another test is be called upon in the ne connection or previous employment.)2 (/itations omitted and emphasis ours) !ased on the established facts of this case, the /ourt finds substantial evidence to conclude that the respondent violated the prohibition on representation of conflicting interests. .t is uncontroverted that the respondent counsel on record of Giyoshi and ?strelieta in the case against Amasula at the time ?strelieta and Manuel in the case for accounting, sum of money and attachment that respondent violated the prohibition against representing conflicting interests. 8he respondent&s representation of ?strelieta and Manuel against Giyoshi, not ithstanding that he performance of his duty to ards his clients. Under the circumstances, the decent and ethical thing respondent should have done as still the counsel hich the as still the hen he represented ?strelieta as filed by Gimura !usiness hether the la yer ould relation to use against a former client any confidential information ac>uired through their

and Manuel in the complaint for falsification filed by Giyoshi. @urther, the respondent li-e ise appeared as counsel for /oncepts, .nc., the assignee of Giyoshi, despite being the counsel of Giyoshi in the case against Amasula. /learly, the

of Giyoshi and ?strelieta in the case against Amasula, creates a suspicion of unfaithfulness or doubleBdealing in the as to advise ?strelieta and Manuel to engage the services of another la yer.

8he respondent should be reminded that la yers are e'pected not only to -eep inviolate their client&s confidence, but also to avoid the appearance of treachery and doubleBdealing for only then can litigants be encouraged to entrust their secrets to their la yers, hich is paramount in the administration of 7ustice. )4
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@urther, contrary to the respondent&s claim, the fact that the civil case instituted by Giyoshi and ?strelieta against Amasula is totally unrelated to the subse>uent cases in hich he represented ?strelieta and Manuel against Giyoshi is hich this /ourt cannot allo . )5 immaterial. 8he representation of opposing clients in said cases, even if unrelated, is tantamount to representing conflicting interests or, at the very least, invites suspicion of doubleBdealing Moreover, in (ni)on v. Sabitsana# *r.,)% the /ourt statedA 8he proscription against representation of conflicting interests applies to a situation be called upon to contend for one client that actions are case, one of retainers omitted) "i-e ise, the respondent&s claim that it since it as Manuel as Manuel ho as his client in the case against Amasula and not Giyoshi, ho actively and personally pursued the said case, is ho sought his services and as the one here the opposing parties are ould not ould present clients in the same action or in an unrelated action. 8he prohibition also applies even if the la yer
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hich the la yer has to oppose for the other client, or that there

be no occasion to use the confidential information ac>uired from one to the disadvantage of the other as the t o holly unrelated. 8o be held accountable under this rule, it is enough that the opposing parties in one hom ould lose the suit, are present clients and the nature or conditions of the la yer&s respective ould affect the performance of the duty of undivided fidelity to both clients. )( (/itation ith each of them

untenable. .t is but a futile attempt on the part of the respondent to e'tricate himself from his predicament. Manuel as merely the agent of Giyoshi and ?strelieta in the case against Amasula. 8hat Manuel principals of Manuel, i.e., Giyoshi and ?strelieta. 8he /ourt notes that the complainant had already manifested before the /ommission that he is no longer interested in pursuing his complaint against the respondent. 3evertheless, the /ourt is not bound by such desistance as the instant case involves public interest.)$ 8he e'ercise of the po er is not for the purpose of enforcing civil remedies bet een parties, but to protect the court and the public against an attorney guilty of un orthy practices in his profession. 0+
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as the one

ho actively ere the

prosecuted the said case is of no conse>uence= the real parties in interest in the case against Amasula

Accordingly, as aptly found by the .!P .nvestigating /ommissioner and the .!P !oard of Movernors, an administrative sanction against the respondent is months to t o ()) years.
0#
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arranted. .n similar cases involving representation of conflicting interests, the from si' (5)

/ourt has sanctioned erring la yers either by reprimand, or by suspension from the practice of la

.n the case under consideration, both the .nvestigating /ommissioner and the .!P !oard of Movernors recommended that the respondent be suspended from the practice of la for si' (5) months. /onsidering that this is the for a period of si' (5) months effective respondent&s first offense, the /ourt adopts the recommendation of the .nvestigating /ommissioner and the .!P !oard of Movernors and hereby suspends the respondent from the practice of la upon receipt of this Resolution. $HEREFORE, in vie of the foregoing, the /ourt finds Atty. ?duardo Sedillo G+ILT! of misconduct for representing 9or / per3o5 o9 13> %)& mo4t.1, effective upon receipt of this Resolution, ill result in the imposition

conflicting interests in violation of Rule #4.+0, /anon #4 of the /ode of Professional Responsibility and is S+SPEN#E# from the practice of la of a more severe penalty. "et a copy of this Resolution be entered into the records of Atty. ?duardo Sedillo and furnished to the *ffice of the /ler- of /ourt, the *ftice of the !ar /onfidant, the .ntegrated !ar of the Philippines, and all courts in the Philippines, for their information and guidance. Atty. ?duardo Sedillo is #IRE"TE# to inform the /ourt of the date of his receipt of this Resolution so that the /ourt can determine the rec-oning point hen his suspension shall ta-e eftect. ith a STERN $ RNING that a commission of the same or similar offense in the future

.". No. )4'0 ?Former6; "B# "/1e No. 03,1054@, *86; 0', 2013 LILI T B NG N# "ON"EP"ION T B NG, Complainsnts# v. TT!. GLENN ". G "OTT, Respondent.

8his case involves a complaint for disbarment directly filed #.+# of the /ode of Professional Responsibility (/PR). #

ith the .ntegrated !ar of the Philippines (.!P) charging

respondent Atty. Mlenn Macott of engaging in unla ful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct in violation of Rule

/omplainants alleged that sometime in #$(2 and #$(4, complainant "ilia 8abang sought the advice of Iudge ?usta>uio Macott, respondent Atty. Mlenn Macott&s father. "ilia 8abang intended to purchase a total of thirty (0+) hectares of agricultural land located in !arangay !acungan, Puerto Princesa, Pala an, 8abang hich consisted of several parcels belonging to different o ners. Iudge Macott noted that under the government&s agrarian reform program, as prohibited from ac>uiring vast tracts of agricultural land as she already o ned other parcels. 8hus, Iudge Macott advised her to put the titles of the parcels under the names of fictitious persons. ) ?ventually, "ilia 8abang as able to purchase seven parcels and obtained the corresponding 8ransfer /ertificates of
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8itle (8/8) under the names of fictitious persons, as follo sA #. 8/8 3o. #)2%4 H Amelia Andes=

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). 8/8 3o. #)2%5 H Wilfredo *ndoy= 0. 8/8 3o. #)%$+ H Agnes /amilla=

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2. 8/8 3o. #)%$# H "eonor Petronio=

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4. 8/8 3o. #)%$) H Wilfredo Mome6= %. 8/8 3o. #)%$2 H Andes ?stoy.0

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5. 8/8 3o. #)%$0 H ?li6abeth Fungan= and


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"ater, complainants "ilia and /oncepcion 8abang decided to sell the seven parcels as they their medication and other e'penses. /laiming that he

ere in need of funds for

ould help complainants by offering the parcels to prospective

buyers, respondent Mlenn Macott borro ed from "ilia 8abang the 8/8s covering the parcels. 2 About a year after respondent borro ed the titles and after he failed to negotiate any sale, complainants confronted respondent. Respondent then told the complainants that he had lost all seven titles. 4 *n the prete't of offering a remedy to complainants, respondent advised them to file petitions in court for reBissuance of titles. Pretending to be the 9authori6ed agentBrepresentative< of the fictitious o ners of the seven parcels, "ilia 8abang filed petitions for reBissuance of titles. 5 .n the course of the proceedings, the public prosecutor noticed similarities in the signatures of the supposed o ners that ere affi'ed on the Special Po ers of Attorney (SPA) purportedly e'ecuted in favor of "ilia 8abang. 8he public prosecutor, acting on his observation, as-ed the court to have the supposed o ners summoned. % See-ing to avoid embarrassment, "ilia 8abang had the petitions voluntarily dismissed reBfiled.
(

ithout pre7udice to their being

Subse>uently, "ilia 8abang filed a ne

set of petitions. 8his time, she changed the fictitious o ners& signatures in the

hope of ma-ing them loo- more varied.$ Upon learning that "ilia 8abang had filed a ne set of petitions, respondent e'ecuted several documents that included

revocations of SPAs and various affidavits of recovery purportedly signed by the parcels& (fictitious) o ners. Respondent then caused the annotation of these documents on the 8/8s of the seven parcels. #+ Also, respondent caused the publication of notices announced that these
##

here he represented himself as the o ner of the parcels and

ere for sale. "ater, respondent succeeded in selling the seven parcels. 1e received a total

of C0,%%0,5%4.++ from the proceeds of the sales. #) Alleging that respondent committed gross misconduct, dishonesty, and deceit, complainants filed their complaint directly ith the .ntegrated !ar of the Philippines on @ebruary 0, )++0. 8he case as doc-eted as /ommission on !ar Fiscipline (/!F) /ase 3o. +0B#+42. .n his defense, respondent alleged that the o ners of the seven parcels ere not fictitious and that they had

voluntarily sold the seven parcels. 1e added that "ilia 8abang had been merely the bro-er for the seven parcels and that she had unsuccessfully demanded a 9balato< of t enty percent ()+R) from the proceeds of the sale of the seven parcels. 1e alleged that after she had been refused to be given a 9 balato,< "ilia 8abang had threatened to defame him and see- his disbarment.#0 .n her Report and Recommendation dated March 2, )++2, #2 .!P .nvestigating /ommissioner "ydia A. 3avarro found respondent guilty of gross misconduct for violating Rule #.+# of the /ode of Professional Responsibility. She recommended that respondent be suspended from the practice of la for si' (5) months.

.n a Resolution dated April #5, )++2,#4 the .!P !oard of Movernors adopted the report of /ommissioner 3avarro. 1o ever, the .!P !oard of Movernors increased the penalty to disbarment. 8hereafter, the case Supreme /ourt pursuant to Rule #0$B! of the Rules of /ourt. .n a Resolution dated September )$, )++2, #5 the Supreme /ourt remanded the case to the .!P. 8he /ourt noted that ma7ority of the pieces of evidence presented by complainants persons ho supposedly e'ecuted such documents ere mere photocopies and affidavits and that the ere neither presented nor subpoenaed. 8hus, there could not as referred to the

have been ade>uate basis for sustaining the imposition of a penalty as grave as disbarment. 8he case as then assigned to .nvestigating /ommissioner Fennis !. @una. 1earings ere conducted on March )),

)++4= *ctober %, )++4= Iuly #(, )++5= August )$, )++5= 3ovember %, )++5= @ebruary )0, )++%= and Iuly )4, )++%. #% 8he complainants presented several
#(

itnesses. *ne

as Fieter 1ein6e, President of the S iss American "ending ho, in turn, introduced ithheld

/orporation. 1ein6e testified that in April )++#, a friend introduced him to respondent

himself as the o ner of seven (%) parcels in Puerto Princesa /ity, Pala an. 8hey agreed on the purchase of a lot priced at P$++,+++.++. 1is company, ho ever, paid only P55(,+++.++. 1ein6e noted that his company failure to produce "eonor Petronio, the alleged lot o ner. Another of complainants& itnesses as Atty. Agerico Paras. #$ 1e testified that 1ein6e introduced him to respondent payment upon his reali6ation that "ilia 8abang had caused the annotation of an adverse claim and upon respondent&s

ho, in turn, introduced himself as the o ner of seven (%) parcels in Puerto Princesa /ity, Pala an. 8hey agreed on the purchase of a lot priced at P),0++,+++.++. 1e paid for the said parcel in t o ()) installments. Upon learning that "ilia 8abang had caused the annotation of an adverse claim, he rote to respondent as-ing him to either or- on the

cancellation of the claim or to reimburse him. 1e added that respondent ostensible o ner of the parcel he had purchased.

as unable to produce Amelia Andes, the

8eodoro Mallinero, another buyer of one of the seven parcels, also testified for complainants. )+ 1e testified that in @ebruary )++#, he hectares as introduced to respondent ho claimed that several parcels ith a total area of thirty (0+) hich he ere o ned by his mother. Mallinero agreed to purchase a parcel for the price of P),+++,+++.++

paid in cash and in -ind ("B0++ van). /omplainant "ilia 8abang also testified on the matters stated in the /omplaint. )# *n Iuly )4, )++%, /ommissioner @una re>uired the complainants to submit their Position Paper. Respondent filed his Motion for Reconsideration and the .nhibition of /ommissioner @una chance to crossBe'amine complainants& itnesses, and ho, respondent claimed, deprived him of the as 9bent on pre7udicing< )) him. as reassigned to .nvestigating /ommissioner Rico

/ommissioner @una then inhibited himself. @ollo ing this, the case A. "impingco. .n the meantime, ith the Supreme /ourt En

anc+s approval of the .!PB/!F&s Rules of Procedure, it

as deemed

proper for an .nvestigating /ommissioner to submit hisPher Report and Recommendation based on matters discussed during the mandatory conferences, on the parties& Position Papers (and supporting documents), and on the results of clarificatory >uestioning (if such >uestioning Reconsideration as denied, and he as found to be necessary). As such, respondent&s Motion for as re>uired to file his Position Paper. )0 as deemed submitted for

*n Iuly 0+, )++$, respondent filed his Position Paper. )2 Subse>uently, the case /ommissioner "impingco&s Report and Recommendation.

.n his Position Paper, respondent noted that he filed criminal complaints against "ilia 8abang on account of 8abang&s statement that she had fabricated the identities of the o ners of the seven (%) parcels. 1e claimed that since #$$5, he had relied on the 8orrens 8itles of the seven (%) o ners ho ere introduced to him by "ilia 8abang. 1e asserted that "ilia 8abang could not have been the o ner of the seven (%) parcels since the SPAs e'ecuted by the parcels& o ners clearly made her a mere agent and him a subBagent. 1e also assailed the authenticity of the public announcements ( here he supposedly offered the seven forgeries and crude duplications of his o n signature. .n his Report and Recommendation dated August )0, )+#+, )4 /ommissioner "impingco found respondent liable for gross violation of Rule #.+# of the /PR. 1e li-e ise noted that respondent
)5 %

parcels for sale) and Memorandum of Agreement. 1e

surmised that the signatures on such documents appearing above the name 9Mlenn /. Macott< had been mere

as absent in most of the hearings

ithout

7ustifiable reason, in violation of Rule #).+2 of the /PR. 1e recommended that respondent be disbarred and his name, stric-en from the Roll of Attorneys. *n *ctober (, )+#+, the .!P !oard of Movernors issued a Resolution )% adopting the Report of .nvestigating /ommissioner "impingco. *n Iune )5, )+##, the .!P !oard of Movernors denied respondent&s Motion for Reconsideration. )( Respondent then filed his 3otice of Appeal ith the .!P on August (, )+##.

*n August #%, )+##, respondent filed before the Supreme /ourt his Urgent Motion for ?'tension of 8ime (to file Petition for Revie PAppeal). *n September )+, )+##, the /ourt granted respondent&s Motion and gave him an e'tension of thirty (0+) days to file his Appeal. 8he Supreme /ourt second on 3ovember 0, )+## H both of hich arned respondent that no further e'tension ill be given. Fespite this, respondent filed t o ()) more Motions for ?'tension H the first on September )$, )+## and the ere denied by the /ourt.

Fespite the /ourt&s denials of his Motions for ?'tension, respondent filed on Fecember #2, )+## a Motion to Admit Petition for Revie PAppeal ( ith attached PetitionPAppeal). 8his Motion @or resolution is the issue of as denied by the /ourt on April #%, )+#).

hether or not respondent engaged in unla ful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct arranting his disbarment.

violating Rule #.+# of the /ode of Professional Responsibility, thus After a careful e'amination of the records, the /ourt concurs dishonesty, and deceit in violation of Rule #.+# of the /PR

ith and adopts the findings and recommendation of

/ommissioner "impingco and the .!P !oard of Movernors. .t is clear that respondent committed gross misconduct, hen he e'ecuted the revocations of SPAs and affidavits of recovery and in arrogating for himself the o nership of the seven (%) sub7ect parcels. While it may be true that complainant "ilia 8abang herself engaged in illicit activities, the complainant&s o n complicity does not negate, or even mitigate, the repugnancy of respondent&s offense. Juite the contrary, his offense is made even graver. 1e is a la yer dealing. Perverting of the la ho is held to the highest standards of morality, honesty, integrity, and fair hat is e'pected of him, he deliberately and cunningly too- advantage of his -no ledge and s-ill

to pre7udice and torment other individuals. 3ot only did he countenance illicit action, he instigated it. 3ot

only did he ac>uiesce to in7ustice, he orchestrated it. 8hus, We impose upon respondent the supreme penalty of disbarment. Under Rule #0(, Section )% of the Rules of /ourt (Rules), a la yer may be disbarred for any of the follo ing groundsA
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a. b. c. d. e. f.
g. h.

deceit=

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malpractice=

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gross misconduct in office= grossly immoral conduct=

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conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude= violation of the la yerLs oath=


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illful disobedience of any la ful order of a superior court= and illfully appearing as an attorney for a party ithout authority to do so.

.t is established in Iurisprudence that disbarment is proper deceit in usurping the property rights of other persons. !y

hen la yers commit gross misconduct, dishonesty, and ay of e'amplesA


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a.

.n

rennisen v. Conta,i-)$ Respondent Atty. Ramon U. /onta i

as disbarred for having used a spurious SPA

to mortgage and sell property entrusted to him for administration.

b.

.n Saba&le v. .anda&agA0+ *ne of the respondents, Atty. /armelito !. Mabor,

as disbarred for having

ac-no ledged a Feed of Sale in the absence of the purported vendors and for ta-ing advantage of his position as Assistant /ler- of /ourt by purchasing oneBhalf (#P)) of the land covered by said Feed of Sale -no ing that the deed as fictitious.

c.

.n %aro& v. !egaspiA0# 8he /ourt disbarred respondent Atty. Ramon "egaspi for having converted to his personal use the funds that he received for his clients.

3evertheless, recourse to disbarment must be done

ith utmost caution. As this /ourt noted in /oran v. /oronA0)

Fisbarment should never be imposed unless it is evidently clear that the la yer, by his serious misconduct, should no longer remain a member of the bar. Fisbarment is the most severe form of disciplinary sanction, and, as such, the po er to disbar must al ays be e'ercised ith great caution, only for the most imperative reasons and in clear cases here any punishment less severe H such as a reprimand, of misconduct affecting the standing and moral character of the la yer as an officer of the court and member of the bar. Accordingly, disbarment should not be decreed suspension, or fine H ould accomplish the end desired. 00

Moreover, considering the gravity of disbarment, it has been established that clearly preponderant evidence is necessary to 7ustify its imposition. 02 As e'plained in (ba v. %e 0u1man,04 9:p;reponderance of evidence means that the evidence adduced by one side is, as a hole, superior to or has greater orthy of belief than that eight than that of the other. .t means evidence hich is offered in opposition thereto.<
05

hich is more convincing to

the court as

Per Rule #00, Section # of the Rules, a court may consider the follo ing in determining preponderance of evidenceA

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a. b.

All the facts and circumstances of the case= 8he

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itnesses& manner of testifying, their intelligence, their means and opportunity of -no ing the facts to hich they testify, the probability or improbability of their

hich they are testifying, the nature of the facts to testimony= c. 8he
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itnesses& interest or

ant of interest and also their personal credibility so far as the same may ultimately

appear in the trial= and d. 8he number of number. itnesses, although it does not mean that preponderance is necessarily ith the greater

.n this case, complainants have sho n by a preponderance of evidence that respondent committed gross misconduct, dishonesty, and deceit in violation of Rule #.+# of the /PR. Specifically, complainants have sho n not only through "ilia 8abang&s testimony but more so through the testimonies of Fieter 1ein6e, Atty. Agerico Paras, and 8eodoro Mallinero thatA
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a. b.

respondent misrepresented himself as the o ner of or having the right to dispose of the sub7ect parcels= respondent actively sought to sell or other ise dispose of the sub7ect parcels=
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c.
d. e.

respondent perfected the sales and received the proceeds of the sales H sub7ect parcels=
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hether in cash or in -ind H of the

such sales

ere

ithout the consent or authori6ation of complainants= and

respondent never remitted the proceeds of the sales to complainants.

More importantly, complainants& produce such persons or even sho

itnesses sho ed that

hen respondent had been confronted

ith "ilia 8abang&s

adverse claims and as-ed to substantiate the identities of the supposed o ners of the sub7ect parcels, he had failed to an iota of proof of their e'istence. .n this regard, the testimonies of Fieter 1ein6e, Atty. Agerico Paras, and 8eodoro Mallinero are particularly significant in so far as they have been made despite the fact that their interest as buyers is contrary to that of complainants& interest as adverse claimants. .n contrast, respondent failed to present evidence to rebut complainantLs allegations. Respondent&s defense centered on his insistence that the o ners of the seven parcels ere not fictitious and that they

had voluntarily sold the seven parcels. Respondent also evaded the allegations against him by flinging counterB allegations. @or instance, he alleged that "ilia 8abang had unsuccessfully demanded a 9 balato< from the proceeds of the sale of the sub7ect parcels and that after she had been refused, she threatened to defame respondent and seehis disbarment. .n support of this allegation, he pointed out that he had filed criminal complaints against "ilia 8abang. 1e also surmised that the signatures on the sub7ect documents appearing above the name 9Mlenn /. Macott< mere forgeries and crude duplications of his signature. Per Rule #0#, Section # of the Rules of /ourt, 0% the burden of proof is vested upon the party (dministrator v. 0utierre10( ho alleges the truth of ere

his claim or defense or any fact in issue. 8hus, in !eave %ivision# 2ffice of (dministrative Services# 2ffice of the Court here a party resorts to bare denials and allegations and fails to submit evidence in support of his defense, the determination that he committed the violation is sustained. .t as incumbent upon respondent to prove his allegation that the supposed o ners of the seven parcels are real

persons. Juite the contrary, he failed to produce the slightest proof of their identities and e'istence, much less produce their actual persons. As to his allegations regarding "ilia 8abang&s supposed e'tortion and threat and the forgery or crude duplication of his signature, they remain 7ust that H allegations. Respondent failed to aver facts and circumstances hich support these claims. hich form the very basis of complainants& o n

At best, respondent merely dra s conclusions from the documents allegations and Respondent ma-es much of ho
2+

hich are actually being assailed by complainants as inaccurate, unreliable, and fraudulent. "ilia 8abang could not have been the o ner of the seven (%) parcels since her name he merely respected the title and o nership of the ostensible as named as a mere agent in the SPAs. 2# 1o ever, hat the 8/8s and SPAs indicate and the "ilia 8abang

does not appear on the parcels& 8/8s 0$ and ho o ners. Similarly, he ma-es much of ho

respondent loses sight of the fact that it is precisely the accuracy of ould have us rely on the very documents assailed as fraudulent. Apart from these, all that respondent can come up
2)

deception they engender that are the cru' of the present controversy. .n urging this /ourt to sustain him, respondent

ith are generic, s eeping, and selfBserving allegations of (#) ho office not to accept 8orrens title any 8orrens title from anybody and for

he could not have obtained the 8/8s from 8abang as 9it is a standing policy of his la :sic; unless it is related to a court case< and because 9:he; does not borro hatever purpose=< ()) ho
20

complainants could not have confronted him to demand the return of the 8/8s and ho

he could not have told them that he lost the 8/8s because 9:a;s a la yer, :he; al ays respects and recogni6es the

right of an o ner to -eep in his custody or possession any of his properties of value=< 22 and (0) ho met and tal-ed constituted his livelihood, and there as no reason for him to refuse an occasion to earn income. 24

he could not have

ith "ilia 8abang for the engagement of his services only to refuse "ilia 8abang because legal practice

Rather than responding s>uarely to complainants& allegations, respondent merely embar-s on con7ectures and ascribes motives to complainants. 1e accuses "ilia 8abang of demanding a 9 balato< of t enty percent ()+R) from the proceeds of the sale of the seven parcels, and of threatening to defame him and to see- his disbarment after she had been refused. 8his evasive posturing not ithstanding, /omplaint and see- sanctions against respondent. Miven the glaring disparity bet een the evidence adduced by complainants and the sheer lac- of evidence adduced by respondent, this /ourt is led to no other reasonable conclusion than that respondent committed the acts of the /ode of Professional Responsibility. 8his /ourt has repeatedly emphasi6ed that the practice of la is imbued ith public interest and that 9a la yer o es hich he is accused and that he acted in a manner that is unla ful, dishonest, immoral, and deceitful in violation of Rule #.+# of hat is clear is that respondent failed to adduce even the slightest proof to substantiate these claims. @rom all indications, "ilia 8abang had sufficient basis to file the present

substantial duties not only to his client, but also to his brethren in the profession, to the courts, and to the nation, and ta-es part in one of the most important functions of the State H the administration of 7ustice H as an officer of the court.<25 Accordingly, 9:l;a yers are bound to maintain not only a high standard of legal proficiency, but also of morality, honesty, integrity and fair dealing.< 2% Respondent has fallen dismally and disturbingly short of the high standard of morality, honesty, integrity, and fair dealing re>uired of him. Juite the contrary, he employed his -no ledge and s-ill of the la the course of several years in a sustained and unrelenting fashion and outdid his previous greater, more detestable offenses. 1e has hardly sho n any remorse. @rom ho proceedings, he is all but averse to rectifying his as ell as too- advantage ith even of the credulity of petitioners to secure undue gains for himself and to inflict serious damage on others. 1e did so over rongdoing he has conducted himself in these ithout 7ustifiable

ays and assuaging complainants& plight. Respondent even foisted ith the much e'tended

upon the .!P and this /ourt his duplicity by repeatedly absenting himself from the .!P&s hearings reasons. 1e also ve'ed this /ourt to admit his Appeal despite his o n failure to comply respondent deserves none of this /ourt&s clemency.

period given to him, thus inviting the /ourt to be a party in delaying complainants& cause. @or all his perversity,

$HEREFORE, respondent A88O. M"?33 /. MA/*88, having clearly violated the /anons of Professional Responsibility through his unla ful, dishonest, and deceitful conduct, is #ISB RRE# and his name ordered STRI"-EN from the Roll of Attorneys. "et copies of this Fecision be served on the *ffice of the !ar /onfidant, the .ntegrated !ar of the Philippines, and all courts in the country for their information and guidance. "et a copy of this Fecision be attached to respondentLs personal record as attorney.

.". No. AA4', *86; 0(, 2013 *OSEFIN " R NB C# . #E S L#IC R, Complainant, v. TT!. R MON SG " B NES, *R., Respondent.

@or the /ourt&s resolution is an administrative complaint # filed by Iosefina /aran6a vda. de Saldivar (complainant) against Atty. Ramon SM /abanes, Ir. (respondent), charging him for gross negligence in violation of /anon #%, and Rules #(.+0 and #(.+2 of /anon #( of the /ode of Professional Responsibility (/ode). T.e F/0t1 /omplainant as the defendant in an unla ful detainer case, doc-eted as /ivil /ase 3o. #$%), ) filed by the heirs of herein she as represented

one !en7amin Fon (heirs) before the Municipal 8rial /ourt of Pili, /amarines Sur (M8/), submit a preBtrial brief as

by respondent. While respondent duly filed an ans er to the unla ful detainer complaint, he, ho ever, failed to ell as to attend the scheduled preliminary conference. /onse>uently, the opposing counsel hich motion as granted in an *rder 0 dated 3ovember )%, )++0. orry, moved that the case be submitted for decision assuring her that she

When complainant confronted respondent about the foregoing, the latter 7ust apologi6ed and told her not to ill not lose the case since she had the title to the sub7ect property.

*n Fecember 0+, )++0, the M8/ issued a Fecision 2 (M8/ Fecision) against complainant, ordering her to vacate and turnBover the possession of the sub7ect property to the heirs as ell as to pay them damages. *n appeal, the Regional 8rial /ourt of Pili, /amarines Sur, !ranch 0) (R8/), reversed the M8/ Fecision and dismissed the unla ful detainer complaint.4 "ater ho ever, the /ourt of Appeals (/A) reversed the R8/&s ruling and reinstated the M8/ Fecision.5 Respondent received a copy of the /A&s ruling on Ianuary )%, )++5. Oet, he failed to inform complainant about the said ruling, not ithstanding the fact that the latter fre>uented his
%

or- place. 3either did respondent

pursue any further action. As such, complainant decided to engage the services of another counsel for the purpose of see-ing other available remedies. Fue to respondent&s failure to timely turnBover to her the papers and documents in the case, such other remedies ere, ho ever, barred. 8hus, based on these incidents, complainant filed the instant hich resulted in her loss. ( administrative complaint, alleging that respondent&s acts amounted to gross negligence

.n a Resolution$ dated March #+, )++(, the /ourt directed respondent to comment on the administrative complaint ithin ten (#+) days from notice. Accordingly, respondent filed a Manifestation represent complainant ith /ompliance #+ dated May #$, )++(, admitting to have agreed to

ho claimed to be the tenant and rightful occupant of the sub7ect property o ned by the late

Pelagia "ascano (Pelagia). 1e alleged that upon careful e'amination of the heirsL unla ful detainer complaint, he noticed a discrepancy bet een the descriptions of the sub7ect property as indicated in the said pleading as opposed to

that

hich complainant supplied to him. *n the belief that the parties may be contesting t o ()) sets of properties

hich are distinct and separate from one another, respondent, at the preliminary conference conducted on *ctober )(, )++0, moved for the suspension of further proceedings and proposed that a commissioner be appointed to conduct a reBsurvey in order to determine the true identity of the property in dispute. 8he M8/ allo ed the counsels for both parties to decide on the manner of the proposed reBsurvey, leading to the assignment of a Fepartment of Agrarian Reform Survey ?ngineer (FAR ?ngineer) for this purpose. .n relation, the heirs& counsel agreed to turnBover to respondent in his office## certain documents hich indicated the sub7ect property&s description. 8hus, pending the as tentatively reset to 3ovember )%, )++0. #) conduct and results of the reBsurvey, the preliminary conference As it turned out, the heirs& counsel 3ovember )%, )++0
#0

as unable to furnish respondent copies of the aboveBstated documents,

not ithstanding their agreement. 8his led the latter to believe that the preliminary conference scheduled on ould not push through. Respondent averred that the aforesaid setting also happened to coincide hich he as re>uired to attend. As such, he inadvertently missed the ith an important provincial conference

hearing. 3onetheless, he proffered that he duly appealed the adverse M8/ Fecision to the R8/, #2 resulting to the dismissal of the unla ful detainer complaint, albeit later reversed by the /A. 8hereafter, pending the heirsL appeal to the /A, respondent came upon the information that the disputed property sub7ect of a petition for e'emption from the coverage of Presidential Fecree 3o. (PF) )% filed by Pelagia against
#4

as

complainant&s mother, Placida /aran6a (Placida). !ased on several documents furnished to him by certain FAR personnel, respondent as satisfied that Placida indeed held the sub7ect property for a long time and actually tilled as as indeed entitled to the the same in the name of Pelagia, thereby placing it under PF )% coverage. Fue to such information, respondent convinced that Placida H and conse>uently, complainant ( ho too- over the tilling) H sub7ect property. 1ence, he advised complainant that it instead of contesting the appeal filed by the heirs before the /A. .t >uash such

ould be best to pursue remedies at the administrative level, as respondent&s calculated legal strategy that in rit of e'ecution or a motion to

the event the /A reverses the decision of the R8/, an opposition to the issuance of a emancipation patent covering the sub7ect property is issued. #5

rit may be filed based on the aforeBstated reasons, especially if an approved plan and later, an

Mean hile, the survey conducted by the FAR ?ngineer revealed that complainantLs tillage e'tended to about 4,+++ s>uare meters of the sub7ect property hich as determined to belong to the heirs, the rest being covered by the title hich she, ho ever, failed to do. "ater, hich caused their la yerBclient relationship of Pelagia. Fissatisfied, complainant manifested her intention to secure the services of a private surveyor of her o n choice, and promised to furnish respondent a copy of the survey results, complainant accused respondent of manipulating the FAR Survey Results another la yer.#% .n a Resolution#( dated Iuly %, )++(, the /ourt resolved to refer the instant administrative case to the .ntegrated !ar of the Philippines (.!P) for its evaluation, report and recommendation. 8he .!P /ommission on !ar Fiscipline set the case for mandatory conference on April #4, )++$ #$ and re>uired the parties to submit their respective position papers. )+ T.e IBP:1 Report /45 Re0omme45/t3o4 *n Iune #(, )++$, the .nvestigating .!P /ommissioner, Rebecca KillanuevaBMaala (.nvestigating /ommissioner), issued a Report and Recommendation (/ommissioner&s Report), )# finding respondent to have been negligent in failing to attend the preliminary conference in /ivil /ase 3o. #$%) set on 3ovember )%, )++0 hich resulted in the

to turn sour and eventually be severed. She has since retrieved the entire case folders and retained the services of

immediate submission of the said case for decision and eventual loss of complainant&s cause. 8he .nvestigating /ommissioner observed that respondent could have e'ercised ordinary diligence by in>uiring from the court as to setting hether the said preliminary conference ould push through, considering that the 3ovember )%, )++0 ith him. @urther, the fact that respondent ith the said setting hardly serves as an e'cuse as only tentative and the heirs& counsel as not able to confer hich coincided

had to attend an important provincial conference he undertoo-

since he should have sent a substitute counsel on his behalf. Also, respondent never mentioned any legal remedy that hen the heirs elevated the decision of the R8/ to the /A. .n fact, he did not file any comment or ere found to be thought only after the fact. )) opposition to the heirs& appeal. @inally, respondent&s enumerations of his legal options to allegedly protect the complainant&s interests

8hus, based on the foregoing, the .nvestigating /ommissioner ruled that respondent failed to e'ercise ordinary diligence in handling his clientLs cause, months.
)0

arranting his suspension from the practice of la

for a period of si' (5)

8he .!P !oard of Movernors adopted and approved the /ommissioner&s Report in Resolution 3o. N.NB)+##B)55 )2 dated May #2, )+##, finding the same to be fully supported by the evidence on record and in accord and rules. Respondent filed a motion for reconsideration )4 Fecember #2, )+#). T.e "o8rtD1 R86347 8he /ourt resolves to adopt the .!PLs findings and recommendation. 8he relationship bet een an attorney and his client is one imbued clients are led to e'pect that la yers ith utmost trust and confidence. .n this light, hich as, ho ever, denied, in Resolution 3o. NNB)+#)B4#% )5 dated ith applicable la s

ould be everBmindful of their cause and accordingly e'ercise the re>uired

degree of diligence in handling their affairs. Kerily, a la yer is e'pected to maintain at all times a high standard of legal proficiency, and to devote his full attention, s-ill, and competence to the case, regardless of its importance and hether he accepts it for a fee or for free. )% /anon #%, and Rules #(.+0 and #(.+2 of /anon #( of the /ode embody these >uintessential directives and thus, respectively stateA
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/A3*3 #% B A la yer o es fidelity to the cause of his client and he shall be mindful of the trust and confidence reposed in him. /A3*3 #( H A la yer shall serve his client ith competence and diligence.

Rule #(.+0 H A la yer shall not neglect a legal matter entrusted to him, and his negligence in connection there ith shall render him liable. Rule #(.+2 H A la yer shall -eep the client informed of the status of his case and shall respond time to the clientLs re>uest for information. /ase la further illumines that a la yer&s duty of competence and diligence includes not merely revie ing the cases ithin a reasonable

entrusted to the counselLs care or giving sound legal advice, but also consists of properly representing the client before any court or tribunal, attending scheduled hearings or conferences, preparing and filing the re>uired pleadings,

prosecuting the handled cases

ith reasonable dispatch, and urging their termination


)(

ithout

aiting for the client or

the court to prod him or her to do so.

/onversely, a la yerLs negligence in fulfilling his duties sub7ects him to disciplinary action. )$ While such negligence or carelessness is incapable of e'act formulation, the /ourt has consistently held that the la yer&s mere failure to perform the obligations due his client is per se a violation.0+ Applying these principles to the present case, the /ourt finds that respondent failed to e'ercise the re>uired diligence in handling complainant&s cause. Records sho 3o. #$%) hearing confer that he failed to 7ustify his absence during the scheduled preliminary conference hearing in /ivil /ase hether the said as yet to

hich led the same to be immediately submitted for decision. As correctly observed by the .nvestigating ould push through, especially so since it as only tentatively set and considering further that he

/ommissioner, respondent could have e'ercised ordinary diligence by in>uiring from the court as to

ith the opposing counsel. 8he fact that respondent had an important commitment during that day hardly ould have been for him to send a substitute

e'culpates him from his omission since the prudent course of action ould not have been left unattended in vie proceedings, much less

counsel to appear on his behalf. .n fact, he should have been more circumspect to ensure that the aforesaid hearing of its adverse conse>uences, i.e., that the defendant&s failure to appear at the preliminary conference already entitles the plaintiff to a 7udgment. 0# .ndeed, secondBguessing the conduct of the ithout any contingent measure, e'hibits respondent&s ine'cusable lac- of care and diligence in managing his client&s cause. ?>ually compelling is the fact that respondent purposely failed to assail the heirs& appeal before the /A. Records disclose that he even failed to rebut complainantLs allegation that he neglected to inform her about the /A ruling hich he had duly received, thereby precluding her from availing of any further remedies. As regards respondent&s suggested legal strategy to pursue the case at the administrative level, suffice it to state that the same does not e'cuse him from failing to file a comment or an opposition to an appeal, or even, inform his client of any adverse resolution, as in this case. .rrefragably, these are basic courses of action ma-e. All told, it cannot be gainsaid that respondent of the /ode. As regards the appropriate penalty, several cases sho for infractions similar to those of the respondent Ela&da, a la yer
0)

hich every diligent la yer is e'pected to

as guilty of gross negligence, in violation of the aboveBcited provisions

that la yers

ho have been held liable for gross negligence hich resulted in the submission as absent during the preBtrial ho neglected a legal matter

ere suspended for a period of si' (5) months. .n (randa v.

ho failed to appear at the scheduled hearing despite due notice ho did not file a preBtrial brief and
02

of the case for decision .iburcio 3. conference

as found guilty of gross negligence and hence, suspended for si' (5) months. .n Heirs of

allesteros# Sr. v. (piag#00 a la yer

as li-e ise suspended for si' (5) months. .n (biero v. *uanino, a la yer

entrusted to him by his client in breach of /anons #% and #( of the /ode 8hus, consistent and accordingly suspends him for a period of si' (5) months.

as also suspended for si' (5) months.

ith e'isting 7urisprudence, the /ourt finds it proper to impose the same penalty against respondent

$HEREFORE, respondent Atty. Ramon SM /abanes, Ir. is found guilty of gross negligence in violation of /anon #%, and Rules #(.+0 and #(.+2 of /anon #( of the /ode of Professional Responsibility. 1e is hereby S+SPEN#E# from the practice of la for a period of si' (5) months, effective upon his receipt of this Resolution, and is STERNL! ill be dealt ith more severely. $ RNE# that a repetition of the same or similar acts

.". No. )))4, *86; 1), 2013 FER#IN N# . S MSON, Complainant, v. TT!. E#G R#O O. ER , Respondent.

An attorney

ho

ittingly represents and serves conflicting interests may be suspended from the practice of la , or hen circumstances so arrant. 4te0e5e4t1

even disbarred

@erdinand A. Samson has brought this complaint for disbarment charging respondent Atty. ?dgardo *. ?ra manner that blatantly conflicted Samson and his relatives ith his interest.

ith

violation of his trust and confidence of a client by representing the interest of ?milia /. Sison, his present client, in a

ere among the investors

ho fell prey to the pyramiding scam perpetrated by ./S ?'ports, hose corporate officers

.nc. ?'porter, .mporter, and MultiB"evel Mar-eting !usiness (./S /orporation), a corporation ere led by Sison. 8he other officers and Ihun Sison.

ere .reneo /. Sison, William /. Sison, Mimosa 1. Samudio, Mirasol 1. Aguilar

Samson engaged Atty. ?ra to represent and assist him and his relatives in the criminal prosecution of Sison and her group. Pursuant to the engagement, Atty. ?ra prepared the demand letter dated Iuly #$, )++) demanding the return or refund of the money sub7ect of their complaints. 1e also prepared the complaintBaffidavit that Samson signed and s ore to on Iuly )5, )++). Subse>uently, the complaintBaffidavit charging Sison and the other corporate officials of ./S /orporation ith several counts of estafa# as presented to the *ffice of the /ity Prosecutor of Jue6on /ity ith several counts (*/PJ/). After the preliminary investigation, the */PJ/ formally charged Sison and the others of estafa in the Regional 8rial /ourt, !ranch $5 (R8/), in Jue6on /ity. ) .n April )++0, Atty. ?ra called a meeting settlement be a ith Samson and his relatives to discuss the possibility of an amicable ould 7ust ith ith Sison and her group,

ith Sison and her cohorts. 1e told Samson and the others that undergoing a trial of the cases

aste of time, money and effort for them, and that they could settle the cases

him guaranteeing the turnover to them of a certain property located in Antipolo /ity belonging to ./S /orporation in e'change for their desistance. 8hey acceded and e'ecuted the affidavit of desistance he prepared, and in turn they received a deed of assignment covering land registered under 8ransfer /ertificate of 8itle 3o. RB22%4 e'ecuted by Sison in behalf of ./S /orporation.0 Samson and his relatives later demanded from Atty. ?ra that they be given instead a deed of absolute sale to enable

them to li>uidate the property among themselves. .t too- some period of negotiations bet een them and Atty. ?ra before the latter delivered to them on 3ovember )%, )++0 five copies of a deed of absolute sale involving the property. 1o ever, Atty. ?ra told them that from lien or defect hether or not the title of the property had been encumbered or free as concerned he had ould no longer be his responsibility. 1e further told them that as far as he

already accomplished his professional responsibility to ards them upon the amicable settlement of the cases bet een them and ./S /orporation.2 When Samson and his coBcomplainants verified the title of the property at the Registry of Feeds and the Assessor&s *ffice of Antipolo /ity, they ere dismayed to learn that they could not li>uidate the property because it
4

as no

longer registered under the name of ./S /orporation but urging, Atty. ?ra negotiated as their counsel

as already under the name of !an- Wise .nc. Upon their

ith ./S /orporation. rote to him on September (, )++2 to

Fue to the silence of Atty. ?ra for sometime thereafter, Samson and his group remind him about his guarantee and the promise to settle the issues from Atty. ?ra at all.
5

ith Sison and her cohorts. !ut they did not hear

Furing the hearings in the R8/, Atty. ?ra did not anymore appear for Samson and his group. 8his forced them to engage another la yer. 8hey ere shoc-ed to find out later on, ho ever, that Atty. ?ra had already been entering his appearance as the counsel for Sison in her other criminal cases in the other branches of the R8/ in Jue6on /ity involving the same pyramiding scam that she and her ./S /orporation had perpetrated. % .n this regard, they established Atty. ?ra&s legal representation of Sison by submitting several certified copies of the minutes of the proceedings in the criminal cases involving Sison and her group issued by !ranch #+) and !ranch ))+ of the R8/ in Jue6on /ity sho ing that Atty. ?ra had appeared as the counsel of Sison in the cases for estafa pending and being tried in said courts.( 8hey also submitted a certification issued on 3ovember 0, )++2 indicating that Atty. ?ra had visited Sison, an inmate in the @emale Formitory in /amp Garingal, Si-atuna Killage, Jue6on /ity as borne out by the blotter logboo- of that unit.$ *n Ianuary )+, )++4, Samson e'ecuted an affidavit alleging the foregoing antecedents, and praying for Atty. ?ra&s disbarment on the ground of his violation of the trust, confidence and respect reposed in him as their counsel. #+ Upon being re>uired by the /ourt to comment on the complaint against him ithin #+ days from notice, Atty. ?ra

several times sought the e'tension of his period to file the comment to supposedly enable him to collate documents relevant to his comment.## 8he /ourt granted his re>uest and allo ed him an e'tension totalling 2+ days. !ut despite the lapse of the e'tended period, he did not file his comment. *n September )%, )++4, Samson reiterated his complaint for disbarment against Atty. ?ra. #) !y its resolution dated March #, )++5, #0 the /ourt re>uired Atty. ?ra to sho dealt ith or held in contempt for such failure to submit his comment. cause hy he should not be disciplinarily

.n the comment that he subse>uently filed on April ##, )++5 in the *ffice of the !ar /onfidant, #2 Atty. ?ra alleged that the conclusion on April )0, )++) of the compromise settlement bet een Samson and his group, on one hand, and Sison and her ./S /orporation, on the other, had terminated the la yerBclient relationship bet een him and Samson and his group= and that on September #, )++0, he had been appointed as counsel de officio for Sison by !ranch #+) of the R8/ in Jue6on /ity only for purposes of her arraignment. *n Iuly #%, )++5, the /ourt referred the case to the .ntegrated !ar of the Philippines (.!P) for investigation, report

and recommendation.#4 .n his report and recommendation dated *ctober #, )++%, #5 the .nvestigating /ommissioner of the .!P /ommission on !ar Fiscipline (.!PB/!F) found Atty. ?ra guilty of misconduct for representing conflicting interests, for failing to serve his clients ith competence and diligence, and for failing to champion his clients& cause ith holehearted fidelity, care and devotion. 8he .nvestigating /ommissioner observed that the evidence did not sustain Atty. ?ra&s claim that his legal services as counsel for Samson and his group had terminated on April )0, )++0 upon the e'ecution of the compromise settlement of the criminal cases= that he even admitted during the mandatory conference that there
#%

as no formal termination of as duly

his legal services= that his professional obligation to ards Samson and his group as his clients did not end upon e'ecution of the settlement agreement, because he remained dutyBbound to see to it that the settlement implemented= that he also had the obligation to appear in the criminal cases until their termination= and that his acceptance of the engagement to appear in behalf of Sison invited suspicion of his doubleBdealing and unfaithfulness. 8he .nvestigating /ommissioner recommended that Atty. ?ra be suspended from the practice of la months, vi1A
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for si'

@rom the foregoing, it is clear that respondent is guilty of misconduct for representing conflicting interests, failing to serve his client, complainant herein, practice of la ith competence and diligence and champion the latter&s cause ith ould merit a holehearted fidelity, care and devotion. .t is respectfully recommended that respondent be SUSP?3F?F from the for a period of si' (5) months and WAR3?F that a repetition of the same or similar act more severe penalty.#( .n Resolution 3o. NK...B)++%B#$4 passed on *ctober #$, )++%, #$ the .!P !oard of Movernors adopted and approved the report and recommendation of the .nvestigating /ommissioner of the .!PB/!F, ?ra be suspended from the practice of la for t o years. ith the modification that Atty.

*n Iune $, )+#), the .!P !oard of Movernors passed Resolution 3o. NNB)+#)B#(+, )+ denying Atty. ?ra&s motion for reconsideration and affirming Resolution 3o. NK...B)++%B#$4. 8he .!P !oard of Movernors then for arded the case to the /ourt pursuant to Section #)(b), Rule #0$B! of the Rules of Court.)# *n *ctober #%, )+#), Atty. ?ra filed a Manifestation and Motion (With "eave of /ourt). )) 1o ever, on 3ovember )5, )+#), the /ourt merely noted the manifestation, and denied the motion for its lac- of merit. )0 R86347 We affirm the findings of the .!P. .n his petition for disbarment, Samson charged Atty. ?ra ith violating /anon #4 of the Code of Professional Responsibilit& for representing conflicting interests by accepting the responsibility of representing Sison in the cases similar to those in hich he had underta-en to represent Samson and his group, not ithstanding that Sison as the very same person hom Samson and his group had accused ith Atty. ?ra&s legal assistance. 1e had drafted the demand letters and the complaintBaffidavit that became the bases for the filing of the estafa charges against Sison and the others in the R8/ in Jue6on /ity. Atty. ?ra&s contention that the la yerBclient relationship ended hen Samson and his group entered into the compromise settlement ith Sison on April )0, )++) as un arranted. 8he la yerBclient relationship did not

terminate as of then, for the fact remained that he still needed to oversee the implementation of the settlement as ell as to proceed ith the criminal cases until they ere dismissed or other ise concluded by the trial court. .t is also relevant to indicate that the e'ecution of a compromise settlement in the criminal cases did not ipso facto cause the termination of the cases not only because the approval of the compromise by the trial court as still re>uired, but also because the compromise ,ould have applied only to the civil aspect, and e'cluded the criminal aspect pursuant to Article )+02 of the Civil Code.)2 Rule #4.+0, /anon #4 of the Code of Professional Responsibilit& provides thatA 9A la yer shall not represent conflicting interests e'cept by ritten consent of all concerned given after a full disclosure of the facts.< Atty. ?ra thus o ed to Samson and his group entire devotion to their genuine interest, and arm 6eal in the maintenance and defense of their rights.)4 1e as e'pected to e'ert his best efforts and ability to preserve the clients& cause, for the un avering loyalty displayed to his clients li-e ise served the ends of 7ustice. )5

.n Hornilla v. (tt&. Salunat,)% the /ourt discussed the concept of conflict of interest in this 8here is conflict of interest

iseA

cralavvonline la library

hen a la yer represents inconsistent interests of t o or more opposing parties. 8he test ill be opposed by him hen he

is 9 hether or not in behalf of one client, it is the la yer&s duty to fight for an issue or claim, but it is his duty to oppose it for the other client. .n brief, if he argues for one client, this argument argues for the other client.< 8his rule covers not only cases in but also those in any matter in hich no confidence has been besto ed or retainer hether he acceptance of the ne hich confidential communications have been confided, ill be used. Also, there is conflict of interests if the hich ill in7uriously affect his first client in relation to use against his hether ill be called upon in his ne

ill re>uire the attorney to perform an act

hich he represents him and also relation

first client any -no ledge ac>uired through their connection. Another test of the inconsistency of interests is the acceptance of a ne loyalty to his client or invite suspicion of unfaithfulness or double dealing in the performance thereof. )( 8he prohibition against conflict of interest rests on five rationales, rendered as follo sA ' ' '. @irst, the la in itself. ' ' '. see-s to assure clients that their la yers ill represent them

ill prevent an attorney from the full discharge of his duty of undivided fidelity and

cralavvonline la library

ith undivided loyalty. A client is

entitled to be represented by a la yer

hom the client can trust. .nstilling such confidence is an ob7ective important

Second, the prohibition against conflicts of interest see-s to enhance the effectiveness of legal representation. 8o the e'tent that a conflict of interest undermines the independence of the la yer&s professional 7udgment or inhibits a la yer from or-ing ith appropriate vigor in the client&s behalf, the client&s e'pectation of effective representation ' ' ' could be compromised. 8hird, a client has a legal right to have the la yer safeguard the client&s confidential information '''. Preventing use of confidential client information against the interests of the client, either to benefit the la yer&s personal interest, in aid of some other client, or to foster an assumed public purpose is facilitated through conflicts rules that reduce the opportunity for such abuse. @ourth, conflicts rules help ensure that la yers the la yer '''. @inally, some conflictBofBinterest rules protect interests of the legal system in obtaining ade>uate presentations to tribunals. .n the absence of such rules, for e'ample, a la yer might appear on both sides of the litigation, complicating the process of ta-ing proof and compromise adversary argumentation ' ' '.
)$

ill not e'ploit clients, such as by inducing a client to ma-e a gift to

8he rule prohibiting conflict of interest client

as fashioned to prevent situations

herein a la yer

ould be representing a ay, a la yer may only

hose interest is directly adverse to any of his present or former clients. .n the same

be allo ed to represent a client involving the same or a substantially related matter that is materially adverse to the former client only if the former client consents to it after consultation. 0+ 8he rule is grounded in the fiduciary obligation of loyalty.0# 8hroughout the course of a la yerBclient relationship, the la yer learns all the facts connected clientLs case, including the the relationship must be treated as sacred and guarded encouraged to entrust their secrets to their la yers, ith the ea- and strong points of the case. Gno ledge and information gathered in the course of ith care. .t behooves la yers not only to -eep inviolate the

client&s confidence, but also to avoid the appearance of treachery and doubleBdealing, for only then can litigants be hich is paramount in the administration of 7ustice. 0) 8he nature of that relationship is, therefore, one of trust and confidence of the highest degree. 00 /ontrary to Atty. ?ra&s illBconceived attempt to e'plain his disloyalty to Samson and his group, the termination of the attorneyBclient relationship does not 7ustify a la yer to represent an interest adverse to or in conflict ith that of the former client. 8he spirit behind this rule is that the client&s confidence once given should not be stripped by the mere e'piration of the professional employment. ?ven after the severance of the relation, a la yer should not do anything that ill in7uriously affect his former client in any matter in hich the la yer previously represented the client. 3or should the la yer disclose or use any of the client&s confidences ac>uired in the previous relation. 02 .n this regard, /anon #% of the Code of Professional Responsibilit& e'pressly declares thatA 9A la yer o es fidelity to the cause of his client and he shall be mindful of the trust and confidence reposed in him.< 8he la yer&s highest and most un>uestioned duty is to protect the client at all ha6ards and costs even to himself. 04 8he protection given to the client is perpetual and does not cease even survives the death of the client. 05 .n the absence of the e'press consent from Samson and his group after full disclosure to them of the conflict of interest, therefore, the most ethical thing for Atty. ?ra to have done he did neither, and should no suffer the proper sanction. as either to outrightly decline representing and entering his appearance as counsel for Sison, or to advice Sison to engage another la yer for herself. Unfortunately, ith the termination of the litigation, nor is it affected by the client&s ceasing to employ the attorney and retaining another, or by any other change of relation bet een them. .t

$HEREFORE, the /ourt FIN#S and PRONO+N"ES Atty. ?FMARF* *. ?RA guilty of violating Rule #4.+0 of /anon #4, and /anon #% of the Code of Professional Responsibilit&= and S+SPEN#S him from the practice of la years effective upon his receipt of this decision, ith more severely. "et copies of this decision be included in the personal record of *ffice of the !ar /onfidant. tt;. E#G R#O O. ER and entered in his file in the ith a arning that his commission of a similar offense for t o ill be dealt