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[G.R. No. 163663. June 30, 2006.

AUSTRALIA, respondents.
petition for review on certiorari on Decision and Resolution of the Court
of Appeals which denied the petition for certiorari filed by herein
petitioners Greater Metropolitan Manila Solid Waste Management
Committee (GMMSWMC) and the Metropolitan Manila Development
Authority (MMDA) and their Motion for Reconsideration
-Presidential Memorandum Order No. 202 was issued by then
President Ramos creating an Executive Committee to oversee and
develop waste-to-energy projects for the waste disposal sites in San
Mateo, Rizal and Carmona, Cavite under the Build-Operate-Transfer
(BOT) scheme.
-Respondent Jancom Internationalwas one of the bidders for the San
Mateo Waste Disposal Site. It subsequently entered into a partnership
with Asea Brown Boveri under the firm name JANCOM Environmental
Corporation (JANCOM), its co-respondent.
-Executive Committee declare JANCOM as the sole complying
-Contract for the BOT Implementation was entered into by the
Republic of the Philippine and JANCOM
-contract was submitted for approval to President Ramos who
subsequently endorsed it to then incoming President Joseph E. Estrada.
-Owing to the clamor of the residents of Rizal, the Estrada
administration ordered the closure of the San Mateo landfill.
-Petitioner thereupon adopted a Resolution not to pursue the
contract with JANCOM citing as reasons the passage of Clean Air Act of
1999, the non-availability of the San Mateo site, and costly tipping fees
-Board of Directors of Jancom authorized Atty. Manuel Molina to
act as legal counsel for respondents
-respondents filed a petition for certiorari to declare the
GMMSWMC Resolution and the acts of the MMDA calling for bids for
and authorizing the forging of a new contract for the Metro Manila waste
management as illegal, unconstitutional and void and to enjoin
petitioners from implementing the Resolution
-RTC found in favor of respondent
-CA affirmed the decision of RTC
-JANCOM and the MMDA later purportedly entered into negotiations to
modify certain provisions of the contract which were embodied in a draft
Amended Agreement The draft Amended Agreement bore no signature
of the parties.
-Respondents, through Atty. Molina, subsequently filed before RTC an
Omnibus Motion praying that:
(1) an alias writ of execution be issued
(2) the MMDA, through its Chairman Bayani F. Fernando, be directed to
immediately forward and recommend the approval of the Amended
Agreement to President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo
(3) Chairman Fernando be ordered to personally appear before the court
and explain his acts and public pronouncements which are in direct
violation and gross defiance of the final and executory May 29, 2000
RTC Decision;
(4) the Executive Secretary and the Cabinet Secretaries of the
departments-members of the National Solid Waste Management
Commission be directed "to submit the contract within 30 days from
notice to the President for signature and approval
(5) petitioners be directed to comply with and submit their written
compliance with their obligations
Months after, Atty. Simeon M. Magdamit, on behalf of Jancom
International, filed before the RTC an Entry of Special Appearance and
Manifestation with Motion to Reject the Pending Omnibus Motion
alleging that:
(1) the Omnibus Motion was never approved by Jancom International;
(2) the Omnibus Motion was initiated by lawyers whose services had
already been terminated, hence, were unauthorized to represent it; and
(3) the agreed judicial venue for dispute resolution relative to the
implementation of the contract is the International Court of Arbitration
in the United Kingdom pursuant to Article 16.1 21 of said contract.
In the meantime, together with MMDA Resolution"Recommending to
Disapprove the Contract Entered Into by the Executive Committee of the
Presidential Task Force on Waste Management with Jancom
Environmental Corporation and for Other Purposes.

RTC noted the above-stated Entry of Special Appearance of Atty.

Magdamit for Jancom International and denied the Motion to Reject
Pending Omnibus Motion for lack of merit
-RTC granted respondents' Omnibus Motion in part.
Representation continues until the court dispenses with the services of
counsel in accordance with Section 26, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court.
-No substitution of counsel of record is allowed unless the following
essential requisites concur:
(1) there must be a written request for substitution;
(2) it must be filed with the written consent of the client;
(3) it must be with the written consent of the attorney to be substituted;
(4) in case the consent of the attorney to be substituted cannot be
obtained, there must be at least a proof of notice that the motion for
substitution was served on him in the manner prescribed by the Rules of
no showing that there was a valid substitution of counsel at the time Atty.
Molina filed the Omnibus Motion nor that he had priorly filed a
Withdrawal of Appearance
-While clients undoubtedly have the right to terminate their relations with
their counsel the exercise of such right is subject to compliance with the
prescribed requirements. Otherwise, no substitution can be effective and
the counsel who last appeared in the case before the substitution became
effective shall still be responsible for the conduct of the case.
-absence then of compliance with the essential requirements for valid
substitution of the counsel of record, Atty. Molina enjoys the presumption
of authority granted to him by respondents.

[A.C. No. 5303. June 15, 2006.]

complainant, vs. ATTY. NICANOR V. VILLAROSA, respondent.
verified complaint for disbarment against respondent Atty. Nicanor V.
- Mrs. Lumot Jalandoni organized a corporation namely the Penta
Resorts Corporation (PRC) where she owned 97%
-the only property of the corporation is the Alhambra Hotel constructed
solely through the effort of the spouses Jalbuena (her daughter and sonin-law) on that parcel of land now claimed by the Cabiles family.
--------Cabiles filed a civil case against the sisters for the recovery of
said land.

IBP Commissioner: suspension of 6months

IBP-BG: dismissed-issue:
whether there existed a conflict of interest in the cases represented and
handled by respondent and
WON resp violated canon 22
The relation of attorney and client may be terminated by the client, by the
lawyer or by the court, or by reason of circumstances beyond the control
of the client or the lawyer. The termination of the attorney-client
relationship entails certain duties on the part of the client and his lawyer.
That manner of changing a lawyer does not need the consent of the lawyer
to be dismissed. Nor does it require approval of the court.

-spouses Dennis and Carmen J. Jalbuena RECOMMENDED their

retained counsel-- respondent, to the sisters to answer the complaint filed
against them.
it has been held that a client is free to change his counsel in a pending case
and thereafter retain another lawyer to represent him. That manner of
(1st cause of Action)
changing a lawyer does not need the consent of the lawyer to be
Lumot A. Jalandoni, Chairman/President of PRC engaged the legal
dismissed. Nor does it require approval of the court.
services of herein respondent in the case RE: Cabiles et al. vs. Lumot
Jalandoni, et al.
The appearance of Atty. Alminaza in fact was not even to substitute for
respondent but to act as additional counsel.
as a consequence of said Attorney-Client relationship--trust and
confidence was reposed on said counsel
Respondent should not have presumed that his motion to withdraw as
counsel ould be granted by the court. Yet, he stopped appearing as
latter was provided with all the necessary information relative to the
Mrs.Jalandoni's counsel beginning April 28, 1999 without first obtaining
property in question and likewise on legal matters affecting the
the approval of the court.
corporation (PRC) particularly [involving] problems [which affect]
Hotel Alhambra.
records do not support the claim that respondent improperly collected
P5,000 from petitioner.
without due notice prior to a scheduled hearing, surprisingly filed a
Motion to withdraw as counsel, one day before its scheduled hearing (no The right of an attorney to retain possession of a client's documents,
copy thereof was furnished to Lumot A. Jalandoni, neither does it bear
money or other property which may have lawfully come into his
her conformity.)
possession in his professional capacity, until his lawful fees and
disbursements have been fully paid, is well-established.
-the withdrawal was bec of the "possibility of a conflict of interest."
GUILTY of violating Canon 15 and Canon 22
--he cannot refuse to represent Dennis G. Jalbuena in the case filed
against the latter before the City Prosecutors Office by PRC/Lumot A.
Jalandoni due to an alleged retainership agreement with said Dennis G.
(2nd cause of action)
Using the said classified information which should have been closely
guarded . . . respondent conspired and confabulated with the Sps. Dennis
and Carmen J. Jalbuena in concocting the despicable and fabricated
charges against his former clients
Were it not for said fiduciary relation between client and lawyer,
respondent will not be in a position to furnish his conspirator spouses
with confidential information on Lumot A. Jalandoni/PRC, operator of
Alhambra Hotel.
despite repeated demands, respondent opted to deliberately withhold the
entire case file including the marked exhibits of the Cabiles case for
more than three (3) months after his untimely unilateral withdrawal
- respondent suddenly interposed an amount of five thousand
(P5,000.00) pesos as consideration prior to or simultaneous to the
turnover of said documents
Such dilatory tactics employed by respondent immensely weakened the
case of Lumot A. Jalandoni eventually resulting to (sic) an adverse
decision against her (dismissed)
-he was only recommended by sps. Jalbuena
-it took him just a few days, not three months, to turn over the records of
the case to Lim.
it was the height of hypocrisy to allege that Mrs. Jalandoni was not
aware of his motion to withdraw
no prejudice was suffered by Mrs. Jalandoni because she was
already represented by Atty. Lorenzo S. Alminaza from the first hearing
date.In fact, respondent contended, it was he who was not notified of the
substitution of counsels.
-re: 5K cannot find any law which prohibits a counsel from billing a
client for services in proportion to the services he rendered.

[A.C. No. 6288. June 16, 2006.]

ALEXANDER RONQUILLO, represented by their Attorney-in-Fact
SERVILLANO A. CABUNGCAL, complainants, vs. ATTY.
HOMOBONO T. CEZAR, respondent.
disbarment or suspension of respondent from the practice of law for
unlawful, dishonest, immoral and deceitful conduct.
alleged that respondent sold them a piece of property over which he has
no right nor interest, and that he refuses to return to them the amount
they have paid him for it.
complainants (OFW for 10yrs) and respondent entered into a DOA
involving a townhouse unit and lot @ 1.5M
promise to deliver to complainants a copy of the Contract to Sell he
executed with Crown Asia
Upon full payment of the purchase price, respondent further
undertook to have Crown Asia execute a DAS over the property in favor
of the complainants.
Respondent received from complainants P750,000.00 upon
execution of DOA;
balance will be of four postdated checks in the amount of
P187,500.00 each in 4 equal quarterly installments (1st check was able to
however, complainant receive info that respondent has not paid in
full the price of the townhouse; also failed to deliver to complainants a
copy of the Contract to Sell he allegedly executed with Crown Asia.
Complainant thru his counsel wrote respondent, informing him that
they were still willing to pay the balance of the purchase price of the
townhouse on the condition that respondent work on DAS, in the
alternative, return the money
resp claimed that he was working on it and requested for a period
of 20days-- period lapsed but respondent did not make good his promise to pay
Crown Asia in full, or return the amount paid by complainants.
End letter was sent but no to avail
filed admin complaint
IBP-IC: violated canon 1suspension of 3years
IBP-BG: Approved
respondent fell short of his duty under Rule 1.01, Canon 1 of CPR
-guilty of dishonest and deceitful conduct when he concealed this lack of
right from complainants.
-not inform the complainants that he has not yet paid in full the price of
the subject townhouse unit and lot, and, therefore, he had no right to sell,
transfer or assign said property at the time of the execution of the Deed
of Assignment.
-admitted not having full ownership over the subject townhouse unit and
lot, as he has yet to completely pay Crown Asia.
Be that as it may, we cannot grant complainants' prayer that respondent
be directed to return the money he received from them in the amount of
P937,500.00. Disciplinary proceedings against lawyers do not involve a
trial of an action, but rather investigations by the court into the conduct
of one of its officers.

[A.C. No. 5377. June 15, 2006.]

[A.C. No. 2591. September 8, 2006.]
and JIMMY P. BALIGA, respondents.
complaint for disbarment against Attys. Romeo Calubaquib and Jimmy
Baliga both notaries public, for falsifying certain public documents.

complaint-affidavit seeking the disbarment of Atty. Rolando S. Javier

("respondent") for deceit and misrepresentation.

has its roots in a complaint for annulment of title with damages filed by
Isaac Villegas against complainant

--complainant alleges that:

-she was introduced by her cousin to respondent
- needed the help of a lawyer in having her son-in-law released from
the Caloocan City Jail for the crime of qualified theft
-respondent advised her to file a bail bond.
- informed respondent that her only money was P500
-respondent received the money, issued a receipt and promised that
Monterde would be released from jail the following day.
-failed to keep his promise and seemed that respondent was avoiding

Respondent Calubaquib signed the verification and certification of

non-forum shopping of the complaint as notary public and entered the
***Complainant alleges that this document was falsified because
according to the records of the National Archives, the document entered
in respondent Calubaquib's notarial register was an affidavit of one
Daniel Malayao
RTC decided Civil Case in favor of complainant and, as a result, the
plaintiff there, through respondent Calubaquib, appealed it to the Court
of Appeals
On file with the records of this case is a SPA executed by Isaac Villegas
appointing respondent Calubaquib as his attorney-in-fact to "enter into a
compromise agreement under such terms and conditions acceptable to
him" notarized by respondent Baliga

--resp answered (hearing at OSG):

-not hired by complainant as legal counsel.
-admits he received P500 for the bail bond and gave it to Carlos
Alberto ("Alberto"), an insurance agent.
-However, the amount was not sufficient to pay for the bond.
- denies that he promised to have Monterde released immediately and
even advised complainant to get back her money directly from Alberto

**Alberto was presented during the hearing

--He testified that respondent came to him to secure a bail bond for
***Complainant alleged falsified because, according to respondent
qualified theft. Alberto showed a copy of the personal bail bond with a
Baliga's notarial register, it pertains to an affidavit of loss of one Pedro
premium of P940
--he issued a genuine bond but it was not filed in court because
complainant failed to pay the balance.
***According to complainant, respondent impersonated Villegas, who
---confirm that bail bond was not valid for theft and robbery cases.
was in hiding due to several civil and criminal cases pending against
---Alberto also clarified that he is not connected with Philippine Phoenix
him, by forging his signature in all documents and pleadings related to
Surety but he is an employee of the House of Bonds, which is the general
the civil case filed against him (complainant). He pointed to the incorrect agent of the former.
notarial entries as proof of this falsification.
**Mr. Alfredo Brigoli ("Brigoli"), General Manager of the House of
Resps answer:
Bonds, was also presented as one of respondent's witnesses. Brigoli
-respondent Baliga admitted the incorrectness of the entries and simply explained that he gives Alberto 5 sets of pre-signed bail bond forms. 16
attributed them to the inadvertence in good faith of his secretary to
However, in theft, robbery and drug cases, Alberto is required to seek his
whom he had left the task of entering all his notarial documents.
approval before the bond is issued.
-Resp Calubaquib alleged that it the complaint was only an attempt by
complainant to grab a parcel of land.
OSG: SUSPENDED not less than 1 year
-admitted to the mistaken entries and also ascribed the same to his "legal -charge of deceit and misrepresentation against respondent has been
sufficiently established.
-defense that he actually secured a bail bond for Monterde is a mere
IBP: "liable for inexcusable negligence"revocation of the commission of afterthought. Firstly, complainant confided to him that she had no more
respondents Calubaquib and Baliga as notaries public for two years
money except P500.00. He would not, therefore, secure a bail bond with
higher premium than P500.00.
ISSUE: won these were the product of a mere mistake or evidence of
larger scheme to defraud complainant
-finds respondent liable for violation of Canon 16 and Rule 18.03 of CPR
-In failing to immediately secure the bail bond, respondent clearly
neglected to exercise ordinary diligence or that reasonable degree of care
complainant failed to discharge the burden of proving forgery
and skill required by the circumstances.
--The mere fact that Villegas was a fugitive from justice did not preclude -A lawyer's failure to return upon demand the funds held by him on behalf
the possibility that he might have secretly met with his lawyer for
of his client gives rise to the presumption that he has appropriated the
purposes of filing a suit.
same for his own use in violation of the trust reposed in him by his client.
--the fact of forgery cannot be presumed simply because there are
dissimilarities between the standard and the questioned signatures.
-- all the documents on which the contested signature appeared were
notarized. Notarial documents carry the presumption of regularity.
--notarization is not an empty, meaningless or routinary act but one
invested with substantive public interest, such that only those who are
qualified or authorized to do so may act as notaries public.
--Respondents cannot be relieved of responsibility for the violation of
the aforesaid sections by passing the buck to their secretaries, a
reprehensible practice which to this day persists despite our open
--Having failed to perform their sworn duty, respondents were squarely
in violation of Rule 1.01 of Canon 1 of CPR
--commissions as notaries publire hereby REVOKED, with
DISQUALIFICATION from reappointment for 2 years

--not the first time respondent is found to have unlawfully withheld and
misappropriated money. (In Igual v. Javiersuspended 1 month)
SUSPEND for SIX MONTHS and restitute the Five Hundred Pesos
(P500) with legal interest

Catherine & Henry Yu, complainants, vs. Atty. Antoniutti K. Palaa, A criminal prosecution will not constitute a prejudicial question even if the same
respondent. (A.C. No. 7747 | July 14, 2008)
facts and circumstances are attendant in the administrative proceedings.
Disciplinary proceedings involve no private interest and afford no redress for
FACTS: PER CURIAM: Complainants Henry and Catherine Yu filed a private grievance. They are undertaken and prosecuted solely for the public
complaint for disbarment against respondent Atty. Antoniutti K. Palaa for welfare and for preserving courts of justice from the official ministration of persons
alleged acts of defraudation (November 16, 2006), before the IBP-CBD. unfit to practice law
Complainants attached their Consolidated Complaint-Affidavit which they earlier As to the recommended penalty of disbarment, SC find the same to be in order.
filed before the City Prosecutors Office of Makati, charging the respondent and The Court notes that this is not the first time that respondent is facing an
his co-accused (in the criminal case), with syndicated ESTAFA and violation of administrative case, for he had been previously suspended from the practice of law
BP 22.
in Samala v. Palaa and Sps. Amador and Rosita Tejada v. Palaa. In Samala,
Complainants met a certain Mr. Mark Anthony U. Uy who introduced himself as respondent committed the same offense by making himself part of the money
the Division Manager of Wealth Marketing and General Services Corporation trading business when, in fact, said business was not among the purposes for which
(Wealth Marketing), a corporation engaged in spot currency trading. MR. UY FIRI was created. Respondent was thus meted the penalty of suspension for
PERSUADED THE COMPLAINANTS, together with other investors, TO INVEST THREE (3) YEARS with a warning that a repetition of the same or similar acts
A MINIMUM AMOUNT of P100K or its dollar equivalent with said company. would be dealt with more severely. Likewise, in Tejada, he was suspended for SIX
They were made to believe that the said company had the so-called stop-loss (6) MONTHS for his continued refusal to settle his loan obligations. The fact that
mechanism that enabled it to stop trading once the maximum allowable loss respondent went into hiding in order TO AVOID SERVICE UPON HIM OF THE
fixed at 3%-9% of the total contributions, would be reached. If the company WARRANT OF ARREST issued by the court (where his criminal case is pending)
would suffer loss, Wealth Marketing would return to the investors the principal exacerbates his offense.
amount including the monthly guaranteed interests. Further, Wealth Marketing
promised to issue postdated checks covering the principal investments.
WHEREFORE, respondent Antoniutti K. Palaa is hereby DISBARRED, and his
discovered that Wealth Marketing had already ceased its operation and a new
corporation was formed named Ur-Link Corporation (Ur-Link) which supposedly
Complainants proceeded to Ur-Link office where they met the respondent. As
Chairman of the Board of Directors, RESPONDENT ASSURED THE
THE FORMER COMPANY. Respondent signed an Agreement to that effect
which, again, turned out to be another ploy to further deceive the investors. This
prompted the complainants to send DEMAND LETTERS to Wealth Marketings
officers and directors which remained unheeded. They likewise lodged a
CRIMINAL COMPLAINT for syndicated estafa against the respondent and his
co-accused. Despite the standing warrant for his arrest, RESPONDENT WENT
this date.
Director for Bar Discipline Rogelio B. Vinluan required respondent to submit his
Answer to the complaint but the latter failed to comply. Hence, the motion to
declare him in default filed by the complainants. The case was thereafter referred
to Commissioner Jose I. De la Rama, Jr. for investigation. In his CONTINUED
DEFIANCE OF THE LAWFUL ORDERS of the Commission, respondent failed to
attend the mandatory conference and to file his position paper. Respondent was
thereafter declared in default and the case was heard ex parte.In his report, the
Commissioner concluded that Wealth Marketings executives (which included
respondent herein) conspired with one another in DEFRAUDING THE
COMPLAINANTS by engaging in an unlawful network of recruiting innocent
investors to invest in foreign currency trading business where, in fact, no such
business existed, as Wealth Marketing was not duly licensed by the SEC to
engage in such undertaking. It also appears that Ur-Link was CREATED ONLY
Commissioner likewise found that respondent had been PREVIOUSLY
SUSPENDED by this Court for committing similar acts of defraudation.
Considering the gravity of the acts committed, as well as his previous
administrative case and defiance of lawful orders, the Commissioner
recommended that respondent be DISBARRED from the practice of law. In its
Resolution the IBP BG adopted and approved the Commissioners report and
ISSUE: Should respondent be disbarred?
HELD: Lawyers are instruments in the administration of justice. As vanguards
of our legal system, they are expected to maintain not only legal proficiency but
also a high standard of morality, honesty, integrity and fair dealing. In so doing,
the peoples faith and confidence in the judicial system is ensured. Lawyers may
be disciplined whether in their professional or in their private capacity for any
conduct that is wanting in morality, honesty, probity and good demeanor.
RESPONDENT PLAYED A VITAL ROLE, being Wealth Marketings Chairman
of the Board and Ur-Links representative:
As correctly pointed out by the City Prosecutors Office of Makati, it
appears that the executive officers of Wealth Marketing Corporation
truth of the matter is THAT THERE WAS NO ACTUAL FOREIGN
CURRENCY TRADING since said corporation is NOT DULY
LICENSED OR AUTHORIZED by the SEC to perform such task.
Records will show that the corporation has been dealing with investors with
millions of pesos on hand, with the hope that their money would earn interests as
promised. However, their company resources and financial status will show that
they are not in the position to meet these demands if a situation such as this would
In order TO EVADE THE INVESTORS who were then asking for the return of
their investments, said respondent even formed and made him part of a new
company, Ur-Link Corporation, which according to the complainants, when
they met the respondent, would assume the obligations of the defunct Wealth
Marketing Corporation. It is also evident that respondent is frolicking with the
SEC for the purpose of EMPLOYING FRAUD.
The fact that the criminal case against the respondent involving the same set of
facts is still pending in court is of no moment. Respondent, being a member of
the bar, should note that administrative cases against lawyers belong to a class of

[A.C. No. 4947. June 7, 2007.]

ROSA YAP-PARAS, petitioner, vs. ATTY. JUSTO PARAS, respondent.


petitioner filed a verified Petition praying for the disbarment of her estranged SALAZAR, FLORENTINO P. FELICIANO, BENILDO G. HERNANDEZ.
husband respondent alleging acts of deceit, malpractice, grave misconduct, GREGORIO R. CASTILLO. ALBERTO P. SAN JUAN, JUAN C. REYES. JR.,
grossly immoral conduct and violation of oath as a lawyer
PESIGAN, petitioners.
the children of Ledesma all surnamed Paras executed a SPA by the respondent to
sell parcels of land located in Matobato, Bindoy, Negros Oriental giving authority IN THE MATTER OF THE PETITION FOR AUTHORITY TO CONTINUE USE
to their mother to sell the subject real properties previously registered in the name OF THE FIRM NAME "OZAETA, ROMULO, DE LEON, MABANTA &
of the heirs of Vicente Paras wherein respondent was one of the signatories REYES." RICARDO J. ROMULO, BENJAMIN M. DE LEON, ROMAN
Complainant alleged that on the basis of said SPA Ledesma J. Paras-Sumabang
executed a Deed of Absolute Sale in favor of Aurora Dy-Yap over the subject real July 30, 1979 | R E S O L U T I O N
property which was with the respondents full knowledge

her attention was called to the fact that a free patent title to the MELENCIO-HERRERA
aforesaid property was issued in respondents name
Two separate Petitions were filed before this Court 1) by the surviving partners of
-Complainant alleged that the aforementioned application was made by Atty. Alexander Sycip, who died on May 5, 1975, and 2) by the surviving partners
of Atty. Herminio Ozaeta, who died on February 14, 1976, praying that they be
the respondent without her knowledge and consent and those acts of allowed to continue using, in the names of their firms, the names of partners who
deceit, machinations and falsification of documents were deliberately had passed away. In the Court's Resolution of September 2, 1976, both Petitions
willfully, and maliciously committed by the respondent in violation of were ordered consolidated.
Art. 172 in relation to Art. 171 of the RPC (Anti-Dummy Law ) in
Petitioners base their petitions on the following arguments:
betrayal of his oath as a lawyer and a transgression of the Canons
had full knowledge in successfully causing the release of a free patent in
his name and unjustly and unlawfully deprived the rightful owners of
their legitimate title to the said property in betrayal of the court to
pervert the administration of justice in gross violation of his oath of

Under the law, a partnership is not prohibited from continuing its
business under a firm name which includes the name of a deceased partner; in fact,
Article 1840 of the Civil Code explicitly sanctions the practice when it provides in
the last paragraph that:

The use by the person or partnership continuing the business of the partnership
name, or the name of a deceased partner as part thereof, shall not of itself make the
individual property of the deceased partner liable for any debts contracted by such
- complainant was obviously not the owner of the properties and person or partnership.


considering that the properties were applied for free patent titling during
their marital union prior to its breakage
-Respondent alleged that the whole idea of giving to him and the

complainant the properties was hatched and executed by the Yaps, most
particularly Atty. Francisco D. Yap to circumvent the law and prevent the
properties from being given by the government to some other qualified
persons. He allegedly applied for issuance of free patent in good faith
and thereafter took dominion and control of the properties in the concept
of a legitimate owner under authority of a gratuitous grant of the
IBP Commissioner: suspended 6months
SC: guilty of committing a falsehood in violation of his lawyers oath

In regulating other professions, such as accountancy and engineering, the

legislature has authorized the adoption of firm names without any restriction as to
the use, in such firm name, of the name of a deceased partner; 2 the legislative
authorization given to those engaged in the practice of accountancy a profession
requiring the same degree of trust and confidence in respect of clients as that
implicit in the relationship of attorney and client to acquire and use a trade name,
strongly indicates that there is no fundamental policy that is offended by the
continued use by a firm of professionals of a firm name which includes the name of
a deceased partner, at least where such firm name has acquired the characteristics of
a "trade name."
The Canons of Professional Ethics are not transgressed by the continued
use of the name of a deceased partner in the firm name of a law partnership because
Canon 33 of the Canons of Professional Ethics adopted by the American Bar
Association declares that:

... The continued use of the name of a deceased or former partner when permissible
by local custom, is not unethical but care should be taken that no imposition or
Disbarment filed by herein petitioner-against respondent Atty. Justo Paras, for the deception is practiced through this use. ...
latter's alleged violation of a suspension order earlier meted upon him by the
There is no possibility of imposition or deception because the deaths of
their respective deceased partners were well-publicized in all newspapers of general
Court resolved to suspend Atty. Paras from the practice of law for a period of one circulation for several days; the stationeries now being used by them carry new
letterheads indicating the years when their respective deceased partners were
(1) year
connected with the firm; petitioners will notify all leading national and international
During the pendency of Atty. Paras' motion for reconsideration, complainantfiled law directories of the fact of their respective deceased partners' deaths.
with the Court the instant Motion for Contempt and/or Disbarment, alleging that
No local custom prohibits the continued use of a deceased partner's name
Atty. Paras violated the suspension order earlier issued by the Court with his 5.
in a professional firm's name; 6 there is no custom or usage in the Philippines, or at
continued practice of law.
least in the Greater Manila Area, which recognizes that the name of a law firm
Court required Atty. Paras to comment on petitioner-movant's Motion for necessarily Identifies the individual members of the firm.
Contempt and/or Disbarment.--but failed to file
The continued use of a deceased partner's name in the firm name of law
a Comment on Motion for Contempt and Explanation on Failure to Timely File partnerships has been consistently allowed by U.S. Courts and is an accepted
practice in the legal profession of most countries in the world.
Required Comment was filed by Atty. Paras denying all the allegations

suspension of 1year

claimed that he had never done nor made any conduct to impede, obstruct, or The question involved in these Petitions first came under consideration by this
Court in 1953 when a law firm in Cebu (the Deen case) continued its practice of
degrade the administration of justice
including in its firm name that of a deceased partner, C.D. Johnston. The matter was
resolved with this Court advising the firm to desist from including in their firm
SC: DENIED REPRIMANDED (no sufficient basis)
designation the name of C. D. Johnston, who has long been dead."
The same issue was raised before this Court in 1958 as an incident in G. R. No. L11964, entitled Register of Deeds of Manila vs. China Banking Corporation. The
law firm of Perkins & Ponce Enrile moved to intervene as amicus curiae. Before
acting thereon, the Court, in a Resolution of April 15, 1957, stated that it "would
like to be informed why the name of Perkins is still being used although Atty. E. A.
Perkins is already dead." In a Manifestation dated May 21, 1957, the law firm of
Perkins and Ponce Enrile, raising substantially the same arguments as those now
being raised by petitioners, prayed that the continued use of the firm name "Perkins
& Ponce Enrile" be held proper.
On June 16, 1958, this Court resolved:

After carefully considering the reasons given by Attorneys Alfonso Ponce Enrile
and Associates for their continued use of the name of the deceased E. G. Perkins,
the Court found no reason to depart from the policy it adopted in June 1953 when
it required Attorneys Alfred P. Deen and Eddy A. Deen of Cebu City to desist
from including in their firm designation, the name of C. D. Johnston, deceased.
The Court believes that, in view of the personal and confidential nature of the
relations between attorney and client, and the high standards demanded in the
canons of professional ethics, no practice should be allowed which even in a
remote degree could give rise to the possibility of deception. Said attorneys are
accordingly advised to drop the name "PERKINS" from their firm name.

The usual reason given for different standards of conduct being applicable to the
practice of law from those pertaining to business is that the law is a profession.
Dean Pound, in his recently published contribution to the Survey of the Legal
Profession, (The Lawyer from Antiquity to Modern Times, p. 5) defines a
profession as "a group of men pursuing a learned art as a common calling in the
spirit of public service, no less a public service because it may incidentally be a
means of livelihood."



Petitioners herein now seek a re-examination of the policy thus far enunciated by Primary characteristics which distinguish the legal profession from business are:
the Court.
A duty of public service, of which the emolument is a byproduct, and in
The Court finds no sufficient reason to depart from the rulings thus laid down.
which one may attain the highest eminence without making much money.
Inasmuch as "Sycip, Salazar, Feliciano, Hernandez and Castillo" and 2.
A relation as an "officer of court" to the administration of justice
"Ozaeta, Romulo, De Leon, Mabanta and Reyes" are partnerships, the use in their involving thorough sincerity, integrity, and reliability.
partnership names of the names of deceased partners will run counter to Article
1815 of the Civil Code which provides:
A relation to clients in the highest degree fiduciary.
Art. 1815. Every partnership shall operate under a firm name, which may or may 4.
A relation to colleagues at the bar characterized by candor, fairness, and
not include the name of one or more of the partners.
unwillingness to resort to current business methods of advertising and
encroachment on their practice, or dealing directly with their clients.
Those who, not being members of the partnership, include their names in the firm
name, shall be subject to the liability, of a partner.
"The right to practice law is not a natural or constitutional right but is in the nature
of a privilege or franchise. It is limited to persons of good moral character with
It is clearly tacit in the above provision that names in a firm name of a partnership special qualifications duly ascertained and certified. The right does not only
must either be those of living partners and. in the case of non-partners, should be presuppose in its possessor integrity, legal standing and attainment, but also the
living persons who can be subjected to liability. In fact, Article 1825 of the Civil exercise of a special privilege, highly personal and partaking of the nature of a
Code prohibits a third person from including his name in the firm name under public trust."
pain of assuming the liability of a partner. The heirs of a deceased partner in a law
firm cannot be held liable as the old members to the creditors of a firm D.
Petitioners cited Canon 33 of the Canons of Professional Ethics of the
particularly where they are non-lawyers. Thus, Canon 34 of the Canons of American Bar Association" in support of their petitions.
Professional Ethics "prohibits an agreement for the payment to the widow and
heirs of a deceased lawyer of a percentage, either gross or net, of the fees received It is true that Canon 33 does not consider as unethical the continued use of the name
from the future business of the deceased lawyer's clients, both because the of a deceased or former partner in the firm name of a law partnership when such a
recipients of such division are not lawyers and because such payments will not practice is permissible by local custom but the Canon warns that care should be
represent service or responsibility on the part of the recipient. " Accordingly, taken that no imposition or deception is practiced through this use.
neither the widow nor the heirs can be held liable for transactions entered into
after the death of their lawyer-predecessor. There being no benefits accruing, there It must be conceded that in the Philippines, no local custom permits or allows the
ran be no corresponding liability.
continued use of a deceased or former partner's name in the firm names of law
partnerships. Firm names, under our custom, Identify the more active and/or more
Prescinding the law, there could be practical objections to allowing the use by law senior members or partners of the law firm. A glimpse at the history of the firms of
firms of the names of deceased partners. The public relations value of the use of petitioners and of other law firms in this country would show how their firm names
an old firm name can tend to create undue advantages and disadvantages in the have evolved and changed from time to time as the composition of the partnership
practice of the profession. An able lawyer without connections will have to make changed.
a name for himself starting from scratch. Another able lawyer, who can join an
old firm, can initially ride on that old firm's reputation established by deceased The continued use of a firm name after the death of one or more of the partners
designated by it is proper only where sustained by local custom and not where by
custom this purports to Identify the active members. ...
In regards to the last paragraph of Article 1840 of the Civil Code cited
by petitioners, supra, the first factor to consider is that it is within Chapter 3 of There would seem to be a question, under the working of the Canon, as to the
Title IX of the Code entitled "Dissolution and Winding Up." The Article primarily propriety of adding the name of a new partner and at the same time retaining that of
deals with the exemption from liability in cases of a dissolved partnership, of the a deceased partner who was never a partner with the new one. (H.S. Drinker, op.
individual property of the deceased partner for debts contracted by the person or cit., supra, at pp. 207208) (Emphasis supplied).
partnership which continues the business using the partnership name or the name
of the deceased partner as part thereof. What the law contemplates therein is a The possibility of deception upon the public, real or consequential, where the name
hold-over situation preparatory to formal reorganization.
of a deceased partner continues to be used cannot be ruled out. A person in search of
legal counsel might be guided by the familiar ring of a distinguished name
Secondly, Article 1840 treats more of a commercial partnership with a good will appearing in a firm title.
to protect rather than of a professional partnership, with no saleable good will but
whose reputation depends on the personal qualifications of its individual E.
Petitioners argue that U.S. Courts have consistently allowed the
members. Thus, it has been held that a saleable goodwill can exist only in a continued use of a deceased partner's name in the firm name of law partnerships.
commercial partnership and cannot arise in a professional partnership consisting But that is so because it is sanctioned by custom.
of lawyers.
In the case of Mendelsohn v. Equitable Life Assurance Society (33 N.Y.S. 2d 733)
As a general rule, upon the dissolution of a commercial partnership the which petitioners Salazar, et al. quoted in their memorandum, the New York
succeeding partners or parties have the right to carry on the business under the old Supreme Court sustained the use of the firm name Alexander & Green even if none
name, in the absence of a stipulation forbidding it, (s)ince the name of a of the present ten partners of the firm bears either name because the practice was
commercial partnership is a partnership asset inseparable from the good will of sanctioned by custom and did not offend any statutory provision or legislative
the firm. ... (60 Am Jur 2d, s 204, p. 115) (Emphasis supplied)
policy and was adopted by agreement of the parties. The Court stated therein:
On the other hand,
... a professional partnership the reputation of which depends or; the individual
skill of the members, such as partnerships of attorneys or physicians, has no good
win to be distributed as a firm asset on its dissolution, however intrinsically
valuable such skill and reputation may be, especially where there is no provision
in the partnership agreement relating to good will as an asset. ... (ibid, s 203, p.
115) (Emphasis supplied)

The practice sought to be proscribed has the sanction of custom and offends no
statutory provision or legislative policy. Canon 33 of the Canons of Professional
Ethics of both the American Bar Association and the New York State Bar
Association provides in part as follows: "The continued use of the name of a
deceased or former partner, when permissible by local custom is not unethical, but
care should be taken that no imposition or deception is practiced through this use."
There is no question as to local custom. Many firms in the city use the names of
deceased members with the approval of other attorneys, bar associations and the
courts. The Appellate Division of the First Department has considered the matter
and reached The conclusion that such practice should not be prohibited. (Emphasis

A partnership for the practice of law cannot be likened to partnerships
formed by other professionals or for business. For one thing, the law on
accountancy specifically allows the use of a trade name in connection with the
practice of accountancy.
A partnership for the practice of law is not a legal entity. It is a mere relationship
or association for a particular purpose. ... It is not a partnership formed for the
purpose of carrying on trade or business or of holding property." Thus, it has been
stated that "the use of a nom de plume, assumed or trade name in law practice is



Neither the Partnership Law nor the Penal Law prohibits the practice in question.
The use of the firm name herein is also sustainable by reason of agreement between
the partners.
Not so in this jurisdiction where there is no local custom that sanctions the practice.
Custom has been defined as a rule of conduct formed by repetition of acts,

uniformly observed (practiced) as a social rule, legally binding and obligatory. 19

Courts take no judicial notice of custom. A custom must be proved as a fact,
according to the rules of evidence. A local custom as a source of right cannot be
considered by a court of justice unless such custom is properly established by
competent evidence like any other fact. We find such proof of the existence of a
local custom, and of the elements requisite to constitute the same, wanting herein.
Merely because something is done as a matter of practice does not mean that
Courts can rely on the same for purposes of adjudication as a juridical custom.
Juridical custom must be differentiated from social custom. The former can
supplement statutory law or be applied in the absence of such statute. Not so with
the latter.

which was established in 1957 by Justice Ozaeta and his son and that, as to the said
law firm, the name Ozaeta has acquired an institutional and secondary connotation.
Article 1840 of the Civil Code, which speaks of the use by the partnership of the
name of a deceased partner as part of the partnership name, is cited to justify the
petitions. Also invoked is the canon that the continued use by a law firm of the
name of a deceased partner, "when permissible by local custom, is not unethical" as
long as "no imposition or deception is practised through this use" (Canon 33 of the
Canons of Legal Ethics).

I am of the opinion that the petition may be granted with the condition that it be
indicated in the letterheads of the two firms (as the case may be) that Alexander
Moreover, judicial decisions applying or interpreting the laws form part of the Sycip, former Justice Ozaeta and Herminio Ozaeta are dead or the period when they
legal system. When the Supreme Court in the Deen and Perkins cases issued its served as partners should be stated therein.
Resolutions directing lawyers to desist from including the names of deceased
partners in their firm designation, it laid down a legal rule against which no Obviously, the purpose of the two firms in continuing the use of the names of their
custom or practice to the contrary, even if proven, can prevail. This is not to speak deceased founders is to retain the clients who had customarily sought the legal
of our civil law which clearly ordains that a partnership is dissolved by the death services of Attorneys Sycip and Ozaeta and to benefit from the goodwill attached to
of any partner. Custom which are contrary to law, public order or public policy the names of those respected and esteemed law practitioners. That is a legitimate
shall not be countenanced.
The practice of law is intimately and peculiarly related to the administration of The retention of their names is not illegal per se. That practice was followed before
justice and should not be considered like an ordinary "money-making trade."
the war by the law firm of James Ross. Notwithstanding the death of Judge Ross the
founder of the law firm of Ross, Lawrence, Selph and Carrascoso, his name was
... It is of the essence of a profession that it is practiced in a spirit of public retained in the firm name with an indication of the year when he died. No one
service. A trade ... aims primarily at personal gain; a profession at the exercise of complained that the retention of the name of Judge Ross in the firm name was
powers beneficial to mankind. If, as in the era of wide free opportunity, we think illegal or unethical.
of free competitive self assertion as the highest good, lawyer and grocer and
farmer may seem to be freely competing with their fellows in their calling in
order each to acquire as much of the world's good as he may within the allowed
him by law. But the member of a profession does not regard himself as in
competition with his professional brethren. He is not bartering his services as is
the artisan nor exchanging the products of his skill and learning as the farmer sells
wheat or corn. There should be no such thing as a lawyers' or physicians' strike.
The best service of the professional man is often rendered for no equivalent or for
a trifling equivalent and it is his pride to do what he does in a way worthy of his
profession even if done with no expectation of reward, This spirit of public
service in which the profession of law is and ought to be exercised is a
prerequisite of sound administration of justice according to law. The other two
elements of a profession, namely, organization and pursuit of a learned art have
their justification in that they secure and maintain that spirit.
In fine, petitioners' desire to preserve the Identity of their firms in the eyes of the
public must bow to legal and ethical impediment.
ACCORDINGLY, the petitions filed herein are denied and petitioners advised to
drop the names "SYCIP" and "OZAETA" from their respective firm names. Those
names may, however, be included in the listing of individuals who have been
partners in their firms indicating the years during which they served as such.
Teehankee, Concepcion, Jr., Santos, Fernandez, Guerrero and De Castro, JJ.,
Fernando, C.J. and Abad Santos, J., took no part.

Separate Opinions

FERNANDO, C.J., concurring:

The petitions are denied, as there are only four votes for granting them, seven of
the Justices being of the contrary view, as explained in the plurality opinion of
Justice Ameurfina Melencio-Herrera. It is out of delicadeza that the undersigned
did not participate in the disposition of these petitions, as the law office of Sycip,
Salazar, Feliciano, Hernandez and Castillo started with the partnership of
Quisumbing, Sycip, and Quisumbing, the senior partner, the late Ramon
Quisumbing, being the father-in-law of the undersigned, and the most junior
partner then, Norberto J. Quisumbing, being his brother- in-law. For the record,
the undersigned wishes to invite the attention of all concerned, and not only of
petitioners, to the last sentence of the opinion of Justice Ameurfina MelencioHerrera: 'Those names [Sycip and Ozaeta] may, however, be included in the
listing of individuals wtes
AQUINO, J., dissenting:
I dissent. The fourteen members of the law firm, Sycip, Salazar, Feliciano,
Hernandez & Castillo, in their petition of June 10, 1975, prayed for authority to
continue the use of that firm name, notwithstanding the death of Attorney
Alexander Sycip on May 5, 1975 (May he rest in peace). He was the founder of
the firm which was originally known as the Sycip Law Office.
On the other hand, the seven surviving partners of the law firm, Ozaeta, Romulo,
De Leon, Mabanta & Reyes, in their petition of August 13, 1976, prayed that they
be allowed to continue using the said firm name notwithstanding the death of two
partners, former Justice Roman Ozaeta and his son, Herminio, on May 1, 1972
and February 14, 1976, respectively.
They alleged that the said law firm was a continuation of the Ozaeta Law Office

A.C. No. 6010 August 28, 2006

disbarment case filed by the Faculty members and Staff of (SLU-LHS)
against Atty. Rolando C. Dela Cruz, principal of SLU-LHS
1) Gross Misconduct: ( pending criminal case for child abuse allegedly
committed by him against a high school student)
2) Grossly Immoral Conduct: ( contracting a second marriage despite
the existence of his first marriage)
3) Malpractice: ( notarizing documents despite the expiration of his
commission)--evidenced by 14 documents:
resp comment:
-denied allegations

[A.C. No. 6648. September 21, 2005]

BASCO, respondent.
Disbarment case for the alleged violation of Notarial Law.
According to complainant:
respondent Atty. Humberto B. Basco testified before RTC of Manila
stating among others, that he allegedly notarized a Deed of Sale executed
by complainant Josefina P. Soriano
--that Josefina Soriano personally appeared before him when he notarized
the Deed of Sale when in fact she had never appeared before Notary
Public and not seen much less received copy of the alleged contract,
--complainant requested for a copy of the alleged contract from the Office
of the Clerk of Court
--issued a Certificationcertifying that the alleged Deed of Sale involving
Josefina P. Soriano as vendor alleged to have been acknowledged before
Notary Public Humberto B. Basco was not among the document submitted
to said office
--received a certified true copy of the notarial register of Notary Public
Basco which disclosed his failure to indicate the names of the witnesses,
fees charged, the respective residence certificates of the parties

-admitted his second marriage despite the existence of his first marriage
-admitted having notarized certain documents However, he offered some
extenuating defenses such as good faith, lack of malice and noble resp answer:
intentions in doing the complained acts. --received no payment
-complainant together with her son, Marcial P. Soriano went to his
officeboth carrying with them a duly pre-drafted deed of sale
(2) years Suspension from the practice of law
Respondent claim that his staff secretary of course, retained a copy
for our file and advised complainant and her son to immediately return or
IBP-BG: penalty not well taken
call the office to furnish their respective CTC
One of the conditions prior to admission to the bar is that an applicant
must possess good moral character. Possession of such moral character
as requirement to the enjoyment of the privilege of law practice must be
1. When the second marriage was entered into, respondents prior
marriage with Teresita Rivera was still subsisting, no action having been
initiated before the court to obtain a judicial declaration of nullity or
annulment of respondents prior marriage to Teresita Rivera or a judicial
declaration of presumptive death of Teresita Rivera. (already a member
of the Bar when he contracted the bigamous second marriage )
-- not prepared to consider respondents act as grossly immoral.
2. The requirements for the issuance of a commission as notary public
must not be treated as a mere casual formality.
-- notarization is not an empty, meaningless, routinary act.
guilty of immoral conduct, in disregard CPR
4years of suspension

IBP-BG: notarial commission be revoked and respondent be reprimanded

and warned
ISSUE: whether or not the respondent is guilty of dereliction of duty as a
notary public.
evident that respondent in discharging the duties as notary public failed to
exercise diligence in his performance of his responsibilities as such.
Here, Atty. Basco violated the Notarial Law by failing to provide all
the necessary information regarding the questioned Deed of Sale entered
in his notarial register. He even notarized said instrument even without
the notation of the residence certificate of the party to the document.
Sec. 245. Notarial Register. Every notary public shall keep a register to
be known as the notarial register, wherein record shall be made of all his
official acts as notary; and he shall supply a certified copy of such record,
or any part thereof, to any person applying for it and paying the legal fees
Sec. 246. Matters to be entered therein.
We have emphatically stressed that notarization is not an empty,
meaningless, routinary act. it is invested with substantive public interest,
such that only those who are qualified or authorized may act as notary

REVOKED and he is DISQUALIFIED from being commissioned as

such for a period of one (1) year with a WARNING