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Lawyer's Duties to Society

36) Montecillo v. Gica, 60 SCRA 234 (1974) Dela Cruz


Montecillo and del Mar vs Francisco Gica et al
Facts: Jorge Montecillo was accused by Francisco Gica of slander. Atty. Quirico
del Mar represented Montecillo and he successfully defended Monteceillo in the l
ower court. Del Mar was even able to win their counterclaim thus the lower court
ordered Gica to pay Montecillo the adjudged moral damages.
Gica appealed the award of damages to the Court of Appeals where the latter cour
t reversed the same. Atty. Del Mar then filed a motion for reconsideration where
he made a veiled threat against the Court of Appeals judges intimating that he
thinks the CA justices knowingly rendered an unjust decision and judgment has been
rendered through negligence and that the CA allowed itself to be deceived.
The CA denied the MFR and it admonished Atty. Del Mar from using such tone with
the court. Del Mar then filed a second MFR where he again made threats. The CA t
hen ordered del Mar to show cause as to why he should not be punished for contem
pt.
Thereafter, del Mar sent the three CA justices a copy of a letter which he sent
to the President of the Philippines asking the said justices to consider the CA
judgment. But the CA did not reverse its judgment. Del Mar then filed a civil ca
se against the three justices of the CA before a Cebu lower court but the civil
case was eventually dismissed by reason of a compromise agreement where del Mar
agreed to pay damages to the justices. Eventually, the CA suspended Atty. Del Ma
r from practice.
The issue reached the Supreme Court. Del Mar asked the SC to reverse his suspens
ion as well as the CA decision as to the Montecillo case. The SC denied both and
this earned the ire of del Mar as he demanded from the Clerk of the Supreme Cou
rt as to who were the judges who voted against him.
The Supreme Court then directed del Mar to submit an explanation as to why he sh
ould not be disciplined. Del Mar in his explanation instead tried to justify his
actions even stating that had he not been convinced that human efforts in [pursu
ing the case] will be fruitless he would have continued with the civil case again
st the CA justices. In his explanation, del Mar also intimated that even the Sup
reme Court is part among the corrupt, the grafters and those allegedly committing
injustice .
Del Mar even filed a civil case against some Supreme Court justices but the judg
e who handled the case dismissed the same.
ISSUE: Whether or not Atty. Del Mar should be suspended.
HELD: Yes. Atty. Del Mar, by his contemptuous acts is in violation of his duties
to the courts. As an officer of the court, it is his sworn and moral duty to he
lp build and not destroy unnecessarily the high esteem and regard towards the co
urt so essential to the proper administration of justice.
It is manifest that del Mar has scant respect for the two highest Courts of the
land when on the flimsy ground of alleged error in deciding a case, he proceeded
to challenge the integrity of both Courts by claiming that they knowingly rende
red unjust judgment. In short, his allegation is that they acted with intent and
malice, if not with gross ignorance of the law, in disposing of the case of his
client.
Del Mar was then suspended indefinitely.
37) In re Gutierrez, 5 SCRA 661(1962) Del Mundo
IN RE: Disbarment Proceedings Against Atty. Diosdado Q. Gutierrez
A.M. No. L-363; July 31, 1962
Facts: Respondent Diosdado Gutierrez is a member of
hereafter convicted of the murder of Filemon Samaco
alty of reclusion perpetua. After serving a portion
Atty. Gutierrez was granted a conditional pardon by

the Philippine Bar. He was t


and was sentenced to the pen
of the sentence, respondent
the President. The unexecute

d portion of the prison term was remitted "on the condition that he shall not ag
ain violate any of the penal laws of the Philippines." Subsequently, the widow o
f deceased Samaco filed a complaint praying that respondent Atty. Gutierrez be r
emoved from the roll of lawyers. Respondent Atty. Gutierrez admitted the facts a
lleged by the complainant regarding his previous conviction but pleading the con
ditional pardon in defense.
Issue: Whether or not the conditional pardon extended to respondent Atty. Gutier
rez places him beyond the scope of the rule on disbarment.
Held: No. A lawyer is bound to uphold the laws. He may be removed or suspended f
rom his office as attorney by the Supreme Court by reason of his conviction of a
crime involving moral turpitude. Furthermore, the rule that pardon operates to
wipe out the conviction and is a bar to any proceeding for the disbarment of the
attorney after the pardon has been granted applies only where the pardon is abs
olute.
In the case at bar, since the crime of murder done by respondent
Atty. Gutierrez involves moral turpitude and the pardon granted to him was only
a conditional pardon, he was therefore ordered disbarred and his name stricken
from the roll of lawyers.
38) Oronce v. CA, 298 SCRA 133 (1998) De Ello
Oronce v. CA
G.R. No. 125766. October 19, 1998;
DE ELLO

J. Romero;

Digested by P.E.

Facts: A motion to cite in contempt of court was filed against petitioner Rosita
L. Flaminiano and her husband, Atty. Eduardo B. Flaminiano. Rosita is one of th
e petitioners in this case involving a parcel of land, the ownership of which is
the issue in the MTC. The Private respondent in the lower court is Priciliano B
. Gonzales Development Corporation.
This was founded on an affidavit of Dr. Tadeo Gonzales who resided at th
e contested property, deriving his right to do so from private respondent corpor
ation Priciliano B. Gonzales Development Corporation that is owned by his family
. Dr. Tadeo Gonzales alleged that on September 20, 1997, petitioner Flaminiano a
nd her husband entered the property through craftiness and intimidation:
At around 5:30 p.m. on that day, two (2) men knocked at the gate. When
the houseboy, Luis R. Fernandez, opened the gate for pedestrians tentatively, th
e two men told him that they would like to visit Gonzales mother who was ailing.
Once inside, the two men identified themselves as policemen and opened t
he gate for twenty (20) men, two (2) trucks and an L-300 van to enter. When Gon
zales went outside the house, he saw thirty (30) to forty (40) men and two (2) t
rucks entering the driveway. The person he asked regarding the presence of those
people inside the property turned out to be the brother of petitioner Flaminian
o. That person said, Kami ang may-ari dito. Matagal na kaming nagtitiis, kayo an
g dapat sa labas. After Gonzales had told him that the property was still under l
itigation before this Court, the man said, Walang Supreme Court
Supreme Court. When
Gonzales asked petitioner Flaminiano, who was inside the premises, to order the
people to leave, she said, Papapasukin namin ito dahil sa amin ito. Maglalagay a
ko ng tao diyan sa loob, sa harap, sa likod. Wala ng pakiusap. When a power gener
ator was brought inside the property and Gonzales pleaded that it be taken out b
ecause the noise it would create would disturb his ailing mother, Emiliana Gonza
les, petitioner Flaminiano said, Walang awa-awa sa akin. Atty. Flaminiano butted i
n and, referring to Gonzales mother, said, Ialis mo na, matanda na pala.
When Gonz
ales prevented the switching on of some lights in the house due to faulty wiring
, Atty. Flaminiano suggested, Bakit hindi mo ipasunog ito? May insurance pa kayo
5 million, madali lang yan. Short circuit.
Since the Flaminianos and their crew w
ere not about to leave the property, Gonzales called up his brother, Atty. Anton

io Gonzales, and informed him of what happened. However, instead of confining t


hemselves in the driveway, the Flaminianos and their group entered the terrace,
bringing in food.
Gonzales was all the while concerned about his 81-year-old mother who had just b
een discharged from the hospital. However, the Flaminianos stayed until the next
day, September 22, 1997, using the kitchen, furniture and other fixtures in the
house. Gonzales took pictures of Flaminiano and his companions. When Atty. Flam
iniano arrived, he confronted Gonzales and told him, Hindi ako natatakot kahit ka
nino ka pa mag-report, kahit pa sa Supreme Court, gusto ko nga mag-reklamo kayo
para matapos ang kaso. Sa September 25, may shooting dito, gagawin ko ang gusto
ko dito.
The affidavits of Renato C. Mola, driver of Atty. Antonio Gonzales (brot
her of Dr. Tadeo), and that of Luis R. Fernandez, houseboy of Dr. Tadeo Gonzales
, as well as the xerox copy of the sworn statement dated September 21, 1997 of P
ria B. Gonzales before the Philippine National Police in Camp Crame where she fi
led a complaint against Atty. Flaminiano for the illegal entry into their house,
support the affidavit of Dr. Gonzales.
In its supplemental motion to cite petitioner Flaminiano and her husband, Atty.
Flaminiano, in contempt of court, private respondent alleged that the Flaminiano
s committed additional contumacious acts in preventing another member of the fam
ily, Mrs. Cipriana Gonzales, from entering the property. In her affidavit, Mrs.
Gonzales said that the Flaminianos and their people used the whole house, except
the bedrooms, for their filming activities.
Issue/s: Whether petitioner Rosita L. Flaminiano and her husband, Atty. Eduardo
B. Flaminiano, should be held in contempt of court.
Held: Yes. Under Section 3, Rule 71 of the Rules of Court, petitioner Rosita s act
of entering the property in defiance of the writ of preliminary injunction issu
ed by the Court of Appeals constituted indirect contempt.
The conduct of petitioner Rosita Flaminiano in taking possession over th
e property as alleged by private respondent Priciliano B. Gonzales Development C
orporation through Tadeo Gonzales is deplorably high-handed. On an erroneous ass
umption that Rosita had been legally vested with ownership of the property, she
took steps prior to the present proceedings by illegally taking control and poss
ession of the same property in litigation.
Be that as it may, what is disturbing to the Court is the conduct of her
husband, Eduardo Flaminiano, a lawyer whose actuations as an officer of the cou
rt should be beyond reproach. His contumacious acts of entering the Gilmore pro
perty without the consent of its occupants and in contravention of the existing
writ or preliminary injunction issued by the Court of Appeals and making utteran
ces showing disrespect for the law and this Court, are certainly unbecoming of a
member of the Philippine Bar. To be sure, he asserted in his comment on the mo
tion for contempt that petitioners peacefully took over the property. Nonetheless
, such peaceful take-over cannot justify defiance of the writ of preliminary injun
ction that he knew was still in force. Notably, he did not comment on nor categ
orically deny that he committed the contumacious acts alleged by private respond
ent. Through his acts, Atty. Flaminiano has flouted his duties as a member of t
he legal profession. Under the Code of Professional Responsibility, he is prohi
bited from counseling or abetting activities aimed at defiance of the law or at l
essening confidence in the legal system.
39) De Ysasi v.NLRC, 231 SCRA 173 (1994) Desoacido
Jon De Ysasi III v. NLRC and Jon De Ysasi
FACTS: Petitioner was employed by his father, herein private respondent, as farm
administrator of Hacienda Manucao in Hinigaran, Negros Occidental. . His employ
ment as farm administrator was on a fixed salary, with other allowances covering

housing, food, light, power, telephone, gasoline, medical and dental expenses.
petitioner was responsible for the supervision of daily activities and operation
s of the sugarcane farm For this purpose, he lived on the farm, occupying the up
per floor of the house there. Following his marriage on June 6, 1982, petitioner
moved to Bacolod City with his wife and commuted to work daily. He suffered var
ious ailments and was hospitalized on two separate occasions in June and August,
1982. In November, 1982, he underwent fistulectomy, or the surgical removal of
the fistula, a deep sinuous ulcer. During his recuperation which lasted over fou
r months, he was under the care of Dr. Patricio Tan. In June, 1983, he was confi
ned for acute gastroenteritis and, thereafter, for infectious hepatitis from Dec
ember, 1983 to January, 1984. During the entire periods of petitioner's illnesse
s, private respondent took care of his medical expenses and petitioner continued
to receive compensation. However, in April, 1984, without due notice, private r
espondent ceased to pay the latter's salary. Petitioner made oral and written de
mands for an explanation for the sudden withholding of his salary from Atty. Apo
lonio Sumbingco, private respondent's auditor and legal adviser, as well as for
the remittance of his salary. Both demands, however, were not acted upon. Petiti
oner then filed an action with the National Labor Relations Commission against p
rivate respondent for illegal dismissal. The case was specially unique as it inv
olved a father and his only son whose relations became sour. Respondent Father a
lleges that there was abandonment on the part of his son. NLRC dismissed the pet
ition on ground of abandonment. MRs were denied.
ISSUE: WON the respective counsels of the parties failed to encourage their clie
nts to avoid litigation?
HELD: The conduct of the respective counsel of the parties, as revealed by the r
ecords, sorely disappoints the Court and invites reproof. Both counsel may well
be reminded that their ethical duty as lawyers to represent their clients with z
eal goes beyond merely presenting their clients' respective causes in court. It
is just as much their responsibility, if not more importantly, to exert all reas
onable efforts to smooth over legal conflicts, preferably out of court and espec
ially in consideration of the direct and immediate consanguineous ties between t
heir clients. Once again, we reiterate that the useful function of a lawyer is n
ot only to conduct litigation but to avoid it whenever possible by advising sett
lement or withholding suit. He is often called upon less for dramatic forensic e
xploits than for wise counsel in every phase of life. He should be a mediator fo
r concord and a conciliator for compromise, rather than a virtuoso of technicali
ty in the conduct of litigation.
Rule 1.04 of the Code of Professional Responsibility explicitly provides that "(
a) lawyer shall encourage his client to avoid, end or settle the controversy if
it will admit of a fair settlement." On this point, we find that both counsel he
rein fell short of what was expected of them, despite their avowed duties as off
icers of the court. The records do not show that they took pains to initiate ste
ps geared toward effecting a rapprochement between their clients. On the contrar
y, their acerbic and protracted exchanges could not but have exacerbated the sit
uation even as they may have found favor in the equally hostile eyes of their re
spective clients.
In the same manner, we find that the labor arbiter who handled this regrettable
case has been less than faithful to the letter and spirit of the Labor Code mand
ating that a labor arbiter "shall exert all efforts towards the amicable settlem
ent of a labor dispute within his jurisdiction." If he ever did so, or at least
entertained the thought, the copious records of the proceedings in this controve
rsy are barren of any reflection of the same.
40) Pajares v. Abad Santos, 30 SCRA 748 (1969) Emas
Gloria Pajares vs. Judge Estrella Abad Santos and Udharam Bazar & Co.
30 SCRA 748, November 29, 1969
Ponente: Teehankee, J.

FACTS: In 1961, Pajares ordered from Udharam Bazar quantities of ready-made good
s which were delivered to her in good condition and some were already sold, but
she did not make the full payment. She was sued before the Municipal Court of Ma
nila for recovery of a certain sum of money because of her indebtedness in the a
mount of Php 354.85. Instead of answering the complaint against her, Pajares, ho
wever, moved for a bill of particulars praying the inferior court to require Udh
aram Bazar to itemize the kinds of goods which she supposedly purchased from the
said company, the respective dates they were taken and by whom they were receiv
ed as well as their purchase prices, alleging that without this bill she would n
ot be able to meet the issues raised in the complaint. The motion, and the motio
n for reconsideration was denied, she then brought the incident on certiorari to
the Court of First Instance of Manila, alleging in support of her petition that
in denying her motion for a bill of particulars, the respondent judge acted in
grave abuse of discretion. It was again denied so Pajares undertook the present
appeal to the SC, contending under her lone assignment of error to maintain her
appeal, that the lower court erred in dismissing her petition for certiorari wit
h preliminary injunction. The simple collection case dragged on for seven (7) ye
ars.
ISSUE: W/N the appellant s lawyer properly performed his duty to society
HELD: NO. It is plain and clear that no error of law, much less any grave abuse
of discretion, was committed by respondent judge in denying appellant's motion f
or a bill of particulars. Appellee's complaint precisely and concisely informed
appellant of the ultimate or essential facts constituting the cause of action ag
ainst her, in accordance with the requirements of the Rules of Court.
It was therefore improper for Pajares, through her counsel, to insist on her mot
ion that appellee as plaintiff "submit a bill of particulars, specifying therein
in detail the goods represented by the alleged amount of P354.85, giving the da
tes and invoice numbers on which they were delivered to the defendant, the amoun
t due on each such invoice and by whom they were received." These particulars so
ught all concerned evidentiary matters and do not come within the scope of Rule
12, section 1 of the Rules of Court which permits a party "to move for a definit
e statement or for a bill of particulars of any matter which is not averred with
sufficient definiteness or particularly to enable him to prepare his responsive
pleading or to prepare for trial."
The simple collection case needlessly clogged the court dockets for over seven y
ears. Had Pajares been but prudently advised by her counsel to confess judgment
and ask from her creditor the reasonable time she needed to discharge her lawful
indebtedness, the expenses of litigation that she has incurred by way of filing
fees in the CFI, premiums for her appeal bond, appellate court docket fees, pri
nting of her appellant's brief, and attorney's fees would have been much more th
an sufficient to pay off her just debt to Udharam Bazar. Yet, here she still rem
ains saddled with the same debt, burdened by accumulated interests, after having
spent uselessly much more than the amount in litigation in this worthless cause
.
The SC declared that the cooperation of litigants and their attorneys is needed
so that needless clogging of the court dockets with unmeritorious cases may be a
voided. There must be more faithful adherence to Rule 7, section 5 of the Rules
of Court which provides that "the signature of an attorney constitutes a certifi
cate by him that he has read the pleading and that to the best of his knowledge,
information and belief, there is good ground to support it; and that it is not
interposed for delay" and expressly admonishes that "for a willful violation of
this rule an attorney may be subjected to disciplinary action."
The order appealed from was affirmed by the Supreme Court, and petitioner-appell
ant's counsel was ordered to pay the treble costs in all instances. The decision
was noted in the personal record of the attorney for petitioner-appellant in th
e Supreme Court for future reference.

41) People v. Rosqueta, 55 SCRA 486 (1974) Espiritu


G.R. No. L-36138 January 31, 1974
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, plaintiff-appellee,
vs.
ANTONIO ROSQUETA, JR., EUGENIO ROSQUETA and CITONG BRINGAS, defendants-appellant
s; ATTY. GREGORIO B. ESTACIO, respondent
FACTS: Appellants Antonio Rosqueta et al have been charged in Criminal Case No.
L-36138 entitled People v. Antonio Rosqueta, Jr., et al. pending on appeal befor
e the Supreme Court of the Philippines. The Supreme Court ordered their counsel
de parte, respondent Atty. Gregorio Estacio to show cause why he should not be s
uspended from practicing law after he failed to file the appellants brief on time
. Atty. Estacio failed to show cause as required so the SC issued a resolution s
uspending him from practicing law. He then filed a motion for reconsideration cl
aiming that he actually prepared an explanation which he left with his father bu
t it was not submitted because his father s house burned down. He only found out a
bout it when he was preparing this motion for reconsideration. He also stressed
that the appellants had already informed him that they are withdrawing the appe
al for failing to raise the necessary funds for the same. Respondent also submi
tted two affidavits from the appellants wherein they indicated their consent and
approval to the withdrawal of the appeal.
ISSUE: Whether or not Atty. Estacio s suspension should be lifted
HELD: YES. Respondent's liability is thus mitigated but he cannot be absolved fr
om the irresponsible conduct of which he is guilty. Respondent should be aware t
hat even in those cases where counsel de parte is unable to secure from appellan
ts or from their near relatives the amount necessary to pursue the appeal that d
oes not necessarily conclude his connection with the case. It has been a commend
able practice of some members of the bar under such circumstances, to be designa
ted as counsel de oficio. That way the interest of justice is best served. Appel
lants will then continue to receive the benefits of advocacy from one who is fam
iliar with the facts of the case. What is more, there is no undue delay in the a
dministration of justice. Lawyers of such category are entitled to commendation.
They manifest fidelity to the concept that law is a profession and not a mere t
rade with those engaged in it being motivated solely by the desire to make money
. Respondent's conduct yields a different impression. What has earned a reproof
however is his irresponsibility. He should be aware that in the pursuance of the
duty owed this Court as well as to a client; he cannot be too casual and unconc
erned about the filing of pleadings. It is not enough that he prepares them; he
must see to it that they are duly mailed. Such inattention as shown in this case
is inexcusable. At any rate, the suspension meted on him under the circumstance
s is more than justified. It seems, however, that well-nigh five months had elap
sed. That would suffice to atone for his misdeed.
WHEREFORE, the suspension of Atty. Gregorio B. Estacio is lifted. The requiremen
t to file the brief is dispensed with but Atty. Gregorio B. Estacio is censured
for negligence and inattention to duty. Likewise, as prayed for by appellants th
emselves, their appeal is dismissed.
42) De Roy v. CA, 157 SCRA 757 (1989) Guzman
De Roy vs Court of Appeals
G.R. No. 80718
January 29, 1988
Cortes, J.
Facts: The firewall of a burned-out building owned by petitioner, Felisa Perdosa
De Roy, collapsed and destroyed the tailoring shop of private respondents, Luis
Bernal, Sr., et al., resulting in injuries to their family and death of Marissa

Bernal, a daughter. Private respondents had been warned by petitioners to vacat


e their shop but the former failed to do so.
Given the facts, the First Judicial Region rendered judgment finding petitioners
guilty of gross negligence and awarding damages to private respondents. This de
cision was affirmed in toto by the Court of Appeals. On the last day of the 15-d
ay period to file an appeal, petitioners filed a motion for extension of tie to
file a motion for reconsideration, which was denied by the appellate court. They
again filed for a motion for reconsideration but was subsequently denied.
Petitioner filed for a special civic action for certiorari to declare null and v
oid the previous decision and claimed that the appellate court committed grave a
buse of discretion. They contended that the rule enunciated in the Habaluyas cas
e should not be made to apply to the case at bar owing to the non-publication of
the Habaluyas decision in the Official Gazette. Also they argued that the petit
ioners had the last clear chance to avoid the accident if only they heeded the war
ning to vacate the shop.
Issues: Whether or not the rule in the Habaluyas decision, stating that the 15-d
ay period for appealing or filing a motion for reconsideration cannot be extende
d, could be applied to the case at bar.
Held: The ruling in the Habaluyas case should be made to apply to the case at ba
r, notwithstanding the non-publication of the Habaluyas decision in the Official
Gazette. There is no law requiring the publication of Supreme Court decisions i
n the Official Gazette before they can be binding and as a condition to their be
coming effective. It is the duty of the counsel as lawyer in active law practice
to keep abreast of decisions of the Supreme Court, which are published in the a
dvance reports of Supreme Court decisions (G.R. s) and in pubications as the Supre
me Court Reports Annotated (SCRA) and law journals. The ruling in the Habaluyas
case was that the 15-day period for appealing or filing a motion for reconsidera
tion cannot be extended. Such motion may be filed only in cases pending in the S
upreme Court as the court of last resort, which in its discretion may grant or d
eny the extension requested. Such decision was given prospective application to
subsequent cases like Lacsamana vs Second Special Cases Division of the Intermed
iate Appellate Court and Bacaya vs Intermediate Appellate Court. With regard to
the contention on the last clear chance of private respondents to avoid the accide
nt, this should be disregarded, since the doctrine of last clear chance , wich has
been applied to vehicular accidents, is inapplicable to this case.
43) Far Eastern Shipping v. CA, 297 SCRA 30 (1998) Limjap
FAR EASTERN SHIPPING VS COURT OF APPEALS
FACTS: The M/V Pavlodar owned and operated by the Far Eastern Shipping Company a
rrived at the Port of Manila. Senen Gavino was assigned by the Manila Pilot s Asso
ciation to conduct docking maneuvers for the safe berthing of the vessel. Howeve
r, while the vessel was approaching the pier the anchor did not take hold causin
g it to ram into the apron of the pier causing considerable damage to the pier.
The vessel sustained damage too. Kavankov filed his sea protest. The Philippine
Ports Authority, through the Solicitor General, filed before the RTC of Manila,
a complaint for sum of money against Far Eastern Shipping, Gavino and the Manil
a Pilot s Association. The trial court ordered defendants therein jointly and seve
rally liable. On appeal, the CA affirmed. Thus, they elevated the matter to this
court via separate petitions for review on certiorari. The case of FESC was ass
igned to the second division of this court while the case of MPA was originally
assigned to First division and was later on transferred to third division. The
records show that the law firm of Del Rosario and Del Rosario, through its assoc
iate, Atty. Herbert Tria is the counsel of record for FESC in GR. No. 130068 and
130150. Gr.no. 130068, which is assigned to second division, commenced with th
e filing by FESC on August 22, 1997 of a verified motion for extension of time t
o file its petition for 30 days from august 28, 1997 or until September 27, 199
7. Said motion contained a certification against forum shopping signed by Atty.

Tria. FESC subsequently filed its petition on September 26, 1997 this time beari
ng verification and certification against forum shopping executed by Teodoro Lop
es on September 24, 1997. The petition filed by MPA in Gr.no. 130150 then pendin
g in the third division was duly filed on august 29, 1997 with a copy furnished
on the same day to FESC. Thus, the Court concluded that when FESC filed its peti
tion in Gr no. 130068 on September 26, 1997, it would already have received a c
opy of the former and would then have knowledge of the pendency of the other pet
ition in other division. For failure to make such disclosure, it would appear th
at the certification against forum shopping is defective.
ISSUE: whether or not the counsels are guilty of forum shopping.
HELD: YES. Even assuming that FESC has not yet received its copy of MPA's petiti
on at the time it filed its own petition and executed said certification, its si
gnatory did state "that if I should thereafter learn that a similar action or pr
oceeding has been filed or is pending before the Supreme Court, the Court of App
eals or any other tribunal or agency, I undertake to report the fact within five
(5) days therefrom in this Honorable Court." Scouring the records page by page
in this case, we find that no manifestation concordant with such undertaking was
then or at any other time thereafter ever filed by FESC nor was there any attem
pt to bring such matter to the attention of the Court. Moreover, it cannot feig
n non-knowledge of the existence of such other petition because FESC itself file
d the motion for consolidation in G.R. No. 130150 of these two cases on April 24
, 1998.
It is disturbing to note that counsel for FESC, the law firm of Del Rosario and
Del Rosario, displays an unprofessional tendency of taking the Rules for granted
, in this instance exemplified by its pro forma compliance therewith but apparen
tly without full comprehension of and with less than faithful commitment to its
undertakings to this Court in the interest of just, speedy and orderly administr
ation of court proceedings.
As between the lawyer and the courts, a lawyer owes candor, fairness and good fa
ith to the court. He is an officer of the court exercising a privilege which is
indispensable in the administration of justice. Candidness, especially towards t
he courts, is essential for the expeditious administration of justice. Courts a
re entitled to expect only complete honesty from lawyers appearing and pleading
before them.Candor in all dealings is the very essence of honorable membership i
n the legal profession More specifically, a lawyer is obliged to observe the rul
es of procedure and not to misuse them to defeat the ends of justice It behooves
a lawyer, therefore, to exert every effort and consider it his duty to assist i
n the speedy and efficient administration of justice. Being an officer of the co
urt, a lawyer has a responsibility in the proper administration of justice. Lik
e the court itself, he is an instrument to advance its ends -- the speedy, effic
ient, impartial, correct and inexpensive adjudication of cases and the prompt sa
tisfaction of final judgments. A lawyer should not only help attain these objec
tives but should likewise avoid any unethical or improper practices that impede,
obstruct or prevent their realization, charged as he is with the primary task o
f assisting in the speedy and efficient administration of justice.
This undeniably dilatory disinclination of the OSG to seasonably file required p
leadings constitutes deplorable disservice to the tax-paying public and can only
be categorized as censurable inefficiency on the part of the government law off
ice. This is most certainly professionally unbecoming of the OSG.
Another thing that baffles the Court is why the OSG did not take the initiative
of filing a motion for consolidation in either G.R. No. 130068 or G.R. No. 1301
50, considering its familiarity with the background of the case and if only to m
ake its job easier by having to prepare and file only one comment. It could not
have been unaware of the pendency of one or the other petition because, being c
ounsel for respondent in both cases, petitioner is required to furnish it with a
copy of the petition under pain of dismissal of the petition for failure otherw
ise
We find here a lackadaisical attitude and complacency on the part of the OSG in

the handling of its cases and an almost reflexive propensity to move for countle
ss extensions, as if to test the patience of the Court, before favoring it with
the timely submission of required pleadings.
It must be emphasized that the Court can resolve cases only as fast as the respe
ctive parties in a case file the necessary pleadings. The OSG, be needlessly ex
tending the pendency of these cases through its numerous motions for extension,
came very close to exhausting this Court's forbearance and has regrettably falle
n short of its duties as the People's Tribune.
The OSG is reminded that just like other members of the Bar, the canons under th
e Code of Professional Responsibility apply with equal force on lawyers in gover
nment service in the discharge of their official tasks.These ethical duties are
rendered even more exacting as to them because, as government counsel, they have
the added duty to abide by the policy of the State to promote a high standard o
f ethics in public service. Furthermore, it is incumbent upon the OSG, as part o
f the government bureaucracy, to perform and discharge its duties with the highe
st degree of professionalism, intelligence and skill and to extend prompt, court
eous and adequate service to the public
Counsel for FESC, the law firm of Del Rosario and Del Rosario, specifically its
associate, Atty. Herbert A. Tria, is REPRIMANDED and WARNED that a repetition o
f the same or similar acts of heedless disregard of its undertakings under the R
ules shall be dealt with more severely.
The original members of the legal team of the Office of the Solicitor General as
signed to this case, namely, Assistant Solicitor General Roman G. Del Rosario an
d Solicitor Luis F. Simon, are ADMONISHED and WARNED that a repetition of the sa
me or similar acts of unduly delaying proceedings due to delayed filing of requi
red pleadings shall also be dealt with more stringently.

44) Jose v. CA, 70 SCRA 257 (1976) Luzadio


Lorenzo Jose vs CA
G.R. No. L-38581 March 31, 1976
Ponente: Justice Munoz-Palma
Facts: On February 8, 1968, at the poblacion of Floridablanca, Pampanga, petit
ioner Jose was arrested by the local police for illegal discharge of firearm (Cr
im. Case 6235), robbery (Crim. Case 6236) and illegal possession of explosives (
Crim. Case 6237). These three cases were jointly tried after which the trial jud
ge, Hon. Honorio Romero who acquitted accused Lorenzo Jose of illegal discharge
of firearm and robbery, but convicted him for illegal possession of the hand gr
enade that was found on his person at the time of his arrest. After promulgation
of the judgment, petitioner on that same day filed his notice of appeal. On Jan
uary 24, 1970, petitioner filed a motion praying that the case be reopened to pe
rmit him to present, pursuant to a reservation he had made in the course of the
trial, a permit to possess the hand grenade in question. It was denied. The reco
rds of Criminal Case 6237 were then elevated to the Court of Appeals where petit
ioner as accused-appellant raised the issues of (1) an erroneous conviction for
illegal possession of explosives when there was no proof of an essential element
of the crime, and (2) erroneous denial of his motion to reopen the case for the
reception of his permit to possess the hand grenade. The CA affirmed the trial
court s ruling. Lorenzo Jose assisted by counsel, Atty. Francisco Carreon, filed w
ith the SC this petition for review which the Court denied outright on September
6, 1974. Lorenzo then filed a motion for reconsideration which the Solicitor Ge
neral opposed. On February 13, 1975, a Manifestation was submitted by the Solici
tor General informing the Court that in view of the " Persistence of accused pet
itioner Lorenzo Jose both before this Honorable Court and respondent Court of Ap
peals as to his alleged existing appointment as PC Agent and/or authority to han
d grenade," in the interest of justice, he was constrained to make pertinent inq
uiries from the PC Chief, Gen. Fidel V. Ramos who in reply sent his letter dated
December 27, 1974 with enclosures, xerox copies of which are being attached to

the manifestation as Annexes A, B, C, C-1 and D which indicated that Jose was ac
tually appointed as PC agent during the year 1968 of the Pampanga Constabulary c
ommand. The Solicitor General then concede to a new trial. The court then bends
the rules of procedure and allowed the re-trial of the case.
Issue: Whether or not the Solicitor General is correct in informing the court of
its findings despite the fact that the court did not order it to do so.
Held: Yes. The SC commended the Solicitor General and his Staff for their effort
in researching the case and informing the court of their findings. A prosecutin
g officer, as the representative of a sovereignty whose obligation and interest
in a criminal prosecution is not that it shall win a case but that justice shal
l be done, has the solemn responsibility to assure the public that while guilt s
hall not escape, innocence shall not suffer. (69 Phil. 556, 564-565, quoting Ju
stice Sutherland of the U.S. Supreme Court in 69 U.S. Law Review, June, 1935, No
. 6, p. 309) The Solicitor General now concedes that the interests of justice wi
ll best be served by remanding this case to the court of origin for a new trial.

45) People v. Pineda, 20 SCRA 748 (1967) Maligayo


July 21, 1967
G.R. No. L-26222
THE PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, petitioner,
vs.
HONORABLE JUDGE HERNANDO PINEDA of the Court of First Instance of Lanao del Nort
e; and TOMAS NARBASA, TAMBAC ALINDO and RUFINO BORRES, respondents.
Sanchez, J.:
FACTS: Respondents Tomas Narbasa, Tambac Alindo and Rufino Borres stand indicted
before the Court of First Instance of Lanao del Norte, as principals, in five (
5) separate cases, four for murder..
The facts of the case state that on the night of July 29, 1965, the occupants of
the home of the spouses Teofilo Mendoza and Valeriana Bontilao de Mendoza in Pu
gaan City of Iligan, were asleep. It was then that guns (rifle, caliber 22) and
paliuntod (homemade gun) were fired in rapid succession from outside the house.
Teofilo Mendoza fell dead. Thereafter, defendants below destroyed the door of th
e house, entered therein, and let loose several shots killing Neceforo Mendoza,
all minor children of the couple and wounding Valeriana Bontilao de Mendoza.
Two of the three defendants, Narbasa and Alindo plea that said cases arose out of
the same incident and motivated by one impulse. Respondent Judge directed the Ci
ty Fiscal to unify all the five criminal cases, and to file one single informati
on in Case 1246. The City Fiscal balked at the foregoing order, sought reconside
ration thereof, upon the ground that more than one gun was used, more than one sh
ot was fired and more than one victim was killed. Respondent Judge denied the mot
ion to reconsideration. He took the position that the acts complained of stemmed
out of a series of continuing acts on the part of the accused, not by different
and separate sets of shots, moved by one impulse and should therefore be treated
as one crime though the series of shots killed more than one victim; Hence this
petition for certiorari filed by the People against respondent Judge.
Issue: Whether or not the respondent judge acted with grave abuse of discretion
amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction when he ruled that there Should only
be one information, either for the complex crime of murder and frustrated murde
r or for the complex crime of robbery with multiple homicide and frustrated homi
cide?
RULING: YES. Art. 48. Penalty for complex crimes.
When a single act constitutes
two or more grave or less grave felonies, or when an offense is a necessary mean
s for committing the other, the penalty for the most serious crime shall be impo
sed, the same to be applied in its maximum period. Read as it should be, Article

48 provides for two classes of crimes where a single penalty is to be imposed:


first, where a single act constitutes two or more grave or less grave felonies (
delito compuesto); and, second, when an offense is a necessary means for committ
ing the other (delito complejo). A different rule governs where separate and dis
tinct acts result in a number killed. Deeply rooted is the doctrine that when va
rious victims expire from separate shots, such acts constitute separate and dist
inct crimes.
The respondent Judge reasons out in his order of May 31, 1966 that consolidation
of the five cases into one would have the salutary effect of obviating the nece
ssity of trying five cases instead of one. To save time, indeed, is laudable. No
netheless, the statute confers upon the trial judge the power to try these cases
jointly, such that the fear entertained by respondent Judge could easily be rem
edied.
Upon the facts and the law, we hold that the City Fiscal of Iligan City correctl
y presented the five separate informations
four for murder and one for frustrate
d murder.
The impact of respondent Judge s orders is that his judgment is to be substituted
for that of the prosecutor s on the matter of what crime is to be filed in court.
The question of instituting a criminal charge is one addressed to the sound disc
retion of the investigating Fiscal. The information he lodges in court must have
to be supported by facts brought about by an inquiry made by him. It stands to
reason then to say that in a clash of views between the judge who did not invest
igate and the fiscal who did, or between the fiscal and the offended party or th
e defendant, those of the Fiscal s should normally prevail. In this regard, he can
not ordinarily be subject to dictation. We are not to be understood as saying th
at criminal prosecution may not be blocked in exceptional cases. A relief in equ
ity may be availed of to stop it purported enforcement of a criminal law where it
is necessary (a) for the orderly administration of justice; (b) to prevent the
use of the strong arm of the law in an oppressive and vindictive manner; (c) to
avoid multiplicity of actions; (d) to afford adequate protection to constitution
al rights; and (e) in proper cases, because the statute relied upon is unconstit
utional or was held invalid.
Nothing in the record would as much as intimate that t
he present case fits into any of the situations just recited.
And at this distance and in the absence of any compelling fact or circumstance,
we are loathe to tag the City Fiscal of Iligan City with abuse of discretion in
filing separate cases for murder and frustrated murder, instead of a single case
for the complex crime of robbery with homicide and frustrated homicide under th
e provisions of Article 294 (1) of the Revised Penal Code or, for that matter, f
or multiple murder and frustrated murder. We state that, here, the Fiscal s discre
tion should not be controlled. Upon the record as it stands, the writ of certior
ari prayed for is hereby granted
46) People v. Madera, 57 SCRA 349 (1974) Naga
People of the Philippines vs Madera
57 SCRA 349
Legal Ethics Prosecutor Must Recommend Dismissal of Case If There is
No Ground To Sustain It
In April 1970, while Elino Bana was sleeping in his house, he was shot by Raymun
do Madera. Behind Madera were Marianito Andres and Generoso Andres. Elino Bana d
ied before he could be brought to the hospital but he made a dying statement whe
rein he positively identified Madera as his shooter. Two of Bana s sons who were a
t the house when the shooting happened identified Madera as the shooter as well
as the two behind him. The trial court convicted the three for murder. They appe
aled. Then Solicitor General Estelito Mendoza recommended the conviction of Made
ra but also recommended the acquittal of Marianito and Generoso.
ISSUE: Whether or not the conviction is correct.

HELD: No, insofar as Marianito and Generoso is concerned


Madera s guilt is proven
beyond reasonable doubt. But Marianito s and Generoso s guilt were not established.
Their mere presence behind Madera when the latter shot and killed Bana is not co
nstitutive of their guilt without any showing that they shared the criminal inte
nt of Madera. It must be shown that they had knowledge of the criminal intention
of the principal, which may be demonstrated by previous or simultaneous acts wh
ich contributes to the commission of the offense as aid thereto whether physical
or moral. This was absent in the case at bar.
The Supreme Court lauded the Solicitor General for recommending the acquittal of
the two. The Supreme Court also emphasized that the prosecutor s finest hour is n
ot when he wins a case with the conviction of the accused. His finest hour is st
ill when, overcoming the advocate s natural obsession for victory, he stands up be
fore the Court and pleads not for the conviction of the accused but for his acqu
ittal. For indeed, his noble task is to prosecute only the guilty and to protect
the innocent.
47) Tan v. Gallardo, 73 SCRA 306 (1976) Navarrete
G.R. Nos. L-41213-14 October 5, 1976
JORGE P. TAN, JR., CESAR TAN, LIBRADO SODE TEOFANIS BONJOC, OSMUNDO TOLENTINO an
d MARIANO BARTIDO, petitioners,
vs.
JUDGE PEDRO GALLARDO, in his capacity as Presiding Judge of Circuit Criminal Cou
rt, 13th Judicial District, Tacloban City, and PEOPLE OF THE PHILIPPINES, respon
dents.
ANTONIO, J.:
FACTS: Herein petitioners seek the annulment of the orders of respondent Judge.
The orders are as follows: (1) denying petitioners' motion for respondent Judge
to disqualify or to inhibit himself from hearing and acting upon their Motion fo
r New Trial and/or Reconsideration and Supplemental Motion for New Trial, (2) de
nying petitioners' Motion for New Trial and/or Reconsidertion and Supplemental M
otion for New Trial and, (3) ordering the transfer of the accused (petitioners h
erein) from Camp Bumpus PC headquarters, Tacloban city, to the Nationial Peniten
tiary, New Bilibid Prisons, Muntinlupa, Rizal. It is likewise sought, by way of
prohibition, to compel respondent Judge to desist from further proceeding with t
he aforementioned criminal cases.
The Supreme Court issued a TRO to enjoin the respondent from further proceeding
with the subject criminal cases. The petition was subsequently amended to includ
e the People of the Philippines and thereafter, the Solicitor General, on behalf
of the People of the Philippines, submitted his Comment to the petition. The SG
was persuaded that respondent Judge "appeared to have been heedless of the oftreiterated admonition addressed to trial judges to avoid even the impression of
the guilt or innocence of the accused being dependent on prejudice or prejudgmen
t" and therefore, "that the case should be remanded to the trial court for the r
endition of a new decision.
The private prosecutors justified the challenged Orders of the responden
t Judge and objected to the remand of this case. The private prosecutors now con
tend that they are entitled to appear before this Court, to take part in the pro
ceedings, and to adopt a position in contravention to that of the Solicitor Gene
ral.
ISSUE: Whether or not the private prosecutors have the right to intervene indepe
ndently of the Solicitor General and to adopt a stand inconsistent with that of
the latter in the present proceedings.
HELD: No. There is no question that since a criminal offense is an outrage to th
e sovereignty of the State, it is but natural that the representatives of the St
ate should direct and control the prosecution. The prosecuting officer "is the r
epresentative not of an ordinary party to a controversy, but of a sovereignty wh
ose obligation to govern impartially is as compelling as its obligation to gover

n at all; and whose interest, therefore, in a criminal prosecution is not that i


t shall win a case, but that justice shall be done. As such, he is in a peculiar
and very definite sense the servant of the law, the two-fold aim of which is th
at guilt shall not escape nor innocence suffer. The role of the private prosecut
ors, upon the other hand, is to represent the offended parties, with respect to
the civil action for the recovery of the civil liability arising from the offens
e. This civil action is deemed instituted with the criminal action, unless the of
fended party either expressly waives the civil action or reserves to institute i
t separately. Although the private prosecutors may be permitted to intervene, the
y are not in control of the case, and their interests are subordinate to those o
f the People of the Philippines represented by the fiscal. The right which the p
rocedural law reserves to the injured party is that of intervening in the prosec
ution for the sole purpose of enforcing the civil liability for the criminal act
ion and not of demanding punishment of the accused.
Moreover, the position taken by the Solicitor General in recommending th
e remand of the case to the trial court is not without any plausible justificati
on. Thus, in support of his contention that the rendition of the decision and th
e resolution on the subsequent motions by the respondent Judge were not free fro
m suspicion of bias and prejudice, the Solicitor General stated:
In alleging bias and manifest partiality on the part of respondent judge, petiti
oners assert that:
(a) Respondent judge kept improper contact with and was illegally influenced by
the Larrazabals in connection with the decision of the two cases against petitio
ners herein;
(b) In the latter part of 1973, with the trial of the Tan cases still in progres
s, respondent judge received, through one of his court stenographers, two bottle
s of whisky from Mayor Inaki Larrazabal, brother and uncle of the deceased victi
ms Feliciano and Francisco Larrazabal;
(c) On one occasion, Mayor Larrazabal had a short talk with respondent judge, af
ter which the latter received from one of the private prosecutors a bottle of wi
ne wrapped in a newspaper which was "thick" and "bulky" and which allegedly cont
ained "something else inside";
(d) Respondent judge prepared the decision in the Tan cases based on the memoran
dum of the prosecution which was literally copied in said decision although with
some corrections; and
(e) After an alleged meeting with Mayor Inaki Larrazabal, respondent judge amend
ed his already prepared decision in the two criminal cases involved herein by ch
anging the penalty of double life sentence for the double murder charge against
the petitioners to the death penalty.
It appears, however, that respondent Judge is no longer in the judicial service,
hence, the question as to whether or not he should be disqualified from further
proceeding with the aforementioned criminal cases has already become moot. WHER
EFORE, this Court grants the petition and hereby demands the case to the trial c
ourt in order that another Judge may hear anew petitioners' motion for new trial
and to resolve the issue accordingly on the basis of the evidence.
48) People v. Sendaydiego, 81 SCRA 120 (1978) Panganiban
People v. Licerio P. Sendaydiego
GR No. L-33254 & GR No. L-33253 January 20, 1978
Ponente: Justice Aquino
Facts: Three cases of malversation through falsification were filed against Lice
rio Sendaydiego, Provincial Treasurer of Pangasinan, together with Juan Samson,
an employee of a lumber and hardware store in Dagupan City and Anastacio Quirimi
t, Provincial Auditor. The action was based on 6 forged provincial vouchers used
in order to embezzle from the road and bridge fund the total amount of P57,048.
23.
The lower court, after trial, acquitted Auditor Quirimit and declared Tr

easurer Sendaydiego and Samson, guilty of malversation. Both of them appealed to


the Supreme Court. However Sendaydiego died during the pendency of the appeal t
hereby extinguishing his criminal liability. As to his civil liability, one of t
he grounds raised by Sendaydiego was that the trial court erred in allowing priv
ate prosecutors Millora and Urbiztondo to prosecute the case. On the other hand,
Samson raised the ground that Judge Eloy B. Bello should have inhibited himself
"in the interest of justice and as a gesture of delivadeza" because he had cond
ucted the preliminary investigation.
Issue: Whether or not the grounds raised are meritorious?
Held: No.
As to Sendaydiego's appeal:
Atty. Vicente D. Millora, a senior member of the provincial board actually handl
ed the prosecution of the case. At the preliminary investigation, the counsel fo
r the accused auditor inquired whether Atty. Millora was authorized by the provi
ncial board to act as private prosecutor in representation of the province of Pa
ngasinan and Atty. Millora replied that there was a board resolution designating
him as a private prosecutor. Moreover, the acting provincial commander, who fil
ed the complaints manifested that he had authorized Atty. Millora to act as priv
ate prosecutor.
After the termination of the preliminary investigation conducted by the
lower court, the provincial fiscal of Pangasinan and the city final of Dagupan C
ity filed three informations against the accused. At the trial the city fiscal,
an assistant provincial fiscal and Atty. Millora, the private prosecutor, appear
ed for the prosecution. The city fiscal moved "that the Atty. Millora be authori
zed to conduct the examination subject to the fiscal's control and supervision".
This motion was granted by the court. During one of the hearings, the same city
fiscal moved that Atty. Urbiztondo be authorized to examine the prosecution wit
nesses under his supervision and control and the same was granted by the trial c
ourt. The record shows that at every hearing the provincial fiscal, the city fis
cal or an assistant fiscal were present together with the private prosecutor.
Under the given circumstances, it is evident that there was substantial
compliance with the rule that the criminal action should be "prosecuted under th
e direction and control of the fiscal" and that "the provincial fiscal shall rep
resent the province" in any court (Sec.4, Rule 110, Rules of Court; sec. 1683, R
evised Administrative Code).
As to Samson's appeal:
Samson failed to prove that he was prejudiced by the fact that Judge Bello, who
conducted the preliminary investigation, was also the one who tried the case and
convicted him. The conduct of the trial does not show that he prejudiced the gu
ilt of the accused. The Rules of Court does not provide any prohibition that jud
ges who conduct the preliminary investigation could not try the case on the meri
ts. The Court cannot assume that judges as a rule are opinionated and narrow-min
ded insomuch that they would invariably be iron-bound by their findings at the p
reliminary investigation.
49) Misamin v. San Juan, 72 SCRA 491 (1976) Redondo
JOSE MISAMIN versus ATTORNEY MIGUEL A. SAN JUAN
A.M. No. 1418 August 31, 1976
FERNANDO, J.
Facts: Herein respondent is the captain of the Metro Manila Police Force and a m
ember of the bar. Respondent Miguel A. San Juan is charged with being the legal
representative of certain establishments allegedly owned by Filipinos of Chinese
descent.
The case arose when San Juan allegedly coerced an employee, complainant Jose Mis
amin, to agree to drop the charges filed by him against his employer Tan Hua, ow

ner of New Cesar's Bakery, for the violation of the Minimum Wage Law.
Herein respondent admits having appeared as counsel for the New Cesar s Bakery in
the proceeding before the NLRC while he held office as captain in the Manila Met
ropolitan Police. Respondent contends that the law did not prohibit him from suc
h isolated exercise of his profession. He contends that his appearance as counse
l while holding a government position is not among the grounds provided by the R
ules of Court for the suspension or removal of attorneys.
Issue: Whether or not the administrative case against the defendant should prosp
er.
Held: The court ruled in the negative. The court ruled that the matter is to be
decided in an administrative proceeding as noted in the recommendation of the So
licitor General.
The conclusion arrived at by the Solicitor-General that the complaint cannot pro
sper is in accordance with the settled law. As far back as in re Tionko, 4 decid
ed in 1922, the authoritative doctrine was set forth by Justice Malcolm in this
wise: "The serious consequences of disbarment or suspension should follow only w
here there is a clear preponderance of evidence against the respondent.
The presumption is that the attorney is innocent of the charges preferred and ha
s performed his duty as an officer of the court in accordance with his oath." Th
e Tionko doctrine has been subsequently adhered to.
Nonetheless, the court held that while the charges have to be dismissed, still i
t would not be inappropriate for respondent member of the bar to avoid all appea
rances of impropriety. Certainly, the fact that the suspicion could be entertain
ed that far from living true to the concept of a public office being a public tr
ust, he did make use, not so much of whatever legal knowledge he possessed, but
the influence that laymen could assume was inherent in the office held not only
to frustrate the beneficent statutory scheme that labor be justly compensated bu
t also to be at the beck and call of what the complainant called alien interest,
is a matter that should not pass unnoticed. Respondent, in his future actuation
s as a member of the bar should refrain from laying himself open to such doubts
and misgivings as to his fitness not only for the position occupied by him but a
lso for membership in the bar. He is not worthy of membership in an honorable pr
ofession who does not even take care that his honor remains unsullied.
50) PCGG v.Sandiganbayan and Mendoza, G.R. No. 151809-12, April 12, 2005 Rojas
FACTS: On July 17, 1987, pursuant to its mandate under Executive Order No. 1 of
then President Corazon C. Aquino, the PCGG, on behalf of the Republic of the Phi
lippines, filed with the Sandiganbayan a complaint for reversion, reconveyance, r
estitution, accounting and damages against respondents Lucio Tan, then President
Ferdinand E.Marcos and Imelda R. Marcos and others referred to as dummies of the
Marcoses. The case was docketed as Civil Case No. 0005 of the Sandiganbayan (Se
cond Division). In connection therewith, the PCGG issued several writs of seques
tration on properties allegedly acquired by the above-named persons by means of
taking advantage of their close relationship and influence with former President
Marcos. Shortly thereafter, respondents Tan, et al. filed with this Court petit
ions for certiorari, prohibition and injunction seeking to, among others, nullif
y the writs of sequestration issued by the PCGG. After the filing of the comment
s thereon, this Court referred the cases to the Sandiganbayan (Fifth Division) f
or proper disposition. In all these cases, respondents Tan, et al. are represent
ed by their counsel Atty. Estelito P. Mendoza, who served as the Solicitor Gener
al from 1972 to 1986 during the administration of former President Marcos. The P
CGG opined that Atty. Mendoza s present appearance as counsel for respondents Tan,
et al. in the case involving the sequestered shares of stock in Allied Banking
Corp. runs afoul of Rule 6.03 of the Code of Professional Responsibility proscri
bing former government lawyers from accepting engagement or employment in connect
ion with any matter in which he had intervened while in said service.

ISSUE: Whether or not the present engagement of Atty. Mendoza as counsel for res
pondents Tan, et al. in Civil Cases Nos. 0096-0099 violates the interdiction emb
odied in Rule 6.03 of the Code of Professional Responsibility.
HELD: The key to unlock Rule 6.03 lies in comprehending first, the meaning of mat
ter referred to in the rule and, second, the metes and bounds of the intervention m
ade by the former government lawyer on the matter. The American Bar Association in
its Formal Opinion 342, defined matter as any discrete, isolatable act as well as
identifiable transaction or conduct involving a particular situation and specif
ic party, and not merely an act of drafting, enforcing or interpreting governmen
t or agency procedures, regulations or laws, or briefing abstract principles of
law. Beyond doubt, the matter or the act of respondent Mendoza as Solicitor Genera
l involved in the case at bar is advising the Central Bank, on how to proceed wit
h the said bank s liquidation and even filing the petition for its liquidation wit
h the CFI of Manila. We hold that this advice given by respondent Mendoza on the
procedure to liquidate GENBANK is not the matter contemplated by Rule 6.03 of the
Code of Professional Responsibility. ABA Formal Opinion No. 342 is clear as dayl
ight in stressing that the drafting, enforcing or interpreting government or agen
cy procedures, regulations or laws, or briefing abstract principles of law are ac
ts which do not fall within the scope of the term matter and cannot disqualify. It
goes without saying that Code 6.03 of the Code of Professional Responsibility c
annot apply to respondent Mendoza because his alleged intervention while a Solic
itor General in Sp. Proc. No. 107812 is an intervention on a matter different fr
om the matter involved in Civil Case No. 0096. The evils sought to be remedied b
y the Rule do not exist where the government lawyer does an act which can be con
sidered as innocuous such as xxx drafting, enforcing or interpreting government o
r agency procedures, regulations or laws, or briefing abstract principles of law
. The petition in the special proceedings is an initiatory pleading; hence, it ha
s to be signed by respondent Mendoza as the then sitting Solicitor General. For
another, the record is arid as to the actual participation of respondent Mendoza
in the subsequent proceedings. Similarly, the Court in interpreting Rule 6.03 w
as not unconcerned with the prejudice to the client which will be caused by its
misapplication. It cannot be doubted that granting a disqualification motion cau
ses the client to lose not only the law firm of choice, but probably an individu
al lawyer in whom the client has confidence. The client with a disqualified lawy
er must start again often without the benefit of the work done by the latter. Th
e Court has to consider also the possible adverse effect of a truncated reading
of the rule on the official independence of lawyers in the government service. T
he case at bar involves the position of Solicitor General, the office once occup
ied by respondent Mendoza. It cannot be overly stressed that the position of Sol
icitor General should be endowed with a great degree of independence. It is this
independence that allows the Solicitor General to recommend acquittal of the in
nocent; it is this independence that gives him the right to refuse to defend off
icials who violate the trust of their office. Any undue diminution of the indepe
ndence of the Solicitor General will have a corrosive effect on the rule of law.
Mr. Justices Panganiban and Carpio are of the view, among others, that the cong
ruent interest prong of Rule 6.03 of the Code of Professional Responsibility sho
uld be subject to a prescriptive period. Mr. Justice Tinga opines that the rule
cannot apply retroactively to respondent Mendoza. Obviously, and rightly so, the
y are disquieted by the fact that (1) when respondent Mendoza was the Solicitor
General, Rule 6.03 was not yet adopted by the IBP and approved by this Court, an
d (2) the bid to, disqualify respondent Mendoza was made after the lapse of time
whose length cannot, by any standard, qualify as reasonable.