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PART III Introduction to Legal Ethics


vs. ESTANISLAO R. BAYOT, respondent.
A.C. No. L-1117
March 20, 1944
RESPONDENT charged with malpractice for
having published an advertisement in the Sunday
Tribune of June 13, 1943
Marriage license promptly secured thru our
assistance & the annoyance of delay or publicity
avoided if desired, and marriage arranged to wishes
of parties. Consultation on any matter free for the
poor. Everything confidential.
Legal assistance service
12 Escolta, Manila, Room, 105
Tel. 2-41-60.

In In re Tagorda, 53 Phil., the respondent attorney

was suspended from the practice of law for the
period of one month for advertising his services and
soliciting work from the public by writing circular
letters. That case, however, was more serious than
this because there the solicitations were repeatedly
made and were more elaborate and insistent.

his plea for leniency and

his promise not to repeat the misconduct

The Court is of the opinion and so decided that the

ADELINO H. LEDESMA, petitioner, vs. HON.
RAFAEL C. CLIMACO, Presiding Judge of the
Court of First Instance of Negros Occidental,
Branch I, Silay City, respondent.
G.R. No. L-23815
June 28, 1974

Respondent at first denied having published the said

advertisement; but subsequently, thru his attorney,
he admitted having caused its publication and
prayed for "the indulgence and mercy" of the Court,
promising "not to repeat such professional
misconduct in the future and to abide himself to the
strict ethical rules of the law profession."
MITIGATION: published only once in the Tribune &
never had any case at law by reason thereof.
Flagrant violation by the respondent of the ethics of
his profession, it being a brazen solicitation of
business from the public.
Section 25 of Rule 127 expressly provides among
other things that "the practice of soliciting cases at
law for the purpose of gain, either personally or thru
paid agents or brokers, constitutes malpractice."
It is highly unethical for an attorney to advertise his
talents or skill as a merchant advertises his wares.
Law is a profession and not a trade.
The lawyer degrades himself and his profession who
stoops to and adopts the practices of mercantilism by
advertising his services or offering them to the
As a member of the bar, he defiles the temple of
justice with mercenary activities as the moneychangers of old defiled the temple of Jehovah.
CANON 27, Code of Ethics: "The most worth and
effective advertisement possible, even for a young
lawyer, . . . is the establishment of a well-merited
reputation for professional capacity and fidelity to
trust. This cannot be forced but must be the outcome
of character and conduct."

What is assailed in this certiorari proceeding is an

order of respondent Judge denying a motion filed by
petitioner to be allowed to withdraw as counsel de
One of the grounds for such a motion was his
allegation that with his appointment as Election
Registrar by the Commission on Elections, he was not
in a position to devote full time to the defense of the
two accused. The denial by respondent Judge of such
a plea, notwithstanding the conformity of the
defendants, was due "its principal effect [being] to
delay this case."
October 13, 1964, petitioner was appointed Election
Registrar for the Municipality of Cadiz, Province of
Negros Occidental.
As he was counsel de parte for one of the accused in
a case pending in the sala of respondent Judge, he
filed a motion to withdraw as such. Not only did
respondent Judge deny such motion, but he also
appointed him counsel de oficio for the two
Petitioner filed an urgent motion to be allowed to
withdraw as counsel de oficio, premised on the policy
of the Commission on Elections to require full time
service as well as on the volume or pressure of work
of petitioner
Judge denied such motion. MR having proved futile
hence, certiorari proceeding.
RULING: Petition must fail.
Since according to the prosecution there are two
witnesses who are ready to take the stand, after
which the government would rest, the motion for
postponement is denied.
When counsel for the accused assumed office as

Election Registrar on October 13, 1964, he knew

since October 2, 1964 that the trial would be
resumed today.
Nevertheless, in order not to prejudice the civil
service status of counsel for the accused, he is
hereby designated counsel de oficio for the accused.
The defense obtained postponements on May 17,
1963, June 13, 1963, June 14, 1963, October 28,
1963, November 27, 1963, February 11, 1964, March
9, 1964, June 8, 1964 July 26, 1964, and September
7, 1964.
What is readily apparent therefore, is that petitioner
was less than duly mindful of his obligation as
counsel de oficio. He ought to have known that
membership in the bar is a privilege burdened with
conditions. It could be that for some lawyers,
especially the neophytes in the profession, being
appointed counsel de oficio is an irksome chore.
For those holding such belief, it may come as a
surprise that counsel of repute and of eminence
welcome such an opportunity. It makes even more
manifest that law is indeed a profession dedicated to
the ideal of service and not a mere trade. It is
understandable then why a high degree of fidelity to
duty is required of one so designated.
People v. Daban: "There is need anew in this
disciplinary proceeding to lay stress on the
fundamental postulate that membership in the bar
carries with it a responsibility to live up to its
exacting standard. The law is a profession, not a
trade or a craft. Those enrolled in its ranks are called
upon to aid in the performance of one of the basic
purposes of the State, the administration of justice.
To avoid any frustration thereof, especially in the
case of an indigent defendant, a lawyer may be
required to act as counsel de oficio. The fact that his
services are rendered without remuneration should
not occasion a diminution in his zeal. Rather the
contrary. This is not, of course, to ignore that other
pressing matters do compete for his attention. After
all, he has his practice to attend to. That
circumstance possesses a high degree of relevance
since a lawyer has to live; certainly he cannot afford
either to neglect his paying cases. Nonetheless, what
is incumbent upon him as counsel de oficio must be
"It is true that he is a court-appointed counsel. But
we do say that as such counsel de oficio, he has as
high a duty to the accused as one employed and paid
by defendant himself. Because, as in the case of the
latter, he must exercise his best efforts and
professional ability in behalf of the person assigned
to his care. He is to render effective assistance. The
accused-defendant expects of him due diligence, not
mere perfunctory representation. For, indeed a
lawyer who is a vanguard in the bastion of justice is
expected to have a bigger dose of social conscience
and a little less of self-interest."
"In criminal cases there can be no fair hearing unless
the accused be given an opportunity to be heard by
counsel. The right to be heard would be of little avail
if it does not include the right to be heard by counsel.
Even the most intelligent or educated man may have

no skill in the science of law, particularly in the rules

of procedure, and; without counsel, he may be
convicted not because he is guilty but because he
does not know how to establish his innocence. And
this can happen more easily to persons who are
ignorant or uneducated. It is for this reason that the
right to be assisted by counsel is deemed so
important that it has become a constitutional right
and it is so implemented that under rules of
procedure it is not enough for the Court to apprise an
accused of his right to have an attorney, it is not
enough to ask him whether he desires the aid of an
attorney, but it is essential that the court should
assign one de oficio for him if he so desires and he is
poor or grant him a reasonable time to procure an
attorney of his
Thus is made manifest the indispensable role of a
member of the Bar in the defense of an accused.
Such a consideration could have sufficed for
petitioner not being allowed to withdraw as counsel
de oficio. For he did betray by his moves his lack of
enthusiasm for the task entrusted to him, to put
matters mildly. He did point though to his
responsibility as an election registrar. Assuming his
good faith, no such excuse could be availed now.
There is not likely at present, and in the immediate
future, an exorbitant demand on his time. It may
likewise be assumed, considering what has been set
forth above, that petitioner would exert himself
sufficiently to perform his task as defense counsel
with competence, if not with zeal, if only to erase
doubts as to his fitness to remain a member of the
profession in good standing.
The admonition is ever timely for those enrolled in
the ranks of legal practitioners that there are times,
and this is one of them, when duty to court and to
client takes precedence over the promptings of selfinterest.
JESUS MA. CUI, plaintiff-appellee, vs. ANTONIO
MA. CUI, defendant-appellant,
ROMULO CUI, Intervenor-appellant.
G.R. No. L-18727
August 31, 1964
The Hospicio is a charitable institution established by
the spouses Don Pedro Cui and Doa Benigna Cui,
now deceased, "for the care and support, free of
charge, of indigent invalids, and incapacitated and
helpless persons."
It acquired corporate existence by legislation (Act No.
3239 of the Philippine Legislature passed 27
November 1925) and endowed with extensive
properties by the said spouses through a series of
donations - principally the deed of donation executed
on 2 January 1926.
Section 2 of Act No. 3239 gave the initial
management to the founders jointly and, in case of
their incapacity or death, to "such persons as they

may nominate or designate, in the order prescribed

to them."

o instrumento dado para ejercer un empleo, dignidad

o profesion" and the word "abogado,"

Don Pedro Cui died in 1926, and his widow continued

to administer the Hospicio until her death in 1929.
Thereupon the administration passed to Mauricio Cui
and Dionisio Jakosalem.

A Bachelor's degree alone, conferred by a law school

upon completion of certain academic requirements,
does not entitle its holder to exercise the legal
profession. The English equivalent of "abogado" is
lawyer or attorney-at-law. This term has a fixed and
general signification, and has reference to that class
of persons who are by license officers of the courts,
empowered to appear, prosecute and defend, and
upon whom peculiar duties, responsibilities and
liabilities are devolved by law as a consequence.

The first died on 8 May 1931 and the second on 1

July 1931. On 2 July 1931 Dr. Teodoro Cui, only son of
Mauricio Cui, became the administrator. Thereafter,
beginning in 1932, a series of controversies and
court litigations ensued concerning the position of
administrator, to which, in so far as they are
pertinent to the present case, reference will be made
later in this decision.
Plaintiff Jesus Ma. Cui and defendant Antonio Ma. Cui
are brothers, being the sons of Mariano Cui, one of
the nephews of the spouses Don Pedro Cui and Doa
Benigna Cui. On 27 February 1960 the then
incumbent administrator, Dr. Teodoro Cui, resigned in
favor of Antonio Ma. Cui pursuant to a "convenio"
entered into between them and embodied in a
notarial document. The next day, 28 February,
Antonio Ma. Cui took his oath of office. Jesus Ma. Cui,
however, had no prior notice of either the "convenio"
or of his brother's assumption of the position.
Dr. Teodoro Cui died on 27 August 1960; on 5
September 1960 the plaintiff wrote a letter to the
defendant demanding that the office be turned over
to him; and on 13 September 1960, the demand not
having been complied with the plaintiff filed the
complaint in this case. Romulo Cui later on
intervened, claiming a right to the same office, being
a grandson of Vicente Cui, another one of the
nephews mentioned by the founders of the Hospicio
in their deed of donation.
Jesus Ma. Cui holds the degree of Bachelor of Laws
from the University of Santo Tomas (Class 1926) but
is not a member of the Bar, not having passed the
examinations to qualify him as one.
Antonio Ma. Cui, on the other hand, is a member of
the Bar and although disbarred by this Court on 29
March 1957 (administrative case No. 141), was
reinstated by resolution promulgated on 10 February
1960, about two weeks before he assumed the
position of administrator of the Hospicio de Barili.
TRIAL COURT: taken alone, means that of a fullfledged lawyer, but that has used in the deed of
donation and considering the function or purpose of
the administrator, it should not be given a strict
interpretation but a liberal one," and therefore means
a law degree or diploma of Bachelor of Laws.
ISSUE: Meaning of the term "titulo de abogado."
RULING: We are of the opinion, that whether taken
alone or in context the term "titulo de abogado"
means not mere possession of the academic degree
of Bachelor of Laws but membership in the Bar after
due admission thereto, qualifying one for the practice
of law.
In Spanish the word "titulo" is defined as "testimonies

In this jurisdiction admission to the Bar and to the

practice of law is under the authority of the Supreme
Court. According to Rule 138 such admission requires
passing the Bar examinations, taking the lawyer's
oath and receiving a certificate from the Clerk of
Court, this certificate being his license to practice the
profession. The academic degree of Bachelor of Laws
in itself has little to do with admission to the Bar,
except as evidence of compliance with the
requirements that an applicant to the examinations
has "successfully completed all the prescribed
courses, in a law school or university, officially
approved by the Secretary of Education."
The founders of the Hospicio de San Jose de Barili
must have established the foregoing test advisely,
and provided in the deed of donation that if not a
lawyer, the administrator should be a doctor or a civil
engineer or a pharmacist, in that order; or failing all
these, should be the one who pays the highest taxes
among those otherwise qualified.
But it is argued that although the latter is a member
of the Bar he is nevertheless disqualified by virtue
of paragraph 3 of the deed of donation, which
provides that the administrator may be removed on
the ground, among others, of ineptitude in the
discharge of his office or lack of evident sound moral
character. Reference is made to the fact that the
defendant was disbarred by this Court on 29 March
1957 for immorality and unprofessional conduct. It is
also a fact, however, that he was reinstated on 10
February 1960, before he assumed the office of
administrator. His reinstatement is a recognition of
his moral rehabilitation, upon proof no less than that
required for his admission to the Bar in the first
Another issue: Whether applicant is "of good moral
character" in the sense in which that phrase is used
when applied to attorneys-at-law and is a fit and
proper person to be entrusted with the privileges of
the office of an attorney, and whether his mental
qualifications are such as to enable him to discharge
efficiently his duty to the public, and the moral
attributes are to be regarded as a separate and
distinct from his mental qualifications.
When the defendant was restored to the roll of
lawyers the restrictions and disabilities resulting from
his previous disbarment were wiped out.
This action must fail on one other ground: it is
already barred by lapse of time amounting the
prescription or laches. Under Section 16 of Rule, this

kind of action must be filed within one (1) year

after the right of plaintiff to hold the office arose.
On 10 February 1960, defendant Antonio Ma. Cui was
reinstated by this Court as member of the Bar, and
on the following 27 February Dr. Teodoro Cui resigned
as administrator in his favor, pursuant to the
"convenio" between them executed on the same
date. The next day Antonio Ma. Cui took his oath of
The failure of the plaintiff to prosecute his claim
judicially after this Court decided the first case of Cui
v. Cui in 1934 (60 Phil. 3769), remanding it to the
trial court for further proceedings; his acceptance
instead of the position of assistant administrator,
allowing Dr. Teodoro Cui to continue as administrator
and his failure to file an action in quo warranto
against said Dr. Cui after 31 July 1956, when the
appeal in Civil Case No. R-1216 of the Cebu Court
was dismissed upon motion of the parties precisely
so that the conflicting claims of the parties could be
ventilated in such an action all these
circumstances militate against the plaintiff's present
claim in view of the rule that an action in quo
warranto must be filed within one year after the right
of the plaintiff to hold the office arose.
INTERVENOR: Romulo Cui is also a lawyer, grandson
of Vicente Cui, one of the nephews of the founders of
the Hospicio mentioned by them in the deed of
donation. He is further, in the line of succession, than
defendant Antonio Ma. Cui, who is a son of Mariano
Cui, another one of the said nephews.
He argues, since the last administrator was Dr.
Teodoro Cui, who belonged to the Mauricio Cui line,
the next administrator must come from the line of
Vicente Cui, to whom the intervenor belongs. This
interpretation, however, is not justified by the terms
of the deed of donation.
VALENTINO L. LEGASPI, et al, respondents.
G.R. No. L-53869
EUGENIO J. PUYAT, et al, petitioner vs, HON.
SIXTO T. J. DE GUZMAN, JR., as Associate
Commissioner of the Securities & Exchange
Commission, et al, respondents.
G.R. No. L-51928
March 25, 1982
In Section 11, Article VIII of the 1973 Charter, which
used to read:
Sec. 11. No member of the National Assembly shall
appear as counsel before any court inferior to a court
with appellate jurisdiction
A complaint for annulment of bank checks and
damages was filed by Raul A. Villegas against the
Vera Cruz spouses and Primitivo Cania, Jr. (private
respondents) before the Court of First Instance of

Raul A. Villegas "challenged" the appearance of
Assemblyman Legaspi as counsel of record on the
ground that he is barred under the Constitution from
appearing before Courts of First Instance, which are
essentially trial Courts or Courts of First Instance,
which are essentially trial Courts or Courts of First
Instance, which are essentially trial Courts or Courts
of original jurisdiction. After the Opposition and Reply
to the Opposition were filed, Judge Dulay issued an
Order inhibiting himself from the aforesaid case
because Assemblyman Legaspi was likewise the
lawyer of his wife in two pending cases.
Judge Burgos denied the disqualification of
Assemblyman Legaspi, as well as the Motion for
Reconsideration filed thereafter. Hence, this recourse
to certiorari and Prohibition.
Edgardo P. Reyes filed against N. V. Verenigde
Buinzenfabrieken Excelsior-De Maas and private
respondent Eustaquio T.C. Acero to annul the sale of
Excelsior's shares in the International Pipe Industries
Corporation (IPI) to Eustaquio T.C Acero, allegedly on
the ground that, prior thereto, the same shares had
already been sold to him (Reyes).
Assemblyman Estanislao Fernandez entered his
appearance as counsel for Excelsior. This appearance
was questioned on the ground that it was barred by
Section 11, Article VIII of the 1973 Constitution,
ISSUE: whether or not members of the Batasang
Pambansa, like Attorneys Valentino L. Legaspi and
Estanislao A. Fernandez, can appear as counsel
before Courts of First Instance.
Appearance" has been defined as "voluntary
submission to a court's jurisdiction".
"Counsel" means "an adviser, a person professionally
engaged in the trial or management of a cause in
court; a legal advocate managing a case at law; a
lawyer appointed or engaged to advise and represent
in legal matters a particular client, public officer, or
public body".
Ballantine's Law Dictionary says a counsel is
"counselor, an attorney at law; one or more attorneys
representing parties in an action".
Thus, "appearance as counsel" is a voluntary
submission to a court's jurisdiction by a legal
advocate or advising lawyer professionally engaged
to represent and plead the cause of another.
The need for it was felt by the 1934 Constitutional
Convention, a sentiment shared by the last
widespread belief that legislators found it difficult to
resist, as perhaps most men, the promptings of selfinterest. Clearly, the purpose was and is to stress the
fiduciary aspect of the position. There is thus fidelity
to the maxim that a public office is a public trust.
Since the respective Courts of First Instance, before

appeared as counsel, were acting in the exercise of

original and not appellate jurisdiction, they must be
held barred from appearing as counsel before said
Courts in the two cases involved herein.
Attorneys Estanislao A. Fernandez and Valentino
Legaspi hereby declared prohibited from appearing
as counsel before the Court of First Instance of Rizal
(Pasig), Branch XXI, in Civil Case No. 33739, and
before the Court of First Instance of Cebu, Branch II.
JULIO D. ENRIQUEZ, SR., representing the law
firm of ENRIQUEZ and ENRIQUEZ, petitioner, vs.
HON. PEDRO M. GIMENEZ in his capacity as
G.R. No. L-12817
April 29, 1960
Republic Act No. 1383 creating the National
Waterworks and Sewerage Authority as a public
corporation and vesting in it the ownership,
jurisdiction, supervision and control over all territory
embraced by the Metropolitan Water District as well
as all areas served by existing government-owned
waterworks and sewerage and drainage systems
within the boundaries of cities, municipalities, and
municipal districts in the Philippines, and those
served by the Waterworks and Wells and Drills
Section of the Bureau of Public Works, was passed.
President of the Philippines promulgated Executive
Order No. 127 providing, among others, for the
transfer to the National Waterworks and Sewerage
Authority of all the records, properties, machinery,
equipment, appropriations, assets, choses in actions,
liabilities, obligations, notes, bonds and all
indebtedness of all government-owned waterworks
and sewerage systems in the provinces, cities,
municipalities and municipal districts
Municipal council of Bauan, Batangas, adopted and
passed Resolution No. 152 stating "that it is the
desire of this municipality in this present
administration not to submit our local Waterworks to
the provisions of the said Republic Act No. 1383
Mayor transmitted a copy of Resolution No. 152 to
the Provincial Fiscal through the Provincial Board
requesting him to render an opinion on the matter
treated therein and to inform the municipal council
whether he would handle and prosecute its case in
court should the council decide to question and test
judicially the legality of Republic Act No. 1383 and to
prevent the National Waterworks and Sewerage
Authority from exercising its authority over the
waterworks system of the municipality
FISCAL: test the validity and constitutionality of the
Act creating it
Municipal mayor wrote a letter to the petitioner
engaging his services as counsel for the municipality
in its contemplated action against the National
Waterworks and Sewerage Authority
Petitioner wrote to the municipal mayor accepting his
offer in behalf of the municipality under the following

terms and conditions: that his professional services

shall commence from the filing of the complaint up to
and including the appeal, if any, to the appellate
courts; that his professional fee shall be P1,500 and
payable as follows: P500 upon the filing of the
complaint, P500 upon the termination of the hearing
of the case in the Court of First Instance, and P500
after judgment shall have become final or, should the
judgment be appealed, after the appeal shall have
been submitted for judgment to the appellate court;
and that the municipality shall defray all reasonable
and necessary expenses for the prosecution of the
case in the trial and appellate courts including court
and sheriff fees, transportation and subsistence of
counsel and witnesses and cost of transcripts of
stenographic notes and other documents
The Revised Administrative Code provides:
SEC. 2241. Submission of questions to provincial
fiscal. When the council is desirous of securing a
legal opinion upon any question relative to its own
powers or the constitution or attributes of the
municipal government, it shall frame such question in
writing and submit the same to the provincial fiscal
for decision.
SEC. 1682. Duty of fiscal as legal adviser of province
and provincial subdivisions. The provincial fiscal
shall be the legal adviser of the provincial
government and its officers, including district health
officers, and of the mayor and council of the various
municipalities and municipal districts of the province.
As such he shall, when so requested, submit his
opinion in writing upon any legal question submitted
to him by any such officer or body pertinent to the
duties thereof.
SEC. 1683. Duty of fiscal to represent provinces and
provincial subdivisions in litigation. The provincial
fiscal shall represent the province and any
municipality or municipal district thereof in any court,
except in cases whereof original jurisdiction is vested
in the Supreme Court or in cases where the
municipality or municipal district in question is a
party adverse to the provincial government or to
some other municipality or municipal district in the
same province. When the interests of a provincial
government and of any political division thereof are
opposed, the provincial fiscal shall act on behalf of
the province.
When the provincial fiscal is disqualified to serve any
municipality or other political subdivision of a
province, a special attorney may be employed by its
Provincial Fiscal is the legal adviser of the mayor and
counsel of the various municipalities of a province
and it is his duty to represent the municipality in any
court except when he is disqualified by law. When he
is disqualified to represent the municipality, the
municipal council may engage the services of a
special attorney. The Provincial Fiscal is disqualified
to represent in court the municipality if and when
original jurisdiction of the case involving the
municipality is vested in the Supreme Court; when
the municipality is a party adverse to the provincial

government or to some other municipality in the

same province; and when in the case involving the
municipality, he, or his wife, or child, is pecuniarily
involved as heir, legatee, creditor or otherwise
A fiscal cannot refuse the performance of his
functions on grounds not provided for by law without
violating his oath of office, where he swore, among
others, "that he will well and faithfully discharge to
the best of his ability the duties of the office or
position upon which he is about to enter.
Instead of engaging the services of a special
attorney, the municipal council should have
requested the Secretary of Justice to appoint an
acting provincial fiscal in place of the provincial fiscal
who had declined to handle and prosecute its case in
court, pursuant to section 1679 of the Revised
Administrative Code. The petitioner claims that the
municipal council could not do this because the
Secretary of Justice, who has executive supervision
over the Government Corporate Counsel, who
represented the National Waterworks and Sewerage
Authority in the case filed against it by the
municipality of Bauan (civil No. 542, Annex J) and
direct supervision and control over the Provincial
Fiscal, would be placed in an awkward and absurd
position of having control of both sides of the
Supervision v. Control (Admin Law)
Supervision means overseeing or the power or
authority of an officer to see that subordinate officers
perform their duties. If the latter fail or neglect to
fulfill them the former may take such action or step
as prescribed by law to make them perform their
Section 83 of the Revised Administrative Code, as
amended by Executive Order No. 94, series of 1947
Further amended by Executive Order No. 392,
series of 1950, 46 Off. Gaz., 5913, 5917, provides
that the Secretary of Justice shall have executive
supervision over the Government Corporate Counsel
and supervision and control over Provincial Fiscals.
Control, on the other hand, means the power of an
officer to alter or modify or nullify or set aside what a
subordinate officer had done in the performance of
his duties and to substitute the judgment of the
former for that of the latter.
The fact that the Secretary of Justice had, on several
occasions, upheld the validity and constitutionality of
Republic Act No. 1383 does not exempt the municipal
council of Bauan from requesting the Secretary of
Justice to detail a provincial fiscal to prosecute its
The services of the petitioner having been engaged
by the municipal council and mayor without authority
of law, the Auditor General was correct in disallowing
in audit the petitioner's claim for payment of
attorney's fees. The decision under review is affirmed
FELIPE SALCEDO, petitioner-appellant, vs.
FRANCISCO HERNANDEZ, respondent-appellee.
G.R. No. L-42992

August 8, 1935
In re contempt proceedings against Attorney
Said attorney inserted a paragraph:
We should like frankly and respectfully to make it of
record that the resolution of this court, denying our
motion for reconsideration, is absolutely erroneous
and constitutes an outrage to the rights of the
petitioner Felipe Salcedo and a mockery of the
popular will expressed at the polls in the
municipality of Tiaong, Tayabas.
We wish to exhaust all the means within out power in
order that this error may be corrected by the very
court which has committed it, because we should
not want that some citizen, particularly some
voter of the municipality of Tiaong, Tayabas,
resort to the press publicly to denounce, as he
has a right to do, the judicial outrage of which
the herein petitioner has been the victim, and
because it is our utmost desire to safeguard the
prestige of this honorable court and of each and
every member thereof in the eyes of the public.
But, at the same time we wish to state sincerely that
erroneous decisions like these, which the affected
party and his thousands of voters will necessarily
consider unjust, increase the proselytes of
"sakdalism" and make the public lose confidence in
the administration of justice.
Required Attorney Vicente J. Francisco to show cause,
if any, why he should not be found guilty of
contempt, giving him a period of ten days for that
In this answer attorney Vicente J. Francisco, far from
regretting having employed the phrases contained in
said paragraph in his motion, reiterated them several
times contending that they did not constitute
contempt because, according to him it is not
contempt to tell the truth.
In the opinion of this court, an inexcusable disrespect
of the authority of the court and an intentional
contempt of its dignity, because the court is thereby
charged with no less than having proceed in utter
disregard of the laws, the rights of the parties, and of
the untoward consequences, or with having abused
its power and mocked and flouted the rights of
Attorney Vicente J. Francisco's client, because the
acts of outraging and mocking from which the words
"outrage" and "mockery" used therein are derived,
mean exactly the same as all these, according to the
Dictionary of the Spanish Language published by the
Spanish Academy
The insertion of the phrases in question in said
motion of Attorney Vicente J. Francisco, for many
years a member of the Philippine bar, was neither
justified nor in the least necessary, because in order
to call the attention of the court in a special way to

the essential points relied upon in his argument and

to emphasize the force thereof, the many reasons
stated in his said motion were sufficient and the
phrases in question were superfluous.
Both means are annoying and good practice can
never sanction them by reason of their natural
tendency to disturb and hinder the free exercise of a
serene and impartial judgment, particularly in judicial
matters, in the consideration of questions submitted
for resolution.
Because he states in a threatening manner with the
intention of predisposing the mind of the reader
against the court, thus creating an atmosphere of
prejudices against it in order to make it odious in the
public eye, that decisions of the nature of that
referred to in his motion promote distrust in the
administration of justice and increase the proselytes
of sakdalism, a movement with seditious and
revolutionary tendencies the activities of which, as is
of public knowledge, occurred in this country a few
days ago.
This cannot mean otherwise than contempt of the
dignity of the court and disrespect of the authority
thereof on the part of Attorney Vicente J. Francisco,
because he presumes that the court is so devoid of
the sense of justice that, if he did not resort to
notwithstanding the fact that it may be proven, with
good reasons, that it has acted erroneously.
As a member of the bar and an officer of this court,
Attorney Vicente J. Francisco, as any attorney, is in
duty bound to uphold its dignity and authority and to
defend its integrity, not only because it has conferred
upon him the high privilege, not right
Never will be so for him to exercise said right by
resorting to intimidation or proceeding without the
propriety and respect which the dignity of the courts
Rule 1 of Chapter 2 of Legal Ethics:
It is the duty of the lawyer to maintain towards the
courts a respectful attitude, not for the sake of the
temporary incumbent of the judicial office, but for the
maintenance of its importance. Judges, not being
wholly free to defend themselves, are peculiarly
entitled to receive the support of the bar against
unjust criticism and clamor.
Whenever there is proper ground for serious
complaint of a judicial officer, it is the right and duty
of the lawyer to submit his grievances to the proper
authorities. In such cases but not otherwise, such
charges should be encouraged and the person
making them should be protected.
DEFENSE: it was not his intention to offend the court
or to be recreant to the respect thereto but,
unfortunately, there are his phrases which need no
further comment
Where the matter is abusive or insulting, evidence
that the language used was justified by the facts is
not admissible as a defense. Respect for the judicial

office should always be observed and enforced.

However, in order to avoid a recurrence thereof and
to prevent others by following the bad example, from
taking the same course, this court considers it
imperative to treat the case of said attorney with the
justice it deserves.
The act committed by Attorney Vicente J. Francisco
constitutes a contempt in the face of the court (in
facie curiae) and, reiterating what this court said on
another occasion that the power to punish for
contempt is inherent in the courts in order that there
be due administration of justice
Said attorney is ordered to pay a fine of P200 within
the period of ten days, and to be reprimanded, and
he is hereby reprimanded; and it is ordered that the
entire paragraph of his motion containing the
phrases which as has been stated, constitute
contempt of court be stricken from the record de
"The guaranties of a free speech and a free press
include the right to criticize judicial conduct"
SOPHIA ALAWI, complainant, vs. ASHARY M.
ALAUYA, Clerk of Court VI, Shari'a District
Court, Marawi City, respondent.
A.M. SDC-97-2-P
February 24, 1997
Sophia Alawi was (and presumably still is) a sales
representative (or coordinator) of E. B. Villarosa &
Partners Co., Ltd. of Davao City, a real estate and
housing company. Ashari M. Alauya is the incumbent
executive clerk of court of the 4th Judicial Shari'a
District in Marawi City. They were classmates, and
used to be friends.
It appears that through Alawi's agency, a contract
was executed for the purchase on installments by
Alauya of one of the housing units belonging to the
above mentioned firm (hereafter, simply Villarosa &
Co.); and in connection therewith, a housing loan was
also granted to Alauya by the National Home
Mortgage Finance Corporation (NHMFC).
Not long afterwards, or more precisely on December
15, 1995, Alauya addressed a letter to the President
of Villarosa & Co. advising of the termination of his
contract with the company
Alauya also wrote to Mr. Fermin T. Arzaga, VicePresident, Credit & Collection Group of the National
Home Mortgage Finance Corporation (NHMFC) at
Salcedo Village, Makati City, repudiating as
fraudulent and void his contract with Villarosa & Co.;
and asking for cancellation of his housing loan in
connection therewith
As in his letter to Villarosa & Co., he narrated in some
detail what he took to be the anomalous actuations
of Sophia Alawi.
He then proceeded to expound in considerable detail

and quite acerbic language on the "grounds which

could evidence the bad faith, deceit, fraud,
confidence by the unscrupulous sales agent
Alauya sent a copy of the letter to the Vice-President
of Villarosa & Co. at San Pedro, Gusa, Cagayan de
Oro City. The envelope containing it, and which
actually went through the post, bore no stamps.
Instead at the right hand corner above the
description of the addressee, the words, "Free
Postage PD 26," had been typed.
She deplored Alauya's references to her as
"unscrupulous, swindler, forger, manipulator, etc."
without "even a bit of evidence to cloth (sic) his
allegations with the essence of truth," denouncing his
imputations as irresponsible, "all concoctions, lies,
baseless and coupled with manifest ignorance and
evident bad faith," and asserting that all her dealings
with Alauya had been regular and completely
transparent. She closed with the plea that Alauya "be
dismissed from the service, or be appropriately
He also averred that the complaint had no factual
basis; Alawi was envious of him for being not only
"the Executive Clerk of court and ex-officio Provincial
Sheriff and District Registrar," but also "a scion of a
Royal Family
In a subsequent letter to Atty. Marasigan, but this
time in much less aggressive, even obsequious
tones, Alauya requested the former to give him a
copy of the complaint in order that he might
comment thereon. He stated that his acts as clerk of
court were done in good faith and within the confines
of the law; and that Sophia Alawi as sales agent of
Villarosa & Co. had, by falsifying his signature,
fraudulently bound him to a housing loan contract
entailing monthly deductions of P4,333.10 from his
Alauya contended that it was he who had suffered
"undue injury, mental anguish, sleepless nights,
wounded feelings and untold financial suffering,"
considering that in six months, a total of P26,028.60
had been deducted from his salary. He denied any
abuse of the franking privilege, saying that he gave
P20.00 plus transportation fare to a subordinate
whom he entrusted with the mailing of certain
letters; that the words: "Free Postage PD 26," were
typewritten on the envelope by some other person,
an averment corroborated by the affidavit of
Absamen C. Domocao, Clerk IV and as far as he
knew, his subordinate mailed the letters with the use
of the money he had given for postage, and if those
letters were indeed mixed with the official mail of the
court, this had occurred inadvertently and because of
an honest mistake.
Alauya justified his use of the title, "attorney," by the
assertion that it is "lexically synonymous" with
"Counsellors-at-law," a title to which Shari'a lawyers
have a rightful claim
He claims he was manipulated into reposing his trust
in Alawi, a classmate and friend. He was induced to
sign a blank contract on Alawi's assurance that she

would show the completed document to him later for

correction, but she had since avoided him; despite
"numerous letters and follow-ups" he still does not
know where the property -- subject of his supposed
agreement with Alawi's principal, Villarosa & Co. -- is
Alauya's defense essentially is that in making these
statements, he was merely acting in defense of his
rights, and doing only what "is expected of any man
unduly prejudiced and injured," who had suffered
"mental anguish, sleepless nights, wounded feelings
and untold financial suffering," considering that in six
months, a total of P26,028.60 had been deducted
from his salary.
The Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public
Officials and Employees (RA 6713) inter alia
enunciates the State policy of promoting a high
standard of ethics and utmost responsibility in the
public serviceSection 4 of the Code commands that
"public officials and employees ** at all times respect
the rights of others, and ** refrain from doing acts
contrary to law, good morals, good customs, public
policy, public order, public safety and public
More than once has this Court emphasized that "the
conduct and behavior of every official and employee
of an agency involved in the administration of justice,
from the presiding judge to the most junior clerk,
should be circumscribed with the heavy burden of
responsibility. Their conduct must at all times be
characterized by, among others, strict propriety and
decorum so as to earn and keep the respect of the
public for the judiciary.
Now, it does not appear to the Court consistent with
good morals, good customs or public policy, or
respect for the rights of others, to couch
denunciations of acts believed -- however sincerely -to be deceitful, fraudulent or malicious, in
excessively intemperate. insulting or virulent
language. Alauya is evidently convinced that he has
a right of action against Sophia Alawi.
The law requires that he exercise that right with
propriety, without malice or vindictiveness, or undue
harm to anyone; in a manner consistent with good
morals, good customs, public policy, public order,
supra; or otherwise stated, that he "act with justice,
give everyone his due, and observe honesty and
good faith.
As a judicial employee, it is expected that he accord
respect for the person and the rights of others at all
times, and that his every act and word should be
characterized by prudence, restraint, courtesy,
dignity. His radical deviation from these salutary
norms might perhaps be mitigated, but cannot be
excused, by his strongly held conviction that he had
been grievously wronged.
As regards Alauya's use of the title of "Attorney," this
Court has already had occasion to declare that
persons who pass the Shari'a Bar are not full-fledged
members of the Philippine Bar, hence may only
practice law before Shari'a courts.

The title of "attorney" is reserved to those who,

having obtained the necessary degree in the study of
law and successfully taken the Bar Examinations,
have been admitted to the Integrated Bar of the
Philippines and remain members thereof in good
standing; and it is they only who are authorized to
practice law in this jurisdiction.
Ashari M. Alauya is hereby REPRIMANDED for the
use of excessively intemperate, insulting or virulent
language, i.e., language unbecoming a judicial
officer, and for usurping the title of attorney; and he
is warned that any similar or other impropriety or
misconduct in the future will be dealt with more
RAMOS, respondent
A.M. No. 1053
September 7, 1979
Santa Pangan, to cite respondent Dionisio Ramos for
contempt. It appears from the record that on
September 7, 1978 and March 13, 1979, the hearings
in this administrative case were postponed on the
basis of respondent's motions for postponement.
CASE entitled People v. Marieta M. Isip
Upon verification, the attorney of record of the
accused in said case is one "Atty. Pedro D.D. Ramos,
306 Dona Salud Bldg., Dasmarinas Manila."
Respondent admits that he used the name of "Pedro
D.D. Ramos" before said court in connection with
Criminal Case No. 35906, but avers that he had a
right to do so because in his Birth Certificate (Annex
"A"), his name is "Pedro Dionisio Ramos", and -his
parents are Pedro Ramos and Carmen Dayaw, and
that the D.D. in "Pedro D.D. Ramos" is but an
abbreviation of "Dionisio Dayaw his other given name
and maternal surname.





The name appearing in the "Roll of Attorneys" is

"Dionisio D. Ramos". The attorney's roll or register is
the official record containing the names and
signatures of those who are authorized to practice
law. A lawyer is not authorized to use a name other
than the one inscribed in the Roll of Attorneys in his
practice of law.

The duty of an attorney to the courts to employ, for

the purpose of maintaining the causes confided to
him, such means as are consistent with truth and
honor cannot be overempahisized. These injunctions
circumscribe the general duty of entire devotion of
the attorney to the client
Respondent in effect resorted to deception.
Respondent Dionisio D. Ramos is severely
REPRIMANDED and warned that a repetition of the
same overt act may warrant his suspencion or
disbarment from the practice of law.
vs. CELEDONIO AGRAVA, in his capacity as
Director of the Philippines Patent Office,
G.R. No. L-12426
February 16, 1959
Respondent Director issued a circular announcing
that he had scheduled for June 27, 1957 an
examination for the purpose of determining who are
qualified to practice as patent attorneys before the
Philippines Patent Office, the said examination to
cover patent law and jurisprudence and the rules of
practice before said office.
CIRCULAR: members of the Philippine Bar,
engineers and other persons with sufficient scientific
and technical training are qualified to take the said
examination. It would appear that heretofore,
respondent Director has been holding similar
Contention of Philippine Lawyer's Association:
one who has passed the bar examinations and is
licensed by the Supreme Court to practice law in the
Philippines and who is in good standing, is duly
qualified to practice before the Philippines Patent
Office, and that consequently, the cat of the
respondent Director requiring members of the
Philippine Bar in good standing to take and pass an
examination given by the Patent Office as a condition
precedent to their being allowed to practice before
said office, such as representing applicants in the
preparation and prosecution of applications for
patent, is in excess of his jurisdiction and is in
violation of the law.
Directors Contention:

The official oath obliges the attorney solemnly to

swear that he will do no falsehood". As an officer in
the temple of justice, an attorney has irrefragable
obligations of "truthfulness, candor and frankness"
Indeed, candor and frankness should characterize the
conduct of the lawyer at every stage.
This has to be so because the court has the right to
rely upon him in ascertaining the truth. In
representing himself to the court as "Pedro D.D.
Ramos" instead of "Dionisio D. Ramos", respondent
has violated his solemn oath.


Maintains that the prosecution of patent

cases "does not involve entirely or purely
the practice of law but includes the
application of scientific and technical
knowledge and training, so much so that, as
a matter of actual practice, the prosecution
of patent cases may be handled not only by
lawyers, but also engineers and other
persons with sufficient scientific and
technical training who pass the prescribed
examinations as given by the Patent Office
The Rules of Court do not prohibit the Patent
Office, or any other quasi-judicial body from
requiring further condition or qualification


from those who would wish to handle cases

before the Patent Office
Patent law of the United States of America
authorizes the Commissioner of Patents to
prescribe examinations to determine as to
who practice before the United States Patent

ISSUE: whether or not appearance before the patent

Office and the preparation and the prosecution of
patent applications, etc., constitutes or is included in
the practice of law.
RULING: In our opinion, the practice of law includes
such appearance before the Patent Office, the
representation of applicants, oppositors, and other
persons, and the prosecution of their applications for
patent, their oppositions thereto, or the enforcement
of their rights in patent cases.
We hold that under the present law, members of the
Philippine Bar authorized by this Tribunal to practice
law, and in good standing, may practice their
profession before the Patent Office, for the reason
that much of the business in said office involves the
interpretation and determination of the scope and
application of the Patent Law and other laws
The Supreme Court has the exclusive and
constitutional power with respect to admission to the
practice of law in the Philippines 1 and to any member
of the Philippine Bar in good standing may practice
law anywhere and before any entity, whether judicial
or quasi-judicial or administrative, in the Philippines.
The practice of law is not limited to the conduct of
cases or litigation in court; it embraces the
preparation of pleadings and other papers incident to
actions and social proceedings, the management of
such actions and proceedings on behalf of clients
before judges and courts, and in addition, conveying.
In general, all advice to clients, and all action taken
for them in matters connected with the law
corporation services, assessment and condemnation
services contemplating an appearance before a
judicial body, the foreclosure of a mortgage,
enforcement of a creditor's claim in bankruptcy and
insolvency proceedings, and conducting proceedings
in attachment, and in matters of estate and
guardianship have been held to constitute law
practice as do the preparation and drafting of legal
instruments, where the work done involves the
determination by the trained legal mind of the legal
effect of facts and conditions.
Practice of law under modern conditions consists in
no small part of work performed outside of any court
and having no immediate relation to proceedings in
court. It embraces conveyancing, the giving of legal
advice on a large variety of subjects, and the
preparation and execution of legal instruments
covering an extensive field of business and trust
relations and other affairs.
Practice before the Patent Office involves the
interpretation and application of other laws and legal
principles, as well as the existence of facts to be
established in accordance with the law of evidence

and procedure.




Section 8 of our Patent Law provides that an

invention shall not be patentable if it is
contrary to public order or morals, or to
public health or welfare.
Section 9 says that an invention shall not be
considered new or patentable if it was
known or used by others in the Philippines
before the invention thereof by the inventor
named in any printed publication in the
Philippines or any foreign country more than
one year before the application for a patent
therefor, or if it had been in public use or on
sale in the Philippines for more than one
year before the application for the patent
Section 10 provides that the right to patent
belongs to the true and actual inventor, his
heirs, legal representatives or assigns.
Section 25 and 26 refer to connection of any
mistake in a patent.
Section 28 enumerates the grounds for
cancellation of a patent; that although any
person may apply for such cancellation,
Under Section 29, the Solicitor General is
authorized to petition for the cancellation of
a patent.
Section 30 mentions the requirements of a
petition for cancellation.
Section 31 and 32 provide for a notice of
hearing of the petition for cancellation of the
patent by the Director of Patents in case the
said cancellation is warranted.
Under Section 34, at any time after the
expiration of three years from the day the
patent was granted, any person patent on
several grounds, such as, if the patented
invention is not being worked in the
Philippines on a commercial scale, or if the
demand for the patented article in the
Philippines on a commercial scale, or if the
demand for the patented article in the
Philippines is not being met to an adequate
extent and reasonable terms, or if by reason
of the patentee's refusal to grant a license
on reasonable terms or by reason of the
condition attached by him to the license,
purchase or use of the patented article or
working of the patented process or machine
of production, the establishment of a new
trade or industry in the Philippines is
prevented; or if the patent or invention
relates to food or medicine or is necessary
to public health or public safety. All these
things involve the applications of laws, legal
principles, practice and procedure. They call
for legal knowledge, training and experience
for which a member of the bar has been

If the transaction of business in the Patent Office and

the acts, orders and decisions of the Patent Director
involved exclusively or mostly technical and scientific
knowledge and training, then logically, the appeal
should be taken not to a court or judicial body, but
rather to a board of scientists, engineers or technical


men, which is not the case.

The Director of Patents, exercising as he does judicial
or quasi-judicial functions, it is reasonable to hold
that a member of the bar, because of his legal
knowledge and training, should be allowed to
practice before the Patent Office, without further
examination or other qualification.
Were we to allow the Patent Office, in the absence of
an express and clear provision of law giving the
necessary sanction, to require lawyers to submit to
and pass on examination prescribed by it before they
are allowed to practice before said Patent Office, then
there would be no reason why other bureaus
specially the Bureau of Internal Revenue and
Customs, where the business in the same area are
more or less complicated, such as the presentation of
books of accounts, balance sheets, etc., assessments
exemptions, depreciation, these as regards the
Bureau of Internal Revenue, and the classification of
goods, imposition of customs duties, seizures,
confiscation, etc., as regards the Bureau of Customs,
may not also require that any lawyer practising
before them or otherwise transacting business with
them on behalf of clients, shall first pass an
examination to qualify.
For the foregoing reasons, the petition for prohibition
is granted and the respondent Director is hereby
prohibited from requiring members of the Philippine
Bar to submit to an examination or tests and pass
the same before being permitted to appear and
practice before the Patent Office.
FACTS: Leslie Ui filed an administrative case for
disbarment against Atty. Iris Bonifacio on grounds of
immoral conduct. Atty. Bonifacio allegedly is having
an illicit relationship with Carlos Ui, husband of Leslie
Ui, whom they begot two children. According to
petitioner, Carlos Ui admitted to him about the
relationship between them and Atty. Bonifacio. This
led Leslie Ui to confront said respondent to stop their
illicit affair but of to no avail. According however to
respondent, she is avictim in the situation. When
respondent met Carlos Ui, she had known him to be a
bachelor but with children to an estranged Chinese
woman who is already in Amoy, China. Moreover, the
two got married in Hawaii, USA therefore legalizing
their relationship. When respondent knew of the real
status of Carlos Ui, she stopped their relationship.
Respondent further claims that she and Carlos Ui
never lived together as the latter lived with his
children to allow them to gradually accept the
misrepresented copy of her marriage contract.
ISSUE: Did the respondent conduct herself in an
immoral manner for which she deserves to be barred
from the practice of law?
HELD: NO. The practice of law is a privilege. A bar
candidate does not have the right to enjoy the
practice of the legal profession simply by passing the
bar examinations. It is a privilege that can be
revoked, subject to the mandate of due process, once
a lawyer violates his oath and the dictates of legal

ethics. If good moral character is a sine qua non for

admission to the bar, then the continued possession
of good moral character is also requisite for retaining
membership in the legal profession. Membership in
the bar may be terminated when a lawyer ceases to
have good moral character. A lawyer may be
disbarred for grossly immoral conduct or by reason
of his conviction of a crime involving moral
turpitude. A member of the bar should have moral
integrity in addition to professional probity.
Circumstances existed which should have aroused
respondents suspicion that something was amiss in
her relationship with Ui, and moved her to ask
probing questions. Respondent was imprudent in
managing her personal affairs. However, the fact
remains that her relationship with Carlos Ui, clothed
as it was with what respondent believed was a valid
marriage, cannot be considered as an immoral. For
immorality connotes conduct that shows indifference
to the moral norms of society and to opinion of good
and respectable member of the community.
Moreover, for such conduct to warrant disciplinary
action, the same must be grossly immoral, that is it
must be so corrupt and false as to constitute a
criminal act or so unprincipled as to be reprehensible
to a high degree. Respondents act of immediately
distancing herself from Carlos Ui upon discovering his
true civil status belies just that alleged moral
indifference and proves that she had no intention of
flaunting the law and the high moral standard of the
legal profession.
Aurora Soriano Deles vs. Vicente E. Aragona, Jr
AM No 598
28 March 1969
Castro, J.
Vicente E. Aragona, Jr. in his own behalf.
Office of the Solicitor General for the Government.

Complainant Aurora Soriano Deles is the

administratix of the intestate estate of the late
Joaquina Ganzon. On July 26, 1961, upon motion of
Enrique Soriano, Sr. and over and above the
opposition of the complainant, the intestate court
issued an order denying a proposed lease of ten
hectares of the estate by the complainant to one
Carlos Fuentes and sustaining the possession of
Enrique, Frederico and Carlos Aglinao as lessee of the
said land. In disregard of the abovementioned order,
the complainant attempted to take possession of the
landholdings by placing thereon her own tenants.
Predictably, the Aglinao brothers, to protect their
rights, countered by filing against a the complainant
two petitions with the Court of Agrarian relations. The
court issued an interlocutory order of injunction
pendente lite because of the attempts of the
complainant to plow the said land. A telegram was
shown to Respondent Vicente E. Aragona that, one
Albert, a tenant of the complainant, accompanied by
many armed men, went to the land in question and
harvested the palay thereon over the protests of the
Aglinao brothers; that upon inquiring why the said
Albert and his armed companions harvested the
palay, she was told that they were acting upon
orders of the complainant. On October 3, 1962,
respondent filed a verified "Urgent Motion to Declare
Respondent in Contempt of Court" praying that the


complainant and "her armed goons" be declared in,

and punished for, contempt of court for violating the
interlocutory order of June 21, 1962. Complainant
filed an administrative complaint against respondent
claiming that the allegations in his motion libeled her.
She claims that she did not order for the harvest of
the said land.

Whether or not respondent is guilty of

conduct unbecoming of a lawyer?

No. The allegations made by the respondent

against the complainant are absolute privileged
having been made in the course of judicial
proceedings. A privileged communication should not
be subjected to microscopic examination to discover
grounds of malice or falsity. The actuations of the
respondent were motivated by the legitimate desire
to serve the interests of his clients. The respondent
did not rely merely on Mrs. Soriano's telegram when
he prepared the motion for contempt but rather he
took steps to verify it. He had merely acted in
righteous indignation over the wrong supposedly
done to his aggrieved clients believing as he did in
the truth of his charges without deliberate
intention whatsoever to malign and villify the
A.C. No. 492
September 5, 1967
Bengzon, J.P, J.

volunteered to help complainants Olegaria Blanza
and Maria Pasion in their respective pension claims in
connection with the deaths of their husbands, both
P.C. soldiers, and for this purpose, they handed over
to him the pertinent documents and also affixed their
signatures on blank papers. But subsequently, they
noticed that since then, respondent had lost interest
in the progress of their claims and when they finally
asked for the return of their papers six years later,
respondent refused to surrender them. He admitted
having received the documents from complainants
but explained that it was for photostating purposes
only. His failure to immediately return them, he said,
was due to complainants' refusal to hand him the
money to pay for the photostating costs which
prevented him from withdrawing said documents
from the photostat service. Anyway, he had already
advanced the expenses himself and turned over, on
December 13, 1961, the documents, their respective
photostats and the photostat service receipt to the

Whether or not the actions

respondent warrant disciplinary action?



No. An Attorney-client relationship was

already established when he volunteered his
professional services and was not entitled to recover
fees. Although respondent failed to exercise due

diligence to attend to the complainants claims, there

is no clear preponderance of evidence substantiating
the accusations against him. The complainants
themselves are partly to blame for the delay in filing
their respective claims. Blanza also failed to
substantiate her claim that the respondend failed to
return all her documents.
However, respondent is counseled for his
acts. As a man of law, he is necessarily a leader of
the community, looked up to as a model citizen. His
conduct must, perforce, be par excellence, especially
so when, as in this case,he volunteers his
professional services. Respondent here has not lived
up to that ideal standard.It was unnecessary to have
complainants wait, and hope, for six long years on
their pension claims. Upon their refusal to cooperate,
terminated their professional relationship instead of
keeping them hanging indefinitely.
A.C. No. 6492.
November 18, 2004
Chico-Nazario, J.

Complainant Melanio L. Zoreta alleged that

respondent Atty. Heherson Alnor G. Simpliciano who
was not a duly commissioned Notary Public in 2002
per Certifications issued by the Clerk of Court of
Quezon City Mercedes S. Gatmaytan, performed
several acts of notarization in a case filed by her
against Security Pacific Assurance Corporation.
Despite the ex-parte motion for extension of time to
file answer having been granted by the IBP of Pasig,
respondent failed to file a comment or pleading. He
also failed to do so despite Commissioner Lydia A.
Navarro issuance of an order giving respondent a last
chance to file his answer. The report of Commissioner
Navarro revealed that the respondent entered
several documents in his notarial book, which
reflected that his commission expires on December
31, 2002 as notary public. However, the records of
the Clerk of Court of Quezon city show that he was
never commissioned as a notary public for the year
2002 and 2003. His commission has expired on
December 31, 2001.
Whether or not respondent is guilty of
conduct unbecoming of a lawyer?
Yes. R espondent Atty. Simpliciano did not
have a commission as notary public in 2002 when he
notarized the assailed documents as evidenced by
the two (2) certifications issued by the Clerk of Court
of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City dated 04
October 2002. Records also show, and as confirmed
by IBP Commissioner Navarro, that as of 02 August
2002, respondent had already notarized a total of
590 documents. Against the evidence presented by
complainant, respondent did not even attempt to
present any evidence. His lack of interest and
indifference in presenting his defense to the charge
and the evidence against him can only mean he has
no strong and valid defense to offer.


A lawyer brings honor to the legal profession by

faithfully performing his duties to society, to the bar,
to the courts and to his clients. To this end a member
of the legal fraternity should refrain from doing any
act which might lessen in any degree the confidence
and trust reposed by the public in the fidelity,
honesty and integrity of the legal profession.
Notarization is not an empty, meaningless, routinary
act. For this reason, notaries public must observe
with utmost care the basic requirements in the
performance of their duties.
Respondent is BARRED PERMANENTLY from being
commissioned as Notary Public. He is also
SUSPENDED from the practice of law for two (2)
A-1 Financial Services Inc. vs. Atty. Laarni N.
AC No 8390
July 2, 2010
Peralta, J.

On November 13, 2001 complainant A-1

Financial Services, Inc., a financing corporation,
granted the loan application of respondent Atty.
Valerio amounting to P50,000.00. To secure the
payment of the loan obligation, Atty. Valerio issued a
postdated check in the amount of P50,000.00.
However, upon presentation at the bank for payment
on its maturity date, the check was dishonored due
to insufficient funds. A complaint for violation of BP
22 was filed but respondent failed to appear and she
did not post any bail when a warrant of arrest was
issued. OnJanuary 18, 2006, complainant filed an
administrative complaint against Atty. Valerio before
the Integrated Bar of the Philippines but again she
failed to filer her answer. Her mother claimed that
she was suffering from schizophrenia preventing her
from responding to the complaint. She failed to
attend before the mandatory conference.

Whether or not she is guilty of conduct

unbecoming of a lawyer?

Yes. The respondent or her mother failed to

submit a medical certificate or medical records to
prove that she indeed had schizophrenia. The
deliberate failure to pay just debts and the issuance
of worthless checks constitute gross misconduct, for
which a lawyer may be sanctioned with suspension
from the practice of law. In the instant case, there is
no denial of the existence of the loan obligation
despite respondents failure to cooperate before any
proceedings in relation to the complaint. Atty.
Valerios conduct in the course of the IBP and court
proceedings is also a matter of serious concern. She
also ignored the proceedings before the court as she
likewise failed to both answer the complaint against
her and appear during her arraignment, despite
orders and notices from the court. Clearly, this
conduct runs counter to the precepts of the Code of
Professional Responsibility and violates the lawyers
oath which imposes upon every member of the Bar
the duty to delay no man for money or malice. Atty.
Valerio has failed to live up to the values and norms

of the legal profession as embodied in the Code of

Professional Responsibility.
She is SUSPENDED for two (2) years from the
practice of law.
B.M. No. 1222.
February 4, 2004
There was an alleged leakage in the bar
examination for commercial law. The chairman of
the Bar Examinations Committee, Justice Jose C.
Vitug, reported the matter to to the Chief Justice and
recommended that the examination in mercantile law
be cancelled and that a formal investigation of the
leakage be undertaken. The Court instead decided to
allocate the fifteen (15) percentage points for
mercantile law among the seven (7) other bar
examination subjects upon the numerous protest
received by the court from conducting another
examinations. An investigating committee was
created composed of Justice CAROLINA GRIOAQUINO as chairman and Justice JOSE A. R. MELO and
Justice VICENTE V. MENDOZA as members.
Investigations of the committee revealed
that bar examiner Atty. Marcial O. T. Balgos prepared
his test questions in his office with the aid of his
secretary Cheryl Palma. Atty. Danilo De Guzman, one
of the office staff of Atty. Balgos, was able to obtain a
copy of the question when he browsed the files of
Atty. Balgos computer without the latter knowledge
and permission. He then forwarded the said question
to his fraternity brother in the Beta Sigma Lambda

Whether or not Atty. Balgos and Atty. De

Guzman is guilty of conduct unbecoming of a lawyer?

Yes. Attorney Danilo De Guzmans act of

downloading Attorney Balgos test questions in
mercantile law from the latters computer, without
his knowledge and permission, was a criminal act of
larceny. It was theft of intellectual property; the test
questions were intellectual property of Attorney
Balgos, being the product of his intellect and legal
knowledge. De Guzman was guilty of grave
misconduct unbecoming a member of the Bar. He
violated the law instead of promoting respect for it
and degraded the noble profession of law instead of
upholding its dignity and integrity. His actuations
impaired public respect for the Court, and damaged
the integrity of the bar examinations as the final
measure of a law graduates academic preparedness
to embark upon the practice of law.
The theft of the test questions from Atty. Balgos
computer could have been avoided if Atty. Balgos
had exercised due diligence in safeguarding the
secrecy of the test questions which he prepared. He
admittedly did not know the password of his
computer. He relied on his secretary to use the
password to open and close his computer. He kept his
computer in a room to which other persons had
access. Unfamiliar with the use of the machine whose


potential for mischief he could not have been totally

unaware of, he should have avoided its use for so
sensitive an undertaking as typing the questions in
the bar examination. Atty. Balgos negligence in the
preparation and safekeeping of his proposed test
questions for the bar examination in mercantile law,
was not the proximate cause of the bar leakage; it
was, in fact, the root cause. For, if he had taken those
simple precautions to protect the secrecy of his

papers, nobody could have stolen them and copied

and circulated them.
Atty. DANILO DE GUZMAN is disbarred from the
practice of law while Atty. MARCIAL O.T. BALGOS is
reprimanded and DISENTITLED from receiving any
honorarium as an Examiner in Mercantile Law.