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Part III Rules of Court.

A copy of this decision must be forwarded to the Supreme Court as

required by Section 29 of the same Rule.

On 17 December 1983, respondent received from one Herminia A. Marquez several pieces
of jewelry, with a total stated value of P36,000.00, for sale on a commission basis, with the On 16 December 1988, respondent filed a Notice of Appeal with the Court of Appeals. The
condition that the respondent would turn over the sales proceeds and return the unsold Court of Appeals, in a Resolution dated 9 January 1989, noted respondent's Notice of
items to Ms. Marquez on or before 14 February 1984. Sometime in February 1984, Appeal and advised her "to address her Notice of Appeal to the Honorable Supreme Court,
respondent, instead of returning the unsold pieces of jewelry which then amounted to the proper forum." On 1 February 1989, respondent filed with this Court a Notice of Appeal.
approximately P26,250.00, issued three checks: (a) a check dated 16 February 1984 for
the amount of P5,400.00; (b) a check dated 23 February 1984 also for the amount of In a Resolution dated 31 May 1989, the Supreme Court noted without action respondent's
P5,400.00; and (c) a check dated 25 February 1984 for the amount of P15,450.00. Upon Notice of Appeal and declared that the Court of Appeals' decision of 17 October 1988 had
presentment for payment within ninety (90) days after their issuance, all three (3) checks become final and executory upon expiration of the period for filing a petition for review
were dishonored by the drawee bank, Traders Royal Bank, for insufficiency of funds. on certiorari on 16 December 1988. In that Resolution, the Court found that respondent
Notwithstanding receipt of the notice of dishonor, respondent made no arrangements with had lost her right to appeal by certiorari when she posted with this Court a Notice of
the bank concerning the honoring of checks which had bounced and made no effort to Appeal instead of filing a petition for review on certiorari under Section 1, Rule 45 of the
settle her obligations to Ms. Marquez. Revised Rules of Court within the reglementary period.

Consequently, four (4) informations were filed against respondent with the Regional Trial In the instant Motion to Lift Order of Suspension, respondent states:
Court of Manila: (a) one for estafa, docketed as Criminal Case No. 85-38358; and (b) three
(3) for violation of B.P. Blg. 22, docketed respectively as Criminal Cases Nos. 85-38359, 85- that suspension from the practice of law is indeed a harsh if not a not painful penalty
38360 and 85-38361. In due time, after trial, the trial court rendered a decision dated 25 aggravating the lower court's penalty of fine considering that accused-appellant's action
August 1987 which: on the case during the trial on the merits at the lower court has always been motivated
purely by sincere belief that she is innocent of the offense charged nor of the intention to
(a) acquitted respondent of the charge of estafa; and cause damage to the herein plaintiff-appellee.

(b) convicted respondent of violation of B.P. Blg. 22 in all three (3) cases, and sentenced respondent to We read the above statement as a claim by the respondent that, she had not violated her
pay a fine of P6,000.00, with subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency and to indemnify the
oath as a member of the Philippine Bar upon the ground that when she issued the checks
complainant in the amount of P5,400.00 in Criminal Case No. 8538359;
which bounced, she did not intend to cause damage to complainant Ms. Marquez.
to pay a fine of P 6,000.00, with subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency and to indemnify the
complainant in the amount of P5,400.00, in Criminal Case No. 85-38360; and The Court affirms the suspension from the practice of law imposed by the Court of Appeals
upon respondent Tuanda. The Court of Appeals correctly ruled that "the offense [of] which
to pay a fine of P16,000.00, with subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency, and to indemnify the
complainant in the amount of P15,450.00, in Criminal Case No. 85-38361, and to pay the costs in all
she is found guilty involved moral turpitude." We should add that violation of B.P. Blg. 22 is
three (3) cases. a serious criminal offense which deleteriously affects public interest and public order.
In Lozano v. Martinez, 2 the Court explained the nature of the offense of violation of B.P.
On appeal, the Court of Appeals in C.A.-G.R. CR No. 05093 affirmed in toto the decision of Blg. 22 in the following terms:
the trial court but, in addition, suspended respondent Tuanda from the practice of law. The
pertinent portion of the decision read as follows: The gravamen of the offense punished by B.P. Blg. 22 is the act of making and issuing a
worthless check or a check that is dishonored upon its presentation for payment. . . . The
For reasons above stated and finding the evidence sufficient to sustain the conviction, the thrust of the law is to prohibit under pain of penal sanctions, the making of worthless
judgment is hereby AFFIRMED subject to this modification. checks and putting them in circulation. Because of its deleterious effects on the public
interest, the practice is prescribed by the law. The law punishes the act not as an offense
It appearing from the records that the accused Fe Tuanda is a member of the Bar, and the against property but an offense against public order.
offense for (sic) which she is found guilty involved moral turpitude, she is hereby ordered
suspended from the practice of law and shall not practice her profession until further The effects of the issuance of a worthless check transcends the private interests of the
action from the Supreme Court, in accordance with Sections 27 and 28 of Rule 138 of the parties directly involved in the transaction and touches the interests of the community at
large. The mischief it creates is not only a wrong to the payee or holder, but also an injury
to the public. The harmful practice of putting valueless commercial papers in circulation,
multiplied a thousandfold, can very well pollute the channels of trade and commerce,
injure the banking system and eventually hurt the welfare of society and the public
interest. 3 (Italics supplied)

Respondent was thus correctly suspended from the practice of law because she had been
convicted of crimes involving moral turpitude. Sections 27 and 28 of Rule 138 of the
Revised Rules of Court provide as follows:
On August 14, 2002, a letter-complaint 1 addressed to the Chief Justice was received by the
Sec. 27. Attorneys renewed or suspended by Supreme Court on what grounds. A member
Office of the Court Administrator, charging respondents with deliberately causing the delay
of the bar may be removed or suspended from his office as attorney by the Supreme Court
of the prosecution of Criminal Case No. 59354 for Estafa entitled, "People of the
of any deceit, malpractice, or other gross misconduct in such office, grossly immoral
Philippines, Plaintiff versus Ferdinand Santos, Robert John Sobrepea, Federico Campos,
conduct, or by reason of his conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude, or for any
Polo Pantaleon, and Rafael Perez De Tagle, Jr., Accused" pending before the Metropolitan
violation of the oath which he is required to take before admission to practice, or for a
Trial Court of Pasig City, Branch 72. Complainant is the private prosecutor in the said
wilful disobedience of any lawful order of a superior court, or for corruptly or wilfully
criminal case.
appearing as an attorney for a party to a case without authority so to do. The practice of
soliciting cases at law for the purpose of gain, either personally or through paid agents or During the preliminary investigation of the case, the City Prosecutor of Pasig City dismissed
brokers, constitutes malpractice. (Italics supplied) the complaint for estafa on the ground of insufficiency of evidence. On appeal to the
Secretary of Justice, the said Resolution was set aside and the City Prosecutor of Pasig City
Sec. 28. Suspension of attorney by the Court of Appeals or a Court of First Instance. The
was directed to file the necessary Information for Estafa under Article 316, paragraph 1 of
Court of Appeals or a Court of First Instance may suspend an attorney from practice for
the Revised Penal Code against the five accused. 2 The case was raffled to the Metropolitan
any of the causes named in the last preceding section, and after such suspension such
Trial Court of Pasig City, Branch 72, presided by respondent Judge Eugenio C. Mendinueto.
attorney shall not practice his profession until further action of the Supreme Court in the
premises. (Italics supplied) Accused Polo S. Pantaleon and Federico O. Campos filed a "Motion for Judicial
Determination of Probable Cause". 3 On the other hand, accused Ferdinand Santos, Robert
We should add that the crimes of which respondent was convicted also import deceit and
John Sobrepea, and Rafael Perez De Tagle, Jr. filed a "Petition for Review with Urgent
violation of her attorney's oath and the Code of Professional Responsibility under both of
Prayer for Issuance of Temporary Restraining Order/Preliminary Injunction" before the Court
which she was bound to "obey the laws of the land." Conviction of a crime involving moral
of Appeals, which was docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 67388.
turpitude might not (as in the instant case, violation of B.P. Blg. 22 does not) relate to the
exercise of the profession of a lawyer; however, it certainly relates to and affects the good Meanwhile, a hearing was conducted by the trial court to determine the existence of
moral character of a person convicted of such offense. In Melendrez v. Decena, 4 this Court probable cause. It appeared from the evidence presented therein that accused Pantaleon
stressed that: and Campos were not connected with the Fil-Estate Properties Properties, Inc. when the
transaction complained of occurred. Consequently, the criminal case against them was
the nature of the office of an attorney at law requires that she shall be a person of good
dismissed.4 As to the other three accused, respondent Judge suspended the proceedings
moral character. This qualification is not only a condition precedent to an admission to the
pending the outcome of CA-G.R. SP No. 67388.
practice of law; its continued possession is also essential for remaining in the practice of
law. 5 On November 8, 2001, the Court of Appeals, through the Special Sixteenth Division,
composed of respondent Associate Justices Jose L. Sabio, Perlita J. Tirona and Mariano C.
ACCORDINGLY, the Court Resolved to DENY the Motion to Lift Order of Suspension.
Del Castillo, issued a Temporary Restraining Order directing the trial court and the City
Respondent shall remain suspended from the practice of law until further orders from this
Prosecutor of Pasig City to refrain from conducting any further proceedings in Criminal
Court. A copy of this Resolution shall be forwarded to the Bar Confidant and to the
Case No. 59354 until further orders. 5 The Court of Appeals further directed complainant to
Integrated Bar of the Philippines and spread on the record of respondent.
file his comment to the petition for review. Instead of filing the required comment,
complainant filed a motion to quash the Temporary Restraining Order. 6 The three accused
(petitioners therein), through their respective counsel, respondent Attys. Gilbert Reyes, In their joint comment,12 respondent lawyers averred that their filing of the petition before
Deogracias Fellone and Antonio Hernandez, filed written oppositions to the motion. 7 the appellate court was a legitimate move to protect the interests of their clients. They
contended that while the Secretary of Justice is not among the quasi-judicial agencies
Meanwhile, the Temporary Restraining Order expired after the period of sixty days without whose orders or judgments may be the subject of a petition for review, the enumeration in
a writ of preliminary injunction being issued. Hence, complainant filed with the trial court a Rule 43, Section 2 of the Rules of Court is not exclusive, as held in the case of Carpio v.
"Motion to Commence Proceedings", which was denied on the ground that it would be Sulu Resources Development Corporation.13 They further alleged that any error in the
practical as well as procedurally appropriate to await the final resolution of CA-G.R. SP No. remedy they chose did not render them administratively liable considering that they did
67388 in order to avoid the possibility of conflicting resolutions. The motion for not act in bad faith.
reconsideration filed by complainant was likewise denied. 8
After several exchanges of various pleadings between complainant and the three-lawyer
On September 2, 2002, the Court of Appeals, through its Fourteenth Division, denied due respondents,14 the Court referred the matter to the Office of the Court Administrator for
course and dismissed the petition in CA-G.R. SP No. 67388. 9 investigation, report and recommendation.15However, considering that some of the
respondents are incumbent Justices of the Court of Appeals, the case was subsequently
Thus, complainant filed the instant administrative complaint against respondent Justices referred to Retired Justice Romulo S. Quimbo, Consultant of the Office of the Court
Jose L. Sabio, Jr., Oswaldo Agcaoili, Perlita Tria-Tirona and Mariano Del Castillo for ignorance Administrator,16pursuant to Section 3, Rule 14017 of the Rules of Court, as amended by A.M.
of the law and inexcusable negligence when they issued the Temporary Restraining Order No. 01-8-10-SC, dated September 11, 2001.
without basis. Complainant alleged that respondent Justices deliberately delayed the
prosecution of Criminal Case No. 59354 by issuing the Temporary Restraining Order despite On June 5, 2003, Justice Quimbo submitted his report with the recommendation that the
the fact that respondent Judge Mendinueto was mandated by the Constitution and Rule administrative case against all the respondents be dismissed for lack of merit.
112 of the Rules of Criminal Procedure to act within ten days from receipt of the
Information; and that respondent Justices failed to resolve the Motion to Quash despite the The Investigating Justice found that respondent Justices of the Court of Appeals did not
lapse of more than ten months. Complainant further charged that respondent Judge was commit error in requiring complainant (respondent therein) to comment and in granting
likewise guilty of deliberately delaying Criminal Case No. 59354, when he refused to the prayer for a Temporary Restraining Order so as not to frustrate or prejudice whatever
commence proceedings despite the lapse of the Temporary Restraining Order. action the said court may take relative to the petition. While the petition was eventually
dismissed on the ground that Rule 43 was inapplicable, respondent Justices cannot be held
Complainant also charged respondent lawyers, Attys. Gilbert Reyes, Deogracias Fellone administratively liable for not dismissing the petition outright since such omission did not
and Antonio Hernandez, for having masterminded the scheme to frustrate the prosecution amount to a flagrant disregard of the facts, jurisprudence and applicable law. Likewise,
of the case against their three clients through the petition for review filed before the Court there is no showing that respondent Justices knowingly issued an unjust and baseless
of Appeals. Temporary Restraining Order. Moreover, the length of time the petition remained pending
before the Court of Appeals was justified by the heavy caseload of the Justices concerned.
In their joint comment10 filed on October 1, 2002, respondent Justices Sabio, Tria-Tirona, Del
Castillo and Agcaoili denied that there was delay in the disposition of CA-G.R. SP No. Similarly, there were no grounds to impose administrative sanctions on respondent Judge
67388. They alleged that the petition was resolved relatively early considering the Eugenio C. Mendinueto. His decision to suspend the proceedings in the criminal case even
pendency of other cases of equal importance and the heavy caseload of the Justices after the expiration of the Temporary Restraining Order showed a becoming modesty and
concerned. Specifically, the petition, which was filed on October 26, 2001, was resolved on deference to a higher court. There was also no showing that respondent Judge connived
September 2, 2002. In addition, respondent Justice Sabio, to whom CA-G.R. SP No. 67388 and confederated to frustrate justice in said criminal case.
was raffled, was designated by the Presiding Justice, together with other Court of Appeals
Justices, to help expedite the disposition of cases of "1997 and below" vintage under the In the same way, the complaint against respondent lawyers was found to be
Zero Backlog Project of the Court of Appeals. unsubstantiated. There was no evidence that they misused the rules of procedure to defeat
the ends of justice; or that they deliberately delayed the case, impeded the execution of a
In his comment11 filed on October 7, 2002, respondent Judge Mendinueto explained that he judgment, or misused court processes. Rather, the action of the three respondent lawyers
refused to proceed with Criminal Case No. 59354 notwithstanding the lapse of the sixty- was well within the bounds of the fair and honorable conduct referred to in the Code of
day effectivity of the Temporary Restraining Order in deference to the final outcome of CA- Professional Responsibility.
G.R. SP No. 67388 and in order to avoid the absurd possibility of two conflicting resolutions
by the trial court and the Court of Appeals.
The Investigating Justice, however, took note of the allusion by complainant in his sarcasm in calling the three respondent lawyers "brilliant lawyers", "legal supermen" and
pleadings to the three respondent lawyers as "brilliant lawyers", "legal supermen" or "sages" fell short of this mandate. It served no useful purpose. The use of intemperate
"sages," which he said amounted to sarcasm. language and unkind ascriptions have no place in the dignity of judicial forum. Civility
among members of the legal profession is a treasured tradition that must at no time be
We agree with the recommendation of the Investigating Justice Romulo S. Quimbo. lost to it.23

No evidence was presented to show that all the respondents, either individually or WHEREFORE, in view of all the foregoing, the complaint against all the respondents is
collectively, adopted a schematic plan to delay the prosecution of Criminal Case No. DISMISSED for lack of merit.
59354. Apparently, the conspiracy theory advanced by complainant was formulated after
the respondent Justices granted the Temporary Restraining Order and required complainant SO ORDERED.
to comment on the petition filed by the three respondent lawyers, instead of dismissing
the petition outright.

As held in the recent case of Sacmar v. Judge Reyes-Carpio, 18 a charge of knowingly

rendering an unjust and baseless order will prosper, only if it is shown that the issuance of
the order was indeed unjust and the respondents did not merely commit an error of
judgment or took the unpopular side of a controversial point of law. Their failure to
correctly interpret the law or to properly appreciate the evidence presented does not
necessarily render them administratively liable.19 Magistrates are not expected to be
infallible in their judgments.

In the case at bar, the records fail to show that the respondent Justices and respondent
Judge were guilty of fraud, dishonesty, corruption or, at the very least, bad faith. To merit
disciplinary action from this Court, there should be a showing that the complained judicial
acts of respondent Judge, more so of respondent Justices of the Court of Appeals, were
attended by fraud, dishonesty, corruption or bad faith. 20 There being none, there is no
cogent ground to hold them administratively liable.

Furthermore, the legal remedy taken by respondent lawyers, which was later found to be
erroneous, does not constitute proof that they deliberately and knowingly intended to
forestall the hearing of Criminal Case No. 59354. There was no evidence that they have
overstepped the norms of their Lawyers Oath in advocating the interest of their clients. To
be sure, Canon 19 of the Code of Professional Responsibility requires them to represent
their clients with zeal within the bounds of law. Accordingly, in the judicial forum, their
clients were entitled to the benefit of any and every remedy and defense that is authorized
by the law of the land, and the three respondent lawyers were expected to avail of such
remedy or defense. Indeed, complainant failed to show adequate proof that the three
respondent lawyers deliberately and knowingly "hatched a scheme and toyed with the
law"21 when they filed the said petition before the Court of Appeals.

It bears stressing that it is the duty of a lawyer to conduct himself with courtesy, fairness
and candor toward his professional colleagues. 22 As officers of the court, lawyers are
mandated to conduct themselves honorably, fairly and candidly toward each other. Though
a lawyers language may be forceful and emphatic, it should always be dignified and
respectful, befitting the dignity of the legal profession. Obviously, complainants use of
ANTERO J. POBRE vs. Sen. MIRIAM DEFENSOR-SANTIAGO resentment of every one, however, powerful, to whom the exercise of that liberty may
occasion offense.[1]
In his sworn letter/complaint dated December 22, 2006, with enclosures, Antero J. Pobre
invites the Courts attention to the following excerpts of Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiagos As American jurisprudence puts it, this legislative privilege is founded upon long
speech delivered on the Senate floor: experience and arises as a means of perpetuating inviolate the functioning process of the
legislative department. Without parliamentary immunity, parliament, or its equivalent,
I am not angry. I am irate. I am foaming in the mouth. I am homicidal. I am suicidal. I am would degenerate into a polite and ineffective debating forum. Legislators are immune
humiliated, debased, degraded. And I am not only that, I feel like throwing up to be living from deterrents to the uninhibited discharge of their legislative duties, not for their private
my middle years in a country of this nature. I am nauseated. I spit on the face of Chief indulgence, but for the public good. The privilege would be of little value if they could be
Justice Artemio Panganiban and his cohorts in the Supreme Court, I am no longer subjected to the cost and inconvenience and distractions of a trial upon a conclusion of the
interested in the position [of Chief Justice] if I was to be surrounded by idiots. I would pleader, or to the hazard of a judgment against them based upon a judges speculation as
rather be in another environment but not in the Supreme Court of idiots x x x. to the motives.[2]

To Pobre, the foregoing statements reflected a total disrespect on the part of the speaker This Court is aware of the need and has in fact been in the forefront in upholding the
towards then Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban and the other members of the Court and institution of parliamentary immunity and promotion of free speech. Neither has the Court
constituted direct contempt of court. Accordingly, Pobre asks that disbarment proceedings lost sight of the importance of the legislative and oversight functions of the Congress that
or other disciplinary actions be taken against the lady senator. enable this representative body to look diligently into every affair of government,
investigate and denounce anomalies, and talk about how the country and its citizens are
In her comment on the complaint dated April 25, 2007, Senator Santiago, through counsel, being served. Courts do not interfere with the legislature or its members in the manner
does not deny making the aforequoted statements. She, however, explained that those they perform their functions in the legislative floor or in committee rooms. Any claim of an
statements were covered by the constitutional provision on parliamentary immunity, being unworthy purpose or of the falsity and mala fides of the statement uttered by the member
part of a speech she delivered in the discharge of her duty as member of Congress or its of the Congress does not destroy the privilege. [3] The disciplinary authority of the
committee. The purpose of her speech, according to her, was to bring out in the open assembly[4] and the voters, not the courts, can properly discourage or correct such abuses
controversial anomalies in governance with a view to future remedial legislation. She committed in the name of parliamentary immunity.[5]
averred that she wanted to expose what she believed to be an unjust act of the Judicial Bar
Council [JBC], which, after sending out public invitations for nomination to the soon to-be For the above reasons, the plea of Senator Santiago for the dismissal of the complaint for
vacated position of Chief Justice, would eventually inform applicants that only incumbent disbarment or disciplinary action is well taken. Indeed, her privilege speech is not
justices of the Supreme Court would qualify for nomination. She felt that the JBC should actionable criminally or in a disciplinary proceeding under the Rules of Court. It is felt,
have at least given an advanced advisory that non-sitting members of the Court, like her, however, that this could not be the last word on the matter.
would not be considered for the position of Chief Justice.
The Court wishes to express its deep concern about the language Senator Santiago, a
The immunity Senator Santiago claims is rooted primarily on the provision of Article VI, member of the Bar, used in her speech and its effect on the administration of justice. To
Section 11 of the Constitution, which provides: A Senator or Member of the House of the Court, the lady senator has undoubtedly crossed the limits of decency and good
Representative shall, in all offenses punishable by not more than six years imprisonment, professional conduct. It is at once apparent that her statements in question were
be privileged from arrest while the Congress is in session. No member shall be intemperate and highly improper in substance. To reiterate, she was quoted as stating that
questioned nor be held liable in any other place for any speech or debate in the she wanted to spit on the face of Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban and his cohorts in the
Congress or in any committee thereof. Explaining the import of the underscored Supreme Court, and calling the Court a Supreme Court of idiots.
portion of the provision, the Court, in Osmea, Jr. v. Pendatun, said:
The lady senator alluded to In Re: Vicente Sotto.[6] We draw her attention to the ensuing
Our Constitution enshrines parliamentary immunity which is a fundamental privilege passage in Sotto that she should have taken to heart in the first place:
cherished in every legislative assembly of the democratic world. As old as the English
Parliament, its purpose is to enable and encourage a representative of the public to [I]f the people lose their confidence in the honesty and integrity of this Court and believe
discharge his public trust with firmness and success for it is indispensably necessary that that they cannot expect justice therefrom, they might be driven to take the law into their
he should enjoy the fullest liberty of speech and that he should be protected from own hands, and disorder and perhaps chaos would be the result.
No lawyer who has taken an oath to maintain the respect due to the courts should be Lest it be overlooked, Senator Santiagos outburst was directly traceable to what she
allowed to erode the peoples faith in the judiciary. In this case, the lady senator clearly considered as an unjust act the JBC had taken in connection with her application for the
violated Canon 8, Rule 8.01 and Canon 11 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, which position of Chief Justice. But while the JBC functions under the Courts supervision, its
respectively provide: individual members, save perhaps for the Chief Justice who sits as the JBCs ex-
officio chairperson,[8] have no official duty to nominate candidates for appointment to the
Canon 8, Rule 8.01.A lawyer shall not, in his professional dealings, use language which is position of Chief Justice. The Court is, thus, at a loss to understand Senator Santiagos
abusive, offensive or otherwise improper. wholesale and indiscriminate assault on the members of the Court and her choice of
critical and defamatory words against all of them.
Canon 11.A lawyer shall observe and maintain the respect due to the courts and to the
judicial officers and should insist on similar conduct by others. At any event, equally important as the speech and debate clause of Art. VI, Sec. 11 of the
Constitution is Sec. 5(5) of Art. VIII of the Constitution that provides:
Senator/Atty. Santiago is a cut higher than most lawyers. Her achievements speak for
themselves. She was a former Regional Trial Court judge, a law professor, an oft-cited Section 5. The Supreme Court shall have the following powers:
authority on constitutional and international law, an author of numerous law textbooks,
and an elected senator of the land. Needless to stress, Senator Santiago, as a member of (5) Promulgate rules concerning the protection and enforcement of constitutional rights,
the Bar and officer of the court, like any other, is duty-bound to uphold the dignity and pleading, practice, and procedure in all courts, the admission to the practice of the
authority of this Court and to maintain the respect due its members. Lawyers in public law, the Integrated Bar, and legal assistance to the underprivileged. (Emphasis ours.)
service are keepers of public faith and are burdened with the higher degree of social
responsibility, perhaps higher than their brethren in private practice. [7] Senator Santiago The Court, besides being authorized to promulgate rules concerning pleading, practice,
should have known, as any perceptive individual, the impact her statements would make and procedure in all courts, exercises specific authority to promulgate rules governing the
on the peoples faith in the integrity of the courts. Integrated Bar with the end in view that the integration of the Bar will, among other things:

As Senator Santiago alleged, she delivered her privilege speech as a prelude to crafting (4) Shield the judiciary, which traditionally cannot defend itself except within its own
remedial legislation on the JBC. This allegation strikes the Court as an afterthought in light forum, from the assaults that politics and self interest may level at it, and assist it to
of the insulting tenor of what she said. We quote the passage once more: maintain its integrity, impartiality and independence;

I am not angry. I am irate. I am foaming in the mouth. I am homicidal. I am suicidal. I am (11) Enforce rigid ethical standards x x x.[9]
humiliated, debased, degraded. And I am not only that, I feel like throwing up to be living
my middle years in a country of this nature. I am nauseated. I spit on the face of Chief In Re: Letter Dated 21 February 2005 of Atty. Noel S. Sorreda,[10] we reiterated our
Justice Artemio Panganiban and his cohorts in the Supreme Court, I am no longer pronouncement in Rheem of the Philippines v. Ferrer [11] that the duty of attorneys to the
interested in the position [of Chief Justice] if I was to be surrounded by idiots. I would courts can only be maintained by rendering no service involving any disrespect to the
rather be in another environment but not in the Supreme Court of idiots x x x. (Emphasis judicial office which they are bound to uphold. The Court wrote in Rheem of the Philippines:
As explicit is the first canon of legal ethics which pronounces that [i]t is the duty of a
A careful re-reading of her utterances would readily show that her statements were lawyer to maintain towards the Courts a respectful attitude, not for the sake of the
expressions of personal anger and frustration at not being considered for the post of Chief temporary incumbent of the judicial office, but for the maintenance of its supreme
Justice. In a sense, therefore, her remarks were outside the pale of her official importance. That same canon, as a corollary, makes it peculiarly incumbent upon lawyers
parliamentary functions. Even parliamentary immunity must not be allowed to be used as to support the courts against unjust criticism and clamor. And more. The attorneys oath
a vehicle to ridicule, demean, and destroy the reputation of the Court and its magistrates, solemnly binds him to a conduct that should be with all good fidelity x x x to the courts.
nor as armor for personal wrath and disgust. Authorities are agreed that parliamentary
Also, in Sorreda, the Court revisited its holding in Surigao Mineral Reservation Board v.
immunity is not an individual privilege accorded the individual members of the Parliament
Cloribel[12] that:
or Congress for their personal benefit, but rather a privilege for the benefit of the people
and the institution that represents them. A lawyer is an officer of the courts; he is, like the court itself, an instrument or agency to
advance the ends of justice. His duty is to uphold the dignity and authority of the courts to
To be sure, Senator Santiago could have given vent to her anger without indulging in
which he owes fidelity, not to promote distrust in the administration of justice. Faith in the
insulting rhetoric and offensive personalities.
courts, a lawyer should seek to preserve. For, to undermine the judicial edifice is disastrous outside the congressional hall.[18] It is intended to protect members of Congress against
to the continuity of government and to the attainment of the liberties of the people. Thus government pressure and intimidation aimed at influencing the decision-making
has it been said of a lawyer that [a]s an officer of the court, it is his sworn and moral duty prerogatives of Congress and its members.
to help build and not destroy unnecessarily that high esteem and regard towards the
courts so essential to the proper administration of justice. [13] The Rules of the Senate itself contains a provision on Unparliamentary Acts and
Language that enjoins a Senator from using, under any circumstance, offensive or
The lady senator belongs to the legal profession bound by the exacting injunction of a improper language against another Senator or against any public institution.[19] But as
strict Code. Society has entrusted that profession with the administration of the law and to Senator Santiagos unparliamentary remarks, the Senate President had not apparently
dispensation of justice. Generally speaking, a lawyer holding a government office may not called her to order, let alone referred the matter to the Senate Ethics Committee for
be disciplined as a member of the Bar for misconduct committed while in the discharge of appropriate disciplinary action, as the Rules dictates under such circumstance. [20] The lady
official duties, unless said misconduct also constitutes a violation of his/her oath as a senator clearly violated the rules of her own chamber. It is unfortunate that her peers bent
lawyer.[14] backwards and avoided imposing their own rules on her.

Lawyers may be disciplined even for any conduct committed in their private capacity, as Finally, the lady senator questions Pobres motives in filing his complaint, stating that
long as their misconduct reflects their want of probity or good demeanor, [15] a good disciplinary proceedings must be undertaken solely for the public welfare. We cannot agree
character being an essential qualification for the admission to the practice of law and for with her more. We cannot overstress that the senators use of intemperate language to
continuance of such privilege. When the Code of Professional Responsibility or the Rules of demean and denigrate the highest court of the land is a clear violation of the duty of
Court speaks of conduct or misconduct, the reference is not confined to ones behavior respect lawyers owe to the courts.[21]
exhibited in connection with the performance of lawyers professional duties, but also
covers any misconduct, whichalbeit unrelated to the actual practice of their Finally, the Senator asserts that complainant Pobre has failed to prove that she in fact
professionwould show them to be unfit for the office and unworthy of the privileges which made the statements in question. Suffice it to say in this regard that, although she has not
their license and the law invest in them.[16] categorically denied making such statements, she has unequivocally said making them as
part of her privilege speech. Her implied admission is good enough for the Court.
This Court, in its unceasing quest to promote the peoples faith in courts and trust in the
rule of law, has consistently exercised its disciplinary authority on lawyers who, for WHEREFORE, the letter-complaint of Antero J. Pobre against Senator/Atty. Miriam
malevolent purpose or personal malice, attempt to obstruct the orderly administration of Defensor-Santiago is, conformably to Art. VI, Sec. 11 of the Constitution, DISMISSED. SO
justice, trifle with the integrity of courts, and embarrass or, worse, malign the men and ORDERED
women who compose them. We have done it in the case of former Senator Vicente Sotto
in Sotto, in the case of Atty. Noel Sorreda in Sorreda, and in the case of Atty. Francisco B.
Cruz in Tacordan v. Ang[17] who repeatedly insulted and threatened the Court in a most
insolent manner.

The Court is not hesitant to impose some form of disciplinary sanctions on Senator/Atty.
Santiago for what otherwise would have constituted an act of utter disrespect on her part
towards the Court and its members. The factual and legal circumstances of this case,
however, deter the Court from doing so, even without any sign of remorse from her. Basic
constitutional consideration dictates this kind of disposition.

We, however, would be remiss in our duty if we let the Senators offensive and disrespectful
language that definitely tended to denigrate the institution pass by. It is imperative on our
part to re-instill in Senator/Atty. Santiago her duty to respect courts of justice, especially
this Tribunal, and remind her anew that the parliamentary non-accountability thus granted
to members of Congress is not to protect them against prosecutions for their own
benefit, but to enable them, as the peoples representatives, to perform the functions of
their office without fear of being made responsible before the courts or other forums
JOSELANA GUEVARRA vs. ATTY. JOSE EMMANUEL EALA I hope that you have experienced true happiness with me. I have done everything
humanly possible to love you. And today, as you make your vows . . . I make my own vow
Joselano Guevarra (complainant) filed on March 4, 2002 a Complaint for to YOU!
Disbarment1 before the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) Committee on Bar Discipline
(CBD) against Atty. Jose Emmanuel M. Eala a.k.a. Noli Eala (respondent) for "grossly I will love you for the rest of my life. I loved you from the first time I laid eyes on you, to
immoral conduct and unmitigated violation of the lawyer's oath." the time we spent together, up to the final moments of your single life. But more
importantly, I will love you until the life in me is gone and until we are together again.
In his complaint, Guevarra gave the following account:
Do not worry about me! I will be happy for you. I have enough memories of us to last me a
He first met respondent in January 2000 when his (complainant's) then-fiancee Irene Moje lifetime. Always remember though that in my heart, in my mind and in my soul, YOU WILL
(Irene) introduced respondent to him as her friend who was married to Marianne ALWAYS
(sometimes spelled "Mary Ann") Tantoco with whom he had three children.
After his marriage to Irene on October 7, 2000, complainant noticed that from January to ALWAYS BE YOURS AND YOURS ALONE! I LOVE YOU FOREVER, I LOVE YOU FOR ALWAYS. AS
March 2001, Irene had been receiving from respondent cellphone calls, as well as LONG AS I'M LIVING MY TWEETIE YOU'LL BE!"2
messages some of which read "I love you," "I miss you," or "Meet you at Megamall."
Eternally yours, Noli
Complainant also noticed that Irene habitually went home very late at night or early in the
morning of the following day, and sometimes did not go home from work. When he asked Complainant soon saw respondent's car and that of Irene constantly parked at No. 71-B
about her whereabouts, she replied that she slept at her parents' house in Binangonan, 11th Street, New Manila where, as he was to later learn sometime in April 2001, Irene was
Rizal or she was busy with her work. already residing. He also learned still later that when his friends saw Irene on or about
January 18, 2002 together with respondent during a concert, she was pregnant.
In February or March 2001, complainant saw Irene and respondent together on two
occasions. On the second occasion, he confronted them following which Irene abandoned In his ANSWER,3 respondent admitted having sent the I LOVE YOU card on which the above-
the conjugal house. quoted letter was handwritten.

On April 22, 2001, complainant went uninvited to Irene's birthday celebration at which he On paragraph 14 of the COMPLAINT reading:
saw her and respondent celebrating with her family and friends. Out of embarrassment,
anger and humiliation, he left the venue immediately. Following that incident, Irene went to 14. Respondent and Irene were even FLAUNTING THEIR ADULTEROUS RELATIONSHIP as
the conjugal house and hauled off all her personal belongings, pieces of furniture, and her they attended social functions together. For instance, in or about the third week of
share of the household appliances. September 2001, the couple attended the launch of the "Wine All You Can" promotion of
French wines, held at the Mega Strip of SM Megamall B at Mandaluyong City. Their
Complainant later found, in the master's bedroom, a folded social card bearing the words "I attendance was reported in Section B of the Manila Standard issue of 24 September 2001,
Love You" on its face, which card when unfolded contained a handwritten letter dated on page 21. Respondent and Irene were photographed together; their picture was
October 7, 2000, the day of his wedding to Irene, reading: captioned: "Irene with Sportscaster Noli Eala." A photocopy of the report is attached as
Annex C.4 (Italics and emphasis in the original; CAPITALIZATION of the phrase "flaunting
My everdearest Irene, their adulterous relationship" supplied), respondent, in his ANSWER, stated:

By the time you open this, you'll be moments away from walking down the aisle. I will say 4. Respondent specifically denies having ever flaunted an adulterous relationship with
a prayer for you that you may find meaning in what you're about to do. Irene as alleged in paragraph 14 of the Complaint, the truth of the matter being that their
relationship was low profile and known only to the immediate members of their respective
Sometimes I wonder why we ever met. Is it only for me to find fleeting happiness but families, and that Respondent, as far as the general public was concerned, was still known
experience eternal pain? Is it only for us to find a true love but then lose it again? Or is it to be legally married to Mary Anne Tantoco.5 (Emphasis and underscoring supplied)
because there's a bigger plan for the two of us?
On paragraph 15 of the COMPLAINT reading:
15. Respondent's adulterous conduct with the complainant's wife and his disbarment pursuant to Rule 138, Section 27 of the Rules of Court.11 (Emphasis and
apparent abandoning or neglecting of his own family, demonstrate his gross moral underscoring supplied)
depravity, making him morally unfit to keep his membership in the bar. He flaunted his
aversion to the institution of marriage, calling it a "piece of paper." Morally reprehensible To respondent's ANSWER, complainant filed a REPLY, 12 alleging that Irene gave birth to a
was his writing the love letter to complainant's bride on the very day of her wedding, girl and Irene named respondent in the Certificate of Live Birth as the girl's father.
vowing to continue his love for her "until we are together again," as now they Complainant attached to the Reply, as Annex "A," a copy of a Certificate of Live
are.6 (Underscoring supplied), Birth13 bearing Irene's signature and naming respondent as the father of her daughter
Samantha Irene Louise Moje who was born on February 14, 2002 at St. Luke's Hospital.
respondent stated in his ANSWER as follows:
Complainant's REPLY merited a REJOINDER WITH MOTION TO DISMISS 14 dated January 10,
5. Respondent specifically denies the allegations in paragraph 15 of the Complaint 2003 from respondent in which he denied having "personal knowledge of the Certificate of
regarding his adulterousrelationship and that his acts demonstrate gross moral depravity Live Birth attached to the complainant's Reply." 15 Respondent moved to dismiss the
thereby making him unfit to keep his membership in the bar, the reason being complaint due to the pendency of a civil case filed by complainant for the annulment of his
that Respondent's relationship with Irene was not under scandalous circumstances and marriage to Irene, and a criminal complaint for adultery against respondent and Irene
that as far as his relationship with his own family: which was pending before the Quezon City Prosecutor's Office.

5.1 Respondent has maintained a civil, cordial and peaceful relationship with [his wife] During the investigation before the IBP-CBD, complainant's Complaint-Affidavit and Reply
Mary Anne as in fact they still occasionally meet in public, even if Mary Anne is aware to Answer were adopted as his testimony on direct examination. 16 Respondent's counsel
of Respondent's special friendship with Irene. did not cross-examine complainant.17

xxxx After investigation, IBP-CBD Investigating Commissioner Milagros V. San Juan, in a 12-page
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION18 dated October 26, 2004, found the charge against
5.5 Respondent also denies that he has flaunted his aversion to the institution of marriage respondent sufficiently proven.
by calling the institution of marriage a mere piece of paper because his reference [in his
above-quoted handwritten letter to Irene] to the marriage between Complainant and Irene The Commissioner thus recommended19 that respondent be disbarred for violating Rule
as a piece of paper was merely with respect to the formality of the marriage 1.01 of Canon 1 of the Code of Professional Responsibility reading:
contract.7 (Emphasis and underscoring supplied)
Rule 1.01: A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or
Respondent admitted8 paragraph 18 of the COMPLAINT reading: deceitful conduct (Underscoring supplied),

18. The Rules of Court requires lawyers to support the Constitution and obey the laws. The and Rule 7.03 of Canon 7 of the same Code reading:
Constitution regards marriage as an inviolable social institution and is the foundation of the
family (Article XV, Sec. 2).9 Rule 7.03: A lawyer shall not engage in conduct that adversely reflects on his fitness to
practice law, nor shall he, whether in public or private life, behave in a scandalous manner
And on paragraph 19 of the COMPLAINT reading: to the discredit of the legal profession. (Underscoring supplied)

19. Respondent's grossly immoral conduct runs afoul of the Constitution and the laws he, The IBP Board of Governors, however, annulled and set aside the Recommendation of the
as a lawyer, has been sworn to uphold. In pursuing obsessively his illicit love for the Investigating Commissioner and accordingly dismissed the case for lack of merit, by
complainant's wife, he mocked the institution of marriage, betrayed his own family, broke Resolution dated January 28, 2006 briefly reading:
up the complainant's marriage, commits adultery with his wife, and degrades the legal
profession.10 (Emphasis and underscoring supplied), respondent, in his ANSWER, stated: RESOLUTION NO. XVII-2006-06 CBD Case No. 02-936 Joselano Guevarra vs. Atty Jose
Emmanuel Eala
7. Respondent specifically denies the allegations in paragraph 19 of the Complaint, the
reason being that under the circumstances the acts of Respondent with respect to his RESOLVED to ANNUL and SET ASIDE, as it is hereby ANNULLED AND SET ASIDE, the
purely personal and low profile special relationship with Irene is neither under scandalous Recommendation of the Investigating Commissioner, and to APPROVE the DISMISSAL of
circumstances nor tantamount to grossly immoral conduct as would be a ground for the above-entitled case for lack of merit.20 (Italics and emphasis in the original)
Hence, the present petition21 of complainant before this Court, filed pursuant to Section 12 denies is having flaunted such relationship, he maintaining that it was "low profile and
(c), Rule 13922 of the Rules of Court. known only to the immediate members of their respective families."

The petition is impressed with merit. In other words, respondent's denial is a negative pregnant,

Oddly enough, the IBP Board of Governors, in setting aside the Recommendation of the a denial pregnant with the admission of the substantial facts in the pleading responded to
Investigating Commissioner and dismissing the case for lack of merit, gave no reason which are not squarely denied. It was in effect an admission of the averments it was
therefor as its above-quoted 33-word Resolution shows. directed at. Stated otherwise, a negative pregnant is a form of negative expression which
carries with it in affirmation or at least an implication of some kind favorable to the
Respondent contends, in his Comment23 on the present petition of complainant, that there adverse party. It is a denial pregnant with an admission of the substantial facts alleged in
is no evidence against him.24 The contention fails. As the IBP-CBD Investigating the pleading. Where a fact is alleged with qualifying or modifying language and the words
Commissioner observed: of the allegation as so qualified or modified are literally denied, it has been held that
the qualifying circumstances alone are denied while the fact itself is admitted.27 (Citations
While it may be true that the love letter dated October 7, 2000 (Exh. "C") and the news omitted; emphasis and underscoring supplied)
item published in the Manila Standard (Exh. "D"), even taken together do not sufficiently
prove that respondent is carrying on an adulterous relationship with complainant's wife, A negative pregnant too is respondent's denial of having "personal knowledge" of Irene's
there are other pieces of evidence on record which support the accusation of complainant daughter Samantha Louise Irene Moje's Certificate of Live Birth. In said certificate, Irene
against respondent. named respondent a "lawyer," 38 years old as the child's father. And the phrase "NOT
MARRIED" is entered on the desired information on "DATE AND PLACE OF MARRIAGE." A
It should be noted that in his Answer dated 17 October 2002, respondent through counsel comparison of the signature attributed to Irene in the certificate 28 with her signature on the
made the following statements to wit: "Respondent specifically denies having [ever] Marriage Certificate29 shows that they were affixed by one and the same person. Notatu
flaunted an adulterous relationship with Irene as alleged in paragraph [14] of the dignum is that, as the Investigating Commissioner noted, respondent never denied being
Complaint, the truth of the matter being [that] their relationship was low profile and known the father of the child.
only to immediate members of their respective families . . . , and Respondent specifically
denies the allegations in paragraph 19 of the complaint, the reason being that under the Franklin A. Ricafort, the records custodian of St. Luke's Medical Center, in his January 29,
circumstances the acts of the respondents with respect to his purely personal and low 2003 Affidavit30 which he identified at the witness stand, declared that Irene gave the
profile relationship with Irene is neither under scandalous circumstances nor tantamount to information in the Certificate of Live Birth that the child's father is "Jose Emmanuel
grossly immoral conduct . . ." Masacaet Eala," who was 38 years old and a lawyer. 31

These statements of respondent in his Answer are an admission that there is indeed a Without doubt, the adulterous relationship between respondent and Irene has been
"special" relationship between him and complainant's wife, Irene, [which] taken together sufficiently proven by more than clearly preponderant evidence that evidence adduced
with the Certificate of Live Birth of Samantha Louise Irene Moje (Annex "H-1") by one party which is more conclusive and credible than that of the other party and,
sufficiently prove that there was indeed an illicit relationship between respondent and therefore, has greater weight than the other32 which is the quantum of evidence needed
Irene which resulted in the birth of the child "Samantha". In the Certificate of Live Birth of in an administrative case against a lawyer.
Samantha it should be noted that complainant's wife Irene supplied the information that
respondent was the father of the child. Given the fact that the respondent admitted his Administrative cases against lawyers belong to a class of their own. They are distinct from
special relationship with Irene there is no reason to believe that Irene would lie or make and they may proceed independently of civil and criminal cases.
any misrepresentation regarding the paternity of the child. It should be underscored
that respondent has not categorically denied that he is the father of Samantha Louise Irene . . . of proof for these types of cases differ. In a criminal case, proof beyond reasonable
Moje.25 (Emphasis and underscoring supplied) doubt is necessary; in an administrative case for disbarment or suspension, "clearly
preponderant evidence" is all that is required.33 (Emphasis supplied)
Indeed, from respondent's Answer, he does not deny carrying on an adulterous relationship
with Irene, "adultery" being defined under Art. 333 of the Revised Penal Code as that Respondent insists, however, that disbarment does not lie because his relationship with
"committed by any married woman who shall have sexual intercourse with a man not her Irene was not, under Section 27 of Rule 138 of the Revised Rules of Court, reading:
husband and by the man who has carnal knowledge of her, knowing her to be married ,
even if the marriage be subsequently declared void." 26 (Italics supplied) What respondent
SEC. 27. Disbarment or suspension of attorneys by Supreme Court, grounds therefor. A behavior, it is not so with respect to betrayals of the marital vow of fidelity. Even if not all
member of the bar may be disbarred or suspended from his office as attorney by the forms of extra-marital relations are punishable under penal law, sexual relations outside
Supreme Court for any deceit, malpractice, or other gross misconduct in such marriage is considered disgraceful and immoral as it manifests deliberate disregard of the
office, grossly immoral conduct, or by reason of his conviction of a crime involving moral sanctity of marriage and the marital vows protected by the Constitution and affirmed by
turpitude, or for any violation of the oath which he is required to take before admission to our laws.37 (Emphasis and underscoring supplied)
practice, or for a willful disobedience appearing as an attorney for a party to a case without
authority so to do. The practice of soliciting cases at law for the purpose of gain, either And so is the pronouncement in Tucay v. Atty. Tucay:38
personally or through paid agents or brokers, constitutes malpractice.
The Court need not delve into the question of whether or not the respondent did contract a
The disbarment or suspension of a member of the Philippine Bar by a competent court or bigamous marriage . . . It is enough that the records of this administrative case
other disciplinatory agency in a foreign jurisdiction where he has also been admitted as an substantiate the findings of the Investigating Commissioner, as well as the IBP Board of
attorney is a ground for his disbarment or suspension if the basis of such action includes Governors, i.e., that indeed respondent has been carrying on an illicit affair with
any of the acts hereinabove enumerated. a married woman, a grossly immoral conduct and indicative of an extremely low regard for
the fundamental ethics of his profession. This detestable behavior renders him regrettably
The judgment, resolution or order of the foreign court or disciplinary agency shall be prima unfit and undeserving of the treasured honor and privileges which his license confers upon
facie evidence of the ground for disbarment or suspension (Emphasis and underscoring him.39 (Underscoring supplied)
Respondent in fact also violated the lawyer's oath he took before admission to practice law
under scandalous circumstances.34 which goes:

The immediately-quoted Rule which provides the grounds for disbarment or suspension I _________, having been permitted to continue in the practice of law in the Philippines, do
uses the phrase "grossly immoral conduct," not "under scandalous circumstances." Sexual solemnly swear that I recognize the supreme authority of the Republic of the Philippines; I
intercourse under scandalous circumstances is, following Article 334 of the Revised Penal will support its Constitution andobey the laws as well as the legal orders of the duly
Code reading: constituted authorities therein; I will do no falsehood, nor consent to the doing of any in
court; I will not wittingly or willingly promote or sue any groundless, false or unlawful suit,
ART. 334. Concubinage. - Any husband who shall keep a mistress in the conjugal dwelling, nor give aid nor consent to the same; I will delay no man for money or malice, and will
or, shall have sexual intercourse, under scandalous circumstances, with a woman who is conduct myself as a lawyer according to the best of my knowledge and discretion with all
not his wife, or shall cohabit with her in any other place, shall be punished by prision good fidelity as well as to the courts as to my clients; and I impose upon myself this
correccional in its minimum and medium periods. voluntary obligation without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion. So help me
God. (Underscoring supplied)
an element of the crime of concubinage when a married man has sexual intercourse with a
woman elsewhere. Respondent admittedly is aware of Section 2 of Article XV (The Family) of the Constitution
"Whether a lawyer's sexual congress with a woman not his wife or without the benefit of
marriage should be characterized as 'grossly immoral conduct' depends on the surrounding Section 2. Marriage, as an inviolable social institution, is the foundation of the family and
circumstances."35 The case at bar involves a relationship between a married lawyer and a shall be protected by the State.
married woman who is not his wife. It is immaterial whether the affair was carried out
discreetly. Apropos is the following pronouncement of this Court in Vitug v. Rongcal:36 In this connection, the Family Code (Executive Order No. 209), which echoes this
constitutional provision, obligates the husband and the wife "to live together, observe
On the charge of immorality, respondent does not deny that he had an extra-marital affair mutual love, respect and fidelity, and render mutual help and support." 40
with complainant, albeit brief and discreet, and which act is not "so corrupt and false as to
constitute a criminal act or so unprincipled as to be reprehensible to a high degree" in Furthermore, respondent violated Rule 1.01 of Canon 1 of the Code of Professional
order to merit disciplinary sanction. We disagree. Responsibility which proscribes a lawyer from engaging in "unlawful, dishonest, immoral or
deceitful conduct," and Rule 7.03 of Canon7 of the same Code which proscribes a lawyer
While it has been held in disbarment cases that the mere fact of sexual relations between from engaging in any "conduct that adversely reflects on his fitness to practice law."
two unmarriedadults is not sufficient to warrant administrative sanction for such illicit
Clutching at straws, respondent, during the pendency of the investigation of the case respondents. This becomes all the more apparent by Moje's subsequent relocation in No.
before the IBP Commissioner, filed a Manifestation 41 on March 22, 2005 informing the IBP- 71-B, 11th Street, New Manila, Quezon City, which was a few blocks away from the church
CBD that complainant's petition for nullity of his (complainant's) marriage to Irene had where she had exchange marital vows with complainant.
been granted by Branch 106 of the Quezon City Regional Trial Court, and that the criminal
complaint for adultery complainant filed against respondent and Irene "based on the same It was in this place that the two lovers apparently cohabited. Especially since Eala's vehicle
set of facts alleged in the instant case," which was pending review before the Department and that of Moje's were always seen there. Moje herself admits that she came to live in the
of Justice (DOJ), on petition of complainant, had been, on motion of complainant, said address whereas Eala asserts that that was where he held office. The happenstance
withdrawn. that it was in that said address that Eala and Moje had decided to hold office for the firm
that both had formed smacks too much of a coincidence. For one, the said address appears
The Secretary of Justice's Resolution of January 16, 2004 granting complainant's Motion to to be a residential house, for that was where Moje stayed all throughout after her
Withdraw Petition for Review reads: separation from complainant. It was both respondent's love nest, to put short; their illicit
affair that was carried out there bore fruit a few months later when Moje gave birth to a
Considering that the instant motion was filed before the final resolution of the petition for girl at the nearby hospital of St. Luke's Medical Center. What finally militates against the
review, we are inclined to grant the same pursuant to Section 10 of Department Circular respondents is the indubitable fact that in the certificate of birth of the girl, Moje furnished
No. 70 dated July 3, 2000, which provides that "notwithstanding the perfection of the the information that Eala was the father. This speaks all too eloquently of the unlawful and
appeal, the petitioner may withdraw the same at any time before it is finally resolved, in damning nature of the adulterous acts of the respondents. Complainant's supposed illegal
which case the appealed resolution shall stand as though no appeal has been procurement of the birth certificate is most certainly beside the point for both respondents
taken."42 (Emphasis supplied by complainant) Eala and Moje have not denied, in any categorical manner, that Eala is the father of the
child Samantha Irene Louise Moje.45 (Emphasis and underscoring supplied)
That the marriage between complainant and Irene was subsequently declared void ab
initio is immaterial. The acts complained of took place before the marriage was declared It bears emphasis that adultery is a private offense which cannot be prosecuted de oficio
null and void.43 As a lawyer, respondent should be aware that a man and a woman and thus leaves the DOJ no choice but to grant complainant's motion to withdraw his
deporting themselves as husband and wife are presumed, unless proven otherwise, to petition for review. But even if respondent and Irene were to be acquitted of adultery after
have entered into a lawful contract of marriage. 44 In carrying on an extra-marital affair with trial, if the Information for adultery were filed in court, the same would not have been a bar
Irene prior to the judicial declaration that her marriage with complainant was null and void, to the present administrative complaint.
and despite respondent himself being married, he showed disrespect for an institution held
sacred by the law. And he betrayed his unfitness to be a lawyer. Citing the ruling in Pangan v. Ramos,46 viz:

As for complainant's withdrawal of his petition for review before the DOJ, respondent The acquittal of respondent Ramos [of] the criminal charge is not a bar to these
glaringly omitted to state that before complainant filed his December 23, 2003 Motion to [administrative] proceedings. The standards of legal profession are not satisfied by conduct
Withdraw his Petition for Review, the DOJ had already promulgated a Resolution which merely enables one to escape the penalties of x x x criminal law. Moreover, this
on September 22, 2003 reversing the dismissal by the Quezon City Prosecutor's Office of Court, in disbarment proceedings is acting in an entirely different capacity from that which
complainant's complaint for adultery. In reversing the City Prosecutor's Resolution, DOJ courts assume in trying criminal case 47 (Italics in the original), this Court in Gatchalian
Secretary Simeon Datumanong held: Promotions Talents Pools, Inc. v. Atty. Naldoza,48 held:

Parenthetically the totality of evidence adduced by complainant would, in the fair Administrative cases against lawyers belong to a class of their own. They are distinct from
estimation of the Department, sufficiently establish all the elements of the offense of and they may proceed independently of civil and criminal cases.
adultery on the part of both respondents. Indeed, early on, respondent Moje conceded to
complainant that she was going out on dates with respondent Eala, and this she did when WHEREFORE, the petition is GRANTED. Resolution No. XVII-2006-06 passed on January 28,
complainant confronted her about Eala's frequent phone calls and text messages to her. 2006 by the Board of Governors of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines
Complainant also personally witnessed Moje and Eala having a rendezvous on two is ANNULLED and SET ASIDE.
occasions. Respondent Eala never denied the fact that he knew Moje to be married to
complainant[.] In fact, he (Eala) himself was married to another woman. Moreover, Moje's Respondent, Atty. Jose Emmanuel M. Eala, is DISBARRED for grossly immoral conduct,
eventual abandonment of their conjugal home, after complainant had once more violation of his oath of office, and violation of Canon 1, Rule 1.01 and Canon 7, Rule 7.03 of
confronted her about Eala, only served to confirm the illicit relationship involving both the Code of Professional Responsibility.
Let a copy of this Decision, which is immediately executory, be made part of the records of
respondent in the Office of the Bar Confidant, Supreme Court of the Philippines. And let
copies of the Decision be furnished the Integrated Bar of the Philippines and circulated to
all courts.

This Decision takes effect immediately. SO ORDERED.

Atty. Rosalie dela Rosa vs. Atty. Justo Paras had been tarnished and diminished, eliciting doubt on her ability to command full respect
from her staff.[6]
Complainant Atty. Rosalie Dallong-Galicinao is the Clerk of Court of the Regional Trial Court
(RTC) of Bambang, Nueva Vizcaya. On 8 May 2003, she filed with the Commission on Bar The Complaint-Affidavit, filed three days after the incident, was supported by
Discipline (CBD) of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) a Complaint-Affidavit[1] with an Affidavit[7] signed by employees of RTC-Bambang, Nueva Vizcaya who witnessed the
supporting documents[2] against respondent Atty. Virgil R. Castro for Unprofessional incident. The Affidavit narrated the same incident as witnessed by the said employees.
Conduct, specifically violation of Canon 7, Rule 7.03, Canon 8 and Rule 8.02 of the Code of A Motion to File Additional Affidavit/Documentary Evidence was filed by complainant on 25
Professional Responsibility.[3] The charge in the complaint is summed up as follows: September 2003.[8]

Respondent Atty. Castro was a private practitioner and Vice-President of IBP-Nueva Vizcaya On 26 May 2003, the CBD-IBP issued an Order[9] requiring respondent to submit his answer
Chapter. On 5 May 2003, respondent went to complainants office to inquire whether the to the complaint. Respondent submitted his Compliance[10] dated 18 June 2003.
complete records of Civil Case No. 784, entitled Sps. Crispino Castillano v. Sps. Federico S. Respondent explained that he was counsel for the plaintiffs in Civil Case No. 847,
Castillano and Felicidad Aberin, had already been remanded to the court of origin, MCTC entitled Sps. Federico Castillano, et al. v. Sps. Crispin Castillano, et al., filed with the RTC of
Dupax del Norte, Alfonso Castaned, Nueva Vizcaya. It must be noted that respondent was Nueva Vizcaya, Branch 30. He learned of the finality of the decision of the Court of Appeals
not the counsel of record of either party in Civil Case No. 784. in CA-G.R. No. 64962 with respect to Civil Case No. 847 before the lower court. Prior to the
incident, he went to the office of the complainant to request for the transmittal of the
Complainant informed respondent that the record had not yet been transmitted since a records of the case to the MCTC and the complainant reassured him of the same.
certified true copy of the decision of the Court of Appeals should first be presented to
serve as basis for the transmittal of the records to the court of origin. To this respondent Respondent admits having inquired about the status of the transmittal of the records on 5
retorted scornfully, Who will certify the Court of Appeals Decision, the Court of Appeals? May 2003. However, he has no explanation as to what transpired on that day. Instead, he
You mean to say, I would still have to go to Manila to get a certified true copy? Surprised at narrates that on 25 May 2003, twelve days after the incident, the records had not yet been
this outburst, complainant replied, Sir, its in the Rules but you could show us the copy sent transmitted, and he subsequently learned that these records were returned to the court of
to the party you claim to be representing. Respondent then replied, Then you should have origin.
notified me of the said requirement. That was two weeks ago and I have been frequenting
your office since then, but you never bothered to notify me. Complainant replied, It is not The hearing for the administrative complaint before the CBD was set on 25 September
our duty, Sir, to notify you of the said requirement. 2003 by the Investigating Commissioner Milagros V. San Juan. However, on said date, only
complainant appeared. The latter also moved that the case be submitted for resolution.
Respondent then answered, You mean to say it is not your duty to remand the record of the [11]
Respondent later on filed a Manifestation stating that the reason for his non-appearance
case? Complainant responded, No, Sir, I mean, its not our duty to notify you that you have was because he was still recuperating from physical injuries and that he was not mentally
to submit a copy of the Court of Appeals decision. Respondent angrily declared in fit to prepare the required pleadings as his vehicle was rained with bullets on 19 August
Ilocano, Kayat mo nga saw-en, awan pakialam yon? Kasdiay? (You mean to say you dont 2003. He also expressed his public apology to the complainant in the same Manifestation.
care anymore? Is that the way it is?) He then turned and left the office, banging the door [12]

on his way out to show his anger. The banging of the door was so loud it was heard by the
people at the adjacent RTC, Branch 30 where a hearing was taking place. [4] Complainant filed a Manifestation expressing her desire not to appear on the next hearing
date in view of respondents public apology, adding that respondent personally and humbly
After a few minutes, respondent returned to the office, still enraged, and pointed his finger asked for forgiveness which she accepted.[13]
at complainant and shouted, Ukinnan, no adda ti unget mo iti kilientek haan mo nga ibales
kaniak ah! (Vulva of your mother! If you are harboring ill feelings against my client, dont The Investigating Commissioner recommended that respondent be reprimanded and
turn your ire on me!) Complainant was shocked at respondents words but still managed to warned that any other complaint for breach of his professional duties shall be dealt with
reply, I dont even know your client, Sir. Respondent left the office and as he passed by more severely.[14] The IBP submitted to this Court a Notice of Resolution adopting and
complainants window, he again shouted, Ukinnam nga babai! (Vulva of your mother, you approving the recommendation of the Investigating Commissioner. [15]
At the onset, it should be noted that respondent was not the counsel of record of Civil Case
Complainant suffered acute embarrassment at the incident, as it happened in her office of No. 784. Had he been counsel of record, it would have been easy for him to present the
which she was, and still is, the head and in front of her staff. She felt that her credibility required certified true copy of the decision of the Court of Appeals. He need not have gone
to Manila to procure a certified true copy of the decision since the Court of Appeals
furnishes the parties and their counsel of record a duplicate original or certified true copy As correctly evaluated by the Investigating Commissioner, respondent did not categorically
of its decision. deny the charges in the complaint. Instead, he gave a lengthy narration of the prefatory
facts of the case as well as of the incident on 5 May 2003.
His explanation that he will enter his appearance in the case when its records were already
transmitted to the MCTC is unacceptable. Not being the counsel of record and there being Complainant also alleged in her Complaint-Affidavit that respondents uncharacteristic
no authorization from either the parties to represent them, respondent had no right to behavior was not an isolated incident. He has supposedly done the same to Attys.
impose his will on the clerk of court. Abraham Johnny G. Asuncion and Temmy Lambino, the latter having filed a case against
respondent pending before this Court.[19] We, however, cannot acknowledge such allegation
Rule 8.02 of the Code of Professional Responsibility states: absent any evidence showing the veracity of such claim. No affidavits to that effect were
submitted by either Atty. Asuncion or Atty. Lambino.
Rule 8.02A lawyer shall not, directly or indirectly, encroach upon the professional
employment of another lawyer; however, it is the right of any lawyer, without fear or favor, Nonetheless, the penalty to be imposed should be tempered owing to the fact that
to give proper advice and assistance to those seeking relief against unfaithful or neglectful respondent had apologized to the complainant and the latter had accepted it. This is not to
counsel. say, however, that respondent should be absolved from his actuations. People are
accountable for the consequences of the things they say and do even if they repent
Through his acts of constantly checking the transmittal of the records of Civil Case No. 784, afterwards. The fact remains that things done cannot be undone and words uttered cannot
respondent deliberately encroached upon the legal functions of the counsel of record of be taken back. Hence, he should bear the consequences of his actions.
that case. It does not matter whether he did so in good faith.
The highest reward that can be bestowed on lawyers is the esteem of their brethren. This
Moreover, in the course of his questionable activities relating to Civil Case No. 784, esteem cannot be purchased, perfunctorily created, or gained by artifice or contrivance. It
respondent acted rudely towards an officer of the court. He raised his voice at the clerk of is born of sharp contexts and thrives despite conflicting interest. It emanates solely from
court and uttered at her the most vulgar of invectives. Not only was it ill-mannered but integrity, character, brains and skills in the honorable performance of professional duty. [20]
also unbecoming considering that he did all these to a woman and in front of her
subordinates. WHEREFORE, premises considered, respondent is hereby FINED in the amount of TEN
THOUSAND (P10,000.00) PESOS with a warning that any similar infraction with be dealt
As held in Alcantara v. Atty. Pefianco,[16] respondent ought to have realized that this sort of with more severely. Let a copy of this Decision be furnished the Bar Confidant for
public behavior can only bring down the legal profession in the public estimation and erode appropriate annotation in the record of the respondent.
public respect for it.[17] These acts violate Rule 7.03, Canon 8 and Rule 8.01, to wit:
Rule 7.03 A lawyer shall not engage in conduct that adversely reflect on his fitness to
practice law, now shall he, whether in public or private life behave in scandalous manner
to the discredit of the legal profession.

Canon 8 A lawyer shall conduct himself with courtesy, fairness and candor toward his
professional colleagues, and shall avoid harassing tactics against opposing counsel.

Rule 8.01 A lawyer shall not, in his professional dealings, use language which is abusive,
offensive or otherwise improper.

Moreover, Canon 8 of the Code of Professional Responsibility demands that lawyers

conduct themselves with courtesy, fairness and candor toward their fellow lawyers.
Lawyers are duty bound to uphold the dignity of the legal profession. They must act
honorably, fairly and candidly towards each other and otherwise conduct themselves
without reproach at all times.[18]
ENGR. GILBERT TUMBOKON vs. ATTY. MARIANO R. PEFIANCO The practice of law is considered a privilege bestowed by the State on those who show that
they possess and continue to possess the legal qualifications for the profession. As such,
Before the Court is an administrative complaint for disbarment filed by complainant Engr. lawyers are expected to maintain at all times a high standard of legal proficiency, morality,
Gilbert Tumbokon against respondent Atty. Mariano R. Pefianco for grave dishonesty, gross honesty, integrity and fair dealing, and must perform their four-fold duty to society, the
misconduct constituting deceit and grossly immoral conduct. legal profession, the courts and their clients, in accordance with the values and norms
embodied in the Code.11 Lawyers may, thus, be disciplined for any conduct that is wanting
In his Complaint,1 complainant narrated that respondent undertook to give him 20% of the above standards whether in their professional or in their private capacity.
commission, later reduced to 10%, of the attorney's fees the latter would receive in
representing Spouses Amable and Rosalinda Yap (Sps. Yap), whom he referred, in an action In the present case, respondent's defense that forgery had attended the execution of the
for partition of the estate of the late Benjamin Yap (Civil Case No. 4986 before the Regional August 11, 1995 letter was belied by his July 16, 1997 letter admitting to have undertaken
Trial Court of Aklan). Their agreement was reflected in a letter 2 dated August 11, 1995. the payment of complainant's commission but passing on the responsibility to Sps. Yap.
However, respondent failed to pay him the agreed commission notwithstanding receipt of Clearly, respondent has violated Rule 9.02, 12 Canon 9 of the Code which prohibits a lawyer
attorney's fees amounting to 17% of the total estate or about P 40 million. Instead, he was from dividing or stipulating to divide a fee for legal services with persons not licensed to
informed through a letter3 dated July 16, 1997 that Sps. Yap assumed to pay the same after practice law, except in certain cases which do not obtain in the case at bar.
respondent had agreed to reduce his attorney's fees from 25% to 17%. He then demanded
the payment of his commission4 which respondent ignored. Furthermore, respondent did not deny the accusation that he abandoned his legal family to
cohabit with his mistress with whom he begot four children notwithstanding that his moral
Complainant further alleged that respondent has not lived up to the high moral standards character as well as his moral fitness to be retained in the Roll of Attorneys has been
required of his profession for having abandoned his legal wife, Milagros Hilado, with whom assailed. The settled rule is that betrayal of the marital vow of fidelity or sexual relations
he has two children, and cohabited with Mae FlorGalido, with whom he has four children. outside marriage is considered disgraceful and immoral as it manifests deliberate
He also accused respondent of engaging in money-lending business 5 without the required disregard of the sanctity of marriage and the marital vows protected by the Constitution
authorization from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas. and affirmed by our laws.13Consequently, We find no reason to disturb the IBP's finding that
respondent violated the Lawyer's Oath14 and Rule 1.01, Canon 1 of the Code which
In his defense, respondent explained that he accepted Sps. Yap's case on a 25% contingent proscribes a lawyer from engaging in "unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct."
fee basis, and advanced all the expenses. He disputed the August 11, 1995 letter for being
a forgery and claimed that Sps. Yap assumed to pay complainant's commission which he However, We find the charge of engaging in illegal money lending not to have been
clarified in his July 16, 1997 letter. He, thus, prayed for the dismissal of the complaint and sufficiently established.1wphi1 A "business" requires some form of investment and a
for the corresponding sanction against complainant's counsel, Atty. Florencio B. Gonzales, sufficient number of customers to whom its output can be sold at profit on a consistent
for filing a baseless complaint.6 basis.15 The lending of money to a single person without showing that such service is made
available to other persons on a consistent basis cannot be construed asindicia that
In the Resolution7 dated February 16, 2004, the Court resolved to refer this administrative respondent is engaged in the business of lending.
case to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) for investigation, report and
recommendation. In his Report and Recommendation8dated October 10, 2008, the Nonetheless, while We rule that respondent should be sanctioned for his actions, We are
Investigating IBP Commissioner recommended that respondent be suspended for one (1) minded that the power to disbar should be exercised with great caution and only in clear
year from the active practice of law, for violation of the Lawyer's Oath, Rule 1.01, Canon 1; cases of misconduct that seriously affect the standing and character of the lawyer as an
Rule 7.03, Canon 7 and Rule 9.02, Canon 9 of the Code of Professional Responsibility officer of the court and as member of the bar, 16 or the misconduct borders on the criminal,
(Code). The IBP Board of Governors adopted and approved the same in its Resolution No. or committed under scandalous circumstance, 17 which do not obtain here. Considering the
XIX-2010-4539 dated August circumstances of the case, We deem it appropriate that respondent be suspended from the
practice of law for a period of one (1) year as recommended.
28, 2010. Respondent moved for reconsideration10 which was denied in Resolution No. XIX-
2011-141 dated October 28, 2011. WHEREFORE, respondent ATTY. MARIANO R. PEFIANCO is found GUILTY of violation of
the Lawyers Oath, Rule 1.01, Canon 1 of the Code of Professional Responsibility and Rule
After due consideration, We adopt the findings and recommendation of the IBP Board of 9.02, Canon 9 of the same Code and SUSPENDED from the active practice of law ONE (1)
Governors. YEAR effective upon notice hereof.
Let copies of this Resolution be entered in the personal record of respondent as a member SO ORDERED.
of the Philippine Bar and furnished the Office of the Bar Confidant, the Integrated Bar of
the Philippines and the Office of the Court Administrator for circulation to all courts in the