Sie sind auf Seite 1von 24

A.C. No.

3701 March 28, 1995 Similarly, when the same transaction became the subject of an
administrative case filed by complainant bank against his former
PHILIPPINE NATIONAL BANK, complainant, subordinate Emmanuel Elefan, for grave misconduct and dishonesty,
vs. respondent appeared as counsel for Elefan only to be later disqualified
ATTY. TELESFORO S. CEDO, respondent. by the Civil Service Commission.

RESOLUTION Moreover, while respondent was still the Asst. Vice President of
complainants Asset Management Group, he intervened in the handling
of the loan account of the spouses Ponciano and Eufemia Almeda
with complainant bank by writing demand letters to the couple. When
a civil action ensued between complainant bank and the Almeda
BIDIN, J.: spouses as a result of this loan account, the latter were represented by
the law firm "Cedo, Ferrer, Maynigo & Associates" of which respondent
In a verified letter-complaint dated August 15, 1991, complainant is one of the Senior Partners.
Philippine National Bank charged respondent Atty. Telesforo S. Cedo,
former Asst. Vice-President of the Asset Management Group of In his Comment on the complaint, respondent admitted that he
complainant bank with violation of Canon 6, Rule 6.03 of the Code appeared as counsel for Mrs. Ong Siy but only with respect to the
of Professional Responsibility, thus: execution pending appeal of the RTC decision. He alleged that he did
not participate in the litigation of the case before the trial court. With
A lawyer shall not, after leaving government respect to the case of the Almeda spouses, respondent alleged that he
service, accept engagement or employment in never appeared as counsel for them. He contended that while the law
connection with any matter in which he had firm "Cedo Ferrer, Maynigo & Associates" is designated as counsel of
intervened while in said service. record, the case is actually handled only by Atty. Pedro Ferrer.
Respondent averred that he did not enter into a general partnership
by appearing as counsel for individuals who had transactions with with Atty. Pedro Ferrer nor with the other lawyers named therein. They
complainant bank in which respondent during his employment with are only using the aforesaid name to designate a law firm maintained
aforesaid bank, had intervened. by lawyers, who although not partners, maintain one office as well as
one clerical and supporting staff. Each one of them handles their own
cases independently and individually receives the revenues therefrom
Complainant averred that while respondent was still in its employ, he
which are not shared among them.
participated in arranging the sale of steel sheets (denominated as Lots
54-M and 55-M) in favor of Milagros Ong Siy for P200,000. He even
"noted" the gate passes issued by his subordinate, Mr. Emmanuel During the investigation conducted by the IBP, it was discovered
Elefan, in favor of Mrs. Ong Siy authorizing the pull-out of the steel that respondent was previously fined by this Court in the amount of
sheets from the DMC Man Division Compound. When a civil action P1,000.00 in connection with G.R. No. 94456 entitled "Milagros Ong Siy
arose out of this transaction between Mrs. Ong Siy and vs. Hon. Salvador Tensuan, et al." for forum shopping, where
complainant bank before the Regional Trial Court of Makati, Branch respondent appeared as counsel for petitioner Milagros Ong Siy
146, respondent who had since left the employ of complainant bank, "through the law firm of Cedo Ferrer Maynigo and Associates."
appeared as one of the counsels of Mrs. Ong Siy.
The IBP further found that the charges herein against
respondent were fully substantiated. Respondent's averment that
the law firm handling the case of the Almeda spouses is not a "Communications between attorney and client are, in
partnership deserves scant consideration in the light of the attestation a great number of litigations, a complicated affair,
of complainant's counsel, Atty. Pedro Singson, that in one of the consisting of entangled relevant and irrelevant, secret
hearings of the Almeda spouses' case, respondent attended the same and well-known facts. In the complexity of what is said
with his partner Atty. Ferrer, and although he did not enter his in the course of dealings between an attorney and
appearance, he was practically dictating to Atty. Ferrer what to say and client, inquiry of the nature suggested would lead to
argue before the court. Furthermore, during the hearing of the the revelation, in advance of the trial, of other matters
application for a writ of injunction in the same case, respondent that might only further prejudice the complainant's
impliedly admitted being the partner of Atty. Ferrer, when it was made cause."
of record that respondent was working in the same office as Atty.
Ferrer. Whatever may be said as to whether or not
respondent utilized against his former client
Moreover, the IBP noted that assuming the alleged set-up of information given to him in a professional capacity,
the firm is true, it is in itself a violation of the Code of the mere fact of their previous relationship should
Professional Responsibility (Rule 15.02) since the clients have precluded him from appearing as counsel for the
secrets and confidential records and information are exposed other side in the forcible entry case. In the case
to the other lawyers and staff members at all times. of Hilado vs. David, supra, this Tribunal further said:

From the foregoing, the IBP found a deliberate intent on the Hence the necessity of setting the existence of
part of respondent to devise ways and means to attract as the bare relationship of attorney and client as
clients former borrowers of complainant bank since he was in the yardstick for testing incompatibility of
the best position to see the legal weaknesses of his former interests. This stern rule is designed not alone
employer, a convincing factor for the said clients to seek his to prevent the dishonest practitioner from
professional service. In sum, the IBP saw a deliberate sacrifice fraudulent conduct, but as well to protect the
by respondent of his ethics in consideration of the money he honest lawyer from unfounded suspicion of
expected to earn. unprofessional practice. . . . It is founded on
principles of public policy, of good taste.
The IBP thus recommended the suspension of respondent from the
practice of law for 3 years. The foregoing disquisition on conflicting interest applies with equal
force and effect to respondent in the case at bar. Having been an
In addition to the findings of the IBP, this Court finds this occasion executive of complainant bank, respondent now seeks to
appropriate to emphasize the paramount importance of litigate as counsel for the opposite side, a case against his
avoiding the representation of conflicting interests. In the former employer involving a transaction which he formerly
similar case of Pasay Law and Conscience Union, Inc. vs. Paz, (95 SCRA handled while still an employee of complainant, in violation of
24 [1980]) where a former Legal Officer and Legal Prosecutor of PARGO Canon 6 of the Canons of Professional Ethics on adverse influence and
who participated in the investigation of the Anti-Graft case against conflicting interests, to wit:
Mayor Pablo Cuneta later on acted as counsel for the said Mayor in the
same anti-graft case, this Court, citing Nombrado vs. Hernandez (26 Court resolves to SUSPEND respondent ATTY. TELESFORO S.
SCRA 13 119681) ruled: CEDO from the practice of law for THREE (3) YEARS, effective
immediately.
under complainants name, with the respondent as a
QUIAMBAO v BAMBA s i l e n t p a r t n e r r e p r e s e n t e d b y h i s a s s o c i a t e A t t y.
In this administrative case for d i s b a rm e n t , Gerardo P. Hernandez . While serving as legal
c o m p l a i n a n t Fe l i c i t a s S . Q u i a m b a o c h a rg e s re s p o n d e n t counsel for AIB and a silent partner of QRMSI, he
A t t y. N e s t o r A. B a m b a w i t h v i o l a t i o n o f t h e C o d e o f convinced complainants brother Leodegario
P ro f e s s i o n a l Re s p o n s i b i l i t y f o r re p re s e n t i n g c o n fl i c t i n g Q u i a m b a o t o o r g a n i z e a n o t h e r s e c u r i t y a g e n c y, S a n
i n t e re s t s w h e n t h e l a t t e r fi l e d a c a s e a g a i n s t h e r w h i l e h e E s t e b a n S e c u r i t y S e r v i c e s , I n c . ( S E SS I ) w h e re h e ( t h e
w a s a t t h a t t i m e re p re s e n t i n g h e r i n a n o t h e r c a s e , a n d f o r re s p o n d e n t ) s e r v e d a s i t s i n c o r p o r a t o r , d i re c t o r , a n d
committing other acts of disloyalty and double-dealing. p re s i d e n t . T h e re s p o n d e n t a n d L e o d e g a r i o t h e n i l l e g a l l y
diverted the funds of AIB to fund the incorporation of
Fro m J u n e 2 0 0 0 t o J a n u a r y 2 0 0 1 , t h e c o m p l a i n a n t S E S S I , a n d l i ke w i s e p l a n n e d t o e v e n t u a l l y c l o s e d o w n t h e
w a s t h e p re s i d e n t a n d m a n a g i n g d i re c t o r o f A l l i e d operations of AIB and transfer the business to SESSI.
Investigation B u re a u , Inc. (AIB), a f a m i l y- o w n e d
corporation engaged in p ro v i d i n g security and Respondent: T h e re s p o n d e n t a l s o d e n i e s t h a t h e
i n v e s t i g a t i o n s e r v i c e s . S h e a v e r s t h a t s h e p ro c u re d t h e c o n v i n c e d c o m p l a i n a n t s b ro t h e r Le o d e g a r i o t o o rg a n i z e
l e g a l s e r v i c e s o f t h e re s p o n d e n t n o t o n l y f o r t h e a n o t h e r s e c u r i t y a g e n c y a n d t h a t t h e f u n d s o f A I B w e re
c o r p o r a t e a ff a i r s o f A I B b u t a l s o f o r h e r p e r s o n a l c a s e . unlawfully diverted to SESSI. It was to complement the
Pa r t i c u l a r l y, t h e r e s p o n d e n t a c t e d a s h e r c o u n s e l o f business of AIB, which was then in danger of collapse,
record in an ejectment case against Spouses t h a t S E S S I w a s e s t a b l i s h e d . Le o d e g a r i o s w i f e a n d h e r s o n
S a n t i a g o a n d F l o r i t a To r r o b a fi l e d b y h e r o n 2 9 h a v e t h e e ff e c t i v e c o n t ro l o v e r S E S S I . Re s p o n d e n t s
D e c e m b e r 2 0 0 0 b e f o r e t h e M e t r o p o l i t a n Tr i a l C o u r t s u b s c r i b e d s h a re h o l d i n g s i n S E S S I c o m p r i s e o n l y 8 0 0
( M e T C ) o f Pa r a a q u e C i t y, w h i c h w a s d o c ke t e d a s s h a re s o u t o f 1 2 , 5 0 0 s u b s c r i b e d s h a re s . H e s e r v e s A I B
Civil Case No. 11928. She paid attorneys fees for a n d S E S S I i n d i ff e re n t c a p a c i t i e s : a s l e g a l c o u n s e l o f t h e
respondents legal services in that case. [1] About six f o rm e r a n d a s p re s i d e n t o f t h e l a t t e r. H e p l e a s t h a t h e
months after she resigned as AIB president, or on 14 w a s d u t y- b o u n d t o h a n d l e a l l t h e c a s e s re f e rre d t o h i m b y
J u n e 2 0 0 1 , t h e r e s p o n d e n t fi l e d o n b e h a l f o f A I B a A I B , i n c l u d i n g t h e p e r s o n a l c a s e s o f i t s o ffi c e r s w h i c h h a d
complaint for replevin and damages against her n o c o n n e c t i o n t o i t s c o r p o r a t e a ff a i r s .
before the MeTC of Quezon City for the purpose of
recovering from her the car of AIB assigned to her R u l i n g : Ru l e 1 5 . 0 3 , C a n o n 5 o f t h e C o d e o f Pro f e s s i o n a l
as a service vehicle. This he did without Re s p o n s i b i l i t y p ro v i d e s : A l a w y e r s h a l l n o t re p r e s e n t
withdrawing as counsel of record in the ejectment c o n fl i c t i n g i n t e re s t s ex c e p t b y w r i t t e n c o n s e n t o f a l l
case, which was then still pending. c o n c e rn e d g i v e n a f t e r a f u l l d i s c l o s u re o f t h e f a c t s . T h i s
p ro h i b i t i o n i s f o u n d e d o n p r i n c i p l e s o f p u b l i c p o l i c y a n d
g o o d t a s t e . [ 8 ] I n t h e c o u r s e o f a l a w y e r- c l i e n t re l a t i o n s h i p ,
She avers that the respondent proposed to her that t h e l a w y e r l e a rn s a l l t h e f a c t s c o n n e c t e d w i t h t h e c l i e n t s
she organize her own security agency and that he c a s e , i n c l u d i n g t h e w e a k a n d s t ro n g p o i n t s o f t h e c a s e .
would assist her in its organization, causing her to T h e n a t u re o f t h a t re l a t i o n s h i p i s , t h e r e f o re , o n e o f t r u s t
r e s i g n a s p r e s i d e n t o f A I B . T h e re s p o n d e n t i n d e e d a n d c o n fi d e n c e o f t h e h i g h e s t d e g re e . [ 9 ] I t b e h o o v e s
a s s i s t e d h e r i n D e c e m b e r 2 0 0 0 i n t h e f o rm a t i o n o f l a w y e r s n o t o n l y t o ke e p i n v i o l a t e t h e c l i e n t s c o n fi d e n c e ,
another security agency, Quiambao Risk Management b u t a l s o t o a v o i d t h e a p p e a r a n c e o f t re a c h e r y a n d d o u b l e -
Specialists, Inc., (QRMSI), which was later registered dealing for only then can litigants be encouraged to
e n t r u s t t h e i r s e c re t s t o t h e i r l a w y e r s , w h i c h i s of S u r p r i s i n g l y , d e s p i t e h i s a p p re h e n s i o n o r a w a re n e s s o f a
paramount importance in the administration of justice. p o s s i b l e c o n fl i c t o f i n t e re s t s h o u l d h e j o i n Q R M S I , t h e
re s p o n d e n t later allowed himself to become an
Te s t s : I n b ro a d t e rm s , l a w y e r s a re d e e m e d t o re p re s e n t i n c o r p o r a t o r , s t o c k h o l d e r , a n d p re s i d e n t o f S E S S I , w h i c h
c o n fl i c t i n g i n t e re s t s w h e n , i n b e h a l f o f o n e c l i e n t , i t i s i s a l s o a s e c u r i t y a g e n c y. H e j u s t i fi e d h i s a c t b y c l a i m i n g
their duty to contend for that which duty to another client t h a t t h a t w h i l e b o t h A I B a n d S E S S I a re e n g a g e d i n
re q u i re s t h e m t o o p p o s e . s e c u r i t y a g e n c y b u s i n e s s , h e i s s e r v i n g i n d i ff e re n t
capacities.
- w h e t h e r t h e a c c e p t a n c e o f a n e w re l a t i o n w o u l d
p re v e n t t h e f u l l d i s c h a rg e o f t h e l a w y e r s d u t y Fu r t h e rm o re , i t m u s t b e n o t e d t h a t Re p u b l i c Ac t N o. 5 4 8 7 ,
o f u n d i v i d e d fi d e l i t y a n d l o y a l t y t o t h e c l i e n t o r otherwise known as the Private Security Agency Law ,
invite suspicion of unfaithfulness or double- p ro h i b i t s a p e r s o n f ro m o rg a n i z i n g o r h a v i n g a n i n t e re s t
d e a l i n g i n t h e p e r f o rm a n c e o f t h a t d u t y. i n m o re t h a n o n e s e c u r i t y a g e n c y.
- whether the lawyer would be called upon in the
n e w re l a t i o n t o u s e a g a i n s t a f o rm e r c l i e n t a n y W H E R E F O R E , re s p o n d e n t At t y. N e s t o r A . B a m b a i s h e re b y
c o n fi d e n t i a l i n f o rm a t i o n a c q u i re d t h ro u g h t h e i r h e l d G U I LT Y o f v i o l a t i o n o f Ru l e 1 5 . 0 3 o f C a n o n 1 5 a n d
c o n n e c t i o n o r p re v i o u s e m p l o y m e n t Ru l e 1 . 0 2 o f C a n o n 1 o f t h e C o d e o f Pro f e s s i o n a l
Re s p o n s i b i l i t y. H e i s S U S P E N D E D f ro m t h e p r a c t i c e o f l a w
f o r a p e r i o d o f O N E ( 1 ) Y E A R e ff e c t i v e f ro m re c e i p t o f
In this case, it is undisputed that at the time the t h i s Re s o l u t i o n , w i t h a w a rn i n g t h a t a s i m i l a r i n f r a c t i o n i n
re s p o n d e n t fi l e d t h e re p l e v i n c a s e o n b e h a l f o f A I B h e w a s t h e f u t u re s h a l l b e d e a l t w i t h m o re s e v e re l y
s t i l l t h e c o u n s e l o f re c o rd o f t h e c o m p l a i n a n t i n t h e
p e n d i n g e j e c t m e n t c a s e . We d o n o t s u s t a i n re s p o n d e n t s
t h e o r y t h a t s i n c e t h e e j e c t m e n t c a s e a n d t h e re p l e v i n
c a s e a re u n re l a t e d c a s e s f r a u g h t w i t h d i ff e re n t i s s u e s , A.C. No. 9537 June 10, 2013
parties, and subject matters, the p ro h i b i t i o n is (Formerly CBD Case No. 09-2489)
i n a p p l i c a b l e . H i s re p re s e n t a t i o n o f o p p o s i n g c l i e n t s i n
b o t h c a s e s , t h o u g h u n re l a t e d , o b v i o u s l y c o n s t i t u t e s DR. TERESITA LEE, Complainant,
c o n fl i c t o f i n t e re s t o r , a t t h e l e a s t , i n v i t e s s u s p i c i o n o f vs.
double-dealing. ATTY. AMADOR L. SIMANDO, Respondent.

Ad d i t i o n a l l y , i n h i s p o s i t i o n p a p e r , t h e re s p o n d e n t a l l e g e s PERALTA, J.:
t h a t w h e n t h e c o m p l a i n a n t i n v i t e d t h e re s p o n d e n t t o j o i n
Q R M S I , h e v e h e m e n t l y re f u s e d t o j o i n t h e m d u e t o h i s
RULING
p e rc e p t i o n o f c o n fl i c t i n g i n t e r e s t a s h e w a s t h e n ( a n d
s t i l l i s a t p re s e n t ) t h e L e g a l C o u n s e l o f A I B , w h i c h i s a l s o
a s e c u r i t y a g e n c y. [ 2 0 ] To b o l s t e r h i s a l l e g a t i o n , h e i n v o ke d We reverse the ruling of the IBP Board of Governors (dismissal of the
t h e a ffi d a v i t s o f c o m p l a i n a n t s w i t n e s s e s w h i c h c o n t a i n e d case upon motion for reconsideration by Atty. Simando with the IBP
s t a t e m e n t s o f h i s a p p re h e n s i o n o f c o n fl i c t o f i n t e r e s t Board of Governors).
should he join QRMSI.[21]
Jurisprudence has provided three tests in determining whether Fifth, respondent's knowledge of the conflicting interests between his
a lawyer is guilty of representing conflicting interest: two clients was demonstrated further by his own actions, when he:

One test is whether a lawyer is duty-bound to fight for an issue or claim (a) failed to act on Mejorado's failure to pay his obligation to
in behalf of one client and, at the same time, to oppose that claim for complainant despite the latter's instruction to do so;
the other client. Thus, if a lawyers argument for one client has to be
opposed by that same lawyer in arguing for the other client, there is a (b) denied liability despite signing as co-maker in the
violation of the rule. receipts/promissory notes arising from the loan agreement
between his two clients;
Another test of inconsistency of interests is whether the acceptance of
a new relation would prevent the full discharge of the lawyers duty of (c) rebutted complainant's allegations against Mejorado and
undivided fidelity and loyalty to the client or invite suspicion of him, and even divulged informations he acquired while he was
unfaithfulness or double-dealing in the performance of that duty. Still still complainant's lawyer.
another test is whether the lawyer would be called upon in the new
relation to use against a former client any confidential information
Clearly, it is improper for respondent to appear as counsel for one
acquired through their connection or previous employment. 19
party (complainant as creditor) against the adverse party (Mejorado as
debtor) who is also his client, since a lawyer is prohibited from
In the instant case, we find substantial evidence to support representing conflicting interests. He may not, without being guilty of
respondent's violation of the above parameters, as established by the professional misconduct, act as counsel for a person whose interest
following circumstances on record: conflict with that of his present or former client.

First, it is undisputed that there was a lawyer-client relationship Respondent's assertion that there is no conflict of interest
between complainant and Atty. Simando as evidenced by the retainer because complainant and respondent are his clients in
fees received by respondent and the latter's representation in certain unrelated cases fails to convince. His representation of
legal matters pertaining to complainant's business; opposing clients in both cases, though unrelated, obviously
constitutes conflict of interest or, at the least, invites suspicion
Second, Atty. Simando admitted that Mejorado is another client of him of double-dealing.20 Moreover, with the subject loan agreement
albeit in a case claiming rewards against the Bureau of Customs; entered into by the complainant and Mejorado, who are both
his clients, readily shows an apparent conflict of interest,
Third, Atty. Simando admitted that he was the one who introduced moreso when he signed as co-maker.
complainant and Mejorado to each other for the purpose of entering
into a financial transaction while having knowledge that complainant's In the process of determining whether there is a conflict of
interests could possibly run in conflict with Mejorado's interests which interest, an important criterion is probability, not certainty, of
ironically such client's interests, he is duty-bound to protect; conflict.21

Fourth, despite the knowledge of the conflicting interests between his We likewise note that respondent offered several excuses in order to
two clients, respondent consented in the parties' agreement and even avoid payment of his liability.1wphi1 First, in his Answer to
signed as co-maker to the loan agreement; complainant's demand letter, he claimed there was novation which
extinguished his liability; Secondly, he claimed that the amount
received by Mejorado for which he signed as co-maker was merely an SYNOPSIS
investment and not a loan. Finally, he alleged that it was agreed that
the investment with profits will be paid only after Mejorado receives Spouses Filomeno Santiago Santos, Sr. and Benita Roxas
the payment for his claim for reward which complainant violated when Rodriguez had ten children, namely, Romeo, Filomeno, Jr., Arturo,
she presented the checks for payment prematurely. These actuations Erlinda, Ma. Alicia, Arcely, Renato, Alberto and Benito and complainant
of Atty. Simando do not speak well of his reputation as a lawyer. 22 Rogelio Santos, Sr. After the death of Filomeno, Benita donated
their two residential lots situated at 11 Javier Baritan, Malabon,
Finally, we likewise find respondent guilty of violating Rule Metro Manila, consisting of 489 and 333.4 square meters, respectively,
21.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility.23 In his last- and covered by Transfer Certificates of Titles (TCT) Nos. R-18060 and
ditch effort to impeach the credibility of complainant, he divulged R-18061, including the ancestral house situated thereon, in favor of
informations24 which he acquired in confidence during the existence of the nine children, except complainant. Respondent lawyer
their lawyer-client relationship. notarized the Deed of Donation.[2]

We held in Nombrado v. Hernandez 25 that the termination of the Benita Rodriguez died. Complainant and his brother, Alberto,
relation of attorney and client provides no justification for a lawyer to were appointed administrators[3] in the intestate proceeding for
represent an interest adverse to or in conflict with that of the former the settlement of the spouses estate, docketed as SP. Proc. No. 516-AF,
client. The reason for the rule is that the clients confidence once entitled In the Matter of the Intestate Estate of Spouses Filomeno
reposed cannot be divested by the expiration of the Santiago Santos, Sr. and Benita Roxas Rodriguez, filed before the
professional employment. Consequently, a lawyer should not, even Regional Trial Court of Cabanatuan City, Branch 26 thereof.
after the severance of the relation with his client, do anything which
will injuriously affect his former client in any matter in which he Complainant filed a verified complaint against respondent lawyer
previously represented him nor should he disclose or use any of the Rodolfo C.Beltran before the Integrated Bar of the Philippines
client's confidences acquired in the previous relation. Commission on Bar Discipline (IBP-CBD), alleging that when
respondent notarized a Deed of Donation executed by his
Accordingly, we reiterate that lawyers are enjoined to look at any mother in favor of her nine children, except complainant, the
representation situation from "the point of view that there are possible siblings did not personally appear before him. Complainant
conflicts," and further, "to think in terms of impaired loyalty" that is to submitted the affidavit executed by his brothers Benito and Renato
evaluate if his representation in any way will impair loyalty to a client. 26 attesting to the fact that they signed the Deed of Donation not in the
law office of the respondent but in their houses at Villa Benita
WHEREFORE, premises considered, this Court resolves to ADOPT the Subdivision. Complainant contended that respondent notarized
findings and recommendation of the IBP in Resolution No. XIX-20 10- the Deed of Donation in disregard of Article 904 of the Civil
733 suspending respondent Atty. Amador L. Simando for six Code. Complainant further alleged that respondent
( 6) months from the practice of law, with a WARNING that a represented conflicting interest when he entered his
repetition of the same or similar offense will warrant a more appearance as defense counsel in an ejectment case in which
severe penalty. his former client, Erlinda R. Santos-Crawford, was the plaintiff.

The Supreme Court found respondent guilty of representing conflicting


interest Canon 15 Rule 15.03. According to the Court, there is
conflict of interest when a lawyer represents inconsistent interests of
ROGELIO R. SANTOS, SR. v ATTY. RODOLFO C. BELTRAN two or more opposing parties. In the case at bar, Civil Case No.12105
for ejectment was filed by Arcely Y. Santos in behalf of Erlinda Santos- development contract, lacks basis. Respondent may not be held
Crawford against complainant and Renato Santos. Respondent, accountable based on mere allegation that through insidious
however, appeared as counsel for Evalyn Valino, Norberto Valino and machinations he deprived Spouses Filomeno and Benita Santos, now
Danilo Agsaway in Civil Case No. 14823 for ejectment filed by their estate, of the properties. Surmises, suspicion and conjectures are
complainant as attorney-in-fact of Erlinda Santos-Crawford. Civil Case not bases of culpability.
No. 14823, although litigated by complainant, was actually brought in
behalf of and to protect the interest of Erlinda Santos-Crawford.
DAGING v DAVIS
Respondent's act of representing the parties against whom his other
client, Erlinda Santos-Crawford, filed suit constituted conflict of Daria owns and operates the Nashville Country Music Lounge in Baguio
interest. Respondent was suspended from the practice of law City from a space leased from Benjie (Pinlac). She then received a
for a period of one (1) year and sternly warned that a Retainer Proposal from the Davis & Sabling Law Office of which Atty. Riz
commission of the same or similar act in the future will be (Davis) is one of the partners, which resulted in the signing of a
dealt with more severely. Retainer Agreement with the law office on March 7, 2005. For
failure to pay her rentals, Benjie terminated the lease. Benjie,
The Court, however, ruled that complainant failed to controvert by together with Novie (Balageo) and Riz then proceeded to the bar,
clear and convincing evidence the evidentiary weight with respect to inventoried the equipments therein, and informed Daria that Novie will
its due execution and presumption of regularity conferred upon a take over the operation of the bar. According to Daria, Atty. Riz acted
notarized document and documents acknowledged before a notary as business manager of the bar which they renamed as Amarillo
public. Instead, the quantum of evidence showed that Music Bar. Daria then filed an ejectment case against Benjie and
complainant's siblings appeared before the respondent as Novie before Municipal Trial Court in Cities (MTCC), with the law office
notary public and in fact, signed the deed. The claim of Renato as her counsel as their Retainer Agreement was still subsisting.
and Benito Santos in their affidavit that they did not sign the document However, Atty. Riz appeared as counsel for Novie in the case,
in the law office of the respondent but in their houses at Villa Benita and filed in her behalf, an Answer with Opposition to the
Subdivision is admissible only against them. To aver that it was Prayer for Issuance Of A Writ Of Preliminary Injunction. It was
physically impossible to sign the deeds in the law office was then that she filed the administrative case case against Atty.
untenable for the reason that there are many ports in the country Riz. In his Comment, he denied participating in the takeover of Darias
through which the siblings may be able to enter and get to appear in business or acting as business manager thereof. Benjie informed him
the law office. The discrepancy in the date stamped in the Deed that Darias business was terminated and turned over to Novie, and he
and the date when complainants siblings obtained their CTCs allowed one of his staff to accompany them in the inventory of
had been substantially explained in the affidavit executed by the equipment. He insisted it was Atty. Amos Sabling who initiated
secretary of the law office, Mely Lachica. the Retainer proposal as well as who Daria consulted with her
business. He never gained any information or knowledge about
Furthermore, anent the charge that respondent acquired Darias business. He admitted having represented Novie but denied
properties under litigation in violation of Article 1491[18] of the taking advantage of the Retainer Agreement between the law office
Civil Code, records show that respondent acquired the property from and Daria. He subsequently withdrew his appearance in the
Faberns Inc., and not from Spouses Filemon and Benita Santos. case and the case was subsequently dismissed for lack of
Complainants allegation that respondent as director of Villa Benita jurisdiction.
Management and Development Corporation fraudulently caused the
transfer of titles of properties, specifically parcels of lands owned by The Investigationg Commissioner recommended that Riz be suspended
the family corporation, Faberns Inc., by executing a management and from the practice of law for one year, for betrayal of his clients trust
and for misuse of information gained from his client to the
disadvantage of Daria and the advantage of another. The IBP Board We are not impressed. In Hilado v. David, reiterated in Gonzales v.
initially approved the recommendation of the Investigating Atty. Cabucana, Jr., this Court held that a lawyer who takes up the
Commissioner but modified it to six months suspension upon motion of cause of the adversary of the party who has engaged the
Atty. Riz. services of his law firm brings the law profession into public
disrepute and suspicion and undermines the integrity of justice. Thus,
RULING respondents argument that he never took advantage of any
information acquired by his law firm in the course of its professional
It is undisputed that complainant entered into a Retainer Agreement dealings with the complainant, even assuming it to be true, is of no
dated March 7, 2005 with respondents law firm. This agreement was moment. Undeniably aware of the fact that complainant is a
signed by the respondent and attached to the records of this case. And client of his law firm, respondent should have immediately
during the subsistence of said Retainer Agreement, informed both the complainant and Balageo that he, as well as
respondent represented and defended Balageo, who was the other members of his law firm, cannot represent any of
impleaded as one of the defendants in the ejectment case them in their legal tussle; otherwise, they would be representing
complainant filed before the MTCC of Baguio City. In fact, conflicting interests and violate the Code of Professional Responsibility.
respondent filed on behalf of said Balageo an Answer with Opposition Indeed, respondent could have simply advised both complainant and
to the Prayer for the Issuance of a Writ of Preliminary Injunction dated Balageo to instead engage the services of another lawyer. We thus
July 11, 2005. It was only on August 26, 2005 when respondent adopt the recommendation of the IBP Board of Governors. Atty. Riz
withdrew his appearance for Balageo. Tingalon L. Davis is found GUILTY of violating Rule 15.03, Canon 15 of
the Code of Professional Responsibility and is hereby SUSPENDED
Based on the established facts, it is indubitable that respondent from the practice of law for a period of six (6) months.
transgressed Rule 15.03 of Canon 15 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility. It provides:
LETICIA GONZALES v ATTY. MARCELINO CABUCANA
Rule 15.03 A lawyer shall not represent conflicting interests
On January 8, 2004, Gonzales filed a petition before the Integrated Bar
except by written consent of all concerned given after a full
of the Philippines (IBP) alleging that: she was the complainant in a
disclosure of the facts.
case for sum of money and damages filed before the Municipal
Trial Court in Cities (MTCC) of Santiago City, docketed as Civil
In Quiambao v. Atty. Bamba, this Court emphasized that lawyers are
Case No. 1-567 where she was represented by the law firm
expected not only to keep inviolate the clients confidence, but also to
CABUCANA, CABUCANA, DE GUZMAN AND CABUCANA LAW
avoid the appearance of treachery and double-dealing for only then
OFFICE, with Atty. Edmar Cabucana handling the case and herein
can litigants be encouraged to entrust their secrets to their lawyers,
respondent as an associate/partner; on February 26, 2001, a decision
which is of paramount importance in the administration of justice.
was rendered in the civil case ordering the losing party to pay
Respondent argues that while complainant is a client of Davis & Gonzales the amount of P17,310.00 with interest and
Sabling Law office, her case is actually handled only by his partner P6,000.00 as attorneys fees; Sheriff Romeo Gatcheco, failed to
Atty. Sabling. He was not privy to any transaction between Atty. Sabling fully implement the writ of execution issued in connection with the
and complainant and has no knowledge of any information or legal judgment which prompted Gonzales to file a complaint against the said
matter complainant entrusted or confided to his law partner. He thus sheriff with this Court; in September 2003, Sheriff Gatcheco and his
inveigles that he could not have taken advantage of an information wife went to the house of Gonzales; they harassed Gonzales
obtained by his law firm by virtue of the Retainer Agreement. and asked her to execute an affidavit of desistance regarding
her complaint before this Court; Gonzales thereafter filed against the
Gatchecos criminal cases for trespass, grave threats, grave oral
defamation, simple coercion and unjust vexation; decline representation they cannot be made to labor under conflict of
notwithstanding the pendency of Civil Case No. 1-567, where interest between a present client and a prospective one. [34] Granting
respondents law firm was still representing Gonzales, herein also that there really was no other lawyer who could handle
respondent represented the Gatchecos in the cases filed by the spouses case other than him, still he should have observed
Gonzales against the said spouses; respondent should be the requirements laid down by the rules by conferring with the
disbarred from the practice of law since respondents acceptance of the prospective client to ascertain as soon as practicable whether
cases of the Gatchecos violates the lawyer-client relationship between the matter would involve a conflict with another client then
complainant and respondents law firm and renders respondent liable seek the written consent of all concerned after a full disclosure
under the Code of Professional Responsibility (CPR) particularly Rules of the facts.[35] These respondent failed to do thus exposing himself to
10.01,[1] 13.01,[2] 15.02,[3] 15.03,[4] 21.01[5] and 21.02. the charge of double-dealing.

RULING Merits: We shall consider however as mitigating circumstances


the fact that he is representing the Gatcheco spouses pro
Before going to the merits, let it be clarified that contrary to the report bono and that it was his firm and not respondent personally,
of Commissioner Reyes, respondent did not only represent the which handled the civil case of Gonzales. As recounted by
Gatcheco spouses in the administrative case filed by Gonzales against complainant herself, Atty. Edmar Cabucana signed the civil case of
them. As respondent himself narrated in his Position Paper, he likewise complainant by stating first the name of the law firm CABUCANA,
acted as their counsel in the criminal cases filed by Gonzales against CABUCANA, DE GUZMAN AND CABUCANA LAW OFFICE, under which,
them. his name and signature appear; while herein respondent signed the
pleadings for the Gatcheco spouses only with his name, [39] without any
With that settled, we find respondent guilty of violating Rule mention of the law firm. We also note the observation of the IBP
15.03 of Canon 15 of the Code of Professional Responsibility, to wit: Commissioner Reyes that there was no malice and bad faith in
Rule 15.03 A lawyer shall not represent conflicting interest respondents acceptance of the Gatchecos cases as shown by
except by written consent of all concerned given after a full the move of complainant to withdraw the case.
disclosure of the facts. It is well-settled that a lawyer is barred from
representing conflicting interests except by written consent of all APPROVED with MODIFICATION that respondent Atty. Marcelino
concerned given after a full disclosure of the facts. Cabucana, Jr. is FINED the amount of Two Thousand Pesos (P2,000.00)
with a STERN WARNING.
Respondent further argued that it was his brother who
represented Gonzales in the civil case and not him, thus, there could
JOSEPHINE OROLA v ATTY. JOSEPH ADOR RAMOS
be no conflict of interests. We do not agree. As respondent admitted, it
was their law firm which represented Gonzales in the civil case. Such Complainants Josephine, Myrna, Manuel, (all surnamed Orola), Mary
being the case, the rule against representing conflicting interests Angelyn Orola-Belarga (Mary Angelyn), and Marjorie Melba Orola-Calip
applies. As we explained in the case of Hilado vs. David:[31] (Marjorie) are the children of the late Trinidad Laserna-Orola (Trinidad),
married to Emilio Q. Orola (Emilio). 2cralaw virtualaw library
[W]e cannot sanction his taking up the cause of the adversary
Meanwhile, complainant Karen Orola (Karen) is the daughter of
of the party who had sought and obtained legal advice from his
Maricar Alba-Orola (Maricar) and Antonio L. Orola (Antonio),
firm.
the deceased brother of the above-named complainants and
the son of Emilio.
In the same manner, his claim that he could not turn down the spouses
as no other lawyer is willing to take their case cannot prosper as it is
In the settlement of Trinidads estate, pending before the Regional Trial
settled that while there may be instances where lawyers cannot
Court of Roxas City, Branch 18 (RTC) and docketed as Special RULING
Proceeding No. V-3639, the parties were represented by the following:
(a) Atty. Roy M. Villa (Atty. Villa) as counsel for and in behalf of The Court concurs with the IBPs finding that respondent violated Rule
Josephine, Myrna, Manuel, Mary Angelyn, and Marjorie (Heirs of 15.03 of the Code, but reduced the recommended period of suspension
Trinidad); (b) Atty. Ely F. Azarraga, Jr. (Atty. Azarraga) as counsel for and to three (3) months.
in behalf of Maricar, Karen, and the other heirs 4 of the late Antonio
(Heirs of Antonio), with respondent as collaborating counsel; and Rule 15.03 of the Code reads:
(c) Atty. Aquiliana Brotarlo as counsel for and in behalf of Emilio, the
initially appointed administrator of Trinidads estate. In the course of CANON 15 A LAWYER SHALL OBSERVE CANDOR, FAIRNESS
the proceedings, the Heirs of Trinidad and the Heirs of Antonio AND LOYALTY IN ALL HIS DEALINGS AND TRANSACTIONS WITH
moved for the removal of Emilio as administrator and, in his HIS CLIENTS.
stead, sought the appointment of the latters son, Manuel
Records reveal that respondent was the collaborating counsel
Orola, which the RTC granted in an Order 5 dated September 20, 2007
not only for Maricar as claimed by him, but for all the Heirs of
(RTC Order). Subsequently, or on October 10, 2007, respondent
Antonio in Special Proceeding No. V-3639. In the course
filed an Entry of Appearance as collaborating counsel for Emilio
thereof, the Heirs of Trinidad and the Heirs of Antonio
in the same case and moved for the reconsideration of the RTC
succeeded in removing Emilio as administrator for having
Order.6cralaw virtualaw library
committed acts prejudicial to their interests. Hence, when
respondent proceeded to represent Emilio for the purpose of
Due to the respondents new engagement, complainants filed
seeking his reinstatement as administrator in the same case,
the instant disbarment complaint before the Integrated Bar of
he clearly worked against the very interest of the Heirs of
the Philippines (IBP), claiming that he violated: (a) Rule 15.03
Antonio particularly, Karen in violation of the above-stated
of the Code, as he undertook to represent conflicting interests in the
rule.
subject case;7 and (b) Section 20(e), Rule 138 of the Rules, as he
breached the trust and confidence reposed upon him by his clients, the
Respondent's justification that no confidential information was
Heirs of Antonio.8 Complainants further claimed that while
relayed to him cannot fully exculpate him for the charges
Maricar, the surviving spouse of Antonio and the mother of
against him since the rule on conflict of interests, as
Karen, consented to the withdrawal of respondents
enunciated in Hornilla, provides an absolute prohibition from
appearance, the same was obtained only on October 18, 2007,
representation with respect to opposing parties in the same
or after he had already entered his appearance for Emilio on
case. In other words, a lawyer cannot change his representation from
October 10, 2007.9 In this accord, respondent failed to disclose such
one party to the latters opponent in the same case. That respondents
fact to all the affected heirs and, as such, was not able to obtain their
previous appearances for and in behalf of the Heirs of Antonio was only
written consent as required under the Rules.
a friendly accommodation cannot equally be given any credence since
The IBP Board of Governors adopted and approved with the aforesaid rule holds even if the inconsistency is remote or merely
modification the aforementioned report in its Resolution No. XVIII-2008- probable or even if the lawyer has acted in good faith and with no
64123 dated December 11, 2008 (Resolution No. XVIII-2008-641), intention to represent conflicting interests.31cralawlibrary
finding the same to be fully supported by the evidence on record and
Neither can respondent's asseveration that his engagement by
the applicable laws and rules but imposed against respondent the
Emilio was more of a mediator than a litigator and for the
penalty of six (6) months suspension from the practice of law.
purpose of forging a settlement among the family members
render the rule inoperative. In fact, even on that assertion, his
conduct is likewise improper since Rule 15.04, 32Canon 15 of the wait for the lapse of the period indicated in the demand letter
Code similarly requires the lawyer to obtain the written before filing her complaint.
consent of all concerned before he may act as mediator,
conciliator or arbitrator in settling disputes. Irrefragably, On 10 July 2003, complainant filed a criminal complaint against
respondent failed in this respect as the records show that respondent Ms. Koa for estafa and violation of Batas Pambansa Blg. 22
was remiss in his duty to make a full disclosure of his impending before the Office of the City Prosecutor of Manila.[4]
engagement as Emilios counsel to all the Heirs of Antonio
particularly, Karen and equally secure their express written consent On 27 July 2003, she received a copy of a Motion for
before consummating the same. Besides, it must be pointed out that a Consolidation[5] filed by respondent for and on behalf of Ms.
lawyer who acts as such in settling a dispute cannot represent any of Koa, the accused in the criminal cases, and the latters
the parties to it.33 Accordingly, for respondents violation of the daughter Karen Torralba (Ms. Torralba). Further, on 8 August
aforestated rules, disciplinary sanction is warranted. 2003, respondent appeared as counsel for Ms. Koa before the
prosecutor of Manila.
In the foregoing light, the Court finds the penalty of suspension from
the practice of law for a period of three (3) months to be more Complainant submits that by representing conflicting interests,
appropriate taking into consideration the following factors: first, respondent violated the Code of Professional Responsibility.
respondent is a first time offender; second, it is undisputed that
respondent merely accommodated Maricars request out of gratis to
temporarily represent her only during the June 16 and July 14, 2006 RULING
hearings due to her lawyers unavailability; third, it is likewise
undisputed that respondent had no knowledge that the late Antonio We agree with the Report and Recommendation of the
had any other heirs aside from Maricar whose consent he actually Investigating Commissioner,[9] as adopted by the Board of
acquired (albeit shortly after his first appearance as counsel for and in Governors of the IBP.
behalf of Emilio), hence, it can be said that he acted in good faith;
and fourth, complainants admit that respondent did not acquire It was established that in April 2003, respondent was approached
confidential information from the Heirs of Antonio nor did he use by complainant regarding the dishonored checks issued by Manila
against them any knowledge obtained in the course of his previous City Councilor Koa.
employment, hence, the said heirs were not in any manner prejudiced
by his subsequent engagement with Emilio. It was also established that on 25 July 2003, a Motion for
Consolidation was filed by respondent in I.S. No. 03G-19484-86
Accordingly, he is hereby SUSPENDED from the practice of law for a entitled Lydia Justo vs. Arlene Koa and I.S. No. 03G-19582-84 entitled
period of three (3) months, with WARNING. Lani C. Justo vs. Karen Torralba. Respondent stated that the movants in
these cases are mother and daughter while complainants are likewise
LYDIA CASTRO-JUSTO v ATTY. GALING mother and daughter and that these cases arose out from the same
transaction. Thus, movants and complainants will be adducing the
Complainant Justo alleged that sometime in April 2003, she same sets of evidence and witnesses.
engaged the services of respondent Atty. Galing in connection
with dishonored checks issued by Manila City Councilor Arlene
W. Koa (Ms. Koa). After she paid his professional fees, the Respondent argued that no lawyer-client relationship existed
respondent drafted and sent a letter to Ms. Koa demanding between him and complainant because there was no
payment of the checks.[3] Respondent advised complainant to professional fee paid for the services he rendered. Moreover, he
argued that he drafted the demand letter only as a personal favor to All told, respondent filed six (6) motions for extension of time
complainant who is a close friend (considering that the movants have to file Answer and up to this time, which is almost seven (7)
been comares for 30 years already). We are not persuaded. A lawyer- years from the time the Honorable Supreme Court required
client relationship can exist notwithstanding the close friendship respondent to file his answer to the complaint, respondent has
between complainant and respondent. The relationship was not filed any answer,[10] on account of which the investigating
established the moment complainant sought legal advice from commissioner considered the case as now ready for resolution. [11]
respondent regarding the dishonored checks. By drafting the
demand letter respondent further affirmed such ANTECEDENT FACTS: Frabal Fishing and Ice Plant Corporation
relationship. The fact that the demand letter was not utilized in the (hereinafter, Frabal) was the owner of a parcel of land located
criminal complaint filed and that respondent was not eventually along Ramon Magsaysay Boulevard, Sta. Mesa, Manila which
engaged by complainant to represent her in the criminal cases is of no was leased to Wheels Distributors, Inc. (hereinafter, Wheels), an
moment. As observed by the Investigating Commissioner, by authorized dealer of cars and motor vehicles of various make;
referring to complainant Justo as my client in the demand
letter sent to the defaulting debtor [10], respondent admitted
A dispute arose between Frabal and Wheels regarding the
the existence of the lawyer-client relationship.
terms and conditions of the lease contract. The dispute
Likewise, the non-payment of professional fee will not
eventually led to a lawsuit. Frabal hired the services of
exculpate respondent from liability. Absence of monetary
respondent Atty. Danilo G. Macalino as counsel for the purpose
consideration does not exempt lawyers from complying with the
of representing its interest in the said lawsuit;
prohibition against pursuing cases with conflicting interests.

Under Rule 15.03, Canon 15 of the Code of Professional Frabal merged and was absorbed by Petitioner corporation on
Responsibility, [a] lawyer shall not represent conflicting interests February 12, 1991, with the former conveying, assigning and
except by written consent of all concerned given after a full disclosure transferring all its business assets and liabilities to the latter,
of the facts. Respondent was therefore bound to refrain from including all judicial and extra-judicial claims. Hence, Petitioner was
representing parties with conflicting interests in a controversy. By substituted in lieu of Frabal in the formers lawsuit with Wheels;
doing so, without showing any proof that he had obtained the written
consent of the conflicting parties, respondent should be sanctioned. As Petitioners legal counsel, Respondent advised Petitioner to
The excuse proffered by respondent that it was not him but severe all contractual relationship with Wheels as a step
Atty. Ao who was eventually engaged by complainant will not towards eventually evicting the latter from the property they
exonerate him from the clear violation of Rule 15.03 of the Code of were occupying;
Professional Responsibility. The take- over of a clients cause of
action by another lawyer does not give the former lawyer the Hence, upon advice of Respondent, the contract of lease
right to represent the opposing party. It is not only malpractice between Frabal and Wheels was terminated. Respondent
but also constitutes a violation of the confidence resulting from the likewise advised Petitioner to return the guarantee deposit
attorney-client relationship. equivalent to two (2) months rental or the amount
of P50,000.00 to Wheels;
Accordingly, the Court resolved to SUSPEND Atty. Rodolfo T. Galing
from the practice of law for one (1) year, with a WARNING.
On March 2, 1988, Petitioner prepared Metrobank Check No.
MB350288 dated March 8, 1988 for the amount of P50,000.00.
UNITY FISHING v ATTY. MACALINO
The check was crossed and made payable to the Wheels Petitioner checked with Wheels Distributors from whom it later
Distributors, Inc. learned that the latter never maintained an account with the
United Savings Bank, now the UCPB Savings Bank;
Respondent volunteered to bring the check to the office of
Wheels himself and to make them accept it. Hence, on March Petitioner wrote to Respondent on May 19, 1994 to explain
3, 1988, Respondent sent his representative to Petitioners why the check in issue never reached Wheels Distributors and
office to get the said check; how it was endorsed and encashed despite the fact that it was
a crossed check (Copy of said letter is Annex C);
Respondents representative duly received the said check from
Petitioner, as proof of which he signed Check Voucher No. 3- Despite receipt of said letter, however, Respondent never responded
012 (Annex B); nor attempted to explain his side to what strongly appears to be a
gross misappropriation of the money for his own personal use;
Thereafter, Respondent represented to Petitioner that he was
able to deliver the check to Wheels Distributors, Inc.; Hence, Petitioner was constrained to institute an action for damages
against Respondent Danilo G. Macalino as well as UCPB Savings
The suit between Petitioner and Wheels continued for several Bank with the Regional Trial Court of Malabon, Branch 72
years. In the meantime, Petitioner changed counsels, replacing where the same is now docketed as Civil Case No. 2382-MN.
Respondent with someone else;

Finally, sometime in May 1994, the suit ended in amicable


settlement. In the process of negotiating the terms and RULING
conditions of the settlement, Wheels informed Petitioner that
it never received the fund (sic) guarantee deposit in the CANON 16 - A LAWYER SHALL HOLD IN TRUST ALL MONEYS
amount of P50,000.00; AND PROPERTIES OF HIS CLIENT THAT MAY COME
INTO HIS POSSESSION.
Petitioner was shocked to learn this piece of information from Wheels
Distributors as all along Respondent had represented to Petitioner that Rule 16.01 - A lawyer shall account for all money or property
Wheels has already received the guarantee deposit of P50,000.00; collected or received for or from the client.

Petitioner searched its files for the subject check. After locating the Rule 16.02 - A lawyer shall keep the funds of each client
check, Petitioner noted that at the back of the check was a rubber separate and apart from his own and those of others kept
stamp marking indicating that it was deposited with the United by him.
Savings Bank Head Office on May 13, 1988 to Account No. CA-
483-3. United Savings Bank has since been acquired by the
Rule 16.03 - A lawyer shall deliver the funds and property of his
United Coconut Planters Bank (UCPB) and is now known as
client when due or upon demand. However, he shall have
UCPB Savings Bank;
a lien over the funds and may apply so much thereof as
may be necessary to satisfy his lawful fees and
disbursements, giving notice promptly thereafter to his
client. He shall also have a lien to the same extent on all
judgments and executions he has secured for his client as SPOUSES CONCEPCION v ATTY. ELMER DELA ROSA
provided for in the Rules of Court.
In their Verified Complaint, complainants alleged that from 1997 2 until
The Canon of Professional Ethics is even more explicit when it states: August 2008,3 respondent served as their retained lawyer and counsel.
In this capacity, respondent handled many of their cases and was
consulted on various legal matters, among others, the prospect of
The lawyer should refrain from any action whereby for his personal
opening a pawnshop business towards the end of 2005. Said
benefit or gain he abuses or takes advantages of the confidence
business, however, failed to
reposed in him by his client.
materialize.4chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrar
Aware of the fact that complainants had money intact from
Money of the client or collected for the client or other trust their failed business venture, respondent, on March 23, 2006,
property coming into the possession of the lawyer should be called Henry to borrow the amount of P2,500,000.00, which he
reported and accounted for promptly, and should not under promised to return, with interest, five (5) days thereafter. Henry
any circumstances be commingled with his own or be used by consulted his wife, Blesilda, who, believing that respondent would be
him. (par. 11) soon returning the money, agreed to lend the aforesaid sum to
respondent. She thereby issued three (3) EastWest Bank checks 5 in
It is clear, therefore, that respondent, by depositing the check respondents name:6chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
in his own account and subsequently deceiving his client into
believing that he delivered the same to Wheels is undoubtedly Upon receiving the checks, respondent signed a piece of paper
guilty of deceit, malpractice, gross misconduct and unethical behavior. containing: (a) photocopies of the checks; and (b) an acknowledgment
He caused dishonor, not merely to himself but to the noble profession that he received the originals of the checks and that he agreed to
to which he belongs. return the P2,500,000.00, plus monthly interest of five percent (5%),
within five (5) days.7 In the afternoon of March 23, 2006, the
foregoing checks were personally encashed by
What is more, respondents repeated failures to comply
respondent.8chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
with the orders of the Court requiring him to comment on the
complaint indicate a high degree of irresponsibility on his part.
On March 28, 2006, or the day respondent promised to return
the money, he failed to pay complainants. Thus, in April 2006,
We have no hesitance, then, in confirming the resolution passed by the complainants began demanding payment but respondent
IBP Board of Governors suspending respondent from the practice of law merely made repeated promises to pay soon. On July 7, 2008,
for one (1) year. We could have taken a more drastic action Blesilda sent a demand letter 9 to respondent, which the latter did not
against respondent, but considering that he has no prior heed.10 On August 4, 2008, complainants, through their new counsel,
administrative record, it is our sentiment that the recommended Atty. Kathryn Jessica dela Serna, sent another demand letter11 to
penalty serves the purpose of protecting the interest of the public and respondent.12 In his Reply,13 the latter denied borrowing any
the legal profession. money from the complainants. Instead, respondent claimed
that a certain Jean Charles Nault (Nault), one of his other
He is hereby SUSPENDED from the practice of law for a period clients, was the real debtor. Complainants brought the matter to
of one (1) year effective immediately, with a STERN WARNING the Office of the Lupong Tagapamayapa in Barangay Balulang,
that a repetition of the same or similar acts shall be dealt with more Cagayan de Oro City. The parties, however, failed to reach a
severely. He is likewise ordered to return the sum of P50,000 to settlement.14chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
complainant within ten (10) hereof.
On January 11, 2010, the IBP-Misamis Oriental Chapter received Finding the recommendation to be fully supported by the eVidence on
complainants letter-complaint15charging respondent with record and by the applicable laws and rule, the IBP Board of Governors
violation of Rule 16.04 of the CPR. The rule prohibits lawyers from adopted and approved the Investigating Commissioners Report in
Resolution No. XX-2013-617 dated May 11, 2013, 38 but reduced the
borrowing money from clients unless the latters interests are fully
penalty against the respondent to indefinite suspension from
protected by the nature of the case or by independent advice. the practice of law and ordered the return of the
P2,500,000.00 to the complainants with legal interest, instead
In his Comment,17 respondent denied borrowing P2,500,000.00 from of stipulated interest.
complainants, insisting that Nault was the real debtor. 18 He also Respondent sought a reconsideration.
claimed that complainants had been attempting to collect from Nault Respondents receipt of the P2,500,000.00 loan from complainants is
and that he was engaged for that specific amply supported by substantial evidence.
purpose.19chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
Respondents theory that Nault is the real debtor hardly inspires belief.
In their letter-reply,20 complainants maintained that they extended the While respondent submitted a document purporting to be Naults
loan to respondent alone, as evidenced by the checks issued in the acknowledgment of his debt to the complainants, Nault, in his Answer
latters name. They categorically denied knowing Nault and to Third Party Complaint, categorically denied knowing the
pointed out that it defies common sense for them to extend an complainants and incurring the same obligation
unsecured loan in the amount of P2,500,000.00 to a person
they do not even know. Complainants also submitted a copy of the
Answer to Third Party Complaint21 which Nault filed as third-party Moreover, as correctly pointed out by complainants, it would be
defendant in a related collection case instituted by the complainants illogical for them to extend a P2,500,000.00 loan without any collateral
against respondent.22 In said pleading, Nault explicitly denied knowing or security to a person they do not even know. On the other hand,
complainants and alleged that it was respondent who incurred the complainants were able to submit documents showing respondents
subject loan from them.23chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary receipt of the checks and their encashment, as well as his agreement
to return the P2,500,000.00 plus interest. This is bolstered by the fact
that the loan transaction was entered into during the existence of a
On November 23, 2010, the IBP-Misamis Oriental Chapter lawyer-client relationship between him and complainants, 45 allowing
endorsed the letter-complaint to the IBP-Commission on Bar the former to wield a greater influence over the latter in view of the
Discipline (CBD),24 which was later docketed as CBD Case No. 11- trust and confidence inherently imbued in such relationship.
2883.25 In the course of the proceedings, respondent failed to appear
during the scheduled mandatory conferences.26 Hence, the same were CANON 16 A lawyer shall hold in trust all moneys and
terminated and the parties were directed to submit their respective properties of his clients that may come into his possession.
position papers.27 Respondent, however, did not submit any.cra
Rule 16.04 A lawyer shall not borrow money from his client
RULING unless the clients interests are fully protected by the nature
of the case or by independent advice. Neither shall a lawyer
lend money to a client except, when in the interest of justice,
he has to advance necessary expenses in a legal matter he is
handling for the client.

CANON 7 - A LAWYER SHALL AT ALL TIMES UPHOLD THE


INTEGRITY AND DIGNITY OF THE LEGAL PROFESSION AND
SUPPORT THE ACTIVITIES OF THE INTEGRATED BAR.

In unduly borrowing money from the complainants and by


blatantly refusing to pay the same, respondent abused the 25% recovery fee; and legal expenses such as but not limited to filing
trust and confidence reposed in him by his clients, and, in so fee, messengerial and postage expenses . . . and other miscellaneous
doing, failed to uphold the integrity and dignity of the legal but related expenses, to be charged to complainants account which
profession. Thus, he should be equally held administratively liable on would be reimbursed upon presentation of statement of account.
this score.
The letter-proposal of respondent regarding attorneys
fees does not bear complainants conformity, he not having
The Court also deems it appropriate to modify the IBPs Resolution
agreed therewith.
insofar as it orders respondent to return to complainants the amount of
P2,500,000.00 and the legal interest thereon. It is settled that in It appears that Metropolitan Insurance finally offered to settle
disciplinary proceedings against lawyers, the only issue is whether the complainants claim, for by letter [4] of December 9, 1998 addressed to
officer of the court is still fit to be allowed to continue as a member of it, respondent confirmed his acceptance of its offer to settle the claim
of complainant in an ex-gratia basis of 75% of his policy coverage
the Bar.52 In such cases, the Courts only concern is the
which is therefore FIVE HUNDRED TWENTY FIVE THOUSAND
determination of respondents administrative liability; it (P525,000.00) PESOS.
should not involve his civil liability for money received from his
client in a transaction separate, distinct, and not intrinsically A day or a few days before December 23, 1998 when
linked to his professional engagement. complainant left for France,[5] he, on the advice of respondent,
signed an already prepared undated Special Power of
Attorney[6]authorizing respondent and/or Garcia to bring any action
WHEREFORE, respondent Atty. Elmer A. dela Rosa is found guilty of
against Metropolitan Insurance for the satisfaction of complainants
violating Canon 7 and Rule 16.04, Canon 16 of the Code of Professional claim as well as to negotiate, sign, compromise[,] encash and receive
Responsibility. Accordingly, he is hereby SUSPENDED from the payment from it. The Special Power of Attorney was later dated
practice of law for a period of three (3) years effective upon finality December 23, 1998 on which same date Metropolitan Insurance
of this Decision, with a stern warning. issued a Chinabank Check No. 841172 payable to
complainant in the amount of P525,000.00 as full settlement of
the claim.[7] The check was received by respondent.

In the meantime, complainant returned to the Philippines in early


DANIEL LEMOINE v ATTY. AMADEO E. BALON, JR. January 1999 but left again on the 24th of the same month. [8] On
inquiry about the status of his claim, Garcia echoed to
In early 1998, complainant filed a car insurance claim with complainant what respondent had written him (Garcia) in
the Metropolitan Insurance Company (Metropolitan Insurance), respondents letter[9] of March 26, 1999 that the claim was still
the insurer of his vehicle which was lost. As complainant pending with Metropolitan Insurance and that it was still
encountered problems in pursuing his claim which was initially subject of negotiations in which Metropolitan Insurance
rejected,[2] his friend, a certain Jesus Jess Garcia (Garcia), offered to settle it for P350,000.00 representing fifty percent
arranged for the engagement of respondents services. thereof. In the same letter to
Garcia, respondent suggested the acceptance of theoffer of settlement
By letter[3] of October 21, 1998 addressed to Elde Management, to avoid a protracted litigation.
Inc., ATTN: Mr. Daniel Lemoine, under whose care complainant could be
reached, respondent advised complainant, whom he had not before On December 6, 1999, on complainants personal visit to
met, that for his legal services he was charging 25% of the actual the office of Metropolitan Insurance, he was informed that his
amount being recovered. . . payable upon successful recovery; an claim had long been settled via a December 23, 1998 check
advance payment of P50,000.00 to be charged [to complainant] to be given to respondent the year before. [10] Complainant lost no time
deducted from whatever amount [would] be successfully collected; in going to the law office of respondent who was not around, however,
P1,000.00 as appearance and conference fee for each and every court but whom he was able to talk by telephone during which he demanded
hearings, conferences outside our law office and meetings before the that he turn over the proceeds of his claim.[11]
Office of the Insurance Commission which will be also charged to our
Respondent thereupon faxed to complainant a December During the hearings conducted by the IBP Investigator,
7, 1999 letter[12] wherein he acknowledged having in his complainant echoed his allegations in his Complaint-Affidavit
possession the proceeds of the encashed check which he and stressed that he turned down as unreasonable
retained, however, as attorneys lien pending complainants respondents proposal in his October 21, 1998 letter that he be
payment of his attorneys fee, equivalent to fifty percent paid 25% of the actual amount collected for his legal services.
(50%) of entire amount collected. In the same letter, respondent [22]
And he presented documentary evidence, including the March 26,
protested what he branded as the uncivilized and unprofessional 1999letter of respondent informing his co-attorney-in-fact Garcia of the
behavior complainant reportedly demonstrated at respondents office. supposedly still unrecovered claim and suggesting acceptance of the
Respondent winded up his letter as purported offer of Metropolitan Insurance to settle complainants claim
at P350,000.00.
As despite written demands,[13] respondent refused to turn
over the proceeds of the insurance claim and to acknowledge Explaining how his above-mentioned March 26, 1999 letter
the unreasonableness of the attorneys fees he was to Garcia came about, respondent declared that it was made
demanding, complainant instituted the administrative action upon Garcias request, intended for a certain Joel Ramiscal
at bar on December 17, 1999. (Ramiscal) who was said to be Garcias business partner. [23]

In his Complaint-Affidavit, complainant alleged that [i]t appears Respondent later submitted a June 13, 2001 Supplement[24] to his
that there was irregularity with the check, it having been issued Counter-Affidavit reiterating his explanation that it was on Garcias
payable to him, but and/or AMADEO BALON was therein intercalated express request that he wrote the March 26, 1999letter, which was
after his (complainants) name.[14] directed to the fax number of Ramiscal.

Maintaining that respondent was entitled to only P50,000.00 in Additionally, respondent declared that in the first week
attorneys fees,[15] complainant decried respondents continued of May 1999, on the representation of Garcia that he had
possession of the proceeds of his claim [16]and his misrepresentations talked to complainant about respondents retention of fifty
that the recovery thereof was fraught with difficulties.[17] percent (50%) of the insurance proceeds for professional fees
less expenses,[25] he gave Garcia, on a staggered basis, the
In his Counter-Affidavit[18] of February 18, 2000, respondent total amount of P233,000.00 which, so respondent averred, is the
asserted that his continued retention of the proceeds of amount of insurance claim complainant is entitled to receive less
complainants claim is in lawful exercise of his lien for unpaid attorneys fees and expenses
attorneys fees.
Explaining why no written memorandum of the turn over of
Respondent also highlighted the value of the time and various payments to Garcia was made, respondent alleged that there
efforts he extended in pursuing complainants claim and the was no need therefor since he very well knew Garcia who is a co-
expenses he incurred in connection therewith. He went on to Rotarian and co-attorney-in-fact and whom he really dealt with
assert that his inability to contact complainant whose whereabouts he regarding complainants claim.[29]
did not know prompted him to encash the check and keep the
proceeds thereof in conformity with the Special Power of Attorney Respondent furthermore declared that he rejected
executed in his favor.[21] complainants offer to pay him P50,000.00 for his services,
insisting that since there had been no clear-cut agreement on
his professional fees and it was through him that Metropolitan
Insurance favorably reconsidered its initial rejection of
complainants claim, he is entitled to a contingent fee of 50% of
the net proceeds thereof.

Finally, respondent declared that he, in connection with


his follow-up of the insurance claim, incurred representation
expenses of P35,000.00, entertainment and other representation
expenses on various occasions of P10,000.00, and transportation and
gasoline expenses and parking fees of P5,000.00; [31] and that his RULE 16.03 - A lawyer shall deliver the funds and property of his client
retention of complainants money was justified in light of his when due or upon demand. However, he shall have a lien over the
apprehension that complainant, being an alien without a valid working funds and may apply so much thereof as may be necessary to satisfy
permit in the Philippines, might leave the country anytime without his lawful fees and disbursements, giving notice promptly thereafter to
settling his professional fees.[32] his client. He shall also have a lien to the same extent on all judgments
and executions he has secured for his client as provided for in the
The Investigating Commissioner, by Report and Rules of Court.
Recommendation[33] of October 26, 2001, found respondent
guilty of misconduct and recommended that he be disbarred
and directed to immediately turn over to complainant the sum xxx
of P475,000.00 representing the amount of the P525,000.00
insurance claim less respondents professional fees of CANON 17 - A lawyer owes fidelity to the cause of his client and he
P50,000.00, as proposed by complainant. shall be mindful of the trust and confidence in him.
The Board of Govenors of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines,
acting on the Investigators Report. xxx

RULING
RULE 18.04 - A lawyer shall keep the client informed of the status of his
This Court is in full accord with the findings of the IBP Investigator case and shall respond within a reasonable time to the clients request
that respondent violated the following provisions of the Code of for information.
Professional Responsibility, to wit:
xxx
RULE 1.01 - A lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral
or deceitful conduct. RULE 21.02 - A lawyer shall not, to the disadvantage of his client, use
information acquired in the course of employment, nor shall he use the
xxx same to his advantage or that of a third person, unless the client with
full knowledge of the circumstances consents thereto.
CANON 15 - A lawyer shall observe candor, fairness and loyalty in all
his dealings and transactions with his clients. WHEREFORE, respondent Atty. Amadeo E. Balon, Jr., is found GUILTY of
malpractice, deceit and gross misconduct in the practice of his
RULE 15.06 - A lawyer shall not state or imply that he is able to profession as a lawyer and he is hereby DISBARRED.
influence any public official, tribunal or legislative body.
NELIA P. DE CHAVEZ-BLANCO v ATTY. JAIME B. LUMASAG, JR.
xxx
Through her attorney-in-fact, Atty. Eugenia J. Muoz,
CANON 16 - A lawyer shall hold in trust all moneys and properties of his
client that may come into his possession. complainant alleged in her Complaint [2] that she was a resident

of the United States of America together with her husband,


RULE 16.01 - A lawyer shall account for all money or property collected
or received for or from the client. Mario Blanco. She also stated that she owned two (2) adjacent

RULE 16.02 - A lawyer shall keep the funds of each client separate and parcels of land in Quezon City, each with an area of 400 square
apart from his own and those of others kept by him.
meters, covered by Transfer Certificates of Title (TCT) Nos. 22162 and
22163 registered in her name. In a document dated 20 November Complainant also averred that the Special Power of Attorney

1989, she authorized respondent, who were her husbands first cousin, dated 16 January 1989, which respondent had used to sell the

to sell said lots.[3] In a letter dated 20 March 1990, respondent lots is a forgery and a falsified document, as the signature

reported that he had sold only one lot for the price therein were not the real signatures of complainant and her

of P320,000.00 and therefrom he deducted P38,130.00 for taxes spouse. In addition, they could not have acknowledged the document

and commissions. And, allegedly, per complainants before a notary, as they were not in the Philippines at the time.[6]

instructions, he remitted the remaining balance For his part, respondent vehemently denied all the accusations of

of P281,900.00 to a certain Belen Johnnes. [4]


deceit, dishonesty and gross misconduct. [7]

In 1995, complainant was informed by respondent that the Respondent countered that Mario Blanco was the true

other lot remained unsold due to the presence of squatters on owner of the properties, which had to be titled in complainants

the property. name, as Mario Blanco was a U.S. citizen. Mario Blanco had

In December 1998, Mario Blanco discovered that in truth, the requested him to look for a buyer of the properties and, in the course

two (2) lots had been sold on 11 March 1990 to the spouses of selling them, respondent claimed that he had only transacted with

Celso and Consolacion Martinez for the price of P1,120,000.00, the former and never with complainant. Respondent averred that he

and that new titles had been issued to the transferees. Mario had been authorized in November 1989 to sell the property, through a

Blanco confronted respondent with these facts in a letter, but the latter Special Power of Attorney, for a price of not less than P250,000.00 net

disregarded the same. Thus, in May 1999, complainant, through Atty. for the owner.[8]

Muoz sent a demand letter to respondent directing him to remit and Respondent also alleged that the deed of absolute sale

turn over to her the entire proceeds of the sale of the properties. if the two (2) lots had been executed on 19 March 1990 but,

Soon thereafter, respondent admitted the sale of the properties and his only one lot was initially paid in the amount of P281,980.00,

receipt of its proceeds, but he never tendered or offered to which he immediately remitted to Mario Blanco. The payment

tender the same to complainant. Despite repeated and for the other lot was withheld, pending the relocation of the

continued demands, respondent has since not remitted the squatters who had been occupying the premises. And when

amount equivalent to P838,100.00 (P278,000.00 for the first respondent had finally collected the proceeds of the second lot

parcel of land and P560,000.00 for the second).[5] more than three (3) years after, he asked Mario Blanco if the

former could use the amount for a real estate venture whose
Rule 1.01A lawyer shall not engage in
profit, if successful, he would share with the latter. Mario unlawful, dishonest and immoral or deceitful
conduct.
Blanco allegedly did not think twice and consented to the
There is no need to stretch ones imagination to arrive at an
proposal. The venture, however, did not push through.[9]
inevitable conclusion that respondent committed dishonesty and
Respondent strongly maintained that the two (2) lots
abused the confidence reposed in him by the complainant and her
had been sold for only P563,960.00.[10]
spouse.
Accordingly, the IBP Commissioner recommended that,
Records show that two lots had been sold by
in view of the fact that respondent was already 72 years old, he
respondent as evidenced by the Deed of Absolute Sale of 11
be meted out the penalty of suspension of one (1)-year
March 1990. Respondent, however, taking advantage of the absence
suspension, not disbarment as had been prayed for and not 5
of complainant and her spouse from the Philippines and their complete
year-suspension as had been earlier resolved by the IBP Board
trust in him, deceitfully informed them in a letter dated 20 March
of Governors. Moreover, the IBP Commissioner recommended that
1990 that he had sold only one.. And despite repeated
respondent be ordered to deliver to Complainant the amount
demands, to date, there is no showing that the outstanding
of P240,000.00 plus the legal interest rate of 6% per annum computed
amount has been paid. Thus, respondents deceitful conduct warrants
from March 1990. On 31 May 2007, the IBP Board of Governors passed
disciplinary sanction and a directive for the remittance of the remaining
Resolution No. XVII-2007-222 adopting and approving the Report and
proceeds is in order.
Recommendation of the IBP Commissioner.[13]
As to the charge of falsification, the Court agrees with
The Court agrees with the findings and conclusion of the
the IBP that the same appears to be unsubstantiated. Settled is
IBP, but a reduction of the recommended penalty is called for, following
the rule that, in administrative proceedings, the burden of
the dictum that the appropriate penalty for an errant lawyer depends
proof that the respondent committed the acts complained of
on the exercise of sound judicial discretion based on the surrounding
rests on the complainant (only Xerox copy of the documents
facts.[14]
was there).
A lawyer may be disciplined for any conduct, in his professional
WHEREFORE, in view of the foregoing, respondent Atty. Jaime
or private capacity, that renders him unfit to continue to be an officer of
Lumasag, Jr. is SUSPENDED from the practice of law for a period
the court. Canon 1 of the Code of Professional Responsibility commands
of SIX (6) MONTHS, effective immediately, with a warning that a
all lawyers to uphold at all times the dignity and integrity of the legal
repetition of the same or a similar act will be dealt with more
profession. Specifically, Rule 1.01 thereof provides:
severely. Further, respondent is ordered to deliver to admitted that he "did commit an act bordering on grave misconduct, if

complainant the amount of P240,000.00 plus legal interest rate of not outright violation of his attorney's oath". 4

6% per annum computed from March 1990.

CYNTHIA B. ROSACIA v ATTY. BENJAMIN B. BULALACAO However, respondent is pleading for the Court's compassion

On June 1, 1990, by virtue of a written Agreement (Exh. "3-a"), and leniency to reduce the IBP recommended three months

respondent Atty. Benjamin B. Bulalacao was hired as retained counsel suspension to either fine or admonition with the following

of a corporation by the name of Tacma Phils., Inc. proffered grounds: that he is relatively new in the profession

On October 31, 1990, the lawyer-client relationship between the having been admitted to the Philippine Bar on April 10, 1990 at

respondent and Tacma Phils., Inc. was severed as shown by the age of 46 when the complained conduct was committed on

another agreement of even date. August 1991; that he is of humble beginnings and his

On July, 1991, or after almost nine (9) months from the date suspension will deprive his family of its only source of

respondent's retainer agreement with Tacma, Phils., Inc. was livelihood he being the sole bread winner in the family; that he

terminated, several employees of the corporation consulted has fully realized his mistake and the gravity of his offense for

the respondent for the purpose of filing an action for illegal which he is fully repentant; that he has severed his attorney-

dismissal. Thereafter, he agreed to handle the case for the said client relationship with the employees of Tacma, Phils., Inc. by

employees as against Tacma, Phils., Inc. by filing a complaint before inhibiting himself and withdrawing his appearance as counsel

the National Labor Relations Commission, and appearing in their in the labor case against Tacma, Phils., Inc.; and that he

behalf. pledges not to commit the same mistake and to henceforth

RULING strictly adhere to the professional standards set forth by the

The sole issue to be addressed is whether or not respondent Code of Professional Responsibility.

breached his oath of office for representing the employees of The Court reiterates that an attorney owes loyalty to his client

his former client, Tacma, Phils., Inc., after the termination of not only in the case in which he has represented him but also

their attorney-client relationship. We agree with the findings of the after the relation of attorney and client has terminated as it is

IBP that respondent breached his oath of office. Respondent does not not good practice to permit him afterwards to defend in

now dispute this. In fact, in his motion for reconsideration, respondent another case other person against his former client under the

pretext that the case is distinct from, and independent of the former
During the initial hearing on June 13, 1973 * (sic)
case. 5 It behooves respondent not only to keep inviolate the client's Hanopol and respondent tried to explore the possibility
of an amicable settlement. Since no agreement was
confidence, but also to avoid the appearance of treachery and double reached the hearing was reset to June 17, 1983. On the
pretext that Hanopol was supposed to go to his office on that
dealing for only then can litigants be encouraged to entrust their
date respondent failed to appear for the second setting (tsn.
secrets to their attorneys which is of paramount importance in the pp. 14-15, Dec. 9, 1985). So, the Labor Arbiter was constrained
to further reset the hearing to June 28, 1983. Respondent
administration of justice. received on June 23, 1983 the Order for the resetting to June
1983 (Exh. J).
Respondent's plea for leniency cannot be granted. We note that

respondent is new in the profession as he was just admitted to the Respondent Daria appealed the Decision to the
National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) on August
Philippine Bar on April 10, 1990, when the breach of his oath of office 23, 1983 (Exh. 4). The case was remanded to the Labor
Arbiter for further proceedings. The case was set for
occurred more than a year after. Having just hurdled the bar hearing on June 25, 1984 and July 12, 1984 wherein attempts
for an amicable settlement still proved futile. The Labor Arbiter
examinations which included an examination in legal ethics, surely the set two more dates for hearing: July 27, 1984 and August 8,
1984 (tsn. pp. 21-22, Dec. 9, 1985).
precepts of the Code of Professional Responsibility to keep inviolate the

client's trust and confidence even after the attorney-client relation is In the meantime, the middle of June 1984, respondent
signified to management his intention to resign. In the
terminated 10 must have been still fresh in his mind. light of this development, management hired Atty. Rogelio
Udarbe to take his place on July 16, 1984, the effective date of
ACCORDINGLY, respondent is hereby SUSPENDED from the his resignation (Exh. 2). Respondent endorsed the cases of
complainant to Atty. Udarbe (tsn. pp. 23-25, Dec. 9, 1985).
practice of law for three months.

In connection with the other charge of betrayal by respondent


LORENZANA FOOD CORPORATION represented by Mr. of his former client's confidences, the following facts appear
SOLOMON U. LORENZANA, JR., as its President and General on record:
Manager, and/or Mrs. ELIZABETH L. DIAZ, as its Vice-
President, petitioners, While respondent was still connected with complainant,
vs. its general manager, Sebastian Cortes, issued a
ATTY. FRANCISCO L. DARIA, respondent. memorandum dated February 28, 1984 (Exh. C) to its
employee, Roberto San Juan, requiring him to submit a
Respondent was hired by complainant Lorenzana Food written explanation for his alleged double liquidation
Corporation (LFC) on January 8, 1981 as its legal and unliquidated cash advances. Another memorandum
counsel and was designated as its personnel manager dated March 15, 1984 (Exh. D) was issued this time by
six months later (tsn. pp. 6-7, Dec. 9, 1985). On May 23, complainant's internal auditor, Rosario L. Bernardo, addressed
1983, LFC employee, Violeta Hanopol, filed a complaint to complainant's president, summing up San Juan's
for illegal dismissal and other monetary claims against unliquidated advances amounting to P9,351.15. Respondent
complainant before the Ministry (now Department) of Labor was furnished a copy of this memorandum (Exh. D-3). The
and Employment (MOLE). On May 30, 1983, summons was executive committee, to which respondent belongs,
served on the parties with the requirement that position investigated San Juan on his unliquidated advances. On
papers be submitted (Exh. G). account of the gravity of the charge, respondent placed
San Juan under preventive suspension, per his letter to Rule 18.03 A lawyer shall not neglect a legal matter
him dated April 25, 1984 (Exh. E). entrusted to him and his negligence in connection
therewith shall render him liable.
For failure to appear in two consecutive hearings and to
submit a position paper in the Hanopol case which resulted in The other accusation against the respondent by the Solicitor
complainant LFC's default and judgment against it by the General was that he had betrayed complainant LFC's
Labor Arbiter, the respondent is faulted for negligence. The confidences in violation of the then Canon 37 of the old Canons
respondent avers that Hanopol should have seen him in his office to of Professional Ethics, to wit:
work out a compromise agreement, on the scheduled day of the
second hearing, June 17, 1983, but did not. 4 It is the duty of a lawyer to preserve his client's confidences.
This duty outlasts the lawyer's employment, and extends as
With regard to his second non-appearance for the hearing on well to his employee's and neither of them should accept
June 2, 1983, the respondent justified his absence by claiming employment which involves or may involve the disclosure or
that he had another hearing on the same date and that he told use of these confidences, either for the private advantages of
the client, without his knowledge and consent, and even
his secretary to call up the Office of the Labor Arbiter to have
though there are other available sources of such information. A
the hearing of the Hanopol case postponed. lawyer should not continue employment when he discovers
that this obligation prevents the performance of his full duty to
RULING his former or to his new client.

In an effort to extricate himself from this charge, the Superseded by the Code of Professional Responsibility, the appropriate
respondent submits that since he was able to persuade the Canon now is:
National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) on appeal to set
aside the Decision of the Labor Arbiter and to remand the case CANON 17 A LAWYER OWES FIDELITY TO THE CAUSE
for further proceedings, then the charge of negligence should OF HIS CLIENT AND HE SHALL BE MINDFUL OF THE
be considered moot and academic already. 9 We find this TRUST AND CONFIDENCE REPOSED IN HIM.
submission not meritorious. Instead, we agree ,with the position of the
Solicitor General:
The Solicitor General further found that the respondent
assisted Roberto San Juan in the preparation of the counter-
Respondent's plea is untenable. The setting aside of the affidavit, 12 submitted in defense of the latter in the accusation
adverse Decision of the Labor Arbiter cannot obliterate the of estafa filed against San Juan by LFC As a matter of fact, the
effects of respondent's negligence. Indeed, had respondent respondent signed the jurat of the San Juan counter-affidavit he
attended the two scheduled hearings and filed the (respondent) helped prepare. It is also a fact that the respondent
required position paper, then at least, there would have investigated this same charge of estafa while he was still the lawyer of
been no delay in the resolution of the case, the complainant and San Juan still likewise an employee of LFC

From the foregoing, it is manifest that the respondent is We are convinced that the respondent had betrayed the confidences of
indeed guilty of negligence, a clear violation of the Code of the complainant, his former client.
Professional Responsibility: 11
WHEREFORE, premises considered, the respondent is found guilty of
CANON 18 A LAWYER SHALL SERVE HIS CLIENT WITH both the charge of negligence, a transgression of Rule 18.03, Canon
COMPETENCE AND DILIGENCE 18, and the charge of betrayal of his former client's confidences, in
violation of Canon 17 of the Code of Professional Responsibility.
The respondent is hereby SUSPENDED from the practice of law
for a period of six (6) months.

cralawred