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A.C. No. 10952, January 26, 2016 ENGEL PAUL ACA, Complainant, v. ATTY.

RONALDO P. SALVADO, Respondent. : JANUARY 2016 PHILIPPINE SUPREME 0060206 October17,2011 P2,120,000.00
COURTJURISPRUDENCECHANROBLESVIRTUALLAWLIBRARY
A.C.No.10952,January26,2016 0060191 October29,2011 P1,060,000.00
ThisreferstotheOctober11,2014Resolution 1oftheIntegratedBarofthePhilippinesBoard
of Governors (IBPBOG) which adopted and approved with modification the Report and 0060195 November16,2011 P1,590,000.00
Recommendation2 oftheInvestigatingCommissionersuspendingAtty.RonaldoP.Salvado
(Atty.Salvado)fromthepracticeoflaw.

TheComplaint: Uponpresentment,however,complainantwasshockedtolearnthattheaforementionedchecks
weredishonoredastheseweredrawnfrominsufficientfundsoraclosedaccount.
OnMay30,2012,EngelPaulAcafiledanadministrativecomplaint 3 fordisbarmentagainst
Atty.SalvadoforviolationofCanon1,Rule1.01 4 andCanon7,Rule7.03 5 oftheCodeof Complainant made several verbal and written demands upon Atty. Salvado, who at first,
ProfessionalResponsibility(CPR). openlycommunicatedwithhim,assuringhimthathewouldnotabscondfromhisobligations
and that he was just having difficulty liquidating his assets and collecting from his own
Complainantalleged,amongothers,thatsometimein 2010, he metAtty.Salvadothrough creditors.ComplainantwaseveninformedbyAtty.Salvadothatheownedrealpropertiesthat
Atty.SamuelDivina(Atty.Divina),hischildhoodfriend;thatAtty.Salvadointroducedhimself couldserveaspaymentforhisobligations.Astimewentby,however,Atty.Salvadobeganto
asalawyerandabusinessmanengagedinseveralbusinessesincludingbutnotlimitedtothe avoidcomplainant'scallsandtextmessages.Attemptstomeetupwithhimthroughcommon
lendingbusiness;thatonthesameoccasion,Atty.Salvadoenticedthecomplainanttoinvestin friendsalsoprovedfutile.ThispromptedcomplainanttoreferthemattertohislawyerAtty.
hisbusinesswithaguaranteethathewouldbegivenahighinterestrateof5%to6%every Divina,forappropriatelegalaction.
month;andthathewasassuredofaprofitableinvestmentduebyAtty.Salvadoasthelatter
hadvariousclientsandinvestors. On December 26, 2011, Atty. Divina personally served the Notice of Dishonor on Atty.
Salvado, directing him to settle his total obligation in the amount of P747,000.00,
BecauseoftheserepresentationscoupledbytheassuranceofAtty.Salvadothathewouldnot correspondingtothecashvalueofthefirsttwo(2)PSBankchecks,withinseven(7)daysfrom
placehisreputationasalawyerontheline,complainantmadeaninitialinvestmentinhis receiptofthesaidnotice. 6Nevertheless,Atty.Salvadorefusedtoreceivethesaidnoticewhen
business.Thisinitialinvestmentyieldedanamountcorrespondingtotheprincipalplusthe Atty.Divina'smessengerattemptedtoserveitonhim.
promisedinterest.Onvariousdatesfrom2010to2011,complainantclaimedthathewasagain
inducedbyAtty.Salvadotoinvestwithpromisesofhighratesofreturn. SometimeinApril2012,complainantyetagainengagedtheservicesofAtty.Divina,who,
withhisfilingclerkandthecomplainant'sfamily,wenttoAtty.Salvado'shousetopersonally
Asconsiderationfortheseinvestments,Atty.Salvadoissuedseveralpostdatedchecksinthe servethedemandletter.Acertain"Mark"whoopenedthegatetoldthefilingclerkthatAtty.
totalamountofP6,107,000.00,representingtheprincipalamountplusinterests.Allchecks Salvadowasnolongerresidingthereandhadbeenstayingintheprovincealready.
weredrawnfromPSBankAccountnumber040331000879,fullydescribedasfollows:
Astheywereabouttoleave,aredvehiclearrivedbearingAtty.Salvado.Complainantquickly
CheckNumber DateIssued Amount alightedfromhisvehicleandconfrontedhimashewasabouttoenterthegateofthehouse.
Obviously startled, Atty. Salvado told him that he had not forgotten his debt and invited
0060144 August14,2011 P657,000.00 complainanttoenterthehousesotheycouldtalk. Complainant refused theinvitationand
insteadtoldAtty.Salvadothattheyshouldtalkinsidehisvehiclewherehiscompanionswere.

0060147 September29,2011 P530,000.00 During this conversation, Atty. Salvado assured complainant that he was working on
"something"topayhisobligations.Hestillrefusedtopersonallyreceiveor,attheleast,read
0060190 September29,2011 P60,000.00 thedemandletter.

0060194 October16,2011 P90,000.00 Despitehispromises,Atty.Salvadofailedtosettlehisobligations.

For complainant, Atty. Salvado's act of issuing worthless checks not only constituted a
violationof BatasPambansaBilang22(B.P.22) orthe"AntiBouncingChecksLaw,"but
alsoreflectedhisdepravedcharacterasalawyer.Atty.Salvadonotonlyrefusedtocomply Thereafter,thepartieswererequiredtofiletheirrespectivemandatoryconferencebriefsand
withhisobligation,butalsousedhisknowledgeofthelawtoevadecriminalprosecution.He positionpapers.Atty.Salvadoinsistedthathehadactedinallhonestyandgoodfaithinhis
hadobviouslyinstructedhishouseholdstafftolieastohiswhereaboutsandtorejectany dealings with the complainant. He also emphasized that the title to his house and lot in
correspondencesenttohim.ThisresorttodeceitfulwaysshowedthatAtty.Salvadowasnotfit GreenheightsSubdivision,MarikinaCity,hadbeentransferredinthenameofcomplainant
toremainasamemberoftheBar. after he executed a deed of sale as an expression of his "desire and willingness to settle
whateverisduetothecomplainant."10chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
TheDefenseoftheRespondent
ReportandRecommendationof
OnJuly24,2012,Atty.SalvadofiledhisAnswer, 7 denyingthathetoldcomplainantthathe InvestigatingCommissioner
hadpreviouslyenteredintovariousgovernmentcontractsandthathewaspreviouslyengaged
insomeotherbusinessespriortoengaginginthelendingandrediscountingbusiness.Atty. On January 2, 2014, the Investigating Commissioner recommended that Atty. Salvado be
Salvadoassertedthatheneverenticedcomplainanttoinvestinhisbusiness,butitwasAtty. metedapenaltyofsuspensionfromthepracticeoflawforsix(6)monthsforengagingina
Divina'searningsofgoodinterestthatattractedhimintomakinganinvestment.Hefurther conductthatadverselyreflectsonhisfitnesstopracticelawandforbehavinginascandalous
statedthatduring theirinitial meeting, it was complainant whoinquiredif he stillneeded mannertothediscreditofthelegalprofession.Atty.Salvado'sactofissuingcheckswithout
additionalinvestments;thatitwasAtty.Divinawhoassuredcomplainantofhighreturns;and sufficientfundstocoverthesameconstitutedwillfuldishonestyandimmoralconductwhich
thatcomplainantwasfullyawarethatthemoneyinvestedinhisbusinessesconstitutedaloan underminethepublicconfidenceinthelegalprofession.
tohisclientsand/orborrowers.Thus,fromtimetotime,thereturnofinvestmentandaccrued
interestwhendueasreflectedinthematuritydatesofthechecksissuedtocomplainant TheIBPBOGResolution
couldbedelayed,wheneverAtty.Salvado'sclientsrequestedforanextensionorrenewalof
theirrespectiveloans.Inotherwords,thechecksheissuedweremerelyintendedassecurityor On October 11, 2014, the IBPBOG adopted and approved the recommendation with
evidenceofinvestment. modification as to the period of suspension. The IBPBOG increased the period of Atty.
Salvado'ssuspensionfromsix(6)monthstotwo(2)years.
Atty. Salvado also claimed that, in the past, there were instances when he would request
complainantnottodepositacheckknowingthatitwasnotbackedupbysufficientfunds.This NeitheramotionforreconsiderationbeforetheIBPBOGnorapetitionforreviewbeforethis
arrangementhadworkeduntilthedishonorofthechecks,forwhichhereadilyofferedhis Courtwasfiled.Nonetheless,theIBPelevatedtothisCourttheentirerecordsofthecasefor
houseandlotlocatedinMarikinaCityascollateral. appropriate action with the IBP Resolution being merely recommendatory and, therefore,
would not attain finality, pursuant to par. (b), Section 12, Rule 139B of the Rules of
TheReplyofComplainant Court.11chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary

OnAugust30,2012,complainantfiledhisReply, 8pointingoutthatAtty.Salvadodidnotdeny TheCourt'sRuling


receivingmoneyfromhimbywayofinvestment.Thus,hemustbedeemedtohaveadmitted
that he had issued several postdated checks which were eventually dishonored. Atty. Thepartiesgaveconflictingversionsofthecontroversy.Complainant,claimedtohavebeen
Salvado'sclaimthatitwascomplainanthimselfwhoproddedhimaboutmakinginvestments lured by Atty. Salvado into investing inhis businesses with the promise of yielding high
must be brushed aside for being selfserving and baseless. Assuming arguendo, that interests,whichhebelievedbecausehewasalawyerwhowasexpectedtoprotecthispublic
complainant indeed made offers of investment, Atty. Salvado should have easily refused imageatalltimes.Atty.Salvado,ontheotherhand,deniedhavingenticedthecomplainant,
knowingfullywellthathecouldnotfundthechecksthathewouldbeissuingwhenthey whomheclaimedhadinvestedbyvirtueofhisowndesiretogainprofits.Heinsistedthatthe
become due. If it were true that the checks were issued for complainant's security, Atty. checksthatheissuedinfavorofcomplainantwereintheformofsecurityorevidenceof
Salvadocouldhavedraftedadocumentevidencingsuchagreement.Hisfailuretopresentsuch investment.Itfollowed,accordingtoAtty.Salvado,thathemustbeconsideredtohavenever
document,ifoneexistedatall,onlyprovedthatthesubjectcheckswereissuedaspaymentfor ensured the payment of the checks upon maturity. Atty. Salvado strongly added that the
complainant'sinvestment.9chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary dishonorofthesubjectcheckswas"purelyaresultofhisgullibilityandinadvertence,withthe
unfortunate result that he himself was a victim of failed lending transactions
ComplainantalsoclarifiedthathiscomplaintagainstAtty.Salvadowasnevermeanttoharass xxx."12chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
him.Despitethedishonorofthechecks,hestilltriedtosettlethedisputewithAtty.Salvado
wholefthimwithnochoiceafterherefusedtocommunicatewithhimproperly. TheCourtsustainsthefindingsoftheIBPBOGandadoptsitsrecommendationinpart.
theirownandmayproceedindependentlyofcivilandcriminalcases,includingviolationsof
First.Aperusaloftherecordsrevealsthatcomplainant'sversiondeservescredence,notonly B.P.22.
duetotheunambiguousmannerbywhichthenarrativeofeventswaslaiddown,butalsoby
thecoherentreasoningthenarrativehasemployed.Thepublicis,indeed,inclinedtorelyon Accordingly,theonlyissue in disciplinaryproceedings againstlawyersisthe respondent's
representationsmadebylawyers.Asamanoflaw,alawyerisnecessarilyaleaderofthe fitnesstoremainasamemberoftheBar.TheCourt'sfindingshavenomaterialbearingon
community,lookeduptoasamodelcitizen. 13Aman,learnedinthelawlikeAtty.Salvado,is other judicial actions which the parties may choose to file against each
expectedtomaketruthfulrepresentationswhendealingwithpersons,clientsorotherwise.For other.16chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
theCourt,andastheIBPBOGhadobserved,complainant'sbeingbeguiledtopartwithhis
moneyandbelieveAtty..Salvadoasalawyerandbusinessmanwastypicalhumanbehavior All told, the Court finds that Atty. Salvado's reprehensible conduct warrants a penalty
worthyofbelief.TheCourtfindsithardtobelievethatapersonlikethecomplainantwould commensuratetohisviolationoftheCPRandtheLawyer'sOath.
notfindtheprofessionofthepersononwhosebusinesseshewouldinvestasimportantto
consider. Simply put, Atty. Salvado's stature as amember ofthe Bar had,in one way or WHEREFORE,theCourtfindsAtty.RonaldoP.SalvadoGUILTYofviolatingRule1.01,
another,influencedcomplainant'sdecisiontoinvest. Canon1andRule7.03oftheCodeofProfessionalResponsibility.Accordingly,theCourt
SUSPENDShimfromthepracticeoflawforaperiodoftwo(2)years.
Second.ItmustbepointedoutthatthedenialsprofferedbyAtty.Salvadocannotbeliethe
dishonorofthechecks.Hisstrainedexplanationthatthechecksweremeresecuritiescannotbe LetcopiesofthisdecisionbefurnishedtheOfficeoftheBarConfidant,theIntegratedBarof
countenanced.Ofallpeople,lawyersareexpectedtofullycomprehendthelegalimportof thePhilippines,andallcourtsalloverthecountry.Letacopyofthisdecisionbeattachedto
bouncingchecks.In Lozanov.Martinez,14 theCourtruledthatthegravamenoftheoffense thepersonalrecordsoftherespondent.
punishedbyB.P.22istheactofmakingandissuingaworthlesscheck;thatis,acheckthatis
dishonoreduponitspresentationforpayment.Thethrustofthelawistoprohibit,underpain SOORDERED.cralawlawlibrary
ofpenalsanctions,themakingandcirculationofworthlesschecks.Becauseofitsdeleterious
effectsonthepublicinterest,thepracticeisproscribedbythelaw. Sereno, C.J., Carpio, Velasco, Jr., LeonardoDe Castro, Brion, Peralta, Bersamin, Del
Castillo, Perez, Mendoza, Reyes, PerlasBernabe, Leonen, and Jardeleza, JJ.,
Hence,theexcuseof"gullibilityandinadvertence"deservesscantconsideration.Surely,Atty. concur.cralawlawlibrary
SalvadoisawarethatpromotingobediencetotheConstitutionandthelawsofthelandisthe
primaryobligationoflawyers.Whenheissuedtheworthlesschecks,hediscreditedthelegal Endnotes:
professionandcreatedthepublicimpressionthatlawsweremeretoolsofconveniencethat
couldbeused,bendedandabusedtosatisfypersonalwhimsanddesires.InLaov.Medel,15the 1
Rollo,p.143.
Courtwrotethattheissuanceofworthlesschecksconstitutedgrossmisconduct,andputthe
erringlawyer'smoralcharacterinseriousdoubt,thoughitwasnotrelatedtohisprofessional 2
Id.at144148.
dutiesasamemberoftheBar.CoveredbythisdictumisAtty.Salvado'sbusinessrelationship
withcomplainant.Hisissuanceofthesubjectchecksdisplayhisdoubtfulfitnessasanofficer 3
Id.at211.
ofthecourt.Clearly,heviolatedRule1.01andRule7.03oftheCPR.
4
"Alawyershallnotengageinunlawful,dishonest,immoralordeceitfulconduct."
Third.Parenthetically,theCourtcannotoverlookAtty.Salvado'sdeceivingattemptstoevade
paymentofhisobligations.Insteadofdisplayingacommittedattitudetohiscreditor,Atty. 5
"Alawyershallnotengageinconductthatadverselyreflectsonthefitnesstopracticelaw,
Salvadorefusedtoanswercomplainant'sdemands.Heeventriedtomakethecomplainant norshallhe,whetherinpublicorprivatelife,behaveinascandalousmannertothediscreditof
believethathewasnolongerresidingathisgivenaddress.Theseactsdemonstratelackof thelegalprofession."
moralcharactertosatisfytheresponsibilitiesanddutiesimposedonlawyersasprofessionals
andasofficersofthecourt.Thesubsequentoffershehadmadeandtheeventualsaleofhis 6
Rollo,pp.1516.
propertiestothecomplainant,unfortunatelycannotoverturnhisactsunbecomingofamember
oftheBar. 7
Id.at3540.

Fourth.TheCourtneednotelaborateonthecorrectnessoftheInvestigatingCommissioner's 8
Id.at4554.
relianceonjurisprudencestatingthatadministrativecasesagainstlawyersbelongtoaclassof
9
Id.at50. Mario Crespo, otherwise known as Mark Jimenez (Jimenez), filed a complaint for estafa
against complainant, her sister Rosemarie Flaminiano, Marcel Crespo, Geraldine Antonio,
10
Id.at119.Seealsoid.at124132. BrendaHeffron,MagdalenaCunanan,andIsabelGonzalez.5Thesaidcomplaintwasdocketed
asISNo.074314withtheOfficeoftheCityProsecutorofMakatiCity.Jimenezallegedthat
11
Section12.ReviewanddecisionbytheBoardofGovernors. hewasthetrueandbeneficialownerofthesharesofstockinClarionRealtyandDevelopment
Corporation(Clarion),whichwasincorporatedspecificallyforthepurposeofpurchasinga
xxxx residentialhouselocatedinForbesPark,MakatiCity(Forbesproperty).Theincorporatorsand
originalstockholdersofClarionwereasfollows:
b) If the Board, by the vote of a majority of its total membership, determines that the
respondent should be suspended from the practice of law or disbarred, it shall issue a ThomasK.Chua P500,000.00
resolution setting forth its findings and recommendations which, together with the whole
recordofthecase,shallforthwithbetransmittedtotheSupremeCourtforfinalaction.
TeresitaC.Alsua P500,000.00
12
Rollo,p.120.
MylaVillanueva P249,998.00
13
Blanzav.Arcangel,A.C.No.492,September5,1967,21SCRA1,4.
EdgarB.Francisco P1.00
14
230Phil.406,421(1986).

15
453Phil.115(2003). SoledadGamat P1.00
Simultaneous with the drafting of Clarions Articles of Incorporation, the abovenamed
16
Roav.Moreno,633Phil.1,8(2010). stockholders, except for Myla Villanueva (Myla), executed a deed of assignment of their
respective shares in favor of complainant, who was then Jimenezs commonlaw
partner.Clarions total capitalizationwas only P5,000,000.00.Thus, inorder toachieveits
purposeofpurchasingtheForbesproperty,Clarionsimulatedaloanfromthecomplainantin
A.C.No.10548December10,2014 the amount of P80,750,000.00. Thereafter, Clarion purchased the Forbes property in the
CAROLINECASTANEDAJIMENEZ,Complainant, amountofP117,000,000.00fromGerardoContreras.Toeffectthesale,Mylahandedacheck
vs. in the said amount which was funded entirely by Jimenez. The sale, however, was
ATTY.EDGARB.FRANCISCO,Respondent. undervalued.Inthedeedofsale,itwasmadetoappearthattheForbespropertywaspurchased
DECISION for P78,000,000.00only.Further,themoneyusedasthepurchasepricewasnotreflectedin
MENDOZA,J.: thebooksofClarion.
ThisreferstotheResolutionsoftheIntegratedBarofthePhilippines,BoardofGovernors OnJuly19,2001,ThomasChuaandTeresitaAlsuaassignedtheirsharesinClariontoJimenez
(IBPBOG), dated January 3, 20131 and March 22, 2014,2 adopting and approving the byvirtueofadeedoftrust.Ontheotherhand,Mylas249,997sharesweretransferredto
findingsoftheCommissiononBarDiscipline(CBD)whichfoundAtty.Edgar8.Francisco complainantbasedonadeedofassignment.Theremainingone(1)sharewastransferredto
(AltyFrancisco)administrativelyliableformultipleviolationsoftheCodeofProfessional Ma.CarolinaC.Crespo.ThesetransactionsappearedinClarionsGeneralInformationSheet
Responsibility(CPR)andrecommendedthepenaltyofsuspensionofone(1)yearfromthe (GIS)filedwiththeSecuritiesandExchangeCommission(SEC).Resultantly,thesubscribed
practiceoflaw. sharesofClarionwereasfollows:
OnSeptember6,2007,theCBDreceivedacomplaint,datedJuly14,2007,3filedbyCaroline
CastaedaJimenez(complainant)againstAtty.FranciscoformultipleviolationsoftheCPR. MarkJimenez P500,000.00
OnOctober24,2007,Atty.FranciscofiledhisAnswer.4OnJune26,2009,themandatory
conferencewasheldandterminated.OnlythecounselforAtty.Franciscoappeared.Thenotice
CarolineJimenez P749,997.00
ofthesaidconferenceaddressedtocomplainantwasreturnedwiththenotation"unknownat
the given address." No new address was provided by the complainant. Both parties
wererequired to submit their respective position papers. For this purpose, Atty. Francisco Ma.CarolinaC.Crespo P1.00
adoptedhisAnswer.TheAntecedents
TheComplaint
EdgarB.Francisco P1.00 Complainantwasshockeduponreadingtheallegationsinthecomplaintforestafafiledby
Jimenez against her. She felt even more betrayed when she read the affidavit of Atty.
Francisco,onwhomshereliedasherpersonallawyerandClarionscorporatecounseland
SoledadGamat P1.00
secretaryofClarion.ThispromptedhertofileadisciplinarycaseagainstAtty.Franciscofor
OnNovember5,2002,Jimeneztransferredallhissharestocomplainantbyanotherdeedof representingconflictinginterests.Accordingtoher,sheusuallyconferredwithAtty.Francisco
assignment,makinghertheholderofClarionsharesamountingtoP1,249,997.00. regardingthe legalimplicationsofClarions transactions. Moresignificantly, theprincipal
AccordingtoJimenezscomplaint,whilehewasinprisonintheUnitedStatesin2004,he documentsrelativetothesaleandtransferofClarionspropertywereallpreparedanddrafted
learned from Atty. Francisco that his son, Marcel Crespo (Marcel), approached the by Atty. Francisco or the members of his law office.7 Atty. Francisco was the one who
complainant and threatened her, claiming that the United States Internal Revenue Service activelyparticipatedinthetransactionsinvolvingthesaleoftheForbesproperty.Without
(IRS)wasabouttogoaftertheirproperties.Marcelsucceededinpersuadingcomplainantto admittingthetruthoftheallegationsinhisaffidavit,complainantarguedthatitsexecution
transfer her nominal shares in Clarion to Geraldine Antonio, through another deed of clearlybetrayedthetrustandconfidenceshereposedonhimasalawyer.Forthisreason,
assignment.Again,thiswasreflectedinClarionsGISfortheyear2004. complainantprayedforthedisbarmentofAtty.Francisco.
Thereafter, Jimenez was informed by Atty. Francisco that, through fraudulent means, TheRespondentsPosition
complainant and her corespondents in the estafa case, put the Forbes property for sale InhisAnswer,8Atty.FranciscorepliedthatJimenezinitiallyengagedhisservicesin1998for
sometimein August 2004. The said property was eventually sold to Philmetro Southwest theincorporationofClarionforthepurposeofpurchasingaresidentialhouseinForbesPark,
EnterpriseInc.(Philmetro)fortheamountofP118,000,000.00withoutJimenezsknowledge. where he intended to live with his longtime partner, the complainant; that the original
This sale was again undervalued at P78,000.000.00 per the deed of sale. Atty. Francisco incorporatorsandstockholdersofClarionheldtheirrespectivesharesintrustforJimenez;that
relayedtoJimenezthathewastheonewhoreceivedthepaymentforthesaleoftheForbes the subsequent changes in the ownership of Clarion shareholdings were also pursuant to
propertyandthathehandedalltheproceedsthereoftoRosemarieFlaminianointhepresence Jimenezsorders;andthatasthecorporatesecretaryandlegalcounselofClarion,heprepared
ofcomplainant. allthelegaldocumentationtogiveeffecttothesaidtransfersand,ultimately,tothepurchaseof
Jimenezs complaint for estafa was based on complainants alleged participation in the theForbesproperty.
fraudulentmeansinsellingtheForbespropertywhichwasacquiredbyClarionwithJimenezs Atty.Franciscofurtherstatedthatsometimein2004,JimenezwasimprisonedintheUnited
money.ComplainantwasdutyboundtoremitalltheproceedsofthesaletoJimenezasthe StatesforexcessivecontributionstotheDemocraticParty;thatduringthistime,Jimenezs
trueandbeneficialowner.Complainantandhercorespondents,however,misappropriatedand son,Marcel,andthecomplainant,askedhimagaintochangetheownershipofClarionshares
convertedthefundsfortheirpersonaluseandbenefit. inordertoavoidtheattachmentofJimenezspropertiesinataxevasioncase;thatheacceded
InsupportofJimenezscomplaintforestafa,Atty.Franciscoexecutedanaffidavitreiterating totherequestonthebeliefthatthiswasinaccordancewithJimenezswishes;andthatasa
itsfactualaverments.6Aperusalofthisaffidavitlikewisewouldshowthefollowingclaims result,almost100%ofClarionsownershipwastransferredinthenameofGeraldineAntonio.
andadmissions,amongotherthings,ofAtty.Francisco: Atty.Franciscoalsoclaimedthat,thereafter,complainanttaskedhimtotalktoprospective
1. Sometime in August 2004, complainant called him, asking for assistance in the buyersandtonegotiatethesaleoftheForbespropertyuntilitwassoldfor P118,000,000.00;
documentationofthesaleoftheForbespropertyownedbyClarion.Atty.Franciscoaskedher thatMarcelandcomplainantledhimtobelievethatJimenezhadknowledgeofthesaleasthey
if she had secured permission from Mark Jimenez and complainant answered in the wereinconstantcommunicationwithhim;thatalltheserepresentations,however,turnedout
affirmative. tobefalsewhenJimenezreturnedtothePhilippinesanddiscoveredthattheproceedsofthe
2.TheBoardofDirectorsofClarionissuedaresolutionauthorizinghimtonegotiatethesale sale were coursed through other corporations set up by complainant and her sister; that
oftheproperty. Jimenezlikewiselearnedofthesuccessivesaleofhisotherproperties,includingMeridian
3.Forpurposesofthesale,heopenedanaccountwithSecurityBank,SanFranciscoDel TelekomsInc.,bythemembersofhisfamily;andthatthisledtothefilingoftheestafacase
Montebranch.Whenthecashpaymentwasdeposited,hewithdrewtheamountandhandedthe againstthecomplainantandtheothers.AsawitnesstothefraudcommittedagainstJimenez,
sametoRosemarieFlaminianointhepresenceofcomplainant. Atty.Franciscoexecutedtheaffidavitnarratingthefactsandcircumstancessurroundingthe
4.Alltransfersofshareswerecausedwithoutanyconsideration.Thetransfertaxes,however, saidtransactions.
werepaid. Atty.Franciscomainlyarguedthatheviolatedneithertheruleondisclosuresofprivileged
5.WhenMarkJimenezreturnedtothePhilippines,hewasabletoconfirmthatthesaleofthe communicationnortheproscriptionagainstrepresentingconflictinginterests,ontheground
Forbespropertywaswithouthisknowledgeandapproval.Theproceedsofthesalehadalready thatcomplainantwasnothisclient.HewasthelawyerofJimenezandthelegalcounselof
beenfarmedouttodifferentcorporationsestablishedbycomplainantandhersister. Clarion,butneverofthecomplainant.Hemighthaveassistedherinsomematters,butthese
6.Thefrequentchangesinstockholdingswerepremeditatedinordertostealthemoneyof wereallunderthenotionthatJimenezhadgivenhimauthoritytodoso.Further,thoughhe
MarkJimenez. acted as legal counsel for Clarion, no attorneyclient relationship between him and
complainantwas formed, as a corporation has aseparate and distinctpersonality from its privilegedcommunicationandengagedinanactthatconstitutedrepresentationofconflicting
shareholders.Whileheadmittedthatthelegaldocumentationforthetransferofsharesandthe interestsinviolationofCanons15and21oftheCPR.
saleoftheForbespropertywerepreparedbyhimandnotarizedbythemembersofhislaw InitsJanuary3,2013Resolution,12theIBPBOGadoptedandapproved,intoto,thefindings
firm,heaverredthattheseactswereperformedinhiscapacityasthecorporatesecretaryand andrecommendationoftheCBDagainstAtty.Francisco.
legal counsel ofClarion, and not as a lawyer of complainant. Therefore, he served no TherespondentreceivedacopyofthesaidresolutiononMarch26,2013andmovedforits
conflictinginterestsbecauseitwasnota"formerclient"anda"subsequentclient"whowere reconsideration.13
theopposingpartiesinlitigation. Atty.FranciscoappealedtothecompassionoftheIBPBOG,reasoningoutthatthepenaltyof
He opined that assuming that complainant was indeed his client, the rule on privileged suspensionofone(1)yearistoosevereconsideringthatinhismorethanthreedecadesof
communicationdoesnotapplytohiscase.Here,complainantfailedtoallege,muchlessprove, practice, he had never been involved in any act that would warrant the imposition of
the requisites for the application of the privilege. When Atty. Francisco denied being her disciplinaryactionuponhim.Itwasonlyin2007,whenhisclient,Jimenez,experienceda
lawyer,thecomplainantshouldhaveestablished,byclearandconvincingevidence,thata difficultcrisisinvolvinghischildrenandcommonlawpartnerthatheexperiencedamajor
lawyerclientrelationshipindeedexistedbetweenthem.Complainantfailedtodothis. upheavalinhisprofessionallife.Heapologizedforhisnotbeingtoocircumspectindealing
Arguingthattheexecutionofhisaffidavitintheestafacasewasbutatruthfulnarrationof withtherelativesofJimenez.
factsbyawitness,Atty.FranciscocitedGonzagav.Caete,9wheretheCourtruledthat"the Astothechargesagainsthim,Atty.Franciscoreiteratedthathisparticipationintheexecution
factthatoneofthewitnessesforthedefendanthadbeenformerlythelawyerforthedefendant of the documents pertaining to the sale of the Forbes property were all connected to his
inthissuitwasnogroundforrejectinghistestimony."Inthiscase,hemerelyattestedtothe capacityasClarionscorporatesecretaryandlegalcounsel,nottomentionhistieswithhis
fraudulentactsofcomplainant,inthecourseofwhich,hedefendedandservedJimenezasa clientand friend, Jimenez.Headmitted thatheowed fidelitytoClarionandJimenez,but
client.Thiswaslikewisepursuanttotherulethatunlawfulandillegalmotivesandpurposes deniedthatthisdutyextendedtotheincorporatorsandshareholdersofClarion.Thus,when
were not covered by the privilege. It was just unfortunate that he fell for the ploy of complainantsoughtadviceinhercapacityasashareholderinClarion,nofiduciarydutyarose
complainant. onhispart.Inhisownwords,Atty.Franciscoinsistedthat"CarolisnotClarionandvice
TheFindingsoftheInvestigatingCommissioner versa."14
IntheCommissionersReport,10datedNovember7,2011,theInvestigatingCommissioner, Attached to Atty. Franciscos motion for reconsideration was an affidavit executed by
Atty. Jose I. dela Rama, Jr. (Investigating Commissioner),found Atty. Francisco guilty of Jimenez, stating that he had retained the legal services of Atty. Francisco since 1999.
violations of the CPR and recommended that he be suspended for one (1) year from the EspousingAtty.Franciscosdefenses,JimenezassertedthatAtty.Franciscoslawfirmwasin
practiceoflaw.Initially,theInvestigatingCommissionernotedthatthesubsequentaffidavitof chargeofallthecompaniesheownedinthePhilippines.HedirectedAtty.Franciscotoexecute
desistanceexecutedbyJimenezintheestafacasedidnotaffecttheinvestigationconductedby allthedocumentationtoshowhisownershipofthesecompanies,includingClarion.These
theCBDasitwasnotanordinarycourtwhichacceptedcompromisesorwithdrawalsofcases. documents were in the possession of complainant for safekeeping. When Jimenez ran for
Afterweighingontheclaimsoftheparties,theInvestigatingCommissionerconcludedthat Congress in 2001,Atty. Francisco personally assisted him in the filing ofhis certificate of
nothing in the records would show that a lawyerclient relationship existed between Atty. candidacyandtheproceedingsbeforetheelectoraltribunals.Whilehewasinprisoninthe
FranciscoandJimenez.11ThecircumstanceswouldshowthatAtty.Franciscowasanoriginal UnitedStates,itwasAtty.Franciscowhovisitedandtoldhimthathischildren,Mylaand
incorporatorandshareholderofClarion.Hewasalsothelegalcounselandcorporatesecretary Marcel, were then facilitating the sale of one of his companies, Meridian Telekoms, Inc.,
ofthesaidcorporation,thearticlesofincorporationofwhichdidnotincludeJimenezasan withouthisknowledge.HeaskedAtty.Franciscotokeepquietabouthischildrensbetrayal
originalincorporator.Hebecameastockholderonlyin2001,whenJimenezacquiredshares andtowaituntilhecouldgohome.Whenhefiledthecriminalcasesagainsthischildrenand
from Thomas Chua and Teresita Alsua. Jimenezs participation in Clarion affairs again complainant, the latter even filed a frivolous kidnapping case against Atty. Francisco.
stoppedwhenheassignedtheentiretyofhissharesinfavorofcomplainant. AccordingtoJimenez,thepeoplewhocommittedcrimesagainsthimwerenowexhaustingall
GrantingthatJimenezreallyowned100%ofClarionasalludedtobyAtty.Francisco,the possiblemeanstokeepAtty.Franciscosilentandtopreventthelatterfromperforminghis
reportstatedthatitwouldappearthatthelatterpermittedmisrepresentationsastoClarions dutiesasalawyer.
ownershiptobereportedtotheSECthroughitsGIS.TheInvestigatingCommissioneralso In its March 22, 2014 Resolution,15 the IBPBOG denied the respondents motion for
pointedoutAtty.FranciscosclearadmissionthatthetransferofshareswithinClarionwere reconsideration.
"withoutanyconsideration,"rancountertothedeedsofassignmentthatheagainadmittedly NopetitionforreviewwasfiledwiththeCourt.
executedascorporatecounsel.Worse,Atty.Franciscoadmittedtohavesimulatedtheloanand TheCourtsRuling
undervaluedtheconsiderationoftheeffectedsaleoftheForbesproperty,whichdisplayedhis ViolationsofCanons1and10oftheCPRandtheLawyersOath
unlawful, dishonest, immoral, and deceitful conduct in violation of Canon 1 of the CPR. Canon1andRule1.01oftheCPRprovide:
Further,whenheexecutedtheaffidavitcontainingallegationsagainsttheinterestofClarion CANON1ALAWYERSHALLUPHOLDTHECONSTITUTION,OBEYTHELAWSOF
andcomplainant,theInvestigatingCommissionerheldthatAtty.Franciscoviolatedtheruleon THELANDANDPROMOTERESPECTFORLAWANDLEGALPROCESSES.
Rule1.0Alawyershallnotengageinunlawful,dishonest,immoralordeceitfulconduct. documents. If the Court allows this highly irregular practice for the specious reason that
Canon1clearlymandatestheobedienceofeverylawyertolawsandlegalprocesses.Tothe lawyersareconstrainedtoobeytheirclientsflawedschemingandmachinations,theCourt
bestofhisability,alawyerisexpectedtorespectandabidebythelawand,thus,avoidanyact would,ineffect,sanctionwrongdoingandfalsity.Thiswouldunderminetheroleoflawyersas
oromissionthatiscontrarythereto.Alawyerspersonaldeferencetothelawnotonlyspeaks officersofthecourt.
ofhischaracterbutitalsoinspiresrespectandobediencetothelaw,onthepartofthepublic. Timeandagain,theCourthasremindedlawyersthattheirsupportforthecauseoftheirclients
Rule1.0,ontheotherhand,statesthenormofconducttobeobservedbyalllawyers. shouldneverbeattainedattheexpenseoftruthandjustice.Whilealawyerowesabsolute
Anyactoromissionthatiscontraryto,orprohibitedorunauthorizedby,orindefianceof, fidelitytothecauseofhisclient,fulldevotiontohisgenuineinterest,andwarmzealinthe
disobedientto,ordisregardsthelawis"unlawful.""Unlawful"conductdoesnotnecessarily maintenance anddefense ofhisrights, as well asthe exertionof his utmostlearning and
imply the element of criminality although the concept is broad enough to include such ability,hemustdosoonlywithintheboundsofthelaw.Itneedstobeemphasizedthatthe
element.16Tobe"dishonest"meansthedispositiontolie,cheat,deceive,defraudorbetray;be lawyer'sfidelitytohisclientmustnotbepursuedattheexpenseoftruthandjustice,and
unworthy;lackinginintegrity,honesty,probity,integrityinprinciple,fairnessandstraight mustbeheldwithintheboundsofreasonandcommonsense.Hisresponsibilitytoprotectand
forwardness17 while conduct that is "deceitful" means the proclivity for fraudulent and advancetheinterestsofhisclientdoesnotwarrantacourseofactionpropelledbyillmotives
deceptivemisrepresentation,artificeordevicethatisuseduponanotherwhoisignorantofthe andmaliciousintentions.22
truefacts,totheprejudiceanddamageofthepartyimposedupon.18 In the same vein, Atty. Franciscos admissions show that he lacks candor regarding his
Membershipinthelegalprofessionisbestoweduponindividualswhoarenotonlylearnedin dealings.Canon10oftheCPRprovidesthat,"[a]lawyerowescandor,fairnessandgoodfaith
law, but also known to possess good moral character. Lawyers should act and comport tothecourt."Corollarythereto,Rule10.0oftheCPRprovidesthat"alawyershalldono
themselveswithhonestyandintegrityinamannerbeyondreproach,inordertopromotethe falsehood,norconsenttothedoingofanyinCourt,norshallhemisleadorallowtheCourtto
publicsfaithinthelegalprofession.19"Tosaythatlawyersmustatalltimesupholdand be misled by an artifice." Lawyers are officers of the court, called upon to assist in the
respectthe lawis tostatetheobvious,butsuchstatementcan neverbeoveremphasized. administrationofjustice.Theyactasvanguardsofourlegalsystem,protectingandupholding
Consideringthat,ofallclassesandprofessions,[lawyersare]mostsacredlyboundtouphold truthandtheruleoflaw.Theyareexpectedtoactwithhonestyinalltheirdealings,especially
thelaw,itisimperativethattheylivebythelaw."20 withthecourt.23
WhenAtty.FranciscowasadmittedtotheBar,healsotookanoathto"obeythelaws,""dono Fromtheforegoing,Atty.Franciscoclearlyviolatedhisdutiesasalawyerembodiedinthe
falsehood," and conduct himself as a lawyer according to the best of his knowledge and CPR,namely,toavoiddishonestanddeceitfulconduct,(Rule1.01,Canon1)andtoactwith
discretion.21 candor,fairnessandgoodfaith(Rule10.01,Canon10).Also,Atty.Francisodesecratedhis
Inthefactsobtaininginthiscase,Atty.Franciscoclearlyviolatedthecanonsandhissworn solemnoathnottodoanyfalsehoodnorconsenttothedoingofthesame.
duty.Heisguiltyofengagingindishonestanddeceitfulconductwhenheadmittedtohaving RuleonConflictingInterestsandDisclosureofPrivilegedCommunication
allowed his corporate client, Clarion, to actively misrepresent to the SEC, the significant WithrespecttoAtty.Franciscosallegedrepresentationofconflictinginterestsanddisclosure
mattersregardingitscorporatepurposeandsubsequently,itscorporateshareholdings.Inthe ofprivilegedcommunication,theCourtdeviatesfromthefindingsoftheIBPBOG.
documents submitted to the SEC, such as the deeds of assignment and the GIS, Atty. Rule15.03,Canon15oftheCPRprovidesthat,"[a]lawyershallnotrepresentconflicting
Francisco,inhisprofessionalcapacity,feignedthevalidityofthesetransfersofshares,making interestsexceptbywrittenconsentofallconcernedgivenafterafulldisclosureofthefacts."24
it appear that these were done for consideration when, in fact, the said transactions were "Therelationshipbetweenalawyerandhis/herclientshouldideallybeimbuedwiththehighest
fictitious, albeit upon the alleged orders of Jimenez. The Investigating Commissioner was level of trust and confidence. This is the standard of confidentiality that must prevail to
correctinpointingoutthatthisrancountertothedeedsofassignmentwhichheexecutedas promoteafulldisclosureoftheclientsmostconfidentialinformationtohis/herlawyerforan
corporatecounsel.Inhislongpracticeascorporatecounsel,itisindeedsafetoassumethat unhamperedexchangeofinformationbetweenthem.Needlesstostate,aclientcanonlyentrust
Atty. Francisco is knowledgeable in the law on contracts, corporation law and the rules confidentialinformationtohis/herlawyerbasedonanexpectationfromthelawyerofutmost
enforcedbytheSEC.AscorporatesecretaryofClarion,itwashisdutyandobligationto secrecyanddiscretion;thelawyer,forhispart,isdutyboundtoobservecandor,fairnessand
registervalidtransfersofstocks.Nonetheless,hechosetoadvancetheinterestsofhisclientele loyaltyinallhisdealingsandtransactionswiththeclient.Partofthelawyersdutyinthis
with patent disregard of his duties as a lawyer. Worse, Atty. Francisco admitted to have regardistoavoidrepresentingconflictinginterests"25Thus,eveniflucrativefeesofferedby
simulatedtheloanenteredintobyClarionandtohaveundervaluedtheconsiderationofthe prospectiveclientsareatstake,alawyermustdeclineprofessionalemploymentifthesame
effectedsaleoftheForbesproperty.Hepermittedthisfraudulentrusetocheatthegovernment wouldtriggeraviolationoftheprohibitionagainstconflictofinterest.
of taxes. Unquestionably, therefore, Atty. Francisco participated in a series of grave legal InQuiambaov.Bamba,26theCourtdiscussedtheapplicationoftheruleonconflictofinterest
infractionsandwascontenttohavegrantedtherequestsofthepersonsinvolved. inthiswise:
Despite assertions that these were in accordance to Jimenezs wishes, or pursuant to Inbroadterms,lawyersaredeemedtorepresentconflictinginterestswhen,inbehalfofone
complainantsmisrepresentations,theCourtcannotturnablindeyeonAtty.Franciscosactof client,itistheirdutytocontendforthatwhichdutytoanotherclientrequiresthemtooppose.
drafting, or at the very least, permitting untruthful statements to be embodied in public Developments in jurisprudence have particularized various tests to determine whether a
lawyersconductlieswithinthisproscription.Onetestiswhetheralawyerisdutyboundto relationship.ShealsofailedtoappearduringthemandatoryconferencewiththeIBPCBD
fightforanissueorclaiminbehalfofoneclientand,atthesametime,toopposethatclaimfor withoutevenupdatingherresidentialaddressonrecord.Herparticipationintheinvestigation
theotherclient.Thus,ifalawyersargumentforoneclienthastobeopposedbythatsame ofthecaseapparentlyendedatitsfiling.
lawyerinarguingfortheotherclient,thereisaviolationoftherule. Insuspensionordisbarmentproceedings,lawyersenjoythepresumptionofinnocence,andthe
Anothertestofinconsistencyofinterestsiswhethertheacceptanceofanewrelationwould burdenofproofrestsuponthecomplainanttoclearlyprovetheallegationsinthecomplaintby
preventthefulldischargeofthelawyersdutyofundividedfidelityandloyaltytotheclientor preponderantevidence.Preponderanceofevidencemeansthattheevidenceadducedbyone
invite suspicion of unfaithfulness or doubledealing in the performance of that duty. Still sideis,asawhole,superiortoorhasgreaterweightthanthatoftheother.Itmeansevidence
anothertestiswhetherthelawyerwouldbecalleduponinthenewrelationtouseagainsta which is more convincing to the court as worthy of belief than that which is offered in
former client any confidential information acquired through their connection or previous opposition thereto. Under Section 1 of Rule 133, in determining whether or not there is
employment. preponderance of evidence, the court may consider the following: (a) all the facts and
Theproscriptionagainstrepresentationofconflictinginterestappliestoasituationwherethe circumstances of the case; (b) the witnesses manner of testifying, their intelligence, their
opposingpartiesarepresentclientsinthesameactionorinanunrelatedaction.Itisofno meansandopportunityofknowingthefactstowhichtheyaretestifying,thenatureofthefacts
momentthatthelawyerwouldnotbecalledupontocontendforoneclientthatwhichthe towhichtheytestify,theprobabilityorimprobabilityoftheirtestimony;(c)thewitnesses
lawyer has to oppose for the other client, or that there would be no occasion to use the interestorwantofinterest,andalsotheirpersonalcredibilitysofarasthesamemayultimately
confidentialinformationacquiredfromonetothedisadvantageoftheotherasthetwoactions appear in the trial; and (d) the number of witnesses, although it does not mean that
arewhollyunrelated.Itisenoughthattheopposingpartiesinonecase,oneofwhomwould preponderanceisnecessarilywiththegreaternumber.27
lose the suit, are present clients and the nature or conditions of the lawyers respective Markedly,Atty.Franciscocouldhavepreventedhisentanglementwiththisfiascoamongthe
retainerswitheachofthemwouldaffecttheperformanceofthedutyofundividedfidelityto membersofJimenezsfamilybytakinganupfrontandcandidstanceindealingwithJimenezs
bothclients. childrenandcomplainant.Hecouldhavebeenstaunchinremindingthelatterthathistasks
Fromtheforegoing,itisobviousthattheruleonconflictofinterestspresupposesalawyer wereperformedinhiscapacityaslegalcounselforClarionandJimenez.Bethatasitmay,
clientrelationship.Thepurposeoftheruleispreciselytoprotectthefiduciarynatureoftheties Atty. Franciscos indiscretion does not detract the Court from finding that the totality of
betweenanattorneyandhisclient.Conversely,alawyermaynotbeprecludedfromaccepting evidencepresentedbythecomplainantmiserablyfailedtodischargetheburdenofprovingthat
and representing other clients on the ground of conflict of interests, if the lawyerclient Atty.Franciscowasherlawyer.Atmost,heservedasthelegalcounselofClarionand,based
relationshipdoesnotexistinfavorofapartyinthefirstplace. ontheaffirmationpresented,ofJimenez.Sufficeittosay,complainantfailedtoestablishthat
In determining whether or not Atty. Francisco violated the rule onconflict of interests, a Atty.Franciscocommittedaviolationoftheruleonconflictofinterests.
scrutiny of the parties submissions with the IBP reveals that the complainant failed to Consequently,theruleonlawyerclientprivilegedoesnotapply.InMercadov.Vitriolo,28the
establishthatshewasaclientofAtty.Francisco. Courtelucidatedonthefactorsessentialtoestablishtheexistenceofthesaidprivilege,viz:
First, complainants claim of being Atty. Franciscos client remains unsubstantiated, Infine,thefactorsareasfollows:
consideringitsdetailedrefutation.AllthatthecomplaintallegedwasthatAtty.Franciscowas (1)Thereexistsanattorneyclientrelationship,oraprospectiveattorneyclientrelationship,
Clarionslegalcounselandthatcomplainantsoughtadviceandrequesteddocumentationof anditisbyreasonofthisrelationshipthattheclientmadethecommunication.
severaltransfersofsharesandthesaleoftheForbesproperty.Thiswasonlysuccessfulin Mattersdisclosedbyaprospectiveclienttoalawyerareprotectedbytheruleonprivileged
showingthatAtty.Francisco,indeed,draftedthedocumentspertainingtothetransactionand communicationeveniftheprospectiveclientdoesnotthereafterretainthelawyerorthelatter
thathewasretainedaslegalcounselofClarion.Therewasnodetailedexplanationastohow declinestheemployment.Thereasonforthisistomaketheprospectiveclientfreetodiscuss
shesupposedlyengagedtheservicesofAtty.Franciscoasherpersonalcounselandastowhat whateverhewisheswiththelawyerwithoutfearthatwhathetellsthelawyerwillbedivulged
andhowshecommunicatedwiththelatteranentthedealingsshehadenteredinto.Withthe orusedagainsthim,andforthelawyertobeequallyfreetoobtaininformationfromthe
complaintlackinginthisregard,theunrebuttedanswermadebyAtty.Francisco,accompanied prospectiveclient.xxx
withadetailednarrativeofhisengagementascounselofJimenezandClarion,wouldhaveto (2)Theclientmadethecommunicationinconfidence.
prevail. Themererelationofattorneyandclientdoesnotraiseapresumptionofconfidentiality.The
Second,thereisastarkdisparityintheamountofnarrativedetailspresentedbytheparties. clientmustintendthecommunicationtobeconfidential.
Atty. Franciscos claim thathe was the counsel of Clarion and Jimenez, and not of the Aconfidentialcommunicationreferstoinformationtransmittedbyvoluntaryactofdisclosure
complainant, was clearly established in a sworn statement executed by Jimenez himself. betweenattorneyandclientinconfidenceandbymeanswhich,sofarastheclientisaware,
Complainants evidence pales in comparison with her claims of being the client of Atty. discloses the information to no third person other than one reasonably necessary for the
Franciscocouchedingeneraltermsthatlackedparticularityofcircumstances. transmissionoftheinformationortheaccomplishmentofthepurposeforwhichitwasgiven.
Third,noteworthyisthefactthatcomplainantoptednottofileareplytoAtty.Franciscos Ourjurisprudenceonthematterrestsonquiescentground.Thus,acompromiseagreement
answer.Thiscouldhavegivenheropportunitytopresentevidenceshowingtheirprofessional preparedbyalawyerpursuanttotheinstructionofhisclientanddeliveredtotheopposing
party,anofferandcounterofferforsettlement,oradocumentgivenbyaclienttohiscounsel fromthepracticeoflawforsix(6)monthsiswarranted.
not in his professional capacity, are not privileged communications, the element of WHEREFORE,theCourtfindsAtty.EdgarB.FranciscoGUILTYofviolationofCanons1
confidentialitynotbeingpresent. and10oftheCodeofProfessionalResponsibilityforwhichheisSUSPENDEDfromthe
(3)Thelegaladvicemustbesoughtfromtheattorneyinhisprofessionalcapacity. practiceoflawforaperiodofsix(6)months,effectiveuponreceiptofthisDecision,witha
The communication made by a client to his attorney must not be intended for mere STERNWARNINGthatacommissionofthesameorsimilaroffenseinthefuturewillresult
information,butforthepurposeofseekinglegaladvicefromhisattorneyastohisrightsor intheimpositionofamoreseverepenalty.
obligations.Thecommunicationmusthavebeentransmittedbyaclienttohisattorneyforthe Let a copy of this Decision be entered into the records of Atty. Edgar B. Francisco and
purposeofseekinglegaladvice. furnishedtotheOfficeoftheClerkofCourt,theOfficeoftheBarConfidant,theIntegrated
If theclientseeksanaccountingservice, orbusinessorpersonal assistance, andnot legal BarofthePhilippines,andallcourtsinthePhilippines,fortheirinformationandguidance.
advice,theprivilegedoesnotattachtoacommunicationdisclosedforsuchpurpose. Atty.FranciscoisDIRECTEDtoinformtheCourtofthedateofhisreceiptofthisDecisionso
[Emphasessupplied] thattheCourtcandeterminethereckoningpointwhenhissuspensionshalltakeeffect.
Consideringthesefactorsinthecaseatbench,theCourtholdsthattheevidenceonrecordfails SOORDERED.
todemonstratetheclaimsofcomplainant.Asdiscussed,thecomplainantfailedtoestablishthe JOSECATRALMENDOZA
professionalrelationshipbetweenherandAtty.Francisco.Therecordsarefurtherbereftofany AssociateJustice
indication that the "advice" regarding the sale of the Forbes property was given to Atty. WECONCUR:
Franciscoinconfidence.Neitherwasthereademonstrationofwhatshehadcommunicatedto DIOSDADOM.PERALTA*
Atty.Francisconorarecitalofcircumstancesunderwhichtheconfidentialcommunication AssociateJustice
wasrelayed.Allthatcomplaintallegedinhercomplainantwasthat"shesoughtlegaladvice
fromrespondentinvariousoccasions."29Consideringthatcomplainantfailedtoattendthe MARIANOC.DELCASTILLO MARTINS.VILLARAM
hearings at the IBP, there was no testimony as to the specific confidential information AssociateJustice AssociateJustice
allegedlydivulgedbyAtty.Franciscowithoutherconsent.Itis, therefore,difficult, ifnot
impossible,todetermineiftherewasanyviolationoftheruleonprivilegedcommunication. MARVICM.V.F.LEONEN
AsheldinMercado,suchconfidentialinformationisacruciallinkinestablishingabreachof AssociateJustice
theruleonprivilegedcommunicationbetweenattorneyandclient.Itisnotenoughtomerely Footnotes
asserttheattorneyclientprivilege.30Itcannotbegainsaidthenthatcomplainant,whohasthe *DesignatedActingMemberinlieuofAssociateJusticeAntonioT.Carpio,whoinhibited
burdenofprovingthattheprivilegeapplies,failedinthisregard. himself,asamemberofhisstaffiscloselyrelatedtoaparty,perRaffledatedDecember9,
ThePenalty 2014.
AmemberoftheBarmaybepenalized,evendisbarredorsuspendedfromhisofficeasan **DesignatedActingMemberinlieuofAssociate.JusticeArturoD.Brion,perSpecialOrder
attorney, for violating of the lawyers oath and/or for breaching the ethics of the legal No.1888,datedNovember28,2014.
professionasembodiedintheCPR,31forthepracticeoflawisaprofession,aformofpublic 1Rollo,p.278.
trust,theperformanceofwhichisentrustedtothosewhoarequalifiedandwhopossessgood 2Id.at309.
moralcharacter.32Theappropriatepenaltyonanerrantlawyerdependsontheexerciseof 3Id.at27.
soundjudicialdiscretionbasedonthesurroundingfacts.33 4Id.at115140.
UnderSection27,Rule138oftheRevisedRulesofCourt,amemberoftheBarmaybe 5Id.at141149.
disbarredorsuspendedonanyofthefollowinggrounds:(1)deceit;(2)malpracticeorother 6Id.at100104.
grossmisconductinoffice;(3)grosslyimmoralconduct;(4)convictionofacrimeinvolving 71)DeedofAssignmentdatedNovember5,2002notarizedbyAtty.PastorM.Reyes,Jr.;2)
moralturpitude;(5)violationofthelawyer'soath;(6)willfuldisobedienceofanylawfulorder GeneralInformationSheetdatedNovember5,2002preparedbyAtty.Francisco;3)Deedof
ofasuperiorcourt;and(7)willfulappearanceasanattorneyforapartywithoutauthority.A Assignment dated August 10, 2004 notarized by Atty. Pastor M. Reyes, Jr.; 4) General
lawyermaybedisbarredorsuspendedformisconduct,whetherinhisprofessionalorprivate InformationSheetdatedSeptember9,2004preparedbyAtty.FranciscoandnotarizedbyAtty.
capacity, which shows him to be wanting in moral character, honesty, probity and good PastorM.Reyes,Jr.;5)DeedofAbsoluteSaledatedJune15,2005betweenClarionand
demeanor,orunworthytocontinueasanofficerofthecourt. PhilmetrocoveringtheForbespropertysignedbyAtty.FranciscoonbehalfofClarion;and6)
While the Court finds no violation of the rule on conflict of interests and disclosure of BoardResolutiondatedMarch28,2005signedbyAtty.Francisco.
privileged communication, the acts of Atty. Francisco, in actively and passively allowing 8Rollo,pp.115140.
Clarion tomake untruthful representations to the SEC and in other public documents, still 93Phil.394,397(1904).
constitutemalpracticeandgrossmisconductinhisofficeasattorney,forwhichasuspension 10Rollo,pp.279288.
11JimenezwasrepresentedbytheLawOfficeofChavezMirandaAseocheintheestafacase
hefiledagainstthecomplainant.
12Rollo,p.278.
13Id.at289304.
14Id.at294.
15Id.at309.
16BlacksLawDictionary(6thed.),p.1538.
17BlacksLawDictionary(6thed.),p.468.
18BlacksLawDictionary(6thed.),p.405.
19Riverav.Corral,433Phil.331,342(2002).
20Resurreccionv.Sayson,360Phil.313,315(1998),citingExparteWall,107U.S.265;
citedinMalcolm,LegalandJudicialEthics,p.214.
21TheLawyersOathstatesinfull:
I, _______ do solemnly swear that I will maintain allegiance to the Republic of the
Philippines;IwillsupporttheConstitutionandobeythelawsaswellasthelegalordersofthe
dulyconstitutedauthoritiestherein;Iwilldonofalsehood,norconsenttothedoingofanyin
court;Iwillnotwittinglyorwillinglypromoteorsueanygroundless,falseorunlawfulsuit,or
giveaidnorconsenttothesame;Iwilldelaynomanformoneyormalice,andwillconduct
myselfasalawyeraccordingtothebestofmyknowledgeanddiscretion,withallgoodfidelity
aswelltothecourtsastomyclients;andIimposeuponmyselfthesevoluntaryobligations
withoutanymentalreservationorpurposeofevasion.SohelpmeGod.
22PlusBuilders,Inc.v.Revilla,Jr.,533Phil.250,261(2006),citingChoav.Chiongson329
Phil.270(1996).
23Id.,citingTingDumaliv.Torres,471Phil.1,9(2004);Radjaiev.Alovera,392Phil.1,17
(2000);Zigav.Arejola,486Phil.37,49(2004);Berbanov.Barcelona,457Phil.331,345
(2003);Radjaiev.Alovera,supra;Busiosv.Ricafort,347Phil.687,692(1997).
24Anionv.Sabitsana,Jr.,A.C.No.5098,April11,2012,669SCRA76,81.
25Id.at8081.
26505Phil.126,134135(2005).
27Rodicav.Lazaro,A.C.No.9259,August23,2012,679SCRA1,910,citingAbaSiaov.
Atty.DeGuzman,Jr.,A.C.No.7649,December14,2011,662SCRA361,372.
28498Phil.49,5860(2005).
29Rollo,p.3.
30Supranote28,at61.
31Catuv.Rellosa,569Phil.539,550(2008).
32DirectorofReligiousAffairsv.Bayot,74Phil.579,581(1944).
33LimSantiagov.Saguico,520Phil.538,552(2006). A.C.No.10579,December10,2014ERLINDAFOSTER,Complainant,v.ATTY.JAIME
V. AGTANG, Respondent. : DECEMBER 2014 PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT
TheLawphilProjectArellanoLawFoundation JURISPRUDENCECHANROBLESVIRTUALLAWLIBRARY
A.C.No.10579,December10,2014
This refers to the Resolution1 of the Board of Governors (BOG), Integrated Bar of the
Philippines (IBP), dated March 23, 2014, affirming with modification the findings of the
InvestigatingCommissioner,whorecommendedthesuspensionofrespondentAtty.JaimeV.
Agtang(respondent)fromthepracticeoflawforone(1)yearforethicalimproprietyand
orderedthepaymentofhisunpaidobligationstocomplainant.
recommendedtheimmediatefilingofacaseforreformationofcontractwithdamages.On
From the records, it appears that the IBP, thru its Commission onBar Discipline ( CBD), November8,2009,respondentrequestedandthereafterreceivedfromcomplainanttheamount
received a complaint2, dated May 31, 2011, filed by Erlinda Foster (complainant) against ofP150,000.00,asfilingfee. 14Whenaskedabouttheexorbitantamount,respondentcitedthe
respondentforunlawful,dishonest,immoralanddeceitful 3actsasalawyer. highvalueofthelandandthesheriffstravelexpensesandaccommodationsinManila,forthe
serviceofthesummonstothedefendantcorporation.Later,complainantconfirmedthatthe
InitsJuly1,2011Order, 4theIBPCBDdirectedrespondenttofilehisAnswerwithin15days feespaidforthefilingofCivilCaseNo.1479165,entitled ErlindaFosterv.TierraRealty
fromreceiptoftheorder.Respondentfailedtodosoandcomplainantsentaqueryastothe andDevelopmentCorporation,onlyamountedtoP22,410.00pertrialcourtrecords.15
status of her complaint. On October 10, 2011, the Investigating Commissioner issued the
Order5settingthecaseformandatoryconference/hearingonNovember16,2011.Itwasonly During a conversation with the Registrar of Deeds, complainant also discovered that
onNovember11,2011,orfive(5)daysbeforethescheduledconferencewhenrespondent respondentwastheonewhonotarizedthedocumentbeingquestionedinthecivilcaseshe
filedhisverifiedAnswer.6 filed.Whenaskedaboutthis,respondentmerelyrepliedthathewouldtakeacollaborating
counsel to handle complainants case. Upon reading a copy of the complaint filed by
During the conference, only the complainant together with her husband appeared. She respondent with the trial court, complainant noticed that: 1] the major differences in the
submitted a set of documents contained in a folder, copies of which were furnished the documentsissuedbyTierraRealtywerenotalleged;2]thecontracttobuyandsellandthe
respondent. The Investigating Commissioner 7 indicated that the said documents would be deedofconditionalsalewerenotattachedthereto;3]thecomplaintdiscussedthemethodof
reviewedandthepartieswouldbeinformediftherewasaneedforclarificatoryquestioning; paymentwhichwasnotthepointofcontentioninthecase;and4]theveryanomaliesshe
otherwise,thecasewouldbesubmittedforresolutionbasedonthedocumentsonfile.The complainedofwerenotmentioned.Respondent,however,assuredherthatthosematterscould
Minutes8ofthemandatoryconferenceshowedthatrespondentarrivedat11:10oclockinthe bebroughtupduringthehearings.
morningoraftertheproceedingwasterminated.
OnApril23,2010,respondentwrotetocomplainant,requestingthatthelatterextendtohim
OnDecember12,2011,thecomplainantfiledherReplytorespondentsAnswer. the amount of P70,000.00 or P50,000.00 in the moment of urgency or emergency. 16
ComplainantobligedtherequestandgaverespondentthesumofP22,000.00.
OnApril18,2012,complainantsubmittedcopiesoftheJanuary24,2012Decisions 9 ofthe
Municipal Trial Court in Small Claims Case Nos. 20110077 and 20110079, ordering On August 31, 2010, respondent came to complainants house and demanded the sum of
respondent[defendanttherein]topaycomplainantandherhusbandthesumofP100,000.00 P50,000.00, purportedly to be given to the judge in exchange for a favorable ruling.
andP22,000.00,respectively,withinterestattherateof12%perannumfromDecember8, Complainantexpressedhermisgivingsonthispropositionbutsheeventuallygavetheamount
2011untilfullypaid,pluscostofsuit.10 ofP25,000.00whichwascoveredbyareceipt,17statingthatitisunderstoodthatthebalance
ofP25,000.00shallbepaidlaterafterfavorablejudgmentforplaintiffErlindaFoster.On
ComplainantsPosition November2,2010,respondentinsistedthattheremainingamountbegivenbycomplainant
priortothenexthearingofthecase,becausethejudgewasallegedlyaskingforthebalance.
Fromtherecords,itappearsthatcomplainantwasreferredtorespondentinconnectionwith Yetagain,complainanthandedtorespondenttheamountofP25,000.00. 18
herlegalproblemregardingadeedofabsolutesalesheenteredintowithTierraRealty,which
respondent had notarized. After their discussion, complainant agreed to engage his legal On September 29, 2010, complainants case was dismissed. Not having been notified by
services for the filing of the appropriate case in court, for which they signed a contract. respondent,complainantlearnedofthedismissalonDecember14,2010,whenshepersonally
Complainant paid respondent P20,000.00 as acceptance fee and P5,000.00 for incidental checkedthestatusofthecasewiththecourt.Shewenttotheofficeofrespondent,buthewas
expenses.11 notthere.Instead,oneoftheofficestaffgaveheracopyoftheorderofdismissal.

OnSeptember28,2009,respondentwrotealetter 12toTropicalVillasSubdivisioninrelation OnDecember15,2010,respondentvisitedcomplainantandgaveheracopyofthemotionfor


tothelegalproblemreferredbycomplainant.Hethenvisitedthelatterinherhomeandasked reconsideration.OnJanuary15,2011,complainantwenttoseerespondentandrequestedhim
foraloanofP100,000.00,payableinsixty(60)days,fortherepairofhiscar.Complainant, toprepareareplytothecommentfiledbyTierraRealtyonthemotionforreconsideration;to
havingtrustandconfidenceonrespondentbeingherlawyer,agreedtolendtheamountwithout include additional facts because the Land Registration Authority would not accept the
interest.Apromissorynote13evidencedtheloan. documentsunlessthesewereamended;andtomaketheadditionalavermentthatthedefendant
wasusingfalsedocuments.
InNovember2009,complainantbecameawarethatTierraRealtywasattemptingtotransferto
its name a lot she had previously purchased. She referred the matter to respondent who OnJanuary18,2011,respondentsdriverdeliveredtocomplainantacopyofthereplywitha
messagefromhimthatthematterssherequestedtobeincludedwerementionedtherein.Upon thereceiptsinherpossession,allevidencingthatrespondentacceptedtheamountsmentioned
readingthesame,however,complainantdiscoveredthatthesematterswerenotsoincluded. inthecomplaint.ComplainantalsoemphasizedthatrespondentandTierraRealtyhadrelations
Onthesameoccasion,thedriveralsoaskedforP2,500.00onrespondentsdirectiveforthe longbeforeshemethim.WhilerespondentwasemployedasProvincialLegalOfficerofthe
reimbursementofthevalueofabottleofwinegiventothejudgeasapresent.Complainant Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte, he was involved in the preparation of several
wasalsotoldthatoralargumentsonthecasehadbeensetthefollowingmonth. 19 documentsinvolvingFlyingV,anoilcompanyownedbyErnestVillavicencio,wholikewise
ownedTierraRealty.ComplainantinsistedthattheamountofP100,000.00sheextendedto
On February 2, 2011, complainant decided to terminate the services of respondent as her respondentwasneverconsideredasnoloan.
counselandwrotehimaletteroftermination, 20afterherfriendgavehercopiesofdocuments
showing that respondent had been acquainted with Tierra Realty since December 2007. On June 26, 2012, complainant furnished the Investigating Commissioner copies of the
Subsequently,complainantwrotetorespondent,requestinghimtopayhertheamountshe Resolution,datedJune20,2012,issuedbytheOfficeoftheCityProsecutorofLaoagCity,
receivedfromherlessthecontractfeeandtheactualcostofthefilingfees.Respondentnever findingprobablecauseagainstrespondentforestafa. 23
replied.
FindingsandRecommendationoftheIBP
RespondentsPosition
In its July 3, 2012 Report and Recommendation, 24 the Investigating Commissioner found
InhisAnswer,21 respondentallegedthathewas72yearsoldandhadbeenengagedinthe respondentguiltyofethicalimproprietyandrecommendedhissuspensionfromthepracticeof
practiceoflawsinceMarch1972,andwasPresidentoftheIBPIlocosNorteChapterfrom lawforone(1)year.
1998to1999.HeadmittedthefactthathenotarizedtheDeedofAbsoluteSalesubjectof
complainantscase,buthequalifiedthathewasnotpaidhisnotarialfeestherefor.Helikewise InitsSeptember28,2013Resolution,theIBPBOGadoptedandapprovedwithmodification
admittedactingascounselforcomplainantforwhichheclaimedtohavereceivedP10,000.00 therecommendationofsuspensionbytheInvestigatingCommissionerandorderedrespondent
asacceptancefeeandP5,000.00forincidentalfees.AnenttheloanofP100,000.00,respondent to returntocomplainant:1)hisloanofP122,000.00;and2)thebalanceofthefilingfee
averred that it was complainant, at the behest of her husband, who willingly offered the amountingtoP127,590.00.
amounttohimforhispatienceinvisitingthemathomeandforhisservices.Thetransaction
wasdeclaredasnoloanandhewastoldnottoworryaboutitspayment.Asregardsthe RespondentreceivedacopyofthesaidresolutiononJanuary16,2014towhichhefileda
amountofP150,000.00hereceivedforfilingfees,respondentclaimedthatthesaidamount motion for reconsideration.25 Complainant filed her opposition thereto, informing the IBP
was suggested by the complainant herself who was persistent in covering the incidental BOGthataninformationchargingrespondentforestafahadalreadybeenfiledincourtand
expensesinthehandlingofthecase.Hedeniedhavingsaidthatthesheriffsofthecourtwould thatacorrespondingorderforhisarresthadbeenissued. 26
need the money for their hotel accommodations. Complainants husband approved of the
amount.Inthesamevein,respondentdeniedhavingaskedforaloanofP50,000.00andhaving In its March 23, 2014 Resolution, the IBPBOG denied respondents motion for
receivedP22,000.00fromcomplainant.Healsodeniedhavingtoldherthatthecasewouldbe reconsideration but modified the penalty of his suspension from the practice of law by
discussedwiththejudgewhowouldruleintheirfavorattheverynexthearing.Instead,itwas reducingitfromone(1)yeartothree(3)months.Respondentwaslikewiseorderedtoreturn
complainantwhowasbotheredbythepossibilitythattheotherpartywouldbefriendthejudge. thebalanceofthefilingfeereceivedfromcomplainantamountingtoP127,590.00.
Heneversaidthathewouldpersonallypresentabottleofwinetothejudge.
NopetitionforreviewwasfiledwiththeCourt.
Further,respondentbeliedtheRegistrarscommentastohisrepresentationofTierraRealtyin
thepast.Respondentsawnothingwronginthissituationsincecomplainantwasfullyaware The only issue in this case is whether respondent violated the Code of Professional
thatanothercounselwasassistinghiminthehandlingofcases.Havingbeenfullyinformedof Responsibility(CPR).
thenatureofhercauseofactionandtheconsequencesofthesuit,complainantwasawareof
theapplicablelawonreformationofcontracts.Finally,bywayofcounterclaim,respondent TheCourtsRuling
demanded just compensation for the services he had rendered in other cases for the
complainant. TheCourtsustainsthefindingsandrecommendationoftheInvestigatingCommissionerwith
respecttorespondentsviolationofRules1and16oftheCPR.TheCourt,however,modifies
ReplyofComplainant theconclusiononhisallegedviolationofRule15,onrepresentingconflictinginterests.The
Courtalsodiffersonthepenalty.
InherReply,22 complainantmainlycounteredrespondentsdefensesbymakingreferenceto
Rule 1.0, Canon 1 of the CPR, provides that [a] lawyer shall not engage in unlawful, case,inexchangeforafavorabledecision.Respondenthimselfsignedareceiptshowingthat
dishonest,immoralordeceitfulconduct.Itiswellestablishedthatalawyersconductisnot he initially took the amount of P 25,000.00 and, worse, he subsequently demanded and
confined to the performance of his professional duties. A lawyer may be disciplined for received the other half of the amount at the time the case had already been dismissed.
misconductcommittedeitherinhisprofessionalorprivatecapacity.Thetestiswhetherhis Undoubtedly,thisactistantamounttogrossmisconductthatnecessarilywarrantsthesupreme
conductshowshimtobewantinginmoralcharacter,honesty,probity,andgooddemeanor,or penaltyofdisbarment.Theactofdemandingasumofmoneyfromhisclient,purportedlytobe
whetheritrendershimunworthytocontinueasanofficerofthecourt. 27 usedasabribetoensureapositiveoutcomeofacase,isnotonlyanabuseofhisclientstrust
butanovertactofunderminingthetrustandfaithofthepublicinthelegalprofessionandthe
Inthiscase,respondentisguiltyofengagingindishonestanddeceitfulconduct,bothinhis entireJudiciary.Thisistheheightofindecency.Asofficersofthecourt,lawyersowetheir
professionalandprivatecapacity.Asalawyer,heclearlymisledcomplainantintobelieving utmostfidelitytopublicserviceandtheadministrationofjustice.Innowayshouldalawyer
thatthefilingfeesforhercasewereworthmorethantheprescribedamountintherules,dueto indulgeinanyactthatwoulddamagetheimageofjudges,lestthepublicsperceptionofthe
feigned reasons suchasthehigh valueofthelandinvolved and theextraexpensesto be dispensationofjusticebeovershadowedbyiniquitousdoubts.Thedenialofrespondentand
incurredbycourtemployees.Inotherwords,heresortedtooverpricing,anactcustomarily hisclaimthattheamountwasgivengratuitouslywouldnotexcusehimfromanyliability.The
relatedtodepravityanddishonesty.HedemandedtheamountofP150,000.00asfilingfee, absenceofproofthatthesaidamountwasindeedusedasabribeisofnomoment.Totolerate
whenintruth,thesameamountedonlytoP22,410.00.Hisdefensethatitwascomplainantwho respondentsactuationswouldseriouslyerodethepublicstrustinthecourts.
suggestedthat amountdeservesnoiotaofcredence. Forone,itishighly improbablethat
complainant,whowasthenplaguedwiththerigorsoflitigation,wouldproposesuchamount Asitturnedout,complainantscasewasdismissedasearlyasSeptember29,2010.Atthis
thatwouldfurtherburdenherfinancialresources.Assumingthatthecomplainantwasmore juncture,respondentprovedhimselftobenegligentinhisdutyashefailedtoinformhisclient
thanwillingtoshelloutanexorbitantamountjusttoinitiatehercomplaintwiththetrialcourt, of the status of the case, and left the client to personally inquire with the court. Surely,
still,respondentshouldnothaveacceptedtheexcessiveamount.Asalawyer,heisnotonly respondentwasnotonlyguiltyofmisconductbutwasalsoremissinhisdutytohisclient.
expectedtobeknowledgeableinthematteroffilingfees,butheislikewisedutyboundto
disclosetohisclienttheactualamountdue,consistentwiththevaluesofhonestyandgood Respondentsunbecomingconducttowardscomplainantdidnotstophere.Recordsrevealthat
faithexpectedofallmembersofthelegalprofession. helikewiseviolatedRule16.04,Canon16oftheCPR,whichstatesthat[a]lawyershallnot
borrowmoneyfromhisclientunlesstheclientsinterestsarefullyprotectedbythenatureof
Moreover,thefiduciarynatureoftherelationshipbetweenthecounselandhisclientimposes thecaseorbyindependentadvice.Neithershallalawyerlendmoneytoaclientexcept,when
onthelawyerthedutytoaccountforthemoneyorpropertycollectedorreceivedfororfrom intheinterestofjustice,hehastoadvancenecessaryexpensesinalegalmatterheishandling
hisclient.28Moneyentrustedtoalawyerforaspecificpurposebutnotusedforthepurpose fortheclient.Inhisprivatecapacity,herequestedfromhisclient,notjustone,buttwoloans
shouldbeimmediatelyreturned.Alawyersfailuretoreturnupondemandthefundsheldby of considerable amounts. The first time, he visited his client in her home and borrowed
himonbehalfofhisclientgivesrisetothepresumptionthathehasappropriatedthesamefor P100,000.00fortherepairofhiscar;andthenexttime,heimploredhertoextendtohima
hisownuseinviolationofthetrustreposedinhimbyhisclient.Suchactisagrossviolation loanofP70,000.00orP50,000.00inthemomentofurgencyoremergencybutwasonly
ofgeneralmoralityaswellasofprofessionalethics.Itimpairspublicconfidenceinthelegal givenP22,000.00bycomplainant.Thesetransactionswereevidencedbypromissorynotesand
professionanddeservespunishment.29 receipts, the authenticity of which was never questioned by respondent. These acts were
committedbyrespondentinhisprivatecapacity,seeminglyunrelatedtohisrelationshipwith
It is clear that respondent failed to fulfill this duty. As pointed out, he received various complainant, but were indubitably acquiesced to by complainant because of the trust and
amountsfromcomplainantbuthecouldnotaccountforallofthem.Worse,hecouldnotdeny confidencereposedinhimasalawyer.Nowhereintherecords,particularlyinthedefenses
theauthenticityofthereceiptspresentedbycomplainant.Upondemand,hefailedtoreturnthe raisedbyrespondent,wasitimpliedthattheseloansfellwithintheexceptionsprovidedbythe
excessmoneyfromtheallegedfilingfeesandotherexpenses.Hispossessiongivesrisetothe rules.TheloansofP100,000.00andP22,000.00weresurelynotprotectedbythenatureofthe
presumptionthathehasmisappropriateditforhisownusetotheprejudiceof,andinviolation caseorbyindependentadvice.Respondentsassertionthattheamountsweregiventohimout
ofthetrustreposedinhimby,theclient. 30Whenalawyerreceivesmoneyfromtheclientfora oftheliberalityofcomplainantandwere,thus,consideredasnoloan,doesnotjustifyhis
particularpurpose,thelawyerisboundtorenderanaccountingtotheclientshowingthatthe inappropriatebehavior.Theactsofrequestingandreceivingmoneyasloansfromhisclient
moneywasspentfortheintendedpurpose.Consequently,ifthelawyerdoesnotusethemoney andthereafterfailingtopaythesameareindicativeofhislackofintegrityandsenseoffair
fortheintendedpurpose,thelawyermustimmediatelyreturnthemoneytotheclient. 31 dealing.Uptothepresent,respondenthasnotyetpaidhisobligationstocomplainant.

Somewhat showing a propensity to demand excessive and unwarranted amounts from his Time and again, the Court has consistently held that deliberate failure to pay just debts
client, respondent displayed a reprehensible conduct when he asked for the amount of constitutesgrossmisconduct,forwhichalawyermaybesanctionedwithsuspensionfromthe
P50,000.00asrepresentationexpensesallegedlyforthebenefitofthejudgehandlingthe practiceoflaw.Lawyersareinstrumentsfortheadministrationofjusticeandvanguardsofour
legalsystem.Theyareexpectedtomaintainnotonlylegalproficiency,butalsoahighstandard question. Neither his unpaid notarial fees nor the participation of a collaborating counsel
ofmorality,honesty,integrityandfairdealingsothatthepeoplesfaithandconfidenceinthe wouldexcusehimfromsuchindiscretion.Itisapparentthatrespondentwasretainedbyclients
judicialsystemisensured.Theymust,atalltimes,faithfullyperformtheirdutiestosociety,to whohadclosedealingswitheachother.Moresignificantly,thereisnorecordofanywritten
thebar,thecourtsandtheirclients,whichincludepromptpaymentoffinancialobligations. 32 consentfromanyofthepartiesinvolved.

Verily,whentheCodeortheRulesspeaksofconductormisconduct,thereferenceisnot The representation of conflicting interests is prohibited not only because the relation of
confined to ones behavior exhibited in connection with the performance of the lawyers attorneyandclientisoneoftrustandconfidenceofthehighestdegree,butalsobecauseofthe
professional duties, but also covers any misconduct which, albeit unrelated to the actual principlesofpublicpolicyandgoodtaste.Anattorneyhasthedutytodeservethefullest
practiceofhisprofession,wouldshowhimtobeunfitfortheofficeandunworthyofthe confidenceofhisclientandrepresenthimwithundividedloyalty.Oncethisconfidenceis
privilegeswhichhislicenseandthelawvesthimwith.Unfortunately,respondentmustbe abusedorviolatedtheentireprofessionsuffers. 34
foundguiltyofmisconductonbothscores.
PenaltiesandPecuniaryLiabilities
Withrespecttorespondentsallegedrepresentationofconflictinginterests,theCourtfindsit
proper to modify the findings of the Investigating Commissioner who concluded that AmemberoftheBarmaybepenalized,evendisbarredorsuspendedfromhisofficeasan
complainant presented insufficient evidence of respondents lawyering for the opposing attorney, for violation of the lawyers oath and/or for breach of the ethics of the legal
party,TierraRealty. professionasembodiedintheCPR. 35Forthepracticeoflawisaprofession,aformofpublic
trust,theperformanceofwhichisentrustedtothosewhoarequalifiedandwhopossessgood
Rule15.03,Canon15oftheCPR,providesthat[a]lawyershallnotrepresentconflicting moralcharacter.36 Theappropriatepenaltyforanerrantlawyerdependsontheexerciseof
interestexceptbywrittenconsentofallconcernedgivenafterafulldisclosureofthefacts. soundjudicialdiscretionbasedonthesurroundingfacts.37
Therelationshipbetweenalawyerandhis/herclientshouldideallybeimbuedwiththehighest
level of trust and confidence. This is the standard of confidentiality that must prevail to UnderSection27,Rule138oftheRevisedRulesofCourt,amemberoftheBarmaybe
promoteafulldisclosureoftheclientsmostconfidentialinformationtohis/herlawyerforan disbarredorsuspendedonanyofthefollowinggrounds:(1)deceit;(2)malpracticeorother
unhamperedexchangeofinformationbetweenthem.Needlesstostate,aclientcanonlyentrust grossmisconductinoffice;(3)grosslyimmoralconduct;(4)convictionofacrimeinvolving
confidentialinformationtohis/herlawyerbasedonanexpectationfromthelawyerofutmost moralturpitude;(5)violationofthelawyer'soath;(6)willfuldisobedienceofanylawfulorder
secrecyanddiscretion;thelawyer,forhispart,isdutyboundtoobservecandor,fairnessand ofasuperiorcourt;and(7)willfulappearanceasanattorneyforapartywithoutauthority.A
loyaltyinalldealingsandtransactionswiththeclient.Partofthelawyersdutyinthisregard lawyermaybedisbarredorsuspendedformisconduct,whetherinhisprofessionalorprivate
is to avoid representing conflicting interests. 33 Thus, even if lucrative fees offered by capacity, which shows him to be wanting in moral character, honesty, probity and good
prospectiveclientsareatstake,alawyermustdeclineprofessionalemploymentifthesame demeanor,orunworthytocontinueasanofficerofthecourt.
wouldtriggertheviolationoftheprohibitionagainstconflictofinterest.Theonlyexception
providedintherulesisawrittenconsentfromallthepartiesafterfulldisclosure. Here,respondentdemonstratednotjustanegligentdisregardofhisdutiesasalawyerbuta
wantonbetrayalofthetrustofhisclientand,ingeneral,thepublic.Accordingly,theCourt
The Court deviates from the findings of the IBP. There is substantial evidence to hold findsthatthesuspensionforthree(3)monthsrecommendedbytheIBPBOGisnotsufficient
respondentliableforrepresentingconflictinginterestsinhandling thecaseofcomplainant punishmentfortheunacceptableactsandomissionsofrespondent.Theactsoftherespondent
againstTierraRealty,acorporationtowhichhehadrenderedservicesinthepast.TheCourt constitutemalpracticeandgrossmisconductinhisofficeasattorney.Hisincompetenceand
cannotignorethefactthatrespondentadmittedtohavingnotarizedthedeedofsale,whichwas appalling indifference to his duty to his client, the courts and societyrender himunfit to
the very document being questioned in complainants case. While the Investigating continuedischargingthetrustreposedinhimasamemberoftheBar.
Commissioner found that the complaint in Civil Case No. 1479165 did not question the
validityofthesaidcontract,andthatonlytheintentionsofthepartiesastosomeprovisions Fortakingadvantageoftheunfortunatesituationofthecomplainant,forengagingindishonest
thereofwerechallenged,theCourtstillfindsthatthepurposeforwhichtheproscriptionwas anddeceitfulconduct,formaligningthejudgeandtheJudiciary,forunderminingthetrustand
madeexists.TheCourtcannotbrushasidethedissatisfiedobservationsofthecomplainantas faith of the public in the legal profession and the entire judiciary, and for representing
totheallegationslackinginthecomplaintagainstTierraRealtyandtheclearadmissionof conflictinginterests,respondentdeservesnolessthanthepenaltyofdisbarment. 38
respondentthathewastheonewhonotarizedtheassaileddocument.Regardlessofwhetherit
was the validity of the entire document or the intention of the parties as to some of its Notably, the Court cannot order respondent to return the money he borrowed from
provisionsraised,respondentfellshortofprudenceinactionwhenheacceptedcomplainants complainantinhisprivatecapacity.InTriaSamontev.Obias,39theCourtheldthatitcannot
case, knowing fully that he was involved in the execution of the very transaction under order the lawyer to return money to complainant if he or she acted in a private capacity
because its findings in administrative cases have no bearing on liabilities which have no
intrinsic link to the lawyers professional engagement. In disciplinary proceedings against SOORDERED.
lawyers,theonlyissueiswhethertheofficerofthecourtisstillfittobeallowedtocontinueas
amemberoftheBar.TheonlyconcernoftheCourtisthedeterminationofrespondents Sereno,(ChiefJustice),Carpio,Velasco,Jr.,LeonardoDeCastro,DelCastillo,Villarama,
administrativeliability.Itsfindingshavenomaterialbearingonotherjudicialactionswhich Jr.,Mendoza,Reyes,PerlasBernabe,andLeonen,JJ.,concur.
thepartiesmaychooseagainsteachother. Brion,J.,onleave.
Peralta,J.,nopart.
Toruleotherwisewouldineffectdepriverespondentofhisrighttoappealsinceadministrative Bersamin,Perez,andJardeleza,JJ.,onofficialleave.
casesarefileddirectlywiththeCourt.Furthermore,thequantumofevidencerequiredincivil
casesisdifferentfromthequantumofevidencerequiredinadministrativecases.Incivilcases,
preponderanceofevidenceisrequired.Preponderanceofevidenceisaphrasewhich,inthe
lastanalysis,meansprobabilityofthetruth.Itisevidencewhichismoreconvincingtothe
courtasworthierofbeliefthanthatwhichisofferedinoppositionthereto. 40Inadministrative
cases,onlysubstantialevidenceisneeded.Substantialevidence,whichismorethanamere A.C. No. 9872, January 28, 2014 NATIVIDAD P. NAVARRO AND HILDA S.
scintillabutissuchrelevantevidenceasareasonablemindmightacceptasadequatetosupport PRESBITERO,Complainants,v.ATTY.IVANM.SOLIDUM,JR.,Respondent.:JANUARY
aconclusion,wouldsufficetoholdoneadministrativelyliable. 41Furthermore,theCourthasto 2014PHILIPPINESUPREMECOURTJURISPRUDENCECHANROBLESVIRTUAL
considertheprescriptiveperiodapplicabletocivilcasesincontrasttoadministrativecases LAWLIBRARY
whichare,asarule,imprescriptible.42 A.C.No.9872,January28,2014
Thiscaseoriginatedfromacomplaintfordisbarment,dated26May2008,filedbyNatividad
Thus,theIBPBOGwascorrectinorderingrespondenttoreturntheamountofP127,590.00 P.Navarro(Navarro)andHildaS.Presbitero(Presbitero)againstAtty.IvanM.Solidum,Jr.
representingthebalanceofthefilingfeeshereceivedfromcomplainant,asthiswasintimately (respondent)beforetheIntegratedBarofthePhilippinesCommissiononBarDiscipline(IBP
related to the lawyerclient relationship between them. Similar to this is the amount of CBD).
P50,000.00whichrespondentreceivedfromcomplainant,asrepresentationexpensesforthe FromtheReport,dated1July2009,oftheIBPCBD,wegatheredthefollowingfactsofthe
handlingofthecivilcaseandforthepurportedpurchaseofabottleofwineforthejudge. case:
These were connected to his professional relationship with the complainant. While
respondentsdeplorableactofrequestingthesaidamountforthebenefitofthejudgeisstained On4April2006,respondentsignedaretaineragreementwithPresbiterotofollowupthe
withmendacity,respondentshouldbeorderedtoreturnthesameasitwasborneoutoftheir releaseofthepaymentforthelatters2.7hectarepropertylocatedinBacolodwhichwasthe
professional relationship. As to his other obligations, respondent was already adjudged as subjectofaVoluntaryOffertoSell(VOS)totheDepartmentofAgrarianReform(DAR).The
liableforthepersonalloanshecontractedwithcomplainant,perthesmallclaimscasesfiled agreementalsoincludedthepaymentofthedebtsofPresbiteroslatehusbandtothePhilippine
againsthim. NationalBank(PNB),thesaleoftheretainedareasoftheproperty,andthecollectionofthe
rentalsduefortheretainedareasfromtheiroccupants.ItappearedthattheDARwassupposed
Alltold,intheexerciseofitsdisciplinarypowers,theCourtmerelycallsuponamemberof topayP700,000forthepropertybutitwasmortgagedbyPresbiteroandherlatehusbandto
the Bar to account for his actuations as an officer of the Court with the end in view of PNB forP1,200,000. Presbiteroallegedthat PNBs claim hadalreadyprescribed,andshe
preservingthepurityofthelegalprofession. 43TheCourtlikewiseaimstoensuretheproper engagedtheservicesofrespondenttorepresentherinthematter.Respondentproposed the
andhonest administration ofjusticebypurgingthe profession ofmembers who,by their filingofacase forquietingof title againstPNB. RespondentandPresbiteroagreedtoan
misconduct,haveproventhemselvesnolongerworthytobeentrustedwiththedutiesand attorneysfeeof10%oftheproceedsfromtheVOSorthesaleoftheproperty,withthe
responsibilitiesofanattorney.44 expenses to be advanced byPresbitero butdeductiblefromrespondents fees. Respondent
receivedP50,000fromPresbitero,supposedlyfortheexpensesofthecase,butnothingcame
WHEREFORE, finding the respondent, Atty. Jaime V. Agtang, GUILTY of gross outofit.
misconduct in violation of the Code of Professional Responsibility, the Court hereby
DISBARS himfromthepracticeoflawand ORDERS himtopaythecomplainant,Erlinda InMay2006,Presbiterosdaughter,Ma.TheresaP.Yulo(Yulo),alsoengagedrespondents
Foster,theamountsofP127,590.00,P50,000.00andP2,500.00. servicestohandletheregistrationofher18.85hectarelotlocatedinNasudong,Caradioan,
Himamaylan, Negros. Yulo convinced her sister, Navarro, tofinancethe expenses for the
LetacopyofthisDecisionbesenttotheOfficeoftheBarConfidant,theIntegratedBarofthe registrationoftheproperty.Respondentundertooktoregisterthepropertyinconsiderationof
PhilippinesandtheOfficeoftheCourtAdministratortobecirculatedtoallcourts. 30%ofthevalueofthepropertyonceitisregistered.RespondentobtainedP200,000from
Navarrofortheregistrationexpenses.Navarrolaterlearnedthattheregistrationdecreeover interestrates.Healsopreparedandsignedthecheckswhichturnedouttobedrawnagainsthis
thepropertywasalreadyissuedinthenameofoneTeodoroYulo.Navarroallegedthatshe sons accounts. Complainants further alleged that respondent deceived them regarding the
wouldnothavespentfortheregistrationofthepropertyifrespondentonlyapprisedherofthe identityandvalueofthepropertyhemortgagedbecauseheshowedthemadifferentproperty
realsituationoftheproperty. from that which he owned. Presbitero further alleged that respondent mortgaged his 263
squaremeterpropertytoherforP1,000,000buthelatersolditforonlyP150,000.
On25May2006,respondentobtainedaloanofP1,000,000fromNavarrotofinancehissugar
tradingbusiness.RespondentandNavarroexecutedaMemorandumofAgreement(MOA)and Respondent,forhisdefense,allegedthathewasengagedinsugarandrealtybusinessandthat
agreedthattheloan(a)shallbeforaperiodofoneyear;(b)shallearninterestattherateof itwasYulowhoconvincedPresbiteroandNavarrotoextendhimloans.Yuloalsoassuredhim
10%permonth;and(c)shallbesecuredbyarealestatemortgageoverapropertylocatedin that Presbitero would help him with the refining of raw sugar through Victorias Milling
BarangayAlijis,BacolodCity,coveredbyTransferCertificateofTitleNo.304688.Theyalso Company,Inc.RespondentallegedthatNavarrofixedtheinterestrateandheagreedbecause
agreedthatrespondentshallissuepostdatedcheckstocovertheprincipalamountoftheloanas heneededthemoney.Heallegedthattheirbusinesstransactionsweresecuredbyrealestate
wellastheinterestthereon.RespondentdeliveredthecheckstoNavarro,drawnagainstan mortgages and covered by postdated checks. Respondent denied that the property he
accountinMetrobank,BacolodCityBranch,andsignedtheminthepresenceofNavarro. mortgagedtoPresbiterowaslessthanthevalueoftheloan.Healsodeniedthathesoldthe
propertybecausethesalewasactuallyrescinded.Respondentclaimedthatthepropertyhe
InJune2006,respondentobtainedanadditionalloanofP1,000,000fromNavarro,coveredby mortgagedtoNavarrowasvaluableanditwasactuallyworthmorethanP8,000,000.
a second MOA with the same terms and conditions as the first MOA. Respondent sent
Navarro, through a messenger, postdated checks drawn against an account in Bank of Respondentallegedthathewasabletopaycomplainantswhenbusinesswasgoodbuthewas
Commerce,BacolodCityBranch.RespondentlikewisediscussedwithNavarroaboutsecuring unabletocontinuepayingwhenthepriceofsugarwentdownandwhenthebusinesswith
aTollingAgreementwithVictoriasMillingCompany,Inc.butnoagreementwassigned. VictoriasMillingCompany,Inc.didnotpushthroughbecausePresbiterodidnothelphim.
Respondentalsodeniedthathewashidingfromcomplainants.
Atthesametime,respondentobtainedaloanofP1,000,000fromPresbiterocoveredbyathird
MOA,exceptthattherealestatemortgagewasovera263squaremeterpropertylocatedin Respondent further alleged that it was Yulo who owed him P530,000 as interest due for
BarangayTaculing,BacolodCity.RespondentsentPresbiteropostdatedchecksdrawnagainst SeptembertoDecember2005.Hedeniedmakinganyfalserepresentations.Heclaimedthat
anaccountinMetrobank,BacolodCityBranch. complainantswereawarethathecouldnolongeropenacurrentaccountandtheywerethe
oneswhoproposedthathiswifeandsonissuethechecks.Respondentfurtherallegedthathe
Presbiterowasdissatisfiedwiththevalueofthe263squaremeterpropertymortgagedunder alreadystartedwiththetitlingofYuloslotbuthisserviceswereterminatedbeforeitcouldbe
thethirdMOA, andrespondentpromisedtoexecute arealestate mortgage overa1,000 completed.
squaremeter parcel of landadjacenttothe 4,000squaremeter propertyhemortgaged to
Navarro.However,respondentdidnotexecuteadeedfortheadditionalsecurity. Asupplementalcomplaintwasfiledchargingrespondentwithacceptingcaseswhileunder
suspension. Inresponse,respondentallegedthathe acceptedPresbiteros casein February
Respondentpaidtheloaninterestforthefirstfewmonths.Hewasabletopaycomplainantsa 2006andlearnedofhissuspensiononlyinMay2006.
total of P900,000. Thereafter, he failed to pay either the principal amount or the interest
thereon.InSeptember2006,thechecksissuedbyrespondenttocomplainantscouldnolonger Afterconductingahearingandconsideringthepositionpaperssubmittedbytheparties,the
benegotiatedbecausetheaccountsagainstwhichtheyweredrawnwerealreadyclosed.When IBPCBDfoundthatrespondentviolatedtheCodeofProfessionalResponsibility.
complainants called respondents attention, he promised to pay the agreed interest for
SeptemberandOctober2006butaskedforareductionoftheinterestto7%forthesucceeding The IBPCBD found that respondent borrowed P2,000,000 from Navarro and P1,000,000
months. fromPresbiterowhichhefailedtopayinaccordancewiththeMOAsheexecuted.TheIBP
CBDfoundthatbasedonthedocumentspresentedbytheparties,respondentdidnotactin
InNovember2006,respondentwithdrewascounselforYulo.Ontheotherhand,Presbitero goodfaithinobtainingtheloans.TheIBPCBDfoundthatrespondenteitherpromisedor
terminatedtheservicesofrespondentascounsel.Complainantsthenfiledpetitionsforthe agreedtopaytheveryhighinterestratesoftheloansalthoughheknewthemtobeexorbitant
judicial foreclosure of the mortgages executed by respondent in their favor. Respondent inaccordancewithjurisprudence.RespondentlikewisefailedtodenythathemisledNavarro
counteredthatthe10%monthlyinterestontheloanwasusuriousandillegal.Complainants andherhusbandregardingtheidentityofthepropertymortgagedtothem.Respondentalso
alsofiledcasesforestafaandviolationofBatasPambansaBlg.22againstrespondent. mortgagedapropertytoPresbiteroforP1,000,000butdocumentsshowedthatitsvaluewas
only P300,000. Documents also showed that he sold that property for only P150,000.
Complainantsallegedthatrespondentinducedthemtogranthimloansbyofferingveryhigh RespondentconspiredwithYulotosecureloansbypromisinghera10%commissionandlater
claimedthattheyagreedthatYulowouldrideontheloanbyborrowingP300,000fromthe
amountheobtainedfromNavarroandPresbitero.Respondentcouldnotexplainhowhelostall InResolutionNo.XIX2011267dated14May2011,theIBPBoardofGovernorsadopted
themoneyheborrowedinthreemonthsexceptforhisclaimthatthepriceofsugarwentdown. and approved the recommendation of the IBPCBD with modification by reducing the
recommendedpenaltyfromdisbarmenttosuspensionfromthepracticeoflawfortwoyears.
TheIBPCBDfoundthatrespondentmisledNavarroandPresbiteroregardingtheissuanceof TheIBPBoardofGovernorslikewiseorderedrespondenttoreturntheamountofhisunpaid
thepostdatedchecks,andtherewasnothingintherecordsthatwouldshowthatheinformed obligationtocomplainants.
themthatitwouldbehiswifeorsonwhowouldissuethechecks.TheIBPCBDalsofound
thatrespondenthadnotbeentransparentinliquidatingthemoneyhereceivedinconnection Complainantsfiledamotionforreconsideration,prayingthatthepenaltyofdisbarmentbe
with Presbiteros VOS with DAR. He was also negligent in his accounting regarding the insteadimposeduponrespondent.
registrationofYulospropertywhichwasfinancedbyNavarro.
The only issue in this case is whether respondent violated the Code of Professional
The IBPCBD found that respondent was guilty of violating Rule 1.01 of the Code of Responsibility.
ProfessionalResponsibilityforcommittingthefollowingacts:
TherecordsshowthatrespondentviolatedatleastfourprovisionsoftheCodeofProfessional
Responsibility.
(1) signingdrawnchecksagainsttheaccountofhissonasiftheywerefromhisownaccount;
Rule1.01oftheCodeofProfessionalResponsibilityprovides:
(2) misrepresentingtoNavarrotheidentityofthelothemortgagedtoher;
Rule1.01.Alawyershallnotengageinunlawful,dishonest,immoralordeceitfulconduct.
(3) misrepresentingtoPresbiterothetruevalueofthe263squaremeterlothemortgagedtoher;
Withrespecttohisclient,Presbitero,itwasestablishedthatrespondentagreedtopayahigh
interestrateontheloanheobtainedfromher.HedraftedtheMOA.Yet,whenhecouldno
(4) conspiringwithYulotoobtaintheloansfromcomplainants; longerpayhisloan,hesoughttonullifythesameMOAhedraftedonthegroundthatthe
interestratewasunconscionable.Itwasalsoestablishedthatrespondentmortgageda263
(5) agreeingorpromisingtopay10%interestonhisloansalthoughheknewthatitwasexorbitant;and squaremeterpropertytoPresbiteroforP1,000,000buthelatersoldthepropertyforonly
P150,000,showingthathedeceivedhisclientastotherealvalueofthemortgagedproperty.
(6) Respondentsallegationthatthesalewaseventuallyrescindeddidnotdistractfromthefact
failingtopayhisloansbecausethechecksheissuedweredishonoredastheaccountswerealreadyclosed.
thathedidnotapprisePresbiteroastotherealvalueoftheproperty.

RespondentfailedtorefutethatthechecksheissuedtohisclientPresbiteroandtoNavarro
TheIBPCBDalsofoundthatrespondentviolatedCanon16andRule16.01oftheCodeof belongedtohisson,IvanGarciaSolidumIIIwhosenameissimilartohisname.Heonly
Professional Responsibility when he failed to properly account for the various funds he claimedthatcomplainantsknewthathecouldnolongeropenacurrentbankaccount,andthat
receivedfromcomplainants. theyevensuggestedthathiswifeorsonissuethechecksforhim.However,weareinclined
to agree with the IBPCBDs finding that he made complainants believethat theaccount
In addition, the IBPCBD found that respondent violated Rule 16.04 of the Code of belongedtohim.Infact,respondentsignedinthepresenceofNavarrothefirstbatchofchecks
ProfessionalResponsibilitywhichprohibitsborrowingmoneyfromaclientunlesstheclients heissuedtoNavarro.RespondentsentthesecondbatchofcheckstoNavarroandthethird
interestisfullyprotectedortheclientisgivenindependentadvice. batchofcheckstoPresbiterothroughamessenger,andcomplainantsbelievedthatthechecks
belongedtoaccountsinrespondentsname.
Onthematterofpracticinglawwhileundersuspension,theIBPCBDfoundthattherecords
werenotclearwhetherthenoticeofsuspensionrespondentreceivedon29May2006wasthe ItisclearthatrespondentviolatedRule1.01oftheCodeofProfessionalResponsibility.We
reportandrecommendationoftheIBPCBDorthefinaldecisionofthisCourt.TheIBPCBD haveruledthatconduct,asusedintheRule,isnotconfinedtotheperformanceofalawyers
likewisefoundthattherewasinsufficientevidencetoprovethatrespondentmishandledhis professional duties.1 A lawyer may be disciplined for misconduct committed either in his
cases. professionalorprivatecapacity.2Thetestiswhetherhisconductshowshimtobewantingin
moralcharacter,honesty,probity,andgooddemeanor,orwhetheritrendershimunworthyto
TheIBPCBDrecommendedthatrespondentbemetedthepenaltyofdisbarment. continueasanofficerofthecourt.3
receivedfromPresbitero.
Inthiscase,theloanagreementswithNavarroweredoneinrespondentsprivatecapacity.
Although Navarro financed the registration of Yulos lot, respondent and Navarro had no Clearly,respondenthadbeennegligentinproperlyaccountingforthemoneyhereceivedfrom
lawyerclient relationship. However, respondent was Presbiteros counsel at the time she hisclient,Presbitero.Indeed,hisfailuretoreturntheexcessmoneyinhispossessiongivesrise
grantedhimaloan.ItwasestablishedthatrespondentmisledPresbiteroonthevalueofthe tothepresumptionthathehasmisappropriateditforhisownusetotheprejudiceof,andin
propertyhemortgagedasacollateralforhisloanfromher.ToappeasePresbitero,respondent violationofthetrustreposedinhimby,theclient.5
evenmadeaDeedofUndertakingthathewouldgiveheranother1,000squaremeterlotas
additionalcollateralbuthefailedtodoso. Rule16.04oftheCodeofProfessionalResponsibilityprovides:

Clearly, respondent is guilty of engaging in dishonest and deceitful conduct, both in his Rule16.04.Alawyershallnotborrowmoneyfromhisclientunlesstheclientsinterestsare
professionalcapacitywithrespecttohisclient,Presbitero,andinhisprivatecapacitywith fullyprotectedbythenatureofthecaseorbyindependentadvice.Neithershallalawyerlend
respecttocomplainantNavarro.BothPresbiteroandNavarroallowedrespondenttodraftthe moneytoaclientexcept,whenintheinterestofjustice,hehastoadvancenecessaryexpenses
termsoftheloanagreements.RespondentdraftedtheMOAsknowingthattheinterestrates inalegalmatterheishandlingfortheclient.
wereexorbitant.Later,usinghisknowledgeofthelaw,heassailedthevalidityofthesame
MOAsheprepared.Heissuedchecksthatweredrawnfromhissonsaccountwhosenamewas Here,respondentdoesnotdenythatheborrowedP1,000,000fromhisclientPresbitero.Atthe
similartohiswithoutinformingcomplainants.Further,thereisnothingintherecordsthatwill timehesecuredtheloan,respondentwasalreadytheretainedcounselofPresbitero.
showthatrespondentpaidorundertooktopaytheloansheobtainedfromcomplainants.
WhilerespondentsloanfromPresbiterowassecuredbyaMOA,postdatedchecksandreal
Canon16andRule16.01oftheCodeofProfessionalResponsibilityprovide: estatemortgage, itturnedoutthat respondentmisrepresentedthevalue ofthepropertyhe
mortgagedandthatthechecksheissuedwerenotdrawnfromhisaccountbutfromthatofhis
CANON16.ALAWYERSHALLHOLDINTRUSTALLMONEYSANDPROPERTIES son.RespondenteventuallyquestionedthetermsoftheMOAthathehimselfpreparedonthe
OFHISCLIENTTHATMAYCOMEINTOHISPOSSESSION. ground that the interest rateimposed on his loan was unconscionable. Finally, the checks
issuedbyrespondenttoPresbiteroweredishonoredbecausetheaccountswerealreadyclosed.
Rule16.01Alawyershallaccountforallmoneyorpropertycollectedorreceivedforor Theinterestofhisclient,Presbitero,aslenderinthiscase,wasnotfullyprotected.Respondent
fromtheclient. violatedRule16.04oftheCodeofProfessionalResponsibility,whichpresumesthattheclient
isdisadvantagedbythelawyersabilitytouseallthelegalmaneuveringstorenegeonhis
Thefiduciarynatureoftherelationshipbetweenthecounselandhisclientimposesonthe obligation.6 In his dealings with his client Presbitero, respondent took advantage of his
lawyerthedutytoaccountforthemoneyorpropertycollectedorreceivedfororfromhis knowledgeofthelawaswellasthetrustandconfidencereposedinhimbyhisclient.
client.4WeagreewiththeIBPCBDthatrespondentfailedtofulfillthisduty.Inthiscase,the
IBPCBDpointedoutthatrespondentreceivedvariousamountsfromcomplainantsbuthe WemodifytherecommendationoftheIBPBoardofGovernorsimposingonrespondentthe
couldnotaccountforallofthem. penaltyofsuspensionfromthepracticeoflawfortwoyears.Giventhefactsofthecase,we
seenoreasontodeviatefromtherecommendationoftheIBPCBDimposingonrespondent
Navarro,whofinancedtheregistrationofYulos18.85hectarelot, claimedthatrespondent the penalty of disbarment. Respondent failed to live up to the high standard of morality,
received P265,000from her. Respondent counteredthatP105,000 waspaidforrealestate honesty, integrity, and fair dealing required of him as a member of the legal profession. 7
taxesbuthecouldnotpresentanyreceipttoprovehisclaim.Respondentalsoclaimedthathe Instead,respondentemployedhisknowledgeandskillofthelawandtookadvantageofhis
paidP70,000tothesurveyorbutthereceiptwasonlyforP15,000.Respondentclaimedthathe clienttosecureunduegainsforhimself 8 thatwarrantshisremovalfromthepracticeoflaw.
paid P50,000 for filing fee, publication fee, and other expenses but again, he could not Likewise, we cannot sustain the IBP Board of Governors recommendation ordering
substantiatehisclaimswithanyreceipt.AspointedoutbytheIBPCBD,respondenthadbeen respondent to return his unpaid obligation to complainants, except for advances for the
lessthandiligentinaccountingforthefundshereceivedfromNavarrofortheregistrationof expenseshereceivedfromhisclient,Presbitero,thatwerenotaccountedatall.Indisciplinary
Yulos property. Unfortunately, the records are not clear whether respondent rendered an proceedingsagainstlawyers,theonlyissueiswhethertheofficerofthecourtisstillfittobe
accountingtoYulowhohadsincepassedaway. allowed to continue as a member of the Bar. 9 Our only concern is the determination of
respondentsadministrativeliability.10Ourfindingshavenomaterialbearingonotherjudicial
As regards Presbitero, it was established during the clarificatory hearing that respondent actionwhichthepartiesmaychoosetofileagainsteachother. 11Nevertheless,whenalawyer
receivedP50,000fromPresbitero.AstheIBPCBDpointedout,therecordsdonotshowhow receives money from a client for a particular purpose involving the clientattorney
respondent spent the funds because he was not transparent in liquidating the money he relationship,heisboundtorenderanaccountingtotheclientshowingthatthemoneywas
spent for that particular purpose. 12 If the lawyer doesnot use themoney for the intended 9
Roav.Moreno,supranote1.
purpose, hemust immediately returnthe moneyto his client. 13 Respondent wasgiven an
opportunitytorender an accounting,andhefailed.Hemustreturnthefullamountofthe 10
Id.
advancesgivenhimbyPresbitero,amountingtoP50,000.
11
Id.
WHEREFORE,theCourtfindsAtty.IvanM.Solidum,Jr.GUILTYofviolatingRule1.01,
Canon 16, Rule 16.01, and Rule 16.04 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. 12
Freemanv.Reyes,A.C.No.6246,15November2011,660SCRA48.
Accordingly,theCourt DISBARS himfromthepracticeoflaweffectiveimmediatelyupon
hisreceiptofthisDecision.
13
Id.

Atty.Solidumis ORDERED toreturntheadvanceshereceivedfromHildaS.Presbitero,


amountingtoP50,000,andtosubmittotheOfficeoftheBarConfidanthiscompliancewith
thisorderwithinthirtydaysfromfinalityofthisDecision.

LetcopiesofthisDecisionbefurnishedtheOfficeoftheBarConfidant,theIntegratedBarof
thePhilippinesfordistributiontoallitschapters,andtheOfficeoftheCourtAdministratorfor
disseminationtoallcourtsalloverthecountry.LetacopyofthisDecisionbeattachedtothe
personalrecordsofrespondent.

SOORDERED.

Sereno, C.J., Carpio, Velasco, Jr., LeonardoDe Castro, Brion, Peralta, Bersamin, Del
Castillo,Abad,Villarama,Jr.,Perez,Mendoza,Reyes,PerlasBernabe,and Leonen,JJ.,
concur.

Endnotes:

1
Roav.Moreno,A.C.No.8382,21April2010,618SCRA693.

2
Id.

3
Id.

4
Bellezav.Macasa,A.C.No.7815,23July2009,593SCRA549.

5
Id.

6
Friasv.Atty.Lozada,513Phil.512(2005).
Heck vs Santos : AM RTJ011657 : February 23, 2004 : J. Vitug : En Banc : Separate
7
Tabangv.Atty.Gacott,A.C.No.6490,9July2013. Opinion
ENBANC
8
Id. [A.M.No.RTJ011657.February23,2004]
HEINZ R. HECK, complainant, vs. JUDGE ANTHONY E. SANTOS, REGIONAL
TRIAL COURT, BRANCH 19, CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY,[if !supportFootnotes][1] d.JulytoOctober1980reportsubmittedbutnodateofsubmission
[endif]respondent. e.NovembertoDecember1980noentry
DECISION f.JanuarytoFebruary1981noentry
CALLEJOSR.,J.: g.MarchtoDecember1981submittedbutnodateofsubmission
May a retired judge charged with notarizing documents without the requisite notary h.JanuarytoDecember1982submittedbutnodateofsubmission
commission more than twenty years ago be disciplined therefor? This is the novel issue i.JanuarytoJune1983submittedonJanuary5,1984
presentedforresolutionbeforethisCourt. j.JulytoDecember1983noentry
TheinstantcasearosewheninaverifiedLetterComplaintdatedMarch21,2001HeinzR. k.JanuarytoDecember1984submittedonJanuary20,1986
HeckprayedforthedisbarmentofJudgeAnthonyE.Santos,RegionalTrialCourt,Branch19, l.JanuarytoDecember1985submittedonJanuary20,1986
CagayandeOroCity. 4.RecordsfailtoshowanyentryoftransmittalofnotarialdocumentsunderthenameAtty.
ThecomplainantallegedthatpriortotherespondentsappointmentasRTCjudgeonApril11, AnthonySantosafterDecember1985.
1989,heviolatedthenotariallaw,thus: 5.ItisfurthercertifiedthatthelastnotarialcommissionissuedtoAtty.AnthonySantoswason
JudgeSantos,basedonANNEXA,wasnotdulycommissionedasnotarypublicuntilJanuary January6,1988untilDecember31,1989.[if!supportFootnotes][4][endif]
9,1984butstillsubscribedandforwarded(onanonregularbasis)notarizeddocumentstothe InhisAnswerdatedJune13,2001,therespondentjudgecategoricallydeniedthecharges
ClerkofCourtVIstartingJanuary1980uncommissioneduntilthe9thofJanuary1984. againsthim.Healsosubmittedacertification[if!supportFootnotes][5][endif]fromClerkof
a) JudgeSantoswas commissionedfurther January 16th1986to December31 st 1987and Court,Atty.SabioBeja,toprovethattherewasnoproperrecordingofthecommissioned
January6th1988toDecember31st1989buttherecordsfailtoshowanyentryattheClerkof lawyersintheCityofCagayandeOroaswellasthesubmittednotarizeddocuments/notarial
CourtafterDecember31st1985untilDecember31st1989. register.Therespondentfurtheraverredasfollows:
b)JudgeSantosfailedtoforwardhisNotarialRegisteraftertheexpirationofhiscommission Thatthecomplainanthasneverbeenprivytothedocumentsnotarizedandsubmittedbythe
inDecember1989.[if!supportFootnotes][2][endif] respondentbeforetheOfficeoftheClerkofCourtoftheRegionalTrialCourtofMisamis
... Oriental,norhisrightsprejudicedonaccountofthesaidnotarizeddocumentsandtherefore
WHEREFOREinlightoftheforegoingcomplainantpray[s]toorderrespondent: nottheproperpartytoraisethesaidissues;
1.TodisbarJudgeAnthonyE.Santosandtoprohibithimfromallfuturepublicservice. That the complainant was one of the defendants in Civil Case No. 94334 entitled Vinas
2.Toforfeit[the]retirementbenefitsofJudgeSantos. KuranstaltenGesmbhetal.versusLugaitAquaMarineIndustries,Inc.,andHeinzHeck,for
3.ToprohibitJudgeSantosfromfuturepracticeofLaw. SpecificPerformance&SumofMoney,filedbeforetheRegionalTrialCourt,Branch19,
4.TofileacriminalsuitagainstJudgeSantos. CagayandeOroCity,whereinrespondentisthePresidingJudge.Theundersignedresolvedthe
5.Toconductaspeedyinvestigationandnottogrant/acceptanydelayingtacticsfromJudge caseinfavoroftheplaintiffs.[if!supportFootnotes][6][endif]
Santosoranyagencyandorpublicservantsinvolvedinthisadministrativecase. PursuanttothereportoftheOfficeoftheCourtAdministratorrecommendingtheneedto
6.Topayallcostsandrelatedcostsinvolvedinthisadministrativecase. resort to a fullblown investigation to determine the veracity of the parties assertions, the
andpraysforotherreliefinaccordancewithequityandfairnessbasedonthepremises.[if! Court,inaResolutiondatedSeptember10,2001,resolvedto:(a)treatthematterasaregular
supportFootnotes][3][endif] administrativecomplaint;and(b)referthecasetoAssociateJusticeEdgardoP.Cruzofthe
The complainant submitted a certification from Clerk of Court, Atty. Beverly SabioBeja, CourtofAppeals(CA)forinvestigation,reportandrecommendation.[if!supportFootnotes][7]
RegionalTrialCourt,MisamisOriental,whichcontainedthefollowing: [endif]
THISCERTIFIESthatuponverificationfromtherecordsfoundandavailableinthisoffice, InhisLettersdatedDecember10,2001andFebruary1,2002,thecomplainantrequestedthat
thefollowingdataappear: thehearingbeheldatCagayandeOroCity.JusticeCruzinitiallydeniedtherequestbutupon
1.ThenameAtty.AnthonyE.Santosislistedasadulycommissionednotarypublicinthe thecomplainantsinsistence,thematterwasforwardedtotheCourt,whichfavorablyacted
followingyears: thereoninaResolutiondatedJuly8,2002.[if!supportFootnotes][8][endif]Thecomplainant
a.January9,1984toDecember31,1985 presentedhisevidenceinCagayandeOroCitybeforeretiredCourtofAppealsJusticeRomulo
b.January16,1986toDecember31,1987 S.Quimbo.[if!supportFootnotes][9][endif]
c.January6,1988toDecember31,1989 InaSealedReportdatedAugust14,2003,InvestigatingJusticeEdgardoP.Cruzmadethe
2.Basedontherecordsoftransmittalsofnotarialreports,Atty.AnthonyE.Santossubmitted followingrecommendation:
hisnotarialreportsintheff.years: It is recommended that [i] respondent (who retired on May 22, 2002) be found guilty of
a.January1980reportwassubmittedonFeb.6,1980 violationoftheNotarialLawby(a)notarizingdocumentswithoutcommission;(b)tardinessin
b.FebruarytoApril1980reportwassubmittedonJune6,1980 submissionofnotarialreports;and(c)nonforwardingofhisnotarialregistertotheClerkof
c.MaytoJune1980reportwassubmittedonJuly29,1980 Courtuponexpirationofhiscommission;and[ii]thatfortheseinfractions,hebesuspended
fromthepracticeoflawandbarredfrombeingcommissionedasnotarypublic,bothforone sanctionedasamemberoftheBar.Judgmentinbothrespectsmaybeincorporatedinone
year,andhispresentcommission,ifany,berevoked.[if!supportFootnotes][10][endif] decisionorresolution.
AccordingtotheInvestigatingJustice,therespondentdidnotadduceevidenceinhisdefense, Before the Court approved this resolution, administrative and disbarment cases against
whilethecomplainantpresenteddocumentaryevidencetosupportthecharges: membersofthebarwhowerelikewisemembersofthecourtweretreatedseparately.Thus,
Itisnoteworthythatinhisanswer,respondentdidnotclaimthathewascommissionedas pursuant to the new rule, administrative cases against erring justices of the CA and the
notarypublicfortheyears1980to1983nordenytheaccuracyofthefirstcertification.He Sandiganbayan,judges,andlawyersinthegovernmentservicemaybeautomaticallytreatedas
merelyallegedthattherewasnoproperrecordingofthecommissionedlawyersintheCityof disbarmentcases.TheResolution,whichtookeffectonOctober1,2002,alsoprovidesthatit
CagayandeOronorofthesubmittedNotarizedDocuments/NotarialRegister.And,asalready shall supplement Rule 140 of the Rules of Court, and shall apply to administrative cases
observed,hepresentednoevidence,particularlyonhisappointmentasnotarypublicfor1980 alreadyfiledwheretherespondentshavenotyetbeenrequiredtocommentonthecomplaints.
to1983(assuminghewassocommissioned)andsubmissionofnotarialreportsandnotarial Clearly,theinstantcaseisnotcoveredbytheforegoingresolution,sincetherespondentfiled
register. hisAnswer/CommentonJune13,2001.
Ontheotherhand,thesecondcertificationshowsthattherewereonlytwoRecordBooks TheProcedureToBeFollowed
availableinthenotarialsectionoftheRTCofMisamisOriental(CagayandeOroCity);and InDisbarmentCasesInvolving
thatthe(f)irstbooktitledPetitionsforNotarialCommissioncontainsitemsontheName,Date ARetiredJudgeForActs
Commission was issued and Expiration of Commission of the notary public. First entry CommittedWhileHeWasStill
appearingwasmadeonDecember1982. APracticingLawyer
Ifrespondentwascommissionedin1980to1983,thenthefirstbookwoulddiscloseso(at Theundisputedfactsareasfollows:(1)therespondentisaretiredjudge;(2)thecomplainant
least,fortheyears1982and1983).However,hedidnotpresentsaidbook.Neitherdidhe prays for his disbarment; and (3) the acts constituting the ground for disbarment were
presentacertificationfromtheClerkofCourt,RTCofMisamisOriental,ordocumentsfrom committedwhentherespondentwasstillapracticing lawyer,beforehisappointmenttothe
hisfilesshowingthathewascommissionedin1980to1983.Similarly,hedidnotsubmita judiciary. Thus, the respondent is being charged not for acts committed as a judge; he is
certificateofappointmentforallthoseyears.UnderSection238oftheNotarialLaw,such charged,asamemberofthebar, with notarizingdocumentswithoutthe requisitenotarial
certificatemustbepreparedandforwardedbytheClerkofCourt,RTC,totheOfficeofthe commissiontherefor.
SolicitorGeneral,togetherwiththeoathofofficeofthenotarypublic.[if!supportFootnotes] Section 1, Rule 139B of the Rules of Court on Disbarment and Discipline of Attorneys
[11][endif] provides:
Thus,theInvestigatingJusticeconcluded,basedontheevidencepresentedbythecomplainant, Section1.Proceedingsforthedisbarment,suspension,ordisciplineofattorneysmaybetaken
thattherespondentnotarizeddocumentsin1980and1983withoutbeingcommissionedasa bytheSupremeCourtmotuproprio,orbytheIntegratedBarofthePhilippines(IBP)upon
notarypublictherefor,consideringthathisearliestcommissionofrecordwasonJanuary9, verifiedcomplaintofanyperson.Thecomplaintshallstateclearly,andconciselythefacts
1984.[if!supportFootnotes][12][endif] complainedofandshallbesupportedbyaffidavitsofpersonshavingpersonalknowledgeof
TheProceduralIssues thefactsthereinallegedand/orbysuchdocumentsasmaysubstantiatesaidfacts.
BeforetheCourtpassesuponthemeritsoftheinstantcomplaint,abriefbackgrounder. TheIBPBoardofGovernorsmay,motupropriooruponreferralbytheSupremeCourtorbya
OntheApplicabilityof Chapter Board ofOfficers, orat theinstance ofany person, initiate and prosecute proper
ResolutionA.M.No.02 chargesagainsterringattorneysincludingthoseinthegovernmentservice:Provided,however,
902SC ThatallchargesagainstJusticesoftheCourtofTaxAppealsandlowercourts,eveniflawyers
OnSeptember17,2002,weissuedResolutionA.M.No.02902SC,[if!supportFootnotes] arejointlychargedwiththem,shallbefiledwiththeSupremeCourt:Provided,further,That
[13][endif]towit: chargesfiledagainstJusticesandJudgesbeforetheIBP,includingthosefiledpriortotheir
SomeadministrativecasesagainstJusticesoftheCourtofAppealsandtheSandiganbayan; appointment to the Judiciary, shall be immediately forwarded to the Supreme Court for
judgesofregularandspecialcourts;andthecourtofficialswhoarelawyersarebasedon dispositionandadjudication.[if!supportFootnotes][14][endif]
groundswhicharelikewisegroundsforthedisciplinaryactionofmembersoftheBarfor TheinvestigationmaythereaftercommenceeitherbeforetheIntegratedBarofthePhilippines
violationoftheLawyersOath,theCodeofProfessionalResponsibility,andtheCanonsof (IBP),inaccordancewithSections2toSections12ofRule139B,orbeforetheSupreme
ProfessionalEthics,orforsuchotherformsofbreachesofconductthathavebeentraditionally CourtinaccordancewithSections13and14,thus:
recognizedasgroundsforthedisciplineoflawyers. Section 13. Supreme Court Investigators. In proceedings initiated motu proprio by the
In any of the foregoing instances, the administrative case shall also be considered a SupremeCourtorinotherproceedingswhentheinterestofjusticesorequires,theSupreme
disciplinary action against the respondent justice, judge or court official concerned as a CourtmayreferthecaseforinvestigationtotheSolicitorGeneralortoanyofficerofthe
memberoftheBar.Therespondentmayforthwithberequiredtocommentonthecomplaint SupremeCourtorjudgeofalowercourt,inwhichcasetheinvestigationshallproceedinthe
andshowcause why he shouldnot alsobesuspended,disbarred orotherwise disciplinary samemannerprovidedinSections6to11hereof,savethatthereviewofthereportshallbe
conducteddirectlybytheSupremeCourt. Judgeofthelower courtsfiledin connectionwithacaseincourtisshown tobeclearly
Section14.ReportoftheSolicitorGeneralorotherCourtdesignatedInvestigator.Basedupon unfounded and baseless and intended to harass the respondent, such a finding should be
the evidence adduced at the investigation, the Solicitor General or other Investigator includedinthereportandrecommendationoftheOfficeoftheCourtAdministrator.Ifthe
designatedbytheSupremeCourtshallsubmittotheSupremeCourtareportcontaininghis recommendationisapprovedoraffirmedbytheCourt,thecomplainantmayberequiredto
findingsoffactandrecommendationstogetherwiththerecordandalltheevidencepresented showcausewhyheshouldnotbeheldincontemptofcourt.Ifthecomplainantisalawyer,he
intheinvestigationforthefinalactionoftheSupremeCourt. mayfurtherberequiredtoshowcausewhyheorsheshouldnotbeadministrativelysanctioned
ItisclearfromtheRulesthenthatacomplaintfordisbarmentiscognizablebytheCourtitself, asamemberoftheBarandasanofficerofthecourt.
and its indorsement to the IBP is not mandatory. The Court may refer the complaint for 2.Ifthecomplaintis(a)filedwithinsixmonthsbeforethecompulsoryretirementofaJustice
investigation,reportandrecommendationtotheSolicitorGeneral,anyofficerofthecourtora orJudge;(b)foranallegedcauseofactionthatoccurredatleastayearbeforesuchfilingand
judge of a lower court, on which the Court will thereafter base its final action.[if ! (c) shown prima facie that it is intended to harass the respondent, it must forthwith be
supportFootnotes][15][endif] recommendedfordismissal.Ifsuchisnotthecase,theOfficeoftheCourtAdministratormust
Although therespondenthasalreadyretired fromthejudiciary,he is still consideredasa requiretherespondenttofileacommentwithinten(10)daysfromreceiptofthecomplaint,
memberofthebarandassuch,isnotimmunetothediscipliningarmoftheSupremeCourt, andsubmittotheCourtareportandrecommendationnotlaterthan30daysfromreceiptofthe
pursuanttoArticleVIII,Section6[if!supportFootnotes][16][endif]ofthe1987Constitution. comment. The Court shall act on the recommendation before the date of compulsory
Furthermore,atthetimeofthefilingofthecomplaint,therespondentwasstillthepresiding retirementoftherespondent,orifitisnotpossibletodoso,withinsix(6)monthsfromsuch
judgeoftheRegionalTrialCourt,Branch19,CagayandeOroCity.Assuch,thecomplaint datewithoutprejudicetothereleaseoftheretirementbenefitslesssuchamountastheCourt
wascognizablebytheCourtitself,astheRulemandatesthatincasetherespondentisajustice mayordertobewithheld,takingintoaccountthegravityofthecauseofactionallegedinthe
oftheCourtofTaxAppealsorthelowercourt,thecomplaintshallbefiledwiththeSupreme complaint.
Court.[if!supportFootnotes][17][endif] Thus,inorderforanadministrativecomplaintagainstaretiringorretiredjudgeorjusticetobe
TheSubstantiveIssues dismissedoutright,thefollowingrequisitesmustconcur:(1)thecomplaintmusthavebeen
TheRetirementOrResignation filedwithinsixmonthsfromthecompulsoryretirementofthejudgeorjustice;(2)thecauseof
OfAJudgeWillNotPreclude actionmusthaveoccurredatleast ayearbeforesuchfiling;and,(3)itisshownthatthe
TheFilingThereafterOfAn complaintwasintendedtoharasstherespondent.
AdministrativeChargeAgainst Inthiscase,theAdministrativeComplaintdatedMarch21,2001wasreceivedbytheOfficeof
HimForWhichHeShallStill theCourtAdministratoronMarch26,2001.[if!supportFootnotes][21][endif]Therespondent
retiredcompulsorilyfromtheservicemorethanayearlater,oronMay22,2002.Likewise,
BeHeldAnswerableIfFound
the ground for disbarment or disciplinary action alleged to have been committed by the
LiableTherefor
respondent did not occur a year before the respondents separation from the service.
Thefactthatajudgehasretiredorhasotherwisebeenseparatedfromtheservicedoesnot
Furthermore,andmostimportantly,theinstantcomplaintwasnot primafacie showntobe
necessarilydivesttheCourtofitsjurisdictiontodeterminetheveracityoftheallegationsofthe
withoutmeritandintendedmerelytoharasstherespondent.Clearly,therefore,theinstantcase
complaint,pursuanttoitsdisciplinaryauthorityovermembersofthebench.Asweheldin
doesnotfallwithintheambitoftheforegoingresolution.
Gallosv.Cordero:[if!supportFootnotes][18][endif]
AJudgeMayBeDisciplined
Thejurisdictionthatwasoursatthetimeofthefilingoftheadministrativecomplaintwasnot
ForActsCommittedBeforeHis
lostbythemerefactthattherespondent,hadceasedinofficeduringthependencyofhiscase.
TheCourtretainsjurisdictioneithertopronouncetherespondentpublicofficialinnocentofthe AppointmentToTheJudiciary
chargesordeclarehimguiltythereof.Acontraryrulewouldbefraughtwithinjusticeand Itissettledthatajudgemaybedisciplinedforactscommittedpriortohisappointmenttothe
pregnantwithdreadfulanddangerousimplications...Ifinnocent,respondentpublicofficial judiciary.[if!supportFootnotes][22][endif]Infact,eventhenewRuleitselfrecognizesthis,as
meritsvindicationofhisnameandintegrityasheleavesthegovernmentwhichhehasserved itprovidesfortheimmediateforwardingtotheSupremeCourtfordispositionandadjudication
wellandfaithfully;ifguilty,hedeservestoreceivethecorrespondingcensureandapenalty of charges against justices andjudges before the IBP, including thosefiledprior to their
properandimposableunderthesituation.[if!supportFootnotes][19][endif] appointmenttothejudiciary.[if!supportFootnotes][23][endif]Itneednotbeshownthatthe
However,recognizingtheproliferationofunfoundedormaliciousadministrativeorcriminal respondent continued the doing of the act or acts complained of; it is sufficient that the
casesagainstmembersofthejudiciaryforpurposesofharassment,weissuedA.M.No.0310 evidence on record supports the charge on the respondent, considering the gravity of the
01SC[if!supportFootnotes][20][endif]whichtookeffectonNovember3,2003.Itreadsin offense.
part: Indeed,thereisjurisprudencetotheeffectthattheactcomplainedofmustbecontinuingin
1. If upon an informal preliminary inquiry by the Office of the Court Administrator, an order for the respondent judge to be disciplined therefor. In Sevilla v. Salubre,[if !
administrativecomplaintagainstanyJusticeoftheCourtofAppealsorSandiganbayanorany supportFootnotes][24][endif]therespondentjudgewaschargedwithviolatingCanon16ofthe
CodeofProfessionalResponsibility,foractscommittedwhilehewasstillapracticinglawyer. documents.[if !supportFootnotes][34][endif] For such reprehensible conduct, the Court has
The respondent therein refused to turn over the funds of his client despite demands, and sanctionederringlawyersbysuspensionfromthepracticeoflaw,revocationofthenotarial
persistedinhisrefusalevenafterhewasappointedasajudge.However,theCourtalsostated commission and disqualification from acting as such, and even disbarment.[if !
inthiscasethattherespondentssubsequentappointmentasajudgewillnotexculpatehim supportFootnotes][35][endif]
from taking responsibility for the consequences of his acts asanofficer ofthe court.[if ! InthecaseofNungav.Viray,[if!supportFootnotes][36][endif]theCourthadtheoccasionto
supportFootnotes][25][endif] state
InthecaseofAlfonsov.Juanson,[if!supportFootnotes][26][endif]weheldthatproofofprior WherethenotarizationofadocumentisdonebyamemberofthePhilippineBaratatime
immoralconductcannotbeusedasbasisforadministrativedisciplineagainstajudgeifheis when he has no authorization or commission to do so, the offender may be subjected to
notchargedwithimmoralitypriortohisappointment.Weratiocinated,thus: disciplinaryaction.Forone,performinganotarial[act]withoutsuchcommissionisaviolation
...[I]twouldbeunreasonableandunfairtopresumethatsincehehadwanderedfromthepath ofthelawyersoathtoobeythelaws,morespecifically,theNotarialLaw.Then,too,bymaking
ofmoralrighteousness,hecouldneverretracehisstepsandwalkproudandtallagaininthat itappearthatheisdulycommissionedwhenheisnot,heis,foralllegalintentsandpurposes,
path.Nomanisbeyondinformationandredemption.Alawyerwhoaspiresfortheexalted indulging in deliberate falsehood, which the lawyers oath similarly proscribes . These
positionofamagistrateknows,oroughttoknow,thathemustpayahighpriceforthathonor violations fall squarely within the prohibition of Rule 1.01 of Canon 1 of the Code of
hisprivateandofficialconductmustatalltimesbefreefromtheappearanceofimpropriety.... ProfessionalResponsibility,whichprovides:Alawyershallnotengageinunlawful,dishonest,
[if!supportFootnotes][27][endif] immoralordeceitfulconduct.[if!supportFootnotes][37][endif]
TheCourtruledinthatcasethatthecomplainantfailedtoprovethechargesbysubstantial Theimportanceofthefunctionofanotarypubliccannot,therefore,beoveremphasized.No
evidence.[if !supportFootnotes][28][endif] The complainant therein presented evidence lessthanthepublicfaithintheintegrityofpublicdocumentsisatstakeineveryaspectofthat
pertainingtotherespondentspreviousindiscretionwhilestillapracticinglawyer;noevidence function.[if!supportFootnotes][38][endif]
was,however,adducedtoprovethatthelattercontinuedtoengageinillicitactsafterbeing TheChargeAgainstThe
appointed to the bench. Thus, the respondent was exonerated in this case because the RespondentIsSupportedBy
complainant failed to present evidence that the indiscretion continued even after the TheEvidenceOnRecord
respondentwasappointedtothejudiciary. Therespondentdidnotobjecttothecomplainantsformalofferofevidence,promptingthe
Thepracticeoflawissoultimatelyaffectedwithpublicinterestthatitisboththerightand Investigating Justice to decide the case on the basis of the pleadings filed.[if !
duty of the State to control and regulate it in order to promote the public welfare. The supportFootnotes][39][endif]Neitherdidheclaimthathewascommissionedasnotarypublic
ConstitutionveststhispowerofcontrolandregulationinthisCourt.[if!supportFootnotes][29] fortheyears1980to1983,nordenytheaccuracyofthefirstcertification.Therespondent
[endif] The Supreme Court, as guardian of the legal profession, has ultimate disciplinary merelyallegedinhisanswerthattherewasnoproperrecordingofthecommissionedlawyers
poweroverattorneys,whichauthorityisnotonlyarightbutaboundendutyaswell.Thisis intheCityofCagayandeOronorofthesubmittedNotarizedDocuments/NotarialRegister.
whyrespectandfidelitytotheCourtisdemandedofitsmembers.[if!supportFootnotes][30] Furthermore,asfoundbytheInvestigatingJustice,therespondentpresentednoevidenceofhis
[endif] commissionasnotarypublicfortheyears1980to1983,aswellasproofofsubmissionof
NotarizingDocumentsWithout notarialreportsandthenotarialregister.[if!supportFootnotes][40][endif]
TheRequisiteCommission Therespondentinthiscasewasgivenanopportunitytoanswerthechargesandtocontrovert
ThereforeConstitutes theevidenceagainsthiminaformalinvestigation.Whentheintegrityofamemberofthebar
Malpractice,IfNotTheCrime ischallenged,itisnotenoughthathedenythecharges;hemustmeettheissueandovercome
OfFalsificationOfPublic theevidenceagainsthim.[if!supportFootnotes][41][endif]
Documents Therespondentsallegationthatthecomplainantwasnotapartyinanyofthedocumentsso
Itmustberememberedthatnotarizationisnotanempty,meaningless,routinaryact.Onthe notarized,andassuchwasnotprejudicedthereby,isunavailing.Anattorneymaybedisbarred
contrary,itisinvestedwithsubstantivepublicinterest,suchthatonlythosewhoarequalified orsuspendedforanyviolationofhisoathorofhisdutiesasanattorneyandcounselorwhich
orauthorizedmayactasnotariespublic.[if!supportFootnotes][31][endif]Notarizationbya includethestatutorygroundsunderSection27,Rule138[if!supportFootnotes][42][endif]of
notarypublicconvertsaprivatedocumentintoapublicone,makingitadmissibleinevidence theRevised Rulesof Court.Anyinterestedpersonorthecourt motuproprio may initiate
without the necessity of preliminary proof of its authenticity and due execution.[if ! disciplinaryproceedings.Therecanbenodoubtastotherightofacitizentobringtothe
supportFootnotes][32][endif] attention oftheproper authorityactsanddoingsofpublicofficerswhichcitizensfeelare
Therequirementsfortheissuanceofacommissionasnotarypublicmustnotbetreatedasa incompatiblewiththedutiesoftheofficeandfromwhichconductthecitizenorthepublic
merecasualformality.[if!supportFootnotes][33][endif]TheCourthascharacterizedalawyers mightordoessufferundesirableconsequences.[if!supportFootnotes][43][endif]
act of notarizing documents without the requisite commission therefore as reprehensible, AnAdministrativeComplaint
constituting as it does not only malpractice, but also the crime of falsification of public AgainstAMemberOfTheBar
DoesNotPrescribe timehaselapsedfromthetimeofthecommissionoftheactcomplainedofandthetimeofthe
Thequalificationofgoodmoralcharacterisarequirementwhichisnotdispensedwithupon institution of the complaint, erring members of the bench and bar cannot escape the
admissiontomembershipofthebar.Thisqualificationisnotonlyaconditionprecedentto disciplining arm of the Court. This categorical pronouncement is aimed at unscrupulous
admissiontothelegalprofession,butitscontinuedpossessionisessentialtomaintainones membersofthebenchandbar,todeterthemfromcommittingactswhichviolatetheCodeof
good standinginthe profession.It is a continuing requirement tothepractice oflaw and ProfessionalResponsibility,theCodeofJudicialConduct,ortheLawyersOath.Thisshould
thereforedoesnotprecludeasubsequentjudicialinquiry,uponpropercomplaint,intoany particularly apply in this case, considering the seriousness of the matter involved the
questionconcerningonesmentalormoralfitnessbeforehebecamealawyer.Thisisbecause respondentsdishonestyandthesanctityofnotarialdocuments.
his admission to practice merely creates a rebuttable presumption that he has all the Thus,eventhelapseofconsiderabletime,fromthecommissionoftheoffendingacttothe
qualificationstobecomealawyer.[if!supportFootnotes][44][endif]Theruleissettledthata institutionoftheadministrativecomplaint,willnoterasetheadministrativeculpabilityofa
lawyermaybesuspendedordisbarredforanymisconduct,evenifitpertainstohisprivate lawyerwhonotarizesdocumentswithouttherequisiteauthoritytherefor.
activities,aslongasitshowshimtobewantinginmoralcharacter,honesty,probityorgood AtMost,TheDelayInThe
demeanor.Possessionofgoodmoralcharacterisnotonlyaprerequisitetoadmissiontothebar InstitutionOfThe
butalsoacontinuingrequirementtothepracticeoflaw.[if!supportFootnotes][45][endif] AdministrativeCaseWould
Furthermore,administrativecasesagainstlawyersbelongtoaclassoftheirown,distinctfrom MerelyMitigateThe
andmayproceedindependentlyofcivilandcriminalcases.[if!supportFootnotes][46][endif] RespondentsLiability
AsweheldintheleadingcaseofInreAlmacen:[if!supportFootnotes][47][endif] Timeandagain,wehavestressedthesettledprinciplethatthepracticeoflawisnotarightbut
[D]isciplinary proceedings against lawyers are sui generis. Neither purely civil nor purely a privilege bestowed bythe State on those who show that they possess the qualifications
criminal,theydonotinvolveatrialofanactionorasuit,butareratherinvestigationsbythe requiredbylawfortheconfermentofsuchprivilege. Membershipinthebarisaprivilege
Courtintotheconductofoneofitsofficers.Notbeingintendedtoinflictpunishment,[they burdenedwithconditions.Ahighsenseofmorality,honesty,andfairdealingisexpectedand
are] in no sense a criminal prosecution. Accordingly, there is neither a plaintiff nor a required of a member of the bar.[if !supportFootnotes][52][endif] By his actuations, the
prosecutortherein.[They]maybeinitiatedbytheCourtmotuproprio.Publicinterestis[their] respondentfailedtoliveuptosuchstandards;[if!supportFootnotes][53][endif]heundermined
primaryobjective,andtherealquestionfordeterminationiswhetherornottheattorneyisstill theconfidenceofthepubliconnotarialdocumentsandtherebybreachedCanonIoftheCode
afitpersontobeallowedtheprivilegesassuch.Hence,intheexerciseofitsdisciplinary ofProfessionalResponsibility,whichrequireslawyerstoupholdtheConstitution,obeythe
powers,theCourtmerelycallsuponamemberoftheBartoaccountforhisactuationsasan lawsofthelandandpromoterespectforthelawandlegalprocesses.Therespondentalso
officeroftheCourtwiththeendinviewofpreservingthepurityofthelegalprofessionand violatedRule1.01thereofwhichproscribeslawyersfromengaginginunlawful,dishonest,
theproperandhonestadministrationofjusticebypurgingtheprofessionofmemberswhoby immoral or deceitful conduct.[if !supportFootnotes][54][endif] In representing that he was
theirmisconducthaveprove[n]themselvesnolongerworthytobeentrustedwiththeduties possessedoftherequisitenotarialcommissionwhenhewas,infact,notsoauthorized,the
andresponsibilitiespertainingtotheofficeofanattorney.....[if!supportFootnotes][48][endif] respondentalsoviolatedRule10.01oftheCodeofProfessionalResponsibilityandhisoathas
In a case involving a mere court employee[if !supportFootnotes][49][endif] the Court alawyerthatheshalldonofalsehood.
disregardedtheCourtAdministratorsrecommendationthatthechargeforimmoralityagainst The supreme penalty of disbarment is meted out only in clear cases of misconduct that
therespondentbedismissedonthegroundthatthecomplainantsfailedtoadduceevidencethat seriouslyaffectthestandingandcharacterofthelawyerasanofficerofthecourt.Whilewe
therespondentsimmoralconductwasstillongoing.Asidefrombeingfoundguiltyofillicit willnothesitatetoremoveanerringattorneyfromtheesteemedbrotherhoodoflawyerswhere
conduct, the respondent was also found guilty of dishonesty for falsifying her childrens theevidencecallsforit,wewilllikewisenotdisbarhimwherealesserpenaltywillsufficeto
certificatesoflivebirthtoshowthatherparamourwasthefather.Thecomplaintinthiscase accomplish the desired end.[if !supportFootnotes][55][endif] Furthermore, a tempering of
was filed on August 5, 1999, almost twenty years after the illicit affair ended.[if ! justiceismandatedinthiscase,consideringthatthecomplaintagainsttherespondentwasfiled
supportFootnotes][50][endif]TheCourtheldthatadministrativeoffensesdonotprescribe.[if! twentyfouryearsafterthecommissionoftheactcomplainedof;[if!supportFootnotes][56]
supportFootnotes][51][endif] [endif]thattherewasnoprivateoffendedpartywhocameforwardandclaimedtohavebeen
Pursuant to the foregoing, there can be no other conclusion than that an administrative adverselyaffectedbythedocumentssonotarizedbytherespondent;and,thefactthatthe
complaintagainstanerringlawyerwhowasthereafterappointedasajudge,albeitfiledonly respondent is a retired judge who deserves to enjoy the full measure of his wellearned
aftertwentyfouryearsaftertheoffendingactwascommitted,isnotbarredbyprescription.If retirementbenefits.[if!supportFootnotes][57][endif]TheCourtfindsthatafineofP5,000.00is
therulewereotherwise,membersofthebarwouldbeemboldenedtodisregardtheveryoath justifiedinthiscase.
theytookaslawyers,prescindingfromthefactthataslongasnoprivatecomplainantwould WHEREFORE, respondent Judge Anthony E. Santos is found GUILTY of notarizing
immediatelycomeforward,theystandachanceofbeingcompletelyexoneratedfromwhatever documentswithouttherequisitenotarialcommissiontherefor.HeisherebyORDEREDtopay
administrativeliabilitytheyoughttoanswerfor.ItisthedutyofthisCourttoprotectthe afineintheamountofFiveThousandPesos(P5,000.00).
integrityofthepracticeoflawaswellastheadministrationofjustice.Nomatterhowmuch SOORDERED.
Puno, Panganiban, Quisumbing, YnaresSantiago, SandovalGutierrez, Carpio, Austria persons.2
Martinez,Corona,CarpioMorales,Azcuna,andTinga,JJ.,concur. Eventually,LiliaTabangwasabletopurchasesevenparcelsandobtainedthecorresponding
Davide,Jr.,C.J.,joinMr.JusticeJ.C.Vituginhisseparateopinion. TransferCertificatesofTitle(TCT)underthenamesoffictitiouspersons,asfollows:
Vitug,J.,seeseparateopinion. 1.TCTNo.12475AmeliaAndes;
2.TCTNo.12476WilfredoOndoy;
3.TCTNo.12790AgnesCamilla;
4.TCTNo.12791LeonorPetronio;
5.TCTNo.12792WilfredoGomez;
6.TCTNo.12793ElizabethDungan;and
7.TCTNo.12794AndesEstoy.3
Later,complainantsLiliaandConcepcionTabangdecidedtosellthesevenparcelsasthey
wereinneedoffundsfortheirmedicationandotherexpenses.Claimingthathewouldhelp
complainantsbyofferingtheparcelstoprospectivebuyers,respondentGlennGacottborrowed
fromLiliaTabangtheTCTscoveringtheparcels.4
Aboutayearafterrespondentborrowedthetitlesandafterhefailedtonegotiateanysale,
complainantsconfrontedrespondent.Respondentthentoldthecomplainantsthathehadlost
allseventitles.5
Onthepretextofofferingaremedytocomplainants,respondentadvisedthemtofilepetitions
incourtforreissuanceoftitles.Pretendingtobethe"authorizedagentrepresentative"ofthe
fictitiousownersofthesevenparcels,LiliaTabangfiledpetitionsforreissuanceoftitles. 6
Inthecourseoftheproceedings,thepublicprosecutornoticedsimilaritiesinthesignaturesof
thesupposedownersthatwereaffixedontheSpecialPowersofAttorney(SPA)purportedly
executedinfavorofLiliaTabang.Thepublicprosecutor,actingonhisobservation,askedthe
courttohavethesupposedownerssummoned.7
Seekingtoavoidembarrassment,LiliaTabanghadthepetitionsvoluntarilydismissedwithout
prejudicetotheirbeingrefiled.8
Subsequently,LiliaTabangfiledanewsetofpetitions.Thistime,shechangedthefictitious
ENBANC ownerssignaturesinthehopeofmakingthemlookmorevaried. 9
A.C.No.6490July9,2013(FormerlyCBDCaseNo.031054) UponlearningthatLiliaTabanghadfiledanewsetofpetitions,respondentexecutedseveral
LILIATABANGANDCONCEPCIONTABANG,Complainants, documentsthatincludedrevocationsofSPAsandvariousaffidavitsofrecoverypurportedly
vs. signed bytheparcels(fictitious) owners. Respondentthencaused theannotationofthese
ATTY.GLENNC.GACOTT,Respondent. documentsontheTCTsofthesevenparcels.10
RESOLUTION Also,respondentcausedthepublicationofnoticeswhereherepresentedhimselfastheowner
PERCURIAM: oftheparcelsandannouncedthatthesewereforsale. 11Later,respondentsucceededinselling
ThiscaseinvolvesacomplaintfordisbarmentdirectlyfiledwiththeIntegratedBarofthe thesevenparcels.Hereceivedatotalof?3,773,675.00fromtheproceedsofthesales. 12
Philippines(IBP)chargingrespondentAtty.GlennGacottofengaginginunlawful,dishonest, Allegingthatrespondentcommittedgrossmisconduct,dishonesty,anddeceit,complainants
immoral or deceitful conduct in violation of Rule 1.01 of the Code of Professional filedtheircomplaintdirectlywiththeIntegratedBarofthePhilippinesonFebruary3,2003.
Responsibility(CPR).1 ThecasewasdocketedasCommissiononBarDiscipline(CBD)CaseNo.031054.
Complainantsallegedthatsometimein1984and1985,complainantLiliaTabangsoughtthe Inhisdefense,respondentallegedthattheownersofthesevenparcelswerenotfictitiousand
advice of Judge Eustaquio Gacott, respondent Atty. Glenn Gacotts father. Lilia Tabang thattheyhadvoluntarilysoldthesevenparcels.HeaddedthatLiliaTabanghadbeenmerely
intendedtopurchaseatotalofthirty(30)hectaresofagriculturallandlocatedinBarangay thebrokerforthesevenparcelsandthatshehadunsuccessfullydemandeda"balato"oftwenty
Bacungan,PuertoPrincesa,Palawan,whichconsistedofseveralparcelsbelongingtodifferent percent(20%)fromtheproceedsofthesaleofthesevenparcels.Heallegedthataftershehad
owners.JudgeGacottnotedthatunderthegovernmentsagrarianreformprogram,Tabangwas beenrefusedtobegivena"balato,"LiliaTabanghadthreatenedtodefamehimandseekhis
prohibitedfromacquiringvasttractsofagriculturallandasshealreadyownedotherparcels. disbarment.13
Thus,JudgeGacottadvisedhertoputthetitlesoftheparcelsunderthenamesoffictitious InherReportandRecommendationdatedMarch4,2004, 14 IBPInvestigatingCommissioner
LydiaA.NavarrofoundrespondentguiltyofgrossmisconductforviolatingRule1.01ofthe questioning(ifsuchquestioningwasfoundtobenecessary).Assuch,respondentsMotionfor
CodeofProfessionalResponsibility.Sherecommendedthatrespondentbesuspendedfromthe Reconsiderationwasdenied,andhewasrequiredtofilehisPositionPaper. 23
practiceoflawforsix(6)months. OnJuly30,2009,respondentfiledhisPositionPaper. 24 Subsequently,thecasewasdeemed
InaResolutiondatedApril16,2004, 15 theIBPBoardofGovernorsadoptedthereportof submittedforCommissionerLimpingcosReportandRecommendation.
Commissioner Navarro. However, the IBP Board of Governors increased the penalty to InhisPositionPaper,respondentnotedthathefiledcriminalcomplaintsagainstLiliaTabang
disbarment.Thereafter,thecasewasreferredtotheSupremeCourtpursuanttoRule139Bof onaccountofTabangsstatementthatshehadfabricatedtheidentitiesoftheownersofthe
theRulesofCourt. seven(7)parcels.Heclaimedthatsince1996,hehadreliedontheTorrensTitlesoftheseven
InaResolutiondatedSeptember29,2004, 16theSupremeCourtremandedthecasetotheIBP. (7)ownerswhowereintroducedtohimbyLiliaTabang.HeassertedthatLiliaTabangcould
TheCourtnotedthatmajorityofthepiecesofevidencepresentedbycomplainantsweremere nothavebeentheowneroftheseven(7)parcelssincetheSPAsexecutedbytheparcels
photocopies andaffidavitsand thatthe personswho supposedly executed suchdocuments ownersclearlymadeheramereagentandhimasubagent.Healsoassailedtheauthenticityof
wereneitherpresentednorsubpoenaed.Thus,therecouldnothavebeenadequatebasisfor the public announcements (where he supposedly offered the seven 7 parcels for sale) and
sustainingtheimpositionofapenaltyasgraveasdisbarment. MemorandumofAgreement.Hesurmisedthatthesignaturesonsuchdocumentsappearing
ThecasewasthenassignedtoInvestigatingCommissionerDennisB.Funa.Hearingswere abovethename"GlennC.Gacott"hadbeenmereforgeriesandcrudeduplicationsofhisown
conductedonMarch22,2005;October7,2005;July18,2006;August29,2006;November7, signature.
2006;February23,2007;andJuly25,2007.17 InhisReportandRecommendationdatedAugust23,2010, 25CommissionerLimpingcofound
Thecomplainantspresentedseveralwitnesses.OnewasDieterHeinze,PresidentoftheSwiss respondent liable for gross violation of Rule 1.01 of the CPR. He likewise noted that
AmericanLendingCorporation.18HeinzetestifiedthatinApril2001,afriendintroducedhim respondentwasabsentinmostofthehearingswithoutjustifiablereason,inviolationofRule
torespondentwho,inturn,introducedhimselfastheownerofseven(7)parcelsinPuerto 12.04oftheCPR.26Herecommendedthatrespondentbedisbarredandhisname,strickenfrom
Princesa City, Palawan. They agreed on the purchase of a lot priced at P900,000.00. His theRollofAttorneys.
company,however,paidonlyP668,000.00.Heinzenotedthathiscompanywithheldpayment OnOctober8,2010,theIBPBoardofGovernorsissuedaResolution 27adoptingtheReportof
uponhisrealizationthatLiliaTabanghadcausedtheannotationofanadverseclaimandupon InvestigatingCommissionerLimpingco.
respondentsfailuretoproduceLeonorPetronio,theallegedlotowner. On June 26, 2011, the IBP Board of Governors denied respondents Motion for
Another of complainants witnesses was Atty. Agerico Paras. 19 He testified that Heinze Reconsideration.28
introduced him to respondent who, in turn, introduced himself as the owner of seven (7) RespondentthenfiledhisNoticeofAppealwiththeIBPonAugust8,2011.
parcels in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan. They agreed on the purchase of a lot priced at On August 17, 2011, respondent filed before the Supreme Court his Urgent Motion for
P2,300,000.00.Hepaidforthesaidparcelintwo(2)installments.UponlearningthatLilia ExtensionofTime(tofilePetitionforReview/Appeal).OnSeptember20,2011,theCourt
Tabanghadcausedtheannotationofanadverseclaim,hewrotetorespondentaskinghimto grantedrespondentsMotionandgavehimanextensionofthirty(30)daystofilehisAppeal.
eitherworkonthecancellationoftheclaimortoreimbursehim.Headdedthatrespondentwas TheSupremeCourtwarnedrespondentthatnofurtherextensionwillbegiven.Despitethis,
unabletoproduceAmeliaAndes,theostensibleowneroftheparcelhehadpurchased. respondentfiledtwo(2)moreMotionsforExtensionthefirstonSeptember29,2011andthe
TeodoroGallinero,anotherbuyerofoneofthesevenparcels,alsotestifiedforcomplainants. 20 secondonNovember3,2011bothofwhichweredeniedbytheCourt.
HetestifiedthatinFebruary2001,hewasintroducedtorespondentwhoclaimedthatseveral DespitetheCourtsdenialsofhisMotionsforExtension,respondentfiledonDecember14,
parcelswithatotalareaofthirty(30)hectareswereownedbyhismother.Gallineroagreedto 2011 a Motionto AdmitPetitionfor Review/Appeal (withattachedPetition/Appeal). This
purchaseaparcelforthepriceof P2,000,000.00whichhepaidincashandinkind(L300 MotionwasdeniedbytheCourtonApril17,2012.
van). For resolution is the issue of whether or not respondent engaged in unlawful, dishonest,
ComplainantLiliaTabangalsotestifiedonthemattersstatedintheComplaint. 21 immoralordeceitfulconductviolatingRule1.01oftheCodeofProfessionalResponsibility,
On July 25, 2007, Commissioner Funa required the complainants to submit their Position thuswarrantinghisdisbarment.
Paper.RespondentfiledhisMotionforReconsiderationandtheInhibitionofCommissioner Afteracarefulexaminationoftherecords,theCourtconcurswithandadoptsthefindingsand
Funawho,respondentclaimed,deprivedhimofthechancetocrossexaminecomplainants recommendationofCommissionerLimpingcoandtheIBPBoardofGovernors.Itisclearthat
witnesses,andwas"bentonprejudicing"22him. respondentcommittedgrossmisconduct,dishonesty,anddeceitinviolationofRule1.01ofthe
Commissioner Funa then inhibited himself. Following this, the case was reassigned to CPRwhenheexecutedtherevocationsofSPAsandaffidavitsofrecoveryandinarrogating
InvestigatingCommissionerRicoA.Limpingco. forhimselftheownershipoftheseven(7)subjectparcels.
Inthemeantime,withtheSupremeCourtEnBancsapprovaloftheIBPCBDsRulesof WhileitmaybetruethatcomplainantLiliaTabangherselfengagedinillicitactivities,the
Procedure,itwasdeemedproperforanInvestigatingCommissionertosubmithis/herReport complainants own complicity does not negate, or even mitigate, the repugnancy of
andRecommendationbasedonmattersdiscussedduringthemandatoryconferences,onthe respondentsoffense.Quitethecontrary,hisoffenseismadeevengraver.Heisalawyerwho
parties Position Papers (and supporting documents), and on the results of clarificatory isheldtothehigheststandardsofmorality,honesty,integrity,andfairdealing.Perverting
whatisexpectedofhim,hedeliberatelyandcunninglytookadvantageofhisknowledgeand probabilityorimprobabilityoftheirtestimony;
skillofthelawtoprejudiceandtormentotherindividuals.Notonlydidhecountenanceillicit Thewitnessesinterestorwantofinterestandalsotheirpersonalcredibilitysofarasthesame
action,heinstigatedit.Notonlydidheacquiescetoinjustice,heorchestratedit.Thus,We mayultimatelyappearinthetrial;and
imposeuponrespondentthesupremepenaltyofdisbarment. Thenumberofwitnesses,althoughitdoesnotmeanthatpreponderanceisnecessarilywiththe
UnderRule138,Section27oftheRulesofCourt(Rules),alawyermaybedisbarredforany greaternumber.
ofthefollowinggrounds: In this case, complainants have shown by a preponderance of evidence that respondent
deceit; committedgrossmisconduct,dishonesty,anddeceitinviolationofRule1.01oftheCPR.
malpractice; Specifically,complainantshaveshownnotonlythroughLiliaTabangstestimonybutmoreso
grossmisconductinoffice; throughthetestimoniesofDieterHeinze,Atty.AgericoParas,andTeodoroGallinerothat:
grosslyimmoralconduct; respondentmisrepresentedhimselfastheowneroforhavingtherighttodisposeofthesubject
convictionofacrimeinvolvingmoralturpitude; parcels;
violationofthelawyer'soath; respondentactivelysoughttosellorotherwisedisposeofthesubjectparcels;
willfuldisobedienceofanylawfulorderofasuperiorcourt;and respondentperfectedthesalesandreceivedtheproceedsofthesaleswhetherincashorin
willfullyappearingasanattorneyforapartywithoutauthoritytodoso. kindofthesubjectparcels;
It is established in Jurisprudence that disbarment is proper when lawyers commit gross suchsaleswerewithouttheconsentorauthorizationofcomplainants;and
misconduct,dishonesty,anddeceitinusurpingthepropertyrightsofotherpersons.Bywayof respondentneverremittedtheproceedsofthesalestocomplainants.
examples: Moreimportantly,complainantswitnessesshowedthatwhenrespondenthadbeenconfronted
InBrennisenv.Contawi:29RespondentAtty.RamonU.Contawiwasdisbarredforhavingused withLiliaTabangsadverseclaimsandaskedtosubstantiatetheidentitiesofthesupposed
aspuriousSPAtomortgageandsellpropertyentrustedtohimforadministration. ownersofthesubjectparcels,hehadfailedtoproducesuchpersonsorevenshowaniotaof
InSabaylev.Tandayag:30Oneoftherespondents,Atty.CarmelitoB.Gabor,wasdisbarredfor proofoftheirexistence.Inthisregard,thetestimoniesofDieterHeinze,Atty.AgericoParas,
havingacknowledgedaDeedofSaleintheabsenceofthepurportedvendorsandfortaking andTeodoroGallineroareparticularlysignificantinsofarastheyhavebeenmadedespitethe
advantageofhispositionasAssistantClerkofCourtbypurchasingonehalf(1/2)oftheland fact that their interest as buyers is contrary to that of complainants interest as adverse
coveredbysaidDeedofSaleknowingthatthedeedwasfictitious. claimants.
In Daroy v. Legaspi:31 The Court disbarred respondent Atty. Ramon Legaspi for having Incontrast,respondentfailedtopresentevidencetorebutcomplainant'sallegations.
convertedtohispersonalusethefundsthathereceivedforhisclients. Respondentsdefensecenteredonhisinsistencethattheownersofthesevenparcelswerenot
Nevertheless,recoursetodisbarmentmustbedonewithutmostcaution.AsthisCourtnotedin fictitiousandthattheyhadvoluntarilysoldthesevenparcels.Respondentalsoevadedthe
Moranv.Moron:32 allegations against him by flinging counterallegations. For instance, he alleged that Lilia
Disbarmentshouldneverbeimposedunlessitisevidentlyclearthatthelawyer,byhisserious Tabanghadunsuccessfullydemandeda"balato"fromtheproceedsofthesaleofthesubject
misconduct,shouldnolongerremainamemberofthebar.Disbarmentisthemostsevereform parcelsandthataftershehadbeenrefused,shethreatenedtodefamerespondentandseekhis
ofdisciplinarysanction,and,assuch,thepowertodisbarmustalwaysbeexercisedwithgreat disbarment.Insupportofthisallegation,hepointedoutthathehadfiledcriminalcomplaints
caution,onlyforthemostimperativereasonsandinclearcasesofmisconductaffectingthe againstLiliaTabang.Healsosurmisedthatthesignaturesonthesubjectdocumentsappearing
standingandmoralcharacterofthelawyerasanofficerofthecourtandmemberofthebar. abovethename"GlennC.Gacott"weremereforgeriesandcrudeduplicationsofhissignature.
Accordingly,disbarmentshouldnotbedecreedwhereanypunishmentlessseveresuchasa PerRule131,Section1oftheRulesofCourt, 37theburdenofproofisvestedupontheparty
reprimand,suspension,orfinewouldaccomplishtheenddesired. 33 whoallegesthetruthofhisclaimordefenseoranyfactinissue.Thus,inLeaveDivision,
Moreover, considering the gravity of disbarment, it has been established that clearly OfficeofAdministrativeServices,OfficeoftheCourtAdministratorv.Gutierrez 38 wherea
preponderantevidenceisnecessarytojustifyitsimposition. 34 partyresortstobaredenialsandallegationsandfailstosubmitevidenceinsupportofhis
AsexplainedinAbav.DeGuzman, 35"[p]reponderanceofevidencemeansthattheevidence defense,thedeterminationthathecommittedtheviolationissustained.
adducedbyonesideis,asawhole,superiortoorhasgreaterweightthanthatoftheother.It Itwasincumbentuponrespondenttoprovehisallegationthatthesupposedownersofthe
meansevidencewhichismoreconvincingtothecourtasworthyofbeliefthanthatwhichis sevenparcelsarerealpersons.Quitethecontrary,hefailedtoproducetheslightestproofof
offeredinoppositionthereto."36 theiridentitiesandexistence,muchlessproducetheiractualpersons.Astohisallegations
Per Rule 133, Section 1 of the Rules, a court may consider the following in determining regardingLiliaTabangssupposedextortionandthreatandtheforgeryorcrudeduplicationof
preponderanceofevidence: his signature, they remain just that allegations. Respondent failed to aver facts and
Allthefactsandcircumstancesofthecase; circumstanceswhichsupporttheseclaims.
The witnesses manner of testifying, their intelligence, their means and opportunity of Atbest,respondentmerelydrawsconclusionsfromthedocumentswhichformtheverybasis
knowingthefactstowhichtheyaretestifying,thenatureofthefactstowhichtheytestify,the ofcomplainantsownallegationsandwhichareactuallybeingassailedbycomplainantsas
inaccurate,unreliable,andfraudulent.RespondentmakesmuchofhowLiliaTabangcouldnot reasons.HealsovexedthisCourttoadmithisAppealdespitehisownfailuretocomplywith
havebeentheowneroftheseven(7)parcelssincehernamedoesnotappearontheparcels themuch extendedperiodgiventohim, thus inviting theCourt tobe a party indelaying
TCTs39 and how he merely respected the title and ownership of the ostensible owners. 40 complainantscause.Forallhisperversity,respondentdeservesnoneofthisCourtsclemency.
Similarly,hemakesmuchofhowLiliaTabangwasnamedasamereagentintheSPAs. 41 WHEREFORE,respondentATTY.GLENNC.GACOTT,havingclearlyviolatedtheCanons
However,respondentlosessightofthefactthatitispreciselytheaccuracyofwhattheTCTs of Professional Responsibility through his unlawful, dishonest, and deceitful conduct, is
and SPAs indicate and the deception they engender that are the crux of the present DISBARREDandhisnameorderedSTRICKENfromtheRollofAttorneys.
controversy.InurgingthisCourttosustainhim,respondentwouldhaveusrelyonthevery LetcopiesofthisDecisionbeservedontheOfficeoftheBarConfidant,theIntegratedBarof
documentsassailedasfraudulent. thePhilippines,andallcourtsinthecountryfortheirinformationandguidance.Letacopyof
Apartfromthese,allthatrespondentcancomeupwitharegeneric,sweeping,andselfserving thisDecisionbeattachedtorespondent'spersonalrecordasattorney.
allegationsof(1)howhecouldnothaveobtainedtheTCTsfromTabangas"itisastanding SOORDERED.
policyofhislawofficenottoacceptTorrenstitle[sic]unlessitisrelatedtoacourtcase" 42and Sereno,C.J.,Carpio,Velasco,Jr.,LeonardoDeCastro,Peralta,Bersamin,DelCastillo,
because"[he]doesnotborrowanyTorrenstitlefromanybodyandforwhateverpurpose;" 43(2) Abad,Villarama,Jr.,Perez,Mendoza,Reyes,PerlasBernabe,andLeonen,JJ.,concur.
howcomplainantscouldnothaveconfrontedhimtodemandthereturnoftheTCTsandhow Brion,J.,onleave.
hecouldnothavetoldthemthathelosttheTCTsbecause"[a]salawyer,[he]alwaysrespects Footnotes
andrecognizestherightofanownertokeepinhiscustodyorpossessionanyofhisproperties 1
Rule1.01Alawyershallnotengageinunlawful,dishonest,immoralordeceitfulconduct.
of value;"44 and (3) how he could not have met and talked with Lilia Tabang for the 2
Rollo,p.2.
engagementofhisservicesonlytorefuseLiliaTabangbecauselegalpracticeconstitutedhis 3
Id.at3.
livelihood,andtherewasnoreasonforhimtorefuseanoccasiontoearnincome. 45 4
Id.at4.
Ratherthanrespondingsquarelytocomplainantsallegations,respondentmerelyembarkson 5
Id.
conjecturesandascribesmotivestocomplainants.HeaccusesLiliaTabangofdemandinga 6
Id.
"balato"oftwentypercent(20%)fromtheproceedsofthesaleofthesevenparcels,andof 7
Id.at5.
threateningtodefamehimandtoseekhisdisbarmentaftershehadbeenrefused.1wphi1This 8
Id.
evasiveposturingnotwithstanding,whatisclearisthatrespondentfailedtoadduceeventhe 9
Id.
slightestprooftosubstantiatetheseclaims.Fromallindications,LiliaTabanghadsufficient 10
Id.at6.
basistofilethepresentComplaintandseeksanctionsagainstrespondent. 11
Id.at7.
Giventheglaringdisparitybetweentheevidenceadducedbycomplainantsandthesheerlack 12
Id.at8.
ofevidenceadducedbyrespondent,thisCourtisledtonootherreasonableconclusionthan 13
Id.at5859.
thatrespondentcommittedtheactsofwhichheisaccusedandthatheactedinamannerthatis 14
Id.at198211.
unlawful, dishonest, immoral, and deceitful in violation of Rule 1.01 of the Code of 15
Id.at197.
ProfessionalResponsibility. 16
Id.at230241.
ThisCourthasrepeatedlyemphasizedthatthepracticeoflawisimbuedwithpublicinterest 17
Id.at1512.
andthat"alawyerowessubstantialdutiesnotonlytohisclient,butalsotohisbrethreninthe 18
Id.at1515.
profession, to the courts, and to the nation, and takes part in one of the most important 19
Id.at15151516.
functions of the State the administration of justice as an officer of the court." 46 20
Id.at1516.
Accordingly,"[l]awyersareboundtomaintainnotonlyahighstandardoflegalproficiency, 21
Id.
butalsoofmorality,honesty,integrityandfairdealing." 47 22
Id.at1512.
Respondent has fallen dismally and disturbingly short of the high standard of morality, 23
Id.at897898.
honesty, integrity, and fair dealing required of him. Quite the contrary, he employed his 24
Id.at914960.
knowledgeandskillofthelawaswellastookadvantageofthecredulityofpetitionersto 25
Id.at13401358.
secureunduegainsforhimselfandtoinflictseriousdamageonothers.Hedidsooverthe 26
Rule12.04Alawyershallnotundulydelayacase,impedetheexecutionofajudgmentor
course of several years in a sustained and unrelenting fashion and outdid his previous misuseCourtprocesses.
wrongdoingwithevengreater,moredetestableoffenses.Hehashardlyshownanyremorse. 27
Rollo,p.1511.
Fromhowhehasconductedhimselfintheseproceedings,heisallbutaversetorectifyinghis 28
Id.at1510.
ways and assuaging complainants plight. Respondent even foisted uponthe IBP and this 29
A.C.No.7481,April24,2012,670SCRA358.
CourthisduplicitybyrepeatedlyabsentinghimselffromtheIBPshearingswithoutjustifiable 30
A.C.No.140J,March8,1988,158SCRA497.
31
160Phil.306(1975).
32
A.C.No.7390,February27,2012citingKaraanv.Pineda,A.C.No.4306,March28,2007,
519SCRA143,146. A.C.No.6470,July08,2014MERCEDITADEJESUS,Complainant,v.ATTY.JUVY
33
Id. MELLSANCHEZMALIT,Respondent.:JULY2014PHILIPPINESUPREMECOURT
34
Abav.DeGuzman,A.C.No.7649,December14,2011,662SCRA361citingSantosv. JURISPRUDENCECHANROBLESVIRTUALLAWLIBRARY
Dichoso,A.C.No.1825,August22,1978,84SCRA622;174Phil.115(1978),andNoriega A.C.No.6470,July08,2014
v.Sison,A.C.No.2266,October27,1983,125SCRA293;210Phil.236(1983). BeforetheCourtisadisbarmentcomplaintfiledbyMerceditaDeJesus(DeJesus)against
35
Id. respondentAtty.JuvyMellSanchezMalit(SanchezMalit)onthefollowinggrounds:grave
36
Id.at372citingHabagatGrillv.DMCUrbanPropertyDeveloper,Inc.,494Phil.603,613 misconduct,dishonesty,malpractices,andunworthinesstobecomeanofficeroftheCourt.
(2005);BankofthePhilippineIslandsv.Reyes,G.R.No.157177,February11,2008,544 THEFACTSOFTHECASE
SCRA206,216;Republicv.Bautista,G.R.No.169801,September11,2007,532SCRA598,
612. IntheAffidavitComplaint1filedbycomplainantbeforetheOfficeoftheBarConfidanton23
37
Rule131,Sec.1.Burdenofproof.Burdenofproofisthedutyofapartytopresent June2004,sheallegedthaton1March2002,respondenthaddraftedandnotarizedaReal
evidenceonthefactsinissuenecessarytoestablishhisclaimordefensebytheamountof EstateMortgageofapublicmarketstallthatfalselynamedtheformerasitsabsoluteand
evidencerequiredbylaw. registeredowner.Asaresult,themortgageesuedcomplainantforperjuryandforcollectionof
38
A.M.No.P112951,February15,2012,666SCRA29,34. sumofmoney.Sheclaimedthatrespondentwasaconsultantofthelocalgovernmentunitof
39
Rollo,p.941. Dinalupihan,Bataan,andwasthereforeawarethatthemarketstallwasgovernmentowned.
40
Id.at944.
41
Id.at940,945. Priorthereto,respondenthadalsonotarizedtwocontractsthatcausedcomplainantlegaland
42
Id.at948. financialproblems.Onecontractwasaleaseagreementnotarizedbyrespondentsometimein
43
Id. September1999withoutthesignatureofthelessees.However,complainantonlyfoundout
44
Id.at949950. thattheagreementhadnotbeensignedbythelesseeswhenshelosthercopyandsheaskedfor
45
Id.at950. another copy from respondent. The other contract was a sale agreement over a property
46
IntheMatteroftheIBPMembershipDuesDelinquencyofAtty.MARCIALA.EDILLON coveredbyaCertificateofLandOwnershipAward(CLOA)whichcomplainantenteredinto
(IBPAdministrativeCaseNo.MDD1),174Phil.55,62(1978). withacertainNicomedesTala(Tala)on17February1998.Respondentdraftedandnotarized
47
Venturav.Samson,A.C.No.9608,November27,2012. said agreement, but did notadvisecomplainant that the propertywas still covered bythe
periodwithinwhichitcouldnotbealienated.
TheLawphilProjectArellanoLawFoundation
Inadditiontothedocumentsattachedtohercomplaint,complainantsubsequentlysubmitted
threeSpecialPowersofAttorney(SPAs)notarizedbyrespondentandanAffidavitofIrene
Tolentino(Tolentino),complainantssecretary/treasurer.TheSPAswerenotsignedbythe
principalsnamedthereinandboreonlythesignatureofthenamedattorneyinfact,FlorinaB.
Limpioso (Limpioso). Tolentinos Affidavit corroborated complainants allegations against
respondent.2

On4August2004,theSecondDivisionoftheSupremeCourtissuedaResolutionrequiring
respondenttosubmithercommentontheComplaintwithinten(10)daysfromreceiptof
notice.3

In her Comment,4 respondent explained that the mortgage contract was prepared in the
presenceofcomplainantandthatthelatterhadreaditbeforeaffixinghersignature.However,
complainanturgentlyneededtheloanproceedssothecontractwashastilydone.Itwasonly
copiedfromasimilarfileinrespondentscomputer,andthephraseabsoluteandregistered
ownerwasinadvertentlyleftunedited.Still,itshouldnotbeacausefordisciplinaryaction,
becausecomplainantconstructedthesubjectpublicmarketstallunderaBuildOperateand
Transfercontractwiththelocalgovernmentunitand,technically,shecouldbeconsideredits
owner.Besides,therehadbeenapriormortgagecontractoverthesamepropertyinwhich Inhis15February2008Report,IBPInvestigatingCommissionerLelandR.Villadolid,Jr.
complainant was represented as the propertys absolute owner, but she did not complain. recommendedtheimmediaterevocationoftheNotarialCommissionofrespondentandher
Moreover,thecauseoftheperjurychargeagainstcomplainantwasnottherepresentationof disqualification as notary public for two years for her violation of her oath as such by
herselfasownerofthemortgagedproperty,butherguaranteethatitwasfreefromallliens notarizing documents without the signatures of the parties who had purportedly appeared
andencumbrances.Theperjurychargewasevendismissed,becausetheprosecutorfoundthat beforeher.Heacceptedrespondentsexplanationswithrespecttotheleaseagreement,sale
complainantandherspousehad,indeed,paidthedebtsecuredwiththepreviousmortgage contract,andthethreeSPAspertainingtoLimpioso.However,hefoundthattheinaccurate
contractoverthesamemarketstall. craftingoftherealestatemortgagecontractwasasufficientbasistoholdrespondentliablefor
violationofCanon187andRule18.038oftheCodeofProfessionalResponsibility.Thus,he
Withrespecttotheleaseagreement,respondentcounteredthatthedocumentattachedtothe alsorecommendedthatshebesuspendedfromthepracticeoflawforsixmonths. 9
AffidavitComplaint was actually new. She gave the courts copy of the agreement to
complainanttoaccommodatethelattersrequestforanextracopy.Thus,respondentprepared The IBP Board of Governors, in its Resolution No. XVIII2008245 dated 22 May 2008,
andnotarizedanewone,relyingoncomplainantsassurancethatthelesseeswouldsignitand unanimously adopted and approved the Report and Recommendation of the Investigating
thatitwouldbereturnedinlieuoftheoriginalcopyforthecourt.Complainant,however, Commissioner,withthemodificationthatrespondentbesuspendedfromthepracticeoflaw
renegedonherpromise. foroneyear.10

AsregardsthepurchaseagreementofapropertycoveredbyaCLOA,respondentclaimedthat Respondent filed her first Motion for Reconsideration 11 and Second Motion for
complainant was an experienced realty broker and, therefore, needed no advice on the Reconsideration.12 Shemaintainedthattheadditionaldocumentssubmittedbycomplainant
repercussions of that transaction. Actually, when the purchase agreement was notarized, wereinadmissible,astheywereobtainedwithoutobservingtheproceduralrequisitesunder
complainantdidnotpresenttheCLOA,andsotheagreementmentionednothingaboutit. Section4,RuleVIofAdm.No.020813SC(2004RulesonNotarialPractice). 13Moreover,
Rather,theagreementexpresslystatedthatthepropertywasthesubjectofacasepending theUrgentExParteMotionofcomplainantwasactuallyasupplementalpleading,whichwas
beforetheDepartmentofAgrarianReformAdjudicationBoard(DARAB);complainantwas prohibitedundertherulesofprocedureoftheCommitteeonBarDiscipline;besides,shewas
thusnotifiedofthestatusofthesubjectproperty.Finally,respondentmaintainedthattheSPAs not the proper party to question those documents. Hence, the investigating commissioner
submittedbycomplainantasadditionalevidencewereproperly notarized. Itcanbe easily shouldhaveexpungedthedocumentsfromtherecords,insteadofgivingthemduecourse.
gleanedfromthedocumentsthattheattorneyinfactpersonallyappearedbeforerespondent; Respondent also prayed that mitigating circumstances be considered, specifically the
hence, the notarization was limited to the formers participation in the execution of the following: absence of prior disciplinary record; absence of dishonest or selfish motive;
document.Moreover,theacknowledgmentclearlystatedthatthedocumentmustbenotarized personalandemotionalproblems;timelygoodfaithefforttomakerestitutionortorectifythe
intheprincipalsplaceofresidence. consequences of her misconduct; full and free disclosure to the disciplinary board or
cooperativeattitudetowardtheproceedings;characterorreputation;remorse;andremoteness
An exchange of pleadings ensued after respondent submitted her Comment. After her ofprioroffenses.
rejoinder, complainant filed an Urgent ExParte Motion for Submission of Additional
Evidence.5Attachedtheretowerecopiesofdocumentsnotarizedbyrespondent,includingthe The IBP Board of Governors, in its Resolution No. XX2012119 dated 10 March 2012,
following:(1)anExtraJudicialDeedofPartitionwhichreferredtotheSPAsnamingLimpioso denied respondents motion for reconsideration for lack of substantial reason to justify a
as attorneyinfact; (2) five SPAs that lacked the signatures of either the principal or the reversaloftheIBPsfindings.14
attorneyinfact;(3)twodeedsofsalewithincompletesignaturesofthepartiesthereto;(4)an
unsignedSwornStatement;(5)aleasecontractthatlackedthesignatureofthelessor;(6)five PursuanttoRule139BoftheRulesofCourt,DirectorforBarDisciplinePuraAngelicaY.
unsignedAffidavits;(7)anunsignedinsuranceclaimform(AnnualDeclarationbytheHeirs); Santiago through a letter addressed to then acting Chief Justice Antonio T. Carpio
(8) an unsigned Invitation Letter to a potential investor in Japan; (9) an unsigned Bank transmittedthedocumentspertainingtothedisbarmentComplaintagainstrespondent. 15
Certification;and(10)anunsignedConsenttoAdoption.
THECOURTSRULING
Afterthemandatoryconferenceandhearing,thepartiessubmittedtheirrespectivePosition
Papers.6Notably,respondentsPositionPaperdidnottackletheadditionaldocumentsattached After carefully reviewing the merits of the complaint against respondent and the parties
tocomplainantsUrgentExParteMotion. submissionsinthiscase,theCourtherebymodifiesthefindingsoftheIBP.

THEFINDINGSOFTHEIBP Beforegoingintothesubstanceofthechargesagainstrespondent,theCourtshallfirstdispose
ofsomeproceduralmattersraisedbyrespondent.
Respondents argument that the Urgent ExParte Motion of complainant constitutes a
Respondentarguesthattheadditionaldocumentssubmittedinevidencebycomplainantare supplementalpleadingmustfailaswell.Asitsverynamedenotes,asupplementalpleading
inadmissibleforhavingbeenobtainedinviolationofSection4,RuleVIofthe2004Ruleson onlyservestobolsteroraddssomethingtotheprimarypleading.Itsusualofficeistosetup
NotarialPractice.AcomparableargumentwasraisedinTolentinov.Mendoza,16inwhichthe newfactswhichjustify,enlargeorchangethekindofreliefwithrespecttothesamesubject
respondentthereinopposedtheadmissionofthebirthcertificatesofhisillegitimatechildrenas matterasthecontroversyreferredtointheoriginalcomplaint. 19Accordingly,itcannotbesaid
evidenceofhisgrosslyimmoralconduct,becausethosedocumentswereobtainedinviolation thattheUrgentExParteMotionfiledbycomplainantwasasupplementalpleading.Oneofher
Rule 24, Administrative Order No. 1, Series of 1993. 17 Rejecting his argument, the Court chargesagainstrespondentisthatthelatternotarizedincompletedocuments,asshownbythe
reasonedasfollows:chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary SPAsandleaseagreementattachedtotheAffidavitComplaint.Complainantisnotlegally
barredfromsubmittingadditionalevidencetostrengthenthebasisofhercomplaint.
Section3,Rule128oftheRevisedRulesonEvidenceprovidesthatevidenceisadmissible
whenitisrelevanttotheissueandisnotexcludedbythelawortheserules.Therecouldbe Going now into the substance of the charges against respondent, the Court finds that she
no dispute that the subject birth certificates are relevant to the issue. The only question, committedmisconductandgrievouslyviolatedheroathasanotarypublic.
therefore, is whether the law or the rules provide for the inadmissibility of said birth
certificatesallegedlyforhavingbeenobtainedinviolationofRule24,AdministrativeOrder The important role a notary public performs cannot be overemphasized. The Court has
No.1,seriesof1993. repeatedly stressed that notarization is not an empty, meaningless routinary act, but one
invested with substantive public interest. Notarization converts a private document into a
NotethatRule24,AdministrativeOrderNo.1,seriesof1993onlyprovidesforsanctions publicdocument,makingitadmissibleinevidencewithoutfurtherproofofitsauthenticity.
againstpersonsviolatingtheruleonconfidentialityofbirthrecords,butnowheredoesitstate Thus,anotarizeddocumentis,bylaw,entitledtofullfaithandcredituponitsface.Itisfor
that procurement of birth records in violation of said rule would render said records thisreasonthatanotarypublicmustobservewithutmostcarethebasicrequirementsinthe
inadmissibleinevidence.Ontheotherhand,theRevisedRulesofEvidenceonlyprovidesfor performance of his notarial duties; otherwise, the public's confidence in the integrity of a
theexclusionofevidenceifitisobtainedasaresultofillegalsearchesandseizures.Itshould notarizeddocumentwouldbeundermined.20
beemphasized,however,thatsaidruleagainstunreasonablesearchesandseizuresismeant
onlytoprotectapersonfrominterferencebythegovernmentorthestate.InPeoplevs.Hipol, Wherethenotarypublicadmittedlyhaspersonalknowledgeofafalsestatementorinformation
weexplainedthat: containedintheinstrumenttobenotarized,yetproceedstoaffixthenotarialsealonit,the
TheConstitutionalproscriptionenshrinedintheBillofRightsdoesnotconcernitselfwiththe Courtmustnothesitatetodisciplinethenotarypublicaccordinglyasthecircumstancesofthe
relation between a private individual and another individual. It governs the relationship casemay dictate. Otherwise, theintegrityandsanctityofthenotarizationprocessmaybe
between the individual and the State and its agents. The Bill of Rights only tempers undermined, and public confidence in notarial documents diminished. 21 In this case,
governmental power and protects the individual against any aggression and unwarranted respondentfullyknewthatcomplainantwasnottheownerofthemortgagedmarketstall.That
interference byanydepartment ofgovernmentanditsagencies.Accordingly, itcannotbe complainantcomprehendedtheprovisionsoftherealestatemortgagecontractdoesnotmake
extendedtotheactscomplainedofinthiscase.Thealleged"warrantlesssearch"madeby respondent any less guilty. If at all, it only heightens the latters liability for tolerating a
Roque,acoemployeeofappellantatthetreasurer'soffice,canhardlyfallwithintheambitof wrongfulact.Clearly,respondentsconductamountedtoabreachofCanon1 22 andRules
theconstitutionalproscriptiononunwarrantedsearchesandseizures. 1.0123and1.0224oftheCodeofProfessionalResponsibility.

Consequently,inthiscasewherecomplainants,asprivateindividuals,obtainedthesubject Respondents explanation about the unsigned lease agreement executed by complainant
birthrecordsasevidenceagainstrespondent,theprotectionagainstunreasonablesearchesand sometimeinSeptember199925isincredulous.If,indeed,herfilecopyoftheagreementbore
seizuresdoesnotapply. thelesseessignatures,shecouldhavegivencomplainantacertifiedphotocopythereof.Iteven
SincebothRule24,AdministrativeOrderNo.1,seriesof1993andtheRevisedRuleson appearsthatsaidleaseagreementisnotararityinrespondentspracticeasanotarypublic.
Evidencedonotprovidefortheexclusionfromevidenceofthebirthcertificatesinquestion, Records show that on various occasions from 2002 to 2004, respondent has notarized 22
said public documents are, therefore, admissible and should be properly taken into documentsthatwereeitherunsignedorlackingsignaturesoftheparties.Technically,each
considerationintheresolutionofthisadministrativecaseagainstrespondent. 18 documentmaybeagroundfordisciplinaryaction,foritisthedutyofanotarialofficerto
demandthatadocumentbesignedinhisorherpresence.26
Similarly,the2004RulesonNotarialLawcontainnoprovisiondeclaringtheinadmissibility
ofdocumentsobtainedinviolationthereof.Thus,theIBPcorrectlyconsideredinevidencethe Anotarypublicshouldnotnotarizeadocumentunlessthepersonswhosigneditarethevery
othernotarizeddocumentssubmittedbycomplainantasadditionalevidence. sameoneswhoexecuteditandwhopersonallyappearedbeforethesaidnotarypublictoattest
tothecontentsandtruthofwhatarestatedtherein. 27Thus,inacknowledgingthattheparties
personallycameandappearedbeforeher,respondentalsoviolatedRule10.01 28oftheCodeof
ProfessionalResponsibilityandheroathasalawyerthatsheshalldonofalsehood. 29

Certainly,respondentisunfittocontinueenjoyingthesolemnofficeofanotarypublic.In
severalinstances,theCourtdidnothesitatetodisbarlawyerswhowerefoundtobeutterly
oblivioustothesolemnityoftheiroathasnotariespublic. 30Evenso,theruleisthatdisbarment
ismetedoutonlyinclearcasesofmisconductthatseriouslyaffectthestandingandcharacter
ofthelawyerasanofficerofthecourtandtheCourtwillnotdisbaralawyerwherealesser
penaltywillsufficetoaccomplishthedesiredend. 31Theblatantdisregardbyrespondentofher
basicdutiesasanotarypublicwarrantsthelessseverepunishmentofsuspensionfromthe
practiceoflawandperpetualdisqualificationtobecommissionedasanotarypublic.

WHEREFORE,respondentAtty.JuvyMellSanchezMalitisfoundguiltyofviolatingCanon
1andRules1.01,1.02,and10.01oftheCodeofProfessionalResponsibilityaswellasher
oathasnotarypublic.Hence,sheisSUSPENDEDfromthepracticeoflawforONEYEAR
effective immediately. Her notarial commission, if still existing, is IMMEDIATELY
REVOKED and she is hereby PERPETUALLY DISQUALIFIED from being
commissionedasanotarypublic.
A.C.No.5816,March10,2015DR.ELMARO.PEREZ,Complainant,v.ATTY.TRISTAN
LetcopiesofthisResolutionbeenteredintothepersonalrecordsofrespondentasamemberof A. CATINDIG AND ATTY. KAREN E. BAYDO, Respondents. : MARCH 2015
thebarandfurnishedtotheBarConfidant,theIntegratedBarofthePhilippines,andtheCourt PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT JURISPRUDENCE CHANROBLES VIRTUAL LAW
Administratorforcirculationtoallcourtsofthecountryfortheirinformationandguidance. LIBRARY
A.C.No.5816,March10,2015
Nocosts. BeforetheCourtisanadministrativecomplaint 1 fordisbarmentfiledbyDr.ElmarO.Perez
(Dr.Perez)withtheOfficeoftheBarConfidantonAugust27,2002againstAtty.TristanA.
SOORDERED. Catindig(Atty.Catindig)andAtty.KarenE.Baydo(Atty.Baydo)(respondents)forgross
immoralityandviolationoftheCodeofProfessionalResponsibility.
Carpio,Velasco,Jr.,LeonardoDeCastro,Brion,Peralta,Bersamin,DelCastillo,Villarama,
Jr.,Perez,Mendoza,Reyes,PerlasBernabe,andLeonen,JJ.,concur. TheFacts

Inhercomplaint,Dr.PerezallegedthatsheandAtty.Catindighadbeenfriendssincethemid
1960swhentheywerebothstudentsattheUniversityofthePhilippines,buttheylosttouch
aftertheir graduation.Sometimein1983,thepaths ofAtty.Catindigand Dr.Perezagain
crossed. It was at that time that Atty. Catindig started to court Dr.
Perez.2chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary

Atty. Catindig admitted to Dr. Perez that he was already wed to Lily Corazon Gomez
(Gomez), having married the latter on May 18, 1968 at the Central Methodist Church in
Ermita,Manila,whichwasfollowedbyaCatholicweddingattheShrineofOurLadyof
LourdesinQuezonCity.3Atty.CatindighoweverclaimedthatheonlymarriedGomezbecause
hegotherpregnant;thathewasafraidthatGomezwouldmakeascandaloutofherpregnancy
shouldherefusetomarryher,whichcouldhavejeopardizedhisscholarshipintheHarvard
LawSchool.4chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
Atty.CatindigtoldDr.Perezthathewasintheprocessofobtainingadivorceinaforeign Eventually,theirirreconcilabledifferencesledtotheirdefactoseparationin1984.Theythen
countrytodissolvehismarriagetoGomez,andthathewouldeventuallymarryheroncethe consultedAtty.WilhelminaJoven(Atty.Joven),amutualfriend,onhowtheagreementto
divorce had been decreed. Consequently, sometime in 1984, Atty. Catindig and Gomez separateandliveapartcouldbeimplemented.Atty.Jovensuggestedthatthecoupleadopta
obtainedadivorcedecreefromtheDominicanRepublic.Dr.PerezclaimedthatAtty.Catindig propertyregimeofcompleteseparationofproperty.Shelikewiseadvisedthecoupletoobtain
assuredherthatthesaiddivorcedecreewaslawfulandvalidandthattherewasnolongerany adivorcedecreefromtheDominicanRepublicforwhatevervalueitmayhaveandcomfortit
impedimenttotheirmarriage.5chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary mayprovidethem.16chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary

Thus,onJuly14,1984,Atty.CatindigmarriedDr.PerezintheStateofVirginiaintheUnited Thus,onApril27,1984,Atty.CatindigandGomezeachexecutedaSpecialPowerofAttorney
StatesofAmerica(USA).TheirunionwasblessedwithachildwhomtheynamedTristan addressedtoaJudgeoftheFirstCivilCourtofSanCristobal,DominicanRepublic,appointing
JegarJosefFrederic.6chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary anattorneyinfacttoinstituteadivorceactionunderitslaws.Atty.Catindiglikewiseadmitted
thatadivorcebymutualconsentwasratifiedbytheDominicanRepubliccourtonJune12,
Yearslater,Dr.PerezcametoknowthathermarriagetoAtty.Catindigisanullitysincethe 1984.Further,Atty.CatindigandGomezfiledaJointPetitionforDissolutionofConjugal
divorcedecreethatwasobtainedfromtheDominicanRepublicbythelatterandGomezisnot PartnershipbeforetheRegionalTrialCourtofMakatiCity,Branch133,whichwasgrantedon
recognized by Philippine laws. When she confronted Atty. Catindig about it, the latter June23,1984.17chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
allegedlyassuredDr.Perezthathewouldlegalizetheiruniononceheobtainsadeclarationof
nullityofhismarriagetoGomezunderthelawsofthePhilippines.Healsopromisedtolegally Atty.CatindigclaimedthatDr.Perezknewoftheforegoing,includingthefactthatthedivorce
adopttheirson.7chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary decreed by the Dominican Republic court does not have any effect in the Philippines.
NotwithstandingthatsheknewthatthemarriageofAtty.CatindigandGomezstillsubsisted,
Sometimein1997,Dr.PerezremindedAtty.Catindigofhispromisetolegalizetheirunionby Dr.PerezdemandedthatAtty.Catindigmarryher.Thus,Atty.CatindigmarriedDr.Perezin
filingapetitiontonullifyhismarriagetoGomez.Atty.Catindigtoldherthathewouldstill July1984intheUSA.18chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
havetogettheconsentofGomeztothesaidpetition. 8chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
Atty.CatindigclaimedthatDr.Perezknewthattheirmarriagewasnotvalidsincehisprevious
Sometime in 2001, Dr. Perez alleged that she received an anonymous letter 9 in the mail marriagetoGomezwasstillsubsisting,andthatheonlymarriedDr.Perezbecauseheloved
informingherofAtty.CatindigsscandalousaffairwithAtty.Baydo,andthatsometimelater, herandthathewasafraidoflosingherifhedidnot.Hemerelydesiredtolendamodicumof
shecameuponaloveletter 10writtenandsignedbyAtty.CatindigforAtty.BaydodatedApril legitimacytotheirrelationship.19chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
25,2001.Inthesaidletter,Atty.CatindigprofessedhislovetoAtty.Baydo,promisingto
marryheroncehisimpedimentisremoved.Apparently,fivemonthsintotheirrelationship, Atty.CatindigclaimedthathisrelationshipwithDr.Perezturnedsour.Eventually,helefttheir
Atty.BaydorequestedAtty.Catindigtoputahalttotheiraffairuntilsuchtimethatheisable homeinOctober2001topreventanyacrimonyfromdeveloping. 20chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
toobtaintheannulmentofhismarriage.OnAugust13,2001,Atty.Catindigfiledapetitionto
declarethenullityofhismarriagetoGomez.11chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary HedeniedthatAtty.BaydowasthereasonthatheleftDr.Perez,claimingthathisrelationship
withDr.Perezstartedtofallapartasearlyas1997.HeassertedthatAtty.Baydojoinedhislaw
OnOctober31,2001,Atty. CatindigabandonedDr.Perez andtheir son;hemovedtoan firmonlyinSeptember1999;andthatwhilehewasattractedtoher,Atty.Baydodidnot
upscale condominium in Salcedo Village, Makati City where Atty. Baydo was frequently reciprocateandinfactrejectedhim.HelikewisepointedoutthatAtty.Baydoresignedfrom
seen.12chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary hisfirminJanuary2001.21chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary

In a Resolution13 dated October 9, 2002, the Court directed the respondents to file their Forherpart,Atty.BaydodeniedthatshehadanaffairwithAtty.Catindig.Sheclaimedthat
respective comments, which they separately did on November 25, Atty.Catindigbegancourtingherwhileshewasemployedinhisfirm.Shehoweverrejected
2002.14chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary Atty.Catindigsromanticovertures;shetoldhimthatshecouldnotreciprocatehisfeelings
sincehewasmarriedandthathewastoooldforher.Shesaidthatdespitebeingturneddown,
Atty. Catindig, inhisComment, 15 admitted thathemarried Gomez on May 18, 1968. He Atty. Catindig still pursued her, which was the reason why she resigned from his law
claimed, however, that immediately after the wedding, Gomez showed signs that she was firm.22chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
incapableofcomplyingwithhermaritalobligations,asshehadseriousintimacyproblems;
and that while their union was blessed with four children, their relationship simply OnJanuary29,2003,theCourtreferredthecasetotheIntegratedBarofthePhilippines(IBP)
deteriorated. for investigation, report and recommendation within 90 days from
notice.23chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
theRulesofCourt,acomplaintfordisbarmentmustbesupportedbyaffidavitsofpersons
OnJune2,2003,theIBPsCommissiononBarDiscipline(CBD)issuedanOrder 24settingthe havingknowledgeofthefactsthereinallegedand/orbysuchdocumentsasmaysubstantiate
mandatoryconferenceoftheadministrativecaseonJuly4,2003,whichwaslaterresetto saidfacts.Hesaidthatdespitetheabsenceofanycorroboratingtestimony,theInvestigating
August 29, 2003. During the conference, the parties manifested that they were already CommissionergavecredencetoDr.Pereztestimony.
submittingthecaseforresolutionbasedonthepleadingsalreadysubmitted.Thereupon,the
IBPCBDdirectedthepartiestosubmittheirrespectivepositionpaperswithin10daysfrom Healsoclaimedthathehadabsolutelynointentionofcommittinganyfelony;thathenever
notice.RespondentsAtty.CatindigandAtty.BaydofiledtheirpositionpapersonOctober17, concealedthestatusofhismarriagefromanyone.Infact,Atty.Catindigassertedthathehad
200325andOctober20,2003,26respectively.Dr.Perezfiledherpositionpaper 27onOctober24, alwaysbeentransparentwithbothGomezandDr.Perez.
2003.
The IBP Board of Governors, in its Resolution 32 dated December 29, 2012, denied Atty.
FindingsoftheIBPInvestigatingCommissioner Catindigsmotionforreconsideration.

On May 6, 2011, after due proceedings, the Investigating Commissioner of the IBPCBD TheIssue
issuedaReportandRecommendation,28whichrecommendedthedisbarmentofAtty.Catindig
for gross immorality, violation of Rule 1.01, Canon 7 and Rule 7.03 of the Code of Theissueinthiscaseiswhethertherespondentscommittedgrossimmorality,whichwould
ProfessionalResponsibility.TheInvestigatingCommissionerpointedoutthatAtty.Catindigs warranttheirdisbarment.
actofmarryingDr.PerezdespiteknowingfullywellthathispreviousmarriagetoGomezstill
subsistedwasagrosslyimmoralandillegalconduct,whichwarrantstheultimatepenaltyof RulingoftheCourt
disbarment.TheInvestigatingCommissionerfurtheropinedthat:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
In this case, the undisputedfacts gatheredfrom the evidence andthe admissions ofAtty. Afterathoroughperusaloftherespectiveallegationsofthepartiesandthecircumstancesof
Catindigestablishedapatternofgrosslyimmoralconductthatwarrantsfustigationandhis this case, the Court agrees with the findings and recommendations of the Investigating
disbarment. Hisconductwas notonlycorruptorunprincipled;itwas reprehensibleto the CommissionerandtheIBPBoardofGovernors.
highestdegree.
TheCodeofProfessionalResponsibilityprovides:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
Thereisnodichotomyofmorality.Alawyerandaprofessoroflaw,bothinhisofficialand Rule1.01Alawyershallnotengageinunlawful,dishonest,immoralordeceitfulconduct.
personalconduct,mustdisplayexemplarybehavior.Respondentsbigamousmarriageandhis
proclivity for extramarital adventurism have definitely caused damage to the legal and Canon7Alawyershallatalltimesupholdtheintegrityanddignityofthelegalprofession
teachingprofessions.Howcanheholdhisheaduphighandexpecthisstudents,hispeersand andsupporttheactivitiesoftheIntegratedBar.
thecommunitytolookuptohimasamodelworthyofemulationwhenhefailedtofollowthe
tenetsofmorality?Incontractingasecondmarriagenotwithstandingknowingfullywellthat Rule7.03Alawyershallnotengageinconductthatadverselyreflectsonhisfitnessto
hehasapriorvalidsubsistingmarriage,Atty.Catindighasmadeamockeryofanotherwise practicelaw,norshouldhe,whetherinpublicorprivatelife,behaveinascandalousmannerto
inviolable institution, a serious outrage to the generally accepted moral standards of the thediscreditofthelegalprofession.cralawred
community.29 InArnobitv.Atty.Arnobit,33theCourtheld:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
Ontheotherhand,theInvestigatingCommissionerrecommendedthatthechargeagainstAtty. [T]herequirementofgoodmoralcharacterisofmuchgreaterimport,asfarasthegeneral
Baydobedismissedfordearthofevidence;Dr.Perezfailedtopresentclearandpreponderant publicisconcerned,thanthepossessionoflegallearning.Goodmoralcharacterisnotonlya
evidenceinsupportoftheallegedaffairbetweentherespondents. conditionprecedentforadmissiontothelegalprofession,butitmustalsoremainintactin
ordertomaintainonesgoodstandinginthatexclusiveandhonoredfraternity.Goodmoral
FindingsoftheIBPBoardofGovernors characterismorethanjusttheabsenceofbadcharacter.Suchcharacterexpressesitselfinthe
willtodotheunpleasantthingifitisrightandtheresolvenottodothepleasantthingifitis
OnDecember10,2011,theIBPBoardofGovernorsissuedaResolution, 30whichadoptedand wrong.Thismustbesobecausevastinterestsarecommittedtohiscare;heistherecipientof
approvedtherecommendationoftheInvestigatingCommissioner. unboundedtrustandconfidence;hedealswithhisclientsproperty,reputation,hislife,his
all.34(Citationomitted)
Atty.Catindigsoughtareconsideration31 oftheDecember10,2011ResolutionoftheIBP Inthisregard,Section27,Rule138oftheRulesofCourtprovidesthatalawyermaybe
BoardofGovernors,claimingthattheInvestigatingCommissionererredinrelyingsolelyon removed or suspended from the practice of law, inter alia, for grossly immoral conduct.
Dr.Perezsuncorroboratedallegations.Hepointedoutthat,underSection1ofRule139Bof Thus:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
Sec.27.AttorneysremovedorsuspendedbySupremeCourtonwhatgrounds.Amember
ofthebarmayberemovedorsuspendedfromhisofficeasattorneybytheSupreme IthasalsonotescapedtheattentionoftheCourtthatAtty.CatindigmarriedDr.Perezinthe
Courtforanydeceit,malpractice,orothergrossmisconductinsuchoffice,grosslyimmoral USA.ConsideringthatAtty.Catindigknewthathispreviousmarriageremainedvalid,the
conduct, or by reason of his conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude, or for any logicalconclusionisthathewantedtomarryDr.PerezintheUSAfortheaddedsecurityof
violationoftheoathwhichheisrequiredtotakebeforetheadmissiontopractice,orfora avoidinganychargeofbigamybyenteringintothesubsequentmarriageoutsidePhilippine
wilfull disobedience of any lawful order of a superior court, or for corruptly or willful jurisdiction.
appearingasanattorneyfora partytoa case withoutauthoritysotodo.Thepracticeof
solicitingcasesatlawforthepurposeofgain,eitherpersonallyorthroughpaidagentsor Moreover,assumingarguendothatAtty.Catindigsclaimistrue,itmattersnotthatDr.Perez
brokers,constitutesmalpractice.(Emphasisours) knewthattheirmarriageisanullity.Thefactstillremainsthatheresortedtovariouslegal
Alawyermaybesuspendedordisbarredforanymisconductshowinganyfaultordeficiency strategiesinordertorenderafaadeofvaliditytohisotherwiseinvalidmarriagetoDr.Perez.
inhismoralcharacter,honesty,probityorgooddemeanor. 35Immoralconductinvolvesacts Suchactis,attheveryleast,sounprincipledthatitisreprehensibletothehighestdegree.
thatarewillful,flagrant,orshameless,andthatshowamoralindifferencetotheopinionofthe
uprightandrespectablemembersofthecommunity.Immoralconductisgrosswhenitisso Further,after17yearsofcohabitingwithDr.Perez,anddespitethevariouslegalactionshe
corruptastoconstituteacriminalact,orsounprincipledastobereprehensibletoahigh resortedtoinordertogivetheirunionasemblanceofvalidity,Atty.Catindigleftherandtheir
degree,orwhencommittedundersuchscandalousorrevoltingcircumstancesastoshockthe son.Itwasonlyatthattimethathefinallydecidedtoproperlyseekthenullityofhisfirst
communityssenseofdecency.TheCourtmakesthesedistinctions,asthesupremepenaltyof marriagetoGomez.Apparently,hewasthenalreadyentrancedwiththemuchyoungerAtty.
disbarment arising from conduct requires grossly immoral, not simply immoral, Baydo,anassociatelawyeremployedbyhisfirm.
conduct.36chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
WhilethefactthatAtty.CatindigdecidedtoseparatefromDr.PereztopursueAtty.Baydo,in
Contracting a marriage during the subsistence of a previous one amounts to a grossly itself,cannotbeconsideredagrosslyimmoralconduct,suchfactformspartofthepattern
immoralconduct. showing his propensity towards immoral conduct. Lest it be misunderstood, the Courts
findingofgrossimmoralconductishingednotonAtty.CatindigsdesertionofDr.Perez,but
onhiscontractingofasubsequentmarriageduringthesubsistenceofhispreviousmarriageto
The facts gathered from the evidence adduced by the parties and, ironically, from Atty.
Gomez.
Catindigsownadmission,indeedestablishapatternofconductthatisgrosslyimmoral;itis
notonlycorruptandunprincipled,butreprehensibletoahighdegree.
Themoraldelinquencythataffectsthefitnessofamemberofthebartocontinueassuch
includes conduct that outrages the generally accepted moral standards of the community,
Atty.CatindigwasvalidlymarriedtoGomeztwiceaweddingintheCentralMethodist
conduct for instance, which makes a mockery of the inviolable social institution of
Churchin1968,whichwasthenfollowedbyaCatholicwedding.In1983,Atty.Catindig
marriage.37Invariouscases,theCourthasheldthatdisbarmentiswarrantedwhenalawyer
startedpursuingDr.Perezwhentheirpathscrossedagain.Curiously,15yearsintohisfirst
abandonshislawfulwifeandmaintainsanillicitrelationshipwithanotherwomanwhohas
marriage and four children after, Atty. Catindig claimed that his first marriage was then
bornehimachild.38chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary
alreadyfallingapartduetoGomezseriousintimacyproblems.
Atty. Catindigs subsequent marriageduringthe subsistenceofhis previous onedefinitely
A year after pursuing Dr. Perez, Atty. Catindig had a de facto separation from Gomez,
manifestsadeliberatedisregardofthesanctityofmarriageandthemaritalvowsprotectedby
dissolvedtheirconjugalpartnershipofgains,obtainedadivorcedecreefromacourtinthe
the Constitutionand affirmedby our laws. By his own admission, Atty. Catindig made a
DominicanRepublic,andmarriedDr.PerezintheUSAallinthesameyear.Atty.Catindig
mockeryoutoftheinstitutionofmarriage,takingadvantageofhislegalskillsintheprocess.
wassoenchantedwithDr.Perezatthattimethathemovedheavenandearthjustsohecould
Heexhibitedadeplorablelackofthatdegreeofmoralityrequiredofhimasamemberofthe
marryherrightawayamarriagethathasatleastasemblanceoflegality.
bar,whichthuswarrantthepenaltyofdisbarment.
Fromhisownadmission,Atty.Catindigknewthatthedivorcedecreeheobtainedfromthe
TheCourtisnotunmindfuloftherulethatthepowertodisbarmustbeexercisedwithgreat
courtintheDominicanRepublicwasnotrecognizedinourjurisdictionasheandGomezwere
caution,andonlyinaclearcaseofmisconductthatseriouslyaffectsthestandingandcharacter
bothFilipinocitizensatthattime.HeknewthathewasstillvalidlymarriedtoGomez;thathe
ofthelawyerasanofficeroftheCourtandasamemberofthebar.Wherealesserpenalty,
cannotmarryanewunlesshispreviousmarriagebeproperlydeclaredanullity.Otherwise,his
suchastemporarysuspension,couldaccomplishtheenddesired,disbarmentshouldneverbe
subsequentmarriagewould bevoid.Thisnotwithstanding, hestillmarriedDr. Perez.The
decreed.Nevertheless,inthiscase,theseriousnessoftheoffensecompelstheCourttowield
foregoingcircumstancesseriouslytaintAtty.Catindigssenseofsocialproprietyandmoral
itspowertodisbar,asitappearstobethemostappropriatepenalty.
values.Itisablatantandpurposefuldisregardofourlawsonmarriage.
Sereno, C. J., Carpio, Velasco, Jr., LeonardoDe Castro, Brion, Peralta, Bersamin, Del
Atty.CatindigsclaimthatDr.Perezsallegationsagainsthimarenotcrediblesincetheyare Castillo,Villarama,Jr.,Perez,Mendoza,Reyes,PerlasBernabe,andLeonen,JJ.,concur.
uncorroboratedandnotsupportedbyaffidavitscontrarytoSection1,Rule139BoftheRules Jardeleza,J.,nopartrespondentcafindingwascollegueinfaculty.
ofCourt,deservesscantconsideration.Verily,Atty.Catindighimselfadmittedinhispleadings Endnotes:
that he indeed married Dr. Perez in 1984 while his previous marriage with Gomez still
subsisted. Indubitably, such admission provides ample basis for the Court to render
disciplinarysanctionagainsthim.

Thereisinsufficientevidencetoprovetheaffairbetweentherespondents.

The Court likewise agrees with the Investigating Commissioner that there is a dearth of
evidencetoprovetheclaimedamorousrelationshipbetweentherespondents.Asitis,the
evidence that was presented by Dr. Perez to prove her claim was mere allegation, an
anonymousletterinformingherthattherespondentswereindeedhavinganaffairandthe
purportedlovelettertoAtty.BaydothatwassignedbyAtty.Catindig.

TheCourthasconsistentlyheldthatinsuspensionordisbarmentproceedingsagainstlawyers,
the lawyer enjoys the presumption of innocence, and the burden of proof rests upon the
complainanttoprovetheallegationsinhiscomplaint.Theevidencerequiredinsuspensionor
disbarmentproceedingsispreponderanceofevidence. 39chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary

ThepresentationoftheanonymousletterthatwasreceivedbyDr.Perezonlyprovesthatthe
latterindeedreceivedaletterinformingheroftheallegedrelationsbetweentherespondents;it
doesnotprovetheveracityoftheallegationstherein.Similarly,thesupposedloveletter,ifat
all,onlyprovesthatAtty.CatindigwroteAtty.Baydoaletterprofessinghisloveforher.It ENBANC
doesnotprovethatAtty.BaydoisindeedinarelationshipwithAtty.Catindig. A.C.No.10676September8,2015
ATTY.ROYB.ECRAELA,Complainant,
WHEREFORE,inconsiderationoftheforegoingdisquisitions,theCourtresolvestoADOPT vs.
the recommendations of the Commission on Bar Discipline of the Integrated Bar of the ATTY.IANRAYMONDA.PANGALANGAN,Respondent.
Philippines.Atty.TristanA.CatindigisfoundGUILTYofgrossimmoralityandofviolating DECISION
the Lawyers Oath and Rule 1.01, Canon 7 and Rule 7.03 of the Code of Professional PERCURIAM:
ResponsibilityandisherebyDISBARREDfromthepracticeoflaw. TheCase
Before the Court is a Petition for Disbarment1 filed by Atty. Roy B. Ecraela with the
LetacopyofthisDecisionbeenteredintotherecordsofAtty.TristanA.Catindiginthe IntegratedBarofthePhilippinesCommissiononBarDiscipline(IBPCBD)onApril12,2007
Office of the Bar Confidant and his name is ORDERED STRICKEN from the Roll of againstAtty.IanRaymondA.Pangalanganforhisillicitrelations,chronicwomanizing,abuse
Attorneys.Likewise,copiesofthisDecisionshallbefurnishedtotheIntegratedBarofthe of authority as an educator, and "other unscrupulous activities" which cause "undue
PhilippinesandcirculatedbytheCourtAdministratortoallappellateandtrialcourts. embarrassmenttothelegalprofession."Complainantclaimsthatrespondent'sactionsinvolve
deceit, malpractice, gross misconduct and grossly immoral conduct in violation of the
ThechargeofgrossimmoralityagainstAtty.KarenE.BaydoisherebyDISMISSEDforlack Lawyer'sOath.
ofevidence. TheFacts
ComplainantandrespondentwerebestfriendsandbothgraduatedfromtheUniversityofthe
ThisDecisiontakeseffectimmediately. Philippines(UP)CollegeofLawin1990,wheretheywerepartofapeergrouporbarkada
withseveraloftheirclassmates.Afterpassingthebarexaminationsandbeingadmittedas
SOORDERED. membersoftheBarin1991,theywerebothregisteredwiththeIBPQuezonCity.
RespondentwasformerlymarriedtoSheilaP.Jardiolin(Jardiolin)withwhomhehasthree(3)
children. Complainant avers that while married to Jardiolin, respondent had a series of ComplainantalsoclaimsthatrespondentabusedhisauthorityasaneducatorinManuelL.
adulterousandillicitrelationswithmarriedandunmarriedwomenbetweentheyears1990to QuezonUniversity,SanSebastianCollege,CollegeofSt.Benilde,andMaryknollCollege,
2007.Theseallegedillicitrelationsinvolved: where respondent induced his male students to engage in "nocturnal preoccupations" and
a.AAA,2whoisthespouseofacolleagueintheUPCollegeofLaw,from1990to1992, entertainedtheromanticgesturesofhisfemalestudentsinexchangeforpassinggrades.10The
whichcomplainanthadpersonalknowledgeofsuchillicitrelations; PetitionwasdocketedasCBDCaseNo.071973.
b.BBB,sometimeduringtheperiodfrom1992to1994orfrom1994to1996,despitebeing InanOrder11datedApril16,2007,theDirectorforBarDiscipline,HonorableRogelioA.
alreadymarriedtoJardiolin; Vinluan,requiredrespondenttofilehisverifiedanswer.
c.CCC,despitebeingmarriedtoJardiolinandwhilealsobeingromanticallyinvolvedwith InhisundatedAnswer,12respondentoptednottopresentanycounterstatementoffactsin
DDD; supp01i of his defense. Instead, respondent simply argued that the petition suffers from
d.DDD,sometimeduringtheperiodfrom2000to2002,despitestillbeingmarriedtoJardiolin procedural and substantive infirmities, claiming that petitioner failed to substantiate the
andwhilestillbeingromantically.involvedwithCCC; allegationsorchargesagainsthim.Respondent pointedoutthatAnnex "J"ofthe Petition
e.EEE,whoisrelatedtocomplainant,sometimeduringtheperiodfromMay2004untilthe entitled "Arguments in Support of the Disbarment" lacked formal requirements, and thus,
filingofthePetition,whilestillbeingromanticallyinvolvedwithCCC.3 shouldbetreatedasamerescrapofpaper.Respondentalsoassertsthattheemailmessages
Complainantclaimsthatrespondent, withmaliceandwithoutremorse, deceivedCCCand attachedtothepetitionwereinadmissibleforhavingbeenobtainedinviolationoftheRuleson
DDDbyrepresentinghimselftobeabachelor,therebyconvincingthetwowomentostarta ElectronicEvidence.13Heclaimsthattheidentitiesoftheownersoftheemailmessages,as
loveaffairwithhim,whenin.truth,hewasthenstillmarriedtoJardiolin.4 wellastheallegationsofillicitrelationsandabuseofauthority,werenotproperlyestablished.
Asidefromtheseillicitaffairs,complainantaversthatsometimeduringtheperiodof1998to Respondentfurtherarguesthatthestatementsofcomplainant'switnessesweremerelyself
2000,respondent,asalawyeroftheOfficeoftheGovernmentCorporateCounsel(OGCC), servinganddeservedscantconsideration.
represented the interest of Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) in cancellation ComplainantfiledaComment(totheRespondent'sAnswer),14statingthattheallegationsin
proceedings filed by MIAA against Kendrick Development Corporation (KOC). However, thecomplaintweredeemedadmittedbyreasonofrespondent'sfailuretomakespecificoreven
despite being a public officer and a government counsel, respondent conspired with Atty. generaldenialsofsuchinhisAnswer.
AbrahamEspejo,legalcounselofKDC,andassistedKDCinitscase,therebysabotaging In his Reply (to the Comment filed by Complainant),15 respondent simply denied all of
MIAA'scase,and,ineffect,thatofthePhilippineGovernment.5 complainant'saccusationsinthepetition,allegedlyfor"lackofknowledgeandinformation
ComplainantfurtherclaimsthatrespondentevenattemptedtobribethenSolicitorRolando sufficienttoformabeliefastothetruthorfalsitythereof."16
MartinoftheOfficeoftheSolicitorGeneral(OSG)inexchangeforthelatter'scooperationin On August 3, 2007, IBPCBD Investigating Commissioner Leland R. Villadolid, Jr.
the dismissal of the cancellation proceedings in favor of KDC. In return for his "earnest (Commissioner Villadolid) set the case for mandatory conference on August 28, 2007,17
efforts"inassistingKDCinitscase,respondentwasallegedlyrewardedwithaToyotaCorolla which respondent failed to attend. It appears that respondent filed a Motion to Cancel
XL with plate number ULS835 by Atty. Espejo. The vehicle was seen several times by Hearing,18prayingfortheresettingofthemandatoryconferenceallegedlyduetoapreviously
respondent'sclassmatesandofficematesbeingdrivenandparkedbyrespondentinhisown scheduledhearingonthesamedate.Respondent'smotionwasopposedbycomplainantand
homeandintheOGCCpremisesitself.6 eventuallydeniedbyCommissionerVilladolidinhisOrder19datedAugust28,2007.Inthe
InconnectionwithhisinvolvementintheMIAAcase,complainantclaimsthatrespondentwas sameorder,complainant'sManifestation20prayingthatsubpoenasbeissuedtoseveralpersons
summonedinaSenateinquiryconcerningrampantfakingoflandtitlesinthePhilippines, who shall be complainant's hostile witnesses was granted by Commissioner Villadolid.
which included an investigation of the alleged spurious land titles of KDC. In Senate Accordingly, the case was scheduled for the presentation of complainant's witnesses on
Committee Final Report No. 367, the Senate Blue Ribbon and Justice & Human Rights September11,2007andtherespectivesubpoenas21wereissued.
CommitteesrecommendedthatrespondentbeinvestigatedandprosecutedbytheOfficeofthe A day before the scheduled hearing, the IBPCBD received respondent's Motion for
Ombudsman (Ombudsman) for graft and corruption, as well as disbarment or disciplinary Reconsideration,22prayingthattheOrderdatedAugust28,2007besetasideandthatthe
sanctionbythisCourtforgravemisconductorviolationoftheRevisedPenalCode.7 hearingberesettosometimeduringthethirdweekofOctober.Insaidmotion,respondent
It was further alleged that, during the pendency of the Senate Inquiry, respondent even informedtheIBPCBDthathehasviralconjunctivitisormorecommonlyknownas"sore
attemptedtoconcealtheevidencebyrequestingcomplainant'sparents,spousesMarceloF. eyes"andhasbeenorderedbythedoctortorestforatleastonetotwoweekswhilehiseyes
EcraelaandVisitacionB.Ecraela,tohavetheToyotaCorollaXLparkedintheirresidencein arebeingtreated.Attachedtohismotionwerephotocopiesoftwomedicalcertificates,stating
Cainta,Rizal,foranindefiniteperiodoftime.Respondent'srequest,however,wasrefusedby thatacertainR.Pangalanganwassufferingfromsoreeyes.
thespouseswhentheylearnedthatthevehiclewasthesubjectoftheSenateInquiry.8 During the scheduled hearing on September 11, 2007, complainant opposed petitioner's
It appears from the documents presented by complainant that the Ombudsman issued a motion,arguingthatbasedonhispersonalverificationwiththecourtpersonnelofBranch77
Resolutionfindingprobablecauseagainstrespondent,andanInformationwasthereafterfiled of Metropolitan Trial Court (MTC) of Parafiaque City, there was no case calendared for
with the Sandiganbayan for violation of Section 3 (b) of Republic Act No. (RA) 3019.9 hearingonthedateoftheprevioussetting.Complainantalsoarguedthatthisisanotherployof
respondenttodelaytheproceedingsbecauseheknewthatcomplainantworkedoverseasand submittinghisverifiedpositionpaperandthatanydecisionorjudgmentwouldhavetobe
wasonlyinthecountryforalimitedperiodoftime.Findingmeritincomplainant'sopposition, basedsolelyoncomplainant'sVerifiedPositionPaper.28
respondent's motion was denied and complainant was allowed to present his witnesses.23 FindingsoftheIBPInvestigatingCommissioner
Complainantpresentedhiswitnesses,asfollows:Assistant SolicitorGeneralKarlMiranda After the case was submitted for report and recommendation, Commissioner Villadolid
(ASGMiranda),Ms.LaarniMorallos(Ms.Morallos),Atty.GlendaT.Litong(Atty.Litong), rendered a Report,29 finding that there is more than sufficient evidence establishing
Atty.EmelynW.Corpus(Atty.Corpus),Mr.MarceloEcraela,andMrs.VisitacionEcraela. respondent'sgrossmisconductaffectinghisstandingandmoralcharacterasanofficerofthe
ASGMirandatestifiedonhisparticipationintheKDCcaseasreflectedintheSenateBlue courtandmemberofthebar.
Ribbon Committee Report, as well as on his recollection that the Senate Report had Ontheissueofrespondent'sallegedviolationsoftheRevisedPenalCode30and/orRA301931
recommendedthedisbarmentofrespondent. as reflected in the Senate Report, the Ombudsman's Resolution, and the Information,
Ms. Morallos, Atty. Litong, and Atty. Corpus were presented to establish that the email Commissioner Villadolid found that despite respondent's denials, complainant was able to
messages submitted by complainant indeed originated from respondent based on their presentcertifiedtruecopiesoftherelevantdocumentswhichsupporthisallegationsinthe
familiaritywithrespondent,paiiicularly,theemailmessageswhichcontainedreferencestohis petition.
daughter,hisrelationshipwithcomplainant,andrespondent'shighbloodpressure. As for the alleged illicit affairs of respondent, Commissioner Villadolid discredited
Atty. Litong further testified that respondent personally introduced DDD to her as his complainant'sasse1iionthatrespondentisguiltyofgross immoralconductforhis alleged
girlfriendandthatsometimein2002or2003,shesawrespondentwithanothergirlinGlorietta adulterousrelationswithEEE.BasedontheRep01i,complainantwasnotabletodischargethe
despitestillbeingmarriedtohiswife.Atty.Litongalsorecalledencounteringrespondentata burdenofprovingtheauthenticityoftheemailmessagespertainingtothisadulterousaffair;
partysometimein2007wherehewaswithCCC,whomshe perceivedto be respondent's thus, they were deemed inadmissible. However, Commissioner Villadolid found merit in
girlfriendatthattime.Shealsoconfirmedthatrespondenthad,inmorethanoneoccasion, complainant's claim that respondent committed grossly immoral conduct by having illicit
broughtwithhimhisstudentsduringtheirdrinkingsessionsandhadevenonestudentdriving relationswithODD,CCC,andBBB,allwhilestillmarriedtoJardiolin,towit:
forhim. 4.21Inengaginginsuchillicitrelationships,Respondentdisregardedthesanctityofmarriage
For her testimony, Atty. Corpus corroborated Atty. Litong's statements about respondent's andthemarital vowsprotectedbytheConstitutionandaffirmedby ourlaws. which as a
preoccupationswithhisstudents.Atty.CorpusalsotestifiedthatODDcalledheratheroffice lawyerhesworeunderoathtoprotect.The1987Constitution,specificallyArticleXV.Section
sometimein2000or2001toinformherthatthelatterhadbrokenupwithrespondentupon 2thereofclearlyprovidesthatmarriage,aninviolablesocialinstitution.isthefoundationof
learning that he was actually married. Atty. Corpus surmised based on her telephone thefamilyandshallbeprotectedbythestate.
conversationwithDDDthatrespondentdidnottellthelatterhisactualmaritalstatus.Aside xxxx
from this, Atty. Corpus also recalled that during complainant's farewell party in February 4.23Moreover.RespondentviolatedRule1.01ofCanonI,andRule7.03ofCanon7ofthe
2007,respondentintroducedCCCashisgirlfriendofsixyears,orsincetheyear2000or2001. Code of Professional Responsibility, which provides that .. a lawyer shall not engage in
To expedite the hearing, the spouses Ecraela were made to affirm the execution of their unlawful,dishonest,immoralordeceitfulconduct"'norshallalawyer"engageinconductthat
affidavitssincetheirtestimonieswerebasedontheaffidavitsthatcomplainantincludedinhis adverselyreflectsonhisfitnesstopracticelaw,norshallhe,whetherinpublicorprivatelife.
petition. behaveinscandalousmannertothediscreditofthelegalprofession".32
Once complainant's presentation of witnesses was concluded, the mandatory Accordingly,theIBPCBDreachedandgavethefollowingconclusionandrecommendation:
conference/hearing was terminatedand theparties were directedtosubmit theirrespective V.Conclusion/Recommendations
verifiedpositionpaperswithsupportingdocumentaryevidencewithinthi1iy(30)daysfrom 5.1 In view of the foregoing, and considering that there is more than sufficient evidence
receiptofthetranscriptofstenographicnotes.Afterwhich,thecasewasconsideredsubmitted establishingRespondent'sgrossmisconductaffectinghisstandingandmoralcharacterasan
forreportandrecommendation. officerofthecourtandmemberofthebar,thisCommissionerrespectfullyrecommendsthat
On September 18, 2007, the IBPCBD received complainant's Manifestation (with Respondentbesuspendedfromthepracticeoflawforaperiodoftwo(2)yearswithaSTERN
Comments),24pertainingtorespondent'sMotiontoCancelHearingandprayingfortheIBP WARNINGthatRespondentshouldreformhisconductinamannerconsistentwiththenorms
CBD to formally request for records from Branch 77 of MTC, Paraaque City to verify prescribedbytheCanonsofProfessionalResponsibility.33
respondent'sclaimthathehadahearinginsaidcourtduringthefirstscheduledmandatory FindingsoftheIBPBoardofGovernors
conference.Onthesamedate,theIBPCBDalsoreceivedcomplainant'sCompliance(with OnMarch20,2013,theBoardofGovernorsoftheIBPissuedaResolution34adoptingand
Comments),25submittingthecertifiedphotocopiesoftheSenateCommitteeFinalReportNo. approving,withmodification,theReportandRecommendationofCommissionerVilladolid.
367,theResolutiondatedJanuary22,2001oftheOmbudsman,andtheInformationdated Asmodified,theBoardofGovernorsdisbarredrespondent,thus:
June30,2003filedwiththeSandiganbayan. RESOLUTIONNO.XX2013280
On January 8, 2008, the IBPCBD received complainant's Position Paper.26 Complainant CBDCaseNo.071973
thereafter filed two Manifestations,27 asserting that respondent is already barred from Atty.RoyB.Ecraelavs.
Atty.IanRaymundoA.Pangalangan Bar.This,WeexplainedinAbav.DeGuzman,Jr.:
RESOLVED to ADOPT and APPROVE, as it is hereby unanimously ADOPTED and Preponderance of evidence means that the evidence adduced by one side is, as a whole,
APPROVED, with modification, the Report and Recommendation of the Investigating superior to orhasgreaterweightthanthatoftheother.It means evidencewhichismore
Commissionerintheaboveentitledcase,hereinmadepartofthisResolutionasAnnex"A", convincingtothecourtasworthyofbeliefthanthatwhichisofferedinoppositionthereto.
andfindingtherecommendationfullysupportedbytheevidenceonrecordandtheapplicable Under Section I of Rule 133, in determining whether or not there is preponderance of
lawsandrulesandconsideringRespondent'sviolationsofArticleXVofthe1987Constitution, evidence,thecourtmayconsiderthefollowing:(a)allthefactsandcircumstancesofthecase;
Section 2, Rule 1.01 of Canon 1 and Rule 7.03 of Canon 7 of the Code of Professional (b) the witnesses' manner of testifying, their intelligence, their means and opportunity of
Responsibility, and the Lawyer's Oath, Atty. Ian Raymundo A. Pangalangan is hereby knowingthefactstowhichtheyaretestifying.thenatureofthefactstowhichtheytestify,the
DISBARREDandhisnameOrderedStrickenOfffromtheRollofAttorneys. probabilityorimprobabilityoftheirtestimony;(c)thewitnesses'interestorwantofinterest.
OnJuly9,2013,theIBPreceivedrespondent'sMotionforReconsideration35datedJuly3, andalsotheirpersonalcredibilitysofarasthesamemayultimatelyappearinthetrial;and(d)
2013,towhichcomplainantwasrequiredtosubmithiscomment.36 thenumberofwitnesses,althoughitdoesnotmeanthatpreponderanceisnecessarilywiththe
Forhispart,complainantfiledaMotionforReconsideration(oftheIBPCBDReportdated greaternumber.
June28,2012)37datedAugust17,2013.Similarly,respondentwasrequiredtocommenton Whentheevidenceofthepartiesareevenlybalancedorthereisdoubtonwhichsidethe
complainant'smotioninanOrder38datedAugust27,2013.Onthesamedate,complainant evidencepreponderates,thedecisionshouldbeagainstthepartywiththeburdenofproof,
filedhisComment and/orOpposition(totheRespondent'sMotionforReconsideration).39 accordingtotheequipoisedoctrine.
Subsequently,respondentfiledaCommenton/OppositiontotheMotionforReconsideration Tosummarize,theCourthasconsistentlyheldthatinsuspensionordisbarmentproceedings
with Leave40 dated September 12, 2013, as well as a Reply to the Comment and/or againstlawyers,thelawyerenjoysthepresumptionofinnocence,andtheburdenofproofrests
Opposition41datedSeptember20,2013. upon the complainant to prove the allegations in his complaint. The evidence required in
OnMay3,2014,theBoardofGovernorsoftheIBPpassedaresolutiondenyingrespondent's suspensionordisbarmentproceedingsispreponderanceofevidence.Incasetheevidenceof
motionforreconsideration.42Thereafter,theDirectorforBarDisciplineforwardedtherecords thepartiesareequallybalanced,theequipoisedoctrinemandatesadecisioninfavorofthe
ofthiscasetothisCourtonNovember11,2014.43 respondent.46
TheIssue TheIBPCBDReportsufficientlyshowedbypreponderantevidencethegroundsbywhich
Theissueinthiscaseiswhethertherespondentcommittedgrossimmoralconduct,which respondenthasbeenfoundcommittinggrossimmoralityintheconductofhispersonalaffairs.
wouldwarranthisdisbarment. ThisCourthas,innumerousoccasions,revokedthelicensesoflawyerswhowereprovento
TheCourt'sRuling havenotonlyfailedtoretaingoodmoralcharacterintheirprofessionalandpersonallives,but
Afterathoroughexaminationoftherecords,theCourtagreeswiththeBoardofGovernors' havealsomadeamockeryoftheinstitutionofmarriagebymaintainingillicitaffairs.
resolutionfindingthatAtty.Pangalangan'sgrosslyimmoralconductwasfullysupportedby InGuevarrav.Eala,respondentAtty.Ealawasdisbarredbecauseheshoweddisrespectforan
theevidencesoffered. institution held sacred by the law, by having an extramarital affair with the wife of the
TheCodeofProfessionalResponsibilityprovides: complainant.Indoingso,hebetrayedhisunfitnesstobealawyer.47
CANON1ALAWYERSHALLUPHOLDTHECONSTITUTION,OBEYTHELAWS A year later, Atty. Arnobit met the same fate as Atty. Eala when the Court revoked his
OFTHELANDANDPROMOTERESPECTFORLAWANDLEGALPROCESSES. privilegetopracticelawafterhisphilanderingwayswasprovenbypreponderantevidencein
Rule1.01Alawyershallnotengageinunlawful,dishonest,immoralordeceitfulconduct. Arnobitv.Arnobit.48Weruled:
xxxx Asofficersofthecourt,lawyersmustnotonlyinfactbeofgoodmoralcharacterbutmustalso
CANON 7 A LA WYERSHALL AT ALL TIMES UPHOLD THE INTEGRITY AND beseentobeofgoodmoralcharacterandleadinglivesinaccordancewiththehighestmoral
DIGNITYOFTHELEGALPROFESSIONANDSUPPORTTHEACTIVITIESOFTHE standardsofthecommunity.Amemberofthebarandanofficerofthecourtisnotonly
INTEGRATEDBAR.Rule7.03Alawyershallnotengageinconductthatadverselyreflects requiredtorefrainfromadulterousrelationshipsorkeepingamistressbutmustalsosobehave
on his fitness to practice law, nor shall he, whether in public or private life. behaveina himselfastoavoidscandalizingthepublicbycreatingtheimpressionthatheisfloutingthose
scandalousmannertothediscreditofthelegalprofession. moralstandards.
Thepracticeoflawisaprivilegegiventothosewhopossessandcontinuetopossessthelegal xxxx
qualificationsfortheprofession.44Goodmoralcharacterisnotonlyrequiredforadmissionto The fact that respondent s philandering ways are far removed from the exercise of his
theBar,butmustalsoberetainedinordertomaintainone'sgoodstandinginthisexclusive professionwouldnotsavethedayforhim.Foralawyermaybesuspendedordisbarredfor
andhonoredfraternity.45 anymisconductwhich,albeitunrelatedtotheactualpracticeofhisprofession,wouldshow
Wearenotunmindfuloftheseriousconsequencesofdisbarmentorsuspensionproceedings himtobeunfitfortheofficeandunworthyoftheprivilegeswithwhichhislicenseandthelaw
againstamemberoftheBar.Thus,theCourthasconsistentlyheldthatclearlypreponderant investhim.ToborrowfromOrbev.Adaw,"[t]hegroundsexpressedinSection27,Rule138.
evidenceisnecessarytojustifytheimpositionofadministrativepenaltiesonamemberofthe oftheRulesofCourtarenot!imitativeandarebroadenoughto.coveranymisconductxxxof
a lawyer in his professional or private capacity." To reiterate, possession of good moral Rights Committees to be investigated and prosecuted by the Ombudsman, the same as
characterisnotonlyaconditionprecedenttothepracticeoflaw,butacontinuingqualification containedintheir"CommitteeFinalReportNo.367"hereinattachedasAnnexD;
forallmembersofthebar.49 14.Respondenthasalsobeenrecommendedbytheabovementionedcommitteestosufferthe
Similarly,inthemorerecentcaseofDr.ElmarO.Perezv.Atty.TristanCatindig,50theCourt penaltyofdisbarment,amongothers,asevidencedbythehereinattachedAnnexD1,anditis
disbarredrespondentAtty.Catindigforblatantlyandpurposefullydisregardingourlawson believed that a case for graft and corruption against him is still pending with the
marriagebyresortingtovariouslegalstrategiestorenderafacadeofvaliditytohisinvalid Sandiganbayan."53
secondmarriage,despitetheexistenceofhisfirstmarriage.Wesaid: Insteadofrefutingtheseclaims,respondentmerelypointedoutinhisAnswerthatcomplainant
Themoraldelinquencythataffectsthefitnessofamemberofthebartocontinueassuch failed to adduce additional evidence that a case had been filed against him, and that
includes conduct that outrages the generally accepted moral standards of the community, complainant's statements were merely selfserving averments not substantiated by any
conductforinstance.whichmakes'amockeryoftheinviolablesocialinstitutionofmarriage." evidence.InhisReply,respondentevenspecificallydeniedcomplainant'savermentsfor"lack
Invariouscases,theCourthasheldthatdisbarmentiswarrantedwhenalawyerabandonshis ofknowledgeandinformationsufficienttoformabeliefastothetruthorfalsitythereof."
lawfulwifeandmaintainsanillicitrelationshipwithanotherwomanwhohasbornehima WeagreewithCommissionerVilladolid'sfindingsintheIBPCBDReport,viz:
child.51(emphasisours.) 4.8It(sic)isthusindisputablethatRespondent'spretensionsinhisAnswerweremadein
Inthe presentcase,complainantalleged that respondentcarriedonseveral adulterousand attempttomisleadthisCommission.Respondentcouldhaveeasilyadmittedordeniedsaid
illicitrelationswithbothmarriedandunmarriedwomenbetweentheyears 1990to2007, allegationsorexplainedthesame,ashe(sic)clearlyhadknowledgethereof,however,he(sic)
including complainant's own wife. Through documentary evidences in the form of email chosetotakeadvantageofComplainant'spositionofbeingnotpresentinthecountryandnot
messages,aswellasthecorroboratingtestimoniesofthewitnessespresented,complainantwas beingabletoacquirethenecessarydocuments,skirttheissue,andmisleadtheCommission.In
abletoestablishrespondent'sillicitrelationswithDODandCCCbypreponderantevidence. doingso,hehasviolatedCanon10oftheCodeofProfessionalResponsibility,whichprovides
Respondent'smain defense againsttheallegedillicitrelationswasthatthesamewere not that"alawyerowescandor,fairnessandgoodfaithtothecourt"aswellasRule10.01and
sufficientlyestablished.Inhisanswer,respondentsimplyarguedthatcomplainant'spetition Rule10.03thereofwhichstatesthat"alawyershoulddonofalsehoodnorconsenttothedoing
containsselfservingavermentsnotsupportedbyevidence.Respondentdidnotspecifically ofanyinCourt;norshallhemislead,orallowthecourttobemisledbyanyartifice"andthat
deny complainant's allegations and, instead, questioned the admissibility of the supporting "alawyershallobservetherulesofprocedureandshallnotmisusethemtodefeattheendsof
documents.1wphi1Duetorespondent'sownfailuretoattendthehearingsandevensubmithis justice."
ownpositionpaper,theexistenceofrespondent'sillicitrelationswithDDDandCCCremain 4.9 Courts [as well as this Commission] are entitled to expect only complete candor and
uncontroverted. honesty from the lawyers appearing and pleading before them. Respondent, through his
TheIBPCBDReportwascorrectwhenitfoundthatrespondentviolatedArticleXV,Section actuations,hasbeenlackinginthecandorrequiredofhimnotonlyasamemberoftheBarbut
2ofthe1987Constitution,towit: alsoasanofficeroftheCourt.Inviewoftheforegoing,theCommissionfindsthatRespondent
4.21Inengaginginsuchillicitrelationships,Respondentdisregardedthesanctityofmarriage hasviolatedCanon10,Rule10.01oftheCodeofProfessionalResponsibility,forwhichhe
andthemarital vowsprotectedbytheConstitutionandaffirmedby ourlaws, which as a shouldbedisciplined.54(emphasisintheoriginal.)
lawyerhesworeunderoathtoprotect.The1987Constitution,specificallyA1iicleXV,Section Indenyingcomplainant'sallegations,respondenthadnootherintentionbuttomisleadtheIBP,
2thereofclearlyprovidesthatmarriage,aninviolablesocialinstitution,isthefoundationof whichintentionwasmoresoestablishedbecausecomplainantwasabletosubmitsupporting
thefamilyandshallbeprotectedbytheState.52(emphasisintheoriginal.) documents in the form of certified true copies of the Senate Report, the Ombudsman's
Asidefromrespondent'sillicitrelations,WeagreewithCommissionerVilladolid'sfindings Resolution,andInformation.
thatrespondentviolatedCanon10oftheCodeofProfessionalResponsibility,aswellasRuleI WealsoagreewithCommissionerVilladolid'sfindingthatrespondentviolatedthelawyer's
0.01andRule10.03thereof. oathwhichhetookbeforeadmissiontotheBar,whichstates:
TheCodeofProfessionalResponsibilityprovides: I, __________, do solemnly swear that I will maintain allegiance to the Republic of the
CANON10ALAWYEROWESCANDOR,FAIRNESSANDGOODFAITHTOTHE Philippines:IwillsupportitsConstitutionandobeylawsaswellasthelegalordersoftheduly
COURT.Rule10.01Alawyershallnotdoanyfalsehood,norconsenttothedoingofanyin constitutedauthoritiestherein;Iwilldonofalsehood,norconsenttothedoingofanycourt;I
Court;norshallhemislead,orallowtheCourttobemisledbyanyartifice. willnotwittinglynorwillinglypromoteorsueanygroundless,falseorunlawfulsuit,orgive
xxx aidnorconsenttothesame:Iwilldelaynomanformoneyormalice,andwillconductmyself
Rule10.03Alawyershallobservetherulesofprocedureandshallnotmisusethemtodefeat asalawyeraccordingtothebestofmyknowledgeanddiscretionwithallgoodfidelityaswell
theendsofjustice. tothecourtsastomyclients;andIimposeuponmyselfthisvoluntaryobligationswithoutany
InthePetition,complainantallegedthatrespondentwasthesubjectofaSenateInquiryand mentalreservationorpurposeofevasion.SohelpmeGod.
hadapendingcaseforgraftandcorruptionagainsthimwiththeSandiganbayan,towit: Inall,Atty.Pangalangandisplayeddeplorable arrogance bymakinga mockeryoutofthe
13.Respondenthas beenrecommendedbythe SenateBlueRibbonandJustice&Human institution of marriage, and taking advantage of his legal skills by attacking the Petition
throughtechnicalitiesandrefusingtoparticipateintheproceedings.Hisactionsshowedthat
helackedthedegreeofmoralityrequiredofhimasamemberofthebar,thuswarrantingthe
penaltyofdisbarment.
WHEREFORE,inconsiderationoftheforegoing,theCourtresolvestoADOPTtheresolution
oftheIBPBoardofGovernorsapprovingandadopting,withmodification,theReportand
Recommendation of the Investigating Commissioner. Accordingly, respondent Atty. Ian
RaymondA.PangalanganisfoundGUILTYofgrossimmoralityandofviolatingSection2of
A1iicleXVofthe1987Constitution,Canon1andRule1.01,Canon7andRule7.03,andRule
10.01ofCanon10oftheCodeofProfessionalResponsibility,andtheLawyer'sOathandis
herebyDISBARREDfromthepracticeoflaw.
LetacopyofthisDecisionbeenteredintothepersonalrecordsofAtty.IanRaymondA.
PangalanganwiththeOfficeoftheBarConfidantandhisnameisORDEREDSTRICKEN
fromtheRollofAttorneys.Likewise,letcopiesofthisDecisionbefurnishedtoallchaptersof
theIntegratedBarof the Philippines and circulatedby the Cou1iAdministratorto allthe
cou1isinthecountryfortheirinformationandguidance.
ThisDecisiontakeseffectimmediately.
SOORDERED.
thatSesbreoviolatedSection27,Rule138oftheRulesofCourtbycontinuingtoengagein
the practice oflaw despite his convictionof acrime involving moral turpitude. Uponthe
directiveoftheIBPCBD,GarciasubmittedhisverifiedcomplaintagainstSesbreoalleging
basicallythesamefactsheallegedinA.C.No.7973.
Inhisanswertothecomplaint,Sesbreoallegedthathissentencewascommutedandthe
ENBANC phrase"withtheinherentaccessorypenaltiesprovidedbylaw"wasdeleted.Sesbreoargued
thateveniftheaccessorypenaltywasnotdeleted,thedisqualificationappliesonlyduringthe
A.C.No.7973andA.C.No.10457February3,2015 termofthesentence.Sesbreofurtherallegedthathomicidedoesnotinvolvemoralturpitude.
MELVYNG.GARCIA,Complainant, SesbreoclaimedthatGarciascomplaintwasmotivatedbyextrememalice,badfaith,and
vs. desiretoretaliateagainsthimforrepresentingGarciasdaughtersincourt.
ATTY.RAULH.SESBRENO,Respondent. TheIBPCBDconsolidatedA.C.No.7973withCBDCaseNo.082273.Thepartiesagreedon
DECISION thesoleissuetoberesolved:whethermoralturpitudeisinvolvedinaconvictionforhomicide.
PERCURIAM: TheIBPCBDruledthattheRegionalTrialCourtofCebufoundSesbreoguiltyofmurder
TwocomplaintsfordisbarmentwerefiledbyDr.MelvynG.Garcia(Garcia)againstAtty. and sentenced him to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua. On appeal, this Court
RaulH.Sesbrefio(Sesbrefio).Thetwocases,docketedasA.C.No.7973andA.C.No.10457, downgraded the crime to homicide and sentenced Sesbreo to suffer the penalty of
wereconsolidatedintheCourt'sResolutiondated30September2014. imprisonmentfor9yearsand1dayofprisionmayorasminimumto16yearsand4monthsof
A.C.No.7973 reclusion temporalas maximum. The IBPCBD found that Sesbreo was released from
On30July2008,GarciafiledacomplaintfordisbarmentagainstSesbreobeforetheOfficeof confinementon27July2001followinghisacceptanceoftheconditionsofhisparoleon10
theBarConfidant.ThecasewasdocketedasA.C.No.7973.Garciaallegedthatin1965,he July2001.
marriedVirginiaAlcantarainCebu.Theyhadtwochildren,MariaMargaritaandAngieRuth. TheIBPCBDruled thatconvictionfor acrime involvingmoral turpitudeisagroundfor
In 1971, he and Virginia separated. He became a dentist and practiced his profession in disbarment or suspension. Citing International Rice Research Institute v. National Labor
CabanatuanCity.Garciaallegedthatin1992,Virginiafiledapetitionfortheannulmentof RelationsCommission,1theIBPCBDfurtherruledthathomicidemayormaynotinvolve
theirmarriage,whichwaseventuallygranted. moralturpitudedependingonthedegreeofthecrime.TheIBPCBDreviewedthedecisionof
Garciaallegedthatin2005whilehewasinJapan,Sesbreo,representingMariaMargaritaand thisCourtconvictingSesbreoforthecrimeofhomicide,andfoundthatthecircumstances
AngieRuth,filedanactionforsupportagainsthimandhissisterMilagrosGarciaSoliman.At leadingtothedeathofthevictiminvolvedmoralturpitude.TheIBPCBDstated:
thetimeofthefilingofthecase,MariaMargaritawasalready39yearsoldwhileAngieRuth NeithervictimLucianoAmparadonorhiscompanionChristopherYapchangcowasshownto
was 35 years old. The case was dismissed. In 2007, Garcia returned from Japan. When beafoeofrespondentandneitherhadthevictimLucianonorhiscompanionChristopher
SesbreoandGarciaschildrenlearnedabouthisreturn,SesbreofiledaSecondAmended showntohavewrongedtherespondent.Theysimplyhappenedtobeatthewrongplaceand
Complaintagainsthim.GarciaallegedthathelearnedthatSesbreowasconvictedbythe timetheearlymorningofJune3,1993.
RegionalTrialCourtofCebuCity,Branch18,forHomicideinCriminalCaseNo.CBU The circumstances leading to the death of Luciano solely caused by respondent, bear the
31733.GarciaallegedthatSesbreoisonlyonparole.Garciaallegedthathomicideisacrime earmarksofmoralturpitude.ParaphrasingwhattheSupremeCourtobservedinSorianov.
againstmoralturpitude;andthus,Sesbreoshouldnotbeallowedtocontinuehispracticeof Dizon,supra,therespondent,byhisconduct,displayedextremearroganceandfeelingofself
law. importance.Respondentactedlikeagodwhodeservednottobeslightedbyacoupleofdrunks
InhisComment,Sesbreoallegedthaton15August2008,Garciafiledasimilarcomplaint whomayhaveshatteredthestillnessoftheearlymorningwiththeirboisterousantics,natural
againsthimbeforetheIntegratedBarofthePhilippines,CommissiononBarDiscipline(IBP displayofloudbravadoofdrunkenmenwhohadonetoomany.Respondentsinordinateover
CBD),docketedasCBCCaseNo.082273.SesbreoallegedthatGarciascomplaintwas reactiontotheramblingsofdrunkenmenwhowerenotevendirectedatrespondentreflected
motivatedbyresentmentanddesireforrevengebecauseheactedasprobonocounselfor poorly on his fitness to be a member of the legal profession. Respondent was not only
MariaMargaritaandAngieRuth. vindictivewithoutacause;hewascruelwithamisplacedsenseofsuperiority.2
IntheCourtsResolutiondated18January2010,theCourtreferredA.C.No.7973totheIBP Following the ruling of this Court in Soriano v. Atty. Dizon3 where the respondent was
forinvestigation,reportandrecommendation. disbarredforhavingbeenconvictedoffrustratedhomicide,theIBPCBDrecommendedthat
A.C.No.10457(CBCCaseNo.082273) SesbreobedisbarredandhisnamestrickenfromtheRollofAttorneys.
AdaypriortothefilingofA.C.No.7973,oron29July2008,Garciafiledacomplaintfor In its Resolution No. XX201319 dated 12 February 2013, the IBP Board of Governors
disbarmentagainstSesbreobeforetheIBPCBD.HeallegedthatSesbreoispracticinglaw adoptedandapprovedtheReportandRecommendationoftheIBPCBD.
despitehispreviousconvictionforhomicideinCriminalCaseNo.CBU31733,anddespite On6May2013,SesbreofiledamotionforreconsiderationbeforetheIBPCBD.Sesbreo
thefactsthatheisonlyonparoleandthathehasnotfullyservedhissentence.Garciaalleged allegedthattheIBPCBDmisunderstoodandmisappliedSorianov.Atty.Dizon.Healleged
thattheattendantcircumstancesinSorianoaredisparate,distinct,anddifferentfromhiscase. showthepresenceofmoralturpitude.
Hefurtherallegedthattherewasnoconditionsetonthegrantofexecutiveclemencytohim; The Decision showed that the victim Luciano Amparado (Amparado) and his companion
andthus,hewasrestoredtohisfullcivilandpoliticalrights.Finally,Sesbreoallegedthat Christopher Yapchangco(Yapchangco)werewalkingandjustpassed bySesbreoshouse
afterhiswifediedinanambush,healreadystoppedappearingasprivateprosecutorinthecase whenthelatter,withoutanyprovocationfromtheformer,wentoutofhishouse,aimedhis
forbigamyagainstGarciaandthathealreadyadvisedhisclientstosettletheirothercases.He rifle,andstartedfiringatthem.AccordingtoYapchangco,theywereaboutfivemeters,more
allegedthatGarciaalreadywithdrewthecomplaintsagainsthim. orless,fromthegateofSesbreowhentheyheardthescreechingsoundofthegateandwhen
On 11 February 2014, the IBP Board of Governors passed Resolution No. XX201431 theyturnedaround,theysawSesbreoaiminghisrifleatthem.YapchangcoandAmparado
denyingSesbreosmotionforreconsideration.TheIBPCBDtransmittedtherecordsofthe ranawaybutAmparadowashit.Aneyewitness,RizaldyRabanes(Rabanes),recalledthathe
case to the Office of the Bar Confidant on 20 May 2014. CBD Case No. 082273 was heardshotsandopenedthewindowofhishouse.HesawYapchangcoandAmparadorunning
redocketedasA.C.No.10457.IntheCourtsResolutiondated30September2014,theCourt awaywhileSesbreowasfiringhisfirearmrapidly,hittingRabaneshouseintheprocess.
consolidatedA.C.No.7973andA.C.No.10457. Anotherwitness,EdwinParune,sawAmparadofalldownafterbeingshot,thensawSesbreo
Theonlyissueinthesecasesiswhetherconvictionforthecrimeofhomicideinvolvesmoral inthemiddleofthestreet,carryingalongfirearm,andwalkingbacktowardsthegateofhis
turpitude. house.TheIBPCBDcorrectlystatedthatAmparadoandYapchangcowerejustatthewrong
WeadoptthefindingsandrecommendationoftheIBPCBDandapproveResolutionNo.XX place and time. They did not do anything that justified the indiscriminate firing done by
201319dated12February2013andResolutionNo.XX201431dated11February2014of SesbreothateventuallyledtothedeathofAmparado.
theIBPBoardofGovernors. WecannotacceptSesbreosargumentthattheexecutiveclemencyrestoredhisfullciviland
Section27,Rule138oftheRulesofCourtstatesthatamemberofthebarmaybedisbarredor politicalrights.SesbreocitedInreAtty.Parcasio10tobolsterhisargument.Inthatcase,Atty.
suspendedasattorneybythisCourtbyreasonofhisconvictionofacrimeinvolvingmoral Parcasiowasgranted"anabsoluteandunconditionalpardon"11whichrestoredhis"fullcivil
turpitude.ThisCourthasruledthatdisbarmentistheappropriatepenaltyforconvictionby and political rights,"12 a circumstance not present inthese cases. Here, the Order of
finaljudgmentforacrimeinvolvingmoralturpitude.4Moralturpitudeisanactofbaseness, Commutation13didnotstatethatthepardonwasabsoluteandunconditional.Theaccessory
vileness,ordepravityintheprivatedutieswhichamanowestohisfellowmenortosocietyin penalties were not mentioned when the original sentence was recited in the Order of
general,contrarytojustice,honesty,modesty,orgoodmorals.5 Commutationandtheywerealsonotmentionedinstatingthecommutedsentence.Itonly
Thequestionofwhetherconvictionforhomicideinvolvesmoralturpitudewasdiscussedby states: By virtue of the authority conferred upon me by the Constitution and upon the
thisCourtinInternationalRiceResearchInstitutev.NLRC6whereitruled: recommendationoftheBoardofPardonsandParole,theoriginalsentenceofprisonerRAUL
This is not to say that all convictions of the crime of homicide do not involve moral SESBREOYHERDAconvictedbytheRegionalTrialCourt,CebuCityandSupremeCourt
turpitude.1wphi1Homicidemayormaynotinvolvemoralturpitudedependingonthedegree andsentencedtoanindeterminateprisontermoffrom9yearsand1dayto16yearsand4
ofthecrime.Moralturpitudeisnotinvolvedineverycriminalactandisnotshownbyevery monthsimprisonmentandtopayanindemnityof P50,000.00is/areherebycommutedtoan
known and intentional violation of statute, but whether any particular conviction involves indeterminateprisontermoffrom7yearsand6monthsto10yearsimprisonmentandtopay
moral turpitude may be a question of fact and frequently depends on all the surrounding anindemnityofP50,000.00.14
circumstances.Whilexxxgenerallybutnotalways,crimesmalainseinvolvemoralturpitude, Again,therewasnomentionthattheexecutiveclemencywasabsoluteandunconditionaland
whilecrimesmalaprohibitadonot,itcannotalwaysbeascertainedwhethermoralturpitude restoredSesbreotohisfullcivilandpoliticalrights.
doesordoesnotexistbyclassifyingacrimeasmaluminseorasmalumprohibitum,since TherearefouractsofexecutiveclemencythatthePresidentcanextend:thePresidentcan
therearecrimeswhicharemalainseandyetrarelyinvolvemoralturpitudeandthereare grantreprieves,commutations,pardons,andremitfinesandforfeitures,afterconvictionby
crimeswhichinvolvemoralturpitudeandaremalaprohibitaonly.Itfollowstherefore,that finaljudgment.15Inthiscase,theexecutiveclemencymerely"commutedtoanindeterminate
moralturpitudeissomewhatavagueandindefiniteterm,themeaningofwhichmustbeleftto prison term of 7 years and 6 months to 10 years imprisonment" the penalty imposed on
theprocessofjudicialinclusionorexclusionasthecasesarereached.7 Sesbrefio. Commutation is a mere reduction of penalty.16 Commutation only partially
In People v. Sesbreo,8 the Court found Sesbreo guilty of homicide and ruled: extinguishedcriminalliability.17ThepenaltyforSesbrefio'scrimewasneverwipedout.He
WHEREFORE,theassaileddecisionoftheRegionalTrialCourtofCebuCity,Branch18,in servedthecommutedorreducedpenalty,forwhichreasonhewasreleasedfromprison.More
CriminalCaseNo.CBU31733isherebyMODIFIED.AppellantRaulH.Sesbreoishereby importantly,theFinalReleaseandDischarge18statedthat"[i]tisunderstoodthatsuchxxx
foundGUILTYofHOMICIDEandherebysentencedtosufferaprisontermof9yearsand1 accessorypenaltiesofthelawashavenotbeenexpresslyremittedhereinshallsubsist."Hence,
dayofprisionmayor,asaminimum,to16yearsand4monthsofreclusiontemporal,asa theParcasiocasehasnoapplicationhere.EvenifSesbrefiohasbeengrantedpardon,thereis
maximum,withaccessorypenaltiesprovidedbylaw,toindemnifytheheirsofthedeceased nothingintherecordsthatshowsthatitwasafullandunconditionalpardon.Inaddition,the
LucianoAmparadointheamountofP50,000.00andtopaythecosts. practiceoflawisnotarightbutaprivilege.19Itisgrantedonlytothosepossessinggood
SOORDERED.9 moralcharacter.20Aviolationofthehighmoralstandardsofthelegalprofessionjustifiesthe
WereviewedtheDecisionofthisCourtandweagreewiththeIBPCBDthatthecircumstances impositionoftheappropriatepenaltyagainstalawyer,includingthepenaltyofdisbarment.21
WHEREFORE,respondentRaulH.SesbrefioisDISBARREDeffectiveimmediatelyuponhis was"fullyaccounted,liquidatedandentirelydepositedtoPACEaccounts;"5thatshealsofiled
receiptofthisDecision. theStatementofLiquidationforthe12thnationalconventiononMay22,2007;thatthereport,
LetcopiesofthisDecisionbefurnishedtheOfficeoftheBarConfidant,theIntegratedBarof togetherwiththecash,checksandoriginalreceipts,werereceivedbyRositaAmisolaand
thePhilippinesfordistributiontoallitschapters,andtheOfficeoftheCourtAdministratorfor witnessedbyformerPACEofficers;6thatshedeniedrunningforreelectionasPACEnational
disseminationtoallcourtsalloverthecountry.LetacopyofthisDecisionbeattachedtothe treasurerduringtheIloiloconventionasshehadalreadyfiledhercertificateofcandidacyfor
personalrecordsofrespondent. BoardMemberoftheFirstDistrictofIpil,ZamboangaSibugay;7thattheapprovalofthe
SOORDERED. P30,000.00termendbonusdidnotrestwithhersolely,rather,itwasapprovedbytheprevious
MARIALOURDESP.A.SERENO board of directors; and that she never sponsored the bonus, as it was initiated by Aliven
MaderazaandsecondedbyAtty.LourdesGarciaandSarahAmpong.
Onherpart,Atty.Garciaaverredthatshewasnotprivytothedisbursementofthesaidterm
endbonus.8
Initially,thecasewasassignedtoIBPCommissionerElpidioG.Soriano.Afteranexchangeof
pleadings,themandatoryconferencewasheld.Afterwards,theprotagonistsweredirectedto
submit their respective position papers. Thereafter, the case was reassigned to IBP
CommissionerVictorC.Fernandez(CommissionerFernandez).9
SECONDDIVISION TheloneissuehereiswhetherornotAtty.DiazviolatedChapter1,Canon1,Rule1.01ofthe
A.C.No.10134November26,2014 CodeofProfessionalResponsibility(CPR),whichreads:
PHILIPPINEASSOCIATIONOFCOURTEMPLOYEES(PACE),representedbyits "Alawyershouldnotengageinanunlawful,dishonest,immoralordeceitfulconduct."
President,ATTY.VIRGINIAC.RAFAEL,Complainant, In his Report and Recommendation, dated June 28, 2010, Commissioner Fernandez
vs. recommendedthedismissalofthecaseagainstAtty.Diazforlackofmerit.Atty.Diazoffered
ATTY.EDNAM.ALIBUTDANDIAZ,Respondent. documentaryevidencetoshowthatshewasabletosubmittheliquidationreportsforthetwo
DECISION aforementioned conventions of PACE. He also took note that Atty. Rafael herself
acknowledged the liquidation report made by Atty. Diaz with respect to the Davao City
MENDOZA,J.:
convention.10Astothesufficiencyandcompletenessofthesereports,thiswouldbebetter
ThisresolvesthecomplaintforsuspensionordisbarmentfiledbythePhilippineAssociationof
resolvedthrough an audit rather than in disbarment proceedings.1wphi1 Besides,
CourtEmployees(PACE)throughitspresident,Atty.VirginiaC.Rafael(Atty.Rafael),on
CommissionerFernandezdidnotconsiderthepositionofAtty.Diazasnationaltreasurerof
July17,2008againstAtty.EdnaM.AlibutdanDiaz(Atty.Diaz),formerNationalTreasurerof
PACEtohaveanyconnectionwithherbeingasalawyer.Thus,accordingtohim,sheshould
PACE,beforetheIntegratedBarofthePhilippines(IBP).1
besanctionedinaccordancewiththebylawsofPACEinsteadofadisbarmentcase.11
PACE,theumbrellaassociationof1stand2ndlevelcourtemployeesintheJudiciaryheldits
As regards the accusation that Atty. Diaz ran for reelection in the PACE elections even
11thNationalConvention/SeminarinDavaoCityfromOctober6to8,2005.AsthenNational
though she was no longer connected with the Judiciary and therefore disqualified,
TreasurerofPACE,Atty.DiazwasentrustedwithallthemoneymattersofPACE.
Commissioner Fernandez opined that the best evidence, which was the "certificate of
The complainant alleged that the liquidation for the 11th PACE national convention was
candidacy,"wasneveroffered,12andthatAtty.Diaz,beingalawyer,knewthatherbidforre
submittedbyAtty.DiazonlyonMarch29,2007,duringthe12thPACEnationalconventionin
electionwouldbeauselessexercisesinceshewouldnotbeabletoassumeofficeifshewon.13
IloiloCity2;thatduringthe12thconvention,anelectionofofficerswasconductedandAtty.
Finally,CommissionerFernandezbelievedAtty.Diazsassertionthatsheneversponsoredthe
DiazranforthepositionofNationalTreasurer,butshewasnotelected;thatonthelastdayof
appropriationofthe30,000.00termendbonusandthattheapprovalofResolutionNo.12007
theconventionoronMarch31,2007,theoutgoingBoardofDirectors,includingAtty.Diaz,
wasacollegialactionamongtheBoardofDirectors.Again,CommissionerFernandezwasof
passedandapprovedResolutionNo.12007appropriatingtheamountof30,000.00astermend
the view that her participation in the passage of the questioned board resolution was not
bonusforeachPACEofficialqualifiedthereto;thatAtty.Diazdidnotsubmitaliquidation
connectedtoherbeingalawyer.14
report for the 12th convention; that there was no turn over of monies belonging to the
OnNovember19,2011,theIBPBoardofGovernors(IBPBOG)passedaresolutionadopting
associationasamatterofproceduredespitealetterofdemand,datedJune20,2007sentto
andapprovingthereportandrecommendationofCommissionerFernandez,anddismissedthe
Atty. Diaz;3 and that the new set of PACE officers issued Board Resolution No. 0007
complaintagainstAtty.Diaz.15
directingpastpresident,RositaD.Amizola;andpasttreasurer,Atty.Diaz,toexplainwhythey
Onreconsideration,theIBPBOGissuedtheExtendedResolution,16datedJune21,2013,
failedtoliquidatethefinancesofPACEfortheDavaoandIloiloconventions.4
granting the complainants motion for reconsideration. It reversedand set asideits earlier
Inherdefense,Atty.DiazcounteredthatshehadfiledtheStatementofLiquidationforthe
resolutionandsuspendedAtty.Diazfromthepracticeoflawforone(1)year.17
11thnationalconventioninDavaoinlessthanaweekafterthesaidconvention;thatitwas
The IBPBOG explained that the questions regarding (i) Atty. Diaz liquidation of PACE
dulyauditedbythenationalauditor,LeteciaAgbayani;thatthenetproceedsofthatconvention
funds;(ii)herrunningforreelectionwhenshewasnolongerwiththeJudiciary;and(iii)her
entitlement to the termend bonus when she was no longer working in the Judiciary,
constituted a "triple whammy" of questionable actions18 committed by Atty. Diaz in
contraventionofRule1.01oftheCPR.
TheCourtsRuling
This Court agrees with the IBPBOG and adopts its June 21, 2013 Extended Resolution.
Everyoneshouldkeepinmindthatthepracticeoflawisonlyaprivilege.Itisdefinitelynota
right. Inorder to enjoy this privilege, one must show that he possesses, and continues to
possess,thequalificationsrequiredbylawfortheconfermentofsuchprivilege.
One of those requirements is the observance of honesty and candor. Candor in all their
dealingsistheveryessenceofapractitioner'shonorablemembershipinthelegalprofession.
Lawyersarerequiredtoactwiththehigheststandardoftruthfulness,fairplayandnobilityin
theconductoflitigationandintheirrelationswiththeirclients,theopposingparties,theother
counsels and the courts. They are bound by their oath to speak the truth and to conduct
themselvesaccordingtothebestoftheirknowledgeanddiscretion,andwithfidelitytothe
courts and their clients.19 Time and again, the Court has held that the practice of law is
grantedonlytothoseofgoodmoralcharacter.TheBarmaintainsahighstandardofhonesty
andfairdealing.Thus,lawyersmustconductthemselvesbeyondreproachatalltimes,whether
theyaredealingwiththeirclientsorthepublicatlarge,andaviolationofthehighmoral
standardsofthelegalprofessionjustifiestheimpositionoftheappropriatepenalty,including
suspensionanddisbarment.20
ItbearsstressingthatAtty.Diazisaservantofthelawandbelongstothatprofessionwhich
societyentrustswiththeadministrationoflawandthedispensationofjustice.Forthis,heor
she is an exemplar for others to emulate and should not engage in unlawful, dishonest,
immoralordeceitful conduct.Necessarily, this Court hasbeenexactingin itsdemandfor
integrityandgoodmoralcharacterfrommembersoftheBar.Theyarealwaysexpectedto
upholdtheintegrityanddignityofthelegalprofessionandtorefrainfromanyactoromission
whichmightlessenthetrustandconfidencereposedbythepublicinthefidelity,honesty,and
integrityofthisnobleprofession.21
Atty. Diaz' delay in the liquidation of the finances of PACE; her running for reelection,
includinghernonadmissionthatsheranforsaidelectionasshownnotbyhercertificateof
candidacybutbytheaffidavitsofformerPACEofficers;andherinvolvementintheapproval
orpassageofthequestionedtermendbonusofPACEofficers,includingherselfeventhough
shewasnolongerworkingintheJudiciary,weredefinitelynotthecandortheCourtspeaksof.
TherewasmuchtobedesiredinAtty.Diaz'actions/inactions.
WHEREFORE, Atty. Edna M. AlibutdanDiaz is found GUILTY of violating Chapter 1,
Canon1,Rule1.01oftheCodeofProfessionalResponsibility,andisherebySUSPENDED
fromthepracticeoflawforaperiodofthree(3)months.
Thisdecisionshallbeimmediatelyexecutory.
Letcopiesofthis Decision be furnished theCourt Administrator forits distribution to all
courtsoftheland;theIBP;andtheOfficeoftheBarConfidanttobeenteredintorespondent's
personalrecordsasamemberofthePhilippineBar.
SOORDERED.
Miredwithallegationsofanomalousbusinesstransactionsandpractices,onDecember18,
2008,LCIappliedforvoluntarydissolutionwiththeSEC.

On July 22, 2009, Guarin filed this complaint with the Integrated Bar of the Philippines
CommissiononBarDiscipline(IBPCBD)claimingthatAtty.LimpinviolatedCanon1and
Rule1.01oftheCPRbyknowinglylistinghimasastockholder,ChairmanoftheBoardand
PresidentofLCIwhensheknewthathehadalreadyresignedandhadneverheldanysharenor
washeelectedaschairpersonoftheBODorbeenPresidentofLCI. Healsoneverreceived
anynoticeofmeetingoragendawherehisappointmentasChairmanwouldbetakenup. He
hasneveracceptedanyappointmentasChairmanandPresidentofLCI.

Atty.LimpinadmitsthatshefiledtheGISwiththeSEClistingGuarinasastockholder,the
Chairmanofthe BOD andPresidentofLCI. ShearguedthattheGIS wasprovisionalto
complywithSECrequirements.Itwouldhavebeencorrectedinthefuturebutunfortunately
LCIfiledforvoluntarydissolutionshortlythereafter.SheaverredthattheGISwasmadeand
submittedingoodfaithandthathercertificationservedtoattesttotheinformationfromthe
lastBODmeetingheldonMarch3,2008.5chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary

SheassertedthatGuarinknewthathewasastockholder.Atty.LimpinsaidthatonOctober
13,2008,shesentGuarinatextmessageandaskedhimtomeetwithhersohemaysigna
DeedofAssignmentconcerningshareholdings.Guarinrespondedintheaffirmativeandsaid
thathewouldmeetwithheronFriday,October17,2008.Guarin,however,neglectedtoshow
upatthearrangedtimeandplaceforreasonsunknowntoAtty.Limpin. Onthestrengthof
Guarinspositivereply,Atty.LimpinfiledtheGISonNovember27,2008.
A.C. No. 10576, January 14, 2015 ARCATOMY S. GUARIN, Complainant, v. ATTY.
CHRISTINE A.C. LIMPIN, Respondent. : JANUARY 2015 PHILIPPINE SUPREME TobelietheclaimthatLCIneverheldanyboardmeeting,Atty.LimpinpresentedSecretarys
COURTJURISPRUDENCECHANROBLESVIRTUALLAWLIBRARY Certificates dated May 16, 2006 6, May 22, 20067, and June 13, 2007 8 bearing Guarins
A.C.No.10576,January14,2015 signature.
Beforeusisacomplaint1fordisbarmentfiledbyArcatomyS.GuarinagainstAtty.Christine
AntenorCruzLimpinforallegedlyfilingafalseGeneralInformationSheet(GIS)withthe Moreover, Atty. Limpin stated that there were pending criminal complaints against the
SecuritiesandExchangeCommission(SEC)thusviolatingCanon1 2 andRule1.013 ofthe directorsandofficersofLCI,wheresheandGuarinarecorespondents:SenatorRoxas,etal.
CodeofProfessionalResponsibility(CPR). v.CelsodelosAngeles,etal.9 andSECv.LegacyCard,Inc. 10 Inthoseproceedings,Guarin
raisedasadefensethattheNovember27,2008GISwasspuriousand/orperjured.Sheaverred
Thefactsareculledfromthepleadings. thatthisCourtheldthatwhenthecriminalprosecutionbasedonthesameactchargedisstill
pendingincourt,anyadministrativedisciplinaryproceedingsforthesameactmustawaitthe
In2004,GuarinwashiredbyMr.CelsoG.delosAngelesasChiefOperatingOfficerand outcome of the criminal case to avoid contradictory findings. 11 During the mandatory
thereafter as President of OneCard Company, Inc., a member of the Legacy Group of preliminaryconference,however,bothpartiesstipulatedthatthecomplaintfiledbySenator
Companies.HeresignedfromhisposteffectiveAugust11,2008andtransferredtoSt.Lukes RoxaswasdismissedastoGuarin.12chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
MedicalCenterastheVicePresidentforFinance.
Lastly, Atty. Limpin contends that Guarin failed to present sufficient evidence to warrant
OnNovember27,2008,Atty.Limpin,theCorporateSecretaryofLegacyCard,Inc.(LCI), disbarment. ShestatedthatmerelypresentingtheGISdoesnotconstituteasproofofany
anothercorporationundertheLegacyGroup,filedwiththeSECaGISforLCIforupdating unethicalconduct,harassmentandmalpractice.
purposes. TheGIS4 identifiedGuarinasChairmanoftheBoardofDirectors(BOD)and
President. InitsReport,13theIBPCBDfoundthatAtty.LimpinviolatedCanon1,Rules1.01and1.02 14
oftheCPRandthusrecommendedthatshebesuspendedfromthepracticeoflawforthree
months.Itnotedthatbasedonthesubmissionsoftheparties,Guarinwasneverastockholder allegation that Guarin was in fact a stockholder. We thus find that in filing a GIS that
ofLCIconsequentlymakinghimineligibletobeamemberoftheBOD. Neitherwasthere containedfalseinformation,Atty.Limpincommittedaninfractionwhichdidnotconformto
proof that Guarin acted as the President of LCI but was a mere signatory of LCIs bank heroathasalawyerinaccordwithCanon1andRule1.01oftheCPR.
accounts. This made the verified statement of Atty. Limpin
untrue.15chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary WealsoagreewiththeIBPthatinallowingherselftobeswayedbythebusinesspracticeof
havingMr.delosAngelesappointthemembersoftheBODandofficersofthecorporation
Moreover,itwasnotedthatonlyMr.CelsodelosAngeleshadtheauthoritytoappointor despite the rules enunciated in the Corporation Code with respect to the election of such
designatedirectorsorofficersofLegacy.Atty.Limpinwasawarethatthisprocedurewasnot officers,Atty.LimpinhastransgressedRule1.02oftheCPR.
legallypermissible. Despiteknowingthistobeirregular,sheallowedherselftobedictated
upon and falsely certified that Guarin was a stockholder, chairman and president of the However,consideringtheseriousnessofAtty.Limpinsactioninsubmittingafalsedocument
company.TheSecretarysCertificateswithGuarinssignatureAtty.Limpinpresentedwereof weseeitfittoincreasetherecommendedpenaltytosixmonthssuspensionfromthepractice
nomomentsinceintheseGuarinmerelyaccededtobecomeasignatoryofbankaccountsand oflaw.chanrobleslaw
thesedonotshowthatGuarinwasastockholder.
WHEREFORE,wefindrespondentAtty.ChristineA.C.Limpin GUILTY ofviolationof
The IBP Board of Governors in its April 15, 2013 Resolution 16 adopted in toto the CBD Canon1,Rule1.01andRule1.02ofthe CodeofProfessionalResponsibility. Accordingly,
Report. Atty. Limpin moved for reconsideration 17 but was denied in the March 21, 2014 we SUSPEND respondentAtty.ChristineA.C.LimpinfromthepracticeoflawforSIX(6)
Resolution18oftheIBPBoardofGovernors. MONTHSeffectiveuponfinalityofthisDecision,withawarningthatarepetitionofthesame
orsimilaractinthefuturewillbedealtwithmoreseverely.
WeadoptthereportandrecommendationoftheIBP.Atty.LimpinhasviolatedCanon1,Rule
1.01andRule1.02oftheCPR. LetcopiesofthisDecisionbefurnishedtheOfficeoftheBarConfidanttobeappendedto
respondents personal record as an attorney, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, the
Membersofthebarareremindedthattheirfirstdutyistocomplywiththerulesofprocedure, DepartmentofJustice,andallcourtsinthecountryfortheirinformationandguidance.
ratherthanseekexceptionsasloopholes.19Alawyerwhoassistsaclientinadishonestscheme
orwhoconnivesinviolatingthelawcommitsanactwhichjustifiesdisciplinaryactionagainst SOORDERED.cralawlawlibrary
thelawyer.20chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary

Disbarmentproceedingsare suigeneris andcanproceedindependentlyofcivilandcriminal


cases. AsJusticeMalcolmstated[t]heseriousconsequencesofdisbarmentorsuspension
shouldfollowonlywherethereisaclearpreponderanceofevidenceagainsttherespondent.
Thepresumptionisthattheattorneyisinnocentofthechargespr[o]ferredandhasperformed
hisdutyasanofficerofthecourtinaccordancewithhisoath. 21chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary

GroundsforsuchadministrativeactionagainstalawyermaybefoundinSection27, 22 Rule
138ofthe RulesofCourt. Amongtheseare(1)theuseofanydeceit,malpractice,orother
grossmisconductinsuchofficeand(2)anyviolationoftheoathwhichheisrequiredtotake
beforetheadmissiontopractice.

Aftergoingthroughthesubmissionsandstipulationsoftheparties,weagreewiththeIBPthat
thereisnoindicationthatGuarinheldanysharetothecorporationandthatheistherefore
ineligibletoholdaseatintheBODandbethepresidentofthecompany. 23 Itisundisputed
thatAtty.LimpinfiledandcertifiedthatGuarinwasastockholderofLCIintheGIS. While
she posits that she had made the same in good faith, her certification also contained a
stipulationthatshemadeadueverificationofthestatementscontainedtherein. ThatAtty.
LimpinbelievedthatGuarinwouldsignaDeedofAssignmentisinconsequential:henever
signedtheinstrument. Wealsonotethattherewasnosubmissionwhichwouldsupportthe
OnApril2,2003,complainant,claimingtobearecognizedillegitimatesonofthelateLuis
Tan,securedtheservicesofrespondentinordertopursueacaseforpartitionofproperty
againsttheheirsofthelatespousesLuisandNatividadValenciaTan. 2 Afteracceptingthe
engagement,respondentfiledthecorrespondingcomplaint 3beforetheRegionalTrialCourtof
BacolodCity,Branch46(RTC),docketedasCivilCaseNo.0311947.Thecomplaintwas
eventuallydismissedbytheRTCinanOrder 4datedJuly25,2007forlackofcauseofaction
andinsufficiencyofevidence. 5 Whilerespondentwasnotifiedofsuchdismissalasearlyas
August14,2007,6complainantlearnedofthesameonlyonAugust24,2007whenhevisited
the formers office.7 On such occasion, respondent allegedly asked for the amount of
P10,000.00forthepaymentofappealfeesandothercosts,butsincecomplainantcouldnot
producethesaidamountatthattime,respondent,instead,askedandwasgiventheamountof
P500.00purportedlyaspaymentofthereservationfeeforthefilingofanoticeofappeal
before the RTC.8 On September 12, 2007, Tan handed the amount of P10,000.00 to
respondent,whoonevendate,filedanoticeofappeal 9beforetheRTC.10cralawred

InanOrder11datedSeptember18,2007,theRTCdismissedcomplainantsappealforhaving
beenfiledbeyondthereglementaryperiodprovidedforbylaw.Respondent,however,didnot
disclose such fact and, instead, showed complainant an Order 12 dated November 9, 2007
purportedlyissuedbytheRTC(November9,2007Order)directingthesubmissionofthe
resultsofaDNAtestingtoprovehisfiliationtothelateLuisTan,within15daysfromreceipt
ofthenotice.Consideringthetechnicalrequirementsforsuchkindoftesting,complainant
proceededtotheRTCandrequestedforanextensionofthedeadlineforitssubmission.Itwas
thenthathediscoveredthattheNovember9,2007Orderwasspurious,ascertifiedbythe
RTCsClerkofCourt.13 Complainantalsofoundoutthat,contrarytotherepresentationsof
respondent, his appeal had long been dismissed. 14 Aggrieved, he filed the instant
administrativecomplaintfordisbarmentagainstrespondent.

In his Comments/Compliance15 dated September 4, 2009, respondent alleged that it was


complainantsfailuretotimelyproducetheamountofP1,400.00topayfortheappealfeesthat
resultedinthelatefilingofhisappeal.Accordingtohim,heinformedcomplainantofthelapse
ofthereglementaryperiodtoappeal,butthelatterinsistedinpursuingthesame.Healso
claimedtohaveassistedcomplainantnotformoneyormalicebutbeingadesperatelitigant,
hewasblamedforthecourtsunfavorabledecision.16cralawred
A.C. No. 7766, August 05, 2014 JOSE ALLAN TAN, Complainant, v. PEDRO S.
DIAMANTE, Respondent. : AUGUST 2014 PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT TheIBPsReportandRecommendation
JURISPRUDENCECHANROBLESVIRTUALLAWLIBRARY
A.C.No.7766,August05,2014 In a Report and Recommendation 17 dated September 21, 2010, the Integrated Bar of the
FortheCourtsresolutionisanadministrativeComplaint 1 fordisbarmentdatedFebruary1, Philippines(IBP)InvestigatingCommissionerfoundrespondentadministrativelyliable,and
2008filedbycomplainantJoseAllanTan(complainant)againstrespondentPedroS.Diamante accordinglyrecommendedthatthepenaltyofsuspensionforaperiodofone(1)yearbemeted
(respondent),charginghimofviolatingtheCodeofProfessionalResponsibility(CPR)andthe outagainsthim.18cralawred
lawyersoathforfabricatingandusingaspuriouscourtorder,andforfailingtokeephisclient
informedofthestatusofthecase. TheInvestigatingCommissionerfoundcomplainantsimputationsagainstrespondenttobe
wellfounded, observing that instead of meeting complainants allegations squarely,
TheFacts particularly,theissueofthenondisclosureofthedismissalofthepartitioncase,respondent
sidestepped and delved on arguments that hardly had an effect on the issues at dismissalofcomplainantspartitioncasebeforetheRTC.Despitethisfact,heneverbothered
hand.19cralawred toinformcomplainantofsuchdismissalasthelatteronlyknewofthesameonAugust24,
2007whenhevisitedtheformersoffice.Toaddinsulttoinjury,respondentwasinexcusably
Moreover,theInvestigatingCommissionerdidnotfindcredenceinrespondentsaccusation negligent in filing complainants appeal only on September 12, 2007, or way beyond the
thatthespuriousNovember9,2007Orderoriginatedfromcomplainant,ratiocinatingthatit reglementaryperiodtherefor,thusresultinginitsoutrightdismissal.Clearly,respondentfailed
wasrespondentwhowasmotivatedtofabricatethesametocoveruphislapsesthatbrought toexercisesuchskill,care,anddiligenceasmenofthelegalprofessioncommonlypossessand
aboutthedismissalofcomplainantsappealandmakeitappearthatthereisstillanavailable exerciseinsuchmattersofprofessionalemployment. 24cralawred
reliefleftforTan.20cralawred
Worse,respondentattemptedtoconcealthedismissalofcomplainantsappealbyfabricating
InaResolutiondatedApril16,2013,theIBPBoardofGovernorsunanimouslyadoptedand theNovember9,2007OrderwhichpurportedlyrequiredaDNAtestingtomakeitappearthat
approvedtheaforesaidreportandrecommendation.21cralawred complainants appeal had been given due course, when in truth, the same had long been
denied.Insodoing,respondentengagedinanunlawful,dishonest,anddeceitfulconductthat
TheIssueBeforetheCourt causedundueprejudiceandunnecessaryexpensesonthepartofcomplainant.Accordingly,
respondent clearly violated Rule 1.01, Canon 1 of the CPR, which
Theessentialissueinthiscaseiswhetherornotrespondentshouldbeheldadministratively provides:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
liableforviolatingtheCPR.
CANON1Alawyershallupholdtheconstitution,obeythelawsofthelandandpromote
TheCourtsRuling respectforlawandlegalprocesses.

Afterajudiciousperusaloftherecords,theCourtconcurswiththeIBPsfindings,subjectto Rule1.01Alawyershallnotengageinunlawful,dishonest,immoralordeceitfulconduct.
themodificationoftherecommendedpenaltytobeimposeduponrespondent.
As officers ofthecourt,lawyers areboundtomaintainnotonly a highstandardoflegal
UnderRule18.04,Canon18oftheCPR,itisthelawyersdutytokeephisclientconstantly proficiency,butalsoofmorality,honesty,integrity,andfairdealing, 25failinginwhichwhether
updatedonthedevelopmentsofhiscaseasitiscrucialinmaintainingthelattersconfidence, inhispersonalorprivatecapacity,hebecomesunworthytocontinuehispracticeoflaw. 26A
towit:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary lawyers inexcusable neglect to serve his clients interests with utmost diligence and
competenceaswellashisengaginginunlawful,dishonest,anddeceitfulconductinorderto
CANON 18 A LAWYER SHALL SERVE HIS CLIENT WITH COMPETENCE AND concealsuchneglectshouldneverbecountenanced,andthus,administrativelysanctioned.
DILIGENCE.
Inviewoftheforegoing,respondentsconductofemployingacrookedanddeceitfulscheme
Rule18.04Alawyershallkeeptheclientinformedofthestatusofhiscaseandshallrespond tokeepcomplainantinthedarkandconcealhiscasestruestatusthroughtheuseofafalsified
withinareasonabletimetoclientsrequestforinformation. courtorderevidentlyconstitutesGrossMisconduct. 27 Hisactsshouldnotjustbedeemedas
unacceptablepracticesthataredisgracefulanddishonorable;theyrevealabasicmoralflaw
As an officer of the court, it is the duty of an attorney to inform his client of whatever thatmakeshimunfittopracticelaw. 28Inthisregard,theCourtspronouncementinSebastian
importantinformationhemayhaveacquiredaffectinghisclientscase.Heshouldnotifyhis v.Calis29isinstructive,viz.:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
clientofanyadversedecisiontoenablehisclienttodecidewhethertoseekanappellatereview
thereof. Keeping the client informed of the developments of the case will minimize Deceptionandotherfraudulentactsbyalawyeraredisgracefulanddishonorable.They
misunderstandingandlossoftrustandconfidenceintheattorney.Thelawyershouldnotleave revealmoralflawsinalawyer.Theyareunacceptablepractices.Alawyersrelationshipwith
theclientinthedarkonhowthelawyerisdefendingtheclientsinterests. 22Inthisconnection, othersshouldbecharacterizedbythehighestdegreeofgoodfaith,fairnessandcandor.Thisis
thelawyermustconstantlykeepinmindthathisactions,omissions,ornonfeasancewouldbe theessenceofthelawyersoath.Thelawyersoathisnotmerefacilewords,driftandhollow,
binding upon his client. Concomitantly, the lawyer is expected to be acquainted with the butasacredtrustthatmustbeupheldandkeepinviolable.Thenatureoftheofficeofan
rudimentsoflawandlegalprocedure,andaclientwhodealswithhimhastherighttoexpect attorneyrequiresthatheshouldbeapersonofgoodmoralcharacter.Thisrequisiteisnotonly
notjustagood amountofprofessionallearningandcompetencebutalsoawholehearted aconditionprecedenttotheadmissiontothepracticeoflaw,itscontinuedpossessionisalso
fealtytotheclientscause.23cralawred essential for remaining in the practice of law. We have sternly warned that any gross
misconductofalawyer,whetherinhisprofessionalorprivatecapacity,putshismoral
Inthecaseatbar,recordsrevealthatasofAugust14,2007,respondentalreadyknewofthe characterinseriousdoubtasamemberoftheBar,andrendershimunfittocontinuein
thepracticeoflaw.30(Emphasesandunderscoringsupplied)
OCA IPI No. 12204CAJ, March 11, 2014 RE: VERIFIED COMPLAINT FOR
Jurisprudencerevealsthatinanalogouscaseswherelawyersfailedtoinformtheirclientsof DISBARMENT OF AMA LAND, INC. (REPRESENTED BY JOSEPH B. USITA)
thestatusoftheirrespectivecases,theCourtsuspendedthemforaperiodofsix(6)months.In AGAINSTCOURTOFAPPEALSASSOCIATEJUSTICESHON.DANTONQ.BUESER,
Mejaresv.Romana,31 theCourtsuspendedthelawyerforthesameperiodforhisfailureto HON.SESINANDOE.VILLONANDHON.RICARDOR.ROSARIO.:MARCH2014
timelyandadequatelyinformhisclientsofthedismissaloftheirpetition.Inthesamevein,in PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT JURISPRUDENCE CHANROBLES VIRTUAL LAW
Penillav.Alcid,Jr.,32thesamepenaltywasimposedonthelawyerwhoconsistentlyfailedto LIBRARY
updatehisclientofthestatusofhiscases,notwithstandingseveralfollowups. OCAIPINo.12204CAJ,March11,2014
Unfoundedadministrativechargesagainstsittingjudgestrulydegradetheirjudicialoffice,and
However,incaseswherelawyersengagedinunlawful,dishonest,anddeceitfulconductby interferewiththedueperformanceoftheirworkfortheJudiciary.Thecomplainantmaybe
falsifyingdocuments,theCourtfoundthemguiltyofGrossMisconductanddisbarredthem.In heldliableforindirectcontemptofcourtasameansofvindicatingtheintegrityandreputation
Brennisen v. Contawi,33 the Court disbarred the lawyer who falsified a special power of ofthejudgesandtheJudiciary.
attorneyinordertomortgageandsellhisclientsproperty.Also,inEmbidov.Pe,34thepenalty AMALand,Inc.,(AMALI)broughtthisadministrativecomplaintagainstAssociateJustice
ofdisbarmentwasmetedoutagainstthelawyerwhofalsifiedaninexistentcourtdecisionfora DantonQ.Bueser,AssociateJusticeSesinandoE.VillonandAssociateJusticeRicardoR.
fee. Rosario,allmembersoftheCourtofAppeals(CA),chargingthemwithknowinglyrendering
an unjust judgment, gross misconduct, and violation of their oaths on account of their
Asalreadydiscussed,respondentcommittedactsoffalsificationinordertomisrepresenttohis promulgationof the decision in C.A.G.R. SP No. 118994 entitled WackWack Residents
client,i.e.,complainant,thathestillhadanavailableremedyinhiscase,wheninreality,his Association,Inc.v.TheHonorableRegionalTrialCourtofPasigCity,Branch264,Assigned
casehadlongbeendismissedforfailuretotimelyfileanappeal,thus,causingundueprejudice inSanJuan,andAMALand,Inc.
tothelatter.TotheCourt,respondentsactsaresoreprehensible,andhisviolationsoftheCPR
aresoflagrant,exhibitinghismoralunfitnessandinabilitytodischargehisdutiesasamember Antecedents
ofthebar.Hisactionseroderatherthanenhancethepublicperceptionofthelegalprofession.
Therefore,inviewofthetotalityofhisviolations,aswellasthedamageandprejudicecaused AMALI is the owner and developer of the 37storey condominium project located along
tohisclient,respondentdeservestheultimatepunishmentofdisbarment. EpifanioDelosSantosAvenuecornerFordhamStreetinWackWack,MandaluyongCity. 1
Duetotheprojectslocation,AMALIwouldhavetouseFordhamStreetasanaccessroadand
WHEREFORE, respondent Pedro S. Diamante is hereby DISBARRED for Gross stagingareafortheconstructionactivities.Inthatregard,AMALIneededtheconsentofthe
MisconductandviolationsofRule1.01,Canon1,andRule18.04,Canon18oftheCodeof WackWackResidents Association,Inc.(WWRAI).Accordingly,AMALI sentanoticeto
Professional Responsibility, and his name is ordered STRICKEN OFF from the roll of WWRAI,whichignoredthenotice.Leftwithnooption,AMALIsetupafieldofficealong
attorneys. FordhamStreetthatitenclosedwithatemporaryfence.WWRAIallegedlytriedtodemolish
thefieldofficeandsetupafencetodenyaccesstoAMALIsconstructionworkers,which
LetacopyofthisDecisionbeattachedtorespondentPedroS.DiamantesrecordinthisCourt. promptedAMALItofileapetitionfortheenforcementofaneasementofrightofwayinthe
Further,letcopiesofthisDecisionbefurnishedtotheIntegratedBarofthePhilippinesandthe RegionalTrialCourt(RTC)inPasigCity.Thepetition,whichincludedanapplicationfora
OfficeoftheCourtAdministrator,whichisdirectedtocirculatethemtoallthecourtsinthe temporaryrestrainingorder(TRO)and/orwritofpreliminarymandatoryinjunction(WPMI),
countryfortheirinformationandguidance. wasdocketedasCivilCaseNo.65668. 2OnJuly24,1997,theRTCgrantedAMALIsprayer
fortheWPMI.3
SOORDERED.
Inthemeantime,AMALIconvertedthecondominiumprojectintoa34storeybuildingof
mixed use (to be known as the AMA Residences) after AMALIs petition for corporate
rehabilitationwasapproved.4

OnJanuary26,2010,WWRAIfiledinCivilCaseNo.65668anurgentmotiontosetfor
hearing itsprayer for aTROand/or writofpreliminaryinjunction(WPI) containedinits
answer. Thedenialoftheprayer forinjunctionby the RTCimpelledWWRAI to bringa
petitionforcertiorariwithanapplicationforaTROand/orwritofpreliminaryinjunctionin
theCAtoenjointheRTCfromproceedinginCivilCaseNo.65668. 5
AMALIfellshortoftherequirementsforestablishingitschargeofknowinglyrenderingan
Afterhearing,theCAissuedaTRO,whichpromptedAMALItofileanUrgentMotiontoLift unjustjudgmentagainstrespondentJustices.
and/or Dissolve Temporary Restraining Order and later on a Compliance and Motion for
Reconsideration. Knowinglyrenderinganunjustjudgmentconstitutesaseriouscriminaloffense.Article204,
RevisedPenalCode,providesthatanyjudgewhoknowinglyrender[s]anunjustjudgmentin
OnJuly28,2011,theCAissuedapreliminaryinjunctionandrequiredAMALItofileits anycasesubmittedtohimfordecisionispunishedwithprisionmayorandperpetualabsolute
Comment.AMALIcompliedandfiledaCommentwhichalsoservedasitsmotionforpartial disqualification.Tocommittheoffense,theoffendermustbeajudgewhoisadequatelyshown
reconsiderationoftheJuly28,2011Resolution.OnOctober12,2011,AMALIfiledanUrgent tohaverenderedanunjustjudgment,notonewhomerelycommittedanerrorofjudgmentor
Motion to Resolve and to Approve Counterbond. Allegedly, these motions were left takentheunpopularsideofacontroversialpointoflaw. 12 Thetermknowinglymeanssure
unresolved when the CA Tenth Division, which included Associate Justices Bueser and knowledge, consciousanddeliberateintention todoaninjustice. 13 Thus,thecomplainant
Rosario,requiredthepartiestosubmittheirrespectivememoranda. 6 mustnotonlyprovebeyondreasonabledoubtthatthejudgmentispatentlycontrarytolawor
notsupportedbytheevidencebutthatitwasalsomadewithdeliberateintenttoperpetratean
On June 14, 2012, the Special Former Tenth Division of the CA promulgated a decision injustice.Goodfaithandtheabsenceofmalice,corruptmotivesorimproperconsiderationare
grantingthepetitionofWWRAI.7 sufficientdefensesthatwillshieldajudgefromthechargeofrenderinganunjustdecision. 14In
otherwords,thejudgewasmotivatedbyhatred,revenge,greedorsomeothersimilarmotive
AMALIconsequentlyfiledapetitionforreviewoncertiorariinthisCourt,docketedasG.R. inissuingthejudgment.15Badfaithis,therefore,thegroundforliability. 16Thefailureofthe
No.202342,entitledAMALand,Inc.v.WackWackResidentsAssociation,Inc.8 judgetocorrectlyinterpretthelawortoproperlyappreciatetheevidencepresenteddoesnot
necessarilyrenderhimadministrativelyliable. 17
AMALI then brought this administrative complaint, alleging that respondent Justices had
conspiredwiththecounselsofWWRAI,namely:Atty.ArchibaldF.deMataandAtty.Myra Butwhoistodetermineanddeclarethatthejudgmentorfinalorderthatthejudicialofficer
JenniferD.JaudFetizanan,inrenderinganunjustjudgment.AMALIstatedthatthedecision knowinglyrenderedorissuedwasunjust?Maysuchdeterminationanddeclarationbemadein
oftheCAhadbeenrenderedinbadfaithandwithconsciousanddeliberateintenttofavor administrativeinvestigationsandproceedingslikeapreliminaryinvestigationbythepublic
WWRAI,andtocausegraveinjusticetoAMALI.Intherebyknowinglyrenderinganunjust prosecutor?Theanswerstothesequeriesareobviousonlyasuperiorcourtactingbyvirtue
judgment,respondentJusticeswereguiltyofgrossmisconduct,andviolatedCanon1,Rule ofeitheritsappellateorsupervisoryjurisdictionoverthejudicialactionsinvolvedmaymake
1.01andCanon1,Rules10.01and10.03oftheCodeofProfessionalResponsibility,aswellas suchdeterminationanddeclaration.Otherwise,thepublicprosecutororadministrativehearing
Section27,Rule138oftheRulesofCourt. officer may be usurping a basic judicial power of review or supervision lodged by the
Constitutionorbylawelsewhereintheappellatecourt.
Issue
Moreover,AMALIsallegationsdirectlyattackedthevalidityoftheproceedingsintheCA
AretherespondentJusticesliableforknowinglyrenderinganunjustjudgmentandviolating through an administrative complaint. The attack in this manner reflected the pernicious
Canon 1, Rule 1.01; Canon 10, Rules 10.01 and 10.03 of the Code of Professional practicebydisgruntledlitigantsandtheirlawyersofresortingtoadministrativechargesagainst
Responsibility;andSection27,Rule138oftheRulesofCourt? sitting judges instead of exhausting all their available remedies. We do not tolerate the
practice.InRe:VerifiedComplaintofEngr.OscarL.Ongjoco,ChairmanoftheBoard/CEO
Ruling of FHGYMN MultiPurpose and Transport Service Cooperative, against Hon. Juan Q.
Enriquez,Jr.,Hon.RamonM.Bato,Jr.andHon.FloritoS.Macalino,AssociateJustices,
Theadministrativecomplaintisbereftofmerit. CourtofAppeals,18weemphaticallyheldthatthefilingofadministrativecomplaintsoreven
threatsofthefilingsubvertedandunderminedtheindependenceoftheJudiciary,towit:
Inadministrativeproceedings,thecomplainanthastheburdenofprovingtheallegationsofthe ItisevidenttousthatOngjocosobjectiveinfilingtheadministrativecomplaintwastotake
complaintbysubstantialevidence. 9Failuretodosowillleadtothedismissalofthecomplaint respondentJusticestotaskfortheregularperformanceoftheirsworndutyofupholdingthe
for its lack of merit. This is because an administrative charge against any official of the rule of law. He would thereby lay the groundwork for getting back at them for not
Judiciarymustbesupportedbyatleastsubstantialevidence. 10Butwhenthechargeequatesto favoringhisunworthycause.Suchactuationscannotbetoleratedatall,forevenamere
acriminaloffense,suchthatthejudicialofficermaysuffertheheavysanctionsofdismissal threatofadministrativeinvestigationandprosecutionmadeagainstajudgetoinfluence
fromtheservice,theshowingofculpabilityonthepartofthejudicialofficershouldbenothing orintimidatehiminhisregularperformanceofthejudicialofficealwayssubvertsand
shortofproofbeyondreasonabledoubt,especiallybecausethechargeispenalincharacter. 11 underminestheindependenceoftheJudiciary.
Weseizethisoccasion,therefore,tostressonceagainthatdisciplinaryproceedingsand thatrespondentCAJusticesmisappliedthelawandjurisprudence.Thus,thepresumptionthat
criminalactionsbroughtagainstanyjudgeinrelationtotheperformanceofhisofficial therespondentjudgehasregularlyperformedhisdutiesshallprevail.Moreover,thematters
functionsareneithercomplementarytonorsuppletoryofappropriatejudicialremedies, raisedarebestaddressedtotheevaluationoftheCourtintheresolutionofAMALIspetition
norasubstituteforsuchremedies.Anypartywhomayfeelaggrievedshouldresortto forreviewoncertiorari.
theseremedies,andexhaustthem,insteadofresortingtodisciplinaryproceedingsand
criminalactions.(Boldemphasissupplied) Finally,resorttoadministrativedisciplinaryactionpriortothefinalresolutionofthe
ItappearsthatAMALIispronetobringingchargesagainstjudicialofficerswhoruleagainstit judicial issues involved constitutes an abuse of court processes that serves to disrupt
initscases.Thatimpressionisnotatalldevoidofbasis.Thecomplainthereinisactuallythe ratherthanpromotetheorderlyadministrationofjusticeandfurtherclogthecourts
secondonethatAMALIhasbroughtagainstrespondentJusticesinrelationtotheperformance dockets.Thosewhoseekrelieffromthecourtsmustnotbeallowedtoignorebasiclegal
oftheirjudicialdutyinthesamecase.InitsfirstcomplaintentitledRe:VerifiedComplaintof rulesandabuseofcourtprocessesintheireffortstovindicatetheirrights.(Boldemphasis
AMALand,Inc.againstHon.DantonQ.Bueser,Hon.SesinandoE.VillonandHon.Ricardo supplied)
R.Rosario,AssociateJusticesoftheCourtofAppeals,19AMALIaccusedrespondentJustices Thisadministrativecaseisnodifferentfromthefirst.Theyareidentical,withthecomplaint
of:(a)dishonestyandviolationofRepublicActNo.3019,grossmisconduct,andknowingly herein containing only a few but insignificant changes in relation to the first. Both were
renderinganunjustjudgmentororder,inviolationofSection8,Rule140ofthe Rulesof intendedtointimidateortodisparagerespondentJusticesintheperformanceoftheirjudicial
Court;and(b)violatingprovisionsoftheNewCodeofJudicialConduct.TheCourtdismissed functions.
thefirstcomplaintuponfindingthatitcenteredontheproprietyoftheinterlocutoryorders
issuedbyrespondentJusticesinC.A.G.R.SPNo.118994.TheCourtappropriatelyobserved: ThefilingofthemeritlessadministrativecomplaintsbyAMALIwasnotonlyrepulsive,but
Aperusaloftherecordsofthecaseaswellasthepartiesrespectiveallegationsdisclosedthat also an outright disrespect of the authority of the CA and of this Court. Unfounded
theactscomplainedofrelateto thevalidityoftheproceedingsbefore therespondentCA administrativechargesagainstjudgestrulydegradethejudicialoffice,andinterferewiththe
JusticesandtheproprietyoftheirordersinCAG.R.SPNo.118994whichweredoneinthe dueperformanceoftheirworkfortheJudiciary.AlthoughtheCourtdidnotthendeemfitto
exerciseoftheirjudicialfunctions.Jurisprudenceisrepletewithcasesholdingthaterrors,if holdinthefirstadministrativecaseAMALIoritsrepresentativepersonallyresponsibleforthe
any,committedbyajudgeintheexerciseofhisadjudicativefunctionscannotbecorrected unfoundedchargesbroughtagainstrespondentJustices,itisnowtime,properandimperative
throughadministrativeproceedings,butshouldinsteadbeassailedthroughavailablejudicial todosoinordertoupholdthedignityandreputationofrespondentJustices,oftheCAitself,
remedies. Disciplinary proceedings against justices do not complement, supplement or andoftherestoftheJudiciary.AMALIanditsrepresentativeshavetherebydemonstrated
substitute judicial remedies and, thus, cannot be pursued simultaneously with the judicial theirpenchantforharassmentofthejudgeswhodidnotdoitsbidding,andtheyhavenot
remediesaccordedtopartiesaggrievedbytheirerroneousordersorjudgments. stoppeddoingsoevenifthelatterweresittingjudges.TotoleratetheactuationsofAMALI
anditsrepresentativeswouldbetorewardthemwithundeservedimpunityforanobviously
xxxx wrongattitudetowardstheCourtanditsjudicialofficers.

Inthiscase,AMALIhadalreadyfiledapetitionforreviewon certiorarichallengingthe Indeed,nojudicialofficershouldhavetofearorapprehendbeingheldtoaccountortoanswer


questionedorderoftherespondentCAjusticeswhichisstillpendingfinalactionbythe forperforminghisjudicialfunctionsandofficebecausesuchperformanceisamatterofpublic
Court.Consequently,adecisiononthevalidityoftheproceedingsandproprietyofthe dutyandresponsibility.Theofficeanddutytorenderandadministerjusticeareafunctionof
orders of the respondent CA Justices in this administrative proceeding would be sovereignty,andshouldnotbesimplytakenforgranted.Asarecognizedcommentatoron
publicofficesandpublicofficershaswritten: 20
premature. Besides, even if the subject decision or portions thereof turn out to be
Itisageneralprinciple,abundantlysustainedbyauthorityandreason,thatnocivilactioncan
erroneous, administrative liabilitywillonly attach upon proof that the actions ofthe
besustainedagainstajudicialofficerfortherecoveryofdamagesbyoneclaimingtohave
respondentCAJusticesweremotivatedbybadfaith,dishonestyorhatred,orattended
beeninjuredbytheofficersjudicialactionwithinhisjurisdiction. Fromtheverynatureof
byfraudorcorruption,whichwerenotsufficientlyshowntoexistinthiscase.Neither
thecase,theofficeriscalleduponbylawtoexercisehisjudgmentinthematter,andthe
wasbiasaswellaspartialityestablished.Actsorconductofthejudgeclearlyindicative
lawholdshisdutytotheindividualtobeperformedwhenhehasexercisedit,however
ofarbitrarinessorprejudicemustbeclearlyshownbeforehecanbebrandedthestigma
erroneousordisastrousinitsconsequencesitmayappeareithertothepartyortoothers.
ofbeingbiasedandpartial.Inthesamevein,badfaithormalicecannotbeinferred
simplybecausethejudgmentororderisadversetoaparty. Here,otherthanAMALIs Anumberofreasons,anyoneofthemsufficient,havebeenadvancedinsupportofthis
bareandselfservingclaimthatrespondentCAJusticesconspiredwithWWRAIscounselin rule.Thusitissaidofthejudge:Hisdoingjusticeasbetweenparticularindividuals,
knowingly and in bad faith rendering an unjust judgment and in committing xxx other
whentheyhaveacontroversybeforehim,isnottheendandobjectwhichwereinview
misconduct,noactclearlyindicativeofbiasandpartialitywasallegedexceptfortheclaim
whenhiscourtwascreated,andhewasselectedtopresideoverorsitinit.Courtsare (f)Failuretoobeyasubpoenadulyserved;
createdonpublicgrounds;theyaretodojusticeasbetweensuitors,totheendthatpeace
and order mayprevail in the political society, and that rights may be protected and (g)Therescue,orattemptedrescue,ofapersonorpropertyinthecustodyofanofficerby
preserved.Thedutyispublic,andtheendtobeaccomplishedispublic;theindividual virtueofanorderorprocessofacourtheldbyhim.
advantage or loss results from the proper and thorough or improper and imperfect
Butnothinginthissectionshallbesoconstruedastopreventthecourtfromissuingprocessto
performanceofadutyforwhichhiscontroversyisonlytheoccasion.Thejudgeperforms
bringtherespondentintocourt,orfromholdinghimincustodypendingsuchproceedings.(3a)
hisdutytothepublicbydoingjusticebetweenindividuals,or,ifhefailstodojusticeas
Anent indirect contempt, the Court said in Lorenzo Shipping Corporation v. Distribution
betweenindividuals,hemaybecalledtoaccountbytheStateinsuchformandbefore
ManagementAssociationofthePhilippines:22
suchtribunalasthelawmayhaveprovided.Butasthedutyneglectedisnotadutytothe Contempt of court has been defined as a willful disregard or disobedience of a public
individual,civilredress,asforanindividualinjury,isnotadmissible.21 authority.Initsbroadsense,contemptisadisregardof,ordisobedienceto,therulesororders
Accordingly,wenowdemandthatAMALIsauthorizedrepresentative,JosephB.Usita,its ofalegislativeorjudicialbodyoraninterruptionofitsproceedingsbydisorderlybehavioror
SeniorAssistantVicePresident,andtheMembersoftheBoardofDirectorsofAMALIwho insolentlanguageinitspresenceorsoneartheretoastodisturbitsproceedingsortoimpairthe
hadauthorizedUsitatofilethepresentcomplaint,toshowcauseinwritingwhytheyshould respectduetosuchabody.Initsrestrictedandmoreusualsense,contemptcomprehendsa
notbeheldinindirectcontemptofcourtforbringingtheunfoundedandbaselesscharges despising of the authority, justice, or dignity of a court. The phrase contempt of court is
againstrespondentJusticesnotonlyoncebuttwice.Tobeclear,thefilingofunfoundedand generic,embracingwithinitslegalsignificationavarietyofdifferentacts.
baseless administrative charges against sitting judicial officers may constitute indirect
contemptunderSection3(d),Rule71oftheRulesofCourt,towit: Thepowertopunishforcontemptisinherentinallcourts,andneednotbespecifically
Section3. Indirectcontempttobepunishedafterchargeandhearing.Afterachargein grantedbystatute.Itliesatthecoreoftheadministrationofajudicialsystem.Indeed,
writinghasbeenfiled,andanopportunitygiventotherespondenttocommentthereonwithin thereoughttobenoquestionthatcourtshavethepowerbyvirtueoftheirverycreation
suchperiodasmaybefixedbythecourtandtobeheardbyhimselforcounsel,apersonguilty
to impose silence, respect, and decorum in their presence, submission to their lawful
of any of the following acts may be punished for indirect
mandates,andtopreservethemselvesandtheirofficersfromtheapproachandinsultsof
contempt:chanRoblesvirtualLawlibrary
pollution.Thepowertopunishforcontemptessentiallyexistsforthepreservationof
(a)Misbehaviorofanofficerofacourtintheperformanceofhisofficialdutiesorinhis order in judicial proceedings and for the enforcement of judgments, orders, and
officialtransactions; mandatesofthe courts, and,consequently,forthe dueadministration ofjustice. The
reasonbehindthepowertopunishforcontemptisthatrespectofthecourtsguarantees
(b)Disobedience oforresistancetoalawfulwrit,process,order,orjudgmentofacourt, the stability of their institution; without such guarantee, the institution of the courts
includingtheactofapersonwho,afterbeingdispossessedorejectedfromanyrealproperty wouldberestingonaveryshakyfoundation.23(Boldemphasissupplied)
by the judgment or process of any court of competent jurisdiction, enters or attempts or ACCORDINGLY,theCourt(a)DISMISSEStheadministrativecomplaintagainstAssociate
inducesanothertoenterintooruponsuchrealproperty,forthepurposeofexecutingactsof JusticeDantonQ.Bueser,AssociateJusticeSesinandoE.VillonandAssociateJusticeRicardo
ownership or possession, or in any manner disturbs the possession given to the person R.Rosarioforitsutterlackofmerit;and(b)ORDERSJosephB.Usita,theSeniorAssistant
adjudgedtobeentitledthereto; VicePresidentofAMALand,Inc.,andallthemembersoftheBoardofDirectorsofAMA
Land,Inc.whohadauthorizedUsitatobringtheadministrativecomplaintagainstrespondent
(c)Anyabuseoforanyunlawfulinterferencewiththeprocessesorproceedingsofacourtnot AssociateJusticestoshowcauseinwritingwithin10daysfromnoticewhytheyshouldnotbe
constitutingdirectcontemptundersection1ofthisRule; punished for indirect contempt of court for degrading the judicial office of respondent
AssociateJustices,andforinterferingwiththedueperformanceoftheirworkfortheJudiciary.
(d)Anyimproperconducttending,directlyorindirectly,toimpede,obstruct,ordegrade
theadministrationofjustice; SOORDERED.

(e)Assumingtobeanattorneyoranofficerofacourt,andactingassuchwithoutauthority;