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G.R. No.

86421 May 31, 1994 On 07 October 1985, a complaint for "Annulment of Judgment, Lease Contract and Damages"
was filed by petitioners before the Regional Trial Court of Manila (Branch XLI) asking, in main,
for the nullification of the judgment in the ejectment case. The complaint was dismissed on
SPS. THELMA R. MASINSIN and MIGUEL MASINSIN, SPS. GILBERTO and ADELINA,
the ground of res judicata. This time, petitioners appealed the dismissal to the Court of
ROLDAN, petitioners,
Appeals. Meanwhile, a writ of execution was issued by the MTC for the enforcement of its
vs.
decision. The writ, however, was held in abeyance when petitioners deposited with the Court
THE HON. ED VINCENT ALBANO, Presiding Judge of the Metropolitan Trial Court of
of Appeals the sum of P3,000.00 in cash plus an amount of P100.00 to be paid every month
Manila, Branch X, DEPUTY SHERIFF JESS ARREOLA, VICENTE CAEDA and THE HON.
beginning February 1987. On 11 March 1987, the Court of Appeals affirmed the order of
LEONARDO CRUZ, in his capacity as Presiding Judge Regional Trial of Manila,
dismissal of the lower court. Petitioners' recourse to this Court was to be of no avail. The
Branch XXV, respondents.
petition was denied, and an entry of judgment was made on 14 July 1987.

Gregorio T. Fabros for petitioners.


Accordingly, the records were remanded to the MTC for execution. When petitioners refused
to remove their house on the premises in question, upon motion of private respondent, an
Isidro F. Molina for private respondent. order of demolition was issued. Shortly thereafter, the demolition began. Before the
completion of the demolition, a restraining order was issued by the Regional Trial Court of
RESOLUTION Manila (Branch XIX) following a petition for certiorari, with preliminary injunction and
restraining order, filed by petitioners. On 23 February 1988, the trial court dismissed the
petition.

Unfazed by the series of dismissals of their complaints and petitions, petitioners assailed
VITUG, J.: anew the MTC decision in a petition for certiorari, with preliminary injunction, and for
declaratory relief (docketed Civil Case No. 88-43944) before the Regional Trial Court of Manila
Spouses Miguel and Thelma Masinsin, et al., instituted this petition for certiorari, prohibition, (Branch XXV), which, again, issued a restraining order. 2
relief from judgment, as well as declaratory relief, with prayer for preliminary mandatory
injunction, asking us to order the Metropolitan Trial Court ("MTC") of Manila, Branch X, to Private respondent then filed a motion for an alias writ of execution with the MTC. An ex-
cease and desist from further proceeding with Civil Case No. 107203-CV. parte motion of petitioners for the issuance of a second restraining order was this time
denied by the RTC (Branch XXV). 3 On 23 August 1990, 4 the trial court, ultimately, dismissed
This case emerged from an ejectment suit (docketed Civil Case No. 107203-CV) filed by the petition with costs against petitioners.
private respondent Vicente Caeda ("Caeda"), then as plaintiffs, against herein petitioners,
as defendants, with the Metropolitan Trial Court of Manila (Branch X). After trial, the MTC, on In this petition, petitioners contend that the MTC of Manila (Branch X) has lost jurisdiction to
01 July 1985, rendered judgment; thus: enforce its decision, dated 01 July 1985, in Civil Case No. 107203, when the property in
question was proclaimed an area for priority development by the National Housing Authority
PREMISES CONSIDERED, judgment is hereby rendered ordering the defendants and on 01 December 1987 by authority of Presidential Decree 2016.
all persons claiming right under them to vacate the premises and to remove their
house/apartment and surrender possession of the subject land to the plaintiff; to pay The petition is totally without merit.
to the plaintiff the sum of P100.00 a month from January 1987 as the reasonable
compensation for the use and occupation of the premises until the land is actually
vacated, and the costs of suit. 1 In resolving this issue, we only have to refer to our resolution of 01 February 1993 in G.R. No.
98446, entitled, "Spouses Thelma R. Masinsin, et al. vs. Court of Appeals, et al.," to which this
case is intimately related, where we ruled:
No appeal having been taken therefrom, the judgment became final and executory. On 22
August 1985, petitioners filed a petition for certiorari before the Regional Trial Court of Manila
(Branch XXXII) seeking the annulment of the aforesaid decision in the ejectment case and to . . . The singular question common to both cases submitted for resolution of this
set aside an order of its execution. The petition was in due time dismissed. Again, no appeal court is the implication of Presidential Decree No. 1517, otherwise known as the
was taken therefrom. "Urban Land Reform Law," and its amendments or ramifications embodied in
Proclamation No. 1893, as amended by Proclamation No. 1967 and Presidential
Decree No. 2016. All the above statutes are being implemented by the Housing and Four times did the petitioners, with the assistance of counsel, try to nullify the same MTC
Land Use Regulatory Board, and the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating decision before different branches of the court, trifling with judicial processes. Never, again,
Council, Office of the President. should this practice be countenanced. 6

There is a prejudicial issue the answer to which hangs the resolution of this case. On The lawyer's oath to which we have all subscribed in solemn agreement in dedicating
May 20, 1992, this Court required the National Housing Authority to submit a ourselves to the pursuit of justice, is not a mere fictile of words, drift and hollow, but a sacred
Comment on the status of the program of acquisition by the Government of the land trust that we must uphold and keep inviolable. Perhaps, it is time we are here reminded of
area which includes the disputed property, as part of the Areas for Priority that pledge; thus -
Development (APD), under the aforementioned decrees and proclamations.
LAWYER'S OATH
In compliance with said order of this Court, Mr. Andres C. Lingan, Manager of the
Metro Manila Project Department of the National Housing Authority, submitted the I, . . ., do solemnly swear that I will maintain allegiance to the Republic of the
following report on the status of Lot 6-A, Block 1012, located at No. 1890 Obesis Philippines; I will support and defend its Constitution and obey the laws as well as
Street, Pandacan, Manila, known as the Carlos Estate, an APD site. Pertinent portions the legal orders of the duly constituted authorities therein; I will do no falsehood nor
of the report read: consent to its commission; I will not wittingly or willingly promote or sue any
groundless, false or unlawful suit nor give aid nor consent to the same; I will not
Please be informed that Lot 6-A, Block 1012 located at No. 1890 Obesis St., delay any man's cause for money or malice and will conduct myself as a lawyer
Pandacan, Manila which is the subject matter of the case and located within the according to the best of my knowledge and discretion with all good fidelity as well to
Carlos Estate declared as APD site pursuant to Presidential Proclamation No. 1967, is the courts as to my clients and I impose upon myself this obligation voluntary,
not for acquisition by NHA. without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion.

The Carlos Estate is located outside of the NHA projects under the Zonal SO HELP ME GOD. (Emphasis supplied.)
Improvement Project (ZIP) and Community Mortgage Program (CMP). The site,
however, is under the administration of the Presidential Commission on Urban Poor We have since emphasized in no uncertain terms that any act on the part of a lawyer, an
(PCUP) for acquisition and upgrading. (Emphasis Supplied.) officer of the court, which visibly tends to obstruct, pervert, impede and degrade the
administration of justice is contumacious calling for both an exercise of disciplinary action
The above information answers the uncertainty concerning the status of the alleged and warranting application of the contempt power. 7
negotiation for the acquisition by the government of certain areas in Metro Manila.
The NHA is definitely NOT acquiring the said lot for its program. WHEREFORE, the petition is DISMISSED. Petitioners' counsel of record is hereby strongly
CENSURED and WARNED that a similar infraction of the lawyer's oath in the future will be
It appearing that the purpose of this Petition for Review is to set aside the decision dealt with most severely. Double costs against petitioners.
of the respondent Court of Appeals which affirmed the decision of the lower courts,
in order to avoid eviction from the disputed premises and to be allowed to acquire This resolution is immediately executory.
the same allegedly under the Community Mortgage Program of the National Housing
Authority, we find the petition without merit and deny the same. Consequently, the
petition is DISMISSED. 5 SO ORDERED.

What immediately catches one's attention to this case is the evident predilection of
petitioners, through different counsel, to file pleadings, one after another, from which not
even this Court has been spared. The utter lack of merit of the complaints and petitions
[A.C. No. 5624. January 20, 2004]
simply evinces the deliberate intent of petitioners to prolong and delay the inevitable
execution of a decision that has long become final and executory.
NATASHA HUEYSUWAN-FLORIDO, complainant, vs. ATTY. JAMES BENEDICT C.
FLORIDO, respondent.
DECISION presence of Tanjay City Chief of Police Juanito Condes and NBI Investigator Roger Sususco,
among others.
YNARES-SANTIAGO, J.:
In the early morning of January 16, 2002, complainant received information that a van arrived
at the hotel where respondent and the children were staying to take them to Bacolod City.
This is an administrative complaint for the disbarment of respondent Atty. James Benedict C.
Complainant rushed to the hotel and took the children to another room, where they stayed
Florido and his eventual removal from the Roll of Attorneys for allegedly violating his oath as
until later in the morning.
a lawyer by manufacturing, flaunting and using a spurious and bogus Court of Appeals
Resolution/Order.[1]
On the same day, respondent filed with the Regional Trial Court of Dumaguete City, Branch
31, a verified petition[4] for the issuance of a writ of habeas corpus asserting his right to
In her Complaint-Affidavit, Natasha V. Heysuwan-Florido averred that she is the legitimate
custody of the children on the basis of the alleged Court of Appeals resolution. In the
spouse of respondent Atty. James Benedict C. Florido, but that they are estranged and living
meantime, complainant verified the authenticity of the Resolution and obtained a certification
separately from each other. They have two children namely, Kamille Nicole H. Florido, five
dated January 18, 2002[5] from the Court of Appeals stating that no such resolution ordering
years old, and James Benedict H. Florido, Jr., three years old both of whom are in
complainant to surrender custody of their children to respondent had been issued.
complainants custody. Complainant filed a case for the annulment of her marriage with
respondent, docketed as Civil Case No. 23122, before the Regional Trial Court of Cebu City,
Branch 24. Meanwhile, there is another case related to the complaint for annulment of At the hearing of the petition for habeas corpus on January 23, 2002, respondent did not
marriage which is pending before the Court of Appeals and docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 54235 appear. Consequently, the petition was dismissed.
entitled, James Benedict C. Florido v. Hon. Pampio Abarientos, et al.
Hence, complainant filed the instant complaint alleging that respondent violated his
Sometime in the middle of December 2001, respondent went to complainants residence in attorneys oath by manufacturing, flaunting and using a spurious Court of Appeals Resolution
Tanjay City, Negros Oriental and demanded that the custody of their two minor children be in and outside a court of law. Furthermore, respondent abused and misused the privileged
surrendered to him. He showed complainant a photocopy of an alleged Resolution issued by granted to him by the Supreme Court to practice law in the country.
the Court of Appeals which supposedly granted his motion for temporary child custody.
[2]
Complainant called up her lawyer but the latter informed her that he had not received any After respondent answered the complaint, the matter was referred to the IBP-Commission on
motion for temporary child custody filed by respondent. Bar Discipline for investigation, report and recommendation. The IBP-CBD recommended that
respondent be suspended from the practice of law for a period of three years with a warning
Complainant asked respondent for the original copy of the alleged resolution of the Court of that another offense of this nature will result in his disbarment. [6] On June 23, 2003, the IBP
Appeals, but respondent failed to give it to her. Complainant then examined the resolution Board of Governors adopted and approved the Report and recommendation of the
closely and noted that it bore two dates: November 12, 2001 and November 29, 2001. Commission with the modification that the penalty of suspension be increased to six years.
Sensing something amiss, she refused to give custody of their children to respondent.
The issue to be resolved is whether or not the respondent can be held administratively liable
In the mid-morning of January 15, 2002, while complainant was with her children in the ABC for his reliance on and attempt to enforce a spurious Resolution of the Court of Appeals.
Learning Center in Tanjay City, respondent, accompanied by armed men, suddenly arrived
and demanded that she surrender to him the custody of their children. He threatened to In his answer to the complaint, respondent claims that he acted in good faith in invoking the
forcefully take them away with the help of his companions, whom he claimed to be agents of Court of Appeals Resolution which he honestly believed to be authentic. This, however, is
the National Bureau of Investigation. belied by the fact that he used and presented the spurious resolution several times. As
pointed out by the Investigating Commissioner, the assailed Resolution was presented by
Alarmed, complainant immediately sought the assistance of the Tanjay City Police. The respondent on at least two occasions: first, in his Petition for Issuance of Writ of Habeas
responding policemen subsequently escorted her to the police station where the matter could Corpus docketed as Special Proc. Case No. 3898, [7] which he filed with the Regional Trial Court
be clarified and settled peacefully. At the police station, respondent caused to be entered in of Dumaguete City; and second, when he sought the assistance of the Philippine National
the Police Blotter a statement that he, assisted by agents of the NBI, formally served on Police (PNP) of Tanjay City to recover custody of his minor children from complainant. Since it
complainant the appellate courts resolution/order. [3] In order to diffuse the tension, was respondent who used the spurious Resolution, he is presumed to have participated in its
complainant agreed to allow the children to sleep with respondent for one night on condition fabrication.
that he would not take them away from Tanjay City. This agreement was entered into in the
Candor and fairness are demanded of every lawyer. The burden cast on the judiciary would WHEREFORE, in view of all the foregoing, Atty. James Benedict C. Florido is SUSPENDED from
be intolerable if it could not take at face value what is asserted by counsel. The time that will the practice of law for a period of two (2) years.
have to be devoted just to the task of verification of allegations submitted could easily be
imagined. Even with due recognition then that counsel is expected to display the utmost zeal Let copies of this resolution be entered in the personal record of respondent as a
in the defense of a clients cause, it must never be at the expense of the truth. [8] Thus, the member of the Bar and furnished the Bar Confidant, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines
Code of professional Responsibility states: (IBP) and the Court Administrator for circulation to all courts of the country.

CANON 10. A LAWYER OWES CANDOR, FAIRNESS AND GOOD FAITH TO THE COURT. SO ORDERED.

Rule 10.01 - A lawyer shall not do any falsehood; nor consent to the doing of any in
court; nor shall he mislead, or allow the Court to be misled by any artifice.

Rule 10.02 - A lawyer shall not knowingly misquote or misrepresent the contents of FIRST DIVISION
a paper, the language or the argument of an opposing counsel, or the text of a
decision or authority, or knowingly cite as a law a provision already rendered A.M. No. MTJ-93-781 November 16, 1993
inoperative by repeal or amendment, or assert as a fact that which has not been
proved.
EDUARDO R. SANTOS, Petitioner, vs. JUDGE ORLANDO C. PAGUIO, MTC, Meycauayan,
Bulacan, Respondent.
Moreover, the records show that respondent used offensive language in his pleadings in
describing complainant and her relatives. A lawyers language should be forceful but dignified,
Eduardo R. Santos for and in his own behalf.
emphatic but respectful as befitting an advocate and in keeping with the dignity of the legal
profession.[9] The lawyers arguments whether written or oral should be gracious to both court
and opposing counsel and should be of such words as may be properly addressed by one DAVIDE, JR., J.:
gentlemen to another.[10] By calling complainant, a sly manipulator of truth as well as a
vindictive congenital prevaricator, hardly measures to the sobriety of speech demanded of a The complainant herein is the lawyer for the defendants in Civil Case No. 90-1706, an action
lawyer. for unlawful detainer commenced on 5 May 1990 with the Municipal Trial Court of
Meycauayan, Bulacan while the respondent is the presiding Judge of the said court. In his
Respondents actions erode the public perception of the legal profession. They constitute verified complaint filed through the Office of the Court Administrator on 18 March 1993, the
gross misconduct and the sanctions for such malfeasance is prescribed by Section 27, Rule complainant charges the respondent with gross ignorance of the law and gross
138 of the Rules of Court which states: incompetence. The complainant supports his charge with the allegation that after the answer
in the said case was filed and "without notice and hearing," the latter rendered a decision on
28 June 1991, 1the decretal portion of which reads as follows:
SEC. 27. Disbarment and suspension of attorneys by Supreme Court, grounds therefore.- A
member of the bar may be disbarred or suspended from his office as attorney by the
Supreme Court for any deceit, malpractice or other gross misconduct in such office, grossly WHEREFORE, in view of all the foregoing considerations, it is hereby respectfully prayed that
immoral conduct or by reason of his conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude, or for judgment be rendered in accordance with plaintiff's prayer in their Complaint in the above-
any violation of the oath which he is required to take before the admission to practice, or for entitled case.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
a willful disobedience appearing as attorney for a party without authority to do so.
SO ORDERED.
Considering the attendant circumstances, we agree with the recommendation of the IBP
Board of Governors that respondent should be suspended from the practice of law. However, He further alleges that Branch 18 of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Bulacan, in its Order of
we find that the period of six years is too harsh a penalty. Instead, suspension for the lesser 19 January 1993 in Sp. Civil Action No. 03-M-93 2- a petition for certiorari filed by the
period of two years, which we deem commensurate to the offense committed, is hereby defendants in Civil Case No. 90-1706 - had already opined that the said decision is void upon
imposed on respondent. its face because it:
. . . would be impossible to be implemented for the simple or obvious reason that the same only after a preliminary conference was held where the parties with their respective counsels
cannot be considered a decision at all. Instead of deciding or ordering something to be done, discussed the possibility of an amicable settlement and after the defendants failed to comply
it merely prays that judgment be rendered. with the 16 November 1990 Order for the parties to submit in writing their "respective
position statements setting forth the law and the facts relied upon by them and to submit the
affidavits of their witnesses and other evidences in support thereof within fifteen (15) days
but despite this, the respondent still "changed and amended [his] final decision [of 28 June
from receipt" thereof, prompting the plaintiff to file on 5 April 1991 an ex-parte motion
1991] in order to nullify the order of a superior Court, the RTC of Bulacan" via a new decision
praying that judgment be rendered in this case; (3) the defendants did not appeal from the
in Civil Case No. 90-1706 3promulgated on 25 January 1993. The dispositive portion of this
28 June 1991 Decision, hence the plaintiff filed a motion for execution on 2 September 1991,
new decision reads as follows:
which the defendants did not oppose; instead they filed a motion for reconsideration and to
declare the decision null and void on the ground that the plaintiff did not file her pre-trail brief
WHEREFORE, in view of all the foregoing, judgment is hereby rendered in favor of the plaintiff and there was no valid pre-trial order; (4) on 4 December 1991, the plaintiff's motion for
by: execution was granted and a writ of execution was issued, a copy of which was sent to the
Clerk of Court of the RTC of Malolos for service; (5) on 5 January 1991, 5 he received an order
1. Ordering defendants and persons claiming any rights under them to vacate the premises from Branch 18 of the RTC of Bulacan directing him to desist from implementing the writ of
occupied by them, more particularly the portion on which are erected their respective execution; (6) the presiding judge of said Branch 18, Judge Demetrio B. Macapagal, Sr.,
dwelling structure/unit, at 117 Bayugo, Meycauayan, Bulacan (or lot of plaintiff issued on 19 January 1993 its order disposing of Sp. Civil Action No. 03-M-93; (7) thereafter,
aforementioned) and to remove said dwelling structure/units from said subject premises of he (respondent) handed down a new decision in Civil Case No. 90-1706 on 25 January 1993
plaintiff;chanrobles virtual law library that contained "completely the missing sentences needed in the dispositive portion" of its
earlier decision; (8) instead of appealing therefrom, the defendants filed on 4 February 1993
a motion to set aside the decision, which the court set for its consideration and to which the
2. Ordering defendants individually to pay the sum of P350.00 Philippine Currency, per month plaintiff filed its opposition on 8 February 1993 together with a motion for immediate
by way of monthly rental commencing from May 16, 1990, and thereafter until they shall execution; (9) on 22 March 1993, the complainant filed a motion to inhibit the respondent by
have vacated the premises of the plaintiff;chanrobles virtual law library the former did not appear on the date it was set for consideration. He finally contends that
the issue regarding the dispositive portion of the 28 June 1991 Decision was rendered moot
3. Ordering the defendants to pay jointly and severally the sum of P2,000.00, Philippine and academic by the corrections made in the Decision of 25 January 1993; that the charge of
currency, on account of plaintiff's attorney's fees (retainer) and P500.00, Philippine Currency, gross ignorance is contemptuous and unfounded; and the complainant's sweeping
for every hearing/trial attended by said attorney before this Honorable Court; andchanrobles conclusions show his disrespectful attitude.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law
virtual law library library

4. Ordering the defendants to pay costs. In his 17 June 1993 Rejoinder filed on 7 July 1993, 6 the complainant reiterates his charge that
the respondent is incompetent because he lacks the "ability to prepare a sensible and
credible decision," and maintains that the respondent's attempt to convince this Court that
SO ORDERED.
the dispositive portion of the 28 June 1991 Decision is permissible and proper shows "gross
ignorance." Further, that the respondent believes that "he could correct the decision after its
According to the complainant, the dispositive portion of the 28 June 1991 Decision exhibits finality" and after the RTC of Bulacan had declared it to be null and void upon its face clearly
the respondent's gross ignorance in "decision preparation," and that respondent's "haste to manifests his "patent ignorance of our laws and jurisprudence."chanrobles virtual law library
amend the same to favor plaintiff was both appalling (sic) and downright improper." The
complainant then prays that the respondent "be removed from office if only to save the
In his Sur-Rejoinder filed on 13 July 1993, 7 the respondent argues that while the 28 June 1991
integrity of the judiciary."chanrobles virtual law library
Decision "could hardly be enforced for the reason that there is some sort of ambiguity or
omission (sic) in its dispositive portion," he was not prohibited from having the defect "timely
In his Comment filed on 2 July 1993, 4 the respondent denies the imputations and corrected and clarified," which was what he had in fact done, and that the "clarified decision"
alleges, inter alia, that: (1) the complainant was not the original counsel for the defendants did not prejudice "the substantial rights of the parties" since they "were given their day in
but one Atty. Adriano Javier, Sr. who represented the latter until the time that the parties were court and passed through the usual course of the proceedings." Accordingly, he could not be
directed to file their respective position papers, specifically until 29 November 1991 when guilty of gross ignorance of the law and of lack of
Atty. Javier filed a motion to withdraw his appearance and the complainant filed his notice of competence.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
appearance as counsel for the defendants; (2) the Decision of 28 June 1991 was rendered
Wanting to have the last word, the complainant filed a Reply to Sur-rejoinder and 4. But nothing has been done by the latter to renew such contract of lease of which right
Manifestation on 28 July 1993. 8 Not to be outdone, the respondent filed a Manifestation to becomes one of a detainer plain and simple (page 6, Ibid);chanrobles virtual law library
Reply on 9 August 1993. 9chanrobles virtual law library
5. That being the case to allow them will mean ownership over the
The Court referred this to the Office of the Court Administrator for evaluation, report and property (Ibid).chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
recommendation.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
It is possible that this is not the usual language of the Judge, for their fractured constructions
On 31 August 1993, the Office of the Court Administrator submitted its Memorandum have no place in a court decision. Careful editing and rewriting should have been done.
containing its evaluation, report and recommendation. After summarizing the antecedent
facts, the said office submitted that the instant complaint is meritorious, and made the and recommends that:
following findings:

. . . a fine of P5,000.00 be imposed upon respondent with a warning that any repetition of the
It is quite unbelievable, nay, impossible for respondent to have overlooked the missing same or similar infraction shall be meted with a more severe penalty of dismissal from the
dispositive portion of his original decision which is considered the executory portion thereof. service. He is also admonished to exhibit greater care in the writing of his decisions.
The only ineluctable conclusion is that respondent never read said decision before he signed
the same. If only he devoted even only a little time to read the same, such a missing portion
considered to be the most important part of a decision could not have escaped his attention. We find the above observations of the Office of the Court Administrator to be sufficiently
The alleged dispositive portion was a prayer. It did not have the effect of finally disposing the supported by the pleadings submitted by the parties in this
case. Presumably, this must have been simply copied from plaintiff's case.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
complaint.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
After a careful examination of the respondent's "Decision" of 28 June 1991, we do find its
True, it was legally permissible for respondent to amend his original defective decision since body to be flawed with grammatical and syntactic errors. Its "dispositive portion" disposes of,
the RTC dismissed the petition for certiorari although Judge Perfecto Macapagal found that resolves or decrees nothing. It cannot even be called a dispositive or decretal portion at all. It
what was rendered by Judge Paguio "can not be considered a decision at all." It took is obviously a prayer lifted from a pleading of the plaintiff, such as the Memorandum or
respondent Judge 1-1/2 years to discover and correct his error; the error could have easily the ex-parte manifestation and motion praying that judgment be rendered filed after the
been discovered at the time the Motion for Execution was filed on September 2, 1991. But defendants failed to file their position paper, although not from the complaint as suspected
the writ was nonetheless issued on December 4, 1991. Hence, the belated correction would by the Court Administrator. How it gained entry into what should have been the fallo is an
not mitigate his liability. There is no denying that the quality of a decision rendered by the arcanum. Any attempt to unravel the mystery may only complicate the matter against the
judge such as herein respondent, is a reflection on the integrity of the court in dispensing respondent who is only charged herein with gross ignorance or
justice to whom it is due. Respondent was at the very least careless in failing to read carefully incompetence.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
the decision that he signed. In fact, both the original and amended decisions still contained
errors in grammar and syntax indicating that there was no adequate editing of the decision There can, however, be no dispute behind the errors of grammar and syntax and the fatally
that was signed by him. If he had been more careful, he would have avoided such fractured infirmed "dispositive portion" is the inefficiency, neglect of duty or carelessness on the part of
phrases as:chanrobles virtual law library the respondent betraying the absence of due care, diligence, conscientiousness and
thoroughness - qualities which Judges must, among others, possess. Respondent could have
1. Plaintiff on being opposed to this motion, countered as follows: (Page 5, Decision, June 28, easily avoided the errors and defects had he taken a little more time and effort to at least
1991);chanrobles virtual law library read its original copy before he finally affixed his signature thereon. While this Court cannot
expect every Judge to be an expert on the English language or an authority in grammar, he
must, however, do everything he can, through constant study, extraordinary diligence, and
2. For a more vivid explanation showing the incidental facts (Ibid);chanrobles virtual law passion for excellence, to produce a decision which fosters respect for and encourages
library obedience to it and enhances the prestige of the court.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles
virtual law library
3. And defendants seems that they are not really sincere (Ibid);chanrobles virtual law library
As we see it then, the respondent failed to comply with two standard of conduct prescribed embodiment of competence, diligence, conscientiousness, thoroughness, efficiency, and
by the Canons of Judicial Ethics, namely: that "[h]e should exhibit an industry and application integrity so as to preserve, promote and enhance the people's confidence in the
commensurate with the duties imposed upon him" 10 and that he should be conscientious, Judiciary.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
studious and thorough. 11chanrobles virtual law library
A few words must also be made of record regarding the complainant. We note that in his
Moreover, the respondent did not only issue a manifestly infirmed "decision," he even complaint in this case he alleged under oath that after the defendants filed their answer, the
granted the motion for its execution and issued the corresponding writ with full knowledge respondent "without any hearing, or at least this counsel was never notified of any such
that there was nothing to execute. He could not have feigned ignorance of such nothingness hearing," rendered the 28 June 1991 Decision. This is of course inaccurate, if not outright
for it is embarrassingly self-evident. He nevertheless ordered its execution, exhibiting once false. What the complainant conveniently left out in his complaint was that, as disclosed in
more his inefficiency, carelessness, negligence, or even his the Comment which he did not refute, after the defendants' answer with counterclaim was
incompetence.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library admitted by the court, the case was set for preliminary conference and thereafter the parties
were required to submit their position papers and the affidavits of their witnesses and other
evidence. We find that the case was properly placed and considered under the Rule on
We must add, however, that it is not the respondent alone who must be blamed for such
Summary Procedure and, accordingly, the court could decide the case on the basis of the
unmitigated faux pas. The counsel for the parties in the case knew or ought to have known
submitted position papers, affidavits and other pieces of evidence. Complainant further
the fatal defect of the dispositive portion and the obvious inefficacy of any writ of execution,
suppressed the fact that he entered his appearance as counsel for the defendants only after
yet, the plaintiff's counsel still filed a motion for execution, while the counsel for the
the court had conducted the preliminary conference and issued the order for the submission
defendants - the complainant herein - merely filed a motion for reconsideration based solely
of the foregoing pleadings and documents. He was not, therefore, entitled to any notice
on the ground that the plaintiff did not file her pre-trial brief and that there was no valid pre-
before then.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
trial order. Obviously, the complainant initially believed in the completeness of the decision.
As a matter of fact, when he assailed the 25 January 1993 Decision, he alleged that what was
amended was a " final decision," a position totally inconsistent with his claim that the latter The failure to divulge the foregoing facts may have been intended by the complainant to give
was void as declared by the RTC of Bulacan. As officers of the court who owe to it candor, his complaint a strong prima facie case against the respondent. While he was entitled to
fairness and good faith, 12 both attorneys should have called the court's attention to the adopt certain strategies in his pleadings, he forgot that he owes to this Court absolute
glaring defect of the "dispositive portion" of the 28 June 1991 candor, fairness and good faith. This Court can neither condone nor tolerate attempts to
Decision.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library mislead it through suppression of important facts which would have a bearing on its initial
action. Complainant should, therefore, be admonished to faithfully adhere to the Code of
Professional Responsibility.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
We thus conclude that the respondent Judge is guilty of, in the very least, inefficiency,
neglect of duty and the violation of Canons 5 and 31 of the Canons of Judicial Ethics. He could
not, however, be liable for ignorance of law and jurisprudence or for incompetence when he WHEREFORE, for inefficiency and neglect of duty amounting to a violation of Canons 5 and 31
handed down a new decision on 25 January 1993. The 28 June 1991 Decision was of the Canons of Judicial Ethics, respondent Judge ORLANDO C. PAGUIO is hereby sentenced
"incomplete" since, for all legal intents and purposes, it had no fallo and could not attain to pay a FINE of Five Thousand Pesos (P5,000.00). He is further warned that a repetition of
finality, hence the respondent had the power to amend it to make it conformable to law and the same or similar infractions shall be dealt with more
justice. 13 It is not therefore correct to say, as the complainant suggested, that the order of severely.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library
the RTC of Bulacan in Sp. Civil Action No. 03-M-93 stating that the respondent's Decision of 28
June 1991 is "void upon its face" forever bars the respondent from rendering a new or Complainant is hereby ADMONISHED to be more careful in the drafting of pleadings, always
amended decision in the ejectment case.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law keeping in mind his duty under Canon 10 of the Code of Professional
library Responsibility.chanroblesvirtualawlibrarychanrobles virtual law library

We take this opportunity to stress once again that the administration of justice is a sacred SO ORDERED.
task and all those involved in it must faithfully adhere to, hold inviolate, and invigorate the
principle solemnly enshrined in the Constitution that a public office is a public trust and all
public officers and employees must at all times be accountable to the people, serve them
with utmost responsibility, integrity, loyalty and efficiency, and act with patriotism and justice
and lead modest lives. 14 Every Judge should never forget that he is the visible representation
A.C. No. 2837 October 7, 1994
of the law and, more importantly, of justice. 15 Therefore, he must constantly be the
ESTEBAN M. LIBIT, complainant, With respect to Atty. Edelson G. Oliva, the IBP submitted the following report and
vs. recommendation:
ATTYS. EDELSON G. OLIVA and FLORANDO A. UMALI, respondent.
There is ample evidence extant in the records to prove that
RESOLUTION Atty. Oliva has something to do with the falsification of the Sheriff's Return on the
Summons in said Civil Case No. 84-24144.
PER CURIAM:
The oral and documentary evidence of the complainant strongly tend to show the
following: (1) The Sheriff's Return of the Summon in the said civil case was falsified
In civil Case No. 84-24144 of the Court of First Instance of Manila, entitled "Pedro Cutingting,
as it was not signed by Deputy Sheriff Rodolfo Torella (Exh. "J" Sworn Statement of
plaintiff versus Alfredo Tan, defendant", the Honorable Presiding Judge Domingo Panis issued
Rodolfo Torella dated February 1, 1985, and Exh. "S", which is the falsified Sheriff's
the following order:
Return); (2) The summons was received from the clerk of the Court of the Manila
RTC-Branch LXI by Ronaldo Romero, a messenger in the law office of Attys. Umali
The Director of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) is hereby ordered to and Oliva and said messenger brought the summons to the law office of the
conduct an investigation with the end in view of determining the author of the respondents (Exh. "H" Sinumpaang Salaysay ni Ronaldo Romero, and Exh. "G",
Sheriff's Return which appears to have been falsified and to institute such criminal Exh. "I" Sworn Statement dated February 28, 1985 of Mariano Villanueva, Chief
action as the evidence will warrant. (p. 1, Final Report.) Staff Asst. 2, RTC, Manila; (3) On the basis of the falsified Sheriff's Return on the
Summons, Atty. Oliva, counsel for the defendant [should be plaintiff] in said civil
After conducting the necessary investigation, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), case, filed a typewritten Motion to Declare Defendant in Default (Exh.) "R" Motion
through herein complainant, charged respondents as follows: to Declare Defendant In Default in said civil case signed and filed by Atty. Oliva);
(4) On March 29, 1984, Atty. Oliva, in his capacity as Operations Manager of Judge
Pio R. Marcos Law Office, sent a final demand letter on Alfredo Tan, the defendant in
That sometime in May 1984 in the City of Manila, at the Regional Trial Court, Branch said Civil case, for payment of the sum of P70,174.00 (Exh. "T" Demand Letter
XLI, Manila, Philippines, the above-named Respondents, as Counsels for PEDRO dated March 28, 1984 of Atty. Oliva addressed to Alfredo Tan); (5) The demand letter
CUTINGTING in Civil Case No. 84-24144, entitled PEDRO CUTINGTING, Plaintiff vs. of Atty. Oliva (Exh. "T"), the complaint in said civil case (Exh. "Q", "Q-1", and "Q-2"),
ALFREDO TAN, Defendant, did then and there, knowingly, willfully the falsified Sheriff's Return on the Summons (Exh. "S"), the Motion To Declare
introduced/presented in evidence before the aforesaid Regional Trial Court, a Defendant In Default dated October 30, 1984 signed and filed by
falsified Sheriff's Return of Summons during the hearing of the aforesaid Civil Case Atty. Oliva (Exh. "R" and "R-1") were typed on one and the same typewriter, as
thereby impending and/or obstructing the speedy administration and/or shown in the Questioned Document Report No. 198-585 dated 19 June 1985 (Exh.
dispensation of Justice. (p. 2, Final Report, ff. p. 69, Record.) "Q", "Q-1" and "Q-2"; Exh. "V", "V-1" and
"V-2").
Respondents in their respective answers denied having any hand in the falsification of the
said sheriff's return. After the careful review of the record of the case and the report and recommendation of the
IBP, the Court finds that respondent Atty. Edelson G. Oliva committed acts of misconduct
Pursuant to Rule 139-B of the Rules of Court and the resolution of the Court En Banc of April which warrant the exercise by the Court of its disciplinary powers. The facts, as supported by
12, 1988, the case was referred to the Commission on Bar Discipline of the Integrated Bar of the evidence, obtaining in this case indubitably reveal respondent's failure to live up to his
the Philippines (IBP) for investigation, report, and recommendation. duties as a lawyer in consonance with the strictures of the lawyer's oath, the Code of
Professional Responsibility, and the Canons of Professional Ethics. A lawyer's responsibility to
protect and advance the interests of his client does not warrant a course of action propelled
In view, however, of the report of the National Bureau of Investigation to the effect that the
by ill motives and malicious intentions against the other party.
signature above the typewritten name Florando Umali on the last page of the complaint in
said civil case is not his signature, complainant, through counsel, agreed to the dismissal of
the case with respect to Atty. Umali. At this juncture, it is well to stress once again that the practice of law is not a right but a
privilege bestowed by the State on those who show that they possess, and continue to
possess, the qualifications required by law for the conferment of such privilege. One of these
requirements is the observance of honesty and candor. It can not be gainsaid that
candidness, especially towards the courts, is essential for the expeditious administration of It is alleged in the charges filed against Attorney Eustaquio V. Arayata (1) that on August 27,
justice. Courts are entitled to expect only complete candor and honesty from the lawyers 1931, while practicing his profession, he prepared and drew up in his favor a deed of sale of
appearing and pleading before them. A lawyer, on the other hand, has the fundamental duty the land described in transfer certificate of title No. 7591, for the sum of P4,000, stating
to satisfy the expectation. It is essential that lawyers bear in mind at all times that their first therein that the person who executed the document and sold the land to him was his father,
duty is not to their clients but rather to the courts, that they are above all court officers sworn Arcadio Arayata, when he knew positively that this alleged vendor had already died on
to assist the courts in rendering justice to all and sundry, and only secondarily are they November 5, 1916; that knowing the document to be fictitious, he appeared before notary
advocates of the exclusive interests of their clients. For this reason, he is required to swear to public Tereso Ma. Montoya and made the latter legalize said document and state that Arcadio
do no falsehood, nor consent to the doing of any in court (Chavez vs. Viola, 196 SCRA 10 Arayata personally appeared before him, although said fact was not true; and he later
[1991]. succeeded in having the register of deeds cancel the transfer certificate of title issued to
Arcadio Arayata and issue transfer certificate of title No. 8370 in his favor; and (2) that on
June 5, 1933, being legally married to Aurora L. Saguil, he filed an application to marry
In this case, respondent Atty. Edelson Oliva has manifestly violated that part of his oath as a
Engracia F. Ortega, stating therein under oath that he was single when in fact he was
lawyer that he shall not do any falsehood. He has likewise violated Rule 10.01 of the Code of
married, said marriage not having been dissolved.
Professional Responsibility which provides:

The charge filed against attorney and notary public Tereso Ma. Montoya consists in having
A lawyer shall not do any falsehood, nor consent to the doing of any in court nor
ratified the deed of sale and having stated that Arcadio Arayata personally appeared before
shall he mislead or allow the court to be misled by any artifice.
him and confirmed the sale, knowing fully well that said person is already dead and therefore
could do neither the one nor the other.
Accordingly, the Court resolved to impose upon Atty. Edelson Oliva the supreme penalty of
DISBARMENT. His license to practice law in the Philippines is CANCELLED and the Bar
The investigation was finally conducted by the Judge of the Court of First Instance of the
Confidant is ordered to strike out his name from the Roll of Attorneys.
Province of Cavite, who recommended that a disciplinary action be taken against Arayata and
that Montoya be exonerated, it having been clearly established that the latter, in ratifying the
The case is ordered dismissed as against Atty. Florando Umali. document, acted in good faith and relied on Arayata's assurance that the old man then with
him was really the vendor Arcadio Arayata who ratified all the contents of the instrument. We
SO ORDERED. concur in the appreciation of the facts and we are of the opinion that said notary public and
attorney should really be exonerated and held innocent.

The established facts show that the respondent Arayata is the son of Arcadio Arayata who
died on November 5, 1916, leaving a widow and five children; that Arcadio Arayata in life,
EN BANC purchased from the Bureau of Lands lot No. 3448 of the Hacienda de Santa Cruz de Malabon,
for which transfer certificate of title No. 7591 was issued to him; that on August 27, 1931,
Per Rec. Nos. 3527, 3408 August 23, 1935 many years after Arcadio Arayata's death, the respondent attorney prepared the deed,
Exhibit A, stating therein that his father sold the land in question to him for the sum of
P4,000; that after affixing the names of the alleged vendor and the two witnesses, the
JUSTA MONTEREY, complainant, respondent brought an old man and the two witnesses before notary public Tereso Ma.
vs. Montoya and requested the latter to ratify said document, assuring him that the old man was
EUSTAQUIO V. ARAYATA and TERESO MA. MONTOYA, respondents. the grantor and vendor and the other two were the instrumental witnesses thereto; that the
notary honestly believing said information, legalized and registered the document after
Eustaquio V. Arayata in his own behalf. verifying from the old man that he ratified the contents thereof; that the transfer was invalid
Office of the Solicitor-General Hilado for the Government. and the document not genuine because another, not Arcadio Arayata, signed it; that the
respondent later applied for and obtained transfer certificate of title No. 8370 of said land
from the registry of deeds of Cavite after the former title was cancelled; that sometime later,
IMPERIAL, J.:
or on April 11, 1933, the respondent sold a portion of said land having an area of two and
one-half (2 ) hectares to Sinforosa Torres, married to Basilio Sorosoro, for the sum of P500.
With regard to the second charge, it likewise appears established that on June 5, 1933, the Lacsina, Lontok and Perez and Luis F. Aquino for petitioners.
respondent, being legally married to Aurora L. Saguil and said marriage not having been
dissolved, signed under oath an application to marry Engracia F. Ortega stating therein that Francisco de los Reyes for respondent Court of Industrial Relations.
he was single, he being in fact married; the application was registered and duly considered
and on September 25, 1933, the register of the Province of Cavite issued the corresponding
license upon payment by the respondent of the sum of P2; for some unknown reasons the Araneta, Mendoza and Papa for other respondents.
marriage applied for was not solemnized; the respondent's wife, nevertheless, filed a
complaint for bigamy against the former, which is now pending in the justice of the peace CASTRO, J.:
court of Santa Rosa, Laguna, for which reason the investigator is of the opinion, and so
recommends, that no action should be taken on the second charge. The recommendation is
Appeal, by certiorari to review a decision and a resolution en banc of the Court of Industrial
well founded and has our approval.
Relations dated August 17, 1965 and October 20, 1965, respectively, in Case 1698-ULP.

In his first answer, respondent Arayata admitted that the sale had been made by his father
The Insular Life Assurance Co., Ltd., Employees Association-NATU, FGU Insurance Group
who was his true predecessor in interest, but alleged that nobody, including the complainant,
Workers & Employees Association-NATU, and Insular Life Building Employees Association-
could complain of the transfer because none was prejudiced, he being the true and only heir.
NATU (hereinafter referred to as the Unions), while still members of the Federation of Free
In his second answer, however, and in the course of the investigation, he set up another
Workers (FFW), entered into separate collective bargaining agreements with the Insular Life
defense alleging that the person who had really sold him the land was his uncle Januario
Assurance Co., Ltd. and the FGU Insurance Group (hereinafter referred to as the Companies).
Arayata who, in the deed and relative to the land, assumed the name of Arcadio Arayata. He
further alleged that it was his said uncle who signed the deed of transfer and ratified it before
notary Montoya. We find this second new defense improbable and unestablished. Two of the lawyers of the Unions then were Felipe Enaje and Ramon Garcia; the latter was
formerly the secretary-treasurer of the FFW and acting president of the Insular Life/FGU
unions and the Insular Life Building Employees Association. Garcia, as such acting president,
The acts committed by the respondent Arayata relative to the deed of sale Exhibit A, and his
in a circular issued in his name and signed by him, tried to dissuade the members of the
statements to notary Montoya with regard to said document, constitute malpractice and
Unions from disaffiliating with the FFW and joining the National Association of Trade Unions
unprofessional conduct under the provisions of section 21 of the Code of Civil Procedure,
(NATU), to no avail.
meriting for him a disciplinary action mitigated in this case by the circumstance that he was
apparently the heir entitled to the ownership of the land and that the complainant has neither
real nor direct interest in the transaction complained of by her. Enaje and Garcia soon left the FFW and secured employment with the Anti-Dummy Board of
the Department of Justice. Thereafter, the Companies hired Garcia in the latter part of 1956
as assistant corporate secretary and legal assistant in their Legal Department, and he was
For the foregoing reasons, we hold Attorney Eustaquio V. Arayata guilty of malpractice and
soon receiving P900 a month, or P600 more than he was receiving from the FFW. Enaje was
suspend him from the practice of his profession for one (1) month, hereby reprimanding him
hired on or about February 19, 1957 as personnel manager of the Companies, and was
for having prepared and executed the deed of sale in question. So ordered.
likewise made chairman of the negotiating panel for the Companies in the collective
bargaining with the Unions.

In a letter dated September 16, 1957, the Unions jointly submitted proposals to the
G.R. No. L-25291 January 30, 1971 Companies for a modified renewal of their respective collective bargaining contracts which
were then due to expire on September 30, 1957. The parties mutually agreed and to make
whatever benefits could be agreed upon retroactively effective October 1, 1957.
THE INSULAR LIFE ASSURANCE CO., LTD., EMPLOYEES ASSOCIATION-NATU, FGU
INSURANCE GROUP WORKERS and EMPLOYEES ASSOCIATION-NATU, and INSULAR
LIFE BUILDING EMPLOYEES ASSOCIATION-NATU, petitioners, Thereafter, in the months of September and October 1957 negotiations were conducted on
vs. the Union's proposals, but these were snagged by a deadlock on the issue of union shop, as a
THE INSULAR LIFE ASSURANCE CO., LTD., FGU INSURANCE GROUP, JOSE M. OLBES result of which the Unions filed on January 27, 1958 a notice of strike for "deadlock on
and COURT OF INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS, respondents. collective bargaining." Several conciliation conferences were held under the auspices of the
Department of Labor wherein the conciliators urged the Companies to make reply to the
Unions' proposals en toto so that the said Unions might consider the feasibility of dropping
their demand for union security in exchange for other benefits. However, the Companies did 3. Make a choice whether to go home at the end of the day or to sleep nights at the
not make any counter-proposals but, instead, insisted that the Unions first drop their demand office where comfortable cots have been prepared.
for union security, promising money benefits if this was done. Thereupon, and prior to April
15, 1958, the petitioner Insular Life Building Employees Association-NATU dropped this 4. Enjoy free coffee and occasional movies.
particular demand, and requested the Companies to answer its demands, point by point, en
toto. But the respondent Insular Life Assurance Co. still refused to make any counter-
proposals. In a letter addressed to the two other Unions by the joint management of the 5. Be paid overtime for work performed in excess of eight hours.
Companies, the former were also asked to drop their union security demand, otherwise the
Companies "would no longer consider themselves bound by the commitment to make money 6. Be sure arrangements will be made for your families.
benefits retroactive to October 1, 1957." By a letter dated April 17, 1958, the remaining two
petitioner unions likewise dropped their demand for union shop. April 25, 1958 then was set
The decision to make is yours whether you still believe in the motives of the strike
by the parties to meet and discuss the remaining demands.
or in the fairness of the Management.

From April 25 to May 6, 1958, the parties negotiated on the labor demands but with no
The Unions, however, continued on strike, with the exception of a few unionists who were
satisfactory result due to a stalemate on the matter of salary increases. On May 13, 1958 the
convinced to desist by the aforesaid letter of May 21, 1958.
Unions demanded from the Companies final counter-proposals on their economic demands,
particularly on salary increases. Instead of giving counter-proposals, the Companies on May
15, 1958 presented facts and figures and requested the Unions to submit a workable formula From the date the strike was called on May 21, 1958, until it was called off on May 31, 1958,
which would justify their own proposals, taking into account the financial position of the some management men tried to break thru the Unions' picket lines. Thus, on May 21, 1958
former. Forthwith the Unions voted to declare a strike in protest against what they considered Garcia, assistant corporate secretary, and Vicente Abella, chief of the personnel records
the Companies' unfair labor practices. section, respectively of the Companies, tried to penetrate the picket lines in front of the
Insular Life Building. Garcia, upon approaching the picket line, tossed aside the placard of a
picketer, one Paulino Bugay; a fight ensued between them, in which both suffered injuries.
Meanwhile, eighty-seven (87) unionists were reclassified as supervisors without increase in
The Companies organized three bus-loads of employees, including a photographer, who with
salary nor in responsibility while negotiations were going on in the Department of Labor after
the said respondent Olbes, succeeded in penetrating the picket lines in front of the Insular
the notice to strike was served on the Companies. These employees resigned from the
Life Building, thus causing injuries to the picketers and also to the strike-breakers due to the
Unions.
resistance offered by some picketers.

On May 20, 1958 the Unions went on strike and picketed the offices of the Insular Life
Alleging that some non-strikers were injured and with the use of photographs as evidence,
Building at Plaza Moraga.
the Companies then filed criminal charges against the strikers with the City Fiscal's Office of
Manila. During the pendency of the said cases in the fiscal's office, the Companies likewise
On May 21, 1958 the Companies through their acting manager and president, the respondent filed a petition for injunction with damages with the Court of First Instance of Manila which,
Jose M. Olbes (hereinafter referred to as the respondent Olbes), sent to each of the strikers a on the basis of the pendency of the various criminal cases against striking members of the
letter (exhibit A) quoted verbatim as follows: Unions, issued on May 31, 1958 an order restraining the strikers, until further orders of the
said court, from stopping, impeding, obstructing, etc. the free and peaceful use of the
We recognize it is your privilege both to strike and to conduct picketing. Companies' gates, entrance and driveway and the free movement of persons and vehicles to
and from, out and in, of the Companies' building.

However, if any of you would like to come back to work voluntarily, you may:
On the same date, the Companies, again through the respondent Olbes, sent individually to
the strikers a letter (exhibit B), quoted hereunder in its entirety:
1. Advise the nearest police officer or security guard of your intention to do so.

The first day of the strike was last 21 May 1958.


2. Take your meals within the office.
Our position remains unchanged and the strike has made us even more convinced of On July 29, 1958 the CIR prosecutor filed a complaint for unfair labor practice against the
our decision. Companies under Republic Act 875. The complaint specifically charged the Companies with
(1) interfering with the members of the Unions in the exercise of their right to concerted
action, by sending out individual letters to them urging them to abandon their strike and
We do not know how long you intend to stay out, but we cannot hold your positions
return to work, with a promise of comfortable cots, free coffee and movies, and paid
open for long. We have continued to operate and will continue to do so with or
overtime, and, subsequently, by warning them that if they did not return to work on or before
without you.
June 2, 1958, they might be replaced; and (2) discriminating against the members of the
Unions as regards readmission to work after the strike on the basis of their union membership
If you are still interested in continuing in the employ of the Group Companies, and if and degree of participation in the strike.
there are no criminal charges pending against you, we are giving you until 2 June
1958 to report for work at the home office. If by this date you have not yet reported,
On August 4, 1958 the Companies filed their answer denying all the material allegations of
we may be forced to obtain your replacement.
the complaint, stating special defenses therein, and asking for the dismissal of the complaint.

Before, the decisions was yours to make.


After trial on the merits, the Court of Industrial Relations, through Presiding Judge Arsenio
Martinez, rendered on August 17, 1965 a decision dismissing the Unions' complaint for lack of
So it is now. merit. On August 31, 1965 the Unions seasonably filed their motion for reconsideration of the
said decision, and their supporting memorandum on September 10, 1965. This was denied by
Incidentally, all of the more than 120 criminal charges filed against the members of the the Court of Industrial Relations en banc in a resolution promulgated on October 20, 1965.
Unions, except three (3), were dismissed by the fiscal's office and by the courts. These three
cases involved "slight physical injuries" against one striker and "light coercion" against two Hence, this petition for review, the Unions contending that the lower court erred:
others.

1. In not finding the Companies guilty of unfair labor practice in sending out
At any rate, because of the issuance of the writ of preliminary injunction against them as well individually to the strikers the letters marked Exhibits A and B;
as the ultimatum of the Companies giving them until June 2, 1958 to return to their jobs or
else be replaced, the striking employees decided to call off their strike and to report back to
2. In not finding the Companies guilty of unfair labor practice for discriminating
work on June 2, 1958.
against the striking members of the Unions in the matter of readmission of
employees after the strike;
However, before readmitting the strikers, the Companies required them not only to secure
clearances from the City Fiscal's Office of Manila but also to be screened by a management
3. In not finding the Companies guilty of unfair labor practice for dismissing officials
committee among the members of which were Enage and Garcia. The screening committee
and members of the Unions without giving them the benefit of investigation and the
initially rejected 83 strikers with pending criminal charges. However, all non-strikers with
opportunity to present their side in regard to activities undertaken by them in the
pending criminal charges which arose from the breakthrough incident were readmitted
legitimate exercise of their right to strike; and
immediately by the Companies without being required to secure clearances from the fiscal's
office. Subsequently, when practically all the strikers had secured clearances from the fiscal's
office, the Companies readmitted only some but adamantly refused readmission to 34 4. In not ordering the reinstatement of officials and members of the Unions, with full
officials and members of the Unions who were most active in the strike, on the ground that back wages, from June 2, 1958 to the date of their actual reinstatement to their
they committed "acts inimical to the interest of the respondents," without however stating usual employment.
the specific acts allegedly committed. Among those who were refused readmission are
Emiliano Tabasondra, vice president of the Insular Life Building Employees' Association-NATU; I. The respondents contend that the sending of the letters, exhibits A and B, constituted a
Florencio Ibarra, president of the FGU Insurance Group Workers & Employees Association- legitimate exercise of their freedom of speech. We do not agree. The said letters were
NATU; and Isagani Du Timbol, acting president of the Insular Life Assurance Co., Ltd. directed to the striking employees individually by registered special delivery mail at that
Employees Association-NATU. Some 24 of the above number were ultimately notified months without being coursed through the Unions which were representing the employees in the
later that they were being dismissed retroactively as of June 2, 1958 and given separation collective bargaining.
pay checks computed under Rep. Act 1787, while others (ten in number) up to now have not
been readmitted although there have been no formal dismissal notices given to them.
The act of an employer in notifying absent employees individually during a strike Likewise violative of the right to organize, form and join labor organizations are the following
following unproductive efforts at collective bargaining that the plant would be acts: the offer of a Christmas bonus to all "loyal" employees of a company shortly after the
operated the next day and that their jobs were open for them should they want to making of a request by the union to bargain; wage increases given for the purpose of
come in has been held to be an unfair labor practice, as an active interference with mollifying employees after the employer has refused to bargain with the union, or for the
the right of collective bargaining through dealing with the employees individually purpose of inducing striking employees to return to work; the employer's promises of benefits
instead of through their collective bargaining representatives. (31 Am. Jur. in return for the strikers' abandonment of their strike in support of their union; and the
563, citing NLRB v. Montgomery Ward & Co. [CA 9th] 133 F2d 676, 146 ALR 1045) employer's statement, made about 6 weeks after the strike started, to a group of strikers in a
restaurant to the effect that if the strikers returned to work, they would receive new benefits
in the form of hospitalization, accident insurance, profit-sharing, and a new building to work
Indeed, it is an unfair labor practice for an employer operating under a collective bargaining
in.2
agreement to negotiate or to attempt to negotiate with his employees individually in
connection with changes in the agreement. And the basis of the prohibition regarding
individual bargaining with the strikers is that although the union is on strike, the employer is Citing paragraph 5 of the complaint filed by the acting prosecutor of the lower court which
still under obligation to bargain with the union as the employees' bargaining representative states that "the officers and members of the complainant unions decided to call off the strike
(Melo Photo Supply Corporation vs. National Labor Relations Board, 321 U.S. 332). and return to work on June 2, 1958 by reason of the injunction issued by the Manila Court of
First Instance," the respondents contend that this was the main cause why the strikers
returned to work and not the letters, exhibits A and B. This assertion is without merit. The
Indeed, some such similar actions are illegal as constituting unwarranted acts of interference.
circumstance that the strikers later decided to return to work ostensibly on account of the
Thus, the act of a company president in writing letters to the strikers, urging their return to
injunctive writ issued by the Court of First Instance of Manila cannot alter the intrinsic quality
work on terms inconsistent with their union membership, was adjudged as constituting
of the letters, which were calculated, or which tended, to interfere with the employees' right
interference with the exercise of his employees' right to collective bargaining (Lighter
to engage in lawful concerted activity in the form of a strike. Interference constituting unfair
Publishing, CCA 7th, 133 F2d 621). It is likewise an act of interference for the employer to
labor practice will not cease to be such simply because it was susceptible of being thwarted
send a letter to all employees notifying them to return to work at a time specified therein,
or resisted, or that it did not proximately cause the result intended. For success of purpose is
otherwise new employees would be engaged to perform their jobs. Individual solicitation of
not, and should not, be the criterion in determining whether or not a prohibited act
the employees or visiting their homes, with the employer or his representative urging the
constitutes unfair labor practice.
employees to cease union activity or cease striking, constitutes unfair labor practice. All the
above-detailed activities are unfair labor practices because they tend to undermine the
concerted activity of the employees, an activity to which they are entitled free from the The test of whether an employer has interfered with and coerced employees within
employer's molestation.1 the meaning of subsection (a) (1) is whether the employer has engaged in conduct
which it may reasonably be said tends to interfere with the free exercise of
employees' rights under section 3 of the Act, and it is not necessary that there be
Moreover, since exhibit A is a letter containing promises of benefits to the employees in order
direct evidence that any employee was in fact intimidated or coerced by statements
to entice them to return to work, it is not protected by the free speech provisions of the
of threats of the employer if there is a reasonable inference that anti-union conduct
Constitution (NLRB v. Clearfield Cheese Co., Inc., 213 F2d 70). The same is true with exhibit B
of the employer does have an adverse effect on self-organization and collective
since it contained threats to obtain replacements for the striking employees in the event they
bargaining. (Francisco, Labor Laws 1956, Vol. II, p. 323, citing NLRB v. Ford, C.A.,
did not report for work on June 2, 1958. The free speech protection under the Constitution is
1948, 170 F2d 735).
inapplicable where the expression of opinion by the employer or his agent contains a promise
of benefit, or threats, or reprisal (31 Am. Jur. 544; NLRB vs. Clearfield Cheese Co., Inc., 213
F2d 70; NLRB vs. Goigy Co., 211 F2d 533, 35 ALR 2d 422). Besides, the letters, exhibits A and B, should not be considered by themselves alone but
should be read in the light of the preceding and subsequent circumstances surrounding them.
The letters should be interpreted according to the "totality of conduct doctrine,"
Indeed, when the respondents offered reinstatement and attempted to "bribe" the strikers
with "comfortable cots," "free coffee and occasional movies," "overtime" pay for "work
performed in excess of eight hours," and "arrangements" for their families, so they would ... whereby the culpability of an employer's remarks were to be evaluated not only
abandon the strike and return to work, they were guilty of strike-breaking and/or union- on the basis of their implicit implications, but were to be appraised against the
busting and, consequently, of unfair labor practice. It is equivalent to an attempt to break a background of and in conjunction with collateral circumstances. Under this
strike for an employer to offer reinstatement to striking employees individually, when they "doctrine" expressions of opinion by an employer which, though innocent in
are represented by a union, since the employees thus offered reinstatement are unable to themselves, frequently were held to be culpable because of the circumstances under
determine what the consequences of returning to work would be. which they were uttered, the history of the particular employer's labor relations or
anti-union bias or because of their connection with an established collateral plan of Verily, the above actuations of the respondents before and after the issuance of the letters,
coercion or interference. (Rothenberg on Relations, p. 374, and cases cited therein.) exhibit A and B, yield the clear inference that the said letters formed of the respondents
scheme to preclude if not destroy unionism within them.
It must be recalled that previous to the petitioners' submission of proposals for an amended
renewal of their respective collective bargaining agreements to the respondents, the latter To justify the respondents' threat to dismiss the strikers and secure replacements for them in
hired Felipe Enage and Ramon Garcia, former legal counsels of the petitioners, as personnel order to protect and continue their business, the CIR held the petitioners' strike to be an
manager and assistant corporate secretary, respectively, with attractive compensations. After economic strike on the basis of exhibit 4 (Notice of Strike) which states that there was a
the notice to strike was served on the Companies and negotiations were in progress in the "deadlock in collective bargaining" and on the strength of the supposed testimonies of some
Department of Labor, the respondents reclassified 87 employees as supervisors without union men who did not actually know the very reason for the strike. It should be noted that
increase in salary or in responsibility, in effect compelling these employees to resign from exhibit 4, which was filed on January 27, 1958, states, inter alia:
their unions. And during the negotiations in the Department of Labor, despite the fact that
the petitioners granted the respondents' demand that the former drop their demand for union TO: BUREAU OF LABOR RELATIONS
shop and in spite of urgings by the conciliators of the Department of Labor, the respondents DEPARTMENT OF LABOR
adamantly refused to answer the Unions' demands en toto. Incidentally, Enage was the MANILA
chairman of the negotiating panel for the Companies in the collective bargaining between the
former and the Unions. After the petitioners went to strike, the strikers were individually sent
copies of exhibit A, enticing them to abandon their strike by inducing them to return to work Thirty (30) days from receipt of this notice by the Office, this [sic] unions intends to
upon promise of special privileges. Two days later, the respondents, thru their president and go on strike against
manager, respondent Jose M. Olbes, brought three truckloads of non-strikers and others,
escorted by armed men, who, despite the presence of eight entrances to the three buildings THE INSULAR LIFE ASSURANCE CO., LTD.
occupied by the Companies, entered thru only one gate less than two meters wide and in the Plaza Moraga, Manila
process, crashed thru the picket line posted in front of the premises of the Insular Life
Building. This resulted in injuries on the part of the picketers and the strike-
THE FGU INSURANCE GROUP
breakers.lwph1.t Then the respondents brought against the picketers criminal charges,
Plaza Moraga, Manila
only three of which were not dismissed, and these three only for slight misdemeanors. As a
result of these criminal actions, the respondents were able to obtain an injunction from the
court of first instance restraining the strikers from stopping, impeding, obstructing, etc. the INSULAR LIFE BUILDING ADMINISTRATION
free and peaceful use of the Companies' gates, entrance and driveway and the free Plaza Moraga, Manila .
movement of persons and vehicles to and from, out and in, of the Companies' buildings. On
the same day that the injunction was issued, the letter, Exhibit B, was sent again for the following reason: DEADLOCK IN COLLECTIVE BARGAINING...
individually and by registered special delivery mail to the strikers, threatening them with
dismissal if they did not report for work on or before June 2, 1958. But when most of the
petitioners reported for work, the respondents thru a screening committee of which Ramon However, the employees did not stage the strike after the thirty-day period, reckoned from
Garcia was a member refused to admit 63 members of the Unions on the ground of January 27, 1958. This simply proves that the reason for the strike was not the deadlock on
"pending criminal charges." However, when almost all were cleared of criminal charges by collective bargaining nor any lack of economic concessions. By letter dated April 15, 1958,
the fiscal's office, the respondents adamantly refused admission to 34 officials and union the respondents categorically stated what they thought was the cause of the "Notice of
members. It is not, however, disputed that all-non-strikers with pending criminal charges Strike," which so far as material, reads:
which arose from the breakthrough incident of May 23, 1958 were readmitted immediately by
the respondents. Among the non-strikers with pending criminal charges who were readmitted 3. Because you did not see fit to agree with our position on the union shop, you filed
were Generoso Abella, Enrique Guidote, Emilio Carreon, Antonio Castillo, Federico Barretto, a notice of strike with the Bureau of Labor Relations on 27 January 1958, citing
Manuel Chuidian and Nestor Cipriano. And despite the fact that the fiscal's office found no `deadlock in collective bargaining' which could have been for no other issue than
probable cause against the petitioning strikers, the Companies adamantly refused admission the union shop." (exhibit 8, letter dated April 15, 1958.)
to them on the pretext that they committed "acts inimical to the interest of the respondents,"
without stating specifically the inimical acts allegedly committed. They were soon to admit,
The strike took place nearly four months from the date the said notice of strike was filed. And
however, that these alleged inimical acts were the same criminal charges which were
the actual and main reason for the strike was, "When it became crystal clear the
dismissed by the fiscal and by the courts..
management double crossed or will not negotiate in good faith, it is tantamount to refusal So is there an unfair labor practice where the employer, although authorized by the
collectively and considering the unfair labor practice in the meantime being committed by Court of Industrial Relations to dismiss the employees who participated in an illegal
the management such as the sudden resignation of some unionists and [who] became strike, dismissed only the leaders of the strikers, such dismissal being evidence of
supervisors without increase in salary or change in responsibility, such as the coercion of discrimination against those dismissed and constituting a waiver of the employer's
employees, decided to declare the strike." (tsn., Oct. 14, 1958, p. 14.) The truth of this right to dismiss the striking employees and a condonation of the fault committed by
assertion is amply proved by the following circumstances: (1) it took the respondents six (6) them." (Carlos and Fernando, Labor and Social Legislation, p. 62, citing Phil. Air
months to consider the petitioners' proposals, their only excuse being that they could not go Lines, Inc. v. Phil. Air Lines Emloyees Association, L-8197, Oct. 31, 1958.)
on with the negotiations if the petitioners did not drop the demand for union shop (exh. 7,
respondents' letter dated April 7, 1958); (2) when the petitioners dropped the demand for It is noteworthy that perhaps in an anticipatory effort to exculpate themselves from
union shop, the respondents did not have a counter-offer to the petitioners' demands. Sec. 14 charges of discrimination in the readmission of strikers returning to work the respondents
of Rep. Act 875 required the respondents to make a reply to the petitioners' demands within delegated the power to readmit to a committee. But the respondent Olbes had chosen
ten days from receipt thereof, but instead they asked the petitioners to give a "well reasoned, Vicente Abella, chief of the personnel records section, and Ramon Garcia, assistant corporate
workable formula which takes into account the financial position of the group companies." secretary, to screen the unionists reporting back to work. It is not difficult to imagine that
(tsn., Sept. 8, 1958, p. 62; tsn., Feb. 26, 1969, p. 49.) these two employees having been involved in unpleasant incidents with the picketers
during the strike were hostile to the strikers. Needless to say, the mere act of placing in
II. Exhibit H imposed three conditions for readmission of the strikers, namely: (1) the the hands of employees hostile to the strikers the power of reinstatement, is a form of
employee must be interested in continuing his work with the group companies; (2) there discrimination in rehiring.
must be no criminal charges against him; and (3) he must report for work on June 2, 1958,
otherwise he would be replaced. Since the evidence shows that all the employees reported Delayed reinstatement is a form of discrimination in rehiring, as is having the
back to work at the respondents' head office on June 2, 1953, they must be considered as machinery of reinstatement in the hands of employees hostile to the strikers, and
having complied with the first and third conditions. reinstating a union official who formerly worked in a unionized plant, to a job in
another mill, which was imperfectly organized. (Morabe, The Law on Strikes, p. 473,
Our point of inquiry should therefore be directed at whether they also complied with the citing Sunshine Mining Co., 7 NLRB 1252; Cleveland Worsted Mills, 43 NLRB 545;
second condition. It is not denied that when the strikers reported for work on June 2, 1958, 63 emphasis supplied.)
members of the Unions were refused readmission because they had pending criminal
charges. However, despite the fact that they were able to secure their respective clearances Equally significant is the fact that while the management and the members of the screening
34 officials and union members were still refused readmission on the alleged ground that committee admitted the discrimination committed against the strikers, they tossed back and
they committed acts inimical to the Companies. It is beyond dispute, however, that non- around to each other the responsibility for the discrimination. Thus, Garcia admitted that in
strikers who also had criminal charges pending against them in the fiscal's office, arising from exercising for the management the authority to screen the returning employees, the
the same incidents whence the criminal charges against the strikers evolved, were readily committee admitted the non-strikers but refused readmission to the strikers (tsn., Feb. 6,
readmitted and were not required to secure clearances. This is a clear act of discrimination 1962, pp. 15-19, 23-29). Vicente Abella, chairman of the management's screening
practiced by the Companies in the process of rehiring and is therefore a violation of sec. 4(a) committee, while admitting the discrimination, placed the blame therefor squarely on the
(4) of the Industrial Peace Act. management (tsn., Sept. 20, 1960, pp. 7-8, 14-18). But the management, speaking through
the respondent Olbes, head of the Companies, disclaimed responsibility for the
The respondents did not merely discriminate against all the strikers in general. They discrimination. He testified that "The decision whether to accept or not an employee was left
separated the active from the less active unionists on the basis of their militancy, or lack of it, in the hands of that committee that had been empowered to look into all cases of the
on the picket lines. Unionists belonging to the first category were refused readmission even strikers." (tsn., Sept. 6, 1962, p. 19.)
after they were able to secure clearances from the competent authorities with respect to the
criminal charges filed against them. It is significant to note in this connection that except for Of course, the respondents through Ramon Garcia tried to explain the basis for such
one union official who deserted his union on the second day of the strike and who later discrimination by testifying that strikers whose participation in any alleged misconduct during
participated in crashing through the picket lines, not a single union officer was taken back to the picketing was not serious in nature were readmissible, while those whose participation
work. Discrimination undoubtedly exists where the record shows that the union activity of the was serious were not. (tsn., Aug. 4, 1961, pp. 48-49, 56). But even this distinction between
rehired strikers has been less prominent than that of the strikers who were denied acts of slight misconduct and acts of serious misconduct which the respondents contend was
reinstatement. the basis for either reinstatement or discharge, is completely shattered upon a cursory
examination of the evidence on record. For with the exception of Pascual Esquillo whose
dismissal sent to the other strikers cited the alleged commission by them of simple "acts of audience to Felipe Enage, the Companies' personnel manager. He likewise categorically
misconduct." stated that he and his group went to see Enage as directed by Olbes' secretary. If Tabasondra
were not telling the truth, it would have been an easy matter for the respondents to produce
De Asis and Enage who testified anyway as witnesses for the respondents on several
III. Anent the third assignment of error, the record shows that not a single dismissed striker
occasions to rebut his testimony. The respondents did nothing of the kind. Moreover,
was given the opportunity to defend himself against the supposed charges against him. As
Tabasondra called on June 21, 1958 the respondents' attention to his non-admission and
earlier mentioned, when the striking employees reported back for work on June 2, 1958, the
asked them to inform him of the reasons therefor, but instead of doing so, the respondents
respondents refused to readmit them unless they first secured the necessary clearances; but
dismissed him by their letter dated July 10, 1958. Elementary fairness required that before
when all, except three, were able to secure and subsequently present the required
being dismissed for cause, Tabasondra be given "his day in court."
clearances, the respondents still refused to take them back. Instead, several of them later
received letters from the respondents in the following stereotyped tenor:
At any rate, it has been held that mere failure to report for work after notice to return, does
not constitute abandonment nor bar reinstatement. In one case, the U.S. Supreme Court held
This will confirm the termination of your employment with the Insular Life-FGU
that the taking back of six of eleven men constituted discrimination although the five strikers
Insurance Group as of 2 June 1958.
who were not reinstated, all of whom were prominent in the union and in the strike, reported
for work at various times during the next three days, but were told that there were no
The termination of your employment was due to the fact that you committed acts of openings. Said the Court:
misconduct while picketing during the last strike. Because this may not constitute
sufficient cause under the law to terminate your employment without pay, we are
... The Board found, and we cannot say that its finding is unsupported, that, in taking
giving you the amount of P1,930.32 corresponding to one-half month pay for every
back six union men, the respondent's officials discriminated against the latter on
year of your service in the Group Company.
account of their union activities and that the excuse given that they did not apply
until after the quota was full was an afterthought and not the true reason for the
Kindly acknowledge receipt of the check we are sending herewith. discrimination against them. (NLRB v. Mackay Radio & Telegraph Co., 304 U.S. 333,
58 Sup. Ct. 904, 82 L. Ed. 1381) (Mathews, Labor Relations and the Law, p. 725,
Very truly yours, 728)

(Sgd.) JOSE M. OLBES The respondents' allegation that Tabasondra should have returned after being refused
President, Insurance Life readmission on June 2, 1958, is not persuasive. When the employer puts off reinstatement
Acting President, FGU. when an employee reports for work at the time agreed, we consider the employee relieved
from the duty of returning further.

The respondents, however, admitted that the alleged "acts of misconduct" attributed to the
dismissed strikers were the same acts with which the said strikers were charged before the Sixto Tongos was dismissed allegedly because he revealed that despite the fact that the
fiscal's office and the courts. But all these charges except three were dropped or dismissed. Companies spent more than P80,000 for the vacation trips of officials, they refused to grant
union demands; hence, he betrayed his trust as an auditor of the Companies. We do not find
this allegation convincing. First, this accusation was emphatically denied by Tongos on the
Indeed, the individual cases of dismissed officers and members of the striking unions do not witness stand. Gonzales, president of one of the respondent Companies and one of the
indicate sufficient basis for dismissal. officials referred to, took a trip abroad in 1958. Exchange controls were then in force, and an
outgoing traveller on a combined business and vacation trip was allowed by the Central Bank,
Emiliano Tabasondra, vice-president of the petitioner FGU Insurance Group Workers & per its Circular 52 (Notification to Authorized Agent Banks) dated May 9, 1952, an allocation
Employees Association-NATU, was refused reinstatement allegedly because he did not report of $1,000 or only P2,000, at the official rate of two pesos to the dollar, as pocket money;
for duty on June 2, 1958 and, hence, had abandoned his office. But the overwhelming hence, this was the only amount that would appear on the books of the Companies. It was
evidence adduced at the trial and which the respondents failed to rebut, negates the only on January 21, 1962, per its Circular 133 (Notification to Authorized Agent Banks), that
respondents' charge that he had abandoned his job. In his testimony, corroborated by many the Central Bank lifted the exchange controls. Tongos could not therefore have revealed an
others, Tabasondra particularly identified the management men to whom he and his group amount bigger than the above sum. And his competence in figures could not be doubted
presented themselves on June 2, 1958. He mentioned the respondent Olbes' secretary, De considering that he had passed the board examinations for certified public accountants. But
Asis, as the one who received them and later directed them when Olbes refused them an assuming arguendo that Tongos indeed revealed the true expenses of Gonzales' trip which
the respondents never denied or tried to believe that the picketers are not responsible for what happened.lwph1.t The picketing
disprove his statements clearly fall within the sphere of a unionist's right to discuss and on May 21, 1958, as reported in the police blotter, was peaceful (see Police blotter report,
advertise the facts involved in a labor dispute, in accordance with section 9(a)(5) of Republic exh. 3 in CA-G.R. No. 25991-R of the Court of Appeals, where Ner was acquitted). Moreover,
Act 875 which guarantees the untramelled exercise by striking employees of the right to give although the Companies during the strike were holding offices at the Botica Boie building at
"publicity to the existence of, or the fact involved in any labor dispute, whether by Escolta, Manila; Tuason Building at San Vicente Street, Manila; and Ayala, Inc. offices at
advertising, speaking, patrolling or by any method not involving fraud or violence." Indeed, it Makati, Rizal, Garcia, the assistant corporate secretary, and Abella, the chief of the personnel
is not only the right, it is as well the duty, of every unionist to advertise the facts of a dispute records section, reported for work at the Insular Life Building. There is therefore a reasonable
for the purpose of informing all those affected thereby. In labor disputes, the combatants are suggestion that they were sent to work at the latter building to create such an incident and
expected to expose the truth before the public to justify their respective demands. Being a have a basis for filing criminal charges against the petitioners in the fiscal's office and
union man and one of the strikers, Tongos was expected to reveal the whole truth on whether applying for injunction from the court of first instance. Besides, under the circumstances the
or not the respondent Companies were justified in refusing to accede to union demands. After picketers were not legally bound to yield their grounds and withdraw from the picket lines.
all, not being one of the supervisors, he was not a part of management. And his statement, if Being where the law expects them to be in the legitimate exercise of their rights, they had
indeed made, is but an expression of free speech protected by the Constitution. every reason to defend themselves and their rights from any assault or unlawful
transgression. Yet the police blotter, about adverted to, attests that they did not resort to
violence.
Free speech on both sides and for every faction on any side of the labor relation is to
me a constitutional and useful right. Labor is free ... to turn its publicity on any labor
oppression, substandard wages, employer unfairness, or objectionable working The heated altercations and occasional blows exchanged on the picket line do not affect or
conditions. The employer, too, should be free to answer and to turn publicity on the diminish the right to strike. Persuasive on this point is the following commentary: .
records of the leaders of the unions which seek the confidence of his men ...
(Concurring opinion of Justice Jackson in Thomas v. Collins, 323 U.S. 516, 547, 65 We think it must be conceded that some disorder is unfortunately quite usual in any
Sup. Ct. 315, 89 L. Ed. 430.) (Mathews, Labor Relations and the Law, p. 591.) extensive or long drawn out strike. A strike is essentially a battle waged with
economic weapons. Engaged in it are human beings whose feelings are stirred to the
The respondents also allege that in revealing certain confidential information, Tongos depths. Rising passions call forth hot words. Hot words lead to blows on the picket
committed not only a betrayal of trust but also a violation of the moral principles and ethics line. The transformation from economic to physical combat by those engaged in the
of accountancy. But nowhere in the Code of Ethics for Certified Public Accountants under the contest is difficult to prevent even when cool heads direct the fight. Violence of this
Revised Rules and Regulations of the Board of Accountancy formulated in 1954, is this stated. nature, however much it is to be regretted, must have been in the contemplation of
Moreover, the relationship of the Companies with Tongos was that of an employer and not a the Congress when it provided in Sec. 13 of Act 29 USCA Sec. 163, that nothing
client. And with regard to the testimonies of Juan Raymundo and Antolin Carillo, both vice- therein should be construed so as to interfere with or impede or diminish in any way
presidents of the Trust Insurance Agencies, Inc. about the alleged utterances made by the right to strike. If this were not so, the rights afforded to employees by the Act
Tongos, the lower court should not have given them much weight. The firm of these would indeed be illusory. We accordingly recently held that it was not intended by
witnesses was newly established at that time and was still a "general agency" of the the Act that minor disorders of this nature would deprive a striker of the possibility
Companies. It is not therefore amiss to conclude that they were more inclined to favor the of reinstatement. (Republic Steel Corp. v. N. L. R. B., 107 F2d 472, cited in Mathews,
respondents rather than Tongos. Labor Relations and the Law, p. 378)

Pacifico Ner, Paulino Bugay, Jose Garcia, Narciso Dao, Vicente Alsol and Hermenigildo Hence the incident that occurred between Ner, et al. and Ramon Garcia was but a necessary
Ramirez, opined the lower court, were constructively dismissed by non-readmission allegedly incident of the strike and should not be considered as a bar to reinstatement. Thus it has
because they not only prevented Ramon Garcia, assistant corporate secretary, and Vicente been held that:
Abella, chief of the personnel records section of the Companies, from entering the
Companies' premises on May 21, 1958, but they also caused bruises and abrasions on Fist-fighting between union and non-union employees in the midst of a strike is no bar to
Garcia's chest and forehead acts considered inimical to the interest of the respondents. reinstatement. (Teller, Labor Disputes and Collective Bargaining, Vol. II, p.
The Unions, upon the other hand, insist that there is complete lack of evidence that Ner took 855 citing Stackpole Carbon, Co. 6 NLRB 171, enforced 105 F2d 167.)
part in pushing Garcia; that it was Garcia who elbowed his way through the picket lines and
therefore Ner shouted "Close up," which the picketers did; and that Garcia tossed Paulino
Bugay's placard and a fight ensued between them in which both suffered injuries. But despite Furthermore, assuming that the acts committed by the strikers were transgressions of law,
these conflicting versions of what actually happened on May 21, 1958, there are grounds to they amount only to mere ordinary misdemeanors and are not a bar to reinstatement.
In cases involving misdemeanors the board has generally held that unlawful acts are not bar ... "Nothing is more calculated to interfere with, restrain and coerce employees in
to reinstatement. (Teller, Labor Disputes and Collective Bargaining, Id., p. 854, citing Ford the exercise of their right to self-organization than such activity even where no
Motor Company, 23 NLRB No. 28.) discharges result. The information obtained by means of espionage is in valuable to
the employer and can be used in a variety of cases to break a union." The unfair
labor practice is committed whether the espionage is carried on by a professional
Finally, it is not disputed that despite the pendency of criminal charges against non-striking
labor spy or detective, by officials or supervisory employees of the employer, or by
employees before the fiscal's office, they were readily admitted, but those strikers who had
fellow employees acting at the request or direction of the employer, or an ex-
pending charges in the same office were refused readmission. The reinstatement of the
employee..." (Teller, Labor Disputes and Collective Bargaining, Vol. II, pp. 765-766,
strikers is thus in order.
and cases cited.) .

[W]here the misconduct, whether in reinstating persons equally guilty with those
IV. The lower court should have ordered the reinstatement of the officials and members of the
whose reinstatement is opposed, or in other ways, gives rise to the inference that
Unions, with full back wages from June 2, 1958 to the date of their actual reinstatement to
union activities rather than misconduct is the basis of his [employer] objection, the
their usual employment. Because all too clear from the factual and environmental milieu of
Board has usually required reinstatement." (Teller, supra, p. 853, citing the Third
this case, coupled with settled decisional law, is that the Unions went on strike because of the
Annual Report of NLRB [1938], p. 211.)
unfair labor practices committed by the respondents, and that when the strikers reported
back for work upon the invitation of the respondents they were discriminatorily
Lastly, the lower Court justified the constructive dismissal of Florencio Ibarra allegedly dismissed. The members and officials of the Unions therefore are entitled to reinstatement
because he committed acts inimical to the interest of the respondents when, as president of with back pay.
the FGU Workers and Employees Association-NATU, he advised the strikers that they could
use force and violence to have a successful picket and that picketing was precisely intended
[W]here the strike was induced and provoked by improper conduct on the part of an
to prevent the non-strikers and company clients and customers from entering the Companies'
employer amounting to an 'unfair labor practice,' the strikers are entitled to
buildings. Even if this were true, the record discloses that the picket line had been generally
reinstatement with back pay. (Rothenberg on Labor Relations, p. 418.)
peaceful, and that incidents happened only when management men made incursions into
and tried to break the picket line. At any rate, with or without the advice of Ibarra, picketing is
inherently explosive. For, as pointed out by one author, "The picket line is an explosive front, [A]n employee who has been dismissed in violation of the provisions of the Act is
charged with the emotions and fierce loyalties of the union-management dispute. It may be entitled to reinstatement with back pay upon an adjudication that the discharge was
marked by colorful name-calling, intimidating threats or sporadic fights between the pickets illegal." (Id., citing Waterman S. S. Corp. v. N. L. R. B., 119 F2d 760; N. L. R. B. v.
and those who pass the line." (Mathews, Labor Relations and the Law, p. 752). The picket line Richter's Bakery, 140 F2d 870; N. L. R. B. v. Southern Wood Preserving Co., 135 F. 2d
being the natural result of the respondents' unfair labor practice, Ibarra's misconduct is at 606; C. G. Conn, Ltd. v. N. L. R. B., 108 F2d 390; N. L. R. B. v. American Mfg. Co., 106
most a misdemeanor which is not a bar to reinstatement. Besides, the only evidence F2d 61; N. L. R. B. v. Kentucky Fire Brick Co., 99 F2d 99.)
presented by the Companies regarding Ibarra's participation in the strike was the testimony
of one Rodolfo Encarnacion, a former member of the board of directors of the petitioner FGU And it is not a defense to reinstatement for the respondents to allege that the positions of
Insurance Group Workers and Employees Union-NATU, who became a "turncoat" and who these union members have already been filled by replacements.
likewise testified as to the union activities of Atty. Lacsina, Ricardo Villaruel and others (annex
C, Decision, p. 27) another matter which emphasizes the respondents' unfair labor
practice. For under the circumstances, there is good ground to believe that Encarnacion was [W]here the employers' "unfair labor practice" caused or contributed to the strike or
made to spy on the actvities of the union members. This act of the respondents is considered where the 'lock-out' by the employer constitutes an "unfair labor practice," the
unjustifiable interference in the union activities of the petitioners and is unfair labor practice. employer cannot successfully urge as a defense that the striking or lock-out
employees position has been filled by replacement. Under such circumstances, if no
job sufficiently and satisfactorily comparable to that previously held by the
It has been held in a great number of decisions at espionage by an employer of aggrieved employee can be found, the employer must discharge the replacement
union activities, or surveillance thereof, are such instances of interference, restraint employee, if necessary, to restore the striking or locked-out worker to his old or
or coercion of employees in connection with their right to organize, form and join comparable position ... If the employer's improper conduct was an initial cause of
unions as to constitute unfair labor practice. the strike, all the strikers are entitled to reinstatement and the dismissal of
replacement employees wherever necessary; ... . (Id., p. 422 and cases cited.)
A corollary issue to which we now address ourselves is, from what date should the backpay been the victim of an unfair labor practice. (Yu Ki Lam, et al. v. Nena Micaller, et al.,
payable to the unionists be computed? It is now a settled doctrine that strikers who are 99 Phil. 904 [1956].)
entitled to reinstatement are not entitled to back pay during the period of the strike, even
though it is caused by an unfair labor practice. However, if they offer to return to work under Finally, we do not share the respondents' view that the findings of fact of the Court of
the same conditions just before the strike, the refusal to re-employ or the imposition of Industrial Relations are supported by substantial and credible proof. This Court is not
conditions amounting to unfair labor practice is a violation of section 4(a) (4) of the Industrial therefore precluded from digging deeper into the factual milieu of the case (Union of
Peace Act and the employer is liable for backpay from the date of the offer (Cromwell Philippine Education Employees v. Philippine Education Company, 91 Phil. 93; Lu Do & Lu Ym
Commercial Employees and Laborers Union vs. Court of Industrial Relations, L-19778, Corporation v. Philippine-Land-Air-Sea Labor Union, 11 SCRA 134 [1964]).
Decision, Sept. 30, 1964, 12 SCRA 124; Id., Resolution on motion for reconsideration, 13 SCRA
258; see also Mathews, Labor Relations and the Law, p. 730 and the cited cases). We have
likewise ruled that discriminatorily dismissed employees must receive backpay from the date V. The petitioners (15 of them) ask this Court to cite for contempt the respondent Presiding
of the act of discrimination, that is, from the date of their discharge (Cromwell Commercial Judge Arsenio Martinez of the Court of Industrial Relations and the counsels for the private
Employees and Laborers Union vs. Court of Industrial Relations, supra). respondents, on the ground that the former wrote the following in his decision subject of the
instant petition for certiorari, while the latter quoted the same on pages 90-91 of the
respondents' brief: .
The respondents notified the petitioner strikers to report back for work on June 2, 1958, which
the latter did. A great number of them, however, were refused readmission because they had
criminal charges against them pending before the fiscal's office, although non-strikers who ... Says the Supreme Court in the following decisions:
were also facing criminal indictments were readily readmitted. These strikers who were
refused readmission on June 2, 1958 can thus be categorized as discriminatorily dismissed In a proceeding for unfair labor practice, involving a determination as to whether or
employees and are entitled to backpay from said date. This is true even with respect to the not the acts of the employees concerned justified the adoption of the employer of
petitioners Jose Pilapil, Paulino Bugay, Jr. and Jose Garcia, Jr. who were found guilty only of disciplinary measures against them, the mere fact that the employees may be able
misdemeanors which are not considered sufficient to bar reinstatement (Teller, Labor to put up a valid defense in a criminal prosecution for the same acts, does not erase
Disputes and Collective Bargaining, p. 854), especially so because their unlawful acts arose or neutralize the employer's right to impose discipline on said employees. For it is
during incidents which were provoked by the respondents' men. However, since the settled that not even the acquittal of an employee of the criminal charge against
employees who were denied readmission have been out of the service of the Companies (for him is a bar to the employer's right to impose discipline on its employees, should
more than ten years) during which they may have found other employment or other means the act upon which the criminal charged was based constitute nevertheless an
of livelihood, it is only just and equitable that whatever they may have earned during that activity inimical to the employer's interest... The act of the employees now under
period should be deducted from their back wages to mitigate somewhat the liability of the consideration may be considered as a misconduct which is a just cause for
company, pursuant to the equitable principle that no one is allowed to enrich himself at the dismissal. (Lopez, Sr., et al. vs. Chronicle Publication Employees Ass'n. et al., G.R.
expense of another (Macleod & Co. of the Philippines v. Progressive Federation of Labor, 97 No. L-20179-81, December 28, 1964.) (emphasis supplied)
Phil. 205 [1955]).

The two pertinent paragraphs in the above-cited decision * which contained the underscored
The lower court gave inordinate significance to the payment to and acceptance by the portions of the above citation read however as follows:
dismissed employees of separation pay. This Court has ruled that while employers may be
authorized under Republic Act 1052 to terminate employment of employees by serving the
Differently as regard the dismissal of Orlando Aquino and Carmelito Vicente, we are
required notice, or, in the absence thereof, by paying the required compensation, the said Act
inclined to uphold the action taken by the employer as proper disciplinary measure.
may not be invoked to justify a dismissal prohibited by law, e.g., dismissal for union activities.
A reading of the article which allegedly caused their dismissal reveals that it really
contains an insinuation albeit subtly of the supposed exertion of political pressure by
... While Republic Act No. 1052 authorizes a commercial establishment to terminate the Manila Chronicle management upon the City Fiscal's Office, resulting in the non-
the employment of its employee by serving notice on him one month in advance, or, filing of the case against the employer. In rejecting the employer's theory that the
in the absence thereof, by paying him one month compensation from the date of the dismissal of Vicente and Aquino was justified, the lower court considered the article
termination of his employment, such Act does not give to the employer a blanket as "a report of some acts and omissions of an Assistant Fiscal in the exercise of his
authority to terminate the employment regardless of the cause or purpose behind official functions" and, therefore, does away with the presumption of malice. This
such termination. Certainly, it cannot be made use of as a cloak to circumvent a final being a proceeding for unfair labor practice, the matter should not have been
order of the court or a scheme to trample upon the right of an employee who has viewed or gauged in the light of the doctrine on a publisher's culpability under the
Penal Code. We are not here to determine whether the employees' act could stand Be that as it may, we must articulate our firm view that in citing this Court's decisions and
criminal prosecution, but only to find out whether the aforesaid act justifies the rulings, it is the bounden duty of courts, judges and lawyers to reproduce or copy the same
adoption by the employer of disciplinary measure against them. This is not word-for-word and punctuation mark-for-punctuation mark. Indeed, there is a salient and
sustaining the ruling that the publication in question is qualified privileged, but even salutary reason why they should do this. Only from this Tribunal's decisions and rulings do all
on the assumption that this is so, the exempting character thereof under the Penal other courts, as well as lawyers and litigants, take their bearings. This is because the
Code does not necessarily erase or neutralize its effect on the employer's interest decisions referred to in article 8 of the Civil Code which reads, "Judicial decisions applying or
which may warrant employment of disciplinary measure. For it must be interpreting the laws or the Constitution shall form a part of the legal system of the
remembered that not even the acquittal of an employee, of the criminal charges Philippines," are only those enunciated by this Court of last resort. We said in no uncertain
against him, is a bar to the employer's right to impose discipline on its employees, terms in Miranda, et al. vs. Imperial, et al. (77 Phil. 1066) that "[O]nly the decisions of this
should the act upon which the criminal charges was based constitute nevertheless Honorable Court establish jurisprudence or doctrines in this jurisdiction." Thus, ever present
an activity inimical to the employer's interest. is the danger that if not faithfully and exactly quoted, the decisions and rulings of this Court
may lose their proper and correct meaning, to the detriment of other courts, lawyers and the
public who may thereby be misled. But if inferior courts and members of the bar meticulously
In the herein case, it appears to us that for an employee to publish his "suspicion,"
discharge their duty to check and recheck their citations of authorities culled not only from
which actually amounts to a public accusation, that his employer is exerting political
this Court's decisions but from other sources and make certain that they are verbatim
pressure on a public official to thwart some legitimate activities on the employees,
reproductions down to the last word and punctuation mark, appellate courts will be precluded
which charge, in the least, would sully the employer's reputation, can be nothing but
from acting on misinformation, as well as be saved precious time in finding out whether the
an act inimical to the said employer's interest. And the fact that the same was made
citations are correct.
in the union newspaper does not alter its deleterious character nor shield or protect
a reprehensible act on the ground that it is a union activity, because such end can
be achieved without resort to improper conduct or behavior. The act of the Happily for the respondent Judge and the respondents' counsels, there was no substantial
employees now under consideration may be considered as a misconduct which is a change in the thrust of this Court's particular ruling which they cited. It is our view,
just cause for dismissal.** (Emphasis ours) nonetheless, that for their mistake, they should be, as they are hereby, admonished to be
more careful when citing jurisprudence in the future. ACCORDINGLY, the decision of the Court
of Industrial Relations dated August 17, 1965 is reversed and set aside, and another is
It is plain to the naked eye that the 60 un-underscored words of the paragraph quoted by the
entered, ordering the respondents to reinstate the dismissed members of the petitioning
respondent Judge do not appear in the pertinent paragraph of this Court's decision in L-
Unions to their former or comparatively similar positions, with backwages from June 2, 1958
20179-81. Moreover, the first underscored sentence in the quoted paragraph starts with "For
up to the dates of their actual reinstatements. Costs against the respondents.
it is settled ..." whereas it reads, "For it must be remembered ...," in this Court's decision.
Finally, the second and last underlined sentence in the quoted paragraph of the respondent
Judge's decision, appears not in the same paragraph of this Court's decision where the other
sentence is, but in the immediately succeeding paragraph.

Asa vs Castillo
This apparent error, however, does not seem to warrant an indictment for contempt against
the respondent Judge and the respondents' counsels. We are inclined to believe that the DECISION
misquotation is more a result of clerical ineptitude than a deliberate attempt on the part of
the respondent Judge to mislead. We fully realize how saddled with many pending cases are CARPIO MORALES, J.:
the courts of the land, and it is not difficult to imagine that because of the pressure of their
varied and multifarious work, clerical errors may escape their notice. Upon the other hand,
the respondents' counsels have the prima facie right to rely on the quotation as it appears in Subject of the present Decision are four administrative cases, docketed by the Integrated Bar
the respondent Judge's decision, to copy it verbatim, and to incorporate it in their brief. of the Philippines (IBP) as Commission on Bar Discipline (CBD) Case Nos. 03-1076,03-
Anyway, the import of the underscored sentences of the quotation in the respondent Judge's 1108,03-1109, and 03-1125.
decision is substantially the same as, and faithfully reflects, the particular ruling in this
I. CBD Case No. 03-1076
Court's decision, i.e., that "[N]ot even the acquittal of an employee, of the criminal charges
against him, is a bar to the employer's right to impose discipline on its employees, should the In 1996, Atty. Pablito M. Castillo (Castillo), then an associate of the Laurel Law Offices of
act upon which the criminal charges were based constitute nevertheless an activity inimical which Attorneys Leon L. Asa (Asa) and Jose A. Oliveros (Oliveros) are partners, endorsed to
to the employer's interest." the law firm a guardianship case, Special Proceeding No. 5222, In re: Guardianship of the
Minors Honeylyn, Alexandra and Jerill Nonan, which was pending before the Regional Trial
Court (RTC) of Angeles City, Branch 59. Castillo appeared as counsel of record for the therein Q: Do you know the claimant Atty. P.M. Castillo?
petitioner, Dr. Salvador H. Laurel, guardian ad litem of the minors Nonan who appear to have
inherited a sizeable amount of US dollars. A: Yes sir, because we were both active Senior Trial lawyers of the Laurel
Law Offices,[8] (Underscoring supplied),
A misunderstanding later occurred between Asa and Castillo as regards their sharing in the
attorneys fees in the guardianship case.
he knowing that retired Justice Kalalo had never been at any time a lawyer at the Laurel Law
On page 6 of a pleading entitled Reply to Petitioner-Guardians Comment/Opposition, [1] ETC. Offices. In support of this allegation, they appended to the complaint a certified true copy of
dated July 19, 2002 filed before Branch 59 of the Angeles RTC and signed by Castillos the Service Record[9] of Justice Kalalo which does not show that he was ever connected with
daughter Ginger Anne Castillo (Ginger Anne) as counsel for Castillo who filed a Notice the Laurel Law Office.
Ad Cautelam, it was alleged that, inter alia, Asa wants to be paid an additional $75,000.00 for
his services in providing coffee and opening doors whenever there is a conference at the In their Answer[10] to the complaint, Castillo and Ginger Anne declared:
Laurel Law Offices.[2]
There is nothing wrong or objectionable to the statement that Asas services in the
Finding the above statement of Castillo and Ginger Anne to be a brazen falsehood concocted guardianship case consisted in providing coffee and opening doors whenever there was a
to besmirch Asas reputation, Asa and Oliveros filed before IBP an administrative conference at the Laurel Law Offices, as this was in fact the truth, the comportment being
complaint[3] against Castillo and Ginger Anne, for gross violation of the lawyers oath and the strictly in accordance with long cherished Filipino hospitality, and he [Castillo] would have
Code of Professional Responsibility. The case was docketed as CBD Case No. 03-1076. done the same with his own visitors.[11] In any event, they claim that the assailed factual
narration was material and relevant to Castillos question why Asa was given the lions share of
In their complaint, Asa and Oliveros also charged Castillo with machinations and deceit attorneys fees when he had not rendered any known material service which redounded to the
arising from the following alleged incidents: benefit of the Nonan children.

In a conference held at the Laurel Law Offices prior to January 20, 2000 attended by Dr. Moreover, the Castillos declared that the deposit of the Nonan funds at the UCPB was not
Laurel, the Nonan minors counsel abroad Atty. Benjamin Cassiday III (Cassiday), Asa and attended with malice or bad faith, nor was it intended to benefit them as the funds could only
Castillo, it was agreed that the amount to be received by Dr. Laurel in trust for be withdrawn by Dr. Laurel who had exclusive access to all the information pertaining to the
the Nonan heirs would be deposited at the Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC), St. interest and benefits accruing thereto.
Francis Square Branch, Pasig City under Dollar Savings Account No. 8-250-00043-0. Castillo,
however, proposed that the funds be deposited instead at the United Coconut Planters Bank As regards the assailed June 25, 2001 Reply to Answer filed with the Makati RTC in Civil Case
(UCPB), he explaining that he knew an employee there who could facilitate the No. 01-506, the Castillos asserted that Castillo had no control nor influence over the
transaction. Dr. Laurel rejected this proposition and instead instructed Castillo to file the voluntary and spontaneous testimony of retired Justice Kalalo in his favor during the
appropriate motion to have the funds deposited at the RCBC.[4] proceedings adverted to.[12]

Without showing to Dr. Laurel the motion he was instructed to prepare, Castillo filed the same II. CBD Case No. 03-1108
with the Angeles trial court. Dr. Laurel subsequently received a copy of a March 2, 2000 RTC
Order[5] signed by the then trial Judge Eliezer R. De los Santos granting his motion and Castillo subsequently filed a complaint[13] against Oliveros before the IBP, docketed as CBD
accordingly directing that the funds to be held in trust for the Nonanchildren be deposited at Case No. 03-1108, for gross violation of lawyers oath and the Code of Professional
the Trust Department of the UCPB Head Office. Dr. Laurel, Cassiday and Asa thus filed with Responsibility.
the Angeles City trial court an Urgent Motion for Reconsideration [6] of the March 2, 2000
Angeles RTC Order in order to have the funds deposited at the RCBC transferred to the RTC, Castillo alleged that: (1) Oliveros assisted Cassiday in embezzling US $950,000 representing
as previously agreed upon. This motion was granted. the share adjudicated to the Nonan heirs; (2) in conspiracy with Dr. Laurel and a certain Atty.
Douglas Cushnie, Oliveros resorted to forum shopping to undermine and defeat the
Still in the same complaint, Asa and Oliveros alleged that in a Reply to Answer [7] dated June jurisdiction of the Philippine court in the guardianship proceedings; (3) Oliveros, along
25, 2001 filed by Castillo with the RTC of Makati City, Branch 145 in Civil Case No. 01- with Asa, Dr. Laurel and Cassiday, perpetuated other acts of fraud in the guardianship
506, Atty. P.M. Castillo v. United Coconut Planters Bank, Lorenzo V. Tan and Angelica S. proceedings; and (4) Oliveros, together with Asa, deliberately and maliciously filed a
Hernandez, Castillo again committed a clear falsehood when he therein stated that: groundless administrative complaint against him and Ginger Anne.

On the other hand, retired Justice Felipe Kalalo of the Court of Appeals who In his Answer[14] to the Complaint in CBD Case No. 03-1108, Oliveros, decrying the allegations
personally knew the plaintiff [Castillo] was also profuse in extolling his against him as patently false, baseless and malicious, claimed that the complaint was
academic credentials and accomplishments as a Trial lawyer as follows:
Castillos way of retaliating against him for having joined Asa in filing the administrative day from RCBC and placed it in his own Dollar Time Deposit Account for which $500.00 was
complaint against him and Ginger Anne (CBD Case No. 03-1076). spent for the purpose. A Certification[20] to this effect, issued by RCBC Ortigas Business Center
Manager Dolores L. Del Valle, was appended to AsasAnswer.
III. CBD Case No. 03-1109
Finally, Asa declared that Castillos claim for $130,000 in attorneys fees is baseless and
Castillo also filed an administrative complaint[15] against Asa before the IBP, charging him unconscionable, and that Castillo filed the complaint merely to harass him in retaliation for
with embezzlement, dishonesty, betrayal of trust, grave abuse of confidence and violation of the complaint he and Oliveros priorly filed against him and Ginger Anne.
the lawyers oath and the Code of Professional Responsibility. The case was docketed as CBD
Case No. 03-1109. IV. CBD Case No. 03-1125

Castillo alleged that (1) Asa, Cassiday and Dr. Laurel scandalously mismanaged the estate of On August 25, 2003, Asa filed yet another administrative complaint,[21] against Castillo
the Nonan heirs, the bulk of which they indiscriminately pocketed; (2) Asa and Oliveros filed a before the IBP, for disbarment/suspension, docketed as CBD Case No. 03-1125, charging
groundless administrative complaint against him and Ginger Anne to compel him to withdraw him with deceit, malpractice, gross misconduct in office, immoral conduct, violation of the
his claim for attorneys fees against Dr. Laurel and his bid to replace the latter as guardian of lawyers oath and the Code of Professional Responsibility in light of his baseless, malicious
the Nonan heirs; (3) despite an Agreement[16] dated February 16, 2000 between him and derogatory allegations in CBD Case No. 03-1109 which were founded on deceit and
and Asa that the latter would receive only 25% of whatever he (Castillo) would receive as deliberate falsehood, and of promoting a groundless, false and unlawful suit.
attorneys fees, Asa secretly pocketed the amounts of $24,500 and $160,500 from the
guardianship case on April 18, 2000; (4) Asa refused to account for and turn over the amount
of $130,000 in attorneys fees which belonged to him (Castillo); and (5) Asa embarked on a IBP REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION:
scheme to force him into resigning as counsel for Dr. Laurel to enable them to exercise
absolute control over the guardianship case and appropriate for themselves the attorneys By Report and Recommendation [22] of February 27, 2004, the IBP CBD, through Commissioner
fees allocated for him. Rebecca Villanueva-Maala, recommended the dismissal of the consolidated cases in this wise.

In his Answer to the Complaint[17] in CBD Case No. 03-1109, Asa alleged as follows: It was in From the facts and evidence presented, what have been shown by the
fact Castillo who reneged on their February 16, 2000 Agreement as the latter had earlier counsels are mutual bickerings, unjustified recriminations and offensive
bluntly told him that he changed his mind and that he would not give him (Asa) any share in personalities between brother lawyers which detract from the dignity of the
the attorneys fees he would receive from the guardianship case, Castillo reasoning that he legal profession and do not deserve the attention of the Commission. The
was the therein counsel of record and had endorsed the case to the Laurel Law Offices. He voluminous case record contains but personal peculiarities and
thus reported the matter to Dr. Laurel and informed him that he would likewise not give idiosyncrasies hurled by the counsels against each other which constitute
Castillos share in the attorneys fees he [Asa] might receive because [Castillo] has no word of highly unprofessional conduct. A great part of mans comfort, as well as of
honor.[18] his success at the bar, depends upon his relations with his professional
brethren. With them he is in daily necessary intercourse, and he must have
As regards the $24,500 that he allegedly secretly pocketed, Asa explained that several days their respect and confidence, if he wishes to sail along in smooth
prior to April 18, 2000, Dr. Laurel and Atty. Cassiday fixed the attorneys fees of both Castillo waters. Hence, the parties are advised to conduct themselves honorably,
and Asa at $100,000 each, based on the amount to be paid by the four heirs or $25,000 per fairly and candidly toward each other and try to maintain the dignity of the
heir. When the first heir Merceditas Feliciano (Merceditas) paid $1,150,000 on April 18, 2000, legal profession.[23] (Underscoring supplied)
he deposited $24,500 of this amount in his and his wifes joint Dollar Account No. 247-702-
9275 at the Philippine National Bank (PNB), OrtigasBranch as his share in the attorneys fees,
while he opened a new account in the name of Dr. Laurel to which he deposited the amount By Resolution[24] of April 16, 2004, the Board of Governors of the IBP adopted and approved
of $160,500. the February 27, 2004 Report and Recommendation and dismissed the consolidated cases for
lack of merit.
Asa went on to declare that Castillo received his own $25,000 plus interest amounting to
$25,023.13 representing full payment of his attorneys fees from Merceditas, as evidenced by The records of the cases were then forwarded for final action to this Court.
a Receipt[19] dated May 2, 2000 signed by Castillo.
Asa filed with this Court an August 2, 2004 a Motion for Reconsideration [25] in CBD Case No.
Continuing, Asa declared that of the $160,500 belonging to Dr. Laurel, $100,000 03-1125. He too, together with Oliveros, filed on August 3, 2004 a Motion for
represented partial payment for his consenting to be the guardian ad litem of the Nonanheirs Reconsideration[26] in CBD Case No. 03-1076.
and $60,000 represented reimbursement for expenses incurred over several years by Dr.
Laurel, the total of which was placed temporarily on April 18, 2000 in his (Asas) Dollar
Account No. 8-250-00047-3 in RCBC. Dr. Laurel, however, withdrew $160,000.00 the following
Castillo likewise filed with this Court a Consolidated Omnibus Motion for Partial privileged communication absolves beforehand the lawyer from civil and
Reconsideration[27] dated August 9, 2004 in CBD Case No. 03-1108 and CBD Case No. 03- criminal liability based on the statements made in the pleadings. But like
1109. the member of the legislature who enjoys immunity from civil and criminal
liability arising from any speech or debate delivered in the Batasan or in
On January 12, 2005, Asa filed his Comment[28] on Castillos Consolidated Omnibus Motion for any committee thereof, but nevertheless remains subject to the disciplinary
Partial Reconsideration in CBD Case No. 03-1109 while also Oliverosfiled his Comment on the authority of the legislature for said speech or debate, a lawyer equally
same motion on February 28, 2005. remains subject to this Courts supervisory and disciplinary powers for
lapses in the observance of his duty as a member of the legal profession.
[36]
On March 16, 2005, Castillo filed his Consolidated Reply to the Comments (Underscoring supplied)
of Asa and Oliveros, with Omnibus Motion to Appoint a Commissioner.[29]

THIS COURTS RULING Castillo and Ginger Anne are thus ADMONISHED to exercise greater care and circumspection
in the preparation of their pleadings and refrain from using offensive or otherwise improper
In his questioned Reply to Petitioner-Guardians Comment/Opposition, Castillos language.
statement reads:
In support of Asa and Oliveros allegation that Castillo employed deceit and falsehood in
x x x Atty. Leon Asa wants to be paid an additional $75,000.00 for his attempting to change the depositary bank for the funds to be held in trust by Dr. Laurel for
services in providing coffee and opening the doors whenever there is a the Nonan heirs, they presented the March 2, 2000 RTC Order directing Dr. Laurel and his
conference at the Laurel Law Offices. He also conveniently provides himself principal counsel Castillo to deposit the balance of the proceeds of the settlement with any
with the Nonan expediente to give assistance to the parties during their so- and all of the adjudicated heirs with UCPB and the March 14, 2000 RTC Order directing the
called conferences. Worse, his express reluctance to appear before this deposit of the settlement proceeds with the RCBC.
Honorable Court was repeatedly announced by Atty. Jose Oliveros because
of his so-called failing health x x x[30] A perusal of the Urgent Motion for Reconsideration dated March 8, 2000 signed by Dr. Laurel,
however, fails to establish any wrongdoing on the part of Castillo in having filed the Motion to
deposit the funds at UCPB. It simply stated that:
Canon 8 of the Code of Professional Responsibility mandates that a lawyer shall conduct
himself with courtesy, fairness and candor toward his professional colleagues and shall avoid Considering the present raging controversy arising from the P50 Billion
harassing tactics against opposing counsel. Rule 8.01 of the same Canon mandates that a coconut levy funds, the stability of the United Coconut Planters Bank
lawyer shall not, in his professional dealings, use language which is abusive, offensive or (UCPB), Head Office at Makati, may be seriously affected x x x
otherwise improper.
The Petitioner-Guardian can best protect the deposits of the Nonan children
That a member of the bar is enjoined to observe honorable, candid and courteous dealing if the proceeds of the settlement will be deposited with a solvent and more
with other lawyers[31] and employ respectful and restrained language is in keeping with the conservative bank like the RIZAL COMMERCIAL BANKING CORPORATION
dignity of the legal profession. [32] It is through a scrupulous preference for respectful language (RCBC) x x x[37]
that a lawyer best demonstrates his observance or respect due to the courts and judicial
officers.[33]
In administrative cases against lawyers, the quantum of proof required is clearly
In the case at bar, Castillo and Ginger Annes choice of words manifestly falls short of this preponderant evidence and the burden of proof rests upon the complainant. Moreover, an
criterion. Their disparaging statements in the pleading referred to above belie their proffered administrative case against a lawyer must show the dubious character of the act done as well
good intention and exceed the bounds of civility and propriety. as the motivation thereof.[38] In the case at bar, Asa and Oliveros failed to present clear and
preponderant evidence to show that Castillo willfully and deliberately resorted to deceit and
Castillos claim that the statement about Asas services is relevant and pertinent to the claim falsehood in filing the Motion to have the funds deposited at UCPB.
for attorneys fees and was, for all legal intents and purposes, a privileged
communication[34] deserves short shrift. Indulging in offensive personalities in the course of Respecting Castillos June 25, 2001 Reply to Answer in the Makati RTC Civil Case No. 01-506,
judicial proceedings constitutes unprofessional conduct subject to disciplinary action, even if he therein alleged:
the publication thereof is privileged.[35]
On the other hand, retired Justice Felipe Kalalo of the Court of Appeals who
x x x this Court will not be inhibited from exercising its supervisory personally knew the plaintiff, was also profuse in extolling his academic
authority over lawyers who misbehave or fail to live up to that standard credentials and accomplishments as a Trial lawyer, as follows:
expected of them as members of the Bar.Indeed, the rule of absolute
Q: Do you know the claimant Atty. P.M. Castillo?
Complete candor or honesty is thus expected from lawyers, particularly when they appear
A: Yes sir, because we were both active Senior Trial lawyers at the and plead before the courts.[44] They have an obligation to the court as well as to the
Laurel Law Offices. opposing party to make only truthful statements in their pleadings. [45] The burden cast on the
judiciary would be intolerable if it could not take at face value what is asserted by
Q: How could you characterize and rate the trial competency, counsel. The time that will have to be devoted just to the task of verification of allegations
performance and expertise of Atty. P.M. Castillo? submitted could easily be imagined.[46]

A: He is highly competent, low key, aggressive and very brilliant in the In light of the above findings reflecting Castillos administrative culpability, his charge
conduct of trial, as well as, in the formulation of courtroom against Asa and Oliveros of filing groundless disbarment cases against him and Ginger Anne
strategies. His pleadings are also very well written, direct to the point, necessarily fails.
convincing, scholarly and exhaustive. To be sure, he is one of the
popular trial lawyers of our firm (The Laurel Law Offices), not only As regards Castillos claim that Asa secretly pocketed $24,500 and $160,500, the undated
because he came from an exclusive school, but also because of his certification issued by RCBC Branch Operation Head Dolores del Valle reading:
scholastic records at Ateneo de Manila was also impressive. That is why
he was taken in by former VP Salvador H. Laurel even before the This is to certify that on April 18, 2000, Mr. Leon L. Asa opened a Dollar
release of the 1964 bar where he was also No. 2 among the Ateneo bar Savings Account at our Business Center. A credit was made to his assigned
candidates for the year. He was No. 15 among the Dollar Savings Account Number 8-250-00047-3 in the amount of US Dollars:
bar topnotchers. This is not to mention his impressive and highly (sic) One Hundred Sixty Thousand Five Hundred (USD: 160,500.00) as initial
batting average of winning about 80% to 90% of his load cases and transaction. We further certify that on April 19, 2000, there was a debit
work. He was also one of the busy lawyers of our office, until he went made for said account in the amount of US Dollars: One Hundred Sixty
on private practice and excelled as one of the more successful and Thousand (USD: 160,000.00) and that same amount was placed in the
respected trial practitioners.[39] (Underscoring supplied) Dollar Time Deposit Account of Salvador H. Laurel. Mr. Leon Asa left the
amount of USD: Five Hundred in his account to serve as the maintaining
balance requirement. Subject Dollar Savings Account had closed already,[47]
To Asa, by the foregoing allegation, Castillo committed clear falsehood for Justice Kalalo had
never been a lawyer at any time at the Laurel Law Offices.
and Dr. Laurel Partial Inventory, Account and Report of Guardian [48] dated February 13,
Castillo explained, however, that he can only say that he has no control, nor influence on the 2002 filed with the Angeles City RTC, Branch 59 in Sp. Proc. No. 5222 stating that:
voluntary and spontaneous declaration and testimony of Retired Justice Felipe Kalalo of the
Court of Appeals in his favor during the highly adversarial proceedings. [40] 3. On April 18, 2000, Guardian Ad Litem Salvador H. Laurel and his Principal
Foreign Legal Counsel, Atty. Benjamin Cassiday III received by way of
Castillos explanation does not impress, however. The records show that the above-quoted settlement from one of the duly adjudicated heirs of Larry
statements attributed by Castillo to Justice Kalalo were lifted from an unsigned and Lee Hillblom, Mercedita Feliciano, by and through her Guardian Ad Litem,
unsubscribed affidavit entitled Question and Answer Format in Lieu of Direct Testimony of Milagros Feliciano, the amount of ONE MILLION ONE HUNDRED FIFTY
Justice Felipe Kalalo[41] dated January 21, 1993. This affidavit was earlier filed by Castillo with THOUSAND US DOLLARS (US$1,150,000.00) which was deposited with
the Pasig RTC, Branch 154 in connection with his claim for attorneys fees in Civil Cases Nos. the Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC), St. Francis Square
43049 and 56637 which affidavit was subsequently withdrawn, [42] however, as it was Branch, Ortigas Center, Pasig City under Dollar Savings Account No. 8-250-
unsigned and unsubscribed. 000430-ABA. Routing No. RCBC PH MM in the name of Salvador H. Laurel, in
trust for Honeylyn, Alexandra and Jeril Nonan, in compliance with the Order
Canon 10 of the Code of Professional Responsibility provides that a lawyer owes candor, of this Honorable Court dated April 26, 2000;
fairness and good faith to the courts. Rule 10.01 of said Canon specifically commands that a
member of the bar shall not do any falsehood, nor consent to the doing of any in court; nor 4. Pursuant to the above-stated Orders of this Honorable Court, the
shall he mislead, or allow the court to be misled by any artifice. Rule 10.02 of the same Guardian Ad Litem and Atty. Benjamin Cassiday III disbursed the following
Canon provides that a member of the bar shall not knowingly misquote or misrepresent the amounts for the purposes indicated:
contents of a paper or assert as a fact that which has not been proved.
A. ATTORNEYS FEES & OTHER NECESSARY LEGAL EXPENSES:
And Section 20(d), Rule 138 of the Rules of Court directs that a lawyer must employ such
means only as are consistent with truth and honor, and never seek to mislead the judge or xxxx
any judicial officer by any artifice or false statement of fact or law. [43]
(7) Partial payment of the fee of Salvador H. Laurel for consenting to be the As to Castillos charge against Asa and Oliveros of embezzlement due to alleged scandalous
guardian ad litem of the Nonan children and accepting all responsibilities mismanagement of the estate of the Nonan heirs, premised on the October 13, 2003 RTC
attached to said position .US$100,000.00 Order[54] in SP No. 5222, this Court finds the evidence presented insufficient to warrant the
imposition of sanctions against them.
(8) Reimbursement to Salvador H. Laurel for expenses incurred during the
last six (6) years for airfare, car rentals, overseas calls, and representation Finally, on Castillos Omnibus Motion to Appoint a Commissioner, the matters raised
and other incidental expenses while in the various states in the United therein[55] being entirely inappropriate, to say the least, for consideration in these
States in order to pursue the claim of the Nonan children against administrative proceedings, the same is denied.
the Hillblom estate .US$60,000.00
A final word. The spectacle of members of the bar being engaged in bickering and
x x x x[49] (Underscoring supplied), recrimination is far from edifying. Mutual bickerings and unjustified recriminations between
brother attorneys detract from the dignity of the legal profession and will not receive any
sympathy from this Court.[56] Personal colloquies between counsels which promote unseemly
validate Asas explanation that the amount of $160,500 belonged to Dr. Laurel but was merely wrangling should thus be carefully avoided.[57]
temporarily placed in his (Asas) account.
It appears that Castillo had previously been suspended for Six (6) Months by this Court in CBD
The Partial Inventory, Account and Report of Guardian shows that $12,500 was received Case No. 176, Bongalonta v. Castillo,[58] for committing falsehood in violation of his lawyers
by Asa as attorneys fees for assisting Dr. Laurel and Castillo from 1996 to 2000. [50] Confirming oath and of the Code of Professional Responsibility. He was then warned that commission of
such disbursement is a Receipt [51] dated April 18, 2000 signed by Asa. The remaining $12,500 the same or similar offense in the future would call for the imposition of a more severe
of the $25,000 attorneys fees of Asa per heir (as priorly agreed upon by Dr. Laurel penalty. This Court thus imposes upon him a penalty of suspension from the practice of law
and Cassiday) were remitted by Asa to the Laurel Law Offices as Official Receipt No. for a period of One (1) year.
1766[52] issued by the treasurer/cashier of the Laurel Law Offices dated April 19, 2000 shows:
WHEREFORE, the administrative cases filed against Atty. Leon L. Asa and Atty. Jose
RECEIVED from Atty. Leon L. Asa the sum of Twelve thousand five hundred A. Oliveros are DISMISSED.
US Dollars US$12,500.00 as fifty percent (50%) share of LLO [Laurel Law
Offices] in attorneys fees of US$25,000 of Atty. Asa in SP Proc. 5222 of RTC Atty. Ginger Anne Castillo is found GUILTY of breach of Canon 8 of the Code of Professional
Angeles City, Br. 59. Responsibility and is hereby admonished to refrain from using offensive and improper
Cash.US$12,500- language in her pleadings.

By: Sgd. Atty. Pablito M. Castillo is likewise found GUILTY of breach of Canons 8, as well as Canon 10
Treasurer/Cashier of the Code of Professional Responsibility, and is SUSPENDED from the practice of law for a
period of One (1) Year, effective upon receipt of this Decision.

On Asas alleged unjust refusal to turn over Castillos attorneys fees: It appears that Asa and Let copies of this Decision be entered in the respective personal records of Atty. Ginger Anne
Castillo each received $25,000 as attorneys fees but pursuant to their February 2000 Castillo and of Atty. Pablito M. Castillo in the Office of the Bar Confidant.Let copies too be
Agreement, the aggregate amount of $50,000 would be divided between them, and Castillo furnished the Integrated Bar of the Philippines.
would receive 75% thereof or $37,500, while Asa would receive 25% or $12,500. The records
show that Asa kept only $12,500 for himself, he having remitted, as reflected above, the SO ORDERED.
remaining $12,500 to the Laurel Law Offices.
G.R. No. L-35469 October 9, 1987
Dr. Laurel eventually gave Castillo $10,000 out of the $12,500 which Asa remitted to the
Laurel Law Offices, as reflected in the Partial Inventory, Account and Report of Guardian. [53]
ENCARNACION BANOGON, ZOSIMA MUNOZ, and DAVIDINA MUNOZ, petitioners,
Respecting Castillos claim that, in violation of the Code of Professional vs.
Responsibility, Asa and Oliveros embarked on another sinister strategy to spite, insult and MELCHOR ZERNA, CONSEJO ZERNA DE CORNELIO, FRANCISCO ZERNA, and the HON.
provoke him to ostracize him and make him feel unwanted to continue as [Dr. Laurels] lawyer CIPRIANO VAMENTA, JR., Judge of the Court of First Instance of Negros Oriental
in furtherance of their conspiracy to force him into resignation for them to replace him and (Branch III).
have absolute control over the guardianship case, the funds of the estate and the attorneys
fees, the same is unsubstantiated, hence, deserves no further consideration.
CRUZ, J.:
It's unbelievable. The original decision in this case was rendered by the cadastral court way grounds of fraud must be filed "within one year after entry of the decree." Giving
back on February 9, 1926, sixty one years ago. A motion to amend that decision was filed on this provision a literal interpretation, it may first blush seem that the petition for
March 6, 1957, thirty one years later. This was followed by an amended petition for review of review cannot be presented until the final decree has been entered. But on further
the judgment on March 18, 1957, and an opposition thereto on March 26, 1957. On October reflection, it is obvious that such could not have been the intention of the
11, 1971, or after fourteen years, a motion to dismiss the petition was filed. The petition was Legislature and that what it meant would have been better expressed by stating
dismissed on December 8, 1971, and the motion for reconsideration was denied on February that such petitioners must be presented before the expiration of one year from the
14, 1972. 1 The petitioners then came to us on certiorari to question the orders of the entry of the decree. Statutes must be given a reasonable construction and there can
respondent judge. 2 be no possible reason for requiring the complaining party to wait until the final
decree is entered before urging his claim of fraud. We therefore hold that a petition
for review under section 38, supra, may be filed at any time the rendition of the
These dates are not typographical errors. What is involved here are errors of law and lawyers.
court's decision and before the expiration of one year from the entry of the final
decree of registration. (Emphasissupplied).
The respondent court dismissed the petition for review of the decision rendered in 1926 on
the ground that it had been filed out of time, indeed thirty one years too late. Laches, it was
A reading thereof will show that it is against their contentions and that under this doctrine
held, had operated against the petitioners. 3
they should not have delayed in asserting their claim of fraud. Their delay was not only for
thirty one days but for thirty one years. Laches bars their petition now. Their position is
The petitioners contend that the said judgment had not yet become final and executory clearly contrary to law and logic and to even ordinary common sense.
because the land in dispute had not yet been registered in favor of the private respondents.
The said judgment would become so only after one year from the issuance of the decree of
This Court has repeatedly reminded litigants and lawyers alike:
registration. If any one was guilty of laches, it was the private respondents who had failed to
enforce the judgment by having the land registered in their the pursuant thereto. 4
"Litigation must end and terminate sometime and somewhere, and it is assent
essential to an effective and efficient administration of justice that, once a judgment
For their part, the private respondents argue that the decision of February 9, 1926, became
has become final, the winning party be not, through a mere subterfuge, deprived of
final and executory after 30 days, same not having been appealed by the petitioners during
the fruits of the verdict. Courts must therefore guard against any scheme calculated
that period. They slept on their rights for thirty one years before it occurred to them to
to bring about that result. Constituted as they are to put an end to controversies,
question the judgment of the cadastral court. In fact, their alleged predecessor-in-interest,
courts should frown upon any attempt to prolong them." 8
Filomeno Banogon, lived for nineteen more years after the 1926 decision and did not see fit
to challenge it until his death in 1945. The herein petitioners themselves waited
another twelve years, or until 195 7, to file their petition for review. 5 There should be a greater awareness on the part of litigants that the time of the
judiciary, much more so of this Court, is too valuable to be wasted or frittered away
by efforts, far from commendable, to evade the operation of a decision final and
While arguing that they were not guilty of laches because the 1926 decision had not yet
executory, especially so, where, as shown in this case, the clear and manifest
become final and executory because the land subject thereof had not yet been registered,
absence of any right calling for vindication, is quite obvious and indisputable. 9
the petitioners rationalize: "If an aggrieved party is allowed the remedy of re-opening the
case within one year after the issuance of the decree, why should the same party be denied
this remedy before the decree is issued? 6 This appeal moreover, should fail, predicated as it is on an insubstantial objection
bereft of any persuasive force. Defendants had to display ingenuity to conjure a
technicality. From Alonso v. Villamor, a 1910 decision, we have left no doubt as to
Why not indeed? Why then did they not file their petition earlier? Why do they now pretend
our disapproval of such a practice. The aim of a lawsuit is to render justice to the
that they have all the time in the world because the land has not yet been registered and the
parties according to law. Procedural rules are precisely designed to accomplish such
one-year reglementary period has not yet expired?
a worthy objective. Necessarily, therefore, any attempt to pervert the ends for which
they are intended deserves condemnation. We have done so before. We do so
7
Thinking to support their position, the petitioners cite Rivera v. Moran where it was held: again. 10

... It is conceded that no decree of registration has been entered and section 38 of Regarding the argument that the private respondents took fourteen years to move for the
the Land Registration Act provides that a petition for review of such a decree on the dismissal of the petition for review, it suffices to point out that an opposition thereto had
been made as early as March 26, 1957, or nine days after the filing of the We feel compelled to observe that during the protracted litigation below, the
petition. 11 Moreover, it was for the petitioners to move for the hearing of the petition petitioners resorted to a series of actions and petitions, at some stages
instead of waiting for the private respondents to ask for its dismissal. After all, they were the alternatingly, abetted by their counsel, for the sole purpose of thwarting the
parties asking for relief, and it was the private respondents who were in possession of the execution of a simple money judgment which has long become final and executory.
land in dispute. Some of the actions were filed, only to be abandoned or withdrawn. The petitioners
and their counsel, far from viewing courts as sanctuaries for those who seek justice,
have tried to use them to subvert the very ends of justice.
One reason why there is a degree of public distrust for lawyers is the way some of them
misinterpret the law to the point of distortion in a cunning effort to achieve their purposes. By
doing so, they frustrate the ends of justice and at the same time lessen popular faith in the Corollarily, this Court assessed treble costs against the petitioners, to "be paid by their
legal profession as the sworn upholders of the law. While this is not to say that every wrong counsel.".
interpretation of the law is to be condemned, as indeed most of them are only honest errors,
this Court must express its disapproval of the adroit and intentional misreading designed The herein movants, Attys. Crispin D. Baizas and A. N. Bolinas, counsels for the petitioners,
precisely to circumvent or violate it. while submitting to the judgment on the merits, seek reconsideration of the decision in so far
as it reflects adversely upon their "professional conduct" and condemns them to pay the
As officers of the court, lawyers have a responsibility to assist in the proper administration of treble costs adjudged against their clients.
justice. They do not discharge this duty by filing pointless petitions that only add to the
workload of the judiciary, especially this Court, which is burdened enough as it is. A judicious At first blush, the motion for reconsideration presents a semblance of merit. After mature
study of the facts and the law should advise them when a case, such as this, should not be deliberation and patient reprobing into the records of the case, however, we are of the firmer
permitted to be filed to merely clutter the already congested judicial dockets. They do not conviction that the protracted litigation, alluded to in the above-quoted portion of our
advance the cause of law or their clients by commencing litigations that for sheer lack of decision, was designed to cause delay, and the active participation of the petitioners'
merit do not deserve the attention of the courts. counsels in this adventure is patent.

This petition is DISMISSED, with costs against the petitioners. This decision is immediately After November 15, 1962 when the Court of Appeals rendered judgment sustaining Damaso
executory. It is so ordered. Perez' position with respect to the extent of the levy, the subsequent proceedings interposed
alternatingly by the petitioner spouses were obviously quixotic maneuvers expected to be
overthrown by the courts but calculated to delay an execution long overdue.

G.R. No. L-22320 July 29, 1968 Had the petitioners and their counsels seriously believed that the levied shares of stock were
conjugal property, why did they not adopt this position from the very start, or, at the latest, in
CA-G.R. 29962-R, wherein Damaso Perez challenged the legality of the levy's coverage, in
MERCEDES RUTH COBB-PEREZ and DAMASO P. PEREZ, petitioners, order to end the litigation with reasonable dispatch? They chose, however, to attack the
vs. execution in a piecemeal fashion, causing the postponement of the projected execution sale
HON. GREGORIO LANTIN, Judge of the Court of First Instance of Manila, six times. More than eight years after the finality of the judgment have passed, and the same
RICARDO P. HERMOSO and the CITY SHERIFF OF MANILA, respondents. has yet to be satisfied.

Crispin D. Baizas and Associates for petitioners. In a determined effort to prolong the litigation, the Perez spouses, as represented by their
Isidro T. Almeda for respondents. counsels, sought the issuance of preliminary injunctions to restrain the execution of the final
judgment in civil case 39407 from courts which did not have jurisdiction and which would, as
CASTRO, J.: expected, initially or ultimately deny their prayer. For instance, after Damaso Perez bowed
out temporarily from the scene following the rendition of the aforementioned Court of
Appeals decision, his wife, Mercedez, Ruth Cobb-Perez, intruded into the controversy and
This is a motion for partial reconsideration of this Court's decision of May 22, 1968,
asked for an ex parte writ of preliminary injunction from the Court of First Instance of Rizal in
specifically directed against the following observation therein made:
connection with civil case 7532 which she filed with the said court, knowing fully well that the
basic civil case 39407 was decided by the Court of First Instance of Manila (Branch VII
presided by the respondent Judge Lantin), which latter court was the proper forum for any said cash dividends within five days, but the promise was never fulfilled. 2 Consequently, the
action relative to the execution. Judge Eulogio Mencias of the Court of First Instance of Rizal, respondent Judge on January 4, 1964, denied the said motion for reconsideration.
looking to Acosta vs. Alvendia (L-14598, October 31, 1960), which held that courts of first
instance have no power to restrain acts outside their territorial jurisdictions, lifted on October The above exposition of the circumstances relative to the protracted litigation clearly negates
4, 1963 the ex parte writ which he previously issued enjoining the respondent sheriff from the avowal of the movants that "in none of the various incidents in the case at bar has any
carrying out the execution sale. It is clear, however, that Mrs. Perez and her counsels, the particular counsel of petitioners acted with deliberate aforethought to delay the enforcement
movants, knew or ought to have known beforehand that the Court of First Instance of Rizal of the judgment in Civil Case No. 39407." From the chronology of antecedent events, the fact
did not have jurisdiction to issue the writ which Mrs. Perez herself sought, and, anticipating becomes inescapable that the Perez spouses, coached by their counsels, had sallied forth on
the recall of the writ improvidently issued, on September 3, 1963, a month before the said a strategem of "remedies" projected to foil the lawful execution of a simple money judgment.
writ was actually lifted, filed in the basic civil case 39407 an urgent motion to lift the writ of It is equally obvious that they foreshadowed their own reversals in the "remedies" they
execution issued on August 15, 1961, alleging as justification the conjugal nature of the ventured to adopt, such that even before, one remedy had been exhausted, they interposed
levied shares of stock and the personal nature of Damaso Perez' judgment debt, the very another until the case reached this Court for the second time. 3 Meanwhile, justice was
same reasons advanced in civil case 7532 which was then still pending in the Court of First delayed, and more than one member of this Court are persuaded that justice was practically
Instance of Rizal. Incidentally, Mrs. Perez failed to adduce any evidence in support of her waylaid.
aforesaid urgent motion, as in fact neither she nor her counsels appeared during the
scheduled hearing, prompting the respondent judge to issue the following order:
The movants also contend that even this Court sanctions the aforesaid civil cases 7532 and
55292 as the "proper remedy" when we said that.
When the urgent motion to recall or lift writ of execution was called this morning for
hearing, counsel for the movant did not appear despite the fact that he had been
duly notified of the motion for hearing. In view thereof the court assumes that he is In reality, what they attacked is not the writ of execution, the validity and regularity
waiving his right to present evidence in support of his urgent motion to recall or lift of which are unchallenged, but the levy made by the respondent Sheriff. In this
writ of execution. Said urgent motion is therefore deemed submitted for resolution. regard, the remedy is not the recall of the writ, but an independent action to enjoin
the Sheriff from proceeding with the projected sale, in which action the conjugal
nature of the levied stocks should be established as a basis for the subsequent
Despite the recall of the aforementioned writ of injunction by Judge Mencias on a disclaimer issuance of a permanent injunction, in the event of a successful claim. Incidentally,
of jurisdiction (since the execution sought to be enjoined was ordered by another tribunal), in the course of the protracted litigation, the petitioners had already availed of this
Mrs. Perez, now assisted by her husband who had staged a comeback, prayed for the remedy in civil cases 7532 and 55292, only to abandon it as they incessantly sought
issuance of another injunction, this time from Branch XXII of the Court of First Instance of other, and often simultaneous, devices of thwarting satisfaction of the judgment
Manila (not the same Branch which issued the controverted writ of execution), in connection debt. (Emphasis supplied) .
with civil case 7532, then still pending in the Court of First Instance of Rizal. As most probably
anticipated anew by the Perez spouses and their counsels, Judge Alikpala, presiding judge of
Branch XXII, on November 8, 1963 denied the preliminary injunction sought, on the ground, And because of this statement, they now counter that the said cases could not be branded as
among others, that he had no power to interfere by injunction with the judgment or decree of having been instituted for delay.
a court of concurrent or coordinate jurisdiction. On the very day the injunction was denied,
Damaso Perez, as if expecting the reversal from Judge Alikpala, was already prepared with The reference we made to civil cases 7532 and 55292 in the above-quoted statement must
another "remedy," as in fact on that day, November 8, 1963, he filed in the basic civil case not be considered out of context. We said that the petitioners incidentally had already availed
39407 an "Urgent Motion for Reconsideration" of the order of October 19, 1963, which denied of the suggested remedy only in the sense that said civil cases 7532 and 55292
his wife's above-mentioned motion to recall the controverted writ of execution. were apparently instituted to prove the conjugal nature of the levied shares of stocks in
question. We used the word incidentally advisedly to show that in their incessant search for
The foregoing motion, far from seriously seeking the reconsideration of the order of October devices to thwart the controverted execution, they accidentally stumbled on the suggested
19, 1963, which in the first place Damaso Perez could not legally do for he was not even a remedy. But the said civil cases were definitely not the "proper remedy" in so far as they
party to the denied "Urgent Motion to Recall Writ of Execution" (filed by his wife alone), was sought the issuance of writs of preliminary injunction from the Court of First Instance of Rizal
merely an offer to replace the levied stocks with supposed cash dividends due to the Perez and the Court of First Instance of Manila (Branch XXII) where civil cases 7532 and 55292 were
spouses as stockholders in the Republic Bank.1 As a matter of fact, when the motion was set filed respectively, for the said courts did not have jurisdiction to restrain the enforcement of
for hearing on December 21, 1963, the counsels for Damaso Perez promised to produce the the writ of execution issued by the Court of First Instance of Manila (Branch VII) under the
settled doctrines that Courts are without power to restrain acts outside of their territorial
jurisdiction 4 or interfere with the judgment or decree of a court of concurrent or coordinate is the same motion discussed above, which, curiously enough, antedated by at least one
jurisdiction. 5 However, the recall and the denial of the writs of preliminary injunction in civil month the lifting of the writ of preliminary injunction issued in civil case 7532.
cases 7532 and 55292 did not amount to the termination or dismissal of the principal action
in each case. Had the Perez spouses desired in earnest to continue with the said cases they ACCORDINGLY, the motion for partial reconsideration is denied. Our decision of May 22, 1968
could have done so. But the fact is that Mrs. Perez practically abandoned civil case 7532 is hereby modified in the sense that Attys. Crispin D. Baizas and A.N. Bolinao, Jr. shall pay
when she instituted the above mentioned urgent motion to recall writ of execution in the jointly and severally the treble costs assessed against the petitioners.
basic civil case 39407, anchored on the same grounds which she advanced in the former
case, until the said civil case 7532 was dismissed on November 9, 1963, upon her own
motion. Anent civil case 55292, the Perez spouses virtually deserted the same when they
instituted the herein petition for certiorari with urgent writ of preliminary injunction based on
the same grounds proffered in the said civil case until the latter was also dismissed on
G.R. No. L-77691 August 8,1988
March 20, 1964, with the consent of the parties because of the pendency then of the
aforesaid petition for certiorari.
PATERNO R. CANLAS, petitioner,
vs.
The movants further contend that "If there was delay, it was because petitioners' counsel
HON. COURT OF APPEALS, and FRANCISCO HERRERA, respondents.
happened to be more assertive ... a quality of the lawyers (which) is not to be condemned."

Paterno R. Canlas Law Offices for petitioner.


A counsel's assertiveness in espousing with candour and honesty his client's cause must be
encouraged and is to be commended; what we do not and cannot countenance is a lawyer's
insistence despite the patent futility of his client's position, as in the case at bar. Abalos, Gatdula & Bermejo for private respondent.

It is the duty of a counsel to advise his client, ordinarily a layman to the intricacies and
vagaries of the law, on the merit or lack of merit of his case. If he finds that his client's cause
is defenseless, then it is his bounden duty to advise the latter to acquiesce and submit, SARMIENTO, J.:
rather than traverse the incontrovertible. A lawyer must resist the whims and caprices of his
client, and temper his client's propensity to litigate. A lawyer's oath to uphold the cause of
justice is superior to his duty to his client; its primacy is indisputable. The case dramatizes the unpleasant spectacle of a lawyer tangling with his own client, more
often than not, in the matter of fees. The lawyer, the petitioner himself, would have his
petition decided on pure questions of procedure, yet, the Court cannot let pass unnoticed the
The movants finally state that the "Petitioners have several counsel in this case but the murkier face of the controversy, wherein the law is corrupted to promote a lawyer's
participation of each counsel was rather limited implying that the decision of this Court selfseeking ends, and the law profession, debased into a simple business dealing.
ordering that "treble costs are assessed against the petitioners, which shall be paid by their Accordingly, we resolve it on the basis not only of the questions raised by the petitioner
counsel" is not clear. The word "counsel" may be either singular or plural in construction, so pertaining to procedure, but considering its serious ethical implications, on its merits as well.
that when we said "counsel" we meant the counsels on record of the petitioners who were
responsible for the inordinate delay in the execution of the final judgment in the basic civil
case 39407, after the Court of Appeals had rendered its aforementioned decision of We turn to the facts.
November 15, 1962. And it is on record that the movants are such counsels. Atty. Bolinas,
upon his own admission, "entered his appearance in the case at bar about the time the Court The private respondent was the registered owner of eight (six, according to the petitioner)
of First Instance of Manila dismissed the petitioners' Petition for Relief in Civil Case No. parcels of land located in Quezon City. 1 Between 1977 and 1978, 2 he obtained various loans
39407," or about August 3, 1961 and even prior to the Court of Appeals decision above- from the L & R Corporation, a financing institution, in various sums totalling P420,000.00 As
mentioned. Atty. Baizas claims that he "became petitioners' counsel only in October, 1963 security therefor, he executed deeds of mortgage in favor of the corporation over the parcels
when he filed, with Atty. A.N. Bolinao, Jr. Civil Case No. 55292 before the Court of First aforesaid. On August 28,1979, and upon the maturing of said loans, the firm caused an
Instance of Manila presided by the Hon. Judge Alikpala although it appears on record that the extrajudicial foreclosure of mortgage following his failure to pay, as a consequence of which,
urgent motion to recall writ of execution filed by Mrs. Perez in the basic civil case 39407 on the said eight (six, according to the petitioner) parcels of land were disposed of at public
September 3, 1963, was over the signature of one Ruby Zaida of the law firm of "Crispin auction, and in which L & R Corporation was itself the highest bidder.
Baizas & Associates" as counsel for Mrs. Perez. It is to be recalled that the said urgent motion
Pending redemption, the private respondent filed a complaint for injunction against L & R whereas it originally reads:
Corporation, to enjoin consolidation of title in its name, in which he succeeded in obtaining
preliminary injunctive relief. He was represented by the petitioner. Two years later, and with WHEREFORE, for and in full settlement of the attorney's fees of TRANSFEREE in the
no imminent end to the litigation in sight, the parties entered into a compromise agreement amount of ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND PESOS (P100,000.00), I, FRANCISCO
whereby L & R Corporation accorded the private respondent another year to redeem the HERRERA, hereby transfer, assign and convey unto TRANSFEREE, Atty. Paterno R.
foreclosed properties subject to payment of P600,000.00, with interest thereon at one per Canlas, any and all my rights of equity of redemption and/or to redeem from the
cent per month. They likewise stipulated that the petitioner shall be entitled to attorney's Mortgagee, L & R Corporation my mortgaged properties foreclosed and sold at
fees of P100,000.00. On November 19, 1982, the court 3 approved the compromise. public auction by the Sheriff of Quezon City and subject matter of the above
Compromise Agreement in Civil Case No. Q30679. . . 10
The private respondent, however, remained in dire financial straits a fact the petitioner
himself concede 4 for which reason he failed to acquire the finding to repay the loans in As a consequence, the private respondent caused the annotation of an adverse claim upon
question, let alone the sum of P100,000.00 in attorney's fees demanded by the petitioner. the respective certificates of title embracing the properties. Upon learning of the same, the
That notwithstanding, the petitioner moved for execution insofar as his fees were concemed. petitioner moved for the cancellation of the adverse claim and for the issuance of a writ of
The court granted execution, although it does not appear that the sum was actually possession. The court granted both motions. The private respondent countered with a motion
collected. 5 for a temporary restraining order and later, a motion to recall the writ of possession. He
likewise alleges that he commenced disbarment proceedings before this Court against the
Sometime thereafter, the petitioner and the private respondent met to discuss relief for the petitioner 11 as well as various criminal complaints for estafa, falsification, and "betrayal of
latter with respect to his liability to L & R Corporation on the one hand, and his obligation to trust" 12 with the Department of Justice. On December 1, 1983, finally, he instituted an action
the petitioner on the other. The petitioner contends that the private respondent "earnestly for reconveyance and reformation of document, 13 praying that the certificates of title issued
implored" 6 him to redeem the said properties; the private respondent maintains that it was in the name of the petitioner be cancelled and that "the Deed of Sale and Transfer of Rights
the petitioner himself who 'offered to advance the money," 7 provided that he, the private of Equity of Redemption and/or to Redeem dated May 3, 1983 ... be reformed to reflect the
respondent, executed a "transfer of mortgage" 8 over the properties in his favor. Who true agreement of Francisco Herrera and Paterno R. Canlas, of a mortgage." 14 He vehemently
implored whom is a bone of contention, but as we shall see shortly, we are inclined to agree maintains that the petitioner's "agreement with [him] was that the latter would lend the
with the private respondent's version, considering primarily the petitioner's moral money to the former for a year, so that [petitioner] would have time to look for a loan for the
ascendancy over his client and the private respondent's increasing desperation. wet market which [the petitioner] intended to put up on said property." 15 Predictably, the
petitioner moved for dismissal.
The records further show that the parties, pursuant to their agreement, executed a "Deed of
Sale and Transfer of Rights of Redemption and/or to Redeem," a document that enabled the The trial court, however, denied the private respondent's petition. It held that the alteration
petitioner, first, to redeem the parcels in question, and secondly, to register the same in his complained of did not change the meaning of the contract since it was "well within [the
name. The private respondent alleges that he subsequently filed loan applications with the petitioner's] rights" 16 "to protect and insure his interest of P654,000.00 which is the
Family Savings Bank to finance a wet market project upon the subject premises to find, redemption price he has paid;" 17 secondly, that the petitioner himself had acquired an
according to him, and to his dismay, the properties already registered in the name of the interest in the properties subject of reconveyance based on the
petitioner. He likewise contends that the "Deed of Sale and Transfer of Rights of Redemption compromise agreement approved by Judge Castro in the injunction case, pursuant to Section
and/or to Redeem" on file with the Register of Deeds (for Quezon City) had been falsified as 29(b), of Rule 39, of the Rules of Court, that had, consequently, made him a judgment
follows: creditor in his own right; thirdly, that the private respondent had lost all rights over the same
arising from his failure to redeem them from L & R Corporation within the extended period;
and finally, that the petitioner cannot be said to have violated the ban against sales of
WHEREFORE, for and in full settlement of the attorney's fees of TRANSFEREE in the
properties in custodia legis to lawyers by their clients pendente lite, since the sale in question
amount of ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND PESOS (Pl00,000.00) I, FRANCISCO HERRERA,
took place after judgment in the injunction case abovesaid had attained finality. The
hereby transfer, assign and convey unto TRANSFEREE, Atty. Paterno R. Canlas, any
complaint was consequently dismissed, a dismissal that eventually attained a character of
and all my rights of the real properties and/or to redeem from the Mortgagee, L & R
finality.
Corporation my mortgaged properties foreclosed and sold at public auction by the
Sheriff of Quezon City and subject matter of the above Compromise Agreement in
Civil Case No. Q30679 ... 9 Undaunted, the private respondent, on December 6, 1985, filed a suit for "Annulment Of
Judgment 18 in the respondent Court of Appeals, 19 praying that the orders of Judge Castro:
(1). granting execution over the portion of the compromise agreement obliging the private
respondent to pay the petitioner P100,000.00 as attorney's fees; (2) denying the private allegedly exists for annulment, the aforesaid two orders being in the nature of interlocutory
respondent's prayer for a restraining order directed against the execution: and (3) denying issuances.
the motion to recall writ of possession, all be set aside.
On purely technical grounds, the petitioner's arguments are impressive. Annulment of
The petitioner filed a comment on the petition, but followed it up with a motion to dismiss. On judgment, we have had occasion to rule, rests on a single ground: extrinsic fraud. What
December 8, 1986, the respondent Court of Appeals promulgated the first of its challenged "extrinsic fraud" means is explained in Macabingkil v. People's Homesite and Housing
resolutions, denying the motion to dismiss. On March 3, 1987, the Appellate Court denied Corporation : 23
reconsideration. 20
xxx xxx xxx
Hence the instant petition.
It is only extrinsic or collateral fraud, as distinguished from intrinsic fraud, however,
As we stated, the petitioner assails these twin resolutions on grounds of improper procedure. that can serve as a basis for the annulment of judgment. Fraud has been regarded
Specifically, he assigns the following errors: as extrinsic or collateral, within the meaning of the rule, "where it is one the effect of
which prevents a party from having a trial, or real contest, or from presenting all of
his case to the court, or where it operates upon matters pertaining, not to the
I.
judgment itself, but of the manner in which it was procured so that there is not a fair
submission of the controversy." In other words, extrinsic fraud refers to any
THE RESPONDENT COURT GRAVELY ABUSE [sic] ITS DISCRETION IN NOT DISMISSING AC G.R. fraudulent act of the prevailing party in the litigation which is committed outside of
NO. 07860 ON THE GROUND THAT IT IS IN REALITY A PETITION FOR CERTIORARI FILED OUT the trial of the case, whereby the defeated party has been prevented from exhibiting
OF TIME AND SHOULD NOT BE GIVEN DUE COURSE. fully his side of the case, by fraud or deception practiced on him by his opponent. 24

II. A perusal of the petition of therein private respondent Herrera pending before the respondent
Court reveals no cause of action for annulment of judgment. In the first place, and as herein
THE RESPONDENT COURT GRAVELY ABUSE [sic] ITS DISCRETION IN NOT DISMISSING AC G.R. petitioner Canlas correctly points out, the judgment itself is not assailed, but rather, the
NO. 07860 ON THE GROUND OF RES JUDICATA orders merely implementing it. Secondly, there is no showing that extrinsic fraud,
as Makabingkil defines it, indeed vitiated the proceedings presided over by Judge Castro. On
the contrary, Herrera's petition in the respondent court will show that he was privy to the
III. incidents he complains of, and in fact, had entered timely oppositions and motions to defeat
Atty. Canlas' claims under the compromise agreement.
THE RESPONDENT COURT GRAVELY ABUSE [sic] ITS DISCRETION IN NOT CONSIDERING AC G.
R. 07860 AS MOOT AND ACADEMIC SINCE PETITIONER HAD DISPOSED OF THE SUBJECT What he objects to is his suspected collusion between Atty. Canlas and His Honor to expedite
PROPERTIES LONG BEFORE THE FILING OF THIS SUIT. the former's collection of his fees. He alleges that his counsel had deliberately, and with
malevolent designs, postponed execution to force him (Herrera) to agree to sell the
IV properties in controversy to him (Atty. Canlas) subject to redemption. ("...[I]t was
understandable that respondent Atty. Paterno R. Canlas did not implement the writ of
execution, instead he contacted petitioner in order that petitioner would sign the questioned
THE RESPONDENT COURT GRAVELY ABUSED ITS DISCRETION IN NOT DENYING PETITIONER'S
documents. This was the clincher of the plan of respondent Atty, Paterno R. Canlas to divest
MOTION TO DISMISS SOLELY ON THE GROUND THAT THE ARGUMENT RAISED THEREIN ARE
petitioner of his properties. For this purpose, it is obvious that respondent Atty. Paterno R.
BUT REHASH OF THE ARGUMENTS IN HIS COMMENT TO THE PETITION. 21
Canlas had to conspire with the respondent court judge to achieve his plan." 25) Aside from
being plain speculation, it is no argument to justify annulment. Clearly, it does not amount to
The petitioner argues that the petition pending with the respondent court "is actually a extrinsic fraud as the term is defined in law.
petition for certiorari," 22disguised as a pleading for annulment of judgment and that in such
a case, it faces alleged legal impediments (1) It had been filed out of time, allegedly two
Neither is it proper for the extraordinary remedy of certiorari. Certiorari presupposes the
years from the issuance of the assailed orders, and (2) It was not preceded by a motion for
absence of an appeal 26and while there is no appeal from execution of judgment, appeal lies
reconsideration. He adds that assuming annulment of judgment were proper, no judgment
in case of irregular implementation of the writ. 27 In the case at bar, there is no irregular It is a ruling that almost eight decades after it was rendered, holds true as ever.
execution to speak of As a rule, "irregular execution" means the failure of the writ to conform
to the decree of the decision executed. 28 In the instant case, respondent Herrera's charges, By Atty. Canlas' own account, "due to lack of paying capacity of respondent Herrera, no
to wit, that Judge Castro had erred in denying his motions for temporary restraining order and financing entity was willing to extend him any loan with which to pay the redemption price of
to recall writ of possession, or that His Honor had acted hastily (". . . that respondent his mortgaged properties and petitioner's P100,000.00 attorney's fees awarded in the
court/judge took only one [1) day to resolve petitioner's motion for issuance of [a] Compromise Judgment," 34 a development that should have tempered his demand for his
[restraining] order. . ." 29) in denying his twofold motions, do not make out a case for irregular fees. For obvious reasons, he placed his interests over and above those of his client, in
execution. The orders impugned are conformable to the letter of the judgment approving the opposition to his oath to "conduct himself as a lawyer ... with all good fidelity ... to [his]
parties'compromise agreement. clients." 35 The Court finds the occasion fit to stress that lawyering is not a moneymaking
venture and lawyers are not merchants, a fundamental standard that has, as a matter of
The lengths the private respondent, Francisco Herrera, would go to in a last-ditch bid to hold judicial notice, eluded not a few law advocates. The petitioner's efforts partaking of a
on to his lands and constraints of economic privation have not been lost on us. It is obvious shakedown" of his own client are not becoming of a lawyer and certainly, do not speak well of
that he is uneasy about the judgment on compromise itself, as well as the subsequent his fealty to his oath to "delay no man for money." 36
contract between him and his lawyer. In such a case, Article 2038 of the Civil Code applies:
It is true that lawyers are entitled to make a living, in spite of the fact that the practice of law
Art. 2038. A compromise in which there is mistake, fraud, violence intimidation, is not a commercial enterprise; but that does not furnish an excuse for plain lust for material
undue influence, or falsity of documents, is subject to the provisions of article 1330 wealth, more so at the expense of another. Law advocacy, we reiterate, is not capital that
of this Code ... yields profits. The returns it births are simple rewards for a job done or service rendered. It is
a calling that, unlike mercantile pursuits which enjoy a greater deal of freedom from
government interference, is impressed with a public interest, for which it is subject to State
in relation to Article 1330 thereof:
regulation. 37Anent attomey's fees, section 24, of Rule 138, of the Rules, provides in part as
follows:
Art. 1330. A contract where consent is given through mistake, violence, intimidation,
undue influence, or fraud is voidable.
SEC. 24. Compensation of attorneys, agreement as to fees. An attorney shall be
entitled to have and recover from his client no more than a reasonable
in relation to its provisions on avoidance of'contracts. 30 The court notes that he had, for this compensation for his services, with a view to the importance of the subject matter of
purpose, gone to the Regional Trial Court, a vain effort as we stated, and in which the the controversy, the extent of the services rendered, and the professional standing
decision had become final. of the attorney... A written contract for services shall control the amount to be paid
therefor unless found by the court to be unconscionable or unreasonable.
We, however, sustain Atty. Canlas' position-on matters of procedure for the enlightenment
solely of the bench and the bar. It does not mean that we find merit in his petition. As we So also it is decreed by Article 2208 of the Civil Code, reproduced in part, as follows:
have intimated, we cannot overlook the unseemlier side of the proceeding, in which a
member of the bar would exploit his mastery of procedural law to score a "technical
Art. 2208 ...
knockout" over his own client, of all people. Procedural rules, after all, have for their object
assistance unto parties "in obtaining just, speedy, and inexpensive determination of every
action and proceeding." 31 If procedure were to be an impediment to such an objective, "it In all cases, the attorney's fees and expenses of litigation must be reasonable.
deserts its proper office as an aid to justice and becomes its great hindrance and chief
enemy." 32 It was almost eight decades ago that the Court held: We do not find the petitioner's claim of attorney's fees in the sum of P100,000.00 reasonable.
We do not believe that it satisfies the standards set forth by the Rules. The extent of the
... A litigation is not a game of technicalities in which one, more deeply schooled and services he had rendered in Civil Case No. 30679, and as far as the records will yield, is not
skilled in the subtle art of movement and position, entraps and destroys the other. It impressive to justify payment of such a gargantuan amount. The case itself moreover did not
is, rather, a contest in which each contending party fully and fairly lays before the involve complex questions of fact or law that would have required substantial effort as to
court the facts in issue and then, brushing aside as wholly trivial and indecisive all research or leg work for the petitioner to warrant his demands. The fact that the properties
imperfections of form and technicalities of procedure, asks that justice be done upon subject thereof commanded quite handsome prices in the market should not be a measure of
the merits. Lawsuits, unlike duels, are not to be won by the a rapier's thrust ... 33
the importance or non-importance of the case. We are not likewise persuaded that the undertake the redemption amid the former's obstinate attempts to keep his lands that have
petitioner's stature warrants the sum claimed. indeed led to the multiple suits the petitioner now complains of, apart from the fact that the
latter himself had something to gain from the transaction, as alluded to above. We are of the
opinion that in ceding his right of redemption, the private respondent had intended merely to
All things considered, we reduce the petitioner's fees, on a quantum meruit basis, to
forestall the total loss of the parcels to the mortgagee upon the understanding that his
P20,000.00.
counsel shall acquire the same and keep them therefore within reach, subject to redemption
by his client under easier terms and conditions. Surely, the petitioner himself would maintain
It is futile to invoke the rule granting attorneys a lien upon the things won in litigation similar that he agreed to make the redemption"in order that [he] may already be paid the
to that vested upon redemptioners. 38 To begin with, the rule refers to realty sold as a result P100,000.00 attorney's fees awarded him in the Compromise Agreement," 43 and if his sole
of execution in satisfaction of judgment. In this case, however, redemption was decreed by concern was his fees, there was no point in keeping the properties in their entirety.
agreement (on compromise) between the mortgagor and mortgagee. It did not give the
petitioner any right to the properties themselves, much less the right of redemption, although
The Court simply cannot fag for the petitioner's pretensions that he acquired the properties
provisions for his compensation were purportedly provided. It did not make him a
as a gesture of magnanimity and altruism He denies, of course, having made money from it,
redemptioner for the plain reason that he was not named one in the amicable settlement. To
but what he cannot dispute is the fact that he did resell the properties. 44
this extent, we reverse Judge Pedro Santiago's ruling in Civil Case No. 40066, recognizing
Atty. Canlas' "legal right, independent of the questioned deed of sale and transfer which was
executed subsequently on May 3, 1983, to redeem the subject realty from the L & R But if he did not entertain intents of making any profit, why was it necessary to reword the
Corporation pursuant to Sec. 29 (b), Rule 39 of the Rules of Court." 39Whatever right he had, conveyance document executed by the private respondent? It shall be recalled that the deed,
it was, arguably with respect alone to his renumeration. It did not extend to the lands. as originally drafted, provided for conveyance of the private respondent's "rights of equity of
redemption and/or redeem" 45 the properties in his favor, whereas the instrument registered
with the Register of Deeds purported to transfer "any and all my rights of the real properties
Secondly, and assuming that such a right exists, it must be in proportion to the "just fees and
and/or to redeem," 46 in his favor. He admits having entered the intercalations in question but
disbursements" 40due him. It is still subject to the tempering hand of this Court.
argues that he did so "to facilitate the registration of the questioned deed with the Register of
Deeds" 47 and that it did not change the meaning of the paper, for which Judge Santiago
The Court notes a hidden agenda in the petitioner's haste to execute the compromise acquitted him of any falsification charges. 48 To start with, the Court is at a loss how such an
agreement and subsequently, to force the transfer of the properties to himself. As we have alteration could "facilitate" registration. Moreover, if it did not change the tenor of the deed,
observed, in spite of the issuance of the writ of execution, it does not appear that the why was it necessary then? And why did he not inform his client? At any rate, the agreement
petitioner took pains to implement it. We find this perplexing given his passionate and is clearly a contract of adhesion. Its provisions should be read against the party who prepared
persistent pleas that he was entitled to the proceeds. There can indeed be no plausible it.
explanation other than to enable him to keep an "ace" against the private respondent that
led finally, to the conveyance of the properties in his favor. To be sure, he would have us
But while we cannot hold the petitioner liable for falsification this is not the proper
beheve that by redeeming the same from the mortgagee and by in fact parting with his own
occasion for it we condemn him nonetheless for infidelity to his oath "to do no
money he had actually done the private respondent a favor, but this is to assume that he did
falsehood" 49
not get anything out of the transaction. Indeed, he himself admits that "[t]itles to the
properties have been issued to the new owners long before the filing of private respondents
[sic] petition for annulment." 41 To say that he did not profit therefrom is to take either this This brings us to the final question: Whether or not the conveyance in favor of the petitioner
Court or the petitioner for naive, a proposition this Court is not prepared to accept under the is subject to the ban on acquisition by attorneys of things in litigation. The pertinent
circumstances. provisions of the Civil Code state as follows:

We are likewise convinced that it was the petitioner who succeeded in having the private Art. 1491. The following persons cannot acquire by purchase, even at a public or
respondent sign the "Deed of Sale and Transfer of Rights of Equity of Redemption and/or to judicial action, either in person or through the mediation of another:
Redeem," a pre-prepared document apparently, that allowed him (the petitioner) to exercise
the right of redemption over the properties and to all intents and purposes, acquire (1) The guardian, the property of the person or persons who may be under his
ownership thereof. As we have earlier averred, the private respondent, by reason of guardianship;
bankruptcy, had become an easy quarry to his counsel's moral influence and ascendancy. We
are hard put to believe that it was the private respondent who "earnestly implored" 42 him to
(2) Agents, the property whose administration or sale may have been intrusted to At any rate, the transfer, so we hold, is not subject to the injunction of Article 1491 of the
them, unless the consent of the principal have been given; Civil Code. But like all voidable contracts, it is open to annulment on the ground of mistake,
fraud, or undue influence, 53 which is in turn subject to the right of innocent purchasers for
value. 54
(3) Executors and administrators, the property of the estate under administration;

For this reason, we invalidate the transfer in question specifically for undue influence as
(4) Public officers and employees, the property of the State or of any subdivision
earlier detailed. While the respondent Herrera has not specifically prayed for invalidation, this
thereof, or of any government owned or controlled corporation, or institution, the
is the clear tenor of his petition for annulment in the Appellate Court. It appearing, however,
administration of which has been instrusted to them; this provision shall apply to
that the properties have been conveyed to third persons whom we presume to be innocent
judges and government experts who, in any manner whatsoever, take part in the
purchasers for value, the petitioner, Atty. Paterno Canlas, must be held liable, by way of
sale;
actual damages, for such a loss of properties.

(5) Justice judges prosecuting attorneys clerks of superior and inferior courts, and
We are not, however, condoning the private respondent's own shortcomings. In condemning
other officers and employees connected with the administration of justice, the
Atty. Canlas monetarily, we cannot overlook the fact that the private respondent has not
property and rights in litigation or levied upon an execution before the court within
settled his hability for payment of the properties. To hold Atty. Canlas alone liable for
whose jurisdiction or territory they exercise their respective functions; this
damages is to enrich said respondent at the expense of his lawyer. The parties must then set
prohibition includes the act of acquiring by assignment and shall apply to lawyers,
off their obligations against the other. To obviate debate as the actual amounts owing by one
with respect to the property and rights which may be the object of any litigation in
to the other, we hold Francisco Herrera, the private respondent, liable to Atty. Paterno Canlas,
which they may take part by virtue of their profession.
the petitioner, in the sum of P654,000.00 representing the redemption price of the
properties, 55 in addition to the sum of P20,000. 00 as and for attomey's fees. We order Atty.
(6) Any others specially disqualified by law.** Canlas, in turn, to pay the respondent Herrera the amount of P1,000,000.00, the sum he
earned from the resale thereof, 56 such that he shall, after proper adjustments, be indebted to
In Rubias v. Batiller, 50 we declared such contracts to be void by force of Article 1409, his client in the sum of P326,000.00 as and for damages.
paragraph (7), of the Civil Code, defining inexistent contracts. In Director of Lands v.
Ababa 51 however, we said that the prohibition does not apply to contingent contracts, in Needless to say, we sustain the action of the respondent Court of Appeals in taking
which the conveyance takes place after judgment, so that the property can no longer be said cognizance of the petition below. But as we have stated, we are compelled, as the final
to be "subject of litigation." arbiter of justiciable cases and in the highest interests ofjustice, to write finis to the
controversy that has taxed considerably the dockets of the inferior courts.
In the instant case, the Court observes that the "Deed of Sale and Transfer of Rights of Equity
of Redemption and/or to Redeem" was executed following the finality of the decision Let the Court further say that while its business is to settle actual controversies and as a
approving the compromise agreement. It is actually a new contract not one in pursuance matter of general policy, to leave alone moot ones, its mission is, first and foremost, to
of what had been agreed upon on compromise in which, as we said, the petitioner dispense justice. At the outset, we have made clear that from a technical vantage point,
purportedly assumed redemption rights over the disputed properties (but in reality, acquired certiorari, arguably lies, but as we have likewise stated, the resolution of the case rests not
absolute ownership thereof). By virtue of such a subsequent agreement, the lands had only on the mandate of technical rules, but if the decision is to have any real meaning, on the
ceased to be properties which are "the object of any litigation." Parenthetically, the Court merits too. This is not the first time we would have done so; in many cases we have
states that a writ of possession is improper to eject another from possession unless sought in eschewed the rigidity of the Rules of Court if it would establish a barrier upon the
connection with: (1) a land registration proceeding; (2) an extrajudicial foreclosure of administration ofjustice. It is especially so in the case at bar, in which no end to suit and
mortgage of real property; (3) in a judicial foreclosure of property provided that the counter-suit appears imminent and for which it is high time that we have the final say. We
mortgagor has possession and no third party has intervened; and (4) in execution sales. 52 It likewise cannot, as the overseer of good conduct in both the bench and the bar, let go
is noteworthy that in this case, the petitioner moved for the issuance of the writ pursuant to unpunished what convinces us as serious indiscretions on the part of a lawyer.
the deed of sale between him and the private respondent and not the judgment on
compromise. (He was, as we said, issued a writ of execution on the compromise agreement
WHEREFORE, judgment is hereby rendered.
but as we likewise observed, he did not have the same enforced. The sale agreement
between the parties, it should be noted, superseded the compromise.) The writ does not lie in
such a case. His remedy is specific performance.
1. ORDERING the petitioner, Atty. Patemo Canlas, to pay to the private respondent, Francisco 3. DISMISSING this petition and REMANDING the case to the respondent Court of Appeals for
Herrera, the sum of P326,000.00, as and for damages; execution; and

2. ORDERING the petitioner to SHOW CAUSE why no disciplinary action may be imposed on 4. ORDERING the petitioner to pay costs.
him for violation of his oath, as a lawyer, within ten (10) days from notice, after which the
same will be consolidated with AC No. 2625; SO ORDERED.