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LLUNAR v RICAFORT

FACTS

In September 2000, the complainant, as attorney-in-fact of Severina Baez, hired the respondent to file a
case against father and son Ricardo and Ard Cervantes (Ard) for the recovery of a parcel of land allegedly
owned by the Baez family but was fraudulently registered under the name of Ricardo and later was
transferred to Ard. Three years later, the complainant learned that no case involving the subject property
was ever filed by the respondent with the Regional Trial Court (RTC) in Legaspi City. Thus, the
complainant demanded that the respondent return to her the amount of P95,000.00. Also, the
Investigating Commissioner found the respondent to have erred in not informing his client that he was
under indefinite suspension from the practice of law. Due to these infractions, Commissioner Villanueva
recommended that the respondent remain suspended indefinitely from the practice of law.

ISSUE: WON respondent is guilty of engaging in the practice of law while under suspension?

HELD

The respondent guilty of Grave Misconduct in his dealings with his client and in engaging in the practice
of law while under indefinite suspension, and thus impose upon him the ultimate penalty of DISBARMENT
RATIO

the respondent committed dishonesty by not being forthright with the complainant that he was under
indefinite suspension from the practice of law. The respondent should have disclosed this fact at the time
he was approached by the complainant for his services. Canon 15 of the CPR states that "a lawyer shall
observe candor, fairness and loyalty in all his dealings and transactions with his clients." The respondent
lacked the candor expected of him as a member of the Bar when he accepted the complainant's case
despite knowing that he could not and should not practice law.

VILLAHERMOSA v. CARACOL

FACTS

Villahermosa is respondent in two land cases 3 involving cancellation of emancipation patents and
transfer certificates of title, cancellation of special power of attorney and deeds of absolute sale and
recovery of ownership and possession of parcels of land. On September 25, 2002, Atty. Caracol, as "Add'l
Counsel for the Plaintiffs- Movant," filed a motion for execution with the DARAB, Malaybalay, Bukidnon
praying for the full implementation of the March 2, 1994 decision Villahermosa filed this complaint 8
alleging that Atty. Caracol had no authority to file the motions since he obtained no authority from the
plaintiffs and the counsel of record. Villahermosa posited that Efren could not have authorized Atty.
Caracol to file the second motion because Efren had already been dead 9 for more than a year. He
claimed that Atty. Caracol's real client was a certain Ernesto I. Aguirre, who had allegedly bought the
same parcel of land.

Villahermosa averred that Atty. Caracol committed deceit and gross misconduct. Villahermosa also filed a
case 13 for falsification of public document and use of falsified document against Ernesto Aguirre and
Atty. Caracol. The IBP CBD stated that Atty. Caracol clearly misled and misrepresented to the DARAB,
Region X that he was counsel of Efren to protect the interest of Ernesto Aguirre, his real client, violating
his oath as a lawyer. It thus recommended that Atty. Caracol be suspended from the practice of law for a
period of five years.

ISSUE: WON Atty. Caracol mislead his representation as a lawyer to the complainant?

HELD
Atty. Caracol, as observed by the IBP CBD, has been less than candid about his representation. We also
observe that he has used underhanded means to attain his purpose. Atty. Caracol's blatant disregard of
his duties as a lawyer cannot be countenanced. In view of his actions of contravening his lawyer's oath
and in violation of Canons 8 and 10 and Rule 10.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility we deem it
proper to suspend him from the practice of law for a period of one year.

RATIO

Lawyers must be mindful that an attorney has no power to act as counsel for a person without being
retained nor may he appear in court without being employed unless by leave of court. 23 If an attorney
appears on a client's behalf without a retainer or the requisite authority neither the litigant whom he
purports to represent nor the adverse party may be bound or affected by his appearance unless the
purported client ratifies or is estopped to deny his assumed authority

DEE v CA

FACTS

sometime in January, 1981, petitioner and his father went to the residence of private respondent,
accompanied by the latter's cousin, to seek his advice regarding the problem of the alleged indebtedness
of petitioner's brother, Dewey Dee, to Caesar's Palace, a well-known gambling casino at Las Vegas,
Nevada, U.S.A. Petitioner's father was apprehensive over the safety of his son, Dewey, having heard of a
link between the mafia and Caesar's Palace and the possibility that his son may be harmed at the
instance of the latter. In June, 1981, private respondent personally talked with the president of Caesar's
Palace at Las Vegas, Nevada. He advised the president that for the sake and in the interest of the casino
it would be better to make Ramon Sy answer for the indebtedness. The president told him that if he could
convince Ramon Sy to acknowledge the obligation, Dewey Dee would be exculpated from liability for the
account. Upon private respondent's return to Manila, he conferred with Ramon Sy and the latter was
convinced to acknowledge the indebtedness. In August, 1981, private respondent brought to Caesar's
Palace the letter of Ramon Sy owning the debt and asking for a discount. Thereafter, the account of
Dewey Dee was cleared and the casino never bothered him.

Petitioner, in due time, filed a motion for reconsideration contending that the Appellate Court overlooked
two important and decisive factors, to wit: (1) At the time private respondent was ostensibly rendering
services to petitioner and his father, he was actually working "in the interest" and "to the advantage" of
Caesar's Palace of which he was an agent and a consultant, hence the interests of the casino and private
respondent were united in their objective to collect from the debtor

ISSUE: WON respondent is guilty of Conflict of Interest?

HELD

It is also not completely accurate to judge private respondent's position by petitioner's assumption that the
interests of Caesar's Palace were adverse to those of Dewey Dee. True, the casino was a creditor but
that fact was not contested or opposed by Dewey Dee, since the latter, as verifications revealed, was not
the debtor. Hence, private respondent's representations in behalf of petitioner were not in resistance to
the casino's claim but were actually geared toward proving that fact by establishing the liability of the true
debtor, Ramon Sy, from whom payment was ultimately and correctly exacted.

RATIO
Generally, an attorney is prohibited from representing parties with contending positions. However, at a
certain stage of the controversy before it reaches the court, a lawyer may represent conflicting interests
with the consent of the parties.

ROSACIA v. BULALACAO
FACTS

Respondent Atty. Benjamin B. Bulalacao was hired as retained counsel of a corporation by the name of
Tacma Phils., Inc. "On October 31, 1990, the lawyer client relationship between the respondent and
Tacma Phils., Inc. was severed On July, 1991, or after almost nine (9) months from the date respondent's
retainer agreement with Tacma, Phils., Inc. was terminated, several employees of the corporation
consulted the respondent for the purpose of filing an action for illegal dismissal. Thereafter, he agreed to
handle the case for the said employees as against Tacma, Phils., Inc. by filing a complaint before the
National Labor Relations Commission, and appearing in their behalf."

ISSUE: Whether or not respondent breached his oath of office for representing the employees of his
former client, Tacma, Phils., Inc., after the termination of their attorney-client relationship.

HELD

The Court reiterates that an attorney owes loyalty to his client not only in the case in which he has
represented him but also after the relation of attorney and client has terminated as it is not good practice
to permit him afterwards to defend in another case other person against his former client under the
pretext that the case is distinct from, and independent of the former case.

RATIO

A lawyer owes fidelity to the cause of his client and he ought to be mindful of the trust and confidence
reposed in him. An attorney not only becomes familiar with all the facts connected with his client's cause,
but also learns from his client the weak and strong points of the case. No opportunity must be given
attorneys to take advantage of the secrets of clients obtained while the con dential relation of attorney
and client exists. Otherwise, the legal profession will suffer by the loss of the condence of the people.

ABAQUETA v. FLORIDO

FACTS

Respondent Atty. Florido was earlier the counsel for complainant Gamaliel Abaqueta in SP Proc. No.
3971-R. Later, Atty. Florido was counsel for Milagros Yap Abaqueta in Civil Case No. CEB-11453. Both
cases involved the very same properties where Florido made allegations in Civil Case No. CEB-11453
that were contrary to and in direct conflict with his averments as counsel for complainant in SP Proc. No.
3971-R.

ISSUE: Whether or not Atty. Florido violated the prohibition against representing conflicting interests

HELD

The Court ruled in the positive. Rule 15.03 of the Code of Professional Responsibility prohibits such
action unless with the written consent of all concerned after full disclosure of the facts. Atty. Florido
admitted that he did not secure the consent of Gamaliel before he agreed to represent Milagros in the civil
case. Thus, the Court suspended respondent Atty. Florido from the practice of law for three (3) months.

RATIO
There is a representation of conflicting interests if the acceptance of the new retainer will require the
attorney to do anything which will injuriously affect his first client in any matter in which he represents him
and also whether he will be called upon in his new relation, to use against his first client any knowledge
acquired through their connection.

PROMENTO v. PONTEVEDRA

FACTS

Complainant claims that respondent, who was his lawyer in the said case, deliberately failed to inform him
of the dismissal of his counterclaim despite receipt of the order of dismissal by the trial court, as a result
of which, complainant was deprived of his right to appeal said order. Complainant asserts that he only
came to know of the existence of the trial courts order when the adverse party in the said case
extrajudicially foreclosed the mortgage executed over the parcel of land which is the subject matter of the
suit. In order to recover his ownership over the said parcel of land, complainant was constrained to hire a
new lawyer as Atty. Pontevedra refused to institute an action for the recovery of the subject property.
Complainant also claims that in order to further protect his rights and interests over the said parcel of
land, he was forced to initiate a criminal case for qualified theft against the relatives of the alleged new
owner of the said land. Respondent is the counsel of the accused in said case.

ISSUE: whether or not respondent utilized against complainant any information given to him in a
professional capacity, the mere fact of their previous relationship should have precluded him from
appearing as counsel for the opposing side

HELD

The Court finds respondent guilty of misconduct for representing conflicting interests. when respondent
was the counsel of complainant in Civil Case No. 1648, he became privy to the documents and
information that complainant possessed with respect to the said parcel of land. Hence, whatever may be
said as to whether or not respondent utilized against complainant any information given to him in a
professional capacity, the mere fact of their previous relationship should have precluded him from
appearing as counsel for the opposing side.

RATIO

The relations of attorney and client is [are] founded on principles of public policy, on good taste. The
question is not necessarily one of the rights of the parties, but as to whether the attorney has adhered to
proper professional standard.

SVHF v. FUNK

FACTS

Hocorma Foundation further alleged that on November 25, 2006 Atty. Funk led an action for quieting of
title and damages against Hocorma Foundation on behalf of Mabalacat Institute, Inc. (Mabalacat
Institute). Atty. Funk did so, according to the foundation, using information that he acquired while serving
as its counsel in violation of the Code of Professional Responsibility (CPR) and in breach of attorney-
client relationship. The SPA also authorized Atty. Funk to register the 5-hectare land in the name of
Mabalacat Institute so a new title could be issued to it, separate from the properties of Hocorma
Foundation. 6 When Santos issued the SPA, Atty. Funk was Mabalacat Institute's director and counsel.
He was not yet Hocorma Foundation's counsel. 7 When Santos executed the deeds of conveyances, Atty.
Funk's clients were only Santos and Mabalacat Institute. 8 According to Atty. Funk, on August 15, 1983
Santos suggested to Hocorma Foundation's Board of Trustees the inclusion of Atty. Funk in that board, a
suggestion that the foundation followed. 9 After Santos died on September 14, 1983, Atty. Funk was
elected President of Mabalacat Institute, a position he had since held.
ISSUE: whether or not Atty. Funk betrayed the trust and confidence of a former client in violation of the
CPR when he filed several actions against such client on behalf of a new one.

HELD

Canon 15, Rule 15.03 of the CPR provides that a lawyer cannot represent conflicting interests except by
written consent of all concerned given after a full disclosure of the facts. Here, it is undeniable that Atty.
Funk was formerly the legal counsel of Hocorma Foundation. Years after terminating his relationship with
the foundation, he filed a complaint against it on behalf of another client, the Mabalacat Institute, without
the foundation's written consent.

RATIO

An attorney owes his client undivided allegiance. Because of the highly fiduciary nature of their
relationship, sound public policy dictates that he be prohibited from representing conflicting interests or
discharging inconsistent duties.

FACTS

Bernardino alleged that the death certificate of his aunt, Rufina de Castro Turla, was falsified by Atty.
Santos. Atty. Santos made it appear that Rufina Turla died in 1992, when in fact, she died in 1990. 6 Atty.
Santos used the falsified death certificate to support the Affidavit of Self- Adjudication 7 executed by
Mariano Turla, husband of Rufina Turla. Years later, Atty. Santos, on behalf of Marilu Turla, daughter of
Rufina and Mariano Turla, 10 filed a Complaint 11 for sum of money with prayer for Writ of Preliminary
Injunction and temporary restraining order against Bernardino, docketed as Civil Case No. 09-269. 12
The Complaint in Civil Case No. 09-269 alleged that Marilu Turla is an heir of Mariano Turla, 13 which
allegedly contradicts the Affidavit of Self-Adjudication that Atty. Santos drafted. 14 Hence, Atty. Santos
represented clients with conflicting interests.

ISSUE: WON Respondent was in conflict of interest?

HELD

Mariano Turla died on February 5, 2009, 64 while respondent represented Marilu Turla in March 2009. 65
It is understandable why respondent was unable to obtain Mariano Turla's consent. Still, respondent did
not present evidence showing that he disclosed to Marilu Turla that he previously represented Mariano
Turla and assisted him in executing the Affidavit of Self-Adjudication. Thus, the allegation of conflict of
interest against respondent was sufficiently proven.

RATIO

There is conflict of interest when a lawyer represents inconsistent interests of two or more opposing
parties. The test is "whether or not in behalf of one client, it is the lawyer's duty to fight for an issue or
claim, but it is his duty to oppose it for the other client. In brief, if he argues for one client, this argument
will be opposed by him when he argues for the other client." The rule on conflict of interest is based on
the fiduciary obligation in a lawyer client relationship. Lawyers must treat all information received from
their clients with utmost confidentiality in order to encourage clients to fully inform their counsels of the
facts of their case.

ANGLO v. VALENCIA

FACTS
On September 18, 2009, a criminal case 4 for qualified theft was filed against complainant and his wife by
FEVE Farms Agricultural Corporation (FEVE Farms) acting through a certain Michael Villacorta
(Villacorta). Villacorta, however, was represented by the law firm, the same law office which handled
complainant's labor cases. Aggrieved, complainant filed this disbarment case against respondents,
alleging that they violated Rule 15.03, Canon 15 and Canon 21 of the CPR

ISSUE: whether or not respondents are guilty of representing conflicting interests in violation of the
pertinent provisions of the CPR.

HELD

Respondents represented conflicting interests and must therefore be held liable. As the records bear out,
respondents' law firm was engaged and, thus, represented complainant in the labor cases instituted
against him. However, after the termination thereof, the law firm agreed to represent a new client, FEVE
Farms, in the filing of a criminal case for qualified theft against complainant, its former client, and his wife.

RATIO

There is conflict of interest when a lawyer represents inconsistent interests of two or more opposing
parties. The test is "whether or not in behalf of one client, it is the lawyer's duty to fight for an issue or
claim, but it is his duty to oppose it for the other client.

GIMENO v. ZAIDE

FACTS

Gimeno further submitted that she was Atty. Zaide's former client. She engaged the services of his law
firm Zaragoza-Makabangkit-Zaide Law Offices (ZMZ) in an annulment of title case that involved her
husband and her parents-inlaw. Despite their previous lawyer-client relationship, Atty. Zaide still appeared
against the complainant in the complaint for estafa and violation of RA 3019 8 that one Priscilla Somontan
(Somontan) filed against her with the Ombudsman. Gimeno posited that by appearing against a former
client, Atty. Zaide violated the prohibition against the representation of conflicting clients' interests.

ISSUE: WON Atty. Zaide is guilty of Conflict of Interest?

HELD

The lawyer-client relationship between Atty. Zaide and Gimeno ceased when Atty. Zaide left ZMZ.
Moreover, the case where Gimeno engaged ZMZ's services is an entirely different subject matter and is
not in any way connected to the complaint that Somontan filed against Gimeno with the Ombudsman.
Under these circumstances, Atty. Zaide should not be held liable for violating the prohibition against the
representation of conflicting interests. Suspended

RATIO

The test if conflict of interest is whether the acceptance of a new relation would prevent the full discharge
of a lawyer's duty of undivided fidelity and loyalty to the client or invite suspicion of unfaithfulness or
double-dealing in the performance of that duty. Another is whether the use against a former client any
confidential information acquired through their connection or previous employment.

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MABINI COLLEGES v. PAJARILLO

FACTS

In 1995, the complainant, Mabini Colleges, Inc., had a Board of Trustees which was divided into two
opposing factions. The first faction, called the Adeva Group, The other faction, called the Lukban Group,
was composed of Justo B. Lukban, Luz I. Garcia, Alice I. Adeva, and Marcel N. Lukban. In 1996, the
complainant appointed the respondent as its corporate Secretary. On March 29, 1999, the Adeva Group
issued an unnumbered Board Resolution which authorized the Executive Vice President and Treasurer of
the complainant at that time, and the Vice President for Administration and Finance, to apply for a loan
with the Rural Bank of Paracale (RBP), in favor of the complainant. the Lukban Group sent a letter to RBP
to oppose the loan application because the Adeva Group appointed Librado Guerra and Cesar Echano,
who were allegedly not registered as stockholders in the Stock and Transfer Book of the complainant, as
members of the Board of Trustees. The Lukban Group also alleged that the complainant was having
financial difficulties. On May 14, 1999, respondent sent a letter to RBP to assure the latter of
complainant's financial capacity to pay the loan. On October 19, 1999, RBP sent a letter to the
complainant acknowledging receipt of the SEC Order and informing the latter that the SEC Order was
referred to RBP's legal counsel, herein respondent. The complainant alleged that it was only upon receipt
of such letter that it became aware that respondent is also the legal counsel of RBP. complainant filed the
present complaint for disbarment against the respondent for allegedly representing conflicting interests

ISSUE:

Whether respondent is guilty of representing conflicting interests when he entered his appearance as
counsel for RBP in the case for annulment of mortgage filed by complainant against RBP.

HELD

YES. The finding of the Investigating Commissioner that respondent was compensated by complainant
for his retained legal services is supported by the evidence on record, the cash vouchers from 1994 to
2001. Clearly, complainant was respondent's former client. And respondent appeared as counsel of RBP
in a case filed by his former client against RBP.

RATIO

Based on the
principles of public policy and good taste, this prohibition on representing conflicting interests enjoins
lawyers not only to keep inviolate the client's confidence, but also to avoid the appearance of treachery
and double-dealing for only then can litigants be encouraged to entrust their secrets to their lawyers,
which is of paramount importance in the administration of justice.

DUMADAG v. LUMAYA

FACTS

Respondent was complainant's counsel in Civil Case No. 148 before the RTC of Banganga, Davao
Oriental, filed against spouses Jose and Jesusa Avellanosa, involving the sale of a parcel of land. Civil
Case No. 148 was terminated via a compromise agreement which provided, inter alia, that not later than 1
October 1979, the Avellanosas would pay Dumadag the amount of P4,644.00 and in turn Dumadag would
execute in favor of the Avellanosas a deed of reconveyance of the land. However, in case of failure of the
Avellanosas to make full payment of the P4,644.00 within the stipulated period, Dumadag would be
entitled to obtain possession of the land. The said amount of P4,344.00, according to complainant, was
not delivered to him by respondent attorney, even after the former made a demand on the latter.

ISSUE: WON Respondent delivered the money to his client?

HELD

"Rule 16.03 A lawyer shall deliver the funds and property of his client when due or upon demand.
However, he shall have a lien over the funds and may apply so much thereof as may be necessary to
satisfy his lawful fees and disbursements, giving notice promptly thereafter to his client. He shall also
have a lien to the same extent on all judgments and executions he has secured for his client as provided
for in the Rules of Court." Even a respondent consistently denied liability to Dumadag, his former client,
the records abundantly point to his receipt of and failure to deliver the amount of P4,344.00 to his client,
the herein complainant, a clear breach of the canons of professional responsibility.

RATIO:

"Rule 16.01 A lawyer shall account for all money or property collected or received for or from the
client." "Rule 16.02 A lawyer shall keep the funds of each client separate and apart from his own and
those of others kept by him".

LICUANAN v. MELO

FACTS

An affidavit-complaint, dated November 11, 1981, was filed by Leonila J. Licuanan with the Office of the
Court Administrator on 5 February 1982 against respondent, Atty. Manuel L. Melo, for breach of
professional ethics, alleging that respondent, who was her counsel in an ejectment case filed against her
tenant, failed to remit to her the rentals collected by respondent on different dates over a twelve-month
period, much less did he report to her the receipt of said amounts. It was only after approximately a year
from actual receipt that respondent turned over his collections to complainant after the latter, through
another counsel, acquired knowledge of the payment and had demanded the same.

ISSUE: WON respondent failed to give complainants money?

HELD

The actuations of respondent in retaining for his personal benefit over a one-year period, the amount of
P5,220.00 received by him on behalf of his client, the complainant herein, depriving her of its use, and
withholding information on the same despite inquiries made by her is glaringly a breach of the Lawyer's
Oath to which he swore observance, and an evident transgression of the Canons of Professional Ethics.

RATIO

Respondent's unprofessional actuations considered, we are constrained to find him guilty of deceit,
malpractice and gross misconduct in office. He has displayed lack of honesty and good moral character.
He has violated his oath not to delay any man for money or malice, besmirched the name of an honorable
profession and has proven himself unworthy of the trust reposed in him by law as an officer of the Court.
He deserves the severest punishment.

BURPE v. MAGULTA

FACTS
Respondent lawyer was introduced to complainant at the Respicio, Magulta and Adan Law Offices who
agreed to legally represent the latter in a money claim and a possible civil case against certain parties for
breach of contract. Upon respondent's instruction, complainant deposited the amount of P25,000.00
allegedly for the filing fees of the case to be filed. A week later, complainant was informed by respondent
that the complaint had already been filed in court. In the months that followed, complainant did not receive
any notice from the court. Complainant also frequented respondent's office to inquire, but the latter
repeatedly told him each time to just wait. Sensing that he was being given the runaround by respondent,
complainant went to the Office of the Clerk of Court to verify the progress of the case and found out that
there was no record at all filed by respondent on his behalf. Feeling disgusted for the inconvenience and
deception of respondent who admitted that he had spent the money for the filing fee for his own use,
complainant filed with the Commission on Bar Discipline of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines a
complaint against respondent for misrepresentation, dishonesty and oppressive conduct. The
Commission submitted its Report and Recommendation to the Court recommending that respondent be
suspended from the practice of law for a period of one (1) year.

ISSUE: WON Respondent appropriated for himself of the money given for the filing fee.

HELD

The Supreme Court affirmed the recommendation of the Commission. In failing to apply to the filing fee
the amount given by complainant, respondent violated the rule that lawyers must be scrupulously careful
in handling money entrusted to them in their professional capacity. Rule 16.01 of the Code of Professional
Responsibility states that lawyers shall hold in trust all moneys of their clients and properties that may
come into their possession. The Court also stressed that after agreeing to take up the cause of client, a
lawyer owes fidelity to both cause and client, even if the client never paid any fee for the attorney-client
relationship and lawyering is not a business; it is a profession in which duty to public service, not money,
is the primary consideration.

RATIO

A lawyer-client relationship was established from the very first moment complainant asked respondent for
legal advice regarding the former's business. To constitute professional employment, it is not essential
that the client employed the attorney professionally on any previous occasion. It is not necessary that any
retainer be paid, promised, or charged; neither is it material that the attorney consulted did not afterward
handle the case for which his service had been sought.

BAUTISTA v. GONZALES

In a verified complaint filed by Angel L. Bautista, respondent Ramon A. Gonzales was charged with
malpractice, deceit, gross misconduct and violation of lawyers oath. Required by this Court to answer the
charges against him, respondent filed a motion for a bill of particulars asking this Court to order
complainant to amend his complaint by making his charges more definite. In a resolution the Court
granted respondents motion and required complainant to file an amended complaint. Complainant
submitted an amended complaint for disbarment, alleging that respondent committed the following acts:

1. Accepting a case wherein he agreed with his clients, namely, Alfaro Fortunado, Nestor Fortunado and
Editha Fortunado [hereinafter referred to as the Fortunados] to pay all expenses, including court fees, for
a contingent fee of fifty percent (50%) of the value of the property in litigation.

xxx
4. Inducing complainant, who was his former client, to enter into a contract with him on August 30, 1971
for the development into a residential subdivision of the land involved in Civil Case No. Q-15143, covered
by TCT No. T-1929, claiming that he acquired fifty percent (50%) interest thereof as attorneys fees from
the Fortunados, while knowing fully well that the said property was already sold at a public auction on
June 30, 1971, by the Provincial Sheriff of Lanao del Norte and registered with the Register of Deeds of
Iligan City;

xxx

Pertinent to No. 4 above, the contract, in No. 1 above, reads:

We the [Fortunados] agree on the 50% contingent fee, provided, you [respondent Ramon Gonzales]
defray all expenses, for the suit, including court fees.

ISSUE:

Whether or not respondent committed serious misconduct involving a champertous contract.

HELD:

YES. Respondent was suspended from practice of law for six (6) months.

RATIO:

The Court finds that the agreement between the respondent and the Fortunados contrary to Canon 42 of
the Canons of Professional Ethics which provides that a lawyer may not properly agree with a client to
pay or bear the expenses of litigation. [See also Rule 16.04, Code of Professional Responsibility].
Although a lawyer may in good faith, advance the expenses of litigation, the same should be subject to
reimbursement. The agreement between respondent and the Fortunados, however, does not provide for
reimbursement to respondent of litigation expenses paid by him. An agreement whereby an attorney
agrees to pay expenses of proceedings to enforce the clients rights is champertous [citation omitted].
Such agreements are against public policy especially where, as in this case, the attorney has agreed to
carry on the action at his own expense in consideration of some bargain to have part of the thing in
dispute [citation omitted]. The execution of these contracts violates the fiduciary relationship between the
lawyer and his client, for which the former must incur administrative sanctions

TANHUECO v. DE DUMO

FACTS:

Hilaria Tanhueco filed a petition for disbarment against Atty. Justiniano de Dumo for his refusal to remit
her money collected from debtors and refusal to return documents entrusted to him as a counsel in
certain collection cases. Tanhueco allegedly offered De Dumo 15% of what he may be able to collect from
debtors but De Dumo responded that in their agreement he gets 50% of what he may be able to collect as
contingent fee. De Dumo also admitted he did not turn over the P 12, 000.00 he collected and applying it
instead as part of his attorneys fee.

ISSUE: Whether or not De Dumos contingent fee is grossly excessive.

HELD:

De Dumos contingent fee is grossly excessive because 50% is more than half of the total amount due
from Tanhuecos debtors. His action is believed to be fraudulent because he took advantage of his client
who is an old and sickly woman. Canon 20 of the CPR states that: A lawyer shall charge only fair and
reasonable fees. Attorneys fee which is found out to be unconscionable or unreasonable is subject to
courts modification. A lawyer as an officer of the court has the duty to assist in the impartial administration
of justice between parties, and hence, the fees should be subject to judicial control. Thus, De Dumo is
suspended from the practice of law for six months and the attorneys fee is reduced to 15% of the total
amount collected by him. He is also ordered to return the P 10, 200.00 net amount of the P 12, 000.00 he
collected and entitled of 15% attorneys fee in case he made any other collection from Tanhuecos debtors

RATIO

The fact that a lawyer has a lien for fees on moneys in his hands collected for his client, does not relieve
him from his duty promptly to account for the moneys received; his failure to do so constitutes
professional misconduct.

MOTON v. CADIAO

FACTS

On August 14, 1990, when the case was scheduled for pre-trial conference, the complainant's counsel,
Atty. Raymundo D. Cadiao, failed to appear, hence, the court dismissed the case. On August 15, 1990,
Atty. Cadiao filed with the trial court an entry of appearance for the complainant and a motion for
reconsideration of the dismissal of the case. On May 5, 1991, upon motion of Atty. Cadiao, the court
declared the defendant Castillo in default and allowed plaintiffs to present their evidence ex-parte before a
Commissioner. It turned out that the court appointed Commissioner was on official leave. Consequently,
plaintiffs filed a motion for appointment of a substitute Commissioner. The court granted the motion in an
order dated June 28, 1991. On August 2, 1991, Atty. Cadiao filed a motion to reset the hearing from
August 13, 1991 to August 26, 27, 28 or 29, 1991, for the reason that he had to attend a scheduled
hearing in Antique. At the hearing of the motion on August 9, 1991, respondent was absent because he
had left for Antique. Therefore, the court denied the motion to reset hearing. A subsequent motion for
reconsideration with prayer to set case for reception of evidence was similarly denied.

ISSUE: WON respondent was negligent on the responsibility given to him?

HELD:

Canon 18, Rule 18.03 of the Code of Professional Responsibility provides that a lawyer shall not neglect
a legal matter entrusted to him and his negligence in connection therewith shall render him liable. In this
case, by reason of Atty. Cadiao's negligence, actual loss has been caused to his client Elmo S. Moton.

RATIO

He should give adequate attention, care and time to his cases. This is why a practicing lawyer may accept
only so many cases that he can efficiently handle. Otherwise, his clients will be prejudiced. Once he
agrees to handle a case, he should undertake the task with dedication and care. If he should do any less,
then he is not true to his lawyer's oath.
HERNANDEZ v. PADILLA

FACTS:

Complainant and her husband filed their Notice of Appeal with the RTC. Thereafter, the Court of Appeals
(CA) ordered them to file their Appellants' Brief. They chose respondent to represent them in the case.
Court of Appeals (CA) ordered them to file their Appellants' Brief. They chose respondent to represent
them in the case. No Motion for Reconsideration (MR) of the Resolution dismissing the appeal was filed
by the couple. Complainant claims that because respondent ignored the Resolution, he acted with
"deceit, unfaithfulness amounting to malpractice of law." Complainant and her husband failed to file an
appeal, because respondent never informed them of the adverse decision. Complainant further claims
that she asked respondent "several times" about the status of the appeal, but "despite inquiries he
deliberately withheld response [sic]," to the damage and prejudice of the spouses.

ISSUE: WON Respondent acted negligently on his duty towards his client?

HELD:

Rule 18.02 of the Code provides that a lawyer shall not handle any legal matter without adequate
preparation. While it is true that respondent was not complainant's lawyer from the trial to the appellate
court stage, this fact did not excuse him from his duty to diligently study a case he had agreed to handle.
If he felt he did not have enough time to study the pertinent matters involved, as he was approached by
complainant's husband only two days before the expiration of the period for filing the Appellant's Brief,
respondent should have filed a motion for extension of time to file the proper pleading instead of whatever
pleading he could come up with, just to "beat the deadline set by the Court of Appeals."

RATIO

Lawyers should not neglect legal matters entrusted to them, otherwise their negligence in fulfilling their
duty would render them liable for disciplinary action.

BLANZA v. ARCANGEL

FACTS

Complainants Olegaria Blanza and Maria Pasion ask this Court to take disciplinary action against
respondent Atty. Agustin Arcangel for professional non-feasance. They complain that way back in April,
1955, respondent volunteered to help them in their respective pension claims in connection with the
deaths of their husbands, both P.C. soldiers, and for this purpose, they handed over to him the pertinent
documents and also affixed their signatures on blank papers. But subsequently, they noticed that since
then, respondent had lost interest in the progress of their claims and when they finally asked for the return
of their papers six years later, respondent refused to surrender them.

ISSUE: WON Respondent acted negligently upon his duty towards his client?

HELD:

The documents and their photostats were actually returned by respondent during the fiscal's investigation
with him paying for the photostating costs himself. And the condition of the photostats themselves they
appear to have been in existence for quite some times supports respondent's allegation that they
remained in possession of the photostat service for the failure of the owners (respondent and/or
complainants) to withdraw the same upon payment of the corresponding costs. Hence, complainants
themselves are partly to blame for the delay in filing their respective claims.
RATIO

A lawyer has a more dynamic and positive role in the community than merely complying with the minimal
technicalities of the statute. As a man of law, he is necessarily a leader of the community, looked up to as
a model citizen. His conduct must, perforce, be par excellence, especially so when, as in this case, he
volunteers his professional services. Respondent has not lived up to that ideal standard. It was
unnecessary to have complainants wait, and hope, for six long years on their pension claims. Upon their
refusal to cooperate, respondent should have forthwith terminated their professional relationship instead
of keeping them hanging indefinitely.

METROBANK v. CA

FACTS

It was during the pendency of these suits that these parcels of land were sold by petitioner to its sister
corporation, Service Leasing Corporation on March 23, 1983 for the purported price of P600,000.00. On
the same day, the properties were resold by the latter to Herby Commercial and Construction Corporation
for the purported price of P2,500,000.00. Three months later, or on June 7, 1983, Herby mortgaged the
same properties with Banco de Oro for P9,200,000.00. The lower court found that private respondent, did
not have knowledge of these transfers and transactions. As a consequence of the transfer of said parcels
of land to Service Leasing Corporation, petitioner filed an urgent motion for substitution of party on July
28, 1983. Private respondent, on its part, filed on August 16, 1983 a verified motion to enter in the records
of the aforesaid civil cases its charging lien, pursuant to Section 37, Rule 138 of the Rules of Court,
equivalent to twenty-five percent (25%) of the actual and current market values of the litigated properties
as its attorney's fees. Despite due notice, petitioner failed to appear and oppose said motion, as a result
of which the lower court granted the same and ordered the Register of Deeds of Rizal to annotate the
attorney's liens on the certificates of title of the parcels of land.

ISSUE: Whether or not private respondent is entitled to the enforcement of its


charging lien for payment of its attorney's fees?

HELD

On the matter of attorney's liens, Section 37, Rule 138 provides: " . . . He shall also have a lien to the
same extent upon all judgments for the payment of money, and executions issued in pursuance of such
judgments, which he has secured a litigation of his client, from and after the time when he shall have
caused a statement of his claim of such lien to be entered upon the records of the court rendering such
judgment, or issuing such execution, and shall have caused written notice thereof to be delivered to his
client and to the adverse party; and he shall have the same right and power over such judgments and
executions as his client would have to enforce his lien and secure the payment of hi just fees and
disbursements."

RATIO

Consequent to such provision, a charging lien, to be enforceable as security for the payment of attorney's
fees, requires as a condition sine qua non a judgment for money and execution in pursuance of such
judgment secured in the main action by the attorney in favor of his client. A lawyer may enforce his right to
fees by filing the necessary petition as an incident in the main action in which his services were rendered
when something is due his client in the action from which the fee is to be paid.

MENDOZA v. PARKER

FACTS
Petitioner filed a motion for summary judgment, which was granted and judgment was rendered on May
23, 1991 in favor of private respondents. The trial court also awarded private respondents the amount of
P10,000.00 as attorney's fees. defendants filed a petition for relief from judgment. While said case was
still pending, petitioner filed a motion to withdraw her appearance with a prayer for the payment of her
attorney's fees, stating that she demanded from private respondents the amount of P73,199.75 as her
contingent fees, which was equivalent to 15 percent of the total monetary award granted by the trial court.
Private respondents refused to pay the fees demanded by petitioner, offering to pay her P20,000.00 as
attorney's fees and P300.00 as appearance fees or the same amount payable to their former counsel,
Atty. Barangan. The trial court denied the motion for reconsideration. Petitioner then filed a motion to cite
private respondents in contempt of court for their failure to obey the Orders. Petitioner's motion for
reconsideration
was denied.

ISSUE: WON the amount granted by the trial court excessive and the award
granted by the Court of Appeals is reasonable?

HELD:

In the absence of an agreement as to the amount of the attorney's fees, the courts are authorized to
determine the amount to be paid to an attorney as reasonable compensation for his professional services
(Lorenzo v. Court of Appeals, 189 SCRA 260 [1990]; Lacson v. Reyes, 182 SCRA 729 [1990]). Even
where the parties have agreed as to the amount of the fees, the courts have the power to disregard the
contract if the amount fixed is unreasonable (Bachrach v. Golingco, 39 Phil. 138 [1918]; Canon 20, Code
of Professional Responsibility). A lawyer, being an officer of the court, is placed under judicial control with
regard to the reasonableness of the amount of the attorney's fees demanded by him from his client.

RATIO:

The determination of the attorney's fees depends on various factors like: the amount and character of the
services rendered; the responsibility imposed; the amount of money or the value of the property involved
in the controversy.

REGALA v. SANDIGANBAYAN

FACTS:

PCGG want to build up their case against Eduardo Coujuanco for the anomalies in the COCO LEVY
FUNDS. PCGG wants petitioners divulge that Cojuangco indeed was a client of their firm, as well as other
information regarding Cojuangco.

ISSUE: Can the PCGG compel petitioners to divulge its clients name?

HELD:

NO.

As a matter of public policy, a clients identity should not be shrouded in mystery. The general is that a
lawyer may not invoke the privilege and refuse to divulge the name or identity of his client.

1) the court has a right to know that the client whose privileged information is sought to be protected is
flesh and blood.

2) the privilege begins to exist only after the attorney-client relationship has been established. The
attorney-client privilege does not attach until there is a client.

3) The privilege generally pertains to the subject matter of the relationship. Finally, due process
considerations require that the opposing party should, as a general rule, know his adversary. A party
suing or sued is entitled to know who his opponent is. He cannot be obliged to grope in the dark against
unknown forces.

Except:
1) Client identity is privileged where a strong probability exists that revealing the clients name would
implicate that client in the very activity for which he sought the lawyers advice.

2) Where disclosure would open the client to civil liability, his identity is privileged.

3) Where the governments lawyers have no case against an attorneys client unless, by revealing the
clients name, the said name would furnish the only link that would form the chain of testimony necessary
to convict an individual of a crime, the clients name is privileged.

That client identity is privileged in those instances where a strong probability exists that the disclosure of
the client's identity would implicate the client in the very criminal activity for which the lawyers legal
advice was obtained.